365 Albums In One Year

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

Fly On The Wall - AC/DC
Format: CD/Digital

Fly On The Wall - The title track comes in with AC/DC's trademark power chords and Brian growls in the background letting out some incredibly raspy vocals. It picks up and becomes a stronger mid tempo rocker along the tempo of Shoot to Thrill. Brian's vocals aren't the best but he is letting out some serious rasp throughout the song it is quite impressive how raspy he is here. However the rasp does come with some downsides like the vocals sounding a little screechy. Angus lets out a really nice solo and Malcolm's rhythm is pretty strong throughout the track. - 8.5/10

Shake Your Foundations - Coming in slower with a For Those About To Rock esc introduction, the chorus is fairly lackluster but the brilliance of the Young brothers on their guitars keeps me engaged throughout. Catchy little guitar riffs are everywhere in this track and you can picture the two of them bobbing their heads along with the music. Followed up with another great solo from Angus, at this point the chorus has clicked and it while not being great is easy to sing a long to. - 8.5/10

First Blood - The first song on the album that doesn't make me immediately think of another AC/DC track when it comes in. Another catchy riff with some classic AC/DC formula thrown in over the song. This track while really sexual throughout is the most enjoyable thus far. The guitar solo was incredible and the band sounds on fire throughout the track. I wasn't expecting the album to kick off so strong. - 9/10

Danger - Starting slower with a drum and bass introduction. Brian sings lower with some rasp in his voice. The Youngs come in soon and song increases in speed slightly. The chorus is boring and the slower tempo really removes the potential pull of the song. - 6.5/10

Sink The Pink - Bringing the tempo back up a little bit, it has some of that classic AC/DC charm. The power chords and sheer groove throughout the track pulls you in and doesn't really let go. Brian continues to sound pretty good overall. It isn't a knock out of the park impressive track but it is entertaining and has some stronger moments. The guitar solo is a little boring by AC/DC standards but it doesn't feel out of place. - 8/10

Playing With Girls - Coming in hard the opener to side 2 from a vinyl record really gets the energy up and flowing throughout the track. The chorus is simplistic but the Youngs put in their best guitar work from the album thus far into this track. Their guitars roaring with energy and power. Amazing solo from Angus and Brian delivers a great vocal performance. - 9/10

Stand Up - After a stronger track the band decides to phone it in for the next track. Stand up is along the lines of Danger it just lacks the upbeat energy that makes AC/DC songs great. The tempo is slower and the song suffers from it. Not amazing by any means but something which could have been better with some changes. - 6.5/10

Hell Or High Water - A step back towards the better direction. Brian sounds great but the song as a whole isn't quite as strong as what has come before it. Definitely better than the two slower tracks but not quite on par with some tracks here. Angus held out until the solo where he delivers an upbeat and energetic performance. - 7.5/10

Back In Business - Similar to the previous track, although slightly slower, the song has some better guitar work on the chorus than the verses and the whole gang comes in on vocals in the chorus. A decent track. -7.5/10

Send For The Man - The final song on the album comes in slower like last few. A decent album closer, melodic guitar solo and some solid AC/DC rocking. - 7.5/10

Overall 79%

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

Meanwhile Back In Paris... - Streetheart
Format: Vinyl

Side 1: Action/Pressure/Can You Feel It/Move On Over
The debut album of Canadian rock band Streetheart comes in with a bass and synth heavy introduction, the opening lines are the title of the album. Action has a great groove to it. Vocals are quite interesting, similar to Geddy Lees but not quite so distinctive. The groove makes you want to move around to the song as it plays. It has an infectious energy to it. The song isn't the most roaring opener but it definitely transfers the energy to the listener. Pressure comes in with a catchy guitar riff then slows a little for the verse before the introduction riff comes in segueing into the next verse. Another catchy mid tempo rock track. Vocally quite strong and fun. A bass intro kicks off Can You Feel It, the guitars sing on this track. Another upbeat track, probably a way to classify the music thus are has been along the pop-rock lines but not quite as polished as say Def Leppard instead more raw with commercial tracks. Side 1 closes off with Move On Over, a track which once again features a keys based introduction, a midpaced and commercial track. Decent throughout.

Action - 9/10
Pressure - 8.5/10
Can You Feel It - 8/10
Move On Over - 7.5/10
Side 1 - 33/40

Side 2: Look At Me/Captain Rhythm/Street Walker/People/Just For You
Look At Me kicks off side 2 with a drum based introduction. Another killer groove comes in with the guitars. Good vocals continue and the guitar work is some of the best on the album. A really strong way to kick off the 2nd side of the album. Captain Rhythm comes in and the vocals continue to sound similar to Geddy although now I think I've figured out a better analogy he sounds like Geddy mixed with Don Henley from the Eagles. A slower track with some good moments but it isn't quite as engaging. Harmonies throughout the track are well placed and effective but not the most amazing track. Streetwalker comes in from the previous track which is something that this side of the album has done quite well with. The bass work is really pronounced, and the song is very clear as to subject matter from the title. An enjoyable track start to finish. People comes in with a good quick guitar based introduction. The whole band sings the introduction before backing off and the song gets a good groove, the keys are noticeable once again on this track having faded into the background of a couple of the earlier tracks. And the keys get a chance to shine having their own solo section, the keyboardist is no Jon Lord but he does a decent job on his solo before the guitar takes its turn. Just For You closes out the album and it like the rest of the album is completely new to me. A pleasant surprise as usually I've heard a song or two at some point from these type of albums. A good way to close out the album with a nice and direct rock track. I might have to listen to some more Streetheart in the future...

Look At Me - 9/10
Captain Rhythm - 7.5/10
Streetwalker - 8.5/10
People- 8/10
Just For You - 7.5/10
Side 2 - 40.5/50

Overall 82%

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

Rock In Rio - Iron Maiden
Format: Vinyl

Initial Thoughts: An absolutely amazing setlist is featured on this album. Lots of Brave New World due to the tour of when this album is coming out. But plenty of deep cuts - 10/10

Side 1: The Wicker Man/Ghost Of Navigator/Brave New World
A lengthy tour introduction leads into the bands single from the album which kicks off like a ball of fire with this side following the same order that the Brave New World album does. Bruce sounds a little rough on the start but his rough voice suits the song quite. The chorus is where he hits his stride. The first release with all 3 guitarists in the live setting and the audience sounds immense only previewing brand new listeners of the amazing audience participation to come on some of the bands longer tracks... Adrian's solo is beautiful as was his introduction to the track. A phenomenal opening track that takes absolutely no prisoners. Ghost Of The Navigator's introduction's guitar tone is beautiful, Bruce gets the crowd engaged quickly and the song increases in tempo. Bruce sounds much stronger here vocally his roughness gone early into the song. The track paints the story of long lost Navigators quite well and that guitar tone... it is odd that with an album with such great guitar tones that they left all of SIT out of the setlist... oh well. Another great solo takes place. A pretty great rendition of a solid track. The title track from the Brave New World album comes in the miniature epic track coming in quite well and the chorus actually is less painfully repetitive with the audience to join in with Bruce, his different inflections upon the lines also helps remove the boring aspect of having the title essentially be repeated 6 times. A beautiful solo section ensues. Steve's bass thunders below the band with Nicko's drums keeping the speed. The audience begins singing along to the solo which must have been amazing to experience in the live setting.

The Wicker Man - 10/10
Ghost Of The Navigator - 9/10
Brave New World - 9.5/10
Side 1 -28.5/30

Side 2: Wrathchild/2 Minute To Midnight/Blood Brothers
The first classic track of the album comes in and who could have guessed it is Wrathchild, the crowd is audibly becoming super engaged with the short punchy rocker. Bruce sounds vicious and he really gets the audience singing along super quick. The song feels like one massive solo is occurring throughout. Bruce lets loose his first real scream of the night and the driving bass from Steve is amazing throughout. Continuing on the classics train the concert staple 2 Minutes To Midnight comes up next and Bruce asks Rio to scream for him... or more specifically Brazil. Not my favourite Powerslave track but still an amazing live track, that chorus live is absolutely amazing, the crowd singing "To Midniiiighhhtt" is so powerful. The trio of guitarists lead their charge with endless riffing before launching into some amazing solos. Another "Scream For Me" and the crowd obliges the Metal Legends as they close out the fantastic rendition of this classic track. Blood Brothers comes up next featuring Bruce ranting with a vicious introduction of it. and it frankly doesn't feel like 30 minutes has passed. The introduction of Blood Brothers is really amazing on the studio but live it has more feeling to it and the song is dedicated to all fans of of metal. One of Maiden's songs which could be considered a ballad, and the emotions throughout the song. Bruce sounds incredible and the guitars are so smooth and pristine. A song so orchestral and powerful, the solos are beautiful and uplifting. The bridge has always been on of my favourite portions of any Maiden song and the guitar sings the lines before Bruce joins in and sings the line with grace. An amazing track amplified live.

Wrathchild - 10/10
2 Minute To Midnight - 10/10
Blood Brothers - 10/10
Side 2 - 30/30

Side 3: Sign Of The Cross/The Mercenary/The Trooper
The atmosphere darkens significantly following the uplifting Blood Brothers as the introduction to Sign Of The Cross brings the mood down. The crowd cheers with joy and begins to clap along. Steve's bass is ominous, Bruce softly sings the introduction then Nicko's drums begin their militant beat. The suspense builds as the band continues the lengthy intro before erupting Bruce singing powerfully over the Blaze era track. The verses are quick and well delivered. That guitar lick in-between the verses is amazing. The chorus is immense and powerful throughout Bruce letting his vocal chords reach for the heavens above. The track builds and descends throughout the pre-recorded ominous choir vocals are really well suited in this environment and the instrumental section feels like it tells a story throughout its length ever shifting and changing into something new but still the same. Perfection. Another Brave New World track launches into action, the fastest one yet. A strong punchy rocker. It doesn't have the same power to it as The Wicker Man but the song is full of energy and is a good upbeat track. Bruce sings in a almost cut up way. The chorus is simplistic could be a really good one to get the crowd involved with. The solos have fantastic guitar tones as per usual. Bruce gets the audience involved for the chorus coming back from the solo and it works really well. Side 3 closes off with The Trooper, going full gallop the band launches into one of their signature tracks, that introductory riff. Bruce has to compete to be heard against the roaring audience, a pretty strong rendition, at times Bruce sounds a little tired but he has been singing his heart out for nearly an hour at this point and doing a phenomenal job at it. Janick, Dave and Adrian all sound amazing throughout this track their dueling guitars are mesmerizing to listen to.

Sign Of The Cross - 10/10
The Mercenary - 9/10
The Trooper - 10/10
Side 3 - 29/30

Side 4: Dream Of Mirrors/The Clansman
Side 4 opens with the final song from Brave New World, the songs featured epic Dream Of Mirrors, Bruce sounds really good on the slow section at the start his voice clear and full. Once again getting the audience to sing along with him. The song builds and Bruce adjusts to sing with it. His voice reaching high showing his range quite well. Not my favourite track but a strong rendition of a lengthy track. The guitar work is nice and Nicko keeps the band pushing on with his drumming. The chorus is pretty strong. I will have to revisit the song. The latter half of the song is actually quite impressively done, starting with the audience participation portion onwards. The Clansman follows up, with a brief introduction from Bruce the crowd already singing along to the introduction, the second Blaze track to be featured on the album another amazing rendition of a hidden gem. The story of Brave Heart is painted incredibly well. The chorus is absolutely amazing live with the audience roaring behind Bruce. The gallop returns as following the chorus and the band rips into one of their greatest epics. They have had the audience eating out of their hand for a while now but this song just secures the status of brilliance a roaring epic rendition of a track which should not have been retired from the setlist for as long as it was. The crowd chants out and they sing along to literally every part of the song. Amazing.

Dream Of Mirrors - 9/10
The Clansman - 10/10
Side 4 - 19/20

Side 5: The Evil That Men Do/Fear Of The Dark/Iron Maiden/The Number Of The Beast
The third vinyl begins the hit barrage that would close out the night. The beautiful guitar introduction to The Evil That Men Do is once again sung by the audience before it launches into the main chunk of the song. The song plows on and I could only imagine the massive mosh pit which would have begun with the track. Bruce sounds pretty good throughout but the final note of each chorus is amazing with his "OOOOOOONNNNNN" really showing how impressive of a vocalist he is. Steve continues to let loose his thunderous bass adding so much to the bands sound. He truely is an amazing bassist. A great high energy track. Fear Of The Dark comes in with an chilling introduction as the audience takes complete control of the introduction singing the entire introduction to the track. Bruce comes in menacingly then the song erupts and the bands title track of their 9th album truly comes to life. A great studio track is completely reinvigorated live becoming an absolute masterpiece with roaring guitars, an incredible amount of audience participation with Bruce delivering amazing vocals. It is no wonder why Fear Of The Dark is a live staple. Once more Brazil obliges Bruce's request for them to scream for him as the bands eponymous track comes in rocking the aggressive rocker while not the greatest studio track does come to life live and this rendition is no exception as the band deliver a strong punchy rocker. Side 5 closes out with the opening of the encore. The Number Of The Beast album has been absent thus far but that is about to change as the band comes in with the title track of said album the prerecorded dialogue introducing Rio to the mighty track, once more Rio says all the words being clearly audible among the recording. Bruce delivers the introductory vocals great before letting out his mighty scream. The aggressive rock track leads the charge into the encore with fury and power as only Iron Maiden can.

The Evil That Men Do - 10/10
Fear Of The Dark - 10/10
Iron Maiden - 9/10
The Number Of The Beast - 10/10
Side 5 - 39/40

Side 6: Hallowed Be Thy Name/Sanctuary/Run To The Hills
Side 6 opens up with Hallowed, the immense closer from The Number Of The Beast comes in calm and the crowd claps along to the drums before Bruce lets out the extended low note and the band transitions into the rocker segments of the track. Immense throughout holy shit is Hallowed perfection. The solo section as per usual is majestic and powerful. And Bruce ends it all with the classic ending. Sanctuary comes in for what would be the show closing spot if Maiden hadn't decided to add an additional track into the setlist. A direct and punchy rocker which was left off the original Iron Maiden album but frequently closing out shows stopping midway through Bruce gets the audience to chant along with him. A great rocker. The night ends with Run To The Hills coming in with that signature drumbeat a phenomenal show closer Run to the hills ends the night in style Bruce delivers as do every member of the band.

Hallowed Be Thy Name - 10/10
Sanctuary - 10/10
Run To The Hills - 10/10
Side 6 - 30/30

Flow - Seeing as this was the concert start to finish I see no reason why this would have any issue with flow as such the album doesn't - 10/10

Final Thoughts - Absolutely brilliant - 10/10

Overall 98%

85% complete; 54 Albums remain...

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

Diary Of A Madman - Ozzy Osbourne
Format: CD/Digital

Over The Mountain - A drum based intro kicks off Ozzy's second album. The prince of darkness sounds quite good, Lee delivers a great drumming performance throughout the track. Randy is lower in the mix than I'd expect but he delivers a rather good performance and an excellent solo section, shifting from a more low key solo into some great screaming sounds. The low shredding between the solo and the verse following the solo is golden. A great opener - 9/10

Flying High Again - A song whose title leaves little to the imagination knowing Ozzy's past drug use. The song isn't nearly as engaging as the previously. The chorus is rather weak and Ozzy sounds decent but not on par with how he was prior. Randy's solo is once again really well done but as a whole the song doesn't quite live up to what it could have been. - 7.5/10

You Can't Kill Rock N Roll - The longest track of the album comes in with some much calmer guitar work than one would predict from the title of the track. Ozzy sounds similar to his vocals on Mama I'm Coming Home. The song soon picks up and Randy delivers some nice guitar work through the chorus. The song calms down again. Ozzy's vocals are layered with someone else's here and the mixture isn't the strongest. A lengthy instrumental section ensues. An enjoyable track throughout. The sentiment is good. - 8/10

Believer - A heavy bass and drum intro kick off Believer, the song takes on a nice little groove as it continues on. Ozzy sounds pretty good his vocals aren't amazing but I can understand him and he doesn't come across as too whiny here. The song drives on and has some notable moments from Randy. - 8/10

Little Dolls - Another drum centric introduction kicks off what would be side 2 of the album. Ozzy drones a fair bit on the introduction. Randy is the star of this track. He delivers truly grabbing guitar work pulling you in with each and every turn. A decent track - 7.5/10

Tonight - Slowing down once again, Tonight comes across as a ballad at the start and upon the first chorus it is clear that it will remain a ballad throughout. A solemn track with some orchestral components in the background. Ozzy sounds fairly good. Bob's bass is quite good and Randy's guitar really starts to sing in the solo section having been on the less noticeable side throughout the song thus far. - 8.5/10

S.A.T.O. - A direct rock track comes in next, Ozzy sounds actually quite impressive off the start, Randy puts in his best work yet on this track the solo is great and aggressive, the main riffs heavy and powerful. Ozzy sounds amazing throughout. Lee's drums deliver a great bottom end with Bob. Quite a great track - 10/10

Diary Of A Madman - The title track closes out the album starting with some acoustic guitar it shifts darker and darker before letting up as Ozzy comes in singing. The song constantly is shifting between this heavier feel and the lighter tone. It is an experience and Randy's guitar work throughout is top notch. There is plenty of orchestral moments and even a choir at one point or it sounds like it. - 9/10

Overall 84%

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

Zeno - Zeno Roth
Format: CD/Digital

Eastern Sun - The debut album by Zeno Roth, the younger brother of Uli Jon Roth kicks off with Eastern Sun, the opening chords sound quite orchestral. Vocals are incredibly unique, Michael Flexi's vocal delivery is high but not super high while not really feeling within the midrange. Guitar wise it is clear the Roth brothers were both amazing with Zeno delivering some massive airy solos throughout. Lyrically a fairly good track throughout. There are some solid keyboard work here helping out along with the drums the main riff of the song is super catchy but not simple. - 8.5/10

A Little More Love - Some very Queen esc guitar harmonies open up the second track. Michael's vocals reach even higher than before for the chorus there is a great echo from him throughout the verses, it sounds like they recorded in a massive hall as his vocals feel like they are soaring in a boundlessness space. A more poppy track with a really strong vocal performance - 8.5/10

Love Will Live - The third track comes in emotional and dramatic, the song goes towards the power ballad side of rock. Michael's vocals are the centerpiece of this track and he does shine but the song as a whole could do with some more present guitar work throughout the track. The chorus is easy to sing a long to and I'm sure the song will grow on me but it does make for a rather good listen - 8/10

Signs On The Sky - Shifting back to upbeat, Signs of The Sky opens with another guitar based introduction and Michael's powerful vocals. His vocal tone is so unique; his vocals are higher on the spectrum at times like Halford but his tone is much different and less screechy. Another good track. - 8.5/10

Far Away - Far Away slows down a little but the song is super upbeat and the chorus is rather uplifting throughout. Zeno's guitar tone is phenomenal throughout, his Queen like guitar harmonies are beautiful and his guitar really sings along. The song should go on a little longer but it is a really good piece of music. Amazing guitar work. - 9/10

Emergency - The keyboards get to shine on Emergency a rather short track. Much poppier than the rest of the tracks. Vocal harmonies dominate the chorus. Michael does let loose some nice high notes. But the song doesn't have much substance to it. - 7/10

Don't Tell The Wind - The sound of blowing wind introduces the only track I had heard prior to the album. Zeno comes in on an acoustic guitar and Michael sings beautifully from the start and the backing vocals are also amazing throughout. Zeno performs majestically throughout the track his guitar soaring for the solo section while being melancholy and captivating throughout the rest of the song. - 10/10

Heart On The Wing - The introduction to this track sounds super familiar but I haven't heard this track. Another poppier track especially throughout the chorus. Michael's vocals continue to shine throughout the track. Zeno's solo is incredible here doing away with the pop feel completely as he shred his guitar amazingly. - 8/10

Circles Of Dawn - Opening with what sounds like horns but is more than likely the keyboards and maybe some guitar, the song isn't quite as captivating as the ones before. The band however deserves much more credit than they have received. The song remains incredibly unique. The vocals are different at some points especially the backing vocals which sound like a choir. - 7.5/10

Sent By Heaven - Sent By Heaven builds in, quite atmospheric feeling once we get going, with some more of Roth's great guitar work. I think it is amazing that both brothers have such amazing guitar talents would have been super cool if the two had released an album together. - 8/10

Sunset - A pointless instrumental ending the album. - N/A

Overall 83%

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

Kill 'Em All - Metallica
Format: CD/Digital

Hit The Lights - Metallica's debut album fades in with storming symbols from Lars then a drum breakdown before finally launching in some guitar, the speedy guitar work doesn't sound too far removed from the band's metal influences of Priest. James sounds somewhat similar to Paul Di Anno on vocals and not in any good way. His vocals sounding scratchy and weak throughout. The track itself is speedy and aggressive but it lacks quality vocals to make it a truly enjoyable package. Everything else makes for a good metal track but vocally this is really weak. - 7.5/10

The Four Horsemen - The longest track on the album comes in strong transitioning more towards the more well known Metallica sound. James sounds slightly better here. A track which really shows the direction which Metallica would head over their next few albums, the sound is raw and it remains one of the 3 tracks on the album which Dave Mustaine receives writing credits on. A lot stronger overall than the previous track. But still not as amazing as it could be. James vocals hold it back from greatness. - 8.5/10

Motorbreath - A drum introduction leads into an aggressive riff on this incredibly compact track. James vocals continue to be incredibly weak by comparison to his later work. The solo section is really the only highlight for me. - 7/10

Jump Into The Fire - A catchy opening guitar segment leads into another rather forgettable track this one is a step down from the others... James continues to sound really weak and the band is rather unoriginal in their sound. - 6/10

Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth) - Cliff's bass solo comes in, really don't see the point of having a full on instrumental solo on an album without any accompaniment from the rest of the band for the first half of the instrumental, it just adds more to the run time. That being said Cliff does a decent job with his solo but it really serves no purpose as a whole. - 6/10

Whiplash - Segueing in from the previous track comes Whiplash, this track while not the greatest lyrically is a fair bit stronger than some of the tracks which have come before it. James continues to be the weak link which is strange considering the band has Lars. Easily the best song sing Horsemen. - 8/10

Phantom Lord - Coming in with some synth Phantom Lord starts off quite different from all the previous tracks before shifting to some incredibly intense riffing. James sounds more like his Ride The Lightning style vocals for the opening verse which is very much welcome his vocals however do shift back to less enjoyable but as a whole the song is stronger. Amazing guitar work the guitar scream similar to how they do in Fade To Black's outro. A pleasant surprise later on in the album - 9/10

No Remorse - No Remorse comes in blazing with some furious guitar work. Not too bad of a song, definetely better than some but not on par with others. Most of the album thus far has been rather weak by comparison to the bands later work and this song is no exception. - 7/10

Seek & Destroy - Seek & Destroy comes in as one would expect at this point. From a guitar standpoint the song is full of riffs but from basically every other aspect the song remains fairly okay. James doesn't sound bad but the song frankly isn't super interesting at all for the first half until the solo comes in and even that isn't a home run hit. - 7/10

Metal Militia - Closing out the album is a song which begins rocking right from the start, thrash filled guitars, another clear example of what the band will become in the near future, this song sounds more along the lines of Megadeth which makes sense since it is another of the three tracks where Mustaine gets credits. James continues to sound rather poor. - 7/10

Overall 73%

Odds are this will be the final Metallica album I listen to. Have too many other bands that I really want to get through... although I might do one more seeing as I have 4 other albums from them which I have yet to listen to.

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

Promised Land - Queensryche
Format: CD/Digital

9:28 a.m. - The sound of a heart beat slowly stops as the an interlude opens up the album, eerie and short the album is set up on a darker tone. Ending with a baby crying - N/A

I Am I - Going to the upbeat with some low guitar and bass work I Am I comes in with Tate sounding pretty strong, a definite shift has occurred since the 80s with this album, the song feels less energetic and lacks the classic Queensryche melodic hooks. The solo is okay and the song isn't nearly as catchy as the bands previous material. Overall a decent start - 7.5/10

Damaged - Damaged comes in right where the previous track left off but the guitar work grabs you from the start and pulls you in more than the last track was able to. Tate sounds good, his vocals soaring at times but doing some of his lower work as well periodically throughout the track. A step in the right direction. - 8/10

Out Of Mind - Shifting to a more stripped back track, coming in with key. Tate sings softly and the song remains soft and acoustic throughout the track. Tate's vocals sound great with the acoustic song however the track as a whole doesn't really pull you in completely. The solo section is subdued but fitting. The ending is rather abrupt - 7.5/10

Bridge - Another acoustic song, this one is pertaining to Chris DeGarmo's father's death, and the song doesn't veil that at all. A genuine track which has some really good moments throughout and follows a lyrical theme quite dark but not portrayed in a way which feels super dark. - 8/10

Promised Land - The title track comes in, dark from the start with plenty of effects, the darkness builds and it soon lets loose becoming a slow prodding monster, Tate's vocals cry out throughout the track with pain behind his high notes. His lower vocals add a darker tone. The song is full of effects which create a feeling of mystery behind it all. Very unique throughout that's for sure. - 8.5/10

Disconnected - Disconnected ironically connects well to the end of the previous track transitioning perfectly from the title track, playing the recording from the previous track for about the first minute of its run time before the band comes in, the disconnected name comes in more appropriately here with the main vocals and the song feeling a slight disconnect for me. Musically the band sounds good and the song has some spacey effects. An odd song - 7.5/10

Lady Jane - Coming in with the sounds of children talking, piano based Tate sounds similar to his vocals on the verses of Silent Lucidity, the chorus gets a little more uplifting vocally. The song doesn't have that emotional pull like Silent Lucidity does but it does have a really well done solo section which does have a bit of some emotional feel behind it. - 8/10

My Global Mind - Coming in faster and harder My Global Mind soon calms and Tate sings quite well throughout. The song is like the rest, good performances but not amazing as a whole. Although this track is more interesting than a fair number of those which has come before. - 8/10

One More Time - Another more acoustic based track, this one isn't completely acoustic like the previous ones. It is a decent track but it isn't amazing. Much like the rest of the albums the songs are enjoyable but they don't really compete with the previous work from the band. A rather noticeable step down as a whole. - 7.5/10

Someone Else? - A piano ballad closes off the album, I've heard the full band version of this song so I'm familiar with the themes of it. Tate sounds incredible with the piano accompanyment. The full band version is a great rendition but this is a beautiful version. - 9/10

Overall 79%

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

Live At Rainbow '74 Sheer Heart Attack Tour - Queen
Format: CD/Digital

Initial Thoughts - Several months after their last show at the rainbow Queen returns with a similar setlist but with some of their more well known material sneaking in. Notable omission of Brighton Rock aside this is a really good setlist. - 10/10

Procession - An introduction from Queen II being played before the band goes on stage. A good intro. - N/A

Now I'm Here - A highlight from Sheer Heart Attack kicks off the show supporting said album, a direct rocker full of energy in the live environment. Freddie sounds powerful off the start. The band comes in with their harmonies right off the bat showing their. Brian and Roger sound immense throughout the track. John holds up the bottom end nicely and Freddie performs as one would expect him to. A strong opening track. Although I feel like the song could be slightly more effective later once Freddie is fully warmed up. - 9/10

Ogre Battle - A song played on their previous show at the Rainbow, Ogre Battle comes in with the theremin before Brians roaring guitar, Freddie sounds stronger here than the previous track. The story of two Ogres fighting in the mountains it is nice to see the band keeping their more heavier works still in the set despite their step towards a more commercial sound with their supported album. A really eclectic track. - 9/10

Father To Son - The opening track from Queen II comes in next, Freddie interacts with the audience before the song begins. His vocals off the start are powerful and emotive and the song takes on the progressive feel that their earlier material did so well. An incredible display of the bands versatility. Freddie's vocals absolutely soar at times his vocals constantly soaring up and reaching for the sky above. - 9/10

White Queen (As It Began) - Slowing down Freddie sings over the mystical introduction, White Queen isn't my favourite early Queen track by any means but this rendition has Freddie singing incredibly over the atmospheric instrumental below it. He pulls me in more than I would expect. A pretty good rendition - 8.5/10

Flick Of The Wrist - The second track off of Sheer Heart Attack to be featured here, Freddie sounds quite angry here and the song has a darker march feel to it. Brian's guitar sounds menacing. Not the greatest track from the album but it is well performed here. - 8/10

In The Lap Of The Gods - The lesser known rendition of In The Lap Of The Gods. Piano based and moody this version is nice and the track is slower once again. Freddie's singing is drawn out, Roger sings in the back reaching for high notes while Freddie sings the main vocals. A decent track - 7.5/10

Killer Queen - Transitioning from the previous track perfectly comes in the bands first major hit Killer Queen, a track full of amazing harmonies, midpaced telling the story of a prostitute and her adventures... The song is condensed quite a bit and transitions to the next track. - 9/10

The March Of The Black Queen - Transitioning from the previous track comes in a heavier track from Queen II, Freddie sounds amazing and the track is once again condensed which is as shame since it is one of my favourite early Queen tracks. - 10/10

Bring Back Leroy Brown - The third portion of the medley is another track from Sheer Heart Attack, a silly track to close if all off, it doesn't really contribute much. - 7.5/10

Son And Daughter/Guitar Solo/Son And Daughter (Reprise) - A track from Queen's debut comes in with the bands classic harmonies, on my CD it is broken up into 3 tracks which frankly I don't understand why they would do that since it means shuffling the tracks messes with the listening of it all. Freddie sounds great as he has for basically all the album. Brian's guitar work in the first chunk is so smooth and the guitar solo he launches into is lengthy and majestic with segments of Brighton Rocks monstrous solo section being played as part of it, which helps to make up for the lack of that track being played in its entirety. An excellent performance. - 10/10

Keep Yourself Alive/Drum Solo/Keep Yourself Alice (Reprise) - Queen's debut's opening track comes in powerful, upbeat and uplifting as it should be. Keep Yourself Alive is an amazing track. The energy the band shows in this track remains powerful despite the split up in the middle for the drum solo, it is a window into Queen's later work as the song really fits their later works style much more than their current work. - 10/10

Seven Seas Of Rhye - The closing track from Queen II comes in with the full band introduction, a bit of a slow gallop feel comes with it. Freddie sings powerfully over the whole track. A fun track - 9/10

Stone Cold Crazy - One of Queen's heaviest rockers comes in furious and aggressive, Freddie sings the lyrics in the classic incredible speedy fashion of the studio version. An amazing rocker powerful heavy and another excellent example of how diverse Queen were. - 9/10

Lair - The only truly lengthy track on the album, the crowd calls out the name of the song as Freddie is trying to introduce it. Ever changing and progressive the track is another excellent example of Queen's diversity. Extended with solos throughout the track it serves as a great vehicle in the live setting throughout. - 9/10

In The Lap Of The Gods... Revisited - The more well known version of In The Lap Of The Gods ends the main setlist of the show. A slow introduction with some nice vocals from Freddie, the song feels like an odd choice of set closer. - 8.5/10

Big Spender - The encore opens with Big Spender a cover track, a short rendition introduced by Rogers thundering drums. Not really a required cover nor a great one. - 7/10

Modern Times Rock "N" Roll - The final Queen original of the night comes in with a roaring rendition of Modern Times Rock "N" Roll. Freddie sings powerfully. The track has a lot of energy and is extended to twice its studio lenght not that the song was long to begin with. - 9/10

Jailhouse Rock - A cover of Elvis' Jailhouse Rock continues the high energy. A great rendition Freddie continues to sound quite strong and the band delivers the rock classic in a very respectable way. - 9/10

God Save The Queen - The band closes off with a recording of God Save The Queen as they say their goodbyes to the audience. - N/A

Flow - Perfectly flowing set. - 10/10

Final Thoughts - The album features some great performances, some songs should have been longer (The March of The Black Queen) and some placements are a little odd but overall the album was pretty great. - 9/10

Overall 89%

Likely will do 2 more Queen records.

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

Come What(ever) May - Stone Sour
Format: CD/Digital

30/30-150 - Album #2 by Stone Sour comes in with a low thundering bass before erupting into a speedy rocker. Corey comes in sounding clear but angry similar to Hetfield. His vocals are incredibly diverse going from clear to full on howls full of rasp. I prefer his vocals when he is singing clearly but the howls aren't too harsh. An upbeat aggressive rocker. Musically not super noteworthy but the song is a strong opener. - 8/10

Come What(ever) May - The title track comes in midpaced, Corey sounds rather clear and the overall sound of the song really feels like early 2000's rock, lower with a heavy feel to it borderline alternative. The solo section of the song however is more along the upbeat lines with some great harmonizing being done within it. - 8.5/10

Hell & Consequences - Coming in with an upbeat tempo once again, this track goes more towards the metal feeling with the curiosity of the riff. Corey sounds a lot darker at first before he starts singing super clear. I really like the musical work throughout this track. A great compact rocker with a lot going for it. Vocally there are times where it doesn't fully work for me but the song as a whole is pretty great. - 9/10

Silly World - A calm track, acoustic off the start with some electric elements. Corey sounds great on these softer tracks. There is some clear anger behind these lyrics. A track about the disparity in the world, the differences between what being is truly good for all instead of just what is good for those who make the decisions. - 9/10

Made Of Scars - Picking back up Made Of Scars is an upbeat track with more great instrumental work. Corey's vocals are the tipping point for me, some moments for me he is great but he also ventures further into the more growling style which I'm not a fan of. When he sings clearly the song is amazing. - 8.5/10

Reborn - Some fantastic vocals open up this next track and even the more harsh vocals aren't too harsh on this track. Musically the song has a nice groove going for it. An nice and direct track, although the harshness towards the end does put a bit of a damper on it. - 8.5/10

Your God - A really good track, accessible and well delivered. Corey sings great and the band delivers a strong rocking track. A nice change and frankly this is more along the lines of how I'd prefer the music from Stone Sour to be done. - 9/10

Through Glass - The phenomenal ballad comes up next, Through Glass is a beautiful piece of music about the false aspects of life. Emotional, angry and powerful throughout. Corey is incredible emotive throughout the song. It shows a great deal of reflection upon what one is seeing in the world and how that influences the individual. - 10/10

Socio - An intriguing introduction leads into a shorter track, Corey sings fairly softly during the verses, a fairly solid track throughout. Enjoyable, punchy and direct throughout. The chorus is powerful and effective. - 8.5/10

1st Person - This track doesn't do too much for me, most of the vocals are quite aggressive, musically the song is fitting of the vocal style but it doesn't click for me. - 7/10

Cardiff - The penultimate track comes in slower, this track shifts more towards a psychedelic approach at times, feeling almost like a ballad at first with moments of heaviness breaking through. A good mix. - 8/10

Zzyzx Rd. - The album closer opens up with a piano based introduction, the longest track on the album. Corey sings clearly and with incredible emotive power behind his words. The song is a essentially a complete shift away from almost all the songs on the album. Sentimental and phenomenal throughout. The guitar solo is melodic but still conveys the pain - 10/10

Overall 87%

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

The Purple Album - Whitesnake
Format: CD/Digital

Burn - Opening up his tribute album to his original mainstream band Coverdale opens with a no-brainer the mighty Burn comes in with a heaviness, while the original is blazing forwards this one is darker and heavier thanks to modern production and aged vocal chords. The guitarwork from Joel and Reb is great and the keyboards while not on par with Jon Lord are still phenomenal on this rendition of the mighty title track from Coverdale's commercial debut. Speaking of David, his aged vocals chords deliver a formidable performance of a classic track in a way which allows him to shine quite well. The vocal harmonies from the guitarists cover up Glenn's parts quite well. It may be a blasphemy but I listen to this version more than the original... - 10/10

You Fool No One (Interpolating Itchy Fingers) - Another "Burn" track comes in next, opening up with a classic southern feeling introduction, coming in heavy with the main riff following the odd introduction, the bluesy nature of the original is lost a little with the modern production and down tuning. The vocal harmonies are fitting of the song and work fairly well. Davids shredded vocals don't work quite as well on this track but the band sounds pretty darn great. The extended instrumental section is amazing. - 8.5/10

Love Child - A track from Coverdale's third album with Purple comes in next, Love Child opens with some nice bass work. A nice track. David lets out a nice scream midway through it. His vocals actually sound pretty good throughout. It is a shame he has destroyed them over the years. - 8.5/10

Sail Away (ft Elergy for Jon) - Burn track #3 comes in acoustic, and Coverdale sings softly. A sentimental tribute to Jon Lord, which is what I believe the purpose of this album was originally intended to be. A pretty good rendition but not super emotional as a whole. - 8/10

The Gypsy - The first song from Stormbringer to make the cut for the album is The Gypsy. The vocals are heavily harmonized on the opening lyrics and frankly it weakens it a little bit, this is where David's aged vocals don't help with his younger band playing their parts since their vocals together sound great but with him it just doesn't work. Musically the band delivers amazing performances of the track. I haven't heard the Purple rendition in a long time I'll have to give it a listen soon since this version while immense lacks the vocal capacity that it could really have used. - 8/10

Lady Double Dealer - Coming in with the sound of a heart beat is another Stormbringer track. This one launches into a fast paced rocker, the more harsh vocal delivery from Coverdale suits the song a bit better then some of the previous tracks. A direct and condensed rocker. - 8.5/10

Mistreated - A heavy blues filled riff comes in strong and a mighty rendition of Mistreated comes in, Coverdale's age shows a lot here but he still delivers an incredible performance of this ballad. The band brings a darker atmosphere to the track. I haven't listened to either version of the track in a while but I do recall listening to either version with equal levels of enjoyment. This version's darker feel to it I quite enjoy while Coverdale's vocals on the original are better. Although I will say both are completely trumped by Rainbow's version from Live In Munich... The guitar work here while relatively simple is incredibly effective - 10/10

Holy Man - A Stormbringer track comes in acoustic, the song picks up and has a bit of the bluesy aspects from the MKIII era, and the song has some great moments Coverdale sounds pretty good and the guitarists have a very calm duel for a little while towards the end of the track before it returns to the acoustics it began with. - 8/10

Might Just Take Your Life - Opening with some very distorted vocals from Coverdale comes a song which early renditions of Whitesnake used to play quite frequently. This is the weakest track thus far on the album for me. It doesn't really come together super well from the odd intro to the weaker vocals throughout the track. Musically the song feels like it is missing something. It also feels a lot longer than its runtime. - 6.5/10

You Keep On Moving - The final song from Come Taste The Band to be featured on this version of the album. A calm introduction opens it all up before the track becomes more and more upbeat. David's vocals sound quite good overall. The song isn't amazing but it really is much better than the previous one. - 7.5/10

Soldier Of Fortune - The closing ballad from Stormbringer comes in and the aged vocals of Coverdale have a time to shine on this track. Soldier of Fortune is incredibly well done by the band. A simple ballad but a beautiful one throughout. - 10/10

Lay Down Stay Down - The final track to be featured from Burn is Lay Down Stay Down. The song doesn't waste much time getting to business a fairly decent track from start to finish. - 7.5/10

Stormbringer - The album closes out with the title track to Stormbringer. Opening with the sounds of a growing storm the band sounds like the thunder before erupting into the rocker. An excellent closer with killer guitar work and vocals. -10/10

Overall 85%

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
Continuing on the trend of artists revisiting their previous work.


ReIdolized (The Soundtrack Of The Crimson Idol) - W.A.S.P.
Format: CD/Digital

The Titanic Overture - Blackie's rerecording of his classic album opens unchanged, the Titanic Overture slowly builds before erupting into segments of the coming onslaught of hard rock glory. The production of the song is amazing and the band sounds fantastic. Blackie sings very little but what he does sounds pretty good although not much rasp which makes sense due to his age. - 9/10

The Invisible Boy - The story of Johnathan begins here, the boy who feels invisible throughout. The original version of this song I haven't heard since my listen from the original album. The song sounds pretty decent but not super gripping. Blackie's vocals are pretty clean but still he lets loose some nice screams here and there. Musically the tone of the album hasn't changed and I can't tell if the songs have remained in the same key or not. - 8/10

Arena Of Pleasure - The opening to this track has an additional segment added to it opening acoustic with Blackie singing the mighty "where is the love..." component of the albums reoccuring theme, which quite frankly is one of the absolute greatest chorus' I've heard. The song takes a minute before returning to the original sound, sonicly the song is amazing. Blackie's vocals are less harsh but the song has the same dark energy. An uplifting chorus and Blackie hasn't censored the song that much since I've heard he did end up changing some of the lyrics from the album. Amazing. The song closes out with the original introduction to Chainsaw Charlie which really adds to the connectivity of the album. - 10/10
The original has very much grown on me, probably the most listened to track from the original.

Chainsaw Charlie (Murders In The New Morgue) - The chainsaws begin and the track kicks into action, Blackie sounds amazing and aggressive here. The lyrics are slightly altered to be less offensive to Blackie, which doesn't really change the energy of the song much so I'm okay with it, but it is a noticeable change. However the music continues to be the aggressive kick ass aggression it was back in 1992 when it was released. Less raw but incredibly powerful throughout. Charlie's self identification has changed over the past 37 years making the only real obvious change. Still a phenomenal track - 10/10

The Gypsy Meets The Boy - Slowing down from the raging assault comes in a song which I haven't listened to since the original despite if my recollection is correct being a song which I enjoyed. Blackie sings cleanly and the acoustic guitar continues to develop the dark atmosphere. Blackie plays both characters quite well, both the boy and the gypsy queen telling him the way. It picks up halfway through for a moment feeling similar to some The Who songs in terms of heavier work but still acoustic. The themes from the overture come back here once again. Jonathan declares he wants to be the Crimson Idol as the song closes.. - 9/10

Michael's Song - The first completely new addition is Michael's song. It features very minimal music but there is a darkness to it. It serves entirely as an interlude between the previous track and the next. But ends with the shattering of glass... - N/A

Miss You - A monstrous ballad from Golgotha is added at this point into the album. Based on the previous track and my knowledge that Jonathan's story is sparked with the death of his brother Michael Blackie must have shifted the death of Jonathan's brother later into the story making it slightly more tragic. Miss You is one of my favourite W.A.S.P. tracks and this version is incredibly similar to the original. Blackie is incredible vocally he is extremely emotive throughout, the song fits well into the dark themes and while a slight stretch in terms of exact lyrical copy and paste into the story line it does show the pain Jonathan is going through since the lyrics do convey the pain of losing a loved one although my initial interpretation of the song wasn't of a family member. There are some added lyrics which do shift the focus a little. Still an amazing ballad. - 10/10

Doctor Rockter - Wasting no time Doctor Rockter comes in hard and fast, Jonathan has found his dealer, this rendition stays very true to the original and actually I think I may prefer it more polished approach makes the song clearer which benefits it. Short and direct it shows the darker side of life through the addition of drugs. Although it isn't quite perfect. - 9.5/10

I Am One - Opening up with many live introduction, a track that didn't really connect with me on the original. This fact remains true. It serves as an almost mini-overture in the middle of the album. It has some great moments and introduces themes for the later half like the King of Mercy. Overall the only song thus far that I'd be potentially skipping. But it does fit the theme quite well just isn't really as required as the rest. The old introduction from The Idol has been added onto the ending here, with some censorship and it is less angry sounding. - 7.5/10

The Idol - Opening without the spoken introduction comes The Idol. I prefer the removal of the introduction it makes the song feel more compact and direct. Blackie sounds great and the great somber ballad comes to life. The first chorus disperses any doubts of Blackie's abilities, yes the sound is much more polished but the emotions remain. The solo is magnificent and immense. The final chorus is incredible as well. The new component added onto the end actually fits the theme incredibly well and is very fitting of the themes. A great rendition - 10/10

Hold Onto My Heart - The 2nd last of the original tracks on the album comes in. Another power ballad, polished and sentimental, this is the most traditional ballad on the original album. I think the original is a little bit better than this rendition but the song is still a really good performance from Blackie and the gang. - 8.5/10

Hey Mama - Another really short addition to the album, Blackie sings crying out as Jonathan for his Mother. As a song it isn't much but it is a great addition for adding more depth to the story. - N/A

The Lost Boy - An upbeat track, completely new it feels like it could have gone much earlier in the album closer to The Gypsy and The Boy. It is a direct rocker. The song is directly relating to Jonathan's feelings of being lost and anger towards his mother for not caring about him as much as Michael. A good solid rocker. - 8.5/10

The Peace - Slowing down once again, The Peace is the longest brand new track on the album. I wonder why Blackie didn't incorporate songs like Phantom In The Mirror and The Eulogy into the new album seeing as they were included as bonus tracks on the original album's reissue. A power ballad. Blackie's voice is covered up with layers, but those layers add to the emotions in a surprising way. A great addition to the album. It could have been a little more raw but as a whole the album's production hasn't been too much of an issue. A great song which shows the internal feelings of our protagonist. - 9/10

Show Time - The final addition is a conversation between Jonathan and who I believe is his manager or the phantom in the mirror, I believe it is the Phantom and it really shows how dark of a space his head is at currently. - N/A

The Great Misconceptions Of Me - The grand finale has arrived, and this track remains the greatest song written in W.A.S.P.'s catalog, a furious rocker once it gets going with an incredible chorus. Blackie doesn't quite hit the chorus as strong as he does in the original but the man has aged 36 years inbetween these recordings and still delivers an amazing rendition of his masterpiece. A sad and dark song culminating in the death of Jonathan. The solos are brutal the energy is so strong throughout. A perfect end to the album. - 10/10

Overall 92%

I do intend on relistening to the original at some point but came across a copy of this and figured why not give it a go.

11 days ahead of schedule if I'm aiming for Jan 19th end date.
8 Days behind schedule if aiming for Dec 31st.

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

Billion Dollar Babies - Alice Cooper
Format: CD/Digital

Hello Hooray - Album number 6 opens up with some fanfare, Alice comes in sounding quite excited to begin the show it is a cover track but Alice puts his own spin on it. Mid tempo with some definite theatrical aspects to this track which Alice would have really played up in the live setting. Partway through the song does a false stop. - 9/10

Raped And Freezin' - Continuing on the theatrical side of Alice's career, he sounds really great. The song has a very old school rock n roll feel to it and does have some darker subject matter tackled. Another really good and well thought out track. - 8.5/10

Elected - A song which I was introduced to on Jimmy Kimmel when Alice had a field day with the election. Alice lets out some longer notes some of which turn into wails. The song is upbeat and 100% fun. The big band feel to it really suits the song quite well. Alice delivers some of his best vocals I've heard on his albums here. Sounding vicious at times letting out wails at others. - 10/10

Billion Dollar Babies - The title track comes in with a drum based introduction before, there is a call and answer style to the track. Excellent guitar work in conjunction with the added bonus of having two lead vocalists at times throughout the track. The song has a nice guitar lick which occurs several times throughout. A rather enjoyable track not quite perfect but really well done. - 9/10

Unfinished Sweet - The longest track of the album comes in next which has a rather dental feel to it. Which I guess is Alice playing off of people's fear of the dentist. An extended instrumental section ensues and there are moments with the sounds of dental drilling occurring cementing my thoughts on the topic of the song. The instrumental turns very eerie and I believe we hear a tooth being pulled before returning to a more upbeat and fun approach again which is probably every kids excitement about leaving the dentist. - 9/10

No More Mr. Nice Guy - The classic Alice Cooper track comes in strong, fun upbeat and silly at times. No More Mr. Nice Guy of Alice's two really biggest hits is my favourite, although Alice's rerecording of School's Out with the Hollywood Vampires is my favourite Alice based track. The story is told incredibly simplistically and effectively. Musically the song has a good drive to it. - 10/10

Generation Landslide - An interesting start leads into a militant drumbeat and some acoustic guitar. Eclectic with varying components, the track feels a little too busy at times but it really is a fun track. - 8.5/10

Sick Things - Another track more along the horror side of Alice's show. As a studio track I don't find it that amazing but I could see Alice delivering an absolutely chilling rendition of this in the live environment. 7.5/10

Mary Ann - A piano introduction comes in from the previous track, the song feels upbeat and there frankly isn't much to it what so ever, it seems pleasent but there isn't much else going on. - 7/10

I Love The Dead - The final track, quite plainly is regarding necrophilia, and Alice delivers the song in a way in which few could. A theatrical ending to the album and a rather consistent one at that. - 9/10

Overall 89%

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The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

Temple Of The Dog - Temple Of The Dog
Format: CD/Digital

Say Hello 2 Heaven - Opening dark this tribute album comes in emotional from the beginning. Chris sounds amazing throughout this masterpiece track, dark moody with so much pain behind the vocals. Musically the song is peaceful and melancholy. To think this band for one only formed due to the death of their friend as a tribute to him and that now all the members on this album are in a band together but don't perform them live. Chris delivers an absolutely heart wrenching performance during the last minute of the song. Amazing - 10/10

Reach Down - The second track along with the first were written when Soundgarden was touring and initially were the only two songs meant to be released by what became Temple Of The Dog. A bit more uptempo than the previous track, the song fills more into the grunge territory than the previous but Chris' vocals are incredibly clear and powerful once again. The bass work is dark, clearly twisting the song with the guitars adding depth to its thunder. Not as emotional as the previous track but still a well delivered heavy tribute. A massive track which doesn't lose the listener at any point in its over 11 minute runtime. - 9/10

Hunger Strike - The emotive Hunger Strike comes in, those opening chords are so beautiful and Chris sings powerfully, the simplistic nature of the track is great and the repetition is very effective. Eddie Vedder comes in and the song becomes such an immense duet. The cries from Chris in the background and letting Eddie take the forefront of the is an excellent choice. Emotional, straightforward and powerful a perfect song. - 10/10

Pushin Forward Back - Picking up Pushin' Forward Back comes in hard Chris sounds strong. The track's chorus is really upbeat and the band delivers a really fun and enjoyable track. Vocally Chris delivers some amazing high notes and cries out. The lyrics of the song aren't the strongest but it doesn't distract from the direct heavy rocking. - 8.5/10

Call Me A Dog - Slowing down Call Me A Dog comes in the track's verses are delivered from a minimalist approach while the chorus is more explosive in nature. Each song thus far has been unique and fills a very specific role persay. This is another emotional heart wrencher. - 9/10

Times Of Trouble - Starting off acoustic the next track is very mixed between acoustic and electric. Chris continues to sing his heart out, the man had such an amazing voice. He sings with so much emotion throughout the track and the album for that matter, high notes everywhere. Musically incredible and somber, Times Of Trouble shifts throughout the song. Amazing - 10/10

Wooden Jesus - Another more stripped back track. It is the first track which doesn't fully pull me in thus far on the album. Chris does sound really good here as per usual. A pretty solid track overall. - 7.5/10

Your Saviour - Coming back in heavier than the last few tracks, Eddie returns on backing vocals for this track. And is presence is felt very early on. The band is continuing to deliver great performances, the drums have some great fills throughout the chorus of the song. - 8/10

Four Walled World - Another lengthier track comes in next, it is solemn and appears to be about the depression following a traumatic event and securing ones self in their room and the song conveys this pain is great care and power. Chris continues to sound amazing. The music continues to be dark and amazing. Just shy of perfection for me but still an amazing track - 9.5/10

All Night Thing - The album closes off with a song that off the start feels incredible uplifting, it becomes a rather positive feeling track with Chris singing over mainly piano and drums. A good closer. - 8/10

Overall 92%

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

Lock Up The Wolves - Dio
Format: Vinyl

Side 1: Wild One/Hey Angel/Between Two Hearts/Night Music/Lock Up The Wolves
Dio's final album before reuniting with Black Sabbath comes in with a strong drum based introduction, the first album without any of the original Dio members aside from Ronnie himself on the album. Furious and speedy the song kicks off with Simon Wright introducting himself effectively before launching into a compact rocker, Rowan Robertson takes over the axe duties on this album and he delivers a great aggressive and punchy track. Despite the line up change the music itself feels very much like the Dio of old. Hey Angel comes in feeling a little disconnected but I've seen that on the CD version the run order is slightly different so that might be part of it. The verses aren't the greatest from Ronnie but he makes up for it on the chorus. Musically Rowan shreds like no tomorrow on his solo. A good midpaced track. Slowing down further Between Two Hearts comes in slow and a bit moodier although not on par with the previous records darkness. This track continues where the previous track began, taking a step down in terms of overall quality. A rather enjoyable track but not amazing. Dio has some really good vocal moments and Rowan's solo is tasteful and quite fitting of the song. Dio's singing on the bridge is the best he does on the song. Night Music is midpaced and has an upbeat feel to it unlike many Dio tracks which feel darker. The song feels like it was written to be a single, although it wasn't used as such. Rowan delivers another really impressive guitar performance, for an 18 year old he is playing incredibly in this fairly high position within the metal world. The final song on side 1 is the 8 and a half minute title track which comes in to the sound of ticking before stopping and the band slowly begisn to come in starting with a drum and bass introduction, the opening lines reference Zeppelin's 5th album. The track is midpaced and the keyboards remain faint in the background but they add in an element of ever present danger throughout the track. A lengthy instrumental section segues forwards into Rowan's solo before Dio eventually comes back in singing menacingly. A pretty good track.

Wild One - 9/10
Hey Angel - 8.5/10
Between Two Hearts - 8/10
Night Music - 8.5/10
Lock Up The Wolves - 8.5/10
Side 1 - 42.5/50

Side 2: Evil On Queen Street/Walk On Water/Born On The Sun/Twisted/My Eyes
Evil On Queen Street comes in feeling like a slightly watered down sabbath riff. And the song doesn't do too much to stray away from that feeling. Dio sings quite well and the band delivers a strong sabbath-esc performance throughout the track but it would have been a far better Sabbath track with Tony laying waste with his brutal riffs. Walk On Water increases the tempo a fair bit coming in with a guitar and drum based attack, speedy and punchy a short and compact track which plays against peoples beliefs or at least people who the song is directed at. Another really good solo from Rowan. On par with the opener in terms of quality and energy. Born On The Sun comes in and the introduction for it would have flowed perfectly from Wild One which makes sense as to why the previous tracks, midpaced with phenomenal musicianship the song delivers absolutely on that account and Dio delivers vocally as he often does. The song would have been better placed where it belongs. Twisted comes in with a nice slowed introduction, not the strongest track but like everything here it is still good moments, for example Dio's extended scream. My Eyes closes off the album, opening acoustic then shifting into a heavier direction, then back to a softer approach. Dio sounds really good on the light section, his voice passionate and soothing. Once again the song picks up and Dio references a few Sabbath and rainbow tracks namely, Falling off The Edge Of The World, Heaven and Hell, Stargazer and his own track Invisible. An immense epic track which I didn't expect coming from the introduction, with a lot of shifting between softer and more aggressive. Dio delivers a great closer.

Evil On Queen Street - 8/10
Walk On Water - 9/10
Born On The Sun - 9/10
Twisted - 8/10
My Eyes - 9/10
Side 2 - 43/50

Overall 86%

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

Black Gives Way To Blue - Alice In Chains
Format: CD/Digital

All Secrets Known - The first post-layne era of AIC opens up slow and moody with the opening lines acknowledging the change in eras very appropriately, the harmonies aren't as strong as earlier AIC material or how they will become on later work from Rainier Fog. The song really presents a dark atmosphere which I'm sure will be present throughout the album. -7.5/10

Check My Brain - Jerry Cantrel continues to take on lead vocals for this track which upon inspection he does for the whole album barring the next track, harmonies are much more familiar sounding here and work a lot better, more upbeat and engaging than the previous track while holding the darkness created in the previous track. - 8/10

Last Of My Kind - Transitioning in from the previous tracks outro into an odd intro, this track is the only track which has William Duvall take on lead vocal duties. His vocals are quite fitting for the band the few implementations of him singing lead on the album is fairly curious maybe the band wanted to see how well people would react to him replacing Layne. He does a good job, this track is a more midpaced track once again. - 7.5/10

Your Decision - Breaking up the darkness comes Your Decision, acoustic with some phenomenal harmonies from the band this track has a much more happy feeling to it than the previous tracks, powerful and emotive this track cuts through clearly conveying the message intended, making the choices in our lives and living with the consequences of said choices. - 9/10

A Looking In View - The longest track on the album comes in shifting back towards the heavier approach, although not as dark and down as the first 3 tracks lead to this track feels like a natural progression back towards the darkness. Overall not the most engaging track but still one which is a good listen. The band sounds heavy and Jerry delivers some a good vocal performance. - 7.5/10

When The Sun Rose Again - Back to a more stripped back approach, I will once again comment on the amazing harmonies which have really come into their own throughout the album, AIC has had great harmonies throughout their albums and aside from the opening track this album has had some great ones once again. The solo sections are very simple but so effective. - 8.5/10

Acid Bubble - Another lengthier track, the song begins calm but dark before making a shift at about the 3 minute mark into a heavier track briefly then shifting back, the anger in the heavier section was very different from the more drone like style of the rest of the song. The darker and heavier segment comes back again later on. - 7/10

Lesson Learned - The third single from the album and one of the more upbeat tracks, thus far the album has been rather slow with little upbeat rockers to break up the slow and moody feeling throughout the album, although the acoustic tracks did that quite well. A rather enjoyable track the upbeat tempo pulls the listener in and delivers a solid rocker with some pretty strong harmonies - 8.5/10

Take Her Out - Staying slightly more upbeat than the ordinary this album, the message of this track seems to be able to be taken from two very different perspectives. One being the literal idea of someone feeling like a waste of space but wanting to have another opportunity with someone. Or the other more in-depth of Jerry feeling AIC's return to the music industry may not be as welcomed as one expected. - 8/10

Private Hell - Slowed back down and moody once again. This track doesn't have much variation but does showcase the bands harmonies once more. - 7.5/10

Black Gives Way To Blue - The title track closes off the album, with piano work done by Elton John, a tribute to Layne whom's first concert was Elton an absolutely beautiful tribute to their fallen singer. The vocals from Jerry are easily his best on the album and the somber tone of the album culminates with this. Great track - 10/10

Overall 81%

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

Audio Secrecy - Stone Sour
Format: CD/Digital

Audio Secrecy - The introduction to Stone Sour's third album is a short piano based piece, with a rather dark tone to it. -N/A

Mission Statement - Coming in hard and quick following the extended introduction, Corey's singing is distorted at first before shifting to clean vocals with some growl coming through here and there. To the point and upbeat, Stone Sour delivers a pretty engaging opening to their album. - 8/10

Digital (Did You tell) - Increasing in tempo once more, this track very quickly establishes itself as being against the digital age we live in today, a great call out against the negative effects on society from the increased dependence on technology. Another strong compact rocker addressing an important topic. - 9/10

Say You'll Haunt Me - Corey sounds the most commercial upon the start of this track, the distorted vocals on the chorus are quite the stark contrast to his clean and clear verse vocals. The music on this track comes from a more commercial approach than the previous two tracks. The solo section feels more like an interlude instead of a full blown solo. The chorus is full of energy - 9/10

Dying - Going into an acoustic song, a more commercial song from a lyrical perspective, the song is a typical I can't live without you style ballad. Corey delivers the track with conviction but doesn't really make the song have any aspects which make it stand out among the crowd of tracks of this kind. But overall it is rather enjoyable - 8/10

Lets Be Honest - Returning to a more upbeat rock approach, the song isn't a driving rocker instead keeping a good mid tempo beat to it. A pretty decent track with some decent moments, like the chorus but as a whole it doesn't feel super well connected. - 7/10

Unfinished - Continuing to shift back into a more direct rocking direction, Unfinished comes in hard and heavy. Corey brings it vocally and James delivers the first truly strong solo of the record. Punchy and effective in a compact package this track would be great for crowd energy. - 8.5/10

Hesitate - A ballad, Hesitate comes in soft and powerful, Corey doesn't really reach for any high notes or let loose some more rough vocals instead he sings in a way which allows the lyrics to really shine. The lyrics speak to having to let something or someone go for the better despite the pain it will bring to let them go. A great way to convey the pain within the lyrics and a great song to boot. - 10/10

Nylon 6/6 - The heaviest introduction of the album cuts you out of the emotional mood from the previous track and right back into the hard rocking, the song does its purpose quite well and would probably be better live than on the record. Every song here has been enjoyable this one adds in a nice heavy aspect with a more subdued band interlude within it. - 7.5/10

Miracles - Slowing down once again, Miracles has a darker tone to it than Hesitate and is slower than the it as well. It almost seems like a follow up to Hesitate but from the other persons perspective waiting for the other person to return thinking that they will come despite them never showing up. Not quite as good as the previous ballad but a rather good sentimental track which is something Stone Sour have shown their quite good at writing. - 9/10

Pieces - Segueing perfectly from the previous track, starting slow with a clear drum presence, the alternates between this low drum based style and a slightly more explosive guitar centered chorus. A beautiful solo section occurs and the track remains one of the more unique ones of the album, whereas others have been either a rocker or slow, this one fluctuates between the two with ease. Another really good track - 9/10

The Bitter End - Once again going into the harder and heavier approach. This track also features the return of the more rough vocal style from Corey. A simple and direct chorus with a nice solo makes for another enjoyable track. - 7.5/10

Imperfect - Slowing down once again after the first verse Corey's vocals sound like the song is about to explode into a hard rocker but instead it stays acoustic and his vocals are really clear, filled with power conveying pain quite well once again, this time about someone coming back from a past relationship which ended up not being right for the point he is singing from and as such has to tell the person to go away and that there isn't anything left for them there. - 9/10

Threadbare - Another acoustic intro leads into the final track of the album, but this one soon has drum accompaniment unlike the previous fully acoustic track. Threadbare surprisingly stays in a more ballad-esc form. The chorus on the first half of the track is fairly bombastic for the tempo of the track, about halfway the song begins to shift featuring some keys for an interlude before the song picks up and there is a clear shift in the atmosphere, while it doesn't pick up the song a lot, it does become more upbeat than before. - 8.5/10

Overall 85%