365 Albums In One Year

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
336/365

The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here - Alice In Chains
Format: CD/Digital

Alice In Chains Open up their 2nd DuVall era album with Hollow, a track which comes in strong, dark and heavy from the start, immediately it becomes clear that AIC isn't going to be holding back on the harmonies here with most of the verse being done in harmony between DuVall and Cantrel. The song serves as the first single from the album, the darkness throughout the track penetrates the vocals and twists them despite their upbeat sound they bring sorrow and pain. Although the song has the dark feel to it the song is rather enjoyable and Jerry's solo comes in full of life and power. Pretty Done comes in with a more upbeat sound initially and the opening verse follows this path, William and Jerry's harmonies are amazing, and having seen them live on their Rainier Fog Tour I can attest to their amazing harmonies transferring incredibly in the live environment. The sound of the song isn't quite as sludgy as the previous track with the low end being quite prominent still but not bringing an air of darkness. Equally as enjoyable as the previous track. Stone opens with a low rumble and it is clear that Jerry is returning the band to the sludgier approach from Hollow. While the sound of the song is darker the vocals do not follow this trend, once again harmony filled the droning style of the twin lead singers brings a glimmer of hope across the dark Stone and the song pushes on wards, another standout solo from Jerry, the tone of his guitar shifts so much between the rest of the song and his solo. Voices comes in with a very different approach, some acoustic guitars, the song remains stripped back and it feels quite positive although not uplifting. The song appears to be about hearing voices, which could be associated with some sort of anxiety or more serious issues. A great break from the darkness.

The Devil Put The Dinosaurs Here comes in with some mystical aspects in the introduction, the first track to break the 6 minute mark, the first song to feel not quite as strong as the rest. The chorus drones a little bit but I suspect that is because the title is fairly long and saying it would become a drag. The track challenges religious views and overall does a pretty good job, I find the vocals while suited to most AIC tracks don't quite mix with the band's approach, the instrumentation of this track is rather strong, it doesn't feel as long as it is. Lab Monkey does away with any upbeat nature from the title track, the vocals get dark as well, another track around the 6 minute mark. Roughly halfway through the song there is a subtle shift in tempo which helps the track out a fair bit but overall it remains the weakest track thus far on the album, the second half feels much better than the first half. Low Ceiling begins with a cry, the track while not particularly fast is upbeat and comes in with some power behind itself. The track is rather enjoyable throughout and Jerry once again delivers a nice solo section. I find the album thus far to be fairly engaging and enjoyable although I don't actively seek out AIC to listen to very frequently. A nice upbeat track. Breath On A Window continues the upbeat feeling which is a good thing seeing as we have reached the 40 minute mark and if the album dropped back into a more slowed approach I suspect I would start to lose interest rather quickly, however the track itself does go a little too long but it remains an enjoyable experience.

Scalpel opens up acoustic this track keeps the upbeat nature while being more stripped back and accessible to those less inclined to the darkness of the grunge sound. It doesn't really bring much new to the album which begs the questions as to why the album has to be nearly 70 minutes long, yes it is enjoyable but is it manditory, no it is not. A sabbath style riff introduces the final epic of the album, Phantom Limb is a monstrous riff machine which DuVall takes his first AIC solo spot during, the track brings the listener back to the beginning of the album, dark heavy and immense. William delivers a killer vocal performance on it and ones head is soon found bopping a long to the beat of the track. The lyrical content is dark and deals with the concepts of Phantom Limbs but approached from a person's perspective haunting someone after they are gone away, I suspect the metaphor is towards the feeling of inadequacy following abuse of some sort. A brutal track one of AIC' best from recent years. Hung On A Hook comes in more laid back, there is a distinct difference between, it grows heavier as the track goes on but has the unfortunate space of following up Phantom Limb which really isn't something many tracks on this album could do effectively. Choke ends the album on another more laid back approach. As a whole the album has been quite consistent, if not a little bloated. A solid way to close it all.

Hollow - 9/10
Pretty Done - 9/10
Stone - 9/10
Voices - 9.5/10
The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here - 8/10
Lab Monkey - 7.5/10
Low Ceiling - 8.5/10
Breath On A Window - 8/10
Scalpel -8/10
Phantom Limb - 10/10
Hung On A Hook - 8.5/10
Choke - 8.5/10

Overall 86%

I will be doing 2 more AIC albums. 3 if I come across a copy of Sap
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
337/365

Born In The USA - Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Format: Vinyl

Side 1: Born In The USA/Cover Me/Darlington County/Working On The Highway/Downbound Train/I'm On Fire
The Boss opens up his seventh album with an incredibly patriotic sounding title track. A track pertaining to the Vietnam war and the effects it had on the USA. A rock anthem from the 80s and a really accessible track throughout. Powerful, commanding and stupidly catchy. Shifting to a less anthemic approach Cover Me comes in slower and Bruce's voice really shifts from the protest approach to a soft more 60s feel to it. It really is a signifigant step down from the title track. Darlington County feels like a bit of a step back towards the right direction, there are some synthesizers on the introduction. A commercial track which becomes quite easy to sing a long with as the chorus is really simplistic. The song is a story about a road trip through Darlington County and has a carefree feeling to it. Working On The Highway increases in tempo and has a more stripped back approach but doesn't slow down one bit throughout the track being fun and upbeat. Downbound Train takes a slightly darker approach, opening up with a man losing his job and his girl in short succession. I was expecting more songs like the title track and Dancing In The Dark. This more stripped back and slower approach was not what I was expecting, Downbound Train is well delivered as a whole. I'm On Fire is a laid back track which closes off the first side of the album in a solid way.

Born In The USA - 10/10
Cover Me - 7/10
Darlington County - 7.5/10
Working On The Highway - 7.5/10
Downbound Train - 8/10
I'm On Fire - 7.5/10
Side 1 - 47.5/60

Side 2: No Surrender/Bobby Jean/I'm Goin' Down/Glory Days/Dancing In The Dark/My Hometown
No Surrender picks the pace back up having been rather on the low side for essentially all of side 1, upbeat with some punch to it the track doesn't have that powerful anthemic quality to it like the title track, it is enjoyable but not the strongest. Bobby Jean signals for another step back into a more laid back approach... it was a toss up between playing this through or American Idiot and I feel like I made the wrong choice, maybe I'll be putting the latter in somewhere later. The good part is these songs do feel nice and short, and are fairly enjoyable just not anything I have to hear again. I'm Goin' Down comes up next Bruce sounds quite upbeat the music for the most part is fairly midpaced with an excellent Saxophone section, the subject matter appears to be related to changes in how relationships function as they continue on wards. Glory Days involves looking at the past as a whole the song is just okay. Dancing In The Dark another of Bruce's most well known tracks comes up next, not the most fast paced track but a whole lot quicker than many of the tracks on this album thus far. A catchy single which works really well, I just wish more songs had this feel to it throughout the album. My Hometown closes off the album, from some research it is Bruce's only #1 track from his career which seems weird seeing as he has been around for so long in mainstream rock. Acoustic with some synth and Bruce's vocals, a slow and somber track dealing with the depression and other economic crisis' along with social justice issues as well ending the album on a relatively low note.

No Surrender - 7.5/10
Bobby Jean - 7/10
I'm Goin' Down - 7.5/10
Glory Days - 7/10
Dancing In The Dark - 9/10
My Hometown - 7.5/10
Side 2 - 45.5/60

Overall 77%
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
338/365

A Night At The Odeon - Queen
Format: CD/Digital

Initial Thought: Queen now has 4 albums, and they put together a fairly good setlist mainly paying attention to the first 3 albums, the only 4th album song is their blockbuster hit of Bohemian Rhapsody. Would have been stronger with a couple more tracks, especially since this is the end of the tour. Also why are some medley's made into 1 track and others not... - 9/10

Review:
Queen once again opens up their live show with Now I'm Here a great rocker to open up the live show with the building introduction leading into the tight and direct rocker, although the question is raised why not open Freddie sounds quite strong from the start, which if I'm remembering correctly he wasn't as strong on the start of the Live At The Rainbow show when they opened with the same track, the track concludes with a brief drum solo from Roger Taylor. Freddie introduces Ogre Battle one of the tracks which would soon be removed from the setlist but at this point a massive staple in the setlist, there is a real fun feeling to this track and as with both the previous two live renditions I've heard the song is heavy and aggressive serving as a great showcase of the band's brilliance and continues to show the amazing vocals from Freddie while Brian and Roger deliver a heavy instrumental section with John delivering some solid bass work. White Queen (As It Began) is the next track up, the band acknowledges that it is Christmas eve before the more mystical track comes in, Freddie sings beautifully over the atmospheric introduction, the lyrics from Brian really well written as his bandmate sings about a girl he liked from his Biology class. The track grows on me with each listen, it serves as an early ballad of sorts, an extended instrumental section occurs in which Freddie duals with Brian the keyboards and guitars dancing between each other. A medley of tracks comes up next, the first portion being Bohemian Rhapsody's introduction, the simplistic piano ballad allows Freddie to showcase his amazing vocals, Brian's guitar is dark in the background as the song is played note for not until what would be the operatic section instead transitioning into one of the bands most well known tracks Killer Queen. The track transitions incredibly well and clearly was well thought out, the track is slightly shortened but remains the poppy and fun track which it has always been. The March Of The Black Queen comes in next the piano shifting tones then Brian's guitar shifts with it. The only downside of this track is that the band never played it in its entirety live, a phenomenal segment. Bohemian Rhapsody's coda comes in appearing to close out the medley in a calm way, I will include the rating for this section with the previous one since it doesn't really warrant being included twice in the ratings. Bring Back Leroy Brown closes out the medley serving as a brief closer which is mostly instrumental. Brighton Rock kicks off next the beautiful introduction is well handled by Brian. Roger is heard harmonizing with Freddie from the start, the track is upbeat and such a great heavier rocker with very fun and upbeat vocals, that chorus, the track's guitar solo is extended into the next track which is Brian's extended solo section which contains segments of Brighton Rock's solo section, Brian takes a fair chunk of time for this solo but at no point does it lose the listeners interest, and it really feels like a natural extension from Brighton Rock. The solo ends off with a return to Brighton Rock closing out with the instrumental ending to the solo section. Son and Daughter comes in briefly with a short rendition, Brian's former vehicle is left quite different without his extended solo section attached to it, I'm surprised this wasn't incorperated into the Medley or even as part of Brighton Rock. A short and brief rendition. Keep Yourself Alive comes in, featuring a drum solo but not being separated into multiple tracks which baffles me. One of my favourite Queen tracks in the live environment, the rocker is punchy and direct with an amazing message. Liar comes up next, a track which usually signals the end of the main set, which from inspection is the penultimate track from the main set which clocks in a a very modest 54 minutes. The bands first epic comes in building and powerful, the band sounds full and powerful, for the first real spot on the album all of Queen's strength in harmonies is show, the band takes an extended instrumental section which quickly establishes the band as instrumental geniuses and the song's highlight is found. The main set of the performance closes out with In The Lap Of The Gods... Revisited, Brian thanks the crowd for allowing them to reach so many people so clearly this performance was for TV which explains the shortened set time. The track is moody and has some harmonies which frankly were missing throughout the show thus far. Freddie wishes the crowd to have a Merry Christmas as the song ends. The encore begins with a cover track called Big Spender, the track is short and fairly moody sounding. A decent cover but Queen have so many other tracks they could have played... like something else from the album they were supporting... A Jailhouse Rock Medley comes up next, Freddie sounds really strong throughout this cover but it continues to beg the question as to why when they have tracks which would have done incredible in the time allotted to these covers, the band sounds like they are having a ton of fun with the medley. After closing out the 1st encore the band leaves then returns for a pair of their own tracks Seven Seas Of Rhye is the first of the two. Freddie claims the band forgot to play the track in the main set so they bring it out here with the piano introduction his charismatic vocals bringing a lot of energy to the midpaced track. See What A Fool I've Been closes out the show (excluding the prerecorded instrumental as the band takes their bows), the track opens with a bluesy introduction, a slower track which still surprises me that it didn't make an album considering it was written around the Queen II era by the band. A good way to close out the show.

Now I'm Here - 9/10
Ogre Battle - 9/10
White Queen (As It Began) - 8.5/10
Bohemian Rhapsody/Killer Queen/The March Of The Black Queen/Bohemian Rhapsody (Reprise)/Bring Back Leroy Brown - 10/10
Brighton Rock/Guitar Solo - 10/10
Son And Daughter - 8/10
Keep Yourself Alive - 10/10
Liar - 10/10
In The Lap Of The Gods... Revisited - 9/10
Big Spender - 7.5/10
Jailhouse Rock/Stupid Cupid/Be Bop-A-Lula/Jailhouse Rock - 8.5/10
Seven Seas Of Rhye - 9/10
See What A Fool I've Been - 9/10
God Save The Queen - N/A

Flow - Well flowing throughout, although as stated earlier some tracks are oddly split up for the CD version. - 10/10

Final Thoughts - A few missed opportunities throughout in terms of track selection but overall really strong. - 9/10

Overall 91%

Might do Made In Heaven but it may get replaced by something else.
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
339/365

All The World's A Stage - Rush
Format: Vinyl

Initial thoughts: Rush's first live album closes off the beginning of the now famous band,puts together a fairly complete setlist with some of their early epics being represented although trimmed slightly. - 9/10

Side 1: Bastille Day/Anthem/Fly By Night(In The Mood)/Something For Nothing
Opening up with the first track from Caress Of Steel, Bastille Day comes in with, not the bands strongest track but considering that they only have 4 albums released at this time totally 27 songs, of which 12 are featured on the album. The highlight of this track is the guitar work from Alex while Geddy delivers some standout vocals after the guitar solo throughout the song's bridge. Anthem comes up next continuing the shorter rock oriented approach, Neil shines through on his drums the band sounds like there would be more people on stage than just the 3 members, Geddy delivers some killer wails throughout, one specific one is right before Alex lets loose his guitar solo with the thundering bass and immense drums backing him throughout the track. Fly By Night comes up next, being intermixed with In The Mood from the band's eponymous debut album, a rather simplistic rocker which is strong and direct throughout, Geddy's vocals are incredibly unique and really shine here, the shift between the two tracks is quite evident especially in Alex's guitar tone making a very distinct change between the sections of this medley. Something For Nothing closes off side 1 being the first track to be featured from the band's mighty 2112 album. The song is the most dynamic of those which have occured thus far on the album, becoming quite explosive, they sound immense and have really come together quite well with their new progressive approach.

Bastille Day - 8.5/10
Anthem - 8.5/10
Fly By Night/In The Mood - 9/10
Something For Nothing - 9/10
Side 1 - 35/40

Side 2: Lakeside Park/2112
The second side opens with Lakeside Park another song from Caress Of Steel. Geddy sounds strong from the start his voice having a melodic feel to it and the band shows their Led Zeppelin influence quite strongly throughout the track with the tone feeling very much like something which could have been on Houses Of The Holy or Physical Graffiti. The band delivers it quite effectively before introducing the monstrous 2112, what a display of talent that track is, playing flawlessly although leaving out two of the seven, their first true masterpiece opens with an extended instrumental section before launching into the second section where the band introduces the Temples Of Syrinx Geddy sings incredibly high throughout the section it is incredible how high his vocals can reach while remaining clean, the epic does feel like it is a medley of different tracks where the skips take place. Presentation has some more amazing vocal performances from Geddy whose bass thunders beneath the roaring and powerful guitars from Alex while Neil pounds his drums with power and intensity. Speaking of roaring guitars Alex takes a solo during soliloquy which is pretty amazing, Geddy's bass work during the closing segment is so powerful and really directs the song to its close quite well.

Lakeside Park -8.5/10
2112 - 10/10
Side 2 - 18.5/20

Side 3: By-Tor And The Snow Dog/In The End
Side 3 opens with another of the band's lengthier tracks this one from the Fly by Night album. The song's tone sounds very similar to that from the album's title track performed earlier by the band in this same concert. Some experimental sounding guitar work ensues and the band supports their brother as he lets loose wild but contained soloing with reckless abandon one moment then calm collection the next. Neil gets to shine through some intermittent drum solos among Alex's guitar assault, shifting into a more mystical approach the band segues into the next section of this multi-part extended track, after an extended instrumental section Geddy steps back up to the microphone to close off the song. In The End comes in next, slow from the start the track however the song does pick up in terms of energy quite soon and becomes a stronger midpaced track. A pretty good track, although I would say it doesn't quite live up to the other tracks thus far.

By-Tor and The Snow Dog - 8.5/10
In The End - 8/10
Side 3 - 16.5/20

Side 4: Working Man(Finding My Way)/What You're Doing
A medley of Working Man and Finding My Way kicks off side 4 of the record, the power behind the bass is incredible on that introduction, Alex takes a great and direct guitar solo which displays his genius throughout. Neil's drums pack so much power behind them, furious throughout the power trio deliver one of their signature tracks with enthusiasm without anyone appearing to really take the back seat for the others at any point in time. Finding My Way segues perfectly from Working Man continuing the greatness from the previous track before returning to the Working Man and Neil's drum solo, a phenomenal medley. The sole encore track What You're Doing comes in mid-paced and heavy, it closes out the album in style with some good performances

Working Man/Finding My Way - 10/10
What You're Doing - 9/10
Side 4 - 19/20

Flow - Good flow throughout the album. - 10/10

Final Thoughts - Well performed, some order in the tracks could be redone to maintain energy but overall a really good setlist which fully represents what was played at the shows - 9/10

Overall 90%
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
340/365

Dressed To Kill - Kiss
Format: Vinyl

Side 1: Room Service/Two Timer/Ladies In Waiting/Getaway/Rock Bottom
The opening track to Kiss' third album wastes no time getting to business, short and direct like basically every track will be throughout this album seeing as the length of the record barely surpasses the 30 minute mark. Kiss have gotten tighter since the first album and really show this throughout the first track it really isn't a very complex track but the track does show the direction in which the band is heading. Paul sounds pretty good on lead vocals for this track and a good opener. Two Timer comes in with some heavier bass work off the start as Gene takes on the lead vocals, it is a little bit slower than the previous track and frankly Gene isn't even close in terms of vocals for less aggressive tracks compared to Paul. The track has some harmonies and really emphasizes the bass work from Simmons. Ladies In Waiting is another Gene track, tied for the shortest track length on the album, a pretty decent track which doesn't really offer much, it is mid paced like Two Timer but not as energetic or catchy. Getaway features drummer Peter Criss on lead vocals written by lead guitarist Ace Frehley the track comes in with a little more energy than the previous two tracks, Ace contributes backing vocals to this track which is odd since mostly the band has been having the writer sing the song. A short solo occurs followed by a nice connection piece with the whole back delivering some nice instrumental work. Rock Bottom is the only track on side 1 to pass the 3 minute mark, written by Ace and Paul with the latter taking lead vocals once again, the track begins with some nice acoustic guitar work which extends for quite a while by comparison to the brief introductions of the previous tracks, it reminds me slightly of MSG's Neverending Nightmare. The introduction ends and the track goes into a uptempo rocker which does away with the nice acoustic guitar work, Paul sounds pretty strong throughout, a fun track.

Room Service - 9/10
Two Timer - 8/10
Ladies In Waiting - 7/10
Getaway - 8.5/10
Rock Bottom -9/10
Side 1 - 41.5/50

Side 2: C'Mon And Love Me/Anything For My Baby/She/Love Her All I Can/Rock And Roll All Nite
C'Mon And Love Me opens up side 2, with another short and direct rock approach, Paul is still on lead vocals and the track has some really prominent bass work from Gene, Ace mainly sticks back throughout the track until the solo which seems to be his methodology for the majority of the Kiss tracks I've heard from their earlier years. Anything For My Baby opens with a Beatles like introduction, with the title being sung by the band before Paul comes in, the song holds this feeling throughout the track at various times. The track is one of the lower quality tracks from the album, it does get a little more energetic as it goes on but it isn't very good. She is the longest track a Gene penned track, it has a nice reoccurring riff. The track isn't amazing but it is a step back in the right direction. Love Her All I Can opens up with a short bass introduction and Paul continues on lead vocals, the track is upbeat and direct. Overall much like the rest of this side the track is pretty average and enjoyable with the solo from Ace being the best part. Kiss classic Rock And Roll All Nite closes out the album Gene takes on lead vocals, opening up with a drum based intoduction before launching into the party anthem rocker, although not as impressive as the Alive! version the track shows that Kiss while inconsistent can write some really enjoyable rockers.

C'Mon And Love Me - 7.5/10
Anything For My Baby - 7/10
She - 7.5/10
Love Her All I Can - 8/10
Rock And Roll All Nite - 9/10
Side 2 - 39/50

Overall 80%
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
Found a treasure while Christmas shopping yesterday.

341/365

Maiden Japan - Iron Maiden
Format: Vinyl

Initial Thoughts: A very brief but fairly good collection of tracks performed in the D'Anno era of Maiden - 9/10

Side 1: Running Free/Remember Tomorrow
Running Free kicks off the album, the song embodies all the punk aspects of early Iron Maiden, a punchy rocker which features some harsh sounding vocals from Paul. The guitar melodies are catchy and have some good harmonizing moments throughout. This version is compact and direct which is the main downside of literally every other live version I've heard of the song. Backing vocals aren't the strongest throughout the track but at least they are real...Remember Tomorrow comes in next, slowing right down Steve comes in with his bass, Paul gets the audience involved right away and his vocals become much less harsh an fall into a more mystical sounding delivery. The song soon picks up and adds a lot of energy into the track before shifting back down. The shifts throughout the track make it rather enjoyable and the solo I believe is done by Adrian or at least it sounds very much like his playing.

Running Free - 8/10
Remember Tomorrow - 9/10
Side 1 - 17/20

Side 2: Wrathchild/Killers/Innocent Exile
The ever present Wrathchild comes up next, while the track is completely overplayed in the concert setting it does have a lot of energy, punchy and direct the track doesn't fail to be a great live song from start to finish it is catchy and direct. Killers comes up next a bit of the Maiden gallop becomes present very early on into the track. Paul sounds pretty vicious his more rough vocal delivery really suiting his material quite well, a quick rendition of the track which takes no prisoners and remaining upbeat and compact throughout. A great rendition although there is a section where the lyrics feel a little weaker than the rest. Innocent Exile closes out the EP, continuing on the quicker pace this track comes in and sounds quite similar to the previous track in terms of aggression and vocal delivery although slightly less impressive for me personally.

Wrathchild - 9/10
Killers - 8.5/10
Innocent Exile - 8
Side 2 - 25.5/30

Flow - The record flows really well start to finish, although there is only 5 tracks represented here from the show. - 10/10

Final Thoughts - Could have included something like Phantom Of The Opera but overall pretty good - 9/10

Overall 88%
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
342/365

Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd
Format: CD/Digital

The album opens up with the first half of what was originally a side long track known as Shine On You Crazy Diamond, slowly fading into existence with flutes being heard the first and longest track of the album takes its time becoming fully realized. In dedication to the band's original guitarist Syd Barrett this track its first 4 minutes are incredibly peaceful without an ounce of singing whatsoever. At which point a darker sound is introduced through the guitars although the track remains calm and peaceful, a slow groove begins and David Gilmour's tone is so powerful yet peaceful as he begins to step into the spotlight, the song soon fades back into a lighter component which I believe is the beginning of Part III from the track, Gilmour backs off before eventually coming back in his guitar playing is so simplistic yet beautiful. Roger Waters begins to sing as part IV comes in, Gilmour harmonizes with him on the chorus of sorts, an interesting track which I feel could have been a little shorter but as a whole it is a calm and beautiful piece of music. Part V features a saxophone solo and segues into Welcome To The Machine, with the sound of a door shutting and the sound of a rumbling machine introducing it. A car drives and the machine's sound carries on. Gilmour sings on this track his style of vocal delivery from this is far less melodic than some of his previous and later work with the band. There is an echo with his lyrics I'm not sure if that is him or Waters, there are plenty of effects on this track, having been mostly left off the previous one. While not upbeat the track really couldn't be described as calm by comparison to the opening suite. Very different and out there. Have A Cigar comes up next, with a guest lead vocalist the track has a very interesting bass introduction from Waters with plenty of synths coming in. Roy sounds pretty good and mystical on the lyrics, something about his vocals make him sound very familiar. Geared towards the bands disapproval of their record companies practices the song doesn't veil the bands disapproval very much. The song segues into the title track of the album, an incredible piece of music, instrumentally the song is full of sadness and sorrow, lyrically the song speaks to disillusionment and longing for ones friend to return despite their differing views. A powerful track throughout. Shine On You Crazy Diamond parts VI to IX closes out the record, once again segueing from the previous track, blowing winds and some bass work begin the track, some quicker guitar work comes in and the track begins to build up, this first part has one of the most upbeat approaches to it throughout the album, and like many upbeat Pink Floyd tracks it really is only by comparison to the previous tracks since in most cases the tracks really aren't that upbeat but it continues to build until it would actually be considered pretty close to upbeat by most musical standards, Gilmour has been holding back his experimental playing but here he unleashes it for the first time. Part VII steps back but allows Waters and Gilmour to sing together once again a brief piece of singing remains the only segment of this section with singing preferring to show their instrumental prowess with the growing experimentation.

Shine On Your Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V) - 8.5/10
Welcome To The Machine - 8/10
Have A Cigar - 9/10
Wish You Were Here - 10/10
Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Part VI-IX) - 9/10

Overall 89%

Potentially will do The Wall not 100% sure yet but I may as well give it a second chance...
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
343/365

Mechanical Resonance - Tesla
Format: CD/Digital

Telsa's debut album opens up with EZ Come EZ Go a track which starts off slower before picking up the pace Jeff comes in singing low and clean, the song continues to pick up as the chorus comes in and he displays some more of his vocal range, when the song is in this upbeat tempo it really comes to live however the track does spend a considerable amount of time in the slower tempo. From just before the guitar solo to the outro the track really is a high energy and fairly raw 80s glam style band track which has a fair bit of energy to it. Cummin' Atcha Live comes up next, a track that the band opens with on a large number of occasions, it begins with a guitar solo before coming in midpaced and uptempo. Both times I've seen Tesla this track was left out of the setlist although they were opening for Def Leppard as the third band on the bill both times I saw them. Jeff has a very interesting vocal style, he sounds a little like Steven Tyler without the range but the rasp of Tyler is there. A direct rocker which has plenty of space for extended solos and would be a great live track. Gettin' Better slows down and the track becomes a ballad for a little bit before becoming a midpaced rocker. This track is pretty solid but doesn't really match the pull of the previous two tracks. 2 Late 4 Love comes up next with a drum and bass introduction, Jeff's vocals really sound so similar to Steven's when he lets loose some wails the best comparison is more like how the vocals on Rocks sounds. More engaging than the previous track. Tesla has been a band which really sometimes I really dig and other times they can be in the background, although I really haven't dug into their material all that much. Rock Me To The Top is up next, a direct rocker which was a great live track the first time I saw the band. This track falls more into the 80s glam metal style of the band's delivery although the band is really questionable in that definition. Tons of energy is conveyed in the ending of the track. We're No Good Together starts slow, this track takes the form of a ballad throughout and it isn't a great ballad, it has some moments where it shines but the band will get their ballad formula down with Love Song on the next album. Halfway through the song the band picks up a little and the song does get more enjoyable but it takes a little too long to get there.

Modern Day Cowboy comes up next a track which the band usually end their concerts with and for good reason, the song starts midpaced and strong from the get go. Jeff sings over a calm section before the band really kicks into high gear and the song really begins becoming a heavy rocker with very American implications throughout... a furious guitar solo ensues and the band really deliver a stellar track start to finish. Pianos are briefly features in the opening of Changes a midtempo track which has some more dynamics that most of the earlier tracks, a strong guitar solo ensues and the band continues delivering a really enjoyable rock experience. Little Suzi opens with an acoustic introduction before the cover track kicks off into a more fun upbeat track a track featured at nearly all Tesla concerts, commercial sounding and catchy while still being a good rock track not sacrificing power for the commercial aspect. Love Me begins with some crunchy sounding guitars and a midtempo pacing a fairly decent track as a whole. Cover Queen comes in next a solid rocker not a lot here to really write home about, it sounds fairly unique from the previous tracks but it isn't a home run, the song has some real good twists and turns making it feel a lot longer than its length with a ton of different aspects added into it throughout. Before My Eyes closes out the album, Jeff singing is a little distorted from the start as the longest track on the album begins to unravel. The track features some effects such as prerecorded sections and it a decent closer.

EZ Come EZ Go - 8/10
Cummin' Atcha Live - 8.5/10
Getting Better - 7.5/10
2 Late 4 Love - 8/10
Rock Me To The Top - 9/10
We're No Good Together - 7.5/10

Modern Day Cowboy - 10/10
Changes - 9/10
Little Suzi - 8.5/10
Love Me - 7.5/10
Cover Queen - 8/10
Before My Eyes - 7.5/10

Overall 82%
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
This feels somewhat fitting...

344/365

American Idiot - Green Day
Format: CD/Digital

American Idiot kicks off with a the fast and furious angst filled title track, the catchy track is a great hook for the album pulling in the listener and delivering a strong aggressive sound throughout the track. Billie Joe sounds strong on vocals and the album which basically was part of the soundtrack of many North American youth begins in high gear. Jesus Of Suburbia comes up next, the first of two connected suites, continuing with the higher tempo from the previous track it has moments of slower delivery the song has 4 sections which are all relatively short and feel distinct while being very well connected throughout. Well delivered with some notable anger behind the vocals especially in the I Don't Care segment of the track. The track has some issues with overall energy as some of it really feels like it has a ton then it loses it as the song slows at points. Very good throughout but the energy shifts are notable. Holiday as described by Billie Joe is a big F you to the politicians, which continues to make the album feel even more fitting... It comes in and wastes no time establishing itself as a catchy track, punchy and direct with some very outright calls against politicians and their policies. The chorus is great and powerful. Boulevard Of Broken Dreams fades in from the outro of Holiday which is something I had never realized happened until the last time I played this album, a more somber track which has bursts of energy throughout the chorus. The song portrays loneliness and depression, like Title track and Holiday this track is really catchy and well delivered. Are We The Waiting slows down further a nice change and well done, but not super engaging, it has references to the overall albums themes. St Jimmy's comes in picking the pace right back up to the levels of the title track if not faster. A punchy and direct track with the most aggressive approach thus far. It doesn't pull me in as strongly as some of the earlier rockers but it is well delivered and is full of energy

Give Me Novacaine is another slower track, acoustic with some intermixed electric and as the song progresses it shifts back to the electric style more frequently and for longer. This track doesn't connect much with me. Shes A Rebel comes once again bringing the energy up again, the shortest track on the album clocking in right at the 2 minute mark. It has a lot of energy and is well delivered throughout. Extraordinary Girl opens the most differently from all the other tracks with a percussion based introduction before getting into the main chunk of the track which has a very distinct feel to it but I cannot place what the sound is familiar to. Letterbomb opening up with a guest vocal delivery and some radio tuning and the song soon shifts into a good solid rocker. Punchy and direct with a lot of energy. Wake Me Up When September Ends comes up next, a track which really has become a meme at this point although it really doesn't need to be explained. It has a great emotion at points and is well delivered. The second of the albums connected suites comes up next with Homecoming another compilation of quite short tracks, strong and well connected throughout. A well thought out track which really wraps some of the themes up from the album. Whatshername closes out the album, a midpaced introduction, the track clearly is about reminiscing about a person who mattered once but is so distantly forgotten that their name has been forgotten in the passage of time.

American Idiot - 9/10
Jesus Of Suburbia - 8/10
Holiday - 10/10
Boulevard Of Broken Dreams - 10/10
Are We The Waiting - 7.5/10
St Jimmy's - 8/10

Give Me Novacaine- 7/10
She's A Rebel - 8/10
Extraordinary Girl - 7.5/10
Letterbomb - 8/10
Wake Me Up When September Ends - 9/10
Homecoming - 8/10
Whatshername - 8/10

Overall 83%
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
345/365

MTV Unplugged In Athens - Scorpions
Format: CD/Digital

Initial Thoughts: 16 out of 25 songs played represented, a few deep cuts, but quite frankly the band left off some massive deep cuts, Born To Touch Your Feelings, In Trance, Passion Rules The Game being the most notable, Holiday was played at some shows but isn't on the DVD or CD. Speedy's coming and Pictured Life were also played. Seems a bit odd to have left them off personally especially when they are on the acoustic studio ep from this very set. - 7.5/10

Scorpions open up their acoustic set with the title track from the band's latest album at the time of recording Sting In The Tail, the track transfers decently to the acoustic, this doesn't feel completely reworked like Acoustica's renditions did in the past. Not the greatest start to the album personally. The first deeper cut on the album Can't Live Without You comes in next with a nice poppy feel to the acoustics, the band is backed by a large strong section a strong foot stomping beat, Klaus sounds quite strong on the verses his voice gets a little lost among the backing vocals when they join in. An excellent choice for the acoustic rendition if you ask me, a rather diverse track which has always been a good choice for crowd energy. The Best Is Yet To Come another newer track comes in and the song is rather fitting of the acoustic treatment being a ballad after all it is more natural of a transition, sentimental and well delivered. Klaus wrote a killer track with this one and this is an excellent way to deliver. A series of new songs is debuted over the next four tracks, of which we have received 2 studio versions Dancing In The Moonlight is the first of the new studio tracks being a bonus track on Return To Forever which came out a few years after this release, a birthday bash on a plane ride destined to end poorly, the song originates back in the 1980s from the Savage Amusement sessions, I'm frankly surprised the track wasn't released back then a great acoustic track full of energy with a nice catchy chorus and the bands classic positive energy throughout it. Delicate Dance is the second new track this one is an instrumental solo by Matthias Jabs which would be performed electrically by the band on their following tours instead of six string sting from the 80s... Jabs delivers some really intricate and great acoustic work throughout the track, although this is one of those choices for inclusion which make me scratch my head it is a good instrumental but not really one needed for the album. Rudolf sings the next track another one which we don't have a studio version for, Love Is The Answer, featuring a piano based introduction in conjunction with the acoustic guitars and strings, Rudolf's vocals are very different from Klaus over the years they have gotten more harsh and which I personally feel like this shows why he should sing a song periodically at concerts maybe then the sets would have less instrumentals and more rocking tracks if he would sing songs live... like Hey You... on this ballad however his vocals don't really work the greatest, he is more suited to upbeat tracks. The final new track for this portion of the set is Follow Your Heart a track which would be released in 2017 on a compilation album. The track feels a little rushed in all honesty, Klaus sounds amazing his powerful vocals are well delivered throughout the track just could have been better done if slowed down a little bit. Send Me An Angel needs no introduction, a song traditionally done acoustically by the band is well delivered here powerful, emotive and tranquil. A track from Pure Instinct comes up next, Where The River Flows is one of the many ballads on the aforementioned album, a nice deep cut although not the most emotive track, well delivered.

The "hits" section of the show comes up next, Rock You Like A Hurricane kicks it off with a guest singer coming in and singing alongside Klaus which just seems odd. The song is well delivered but the song really could have been left off the setlist for the CD, an essential Scorpions track but then again the band left Holiday off and The Zoo but then again those two aren't the bands blockbuster hits. Rock N Roll Band returns to live performances after a 30 year break and not being released on a studio album since it was originally written in the 1980s. A track which was released on Return To Forever two years after this version. A well done version but the song screams for the electric rendition the band would soon release, the rest of the album is the typical Scorpions latter end of the set although slightly shuffled around Blackout comes up next a very different introduction for the band as Klaus teases the audience as it progresses, eventually a recognizable riff begins, this track seems to fair better acoustically than Rock You Like A Hurricane although not too much better than its brother rocker. Still Loving You opens with some piano a rather short version compared to the studio version cutting the song length almost in half, the song is quite restructured and the chorus is shifted around mostly with the title being sung instead of it in some sections. Well delivered just shortened far too much. Big City Nights brings the tempo up a little and it feels like a rather natural arrangement has been found for this track and I really appreciate it seeing as the studio version of the track has always been a little lacking while the live versions have always been full of energy. Wind Of Change is a natural choice for the album and it too features a guest vocalist, I personally would have preferred the band leave him out but he does a good job. As a whole the song is well delivered. No One Like You closes off the album, a good selection for the closing spot. The track being midpaced originally allows for it to really easily be transitioned into the acoustic setup without much of a tempo change and being a real strong hit although not as strong over in Europe. A good closer

Sting In the Tail - 7/10
Can't Live Without You - 8.5/10
The Best Is Yet To Come - 9/10
Dancing In The Moonlight - 9/10
Delicate Dance - 8.5/10
Love Is The Answer - 6.5/10
Follow Your Heart - 8.5/10
Send Me An Angel - 10/10
Where The River Flows - 7.5/10

Rock You Like A Hurricane - 8/10
Rock N Roll Band - 8.5/10
Blackout - 8.5/10
Still Loving You - 8.5/10
Big City Nights - 9/10
Wind Of Change - 9/10
No One Like You - 10/10

Flow - The album flows well throughout it doesn't feel disjointed. - 9/10

Final thoughts - song selection is questionable as stated earlier but as a whole the album is pretty good. - 8.5/10

Overall 85%

Semester ends tomorrow so hopefully time will allow for me to finish this prior to the 31st...
 
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The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
346/365

The Book Of Souls: Live Chapter - Iron Maiden
Format: Vinyl

Initial Thoughts: Taken from the 2017 tour the album contains the bands entire setlist it would have been nice to have Hallowed or Tears Of A Clown from the 2016 tour but this is a great package. Even if most of the songs are from 2016 - 10/10

Side 1: If Eternity Should Fail/Speed Of Light/Wrathchild/Children Of the Damned
Iron Maiden's latest live album opens with their latest opening track If Eternity Should Fail Bruce sings the introduction as the band prepares to come in, his vocals sound pretty good for a man who just beat Cancer. Adrian, Steve, Nicko, Dave and Janick come in swiftly and the lengthy rocker really becomes full of energy the crowd cheering as Bruce calls out their name. Bruce does sound aged here but the song is very fitting of his recovering vocal chords, the chorus is immense and powerful, Maiden struck gold by getting this track added onto The Book Of Souls an excellent rocker and a wonderful live track the only downside is I turned down tickets to go see Maiden on this tour... what a naive fool I was that 3 years later I would have become a massive fan of the band. The outro would be a good way for the band to prep for a big elaborate follow up, while it doesn't happen here it would be a good opportunity on upcoming tours... Nicko wastes exactly 0 seconds before introducing Speed Of Light. Launching in with the classic SCREAM FOR ME introduction! The band comes in with the fury of a more typical opening track. Bruce's vocals aren't as strong here as they are on the studio track the higher chorus seems slightly strained at times but overall he delivers it quite well a incredible melodic guitar solo occurs and the band continues to show off their fifteenth album's tracks. Wrathchild gets the crowds attention on the introduction, direct and to the point with a pretty solid performance from the band despite the song being incredibly overplayed. Children Of The Damned makes a reappearance in the setlist, slow and melodic I believe this is the songs first appearance on an official live album since Live After Death. Instrumentally immense and Bruce sounds fairly strong the song is clearly demanding on his vocals. An impeccable solo brings the song into the outro.

If Eternity Should Fail - 10/10
Speed Of Light - 9/10
Wrathchild - 9/10
Children Of the Damned - 9/10
Side 1 - 37/40

Side 2: Death Or Glory/The Red And The Black
Death Or Glory kicks off side 2, another of the shorter rockers from the bands latest album, another planes based war track. There is a strong gallop emerging in this track and one can nearly picture Bruce climbing like a monkey. Bruce sounds stronger here than he did on the previous track, he does still sound like he is reaching at times but as a whole the song sounds more in line with his vocals. Another strong later addition to the Maiden rockers catalog. A really strong rendition of a track which I personally feel comes to life live. The albums 1st epic comes up next, The Red And The Black begins with a bass introduction from Steve and soon the boys kick into action and Bruce gets the audience cheering along to the introduction as he normally does with Revelations he sings quick and powerfully, the crowd sings the riff to the track which shows the dedication from the fans to the new material. A great epic being done justice as the band normally does. The guitars sing throughout the track their chords being done in melodic means and the crowd continues to sing along to the riff throughout. Excellent song choices thus far of the six only 1 of them really shouldn't have been in the setlist at all... but even that little child is worth hearing once in a while. That instrumental section is amazing!

Death Or Glory - 10/10
The Red And The Black - 10/10
Side 2 - 20/20

Side 3: The Trooper/Powerslave
The Trooper kicks off with a fury, that guitar introduction full of energy as always vocally not the strongest on the introduction but the song is essential for the setlist that it really couldn't be left off... maybe this should take a break in leiu of say Run To The Hills on a tour especially now that Icarus has been dug out from the locker. Every other aspect of this track aside from Bruce is top notch, there is a ton of energy felt from the bands performance of the classic track and having seen them live I can attest to the pure amounts of effort put into the track by Bruce I wonder if the adrenaline of being at the show makes the song sound so much better or if his vocal chords have really recovered just as much as I would believe they have over the time since this recording. Powerslave comes in a brilliant return to the setlist which I think could have opened the encore really well and would have been a wicked surprise. Bruce sounds stronger here and the massive title track features those two beautiful solos and amazing performances, an amazing epic track which dare I say sounds stronger live even in this rendition than on the album despite the album version being essentially perfect. Oh yes and some more Scream For Me's from Bruce bring the energy to further levels of awesome.

The Trooper - 8.5/10
Powerslave - 10/10
Side 3 - 18.5/20

Side 4: The Great Unknown/The Book Of Souls
Side 4 is a double feature of Book Of Souls material, the first of which is The Great Unknown, the track which replaced Hallowed in the setlist on the 2017 tour Bruce starts off really strong his lower voice stronger having some time to have recovered since the 2016 shows. A midpaced track which to me doesn't have the same level of awe as the other Book Of Souls tracks featured throughout the album, although it is well performed. A well done track just not nearly as engaging as some of the other choices. The Title Track comes up next with an acoustic based introduction Bruce introduces the song simply and effectively the song has a very epic feel to is as the verses begin and Bruce sounds like someone leading a chant for some sort of ritual such conviction in his voice the chorus soars and the track remains immense. Another example of just how high quality of an album The Book Of Souls is when you have 4 absolutely amazing tracks that you can perform live and a handful of rather good ones while still leaving one of the best songs off of the live set, understandably in that case. The instrumental and solo section is full of energy and great little performances from every member.

The Great Unknown - 8/10
The Book Of Souls - 10/10
Side 4 - 18/20

Side 5: Fear Of The Dark/Iron Maiden
I first want to acknowledge that this side of the Vinyl not only finishes off the main set but it doesn't lead into the encore which just feels oh so right. Fear Of The Dark comes in signalling the beginning of the end of the main set, Bruce sings low and with an air of caution on the lower introduction, a rather strong rendition, full of energy and power the song itselfs seems tuned slightly differently than the performances in Rio or Flight 666 but as a whole the song remains an essential live track. Iron Maiden as always closes out the main set coming in quick and punchy the bands eponymous track is as always full of energy and a strong set closer even if it isn't the greatest overall track.

Fear Of The Dark - 10/10
Iron Maiden - 9/10
Side 5 - 19/20

Side 6: The Number Of The Beast/Blood Brothers/Wasted Years
The Number Of The Beast opens up the encore which frankly is the perfect place for it. A wonderful rocker with a great performance after all these years, unlike many bands who have to play certain songs Maiden don't show any sign of disliking the track from their most well known album delivering a vicious attack. Blood Brothers makes its first ever appearance in an encore setting a great ballad of sorts about coming together as one. The chorus is full of power and the band's backing vocals aren't even too bad. I love that Maiden doesn't just delegate the bonefide hits to the encore but are willing to toss in a more surprising track here and there and what a choice they made, the bridge is one of my favourite Maiden lyrical lines. Wasted Years closes out the night, my favourite Maiden track although Hallowed comes close. Uplifting, upbeat and catchy as all hell a little less polished sounding than the studio but that SIT guitar tone still comes through excellently. A great show closer.

The Number Of The Beast - 10/10
Blood Brothers -10/10
Wasted Years - 10/10
Side 6 - 30/30

Flow - A well thought out setlist with great connective pieces between great encore choices. - 10/10

Final Thoughts - Phenomenal - 10/10

Overall 96%

19 Remaining
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
347/365

Finding The Sacred Heart - Dio
Format: CD/Digital

Initial Thoughts: A fairly well rounded set from Dio's 3rd album tour, mixed in with a couple Sabbath and Rainbow tracks here overall a pretty strong set. Medleys could have been split into the whole song personally seeing as most of them are Dio's biggest hits from other bands. And why include all 3 instrumental solos... - 9/10

Disc One begins with the tour's introductory piece known as Drago Ignis a brief piece of suspense inducing music before the band takes the stage launching into King Of Rock And Roll with a scream from Ronnie, quick and to the point with a rather heavy feel relative to the studio track the track wastes no time establishing this line up of Dio as a rather strong force to be reckoned with, furious and strong Dio has venom in his voice not the greatest track as a whole but this performance would get most crowds rocking and a pretty good choice for an opening track. Like The Beat Of A Heart is up next, a little slower with a more heavy approach to it, the track feels like it has some Sabbath influence. The extended solo section within the track has some nice keys and guitar work I believe this show was recorded shortly after Vivian Campbell left the band so his replacement wouldn't have had much time with the material. Don't Talk To Strangers is the first track from the bands mighty debut to come up into the set. The track sticks to the studio approach while being absolutely brilliant and heavy, Dio's more vicious approach is evident throughout and he wastes no time making it know just how powerful of a vocalist he is. The ebb and flow throughout the track is great for conveying the darker emotions held within the track the slower section following the solo is majestic and powerful. Hungry For Heaven comes up next, I always knew Dio was a heavier band live but the sheer difference between the studio and live renditions in terms of the aggressive felt throughout the tracks is astounding while not as dark and moody as Black Sabbath, Dio does a great job having the tracks take this darker form live. Hungry For Heaven like many of the other tracks has a heavy keyboard sound to it without becoming borderline poppy. The next track is a brilliant medley of The Last In Line, Children Of The Sea and Holy Diver although I wouldn't really say that Children Of The Sea was truly included here. A brilliant delivery of the two title track becoming immense and powerful in the medley and doing them both justice throughout. As stated the Children Of The Sea segment is relatively small and not really a large section of such a brilliant song at least part of it was played. Holy Diver is heavy as hell. Vinny takes a drum solo which frankly could have been left out, I don't need a 5 minute solo especailly with a 7 and 6 minute key and guitar solo coming up soon after those 18 minutes being removed could have made the album a single disc which would have been cheaper to purchase. Heaven And Hell comes up next, a reworked version of the mighty track where Ronnie opens it up with the "It Goes on and on" line, this track unlike the Dio tracks doesn't quite have the same level of perfection as the original does, although Ronnie's adlibs honestly should have been part of the original track and it is a crime that a version doesn't exist with them being added into it all. The Keyboard solo ensues it is pretty decent nothing mind-blowing and goes on too long. Disc one closes off with a lengthened guitar solo more engaging the the keys but still too long for some noodling as a whole.

Disc two opens with tolling keyboards as Sacred Heart comes in extended to nearly twice the length of the original track, a recorded introduction is played and the song comes in strong, Ronnie returns dramatic and full of orchestration the song would have been a spectacle live but of the epics in Dio's career at this point although it really is the only true one at this point aside from Egypt which is another song I don't have a great appreciation for so that wouldn't also have my full attention either. It would have been cool if the earlier medley hadn't happened to use one of those tracks as a monstrous centerpiece or ya know a full and proper renditon of Heaven and Hell, the track ends with a last in line reprise which seems a little redundant. Another medley comes in with Rock N Roll Children starting it off the track is compact and direct with well used synths throughout, a stronger track from the album they were touring at the time and frankly the only song from the album that I really listen to when it comes on through my playlist. It soon transitions to the pop filled Long Live Rock And Roll the track has fun upbeat feel to it but at the cost of some of the heavier feel that has been felt throughout the album, this song is a prime choice for crowd participation. However Man On The Silver Mountain brings back the heavier feel with that super recognizable introductory riff. The track has some extended solo section but they are all very fitting of the original rendition, I wish this track was separate and played in its entirety but being part of the medley it does work quite well. The track has a slowed section where Ronnie adlibs once again for a little bit with some keyboard backing before becoming a call and answer between him and the guitar then launching back into Rock N Roll Children. Time To Burn is up next a studio track from the bands Intermission live album. It has a poppy approach but still is a pretty decent track as a whole. The end is approaching as Stand Up And Shout kicks off as always the track is high energy punchy and great for the crowds energy. A strong performance from all members of the band. The Encore contains the two tracks from the Dio band which one couldn't leave out of the setlist first up is Rainbow In The Dark the upbeat anthem that was nearly left off the original album the mix feels a little weird for this track but as a whole it remains powerful. We Rock closes out the night in a furious fashion, it closes out the show on a high note with a great energetic performance of a direct track.

Drago Ignis/King Of Rock And Roll - 9/10
Like The Beat Of A Heart - 8.5/10
Don't Talk To Strangers - 10/10
Hungry For Heaven - 8.5/10
The Last In Line/Children Of The Sea/Holy Diver - 10/10
Drum Solo - 7/10
Heaven And Hell - 9/10
Keyboard Solo - 7/10
Guitar Solo - 7.5/10

Sacred Heart - 7.5/10
Rock N Roll Children/Long Live Rock N Roll/Man on The Silver Mountain - 9/10
Time To Burn - 7.5/10
Stand Up And Shout - 9/10
Rainbow In The Dark -9/10
We Rock - 9/10

Flow - The middle of the set seemed to be dominated by extended solos that really didn't need to be here since Ronnie had such a great catalog. - 8/10

Final Thoughts - Overall pretty good, the solos could have been left off and some of the medleys should have been proper songs. - 9/10

Overall 85%
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
348/365

Alice In Chains - Alice In Chains
Format: CD/Digital

The final studio album to feature Layne opens as one would expect, dark moody with a glimmer of hope instilled by the harmonies on the chorus. The track doens't have a ton of energy to it but the song sets the atmosphere for what I would expect from the remainder of the album, darker and sadder than Dirt from this first impression. Brush Away continues the darker atmosphere although getting a little faster paced as the guitars hold back a little more. A shorter track which also isn't the absolute strongest track it is enjoyable but nothing amazing. Sludge Factory comes in harder and heavier, the track is slightly higher quality than the rest of the ones which came before, I don't recall AIC using these higher harmonies which they have been using on this album thus far before. If this is where the album is headed as a whole then I don't think I'll be revisiting it anytime soon... Heaven Beside You takes an acoustic approach Jerry takes lead vocals, fairly pleasant throughout the track has a bit of alternation between the stripped back approach and some mixed in electric components. Head Creeps takes the darkest approach on the opening thus far, and seeing as we have reached the 20 minute mark without a truly quick paced track the darkness of this track is a little shift towards that direction and the track has heavy distortion on the vocals the track is like basically everything else here a decent listen but not amazing. Again is the most upbeat track thus far, which seeing as it is the halfway point on the album is a very much welcome addition, a more commercial approach if one can call it that, but that makes sense as it was a single from the album.

Shame On You slows right back down of the slower tracks this one has some more highlights relative to many of the others. But still the tempo of the whole album being slow doesn't really give it any chance to shine among a variety of tracks... God Am opens with a spoken intro which soon begins to get more trippy with odd sounds incorporated throughout, this is another slight step up in quality, and the track really sounds like some quality Alice In Chains music is coming through, easily the most engaging song thus far, clear delivery some good harmonies and overall not too long and prodding. So Close is the shortest track on the album and of course it is the most upbeat track featured up until this point. Direct and punchy it sounds like it could have been on Dirt in some places, upbeat like some of their earlier "hits". Finally something to really rock to. Nothin' Song comes in slower once more, but the energy from the previous track can still be felt a little bit here as it begins to pick up some more which is a nice transition. Frogs comes up next feeling dark and doomy the longest track on the album, the higher harmonies come back here. I think this song is one of the ones which would have benefitted the most from the album being shorter overall. It has moments where I think the band is doing some really good stuff but it doesn't feel too much different from the rest of the album, tonally and pace wise and the song itself could have been slightly shorter. Over Now closes off the album opening with what sounds like a bit of a trumpet playing in the distance with some static Jerry comes back on lead vocals and the track feels destined for their Unplugged album and clearly that approach has influenced this album quite abit this track being a prime example of it.

Grind - 7/10
Brush Away - 7.5/10
Sludge Factory - 7.5/10
Heaven Beside You - 8/10
Head Creeps - 7/10
Again -8/10
Shame On You - 7.5/10
God Am - 8.5/10
So Close - 8.5/10
Nothin' Song - 8/10
Frogs - 7.5/10
Over Now - 7.5/10

Just too slow and bloated.

Overall 77%
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
349/365

Infinite - Deep Purple
Format: CD/Digital

Deep Purple's twentieth studio album, which I personally believed would be there last until recently when I learned they have announced a new album coming out some time in 2020. Time For Bedlam opens with a synth introduction Ian sings distorted before launching into the meat of the rocker, he sounds pretty strong for a man in his mid 70s, long gone are the days of screaming instead comes a strong aged voice which sounds very reminiscent of some of the less screamy material from the 70s and 80s. Steve Morse delivers some strong riffs throughout the track and Don Airy fills Lords throne quite well. Ian Paice hammers on the drums while bassist and producer Roger Glover rounds off the 5 piece. Time For Bedlam feels like a great step into the future for Purple well delivered and energetic. A great opener. Hip Boots comes in with a more blues filled approach, once again I have to comment on the sheer quality of Ian's vocals, the song itself has a nice feel to it and there really seems to be a carefree approach to the song as whatever will be will be since he has his Hip Boots on. As an overall quality not the strongest but the band does sound pretty good throughout the track and the combination that made Purple so great instrumentally remains despite the two legends no longer being in the band. All I Got Is You opens with a keyboard introduction the track is an upbeat midpaced one, the style of these songs are quite different from their hits of old but they are quality tracks and are worth a listen. Ian lets loose a bit of a scream near the end of the track which actually is quite good. One Night In Vegas picks the pace up slightly, a track about telling some tales of decadence in Vegas likely reliving days of old, the track has a fun feel to it and the keyboard work from Don is rather upbeat and really compliments the carefree nature established earlier in Hip Boots. Get Me Outta Here comes in with a heavier feel than the previous tracks with a notable bass presence from Roger. Another relatively decent track there is a nice solo section on it the pacing of the track feels a little odd at times but overall a good listen.

The Surprising opens with a short keyboard solo section before Morse comes in with his guitar, the track feels like it has a lot of energy it is holding back at the start as Ian comes in singing. This feeling dissipates and the track becomes more intricate and Paice lets loose on the drum kit while Airy works magic on the keyboards, a track which I could see really working well as a vehicle in the live setting mystical and the song has a very different feeling to it. I like the change. Johnny's Band comes up next the final single from the album and I suspect it is some sort of tribute to Jon Lord although not specifically stated. The back end of the band sounds great here and they really deliver a strong punchy to the track, a rather happy sounding track quite reminiscent and I like it as a whole. On Top Of The World, takes a bit of step back for me but it continues on the more fun approach roughly halfway the track shifts and goes into a midsection/closing which is very similar to the opening track. It is an odd section that doesn't quite fit to me. Birds Of Prey takes a more progressive approach to the introduction another track which I suspect could have been extended in the introduction for a live show, a great groove is held throughout the track and the keyboards add a lot of depth to the track, a phenomenal track throughout. Could be a little heavier in some placed but well made that's for sure. The album closes off with Roadhouse Blues by The Doors, a more big band feeling track, the song comes in with a hint of the blues being dashed onto their style which makes sense considering the title of the song. A fairly good cover not amazing but a fun album closer to an pretty solid album super late into a bands career.

Time For Bedlam - 10/10
Hip Boots - 7.5/10
All I Got Is You - 8.5/10
One Night In Vegas - 7.5/10
Get Me Outta Here - 7.5/10
The Surprising - 8.5/10
Johnnys Band - 8/10
On Top Of The World - 7.5/10
Birds Of Prey - 10/10
Roadhouse Blues - 7.5/10

Overall 83%
 

Collin

Chasing Ponce De Leon's Phantoms
348/365

Alice In Chains - Alice In Chains
Format: CD/Digital

The final studio album to feature Layne opens as one would expect, dark moody with a glimmer of hope instilled by the harmonies on the chorus. The track doens't have a ton of energy to it but the song sets the atmosphere for what I would expect from the remainder of the album, darker and sadder than Dirt from this first impression. Brush Away continues the darker atmosphere although getting a little faster paced as the guitars hold back a little more. A shorter track which also isn't the absolute strongest track it is enjoyable but nothing amazing. Sludge Factory comes in harder and heavier, the track is slightly higher quality than the rest of the ones which came before, I don't recall AIC using these higher harmonies which they have been using on this album thus far before. If this is where the album is headed as a whole then I don't think I'll be revisiting it anytime soon... Heaven Beside You takes an acoustic approach Jerry takes lead vocals, fairly pleasant throughout the track has a bit of alternation between the stripped back approach and some mixed in electric components. Head Creeps takes the darkest approach on the opening thus far, and seeing as we have reached the 20 minute mark without a truly quick paced track the darkness of this track is a little shift towards that direction and the track has heavy distortion on the vocals the track is like basically everything else here a decent listen but not amazing. Again is the most upbeat track thus far, which seeing as it is the halfway point on the album is a very much welcome addition, a more commercial approach if one can call it that, but that makes sense as it was a single from the album.

Shame On You slows right back down of the slower tracks this one has some more highlights relative to many of the others. But still the tempo of the whole album being slow doesn't really give it any chance to shine among a variety of tracks... God Am opens with a spoken intro which soon begins to get more trippy with odd sounds incorporated throughout, this is another slight step up in quality, and the track really sounds like some quality Alice In Chains music is coming through, easily the most engaging song thus far, clear delivery some good harmonies and overall not too long and prodding. So Close is the shortest track on the album and of course it is the most upbeat track featured up until this point. Direct and punchy it sounds like it could have been on Dirt in some places, upbeat like some of their earlier "hits". Finally something to really rock to. Nothin' Song comes in slower once more, but the energy from the previous track can still be felt a little bit here as it begins to pick up some more which is a nice transition. Frogs comes up next feeling dark and doomy the longest track on the album, the higher harmonies come back here. I think this song is one of the ones which would have benefitted the most from the album being shorter overall. It has moments where I think the band is doing some really good stuff but it doesn't feel too much different from the rest of the album, tonally and pace wise and the song itself could have been slightly shorter. Over Now closes off the album opening with what sounds like a bit of a trumpet playing in the distance with some static Jerry comes back on lead vocals and the track feels destined for their Unplugged album and clearly that approach has influenced this album quite abit this track being a prime example of it.

Grind - 7/10
Brush Away - 7.5/10
Sludge Factory - 7.5/10
Heaven Beside You - 8/10
Head Creeps - 7/10
Again -8/10
Shame On You - 7.5/10
God Am - 8.5/10
So Close - 8.5/10
Nothin' Song - 8/10
Frogs - 7.5/10
Over Now - 7.5/10

Just too slow and bloated.

Overall 77%
It’s a tough album to get into. I can attest to that. Nowadays I only listen to the first 3 tracks, Again, and Frogs. Frogs is the best song. I would strongly recommend listening to the unplugged album if you can.
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
It’s a tough album to get into. I can attest to that. Nowadays I only listen to the first 3 tracks, Again, and Frogs. Frogs is the best song. I would strongly recommend listening to the unplugged album if you can.

It is on the list of those that will be covered for sure
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
350/365

Flesh And Blood - Whitesnake
Format: CD/Digital

Whitesnake kicks off their 13th album with a rocker called Good To See You Again the song screams opening slot at concerts although lets be real here David will stick to the typical combo of Bad Boys/Children Of The Night. Instrumentally the song sounds quite strong and the downtuning to accommodate Coverdale's very aged vocal chords adds a heavier feel to the song, despite being the same catchy and pop filled Whitesnake we have been getting since Slide It In came out in 1984. Gonna Be Alright comes up next, a little slower while still having that Whitesnake charm to it, David's vocal delivery leaves some to be desired, he has really shredded those pips up quite a bit and it shows at times, his lower less rasp/shredded voice is fairly good still and quite smooth. The first single from the album Shut Up & Kiss Me opens with a guitar solo and the song has a nice punchy beat to it and the song quickly establishes itself as another classic Whitesnake formula track. The band delivers some stellar backing vocals throughout the track and gives a real fun upbeat feeling to the track. Catchy and fun the track is well delivered. If it had been released by a younger band I suspect it would have been a radio hit. Hey You (You Make Me Rock) comes up next, a track which has a very strong drop beat from the start, the vocals are a little slower and Coverdale adds a bit of mystery with this approach, he doesn't sound too bad on this track. A fun track which I suspect would have been a good live track from the album, plenty of room for some extended bluesy solos to be added into it throughout a performance. And speaking of which the guitar solo here is quite strong throughout. Always & Forever is the first track on the album to be solely written by Coverdale. Based on the name I was expecting a ballad based on the track but the track while it does take a more sentimental approach still is a fairly catchy rocker which has some really nice catchy licks and some of Coverdale's strongest vocals thus far on the album. Well delivered, it almost fits into a similar role as Love Ain't No Stranger or Here I Go Again a slower rocker which could be incredibly catchy but it isn't on the same level as the to aforementioned tracks. The next track has another ballad style title and this time the track really does go towards that direction this time, the issue with the track comes from David his vocals don't feel smooth which is something this track would have benefited from having, instead he tries to add some little bits of rasp and he just sounds old. Trouble Is Your Middle Name picks the pace up again, it opens with the sounds of sirens and the song begins to increase in tempo from a slow track into a midpaced one. Chorus is repetitive and simplistic, there are some blues aspects here and there but nothing amazing. Slightly better but not amazing with a good solo. The back end of the track is more upbeat and if the rest of the song was this tempo I think it would have been stronger. The title track comes up next, another sex fueled track like basically every song in the Whitesnake catalog a pretty solid midpaced track which really fits into the album quite well and as a whole sums up the themes presented in the various tracks of the album thus far. Well I Never comes in and frankly is filler throughout and the song just adds to the runtime. Not awful but it doesn't really do all that much. Heart Of Stone, another ballad comes up next it feels overproduced and lacks emotions which as a ballad I would expect there to be some actual emotion felt throughout the track. Get Up is up next, a track which I believed replaced Crying In The Rain in the live set so the track has some higher expectations coming in, the track opens stripped back before an infusion of energy occurs, a quick beat and the track begins to feel like some solid old school Whitesnake once again. I could see why the band put it into the live set although why it would be a replacement for one of their biggest hits is beyond me. An extended solo section also occurs here with some keyboard influence among the guitars. After All goes acoustic and David sings pretty well on this one, not trying to add unnecessary rasps and screams into the track. He sounds pretty good throughout, not an amazing song but one that shows he could still perform a pretty good acoustic ballad if he had wanted to... Sands Of Time closes out the album, the introduction makes me feel like I'm in for an epic rock based track and the first verse makes this feeling fairly correct, not an amazing epic but a nice shift from the cookie cutter style rockers throughout the album.

Good To See You Again - 8.5/10
Gonna Be Alright - 7.5/10
Shut Up & Kiss Me - 8.5/10
Hey You (You Make Me Rock) - 8.5/10
Always & Forever - 8.5/10
When I Think Of You (Colour Me Blue)- 7/10
Trouble Is Your Middle Name - 7.5/10
Flesh & Blood - 8/10
Well I Never - 6.5/10
Heart Of Stone - 7/10
Get Up - 8/10
After All - 7.5/10
Sands Of Time - 8/10

Overall 77%
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
351/365

Live At O2 - Alter Bridge
Format: CD/Digital

Initial Thoughts: The live album from the bands The Last Hero tour, a pretty well balanced setlist, two bonus tracks are on my copy but I won't be reviewing either, even though they are two of my favourite tracks from the album. Some nice deep cuts but nothing unexpected. - 9/10


Writing On The Wall, opens up the album, a strong direct rocker and Myles sounds pretty strong his vocals are amazing throughout basically everything he has released in the past two decades and the track allows him to really get warmed up while still showing off here and there, the track has some strong and low bass work from Brian and Flip's drums add some extra emphasis to the heavy but still quite commercial approach of the track. A smart choice of opener despite not being the album opener it does have a great energy to it and really gets the crowd engaged. Well delivered and a smart choice in placement. Concert Staple Come To Life is up next, a midpaced heavy rocker from Blackbird, Mark delivers some strong backing vocals here, the track is a fairly good choice live I personally think this could have been swapped with a more upbeat rocker or even swapped places with the next track to be slightly more effective in terms of really getting the crowd going although by the same token the song is a concert staple and the crowd is singing along with every word. Addicted To Pain comes up next, really kicking things into high gear a great live track and while I've heard it performed live before I heard it acoustically and the track absolutely kills in both renditions taking on very different feelings for both version. I can see why the band has moved this to the show closing spot an excellent position for a track with this much energy and gusto. Ghosts Of Days Gone By is up next, a little slower sounding than the studio version upon the introduction, Myles sounds amazing vocally on the track that chorus is so powerful and the track as a whole remains amazing and beautiful throughout. Cry Of Achilles comes up next, the opening epic from the bands mighty Fortress album. A brutal rocker, Mark and Myles delvier some stellar guitar work here the song aggressive heavy but at the same time softer where it needs to be. An explosive chorus allows Myles to shine vocally throughout it. The band appears to have really hit their stride over the past 3 tracks! The Other Side from The Last Hero is up next, a track I almost never listen to, it comes in the heaviest of all of the tracks which has come thus far, Myles sounds amazing, the chorus is quite strong and really I feel like I need to revisit the song and the entire album for that matter having not listened to pretty much anything from it since I last did the full album listen. A nice deeper cut from the album. Farther Than The Sun is up next, another deeper cut from the band, once again one which I haven't spend much time listening to, would have listened to it again had I found a copy of Fortress on vinyl since it and ODR are the only two which I haven't been able to acquire yet. Heavy and mid-paced with a really evident build up waiting to explode from Mark in the background a strong solo and some brutal rocking, I suspect the crowd could have been going pretty crazy during this performance. Ties That Bind continues the aggressive rocking approach, quick heavy and fairly well delivered, Myles doesn't have a very aggressive singing style so the track has a more upbeat approach than the dark and heavier feel of the material itself could potentially become. Water Rising comes up next, with Mark taking lead vocals, a song which took a long while to grow on me until I heard the Royal Albert Hall rendition to be exact. Myles backing vocals suit the darker sounding vocals from Mark really well, dark and heavy throughout the track is a monster in the live setting. A phenomenal track!

Crows On A Wire comes up next, the third featured track from The Last Hero and it comes in with plenty of energy, one of the few tracks to have survived the bands album cycle and be featured in their Walk The Sky tour setlists here and there. The opening section of the track gets a whole lot heavier in the live setting not being bogged down by the poor production from the band's album. Myles voice has to do some acrobatics on the chorus and he delivers the high notes quite well throughout the track and really does an admirable job throughout not losing his place or mixing up the lyrics which he is quite well known for and self admits to. Watch Over You closes off disc one, an acoustic rendition and it signals beginning of the bands "greatest hits" section of the main set, being heavily focused on their most well known tracks. Watch Over You is an incredibly beautiful track when done solo by Myles although both versions are full of emotion. His singing is powerful and emotive throughout, the crowd is wonderful a perfect rendition. Isolation is next up getting right back into the heavy rocking approach, the main riff hits like a brick wall and the track is a headbacking dream, brutal rocking throughout. Myles continues to sound absolutely amazing and Flips drumming is pretty darn strong backing up Tremonti's riffs incredibly. A great crowd energy inducing track, the only downside is while Myles sounds incredible the track needs slightly more aggressive vocal approaches to be perfect. Blackbird is introduced by Blackbird slowing back down slightly the bands masterpiece ballad is emotional and dark, powerful and soaring. A modern day masterpiece the song should really be far more known than most of today's music, I remember playing in the vehicle with my family who all love rock music and because they didn't know it they talked all the way through and complained that they didn't know the song instead of giving it a listen... needless to say I've given up on them. The emotional vocals absolutely soar throughout the track and send chills throughout my body. Amazing and magnificent. Metalingus follows up, which frankly this could have been the start of the encore since Blackbird could easily close every show, main set or encore as far as I'm concerned. Flip takes a short drum solo to introduce the track, Brian soon joins with his bass Myles introduces the two of them as they begin playing. Plenty of crowd participation throughout the track, I wonder what if this would serve in the middle of the set as a good booster back up following some tracks which the band is trying out on future tours. Regardless a pretty good performance throughout. Open Your Eyes closes out the main set, the bands first single is another fitting choice for show closer, uplifting and really embodying the views of the band about aiding others and working together, an excellent choice once again featuring tons of crowd participation. Show Me A Leader opens the encore the extended introduction being perfect to start it up, a shame that Mark has made it pretty clear this track will likely not be played again due to his dislike for the 7 stringed guitar required for it. The debut single from The Last Hero, a good choice as stated prior, it builds some suspense before launching into the bulk of the track, a pretty direct message is sent throughout the track the chorus is a little weak in some points specifically the ohh oh ooooh oh portion, the rest of the track is pretty well delivered. Myles messes up the lyrics at one point which works out decently in the end. Rise Today closes out the show another of the band's better known singles, an uplifting track which builds on the ideas presented in Open Your Eyes Rise Today, is another well chosen song although it doesn't have the same energy as the aforementioned main set closer.

Writing On The Wall - 9/10
Come To Life - 8.5/10
Addicted To Pain - 10/10
Ghosts Of Days Gone By - 10/10
Cry Of Achilles - 10/10
The Other Side - 9/10
Farther Than The Sun - 9/10
Ties That Bind - 9/10
Water Rising - 10/10

Crows On A Wire - 10/10
Watch Over You - 10/10
Isolation - 9.5/10
Blackbird - 10/10
Metalingus - 9/10
Open Your Eyes - 10/10
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Show Me A Leader - 8.5/10
Rise Today - 9/10

Flow - Excellent flow throughout a great well thought out show. - 10/10

Final Thoughts - AB puts on a high quality show which delivers hits, new album tracks and a couple deeper cuts. As a whole one wants more but the package is great. - 10/10

Overall 95%
 
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