Random album reviews

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

Alive! - Kiss
Format: Vinyl

The year is 1975, Kiss has 3 albums out in the past year, and they decide to record a live album the self proclaimed hottest band in the world released what is well known as their definitive live album... Alive! Opening with Deuce the band kicks off the album with a hard and fast paced track, but there is one distinct feeling throughout the Gene sung track, it is of pure fun and rock n roll spirit. Ace, Gene, Peter and Paul deliver a concise straightforward rendition of the track opening up the concert in style. Strutter continues the momentum, the opener of the bands debut album, Paul takes on the lead vocals, less harsh than Gene's allowing for a more commercial feel to it, but like he said at the start of the song, the band is here for a party. The four piece packs a lot of punch, and they sound polished even with a more raw sounding approach, what I mean to say is Kiss is on fire and boy are they tight. Got To Choose, has a thundering bass line from Gene and some nice fills from Peter, the lead track from the bands second album, the chorus has some higher notes on it from Paul however he is helped out throughout by the band as they all are capable singers, despite Ace not taking lead on any songs at this point in the bands career. Catchy and well executed. Hotter Than Hell continues the trend, slowing down slightly as the band comes thundering, the bottom end of the band is great, this and the previous track have a similar feel to them, coming from the same album this makes sense, but with it comes a bit of a flaw, they are slightly less catchy than the tracks from the debut, and are a bit slower, that doesn't mean that they are poor by any means as they remain some solid, catchy and crunchy rock tracks throughout. Firehouse segues in from Hotter Than Hell and it sounds similar, with a bit of heaviness added to it, featuring a fire siren for added effect. Thus far the album sounds quite a bit heavier than I personally think of when I think about Kiss.

Nothin' To Lose from the bands debut comes up next, Gene and Peter share vocals on this track, it is uptempo and features a fair bit of raspy vocals from the duo, Peter's drum sound is quite noticeable, while not in your face nor too high in the mix, you can tell exactly what he is doing throughout the track. C'mon and Love Me continues the fun speedier approach from the previous track, Paul is back on vocals, the whole energy of the track can be felt in the intro as Paul exclaims the song's title and it really sells just how good of entertainers that the band. An incredible rendition, super catchy and punchy. This might even surpass Deuce as the strongest track thus far on the album, it is amazing. Parasite lets Gene on vocals once again, like most Gene songs it has a heavier approach right from the start, the chorus works but it could have some darker vocals instead of the more clean and slower approach. Ace was originally intended to sing this one but wasn't confident in his lead singer abilities at the time so Gene took it. A small drum solo is featured prior to the guitar solo. She closes out the first half, featuring shared lead vocals between Peter Paul and Gene, the track is twice as long as most of the tracks previously featured on the album. A nice crunchy rocker, with an extended band jam segment before a standalone Ace Frehley guitar solo ensues

Watchin' You opens up side 3, Gene sings, and based on the subject matter his approach is quite appropriate, sounding honestly creepy when he sings Watchin' Youuuu. The man can scream quite well in places personally when I think of Kiss' lead singer I think of Paul with the others filling in spots as needed, however it is clear that my impression was wrong as Gene takes the lead on half of this album and kills it, moreover the band does well from having multiple lead singers and having approaches differing for each one. 100,000 Years is the longest track on the album clocking in at 12 minutes in length, extended by a drum solo following the track and a brief bass solo preceeding it, Paul is screaming up a storm on the track and seeing as this is his final track of solo lead vocals for the remainder of all the shows used to record the album it makes sense that he is putting in an outstanding performance on this shred and scream fest. The drum solo is actually a natural transition from the proper track, after a little while Paul begins talking to the audience and getting them involved before the solo continues, honestly this is a pretty good way to make the solo actually interesting. The proper track is stellar the solo part does go on too long however. Black Diamond closes out the band's main set, which is the tracks natural place in the setlist. Paul introduces the track before Peter takes on the lead vocals for the bulk of the track, his vocals sounding quite clean at first before he begins to really wail and the sound of the studio recording comes through in the live recording. An excellent display of every band member's skill with their own instrument and the vocal harmonies on the chorus are stellar. A perfect main set closer, hard and heavy.

Rock Bottom opens the encore.. well only on the LP, it was actually somewhere in the main set for the actual shows with the remaining 3 tracks on this side being the encore, Paul sings this one and it is his final of the album, it comes in with an intro from Ace before the proper track comes in punchy with a feel of punk to it. It just doesn't quite have the same energy as the rest of the album, a solid track but not quite as strong as the rest of the album. Cold Gin begins with Paul asking the crowd who likes alcohol, and goes on about that for a little bit, the track itself gets going and steps back up a fair bit energy wise as Gene takes on the lead vocals, his rough vocal approach is incredibly fitting with the sound of the band. Some really good guitar work is featured here and Paul does some vocals in the background here and there as well. Future show closer Rock N Roll All Nite is up next as the penultimate track having just been released on the bands previous studio record. The drum sound on the intro is immense, the stellar and compact rocker takes on a ton of energy live, yea it is a crowd pleaser, yea it is overplayed, but man is it good. Let Me Go, Rock N Roll closes out the album, another punchy rocker, although from the start it is clear that it isn't as catchy as the previous track which makes sense as to why it was removed as the show closer.

A young band on top of their game, kicking ass with their material in a raw and agressive live album showing off their talent and why they were truly on top of the music scene at the time. Amazing performance from start to finish.

Deuce - 5/5
Strutter - 4.5/5
Got To Choose - 4/5
Hotter Than Hell - 4/5
Firehouse - 4/5

Nothin' To Lose - 4.5/5
C'mon and Love Me - 5/5
Parasite - 4/5
She - 4/5

Watchin' You - 4.5/5
100,000 Years - 4/5
Black Diamond - 5/5

Rock Bottom - 3.5/5
Cold Gin - 4/5
Rock N Roll All Nite - 5/5
Let Me Go, Rock N Roll - 3.5/5

Adjusted 85%
Overall 86%
4 Stars
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

Time And A Word - Yes
Format: CD/Digital

Yes brings the 70s in with Time And A Word, the lineup remaining from the previous album with the addition of an orchestra, and despite the censored cover including him Steve Howe didn't participate in the recording of the album. No Oppertunity Needed... kicks off the album a cover track which has a nice keyboard centered introduction, Jon Anderson sings in a lower tone here, the orchestra is heavy featured here and it adds to the experience but doesn't really elevate it. An okay track to open the album. Then follows up, it fades in and Jon sings in his traditional softer tone although not quite falsetto, the drumming from Bill Bruford is quite quick and millitant. This track is a definite step up from the opener, it has a bit of a moody feel to it, not on par with Roundabout or Starship Trooper but a stronger track for sure. The track has some of their more epic feeling attributes to it, a distinct change is felt around the 5 minute mark as the song begins to close. I like it, it is different but a sign of whats to come. Everydays which I believe is another cover, comes in with some really atmospheric orchestral backing a ballad with some acoustic guitar throughout, the centerpiece of this track is Jon. Or so it seems halfway through the band picks up the tempo slightly adding in drums and bass work, before a breakdown and the tempo shifts completely. Sweet Dreams, is the final track on the first half of the album it is a midtempo track with some prominent bass work from Chris Squire, which creates a bit of a disconnect for me, the track is pleasent but not stellar.

The Prophet which opens with a very Yes sounding organ introduction this track continues on this path before getting a bit of a nice rythmn to it, and when Jon joins in, his vocals are the strongest sounding they have been on the album thus far. The track takes the listener on a journey and it shows really signs of where the band is headed musicallity wise and done in a well. Clear Days is the shortest track of the album, it sounds like it should be a section in a longer more drawn out and epic track. Astral Traveler comes in with an interesting riff, it isn't the most amazing track but it once again shows hints as to the amazing efforts the band would be putting out in the very near future. Time And A Word closes out the album of the same name, a track very in line with the overall quality of the rest of the album, slightly better than the past few tracks. A nice pleasent closer, although not amazing.

No Oppertunity Needed, No Experience Necessary - 3/5
Then - 4/5
Everydays - 4/5
Sweet Dreams - 3/5
The Prophet - 4.5/5
Clear Days - 3.5/5
Astral Traveler - 3.5/5
Time And A Word - 4/5

Adjusted 75%
Overall 74%
2.5 Stars
 

Jer

My sins are many


Mekong Delta - In A Mirror Darkly (2014)

Four years after the excellent Wanderer On The Edge Of Time, Mekong Delta returned with a new set of songs that suffered from a little bit of retread and less inspiration than the previous album, but still offered up a lot of strong music.
  • Introduction - A soft classical guitar opening rolls through a number of melodic permutations, including a foreshadowing of some upcoming melodic lines. Great stuff, 8/10.
  • Ouverture - A staccato guitar and bass line breaks into a driving, ascending series of melodic leads. Some interesting breakdowns lead into a more meandering bridge section before emerging into a cool syncopated rhythm and lead call and response with thick guitar harmonies that falls away to a chiming lead that abruptly cuts into the next track. A bit uneven, but the strong parts are great, and this probably does enough to round it up to an 8/10.
  • The Armageddon Machine - A crummy, simplistic, and repetitive vocal melody drives the disappointing verses here. This eventually emerges into a much more appealing arpeggiated pre-chorus and some cool rhythmic convolutions leading into a multi-part chorus. Another round of verses through the chorus and a neat rhythmic breakdown finishes things off. Those verses are a real gut punch, and some of the transitions are clunky, but the rest of the music is strong enough to salvage a 7/10.
  • The Sliver In God’s Eye - Booming drums, harp, and synth pads support a soft vocal lead with guitar accents. A brief pre-chorus builds into a creepy, heavy, off-kilter chorus. A guitar and sitar interlude rolls back into that crazy, queasy chorus before exiting on an extended guitar outro. A great and bizarre track, 8/10.
  • Janus - An odd-rhythm guitar riff trades off with the bass, leading into a verse that evokes Holst’s “Mars, Bringer Of War”. This breaks into a more frenetic pre-chorus and a complex multi-part melodic chorus. A reprise of the opening riff section and “Mars” verse leads back to the pre-chorus and a variant of the multi-part chorus before an extended breakdown and a callback to “Ouverture” brings the track to a close. This song has cool parts, but it’s a bit of a mess structurally, and I can’t quite get behind rating it as “good”, so I’ll round it down to a 6/10.
  • Inside The Outside Of The Inside - Gentle melodic plucking trades off with piercing electric leads, building into thick harmonies before breaking into a more driving groove. Odd rhythm parts trade off with more aggressive beats and guitar harmonies through a number of different permutations before a final gong ends the song. A strong instrumental, 7/10.
  • Hindsight Bias - A distorted chiming lead morphs into a driving riff. The verse starts off pretty good, but the vocal harmonies that join in are terrible. The brighter pre-chorus works better, but unfortunately the chorus is terrible again. A rhythmic interlude is punctuated by a brief and spastic solo before rolling into an extended instrumental with cool guitar leads and harmonies. This gives way to almost a minute of sound effects and a distorted reprise of part of the song before abruptly ending. Well, that was a mess. The opening hook was pretty great, and the extended instrumental through the second half of the song was cool, but the vocal crimes on display here are like a boat anchor on the track. This would have worked much better as an instrumental, but I guess it can barely hold onto a 6/10 on the strength of the music.
  • Mutant Messiah - A driving off-rhythm riff supports a pretty strong verse. This rolls into a more swinging but still heavy chorus 1, then a pretty cool off-kilter chorus 2 that calls back to some earlier guitar parts. An extended guitar interlude breaks into a weird half-assed word-for-word retread of a section of “The Apocalypt - World In Shards” from Wanderer On The Edge Of Time for reasons unknown...? Another chorus rolls into a calmer melodic instrumental before returning to the driving verse and choruses, and a harmonized breakdown ending on a harsh feedback tone to close out the album. There’s a lot of strong stuff here, and it works better as a song than a number of the other tracks, but I really don’t understand that Wanderer callback section at all — it’s completely out of place. In spite of that, this song is still good, so let’s say 7/10.
Average: 7.1/10
Weighted: 7.0/10

While this album started with promise, its retread of Wanderer On The Edge Of Time’s classical guitar opening followed by an electric “Ouverture” track was a sign of questionable choices to come, capped off by the bizarre reprise of “The Apocalypt - World In Shards” inside “Mutant Messiah”. Maybe the band just didn’t know where to go after a near-masterpiece like Wanderer, and this was some failed attempt at irony?

Despite the obvious warts, there are still a lot of cool passages on this album, with creepy off-rhythm grooves and interesting rhythms and harmonies. “The Sliver In God’s Eye” stands out as the strongest original track here, with a unique sound and progression that sum up the best this record has to offer.

In the end the album is a bit uneven, but it’s still good overall. Worth checking out if you like their other recent albums and are eager for some more content. That said, the six year break they took between this album and the next one was time well spent, because it refilled their creative gas tank and let them come back with a vengeance...
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

Fire Of Unknown Origin - Blue Oyster Cult
Format: CD/Digital

Blue Oyster Cult opens their eighth album Fire Of Unknown Origin with its title track, coming in poppier, Eric sings lead on this track and he sounds pretty strong off the start, a really prominent bass line complimented with some keyboards creates a really accessible and fun sound, the band has a unique sound to it and this album starts off no different, a rather unique song which is different yet still similar to what the listener expects. Burnin' For You needs no introduction, the lead single for the album and a great selection at that, Buck sings lead and his voice is excellent on this track, a laid back light rocker with an incredibly catchy chorus. Vetran of The Psychic Wars has a very sci fi sounding introduction, the song is co written by a science fiction author which means this is clearly very intentional, keyboards and drums are the center of the introduction, Eric takes over the vocals for the next few tracks, the track is quite weird, it doesn't quite click fully for me, but I could see this being a rather loved track by fans. The track itself speaks to the wounds taken in war, but not just physical but psychological as well. Sole Survivor keeps a similar tempo however with a less prominent drum component, it lacks the wow factor of Burnin' For You, the chorus is decent but as a whole this track is lacking in some places. Heavy Metal: The Black And Silver takes a heavier approach, this track is one of the few songs based around the film Heavy Metal. The heavier approach suits this track and makes it probably the second most enjoyable track thus far.

Vengeance (The Pact) opens the second half it shifts back a little to a more laid back approach known from the band, the keyboards on this track are the highlight and bass player Joe Bouchard does a good job on lead vocals. After Dark increases in tempo a little as Eric takes the lead once again, the speed of this track at first was driven by the keyboards however it has shifted to be driven by the drums as the song progresses. It is a decent track. It ends with a nice wail from Eric. Joan Crawford, a track named after the actress of the same name, although the track is talking about her as a vampire, which is oddly fitting for the band. It is a fun and silly track, the chorus pretty good as well. Buck takes the lead on the final track of the album Don't Turn Your Back the track comes in abruptly from the previous track, it is an okay track, calm throughout, however the album should have ended without it.

Fire Of Unknown Origin - 3.5/5
Burnin' For You - 5/5
Vetran of The Psychic Wars - 3.5/5
Sole Survivor - 3/5
Heavy Metal: The Black And Silver - 4/5
Vengeance (The Pact) - 3.5/5
After Dark - 3.5/5
Joan Crawford - 4/5
Don't Turn Your Back - 3/5

Adjusted 73%
Overall 73%
2.5 Stars
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

War Of Words - Fight
Format: CD/Digital

One year following his departure from Judas Priest following the end of their Painkiller tour, vocalist Rob Halford comes back into the world of metal, with a newly formed band called Fight, featuring Judas Priest drummer Scott Travis. The album opens with Into The Pit which has a drawn out distorted introduction before thunderous drums and guitars come in, Rob starts screaming right away, his voice not as powerful as it was on Painkiller however it does sound a bit more like their 70s material tone wise than he has in a long while, driving and aggressive with speedy and prominent drumming. The guitars are less melodic than his former band but they are nice and hard hitting throughout with a more 90s metal approach to them, back to basics and raw. It lacks the catchy approach one is accustomed to with Rob but it is a strong opening track. Nailed To The Gun comes in immediately, and it gives us a very different sounding Rob vocally, taking a more harsh approach in places with some mid ranged clean vocals in others. The best part of this track is the guitar work, it is pretty darn stellar throughout and the track has a heavy feel to it, one of the bands guitarists Russ Parrish is part of the parody rock band Steel Panther. Life In Black slows down slightly, at this point I'm starting to feel like something is missing chemistry wise for the band, Rob sounds super strong in spots when he goes into his high notes, and sounds good overall when not in the high notes. Something is definetely missing and the song is just okay. Immortal Sin starts promising it has a heavy crunch and Rob sings strongly in a lower tone. The track isn't phenomenal but it is a nice step back up in quality and different from the other songs thus far. War Of Words begins with a spoken work introduction, when the intro is done, the bass is prominent and Rob is wailing, the track is clearly political and the band does it quite well, the harder approach is suited for the message being told. Laid To Rest is closer to Life In Black and Immortal Sin, a solid mid tempo track, with a good solo.

For All Eternity comes in ballad like, the tempo increases for the chorus and it loses a little of something in this change, the verses are delivered excellently, a stellar melodic solo which feels incredibly well suited for the track leads into the bridge. A pretty darn good track. Little Crazy begins in an almost spoken word fashion, the track is an odd one. It is pretty good though. Fading in Contortion starts slow and balladlike, however it does pick up to a midtempo stomp. The track falls more into the groove metal approach and while I really like the fact that Rob is trying something new, this album isn't entirely my taste, this track falls into the not up my alley portion of the album. Not a bad song, just not for me. Kill It hits hard from the start, Scott delivering some stellar drumming, and the track sounds angry, but it clicks a lot more than the previous track does for me, while still being very much in the same vein as the previous track. Vicious stays true to its name right from the start, Rob sings closer to his typical sound at least for his midranged vocals. This track and the previous have pretty simple and repetative chorus' which holds them back slightly but doesn't stop them both from being killer tracks. Reality, A New Beginning looks like a massive epic upon first inspection however the track has 5 minutes of silence and a hidden track to it called Jesus Saves so I've split the two up, coming in with a crunchy riff, it sounds spacy in places with a sci fi feel to it throughout especially on the chorus. It is a pretty decent track. Jesus Saves ends off the album, it comes the fastest of any track thus far on the album. Vocally the strangest track of the album, but it has an odd charm to it.

Overall a very different sounding album for Rob to have released, high quality just not entirely my taste.

Into The Pit - 4/5
Nailed To The Gun - 3.5/5
Life In Black - 3/5
Immortal Sin - 4/5
War Of Words - 4/5
Laid To Rest - 3.5/5
For All Eternity - 4.5/5
Little Crazy - 3.5/5
Contortion - 3/5
Kill It - 4/5
Vicious - 4/5
Reality, A New Beginning - 3.5/5
Jesus Saves - 3.5/5

Adjusted 74%
Overall 74%
2.5 Stars
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

Stormbringer - Deep Purple
Format: Vinyl

In late 1974, Deep Purple unleashes their 9th album, Stormbringer, their second album of the year opens up with its title track. David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes sound amazing off the bat as the title track kicks into high gear, the track has a funky feel to it and wow does it shine as one of the bands great openers and a great track throughout, amazing harmonies, Ritchie is on fire throughout, Lord's keyboards add that lovely emphasis and Ian Paice has some wicked drum fills. An excellent track, radio friendly length with a nice catchy chorus. Top notch Purple. Love Don't Mean A Thing, comes in with some lighter guitar work, this album is known for being more bluesy than the earlier Deep Purple material, Coverdale as seen by his early Whitesnake material delivers some stellar bluesy influenced vocals and Glenn comes in making the song into a proper duet, this track feels more like a Whitesnake track than traditional Deep Purple but wow I love it, the two singers are excellent together. Over the outro solo there is some singing in the background. Holy Man is sung solely by Glenn his vocals are super soft and smooth, there is a great groove on this track. It isn't quite as strong as the previous two, but wow is this a great sentimental feeling track. Blackmore delivers some stellar and calm guitar work. Hold On closes out the first half it is a bit more upbeat and the two singers trade off on vocals, David sounds a lot more like typical Ian Gillan Deep Purple when comparring the two singers approaches to the vocals, Ritchie and John really shifted the bands direction with their appointment of these two as bass player and singers. This track doesn't quite have the full blown blues that the previous tracks have had, but it isn't hard rocking. It is a pleasent track but the weakest thus far.

Lady Double Dealer opens with a short drum fill before an uptempo guitar lick kicks in and the track is the fastest thus far, Coverdale is singing up a storm, the band has some phenomenal harmonies on this track. I know Blackmore was considering going more poppy with Rainbow and did so once he split with Ronnie this track, and album for that matter is really showing the signs right now about it. You Can't Do It Right comes in funky and that guitar lick is catchy, Glenn almost sounds like a woman singing in places, this track has a nice strong energy throughout, I'm actually surprised more people don't know much about this era of the band the songs are super accessible. High Ball Shooter continues the funky feel to it, I knew this album wasn't the heaviest Purple I would have heard, but what I didn't expect was just how fun of an album it would be. This track embodies that perfectly. The Gypsy slows right down becoming a moody track with a super interesting lick from Blackmore, the track tells a very clear story of a fortune teller, well constructed from start to finish. Soldier Of Fortune closes out the album, a sentimental ballad sung solely by Coverdale, an excellent display of Ritchie's acoustic work and Coverdale's amazing vocals. A touching close to the era as Ritchie would leave following with Stormbringer tour.

Stormbringer - 5/5
Love Don't Mean A Thing - 5/5
Holy Man - 4.5/5
Hold On - 3.5/5
Lady Double Dealer - 4.5/5
You Can't Do It Right (With The One You Love) - 4/5
High Ball Shooter - 4.5/5
The Gypsy - 4/5
Soldier Of Fortune - 5/5

Adjusted 89%
Overall 89%
4 Stars
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

Walk The Sky 2.0 - Alter Bridge
Format: CD/Digital

Alter Bridge has decided to release a live EP, with a new studio track due to the inability to tour currently, the six live tracks were recorded throughout the bands tour supporting the album, although from what the band has said they didn't know their management was recording them on these shows. Two of the songs performed from the album aren't present here being Take The Crown and Forever Falling which would have been nice to include but oh well we still get to hear six of the songs on official live releases. The EP begins with a new studio track recorded during the pandemic called Last Rites, it hits really hard off the start and Myles sounds pretty good, the opening verse has a lot of lines which call back to other songs from projects he is part of. The song has been comparred to Alice In Chains sound wise which while I can see some of the similarities I don't get the comparrison being drawn, it sounds like a midtempo heavy AB track, which it is. The chorus is pretty simple and effective, with some distortion on Myles vocals, the breakdown goes heavy on this distortion, maybe thats where the comparrisions are coming from. The song lacks a guitar solo from Mark which is something that was noticeable on Walk The Sky as a whole, the bottom end of the track is pretty darn impressive. I quite like the track as a whole. Wouldn't You Rather kicks off the live component of the EP, as it did all the concerts the band performed on this touring cycle, the track sounds quite similar to the studio version instrumentally, I was supposed to see the band on this tour but ended up having to sell my ticket prior to the show, not the most stellar performance, but as a whole it is quite strong still, the band sounds pretty tight and Myles sings quite well, there is moments where you can tell he is singing lower than the song originally had which makes sense in the live setting. Pay No Mind comes up next, the keyboards adding a new element to the band sounds and it comes across well, the drumbeat is really emphasized live by Flip the energy of this track does slip a little and it feels slower than the studio version which weakens it a bit, the slowed approach is most notable in Myles singing. An okay version of a pretty fun and catchy studio track. I do like how it feels heavier in the live setting.

Native Son fades in as it does in the studio version, although with the added in fade in and out from the live tracks not being edited to sound like a concert it does seem a little extra, the backing vocals from Mark on this track really shine, Myles sounds stronger here with the proper tempo of the track although he does shorten his notes on the chorus allowing Mark to sing the backing line more prominently. Native Son took me a while to get used to as a track, it was good but didn't click, now that it does I appreciate the way they performed it live and the track is quite strong live. Godspeed the synth ballad of sorts from the album opens up the bands encores for the tour, once again the synths sound good, the chorus is well delivered and the verses are done pretty solidly as well. It isn't a stellar performance but it really is a catchy track which shows off the bands ability to write hook filled radio friendly tracks. In The Deep is probably the strongest sounding of the live tracks, Myles completes the musical acrobatics from the studio version quite well and the track seems quite well fitting of their live sound. Dying Light closes out the EP, like it closed out the album, the only true ballad of the EP, with Godspeed being a less traditional form of the style, it has a miniature epic feel to it as the track does take one of the albums "epic" slots persay. A nice closer and well performed.

Last Rites - 4/5
Wouldn't You Rather - 4/5
Pay No Mind - 3/5
Native Son - 4/5
Godspeed - 4/5
In The Deep - 5/5
Dying Light - 4.5/5

Adjusted 82%
Overall 81%
3 Stars


12 more albums before I reach this years far less and achieveable goal.
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

Eliminator - ZZ Top
Format: Vinyl

ZZ Top's eighth studio album kicks off with Gimme All Your Lovin' a synth filled track with some real nasty guitar tones. It comes in with a good groove and beat to it, vocals are perfectly fitting to the sound of the song, there is a rawness to them which just suits this delivery, a stellar track to kick off the album with and a brilliant choice in lead single. Got Me Under Pressure follows up, the albums second single and it keeps the uptempo nature going by pressing further down on the gas pedal, the sound of the track is less "dirty" but there is a familliarity to it that I can't quite place, I'm not sure if it is my vinyl or if it is the mix but this track seems a bit quieter than the previous one, it has the catchy groove to it and the nice speedy delivery. A solid track through and through. Sharp Dressed Man comes up third and once again it is a single from the album, it comes in punchy with that nasty guitar sound. An incredibly catchy track with some excellent vocals. Perfect choice in single. I Need You Tonight is the albums longest track, it slows right down and delivers, an excellent extended solo is featured here. While not as great as the opener or Sharp Dressed Man this track is another really well written track. I Got The Six closes out the first side, comes in with a fast beatin' bass drum, fast punchy and to the point, a nice contrast to the long drawn out track previously.

Legs comes in with a fury of guitar work, Billy comes in quite quiet vocally, his singing is pretty clean on this track. The guitar is speedy and constantly going another of the albums many singles, Legs is a catchy track but thats mostly due to the guitar work from my perspective, the subject matter is quite clear. The track sounds very much like the time period it came from, with synth elements everywhere. Thug fades in from Legs the vocals it has a decent groove to it, the main feature is a really twangy guitar inbetween the verses, it isn't all that amazing. Tv Dinners is the final single on the album, having been released as the albums fourth single only followed by Legs in that aspect. The track comes in on the slower side, and I think I've figured out where the ZZ Top sweet spot is for me, being mid tempo tracks a little more on the faster side with some really nasty guitar work, IE: Gimme All Your Lovin and Sharp Dressed Man type tracks, when the band slows down too much the vocals don't fit the sound as effectively for me, the guitar tone is great on this track but if it were quicker it would have a much stronger energy. Dirty Dog comes in quite promising, it isn't as strong as the aforementioned singles but it is a step right back up in quality which is well appreicated. If I Could Only Flag Her Down is a poppier track, with Billy's vocals being the weak link in it, they just don't sound that good. The track has a nice energy to it. Bad Girl closes it all out, coming in with a live introduction, a fast punchy track with some quite good vocals. A nice way to end off the album.

Gimme All Your Lovin' - 5/5
Got Me Under Pressure - 4/5
Sharp Dressed Man - 5/5
I Need You Tonight - 4/5
I Got The Six - 4/5

Legs - 4/5
Thug - 3/5
TV Dinners - 3.5/5
Dirty Dog - 4.5/5
If I Could Only Flag Her Down - 3/5
Bad Girl - 4/5

Adjusted 80%
Overall 80%
3 Stars
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

Ballbreaker - AC/DC
Format: CD/Digital

Seeing as AC/DC has a new album out in 2 days I should probably focus on finishing off their remaining 3 albums to listen to. Ballbreaker is released in the fall of 1995, just over 5 years since their previous album The Razors Edge. Hard As A Rock opens up the album coming in with a slow building sound, the classic AC/DC guitar tone is in full force the track turns out to be a midtempo rocker. Brian sounds pretty good, not Back In Black good, but later years Brian good. The track isn't anything stellar but it does have a nice feel to it, very carefree with a pleasent sound from start to finish. The solo of the track is the component which has the most energy and it is full of AC/DC charm. Cover You In Oil comes in a bit more upbeat similarily to Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be, but then it slows right down, this track is completely sex fueled AC/DC the pre chorus is actually pretty good, but the chorus is super derivative. Verses are decent as well. As the track continues it gains a fair bit of energy and really begins to shine. The Furor continues the typical AC/DC blend of rock n roll Brian delivers a brutal vocal performance, his rasp is in full force here and he sounds stellar doing so, the track sounds very similar to Fuhrer which might explain why they didn't end up playing it live because this track is quite good, uptempo with every band member deliverying. Boogie Man slows right down almost to the tempo of tracks like The Jack; Brian sings in a nearly spoken word way as he introduces the track's storyline. It begins to build up a bit with the Young brothers delivering their trademark powerchords, with the drums and bass holding a consistent beat behind it all. While the music is nice and well delivered the tempo is a little slower than it should be. Honey Roll has a nice hook filled guitar introduction, the guitar lick is the strongest and only real worthwhile component of this track, although Brian rocks the ending. Burnin' Alive marks the halfway point it builds up and becomes a foot stomping rocker, and the quality increases a little bit, a pleasent track, but like most later era AC/DC it isn't absolutely amazing.

Hail Cesar opens the second half, and it screams Angus duck walk from the get go. The chorus would have been great live, and I believe this was played on the Ballbreaker Tour along with 3 other tracks, then has been left in the vault basically since because AC/DC doesn't revive songs post For Those About To Rock in their shows anymore, barring Thunderstruck and Rock N Roll Train that is. The track slows right down in the middle of it which provides a nice change from the usually formulaic AC/DC approach, this lower section would have been great for crowd interactions. Love Bomb continues this higher quality track trend. It is what you'd expect from AC/DC but does that make it a bad thing? Caught With Your Pants Down has a call and answer between Brian and the gang, it is a nice crunchy rocker. Whisky On The Rocks this one seems like a bit of a modernized Have A Drink On Me which isn't really a bad thing. Another pleasent track, really the only track which could be considered sub par thus far has been Honey Roll which wasn't even that bad. Ballbreaker closes it all out, it has a thundering bass line and both Malcolm and Angus sound great, the track has a very upbeat driving feel to it. The strongest track of the album it comes in grabs you and doesn't let go, Brian sounds much younger on this track than he has throughout the album. A great title track and an excellent closer.

As a whole Ballbreaker is a good album, not amazing, not bad, just a solid good rock album from a consistent band that you know what you're gonna get.

Hard As A Rock - 3.5/5
Cover You In Oil - 4/5
The Furor - 4/5
Boogie Man - 3.5/5
Honey Roll - 3/5
Burnin' Alive - 4/5
Hail Cesar - 4/5
Love Bomb - 4/5
Caught With Your Pants Down - 3.5/5
Whisky On The Rocks - 4/5
Ballbreaker - 5/5

Adjusted 77%
Overall 77%
3 Stars
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

Power Up - AC/DC
Format: CD/Digital

AC/DC has returned, after some years of uncertainty and rumors the Austrialia based rock band releases Power Up a tribute to Malcolm Young whom passed away nearly three years ago, I suspect their choice of release date had this factored in slightly. After radio silence from the band in terms of music of any kind they revealed the album a little over a month ago and here it is... PWR/UP. The albums second single Realize kicks it all off, coming in with power chords and some muffled wails from Brian the band feels re-energized, Cliff's bass thunders, and the pairing of Stevie and Angus unleash the power chords. Brian sounds incredibly strong on this track, his voice full of rasp and power, this doesn't sound like a man in his early 70s singing, it calls right back to the 80s, while not as impressive as back then, it surely is much stronger than he was on Rock or Bust. Rejection has a spotlight for Phil at the start before slowing down into a slower midtempo track, an enjoyable rocker, but definetely not on par with the brilliant opener, the backing vocals are well done and blended into Brian's leads. It is your typical AC/DC album track, not as catchy as the single, not an entirely brilliant track, but still an enjoyable listen. Shot In the Dark is the lead single, I wasn't a huge fan of it upon first listen, but that was because I was hoping for Axl to at least have some involvement, upon this relisten I find it has grown on me a little bit, it is a good track and would be nice to hear live... once we can have concerts again here in Canada, the chorus has an energy to it that screams party, carefree and fun. Through The Mists Of Time is not a very AC/DC sounding title, so I'm intruiged. It deviates slightly from their typical approach to a track, while staying very much in line with what you'd expect to hear. I like it a lot, Brian continues to sound amazing vocally although the age is showing a bit more here than on Realize. This track sounds like a track which should have been expanded into an old school AC/DC epic, like Overdose, For Those About To Rock or Let There Be Rock but alas we got a great accesible lenght track. Kick You When You're Down comes in slow but that guitar lick is brilliant, the track is solid throughout. Angus takes a nice solo on most of these tracks although none have really been lengthy persay. Witch's Spell's introduction sounds incredibly familliar but amazing at the same time, the way Brian sings the work "Spell" on the chorus just adds some nice element to the chorus. Well delivered.

Demon Fire was teased by the band to be a single however it wasn't released as one, the introduction is spoken in a low deep tone which is a nice touch before returning to the typical sounding vocals, Angus has a nice lick which just screams driving song. The track will likely be one of the albums tracks added into their live show, it just has that high energy feel to it and lets be real every time they sing the word fire they would probably have pyro go off because this is AC/DC after all. Wild Reputation has a thundering bass line, and is the albums shortest track, a nice short rocker which utilizes the low spoken approach part way through. No Man's Land comes up next, it is slower, which frankly I'm not a big fan of slow AC/DC usually we get tracks like The Jack when they go slow which don't do anything for me. It isn't too bad, not amazing probably on par with Rejection. Systems Down fades in and builds up it claims to be about a furnace... but I think it might mean something else entirely given todays political climate. It is a weaker 4, but a 4 nonetheless. Money Shot it has a nice catchy beat to it, and completely checks the boxes for a modern day track from the band. Not amazing but still pretty good. Code Red closes it all out, midpaced and on the heavier side much like the two previous albums closing tracks, Brian sings quick, a nice stomp beat.

From start to finish it is exactly what you'd expect from AC/DC a fun album which has some nice catchy hooks, a strong vocal performance from Brian and Angus doing what he does best, rock. Solid and consistent.

Realize - 4.5/5
Rejection - 3/5
Shot In The Dark - 4/5
Through The Mists Of Time - 4.5/5
Kick You When You're Down - 3.5/5
Witch's Spell - 4.5/5
Demon Fire - 4/5
Wild Reputation - 4/5
No Man's Land - 3/5
Systems Down - 4/5
Money Shot - 3.5/5
Code Red - 3.5/5

Adjusted 77%
Overall 77%
3 Stars
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

Wings Of Tomorrow - Europe
Format: CD/Digital

Europe's second album was released in early 1984, a much less polished sound than they would become known for is featured on this album. Stormwind comes in with some clean guitar, Joey Tempest has some strong pipes and this song comes in smooth. Not to say the band doesn't sound similar to their follow up here, but it isn't the fully polished approach yet. John Norum has a nice extended solo on this track and it shows the bands almost bluesy side in spots. A nice opening track. Scream Of Anger shifts further away from the Final Countdown sound, heavy and fast, with some really good vocals from Joey, his vocals don't sound quite harsh enough for the tone of the instruments but wow this track is brilliant. Open Your Heart clearly is a ballad from the title and the opening acoustic work makes the assumption clearly correct. It is pretty good, not a hit out of the park. Sentimental with a strong chorus. Treated Bad Again returns to the heavier approach, closer to Scream of Anger than Stormwind, a heavy stomping bass line, it is a dynamic track with slower more dramatic sections and others which are more straightforwards rocking. Aphasia a quicker paced instrumental track comes up next, one thing I will say about lighter rock/metal bands approaches to instrumentals is that the guitar tones sound much more smooth in them and as a result are more enjoyable to me. I still wish they had vocals but this one isn't bad and is quite impressive.

Wings Of Tomorrow comes up next hitting hard one again, the album seems to have done a bait and switch approach with the opener as it sounds quite different than the rest of the album, well barring the ballad. A catchy track with some nice higher backing vocals, the band is clearly onto a nice sound here, not a smash hits band approach but a solid midtier hard rock band vibe is being portrayed. Wasted Time has a gallop to it, a bit of a love song of sorts, one focused upon regret instead of the good times. Speedy with nice drumming throughout, the bass continues to gallop throughout. A beautiful solo is featured here. Lyin' Eyes continues the upbeat approach, it is the albums lead single and I feel it is an accurate an appropriate choice of single, it is on the harder side, while being accessible and a good picture of the sound the album presents. Dreamer slows down into a full blown piano ballad with string accompanyment, part of it feels like it could be an extension of Wasted Time. It isn;t the strongest ballad, but it is better than Open Your Heart although not enough to get a different rating. Dance The Night Away comes in with a fury to close out the album, probably the most heavy drumming on the album. Joey wails away, I'm getting hints of the bands much later performance of Lights Out here, and I like that side of Europe, I was tempted to purchase tickets to see them this summer opening for Foreigner and this song shows every aspect of why, it is fast catchy and hook filled, exactly what I'd want at a Europe concert.

Stormwind - 4/5
Scream of Anger - 4.5/5
Open Your Heart - 3.5/5
Treated Bad Again - 4/5
Aphasia - 4/5
Wings Of Tomorrow - 4.5/5
Wasted Time - 4.5/5
Lyin' Eyes - 4.5/5
Dreamer - 3.5/5
Dance The Night Away - 5/5

Adjusted 84%
Overall 84%
3.5 Stars


A good and consisent album
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

Leftoverture - Kansas
Format: CD/Digital

Kansas known for their opening track of this album and a previous albums hit, releases their fourth album. Carry On My Wayward Son opens up with Boston and Queen level harmonies before going into guitar work similar to what you would expect from the former. The bass line is catchy and the track is filled with excellent guitar interludes, Steve Walsh has a strong voice very fitting of the band's sound, a classic track that really has earned its feel good status and place in pop culture. The Wall comes in big with a mini solo section, the Queenisms are back, when vocals come in the sound shifts drastically, it has a mini-epic feel to it, the vocals are less poppy and more commanding overall than the previous track, the main centerpiece is the guitar work from Kerry Livgren. What's On My Mind increases in tempo a bit, this one falls back into the Boston sounding, I personally prefer Boston's vocals to Kansas however they still are pretty darn good, like the aforementioned band the guitar and keyboard combination is top notch and the stars of the show. Miracles Out Of Nowhere features Robby Steinhardt the bands violin player on vocals, this is the most different track thus far, the vocals are pretty good and the interplay has a nearly folk like feel to it in spots.

Opus Insert opens up the second half, it is a pretty direct track, keyboard driven with a ton of backing vocals and harmonies. A longer drawn out highnote leads into a xylophone solo? or so it sounds before becoming a proper keyboard solo. Questions Of My Childhood comes in, a fun midpaced track with an interesting introduction, it was the B-side to the albums opener when used as a single. Robby takes the lead for Cheyenne Anthem a 7minute track, it feels like a ballad, a slow moving and growing one at that, featuring some children's voices throughout it for emphasis adding a bit of the bands more progressive twist into the track. An extended solo section, the track is good but not quite on par with the others. Magnum Opus closes out the album, a 8.5 minute track which as a quite expansive introduction split into 6 shorter components each distinct and their own. Complex, dynamic and totally possible to see later progressive rock and metal bands like Dream Theater in bits and pieces of this track, it is quite impressive and closes out the album on a high note.

Carry On My Wayward Son - 5/5
The Wall - 4/5
What's On My Mind - 4.5/5
Miracles Out Of Nowhere - 4/5
Opus Insert - 3.5/5
Questions Of My Childhood - 4/5
Cheyenne Anthem - 3.5/5
Magnum Opus - 4.5/5

Adjusted 83%
Overall 83%
3.5 Stars


6 more albums then something special for album 465 and an attempt at a change of review format...
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

Bark At The Moon- Ozzy Osbourne
Format: CD/Digital

Ozzy releases his third solo album in the late fall of 1983, following the death of his previous guitar player Randy Rhodes he has hired Jake E Lee as his new axe man. Bark At The Moon comes in blazing and high energy, upbeat and the man's naturally unique vocals shine on this track, with a little help from some distortion. A great choice of opening track for the album, although it wasn't the opener on the European pressing of the album. A well written storyline throughout about a werewolf with an equally fitting cover art. You're No Different comes in fading before a keyboard sound which has an eerie feel to it begins, the track is a much slower track than the previous one. It is a nice slower track but it feels like a real drop in momentum which could have been capitalized on much better. Ozzy sounds phenomenal throughout the track it just isn't well placed despite being a good song. The song closes out with a really strong extended solo. Now You See Me (Now You Don't) comes in next a bit quicker with a crunch to it. It has a single esc feel to it but even then it isn't that great. It goes on too long and feels a little too generic. Rock N Roll Rebel closes the first half, it is the track which opens the European version of the album, it would have been a decent opener, especially since the title track would follow it up with some high energy. It doesn't shine as nicely.The solo is well done by Jake and the track as a whole is pleasent and a step back up in quality.

Centre Of Eternity opens ominously with the sounds of a bell and a symphonic organ sound soon after. It shifts into a rocker, the track was renamed Forever on the European release. The track has a mini-epic feel and works quite well, with the frontman being the weakest link, much like most of the work he is on... So Tired is a ballad and the albums second single, a mellow ballad without a ton of bombast to it, it is a decent radio track but not something I could see him playing live, which it was only 3 times. Slow Down, has an Easy Livin' feel to the beat and riff, this would have been a much better single than the previous track, it has keyboards to lighten it up and a pretty accesible sound throughout it. A pretty good track. Waiting For Darkness closes out the album, the keyboards are present here as well, it takes the best elements of the previous tracks and translates them onto a slightly more ballad like track. Not as effective but still quite good. A nice album closer.

Bark At The Moon - 5/5
You're No Different - 4/5
Now You See It (Now You Don't) - 3/5
Rock N Roll Rebel - 4/5
Centre of Eternity - 4/5
So Tired - 3/5
Slow Down - 4.5/5
Waiting For Darkness - 4/5

Adjusted 79%
Overall 79%
3 Stars
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

Angry Machines - Dio
Format: CD/Digital

Ronnie's solo band, releases their 7th album Angry Machines an album which from what I've heard is the beginning of a decline in quality of the legends albums for the remainder of the band's career. Institutional Man comes in heavy, much like the sound of Black Sabbath which makes sense given the relatively recent history with the band. Tracy G handles the axe work here and it is hard and heavy from the very start, there is a clear mental asylum feeling to this track, it is a strong opener and provides a positive start to the album. Don't Tell The Kids has a speedy drum breakdown from Vinny Appice the tempo is quick similar to Stand Up And Shout the chorus is pretty simple and decent. The drumming is the spotlight of the track, Ronnie sounds strong but there are some hints of age sneaking in at different points in the track. Black one of the albums shortest tracks it keeps the good quality of the other tracks thus far. Hunter Of The Heart opens with a mini bass solo, it is a decent midtempo track but there are moments where the effects on Ronnie's vocals hold back the track a bit, a solid track but not amazing. Stay Out Of My Mind is the albums longest track, clocking in at over 7 minutes it appears to fill the role of epic on the album. To an extent it does this, it doesn't hit as powerfully as All The Fools Sailed Away, but it is strong. There is an atmospheric mid section which sounds straight out of a horror film. A well constructed epic, and rather unique.

Big Sister kicks off the second half it is a slower crunchy track, Ronnie sounds better here than he did on Hunter Of The Heart even with the drawn out and distortion. It is a bit of a bumpy opening but the track really comes together. Double Monday is the albums shortest track not quite 3 minutes in length, it feels like filler as a whole, not bad filled but filler, until the track shifts at the halfway point and reveals it actually is a higher quality track with a nice surprising acoustic section. I like it. Golden Rules opens with twinkle twinkle little star played on piano, a solid hard rocker with a nice headbanging riff throughout. Dying America has another bass introduction, it is a solid midtempo track. This Is Your Life closes it all out, a piano ballad which is rather different for Dio but is incredibly well done, soft and thoughtful, the track was used as the title track for Ronnie's tribute album and frankly it is the best track on the album.

Institutional Man - 4/5
Don't Tell The Kids - 4/5
Black - 4/5
Hunter Of The Heart - 3/5
Stay Out Of My Mind - 4.5/5
Big Sister - 4/5
Double Monday - 4.5/5
Golden Rules - 3.5/5
Dying America - 3.5/5
This Is Your Life - 5/5

Adjusted 80%
Overall 80%
3 Stars
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

2wo - Voyeurs
Format: CD/Digital

2wo's sole album kicks off with I Am A Pig, the band being the second solo project from Rob Halford, this time he partners up with John Lowery from Rob Zombie. The opening is hard and powerful, and Rob sings in a rather different approach than one is used to, focusing on his midrange and clean voice, the band sounds strong and the track is hard hitting, honestly Rob sounds a little out of place but he is showing a very different side of his voice which works. I'm not sure if this project would be better without him in it but it starts promising. Stutter Kiss, continues on this different sounding approach, it feels very 90s hard rock/metal, the chorus is pretty lame, but the verses are strong. Top notch playing throughout. Water's Leaking slows down slightly, a soft verse allows for a more familliar sounding Rob, however the chorus is hard hitting and filled with distortion. A high quality track which shows off some more low vocals with a bit of rasp to them similar to Judas Rising in some places. My Ceiling's Low feels electronic in a sense from the introduction. This track feels a bit weaker, the chorus is frankly lame, this could have been a really cool darker ballad but it misses the mark. It is a decent rocker but has a lot of unused potential. Leave Me Alone hits like a truck, a hard hitting rocker with some drawn out vocals. Thus far I'm enjoying this project more than Fight but less than Halford sonically. If marks the halfway point of the album, it comes in with a sci fi sounding introduction, calmer and synthy. It doesn't click for me.

Deep In The Ground starts similarily but more upbeat that If, the song sounds familliar, it is a step back upwards, not to the heights of most of the first half but a stronger song nonetheless. I swear this approach to vocals I've heard before somewhere and the song was good. Hey, Sha La La, the chorus is pretty generic, and the track is a nice upbeat tempo for the most part with some psychedelic sections intermixed into the track. Wake Up, is another lighter feeling track, fast paced and accessible. I'm not a huge industrial fan but this album has been pretty decent. Gimp brings the quality back up a bit more, a crunchy rocker. Rob hasn't used his trademark scream which I think it a testament to how strong of a vocalist he is that he doesn't have to rely on the skill... even if it would be nice to hear one or two. Bed Of Rust closes it all out, it opens with the sound of a train in the distance and some sci fi sounding effects. Rob comes in slowly and the track begins to grow, it is a nice moodier track.

I Am A Pig - 4.5/5
Stutter Kiss - 4/5
Water's Leaking - 4.5/5
My Ceiling's Low - 3.5/5
Leave Me Alone - 4.5/5
If - 2.5/5
Deep In The Ground - 3.5/5
Hey, Sha La La - 3.5/5
Wake Up - 3.5/5
Gimp - 4/5
Bed Of Rust - 4/5

Adjusted 76%
Overall 76%
3 Stars
 

MrKnickerbocker

clap hands

Angry Machines - Dio
Format: CD/Digital

Ronnie's solo band, releases their 7th album Angry Machines an album which from what I've heard is the beginning of a decline in quality of the legends albums for the remainder of the band's career. Institutional Man comes in heavy, much like the sound of Black Sabbath which makes sense given the relatively recent history with the band. Tracy G handles the axe work here and it is hard and heavy from the very start, there is a clear mental asylum feeling to this track, it is a strong opener and provides a positive start to the album. Don't Tell The Kids has a speedy drum breakdown from Vinny Appice the tempo is quick similar to Stand Up And Shout the chorus is pretty simple and decent. The drumming is the spotlight of the track, Ronnie sounds strong but there are some hints of age sneaking in at different points in the track. Black one of the albums shortest tracks it keeps the good quality of the other tracks thus far. Hunter Of The Heart opens with a mini bass solo, it is a decent midtempo track but there are moments where the effects on Ronnie's vocals hold back the track a bit, a solid track but not amazing. Stay Out Of My Mind is the albums longest track, clocking in at over 7 minutes it appears to fill the role of epic on the album. To an extent it does this, it doesn't hit as powerfully as All The Fools Sailed Away, but it is strong. There is an atmospheric mid section which sounds straight out of a horror film. A well constructed epic, and rather unique.

Big Sister kicks off the second half it is a slower crunchy track, Ronnie sounds better here than he did on Hunter Of The Heart even with the drawn out and distortion. It is a bit of a bumpy opening but the track really comes together. Double Monday is the albums shortest track not quite 3 minutes in length, it feels like filler as a whole, not bad filled but filler, until the track shifts at the halfway point and reveals it actually is a higher quality track with a nice surprising acoustic section. I like it. Golden Rules opens with twinkle twinkle little star played on piano, a solid hard rocker with a nice headbanging riff throughout. Dying America has another bass introduction, it is a solid midtempo track. This Is Your Life closes it all out, a piano ballad which is rather different for Dio but is incredibly well done, soft and thoughtful, the track was used as the title track for Ronnie's tribute album and frankly it is the best track on the album.

Institutional Man - 4/5
Don't Tell The Kids - 4/5
Black - 4/5
Hunter Of The Heart - 3/5
Stay Out Of My Mind - 4.5/5
Big Sister - 4/5
Double Monday - 4.5/5
Golden Rules - 3.5/5
Dying America - 3.5/5
This Is Your Life - 5/5

Adjusted 80%
Overall 80%
3 Stars
Might be the highest score Angry Machines has ever received.
 
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