Random album reviews

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
You have to review an album you really despise (finally some low ratings! :devil2: ) and then I'll post mine.
I didn’t hold back in my St. Anger review. I suppose this could be interesting, another stab at Jugulator...?
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
@The Dissident and other reviewers: What do you think about a Review Challenge?
You have to review an album you really despise (finally some low ratings! :devil2: ) and then I'll post mine.

I feel like I should mention, while I recognize my reviews are often in what some would consider higher percentage wise, I do have several which I'm not a fan of. But seeing as I've reviewed nearly 400 albums with the same scale going back and changing things would be well a major pain. Some examples:

Long Live Rock N Roll by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts - 65%. I'd say on a 5 star system was a 1-1.5 star album at best.
High Voltage by AC/DC - 74%, probably around 2-2.5 stars.

I consider albums around 80% to be at roughly a 3/5 star rating. So while yes looking at it % based they look very high when actuality, an album at 90% is in the 4-4.5/5 range.

Although I've been on a Sabbath kick lately which means I will probably be picking up the last 3 70s Ozzy albums... in addition to as much of the non-Ozzy/Dio albums as I can get for decent prices so we may see some lower numbers. At least on the Ozzy albums we likely will. [Seventh Star, Eternal Idol, Headless Cross and Sabotage are coming in the mail, as is Dream Theater's Debut... speaking of which I do need to listen to The Astonishing]
 
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MindRuler

Ancient Mariner
Saga – Pleasure & The Pain
Polydor (1997) // total playing time = 44:26

saga.jpg

I don’t know why there’s “Pleasure” in the title because this is definitely the worst album Saga ever recorded. These Canadians made some masterpieces in the past (Silent Knight, Worlds Apart and Heads Or Tales to name a few) but this disc is Saga unworthy. It's also the only Saga album that features Glen Sobel on drums. Opener Heaven Can Wait is pretty decent but never reaches the level of their best work. How Do You Feel is a modern groovy rock song with annoying vocal lines from Sadler in the chorus. Welcome To The Zoo follows the same direction as the previous song and has a slightly better chorus. And now we come to the part where it’s getting cringy: irritating house beats accompanied with heavy riffs is what you get in Where’s My Money? Awful! Then we’ll get a modern sounding reworked version of the Saga classic You’re Not Alone. Question: Why on earth would you rerecord an allready perfect song? I’ve heard better covers on YouTube. Speaking about covers: next comes the butchering of The Beatles' Taxman. That’s 3 bad songs in a row! You Were Made For Me sounds more like a rejected B-side to me. It’s uninspiring at best. The same can be said about Gonna Give It To Ya with its acoustic guitars and ridiculous housebeats. They don't fit together well. Maybe you don’t believe me but there is actually a highlight on this turd: Fantastically Wrong isn’t wrong at all but a super prog beast with eastern melodies and many tempo changes! Fantastic song! But unfortunately one brilliant song can’t save a whole album. The closing title track is an acoustic short song which isn’t that bad either but it reminds me of another Saga song so I gotta give less points for it. Conclusion: Pleasure And The Pain brings more pain than pleasure. It’s their Dedicated To Chaos, their Lulu. It’s not the worst album in my collection though: I was lucky enough to sell this disc instead of using it as a frisbee. I hope its new owner found more pleasure in it then I did. Avoid at all costs! Better listen to Fantastically Wrong on YouTube.



Heaven Can Wait – 6/10
How Do You Feel? – 5/10
Welcome To The Zoo – 6/10
Where’s My Money? – 3/10
You’re Not Alone ’97 – 3/10
Taxman – 1/10
You Were Made For Me – 5/10
Gonna Give It To Ya – 4/10
Fantastically Wrong – 9/10
Pleasure And The Pain – 6/10

TOTAL = 48%
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

Presto - Rush
Format: CD/Digital

Rush's thirteenth album and the final album released in the 80s for the band is Presto it begins with a slow drum based introdcution which builds up the keyboards in the background before the band all comes in at once. Show Don't Tell is the name of the track, a track which shows off the bands talent instrumentally throughout itself. Vocally well Geddy isn't the most stunning vocalist but he does a pretty good job overall with some really good moments here and there but as a whole his voice is the weakest part of this track. While the track is quite complex it has a very commercial sound to it which makes it easy to listen to and quite catchy with its lenghty chorus. Chain Lightning continues on the comercial souding approach the band had adopted in the 80s the chorus has a bit of a more mystic vocal delivery. The track shows how well Geddy's voice can work with the bands signature sound, although it as a whole isn't as good as the previous track in the total package aspect of it. It is quite good but not great. The Pass comes up next, this is one of my all time favourite Rush tracks, everything works perfectly together. Neil's powerful, thought provoking, empowering and haunting lyrics. The track is a work of art from start to finish. A perfect combination of the trio's skills. War Paint picks the pace up a little bit. Continuing on the thoughtful lyrics which have been a theme in all of Rush's works throughout, this track seems to be tackling the concept of self image from both male and female perspectives. The back half of the track is stronger than the start but it is a good song throughout. Scars comes in with a quick "hey!" Neil's drumming provides a very evident foot stomping beat along with Geddy's bass. The keyboard fill after the chorus screams 1980s rock. The track is solid throughout, it briefly picks up with a minute left but the whole track could have been stronger with that added emphasis throughout. The title track, kicks off with a chorus sample before going into acoustic verses, the first set of verses and chorus are quite stripped back, the chorus more so from a guitar standpoint featuring more keyboards during it than Alex's axe. This trend continues following the first chorus, it is pleasent but nothing here screams amazing. Alex does deliver a nice solo on this track, which fits the more stripped back approach quite nicely. Superconductor has lower guitar and bass work from the start. The chorus and prechorus are well written muscially and lyrically, it pulls the listener in and keeps them in. Verses aren't as strong, and the lower sounding approach is found in the verses more prominently. The downside of the chorus is it does suffer from some repettition. Anagram a track which features the gimmick that every line has a word which shares all the same letters with another. Alex is the star early on in the track, also the keyboards get some spotlight on this track. It is a good track but not quite on par with the two prior. Red Tide is another track that screams 80s from the introduction, some religious imagry comes in here as well, there was some on previous tracks on the album as well. The track ebbs and flows in terms of energy like the tide, it works! Another stompable beat introduces Hand Over Fist, there is a lyrical reference to rock, paper scissors, following the second chorus there is clear anger in Geddy's voice for a second, a very different emotion than the rest of the album. Chorus wise it is rather calm and almost indifferent sounding compared to the anger. The track closes out with the two different chorus components overlaping over eachother. Available Light closes out the album a much slower track than almost ballad like. The track follows this structure and is a decent ballad. A really consistent album closes out in such fashion.

Show Don't Tell - 8.5/10
Chain Lightning -8/10
The Pass - 10/10
War Paint -9/10
Scars -7.5/10
Presto -8/10
Superconductor -8/10
Anagram (For Mongo) - 7.5/10
Red Tide -8/10
Hand Over Fist -8/10
Available Light -8/10

Adjusted 82%
Overall 82%
3.5 Stars
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
Well this might fall under the catagory of album I hate, or at least I did when I listened to it for the only time a few years ago. Seeing as it is the only Scorpions studio album I haven't done on here I may aswell finish off the discography...


Eye II Eye - Scorpions
Format: Digital

Eye II Eye is essentially always labeled as the worst Scorpions record, the only albums which come close in many ratings are Pure Instinct and Lonesome Crow depending on if the reviewer digs Lonesome Crow or not. This pop fueled album opens with Mysterious, which begins promising with a nice and heavy riff before the band backs off right away and the track takes an incredibly pop fueled approach... and this is the band that released Savage Amusement. An opening track in the past has been hard hitting and full of hooks, this track has a nice prechorus and Klaus' unique vocals are well used despite the fact that the track isn't all that special, and he performs nicely on the prechorus but the rest of the track is lackluster. It is one of the few songs from the album which I have listened to outside of the first round through. To think James Kottak joined the band for this album, one of the bands most entertaining drummers being left on this well waste of his talents. Maybe Mikky Dee's debut studio album with them will be stronger. I sure hope it is since it more than likely could be their last. To Be No. 1 continues to fall under the poppier style the band clearly is going for. I will give the band credit for trying to find a way to survive the 90s when their contemporaries from the 80s scene have fallen by the wayside for most cases. Once again the prechorus is the best part of this track and for a second I thought this track could be something stronger that I forgot about, there is a groove to it but the track lacks energy except during the prechorus where it shows the band can still rock pretty well, I wish they took that energy and used it throughout the song. Not a great scorpions track but one which does have some catch to it. Jabs does a nice talkbox solo which is really the highlight of the track from an instrumental standpoint. Obsession falls back into the early Scorpions tradition that song #3 is a ballad, acoustic and soft, Klaus sings his incredibly unique voice sounds quite bare on the verses with the backing vocals being over polished. There is a very pop and R&B vibe in sections, and the track becomes incredibly disjointed as the band continues to tie in various elements into it. The previous few albums have seen an increase in outside writers joining the band for collaborations. I think this is part of the issue, it doesn't feel like a genuine Scorpions track. I love ballads, especially Scorpions ballads, but this one sucks. This is the ONLY Scorpions album I don't own in hard copy but have the itunes for the album, and I really doubt that will change anytime soon... or ever. 10 Light Years Away comes in with more acoustic guitar, what I can say nicely about the album is that Klaus is trying to find new ways to sing the bands songs and he does a good job with this but the tracks just suck. It isn't as bad as the previous but it the singers pipes don't save the song from being forgettable. Mind Like A Tree took me by surprise, ti sounded like a rocker! And the track actually stays this way, far more enjoyable than the last 2 tracks, however while it is a solid rocker it really doesn't live up to the normal Scorpions rocker, but for this album it is stellar to finally have an actual rocker at the 1/3rd completetion of the album mark. I likely won't listen to it for a long while but it is a decent track. The title track comes up next a tribute to both Rudolf's and Klaus' fathers an emotional track, which is a nice tribute but the band has written far more powerful and emotive tracks and this track deserves a more powerful arrangement. I'd be interested in seeing a redone version of this track. The next track opens with some harmonies and these while nice really aren't worth writing home about. Another slow track which does builds as it goes on. Klaus remains the strongest part of the track as he has been throughout most of the album, there are glimpses of true Scorpions magic throughout. Thus far I will say the album isn't as bad as I remember but it remains a major letdown for the legendary german metal band. Skywriter goes full pop sound and I don't like it. Yellow Butterfly starts off weird then goes into what could be a decent mid tempo rock riff, this then shifts away and goes slow for the verse with the riff serving as a connective piece between it and the next. The chorus is a bit of a mess, too many different vocal layers it wouldn't be possible to actually perform this with the band. And an overall waste of a good riff, like is actually is one of the 3 rocking riffs we have heard on the album and it is wasted completely. Freshly Squeezed actually continues on the attempt to make a pop rocker, and Klaus misses the mark vocally, yea it just doesn't work at all. Priscilla also oddly continues on the upbeat approach, how they decided to order this album just seems really weird. A track which shows hints of the old Scorpions and of the songs to come. It doesn't hit the mark but it isn't too bad! Du Bist So Schmutzig the first and currently only track in the bands catalog which features them singing in their native german tongue it is another track which could have been much better. Backing vocals are well not good and the extra singing just doesn't fit. Aleyah tries the same bait and switch approach of the previous tracks but at this point one should expect it. It isn't great but there has been worse before it. A Moment In A Million Years is the album closer, a piano based ballad a thank you to the fans at the end of a show. Klaus delivers his best performance from the album, a stellar ballad from the band, and I believe the only song from the album to appear after its album tour.

Mysterious - 7.5/10
To Be No. 1 - 7.5/10
Obsession - 6/10
10 Light Years Away - 6/10
Mind Like Tree - 7.5/10
Eye II Eye - 7.5/10
What U Give U Get Back -7/10
Skywriter -6/10
Yellow Butterfly - 6.5/10
Freshly Squeezed - 6/10
Priscilla - 7/10
Du Bist So Schmutzig - 6.5/10
Aleyah - 7/10
A Moment In A Million Years - 8.5/10

Adjusted 69%
Overall 69%
1.5 Stars


Yea I won't be buying a hard copy of this anytime soon.
 

MindRuler

Ancient Mariner

Presto - Rush
Format: CD/Digital

Rush's thirteenth album and the final album released in the 80s for the band is Presto it begins with a slow drum based introdcution which builds up the keyboards in the background before the band all comes in at once. Show Don't Tell is the name of the track, a track which shows off the bands talent instrumentally throughout itself. Vocally well Geddy isn't the most stunning vocalist but he does a pretty good job overall with some really good moments here and there but as a whole his voice is the weakest part of this track. While the track is quite complex it has a very commercial sound to it which makes it easy to listen to and quite catchy with its lenghty chorus. Chain Lightning continues on the comercial souding approach the band had adopted in the 80s the chorus has a bit of a more mystic vocal delivery. The track shows how well Geddy's voice can work with the bands signature sound, although it as a whole isn't as good as the previous track in the total package aspect of it. It is quite good but not great. The Pass comes up next, this is one of my all time favourite Rush tracks, everything works perfectly together. Neil's powerful, thought provoking, empowering and haunting lyrics. The track is a work of art from start to finish. A perfect combination of the trio's skills. War Paint picks the pace up a little bit. Continuing on the thoughtful lyrics which have been a theme in all of Rush's works throughout, this track seems to be tackling the concept of self image from both male and female perspectives. The back half of the track is stronger than the start but it is a good song throughout. Scars comes in with a quick "hey!" Neil's drumming provides a very evident foot stomping beat along with Geddy's bass. The keyboard fill after the chorus screams 1980s rock. The track is solid throughout, it briefly picks up with a minute left but the whole track could have been stronger with that added emphasis throughout. The title track, kicks off with a chorus sample before going into acoustic verses, the first set of verses and chorus are quite stripped back, the chorus more so from a guitar standpoint featuring more keyboards during it than Alex's axe. This trend continues following the first chorus, it is pleasent but nothing here screams amazing. Alex does deliver a nice solo on this track, which fits the more stripped back approach quite nicely. Superconductor has lower guitar and bass work from the start. The chorus and prechorus are well written muscially and lyrically, it pulls the listener in and keeps them in. Verses aren't as strong, and the lower sounding approach is found in the verses more prominently. The downside of the chorus is it does suffer from some repettition. Anagram a track which features the gimmick that every line has a word which shares all the same letters with another. Alex is the star early on in the track, also the keyboards get some spotlight on this track. It is a good track but not quite on par with the two prior. Red Tide is another track that screams 80s from the introduction, some religious imagry comes in here as well, there was some on previous tracks on the album as well. The track ebbs and flows in terms of energy like the tide, it works! Another stompable beat introduces Hand Over Fist, there is a lyrical reference to rock, paper scissors, following the second chorus there is clear anger in Geddy's voice for a second, a very different emotion than the rest of the album. Chorus wise it is rather calm and almost indifferent sounding compared to the anger. The track closes out with the two different chorus components overlaping over eachother. Available Light closes out the album a much slower track than almost ballad like. The track follows this structure and is a decent ballad. A really consistent album closes out in such fashion.

Show Don't Tell - 8.5/10
Chain Lightning -8/10
The Pass - 10/10
War Paint -9/10
Scars -7.5/10
Presto -8/10
Superconductor -8/10
Anagram (For Mongo) - 7.5/10
Red Tide -8/10
Hand Over Fist -8/10
Available Light -8/10

Adjusted 82%
Overall 82%
3.5 Stars
Nice to see the praise for Presto! An underrated album (so is Roll The Bones!) The Pass is brilliant! My least favorite on it is Scars.
 
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The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
Nice to see the praise for Presto! An underrated album (so is Roll The Bones!) The Pass is brilliant! My least favorite on it is Scars.

I had all the albums from Presto through Snakes and Arrows come in today, all of them will get a chance although it is the remixed version of Vapor Trails. I have several more albums to get to soon I'll post them in a spoiler below so people sort of know what to expect in the near future. Although these are in no particular order and some bands/albums are higher priority, I might be missing some and there are some which might just get left off completely.

  • AC/DC - Blow Up Your Video
  • AC/DC - Ballbreaker
  • AC/DC - Stiff Upper Lip
  • Black Sabbath - Sabotage
  • Black Sabbath - Technical Ecstasy
  • Black Sabbath - Never Say Die!
  • Black Sabbath - Seventh Star
  • Black Sabbath - The Eternal Idol
  • Black Sabbath - Headless Cross
  • Bon Jovi - Crush
  • Bon Jovi - Bounce
  • Bon Jovi - Have A Nice Day
  • Bon Jovi - Lost Highway
  • Bon Jovi - The Circle
  • Bon Jovi - What About Now
  • Bon Jovi - Burning Bridges
  • Bon Jovi - This House Is Not For Sale
  • Deep Purple - Slaves & Masters
  • Deep Purple - The Battle Rages On
  • Deep Purple - Purpendicular
  • Dio - Angry Machines
  • Dio - Magica
  • Dio - Killing The Dragon
  • Dream Theater - When Day and Dream Unite
  • Dream Theater - The Astonishing
  • Dream Theater - Live At Luna Park
  • Dream Theater - Score [Listened but didn't do a review so this may just get dropped]
  • Heart - Private Audition
  • Heart - Passionworks
  • Heart - Heart
  • Heart - Bad Animals
  • Heart - Brigade
  • Heart - Desire Walks On
  • Heart - Beautiful Broken
  • Judas Priest - Nostrodomas
  • Led Zeppelin - How The West Was Won
  • Metallica - Load
  • Metallica - ReLoad
  • Metallica - Death Magnetic
  • Metallica - Hardwired To Self Destruct
  • Queen - Made In Heaven
  • Ratt - Invasion Of Your Privacy
  • Ratt - Dancing Undercover
  • Ratt - Reach For The Sky
  • Ratt - Detonator
  • The Rolling Stones - Exile On Main Street
  • The Rolling Stones - Goats Head Soup
  • Rush - Roll The Bones
  • Rush - Counterparts
  • Rush - Test For Echo
  • Rush - Vapor Trails - Remix
  • Rush - Snakes & Arrows
  • Velvet Revolver -Libritad
  • W.A.S.P. - Double Live Assassins
  • Whitesnake - Good To Be Bad
 
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Jer

My sins are many
Nice to see the praise for Presto! An underrated album (so is Roll The Bones!) The Pass is brilliant! My least favorite on it is Scars.
Presto is also in the upper half of my list. I think “Scars“ is a grower, and once it gets its hypnotic hooks in you you’ll appreciate it more.
 

MindRuler

Ancient Mariner
Presto is also in the upper half of my list. I think “Scars“ is a grower, and once it gets its hypnotic hooks in you you’ll appreciate it more.
My least favorite 80's Rush album but I'd pick Presto over every 70's Rush album (minus AFTK and Hemispheres!) and every album coming after Test For Echo.
 
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The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
Time to finish off all of the Halford era of Judas Priest.

Nostradamus - Judas Priest
Format: CD/Digital

The final Judas Priest album to feature KK Downing is a sprawling 2 disc album bloated with introductory tracks, opening up the album comes a track called Dawn Of Creation, for these introductory tracks I will just be lumping them into the track that follows them because while they appear to be nice little tracks they serve little purpose aside from being a lengthy introduction to already long tracks. Prophecy is the first true track clocking in at 5 and a half minutes it comes in from the ending of the previous track which builds up quite a bit and segues perfectly into it, why was it not just one track I have no idea. Halford comes in strong but his voice has aged, the band sounds tight and the concept record is underway. Low and crunchy throughout with Halford playing it pretty safe for the most part vocally, his aged vocals quite strong but is clearly lacking on some of the range he is known for. I believe I read somewhere that this was probably the lowest point vocally in the bands career for him, if thats the case he still is showing up pretty darn strong. An interesting opener. Awakening is another of these segue tracks this one featuring some lyrics, Rob sounds decent, this could be where the seeds for Sea Of Red came from. Revelations segues in from the short transition, the, first, verse, is, broken, up, and, it, is, a, pain, to, listen, to. Without the fluidity of the normal verse format the song is a little hard to get hooked into. Once it shifts to a more fluid approach the track improves. This track really feels like it needs orchestral backing there is clear attempts at a more dynamic approach but the twin guitar attack doesn't quite reach it. The solo section is the highlight of this track, it really adds a lot of energy which has been lacking in it thus far and it provides a glimpse into a more classic sounding Judas Priest album which is burried under all the themes of the album. The outro continues on the stronger side but when the track is 8 minutes long, saving the best for last isn't always the greatest plan. Another introductory track segues towards War, a haunting little piece known as The Four Horsemen features some great lower vocals from Rob. War features some notablely more emphasised drumming than the previous tracks, the track doesn't really feature a solo section persay but instead a lenghty interlude within itself which sounds more thematic with the subject matter of war and the heavier drumming brings forth this imagry quite strongly. It is an okay track. As we enter track number 7 we are treated with another interlude/introductory track. Pestilence and Plague comes in fast and aggressive, much more traditional Priest sounding with the speedy guitar and drum assault. I believe the chorus is sung in Latin but I could be very wrong on that front. Driving, powerful with some great orchestral backing, this is the first track since Prophecy which really feels like a true Priest track and it is one which I feel would be overlooked due to being in the middle of this bloated album. Death comes up next, the first track on the album which doesn't feature a separate introduction! The tolling of bells is heard and a choir sings solemnly, we also get a tease of a high note from Rob, the track takes a couple steps back from the amazingness of the previous track, I feel like this is Priest's attempt at making a dark and moody war track similar to War Pigs. It is a solid track, sprawling and it would be more effective if the album wasn't feeling so bloated at the 1/3rd mark. Peace segues into Conquest. This track continues on the approach of slowly feeling more like Priest. I feel like at this point the bloated epics are getting a little old and the album needs some shorter punchy tracks to really warrant the fact that the album isn't even halfway through!!!! Lost Love opens up with a piano introduction but the tracks overall length is a fair bit shorter than the others, but the track is a ballad and really the album doesn't need a slow track right now, the flow of the concept record really has been on the slower side throughout. I don't mind the track but the album doesn't need it. Disc 1 closes out with Persecution, a whispered vocal introduction, which seems quite different from the rest of the song, seems off that this isn't separated based on how the album has been going thus far. Oh well, we get a speedier rocker coming in after the introduction is done. Quite quick as the track progresses. I could have seen this being a strong opening track to a tradtitional album.

Disc 1:
Dawn Of Creation/Prophecy - 8.5/10
Awakening/Revelations - 7.5/10
The Four Horsemen/War -7/10
Sands Of Time/Pestilence and Plague - 9/10
Death - 8/10
Peace/Conquest -7.5/10
Lost Love -7.5/10
Persecution -8/10

Disc 2 opens with Solitude a track that introduces Exiled at this point I'm pretty sick of the introductions, the album could have probably been a nice single disc without the many 1-3 minutes introductions. Exiled is fairly slow and there are moments where it could be quite good but it just doesn't the track starts to get interesting in the last two minutes with Rob reaching for the high notes singing fairly dramatically, it is too long and bloated. Alone begins with acoustic guitar, and the track stays in this acoustic format with orchestral backing until the end of the first chorus when the band picks up slightly becoming more electric. There is some actual wails from Halford on the chorus which is a welcome addition, but seriously it is proper track 10 before we hear him let loose any screams? It suffers from its length. Shadows In Flames is a little acoustic piece which leads into Visions, which is the albums second single, so I would have expected it to be a little more traditional but being that this album isn't known for being traditional I'm not surprised when the track isn't. It is the best track thus far on this disc. But well the previous two haven't been much to write home about. Hope/New Beginnings is another symphonic track. I don't have much more to complain about. The album has so many moments but none of them are big enough to save the tracks they are on from being bloated and on an album with too many songs. The final segue track Calm Before The Storm introduces the title track... clearly it doesn't know that the whole album has been relatively calm. The title track comes in and it sounds like Judas Priest is attempting to lead an opera before it suddenly launches into a hard rocking track, a brutal wail and actual speed and upbeat performance. Where has this energy been for the last hour and 20 minutes? A solid rocker which is a welcome addition to this very lackluster disc. Album closer Future of Mankind is the longest track on the album, barring the inclusion of the interludes in the actual songs lengths that is. It is a pretty good track throughout, but it begins after an hour and a half of dramatic symphonic rock. I feel like if the majority of this second disc was gone I would find the track much stronger as I would be less burnt out from listening to it. It is one of the better tracks on the album but it comes in quite late.

Disc 2:
Solitude/Exiled -6.5/10
Alone -7/10
Shadows In Flames/Visions -7/10
Hope/New Beginnings -6.5/10
Calm Before The Storm/Nostradamus -8.5/10
Future Of Mankind -8/10

Adjusted 76%
Overall 76%
2.5 Stars
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

Roll The Bones - Rush
Format: CD/Digital

Rush's fourteenth studio album opens with the sounds of cars in rain, Dreamline slowly comes in, the synths are heavily featured here and the track feels quite upbeat and poppy which makes sense as it is the first of the albums 6 singles! Geddy sounds fantastic on this track. The synths don't sound dated the lyrics are lighter and positive, the driving, fun and upbeat. I see why this track became a live staple, it is a brilliant composition. Bravado is up next, a song which the name I recognize but I haven't heard before. It is slower at the start compared to the previous track, it is a pleasent track but it never really takes off like it could, the tempo is still a little too quick for the emotional powerballad feel it could have gone for but it isn't fast enough for the uptempo rocker it could have been and it hints towards this a couple times throughout the track. Lyrics are good like many Rush tracks before it. The title track comes in next and it has a really nice groove to it, the track continues on the super commerical sound of the album which is fine because the band is doing a pretty solid job at staying true to themselves with this commercial sound. The bass work on this track is nice and adds to the groove. It isn't a stellar hard rocker, instead it almost feels like a Rush track to dance to, until the spoken section which actually might have helped with the dance vibe of the track. Face Up comes in with a bit of a breakdown before the synths take charge once again the shortest non-instrumental track on the album, the chorus is pretty silly, the track is enjoyable but not amazing. Wheres The Thing is an instrumental piece, the track features heavy synths adding a poppy feel to it and some really nice bass and drum work from Geddy and Neil. Alex delivers his usual strong guitar work throughout. I'm not a huge fan of instrumentals but this one is rather pleasent. The Big Wheel I believe is about religion and the idea that we are currently in our paradise, at least thats what I got from the first verse and chorus. This entire album thus far has had some really good vocals from Geddy. Rush has delivered 6 good sounding poppier tracks while remaining true to their own sound. Yes it is a little different from what they have done in the past but it is quite enjoyable. Heresy opens with a millitant drumbeat, the track pertains to the cold war and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Heavy subject matter covered once again in an accessible way, I also believe this is the first time the band swears in a track. Ghost Of A Chance slows down, the track is about finding love that lasts, the slow tempo just doesn't work for the chorus. The track has potential but it isn't capitalized on. Neurotica begins and I get the feeling that it will be a bit of a let down like the previous track. I isn't as bad as I expected but it isn't a great track overall, but not one I'd skip if listening to the album. You Bet Your Life closes out the album, it goes to a more direct approach and is upbeat once again, the track isn't amazing but it is a decent closer. Honestly this album has a relatively lowish score for my reviews and one rather close to Nostradamus but unlike that album I'd listen to this one again.

Dreamline - 10/10
Bravado - 7/10
Roll The Bones - 8.5/10
Face Up - 7.5/10
Where The Thing? - 7.5/10
The Big Wheel -8.5/10
Heresy - 7.5/10
Ghost Of A Chance -6.5/10
Neurotica - 7/10
You Bet Your Life -7.5/10

Adjuested 78%
Overall 78%
3 Stars
 

MindRuler

Ancient Mariner

Roll The Bones - Rush
Format: CD/Digital

Rush's fourteenth studio album opens with the sounds of cars in rain, Dreamline slowly comes in, the synths are heavily featured here and the track feels quite upbeat and poppy which makes sense as it is the first of the albums 6 singles! Geddy sounds fantastic on this track. The synths don't sound dated the lyrics are lighter and positive, the driving, fun and upbeat. I see why this track became a live staple, it is a brilliant composition. Bravado is up next, a song which the name I recognize but I haven't heard before. It is slower at the start compared to the previous track, it is a pleasent track but it never really takes off like it could, the tempo is still a little too quick for the emotional powerballad feel it could have gone for but it isn't fast enough for the uptempo rocker it could have been and it hints towards this a couple times throughout the track. Lyrics are good like many Rush tracks before it. The title track comes in next and it has a really nice groove to it, the track continues on the super commerical sound of the album which is fine because the band is doing a pretty solid job at staying true to themselves with this commercial sound. The bass work on this track is nice and adds to the groove. It isn't a stellar hard rocker, instead it almost feels like a Rush track to dance to, until the spoken section which actually might have helped with the dance vibe of the track. Face Up comes in with a bit of a breakdown before the synths take charge once again the shortest non-instrumental track on the album, the chorus is pretty silly, the track is enjoyable but not amazing. Wheres The Thing is an instrumental piece, the track features heavy synths adding a poppy feel to it and some really nice bass and drum work from Geddy and Neil. Alex delivers his usual strong guitar work throughout. I'm not a huge fan of instrumentals but this one is rather pleasent. The Big Wheel I believe is about religion and the idea that we are currently in our paradise, at least thats what I got from the first verse and chorus. This entire album thus far has had some really good vocals from Geddy. Rush has delivered 6 good sounding poppier tracks while remaining true to their own sound. Yes it is a little different from what they have done in the past but it is quite enjoyable. Heresy opens with a millitant drumbeat, the track pertains to the cold war and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Heavy subject matter covered once again in an accessible way, I also believe this is the first time the band swears in a track. Ghost Of A Chance slows down, the track is about finding love that lasts, the slow tempo just doesn't work for the chorus. The track has potential but it isn't capitalized on. Neurotica begins and I get the feeling that it will be a bit of a let down like the previous track. I isn't as bad as I expected but it isn't a great track overall, but not one I'd skip if listening to the album. You Bet Your Life closes out the album, it goes to a more direct approach and is upbeat once again, the track isn't amazing but it is a decent closer. Honestly this album has a relatively lowish score for my reviews and one rather close to Nostradamus but unlike that album I'd listen to this one again.

Dreamline - 10/10
Bravado - 7/10
Roll The Bones - 8.5/10
Face Up - 7.5/10
Where The Thing? - 7.5/10
The Big Wheel -8.5/10
Heresy - 7.5/10
Ghost Of A Chance -6.5/10
Neurotica - 7/10
You Bet Your Life -7.5/10

Adjuested 78%
Overall 78%
3 Stars
Nice review, The Dissident. Roll The Bones is often overlooked.
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

Private Audition - Heart
Format: CD/Digital

Heart's 6th studio album opens up with City's Burning a track which begins with an acoustic guitar based introduction, inspired by the murder of John Lennon the band wrote this track. Ann begins singing quite angrily, the anger works wonders but on the chorus her voice doesn't feel as powerful as it could have been with the anger she is conveying almost like she is holding back, the band does an admirable job backing with more aggression than one expects to hear from Heart although the band did show they could rock hard when they released Barracuda 5 years prior. Bright Light Girl sounds much more like I expected this album to sound like, a heavy pop influence on the bands rock and folk sound. It screams 80s Heart and well most Heart songs from the 80s not named, Alone, What About Love and These Dreams have been well forgotten about. Perfect Stranger slows down, the first ballad of the album, it isn't amazing but it is well written from a musical perspective, being quite subdued and nice. Ann shows off her pipes in a few sections letting out some wails. Private Audition begins with a man greeting someone to an audition, it stays on the lighter and more laid back approach, my head bobs back and forth throughout the track but there really isn't much substance to this track. Angels is a short ballad, the slowest track thus far on the album, and one of the shortest on the whole album clocking in at 3 minutes on the dot. Ann has a great soft voice, but the track is fairly boring. This Man Is Mine is another really short track, it opens with the sounds of snapping, and it served as the albums first single, and really it doesn't make me want to go search out this album. Ann's vocals aren't even shown off in a really enticing way like they could have. Any of the first 3 tracks could have made a much better first single, why choose this? The Situation comes in upbeat with an actual hard rock sounding riff and guitar tone, the vocals are quite layered. The track is a definite step back up from the lackluster tracks it follows. It isn't on par with the opening track but it is a much better track than most of the album. Hey Darlin Darlin opens with the sound of some tap dancing before the dancer is essentially told they didn't make the cut. Another ballad this track is once again just okay nothing special. One Word is sung by Nancy, it is one of the two tracks from this album which have been rerecorded on their 2016 Beautiful Broken album, it is the best ballad thus far on the album, but there hasn't been much competition on that front. Nice solo, it is quite bluesy. A bell rings and Fast Times begins to pick up the pace as the album begins to wrap up, if the album had more tracks like this it would have been slightly better as a whole. The band writes so many slower tracks but their quick rockers are what you need to keep an audience alive at a show. America opens with a piano and Ann a calm track which speaks to American history. It is a decent track.

City's Burning -9/10
Bright Light Girl -7.5/10
Perfect Stranger 7.5/10
Private Audition -6.5/10
Angels - 6.5/10
This Man Is Mine -6.5/10
The Situation -8/10
Hey Darlin Darlin -7/10
One Word - 8/10
Fast Times - 8/10
America - 7.5/10

Adjusted 75%
Overall 75%
2.5 Stars


I think I will need to revisit Dreamboat Annie soon because looking at its rating when it has two of the bands best midtempo rockers just seems off. But I have plenty to look at before I get to that album again.
 

MindRuler

Ancient Mariner
Queensrÿche – Operation:Mindcrime
EMI (1988) // total playing time = 59:16

ryche.jpg

The story behind my love for Queensrÿche and this album in particular begins in Italy around 1995. I was in my first year Bachelor Arts and we had a study vacation in Florence. At our final day, I visited a local recordstore where I bought 2 tapes: a cheap hardrock compilation (with Alice Cooper, Ted Nugent, Ozzy, Meat Loaf, Pretty Maids,...)and this album. On our 18 hours trip back to Brussels, I listened to both tapes. The hardrock compilation didn't get much replay. Operation:Mindcrime however... The protagonist of this concept album is Nikki, an addict who becomes involved with a revolutionary group ruled by Dr. X as an assassin of political leaders. A corrupt priest (father William) and a prostitute/nun Mary are the other important characters of the story. The album begins in a hospital where Nikki is lying in a bed and can't remember anything. Years later I heard the hospital announcement on the background in an episode of The Bold And The Beautiful! The second song Anarchy-X is an instrumental with march rhythm and juicy solo. The ideas stuffed in this minute and a half are better than on the whole Dedicated To Chaos album... Anarchy-X flows nicely into Revolution Calling, the first (but not last) highlight of the album. The title track begins with a ringing telephone and the Operation:Mindcrime riff played through the telephone. Great drumming from Rockenfield in this song! Speak has a Rage For Order-vibe and Spreading The Disease is the second highlight of O:M. Fastpaced verses with their typical riffs and Tate's splendid voice. What a chorus! The acoustic guitar on the intro of The Mission reminded me a bit of Pink Floyd's Is There Anybody Out There? That bridge is divine and so is Geoff's voice right before the killer solo! Suite Sister Mary is a 10 minute epic with guest singer Pamela Moore that slowly builds toward a heavier climax around the 3d minute. And then we get Queensrÿche on full power! The Needle Lies is the fastest song of Operation:Mindcrime, reminiscent to Judas Priest Defenders-era with one of their most melodic choruses ever. Electric Requiem is a short eerie track and a perfect intro to Breaking The Silence, another midtempo rocker with high level chorus. I Don't Believe In Love...I never have...I never will. Again a nice build-up to the chorus and one of my favorite Rÿche solo's ever. Waiting For 22 is a little tiny perfect melodic DeGarmo intermezzo. Everytime I listen to O:M, I rewind this track a few times. My Empty Room with ticking clock is again a short intro for the grand final song and my alltime favorite Queensrÿche song: Eyes Of A Stranger. The intro and ending of this song repeats elements from many songs of Operation:Mindcrime. The tension you feel while listening to this song is almost unbelievable. This is perfection and is nothing but perfect to close this album. Operation:Mindcrime is the pinnacle of Queensrÿche's career. Not only it's my favorite Queensrÿche album but my alltime favorite album...ever! (For those who are interested which other albums are in My Ultimate Top 5: Somewhere In Time, Master Of Puppets, Hemispheres and Dirt)

I Remember Now - Not Rated
Anarchy-X - 9/10
Revolution Calling - 10/10
Operation:Mindcrime - 9/10
Speak - 8,5/10
Spreading The Disease - 9,5/10
The Mission - 9,5/10
Suite Sister Mary - 10/10
The Needle Lies - 9,5/10
Electric Requiem - 8/10
Breaking The Silence - 9,5/10
I Don't Believe In Love - 10/10
Waiting For 22 - 10/10
My Empty Room - 8/10
Eyes Of A Stranger - 10/10

TOTAL= 93%
 
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The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

When Dream And Day Unite - Dream Theater
Format: CD/Digital

The Debut album of Dream Theater is the only one to not feature vocalist James LaBrie on lead vocals, instead we have Charlie Dominici fronting the progressive rockers as they make their way onto the scence in 1989. Opening up with A Fortune Lies the album, sounds like a natural starting place for the band keyboards intertwinned with the guitars are a mainstay and this introduction has that from the very start. The song shifts at the 1 minute mark to show off bass and drums in a darker tone. Charlie sounds decent on the vocals for this track, I was expecting much worse he is no James LaBrie but his voice is unique and clear throughout, not as powerful and burried a little in the mix as a whole. Charlie is nearly 20 years older than the rest of the band and I think this has to do with the difference in energy levels between the incredible instrumental performance and his vocals which age wise should be compared to La Brie around the Six Degrees of Inner Turbulance album in terms of relative comparrison. A strong opener. Status Seeker comes in without an extended introduction, Charlies sounds a little like Geddy Lee tone wise, although less of the off putting component of the Rush vocalists voice. The sound of this track sounds like it would be the single of the album, which it was. An accessible track. I like it a fair bit, the overall sound of the band is great and Charlie isn't a bad singer. Yste Jam comes up next, an instrumental track which is the bands previous name spelt backwards. High energy throughout, each band member showing off their immense talent barring Dominici of course, the fury of Portnoys drumming in conjunction with the sheer shredding skills of Petrucci is great add in Moore and Myung and you've got a recipe for success. While I don't care much for instrumentals I cannot deny that this track works well without any vocals. The Killing Hand is the first epic of the album, a five part track showing where the band would be going in the future with their songwriting of tracks such as A Change Of Seasons. After a relatively short instrumental opening vocals begin, the slower tempo and building instrumental behind the vocals begins to reveal some of the weakness in Charlie's voice, on slower sections he doesn't sound as strong as he did on the faster tracks from earlier. The components of the track really don't differentiate from each other like in the aforementioned epic track they would release in a few years time. The band is delivering a relatively tame track in comparrision to their other epics. The track isn't bad persay, it just doesn't come together fully. Everyone puts in good performances but it doesn't seem cohesive. I'm interested to see how this went over live since I think it could be much improved in that enviroment and with LaBrie. Light Fuse And Get Away is up next, another lengthier track, and this one was written by Kevin Moore whom would write the mysterious Space Dye Vest for Awake a couple albums later. Early on I'm getting the same feeling as the previous track, it lacks cohesiveness, although Charlie's vocals aren't working on the faster component, I guess the band is going too fast for him, he sounds good vocally but the tempo difference doesn't really work, and just creates more of a disconnect, a nice keyboard section segues into Petrucci's solo. Afterlife is up next, a track which would later be featured with LaBrie on vocals for the bands Score live album. Charlie's vocals sound stronger on this one at the start so hopefully they hold up throughout. The song sounds dated, but I don't mind the sound of 80s music, I'd say it was nostalgic but I wasn't alive for quite a few years still after this album was released. Needless to say the track is a real injection of enegry and quality from the previous two. I like it a lot and it works really well with all those involved. Although the ending is a little abrupt. The Ones Who help To Set The Sun is up next, an 8 minute track, after nearly 3 minutes of essentially nothing, the song begins to actually pick up a little bit and it does improve from their, but more to the level of the lesser tracks of the album, the track is too long and not interesting enough as a whole to warrant a 3 minute introduction which really went nowhere. The back half is a big improvement from it but as said it doesn't warrant the introduction. Only A Matter Of Time closes out the album and it comes in right away with a keyboard centralized introduction. Vocals come in and they are in a different style than before a more abrupt end to every word, it works but doesn't have the same flow to it. There are components that sound like a conversation is being sung back and forth. The track isn't the most exciting epic, but it is a pleasent way to end an album full of ups and downs, there is a reference to the albums title midway through this track.

A Fortune Lies - 8.5/10
Status Seeker - 9/10
Yste Jam - 8.5/10
The Killing Hand - 7.5/10
Light Fuse And Get Away - 7/10
Afterlife - 9/10
The One Who Help To Set The Sun - 6.5/10
Only A Matter Of Time - 7.5/10

Adjusted 77%
Overall 79%
3 Stars


not nearly as bad as I expected
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

Killing The Dragon - Dio
Format: CD/Digital

The ninth album from Dio opens up with its title track, based on the name I expected a roaring opener instead we have a slow build before the speed picks up and a thunderous riff with a galloping bass line. Ronnie sounds aged here as well but there is quite a bit of power behind him. An interesting choice of opener as while the track is solid, it isn't the most energetic track but it does a good job overall. Along Comes A Spider opens with a guitar breakdown before picking up the pace quicker than the albums opener. Thus far the album has had a punchy feel to it, likely a combination of Jimmy Bain's bass and Doug Aldrich's guitar work, the change in Ronnie's voice between Dehumanizer and this album is quite a bit, although seeing as the 40s and 50s seem to be where massive vocal change occurs in singers this can be accounted for, even if the man still nailed his Heaven And Hell tracks live. Scream, this track has a fairly weak chorus, although the guitar work behind the chorus is pretty nice and the verses while short are decent. Better In The Dark comes in quick and aggressive I don't recall Dio ever singing about ladies of the night but clearly he is singing about some sort of sexual encounter here. Best track thus far, it is catchy and hard rocking throughout. Rock & Roll is the longest track of the album, clocking in at 6 minutes, it begins with some acoustic guitar before going into an upbeat approach, the guitar riff is incredibly similar to Kashmir. The track builds up nicely and the chorus screams sing a long. A solid track, but something about the album's overall feel hasn't pulled me in as much as I would have liked, this track is evident of that. It is on the stronger side but it doesn't have that wow factor. Push comes in then fades out before returning again, a more commercial leaning track for the veteran metal god. It is probably one of the catchiest tracks Dio wrote in a very long time. I like it. Guilty slows down a little I think a younger Ronnie could add a ton of emotion to this track and make it quite mystical and powerful but it doesn't really get the emotional charge this track needs. The solo section is strong and the song does get some umph added to it afterwards. Throw Away Children was a track originally written for a follow up to Hear N' Aid the track itself is about the darkness of children dying due to preventable diseases and drug addictions. The extended instrumental section is probably the strongest on the album. A much darker track than I would have expected for the initial intended purpose but it is a powerful one. Before The Fall picks the pace up again, a quick rocker with a nice bit of punch to it. Some keyboard work is featured during the solo section which does a good job to break up the guitar assualt featured thus far on the album. Cold Feet closes out the album, the intro riff once again sounds familliar, maybe it is taken a bit from Sweet Leaf this track also has a more commercial sound to it. Not a bad way to close out the album. A decent track overall.

Killing The Dragon - 8/10
Along Cames A Spider - 8/10
Scream - 7.5/10
Better In The Dark - 9/10
Rock & Roll - 8.5/10
Push - 8.5/10
Guilty -7.5/10
Throw Away Children - 8.5/10
Before The Fall - 8.5/10
Cold Feet - 8/10

Adjusted 82%
Overall 82%
3 Stars


Probably a little more of an inflated number.
 

Jer

My sins are many
...and now a very special NOW DRINKING edition of Random Album Reviews with an album I don’t particularly like!



Bruce Dickinson - Tattooed Millionaire (1990)
  • Son Of A Gun - Pretty nice intro that Janick would self-plagiarize just two years later for Maiden’s “Wasting Love”. Simple but mostly appealing riffing and leads. Verses are nice, chorus is pretty good. Sweet pre-chorus and solo. Off to a good start, too bad it won’t last. Let’s say a robust 7/10.
  • Tattooed Millionaire - More simplistic but appealing riffing. Bruce’s voice goes back and forth between decent and laughably rough. Icky vocal harmonies on the pre-chorus and chorus. The chorus music draws heavily from Rush’s “The Spirit Of Radio”, so of course it’s catchy. Decent but uninspiring solo. On balance this probably pulls a 7/10 as well.
  • Born In ‘58 - Great verses with a good build-up into a strong chorus. Wistful lyrics. Definitely Bruce’s best vocal performance on the record. Nice harmonized lead from Prancey Boy. Great song, but the roller coaster has reached the top of the climb and it’s mostly downhill from here. 8/10.
  • Hell On Wheels - Boring riff, shitty lyrics and verse vocals. The chorus is OK. (WTF are Helen’s Wheels, anyway? Is this a horribly failed pun?) The bridge is OK, and the solo is pretty good. The better parts manage to salvage a 5/10 for this one.
  • Gypsy Road - Nice intro, good verse. The chorus trades off between icky vocal harmonies and strong solo vocals. Decent slide guitar solo. This was a little better than I remembered, let’s round it up to a 7/10.
  • Dive! Dive! Dive! - “Seaman Staines”? Really? I know @Diesel 11 thinks this is highbrow innuendo, but I have to disagree. Fucking horrible vocals, embarrassingly bad lyrics. The chorus isn’t as bad as the rest, and has a hint of catchiness to it. The guitar riff after the chorus is probably the best part of the song. The solo is OK too. I’m teetering on the edge here, but most of the song is so embarrassing that I have to round it down to a 3/10.
  • All The Young Dudes - A serviceable cover of the Bowie song made famous by Mott The Hoople. The verse is meh, the pre-chorus is pretty good, and the chorus is meh again. Let’s say 6/10.
  • Lickin’ The Gun - The main riff is pretty decent, but the vocals, lyrics, and bizarre vocal sound effects are fucking god-awful. Bruce is off key and off rhythm. “Shhhhah!!” “Lick it!” What in the actual fuck? The solo is pretty decent, I guess. Since this isn’t entirely bereft of musical value, I guess I have to give it a 2/10. What a fucking travesty.
  • Zulu Lulu - The opening riff is alright, but the version under the verse isn’t very good. More embarrassing lyrics, now with unnecessary racial insensitivity! Bad verses. Vaguely catchy pre-chorus and chorus, but with terrible “woos!” Ugh, “wait, wait, I’m coming!!” This isn’t funny, this is just awful. 3/10.
  • No Lies - A variation on the opening of “Bring Your Daughter...To The Slaughter” leads into a decent groove with some not-so-decent vocal antics. The chorus vocal starts off pretty good, but the harmonized “woah-ohs” don’t work very well. The verses are OK, and the guitar doodling under them works pretty well, but the vocals are iffy. The extended musical interlude is self-indulgent and not very interesting, and the false stop before the final choruses is odd. There are some strong elements in this song, but there’s too much repetition and it doesn’t really go anywhere. Let’s say 6/10.
Average: 5.4/10

There are a few songs worth your time on here (basically the first 3, and maybe “Gypsy Road”), but the rest are varying levels of “meh” to shit show. While Bruce certainly has some good moments here, on the whole this album is him at his worst in every discipline — singing, songwriting, and lyrics. 3 of the songs are downright embarrassing.

And yes, folks, the numbers don’t lie — I actually like this album slightly less than The X Factor. Yes, I said it. WTF, Bruce.
 

MindRuler

Ancient Mariner
Nice review, Jer! The first 5 songs and No Lies are my favs. Bruce´s least album. It sounds almost like Aerosmith. Are you going to make a review of Balls To Picasso?
 
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