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The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

Headless Cross - Black Sabbath
Format: CD/Digital

I wasn't planning on doing a review till Thursday/Friday but this came in the mail today and I've had a few tracks of it on repeat through youtube for about a month so it is time to hear the whole thing as it was meant to be. The Gates Of Hell serves as a brief introductory track to the album, a relatively short album as by this time album lengths were starting to be pushed to much longer with the invention of the CD. The track is eerie but really is just an introduction to the Title Track. Headless Cross comes in with a heavy drumbeat and the song feels more like Heaven And Hell than classic Sabbath which I'm very much okay with. A stomping epic track which was the first track I had ever heard with Tony Martin on lead vocals. The man tells the story quite well and his voice is quite powerful. He seems like a more close pick to Ronnie than Ozzy and as such is a natural progression despite the other two Deep Purple vocalists inbetween him and Ronnie. A stellar menacing chorus with a nice high note present. Theatrical and feeling like a natural progression as the band now really only featuring Tony Iommi continues on the mighty Black Sabbath legacy. A session musician plays bass, while Cozy Powell handles the drums, his drums thundering throughout. Every member performs incredibly, keyboards are more present here than previous Sabbath works. The slower tempo of the track fits in with the earlier material from the band. It amalgomates the best parts of the different more well known eras into one and it kicks off the album in stellar fashion. Devil & Daughter comes in next, picking up the pace a bit, continuing on the dark but accessible themes established in the previous track with Martin continuing to deliver some stellar high notes, the man is not holding back one bit throughout his vocal performances on this album. The solo section begins with a band instrumental break which is quite atmospheric, before Cozy and Iommi do a call and answer approach for the proper solo. I can't get over the fact that Black Sabbath has had 4 amazing vocalists whom on paper are far better than Ozzy yet people for the most part only know Ozzy's material. When Death Calls slows down, a dark and moody introduction featuring some keyboard work and Martin singing the lyrics relate to death as one can expect, following the first verse it becomes a more typical Sabbath sounding track in terms of the heavy guitar riffs from Iommi and the track shifts back following the chorus. The ebb and flow of the track is incredible following the second chorus and the wicked bridge we are treated to a guest guitar legend for the solo Brian May from Queen lends his axe to the track, and he delivers an incredible and fitting solo for this Black Sabbath track, it is recognizable as Brian but at the same time it is a seemless addition to the track without the lighter bands influence taking over completely. It is perfection. The album is halfway through and thus far it is a masterpiece... and my favourite of the 3 songs I've heard is still to come. Kill In The Spirit World takes a lighter start but picks up the pace from the slower epic. It feels like an attempt at a single for some radio airplay, the verses have an almost pop feel to them, and it works quite well. The chorus for this track attempts to be haunting, it doesn't work nearly as well as the other tracks chorus' this is the first track that I wouldn't say has a true Sabbath feel to it, doesn't make it a bad track infact aside from the chorus I quite like but it is held down a little bit by it. Call Of The Wild opens with a brief drum introduction from Cozy, come on Tony let the man just show off like he does at the start of Stargazer another track which works quite well it is also on the catchier side but with Martin's stellar vocals it is raised up a notch which the previous track should have been up at had it had a stronger chorus. The high notes are great, and not something I've come to expect on Sabbath tracks for the most part. A step back in the right direction thats for sure. Black Moon was a leftover from the previous album, which I will get to at some point... when it comes in the mail. It is the shortest track on the album, the track opens up with a dark and low riff. The opening verses sound like Ronnie is back in the band, honestly the first line I was convinced that metal god was back in Sabbath for a second. The track is shorter compact and punchy. It has another great performance from the whole band. Nightwing is the final track of the album, and my personal favourite, the track is atmospheric one minute then it is hard rocking to the point where a mosh pit could break out following the second chorus, the chorus is simple and so powerful, throughout the track a story is being told of an owl on the hunt of the night. On the final chorus, Martin lets loose an amazing high note as the band launches into another upbeat section of the track into the outro, this could have been a track which the band really let loose at the end of it, although I believe Black Sabbath never played it live...

The Gates Of Hell/Headless Cross - 10/10
Devil & Daughter - 9/10
When Death Calls - 10/10
Kill In The Spirit World - 8/10
Call Of The Wild - 8.5/10
Black Moon - 9/10
Nightwing - 10/10

Adjusted 93%
Overall 92%
5 Stars


An absolutely phenomenal album from start to finish, despite the dip in the middle. Not sure what will be next, but the album after that will be How The West Was Won seeing as it will be my 400th album reviewed since last January.
 
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The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

Vapor Trails Remixed - Rush
Format: CD/Digital

Rush returns with Vapor Trails, the opening track a thundering drum lead introduction signals Neil's return from his exile following the loss of his daughter and wife. The opener One Little Victory sounds much darker than most Rush works, the lower guitar combined with the heavy drumming and thunderous bass work shows that the band is back with a vengeance, Geddy does seem to be straining a little bit here. Ceiling Unlimited shifts a bit more towards the typical Rush sound, the track has a good energy to it, rather upbeat, it isn't really a hit out of the park but the track does get quite infectious in some places, it is another pretty decent track. The instrumental section is quite good and really elevates the song as a whole. Ghost Rider, a song truly about Neil the professor having gotten on his bike packing up all his phantoms and shouldering an invisible load as he searched for peace. The track is a brutal emotional story of this journey. The fact they played this live is incredible considering how personal the track is to Neil. It may not be their strongest track, but the song is an incredible sum of its parts. Peaceable Kingdom speaks to a world lacking fear and one of peace, which frankly still is relevant to today. It is a pretty decent track. The Stars Look Down based solely off the title could be another deeply personal track to Neil the mix on this track is a lot to take in at first, especially the vocals, it just feels chaotic which sucks because the song sounds nice aside from the vocals being mixed weirdly. The ending of the track is much better mixed, too bad the whole thing wasn't mixed this way. How It Is opens with some acoustic guitars, one of the shortest tracks on the album, it soon launches into an upbeat approach, the different styles compressed within this short package makes for a nice contrast and shows the bands talents quite nicely. Vapor Trail comes in next, the halfway point on the album it slowly fades in, the track for the most part is on the mid tempo side, probably the strongest track thus far aside from Ghostrider. I believe the track is about the concept of being forgotten with the passing of time a powerful track throughout. Secret Touch begins slowly before the band goes into a fury, the bass work incredibly evident as you hear each individual pick of the string. The track isn't super catchy nor is it a stellar hard rock track but the band is performing on all cylinders and they put in a good effort throughout. Earthshine has a catchy feel to it which is nice as the album has been feeling its length a little bit at this point. The track is pretty solid and the chorus is a good one. Sweet Miracle is the shortest track on the album, nothing much to write about for this one it is a solid track. Nocturne continues on this merely okay approach, while remaining a nice listen. Freeze part of the Fear group of tracks is a longer track for the album. The track has some punch to it but at this point on the album it just continues similar tropes to the tracks before it. The song remains solid. Out Of The Cradle closes off the album in similar fashion.

One Little Victory - 7/10
Ceiling Unlimited - 8/10
Ghostrider - 10/10
Peaceable Kingdom - 7.5/10
The Stars Look Down -7/10
How It Is - 8/10
Vapor Trail - 9/10
Secret Touch - 8/10
Earthshine - 8/10
Sweet Miracle - 7.5/10
Nocturne -7.5/10
Freeze - 7.5/10
Out Of The Cradle - 7.5/10

Adjusted 79%
Overall 79%
3 Stars
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

How The West Was Won - Led Zeppelin
Format: CD/Digial

How The West Was Won the live album showing off Led Zeppelin supporting their 4th album, their legendary fourth untitled release, as well as showing off 3 tracks from their forthcoming Houses Of The Holy album. The package kicks off with Immigrant Song, heavy as all hell with Robert delivering the stellar opening wails effortlessly. The track feels slower than the studio version but I do feel it actually is the same speed this is one of those tracks that always seems faster than it actually is. Such an iconic track, simplistic, rocking and punchy as all hell, a brilliant composition from the bands third album. This rendition is extended with an outro solo section from the band which brings the track to your average modern rocker length seeing as the track didn’t even clock in at 2 and a half minutes in its original setting. Heartbreaker is second on the bill, a track which I’ve never gotten the massive love for but then again this is Led Zeppelin they have so many good tracks and II never stuck to me as well as some of their other albums. The first two minutes of the track stick to the original formula before Jimmy Page takes an extended guitar solo section which seems a little early on in a show for an unaccompanied solo but well once again this is Zeppelin the extended solo is a nice way for the guitar god to show off but it doesn’t need to be this long, considering we have Dazed And Confused coming later on. The band comes back after 3 minutes of soloing to continue on their hard rocking approach and the energy returns to full strength. A strong closing segment right till the end, with Robert coming in right at the end to finish off the final verse. Stellar performance, with a little too long a solo. Black Dog comes in with the Out On The Tiles drum intro, one of the much beloved Led Zeppelin tracks which I feel are brought truly to life on the live renditions, later versions would feature Bring It On Home as an introduction and I personally prefer that introduction but seeing as we get the whole version of that track I think this intro works. A roaring rocker which is absolutely nailed live and so much sheer power. Much better than the studio version with a nice extended jam session which is tasteful in both length and delivery. The band now provides the audience a preview of their upcoming Houses Of The Holy album. Performing Over The Hills And Far Away the band slows it down a little for the calm introduction much befitting of the bands fifth studio effort, the shift to up-tempo hits hard and is done seamlessly another great rendition of a classic track. The band truly slows it down for the next track, the blues epic Since I’ve Been Loving You from their third album. One of my all-time favourite Zeppelin tracks, the track is haunting and beautiful from start to finish, let’s see how this rendition holds up and with that stellar introduction it is shaping up to being quite the good one, the opening verse is sung fairly quick compared to earlier live versions but Robert sounds amazing. Bonzo delivers some great drum fills on the track and as always John Paul Jones does a stellar bass work. This rendition seems less bluesy and more towards the rock side of their sound. The bluesier approach does come in more towards the end of the track and as a whole the track is stellar however it pales in comparison to the bands rendition on their BBC Sessions live album, which is an example of perfection. Although then again the track is still an absolute masterpiece. Stairway is up next, a track which I believe Robert wasn’t sick of yet at this time. A track which needs no explanation, the track has been one of the biggest rock epics no tracks since its inception and release in 1971. This rendition is strong, well delivered. It isn’t as emotionally charged as it could be. Going to California opens the acoustic section of the show, a tender ballad which shows off the bands softer more emotional side. A beautiful little piece, Robert’s voice is so incredibly powerful and the stripped approach of the track just allows him to shine throughout. Wow. That’s The Way follows up continuing on the acoustic format, not a track I’m super familiar with from the bands vast catalog, it clearly is about friendship which due to circumstances cannot be followed through with. The track is pleasant but the band has stronger tracks which could have been done in its spot, such as The Battle Of Evermore, Gallows Pole; Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You or Thank You. The follow uptrack is the final in the acoustic set Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp another track from the bands third album. This is the closer for the first CD of the album. The track has a very different feeling from the previous acoustic tracks, it is uptempo and features a very prominent stomp, there is a country esc feel to it. It is a decent rendition; it falls into the list of tracks which could have been replaced with something from above more effectively.

-Drunken review begins here-

Disc 2 begins with Dazed And Confused the track extended to a massive 25 minutes in length, the introduction is extended a fair bit, I don’t get why the band had to extend it as much as they did, I get some extended solos but to add 19 minutes to a track is a lot more, honestly the tempo of the track is slowed too much and Roberts vocals seem a little disjointed as a result… not to mention the extra length of fluff doesn’t really amuse me too much. The studio version of this track is amazing, the added improvisations from Jimmy Page are interesting to an extent however, one or two small additions throughout the track would have been better than the massive additional solo. The additions show off the man’s amazing talent but I just don’t get the whole fuss about adding it all to a singular track, surely small additions throughout many different songs would be better? Being a child of the late 90s, I don’t see why this style was super popular yes it would have been great but honestly they turned an epic song into a piss break. This rendition does include some medley components of two tracks which had yet to be released being Walters Walk from Coda and The Crunge from Houses Of The Holy. But they don’t come into play till after 15 minutes of Dazed And Confused bloated runtime. As these additions come in the quality of the track does greatly increase and the band as a whole are playing instead of just being self-indulgence by Page. What Is And What Should Never Be comes in similar to Over The Hills And Far Away the two tracks I’ve always considered very similar structurally, both songs are great but I prefer the latter, although I don’t listen to either often, this track is a nice shift as the band sticks to the original formula throughout and the track is shorter and concise. A good vocal performance from Robert having had nearly half an hour to relax his pipes. Dancing Days comes up next, once again a brand new track which the crowd hasn’t heard before and sticking to the original. I’d be interested to hear No Quarter without the massive additions they did for the live show on a package like this. A nice and short track, but probably one of the more filler tracks from the album as a whole, well performed and better than the original but not on par with what happened prior to it. Disc 3 closes out with Moby Dick which is roughly 18 minutes too long for my liking, I’m fine with a short instrumental or drum solo, but a 20 minute track of which the majority of it is a drum solo is far from necessary, especially so close to Dazed And Confused. I do not like drum solos, I don’t get the point behind them when they are five minutes, let alone 20. Yes he is immensely talented but I don’t need any more self-indulgence I’d rather hear 2 more tracks with a small drum solo than this extension to a track I already think wasn’t worth of being on an album in the first place. It goes on far too long.

Disc 3 opens up with a medley rendition of Whole Lotta Love which is a song which I feel on the studio album could have been about 2 minutes shorter and far more effective, but the usage in a medley fashion works well for the track, live this track is far stronger than the original version, I had the privilege of seeing Plant play this in 2018 with his solo band. With the original track only taking up a short component of the actual runtime the band adds in little covers which they have chosen into the mix, and later in their career I believe this would shift to being of tracks they couldn’t get into the setlist but wanted to share parts of live. A whole band performance and once again strong vocals from Plant. I think this is a far better way to extend a track than to just add noodling solos, especially for a live album, but then again this is authentic Zeppelin, my version has a section of the medley removed due to copyright which creates a slight disconnect, the performance is great throughout but once again the question is raised, why not include another actual Zeppelin Track in leiu of this extension, why not Communication Breakdown, Good Times, Bad Times or When The Levee Breaks? It goes on too long, but it is much better as a whole than Dazed And Confused and Moby Dick. The encore begins with RockAnd Roll a track which the studio version hasn’t done much for me over the years but I cannot deny it is a nice short rocker that the band hasn’t traditionally extended to excessive lengths. A brief drum introduction leads into the rocker, the track is short and concise, great for crowd energy and a nice all around accessible tune. The final “new” track to be performed would be The Ocean another reveal from the bands upcoming album, in this case the albums closer. The final track which sticks to its own normal rendition and it does quite well as a whole, the track has been used mostly as an encore for the band throughout their career and while it is a nice track I think they have better tracks suited for this portion of the show, plus the track is a nice short piece which could have been used to give some breath to the normal setlist. Oh well, they sound great throughout and the track fits well. Bring It On Home/Bring It On Back closes out the show, one of the bands best choices for closers, extended slightly, featuring the full introduction with the harmonica from the first album, that riff is stellar and easily one of the best in the bands immense catalog. A brilliant blazing performance from start to finish, it embodies all aspects of the band perfectly throughout it all.

La Drone/Immigrant Song - 10/10
Heartbreaker - 9/10
Black Dog - 9.5/10
Over The Hills And Far Away - 9.5/10
Since I've Been Loving You - 9.5/10
Stairway To Heaven - 9/10
Going To California - 10/10
Thats The Way - 8/10
Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp - 8/10
Dazed And Confused - 7/10
What Is And What Should Never Be - 9/107
Dancing Days - 8.5/10
Moby Dick - 6/10
Whole Lotta Love - 8/10
Rock And Roll - 9/10
The Ocean - 9/10
Bring It On Home/Bring It On Back - 10/10

Adjusted 83%
Overall 88%
4 Stars


Brilliant performances held back by self indulgence. Album 400 completed!
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
Drunk Dissident is a harsher critic than Sober Dissident? Go figure!

Congrats on 400!

I hate instrumentals and self indulgent extensions to tracks, honestly this is probably about where I would normally rate the album.

Edit: I should probably state the following (while mathematically incorrect) I consider all my ratings as out of 5, and just subtract 5 from the score I provide for consistencies sake.
 
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The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?
Format: CD/Digital

I have decided to give Megadeth another listen, having really come to love the title track from this album I picked it up the other day to give the thrash icons another chance. Wake Up Dead kicks off the album with a brief drum introduction and some powerful heavy riffs. The track is about male infidelity, and the anger resulting from the woman scorned. A furious rocker to kick off the album, not a ton of vocals as a whole for the track which does provide some really well thought out guitar work. The last minute or so the track really shifts a fair bit, slowing down into an instrumental outro with a little chant at the very end. The Conjuring has a bit more of a distinct introduction component, vocally this track is weaker than the previous track but from a musical perspective it remains pretty good, super aggressive and blazing throughout, who knows it could warm up to me vocally in time but for now Mustaine remains a fairly poor vocalist in my eyes. The title track comes up next, a super catchy rocker and Mustaine delivers some good vocals throughout the track, another angry track this time about the american way of life. It is a more simplistic track than the two before it but the elements all come together incredibly well, the solo section is short and clean, with the bridge and outro increasing in enegry and tempo. I have really come to enjoy this track a lot. Devil's Island comes in hard right off the bat, with a drum based introduction and then very soon a descending guitar line, a drum fill occurs then the band backs off for Ellefson's bass line, the track soon afterwards hits into high gear and the vocals are back to their weaker form. The vocals do get slightly better as the track goes on but this reminds me of very early Metallica vocals in places where they just aren't in my prefered vocal style, once again musically powerful and definetely angry. Good Mourning/Black Friday comes in slowly at first, the guitar tone is really nice on the introduction, the track does take a more pulled back approach, almost a little blues being present on the first bit of the track, around the 3 minute mark this approach is discarded and it becomes more like the other tracks on the album thus far. Bad Omen also takes a more melodic approach to the introduction, another track which falls into pretty much everything else about this album. I Ain't Superstitious is a cover track which features some nice guitar work but not the strongest track on the album by any means. My Last Words closes out the album, and the songs title is rather fitting of a closing track, it starts slow before becoming a blazing rocker, great riff in the background which feels familliar but I can't place where. Tons of energy and a nice album closer.

Wake Up Dead - 8/10
The Conjuring -7/10
Peace Sells - 9/10
Devils Island - 8/10
Good Mourning/Black Friday -7.5/10
Bad Omen - 8/10
I Ain't Superstitious - 7/10
My Last Words - 8.5/10

Adjusted 79%
Overall 79%
3 Stars
 

The_7th_one

Ancient Mariner
I'm still saying that Chris Poland has been the best guitar player the band has had.
The album is pretty great in many tracks and I think it's a very good sounding album for that time. You can play it now and you could say that they've recorded yesterday.
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
Yea I'll be avoiding them for a while, I can see why people like them but I don't enjoy the albums enough. Which isn't a huge deal since I have several bands I want to finish the discographies of.
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

Never Say Die! - Black Sabbath
Format: CD/Digital

Black Sabbath opens up their eight studio album and their final Ozzy era album until 13 many years later with the albums title track. Never Say Die comes in with an upbeat tempo having a heavily featured drum introduction, the track has some pretty good Ozzy vocals, the track has a fairly commerical sound to it comparrative to the bands early albums and to what will come later on. The track is a really strong choice of opener and is an excellent choice for a single a promising start to an album which has been widely regarded as one of the absolute worst in the bands catalog. I like it quite a bit. Johnny Blade opens with a keyboard introduction and not in a way I would expect them to appear on a Sabbath album, very high and not really that ominous. Drums soon join in and the keyboards continue to work, the track feels like they are getting a bit more experimental. The guitar work is distorted a bit but the riff beneath it all seems solid. The riff should be more featured, Ozzy doesn't the most inspired on this track and the energy level has dropped since the previous track. Not a good sign when track 2 has a notable drop. The instrumental break allows the groove to be felt but it isn't quite enough, it does get a little better as the track continues onwards, but the track seems to fall into the catagory of the weaker tracks on the album. The outro is stellar but it doesn't save the fact that it took 6 minutes to get truely good. Junior's Eyes begins slowly with a prominent bass line from Geezer, the track sounds quieter than the previous as a whole. A tribute to Ozzy's father, the chorus has a bit of energy and the track sounds like a generic Black Sabbath track on the chorus while the verses seem like the band trying halfheartedly to go in a new direction. It is a step up from the previous track Tony performs greatly on the solo, the track doesn't feel its length which is a good thing because it could have been a dreadful 7 minutes. Just some changing to the verses would have made this track much stronger. A Hard Road comes in directly with the whole band taking part in the introduction, this is the final track over 6 minutes in lenght on the album, Tony's guitar tone is pretty nice, the track feels like it was meant to be acoustic or more stripped back in some way, it sounds nice, but it doesn't have that real pull that keeps you in. I think it is a pretty solid track and like the previously just needs some small change to make it much stronger. Shock Wave is more upbeat and while Ozzy doesn't sound phenomenal... by his standards... I don't mind his delivery and the band really comes together in a way which works about as well as the opener. I can't tell if the vocals have gotten better as a whole or if I'm getting more inclined to his vocal delivery. What I can say is there is something about the power behind Tony Iommi and his guitar work which makes all Sabbath albums enjoyable in some way shape or form. I fully expected to hate this album, thus far I'm enjoying more than their debut. Air Dance's introduction sounds quite interesting before it shifts to some acoustic guitar, the chorus is pretty weak, the song is a definitive shift in style than one would expect from the band. It should have stuck with the style presented in the introduction, the second half of the track is an isntrumental which begins with some piano accompanied acoustic guitar, the outro last far too long, while there is some good moments in it, there isn't enough to make it really worth it. Over To You is the final track featuring Ozzy on vocals for the album, lets see how is initial swan song sounded... the track opens slow and Ozzy drones on the first verse, the track is somber with too much keyboards for the sound of the rest of the band. It is a step back up from the previous track but it really doesn't come together that well as a whole. Breakout is an instrumental which really isn't worth the tape it was recorded on. Swinging The Chain features Bill Ward on lead vocals, he sounds pretty good for the most part, the high notes he attempts don't do it for me, there is some nice harmonica on the track and it closes out the album nicely having been on a downward spiral for most of side 2.

Never Say Die - 9/10
Johnny Blade -7/10
Junior's Eyes - 8/10
A Hard Road - 8/10
Shock Wave - 9/10
Air Dance - 6.5/10
Over To You - 7/10
Breakout - 6/10
Swinging The Chain - 8/10

Adjusted 77%
Overall 76%
3 Stars
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner
@The Dissident I meant to bring this up a long time ago, but in your reviews, could you give them some paragraphs to make them a bit more readable? Either separated song-by-song, or just where a break seems to fit in. Otherwise these reviews end up looking like a wall of text, which hurts your chances of people reading what you’re saying.

I won't do track by track, but I'll try to split them up more. :) I was splitting Vinyl albums by sides and could do the same split to see if that helps with CD releases as well.
 

The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

Passionworks - Heart
Format: CD/Digital

Heart's seventh album, and the second of what I consider to be their two transition albums, like Private Audition this album lacks well know Heart tracks, with the previous coming after their 70s folk rock albums with classic tracks like Barracude, Magic Man, Dog& Butterfly and Heartless. While this one comes before their 80s pop rock anthems have been released in otherwords, this is the Heart trying to find their way once again and slowly getting their footing in the new decade and with the new sounds that come with it.

How Can I Refuse kicks off the album, this track was also the lead single for the album. It wastes little time with any extended introduction instead Ann comes in right away, the track is midtempo, the sounds of this track really show where the band will be going forwards on their next few albums with their powerhouse singles. As always Ann has a powerful vocal delivery, the only thing holding back this track is the lack of a powerful rock edge to it. I think this track could have been made much heavier just with a bit more guitar emphasis which could have really turned it into a forcefull track. However that isn't where the band was headed artistically and well clearly they did the right thing for them as the band is still together in some form. For what it is this track is pretty good. Blue Guitar slows down a little bit before it picks up as the track progresses, the track feels like a half ballad, not quite slow enough to be a bonefied powerballad but not fast enough to be a pick me up in terms of energy. I will once again say what I know I will repeat on basically every Heart album review I do (I have 5 more albums after this one which I own, plus the 3 that I'm missing), is that her vocal prowess is amazing and she slays tracks left right and center.

Johnny Moon continues on the trend of decreasing tempo, this is one of two tracks from the album which will be rerecorded on the bands Beautiful Broken album. This track is the most Alone sounding track the band has done on this album and probably thus far. Being quite atmospheric musically while showing off some great harmonies from the sisters. It takes the bands Zeppelin influences into itself being a more mystical feeling track although not to the extent of the aforementions more mysterious tracks like No Quarter. A Solid track, which I feel would be better live. Sleep Alone picks up the tempo and increases in heaviness as well, the fastest track thus far and also the heaviest, the drum work is stronger here, like I can get the band wanting to shift away from the harder rock approach they have taken, but why couldn't there be more tracks like this on their albums, a great shot of energy which like the opener could have been much stronger with some heavier production, but it doesn't mean the track is bad by any means. Together Now closes out what would be side 1 of the record. A track which has a bit of a lengthier introduction than the previous tracks, and it starts having some good promise of being a strong midtempo track with a good verse, however the chorus falls into the Steve Harris school of repetition and it isn't even delivered with conviction, there also is some distorted vocals during the second verse. It just seems to have a few too many different factors trying to be worked into a single track for them. Good moments, not enough payoff.

How Can I Refuse - 9/10
Blue Guitar - 8/10
Johnny Moon - 8/10
Sleep Alone - 9/10
Together Now - 7/10

The second half of the record begins with the Jonathan Cain penned Allies, I don't get starting off a vinyl side with a ballad, but thats what the band is doing now piano based, this track is beginning to sound like part of their inspiration for their most well know 80s track in Alone or What About Love? with the beginning being more like the former and the chorus towards the latter. Allies shows off the bands talent for taking outside writers tracks and owning them will full conviction. I quite like the track. (Beat By)) Jealousy comes in next, a slight increase in tempo, the chorus teases another song featuring too much repetition, but it thankfully is only a tease. The first chunk of the track is on the weaker side but once Ann begins wailing the track really gets going strong but that is short lived. Heavy Heart could have gone two ways, it could have been a ballad of sorts, or it could have just been the band going heavy and the track title is a warning. It is the former. I find this track to be probably one of the weakest thus far on the album. It just lacks that hook and the emotion to make it a stellar track, there is bound to be a dud somewhere on any album, this just appears to be it.

Love Mistake is a Nancy penned and sung track, like most of the tracks she has sung on thus far in the bands career it is a slower track and I suspect she played everything on it except the drums like she has on all the others. Nancy's songs are quite different sounding she is a much more laid back person than Ann and it shows through in her tracks. Language Of Love is the second track which will be rerecorded in 23 years time on the bands currently latest album, the track features the return of Ann on lead vocals a bit of a bluesy track. Ambush is the album closer, it should be a little faster, the chorus could be much stronger. It closes out the album decently.

Allies - 8.5/10
(Beat By) Jealousy - 7.5/10
Heavy Heart - 6.5/10
Love Mistake - 8/10
Language Of Love - 7.5/10
Ambush - 7.5/10

Adjusted 79%
Overall 79%
3 Stars
 
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