3. KISS – Monster
4. Van Halen – A Different Kind of Truth
5. Aerosmith – Songs from Another Dimension!
6. Adler – Back From The Dead
7. Mollo/Martin – The Third Cage
8. Hess – Living In Yesterday
9. Slash – Apocalyptic Love
10. Dokken – Broken Bones
11. Great White – Elation
12. Richie Sambora – Aftermath of the Lowdown
13. Jorn – Bring Heavy Rock to the Land
17. Crazy Lixx – Riot Avenue
18. Hinder – Welcome to the Freak Show
19. Million Dollar Reload – A Sinner’s Saint
20. The Morning After – Legacy
21. Heart – Fanatic
22. Accept – Stalingrad
Missed Them in 2012…
These are releases from 2012 that I’ve heard some songs from but I haven’t listened to the entire album yet. I wouldn’t have felt right trying to place them on the list without having heard the complete album. Look for reviews of these albums soon.
* Danko Jones – Rock and Roll is Black and Blue
* Black Country Communion – Afterglow
* L.A. Guns – Hollywood Forever (from what I’ve heard, this probably would’ve made my Top 10)
* Jettblack – Raining Rock
* The Last Vegas – Bad Decisions
* Ian Gillan & Tony Iommi: WhoCares
* Overkill – The Electric Age
* T & N – Slave to the Empire
* Lynch Mob – Sound Mountain Session EP
The “everything else” category.
1. Richard Marx – Christmas Spirit
2. Dio – The Very Beast of Dio, Vol. 2
3. Rod Stewart – Merry Christmas, Baby
4. John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John – This Christmas
5. TSO – Dreams of Fireflies (On a Christmas Night) EP
6. Dee Snider – Dee Does Broadway
7. Buckcherry – “Gluttony” [single]
8. Motley Crue – “Sex” [single]
9. Wildstreet – “Easy Does It” [single]
Most Anticipated in 2013
Judas Priest: Slated for sometime in 2013, this is easily the most anticipated album for me. I’m looking forward to and hoping Priest will deliver a classic sounding metal album and forget about overblown concept records. It’s just a shame KK Downing isn’t along for the ride but I think having some young blood in Priest might actually help push them to be heavier, harder and faster. The same thing happened when Scott Travis joined the band. I’d still love to see Downing come back at some point though. Why not have six members of Judas Priest?
Buckcherry – Confessions (Feb. 19): The lead single “Gluttony” has already been released and I’m really enjoying it. These guys do not disappoint.
My Darkest Days (fall): These guys have released two of my favorite albums from the last few years and are already writing for a follow up to last year’s Sick and Twisted Affair with a new studio album in the fall. I’m hoping the recent departure of guitarist Sal Costa wouldn’t delay the release.
Avenged Sevenfold: No timetable for a new album other than 2013. The band is supposedly going to begin recording this month.
Motley Crue: Another “sometime in 2013″ release. The question is — LP or EP? Vince Neil has mentioned it will be an EP and that’s more in line with what Tommy Lee has stated he’d like for the band to release from now on. Nikki Sixx has been referring to the next Crue release as an “album”, so I guess we’ll see. The single they released in the summer (“Sex”) was decent and seems to fit in with the modern rock turn Crue has taken since 2005.
Black Sabbath: Originally meant for 2012, all kinds of legal issues and drama have slowed this one down. Pretty stupid if they don’t end up pulling Bill Ward in but I’m interested just because I’m a fan of Iommi & Butler. In fact, bring back Ward and get rid of Ozzy and I’d feel even better about this reunion album. My preference is still for Iommi & Butler to form a new band with either Tony Martin (long shot), Jorn Lande, Ian Gillan or Glenn Hughes.
Megadeth: I dunno… Megadeth is one of my all-time favorite bands so I’m always interested but with each release I’m finding less and less to like. Yes, they are getting heavier and faster. Perhaps they are the heaviest and fastest they’ve ever been but Dave seems to be forsaking melody to do it. Seems like he’d rather go off on political rants and conspiracy theories than write memorable songs.
AC/DC: One of those bands that myself & radio have played out to the point where I’m kinda numb to them. But, Black Ice was far better than I ever imagined it could be so I’m definitely interested in new music. This past spring Malcolm Young said a new album would be out in a “year or two”. Here’s hoping it’ll be released in 2013.
Tom Keifer (spring) – I’m a big fan of Cinderella. People have been asking for a new Cinderella album for over 10 years now. I’m not sure why Tom would decide to a solo release instead but I’m not going to complain.
Deep Purple: Ian Gillan said they were planning a new release. Hopefully they follow through!
Anthrax: I think it was Joey Belladonna who stated in interview this past summer than they wanted to release something new in 2013.
Hardcore Superstar – C’mon Take On Me (March 1)
Black Veil Brides – Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones (January 8): I surprisingly enjoyed their last album. Looking forward to hearing whether they’ve kept the same sound or going even more glam/power metal than before.
Crashdiet – The Savage Playground (late January)
Bon Jovi – What About Now (March 26): I’m not a fan of the lead single, “Because We Can”. I actually haven’t been a fan of the last few albums either but I was optimistic because I liked all four new songs they released with the deluxe version of their latest greatest hits compilation. I can’t help but get excited when a new Bon Jovi album is coming out but I would not be surprised if this album was only good for a ballad or two.
Posted in Year End Awards
Tags: 2012, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Avenged Sevenfold, Black Sabbath, Bon Jovi, Buckcherry, Classic Metal, Classic Rock, Deep Purple, Dio, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Hinder, Judas Priest, KISS, Megadeth, Melodic Rock, Metal, Motley Crue, Music, My Darkest Days, Papa Roach, Richard Marx, Rick Springfield, Rock, Rod Stewart, Slash, Van Halen
KISS – Monster [Limited Deluxe Edition]
(2012, Universal Music Enterprises/KISS Records)
1. “Hell or Hallelujah”
2. “Wall of Sound”
4. “Back to the Stone Age”
5. “Shout Mercy”
6. “Long Way Down”
7. “Eat Your Heart Out”
8. “The Devil Is Me”
9. “Outta This World”
10. “All for the Love of Rock & Roll”
11. “Take Me Down Below”
12. “Last Chance”
Paul Stanley – Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals
Gene Simmons – Lead Vocals, Bass, Backing Vocals
Tommy Thayer – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals, Lead Vocals
Eric Singer – Drums, Backing Vocals, Lead Vocals
Producer: Paul Stanley & Greg Collins
I’m surprised KISS didn’t use the same business model as they did for Sonic Boom, which was an exclusive U.S. release through Wal-Mart. KISS may be wishing they had the muscle of Wal-Mart behind them again because even though Monster debuted at #3 on the Billboard charts, it only sold about 56,000 copies in its first week compared to Sonic Boom‘s 108,000 copies sold.
Although the album was not released exclusively through Wal-Mart, there is a limited deluxe edition that is exclusive to Wal-Mart. The CD comes with a 64-page booklet (it’s not really magazine-sized) full of photos, facts, features, interviews, lyrics and track-by-track commentary for the new album. I’m not sure if it can be picked up in stores. I got my copy on pre-order from Walmart.com. The CD doesn’t come bundled in its own digipak or even a jewel case. It’s inserted into the inside cover.
KISS is my favorite band so I’m definitely happy they released another new studio album but at times Monster feels a bit like “been there, heard that”. This is a good album but it sounds so familiar to Sonic Boom they might as well have labeled it Sonic Boom, Vol. 2: “Hell or Hallelujah” is “Modern Day Delilah”, “The Devil Is Me” is “I’m An Animal”, “Outta This World” is “When Lightning Strikes”, “All for the Love of Rock & Roll” is “All for the Glory”, etc. Okay, maybe it doesn’t all sound like Sonic Boom… “Eat Your Heart Out” sounds like a Gene number that could’ve been on Asylum!
“Hell or Hallelujah” and “All for the Love of Rock & Roll” were instant favorites for me but the rest has taken some time to grow on me, just as the last album did. Songs like “Wall of Sound”, “Freak” (which was supposedly intended for Lady Gaga according to another review I read online) and “Back to the Stone Age” didn’t grab me at first but there’s some good stuff going on there if you stick it out. I’m really starting to get pulled into the whole album the more I listen to it. Probably the only song on this album I don’t have any affection for is the closing track “Last Chance”. Not bad but it’s filler. Poor way to close an album and Monster would’ve benefited if they limited the album to 10 tracks.
Ultimately, I think if anyone liked Sonic Boom, they’ll like this album. I definitely think Monster is the more consistent of the two (Gene brought some real clunkers to the last album) but I also believe the strongest songs from Sonic Boom are better than the strongest songs from Monster, if that makes sense. Still, this is pure KISS — big dumb fun. “Back to the Stone Age” really embodies the band at this point. They aren’t looking to reinvent the wheel, write thoughtful lyrics or expand their musical horizons. Do I think KISS can do better? Yes. But if this was the final KISS album, would I be okay with that? Yes, I would.
There is a bonus track if you buy the album through iTunes (and you have to buy the entire album to get it) called “Right Here Right Now”. It’s one of the better songs from the album and sounds equal parts ’70s KISS and late ’80s KISS. It’s a shame you can’t buy the individual track on iTunes because I definitely would as it’s better than most of what’s on this album.
Highlights: “Hell or Hallelujah”, “Wall of Sound”, “Shout Mercy”, “Long Way Down”, “Eat Your Heart Out”, “The Devil Is Me”, “All for the Love of Rock & Roll”
2012 is shaping up to be another spectacular year for rock music. This is a year that is going to see releases from KISS, Judas Priest, Aerosmith, Van Halen and Black Sabbath. WHAT YEAR IS THIS ?!?
In no particular order, here’s what I’m definitely picking up in 2o12:
Accept – Stalingrad (April)
Accept really blew me away with Blood of the Nations. The band has proven there is life without Udo. In fact, I think many people would prefer the current line-up over the classic Accept roster at this point.
Crazy Lixx - Riot Avenue (April)
These solid modern glam-metallers are currently in the studio working on their 3rd album.
KISS - Monster (Spring)
Obviously, this is the album I’m looking forward to most. Sonic Boom was a triumphant return to the studio for these guys, now that the wheels are well-oiled, I think Monster has potential to be even better.
Sunstorm – Emotional Fire (February)
I missed out on the last Sunstorm despite good reviews. In the past year I’ve come to appreciate AOR/melodic rock more so I think I’m going to try out this Joe Lynn Turner-fronted side project when it’s released.
No date yet set by these sleaze rockers but they are supposedly in the writing process now. I’m guessing sometime in the Fall.
Black Sabbath (Fall/Winter)
Another highly anticipated album for me because I’m really curious what it’s going to sound like. I’m not a big Ozzy fan, either as a solo artist or in Sabbath. I’d much rather see Iommi w/ Geezer go on to new projects (Iommi needs to give Tony Martin another call) but I still will be pre-ordering this one. My expectations aren’t all that high though given who is singing. I feel like he and Sharon are going to bring everyone else down to his mediocre level. Still, it’s exciting to know that new Iommi riffs and solos are coming.
So much prima donna drama in this camp over the last 5 years or so but hopefully that’s gone long enough to give us a new album. Granted, I don’t really expect much from these guys in terms of, well… anything anymore. They’re kind of a joke at this point but with the legendary Jack Douglas back on as producer, I have no doubts that he’ll drag something out of them that’s better than the last studio album (2001′s Just Push Play).
Van Halen (February 7)
Geez, it was starting to look like the new Chinese Democracy, wasn’t it? No album title has been released yet but a release date has been and the first single will be released on January 10. Van Halen is another band that has become a joke over the years (despite the last tour getting rave reviews) but I have a good feeling about this album. The first album with Roth since 1984 and 1984! Rumored titles have been The Future and 2012 but I don’t think either will turn out to be true. Maybe IV though..?
The band hasn’t definitely said a new album is coming in 2012 but they’ve been working on new material for a while now and seem to be looking at 2012 for releasing it. It’s a different songwriting dynamic now though. Instead of Halford/Downing/Tipton, it’s just Halford/Tipton. By all accounts, new guitarist Richie Faulkner is carrying his weight in a live setting so I think the album is going to turn out quite good. I do think it’s time the band delivers a straight ahead metal album though. Angel of Retribution and Nostradamus were good but not excellent. The band really hasn’t given the world that kick-ass classic metal album that they should’ve already done since Halford has come back. They really need a Painkiller, Hell Bent for Leather or British Steel at this point and keep it simple.
Primal Fear - Unbreakable (late January)
I have heard this album. It’s good. Plan on reviewing it soon.
Mollo/Martin - The Third Cage (late January)
See above. It’s great to have a new album out with Tony Martin on vocals.
Maybe wishful thinking on my part but they were working on new material this past summer so hopefully something new will appear by next summer.
The Last Vegas - The Other Side
No date announced yet but they recently released the free digital Other Side E.P. so I’d imagine we’ll have the new album by the spring.
His first solo album was one of the best records from the last few years and this time, Myles Kennedy is singing all the songs. Everything is written, all that’s left to do is record the songs so I’m guessing spring for this one as well.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Romanov: What Kings Must Whisper
The second non-holiday from TSO, it was actually planned to be their first album way back in 1994 but they held on it while trying to get a Broadway musical out of it first. Night Castle was dark and cool while still keeping that trademark blend of metal, rock and classical music, I expect more of the same here.
With a deal in place with Frontiers Records for the new album, I’m expecting something special despite never being a huge Dokken fan. Lightning Strikes Again was good enough for me to be interested in a follow-up. The plan, as of this past November, was to have recording completed by February.
This album was actually delayed from this past year in favor of recording and releasing the excellent The Covering album of cover songs. According to Michael Sweet, two albums are in the works: the first will be an album of re-recordings (Why? Can we stop this trend, please?) followed by an album of all-new material written in the same heavy, edgy vein as “God” from The Covering.
M-Pire of Evil
M-Pire of Evil is the renamed Primevil which itself was the reunited late ’80s/early ’90s line-up of Venom that featured Tony “Demolition Man” Dolan on vocals/bass . I’m not well-versed on the comings and goings of the Venom roster but the “classic” line-up is split into two different bands right now. Conrad “Cronos” Lant is leading Venom with a few newer guys while the other two “classic” members (Jeff “Mantas” Dunn & Anthony “Abaddon” Bray) have hooked up again with Dolan for M-Pire of Evil.
They released an EP this past summer called The Creatures of the Black, which was pretty good and I liked the Prime Evil album (the only Venom release I’ve heard from this line-up) so I’m looking forward to a full length album. I couldn’t find anything resembling a release date but going by the band’s Facebook page, it should be soon because they’ve been teasing releasing the album cover.
Tooth And Nail (March)
The band that features 3/4 of the classic Dokken line-up. How does “Wild” Mick Brown still retain a position in Dokken while joining Tooth And Nail? Given Don Dokken’s reputation, you’d think he’d have been fired from Dokken by now. I mean, this band was named after a Dokken album and they’ve gloated over the fact that Don Dokken isn’t in the group (bassist Jeff Pilson will handle vocals). What’s weird is that on the band’s Facebook page, they list current Whitesnake drummer Brian Tichy as a member as well… I guess he’s there for the live shows in case Brown has to go off and play in Dokken?
I’m probably forgetting a few more albums but oh well!
Posted in Uncategorized
Tags: Accept, Aerosmith, AOR, Black Sabbath, Buckcherry, Classic Metal, Classic Rock, Classical Music, Crashdiet, Crazy Lixx, Dario Mollo, Dokken, Don Dokken, George Lynch, Glam Metal, Glam Rock, Hair Metal, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Joe Lynn Turner, Judas Priest, KISS, M-Pire of Evil, Melodic Hard Rock, Melodic Rock, Metal, Mollo/Martin, Music, NWOBHM, Pop Metal, Power Metal, Primal Fear, Progressive Metal, Progressive Rock, Rock, Slash, Sleaze Metal, Sleaze Rock, Stryper, Sunstorm, Tony Martin, Tooth And Nail, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, TSO, Van Halen
Last year I said 2010 was a better year for music than 2009 was. I went on to wonder how 2011 could even begin to top it. Well, guess what… 2011 did indeed top 2010! I’m looking back at my Top 25 list for 2010 and while those albums are all still good, this year’s Top 25 list is much stronger top to bottom.
2011 was a great year that saw classic rock/metal acts like Whitesnake, Warrant, Riot, Alice Cooper, Journey, Black N’ Blue and King Kobra deliver some of the best albums of their career while younger acts like Steel Panther, Reckless Love, Savage Messiah, Evile (who missed the list by this much) and Black Veil Brides have shown that they are more than capable of carrying rock & metal into the future.
Top 25 Albums of 2011
1. Whitesnake – Forevermore
2. Sixx:A.M. – This Is Gonna Hurt
3. Riot – Immortal Soul
4. Warrant – Rockaholic
5. Alice Cooper – Welcome 2 My Nightmare
6. Steel Panther – Balls Out
7. Megadeth – Thirteen
8. Anthrax – Worship Music
9. Sebastian Bach – Kicking & Screaming
10. Reckless Love – Animal Attraction
11. Edguy – Age of the Joker
12. Hurtsmile – s/t
13. Journey – Eclipse
14. Chickenfoot – III
15. Mike Tramp & The Rock ‘N’ Roll Circuz – Stand Your Ground
16. Black Country Communion – 2
17. The Poodles – Performocracy
18. House of Lords – Big Money
19. King Kobra – s/t
20. Saliva – Under Your Skin
21. Foo Fighters – Wasting Light
22. Black N’ Blue – Hell Yeah!
22. Savage Messiah – Plague of Conscience
24. George Lynch – Kill All Control
25. Joe Bonamassa – Dust Bowl
In light of a few non-album singles being released this year, I’ve decided to make this a hybrid category.
Best Compilation/Cover/Live/Reissue Albums
Kind of a catch-all category this year. Instead of listing each category individually, I decided to lump them all into one list and rank them that way.
1. Black Sabbath – Born Again [Deluxe Edition]
2. Stryper – The Covering
3. Vains of Jenna – Reverse Tripped
4. Whitesnake – Live at Donington 1990
5. Slash featuring Myles Kennedy – Live: Made In Stoke 24/7/11
6. Hell – Human Remains
7. Scorpions – Comeblack
8. Def Leppard – Mirrorball: Live & More
9. Eric Carr – Unfinished Business
10. Black Sabbath – Dehumanizer [Deluxe Edition]
Want to read more about the year in music? Check out some of the fine sites & blogs listed below! And be sure to keep checking back for more Year-End posts here at Metal Excess!
All Metal Resource — http://allmetalresource.com/
Bring Back Glam — http://bringbackglam.squarespace.com/
The Crash Pad of Ray Van Horn, Jr. – http://www.rayvanhornjr2.blogspot.com/
Hair Metal Mansion — http://hairbangersradio.ning.com/
Hard Rock Hideout — http://hardrockhideout.com/
Hard Rock Nights — http://hardrocknights.com
Heavy Metal Addiction — http://heavymetaladdiction.com/
Heavy Metal Time Machine — http://metalmark.blogspot.com/
Imagine Echoes — http://www.imagineechoes.com/
Layla’s Classic Rock — http://laylasclassicrock.blogspot.com/
Metal Odyssey — http://metalodyssey.wordpress.com/
The Ripple Effect — http://www.ripplemusic.blogspot.com/
Posted in Year End Awards
Tags: Alice Cooper, Alternative Metal, Alternative Rock, Anthrax, AOR, Black 'n Blue, Black Country Communion, Black Sabbath, Black Veil Brides, Blues Rock, Chickenfoot, Classic Metal, Classic Rock, Def Leppard, Edguy, Eric Carr, Foo Fighters, George Lynch, Glam Metal, Glam Rock, Hair Metal, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Hell, House of Lords, Hurtsmile, Ian Gillan, Joe Bonamassa, Journey, King Kobra, KISS, Megadeth, Melodic Hard Rock, Melodic Rock, Metal, Metalcore, Mike Tramp, Music, Myles Kennedy, NWOBHM, Pop Metal, Power Metal, Reckless Love, Riot, Rock, Saliva, Savage Messiah, Scorpions, Sebastian Bach, Sixx:A.M., Slash, Sleaze Metal, Sleaze Rock, Speed Metal, Steel Panther, Stryper, The Last Vegas, The Poodles, Thrash Metal, Tony Iommi, Vains of Jenna, Warrant, White Lion, Whitesnake, Who Cares, Wildstreet
Black Veil Brides – Rebels (2011, Universal Republic Records)
1. “Coffin” … 4:15
2. “Rebel Yell” … 4:38
3. “Unholy” … 3:25
4. “Rebel Love Song” [Extended Director's Cut Music Video] … 6:50
Andy Biersack – Vocals
Jake Pitts – Guitar
Jinxx – Guitar
Ashley Purdy – Bass
Christian Coma – Drums
Zakk Wylde – Guitar (“Rebel Yell”)
Just six months after releasing the glam/metalcore Set The World On Fire album, the Black Veil Brides are back with an iTunes exclusive EP featuring one new original song, two covers and a music video. Truthfully, I couldn’t care less about the music video to “Rebel Love Song”. That seems like it would’ve been better suited to be included as a bonus on STWOF since that’s the album the song comes from.
I recently read excerpts of an interview with lead singer Andy Biersack who made it sound like BVB were looked to spread their wings beyond the metalcore scene. They don’t want to do anything fancy or “mature”, they just want to play & write fun rock songs. “More Motley Crue, less W.A.S.P.” is how Andy put it. “Coffin” will still appeal to their goth & emo Hot Topic fan-base but it’s definitely a song that shifts away from the metalcore sound into a regular ol’ modern metal sound that’s comparable to Avenged Sevenfold.
Just as Avenged Sevenfold’s M. Shadows moved away from the awful screaming metalcore style of “singing”, Andy seems to be doing the same as well. He still screams but it’s not as abrasive as before and certainly sounds in place on Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell” and KISS’ “Unholy”.
Yes, the ’80s influence is coming through even more. “Coffin” itself is a good song and stands up to the best from STWOF but if “fun” is what BVB is going for these days — then they’ve far beyond exceeded that with their covers of “Rebel Yell” (Zakk Wylde guests on this one) and “Unholy”. Their versions are great. A very powerful, heavy sound has been given to both and this especially suits “Unholy”.
I am very interested in seeing what is coming on the next album. I have a feeling that just like Avenged Sevenfold once these guys further break away from metalcore, they’re going to be one of the great modern metal bands.
Eric Carr – Unfinished Business (2011, Auto Rock Records)
1. Eric speaks to the fans
2. “Just Can’t Wait”
3. “Troubles Inside You”
4. Eric talks about his music
5. “No One’s Messin’ With You”
6. “Carr Jam 1981″
7. Eric talks about audition
9. “All Hell’s Breakin’ Loose”
10. “Dial L For Love”
11. “Elephant Man”
12. Eric Talks about Mark St. John
13. “Midnite Stranger”
14. “Eyes Of Love”
15. Bill Aucoin talks about Eric
16. “Through The Years”
17. “I Cry at Night”
18. Eric kidding around at a Kiss album rehearsal
Producer: Linda Caravello & Beth Jordan
On the 20 year anniversary of Eric Carr’s death, the Caravello (Carr) family decided to honor Eric by releasing Unfinished Business, an album featuring a number of Eric’s demos that were recently fleshed out and re-recorded with the aid of a number of musicians. Also featured are voice clips of Eric Carr. A similar project called Rockology was released by the family in 1999 but that album was nothing but demos & rough mixes with the only tampering being done by former KISS band mate Bruce Kulick who tried to re-mix the tracks and improve production as best he could.
Notes about the songs:
- “Just Can’t Wait” (1987) was originally released on Rockology as an instrumental but this time around there are lyrics & vocals for it and there’s a good reason this new version comes off like Danger Danger — Ted Poley sings on it. I think it was one of the better songs from Rockology. It’s nice to hear it with a vocal track but I think it still stands as a great instrumental as well.
- “Troubles Inside You” (1987) features KISS collaborator Mitch Weissman on vocals. Sound quality isn’t that great given that it’s a demo but it’s a cool rocker.
- “No One’s Messin’ With You” (1989) is an early demo of what would morph into “Little Caesar” from Hot in the Shade.
- “Carr Jam 1981″ (which originally appeared on KISS’ Revenge album) & “All Hell’s Breakin’ Loose” (originally appeared on KISS’ Lick It Up album) are covers by the band ZO2.
- “Shandi” features Eric on vocals and comes from his 1980 KISS audition. These demo tapes remained lost until 2006 when they were rediscovered by Eric Carr’s family. The entire four-song audition was produced on CD in extremely limited quantities and released as The 1980 KISS Audition EP and sold through http://www.EricCarr.com. This particular version lifts Eric’s vocals from the audition tape and adds new music performances and arrangement.
- “Dial L for Love” is a near complete demo track (no vocals) from 1987. Could’ve been a really good rocker.
- “Elephant Man” never got past the lyrics stage in 1991 when Eric passed away. Music was composed for this song from scratch by Bob Gilmartin (who provides vocals & guitar) and Nick Clements. Eric’s sister and niece sing backing vocals, Twisted Sister’s A.J. Pero plays drums and Europe’s Kee Marcello provided lead guitar on the intro.
- “Midnite Stranger” comes from a demo that Eric had given ex-KISS lead guitarist Mark St. John back in 1986. Mark had contacted the Carr family in 2006 and gave them the tape and the plan was for St. John to add more guitar parts but the project was never completed due to Mark’s passing away in 2007.
- “Eyes of Love” is another song that was originally on Rockology. This version is considerably better with newly recorded music. All of Eric’s vocals remain while Seether’s John Humphrey plays the drums and Benny Doro plays everything else.
- “Through The Years” is a compilation recordings of Eric on drums from his teenage years up to live performances with KISS. Very cool thing to hear.
- “I Cry At Night” is a song from 1967. It was written by Eric and recorded by The Cellarmen, which was his very first band. Very much inspired by the Beatles and general rock/pop sound of bands at the time.
The rest of the tracks are short sound clips from interviews either with Eric or about Eric.
Overall, this is a great disc for KISS fans to add to their collection. Carr is one of the most loved members the band has ever had and this is another great trip back in time to see what a cool guy and great talent he was. Hopefully the Carr family has more demos and outtakes ready to go because I’d love for third album to come along. Hopefully we’ll get some new kick-ass versions of “Somebody’s Waiting”, “Nightmare” and “Can You Feel It” if that ever comes about!
Highlights: “Just Can’t Wait”, “Troubles Inside You”, “Shandi”, “All Hell’s Breakin’ Loose”, “Eyes of Love”, “Through The Years”
KISS – Smashes, Thrashes & Hits (1988, Mercury Records)
1. “Let’s Put the X in Sex” … 3:48
2. “(You Make Me) Rock Hard” … 3:26
3. “Love Gun” … 3:31
4. “Detroit Rock City” … 3:45
5. “I Love It Loud” … 3:47
6. “Deuce” … 3:20
7. “Lick It Up” … 3:53
8. “Heaven’s on Fire”… 3:19
9. “Calling Dr. Love” … 3:38
10. “Strutter” … 3:38
11. “Beth” (Eric Carr vocal) … 2:46
12. “Tears Are Falling” … 3:54
13. “I Was Made for Lovin’ You” … 4:29
14. “Rock and Roll All Nite” … 2:56
15. “Shout It Out Loud” … 3:07
Smashes, Thrashes & Hits is a KISS compilation aimed at the MTV generation that had helped breathe new life into the band during the ’80s (this album itself would go onto double platinum status). There are five tracks that come from either Creatures of the Night, Lick It Up, Animalize or Asylum while eight tracks feature some of the band’s classic ’70s material. Most of the songs from the 1970s were remixed for this collection.
Basically, the remixes amount to nothing and I could care less whether I’m listening to original or “remixed” versions, they sound the same to my unrefined ears. In the case of “Beth”, the vocals were re-recorded with Eric Carr (who does quite a good job on the song). Two additional tracks were recorded for this album and along with having the Eric Carr version of “Beth”, they are the only reason I was interested in owning this album.
“Let’s Put the X in Sex” and “(You Make Me) Rock Hard” are definitely songs of the time and follow the same pattern of the Crazy Nights album that came out in 1987 (which, surprisingly, is not represented here at all). Very cheesy and sexually-driven and they’ve always sounded to me as if they could’ve been recorded by Aerosmith around the same time. That’s probably because frequent Aerosmith collaborator Desmond Child co-wrote these songs with Paul Stanley! Future Aerosmith collaborator Diane Warren (“I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”) helped to co-write “(You Make Me) Rock Hard” as well.
Despite Paul Stanley swearing off both of these songs, I love them for the guilty pleasures that they are. I loved both of these songs from the first time I heard them and the lyrics are just plain cheesy hornball fun to me.
For an album that devotes half its space to the 1970s KISS catalog and half to their 1980s output, I think this is a solid compilation that does its job of representing both decades well. It’s not the compilation I would recommend for people wanting to discover the band but for the diehards that happen to love ’80s KISS? This is definitely worth picking up (can easily be found at a low price) for the two new tracks and Eric Carr’s take on “Beth”.
Stryper – The Covering (2011, Big3 Records)
1. “Set Me Free” … 3:45
2. “Blackout” … 3:58
3. “Heaven and Hell” … 6:11
4. “Lights Out” … 3:44
5. “Carry On Wayward Son” … 5:16
6. “Highway Star” … 5:45
7. “Shout It Out Loud” … 3:15
8. “Over the Mountain” … 4:21
9. “The Trooper” … 3:53
10. “Breaking the Law” … 3:02
11. “On Fire” … 3:08
12. “Immigrant Song” … 2:18
13. “God” … 4:55
Michael Sweet – Lead Vocals, Guitar, Backing Vocals
Oz Fox – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Timothy Gaines – Bass, Backing Vocals
Robert Sweet – Drums
Charles Foley – Keyboards, Organ, Piano
Producer: Michael Sweet
And Stryper continues their trend for having AWFUL album covers. =P
Luckily, the album art is not a good indicator of the music itself because this is seriously one great album of covers! When I first heard it was going to be a cover album, I kind of rolled my eyes. That’s usually a sign that a band is slowing down and/or giving up on new material but then they started releasing all these samples and they sounded amazing. I guess the band has caught some flack from their Christian fanbase for having the gall to cover secular music and evil bands such as Judas Priest, Black Sabbath and KISS but whatever. Get over yourselves! Christian acts don’t need to be singing about God & Jesus in every single song. Just because you want to cover Van Halen and Scorpions it doesn’t mean you’ve turned your back on the Lord.
Anyway, what a great line-up of bands to cover! In order, they are: Sweet, Scorpions, Black Sabbath, UFO, Kansas, Deep Purple, KISS, Ozzy Osbourne, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Van Halen and Led Zeppelin. The only original song of the bunch is “God” which is a fantastic hard rocker that just doesn’t let up and gives me hope that maybe the band will put out an entirely new and original album later this year.
It was Murder By Pride that pulled me onto the Stryper bandwagon. That was a very good album. Sometimes a veteran act seems to be going through the motions even when they release new material but that wasn’t the case then and even though the band is covering songs here, they still sound energetic and on fire. ”God” gives me hope that maybe the band will put out an entirely new and original album later this year because they are on a roll.
The band stays pretty faithful to the source material only making slight alterations here and there but these are some killer covers. “Blackout” and “Lights Out” are pure fire and it’s interesting to hear Michael Sweet vocals on these songs. I think he’s got a unique singing style and it’s interesting hearing him find some middle ground between his own style and the styles in which these songs were originally sung.
One of the better cover albums I’ve heard. Essential pickup for 2011.
Highlights: “Set Me Free”, “Blackout”, “Lights Out”, “Shout It Out Loud”, “On Fire”, “God”
2011 has a quite a challenge in front of it. 2010 was filled with TONS of great albums. If 2011 can pull off even half of what last year did, it’ll still be a great year. This isn’t some complete list, there may be more projects in the works that I’ve forgotten about or don’t know about yet… but that doesn’t mean I’m not looking forward to them! This is just a list of stuff off the top of my head…
Wildstreet - II …Faster …Louder EP (January 25th)
One of my favorite albums of 2009 was Wildstreet’s debut. I would love a full album but if an EP is all I can get, I’ll gladly take it. Will be available for download at iTunes & Amazon on January 25th with physical copies to be available for purchase shortly after. I’ll have a review up for it sometime next week.
Stryper - The Covering (February)
Originally scheduled for the end of 2010, it was pushed back supposedly in order to increase awareness for the album. Even though it’s an album of covers, they’ve picked some good songs and the samples sound great.
Whitesnake - Forevermore (March)
Sure to be another highlight of the year for me. Good to Be Bad is one of my favorite Whitesnake albums and Coverdale has basically said Forevermore will be more of the same because he thinks they found the right balance of all eras of Whitesnake with that record. I couldn’t agree more.
Sixx A.M. - This Is Gonna Hurt (April)
I’m a huge Nikki Sixx fan. I’ve loved all the new Crue material since Red, White & Crue and the first Sixx A.M. album was pretty good. James Michael is also a fantastic vocalist and is a great songwriter/producer. This one should be a winner.
Alice Cooper – Welcome 2 My Nightmare (AKA - Welcome to My Nightmare II)
2010 looked to be a lock for new Alice. He was already in the middle of writing the album but then hooked up with Bob Ezrin again and they decided to do a Welcome to My Nightmare sequel. The album Alice had originally planned was called The Night Shift and here are his own words on that project, taken from the Toronto Sun newspaper back in April:
“Ten songs are written already. It’s going to be called The Night Shift. The concept is, it’s a really dark radio show where I’m the disc jockey, and every song I play will be by a different fictitious band. At some point, you’ll realize this disc jockey is a little bit more than that. And I’m sure there will be some kind of a twist ending.”
I’m not sure if The Night Shift and Welcome 2 My Nightmare (the rumored title) are two totally separate projects or if Alice & Bob have decided to absorb the ideas from Night Shift into Welcome 2.
My first Saxon album was Into the Labyrinth and I liked it a lot. Supposedly a new one should be coming this year…
New Megadeth is always a highlight for me, I was disappointed by Endgame but I think the band is gonna go out on a high note with their last album on Roadrunner. I think the band goes into the studio to record in February, so I’m guessing Spring 2011 is the release.
Easily the most anticipated release of the year for me. Sonic Boom was great and I was very happy to hear both Gene & Paul state in various interviews that a new album would be arriving on 2011. They wouldn’t do it if they couldn’t make money off of it (which had been a concern for years) so I guess Sonic Boom was very profitable for them. I know another tour is gonna start up in the summer so I’m guessing the release will be happening around then.
So happy to hear that Riot is back to work on a new album. I just got into them a little over a year ago but quickly snatched up most of their albums. I haven’t heard a bad Riot album yet and this particular album reunites the Thundersteel line-up.
They put out a great little EP in 2010, a full album should be even better.
A few songs from the forthcoming album can now be bought on iTunes and Amazon and they sound really good. I’ve had a good feeling about this album for a long time. It’s exactly what I was expecting — fun rock ‘n’ roll that stays true to Steven’s GNR roots and classic rock-influences.
Anvil – Juggernaut of Justice (Spring)
Anvil is always good for some solid heavy metal. It’s a shame it’s taken them this long to release it though.
So there’s a new singer and Frankie Banali has been given the blessing of the DuBrow family to continue on with QR. If it’s good enough for Kevin’s mom then it’s good enough for me! Mark Huff sounds pretty close to DuBrow and I know they’ve been re-recording some QR classics but I’m hoping there’s going to be some new material too.
Still Waiting For… (albums originally scheduled for 2010)
Anthrax – Worship Music
Originally planned for 2009! The band has gone through three different singers since then and went back to tweaking the album with Belladonna on vocals.
At the end of 2009, Peter said he’d have an rock album coming out in Spring 2010 but I haven’t heard anything since. Maybe he’ll do what Ace did and release his solo album about the same time KISS releases their new album.
Criss – Cat #1 (1994, Tony Nicole Tony Records)
1. “Bad Attitude” … 4:35
2. “Walk the Line” … 3:49
3. “Truth” … 4:54
4. “Bad People Burn in Hell” … 3:47
5. “Show Me” … 4:04
6. “Good Times” … 4:36
7. “Strike” … 4:45
8. “Blue Moon Over Brooklyn” … 5:23
9. “Down with the Sun” … 4:37
10. “We Want You” … 3:48
11. “Beth” … 2:48
Peter Criss – Lead Vocals, Drums, Percussion
Mike Stone – Guitar, Lead Vocals
Mike McLaughlin – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Mark Montague – Bass, Backing Vocals
Ace Frehley – Guitar (“Bad Attitude”, “Walk the Line”, “Blue Moon Over Brooklyn”)
Wayne Johnson – Acoustic Guitar
Doug Shawe, Dito Godwin – Piano
Kirk Miller – Guitar
Stephen Presley – Keyboards
Producer: Dito Godwin & Peter Criss
Peter’s non-KISS material has always been the least enjoyable of the original four members of KISS. His self-titled KISS album is pretty lame and I’ve read that 2007′s One For All was even worse. Of the five solo albums he’s released to date, I think Cat #1 is easily the best. Yeah, I know “Criss” is the name of the band and it’s commendable that he tried to get a real band going but let’s call a spade a spade and just say this is a Peter Criss album (even though guitarist Mike Stone handles vocals on “Show Me” and “We Want You”). This album may have gotten a bit more notice had it been titled as such.
You won’t find any of Peter’s jazz, R&B, big band or crooning influences here. This is a hard rock ‘n’ roll album that sounds like it came out of the late ’70s or early ’80s. In short, it’s the type of album he should’ve made back then during that very time frame!
There’s some great rockers like “Bad Attitude”, “Show Me” and “The Truth” and then some cool ballads as well (“Good Times”, “Blue Moon Over Brooklyn”). Peter’s always had a great soulful voice and it’s in fine form throughout the album. For KISS fans, I think this is worth seeking out, especially if you’re a fan of the original line-up and not only because of Peter Criss but because Ace plays guitar on a few of these songs.
Highlights: “Bad Attitude”, “The Truth”, “Bad People Burn in Hell”, “Good Times”, “Blue Moon Over Brooklyn”