Archive for the ‘Albums’ Category

Iron Maiden – Powerslave

Friday, June 12th, 2009

I have a theory.

Young men of my generation were introduced to music, for the most part, through older siblings, or possibly the older siblings of good friends. If you had older sisters, your first experience with rock was Def Leppard’s Pyromania. If you had older brothers, it was Iron Maiden’s Powerslave.

I had older sisters.

Subsequently, I missed out on a whole bunch of classic metal albums from the eighties.* I’ve always been aware of Iron Maiden, I just never made it a point to actively seek out and listen to their music. This is bizarre, considering that many of my favorite bands (Arch Enemy, Mastodon, etc.) are very, very heavily influenced by them. After watching the Flight 666 documentary, I decided to give Powerslave a good honest listen.

This is an awesome album, there is no question about that. I mean…. Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Enough said.

I spend a fair amount of time listening to melodic death metal, and it’s a refreshing change of pace to hear the same melodic structures, but with clean vocals. Many modern bands have a difficult time pulling that off, but early Maiden does it flawlessly. And Steve Harris’ bass tone and harmonic lines should be required listening for every aspiring bassist.

* My knowledge of Tesla and Def Leppard lyrics is impressive, though.

Motorhead – Ace of Spades

Friday, June 12th, 2009

I’m not exactly sure when I became aware of Motorhead; I probably just absorbed knowledge of their existence through metal magazines. There are certain basic and undeniable facts* that you become aware of when you start to become a metal fan, and one of the first is Lemmy. That’s not a typo. Lemmy himself is a basic and undeniable fact.

Previously, my knowledge of Motorhead songs was limited to “Ace of Spaces” and “Eat The Rich”. Every few years, I’ll get the wild notion that I need to listen to more Motorhead, so I’ll preview a few songs and decide against an album purchase.**

While at Half Price Books earlier in the week, I stumbled across a copy of Ace of Spades for $3, and I figured…. why not? About two years ago, I saw a VH1 Classic Albums special on the album, which was very cool.

One of the reasons I never really got into Motorhead was that I was expecting them to be a fairly standard metal band, which they’re not. If you approach Motorhead as good dirty rock n roll, you won’t be let down.

And it’s dirty rock music. Loud, fast, aggressive, noisy, vulgar, greasy, and reaking of stale beer and cigarette smoke. At this point in their career, you can’t really even apply a genre label to them, because the sound they create is Motorhead. The production isn’t great; I’m not sure if I just have a crappy re-master or that’s just the way it was. Digital production has really spoiled me, and having previewed some later releases, they have cleaner production.

* Another is that Ronnie James Dio is awesome.
** It turns out that I’ve been listening to Motorhead incorrectly. It’s best experienced at VERY LOUD VOLUMES.

Baroness – Red Album

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

I know about Baroness because they’re opening up for Clutch in August. That being said, I would have eventually found out about them at some point, as they seem to be included in the sort of “new wave of southern rock” that seems to be bubbling out of Georgia, featuring bands such as Mastodon and Kylesa.

Red Album is interesting; while it’s labeled “Sludge Metal” I don’t think that’s accurate. It’s certainly progressive at times, bearing more than a passing resemblance to Leviathan era Mastodon, with a touch of Sword thrown in. Still, they combine these genres without being derivative, and the result is an album that is full of an unexpected amount of dynamics, great riffs, and fantastic song writing.