Friday, February 25, 2011

Various Artists - "Never Say Dinosaur (A Tribute to Petra)"

Various Artists - Never Say Dinosaur (A Tribute to Petra)
1996, Starsong

1. "Taste and See" - Audio Adrenaline
2. "Judas' Kiss" - Walter Eugenes
3. "Not of this World" - Galactic Cowboys
4. "Yahweh Love" - Sarah Jahn
5. "I Can Be Friends With You" - MxPx
6. "Rose Colored Stained Glass Windows" - Jars of Clay
7. "Louie's Solo" - Passafist feat. Kevin Smith
8. "Road to Zion" - Sixpence None the Richer
9. "Pied Piper" - The Stand
10. "Wake Up" - Grammatrain
11. "The Coloring Song" - Capril and My Sister's Garden
12. "All the King's Horses" - Plank Eye

Not sure how I missed this tribute the first time around. I got it years ago when a friend gave me an enormous cache of CDs and this was one of them. I don't think it's quite the total package that I Predict a Clone is. There are some standout cuts though. Galactic Cowboys' rendition of "Not of this World" is stellar - probably the best track on here. Its also good to hear another Passafist song (even though it's not really a cover). It makes me wish Kevin Smith and Passafist would have teamed up for a full album! "The Coloring Song" is another one of my favorites because of the lead singer's pixie vocals. The rest of the songs are okay. Sadly this disc hosts my least favorite Sixpence None the Richer song. Their cover is pretty underwhelming... whodathunkit? Oh, and One Bad Pig's version of "Judas' Kiss" is the ONLY version of that song as far as I'm concerned.

Useless Fact: Not a fact, a question. Why is it called "Never Say Dinosaur?" I know "Never Say Never" was either a song or an album but why dinosaur?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Music Musings: Fighting Depression

It might surprise you to know this, but I often struggle with depression. Okay... maybe struggle isn't quite the word because sometimes I like it. Not on days like today though. Is there music that makes you depressed? I have some albums that I listen to when I'm depressed, but there are some that actually make me depressed. Like... take me from a happy or medium mood to depression. That's not good.

I actually noticed that when some friends and I took a week and only listened to worship music, just to see if we noticed a difference in ourselves. We were trying to do worship music for some thing or another and we really wanted to see if it would help us get into the anointing faster. I don't know if it really helped us at all, but I think God did point out some albums to me. I think it was God anyway. That's not really the point, though.

I say, "God said" but it's really more of a feeling. Like God put a sign on those albums in my heart that says, "You shouldn't listen to this." A few of them were King's X albums. Dogman, Ear Candy, Tape Head, Mr. Bulbous, and Manic Moonlight. That's why you don't see them on this site. All of these have some songs that just drag my mood right down. On Dogman it's "Cigarettes" and "Pillow" for example. Now I'm not saying that YOU can't enjoy these albums and songs, I'm just saying I have to stay away from them because they just make me depressed - and I don't need any help in that area.

There are a few albums that actually make me feel better no matter what mood I'm in. Grave Robber's Inner Sanctum, Devin Townsend's Addicted, and lately Gama Bomb. I mean seriously, how can you not feel better after listening to a song about Final Fight?

Wow... got a little personal there. Sorry, I'll try not to let it happen again.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Gama Bomb - "Citizen Brain"

Gama Bomb - Citizen Brain
Earache, 2008

1. Zombie Blood Nightmare
2. Evil Voices
3. Final Fight
4. Time Crime
5. Global Warning
6. OCP
7. Hammer Slammer
8. Sentenced To Thrash
9. Zombi Brew
10. Hell Trucker
11. Return of the Technodrome
12. Thrashoholic
13. In the Court of General Zod
14. Space Invaders
15. Bullet Belt

Special thanks has to go to Scott Waters and his website, No Life Til Metal. The other day I was checking his site (as I often do) and saw an entry about a band called Gama Bomb. He said they were straight up 80's thrash so I had to check them out. A quick trip to Itunes was all I needed. I immediately ordered Citizen Brain. Gama Bomb seems to be about two things: thrash and nostalgia. They are a speedy brand of thrash that some say sounds like Nuclear Assault or D.R.I. I can't really say having never heard those bands. It actually reminds me a little of The Crucified's first album. The lyrics are pure fun though. It seems like they've picked through all the cool stuff of the late 80's/early 90's. There's a song about the arcade game Final Fight, one about Robocop, one about Superman II, there's even one about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. While the lyrics can be crude at times I think everything is done very tongue-in-cheek, and thus, very entertaining. I suppose if I had one criticism it would be that most of the songs have the same tempo: furious. Of course that's part of the point as they eschew any "progressive dross" as they call it in favor of full throttle thrash. So... I don't know if I'd want album after album of this (unless they start writing good hooks as Mr. Waters suggests) but as it stands Citizen Brain is a fun trip to the 80's. Strap on your Bullet Belt!

Useless Fact: In the liner notes they've got actual screen shots of Nintendo games. Castlevania III is one of them. The album ends up being pretty appropriate for the project I'm doing over at my other blog: 30 Days of Nintendo. Check it out!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ransom - Ransom (20th Anniversary Edition)
1991/2010, Intense Millennium

1. Lasting Love
2. Rumors
3. Memories of You
4. Fool That I Am
5. Break Into Darkness
6. Tonight
7. Etched in Stone
8. Fallen Angel
9. Your Broken Heart
10. I'll Never Leave You
11. When I Die
Bonus Tracks
12. Sin Killer (Demo)
13. Sticks and Stones (Demo)
14. To Be Like You (Demo)
15. All My Heart (Demo)

I remember when Intense Records put out their Hot Metal 4 video. Ransom's "Lasting Love" was one of the tunes on there and my cousin and I watched that tape over and over that entire summer. Ransom play slick, LA/Glam metal backed by Lisa Faxom. Her powerhouse voice is definitely up to the challenge of fronting a metal band. She can really belt it out on the rocking songs then tone it down for the ballads with a sweater, more melodic sound. I'm not sure I would call this a "classic" in the same vein as some of the other IM releases, but as it stands this one is definitely a good album and worth checking out.

Intense Millennium has seen fit to reissue this classic album. They've remastered it which, naturally, improves the sound quality immensely. They've also added the band's Once and For All demo as bonus tracks. Sadly, they've also added an ugly M8-style banner to the cover. *Sigh* Someday, guys, someday. Also, why no special liner notes? Was the band unavailable? Kind of a missed opportunity, but not that big a deal.

Useless Fact: The band played a ton of clubs back in the day. The Roxy being the most notable. They were one of the bands that played in bars or wherever they could.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ayreon - "Timeline"

Ayreon - Timeline
2008, Inside Out

Disc One:
1. Prologue
2. The Awareness
3. Eyes of Time
4. The Accusation
5. Sail Away to Avalon
6. Listen to the Waves
7. Actual Fantasy
8. Abbey of Synn
9. Computer Eyes
10. Back on Planet Earth
11. Isis and Osiris
12. Amazing Flight

Disc Two
1. The Garden of Emotion
2. The Castle Hall
3. The Mirror Maze
4. The Two Gates
5. The Shooting Company of Captain Frans B. Cocq
6. Dawn of a Million Souls
7. And the Druids Turned to Stone
8. Into the Black Hole
9. The First Man on Earth
10. Day Two: Isolation

Disc Three
1. Day Three: Pain
2. Day Six: Childhood
3. Day Twelve: Trauma
4. Day Sixteen: Loser
5. Day Seventeen: Accident?
6. Age of Shadows
7. Ride the Comet
8. The Fifth Extinction
9. Waking Dreams
10. The Sixth Extinction
11. Epilogue: The Memory Remains

Special thanks go out to my friend Uvulapie who sent me this collection. We had a conversation in which Ayreon came up and he said he had this box set and I could have it if I wanted it. Well, of course I said "yes!" A few days later Timeline appeared in the mail! Class act, that Uvulapie. So anyway, Timeline is essentially an Ayreon retrospective with songs culled from all six releases. There's a decent amount of songs from each album. I can't really complain about the track choices because I don't think I've ever listened to an Ayreon album with a "bad" song on it. Though with this collection an attempt was made to give the listener an overview of the Ayreon story arc and I don't think they did too bad a job. The set also comes with a nice full color booklet with lyrics, liner notes, and other assorted tidbits. There's a poster with the cover art on the front and the story arc timeline on the back. Then there's the DVD which is a collection of Ayreon, Star One, and Stream of Passion videos. It's fun to watch for sure.

There's only one complaint: as awesome as this package is, an avid fan will have just about everything on here. The only new song is "Epilogue: The Memory Remains" (featuring the vocalist for Arjen's Guilt Machine project) and I don't actually like it that much. Some of the videos also appear on Star One's Live From Earth DVD and Stream of Passion's Live in the Real World. There are some other exclusive videos but the bulk of this set is stuff a fan would probably already have. So, as a free gift from a friend Timeline is an awesome package and well worth having in my collection. However, I don't quite know if it's worth the thirty or forty bucks it would cost to have it new.

Useless Fact: Ayreon.... Arjen.... Ayreon... Arjen... OH... they do sound awfully similar don't they? How did I not pick up on that earlier?