Thursday, June 23, 2011

Vengeance Rising - "Destruction Comes"

Vengeance Rising - Destruction Comes
1991/2011, Intense Millennium

1. You Can't Stop It
2. The Rising
3. Before the Time
4. Bring the Sword
5. He Don't Own Nothing
6. Countless Corpses
7. Thanatos
8. You Will Bow
9. Hyde Under Pressure
10. Raegoul

I was a little harsh on this disc in my first review. I actually hesitated getting this reissue because it didn't end up being as good as I remember. However, I think I might have been too quick to judge. I don't know if it's quite as bad as I said. Not every song has only two riffs - there's a little bit more to them than that. While it's not nearly as amazing as the two previous albums I found myself liking this album again after the repeated listens. I remember when it originally came out I got it along with The Crucified's The Pillars of Humanity. I actually liked Destruction Comes more. There are still some cool thrash songs on here - "Before The Time" remains awesome. I also like "He Don't Own Nothing" (despite the fact that grammatically the lyric indicates he does own something) and "You Will Bow." Though I think my favorite remains the absolutely bizarre "Raegoul." After reading the lyrics again I think this song is actually about the dude on the cover. Somebody better informed should feel free to enlighten me.

Since this is an Intense Millennium album we need to discuss the cover art for a moment. It's great! No banners, no photoshop clip art, no redesigned logos - just the original cover in all its gory glory! See, guys, was that so hard? My CD came with a sticker of "Raegoul" that you can put over the cover in case your grandma might see it. It also came with a guitar pick and the first track of the CD is the "Before the Time" video shot for Hot Metal 4.

Useless Fact: I was right! Ramald Domkus did, in fact, do the background vocals on "Raegoul." Of course, "Ramald Domkus" is wrongly cited as Jimmy P. Brown (Deliverance) in the liner notes when it's actually Allen Aguirre of Scaterd Few.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Yankovic, "Weird Al" - "Off the Deep End"

Yankovic, "Weird Al" - Off the Deep End
1992, Volcano

1. Smells Like Nirvana
2. Trigger Happy
3. I Can't Watch This
4. Polka Your Eyes Out
5. I Was Only Kidding
6. The White Stuff
7. When I Was Your Age
8. Taco Grande
9. Airline Amy
10. The Plumbing Song
11. You Don't Love Me Anymore

I don't like Nirvana. I never have. I'm not one of those who think Kurt Cobain was some genius. They were just the right band at the right time. Nirvana (and Pearl Jam and Soundgarden) did change the musical landscape but I don't necessarily think it was for the better. Naturally, I loved "Smells Like Nirvana" because it poked fun at a band who took themselves way too seriously. So, anyway, rant aside Off the Deep End is one of my favorite Al platters. "Trigger Happy" is similar to old Beach Boys songs where the band would go on and on about the specs of their hot rod except in "Trigger Happy" the singer is running down the specs on his AK-47. "When I Was Your Age" is a my favorite song on the album and probably a contender for most favorite Al song ever. Probably because I feel like an old man myself and I have to restrain myself from telling all the young whipper-snappers out there how good they have it. Off the Deep End is just full of good, silly music. Go getcha one!

Useless Fact: While "You Don't Love Me Anymore" is an original song, the video was a parody of Extreme's "More Than Words."

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

Well lookee there! This is the second year that I'm an actual father on Father's Day. Today that will mean breakfast at Cracker Barrel and some time in Renaissance Italy assassinating Templar agents. Also, Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there that are doing a good jobs. To the fathers that aren' poop on you!

Here's a picture of my dad with Lexi.

Now I can't say dad and I are the Gilmore Girls (er...boys, I guess) or anything, but he did the best he could with what he had. I never went hungry. We always had electric. We went on vacations. Christmases were awesome. Most importantly, dad's allowance always kept me in CDs. Thanks dad! I appreciate all you do!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Yankovic, "Weird Al" - "Alapalooza"

Yankovic, "Weird Al" - Alapalooza
1993, Volcano

1. Jurassic Park
2. Young, Dumb & Ugly
3. Bedrock Anthem
4. Frank's 2000" TV
5. Achy Breaky Song
6. Traffic Jam
7. Talk Soup
8. Livin' in the Fridge
9. She Never Told Me She Was a Mime
10. Harvey the Wonder Hamster
11. Waffle King
12. Bohemian Polka

...and so begins my quest to add some "Weird Al" to my collection!

Mr. Yankovic's albums tend to be the most popular when there's a huge pop culture thing going on. Unfortunately, Alapalooza didn't really have a big parody. It also didn't help that what could've been considered the "big" parody wasn't one of his best ("Bedrock Anthem" - I agree with Flea - it's just not his best). However, as is usually the case, despite the fact that it's not one of the popular ones, I love this album. I think "Jurassic Park" is probably one of Al's best parodies in general. Had the general public been more familiar with the original "MacArthur Park" I think this parody would have carried the album farther because it's really funny. "And I think those things will harm me/ 'Cause they sure don't act like Barney/ And they think that I'm their dinner/ Not their friend, Oh no!" Great stuff. I smile every time I hear that line. This album is full of wonderful and funny songs though. I like the glam rock kick of "Young, Dumb & Ugly." I also really dig "Talk Soup" and "Waffle King" both emulating So/Us era Peter Gabriel. I had a girlfriend a long time ago and we loved the short, simple "Harvey the Wonder Hamster." Her, her sister, and I used to sing this song as loud as we could when I would hang out at her house. Finally, this album doesn't feature the traditional polka medley but instead contains a polka rendition of "Bohemian Rhapsody." Cool cover art as well.

Useless Fact: "Waffle King" was actually the B-side of the "Smells Like Nirvana" single. I know this because I actually owned the single in question.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Deliverance - "What a Joke"

Deliverance - What a Joke
1991/2011, Intense Millennium

1. Introduction
2. Prophet of Idiocy
3. Pseudo Intellectual
4. Cheeseburger Maker Du
5. What a Joke
6. Chipped Beef
7. After Forever
8. It's the Beat
9. Product of Society
10. Happy Star
11. J.P.D.
12. Pray
13. Silent Night
14. J.I.G.
15. Purgatory Sandwich With Mustard
16. Attack
Bonus Track
17. Strings of Sorrow

I've always liked What a Joke. In fact, I go back to it a lot more than you might think. It's not my favorite D album but even with the filler and the joke songs I still think it's a pretty awesome thrash album. I didn't plan on it originally but I finally broke down and got this reissue from Intense Millennium largely because it has a previously unreleased track, "Strings of Sorrow." Unfortunately, it's only a minute and a half long, it's a ballad, and it doesn't fit with the thrash material on this record. Granted, it's still cool to have it on CD - it's just not what I was expecting. I can say that the remaster is spectacular! It cleans up the production considerably making every thing cleaner and brighter. As a result the guitars sound a little heavier - you might even hear some things you never heard on the original! Seriously, the sound quality here is leaps and bounds above the original. Even if you have the original I would seriously recommend getting this one too.

And now the bad...

I'm really disappointed that I have to say this but... the cover art. Really?! Really, guys?! There wasn't a better idea than this? This cover art looks like it was made by somebody who a) hates What a Joke and/or b) is a HUGE fan of Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Controversy erupted over at the Christian Metal Realm because Jimmy P. Brown himself expressed his disgust for the cover, considering it an insult to both him and the band. I'm sorry but I cannot imagine how this cover was ever approved. They do include the original cover art but it is dark and blurry - kind of like a middle finger to anyone who doesn't like their new art. I'm glad Intense Millennium is releasing classics like What a Joke but dang...

Useless Fact: My version came with a guitar pick with the cover art on it. I think that was supposed to be the pre-order goodie but I got it too. Also, the new cover is limited to the first 1000 printings. The rest will have the original art.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Uthanda - "Believe"

Uthanda - Believe
1992, ERG

1. Shadowplay
2. Love Child
3. Did You
4. My Addiction
5. Fear
6. Midnight Jasmine
7. Sunrise
8. Wrapped Around Your Heart
9. Citizen
10. Cool Water
11. You and Me
12. Cars
13. Heroes

I remember when my cousin first let me borrow this on tape because she had just gotten it and wanted me to hear it. We both loved Uthanda's first album, Groove, so I thought I would like this too. I was at my grandmother's at the time and she had this enormous stereo set-up with a big old radio, a tape player, and a record player stacked together in a little glass cabinet. All of that sound could be funnelled through those enormous earphones that look like Princess Leia buns. So anyway, I listened and rocked in my grandma's chair and wasn't too terribly impressed. I didn't hate it, but it really didn't strike a chord with me like the debut did. The band experiments a little with their sound. "Sunrise" and "Cool Water" sound like they could have been on Groove. The other tunes are a little bit more experimental but still solid alternative rock (they've ditched the "hippy" look too). After hearing this again years later I enjoy it a little bit more than before. I especially like the "Cars" cover. It's definitely worth checking out but I don't think it will ever have a place in my heart like Groove does.

Useless Fact: There was a contest where one could win a chance to bowl with the band. I'd love to know if anyone won the contest and if they actually got to bowl with Uthanda.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Lady Gaga - "Born This Way"

Lady Gaga - Born This Way
2011, Interscope

1. Marry the Night
2. Born This Way
3. Government Hooker
4. Judas
5. Americano
6. Hair
7. ScheiBe
8. Bloody Mary
9. Bad Kids
10. Highway Unicorn (Road to Love)
11. Heavy Metal Lover
12. Electric Chapel
13. You & I
14. The Edge of Glory


Well... it was nice while it lasted. At least Born This Way was only $1. I loved The Fame. In fact, it was one of my top picks for last year. I don't usually buy pop albums, but Lady Gaga's quirky pop songs were pretty infectious. Sadly, when "Born This Way" came out I didn't like it at all. After all, it's just Madonna's "Express Yourself" with different lyrics. The biggest problem with Born This Way the album is that a majority of the songs here sound just like "Born This Way." What happened to the syncopated beats? The little catchy raps? The simple dirty songs about sex? The cool electronica? Ugh...most everything here is grand and over-produced and, worst of all, not very fun to listen to. The braying in "Americano" is particularly annoying. My favorite songs tend to be the ones that don't sound like "Born This Way" - namely "Government Hooker" (my favorite on the album), "Bloody Mary," and "You & I." That last one there almost sounds like a techno-country song.

I also find the lyrical themes rather tiresome. I get it - we should all love ourselves. You should just be you - whether you're a good person or a total jackass... YOU WERE BORN THAT WAY, BABY! You don't need to change! You don't need to try and be a better person or do any self reflection! Ugh (have I said that already?)! Oh, and let's not forget "Hair" in which Gaga actually sings about her hair. No, really. Her hair and about how free it is. I miss the days when she would just sing about Disco Sticks and dancing. She's also mixing some good ol' Catholicism in with all this self love. Okaaaay... but didn't Madonna do that like decades ago? Suffice to say, I'm not impressed with Born This Way.

Ooh... look... she's a motorcycle!(?)

Useless Fact: There's a few bonus tracks that I missed because I got the $1 download version. Those songs are, "Black Jesus + Amen Fashion," "Fashion of His Love," and "The Queen." Unlike with Panic! at the Disco - I couldn't care less if I have these songs.