Saturday, December 31, 2016

Metallica - "Hardwired...To Self-Destruct"

Metallica - Hardwired...To Self-Destruct
2016, Blackened

1. Hardwired
2. Atlas, Rise
3. Now That We're Dead
4. Moth to Flame
5. Dream No More
6. Halo On Fire

1. Confusion
2. ManUNkind
3. Here Comes Revenge
4. Am I Savage?
5. Murder One
6. Spit Out the Bone

1. Lords of Summer
2. Ronnie Rising Medley
3. When a Blind Man Cries
4. Remember Tomorrow
5. Helpless (Live)
6. Hit the Lights (Live)
7. The Four Horsemen (Live)
8. Ride the Lightning (Live)
9. Fade To Black (Live)
10. Jump in the Fire (Live)
11. For Whom the Bell Tolls (Live)
12. Creeping Death (Live)
13. Metal Militia
14. Hardwired (Live)

When this album was nearing release I'd read an article saying the band was "getting back to their roots." Naturally, I rolled my eyes so hard I got a headache. Usually this means nothing. I expected it meant nothing in this case. Then I heard "Hardwired" as was like..."Well... maybe they are going back to their roots." While this is far from Kill 'Em All II they definitely dip deep into that well. "Hardwired" and especially the masterpiece closer "Spit Out the Bone" are fast, heavy, but relatively simple. They definitely remind one of the band's debut album. The rest of the album is a pretty solid continuation of what they accomplished with Death Magnetic - hearkening back to their old thrash roots while still injecting more melody. Some tracks, like "Am I Savage?" and "Murder One" lean toward the Load/Reload days. My only problem is that this album is a bit too long. I think if it was one disc with nine tracks on it, it would be stellar. As it is it's two discs and the second disc definitely has some filler - here I'm thinking of "Confusion," "ManUNkind," and "Murder One." They're songs that aren't bad, but not quite the quality of the first half. Though I really like "Here Comes Revenge," and "Am I Savage?" Oh, and let's not forget "Spit Out the Bone" which I already mentioned. It's probably one of the best songs they've ever written. Not kidding there. Actually, most of the first disc, too, is full of great songs. I think a shorter album would have made it a bit tighter and more unified.

Now I can't complain too much because it's been eight years. I get the sense that the band wanted to reward fans for waiting so long. I mean, the deluxe edition (which I think is the only edition) has three disc. Disc three is several B-side type tracks and what would amount to an entire live album. Also, the packaging is stellar and it's only like ten or eleven dollars. I do hate the cover art though. It looks...weird...not a fan.

Useless Fact: I guess this album contains no riffs from Kirk Hammett as he reportedly lost his phone with all his riff ideas on it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Bullet Boys - "Bullet Boys"

Bullet Boys - Bullet Boys
1988, Reprise

1. Hard as a Rock
2. Smooth Up In Ya
3. Owed To Joe
4. Shoot the Preacher Down
5. For the Love of Money
6. Kissin' Kitty
7. Hell On My Heels
8. Crank It Up
9. Badlands
10. F#9

I remember watching the videos for "Smooth Up In Ya" and "For the Love of Money" back in the day on MTV. I really dug those two songs and bought the album from some record and tape club. For whatever reason I didn't really like the other songs on the album. However, as an old man with his wits about him, I really do like the rest of the songs. In fact, I like this album as a whole quite a lot and would probably rank them right up there with Firehouse in terms of Eighties albums I love. Definitely worth a listen if you're into the hair metal.

Useless Fact: "For the Love of Money" is a cover but I do not know the original artist and, yes, I am too lazy to look it up.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Sting - "If On a Winter's Night..."

Sting - If On a Winter's Night...
2009, Decca

1. Gabriel's Message
2. Soul Cake
3. There is No Rose of Such Virtue
4. The Snow It Melts the Soonest
5. Christmas at Sea
6. Lo How a Rose E'er Blooming
7. Cold Song
8. The Burning Babe
9. Now Winter Comes Slowly
10. The Hounds of Winter
11. Balulalow
12. Cherry Tree Carol
13. Lullaby For An Anxious Child
14. Hurdy Gurdy Man
15. You Only Cross My Mind in Winter
Bonus Track:
16. Blake's Cradle Song

Last year I watched the lighting of the big tree in New York City and Sting was on playing "Soul Cake" and I absolutely loved it. A lot of that had to do with how different it was from everything else that was being performed. Naturally, I had to look up more about this album which isn't so much a Christmas album as much as it is about the winter season in general. It's also not your standard Sting album. This is folk/acoustic music for sure - very minimalist in a lot of places. Sting doesn't even really use his normal singing voice, but sings in a much lower register. Your mileage may very as to whether you'll like it, but heaven knows I did. It's great to have some seasonal music that is completely different from anything else. I found a few new Christmas favorites from this album like "Soul Cake," "Christmas at Sea," "The Burning Babe," and "Cherry Tree Carol" just to name a few. Also, joy of joys, I got the special edition media book with extra DVD. If you're looking for something different, definitely check this out.

Useless Fact: The version of "Gabriel's Message" on this album is a more morose and acoustic version of Sting's 80's Christmas classic.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Pentatonix - "A Pentatonix Christmas"

Pentatonix - A Pentatonix Christmas
2016, RCA

1. O Come All Ye Faithful
2. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
3. White Christmas
4. I'll Be Home For Christmas
5. Up On The Housetop
6. The Christmas Sing-Along
7. Coventry Carol
8. Hallelujah
9. Coldest Winter
10. Good To Be Bad
11. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays

Oh, look! More Christmas Pentatonix! There's not really much more I could say about Pentatonix is there? I pretty much like everything they do. I do wonder why they chose "Hallelujah" and "Coldest Winter" for this album as they are not Christmas songs at all. And "Hallelujah" was even the album's first single. This was also before Leonard Cohen died (God rest his soul). So...yeah... it's Pentatonix - go get it already...though be ready for the inevitable reissue next year with extra tracks.

Useless Fact: "The Christmas Sing-Along" and "Good To Be Bad" are the originals here.