Thursday, April 27, 2017

Resurrection Band - "Innocent Blood"

Resurrection Band - Innocent Blood
1989, Grrr

1. Rooster Crow
2. Altar of Pain
3. The House is on Fire
4. 80,000 Underground
5. Fiend or Foul
6. Where Roses Grow
7. Right On Time
8. Child of the Blues
9. Laughing Man
10. Bargain
11. Great God in Heaven

Way back in the day my cousin and I used to make copies of the tapes we'd buy and exchange them with each other, thus doubling our music collections. Innocent Blood was one of the tapes she'd given me. When I was young I only liked the first two tracks. "Rooster Crow" is a short little acoustic opener. "Altar of Pain," however, is a monster metal tune - heavy and fierce. For some reason I didn't like the rest of the album. I chalk this up to youthful stupidity. This album is amazing. I'd never really gotten into the Resurrection Band in my youth. Now I'm kind of kicking myself. I'm not sure what motivated the band to go into the hard rock/metal category after being new wave or whatever they were, but it totally works. They've also mixed in a lot of blues as Glenn and Wendy Kaiser were always blues people to begin with. Now I want more Resurrection Band. There's a cover of The Who's "Bargain" here which always reminds me of my hometown because some local car dealership always used that song in their commercials. I also played a good bit of Mega Man 2 while listening to this album along with Whitecross' Triumphant Return. See, the my cousin gave me copies of both at the same time.

Be careful if you're trying to get copies of Rez's albums. I bough this "new" off Amazon and didn't look closely enough - it's a CD-R. They say it's a CD-R but I didn't pay close enough attention. Ugh! Now I have to find a real copy for the vault!

Useless Fact: The band was originally Resurrection Band but shorted it to Rez starting with Silence Screams. They went back to their original name for Lament.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Flotsam and Jetsam - "Flotsam and Jetsam"

Flotsam and Jetsam - Flotsam and Jetsam
2016, AFM

1. Seventh Seal
2. Life Is a Mess
3. Taser
4. Iron Maiden
5. Verge of Tragedy
6. Creeper
7. L.O.T.D.
8. The Incantation
9. Monkey Wrench
10. Time To Go
11. Smoking Gun
12. Forbidden Territories

Flotsam and Jetsam have a history that extends way back into the early Eighties. Unfortunately, while I'd heard their name on occasion (mostly in connection with Jason Newstead), I'd never actually heard any of their music. So why did I pick up this CD? Mainly it was because Scott Waters of No Life Til Metal said it was really good. You know what? He is correct. This is really good. I'm not sure if F & J are a full on thrash band or just heavy metal but they skew the line between the two, I think. They've even got some NWOBHM influence with "Iron Maiden" which I think is a cover but I'm not sure. It definitely sounds like it could be an Iron Maiden cover and I know they had a song called "Iron Maiden." However, I am just too lazy to look it up. I really love vocalist Erik A.K. - he's got his own style that is somewhat reminiscent of Bruce Dickenson but with a little more thrash grit. That's not to say he sounds exactly like him, but you'll know what I mean when you fire up "Iron Maiden." Also, the band has some really good groove in their riffs, especially in tracks like "Life is a Mess" and "Time to Go." I may just go ahead and start looking into their back catalog because Flotsam and Jetsam is really good.

Useless Fact: Not really a fact about the band, but back in upstate NY where I grew up, the local FYE had a copy of F & J's My God album. I never bought it but always wondered if it was good. What if I would have bought it then? I could have been an F & J fan this whole time!

Friday, April 14, 2017

A Tribe Called Quest - "We Got It From Here...Thank You 4 Your Service"

A Tribe Called Quest - We Got It From Here...Thank You 4 Your Service
2016, Epic

1. The Space Program
2. We The People...
3. Whateva Will Be
4. Solid Wall of Sound
5. Dis Generation
6. Kids
7. Melatonin
8. Enough!!
9. Mobius
10. Black Spasmodic
11. The Killing Season
12. Lost Somebody
13. Movin' Backwards
14. Conrad Tokyo
15. Ego
16. The Donald

I picked this one up on a lark when I bought Lady Gaga's Joanne at Wal-Mart. A Tribe Called Quest was a group back in the day that was only on my radar because they were perceived as being one of the more artsy and intellectual hip-hop groups from the time. So I saw it and realized I didn't really know who was good in modern hip-hop anymore and picked it up. I kind of wanted to challenge myself with something out of my wheelhouse. Okay... so an older group from the 90's isn't exactly "challenging myself" but whatever.

Anyway, I like this! It's reminiscent enough of the stuff I used to like - with smooth beats, cool samples, a sense of melody, with a more modern sound and production. Also, much to my surprise and delight, Busta Rhymes is here! Not sure if he's a member of the group or just a guest. Also, the lyrics are challenging and thought provoking which is pretty much what I was hoping for. I would definitely be apt to add a few more Quest albums to the vault. Anyone have any ideas which ones are their best?

Useless Fact: I know next to nothing about this group other than the main rapper, Q-Tip, performed with the Beastie Boys and was on Deee Lite's "Groove is in the Heart."

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Rush - "2112"

Rush - 2112
1976, Mercury

1. 2112
     i. Overture
     ii. The Temples of Syrinx
     iii. Discovery
     iv. Presentation
     v. Oracle
     vii. Soliloquy
     viii. Grand Finale
2. A Passage to Bangkok
3. The Twilight Zone
4. Lessons
5. Tears
6. Something For Nothing

I don't know why I've given Rush so many chances to hook me. They've always been a band that I feel like I should like, but I've never gotten into them. I watched the Rush in Rio DVD way back in the day in college. They put on a great show but I wasn't hooked. Last summer I bought the Working Men live album collection to see if that would do the trick. I liked it okay, but still not engaged. So...finally, I picked up the band's seminal album, 2112. I thought that maybe if I listened to one album in its entirety that might help. Also, 2112 is a prog-rock classic so I kind of wanted to listen to it anyway.

2112 is wonderful. I really enjoy it. I'm not sure why this is what did it, but I'm glad it did. Everything clicked. I got it. The title track earns its prog-rock reputation and then some. I understand why this album is so highly praised. It's excellent. I've always known Geddy Lee for his distinctive vocal style but he really is a monster on the bass. Neal Peart and Alex Lifeson are no slouches either - both masters at their crafts. I don't know if I'm a total Rush fan yet, but I'll definitely be checking out more of their studio albums in the future.

Useless Fact: I was listening to this at work and instantly got a Mystery Science Theater 3000 joke from twenty-five/thirty years ago. The joke: (from Tom Servo) "Neal Peart on drums." Guess which episode it's from!