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CD Review Black Sabbath - The Rules of Hell (Box Set)

Black Sabbath

The Rules of Hell (Box Set)
Record Label: Rhino Records
Review by Jeff Muendel
August 2008

There’s no denying the Ozzy-era Black Sabbath and that band’s groundbreaking sound. But, it is also undeniable that Ronnie James Dio saved Black Sabbath when he took over as vocalist in 1980. When founding members Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler chose Dio as their new vocalist, the group’s sound matured, and it gave Sabbath another two years of productiveness before the band spiraled into near obscurity as lineup change after lineup change gradually eroded away all identity. Though Dio’s time with the metal pioneers produced only two studio albums and one live release, those years added an unforgettable chapter in Black Sabbath’s history.


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CD Review My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade

My Chemical Romance

The Black Parade
Record Label: Warner Brothers
Review by Rocky Linderman
June 2008

It has become hard to live in America. In a few short years we, the American people, have had to learn how to live with the constant threat of terrorist attacks. We have had to endure the loss of brave men and women who laid down their lives in Iraq. And now more recently we are learning to live with an economy that is on the decline. Things are not looking good. Americans are living in fear. Its everywhere that you look. You can feel it in the very air that you breathe. That is why My Chemical Romance’s third album, “The Black Parade” is so important to our time.

No other album released this year has been able to capture the fear that is so prevalent in our country. Forged from the anguish of mental illness, the loss of loved ones, and the pain of knowing that all living things must die, “The Black Parade” captures the essence of what it means to be a human being. It isn’t just an album it’s a story. It’s a concept album that tells the story of a character, who is simply known as, “The Patient.”


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CD Review Spiritualized - Songs in A & E

Spiritualized

Songs in A & E
Record Label: Fontana International/Spaceman
Review by John Noyd
June 2008

Heavenly choirs and late-night lullabies are interspersed among sutured blues and scalding psychedelia as Britian’s Spiritualized re-emerges with another overflowing opus. A modern odyssey reflecting the scary times in which we live; “Songs,” howls, sings and mumbles its way through reverence and misery. Front man, Jason Pierce, continues to explore metaphors for war, love and drugs - stirring together a half-buried blend of blazing guitars, spaced-out harmonics and the occasional pop melody to round out the mix. A tumultuous cavalcade of passion and torment, Spiritualized bravely rises to celebrate, communicate and commiserate through hard-lived logic and clinging hope. Equally adept at portraying the claptrap of an unhinged mind and the purity of a healed heart, “Songs,” rings, rips and resonates - indulging, retracting and sorting through galactic debris.


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CD Review Time To Kill - Insanity

Time To Kill

Insanity
Record Label: Turkey Vulture Records
Review by Jeff Muendel
May 2008

The band Time To Kill came together at the end of 2006 in Wisconsin Rapids when guitarist K. Monville and drummer Paul Huser joined forces. They then added bass player Chad Nordman and completed the group with lead singer Nicole Williams. The resulting sound is somewhere between the thrash metal of Slayer and the aggressive punk of Suicidal Tendencies. While much of the CD has a fast meter, the group knows when to slow it to a Black Sabbath grind with songs like “Emotionless” and when to take it to the speed limit with cuts like “No Forgiveness.” Time To Kill gets bonus points for having a female front the group while retaining the sort of sound and attitude that usually subsists in all-male factions.


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CD Review Kris Delmhorst - Kris Delmhorst

Kris Delmhorst

Kris Delmhorst
Record Label: Signature Sounds
Review by John Noyd
May 2008

Embellished in voodoo spookiness that creeps and sweeps over open poems embracing life’s jamboree, Delmhorst’s, “Shotgun,” paints panoramas of blue skies and bayous. Playing light and breezy as easily as dark and swampy, her intoxicating voice shines like moonlight as, “Shotgun,” flickers and glows, fluttering between fiery passions, coy temptations and uncertain futures. Creating the record holed up in a cabin communing with her muse, Delmhorst eventually opened up her solo versions to several distinguished musical associates, giving “Shotgun,” a meditative freshness and outgoing friendliness. Skipping from drum machine hippie to solemn and solitary confessor, Delmhorst’s odes of appreciation for the rewards of simple pleasures are resoundingly satisfying. Always a thought-fueled songwriter, her Thoreau intentions produce transcendental results that steadily steal into your very soul.


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CD Review In Flames - A Sense of Purpose

In Flames

A Sense of Purpose
Record Label: Koch
Review by Kirin Furst
April 2008

In 1990, a new genre was forged by these Swedish bands: In Flames, Dark Tranquility and At the Gates. It wasn’t until the later 90’s that melodic death metal caught on and since then In Flames has steadily grown in international popularity. Rejecting from the beginning the trademark brutality of parent genre death metal, they have increasingly moved away from the discussion of more grandiose Lovecraftian themes to those of personal despair, a change some pin to “Reroute to Remain” (2002) or “Soundtrack to Your Escape” (2004). At the same time, In Flames began incorporating influence from bands it had spawned which was a plethora of modern metal genres.

Long-standing In Flames fans express disappointment with the band’s ‘selling out’ to an American market inundated with bad nu-metal and pussified alternative. Those particular fans will shit criticism of the newest release, “A Sense of Purpose” (April 2008). The album sparkles clean with chorus-y layered vocals (a nice touch, but highly unnecessary in such quantity), introspective, angst-sodden lyrics, and the occasional ballad-rock string plucking. Aside from these rather superficial explorations into a more highly produced, epic, yet not necessarily more mature incarnation of In Flames, the best moments often feel regurgitated.


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