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CD Review Sebastian Bach - Angel Down

Sebastian Bach

Angel Down
Record Label: EMI/Caroline
Review by Kimberly E. McDaniel
January 2008

Sebastian Bach took a bit of a hiatus from rock music to concentrate on other projects after departing from Skid Row, most notably his critically-acclaimed turn on the WB’s “The Gilmore Girls.” It appears he’s back and ready to show the young whippersnappers a thing or two, and he has help from another 80’s icon on “Angel Down,” his first solo album in eight years. Probably the most talked about aspect of the album will be Axl Rose’s guest-starring turn on three tracks, a rocking cover of Aerosmith’s “Back in the Saddle,” “(Love is a) Bitchslap” and “Stuck Inside.” While this does remind me a little of Skid Row, it’s the heavier Skid Row a la “Slave to the Grind.” Bach clearly hasn’t lost his edge, or his trademark vocal stylings. Where this will fit in today’s alternative world remains to be seen, however, it is a great metal record. Fans of Skid Row and ‘80s metal will love this, and it’s probably the closest thing to a release from Axl Rose that we’re likely to see, well, ever.


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CD Review Pachyderm Studio Compilation - So Large We Ran Out Of Room

Pachyderm Studio Compilation

So Large We Ran Out Of Room
Record Label: Pachyderm Studio
Review by Justin Beckner
January 2008

Pachyderm Studio is one of the true “vintage” studios still in operation today. Located on a 40 acre plot of old growth forest, the magical location is home to a Frank Lloyd Wright styled guest house as well as a separate building that houses the famed studio. The mixing board came from the old Record Plant in New York City which was Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland studios. Everyone from John Lennon to AC/DC has recorded on it. Nirvana recorded their “In Utero” album there as well as Live’s “Throwing Copper.” Pachyderm is also rumored to be haunted, but that’s another story.

The latest release from Pachyderm Studio, “So Large We Ran Out Of Room”” is produced by its new owner, Madison entrepreneur and musician Mattew Mueller, and was recorded by a mix of Pachyderm’s world-class engineer group including Brent Sigmeth and Paul Maino.

“So Large We Ran Out Of Room” features recordings of both Madison and Minneapolis artists and offers a quality look at our diverse Midwest rock scene west of Milwaukee. The best part is that you can experience this great album online while contributing to a great cause, the Pachyderm Preservation Project, an initiative to save the old growth forests surrounding the famed Pachyderm Studios from condo developers. Make at least a $1 donation to preserve these forests for future generations and to maintain the quiet surreal backdrop that has set the stage for so many great albums to be created. And in return, download a DRM free song from “So Large We Ran Out Of Room.” Artists on the compilation include White Light Riot, Gypsy Foot, Snake Beard Jackson, Shades A Grey, Down Lo, Fire the Gun (Donny Bakken’s Bliss under an assumed name doing Key of D), Karie Marie, the New Congress and more. Take a stand against the destruction of our world at the hooves of evil -swine, this may be the best money you’ll ever spend. Go to the web and check it out, www.projectpachyderm.org.


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DVD Review Slayer, Mastodon, Lamb of God, Children of Bodom, Thine Eyes Bleed - The Unholy Alliance: Preaching to the Perverted

Slayer, Mastodon, Lamb of God, Children of Bodom, Thine Eyes Bleed

The Unholy Alliance: Preaching to the Perverted
Record Label: Columbia Music Video/American Recordings
Review by Kimberly E. McDaniel
December 2007

The Unholy Alliance tour was hailed as the “heaviest, darkest tour of the summer,” and with the line-up of Mastodon, Lamb of God , Children of Bodom, Thine Eyes Bleed and metal masters Slayer, it’s hard to imagine anything heavier. Each band is introduced with a short interview and the DVD then jumps to concert footage. Thine Eyes Bleed performs “Dark White,” Lamb of God “Vigil,” Children of Bodom“Angels Don’t Kill” and “In Your Face,” and Mastodon offer live performances of “Capillarian Crest,” “Crystal Skull” and “Blood and Thunder.” The bulk of the performance is, of course, Slayer, who perform ten songs, including “South of Heaven,” “Hell Awaits” and “Angel of Death.” In all, the DVD runs about two hours and is full of metal goodness, as well as behind the scenes interviews. If you missed Slayer on this tour, the DVD will give you an up-close-and-personal look of what you missed. It’s a little like having a front-row seat, so even if you were one of the lucky ones who caught the live show, you’ll likely still see something you missed the first time around. For fans of these bands, it doesn’t get much better.


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DVD Review The Ramones - Too Tough To Die: A Tribute To Johnny Ramone

Ramones

Too Tough To Die: A Tribute To Johnny Ramone
Record Label: Starz Cinema
Review by Jeff Muendel
December 2007

In September 2004, several groups put on a show to honor Johnny Ramone as he battled cancer. While this movie revolves around that one-night benefit and tribute, it also serves as an excellent documentary about The Ramones as a band. With Rob Zombie acting as the host, acts including Debbie Harry, The Dickies, X, Eddie Vedder, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Henry Rollins took the stage to pump out Ramones songs. It’s brilliant, fun stuff. The show served to celebrate the Ramones’ 30th anniversary and to raise money for cancer research, but it was primarily a celebration of Johnny, who was the core of the band. Unable to attend because he was so sick, Johnny Ramone had meticulously put the show together. He died two days later, and many speculated that he only held on that long to see this show come off. His last show, if you will. In the weeks before his death, Johnny said of his band, “We knew we were good, we knew we were innovative. Still, I would never have expected that thirty years from then, it would really take off and grow exponentially, and we would be bigger than ever.” The live performances alternate with historical information and footage of The Ramones, which makes for an enjoyable romp between eras. Most of the performances are great, but X steals the show as their trademark sound blends perfectly with The Ramones’ no-nonsense songwriting. The documentary ends with Johnny Ramone’s funeral, and it is a truly touching tribute to his quest for both rock stardom and rock and roll perfection. While the movie is not yet released on DVD, it will be, and until then it can be downloaded at www.starz.com. It’s worth the bandwidth.


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CD Review Deering & Down - Break This Record

Deering & Down

Break This Record
Record Label: Diamond D
Review by Brett Lemke
November 2007

In an unexpectedly fresh change, Deering & Down has sloppy, downtrodden rhythm guitarwork reminiscent of the seediest of bars, and the player, lead singer Lahna Deering sounds like a chain-smoking banshee from rural Gerogia. It borders on urban funk, with popping lead guitar lines courtesy of Rev Neil Down. A rockabilly road through Country that seeps Wanda Jackson and Hank III, Deering & Down is a contemporary answer to the influx of pop music, with sultry Vegas crooning, and the occasional extemporaneous keyboard. Recorded at Yellow brick Studio in Memphis, TN, the players on “Break This Record” sound like they have been playing together since childhood.


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CD Review 3 Inches Of Blood - Fire Up The Blades

3 Inches Of Blood

Fire Up The Blades
Record Label: Roadrunner
Review by Kimberly E. McDaniel
November 2007

An entry from the “screaming vocals and how fast can we play” crowd, 3 Inches Of Blood have both of these areas covered. Musically, the band is tight and the drummer is working the double bass, but vocally, I have no clue what they are saying. When the singer lets loose with the high pitch wailing, he is slightly reminiscent of Rob Halford, but I still can’t understand him. It appears from the song titles that the band is likely influenced by some type of fantasy literature, although I couldn’t say which authors. “Trial of Champions” talks about a battle between the enslaved and the warlords who did the enslaving. There are a lot of references to killing, battles of great ferocity and feasting in great halls where great deeds are recounted. There are also a couple of instrumentals, “Rejoice in the Fire’s of Man’s Demise” and “Through the Horned Gate.” The CD comes with a booklet, which features the lyrics and drawings of horned demons and a scary guy in armor who has a severed head impaled on his sword. If you are a fan of this type of heavy metal, 3 Inches Of Blood is better than most. If you aren’t into this, listen at your own risk.


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