Disc Reviews

by Max Ink Staff Writers


TACK - PORN AGAIN

TACK - PORN AGAIN

TACK

Album title: PORN AGAIN
By Geert Driver
Posted: Jan 2011
Label: Tarpit Music
(2923) Page Views

Adult film stars and rock n’ roll have gone hand in hand since the day was old. Fortunately, the cover appearance of AVN Award winner Bree Olson isn’t just a gimmick. In fact, it’s a crucial part of Tack’s follow-up to 2007’s PORN. PORN AGAIN is the result of some of Hollywood’s heaviest hitters, and Tack is their moniker. How is it that Grammy, Oscar and Emmy Awards abound for the crew yet we haven’t heard of them? You must take the trip to the underground for answers.

Tack is a dangerous band to get to know. Venice mainstays, Tack are beloved by the freaks. It stems from their inclusion in the film MODIFY and their cred in Hollywood. Tack is also loved by biker gangs and skateboarders. Now? Now Tack is loved by the adult film world. After stirring things up with adult film stars Ginger Lynn and Christie Canyon on Playboy Radio, Tack introduced themselves to a wider audience.

Despite their lack of conventional radio play, Tack has begun a movement that made stops on MTV, Playboy and everything in between. Recently Tack got “porn again” with an experimental record that sounds like Tool and Mastodon. Tack has risen to the surface with a progressive record that becomes a unique new release with its viral campaign that includes a haunting behind the scenes video featuring the beautiful Bree Olson (see YouTube: Porn Again The Trailer).

As a bonus, had the appearance of the lovely Bree Olson not been enough, the liner notes photos also showcase Olson in the same main pose with a little less on. Let’s see, a great progressive metal record, an angelic adult film starlet both clothed and topless on the record, and a US tour to follow? Nice! Get porn again!

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Monster Magnet - Mastermind

Monster Magnet - Mastermind

Monster Magnet

Album title: Mastermind
By Sal Serio
Posted: Dec 2010
Label: Napalm Records
(2679) Page Views

One of the original disciples of stoner rock, Monster Magnet has developed a unique, distinguishable sound, sort of a cosmic space-rock version of sinister pelvic-undulation-rock. Um, think Hawkwind meets Rob Zombie, okay?! The trademark Magnet sound saturates the newly released Mastermind CD, and there is not a single let-down track.

The pilot and ringleader of the Magnet space-rock circus is the infamously mustachioed Dave Wyndorf, who had some health set-backs around the time of their last CD 4-Way Diablo. Now Wyndorf is back with a vengeance, which is evident by the strength of Mastermind’s material. Tracks like “100 Million Miles” and “Gods And Punks” not only shake the rafters of the lift-off hanger, but the lyrics are equally as heavy hitting and incendiary.

It’s a shame that U.S. audiences don’t appreciate the psychedelic sludge-metal of Monster Magnet, at least not as much as European audiences do. Over the past several years the New Jersey bred band has become nearly exclusively based over the pond, where metal rules supreme. Also sad is that Mastermind marks the end of ace guitarist Ed Mundell’s tenure with the band. Both Mundell and Phil Caivano’s guitarwork shines on this latest CD, and the guitars are also more prevalent in the mix than 2007’s 4-Way Diablo release.

Serious Magnet-heads should be on the lookout for the limited edition versions of Mastermind featuring bonus tracks “Watch Me Fade” and “Fuzz Pig”, available in both vinyl and CD formats. The wonderful artwork by Ryan Clark and Dave Wyndorf at Invisible Creature is even more resplendent on the LP cover!

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All That Remains - For We Are Many

All That Remains - For We Are Many

All That Remains

Album title: For We Are Many
By Aaron Manogue
Posted: Dec 2010
Label: Razor & Tie
(2320) Page Views

Metal lovers, get ready to throw those devil horns in the air. Get ready to beat your fellow brethren into submission amidst the battlefields of the mosh pits. Get ready to have your ears melted from the inside out, all the while trying to wipe that hellish smile off your faces. All That Remains is back with their fifth album For We Are Many and are ready to prove that All That Remains is here to stay.

The band sticks true to form in their latest album. Pitch-black backdrops blended with melodic bear traps that grab a hold of you and leave you screaming for more. “Now Let Them Tremble” rips opens the album making you feel as if you’re in the middle of an army full of Satan’s own war machines preparing for war. If you can listen to this song and not feel prepared for the massacre to come, you don’t have a pulse.

Title track For We Are Many unleashes the fury that is All That Remains with lead man Philip Labonte’s signature growls and screams, accompanied by guitarists Oli Herbert and Mike Martin, who paint the dark and sadistic landscape for this impressive album. The first single off the album, “Hold On” has much of the melodic appeal that commercial success “Two Weeks” had on the band’s previous record Overcome. Expect much of the same from this single.

The guitar play by Herbert and Martin throughout the album is something that metal-shredding lovers will rejoice over and drummer Jason Costa once again shows off his incredible talent of fast-paced double bass with pinpoint precision. I said it once and I’ll say it again. All That Remains is here to say. Don’t believe me? Go and buy For We Are Many. You’ll thank me later.

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Englishman - Englishman

Englishman - Englishman

Englishman

Album title: Englishman
By John Noyd
Posted: Dec 2010
Label: Cave City
(2770) Page Views

Warm, unassuming, golden-throated pop; former Scourge of the Sea Andrew English’s fractured fables turned poignant parables make playfully plaintive, happily galloping troubaor poetry. Washed in inquisitive innocence and plummeting conundrums, the cleverly cozy, “Englishman,” shines in simple pleasures; the trim, tranquil, just-right arrangements scuttle past the ear escorting delicious tidbits of mixed metaphors, inverted clichés and subtle internal rhyme as survivor’s tales of misfit romance unfold with regal modesty and rhythmic whimsy. Serpentine sentences sung carefully, at times hesitantly, reveal pliant, riddling lyrics wrapped around sweeping sweetness that sleepily creeps from child-like keyboards to folksy dulcimer and modified autoharp to swelling strings and classical brass. Refreshingly buoyant and quietly subversive, the Kentucky native plays Madison’s Rathskellar December 4th along with Jeremiah Nelson and Matt Duncan

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Slipknot - (sic)nesses- Live at Download

Slipknot - (sic)nesses- Live at Download

Slipknot

Album title: (sic)nesses- Live at Download
By Aaron Manogue
Posted: Dec 2010
Label: Roadrunner Records
(2047) Page Views

The greatest metal band of the 21st century is at it once again with their latest concert DVD release (sic)nesses Live at Download. Available since late September, this work of art is enthralling, brilliant and surreal. Percussionist Shawn “Clown” Crahan exemplifies the DVD in one simple line; “It’s an extreme gift to be able to give the world your pain.”

The multifaceted compilation starts with a live recording of the bands 2009 performance at the hallowed grounds of Donington Park. The band drew largely from their hardcore roots, playing tracks such as “Eyeless,” “Surfacing” and “Wait and Bleed.” If you’ve never had the honor of experiencing the chaos that is a Slipknot concert, feast your eyes on the tens of thousands who enjoyed the ass kicking the nine handed them on this momentus day.

Easily the most artistic and impeccably revealing part of (sic)nesses  is the look that Clown gives fans in what is called Audible Visions of: (sic)nesses, a feature film directed by Clown himself. It delves the viewer behind the scenes during the bands tour to promote All Hope is Gone. The footage gives you a look into the soul of the beast that is Slipknot.

Perhaps the most lasting image is when vocalist Corey Taylor asks, “Where’s Paul?” Bassist Paul Gray is off screen talking to his wife and says “I love you baby, and I’ll call you after the show.” Here’s this guy, telling his family how much he loves them moments before he goes on stage before tens of thousands of fans waiting to rip each other apart. As we all know, Gray would die unexpectedly in May 2010.

This just goes to show the humanity and brotherhood of one of the greatest metal bands of all time. (sic)nesses is the closest any of us will ever get to being inside the 9, but Clown does an incredible job of portraying the band as is; crazy, deranged, but most of all, genius.

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Ross The Boss - Hailstorm

Ross The Boss - Hailstorm

Ross The Boss

Album title: Hailstorm
By Sal Serio
Posted: Dec 2010
Label: AFM Records
(2134) Page Views

Anyone familiar with Manowar, The Dictators, or Brain Surgeons NYC knows of guitar shredder Ross Friedman, although probably by his stage name Ross The Boss. Friedman has a new CD titled “Hailstorm”, but fans of early Iron Maiden may appreciate this release more than Ross’ original fans.

As the medieval cover artwork suggests, “Hailstorm” is heavy metal through and through.. Vocalist Patrick Fuchs has a snarling guttural delivery not unlike Paul DiAnno,  and the twin lead guitar attack on songs like “Dead Man’s Curve” seals the Iron-Maiden-comparison deal.

Ross’ work deserves a better format though. His leads are crisp and precise, meaty, yet humbly sincere, as evidenced on the instrumental “Great Gods Glorious”. He’s better than having to resort to typical cliché heavy metal riffing, so why is he fronting such a generic band? I’d welcome signs of the Dictators’ sense of humor, because “Hailstorm” already almost comes off as Spinal Tap.

Admittedly, there are some moments of seemingly commercial radio potential, like on the Judas Priest/KISS clone “Shining Path”, but Fuchs’ voice pretty much puts the kibosh on any real mass accessibility.  While I’d rather see Friedman pursuing the next Dictators reunion, it’s understandable why he may be seeking a bigger pay off.

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Possessed by Paul James - Feed The Family

Possessed by Paul James - Feed The Family

Possessed by Paul James

Album title: Feed The Family
By Kaleb Bronson
Posted: Dec 2010
Label: Hillgrass Bluebilly Records
(3422) Page Views

Absorbing the true musical spirit of his father and grandfather, Konrad Wert transforms himself into Possessed by Paul James and does so with a fine-tuned form on his newest album release “Feed the Family,” a more polished yet creatively raw album of realism

Seeing Possessed by Paul James live is one feat that is unbeatable, his transformation from a genuinely kind-hearted and caring man into the maniacally controlled and beast-like man of musical charm is out of this planetary realm. His sound is like no other, mixing instrument switches continuously and fluctuating his style through a gamut of skill sets and mini-freak-outs. “Feed the Family” is Possessed by Paul James’ most crisp album yet, like the first nibble of a fresh fall apple, or a drive through the thick morning fog. Each track leaps bounds through the mental corridor with a mixture of instruments and lyrical content letting the listener hear bluegrass, punk, country blues and pure musical soul.

Think of Jiminy Cricket meeting Johnny Cash while dining at Charley Patton’s house on All Hollow’s Eve before dancing in the streets to the music of Robert Johnson; this is what Wert has to offer within every track he writes and performs. It’s a true amalgamation of emotion, spirit and spark. On the album’s title track “Feed the Family” Wert lifts his heart into the air to express the importance of ancestry; a refreshing jaunt into his soul, which then calms as he enters “When it Breaks.” This track shows the importance to always continue no matter the scattered bone trail offers you. “Go ahead all and crucify the only innocent man, go ahead and justify all of the hate you have, all of the hate you can,” Wert bellows with elegance.

Each track has the depth of the ocean floor yet the emotional capability to grasp the sounds like a floating lily pad. “Oh the Rhythm” enters a journey into Wert’s inner sanctum, the listener can absorb his emotion beyond a song, the song becomes an experience; a calming tool for the heart and a soothing ring to the ear, “Oh the Rhythm” has politics and love all in one. As any man grows old in any form, the body ages right along side, whether humans like it or not. Possessed by Paul James explains this transformation on the track “Older in my Body,” where he sings, “I’m much older in my body than my heart.” The lyric is simple but everyone can resonate with the beautiful agony.

One of Paul James’ most glorious songs live he takes to this record, “Take Off Your Mask.” This song and record is filled with questions about oneself; life, love, religion, family and so many more, all for the listener to choose from.

So many tracks are combined into this album of wonderful wisdom, which come to an end at “Color of my Bloody Nose.” A beautifully harmonious track of love splattered with torment; a superb ending to a labyrinth of an album.

The movement of “Feed the Family” flows like a Montana stream. Possessed by Paul James may not be headlining at the Coliseum, nor would his fans want him to, his charm, poise and skill will last as long as people notice that he is a true ‘roots’ gem in the rough.

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Deep Purple - Come Taste The Band: 35th Anniversary Edition

Deep Purple - Come Taste The Band: 35th Anniversary Edition

Deep Purple

Album title: Come Taste The Band: 35th Anniversary Edition
By Sal Serio
Posted: Dec 2010
Label: EMI/Purple
(2383) Page Views

Talk about your “sleepers”! It’s almost taken 35 years for this Deep Purple release to find it’s share of mass acceptance, however the 35th Anniversary Edition of “Come Taste The Band” shows that Purple was indeed alive and well following Ritchie Blackmore’s 1975 departure. Replacement guitarist, the talented yet tragic Tommy Bolin, pretty much established a “Ritchie WHO?” attitude from the opening Echoplex blast on “Comin’ Home”, to the last fading solo notes of “You Keep On Moving”.

Bolin’s whiplash lasso funk chops on “Getting’ Tighter” create an infectious swagger, but his lead guitar improvisations that conclude the song are flat out mind boggling. Obviously this release is a must-have for Bolin fanatics, but really it needs a second chance for long time steadfast Deep Purple and Whitesnake fans as well. Vocalist David Coverdale and drummer Ian Paice are at the top of their game, and even while Glenn Hughes and Bolin were both in a pattern of serious drug usage, the recorded tracks on “Come Taste The Band” are all unquestionably brilliant.

Of particular note here is the second CD featuring the entire album remixed and re-sequenced by Kevin Shirley, who also recently worked with Glenn Hughes and Joe Bonamassa on their Black Country Communion project. Shirley’s new mix brings every last detail and nuance of the “Come Taste The Band” sessions to the surface, and the presence of additional and alternate tracks, especially of Bolin’s guitar, are a delight. It’s fun to hear some songs run to the end of the tape also! It’s like the train runs right off the track! Completely off the rails is the bonus song titled “Bolin/Paice Jam”… it’s too bad MORE studio moments like this weren’t captured on tape!

Keyboardist Jon Lord is also pulled into the new mix, which was a common criticism upon the original album’s release. Lord’s honky tonk piano solo on “Comin’ Home” and Hammond B3 on “Love Child” pour right out of the speakers, indeed enticing the listener to come taste the band!

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Elizabeth and the Catapult - The Other Side of Zero

Elizabeth and the Catapult - The Other Side of Zero

Elizabeth and the Catapult

Album title: The Other Side of Zero
By John Noyd
Posted: Dec 2010
Label: Verve Forecast
(1598) Page Views

Elizabeth and the Catapult’s pleasantly paradoxical sophomore CD conjures a cast of vexed vixens and embittered Buddhists for show-tune groomed swoons and fearless lyrical jaunts. Polished pop toffee, chewy and slippery sweet; the Catapult’s crisp syncopation, crackling beats and catchy choruses match Elizabeth’s sizzling wisdom, dynamic diplomacy and crafty laughter for a sumptuous platter of deliciously pithy patter, irreverent sentiments and tender remembrances. Inspired by marathon Leonard Cohen listening sessions, “Other Side,” casually confides and artfully divides, jazzy gymnastic happiness jabbing at rattling cages while capturing spooky rebukes, witty duplicity and promising honesty. Savvy cabaret refrains convey lover’s pleads and jilted dreams wrapped in sly strings, cascading keyboards and arresting drums; dark thoughts housed in brainy but boppy melodies purporting wicked inspirations and poetic introspection.

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Pantera - Official Live Pantera

Pantera - Official Live Pantera

Pantera

Album title: Official Live Pantera
By Aaron Manogue
Posted: Dec 2010
Label: Elektra
(1690) Page Views

Anyone who has ever been a fan of live music knows it’s hard to hear a band live and have them come across as crisp and intense as they sound on any given album. Pantera does just that and so much more.

The album kicks off with thousands of screaming fans chanting “Pantera! Pantera! Pantera!” If you close your eyes, you can truly picture yourself among the masses ready to explode into maniacal metal madness. “New Level” announces the band’s presence loud and clear with drummer Vinney Paul’s signature hellish beats and vocalist Phil Anselmo’s demonic growls.

Next up on the Pantera ass kicking machine is “Walk.” One of their most recognizable songs, Dimebag absolutely destroys the solo. You know you have a truly all-time great guitarist when he can take an iconic guitar solo, play it EXACTLY how we all remember, and at the same time put twists on it on the fly that flow with perfect harmony with the rest of the solo.

Basically every single iconic Pantera song is on the album and the guys absolutely kill each and every song. “5 Minutes Alone,” “This Love,” “I’m Broken,” “Cowboys from Hell,” “Cemetery Gates,” and “Hostile.” There truly isn’t a single spot on the live album that anyone could say, “Oh, there’s a mess up.” Being able to crank out this high quality metal live with great sound and intensity is truly a gift the guys of Pantera were really blessed with, and also showcases Vinnie and Dimebag’s production skills, as they produced this masterpiece.

Then there was something that is perhaps the most lasting and impressing aspect of this live album. Anselmo quiets the audience after they play “Sandblasted Skin” and speaks, “You know what the experts are telling you? That heavy music is dead and gone. Ya’ll do me a favor and ya’ll turn around and look at each other right now. And obviously somebody’s wanting to hear something that these experts are telling you ain’t supposed to be here.” This my friends is pure, unblemished metal. The way it was meant to be played.

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Ozzy Osbourne - Scream

Ozzy Osbourne - Scream

Ozzy Osbourne

Album title: Scream
By Aaron Manogue
Posted: Oct 2010
Label: Epic Records
(2255) Page Views

After 40 years of screaming his black heart out, most would think Ozzy’s vocal transmissions would have faded, but The Prince of Darkness has managed to keep his trademark sound alive and well in his 10th album, “Scream.”

Opening with a touch of Ozzy’s past swagger in “Let It Die,” silky guitar riffs accompany tenacious double-kick drums to launch this musical missile on the right path. In “Diggin’ Me Down,” Ozzy kidnaps you and takes you on a melodic journey that starts with a deceiving yet pleasing acoustic intro, and then erupts into a combination of ravishing guitar riffs and drum beats. “I Want It More” puts the ass kicking stamp on the record, with catchy lyrics and thick riffs.

The most notable change in the new album is the absence of legendary guitarist Zakk Wylde. When Ozzy stated that he “wanted a change,” fans were skeptical of the quality of guitar play that would follow. New guitarist Gus G falls far short of a change, as his riffs and solos on “Scream” sound reminiscent of Wylde’s style and unique shredding, since much of Wylde’s writing remained on the album.

No one can deny his uncanny ability to surround himself with musical talent that boasts the best support for his timeless vocals. “Scream” is a solid statement by Ozzy that his vocal talents will live on in rock n’ roll eternity.

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Hellyeah - Stampede

Hellyeah - Stampede

Hellyeah

Album title: Stampede
By Aaron Manogue
Posted: Oct 2010
Label: Epic Records
(2441) Page Views

Supergroup Hellyeah is back with sophomore album “Stampede” and their patented main course of southern rock with a gritty side of ass kicking that fans are used to from lead man Chad Gray and guitarist Greg Tribbett’s main poison, Mudvayne. Rounding out your four course meal of metal is Vinnie Paul of Pantera, Tom Maxwell of Nothingface and Bob Zilla of Damageplan, leaving any metal fan asking for seconds.

Cowboy Way” serves as the delectable appetizer. With its monstrous southern metal sound it sets the tone for the rest of the record. The task of incorporating each sound of the supergroup’s members is done perfectly throughout; gritty guitars, smooth as silk drums, in your face vocals and a bass line that runs right through the heart of the album.

Mudvayne fans will love “It’s On!” as it could easily fit on any Mudvayne album of the past, present and future. The same can be said for Pantera fans in the track titled “Order the Sun.” Vinnie Paul’s influence is extremely evident in this track. Despite whether you are a fan of the member’s past bands or not, if you enjoy immense musical talent that’s blended together perfectly to make a metal lover’s concoction, you’re in for a treat.

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