Disc Reviews

by Max Ink Staff Writers


Ace Frehley - Behnind The Player: Ace Frehley

Ace Frehley - Behnind The Player: Ace Frehley

Ace Frehley

Album title: Behnind The Player: Ace Frehley
By Sal Serio
Posted: Feb 2010
Label: Sony/Red
(2135) Page Views

The latest installment of the popular “Behind The Player” DVD series features former KISS guitarist Ace Frehley, who entertains with his stoney demeanor and cackle as he details his beginnings as a guitarist, history with one of the biggest bands in the world, and subsequent solo career.

KISS fans will be happy to see ample archival concert footage, mainly of Frehley’s solo guitar spots, albeit sometimes of dodgy visual quality. There are no significant revelations regarding the chemistry that made the original KISS line-up so uniquely special (nor gory details regarding their break-ups) that any die-hard KISS fan isn’t already aware of. However, there’s neat behind-the-scenes stories relating to the recording of his new Anomaly CD.

What’s really dope here are the all-star jam sessions and lessons on how to play “Shock Me” and “Cold Gin”. The lessons are told one-on-one by the Space Ace to the viewer, where he takes time to explain specifics regarding his gear set-up and technique. The jam sessions are instrumental versions of those two Frehley-penned KISS classics, with Ace joined by rock superstars like Matt Sorum and John 5. My favorite moment is a version of “Cold Gin” with Ace and legendary guitarist George Lynch, who shares in the sinewy six string soloing.

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Lita Ford - Wicked Wonderland

Lita Ford - Wicked Wonderland

Lita Ford

Album title: Wicked Wonderland
By Sal Serio
Posted: Jan 2010
Label: JLRG Entertainment
(5669) Page Views

O metal maven, O heavenly black brassiere pin-up of the 80s, how we loved you! But you left so suddenly, why O why was it so?

Lita Ford actually split for a Caribbean island in the mid 90s to shack up with rocker husband Jim Gillette and start a family. Lita and Jim home schooled their two pre-teen sons, and grew their own food. Sound like a fantasy? Well, what makes my dreams come true is: Lita’s BACK!

“Wicked Wonderland” is not some safe bet crassly calculated attempt to live off past glories it’s a BEAST of an album! The primary theme running through the pummeling tunes is kinky sex. Apparently the couple likes it nasty, and are cool with letting us know all about it. Songs like ‘Inside’ (“Feel me from the inside”), and ‘Bed’ (“Tie me to the bed, spank me ‘cause I like it”) plainly lay it out across the silk sheets for us all to enjoy.

Producer Greg Hampton goes for the huge production he’s known for, giving “Wicked Wonderland” a sinister vibe somewhere between Rob Zombie and Deborah Frost’s Brain Surgeons. Roberta Zombie? The Bra Surgeons? Call it what you will, just give me more, ‘cause it’s sexy as hell and rocks like a MOTHER!

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Nonpoint - Cut The Cord

Nonpoint - Cut The Cord

Nonpoint

Album title: Cut The Cord
By Sal Serio
Posted: Jan 2010
Label: 954 Records
(2145) Page Views

Released December 8th, via digital download, is a killer new unplugged EP of some of Nonpoint’s most well known songs, like “Your Signs” and “Circles”. “Cut The Cord” is crisp, spacious, emotive, and raw, yet still with the same edge that Nonpoint always delivers. The following comments came from singer Elias Soriano and drummer Rob Rivera before their recent Madison show.

Elias:  “For years we had been discussing putting out Spanish EPs or acoustic EPs and it had never come together. It had been almost two years since “Vengeance”. We’re releasing it digitally because it was the smartest, most economical, (and) fastest way to get new music into the hands of our fans, while carrying them over to the (upcoming) full length. A lot of people have been singing these songs for ten years now, so getting a new swing on them freshens them up a bit, for them and us.”

Rob:  “We’ve been doing this acoustic stuff for years at radio stations, and these songs kinda popped up online. The songs we picked were the ones kids always ask for in our live set.”

Elias: “We wanted to pick favorites, and also add some obscure tracks that people love, like ‘Victim’ and ‘Rabia’, but would never ever consider hearing acoustic.”

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Tail Dragger - Live At Rooster’s Lounge

Tail Dragger - Live At Rooster’s Lounge

Tail Dragger

Album title: Live At Rooster’s Lounge
By Chris Fox
Posted: Dec 2009
Label: Delmark Records
(2377) Page Views

TAIL DRAGGER is a melding of the old Mississippi Delta blues and Chicago 1950’s blues. This DVD presents TAIL DRAGGER in his element, an old run down bar with a small crowd and an eclectic group of traveled blues musicians. Though the film quality is on the lower end, the feel and personality of the blues could not be more apparent. As he wanders through the crowd he sings his woes in the faces of his fans, and even some hapless women at a bus stop outside. This video truly presents “Blues with a Feeling,” and really portrays the personality of the old Chicago blues.

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 tUnE-YaRds - Bird-Brains

tUnE-YaRds - Bird-Brains

tUnE-YaRds

Album title: Bird-Brains
By John Noyd
Posted: Dec 2009
Label: 4AD Records
(2103) Page Views

As evident by her recent Madison appearance at the High Noon Saloon, New England native Merrill Garbus knows how to swing simple beats into monstrous concoctions whose grooves provide solid bedrock for her quirky vocal acrobatics and ukulele-infused hooks. Her charmingly unpredictable debut, “Bird-Brains,” overflows with cock-eyed hopscotch cocktails and looped 200 proof goulash, amassing sweetly treated catastrophes whose child-like innocence produces playfully unhindered inventiveness. Scrapbook symphonies quietly infiltrate before unleashing rollercoaster yelps of Maori warriors, zig-zag magpies take flight summoning dainty dances and avenging angels, household ambience submerges beneath an unearthly whirl of unwrapped passion. Wonderfully contradictory yet refreshingly personal, alien and familiar, equally comforting and shocking, “Bird-Brains,” draws us in with its sorted sonic intrigues; embodying the opposing forces contained within us all.

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Karnivool - Sound Awake

Karnivool - Sound Awake

Karnivool

Album title: Sound Awake
By Chris Fox
Posted: Dec 2009
Label: Sony Music
(1980) Page Views

The second studio album from Australian progressives KARNIVOOL brings about a very unique sound to progressive hard rock. These guys have found a middle ground between heavy and orchestrated, similar to TOOL with a “less eerie” feel. Layered, epic songs with soaring space guitar work over the top really meld every song on the album into each other. Complex time signatures and a true depth to the music really make this album a story to hear from beginning to end. The songs progress and develop into hopeful yet dark musings from this Australian quintet.

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Creedence Clearwater Revival - The Singles Collection

Creedence Clearwater Revival - The Singles Collection

Creedence Clearwater Revival

Album title: The Singles Collection
By John Noyd
Posted: Dec 2009
Label: Fantasy Records
(2009) Page Views

A handsomely packaged two CD set covering thirty tracks plus a bonus DVD with four music videos, “Singles,” presents an unflinching glimpse into the late sixties, early seventies American psyche. A dash of country panache, a measure of Memphis soul and a healthy helping of rockabilly bravado added to the trippy wisdom of hobos and hippies - CCR captured the zeitgeist of a generation haunted by war and civil unrest. Sowing the hope of an open road, juxtaposing Vietnam jungles into Southern bayous, CCR’s spooky swamp boogie voodoo provided a stark reflection and an ample escape hatch that resonates across the decades - a timeless touchstone addressing unique times through redressed roots and relentless questioning as relevant today as it was nearly forty years ago.

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Mudvayne - Mudvayne

Mudvayne - Mudvayne

Mudvayne

Album title: Mudvayne
By Chris Fox
Posted: Dec 2009
Label: Sony Records
(10725) Page Views

MUDVAYNE returns to their manic musings with shadows of their past sound. The truly heavy sound of “Dig” and “Prod” has resurfaced in their newest album. Rediscovering their scattered and abrasive sound, MUDVAYNE has created an album that delves into the disturbing tonality of their past with subtle examples of their seasoned musical status. This album is full of songs that lull you into a false sense of security with ambient rumbles and calming melodies before they hit you with a wall of sound that is undeniable. After previous albums, where they thrived on the lighter side of their sound, this album finds itself rivaling “L.D. 50,” and a new understanding of what it means to be angry. The guttural vocals and eerie bass lines have reestablished what MUDVAYNE is and what they are capable of.

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Lynyrd Skynyrd - God & Guns

Lynyrd Skynyrd - God & Guns

Lynyrd Skynyrd

Album title: God & Guns
By Chris Fox
Posted: Nov 2009
Label: Roadrunner Records
(1862) Page Views

Good ole LYNYRD SKYNYRD. Their formula is the same, hard rockin’ bluesy riffs for songs that make guys’ heads bang and girls’ hips shake. Their recent release has a bit more bite that SKYNYRD had back in the day with “Gimme Back My Bullets.” Though their songs are reflecting their age a bit, the boys from the south still have it, and the sheer amount of soul in their songs makes this album worth every minute. The bluesy touch of the south in rock is still there and proud as ever.

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Slayer - World Painted Blood

Slayer - World Painted Blood

Slayer

Album title: World Painted Blood
By Chris Fox
Posted: Nov 2009
Label: Sony Records
(1573) Page Views

The thrash metal titans are back with a vengeance. Angry as ever, and still grinding the axe like there is no tomorrow SLAYER puts another notch in their belt with their tenth studio album. The sound of “World Painted Blood” builds on the elements from every album before. Dissonated chords, some dark melodies, and a driving beat that will force you to bang your head are what keep this album fresh with creepy SLAYER surprises around every corner. This album is far from a career capping effort, but rather the continuation of the epicness that is SLAYER. As usual government, God, and everything that might be controversial in between is covered is true thrash metal fashion. These guys have developed new material in a progressive direction without losing their roots. Metal continues to reign in blood.

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Mo', Keb' - Live and Mo

Mo', Keb' - Live and Mo

Mo', Keb'

Album title: Live and Mo
By John Noyd
Posted: Nov 2009
Label: Yolabelle International
(1964) Page Views

Never one to sit back and rest on his laurels, contemporary bluesman, occasional actor and three-time Grammy winner Keb’ Mo’ launches his first self-produced indie album in conjunction with a coast to coast American tour and a newly designed website. A tasty sample of K.M’s current output, “Live,” features six live performances and four new studio recordings for an excellent overview of hand-picked gems highlighting a song-writer whose roots are in the blues but who subtly colors his songs with pop, gospel and funk influences. Welcoming and sympathetic, open-hearted and socially conscious, Mo’s laid-back enlightenment hides its pains and struggles deep inside hope and encouragement, making a gentle, soothing sound that uplifts and comforts. K.M. brings his band to Milwaukee’s Northern Lights Theater Nov. 14th.

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Dethklok - Dethalbum II

Dethklok - Dethalbum II

Dethklok

Album title: Dethalbum II
By Chris Fox
Posted: Oct 2009
Label: Turner Music Publishing
(2153) Page Views

DETHKLOK is everything that metal should be. Loud, fast and larger than life. Epic song titles like “Bloodlines” and “The Gears” really say it all for this animated quintet. This album is the sophomore production for Brendon Small and Gene Hoglan and they have been able to deliver. With season three of Metalocalypse, the animated series following Dethklok, on the horizon, this album makes the mouths of many serious and satirical metal fans water. The music is heavy and brutal, but the guitar work melding almost seamlessly with the percussion is what makes this music so good. Tight, bottom heavy, and simply epic. Fans of heavy music of all genres, whether they enjoy the cartoon or not, will thoroughly enjoy this overpowering monster of an album.

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