Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Top 10 lists and the only rule

Greetings music junkies.  It's been a while but we are back and gearing up for a new year of music.  What was your favorites of 2012?  We will be soon posting our top 10's of the year with the top 5 of each list getting double doses of reviews.  Both myself and Scrap224 will be providing commentary on both lists.  Once posted, please feel free to post in the comments section.

On an unrelated note, this is not a site for sharing music.  Links posted in the comments to any blog will be dealt with by deleting the link and the uploader will be reported to the uploading site for copyright infringement.  If you are trying to get either of us to review your own music, there is a way to do this and it is to contact us through the blog.  Unsolicited links will not be followed as we do not wish to promote copyright infringements and have no way of determining what the file is until it is downloaded.

Thanks for following this one and only rule and happy listening.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Differing Opinions #1 Anthrax Worship Music

Anthrax Worship Music
Dear reader and loyal vinyl addicts, welcome to side 2, the differing opinion and possibly either your voice of reason or an aggravation to no end, but hey, that’s the beauty of musical discussion.
Late last year Anthrax, fresh off of the Sonisphere festival with fellow Big 4 Titans Slayer, Megadeth an the almighty Metallica, released their first studio effort since the John Bush helmed ‘We’ve Come For You All’.  Gone were the gruff vocals of Armored Saint’s John Bush and what was that we heard?  A far more high pitched and more familiar voice belting out the opening lines of ‘Earth On Hell’ “The Kids have gone wild in the streets!” a line harkening back to the 80’s and the metal genre that Anthrax once championed.  Yes loyal readers, Joey Belladonna had returned to the fold to bring classic Anthrax the sound and the fury they had been waiting for.  John is no slouch in his own right, but there is only one voice that belongs at the forefront of tracks like ‘Indians’, ‘Be All End All’, ‘Anti-Social’ and the immortal classic ‘I am the Law’.  This is a return to the band that took the torch from the creators of thrash, Metallica, and injected skateboarding and comic references into the music. 
The album is amazing.  It never lets up from beginning to end and contains what are going to be Anthrax classics such as ‘The Devil You Know’ and ‘Fight Em’ Til You Can’t’.  There is complete agreement between this sites reviewers that this is indeed a stellar album and is not only one of the best of the year 2011, it is also arguably one of the best of Anthrax’s career. 
To me, the John Bush years, were simply a different band.  Charlie Benate, Frankie Bello and Dan Spitz, though Dan would eventually be replaced by Rob Cagiano, who, in my opinion, began to help Anthrax feel their roots solidly in the 80’s with his bigger than life riffing and his ability to completely follow the insane energy of Scott Ian on rhythm Guitar.  Albums like Stomp 442 and Sound of White Noise are great records, but were formed during a shift in the trend of metal sound and it feels as though they went for the ride but didn’t quite fit in.  Sort of like the older brother too hip to hang with the younger kids though trying hard to do so.  Coincidently, Stomp 442 was the last Anthrax album I purchased prior to the release of Worship Music. 
With Joey back in the lineup and finally sharing the stage with all of the other members of the Big 4, Anthrax have returned and delivered the album they were destined to make.  Gone are the days where they try to fit the trends and sometimes hitting it and sometimes failing.  Anthrax are best when they are innovating (I’m the Man anyone?  How about Bring the Noise?) Anthrax, Slayer, Megadeth and Metallica are the old gods.  They are to be worshipped and emulated by the young bands trying to get a toe hold instead of the other way around.  This is evidenced by all 4 of the Big 4 bands releasing career defining albums in the past 4 years (Death Magnetic, Th1rte3n, World Painted Blood and now Worship Music). 
This is a record that could not have been made with John Bush.  The  material is too cohesive around a central theme as opposed to an album that pulls from every direction.  The central theme of Worship Music is arguably about consumption.  From the literal sense captured in ‘Fight ‘Em Til You Can’t’ chronicling the beginning of a zombie apocalypse to tracks such as ‘In the end’ with themes of darkness consuming light and death consuming life. This is Joey’s deepest lyrics since Spreading the Disease and possibly more though provoking than the Among the Living.  In contrast to my friend and collegue, I am happy that the John Bush years are behind Anthrax.  John is  a great performer and a fantastic vocalist, but to many a hardcore Anthrax fan myself included, it was wrong.  It was like taking your buddy’s wife on a date, it was just unthinkable.  To me, I look at the John Bush era as a different band, though this is hypocritical in many ways , since many different bands change personnel, Megadeth being one of the biggest offenders of this, but the voice…THE VOICE, the voice cannot and should not change.  Joey is Anthrax.  Scott, Frankie, Charlie and Dan are Anthrax.  Rob is Anthrax…why can’t I see John as Anthrax?  He is the voice…He is Armored Saint and to me always be. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012


This is a journey into sound.....

“Don’t call it a comeback if they were already there.” I don’t clearly know if AC/DC’s THE RAZOR’S EDGE album is necessarily a comeback album but it did re-introduce the band to the listening public all the while galvanizing the already hard-core fan and creating a newer, younger fan base that has lasted ever since it’s September 24, 1990 original release.
The Razors Edge peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200 charts and stayed there for 77 consecutive weeks. It also reached #4 on the UK charts. The album helped return AC/DC to its former glory. Currently, the album has sold 5 million copies in the US, certifying it at 5x platinum. The album has sold approximately ten to twelve million copies worldwide, making it the fourth highest selling AC/DC album (after Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, Highway to Hell and Back in Black and ahead of Who Made Who).
Track Listing ; 1."Thunderstruck" 4:52 2."Fire Your Guns" 2:53 3."Moneytalks" 3:48 4."The Razors Edge" 4:25 5."Mistress for Christmas" 3:59 6."Rock Your Heart Out" 4:06 7."Are You Ready" 4:10 8."Got You by the Balls" 4:30 9."Shot of Love" 3:56 10."Let's Make It" 3:32 11."Goodbye & Good Riddance to Bad Luck" 3:13 12."If You Dare" 3:08
The Band Personnel: Brian Johnson – lead vocals Angus Young – lead guitar Malcolm Young – rhythm guitar, backing vocals Cliff Williams – bass guitar, backing vocals Chris Slade – drums, percussion.
My version is from the first set of vinyl re-masters that came out during the release of Black Ice. It is 180 gram. The sound quality is perfect.
THE RAZOR’S EDGE holds a bit personal history for me. As it came out in 1990, I was a freshman in high school. Being the sports fanatic I was back then, that was THE album the teams that I was on would use before any pregame ceremonies for that year. It was loud, fast, heavy, and downright metal-ish sounding, perfect for a 13 year old boy. I have always loved this album ever since those times (even though I sucked at most sports things back then).
For my money THUNDERSTRUCK, MONEY TALKS, & SHOT OF LOVE are my top three tunes off the album, with THUNDERSTRUCK being one of the best AC/DC songs they have ever produced.
THE RAZOR’S EDGE is worth getting if you don’t have it already. It is a landmark 90’s album, & a huge one in the AC/DC catalog. Spin It.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

scrap224; Rush- CLOCKWORK ANGELS

This is a journey in sound.....

"IN A WORLD WHERE I FEEL SO SMALL, I CAN'T STOP THINKING BIG!" They are back & the band is Rush. Debuting in at #2 on Billboard & #1 in Canada is Rush's 20th Studio album CLOCKWORK ANGELS. The holy trinity from Canada are back. It's been 5 years since SNAKES & ARROWS was released & I feel CLOCKWORK ANGELS was well worth the wait.
Let's go back in time for a bit all the way back to 2010-2011. Rush was on tour, their Time Machine Tour. This was also the 30th anniversary of one of their defining albums MOVING PICTURES (which they played in its entirety live during this tour). Prior & during this tour Rush was already in the writing/recording mode. On June 1, 2010 Rush released two new songs; CARAVAN & BU2B (brought up to believe). These two new songs were heavy & pure Rush. Multiple time changes, solos & thought provoking lyrics. There was also something else. These two new songs seemed to be linked lyrically & not just two new isolated works. This gave to rise to rumors that were later confirmed to be correct that these two new songs were to be part of a total concept album. Even the stage set up reflected these new songs' lyrics; a Steampunk theme. On April 19, 2012 Rush also released the first 'official' single HEADLONG FLIGHT (more on all the songs later) At the conclusion of their Time Machine Tour the trio took a well deserved break then went back into the studio with SNAKES & ARROWS producer Nick Raskulinecz. The result is the singularity of this review.
Just recently released on June 12, 2012 CLOCKWORK ANGELS is a masterpiece & Rush absolutely demonstrates how they defy their years & mileage on it. An album, a concept prog album of the highest order. As one of my best friends said after he listened to it for the first time (and he is moderate Rush fan) CLOCKWORK ANGELS is like the best paintings ever created. Full of color, contrast & composition. As stated by drummer/lyricist Neil Peart stated: In a young man's quest to follow his dreams, he is caught between the grandiose forces of order and chaos. He travels across a lavish and colorful world of steampunk and alchemy, with lost cities, pirates, anarchists, exotic carnivals, and a rigid Watchmaker who imposes precision on every aspect of daily life. In fact CLOCKWORK ANGELS is also being written into a novel by science fiction novelist Kevin J. Anderson, a long time friend of Neil Peart, announced that he would be writing a novelization of Clockwork Angels due out in the fall.
The album's cover art displays the time 9:12 or 21:12, in reference to the band's album and song titled 2112. The cover art was illustrated by graphics artist and long-time Rush collaborator Hugh Syme. The CD cover art & the vinyl cover art does differ with the red background. The CD is the red cloud vortex & the vinyl version is rippled water drops.
The band; Geddy Lee- vocals, bass, keyboards. Alex Lifeson- guitars. Neil Peart- drums, lyrics.
The songs; 1. CARAVAN- slightly reworked from the single version. It begins our tale. In my opinion a perfect Rush song. 2. BU2B- also reworked from the single version. The song now has a brief haunting acoustic intro. The second heaviest song on the album. 3. CLOCKWORK ANGELS- the title track. It has multi movements within it. It reminds me of a mini 2112 or a mini Hemispheres. It's multi-layered & and serves as the pivot point for the album. It is a song that is fast/slow & light-heavy. It's also the first of three songs on the album that clocks in at 7 minutes or longer 4. THE ANACHRIST-it's catchy. Nice groove to it. Speaks of a dangerous man in a controlled dystopian society. 5. CARNIES- its heavy. It speaks of an exotic carnival that the main character visits on his journey. It reminds me of the carnival scene in the film A.I. 6. HALO EFFECT- its simply beautiful. An absolute instant Rush classic. It's also short coming in about 3:14 or so. Ahh the heartbreak of falling in love with the wrong woman. 7. SEVEN CITIES OF GOLD- our heroes adventure continues in search of a lost legend ala Indiana Jones perhaps or even Cormac McCarthy's The Road. It's got a vintage killer Geddy bass groove as an intro. It's a rocker. 8. THE WRECKERS- its about a shipwreck that turns even worse as false safety rears its ugly head. This song also possesses one of Peart's most poignant choruses he's ever written; "All I know is that sometimes you have to be wary Of a miracle too good to be true All I know is that sometimes the truth is contrary Everything in life you thought you knew All I know is that sometimes you have to be wary 'Cause sometimes the target is you". 9. HEADLONG FLIGHT- the second official single from the album. It is without a doubt the heaviest song on the album & maybe the heaviest Rush has ever written. It is the second song on the album that is over the 7 minute mark. It is my favorite song on this album. 10. BU2B2- a bit of a reprise. A sequel song to the original arcing track BU2B. It's only about a minute and a half long. It's very ethereal. Different lyrics. Different arrangement. It's like a brief intermission before the crescendo. 11. WISH THEM WELL- another classic. A musical journey. Turn the other cheek & move on. It's both heavy & mellow. 12. THE GARDEN- it's spiritual. It's beautiful. It's hopeful yet mellon-collie. Its the third song at the 7 minute mark. The summation of the protagonists journey. A reflection upon his adventures & travels. I obviously have a first edition/pressing of CLOCKWORK ANGELS on vinyl. Double disc LP. 180 gram & black. As a totally Rush touch, on each side of the two LP's center stickers there are no song titles written, just the clock logo used for the album. Four different ones in fact. One set at 1:00. One set at 2:00. One set at 3:00. And one set at 4:00 (for sides 1-4).
In conclusion, I love this album. Granted Rush is my favorite band so I am probably going to be a bit biased in the favorable category towards then. Don't take my word for it. Read other reviews in print or online. This is a killer album. Maybe their best ever.
We all know at this point in Rush's career they have many more years behind them than they do in front of them. All three members are all pushing 60 years of age as of 2012. If Rush decide that their Clockwork Angels Tour is their last tour/album, (God for bid) then CLOCKWORK ANGELS is one hell of a way to go out & say thank you to all of their fans world-wide for 40 years of glory.
If CLOCKWORK ANGELS is your first introduction to Rush or your a die hard like I am then this is the album for you.
Spin this over & over & LIVE IT ALL AGAIN!!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

scrap224; Anthrax- WE'VE COME FOR YOU ALL

This is a journey into sound.....

It is the first Anthrax record featuring Rob Caggiano on lead guitar & the last to feature original material with John Bush on vocals. John Bush as the singer/frontman for Anthrax is bad-ass. In my opinion John Bush is without question is better than Joey Belladonna. Having said that this review is not a compare & contrast lesson.
Released on May 6, 2003, it was met with lack luster performance on the charts only arriving at #122. The album features "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott & Roger Daltrey. 2 hidden tracks are also featured on the album; The song "We're a Happy Family" was originally recorded by the Ramones on Rocket to Russia & and an acoustic version of Safe Home.
The band personnel for this album was; John Bush (vocals) Scott Ian (rhythm guitar) Frank Bello (bass) Rob Caggiano (lead guitar) & Charlie Benante (drums).
The album's cover art was painted by famed comic book artist Alex Ross.
Now then, on to the review. This album is solid & is a bit more diverse musically than their previous efforts. It's still metal, but as was the case when Bush began to write actual lyrics that had a story and/or a message to them, the songs became better & the band was no longer thought of as a one trick pony. Anthrax could still rock but also (if you chose to) make you think a bit too.
WE'VE COME FOR YOU ALL is a heavy metal album. Listen to WHAT DOESN'T DIE & REFUSE TO BE DENIED as an example of this. The 'ballad' of SAFE HOME is the biggest track of the album & featured a catchy
chorus and strong melody. Its music video features film actor Keanu Reeves.
My vinyl is real vintage. It is a limited edition 180g double-LP, clear vinyl. It is numbered 80/150. It also came with a poster of the front cover of the album's artwork by Alex Ross.
It sounds just like it looks, NEW. Clear loud & all over. The highs can be heard. The lows can be felt. And the mid's allow the listener to experience a great metal album the way Anthrax themselves would want you to experience.
It's a shame the relationship between Anthrax & John Bush didn't continue with more albums after this, but that's in the past. Do yourself a great big favor & listen to this album in the present. It will make you happy in the future. Take the music back, & get this album. Spin It.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

scrap224; Rush- PERMANENT WAVES

This is a journey into sound.....

Making modern music can be a question of sheer will. With Rush, it's just that. Their 7th studio album, (released on January 1, 1980) PERMANENT WAVES is extremely important to Rush's history. It represents a pivot point, a fundamental change in how they approached writing. Gone were the 'epic' songs of 9-10 minutes in length. Their songs became more radio friendly and consequently, a significant expansion in the band's sales with hits such as "The Spirit of Radio" and "Freewill" seeing considerable radio airplay.
PERMANENT WAVES became Rush's first US Top 5 album hitting #4 and was the band's fifth Gold (eventually Platinum) selling album. The album also marks a distinct transition from hard rock and progressive rock into a more accessible to the masses streamlined version of themselves.
The lead in track; The Spirit of Radio demonstrates the bands ever changing & evolving music tastes & continued experimentation with a reggae style rhythm incorporated into the song.
The closing track entitled Natural Science does clock in at a hefty 9:17 & does contain 3 distinct movements.
The album contains 6 songs; 1. The Spirit of Radio. 2. Freewill. 3. Jacob's Ladder. 4. Entre Nous (French = Between Us). 5. Different Strings. 6. Natural Science, (l. Tide Pools. ll. Hyperspace. lll. Permanent Waves.)
The title/concept for the album as told by Geddy Lee told Rolling Stone Magazine that the album's title referred to "a theory that was going [within the band] about, like, culture waves; and there was a night when Neil (Peart) said that a big album was like a permanent wave and I told him, 'that's our title'.
PERMANENT WAVES released 3 singles; The Spirit of Music, Entre Nous & Freewill.
The band some help with the recording of the album; Geddy Lee - bass guitars, Oberheim 8 Voice Synthesizer; OB-1; Minimoog; and Taurus pedal synthesizers, vocals
Alex Lifeson - six and twelve string electric and acoustic guitars, Taurus pedals
Neil Peart - drums, timpani, timbales, orchestra bells, tubular bells, wind chimes, bell tree, triangle, crotales, cover concept
Erwig Chuapchuaduah - steel drums
Hugh Syme - piano on "Different Strings", art direction, design, cover concept artwork.
Now then my vinyl is a 120 gram that is in mint condition. It has the original album sleeve complete with song lyrics & band photo. It is a first edition pressing. It is 110% wonderful to listen to. This album is art on many levels.
Just between us, help make some waves with Rush's PERMANENT WAVES. Spin this album.

scrap224; Rush- SIGNALS

This is a journey into sound.....

What is it about Rush I enjoy so much? Is it their musicianship? Is it the lyrics contained in their songs? Is it respect & reverence for their nearly 40 years of unyielding work ethic? Honestly is all of the above for me. Rush has always been about their music first & if people wanted to tag along that was fine, if not that was fine with them.
By 1982 Rush found themselves further experimenting more with the electronic sound from previous albums such as; PERMANENT WAVES & MOVING PICTURES. So on September 9, 1982, rush released their 9th studio album SIGNALS. Stylistically, the album was a continuation of Rush's foray into the technology-oriented 1980s through increased use of electronic instrumentation such as keyboards, sequencers, and electric violin. Other noticeable changes were decreased average song length and lyrical compression. The album reached #10 on the Billboard album charts and was certified Platinum (1,000,000 copies sold) by the R.I.A.A. in November 1982.
Drummer/Lyricist Neil Peart, Guitarist Alex Lifeson & Bassist/Singer Geddy Lee created a majority of this album during their Moving Pictures Tour.
The album is comprised of 8 solid Rush tracks. 1. Subdivisions. 2. The Analog Kid. 3. Chemistry. 4. Digital Man. 5. The Weapon (part 2 of Fear). 6. New World Man. 7. Losing It. 8. Countdown.
Personally, I dig this album. In many ways it's pure previous Rush & in others it hints at some things to come. Subdivisions has been a Rush concert staple since 1982.
My vinyl is 120gram mint. It looks new & sounds even better. It's an original pressing & is an interesting listen. The electronic sound of the album is very good & loud. It's a clean sound.
The usual Hugh Syme cover artwork is of course unique.
The map of the imaginary secondary school on the back of the album cover was named after Montreal Expo slugger Warren Cromartie.
Hugh Syme: "Well, I was given the word "Signals." It was such a broad concept that it was baffling for all of us. We really had trouble with that one, and I decided that, with such a phenomenally important word with the kind of potency it potentially had, to go with something really dumb, really inane. But something which would still tie in with songs such as "Chemistry," and the subdivision aspect of the fire hydrants, lawns, and neighborhood dogs."
Geddy Lee said: "Well, we wanted the album to sound different and we also thought that the packaging should have a different feel. When we were talking about Signals, Hugh had this concept of taking the idea down to a basic human level - territorial or even sexual. So that's how the design with the dog and the fire hydrant came about. The little map on the back features make-believe subdivisions, with a lot of silly names and places. The red dots represent all the fire hydrants and basically the whole thing maps out a series of territories."
This is an excellent Rush album. Pick up on this albums signals. Spin it.