ANGELIC UPSTARTS: The Albums 1983-91

After having pretty good success on their early releases, the band started to lose some traction and after the failure of the Still From The Heart album, EMI said bye-bye and they were back to the indie scene. This was a great wake up for them since Reason Why? was a terrific album that brought them back to the punk rock glory that people loved them for. “Geordies Wife” and “Dollars And Pounds” are both politically charged poetry that adds something interesting to the album. The cool part is that you get ten bonus tracks added to the original album. CD2 which again comes with ten bonus tracks, mainly rare studio demos that show the bands raw edge. Along with politically charged punk rock, you get a cool cover of Martha Reeve & the Vandellas’ “Nowhere To Run.” Next up is Live In Yugoslavia, which is basically a greatest hits collection of the band’s songs and played with vim and vigor. Disc 4 is 1985’s Power Of The Press album which now comes with the bonus single “Brighton Bomb.” The album is a little more into the new wave sound of the time but still is a great listen. Next up is the even more new wave sounding Blood On The Terraces album with an included extra seven bonus tracks. The band still has some punk, but there is a lot of sound of the times going on and some controversial titles like “Heroin is Good For You,” and a cover of Kenny Rogers and The First Edition’s “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town.” Ending with Bombed Out which saw original guitarist Mond reunited with vocalist Mensi for the first time in nearly a decade. This seemed to invigorate the band and they came back to the punk rock sound again, and the box set ends on a high note.

Although not as mandatory as the first box set, this is still a great collection of songs that sound better on this release than on the originals and will bring back memories to us old guys. The booklet features pictures of all relevant sleeves, liner notes, news clippings, and many previously unpublished photos.

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999: The Albums 1987-2007

 

Jumping from the previous box set that covered 1977-1980, this one skips a few albums and goes right to their most up-to-date album currently. Maybe there will be another collection of the missing albums…we’ll see.

With just four albums over a twenty-year span, the band slowed their releases down a whole lot, but what we have is a great collection all the same. Starting off with the band’s first official full-length live album Lust Power And Money, recorded at the legendary Klub Foot in London, it has a track listing that reads like a Greatest Hits Live with classics such as “Emergency,” and “Homicide” played with energy and power. Disc 2 contains 1993’s You Us It!, their first studio album in eight years which saw the addition of new member Arturo Bassick, formerly of The Lurkers. The band got right back to the harder-edged sound of their younger days and it was a great return to form. Disc 3 is the Takeover album which was originally released in 1997 and is even better than their last album. A classic from start to finish with tracks that stand up to their older gems. The final disc is 2007’s Death In Soho, which keeps up the high standard of punk rock with catchy choruses and great playing that bands more than half their age would be and should be jealous of. This is a great ending to the box set but makes you yearn for more from them.

The 20-page booklet contains in-depth liner notes, pictures of all relevant sleeves plus memorabilia and clippings from the era. The sound is so good and improves on the original releases by a long shot. Although the classic period was in the previous box set, this is still a terrific collection to get and will definitely be something that you will come back to, time and time again.

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KILLER: Volume One, The Mausoleum Years 1981-1990

Whilst the “New Wave Of British Heavy Metal” movement of the late 1970s and early 1980s was raging just across the English Channel, Belgium was fomenting its own highly influential rock and metal scene, at the forefront was Killer. The power trio was founded in 1980 around lead guitarist and vocalist Paul Van Camp, Fat Leo on drums and Spooky on bass guitar and vocals, they released their debut album Ready For Hell on WEA Records. At the end of 1981, Fat Leo was replaced on drums by Double Bear for 1982’s Wall Of Sound album, which saw Killer making a greater impact beyond Belgium. Killer’s management formed the metal label Mausoleum Records, and Killer recorded the Shockwaves LP. The band disbanded in early 1987, with Paul Van Camp releasing his self-titled solo debut the same year. Spooky and Shorty decided to start Killer again in 1989, but with new drummer Rudy Simmons and a second guitar player, Jan Van Springel. Their fourth album, Fatal Attraction, was recorded in Germany and released by Mausoleum Records in 1990. Partly due to the growing popularity of grunge, Killer decided to call it a day in 1991. Killer would reform later in the decade, and were proud to release their seventh album, Monsters Of Rock in 2015, in time to commemorate the band’s 35th Anniversary. With great sound, bonus tracks and a great booklet telling the band’s story, this is a great release that shows the reach and influence NWOBHM had.

A band that only hardcore metal fans really know about, these guys, that are influenced by Motorhead, have left a legacy of great music that can now be enjoyed by more people. With their albums long deleted and going for some crazy prices, this is the perfect time to jump in and take a listen to what you may have not had a chance to hear before. Lots of great tracks, catchy choruses, and tight playing, this is the real deal metal. You get bonus tracks that are definitely a bonus, not just extra tracks that they tacked on because they found some crap sitting in the vaults. The bonus tracks on CD1 are “From Nine To Five,” “Too Wild To Tame,” “Crazy Circus” and “Chinese Woman.” The bonus track on CD2 is “Walls Of Hell.” The bonus tracks on CD3 are blistering live versions of “Shock Waves,” “Scarecrow,” “In The Name Of The Law” and “Kleptomania.”

I put this on, turned up the volume and this just blew me away with the raw power, the raging tunes and the actual enjoyment that came through. This is an essential purchase that will add some old-school metal to your collection and make you a believer that not only the UK had some great bands back in the early 80s.

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THE FLESH EATERS: Continental Club Austin, TX 2/22/19

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So, the Flesh Eaters got the classic lineup back together and out on tour they went, so I obviously had to go see them. There were two other bands playing that night, Sean Wheeler and the Reluctant Messengers, and Churchwood, but I really was there for just one band…the Flesh Eaters! I was looking forward to this show since I heard they were coming to my very extended area, but some mishaps were presented to me that night.

 

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I live around an hour away from Austin, so I had to fight the traffic to get there, as expected it was crappy, but I made it to Austin. Of course, the next obstacle was to find the venue which I had never been to before. I got to the venue, saw that the parking was this ridiculous “back into the spot while blocking traffic style,” which no one would let me do, and I nearly got hit by a car trying to do it. Luckily, there was a side street close to the club and after parking on the street there, I was off to the show. Walking in, I showed my identification and the email pass that I had and of course, I was not on the list…sigh. After a bit of back and forth, I was inside! The show was on! The band blazed through old songs with the energy of guys a third of their present age, reminding me of the old days back in the 80s, which is what the club was like. They played their two new songs, “Black Temptation” and “Ghost Cave Lament” with emotion and the crowd accepted them as if they had always been part of the set. While playing on the cramped stage, the band gave a performance that was smoldering, energetic, and full of raw emotion. Playing some covers as well, especially the fantastic take on Fleetwood Mac’s “The Green Manalishi.” That song was a definite highlight. With banter from lead singer Chris Desjardins, the songs got some explanation and some fun stories about the past. According to the club’s website, they were to only play for around 45 minutes, but they played longer than that and I was in heaven. The sound was a bit off, with a lot of high-end making it a bit hard on the ears at times, but the band’s performance more than made up for that. The saxophone and marimba really gave the band such depth and added a lot to the sound. I really have to give it to Dave Alvin whose guitar playing was tremendous, with such flair and technique, drummer Bill Bateman pounding away in the back and the thick and fluid bass work by John Doe. These guys have proven through the years just how good they are at playing in their own bands and really shined in this setting.

This was a great night, despite some not so fun things that happened, but the good thing is that the band took the negatives and turned my face into a great big smile, and a memory that I will cherish. Thanks for the great night guys, and many more for the future.thumbnail (5)

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BRAVE : the calm | the storm

Brave is a six-piece progressive/rock/metal band based in Washington, DC, and play a mix of progressive rock, folk, and metal with female vocals. They have been around since 1996 under the initial name Arise From Thorns, and have released 9 recordings, including 2 recordings under their previous band name.

An album of lush sounds, great production, and terrific playing is what you are in store for on this new album. The songs are just beautiful, with the angelic vocals of Michelle Schrotz giving the songs so much emotion. On the more rocking “Summertime,” she almost has a Dolores O’Riordan sound to her singing. The song has great guitar playing and was a standout to me since it was one of the faster and catchier songs on here. Of course, this isn’t to say that the other songs weren’t good…they were, they were really good, but this one just did it for me. The lighter songs like “Bay Song” really show off the band’s exceptional playing and really make those songs a pleasure to listen to as well.

This is a very mixed album, harder and softer songs all mixed together, soaring vocals, soft vocals, all of it made for a great listen. The power and the gentleness of this band will amaze you and the great songs will lock it in for you…this one is a great trip to take.

Also posted: http://ripplemusic.blogspot.com/2019/02/brave-calm-storm.html

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BOBBIE MORRONE : Lonely St.

Bobbie Morrone launched his music career in approximately 2007. Since then, he has recruited two other musicians; Isaac Vining (drums/percussion), and Adam Skinner (bass guitar), who create a mix of blues, soul and pop music.

Coming on like James Taylor at times, Morrone has a cool, and casual 70s vibe going on throughout this album. Every song feels like something that could be a single, some faster, some slower like the amazing “Holding On,” but they are all terrific. “Holding On” really has powerful emotion and could bring a tear to dead man’s eye, just a beautiful slow song that is a stand out to me. The playing is just exemplary on this album, you can hear and feel the rawness of the emotions and love for this music in every note. Morrone’s vocals are sweet and tender, filled with heartache and the band really gives off the 70s vibe with a great turn on “I Can’t Fall That Far (Intro)” and the vocal song following.

This was a complete surprise to me, not having heard of him before, but now he has a new fan in me and if you take a listen, hopefully in you as well. A collection of amazing songs to bring a tear of sadness and joy to your heart.

Also posted: http://ripplemusic.blogspot.com/2019/01/bobbie-morrone-lonely-st.html

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THE DIAMOND DEAD: No Revolution

This four-piece band from Napier, New Zealand used to be called Diamond Doll and have changed their name to The Diamond Dead now. The band consists of Tom, Liv, Tyley, and Kane, and this song is a preview of their forthcoming EP Becoming.

With a song that is “about the internal struggle of being part of an apathetic generation, of realizing what’s going on in the world but being too preoccupied with yourself to care,” as the band says, you can see that they are a bit more cerebral than a lot of other bands out there. The band plays tight, fierce and with so much energy and emotion that you are drawn into the song right from the start. The vocals are amazing, going from a smoother, yet tough sound to the shouted, almost Wendy O. Williams style of singing. This is such a treat since so many female vocals are wimpy or don’t have any power to them at all.

If this is just a single from the forthcoming EP, I can’t wait to hear the whole thing. Also, please keep on making fantastic music, and more frequently if, at all possible, the time between releases kills me.

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