On the way home last night, I was listening to Eddie Trunk on XM41 the Boneyard. Eddie played the first track, As I Am, off of Dream Theater’s 2003 release, Train of Thought. I have always considered myself a Dream Theater fan, even though I do not own all of their discs. After hearing As I Am, I turned the car around and headed back to the local record shop, where I remembered seeing a copy of this in the used bin. As I Am has to be one of the coolest metal tracks I have heard in a long time. This ventures away from the progressive rock side of DT and into a new almost Black Sabbath sounding metal track.
Train of Thought has a low song count…only 7. Those seven songs clock in at well over an hour.
The Dying Soul is the first of 5 tracks clocking in at over 1o minutes in length. This track starts off with a two minute jam before you hear any lyrics at all. This song is a fusion of heavy and progressive metal. Plenty of heavy guitars and double bass drums on this track.
Endless Sacrifice starts as this low tempo melodic number with piano and awesome sounding guitars, and blasts off in short intervals into a heavy track full of distorted guitars and swirling keyboards, before returning back to the slow pace it started with. You really have to hear this track to appreciate it. The music on this track is incredible!
Honor Thy Father is a heavy prog rocker that is about a conflict between a father and son. It is a hate filled number lyrically, and the music seems to fit that perfectly.
Vacant is a short piano based number that seems out of place when combined with the other tracks on Train of Thought.
Stream of Consciousness is a beast of an Instrumental track, clocking in at over 11 minutes.
In the Name of God is the longest track on T.O.T, clocking in at over 14 minutes in length. This is a heavy based track with lyrics that are about violence and war in the name of religion. This is a well written track that you really need to listen to and absorb.
Train of Thought is full of stellar musicianship. If you are the type of hard rock fan that will only listen to KISS style, sing along anthems, you probably aren’t going to like this disc. If you like good progressive, heavy metal, this disc should be a no brainer for you. As I Am may be the only track that you will load into your mp3 player and listen to over and over, but, like many Dream Theater discs, this music has to be experienced soley for the amazing musicianship.
Enjoy the mini concert for Train of Thought below:
As I Am
The Dying Soul Part 1
The Dying Soul Part 2
Honor Thy Father
In the Name of God part 1
In the Name of God part 2
Rating: Out of 10
- As I Am
- The Dying Soul
- Endless Sacrifice
- Honor Thy Father
- Stream of Conciousness
- In the Name of God
The Book of Heavy Metal is the first release by Dream Evil that follows the NWOBH style. I enjoyed the United disc by Dream Evil so much I decided to find the disc that preceeded it. I heard a lot of good things about this disc, and it was not unfounded.
Much like United, this disc starts off with a blistering metal anthem, the title track (The Book of Heavy Metal) that will get in your head and wont leave any time soon. This is a classic heavy metal track in its finest form!
Into the Moonlight keeps the pace going with its heavy riffs and great vocals by Niklas Isfeldt. The Sledge is a cool metal anthem. The writing here isn’t the greatest, but I still like this track a lot.
No Way cranks the tempo way up. This track features excellent guitars by the tandem of Gus G. and Fredrik Nordstrom. This is killer stuff!
Crusader’s Anthem starts off with a Maiden like bass riff, but blasts off into a heavy, melodic Europe like masterpiece with chugging guitars and great solos.
Let’s Make Rock is another major anthem that will have you singing along in no time. Tired M.O.M. (Man or a Mouse) is a track that I get into more each time I listen to it. Sure its has kind of cheesy lyrics, but it is still a fun track to listen to.
The Mirror reminds me a whole lot of Judas Priest. This is another track that will get you head banging in no time.
The guitars on Only For the Night are nothing short of superb, leading into the Book of Heavy Metal’s lone ballad, Unbreakable Chain. After hearing the rest of the tracks on this disc, I was beginning to wonder if this band could slow it down. I can happily say that this track is one of the many highlights on this disc.
There are a couple of tracks that I could not get into on this disc, but for the most part most of the tracks on the Book of Heavy Metal range between good and great. Heavy Metal fans need to give this one a look!
Rating: Out of 10
Here is the video for The Book of Heavy Metal! Enjoy!
- The Book of Heavy Metal
- Into the Moonlight
- The Sledge
- No Way
- Crusader’s Anthem
- Let’s Make Rock
- Chosen Twice
- The Mirror
- Only For the Night
- Unbreakable Chain
I passed by the Dream Evil’s United disc in my local record shop several times over the last few weeks. Each time, the cover on this disc would catch my eye, but I haven’t ever heard a single track by this band in my life, so I wasn’t will to lay the bucks to check it out. My local store has a demo copy sitting out, and let me listen to the first couple of songs. This CD went home shortly thereafter. The real bonus is, I picked up one of the first pressings of this disc, that comes with a second CD, with 5 extra songs (at the same price).
What does Dream Evil sound like? If there was a 2nd New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Dream Evil would be one of the bands leading the pack. This is very much in the same vein as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, without sounding like either of those two bands. This isn’t power metal or progressive rock, this is heavy metal, the way it is supposed to be done!!
Lead Singer Niklas Isfeldt has the pipes to really belt out these tunes, and drive them home. At times he hits notes in the Rob Halford range, which is really cool to hear. Dream Evil has a fiery axe attack of Mark Black on lead, and Frederick Nordstrom on rhythm guitars. The heaviness of this guitar duo reminds me quite a bit of Accept, but the intensity of Peter Stalfors bass really gives this band a different sound. The commanding double bass drums of Pat Power tops off Dream Evil’s powerful yet melodic sound.
United is a very heavy disc, with no filler tracks. There are plenty of stand out tracks:
Fire! Battle! In Metal! is as good as metal anthems come. United, Evilution, Let Me Out, Higher on Fire and Back From the Dead are all impressive. When the band slows it down on Love is Blind, I was blown away. This is one killer heavy track that has to be heard to be appreciated.
Don’t take my word for it. Listen to the video and the 3 mp3’s below, and discover this awesome band for yourself. Fans of British Heavy Metal would be crazy not to pick this up! If I had heard this disc in 2006, it would have cracked my 2006 Heavy metal Top 5 list for sure.
Rating:Out of 10
Fire! Battle! In Metal!
Let Me Out
Back From the Dead
- Fire! Battle! In Metal!
- Blind Evil
- Let Me Out
- Higher On Fire
- Kingdom At War
- Love Is Blind
- Back From the Dead
- My Number One
- Calling Your Name
- Into the Unknown
- I Will Never
How does Zakk Wylde do it? Each year he chugs out another quality CD.
Shot to Hell is no exception in the quality dept.
This CD sounds like it could be Mafia part 2 in many cases, with the exception that it has more slower tracks than its predecessor. Aside from that, Zakk’s vocals and guitar style is virtually unchanged, and that is a good thing. I guess if it isn’t broke don’t fix it. The BLS formula seems to work.
Several quality tracks and a only a 2 or 3 that I would consider fillers. If you liked Mafia, chances are you will enjoy Shot to Hell as well. Fans needing a heavy yet melodic hard rock CD should give this one a look. For Black Label Society fans, its a no brainer, pick this up!
- Concrete Jungle*
- Black Mass Reverends*
- Blacked Out World
- The Last Goodbye*
- Give Yourself to Me
- Nothing is the Same
- Hell is High
- New Religion*
- Sick of it All
- Faith is Blind
- Blood is Thicker that Water*
- Devil’s Dime
- Lead Me to Your Door
Black Label Society is:
Zakk Wylde – Vocals, Lead Guitars, Rhythm Guitars, Piano, Keyboards
John DeServio – Bass Guitars
Craig Nunenmacher – Drums
Nick Catanese – Rhythm Guitars
I find myself gravitating towards this CD more often lately, so I thought I would give my 2 cents on it.
Zakk Wylde’s voice used to annoy the crap out of me, and thanks to my mp3 player, I have grown to like it after a few spins.
Listening to Mafia, the Black Sabbath and Ozzy influences run rapid throughout the CD. Not only does Zakk approach his vocals in a similar method to Ozzy, sometimes his guitars seem to have that dark, Iommi/Black Sabbath approach.
Even when Zakk slows it down, he crafts some great songs. Mafia has quite a few stand out tracks! Fire It Up, Suicide Messiah, In this River (written for Zakk’s buddy Dimebag Darrell) are my personal favorites. There are quite a few decent tracks on Mafia worth spinning this disc for.
It may take a couple of listens to really get into this CD, but I believe this is one of the top Metal releases of 2005.
Rating:Out of 10
- Fire it Up*
- What’s in You
- Suicide Messiah*
- Forever Down*
- In This River*
- You Must Be Blind
- Death March
- Dr. Octavia
- Say What you Will
- Too Tough to Die
- Electric HellFire*
- Spread Your Wings
- Been A Long Time*
- Dirt On the Grave*
- I Never Dreamed
Black Label Society is:
James LoMenzo – Bass, Vocals
Craig Nunenmacher – Drums, Shaker
Zakk Wylde – Electric and Acoustic Guitar, Bass, Piano, Vocals