Monday, June 23, 2014


 My ears are fried..... dead.... passion dried up like the sahara desert....

You can only do some things for so long before the quality of what you do starts to suffer and honestly I believe I'm capable of much better material than what I put out the last 12 months or so.... However life over the past 8 months has just drained me down....

If you didn't like my reviews you won't miss anything and if you did appreciate what I did then thank you... Really....  I honestly never thought in a thousand years that I would have over 1000 readers each and every month... To some of you that may seem like chicken feed to but me I was, and have been blown away......

Its hard to gauge what type of impact or impression one makes when writing a review or putting out your opinion.  I guess in the final analysis it only matters if you enjoy what you do and don't take yourself too seriously. I did enjoy it but I've got nothing left in the tank to put out there.

Perhaps all I want to say to the labels is thank you for the chance to have some input in finding and signing some cool music.  To the bands thanks for the time (everybody wants a piece of you in this business and yes guys it is a business) and I just want to thank you for the opportunity again to have some input...

To the readers I wouldn't have written if you hadn't read and given me feedback....

Blessings folks....


Friday, March 7, 2014


Scorching metal from the land of Mexico come long time metal veterans Lament. Roxx Productions has pressed up a limited run of 300 copies of Laments current release entitled Dejados Atras (Left Behind).

Lament has offered up a mix bag of melodic Death Metal but there are also tracks of solid melodic almost power metal like elements with progressive touches. The guitar solos are extremely melodic with an almost Iron Maiden feel, just listen to Break The Spirit of Death for a touch.

The vocals are guttural throughout and the lyrics are in Spanish. That may or may not be a detriment to some. The guitars are loud and multi tracked.  At times the sound may seem a bit raw but know this everything is evenly spaced and separated in the mix.

For the most part the riffs are solid, almost Sepultura like at times.  However I hear a lot of European metal riffage and arrangements as well.  At times it’s truly a mixed bag here.

I did find it somewhat hard to engage the music on a lyrical level because they are sung in Spanish. Again for some that might not be an issue but it did make it more challenging for me.  Not all the lyrics were printed in the inlay card but those that are there were helpful.

This is solid offering of melodic death/neo power metal.  Those of you who enjoy your metal more extreme should find this to your liking.  For myself I was left wanting something a little more engaging to my mind and my ears.

6 axes

 photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png

Monday, February 24, 2014


Taker was one of the best unsigned Christian METAL bands of the 80’s.  With the arranging and melody of say an Iron Maiden or Queensryche but with the ball busting rhythm section of Armored Saint or Judas Priest.  Roxx Records has presented us with an anthology of material entitled It Is Finished.

When Taker first appeared on the musical radar in 1987 tastes were starting to swing toward a more commercial, poppy form of metal that was more radio friendly.  While listening to this collection one must wonder what record execs were wondering back then, because Taker flows with melody and hooks galore. Instead we were given stuff like Tempest or Scarlet Red.

This fourteen track release features 10 tracks with four songs offered in different versions.  Their original four song demo which just blew everyone away at the time of its release is up first and if the vocals of Kevin Potter don’t knock your socks off your dead. So much power and control it’s criminal that his vocal contributions aren’t better known and credited. Robert Bussey’s melodic guitar work is tremendous and his rhythm tone is pure metal.

The first four songs Open Your Heart, He is The Light, Yesterday Today and Forever, 11o’clock News scream of sheer metal power. Now I’m not writing about some screamo down tuned excuse of schlock, but quality crafted compositions that are memorable.  That vocal at the end of He is The Light still gives me goose bumps; it would give Mike Lee or Bruce Dickenson a run for their money. Bussey’s guitar work on Open Your Heart shines like the proverbial oncoming train in a dark tunnel.  Bassist Danny Wilkinson and drummer Charlie Osterhoudt lock together like welded pieces of steel. This demo was originally called the Matthew 11:12 demo.

Living by Faith appears twice, one being a live practice version that has wonderful sound quality. This practice session was in preparation for their support appearance on the first White Cross east coast tour. There is so much energy and drive here that it overshadows the studio version which appears later.  This is the kind of gem I love to find, one that would be forever buried unless the artist was confident in the performance and to that end there should be no doubt. Potter’s vocal is simply unbelievable.

Look into His Eyes originally appeared on the White Throne Invasion tape.  Good luck finding one!  This version is pure old school American HEAVY METAL.  Just amazing with the clarity that some remastering can do to help the quality. The guitar is heavy, loud and driving. Another find of incredible value that demands head bangers from all over just raise an open hand and bang thy head.

Two re-recorded versions of He is the Light and Open Your Heart appear here. These tracks along with Look into His Eyes were recorded for Image Records in late 1987. For a possible album release but alas nothing came of it. However they are here for our enjoyment today.

The next tracks Living by Faith, Yesterday Today and Forever are newly remastered versions of the tracks from the East Coast Metal compilation. Having played them back to back that would be my hunch and these tracks sound splendid. Ballsier and with more energy than I remember. Remastering does do wonders does it not?

Lastly their final EP entitled Blood appears here. At this point vocalist Kevin Potter had left and been replaced by Rob Kreiner. His vocal style was complementary to Potter’s just doesn’t resonate as well with me. The songs themselves almost feel more progressive in a Fates Warning, Crimson Glory fashion while still retaining their pure metal roots.

Sound quality throughout is really good, yet don’t expect it to sound like something recorded last week. The newly mastered versions are more than acceptable which is very surprising.  Two thumbs up from me.

There was a limited bonus edition of 100 copies which included a bonus live disc. That issue has already sold out, so you’d better grab one of the standard issues, which I believe are also going to be printed in limited supply.

Fans of old school metal must get this release otherwise they’re gonna miss out on one of the surprise releases of 2014.

9 axes
 photo j0441300.png photo j0441300.png photo j0441300.png photo j0441300.png photo j0441300.png photo j0441300.png photo j0441300.png photo j0441300.png photo j0441300.png

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


 Deliverance has created a long legacy of world class metal music.  Many will choose to remember only their second release Weapons of Our Warfare as the bands musical highpoint. While Weapons is worthy of being remembered and honored to call it their sole watermark would be to do their entire catalog an injustice.

The depth and variety of material Jimmy P Brown and company have amassed over the years is quite amazing. That doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone who was a fan had to enjoy or love every release but at least it had to be recognized that there was genius to their musical madness.  Not to be boxed in or typecast as just a speed metal outfit, JPB often would make the distinction that Deliverance were SPEED METAL not a THRASH BAND. 

The variety of heavy styles from albums such as River Disturbance or Stay of Execution and Assimilation is quite extraordinary.  Not many artists have built up such a following while branching out into other styles of metal.  When their fourth album Stay of Execution was released I was profoundly puzzled at the time, “What the blazes is this???”  I considered myself a die hard fan but from that point I was lost.  2009 I had the opportunity to revisit (why so long? That is another story for another time!)  I revisited a lot of the missed catalog and found gem after gem, my favorite being River Disturbance.  Point being life changes and what moves us and reaches deep into our soul musically does as well.

So with that being said let’s focus on their recent albeit final release entitled Hear What I Say!  If indeed this is the final Deliverance album than it’s an exceptional way to say goodbye to the loyal fan base.  Is it heavy? Yes just as heavy as any of the previously mentioned albums without reservation.

Annals of Subterfuge pays complete homage the big D’s true speed metal period and an homage it is!! The drumming is some of the finest along a brilliant melody and riff package that just crushes ones senses into pulp. Speed metal at its finest!!  Angst delivers a strong Testament’esque feel with a fabulous groove until a brilliant side step break hits and I can see the windmills and headbangers going berserk!!

Hope Lies Beyond is an epic song that soars above the clouds with a memorable melody.  The lead guitar work of Mike Phillips is wonderful.  This track is a mood piece that relishes in its dynamics and Jimmy pours out his heart. However I found that the following song being the albums musical apex, Detox is a butt kicking track that thrives on its own violence.  The riff is sheer 90’s brilliance and as it devolves into a Marilyn Manson or Rammstein like romp that digs into your brain and will have you hitting replay for YEARS to come! 

Nude starts with some excellent rhythmic percussion from Jayson Sherlock and drives this sledgehammer full speed ahead.  No it’s not a speed metal song, but the force of this composition with its multi layered arrangements (straight out of River or Camelot) is pure 70’s worship.  Passing delves into a full tilt metal song that would’ve been comfortable on their previous release As Above So Below or even Stay of Execution.
A Perfect Sky is a pure acoustic track that maintains the feel and passion of every album released before (except perhaps Assimilation).  A pseudo old school Queensryche feel emanates as a point of reference but this track is pure Deliverance.  Thank you JPB II.

Where Eagles Dare is a cover of the 1983 track from Iron Maiden’s Piece of Mind and a great cover it is. The musicianship is superb and is a perfect tribute to perhaps the most influential heavy metal band of all time.  The lyrics are based on the thriller staring Clint Eastwood and Richard Burton.  One of my favorite Maiden tracks ever and this version is exceptional.  Brutal guitars and head smashing drums that should make Maiden proud.

I really found that the production elements are very strong, the guitar tones are brutal and the drums sound fabulous. The vocals are processed but the effect works perfectly. Jimmy’s vocal is still strong and is not hampered by this processing. 

As a quick aside if anyone complains that this album isn’t “heavy enough for them” please just take your pouty lip and go home!! Certainly everyone is entitled to their opinion but not to point of ad nauseum. Not every old school D track was a barn burner, even many of their heavier songs were mid tempo (Slay The Wicked or 23 come immediately to mind).  This album reeks of world class songwriting.  Not simply a rehash of what came before but a culmination of a career without parody. 

Hear What I Say! Is one of the best albums released this year.  Fans of heavy metal will want to grab this one.  Leather jackets aren’t optional and neither is the heartfelt appreciation that this writer has for Deliverance and their willingness to allow us on their journey through life. Roxx Records has a monster on its hands! This album is nearly a 10……  9.5 axes……

9.5 axes  (9 axes posted... i don't know how to put a 1/2 guitar!)
 photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png


Monday, December 9, 2013


27 years after their debut album Bloodgood is back and continues to show why they’re one of the greatest Christian Metal/Hard Rock bands of all time.  Dangerously Close is the title of their Kickstarter Fan Funded opus.  The time between their releases (All Stand Together their previous was released in 1991) aside Dangerously Close is the perfect picking up point from where they left off all those years ago.

At times during their heyday it seemed that Bloodgood was trying to find its musical voice, were they heavy? Or perhaps they’re more melodic?  Each album seemed to stretch them in a different direction but as a fan it left one in the dark a bit because you just weren’t sure which Bloodgood would arrive.

Make no mistake this is the album that fans have been clamoring for.  This offering is a nearly perfect mix of melody which plenty of crunching guitar that drives the narrative along.  Dangerously Close will have old timers (like myself) breaking out in adulation but also should appeal to younger fans.  In comparison to their other albums its heavy as say Out of The Darkness but with better production and the quality of the songwriting is far superior.

Speaking of songwriting there are some nice elements that have added depth to their sound. Child on Earth with its Middle Eastern vibe and melody line caught me completely by surprise. This tune is sure to be a fan favorite and should be considered an immediate classic within the Bloodgood cannon. Heavy and moody with a great bass breakdown and shredding guitar by Oz Fox, it transported me away much like Zeppelins Kashmir.

The video track Lamb of God starts things off in grand fashion with a romp. Run the Race ploughs through melodic radio ground without losing its edge. I Will continues that middle eastern feel as it segues into an ethereal metal journey that is so uplifting you can’t help but smile and worship the One who made all things.  Bread Alone picks up the pace a bit with its hooky melody line and is one of those musical left turns with a rather staccato like rhythm structure.

Pray drives along at a mid-tempo pace that is just heavy but also allows the band to branch off into various melodic episodes. I Can Hold On threw me for a loop the first time or so through because it starts off sounding rather pedestrian almost CCM like but it builds and builds until a furious crescendo of power is reached.  One’s sense of patience is rewarded with a strong payoff.  Run The Race features a riff that is a pure ode to the era in which Bloodgood the band was born, a pure 80’s gem.

Father Father is a real radio track with its semi-ballad feel and dynamics.  This left turn has a strong bluesy feel that allows Les to shine (not that he hasn’t already done that!).  Les’s vocal throughout this album is a testament to a professional who has honed his instrument and treated it with great care. His control is world class as is his range.  While on the topic of performances it must be said that Paul Jackson is one of the most underrated guitar players out there. His feel and sense of melody is stellar, not too mention to songwriting prowess.

What should I say about Paul's compadre Oz Fox that hasn’t already been said over the years?  His guitar playing is top drawer, but perhaps one of the things he has brought to this album (his first as a member of Bloodgood) is his backup vocals. During several tracks his vocal is a great compliment to Les. Kevin Whistler’s drumming provides a solid bed rock that all the other elements were able to build on. Whistler’s technique and style complement the songs perfectly.

Michael Bloodgood has always had a great bass tone and this album is no different. Deep rich with the right fixation of treble so as to cut through the musical mirth, he pushes the rhythm section without being overbearing.

Man in the Middle and In the Trenches excel with excellent melodies and strong dynamics. Crush Me is an all acoustic track that is full of passion and heartfelt angst, it’s a prayer and one I can relate to.

Lyrically this is some of the most heartfelt and deeply biblical material that I’ve heard in along time. Yes it’s blatant but without being simplistic, which is the bane of a lot of Christian Metal.  I appreciated this refreshing and thoughtful approach which can only benefit one's own spiritual growth.

Dangerously Close is a great disc that deserves to be heard and experienced.  It’s a herald of hope the that offers the path to peace. Perhaps a live show from the WCSL Studios in California with full internet streaming will be in the offing so those of us who would love to see them live again (Bloodgood never disappoints live, one of the best!) will have that opportunity.

So grab your copy of one of the best albums released in 2013!!

9 axes
 photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png

Monday, November 25, 2013


Bride has always been one of those artists that people either love ‘em or hate ‘em.  In the beginning it was due to the music and at times abrasive vocals of lead singer Dale Thompson, now its theology.  Well I’m not focused theology here but on music. 

Retroactive Records has reissued the Bride The Lost Reels set and for many of us that is cause for rejoicing!  I missed the original issues back some 10 - 15 years ago now but have heard a lot of great things about them. Personally I’m all for digging up treasures that never appeared on officially released albums.  Sometimes the producers “produce out” the energy that made the songs great in a live setting.

With Bride that would be have a travesty because musically Bride has always been about the ENERGY that defined their sound.  If you’ve ever seen them live you’ll know exactly what I speak of, passionate, driving and mesmerizing. My first experience was in 1988 when they made their first trek to the West Coast and played the second HIS Festival.  We eagerly awaited their arrival of Dale and company and didn’t leave disappointed. They blew us away.

The Lost Reels Volume 1 is a 20 song affair that was originally part of the M8 double disc set with a disc of Matrix tracks (Bride’s original name was Matrix).  These twenty tracks are an amalgam of songs that didn’t quite fit for one reason or another on other Bride albums. There are some gems here (Pyramid comes immediately to mind) all remastered for greater clarity and frequency response.

The Lost Reels Volume 2 is a 14 song offering with demo tracks from the Star Song/Pure Metal years, Scarecrow Messiah, Snakes in the Playground and Kinetic Faith.  This disc is chock full of hits in their original form.  At times I wondered how these original tunes were crafted into the familiar melodies we all know and love.  Everybody Knows My Name is included here in its embryonic form closer to the Kinetic Faith version not the superior End of An Age version.  Hired Gun is great in any version and this rough demo shows why this is a classic piece of metal history. 

From the lyrics to the performance, Dez Dickerson had a lot to mold and help craft together, after all that is part of a producer’s job.  Scarecrow rocks here as well and for a bonus Retroactive was able to add Bride’s cover of Steve Taylor’s We Don’t Need Know Colour Code from the REX Steve Taylor compilation.

The Lost Reels Volume 3 contains demo tracks recorded for The Jesus Experience album.  Yet of the 11 songs recorded nine of them have didn’t appear on that album!! For the uninitiated it just shows how much work goes into songwriting and crafting a collection of songs for a release.  Many of the songs here definitely have a ‘modern’ edge to them but are well crafted and memorable.  The twelfth track Alive was originally included on the Heaven’s Metal Hard Music Compilation of which only 1000 copies were printed.

All three releases have been remastered by J Powell at Steinhaus and have again done a masterful job.  There is great clarity amongst all three releases and while the term ‘demo’ is used to describe many of the songs on these albums the quality is vastly superior to what one would expect from ‘demo’ tracks. No they aren’t completed but they were not recorded on a tape recorder in a garage. Many were recorded in studio with DAT (digital audio tape) directly or using a 32 channel mixing board.

Fans of Bride should be jumping for joy as these add a completed chapter to one of the long term purveyors of metal with a Christian point of view. A box set would’ve been nice but financially prohibitive.  Fans of Stryper, Bloodgood would enjoy these albums as well.  Grab your copy of these updated gems before they disappear again.

Fans of Bride this is a must buy so a 9 axe review…..

 photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png photo j0441300-1.png