Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Album Review: Halford - Made Of Metal

The album starts of with Undisputed. I can't say it's a bad song but it sounds as if it were written specifically to be the entry music for a studio wrestler. It may have been for all I know. I will say the music is great, the lyrics I am not wild about. The second track, Fire and Ice, really takes it to a better place. The third track and first single, Made of Metal, is right there with Turning Left from Chickenfoot's debut album and sounds like a giant NASCAR add. At this point in the album the thing that stands out to me is that the album is sounding like Priest record more than previous Halford albums. Not nearly has "heavy". Then we come to Speed Of Sound which starts out with a very Iron Maiden feel to it. It ends up sounding very much like 80's Judas Priest including the dual leads. Like There's No Tomorrow is a great song, I think it would have been a great lead off single. The guitar riff under the verses still to me sounds a lot like Maiden's The Trooper. There has been a lot of talk on the internet about Rob not being able to sing like he used to. As far as a pure "singing" voice, I think he sounds great. You can debate his "screaming" ability. Till The Day I Die starts out like an old blues song and sounds great. When the song really kicks in it really keeps the cool vibe. Dare I say almost like a bluesy Cinderella song? We Own The Night is certainly an original sounding song from the Metal God. It has a very cool piano part to it. Heartless is a straight ahead metal song with a very cool guitar solo. Rob does appear to be at his vocal limit on Hell Razor but it works for him. Thunder and Lightning to me is hands down the best song on the album. It has a very catchy chorus that'll have you singing along in no time and the guitar has a very slinky line going on under the versus and punches you in the face during the big chorus. Twenty-Five Years is some what of slower almost power-ballad type song. Certainly not a love song though. The track Matador starts has a nice Latin flare to it. Great drumming on that track. I Know We Stand A Chance is a mid-tempo song. It has a very cool atmosphere to it. The album rounds out with the fourteenth song, The Mower. Fourteen songs into it and it is the first song that sounds like older Halford material.

Certainly 14 songs makes this song a bargain. If you found previous Halford albums a little "too heavy" for your taste or didn't want to hear Rob doing his fire siren vocals, this album would be right up your alley.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Album Review: Dio – At Donington UK: Live 1983 & 1987

2010 has been a curse and a blessing for Ronnie James Dio's fans. Obviously his passing earlier this year was a tough blow. Who imaged metal without him? Since then there has been a glut of tributes. Some have been good, some terrible. This thankfully is the real deal, the man himself.

First off, forget iTunes on this one. Get it on amazon (it's $9.99), bestbuy, whatever but get the physical copy. You get two CD's, a laminated backstage pass and a booklet with some cool photos. Niji Entertainment, RJD's label he started with wife Wendy, did a first-rate job on packaging.

Disc one is Dio's set from Donnington from 1983. The recording is really cool and very raw. I actually enjoyed some of the songs more on this recording than on the record. You get to hear Vivian Campbell (current Def Leppard, current Thin Lizzy, former Whitesnake, former Riverdogs) on guitar and that is worth the price of the disc alone. "Rainbow In The Dark" I would say is the highlight. Almost no keyboard so you get a very different sound. The version of "Heaven And Hell" also shines.

Disc two is the set from 1987 featuring Craig Goldy on guitar. If you ever heard a live version of "Last In Line" this disc is a no-brainer. A little more polished sound on this disc and a little more pure-Dio set.

For $10, you can't go wrong. Heck for $30 you'd still be getting your money's worth.

For Dio fans, check out David "Rock" Feinstein's new CD "Bitten By The Beast" (amazon) also from Niji which features one of the last songs Ronnie every recorded. David is Ronnie's cousin and has played in ELF and the Rods. ELS was Ronnie's first band prior to Rainbow.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

In honor of the holiday most associated with one of the seven deadly sins — gluttony — we’re pleased to give you Death Metal Rooster Explained. True, roosters aren’t turkeys, but to date no one has uploaded a video of a turkey roaring for 30 seconds.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Mosh Potatoes - The latest metal cookbook

As the U.S. settles in for a daylong turkey induced food coma Focus On Metal would like to draw your attention to a new cookbook featuring 147 recipes from some metal greats. Mosh Potatoes by Moth Eater bassist Steve Seabury has some great stuff from Ron Thal, Joey Belladonna, Zakk Wylde, Max Cavalera, Dave Ellefson and Lemmy just to name a few. Beyond the recipes the contributors also share some great road stories.

“Food and music are as important as oxygen to a musician and you should never travel without either of them. Keep a copy of Mosh Potatoes in your kitchen and your guitar case to make sure your culinary desires are well tended to, both at home and on the road.” —Dave Ellefson, Megadeth

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Stratovarius Drummer Diagnosed With Cancer

Stratovarius keybordist Jens Johansson has released the following statement concerning drummer  Jörg Michael 

“Dear STRATOVARIUS fans, I am afraid we have some quite terrible news. News of the worst imaginable kind. It’s about our friend and drummer Jörg Michael.
Jörg has cancer.
He recently discovered a lump on his neck, went to the doctor, they decided to operate, and found what they call ‘a malignant thyroid neoplasm.’ They took out his whole thyroid just to have the best chance to get everything out. He will also have to undergo a regimen of radiotherapy.
“He is a fighter. We have all talked to him and it’s clear that this guy is not down for the count. He and his team of German doctors are pissed off and ready to kick ass, and I would not want to be a little cancer cell on these guys’ shit list.. believe me.
Jörg and his family (and us guys in the band) found this out only last week, after the operation. Naturally we are all going between a lot of emotions, sadness, worry, shock, confusion, even anger.
“As for STRATOVARIUS, as you perhaps know, there is a long tour coming up with Helloween, and with the surgery and therapy that will now follow there is no way Jörg can do the first part of the tour. For me personally, I at first felt quite hopeless about the tour, because I was so upset about all this news. But Jörg himself has been extremely clear that he does not want the band to cancel a single show because of this. In the end, this is what made at least me feel better about going back hitting the road next week.
So, we have debated what to do for many days now. Jörg first suggested my brother Anders to do this November-December 2010 leg, but it turns out Anders will, unfortunately, be busy recording some record or other with that little indie cellar band of his called Hammerfall. :o )

After a lot of searching, we found a guy that both can do it and didn’t have other commitments: Alex Landenburg [At Vance, Annihilator, Mekong Delta]. He plays well, Jörg says he is a great guy (very important!) and he even started learning the set already before we even had decided what to do, which to me shows a lot of dedication. You can Google Alex’s name if you are curious.
“So it turns out that STRATOVARIUS will do the first leg of the Helloween 7 Sinners tour, just as planned, only not with Jörg behind the kit, but with Jörg very much as a motivator to us being there. Not one single date will be canceled or changed.
Jörg wants to be back on the road with us again as soon as possible depending on the therapy, but we are not making any promises; that one is up to powers even higher than Jörg Michael and his doctors.
We will try to keep you somewhat updated.
Anyway, the most important thing is that they think they got all the bad stuff out and that the end result is that we just fix that sentence I wrote above. We will then say: Jörg had cancer. But he beat it.”

Friday, November 19, 2010

New Cavalera Conspiracy Disc Due In March

Andreas Kisser may have nixed any possibilty of a true Sepultura reunion nut Max and Igor march on. Cavalera Conspiracy have announced that their second disc Blunt Force Trauma will be released in March 2011. Fans have been waiting for this one since 2008 which was when their debut album Inflikted came out. The disc will be released via Roadrunner. As of this writing the tracks are:
 1. Warlord
 2. Torture
 3. Lynch Mob
 4. Killing Inside
 5. Thrasher
 6. I Speak Hate
 7. Target
 8. Genghis Khan
 9. Burn Waco
 10. Rasputin
 11. Blunt Force Trauma

Sunday, November 14, 2010

New Anthrax Disc With Belladonna Due in 2011

The musical chair game of vocalists that is Anthrax goes for another round. The band has announced that they have been working on a new album with....Joey Belladonna. The disc is scheduled for release in 2011. This is the first time Belladona will appear on an Anthrax Studio release since 1991's release "Persistence Of Time" The Joey versus John debate will be discussed in an upcoming episode of the Focus On Metal netcast.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fear Factory tour announcement

Fear Factory will tour Europe with HIGH ON FIRE and DAATH in December. Dates are as follows:

6 - Luxembourg, Luxembourg - Den Atelier
7 - Antwerp, Belgium - Trix
8 - Saarbrucken, Germany - Garage
9 - Wien, Austria - Arena
11 - Zurich, Switzerland - Dynamo
12 - Bologna, Italy - Estragon
13 - Köln, Germany - Essigfabrik
14 - Paris, France - Elysee Montmartre
15 - Nottingham, England - Rock City
16 - Glasgow, Scotland - QMU
18 - Manchester, England - O2 Academy
19 - London, England - Forum
20 - Bristol, England - O2 Academy

and then returns to US with the following schedule:
29 - Tempe, AZ - The Club House
30 - El Paso, TX - Club 101
31 - Fort Worth, TX - The Rail Club

1 - Tulsa, OK - The Marquee Theater
2- Amarillo, TX - Club Khaos
4 - Farmington, NM - Gators
5 - Albuquerque, NM - Sunshine Theater
6 - Tucson, AZ - Dv8
7 - West Hollywood, CA - Whisky A Go Go
8 - San Diego, CA - Brick By Brick

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Deal of the Week - Black Label Society for 69 cents!

You can get "Berzerkus Tour Sampler" at Amazon in mp3 format for 69¢! WTF! Thanks Chiaki for the heads up!

Monday, November 8, 2010

eBay find of the Week - Mercyful Fate Live LP

"Live from the Dephts of Hell" was one of the records from the infamous John Kibble, early Mercyful Fate manager. It features live tracks from different shows, and the sound quality varies. This record was sold by major distributors in Europe and US. A must for any serious Mercyful Fate collector.

Who is the seller? A private collector who is selling part of his collection. An audiophile, takes all the care with his records. Some were bought only for collection purpose, and remain unplayed. All listened records were played in a Roksan TMS2/Artemiz MkII/Shiraz state-of-the-art turntable set which guarantees no agression to the vinyl. All played records are cleaned with a Clearaudio Smart Matrix using Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab Super Record Wash.

Here is the link to the auction. Good luck.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Massive Doro Package Due Out 26-November

On November 26 Nuclear Blast will out Doro - 25 Years In Rock. The release captures the 25th anniversary concert which was on December 13th 2008 in Dusseldorf Germany. Besides Doro the concert also has appearances from some of the Scorpions, Tarja and a reunited Warlock.
The release includes 2 DVDs with the entire 3 hour concert plus another 3 hours of bonus footage and her 2500th show in March 2010. If that wasn't enough there's also 3 booklets and a live CD.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Win the Ultimate Slayer merch pack has teamed up with thrash metal icons SLAYER to give away the ultimate fan prize pack! This contest is for SERIOUS SLAYER FANS ONLY! The exclusive merch pack includes:

1 Slayer chain wallet
1 Slayer t-shirt
1 Slayer beanie hat
1 Slayer messenger bag
1 Slayer poster
1 Slayer vinyl mat
1 Slayer sticker
1 Slayer shot glass

Check out all the Slaytanic goodies below:

A winner will be chosen at random - to enter email with "SLAYER SAVES" in the subject line. Please include snail mail address.

Contest closes Wednesday, November 10th.

Slayer saves at!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Legendary PENTAGRAM sign with Metal Blade, record new album

Long-running D.C. doom legends PENTAGRAM, with riff-meister Victor Griffin back in the fold, will record their new album, "Last Rites", between November 29 and December 21 for a late March/early April release via Metal Blade Records. The effort will be a double-disc set consisting of the new studio album and a DVD of the band's performance at this year's Maryland Deathfest, which was held on May 28-30, 2010 at Sonar in Baltimore. 

Working songtitles set to appear on the CD:

* Walk In The Blue Light
* Horseman
* Virgin Death
* Figure Eight
* Everything's Turning To Night
* Mark My Word
* Sunday's Child
* Old Man
* Thrill Of The Kill

PENTAGRAM's current lineup:

Bobby Liebling - Vocals
Victor Griffin - Guitar
Greg Turley - Bass
Gary Isom - Drums