Thursday, April 26, 2012

Initial Impressions: 3 Inches of Blood: Long Live Heavy Metal

I have really enjoyed 3 Inches of Blood for quite some time now.  There is just something to be said for a band that is so unabashedly unashamed of what they are doing.  The band first garnered attention with the absolutely ridiculous song "Destroy the Orcs".  It was pretty clear where exactly 3 Inches of Blood stood.  They were a fantasy-inspired band that made no apologies for their subject matter.  Sort of a new-age Manowar.

Their music was a bit of a different story.  In the early days, there was quite a bit of metalcore present which of course lead to the band being dismissed as poseurs and metalcore kids.  Much of this animosity was due to the band having two vocalists, with one performing falsetto-type vocals similar to King Diamond and the other doing hardcore-style shouting.  That was about it for the core elements, but it was enough to turn a lot of people off.

After the band's third full-length album though, the hardcore vocalist left the band and, rather than replacing him, Cam Pipes took over full vocal duties.  Unfortunately the band seemed a little out-of-synch on the next album.  Which brings us to this one.

Whatever went wrong on the last album has been fixed.  3 Inches of Blood is back to producing blood-pumping, anthemic heavy metal once again.  There are no core elements to be found here.  It is simply balls-to-the-wall heavy metal.  The 1980's speed metal-inspired riffing is still present backed up Pipes's amazing, ur, pipes.  Many of the songs have pretty cheesy lyrics, but that is to be expected with this band.  "Metal Woman" and "Leather Lord" are just two examples.

One surprise is the song "Lookout" which features various references to Ronnie James Dio and is meant as a tribute.  Pipes does a pretty decent job sounding like a more extreme version of Dio on this song.

3 Inches of Blood have come back in a big way on this album.  It is not for everyone, but it is a highly-impressive release nonetheless.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Link to Bloodwritten Review on Full Metal Attorney

I have once again contributed a review to my former law school colleague's blog over at Full Metal Attorney.  Here is the link.  This was for Bloodwritten's album Thrashin' Fury, a very capable slice of blackened thrash.

Initial Impressions: Corrosion of Conformity: Corrosion of Conformity

When I was in my formative years as a metalhead, Corrosion of Conformity was one of the earlier bands that struck a chord with me.  This was in the early to mid 1990's and grunge was everywhere.  It was nice to find a decent heavy metal band once in awhile.  At the time, the band was forming a new identity.  They had previously been a crossover/thrash metal band, but they were developing into a sludge/southern metal band.  This was the Corrosion of Conformity I fell in love with.  I did check out some of their crossover material, but did not care as much for it as their 1990's style.  I should say that their Blind album was a favorite of mine as well, but to a lesser degree than Deliverance.  Unfortunately, I did not care as much for later albums.

This is Corrosion of Conformity's first album since 2005 and Pepper Keenan, who may have been the driving force behind the band's sound on Deliverance, does not appear on this album.  Instead, this is much more of a return to the band's roots.  Their style contains significant hardcore influences, which never really disappeared on their other styles, but were on the backburner.  There are still elements here and there of some of the other styles the band has flirted with in their long discography.

I found myself getting completely engrossed in this album.  I think the frequent stylistic changes really come across well.  Each song is different and interesting in its own way.  I found this to be the band's best album since Deliverance.  I still do not think it holds a candle to that album or its predecessor, but it is certainly better than anything that has come out since.

I enjoyed this album quite a bit and it is certainly a contender for the best reunion album this year.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Initial Impressions: Metallica: Beyond Magnetic

Metallica has been a tad uneven ever since the Black Album came out. That might just be the understatement of the year. Coming on the heels of one of the most reviled albums in their discography, Metallica looked as if they were attempting to get some of the good graces of their fans back by releasing this EP of holdover tracks from Death Magnetic. Now, I liked Death Magnetic okay. It was definitely a step forward from their St. Anger album, an album I feel is somewhat underrated, but by no means a good album.

Then of course Metallica collaborated with Lou Reed to produce Lulu and everything went to shit. This EP was a way to save a little bit of face. The only problem with holdover tracks is that oftentimes it is somewhat obvious why the tracks did not make it onto the album in the first place. That is pretty much the case here. None of these songs are really all that impressive.

The songs are all long, with the shortest one being just under seven minutes. They also do not have a lot going for them. The songs do not sound a lot different than other tracks that did make it onto the album, except a little bit weaker. There is not a track here that I like better than anything off of Death Magnetic. Furthermore, all of the tracks here are much closer to modern radio rock than metal.

I am not impressed with this EP. I understand that it was probably released to keep fans from giving up on the band after massively disappointing Lulu, and as a cash grab, but this is just not very good.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Once More, An Apology

Again, I am sorry. Things have been busy. Today, I had a jury trial, decision is to come sometime tomorrow morning. I have a bunch of stuff in the works though, so soon I will be able to get some more posts up here. In the meantime, enjoy this freaking awesome song by Armored Saint, John Bush's band just before joining Anthrax. For those not in the know, Armored Saint actually made a performance cameo in Hellraiser 3, performing this song among others. Yes, Hellraiser 3.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Link to Review on Full Metal Attorney

Here is a link to a review I did for the band KozybunX over on my former law school colleague's blog, Full Metal Attorney. Check it out. If you like my blog, I am sure you will enjoy his as well.