Shake Your Money Maker – Black Crowes

I’ve seen the Black Crowes twice and both times it was pretty good. The first time was at the Monsters Of Rock festival at Donington Park in 1991, I went to this with my sister, Angela, to see AC/DC. The Black Crowes were the first band on stage and I really enjoyed them. I don’t think I knew anything about them prior to that. I suspect that I went and bought their first album after that. I know I had the album on music cassette and then I eventually updated it to a digital copy. The second time I saw the Black Crowes was at Brixton Academy and there are three main things about that I remember most. One; I was in the pit and the crowd collapsed and that was my first experience of that. Two; I’m pretty sure the band had a lot ofwhite fairy lights above the stage and it looked pretty nice. Three; the journey back to South Kensington with SR did not go that smoothly and for some reason we ended up on a night bus heading to Edgware and it was most definitely not Sarf Ken.

This album has a very southern/country feel to it. There’s a nice gentle rolling ambience to the songs. This band’s second album never really struck me as much as the first. I have listen to this over and over. Listening to it as I write this I that the addition of keyboards and plonky piano sounds really adds to the feel. Bluesy Rock ‘n’ Roll.

There’s also a melancholy feel to some of the songs. For me I think this album is a very “summer album”. It fits with beers in the garden and a sunny day. I don’t think this would be a “shit mood” album. I can only listen to it when emotionally happy. It would upset me more if I was down a little.

Crypt Edition

This past weekend would have been the M’era Luna festival in Hildesheim, Germany. But it was not to be. SARS-Cov-2 put paid to any plans of a weekend of music and honigwein. So, instead of driving five hundred miles to get to a soggy campsite the M’era Luna chaps put on a day of a virtual festival with a live stream of some of the bands from last year. The most important thing was that Smith and I saw ourselves in a few of the concert videos and also, in one of the interstitials – we have been recognised for our efforts. If you aren’t sure what you missed then have a look at this video of Corvus Corax.

Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son – Iron Maiden

This is playing as I write this and also while I composed the previous communication. I guess I have to start somewhere and as a spotty teenager I was descending into Heavy Metal. This was the first Iron Maiden album to be released while I was a fan. Everything else was just catch up, I missed the live released of Somewhere In Time, which gets reviewed soon I guess. My mum bought me this album from out of nowhere. She just came home one day and gave it too me – this was quite strange for my mum.

For me this takes me back to being a fifteen year old and soaking up all the atmosphere and myth behind this album. I would spend ages looking at the artwork, reading the lyrics and trying to figure out what it all meant. This was Maiden’s seventh studio album and it was their first “concept” album. I guess you write a concept album once you’ve been around the block a bit. You’ve got a solid fan base and you try something new. This album is based around the story of the seventh son of a seventh son who is meant to have magic powers.

So, this was the second album with keyboards which for Metal is wrong but that’s not really a worry. If it adds to the song then it’s fine. I think my biggest problem is that the guitar work isn’t that clear. I don’t like the sound of the guitars on this and “Somewhere”. It’s all rather vague. Maybe it’s a product of the time, new sounds, new effects, trying something different, but for me it just doesn’t work. Don’t get me wrong, this is an amazing album and should be rated somewhere near the top but there’s something “missing” for me.

My first concert attended was Iron Maiden on their Seventh Tour. Seeing the band at Wembley Arena was amazing and the set amazed me. It was an amazing first gig. Songs from this album featured heavily as you would expect and I loved it.

  • Moonchild – A good concert opener.
  • Infinite Dreams – I always found this to be quite a romantic song.
  • Can I Play With Madness – not great.
  • The Evil That Men Do – Good but not as good as they think it is.
  • Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son – A tour de force, hints of Rime but still good.
  • The Prophecy – I think this could be my new favourite on this re-listening.
  • The Clairvoyant – Another classic, it’s OK.
  • Only The Good Die Young – Pretty good.

Semi-Detached – Therapy?

I’ve been playing this while writing some communications on here and I don’t think I’ve really listened to this album. I don’t recognise any of the songs. This is bad, I think. I’ve seen Therapy? and I really enjoyed the gig.

Sehnsucht – Rammstein

Look, you know what you are getting with a Rammstein album. Excellent, hard German industrial metal – or whatever genre the posh people think it is – which I’ve just checked and it is Neue Deutsche Härte apparently. This is Rammstein’s second album. I first heard this band in the early 2000s when a friend, Sara, gave me two albums because she had to many and she thought I would like it. I mean, she wasn’t wrong. This band is one of my all time favourites.

What you need to know is that you should have all the Rammstein albums and you should play them regularly. Don’t think too much about the lyrics, I’ve found it’s best not to know. This band is amazing.

This album has Engel, Du Hast, and Bück dich all massive songs with excellent live performances.

It would appear that many very good albums begin with an S. Or it’s that many decent album titles just happen to begin with an S. I’ve found in life it’s often helpful to think about the direction of causality.

Second Toughest In The Infants – Underworld

I bought this album on the back of the brilliance of Born Slippy which I had on the Trainspotting soundtrack. It’s an amazing song but cutting it short is a sin. I really love the ten minute build up once the main section is over. I can remember being at a wedding at the Weald Of Kent Golf Course and after imbibing rather too much alcohol I got a little angry with the DJ when he cut short Born Slippy. He did then go on to play the rest of the track and I loved it. Not sure anyone else did.

This album is a good chill out album I think. I haven’t played it in ages and I seem to remember it lacked the brutality that I wanted.

Seasons In The Abyss – Slayer

It’s been too long since I last wrote a review on this topic, I’d actually forgotten I had done some of the “S” albums. To have Seasons In The Abyss as a resumption of service is great. This album is absolutely fantastic. It’s hard, heavy, powerful and will smash you apart. I’m not a megafan of Slayer I have seen them twice I think and I enjoyed the shows. They are one of the big four and so deserve their place in history. Every now and then the music of Slayer is a requirement because it’s just right. Make no mistake this is thrash metal and a perfect example.

War Ensemble – fast, powerful, lasting lyrics, what’s not to like? I remember Slayer at the Clash Of The Titans concert in Wembley arena announcing that they were going to record the music video to this song and were going to play along to a backing track – that did not go down well with the crowd – so they played it live.

Expendable Youth – Very good song. I do like some heavy cymbal use.

Dead Skin Mask – creepy and scary. This song messed me up the first time I heard it. I bought this album on music cassette [tape] and was playing it while walking from the record shop. Towards the end of this song a girl’s voice comes on asking for help. I hadn’t realised it was part of the song and thought it was someone behind me asking. Pooped myself.

Hallowed Point – see below lyrics, need I say more?

High velocity bullet at close range
Can damage the mind
Shattering the skull shredding the brain
Severing the spine

Slayer – Hallowed Point

Seasons In The Abyss – a tour-de-force of a song. Absolutely amazing. Calming, heavy, spooky. All of that.

I know I haven’t written about every song and there are times when I do. I think the biggest endorsement I can give this album is that I don’t skip any of the songs and love the whole thing. It’s a well rounded collection of songs.

For Health

A while back I gave up my Spotify subscription. My reasons were partly that I just kept listening to the same songs over and over and I also thought the payment that the artist receives was paltry. At that time I decided I would buy albums of artists I liked and own the music. I think this is the morally correct thing to do. There are a number of artists I really listen a lot to and they don’t make masses of money. I’m not talking about mega-bands like Metallica or Maiden, I’m talking here about bands I regularly play in 500 seat theatres. I say theatres but they are more the loveliest dives in London.

I saw the band/singer/artist Leaether Strip at M’era Luna a few years ago and I loved it. I thought he was great. Such a nice chap with excellent music. His husband was playing the keyboards for him and it was clear there was such love between the two of them. Now, I’m not really a “meet your heroes” type of person. I’ve heard enough stories about famous people being, well, people and assholes so I’m happy to leave the artists alone and let them get on and I’ll enjoy what they do. Some music I don’t listen to anymore because of the behaviour of the artist – LostProphets.

The reason for this communication is I bought an album by Leaether Strip and I know I like the music but I also know that the money helps the two men get on with their lives and especially to support Kurt as he’s been ill for a while and has had a kidney transplant. I get music I know I will like and they get a little bit of help for their lives. Seems a fair saw to me. I’m very happy for you to use the link in this paragraph to go and buy stuff also.

Screaming Symphony – Impellitteri

This is going to be a terrible review of this album. I’ll explain why in a moment. I wrote about Crunch much earlier on in this series of reviews and my gut instincts are still the same. At some point soon I will write about “Stand In Line” which is amazing – I love it. I was given a tape of this album in the late 80s and I have always enjoyed it.

I would describe this music as a cross between Yngwie J Malmsteen and Megadave. You have that speed melody and heavy crunching guitars at times. Sometimes the riffs sound almost Dio like, especially “Rat Race” and “You Are The Fire”.

This album is quite poor and derivative. It’s been done better elsewhere. I was listening to it while writing this but I am more looking forward to the next album review!!