PMX2 Thorsday Soundoff

Author:Matt Johnsen
Date:2017-07-27 10:03:21
Looking Glass Self - Equinox. This demo was the first stirrings of the Sieges Even reunion, featuring the Holzwarth bros and Marcus Steffan from the original lineup, plus Andre Matos on vox. Now, for as much as I love Matos, he doesn't exactly shine here, but he's also not horrible. The tunes are fantastic, though. I think only one of these songs was re-recorded by Sieges Even. What makes this demo especially neat is that Steffan plays classical guitar more or less throughout - there's little or no electric guitar. Also, the solo by Jens Johannson on "The Val'Paraiso Dreaming" is one of my favorite keyboard solos ever.

3 - Revisions. I rarely grab for this disc of re-recorded oldies by 3, but I should. Their earliest albums are kind of shitty, but these versions definitely redeem the crappy funk pop of the originals.

Michael Schenker Group - Assault Attack. Graham Bonnett's finest hour. Also, Schenker's. Also, metal songs about ballerinas.

Gang of Four - Entertainment, Yellow EP, Solid Gold, Another Day/Another Dollar, Songs of the Free. Some very fine post-punk. Maybe the finest? Well, I'd take New Model Army over Go4, but the period during which is made sense to call them post-punk was fairly short. Killing Joke is probably the only other band in the running. Anyway, Gang of Four is cool. The lyrics could be a bit on-the-nose, but I appreciate the sentiment most of the time. Andy Gill's guitar work is really interesting.

Charlie Mariano - Cascade. Everything I own by Mariano is awesome, but I don't really know anything about him, except that his hair is nearly as ghastly as Pat Metheny's. This is the free-est playing I've heard from Mariano, and free jazz isn't usually my thing, but this falls short of the noise that is the usual product of free jazz experiementation.

Philip Cohran and the Artistic Heritage Ensemble - On the Beach. Killer afrocentric jazz from the late 60s.

The Pyramids - Laibela. More funky fusion. One thing I like about The Pyramids (who were evidently a more or less unknown band in the 70s) is that they're only barely competent, at least compared to most jazz acts, whose least members are typically virtuosic in an almost unremarkable way. Some of the playing here (especially the reeds) is only barely in tune, which I find weirdly endearing.

Dream Evil - Six. I own all the others, so I bought the new one. I'm an idiot. Only the first Dream Evil is worth a damn. The others are all fine, but pointless, in the literal sense. They all repeat, more or less verbatim, the first album, so what's the fucking point? I have always liked the singer, though. His voice is unusal, much in the way that first Falconer dude's voice was unusual, and in power metal, any little deviation from the norm is cause for celebration.

Diamond Head - Lightning to the Nations. The best NWOBHM album. Only Angel Witch comes close, but since Heybourne can only barely sing, and Harris sings like a motherfucker, DH will always win. As Geoff Barton so memorably wrote, “there are more good riffs in your average single Diamond Head song than there are in the first four Black Sabbath albums.” I'd say you could extend that to include the entire Ozzy-era BS discography.

Fair to Midland - Fables from a Mayfly, Arrows & Anchors. Remember these guys? They were the talk of the town around here when they were a going concern. They were like a very weird Disturbed, if Disturbed were even slightly good, which they were not. When the singer here goes full numetal, though, it makes me see red, it's so fucking stupid. These guys were also astoundingly fun live. One of the best lives bands I've ever seen, in fact. Shame they burned out so quickly. Weird that none of these dudes turned up anywhere else.

Harold Vick - Don't Look Back. Amazing jazz on Strata East. The LP is crazy expensive, and this has never been on CD, but I did just find a really nice .flac rip from vinyl, to replace my medium-shitty mp3s. I love this album dearly, so much that I've almost considered breaking my sacrosanct rule to never spend more than $100 for a piece of music. Now that I have these flac files, though, I think I'm safe.

Alcatrazz - No Parole for Rock 'n Roll. Yngwie's finest hour. Graham Bonnett's second finest (see above.) If you've never seen the video for Island in the Sun, do yourself a favor:

Ansur - Warring Factions. This album never gets old for me, and there's literally nothing else in metal like it. The main dude in this band was like 19 when he wrote this shit. Supposedly, after breaking up Ansur, he started a new band to further explore the more melodic, progressive elements in Ansur's sound, but so far, nothing's come of that.

Terumas Hino - Hogiuta. Weird 70s fusion from Japan that actually sounds Japanese. I wish I was sufficiently familiar with Japense traditional music to explain what I mean. Sadly, the cover of this album can't even begin to compare with Hino's Double Rainbow.

Orlando Julius and his Afro Sounders. Afrobeat from a dude not surnamed Kuti. Good shit.


NP: Toxik - Think This
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