July 21, 2024

Exhorder - Slaughter In The Vatican (1990) ☠

*U.S. first pressing. 
Contains 8 tracks total.
Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Thrash Metal
Label Number: RCD 9363
.FLAC via Florenfile
.AAC 256 kbps via Florenfile

☠: Selected by Buccaneer
© 1990 R/C Records
AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia
Exhorder's limited success has often been blamed on their sounding just like Pantera minus the good songs, but perhaps a more accurate billing would be to call them Pantera minus the major-label backing. While this small but crucial detail offers a little more perspective, naming their debut album Slaughter in the Vatican, rather than something slightly more innocuous as, say, Cowboys from Hell, certainly didn't help Exhorder's cause any. Whatever the reasons behind their divergent paths to glory and obscurity, there's no disputing the striking similarities between these two Southern-bred post-thrash outfits when listening to forceful tracks like "Homicide," "Desecrator," and "Legions of Death." All of them are fueled by that distinctive, volatile blend of death metal-style double kick drums, chugging guitar riffs played at both slow and blistering tempos, and, to top it all off, the gruff but very expressive lead vocals of frontman Kyle Thomas. Whether spitting out intelligently controversial lyrics over the quasi-epic title track or wallowing in the gratuitous scatology of "Anal Lust," Thomas' muscular style sounds uncomfortably similar to Mr. Anselmo's -- further sparking the debate over who ripped off who. Ultimately, it's Slaughter in the Vatican's lack of songwriting diversity that was most responsible for scuttling its chances, but Exhorder would face this challenge head on two years later, when they bounced back with their much improved sophomore effort, The Law. [Slaughter in the Vatican was later paired with its successor, The Law, and reissued as part of Roadrunner's Two from the Vault series.]

tags: exhorder, slaughter in the vatican, 1990, flac,

Exhorder - The Law (1992)

*U.S. first pressing. 
Contains 9 tracks total.
Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Groove Metal
Label Number: RO 9234-2
.FLAC via Florenfile
.AAC 256 kbps via Florenfile


© 1992 R/C Records
AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia
New Orleans' Exhorder bear the frustrating (if unconfirmed) distinction of having established the sonic blueprint that fellow southerners Pantera subsequently perfected and rode all the way to the heavy metal big leagues. Never mind the fact that frontman Kyle Thomas' enraged shouting style and thought-provoking lyrics were absolute ringers for Phil Anselmo; or that Vinnie LaBella and Jay Ceravolo's muscular rhythm guitars may have aided in Diamond Darrell's transformation into Dimebag Darrell (see the especially telling instrumental "Incontinence"). The jury is, of course, still out on all this conjecture (and likely always will be), but it doesn't take a musical genius to realize that both bands were mining a very similar niche at exactly the same time -- one that saw the brutal values of death metal honed to a groove-oriented, bluntly focused approach. And except for its amateurish cover artwork, Exhorder's second effort, The Law, signified a notable improvement over their promising but flawed debut. Pushing the boundaries of their aggressive sound as far as they could, the band managed to radically broaden their dynamic and melodic range -- without losing touch with its core elements. Prime examples include "Soul Search Me," "Unforgiven," and the title track, all of which employ a dizzying array of neck-snapping starts and stops with unprecedented success. Taking things even further, the highly unusual "Un-Born Again" introduces funky guitar licks and slap bass reminiscent of both death-jazz experts Atheist, and funk/metal pioneers Mordred. But perhaps most conspicuous of all is Exhorder's surprisingly unimaginative rendition of Black Sabbath's "Into the Void," which stands in marked contrast to the inventive risk-taking going on all around it. A valiant effort nevertheless, The Law qualifies as a minor extreme metal classic of the early '90s, and yet it still couldn't prevent a disillusioned Exhorder from breaking up a short time later. [The Law was later paired with its predecessor, Slaughter in the Vatican, and reissued as part of Roadrunner's Two from the Vault series.]

tags: exhorder, the law, 1992, flac

Exhorder - Mourn The Southern Skies (2019) ☠

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Thrash Metal
Label Number: 5070-2
☠: Selected by Buccaneer
© 2019 Nuclear Blast Records
There’re comebacks and there’re are comebacks. The former belong to Atheist’s Jupiter (released seventeen years after Elements), Decapitated’s Carnival Is Forever (released eight years and one death after Organic Hallucinosis), and Celtic Frost’s Monotheist (released sixteen years after Vanity/Nemesis). And comebacks they were—rekindling the fire in fans’ blood and giving a perspective of a band in the here and now. The second kind of comeback is for one-hit-wonder genre godfathers. Though with only a couple releases to their names, these are the ones many consider classics and must-listens. Like this year’s Revelations of Oblivion (released some thirty-three years after Beyond the Gates). While Possessed’s 2019 comeback is a good album, there’s one better. Exhorder have returned. And they’ve brought their mucky, Southern-tinged thrash with them on Mourn the Southern Skies. And, after a twenty-seven-fucking-year absence, they’re still angry and they still don’t give a fuck.

I mean, would you expect anything less from a band with a debut record called Slaughter in the Vatican? Back in 1990, with the guillotine waiting for the Pope, the back-to-back classics, “Desecrator” and “Exhorder,” and the seven-minute closing track leave listeners devastated. What most metalheads know as the Pantera sound of thrash permeated through Slaughter in the Vatican and even more so on 1992’s The Law. But there’s no Dimebag Darrell, Vinnie Paul, or Phil Anselmo here. Only Vinnie Labella, Chris Nail, and Kyle Thomas. Combining that “Pantera” sound with the aggressiveness and grooviness of Testament, Thomas’ in-your-face vocal approach ravages “Unforgiven” and “The Truth.” But that’s only scratching the surface of The Law—an album that separates the band from the pack. Case in point: the funky bass licks of “Un-Born Again” and the Downiness1 of the cover of Black Sabbath’s “Into the Void.” Thankfully, Thomas and Labella are still at the wheel on Mourn the Southern Skies. And they’re here to take you on an eye-opening rollercoaster ride as they’ve never done before.

For those diehard fans looking for another Slaughter or Law, opener “My Time” will surprise you. Starting Mourn on a Testament note, this punishing piece presents classic Thomas lyrics in the vein of Annihilator-like verses and clean-and-gruff Anthrax-meets-Susperia-meets-Death Angel choruses. These chorus are a surprising addition to the Thomas repertoire but the passion is neck-deep. Like the opener, “Hallowed Sounds” and “All She Wrote” use the clean-vocal choruses as a climactic point of the song. Killer grooves and enjoyable licks surround these choruses, keeping longtime thrash fans pleased. But is this a 180 from the bone-splintering hate of The Law. Yet, that’s Exhorder in a nutshell: a band with little to lose and a no-fucks attitude.

So says a band that puts the Testament above all others with “Beware the Wolf” and unleashes the stalking Pantera2 on “The Arms of Man.” The former has the bludgeoning brutality and technicality of old-school Exhorder, but with a deep, bullying vocal performance. Especially the modern-day Chuck Billy-esque back-half transition. Following the by-the-numbers “Rumination,” the slow-moving “The Arms of Man” takes mid-paced riffs, snake-like vocals, and the “Texas”-stylings of Pantera through the muck of a hard-hitting Down piece.

My favorites, though, mix the things I love the most about Exhorder. “Ripping Flesh,” like the lyrically-unpleasant “Anal Lust,” is a short-and-sweet thrasher. While this is what older fans might want from the record, “Yesterday’s Bones” and the closing title track are what to expect. “Yesterday’s Bones” has the nastiest groove this side of the Crossroads. It’s bluesy and groovy as fuck and the vox add their weight to the anvil. But the shocker of them all is “Mourn the Southern Skies.” Beginning with acoustic guitars and true-blue clean vox, this one is like a casket trying to uproot itself from the cold, wet earth of New Orleans. Combining the Down-like qualities of The Law’s “Into the Void” with those of Pantera’s “Cemetery Gates,” this one is an eye-opening addition that’ll stop fans dead in their tracks.

After twenty-seven years, the band can still thrash (“Ripping Flesh,” “Hallowed Sounds,” and “Beware the Wolf”) and still surprise (“Yesterday’s Bones” and “Mourn the Southern Skies”). “Asunder” and “Rumination” are the weakest on the album, but they’re better than most of the rethrash out there. Besides, the passion behind “My Time,” “Yesterday’s Bones,” and the title track more than make up for it. The first spin might leave you bewildered but a couple more will make sense. And, ultimately, you have to be into this kind of thrash. From Slaughter to Law to Mourn, the progression is clear. Thomas’ clean vocals may be the biggest surprise to Exhorders, but his heart’s in it and what a voice to have three decades after Slaughter. I’m not sure where Mourn will land on my year-end list, but it’ll sure-as-shit be there.

tags: exhorder, mourn the southern skies, 2019, flac,

Exhorder - Defectum Omnium (2024)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Thrash Metal
Label Number: NBR 7175-3

© 2024 Nuclear Blast Records
Let’s be brutally honest, when most people think of the band Exhorder, they will immediately cast their mind back to the 1990-released Slaughter In The Vatican, an album full of chugging guitar riffs, blistering tempos and insane double kick drums, which should have led them to bigger and better things, as it’s a stone cold classic!!!

Fast forward twenty-nine years, and they released only their third album, the utterly brilliant Mourn The Southern Skies but this time, thankfully, we haven’t had to wait quite so long for the next instalment, well, five years isn’t too bad for their fourth album Defectum Omnium, which is the Latin phrase for ‘the failure of all’.

Frontman Kyle Thomas explains ‘the world is a dumpster fire, and we are all complicit, and WE are the virus to the earth’ in a heavy nod to the global pandemic that saw the world stop. This album really does have something for everyone, whatever genre you like, and from the opening blast of Wrath Of Prophecies you immediately realise what you’ve been missing from a band who are truly exceptional. The middle riff and solo from Pat O’Brien sets a high bar that is repeated across the album which has more of nod back to the bands inception with the presence of more punk and thrash.

A screaming vocal, over a pounding bass line from Jason VieBrooks beckons forward the next track Under The Gaslight, which develops into a thick New Orleans groovy little number before the immense solo dominates the song once again making it all gel together so well. They go back to the humble beginnings with the thrashier Forever And Beyond Despair, a track that is bound to be a crowd favourite with the slower mid-section dissecting the song, before it explodes into life once again.

Exhorder have always been a band hard to label, which isn’t a bad thing in my eye, and this album crosses a few genres, listening to The Tale Of Unsound Minds with its strong NOLA doom influence, it could well be from a Down or Crowbar album, but then midway it goes off like firework with a scintillating solo, before coming back to earth to batter and bruise the listener.

They have taken their time to write an album that hasn’t just been done on autopilot as it is much like a rollercoaster about to take you off on a crazy ride, so you’d better strap in as Divide And Conquer hits those high expectations, before recently released single Year Of The Goat grabs you by the throat and shoves their unrelenting suffocating high tempo directly into your face. It’s one hell of song with Thomas on top form. 

Taken By Flames is a darker song with a haunting melody, before all hell lets loose and the riff comes out of nowhere to take the song to another dimension, followed by Defectum Omnium – Stolen Hope, a song designed to rip your soul out with its epic beginning and heavy doom influence. It’s slow and brooding, adding another dimension to the album.

Three Stages Of Truth – Lacing The Well is another one of those songs with a stand out NOLA groove seamlessly running through it and then the bass takes over on the intro of punk/thrash number Sedition, a short, fast and aggressive track, which is killer from start to finish, before Desensitized reminds you of Exhorder’s quality, just in case you’d forgotten, something that is extremely hard to do.

The album ends with Your Six which seems to combine all the other tracks elements into one; heaviness, aggression, venom, mystery and melody, and it finely encapsulates where Exhorder are presently at. If Defectum Omnium doesn’t catapult them into the hearts and souls of metalheads everywhere, then I don’t know what will, as this is a clear album of the year contender.

tags: exhorder, defectum omnium, 2024, flac,

Roses Are Red - Conversations (2004)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Punk Rock
Style: Pop Punk, Emo
Label Number: TK54

© 2004 Trustkill Records
*No professional reviews are available for this release. 

 tags: roses are red, conversations, 2004, flac,

Roses Are Red - What Became of Me (2006)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Punk Rock
Style: Pop Pop, Emo
Label Number: None

© 2006 Trustkill Records
Warped Tour favorites Roses Are Red play amped-up, emo-tinged punk that alternates between the muscular ear candy of "These Days," the sensitive "Giving It All Tonight," and the vengeful "Bring Me Down." "Running Out of Time" turns on a dime from metal-like riffs to a hymn of regret, while "Show Your Eyes" is a big-beat anthem that, like most of this formidable set, features the band playing to its strengths--namely, performing brawny yet nuanced musical mini-dramas with irresistible, air-punching choruses.

tags: roses are red, what became of me, 2006, flac,

July 18, 2024

Nut - Fantanicity (1996)

Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Pop Rock
Label Number: NutCd3P

© 1996 Epic Records
*No professional reviews are available for this release.

 tags: nut, fantanicity, 1996, flac,

Band of Horses - Cease To Begin (2007)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Indie Rock
Label Number: SPCD 745

© 2007 Sub Pop
When Band of Horses surfaced in 2006 with Everything All the Time, the band's rugged take on rock & roll drew quick parallels to My Morning Jacket and early Neil Young. That's mighty nice company for a young band, but co-founder Mat Brooke nevertheless left the lineup that same summer, choosing to blaze his own trail with Grand Archives instead. Ben Bridwell, Brooke's musical partner for nearly a decade, was left in control of Horses -- a daunting position for the former Carissa's Weird bassist, but one that ultimately resulted in a sophisticated, mature, and altogether superior follow-up. Cease to Begin is the responsible adult to Time's reckless teenager, with Bridwell pitting his high, clear tenor against backdrops of hazy indie rock and campfire singalongs. While tracks like "Weed Party" showed the band having harmless (albeit adolescent) fun on their debut, the good times on Cease to Begin are more grown-up: a lo-fi, foot-stomping pop ditty ("The General Specific"), a brief interlude of instrumental watercolors ("Lamb on the Lam [In the City]"), a detour into twangy country ("Marry Song"). Those looking for more anthemic rock will gravitate toward kickoff track "Is There a Ghost," where the guitars are loud and Bridwell's vocals are candy-coated in reverb, but Cease to Begin shines it brightest under the twilight glow of "Detlef Schrempf." Historically, Schrempf was a German-born NBA basketball player with killer three-point accuracy -- and while that's certainly an odd choice for a song title, it's easy to forget as drums beat a lazy rhythm beneath Bridwell's falsetto. Who knows whether he's singing to a hometown, a loved one, or his favorite member of the Seattle SuperSonics? It's still a thrilling listen, and the subtle humor hints that Band of Horses isn't growing up too quickly.

 tags: band of horses, cease to begin, 2007, flac,

Band of Horses - Everything All The Time (2006)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Indie Rock
Label Number: SPCD 690

© 2006 Sub Pop
Band of Horses is the phoenix ascending from the carcass of Carissa's Wierd, Ben Bridwell and Matt Brooke's former band. (But what happened to the proposed November 16th?) While the penchant for beautiful melody is present everywhere here, that's pretty much where the similarity between both groups stops. Whereas their former project centered itself on slower-than-codeine-cough-syrup-on-a-cold-day, lushly textured sad-pop, Band of Horses is a full-on indie rock band that writes loud, raw, mid-tempo pop songs and really loves Neil Young. Gone are the slow, layered, weepy, singly tempoed songs of heartbreak and loss. No more violins, no more space, no more, no more. Bridwell's vocals are stretched here (and they could be mistaken for Wayne Coyne's or a young Young's on first listen), but he and Brooke have a different m.o. on their new project. They play a plethora of instruments between them, from banjos to pedal steels and piano, and Chris Early pays bass along with an assortment of drummers that includes touring kit man Tim Meining (though Sera Cahoone (another ex-Clarissa's) sits in the chair on about half this set).

The ramped-up electric guitars are a welcome wind blowing through this heavier, denser music. Check the dreamy Chris Bell-meets-Crazy Horse "First Song" or the snare-popping "Wicked Gil," with a killer six-string finale. "Funeral"'s dynamic hints at something less meaty but then kicks into gear. It's nearly anthemic. There are more meditative moments, though. The country-ish "Part One" is acoustic and tender. But "The Great Salt Lake," which follows it, is simply majestic. There is a Beach Boys melody in here somewhere (perhaps something extrapolated from "Sloop John B"?) and Bridwell's vocal warbles dangerously close to B. Wilson's, but is much murkier -- a more blissed-out, distorted jangle-fest. "Weed Party" is a silly, raucous country-rocker that crosses the Byrds with latter-day Hüsker Dü. The closer is the spare, meditative "St. Augustine"; it's as beautiful as Young's "Through My Sails," from Zuma. Everything All the Time isn't a perfect album. It gets a little long in the tooth in places and samey-sounding. The exuberance is the mirror image of Carissa's Wierd's downer reserve; it's as if the fellas were trying really hard -- perhaps a little too hard -- to distance themselves from their previous incarnation. Nonetheless, it's a decent first effort that warrants repeated listening.

 tags: band of horses, everything all the time, 2006, flac,

Band of Horses - Infinite Arms (2010)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Indie Rock
Label Number: 88697 69110 2

© 2010 Columbia/Brown/Fat Possum Records
Featuring a new lineup, a rather loose definition of Americana, and funding from a major label, Band of Horses' third album is a game changer. What began as a partnership between Ben Bridwell and Mat Brooke has since blossomed into a five-piece band, with Bridwell serving as the only link between the group's 2006 debut, Everything All the Time, and the present. It's only natural, then, that Infinite Arms sounds wholly different from the albums that came before it, both of which mixed guitar-driven rock with dusty, jangled folk. There's still plenty of folk to be found here, and Band of Horses bang their way through "Compliments" as a concession to their rock fans. Infinite Arms is a borderline pop album, though, dressed up in flannel and facial hair to disguise the fact that these melodies are, with few exceptions, the sweetest of the group's career. There are harmonies galore, including thick, Sacred Harp-type triads that beef up Bridwell's vocals while drawing parallels to Fleet Foxes and the Beach Boys. At times, it's hard to separate Band of Horses from their influences; "Blue Beard," although downright gorgeous, cops its verse from Smile-era Brian Wilson and its bridge from the Starland Vocal Band, and "Older" sounds like the country-rock single Gram Parsons never wrote. But the album's willingness to sample from so many different genres -- roots, soft rock, alt.country, power pop, indie folk -- makes it sound like nothing else in 2010, and Band of Horses connect the dots by layering everything with canyon-worthy reverb and cinematic guitars. For those who let it sink in, Infinite Arms could be a contender for the year's best summer album, not to mention the band's most cohesive record to date.

 tags: band of horses, infinite arms, 2010, flac,

Band of Horses - Mirage Rock (2012)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Indie Rock
Label Number: 88725 45633 2

© 2012 Columbia
After key Band of Horses influence Neil Young experienced his commercial peak with Harvest -- the 1972 country rock cornerstone -- he famously reflected that it had put him in the middle of the road and that he soon “headed for the ditch.” On Mirage Rock -- the follow-up to the Ben Bridwell-fronted act’s Grammy-nominated, game-changing 2010 release, Infinite Arms -- Band of Horses keep a safe distance from the ditch with the help of producer Glyn Johns. As it happens, he’s the very man who helped the 1972-1973 period Eagles lineup hone their saccharine, radio-friendly and harmony-laden sound while Young was exploring comparatively rugged and less-traveled terrain. Seemingly enlisted to consolidate the success of the self-produced Infinite Arms, Johns brings a great deal of experience to Mirage Rock. Production-wise, while Infinite Arms was layered and cavernous, Mirage Rock has a heart-on-sleeve immediacy to it, borne out of Johns’ insistence that the band deliver well-rehearsed live takes of much of the material. However, while their third record flowed effortlessly, the ebb of Mirage Rock is, to some extent, compromised by an earnest attempt to showcase the band’s eclecticism. The strong opening trio of tracks -- the pounding, lo -fi indie rock of “Knock Knock,” the striking Jayhawks-inspired country pop of “How to Live,” and the laid-back, melancholic West Coast haze of “Slow Cruel Hands of Time” -- are contrasting but inspired choices for the album’s front end. However, the mid-set “Dumpster World” -- sonically closer to a pastiche of George Martin’s America than the Eagles -- has its understated sarcasm crushed by a chugging alt-rock mid-section. Similarly, while Bridwell’s uptempo and overtly political “Feud” approximates Graham Nash fronting the Foo Fighters, it sits awkwardly between the bluegrass-tinged “Everything’s Gonna Be Undone” and the truly beautiful, strolling Buffalo Springfield nod “Long Vows.” All in all, though, it’s the pros that outweigh the cons here. Bridwell’s natural gift for melody is given room to shine throughout and is complemented by some of the finest, most spine-tingling harmonies among the band and their contemporaries. There’s also a playful sense of humor evident here on tracks such as “A Little Biblical,” which can sometimes be lacking in the music of Fleet Foxes, Kings of Leon, and their ilk. In addition, Bridwell shows that he can match Robin Pecknold lyrically on “Slow Cruel Hands of Time,” a sincere, heartfelt rumination on growing old that takes in the grandeur of “the sky…in the yard” and the minutiae of stumbling across “a big city man” he used “to rumble with…back in high school.” Overall, though, while Mirage Rock sees Band of Horses further immerse themselves in Americana, more than anything it finds them enraptured by the simple joy of music-making. “Electric Music” -- a freewheeling slice of Stones/Creedence-inspired rock -- encapsulates this premise and finds them “traveling the open road” without a ditch in sight.

 tags: band of horses, mirage rock, 2012, flac,

July 11, 2024

China Crisis - Collection (The Very Best of China Crisis) (1990)

*This is the U.K. pressing which was released as a 2 disc set.

Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Synth Pop, Art Pop, Pop
Label Number: CDVX 2613

© 1990 Virgin Records
China Crisis Collection: The Very Best of China Crisis doesn't lie; true to its title, the album gathers China Crisis' brightest moments. While the exclusion of "The Highest High" is an oversight, this is one of the most accurate and thorough summaries of a band's career. Uniting elements of synth pop, jazz, progressive rock, and new wave, China Crisis sound like nobody else. The jittery "Working With Fire and Steel" unveils the group's early infatuation with sprightly electronics. "Working With Fire and Steel" is actually one of the few songs on China Crisis Collection that received U.S. airplay; its chipper, naïve keyboards must've wooed radio programmers hooked on early-'80s video games. China Crisis' music became increasingly sophisticated with each LP as the band explored slower tempos and more soulful melodies. The lush, breezy "Wishful Thinking" epitomizes the group's stylistic growth. Leaning closer to light jazz, tracks like "Wishful Thinking," "No More Blue Horizons," and "You Did Cut Me" drop hints at China Crisis' gradual departure from their synth pop roots. "No More Blue Horizons" is a deceptively -- blame it on the soaring horns -- upbeat tale of unrequited love. "Time and time again/can't hide this pain/I lie awake at night/and hear you call his name," Gary Daly sings, his voice coolly expressing the lyrics' feelings of hurt. While it may take repeated listens to hear China Crisis' subtle charms, the band starts to weave a hypnotic spell once the songs' inner beauty becomes apparent. The meditative "Christian" mesmerizes the ears with exquisite strings and pensive keyboards, and "Arizona Sky" unreels with a keen sense of awe. China Crisis Collection has no filler. Except for the missing "The Highest High," this album grabs the artistic peaks from the group's albums, satisfying old fans while creating new ones in the process.

 tags: china crisis, collection, the very best of china crisis, 1990, flac,

She's China - The Night of Illusion (1989)

Country: Germany
Language: English
Genre: Pop Rock
Label Number: 84-3552 SPV

© 1989 Blue Turtles Records
*No professional reviews are available for this release.

 tags: shes china, the night of illusion, 1989, flac,

Various Artists - Ultimate Eighties (1998)

*U.K. compilation of various acts 
from the U.K., U.S. & Europe. 
Contains 19 tracks total.
Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Synth Pop, Pop, Pop Rock
Label Number: CRIMIDCD61

© 1998 Crimson
*No professional reviews are available for this release.

 tags: various artists, ultimate eighties, 80s, 1998, flac,

July 05, 2024

Vertical Hold - A Matter of Time (1993)

*This is a digital store download purchased from Qobuz
Contains 10 tracks total.
Country: U.S.A.
Genre: R&B
Label Number: None

© 1993 A&M Records
*No professional reviews are available for this release.

 tags: vertical hold, a matter of time, 1993, flac,

Vertical Hold - Head First (1995)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: R&B
Label Number: 31454 0333 2

© 1995 A&M Records
*No professional reviews are available for this release. 

 tags: vertical hold, head first, 1995, flac,

Memento Mori - Rhymes of Lunacy (1993)

*First pressing. 
Contains 11 tracks total.
Country: Sweden
Language: English
Genre: Doom Metal
Style: Epic Doom Metal
Label Number: BMCD 32

© 1993 Black Mark Production
Competent but unremarkable, Memento Mori fails to break any new ground or even adequately define themselves on their 1993 debut, Rhymes of Lunacy. The performances are much more than can typically be expected from a new act. The guitar playing is exceptional and former Candlemass vocalist Messiah Marcolin lives up to his considerable reputation. The material that Memento Mori has to work with isn't up to the group's performance standard, however. There are a few nice moments during tracks like the catchy "Lost Horizons" and "The Riddle," but outside of these exceptional moments, Rhymes of Lunacy comes off bland and forgettable. Fans of vintage Candlemass might be the only listeners with a genuine interest in this disc, and even that small cross section of record buyers aren't guaranteed to enjoy this release.

 tags: memento mori, rhymes of lunacy, 1993, flac,

Eddie Money - Right Here (1991)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Pop Rock
Label Number: CK 46756

© 1991 Columbia
*No professional reviews are available for this release.

 tags: eddie money, right here, 1991, flac,

Moti Special - Motivation (1985)

*First pressing. 
Contains 9 tracks total.
Country: Germany
Language: English
Genre: Pop, Pop Rock
Label Number: 8.26166

© 1985 TELDEC
*No professional reviews are available for this release. 

 tags: moti special, motivation, 198, flac,

June 29, 2024

Various Artists - Best of Power For a New Generation (1993)

*This a complication released in Germany, 
consisting of various U.K., European 
& North American artists. 
Contains 13 tracks total.
Country: Various Countries
 Genre: Pop, Pop Rock, New Wave
Label Number: 291 045

© 1993 Ariola Express
*No professional reviews are available for this release.

 tags: various artists, best of power for the new generation, 1993, flac,

China Crisis - Diary of a Hollow Horse (1989)

*U.S. first pressing. 
Contains 11 tracks total.
Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Pop
Label Number: CD 5225

© 1989 A&M Records
Reunited with producer Walter Becker, China Crisis made perhaps their most Steely Dan-like album with Diary of a Hollow Horse. Pristinely recorded and brimming with jazzy sophistication, it includes some of the U.K. quintet's best-ever material, including "Sweet Charity in Adoration," a satisfying, complex pop song of the first order that features a lovely flute cameo from sessionman Jim Horn. Yet beyond the FM perfection lurk a few surprises. The group also teamed with producer Mike Thorne (Soft Cell) for a trio of cuts that are among the most simple and direct pop songs in the their catalog. In particular, "St. Saviour Square" and "All My Prayers" have straightforward rhythms and melodies that connect instantly, drawing passionate performances from singer Gary Daly and offering a nice contrast to the more subtle surroundings. Harder to suss is the closer, the Becker-produced "Age Old Need," which sounds like it was lifted from the soundtrack to a medieval morality play. But the album did mark the close of a three-album period (begun with 1985's Flaunt the Imperfection and continued on What Price Paradise the following year) that saw China Crisis at their artistic peak, a summit reached by few of the group's late-'80s peers.

 tags: china crisis, diary of a hollow horse, 1989, flac,

Nik Kershaw - The Works (1989)

Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Pop, Pop Rock
Label Number: DMCF 3438

© 1989 MCA Records
*No professional reviews are available for this release. 

 tags: nik kershaw, the works, 1989, flac,