April 30, 2017

Iced Earth - Dystopia (Limited Edition) (2011)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Heavy Metal, Power Metal
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.FLAC via Mega (Mirror Link)

© 2011 Century Media
AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney
Iced Earth look back on some old ideas on their tenth studio album, Dystopia, their first album with new vocalist Stu Block (formerly of Into Eternity), who joined the band after Matt Barlow decided to depart the band a second time to focus on his family. The album finds Block pushing his vocals into new territories, moving away from the anguished growl he perfected with Into Eternity in favor of a more soaring singing style. Block handles the change well, easily adapting his style to fill some pretty big shoes in the power metal outfit. While fans might be torn about the new singer, they can find solace in the return of the "Something Wicked" story line, giving them a little taste of something old to ease them into this new period of Iced Earth’s history, which -- regardless of whether you’re running hot or cold on their new frontman -- still delivers plenty of the intense power/thrash goodness.

Green Day - 1,039/Smoothed Out Out Slappy Hours (1997)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Rock, Punk Rock
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.FLAC via Mega (Mirror Link)

© 1991-1997 Lookout! Records
AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett
When Green Day's first album appeared, anyone predicting that fame, MTV, top-selling albums, and more would be on the horizon in the near future would have been happily patted on the head and then sent to the insane asylum. It helps to remember that Nirvana's breakthrough was still a year away, for one thing, and, for another, 1,039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hour isn't a truly great album in the first place. It's not bad, by any means, and quite arguably just about everything on it could be transposed with a slight aural tweak here and there to Dookie or Insomniac without anyone batting an eye. It's just little more than a fun punk-pop album with some entertaining metallic flash here and there, one of many such records that the late '80s and early '90s produced in the indie rock world. After a great start with "At the Library," it's quickly clear that the rest of the record is going to continue in the same vein. What's fun is realizing how much the band already had to work with, pursuing obvious love of three-chord forebears like the Dickies and the Ramones to energetic if not revelatory ends. Billie Joe Armstrong's balance of disaffection and nervous, goofy passion is well in place, while he's already showing his effective, no-frills approach to chewy feedback melody. Songs like "I Was There" and "Road to Acceptance," not to mention the implicitly weed-celebrating "Green Day" itself, are great calling cards for later breakouts on both levels. Mike Dirnt's no slouch himself, providing good backing vocals when needed for harmony, but oddly enough the most prominent performance throughout comes from original drummer John Kiftmeyer, who wouldn't last through to the next album. Call it a quirk of recording, but there it is.

Green Day - Kerplunk (1991)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Punk Rock
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.FLAC via Mega (Mirror Link)

© 1991-1992 Lookout! Records
AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett
Green Day's second full album was the perfect dry run for the band's later assault on the mainstream, containing both more variety and more flat-out smashes than previous releases had shown. With Tre Cool now firmly in place as the drummer, the lineup was at last settled, and it turned out Cool and Mike Dirnt were a perfect rhythm section, with the former showing a bit more flash and ability than John Kiftmeyer did. Together the two throw in a variety of guitarless breaks that would later help to define the band's sound for many -- warm and never letting the beat go. As for Billie Joe Armstrong, his puppy-dog delivery and eternal switching between snotty humor and sudden sorrrow was better than ever, as were his instantly memorable riffs. The metal-strength chug that always informed the band's best work isn't absent either -- check out Armstrong's opening riffing on "Christie Road." The whole thing starts with a note-perfect bang -- "2000 Light Years Away" is the absolute highlight of the group's premajor-label days, with a great chorus and classic yearning lyrics. It got buried in the wave of Dookie's success a bit, but one other number didn't -- "Welcome to Paradise," also a standout on that album, appears here in its original form. Rob Cavallo punched up the radio-friendly sound on the latter take, but even here it's a treat and a half -- quick, rampaging, and once again with a great stop-start chorus to spare. Other straight-up pop winners include "One of My Lies" and "Who Wrote Holden Caulfield?." Elsewhere, Green Day slow down tempos, try acoustic numbers, and in one hilarious moment, pull off a ridiculous yet worthy country pisstake with the Cool-written "Dominated Love Slave." [CD versions included the Sweet Children EP as a slightly surprising bonus.]

Green Day - Bullet In A Bible (2005)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Alternative Rock, Punk Rock
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.FLAC via Mega (Mirror Link)

© 2005 Warner Reprise Video
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Bullet in a Bible is a CD/DVD package (also available as a UMD, for those who want to carry it around on a Sony PSP) documenting Green Day's show at the National Bowl in Milton Keynes on their 2005 U.K. tour. The DVD intercuts interview footage with individual members of the trio between the songs on the set, while the CD provides an hourlong distillation of the show. Both the CD and DVD manage to be big, splashy productions -- after all, the DVD is produced to take full advantage of a home theater system, while the CD has a bright, clean kick to its mix -- that still retain a palpable sense of excitement and grit. This isn't the wild, reckless Green Day of the early and mid-'90s -- this is Green Day the arena punk pros, who know how to fill a stadium while still sounding as if they're playing in a packed little club. None of their '90s punk-pop peers have such a large following or can command such large, adoring crowds, and Bullet in a Bible makes it clear why: no other band in 2005 can play to the mainstream while still seeming nervy and vital. In other words, nobody does it better than Green Day, and this live package is a testimonial to the band at its peak.

Green Day - American Idiot (2004) ☠

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Alternative Rock, Punk Rock
Style: Pop Punk
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.FLAC via Mega (Mirror Link)

☠: Selected by Lass
© 2004 Reprise Records
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
It's a bit tempting to peg Green Day's sprawling, ambitious, brilliant seventh album, American Idiot, as their version of a Who album, the next logical step forward from the Kinks-inspired popcraft of their underrated 2000 effort, Warning, but things aren't quite that simple. American Idiot is an unapologetic, unabashed rock opera, a form that Pete Townshend pioneered with Tommy, but Green Day doesn't use that for a blueprint as much as they use the Who's mini-opera "A Quick One, While He's Away," whose whirlwind succession of 90-second songs isn't only emulated on two song suites here, but provides the template for the larger 13-song cycle. But the Who are only one of many inspirations on this audacious, immensely entertaining album. The story of St. Jimmy has an arc similar to H├╝sker D├╝'s landmark punk-opera Zen Arcade, while the music has grandiose flourishes straight out of both Queen and Rocky Horror Picture Show (the '50s pastiche "Rock and Roll Girlfriend" is punk rock Meat Loaf), all tied together with a nervy urgency and a political passion reminiscent of the Clash, or all the anti-Reagan American hardcore bands of the '80s. These are just the clearest touchstones for American Idiot, but reducing the album to its influences gives the inaccurate impression that this is no more than a patchwork quilt of familiar sounds, when it's an idiosyncratic, visionary work in its own right. First of all, part of Green Day's appeal is how they have personalized the sounds of the past, making time-honored guitar rock traditions seem fresh, even vital. With their first albums, they styled themselves after first-generation punk they were too young to hear firsthand, and as their career progressed, the group not only synthesized these influences into something distinctive, but chief songwriter Billie Joe Armstrong turned into a muscular, versatile songwriter in his own right.
Warning illustrated their growing musical acumen quite impressively, but here, the music isn't only tougher, it's fluid and, better still, it fuels the anger, disillusionment, heartbreak, frustration, and scathing wit at the core of American Idiot. And one of the truly startling things about American Idiot is how the increased musicality of the band is matched by Armstrong's incisive, cutting lyrics, which effectively convey the paranoia and fear of living in American in days after 9/11, but also veer into moving, intimate small-scale character sketches. There's a lot to absorb here, and cynics might dismiss it after one listen as a bit of a mess when it's really a rich, multi-faceted work, one that is bracing upon the first spin and grows in stature and becomes more addictive with each repeated play. Like all great concept albums, American Idiot works on several different levels. It can be taken as a collection of great songs -- songs that are as visceral or as poignant as Green Day at their best, songs that resonate outside of the larger canvas of the story, as the fiery anti-Dubya title anthem proves -- but these songs have a different, more lasting impact when taken as a whole. While its breakneck, freewheeling musicality has many inspirations, there really aren't many records like American Idiot (bizarrely enough, the Fiery Furnaces' Blueberry Boat is one of the closest, at least on a sonic level, largely because both groups draw deeply from the kaleidoscopic "A Quick One"). In its musical muscle and sweeping, politically charged narrative, it's something of a masterpiece, and one of the few -- if not the only -- records of 2004 to convey what it feels like to live in the strange, bewildering America of the early 2000s.

Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown (2009) ☠

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Alternative Rock, Punk Rock
Style: Pop Punk
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.FLAC via Mega (Mirror Link)
☠: Selected by Lass
© 2009 Reprise Records
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
American Idiot was a rarity of the 21st century: a bona fide four-quadrant hit, earning critical and commercial respect, roping in new fans young and old alike. It was so big it turned Green Day into something it had never been before -- respected, serious rockers, something they were never considered during their first flight of success with Dookie. Back then, they were clearly (and proudly) slacker rebels with a natural gift for a pop hook, but American Idiot was a big album with big ideas, a political rock opera in an era devoid of both protest rock and wild ambition, so its success was a surprise. It also ratcheted up high expectations for its successor, and Green Day consciously plays toward those expectations on 2009's 21st Century Breakdown, another political rock opera that isn't an explicit sequel but could easily be mistaken for one, especially as its narrative follows a young couple through the wilderness of modern urban America. Heady stuff, but like the best rock operas, the concept doesn't get in the way of the music, which is a bit of an accomplishment because 21st Century Breakdown leaves behind the punchy '60s Who fascination for Queen and '70s Who, giving this more than its share of pomp and circumstance. Then again, puffed-up protest is kind of the point of 21st Century Breakdown: it's meant to be taken seriously, so it's not entirely surprising that Green Day fall into many of the same pompous tarpits as their heroes, ratcheting up the stately pianos, vocal harmonies, repeated musical motifs, doubled and tripled guitars, and synthesized effects that substitute for strings, then adding some orchestras for good measure. It would all sound cluttered, even turgid, if it weren't for Green Day's unerring knack for writing muscular pop and natural inclination to run clean and lean, letting only one song run over five minutes and never letting the arrangements overshadow the song. Although Green Day's other natural gift, that for impish irreverent humor, is missed -- they left it all behind on their 2008 garage rock side project Foxboro Hot Tubs -- the band manages to have 21st Century Breakdown work on a grand scale without losing either their punk or pop roots, which makes the album not only a sequel to American Idiot, but its equal.

Various Artists - The Triple C Presents: Underworld 805 Family (1999)

Country: U.S.A
Genre:Hip-Hop
Style: Chicano Rap, Gangsta Rap, G-Funk
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.AAC 256 kbps via Mega (Link)


© 1999 Underworld 805 Records
*No professional reviews available for this release.

tags: various artists, triple c presents underworld 805 family, 1999, flac,

Various Artists - Mi Vida Loca (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (1994)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Hip-Hop, R&B
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.AAC 256 kbps via Mega (Link)


© 1994 Mercury Records
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson
Because Jellybean Benitez serves as its music supervisor, one greets the soundtrack to the 1994 film Mi Vida Loca with fairly high expectations. But this collection of rap and urban contemporary isn't nearly as strong as it could have been. The film dealt with the lives of three female Chicana gang members in Los Angeles, and Benitez emphasizes material by Latin rappers from the West Coast while including some recordings by non-Latin rap and R&B artists as well. Some of the more memorable selections includes Funkdoobiest's quirky "The Good Hit," Proper Dos' hard-hitting "Tales from the Westside" and Lighter Shade of Brown's fun remake of Malcolm McLaren's "Hey D.J." Unfortunately, Lighter Shade doesn't fare nearly as well on an uninteresting remake of Mary Wells' "Two Lovers," and none of the R&B vocals are the least bit memorable. Tony! Toni! Tone!'s "Weather 4 2" is every bit as weak as 4 Corners' lightweight covers of Malo's "Suavecito" and the Honey Cone's "Girls, It Ain't Easy." This CD has its moments, but much of the time, it's a disappointment.

tags: various artists, mi vida loca, soundtrack, original motion picture soundtrack, 1994, ost, flac,

KISS - Paul Stanley (1978)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Hard Rock
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.AAC 256 kbps via Mega (Link)


© 1978-1988 Casablanca
Review by Matt Collar for Allmusic.com
Paul Stanley's 1978 solo album was the most Kiss-like of the four, sounding more like an official band release rather than a solo outing. But this isn't necessarily a bad thing -- Stanley had become a seasoned hard rock songwriter by this point, churning out some of Kiss' best material ("Love Gun," "Detroit Rock City," "I Want You," etc.), and wisely stuck to his winning formula on Paul Stanley. With the help of studio musicians, as well as guitarist Bob Kulick (who was almost an original member of Kiss, and brother of future Kiss replacement guitarist Bruce) and Rod Stewart/Vanilla Fudge drummer Carmine Appice, Stanley's album is on par with Ace Frehley's as far as consistency is concerned. A couple of epic compositions (by Kiss standards) are highlights -- "Tonight You Belong to Me" and "Take Me Away (Together as One)" -- as are the more straightforward tracks "Ain't Quite Right," "Wouldn't You Like to Know Me?," "It's Alright," and "Goodbye." While his other Kiss bandmates took more chances with their solo records (with varying results), Stanley's album is more or less what a new Kiss album released in 1978 would have sounded like.

tags: kiss, paul stanley album, 1978, flac,

April 29, 2017

Various Artists - Space Jam (Music From & Inspired By The Motion Picture) (1996) ☠

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Hip-Hop, R&B
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.AAC 256 kbps via Mega (Link)

☠: Selected by Lass
© 1996 Atlantic/Warner Bros. Records
AllMusic Review by Shawn M. Haney
Space Jam is a captivating, engaging, and expressive work inspired from the making of the motion picture of the same name, featuring basketball icon Michael Jordan and a cast of charming Looney Tunes personalities. It is a collection of enthusiasm and charm, bold in expression and passionate in both it's lyrical quality and amazing variety of artists, bringing forth a broad landscape of musical style and form. Seal opens up the jam with the universally appealing single "Fly Like an Eagle." Coolio addresses the listeners and a generation of youth about the satisfaction of being a winner, and the mood of the song creates a great sense of belief in oneself, energizing one to genuinely work to accomplish and be a meaningful success in life. Quad City DJ's create more electricity with an anthem perfect for game play with the song entitled "Space Jam." B Real, Busta Rhymes, Coolio, LL Cool J, and Method Man collaborate as rap virtuosos to create a blend of soulful grooves and thought-provoking lyrics in "Hit 'Em High." D'Angelo provides the album's moment of wonder and enthusiasm, helping everybody "find their smile again." Monica lights up her promise to be there for you, and lay her life on the line with "For You I Will." A song of faith and optimism, it's perfect for the happy couple during this movie night date at the theatre. Salt-N-Pepa shake it up with a scintillating jam about the one you admire even though which you don't know his name, proclaiming "boy you turn me upside down." Robin S. sparks up this work with a percussive electric dance tune perfect for your neighboring dance club. "Keep your head up high/Give my a love a try/I'm giving you all that I've got/My love is free" is a happy and hopeful message. Barry White and Chris Rock get the groove on with melodic blend of romance and comedy. All-4-One lifts up the spirits and melts the heart with this hopeful ballad of trust and a promising future in "I Turn to You." R. Kelly introduces Changing Faces and Jay-Z into the mix with "All of My Days," a mix of hip-hop, expressive rap, and honest melodic harmonies. Spin Doctors light up the track with a big-band-oriented, jazz rock fusion feel, featuring guest artist Biz Markie in the '70s dance hit "That's the Way (I Like It)." Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd put an exclamation point on this fun-filled listening experience with splendor in "Buggin'."

tags: various artists, space jam, space jam soundtrack, ost, 1996, space jam music from and inspired by the motion picture, flac,

Whitesnake - Ready An' Willing (1980)

Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Hard Rock
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.FLAC via Mega (Mirror Link)

© 1980-1988 Fame/EMI Records
AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia
Despite benefiting from the expert assistance of legendary producer Martin Birch (Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, later Iron Maiden) Whitesnake's early studio albums all tended to sound unexplainably flat. Their fourth effort, 1980's Ready an' Willing, was no exception, but it did make up for this somewhat with solid songwriting. In fact, David Coverdale and company were growing increasingly more consistent and self-assured with each record, and this album's first half shows great progress over the previous year's hit-and-miss Lovehunter. Opener "Fool for Your Lovin'" was their best single yet, as well as their highest charting; with its clever combination of hit-savvy chorus and authentic bluesy resignation, it set the template for subsequent triumphs, and the fact that Coverdale re-recorded it (in disappointing pop-metal fashion) over a decade later for 1989's Slip of the Tongue is a testament to its staying power. Further highlights include the live favorite "Sweet Talker" (given extra bite by Micky Moody's expert slide guitar), the groove monster of a title track, and a set of memorable ballads in "Blindman" and "Ain't Gonna Cry No More." The same laurels can't be awarded to the album's closing trio of songs, all of which evince the tired and formulaic blues-rock that had dominated previous releases. But this didn't stop Ready an' Willing from qualifying as Whitesnake's finest hour thus far, with ever-greater glory waiting just over the horizon.

KISS - Ace Frehley (1978) ☠

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Hard Rock
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.AAC 256 kbps via Mega (Link)
☠: Selected by Buccaneer
© 1978-1988 Casablanca
AllMusic Review by Greg Prato
Of the four Kiss solo albums released simultaneously in 1978, the best of the bunch is guitarist Ace Frehley's. Similar in approach to Paul Stanley's album, Frehley did not stray far from the expected heavy Kiss sound (like Gene Simmons and Peter Criss did with their releases), but Ace was equipped with better compositions than Stanley. With future Late Night with David Letterman drummer Anton Fig helping out (as well as Letterman bassist Will Lee on three tracks), Frehley proved once and for all that he was not simply a backup musician to Kiss head honchos Simmons and Stanley. All of the tracks are strong, such as the venomous opener, "Rip It Out," as well as a few tracks that confirm how Frehley was indulging in alcohol and drugs a bit too much by the late '70s ("Snow Blind," "Ozone," and "Wiped Out"). You'll also find many underrated compositions ("Speedin' Back to My Baby," "What's on Your Mind?," "I'm in Need of Love"), a gorgeous instrumental ("Fractured Mirror"), and the Top 20 hit single "New York Groove." Unfortunately, when Ace left Kiss in 1982 (eventually forming Frehley's Comet), he never came close to topping this solid and inspired 1978 solo outing.

tags: kiss, ace frehley album, 1978, flac,

KISS - Gene Simmons (1978)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Hard Rock, Pop Rock
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.AAC 256 kbps via Mega (Link)

© 1978-1987 Casablanca
AllMusic Review by Greg Prato
Most Kiss fans associate Gene Simmons with the band's hardest-rocking compositions; after all, he's responsible for such heavies as "Watchin' You," "Calling Dr. Love," "Larger Than Life," and "Goin' Blind." So many Kiss fans must have been surprised when they heard Gene's diverse 1978 solo album, with songs that contained choirs and string arrangements, plus elements of Beatles pop, '70s funk/disco, and feel-good rock & roll. Granted, there are a few heavy rockers (such as the single "Radioactive," "Burning Up With Fever," and "See You in Your Dreams"), but Simmons was always a closet Beatles fan, as evidenced by "See You Tonite," "Always Near You," "Man of 1,000 Faces," and "Mr. Make Believe." The only real misstep is a preposterously embarrassing cover of the Disney classic "When You Wish Upon a Star" (complete with Disney-esque sound effects/music). But Simmons made sure that the top artists of the day lent a hand (Aerosmith's Joe Perry, Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen, Donna Summer, Cher, Bob Seger, Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, Helen Reddy, and Janis Ian), which makes Gene's solo album an unpredictable yet ultimately enjoyable release.

tags: kiss, gene simmons album, 1978, flac,

KISS - Peter Criss (1978)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Hard Rock, Pop Rock
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.AAC 256 kbps via Mega (Link)

© 1978-1988 Casablanca Records
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
At the peak of their popularity in 1978, Kiss decided to maximize their sales potential and exploit their loyal audience by having each member release a solo record on the same day. Instead of sending sales through the roof, it had the unexpected effect of stopping their momentum cold. It wasn't because the market was flooded with Kiss product -- although it certainly was, since they released nine albums, including two double-live records and a compilation, in the course of four years -- it was because the albums were, for the most part, terrible. Peter Criss' effort was one of the most undistinguished of the bunch, lacking hooks on either the pop-metal rockers or the power ballads, as well as personality throughout. Even Kiss fans will have a hard time making their way through this record, or any of the other solo albums.

tags: kiss, peter criss album, 1978, flac,

KISS - Rock & Roll Over (1976) ☠

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Hard Rock
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.AAC 256 kbps via Mega (Link)
☠: Selected by Buccaneer
© 1976-1987 Casablanca
AllMusic Review by Greg Prato
With the massive success of their previous album, the experimental Bob Ezrin-produced Destroyer (which contained the surprise ballad hit "Beth"), Kiss could have taken the safe route and continued in that direction -- or return to the raw hard rock of their first four albums. They chose the latter. Hooking back up with Eddie Kramer, the producer of their 1975 breakthrough release Alive! and their very first demo, Kiss rented out the Nanuet Star Theater in upstate New York to record their next album, Rock and Roll Over. With a more direct, in-your-face production, Rock and Roll Over is one of Kiss' most consistent records. Two of the album's best tracks became hit singles -- the sleazy hard rocker "Calling Dr. Love" and an acoustic ballad that was originally intended for Rod Stewart, "Hard Luck Woman" (later covered by country star Garth Brooks). But like all other classic rock albums, the lesser-known material is often just as strong -- "I Want You" and "Makin' Love" became concert staples over the years, while "Mr. Speed" is one of the most underrated songs in Kiss' catalogue. Also included are the fan favorites "Take Me," "Ladies Room," "Love 'Em and Leave 'Em," and the original version of "See You in Your Dreams," which was later re-recorded for Gene Simmons' 1978 solo album.

tags: kiss, rock and roll over, 1976, flac,

KISS - Love Gun (1977) ☠

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Hard Rock
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.AAC 256 kbps via Mega (Link)
☠: Selected by Buccaneer
© 1977-1987 Casablanca
AllMusic Review by Greg Prato
Love Gun was Kiss' fifth studio album in three years (and seventh release overall, peaking at number four on Billboard), and proved to be the last release that the original lineup played on. By 1977, Kiss merchandise was flooding the marketplace (lunch boxes, makeup kits, comic books, etc.), and it would ultimately lead to a Kiss backlash in the '80s. But the band was still focused on their music for Love Gun, similar in sound and approach to Rock and Roll Over, their previous straight-ahead rock release. It included Ace Frehley's lead vocals on "Shock Me," as well as one of Kiss' best and most renowned hard rockers in the thunderous title track. The album's opener, "I Stole Your Love," also served as the opening number on Kiss' ensuing tour, while "Christine Sixteen" is one of the few Kiss tracks to contain piano prominently. "Almost Human" is an underrated rocker and features a great Jimi Hendrix-esque guitar solo from Frehley (no doubt due to ex-Hendrix producer Eddie Kramer manning the boards again), while "Plaster Caster" is a tribute to the famous groupies of the same name. The only weak spots on an otherwise stellar album are an obvious "Rock and Roll All Nite" ripoff titled "Tomorrow and Tonight," and a pointless remake of the Phil Spector-penned classic "Then He Kissed Me" (reworked as "Then She Kissed Me").

tags: kiss, love gun, 1977, flac,

April 28, 2017

Whitesnake - Whitesnake (1987) ☠

*U.S. pressing. Contains 9 tracks total.
Country: U.S.A
Genre: Hard Rock, Glam Metal
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.AAC 256 kbps via Mega (Link)

☠: Selected by Lass
© 1987 Geffen Records
AllMusic Review by Steve Huey
David Coverdale built Whitesnake's commercial breakthrough on a collection of loud, polished hard rockers, plus the band's best set of pop hooks. The Led Zeppelin-ish "Still of the Night" offered headbanger appeal, but it was the big chorus of "Here I Go Again" -- one of the very small number of non-power ballad '80s hard rock singles to actually top the pop charts -- and the quiet ballad "Is This Love" that really sold the album in spades. The rest of the album generally holds interest as well, and it's easily the band's best.

tags: whitesnake, whitesnake album, 1987, flac,

Whitesnake - Slip of The Tongue (1989)

Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Hard Rock
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.FLAC via Mega (Mirror Link)


© 1989 Geffen Records
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek
Any band would have been hard-pressed to follow the success of a multi-platinum album with another one of equal or higher quality both critically and commercially. Needless to say, that's exactly what David Coverdale and Whitesnake were faced with when it came time to record 1989's Slip of the Tongue, the follow-up to their 1987 smash self-titled LP. To complicate matters, Coverdale lost Irish guitarist Vivian Campbell during pre-recording sessions due to artistic differences, and his songwriting partner and lead guitarist, Adrian Vandenberg, injured himself to the degree that he couldn't play; he did some early work that made it on to the final album. Coverdale, faced with a quickly approaching deadline and pressure from management and the label finally recruited former Frank Zappa guitarist Steve Vai to fill the chair. Commercially, Slip of the Tongue was an unqualified success. The album ended up being Whitesnake's third platinum recording. Musically, however, the set is so drenched in '80s production -- huge compression, Midi keyboards, a thin bottom end, etc. -- it seems that little of the band's tough blues-based metallic persona remains. The album sounds dated, full of overblown sounds and effects that have little to do with the act's trademark heavy guitar-and-bass approach to hard rock and early Brit metal. Some of the songs have merit, even if their finished productions ruin them -- the tough "Now You're Gone" and "Judgment Day," are great examples, as is "The Deeper the Love," a classic Coverdale power ballad needlessly drenched in keys and synths. The fit between Vai and Whitesnake is also questionable; his busy approach is at odds with the meat and potatoes strut and pound of the band. Fans ate it up at the time, but Slip of the Tongue is, unfortunately, still an album very much of its time and the curious, as well as fans, may want to check out their earlier work before picking this up.

April 27, 2017

Testament - Dark Roots of Earth (2012)

Country: U.S.A
Genre: Thrash Metal
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.AAC 256 kbps via Mega (Link)


© 2012 Nuclear Blast Records
AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia
Forget Metallica, forget Megadeth, Anthrax, and even Slayer! The most formidable on-stage thrash metal powerhouse of 2011 was arguably the (mostly) reconstituted classic lineup of Testament: singer Chuck Billy, guitarists Alex Skolnick, and Eric Peterson, plus returning bass badass Greg Christian and occasional drummer Gene Hoglan, who probably tops most predecessors on the stool, most would agree. This fearsome ensemble spent several months tearing up concert halls worldwide, consistently putting the "mosh" back in the "pit," before invading Oakland, California's Driftwood Studios to record their tenth album Dark Roots of Earth, which, though not quite as timeless as Testament's late-'80s triumphs, sure comes as close as anything they've done over the past 20 years. Savagely lucid thrashers like "Rise Up," "True American Hatred," and "Last Stand for Independence" highlight everything that made Testament special from day one and their failure to achieve stardom so perplexing: the homegrown Bay Area violence rivaled only by Exodus and a versatile musicality on par with Metallica. A simplistic analysis could chalk up the former to rhythm guitarist Peterson's brute-fist force, the latter to lead shredder Skolnick's Satriani-caliber virtuosity, but they are both just pieces of the band's alchemical musical puzzle, complemented by Billy's unique penchant for growling in tune, Christian's inventive and athletic bass contributions, and Hoglan's devastating percussive propulsion (if anything, he holds some of his death metal tricks in check here). Returning to the music itself, the more melodically driven title track and pummeling anti-ballad "Cold Embrace" raise fond memories of the Souls of Black and Practice What You Preach eras, respectively; and in the particularly memorable "A Day in the Death," fans get a polished-off ancient outtake co-written by original vocalist Steve "Zetro" Souza! Finally, though the songs named above largely see Testament reaping nostalgia's rewards, the multifaceted "Throne of Thorns" reveals new sounds, ideas, and a willingness to experiment more aggressively in years to come. For now, Dark Roots of Earth improves upon 2008's comeback The Formation of Damnation and, in tandem with those rejuvenated live performances, promises a well-deserved second act for a band that so narrowly missed grasping the golden ring its first time around. Who knows, the best may be yet to come for Testament.

tags: testament, dark roots of earth, 2012, flac,

Black Sabbath - Mob Rules (1981)

Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Heavy Metal
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.AAC 256 kbps via Mega (Link)


© 1981-1989 Warner Bros. Records
AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia
1981's Mob Rules was the second Black Sabbath album to feature vertically challenged singer Ronnie James Dio, whose powerful pipes and Dungeons and Dragons lyrics initially seemed like the perfect replacement for the recently departed and wildly popular Ozzy Osbourne. In fact, all the ingredients which had made their first outing, Heaven and Hell, so successful are re-utilized on this album, including legendary metal producer Martin Birch (Deep Purple, Whitesnake, etc.) and supporting keyboard player Geoff Nichols. And while it lacks some of its predecessor's inspired songwriting, Mob Rules was given a much punchier, in-your-face mix by Birch, who seemed re-energized after his work on New Wave of British Heavy Metal upstarts Iron Maiden's Killers album. Essentially, Mob Rules is a magnificent record, with the only serious problem being the sequencing of the material, which mirrors Heaven and Hell's almost to a tee. In that light, one can't help but compare otherwise compelling tracks like "Turn Up the Night" and "Voodoo" to their more impressive Heaven and Hell counterparts, "Neon Knights" and "Children of the Sea." That streak is soon snapped, first by the unbelievably heavy seven-minute epic "The Sign of the Southern Cross," which delivers one of the album's best moments, then its segue into an unconventional synthesizer-driven instrumental ("E5150") and the appearance of the roaring title track. Side two is less consistent, hiding the awesome "Falling off the Edge of the World" (perhaps the most overlooked secret gem to come from the Dio lineup) amongst rather average tracks like "Slipping Away" and "Over and Over." Over the next year, the wheels fell off for Black Sabbath, and Dio's exit marked Mob Rules as the last widely respected studio release of the band's storied career.

tags: black sabbath, mob rules, 1981, flac,

April 26, 2017

Pagan Altar - Mythical & Magical (2006)

Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Doom Metal
Style: Traditional Doom
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.AAC 256 kbps via Mega (Link)


© 2006 Oracle Records Ltd.
Review by Angela "The Hunter" for Metal-Temple.com
Ahhh nothing like a little worship at the Altar to get your mind straight. Hail friends! Doom Metal has always been a love / hate issue with me. It’s either really good, or it sucks and the band should have gotten someone other than their stoner friends, or way too supportive family, to give an honest opinion as to if they should record an album. I am happy to say, after my journey through the pagan lands, that the latter is the case. Welcome to the PAGAN ALTAR. As I listened to “Mythical And Magical”, I could feel myself relax, unplug, and just fucking be alive. Terry Jones’s vocals are gritty but very melodic, and really tie all of the elements of each song together. The guitars are heavy and tight, while keeping the riffs and solos low key Very nice balance between the two. You can definitely feel the influence of Iommi and Blackmore, but in a really good way. Standout tracks include “Samhain” and “The Rise Of The Dark Lord”. Drums are a bit thin, but that could be for multitude of reasons. William Gallagher's bass work is also very heavy and melodic, and really puts the finale piece in the puzzle to make each song a whole work. I genuinely enjoyed the journey this album took me on. The band has been around since 1978, yet only first were given the nod by a record label in 1998. That is dedication, perseverance, and unfailing fan base that kept their music alive for over 2 decades. Simply amazing. For Doom Metal fans, this album will find much favor with you. For a rating I’d say 7 out of ten. As always, stay well, and live free my friends!

tags: pagan altar, mythical and magical, 2006, flac,

Black Sabbath - Heaven & Hell (1980)⚓

Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Heavy Metal
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.FLAC via Mega (Mirror Link)


© 1980-1987 Warner Bros. Records
AllMusic Review by Greg Prato
Many had left Black Sabbath for dead at the dawn of the '80s, and with good reason -- the band's last few albums were not even close to their early classics, and original singer Ozzy Osbourne had just split from the band. But the Sabs had found a worthy replacement in former Elf and Rainbow singer Ronnie James Dio, and bounced back to issue their finest album since the early '70s, 1980's Heaven and Hell. The band sounds reborn and re-energized throughout. Several tracks easily rank among Sabbath's all-time best, such as the vicious album opener, "Neon Knights," the moody, mid-paced epic "Children of the Sea," and the title track, which features one of Tony Iommi 's best guitar riffs. With Heaven and Hell, Black Sabbath were obviously back in business. Unfortunately, the Dio-led version of the band would only record one more studio album before splitting up (although Dio would return briefly in the early '90s). One of Sabbath's finest records.