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15 hours ago, Koravec said:

Wind & Wuthering (didnt find too significant) and The Knife (really good) by Genesis

Wind and Wuthering lacks flavor IMO. It's okay to have in the background, but it doesn't have the hooks that would make me want to play it that much. I assume that by "The Knife" you mean Trespass - very good and underrated album. Too bad "The Knife" is all that seems to get any nod when songs like "Waiting for someone" or "Visions of Angels" are up there among their best and most melodic stuff - definitely on par with stuff off Nursery Cryme or Foxtrot.


Interesting overall review of the Moody Blues discography. I'm only familiar with Days of Future Passed, and I find it really solid - nice melodies, the arrangements are very lively, you really get the feeling of the points in the day the songs are about.


15 hours ago, Koravec said:

Revisited the overlooked After Bathing at Baxters by Jefferson Airplane.

Very good pick here - I especially like the opening number, "The Ballad of you & me and Pooneil". Been getting into them those past few years and I feel like I should have started listening to them long ago. My favorite album of theirs would be Volunteers, I like the social commentary that's played more serious and not as provocative or harsh as on the first couple of albums by The Mothers of Invention.

Edited by Secret Executioner

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Kane Roberts - The new Normal (2019)

Luca Turilli - Prophet of the Last Eclipse (2002)

More on these two in the Hard Rock/Metal thread:tongue:


Pink Floyd - The Division Bell (1994)

Actually a pretty neat album. Some songs early on have a classic Pink Floyd vibe, but then you get material like "Take it back" and its U2-ish vibe or "Coming back to Life" and its sound akin to stuff you'd hear three years later on Genesis' very underrated ...Calling all Stations... album. And let's not forget the amazing closer that is "High Hopes".

While it's an album that doesn't seem to be that popular and I'm more into the band's late 1960s/early 1970s material, I'd put this one among my favorite albums of theirs alongside Wish you were here, Obscured by Clouds, Meddle and Atom Heart Mother. I enjoy More too, but I'm not that fond of Dark Side, Animals (the concept here is of course really interesting though) or The Wall. I also need to check out Ummagumma again, haven't heard it in ages.


Edited by Secret Executioner
Adding a link to the Metal post. :rockon

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Alice Cooper - From the Inside (CD) (1978)

One of Mr. Cooper's most underrated albums and his most personal (as well as a personal favorite of his from what I read), this concept album is based on experiences and people from Alice's time in rehab in 1977/1978. All the characters, elements and situations can be found on the photograph that makes up the gatefold to the LP and the back of the CD release's booklet. The LP artwork has Alice's face with his make-up on and images of groups of people as irises) on the front cover opening in split halves to reveal the scene and provides the extra of the Coop' sitting in the "quiet room" (the room is labelled that in referrence to a song) in the background, provided the sheet in which the record is stored is put the right way behind the picture  (the package of this package in the LP  format is very peculiar). The back cover of the LP release also has openings with two smaller doors revealing (again, if the sheet is put the right way) the Coop' and several other characters rushing towards the outside, several of them - including Alice himself - holding papers reading "released". That picture was used as the cover to (one of ?) the album's cassette release(s) with a rectangle on the brick wall above the doors reading "Alice Cooper From The Inside". The cassette I had (kept only the artwork, the cassette itself being broken as the reel had snapped) also includes three tracks off the 1976 album Alice Cooper goes to Hell ("Go to Hell" ends Side A, "Give the Kid a Break" and "Guilty" are tucked at the end of Side B), which I'm not sure why but these tracks are enjoyable, in spite of being rather unrelated to the album (though "Go to Hell" and "Guilty" may eventually be considered extensions of Alice Cooper's persona and how people viewed him ?)

Anyway, musically, this album is also very interesting with a rare duet ("Millie and Billie"), rockers ("Serious"), funny songs ("Wish I were born in Beverly Hills", "Inmates"), some very emotional moments ("How you gonna see me now", based on a letter Alice had sent his wife some time before coming out) and an overall more intimate, if not quiet tone, though some songs can be energetic ("From the Inside", "Serious'") or feel edgier ("Nurse Rozetta" and "Serious" have relatvely nervous guitar riffs). The lyrics are also very well-written, you have comedic bits with some more emotional or even darker stuff, but it all mixes well - probably thanks to talents involved since Alice and Bernie Taupin are both credited for every song on the album. Guitarist Dick Wagner, a long time member of Alice Cooper's band, was also heavily involved with 7 of the album's 10 songs being co-written by him.


Geoff Love & His Orchestra - Musiques de Films d'Horreur et de Catastrophes (vinyl) (1975)

A compilation of very good covers of themes from horror and disaster movies - the latter being ommitted from the English title Horror Movie Themes for some reason, not sure why since there's about a third of the album devoted to them and the themes in question come from some classics of the genre like The Poseidon Adventure, The Towering Inferno or Earthquake.

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Alice Cooper - Love it to Death (CD) (1971)

Officially the third album by what was then the Alice Cooper Group, this is also among the strongest Alice Cooper albums - I'd rank it as my 4th among the Alice Cooper Group releases behind Killer (1971), Muscle of Love (1973) and Billion Dollar Babies (1973) and maybe 7th if we're talking about Alice's whole discography as I put Welcome to my Nightmare (1975), From the Inside (1978) and Trash (1989) above it.


Musically, this is the band's first hard rock-oriented album after two bizarre, rather experimental records with Pretties for you (1969) and Easy Action (1970). It's notable for containing several classics such as the band's smash-hit "I'm Eighteen", a song initially intended to be a much more mellow and bluesy number that was shortened to 3 minutes and played in a more agressive style under Bob Ezrin's advice - it could also be due to a misunderstanding as he thought Alice was singing "I'm edgy" in the chorus.

Another staple is "Ballad of Dwight Fry" (sometimes spelled "Ballad of Dwight Frye", which matches the actual way you're supposed to write the actor's name), a song dealing with insanity and written as a tribute to classic Hollywood actor Dwight Frye who notably played crazy characters such as Renfield in the 1931 Universal movie Dracula alongside Bela Lugosi - Lugosi's Dracula upstaging Frye's Renfield by only little according to drummer Dennis Dunaway. The allusion to the song background in the documentary Prime Cuts and the Life and Crimes boxset booklet, along with Vincent Price providing voiceovers for the album Welcome to my Nightmare and the stageshow in the mid-to-late 1970s, and the inclusion of songs  of his in the slasher Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives in 1986, can help explain my strong interest in horror movies since I was a teenager. And of course, it led to the great theatrical moment that is Alice being put in a straightjacket - still a staple of his live show so many years laters, even though the song evolved quite a lot, becoming shorter and losing the intro with the little girl asking where daddy is.

Speaking of staples, "Is it my Body" introduced Alice having a snake on him on stage - with the live renditions from the time including the "My very own" segment that was cut from the studio version and would disappear in later live renditions -, and the lengthy Dennis Dunaway piece "Black Juju" introduced the executions, starting with an electric chair (and smoke and light effects) during the tour promotting the album. This song and "Halo of Flies" are but a couple of lengthy Alice Cooper Group tracks, of which there could have been more as Dennis Dunaway said that he had come up with several others but they didn't get the band's support and weren't used. 

"Second Coming", along with "Hallowed be my Name", reflects on the conservative and religious upbringing of Alice and Neal Smith, but "Second Coming" eventually ends up secuing into "Ballad of Dwight Fry"; something attributed to Ezrin and that was kept for the stage show, a nurse coming up and putting Alice in the straightjacket during the final instrumental portion of the song.



Edited by Secret Executioner

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Kiss - Kiss (CD) (1974)

The band's first album remains one of their finest. Actually, their first three studio albums - Kiss, Hotter than Hell (also 1974) and Dressed to kill (1975) - all rank in my top 10 favorite Kiss albums. A raw sound, short but catchy songs (save for a couple like "Black Diamond" off Kiss or the recycled Wicked Lester song "She" that finally got a studio release on Dressed to kill after the band often performed it on their early couple of tours in 1973/1974), the band's first trio of albums are pretty much an illustration of the KISS concept: Keep It Simple Stupid. 

But for as "simple" and "stupid" they may be, many of the first album's numbers really stuck. The album opener and one of the singles, "Strutter", is a regular inclusion on the band's compilations and a very common track from the band's live setlist. 

Its B-side was "100,000 Years", a number that has grown to become one of the band's longest thanks to the drum solo being extended and including frontman Paul Stanley prompting audience participation. While the act has been mostly associated with "God of Thunder" due to the song being sung by Gene Simmons and one showcasing his persona, this is also the song that initially followed the infamous blood-spitting routine during Gene Simmons' bass solo, said solo ending as Gene played the bass intro to the song. A very theatrical and live setting friendly song as you can imagine, but the studio version is still very enjoyable.

"Firehouse" became iconic thanks to the sirens ringing and Gene Simmons breathing fire (the song would be replaced for that moment with the more contemporary "War Machine" after the Lick it up tour in 1984 but returned to the setlist during the Revenge Tour in 1992 and eventually remained through most of the tours since then, though the fire breathing has apparently been done on "Hotter than Hell" in the early 2000s and it was done again on "War Machine" during the Rock the Nation Tour in 2004). The song was also performed at one of the band's first TV appearances (not sure whether it's their actual first national TV appearance like the Lost Concert DVD claims) on the Mike Douglas Show on April 29, 1974. 

 "Deuce", "Cold Gin" and "Black Diamond" are live staples, with "Deuce" being a show opener (or the second number performed) for a good part of their carreer and the choreography performed during the instrumental part around the guitar solo is still referred to by fans as the "Deuce dance" even when done on other songs, while Ace Frehley's contribution "Cold Gin" (sung by Gene Simmons as Ace wouldn't feel comfortable singing until 1977 and "Shock me") would be one of the handful of classics that remained during the non-make-up era even when the setlist was essentially focusing on material from Creatures of the Night and its follow-ups, while "Black Diamond" (written and partially sung by Paul Stanley, with most of it actually sung by drummer Peter Criss) is notorious for the ending with the drum platform rising up in the air, revealing a cat-related motive underneath. The alternate live ending used between 1982 and 1985 is actually better than the original IMO, and I also like the shortened live version from 1988 a lot. As you can figure, Peter Criss' replacements Eric Carr and Eric Singer would sing it, though there have been occurences of Paul singing all of it as well

Speaking of singing, one of my favorites in that department is the excellent but lyrically questionnable "Nothin' to lose", the band's first single. Mainly sung by Gene, this song has some very enjoyable participation by Peter Criss during the chorus. My favorite renditions of this song are the performance from Tokyo's Budokan on April 2, 1977 and the MTV Unplugged rendition with Eric Singer nailing Peter Criss' part (in spite of the original Catman being there that day).

Another personal favorite of mine is "Let me know". A catchy little tune that didn't receive as much exposition as the previously mentionned numbers, but it got occasionally performed during the first few tours appearing on some bootleg recordings, including one from a show recorded for and used on Alive!. Speaking of live renditions, the supposedly 1975 performance from the album You wanted the Best, You got the Best! is more of a re-recording with fake audience added, the one track out of the previously unheard being considered a genuine song from back then being "Take me" from 1977, the other three sounding much too close to 1996 Kiss to be considered genuine 1975 recordings (especially "Two Timer"). On a side note, the ending of the song would be used during concerts as the coda leading to Ace's smoking guitar solo. It seems official sources themselves forgot or don't know about it since it was labelled "She coda" on the official Instant live recordings from the Rock the Nation tour - one could also put it on the fact that this coda might be more recognized for being a part of "She" (which had Ace's solo) on Alive!.

Other obscurities include "Love Theme from Kiss", a rare (coming from this band I mean) and pretty cool instrumental piece that was originally part of a longer, more elaborate composition called "Acrobat".The whole "Acrobat" jam or the other part of the song - dubbed "You're much too young" - can be found on some recordings from 1973/1974, but the quality is usually very average, if not bad and these recordings can be hard to come by. Finally, there's "Kissin' Time". Not a Kiss original but a cover of a 1959 hit by Bobby Rydell, it started life as a single release suggested by Casablanca founder Neil Bogart to boost the band's poor record sales and would get added to the album later on, some six months after the album was released. Yup, the very first release of Kiss had only 9 songs instead of 10. And both versions have coexisted, resulting in some confusion and most people choosing the one with "Kissin' Time" because more songs, when nowadays the version without it is a much sought after rarity among collectors.

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Kingdom Come - Kingdom Come (vinyl) (1988)

This band has been criticized for being Led Zeppelin-wanabees, but I honestly find them pretty good. Very solid album here. 



Space - Just Blue (blue-colored vinyl) (1978)

Some electro from a band that seemed very popular with Kung Fu movie makers as a lot of movies have used songs of theirs. The titletrack from this album can be heard in the trailer for Buddhist Fist and Tiger Claws, though it's (sadly) never heard in the actual movie.


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@JackieChan Isn't Mayhem more of a Black Metal band ? One of the few bands - with Bathory and Emperor - of the genre I listen to every now and then. I quite like some Death too. Scream bloody gore and Spiritual Healing are my fav' albums of theirs - their later direction on albums like Human or Symbolic isn't grabbing me as much. 


In terms of listens over here, it wasn't as heavy.

Frank Zappa - Sheik Yerbouti (CD)

Finally got a CD copy of this one during the summer. Been so many years I was thinking of buying a new copy of it after my vinyl copy got worn out from all the times I'd listen to it. It's one of the albums that got me into Zappa, and I still consider it among my favorites. It has catchy tunes that you can't help but sing along to, some terrific and hilarious (though pretty offensive by today's standards) lyrics, a great variety of styles (disco, hard rock, tango (!), progressive rock, "musique concrète"...) and the musicianship is top notch. The line-up is one of Zappa's most solid backing bands IMO with the likes of singer Ike Willis (who stayed with Zappa from the mid-1970s all the way to his final tour in 1988), drummer/singer Terry Bozzio (a recurring member of Zappa's band in the1980s, notably playing the Devil on the hilarious "Titties & Beer" in the movie Baby Snakes) and guitarist/singer Adrian Belew (who has been filling the same positions in King Crimson since 1981) among others.

It's actually one of the most accessible albums of his too as it doesn't have too much overly long or complex pieces like previous albums may have and it's not as experimental as material from The Mothers or earlier solo Zappa stuff. 


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King Crimson - Red (vinyl)

The last album in the band's first run that started in 1969 with the legendary album In the Court of the Crimson King, and the last of the John Wetton-era. It shares a lot of similarities with its predecessors Larks' Tongues in Aspic and Starless and Bible Black, the other two albums from the Wetton-fronted line-up.

You can find similarities with the softer, more melodic songs like "The Night Watch", "Lament" or "Book of Satuday" on "Fallen Angel" or "Starless" - though "Starless" is a longer (12 minutes), more complex piece as opposed to the others being fairly short songs (2 to 6 minutes) - while "Red" and "One more red Nightmare" have the faster pace and more agressive vibe of a "Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part Two" or "The great Deceiver" - the fast-paced, catchy tune of "One more red Nightmare" makes it a bit reminiscent of "The great Deceiver" while both "Red" and LTIAP2" are agressive, guitar-driven instrumentals (both also sharing a running time of 6 minutes). The fifth song off the album (really it's the fourth track as "Starless closes it, ut you get the idea) is a live improvisation called "Providence" taken from a concert in Rhode Island's capital city (hence the piece's title, and some later King Crimson releases would often give live improvisations the name of the city they were recorded in, though some concert exclusives apparently have actual titles like "A Voyage to the Center of the Cosmos", a nearly 15-minute piece that was performed at the same show) that has since been released on the 4-CD set The Great Deceiver -- Live 1973-1974 that has since been repackaged as 2 2-CD packages. This recording (CD 1 of the 4-disc set, or Volume One, CD 1 if we go with the current version) also includes a rendition of "Starless" that is very nice, but still feels inferior to the incredibly emotional album version - the violin in the intro makes it more moving, but the final coda lacks the catchy sax that sounds really great opposite to Wetton's heavy bass.


In terms of concert legacy however, the one song (or rather piece since it's an instrumental) that would become a staple is the titletrack. It stands out alongside "Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part Two" as the only track from the band's first run to have been a live staple through the later incarnations of the band, notably the double trio line-up of the mid-1990s whose heavier and complex style was very appropriate for such pieces.


On a sidenote, here's "Larks Tongues in Aspic, Part Two" from the same show - the song really starts a bit after the three-linute mark, as what comes before is "The talking Drum", a piece that served as an "overture" to the original album version. The live performance seen and heard here does it great justice though, as you get two very talented drummers/percussionists doing the drum/percussion parts, a killer bass sound for the very groovy bassline and Adrian Belew's guitar somehow makes for an astonishingly brilliant substitute to the original's violin.


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I mentionned the heavier style of the mid-1990s line-up, here are a couple of pieces to give you an idea what they sounded like. The first is the show's (and also their album's) opening one-two combo. "Vrooom" fades into "Coda:Marine 475" at around 5 minutes 45 seconds.


Kudos if you can sit through this whole second video, as you get a lengthy drum solo/duet known as "B'boom' before the terrifyingly heavy guitar-driven instrumental "THRAK" - the album's titletrack that apparently got somewhat of an extended version released with the 1996 album/compilation THRaKaTTaK (no typos here, that's how you spell it - capital letters and all), a collection of improvisations played live during the song. A very polarizing release as some called it impossible to listen to or found it too complex to get it while others thought it was better than the THRAK album.


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Quite some rocking selections you guys have. :thumbsup


Some of my recent listens include

Alice Cooper - Special Forces (CD)

Alice Cooper - Raise your Fist and yell (CD)

Iron Savior - Kill or get killed (CD)

Kiss - Psycho Circus (2-CD edition with bonus Live CD)

Queensrÿche - The Verdict (deluxe 2-CD edition with bonus CD and goodies)

Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow - Rainbow (vinyl)

Timo Tolkki's Avalon - Return to Eden (CD)

Barry Lyndon OST (vinyl)

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Frank Zappa - Sleep Dirt (vinyl)

One of Zappa's late 1970s albums Warner threw together and released without any real say from FZ. Sleep Dirt is (in its original form) an entirely instrumental album, as Warner had used rough tracks from the Lather project - a 4-record set Zappa wanted to release that was to include material ultimately released on this record, Studio Tan, Orchestral Favorites and the live album Zappa in New York that was the only one Zappa had anything to do with. To be thorough on the controversy, Zappa wanted a 4-record set to be made when Warner claimed Zappa owed them four separate albums - even though Zappa would have been in his right as the contract didn't mention whether the four records were to be separate or all at once - and that's where things got bad and the material got randomly released on four separate albums, with three - Studio Tan, Sleep Dirt and Orchestral Favorites - feeling like randomly pieced together compilations with quickly put together artwork - not the best, though I like the inclusion of an Hedorah-like monster on Sleep Dirt and the pissed off-looking muscular mouse from the back cover of Studio Tan - and no credits to the performers.

When Sleep Dirt got re-released on CD it saw the addition of female vocals on a couple of songs, an aspect made - from what I know - to make it closer to Zappa's original vision, a concept album dealing with a monster named Flambay (hence the song by that name) in love with a female singer. I have no idea how close the CD release really is to Zappa's vision, but I find the entirely instrumental version very enjoyable and pleasant. The songs are very jazz-oriented, some like "Regyptian Strut" having a feeling similar to the early 1970s jazz material Zappa made but others like "Filthy Habits" have a guitar sound that seems closer to mid-to-late 1970s Zappa. Speaking of guitar, I find the titletrack very intriguing as it's essentially an accoustic jam and you can hear Zappa talking with someone else, likely the other guitarist. This piece feels more like some outtake or impro, which clashes with the very elaborate and cautiously performed other tracks from the album - especially knowing how strict Zappa was said to be with his musicians. Nevertheless, the album is overall very enjoyable and the tracks seem to each have their own mood

I'd say it's my least favorite of the three studio albums, but considering how good and interesting Studio Tan and Orchestral Favorites are, it's not saying much. I'm really fond of these albums, which all rank among my 10 favorite Frank Zappa/Mothers records. And before anyone asks, I'm aware of the 40th Anniversary re-release of Orchestral Favorites but I haven't checked it out yet. The concert sounds very interesting, lots of rather uncommon pieces for a Zappa live release.

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Been a while since I last posted here. I've been listening to quite a lot of stuff, but here's a little run-down.


Some selections from my LP collection

Black Sabbath - Vol 4 (1972)

Good stuff, though I think it pales compared to the previous two albums - but again, Paranoid is a Metal classic and Master of Reality is possibly my favorite Sabbath album. Still, "Supernaut", "Tomorrow"s Dream" and "Snowblind" rock, and "Changes" is a nice softer number - I actually prefer "Changes" over other mellow Sabbath numbers like "Planet Caravan", so I guess the album ain't really that far below Paranoid.


Dr. Feelgood - Be seeing you (1977)

Decent album by Lee Brilleaux and co. Some very catchy numbers like "She's a windup" and That's it, I quit", I also find "Looking back" pretty funny. My fav' track is "As long as the Price is right".


Nightwish - Walking in the Air: The greatest Ballads (compilation, 2011)

A compilation of 1997-2002 material focused on softer, more melodic material. Less tracks than on the CD version (11 vs 15) likely due to the format's more restricted running time available (the vinyl release contains just one record) but still some very good choices like the not-so-usual "Sleepwalker", though I would have rather had any of the 4 tracks ommitted from the vinyl release (especially "Lagoon", a track mainly found on various versions of the Bless the Child single/EP) over "Dead Boy's Poem". Both selections however showcass Tarja Turunen's classical - if not operatic - singing really well, reminding you she is initially a classical singer and not a rock singer (though Nightwish's style evolved and she became more versed in rock singing in her last couple of albums with the band).


Procol Harum - In Concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra (1972)

A very cool record, I like that they took the opportunity to play stuff like "A salty Dog" (one of my very favorite songs of theirs) here. "Conquistador" sounds epic and much more lively than the original.


Saxon - Denim and Leather (1981)

I'm not that big on Saxon, but the titletrack here is really cool - I love the part discussing reading magazines, checking for concert dates and hanging out at record stores because that's what being a rock fan is about IMO (hanging out at record stores used to be a big hobby of mine some years ago). "Princess of the Night" and "And the Bands played on" are great numbers too, the rest is some good hard rock but nothing very memorable IMO.


White Lion - Pride (1987)


Frank Zappa - Ship arriving too late to save a drowning Witch (1983)



On other formats:

Fabio Frizzi - City of the Living Dead soundtrack (mp3 rip from the Paura Nella Citta' Dei Morti Viventi/The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue CD released in 1995)

Apparently the full CD also contains the soundtrack to another zombie film from 1974;


Iron Maiden - A Matter of Life and Death (2006) (CD)

Wasn't too fond of it initially, but 13 years later I find the album pretty good. Very much in the vein of "Brave new World" and "Dance of Death", each has its moments and its parts I find one can skip.


Nightwish - Bye bye Beautiful (single, 2008) (DVD)

The DVD contains three music videos - "Bye bye Beautiful" and "Amaranth" off the 2007 Dark Passion Play, and the outtake "While your lips are still red" -, a making-of documentary on the Bye bye Beautiful video and an audio section consisting in the titletrack, a demo version of "The Poet and the Pendulum" with male vocals that is actually almost better than the album version (and I say that as an Anette fan and someone who isn't too fond of the male vocals in Nightwish past-2002, but the vocals sound clearer and the music more genuine than on the album version that seems overproduced by comparison), "Escapist" (an outtake sung by Anette) and a 12-minute remix by DJ Orkidea that comes across as goofy but enjoyable.

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Some illustrations for the above post.

Dr. Feelgood - "As long as the price is right" (live, Cheltenham 1990)

I love this rendition. Actually, the whole show is awesome.


Procol Harum - "Conquistador" (live with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra


More over here:


Edited by Secret Executioner

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King Crimson - Live in Japan (DVD)

A concert from 1995, back during the THRAK Tour with the "double trio" line-up. It's loud ("Dinosaur", "THRAK"), heavy ("Red", "Vrooom/Coda: Marine 475") but also groovy ("Elephant Talk", "People") and also atmospheric ("Matte Kudasai", "Walking on Air") all at once. 

The setlist focuses heavily on THRAK (over 70% of the album is played), but there are also a handful of songs from the 1981 classic Discipline (the aforementionned "Elephant Talk" and "Matte Kudasai" as well as the chaotic "Indiscipline" and the always catchy "Frame by Frame") and a couple of tracks from the 1970s (there's a nice addition with "The Talking Drum" seguing into the band's live staple "Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part Two"). Finally, there's also a nice rendition of "Three of a perfect Pair" (from the album by the same title) that's essentially an heavier version of the 1984 original.

The musicianship is of course top-notch, the line-up is the 1980s quartet (Robert Fripp on guitar, Adrian Belew on guitar and vocals, Tony Levin on bass and Chapman stick, and Bill Bruford on drums) with war guitarist Trey Gunn (who also plays bass) and drummer Pat Mastelotto added. I couldn't really explain what it is, but I love Adrian Belew's voice. He can convey a wide array of emotions and go from a range to something completely different (like the very calm and collected narration in the verses of "Indiscipline" suddenly getting to hysterical screaming and later insane rambling with the fast-paced "I repeat myself when under stress" line repeated multiple times). Even the goofiest of text (like in "Elephant Talk" where the verses are essentially lists of words) can have power and become interesting. 

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The lengthily titled but stellar '不透明度 -You Laughed like a Water Mark- Live at Shelter 20070204' by Boris with Michio Kurihara.

Really enjoy this live LP, but I wish we'd gotten the complete show rather than selections from it (which is a trend of Boris' that's rather annoying IMO).

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Lovebites is one of my new favorite bands. This powerhouse Japanese metal band have been making waves all over the world since their formation in 2016. They named themselves after the Halestorm song "Love Bites (But So Do I)" and lead singer Asami had even performed the song with Halestorm a few times during music festivals. Here's my favorite song from them, "Under the Red Sky". Unlike most metal bands, the group sports white and not the general color of black.



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Been listening to a lot of Status Quo and Judas Priest lately. I recently also listened to:

The Damned Things - High Crimes (CD)

The supergroup The Damned Things (notably featuring Anthrax's Scott Ian) returned in 2019 with an album that I overall find hit and miss and that I'd put towards the bottom of my list of 2019 albums. The style is alternative rock, with a very 1990s vibe. Some of the songs are really catchy and enjoyable ("Cells", "Storm Charmer", "Let me be (your girl)", but there's about half of them that are really not that great. That said, the video for "Something good" is probably the best music video of the year - some very trippy (and NSFW) cartoon short that somehow goes very well with the song. 




The Mothers of Invention - 2 Originals of The Mothers of Invention (LP)

A 2-disc compilation featuring the 1970 albums Burnt Weeny Sandwich and Weasels ripped my Flesh. The two albums are kind of siblings, being similar in the fact they essentially contain older Mothers material while they greatly differ in the musical direction they go. BWS is more melodic and classical music-oriented while WRMF has a more Free Jazz approach, with lots of loud and cacophonic moments, but both include some more basic songs like "WPLJ" or "Valarie" that have a doo-wop orientation and a sung version of "Oh No" (a piece whose instrumental rendition was part of Zappa's 1968 Lumpy Gravy album). Weasels also includes the classic "My Guitar wants to kill your Mama" that often finds its way on compilations.





The global orientation is also kind of preeminent in some of the titles, with BWS containing tracks called "Igor's Boogie" in reference to Russian composer Igor Stravinsky while WRMF has a track called "The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue", a nod to Free Jazz musician (and one of Zappa's inspirations) Eric Dolphy.





Overall, two very good albums that complement each other in terms of how diversified the Mothers' repertoire could be and how versatile the musicians could be.



Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention - Transparency (LP)

A 1970s compilation showcasing material from four Mothers' early albums (Freak Out!, Absolutely Free, We're only in it for the Money and Cruising with Ruben and the Jets) as well as an excerpt (including the aforementionned 'Oh No" instrumental) from Zappa's first solo album Lumpy Gravy. The album also features the then-rare tracks "Why doncha do me right" and "Big Leg Emma", two excellent tracks that have since become widely available as bonus tracks on the Absolutely Free CD release. Even if it's never been anything new to me, this compilation is a very good record but one could argue it's unbalanced betweeen the albums

a good chunk of it is parts from We're only in it for the Money (actually you get almost all of this album, which I find nice because I only have the poorly remixed 1986 CD release that has Lumpy Gravy added at the end),



there's a good part of Side 2 from Absolutely Free,

the Lumpy Gravy excerpt feels a bit weird and out of nowhere (even though it is rather good representation of what the album is like with bizarre random dialogue, heavily doctored musical segments and some very nice instrumental parts) 

the last couple of tracks remaining are two cuts off Cruising (the awesome "Cheap Thrills" that somehow lacks that great bass line heard on the CD version and on the Cheap Thrills compilation and the very good "Later that Night") and "Wowie Zowie", the only Freak Out! number.




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Finishing 2019 by revisiting some of its releases. I bought only 12 of them, the majority by bands I didn't know of before while the rest is from artists I knew of in some capacity from either past releases (Avantasia, Queensrÿche, Whitesnake), a previous different incarnation (Rhapsody of Fire) or for work with other artists (Kane Roberts for his late 1980s tenure in Alice Cooper's band).

Avantasia - Moonglow (Limited Edition Digibook CD)

Tobias Sammet's band again delivers the goods on this concept album that centers around mystical and spiritual stuff. According to the book, the album is subtitled "the Narratives of a misplaced Entity" and the songs' lyrics are accompanied by very atmospheric illustrations that have a strange feel - they look like old paintings and depict houses or landscapes that make me think of 19th Century Britain for some reason. Musically, it's some Power Metal you'd expect from a European band - epic songs with memorable choruses and riffs, slower, more melodic and/or atmospheric numbers and longer, more progressive and instrument driven pieces. Also the album contains a cover of Michael Sembello's "Maniac" from the movie Flashdance - kind of a bizarre conclusion even if it's awesome. 

As usual, you get very talented guest performers whose talents are put to great use - this time around, we get vocals from Jorn's Jorn Lande, former Helloween vocalist Michael Kiske, former Queensrÿche vocalist Geoff Tate and Candice Night from Blackmore's Night (and Mrs. Ritchie Blackmore). Speaking of, Jorn and Geoff Tate (with Sweet Oblivion) had albums of their own this year, but I haven't checked them out. I do remember not being very keen on what I heard from Sweet Oblivion.


Crazy Lixx - Forever Wild (CD)

A fairly new band but the music and aestethics feel straight out of the 1980s. Very catchy songs, a couple of ballads and you get a solid record that reminded me of bands such as King Kobra, Foreigner, late 1980s Aerosmith and more. If I was to compare them with another band that comes across as a resurfaced 1980s outtake (don't take this as a mean remark), I'd say they are much more consistent than Enforcer whose Zenith is very hit-and-miss in the end and doesn't seem to stand up very well after a few listens - the first couple of songs are awesome, but then you get some good numbers mixed in with a lot of filler. Goes with the 1980s thing I guess, it seems bands were often trying to make their albums longer to fill CDs and threw in tracks that were very poor. Thinking of Kiss' Hot in the Shade notably.


Tora Tora - Bastards of Beale (CD)

Another retro sounding band, but more on the classic rock side of things. I discovered them by hearing the excellent "Giants fall" on a radio station and I thought it was Greta Van Fleet due to the very Led Zeppelin-esque riff. But unlike GVF who is often labelled a LZ copycat (they aren't as bad as bands like Kingdom Come in that department IMO), TT have their own identity and the result is some catchy, enjoyable numbers.



I don't think there are many 2019 albums I'd have bought out of those I picked (still hesitating on the Turilli/Lione Rhapsody album and on Overkill's The Wings of War, I have zero interest in the Within Temptation album, I wasn't sold on Children of Bodom's Hexed in spite of the praise, and there's a lot of obscure stuff that could be interesting like Entrails' Rise of the Reaper or Exumer's Hostile Defiance but good luck finding those), 12 new releases is actually quite a big amount for me compared to previous years - I bought something like half a dozen new releases in 2018 and barely a couple a year over the rest of the decade. 

I tend to buy many more older albums than new ones. Off the top of my head I got a couple of Alice Cooper CD compilations, some Blue Oyster Cult CDs, a couple of Status Quo CDs, nearly a dozen Frank Zappa/Mothers of Invention albums (including at least one on vinyl), a few Kiss CD bootlegs (and the 2-CD release of Psycho Circus with a bonus live CD from 1999), a Yes CD package with 5 albums from the late 1970s/1980s... 

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