Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Album Review: Holy Diver by Dio

Artist : Dio
Album : Holy Diver
Release Date : May, 1983
Label : Reprise Records, Warner Brothers (1990 CD Release)


  1. "Stand Up and Shout" (Dio/Bain)
  2. "Holy Diver" (Dio)
  3. "Gypsy" (Dio/Campbell)
  4. "Caught in the Middle" (Dio/Appice/Campbell)
  5. "Don't Talk to Strangers" (Dio)
  6. "Straight Through the Heart" (Dio/Bain)
  7. "Invisible" (Dio/Appice/Campbell)
  8. "Rainbow in the Dark" (Dio/Appice/Bain/Campbell)
  9. "Shame on the Night" (Dio/Appice/Bain/Campbell)


So here it is finally! The long awaited out first review of a heavy-metal album and what better way to start off than by paying homage to "the voice" of heavy-metal itself, Ronnie James Dio! I have to say that before I found metal, the impression cast upon me about it was not very positive but it all changed with the one song I heard that was pure metal; Holy Diver. That song alone made me fall in love with metal and Dio simultaneously.

Onto the album. This album was Dio's debut album of Dio's new band, (aptly named Dio) which employed the services of Vinnie Apice on drums who had worked with Dio during his stint with Black Sab, Jimmy Bain on bass of Rainbow fame, that too while Dio was there and finally Vivian Campbell on guitar, currently with Def Leppard.

This was an awesome album that had everything you can come to expect of Dio. Dio has this thing that he always brings the best out of everyone around him and that he did with this record. The album kicks off with an adrenaline rushing riff of "Stand up and shout" which was anthemic and made you get up and want to kick someone in the nuts! There could have been no better way to kick-start an album. "Holy Diver" , the title track, has a medium paced and hypnotic riff that captures listeners immediately to hear Dio's message. I love the part where Dio is shouting "Holy Diver" incessantly towards the end, amazing and powerful stuff! "Gypsy" was more of a hard-rock tune and was nicely blended in with the rest of the tracks, has an amazing riff and melody to it as well as do all the other tracks. I really did not fancy "Caught in the Middle", I felt there was something missing there but then that's too easy to say and not offer what was missing, but the music wasn't that powerful and the lyrics weren't really matched with the upbeat music, maybe some elements of LA Glam Metal being tested out here? Whatever the thing that didn't really cut it up there.

The remainder of the album was just super-fucking awesome, one song after another, great riffs, great melody, you get to see Dio's genius in blending some terrific music and Campbell comes into his own with some superb solo riffs in "Don't Talk to Strangers", "Invisible" and "Rainbow in the Dark", I got to see the video for "Rainbow"...hilarious! "Straight Through the Heart", and "Shame on the Night" are again amazing tracks with superb build-ups, "Straight Through" has an awesome opening with Appice showing what he's got and Campbell taking over soon after and "Shame" had an ominous opening with howling dogs which set the tone for the song, love the pauses in that song! "Invisible" has this weird-ass cheesy 70's pop start off reminiscent of the early disco era but then boy does it kick off !

This was an amazing album and I felt refreshed and energised having come back to it after so long and it's really hard to say what could be the best songs btu I would have to say "Don't talk to Strangers," "Rainbow in the Dark" and of course "Holy Diver", not to say that the other tracks were bad but these were the best! With Ronnie on the keyboards, one has to wonder why metalheads did not try to use more of that instrument since it adds another dimension to the melody but then again not everyone is a genius like Dio. A must have album!

Holy Diver, Sole (soul) Survivor!!!!!!!!!


Up the Irons! \m/

Sunday, May 21, 2006

VH1's Top 40 Metal Songs

In the spirit of the Metal Month on VH1, they aired a four-part series on the 40 greatest Metal Songs ever. Hosted by Sebastian Bach of Skid Row this was always going to be a list of some of the awesomestly bad and kick-ass tunes to have ever graced this planet! Well here is the list counting down.

40. "Breaking the Law" - Judas Priest
39. "I'm Eighteen" - Alice Cooper
38. "Balls to the Wall" - Accept
37. "Smoke on the Water" - Deep Purple
36. "Wait and Bleed" - Slipknot
35. "Metal Health" - Quiet Riot
34. "Paranoid" - Black Sabbath
33. "High 'N' Dry " - Def Leppard
32. "Thunder Kiss '65" - White Zombie
31. "Rock You Like a Hurricane" - Scorpions
30. "Epic" - Faith No More
29. "Caught in a Mosh" - Anthrax
28. "The Beautiful People" - Marilyn Manson
27. "Run to the Hills" - Iron Maiden
26. "Refuse/Resist" - Sepultura
25. "Cowboys From Hell" - Pantera
24. "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" - AC/DC
23. "Freak on a Leash" - Korn
22. "Enter Sandman" - Metallica
21. "Paradise City" - Guns 'N' Roses
20. "I Wanna Rock" - Twisted Sister
19. "Man in the Box" - Alice in Chains
18. "Slave to the Grind" - Skid Row
17. "Live Wire" - Motley Crue
16. "Walk" - Pantera
15. "Bulls on Parade" - Rage Against the Machine
14. "Toxicity" - System of a Down
13. "Rainbow in the Dark" - Dio
12. "Bring tha Noize" - Anthrax & Public Enemy
11. "Peace Sells" - Megadeth
10. "Ace of Spades" - Motorhead
9. "Crazy Train" - Ozzy Osbourne
8. "Raining Blood" - Slayer
7. "The Number of the Beast" - Iron Maiden
6. "Detroit Rock City" - KISS
5. "You've Got Another Thing Coming" - Judas Priest
4. "Back in Black" - AC/DC
3. "Master of Puppets" - Metallica
2. "Welcome to the Jungle" - Guns 'N' Roses
1. "Iron Man" - Black Sabbath

As with any list such as this there will be problems and disagreements. Naturally, we all don't share the same consensus otherwise the world would be listenin to heavy metal and not fuckin pop! For instance taking into account the fact that Deep Purple are considered to be THE forefathers of heavy metal it is a shame to see their tune "Smoke on the Water" so low in the list. It is one of my favourite songs of all time as well and I was saddened to see it appear so soon. Likewise, what the fuck is up with "Paranoid"??! That was supposed to have started the whole British Heavy Metal scene and not "Iron Man"! Frankly, I feel the compilers screwed this one up pretty bad. It should have been switched around a bit.

Not only that did I find a bit irritating, but also the fact that G'n'R was able to notch up two songs in the list and one of them at number two while my main man Dio only had one; and that was also from his band DIO. Personally, they missed some kick ass songs from the time when Dio was with Black Sab. Songs like "Sign of the Southern Cross", "Falling off the Edge of the World" in fact most songs from the Dehumanizer and Heaven and Hell, albums could have easily replaced some of the songs on this list. How could you forget THE quintessential voice of metal and the most bad-ass guitarist in metal, (for those who don't know, I'm talking about Dio and Tony Iommi).

And who the fuck are Slipknot?? Such a shame though since I was hoping to find "Hell's Bells" somewhere there but I am glad they atleast put "Dirty Deeds" as that was the song that introduced me to AC/DC. Bon Scott is a bad-ass!! "Back in Black" needs to be in any list I tell you! Good job there. I was kinda surprised to not see any Metallica songs from their S&M album, maybe they weren't metal enough but I certainly think that is what really started the metal mix, I mean you want to acknowledge bands like Slipknot and Korn and can't really put out a song from the album that brought them into mainstream? That's gotta be fucked up royally! And where in good God's name is Led Zep ???!!! DO NOT I repeat DO NOT tell me that they are not a legendary band. If AC/DC can make it there as a hard rock band then surely Led Zep can too. No "Stairway to Heaven" nor "Kashmir" better than any Anthrax and Public Enemy song put together.

Considering the current state of VH1 for them to even compile a list like this is still commendable. Naturally I'm a lil pissed off but in a time and era such as this, one can't complain too much.

Up the Irons! \m/

Saturday, May 20, 2006

METAL band wins Eurovision?!

Well, friends, if you think it's only obscure people like yours truly who bitch and moan about the lack of exposure heavy metal/hard rock gets these days, I can now safely say that you'd be wayyy off the mark. This weekend, the audience for the Eurovision song contest chose Lordi, a Finnish metal band, over the cookie-cutter pop, hip-hop and world music acts on offer. Their showstopping performance, complete with pyrotechnics, won them a clear margin of victory over the runner-up. How did a metal band that looks at home alongside the likes of Gwar and Slipknot (although they sound more like 80's era Ozzy or Europe with 'growling' vocals) end up winning a contest known for sugar-coated catchy pop tunes and syrupy ballads? Was it the shock value of their costumes? The appeal of their music? Or was it the voters way of expressing some sort of frustration with the status quo in popular music? According to the linked article, all three were probably major factors. In any case, let's face it, a lot of people are sick and tired of being force fed the same thing year after year. This is a welcome change, let's hope it adds further momentum to the rock revival that's already been initiated in Europe over the last few years.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Metal Month on VH1

So, finally one of these commercial music channels decided to air some hard rock and metal. This time it's VH1, who happen to be celebrating Metal Month during May. Which is quite awesome and kick-ass, but the problem is that these bastards still aren't airing much. I know metal/HR (hard rock) have taken a backseat with the new generation but c'mon man you could still give it more air time. If this month is dedicated to metal then I would expect to see mostly that when I tune into VH1 but again these idiots have not done that! When I first heard of Metal Month I was literally having orgasms at the thought that bands like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Dio etc. will be gracing my boob-tube, but as it so happens I am appalled at the minimal exposure metal is getting despite this being its month.

It is sad to see the current generation opt for genres that I would not even consider music or good music for that matter, hip-hop, gangsta rap (are they fuckin serious?????!!!), soft rock (can rock ever be soft? fuck them!) but hey if that is how these young dimwits wanna go then that's fine by me. Music is supposed to be an expression and metal is known to go to extremes to achieve that effect, from the lyrics to album art and what not metal, is known for such gaudy displays. All hip-hop and rap is about overtly sexual themes and lyrics that are far too unintelligible to make a point. Compare Iron Maiden's "Alexander the Great" to Ying Yang Twins' "Shake it like a salt-shaker" and you will see where I'm comin from. Then we have all these slutty teenyboppers and gay ass boy bands. Music has no meaning in it anymore.

Anyways so VH1 decides to deidcate May to metal which is cool nonetheless. Better than nothing I'd say.

Up the Irons! \m/

Upcoming Book On Metal Album Art

A new book by rock journalists James Sherry and Neil Aldiss that showcases some of heavy metal's best album covers is scheduled to be published next month. It documents album covers from the early years of metal (Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, etc.) to present day releases. More info from MTV.com here. I say it's about time a book like this is published. There are plenty of books on rock n' roll/pop album covers that feature a handful of metal album covers, but this book focuses entirely on metal. I'd definitely like to browse this one if I see it on the shelves at bookstores.

Ron Thal of "Bumblefoot" fame joins Guns N' Roses

According to a Blabbermouth.net report, Ron Thal is now a full-time member of Guns N' Roses. I gotta wonder why Axl feels he needs the services of shredders like Thal and Buckethead, the previous lead guitarist. I like shred as much as the next guy, especially from mega-guitarists like Thal or Buckethead, but I still don't feel that I'm going to enjoy listening to some weird industrial/nu-metal version of GN'R, even if it has some great shredding over it. If I recall correctly, that's why Slash left in the first place, 'cause Axl didn't want to pursue the blues-based hard rock direction any further. Oh well, let's wait and see.