Here is my dirty little secret regarding Queensrÿche. No, it’s not that I really dig the new incarnation with Todd La Torre – that’s neither dirty nor a secret. No, it’s that nine times out of ten when I’m reaching for a Queensrÿche album I don’t reach for Operation: Mindcrime. In fact, it’s been years since I felt the need to revisit that album, which truth be told to these ears hasn’t aged all that well. Nope, when I want to scratch that progressive hard rock itch, I reach for Empire. That’s right; fight me if you want but despite not having a pseudo-SF storyline and 10+ minute “suites” I think Empire feels darker and deeper as an album, which an overall stronger collection of songs. There…that feels good to get off my chest.
Continue reading “Queensrÿche: Empire (1990)”
It’s probably not a shock, but when I was in my teens I loved the hair/glam/hard rock scene. We were always looking for the next great chorus to sing along to, the next wicked solo. Everyone had their favorites, and mine was Lillian Axe: a hard rock band out of New Orleans who could certainly play to the MTV and hair crowd with songs like “Show A Little Love” but really nailed it on their heavier, almost progressive (for a 80s hard rock band with hair that high) tracks. It’s been a hot minute since the band had done any new music; but as I was putting together my Nine Circles Best of 2022 list I needed a breather from all the extremity so turned to the band only to see that – lo and behold – back in August they released their first album in 10 years, From Womb to Tomb. Another non-shocker: more than a few of those songs have that magic to bring me right back to that time where every chorus was bathed in the glow of youth.
Continue reading “Lillian Axe: From Womb to Tomb (2022)”
Despite being a massive Black Sabbath AND Dio fan, I’m here to sheepishly admit I rarely if ever listen to the albums the two made together. I usually stick to the first six album for both parties, but when I saw a great condition original pressing of Mob Rules at my shop I couldn’t pass it up and take a chance to dig deeper and see what works, what doesn’t, and how it compares to the discography I tend to stick to. Plus that album art…damn if this isn’t maybe one of the best covers in all of heavy metal.
Continue reading “Black Sabbath: Mob Rules (1981)”
Day 5 of the #mayvinylchallenge asks for a record from where you grew up. I didn’t want to cheat with all of NY, since that opens up all the city, and I definitely did not grow up there. Nope, I’m an upstate boy through and through, so options were a bit more limited. Thank to whatever was in the water in Cortland, NY back in the day because it turned a young Ronald James Padavona into the King of Rock and Roll himself, Dio. And though there are betters options to talk about, the only album I have on vinyl (I’m not counting his work with Sabbath or Rainbow) is his final outing with Vivian Campbell, 1985’s Sacred Heart.
Continue reading “Dio: Sacred Heart (1985)”
I’m as surprised as you. Well, maybe not so surprised: it’s a late Friday night, I’m already a few whiskeys in, and listening to the great HiFi Dream Machine. It was inevitable Uriah Heep was going to come back up. A few months back I picked up from my local record shop the final entry in the band’s trilogy of great records from 1971-1972 The Magician’s Birthday, so what better time than now to complete my Heep triumvirate? Follow me down the rabbit hole as I go track by track, drinking more whiskey than I ought and reveling in the sounds of the 70s. Who’s with me?
Continue reading “Uriah Heep: The Magician’s Birthday (1972)”
It might be that I came to Sir Lord Baltimore as one of those bands always talked about when discussing the birth of heavy metal. You can spread your tentacles to perhaps more obscure bands (which reminds me I need to get my Lucifer’s Friend albums in here) but I’ve always heard Sir Lord Baltimore spoke of as part of the foundation made mighty by Black Sabbath that gave rise to the genre. Their debut Kingdom Come has always been around in various playlists, heard as background mixed with dozens of other bands and albums, but now getting a nice copy on vinyl affords me the chance to get a closer listen and see what’s that with that skeletal ship sailing across the skies.
Continue reading “Sir Lord Baltimore – Kingdom Come (1970)”