Tag Archives: metal

Top 10 Iron Maiden Albums

So Iron Maiden is my favourite metal band of all-time, they’re a band that has been doing their thing for almost 40 years now (technically they have, but their first official album release was in 1980) and each album that comes out continue to be phenomenal records and they seem like even in 2016, they are still one of the best bands out there, their music isn’t getting old anytime soon it seems. So that being the case, it seems only fitting for me to give my personal top 10 of all their albums!

10

A solid record, Dance of Death was the second album released since Bruce Dickinson returned from hiatus and proved that Brave New World wasn’t a fluke, Iron Maiden was back and in full force. Some solid tracks on the album, including the nice and short Rainmaker, an epic track in No More Lies and Dance of Death, which may just have the best opening of any Iron Maiden song out there with probably my favourite opening lyric:

“Let me tell you a story to chill the bones, about a thing that I saw…”

Awesome.

09

The entire first side of this record is fantastic, MoonchildInfinite DreamsCan I Play With Madness and The Evil That Men Do, which is probably my favourite Maiden track that’s been covered, it just sounds so good when other bands play it. And The Clairvoyant is still to go on the other side! The album is a fantastic classic record in the Maiden library, epic tracks, great riffs, just a great listen.

08

I think a lot of Maiden fans really downplay how good the first two albums with Paul Di’Anno actually are and Killers is no exception. With some just badass tracks like Wrathchild and Purgatory, it’s a great album to listen to and hear just how much the sound has changed between this album and the first Bruce Dickinson album of Number of the Beast. Not that it makes Killers bad though, I do enjoy the slightly more punk-ish phase Maiden went through with these two albums, Purgatory remains one of my favourite tracks in their entire library.

07

The Trooper is on this album, need I say more? The second Dickinson album, once again proving the first effort wasn’t a fluke and this was going to be a consistent effort. With other fantastic tracks such as Where Eagles Dare and To Tame A Land (which Dream Theater does a fantastic cover of on their Black Clouds & Silver Linings record), Piece of Mind is considered a fan favourite amongst all the more classic Maiden records. I mean come on! Trooper!

06

One of the last albums I’ve actually bought a hard copy of, I was so excited to buy this album after being exposed to Maiden’s newer music after a Dream Theater/Iron Maiden show in Toronto. It was fantastic to be a part of Maiden’s #1 charting record in Canada and the music didn’t disappoint either. I pretty much adore the first half of the album without question, Satellite 15…The Final Frontier has one of the coolest intros ever and tracks like El Dorado, Mother of Mercy, Coming Home and Isle of Avalon are just wonderful tracks to listen to, especially with some of the best sound quality you can get from a Maiden record.

05

This album may not be overall better than some of the albums listed before it, but it gains a ton of points for having my favourite Maiden track of all-time on it, For The Greater Good of God on it. The track has my favourite solos, which aren’t crazy complex like other songs are and the entire beat of the song is just so powerful. Not that it’s the only good track on the album, songs like These Colours Don’t Run and The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg are also badass tracks in their own right. But yeah man, best track of all Maiden songs. Sorry, that’s my opinion!

04

Once again, I love the Paul Di’Anno records and the original Iron Maiden record is a phenomenally good record. Prowler is an intense track, Running Free is like a wicked punk track and I love my punk music, Phantom of the Opera is an epic track with a fantastic dueling guitar solo from Dave Murray and Dennis Stratton and Iron Maiden is just a classic! Especially when the album got a remastering, the tracks just sounded phenomenal and continues to be a common listen for me.

03

“We want information…information…information. Who are you? …You are number two. Who is number one? You…are number six. I AM NOT A NUMBER, I AM A FREE MAN! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!”

The Prisoner, fucking love that intro. Number of the Beast is considered the iconic album of the entire band’s library, the album that skyrocketed the band to new heights with Bruce Dickinson as their new vocalist and frontman. There’s so many good tracks on this album, from of course The Prisoner as I mentioned earlier and the three classics that everyone wants to hear at a live show, Hallowed Be Thy Name, Run To The Hills and of course Number of the Beast with that epic scream from Bruce Dickinson that he apparently could never replicate. This is arguably the album everyone holds up as the definitive Iron Maiden record.

But I’ve got two more to name…

02

My favourite classic Iron Maiden album. There are so many tracks on this album I adore and a ton of classics on it too. Aces High is the de facto concert opener from the band, 2 Minutes to Midnight is an iconic track from the band (which was in GTA: Vice City!) that will never grow old, Powerslave has one of the coolest sounding riffs of any Maiden song, having an Egyptian sound to these powering guitar chords and other notable tracks on the album include the 14-minute epic Rime of the Ancient MarinerFlesh of the Blade and The Duellists. There’s so much fantastic music on this album, it’s impossible to say anything bad about the album. It’s even my favourite album cover of them all.

01

Some people may be beyond shocked by this choice. “An album from the 2000s is the best Maiden album?! Are you crazy?!” Well yes I am indeed crazy, but having Brave New World as my favourite Maiden album of all-time is not one of the things that define it. There is not a single track on this album I wouldn’t skip, some of my favourite tracks are also on this album, but there’s also some sentimental value in the record. At the Iron Maiden show I went to in Toronto, it was not long after Ronnie James Dio had passed away, so they played Blood Brothers in tribute to his memory and that song has become one of my favourites, holding on its own, being the track I love to play on guitar the most. But yeah, every track is fantastic, The Wicker Man has a badass chorus, Ghost of the Navigator has a badass intro, Brave New World is an epic track with those verses, The Mercenary is a badass shorter track, Dream of Mirrors is a break from the power and a little bit of a softer track before exploding in the second half, The Fallen Angel has one of my favourite opening riffs of all Maiden’s music, The Nomad brings me back a bit to Powerslave’s style, which is always a plus, Out of the Silent Planet has a really cool sci-fi feel to it and The Thin Line Between Love and Hate is probably my favourite song for Bruce Dickinson’s vocals.

I could gush so much more on this album but what can I really say that just listening to the album in full yourselves won’t tell you in much broader detail? So yeah, Brave New World’s my favourite Maiden record!


What’s your favourite Iron Maiden albums? Don’t hesitate to list them in the comments below!

Top 10 Metal Bands (Personal Favourites)

Break out your chains, leather and…lace? This top 10 is all about heavy metal bands, going from the originals from the late 60s all the way to the present day, from the heaviest of music to the cheesiest, this isn’t just about your normal metal bands, this about everyone. Why? Cause this list isn’t about the 10 best metal bands in history, it’s just my 10 personal favourite. So remember, this list has nothing to do with a band being better than another, this is literally my 10 most favourite metal bands right now at this very moment. So please keep that in mind when reading this list.

Why am I not just doing a top 10 metal bands of all-time list? Because that’s subjective and I don’t listen to every single band or have a massive staff that have that musical range. So it makes no sense to do that, so instead I’m focusing on my own personal top 10.

10

Yes, a band whose frontman is professional wrestler Chris Jericho is on my top 10 all-time metal band list. Remember this is my personal favourites, not best overall. I really do believe that Fozzy is a super underrated band and with each album they keep getting better. Their first two albums which consisted of covers wasn’t really that great. When All That Remains came out, it was a decent album where their tracks were now original. The music was still very heavy and Jericho’s singing really sounded a lot better, likely due to the fact that this was his own songs to sing to, rather than emulating someone else. Then Chasing The Grail was released and holds my favourite all-time song from the band, Wormword, a nearly fourteen-minute epic track. Followed by newer albums Sin and Bones (which features M. Shadows on one track, Sandpaper) and Do You Wanna Start A War, the band has really shown their chops as a legitimate metal band. Unfortunately to most casual listeners, knowing the lead singer is a professional wrestler seems to turn them off the band, which is disappointing. Give them a listen if you never have before, I strongly suggest the following songs: Wormword, Lights Go Out, Sandpaper, Spider in my Mouth.

09

I love bands who mix weird genres into metal music and Enter Shikari is no different. The first time I listened to their debut album, Take to the Skies, I was immediately hooked by the uniqueness of their music. I believe I got onto them because of NHL 08 now that I think about it, Sorry You’re Not A Winner was a track in that game. The mixture of heavy metal (which seems to be argued between people, but it sounds metal to me, which for this list is all that matters) and electronic music was so different to me that I couldn’t help but notice it. Following albums like Common Dreads and A Flash Flood of Colour only cemented their spot in my playlists for possibly the rest of my life, it’s still very weird to me that my favourite song by the band is called Gandhi Mate, Gandhi. Their newest album though, The Minesweep, haven’t really gotten into that one.

08

All right, some legendary bands everyone knows. I missed the boat on this band because of the whole being born in 1988 thing. But I remember first hearing of the band with their The Black Album songs like Enter Sandman and Nothing Else Matters. It took some time though before I would dig back into their old tracks, as I never really had the initiative to do so. Then Guitar Hero and Rock Band changed my mind on that and god damn are the original albums good! Tracks like Master of Puppets, Blackened, Seek & Destroy, For Whom The Bell Tolls, the pure aggressiveness of those songs were just badass. And then with the band getting their groove back with Death Magnetic, it finally allowed me to experience Metallica in the present day, rather than catching up with the older stuff. And while I don’t listen to them as much as I used to, they are still a fantastic group when you listen to anything not from St. Anger.

07

The original metal band many would argue (because Led Zeppelin is not metal, stop it), Black Sabbath even though I don’t listen to them often, they’re on this list purely for the value of listening to the original heavy metal tracks like Black Sabbath, Iron Man, War Pigs and Paranoid and just being so mesmerized by listening to the music that created my favourite genre of music. There’s still a ton of music I haven’t listened to from them, I will admit, a lot of it simply being that there’s a ton of their songs that are either a bit off to me, perhaps not hard enough for me, or just because I have a tough time listening to much older tracks, as sound quality is something that can bother me when listening. Although Ronnie James Dio can make an old record still sound fantastic, so there’s that. And with Black Sabbath, it’s mostly about listening to the original stuff, the new stuff is certainly hit and miss, End of the Beginning is a nice callback to the old music, it does carry that feeling of Black Sabbath with it. But like Metallica, it’s a nostalgic listen more than a consistent one.

06

The first time I heard The Madness and the Damage Done, I could not believe what my ears were hearing…then I heard Fisheye and my brain exploded. “METAL AND FUCKING JAZZ?!!!” I thought in my own head listening to those tracks, it made no sense to me how those two genres of music would come together, let alone sound as good as it does. “Blackjazz” is now a thing and it’s fantastic. Following up the Blackjazz album with One One One, with tracks like I Won’t Forget and The One Inside, they really put themselves in a place where I cannot ignore them. Also, the intro to How Your Story Ends may just be the best and most badass intro to a song ever, holy shit that saxophone! And with their newest album International Blackjazz Society and the first single from it The Last Stand, it’s almost like they’ve found a way to sort of mainstream that sound. They’re fan-fucking-tastic!

05

This is a band that legitimately scared the shit out of me when I saw them at a younger age. I also honestly didn’t get the music the first time I listened to it. Then I started working factory jobs and suddenly People = Shit and (sic) sound so much better. The pure aggressive nature of the band is what really attracts me to them, songs like those I listed before are shining examples of that, there’s no stopping with them. More mainstream songs however like Psychosocial are still fantastic tracks that are a little bit easier to play in front of unsuspecting listeners. And being able to watch their music videos now without be creeped out is awesome, I love that I can watch the music video for The Devil and I without being freaked out by it. And obviously there’s value in the masks and the stage presence this band has, there’s very few bands that can come close to the freak show that is Slipknot.

04

From the freak show to the badass show, Judas fucking Priest, man! Another one of those bands I was extremely late to the party on, it took until watching VH1’s Heavy: The Story of Metal before I ever took a look at these guys (the #1 band also falling into this category) and once I did, holy shit did my mind blow and subsequently expanded to allow a ton of more music into it. British Steel, Killing Machine, Screaming for Vengeance, Painkiller, the albums just never stopped coming, more and more tracks being added to my playlists, it was a phenomenal time for me as a listener. It’s also so amazing to see how different frontman Rob Halford changed his image with age, it’s weird seeing him now and thinking this guy was clean shaven with short, blonde hair. Also the discovery of him being gay makes it even cooler and actually kind of hilarious that one of the gods of heavy metal, which is viewed as such a macho straight male kind of genre, does not fall into that category. It’s kind of funny when you think about it, these guys really brought in leather to the genre and it was taking that from the homosexual cupboard so to speak, but straight men thought it was so badass, they took it on without question. Love it!

03

Yep, a metal band that consists of a bunch of dudes in makeup and has three teenage Japanese girls as their vocalists is placed above bands like Sabbath, Priest, Metallica and Slipknot. BABYMETAL is my fucking jam right now, man! The first time I heard Gimme Chocolate, I was hooked instantly. I absolutely love Japanese culture, I think nearly anything they touch is pure gold, they know how to make even the weirdest concepts work and a heavy metal band with J-Pop influences worked tremendously. After a fantastic entry with their debut album, we just recently got their second album, which I wasn’t even sure would exist given the idol system in Japan, in Metal Resistance and it shows how the band is evolving. With their success largely outside of Japan, the music is becoming more Westernized, while keeping the spirit of the original album. You may not hear tracks as blatantly J-Pop as Doki Doki Morning, but tracks like Meta Taro still exist. But with these amazing tracks like Karate and The One now in their playlist, they’re headed in a direction I am more than happy to follow and I hope they stick around long enough for a third album, though my fear is the band will continue on, but refresh the singers with younger talent instead of letting them do this (if they want to continue on, of course) until they grow old, which would be the band members first at this point.

02

I will never tire of listening to this band, Dream Theater could release a single song that’s over two hours in length and I will listen to it. Mind you it’s been a tough transition with legendary drummer Mike Portnoy no longer with the band (that’s okay, I got The Winery Dogs out of this), but there are newer tracks I’m still into. The majority of my listening though are there 2000s albums, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, Train of Thought, Octavarium, Systematic Chaos and Black Clouds & Silver Linings. Anything older and newer has been hit and miss for me, but those five albums are fucking phenomenal. The heavy riffs, the guitar solos, the keyboard solos, the amazing drum fills, it’s all there with this band. It’s amazing that a band this talented never garnered any legitimate mainstream attention, but then again the mainstream music industry is retarded and rewards looks over talent more than anything, but I digress. Also, this band being one of the few acts I’ve gone to see live (cause I’m not a concert go-er, I don’t like big crowds), really puts them in a high place for me.

But then again, there’s still the #1 band on this list and they just happened to be the headliner of the show I watched Dream Theater open…

01

There is no band in the history of music that I respect, love and have listened to more than Iron Maiden. This is a band that released their first album in 1980 and minus the two albums that Blaze Bayley replaced Bruce Dickinson for, every album has been fantastic and just keeps staying the status quo as the best metal band of all-time for me. The original Paul Di’Anno albums: awesome! The seven albums leading up to Bruce’s temporary departure from the band: amazing! And the newest five albums from them, when most of these acts tend to be nowhere near as good as their 80s and 90s work? I’d honestly put two of these albums in the top 5 all-time Maiden albums. Come to think of it, I think I have my top 10 list for next week! But yeah, there’s nothing I can say about Iron Maiden that isn’t me gushing, the guitarists (all three of them!) are phenomenally talented, their bassist is just as good, the drums are fantastic and come on, Bruce Dickinson is possibly the best metal frontman of all time. AND I HAVEN’T EVEN MENTIONED EDDIE YET!!! This band is the fucking best man, and I will argue everyone to no end on this!


So I hope you enjoyed this list, don’t forget to leave your own personal top 10s in the comments below!

 

REVIEW: BABYMETAL – Metal Resistance

01

I’ve been looking forward to a second BABYMETAL album since hearing the first one, but I was unsure if I’d ever get to hear one. Japan is a strange beast when it comes to musical acts. I wasn’t sure if the band would be around long enough, as the girls may “graduate” from the group, perhaps it’s a whole new set of girls, there were a lot of possibilities I wondered about. But luckily it was all me freaking out and the second album is a real thing, released on April Fools no less.

So here’s my first album review, we’ll do it by track.

01. Road to Resistance

This song has been around for a while, even longer than the single ‘Karate’, which we’ll get to. I’m surprised this song was on the album, I did not expect this song to be put on it. Right away you can hear the Dragonforce addition to this track and it creates a much different style than we’re used to hear with BABYMETAL, there’s no extra gimmick to this song, it’s a straight-forward speedy melodic metal track. Even Su-metal’s vocals are set up similar to how Dragonforce songs are song. The only thing I don’t like about this song is that the pre-chorus sounds a bit rushed, lyrically, like they’re trying to fit too many words in so little time. I’ve actually tried to play this song due to fan-generated Rocksmith content, minus the crazy solos the song is actually super fun to play, I love the chord progression of this song. Also, the clear Dragonforce “Whoa-oh-oh-ohhhhhh!” is sung is this song as well, which never gets old honestly.

02. KARATE

I’m absolutely fucking addicted to this track. Ever since the single was released I’ve been listening to it non-stop, this song got me super hyped for the new album. The opening riff is badass, I still need to figure it out myself, want to play it so badly. Then the song devolves into the usual routine, cheesy verse with Moa and Yui and then Su just takes it over. Her pre-chorus and chorus vocals in this song are off the charts tremendous, it’s badass and beautiful at the same time, it’s mind-blowing for me that something so beautiful can also be so badass. Another thing that’s really incredible about this song is just how well the drums really pound this song into your head, particularly in the opening riff and chorus. Finishing near the end with that softer part, this song really comes off like a legitimate heavy metal track you might actually hear on the radio. Honestly if this song wasn’t in Japanese, I’d expect to hear this on the radio and if it were up to me I’d have this on the radio regardless. An incredible track, my favourite one on this album without question.

03. Awadama Fever

Hello crazy techno intro. This song is super happy for a track with such a tough, scratching guitar track. I could see a song like this being edited down to 90 seconds for an anime intro, it’s happy enough that it could work in spades for a show. I’m a little disappointed in this track with how none of the instruments are really easy to hear, it’s all meshed together into this techno-ish track, over-edited a bit to match the style they were probably going for in this song. This song though really lets Moa and Yui get their stuff in a little more and it works wonders vocally. It’s really the music that bugs me on this track.

04. YAVA!

Holy crap I thought I was about to face a final boss listening to that intro. This is a much better sounding track with techno influence, the guitar in the verse has a rough ska feeling to it as well, which is double awesome. They let the instruments sound much clearer in this track, which works wonders compared to the previous track. The drum track in the chorus is perfect, makes it feel even faster than the song actually is, it’s a lot slower than it sounds but the drums really hammer it home. My favourite is definitely the synthesizer sections in the track, they really give the song its own charm here.

05. Amore

Time for a slower track, something more similar to Ijime, Dame, Zettai…or at least that’s what I thought. Then the dueling guitar solos start and holy shit I’m way into this track. This song actually sounds a lot more like a mixture of Ijime, Dame, Zettai and Akatsuki, a bit of the softer stuff but then going right back into the faster, harder section. Also, holy shit that bass solo! This song is full of great soloing sections, a guitarist’s paradise to say the least. Just kick back and listen to your wrists getting sore from the craziness of the guitars in this song.

06. Meta Taro

I thought Anamanaguchi was about to play a track for us instead. The transition between that 8-bit intro and the actual song is so odd that I’m not even sure whether I like it because it’s such a weird transition, or if I’m actually weirded out by this choice. We went from Anamanaguchi to Van Canto or something like Nightwish without warning in this track, it’s definitely a weird amalgamation of musical styles. My ears were not prepared for this track. AND THIS ISN’T MY FIRST TIME LISTENING TO BABYMETAL, HOW DID THEY DO THIS?!!!

07. From Dusk Till Dawn

Right off the bat, this song does tell me they’re trying to commercialize the band a little more, likely due to their viral success overseas in North America and Europe. This track sounds a lot like your standard emo metal music that you’d hear in a Hot Topic or something. This is a BABYMETAL track that actually sounds like something and not its own, I’m not sure whether to be disappointed that it’s not overly weird or happy with them because they’re making an effort to gain real traction worldwide. There’s more to the song though, get that little bit of dubstep mix in there like Uki Uki ★ Midnight did on their last album, but it’s not nearly as prevalent as that track was with it.

08. GJ!

I imagine this song will be an opening track for a lot of their shows, they can use that intro riff and extend it as long as they want to get the crowd ramped up for the girls’ arrival. The song also is a great introduction of what the band is, a bit of everything you expect from BABYMETAL, the heavy rift, the cheesy talking verses (which they’ll probably have really silly dances to), the silly sound effects added in like the cartoon doink at the 2-minute mark. Now that I think about it, this might actually be a song where Su isn’t the center focus of the track, it sounds like Yui and Moa are getting the majority of the work in this track.

09. Sis. Anger

There’s clearly a lot of Western influences throughout this album, I feel like this song has a lot of Slipknot influence to it, of course getting the ever-so-awesome BABYMETAL treatment put over it. The chorus is creepy as fuck too, it sounds like a happy death march, a set of three words you didn’t think would work together. If there’s anything I can criticize about this track is the lack of melody with the vocals, it’s not that great with BABYMETAL having the same small range of vocals with these girls. The track is still badass, but I would’ve liked a little more of that Su-metal vocal flair to it.

10. No Rain, No Rainbow

Awww shit, now we’re breaking out the piano. It’s like a cheesy romantic track, only in Japan can you have that on an album with this much speed metal and have the double bass going on in the background with the piano. The song keeps ramping up, adding in the guitars and some violins. Now that I think about it, it comes off a lot like a Queen track, that’s really awesome now that I think about it. Anything with Queen having to do with it is going to be a soft spot for me. Nice slower guitar solos as well, which are always great (and not just because I might be able to play them) to me.

11. Tales of the Destinies

Wow, the mixture of progressive metal influences in this song. Let me rattle off a few names just to give you an idea of how many different acts I heard in this song. Dream Theater with those beautiful synths, Opeth with the soft, yet super heavy riffs, Between the Buried and Me with the very quick and sometimes silly guitar melodies. That’s just three acts that I heard within the first 30 seconds. This song might as well be called “Tales of Prog Metal”. Though as the song drags on longer, the Dream Theater influence becomes the shining majority, the cheesy wild west piano, the synths, the Mike Portnoy classic drum beats, yeah I could see this being on one of their albums. This is song is so awesome, it’s a shame that KARATE is so good because I’d love to show this track to people first, but KARATE’s just gotta be that first track.

12. THE ONE (English Version)

Where was this song released in Japanese? I haven’t heard it before. Upon research, turns out this track is in Japanese if you buy it in Japan. That’s bullshit, why not release them both? The song was the second single put up on their YouTube channel which was badass, though the song is a little weird to me, mainly because since I hear it all in English, it ruins the experience of not knowing if the song is repeating itself constantly with its lyrics. Having the song in full English ruins that experience, since I can understand the lyrics being sung. However, Su-metal’s English is actually really good, she doesn’t have the usual funny syllables that Japanese singers always struggle with, she’s clear 95% of the time, a few syllable transitions she doesn’t quite get out fluently, but it’s still great nonetheless. This track is also coming with a lot of Dream Theater influence I think. The main problem with this song, Yui and Moa are barely present at all in this song. Is it because they can’t sing English much? Either way, the song suffers without the two of them being an integral part of the song as much as Su always is.


Final Thoughts

I was so hyped for this album and while it wasn’t as amazing as I thought it would be (after all, I’m basing this off the incredible previous album) it’s still one of the best albums I’ll be listening to this year, I think. BABYMETAL is such a different beast musically and that’s a large part of why I love them as much as I do, they’re so different from anything else I listen to. There are a few fantastic tracks on the album with of course KARATE, Tales of the Destinies and Road to Resistance. There’s your classic weird ones like Awadama Fever and YAVA! and of course the newer more Westernized additions like THE ONE and From Dusk Till Dawn. There’s a lot more for outside audiences to find and like, while their first album was purely something you had to be really open to enjoy if you’d never listened to anything Japanese before. But man, if you like metal at all, you have to give this album a listen for sure!

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