Artist: Twisted Sister
Title: “Still Hungry”
Label: Spitfire Records
Release Date: 10/19/2004
Genre: Heavy Metal
As a long time Twisted Sister fan I had very high hopes when I heard that a re-issue of the classic “Stay Hungry” album would be hitting the stands. However, it soon became official word that instead of this edition the CD would be re-recording of every single track from the classic we all know and love. Vocalist Dee Snider explained that this was done to capture the “original vision” of the band and this release. I had some reservations with this for it made me think of when George Lucas added all the footage to Star Wars some 20 years later and told us that this is the way he had meant for us to see it when it was originally released. The criticism that Dee Snider seemed to have was that the album did not receive the proper production level. Honestly I thought it sounded fine. It was heavy, and it was enjoyable to see a heavy record receive some acclaim on radio stations of the time. Whether you loved them or hates them, you could ignore the catchy riffs and vocal lines of those songs. This release is entitled “Still Hungry” and it begins as you expect with the thundering opener. However, once the CD begins you can immediately notice a difference. The clearest fact is the feeling that it is not produced enough and come off more as rough mixes rather than finished and edited songs. I felt I was listening to rough demos of some of my favorite songs rather than a new and more exciting view of them. I have to admit that I expected a lot more from this portion of the CD, as with todays technology and the fact that the players are ever more seasoned it gave me that expectation. I enjoyed it enough, but not feeling that these should have been tampered with.
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Artist: Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Title: “Christmas Eve & Other Stories”
Label: Lava Records
Release Date: 10/15/1996
Genre: Holiday Rock
Let’s get this clear from the beginning. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra comes from Savatage and oddly enough there are still some people who are not aware of this as the origin point of the group. The signature piece of this Metal Ensemble entitled “Christmas Eve Sarajevo” first appeared on the Savatage CD “Dead Winter Dead”. The tune stood out on the CD back then and also received a large amount of airplay on stations that would never play the music of Savatage in the first place. The music of 1996 was very steeped in the “alternative” movement and hard rock music was seldom heard and looked to die a quiet death. Clearly this track would prove another road could be taken with heavy music.
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Label: SPV Records
Release Date: 2/1/2005
Genre: Gothic Metal
While I felt much of this CD was enjoyable, I found there were some weird moments in which I had trouble defining the sound I was hearing. It kicks off right away with the guttural growls of Kjetil Ingebrethsen. He is accompanied by the almost angelic voiced Vibeke Stene. I found it unique that three singers are present in this group from Norway as usually in a group like this you will have both a male and female singer. One sees this most often in bands like Nightwish and Lacuna Coil. However, in the case of Tristania you cannot compare them to either of those bands. Tristania is unique in its direction as more of the Gothic style, than that of straight ahead power metal. I felt this group had the most in common with Epica from the Netherlands.
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Title: “Stages” – Remastered
Label: TML Entertainment
Release Date: 10/2004 (1985)
Genre: Hard Rock
There is nothing like a good live album when it comes to big arena-level rock. Triumph were specialists in the field of concert performance and this remaster of their 1985 Concert piece entitled “Stages” is a testament to that fact. The CD was originally recorded over the course of several of the bands tours, so the fact that is crosses many years in their career makes it all that much more interesting to listen to. Like all live albums of the time, this particular one did not skimp on including all of the classic numbers. The radio hits as well as the fan favorites are all here to listen to in a fresh and cleaner production.
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Artist: Dimmu Borgir
Title: “Death Cult Armageddon”
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: 9/9/2003
Genre: Symphonic Black Metal
It was at the suggestion of some Friends who tread the path of much darker and heavier metal than I normally listen to that I decided to find some music by Dimmu Borgir. Dimmu, who hail from the Nordic Lands are currently considered the Kings Of Black Metal and for good reason. I will admit to you all that the Black Metal genre has escaped my notice until I played this CD. I instantly became a fan of this group, and hoped I would get to see them perform in a live situation soon. It was late December last year that I was able to sate this urge at a L’Amour appearance and they were brutal when experienced in person. The band is fronted by Shagrath (vocals), and rounded out by Silenoz (guitars), Galder (also known for his work with Old Man’s Child on lead guitar), Mustis (keyboards), Vortex (bass guitar and clean vocals) & Nick Barker (drums).
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