Artist: W.A.S.P. Title: “Babylon” Label: Demolition Records Release Date: 10/27/2009 Genre: Heavy Metal Rating: 3.75/5
I’ve read a number of reviews where fans are faulting Blackie Lawless and company for revisiting a few musical themes on their latest release “Babylon” and when one considers how many artists did a “return to form” release back in 2007-2008 I can hardly see why this is an issue when W.A.S.P. chooses to do the same. That being said, I found the material on “Babylon” to be rather enjoyable as a series of new tunes for the W.A.S.P. library and while there is a lot of groove and vibe that calls to mind “The Last Command” and even their self-titled “W.A.S.P.” in some respects, there is nothing akin to “Inside The Electric Circus” (thank the dark gods for that). Sadly I could not compare it to the bands previous effort “Dominator” as I never even saw it on the shelves in any of the retailers of my region and with the price of import CD’s still being rather high, this economy meant we would just bypass it. Back to “Babylon”, the album follows a theme and that is around the biblical four horsemen and even though this is the case I was able to enjoy the songs as stand alone numbers. It starts off strong with an extended intro on “Crazy” but I preferred the third track “Babylon’s Burning” a little more and yes I know this sounds just a wee bit like “Restless Gypsy” with some of the chords but it’s really not all that similar across the whole tune. The first of two covers came up next with Deep Purple’s “Burn” and I guess this number fit in the framework of the apocalypse when it was all said and done. I’ve always liked the way W.A.S.P. put their mark on another artists track and thing the past releases have given us some strong offerings. Continue reading “Babylon” by W.A.S.P.→
Artist: Hydrogyn Title: “Deadly Passions” Label: Demolition Records Release Date: 6/10/2008 Genre: Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Rating: 3.5/5
Fronted by the stunning Julie Westlake, the band Hydogyn offer up some tasty Hard Rock with a Metal twist on the CD “Deadly Passions”. Though their history has found them to be busy as hell after already being at the game for a few years, they are still pretty much a best kept secret in the larger scheme of things. The songs on “Deadly Passion” are sure to break some new ground for the band because while rocking throughout there is an easy accessibility to be found across the release. It opens up with “Rejection”, a tune that finds powerful drumming, solid guitar riffs from Jeff Westlake, and the soaring vocals of Julie. It’s a real head banger when it comes down to it. “On And On” teases with some slower sections before a nice heavy chorus kicks in and I thought the use of a darker male vocal on points of emphasis in said chorus was a nice touch. The rhythm section for Hydogyn keeps it all in check and while at times shows some flair, they mostly choose to keep everything consistent in terms of the time signature used – there is a lot of 4/4 stuff happening across the board. Continue reading “Deadly Passions” by Hydrogyn→
Artist: Twisted Sister Title: “Live At The Astoria” (CD/DVD) Label: Demolition Records Release Date: 11/18/2008 Genre: Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Rating: 4/5
“Let me hear you say “I’m A Sick Mutha F**ker!!!!!” I’m sorry for my exuberance folks, but it truly seems that there is no better battle cry to begin commentary about the brand new DVD/CD or CD/DVD from the legendary Twisted Sister who come to us live and in living color on “Live At The Astoria”. The concert was filmed in 2004, only a few years after the band did their reunion shows and decided to keep on going much to the delight of their hard core fans and ever growing new loyalists. Interestingly enough this show took place only about a year after the boys did their “Live At Wacken” DVD/CD and while every song on that release can be found here barring “Stay Hungry”, the “Live At The Astoria” release offers a couple of additional tracks that the other live show did not feature. This minor concern will not bother the typical Twisted Sister fan because they are one of those bands whose fan base is ravenous about anything that they put out and snare it as soon as it becomes available. The difference between the two albums is that this live DVD also offers the buyer the complete concert on audio CD, so now the older fan can sit and watch the video, and then go to their offspring and say “hey, put this on your music player to learn something about the music that did it for me”. As a concert film this is a no holds barred presentation of Sister in action doing what they have always done best and that is decimating a concert venue stage. They have never disappointed their fans during a live show and while they are older now, they manage to bring you back in time just a little bit to the years where nothing mattered to you more than rocking and rolling with your friends and having a few cold beers. Continue reading “Live At The Astoria” (CD/DVD) by Twisted Sister→
Artist: Lauren Harris Title: “Calm Before The Storm” Label: Demolition Records Release Date: 6/23/2008 Genre: Power Pop Rock Rating: 3/5
Music might seem to be the obvious career choice when you are the daughter of one of the members in the legendary Iron Maiden but while such an honor might be filled with incredible potential it can also come with enormous levels of trial by fire and the need to impress the audience on a much higher level. Such is the life of Lauren Harris, daughter of Maiden’s master bass player Steve, who has recorded and released her debut album “Calm Before The Storm” on Demolition Records. One might have expected to hear Lauren throttle the listener with a display of rumbling traditional Metal and remain a bit closer to the sound delivered by her Father’s band but the moment that the album begins you will find that this is not the case. Instead of going this route, she stuck to a more traditional Rock vibe that focused on catchy melody and lyrics and by doing this has opened the door to a different listener base than that of Iron Maiden. The album opens up with a cover of Gun’s “Steal Your Fire”, and this is a track that Lauren holds close to her heart having been a fan of theirs for many years. I felt this was a good way to start off and catch the listeners attention because you know that the basic listener might cry nepotism or feel that Mr. Harris gave the strong arm to have this done when in reality she was discovered by Russ Ballard as she performed in a pub. The musician didn’t even realize that the similarity of name was that close. Dad Harris did lend his professional support when it came down to the recording of the album and he appears on four tracks which marks the first time he has ever recorded music that wasn’t Maiden related. Lauren’s band is made up of drummer (and producer/co-writer) Tommy McWilliams, guitarist Richie Faulkner and bassist Randy Gregg. McWilliams has been around for some time and worked with a number of different artists during his career while Gregg has been recently associated with Angel and Thin Lizzy. Together they make sure that there is a solid amount of commercially accessible Rock to enjoy as well as some touching ballads but if you are looking for pounding Metal then this is not really for you.
There is a lot of sing along capable tracks that might appeal to a younger listener base that is looking for a little more maturity and substance than Avril Lavigne or others like her might be offering. Lauren shines on tracks like “From The Bottom To The Top”, and this is one of my own favorites and it seems destined to be a quality video number. “Let Us Be” is another goodie while “Come On Over” hits you as the strongest rocker piece on the recording. There is a lot of ACDC type riffing going down on numbers like these and we even get a taste of some classic UFO with the bands rendition of “Natural Thing”. Bass on that number is also courtesy of Steve Harris and to be honest they did a nice job on it. Lauren and her band have been supporting Iron Maiden on their “Somewhere Back In Time” tour and with this kind of push have been surely able to reach a lot of people who enjoy her brand of Rock and Roll. At the end of the day its very accessible stuff and its nice to find that Steve’s daughter is choosing to give it a go and show that not all female lead vocalists need to be Operatic Sirens or Growlers to be in a band. If you are a fan of your classic rock sound then this is something you should give a chance. Good luck Lauren.
1. Steal Your Fire
2. Your Turn
3. Get Over It
4. Like It Or Not
5. From The Bottom To The Top
6. Let Us Be
7. Hurry Up
8. Come On Over
9. Hit Or Miss
10. See Through
11. You Say
12. Natural Thing – bonus
Lauren Harris is the daughter of legendary Iron Maiden bassist Steve Harris. She is also a Rock and Roll singer in her own right and is set to release her debut album “Calm Before The Storm” on Demolition Records. Tonight she would be continuing her adventures as a solo artist by opening up for Iron Maiden as the band returned to the legendary arena Madison Square Garden. We met up with Lauren backstage to talk about her feelings about being the daughter of such a musician as well as being the opening act for his incredible band, her own career goals and thoughts on the music business from someone who is just now approaching this as a part of their life. Below is the full dialogue that we exchanged.
Artist: Lauren Harris Label: Demolition Records Interview Date: 6/15/2008 Genre: Melodic Rock
PiercingMetal: As the world knows full well, you are the daughter of the legendary bassist of Iron Maiden, Mr. Steve Harris. I am curious as to what that actually feels like for you being a performer. Do you feel you have a lot more impressing to do for the general public based on this relationship?
Lauren Harris: I think that in some cases you will find people who say “ok, impress me” because you are the daughter of a legend or kind of an icon or whatever some people kind of see him as but for me myself I try not to not even play up to that because I just think that with them having a twenty five year career and they’ve done so much and he’s done so much as well that I cant even begin to even stand up to what they’ve achieved or what they’ve done so personally I try not to think about it too much and instead try to just do my own thing and do what I do. I also try to have a good time doing it. I do sometimes get the whole nepotism thing and people kind of stick that out there but I think that I wouldn’t still be here if I was rubbish or not doing a good job or I couldn’t hold my own. He can really only get me so far and I have to go the rest myself because his name is not going to be able to carry me the whole way through for whatever I do so yes in answer to your question I try not to think about it too much. Continue reading PiercingMetal Talks To Lauren Harris (6/15/2008)→