Archive for July, 2010

Review: Korn – Korn III Remember Who You Are [2010]

Posted in Korn on July 13, 2010 by gearsofrock

Here is an interesting release from a band that I totally wrote off over a decade ago—Korn III Remember Who You Are is the ninth studio album from the alt-metal pioneers, and joins the debut album and Life is Peachy as the third high quality release of their career.

Trying to emulate that raw twisted angst and tortured sense of spirituality prominently heard on their first two albums, Korn shows that they can still deliver a sick album.

Remember Who You Are reunites the band with producer Ross Robinson and features a stripped down version of the group; no crappy pro-tool overproduction here. Korn sounds like a legit metal band again.

The groove heavy, face pummeling bass and drums return, along with the experimental, yet heavy, guitars. I actually might pay to see them live again.

There are many highlights on this retro effort. The leading single “Oildale (Leave Me Alone)” opens the record with an earth shattering groove. It is interesting that this track was released so close to “Rocket Skates” by the Deftones, a tune with a similar feel.

The addition of Ray Luzier to the band on drums, replacing David Silveria, is perfect. This dude’s drumming is insane. He’s a good fit and sounds like he is having a great time. The band is just fine without Silveria and Brian “Head” Welch on guitars.

James “Munky” Shaffer has stepped up his game being the only guitarist on the record. He even plays a little lap steel guitar ditty on “Uber-Time,” the album introduction.

Other highlights include “Fear is a Place to Live” with a classic 1996 Korn feel and “Never Around” with Davis’ diabolical laugh frenzy. “Move On” and “Pop a Pill” are also great songs.

“Remember Who You Are” is an eleven track gem. The bottom line is that you won’t find any filler crap on this disc.

Korn is Jonathan Davis (Vocals), James “Munky” Shaffer (Guitars), Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu (Bass), & Ray Luzier (Drums).

Track Listing:

  1. “Uber-Time”
  2. “Oildale (Leave Me Alone)”
  3. “Pop a Pill”
  4. “Fear is a Place to Live”
  5. “Move On”
  6. “Lead the Parade”
  7. “Let the Guilt Go”
  8. “The Past”
  9. “Never Around”
  10. “Are You Ready to Live”
  11. “Holding All These Lies”

This is Korn’s first album on Roadrunner Records.

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Review: Hellyeah – Stampede [2010]

Posted in Hellyeah on July 12, 2010 by gearsofrock

Can I get a giant SHITYEAH for the latest Hellyeah release, Stampede? I must admit that in the past, the only reason I was able to tolerate this band is because of Vinnie Paul on the skins; never thought of the first album to be very impressive and a little overhyped. On this sophomore effort, my have things changed. Due to enhanced compatibility that comes naturally along with jamming with a group over time, Hellyeah has grown into a sick ass metal band.

Vocalist Chad Gray (Mudvayne) is not at all irritating on this release (or he has grown on me). I used to view Mudvayne, along with Lamb of God, as the poor man’s Pantera. At 38 years old, he has fully developed a sound that he can proudly call his own.

Although there are a lot of screams, growls, and and sometime a lack of vocal melody, there are actually many great melodic moments. “Hell of a Time” is an awesome track—best on the CD—that starts out light similar to “Acohaulin Ass,” but then rips with a thunderous groove from Paul.

The opening two tracks, single “Cowboy Way” and “Debt That All Men Pay,” along with the title track are all key highlights that fall on the side of pure brutality.

The power charged ballad “Better Man” (not to be confused with Pearl Jam’s hit song) is also a saucy little tune, containing a “Don’t Cry” feel during the verses.

“Stand or Walk Away” opens with a sweet guitar ditty then turns into a fist wielding stomp rawker. The intro of “It’s On” sounds like the rumbling heard on Anthrax’s “Crush” before taking on its own modern rock identity.

Greg Tribbett supplies the solid lead guitar work on the disc and contains some of his most mature playing to date. Whether he’s delivering well-thought out melodic leads or firing on all cylinders for a solo break, Tribbetts proves himself a worthy ax-master.

At eleven tracks, Stampede is the ideal album length and plays well from beginning to end—the way albums are meant to be heard (the iPod age has screwed that little known fact up). In conclusion, this is a sweet disc and easily the record of the week.

Hellyeah is Chad Gray (Vocals), Greg Tribbett (Guitars), Tom Maxwell (Guitars), Bob Zilla (Bass), & Vinnie Paul (Drums).

Track Listing:

  1. “Cowboy Way”
  2. “Debt That All Men Pay”
  3. “Hell of a Time”
  4. “Stampede”
  5. “Better Man”
  6. “It’s On!”
  7. “Pole Rider”
  8. “Cold As a Stone”
  9. “Stand or Walk Away”
  10. “Alive and Well”
  11. “Order the Sun”

Review: Herman Ze German – Take It As It Comes [2010]

Posted in Herman Ze German on July 9, 2010 by gearsofrock

When a CD arrived in my mailbox by an artist named Herman Ze German, I got really excited. “What a spectacular band name,” I thought to myself. “This is probably going to suck so bad that it is going to be awesome.” After throwing Ze German’s album Take It As It Comes in the stereo, it turned out that it wasn’t all that terrible.

When I took a closer look at the album art, I realized that Herman Ze German is not just any aging rocker. He is Herman Rarebell, the former drummer of legendary hard rock band, The Scorpions.

Rarebell’s record has that German rock sound. It is very melodic, uses saxophones, and a variety of different sounds. Herman Ze German trades off lead vocal duty with Bon Scott sound-alike Stefan Erz, which provides a nice contrast between the album’s content.

The album loses points when it offers a spoken word cover of “Rock You Like A Hurricane.” There’s just no reason for it. Save it for the live gigs at the local pub. I also found the “Wipe Out” cover that follows to be extremely hokey.

There is a mildly tasty ballad called “Your Love Is Hurting.” But like the other tracks on the album, it is over produced. Some tracks end too soon, others go on for a little too long.

The vocals on “Heya heya” had me laughing hysterically on first (and second) listen. I recommend checking this one out on your own.

Take It As It Comes is not the worst album I have heard this year, but still comes in below average. The Scorpions farewell record Sting in the Tail is far better. Why did Ze German quit that band again?

Track Listing:

  1. “Take It As It Comes”
  2. “Don’t Lose Your Trust”
  3. “Rough Job”
  4. “Let me Rock You”
  5. “Your Love Is Hurting”
  6. “Freak Show”
  7. “Heya Heya”
  8. “Backattack”
  9. “Rock You Like A Hurricane”
  10. “Wipe Out”
  11. “Drum Dance”
  12. “I’m Back”
  13. “Your Love Is Hurting (Radio Version)”

Review: Bret Michaels – Custom Built [2010]

Posted in Bret Michaels on July 6, 2010 by gearsofrock

Between his starring roles on mindless television shows and fighting death, Poison frontman Bret Michaels recorded his third studio album (fourth if counting Death Row) for release on Poor Boy Records.  One part pop rock, two parts country, and five parts previously released content, Custom Built is at times a pleasant listening experience but overall falls far short of freshness.

The six or so tracks that represent new material are pretty good.  Together they would have made a respectable EP release. But throw in another remix of “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” and I am forced to stab myself in the ear.  There was little reason to make an official “country version” of the legendary ballad.  The original is close enough when played acoustically.

One would think that the collaboration with Miley Cyrus on “Nothing to Lose” would be the album’s cesspool track.  However, it turns out to be the best tune on Custom Built.  Which brings us to the next point: why the hell include a demo version of “Nothing to Lose” without Cyrus (track 11)?

It is difficult to dislike the cover of Sublime’s “What I Got,” but still does not seem entirely necessary.  Michaels could easily have saved it for live gigs on his US club tour.

I really hate it when artists release club remixes as part of their albums.  They never fit and always suck.  The club remix of “Go That Far” from Rock of Love is yet another prime example.  Can anybody find a remix that is not awful and actually contains the appropriate track placement to advance the album?

The opening “Riding Against the Wind” is an album highlight and will serve as the opening of Michaels next VH1 show, Bret Michaels: Life as I Know It.  “Lie to Me,” the hardest rocking song on Custom Built, follows with a choppy “What I like About You” feel.  “Wasted Time” is a classic sounding Michaels’ ballad.

It is very disappointing that there are so many sloppy seconds on this disc such as “Open Road” and “Rock ‘n My Country” from 2005’s Freedom of Sound, as well as “I’d Die For You” from 1998’s A Letter from Death Row.

As an EP of new tracks, Custom Built would have been a four star performance.  However, that route was not chosen.  Instead the fans get a handful of recycled songs and a C+ effort.

Track Listing:

  1. “Riding Against the Wind”
  2. “Lie to Me”
  3. “Nothing to Lose” (Featuring Miley Cyrus)
  4. “Wasted Time”
  5. “What I Got” (Sublime Cover)
  6. “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”
  7. “Go That Far” (Jason Miller Club Mix)
  8. “Driven” (Rock Mix)
  9. “Open Road”
  10. “Rock’ n My Country”
  11. “Nothing to Lose” (solo version)
  12. “I’d Die for You”

Happy 4th of July Americans!

Posted in Rock In Movies on July 4, 2010 by gearsofrock

Video Review: Apocalyptica “End of Me (Featuring Gavin Rossdale)” 7th Symphony [2010]

Posted in Apocalyptica on July 3, 2010 by gearsofrock

As symphonic metal wizards, Apocalyptica, gear up for the August release of 7th Symphony, the video for leading single “End of Me” is now surfacing.  For this particular track the cello blitzkrieg is joined by none other than Gavin Rossdale from that wimpy ass band from the ’90s Bush.

I’ll confess right now: Bush was and still is somewhat of a guilty pleasure and I have actually bought tickets in the past to see them live (and I am straight and married). As far as Rossdale’s lead vocal role in “End of Me,” he does a sick job.

The main riff is very Bush-ish in nature and most likely the band’s intention.  It worked for Bush’s “Machinehead” as a radio hit and it works for Apocalyptica too, except it’s way more interesting to hear it from a cello.

In the video, the band appears to be rocking out a cathedral while a dancing temptress in black appears and vanishes in black smoke; always, a classy metal move.  For most of the video, Rossdale doesn’t appear with the band, but rather in a corner trying to act too sexy for his black shirt.

The chorus is as catchy as mono and the midsection breakdown features a circle of rock from Apocalyptica. By the end, the sexy temptress (not Rossdale) dissipates as the love ends.

You can watch the video at Apocalyptica’s official site now.

Apocalyptica is Eicca Toppinen (Cello), Paavo Lötjönen (Cello), Perttu Kivilaakso (Cello), & Mikko Sirén (Drums).