DIG IN DEEP
Tyketto is one of those bands from the 80s that I always liked, but really never caught on very much. They had a couple hits that were cool, but even their best songs like "Forever Young" and "Seasons" were marginally successful at best. The band was a highlight reel for former Waysted vocalist Danny Vaughn, who shined and ended up building a solid solo career outside of Tyketto in the AOR world when Tyketto disbanded.
They are back with the original lineup I'm told, and interestingly, DIG IN DEEP is exactly what they've always produced. It's an album full of solid tunes that aren't especially memorable, yet feature some great playing and even better vocals. Simply put, Vaughn is a great singer. His voice is pretty much a mish mosh of Survivor vocalist Jimi Jamison and Thunder lead man Danny Bowes. He sounds great as always here on songs like the mid-tempo, yet punchy "Here's Hoping It Hurts". The thing to remember though is that while Vaughn is a great singer, he never has a distinctive moment like either Bowes or Jamison do to separate their vocals from the music. Vaughn is certainly clear vocally and clean throughout, but there's no memorable or emotional moment where you latch onto any song on the disc. Songs like "Love To Love" are nice songs, but really fall into the unmemorable category five minutes after listening to them.
UNDER MY SKIN
Contrary to popular belief and a lot of silly bits that I've done throughout the years on THE CLASSIC METAL SHOW and THE METAL SHOW respectively, I really am a fan of Doro. I loved her work in Warlock, and I like her work even more as a solo artist. I'm one of those guys that even liked that period where she tried to stop being metal and attempted to be more of a vocalist than the reigning queen of metal. But all that said, at what point do we just say "enough" to all these rehashes, reissues, and repackaging of her's (or any artists) greatest hits? I think now is as good a time as any.
ALL I WAS
For the last 2 months, I've been slowed down in writing anything based on the fact that I was going through a divorce, which really pretty much fucked up my brain. The last thing I've wanted to do during this time was listen to new music and try to pick through it to figure out the ins and outs of what anyone was trying to say artistically. But like everything else, you have to get back up in the saddle and ride once again. Thankfully, the album I chose to get me back together was this one, ALL I WAS by Alter Bridge/Creed guitarist Mark Tremonti. Why am I thankful, exactly? Well, primarily because this album not only kicks a ton of ass, but it contains the song "The Things I've Seen"; just a masterful song that could have been written directly from the never centers that have feed my brain for seven weeks.
THE LORD OF STEEL
I'm sure Manowar had to make this album. I'm sure the Magic Circle of Manowarriors expected it. Just like Kiss keeps putting out records that pander to the "character" the band created, so too does Manowar need to create a record steeped in the tricks and turns of its back catalog.
That's the only reason I can gather that guys looking at 60 are still compelled to write material like this.
To my ears, the band sounds a bit like a middling Scandinavian power metal band bashing out NWOBHM-styled tunes. In theory, that would be great for me, but the band keeps trotting out the same tired ideas, the same riffs, the same choruses, the same Valhalla battles fought over and over since 1982's Battle Hymns.
DARK ROOTS OF EARTH
Without question, Testament is one of my favorite bands of all time. In my mind, they really are yet to do a bad album, even in the wake of health scares, hiatuses and a seemingly endless see of lineup changes. While they have missed the mark on occasion (ELECTRIC CROWN, DEMONIC), their bad albums are still a quality listen! As for their great ones, well they are as good or better than anything in the history of Thrash Metal. A few years ago, they stormed back onto the metal scene with the brilliant release THE FORMATION OF DAMNATION, and for that reason alone, expectations were sky high for this new disc. For the most part, they deliver once again...although without the immediate punch that past records have featured from the opening seconds of a listen.
YELLOW & GREEN
While the Red and Blue albums certainly shimmered with moments of grand brilliance, the masterful Yellow & Green is Baroness' most complete majestic offering to date. Filled with melodious surprises the new platter is genius from alpha to omega — no small feat considering its 1.2 hour play time spread over 18 disparate yet somehow analogous sonic puzzle pieces.
Where Baroness rise above their peers is in their expert use of dynamics. The band's best trick is an uncanny ability to lull listeners into a hypnotic state with delicate droning passages only to boisterously break trance an instant later with a wall of fuzzed out intellectual cacophony.