IMAGINE ME ALIVE
Sometimes things happen for a reason. Cult favorites Rude Girl were all set to become a dominant force on the metal scene back in the 80s, and that didn't happen for whatever reason. It certainly wasn't because they didn't have the talent. Vocalist Leather Leone was widely regarding as one of the very best heavy metal vocalists of that era - having the rare distinction of being compared favorably to guys like Halford and Dio at the time. Still, it didn't happen for Rude Girl, and following was some solo work, and then a solid and equally brilliant but unappreciated run as the vocalist of the long underground heroes Chastain. For whatever reasons, she just up and disappeared and was never heard from again...until recently.
I've long said it, and I'll continue to say it. Slash is the single most overrated guitar player on the planet. While I definitely acknowledge him as not only a solid player and someone that has a very distinct sound, I really laugh when I see him listed in the same sentences with Malmsteen, Van Halen, Dimebag, Zakk Wylde, Randy Rhoads, etc. If he was that unbelievable, he wouldn't have been able to have been replaced by whatever goof Axl Rose trots out from tour to tour.
BRING HEAVY ROCK TO THE LAND
Jorn Lande is one of the greatest living metal vocalists out there today, and yet there's surprisingly few people that truly appreciate his music. To think that he was chosen by the surviving members of Black Sabbath to stand in for the greatest metal vocalist ever to take a stage (Ronnie James Dio), one would think that alone would have seen his ascent to the elite position in metal reserved for such greats as Dickinson or Halford. For whatever reason, it hasn't happened though. Instead, Jorn Lande finds himself mixed into that collection of vocalists that everyone knows are brilliant but no one actually buys. That list includes guys like Russell Allen, Tim "Ripper" Owens and Primal Fear's Ralf Sheepers among others.
ELEGY OF BLOOD
It's amazing how many of these second and third tier "classic metal" bands there are out there. Specifically, it's truly amazing how many bands there are that around around 20 years old, never made much of an impact, but still crank out this kind of heavy metal that touches on thrash elements from time to time. We all know the big names that have had success doing this kind of music - Metal Church, Helloween - you know...classic metal bands that are either grand in their sound, heavy in their riffs, or both from time to time. For every great one though, there's always the more workmanlike bands that put out solid material but just can't find that extra whatever to take them over the top. Bands like Meliah Rage, Tankard or Helstar immediately jump to my mind.
I know for many people, the fact that Accept is back with a vengeance is a bad thing since lead vocalist Udo Dirkschneider is not along for the ride. I guess, on some level, I wish he was there as well. That said though, I think I'm one of the few that enjoys his post Accept band U.D.O. just as much as I ever did Accept. Let's be honest here - all U.D.O. amounts to is Accept with a slightly more electronic edge to them. To my ears, they are virtually the same band. The vocals are obviously the same, and even the guitar players have names that sound somewhat similar (Wolf Hoffman - Stefan Kaufmann). It may just be due to pressure, but the last two U.D.O. albums DOMINATOR and REV-RAPTOR have smoked sonically. Needless to say, when the latest CELEBRATOR came across my desktop, I was definitely excited.