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Serpent Saints - All Things Metal (2012)


Metal-Archives sez this Danish band's "lyrical themes" include "Satanism, S/M, Mass murder, Sci-fi, Black Magic" so it sure sounds like they know how to party! Grrr! Beer! Sluts! Metal! Yarrrrrr!

Anyway, this is a fun, head-bangable, sloppy but effective slab of retro-thrash; Serpent Saints sound like something you would've found buried deep on Side 2 of an early "Metal Massacre" compilation circa 1985. Think early Overkill (circa Feel the Fire) bumpin' uglies with Exciter.

I know they were just givin' a shout out to their fellow Danes but these guys have no business trying to cover a Mercyful Fate song ("Come to the Sabbath"), cuz the vocalist isn't worthy to carry King Diamond's jock strap. Otherwise I have no complaints. Fast n' evil fun for everyone!

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Shadowdance - Future Negative Fantasy (2012)


A very well produced indie disc. Somber, moody, crunchy US-based power/prog/heavy metal with emphasis on the "power" and the "heavy." The disc closes out with a reverent cover of Sabbath's "Children of the Sea," which is my fave Dio-Sab track, so they're OK by me. Fans of Iced Earth and Nevermore should check these guys out.

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Various Artists - Aerosmithsonian (Perris, 2001)


Yep, it's yet another cheaply rendered "tribute" to an iconic hard-rock band, performed in a assembly line fashion by a cast of out of work hair metal dudes (and even a slumming '70s legend or two). For a while in the early '00s, the Deadline/Cleopatra label had the market cornered on this sort of thing but "Aerosmithsonian" was assembled by an even lower-on-the-food-chain hair metal indie label - Perris Records, home of perennial third stringers like Helix, Ron Keel, and Davy Vain.

The ten Smiff covers are performed reverently enough, I guess, and the 2nd disc is a compilation of original material (all of which was available from Perris at the time this thing was released, of course) by some of the tributes' participants, including Ron Keel's Fair Game, Babylon A.D., Broken Teeth (featuring ex-Dangerous Toys screamer Jason McMaster) and Gilby Clarke, some of which is actually more interesting than the "Tribute" side if you ask me.

On a side note, this CD defines the term "cheap packaging," as the "booklet" is just a two-sided card and the typesetting was apparently done in Microsoft Word circa 1998. Fortunately Perris is practically giving this thing away on their website for about three bucks, so I didn't feel ripped off.

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Nasty Whores - Self Titled (2015)


Whoa! Where have THESE guys been?


I stumbled across the debut from these Italian sleaze metallers in the "clearance" section of Perris Records' site, and though ordinarily I would've skipped 'em due to the stupid band name I noticed the disc's description said, "for fans of Judas Priest and W.A.S.P.!" ... a few spins on YouTube later and damned if that wasn't pretty accurate, so this one went into the cart.


The Nasty Whores (I still think it's a stupid name) crank out some seriously cool, head-bangable stuff here, not original in the slightest but it's catchy, crunchy and obnoxious, just the way I like it. Recommended!!

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Victim - By The Neck (2014)

Here's another one of those legendary "lost" albums that metal nerds salivate over. Victim was a San Diego, CA. based heavy metal band who put out a couple of indie releases in the early '80s and then disappeared off the face of the Earth. Their third LP By the Neck was recorded in 1984, but the band broke up before it could be released. Stormspell Records unearthed the forgotten album in 2014 and it was definitely worth the wait. This is a damn fine slab of early '80s heavy metal - take the crunchy bits of 1984- era Judas Priest, Accept, or Malice, mix it with a hint of Sunset Strip sleaze ala Shout-era Crue or early W.A.S.P. and you're in the ballpark. If you're into any of the bands I just mentioned, then you will dig this album and should hunt it down immediately if not sooner... Nuff said. This album definitely ended my 2016 CD buying binge on a high note.


Seax - High On Metal (2012)

I can hear you already, "what the f*ck is a 'Seax'?" - well, apparently it's pronounced "See-Axe" and it's an old English word for "knife," which should give you an idea of where these Massachusetts dudes' heads are at. Seax is all about the old school speed metal. Think sped-up NWOBHM with a slight punk influence.. The singer's yowly vox remind me of John Gallagher (Raven), which depending on who you talk to, may or may not be a good thing, but it's fine by me. More than half of the song titles have the word "metal" in them, or references to "iron," "steel," "blade," etc. The bullet-belt and mosh pit retro brigade should go nuts for this one; Neck brace not included...


Reptile - Solid Metal Rules (2016)

What is in the South American water that keeps pumping out bad-ass, pissed-off '80s style thrash bands? Between Colombia's Reptile and Brazil's Woslom (my other most recent Thrash discovery), it's like 1988 up in here all over again. Anyway, music-wise Reptile spits out some seriously gnarly Megadeth worship on Solid Metal Rules,, falling squarely into the Rust In Peace/Countdown To Extinction pocket. However, the harsh-n-screechy vox (sounding much like a combo of the young-n-angry Dave Mustaine and Mille Petrozza of Kreator getting a hot foot) might be an acquired taste for some. It took a few spins for this one to grow on me (mostly due to the vocals) but eventually I concluded that riff and 'tude wise, these dudes throw down most admirably. As a bonus, Solid Metal Rules sports the most metal-as-fuck album cover I've seen all year, and due to the language barrier, the lyric sheet is a cavalcade of unintentional comedy. Muy bueno! :D

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The Graveyard Train - S/T (1993)

Cool, slick, bluesy stuff that came to the major label party waaaay too late to make any impact whatsoever. Fans of early Aerosmith, Badlands, the Black Crowes, etc. - go nuts.


Overkill - The Grinding Wheel (2017)

Another primo slab of crunchy old school thrash-o-rama from one of the most consistent bands in the biz. The opening track "Mean Green Killing Machine" sums this one up nicely. All hail Overkill, reliable as the tide.


Axtion - Look Out For The Night (1985)

Believe it or not this is the first Retrospect release I've ever owned. As you can probably guess, it's a reissue of a MEGA RARE INDIE from back in the day. Axtion was a one-and-done band from Pittsburgh, and Look Out For The Night is just what you'd expect a self-released LP from an unknown local yokel metal band in 1985 to sound like - a fun but severely under-produced mish mash of Priest, Ratt, early Crue, etc. Yup, it's cheesy to the extreme, but I love obscure crap like this.

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Deep Purple - Slaves & Masters (1990)

With Joe Lynn Turner filling in on vox for an absent Ian Gillan, this probably should have been released as a Rainbow album. Not bad but not particularly memorable either.


Sebastian Bach - Kicking And Screaming (2011)

Baz is still tryin' desperately to out-Metal his old band. Lotsa crunchy riffs, aggressive vox, sounds great while it's playing but once it's over you'll be hard pressed to remember any choruses, lyrics, or even song titles. (shrugs)


Cellador - Enter Deception (2006)

An American band trying to jump on the hyperspeed power metal train ala DragonForce. Not bad but the Europeans do this kinda stuff way better.


Case in point:

Edguy - Hellfire Club (2006)

These fun loving Germans obviously like Helloween a whole heckuva lot. Strikes just the right balance between air-guitarable metallic muscle and dorky humor.


Girlschool - s/t (1991)

These gals have been kickin' it since the NWOBHM era and hung with Lemmy so they automatically get my respect. Nothin' fancy here, just meat and potatoes hard rock/metal.


Thanks to Terry (aka Martinsane) for those last three...

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Quiet Riot - Alive And Well (1999)

For some reason (perhaps due to the word "Alive" in the title), I was always under the mistaken impression that this was a live disc. Imagine my surprise when I finally looked close at a copy (after passing on it countless times over the years) and realized it was all studio cuts. Duhh me!

Anyway, "A&W" turned out to be pretty badass, DuBrow's voice was as gritty and powerful as ever and out of the sixteen (!) tracks (nine new songs - including a cover of "Highway To Hell" - and a half dozen re-recorded QR classics), the only clunker is "Slam Dunk," the rest is surprisingly strong. I confess that I never paid QR much attention after "Metal Health" faded from the hit parade, but maybe it's time I dug deeper into their catalog. Better late than never.

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