"A hooker is a fisher of men."
SELECTED MUSIC REVIEWS
by Richard Karsmakers
A somewhat wider range of stuff reviewed this time, primarily
because I also get some stuff through "Avalanche" magazine these
days. Conveniently clustered and sorted, of course, for your
ultimate reading enjoyment (well, at least sortof).
MALMSTEEN, YNGWIE - I CAN'T WAIT (CANYON INTERNATIONAL)
This CD single was sent to be by my excellent Japanese pen pal
Tomoko Murakami, and highly interesting it is indeed (for those
among you who like Malmsteen, that is).
What we get here is a 20+ minute EP featuring 3 non-album tracks
and 2 live tracks taped early 1994 at Budo Kan (a performance
that will also be released on video throughout the world late
January or February 1995). The non-album tracks are "I Can't
Wait" (which sounds quite commercial but not too bad for Yngwie),
"Aftermath" (a good song that has a few elements of older songs,
though) and "Power and Glory" (the Takada wrestler pump-tune,
before released in Japan on a separate 3" CD single with remix
and "Seventh Sign"). The live tracks are "Rising Force" and "Far
Beyond the Sun", which I reckon are both superior to previous
live versions because of the decent singer (I always did hate
Jolanda Turner, also when he was in Rainbow).
Unfortunately, both good singer Mike Vescera and ace drummer
Mike Terrana have in the mean time left Malmsteen's band, that is
going to enter the studio in January to start on their next
MY DYING BRIDE - THE STORIES (PEACEVILLE)
As it has apparently become increasingly difficult to get the
three currently released My Dying Bride EPs - "Symphonaire
Infernus et Spera Emperium", "The Thrash of Naked Limbs" and "I
am the Bloody Earth" - those awfully nice people at Peaceville
have released these three EPs as a box set now. Some people may
see behind this some rather blatant commercial reasons, and in
part I agree, but fact is that those who have hitherto not bought
these CD singles can now get them all in one fell swoop. As these
three EPs contain some of the most moody doom metal songs, there
is no reason why one shouldn't.
As an added bonus, the "The Stories" box contains the lyrics to
the songs on the "Thrash" and "Bloody Earth" EPs that have not
had the lyrics released before yet. I find especially the "Thrash
of Naked Limbs" lyrics a true songwriting boon. This Aaron dude
surely has a way with words - I want to wear you around my neck.
This is the stuff that sends tears to my eyes.
But, even so, I think you had better pass on this set if you've
got the EPs already.
PHOBIA - RETURN TO DESOLATION (RELAPSE)
Phobia, formed in 1990 as a result of the breakup of Californian
thrash-grind-punks Apocalypse, claims to get its influences from
Repulsion, Discharge and early Napalm Death. One thing is sure -
these claims are quite correct; some of the songs could be
considered half-rip-offs even, especially a song like "Hitler
Killa!" that could have come straight from "Scum". And maybe
that's not bad at all, because I think there's a need for some
genuine aggression, a voyage back to the hard core of grind.
With the help of Fear Factory drummer Raymond Herrera, Phobia
have recorded an intense couple of songs that will viciously
vibrate the becalloused eardrums of the most seasoned
In early 1995 Phobia will enter the studio for their first full
ANNIHILATOR - KING OF THE KILL (MUSIC FOR NATIONS)
When listening to this album for the first time, the initial
track ("The Box") bestowed on me a fear that Annihilator -
actually just Jeff Waters now, with session drummer Randy Black
(and possibly even a drum computer at times?) - had gone
industrial. Distorted industrial lyrics sung by Waters himself,
and a slower pace like that often found in industrial bands.
However, after that all songs are typically Annihilator again
with Waters' patented quick riffing, chaotically fast guitar
tinklings and vocals that could have come off any early
Annihilator album. Though ex-singer Aaron Randall contributed
lyrics here and there, the whole album - with the exception of
"The Box" - has the typical Annihilator (read: Jeff Waters)
fingerprint all over it.
Fans will like it, though it is to be doubted whether there's
anything truly new on the album as such. Production is good, as
usual. Lyrics are superficial, as usual. Loads of riffs per song,
as usual (a few straight off "Set the World on Fire" if you ask
me). A few ballads or part-ballads, as usual. All in all it's a
pretty "as usual" album, that will no doubt get some criticism
due to lack of innovation even though Jeff does all the singing
himself (and not too badly, either). Tracks to check out when
listening in the record shop: "Second to None" and "Fiasco". If
you're a sucker for ballads, go for "In the Blood" (but I guess
you wouldn't be reading this magazine if you're one of those).
Jeff Waters is beginning to be a bit like some other guitarists
I shan't mention, changing band members as often as a dandy
changes his socks. And I think everybody realises that the times
of "Alice in Hell" will probably never come upon us again. Still,
I'd say that "King of the Kill" is better than "Set the World on
Sigh...those were the days...
BOLT THROWER - ...FOR VICTORY (EARACHE)
Bolt Thrower is probably Earache's most "roll across the
listeners like a battle tank" band. On "The IVth Crusade", their
previous CD, it was already obvious that they had found their
style which was basically a lot of bass drum with a heavy chunk
of rhythm guitar thrown atop it, with a second guitar supplying a
heavy chord melody of sorts. Who would not want to wake up to a
post-armageddon world if only it'd have "Spearhead" playing on
whatever remains of the earth's radio system?
Surely not I!
"...For Victory" is much in the same vein as "The IVth Crusade",
though I guess many fans will assume it's actually not quite as
good. If you seek a classic along the lines of "Spearhead" on the
CD you will have sought in vain. Nonetheless it does offer three
quarters of an hour of really heavy, thundering metal, the sonic
equivalent of a good root canal treatment. For people who want to
have whatever substance they have between their ears resembling
something the cat dragged in, this is one of the best CDs to get.
BROKEN VOWS - THE BOWELS OF REPUGNANCE (MUSIC FOR NATIONS)
If there's one thing that I wondered about when I heard Broken
Hope's "The Bowels of Repugnance", it was how on earth these guys
have secured a record deal with Music For Nations if similar
deals for bands like Morta Skuld and Vital Remains seem insecure.
Apart from the fact that you get only slightly more than half an
hour of music, what you actually get is un-innovative, un-
inspired and generally not good at all. When I listened to it, a
quote of a familiar TV character sprang to mind: "Stop in the
name of all that which does not suck!" ("Huh, huh.")
The CD liner contains extensive lyrics, although it's totally
impossible to verify what is actually sung. I love grunts and get
off on death metal, but Broken Hope is really absurd. Death metal
isn't dead as far as I am concerned, but Broken Hope certainly
seems a nail to the coffin.
BRUTAL TRUTH - NEED TO CONTROL (EARACHE)
If there's one band that really lives up to its name - though I
reckon there are others too - it's Brutal Truth. With the accent
on brutal, this band delivers relentless blow upon relentless
blow to the listener's poor eardrums. It's fast-paced, very
aggressive, quite extreme, and freaky almost to the point of
insanity. The drummer is either possessed by a speed demon or
simply very well-coordinated, though perhaps it's a combination
of both. Extreme grind-core is varied with slower passages that
sometimes even tend to be - perish the thought! - melodic.
Samples are thrown in as well to give it a bit extra, or maybe
to give the critics a chance to say they're "constantly
For people who are out for a dose of genuine anger, hardcore
frustration, that kind of thing, they could do a lot worse than
getting "Need to Control".
CONSOLATION - BEAUTYFILTH & NEMBRIONIC HAMMERDEATH - TEMPTER
(DISPLEASED SPLIT CD)
Never heard of these bands before, and within a week I got in
touch with both their split CD and a gig supporting At The Gates
in order to get in gear for the interview to be found elsewhere
in this issue.
In retrospect it seems weird that these bands had never been
heard of by me before. Both bands are quite alike, though
personally I think Consolation has an edge over Nembrionic due to
a more genre-specific vocalist and, I find personally, better
compositions. Having said that, both bands have recorded a good
half hour of meticulously performed death/thrash/speed/techno or
whatever it is that label-freaks call it. It's well-produced,
well-played, and it just a blast to listen to. If you get a
chance to see these bands (they usually always perform together,
sharing one guitarist and a drum kit) there is no reason why you
shouldn't. Consolation's "Part-time God" and Nembrionic's
"Towards the Unholy" are some excellent examples of what they can
do. Go to your local CD shop and check these songs out, then
decide if you want to buy.
DISRUPT - UNREST (RELAPSE)
If you hate McDonald, seriously contemplate eating vegetables
only, love cows, think the entire world would be better off if
all grain would be sent to Africa instead of fed to cattle,
love anarchy and hate nazis, this is a CD you'll like. If not for
the music, then at least for the message that is driven home
without relent. A few platitudes and profanities hurled together
with a lot of mortar into a wall of sound only true grindcore
bands can come to grips with. Three different vocalists are
used, apparently, and trust me if I say it's difficult to hear
which of them is actually the female one.
Well, let's not get too negative here. Disrupt play a bucket
full of straight-ahead hardcore with all the stuff you've come to
know and love of the genre. To me personally it sounds a bit
same-ish, with some sampled speech included to appear politically
correct. If these guys truly believe the things they say, and I
have no reason to believe otherwise, they've got all the blessing
I can bestow on them. If it's just an image - like Rage Against
the Machine - then I'd rather give my portion to Fikkie (which is
what we Dutch tend to say sometimes). Anarchist fuck-the-world
bands are popping up on every street corner these days. It's
important that the good gets separated from the bad and the ugly.
If you're going to get this album, by the way, be sure to get it
on CD for there are 10 CD bonus tracks on it.
DREAM THEATER - AWAKE (ATLANTIC)
People have been classifying this CD as "unbalanced" sometimes,
and I tend to agree only in part. "Awake" contains a massive 75+
minutes of music, with most of the songs actually being very
good. On the down side there's a rather predictable ballad called
"The Silent Man" (thankfully a short one, actually part of a song
consisting of three segments) and two, well, I guess you'd call
them 'power ballads', called "Innocence faded" and "Caught in a
Web". These two are very melodic and have the potential to get
radio/MTV airplay. There's also a song called "6:00", which
somehow does not appeal to me very much. Maybe the rhythm is too
experimental? Anyway, I hate that sample.
The other tracks, however, are the more interesting, where the
individual musicians really let loose. Typical Dream Theater
tracks in the classic sense are "The Mirror" and even the
somewhat chaotic "Erotomania". I like the 11-minute epos
"Scarred", too, and the last track, "Space-Dye Vest", is quite a
beautiful ballad, written by now ex-member Kevin Moore. I'm
afraid they'll never play it in concert.
Ex-member Moore is not present as clearly as on "Images and
Words", with less virtuoso solo work, which I kinda dislike.
Petrucci seems more present, which I like. All in all, however,
"Awake" is a very, very good album with tremendous growing power
that certainly joins the list of some of the best releases of
1994. If you liked "Images and Words", you may not like this one
a lot at start. But once the growing starts, you'll find the CD
in your player more often than not. It's a true gem.
Watch out: There's a CD single of "Lie" which features the
additional studio track "To Live Forever" and a live version of
"Another Day". The latter is claimed to be previously unreleased,
though this should read "previously unreleased IN THE UK" for it
was features once before already on the "Another Day" CD single
released (in the USA?) in 1993.
ELEND - LEÇONS DE TÉNEBRES (HOLY RECORDS)
Elend is a challenge to every person - to listen, to try to
interpret, to try to get to fumbly grips with. But for a reviewer
such as I there is the added difficulty of having to attempt to
classify it. Among the many different bands from different genres
that I thought I could recognise in Elend, it might be worth
while mentioning Drug Free America, Montserrat (yes, the
"Barcelona" opera singer) and Bel Canto, with a bit of Orphaned
Land thrown in for good accord as well as a hypodermic filled
with aggression and doom.
Elend consists of two musicians who play synthesizers,
orchestral keyboards and electric violins, and who both sing. One
of them sings and chants with a 'normal' voice, whereas the other
shouts and grunts. Third, however, there's Eve Gabrielle Siskind,
who gives the music a mystically beautiful touch with her
haunting soprano voice.
If you want to hear distorted guitars you'd better not buy this
record, nor if you want to hear heavy drums - for there are none.
But this album is probably the singularly most serenely beautiful
release of the year. Difficult to listen to if you're already
blinded by today's mass of metal mayhem, but a small treasure
just waiting to be discovered nonetheless.
And, finally, I have heard a truest voice of the sirens. Finally
I am able to forget the beauty of Sarah Marrion's voice (who sang
on Paradise Lost's "Gothic"). This is stuff to make the soul cry
with happiness, to make the throat clog and constrict.
EPIDEMIC - EXIT PARADISE (METAL BLADE)
After a few demos and previous CDs, Epidemic have released their
new "Exit Paradise", of which a promo tape came into the sweaty
palms of yours truly. It's nothing really new, not if you've
heard stuff like Pyogenesis, Orphaned Land and Overdose before,
but it's well-produced and well-played, with breaks galore and
nicely putrid death metal vocals, whereas the whole collection of
sounds together are really very heavy too. I doubt if Epidemic
will be the next major success, but you could do a lot worse than
this album offering 40 minutes of organised mayhem. Especially
the drummer seems to be quite capable of what he's doing,
changing speed all the time without as much as faltering.
FRIEDMAN, MARTY - INTRODUCTION (ROADRUNNER / SHRAPNEL)
I had expected Marty Friedman to continue the trend set with the
moody "Scenes" solo album, and indeed he has. None of the stuff
he does with Megadeth here, nor anything remotely like his debut
solo album "Dragon's Kiss" or his amazingly complex Cacophony
stuff with Jason Becker. No, there's plenty of keyboards (even
plain piano) on it, and "Bittersweet" even has Shakuhachi (a
Japanese string (?) instrument), Cello and Violin.
I like it. It's even more experimental, less "metal", than
"Scenes". I truly admire Friedman's diversity; he seems a very
broadminded musical individual. Nick "Megadeth" Menza plays the
drums again, and most tracks are atmospheric collections of
acoustic and electric guitar used interchangably. And it has to
be said that he can play acoustic guitar very well.
With the Elend release at Holy, I guess "Introduction" is the
most distinctly non-metal release of 1994. Maybe it would be a
good thing for some metalheads to check it out.
FUDGE TUNNEL - THE COMPLICATED FUTILITY OF IGNORANCE (EARACHE)
A bit of a pretentious title for what is basically guitar-
oriented hard rock with a bit of grunge and a bit of grind thrown
in, don't you agree? So let's just forget about the title and the
message it carries, and listen to the music.
Fudge Tunnel is still very much the same as they used to be,
though one would tend to think they've grown. They've absorbed a
bit of industrial, used some samples, and have also thrown in a
back-to-the-roots influence such as slow doom - a song like "Find
Your Fortune" could have been done by Cathedral or Black Sabbath
with a different vocalist. I hadn't heard much of this band
before, but I think they can be described as a rougher version of
the Angels With Dirty Faces.
The thing I dislike most about this album is the last track,
some 10+ minutes long of which the first are filled with utmost
silence. The musical part is not good at all, either, and anyway
I thought the "half empty track" idea was milked enough ever
since Nirvana's "Nevermind" (where I didn't like it either).
Not bad, all in all, but if you can have a CD player that can be
made to remember to skip a track, make it skip #12.
GENERATION - BRUTAL REALITY (METAL BLADE)
(guest review by Joris van Slageren)
This release sees the invention of yet another musical genre:
White Industrial. These three guys among which Trouble guitarist
Bruce Franklin make industrial metal the Christian way. Could
this be true white noise? According to the rather vague and
bombastic information that was supplied by Rough Trade
"Generation are far from simply being a pale faced facsimile
amongst the current influx of aggra-metal computer-click cross-
pollinations". Personally I don't know about this, but I like the
music. Like Ministry and Pitch Shifter their music doesn't stray
too far from more traditional metal to be interesting for people
who are into metal music. The high Christianity content of the
lyrics is also bearable even for non-christians. The only track
in which religion really shows is the last track on the a lbum:
Psalm 69. This is the original psalm read aloud without music.
Perhaps they want to share their views on ways of succeeding,
sucking eggs and everything in reaction to Ministry's version.
All in all it's quite a good album in the musical neighbourhood
of and about as good as the already mentioned Ministry and bands
G.G.F.H. - HALLOWEEN (PEACEVILLE)
(guest review by Joris van Slageren)
It's very hard to categorise this record as it has very little
to do with ordinary metal music. It contains tracks from demos
released from 1986 to 1989. The GGFH-discography contained in the
booklet with the Peaceville volume 4 CD suggests that this album
was already released in 1991 on cassette only. As a result of the
long period of time over which the tracks have been recorded
there are many different styles on this record. Some of the
tracks are appreciable, like for example the track called "She
comes to you" that contains nice drum computer percussion. But
other tracks seem to have no meaning. They consist of the same
not very interesting sounds repeated over and over again. As said
before this album has got little or nothing to with rock or metal
music, so if your taste doesn't exceed the limits of these genres
you should not buy it. Perhaps fans of industrial music will find
something of interest in this record, but they as well should
listen to it before purchase.
INCANTATION - MORTAL THRONE OF NAZARENE (RELAPSE)
Jesus H.F. Christ! I think I've just discovered the band that
trendy rebellious twelve-year-olds will want to wear the next T-
shirts of... Anti-religious fervour, sex, blood and guts,
ruthless speed hacking, fast and fairly complex guitar antics,
more speed changes than you can shake a Saint Vitus' stick at...
In other words: Typically Relapse. Incantation sounds a lot like
Autopsy, actually, though the inside CD artwork is midly shocking
in comparison with that of "Acts of the Unspeakable", of course.
Not bad, not bad (he said, taking the plugs out of his ears).
But it does make me wonder what's going to happen to the
impressionable youths of today. A true decline of western
civilisation? This is the kind of CD you'd like to put in the
sweaty hands of fundamentally religious nutters, then count the
seconds until a cardiac arrest sets in...
MEGADETH - YOUTHANASIA (CAPITOL)
A very tempting CD to buy because it looks extremely slick in
design with a rather excellent booklet (showing Dave Junior has
turned into a pretty girl) and, in the case of a limited number
of copies, a free T-shirt (!). Musically, however, the CD is no
longer state-of-the-art thrash/speed metal. Megadeth have gone a
bit soft, and even seem to renounce their previous efforts by
including a closing song called "Victory" in which, basically, as
many of their old song titles are mentioned in a decidedly
Is it a bad CD? No. But the people who liked early Megadeth will
probably think it's not even close to "aggressive". It's getting
to be a 'hard rock band', not even heavy metal, continueing the
line of "Countdown to Extinction" that was already quite a bit
'softer' than their excellent "Rust in Piece". There are some
thoroughly OK tracks on this album - my personal favourite being
"Reckoning Day" - but also a few rather weak ones such as
"Victory". And I think it's a bit of a shame that Marty Friedman,
an excellent guitarist, is usually heard only with short solo
efforts in a few breaks and bridges.
Had it not been for the fact that a friend of mine (hi Thomas!)
had bought the CD without T-shirt and two days later bought a CD
with T-shirt, causing him to sell one of the CDs for half price,
I would probably have preferred to wait some time until it was a
MERCYFUL FATE - TIME (METAL BLADE)
At first I didn't like this CD too much, but on the contrary to
some other Mercyful Fate albums it can grow quite a bit on you so
actually I'd now go as far as saying it's about as good as "In
the Shadows" (without original drummer Kim Ruzz, Mercyful Fate
will never quite be as good as they used to be in the olden days,
even though their production wasn't all too brill back then), or
possibly a bit better. There is actually not one song on it that
I don't like, although "The Afterlife" is a bit too softish at
times, with King Diamond actually singing in a high voice instead
of screaming. "Time", the title piece, is also a bit weird - I
think it's about time and the fact that it kills - but I like the
way King's voice has been overdubbed zillions of times so that it
sounds as if you're listening to an entire Diamond Choir. There
aren't many vocalists who can get away with this overdubbing
business, but King Diamond is one (together with Dawn "Fear of
God" Crosby, of course).
"Time" is, in many ways, an instantly recognisable Mercyful Fate
album - and not just because of the vocals. Compositions are
good, vocal melody not innovative but good anyway, and there are
once more some classic tracks in the shape of "Nightmare be thy
Name", "Angel of Light" (with unparalelled King Diamond
screaming, awesome!!) and "The Mad Arab".
People who liked "In the Shadows" will like this, too, if
perhaps not at the first or second listen.
OBITUARY - WORLD DEMISE (ROADRUNNER)
Finally, a lot too late (though not quite as late as the review)
but well worth the wait, upon me has revealed itself the occasion
to acquire Obituary's "World Demise", their fourth and certainly
most experimental full-length album. Those who didn't like "The
End Complete" probably won't dig "World Demise" either, but those
who did, will. The songs are very much in the same vein with a
virtually identical production that makes the style instantly
recognizable. However, some of the songs have had samples added,
and effectively too I might add. The title track and "Splattered"
use these the most, and it really enriches the Obituary sound.
Unfortunately I suppose many hard-core Obituary fans won't like
it. To hell with them (which is probably where they'd prefer to
be anyway), because Obituary has grown and experimented. The
final song, "Kill For Me", even has the last two minutes
comprising solely of African American music. I don't like that
bit particularly, but at least it shows these guys have guts.
"World Demise" is not an absolute corker of an album, but it's
pretty damn good anyway, especially when you turn up the volume a
Try to look out for the American CD single "Don't Care"; it's
got a good non-album track called "Killing Victims Found". This
can also be found on the limited edition "World Demise" digipack.
ORPHANED LAND - SAHARA (HOLY RECORDS)
Holy Records have recently signed up Israeli band Orphaned Land.
Their debut CD is called "Sahara" and might very well be one of
the most innovative products to come out of the metal scene. As
far as I know, Orphaned Land are the first band top extensively
use Arabian chord progressions and Eastern musical instruments
such as Tarbuka and Hud amidst distorted guitars. The product of
a war generation, topics of their songs range from Jewish
religion to the Gulf War. Kobi Farhi's vocals can be compared to
those of My Dying Bride's Aaron, meaning they vary from a grunt
to plain singing that fits the songs eeriely. A female singer is
present on many songs, though I have to say her voice is perhaps
too sweet for them (quite on the contrary to the female vocals
in, say, Excision and Paradise Lost). The song where her voice
fits best is the song you should never have to listen to when
you're having love problems; the beautifully exquisite "The
"Sahara" is, very much like Septic Flesh' debut, a technically
excellent album that also offers incredible songwriting and a lot
of innovation. Those of you who aren't yet confined to the narrow
limits of today's standard genres might do well to broaden their
horizons by giving this band a good listen.
Someone at Holy Records is precisely "in sync" with me, I've
Check out the Orphaned Land interview, elsewhere in this issue
of ST NEWS.
OVERDOSE - PROGRESS OF DECADENCE (MUSIC FOR NATIONS)
Finally an other band to "make" it outside Brazil. Sounding like
a successful cross between Pantera (production and general sound)
and Sepultura (vocals and some sound ingredients as well),
Overdose add to the existing gamut the use of traditional
Brazilian percussion instruments. Although some of the
instrumental interludes are rendered same-ish because of a
similar percussional approach, the album as a whole has the
straight-in-the-face quality I really appreciate.
I guess only time will tell if this band really breaks through.
They've got enthusiasm and an interesting edge with these
Brazilian instruments, but so far it seems not to make the impact
of, say, "Beneath the Remains". Go to a record shop, play song
number 5 ("Capitalist Way") and listen to see if you like it.
PENTAGRAM - BE FOREWARNED (PEACEVILLE)
After what seems like decades, Pentagram is back with a new
album. One of their members, Victor Griffin, has in the mean time
done some really groovy things with Cathedral and I think it
shows in the overall Pentagram style now. As opposed to both
earlier albums, re-released last year by Peaceville, production
is now quite excellent.
Pentagram is basically a modern Black Sabbath, with somewhat
weak vocals not dissimilar from Ozzy's. It's something you have
to get used to, but it's not an impossible task at all. Most of
the songs on this CD could have been classic Iommi stuff,
although I would hasten to add that they don't sound ripped off
or anything. It's heavy, chunky, semi-slow, rock-solid stuff that
no doom metal fan or early Black Sabbath worshipper will dislike.
I found especially the instrumental passages - bridges and breaks
between vocals - uncannily heavy, where bass is pumped up because
there's no vocals it could repress. Some unusual percussion
instrument are thrown in, as well as one song boasting female
And a good thing is that the album now lasts a whole hour, of
which actually only a few minutes are less impressive in the form
of an instrumental song called "A Timeless Heart".
Like the Black Sabbath Tribute Album "Nativity in Black", this
is something no Black Sabbath or Cathedral fan should be without.
"Be Forewarned" is a very good album, especially for people who
are into classic hard rock.
PITCH SHIFTER - THE REMIX WAR (EARACHE)
(a guest review by Joris van Slageren)
The idea of having somebody else do a remix of one or more of
your tracks and releasing that is in itself not new. Recently,
for example, Morbid Angel released their "Laibach Remixes EP",
also on Earache Records. The new aspect however is that this time
it's a war. In one corner of the imaginary boxing ring are Pitch
Shifter themselves and in the other corner are Biohazard,
Therapy? and Gunshot. Pitch Shifter are of course an upcoming
band with some very famous fans like Pantera's Phil Anselmo
already. Of the other three bands the first two are among the top
bands in their respective genres. The third band, Gunshot, is not
so well known, at least not to me. These same three bands each do
a cover version of a Pitch Shifter track (the tracks are more
like cover versions than remixes, I think) and Pitch Shifter
supplies the original versions as well as two other tracks.
All in all this promises to be interesting. But after listening
to the advance tape a couple of times, I reached the conclusion
that the result of the war is a 3-0 victory for Pitch Shifter.
The other bands try to mix their own styles with the orginal
samples and, somehow, in the process a lot of the aggression is
lost. It's not that the cover versions are really bad (with the
possible exception of the Gunshot track), it's just that the
originals are better.
So, unless you are a very big fan of one of the bands and you
want to buy everything that's remotely related to your favourite
band, there's really no need to buy this record, in my opinion.
QUEENSRYCHE - PROMISED LAND (EMI)
I've listened to this CD quite a lot, and still I don't know
what to think of it. Is it better than Dream Theater's "Awake",
or not? At start I tended to think the previous. The songs on
"Promised Land" are quite instantly likeable, especially a song
like "I Am I" and my favourite track, "Damaged". It didn't grow
on me as much as did "Operation Mindcrime", and perhaps I'd just
have to see them perform some of the songs live in order to truly
learn to appreciate this CD, much in the way that happened with
It's better than "Empire", I think everybody will agree, though
to me the almost over-the-top guitar textures present in many
songs get across a bit contrived. Where Dream Theater, for
example, seems a dazzling sequence of improvisation and musical
showmanship moulded into really excellent songs, Queensryche
seems to take a much more deliberate approach.
It is said this album is more "ethereal", but I'm not sure about
that. It's a good album with good songs - the title track is also
a good one, I'd like to mention - and I guess it's typically
Queensryche. Fans will no doubt like it a lot, like I do, but if
ever you want to get someone to check out Queensryche I think it
would still be best to let them listen first to "Operation
SLAYER - DIVINE INTERVENTION (AMERICAN RECORDINGS)
Well, Slayer have finally released a new studio album after
1990's "Seasons in the Abyss" and their excellent double live CD
"Decade of Aggression". Well, I can be really short about this CD
(much like the CD itself, which lasts a meagre 37 minutes): It's
typically and instantly recognizable, and quite excellent. Some
people might blame them for not being the epitome of innovation,
but who cares? Tom Araya screams his head off, the guitar solos
are still lightning fast with blatant disregard of musical keys,
and only the drums are different and a lot more freaky (Dave
Lombardo has been replaced some time ago by Paul Bostaph who has
a better double bass drum technique I think).
Slayer fans won't be disappointed except for the CD's length
(or, rather, lack of it).
SOLITUDE AETURNUS - THROUGH THE DARKEST HOUR (BULLET PROOF)
This is Solitude Aeturnus' third album, after two earlier albums
released on Roadrunner. Although the album's got its better
moments - like the nicely chunky, riff-packed "Pain" - it's also
got its weaker parts. The half-ballad "Shattered My Spirit" fits
in this latter category. Basically, "Through the Darkest Hour" is
about an hour of well-produced music slightly in the Black
Sabbath vein but a bit faster and more complex. It's not bad at
all, really, but there's not enough to make it stand out a lot.
Unless you count the non-grunt vocals of Robert Lowe.
VAI, STEVE - AS 15/2 (MINOTAURO RECORDS)
One of the most exciting bootlegs to come to my attention in
quite a while is the double bootleg CD "As 15/2" by Vai, recorded
November last year in Milan, Italy. Featuring a complete concert
(2 hours' worth) and sufficient sound quality with good guitar
sound, it's an absolute must for the guitar fans among you.
I only borrowed this CD for a few days as I couldn't actually
get hold of it myself, so I haven't got a clue as to what it's
supposed to cost. Apart from such classics as "For The Love of
God" and "The Animal" the CD offers a lot of material from the
new album. With the guitars sounding louder and vocalist Devin's
voice mixed softer, the live tracks sound better than the studio
stuff actually. Especially "Touching Tongues" is a masterpiece
that I would not have expected Vai to be able to do live. Other
mandatory tracks on this CD are "I Would Love To", "Greasy Kid's
Stuff", "Junkie", "Sisters" and a >9 minute version of "Answers".
The only thing I missed was "The Audience is Listening", and "For
the Love of God" is definitely inferior to the performance at the
1991 Sevilla gig. Other than that (and the bad availability due
to it being a bootleg) there's no reason why any Vai/guitar fan
should be without it.
VARIOUS ARTISTS - EARPLUGGED (EARACHE SAMPLER)
If you haven't got two of the CDs among Cathedral's "The
Ethereal Mirror", Napalm Death's "Fear Emptiness Despair", Bolt
Thrower's "...Into Victory", Brutal Truth's "Need to Control" and
Entombed's "Wolverine Blues", the "Earplugged" Earache sampler is
the CD to get in order to get a taste for the ones you don't
have. At the price of a CD single you get almost an hour of this
stuff, immediately making it loads better than the old
"Grindcrusher" Earache sampler of which, let's face it, half was
Issasimple: Get this CD unless you haven't got all the separate
CDs already. Its price is certainly not at all prohibitive.
VARIOUS ARTISTS - IN THE NAME OF SATAN (A TRIBUTE TO VENOM) (GUN
My feelings about this effort are mixed entirely. Thank god I
got the digipack with two bonus tracks for otherwise I would have
the added discontent of a rather short CD.
Anyway, the best way to look at this "all kinds of famous and a
few rather not-so-famous-at-all bands doing a Venom song"
compilation is to mention them one by one.
KREATOR - WITCHING HOUR: A decent version of the song, nice,
fast, compact, though with Mille's predictable rather unmelodic
ANATHEMA - WELCOME TO HELL: Definitely one of the best songs on
the album - mean, heavy, low, dirty, with Darren's inimitable
grunt. Well-produced, too.
VOI-VOD - IN LEAGUE WITH SATAN: I don't like the voice much, but
the song itself is OK I guess. Nothing much more needs to be
NUCLEAR ASSAULT - DIE HARD: Well this is hardly Nuclear Assault,
just Jason Connely basically, and the vocals of this are so awful
that they quite literally spoil the whole song, probably
classifying it as the worst track on the album. This is rape,
really, though the guitars sounds good.
SKYCLAD - PRIME EVIL: Another excellent version of one of
Venom's lesser songs (i.e. one composed without Cronos). Skyclad
add the violin and excellent production, which basically means
this version is lots better than the original!
SODOM - 1000 DAYS IN SODOM: A good song, nothing much to be
said about really. I had expected "Angeldust" on this compilation
because they'd done that on their recent album, too, but I guess
this track is a lot more logical a choice. The ending could have
been better, though; it just fades away now.
EX-CANDLEMASS - COUNTESS BATHORY: Much like "Die Hard", this is
a good track as far as the instruments are concerned, but the
vocals are once more rather bad - thought not quite as bad as
those of the other track. I think the main problem is that the
singer does voice trembling (or whatcha may call it) which is
something the original, Cronos, would never have done.
PARADISE LOST - IN NOMINE SATANAS: There are three tracks on
this album that I think are totally brilliant; Skyclad, Anathema,
and Paradise Lost. Nick Holmes is definitely not a devout
Christian, let me tell you that. The original was cool, and this
version is, too. I can imagine this track turning impressionable
and rebellious youths into Satanists, out to burn churches,
decapitate priests and drink virgin's blood from pentagrammed
FORBIDDEN - RIP RIDE (bonus track): A fairly good track, with
guitar solo work that is actually better than the original I
guess, and somewhat different drums arrangement here and there
that doesn't necessarily obliterate the original too much. Nicely
KILLERS - BLACK METAL (bonus track): This starts off every bit
as impressive as the original, but soon the drums fall in, the
snare produced to sound like a trash bucket or something. The
vocals are a bit off (including a bit of a tremble). Is that
really Paul Di'Anno?
VENOM - WARHEAD: Venom have changed musical styles more often
than a dandy changes his socks. Now they've gone industrial, and
on the contrary to the journalist they hired to write the
arrogantly ego-boosting sleeve story, I don't think it's an
improvement nor any form of maturing process. Listen to it and
see what horrible things can be done to a True Classic Song. One
day before I got the CD I taught myself to play this song on
guitar. Let me tell you, I am not a good guitar player but even
my version is better, something the people with whom I share a
house will be happy to attest.
VENOM - HOLY MAN: For God's sake, not a new song, please!
Industrial, too, and quite simple from a musical point of view,
too. You'd better give this one a miss, too.
Concluding? Wait until this CD is available for half-price or
something, because you can't expect to pay full price for the 3
excellent songs and very small handful of songs that are OK. I
guess this might have been the final nail to Venom's coffin. It's
easy to imagine ex-member Cronos sitting somewhere, grinning.
VARIOUS ARTISTS - NATIVITY IN BLACK (A TRIBUTE TO BLACK SABBATH)
If only 'they' had been able to get artists as excellent as the
ones on this CD for the Venom effort..."Nativity in Black" is an
album the way tribute albums should be, everything "In the Name
of Satan" failed to be. Where "In the Name..." had some good
bands and a lot of crap, "Nativity..." has some crap bands and a
lot of good stuff.
I am not going to spend a lot of words on this. Suffice to say
that there are 13 songs performed by people like Biohazard,
Megadeth, Faith No More, Type-O-Negative, Cathedral and
Sepultura. All tracks are excellent with the exception of a
slightly mediocre "Iron Man" (by Therapy? with the real Ozzy on
vocals) and "Lord of this World" (by Corrosion of Conformity) and
a really, really lousy "Supernaut" by the industrial outfit 1,000
Homo DJ's (sic). All original Sabbath members play on the album,
with the exception of Tony Iommi, unfortunately.
This is easily the best tribute album I've ever heard. And at 72
minutes' playing time, it's really good value for money too!
VARIOUS ARTISTS - PROMOTERS OF THE THIRD WORLD WAR (A TRIBUTE TO
VENOM) (P.A. RECORDS)
Yes! Arch metal heroes Venom even got a second tribute album
eventually, this time filled with 15 songs performed by bands
nobody outside of Sweden will ever have heard of. Which doesn't
make it any worse than the original, and indeed it isn't. The
songs - classics like "Black Metal", "Leave me in Hell", "Buried
Alive", "7 Gates of Hell", "In League with Satan", "Teachers
Pet", "Welcome to Hell", "Stand Up and be Counted" and "Countess
Bathory" - are virtually all played in ruthlessly heavy versions
in a distinctly blackened death metal vein. No 'real' singers
here, no industrial bullshit. No, this is the real thing, and I'd
advise anyone to get this one if you had to chose. There's even a
Venom song I had never before heard of - "Senile Decay".
Of course, this album also has a few rotten apples. Pingo's
Inferno, for example, plays a version of "Live Like an Angel"
that is barely recognizable - these guys are too technically
capable and have unwittingly ruined the original with their new
arrangement including keyboards of all things. And Shit Out Of
Luck's version of "Poison" is quite bad, too, with rearranged
vocals and an appropriately shit production. Last but not least
there's Kosken Hardcore's version of "Angeldust" which sounds
uninspired and isn't even identical.
Nonetheless a really heavy, brilliant cover album!
VARIOUS ARTISTS - SMOKE ON THE WATER (A TRIBUTE) (SHRAPNEL)
I guess 1994 will enter music history as "the year of the
tribute album". It started off with the Kiss tribute "Kiss My
Ass" and there have been many others including the ones mentioned
above. I am not sure if it was a bad thing or a good thing.
Anyway, I got my share of it and I'll play them regularly because
some of the cover versions are better than the originals!
This particular tribute album is more of a "guitar hero" album
than a true tribute, what with guitarists the likes of John
Norum, Yngwie Malmsteen, Vinnie Moore, Richie Kotzen, Paul
Gilbert and Tony MacAlpine taking care of those honours. So
instrumentally everything is hunky-dory, also because all
drumming is done by Deen Castronovo and all keyboards by Jens
Johansson. I don't agree with some of the vocalists on the album,
but some of them are really good - such as Richie Kotzen and
Glenn Hughes (yeah!).
Songs covered on the album include classics the likes of "Speed
King", "Space Truckin'", "Lazy", "Smoke on the Water", "Fireball"
and "Maybe I'm a Leo" as well as "Woman from Tokyo" and a further
No extensive "Deep Purple worshipping" notes on the CD liner
notes this time, which might be just as well.
And who wins the guitar war? Listen to it yourself without
checking who the guitarists are first, and I think you'll see
it's Yngwie Malmsteen. Russ Parrish does a good job at all the
rhythm guitar work and some of the solos.
1994 CD RELEASES TOP 10
I'm not sure if anyone's waiting for this, but what the heck. If
people like ST NEWS and the musical taste portrayed in it
(especially mine, that is), they would perhaps do well to check
out some of the following CDs which I reckon are the finest
releases of 1994 (in order of superbity).
1 Septic Flesh - "Mystic Places of Dawn"
2 Dream Theater - "Awake"
3 Queensrÿche - "Promised Land"
4 At The Gates - "Terminal Spirit Disease"
5 Nightfall - "Macabre Sunsets"
6 Mercyful Fate - "Time".
7 Orphaned Land - "Sahara"
8 Napalm Death - "Fear Emptiness Despair"
9 Obituary - "World Demise"
10 Altar - "Youth Against Christ"
Special runner-up: Yngwie Malmsteen - "Seventh Sign".
THE "BLADE RUNNER" THING SORTED OUT
Some of you may be aware that Vangelis' "Blade Runner", probably
one of the very finest soundtracks ever released, is available in
two versions. One is the bootleg version, reviewed in ST NEWS
Volume 9 Issue 1 I believe (OWM-9301). The other is the
"official" release, reviewed in ST NEWS Volume 9 Issue 2 I seem
Here's a list of the differences on the CD, for those of you who
want to have both or don't yet know which one should be had.
Needless to say, this info came from the Vangelis "Direct"
digest on the net.
Cues On Both [* == previously released on Vangelis' compilation
OWM-9301 1994 "Official" Release
4:03 Main Titles + Prologue 1:12 [part of] Main Title 
1:46 L.A. Nov. 2019 1:18 [part of] Main Title 
5:39 Memories Of Green * 5:05 Memories Of Green  *
10:19 Blade Runner Blues 8:54 Blade Runner Blues 
5:30 On The Trail Of Nexus 6 == 4:47 Tales Of The Future
4:57 Love Theme * 4:57 Love Theme *
2:41 Tears In Rain 3:02 Tears In Rain [has
7:24 End Titles  * 4:37 End Titles *
3:59 One More Kiss, Dear 3:59 One More Kiss, Dear
Tracks Exclusive To OWM-9301
0:24 Ladd Company Logo 
1:29 Deckard Meets Rachel
2:05 Bicycle Riders (Gail Laughton) 
1:12 Deckard's Dream 
3:03 If I Didn't Care (Ink Spots) 
3:35 The Prodigal Son Brings Death
1:02 Dangerous Days
10:58 Wounded Animals
1:39 Trailer/Alternate Main Title 
Tracks Exclusive To 1994 "Official" Release 
5:46 Blush Response [opens with 1:38 dialogue]
5:27 Wait For Me
4:47 Rachel's Song
2:33 Damask Rose
 "Main Title" on "official" release is 3:41 and contains 1:07
dialogue, plus the two excerpts as noted.
 "Memories of Green" on "official" release fades earlier than
 "Blade Runner Blues" fades about 1:30 earlier on the
"official" release than on OWM-9301.
 "End Titles" on OWM-9301 are full-length version of the
original cue; other versions are edited.
 The Ladd Company Theme was composed by John Williams.
 The "Bicycle Riders" cue is from Gail Laughton's album Harps
Of The Ancient Temples.
 "Deckard's Dream" on OWM-9301 is lifted from the video of
the Director's Cut.
 The Ink Spots' "If I Didn't Care" was used in early cuts of
the film, but was replaced by the Vangelis-penned "One More
Kiss, Dear" for the film's release.
 The "Trailer/Alternate Main Title" is the audio from the
original theatrical trailer, and contains temp music by
 All tracks exclusive to the 1994 "Official" release were
composed by Vangelis while he prepared the film's score, but
were not used in any released version of the movie.
More in a future issue of ST NEWS, most likely (indeed) Volume
10 Issue 1!
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.