MEGADETH – RUST IN PEACE LIVE CD/DVD REVIEW

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I was at this show and it was amazing, so as to not be overly redundant please see my review : http://realrockreport.com/2010/04/01/megadeth-live-show-report-3-31-10-the-palladium-hollywood-ca/

As wisdom would have it Megadeth recorded the last show of their 20 year Rust In Peace tour for a DVD and CD release due out from Shout! Factory on 9/7/10 The set has been rearranged understandably enough so that it can start with the Rust In Peace record in its entirety (at the show they played a few songs first to get the blood pumping) Let’s start with the DVD, it boasts fine HD quality (available on blueray) and 5.1  dolby sound (if you do not have surround please change setting to 2.0 stereo in settings, it will sound much better that way I promise!) I think the best thing about watching this concert is you really get the point that this is technically incredibly hard music to play and it is played to perfection! The CD is mixed and mastered very well with the need for clarity never costing a reduction in power. This 20th anniversary tour marked the return of David Ellefson on Bass (which seemed about as possible as a new Led Zepplin tour) and wouldn’t you know the energy between he and Mustaine is bombastic! Rust In Peace is without a doubt one of the best all time thrash metal records (if not the best)! And at the time it certainly set the standard for the new heavy metal, offering solid vocal melodies with unrelenting guitar riffs, time changes and thundering bass and drums. Chris Broderick handles the other guitar duties and handles it like relaxed monster, his solos are so faithful to the original record that it’s a true homage and he deserves a big high five for that. Shawn Drover is a perfect beast behind the drums… nuff said. I couldn’t be happier that this was recorded for posterity as it is a perfect snapshot of why Megadeth is still and will be (as long as Dave mustaine wants) The premier American heavy metal act. The bonus tracks are great as well, highlights include Skin Of My Teeth, In My Darkest hour, Sympathy Of Destruction and of course Peace Sells. Also on the bonus tracks are some very cool behind the scenes stuff, fans hanging before the show, sound check Etc. Dave Mustaine has never looked or sounded better (after saying “And that was Rust In Peace, and before launching into Holy Wars Reprise Dave loses the shirt which kind of pissed me off cause he’s older than me and in much better shape…. Metal bastard!) As with any great live recording there are moments where you can hear the chanting of the audience which is especially cool because I was there so I can add with utmost certainty that the crowd noises are not enhanced the audience really showed up to show Megadeth California metal love (check out the end of Hanger 18!) Although watching the DVD is awesome for me the real thrill is stepping into my time machine (black Honda element) going back 20 years and cranking up the noise! Youth of today step away from your computers, learn your instrument first then play with pro-tools. Rust InPeace Live is a blueprint of how to rock the balls off the world, there is no substitute for hard work and there is no substitute for real rock and roll. Thank you Dave Mustaine for continuing to give us your passion, strength and love.

Megadeth (still) Rules!

5 (out of 5)

J.S.L.

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LILLIAN AXE – DEEP RED SHADOWS REVIEW

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Here at Real Rock report we pride ourselves on being objective and giving every band a fair listen before review, that being said when I saw the cover of the new Lillian Axe CD I was like… Oh boy goth rock! but then I reminded myself not to judge a book by its cover and ya know make myself listen. What happened next was even more baffling… The first four songs were great! Lillian Axe has been around since 1983 or so and I will admit there were barley a blip on my radar so I was amused that many of their old time fans feel let down by their most recent efforts. Deep Red Shadows is well produced by founding member and guitarist Steve Blaze. Derrick Lefevre’s vocals are superb to the point of being fascinating… again that is only on the four songs. Instead of wasting my time and your’s on a full breakdown review (I am told some of these songs are remakes of their older material , etc.) I will say this: Who cares about the past, the first four songs are killer rock and roll and metal somewhere in the vein of The Damned (Phantasmagoria era) and Alice  In Chains with Dave Mustaine playing the leads, really it’s very cool in a theatrical way and even the goth overtone is subdued enough not to be annoying. Anyway track five Nobody Knows is an acoustic track that could be on a Great White record and while it is not the worst thing I have heard (especially the awesome guitar) it does signify the death of promise on this record as the last four tracks following are also ho-hum nothing special but nothing terrible acoustic tracks. In short this band has an obvious identity problem: Are we a metal band? What are we  anyway? So here it is in a nutshell: This record is a big disappointment because side A if you will rules and side B is snoresville think Black Flag’s My war so much promise but never delivering the goods. It was a choice to release this as a full record instead of a EP which is what it really should be. If you like operatic pop metal then go to I-tunes and download Under The Same Moon, 47 Ways To Die, The Quenching Of Human life and A Minute Of  Years. These guys have been around long enough to know you are only as good as your last trick and this one thanks to poor planning is a dud, I could have and should have been a new fan. Instead I am an almost was, drifting back into the obscurity this band has earned.

1.5 (out of 5)

J.S.L.

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MURDERDOLLS – WOMEN AND CHILDREN LAST REVIEW

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I didn’t know too much about the Murderdolls until this disc plunked onto my desk.  I only knew that they were a spin-off project for Joey Jordison, the drummer for Slipknot. Jordison was recently voted “best Drummer of the Last 25 Years” by the UK’s Rhythm Magazine.  It’s a well-deserved honor, as his work with Slipknot is technical, unique, and tight as hell.  But that didn’t mean I was rushing out to hear a side-project written by a drummer.

Doing a bit of research, the Murderdolls first record was touted as being a combination of “Motley Crüe and The Misfits”, and sadly that’s true.  Not a mix, or a blend, but a weird bipolar hybrid where one song sounded like generic LA hair metal, and the next track was sing-along New Jersey punk.  It seemed like the work of two entirely different songwriters, or a band with schizophrenia.  Some songs echoed The Misfits’ tuneful anarchy, and (a lot of) others sounded like typical Motley Crüe filler material. So it was an uneven listen that left this reviewer offering little more than a half-hearted shrug.  (As with their obvious influence Marilyn Manson, the only really good track on the first CD was a cover version. In this case, Billy Idol’s “White Wedding”, covered in the usual Manson-ian horrorshow style.)

Fortunately, the Murderdolls second disc,“Women and Children Last”, is a hell of a lot more consistent, at least in terms of production.  It contains more than a whiff of Rob Zombie, and the Manson influences are still cluttering up the place, but it has better songs than either of those acts have managed in recent memory.  Bored ‘Til Death sounds like the bastard child of Dope’s Die MF Die and G&R’s Double Talking Jive. Drug Me To Hell is an interesting choice, since Jordison’s Slipknot bandmate Paul Gray recently died of an overdose.  Given that, it is a bit non-committal, lyrically, on the whole topic of drugs.  But let’s assume it’s an anti-drug anthem, rather than an ill-timed endorsement for chemical recreation, and move on. Nowhere, on the other hand, is awful.  No other word for it.  It’ll probably be a huge hit, but it sucks satan’s balls.  The melody and heavy-handed keyboards could be any 80’s power-metal band.  Hell, it sounds like Europe with a different vocalist. Wednesday 13’s vocals come across a bit “same-ish” over time, and tracks like Summertime Suicide provoke little more than a glance at the old wristwatch.  Thankfully, they shift gears on My Dark Place Alone, and out-pace Devildriver for pit-friendly groove-metal.  It’s actually the track on the record that veers closest to Jordison’s day-job in Slipknot.  Homicide Drive also rocks along with a pleasant vitality.  Rock N Roll is All I Got is another highlight, with the lyric “Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll has (sic) been my only friend.” Maybe it’s the tequila talking, but that cliché sentiment is starting to resonate with your withered and aged correspondent.  It’s rare that a song about the mighty Power of Rock manages not to suck, but this is a fine addition to the canon of songs in praise of rock itself.  Hello, Goodbye, Die also deserves to be tracked earlier in the record.  Oh, wait, no.  The lyrics include the words “shish, boom, bah.” Really?  You couldn’t try just a tiny bit harder than that, gentlemen?  It’s that kind of lyrical laziness that separates rock classics from forgettable filler tunes.

This record is solid, if a bit generic.   At its weakest points, it sounds like Buckcherry with a splatter-movie fixation.   But it is a huge improvement over their first disc, at least in terms of defining the band’s sound.  But with that sound owing so much to the Manson/Zombie school of heavy schlock rock, one has to question the world’s need for this record.  One also questions the track-listing, as at least three of the stronger songs are buried late in the running order.  And the lyrics could clearly use some work.  But if you’re hungry for some thick groove-laden riffs and have worn out your copy of Devildriver’s “Pray for Villains” you could do worse than “Women And Children Last”.

3 (out of 5)

Malderor

JOAN JETT / CHERIE CURRIE (Live show review) Pacific Ampatheater Costa Mesa, Ca, 8.11.10

Posted in: Rock And Roll |

Okay let’s start with Joan Jett. She was great; she is always great! Joan had her everyready growl and prowl that states the obvious to me… Joan rocks… case closed on that deal. Joan played all the hits we expected to hear, coming out strong with a nice quick version of Bad Reputation and moving on down the line with Love Is Pain and a very sweet version of Androgynous that gave Joan the chance to take her guitar off for a moment and bond with the crowd. No suprise everyone went nuts when the band kicked into I Love Rock and Roll; it was anthemic. The contributions Joan has made to rock and roll and to female rockers is obvious, and for that she deserves a medal.

Here is where I need to go back in time for a moment… The opening band was Cherie Currie and I for one was excited to hear some of The Runaways music that I have loved for so many years but have never really heard live (except for the few Joan puts in her set). Thanks to The Runaways movie (not a great film but entertaining and full of great music), there is a renewed interest in The Runaways and its original singer Cherie Currie. What I did not expect was a moment – you know the kind I’m talking about – where you are in the right place at the right time. Boy was I in the right place at the right time. When Currie hit the stage at age 51 it was like she never missed a beat. She was on fire with the spirit of rock and roll and I was in heaven. And if that wasn’t enough, she was actualy grateful (not the usual ‘we love you all’ rap). At one point she said, “I gave up on my dream 21 years ago, so thank you all so much for this!” For those of you who don’t know The Runaways music, the three best records are the first three they did with Currie: The Runaways, Queens Of Noise and my personal favorite, Live In Japan. If you don’t have these three, you are missing out on some kick ass 70′s rock and roll. Although The Runaways have been clasified often as a novelty, anyone who knows music knows that’s just not true; they were very good musicians for their age, and it was a time and place that was unchartered in rock and roll and therefore has it’s own spot in our history. After leaving The Runaways Cherie Currie did two more records, most notably the one with her sister Marie that came out in 1980.

Cherie and Marie Currie Messin With The Boys is fun, especially in a retrospective way. Although it has some misteps for sure, there are some great moments here like a spirited version of Russ Ballard’s Since You’ve Been Gone, and some extremely mature moments in songs like This Time and Secrets. Anyway as usual I digress, so back to the show… Cherie Currie looked and sounded amazing. She was luminescent in her well-deserved limelight, as 8,500 adoring fans cheered and sang along to such songs as Queens of Noise, Rock and Roll, California Paradise, American Nights, and of course the crowd wen’t absoulutely bonkers when she launched into her closer: Cherry Bomb. Currie’s entire set (save one Bowie cover) was The Runaways music, so it was almost like hearing Live in Japan. I really cannot say enough good things about Currie and I only hope that she and her band will continue to play shows so more people can see what I saw, which was a bad ass rock star laying it down for real. My daughter is a big fan of Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, as well as The Runaways, so I took her along and it was funny to me that she knew so many of the songs that Currie performed and was rockin and boppin along to every great moment. So how cool is it that I caught a genuine moment and got to share it with my little girl? Ummm… very cool indeed. Thanks to people like Joan Jett and Cherie Currie my daughter will never have to wonder if girls rock. They Do. Currie ended her set by saying “God bless you all and God bless America”. So in return I will offer “God bless Cherie Currie for having the courage to once again stand upon the stage and give us everything she’s got!” She went away for a long time and had to battle some demons but she has risen like the phoenix and retuned to claim her rightful place as one of our national rock treasures… You can’t fake this stuff – you either got it or you don’t – and Currie’s got it in spades.

5 (out of 5)

J.S.L

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