Thursday, August 31, 2006

#88 - Breaking the Silence - Queensryche - Operation: Mindcrime (1988)

Operation Mindcrime is one of my favorite albums of all time, and the best concept album of all time. But it is still a collection of songs, and they are all good songs at that. I am sure if I expanded this list to 500 or so, there would be about 7 or 8 from this album.

Anyway, Breaking the Silence is toward the end of the album, and it reflects some of the pent up anger and hostility in the character. The riffs and solos are great. I was always amazed how this album and this song in particular was able to be so metal and so prog at the same time.

Great stuff

Monday, August 28, 2006

#89 - Crazy Nights - Tygers of Pan Tang - Crazy Nights (1981)

I first heard this a long time ago. Probably 1984 or so, from a borrowed record from a friend of a friend. I really liked it and eventually found the record on import, as this NWOBHM outfit probably did not have great distribution in the USA. The band featured John Sykes on guitar, and the riffs here are great. Unfortunately, this was Sykes' second and last album with The Tygers and they soon faded away into obscurity. This album and the one before it are two great NWOBHM releases and are among the finest albums of the movement.

The song highlighted here is the title track from Crazy Nights and while to me it stands out in the crowd, it is only one of many great tracks as there are no real stinkers present on any of the two 1981 Tygers albums.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

#90 - Who's Watching You - Vain - No Respect (1989)

Glam has never been a sub genre I ever liked. However, this album, and this track in particular are quite good. Granted the lyrics are horrible, and one read of the lyric sheet will have any self respecting metal fan reaching for their copy of Powerslave. Given that though, the playing on this record is really good. I guess Vain was more in the model of Ratt, where the guitar player was skilled, and sort of gave the band a small amount of musical credibility.

Of course, this came out at the end of glam's popularity, and thus Vain is a mere footnote in the book of 80's metal, but if you see this one in the used section or cut out bin, pick it up.

Friday, August 18, 2006

#91 - Anguish and Fear - Yngwie Malmsteen - Marching Out (1985)

This song is probably the best song on a damn good album. This album and Anguish and Fear in particular get a boost from a great association. In college, I was in a fraternity, and while we were not your stereotypical preppy frat boys, we still had parties and the main focus of the parties was to get girls.

To that end, one of the bedrooms in the house was treated as a de facto "dance club", where one of the brothers would play dance music and the like. However, at the end of the evening, after most of the girls left, some metal CD's found their way into the sound system. On one particular evening, Marching Out hit the stereo, and that will forever stick out in my mind.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

#92 - Don't Hold Back - Riot - Fire Down Under (1981)

I first heard this song on the Pam Merli metal show on WYSP in Philadelphia back in the ealy 1980's. I would tape the shows on my boom box and listen to the tapes over and over again. This one track always stood out among all the other "underground" (ie Raven, TT Quick, etc.) stuff at the time.

While the album art is horrible, this is a really good album, with Don't Hold Back as my personal favorie on the album. Unfortunately, 1981 was the high water mark for Riot. Guy Speranza was replaced b Rhett Forrester, and while the latter is a decent vocalist, the band were never the same, as fame and fortune continued to elude them.

Monday, August 14, 2006

#93 - Fighting the World - Manowar - Fighting the World (1987)

Stripes on a tiger don't wash away, Manowar's made of steel not clay.

That is one of my favorite line from any song. This track is a metal anthem, and I usually do not like metal anthems. This song is the exception. Manowar is an easy target, and they are very laughable at times, but this is one of the greatest tunes of all time. Extremely infectious and it really does get you waving the proverbial metal flag when you listen to it.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


My wife had our third son earlier this week, so I am out of commission for a couple of days. All are well, but with the two older boys under my sole control, things are busy!

Monday, August 07, 2006

#94 - Holy Wars (The Punishment Due) - Megadeth - Rust in Peace (1990)

This is quite a good album, with a few great tracks on it, but the first song is my favorite. I particularly enjoy the accoustic guitar after the chorus. Good stuff.

Friday, August 04, 2006

#95 - Stranger in a Strange Land - Iron Maiden - Somewhere in Time (1986)

This is the first of many Iron Maiden songs on the list. Stranger in a Strange Land is featured here for the playing of Adrian Smith. There are no accolades or superlatives that I can bestow upon the playing, writing and performing of Mr. Smith that are enough. This guy has it all, and this song is one example of many.

Somewhere in Time is a great record. On Powerslave, you first understood that Adrian was the better player between he and Dave Murray, but on Somewhere in Time, it was obvious, especially when you considered song writing. I am not slamming Murray; I think he's great as The Thin Line Between Love and Hate almost made this list, purely for Davey's playing. It's just that Adrian is better, and this song is an early example of that.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

#96 - Worlds Are Comin' Through - Brainstorm - Liquid Monster (2005)

Liquid Monster, the new album from Brainstorm…OK, seriously. German metal outfit Brainstorm has a history of churning out competent but not brilliant Euro Metal. Not really speedy, but not as geigh as Power Metal, I guess you'd call it traditional metal. Whatever the sub-genre, Brainstorm does have an interesting little niche in the metal world, and hopefully this album was a stepping-stone toward a more consistent release. This is the first track on the album, and it shows the potential these guys have. It is the standout track here for sure. As the album progresses, it looses steam and eventually becomes quite dull and ordinary, but this track is awesome, and hopefully a sign of things to come.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

#97 - Iron Tusk - Mastodon - Leviathan (2004)

Iron Tusk falls in the center of Mastodon's highly acclaimed Leviathan. This album crosses the sub genres and delivers a complex heavy album, worthy of its praise. The song Iron Tusk in particular is my personal favorite here. The drumming is sick, the guitars are wailing and the pace is furious.

I saw Mastodon in the summer of 2005 opening for Maiden, but really did not see much of their show due to circumstances beyond my control; plus the venue had crappy sound, so it would have been tough to enjoy the show. I do recall this tune in the set, as it does stand out. A recommended album for fans of extreme metal.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

#98 - Conquistador - Saxon - Metalhead (2000)

Since 1984, Saxon has not really done much. Their albums (and there have been plenty of them) have ranged from dreadful (Destiny) to competent. And while I certainly enjoy these more recent albums, none of them are really that great. None of them stand out as brilliant. However, this one song seems to rise above the crowd. It has a nice acoustic intro, followed by great riffing. Even Biff has that "old sound" to his voice; and without the slick modern day production, Conquistador would be right at home on Wheels of Steel or Strong Arm of the Law.

It is really one of Saxon's finest moments, from any era.