Five Finger Death Punch – The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Vol. 1

First off, I must be honest here. I am NOT a fan of this band. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why this band is so popular. Is it the music? The lyrics? The drumming? I don’t know. Anyways, 5FDP is back! And they assault us with 14 new tracks, with the lead single being a track called “Lift Me Up”, with guest vocals from the metal God himself, Rob Halford. Upon first listen, the vocal melody sounds like The Ultimate Sin, by Ozzy.  I’m surprised Halford didn’t realize this, and decline to participate.  But he did. It’s an okay track, certainly nothing new, and the presence of Halford doesn’t do anything to enhance it.

Other “highlights” of the disc are duets with Jamey Jasta from Hatebreed, (Dot Your Eyes), Max Cavalera from Soulfly, (I.M. Sin), and Maria Brink from In This Moment, (Anywhere But Here). There is also a duet with Tech- nine for a cover of “Mama Said Knock You Out”, and I’m not sure what is going on there, as half the verses are missing from the song. Did they only want to cover HALF the song?

Anyways, if you’re a fan, I’m sure you’ll like this disc, as it is full of yelling, screaming, swearing, and endless diatribes about how someone did me wrong, and I’m gonna get you back for what you did to me……They certainly don’t break any new ground here, and maybe that’s for the best. 4/10.


Megadeth- Super Collider

Dave Mustaine is back with a new disc of material. Notice I said Dave Mustaine and not Megadeth, because I firmly believe that Mustaine plays with who he wants, when he wants. That being said, he has Cris Broderick on guitar, and Shawn Drover on drums, along with Dave Ellefson(again) on bass.

This disc is, well, meh. It has its moments, such as Kingmaker, Built For War, Dance In The Rain, (with Disturbed/Device vocalist David Draiman on guest vocals), and Don’t Turn Your Back….., all solid tunes, some thrash, fast fiffing, great drumming, up tempo stuff. Classic Megadeth.

There is also a Thin Lizzy cover of the song Cold Sweat, which, although not a thrash monster, it may well be the best song on the disc, simply because Mustaine sounds like he is putting real effort and emotion in this particular song. More on this later.

The rest of the disc, while not what I would call filler material, it certainly isn’t Megadeth. Some straight out hard rock songs, which might be good for anyone else, it certainly isn’t for Megadeth, and maybe would be better off on a solo effort by Mustaine. There’s even a banjo on the intro to The Blackest Crow.

Now onto what is really bugging me about this disc, and it may be for no reason other than the fact that Dave Mustaine is now 51, and turning 52 in September. The vocals are so sub par, it’s ridiculous. No passion, just very…..blah. Other than the Thin Lizzy track, it’s very bland, dull, and boring. If he can’t bring it vocally anymore, that’s one thing, but if he can, and doesn’t, that’s another thing altogether. I can’t think of what is worse.

This disc is average for Megadeth. Anyone else, it might be okay. But with other metal veterans, Anthrax and Testament to name a few, cranking out some of the best metal they have EVER put out just recently, I think Mustaine and company could do better. 7/10, and that’s a gift………


Alice In Chains – The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here

Alice In Chains is back! Yes! Another batch of haunting, dark, melodic, moody songs from the masters of grunge/rock/metal.  Hard to believe they’ve been “around” for over 20 years at this point. With this being only their 5th full length release, it would be interesting to see where they would be if Layne Staley didn’t have the issues he did. Anyways, onto this release. William DuVall does a great job fronting the band in place of Staley, but in all honesty, this is Jerry Cantrell’s band. Check the riffage in “Phantom Limb”. There are songs that sound like they could belong on Facelift, like the title track. Not sure if that is what they were going for here, but it’s great none the less. The best part about this, is that it doesn’t sound old, dated, boring, or tired. Just great. Overall, a solid effort, and I hope they keep it up. 8/10.

Volbeat- Outlaw Gentlemen And Shady Ladies

I’ll say it. This is the best album I’ve heard this year. And it’s not even close. Where the hell did these guys come from? They have a few albums out now, and I didn’t hear of them until a couple of years ago. I heard “A Warrior’s Call” on Octane, and I said, Holy Shit! That voice! Michael Poulsen has one of the best rock voices I’ve heard. And they picked up Rob Caggiano, formerly of Anthrax, to play guitar. Maybe that’s why this album sounds so fucking heavy, but still has an element of melody to it. It’s got something for everyone. From a straight up rocker like the lead video, “Cape of Our Hero”, to eerie, creepy songs like “Room 24”, (With guest vocals from KING DIAMOND!!!), and then a sort of rockabilly, country tune, “Lonesome Rider”. Unreal. And the SINGING. Great stuff here. Pick it up, you won’t be disappointed. 110/10. Yes!

Bullet For My Valentine – Temper Temper

Bullet For My Valentine is back with their 4th album, and it’s a crusher. It starts off a little slow, and boring, but about halfway through, something happens. They wake up. “Dead To The World” is a modern Metallica “ballad”, in which it starts out slow, like “Sanitarium”, or even the more recent “Day That Never Comes”. Halfway through, they pick it up, and rock the rest of the album. Which is a good thing, because if you just listen to the first few tracks, you wouldn’t think anything of it. Now, the only thing I don’t like about this disc is a sequel. “Tears Don’t Fall(Part 2)” The song is good, but why? Did we run out of ideas? Again, Metallica and Megadeth have done sequels to their songs. Hell, Metallica did part 3 to the Unforgiven. And none of this is necessary. It shows a lack of creativity, in my opinion. Otherwise, a solid effort. 7.63/10. Don’t ask.

Red – Release The Panic

Red is a Christian rock band from Nashville. Notice I said CHRISTIAN rock band. Which is interesting, because the lyrical content of this cd is, well, quite negative, full of hate and anger. I don’t have a problem with it, I just wonder why they are a religious band. I think of Christian rock, and I think of Stryper, I guess. Anyways, onto the album itself. It’s not good. It starts out well enough. The first 3 songs are great. “Release The Panic”, the first video from the album, is a straight out rocker. Follow that with “Perfect Life”, and “Die For You”, and they’re on their way. But they get lost. A lot of techno stuff going on here, a couple of ballads thrown in, and a few mid tempo songs that don’t do anything. It’s too bad, the album started out with such promise. Maybe next time. 3/10……