Classic Rock Bottom

There's a few CDs I have that I haven't or hadn't gotten around to listening to yet. Whether they are too "old" or I end up not really having much to say about them, I'm not doing a full on review.

Instead, I'm just putting in a sentence or two about what I thought of them. I'll probably keep updating this thread as I get around to various albums that have been sitting waiting for me to play them.

Joe Bonamassa - Blues of Desperation - While there were a couple of tracks I wasn't all that enamored with, overall this album was another winning blues solo album from Bonamassa.

Boneyard Dog - Bluesbound Train - Another bluesy rock and roll record, this debut album was pretty much kicking my ass each time I listened to it.

U2 - The Joshua Tree 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition - Sadly, while I absolutely love the album itself (it is one of my all-time favorites), the anniversary edition isn't much to write home about. Disc 1 is the original album while Disc 2 is a live concert from the Joshua Tree tour. It's not bad, but there's nothing special about it really.

Inglorious - S/T - I was really kind of hyped up about this album but I think the fact I've already sold it off on eBay might give you a hint about my final reaction to the album. Okay, that might be slightly unfair but after listening to the album four times and I couldn't really pick a single memorable song out of it, there's obviously something of a disconnect.

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Kiss - Unmasked (1980) - And here I thought Rock And Roll Over was the low point for Kiss. But at least that album had a couple of decent songs on it.

I had to listen to this album a couple of times because I just couldn't believe what I was hearing. What a steaming pile of crap. The only song that come close to being enjoyable is "Talk To Me" and even that sounds like it was being performed at gunpoint.

Sorry folks, this album is not good.

I like it.

It's a pretty good AOR album.

Poison - Swallow This Live (1991) - I picked up this live release yesterday and gave it a listen. It's nothing overly great but it isn't necessarily bad either. It is pretty much a standard live release for the time. The band hits the high points of their first three albums and seem to have a good time doing so. 

I could've done without the drum solo and guitar solo, both of which ranged from wasting time or just pure abysmal dreck. A couple more songs would've been a better choice. 

The two disc set comes with four studio tracks at the end of Disc 2 and they are fine.

I don't know that I would listen to this album all that often but since I seem to have been on a bit of a rediscovery of Poison's music the last couple off weeks, it is a decent addition to my collection.

Although I'm not a fan of Live albums, I still have this on CD. Funny you mentioned the drum and the guitar solo because they were the main reason I bought this CD (I mean those are the tracks you won't find on a Studio release, hence their appeal to me), but much like you I too was disappointed in their execution. That was the reason I bought the CD, while it was the 4 Studio tracks that made me keep it.

Kiss - Music From The Elder (1981) - While I'm pretty familiar with the majority of the Kiss discography, I'd never heard anything from this album before finally getting my hands on a CD copy of it.

I'd heard plenty about how bad the album was. I know it's considered their worst album and even makes appearances on worst album ever lists.

Our illustrious leader RJhog even said he thought I wouldn't like the album.

Well surprise surprise surprise...I actually found this pretty interesting. I'm not saying it's one of their best or anything but you gotta give the band credit for trying something different. It might not have worked to the degree they'd hoped but I liked most of the album.

I get the basic story line for the conceptual story that runs through the album but I cared a little less about that than I did the individual songs. While I didn't care for the "Fanfare" and "Finale" instrumental pieces, I found "Escape From The Island" to be an absolutely killer rock instrumental. Kiss isn't really known for that so I came away really impressed by how that song turned out.

Of course, that actually describes most of the other songs too. "The Oath" and "Just A Boy" are excellent. And I think the album really shined on the damn near perfect "Dark Light".

"Only You" was pretty cool, as were "Under The Rose and "A World Without Heroes". I do think "Mr. Blackwell started off a bit too weird for my tastes but it ends up growing on you as the song progresses.

The biggest letdown for me was "Odyssey". That track just felt flat out annoying to me. It never really came together in my opinion.

But the hard rocking pacing of "I" essentially closed out Music From The Elder on a fiery note. The track was fantastic and while the album as a whole remains more than a bit discounted by music fans, I found that it might just be a bit underappreciated.

I have no idea what possessed KISS to do a concept album? I mean, they were always commercially wired, and let's be honest, concept albums weren't moving mountains in the 70s, let alone in the 80s. But, I have to say, the project stands its ground among the other story-based releases as well as in their discography.

Yeah, I don't know what possessed them either. I think I lucked out in not really being into Kiss back in the 70's and early 80's(I was a little kid who was a few years off from being a true music fan). It gives me the benefit of distance when I listen to the albums now.

Kiss - Monster (2012) - Until I decided to put together a CD edition collection of all of the Kiss (full band) studio albums, I hadn't even remembered that they had put this album out. 

I sure don't remember having heard any of the songs either.

But I have to tell you, this album lives up to its title. Seriously, from start to finish the album rocks and finds Kiss being pretty darn heavy sounding throughout each of the album's 12 tracks.

I loved each track and think this comes off as one of the band's best start-to-finish albums in terms of overall song quality.

AC/DC - Ballbreaker (1995) - This release from AC/DC provides an interesting case. Is it possible to like an album without thinking that too many of the songs actually stand out as superb tracks?

There's 11 songs on the album and while they are uniformly decent songs, I wouldn't say that any of them really acquit themselves as "classic" AC/DC songs.

And yet I do like the album. It's chock full of what you would expect to find on any AC/DC album. You've got the ear catcher single "Hard As A Rock" and the rocking title track that closes the disc. There's even a song that seems to straddle the line between being a bit comedic and unrestrained sexual innuendo with "Cover You In Oil".

I was a little worried about the song "The Furor" because if you aren't paying attention to the song title on the CD liner, you might think the song title's pronunciation sounds a bit like "the fuhrer" and that's no place you want to find yourself.

I found it strange that while liking the album, I wasn't blown away by it either. It's just a decent rock and roll album that might test your ability to stop the music from fading into the background as you are doing other things.

W.A.S.P. - Dominator (2007) - If I'm not mistaken the reason that I never picked up this album until just recently is that it fell during the time when Blackie Lawless had just started his whole "born again" religious turn. Combine that with the fact I wasn't crazy in full over the two Neon God albums and I guess I was burned out and turned off to W.A.S.P. at that point and for a number of years. I just didn't bother with them for about four albums.

As I sat listening to Dominator for the first time today, I was struck by just how good the album sounds. The album is ostensibly built around Blackie's view on American foreign policy at the time. I wasn't overly fond of "Heaven's Blessed", but I have to tell you, I was just loving the rest of the songs. 

You could've knocked me over with a feather as I came to realize that "Mercy", "Long, Long Way To Go", "Take Me Up", "The Burning Man" and "Heaven's Hung In Black" were tracks that simply rocked. The song "Teacher" was a hard and fast song that made me wish I'd heard it originally back in 2007. The same can be said for album closer "Deal With The Devil".

As it turns out, Dominator is actually quite an impressive album.

AC/DC - High Voltage (1976, US/International version) - I've recently started to collect the AC/DC studio album discography and what better place to start than the first album that was available worldwide from the band.

There's a bunch of songs that are known by fans everywhere on the album. There's not really much that needs to be said about "It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)", "The Jack", "TNT" and "High Voltage"

So it's the rest of the music that for my purposes I'm focusing on. The song "Rock 'N' Roll Singer" is pretty damn cool! I've never heard it before. I kind of liked "Little Lover", though the mention of Gary Glitter obviously doesn't age well considering what we now know about him.

While pretty lively I wasn't quite as taken with "Can I Sit Next To You Girl". I found that I was kind of ambivalent towards "Live Wire" and "She's Got Balls" for some reason as well.

It's not a completely rousing success to my mind but the band had some out of the box great songs and that's only grown over their lengthy and legendary career.

AC/DC - Rock Or Bust (2014) - I remember feeling quite psyched when I first heard the single "Play Ball" from this album. I think there's always a kind of amped up energetic feel when you hear a new AC/DC single for the first time.

But it didn't translate into me actually buying the album until just a few days ago. That jazzed feeling for "Play Ball" didn't really last. The song is decent but with hindsight, it doesn't really resonate through the passage of time all that well.

That's not to say there aren't some really great sounding tracks on this disc though. I loved the title track and I think "Rock The Blues Away" was particularly stand out. 

But the middle of the album seems to find the band kind of treading water with a mixture of songs that you wouldn't be wrong (or at least not alone) if you thought they were mere filler. "Miss Adventure", "Dogs Of War" and "Hard Times" did nothing for me. I will say that "Got Some Rock & Roll Thunder" was the one song in the middle of the track listing that was decent.

The band does rebound heartily towards the end of Rock Or Bust with "Baptism By Fire" and "Rock The House". The final two songs ("Sweet Candy" and "Emission Control") are also pretty good.

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