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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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.

Steelcity - Fortress (2018) - The first time I listened to this album, I have to admit that I kind of hated the first two tracks that kicked off the CD. I don't know why but they just didn't really sit well with me for some reason.

But oddly enough, upon further review I actually ended up quite loving the lead off track "Do You Love Me" as I listened to the album again. I can't explain it but the song really did play better the second time around. I thought "Heart and Soul" turned out better than I originally thought but not in the same way as "Do You Love Me".

It was the album's third cut, "Turnabout", where I really started getting into the music of Steelcity. The vocals were very direct and the lyrics pretty entertaining. It was just a really cool sounding song. The same can be said for "Someone Like You".

There's a nice rhythm to "Picture Of Beauty" and the song features a killer chorus as well as strong all around performances. 

There's not much in the way of a slow down song on the album, which is not a bad thing in my mind. Guitarist Mike Floros (who wrote every song on Fortress save the cover of the Vinnie Vincent Invasion song "Back In The Streets") has a high energy style that combines substance with flair and wraps it in an intensely melodic style. 

The way the vocals from Bryan Cole are delivered on "Shame On You" (the only song on the album that features a co-writer credit) are damn good and they give the song that added sense of life. Oh and I have to say that I just loved the full throttle anthemic nature of "Rock! In The USA" too.

I'd never really heard of Steelcity before life in the pandemic but I picked up both of their albums (a review of 2020's Mach II will be coming soon) and so far I'm really enjoying the amped up melody driven  intensity Fortress is built upon.

Alcatrazz - Born Innocent (2020)

I've had a couple of people raving to me about this album to me and while I picked it up off of those recommendations, I didn't get around to actually listening to it enough to give it a review before now.

And honestly, this is a somewhat confusing album for me. The notion that this is a "band" effort is kind of dispelled once you look at the liner notes. There is a bevy of guest writing and playing credits. I can't even begin to list them all.

Still, if you don't look at the liner notes, that might not be much of an issue unless you are indeed writing a review.

But I wasn't crazy about all the music either. Songs like the album's title track, "Paper Flags", "Something That I Am Missing" and "Warth Lane" (those latter two featured guitarist Dario Mollo writing all the music and playing all the guitars on the tracks) were excellent. Oh and the song "Finn McCool" (music and guitars by Nozomu Wakai) was great too with a catchy chorus to boot.

The solo work on "London 1666" was pretty noteworthy.

But then you had songs like "We Still Remember" which is just comes off flat. The same can be said for "The Body Beautiful". I'm sure others will like the songs but they just didn't do it for me.

Other songs were okay but didn't strike me as doing all that much FOR ME to be anything other than unremarkable.

It's not a terrible album by any means but I found myself thinking that instead of Born Innocent finding its way into a regular playing rotation for me, it would be an album that I'd likely only play when it came time to do so as I work through the entirety of my music collection.

One side note, the listed group lineup for this album has split into two camps. Graham Bonnet in one version of the band while the rest of the group plans to continue on after hiring Doogie White to be their new singer.

AC/DC - The Razor's Edge (1990/2003) - Though the album was released in 1990, when I finally got around to buying this disc a couple weeks ago, I picked up the 2003 remastered edition. Hey, I got it relatively cheap off eBay and when you are trying to assemble a collection, the cheaper the better.

Anyway, the two most memorable tracks from the album are the lead off track "Thunderstruck" and "Moneytalks". Both are defining AC/DC tracks in the minds of many and I'm certainly not one to argue about including either track on any best of list you might want to compile.

Setting those two tracks aside because there's not much new that I can say about either of them, that still leave me with 10 songs to discuss in some way, shape or form.

The one other track that stands out as memorable is the song "Mistress For Christmas". I'm not positive, but I think I've read that most think the song is rather awful. But I have to say, if for noting more than its comedic value, I actually quite like the song.

I really liked the song "Fire Your Guns", a real lightning quick song that I don't think I've heard before. The album's title track has an intro that lends an ominous tone to the overall song before the pace quickens. Really cool sounding song.

Other tracks like "Shot Of Love", "Let's Make It" and "Goodbye And Good Riddance To Bad Luck" are on a slightly lesser tier but I liked them a lot.

While I don't necessarily think they are BAD songs, I didn't really find much to endear "Rock Your Heart Out", "Are You Ready" and "If You Dare" to me. They are fine to fill time on the album but I wouldn't really go out of my way to seek out those particular songs.

Remember that song "Big Balls"? Well, in the fourth grade, I discovered that song. That residual lack of maturity seems to be stuck with me to this day because I did get an inexplicable chuckle out of "Got You By The Balls" just because of the title.

Overall, this is a good album even if it does come with some lesser tracks that kind of drag The Razor's Edge down a little bit for me.

TNT - Transistor (1999) - I picked up this album from my friend's record shop sometime in the past few months. It's actually an advance copy of the band's 7th studio album.

From what I learned online, this album is the 2nd album that features the band taking a more experimental tack with their sound. It strips away the big grandiose sound you might be familiar with for a more alternative yet still hard rocking sound instead.

When I read this info about the disc, I wasn't sure I wanted to listen to it. But once I got around to it I found it wasn't TERRIBLE. Okay, it's still not an album I will play a lot but there are some decent tracks here.

On the opening "Just Like God", the faster parts of the song are good. And I liked the chorus for "No Such Thing".

The two ballads on Transistor are way to sugary for my tastes. But I did find the song "Because I Love You", which despite its title is more of a straight up rocker, to be decent. "Crashing Down" and "Mousetrap" are okay too.

I could do without "Wide Awake" and "Into Pieces". They are songs I never need to hear again.

The two best tracks on the album are "The Whole You're Inn" (that's not a spelling mistake), which has a really gritty sound to both the music and Tony Harnell's vocals. The other track is actually damn great. It's the closing song "No Guarantees". It's a 2 1/2 minute track that rocks pretty fast with a burning take no prisoners style.

It might not be an album that I will keep in constant rotation but Transistor does have some good songs on it so it isn't quite as bad as I thought it might be.

Y&T - Black Tiger (1982/2009) - I bought this remastered edition direct from the Y&T website soon after the pandemic shut down the concert industry. However, I originally reviewed the 2005 reissue back when I was writing for the Rock Is website.

Back then, I wasn't what you would consider a fan of the band beyond their "Summertime Girls" song. I can't find what I wrote about the album in that original review but I do know that I came away kind of unimpressed with the album. I remarked that I was disappointed that I didn't care for the album that much because it seemed to have everything I would've wanted in terms of music.

Something just didn't connect with me.

After listening to this CD again, as someone who has become a fan, I have a better appreciation for it. The surprising thing is that while my opinion has changed some, I still don't consider this an album I LOVE.

Forgetting what I originally wrote back in 2005 unless I can find my original review, let's just focus on what I took away from the album this time around. I love "Open Fire" a lot. Fast moving, the song just hits you in the face. Maybe it is just me but for some reason it also seemed to remind me a lot of the "Meanstreak" song.

Songs like the title track, "Barroom Boogie" and "Winds of Change" were decent enough I suppose though my notes had the "OK" next to each song. I wouldn't say they made me swoon. But I thought "Don't Wanna Lose" and "Hell Or High Water" weren't all that good.

Of course, that's now offset by "Forever" which is one of the band's better known tracks. I also really got into "My Way or the Highway" and the bonus track "Somebody For Me". That latter track has a fantastic feel to it.

My opinion has changed on the Black Tiger album in the past 15 plus years since I last listened to it but it still isn't quite there for me in terms of me raving like a lunatic in support of the album.

Overkill - Feel The Fire (1985) - I've never really taken the time to check out the earliest releases in the Overkill discography. For me, the band started with The Years Of Decay which is an album that still stands for me as their best album.

But I was able to get a copy of this debut album and I have to say that I was pretty happy to discover that this is a damn good album. Sounding rather amazing given the youth of the band at the time, the album does get off to a weird start when it takes about 45 seconds for the song "Raise The Dead" to actually start beyond some extended silence. By that point, I was getting kind of annoyed. But there's nothing in the way of a bad track here.

Songs like "There's No Tomorrow", "Second Son" and "Hammerhead" drive home the band's thrash metal bonafides.

My favorite three songs on the disc are "Rotten To The Core" (an amazing song!), the title track and the "Overkill" song which is an exercise in vicious incisive metal in both metallic licks, razor blade lyrics and a vocal take that serves as the first indication of just how good Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth is as a singer.

I really enjoyed this one a lot!


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