Classic Rock Bottom

So this week we go a bit darker... But also you get 4 albums that have yet to make an appearance on CRB! So that's kind of a two-for-one! But beware, were getting pretty dark around here! Darktoberfest continues with an assault to your very soul...

Listen at your own risk!


The Pineapple Thief
10 Stories Down

1 - Wretched Soul

Founder Bruce Soord started "The Pineapple Thief" as an outlet for his music back in 1999. Bruce released the debut Abducting the Unicorn on Cyclops records, which created enough interest to establish a small but loyal fan base. Soord returned to the Dining Room studios to work on the second album 137. During this time, several major labels started to take an interest, causing a delay in the release which arrived over two years after the debut. However it was probably the third album, Variations on a Dream that gave TPT the boost they needed, reaching out to yet more people all over the world, by which point TPT were consistently the top sellers on their label, Cyclops. After this release in the spring of 2002 Bruce decided to form a band to take his music to the fans. The band consisted of his close musical friends - former university band mate Jon Sykes on bass, Wayne Higgins on guitars, Matt O'Leary on keyboards and Keith Harrison on drums. As a full band, they released 12 Stories Down in 2004, but Bruce Soord was unhappy with the final sound and re-recorded, remixed and changed some of the tracks before the release of 10 Stories Down in 2005.

Kerry Livgren
Seeds of Change

2 - Mask of the Great Deceiver

In 1980, Livgren released his first solo album, Seeds of Change. The album features several members of Kansas, along with Ambrosia singer David Pack and noted heavy metal singer Ronnie James Dio, who sang on the tracks "To Live for the King" and "Mask of the Great Deceiver." Dio, who was between stints as singer for Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow and Black Sabbath, later proved somewhat controversial among Livgren's evangelical Christian fans, as Black Sabbath and Dio were then perceived as "satanic" by many Christians. Dio said in an interview that he did not consider the album to be a "Christian" album and had performed on it as a favor to Livgren. After Dio left Black Sabbath in 1983, he said in a summer 1983 interview in Hit Parader magazine that he had considered working with Livgren again.

Spocks Beard

3 - Devil's Got My Throat

While concept albums have been done on much loftier notions, they seem to falter under their own weight, or the light of actual history. Here, Neal and Alan Morse, and their bandmates, use a much more subjective fantasy story, and create a spiritual, physical, ideological, and emotional set of circumstances that follow their protagonist through 26 songs. Musically, Snow is a wonder, it's full of nuance and texture, taut dynamics and lush arrangements, that are all, seemingly, of a piece,. While some Spock's Beard fans might have a hard time with the softer, gentler side of the band that is evidenced here, it would be tough to argue that this change of direction was both necessary and warranted. Spock's Beard has been pushing at their own boundaries for a while now, and with Snow, they shatter them and enter into the very promise of what progressive rock is always supposed to deliver: discovering some heretofore unknown sonic territory via the individual and collective focus of creating through the applied effort of one's best musical efforts. Snow is an allegory, it is an archetypal story that is ambitious in scope and redemptive in result, and is a thoroughly rewarding -- if challenging -- listen.

Judas Priest

4 - A Touch of Evil

It's a startling statement of musical purpose that arrived seemingly out of nowhere, heralding a comeback that rivals George Foreman's. Once the leanest, meanest, darkest metal band on the planet, Priest were clearly giving up on the mainstream and instead embracing the thrash and speed metal underground they'd helped spawn. Not only do they come to terms with it here, they teach those whippersnappers a thing or two, marrying furious instrumental pyrotechnics to an unerring sense of songcraft. Spurred on by Travis' jazz-trained double bass assault, Painkiller never once lets up, slowing down only for the elegant menace of the prog-tinged "A Touch of Evil," and without an unmemorable tune in the bunch.

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TPT - I've heard of them, but never heard much of anything from them.  I imagine they are somewhat like Porcupine Tree, though that may or may not be a correct assessment. This is a pretty decent song, but once again, there is some distortion in some of the vocals. I don't dislike distortion of the guitars in small doses, but I'm not a fan of distorting the vocals.  Luckily, it's not overpowering here. I'm guessing there's hell to pay, but it's not all that scary.  Dark, yes, just not scary.  But I believe you are going for darkness, so thumbs up to this song.

Livgren - Never heard any of his solo work, unless you have featured it before (in which case I don't remember it).  Dio sounds awesome here.  He always does.  This song seems funny whereas it's kind of spooky and definitely dark during the non-orchstra sounding moments (when the horns aren't blasting).  But those horns give it a totally different feel.  Lyrically it is most definitely dark.  I guess the horns are there to add light.

SB - This is a band I've gotten into strictly from the attention they have been given here.  I'm guessing, based on the text above, that Neal Morse is in the band here.  I've also developed a bit of an affinity for his music lately, so this is cool to hear.  Is that him on vocals?  Whoever it is sounds a bit scratchy.  Maybe that's by design.  Nice keys.  Otherwise, this song is just okay.

Priest - I always sound like a broken record, but I never got into JP in my youth.  I've only recently picked up some of their work.  Actually, I picked up all of it when I got a steal of a deal on their complete albums set (12.99 for those who don't remember).  Halford sounds really good here.  This definitely has that evil, foreboding sound.  Or, as someone writes above, it's elegantly menacing.  With a knock-out of a guitar solo.  That's what I'm talkin' 'bout!  Best song here.

I'd say you did a good job here bro.  The Spock's Beard tune didn't knock me out, but the rest were quite nice picks. I'd rank 'em:

1. JP

2. TPT

3. KL

4. SB

For some reason, I just thought of the song Dream Warriors by Dokken...probably because of it's video and the evil associated with it. 

Did you share this on FB?

Not yet, been unusually busy lately. I will post today

1. I've got one PT-album, but I don't think, I liked it very much. The "boring-word" could be used once again here perhaps. This song starts out, sounding like Radiohead around "The Bends", and it actually continue that way, maybe slightly heavier. Once, I would had liked this style, but not really now. It's okay, but.....

2. I guess Livgreen is a former member of Kansas, or am I completely wrong? Very interesting hearing Dio between Rainbow and Sabbath. I had absolutely no idea, he sang something inbetween those bands. The song is....kinda crapish. Dio sings fine the rest sucks, I mean stylish. It sounds like Dio fronting Chicago. The only word here is: Interesting.

3. Yeah, I've got this album. I haven't heard it THAT many times, probably 4, because it's a goddamn long album. Without a doubt the best song so far, even though it's not near the best SP-track, even on that album. But it's always nice to hear Morse rock out. The SP-harmonies annoys me, though.

4. I've heard plenty of times, that this is a great Priest-album, and a return to form and blah blah blah. As far, as I'm concerned, the last great Priest-album was Turbo, even though it's stinks nowadays because of the 80's-production. Ram It Down was absolute crap, and I never bought another "new" Priest-album again. This song is okay, and I've heard it many times, becuase it appears on a "Best Of", I bought 15 years ago, or something like that. But it's noway near really classic Priest (1977-1982).

Two interesting tracks, I hadn't heard before, one of them VERY interesting, and two okay tracks I have heard...a few times.

Was I supposed to be a-scared while listening to this? Was this supposed to be evil? Like EVIL or Scooby Doo "evil"?

I'm confused. This almost makes me want to break out the flashing pumpkin again. THAT'S evil, especially when you can't shut it down.

So with this supposed foray into evilness (Disney style), I must say that the first song didn't do much for me in either the evil category or the song category. It was kinda boring. So, evilness factor on this is zero.

Second song was a bit more evil because it featured RJD, but it is Kerry Livgren and RJD wasn't REALLY an evil guy. Nice song, but EF on this was 1 (because RJD is "evil" doncha know).

Third song is from Spock's Beard bestest album (and the only one I'll probably ever own unless I own another one and have forgotten about it) and in the context of the story I don't find anything particularly evil going on here. The album cover, though not evil, is more evil than this song. EF is zero. 

And finally it's JP with quite an evil album cover and the song does mention evil and it is JP and there's the album cover (again) and the song title........but it's just a TOUCH of evil so it's also not evil enough. So, EF is 2 because of the album cover.

3/4 cool songs but sorely lacking in the evilness. Maybe I'll post something evil next week to show you whippersnappers what it is. And yes, I stole that word from the JP review. Why?



You're the diet coke of evil. ... Just one calorie, not evil enough!

That's one more calorie than your "evil" SHT list. 



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