Izod Center
East Rutherford, New Jersey
Photos by: Slim Jim Keller

Southland Ballroom
Raleigh, NC
Photos by: Jay Beadnell


Blood In, Blood Out

Nuclear Blast Records

7 out of 10

Exodus has always been underrated in my book on every level: song writing, musicianship, vocalists, ‘frontman’, live show, the band, as a whole deserves more credit and certainly more album sales than they’ve ever received.

It may stem from the fact that the band has had a very long on again off again status as well as changing vocalists more than I change my overly ripe shorts. We’re talking starting off with the vocal stylings of the Mad Russian Paul Baloff (RIP) then moving on to Steve Souza, back to Paul Baloff, back to Souza, off Souza, back to Souza, off to Rob Dukes, and now finally (hopefully FINALLY) back to Steve Souza again. Time will only tell, it’s always been a tenuous relationship between Steve and the band to begin with.

Coming back from one of their many hiatuses the band with Souza as frontman released Tempo of the Damned. A solid ridiculously brutal album that should have seen them rise to the stratosphere… but the rise was short lived as tensions rose faster than the album sales and Souza was done touring yet again. In comes Dukes for three albums that were good, but never really accepted as real Exodus by many fans. Souza and Baloff had a very similar style and sound which was very distinct, Rob came in and his style and sound was something completely different, dry, raspy, growly, but not in the ‘traditionalExodus sound. It’s never been explained completely to the masses why Dukes left, but nobody was surprised that Souza was once again in (his 4th stint in the band now).

When Exodus started out in the San Francisco Bay Area in the early 80’s they were gods among men. Their shows were legendary, their crowds were rabid and brutal and unforgiving to any other band on stage (including Metallica). It was Exodus or it was shit. And if you weren’t an Exodus fan and you happened to be in the pit… may the metal gods have mercy on your soul because you were going to leave bloody and battered.

The pits at the band’s shows were so legendary that they even wrote a song about it called the Toxic Waltz. Their pits rival Slayers and would exceed theirs if their core audience were larger.

Their music has run the gamut of Thrash Metal stylings from balls out bay area thrash to the more tongue in cheek metal with a sense of humor to the head scratching wtf were they thinking (late 80’s early 90’s) musings that eventually were their downfall. After a short break of about 4 years the band reunited and broke up again. In 2001 the band reformed as most Bay Area Thrash bands did for the fabled Chuck Billy Benefit Show with Paul Baloff who died shortly afterwards and in came Souza. They finally put out Tempo of the Damned in 2004 and myself and many others thought they were well on their way finally in a clear direction with a monstrous album full of enough riffs, piss, and venom to take on the entire world. And then Souza left…. Again.3 Albums with Dukes later, Gary Holt has been performing with Slayer in the absence and (sadly) eventual death of guitarist Jeff Hanneman (RIP). And many wondered if Exodus were again done.

But in early 2014 rumor of a new album rose and as the album was about to be announced the band revealed the departure of Rob Dukes and yet another stint with Steve Souza.

And here is where I think the album suffers a little.

It is chock full of traditional Gary Holt riffs and pissed off lyrics that will satiate any staunch Exodus fan, but where Tempo was an education in brutally via metal, Blood In, Blood Out feels rushed and slightly incomplete. Maybe working together another few weeks on it or giving the material the time it truly needed it would have gelled a bit more and truly been a contender for the throne of ‘best Exodus album ever’. However Blood In, Blood Out comes across as a poor attempt at greatness.

Let’s hope Souza is on board for the long haul this time. They deserve better and so do we.

All that being said, this is still a good Exodus album. It is better than the last three, and it is a damn sight better than Force of Habit or Impact is Imminent. The title track is a good crowd chant along cut, Collateral Damage shows some great chops from drummer Tom Hunting, Salt the Wound is a stellar cut on the album and features Kirk Hammett on a wicked guitar solo. And Chuck Billy himself is featured in BTK.

Blood in, Blood Out is everything that is right and wrong with Exodus. That said it is a great album and better than most ‘metal’ being released this year. There is no doubt this album will be on my Top of 2014 albums list. I just expected the proper follow up to Tempo of the Damned that we never got.

Blood In, Blood Out comes out next Tuesday! Go get it and thrash on… you’ll thank me later, and your neighbors will hate me.

Stevie Nicks 24 karat GoldStevie Nicks

24-Karat Gold – Songs From the Vault

Warner Bros Records

9 out of 10

Stevie Nicks had some down time between her last tour cycle and Fleetwood Mac’s new tour with the recently reunited Christine McVie, so she decided to go through her gigantic catalog of demos over the last 30 years and pull a collection together highlighting the best of those that didn’t quite make the cut over the years.

24-Karat Gold may just be the album every Stevie Nicks fan has been waiting 20 years for. I mean if we must get right down to it, it has been a very long time since the Great Laced One has released a solid album. The only exception to that is Trouble In Shangri-La. That album is outstanding and the production top notch. Sheryl Crow was able to bring out something in Stevie that had been missing for some time.

2011’s In Your Dreams was decent and is still in heavy rotation on my iPod, but it isn’t a Stevie Nicks album as much as it is a Stevie Nicks and Dave Stewart album. His influence is heavy on that album and since he played and co-wrote (lyrics aside) almost every song on the album it stands to reason that his influence would be felt and heard heavily throughout. That doesn’t make In Your Dreams a bad album, but it, to me, makes it a duo album more than a Stevie solo album since the sound and the feel of the album is less Stevie than it is Dave.

Which brings me back to 24 karat Gold. Again, this is the album all Stevie Nicks fans have been waiting years for. The sound…. The song writing… the vocals… the music. It is classic Stevie Nicks. Which makes sense considering some of these songs are 30 years old or more. That being said, this album doesn’t sound dated by any means. The songs still resonate today and are as powerful as they were the day they were written. Dave Stewart’s production can only be felt in just that, the production that is flawless. The broad scope of sound from the delicate acoustic guitar strummings in Twisted to the bottom heavy thumping bassline opening of the title track, and even in Stevie’s vocals themselves. They aren’t overly processed; they aren’t hidden in the tracks or too stark and naked. They are perfection. Simple, elegant, and pure Stevie.

The whole feel of the album could and should be a little disjointed since the songs were all written over such a long time span, but the reality is, the entire album feels as if it could sit somewhere between The Wild Heart and The Other Side of the Mirror. In fact considering how disjointed and ill sounding Rock a Little is, this probably should sit right between those two albums in sound, and texture. The album as a whole is surprisingly cohesive and flows well from song to song.

As a long time fan and ardent collector, I’ve had most of these songs in their original demo forms for many years. And I am happy to report that even though the songs were recorded in such a short span of time they’re true to the demos and time they represent. So if you’re concerned that say, Cathouse Blues (one of her first songs if I remember correctly) lost its swagger, or Lady loses the intimacy of Stevie and her piano.

Just rerecorded, updated a bit, and polished nicely.

Sure many of you have heard these songs over the years; sure you may have two or three versions of most of these lying around somewhere like I do. But to hear them in all their crystal clarity is nothing short of outstanding and magical.

Mabel Normand and Belle Fleur are the stand out cuts for me. From the basic autobiographical nature of Mabel Normand and the gritty tone and lost oasis magical landscape of Los Angeles in Belle Fleur they both smack of pure unadulterated Stevie Nicks and you wonder why they never made the cut the first time around? Then there’s cuts like All the Beautiful Worlds and I Don’t Care, and Blue Water, and If You Were My Love, and on and on and on… that just blows you away over and over again, song by song. And you can’t ever imagine these songs sitting on the cutting room floor somewhere.

And then you silently thank Ms. Nicks for going back, rescuing these gems, and giving them the treatments they deserve and sharing them all with us.

Stevie Nicks 24-Karat Gold Songs from the Vault is currently sitting now at #2 on my top albums of 2014. And that’s saying something considering what’s been released this year.

24-Karat Gold is out now. Go ahead, you know you want to go get it… go ahead; you’ll thank me later. And enjoy All the Beautiful Worlds.

PNC Arena
Raleigh, NC
Photos by: Jay Beadnell

metal churchFrom the Metal Church Facebook page:

PNC Arena
Raleigh, NC
Photos by: Jay Beadnell

Nothing More Promo 2014Our top contenders for 2014 Album Of The Year are at it again! After “This Is The Time (Ballast)” garnered them so many views on YouTube that even Roger Goodell has seen the video, NOTHING MORE are back with a new video for their upcoming single “Mr. MTV”, and not surprisingly it does not disappoint!

NOTHING MORE burst onto the scene last year when their performance on the second stage of the 2013 Aftershock Festival earned them the unheard of honor of being asked to perform on day two, on the main stage.  The buzz generated from those performances quickly earned them a 5 album guaranteed deal from Eleven Seven Music.  In June of this year the band released their eponymous debut to rave reviews (including the top nod for Album Of The Year from Yours Truly), and has since rocketed to stardom and a #1 spot on the  Active Rock Radio Charts.  Don’t take my word for it, check out the video for “Mr. MTV” below, and see why NOTHING MORE will be dominating the airwaves for years to come!


Farm Aid
Walnut Creek Amphitheatre

Raleigh, NC
Photos by: Jay Beadnell

Farm Aid
Walnut Creek Amphitheatre

Raleigh, NC
Photos by: Jay Beadnell

Farm Aid
Walnut Creek Amphitheatre
Raleigh, NC
Photos by: Jay Beadnell

Farm Aid
Walnut Creek Amphitheatre
Raleigh, NC
Photos by: Jay Beadnell

Farm Aid
Walnut Creek Amphitheatre
Raleigh, NC
Photos by: Jay Beadnell

Virginia’s long running epic metal legends are commemorating their 25th year of existence with the release of their sixth studio album, Suspended At Aphelion. The album will be released digitally via Nuclear Blast on November 18th. Ambitious, epic, and progressive, the album is comprised of a single track divided into 11 parts and is performed by the entire Fear Of Infinity line-up as well as several esteemed guests, including two FATES WARNING alumni that unite two eras of the band for the first time ever: drummer Mark Zonder and co-founding guitarist Victor Arduini.

WHILE HEAVEN WEPT guitarist & songwriter Tom Phillips shares more insight on the album:

while heaven weptWhile most of our albums have been thematic, this is the first time we’ve released something entirely of a conceptual nature in the grand tradition of PINK FLOYD, GENESIS, RUSH, MARILLION, IRON MAIDEN, KING DIAMOND, QUEENSRYCHE, and of course FATES WARNING. Musically, this album falls somewhere in the middle of all of that with a touch of Viking-era BATHORY as well.”

While the signature sound of WHILE HEAVEN WEPT remains fully intact, the band has evolved. Phillips explains:

We’ve always been characterized by emotional sincerity, bombast, sweeping melodies, and dense orchestration. Suspended At Aphelion is no exception – however, this really is another level for us in that it’s the first album featuring all-new material composed in this decade (as opposed to previous releases which often culled from years of archival material). It’s full of twists, turns, modulations, time changes, harmonic content rarely heard in metal, and tons of counterpoint. This is all augmented by actual cellos, violins, classical guitars, an array of percussion, and genuine analog synths.”

Over the last few years, we’ve had some audiophiles reaching out to us regarding the ‘loudness wars,’” Phillips continues, “so we were very much committed to delivering an album with a wide dynamic range, with very little peak reduction or compression… ensuring it was as dynamic and organic as possible versus being Pro-Tooled to death or overtly compressed/limited for loudness…not unlike our labelmates SATYRICON, who definitely impacted our approach to Suspended At Aphelion. So you may have to turn it up compared to ‘X album’ from 2014, but we feel like this epic journey is even more gratifying because of this.

“‘Icarus And I’ is Part 2 out of 11 and establishes the foundation of Suspended At Aphelion’s plot: The pursuit of the sun with passion and vigor, only to succumb to the reality that it is beyond reach,” explains Philips. “That is really what Suspended At Aphelion is all about: Being instead condemned to the furthest point from the sun… the failure to achieve the dream despite all the faith, hope, spirit, strength, and heart any one of us could muster. And musically, there are so many more twists, turns, modulations, so much more madness that follows this. It’s impossible to represent the totality of this song with any individual part; however, ‘Icarus And I’ was the inception of what we feel is the most gratifying journey in the history of WHILE HEAVEN WEPT.

The track listing for Suspended At Aphelion is:
I: Introspectus
II: Icarus And I
III: Ardor
IV: Heartburst
V: Indifference Turned Paralysis
VI: The Memory Of Bleeding
VII: Souls In Permafrost
VIII: Searching The Stars
IX: Reminiscence Of Strangers
X: Lifelines Lost
XI: Retrospectus

Sister-Sin-Black-LotusSister Sin skillfully inject elements of classic, metal-tinged hard rock in the vein of Motley Crue, Accept, and Judas Priest, while remaining contemporary, fresh and pushing heavy metal to wider audiences, akin to bands like The Pretty Reckless and Halestorm. Revolver adds, “If you think Sister Sin are just another female-fronted metal band, you’ve got another thing comin’. Spiked and leather-clad, these Swedes crank out music for fighting hard and partying harder.

Exclusive Sister Sin pre-order packages for Black Lotus are available now at Starting at just $19.98, various packages include the Black Lotus CD or limited edition colored vinyl with exclusive t-shirts, hooded sweatshirt, koozie and more. All pre-orders include an instant MP3 download of the track “Chaos Royale“.

exodus blood in blood outWhenever we play with any Bay Area band, we always put a little bit extra,” admits guitarist Lee Altus of Bay Area thrashers EXODUS. “If you wanna really see EXODUS at their best, it’s always with another Bay Area band – like DEATH ANGEL. We have this friendly competition, too. They know – anytime you play with us, we’re going after you! After that, we’ll have drinks together… we’ll laugh about it… but right now, we’re going after you! Oh, now we’re playing with TESTAMENT? I’m gonna DIE on that stage!!!

In the second of five exclusive trailers on GUITAR that showcases material from the bonus “Making Of” DVD entitled “Blood Upon The Goat,Altus reveals that he wrote the tracks “Honor Killings” and “Body Harvest” appearing on the band’s tenth studio album, Blood In, Blood Out, due out in North America on October 14th. The bonus DVD is included in the album’s digi-pak and import box set versions.

Hot off the heels of the monster debut of Space Invader, Ace Frehley has announced his touring lineup for the first leg of tour dates, his first U.S. shows in four years, which will be announced next week. Frehley adds comment:

I can’t wait to hit the road again with this new lineup. I’ll be performing Ace classics as well as songs off my new CD ‘Space Invader’ for the enjoyment of the fans. Let There Be Rock!”

Ace FrehleyThe 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee has tapped none other than Richie Scarlet, who rode shotgun performing rhythm guitar and vocal duties on Ace’s “Trouble Walking” platter in 1989, and will do so again on stage. Ritchie toured with Ace in 1984 and 1985 and periodically from 1989 through 1995 and was also known for touring with Sebastian Bach.

On bass and vocals Chris Wyse from Queens, NY will man the post. Previously recording with Ozzy Osbourne and playing on Mick Jagger‘s 2001 solo album, Chris is well known as the bass player from The Cult since 2006. Chris can also be heard on Frehley‘s new release, Space Invader on select tracks. He also covers bass duties in his current band, Owl.

Finally, Scot Coogan will be behind the drum kit for Frehley‘s upcoming tour. An Ace Frehley touring band veteran in his own right, Scott was also a member of Nikki Sixx’s Brides of Destruction recording and touring band in 2004 and Lita Ford’s touring drummer in 2012.
Ace Frehley recently made history with his new album Space Invader, which debuted at #9 on the Top 200 Chart in its week of release. The LP scored the highest charting position of ANY Kiss solo album ever, and marks Frehley‘s first return to the Top 10 since KISS‘s 1998 Pyscho Circus reunion album. Internationally, Space Invader has debuted #1 on the Independent Chart and #16 on the Top 200 Chart in Canada, Top 40 in Switzerland and Sweden, and hit a historic benchmark for the first time ever as a solo artist in Germany.

From Machine Head‘s Facebook page:
It is with great disappointment that Machine Head must announce the postponement of our North American tour this fall. Our new album “Bloodstone & Diamonds” has taken longer to complete than expected and we had to make the difficult choice to either delay the album, let it go out as incomplete, or cancel the tour in order to properly finish and promote the album in the caliber it needs to be done. We decided postponing the tour was the best decision for the record.

We feel this record is a milestone, we feel we have something truly special here, but getting there has been a challenge. Our vocalist / guitarist Robb Flynn just returned from a press tour where he was playing rough mixes and incomplete versions of songs for the press just to try and keep everything on time for our November release date.

Refunds will be available for tickets at point of purchase.

Look out for rescheduled American tour dates for the beginning of the year.

All scheduled European tour dates will remain as scheduled.

Machine Head release their 8th album “Bloodstone & Diamonds” on Nov 7th – EU, and Nov 10th in the U.S. and U.K.

Track listing is as follows:

machine head bloodstone and diamondsMACHINE HEADBLOODSTONE & DIAMONDS
1. Now We Die
2. Killers & Kings
3. Ghosts Will Haunt My Bones
4. Night Of Long Knives
5. Sail Into The Black
6. Eyes Of The Dead
7. Beneath The Silt
8. In Comes The Flood
9. Damage Inside
10. Game Over
11. Imaginal Cells (Instrumental)
12. Take Me Through The Fire

Farm Aid
Walnut Creek Amphitheatre

Raleigh, NC
Photos by: Jay Beadnell