Album Review- Spillage: Blood Of Angels

 

 

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Spillage, Chicago’s hottest Doom Metal group at least in my eyes are finally back! Oh how I have been looking forward to this release ever since I heard the first album a few years ago. With their self titled debut filled with endless grooves, heavy as molasses riffs and memorable songs, their sophomore output had a lot to live up to for me. While I wanted the group to keep their core sound in tact, they needed to add to it in both production and musicianship. Now with a very stable lineup finally intact, Spillage have returned with “Blood Of Angels”!

Opening the album similarly as the first, is the title track with the Organs adding a more almost theatrical feel here with intense layering and atmosphere that really engulfs the listener. This track overall is a very mid-paced groove heavy track that pretty much just shows Spillage have returned and are slicker and heavier than ever. I know before I have stated how present a very almost Alice In Chains sound the band has and new vocalist Elvin Rodriguez has brought that sound even more with the grit and soul that adds more emotion to these songs and it really works. While the opener is a nice slab of Doom, the major highlight comes with the next one two punch of the tracks “Living In Hell” and “Free Man” barreling in one after another. Both tracks feature insanely infections riffs especially through the verses and speed up towards the end adding a real solid aggression with the band going into full jam mode. Especially with “Free Man”, their is definitely a progression in the songwriting here with the band going into more straight forward Heavy Metal territory and it works terrifically. Now the next song “Rough Grooved Surface” is the only song that is a bit of a let down for me. The lyrics basically an ode to vinyl are a bit cheesy and don’t fit a lot of the album and is a track that feels more I suppose gimmicky than the others. The album does pick back up with “Disappear” with a nice solid bass groove throughout and a killer intense mid section again. I also like the vocals on here they almost have a psychedelic feel. Evil Doers continues with the bands self proclaimed “Power Doom” sound with the vocals having some Gothic undertones to them and is another home run track. Eyes Of A Snake has a nice bluesy groove to it as well and sticks with the bands familiar formula and has some nice dueling riffs from Nick and Tony with synths backing them up. It shows how much more solid the band has become. Voice Of Reason is a nice dark ballad to round out the album with a solid brooding yet beautiful atmosphere and definitely shows of some seventies Scorpion influence as well. The other thing to note is there is a bonus track of the bands rendition of Black Sabbaths “Dirty Women” that while being a straight forward cover and not over-shining their rendition of “Devil Woman”, it is still a ripper and a nice little surprise at the end.

Overall, besides the minor grip I have with one track, the band are back in full force. You can really tell how Bruce Franklin of Trouble really cared for the production on this album with every instrument given room to breath on every track, showing the real rock solid chemistry behind this fine slab of “Power Doom”.

 

8.5/10

Top 20 releases of 2018

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Welcome back! Well after months on a hiatus I am finally bringing back Glistening Metal and I figured I’d come back with my favorite twenty albums of this year. As with the past few years we have had some terrific releases and I have gone over this list over and over in my head mainly because every release presented is great in their own right, it was just the matter of which ones connected with me more. So without further ado, lets get into my top twenty releases of 2018.

20. Lizzy Borden- My Midnight Things

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19.Tank- Sturmpanzer

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18.Red Dragon Cartel- Patina

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17.Salems Lott-Mask Of Mortality

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16.Nazareth- Tattooed On My Brain

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15.Substratum-Permission To Rock

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14.Sacred Leather- Ultimate Force

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13.Ashbury- Eye of The Stygian Witches

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12.Satan-Cruel Magic

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11.Riot V- Armor Of Light

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10.Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats- Wasteland

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9.Visigoth- Conquerors Oath

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8.Uriah Heep-Living The Dream

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7.Haunt- Burst Into Flame

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6.LeathurBitch- S/T

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5.Saxon- Thunderbolt

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4.The Night Flight Orchestra- Sometimes The World Ain’t Enough

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3.Phil Campbell & The Bastard Sons- The Age Of Absurdity

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2. Judas Priest- Firepower

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1.Carriage- Visions

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Anyone who has been following my site for awhile knows that when Carriage played at Legions of Metal 2017, that I knew there was something very special about this band. Lo and behold as soon as their debut album entitled “Visions” was released, I knew this was the album to top the year. From the chemistry of the band to the rock solid songwriting, these guys have arrived with a bang and are out for blood.

 

Album Review- Ross The Boss: By Blood Sworn

 

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Ross Friedman is a guitarist who needs no introduction. Being a member of the highly influential Power Metal group Manowar through their golden era in the 80’s and eventually his own solo career, Ross The Boss always dominated a high macho guitar sound that most others would kill for. After touring relentlessly with a solid backing band performing some of the best Manowar songs, Ross comes back in 2018 with another solo album featuring a lot of original material to dig into as well as a couple bonus Manowar covers.

Opening with the title track, the band go right for the epic mid paced sound of Manowars classic days. It is quite refreshing to hear as it has a good catch to it. The production definitely reminds me on this album overall of the first Manowar release. It has that Power Metal feel definitely but the sound is a lot more raw and unfortunately in some aspects the guitars feel a bit buried at points. However, besides a few nit picks most of the songs presented here are catchy, true gritty classic Heavy Metal! The next song “Among The Bones” has one of the most infectious main riffs to any song I have heard this year so far. The chorus comes in very strong as well it is definitely one of the highlights among many others. “This Is Vengeance” is the obvious epic speed metal piece presented and is just as glorious as ever. This track really showcases the raw power of Marc Lopes vocal style from his high screams to his low almost extreme growls from time to time. Even the bonus Manowar tracks he handles perfectly just as he does live with them. Even a track like “We Are The Night” he is able to perfectly balance melody and intensity throughout. But overall, the album presents a lot of fantastic riffs that don’t feel stale. The softer and more acoustic/piano driven “Faith Of The Fallen” is a nice change of pace as well and is definitely a song that I feel would work terrifically live. Another favorite is the almost Ted Nugent-like “Devils Pay” that is a really simplistic catchy rocking tune. The more simplistic songs are the best I feel because they really show off the chemistry of the band and the solid groove they have. Most of the later tracks such as “Lilith”, “Play Among The Godz” and the really upbeat “Circle Of Damnation” which is just a pure dirty hard rock song, all have something different to offer and in a fresh yet familiar way.

This album is really one that gives and keeps on giving, showing the Boss has not lost his step at all. If you are an old school Manowar fan, you will not be disappointing with this album. From the dirty Hard Rocking tunes to the epic Power Metal moments, this album will surely satisfy any classic Heavy Metal fan or anyone who is a fan of Ross The Boss. Now hopefully he brings some of these songs on tour soon enough.

9/10

 

Album Review: Redd Barron- The Barron’s Here To Rock

 

 

So many bands over the past decades have been lost to the sands of time with their numerous demo’s and unreleased songs being forever lost and unknown to would be fans. Redd Barron are a perfect case as their early 1990 demo’s could be found with a search on the internet but never given a proper release. For a long time I suppose they were just another Chicago band lost in time. I had heard of these guys roughly around a year ago after a long night researching long time Chicago acts and found their brand of melodic Hard Rock very enjoyable and catchy. Minus the rough production, these guys could well Rock! However, we finally see with their announcement of a reunion at this years Legions Of Metal, a proper release of all their material compiled into one album via the terrific Heaven & Hell Records.

 

Opening with the title track, right away you can get the exact sound these guys were going for. That melodic Hard Rock sound that, in 1984, could’ve catapulted these guys to an actual album deal.  The album overall is very consistent sticking with the same style throughout and many catchy songs. Songs like “Living Our Life For Rock” I could have seen on MTV in the early 80’s easily. Another favorite early on is “Dow Jones” which has some very heavy guitar melodies that carry the song through and make for a nice gem of a tune. “Blind Date” also has some nice aggressive yet simplistic guitar playing as well. Vocalist Brian Lee really completes the band and his vocals coupled with the simplistic mid paced Hard Rocking instrumentation almost give off like a working man version of Dokken. Essentially without all the flash, that is what these guys remind me of which isn’t uncommon as a lot of the bands from that time sounded similar. “Burning Cities” is where the band go more into a straight Heavy Metal mode and play it off well. This is another song that again if it were ever given a chance with a more sleek production, it would be massive sounding.  This is also the track where the album is in it’s other batch of demo’s but besides production being a bit more rough, these tracks work well enough with the original six tracks. Tracks like “Shadows” and “Search For Love” definitely show the band really had chops and rightfully deserved a spot in the scene. Finally we see the finale of “Kill Or Be Killed” which is one of the most anthemic songs on the album and one I can’t wait to hear live as well.

Overall, while the music isn’t completely original nor complex, this is a fantastic collection of catchy written melodic Hard Rock that I guarantee a lot of Heavy Metal/Hard Rock fans haven’t heard. It is also a great album to have for anyone interested in the Chicago metal scene as well. Redd Barron have taken flight once more and it is great to see their music properly see the light of day!