Archive for Do Not Buy Warning

Best Bands, Worst Songs

Posted in Lists with tags , , , , , on May 29, 2014 by Lightning Slim

Even titans of the genre write crappy songs sometimes. If a band is particularly prolific, they might write a bunch of them, which end up acting like a shit-cocoon around the beauties they hide. What I’d like to explore  here are some of the biggest, best and most well-regarded bands’ very worst efforts. Let’s start with my favourite band: Iron Maiden.

I bet you just started humming “Run to the Hills” or “The Trooper” in your head. You most certainly didn’t break into a rendition of impossibly-long shitpile “The Angel and the Gambler”.

Now I know you’re thinking this is low hanging fruit because it’s from the inter-Bruce period, with Blaze Bayley on vocals. But he’s not the worst thing about “The Angel and the Gambler”. Sure, his two albums were a low point in Maiden history, but I think he got some stuff right on occasion despite a certain amount of tone-deafness (a curious condition for someone hired to be the singer of the world’s biggest metal band, but hey whatever). Blaze does inject an epic, tragic feel to “Sign of the Cross”, some manic energy to “Man on the Edge” and even rocks out a bit on “Futureal”.

This is none of those songs.

Take a peek, but don’t hit play just yet:

Firstly, the time listed is not a mistake. And there is not an interview attached or a cinematic component. The song is ten minutes long. You think “Oh, OK, it’s a big epic song about a sci-fi novel or a famous battle. Maiden does that. No big deal”.

Nope. It’s about a gambler, and the angel who tries to save his soul by having an excruciatingly dull conversation with him. It’s kind of a bluesy, boogie-rock thing with super-obvious keyboards playing a single-note back rhythm (like “Die, Die My Darling” only not funny). And the chorus is one line repeated over and over again, which, in a song of this size, is a lot. I’d say Nicko was phoning in the drum performance, but with no fills whatsoever it’s hard to tell if it’s even him at all. Steve Harris played the keys on this; maybe he just played everything. The real tragedy of the Blaze albums isn’t Blaze, it’s that without the Smith-Dickinson songs to liven up the place, the Harris epics just give way to more Harris epics. It’s bloat.

And it’s not even metal bloat.

Now give the song a play, and feel free to post how long you made it through before switching it off in the comments below. Opinions? Brickbats? Hate “Dream of Mirrors” more? Put that down there too!

The Shaming: Ten Reasons I Should Have My Metal Card Revoked

Posted in Lists with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 14, 2012 by Lightning Slim

Just in time for the holidays, I give you a gift: humiliation.

As music fans, we all have guilty pleasures. But some transgressions are beyond the average youthful exuberance of a Fear of the Dark picture disc or a genuinely curious Fade to Bluegrass country Metallica tribute. I’m not talking about non-metal but still rocking bands like the Foo Fighters or They Might Be Giants, either. The following releases are in my record collection in physical form (not just a random Itunes download; hello LMFAO!). They are also, to varying degrees, shameful. Enjoy!

10. Lords of Acid – Lust. Porno Techno – what could go wrong? Hindsight renders this super-cringeworthy.

9.Coldplay – A Rush of Blood to the Head. I don’t remember when or why I bought this. Because I took drugs to forget.

8. Anthony Stewart Head – Music for Elevators. I’m a huge Buffy fan. I even have the soundtrack to the musical episode; which is quite good. Then, I got a little too meta and ordered this:

An ugly business. Testosterone shots were required.

7. Lee Aaron – Slick Chick . This the first of her jazz albums. You heard me. “Hey Slim – you got some old Lee Aaron stuff. Metal Queen – Yeahhhh! What’s this, then. Oh.”

6. Flyleaf –S/T. Ugh. Like a Muppet Babies version of Hole. With Jesus.

5. Kylie Minogue – Fever. In my defense – she’s hot and the song’s message is true. It won’t get out of your head. It’s also tremendously amusing next to Ministry on my shelf.

Here’s a remix, because I bought the DOUBLE DISC version and my shame is endless:

4. Sarah McLachlan – Every goddamn thing. I had a crush; it was a phase.

This isn't all of them. There were also posters and T-shirts. Note who the "neighbours" are.

This isn’t all of them. There were also posters and T-shirts. Note who the “neighbours” are.

Silver lining: thanks to this self-excoriation exercise, I found this:

Hey, does anyone else have an urge to donate to their local animal shelter?

3. And during that same period in my life (a period I now refer to as The Time I Misplaced My Balls For Awhile) I obtained this:


Yup. Those are most certainly the autographs of Canadian acapella indie band Moxy Früvous. Talented folks, very entertaining, but badasses perhaps not.

2. L’ensemble Cercamon – Blau. So I used to work at a Renaissance Faire. So I got into some of the performances. Swords are metal. Jousting is metal. Ale and mead are metal. Why can’t this be metal?

I also have several Medieval Bæbes records and and an album where a harpist covers Sting. So go to hell.

1. I’m not even going to speak the name. I’m just going to leave this, and say that there was a time when there was way too much of this:

I'm on some sort of FBI list just for doing this.

I’m on some sort of FBI list just for doing this.

There’s my deal. I double dog dare you to join me. What do you have that’s bad? And I don’t mean early Manowar bad, I mean watched the Grease episode of Glee with your Mom bad. Hit the comments with your shameful confessions!

Album Review – Die Krupps “I Reissued” 2008

Posted in Album Reviews, Zero to Three with tags , , , , on October 29, 2011 by Lightning Slim


Now, the review. I’d been searching for a copy of Die Krupps’ 1990 transitional album from the world of synthpop to industrial rock for some time, and I was very pleased to see this two-disc set on the shelf. Disc One was the album “remixed and remastered for today by Jurgen Engler”. It’s a good remix job, with heftier beats a la Combichrist, but the one thing that bothered me was that the vocal samples from films and broadcasts had been removed. In many cases, they were not replaced with any other sounds, leaving gaping holes in the sonic matrix of each track.  A bleeped George Carlin would be more satisfying than this defanged “I“.

Oh well, I thought, that’s the world of copyright clearance. I once read somewhere that a fully-cleared version of Paul’s Boutique would cost over ten million dollars to produce today. At least I had the genuine article on hand. I confidently popped in Disc Two, labelled as “the original album digitally remastered”.

My ass it’s the original album. It’s been lawyered, too. All the same omissions of sampled materials, all the same non-attempts to fill the sonic gaps. I realize that when you have a song with a very recognizable reference to “the power of the dark side” in it, you might run afoul of some bigger fish, even the founding father of rebastardizing classic material himself. But still, what this collection is purported to be and what it really is are two very different things, and I call bullshit.

Saved from a zero by a few interesting demos tacked onto the end. Still an ignominious end to my Die Krupps fandom. 1 out of 10

Album Review – Manowar “Gods of War” 2007

Posted in Album Reviews, Zero to Three with tags , , , , on January 13, 2010 by Lightning Slim

  In my last Deals and Steals I triumphantly declared that I had purchased this much-ballyhooed and expensive record for seven bucks. I’d like about six of them back. Why didn’t anyone tell me?

I’ll get this out of the way right now: I love Manowar. I love all the crazy shit they do, I was the first kid on the block to have a (cassette) copy of Kings of Metal. I don’t even care about the outfits on the cover of Into Glory Ride.

But I’m pissed about this one, and I’m going to tell you all about it, track by track:

1. Six minute keyboard into.

2. Two-plus minutes of narration. We’re up to about nine minutes before any members of Manowar play a guitar or drums or sing.

3. Actual Manowar song; not bad.

4. Two minute vocal solo/choral song; not good.

5. Song, cut and pasted from last album.

6. Good Manowar song!

7. Cheesy ballad. Manowar’s good at these but you’ve heard it before.

8. Four minutes of keyboards.

9. Four more minutes of narration.

10. Okay song. It’s six minutes long because there’s another 90 seconds of narration hiding inside it.

11. Narrative story. I can’t dis this, as it’s dedicated to the man himself, Arthur Pendragon Wiltshire.

12. Lengthy slow song.

13. Reprise of choral song.

14. Long but okay song.

15. Lengthy slow song.

16. Bonus track – better than anything else here. If you want to hear it, play Brutal Legend instead of buying this.

Since the entire booklet is in Viking runes, I went online to get the official translation. I now wish I hadn’t – it contains a poorly spelled fourth-grade lesson in Norse mythology. I’m aware that the whole thing is meant to have a Wagnerian flavour, but it’s disingenuous to label this with the main brand when it’s more like a classical side project. If you call yourself the loudest band the in the world, true metal warriors, etc. it’s not a great idea to release an album well over an hour long in which all four of you pick up your instruments and play together for about 20 minutes. This record has more filler on one disc than Nostradamus has on two. You can fit Sign of the Hammer into this twice over, and Reign in Blood almost three times. 

Imagine me shrieking “Disappointiiiiiiing!” over a lick from an ’80s keyboard set on Orchestra. 2 out of 10

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