Sunday, March 23, 2014

CD Review: Metal Blade Records Marches Into Spring With New Music

We have a trio of new releases coming from Metal Blade Records, beginning with the latest release from Flotsam And Jetsam. As the band's thirty year career continues to motor on, they heard the cries from fans to remix their highly acclaimed second album "No Place For The Disgrace." As the band found it difficult to get a hold of the master tapes, instead they decided to re-record the album in its entirety.

So for the album's 25th anniversary, Flotsam And Jetsam recorded their classic 1988 album "No Place For Disgrace" with the exact same musicians, plus the addition of Tory Edwards on violin and mandolin. It feels as if no time had past since the original release of the album, except that the band are sounding better than ever. They can still bring the energy and sheer force to songs like "Dreams Of Death," "Hard On You" and "P.A.A.B." They inject Elton John's "Saturday Night (Alright For Fighting)" with enough adrenaline to turn it into a hard rock anthem and electrify their sound with the dual guitar attack of Edward Carlson and Michael Gilbert on "I Live You Die."

Next we move to Italy for the new release from Distrage entitled "Are You Kidding Me? No." It is the band's third album and was released on March 4th. The ten-song release showcases the band's youth with its speed, energy and creativity as in the opener "Destroy, Create, Transform, Sublimate." Distrage look to blast you away with their hard-hitting sound on "My Green Neighbor" then light up their guitars for "G.O.D.," which sounds like AC/DC on speed. The album closes with the title song, "Are You Kidding Me? No" and it features Guns N Roses guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal.

Last, but not least, we have the debut album from Chicago metal band Mount Salem. Having been together only two years, the band are still feeling their way around their doom metal/seventies hard rock sound.

The album opens with "Good Times" as you instantly hear the band's Black Sabbath influence comes pouring out of the speakers. They do a great job mixing tempos on "Lucid," keeping the songs interesting and not sludgy. The slow build-up of "Mescaline" is worth the payoff of "Mescaline II," before the album closes with the appropriately titled "The End" that brings to life the psychedelic hard rock of the sixties.

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