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Daniel

"Vibrator" is the worst track on the record and I would go for a garage rock tag again.

I love On Stage and bought it on the day of release. I remember it was ridiculously expensive, I think I paid £6 for it, when most single albums went for £2.50 and doubles for about £4.50. Definitely a hard rock record though, with a whole side (Mistreated) being blues rock. I'll still never understand why there was no Stargazer included, though.

520
Daniel


Judas Priest - Invincible Shield (2024)

Genres: Heavy Metal

Six years later, right?  Seems a bit long to wait for another Judas Priest album after they've had a SECOND comeback.  But maybe that length was taken for the band to really hone their skills again and try to improve.  If that's the case, they succeeded, because their new album is some purified metal with a nostalgic feel that also acts as a step forward from the overly-80's Firepower, being its own thing and having been seen as the next essential in the Priest catalog.

I was totally taken by surprise with those totally-synthed up Def Leppard drums and guitar sounds for the intro, which eventually becomes a flat-out power metal song on par with the works of Gamma Ray.  Halford's voice and the backing voices work together with a pure and shining harmony that to me is like a metal version of Simon and Garfunkel.  Halford's gotten a stronger hold on his voice, which can be clearly heard on this album, even while the production assaults you with a wild range of metal noises and effects.  Two songs in and this is already a huge improvement over Firepower.  Of course, by the time the title-track came along, I was afraid the album was going to be quite samey, which is something that Firepower largely avoided until the last third, as it was too long of an album not to fall victim to it.  Thankfully, the title track had levels of metal energy that rival the Arrange Edition of the F-Zero X soundtrack.

The entire first half was a bit samey with difference largely just going to the tempos, so whatever weirdness came from the intro wasn't going to be common.  Thankfully, side B starts with a ballad: Crown of Horns, so there change in pace is powerful without damaging the flow, as this song is quite a good ballad that shows that Halford still has vocal range.  And despite its ballad status, this doesn't stop the instrumentation from being thick and featuring a dense metal atmosphere.  Of course, the album goes right back into thrash territory immediately afterwards, but this is still good because nothing on Side A was as heavy lightning-speed-driven as the song As God as My Witness.  So I interpret this as the album doing two new things on Side B to compensate for a samey side A.  This sounds familiar: Hounds of Love? Trial By Fire even experiments with the rhythm some while teetering on the balance between heavy metal and metal ballad.  So By this point I'm fine with another song sounding like something from the first half.  The tunes take a little of a drop in rhythmic quality once they go back to the normality of the first half, but are still enjoyable.

Invincible Shield shows a noticeable improvement over Firepower and is a greater testament to what Judas Priest is capable of.  Through denser metal atmospheres and instrumentation, as well as a willingness to push even further than Painkiller, Invincible Shield overcome the 80's nostalgic vibe that could be interpreted as "being done before," and stands as a modern classic.

49
Daniel

Here's my review:


German heavy/power metal establishment Running Wild & I have certainly maintained a rocky relationship over the years. I've been aware of them for many decades now but only really explored them properly for the first time during my work on the Metal Academy podcast during the mid-2010's when I investigated their first couple of mid-80's albums, neither of which did much for me to be honest. Since that time I've given five of Running Wild's next six albums a chance to win me over with only 1991's "Blazon Stone" sixth album offering me anything of interest. 1990's "Wild Animal" E.P. earnt a few spins too but was probably the furthest from the mark so you're probably wondering what led me to going down the path of reviewing the only remaining release from Running Wild supposedly classic period then, aren't you? Well, I guess I'm just a busy-body essentially. I just need to know everything there is to know about metal & after getting some pleasure out of "Blazon Stone" I was left with a single unexplored gap where its follow-up sat so I thought to myself "What can it hurt?". Well, perhaps it can't "hurt" as such but, as I've found out, it can still be a fairly uninteresting experience in much the same way as the vast majority of Running Wild's other major releases have been for me.

Much like the albums either side of it, 1992's "Pile of Skulls" seventh full-length sees Running Wild tip-toing along the boundary line between heavy metal & power metal with an occasional foray into genuine speed metal territory. They don't sound all that much like your classic German power metal model though & are a little more in line with the US version of the genre as they lack the vocal histrionics & aren't as focused on cheesy pop melodies (even though there are some examples to be found here). Front man Rock 'n' Rolf's production job is very good & highlights some chunky (if quite simple) metal riffage from both himself & Axel Morgan (current Savage Circus & former X-Wild guitarist). As I've said many times in the past though, a lot of Running Wild's instrumentation is quite engaging but the limiting factor here is definitely Rolf's vocals which come across as weak & clearly don't serve this style of music anywhere near as well as your classic higher-register Teutonic power metal front man would have been capable of. Rolf simply fumbles his way through the tracklisting & fails to ever see me fully engaged, even during the stronger material.

The tracklisting on "Pile of Skulls" certainly has its moments. It begins with a pretty awful folk metal intro piece but then launches into a trio of the best tracks on the record & after just experiencing those I was feeling pretty good about the potential for "Pile of Skulls" to emulate the successes of "Blazon Stone". Things take a downward turn at that point though which correlates with the band putting their power metal queue back in the rack for a couple of songs & focusing more on traditional heavy metal ("Fistful of Dynamite") & even hard rock ("Roaring Thunder") for a bit. My interest is revived during the middle of the B side through a duo of decent heavy metal inclusions in "Lead or Gold" & "White Buffalo" but the fifteen minutes of power metal that closes out the tracklisting sees me once again struggling & the record tends to peter out a bit, particularly given that the final song "Treasure Island" is in excess of ten minutes & flaunts the band's cringe-worthy pirate themes more strongly than anything else on the album.

So, once again we have a hit-&-miss Running Wild album here. The stronger songs never reach a particularly solid standard, each one struggling to overcome the vocal deficiencies of the band's loyal protagonist, but the weaker tracks are never all that horrible either. It just comes down to engagement really & I simply can't say that I remain engaged for a little over half of the album's run time. Even the inclusion of a more than decent speed metal opener (i.e. "Whirlpool") wasn't enough to see me getting terribly excited so I guess that Running Wild still reside primarily in the unfortunate bracket of being none of my fucking business for the most part. Diehard fans of similar German bands like Grave Digger, Blazon Stone & Rage will no doubt disagree with me but that's what makes this wonderful metal scene so interesting now, isn't it? For me personally though, I think my ongoing experiments with Running Wild are finally over & I plan to move on with my life.

3/5

1
Daniel

Two more new releases coming our way from old 70's/80's bands this month:




85
Daniel

Here's my submission for the May Guardians playlist:

Ryujin - "Saigo No Hoshi (feat. Matthew K. Heafy) (Single Edit)" (from Ryujin, 2024)

139
Daniel

As I'm slowly rebuilding my power metal interest again thanks to one of my outside-world friends, going an entire life without listening to this band would be a sin for any fan of dark power metal:


221
Daniel

My updated Top Ten Neoclassical Metal Releases of All Time after revisiting this month's The Guardians feature release this week:


01. Yngwie Malmsteen – “Trial By Fire: Live In Leningrad” (1989)

02. Yngwie J. Malmsteen’s Rising Force – “Odyssey” (1988)

03. Vinnie Moore – “Mind’s Eye” (1986)

04. Yngwie J. Malmsteen’s Rising Force – “Marching Out” (1985)

05. Jason Becker – “Perpetual Burn” (1988)

06. Yngwie J. Malmsteen’s Rising Force – “Rising Force” (1984)

07. Yngwie Malmsteen - "Fire & Ice" (1992)

08. Yngwie J. Malmsteen – “Trilogy” (1986)

09. Cacophony – “Speed Metal Symphony” (1987)

10. Tony MacAlpine - "Maximum Security" (1987)


https://metal.academy/lists/single/141

17
Daniel

I just wrote a full review of this album & then accidently deleted it so I'm not gonna go through the lengthy process again. Let's just say that "Fire & Ice" is an underrated release that saw Yngwie returning to some level of form after 1990's disappointing "Eclipse" album. The clear highlights are the two wonderful neoclassical metal instrumentals "Perpetual" & "Leviathan" which manage to balance out the three or four duds amongst the fourteen song tracklisting very well. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that Yngwie well & truly puts competitors like Cacophony, Jason Becker & Michael Angelo Batio back in their boxes with those because no one can touch him when he decides to get his dark & exotic leather pants on & these two tracks are the absolute peak of the niche genre for mine.

The album jumps around quite a bit stylistically which keeps you on your toes with hard rock, heavy metal, power metal & even glam metal, classical music & symphonic metal getting the odd airing. The semi-regular use of bridges that go full-throttle down a cheesy classical music hole is something I could do without but the more sporadic use of keyboard solos & the wonderfully capable vocals of Göran Edman (Madison/Time Requiem/Vinnie Vincent Invasion) certainly do no harm whatsoever. Was Yngwie simply repeating himself by this stage? Yeah, there's no doubt that he was but I'd actually take "Fire & Ice" over 1986's much more popular "Trilogy" album if I'm being honest so it's far from the misfire people seem to claim it to be these days. 

3.5/5

1
Shadowdoom9 (Andi)

Well this next album is gonna cause some divisive discussion...

The most essential part of the history of Rainbow involves two members. First off, there's the band's main founder, ex-Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. He and Deep Purple were touring with support from blues/hard rock band Elf. That band was known as an early one for the legendary Dio (RIP). Impressive by Dio's mighty magical voice, Blackmore invited him for a different project, one that would become a great success, resulting in Blackmore leaving Deep Purple and Dio disbanding Elf.

As you can hear in Rainbow's 1975 debut, their hard rock sound combines the blues of Elf with the early metal of Deep Purple. Yeah, I'm saying it, this album is metal! Though their metal side would be more pronounced in their second album. But with a large amount of blues/hard rock in the album as well, I say the rock/metal ratio is 50:50.

"Man on the Silver Mountain" is a classic opener, right from that memorable riff. It's the most metallic sound here while combining their heavy metal side with hard rock. And that's just the start of the variation that would occur in the rest of the album. What makes that track the fresh classic highlight is how guitar-driven it is, as Blackmore slides through his riffing and soloing. Dio's vocals help give that guitarwork more atmosphere. More of that top-notch guitar playing appears in "Self Portrait" which, I suppose you can consider a power ballad, but to me, it has more of a hard rock/proto-doom metal (doom rock?) song of early Black Sabbath. The bass can be heard greatly, and the lyrics have poetic appeal. "Black Sheep of the Family" has the nice prog-ish hard rock speed of the band whose song they were covering, Quatermass. Good, but not spectacular.

Then we have a more obscure yet underrated track in "Catch the Rainbow". This can work greatly live with the clean guitar and vocals of Ritchie and Dio, respectively. It's more effectively that way for a slow blues rock ballad. Would the band's later vocalists like Joe Lynn Turner and Ronnie Romero be able to master singing that song as greatly as Dio? Didn't think so... The more exotic hard rock/metal sound comes back in "Snake Charmer", with a serene guitar solo. "The Temple of the King" has cleaner mid-tempo blues rock that continues to have the torch carried by Dio's vocals and Blackmore's guitars.

"If You Don’t Like Rock ‘N Roll" is OK, but their attempt to push their usual hard rock back a couple decades into the rock 'n roll era just doesn't sound right for me, especially that annoying piano. They assumed right, I don't like early rock 'n roll. "Sixteenth Century Greensleeves" is a mid-tempo hard rock/heavy metal march. One more highlight is an upbeat instrumental cover of "Still I'm Sad" by The Yardbirds. They take that band's blues/hard rock sound and give it a more metallic edge.

Other than that "Rock 'N Roll" track detracted a half-star from what would've been a perfect 5-star rating for the album, the music for Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow is all in amazing performance and mood. Although it is a rock/metal album, the more metal fans might find the songs laid back. Despite that, the heavy energy is what keeps things rolling. I must admit, I wasn't expecting that kind of approach, so consider me surprised. I never usually enjoy 70s music, but the "Roots of Metal" project is going mostly smoothly for me so far. If you enjoy Dio and Deep Purple, you might get a great kick out of this as much as their second more solidifying album. Catch that rainbow!

Favorites: "Man on the Silver Mountain", "Self Portrait", "Catch the Rainbow", "Snake Charmer", "Still I'm Sad"

4.5/5

Metal enough in my opinion: yes

Quoted Shadowdoom9 (Andi)

It's been 5 months since I last listened to Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, so I decided to give it a little more listening today. Now back then I was in the zone of checking out albums from the 70s in this project, and many of the albums I was listening to at the time sounded metal enough for my ears, and my thoughts carried over to this Rainbow album that made me think similarly to what those other bands/albums have done. Then in this recent revisit after listening to and reviewing a lot of modern metal albums, I've realized that this Rainbow album sounds nothing like any release I would consider metal. I guess listening to an album at a different time can trick my mind, huh? So I now consider Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow more of a blues/hard rock record, and my rating has massively dropped down to 2.5/5. How sad... Metal enough in my opinion: no

35
Daniel

Heavens Gate - "Livin' in Hysteria" (1991)

I've been meaning to get around to Germany's Heavens Gate for some time now as they seem to have built up a pretty reasonable following over the years, particularly off the back of their 1991 sophomore album "Livin' In Hysteria" which is widely known as their finest work. I think the links to power metal & the God-awful cover artwork have put me off a bit but given my recent re-exploration of so many of my musical passions from the period I thought it might be as good a time as any to see what Heavens Gate are all about.

I didn't have any expectations going into my first listen as I hadn't done much prior research but my first impressions would tell me everything I needed to know with Heavens Gate sitting on the cheesier & more cliche-ridden end of metal. Heavens Gate's sound sits right at the mid-point between heavy metal & power metal with "Livin' In Hysteria" including a number of tracks from each genre without opting to blend the two all that often. "The Neverending Fire" is probably the only track that represents a hybrid of the two & is also one of the better tracks on the album. The inclusion of the progressive/neoclassical instrumental piece "Fredless" was most welcome while the other highlights strangely coming in the form of a couple of the cheesier & more chiche-filled heavy metal numbers in "Can't Stop Rockin'" & "Best Days Of My Life". I don't think it'll shock too many people to discover that none of the pure German power metal numbers appeal to me much but neither does the one-off speed metal track "Flashes". Front man Thomas Rettke's vocal histrionics can be grating at times but I feel that he's probably one the main drawcards for fans of the band so it really comes down to your musical preferences. I struggle with him a bit to be honest but he's not a deal breaker as such. The power metal material has clearly been influenced by Helloween which was never gonna be a positive thing for someone like me. I greatly prefer the Judas Priest-inspired heavy metal numbers, even when they take the "arena anthem" format that saw so many fans fall off the Priest train during the 1980's.

Overall, I'd suggest that "Livin' In Hysteria" will offer the most appeal to those with a penchant for bands like Scanner, Rage or Artch that play somewhat of an each-way bet between the heavy metal & power metal sounds but I can't say that it does much for me personally. Records like this one often baffle me as to why people would want to rate them so highly when they're so clearly a representation of the band's influences only not executed with the class of their idols. I guess I'll just have to accept that a record like "Livin' In Hysteria" is simply none of my business as I'm clearly not the target audience.

3/5

23
Daniel

Iced Earth - "Storm of the Nightrider" (1991)

I had a great deal of time for the 1990 self-titled debut album from Florida outfit Iced Earth after discovering them through a video compilation shortly after its release. The five-piece band more than made up for the vocal deficiencies of front man Gene Adam with a splendid blend of US power metal & thrash metal that ticked a great many of my metal boxes. Rhythm guitarist Jon Schaffer's impeccable right-hand technique was of particular interest for the budding young axeslinger that I was at the time & I quickly committed to checking out Iced Earth's subsequent releases as well as their earlier "Enter the Realm" demo. 1991's "Night Of The Stormrider" sophomore album was a little bit different though with John Greely replacing Adam behind the microphone stand & Richey Secchiari filling Mike McGill's empty drum stool. The resulting recordings would see Iced Earth presenting just as strong a "Master of Puppets"-era thrash metal influence as "Iced Earth" did but the greater emphasis on creating an epic atmosphere through soaring melodic content saw the album sitting a little less comfortably next to your average thrash record & feeling much better suited to the power metal scene (both the US & the European ones). I have to admit that my struggles with power metal were very real at the time &, if anything, I'm actually a little more open the genre now so it's fair to say that I found "Night Of The Stormrider" to be pretty tough going which would see me distancing myself from Iced Earth until 1997's "Days of Purgatory" re-recording album would entice me into checking out what their early works might sound like with a more suitable production job & front man. Sadly, I wouldn't explore Iced Earth's more accomplished 1990's studio albums until 2014 when I was preparing to see them play live at Sydney's Manning Bar at which time I discovered that they had a lot more to offer than "Storm of the Nightrider" had delivered to me back in the day. Fast-forwarding to the modern day & it's been decades since my perceptions around the merits of Iced Earth's sophomore record were first developed. The unanimous praise that seems to be heaped on it have not gone unnoticed by me either so it's about time I gave the album a reassessment.

The first thing I noticed about "Night of the Stormrider" upon this revisit is the production job which isn't amazing to be fair. Jon Schaffer's rhythm guitar sound is a bit dry which I don't feel provides his skill sets with the best platform. The lack of bass guitar in the mix doesn't help either while the use of synthesizers is often a little over the top. Still... I found that I was able to get used to the sound over a few listens to the point where it definitely made less of an impact by my third spin. New front man Greely's vocals are like chalk & cheese with Gene Adams' delivery with Greely opting for a theatrical, operatic approach that reeks of power metal indulgence. I do really enjoy the moments where he pushes up into Rob Halford style falsetto territory though as he reminds me very much of Judas Priest's classic "Painkiller" album at times. Sanctuary/Nevermore front man Warrel Dane sometimes comes to mind too actually.

The stylistic approach of "Storm of the Nightrider" is very much what I remembered with the band keeping one foot in Iron Maiden/Judas Priest territory while galloping forwards with some of the most precise right-hand thrash riffage this side of James Hetfield with the other. Unlike the self-titled debut though, this record simply doesn't "feel" like thrash metal even though it's so clearly dominated by the consistent use of fast thrash guitar work. The added melodicism, consciously epic atmosphere & over the top vocal style are all at odds with the mentality of your average thrash band & I feel that the US power metal tag covers a wide enough area to encapsulate the sounds heard on this record. The fluency of the song-writing is still a work in progress though as there are many examples of disparate parts simply being pasted together & the art of the segway would be an area that Iced Earth would get much better at by the end of the decade.

I have to admit that I've been a bit hard on Iced Earth in regard to the quality of the material though as there aren't really any genuinely weak tracks included so I do find myself enjoying the album as a whole these days. It certainly helps that the tracklisting kicks off with one of the best inclusions in the excellent "Angels Holocaust" with its symphonic flourishes & face-tearing vocals. The excellent "Pure Evil" is the other clear highlight in my opinion & is probably my favourite track on the record to be honest. The rest of the songs are all pretty good without ever pushing me to consider awarding my higher scores. All of the material sits at a very consistent level of quality but I'm not sure that I ever feel that I'm listening to a tier one metal band because "Night of the Stormrider" is just a little too consciously extravagant for my taste &, as a result, I hold a preference for the darker records either side of it. I can definitely see why it appeals to some people so much these days though, particularly those with a penchant for thrashy US power metal like Metal Church & early Nevermore or Jon Schaffer's side project Demons & Wizards.

3.5/5

15
Daniel

Acheron would've been a perfect album if not for a couple pointless stinker interludes like this one that's more suitable as the soundtrack to a video game's main menu:


68
Daniel

Ozzy Osbourne - "Just Say Ozzy" E.P. (1990)

While listening to this month's The Guardians feature release "No More Tears" I was reminded that I spontaneously picked up this largely overlooked live E.P. from the local record store some time shortly after it was released. I think it might have been the first of Ozzy's solo work that I laid down my hard-earned cash for actually & it was driven by my enthusiasm for Black Label Society & Pride & Glory guitar virtuoso Zakk Wylde's work on Ozzy's previous studio album "No Rest For The Wicked" which I believe might have been my introduction to Ozzy's solo material in general. And if I was looking for a showcase for Zakk's chops then I probably couldn't have asked for more than I got with this half hour of high-quality heavy metal to tell you the truth.

The E.P. features four of Ozzy's solo tracks (three taken from "No Rest For The Wicked" & one from his previous album "The Ultimate Sin") as well as two classic Black Sabbath tunes ("Sweet Leaf" & "War Pigs") & all of them are worth hearing. Ozzy's vocals aren't at their best & he sounds a little bit like he's running on auto-pilot at times (particularly during "Bloodbath In Paradise" where he's noticeably pitchy) but his voice certainly suits the Sabbath material far better than it does his solo material which is a long-term bug-bear of mine. Wylde's guitar playing is the real drawcard here though & it doesn't disappoint for a single second of this record. In fact, I'd suggest that he's a tighter musician than Randy Rhoads was in all honesty. He just sounds like he's in complete control of his instrument at all times as he nails every single nuance of the material which makes his performance worth whatever it was that I paid for this otherwise fairly inessential release. Opener "Miracle Man" is comfortably the best of the solo work but it's unsurprisingly the Sabbath material that stands out as the best inclusions here with "War Pigs" being the clear highlight. If you can't get enough Ozzy-era Black Sabbath or 80's Dio in your life then I'd recommend that you check this E.P. out & Black Label Society fans will probably wanna get in on the action too just for the Wylde-card.

4/5

4
Rexorcist


...but I still haven't read anything that tells me why we NEED to differentiate them in the database.

Quoted Daniel

I believe the discussion boils down to this at the moment. It seems like we all agree that "Symphonic Power Metal" is a valid term that gets thrown around in discussions, but I think that the way that we have it currently with a "Symphonic Metal" tag and a "Power Metal" tag is a pretty catch-all setup. Examples that were brought up: 

  • Therion - Theli, Vovin, and Secret of the Runes are all labeled Symphonic Metal primary with currently no subgenres, but probably could gain a Progressive or Death Metal one if people voted. No Power Metal, checks out. 
  • Rhapsody - Dual Symphonic Metal and Power Metal primary genres. Checks out. 
  • Nightwish - Early Nightwish has dual Symphonic/Power Metal primaries. Checks out. Starting at Imaginaerum it changes to a Symphonic primary and loses the Power Metal, checks out due to the even higher emphasis on orchestration. 
  • Lacrimosa - I'm not familiar with this band but after putting on Echos for a bit it has a Symphonic primary and no Power Metal. Checks out. 
  • Tristania - I'm not familiar with this band either but after listening to a little bit of Beyond the Veil I could see adding a Symphonic Metal primary alongside the Gothic Metal primary and maybe a Black Metal secondary? So it would be tagged as Symphonic Metal with no Power Metal, checks out.
  • All of the bands listed as "Traditional Power Metal Bands" do not have the Symphonic Metal tag on them. Checks out. 

The point I'm trying to make is that apart from a few very niche exceptions, albums that are currently labeled as having Symphonic Metal and Power Metal primaries are what you are describing as Symphonic Power Metal. If the Symphonic Power Metal change were implemented, each album with both Symphonic and Power Metal primaries would gain this primary instead and lose the other two primaries. I could see this being an advantageous change for chart reasons so that Twilight Force wouldn't go toe-to-toe with Therion for Symphonic Metal, but they're still different forms of Symphonic Metal. While it might be nice to compare all your high-fantasy Rhapsody rip-offs under one tag, I think tagging that use of Symphonic Metal with a more traditional Tristania approach is still valid and has merit. Plus, the MA charts are only filterable by Clan at the moment, not genre.

I can agree with the point to want to differentiate old Nightwish (Once, Oceanborn) from Rhapsody, but I'm in the camp of people using their own reasoning from two broader primary genres rather than differentiating further. 


7
Daniel

As with all of the Ozzy Osbourne studio material I've heard over the years, "No More Tears" is a pretty enjoyable listen. Also in line with those releases though, I can't see myself ever finding it to be an essential heavy metal release. You see, despite Ozzy's records sporting some of the most beloved guitar work in my life, I simply can't look past the fact that there's also a fair dose of cheese & commercialism about them & Ozzy's vocals have never quite seemed to fit perfectly with that musical direction to be honest, even on his super-popular early releases. "Diary of a Madman" has always been my favourite Ozzy album, perhaps because it's a touch darker & less poppy than the others but I still wouldn't call it a genuinely great record. "No More Tears" sits very much in the same camp as the tracklisting is a real mixed bag. On the one hand we receive a couple of the best tracks of Ozzy's solo career in the dark & brooding title track & the energetic, metal-as-fuck "I Don't Want to Change the World" with chunky heavy metal number "Desire" being another particularly solid inclusion. On the other hand, the cheesy ballads "Mama, I'm Coming Home" & "Road to Nowhere" & glam metal inspired "Mr. Tinkertrain" & "S.I.N." leave a lot to be desired. Black Label Society/Pride & Glory axemaster Zakk Wylde is quite clearly the primary reason to listen to "No More Tears" with his ultra-shredding guitar tone & signature artificial harmonic squeals showing him to be at the very peak of his powers. The riffs & slide guitar work on the title track command the price of this album alone actually. Ozzy's vocals are pretty pedestrian throughout though it has to be said which takes a bit of the gloss of Zakk's handy work.

Despite these mixed comments, I'd suggest that the highlights (& perhaps a little bit of nostalgia) have seen me moving "No More Tears" ahead of "Blizzard of Ozz" & into second place behind "Diary of a Madman" these days. There's probably a touch more hard rock included here than there is heavy metal if you look at it closely but Wylde's exciting guitar work never allows the record to drift too far out of your average metalhead's reach. Sadly, I don't think "No More Tears" will ever be the release to see me moving Ozzy out of Best-Of playlist territory & into the realms reserved for consistently high-quality heavy metal recordings alongside his much stronger live releases such as "Speak of the Devil" & "Tribute" though & it's perhaps telling that I've never ventured any further into Osbourne's solo career than this either.

3.5/5

1
Xephyr

Guardians Playlist for February 2024 is live!

  1. "Metal Warriors" from The Triumph of Steel (1992) by Manowar
  2. "Street Machine" from Traveler (2019) by Traveler
  3. "Vertumnus Caesar" from Vertumnus Caesar (2023) by Malokarpatan [Submitted By Daniel]
  4. "Dragons Dance" from Empire of Sins (2021) by Silent Winter
  5. "Somewhere Else But Here" from Shangri-La (2022) by Edenbridge
  6. "Hell, Fire And Damnation" from Hell, Fire And Damnation (2024) by Saxon
  7. "Lust For Freedom" from Best Of Grim Reaper (1999) by Grim Reaper
  8. "Dead Reckoning" from The Deep & The Dark (2018) by Visions of Atlantis
  9. "Wings of Light" from Eldorado (2023) by Edu Falaschi
  10. "Pandemic" from Blood of the Nations (2010) by Accept
  11. "Space and Time" from Eat the Fallen (2019) by Ravenous E.H.
  12. "The Courage to Die" from ...Unto the Breach (2019) by Sellsword
  13. "Final Spell" from Final Spell (2012-06-05) by Visigoth
  14. "Gardens of the Sinner" from Power Plant (1999) by Gamma Ray
  15. "Power of the Saber Blade" from Power of the Saber Blade (2023) by DragonForce [Submitted by Andi]
  16. "Mrs. Artisson - Extended Version" from Witches' Domain (Extended Version) (2021) by Witchtower
  17. "Invoker" from The Armor of Ire (2016) by Eternal Champion
  18. "Faster Than Light" from Abyss (2020) by Unleash The Archers
  19. "Trial by Fire" from Court in the Act (1983) by Satan
  20. "Spirits of the Dead" from The Grave Digger (2001) by Grave Digger
  21. "Consequences" from Something Wicked This Way Comes (1998) by Iced Earth
  22. "March or Die" from Soldiers of the Night (1985) by Vicious Rumors
  23. "Harder Than Steel" from Ample Destruction (1984) by Jag Panzer

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3w8wz5HBOoks78mYzldAMq?si=8eab58e301c14c0e

0
Daniel

I would probably agree on all but Technical Ecstacy, but I don't think we need to go over that conversation again! 😉

98
Daniel

My old Iron Maiden "World Slavery Tour 1984-85" baseball shirt has finally packed it in which has left me feeling quite emotional.