Category Archives: SONIC WAVES…Album Reviews

Occasionally I will throw down some reviews of albums that I thought were and still are cool to me…..hope you likey!

Def Leppard / The Early Years 79-81

Def Leppard just this past Friday (March 20th) has released a box set titled The Early Years 79-81 featuring a ton and I mean a ton of music. 

64 Songs spread out over 4.5 hours of music. That’s a lot of Leppard Rock Folks.

Now I know John Snow in the next few days is going to do a very detailed review of The Early Years so I’m just going to focus on one section of this massive box and that is the Live Show included from 1980.

When The Walls Came Tumbling Down – Live In Oxford 26/04/1980
‘When the Walls Came Tumbling Down’
‘It Could Be You’
‘Rock Brigade’
‘Satellite’
‘Medicine Man’
‘Answer to the Master’
‘When the Rain Falls’
‘Sorrow Is a Woman’
‘Good Morning Freedom’
‘Don’t Matter to Me’
‘Overture’
‘Lady Strange’
‘GetchaRocks Off’
‘Hello America’
‘Wasted’
‘Ride into The Sun’

I can tell you all right here right now that this show from Oxford is just mindblowing good. The audio and mix of this show is excellent. I can’t believe Leppard sat on this album for 40 years!

Leppard 1980 was one lean mean rocking machine. For one thing, check out that setlist. The whole debut album On Through The Night is played as they were plugging the just-released debut.

When The Walls Came Tumbling Down sets the pace of the show. I love how Leppard uses the actual studio recording and then hit the stage on auto blast when Joe Elliot is about to hit the first verse of the song.

Leppard does not fuck around here even at there young age at the time. These songs are taken to a whole other level which is a mindblower. 

Drummer Rick Allen leads the charge and keeps the band in check to let Steve Clark and Pete Willis do their thing on the guitars. Speaking of Clark if you recall in my other Leppard reviews I always say when Clark passed away in January 1991 Steve took the riffs with him to heaven. 

Actually, you can also make the case for Pete Willis who had a huge hand in crafting these songs for the first two Leppard albums (On Through The Night and High N Dry) as well as co-writing a slew of tracks on Pyromania before Pete got the boot.

it’s a shame the guitar duo of Clark/Willis never really get there due when the talk of guitar duos come up. Perhaps this release will begin some chat about that. Steve and Pete mix youth and exuberance at times as well as sounding seasoned. 

Rock Brigade and Satellite and many of the tunes are at a quicker tempo and Elliot keeps the chat between the tunes down to a bare minimum as well as Joe’s voice sounds excellent live.

At times you can hear the influences trickle thorough like on Overture when you can hear Rush (at the beginning of the tune) and Thin Lizzy (in the dual leads) as well Rick Savage plays some tasty Bass Lines (did I just type that?) and he’s also right up there in the mix as well. 

What else is a real score is the addition of two tunes I had never heard before, kinda.

By that I mean Medicine Man is the title of the tune but the music is Rock Rock Til You Drop which later appeared on 83’s Pyromania.

When The Rain Falls is another song played live but come a year later in 1981 the lyrics were all changed around but the music pretty stayed the same and was retitled Let It Go from the High N Dry album.

Speaking of High N Dry even Lady Strange was belted out that night in Oxford. Leppard was on a creative binge back than folks.

Leppard as we all know as the 80s went along became mega and of course, the sound changed,  While some later albums were kinda so so (Adrenalize) and some were really good (Slang) you can’t forget this early incarnation of a band that was going for the throat.

Get this!

Rush: All The World’s A Stage(1976)

I was talking to my buddy Darr yesterday and told him I had a couple of posts finished up so I thought I would let him pick. I gave him a few options and he said RUSH so here ya go…

The very first two Rush albums I ever owned were Moving Pictures and Exit Stage Left which I both got as gifts from my Parents for Christmas back in December 1981.

Needless to say, those two albums blew me away especially ‘Exit’ being live so early into 1982 when I  was cruising the record shops in Thunder Bay there it was in section ‘R’.

All The World’s A Stage on double vinyl and look at that album cover. Alex Lifeson’s Marshall Stacks/ Geddy Lee’s Bass Rig and Neil Peart’s double bass drum set up!

That cover alone sold me on wanting this record. What an impact cover shot for a young snot-nosed kid like me to come across this on a cold wintery January day.

Once home and as the needle dropped it became real apparent let’s say in under the first minute that this was a different RUSH.

You realize that this early incarnation of RUSH was a well-oiled ass-kicking heavy rock metal machine. 

Compared to Exit. A.T.W.A.S has RUSH cranking out there music at a rip-snorting pace in a total power trio format. 

Bastille Day with that opening riff sets the table and Geddy and Neil follow Alex’s lead. Is there really any point in me talking about how great RUSH’s musical muscle is?  

For me these songs I had never heard before in my life. By-Tor And The Snow Dog. By-Tor just blew my mind with all those crazy tempo changes. The second side of this album is most of 2112 which I had never heard while Side 4 and it’s three tunes from the debut album that had John Rutsey(RIP) on the drum throne. Neil though takes these songs live and turn’s them upside down and makes them his own while demolishing his kit during his solo on Working Man.

Holy Friggin Hell. At the time I owned three RUSH albums and two of them were live and those two albums had Peart throwing down two different solos. 

Even Geddy’s voice has him wailing and reaching some pretty dang high registers and what can you say about his 4 stringing? Alex as well tossing down lightning bolts of brilliance during his solos while flipping between his rhythms and tasty snaps of awesomeness on his 6 string.

I know I said earlier I didn’t have to mention how good their chops are but I caved! lol

Even the packaging is cool. A triple gatefold sleeve bypassing the all too familiar double gatefold that many bands were doing at the time. RUSH took it one step further that’s for sure. Nice layout tons of tour info and of course a little bit of advertising on featuring the first three studio albums in case you missed them by this point.

Not a bad way to start back in early 82 on becoming a life long RUSH fan with one studio and two double albums under my belt.

This is a great album and when looking back and listening to it now you hear how this band kept moving forward. For many though this is there fav live RUSH album. I can see why.

I still can’t believe The Professor is not with us.

 

Harem Scarem: Change The World (2020)

 

When I think of Harem Scarem I think of Hook City meaning these guys know the fine art of crafting ‘Hooky’ catchy rock that grabs you by the ear and won’t let go.

You gotta hand it to Harry Hess/Pete Lesperance/Darren Smith/Mike Vassos/Creighton Doane as they get down and do just what they do.

The thing I like about Harem is they put out quality records every couple of years. Tour a bit then they go right off the grid and then as time passes here comes another finely crafted bunch of tunes written by Hess and Lesperance.

If you are keeping score than Change of the World is album number 15 from Harem which is mighty impressive considering the debut came out in 1991.

 Change The World features 11  songs and I can tell you there is not a dud among the bunch!

Change The World
Aftershock
Searching For Meaning
The Death Of Me
Mother Of Invention
No Man’s Land
In The Unknown
Riot In My Head
No Me Without You
Fire & Gasoline
Swallowed By The Machine

These guys know there deal and its crafting rock at a high level. For those not sure or for that matter have not heard these guys below I posted the video of Death of Me. Check it out and crank it up!

Death of Me is a great track.  What a catchy chorus and a brilliant solo by Lesperance.  Why people have not heard of this guy on guitar for the past 30 years is beyond me. The man is easily one of the best most creative dudes come solo time to do his thing. Pete is not a hot dogger doing all that bullshit stuff on the guitar. Pete keeps the solo’s in the context of the song.

Harem has there own sound and style. Big time gang vocals always dominate the choruses and no wonder as drummer Darren Smith is a lead vocalist in his own right and if you recall handled the lead vocals fo the Red Dragon Cartel record Patina from a few years back.

Even the slower tracks like Mother of Invention and No Me Without You have some kick in them even though they are keyboard-driven yet they don’t puss out.

But for listeners like me, it’s all about the rock tracks and I can honestly tell you the first 4 songs set the table nicely for what follows.

I have to add that I like that the album clocks in under 45 minutes and no song is over four and a half minutes long. Talk about keeping our attention and not drifting elsewhere.

Harem Scarem 2020 is alive and well and still delivering the goods on Change The World.

Check this one out Folk’s as you will not be disappointed.

 

 

Led Zeppelin: Coda (1982)

 

Hey, Folk’s this review is for CB and for the person who called me Coda Face! haha! Cheers, 2 ya!

Two years after Bonzo‘s passing in 1980 came the contractual record obligation in the form of Coda.

Led Zeppelin had to fulfill their commitments and deliver one more studio album to finish off their record contract with Swan Song Records.

It doesn’t matter that one of the best rock drummers of all time passes away a contract is a contract.

Coda for some is a throw together an album of odds and sods. For others, it has some great tracks and for myself its the tracks that matter.

Zep broke up as 1980 ended. I was 13 at the time and immersed in KISS/Cheap Trick/AC-DC/New England/Queen. Led Zeppelin was not even on my radar at that time. Course I knew the name but I had no real idea about who they were.

As 1982 rolled around a pal in highschool (John Young-M.I.A) had gotten Coda and when I heard what was my first song which was Ozone Baby I was hooked.

BAM! A slap right across my forehead. I took to this album right away. I mean listen to the sonics of those drums! Holy Shit they were LOUD!

I quickly went out and purchased Coda on cassette and from there I started picking away at the Zeppelin back catalog. I even got on board with Robert Plant‘s solo career as well buying all of his 80s output on cassette tape except for the brilliant Now And Zen album which needs to be heard on vinyl.

Anyways,

Coda, I was able to pick up recently sealed for $20  which was a steal as far as I’m concerned.

Nice Gatefold layout with a ton of pics and the cover is simple yet effective. 8 songs make up Coda which clocks in under 34 minutes.

Side 1 features 4 songs from the 1970 -72 period. Opener We’re Gonna Groove is a great track as Bonham drives the drums and everyone else follows. Kinda interesting that this song is actually a live version but the crowd was removed and Jimmy Page dubbed some guitars so the song would fall under the studio album contractual obligation which is wild, to say the least.

More Bonham on Poor Tom as the boys once again follow his lead. Almost a shuffle like track. Great track and Plant tosses down a superb vocal.

I Can’t Quit You Babe is from a soundcheck and Page sizzles the fretboard while Bonham and John Paul Jones lay back and let the chill groove come to them.

Walters Walk ends Side 1 with some cool ax work from Jimmy and drums from you guessed it…Bonham. Walters Walk is a pretty decent track that was leftover from the Houses of the Holy sessions.

Side 2 features tracks recorded between 1976-78.

Ozone Baby leads off and I will go out on a limb here and say its easily in my all-time Top 5 Zep Tunes.  Ozone Baby features driving drums/walloping bass line along with Plant singing for his supper!  Goes to show you how Zep had such stellar tunes sitting in their vault.

Following the brilliance of Ozone Baby comes Darlene which is another great track that has some cool piano and how about that tempo change which almost goes back to the 50’s rockabilly shuffle. Another superb track.

Bonzo’s Montreux is John beating the crap out of his drums with a pretty innovative solo and man, just listen to the superb sonics. Production is crystal clear.

Wrapping up things on Coda is another stellar Zep tune in the form of Wearing And Tearing which ends the album on a blistering pace. So good as this one just wants you to reach over and turn the volume knob way up! Another one that sat around in the crazy vault. Plant played Wearing and Tearing at Knebworth 1990 (with Rob’s solo band) which is on YouTube if you are interested and Jimmy Page even shows up and this kick this tune into another dimension!

Coda even all these years later is an album that I love as it shows you how good the 4 members of Zep were and the fact that they had so much strong material that these were considered leftovers.

 

 

Ozzy Osbourne: Ordinary Man(2020)

Yesterday was a 37-year-old throwback review of Bark At The Moon. Today it’s what Ozz has been up too lately.

It’s pretty crazy to think that  Ozz is over 71 years old now. Course over the decades his body has taken a ton of abuse which I’m not going to go there as everyone knows Ozzy’s deal.

What I am going to yammer on about is the new Ozz album Ordinary Man which hit the streets Feb 20, 2020.

Before I go any further let me tell you that Ozzy has stepped up and gone right outside the box and has delivered to the masses a stunning let’s make that an incredible 10 songs(plus a bonus track making it 11) opus that In my fair opinion may be his best solo studio album in over 30 years!

Now that’s saying something!

To be totally honest with you all when I heard about this solo album from John Osbourne I really did not buy into the whole new Ozzy 2020 album.  If my memory serves me correctly the last Ozz album I purchased was back in 95 which was Ozzmosis. Ozzmosis had some good stuff and some so so stuff.

The albums that came after Down To Earth/Undercover/Black Rain/Scream for some reason I skipped. I don’t know why but I just did and maybe it had something to do with the singles I heard on local crap radio did nothing for me.

But.

Under The Graveyard which itself has been played a ton on local crap radio finally won me over. At first, I was like ‘Ah new Ozzy song. Good on him’ and that’s the thing with shit radio they will play the crap out of some new stuff so it will either.

1- win you over.

2- bore the piss out of you.

Over time I caved and I picked Number 1 as the Ozzman won me over.

Ozzy went to town recruited a stellar rhythm section in regards to a Gunner and a Chili Pepper. Those being Duff (Guns N Roses) on Bass and Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers) on Drums.

Add in guitarist and producer Andrew Watt. Ozzy has hit a home run with this album.

Opening track Straight To Hell (featuring Slash on Lead Guitar) blazes along and listen to the heaviness of Smiths’ drums. Heavy loud and bombastic! This song is one of those tracks that has you reaching for the volume knob.

All My Life and Goodbye(which is a  stellar track) features some wicked musicianship and some real catchy hooks without wimping out. Goodbye goes from some chill out psychedelic rock which at one point lifts off totally in speed which is just so good.

I have to add that this being an Ozz solo album don’t be fooled as writing credits are split 4 ways between Ozz/Watt/Smith and Duff and I think that helps in spades as supposedly this album was written and recorded very quickly which in the long run I think helps Ordinary Man to excel in its quality.

Strike when the Iron is hot I say.

The title track Ordinary Man (featuring Elton John^) is a decent ballad-like tune that has a bit of pace to it so it does not go right into wimpdom.

Even the lyrics are deep and very introspective.

Speaking of twists and turns Under The Graveyard is another one of those tunes that have a section that lifts off and keeps us the listener off our guard which is awesome. I love the chorus of this tune. It’s heavy and stomps about.

Eat Me has Ozzy tweaking about on the harmonica which leads into Duffs distorted Bass and don’t be fooled by the title as being hokey which isn’t. Listen to the words folks.

Tom Morello slams out a crazy good solo on what I call one of those End of the Album Gems titled Scary Little Green Men which has one super duper cool chorus! Total Ear Candy.

Holy For Tonight has a Sabbath-like style to my ears anyway.

It’s A Raid is a cool fast Ozz punker of a track featuring Post Malone which is actually quite good. Who doesn’t love a great tune about what happens when you leave a ton of Blow lying around and the Cops show up!

Take What You Want another mashup between Ozz/Post Malone and Travis Scott ends the album. An ok track which you have to give Oz credit as he’s going for the crossover appeal which at 71 years young you gotta hand it to him.

When all is said and done this album is BRILLIANT! Tons of hooks/tempo changes/ great singing and playing and some kudos have to be given to Watt as he pulled this album out of Osbourne and rocked it in a whole other direction which in this day and age is very impressive!

Ozzy’s Back-dEke’s Told Ya So!

^-don’t scoff at Elton John being on here as if you recall back in 1986 Elton played the keys on the classic Saxon track Party Til You Puke from the Rock The Nations album which is 100% HMO Approved!

 

STORM FORCE: AGE OF FEAR (2020)

Hey, folk’s about a week or so ago I interviewed Storm Force Lead SInger Patrick Gagliardi who gave some great insight to the songs that make up the debut album Age of Fear. If you missed it click the link below where we discuss the album and band in great detail.

https://superdekes.wordpress.com/2020/01/25/interview-with-storm-force-patrick-gagliardi/

After I posted my interview at this site I shot Tbone’s brother Dar a text to tell him to check out Age of Fear. Here’s a snippet of our conversation which as turns out is the review of Storm Force.

Check it out.. Just remember that this review was basically 24 hours after Age of Fear came out.  I can honestly say a week after this conversation with Dar it’s still on high rotation on my iPod!

 

DAR-I’m listening to it right now. Dig the guy’s voice. Has a non-cheesy 80s rock sound 

DEKE-Almost reminds me of Jack Russell back in the day.I hear someone else but can’t pinpoint it. I really hear the positiveness in the lyrics so I can see where the Triumph influence comes from…as Triumph were no Debby downers in the lyric dept.

DAR-Good call in Jack Russell. The beginning of Age of Fear gave me a bit of a Scorpions vibe 

DEKE-Scorps…yeah I’m gonna steal that when I write my review on the album beginning riff of Marshall Law I really hear the Scorps A good ear and call dude. The Opening riff of Ringside sounds like Ozzy Bark at the Moon…shit I’m reviewing this album right now..

DAR-Cool.Yeah, Ringside has an Ozzy feel….but the vocals have more of a Dio thing going on.

DEKE-That’s it Patrick’s voice is a cross between Dio,Bach and Jack Russell at times. Tbone better smarten up as he’s falling behind in the rock talk..haha

DAR-I’ll give him shit on Monday…lol

DEKE-😂

 

KISS: FM Broadcast-2014

 

Did you really think we could get out of the month of January in a new decade none the less and not have a KISS review around here??

Well, what we have here is an Unofficial Live KISS release which is one of those cash grabs by some bootleggers. Where it came from I have no idea as iTunes of all places had it so I scooped it. (if you go looking for this on iTunes here in Canada it’s gone. (Simmons probably lawyered up lol)

Like so many bootlegs the cover is telling that when one puts these things together at least get the friggin cover right.

The cover shot has The Demon(Gene Simmons) The Hired Help(Tommy Thayer) and Starchild(Paul Stanley).

Totally wrong lineup of this band as the audio from the show is The Ritz show that KISS played back in the summer of 1988!

As you all know KISS ditched the Makeup in 1983 and KISS at that time had the great late Eric Carr on the drums and Bruce Kulick on guitar.

Back in 1988 Tommy Thayer was in his band Black N Blue who ironically were plugging there current release Nasty Nasty produced by you know who, Gene Simmons.

This cover is ridiculous haha.

This throw-together bootleg reminds me of the live cassette tapes I used to make back in the day as I couldn’t fade out the crowd after a song so it would sound silly so I generally avoided adding live songs to my mixtapes for that reason.

The running order of KISS FM Broadcast is all mixed up. The songs are all over the map. The full Ritz show is I believe 20 songs.  This release has 18.  ( Reason To Live/Bang Bang You both from Crazy Nights are missing)

Below is a pic of the songs from the Ritz. This is not the actual running order of FM Broadcast but it is the same night/same songs. I nicked this picture from Ladano’s site as I really didn’t feel like typing out 18 songs! Thanks Mikey!

I will add that with this release it’s as live as live can get as it was broadcast on local radio back in the Summer of 88. Someone taped it and now 3 decades later you can buy a KISS live album that features 100% no fix ups in the studio. In other words, Mean Gene and Super Paul had zero, zip control!

The sound itself is decent and KISS back in 88 was a well oiled slick machine. You get the warts n all of a live show. You have Paul introducing Calling Dr. Love saying that it came off the Love Gun album(ha) while Gene kinda half-asses his singing at times during the verses and doesn’t care(maybe he forgot who knows) which believe it or not is kinda cool. I posted a live video from this show below. The audio and video are a little off but you get the gist. I like how Gene just slacks off vocally haha.

Eric Carr(RIP) shows what a fine drummer he was as Eric and Bruce Kulick team up for some hot-dogging on No No No which sounds way better on this release than the Heart sounding Crazy Nights studio album!

Kulick plays brilliantly(as does Carr) as they keep it together musically so Gene and Paul can do there Rock Star shenanigans.

For me, this is actually KISS ALIVE 3 as its the only KISS live album without Gene and Pauls approval as there was no mucking about with the live tracks in the studio!

This show is packaged in many different covers and titles. Most are indeed advertised as Live At The Ritz or Ritz on Fire.

One other Ritz cover which is hilarious is called Radio Live which I posted below. Same 18 tracks different running order. I mean has KISS ever opened a show with Lick It Up? Exactly!