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Commentaires écrits par
Christopher Fama (Chicago, IL USA)
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Sonic Brew
Sonic Brew
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Prix : CDN$ 23.95
10 used & new from CDN$ 11.99

5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Perfect Record, July 19 2004
This review is from: Sonic Brew (Audio CD)
Zakk Wylde is a great songwriter, with a very broad range. First he gives us Pride & Glory, demonstrating clear mastery of Southern Rock and Country styles. Then he follows with Book of Shadows, a perfect singer songwriter outing from start to finish. Sonic Brew proves that Zakk is also the master of Hard Rock and Grunge. I mean, Alice in Chains were a good group, but their best effort (Dirt) is totally spanked by this inspired, bone crunching record. Every tune is a masterpiece, no joke. How did he do it?
The only drawback of this fine recording is a slightly overdriven sound - there's a little distortion on everything - even the drums. I grew to enjoy this facet of Sonic Brew, but it may be disconcerting to people expecting that slick hard rock polish.

Alcohol Fueled
Alcohol Fueled
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Prix : CDN$ 25.95
7 used & new from CDN$ 7.04

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2.0 étoiles sur 5 Second Class Offering, July 19 2004
This review is from: Alcohol Fueled (Audio CD)
BLS are a great live group, but you wouldn't know it listening to this record. The mix is so poorly done that all of the power of the music is lost. Zakk's guitar is mixed dead center, while the second guitist is buried in the backround. The drums also have no punch.
BLS's excellent live DVD (Boozed Bruised and Broken-Boned) solved this problem by using the AC/DC guitar mix of having each guitarist hard mixed to the right and left channel with well recorded drums. I would buy that DVD before this CD if you want to see the real power of a BLS live show.

Hangover Music - Volume VI
Hangover Music - Volume VI
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Prix : CDN$ 4.65
23 used & new from CDN$ 1.51

3.0 étoiles sur 5 A Mediocre Release from Hard Rock Master, April 21 2004
Like Book of Shadows, this recording is a return to more acoustic and piano based tracks for BLS (which is Zakk Wylde and a drummer). Unlike Book of Shadows, Hangover has a more Beatles-like feeling to it rather than Shadows, which had a more southern rock vibe.
I'm dissappointed with the record. The songwriting is simply not up to par for Mr. Wylde. Obviously, this type of record is no place to showcase Zakk's incredible riff writing skill, but nothing as compelling is substituted in it's place. It's as if the tracks were written in a hurry, while Book of Shadows was clearly a labor of love.
On top of that, there are some clumsy arrangements where scorching guitar appears out on nowhere, and is totally out of place. A little slide guitar would have helped on plenty of the songs, and Zakk is a good slide player. Also, Mr. Wylde doesn't adapt his gutsy hard rock voice to these mellower numbers, and it just doesn't fit a lot of the songs.
For anyone new to BLS, I recommend the excellent 1919 Eternal, Sonic Brew and Books of Shadows. Hangover, Stronger Than Death and Blessed Hellride - while entertaining records - are not amazingly great records like the three I listed. But what do you expect when a guy puts out a record a year, they can't all be classics!

Bark At The Moon
Bark At The Moon
Prix : CDN$ 5.00
13 used & new from CDN$ 1.50

1.0 étoiles sur 5 Bark At The Moon "Remaster", April 10 2004
This review is from: Bark At The Moon (Audio CD)
This review is of the second Bark At The Moon remaster, released in 2002 along side the rest of Ozzy's catalog predating Down To Earth. Though Blizzard and Diary feature new drum and bass parts, Bark At The Moon was completely remastered using the original session tapes.
Or was it...?
I bought Bark At The Moon when it came out, and it was a great recording and very influential in it's time. But Bruce Dickerson's remix is missing major signature solos in Rock N' Roll Rebel, both in the opening licks, and in the breaks. This is one of the most renowned tracks from Bark, delivered in an incomplete state on this "remaster!" The only explanation is that Jake E. Lee recorded his solos over the stereo master in the final hour, and they couldn't be extracted.
But it gets worse: You're No Different" was full of keyboards on the original recording, but they are super loud on this CD, drowning out the drums and guitar. It's as if Dickerson just ran the session tapes without checking the volume of individual instruments. It defies explanation, truly.
If you haven't heard Bark At The Moon before, you may not notice these omissions. You'll just think it's a record made on the rebound of Randy's death by a weaker band.
But Jake E. Lee held his own with Ozzy, and if you dig for earlier releases of this recording, you'll discover an album that stands up to Blizzard and Diary.
This is sonething else...

Honkin On Bobo
Honkin On Bobo
Prix : CDN$ 9.49
19 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 étoiles sur 5 Aerosmith show Clapton the Ropes, April 4 2004
This review is from: Honkin On Bobo (Audio CD)
There are some really fine moments on this CD: Never Loved A Girl, You Gotta Move, I'm Ready, Jesus Is On The Main Line. But there are some really horrid moments too: the two tunes Joe Perry sings. Joe can play the guitar, but his singing is too pedestrian and weak for Back Back Train, which derails Honkin' On Bobo just as it's picking up steam. The rest of the stuff on Bobo is OK. I mean, I appreciate the blues and all that, but I don't find it that interesting musically.
1970s Aerosmith producer Jack Douglas (Rocks, Toys In The Attic)was back at the board on this CD, and he must be adding to the equation. Aerosmith really sound great on this record - the sound is so warm and natural. Tracy Bonham is also a plus - hopefully we'll hear her on the next one!
While I admire Aerosmith for tipping their hat to the blues, the outcome of this exercise was the opposite of what was intended. I was left longing for an album of original material after several listens. It's heresy to say it, but Aerosmith write better material themselves. Pop on Beyond Beautiful from their last CD, and you'll be jumping out of your chair instead of tapping your foot.

Me and Mr. Johnson
Me and Mr. Johnson
Prix : CDN$ 10.33
37 used & new from CDN$ 3.96

1.0 étoiles sur 5 With No Soul, He Got No Blues, April 4 2004
This review is from: Me and Mr. Johnson (Audio CD)
Eric Clapton's fascination with the blues is legendary and way past wearing thin. He may be a world's most informed blues scholar, but that's never translated into any semblance of actually being able to play the blues. While Clapton can play a Robert Johnson tune note for note, he will never be able to invest anything personal into this music. It's a little cliche, but he's got no soul. And isn't that the one ingredient essential to blues and soul music?

I've never really understood Clapton's gigantic reputation. His guitar playing is mechanical, lacking any swagger or excitement. His singing is serviceable at best. In time, history is likely to revise Clapton's importance, with records like this offering ample proof of a hollow effigy.

Book of Shadows
Book of Shadows
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Prix : CDN$ 28.95
10 used & new from CDN$ 23.95

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Zakk Wylde's Singer/Songwriter Record, March 27 2004
This review is from: Book of Shadows (Audio CD)
Inspired by Ozzy's excellent Live at Budokan, I bought all of Zakk's Ozzy and Solo CDs on Amazon.
This recording is much different than Zakk's other records, and astonishing in many ways. Quite a few tracks are piano ballads, and they are really good ones, too. I would characterize this recording as "what if Elton John, Neil Young and the Allman Brothers collaborated and wrote Zakk a record." For example, check out the CSN vocals on "What You're Looking For" - perfectly executed.
Not only is Zakk one of the finest guitarists working today, he is also a very accomplished singer, displaying confidence and versatility through this entire recording.
If Mr. Wylde has one weakness, it's the occasional clumsy lyric.

5150
5150
Prix : CDN$ 7.09
59 used & new from CDN$ 0.75

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1.0 étoiles sur 5 Horrible Hagar Dumbs Down Van Halen, Feb. 18 2004
This review is from: 5150 (Audio CD)
"U.S. prime, grade A stamp gauranteed" Those are the opening lyrics to Van Halen's 5150. If that isn't bad enough, the opening number "Good Enough" is a rewrite of "Panama" from 1984, substituting a much more constipated sounding group. I struggled to find a way to describe the sound of the new Van Halen as a band on this record - the heavily compressed guitars, the synthetic drums - but this term was the best I could do.
Sammy Hagar was a bad choice to replace David Lee Roth, who brought a certain crass intelligence to Van Halen. Sammy brought nothing to the table but a "good set of pipes" (he is really good at shrill screaming - if you think that's good) and lyric writing skills that would disgrace the bathroom wall in any suburban high school. But all you have to do is look the cover art for this CD versus any of the Roth recordings, and it pretty much tells the whole story.
If you can make it through "Dreams" on this album, you are a better man than I. And you're driving a Trans Am.

Ozzmosis (+Bonus Tracks)
Ozzmosis (+Bonus Tracks)
Prix : CDN$ 7.22
11 used & new from CDN$ 3.57

4.0 étoiles sur 5 A Huge Leap Ahead for Ozzy, Feb. 2 2004
Ozzy finally came up with the solution for his stalled writing partnership with Zakk Wylde. Instead of firing Wylde, as Ozzy has done in the past, he hired other writers to help out. A wise move on Ozzy's part, as Zakk's instantly identifiable and astounding chops are now an integral part of Ozzy's sound.
As Ozzy describes in the new liner notes, he tried a lot of new song ideas on this record. Some of them work, some of them don't - but the percentage of winners is much higher than on his last two releases. Songs like Perry Mason and Thunder Underground feature chunky guitar grooves that will have you headbanging in no time.
Production on this recording is finally professional, if a bit slick.

No More Tears
No More Tears
Prix : CDN$ 8.23
11 used & new from CDN$ 8.23

2.0 étoiles sur 5 Some Generic Metal, A Few Keepers, Feb. 2 2004
This review is from: No More Tears (Audio CD)
Ozzy's second record with speed demon Zakk Wylde is another Ozzy recording ruined by bad production. As I noted in my review of No Rest For The Wicked, it's a wonder that Ozzy would redo drums and bass on his first recording, yet leave Wicked and Tears unscathed. Both are desperatly in need of new drums, or at least an ADD remastering. The drums are a bit improved here, but still drenched in tinny echo.
Mr. Wylde's collaborative chemistry with Ozzy fails to improve on this outing, laden with more mundane metal. I made a playlist of Ozzy/Wylde recordings, and it was a struggle to find four tunes from either Wicked or Tears to include. No More Tears is one of Ozzy's best songs, however.

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