A MIDSUMMER’S NIGHT SCREAM…

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punpkin screamSo, I thought I’d take some time to bring whatever readers I still have up to speed in the life and times of your Uncle NecRo. It’s been a while, and I thought a bit of venting is in order. In a matter of speaking.

First, with the lack of postings since house sitting for my sister’s family whilst they were vacationing in Nevada: Currently, I’m in the midst of writing and scheduling the daily posts for this year’s HALLOWEEN’ING 2018. I’m almost halfway done with that; all that remains is waiting for the stores and seasonal attractions to open up and let me pursue for the remaining posts. This year marks the return of the Shadow’s Edge haunted attraction, after a two year absence. I can’t wait to check that one out. I also want to hit some places I hadn’t made it to for the decorations and costumes. But, there will probably be visits to my standard favorite places, more because of familiarity. I’m old. That’s my excuse.

old metalheadSpeaking of being old, I probably won’t be able to make the Metallica show on the 6th. My health has been not good, and my eyesight is that driving at night and in the dark is getting kind of wonky for me. I’m scheduled for an eye exam later today (as I write this), but the new glasses won’t be back in time for the show. Also, there’s the regular middle age guy things, like I have to work the next day, it’s an hour’s drive, that section of Lincoln is difficult to navigate in the daytime, let alone post-show congestion in the dead of night. And quite frankly, my knees are all shot, making it difficult to make the hike from the parking garages to the arena. If they would have played in Omaha, maybe. Ten, maybe twenty years ago, I would have been all over this show. Now, though, I’m in my mid-fourties. I wasn’t able to find someone to go with me, so I’m probably going to sit this one out. Yeah, I’m probably pissing away my only chance to see them live. I’m at peace with this. Metal up your ass.

As far as blog postings for the rest of the year: I’m holding off on the standard Movie/Book/Music reviews until next year. Right now, I’m focusing on the HALLOWEEN’ING 2018 posts, and getting some of the standard brain dropping style articles take care of. I’ve had quite a few percolating for a number of years that keep bubbling back up to the surface ever now and again. So, bit of a relaxed schedule for the blog, here.

Anyway, if anything else comes up, y’all will be the first to know. That you know of. Until then, God bless, my wonderful freaks. Cheers and all that…

::END TRANSMISSION::

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Book Review: MY LIFE WITH DETH

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my life with 'dethDavid Ellefson / Joel McIver
Howard Books
2013

I really shouldn’t need to point this out, but in the interest of this blog post’s subject matter, I am a big Megadeth fan. Ever since getting my face sand-blasted off after purchasing Rust In Peace at the tender age of 17 — my first proper taste of the band, and it was a doozy — they’ve been very consistent with continually doing so, even during their low periods, more so than the Venom that spawned Megadeth’s Carnage, Metallica, ever did.

I think I popped something reaching for that mixed metaphor. Yeah, I’ll be feeling that for a few days.

Anyway, of the two Daves associated with the band, I’ve already read the biography for main man Dave Mustaine, and reviewed it quite a few years ago on my previous blog (it’s been moved here on this one, in case you were morbidly curious). A few months ago, while perusing the ebook selection on my Google Plus account, I came across the autobiography of the other Dave in the group, bassist and co-founder David Ellefson. I was rather jazzed to read this one; finally, we get the viewpoint of someone who had been with Megadeth and all the wackiness involved since the very beginning, save for a stretch where he wasn’t part of the band for…reasons.

Right at the start, Dave Ellefson writes in My Life With Deth that this was a book he really didn’t want to write. As he points out early on, these kind of biographies are a dime a dozen, and all contain the same tragic story. You read one, you’ve read them all. It’s the same kind of pattern you get with the VH1 Behind The Music series, really. Fine, understood. But, this book itself is only 256 pages long; 188 if you discount the final pages being a discography, an index (?) and the obligatory thanks section. That’s not a lot of pages to go into detail on a career that spanned three decades not only founding and playing in one of the legendary Big Four of thrash metal bands, inspiring generations to pick up the bass, but also the in-between times where he was broke and had to get a 9-5 type job just to get by. Mind you, this was with Peavey, so he didn’t exactly go back to slinging fries at a burger joint after he was first booted out of Megadeth. But, I’m getting ahead of myself, here…

In My Life With Deth, Ellefson takes us through his upbringing in rural Minnesota, first getting interested in music, and working up to playing gigs in and around the surrounding Midwest area; moving to LA and befriending some guy named Dave Mustaine, forming Megadeth, getting into drugs and the struggle to break free from his addictions, his career with Megadeth to his leaving the band, his post-Megadeth ventures and careers, his resulting fued with Mustaine and eventual patching up of the relationship. Oh, he also touches on his Christian faith.

Oh, yeah. Dave Ellefson’s a professing Christian. As such, not only does he talk about this, but each chapter ends with a brief “what I’ve learned from all this” takeaway. It’s definitely not something yo see in your standard rock n’ roll biography, here.

Overall, My Life With ‘Deth is rather brief, and quite frankly seems to be missing a bit of meat. This may be Ellefson’s design, as he tells his tale less as an excuse to dish dirt and cause controversy, and as more of a “these were the mistakes I’ve made, let’s learn from this” kind of story. If you’re looking for something like Motley Crue’s biography The Dirt, you’re going to be sorely disappointed, I’m afraid. If you’re looking for a rather detailed, point-by-point analysis of one of the greatest metal bands to ever have existed…well, again, you may be less than satisfied with this. But, if you’re looking for some light reading and have some time to kill, My Life With ‘Deth is a good way to fill the time.

Music Review: X-SINNER – Loud And Proud

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x-sinner - loud and proudX-SINNER
Loud And Proud
M8 Distribution
2001

X-Sinner has always struck me as a band that really should have been bigger than what they were. They had a more gritty hard rock sound than the standard hair metal bands back then, having something akin to Krokus or early Def Leppard. I guess one of the bigger complaints from the fans was that the two studio albums released on the Pakaderm Records label were given too much of an homogenized production by the Elefante Brothers, draining the music of the raw live energy and leaving a slick yet underwhelming sound. Kind of what they did with Petra in those years. But I digress.

Anyway, long story short, there was an attempt to remaster and re-release the two albums, but because there was so much red tape tying everything up, the band decided it would be better to release a collection of original demos, and then re-record the second album entirely.

Loud And Proud was the collection of original demos. Originally released on the Magdalan/M8 label in 2001, it was then re-released on the Retroactive Records with two extra tracks in 2007. The edition I have is the M8 version, and this is what this review is based on.

The music contained on Loud And Proud is what you would come to expect from X-Sinner — loud, heavy three chord hard rock in the vein of Krokus, Helix, early Def Leppard and yes, AC/DC. The production is raw on the songs, as these are demos; there are three songs that I could recognize as having been included in the first two releases later: an early, raw version of “Medicine” that, while rather good, I think I prefer the 1989 studio version better; “No Where To Run”, which is an early version of what would become “Walking Evil”, the production on this rather sub-par quality, muffled and such; and “Got To Let Go”, which became “Gotta Let Go” on the Peace Treaty release, this one having good quality and a good early 80s AC/DC style with vocals that go between Bon Scott and Billy Squire in the execution. There’s only one other song on this collection that is of such bad quality — “A Cut Above” — that it’s pretty much unlistenable. Otherwise, the majority of the demos included in here have some good production, and feature some catchy guitar hooks and riffs. “No Way Back”, “Turn It Up”, “X-Sinner”, “Reap What You Sow”, “Shame”, and “Last Call” are some pretty good heavy rockers. “Eyes Of Fire” didn’t really do much for me, but it’s not bad. There is an instrumental version of “Last Call” that’s not too bad. I do need to point out that the full version of “Last Call” skips slightly 2/3rds of the way through the song. It’s a bit distracting.

Overall, for what is essentially a compilation of demo songs, Loud And Proud is a pretty good collection of raw yet very good hard rock that’s more than your standard look back at early versions of song favorites. Recommended for the X-Sinner fans, worth a look for fans of no frills hard rock.

Music Review: DANIEL BAND – Rise Up

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daniel band rise upDANIEL BAND
Rise Up
Refuge Records
1986

So far, the Daniel Band has been pretty consistent with the rocking of our faces off, giving us some pretty good solid releases with some fantastic riffs and cuts going on. It’s been a pleasant surprise going through their back catalog. How do they fare with their fourth album, Rise Up? Let’s find out.

The album starts off by immediately giving you whiplash with the hard and heavy “Bethel”, which is pretty metal, and is a great way to kick things off, methinks. Can they keep up the momentum, though? Well, the next cut after this is “Rise Up”, which is the second Daniel Band song that I heard on a compilation years before I began actively checking the band out. This is another radio-friendly rock cut, a bit more anthemic, decent riff and all. Still, I wasn’t impressed enough to listen to more at the time. And following the bombast of the opening song, this maybe takes the winds out of the sails a bit too soon. Not a bad song, mind, just maybe should have positioned it somewhere in the middle of the album, title track or no.

We get back on track with “Don’t Walk Away”, a nice heavy mid-paced cut that begs to be cranked up. “Paradise” is a melancholy sounding power ballad, and…yeah, I rather like this. It’s very much in keeping with the time of the release, with the kind of power balladeering the contemporary rock bands were doing on the radio. “Fight Back” made me think immediately of fellow Canadian rocker Aldo Nova, what with the keyboard riff on this cut. Not bad at all. “Call His Name” is another great hard rocking anthem, heavy and made me think of W.A.S.P., believe it or not, and the momentum is kept going with the appropriately titled “Rock You”, a thick n’ meaty hard rock anthem that, again, begs to be cranked in the car stereo whilst driving. After this, though, we get “My Children”, another power ballad that starts off in tricking you into thinking this is one of those sappy types that goes for the feels, but right when you’re beginning to reach for the barf bag, in comes the power chord, and things get marginally better. The final cut on the album, “Right Heart”, ends things with another mid-paced radio-friendly rock song. Given the fact that Daniel Band has demonstrated the ability to rock hard with some of the greats, this last song kind of give you a “meh” shrug.

So, overall, I would say that Rise Up is a good album, leaning towards very good. It’s got a very decent amount of hard rockers I’ve come to love from the band, along with a couple of radio friendly rockers and a couple of power ballads that, while they’re far better than a lot of general CCM balladeering that was being released at the time, are still ballads. If that’s your thing, great; I just tend to lead more toward the heavier stuff on the album. Very much worth checking out.

HALLOWEEN’ING Day 27: Trick Or Treat (1986)

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halloween'ing 2017
TRICK OR TREAT
This is one of my favorite cheesy rocksploitation horror flicks from the 80s. This has it all: a B-List sitcom star (Marc Price, who played “Skippy” from Family Ties), a hard rockin’ metal soundtrack, over-the-top cartoonish occult wackiness, and cameos from Ozzy Osbourne and Gene Simmons. Marc Price plays Eddie, a metal-head High School misfit whose hero–infamous heavy metal star Sammi Curr–has just died in a hotel fire. Understandably distraught over this, he is gifted Curr’s unreleased album Songs In The Key Of Death by local DJ Nuke. Soon, Eddie discovers that the soul of Curr is trapped inside the record itself, and is giving Eddie instructions on staging his big comeback…from death!

Trick Or Treat is one of those tradition movies, where I try to watch it at least once during the Halloween season. It’s fun 80s horror cheese at its finest.

TRICK OR TREAT

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Music Review: ADVOCATE – Exigency

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ADVOCATE - ExigencyADVOCATE
Exigency
Pentecost Records
1992

Advocate was a band from Denver, Colorado. They formed in 1990 and released a demo called Exigency in 1992, then apparently split up in 1995. And that is the extent of the information that I was able to glean from the internet about this particular group. Oh, and their style is listed as “thrash metal”, though I may have a bit to say about that. But, I’ve done reviews on less information before, so let’s get to this, shall we?

First, that cover art. I’ve seen worse, really. But, the album art for this release does rank up there as far as not being representative of the music itself. It’s no pink unicorn on a white backdrop, mind you, but still it has more of an “illustration for vacation bible school” vibe going on. But anyway, the music. Remember in the previous paragraph where I mentioned that Advocate was listed as “thrash”? I disagree. The music is really more heavy metal that leans towards thrash at times, much like Metal Church. There’s some really good riffs and solos going on here, as well as some good solid musicianship with the crafting of the songs, showing a kind of talent that keeps things from getting stale. The big issue I have with the music, though, are the vocals. They’re…passable. Kind of in need of more polish in several instances, and for whatever reason the vocals are way up in the mix, dominating the other instruments into a slightly muffled background position. That’s rather distracting.

Overall, Exigency is a six-song demo that has some rather good ideas going with the music, but it’s hampered by a sub-par vocal mix. Regardless, had they kept at it, they could have really had something going. I have no idea what caused them to break up, but this one evidence of their existence is still out there. Worth a bit of a look if you happen to run into it.

NECRO SHOCK RADIO – 2017 Easter Special

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2017 EASTER SPECIAL

Featuring Cuts From:

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