Ranking the Discography: Metallica Part IV: …And Justice For All (1988)

While on the Damage, Inc. tour in Sweden, Metallica used a tour bus with uncomfortable bunks. Cliff Burton picked Kirk Hammett’s bunk, and Hammett slept in the front of the bus. The bus skidded off the road, causing Burton to be thrown out of the car window as the bus flipped over on the grass. The window landed on Burton and killed him. He was replaced by Jason Newsted, who had previously played in Flotsam and Jetsam on their Doomsday For the Deceiver album. After releasing The 5.98 EP–Garage Days Re-revisited, the band began work on their next album.

…And Justice For All had three singles: “Harvester of Sorrow” , “Eye of the Beholder” , and “One”. It reached #6 on the album chart. The official release is notorious for having the bass turned down to an almost inaudible volume, however there are several unofficial remixes that enhance Newsted’s contributions.

Members:

James Hetfield: vocals, rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar, production

Kirk Hammett: lead guitar

Jason Newsted: bass

Lars Ulrich: drums, production

The Tracks:

  1. “Blackened”: This was the only song credited to Newsted. The drumming sounds great.
  2. ” …And Justice For All “: The title track has a great complex rhythm.
  3. ” Eye of the Beholder “: This song has excellent syncopation. I don’t care that Ulrich hates it.
  4. ” One”: This was the first Metallica song I ever heard. It’s inspired by the movie Johnny Got His Gun, in which a soldier loses all his limbs and becomes suicidal. Metallica eventually bought the rights to the movie so they could continue to use it in videos. It’s one of my favorite songs from the album.
  5. “The Shortest Straw”: This song has excellent drumming and the enhanced bass on the fan remix is great.
  6. ” Harvester of Sorrow “: This is a song about a man who murders his family. Hammett has a great riff.
  7. “The Frayed End of Sanity” : This is my second favorite song on tge album. I love the intensity of Hetfield’s vocals.
  8. “To Live is to Die “: This was the last song Burton wrote for the band. Newsted sounds excellent on the remix and it’s a shame the official ruins it.
  9. ” Dyers Eve”: This is a great closer.

Final Verdict: Whether you listen to the fan remixes or not, this is an excellent album, and a great introduction for Jason Newsted.

Grade: A-

Ranking the Discography: Nightwish Part VI: Dark Passion Play

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In 2004, Tarja Turunen informed the band that she no longer wanted to work with them anymore, as the relationship between Holopainen and her husband and manager Marcelo Cabuli had deteriorated. After their Once Upon a Tour ended, the members of Nightwish signed an open letter, accusing her of being a diva. She was replaced by Anette Olzon, formerly a member of Alyson Avenue. Holopainen considers this album the one “that saved [his] life”.

Members:

Anette Olzon: vocals

Tuomas Holopainen: keyboards, backing vocals

Empuu Vuorinen: guitars

Marko Hietala: bass, male vocals

Jukka Nevalainen: drums, percussion

The Tracks:

  1. “The Poet and the Pendulum” : This is a five-part suite, and was used by the Minnesota Wild in their 2014 season trailer. While I think the music on the album is fine, I’m having trouble getting into Olzon’s vocals. They’re not bad, but they lack the energy Tarja had. Even so, this is a great opener.
  2. “Bye Bye Beautiful “: This song is an attack on Tarja’s behavior, and has not been played live since 2009. I’m not a fan of songs like this.
  3. ” Amaranth”: This is the band’s most successful single, reaching #1 in Spain, Hungary, and Finland. This is another good song.
  4. “Cadence of Her Breath” : This song is okay.
  5. “Master Passion Greed”: Not only does this album attack Tarja, but also her husband. Not a fan of this one either.
  6. ” Eva”: This was the first song Nightwish recorded with Olzon. It’s about an abused child. Anette actually does sound good on it.
  7. “Sahara”: I like this song’s references to the Arabian Nights.
  8. ” Whoever Brings the Night “: The instrumental version of this song was used in the Little Big Planet 2 video game.
  9. ” For the Heart I Once Had”: The guitars and percussion are good.
  10. “The Islander”: This song only has acoustic guitar. Marko’s vocals are fine, but that’s it.
  11. ” 7 Days to the Wolves “: This was the best song, but maybe that’s because I was glad the album was almost over.
  12. ” Meadows of Heaven “: This was okay.

Final Verdict: Anette Olzon is the worst of the three vocalists in the band’s history. While the instrumentation is fine, I couldn’t enjoy the album because of the attacks and her vocals.

Grade: C

Ranking the Discography: Nightwish Part 4: Century Child (2002)

I started getting into Nightwish around the time this album was released, thanks to hearing “Bless the Child” and their cover of Gary Moore’s “Over the Hills and Far Away” on Pandora. This was the first album to feature Marko Hietala on bass and vocals. It was also the first album to feature an orchestra.

Members:

Tarja Turunen: vocals

Empuu Vuorinen: guitar

Marko Hietala: bass, backing vocals

Tuomas Holopainen: keyboards

Jukka Nevalainen: drums, percussion

The Tracks:

  1. ” Bless the Child”: The opening song contains a quote from Sir Walter Raleigh’s poem “Even Such is Time”. It’s one of my favorite songs from the band.
  2. ” End of All Hope”: This song quotes an Emily Dickinson poem, “A Wounded Deer”. The keyboards are great.
  3. ” Dead to the World”: The title is a reference to the Edgar Allan Poe poem “William Wilson “. It’s the first song on the album to feature Marko’s vocals.
  4. ” Ever Dream”: This song was written specifically for Tarja’s vocals, and is arranged differently in concerts, with only the keyboards and vocals at the start, before the band joins in. One of the best songs on the album.
  5. “Slaying the Dreamer”: Tuomas wrote this in response to those who criticize his lyrics.
  6. ” Forever Yours”: This song quotes “Fare Thee Well” by Lord Byron.
  7. “Ocean Soul”: This song represents Tuomas’s love and fascination with the ocean. It has never been performed live because he feels the song is too personal. I love the imagery of the lyrics.
  8. ” Feel For You “: This is not one of my favorite songs, but I don’t hate it.
  9. ” Phantom of the Opera “: Tarja and Marko sing a cover of the main theme of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical based on thw classic movie.
  10. ” Beauty of the Beast “: Tuomas feels this is the most ambitious part of the album, closing the loop started by the opener.
  11. ” Lagoon”: This song references Eden, and was originally only on the Japanese release of the album.
  12. ” The Wayfarer”: This is another song referencing Walt Whitman.

Final Verdict: Marko is a great replacement, and his vocals complement Tarja’s well. This is a great new direction.

Grade: A

Ranking the Discography: Nightwish Part II: Oceanborn (1998)

(note: I like the European cover art better than the American cover art, so I’m using that instead.)

For their second album, Nightwish became a more bombastic, power metal band. They also added a new bassist, marking their first album as a quintet.

Members:

Tarja Turunen: vocals

Tuomas Holopainen: keyboards, backing vocals

Empuu Vuorinen: guitar

Sami Vänskä: bass

Jukka Nevalainen: drums, percussion

The Tracks:

  1. “Stargazers”: The guitars and keyboards sound excellent, and I like the new direction for the lyrics.
  2. ” Gethsemane “: Like “The Carpenter” , this song is inspired by the story of Jesus, focusing on his crucifixion. It’s one of the best songs on the album.
  3. “Devil and the Deep Dark Ocean”: In this song, a mermaid encounters the Anti-Christ. While the instrumentation is excellent, I don’t care for the vocals.
  4. ” Sacrament of Wilderness “: This was the first single to reach #1 in their native Finland. Another one of my favorites.
  5. ” Passion and the Opera”: I like the drumming on this one.
  6. “Swanheart”: I love the guitars on this one.
  7. ” Moondance “: This is a short instrumental track serving as an interlude.
  8. ” The Riddler”: I like the imagery and message of this song.
  9. “The Pharoah Sails to Orion”: This song was inspired by Exodus. It’s got a great keyboard.
  10. ” Walking in the Air”: This is Nightwish’s first cover. The song was written for the animated adaptation of Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman. Tarja is so beautiful on this one.

Final Verdict: This is an excellent album. I have to agree with Loudwire’s ranking for this.

Grade: A

10 Things I Hate

Believe it or not, I’m not 100% positive about the media I consume. I’ve been accused of this, but really it’s just that I’d rather talk about something I enjoyed. But just because I want to show that yes, there are some things I hate, here we go.

  1. “Ice Ice Baby ” by Vanilla Ice. Vanilla Ice was a thief who tried to claim David Bowie and Queen’s “Under Pressure” riff that he used for “Ice Ice Baby” was all his own. What makes this even more annoying is it was the first rap song to hit #1. Why couldn’t that honor have gone to someone with actual talent?
  2. Super Milk-Chan. This anime series aired on Adult Swim and stars Milk-Chan, a lazy crimefighter with an annoying nasally voice. I watched a few episodes and was sure I could hear my brain cells crying in agony.
  3. I Am Sam. This movie stars Sean Penn as an intellectually disabled man who is in danger of losing his daughter because the state doesn’t think he can raise a child after her mother dumps her on his lap. It’s another one of those awful stories that want you to think disabled people can’t lead productive lives.
  4. Batman: The Killing Joke. Now, let me make this clear. I’m not referring to the graphic novel by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland. That’s excellent. No, I’m speaking of the animated movie that started with an unnecessary and unwanted sex scene between Batman and Barbara Gordon.
  5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. This miserable story about an autistic boy who witnesses a dog being killed doesn’t deserve any of the praise it’s received. Many autistic people have come out against the book because it’s not a positive portrayal of autism, and it was based on stereotypes rather than actual research.
  6. Anything by Ted Nugent. This talentless hack only has fans because these morons agree with his views and want to “own the libs”. He’s even pushed fake cures for COVID!
  7. Anything by Kid Rock. I can say the same thing about Kid Rock that I can about Ted Nugent.
  8. The God’s Not Dead movies. I’ve covered my stance on this right -wing propaganda masquerading as a Christian movie series on this blog. Christians are not being persecuted in America! The GOP are not your saviors! Don’t think I didn’t notice that not a single movie was made during Trump’s tenure, and now that we’ve committed the “sin” of electing another Democrat, another movie was released last year. Oh, that review is coming!
  9. Left Behind. This 12-book post-apocalyptic series is based on Rapture theology and anti-Catholicism. I could get into the bad theology behind both of these, but that’s for someone more qualified.
  10. Teen Titans Go! This cartoon is an insult to fans of the comics and the original cartoon. It’s as if Cartoon Network made the cartoon to insult people who don’t like the way the network is run these days. Look, I know cable networks change. But don’t insult people like this.

There, that should prove that I’m not like that kid from the Life cereal commercials. (Although I do like that cereal. 😏)

Book of Boba Fett Episode 1 Review: Stranger in a Strange Land

Writer: Jon Favreau

Director: Robert Rodriguez

Summary: After having usurped the throne of Jabba the Hutt’s criminal empire from Bib Fortuna, begins his new reign. We also learn how he escaped the Sarlacc Pit.

Review: As someone who had read Tales From Jabba’s Palace, I knew about how Fett had escaped the Pit. I loved the ending scene fro last season’s finale of The Mandalorian. So I thought it was cool to actually see Fett’s escape restablished.

I liked this quote from Boba Fett: “Jabba ruled with fear. I shall rule with respect.” We see some examples of this, particularly in his treatment of the Gamorreans. It pays off, too.

My main problem with this episode is it felt more like a prologue than a premiere. This made the episode seem slow. I did enjoy it, though, and I’m eager to see where it goes.

Star Wars Visions: Tatooine Rhapsody

Writer: Yasumi Atarashi

Director: Taku Kimura

Summary: A rock band called Star Waver is being targeted by Boba Fett because their bassist, Gee, doesn’t want to participate in the Hutt criminal empire.

Review: This was the short that felt the least like Star Wars to me. Now not being 100% like Star Wars isn’t bad, in fact, quite a few of the higher-up shorts didn’t seem “like Star Wars” .

My main problem is this style. I’m not a fan of chibi animation, and hearing the adult voice for Boba Fett seemed wrong. If it had been the voice actor for his younger version, Daniel Logan, I might have not had a problem.

That being said, I did like the band. I especially liked the drummer being a conjoined triplet. It had a more light-hearted feel, but I didn’t mind that.

Overall, I didn’t hate this one. It was different, which isn’t always bad.

Ranking the Discography: Deep Purple Part XX: Infinite (2017)

Infinite reached #105 on the Billboard Albums Chart and 6 in the UK. It had 4 singles( “Time For Bedlam”, “All I Got is You”, “Johnny’s Band”, and “The Surprising” )

Members:

Ian Gillan: vocals

Steve Morse: guitar

Roger Glover: bass

Don Airey: keyboards

Ian Paice: drums

The Tracks:

  1. “Time For Bedlam “: The first single is an impressive opener. I’m becoming more tolerant of Gillan’s changes in his voice due to his age.
  2. ” Hip Boots”: A dirty tune (and not just because of the cursing) with a good bass and some excellent guitar riffs. One of my favorite songs from the album.
  3. “All I Got Is You”: A great rocker, and some excellent drumming from Paice.
  4. ” One Night in Vegas”: Airey sounds great on this.
  5. “Get Me Out of Here”: This one’s not bad, and it has a fun sound to it.
  6. ” The Surprising “: This song took more than one listen, but I liked it.
  7. ” Johnny’s Band”: A nice cool rhythm for this one.
  8. “On Top of the World” : More sneering vocals from Gillan and solid guitar work.
  9. “Birds of Prey “: Another favorite, with one of the best solos.
  10. ” Roadhouse Blues”: I didn’t much care for this cover. But Steve d does have a good solo, and Airey seems up to the challenge of the original.

Final Verdict: The best offering from this iteration of the band so far.

Grade: B+

Ranking the Discography: Deep Purple Part XIX: Now What?!

Now What?! was released in 2013. It had 5 singles and received positive reviews from various sites. It was the first Deep Purple album since 1993’s The Battle Rages On to enter the UK Top 40.

Members:

Ian Gillan: vocals

Steve Morse: guitar

Roger Glover: bass

Ian Paice: drums, percussion

The Tracks

  1. “A Simple Song”: Pretty good way to start. This sounds like a great overture.
  2. ” Weirdistan “: This song rocks! Steve and Roger play some good licks.
  3. “Out of Hand”: Gillan may be showing his age, but he doesn’t sound bad. Some good rhythm too.
  4. ” Hell to Pay”: This is a decent rocker with a good keyboard session.
  5. “Body Line”: I didn’t like this one much.
  6. ” Above and Beyond “: One of the best songs on the album.
  7. ” Blood From a Stone”: This one was pretty good. Loved the guitar effects.
  8. “Uncommon Man”: Both this and “Above and Beyond” are dedicated to Jon Lord, and Airey has a cool fanfare that was inspired by “Fanfare For the Common Man” .
  9. “Après Vous”: Some good rhythm on this one.
  10. ” All the Time in the World”: A pretty decent single.
  11. “Vincent Price”: An excellent tribute to the horror movie icon.

Final Verdict: Overall, a good album, but not the best.

Grade: B

Ranking the Discography: Deep Purple Part XVIII: Purpendicular (1996)

Ritchie Blackmore left Deep Purple after The Battle Rages On. In 1997, he met Candice Knight, which eventually led to them forming the folk music group Blackmore ‘s Knight. He was replaced by Steve Morse, who had a band called the Dixie Dregs. He also joined Kansas in the 1980’s. In addition to these, he’s also worked with Angelfire and the supergroup Flying Colors.

Purpendicular had 2 singles: “Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming” and ” The Aviator “. It reached #58 in the UK, but did not chart in America. It was produced by Darren Schneider and Keith Andrews. The album is not on Spotify.

Members:

Ian Gillan: vocals

Steve Morse: guitar

Jon Lord: keyboards

Roger Glover: bass

Ian Paice: drums

The Tracks:

  1. “Vavoom: Ted the Mechanic”: Gillan based this song on a man he met in a pub during the recording if The House of Blue Light. The song really allows Morse to show his skills.
  2. ” Loosen My Strings “: Glover has a great bassline on here and Paice has a cool beat.
  3. ” Soon Forgotten “: Jon Lord ‘s keyboards are excellent. I saw a comment on YouTube that said this song sounded like “Willy Wonka nightmare music”.
  4. ” Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming “: This was one of the first songs Deep Purple recorded with Morse. It’s one of the best songs on the album. It kind of makes me wonder if the band was listening to Alice in Chains.
  5. “Cascades: I’m Not Your Lover”: A great song with some of Gillan’s best vocals.
  6. ” The Aviator “: Another one of my favorite songs. Lord and Morse are the stars on this one.
  7. ” Rosa’s Cantina”: My first thought when I heard this was “Paice sounds nice on this! He can go!”
  8. “A Castle Full of Rascals”: Another good bassline from Glover.
  9. ” A Touch Away”: Lord’s keyboards are great.
  10. “Hey Cisco”: This is one of the few songs I don’t like on the album, but I don’t hate it.
  11. “Somebody Stole My Guitar”: Funny title, but Morse has a wicked solo on this.
  12. “The Purpendicular Waltz”: The only other song I didn’t like. But I didn’t hate it either.

Final Verdict: An excellent start for Morse. Just because Spotify skipped it doesn’t mean you should. Check it out!

Grade: A