Here are some of the albums that drop today:

Annihilator – Ballistic, Sadistic

Jeff Water is an institution when it comes to metal guitarists. It is hard to not look at the body of his work, regardless of the band’s lineup, and understand how good a player he actually is. This is Annihilator’s seventeenth album, and what Waters considers to be possibly his best in over a decade. Find me a musician that says his latest album isn’t the greatest since X, or hey my new album sucks, don’t buy it. But I get it, it’s all marketing, as an artist, label, PR person, etc. you want your latest recording to sell, to do good, not be forgotten. I just find it humorous when an artist feels compelled to say an album is as good as, or a combination of albums their fan base loves. Kind of why I switch from saying “the best of” to “my favorite”, because it is all subjective in the end. In any event, this album is filled with riffs galore, and great soloing as you might expect. Definitely something you should check out if you’re a fan of the band.

Kirk Windstein – Dream In Motion

After all of these years, Kirk has decided to release his first solo album. His vocals are very distinct, though he has started to vary them a little over the course of the last decade, which is evident on this album as well. Although he’s known for his over the top heaviness, this is really like an old hard rock take on what he’s done over the years. What I mean by that, is it really feels like he’s doing what he wants to do. Were as you hear something and think it sounds like it fits one project or another, this time around, it’s just fits him, because it doesn’t really fit one band. There are things on the album that makes you think, wow that sounds as if Down or Crowbar had recorded that track back in 74. It really has an old school feel and vibe to it, mixed with some modern production values to give you the best of the old with what’s new. Again, the entire album is a mix of a little of everything, but it’s all him.

Dirty Shirley – Dirty Shirley

Man, I really love George Lynch as a player, and he was a highlight for me to interview way back when. As cool as some of the music off of this album sounds, these projects he’s doing for Frontiers always leave me scratching my head. Don’t get me wrong, I love hearing him play, when it all sounds right. And this album sounds good, nothing he puts out is out and out crap. The problem is there is just so much coming out, that we’re only getting a track or two that sounds decent to good, very few that are great, and the rest is just OK. To me, this makes the majority of these albums kind of forgettable, or makes you want to reach for some of those classic albums he’s released to help cleanse my musical palette. I’m not saying this album is bad by any stretch, as stated above, it is good, and there are probably plenty of die-hards shaking their fists in the air while reading this. But to me, this album falls short due to the lack of chemistry, like most of the albums he’s been releasing these last few years. You can tell it’s four guys on different sides of the world, and if they had rehearsed together, or worked on the songs some more, there would be more than just bits and pieces here and there that really stand out.  With more chemistry, more cohesion, perhaps an entire track or the entire album would really stand out. To me the real star here is Dino Jelusic, who has been great with Animal Drive, he has always stood out with them as well. Honestly, I’d prefer George to put out EPs with three or four tracks that are out of this world great, and then maybe be a part of Frontiers annual concert where he gets on stage and plays with the various components of these projects. It would make one hell of a DVD at least, and something else that Frontiers could sell with George’s name on it!

Midnight – Rebirth By Blasphemy

The last release by project, 2017 full length Sweet Death And Ecstasy turned me on to this one man band. Athenar is the masked man behind the project, hailing from Cleveland, Ohio, and having lent his talent to a long list of bands including Toxic Holocaust and Abdullah.  This is classified as Black Metal, but this is really a little of everything, there are aspects that sound like old school NWOBHM, hardcore, and thrash.  I would say it fits more with bands that are resurrecting heavy metal from the early 80s than anything else. If you’re a fan of this old school approach, it may be worth your wild to check out.

These are some other releases that may interest you:

Breaking Benjamin – Aurora

Revolution Saints – Rise

Jorn – Heavy Rock Radio II: Executing The Classics

Marko Hietala – Pyre of the Black Heart

Davey Suicide – Rock Ain’t Dead

Mortiis – Spirit Of Rebellion

Brothers Of Metal – Emblas Saga

Konvent – Puritan Masochism

Surgical Strike – Part of a Sick World

Temperance – Viridian

Wolfpakk – Nature Strikes Back

Konvent – Puritan Masochism

Blue Oyster Cult – Cult Classic Re-Release

Blue Oyster Cult – Hard Rock Live Cleveland 2014

Fit For An Autopsy – The Sea Of Tragic Beasts Vinyl Reissue

New Years Day – Through The Years Vinyl Reissue (Boxed Set)

Article by Victor M. Ruiz of Mars Attacks Radio & Podcast, and Galaxy Of Geeks Podcast.  Connect with him on Twitter:  @vmr907

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