I'll be the first to admit I'm a fan of Hard Rockers Extreme. While I am not certain what first piqued our interests, by the time I was as a Sophomore in high school, the bulk of the group's catalog wasin what can only be described as a 'heavy personal rotation'. Now, twenty-five very long years later, the group is poised to unleash a re-issue of the brilliant Extreme II: Pornograffitti (A Funked Up Fairy Tale). Read More
Once upon a time, when one discussed Finnish Hard Rock and Heavy Metal artists and groups, thoughts invariably turned to some of the most obvious--and, oddly enough, most dissimilar--of choices: Hanoi Rocks (Bangkok Shocks, Saigon Shakes, Hanoi Rocks, Self Destruction Blues) and Nightwish (Wishmaster, Dark Passion Play). While the lyrical and stylistic similarities between each group are indeed few and far between, the talent and chemistry that ultimately serve as their creative catalysts remain undeniable, making each group invariably entertaining. Unfortunately, with the 2001-2009 Hanoi Rocks 'reunion' arguably failing to yield an array of noteworthy material and the Floor Jansen era of Nightwish remaining, at this point, at least, largely unproven, there remains a profound artistic chasm that simply begs for a remedy. Needless to say, when we were approached regarding coverage of Lashes To Ashes, Lust To Dust: A Vinyl Retrospective '96 -'03, the long-awaited--and oft-delayed--vinyl compilation from Helsinki-based HIM, we were only more happy to re-indulge.
Having been born and raised amid an economically and geographically depressed and isolated region of northeastern Minnesota, I frequently found myself seeking new and undiscovered music from less than likely sources, often with less-than-desirable results (i.e. the now-defunct BMG and Columbia House Music Services and their universally dreaded 'Selection Of The Month'). As a result, you can imagine my initial apprehension when my notoriously closed-minded maternal Grandmother presented me with well-worn copies of the Judas Priest classics British Steel (1980). I found myself dreamily wondering 'is this really happening?' and 'what's the catch?' as the soon-to-be overplayed strains of “Breaking The Law”, “Living After Midnight” and “The Rage” roared through the headphones of my battered Sony Walkman. The rest is indeed ancient history as I've been quite happily 'throwing the horns' and 'banging my head' to all things Judas Priest and Judas Priest-related since.