Reviews by Shane Copher
Sponsored In Part By
Amy Beth - BANKIN' ON LOSIN' THE BLUES
Caprice International Records
As a songwriting showcase, this album does its part, as Amy had a hand in
writing no less than 10 of the 13 tracks found here, offering up a female
point of view on everything from loving and losing, to cuttin' loose for a night out.
On the other hand, as a performance showcase, many of the selections stretch
beyond Amy Beth's limited vocal range and don't quite hit the mark she, so surely,
was aiming for.
Saxon - UNLEASH THE BEAST
CMC International Records
After 20 years and 13 albums, Saxon hasn't lost a thing. One of the pioneers of the
"New Wave of British Heavy Metal," their sound is as fresh now as it was way back
when "Wheels of Steel" put this band on the map. Driving rhythms and fiery axework
propel this straightforward metal release while Biff's vocals haven't faded a bit.
"Terminal Velocity" and "All Hell Breaking Loose" are classic Saxon. The title track's
another killer as well, making this a long overdue relief from the alternative fuzz
and thrash heavy noise that passes for metal in today's market... Great stuff!
Kenny Chesney - I WILL STAND
On this, Kenny's fourth release, he continues to prove why he's among the best
selling young artists on the country scene, handling everything from the slow
ballads to "radio" friendly modern country with a maturity that's way beyond his years.
His rich, smooth voice shines on each and every track, teaming up with Tracy Lawrence
and living legend George Jones on the album's standout "From Hillbilly Heaven..."
Lorrie Morgan - SHAKIN' THINGS UP
I've long been a fan of Lorrie's torrid vocals, but have been a bit disappointed
in the material she has chosen to include. On each of her previous releases
she has pushed the envelope a little far, in an attempt to be diverse,
and sometimes gone beyond her range. On SHAKIN' THINGS UP she's finally got
it right. Every track's a gem, showcasing Ms. Morgan's talents and her
heartfelt emotions. Far and away her best release to date.
Various Artists - COUNTRY CARES FOR KIDS
Another in a line of holiday offerings that dishes up a "who's who" of hot
country acts recording seasonal songs, many previously available on the
individual artists' own recordings. This marketing gimmick is getting stale
but obviously is a commercial success, so they keep kickin' them out. The only
"refreshing" factor with this selection is that the proceeds go to a good cause,
the St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.
Treponam Pal - HIGHER
This groove-laden industrial release has a lot of "crunch", and strong rhythms.
The sampling is tastefully done, and avoids smothering the power of the songs
beneath, making this techno with merit and well worth checking out. "Lose Control"
and "Psycho Rising" are outstanding examples of Treponam Pal's well honed talents.
Judas Priest - JUGULATOR
CMC International Records
After half a decade, the beast is back and in fine form. New vocalist
Tim "Ripper" Owens is Halford's clone; can't wait to see him handle
the back catalog on tour... awesome.
Musically the band has evolved a bit, utilizing distortion and
sampling on several cuts, which I could really do without, but
then on tracks such as "Burn In Hell" and "Brain Dead," Priest returns to the