One of my favourite recent albums is Marilyn Manson’s The Pale Emperor (and you can read my review of it in Beat magazine here). Manson seems to have been creatively reinvigorated by new collaborator Tyler Bates, composer for the films 300 and Guardians Of The Galaxy among other things. The Pale Emperor takes Manson into some dark places that seem more personal and raw than anything he’s done before. And Manson’s set at the Melbourne leg of the Soundwave festival was informed by this new approach. With Bates as band leader given free reign to choose his own drummer (Gil Yaron) and second guitarist (Paul Wiley) and with Twiggy Ramirez on bass, Manson’s old material has been recast with hints and hues from the Pale Emperor material. While nobody can guess how long Manson will follow this particular musical path, I hope he stays in this zone for a while and explores what this band can do.
Warrel Dane/Jeff Loomis: Praises to the War Machine/Zero Order Phase Century Media
Here’s a Christmas present for the headbanger in your life. Specially packaged gift set of solo albums by Nevermore’s Warrel Dane and Jeff Loomis (who is a very Jason Becker-inspired guitarist with his own signature Schecter 7-string). Check out that skull-and-Flying-V ribbon on the packaging. There are various other 2-CD sets in this Century Media series, including Strapping Young Lad’s City and Heavy As A Real Heavy thing
Kings of Leon: Only by the Night (2008 UK Tour Edition) (Incl. Bonus DVD) Sony BMG
One of the surprise hits of the year (at least to me: when I saw them live there was only a small crowd, then five years later, BOOM!), this special UK-only two disc (CD + PAL/Region 0 DVD) tour edition of their 2008 album includes a bonus five track live DVD that features Use Somebody, On Call, Sex On Fire, Crawl and Manhattan. The version also includes the original UK only artwork.
The 2008 movie ‘Cadillac Records’ is the story of Chess Records. The soundtrack album includes covers of songs by Etta James (played by Beyonce Knowles), Muddy Waters (Jeffrey Wright), Little Walter (Columbus Short), Willie Dixon (Cedric the Entertainer), Chuck Berry (Mos Def), Howlin’ Wolf (Eamonn Walker) and more. This album, though, features the original classics.
Led Zeppelin: The Song Remains the Same [Blu-ray] Warner Home Video
Blu-Ray version of this classic live concert film, complete with freaky fantasy sequences, Jimmy Page’s heroic double-neck Gibson-wrangling, and the understated genius of John Paul Jones. The playing and cinematography are notoriously flawed, and Zep sure could go on and on in concert, but this is an important concert film if only because it’s the only full show the mighty Zep ever released.
Kiss: Kissology Volume II 1978-1991 VH1 Classics
This 6 disc set covers KISS’s simultaneous solo albums, several full concerts including a 1980 show from Sydney, Australia, a 1990 show from Detroit, Michigan, the Vinnie Vincent years, the abandonment of make-up, and, oh my god, the made-for-TV movie ‘Kiss Meets The Phantom Of The Park’ in its entirety. Check out the other volumes in the series too.
This brilliant documentary by a metal-loving anthropologist will be of immense interest to metal fans but is also entertaining enough for non-headbangers, as it traces the development of metal as a parallel to social, geographic and economic factors.