February 22, 2018

Ricky Martin - Ricky Martin (1999)

Country: Puerto Rico
Language: English, Spanish (Español)
Genre: Latin Pop
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.FLAC via Mega (Mirror Link)


© 1999 Columbia Records
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
It was just a matter of time before Ricky Martin broke into the pop mainstream. By the end of the '90s, he was no longer the kid that used to be in Menudo or the General Hospital heartthrob -- he was a genuine star, ready to bust out of the Latin pop ghetto. His dynamic performance at the 1999 Grammys stole the show, announcing his presence to middle America -- and conveniently paving the way for the May release of Ricky Martin, his second eponymous album but first English-language record. Like most records that are crafted to sell an artist to a larger audience -- think Celine Dion's Falling Into You -- Ricky Martin is a big, bold album with something to please everyone, from his longtime Latin fans to housewives with a weakness for dramatic ballads. Reportedly two years in the making, the album never makes a wrong move, balancing infectious dance-pop with immaculately crafted power ballads, mid-tempo pop, straight-ahead rockers, and, of course, the inevitable cameos: Madonna on "Be Careful (Cuidado con Mi Corazón)" and Meja on "Private Emotion." Since each track has been so carefully constructed to stand on its own (most likely as a single), the album plays as a series of moments, some more thrilling than others. Although there is inarguably some filler cluttering the record -- and although the production sounds weirdly dated, with tracks like "I Count the Minutes" and "She's All I Ever Had" sounding for all the world as if they were cut in 1985 -- most of the moments work and the opening quartet ("Livin' la Vida Loca," "Spanish Eyes," "She's All I Ever Had," and the irresistibly stupid "Shake Your Bon-Bon") is positively intoxicating. If the rest of the album doesn't live up to the opening salvo, Martin does carry the day with his fine voice and undeniable charisma -- even when the songs aren't distinctive, he brings them alive. And that's the sign of a true star.

tags: ricky martin, ricky martin album, 1999, flac,

Manowar - Battle Hymns MMXI (2010)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Heavy Metal
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.FLAC via Mega (Mirror Link)


© 2010 Magic Circle Entertainment
AllMusic Review by Phil Freeman
Manowar weren't always Manowar. Their first album, 1982's Battle Hymns, hinted at the epic warriors-of-metal style they'd pursue on every subsequent record, but it also had strong hints of Kiss and other '70s hard rock acts; a few numbers even pointed to a rudimentary social consciousness with lyrics like "You were sittin' home and I got sent to Nam/I went to the big house, you just worked a job" from "Death Tone," and further references to Vietnam, albeit more cartoonish ones, in "Shell Shock." Guitarist Ross the Boss seemed inspired by Ted Nugent as much as by Judas Priest, and he injected a lot of blues into their sound; bassist Joey DeMaio and drummer Donnie Hamzik were a thunderous rhythm section; and vocalist Eric Adams was a post-Robert Plant shrieker with an extremely broad range and terrific control. With Hamzik's 2010 return to the band, three-quarters of the original lineup is back on this re-recorded version of Battle Hymns, but it's a different album. Some changes are subtle, others not so much. The track listing is the same, and the lyrics haven't changed, but the band's style is a little more ponderous; many of their recent songs have been death marches rather than groove-based rockers. The mix is different, too; Joey DeMaio's bass and Karl Logan's guitar are more or less equally loud, which actually works well. Orson Welles (who did the narration on "Dark Avenger") is long since dead, so the band hired Christopher Lee to re-record his part. Some production flourishes (a brief stereo panning of the guitar on "Death Tone," a reverb effect on the chorus of "Manowar") have been omitted from the new versions. And, most notably, the studio album's final song, "Battle Hymn," has been extended from seven minutes to nine-and-a-half. The new version also comes with two bonus live tracks, recorded in Texas in 1982, which are a fierce reminder of the time when Manowar toured the U.S. It's easy to wonder why this record was made at all -- perhaps it's a stealth strategy to earn royalties on the songs, like what Gang of Four did with 2005's Return the Gift -- but fans will enjoy it.

 tags: manowar, battle hymns mmxi 2010, flac,

February 21, 2018

Akon - Freedom (2008)

*European pressing. Contains 1 bonus track. 13 tracks total.
Country: U.S.A.
Genre: R&B
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.FLAC via Mega (Mirror Link)


© 2008 Street Records/Universal Motown
AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman
Akon spun off two number one pop hits and one number two from Konvicted, so he couldn't be blamed for working the same tricks on his third album, yet Freedom is a major change of pace -- the kind of drastic switch-up that normally happens after reaching a creative and commercial dead-end. Hip-hop and R&B are all but scrapped entirely. The set instead is rooted in the gleaming synthesizers and spring-loaded dance beats of Euro-pop. (That slamming jail-cell door trademark, deployed as much as ever, doesn't quite have the same alarming effect.) Akon sounds more comfortable than expected, and he reduces the lechery in favor of longing ("I wanna make up right now") and awe ("When I see you, I run out of words to say"). At times, the tensionless backdrops don't inspire Akon to do much with his pen; the chorus of "Beautiful" is basically "You're so beautiful, so damn beautiful," while falling for a stripper in "Against the Grain" is conveyed with "The way she drop down won't allow me to close my drawers." Even so, there's much more charm here than expected.

tags: akon, freedom, 2008, flac,

Ice-T - Power (1988)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop
Style: Gangsta Rap
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.FLAC via Mega (Mirror Link)


© 1988 Sire Records
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson
As riveting as Rhyme Pays was, Ice-T did hold back a little and avoided being too consistently sociopolitical. But with the outstanding Power, the gloves came all the way off, and Ice didn't hesitate to speak his mind about the harsh realities of inner-city life. On "Drama," "Soul on Ice" (an homage to his idol Iceberg Slim), "High Rollers," and other gangsta rap gems, Ice embraces a first-person format and raps with brutal honesty about the lives of gang members, players, and hustlers. Ice's detractors took the songs out of context, arguing that he was glorifying crime. But he countered that, in fact, he was sending out an anti-crime message in a subliminal fashion and stressed that the criminals he portrayed ended up dead or behind bars. Another track that some misconstrued was "I'm Your Pusher," an interpretation of Curtis Mayfield's "Pusherman" that doesn't promote the use of drugs, but uses double entendres to make an anti-drug statement. (Ice has always been vehemently outspoken in his opposition to drugs.) In the next few years, gangsta rap would degenerate into nothing more than cheap exploitation and empty clichés, but in Ice's hands, it was as informative as it was captivating.

tags: ice-t, ice t, power, 1988, flac,

Ice-T - Home Invasion (1993)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop
Style: Political Hip-Hop, Gangsta Rap
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.FLAC via Mega (Mirror Link)


© 1993 Rhyme $yndicate/Priority Records
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Given the fact that most of Home Invasion was recorded during and after the "Cop Killer" media firestorm, it comes as no surprise that the album is an uneven, muddled affair, not the clean, focused attack of O.G. Original Gangster. Instead of producing an album that illustrates his confusion through the music (like Public Enemy's claustrophobic "Welcome to the Terrordome"), Ice-T made a confused album, unsure in its musical and lyrical direction. Home Invasion does have some flashes of brilliance (about a third of the album, particularly the tribute to the gang truce, "Gotta Lotta Love"), but it takes a little digging to find the best material.

tags: ice-t, ice t, home invasion, 1993, flac,

Ice-T - O.G. Original Gangster (1991)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop
Style: Political Hip-Hop, Gangsta Rap
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.FLAC via Mega (Mirror Link)


© 1991 Sire/Rhyme $yndicate/Warner Bros. Records
AllMusic Review by Steve Huey
One of gangsta rap's defining albums, O.G. Original Gangster is a sprawling masterpiece that stands far and away as Ice-T's finest hour. Taken track by track, O.G. might not seem at first like the product of a unified vision; perspective-wise, it's all over the map. There's perceptive social analysis, chilling violence, psychological storytelling, hair-trigger rage, pleas for solutions to ghetto misery, cautionary morality tales, and cheerfully crude humor in the depictions of sex and defenses of street language. But with a few listens, it's possible to assimilate everything into a complex, detailed portrait of Ice-T's South Central L.A. roots -- the album's contradictions reflect the complexities of real life. That's why the more intelligent, nuanced material isn't negated by the violence and sexism -- both of which, incidentally, are held relatively in check, with the former having been reshaped into a terrifying but inescapable fact of life. That isn't to say that O.G. Original Gangster is designed to appeal to delicate intellectual sensibilities; it's still full of raw, street-level aggression that makes no apologies or concessions. That goes for the music as well as the lyrics. The beats are a little too hard-driving and jittery to really breathe like funk, which only adds to the dark, claustrophobic feel of the production. Ice smoothly keeps up with the music's furious pace and also debuts his soon-to-be-notorious metal band Body Count on one track. That kind of artistic ambition is all over the album, whether in the lean musical attack or the urgent rhymes. O.G. Original Gangster is a certifiable gangsta rap classic, and arguably the most realistic, unvarnished representation of a world Ice-T was the first to chronicle on record.

tags: ice t, ice-t, og original gangster, 1991, flac,

Ice-T - The Iceberg (Freedom of Speech... Just Watch What You Say) (1989)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop
Style: Political Hip-Hop, Gangsta Rap
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.FLAC via Mega (Mirror Link)


© 1989 Sire Records
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson
Ice-T threw listeners quite a curve ball with his riveting third album, The Iceberg/Freedom of Speech...Just Watch What You Say -- arguably the closest hip-hop has come to George Orwell's 1984. Instead of focusing heavily on gangsta rap, Ice-T made First Amendment issues the CD's dominant theme. Setting the album's tone is the opener, "Shut Up, Be Happy," which finds guest Jello Biafra (former leader of punk band Dead Kennedys) envisioning an Orwellian America in which the government controls and dominates every aspect of its citizens' lives. Though there are a few examples of first-rate gangsta rap here -- including "The Hunted Child" and the chilling "Peel Their Caps Back" -- Ice's main concern this time is censorship and what he views as a widespread attack on free speech in the U.S. As angry and lyrically intense as most of The Iceberg is, Ice enjoys fun for its own sake on "My Word Is Bond" and "The Girl Tried to Kill Me" -- an insanely funny rap-rock account of an encounter with a dominatrix.

tags: ice t, ice-t, the iceberg, freedom of speech, just watch what you say, 1989, flac,

Eve - Eve-Olution (2002)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop
Style: Pop Rap
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.FLAC via Mega (Mirror Link)


© 2002 Interscope Records
AllMusic Review by John Bush
Having proved herself with 2001's rough and tough Scorpion, Eve changed direction slightly for Eve-Olution. The focus here is less hip-hop and more contemporary R&B, with fewer rappers invited as guests -- they appear on only two tracks, "Hey Y'All" features Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg and the Scorpion sequel "Double R What" features Jadakiss and Styles. After the intro, Eve focuses squarely on neo-soul, but doesn't contribute much to the style; "What" (with Truth Hurts) and "Gangsta Lovin'" (with Alicia Keys), are surprisingly mediocre, with the guests vamping over bland choruses and Eve contributing only a few good rhymes. Elsewhere, the productions keep the groove going, but not much else: definitely a surprise, considering the beatheads behind the boards (Irv Gotti, Dr. Dre, Swizz Beatz, Poke & Tone) don't get much hotter. ("Irresistible Chick," one of the few keepers, features a smooth Irv Gotti production that's moving almost as fast as Eve's fluid raps.) There are a few OK tough-love tracks along the lines of Scorpion's "You Had Me, You Lost Me" and "You Ain't Gettin' None," and a nod to her Ruff Ryders past with "Ryde Away," but Eve-Olution can't offer as much as either of her first two solid LPs.

tags: eve, eveolution, eve-olution, 2002 flac,

MC Lyte - Seven & Seven (1998)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop
Style: Pop Rap
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.FLAC via Mega (Mirror Link)


© 1998 EastWest Records America
AllMusic Review by Leo Stanley
Ten years after releasing her first album, MC Lyte delivered Seven & Seven, her sixth album. During that time, Lyte remained remarkably unchanged, and Seven & Seven proves to be startlingly similar to the slick, R&B-influenced hip-hop she's been turning out since Lyte as a Rock. At times, that's not too bad, but the album's exhausting 77-minute running length makes the similarity of the material a little numbing. There are good songs buried in the album, to be sure -- it just takes too much time to dig them out.

tags: mc lyte, seven and seven, 1998, flac,

MC Lyte - Bad As I Wanna B (1996)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop
Style: Pop Rap
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.FLAC via Mega (Mirror Link)


© 1996 EastWest Records America
AllMusic Review by Leo Stanley
MC Lyte's Bad As I Wanna B suffers from stilted production, conventional musical ideas and over-reaching lyrics. It is clear that MC Lyte wants to restore the luster to her career, but she is not sure how. So, she surrounds herself with top-flight producers, who such away the passion from her music. Sure, there's a couple of good hooks and funky beats on Bad As I Wanna B, but for the most part, it's lacking in soul.

tags: mc lyte, bad as i wanna be, 1996, flac,

My Dying Bride - A Map of All Our Failures (2012)

Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Doom Metal
Style: Death Doom
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.FLAC via Mega (Mirror Link)


© 2012 Peaceville Records
Review by Atanamar Sunyata for Metal Injection.net
I’m a devotee of My Dying Bride in principle, if not always in practice. The band have been indulging us in beautiful misery for 20 years, but I’ve never been a blind buyer of their albums. After releasing a string of modern classics, my incredulity was rewarded in For Lies I Sire, which thoroughly missed the mark. The dubious The Barghest o' Whitby EP sounded the alarm of decline. A Map of All Our Failures, however, sees My Dying Bride relaxing into their essence and returning to the enthralling, despondent symmetry that marks their greatest works.
My Dying Bride thrive on hooks, borne of dismal, dual guitar melodies that coalesce around the tremulous glory of Aaron Stainthorpe’s vocals. The band are also masters of the crushing payoff, summoning the rage of blasting death when anguish boils over. A Map of All Our Failures delivers consistent sustenance of these elements. The album is stocked with bare, bleak riffs over which Aaron Stainthorpe delivers his usual despondent soliloquies. His clean vocals are particularly strong, contriving harmonious lamentations of surprising diversity and caliber. A Map of All Our Failures reaps all of the meaty, mellifluous synergy that the band have sown over the years.
A Map of All Our Failures feels effortless compared to the forced reminiscence of For Lies I Sire. Shaun MacGowan’s violin makes brief and purposeful appearances, seamlessly insinuating itself in the songs rather than overwhelming them. Andrew Craighan and Hamish Glencross have conceived a raft of riffs that fit firmly into the My Dying Bride ethos, riding dismal black tides that distinguish themselves sufficiently to sound fresh and original. The subtly ripping guitar tone recalls many hours alone, consoled only by this band’s beguiling desolation.
I’ve considered My Dying Bride to be a guilty pleasure at various times over the years, but that sentiment doesn’t do the band justice. Yes, you can lament the gothic histrionics, but those moments of affectation are largely subsumed by their matchless craftsmanship. My Dying Bride are nothing if not a pillar of doomed death; A Map of All Our Failures is a worthwhile investment for Bride fans new and old.

tags: my dying bride, a map of all our failures, 2012, flac,

My Dying Bride - For Lies I Sire (2009)

Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Doom Metal
Style: Death Metal
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.FLAC via Mega (Mirror Link)


© 2009 Peaceville Records
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek
It's hard to imagine that after 2006's brilliant A Line of Deathless Kings, it took three long years for Great Britain's My Dying Bride to issue a studio follow-up. True, there was a great live offering in the interim in 2008's An Ode to Woe, but For Lies I Sire, the goth and doom metal outfit's ninth studio offering since 1990, showcases a rather startling evolution in the band's sound. While it's true that A Line of Deathless Kings was brutally gloomy and depressing, it only pointed the way toward the shades and shadows of loss and darkness found here. Nearly 20 years after the band's inception, vocalist Aaron Stainthope is singing better than ever, and his lyrics are beautifully poetic and streamlined. Gone are the wordy tomes of the early years, replaced by the pointed, poignant, grief-stricken, utterly lost reflections of hopelessness and despair, the kind that come from the human heart rather than the goth music scene. Musically, the riffs have been cut to the bone as well. While the Sabbath-styled guitar and basslines are still there, they've become simpler, more straightforward, and textured with a lush yet devastatingly effective layer of violins. It's there in the reflections on ruined tenderness that inaugurate "My Body, A Funeral," the set's opener, which gives way to something eerie, plodding, and multi-dimensionally heavy as guitars, basses, snares, bass drums, and violins all seek to crescendo together. It's there in the more chant-like, metallic, malevolent bitterness of "Bring Me Victory," where ringing basslines meet keyboards and violins atop roiling tom-toms and a more insistent tempo (which is the greatest sideways resurrection tune about Jesus ever). It's also there in the lithe, languid drift that is "Shadow Haunt," and the sprawling doom metal suite "Death Triumphant," that closes the set with washes of taut riffs, atmospheric waves of sound, ambience, and dirge-like strings. What "it" is, is the elemental discovery by My Dying Bride of a sound that pushes the doom metal attack of yesteryear toward the margin where it entwines sensuously -- and inseparably -- with gothic rock, in a meld that bears no signature but the band's. MDB has so seamlessly metamorphosed, lyrically, musically, and sonically, that they've effectively created their own subgenre of goth while retaining enough of their earlier M.O. to keep old fans, while no doubt gathering to themselves a legion of new ones -- who have little to no use for doom or goth metal -- in the process. For those veterans who've enjoyed A Line of Deathless Kings, The Angel and the Dark River, and even Turn Loose the Swans, this is for you. For the curious, For Lies I Sire is an excellent place to begin to investigate one of the most genuinely enigmatic bands to have emerged from the 20th century more inspired and visionary than before. And for the veteran fan, who will in no way be disappointed, this is brilliant work.

tags: my dying bride, for lies i sire, 2009, flac,

My Dying Bride - A Line of Deathless Kings (2006)

Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Doom Metal
Style: Death Doom
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.FLAC via Mega (Mirror Link)


© 2006 Peaceville Records
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson
In 2006, My Dying Bride celebrated their 16th anniversary. Not every album the British goth metal outfit recorded along the way was a five-star masterpiece, but even when they came out with an album that wasn't quite up to par, they would eventually bounce back with something impressive -- and A Line of Deathless Kings finds My Dying Bride very much on top of their game. This 2006 recording is state-of-the-art goth metal -- brooding, gloomy, sorrowful, pessimistic, and darkly poetic. Very few, if any, rays of sunlight find their way to tracks like "The Blood, the Wine, the Roses," "Deeper Down," "Thy Raven Wings," and "Love's Intolerable Pain"; the goth scene has a long history of focusing on darker emotions, and A Line of Deathless Kings lives up to that time-honored tradition. True to form, lead singer Aaron Stainthorpe conveys despair masterfully; he is the quintessential goth vocalist. It should be stressed that A Line of Deathless Kings, like other My Dying Bride releases, is aggressive without being ferocious. These Brits have always been highly melodic, making it easy for goth rock fans to get into their work even if they aren't necessarily big supporters of goth metal. And for that matter, the doom metal crowd should have no problem getting into this 60-minute CD; My Dying Bride, with their passion for slow, plodding, Black Sabbath-influenced riffs, have long had plenty of credibility among doom metal enthusiasts. This is a band that clearly sees the parallels between goth metal and doom metal, and both goth and doom enthusiasts will find a great deal to savor on A Line of Deathless Kings.

tags: my dying bride, a line of deathless kings, 2006, flac,

February 20, 2018

Annihilator - Refresh The Demon (1996)

Country: Canada
Language: English
Genre: Thrash Metal
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.FLAC via Mega (Mirror Link)


© 1996 Music For Nations
Reviewed by Brent for Metal Reviews.com
Well, time to pick back up with what I "started" upon my joining here at MR. I have made up my mind that this band is my top priority here until I have everything reviewed. This album, which was my 2nd Annihilator album, was my favorite one for a long time, until I got the first two. Still much in the vein of the predecessor to this one, King of the Kill, Jeff once again takes over vocal duties for the entire record. This one also tends to be a little faster and heavier than it's predecessor.
"Refresh The Demon" starts the album out, and sets the stage for most of the material on the rest of the album. "Syn Kill 1" is next, probably my favorite song from the record. Next up is "Awake" which is just the little intro to "The Pastor of Disaster" "PoD." is next (naturally), and is a really good song. "A Man Called Nothing" is next, and it starts off with a nice little melodic intro, but doesn't stay that way. Moving on, next we have "Ultraparanoia", which has the mentally ill type lyrics that Jeff is known for from time to time. "City of Ice" is next, one of my least favorite songs on the album, but it is still good enough to have been included in the final tracklisting. It just wouldn't be an Annihilator album without at least one humorous song, this time he is just over the top with the song "Anything For Money. Isn't larceny grand? "Hunger" is next, it is about on the same scale of "City of Ice". The next song is "Voices and Victims" which is in the same vein of the other two I just mentioned. "Innocent Eyes" is probably the only Annihilator ballad I still listen to without skipping the track. It is a song he wrote for his kid. Now, for the two bonus tracks. "The Box" is the first one, the only thing different about this one and the one on KotK is the fact that this one doesn't have Jeff's vocals distorted, I like this version better. The last song on the cd is "Riff Raff" which sounds to me like a big, big tribute to the classic rock gods from down under, AC/DC.
That about does it for this album. It ranks in the middle for my favorite albums from Annihilator now, since I got the entire catalog. Definitly worth picking up if you are a fan, and if not, then it still shouldn't disapoint.

tags: annihilator, refresh the demon, 1996, flac,

February 19, 2018

Annihilator - Remains (1997)

*European pressing. 11 tracks total.
Country: Canada
Language: English
Genre: Thrash Metal, Industrial
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.FLAC via Mega (Mirror Link)


© 1997 Music For Nations
Reviewed by Brent for Metal Reviews.com
This is the closest to a solo album Jeff Waters ever accomplished to date with Annihilator. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it has been and always has been his band, which is why I like it, one vision, like Iced Earth. What makes it a solo album is just that, he is the only musician to appear on the album. He played every instrument (except for John Bates who played some guitar parts on “No Love”, and Dave Steele who sang a little on “No Love” and “Wind”) and the drums with a drum machine. Considered the most controversial Annihilator album to date, Remains sees Jeff incorporate some other band’s sounds into the woodwork. They were bands he was listening to at the time, mostly because of someone in his life, who he is no longer with, who just happens to be his ex-wife, was listening to them too, bands like Ministry, Prodigy, etc…. I happen to like Ministry and can tolerate Prodigy, so this album appeals to me where it might not appeal to others.
Before I start on with the song listings, in a sentence or phrase above each song in the liner notes, Jeff has put basically what I take as the meaning or message of each song, so I will incorporate them into the individual song reviews in parenthesis. The first song is “Murder”(I am a disease or virus that has fatal consequences). A great song, and the only, song from this album played live on “Double Live Annihilation”. Next is “Sexecution”(to risk your life for pleasure). This song is where the real evident use of the drum machine comes in, catchy little number I must say. No explanation should be needed for what this song is about. Up next is “No Love”(no love anymore), real industrial sounding track, and the opening drum part sounds like something out of the movie Shaft. “Never”(be aware of where racism can lead us; never forget) is number 4 on the album. This song is about people being racist and speaking out against them. Good message and great song, props to Jeff on that one. The next song is “Human Remains”(love, respect, learn from and admire the elderly). I hate the guitar tone of this song, so it kind of ruins the song for me. “Dead Wrong”(wrongly or falsely condemned for something that one never did) is next. I like this song, nice guitar solo and chorus. The next is the first “ballad” of the album. It is called “Wind”(simply put, a good walk can relieve a lot of stress and help one to see things a little clearer). I really like this song, nice atmosphere and emotion. Next up is “Tricks and Traps”(beware the negative things in life that could drag you down, down to the bottom). My favorite song on the album, as close to old school Annihilator that you will get on this one, not that this is a bad thing. Cool little intro that then blasts into a thrash feeding frenzy. The next one is “I Want”(the high and mighty often get what they deserve), another song off of the album that I like a lot. Then we have “Reaction”(severe allergy reaction; personal experience here). Probably my 2nd favorite song from the album, as it is blistering fast. “Bastiage” closes out the regular album, not a bad song, but not in my top Annihilator songs either. Being an instrumental, it has no hidden meaning.
Once again, I have the Remastered version, so one more song and then words from Jeff. The last “song” is “It’s You”, typical Annihilator ballad, but a good one. The last part of the album is the 8:32 long track of Jeff talking about the album and Annihilator. Some of the highlights are: Jeff compares a lot of the album to bands like Pantera, White Zombie, The Doors, Accept, Van Halen, etc… The song “Reaction” is about an allergic reaction he had one time to nuts, he wanted to make a song about it. He thanks all the fans for their continued support since 1984 when Annihilator started.
Overall this album did take some sinking in to make me really appreciate it. This is definitly not the album to start your Annihilator collection with as it was the last Annihilator album I aquired for mine. If you like the band, get it. If not, and you only like the really heavy stuff by them, I wouldn't advise it right now.

tags: annihilator, remains, 1997, flac,

Annihilator - Carnival Diablos (2000)

Country: Canada
Language: English
Genre: Thrash Metal
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.FLAC via Mega (Mirror Link)


© 2000 Metal-is Records
AllMusic Review by Gary Hill
This is a great album. It starts off in a pretty generic speed metal approach, but as the disc moves on it takes on a myriad of other styles. Those styles range from groove-oriented hard rocking tones to older straight metal and prog metal textures. Add to this above-average songwriting, killer performances, and great production, and you have a definite winner for fans of hard-edged rock music.

tags: annihilator, carnival diablos, 2000, flac,

Akon - Trouble (2003)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.FLAC via Mega (Mirror Link)


© 2003 Universal/Street Records Corporation
AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman
Senegalese-American ex-con Akon broke out with "Locked Up," a gloomy but thrilling paranoiac tail about drug running and jail time. Placed over a fittingly dramatic production worthy of 50 Cent, with a clamping beat, simple piano figure, and frightening slams of prison bars, the single set Trouble up to be a major success. Unfortunately, no other song on the album is nearly as gripping. The club tracks fall flat, most of the soul-searching moments feel forced, and the harder and more sexual tracks tend to be more silly than alluring. At its best, Trouble places you in Akon's turbulent world. At its worst, which is often, the album is excessively tedious.

tags: akon, trouble, 2003, flac,

Akon - Konvicted (Platinum Edition) (2007)

*U.K. platinum edition, released in 2007. Contains 5 bonus tracks. 17 tracks total.

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: R&B
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.FLAC via Mega (Mirror Link)


© 2006-2007 Island/Universal Motown/Street Records Corporation
AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman
"Locked Up"'s success provided Akon with instant heavyweight clout. Upgraded from writing songs and doing the occasional hook for B-, C-, and D-level artists, he tallied a multi-platinum album, was granted his own boutique label (which was used to spawn T-Pain), and became in-demand as an A-list collaborator -- he worked with Young Jeezy, R. Kelly, Gwen Stefani, and even Elton John. His second album, Konvicted, isn't much different from the debut (patchiness included), even though it comes from a different perspective. He even addresses his newfound fame, along with the expectations and other forms of grief that come with it, in a vague but very saddened way throughout "The Rain." For the most part, though, Konvicted offers more ultra-macho R&B. The guest spots come from Eminem, Snoop Dogg, and Styles P, leaving no room for female hooks or verses. Akon hits on strippers (but does not fall in love with them), smacks behinds, and tends to go with what suits him best: bragging and seducing while delivering like-sounding hooks in his unique voice. Whenever the yearning and heartache is allowed through, he's not persuasive, and he sounds like he still has the club on his mind.

tags: akon, konvicted, platinum edition, 2006, 2007,

Eve - Scorpion (2001)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop
Style: Gangsta Rap, Pop Rap
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.FLAC via Mega (Mirror Link)


© 2001 Ruff Ryders/Interscope Records
AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier
When Eve debuted in 1999, she surprised many as one of the few female rappers capable of attaining both popularity and respect without having to take on a sleazy role or sacrifice any of her muscle. In fact, her muscle seemed to be what impressed the rap community most. If anything, Eve brings even more muscle to her follow-up album, Scorpion. Her rhymes flow just as smoothly here as they did on her debut, and she sounds even more confident than before. Given her ensemble cast of producers and guest rappers, she probably should sound confident. When you have Swizz Beatz and Dr. Dre handling the better part of your album, along with a few other tracks handled by Ruff Ryder producers Teflon and DJ Shok, there isn't need to worry -- you know the beats are going to be cutting-edge. In terms of guests, the Ruff Ryders (DMX, Drag-On, and LOX) make their expected cameos. On paper, everything looks great -- more muscle, top producers, and top rappers. And the results are just that: great. A few songs really stand out here: the lead-off single "Who's That Girl?," a Teflon track with a quick tempo and an extremely catchy chorus; "Let Me Blow Ya Mind," a Dr. Dre/Scott Storch track with an unmistakable 2001 sound and a smooth R&B chorus featuring Gwen Stefani on backup vocals; and "Life Is Hard," a unique soulful moment late in the album with Teena Marie contributing a diva chorus and Eve dropping some heartfelt lyrics. At 16 tracks, this album doesn't overreach and really doesn't have too many surprises. There are a few flawed moments where the choruses aren't as catchy as they intend to be, but for the most part Eve plays it safe. If you liked her first album, you'll like this one even better.

tags: eve, scorpion, 2001, flac,

Down South - Lost In Brooklyn (1994)

*A photo of the disc is included in the RAR file.
Country: U.S.A
Genre: Hip-Hop
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.FLAC via Mega (Mirror Link)

© 1994 Big Beat, Atlantic Records
Review by Matt Jost for RapReviews.com
Rap records are often very typical of their time (and anything but 'timeless'). It's hard to imagine Down South's "Lost in Brooklyn" being released after 1994. Here we have a group embracing everything southern, and where are they from? VA. Virginia may be 'down south' from a New Yorker perspective and it may be below the Mason-Dixon line, but it finds itself 'up north' relative to the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi or Louisiana. States that in the years to come would produce national rap stars such as JT Money, Petey Pablo, Pastor Troy, Juvenile, Bubba Sparxxx, etc. Their way was paved by a number of labels and artists, many of whom would also be part of the growing southern scene that rendered a concept act like Down South obsolete by 1995.
Still in '94 Down South had every right to exist as they presented a rural, southern alternative to the urban, northern way of life, both on a social and a musical level. To stress that Arrested Development beat them to it by two years would be failing to realize that Down South solely exist within that dichotomy. They purposely hit their heads against the New York city walls, in place of every out-of-towner who ever tried to make it there. "Lost in Brooklyn" is not only a symbol of the hegemony of the birthplace of hip-hop, it also implicitly represents the adventurous journey of generations of southern migrants/refugees/runaways who settled in the northern and eastern cities. Down South directly address those with family in the south, plus allude to having family further down south themselves (although no geographical denominations are given).
Down South's most prominent member is Shawn J-Period (not to be confused with DJ J.Period or with Shawn J of Field Mob), who would go on to produce for Mad Skillz, Bush Babees, Artifacts and become one of the architects of the Rawkus sound. Since him and partner Soda Pop share the same family name, we can assume they were blood-related (AllMusic says cousins). They could also originate from the same place (Richmond), including Myorr the DJ, whose family apparently accomodated the trio during its stay(s) in New York. Although the tape and vinyl versions of the album are divided into a South and a North Side, there is no sudden change of the narrative point of view. Things kick off with the self-titled "Down South," produced by South Carolina transplant T-Ray, the opening steel guitar sample soon making way for a dense Soul Assassins-type track. "Here come the hicks!" they chant, before staging some sort of barbarian invasion with violent imagery straight out of a backwoods horror movie. When Soda Pop argues, "Because the vibe down here is real / Take you five miles out, you'll forget that from-the-hood deal," he also throws down the gauntlet to the urban warrior who usually characterizes rap music. "Now you know country [niggas] ain't all about pickin' cotton," he concludes. Nevertheless they have to employ stereotypes, and they go all the way on "Southern Comfort." A perfect J-Period/Stretch Armstrong co-production, the track paints a landscape of pure bliss over which a siren saxophone beckons you home. Shawn J-Period heeds the call:- Read the full review here

tags: down south, lost in brooklyn, 1994, flac,