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Kill to Survive

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There’s little doubt that this two-volume concert and documentary package will appeal to die-hard Metallica lovers–given its more than three-hour length (two and a half for the concert segment alone), the band’s predominantly white male fan base (repeatedly addressed as ”man” by singer-guitarist James Hetfield) will be–in fact already are–ecstatic. But one wonders, especially given the erratic history of rock-cum-orchestra experiments, whether S&M will win Metallica any new aficionados. The fact is that the presence of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, conducted by composer Michael Kamen, adds texture but not much else of significance to the Metallica sound. The band is so loud that it tends to overwhelm even a 100-plus member orchestra; what’s more, Metallica’s crunching, fist-pumping, riff-laden metal music lends itself less to genuine orchestral adornment than to superfluous bombast. And while the sound quality is excellent, it’s still basically just a filmed concert, with little in the way of additional visual interest. Still, there are some cool moments, and all involved are clearly having a great time. There are also two new Metallica songs, ”No Leaf Clover” and ”Minus Human.” (Note: also available is an edited version, sold at a slightly lower price, which corresponds to the popular PBS broadcast. The longer version carries an explicit content advisory label, due to much casual profanity, especially in the ”making of” documentary.) –Sam Graham

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  • Meliah Rage’s Kill To Survive came to my attention through Columbia House. The record and tape club gave this album special attention in one of its catalogs and, intrigued by the cool cover artwork, I sent in my order card. From the first track “Beginning of the End” it was a very catchy thrash album. The band was founded by guitarist Anthony Nichols in the mid-1980s. Nichols also worked with GangGreen. The name of the band, as the cover indicates, comes from the Meliah Indians’ ritual of taking opium before battle. At the time, I was into bands like Metal Church and Iron Maiden. The music of Meliah Rage is nowhere near as sophisticated. It is almost a fun type of thrash but not as blatantly fun as Anthrax. The music, though, is actually danceable (in a headbanging way). It would make a nice party album. The lyrics are often gory to the point of being silly, i.e. the chant in the Psycho-inspired “Bates Motel”: “Stabbed, sliced, flesh torn; Bit** fell to knees; blood flowed out of veins; in Bates Motel.” Another thing funny about this album is that singer Mike Munro seems to be trying a bit too hard to sound like James Hetfield. Members of Wargasm, Bad Karma, Formicide, and Temporary Insanity make appearances on backing vocals here. The extra tracks are from their second album Solitary Solitude, which is also pretty good. The title track to “Kill to Survive” did not make it on the studio album, but can be found on Live Kill. Meliah Rage is certainly not essential metal or thrash. I only recommend Kill to Survive to metal/thrash fans who are searching for lesser known albums.

    Posted on February 23, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • This will let you know who is growing old or who is staying young by rockin’ out! This was released in 1988. It took me a while to find the CD. I wish they wouldn’t have taken the title track off. I guess it was due to the lawsuits against Priest and Ozzy at the time. It has lots of music on some of the tracks. One song has a super drum solo. I can’t think of a band to compare them to. Sorta Metallica, I guess. You would just have to listen to it. I bought the cassette because I liked the cover. Go figure! When I put it in the deck in my car for the first time and the first song started(“Beginning of the End”) my friend and I were happy. I love the song, “Bates Motel”. I know this review won’t be much help but what the heck, buy it anyway if you don’t like it, there is always that auction site to get rid of it!

    Posted on February 23, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Anyone interested in solid, catchy, mid-paced thrash will be blown away by this CD. It’s a combination of technically proficient Bay Area-style thrash, Maiden-esque guitar, and straight up Overkill/Wargasm style power metal. I can’t believe these guys have remained so obscure. Just goes to show that signing to a major label doesn’t always translate to success, I guess. Anyway, this is honestly a terrific, horribly overlooked record that deserves your time and attention! Buy it!!

    Posted on February 23, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • the reason i have heard this album is that it is really good it has two of the original members of king diamond or merciful fate. if you liked any of those two groups you will like this one.

    Posted on February 23, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • This debut from the band is short, only a little over a half an hour long. But there are several really strong, energized tracks here. “Enter the Darkness” is worth it alone, great tune, to say nothing for “Bates Motel.” “Meliah Rage” is an intense instrumental, and “The Pack” has some nice bite to it, too. If you see this one in a bargain bin, and love late 80’s style thrash, nab it.

    Posted on February 23, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now