2012’s rockin’ stats, for your amusement!

In 2012, I posted 493 articles.  I did 157 chapters in a continuing series of Record Store Tales which has been extremely satisfying.  The rest have been a series of reviews, and rants!  Very popular was my series of Kiss reviews (53 of them!), when I covered every Kiss album in sequence. Currently, I’m finishing up my series of Iron Maiden reviews (42 so far in a series of 45), covering every album and rarity that I have access to. It’s been a blast!

Some personal statistical highlights:

1. Doing an interview with Brian Vollmer, of Helix (my 4th interview so far), which was a huge blast for me as a fan and writer.

2. The many Guest Shots (10 so far!) from contributors such as Tommy Morais, Statham, T-Rev, Mrs. LeBrain and Uncle Meat.  It’s been a pleasure to read and publish your work, gentlepersons.  Keep sending me stuff!

3. Record Store Excursion 2012, and the resulting video.  I love making videos, and this was a blast. At last check, it’s had almost 200 hits (194 to be exact) including some of the people at the stores that we reported on!

Thanks to all the readers out there who’ve made 2012 so much fun here at LeBrain’s Blog.  Let’s kick 2013 into overdrive.

My top ten posts of 2012, by hits:

Editorial: Paul Stanley’s voice problems 741
REVIEW: KISS – The Box Set (Deluxe mini guitar case edition!) 273
GEOFF TATE: Solo album KINGS & THIEVES song samples available now 270
REVIEW: Black Sabbath – Master of Reality deluxe edition! 254
REVIEW: KISS – Destroyer (Resurrected) (2012) 227
REVIEW: KISS – “Hell or Hallelujah” single! (2012) 211
Ex-Queensryche’s GEOFF TATE UPDATE: Still a douche 202
REVIEW: KISS – Destroyer (and a word about that 35th anniversary Resurrected thing) 193
UPDATE: Queensryche’s Tate is a Douche 185
Part 71/ REVIEW: Pink Floyd – Shine On (9 disc box set) 185

Top five LeBrain-reading countries:

Country Views
Canada FlagCanada 13,754
United States FlagUnited States 6,242
United Kingdom FlagUnited Kingdom 2,417
Brazil FlagBrazil 739
Finland FlagFinland 629

Here’s a fun one:  Top five Google searches that led people to LeBrain’s Blog!

queensryche split 82
paul stanley voice 76
kiss revenge review 71
geoff tate is a douche 68
kiss hell or hallelujah 66

LOL…Geoff Tate is a douche!  That’s awesome!

Hope you didn’t party too hard last night.  Let’s rock 2013 like there’s no tomorrow!

Part 157: The Year in Review / Top 5

RECORD STORE TALES Part 157:   The Year in Review

So here we are, the tail end of 2012.  While I’m sure you’re just starting to get your drink on, we here at LeBrain’s Blog are tirelessly bringing you the rock even into the wee final hours.  This is the time, traditionally, when we look at the past year!

We used to do Top Five of the Year lists at the record store, when we used to have our newsletter.  Unfortunately I don’t have copies of any of those newsletters, not a one, which is a real shame since I poured my heart and soul into them as much as anybody else at the store.  It would have been fun to look back 15 years and see what my top five of 1997 was.  I do know for certain two albums that were on it:  Accident of Birth by Bruce Dickinson, and The Colour and the Shape by Foo Fighters!  The rest have been lost to the dusts of time.

Hey, if any of you guys are still speaking to me and have copies of the newsletter, lemme know eh? ;)

Back to the present for a moment:

What can I say about 2012?  Before I even thought about doing my own blog, events were in motion that pushed me in that direction.   My good buddy Craig Fee invited me down to 107.5 Dave FM for an entire week — Stump LeBrain Week!  I spent a week on the air, with listeners trying to stump me.  There were even a couple LeBrain Weeks and an entire month of LeBrainuary, where every single day’s 4 O’clock 4 Play quizzes were mined from my own brain’s knowledge.  It was a blast, and left me hungry for more.

I’d always been writing Record Store Tales.  The oldest ones were at least a decade old on my hard drive, but I had no idea what to do with them.  I’d also been writing reviews — well over 800 of them on file before I launched — that very few people had seen.  Craig said to me, “LeBrain, you need to get blogging this stuff.  Write something every day.  If you build it, they will come.”

So that’s what I did, and I thank you for reading.

Back to the Record Store Tales:

I published Part 1 on March 9 2012, the beginning of the story, called Run to the Hills.  It was about the very first time I heard Iron Maiden, a date I’ll never forget.  And thus LeBrain’s Blog and Record Store Tales were launched.

Some highlights from the early months that you may have missed if you’re fairly new here:

So, if you have nothing better to do on this New Year’s Eve, there’s a good waste of time for ya.

And now that we’re done with the preamble…let’s get down to business.


5. TENACIOUS D – Rize of the Fenix

KG and JB cannot be stopped.  This album is the “Deth Starr” of rock, The D aim “To Be The Best”!   Read LeBrain’s review of Rize of the Fenix here, including all bonus tracks.

4. THE DARKNESS – Hot Cakes

I will never stop loving this band.  Welcome back.  Read LeBrain’s review of Hot Cakes here.

3.  RUSH – Clockwork Angels

My favourite Rush album since Counterparts, at least. Read LeBrain’s review of Clockwork Angels here.

2. VAN HALEN – A Different Kind of Truth

I’d never been more worried that a band would fuck up their big comeback.  Thankfully, Van Halen did not.  Read LeBrain’s review of A Different Kind of Truth here.

And finally…

1. KISS – Monster

You know this was gonna happen.  Aside from the fact that I’m the biggest Kiss fan around, it’s a fucking great record.  Read LeBrain’s review of Monster here.

Runner up:  Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson – TAAB2 Thick As A Brick 2.



I called it weeks ago and now the split is official:

Geoff Tate is OUT of Queensryche.

He has been replaced by Crimson Glory/Rising West singer Todd La Torre. 

After the now-infamous “knife incident” news, this really comes as no surprise.  The only consolation to fans is that Rising West (which is now actually Queensryche considering the membership is now identical) played exclusively material from the first 5 QR records.  Hopefully this means a return to the metal, and an end to stuff like Tribe….

Stay tuned!

If you like Queensryche, check these out:

Mike Ladano: Exclusive EDDIE JACKSON interview, part I

Mike Ladano: Exclusive EDDIE JACKSON interview, part II

Mike Ladano: Exclusive EDDIE JACKSON interview, part III

Mike Ladano: Exclusive EDDIE JACKSON interview, part IV


Todd LaTorre reports that he is in both Queensryche AND Crimson Glory, as both prepare material for new albums!  He also states:  “Queensryche enters a new chapter; buckle up.”



REVIEW: Def Leppard – Pour Some Sugar On Me / Rock of Ages 2012

DEF LEPPARD – Pour Some Sugar On Me / Rock of Ages 2012 (iTunes exclusive single)

As the title suggests, Def Leppard have re-recorded two of their biggest hits, “Pour Some Sugar” and “Rock of Ages”.  This obvious move was made to capitalize on that new Rock of Ages movie that I have no desire to see.  Also, the songs coincide with a summer tour.

Apparently, you can’t get Def Lep’s studio versions on iTunes for contractual reasons with the label, and the band didn’t want to miss the window of opportunity afforded by the movie.  So they re-recorded both songs and put them up on iTunes.

These will never replace the original songs in any universe, but they’re actually not bad.  Both tracks are very, very close to the originals.  Knowing Def Leppard I am certain that this was intentional and done with surgical precision.  Aside from some additional guitar parts and sounds added to “Pour Some Sugar On Me”, the recordings are nearly identical.  This surprised me particularly on “Rock of Ages” since you don’t hear Joe do the high voice that often anymore.

For $1.29 a piece, I’m not going to complain too much.  I doubt I’ll listen to this very often, but the obsessive compulsive collector in me is glad to have these recordings.  I’d advise serious music fans to just buy the original two albums, Hysteria and Pyromania.  Both albums are loaded to the gills with hits so you can’t go wrong, plus I believe songs are best enjoyed in the context of the albums.

Having said all this, I hope some kind of limited edition physical release is forthcoming.  The collector in me would like that.

3/5 stars.

UPDATE:  According to Joe Elliot, there are more of these “forgeries” coming.


REVIEW: Rush – Clockwork Angels

RUSH – Clockwork Angels (2012)

When the first single from Clockwork Angels was released in 2010 (!!!) I wasn’t too into the new songs.  “BU2B”/”Caravan” were heavy and stomping but to me, not memorable.

Then the band went on tour and finished the album and that’s why you’re reading this today.

Alex, Tom, Meat, Geddy

Alex, Tom, Meat, Geddy

Like all Rush albums, Clockwork Angels is a grower.  I feel a bit like a jackass for even trying to review it after only listening to it thrice.  However, they were good listens:  Twice at home and once in the car.  Surprisingly, because Rush aren’t always this way, Clockwork Angels sounded best in the car.

To me, this album combines the “classic” 1970’s progressive sound of Rush with the classic-nouveau of 1993’s Counterparts.  At times it sounds like the band are ripping themselves off, but who cares?  This is the Rush album that many fans have been wishing for, before they went to bed each night.

Now, this is a concept album, but I don’t pretend to have penetrated the lyrics yet.  They are striking, and yet on the surface straightforward, the story easy enough to follow.  I am sure I will get more out of it I go deeper.  For example I found a reference in the text portion of the story to Neil’s late drum instructor, so who knows what is in there?

All I can tell you for certainty is that there is a fantastic world of steam powered airships that take our protagonist on a odyssey across a strange and familiar land.  There is some sort of Watchmaker that seems to run the show with clockwork precision.  I know I have heard the word “watchmaker” as a metaphor for God in the past so I wonder if Neil had that analogy in mind.

There are a lot of bright spots to this album and not a lot of lows:  I count “The Anarchist” as having some of the best Rush riffage of all time, for catchiness and simultaneous complexity.  I think “The Wreckers” would make a most excellent third single.  “Headlong Flight” is one of the best songs, and probably the most traditionally Rush sounding, with tempos careening to and fro.  “Halo Effect” has a shimmery guitar part that reminds me of Snakes and Arrows.

Even “Caravan” and “BU2B” sound fresh to me.  I am certain they are freshly mixed, so hang on to your old single, collectors!

Most importantly, you can hear the sheer joy in the playing.  Geddy, Alex and Neil sound like they are playing for nothing more and nothing less than their own enjoyment.  It’s a truly inspiring sound and I think the album will continue to grow on me, as it stays in my car deck all week….

I even rank Hugh Syme’s artwork as among his best.  Each page leaps with messages hidden and obvious, a symbology with multiple meanings.  Although truthfully, I can’t stand the front cover.  I don’t think it captures the many colours and textures within.

As with everything released these days, there are multiple versions:

  1. Stardard digipack CD
  2. Classic Rock Fan Pack (no bonus tracks though, just the magazine)
  3. And, of course…2 LP, 180 gram vinyl.  Sweet.

5/5 stars