Friday, February 27, 2009

Profound Albums

A friend of mine posted one of those survey notes on facebook yesterday asking for 15 "profound albums". My friend listed his 15 albums and not another word was said about why they were profound. I decided to look at this, and think deeply about it. I won't list 15 albums, because there are way more than that, but I will list the ones that I think were the most important because of when I got them and what they have come to represent in my life.

1. Metallica: Ride the Lightning
My obvious choice, because this was the first metal album I ever bought and it remains my favorite album of all time to this day. I got it around my 13th birthday, my grandparents used to take us shopping when it was close to our birthdays in order to let us pick out our presents. This was the only album I got that day. My musical tastes were starting to point towards metal and Metallica was the first band I really started to enjoy from the genre.

I was in junior high and no longer a kid, and I began liking this music which has shaped my life ever since just as my experiences in junior high began to shape my life. As stated before, I still consider this my favorite album and recently picked it up on vinyl.

2. Sepultura: Roots
I picked this one up in the summer between ninth and tenth grade, therefore it was at a time when I was in the middle of a conversion from junior high to high school. This album reflects that change as well as it is the first "extreme" metal album in my collection. This album was my conversion from the thrash, groove, and traditional metal I listened to in junior high to the more death-oriented stuff I listened to in high school and college. This isn't the best representation of the extreme time in Sepultura's career, but it lead me to seek out their earlier works, in particular Morbid Visions.

3. Dissection: Storm of the Light's Bane
Another album that is currently one of my all time favorites. As I was graduating from high school, I began to listen to heavier, uglier, more frightening music. This was at a time when my own personality was becoming darker as well. The early years of college, I began wearing a lot of black, with some disturbing jewelry around my neck, on my wrists, and my fingers. This was another change in my life from the rather safe high school, to the much more chaotic college life. Though I was never one to really get into trouble, there was a change in me from high school to college. This music reflects that darkness that crept into my soul little by little. Still one of the coldest sounding albums I have ever heard.

4. Meshuggah: Contradictions Collapse & None
I bought this album in the summer between my senior year of college and law school. This is an extremely difficult album to listen to, as the band is extremely complex musically. The time signature, speed, and riffs constantly change over the course of the album leaving the listener feeling uneasy and unsafe. Particularly interesting given the time in my life that I got it. College was relatively easy for me, law school was never easy. Both my personal life and my academic life were to go through some radical changes that I was not prepared for.

5. Evanescence: Fallen
Kind of an odd album for this list as it is the only non-metal album on the list. This album represents the heartache at two of the hardest things I have ever had to endure. The melancholy atmosphere and sad lyrics encapsulate the struggle I went through at the time. I have moved on in my life now and have healed from these things, but I will never forget them. I also do not own this album anymore as it was too close to the situations.

6. Mercyful Fate: Melissa
This was one of the first albums I bought in my new home. It represents the change from the old, school-based life to the new work-based life and also my transformation from casual metal fan to hardcore metal listener. It was at this time that I not only completed my education, but abandoned the false and non-metal albums I used to listen to.

7. Scorpions: Bad for Good
I bought this album from my current girlfriend and as such it has come to symbolize the relationship I am currently in. A much more positive album filled with some love songs, this has come to represent the positive state of mind that I am in, thanks to her. She has done a lot for me and I am forever grateful to her. Scorpions is one of the bands that she can actually handle listening to, but this CD would not play in her car.

8. Syrach: Days of Wrath
A very recent pickup but an apt description of my last few weeks at my current job, which will be ending next week. Need further evidence? Reread that title.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Spring Training

Well yesterday the first Red Sox Spring Training games were held and all I have to say is Thank God. This has seemed to be a longer offseason than usual. When the season gets closer, I may do a little preview.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Dear Roadrunner Records

In the 1980's and early 1990's, you and Metal Blade were perhaps the premiere heavy metal labels. Then you discovered nu-metal and have never been the same. You have even publicly stated that you probably would not sign a death metal band anymore. You fucking suck now. And now we get this list of your top 50 metal frontmen. I have underlined metal for a very good reason and here is the list along with my complaints about some of them:

1. Robert Plant (Band of Joy, Led Zeppelin, Rockestra, The Honeydrippers, Page and Plant, Strange Sensation, Alison Krauss) Led Zeppelin is NOT fucking metal, neither are any of the groups Plant has been with.
2. Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden, Samson)
3. Ronnie James Dio (Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Dio, Heaven and Hell)
4. Axl Rose (Guns N’ Roses, Hollywood Rose, L.A. Guns, Rapidfire) None of these bands are fucking metal.
5. James Hetfield (Metallica)
6. Angus Young (AC/DC) 1. AC/DC is not fucking metal. 2. Frontman typically means singer, not guitarist.
7. Alice Cooper (Alice Cooper) NOT FUCKING METAL
9. David Lee Roth (Van Halen) Not metal
10. Ozzy Osbourne (Black Sabbath, Ozzy) Should be #1.
11. Mike Patton (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Fantômas, Tomahawk, Peeping Tom, Lovage, John Zorn, Kaada/Patton, Dillinger Escape Plan, Hemophiliac, Maldoror, General Patton vs. The X-Ecutioners) I love Faith No More, nothing else he has done is worth a damn.
12. Gene Simmons (Kiss, Wicked Lester) Kiss is not a metal band.
13. Dee Snider (Twisted Sister, Desperado, Widowmaker, S.M.F.’s (Sick Mother Fuckers) )
14. HR (Bad Brains, Human Rights) Bad Brains is a fucking punk band with only occasional metal influences.
15. Rob Halford (Judas Priest, Fight, 2wo, Halford, Bullring Brummies) Should be a helluva lot higher.
16. Sebastien Bach (Madam X, Skid Row, Frameshift, Damnocracy)
17. Iggy Pop (The Stooges, The Iguanas) Definitely not a fucking metal band.
18. Henry Rollins (State of Alert, Black Flag, Henrietta Collins and the Wifebeating Childhaters, Rollins Band) Not metal
19. Marilyn Manson (Mrs. Scabtree, Marilyn Manson) Not metal
20. Serj Tankian (System of a Down, Serart, Axis of Justice,) Fuck, are there any metal singers here?
21. Phil Anselmo (Superjoint Ritual, Christ Inversion, Down, Arson Anthem, Viking Crown, Pantera) Finally got one.
22. Lemmy (Motörhead, The Rockin’ Vickers, The Head Cat)
23. Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails Pigface, Tapeworm) Not fucking metal.
24. Kerry King (Slayer) Not the frontman.
25. Danzig (Misfits, Samhain, Danzig)
26. Zach De La Rocha (Rage Against the Machine, Inside Out, Hardstance, One Day as a Lion) Not fucking metal.
27. GG Allin Very fucking far removed from metal.
28. Scott Ian (Anthrax, Stormtroopers of Death, Damnocracy, Pearl) Not the frontman, although I might make an exception since he is the most well-known member.
29. Rob Zombie (White Zombie, Scum of the Earth)
30. Tomas Lindberg (At the Gates, Disfear, The Great Deceiver, The Crown, Skitsystem) Kind of surprised to see him in here given the major mainstream nature of this list.
31. Maynard James Keenan (TexA.N.S., Children of the Anachronistic Dynasty, Tool, Green Jellÿ, Tapeworm, A Perfect Circle, Puscifer) Not fucking metal.
32. Gaahl (Gorgoroth, Trelldrom, Wardruna) Odd choice here.
33. David Coverdale (Whitesnake, Deep Purple) I'm on the fence, Deep Purple is metal, Whitesnake is not, I suppose I'll allow it.
34. Doro (Snakebite, Warlock) What a weird choice. Doro and Warlock have absolutely NO exposure in the U.S. Not that I disagree with the choice, just seems outside-the-box.
35. Greg Puciato (The Dillinger Escape Plan) Not fucking metal and I fucking HATE The Dillinger Escape Plan, pure noise, no musical structure.
36. Vince Niel (Mötley Crüe)
37. Wendy-O-Williams (Plasmatics) Not fucking metal.
38. Lita Ford (The Runaways) Despite duet with Ozzy, still not metal.
39. Conrad Lant (Venom, Cronos, Probot)
40. Mike Muir (Suicidal Tendencies, No Mercy, Infectious Grooves)
41. Alexi Laiho (Children of Bodom, Sinergy, Kylähullut, Impaled Nazarene)
42. Jeff Walker (Carcass, Blackstar, Brujeria, Electro Hippies)
43. Tom G Warrior (Hellhammer, Celtic Frost, Apollyon Sun, Triptykon) Should be higher.
44. Wino (The Obcessed, Spirit Caravan, St. Vitus, Wino)
45. Joey Demaio (Manowar) Not the frontman.
46. Chuck Billy (Testament, Dublin Death Patrol)
47. Mike Monroe (Hanoi Rocks, Demolition 23) Another completely off the wall choice as no one remembers either band, also NOT METAL.
48. Dead (Mayhem, Morbid) Really? His claim to fame is slicing both his wrists and blowing his head off with a shotgun and then appearing like that on the cover of Mayhem's Dawn of the Black Hearts live album. He did not actually appear on ANY of their full length albums.
49. Sakevi (GISM) Has ANYONE heard of GISM?
50. Till Lindemann (Rammstein, First Arsch) Not fucking metal.

Okay, out of 50 "metal frontmen", we have 29 who were actually in METAL bands and most of those were towards the bottom of the list. Roadrunner, you fucking make me sick. Let's see 21 frontmen you managed to NOT name that are in metal bands: Dave Mustaine (Megadeth, seriously how the HELL do you justify leaving him out?), Chuck Schuldiner (Death, Control Denied), Chris Barnes (Cannibal Corpse, Six Feet Under, Torture Killer, Leviathan, Tirant Sin), Chris Cornell (Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog, the rest of his bands I deny ever existed), Bobby Blitz Ellsworth (Overkill), King Diamond (Mercyful Fate, King Diamond), Max Cavalera (Sepultura, Soulfly, Cavalera Conspiracy), Ihsahn (Emperor, Ihsahn), Tom Angelripper (Sodom), Mille Petrozza (Kreator), Peter Steele (Type O Negative, Carnivore), Glen Benton (Deicide, Vital Remains), Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple, Black Sabbath), Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne, Black Label Society), Dani Filth (Cradle of Filth), Geoff Tate (Queensryche), Layne Staley (Alice in Chains, Mad Season), Johan Hegg (Amon Amarth), Quorthon (Bathory), Barney Greenway (Benediction, Napalm Death), Pepper Keenan (Corrosion of Conformity, Down).

Also, let's have a look at your current highlighted artists on your label:
Nickelback: You have got to be fucking joking.
Theory of a Deadman: Nickelback clone
Madina Lake: some sort of an emo band
Collective Soul: huh?
Cavalera Conspiracy
Machine Head
Dommin: I have no fucking clue what they are, but they are not metal, smells like emo to me.
Slipknot: I have made my feelings on this shitty band pretty clear, not metal.
3 metal bands. That's it, for a once-major metal label.
Other extraordinarily NOT METAL bands on your label these days: Airbourne, Biffy Clyro, Dresden Dolls, Sammy Hagar, Stone Sour.

You fucking suck.


Monday, February 23, 2009

The Oscars

I really don't care much about the Oscars but figured it's somewhat newsworthy, so what the hell. My biggest issue with the Oscars is the art-house nature of many of the nominees selected. I live in the middle of fucking nowhere, so NOT A SINGLE ONE of the nominees for Best Picture ever played even close to me. Slumdog Millionaire won 8 Oscars, and I hadn't even HEARD of the movie until a few weeks ago.

The only award I had any interest in whatsoever was the Best Supporting Actor. This is because I have actually seen The Dark Knight and Tropic Thunder. I can certainly see why Heath Ledger was given the award although I have never been a fan of his and in fact, only just recently even liked him enough to not boycott a movie he was in. He was a TERRIBLE actor in The Patriot, yes he was young, but that performance had me avoid him like the plague. He was good in The Dark Knight, and his award was well-deserved, although I enjoyed Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder more. We all knew Ledger would win.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Great Band, Terrible Album Pt. 4: Megadeth: Risk

Ah yes, Risk. This is the album that made me start doing this series in the first place. I fucking HATE this album, and I say this as a huge fan of Megadeth. There are a couple of halfway listenable songs on this album, but by and large it is complete and utter shit. Dave Mustaine has had an ongoing grudge against Metallica since they kicked him out of the band in New York in the early 1980's and made him take the bus back to California. Since then, Mustaine and his band Megadeth has battled constantly against their more famous rivals, although Mustaine was actually the more talented guitarist and lyricist. You can actually hear the seething rage in his vocals and you know he is still angry. Metallica would have been an absolutely unstoppable force in metal if Mustaine stayed in the band, but his alcoholism was threatening to consume him.

Megadeth produced several classic thrash metal albums Peace Sells...But Who's Buying?, So Far, So Good, So What?, and one of the all time greatest METAL albums, much less thrash metal, Rust in Peace. But, Megadeth always had an inferiority complex about Metallica, so when they simplified their sound and garnered major mainstream attention and huge record sales, Megadeth did the same, with the stated purpose of outdoing Metallica. Unfortunately, while Megadeth could do thrash better than Metallica, they couldn't do mainstream metal. Countdown to Extinction, while being a decent album, paled in comparison to The Black Album. When Metallica came out with Load, Megadeth tried to further soften their sound to keep up with the record sales of their big brother.

Which leads us to Risk. Mustaine's vocals gained a horrible whiny sound when the music was softened. They had always been a little nasally, but it got much worse here. Marty Friedman was still in the band, but his shredding guitar solos were gone. The lyrics were pathetic, best exemplified by the ridiculous wrestling anthem "Crush 'Em". It's not a bad song to get blood pumping, but serves little to no purpose other than that. The rest of the songs were incredibly weak with very few standouts. Funnily enough, even the band realized how bad this album is and almost never plays any of the songs in concert.

After Risk, Megadeth almost returned to form. They haven't fully recovered yet though. Like Metallica, I don't think they ever will.

Hot Girls in Metal Pt. 2: Sabina Classen (Holy Moses)

Holy Moses is a band from the German thrash metal scene in the mid 1980's. Sabina Classen was a pioneering frontwoman in thrash metal with the kind of inhuman shrieking growls that would make the weak-at-heart hide under the covers. Plus she looks like this:

The 5 Most Annoying Music Fans

I'm going to start this with a disclaimer. I am referring in this post to the stereotypical fans of this shit. If you or someone you know is a fan and does not meet the stereotype, good job. I really don't give a fuck. I would have liked to get pictures of some of these freak-shows, but it may not be the best idea in the world to take someone's picture off of the internet, so whatever.

5. Prog Rock Fanboys
My favorite thing about progressive rock fanboys is the fact that they think they're smarter than the average music fan because they listen to this unlistenable bullshit. The rest of the world "doesn't get it". Unfortunately, we do "get it", your music is pretentious crap. Just because a band knows a lot of music theory and can play in odd time signatures or change time signatures quickly doesn't mean they know the first goddamn thing about writing a memorable song. In fact much of this crap doesn't have much melody in it at all, preferring to use the progressive elements to mask the fact that they can't write enjoyable music for shit. There are some decent progressive rock/metal bands out there, unfortunately there's a bunch of shit out there too. But if you don't like the music, the fanboys WILL let you know just how stupid they think you are.
THE MUSIC: I'm not sure The Mars Volta actually knows what a song is. Coheed and Cambria sound like what would happen if someone threw an emo band and a prog rock band into a blender, drank it, and then shit it out. Yes, they ARE that bad.

4. Teeny Boppers
Only rating this low because I no longer work at Target or see them that often, otherwise they may contend for #1. Teeny boppers are better known as the gaggle of shrieking pre-pubescent girls at the nearest Jonas Brothers atrocity, crying and screaming and falling all over themselves and their musically-challenged idols. In the eyes of a teeny bopper, their idols are absolutely infallible, their music the absolute best in history, no matter how objectively horrendous it actually may be. The music is ultimately disposable, probably never to be remembered after five years. However, the teeny bopper will claim they will love it forever, after several years it may gain a nostalgia factor, but litte else redeeming it. Just look at the New Kids on the Block for proof.
THE MUSIC: Whatever horrible little boy band is currently popular.

3. Indie Fans
The major thing to remember is that they listen to horrible shit that you have never heard of. Be glad for that. They hate everything you have heard of and will namedrop bands that no one in their right mind has heard of or would listen to. The more obscure the better. Indie fans are well known for their fickle attitudes toward music. The minute one of their favorite groups becomes popular, they WILL stop listening. There are a few exceptions, bands who never leave the collection of the indie fan. Their music taste is unimpeachable and they will backtrack if you call them on their fickle nature.
THE MUSIC: Constantly changing crap that they play on those college radio stations that normal people avoid like the plague. Radiohead is the standard by which all other loser crap is measured.

2. Emos
Oh god, do I hate emos. Thankfully this trend SHOULD be coming to an end soon. I suppose there's more to being an emo than wearing girls jeans, haircuts that look like they stuck a fork into a toaster, outrageously elaborate Myspace profiles, feeling depressed and cutting themselves, and the patently offensive music...what am I saying? There really isn't. Emos are histrionic attention whores who listen to terrible music.
THE MUSIC: Most bands identified as being emo nowadays claim that they were never emo in the first place, thus abandoning their psychologically fragile fanbase. Good for them, but still, go the fuck away.

1. Juggalos
What's worse than an emo? A juggalo. Seriously, there is a movement of fans centered around the absolute worse pile of horseshit music to ever sprout legs and crawl out of the primordial ooze that is "pop music", Insane Clown Posse. Completely emotionally stunted and intellectually retarded, these jackasses will jump to the defensive if anyone says anything slightly demeaning towards "the family" or their godawful shit music. I'm expecting a few death threats just from writing this. Seriously, look up "juggalo" on youtube.
THE MUSIC: As mentioned before, Insane Clown Posse. Yes, an entire sub"culture" of fans derived from one horrible band that features a couple of asshats in clown makeup.
(DIS)HONORABLE MENTION: Suburban white kids who listen to and center their life around rap music. See: Malibu's Most Wanted, or don't, I don't give a fuck.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sepultura Discography

Brazil's Sepultura was one of the first extreme metal bands I got into. I initially heard their cover of Black Sabbath's "Symptom of the Universe" on a tribute album. It was one of the first times I had really heard more extreme vocals. I decided to check out a full length album, Roots, which will be discussed later. As it turns out, Sepultura has had a variety of different sounds throughout the years.


Sepultura was one of the early bands who can be described as death metal. The sound was rooted in thrash, but with more extreme vocals, Max Cavalera's harsh rasp at the time. Morbid Visions was their first full length album, and my copy has the Bestial Devastation EP (their very first recording) tacked on as a bonus. The sound was raw, the drummer Igor Cavalera frequently played out of time, the vocals were not consistent, the bassist could barely be heard, and the production was terrible. It's a classic album, and to this day one of my favorites. All of the faults just add to the charm of this early death metal album.

Schizophrenia was next. Still a little more on the death metal side of things, the musicianship improved by leaps and bounds. The guitar solos sounded better and Max fully developed his harsh growl that he still uses to this day. The album also featured one of their most recognizable songs "Escape to the Void". It was clear at this point that the band was headed in the thrash direction and would be one of the leaders in the scene.


Beneath the Remains is one of the all time greatest thrash metal albums. More of a brutal thrash metal record as Max's vocals were certainly not for the weak of heart. The first few songs were classic tracks and still are popular with fans of the band and thrash in general. The rest of the album drags a little bit but remains at a high level.

Arise carried on with the sound of Beneath the Remains. Once more, several classic songs appeared making this another classic thrash record. This was the height of Sepultura's career creatively. The dual guitar work of Max Cavalera and Andreas Kisser was tighter than it had ever been, Igor Cavalera had turned out to be a very capable drummer, and bassist Paulo Jr. is one of the better bass players in the scene.

Other releases that I picked up in this time period were the Dead Embryonic Cells CD single featuring a cover of Motorhead's classic "Orgasmatron", and Third World Posse, an EP featuring a few live songs, a cover of a Dead Kennedys song, and "Dead Embryonic Cells". These releases are not essential unless one is a huge fan of the band, however Sepultura is an incredible live band.


Sepultura begn declining creatively after Arise. The popularity of groups like Pantera and Machine Head began to rub off on them and they altered their sound to get more in line with the popular trend. The songs became simpler and slower, the vocals remained basically the same, the bass became a much more prominent instrument, and the guitar solos toned down. Sepultura did succeed in becoming a more popular band.

Chaos A.D. was the first album released in this period. The opening track "Refuse/Resist" is possibly their most well-known song. "Territory" won an MTV Brazil Video Music Award. The biggest development though was the song "Kaiowas" which was an acoustic instrumental song showcasing the band's Brazillian roots. Not a bad album, it just pales in comparison to their previous work.

Roots was next, an album which saw the band expand upon the tribal influences seen in "Kaiowas". Many songs featured tribal drums instead of the standard drum set. "Itsari" was an acoustic song played in the jungle with Xavante people chanting over the top. Unfortunately, the songwriting suffered greatly and there were very few standout tracks. Roots was a critical and commercial success, but widely panned by metalheads.

The band also released an EP called Refuse/Resist featuring the song of the same name, a couple of other tracks, and some live songs. Finally, after Roots released, the record label Roadrunner decided to capitalize on the band's newfound fame and release Blood-Rooted, a collection of rare tracks and live versions of songs.


Unfortunately, soon after, singer Max Cavalera left the band due to a dispute between his wife, band manager Gloria Cavalera, and guitarist Andreas Kisser. This lead to Derrick Green becoming the new singer. Against was the first album released under the newly formed band. Essentially Roots II, this album offered nothing new and Green was not the dynamic frontman that Max had been. The band went on to release several more albums. Max went on to form Soulfly which has released several albums along the veins of Roots as well.

Recently Igor Cavalera left Sepultura leaving Andres Kisser as the only original member of the band. Igor and Max rejoined to form Cavalera Conspiracy which combines the groove metal sound and thrash metal sound. Not a bad album, but not a full time band either. Max is still busy with Soulfly while Sepultura just released a new album as well.

Sepultura has been accused of being a bandwagon jumping band and there is certainly evidence to that effect. Starting out as a proto-death metal band, Sepultura softened their sound to the thrash metal that was popular in the late 1980's. After Pantera and Machine Head popularized the groove sound, Sepultura followed along. When nu-metal became popular with groups like Korn, Sepultura again dumbed down their music. Fortunately, they released some killer albums during the time.

Great Band, Terrible Album Pt. 3: Black Sabbath: Forbidden

I love Black Sabbath. One of my all time favorite bands, and of course, the very first metal band. However, the band went through a LOT of changes over the years. The original version is my favorite with Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Bill Ward. A lot of casual metal/hard rock fans don't really realize that Ozzy is not the driving force and main member of Black Sabbath. In fact, Tony Iommi was one of the principal songwriters and came up with the riffs which later became Sabbath's well-known sound. Iommi also seems to own the rights to the name Black Sabbath which is why he is the only member who has been with the band throughout its history.

Sabbath moved on after Ozzy was kicked out and brought in Ronnie James Dio. The sound changed obviously as Ozzy and Dio are much different singers but they were still releasing some good music. The band did decline quite a bit after Dio left and they went through a couple different vocalists including Ian Gillan (Deep Purple), Glenn Hughes (also Deep Purple oddly), and a whole host of individuals for tours. Tony Martin brought a little stability and sounded a little like a deeper-voiced version of Dio. He did a decent job, but the band should have stopped releasing albums as Black Sabbath by this time.

Forbidden is the last full-length, original album by Black Sabbath so far. It was released in 1995 and was the only album not to feature Geezer Butler on bass. With only one original member, this band proved to be fairly lackluster in the songwriting department as Geezer was another very important piece to the puzzle. Another problem was the rushed nature of the music, there is some decent potential, but the ideas were not fully formed. Finally, the appearance of Ice-T rapping over the first song is a little off-putting on a Black Sabbath album. For being a poor excuse for a Black Sabbath album, only having one original member, and including a rapper (albeit one who does have an admittedly strong interest in metal), this album is a terrible release from a great band.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Dusting off a Cassette Pt. 2: Quiet Riot: Winners Take All

This album is a Greatest Hits collection for a band that doesn't actually need an entire collection. Really one 7" record would cover all two of the band's good songs. I honestly don't remember what possessed me to pick up this tape. It couldn't have been the cover. I think I got it for a couple of bucks in a gas station on the way to Washington when I was in junior high. At that point, I would pick up anything and everything I could get my hands on that people were calling metal. Anyway, this is one of my very few forays into the world of "glam metal". Thank god. Not that there aren't any decent songs on here, "Cum On, Feel the Noize" is obviously a classic, even I will admit that. Besides that, there's "Metal Health" and that's about it. Many of the other songs are geared towards being party anthems and the level of stupidity in it is palpable. The one exception is "The Wild and the Young" which appears to be a later, much more mature sounding song. I don't know, I see the value in this collection as Quiet Riot was an important band in getting metal some mainstream recognition, but they did not have that many noteworthy songs and faded into obscurity almost as fast as they rose to prominence. Blech.

Hot Girls in Metal Pt. 1 Christina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil)

Someone once claimed to me that metal was just for white men, that there were no women or minorities in metal. Obviously this is not true. We have metal groups from all over the world, including Africa, South America, and Asia. I don't need to point out how ridiculous that comment is. There are even African American musicians in groups from the U.S.A., including Suffocation, God Forbid, and Hirax among others. This post is more geared towards the women comment though. I present Exhibit A to the court , Lacuna Coil singer Christina Scabbia:

Lacuna Coil basically is popular solely for Scabbia. The music is nothing new or inspired, normal gothic metal, emphasis on the metal part. A lot of people view them as a heavier Evanescence, which is not true. Lacuna Coil has been around longer, play better music, and Scabbia is hotter than Amy Lee. Sorry.

Destroyer 666 Discography

Ah yes, Destroyer 666. Australia has quite the interesting scene with all of these so-called "war metal" bands running around. There's also Bestial Warlust, Gospel of the Horns, Destruktor, Abominator, and Atomizer over the years. D666 is the best of the group with the catchiest music. There was a major stylistic change over the years though. We'll get to that.


The first EP from D666, after a demo, this album features more of a black metal feel to it. The razor sharp riffs are present as well as the raspy vocals that the band would be come known for. Unfortunately many of the songs do not feel complete, and it was obvious that this was not a main priority at the time. The EP was later re-released with several bonus tracks.


The first full length album built upon the black metal sound of the earlier EP. Some of the songs from that EP are present here as well. The band fleshed these songs out a little more and the album as a whole feels much more complete. Some death metal touches were added in as well. Still at this point, D666 was not a main priority for the members.


Two EPs came in between these two full length albums. This one features a much more mature sound. The band had become a priority at this point. The death metal touches were expanded upon and there were even some thrash metal influences here. The song "I am the Wargod" is one of the most recognizable for the band. The raspy vocals were used to great effect and the riffs became even more jagged and angular.


This is my personal favorite as the band had become a blackened thrash metal band at this point. The songs are shorter and more straightforward but with a level of intensity missing for much of the band's career up to this point. KK Warslut is at his rasping shrieking best and the guitar riffs are frenetic and memorable.


The band's last recorded output to this point is this EP released in 2003. More of an amalgamation of the previous two albums, hopefully this will be the sound of any future recordings from D666. I am still awaiting their newest release which should be out some time this year.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Great Band, Terrible Album Pt. 2: Metallica: Load

I remember distinctly the anticipation. I was 15 years old, just out of junior high. Metallica had been my favorite band since the seventh grade. I picked up all of their albums quickly, at that point there were only five. I considered myself a big heavy metal fan already, even though I only listened to about ten to fifteen groups regularly. Metallica was the favorite though.

It had been six long years since Metallica's last full length album, colloquially known as "The Black Album." That album lifted Metallica into another stratosphere, previously only known to such metal luminaries as Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and Iron Maiden. Metallica was one of the biggest bands in the world, not just in metal, but all of rock music. They had toured with Ozzy Osbourne and Guns 'N Roses. They were huge. Obviously this album was one of the most highly anticipated releases in years.

There was one song on the radio prior to the album being released. A kind of strange sounding song called "Until It Sleeps." It was different, not nearly as aggressive as their prior material. Their prior album had simplified and slowed things noticeably, but this was completely different. I liked the song, so much that I picked up the CD single while I was still waiting for the album to be released.

The day finally came and I went to pick it up as soon as I could get my hands on it. I was shocked when I heard it. Gone was much of the aggression. The band had lightened their sound considerably even since the last album. In its stead, Metallica had become a blues-driven hard rock/sometime heavy metal band. There were some decent songs, but nothing like what came before. The worst song of the bunch "Mama Said" sounded like it should be played in a seedy, smoky country bar room after a rodeo. The album was long, nearly 79 minutes, and only a few standout songs. I was crushed, Metallica had let me down.

After six years I was expecting an amazing album, Metallica did not deliver that album. Now, 13 years later, Metallica still has yet to deliver an album building upon "The Black Album". Reload was more of the same, released shortly after Load. St. Anger is a stripped down, emotional roller coaster of an album, but is too bulky, its good ideas not fully fleshed out, and horrible production and lack of guitar solos make it a difficult listen. Death Magnetic is the closest Metallica has come to reclaiming their legacy. Metallica did a few things right during this downtime, Garage Inc. is a pretty decent cover album featuring two discs, one with all new cover songs, and the other with all of their previous cover songs recorded for singles. Disc Two is the best, but the Mercyful Fate cover on Disc One showed Metallica could still kill it. S&M, the live album featuring the San Francisco Philharmonic was interesting, with some quality moments. Finally, live Metallica was still great.

Load is the album that halted Metallica's forward momentum like a brick wall, even though "The Black Album" was a major decrease in quality. Metallica has yet to recover, though some positive steps have been taken.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Ozzy, Maybe It's Time to Retire

I have an enormous amount of respect for Ozzy Osbourne. Obviously he is the first metal singer ever and has an amazingly unique voice. He's put out some great albums even after leaving Black Sabbath. However, lately he's become a laughingstock. I was reasonably okay with The Osbournes reality show, but mostly because I rarely watched it. His albums have declined in quality with each successive one since Ozzmosis. Sharon Osbourne has become the true public face of the family in recent years showing up on shows like America's Got Talent, and Rock of Love Charm School. But now, I see a trailer for an Osbournes variety show. Ozzy has now completely bankrupted any artistic integrity he had left. Maybe it's time to fade into obscurity. Go away Ozzy, and let me remember the good times. You can see the trailer here:

Friday, February 13, 2009

Dusting Off a Cassette Pt. 1: Motley Crue: Dr. Feelgood

I used to get all of my music on cassette. It's true, they still sold cassettes when I was getting into heavy metal. Once in awhile, I like to dig into my tape collection and listen to some stuff that I liked when I was first getting into the music. Motley Crue is definitely not one of my favorite bands. This tape was handed down to me from my older brother who always said that one day I would grow out of the music. Here I am, in my late 20's still listening, and my tastes have actually gotten more extreme.

Back to Motley Crue. Most of the so-called "hair metal" or "glam metal" bands were not actually metal. Motley Crue for parts of their existence were an exception. Their early years, they were definitely a metal band, and on this album, there are several metal songs, making it predominantly a metal album. Of course "Dr. Feelgood" is a classic barn-burner of a song, revving up the Crue's engines for the rest of the album. And then of course, it gets into the sleaze. Several songs are typically sex-charged. Motley Crue has never been known for it's subtlety as shown in songs such as "Slice of Your Pie", "Rattlesnake Shake", "Sticky Sweet", and "She Goes Down". There are also the requisite power ballads for a "hair metal" band "Without You" and "Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)". Overall, pretty standard fare for this type of band and this time period.
P.S. I haven't figured out how to do umlauts, sorry.

Dear Fuse and Talking Metal

Dear Fuse and Talking Metal:

I caught the show Talking Metal tonight. Some interesting guests. Only one major problem though. In This Moment is not a fucking metal band. One more thing, Atreyu is most definitely not a fucking metal band. Fuck off. Get better fucking guests and at least TRY to get a metal band when the fucking word is in the fucking title.


P.S. In This Moment attempted cover songs of Iron Maiden and Pantera. This was a fucking atrocity.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Big Three of German Thrash

Lost in the big retro-thrash trend of the day is the fact that the only bands being revisited are from the U.S., in particular the Bay Area. Several bands have popped up in the last few years. Merciless Death sounds like Dark Angel, Trivium sounds like Metallica (at least on The Crusade), Evile sounds like Slayer, Warbringer sounds like Exodus, and I could go on and on. Unfortunately, there are not very many new retro bands trying to sound like the German Big Three of thrash: Kreator, Sodom, and Destruction. Bands influenced by these three are typically still a bit more underground such as Nocturnal Fear and Devastator. Fortunately, unlike most of the American bands, Kreator, Sodom, and Destruction are still around and still putting out killer albums.


It's very difficult for me to choose my favorite German thrash band, although if nailed down, I would probably go with Kreator. On their earliest albums, the band employed two singers. It was not until Mille Petrozza officially took over the helm that they truly became a great band. Their early material was great, but Mille's songs were always the highlights because of his shrieking vocals. Pleasure to Kill is one of the greatest metal albums of all time, much less thrash albums. Unfortunately Kreator went through a little dry spell in the mid to late 1990's. However, they came roaring back in the 2000's. "Enemy of God" is a great newer thrash metal song. Recently they have been incorporating some melodeath influences, but recent album Hordes of Chaos is still a great release.


Sodom is the most consistent of the German thrash bands. Unlike Kreator or Destruction, there really was no period of time when they were not putting out consistently good music. Early Sodom is often considered one of the forebears of death and black metal. When they became a straight thrash metal band, they put out amazing album after amazing album, such as Agent Orange, Persecution Mania, and Tapping the Vein. Even now, they still put out consistently good and memorable albums, even though re-recording their first EP may not have been the most popular move.


Honestly, my least favorite of the three German bands, but certainly a great band nonetheless. Destruction's vocalist Schmier is similar to Mille Petrozza of Kreator in delivery, but not as effective. The ultimate thing that sets Destruction apart from the other two bands is the guitar riffs. Destruction has been blessed with some amazingly creative guitarists. Much like the other two bands, Destruction is still going strong. D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N., released in 2008, was a very strong album.

Another German thrash metal band that has captured my interest and which will probably be discussed at length in the future is Holy Moses.

At the end of the day, Kreator has the best singer, Sodom the best songs, and Destruction the best riffs.

Dear Grammy Awards

Dear Grammy Awards:

Last night, you got one sort of right. Metallica did deserve the Grammy over the other crap that you nominated. However you have a long history of completely missing the fucking point with metal. First of all, Slipknot is not a fucking metal band. Secondly, perhaps if you dug a little deeper, you might find that there were much better albums out last year than Judas Priest, Metallica, Dragonforce, and Ministry.

You have a real fucking spotty record with regard to nominations and winners in general for this category. Looking over the list of winners, we have the following completely non-metal bands: Slipknot, Korn (what the fuck, not even Korn believes they are a metal band), Tool, Deftones (this one completely astonishes me and they fucking won over Iron Maiden for fuck's sake), Nine Inch Nails (if you don't use real instruments, it's hard to claim you're a metal band and they won twice), Rage Against the Machine, and the grand-daddy of all Grammy fuck-ups Jethro fucking Tull. The following completely-non-fucking-metal bands were nominated over the years: Stone Sour (really?), Mudvayne, Rammstein, Hatebreed, Marilyn Manson, Spineshank, P.O.D. (wow), Rob Zombie, System of a Down, Nashville Pussy, Rollins Band (I like Henry Rollins, but his band is most certainly not even fucking close to a metal band)

You have been warned Grammy. Either learn about real metal, try a little harder for nominations, or stop giving out the damn award.


Friday, February 6, 2009

Great Band, Terrible Album Pt. 1: Tiamat: A Deeper Kind of Slumber

Tiamat was actually never a great band, although early in their career, they put out a couple of great albums. The Astral Sleep is a masterful atmospheric death metal album, very emotional and powerful. Soon thereafter though, Tiamat began incorporating gothic rock influences into their sound. Soon these influences began to become the sound. By the time A Deeper Kind of Slumber was released, all the death metal elements had been drained. This album marked the end of the atmospheric death metal sound of the previous albums. The harsh vocals were gone, the powerful riffs, even the pounding drums had all been replaced. Slumber indeed. I have attempted to listen to this album on several occasions and each time, I end up falling asleep. There are almost no dynamics, no energy at all. Unfortunately, Tiamat has never totally recovered as this is basically their current sound. They have attempted to re-add some metal influences, but the deep atmospheric death metal of The Astral Sleep is gone forever.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Metal Maniacs? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

I found out yesterday that Metal Maniacs and its sister magazine Metal Edge are closing their doors. This is very bad news. I have had a subscription for a couple of years now to Maniacs and have relied on it for finding new bands. I've looked at other metal magazines and none of them have really compared to Maniacs. With any luck, another publishing company will realize the market and loyalty of metalheads and bring it back. I'm not counting on it, but I hope so.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Gothenburg Melodic Death Metal

In the early 1990's a metal scene started to develop in Gothenburg, Sweden. This would later come to be known as melodic death metal. The early years were pretty decent for bands from the city. There was originality to the music. Three bands became synonymous with the scene: At the Gates, Dark Tranquillity, and In Flames. Now however, the scene is viewed with scorn. The three innovators began to soften or simplify their sound and the music was further bastardized and glutted with copycats. Even in the U.S., the metalcore scene of the early 2000's borrowed heavily from Gothenburg. This was a style of metal that I liked very early on. Some of the albums are still favorites of mine, but there is a decrease in quality. Let's look at the three major bands and their early releases followed by their latest:


The first full length album from At the Gates was The Red in the Sky is Ours. This album featured some folk elements, such as the use of a violin. The music was essentially death metal with folk elements and a little extra melody. An essential album for many death metal heads, not just those than want melody.

Slaughter of the Soul was the final album by the band and is often considered the quintessential Gothenburg album. This is the album that has been copied and bastardized over the years. Not a bad album by any means, but the folk elements are completely gone and the music has been simplified to an insane degree. Fast and fun to listen to, but mostly devoid of any real meaning. At the Gates broke up after this album in 1995. The members are still active in groups like The Haunted and Disfear.


Dark Tranquillity's first album Skydancer was similar to At the Gates first album in the heavy atmosphere of the music. Dark Tranquillity's first album is a masterpiece, one of my all time favorite albums. The only thing that would make it better is if Mikael Stanne, their main singer through the years, was the vocalist on this release. The music is haunting and intense.

Dark Tranquillity later began heavy usage of keyboards. The music changed, but remained good. No longer really resembling death metal at all, the keyboards give a strong sense of melody to the rest of the music. The only thing close to resembling death metal is the voice of Stanne. Dark Tranquillity is still a quality band, but the epic feel of the first album is long since gone.

This is the band that is most often associated with both the good and the bad of the Gothenburg scene. Oddly enough, singer Anders Friden was the vocalist on Dark Tranquillity's first album while Mikael Stanne was In Flames's first singer.

The Lunar Strain was In Flames's first album. Once again, there was a heavy folk influence to the music with acoustic guitar interludes and the occasional string section. The rest of the music was typically Iron Maiden-esque riffs sped up and down-tuned with Stanne's death metal growls.

After Friden became the singer, the band released a few more quality albums.

Then came Reroute to Remain. While this album is a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine, this was definitely when the band started to turn. There are some nu-metal elements to the music and most of the death metal elements are gone. There would be two more albums in this style.

Which brings us to A Sense of Purpose. I can't get into this album much at all. There are a couple of catchy tracks, but it is painfully obvious that In Flames's top priority is popularity at this point.

Other bands exhibiting the Gothenburg sound include Arch Enemy (mostly known for their female singer Angela Gossow and her strong death growls), Soilwork, and Gardenian. In recent years, there has been a new movement of melodic death bands from Finland such as Insomnium, Omnium Gatherum, and Mors Principium Est. These bands take many cues from the Gothenburg scene but add their own flavors to it.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


Check out this link. Someone sent this video to me, and I thought it deserved a response.

What the hell?

Okay a couple of points:

1. You're young, so I won't give you too much crap.

2. You don't like metal, that's fine, that's your opinion. I happen to hate rap music. That is my opinion. I have my reasons, I won't get into that. I respect it as music, I just don't care for it.

3. If it's too loud, you're too old.

4. If you can't come up with a more convincing argument than "it's retarded and it's terrible" you probably should not be announcing your position publicly.

5. It's interesting that you criticize people for overgeneralizing rap because of the mainstream version of the genre dealing with sex, drugs, and parties, but then you immediately overgeneralize metal as being all about worshipping the devil.

6. Strumming a few chords, making sounds out of the guitar, strumming fast and loud: These things are called being able to play the guitar. This is a musical SKILL. These people practice a lot to be able to do these things. Get a clue.

7. No reason? Again, these people can PLAY their instruments and usually know a thing or two about music theory, which chords sound good with which other chords, and the like. Again, this is a musical SKILL.

8. Rap can be about anything. That's fine, so can metal. For proof, see my review of Ahab, about the story Moby Dick.

9. Rap takes more talent because of being able to make a rap beat on a computer? I'm intrigued. I have no doubt that being able to do these things takes some sort of skill, but it's not musical skill. It's being able to operate the damn software program.

10. Fashion? It's true, some people look like fucking idiots who listen to metal. Some people look like fucking idiots who listen to rap as well. Rap did bring us sagging pants, grills, and bling after all. I'm a lawyer, I wear suits most of the time, I have no piercings or tattoos, and I listen to metal.

11. Metal in the 1950's? Metal didn't exist until the late 1960's when Black Sabbath and Deep Purple came around.

12. I don't remember the devil telling me to terrorize people. I must have missed out.