Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dusting Off a Cassette Pt. 11: Spinal Tap: Spinal Tap (Soundtrack)

This is quite possibly the oddest item in my entire collection. When I was first discovering music, my dad found a travel case filled with tapes right next to a lake. No one was around and it was pretty beat up so he decided to bring it home with him. My brothers and I dug through it to see if there was anything decent. At the time I was not at all impressed with anything. Later on, when metal had taken hold of me, I went back through the tapes along with all of my parents' records and CDs in search of something. I found this tape and Suicidal Tendencies: Join the Army.

I did not know it at the time, but this was a soundtrack to a movie and the band was not real. I had even seen the band on The Simpsons so I had no idea that they were not a real band. With that being said, I was not overly impressed with the music on the album at first. There were some decent songs but the lyrics seemed absurd. "Big Bottom" and "Sex Farm" were of course sexually explicit and several songs did not come close to resembling metal.

Later on, I did discover that the band was fake, although the actors who played the over-the-hill band in the movie did really play these songs. It gave the songs a bit of a different feel knowing that. Then I saw the movie, seriously one of the funniest movies I have ever seen. The mockumentary is about the band travelling the U.S. on tour, which can only be described as an unmitigated disaster. Between drummers dying mysteriously, problems with set props, an album cover that was too sexually explicit so the label released a simply black cover (pictured), not being able to find the stage, and inner squabbles, nothing seems to go right. A great movie, I highly recommend it. The album though, is unnecessary with the exceptions of "Stone Henge" and "Hell Hole".

It's Finally Out!

I had to stop by the local "music store" (in quotes because it doesn't quite qualify), after lunch to pick it up. I haven't been this excited by a new release that I rushed out and got it on the day of release for awhile.

This definitely makes the news that Creed is putting together a new album go down easier.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Dusting Off a Cassette Pt. 10: Queensryche: Empire

First of all, I still don't have the slightest clue how to do umlauts on the computer. Stupid umlauts. Anyway, I apologize about that, there should be one over the "y" in Queensryche. Queensryche is something of an odd band for me to be into. They are a progressive metal band, at least in the early years, but a lot of the aggression left the band in the mid to late 1980's. They are very melodic, fitting in with the state of metal during the time period.

This album is one of the albums where the band became progressively poppier. It's not a problem though, they still had one more good full length album in them after this before they completely went to crap. This one is filled with power ballads for the most part. "Silent Lucidity" is one of their bigger hits and combined with "Jet City Woman", "Another Rainy Night (Without You)", "Della Brown", "Hand on Heart", and "One and Only" almost completely fills the album with power ballads. Not bad when I am in a more mellow mood, or when Mrs. shadowking86 is around. There are some harder songs on the album as well. "Empire" and "Resistance" are heavier straightahead rockers. All in all, I like this album, but definitely not as much as the earlier stuff like Operation: Mindcrime.

Red Sox vs. Yankees 2009 Pt. 1

Well, the Red Sox and Yankees had their first three game series of the 2009 season over the weekend at Fenway Park. This is always a huge series and it proved to be quite an interesting one. The Red Sox did come away with the sweep, which they always seem to do well in the first series against the Yankees but have trouble later.

On Friday night, the Red Sox were down by two in the bottom of the ninth inning with two outs and a runner on. The Yankees pitcher was Mariano Rivera, a surefire Hall of Famer. Jason Bay was at the plate and he drilled a Rivera cutter into the center field bleachers, the deepest part of the ballpark to tie the game. Welcome to the rivalry, Bay. I find myself more and more impressed with Jason Bay all the time. He is a quiet player, but he does pretty much everything well. He can hit for average, power, make the occasional stolen base, play good defense, and he has a decent arm. Later in the 11th inning, Kevin Youkilis hit a home run off Damaso Marte out of the ballpark to win it. Youkilis has quickly become one of my favorite players. He is a true gritty player and plays hard day in and day out. He has also become one of the best hitters in the league. Jon Lester did not have his best stuff on Friday but he kept the game close and the bullpen stepped up at the end with Ramon Ramirez, acquired in the Coco Crisp trade, getting the win and Jonathan Papelbon getting the save.

Saturday was a messy game. Josh Beckett did not have very good command and the Red Sox fell behind early 6-0. A.J. Burnett, one of the Yankees huge free agent signings in the offseason, looked unstoppable, but somehow the Red Sox came back. This game became a seesaw battle. The lead shifted back and forth several times. Jason Varitek, who has a horrible batting average with the bases loaded, launched a grand slam from the left side of the plate to get the Red Sox close. Varitek's power looks to be back this year, hopefully he can get to be a little more consistent at the plate and raise his average. Later, Jacoby Ellsbury tied it with his first home run of the year. That leaves David Ortiz as the only Red Sox regular without a home run this year. Hard to believe since Ortiz is a good bet to end up as the team leader. Later on, after a crucial Dustin Pedroia error, the Red Sox were behind again 10-9. The Mike Lowell launched a three run home run to put the Red Sox ahead for good. He would later blast a three-run double to put the game out of reach for the Yankees. The pitching in this game was worrisome, Beckett was awful and the bullpen, tired from the previous night, couldn't keep the Yankees off the bases.

Sunday night was amazing. Justin Masterson pitched very well. He will make it difficult for Terry Francona to put back in the bullpen when Daisuke Matsuzaka comes back from his injury. Masterson was just one of the vaunted, young Red Sox players on display. Hunter Jones and Michael Bowden both came out to pitch great in relief. Hunter Jones looks like a very talented young bullpen arm, further adding to the depth. Bowden will be a starter someday. Of course, the biggest story of the day was Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury came into the game with eight stolen bases and added two more. His steal of second early in the game led to the tying run after the Yankees took a 1-0 lead. In the fifth inning, with the bases loaded and Andy Pettitte apparently not paying attention, Ellsbury took off from third and stole home on a straight steal, sliding in ahead of the pitch. I have seen highlights of this happening, but had never seen it happen live on TV. I was shocked. My jaw dropped open and I stood there in awe. Ellsbury has game-changing speed. I have seen him beat out routine ground balls and saw him score from second base on a wild pitch. He stole 50 bases last year and looks like he is aiming for 70 this year. I just hope he can be a more consistent hitter so he can be on base. Last summer he slumped for a long time. He probably would have stolen a lot more but he became flustered with his inability to hit and didn't steal for a long period of time. Hopefully he will not go through that again. I love having a bona fide base stealer on this team.

It was an exhausting weekend, but it ended well. I have seen Yankees fans on forums trying to shrug it off by saying any of those games could have gone the other way. Of course they could have, any game COULD go the other way. That's the nature of the sport, anything can happen at any time. The fact of the matter is, they didn't and the Yankees were humiliated in Boston. Their Hall of Fame closer blew what should have been an easy win, they couldn't hold a 6-0 lead, and Ellsbury stole home, something that should NEVER happen. That about sums up the three game series.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Metal Magazine Review Pt. 4 of 4: Terrorizer: Limey Bastards

Finally, the last issue in this series. Terrorizer is a British magazine like Metal Hammer. Unlike Metal Hammer, Terrorizer doesn't suck. It's expensive though. $10.00 per issue here in the states. Let's see if it's worth it.

2 Free CDs +25: Holy shit. Two free CDs? I am there. The first disc is a sampler disc of some new or upcoming releases. There's some good shit on here: Samael, Svarrtjern, Tribulation, Mantic Ritual. There's also some crap, I am not at all impressed with Spoonful of Vicodin. The second disc is a collection of unsigned bands. Again, some decent, some bad, but the problem with this disc is that nothing truly stands out.

Cannibal Corpse cover +5: Let me state for the record that Cannibal Corpse is a mainstream band. They are not highly accessible, but they are mainstream. Everyone, even people who don't listen to metal, has heard of them. Terrorizer gets points for having a true metal band on the cover, but it is not like Metal Maniacs who has had on its final two covers Kreator and Absu.

Deaf Metal -1: This is another of those lists that the contributors list what they are listening to lately. There's some awful stuff here: Adam Ant (really? Who the fuck listens to Adam Ant?), Botch, Today is the Day, Psyopus, and Iwrestledabearonce. I am concerned about the contributors.

Choice Cuts +10: Rather than go through individually all the bands they profile, I will just give a combined score for having Tribulation, Isole, Gravedigger, Legion of the Damned, Ironsword, Eibon, and more.

Cannibal Corpse article +5: Nice, long article on a misunderstood band. Cannibal Corpse's lyrics are violent, but they are not violent people. In fact, they're kinda nerdy. Corpsegrinder, the singer is well known for his World of Warcraft obsession. Funny band really.

Lamb of God article -2: Not because I dislike the band, I don't, I have a couple of their albums. But the English magazine shows its ignorance of American metal by proclaiming this band as Southern metal. No, just no. There's nothing SOUTHERN about them. They are a groove metal band in the same vein as Pantera. Southern metal would be Down or later Corrosion of Conformity.

Absu article +1: I love the new album and they are some bizarre people.

Grindcore article feature -15: Grindcore is not metal, it barely qualifies as music half the time, just listen to the Spoonful of Vicodin track on the sampler CD. It is an outgrowth of hardcore. I wish I could find a magazine that had the same qualifications for coverage as the Metal Archives. This article is very long too, which is why it lost so many points. This part (the first part was in last month's issue) discusses American grind and features an essential albums list. Assuck, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Anal Cunt (one of the worst bands EVER), an Magrudergrind are all mentioned. This is tempered somewhat by the inclusion of Repulsion, Macabre, Pig Destroyer, Cattle Decapitation, and Impetigo.

Tombs article -1: A little too hipserish. Damnit.

Psyopus article -1: I mentioned in an earlier post that I hate overly technical hardcore like The Dillinger Escape Plan. Psyopus falls into this category and doesn't even have vocals. So you are bombarded by squealing guitars, blasting drums, no melody, and no remorse. It's awful.

Doro article +1: They are trying to get the metal goddess to comment on female singers in metal. I think they're trying to get her to say something controversial about some of these, but she doesn't seem to bite. It would be more entertaining if she did though. I'll come right out and say something though: Vixen fucking blows. Their only fucking hit was written by Richard Marx. Richard FUCKING Marx.

Reviews: Same story here:
Cobalt (positive) -1: Early stuff was good, they are now getting too much shoegaze elements. Beard metal.
Behemoth (negative) -1: Really? Sure it's a cash grab, but it's Behemoth.
Hammerfall (positive) +1: True metal never dies.
God Forbid (positive) +1 Good album, good group, and they're going to be the next huge American metal band.
Isole (positive) +1: Good doom metal band from Sweden.
Wolf (positive) +1: See Hammerfall.
Tombs (positive) -1: See above mentioned article.
Psyopus (positice) -1: See above mentioned article.

Choose Your Weapon -1: I don't give a shit about the Slipknot guitarist talking about his instrument.

Dark Recollection King Diamond: Abigail +2: Great album by a great band. Highly underrated and creepy as hell.

Blast from the Past: Autopsy: Severed Survival +1: Could have gotten more points here, but what's the point in doing an article looking back on a great album when you pick one that has been all over magazines (hell, fucking Revolver had a blurb) for being reissued lately? Oddly, I recently bought the earlier reissue of this album, plus the 7" vinyl release released this year. The new reissue has all of that stuff on it. Ah well.

So that's it, how did Terrorizer do? They scored a +29 putting them in the lead. They would have scored higher had the fucking grindcore feature not been so goddamn long. I guess that won't be a regular addition though. Terrorizer appears to be the most likely magazine for me to subscribe to. It's fucking expensive though, but hey I can get a free CD if I subscribe. They give the choice of six different CDs, but I have four of them and the other two don't interest me as much. Maybe I'll wait and see if anything new pops up.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Metal Magazine Review Pt. 3 of 4: Decibel: The Official Sponsor of Beard Metal/Rock

The third magazine I picked up that night was Decibel. Decibel has a bit of a reputation as being written by hipsters for hipsters. Hipsters are annoying. Well without further ado, let's do this bitch.

Heaven and Hell on the cover +5: The renamed Black Sabbath with Dio lineup has one of my most anticipated albums coming out next week. It's good to see them getting some exposure.

Reader of the Month on page 8 -2: This is what I'm talking about. This is the visualization I have when I think of the standard Decibel reader. The picture is of a guy sitting in a cubicle holding a coffee mug, his hair is completely swept to one side and he is wearing an orange scarf, inside mind you. And he has a smug smile on his face. God, I hate hipsters.

Faith No More reunion featurette +1: Good to see some exposure for this monumental reunion. Hopefully they can get along long enough to put out a new album.

Now Slaying -1: I love it when magazines post the playlists of their contributors. There's an awful lot of Isis on this list.

Guest Travel log from some dingus in Genghis Tron -1: I fucking hate Genghis Tron and strongly resent people classifying them as metal.

Scion Rock Festival review -2: Go to whatever the hell festival you want, but when the festival features Mastodon, Neurosis, Baroness, and Pig Destroyer, it's obvious that the hipsters are in charge.

Weird Owl profile -1: One look at these guys is all it takes to make my determination.

Fell Silent profile -1: See above.

Altar of Plagues profile -1: What the fuck is metalgaze? Do I even want to know?

Samael profile +1: The band is getting back to their black metal roots. I am excited.

Agoraphobic Nosebleed article -2: I don't care much for most pure grindcore. This band is no exception. They once put out an album of 100 songs, the album was 20 minutes long. Fuck this band. That's not even music.

Call & Response with Proscriptor from Absu +1: I do love Absu's new album. He likes some bizarre stuff, but the fact that he called out Chimaira as being really bad is funnier than hell.

God Forbid article +3: I suppose I'll give some mercy points here. God Forbid is a decent band and not overly mainstream and not at all hipsterish. Kudos, I guess.

Earth Crisis article -3: Blech. Way to play up the straightedge shit.

My Dying Bride article +5: Finally something good. I was beginning to worry about whether to give up on this.

I'm beginning to think that hipsters are the bane of my existence, just as hippies are the bane of Cartman's existence on South Park. Seriously, they fucking piss me off. Always liking shit ironically. Do they even actually know what they seriously like? I bought the recent Lair of the Minotaur album at my favorite music store and this kid with hair that looked like he had been trapped in a wind tunnel commented that he loved the band, but mostly because of the name. I also bought Dismember, Impaled Nazarene, and Desaster, not a comment about those three. Fucking hipsters.

Anyway, back to the wound. Ugh.

Baseball Preview +5: I don't understand what metal has to do with baseball, but since I like them both, it's all good.

Suffocation retroview +7: I do enjoy Suffocation. It's a decent size article too, so extra points.

Heaven and Hell article +5: Can't wait for this album. Did I say that already? I don't care, I can't wait for this album.

Reviews. Oh fuck, here we go.
Isis (gushing positive review) -1: See? Beard metal. Damn hipsters.
Absu (positive) +1
...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead (positive) -1: My mind is blown. What the fuck is this even doing here?!
Autopsy (positive) +1
Believer (positive) +1
Dreaming Dead (positive) +1: Excellent review of a good up and coming band. Plus, this is one of the bands I submitted to the Metal Archives.
Giant Squid (positive) -1: More hipster shit. Does this magazine dislike anything?
Grave Digger (negative) -1: Oh, sure they don't like an album by a true heavy metal band. Hipsters.
A Kid Hereafter in the Grinding Light (positive) -1: I don't want to know.
My Dying Bride (positive) +1
The Number Twelve Looks Like You (positive) -1: First, not metal, second overly technical bullshit like The Dillinger Escape Plan, one of my all time LEAST favorite bands.
Pack of Wolves (positive) +1: A little beardy, but another one I submitted to the Archives.
Sylosis (positive) +1
Samael (positive) +1
Wolf (positive) +1: Huh, very few, if any, negative reviews.
Vanna (positive) -1: Screamo band, what the hell?

Well that's it for Decibel. They scored a +21, well that's better than Metal Hammer at least. The magazine was a little better than I expected, but anything with opinions should be avoided because of the hipster attitudes. Definitely not as good as Metal Maniacs, but it is better than Revolver, Metal Edge, and Metal Hammer.

Dear Dumbasses on Last.FM

Dear Dumbasses on Last.FM:

Good lord there's a lot of you people completely ignorant to what metal is. Fuck. I'm currently looking through the Top Artists tagged as "metal" and you people have failed miserably: http://www.last.fm/tag/metal/artists. Let's see how bad, shall we? Apparently in order of popularity:

Metallica (we're okay)
System of a Down (we're only at #2 and you fucking suck.)
Iron Maiden
Slipknot (what the fuck?)
Disturbed (again)
In Flames
Marilyn Manson (I don't remember any time he was considered metal, some influences maybe, but never completely metal)
Rammstein (ugh)
Deftones (see Manson but without the influences)
Black Sabbath
Judas Priest
Machine Head
Lamb of God
Avenged Sevenfold (nope)
Soulfly (uh uh)
Ozzy Osbourne
Children of Bodom
Bullet for My Valentine (facepalm)
Static-X (wrong)
Fear Factory
Volbeat (they suck, but they are metal)
Godsmack (as opposed to this)
Blind Guardian
Killswitch Engage
Korn (fail)
Mudvayne (wrong again)
Tool (nope)
Sonata Arctica
Rob Zombie (his solo stuff is not metal)
Dream Theater
Black Label Society
Stone Sour (not even fucking close)
Dope (did I say Stone Sour wasnt close?)
Drowning Pool (fuck no)
Korn (the fact that this band is here twice is fucking awful)
Lacuna Coil
Iced Earth
Arch Enemy
Cradle of Filth
SOiL (wrong and what's with the fucking capitalization shit?)
Atreyu (awful emo band)
Faith No More
Strapping Young Lad
Machinae Supremacy
Rage Against the Machine (see Deftones)
Ill Nino (no)
Kittie (fuck no)
Sevendut (fuck no x2)
Linkin Park (facepalm again, see Rage Against the Machine)
As I Lay Dying
Paradise Lost
Within Temptation
White Zombie
Coal Chamber (what the fuck?)
Die Apokalyptischen Reiter
HIM (no, just no)
Type O Negative
All That Remains
36 Crazyfists (my head hurts)
Dark Tranquillity
Bruce Dickinson
Limp Bizkit (as bad as Linkin Park was, this is worse)
Roadrunner United (an interesting idea, but not great execution, I will have a post on this project)
Amon Amarth
Motley Crue

So there you have it. A lot of the members know absolutely fucking nothing.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Trend That Must Stop: Bands Re-recording Their Own Music

Recently, the Swedish melodic death metal band Arch Enemy announced that it would be re-recording some of the band's favorite songs from the time when Johan Liiva was the vocalist. Currently, the band is noteworthy for featuring Angela Gossow as their vocalist, noteworthy because Gossow is able to perform the death growls and screaming that characterize death metal. They want to essentially change their history to reflect their current lineup and I have a major problem with it. I have not heard much of the material with Liiva, but changing your past irritates me to no end. Just stand by your old material.

Other bands have also re-recorded their old music, sometimes whole albums. Exodus decided to re-record Bonded by Blood, a major landmark in the thrash metal scene, and sometimes viewed as one of the greatest thrash albums of all time. They did this for the same reason Arch Enemy did, they have a new singer. The problem is that Rob Dukes is not really a thrash vocalist, he is more of a hardcore singer. Asking him to recreate the thrash yelps that former singer Paul Baloff (R.I.P.) perfected is a difficult task. Not to mention that it is disrespectful to the deceased Baloff.

Sodom re-recorded their In the Sign of Evil EP. That EP was one of their earlist recordings and it was sloppy and raw sounding. But that was the appeal of the thing. It was an ugly sounding album that helped launch death and black metal. Why clean it up? It's a classic for a reason.

Finally, Testament and Destruction also re-recorded songs for compilation albums. This doesn't bother me quite as much because those lineups were basically intact and the albums were released as Greatest Hits-type collections (the other three mentioned above were or are being released as new full lengths). This is an interesting way of providing the big songs in a new package.

The whole re-recording thing is a cash grab first and foremost. It is a lazy of trying to sell a few more albums. I would much rather see these bands concentrate their energy on creating new material than in resurrecting their past in a new form.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dusting Off a Cassette Pt. 9: Sacred Reich: Independent

This is the last of the five tapes I picked up in the small store in my new city. I have known of Sacred Reich for a very long time. My first exposure to them came when they had a song playing on aTV in the movie Encino Man. I am not sure why I remember that, I didn't know much about metal at the time since I was only in 5th or 6th grade and the only metal I knew of at that time was Metallica, Megadeth, and Faith No More. Nevertheless it must have made an impression. The next time I heard about them was when they appeared on a Metal Blade compilation CD that I picked up in high school.

Sacred Reich was a bit of a latecomer to the thrash metal scene and were never really on the same level as some of the other bands. Sacred Reich was a politically charged band, although some of their ideas were not always well thought out. They had a sort of punk background as well which lead to a distinctive sound.

This album is their second to last full length. The band was basically going through the motions at this point in their career. Many of the songs sounded the same. The album opened very strong, but didn't really go anywhere after that. Sacred Reich did try to slow things down toward the end of the album with the semi-ballad "I Never Said Goodbye." Other than that, most of the songs stayed on the same level. It's just not a strong enough showing to be completely memorable. I enjoy this album, but probably not as much as I would have liked their earlier, angrier, fresher material.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Encyclopedia Metallum: aka Metal Archives

I decided to do a long overdue post about the Metal Archives while I am still compiling information about the next Dusting Off a Cassette and the remaining metal magazine reviews. I personally greatly enjoy the Metal Archives. I am a frequent poster, an even more frequent lurker, and an occasional contributor. The Metal Archives are an extremely valuable resource and it makes me proud that the metal community is willing and able to contribute to such a daunting task. That being said I do have some concerns about things.

This is the big one. I was a little naive about what metal was when I first discovered the site. I was shocked when Slipknot, DevilDriver, Himsa, Static-X, Godsmack, and other similar bands were not included. Later, Himsa and DevilDriver were accepted but not until after some major arguing. I was surprised but was willing to learn. I listened to some of those bands (I never understood the exclusion of DevilDriver or Himsa based on what I had from them) and was able to objectively come to my own conclusion on each band's relative metalness. I am now able to hear influences in bands. I was also pleased to see Alice in Chains and Soundgarden included as I always felt they were mislabelled as grunge because they came from Seattle.

The Archives only accept metalcore if it is more metal than core. This is kind of a tricky situation because determining where to draw the line is not always easy. Going back to Himsa for a minute, I never understood why their album Hail Horror was not considered by the moderators to be just as metal as music from Killswitch Engage, Trivium, or Shadows Fall. I could see why those bands were included, but I lumped Himsa's album in the same category.

On the other side of things are the bands included that I don't agree with, and there are some. For one, the site allows bands that are not metal in if they meet the requirements of a side project. However there are so many caveats in that rule that it may as well be dismissed completely. I don't mind having a site where the ambient project of some major black metal musician is not included. That does not bother me, I would rather have it be pure metal.

Sometimes there are bands included as metal bands that I don't agree with. The major genres in this case are so-called drone doom and whatever you want to call the recent Neurosis copycat bands. To me, these are not metal genres. Drone doom is just noise, an extremely slow riff repeated ad nauseum for 20 minutes is not a metal song. The Neurosis copycats are more post hardcore sounding to me. Groups like Sunn O))), Pelican, and Isis are not metal bands to my ears, although I'd be willing to take that back if someone could point me to an album that is metal.

There is a lot of hatred for bands that are more mainstream and popular on the message board. This is fairly normal in all genres I suppose, but it irritates me. I have no problem if these are accurate opinions of people, but if they are just badmouthing a band in public and then listening to them in private, that's hypocritical. I have never been one to back off of my opinions of bands. I did grow out of a nu metal phase when I was in law school. Groups like Staind, Korn, and Deftones did not sound as good to me as they used to. Now, my tastes lean almost entirely towards metal. Within that genre however, I have no problems with telling the world that I enjoy Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, Trivium, Six Feet Under, and many more bands that are not overly popular on the forum.

My only real problem here is a personal issue. I'd like to be able to contribute more, but I am not a part of any scene, being in rural Nebraska, and I do not have the time to scour Myspace much in order to find bands. I have thus far submitted 12 bands, and that was not easy to do.

As mentioned earlier, I love the site, and I will list the things I enjoy rather than talking at length about them:
Reading reviews
Finding new bands
Talking to fellow metalheads
Reading someone having a hissy fit because their band was rejected
The fact that someone who has been banned from submissions is tagged "Fred Durst"

Endless entertainment.

10 Albums that Survived the Grunge Era

I like to read other blogs about metal. I got the idea for this one from Metal Martyr. Here is the link: http://www.metalmartyr.com/10-metal-albums-that-survived-the-grunge-era/

This is an interesting topic for me because I was just beginning to discover metal during the grunge era. I remember a lot of my friends and my older brother being really into Nirvana and Pearl Jam. I liked those bands okay but my particular favorite grunge bands were the decidedly more metal Alice in Chains and Soundgarden. I wore a lot of flannel shirts which were kind of considered the "grunge style" where I was from, but my music tastes definitely were not grunge. Other than AiC and SG, I never owned an album by any of the grunge bands. I was much more into metal. Here are some albums that were new in the years 1992-1995 that I enjoyed.

Black Sabbath: Cross Purposes
I have mentioned this album in a previous post of Dusting Off a Cassette. This is a very strong album featuring great songs, good riffs, and Tony Martin's powerful, yet underrated vocals.

Cannibal Corpse: Tomb of the Mutilated
One of the first well-known Cannibal Corpse albums. The band appeared in a cameo scene on Ace Ventura and their popularity skyrocketed. This album featured the song "Hammer Smashed Face" from the movie.

Corrosion of Conformity: Deliverance
Southern-fried metal with a hardcore tinge to it. I fell in love with this album when I first heard it and I still love it to this day. Nothing the band released since has come close to this one, although their earlier material is very interesting.

Down: NOLA
Well-known now, but at the time this was a curiosity band featuring members of Pantera, Corrosion of Conformity, Crowbar, and Eyehategod. The riffs were heavy, the songs were memorable and this side project actually became a major force in the metal world. I saw them last fall in concert and they slayed.

Machine Head: Burn My Eyes
Capitalizing on the Pantera groove metal phenomenon, Machine Head rose from the ashes of Vio-Lence. Their first album is one of the better examples of groove metal to date. They would unfortunately move towards nu metal, then metalcore, and now thrash showing that they really do not have their own sound but change based on the current trend.

Megadeth: Youthanasia
Definitely not at the same level as their earlier works but an improvement on Countdown to Extinction. Megadeth regained some of their more thrash influences on this release and had one of their biggest hits "A Tout Le Monde".

Morbid Angel: Covenant
A surprisingly successful album for a death metal album on a major label. This is one of Morbid Angel's better albums by far. I was exposed to this band for the first time when the video for "God of Emptiness" appeared on Beavis and Butthead. The video freaked me out and I desperately wanted to hear more.

Pantera: Far Beyond Driven
I'm not a huge Pantera fan, especially of their groove metal material, but this was a great album with one bad song on it. Pantera proved that metal was still viable during the grunge era.

Testament: Low
One of the better Testament albums. This one occurred after they lost their lead guitarist and stopped trying to be Metallica. A great album with some brutal moments in it. This was my first extreme metal album.

Type O Negative: Bloody Kisses
I remember distinctly seeing a video for this band before I had heard much from them. I remember the singer/bassist Peter Steele holding a string bass in his arms like a guitar and thinking "that guy is fucking huge!". This one seemed forbidden because of the cover picture of two women nuzzling together with their mouths open after kissing, the song titles such as "Kill All the White People", and the opening track featuring a woman having an orgasm. I still love this album, even for all its quirks. Gothic metal has never sounded so good or bleak. This is the band's masterpiece.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Dusting Off a Cassette Pt. 8: Napalm Death: Fear, Emptiness, Despair

I'm not overly familiar with grindcore. I know that it got an initial push in England in the mid 1980's when Napalm Death, Carcass, and Bolt Thrower all developed. It is a form of extreme hardcore music and is not based in metal. However, many grindcore bands started to incorporate death metal influences. Each of the pioneers listed above added death metal riffs to their sound and gradually each one became more of a death metal band than a grindcore band. Only Napalm Death went back a little bit and became death/grind.

Napalm Death itself is an odd band since none of the original members are still with the band. Original singer Lee Dorrian decided he didn't want to play hardcore so he left and formed the doom metal band Cathedral. The current singer Barney Greenway used to be in UK death metal band Benediction. Original guitarist Justin Broadrick left to form Godflesh and then Jesu. The other original members all formed other hardcore acts or in one sad case, died.

Anyway onto the album. Since I don't know much about grindcore, I cannot speculate whether this is a good example or not. To me it sounds more death metal influenced than grindcore, and I am okay with that. I like this album although it is not well-respected among Napalm Death fans. The album opens strongly with "Twist the Knife (Slowly)" and we are off to the races from there. The band never lets up in the entire album. It is grinding riff after grinding riff after grinding riff.

This is the only Napalm Death album I own, and I might be willing to check out some other stuff based on it.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Metal Magazine Review Pt. 2 of 4: Metal Hammer is Really Boring

I have recovered from my aneurysm and can now move the left side of my body again. Time to dig back into this today. Okay, I just need to stretch first and clear my mind. I had a copy of this my first year of college and was not impressed, they were pretty big on nu metal back then and Slipknot was on the cover. Okay, I am ready to tackle this bitch.

CD +15: I like free CDs, I like them even more when they are worthwhile. This one is devoted to the so-called New Wave of Traditional Metal, which despite being a completely made-up genre and stupid name, has some good bands. I'm not totally familiar with all of them, but Wolf, Cauldron (formerly Goat Horn), Jex Thoth (would make an excellent Star Wars character name), The Gates of Slumber, Icarus Witch, and Twisted Tower Dire are all quality bands.

Metallica's James Hetfield cover +3: Not going out on a limb here, but Metallica's last album was good and they were recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I'll give it a pass.

Photos of Corey Taylor and Fred Durst on page 7 -2: I don't want Slipknot or Limp Bizkit in my fucking metal magazine. The wound is threatening to return.

Another Slipknot pic -1: THE WOUND! THE WOUND!

Advice Column from Oderus Urungus of Gwar -1: This could have been funnier. A missed opportunity.

Kat Von D feature +2: She's attractive and she's in her underwear, but she would look a hell of a ot better without all the tattoos and rat's nest in her hair. Of course then she would be a nobody. Instead of the burgeoning celebrity she currently is. Ah, sarcasm.

Grand Theft Auto 4 feature +1: What do video games have to do with metal? Ah, apparently Max Cavalera is one of the DJs for a music station you can listen to in the game. Some surprisingly decent bands such as At the Gates, Bathory, Celtic Frost, Deicide, and Kreator.

Defenders of the Faith feature +2: Tour package feature with Lamb of God, Dimmu Borgir, Unearth, and Five Finger Death Punch. Meh.

Machine Head/Metallica main article +5: I don't really understand what these bands have in common other than being past their prime. Oh, Bay Area thrash, except Machine Head was not part of that scene, Robb Flynn's previous band Vio-lence was, so this is unnecessarily tenuous.

Mastodon article -5: Shocker. The guitarist says they're not a metal band and in fact he doesn't listen to metal. I no longer have respect for Mastodon. Alienating your fan base is not a good move.

Iron Maiden article +2: Iron Maiden made a tour movie, interesting. I may check this out. To Netflix I go.

Destroy Destroy Destroy article +1: They're supposed to be interesting but I have never checked them out because of the ridiculously stupid name. We'll see based on their song on the CD.

God Forbid article +2: Meh. Everyone has been covering God Forbid since their latest album. It's not bad, just not great.

Max Cavalera article +5: I always liked Max and he's not schilling some terrible album with Soulfly this time. What gives?

Black Tide article -1: They're okay, very young. The members are all in high school, I'm not sure it's worth following a group this young and naive.

Trouble: The Skull article +2: Good album by a great band. Essential early doom metal album.

Architects article -5: They suck and they look emo. Go the fuck away.

The New Wave of Trad Metal +1: It looks like Metal Hammer is trying to sneak in on what it perceives as a developing scene. News flash: most of these bands have been around for awhile. This is not a new scene, but I guess you're trying desperately to come up with something interesting. Good bands though so I guess you get a point.

Reviews: Same deal as Revolver:
(Hed) P.E. (even) -1: Why would you even want to review this shit? What does the name even mean? Why is my head hurting? What does it all mean?
Shinedown (positive) -1: Shinedown blows.
Others: No points, nothing terribly adventurous here. Meh.

Cannibal Corpse discography review -3: Kill is NOT their best album. For shame.

Dozens of pages of ads -5: Ugh, there's like three pages of ads for every one article.

Seance article +3: Underrated Swedish death metal group finally gets some attention.

Emperor interview +2: Interesting final look at a very influential band.

Subterranean Albums +2: Why separate the more underground albums from the mainstream albums? I don't understand. Are we trying to differentiate between groups of fans?

Overall feel -15: There is a section devoted to the underground at the end of the article, but the rest of the magazine just feels too damn safe. Very few risks involved. Mastodon, Metallica, Iron Maiden, God Forbid, and Machine Head are all mainstream metal artists.

Final Results: +7
There is some interesting information here and I am not completely repulsed by this one as I was by Revolver, but it was overly sanitized. It's metal music for people who are scared by death and black metal. I don't know, not horribly impressed but not freaked out either. It's not worth the $10 fucking dollars it cost. Bloody English. Big meh.


*Letter dictated by my girlfriend

Dear It's Me or the Dog:

You are a bunch of fucking idiots for a number of reasons. But we will focus on the fact that Prince from today's show is not a Neapolitan Mastiff. Granted, he may have some Neapolitan Mastiff in him, but certainly not much. To illustrate my point, here is a Neapolitan Mastiff:

This, on the other hand, is Prince:


Mrs. shadowking86

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Amorphis Rules

Amorphis is awesome and I can't wait for Skyforger. Sorry, I'm listening to Silent Waters right now, an album that renewed my faith in this band. Amazing album.

Hot Girls in Metal Pt. 5: Liz Buckingham (Electric Wizard)

Liz Buckingham is not only an attractive woman, she is also an amazing guitar player. Currently with the stoner/doom metal occultists Electric Wizard, Liz has also done time with 13 and Sourvein seeming to have an affinity for doom.

Metal Magazine Review Pt. 1 of 4: Revolver Fucking Sucks

As part of the aforementioned trip to the bookstore, I picked up the latest issue of Revolver with Mastodon on the cover. I had picked up Revolver once before a couple of years ago and they had some Hottest Chicks in Metal special. That was not the case this month, although they do appear to be making it some sort of monthly feature, with one girl each month. We'll get to that in a little bit. I have also mentioned Revolver previously on this blog for the atrocity known as the Golden Gods Awards so I knew how bad this magazine could be, boy it was worse than I thought. But on to the scoreboard. As mentioned previously, points are going to be given in a completely arbitrary fashion based solely on my whims. My EVIL whims, wa ha ha. You can't tell, but I am wringing my hands in an evil fashion right now.

Mastodon +3: I'm not the biggest Mastodon fan in the world. I enjoyed Blood Mountain and I wouldn't mind getting some of their earlier albums, but I'm not sure I would get their latest album. I don't know, progressive metal isn't one of my favorite genres and I haven't heard anything really exciting off of this album yet.
Hollywood Undead -10: What the fuck? First of all, HWUD, which I will henceforth call them for shits and giggles, is not a fucking metal band. Secondly, I'm not sure you can even make an argument that they are a hard rock band. Thirdly, I am not sure you can make an argument that they are a rock band. Fourthly, my head hurts and I'm just getting angry. Fifthly, this band fucking sucks.

Page 3 advertizement for The Devil Wears Prada -1: I know magazines don't have a ton of choice for what is advertized and they may not all necessarily enjoy the bands in the magazine. But TDWP is a terrible Christian emo-hardcore band named after a Meryl Streep movie. What the fuck? They might as well be named The Bridges of Madison County. Fuck off.

Mastodon stuff -1: As of Page 5 I have seen Mastodon three times. I know they're your covr artist, but chill the fuck out.

Page 9 -1: More Mastodon. Fuck.

Alice in Chains article +1: I haven't seen much mention of this band getting a new singer and going out on the road around. Although it will be very difficult to say that this is the same band since Layne Staley died, at least they are trying to move on.

New Albums in Progress Feature -1: Kind of a nice feature. It does not surprise me that Shadows Fall is mentioned, it does surprise me that there is a mention of Sigh, complete with topless shot of Dr. Mikkanibal who apparently records in the nude, but THRICE? Come on.

Wes Borland picture -1: I want to forget Limp Bizkit ever fucking existed.

Autopsy news blurb +1: Surprised Revolver has heard of Autopsy.

Dressed to Kill feature -2: I like Warbringer, but is it necessary to have a fashion feature to cover t-shirt, jeans, and Converse? This is a music magazine, not a fucking fashion expo.

Hottest Chicks in Metal feature +2: Not a bad idea. This month's feature girl is The Agonist's Alissa White-Gluz. Despite the blue hair, she's not bad looking, although I don't care much for The Agonist's watered down metalcore.

Napalm Death article +5: I'm surprised Revolver has heard of Napalm Death.

Eighteen Visions article -5: Figures. Do something right, then immediately shoot yourself in the foot. Nobody gives a flying fuck about these emo jackasses. Three of the members are wearing fucking scarves in the picure.

Cancer Bats feature -2: I don't know who these fuckwads are, but my ex loves them, which makes me hate them more.

Sylosis feature +1: Not broadening their horizons here as Sylosis fits neatly with Trivium and God Forbid for mainstream metal bands, but hey they're new to the scene.

A Day to Remember feature -1: "Pop-punk-metal"? I don't want to fucking know. I'm sure the metal part is completely false.

Most Metal Moments in Wrestling -5: I dislike wrestling. Most of the "metal" bands are not metal. Limp Bizkit, Saliva, and P.O.D. are featured prominently. My head still hurts. I think I'm having an aneurysm.

Mastodon article +5: We knew it was coming, but hey I'm starting to like Mastodon more and more after being subjected to some of this shit.

Hollywood Undead poster -5: I don't think anyone would want these masked-assholes looking at them from their wall. Only reason I don't take more points away is that Mastodon is on the other side.

Hey I can win a cymbal autographed by Mastodon's drummer! Isn't that special?

Tales From the Pit +2: Looks interesting. Bad moshpit stories. Haven't read it yet, might someday. I highly doubt there are moshpits at Thrice shows though.

Hollywood Undead article -20: ugh, what the fuck? And it's 5 fucking pages long?! And it's all about dick jokes and boob commentary. I don't fucking care. Go away Revolver. I can't move the left side of my body.

Screamo-Crunk Guide -10: Once again, not metal, not hard rock, not rock. This is just a terrible fucking fad that jackass junior high kids in the suburbs with daddy issues listen to. It's not even music. Fail.

Review: We'll just go through and determine point values based on who was reviewed and how positive or negative the review was.
Static-X (positive) -1: Static-X has't released anything even decent in years.
Believer (positive) +1: Not bad, the Christian progressive thrash metal band deserves a good review even if it does come from Revolver.
Dirtfedd (positive) -1: I feel bad because ths band is from my hometown, but they suck so I don't feel so bad.
Got the Life (positive) -1: Fieldy from Korn wrote a tell-all book. Collectively, the U.S. yawns.
Papa Roach (even) -1: Despite the fact that this was not a positive review, the fact that they even bothered with these trend-hopping jackasses and did not review them negatively can only be seen as a failure.
The rest of the reviews don't matter to me.

Slipknot live review -2: Ugh. I hate Slipknot.

Amon Amarth album cover commentary +1: I like Amon Amarth and this was a good cover. Whatever.

So let's total up the score and we have -49 points. Revolver sucks. I recommend this magazine for mallcore idiots who listen to anything MTV Headbanger's Ball and Hot Topic spoon feed them. My head still hurts and I want my $6 back plus pain and suffering.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Metal Magazines

Last night, out of boredom, I went over to the bookstore and purchased four metal magazines. I am still mourning the loss of my beloved Metal Maniacs and am looking to fill the hole. Anyway, for something fun (well, fun for me anyway) to do, I figure I would assign completely arbitrary and random points for whatever the fuck I wanted to in order to determine whether or not to get a new subscription going. Look for those posts this weekend carrying over into next week.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Metal Reunions

Technical death metal is taking off lately, so a lot of the original tech-death groups are reuniting. This is great news because a lot of these bands had somewhat shorter careers and went out far too soon. I'm excited to see new albums from these bands and maybe see one or two on tour if possible. So, let's look at some of these bands, their history, and their future.

Cynic was one of the original technical death metal bands. They added some odd jazz fusion elements to their Florida death metal. The demos were more straightforward death, it was not until the album Focus that things got really interesting. That album is a standout in early death metal for its varied influences. The clean vocals were handled through the use of a vocoder, giving it a futuristic, robotic sound. There were of course death metal growls as well. The major standout was the musicianship of the band. These were amazing musicians, not at all stereotypical of death metal bands. Unfortunately they split up soon after.

I picked up Traced in Air, Cynic's reunion album last holiday season. A lot of the death metal elements are gone now, but the musicianship is still strong. Cynic has matured into an amazing progressive metal band now. They are on tour currently with Daath and Dragonforce, but they will be playing in Omaha on a weeknight, not the best time for me to go with work. Too bad.

Even more jazz-influenced and more death metal-sounding than Cynic. Atheist was the more successful band in that they did produce more than one full length in the first part of their career and were better accepted at the time. Atheist recorded three great full length albums in the early 1990's. They then dissolved.

Atheist reunited recently and while there has not been a new album yet, they are said to be working on it.

Heathen is a little thrashier than the previous two. I am not as familiar with them, having only heard a few of their songs. I have their two full lengths downloaded on my computer, but have not been able to find the time to listen to them. Their sound can best be described as a more progressive and technical Testament.

Heathen was the first of these groups to reunite, releasing a demo in 2005 to rave reviews. They are currently working on their third full length album.

I find the fact that the four groups discussed so far all have religion-oriented names extremely funny. We've got Atheist, Cynic, and Heathen so far. All we're missing is a Christian group, what should we call them? How about Believer. And that is what Believer is: the Christian counterpart to Atheist, Cynic, and Heathen. Like Heathen though I have only heard a few songs from Believer. They were very good and one of the few Christian metal bands I am very interested in.

Believer released a live album in 2007 then signed on with Metal Blade to release their fourth full-length earlier this year. I am currently on the lookout for this one.

Clarification on Yesterday's Posts

I want to make one thing clear on yesterday's posts. I am not an Anti-Christian. I don't particularly care for Christianity, but I am not deadset against it. I thought yesterday would be an interesting day to bring up that aspect of the metal culture. In the future, I may very well have a post up about Christian metal bands, of which there are some good ones. There are also some terrible ones, but it's like that with every genre.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy Easter (A Day Late)

Obviously metal does not have a very good relationship with Christianity. The two are often at odds. So, for this special holiday, let's take a look at some album covers that are particularly blasphemous.

Here we have a metal band from Lebanon of all places. On this cover we can see that Jesus has been pushed to the side in favor of a nakd woman. I am sure this is supposed to mean something, I just don't know what.

And in this corner, we have Satan devouring crucified Jesus feet first. Angelcorpse unfortunately broke up recently. But the good news is that Order From Chaos will reform from Angelcorpse's ashes.

Here Jesus is about to be devoured by a legion of demons. Grave is one of the leaders from the Swedish death scene along with Entombed and Dismember.

I had to get this band in here because even their name is on point. This isn't a particularly bad cover, just a picture of the crucified Jesus. I posted about Rotting Christ previously, so I won't rehash anything here.

This is one of the most brutal albums of all time. And what a cover too. The Virgin Mary serving Jesus's head on a silver platter.

And Again

This one deserves it's own thread. Here is Vital Remains's cover for 2007 album Icons of Evil. I don't even know what to say. This is the most blasphemous album cover I have EVER seen.

I'm going to Hell.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Arghoslent Quandary

Let me begin by saying that I am not a racist nor will I tolerate racism. Which brings me to the problem with the band Arghoslent. Arghoslent is a band from Virginia that plays some of the most melodic, catchy death metal that I have heard. They write amazing riffs and play fast and loud. The vocals are often limited to grunts and roars.

The problem is that they have some horrid lyrics as one can tell from their song titles: "Flogging the Cargo", "Quelling the Simian Urge", "In Coffles They Were Led", "Manacled Freightage". As you may be able to see, a major source of lyrics for this band is the slave trade. Perhaps this is where the quandary can be settled. Yes, the lyrics are horrible, but the subject is something that happened a long time ago and the band seems to look at it from the perspective of when it was happening. Nowhere do they take the viewpoint that African-Americans should still be treated that way. It is more a history lesson than a commentary.

Dusting Off a Cassette Pt. 7: Gwar: Ragnarok

Next up in this series is Gwar's Ragnarok. This one is kind of weird. Gwar has never really been a band to take seriously. They tend to be more interested in shocking people and putting on a show than putting together great albums. This album is no exception as it contains many different influences other than metal. Gwar is not one of my favorite bands, although seeing them in concert would be interesting. Many of the riffs are fairly simple and as mentioned earlier there are influences from surf, punk, and even hip hop here. The lyrics are mostly somewhat humorous, detailing more tales of the alien alter-egos of the band. There are some very memorable sngs such as "Meat Sandwich", "Warghoul", and "Nudged". Ultimately though, this album is such an odd collection that it is not truly easy to listen to.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Revolver Golden God Awards Were Fucking Pathetic

As you might guess, I have a bit of a disdain for award shows. Especially when they have a metal category because they almost always manage to fuck it up. So how about an awards show devoted to metal? Can't be too bad can it? Yes, yes it can.

Enter the Revolver Golden God Awards. The list of winners:
Most Awesomely Good Drummer: Vinnie Paul (HELLYEAH/PANTERA)
Best Underground Metal Band: ISIS
Metal Industry Award: The Rainbow Bar & Grill
Honorary Headbanger: Kat Von D
Golden God: Dave Mustaine (MEGADETH)
Most Viral Video: PROTEST THE HERO
Most Metal Athlete: Shaun White
Best Live Band: Slipknot
Lifetime Achievement: OZZY OSBOURNE
Best International Band: DETHKLOK
Reader’s Choice Award: ACACIA STRAIN
Most Mind-Blowing Guitarist: Jeff Hanneman & Kerry King (SLAYER)
Hottest Chick In Metal: Marta Peterson (BLEEDING THROUGH)

And now for the tear-down.

First off, Revolver is a pathetic magazine. Devoted exclusively to mainstream rock/metal, they rarely have anything interesting to say. You can tell by looking at the award recipients. They are bandwagon-hoppers of the worst kind. They are all over the latest trends. Now how about each award itself?

Most Awesomely Good Drummer: Vinnie Paul
I never liked Paul's drumming much when he was with Pantera. It's barely passable. I never saw the appeal of considering him some great drummer in the first place. I would prefer to give this to Gene Hoglan (Dark Angel, Death, Strapping Young Lad). Plus, the name of the award is fucking retarded.

Best Underground Metal Band: ISIS
An easy rule to remember: if a band's albums are sold at Best Buy in smaller markets, you are not underground. I've seen ISIS albums at Best Buy in Grand Island, they don't fit the definition at all. Plus, I hate ISIS and all of the post-metal, shoegaze shit scene. Tons of better selections out there.

Metal Industry Award: Rainbow Bar and Grill
I don't even know what this award is supposed to mean. Pass.

Best Album: Metallica
No, just no. A decent album, but so many better ones came out last year. Grand Magus's album is my personal favorite from last year, but if we are limiting this to the U.S., as it appears we are, then my vote goes to Mictlantecuhtli: Warriors of the Black Sun. If it should be somewhat mainstream then I will vote for the latest offerings from Toxic Holocaust, Lair of the Minotaur, hell even Testament's latest was better than Metallica's.

Honorary Headbanger: Kat Von D
See Metal Industry Award.

Golden God: Dave Mustaine
See above, although I might grant this one, because Mustaine is awesome.

Best Riff: Slipknot
Fuck off. Not fucking metal.

Most Viral Video: Protest the Hero
I don't understand this award either. I'm guessing some sort of best video category. We'll go with Lair of the Minotaur's War Metal Battle Master.

Most Metal Athlete: Shaun White
I don't know who this is. Pass.

Best Live Band: Slipknot
Again, fuck off. Metallica for the win.

Best New Talent: Suicide Silence
No, just no. I'll go with Sothis here. I strongly dislike deathcore.

Lifetime Achievement: Ozzy Osbourne
Okay, I'll grant you another one.

Best International Band: Dethklok
And you really suck. Dethklok is the cartoon band from Metalocalypse. Fuck. Tons of better suggestions. I won't even begin to name them. I-my mind is blown.

Reader's Choice: Acacia Strain
Not metal, doesn't fucking belong. Not my choice.

Most Mind-Blowing Guitarist: Slayer duo
Decent guitarists, but definitely not mind-blowing. You gave Mustaine an award earlier, why not two?

Hottest Chick: Marta Peterson (Bleeding Through)
For American metal chicks, I suppose. Definitely not hotter than Cristina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil.

And there you have the utter failure. In summation: Revolver fucking blows.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Boston Red Sox 2009 Preview

Now, for my other major interest outside of work: The Boston Red Sox.

CATCHER: Jason Varitek
Varitek is my favorite player. That being said, he is not the same player he used to be. He is getting older and his bat speed is diminishing. Last year was a terrible year but he looked okay this Spring. He provided a home run in the first game of the season last night. I would expect him to have a better year this year, but maybe not as good as in previous years. He will still provide solid defense and continue calling a good game.

FIRST BASE: Kevin Youkilis
Last year, Youkilis continued developing into one of the more consistent hitters in the game. He is in the prime of his career so I don't expect him to improve much but he should be good for another .325-30-100 season while getting on base at a good clip. His defense is great and he should be considered a candidate for a Gold Glove as well as MVP.

SECOND BASE: Dustin Pedroia
The breakout star of the team, Pedroia has been with the Red Sox for two full years and in that time won Rookie of the Year, MVP, a Silver Slugger, and a Gold Glove. He will continue to improve. He is a ton of fun to watch and very intense. We are witnessing the beginning of a great career.

Lowrie reminds me a lot of Pedroia, but with a little more power. He is an exceptional defender and a potential All Star. He won't be as good as Pedroia, but he will be a very good player.

THIRD BASE: Mike Lowell
Lowell is on the downturn of his career. He was injured for much of the season last year but will continue to be an effective player for the short term. He has lost a step on defense and may need to be substituted for occasionally but he should improve on last year's numbers. 2007 is in the distant past though.

You never know what you will get with Drew. If he stays healthy, he makes the game look incredibly easy. When he's hurt, he's maddening. I think he will be healthy for the greater part of the season and will turn in similar numbers to last year.

CENTER FIELD: Jacoby Ellsbury
I hope he improves on last year. He just needs to be more consistent at the plate. He is one of the most exciting players in the game on the base paths and in the field. He just needs to get on more often. He should break the Red Sox stolen bases record this year.

A full season in Boston should do him well. He is a good hitter but is not as flashy as the man he replaced, Manny Ramirez. No matter, Bay is professional and plays the game with respect. He will easily hit .280-30-100.

With any luck, he is healthy and dangerous again. If so, Boston will have a very good season and challenge for the AL pennant. If not, they will have to rely heavily on their pitching.

BENCH: George Kottaras, Nick Green, Chris Carter, Rocco Baldelli
Outfield depth is pretty deep, but Kottaras and Carter do not have much major league experience. Kottaras is there to give Varitek the occasional day off. Green had a great spring but has not performed well in the majors. Baldelli, if healthy, will be a great addition to the team.

STARTING ROTATION: Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Tim Wakefield, Brad Penny
Beckett should be back to his 2007 form when he almost won the Cy Young Award. Lester has developed into one of the top left-handers in the game. Matsuzaka is unhittable when his command is on. He just needs to stop nibbling at the corners so much and throw his hard stuff. Wakefield will continue to give league-average results. Penny, if healthy, is a huge boost to the rotation and he looked healthy this Spring. If not, John Smoltz will be ready midseason to add another boost.

MIDDLE RELIEF: Manny Delcarmen, Hideki Okajima, Ramon Ramirez, Javier Lopez, Justin Masterson, Takashi Saito
One of the deepest bullpens I have seen in the Red Sox. All of them are hard-throwers with consistent command. This will be a very strong bullpen.

CLOSER: Jonathan Papelbon
The enigmatic closer returns. Papelbon is one of the best in the game. Hopefully they will keep him around.

The AL East is a tough division with the Yankees and Rays both stocking up. The Red Sox will be in the thick of it all year as long as injuries do not slow them down. If Penny and/or Smoltz pitch to their history, the starting rotation is one of the best in the big leagues. The bullpen is deep. Defense is a big strength. The only issue is whether they will miss Manny Ramirez on offense. My gut says a little.

The OC Music Awards Utterly Fucking Failed

Here's an update from an earlier post about the OC Music Awards. Apparently it failed in a spectacular blaze of incompetency with regard to the metal award. I have never before seen such a disgraceful display of ineptitude. Atreyu fucking won the metal award. Yes that's right, the emo band Atreyu, named after the fucking kid in Neverending Story. Fuck you, OC Music Awards, fuck you.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Strange Album Covers Pt. 1

I love album covers. The visual aspect of albums can often be the difference when considering buying an album or deciding between a couple of albums. That being said, there are some truly bizarre album covers out there as well. This is the first in a new series.

Someone has a big opinion of themselves. I think this is hilarious. Apparently they're trying to tell us that their music is so bad that Jesus's ears are bleeding. Just kidding, the band isn't too bad, but the imagery is pretty funny.

One of the more gruesome and realistic looking album covers. This is one of the few metalcore albums I enjoy quite a bit. Apparently this unlucky individual had his lower jaw ripped off. Unfortunately that's the most brutal thing about this album.

I don't know what the fuck this is supposed to be, it's just fucking weird.

Let me see if I get the symbolism: the devil is using Jesus to target us? Sounds pretty close to me. Still, a great early death metal album with an H.R. Giger painting as the cover? I'm sold.

What the fuck do clowns have to do with metal? And a painting of a clown? Well the answer is fairly clear when you find out that serial killer John Wayne Gacy painted this. Pretty macabre if you ask me.

Monday, April 6, 2009

What's In A Name?

Ah yes, band names. Some are great and you know what the band is going to sound like just by hearing the name. Examples are: Black Sabbath, Slayer, Pantera, Cannibal Corpse, Celtic Frost, etc. Some names, on the other hand, are just fucking stupid. Here is a list of some of the worst names for metal bands I have ever heard:
A Kid Hereafter in the Grinding Light
A King's Worthy Mustache
All the Heathers are Dying
Arsonists Get All the Girls
Black Letter for a Rotten Heart
Bringing Down Broadway
Clinging to the Trees of a Forest Fire
Cross the Lips of Grace
Decapitation Done by Helicopter
Decompose My Dying Daughter
Five Characters in Search of an Exit
Fuck Your Shadow From Behind
Giddy Up Gangsta
Hester Prynne
I Don't Want to Die in Texas
I Wrestled a Bear Once
Job For a Cowboy
Kids Will be Skeletons
Life Goes on Without Me
Like Peter at Home
May the Force be With You
Messages Via Carrier Pigeon
My Son My Executioner
No Penguins in Alaska
Poolside at the Flamingo
Seven Last Words of Christ
Spider Killed Bananaman
Success Will Write Apocalypse Across the Sky
Terminally Your Aborted Ghost
The Bad Luck 13 Extravaganza
The Boy Will Drown
The New Tony Bennett
The Texas Chainsaw Mascara
To Envy the Horrid
To Outlive the Beginning
What's He Building in There? (Not metal, but had to get them in)

Basic rule of thumb: If your band name is a complete sentence, think of another fucking name.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Nightmare on Elm Street Remake

Apparently A Nightmare on Elm Street is being remade. I oftentimes hate remakes and I don't think that this will be any exception. The major issue of course is that Robert Englund will NOT be reprising his role as Freddy Krueger. According to imdb, Robert Knepper will play him. There is another rumor floating around that Jackie Earle Haley will play the iconic villain. Haley did a fine job as Rorschach in The Watchmen so he might be a decent choice. However, it is difficult to envision anyone else as Krueger. But thanks to the Friday the 13th and Halloween remakes, it was only a matter of time. Aren't there any original movies left?

Dusting Off a Cassette Pt. 6: Confessor: Confessor

"What the hell is technical doom metal?" That was my thought after picking up this cassette for cheap at a discount music store and then looking into the band online upon getting it home. After listening, my thought was "oh, that makes sense then."

I picked the tape up, not because I had ever heard of the band, but because I was on a buying spree for tapes. This is one of those that you can just tell by the cover is a metal album. I was expecting some type of underground death or thrash metal. I got technical doom. In a nutshell, Confessor takes the technical aspects of groups like Atheist, Heathen, and Pestilence and instead of applying it to death or thrash, applies it to traditional doom metal in the vein of Cirith Ungol or Trouble, in fact two of the tracks are Trouble covers. It's quite an interesting sound. The vocals are not great, but the music, especially the drummer is terrific. My only lament is that it is a little bit too short, clocking in around 20 minutes and only four songs.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Peter Dolving (The Haunted) Issues Fuck You to Lamb of God

Seriously folks. You could go out and see any of a number of bands in the next four weeks. What you’ll receive will of course be generic deliverance of generic metalcore by the numbers and certainly you won’t be more than slightly disappointed. The big one this time around out there being the Lamb Of God tour. Which will according to business-planned management crawl itself around the North Americas for the next year and a half or so like a big snake. You could dig that shit and think ‘Holy mutherfucking hell! That shit rocks!’ or you could go and see the Haunted once and for all prove what metal is all about. But only if you want to have a good time. Only if you want to feel alive. Only if you like that feeling of actually realizing everything is not fucked utterly and beyond belief. But I guess if you are a sad, self-pitying son of a bitch you won’t go. Oh what the hell, really, don’t go. Most of those who read this don’t really give a shit anyway do you? You’d rather stay in a saline filled tank fed intravenously with a constant intake of whatever, whoever carries the biggest gun and wad of dollars has to say wants to feed you.

Peter Dolving is the current lead singer of The Haunted and he is apparently very proud of his band. The Haunted is okay, but they really are not much better than Lamb of God to be honest. In fact the bands are fairly similar in that they are more mainstream in the metal world. Ultimately it doesn't mean much for a member of The Haunted to insult Lamb of God. Wake me up when Dawn of Azazel gets in someone's face.

Dusting Off a Cassette Pt. 5: Armored Saint: Symbol of Salvation

John Bush was one of my first favorite singers in metal. I first heard him on The Sound of White Noise, Anthrax's attempt to stay relevant in the mainstream. The band had shed a lot of their thrash sounds and went for a more modern, streamlined sound. They also brought in Bush to replace Joey Belladonna. Bush had a more serious, less playful voice than Belladonna and he matched the new sound well. Of course the new sound was a slap in the face of old fans. Bush would record a few more albums with Anthrax, however the band never sounded quite right with Bush. I always believed Bush was better suited for a more melodic, traditional heavy metal band, much like Armored Saint, his band before joining Anthrax.

Armored Saint has much more in common with American power metal than thrash and John Bush's voice perfectly complements the sound. His soaring vocals are the best part of the album, even though the guitar work is very impressive in its own right. The songs for the most part are catchy. "Hanging Judge" is a great song with an extremely catchy chorus. I first heard this song on Hellraiser 3, in which Armored Saint had a brief cameo.

Unfortunately not all of the songs are great. It starts to drag a little toward the halfway point, but that's where "Hanging Judge" kicks in.

Armored Saint broke up when Bush left for Anthrax but recently got back together. Let's hope they have some more of this style of metal in them.