Monday, November 30, 2009

Initial Impressions: Tsjuder, Hour of 13, Pharaoh, Nirvana 2002, Dokken


Tsjuder is another extremely raw, primal black metal band. Tsjuder is from Norway and formed in 1993, just before the second wave of black metal achieved notoriety. Tsjuder is definitely not one of the main bands from the movement, however they are one of the few bands that has managed to never change their style of vicious black metal.Tsjuder plays fast and keeps things brutal. Featuring blazing fast riffs and blast beats galore, Tsjuder does not let up until the album is over. Occasional slower parts just emphasize how fast the rest of the music is.

Singer and founding member Nag produces screeches and howls along with a deep rasp. He always plays the bass and keeps things moving with throbbing bass lines.

Tsjuder missed the boat a little bit with their formation occurring just prior to the second wave explosion, but they seem to prefer it that way. This album is still powerful and brutal and proves that underground black metal still has a bite.


Ah, this is more like it. Hour of 13 plays traditional, haunting doom metal in the vein of Candlemass, Trouble, Cirith Ungol, Solitude Aeturnus, and more. The band is very new, this being their first full length album, but they definitely have a bright future.

The riffs are definitely inspired by groups like Black Sabbath and the aforementioned doom metal bands. The vocals are clean and eerily haunting. The overall atmosphere provided by the music is dark and it fills the listener with feelings of dread and doom, just as good doom metal is supposed to do.

In recent years, there have been many bands releasing material that owes much to the traditional metal styles. Hour of 13 is another of those bands playing doom metal styled after bands from the 1980's. It's rare to hear good traditional doom metal that is not mixed with elements of thrash, death, or other metal styles. This is one such album. Hopefully Hour of 13 will influence other groups to take note as well.


Pharaoh is another traditional metal band, but whereas Hour of 13 has its influences in doom, Pharaoh prefers the more melodic bands such as Iron Maiden. Pharaoh is one of several bands created by Chris Black, a sort of metal jack-of-all-trades who also contributed to Metal Maniacs magazine. Don't be mistaken though, this is not some sort of tribute band, Pharaoh is a rock-solid traditional heavy metal band.

The music is extremely melodic, yet retains a distinctive heavy metal touch. This band could easily have fit right in with the 1980's true metal wave. The riffs sound as if the band combined Judas Priest and Iron Maiden and threw in some other NWOBHM ideas as well, yet remaining distinctly American in their aggressive delivery. The drummer isn't doing anything completely unusual or ear-catching but is very solid and basic and manages to keep the music going. The vocals are similar to Iced Earth's Matt Barlow but are a little higher. He does seem to have the same range though.

This is a very good, powerful traditional metal album from an up and coming American band. It's unfortunate that bands like these are perhaps less well-known by the mainstream than even some black and death metal bands. This is true traditional metal and people should think of this when they think of metal.


I picked this up at the music store one day. I was looking specifically for it, because I knew it was not likely that I would be able to track down the actual demos that make up the album. I did not know how likely it was that I would be able to find it because the nearest music store to me is completely unpredictable in stocking metal. I knew there was a chance though as it was a Relapse release, a label that my store is fairly good at releasing. I had to laugh when I found the album in the CD browser with the Nirvana albums. Imagine someone looking for the early 1990's Seattle grunge band and thinking they have found a possible gem, and actually finding a collection of Swedish death metal demos.

Nirvana 2002 added the surname "2002" so as not to be confused with the Seattle act that was gaining popularity. The band only released a few demos and never released a full length album. There have been rumblings about these demos being collected and released together for some time now. Relapse finally did just that this fall.

The band was part of the early wave of bands out of Sweden playing death metal, along with Nihilist and Unleashed and others, they arrived setting the stage for the huge wave that would follow. Unfortunately Nirvana 2002 would not be around for the ultimate popularity of the movement, breaking up after just a few demos.

The music is typical for Swedish death metal: buzzsaw guitar riffs wrapped around psychotic shrieking. But this band sounds fresh, even though these demos are fairly old. It's a shame that the band has denegrated to cult classic band and is not at the forefront of the very popular style. Swedish death is one of the most revered scenes, to the extent that there is even a book about it. Nirvana 2002 could have been one of the biggest bands, instead of something of a footnote.


I poked a little fun at Dokken in an earlier post, and they probably deserved some of it. Still though, Dokken was one of the best and most metal bands during the whole hair rock/metal fiasco. Dokken possessed an amazing guitar player, two in fact, and a great vocalist. And the band played metal, at least for the first few albums, before descending into complete mediocrity.

I've been on a bit of a 1980's metal kick lately and identified Dokken as a band I had to look into a little more thoroughly. I remember enjoying several of the band's songs that would be played on the radio back when I was in junior high. They were fast, yet melodic, heavy, yet mainstream-friendly. This was Dokken, a band that managed to balance being a pretty decent metal band with being involved in the glam scene.

This is the band's first full length and one of its most metal releases. It contains the classics "Into the Fire" and "Alone Again". It set the stage for the band's next few albums and their burgeoning poularity. Nevertheless, it is likely this will be the only Dokken album I will pick up. It's good, it's fun, but it's ultimately fluff. Just like Dokken.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Impetigo: Horror of the Zombies

Sick, twisted, and absolutely fucked up. Impetigo's Horror of the Zombies is one of the most fun albums to listen to when in the mood for horror and gore. This is easily the band's best album, and unfortunately the band chose not to try to follow this up to date. The band broke up after it was released and although they have reformed for some anniversary shows, have not put out another full length album.

Impetigo blends death metal and grindcore beautifully into one of the sickest sounds ever. The riffs are not fast but are groove-laden and catchy. The bass rumbles along underneath the riffs providing more earth shaking tremors. The drums are possibly the best musical attribute on the album. They are some of the most interesting patterns in extreme metal. The drums are not played particularly fast, but they are technically very impressive. They are constantly present and blend with the music extremely well.

The vocals sound as if zombies were actually recorded. There are some vocal effects that are used to great effect, enhancing the listening experience that much more. The vocals are double-tracked and are often deep, decayed growls that sound as if they are coming from the grave. Every once in awhile vocalist Scott Dobbins will unleash a blood curdling shriek or do something else unexpected which further adds to the horror of the music.

Lyrically, Impetigo deals with gore, horror, and more horror. The band incorporates several clips from horror movies into the album. I recognize Wizard of Gore and Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, but there are others along the way. This further adds to the storytelling aspect of the songs. The band references these obscure horror movies and provides clips to go with the references.

The production on the album is incredible. It is thick and dirty sounding, yet clean enough to hear everything that is happening on the album. If all grindcore sounded like this, I would probably enjoy the genre a little better.

This album is a ton of fun. If only Impetigo had stuck around a little longer to follow it up. The band is a cult favorite, but they could have gotten much more acclaim had they kept at it. As it is, this is a great, somewhat obscure album.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Initial Impressions: Slayer, Hypocrisy, Nile, Archgoat, and Vreid

SLAYER: WORLD PAINTED BLOODThe almighty Slayer returns with their 2009 release, their best album since probably Divine Intervention. Slayer has been the most consistent of the Big 4 of American thrash metal bands, never releasing a truly bad album, apart from their ill-advised album of punk covers, but their albums have been declining in quality for some time. This album does a lot to right the ship.

The album starts off with a slowly building drum cadence, leading into some tonal progressions on the guitar then immediately fires off the first salvo. As anyone who knows Slayer's music can attest, the band does not let up from here. The band is a little more melodic at times on this album instead of just blasting the eardrums of listeners with pounding riff after pounding riff. But they nevertheless remain extremely potent.

Tom Araya's vocals are the same as they have been for years, harsh shouting over the tops of the riffs. The lyrics deal with the standard Slayer stuff: Anti-Christianity, war, death, and other dark subjects. The guitar riffs are razor sharp and the solos cut straight through the riffs and grab the listener's attention. Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman remain one of the most powerful guitar duos in metal. Dave Lombardo adds his trademarked furious drum patterns, keeping everything else moving at breakneck speed.

As mentioned, this is easily Slayer's best album in years. It subtracts a lot of the groove metal influences found on recent releases and just flat out blazes. It's total balls to the walls speed from the opening to the end. I still would love to hear the band revert to its earliest days when they engaged mostly in Venom worship, but this is an acceptable substitute.

HYPOCRISY: A TASTE OF EXTREME DIVINITYHypocrisy is a band from the Swedish death metal scene that has had something of an odd career trajectory. The band started out as a true Swedish death metal band in the same vein as Nihilist/Entombed, Dismember, and Grave. However, as the Gothenburg melodeath scene grew, Hypocrisy began incorporating elements of that style into their own music. Then, as nu-metal became popular, Hypocrisy attempted to sound like Slipknot. Neither of these changes in the band's style were palatable to their old fans. Eventually, the band stripped these elements away and returned on the Virus album as more or less their old selves, except with a little more melodic tinges. This is their second album after that comeback album.

The buzzsaw-sounding guitar riffs have returned, as has Peter Tagtren's demonic-sounding deep growls and psychotic shrieks. Tagtren has one of the more recognizable voices in death metal. The major difference between old and new Hypcrisy is the melodic guitar leads, which here provide most of the infectiousness of the music. They keep the listener interested. They are just understated enough that one has to listen carefully to hear everything that is playing.

Hypocrisy, to me, has always been a little underrated. The band is not on the same level as Entombed, Dismember, and Grave, and they do not really fit in with the Gothenburg scene at all. It's tough to say where Hypocrisy's place really is. This is a great album. Hopefully, it will lead to more fans and Hypocrisy's place in metal history will be set.

NILE: THOSE WHOM THE GODS DETESTEveryone's favorite Egyptian-themed death metal band is back. Nile has typically put out a new album every couple of yearson recent albums. This is their first album since 2007's Ithyphallic. Their last album seemed a little labored and just was not quite up to snuff after the amazing Annihilation of the Wicked album from 2005. It just was not as inspired and I was hesitant to pick this one up right away on its release date, but apparently I had an extra $15.00 burning a hole in my pocket so I got it along with the Slayer and Hypocrisy albums.

Nile has ditched their old blazing fast riffs for the most part in favor of a more sludgy, doomed-out approach to death metal on recent albums. The Egyptian-inspired musical interludes have been incorporated more and more into the death metal making them far less disjointed and giving the music more continuity. The vocals are still made up of hoarse, growled screams. The drums still play little more than constant blast beats. The production has reverted back to the murky, muddy quality of the early material, before things became a little too processed.

The lyrics still focus on Egypt and ancient mythology, but Karl Sanders is not just taking scriptures and other Egyptian writings and putting them to music anymore. As his fascination and familiarity with Egyptian mythology has grown, he has been able to incorporate more of his own ideas and placing them in the context of the Egyptian-inspired death metal.

Nile has returned to a sound close to Annihilation of the Wicked on this album. It is a return to their most popular sound, and although the band will never sound as raw and dirty as it did in its earlier days, it is still one of the best American death metal bands to form in the last 15 years.

ARCHGOAT: THE LIGHT-DEVOURING DARKNESSBack when Metal Maniacs was still around, there was a writer who wrote about black metal almost exclusively. This writer used to refer to black metal from Finland as "Finn-filthy". I haven't had much exposure to Finnish black metal, but there does seem to be some truth to that label, as the bands I have heard have been extremely bestial and raw-sounding. Archgoat fits in well with other Finnish black metal bands such as Horna, Behexen, Beherit, and Impaled Nazarene.

Archgoat actually formed in 1989, pre-dating the second wave of Norwegian black metal. The band actually broke up in 1993, one year before the scene exploded as Archgoat did not want to be part of a commercial black metal scene. They reformed several years later, and this, despite forming 20 years ago, is only their second full length album.

Musically, Archgoat is extremely raw and primal-sounding. The production is dirty and sludgy with a heavy low-end. This just makes everything sound that much more intense. The band plays fairly fast, pounding black metal with a very evil atmosphere. Vocals are deep growls that are almost indecipherable. There are moments when the sound is an eerie calm, which eventually leads right back into the chaotic energy. The album flies by in the blink of an eye.

Archgoat has long been one of the more admired groups in the Finnish black metal scene. This album is a good reason why. The band has never ditched the kvlt-as-fuck attitude that permeates a lot of the genre. Archgoat are true throwbacks to the days when black metal had no mainstream exposure and was a mysterious and frightening sound. We need more bands like Archgoat.

VREID: PITCH BLACK BRIGADEVreid formed out of the ashes of Windir. Vreid is a different take on black metal than the above Archgoat. Where Archgoat is raw and primal, Vreid is a more stripped-down basic sound, harkening to the days when punk and metal were just becoming acquainted. It's still black metal, but it's closer to early Venom and Bathory than the second wave groups like Mayhem and Immortal.

Vreid formed after the lead singer of Windir, Valfar died. Where Windir was something of a folk black metal band, Vreid has much more in common with thrash metal. It was something of a shock when the band released its first recordings and fans of Windir picked them up, expecting something along Windir's lines. Vreid does venture occasionally into more folk territories, but always returns to the thrash roots of the music.

As mentioned, Vreid plays blackened thrash with powerful riffs and blasting drums. Vocalist Sture has a harsh throaty scream that he uses for all vocals. There are occasional guitar solos and melodic interludes, but the majority of the music is straight-ahead, angry thrash metal.

This album was something of a surprise to me. I admit to not doing uch research into this band prior to buying the album, but I was pleasantly surprised. This albums is great blackened thrash, already one of my favorite genres.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Dio Diagnosed with Stomach Cancer

They caught it early so it should be operable successfully. Here's to a quick and speedy recovery. Get well soon.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Initial Impressions: Revocation, Misery's Omen, Waylander, Lord Belial, Blood Tsunami

Revocation is one of the biggest up-and-coming young bands this year. The band plays a highly technical style of thrash that has been extremely well-received by most major metal outlets. There has been an awful lot of hype surrounding this release, so of course I had to check it out eventually. Is the hype justified? You bet your ass it is.

Inevitably this band will be thrown in with the retro thrash movement, which I guess is okay as long as people do not dismiss them simply because of that fact. Revocation sounds more like groups like Sadus, Heathen, and other technical thrash metal bands. A well which has not been mined by many of the other groups in the retro thrash movement.

As far as the music goes, the guitar riffs are definitely the main attraction. Featuring frequent time changes and blazing leads, the guitars definitely steal the show. The vocals are delivered in a harsh yell, definitely a throwback to the late 80's underground thrash vocalists and a continuing force in thrash metal. The drum patterns are often quite complex, with the occasional blast beat thrown in for good measure.

This is a very good example of the retro thrash movement done right. Please do not dismiss the band simply because of that moniker.

This band is fucked up. I mean this album is seriously unnerving. From the eerie cover art to the rumbling music, everything is odd and off-kilter. I guess that can be expected when one of the band's members is also in the epic mindfuck band Portal.

Misery's Omen plays a sort of progressive, blackened doom metal. The music is mostly made up of slow dirges that sound like the music to a funeral march into hell. It occasionally branches off into more melodic territory, while always soon returning to the deathlike somber sound from whence it came. There are some faster songs on the album, but the band always sounds best when they are slow. There are some soft acoustic interludes that are often beautiful, yet unsettling in their own way as the listener is never sure of when the band will revert to the harsher sound again. The vocals are delivered in a deep grunt and are often indecipherable.

The band uses frequent time signature changes to keep the listener feeling off balance. It works. The entire album is an exercise in strangeness. The length of the songs varies wildly. The 11+ minute opener is immediately followed by aa 3+ minute song. This further leads to the strange feel of the album as a very long song may be followed by a very short song and vice versa.

This album is otherworldly and unique. I have their previous shorter album and enjoyed it so well I picked this one up. But, this one is infinitely stranger and more of an ordeal to listen through. The strangeness can get very unnerving and lead the listener into anticipation for the album to be finished. Not always a great quality in an album.

From the slow deathly dirges of Misery's Omen to the relatively upbeat folk black metal of Waylander. When I first discovered folk metal, I wondered if it was possible to find bands that blended Celtic music (part of my own ancestral background) with heavy metal. Since that time, I have discovered that, in fact, there have been quite a few. Waylander, Skyclad, Cruachan, Eluveitie, and Primordial all play metal laced with Celtic musical influences.

Waylander is a bit different than the other bands, preferring to blend Celtic music with more blackened metal whereas the other bands have different metallic bases. The vocals are harsh, black metal shrieks providing an odd contrast to the often beautiful Celtic melodies. The songs are often mini-epics in order to incorporate all of the ideas of the band. There are frequent slower interludes which allow more of the Celtic music to play freely and unencumbered by the thrashing guitar riffs and pounding drums.

Waylander is one of the better folk metal bands out there. The Celtic music is very prevalent but does not completely take over the metal elements. The two parts exist together in fairly decent harmony. Eluveitie is the only Celtic metal band that has more seemlessly melded their two musical sides. Waylander is definitely a good listen and I may keep my eyes open for more of their stuff.

This is my fourth Lord Belial album, and their last album prior to their breakup. It's always a little sad when a quality band breaks up before they have much recognition. Melodic black metal has been gaining in popularity in recent years with groups like Watain, Naglfar, and Nifelheim reaching wider audiences. However, the same exposure was never really granted to Lord Belial. Even magazines such as Metal Maniacs barely covered their last couple of albums. I never saw an interview or review for their prior album, and that was a great melodic black/death metal album. This album did warrant a short article, but no review.

Lord Belial started out as a typical melodic black metal band. They slowly began incorporating more and more death metal influences. The band on this album is almost half and half. It would appear that there may have been some problems internally as the band recorded this album. The album is a little more lackluster compared to their earlier material. It is not nearly as memorable as the band's prior albums. This is a shame as Lord Belial has always had a knack for producing some quality, memorable performances. Perhaps it had become time that the band had run its course.

All of the elements that have made Lord Belial such a vital member of their genre are still present: harsh vocals, soaring leads, pummeling drums, occasional melodic touches, and a fascination with Satanic or Anti-Christian lyrics. The band just sounds a little tired. As mentioned, the band broke up soon after the release of this album. It's a shame, but perhaps for the best.

Sure, why not? Dismember produced Death Metal, Venom had Black Metal, so why can't we have a band simply name their album Thrash Metal?

Blood Tsunami perhaps became best-known for the fact that Bard "Faust" Eithun became their drummer. Faust has been the drummer for several black metal bands over the years including Emperor and Aborym. However, he was not a founding member of the band, so the fact that he is their drummer is one of the principal reasons the band became well-known is somewhat aggravating. Plus, Faust cannot travel to the U.S. if the band were to ever tour here as he has a felony charge of murder on his record. So it's actually kind of a disadvantage to have him as a member.

Blood Tsunami is from Norway, a country not well-known for thrash metal bands. Off the top of my head I can only name this band and Nocturnal Breed as thrash metal bands from Norway. As the country is not rich with thrash metal, the band had to take their influences from elsewhere. Blood Tsunami's thrash metal is a combination of the style of German thrash metal bands like Destruction, Kreator, and Sodom, along with Swedish thrash/death metal bands like At The Gates, Dismember, Nihilist, and Hypocrisy.

The music is very fast, as is customary with thrash, featuring mile-a-minute riffs and an almost buzzsaw sound to the guitars. The vocals are frequently shouted, but oftentimes revert to an almost death metal-like growl.

Blood Tsunami is one of the better newer international thrash metal band, showing that it's not just the U.S. seeing a resurgence in the genre. This album is very good and the band is worth checking out further.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Metal Pets Pt. 5: Destiny

Destiny is my fiancee's horse. I'm not allowed to touch her, but she wanted me to share this anyway. I'm not sure what I could possibly do to a 1,000 pound animal, but oh well. According to my fiancee, Destiny is very intelligent, and perhaps a little spoiled. Apparently, she thinks she's people and will not work for people if they treat her like an animal instead of a person. She says that Destiny is extremely smart, possibly the smartest animal she has met. She has escaped twice, once when she leaped over a four foot fence as a weanling.

I haven't had much exposure to the horse. She glares at me when I drive up to my fiancee's parents' house. That's pretty much it.

Shitty Bands That Need to Go Away Pt. 1: The Devil Wears Prada

Let's do something different and completely hate on a band that deserves it, shall we? It's more fun to hate terrible bands than it is to love great ones. Well, maybe not more fun, but definitely more amusing.

So let's see, as mentioned earlier, this band is named after a Meryl Streep movie. That's not what they claim, but to me, if you have to come up with a convoluted story to explain away any similarities between your band's name and a Meryl Streep movie, you could have just as easily come up with a better name. Therefore, I will accept no explanations and just tell you this cold, hard fact: you named yourself after a fucking Meryl Streep movie, about fashion no less.

Now that we have that ugliness out of the way, what other Meryl Streep movies could you have named yourselves after? This is a primer for all you Christian hardcore bands out there. I had to use Wikipedia to come up with this as I don't know many Meryl Streep movies, unlike The Devil Wears Prada who apparently knew of one.

Fantastic Mr. Fox
Julie & Julia
Mamma Mia! (added points for being the name of a terrible Abba song)
A Prairie Home Companion
The Hours
Music of the Heart
The Bridges of Madison County
Death Becomes Her (I wouldn't be shocked to see some horrible screamo band with this name)
Postcards from the Edge
Out of Africa
Sophie's Choice

There you have it, free advice. Now, fuck off.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ridiculously Unhelpful Amazon Listmania Pt. 3: The Next Dokken

Yes, that's right boys and girls, apparently we need another Dokken. You remember Dokken right? No? "Breaking the Chains"? "Unchain the Night"? "Alone Again"? "Into the Fire"? "Dream Warriors", the song from A Nightmare on Elm St 5? Bueller?
Whatever, that's why we need a next Dokken, because the first one wasn't memorable enough. I happen to like Dokken okay, they were one of the better bands in the whole 1980's glam metal scene. So what kind of characteristics will we be looking for in the next Dokken? Presumably, they will play some sort of heavily melodic pop-inflected metal with virtuosic guitar solos and high vocals. So who's the next Dokken? Here's the list:

Atreyu (what the fuck? I'm pretty sure there are absolutely no similarities between these two bands)
Ozzy Osbourne (little piece of advice: when determining "the next band x" it's best not to refer to one that has actually been around just as long or longer)
Early Man (I have no exposure to this band whatsoever
3 Inches of Blood (once again, NO similarities)
Ratt (see Ozzy)
Pantera (huh?)
Whitecross (no idea)
White Lion (awful, awful band)
Pharaoh (great new band, virtually no similarity to Dokken though)
Avenged Sevenfold (more like the next Guns 'N Roses, minus talent and memorable songs)
Dreamland (never heard of 'em)
Poison (see Ratt)
Nocturnal Rites (Swedish power metal band)
Disturbed (and my brain exploded)
Phil Vincent
Black Widow (this album was originally released in 1970, eight years prior to the formation of Dokken)
Metallica (why would Metallica want to be the next anything? what's wrong with being the first Metallica? Pretty good if you ask me)
The Sword (doom metal wannabe band, Dokken is not at all close to doom metal)
I (blackened heavy metal supergroup)
Skid Row (this I might be inclined to believe, but they're not around anymore at all)
Slick Shoes (who?)
Iced Earth (no)
Razormaid (this was released in 1987 and the band promptly disbanded, thus they are not the next anything)
The Cowboy Prostitutes
Def Leppard (see Poison)
Riff Raff (originally released in 1974)
Sebastian Bach
Human Zoo
Seventh Calling
Sonic X

I've never heard of half of these bands. Is the next Dokken among them, no clue? Do I care? Not a chance.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Metal History Pt. 5: The College Years

I started college right when nu-metal was exploding. It was hard to avoid listening to some of that stuff, and indeed most of my early concert experiences were going to see nu-metal bands like Sevendust, Disturbed, Static-X, Godhead, Staind, Cold, and Rob Zombie (although Rob did play several White Zombie songs as he continues to do). The unfortunate thing was that nu-metal was unavoidable and did make it into lots of traditional heavy metal magazines. It was tough to know quite what to think of the genre, but it flamed out spectacularly in recent years.

I admit it: I did listen to some nu-metal. But I was always a little ambivalent towards a lot of the groups. Looking back, I realize that I was always cautious about the music due to the fact that I did not like listening to nu-metal albums all the way through. I would often have tracks that I would skip. My metal albums were not like that. That, to me, was the principal difference. Metal music was created with the goal of putting out quality albums. Nu-metal was created with the goal of making money.

Musically, there were differences that I noticed as well. Metal was about the riffs. The guitar was a melodic instrument. Nu-metal used down-tuned guitar riffs and utilized the guitar as more of a rhythmic instrument. The vocals were the melody in nu-metal.

Now that I have explained that whole sordid affair, let's look into the metal that I was listening to at the time:

Fear Factory was a band that began to make waves at the time nu-metal was getting off the ground, although their metal roots were far more apparent. That was a band that I enjoyed quite a bit and was the second metal band of whom I bought a shirt.

My enjoyment of Iron Maiden soared. I really don't remember quite when that happened. All I know is that I owned two albums in high school and I suddenly discovered how great that band was and bought five or six more. I even reviewed the most recent album Brave New World for my History of Rock Music class for the review paper assignment. Yes that was a class, yes I got an A on the assignment, and yes I got an A in the class (I was known as the Curve Killer in that class as the professor would curve the tests up to give the student with the highest grade on the test a 100%, the problem was, I almost never missed any questions on the tests).

I bought Dissection's Storm of the Light's Bane through a bookstore. I had never heard anything like it. It was dark, cold, and hostile, but I wanted to hear more bands like it. Unfortunately, it took quite a bit of searching to find anything.

It was in college that I discovered Opeth and Dark Tranquillity, going to Homer's one early evening on Halloween. That directly lead me to find albums by groups like Emperor, Moonspell, In Flames, Meshuggah, and more.

Slayer became one of my favorite bands when I received two of their albums as Christmas presents. I had owned one album previously, which I also bought while in late high school/early college. From that Christmas, I was obsessed with the band though. They still rank as one of my favorite thrash metal bands.

I also still listened to a lot of the bands I had been listening to previously: Metallica, Megadeth (even though both bands were putting out disappointing albums), Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath, and more. The next leap would not occur until law school.

Dusting Off a Cassette Pt. 36: Besatt: Hail Lucifer

Very subtle. Besatt is a black metal band from Poland, which is a surprising hotbed for extreme metal. The band takes influences from second wave Norwegian black metal and first wave black metal bands such as Celtic Frost and Bathory. The band's sound is an unholy combination of its influences.

Besatt's riffs are delivered in a buzzing, tremolo style, befitting the genre. There are often only one or two riffs per song. Again, fairly typical for the cult style of the music. The drums are almost solely blast beats buried underneath the buzzsaw guitar sounds. The bass cannot be heard at all. The production is extremely lo-fi.

The vocals on the album are delivered in a typical black metal shriek. The lyrics are about Satanism, the occult, and Anti-Christianity.

As for the songs themselves, "War" is probably the best track. It features samples of medieval warfare throughout the entire song while the music is playing. It gives the overall effect of absolute, massive chaos. Hearing people screaming and sword clashes throughout the music somehow fits the style. It really must be heard.

All of this basically means that this album is representative of its style. It could also mean that the album is very cliche. It all depends on the listener and their enjoyment of this particular style of black metal. I happen to enjoy the style, and this is an underrated, unknown gem.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Metal Pets Pt. 4: Hannah

Hannah is our border collie. As a typical border collie, she is extremely intelligent and diligent. She is the most gifted of the dogs when it comes to tricks. My particular favorites involve her playing frisbee. When we have gone to my parents' house, she always goes in search of the frisbees and brings them to us to throw for her. She is very good at catching and returning them. She often drops the frisbee a couple of feet away, but if she is told to bring the frisbee closer, she will do so. She is the only dog I have seen able to do that. My other favorite thing about her is that she greets me with hugs. She stands on her hind legs and wraps her front legs around my waist.

Metal Pets Pt. 3: Annie

My fiancee decided I should split the dogs up into individual posts.

Next up is our absolutely beautiful German Shepherd Annie. Annie is a gorgeous sable color. She is also one of the sweetest dogs in the world. That is, as long as she knows who you are. I went to my fiancee's apartment shortly before we started dating. Annie was in a kennel and I walked into the room. Annie went ballistic, barking and growling, that is until she was let out of the kennel. She immediately ran behind the bed and hid. From that time forward, she has become a very friendly dog towards me. She absolutely loves the both of us.

Metal Pets Pt. 2: The Reaper

The Reaper has been a subject of a couple of prior posts. He is our little blue heeler puppy and next week, he will turn one year old. My fiancee and I joke around about him a lot, but we do love him, at least I think so. He is undoubtedly a handful and is often difficult to deal with. We have discovered a couple of unusual things about him though. One is that he is surprisingly calm in the car. And when I say surprisingly, I mean it. He is not calm ever, EVER, but he rides in the car extremely well. Secondly, he is extremely smart, freaky smart. He has learned to drink out of a glass without knocking it over. He learns tricks very quickly. He also figured out how to break out of his kennel. That was an interesting day, coming home during lunch to find that he had utterly demolished a phone book, leaving little pieces all over the floor.

One of these days, The Reaper will be a good dog. Let's just hope we can make it that long.

Next time up: The other three dogs: Sienna, Annie, and Hannah.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Metal Pets: The Cats

Last week, there was a blog on Invisible Oranges ( about why metalheads tend to be cat people. Essentially, the arguments that writer put forth are that pet owners tend to prefer animals that are like them. Many metalheads are introverted, independent, and a little rebellious. This is far closer to describing cats than dogs, although he has never met The Reaper, my blue heeler puppy.

As for me, I have always been an animal person. I have had various animals all my life. In particular, I have had cats all my life. Currently, I have four.

Meet Bagheera, the spawn of Satan. Bagheera had a wild streak a mile long when he was younger. He once pulled a knife off of the counter and picked it up with his mouth. My dad walked out to check out the sound and saw the cat walking down the hallway toward the bedrooms with the knife in his mouth. He has also put three people in the emergency room and once chased my little brother up the stairs. Since I moved out of my parents home, I took Bagheera with me.

This is Sai. Sai is a little bit of a freak. He's a polydactyl cat, but he practically has an extra paw on each of his legs. The joke when we were getting him declawed was that we had better not be charged by the claw as he had 26 claws.

This is Daisy, my fiancee's cat. Apparently she has a mean streak to her as well. My fiancee said that at one point Daisy would growl and hiss at her just because she told her "no".

And, this is Twizzy, my fiancee's other cat who has adopted me. Twizzy is the friendliest cat in the world and is more doglike than any of the others. He is very dependent on people and constantly jumps in my lap when I go home.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dusting Off a Cassette Pt. 35: Blood of Kingu: De Occulta Philosophia

Blood of Kingu is an occult black metal band from the Ukraine of all places. Metal truly is a well-known form of music around the world, and that is further demonstrated here with a band from a somewhat isolated Easter European country. Metal is popular in the countries of the former Soviet Union. Unfortunately, it has not been able to reach a worldwide audience to this point.

The lead member of the band, Roman Saenko, is also involved in other Ukrainian metal projects including Drudkh and Hate Forest. He is a very prolific musician, releasing two to three albums per year through various projects.

Blood of Kingu essentially sounds like De Mysteriis Dom Satanas-era Mayhem. The band relies on dark atmospheric riffs and tremolo picking. The music is eerie and intimidating. It's creepy, just as Mayhem was before them.

Not helping matters is the vocals which are often delivered in an ominous chanting like the Benedictine monks if they were chanting about evil and Satan. Combine that with the already unnerving music, and you have one hell of a frightening album.

The only real problem with the album is the low production values. The vocals in particular get kind of lost in the mix. In addition, the album tends to get a little repetitive. Riffs are repeated over and over again ad nauseum in the individual songs, each song generally only containing one riff.

Blood of Kingu has potential. They just have not reached it yet.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Initial Impressions: Impiety, Stratovarius, Immortal, Warbringer, and Iron Fire

The Singaporean (hopefully that's correct) metal mavens in Impiety combine styles of black, death, and thrash metal. The band would fit in with the Australian bands like Destroyer 666 and Destruktor as they possess the same sort of extreme, frenzied style of metal. Impiety has been lurking underground for years now, never really garnering much recognition as they are somewhat geographically isolated. It's time for that to pass. Impiety has been one of the most extreme, powerful bands in underground metal for years.

The band continues in this vein on their latest album, the aptly titled Terroreign. Things always start up slowly, softly building into a crescendo of chaos that doesn't let up for the rest of the album. An Impiety album is more like a destructive event than a listening experience. They leave the listener dumbfounded, mouth-agape, wondering what the hell just happened. The music is like tornado ripping through the listener's head and leaving no survivors.

Impiety is not an easy band to listen to, far from it actually, but if one wants metal that is extremely aggressive and destructive, look no further than Impiety.

Every once in awhile, I am in the mood for something very melodic. Luckily, metal is a genre of extremes and there are very melodic bands out there. Much of the power metal genre for instance falls into this category.

Stratovarius is one such power metal band.

Stratovarius and other bands like them (Rhapsody of Fire, Sonata Arctica, etc.) play a very melodic form of power metal derisively referred to as "flower metal". I won't refer to it as such as I happen to like the music once in awhile. It is by no means my favorite style, but it is easier to listen to. It's not terribly relaxing as the music is often very fast, but it nonetheless does not rely on the heavy riffs and extreme vocals other genres feature.

This album is Stratovarius at its best. Fast melodies, occasional choral vocals and current singer Timo Kotipelto's amazing tenor vocals. Stratovarius is a band that whose music closely resembles classical music. The band arranges its music very carefully and results in a full beautiful symphonic metal style.

The album is one of the better examples of the oft-reviled "flower metal" genre. Stratovarius has more than enough metal parts to keep metalheads happy, while also heavily relying on gorgeous melodies.

Ah yes, the Norwegian true black metal warriors return from a long hiatus. Immortal has never been a band that has been taken very seriously. Over the years, many black metal bands have shed the corpsepaint and leather, not Immortal though. Immortal looks just as silly and bizarre as they ever have. Abbath still looks like a death metal panda, and the other members follow suit.

However, musically, Immortal is one of the most important black metal bands from Norway and have continued putting out good album after good album. The sound has become a little more streamlined and melodic over the last couple albums and is not as chaotic and ball-out furiously fast as they have been in the past. But, none of their power and glory has diminished.

Immortal's newest album is continuing down the musical path laid out by their last album. The black metal is still there. The thunderous drums and lightning fast riffs, the deep throated gargle of Abbath, all of the elements necessary for a good Immortal album are present. Which is what makes this such a great album. Immortal is one of my favorite bands from the Norwegian second wave of black metal, and every reason why is found in this album.

Welcome back Immortal.

Their last album was a warning shot. Warbringer was here and ready to thrash. From the Lovecraftian nightmare that is the album cover, to the opening volley in the opener, it is clear that Warbringer has been honing their craft, ready to let the naysayers who claim that the band are nothing but trendwhores have it.

Warbringer is one of the better new "retro thrash" metal bands, along with Merciless Death. They are also one of the such bands that best know their material. Warbringer often sounds like a demented cross between Slayer, Kreator, Exodus, and Dark Angel. The band is often derided for their presence on Century Media's roster and the fact that they emerged at the same time as a lot of the other bands. It's unfortunate because those people who don't give them a shot, don't know what they are missing.

Warbringer's newest album is still full of the same venomous rage as their prior album and finds the band tightening up on their playing ability. They served notice last time, this time they will take no prisoners.

Iron Fire is the other type of power metal. That is, Iron Fire is not an overly melodic, almost symphonic "flower metal" band. Instead, Iron Fire draws influences from such acts as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Jag Panzer, Liege Lord and other traditional, speed, or power metal bands that are aggressive, yet melodic.

Iron Fire fits in well with the resurgence of more traditional sounding metal bands, although the band itself has been around for nearly 15 years and has put out five full length albums. They are not a new band, but they are beginning to see some recognition based on their brand of metal becoming more widespread in recent years.

The songs are all fast-paced with good, traditional riffs and Martin Steene's soaring vocals and are catchy as hell. Martin Steene is the singer for Force of Evil as well, the side project band of members of King Diamond and Mercyful Fate. He has a vocal style well-suited for power metal.

All in all, this is a very good example of the more aggressive style of European power metal propagated by groups like Blind Guardian instead of Rhapsody of Fire.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Cover Songs Pt. 2: Metal on Metal

Part 2 in the Cover Songs series features metal bands covering other metal bands. These can be grouped in three categories: good, bad, and ugly. Sometimes bands take classic songs and make them their own. Other times, something is missing. Still others, no one knows what in the hell the band was thinking.

Cradle of Filth: Hallowed be Thy Name (Iron Maiden)
I actually really enjoy this version. The band created their own spin on it and it turned out relatively well.

Dark Tranquillity: My Friend of Misery (Metallica)
I actually prefer this version to the Metallica version. Something about the death metal vocals makes it sound better.

Death: Painkiller (Judas Priest)
Amazingly good cover. Chuck Schuldiner's vocals are the main difference, but he comes close to approximating Halford's howls.

Dew-Scented: Metal Militia (Metallica)
The death/thrash band does a reasonable job at sounding like Metallica, but retaining their own sound.

Dragonlord: Emerald (Thin Lizzy)
The most amazing part are the trade-off guitar solos at the end. Not bad at all.

Faith No More: War Pigs (Black Sabbath)
Another band that was able to capture the spirit of the song, yet make it their own. An amazing job, particularly with the bass lines.

Graveworm: Fear of the Dark (Iron Maiden)
A seriously beautiful rendition of the classic Maiden track. Featuring violin parts during the first verse.

Megadeth: Paranoid (Black Sabbath)
Megadeth speeds things up and gives it a new spin. Pretty good.

Metallica: Mercyful Fate (Mercyful Fate)
A medley of songs off MF's first full length. Pretty good, considering this is newer Metallica covering it, and not when the band was really good.

Metallica: Blitzkrieg (Blitzkrieg)
Metallica owned this song. Fantastic job early in the band's career.

Pantera: Planet Caravan (Black Sabbath)
Pantera went way out of their comfort zone. Perhaps the song sounded too much like the original, but it was a great track.

Sepultura: Orgasmatron (Motorhead)
Sepultura is perhaps more well-known for this song than Motorhead. That tells you something.

Swallow the Sun: Solitude (Candlemass)
Swallow the Sun captures the spirit of the original, it's doomy atmosphere and effectively adds their death metal styled vocals to it.

Type O Negative: Black Sabbath (Black Sabbath)
Type O Negative made this song terrifying.

Cannibal Corpse: The Exorcist (Possessed)
I will give them a little credit, they make it their own. By and large though, it's not a very good cover.

Dark Tranquillity: 22 Acacia Ave. (Iron Maiden)
I don't understand this choice at all.

Exhumed: Trapped Under Ice (Metallica)
Somewhere, the band completely misses an entire verse.

Grave: Them Bones (Alice in Chains)
I don't know, the band kind of misses the point of the song, it's too aggressive.

Kalmah: Skin O' My Teeth (Megadeth)
I don't understand where this one went wrong, it just sounds bad.

Krisiun: Sweet Revenge (Motorhead)
Please, no more death metal covers of Motorhead songs.

Amon Amarth: Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath (Black Sabbath)
This one is pretty awful. Mostly because of the shitty production, but this song doesn't sound close to the original, and a death metal band probably should not be covering Black Sabbath anyway. They do not do any justice to the song, and it is a terrible sound.

Coffins: Warhead (Venom)
Venom is a band well-known for their speed. Coffins is pretty much exactly the opposite. Do the math.

Dimmu Borgir: Burn in Hell (Twisted Sister)
Seriously? What the hell?

Headhunter: 18 and Life (Skid Row)
I had high hopes for this. Headhunter completely botched it.

Katalepsy: Symphony of Destruction (Megadeth)
Yes, a slam cover of a melodic thrash classic. It really is as fucked up as that description makes it sound.

Testament: Sails of Charon (Scorpions)
Awful, awful try at this song that's not even a particularly well-known Scorpions song. This was during the band's death metal stage.

Type O Negative: Paranoid (Black Sabbath)
Somehow, Type O stretched this two and a half minute song to over five minutes. Crazy.

Vital Remains: Disciples of Hell (Yngwie Malmsteen)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Initial Impressions: Skeletonwitch and Destruktor

Skeletonwitch is often lumped in with the retro thrash movement, although I'm not completely sure that that is justified. Skeletonwitch has some retro thrash elements to their music, but their influences are closer to Bathory, Celtic Frost, and Venom than they are to Metallica, Exodus, and Testament. That's not to say that those bands definitely were not influences, just that Skeletonwitch has a more blackened thrash metal sound than classic thrash influenced bands such as Warbringer, Municipal Waste, and Evile.

This is the band's followup full length to their breakthrough Beyond the Permafrost. The album finds Skeletonwitch honing their sound and getting some of the kinks worked out in the process. The band is more melodic this time around, particularly where guitar leads and solos are concerned, while still having the major elements of their sound intact. The songs sound a little more complete, although they are still often very short. No song passes the 03:45 mark. The vocals are more refined, still having that blackened rasp, but the band incorporates some more death metal styled grunting as well. There are no clean vocals.

This album finds the band continuing down the path they began on their last one. The band is getting tighter and more controlled. If they keep at it, they may become one of the best newer metal bands from the United States.

Destruktor is a member of the Australian war metal scene. That scene has been on the downswing of late, unfortunately, due to the loss of bands like Atomizer and Abominator. However, there was a new album released by Destroyer 666, this album, and the emergence of Trench Hell to give some new hope for that incredible scene.

Destruktor is a thrash metal band with some pretty heavy black and death metal influences and one hell of an evil atmosphere. The band is not as refined as Destroyer 666, being significantly more chaotic.

This is the band's first full length album, prior to this the band had released only a couple of EPs and demos. The band's songs are often a little longer, certainly longer than Skeletonwitch but not as long as groups like Devastator. The riffs are powerful and call to mind a mix of Sodom, Kreator, and Immolation.

Destruktor and Trench Hell are the new hopes for the scene which looked to be on life support. If Destruktor continues to put out albums like this, the scene will make it.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Initial Impressions Threesome

Boy I need to catch up on my latest album purchases. I haven't discussed most of my last month's purchases yet and I have a stack of about 10 CDs that I have yet to even listen to. Damn trials taking all of my time.

I'll be frank, this album is fucking weird. Essentially, Wormed is a slam death metal band with a strange futuristic atmosphere, kind of a Fear Factory meets Devourment type of vibe. The music really is as weird as that description makes it seem. There is just a massive wall of noise emanating from the speakers on this album, it really is good music to piss off your neighbors. Sounds like something that might be fun to try.

The vocals are extreme, and that's a major understatement. The vocalist for Wormed takes Demilich's vocalist's frog croaks and further deepens them, producing an incomprehensible belching groan. It's pretty amazing really. They do get a little tiring after awhile, but an album of this length is easily listenable.

The music is chaotic, which is fairly typical for the slam death genre, and of course it features lots and lots of breakdowns, oh I'm sorry SLAMZ. Although, Wormed may not be quite as adamant as to their inclusion in this genre as other bands are.

All in all, I enjoy the album, as I do enjoy some slam death occasionally. It's not a genre to think critically about, it's just fun.

Martin Van Drunen reunites his band that he formed after he left Pestilence. Oddly, Pestilence also reunited this year, but not with Van Drunen as vocalist. Van Drunen recently also sang for the band Hail of Bullets which was mostly made up of members of Thanatos performing odd school Swedish styled death metal.

Asphyx was one of the early bands in the death/doom movement, although their death metal influences significantly outweighed the doom elements.

Van Drunen is one of my favorite death metal vocals. He does not simply use a deep growl, he tends to sound even more psychotic, as if he were some sort of a ravenous beast tearing into flesh for a feast. That's a hell of a description right there. Age has not slowed Van Drunen in the slightest as his vocals are just as chilling as ever.

The guitars feature the familiar buzzsaw tone for which the Swedish death metal bands have become known. The album has the overall feel of an early 1990's death metal album, which is perfectly fine for me. All the elements are present to make this a damn strong modern death metal album. Welcome back Asphyx. This is truly one of the better comeback albums this year, which is saying a lot as there have been several strong comeback albums.

Negura Bunget is pagan black metal at its finest. Pagan black metal is often far more focused on atmosphere than other black metal bands. The riffs are slightly more restrained and there are often long periods of ambient-like music. The music is not as aggressive and the lyrical themes are typically centered around nature or mythology. Negura Bunget is from Romania, one of the major countries for pagan black metal bands.

This album is a typical album for the genre, and it is probably one of the best more recent examples of it. Negura Bunget's playing is powerful, atmospheric, and emotional, all at the same time. The vocals are often delivered in a hoarse growl but do occasionally change dynamics.

The only real problem here is that the instrumental, ambient parts could be decreased or made a little shorter. When the band is concentrating on delivering a song, they are quite good, but that can sometimes be lost in the random noise that is often present. This is quite a good representation of pagan black metal, but as its genre has some issues, so too does this band.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ridiculously Unhelpful Amazon Listmania Pt. 2: Christian Metal/Hardcore

Yay for Amazon lists! This isn't technically a metal list, nor is it a Listmania list, but the effect is the same. I'm quoting this list mainly for the ridiculousness of it. Seriously, I won't comment much further (my comments will be in parentheses and bolded like this), this is actually what the list says. I have quoted the most entertaining sections.

"Okay, so i'm gonna go through a list of some of the greatest hardcore CDs in existence, none of which are satanic garbage like so many hardcore bands resort to (I don't know of many Satanic hardcore bands, do you?) in order to get attention. Most of this will be music that will make you need to break something, but in a few rare cases i'll put in something a bit more mellow, but only if it deserves it."

"Will you feel the urge to break down a door or wall? YES. Will you want to scream until your throat bleeds? YES."

"It will leave you screaming I AM HOLLYWOOD for days on end after listening to the last track. LEAVE MY DAUGHTER ALONE!! (I don't know what this means)"

"You'll feel an overbearing urge to knock on your neighbor's door and beat him in the face. (That's not very Christian, doesn't the Bible say 'love thy neighbor?')"

"After listening to it you'll run up to someone on the street and point in their face yelling YOU WILL PAY THE PRICE. CLOSE YOUR EYES AND DIE. (You seem to have emotional problems)"

"If you buy A-Types and not this you'll be taken to an asylum for attempting suicide. (I don't know about you, but not buying an album has never lead me to consider suicide)"

"But it's so much more than that. Trust me, you'll jump around like an idiot and break inexpensive things listening to this."

"Have fun trying to bust through a wall. (A little pent-up aggression maybe?)"

"A bit melodic at times, but so destructive at others you'll be pounding your younger siblings without realizing it."

"Have fun injuring yourself and others."

And they say death metal causes violence.

Christian Metal

I feel like ragging on Christians today. So, with that in mind, I present two posts about Christian metal/hard rock.

Christian metal is often thought to be something of an oxymoron. But, in realisty, Christianity in metal has been present almost as long as the genre has. Go back to "After Forever" on Black Sabbath's Master of Reality album for proof. This song is either extremely religious, or extremely anti-religious, it's never been entirely clear. Both Ozzy Osbourne and Tony Iommi are fairly religious people though, so it's not a stretch to believe that their lyrics are honest.

Now, my personal position on Christian metal bands is this: I have no problem with them as long as the music is good. But that's often what gets these bands in trouble. It's no secret that Stryper's work after their first album was crap. It's no secret that Mortification is one of the worst bands in death metal. It's no secret that As I Lay Dying's early stuff is just an Avenged Sevenfold-meets-Trivium-meets-Killswitch Engage knockoff, although their later material clearly shows the band progressing.

Those are just a few names. But, the reality is that a lot of Christian metal bands are not very good. There are some good ones though, such as:

Trouble does not claim to be a Christian metal band at all. They were marketed as such early in their career though and it didn't help that their first album Psalm 9 clearly dealt with biblical issues. This lyrical bent did change over time, but their early albums were fine examples of Christian-oriented metal done correctly.

Believer is one of the original technical thrash metal bands and they built up a huge following at the same time that Atheist, Heathen, and Cynic were revolutionizing the metal sound. Believer recently got back together and put out a very strong album on Metal Blade earlier this year.

It's true, just look at some of the lyrics. KsE is clearly talking about God here. The metalcore pioneers are one of the better bands in their genre but are unfortunately quickly wussifying themselves. I probably just made up a word. Their early stuff is very strong, powerful music with a somewhat positive message.

There are other bands with fairly outspoken Christian members as well, such as Megadeth (Dave Mustaine once refused to go on tour with Dissection and Rotting Christ), Deicide, Slayer, and others. Metal and Christianity are not mutually exclusive although the genre has built itself up in the eyes of the mainstream as a Satanic haven for lost souls.

The important thing to take away from all of this is that it's music. The message should not be as important as writing good music. I am just as likely to hate a bad Satanic band as I am to hate a bad Christian band. Unfortunately there's a lot of crap out there.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Love Songs

As I have mentioned before, I am getting married next summer. As such, love has been on my mind a great deal. My fiancee and I have been talking about songs to play at the reception. Obviously, metal does not have a great deal of love songs, being a much more aggressive genre of music. Still there are a few. I'm just not sure how many are truly appropriate for a reception. Here's the list I have put together so far. I did not include songs about lost love, for the most part as that is a different emotion. As you can see, there are not many out there.

Amorphis: Silver Bride
CJSS: Thief of Hearts
Corrosion of Conformity: So Much Left Behind
Cradle of Filth: Nymphetamine
Demons & Wizards: Love's Tragedy Asunder
Dream Evil: Only for the Night
Firewind: Where Do We Go From Here?
Lacuna Coil: Entwined
Lacuna Coil: Devoted
Leaves' Eyes: Leaves' Eyes
Metallica: Nothing Else Matters
Motley Crue: Without You
Nightwish: Ever Dream
Nightwish: Feel for You
Queensryche: Jet City Woman
Queensryche: Another Rainy Night (Without You)
Scorpions: Still Loving You
The Sins of Thy Beloved: The Kiss
Type O Negative: Love You to Death

Dusting Off a Cassette Pt. 34: King Diamond: The Spider's Lullaby

I have covered the lyrical content on this album in the past so here, I will just discuss the music. King Diamond is doing what the band does best here: powerful traditional metal in the vein of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. The riffs are powerful and fast, the drumming precise, and the bass throbbing.

Of course, the vocalist is the star here. King puts forward one of his strongest vocal performances on this album. His falsetto is in top form and his other vocals are also powerful.

This is easily one of King Diamond's best albums. I would write more, but this album has been covered previously.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Ridiculously Unhelpful Amazon Listmania Pt. 1: The Next Zyklon?

As part of a new series, I want to make fun of people who put together Listmania lists on Amazon. Sometimes, these may be to point out the maker's favorite albums, in which case it's hard to argue. However, there exists another type of list. A. Stutheit "Teyad" is my go-to list-maker for when I want a laugh. He makes multiple lists every day and essentially just re-orders bands with a slightly different title each time.

Here we have: The Next Zyklon.

First of all, there is the question: why do we need another Zyklon? Is one Zyklon not enough? Seriously Zyklon is a decent-enough band, but they are hardly a classic band. They are merely there. I don't think there is anyone out there who considers Zyklon their favorite band. Asking for the next Zyklon is like asking for the next Gabe Kapler in baseball, or Kevin J. O'Connor in movies. Who? Exactly my point.

What do we know about Zyklon though? They're more of an industrial black metal band formed by members of other Norwegian black metal bands including Emperor.

So, who is the next Zyklon? Here's the list.
Aeon: Swedish death metal band that has little to nothing in common with Zyklon
Decapitated: Polish tech death metal with little to nothing in common with Zyklon
Lair of the Minotaur: I have no idea what this band is doing here, LotM is a doom/thrash metal band.
Job for a Cowboy: Deathcore band. My mind is blown.
God Dethroned
Goatwhore: Blackened thrash/death metal band
Dragon Lord: Symphonic black metal band
Hypocrisy: Has been around significantly longer than Zyklon, so huh?
Blood Red Throne
Akercocke: Again, been around longer than Zyklon
Lock Up
Bloodbath: Swedish death metal band
Ihsahn: One of the members of Zyklon's former bandmate in Emperor, so no
Order of Ennead
The Amenta: The only band close in sound to Zyklon, but still not that close
Slipknot: What the fuck?
Spawn of Possession
Hour of Penance
Shade Empire
The Black Dahlia Murder: really?
Suicide Silence: deathcore
Abigail Williams
Demiricous: Thrash/groove metal band
Lamb of God: The maker of this list puts LoG in his lists a lot. He seems to believe there's some black metal to this band which makes him potentially deaf.
Zao: I'm not sure what a Christian hardcore band has to do with a Norwegian industrial black metal band. I'd like to though.
Anaal Nathrakh: This one's reasonably close, but the bands have been around approximately the same amount of time.
Nox: more of a classic death metal band
Gojira: WHAT?
Deathspell Omega: black metal, nothing more, nothing less

So there you have it. 40 bands that are not at all like Zyklon trying to be the next Zyklon, at least in this person's mind.

One Hell of a Release Date

I stopped off at the local music/bookstore after returning to town from a trial, thinking there was the possibility that they may have gotten the new Slayer album in stock. I've learned for the most part not to assume anything will be in stock. Nevertheless, they had the Slayer album, and two more that I was shocked about. I haven't listened yet, but I anticipate good things.