Monday, August 31, 2009

Goatwhore Discography

Goatwhore is currently one of my favorite bands. I got into the band fairly recently though. Prior to that, the band's name was a source of joking between my friend and I. We frequently discussed the most bizarre, ridiculous band name, and Goatwhore was frequently the winner. It wasn't until I heard the band on Headbanger's Ball and Music Choice that I discovered what I had been missing. I had never actually heard the band until that point, and boy was I missing out on something. Goatwhore seemlessly blends influences from almost all of the major styles of metal without making it sound like a fusion band. It's easy to be able to say that this band clearly listens to metal. Grind, death, doom, black, and thrash metal are all present here.

Goatwhore started in Louisiana in the mid to late 90's. The band was formed by members of Acid Bath, Crowbar, and other New Orleans-area bands. In 1998 Ben Falgoust of Soilent Green took over on lead vocals and the band was fully formed. At that point, they started recording and laying down a swath of destruction over the countryside. Sammy Duet and Ben Falgoust remain the primary members of the band. Goatwhore is easily one of the U.S.'s most explosive metal bands.

Since I now own all of their recordings, I will look at their full discography here.

Goatwhore's demo is actually a well-written, professional sounding recording. A little unusual for a demo, but not as much when band member histories are taken into account. For the most part, the band's sound remains unchanged from the sound on the demo. The combination of death, doom, thrash, and black metal is already present. Even the band's indescribable swagger is present on this demo. Vocally, the signature rasping growls are present, and there are some clean almost-crooning vocals arising every once in awhile. The vocal interplay gives the music a slightly epic and creepy vibe. This demo could have easily become the band's first full length album: there are enough songs present. In fact, many of the songs were re-worked into final form for inclusion on the debut full length. Even the production sounds more like a full length than demo with only a couple of minor changes needed: the drums are a bit too high in the mix, and the guitars are not as beefy as they should be. All in all, this is a very professional sounding demo and a sign of great things to come from the band.


Goatwhore's debut full length album built on what the band started in its demo. The sound has been filled out a little more, giving the music a heavier more powerful feel to it. Many of the songs off of the demo have been re-recorded for this album, only two of the demo tracks did not make the final cut for the album. The band on this album is still a little on the doomy side of things; the black, thrash, and death influences have not come to totally dominate the band's sound. Furthermore, the two-pronged vocal styles present on the demo continued on this album. Falgoust still reaches back for his maniacal screams while Sammy Duet fills in the occasional clean vocal part. The drumming on this album has been tightened up considerably, at this point, the band has no musical weaknesses. The band, already on its debut, has become fully formed. Things would just get darker and more violent from this point forward.

Goatwhore's side of this split (which was reviewed in full earlier on the blog) is one song: a cover of the Hellhammer/Celtic Frost classic "Into the Crypts of Rays". The band does a fine job with this cover, mosty because it is obvious that Goatwhore's influences include Hellhammer/Celtic Frost among other bands. They have the trademarked guitar tone down well and Ben Falgoust even manages to approximate Tom G. Warrior's famous grunting style. This song did appear on the Japanese version of the band's Funeral Dirge for the Rotting Sun album, making seeking out the split a little unnecessary, but it is a good version of a metal classic.


When this album kicks off, the listener immediately understands that the band, which had no weaknesses on the last album at all, somehow managed to improve. If possible, this album is even more aggressive, angry, and violent than the last full length. Falgoust's vocals are deeper and more maniacal than ever. The bottom end is heavier, and the riffs are more distorted and groove-laden than before. Gone, for the most part, are the clean vocals and in their place are deeper guttural croaks from Sammy Duet. The crooning does show up once in a great while, but the extreme vocals have basically taken over. The band did not record as many songs as on their previous album, but the songs remained about the same length, which makes this album shorter but it still packs a wallop.


This album was the first that Goatwhore recorded on a larger label, Metal Blade. As such, the band had started to get a little more mainstream exposure. This is also the band's strongest album to date. The clean vocals and most of the softer, more melodic parts of the music have been purged from the band's sound. At this point, the band's sound has evolved into extreme riffs and pounding drums. There is no respite from this onslaught, the band continues to pound away no matter what. Musically, the band's genre is closer related to blackened death than any of the other metal genres previously present. Falgoust has taken over more of the vocal duties, leaving Duet to chime in less often than he even previously did. At this time, the band has seemingly found its own unique voice. The songs are a little longer and the production a little more crisp making it easier to hear what is happening in the music. This was Goatwhore's breakthrough album, the first one I had heard, and the one that convinced me to seek out more of their material. This is an extremely intense listen.


This is already one of the top albums to come out so far in 2009. Goatwhore followed up their last album with more ferociously intense, blistering Southern style blackened death. The only real changes here on this album are production changes. The instruments can all be heard a little bit better and the production is the clearest of any of the Goatwhore's albums. The songs are a little bit longer, but still certainly not long. The songwriting has improved somewhat, there are recognizable changes in the tempo of the songs a little more often, but this has done nothing to detract from their intensity. Goatwhore has raised itself to an elite level of American metal bands on this album. Let's just hope they can keep it going. Nothing in the band's history would seem to suggest that they could not.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Century Media Carnival of Sounds Compilation

I received this CD sampler from Century Media along with a free CD that I got as a result of getting 10 Century Media proofs of purchase, my favorite thing about the company. The CD was Nevermore's Dreaming Neon Black, which was excellent. This, on the other hand, is mostly a pile of crap. Still, I'm not usually one to quibble with free music. And, if you believe that, you're incredibly gullible.

Century Media used to be one of the major labels involved in bringing European metal to the United States, something I am very grateful for. However, in recent years, the company has proven to be just as trendwhorish as Roadrunner, a company I have maligned at least a couple of times on this blog. Century Media is currently busy gobbling up as many deathcore bands as it can find before the bottom completely drops out of the market. Considering that deathcore has been fairly crappy to begin with, excepting a few bands, one can imagine what this has done to the label's reputation in metal circles.

Shall we begin?

WINDS OF PLAGUE: "Soldiers of Doomsday"
Blackened symphonic deathcore? That's apparently the genre tag that is given to this band. I've got an easier one for it: crap. Incredibly ambitious, the band nevertheless falls completely on its collective face. Think Dimmu Borgir, with lots and lots of breakdowns, and try not to recoil in terror. The band is obviously talented, but really can't write a decent song, at least not here, they're just trying too hard.

DIVINE HERESY: "Facebreaker"
This is the band started by Dino Casares while Fear Factory was on hiatus. I'm not sure of the intention in starting this band. The same death metal elements and industrial metal elements are here as are on Fear Factory, but lo and behold, breakdowns! So, apparently Dino wanted a band that had the same elements as Fear Factory, plus hardcore. Sign me up! Or not. There is also an overuse of blast beats here, seemingly the only thing the drummer can do is blast away. This further detracts from the experience because the rest of the music cannot be heard.

Perhaps this band is unfairly lumped in with the deathcore crowd. I don't know, to me they sound more like a grindcore band than a deathcore band. Nevertheless, they remain oddly popular with the deathcore scene. For the most part, this is just chaotic noise. There's no real structure here, certainly not falling into the metal genre structure. Therefore, NFM.

NAPALM DEATH: "Strong Arm"
Napalm Death is one of the godfathers of grindcore. They are also one of the first bands to experiment with combining this extreme punk style with death metal and are still one of the finest such bands. This is off of their newest album, one that I really enjoy. The grindcore elements are fairly obvious in Napalm Death's sound, but so are the death metal influences. This particular song is a little more grindcore, but for the most part the band has been closer to death metal for a long time. Barney Greenway has one of the more aggressive and primal sounding voices in extreme metal.

3 INCHES OF BLOOD: "Call of the Hammer"
I really enjoyed the last two albums by this band. As such, I will probably check this one out, even though I was a bit underwhelmed by the song. The mix just sounds off, the drums are too high in the mix and sound hollow. The hardcore vocalist is gone, being replaced by another vocalist to chime in with occasional growling screams. The lead vocalist though is still there. The music is still closer to traditional heavy metal. Not their strongest effort, but still passable.

LACUNA COIL: "Spellbound"
Lacuna Coil has been going downhill for awhile. Ever since Cristina Scabbia became a major sex symbol for the genre, the band has been heading into Evanescence territory. This song does nothing to right the ship, instead falling deeper into radio friendly rock muck. It sounds essentially the same as every other song the band has recorded since Comalies. I gave up on the music of Lacuna Coil after hearing Karmacode, this song convinces me I made the right decision. The guitar solo was a nice touch though, sorely lacking in much of their recent music.

Owner of one of the worst names in extreme music, AGATG (I'm not writing that bullshit again) is similar in sound to Suicide Silence. By that I mean structureless grindcore. By that I mean NFM. More chaotic noise, although they come close to metal in some places. I haven't heard too many songs that start with a breakdown. I'm not sure I want to hear another one.

GOD FORBID: "War of Attrition"
God Forbid was one of my favorite metalcore-ish bands after their fourth album (the band had largely dropped many of the core influences in favor of a more melodic thrash metal sound). I was expecting big things for Earthsblood, unfortunately I was a little disappointed. Then soon after the band started touring, one of their founding members quit the band. It's been kind of a bad year for these guys. This song is one of the better ones off their newest album, but not the best. It features most of the elements that made me enjoy this band though. It's tough to say what will happen in the future for God Forbid. Hopefully they'll get back on track.

THE AGONIST: "Martyr Art"
The Agonist is a metalcore band out of Canada featuring a very attractive female singer, another frequent subject of Revolver's Hottest Chicks in Metal features. She takes the Arch Enemy approach to vocals, preferring more death metal inflected growls, although she does do several clean parts as well. The music is standard: boring metalcore noodling and breakdowns. It's safe to say the band's saving grace is their singer, without whom they would be almost completely unknown.

WARBRINGER: "Severed Reality"
At least something decent that I haven't already heard. Warbringer is one of the better newer U.S. thrash metal bands from California. Though very young, the band seems to know its classic thrash pretty well. The band is beginning to find their own voice on their latest release, as shown by this song. Fast, aggressive, and ferocious, Warbringer will be a band to watch for years to come.

Despised Icon is often cited as one of the better bands to emerge from the deathcore scene. I hope the rest of their music is better than this song to prove that. The song just doesn't do anything. It's essentially blastbeats coupled with the singer's best (worst?) Barney Greenway impression. There's virtually no guitar riffs here at all. I've heard some good things about this band, this song is definitely not a point in the band's favor. I really hope this isn't the best there is from Despised Icon. Otherwise, I would be tempted to suggest NFM.

That's not a typo, that is the band's name and it is indeed a worse name than Arsonists Get All the Girls. As bad as the name is, the music is worse. A jumbled mess of noise that never really comes close to metal, the band has earned a big fat NFM from me. The singer is another girl that combines clean caterwauling with growling and shrieking. The music is virtually nonexistent. There is the occasional humorous interlude in there, but it seems clear this band is less interested in making a serious album, than they are at throwing as much shit as possible into their "song". Pass.

Earth Crisis seems to come from the Hatebreed style of modern hardcore. Or perhaps it's the other way around, I really have no interest in checking. This is basically loud, heavy hardcore featuring tough guy shouting and absolutely no attempts at making the song memorable or to stand out from all the other bands that sound like this, and there are a lot. NFM.

IN THIS MOMENT: "The Great Divide"
Blech. I was annoyed the moment the singer started crooning from the first second. Yet another band more known for their attractive female lead singer than their music. This one is a tad more melodic than The Agonist, though not as much as Lacuna Coil. They are significantly more annoying though. Their music basically sounds like Avenged Sevenfold, but with a female singer. NFM.

OLD MAN'S CHILD: "Ferden Mot Fiendens Land"
Old Man's Child is a band from Galder, also of Dimmu Borgir. Much like Dimmu Borgir, Old Man's Child plays melodic black metal. It's a welcome change of pace from the barrage of crap perpetrated by the last several tracks. This unfortunately is not one of the better tracks from the album. It does feature the keyboard flourishes and heavy riffing that the band and genre are known for, it's just not one of the more memorable songs from the band's new album. The acoustic part though is strangely beautiful.

DAATH: "Silenced"
Daath made big waves in the metal mainstream a couple of years ago when their album The Hinderers came out. People who don't know anything (Roadrunner Records) hailed the band as the next big American extreme metal band and cited supposed influences from death, groove, thrash, and black metal in their music. When I heard the band though, I heard a Fear Factory clone and nothing more. Daath has improved their sound this time around a little. It is a more cohesive mix of styles, but I still have yet to hear anything worth the hype that they have received. This is an improvement, but I think the band still has some growing to do before they can be considered the next big American metal band. Unfortunately, the band kind of became victims of their hype because I would enjoy the band more if they had not been shoved down the throats of metal listeners.

LUNA MORTIS: "Forevermore"
This song starts off great, finally some decent new melodic death metal. Then it suddenly switches gears and heads into a progressive gothic metal style, complete with another female lead singer. This one sings more than screams but ultimately, the music just falls flat. This band has some promise, but they fail to live up to it on this song. It would be nice to hear a female singer in a band other than a melodic death metal band. It would be nice to hear a melodic female metal singer that is not singing opera. This band just doesn't quite make it. It's a good thing there are still bands like Benedictum and Temtris out there.

SWORN ENEMY: "Still Hating"
Hatebreed ripoff alert. For such a terrible band, Hatebreed sure has a lot of imitators. Sworn Enemy at least has headed into more of a groove metal style of guitar riffing which manages to save the band. Throwdown did the same thing recently. All told, this band has gotten a little closer to later-era Pantera than Hatebreed on this particular song, but that's only a marginal step forward. I still would not buy an album from this band.

ARCHITECTS UK: "We're All Alone"
Ahh, my ears are hurting. What the fuck is this? It's almost as noisy as Iwrestledabearonce, but only slightly more structured. This band is basically just a hardcore band. And not a very good one. I'm tired of writing and I hate this fucking song so that's it. NFM.

I will probably never listen to this piece of shit sampler again. What a dismal pile of crap.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Worldwide Thrash Metal

Thrash metal is the first genre I really got into, as I have made fairly clear on this blog. I got into it through Metallica and other members of the US Big 4. For a long time, I never really thought much about other bands playing the same style. In the last few years though, my knowledge and enjoyment of metal has grown exponentially. I realized that metal in general, and thrash in particular, is a global phenomenon. As such, I decided recently to look at thrash metal bands from various countries. These are some of my favorites from each county, and for countries like the U.S. and Germany where there is an upper tier of bands most people are aware of, I decided to look at some lesser known groups.

Destroyer 666:
I've discussed this band at length before and will not say much about them again here. D666, though it must be emphasized, created one of the greatest thrash metal albums of all time in Cold Steel...For an Iron Age. That is all.

Slaughter Lord:
I have also briefly discussed this band in my post on Australian War Metal. Slaughter Lord never recorded a full length album, their legacy is remembered in a couple of demos and a compilation of said demos. That being said, they were very important to the large Australian scene.

Trench Hell:
Trench Hell was also discussed in the War Metal post. Essentially, this band sounds a lot like Hellhammer/early Celtic Frost, but thrashier. Even the grunting vocalizations are there. This band is very new and does not even have a full length album out yet. I am definitely interested in following them to see what they do.

Wolfpack Unleashed:
Wolfpack Unleashed is a very new band who has only released a couple of albums since 2006. Their sound is kind of a cross between Megadeth and Dark Tranquillity, mixing thrash with melodic death metal. It's a decent mix when done right and Wolfpack Unleashed does succeed here. The songs aren't anything special, but will get the blood pumping under the right conditions.

Sarcofago is a band featuring the original lead vocalist for Sepultura, Wagner Antichrist. The band mostly sounds like the earliest full length Sepultura albums, that is raw and fast. Their music incorporates early black and death metal styles as well making their sound ferocious and intense. This is likely what Sepultura would have sounded like had they continued in the style of Morbid Visions.

Sepultura has also been discussed at length here and will not be subject to another retelling. Suffice it to say that Sepultura is one of my all time favorite bands, at least prior to Max leaving the band.

Sacrifice is probably the best pure thrash metal band to come from Canada. Canada has a surprisingly rich metal history, but most of its success stories come in the genres of death metal (Cryptopsy, Quo Vadis, Gorguts) and progressive metal (Strapping Young Lad, Voivod). Sacrifice arose in the mid 1980's mostly influenced by the Bay Area scene. That influence can be clearly heard in the band's sound. Unfortunately, this was a very short-lived band.

As mentioned above, Sacrifice is the best pure thrash metal band from Canada, however I believe Slaughter to be the best overall band from Canada, they are certainly my favorite. Slaughter was extremely influential on the early death metal scene in the U.S. They were far more of a death/thrash outfit than fitting into just one genre. Chuck Schuldiner of Death almost joined the band before his band took off. Another band that was unfortunately very short-lived. They also have the misfortune of sharing their name with a bad hiar band from the same time period which probably stunted their album sales and convinced them to change their name to Strappado. I will possibly have a rather lengthy post about this band later on.

Witchtrap is a throwback band. Sounding like early Slayer and other early thrash metal bands combined with NWOBHM influences, the band sounds like it should have come out in the early 1980's. However, the vocal style is more similar to early extreme thrash metal bands like Sodom, Kreator, or Sepultura. It's a good thing that there are bands like this trying to recapture the sound of the genre's early wave and doing a good job of it.

Victimizer is another band that plays a throwback style of metal. The band combines influences from black metal and NWOBHM into their retro-thrash attack to concoct a mixture that is refreshing and intensely ferocious. The band is not real well-known at this time, but they have the musical ability and songwriting skill to potentially make a big impact on the metal scene.

Pyrotoxic was discussed briefly in the post on split albums, they will not be discussed at length here. Pyrotoxic is a thrash metal band with a female lead singer, who, like the below-mentioned Holy Moses, really pulls off the thrash metal vocals well. The band is young and has not recorded much, but they may just have a bright future.

I have written at length about the German Big 3. To put it quite simply, this scene is just as important as the American scene. I will not go into detail about Kreator, Sodom, and Destruction here, however I do want to discuss the often-overlooked Holy Moses.

Holy Moses:
Holy Moses is one of my favorite female-fronted bands. The band takes all of the elements that made the German thrash metal scene so great and added an incredible vocalist. Sabina Classen does not sound like a woman when she is unleashing her unholy banshee shrieking. As compared to the other bands in the German scene, I would rank Holy Moses #3 behind Sodom and Kreator, and ahead of Destruction, just personal preference.

Hyades is a relatively newer band that has been strongly influenced by the Bay Area thrash scene in the U.S. during the mid 1980's, more in the vein of groups like Exodus and Testament. The music is typically fast-paced with a beefy guitar tone, and rough, but not extreme vocals and the occasional use of gang vocals.

There was a little bit of a thrash metal scene in Italy during the 1980's that was greatly overlooked. Necrodeath was one of the better bands from the scene and released a couple of albums that would have been classics had they had a little more fanfare. Nevertheless, Necrodeath is getting a little more notoriety now as the internet has made it easier to hear bands that may have been missed the first time. Necrodeath definitely has a sinister, evil sound to their own brand of thrash metal.

King's-Evil is a band with only one full length album and a demo out there. The band draws its sound mostly from Kreator influences. The riffing is fast, the vocals are delivered in a harsh scream, and the songs are short and angry. A great unknown album.

Sabbat is kind of a weird band. Their particular brand of thrash metal is very fast and does sound like a unique mix of U.S. styles with some black metal influences thrown in for good measure. The band is incredibly prolific, at least when it comes to recording splits and live albums (three alone this year), but hasn't released a full length album in something like six years. The lyrics are often silly and/or not proper English ("The Answer is Hell", "I'm Your Satan"), which gives them a humorous factor. I'm not sure if this is intentional or not.

Blood Exile:
Blood Exile was discussed briefly in the post on split albums, they will not be discussed at length here. Blood Exile is a thrash metal band clearly influenced by the Bay Area and with some occasional acoustic guitar melodies in the midst of the songs themselves. Thus far, their only recorded output is a split and some demos.

I reviewed a 7 inch single I have of Thanatos earlier in a review post so I will not discuss them at length here. Thanatos was the first great Dutch extreme metal band and combines elements of death and thrash metal. I am still trying to find one of their full-length releases.

Nocturnal Breed:
Norway is well known for its black metal, but several bands from the country encompass different genre styles. Nocturnal Breed is one of the better thrash metal bands from the country, playing fast, riff-based thrash metal with an emphasis on speed and power. The band also possesses a strong Motorhead influence, particularly in the vocal style, giving the music a grungy, dirty feel.

Vader is probably the longest-running band from Poland. Not that that's terribly impressive, but even so. Vader started out as a thrash metal band but then began incorporating death metal influences. At this point in time, the band is probably a bit closer to death metal than thrash. Even so, Vader's ferocity and aggressiveness is difficult to top, even by some of the more extreme thrash metal bands listed in this post. For such a historically inept country, Poland sure has one hell of a metal scene. Vader happens to be their best thrash metal band but other groups that call Poland home include the mighty Behemoth.

Sacrilegio was discussed briefly in the post on split albums, they will not be discussed at length here. The band is more of a speed/thrash metal band, sounding like it could have come out in the mid 1980's. The lyrics are done mostly in Spanish and delivered in a powerful tenor voice reminiscent of Liege Lord and other early U.S. power metal bands. Sacrilegio, like Blood Exile and Pyrotoxic has not released much recorded output.

Swedish thrash is a fairly well-known scene, but not nearly as much as its counterparts in the U.S. and Germany. Swedish thrash doesn't have as much of the aggression of the other two aforementioned scenes. It came around much later and tries to blend the two sounds together. The sound is closely tied to the melodic death metal scene, which causes it to lose some of its ferocity.

Guillotine formed as a side project of members of Nocturnal Rites to play a more extreme style of metal. The band plays mostly Teutonic style thrash metal in the vein of Destruction. The vocals are a little grating at times, but for the most part, the music is intense and aggressive. As the band is a side project, they have only had two full length albums in the 15 years since starting.

The Crown:
The Crown, formerly known as Crown of Thorns, is kind of a mixed bag. Featuring influences from both thrash and melodic death metal, the band's sound is not easy to pin down. On their earlier material, they were significantly more thrash-oriented. The band has always had one factor that has defined their sound, sheer speed. The Crown features some of the fastest riffing I have yet heard from a metal band.

Coroner was one of the earliest technical thrash metal bands. Combining styles that would later be defined as technical thrash and neoclassical shred, Coroner was very unique for their time. It's kind of a well-known triat for bands from Switzerland to be unique and groundbreaking as the almighty Celtic Frost is also from the country.

Evile is one of the newer wave of thrash metal bands making waves, along with Municipal Waste, Toxic Holocaust, Merciless Death, Warbringer, etc. but is one of the few from outside the U.S. Evile is one of the better such bands. The band's music is mostly influenced by mid-era Slayer and groups like Exodus, mostly Bay Area bands.

Yes there are two thrash metal bands called Sabbat. This is the band from England and they are one of my favorite under-the-radar thrash metal bands. Sabbat's songs are catchy, their lyrics typically dealing with fantasy themes, and their vocals delivered in a rhythmic staccato style that is incredibly infectious. It's just too bad they didn't last very long. Their singer later formed the early folk metal band Skyclad and brought his distinctive vocal style to that band as well.

I'm not here to discuss the Big 4: Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, and Slayer. I'm not even here to discuss the next tier down: Overkill, Exodus, Testament, and Flotsam and Jetsam. Instead, I want to touch on some lesser known bands, well at least to those not overly familiar with the genre.

Dark Angel:
Dark Angel is very well-known in metal circles but often overlooked elsewhere. They recorded one of the finest thrash metal albums of all time in Darkness Descends. The band truly excelled at writing catchy riffs. Some of the newer thrash metal acts such as Merciless Death are clearly influenced by Dark Angel, even so far as taking their name from one of their songs. It's unfortunate that this band came a little late to make it into the same category of the first two tiers of U.S. thrash.

Demolition Hammer:
I reviewed this band's compilation album earlier in this blog so I won't go into much detail here. Demolition Hammer was similar to the below Morbid Saint in that they played a more extreme version of thrash bordering on death metal. They also had a very short career, spannign three albums, the first two of which are excellent slabs of thrash metal.

Morbid Saint:
Morbid Saint is a more extreme U.S. thrash metal band. Their music is fast and intensely aggressive. The vocals are more of a sinister snearing screech and the riffs attack the listener at blazing speed. An incredible band that just did not last nearly long enough. They only officially released one album then faded back into obscurity.

Sadus was a band that existed as kind of a bridge over the gap between thrash metal and death metal. The band was rather famous for their speed, technicality, and intensity and the harsher vocal style. The other element the band was particularly well-known for was the audibleness of Steve DiGiorgio's bass. The instrument really drove the music. Sadus was a little bit more on the thrash side of things and backed off of their death metal style as their career wore on.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why the Hell Have I Not Been Writing Much Lately?

Rest assured, all two or three of you out there that read this, I am working on a long post and it is taking a lot longer than I planned, thanks to research (i.e. listening to albums). Hopefully by the end of the week, it will be ready.

I also have a new crop of cassettes to review soon. Yay.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Ozzy Osbourne Still Has Yet to Announce a New Guitar Player

There was quite a bit of drama earlier in the summer when Ozzy announced that he was going to be hiring a new guitarist. Mainly because he never discussed this with Zakk Wylde, the previous and as far as he knew, current guitarist. He still has yet to do so. Wylde is understandably hurt. Ozzy is Wylde's son's godfather and Wylde has been with the band for around 20 years. He has had a major hand in writing the music over the last several albums.

Still though, a change needed to be made because the quality has been decreasing exponentially over the last several albums. I didn't even bother to purchase the last one because I thought it was terrible. So, Ozzy needed someone new to come in an reenergize things in the studio. But, he should have been upfront with Wylde from the beginning. More proof that Ozzy is kind of losing it.

Enough of that though, who is the new guitarist? Well, if rumors are correct and that's all we have to go on right now, Gus G. is the new guitarist. I actually like this move because Gus is a very talented guitarist and songwriter. He has been involved with the following bands: Firewind (his personal band), Dream Evil, Nightrage, Arch Enemy, and Mystic Prophecy. He is more of a melody-based shredder than a riffmaster like Wylde. The new music will be interesting to hear.

Scar Symmetry Releases New Song

I really liked Scar Symmetry on their last couple of albums. Their music combines melodic death metal and some power metal vocals. Their songs are more infectious than the common cold, and their melodies are are almost pop-like. The vocals were always the most amazing thing though because of the singer's ability to shift seemlessly between death metal style growling to power metal soaring melodies.

However, their amazing vocalist recently left the band. He left because he was weary of touring. Therefore the band had to do something very difficult: they had to replace him because the band was becoming popular and making money. The vocal style proved exceedingly difficult to replace. What would they do? Where would they find someone who could replicated their previous vocalist?

They hired two singers. That's right, a power metal singer and a death metal growler.

I don't really have a point here, I just find that really amusing.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Thunderstorm Playlist

Well I'm sitting in the house with my girlfriend listening to the sound of the rain and thunder outside. I decided to see what songs in my personal collection are about rain, thunder, and storms just for the pure hell of it. That's right: PURE hell of it.

1. 3 Inches of Blood: Lord of the Storm
2. Aeternus: Midnatt Storm
3. Amon Amarth: An Ancient Sign of Coming Storm
4. Amon Amarth: North Sea Storm
5. Angelcorpse: Stormgods Unbound
6. Bathory: Through Blood by Thunder
7. Bestial Warlust: Within the Storm
8. Blind Guardian: Into the Storm
9. Cradle of Filth: Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder
10. Dark Tranquillity: Inside the Particle Storm
11. Dekapitator: The Storm Before the Calm
12. Dekapitator: Eye of the Storm
13. Destruktor: Nuclear Storm
14. Dissection: Storm of the Light's Bane
15. Domine: Thunderstorm
16. Eluveitie: Calling the Rain
17. God Forbid: The Rain
18. Grave Digger: Stormrider
19. Hellhammer: Metallic Storm
20. Hellhammer: The Third of the Storms
21. Hirax: Lightning Thunder
22. Immortal: Throned by Blackstorms
23. Immortal: Unsilent Storms in the North Abyss
24. In Flames: Artifacts of the Black Rain
25. King's X: Sunshine Rain
26. Lament Configuration: Storm Winds of Ancient Evil
27. Mastodon: Blood and Thunder
28. Mayhem: Key to the Storms
29. Moonspell: Made of Storm
30. Mors Principium Est: Cleansing Rain
31. Night in Gales: Thunderbeast
32. Novembers Doom: Rain
33. Ozzy Osbourne: Thunder Underground
34. Paradise Lost: Colossal Rains
35. Paths of Possession: Ash is Falling Rain
36. Queensryche: Before the Storm
37. Queensryche: Another Rainy Night (Without You)
38. Rotting Christ: Among Two Storms
39. Shadows Fall: Stormwinds
40. Slayer: Raining Blood
41. Watain: Storm of the Antichrist
42. White Zombie: Thunder Kiss '65
43. Zyklon: Storm Detonation

Monday, August 17, 2009

My Metal History Pt. 2: Metallica and Beyond in Middle School

Part 1 discussed me getting into metal via Metallica's Ride the Lightning album. After RtL, Metallica was my focus. Within a few months I picked up the remaining Metallica albums in the following order: ...And Justice For All, Metallica, Master of Puppets, Kill 'Em All. At the time, the self-titled album was considered their magnum opus by everyone I knew. Yet strangely, I was not as drawn to it as I was to the other albums. It was somehow lacking the energy and aggression of the rest of the albums. To this day, I feel the same way. Quickly, MoP became my second favorite Metallica album, featuring epic length songs and powerful riffs. The other two I also listened to frequently. I still own all five of these albums on cassette and still drag them out often enough. These were the albums that laid the groundwork for my interest in metal music.

I ran into a problem though. After those five albums, Metallica had nothing else out. Luckily my older brother had a rather brief interest in mainstream metal music. He had albums from groups like Alice in Chains, Faith No More, Motley Crue, White Zombie, Danzig, and Megadeth. I discovered his collection which allowed me to broaden my horizons a little bit. At the same time, I was listening to some of his other tapes like Guns 'N Roses, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, and the like. But these other groups never interested me quite like the earlier list of bands. I would listen to them if I was bored and wanted to hear something different, but it was never quite the same.

As I continued in middle school, I began to tape my brother's stuff onto blank cassette tapes for my own listening edification. Eventually, he would just give me the albums by Megadeth, Danzig, and Motley Crue. I also began branching out a little more. I would begin to compile albums from Black Sabbath, Megadeth, Pantera, Anthrax, White Zombie, Faith No More, Queensryche, Testament, Ozzy Osbourne, Type O Negative, and more. Megadeth quickly became one of my new favorites and I began picking up as many of their albums as possible. I also picked up non-metal bands such as Monster Magnet, The Offspring, Bush, Stabbing Westward, and others that were heavier rock bands.

I actually got my first CDs around Christmas of my ninth grade year. I received CDs from Alice in Chains, Megadeth, Ozzy Osbourne and, oddly enough, The Smashing Pumpkins. The Pumpkins CD never sat well with me and became the very first album I owned that I eventually sold.

The one thing that never changed throughout middle school though was the fact that even though I purchased albums from non-metal bands, they never interested me in quite the same way that the metal albums did. I still have most of my cassettes from those days, but I still dig out the metal albums.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Rob Halford: A Brief History of the Metal God

Rob Halford is one of the most important, well-known, and influential individuals in metal history. And he is still going strong at the age of 58. Best known for his work with Judas Priest, Halford sang some of the most anthemic songs in metal. Halford has a nearly four octave vocal range, pretty impressive for a metal singer. Halford has been involved in a few different bands during his career, none of whom can touch Priest in importance, but many of which were very good nonetheless. I decided today to touch on one of my favorite metal singer/songwriters.


Halford joined Judas Priest in time to appear on the band's full length debut album Rocka Rolla. Priest at that time had not quite found their trademarked steel factory-esque sound. The band was more of a progressive hard rock/metal band. This sound continued for a few more albums, occasionally touching on the sound that would make them famous.

In 1980, British Steel was released, the album that cemented Priest as metal royalty, featuring the hugely popular "Breaking the Law". Halford provided a voice and a look to heavy metal. Halford started dressing in all leather and studs, a look borrowed from the gay culture in England in the 1970's. This look caught on and became something of a uniform for metal bands. Halford was in actuality a gay man, so this look was not horribly surprising, but the fact that ultra hetero bands and fans caught on was a bit amusing and ironic.

Priest released a few more straight-ahead metal albums over the years before incorporating the use of synthesizers to pander to the glam metal crowd. The band had become a little more boring. Their legal issues were more interesting than their music. The band became embroiled in a lawsuit claiming use of subliminal messages after two young men shot themselves using a 12 gauge shotgun. One of the men survived temporarily with a grossly disfigured face. The Plaintiffs claimed that the band inserted subliminal messages of "do it" into their cover of Spooky Tooth's "Better By You, Better Than Me." The trial lasted over a month and the band was eventually exonerated when it was dismissed.

Painkiller was released around the same time as the trial and featured an immense improvement musically. The band had become extremely powerful and created one of the most important speed metal albums of all time. Still, it was not enough to keep the band together and Halford quit after the tour. Priest hired former Priest cover band singer Ripper Owens to replace Halford. "The Ripper" is the name of an early Priest song.


Halford formed Fight after leaving Judas Priest. Fight was more of a heavier groove/thrash metal band. The music was not as fast as later Priest albums but was more aggressive and heavier on the first album. This was a fairy modest success. However, the band's next album went for more of a grunge sound and was not nearly as successful. Fight also released an EP at this time featuring live tracks and techno-like remixes.


After Fight disbanded, Halford formed a gothic-industrial group called 2wo, produced by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. An utter failure on every level, Halford abandoned the project after one album.

Halford then created a new band named after himself which saw a return to heavy metal. Halford was trying to recapture the spirit of the Painkiller album with this band. Fans flocked back to Halford and began talking about the possibility of a Judas Priest reunion. Halford satiated some of that talk with two strong albums.


Sure enough, Halford returned to Judas Priest and released a new album in 2005. Priest was rejuvenated thanks to the return of its most popular singer. Their 2005 album was one of their best in years. Afterwards, the band announced they would be releasing a double album featuring an orchestra and an overall concept centered around Nostradamus. The band had not done anything like it before. Unfortunately, the album was not a great success. Currently the band is still together.

Other Work

Halford has recorded Black Sabbath's "The Wizard" with Geezer Butler and Bill Ward of Black Sabbath, Wino, Fight guitarist Brian Tilse, and Jimmy Wood on harmonica for the first Nativity in Black tribute album. Halford also fronted Black Sabbath for a few shows.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Signs of the Apocalypse Pt. ?: Adema

Adema is reuniting. I'm just not sure why. It's not as if the world was clamoring for their reunion. I guess it's just another nu metal band who has decided to curse us with its continued existence. Blech.

Adema though is an odd story. The band was at first famous for having Jonathan Davis's (Korn) half brother on vocals and even featured Davis as a guest. Later on, apparently the band decided it built up enough of a following to stand on their own and their singer was out of the band. Bad move, now they weren't known for anything other than being terrible at music. Apparently now the reunion cash cow convinced the original lineup to get back together. Hot dog. I'm going away again for awhile.

Three Years Ago Yesterday...

Dissection mainman Jon Nodtveidt committed suicide. Nodtveidt was a member of the Misanthropic Luciferian Order and was a well-known Satanist. He was convicted of accessory to murder of a gay man and was released from prison in 2004. Thereafter, he reformed Dissection for one last album. Believing his work to be done on Earth, he committed suicide.

Nodtveidt is a great example of admiring an artist but not liking them as a person. I love Dissection's music, in particular Storm of the Light's Bane, which is one of my Top 5 all-time albums. Dissection introduced me to black metal and I will always like the band, even if their last album was not nearly as good. But Nodtveidt was not a good person. I will miss his work, but not his actions. Even so, Rest in Peace, Jon.

"Walk" Playlist

Well I'm back from the mountains of Colorado. I didn't get a lot of chances to check out any music stores, so I didn't come back with anything obscure and new. Not a big deal. The only store we stopped in didn't really have anything my favorite store didn't.

On the ride back, my girlfriend put a CD into my car sponsored by either the American Heart Association or Cancer Society, can't remember which. Anyway, all of the songs on the album had the word "walk" in the title. I was heckling her asking if some metal songs with the word were on that. Sure enough, no go. Oh well. Here's what I would have included:

1. Abysmal Dawn: Walk the Path of Fire
2. Black Sabbath: Walk Away
3. Cannibal Corpse: Death Walking Terror
4. Cryptopsy: The Pestilence that Walketh in Darkness
5. Defleshed: Walking the Moons of Mars
6. Deicide: Walk with the Devil in Dreams You Behold
7. Down: Nothing in Return (Walk Away)
8. God Forbid: Walk Alone
9. Iced Earth: I Walk Alone
10. Ihsahn: And He Shall Walk in Empty Places
11. Lamb of God: Walk With Me in Hell
12. Liege Lord: Walking Fire
13. Megadeth: Never Walk Alone...A Call to Arms
14. Megadeth: Sleepwalker
15. Moonspell: Firewalking
16. Moonspell: A Walk on the Darkside
17. Norther: Midnight Walker
18. Ozzy Osbourne: Walk on Water
19. Pantera: Walk
20. Soilwork: Brickwalker
21. Swallow the Sun: Doomed to Walk the Earth

Thursday, August 6, 2009


The beautiful girlfriend and I are headed out of town for a few days. Metallattorney will be back in a few, hopefully with some new stuff to talk about. Hasta luego.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Yet Another List

This one actually came to my attention last week but I didn't feel like covering another list.

This is the Top 25 Metal Bands, at least according to Yahoo. Now Yahoo is notoriously well-known for their taste in metal music...What the fuck am I talking about? This is another place that should probably steer clear of such lists in the future.

Well at first, the writer begins by discussing the problems with classification of metal, which is interesting and is the first telltale sign that he is going to completely fuck this up. Sure enough. Onwards.

25. Meshuggah
I don't know how to feel about Meshuggah. Their early stuff is great, talking about my Contradictions Collapse + None combo-album, but on their later stuff they've seemingly forgotten how to play a real song, washing everything away in endless technical wankery. Their stuff nowadays is barely even metal anymore, losing the technical death/thrash feel of the early material and replacing it with a more chaotic, dissonant Slipknot-esque sound. There's the "S" word, now I've done it. Still, like I said, their early stuff is great.

24. Mercyful Fate
Ah, something I can agree with. Mercyful Fate should have been lumped with King Diamond since it's the same singer and basically same ideas behind the music. The only real difference is that Mercyful Fate is more geared towards independent song ideas on their albums and focus more on instrumentation while King Diamond creates concept albums and the music is focused on the vocals. Great bands both, and King Diamond is a genius.

23. Alice in Chains
AiC was always my favorite of the "grunge" bands of the early 90's which was a huge scene when I was in middle school. I was a bit of an outcast because they were often #3 on that list behind Nirvana and Pearl Jam, but I didn't care. Their music was darker and heavier. It was also just better. I got sick of hearing about Nirvana. AiC all the way. I am looking forward to their new album although Layne Staley is gone.

22. Uriah Heep
NFM. I am not overly familiar with this band, but I know they're a hard rock group from the 1970's that never really came close to metal.

21. Pantera
I've made my feelings on this band known. I love Cowboys from Hell. Almost everything else afterwards is overly simple crap. I don't know, I liked their heavier more extreme songs, but there weren't enough of them. The regular groove stuff is just kind of tedious to listen to.

20. Thin Lizzy
Not familiar enough with them to comment. Most of the stuff I have heard of theirs were covers from bands like Metallica, Dragonlord, Grave Digger, Skyclad, and the like. I've heard their classic tracks and enjoyed them well enough. Thin Lizzy is pretty notorious for getting considerably heavier later in their career.

19. Kyuss
Ah, stoner doom metal. Kyuss was pretty great and had a huge influence on a lot of bands. It's just too damn bad that they evolved into Queens of the Stone Age. Ah, tragedy.

18. Guns 'n Roses
NFM. The first utter failure on this list. It gets better, I promise.

17. Kiss
NFM. I think it's the costumes and stage show that lead people to believe this is a metal band. When it comes down to it, they were basically playing bubblegum pop with guitars. I bet if the Jonas Brothers put on corpse paint and demon outfits, spit fire and blood, and explosions, but played the same music, idiots would think they were metal too.

16. Dio
Present horns. Dio is a great choice for this list. I don't see a lot of people (read: idiots who don't know better, yet insist on making these terrible lists) who praise Dio's solo work. Sure he was influential in Black Sabbath and Rainbow, but he had a pretty solid solo career as well.

15. Robin Trower
NFM. I have no idea who this is.

14. Rush
Geddy Lee's vocals just bug the hell out of me. Particularly on "Limelight". For that reason, I cannot bring myself to give them another chance.

13. Spinal Tap
Ugh. Okay, the movie was funny as hell, one of my personal favorites (thanks, baby, for the gift), the album is reasonably enjoyable for its cheese factor (intentionally so), but for God's sake why is this band on this list?! Not being an actual band would seemingly disqualify them, one would think. Or if you're going to put them on the list, at least have the decency to put them at #11, for fuck's sake.

12. Deep Purple
One of the pioneers of the genre. I never really got into them.

11. Slayer
I love Slayer as much as the next metalhead. Unfortunately, their amazing early catalog is missed by most Slayer fans. Some people don't seem to realize how great they were BEFORE Reign in Blood. The band sounded like Metallica and Venom in a blender, it was incredible. I miss that Slayer.

10. Iron Maiden
Iron Maiden should be much higher, #3 or #2. An amazingly talented band.

9. Motorhead
I do enjoy Motorhead's brand of beer and sex fueled mayhem. An incredibly fun band to listen to. They wrote some great songs too, although a lot of their albums start to sound the same after awhile.

8. Aerosmith
NFM. What the fuck?! The author spends his entire synopsis trying to explain this choice, which still comes out an ill-conceived mess. Basically his explanation is that the band sounded like a lot of other metal bands, but he doesn't name names. This would be a convincing argument except for one little insignificant detail: if the band sounded like Aerosmith, it was not metal, PERIOD. I understand there was some confusion in those turbulent 1980's as to what was metal and what wasn't and every fucking band with a blonde lead singer, guitars, and a abundance of hairspray was thrown into the metal genre by fucking idiots who had no clue, but that did not make them metal. People can sit around and claim Nickelback is a metal band too (and have I might add) but that does not make them a metal band. Only the music can do so. Aerosmith played blues-heavy hard rock, not metal. Bands like Poison and White Lion and Great White were also hard rock bands. Ozzy said it best when he said something along the lines of the metal tag being applied too liberally and that Metallica was a metal band, but Poison was just an out-and-out pop band. Rant over.

7. Judas Priest
Judas Priest should also be higher. #3 or #2, whichever one Iron Maiden is not occupying.

6. Metallica
#6, really? I would have them at #4 personally. Only dropping behind Maiden and Priest because of their Load and Reload albums. This better be one hell of a Top 5.

5. Jimi Hendrix Experience
NFM. And we immediately fuck it up. Look, Hendrix was influential, anyone can see that. His music even influenced a lot of what would later become metal, but if we kept going back in time to find the metal influences and claim they were also metal, we would end up looking at The Beatles and blues musicians as well. It is for that reason that I draw the line at Black Sabbath, the first truly metal band in existence.

4. Van Halen
NFM. Oh my god. When was Van Halen ever considered anything other than just a hard rock band?

3. AC/DC
NFM. Three chords does not a metal band make.

2. Led Zeppelin
NFM. I made my feelings for this band clear in the vocalists list. I don't care for them and they are not a metal band. They may have had moments, perhaps even songs, but not enough to be a metal band.

1. Black Sabbath
Well, after fucking up the other four choices in the Top 5 they better get one right. Luckily it's the most important of all.

Monday, August 3, 2009

5 Important Bands To Me From 1 Genre: Pt. 1: Power Metal

Huh, there hasn't been much going on lately in the world of metal. No big releases lately, no major feuds, well there have been but nothing much worth commenting on here. So here I am, knowing I need to write something because I've been slacking, but not having much to write about.

Well after brainstorming and glancing through my prior posts, I notice that I have not had much to say about power metal. Power metal is a genre that it took me a little while to get into. Not because I did not care for the music, far from it, but because I have been so focused on the more extreme genres like death and thrash metal.

Power metal is my best friend's favorite genre, but like I said, it took me a bit longer to really get into it. I will start today's post, the first in a new series, with five power metal bands that I got into before I really got into power metal. The point of this series is to look at five bands from one genre that have affected my tastes in some way or another.

1. Queensryche

This band is kind of a fusion between power metal and progressive metal, particularly on their earlier material. Their later material dropped much of the power metal influence but the band was at least as important as Jag Panzer and Fates Warning on the American scene. I have two of their earlier albums and two of their mid-era albums. I much prefer their earlier stuff which is faster, more aggressive, and more emotional than the rest of their material. Geoff Tate has one of the best voices in metal. This was the first power metal band I really got into. The band did not really lead me to any other bands and my tastes mostly remained stagnant from here.

2. Iced Earth
I always liked the album covers for this band but never really knew what to expect from them. I had heard that they were kind of like a thrashier Iron Maiden and this comparison is what lead me to bite the bullet and check them out. The comparison proved to be reasonably accurate. The riffs were very similar to Maiden, except the galloping was not from the bass, but rather the rhythm guitar. Matt Barlow's voice was incredible in its own way. Unfortunately Iced Earth has had some difficulty in keeping singers and Barlow was out of the band for awhile. He is back now, but this has hurt Iced Earth's ability to become the force they deserve to be in American metal. Iced Earth eventually lead me to Symphony X and Blind Guardian.

3. Symphony X
Symphony X is similar to Queensryche in that they are more of a progressive power metal band. I became interested in this band when they released The Odyssey, a concept album about the Greek epic poem. As a big fan of Greek mythology in general, and that poem in particular, I HAD to check this out. The album is great, although it lags in a few places and is definitely longer than it should be. Still, the band sounded like a more drawn out and epic Iced Earth. Not bad at all. Their latest album is a concept album revolving around Milton's Paradise Lost.

4. Children of Bodom
This is kind of an odd band to be here, but once you get past the harsh vocal style, it begins to become apparent that Children of Bodom is indeed a power metal band. The melodic structure, wailing guitar solos, keyboards all are closer to Blind Guardian than to melodic death metal bands like Dark Tranquillity and In Flames that the band often gets lumped in with. At one time, I didn't think music could possibly get faster than Children of Bodom. Some of their songs are still incredibly fast but the band has slowed quite a bit in recent albums. Too bad, they just couldn't keep up the pace. This band lead me to Kalmah, Norther, Skyfire, Destroy Destroy Destroy, and other power metal bands with harsher vocals.

5. Blind Guardian
This is arguably the most important band in the second stage of European power metal. Helloween helped create the genre, but Blind Guardian perfected it. Blind Guardian is one of the most musically gifted bands in metal, after Iron Maiden, and has a great sense of melody and structure. Their early albums are incredible and their later ones still maintain a degree of that early power. This band made it okay to enjoy Tolkien in metal and even wrote a song about Peter Pan. Not many bands can pull that kind of thing off. After Blind Guardian, I became very interested in power metal bands. Some good, some great, some not so great. Blind Guardian though, is still my favorite power metal band.

That's it for this installment.