Sunday, January 31, 2010

2010 Grammy Award of Metal Performance Goes To...

Judas Priest for "Dissident Aggressor" off of their recent live album. I predicted some time ago that Slayer would win it, but expressed a preference for Megadeth or Judas Priest. This is a pleasant surprise. I am not predicting any sort of real change in Grammy voters in how they feel about metal. The fact that they gave Judas Priest their first Grammy some 40 years after the band's formation shows that they don't understand today's music. "Dissident Aggressor" is a song which first appeared nearly 30 years ago. Whatever. The other problem is of course the fact that they don't hand out the Metal Performance Grammy during the televised show. Congratulations anyway Judas Priest.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Weekly Recap: January 24-30

It was a busy week for work. I actually missed work on Monday. I was not feeling well Sunday night, which continued into Monday morning, so I stayed home. My wonderful fiancee took care of me. Thanks honey. When I got back to work, of course, I had a mountain of work waiting for me. Lots of phone calls to make and some big projects. I had four projects to do for one of the partners. Three involved drafting jury instructions, one of my least favorite things to do. Two of the cases were luckily virtually identical slip and fall cases. The third though was significantly more difficult, involving a breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation. The final project was to outline a breach in opposition to the Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment in the latter case. All very exciting.

This week, J.D. Salinger and Zelda Rubinstein died. I read The Catcher in the Rye twice while in school. I never cared for it. That said, Salinger was an interesting person. Zelda Rubinstein was the psychic medium in the Poltergeist movies and is notable for a squeaky voice and being very very short. The original Poltergeist movie is a classic.

As for the metal world, nothing going on this week. I already posted a couple of things I noticed this week. Other than that, very little to report.

Amorphis: Silent Waters
Apophis: I am Your Blindness
Atomizer: Songs of Slaughter-Songs of Sacrifice
Autopsy: Horrific Obsession
Blood Red Throne: Affiliated with the Suffering
Bloodbath: Resurrection Through Carnage
Candlemass: Candlemass
Coffins: Buried Death
Cynic: Traced in Air
Dark Fortress: Eidolon
Despair: Beyond All Reason
Destroyer 666: Cold Steel...For an Iron Age
Destroyer 666: Defiance
Destroyer 666: Phoenix Rising
Destroyer 666: Terror Abraxas
Destroyer 666: Unchain the Wolves
Destroyer 666: Violence is the Prince of this World
Devourment: Unleash the Carnivore
Dimmu Borgir: Death Cult Armageddon
Embalmer: There was Blood Everywhere
God Dethroned: Passiondale
Grand Magus: Iron Will
GZR: Plastic Planet
Hail of Bullets: ...Of Frost and War
Hibria: Defying the Rules
High on Fire: Death is this CommunionHollenthon: Opus Magnum
Holy Moses: Agony of Death
Hyades: And the Worst is Yet to Come
Iron Maiden: Brave New World
Lair of the Minotaur: War Metal Battle Master
Lost Horizon: A Flame to the Ground Beneath
Manticora: 8 Deadly Sins
Naglfar: Pariah
Nocturnal Fear: Code of Violence
Nocturnus: The Key
Nox: Ixaxaar
Nunslaughter: Hex
Omnium Gatherum: The Red Shift
Outworld: Outworld
Ozzy Osbourne: The Ultimate Sin
Paradise Lost: Icon
Primordial: To the Nameless Dead
Sarcolytic: Thee Arcane Progeny
Septicflesh: Communion
Slayer: Divine Intervention
Thanatos: Justified Genocide
The Gates of Slumber: Conqueror
Tristania: World of Glass
Vader: Impressions in Blood
Vader: Live in Japan
Vader: Necropolis
Vader: The Art of War
Within Temptation: The Heart of Everything
Wormed: Planisphaerium
Yyrkoon: Occult Medicine

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Story Behind the Song Pt. 2: Hail of Bullets: Nachthexen

Summer 1941
Instructors start to train
A night bomber squadron
The 588th
Regiment of women
From pilots to mechanics
Claim their role in history
These aviatrixes

Polikarpov biplanes
Providing ground support
Temperature plummeting
To -54
Climbing the dark cloudened sky
Engaged in dog-fights
Up to 18 missions
In one single night

High above Rodina
For the umpteenth raid
Female fighter aces
Send their bombs away
Through the deafening sirens
Struck by heavy flak
Although riddled with bullets
All made it safely back

Shrieking madonnas
Lead spitting banshees
Baptize them in fire
Iron Valkyries
Incoming Nachthexen
Set the ground ablaze
Push the throttle up again
And hear their screams of pain

Hail of Bullets is a Dutch death metal band made up of members of Thanatos and Asphyx (the amazing vocalist Martin Van Drunen). Their debut full-length album, released in 2008, was called ...Of Frost and War. It was a concept album about WWII battles between the Soviet Union and Germany.

The Soviet Air Force 588th Night Bomber Regiment was made up entirely of women. The Germans nicknamed them the Night Witches. The Regiment mostly flew harassment and precision bombing raids and mostly flew biplanes initially designed for cropdusting. They were said to have dropped 3,000 tons of bombs with each plane only able to carry two bombs at a time. They were the most highly-decorated unit in the Soviet Air Force.

An entire combat unit of women in WWII? Talk about progressive.

The Newest Trend in Metal?

The last couple of weeks, I have noticed something disturbing. Metal has been getting some interesting mainstream exposure. Sort of. Obviously we're not in any danger of 13 year old cheerleader-wannabes picking up the most recent Tsjuder album. For a couple of reasons. But, here's what I noticed lately:

1. Disney has created a show based on a fictional metal band. And it sounds fucking awful.

Here's the plot synopsis from that wikipedia link: The show follows the story of Tripp Campbell, who joins the band he idolizes, Iron Weasel. Then, he sets out to help the band make a comeback.

So we have a 13 year old kid joining a metal band in a Disney show. The same Disney that has unleashed Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, The Jonas Brothers, Hannah Montana and all those other carbon copy popstars. That's fucking fantastic. Excuse me while I wretch.

2. Sports stars are creating metal bands. I suppose I use both "sports" and "stars" loosely. I discovered this while walking around looking at new releases at the local music store tonight.

I was aware of Fozzy, the heavy metal band created by wrestler Chris Jericho. They're not absolutely godawful. Neither are they very good. But at least they're somewhat passable. Many of the musicians were in Stuck Mojo, a semi-passable band themselves.

Today, I noticed a new release by Free Reign. I shit you not the sticker on the CD case is trying to attract attention by announcing that three of these guys play football for the Dallas Cowboys: Marc Colombo, Cory Procter, and Leonard Davis. I've never heard of any of them. I checked these guys out, and they kind of suck. Sorry. It's definitely influenced by nu-metal groups like Papa Roach and their ilk. NFM. I desperately wanted this band to be some sort of ultra bad ass death metal band. Ah well.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Metalsucks Steals My Idea

The boys over at Metalsucks apparently brought on another blogger. An attorney who will discuss legal issues and music. Huh. Wonder if they saw my site. Probably not, but still very interesting. The name of the blog even takes the same Anthrax song I use in my secondary title. I feel ripped off.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Decibel: To Subscribe or Not to Subscribe, That is the Question

I picked up the most recent issue of Decibel this last week. I have been considering subscribing to Decibel for a little while now. I used to have a subscription to Metal Maniacs awhile back, but they folded last year. I did a post looking at the relative "metal-ness" of several magazines. Decibel and Terrorizer were the best. The problems with each magazine are clear though and lead to the conclusion that I should subscribe to Decibel. Decibel is occasionally focused on groups like Isis, Mastodon, Converge, and other bands that are a little on the scene/hipster end of things. However, they tend to cover a little bit of everything. Terrorizer doesn't have those problems, but it is extremely expensive. I could get two years of Decibel for slightly more than half of what it would cost to get a year of Terrorizer. It's because Terrorizer is in England.

All that is terribly interesting and I know all of my readers are on the edge of their seats wondering just what in the hell I am leading up to. Well, here it is, a look at the most recent issue of Decibel to decide whether or not to definitively decide.

-The cover features Dave Mustaine (Megadeth), Tom Araya (Slayer), and Chuck Billy (Testament) in regard to the joint concert. This is definitely a plus as I love all three bands. There's an article about the tour.

-They expanded their letters section. I always enjoy reading letters from fans to find out what kind of opinions are out there. Here, we have fans blasting the Best of 2009 issue, in particular the spots for Baroness and Converge. I have nothing against Baroness, but I don't care for Converge. At all. No problems here.

-There's a pretty big article about Them Crooked Vultures, a band featuring Dave Grohl, John Paul Jones, and Josh Homme. I don't care about this band at all.

-Another long article about Between the Buried and Me, another band I don't care for.

-This month's Call and Response: Mudvayne. They don't seem too in tune with current metal artists. The picture of the band is awful.

-Q&A with Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed. I don't like Hatebreed either. Seeing a pattern? He does seem to really like some big time metal bands though, which is pretty cool.

-The Top 25 Anticipated Albums list is why I picked this up. I wanted to see what was coming out this year. New albums I was unaware of that I am now looking forward to: Atheist, Electric Wizard, Darkthrone, Down, Hate Eternal, Nachtmystium, Origin, Holy Grail, and Watain. Decibel is looking forward to The Dillinger Escape Plan and Genghis Tron, two more bands I don't care about.

-I am disturbed by the comments under Cretin, attributed to singer Marissa Martinez. She is referred to as an ecstatic latex slave and said finishing recording the album "comes down to finding someone who can keep me locked up inside my apartment and resist tempting [her] with sex." Why is that disturbing? Marissa Martinez used to be named Dan. She just finished sexual reassignment surgery. That, to me, is not attractive. More power to her for finding herself, I just would prefer to be uninformed of issues like that.

-Enslaved's Frost was added to the Decibel Hall of Fame. Great band.

-The reviews section featured good reviews of Arsis, Abscess, Arckanum, Arkona, Hypocrisy, Mr. Death, Nocturnal Fear, Satan's Host, Swallow the Sun, and Witchmaster. All bands I enjoy. They didn't like Sigh, which surprised me. Also, some stupid band names: Before there was Rosalyn, Melt-Banana, Squash Bowels, and Until Death Overtakes Me.

So the question is whether I can tolerate the cons of Decibel. I think I can. I guess we'll see.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ridiulously Unhelpful Amazon Reviews

Let's switch things up a tad here. This is a review I found a long time ago on Amazon that I found extremely amusing, and I have to post it. I'm so happy I found it again:

Ladies and gentlemen, I have contemplated suicide after listening to this filth. Let me tell you a story...About 4 years ago, I purchased an album by a band called 'Creed'. The music that expelled from my speakers was innovative, original and to put it quite frankly, the best band I have ever heard. Now fast forward over to 2005, and along comes a band with an unoriginal name such as 'Soilwork'. To give you a hint of what this band sounds like, imagine the band gathered around A CD burner, burning Creed's album 'Human Clay' onto a blank disk, and then writing the word 'Soilwork' on the once blank cd. If this isnt a good enough hint for you, then I presume you have an I.Q. below 75. This is the biggest rip off of Creed I have ever heard, and I have heard quite a bit. If you cant see that, then you must have gallons of water atop your brain. It seems as if every riff, beat, bassline and vocal work was stolen from the Gods of Creed and put onto this CD. If that isnt piracy, then I dont know what is. I give Jada Pinkett Smith's (Will Smith's wife) band, 'Wicked Wisdom' more credit than the members of Soilwork (who by the way all have trisomy 21). For the real deal, Check out Creed or Creed-Influenced bands like Puddle of Mudd, Nickleback, 3 Days Grace and Hoobastank. Peace Out-Franky

First of all, Soilwork is by no means my favorite band. But, comparing them to Creed is so ridiculous it's shocking. Does this guy have ears? Soilwork, a melodic death metal band, even at its poppiest, sounds NOTHING like Creed. Then, referring to Creed as gods is even funnier. We all know Creed's singer Scott Stapp thinks he is God, so referring to the band as such has got to really boost Stapp's ego, not that he needs it. Then, we finish out the review by recommending terrible Creed wannabe acts.

This guy used to have quite a few reviews up, but most have disappeared. He also unfavorably compared Dark Tranquillity to Trapt, which is perhaps even funnier than this Soilwork-Creed thing. He also stated in one that System of a Down was ripping off P.O.D. In fact, he also claimed that Limp Bizkit and Rage Against the Machine also ripped off P.O.D., a claim made all the more bewildering by the fact that both of those bands pre-date P.O.D.

I just found some more:

The whole prog-metal thing is getting exceptionally old. Europe continues to release these ridiculous bands that sound too much like bands that we already have here in America!!! While I do understand that bands are traditionally inspired by other bands, I just dont think it works with all of these European acts. We created Prog Rock with Pink Floyd and we created Speed/Death metal with Metallica. Hearing another copycat is tiring and just plain pathetic. The singer does have a great voice; his heavy singing is very reminiscent to James Hetfied and his light voice sounds quite a bit like Staind's lead singer. I might give this band some respect if they had a gun to my head, but since they dont, I think they desperately need to find a new sound. It may sound decent to virgin ears of American prog-metal, but to those who have eaten up the genre, its been done before. If you would like to hear some authentic prog metal, check out Staind, Seven Mary Three, or even 3 Days Grace. Peace Out-Franky

That's right, Opeth is ripping off...STAIND????! And Staind, Seven Mary Three, 3 Days Grace...prog metal???! At least he got Opeth's genre right, but none of those three bands have anything to do with prog...or metal! Also, Opeth has been around longer than Staind, by several years.

Folks, I cant stress this enough...and that is that their is simply an overabundance of Metallica rip off bands in this little world today. And why exactly is this happening? Simply because as soon as Metallica debuted with "Kill 'Em All", metal was never the same. Metal heads like myself witnessed the coming and going of Metallica wannabes, but no one could capture their signature sound. After "And Justice for All", once again metal was never the same. Metallica, to put it frankly, sucked a$$ after the 80s, but thats no reason to discount their valiant effort on "The Black Album". Now a days, every metal band that comes out tries desperately to become Metallica, but fails, and fails so miserably. At the Gates is another band that fuses the speed of 80s Metallica and melodic song structure of Korn. Now dont get me wrong, this combination sounds astounding on paper, but in reality, the coming together of two signature metal sounds is absolutely atrocious. If you're a fan of melody, check out Korn. If you're a fan of speed, then I'd reccomend you check out Metallica (80s of course). Hell, even St. Anger sounds better than this asonine crap. Peace Out-Franky

The Black Dahlia Murder just cant seem to find a sound that truly defines them. On "Unhallowed", they tried to sound like 80s Metallica, and succeeded somewhat. In fact, Unhallowed sounds strikingly similar to 'Master of Puppets'. On 'Miasma', they try to emulate Metallica's 90s sound. I can see that they wanted to pull elements from the Black Album as well as Metallica's finest achievement, 'Load'. However, their effort came up short....way short. Like all Nu Metal bands, TBDM is indistinguishable from every other one that comes along. Im getting really sick of hearing all these bands trying to sound like Metallica and the gods of Korn. Either a) get the sound down right, b) create a new sound, or c) stop playing!. No matter how hard these ridiculous Nu Metal bands try, they'll never be the next Metallica. The Black Dahlia plays rudimentary metal riffs, redundant drum beats, the vocals are abhorrent, and who cares about bass? All in all, The Black Dahlia Murder are just another pathetic Nu Metal band. For some real metal, check these bands out: Korn, Metallica, Velvet Revolver, Trapt, and some Staind. Peace Out- Franky

While this album does sound very similar to Korn, it simply doesnt get that authentic sound that Korn has trademarked. I applaud their effort, which is valiant at best, but the sound that As I Lay Dying has simply doesnt suffice to the ears of a true metal head. Take Korns first album: articulate, brutal, innovative, and 100% pure METAL. Shadows Are Security is okay the first couple of songs, but eventually begins to get extremely repetetive, and does so disgustingly fast. Many of the songs sound more like Trapt than dont get me wrong, Trapt is a great metal band, but they pale in comparison to the Metal Gods of Korn. If you are into metal, then I'd advise you to pick up anything by Korn, especially their self-titled debut. Maybe the next As I Lay Dying album will capture that Korn sound, but haven't quite done so yet. Good Luck to the band, sorry to the listeners who have to hear this pathetic attempt of trying to sound like every other Nu Metal band out today. Peace Out- Franky

As I Lay Dying sounds NOTHING like Korn, I'm sorry. They just don't. Also, Korn 100% pure metal? What the fuck? So there you go, the single worst reviewer I have ever read.

Weekly Recap Jan. 17-Jan. 23

Let's see, what happened this week? Well, very little in my little world. I had my end of the year review with the partners at my law firm. It went pretty well, I'm happy to say. Some constructive criticism, but for the most part praise. I continued work on a sexual assault case, which will probably be plead out on Monday. I went to the County Bar Association meeting and had some steak and beer. Good stuff.

My fiancee and I went to see Legion last night. It was pretty decent. Similar story to The Prophecy trilogy, with some of the same characters. It was not as good as The Prophecy trilogy, but it was bloodier and a hell of a lot more violent. Sign of a good horror movie. My fiancee wasn't completely freaked by it, which is good. They had the trailer for the new A Nightmare on Elm Street movie which doesn't look as horrendously awful as I originally predicted. I was very impressed by Jackie Earle Haley in Watchmen so this could be pretty decent.

She and I went to Omaha on Sunday for her to meet her parents and attend a Bridal Fair. I tried to go to a few music stores, but found two were now closed, and one was very small and did not have a separate metal section. I did go to the Homer's in the Old Market area which remains a high quality music store. It's too bad I don't get to Omaha much anymore.

I bought two albums this week: Evile's Infected Nations and Sarcolytic's Thee Arcane Progeny.

In the world of metal this week:
-We had three deaths this last week. Former Broken Hope singer Joe Ptacek committed suicide. Broken Hope has never been a terribly well-known band. I myself have heard of them, but not heard them much. Two members of the U.K. band After Death, Leon Villalba and Timothy Kennelly, drowned while on tour in Brazil. One of the bodies has not been found. I have not heard this band much either. My condolences go out to the remaining band members, family, and friends of these three men in their time of tragedy.

-Drummer Stefan Westerberg left Carnal Forge, leaving the Swedish thrash metal band without a single original member. Not too many bands out there like that.

That's pretty much it for this week. Here's the album list:
Acid Bath: When the Kite String Pops
Advent: The Dawn
Carpathian Forest: Defending the Throne of Evil
Celtic Frost: Into the Pandemonium
Dark Tranquillity: Haven
Deicide: Legion
Destroyer 666: Defiance
Devastation: Idolatry
Devastator: Nuclear Proliferation
Down: II-A Bustle in Your Hedgerow
Down: III-Over the Under
Dying Fetus: Descend Into Depravity
Dying Fetus: War of Attrition
Edge of Sanity: Crimson
Eluveitie: Slania
Evile: Infected Nations
Finnugor: Black Flames
Goatwhore: Carving Out the Eyes of God
Gorgoroth: Pentagram
Hacavitz: Katun
Heaven & Hell: The Devil You Know
Helstar: The King of HellImpaled Nazarene: All That You Fear
In Memory of...Celtic Frost
Iron Maiden: The Best of the Beast
Judas Priest: Screaming for Vengeance
Kawir: Ophiolatreia
Lacuna Coil: Karmacode
Lament Configuration: Demonic Incantations
Liege Lord: Burn to My Touch
Manowar: Kings of Metal
Mastodon: Leviathan
Megadeth: Capitol Punishment-The Megadeth Years
Megadeth: Endgame
Megadeth: The System has Failed
Megadeth: The World Needs a Hero
Megadeth: United Abominations
Metal Church: Metal Church
Militia: Released
Moonspell: The Antidote
My Dark Sin: Cogitationes
My Dying Bride: The Angel and the Dark River
Mydgard: Decay of Thy Gods
Necrophagist: Onset of Putrefaction
Nightmare: Genetic Disorder
Nitro: O.F.R.
Paradise Lost: Gothic
Pharaoh: Be Gone
Razor: Violent Restitution
Razor of Occam: Homage to Martyrs
Sarcolytic: Thee Arcane Progeny
Slauter Xstroyes: Winter Kill
Soilwork: The Chainheart Machine
Suffocation: Suffocation
Syrach: Days of Wrath
The Sins of Thy Beloved: Lake of Sorrow
Twisted Tower Dire: Crest of the Martyrs
Type O Negative: The Least Worst Of
Venom: Black Metal
Victimizer: The Final Assault
Watchtower: Energetic Disassembly

Friday, January 22, 2010

In Memory of Celtic Frost

I remember hearing that there would be a tribute album to Celtic Frost sometime on a summer break during high school. I was only vaguely familiar with the band, they had appeared on an earlier compilation album I had. I really enjoyed the Black Sabbath tribute albums I owned and had picked up albums by several of the bands that covered Sabbath songs. That was what I was looking for: a chance to find out more about a very important metal band, and a way to discover other new bands.

I wasn't expecting this. This album was my first exposure to several scenes: Swedish death metal, Norwegian black metal, and much more. At first, I didn't care for it much. The music was much more extreme than I was prepared to hear. But it grew on me quickly and I now own multiple albums from bands on this album. Here's a track by track look at the album.

Kicking things off with a bang is the usually much more reserved and melodic Morgion. The band proves it has plenty of metal chops still even though they focus much more on somber, moving doom metal. They tackle these two faster tracks with no signs of weakness. I bought their Cloaked by Ages, Crowned in Earth album.

For a long time, I didn't like this song, possibly because I heard the Sepultura version first and liked it more. The vocals are just kind of gruff and the music is slow and dirge-like. I didn't really give Enslaved much of a chance for awhile. Then the song started to grow on me a little bit more and eventually I listened to the band again. Last year I saw them in concert opening for Opeth and am now a pretty big fan. I have their Isa and Below the Lights albums.

This one impressed me from the get-go. It was fast, aggressive, and it wasn't too far removed from bands I was currently listening to. Slaughter is the great Canadian band that had a big part to play in the formation of death metal. This was the last track the band recorded together. I have their Strappado album and the Tortured Souls box set.

Usually there were short band bios of each band in the booklet accompanying this album. Mayhem's was several paragraphs, covering the suicide of vocalist Dead, the consumption of his brain and use of his skull fragments as ornamentation, the murder of guitarist Euronymous by bassist Varg, and the potential involvement of Euronymous in the Dead's death. Holy shit. The song itself was almost as extreme as the band bio, featuring Maniac on vocals, the only Mayhem song I have heard with him singing (or shrieking more likely). One of my friends heard this once and immediately turned it off. He never listened to any of my music again. I have their Live in Leipzig album with the classic lineup, pre-deaths, De Mysteriis Dom. Satanas, and Ordo ad Chao.

The first thing I thought about was trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with the drums. Of course, now I know they used a drum machine. It gave the song an inhuman, mechanical feel to it. Fairly effective really. Inner Thought is a band formed by one of the members of Slaughter after that band called it a day. I have Perspectives.

Former members of the seminal death/thrash metal band Possessed. This was my favorite track off of the album at first, it probably still is now. Unfortunately, Sadistic Intent material is nearly impossible to find. The band has never released a full length album. Too bad, because they are awesome.

The death/doom metal band from Chicago slows things down significantly, but still remains heavier than hell. Celtic Frost has influenced several styles of metal, death/doom is one of them. I have Divide and Conquer.

This is the only band from the metal bands on the album that I had to look up. They are a death/doom metal band from Plano, TX, the same area as the black metal band Absu. The band does a great job with their cover, even pulling off the same type of guitar tone. Divine Eve has also never released a full length album.

The Swedish death metal band took a bit of a risk covering this song. This was one of the stranger vocal performances from Tom Warrior's history. It's surprising that Grave decided to chance it. They pull it off quite well. It's one of the more interesting tracks on the album. I have Into the Grave, Hating Life, As Rapture Comes, and Dominion VIII.

This is Tom Warrior's band after Celtic Frost broke up the first time. I don't really understand the point of a former member paying tribute to his old band with a new one. The Black Sabbath tribute albums have this same problem. Because he was in the band, he knows exactly how to play the song, and other than a little increased distortion, there's not much different about this version. Still good though.

This song quickly became my favorite on the album. Opeth does a masterful job of covering this song. The band does not really adapt its own sound to this song. Instead, they focus on the aggression of the original track. This is the best song on the album. I have Orchid, My Arms, Your Hearse, Still Life, Blackwater Park, Deliverance, Damnation, and Ghost Reveries and have seen the band in concert.

This is one of the worst songs on the album. The original version is mostly ambient noise with some screams attached. This version subtracted the screams and is just ambient noise. It's long, slow, and doesn't go anywhere. So no, I don't care for it.

I don't really understand what happened here. Emperor is one of the greatest black metal bands of all time. They couple their particular brand of blackened ferocity with beautiful symphonic melodies. They have even done great covers before: Bathory's "A Fine Day to Die" and Mercyful Fate's "Gypsy". So why this cover is so bad is beyond me. I have In the Nightside Eclipse and Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk.

13 didn't last long. They played mostly lo-fi sludge/doom metal. They were also made up of three women, although you can't tell from listening to them. This track is slow and harsh. It's a shame the band didn't last, although one of the band members, Liz Buckingham did. She's currently in the stoner/doom metal band Electric Wizard.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I was looking back at some of my old posts and realized that I forgot about a band on the Christian metal post. So, here's XINR, a band that is fairly unknown.

XINR was a band from the Portland, OR area in 1984. Their music career only lasted a year in which time they did some shows around the Pacific Northwest. The band recorded some demos with the intention of eventually releasing a full length album. Unfortunately that day would never come. Guitarist Shaun Tramel and singer Tony Saiz died in a motorcycle accident in 1984. Just recently, Stormspell Records got a hold of the band's only recordings and went about finding the remaining band members for permission to release them. Eventually they were successful and we have Beyond Woodward. The band played a traditional style of metal mostly influenced by NWOBHM bands. The lyrics are Christian, but they are not overly preachy. This is a pretty decent album, a good look at a band that never made out, although they clearly had talent. It's a shame.

Monday, January 18, 2010

MTV Blogger Comes Dangerously Close to Libel, Ass-Kicking

Yes, steroids are a big story right now thanks to baseball and Mark McGwire. Personally, I am beyond caring about this. However, one MTV blogger decided to take this opportunity to write a tongue-in-cheek article about musicians he suspects as steroid users. His proof? In his own words: "Who needs it when you've got pure suspicion?" And just like that, we have problems.

Here's his take on the terrifying beast, Glenn Danzig, not the first person you really want to piss off:

Okay, so dude was pretty jacked even back in the Misfits days, but he's been so ripped for so long now that we can't help but be suspicious. At age 54, he's still rocking, and now bizarrely resembles Wolverine (and we all know that Adamantium is a banned substance).

Here's the issue though, you can't just print shit. The post does not expressly state that it is meant in good fun, so any number of these musicians could easily bring a claim for libel. The elements of libel are somewhat simple, although not necessarily easy to prove. Here are the elements:

1. The Plaintiff must prove that the Defendant made a false and defamatory statement regarding the Plaintiff.
2. The Plaintiff must prove that the Defendant made an unprivileged publication to a third party.
3. The Plaintiff must prove that the publisher acted at least negligently in publishing the communication.

So, does Glenn Danzig have a case?

1. The MTV blogger posted a story speculating that Glenn Danzig used steroids. If Glenn can prove he didn't, which only he knows for sure, this element is met.
2. The MTV blogger posted this story on MTV's website which reaches presumably millions of readers. No problem here.
3. MTV posted the story without so much as a hint, at least initially, that this was tongue-in-cheek. No verification was made into whether any of these musicians used steroids or not, it was just published.

There you go, a case for libel. The blogger apologized after The Dillinger Escape Plan singer Greg Puciato called him out on it, but initially there was no sign that he was doing anything more than unfairly calling people out. You cannot just speculate something like that without some sort of ramifications. This is irresponsible at its best and libelous at its worst. The article was not retracted, it's still there. Good luck walking the streets at night, buddy. I wouldn't want to piss this man off:

Response to Anonymous

I have been getting some comments lately. More and more people have started to discover this blog. Which is great and I encourage people to comment. I love seeing what people think of this because it started off as a way to simply amuse myself. My fiancee was the first to really begin visiting regularly. I have a couple other friends that visit frequently too.

That said, I wanted to make a public response to this comment from Anonymous on my Year in Review post. Here's the relevant portion.

I only ask that you re-explore the Nebraska metal scene a little bit. We really do have a fantastic scene, it's just spread a little thin across the state. I used to live in New Orleans, which as I'm sure you're aware has produced some pretty notable metal bands, and I've done a lot of traveling. However, since moving back here I've been amazed at how tightly-knit and diverse the metal scene is here, especially given how rural most of the state is.

Don't be afraid to go to local shows in the city nearest you, or to head to Lincoln or Omaha and see some underground shows. Not every band in this state is good, but there are some definite jewels -- Ezra (death metal from Lincoln), Deadechoes (also death metal from Lincoln), To The Grave (technical death from Lincoln, amazing and very young lead guitarist), Mortal Dezire (from Kearney, sadly now broken up, great live band) and Leave None Alive (melodic, thrashy death from North Platte, one of the best live shows I've ever seen).

I would love to explore the Nebraska metal scene more thoroughly. I am familiar with Mortal Dezire and even own their only album. It's pretty good. Unfortunately the band recently broke up. I am also familiar with Seppeku, Gravegouger, Catastrophic Massacre, Cellador, and a few other bands. I also met an individual with Electric Sky Entertainment, responsible for the Cornstock festival in Grand Island, NE through my practice. I have not had the pleasure of seeing many of these groups in concert or attending Cornstock however as the life of a lawyer two hours away from Omaha is not terribly conducive to going to many shows. It's unfortunate and I wish it could be a little different, but that's what I get for my career pursuit. If anybody knows of any other Nebraska bands, I would love to get a look at them.

The criticism is fair, I do wish I knew more about my state's scene. So, if anyone wants to talk to me and point me in a direction, I would be more than willing to listen.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Weekly Recap January 10-16

I retitled the weekly post on my life. Why? Because I felt like it, that's why.

There really wasn't a whole lot of new metal stories this week. Abigail Williams dropped off the Nile/Immolation/Krisiun/Dreaming Dead tour. But it still doesn't come terribly close to here so I won't be seeing it regardless. Stupid Nebraska. God Forbid announced a new guitarist, the same one that has been filling in on tour. Kamelot and Leaves' Eyes announced a fall tour, also not to come anywhere near Nebraska but maybe I will try to get to that one anyway. My fiancee seems to like Kamelot. Some columnist on MTV's website called out several musicians about steroid use. The article was supposed to be humorous, but it's generally not a good idea to lie about people in print, particularly where it comes to malicious lies. It's called libel. And it's actionable.

A question was posed on a metal blog I frequent asking what the point of listening to modern power metal was and stated that it's just pop music with everything turned up. ( My response: modern power metal is catchy and is oftentimes the closest thing to traditional heavy metal. There's some annoying stuff out there, sure, but that's true of every genre. There's also some great stuff. Pharaoh, Twisted Tower Dire, Hibria, and others are great bands. Dismissing a genre entirely is not a great idea.

In the last two weeks, I have gotten albums from Kawir, Manowar, Slauter Xstroyes, Watchtower, Devastation, Militia, Metal Church, and Razor. Initial Impressions posts to come.

As for me, this week was incredibly busy. I had a trial on Monday for a speeding ticket. I generally do not like taking these to trial as they are a waste of time. Just for further knowledge, some of those websites that discuss how to get rid of a ticket, do not work in the courts. Don't waste your money, just pay the fucking fine. I was not happy taking that trial because the argument was stupid and I was sure it would not work. It didn't. I also had hearings on Wednesday, Thursday, and a settlement conference on Friday. I won a hearing on a Motion to Continue on Wednesday. That was pretty much the highlight of my work week.

In my personal life, not much new to report. My fiancee went back to school this week. I don't get to see her nearly as often anymore. Very sad.

List of albums heard this week:
Amon Amarth: Fate of Norns
Benediction: Transcend the Rubicon
Bleeding Through: The Truth
Celtic Frost: To Mega Therion
Cronos: Hell to the Unknown
Dark Tranquillity: Fiction
Dawn of Azazel: The Law of the Strong
Deceased...: As the Weird Travel On
Destruction: Release From Agony
Dimmu Borgir: Death Cult Armageddon
Dimmu Borgir: In Sorte Diaboli
Down: NOLA
Exodus: Bonded by Blood
Eyehategod: Dopesick
Halford: Crucible
Immortal: Battles in the North
Impiety: Formidonis Nex Cultus
In Flames: Reroute to Remain
In Flames: Soundtrack to Your Escape
In Flames: Trigger
Mayhem: De Mysteriis Dom. Sathanas
Mayhem: Ordo Ad Chao
Metal Church: Metal Church
Moonspell: The Butterfly Effect
Morbid Angel: Covenant
Nightwish: Once
Nocturnal Breed: Fields of Rot
Obituary: Frozen in TimePhazm: Hate at First Seed
Possessed: Seven Churches
Razor: Violent Restitution
Sanctity: The Road to Bloodshed
Satyricon: Nemesis Divina
Shadows Fall: The War Within
Swallow the Sun: The Morning Never Came
Tummler: Queen to Bishop VI
Unorthodox: Balance of Power
Vader: Live in Japan
Vanderhoof: Vanderhoof
Venom: Black Metal
Venom: Cast in Stone
Venom: Welcome to Hell
Willard: Steel Mill

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Another List Post: Top 10 Christian Metal Bands?

Huh. I had a post a few weeks ago about Christian metal where I stated that I really don't care whether the band is Christian or their message is Christian, as long as the music is good. This post features bands who are Christian, many of whom are the exact opposite of good.

Oh lord (hee hee). Stryper descended upon listeners in the 1980's. And like most music in the 1980's, Stryper was very focused on their image. In particular, they looked like bumblebees. Not the first thing one thinks of when one thinks of metal. Their sound early on was similar to early Def Leppard. Not bad, but the message became the important aspect of the band. They began throwing Bibles to the fans and came up with this brilliant song:
[Verse 1]
Speak of the devil
He's no friend of mine
To turn from him is what we have in mind

[Verse 2]
Just a liar and a thief
The word tells us so
We like to let him know
Where he can go

To hell with the devil
To hell with the devil

Ah, subtlety,

I like Believer, so I won't disparage them here. Very good technical thrash metal.

One of the best doom metal bands of the 1980's. No problems here.

NFM. The author seems to know this fact too, referring to them as a "metal inspired spin on hardcore" and then as punk or noise rock. Zao is terrible, plain and simple. They have changed their sound several times, none of which comes close to decent.


I love this part:
"Their 'Scrolls of the Megilloth' album should be in the possession of any death metal collector, and outside of some uneven moments here and there, the group has had an inspired career with 13 other studio efforts under their belts."

Some uneven moments? Mortification is universally terrible. They have one or two decent songs, but otherwise suffer from a shocking inability to write a decent song. For instance "God Rulz" which repeats the title eight times over, and that's the song. To be fair, that's not typical, but this is:
Curses coming our way,
satan thinks he has won,
but we know the story,
live everlasting,
cancer and pain,
will not stop the fight
Jesus is risen,
knowlege will come.

[Chorus 2]

Metal crusade,
spreading the Gospel truth,
bearing the sword,
of the spirit of life.
Metal crusade,
salvation through the cross,
helmet of salvation,
guarding our minds.

[Verse 3]

Through word and music,
metal shall be reached,
Jesus will return,
when all have heard His ways.
No stone left unturned,
as we seek your life,
some way or other,
you will find The Truth


Never heard of them. Do I care? No.

Apparently fairly controversial as the lyrics were somewhat graphic and the album cover featured a picture of a hand nailed to a cross. Surprisingly good reviews for a band almost no one has ever heard of.

Early on, this was a metalcore band. Much like other bands from the time period, they ditched a lot of the core influences and played a mix of thrash and melodic death metal. In the meantime, they have jumped to the forefront of the Christian metal scene. Not a bad band. Not good, but not bad.

I had a friend back in high school who really liked this band. We listened to their albums on the way back from Kansas City. They weren't bad. I don't remember being terribly impressed with them but that was quite awhile ago. I remember thinking they were very strange with an odd mix of styles. Very similar to Believer from what I understand now.

So there.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"Prom Dress" Metal

A few years back, there was a surge of metal bands with female lead singers. A lot of these bands possessed other similar characteristics, most notably elements of their sound. Because of the almost pop nature of the music and the female lead singers, this scene became derogatively referred to as "prom dress" metal.

A lot of the bands played similar, if not identical, styles of metal. It was mostly gothic metal with a mixture of other elements thrown in for good measure: power metal, symphonic metal, and others. Below, I will discuss a few of these bands.

At this point, the Italian band Lacuna Coil is the leader of the pack. The reason is simple: Cristina Scabbia. Metalheads the world over have fallen in love with Cristina who is as beautiful as she is talented. The band played a type of gothic metal that was dark and melodic and Scabbia's voice sultry and powerful. Unfortunately, they have begun falling out of favor with a lot of their earlier fans as they have been getting more mainstream attention. The reason for this is simple as well: the music is not as inspired as it was in the early years. Lacuna Coil has gone the Evanescence route towards mainstream pop-rock ditching much of their metal influences in the last few years. A shame, their early material was very impressive.
Another very well-known band, Finnish power metal band Nightwish has suffered a bit in recent years due to the change in singers. Tarja Tarunen was the band's initial singer and her voice was an extremely gorgeous operatic soprano. The musicians were among the most talented in the scene and took the songwriting craft extremely seriously. The music was essentially a heavy metal symphony backing a very talented singer. Unfortunately, Tarunen was booted from the band and Annette Olzen took over in a much poppier direction. Seeing a pattern?
This Dutch gothic metal band has not done much to separate themselves from the rest of the scene. They do enough things reasonably well to garner some attention, but not well enough to be considered a better or more talented band than the two bands above. And they are falling victim to the same curse as the above bands by focusing their songwriting attention on being popular. Never the best strategy for metal bands. Sharen Den Adel is a fantastic singer, not as bombastic as Tarunen, nor as seductive as Scabbia, but she has her own style.
Easily the darkest sound of the scene, the Norwegian group Tristania features a multitue of singers. Vibeke Stene is just the focal point. The band also features a couple of male singers to perform various types of vocals, as well as a choir to fill in. The sound is creepy and surprisingly brutal. The band plays dark symphonic-influenced gothic metal with an interplay of vocalists and musical parts. Less a band, and more of a traveling metallic opera. Tristania unfortunately is also suffering an identity crisis as Stene and one of the main songwriters have left the band in recent years. A shame, because their last album with Stene was quite possibly their strongest.
The German-Norwegian viking/gothic metal band is one of the newer bands in the genre. The band plays a style of music that is a little more aggressive than the above bands, featuring a strong songwriting team, and heavy guitars. Liv Kristine has a strong voice, which is a little more of a submissive sound than overpowering the music. It's somewhat appropriate for the lyrical them, which deals with the Viking woman, at least on their Vinland Saga album. Kristine's husband Alexander Krull is the guitarist and growler in the band, while her sister is in the band Midnattsol. Quite the musical family.Other bands who have been erroneously placed in the genre are The Sins of Thy Beloved and Draconian who are both much closer to doom metal than gothic metal and whose female singers are more backup singers. I did not discuss Epica as I do not own an album by them, nor have I heard enough to be able to discuss them.

In recent years, there have been many more bands featuring female lead singers in a variety of genres. Death metal (Arch Enemy, Estuary, Dreaming Dead), black metal (Gallhammer, Sigh, sort of), thrash metal (Pyrotoxic), metalcore (The Agonist, Straight Line Stitch), and traditional metal (Benedictum, Temtris, Ignitor). Women are starting to catch up in heavy metal.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Upcoming Nuclear Blast Releases

I was looking back through the latest issue of Decibel earlier and came across an ad from Nuclear Blast announcing upcoming releases this year. It looks to be a pretty busy year:

Dimmu Borgir: We'll see, I wasn't terribly impressed with their last album.

Soilwork: No, Soilwork hasn't been good in years.

Meshuggah: Probably not. I liked their early material but their later material is not terribly listenable.

Testament: Count me in.

Exodus: The sequel to their last album. I'll be checking this out.

Wintersun: The long awaited follow-up. I have been looking forward to this for a couple years now. The release date has been pushed back multiple times already.

Decrepit Birth: I was very impressed with their last album. I might give this a shot.

Arsis: I will definitely be looking for this.

Annotations of an Autopsy: Pass.

Cathedral: I'll have to hear samples before making up my mind.

Mnemic: Fuck no.

Immolation: Fuck yes.

Unleashed: This band made an absolutely amazing album last time. I am eager to hear this.

Agnostic Front: No.

All Shall Perish: Doesn't do it for me. Not bad though. I might sample it and see.

The Crinn: Never heard of them. Don't know what the name means.

Blind Guardian: Finally a new album from the power metal masters.

So yeah, a very busy year coming up. I already have a long list of albums coming out this year that I am looking forward to.

This Week in Metal and My Life Jan. 3-9, 2010

Well the first full week of the new year is in the bag. It has been a crazy week for weather. We got some more snow and temperatures dropped to an amazing -22 degrees last night. We've been staying as warm as possible at Casa de Metallattorney. The dogs are not happy though. We have had to tie them to the front porch as we cannot get to their dog run thanks to the 30 plus inches of snow we have gotten in recent weeks and the high wind, which those two elements combined to put a nice five foot tall snow drift in front of the dog run. Good times. The fiancee and I have mostly hung around the house. We watched some movies this week and otherwise, things were not really all that exciting.

Work was hectic this week. I started the week off on a good foot when I successfully negotiated a pretty good plea agreement for one of my clients. I then spent four hours in a deposition. It was the longest afternoon of my life. The end of the week went reasonably well also as one of my other clients indicated a willingness to accept a proposed settlement agreement. Big relief there. The agreement still needs to be mediated, but it's a start.

As for metal, no real exciting news this week. Cobalt's Phil McSorley appeared on Fox News' Red Eye. I have not had a chance to watch the clip yet. McSorley has spent considerable time in service abroad and is a sergeant in the U.S. Army. I have enormous respect for all of our soldiers. I haven't really checked out Cobalt's music but know they are well-received critically. Perhaps it's time to do so. Slayer backed out of a tour with Megadeth and Testament due to singer Tom Araya's back trouble. Get well soon, Tom. Soundgarden announced a reunion, in my opinion this is a big mistake. Christopher Lee (yes Saruman from the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Count Dooku and Dracula, etc.) will be releasing a symphonic metal album centered around Charlemagne. I listened to some samples and was largely underwhelmed. We'll see what comes of this. AHHHHHHHHHH! Limp Bizkit is coming back.

That's it for that shit. And now, for the list of albums I listened to this last week:
Behemoth: Demigod
Behemoth: Evangelion
Behemoth: Pandemonic Incantations
Behemoth: The Apostacy
Behemoth: Zos Kia Cultus (Here and Beyond)
Blitzkrieg: A Time of Changes
Devastation: Idolatry
Intruder: Psycho Savant
Iron Maiden: Piece of Mind
Kawir: Ophiolatreia
King Diamond: The Spider's Lullaby
Lamb of God: Ashes of the Wake
Malevolent Creation: Envenomed
Manowar: Kings of Metal
Megadeth: The System has Failed
Mercyful Fate: Don't Break the Oath
Militia: Released
Mundanus Imperium: The Spectral Spheres Coronation
Naglfar: Harvest
Night in Gales: Nailwork
Night in Gales: Thunderbeast
Nile: Annihilation of the Wicked
Opeth: Ghost Reveries
Overkill: Killbox 13
Postmortem: Repulsion
Pro-Pain: Foul Taste of Freedom
Queensryche: The Warning
Raise Hell: Holy Target
Raven: Wiped Out
Sanatorium: Internal Womb Cannibalism
Satyricon: Now, Diabolical
Savatage: Ghost in the Ruins
Scar Symmetry: Dark Matter Dimensions
Scar Symmetry: Symmetric in Design
Sculpture: Sculpture
Sepultura: Beneath the Remains
Sinner: The Nature of Evil
Slauter Xstroyes: Winter Kill
Slayer: Reign in Blood
Soilwork: Figure Number Five
Soul Reaper: Written in Blood
Strapping Young Lad: Alien
Swallow the Sun: Hope
Symphony X: Paradise Lost
Therion: Gothic Kabbalah
Tiamat: The Astral Sleep
Watchtower: Energetic Disassembly

Initial Impressions: Scar Symmetry and Raven

As I mentioned in a post last weekend, I went on a Scar Symmetry buying spree. I owned their second and third albums and I went to the local Hastings to look around with the idea that if I could not find anything else, I would pick up the band's 2009 album. Well I couldn't find anything other than Scar Symmetry albums and the store did have their debut album as well as the most recent one. The debut was cheap too. I couldn't decide between them so I picked them both up.

I first heard Scar Symmetry when I was cat-sitting for one of my friends from law school. She had digital cable at the time, which I did not have until I relocated for my first job. As part of the digital cable package, as many of you are aware, you get various music channels, including a metal channel. That's how I first heard the band and I was immediately impressed. I picked up their second album which I fell in love with. I have never felt as strongly about the rest of the band's material, but it is all pretty good.

This is Scar Symmetry's debut album. It has all of the elements that would make the band such an infectious listening experience. Scar Symmetry's sound is rooted in melodic death metal, with some keyboard flourishes which add a kind of science fiction touch. There are elements of power metal and progressive metal also present in the band's sound. The music is very strongly melodic. The death metal aspect mostly refers to some of the vocals.

The vocals are what really cause the band to shine. Their first vocalist Christian Alvestam (?) is a truly gifted metal singer. Able to alternate seemlessly between death metal growls and soaring clean vocals, Alvestam captures the listener's attention immediately and doesn't let go. Beneath the incredible vocals though are some powerful drumming, melodeath guitar riffs, and some incendiary solo work. The production is polished which brings the sounds out that much clearer.

Scar Symmetry emerged on their debut album fully formed. It's a bit cleaner than their sophomore effort which means I don't like it quite as much as I do the first album I heard. But it probably beats out their third album. It's just too bad this lineup could not stay together.
Scar Symmetry's fourth album is where things start to get a little sketchy. After their third album, the band released a statement that it was parting ways with Alvestam. The most identifiable member of the band was now gone. How would Scar Symmetry find someone to fill his shoes? The answer: they didn't. They found two people. Robert Karlsson steps in as the lead growler and Lars Palmqvist becomes the clean singer. Both guys do backing vocals in the other's specialty. Interesting.

The music basically sounds the same as earlier Scar Symmetry, with maybe a little more emphasis on the melodies. The vocals are the one thing that has really changed. But how much? The death metal growls are more brutal, for one thing. They are often backed Deicide-style with screams from Palmqvist. The screams and growls are layered giving an even more sinister feel. As implied, Deicide is well-known for doing this. The clean vocals sound very similar to Alvestam. So, for the most part, things have not really changed all that much. It's not as exciting knowing that the two disparate styles of vocals are being performed by two different people, but the end result is the same, basically.

It's a pretty good album and I will be interested to see where the band goes from here. Unfortunately, they're just another band at this point. The real impressive thing about them was their singer who could blend two styles of vocals without missing a beat. That's gone now. Oh well, we still have Into Eternity. Stu Block uses three different styles.
In my ongoing efforts to look into 1980's metal, I happened upon Raven, one of the leaders of the NWOBHM movement. This album was released in 1982 and is acclaimed by reviews I have seen as one of the best albums the NWOBHM had to offer.

This is of course a very early form of metal. The sound relies on combining Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and some punk influences. Therefore, we have slightly downtuned, distorted riffs played fairly quickly. This band and many others were heavily influential on Metallica and other early thrash metal bands. That influence on thrash is fairly clear here.

The music is very dirty, raw, and primal. The riffs are mostly traditional-sounding metal riffs, sped up. The guitar solos are competently played. The vocals are shouted in a style fairly typical for British hard rock of the 1960's and 1970's. There are a few slower songs on the album, again fairly typical for the time and genre.

I have not heard enough NWOBHM at this point to be able to state whether this is a great example of the genre or not. No matter, what I have heard is fairly compelling. I don't care much for the vocals, but the music is very interesting. I am still exploring the genre to find bands I really enjoy. I don't know if I will revisit this band or not. This album seems to be their most acclaimed so I may not.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Depressing Songs

Unlike the earlier post on this blog dealing with love songs, this was pretty easy. There are a lot of depressing songs in metal. Metal is a genre of extremes. Usually these extremes are towards the wrong end of the emotional spectrum. Angry songs are extremely angry and sad songs are extremely sad. There is not a whole lot of happiness in metal. That's not to say it's impossible, it's just not very likely.

Here's some of the more depressing songs in metal:

Anthrax: Bare
When your clock is up
And you rest for good
I will cut off my armpiece
Just like we agreed we would

One must live while one must die

While the other argues that
The world ain't fair
But then who ever promised
Anybody equal share
You might as well forget
What you gambled on
'Cause plans never go by the way they're drawn

Black Sabbath: Changes
It took so long
To realize
That I can still hear
Her last goodbyes

Now all my days
Are filled with tears
Wish I could go back
And change these years

Blind Guardian: When Sorrow Sang
I feel like screaming
But I can't breath in
Shall I wane right now
I will not leave this
World of living
Till she has said

Out in the cold
I still wait for her call
And her last kiss
It shall be release
I can't forget her
Her face will not leave
From the depths of my soul
I long for her

Candlemass: Solitude
I'm sitting here alone in darkness
waiting to be free,
Lonely and forlorn I'm crying
I long for my time to come
death means just life
Please let me die in solitude

Dark Tranquillity: Emptier Still
Emptier still
As time takes us farther
Away from the goals
By which we are measured
I know that I should have stayed true
To you and to me
But time never heals
So here alone I stand

So tell me are you lonely
Tell me are you mine

Draconian: She Dies
Two souls entwined together,
Still so alone.
Both you and I are shattered
And frozen in stone.

You begged for air from within this cold tomb with pain sharp as a knife
I now lie resting like a child on thy womb, gave back a part of my life.

Dream Theater: Space-Dye Vest
There's no one to take my blame
if they wanted to
There's nothing to keep me sane
and it's all the same to you
There's nowhere to set my aim
so I'm everywhere
Never come near me again
do you really think I need you

I'll never be open again, I could never be open again.
I'll never be open again, I could never be open again.

And I'll smile and I'll learn to pretend
And I'll never be open again
And I'll have no more dreams to defend
And I'll never be open again

Iced Earth: Melancholy (Holy Martyr)
I see the sadness in their eyes
Melancholy in their cries
Devoid of all the passion
The human spirit cannot die
Look at the pain around me
This is what I cry for
Look at the pain around me
This is what I'll die for

Insomnium: Last Statement
I may be gone in the flesh
But my love will stay here
I am always with you in spirit
So just stay strong

No one wins tonight
No one gets a closure
No one walks away victorious

But don’t forget me
Don’t you forget me
Burn a candle for me when you can

Into Eternity: One Funeral Hymn for Three
One last song for three
Sang to you from beyond
Funeral hymn
The end has passed
I now see so much clearer
Funeral hymn

Kamelot: Love You to Death
When they met she was fifteen
Like a black rose blooming wild
And she already knew she was gonna die

"What's tomorrow without you?
This is our last goodbye"

She got weaker every day
As the autumn leaves flew by
Until one day, she told him, "This is when I die"

Machine Head: Deafening Silence
She looked right into my eyes and said to me
The hurt that you try to hide is killing me
You drink a thousand lies, to freeze the past in time

I’ve tried to fill this silence up
But now it’s back again

See the pain in my eyes
See the scars deep inside
My god, I’m down in this hole again
With the laughter I smile
With the tears that I cry
Keep going down this road called life

Megadeth: A Tout Le Monde
A tout le monde (To all the world)
A tous mes amis (To all my friends)
Je vous aime (I love you)
Je dois partir (I have to leave)
These are the last words
I'll ever speak
And they'll set me free

If my heart was still alive
I know it would surely break
And my memories left with you
There's nothing more to say

Pantera: Cemetary Gates
The reverend he turned to me
Without a tear in his eyes
It's nothing new for him to see
I didn't ask him why
I will remember
The love our souls had
Sworn to make
Now I watch the falling rain
All my mind can see
Now is your (face)

Well I guess
You took my youth
I gave it all away
Like the birth of a
New-found joy
This love would end in rage
And when she died
I couldn't cry
The pride within my soul
You left me incomplete
Memories now unfold.

Sonata Arctica: Tallulah
You let my hand go, and you fake a smile for me
I have a feeling you don't know what to do
I look deep in your eyes, hesitate a while...
Why are you crying?

Tallulah, It's easier to live alone than fear the time it's over
Tallulah, find the words and talk to me, oh, Tallulah,
This could be... heaven

Testament: Trail of Tears
Can you hear them call?

See the sun as it's setting still
Tears fall from a warrior
Damn those who I feel
Set a trail to the promised land
Mother and child holding hand in hand
Through the snow or through the sands

The Sins of Thy Beloved: Until the Dark
I see you here
with me but I fear the day
for you
hear my dear
I watch the land
and the window fallen down
I feel the pain
inside of me like a cloud
no one can save me
the time will come for my death
I think of you and wish me into an another live
I see you here with me
but I fear the day for you

Type O Negative: Red Water (Christmas Mourning)
Wake up, it's Christmas mourn
Those loved have long since gone
The stockings are hung, but who cares?
Reserved for those no longer there
Six feet beneath me sleep

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Soundgarden Reunion

Well there has been a lot of talk in recent days that Soundgarden has decided to reunite. I enjoyed Soundgarden's music quite a bit when I was getting into metal. At that time, they were everywhere. They had released their incredibly popular album Superunknown with the huge hits "Spoonman", "Black Hole Sun", and several others. However, they soon descended into mediocrity. Their followup album was a major disappointment. It wasn't long before they disbanded and went their separate ways. Chris Cornell, the lead singer, started a solo project, then formed Audioslave with members of Rage Against the Machine, then went back to being a solo artist. I discussed Cornell's most recent solo album in an earlier blog post here, which I don't expect anyone to remember. For the record, I hated what I heard from it.

So that brings us to the reunion. What do I think? I do not have good feelings about this at all. Chris Cornell's material has been mediocre at best and terrible at worst. Guitarist Kim Thayil was a guest with Sunn O))) but hasn't done much else. I do not have a lot of faith that Soundgarden will be able to recapture the sound of their early material, the stoner doom metal stomp of Badmotorfinger and other earlier albums. Mark it down: I predict this reunion will blow.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Today in Metal and My Life: Jan. 2, 2010

In an ongoing effort to figure out which direction to take this blog, I have decided to experiment just a little bit. I'd like to get a little more personal in the blog, without moving far away from the point of the blog.

Today I went to the local music store. I had not been there for awhile and I have not bought anything new in nearly a month. Oh the horror. I went with the idea of looking for any new releases. I did not find anything terribly exciting so I figured I would pick up the recent Scar Symmetry release. I also saw that they had the band's first release, which was the only other album by the band I did not own. So, now I own all four of Scar Symmetry's full length albums. I also bought a few albums online which I will name later. I have not listened to the Scar Symmetry albums yet, but will soon enough.

Also while at the bookstore, I picked up the January 2010 issue of Decibel. Mastodon was on the cover, of course. The issue featured the magazine's Top 40 albums of 2009. Mastodon was surprisingly not #1, neither were Isis, Coalesce, or Converge, the bands I would have most suspected would get the top spot. No, instead Baroness got the top spot. Not a bad choice, but they seem to get a lot of love from the critics these days as well. I have not heard anything off the new Baroness album, not being totally impressed with what I had heard off their previous release.

Other information gleaned from the Decibel magazine:
-Hirax has a new album out.
-A new Swedish old school death supergroup formed out of members of Expulsion, Treblinka, and Tiamat (though Treblinka became Tiamat). This band is called Mr. Death. I liked this idea better when it was Bloodbath. I suppose I am willing to check something out though.
-Pelican think Between the Buried and Me sound like In Flames or Soilwork. Pelican need to get their ears checked.
-Nile's Karl Sanders is fat.
-Rammstein's Richard Kruspe has never heard Bathory despite the fact that Jonas Akerlund who directed music video/porno video "Pussy" played drums for Bathory.
-I might have to check out the online store Rockadrome. They seem to have an awful lot of 1980's metal bands, including Watchtower, Slauter Xstroyes, Devastation, and Militia.
-I really did not need to see Watchtower in their underwear.
-Albums that made Decibel's Top 40 list that I approve of: Suffocation, Goatwhore, The Gates of Slumber, Asphyx, Paradise Lost, Nile, Obscura, Immortal, Marduk, Slayer, and Napalm Death.
-In news that fails to shock anyone: Coalesce and Converge were #'s 3 and 2 respectively.
-This has to be the 100th Mastodon article in Decibel this last year.
-They loved the Nirvana 2002 compilation, so did I.

I still can't find the Best of the Decade special issue and don't feel like ordering it online.

In doing my normal blog search, I have become a little disenchanted. Metal Inquisition has not updated in a couple of weeks. Metalsucks has not been updating lately, either. I'm sure a lot has to do with the holiday season, but it's been frustrating. I haven't exactly been a fount of activity of late either, but still. I don't find fault in myself, just in others.

I did decide to view a couple of music videos online which were linked from another blog. I saw Converge's recent video and can honestly say that I don't see what everyone sees in the band. They really are not very good. They're just loud and noisy with no structure. Not metal, more like metallic hardcore. I also saw the recent Behemoth video, weird stuff.

Other than all that, I have been at home. My fiancee worked most of the day, so it was my job to take care of the animals. It's snowing again, I hate snow. Not much else going on. Fun stuff.

Albums I listened to today:
Graveworm: (N)Utopia
Guillotine: Blood Money
The Crown: Possessed13
Nihilist: Nihilist 1987-1989
Carnal Forge: Testify for My Victims
Darkane: Insanity
Nevermore: Dreaming Neon Black
Nevermore: Nevermore
Fates Warning: No Exit

Friday, January 1, 2010

Songs About the Legal System

Or some semblance thereof.

Armored Saint: Hanging Judge
Bleeding Through: Hollywood Prison
Carnal Forge: Testify for My Victims
Deceased...: Victims of the Masterplan
Dying Fetus: Raping the System
Havok: Ivory Tower
Judas Priest: Breaking the Law
Intruder: N.G.R.I. (Not Guilty for Reasons of Insanity)
Macabre: Trial
Megadeth: Peace Sells
Megadeth: 502
Megadeth: Captive Honour
Megadeth: Kick the Chair
Metallica: ...And Justice for All
Misery Index: the Arbiter
Ozzy Osbourne: Perry Mason
Testament: Malpractice

There's a lot of songs about crime and a lot of songs about execution, but not a lot about stuff in the middle. Each of these songs details some aspect of the legal system. Interesting, but not particularly noteworthy I suppose.

2009 Year in Review

Top 10 Albums:
1. Destroyer 666: Defiance
They finally released a new album this last year. Their first since 2003, and their first recording since 2005. It was everything I hoped for and more. Destroyer 666 is one of the best bands currently going. They keep getting better and better.

2. Razor of Occam: Homage to Martyrs
Razor of Occam is a side project for one of the members of D666 and this band is every bit as powerful and aggressive as the main band. More Australian blackened thrash metal to keep listeners happy. This was a very good year for the "war metal" scene.

3. God Dethroned: Passiondale
I never really got into God Dethroned until this year. Previously I believed them to be too similar to Behemoth's recent stuff, but this album absolutely blew me away. It's a concept album about a particularly brutal battle during World War I in Belgium. The songs were all incredible, with a sense of urgency and sorrow running throughout.

4. Goatwhore: Carving Out the Eyes of God
Goatwhore continues to improve as well, becoming one of the U.S.'s greatest metal bands. They successfully blend death, black, thrash, and sludge metal into a toxic brew that is raw and aggressive and brutal as fuck.

5. Cauldron: Chained to the Nite
Every year it seems like, I find a great traditional metal album to fall in love with. Last year it was Grand Magus, this year it's Cauldron. The Canadian castoffs from Goat Horn formed a new band using traditional metal riffs and song structures and put out a fantastic album that blends the old and the new.

6. Seance: Awakening of the Gods
One of the early, and most brutal, Swedish death metal bands returned this year with a primal, frightening slab of old school death metal. Seance has been missing in action for years, but came back with a vengeance, just two years after Evocation did the same. It was a pretty good year for old school Swedish death metal as well.

7. Dawn of Azazel: Relentless
Several of my favorite bands released new albums this year that definitely did not disappoint. Dawn of Azazel is another of these. While the band streamlined their sound a little bit, they also strengthened their few weaknesses. This band could go really far if the underground would take more notice of them.

8. Amorphis: Skyforger
Another of my favorite bands. Amorphis was revitalized two albums ago when they brought in a fresh lead singer. The band has been incredible since and this album, while not as good as the preceding album, is still amazing. The band has a knack for putting together heartwrenching prog metal classics.

9. Heaven and Hell: The Devil You Know
The only real mainstream album on my list. This was a disappointment to a lot of people, but it kept growing on me. A great traditional doom metal album from the second incarnation of Black Sabbath, this album has riffs galore and Ronnie James Dio has not missed a step. Great to have the masters back in action.

10. Thanatos: Justified Genocide
There were a lot of bands that had worthy albums that could have been in my Top 10. Thanatos just barely edges them out with this rock-solid, powerful piece of death/thrash from the Dutch masters of the genre. If only the band were a little better known, the world would be a much better place.

5 Disappointments: It doesn't mean I don't like the albums, they just weren't what I was expecting.
God Forbid: Earthsblood
This one has grown a little on me lately but when I first heard it, I was definitely disappointed. The band grew from their last album, but they seemed to lose a lot of their aggression. Most of the songs, while much more progressive, just sound a little stale.

Saxon: Into the Labyrinth
It's probably getting close to time to hang it up for these guys. There are some great songs on this album, but there is way too much filler as well. The NWOBHM band has been around since the late 1970's and still sound decent, but are fading fast.

Leif Edling: Songs of Joy, Songs of Torment
The Candlemass principal songwriter has been at it for a long time too. This is his solo debut and while it has its moments, they are not nearly often enough to make this a particularly good album. The vocals are not very good, the organs are overused, and it's pretty slow. All these traits are normal for a traditional doom metal album, but there's not enough here to keep things interesting.

The Black Dahlia Murder: Deflorate
TBDM took a step backwards here, or a step to the side or something. It's too similar to Nocturnal. It's just not as interesting.

Obituary: Darkest Day
What happened? Their last album was great and reinvigorated the band. This album is just bland, grooving death metal. It could have been so much better. Maybe the Tardy brothers were too busy writing for their other band that they forgot to put good songs in this. I have no idea, I didn't hear the Tardy Brothers album.

3 Surprises: Albums Better than I Expected
Megadeth: Endgame
Holy shit, they're back. Finally. This album was great, just not great enough to make my Top 10. It puts last year's Metallica album to shame. It's great to have Dave back.

Bloodsoaked: Sadistic Deeds...Grotesque Memories
I had no idea what to expect out of a one man death metal band, but wow, this was really incredible. Bloodsoaked combines old school death metal influences with modern death metal styles such as brutal death and slam into a brutal, pounding album, that pummels away for 30 minutes.

Dreaming Dead: Within One
Initially, I thought they would be an Arch Enemy clone. Boy was I wrong. Dreaming Dead combine death, black, and thrash metal influences and put out one of the best debuts of the year. Elizabeth Schall is a great guitarist.

Reissue of the Year
Nirvana 2002: Recordings '89-'91:
This reissue of the demos from the early Swedish death metal band is a must have. It's amazing how fresh and vital these sound after all these years and countless copycat bands.

I only went to one this year as there have not been many decent ones near Nebraska. But it was a good one. I dragged my then-girlfriend, now-fiancee to see Opeth and Enslaved at Sokol Auditorium in Omaha. The progressive extreme metal bands put on an amazing show and cut back on some of the filler stuff to focus on keeping the audience involved. It was great to be there with my fiancee and share a part of my world with her. Surprisingly, she didn't run away and hide after that. That's how you know you have a keeper.

Top 5 Favorite Songs:
1. "Barker Ranch": Lion's Share
2. "No Survivors": God Dethroned
3. "A Thousand Plagues": Destroyer 666
4. "Fall With Me": My Dying Bride
5. "Silver Bride": Amorphis

Albums to Look Forward to in 2010:
Sigh: Scenes from Hell
Arsis: Starve for the Devil
Dark Fortress: Yiem
Orphaned Land: The Never Ending Way of the Warrior
Overkill: Ironbound
High on Fire: Snakes for the Divine
Dark Tranquillity: We are the Void
Eluveitie: Everything Remains as it Never Was
Immolation: Majesty and Decay
Armored Saint: La Raza