TMS: Total Mess of a Show!

Good day all,

I know it has been a long time since I last made a blog entry and I know that you all have missed me and my views on all things metal. I will try and be here more often but we will just have to see where life takes me. I have a few blog posts I want to get to but as I have said before and I will say again right now, sometimes life gets in the way. But let’s just forget about that for right now and get to the topic for today’s blog post/rant shall we?

Yesterday, I was able to finish the season finale of That Metal Show on VH1 Classic with hosts Eddie Trunk, Don Jamieson and Jim Florentine and there is both good news and bad to report out of the new season of TMS. But before I get into my critique of this new season let me draw your attention to my Open Letter to Eddie Trunk  that I wrote before this season started filming. I was hoping he would consider making some changes to the format of the show and make it more enjoyable for us metalheads that want a show that is all about metal. I have to give Eddie Trunk and VH1 Classic credit; they at least tried to make some changes to the show to make it more watchable but unfortunately in the overall final analysis of this season they failed once again to bring a coherent show about metal/hard rock to the airwaves.

Let’s start with the good stuff as it was very little so we should be able to get through it rather quickly. First the new set was really nice, getting rid of that old and outdated set was a great step in the right direction. It made the show seem more up to date with the times and really made the show look current. But that my friends, is the only current thing about this show! The updated set resonates like the old saying about lipstick on a pig, just doesn’t hide the truth and the truth is this show should be put out of its misery. I am honestly surprised at this point that they can get any musicians on this show anymore. Really, why would you want to be associated with this mess? I know what I am about to say is harsh but “Wayne’s World” was better than this show currently is and Wayne’s World was a parody! The sad part is that a cable access show with no budget plays better than TMS does on a weekly basis.

So that was the good…

Where to begin on the rest of this train wreck? Let’s start with the new bits that the show has incorporated into the mix as a way of updating their format. Before I lambast them though I do want to reiterate that I am happy that they at least tried something new even if it was an abject failure. Which bit shall we start with? How about one that I understood the least, I believe they called it “Putting it on the Table”, which is just a flat out stupid name but the whole premise of this bit was stupid. Correct me if I am wrong but the main part of this show is to interview the artists and guests correct? So why in the middle of the interview do you stop, pull out index cards and ask the guest ridiculously stupid questions? Seriously!!!! Also, why do you have to keep pulling the index cards out each episode when you are asking the same questions over and over again? Was VH1 Classic unwilling to put the questions on the teleprompter so you could read them verbatim and you where not smart enough to memorize the questions? Seriously!!!! Even I have the questions memorized after the first episode of the season! What is wrong with you idiots? You are not what metal needs; as a matter of fact you three bozos are the last thing that metal needs! Metalheads have enough societal issues the last thing we need is for you three bozos, especially Jim and Don, representing our culture!

But I digress…

The other bit that really rankled my panties was the completely unnecessary “Rant”! All that was, was an excuse to make excuses for how ridiculous the show is and how we, the viewers should stop complaining about it. Again: Seriously!!!!! You are going to tell us to stop complaining that the guests you have on are relevant to metal today? Please, do not patronize the metal fan and use the excuse “This show is on VH1! Classic we have to have classic metal and hard rock” and please stop using the excuse that VH1 Classic rules all decisions made. I have said it before and I will say it again Eddie Trunk is listed as an Executive Producer, if he has no say in what goes on with his show then show some balls and quit and create a show somewhere else. Hell your production value would probably be better on cable access.

While I am on the subject of Eddie Trunk and his “Rant” on the season finale of TMS let me just say this, quit being a hypocrite! Don’t blame other people for calling Glam Metal “Hair” Metal. You have a radio station on Sirrius/XM that is literally called Hair Nation! How is it you are going to talk down to other people for perpetuating a “derogatory” term about a metal genre when you are participating in making it an acceptable term? How many times do I have to say this? Seriously!!!! Please don’t come out and say that “During my show on the station it is called Trunk Nation” because that means nothing! The station name doesn’t change just your show and it is on a station with a name you apparently detest yet you help perpetuate the name during your show. I guess the money for doing the show is a little better than your true values and beliefs. Hey I get it money rules all, we all have families to take care of but don’t get up on your literal soapbox and tell the world that their wrong when you are part of the problem! You should have known better Eddie!

There is nothing that will make me continue to watch TMS anymore. I gave you all a chance but the excuses on why it can’t be a better show have now made me numb and I have no other choice but to succumb to my common sense and move on. Maybe, someday, there will be a great metal show for all of us metal fans to get into but That Metal Show is certainly not it anymore, if it ever was! Eddie, I wish you and your excuses the best of luck and maybe next season they will do what you want and rename the show That Hard Rock Show and you can work with your favorite genre. You have tried to do good with this show but let’s face it you have always been about the softer side of the metal genre and are afraid to venture into any more extreme depths of the music. That is your prerogative but please stop making excuses for this failure.  

I know I didn’t cover everything in this post but to be honest I am exhausted! I have been a mild defender of this show for a while and I always gave Eddie Trunk the benefit of the doubt but I just can’t do it anymore. Way to many excuses on why other people make HIS show bad. Good luck Eddie but I won’t be seeing you again.

Until Later, Peace!

Lurch

For People That Went Before

I know that with the ways in which we receive news and information since I was a young metalhead has changed significantly but it seems that we care less about our bands or more specifically band members than when I was first listening to heavy metal. When Ozzy left Black Sabbath not only was it a big deal but it actually affected our lives. Sure it didn’t make a difference to our families nor was it life or death but it was our life and had an effect. Additionally when a band broke up or Randy Rhodes or Cliff Burton died we took note and debated for hours if the band could go on and be the same, I don’t know if that is the same today. Sure we all knew when Dimebag was shot and killed on that stage in Ohio and yes it had an effect on metalheads but I think that was more from the way Dimebag was killed than if anyone cared the way we once did.

I am not saying that those of us who grew up in heavy metal are more compassionate than those that love it now, no, I wouldn’t presume to know how another person feels, but I think the problem is first, there are way too many bands today and second information is instant so there is no real shock to the information being processed. If you have a Twitter account or a Facebook page you will find out almost at the time of a person’s death of their demise and since there are thousands of metal and entertainment websites out there the story gets played over and over again. Case in point; Jeff Hanneman died and the whole metal world took note and was shocked and couldn’t believe what was happening to one of their favorite bands. Yes the talk turned to if Slayer could even go on but that debate started after Dave Lombardo was left off of their current tour so I don’t think one has to do with the other. Sure it changed the debate a little bit but the debate was already raging by the time Jeff died.

In contrast the band Behold! The Monolith, a fantastic stoner/doom/sludge band out of LA lost their Singer/Bass player Kevin McDade late last month. Besides those of us who really follow the band, and I do because they are fantastic, I am not sure how many people were really aware of this sad passing. Not only was Kevin an intricate part of the overall writing process of the band and what they do but there are only three people in the band! How does a band like this move on and why do we care less about Kevin McDade than we do Jeff Hanneman? I know that that question is unfair, I have zero capacity to judge how people feel about anything, but it goes back to what I was saying earlier and that is I am not sure deaths in the metal world affect us like they did when I was younger.

But because there are so many bands out there and there are so many websites that report on metal that we get inundated with information and when we see a headline like BANDMEMBER OF BAND DIES we think to ourselves “That sucks…when does the new (add band name here) album come out”. Back in the day when a band member died there was a bit of a morning period for fans, sure we were still concerned with when we would here new music from the band, if ever, but the death was significant to us as fans. Again, and I keep hitting on this point, I think it is because of our access to every band that is out there that we are probably sometimes indifferent to just about any news that we hear about bands, and that kind of sucks. Having a band member die tragically early, to me, is slightly more important than the guitar player from a band leaving, especially when the guitar player has a habit of doing just that but this is important as well. I just think that with band members having, as my son would say, eleventyjillion side projects, band members leaving or moving on has became more of the norm than the exception. Maybe that is the problem, maybe we are just so accustomed to members of our favorite bands doing their own things separately that they have made us immune to any type of change in the band. And maybe we are being too hard on Slayer for dismissing Dave Lombardo. Maybe we expect Slayer to always be the original four from the beginning of their existence but that is probably unfair as well because just like a band we as individuals evolve and changes are necessary. Maybe it is because music is an escape and we don’t want to have the same issues, drama, and sadness that we have in our real lives.

I am not sure if anything I have just wrote makes sense but I think it is sad that heavy metal is so inundated with bands (most of them mediocre to bad) that we as a metal community miss out on or are indifferent to the information that matters.

RIP Kevin McDade and Jeff Hanneman and everyone else that the metal community has lost…whenever it was!

Until Later, Peace!

Lurch

Summertime Blue?

Good day all,

Wow! June is gone and we are in July already! It is amazing how time flies (that is if time is real at all)!

In case you missed it earlier I am now a contributor to the amazing website Metal Bandcamp , Max has been kind enough to allow my writing to be displayed on his awesome blog and I thank him for that opportunity. This is in addition to my writing for Ech(((o)))es and Dust so don’t forget to hit them up either. All of the writers on both websites are true to the music that they review and are as into metal and all of its glorious sub-genres as the rest of us are so give them a look.

A lot of great metal has come out this year and I was wondering what has you excited this year in the realm of metal? I thought last year was a fantastic year for metal but as this year moves along it seems to me that it is much stronger than last year and that is saying something if you ask me. There are still plenty of great albums from last year that I have on continuous rotation but this year I have found it hard to keep up with all of the great new music coming out every week. Especially when I start reading the reviews from my fellow writers on Ech(((o)))es and Metal Bandcamp! I think I am going to have to take a week’s vacation from the Interweb and just search out the stuff I have missed so far this year. I sometimes feel a little left out when I am looking at my Twitter timeline and everyone is talking about this band or that and I just haven’t found time to listen to all of it. And this is coming from a guy who listens to music constantly.

Dear metal bands,

I need you to slow your roll for awhile while I catch up.

Best regards,

Justin

If only that could happen! Right!? Everyone put your lives on hold while I catch up! That is not asking much!?

But I digress! As we have reached the half-way point of the year I was going to talk about the best metal albums I have listened to so far but a few websites have already done this and there is no reason for me to add on to them. There are a couple of exhaustive lists and some that aren’t so big but either way there has been some really great metal this year. The one thing I have found about all of the lists I have read is that there are some really great releases on them from this year that I have forgotten were even released this year. So check out the lists by That’s How Kids Die as well as the brilliant Steel for Brains and also the always dependable Adrien Begrand of MSN Headbang as you will find most of the albums I would have chosen anyway so no reason to duplicate the effort.

A couple of albums you won’t see on that list however that I think need inclusion are as follows:

Throw the Goat

Sleepers Awake

Ape Machine

Autolatry

Anciients

Heart Attack

That is just a few! If I have to make an End of Year List with a number restriction I am going to be in big, big trouble. Especially since the new Pyres is coming out this month and it is a MONSTER of an album. Plus Blasphemour Records newest find Losing Skin is releasing a stellar album as well. Pre-orders are up for both and trust me when I say you need to get them.

That is it for today folks, I hope you all enjoy the blog and the links I have provided…it is all about the METAL!

Remember you can follow me on Twitter @ICHeavy as well as @metalbandcamp @echoesanddust @thatshowkidsdie @steelforbrains

Until later, Peace!

Lurch

 

 

 

 

Since You (I) Been Gone!

Good day all,

Well it has been a long time since I posted anything on this blog. It already has been a busy summer, May was crazy busy for me and June is shaping up the same way. One great thing that has happened since we last talked is I have started writing for the amazing website Ech(((o)))es and Dust, http://echoesanddust.com/ They have been kind enough to allow my reviews and a recent feature to be displayed on their website you can find them here http://echoesanddust.com/tag/justin-petrick/. I appreciate this from them and if the truth be told I really agreed to write with them because I was told that the Christmas party is an all expense paid trip including an all-inclusive stay at the Echoes and Dust Metal Editors home in the UK. You have to admit that is pretty awesome, hopefully they fly us first class! Regardless I am glad to be a part of their team and please check out the website as they have a ton of great writers, you will not be disappointed I promise you. I will also have some other writing projects in the near future and will let everybody know about them when the time comes. Additionally, I hope to be able to post to this blog more often as well, we will see.

So, since the last time we talked Black Sabbath released their new album 13, Eddie Trunk and his band of misfits returned to VH1 Classic’s That Metal Show, Jeff Hanneman of Slayer died and Dave Lombardo was officially replaced as the drummer of slayer by Paul Bostaph. Lets briefly talk about all of these items shall we?

First Black Sabbath: I tried to keep as open a mind as possible when the new Sabbath came out but I just found it to be a bloated, self-indulgent mess. I have listened to the album several times but with each listen it bores me a little more. Sure, there are a couple of bright spots on the album but overall, as far as I am concerned it is too long and doesn’t keep the listener invested. Finally on this subject is it really a Black Sabbath reunion without Bill Ward? I don’t envy Brad Wilk, he was put in the position of “not the original drummer of Sabbath” but he accepted it as well. I just want to know if Rick Rubin was the one that made his drums so boring or if it was the band? Either way it did not help the album at all.

Eddie Trunk and the gang are back on That Metal Show and they have made some changes to the format of the show for this season, It is as if they listened to their fans, at least a little bit. I mean my biggest issue with the show is the two bozos that Eddie insists on having with him as “co-hosts” and they bring nothing but teleprompter reading and guest fawning. But on a good note they seem to be spending more time talking with the guests as opposed to senseless bits, which is good to see. That being said however, why do they have to do that stupid “Put it on the Table” bit and ask pre-written questions? Why not just do an interview like normal interviewers do it! If you want to have pre-scripted questions that is fine, but to be reading the same questions to all of the guests from index cards is really amateurish if you ask me. And yes I know no one has asked me. But, I have watched the first three episodes and they may be all for me as there has to be a better way for VH1 Classic and Eddie Trunk to do this show. Finally, I wish Eddie Trunk would stop saying that he has no control over anything that goes on with the show, I want to know how this is possible when he is one of the producers? For a producer he has the least amount of power of any producer in the business. Quit making excuses Eddie! By the way if you want to read an excellent rant about TMS check out this blog post on That’s How Kids Die: http://thatshowkidsdie.com/2013/05/27/that-fucking-awful-metal-show-and-how-to-fix-it/ 

Finally for today Slayer: What an absolute shame that we as metal fans lost the great Jeff Hanneman. He was the architect of some of the most classic Slayer songs and now he is gone and with him the inspiration and vision of a true musician and songwriter. For a lot of us Slayer is the pinnacle of thrash metal and maybe the most important band in the genre and with the death of Jeff I think that has come to an end. Slayer already had an issue with the status of Dave Lombardo but it seems that had been resolved with Lombardo being replaced by Paul Bostaph. But let”s face it with the passing of Jeff, Slayer is never really going to be the same. RIP Jeff!

Couple bands I must recommend you check out:

Throw The Goat: Black Mountain – http://throwthegoat.bandcamp.com/ 

Sleepers Awake (For you progressive metal fans): Transcension http://sleepersawake.bandcamp.com/

MAHAT: Looking for a Ride (For the stoner rocker in you): http://mahat.bandcamp.com/

Neuronspoiler: Emergence (NWOBH metal) Mr. John Sturm does a great job reviewing this album here: http://echoesanddust.com/2013/06/neuronspoiler-emergence/ and both the review and album are worth your time!

and there are plenty more but I think that is it for the day! Thanks everyone for reading, hope to talk again soon!

Until later, Peace!

Lurch

I don’t understand

Hello all,

Here is what I don’t understand, why does a band that is signed to a record label has to beg their fans for money to repair a van to go on tour. I would think that the label would be more than happy to help as the more the band is on the road the more albums and merch they will sell which in turn is more money for the label. Sure, I get that $7000 is a lot of money but if a label has the faith to sign the band shouldn’t they have the faith that they could recoup the expenses by having the band touring? Why should the fans have to front the money for this sort of thing and why and when did this become so popular? It almost seems more like a marketing ploy by the label to see what kind of fan base the band has and whether they are worth supporting. I just don’t know, can anyone educate me on this?

REPOST: THE DEVIL YOU KNOW: INTERNET, SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE INDEPENDENT

This Article was originall posted on The Gauntlet and I really appreciate them for giving me the platform for this article. If you would like you can go here: http://www.thegauntlet.com/article/1225/27523/The-Devil-You-Know-Internet-Social-Media-and-The-Independent and give it a look or read below. If nothing else go give The Gauntlet a look abnd support their site! http://www.thegauntlet.com/

THE DEVIL YOU KNOW: INTERNET, SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE INDEPENDENT:

If I were in a band, I would be madly in love with the Internet and everything that it could do for me and my band and the endless possibilities that lie within it. Or would I? The Internet is a fascinating and intriguing place for all things music and it is a bastion of big hopes and big dreams for the up and coming music star. It allows for the talented and the not so talented to have a stage that can reach the masses and allow for their music to be heard throughout the world, whether we like it or not. The aspiring musician can showcase themselves with just a few clicks of the mouse and have an audience wider than anything that we have ever before imagined.

The use of MySpace and now Facebook has allowed musicians to bring their music to a much wider audience and allow people who have never been able to sample their music the opportunity to do so. According to Dean Tompkins, the bass player for the unsigned band Mammoth Thunderpower from Costa Mesa , CA, “We have a Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Bandcamp, MySpace, Soundcloud, Reverb Nation, basically everything.  Look, we all know that monkey’s like bananas, but I want to make that monkey get that banana in the easiest way possible, if you Google Mammoth Thunderpower, you’re going to find us.”

The World Wide Web has given a global voice and audience to the aspiring musician and if you can make it you will have the ability to reach across borders, shores, and even oceans, but is it too much? Can the independent musician or band or distributor handle the demand of being popular or mainstream? Is the cost worth the hassle in the long run? Is it better for the independent to stay close to home and not try to keep up with the big dogs? Dave Hall the owner of Handshake Inc., a boutique film and video production company and music label and co-runner of music label Mutants of the Monster, states “The Internet is a great tool and can be super fun and that is how I approach it.  I cannot think of one instance in which being online hinders what I want to accomplish artistically or commercially.” This sentiment was echoed by Ryan Crossthread (aka Ryan Blasphemour) the owner/CEO of Blasphemour Records an independent record label, Crossthread explains “I have noticed [customers] will get more involved.  Some people really love music and what we are doing.  They will go out of their way to buy everything you put out, spread the word, and tell you they appreciate what you are doing.  I love that aspect of social media.  It gives you that extra drive to keep on doing what you are doing.”

Sure, we all know that any exposure is good exposure, but for the sake of the life of a band is this really true? Was it easier before there was 24/7 access to your favorite band or is that just part of one’s rise to success and excess? Crossthread warns “There are so many ways to promote through the internet such as webzines, forums, Facebook, etc, but there are so many people doing this, it comes off as over-saturated and pushy.”

With the rising postal costs is a band or distributor willing to take a hit to move merchandise and where is the line? Crossthread’s take on the postal increase is “Unfortunately when rates go up, we have to pass that expense on to the customer.  I like to think that for a metal label, we have a hardcore mentality and try to keep our rates extremely affordable.  So typically our pricing is affordable even with shipping increases.” For an independent band like Mammoth Thunderpower, “prices just go up that’s all.” Tompkins explains “We don’t charge for shipping a shirt in the US. $15 bucks and that’s it, we charge the minimum for shipping international, we aren’t big enough for it to matter. [Plus] if someone is buying from out of the country then they usually understand what the rates are going to be.”  

It is hard enough as a band to write music, record, and tour, let alone try and keep up with the merchandising demands of one’s fan base. But it goes with the territory.  If you want to be big then you have to work for it.

But is there a point at which an independent can say: Enough! We need time for ourselves!? Or is that never an option? Dean’s perspective is “like it or don’t, this is how it is. The internet is magic. You don’t have to play the game this way, but then you just need to be content playing music in your garage and not getting new fans. It’s just how it is!” This statement was reiterated by Dave Hall, “You have to make the internet your bitch, cuz if not, it’s going to make a bitch out of you.  You can’t be afraid or resentful or brush it off: it’s here to stay, it can be used for some great stuff, and it’s only as bad or as good as you make it…”

 Social media websites like Facebook and Twitter have given us fans an almost instant access to our favorite performers. In most cases the performers are more than happy to have this type of social relationship with their fans and it shows on how they interact on these social websites. The social media is a place where a band or musician can pimp their own music and merchandise without the exorbitant advertising cost while also being able to take advantage of the sites “share” or “retweet” functions that their supporters can use to spread the word to all of their friends and fellow “tweeps”.  

According to Hall,  “Having a Facebook page is essential I think, in terms of staying in touch with and communicating to your fans, customers, friends, enemies – anyone you may want to engage with.” Hall continued, “I tweet and post to Facebook all day long.  Sometimes twice or three times regarding the same item.   I use it to announce new products, news, anecdotes, anything and everything I can think of I say on social media” However; Crossthread cautions about Facebook from an independent perspective, “They want to charge you for every little thing they can.  Even if you have 1000 people that have liked your page, maybe 150 of those people will be exposed to your post, unless you pay to promote it.  Want more likes?  Pay us. Want more people that like you to know what you are doing?  Pay us more.”

But with this instant exposure comes the need for instant gratification and if a fan buys something from you they expect to get it within a reasonable time frame. What is considered reasonable is a question for another day but how do these independents handle the demand that this type of medium presents to them? According to Hall “The fans have easier access to you so it forces greater accountability.  If I get an order and don’t send it out right away I get emails from people- that’s good for someone like me”

The normal person like me uses the Internet everyday for fun, information and shopping, downloading music while the independent musician, label, and distributor are using it to survive; says Hall “The internet allows a small business owner to engage directly with the people he or she wants to sell to and I think that is a great thing.  I try my best to spread the launch of various releases across all forms of social media because it does in fact lead to sales and you can’t argue with the results.   It has to be done tastefully and if possible in tandem with publicity through various media outlets and sources.”

The struggle to create ones identity and presence on the Internet is just as important and one of the biggest challenges facing an independent as resources have to be spread out to survive. Sure there are reasons why the Internet can be a hassle; some of them stated above but as Dean Tompkins, Dave Hall, and Ryan Crossthread have told us it is a much greater benefit than any issue it could ever cause. Hall summarizes this subject of Internet presence astutely: “It doesn’t mean the internet and social media defines your existence, or that if you do create an online presence it will magically make you successful…like all things ‘virtual’ you have to have the real life skills and abilities, drive, passion and ambition to succeed…if you are succeeding or trying to succeed in real life, your internet presence will reflect that.”  

So I think, in essence, we have the answers to the questions asked above. While it is not the end all be all for the independent artist/distributor/label, the Internet is probably the most important weapon in their arsenal. The small hindrances that 24/7 access adds to an independent is miniscule compared to the benefits they receive from the World Wide Web especially in the realm of social media. With the instant access to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and all of the other platforms independents now have a better chance to make a name for themselves and stay independent if that is what they choose, but with these tools it gives them more of a chance to survive.

 

Writer’s Note: Ryan, Dave and Dale where gracious enough to take part in this article via email correspondence and I want to thank them all for their support. Links to their social media pages and websites are below:

Dave Hall-Handshake Inc: Twitter: @Handshake_Inc  Facebook: www.facebook.com/handshakeinc Website: www.handshakeinc.com/  Bandcamp: http://handshakeinc.bandcamp.com/

Dean Tompkins-Mammoth Thunderpower: Twitter: @MThunderpower  Facebook: www.facebook.com/mammoththunderpower Website: http://mammoththunderpower.com/ Bandcamp: http://mammoththunderpower.bandcamp.com/ Reverb Nation: http://www.reverbnation.com/mammoththunderpower

Ryan Crossthread- Blasphemour Records: Twitter: @blasrecs Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/blasphemour Website: http://blasphemourrecords.com/ Reverb Nation: http://www.reverbnation.com/label/blasphemourrecords

Friday Finds, Features, and Foibles

Good day all,

Alliteration is my friend!

It has been a while since I have been able to post anything on here, the main reason being that my real job is taking up a majority of my time with a pretty significant project and that has left me little time for myself. As the line from The Shining goes “All work and no play make Justin a dull boy!”. Regardless I have a little time today to add to my posts and have decided to do so. It has been so long though that I almost forget what we were talking about…

Recent music finds:

Here is what I have been listening to over the last few weeks:

Inter Arma: Sky Burial – This is a fantastic Doom/Sludge/Progressive/Psych album from this Richmond VA band. It is an album that I have had a tough time turning off as every time I listen to it there is a new layer that is peeled off in the music. I also suggest that you read Phil Johnson’s (@PJSLUDGE) interview of Inter Arma’s Trey Dalton over at Echoes and Dust (@echoesanddust) here is the link: http://echoesanddust.com/2013/03/interview-trey-dalton-from-inter-arma-3/

You can find Inter Arma’s album here: http://metalbandcamp.com/2013/03/inter-arma-sky-burial.html

Suicidal Tendencies: 13 – This is a great album harkening back to the old-school days of thrash. Mike Muir and company comeback after 13 years and put out a fantastic album that is worthy of the Suicidal moniker. As I said via Twitter a little while back, all I need is a skateboard and my Vans and I am set! Buy this album, you won’t be disappointed!

Victor Griffin’s In-Graved: Here is a solid EP from the former (current? can anybody really know) member of Pentagram that is long on the Sludge/Doom sound that I have recently come to embrace more and more. This is a solid group of songs and the musicianship and song writing is spectacular. I just wonder how many kids know that the song “Teacher” is a Jethro Tull cover? Would be an interesting study in demographics!

Warbeast: Destroy – This is the second album from this band (which I did not know, thought it was their debut…so I had to do some research), anyway I had heard their split with Phil Anselmo and really wasn’t that impressed but found that this album is really worth a listen. I feel that there is a really strong Pantera feel to this album both in the music and the song structure and that is OK! In fact it is really great to have a band that can capture the aggression and feel of Pantera that Pantera’s former members have yet to re-capture. I have to assume that Phil has something to do with this, no matter what though this is an album worth your time.

Kongh: Soul Creation: Another spectacular sludge/doom/psych album. This album was released earlier this year but I have just recently been able to give it a proper listen. Needless to say but it is phenomenal and should be purchased by you immediately if you are even remotely interested in this genre of heavy metal.

Don’t forget to also check-out my Bandcamp collection at http://bandcamp.com/justinpetrick You will be able to find some really cool stuff on there that I have found via Metal Bandcamp or from the folks that I follow via this site.

Also remember to check me out on Twitter @ICHeavy I am always looking for new friends!

Finally don’t forget to check out my article over on The Gauntlet http://www.thegauntlet.com/article/1225/27523/The-Devil-You-Know-Internet-Social-Media-and-The-Independent They were kind enough to post it and I am kind enough to pimp it…I will eventually post it here on the blog but for now go visit The Gauntlet and check out everything else they have to offer.

I think that is it for today, remember to say Hi in the comments…

Until Later, Peace!

Lurch

 

COME ON IN AND COVER ME

Good day all,

I have been a fan of Anthrax since the beginning of their existence when Fist Full of Metal first hit the stores. I have always found Anthrax to be one of the few metal acts who really do not take themselves too seriously and allow their music and personalities to shine in whatever they do. Even when they take on a serious issue in their music i.e. “Indians” they still aren’t over preaching, if you will, to their audience but trying to have as much fun as possible while trying to teach just a little bit. This as far as I am concerned is the way a lot more bands should approach music. Take a look at their EP I’m the Man, there is nothing but fun on that EP and the fact that they even made this EP and that song in particular is pretty impressive for a thrash band, especially one in the 80’s and 90’s.

So this week Anthrax released a new EP just in time for their headlining spot on the Metal Alliance Tour that starts Saturday (March 23) in Las Vegas. The new EP Anthems is an album of cover songs from the likes of RUSH, Thin Lizzy, AC/DC, Cheap Trick, and Journey among other bands that they pay homage to on this EP. I have listened to the album and my opinion is it is a great addition to the history and importance of these songs and it is a great way to hear Anthrax do something new in terms of songs they have not put down on a record but the problem I have with the album is that they didn’t do anything that would make you think anything differently of the songs themselves. They basically made a carbon copy of the songs and really, as far as I can tell, didn’t put any type of “Anthrax” spin on any of these songs. These songs, although well done, are the original songs that Anthrax decided to record. They will make for good encores as they are playing the entire Among The Living album and needed something to end with but there is nothing that screams out Anthrax’s personality. That is what I have an issue with; if you are going to do a cover, do something with it that makes it your own. A band doesn’t have to recreate the entire song or re-imagine it but at least add something of your own to it and not just copy the original. Too much of that already goes on!

I love a great cover song and some bands have made a career out of doing them without the general public even knowing about them. Take a look at Six Feet Under who have done a great job of making the covers of Motley Crue’s “Bastard”, Sabbath’s “Sweet Leaf” and Hendrix’s “Purple Haze” sound like a death metal version of the song. They kept the rhythm but they took the steps to make these songs truly an interpretation of what Six Feet Under is about. Even though I am not a Six Feet Under fan, I appreciate what they did with these songs, I have heard the originals and I liked them, show me something different if you are going to cover another bands music! I hate to use this as an example as it was more comical than good but even Pat Boone recorded a heavy metal covers album and even though it was big band/jazz it at least was a re-interpretation of the original music and you have to be impressed with that.  By the way the name of the album was In a Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy, I bet a lot of you didn’t know about this album and are now intrigued!   

Anyway, you see my point right? I love Anthrax and all of the music they have put out but they could have at least tried something new with some of these songs. They did it with “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” on the I’m The Man EP, why couldn’t they do it here? I don’t want to stop you from buying an album from any band, especially Anthrax who I think is currently the hardest working band in metal, but they could have at least given us something a little different with these songs or even put a little more personality into them. The covers on this album are really good and will make for a good listen, but as far as I am concerned; once was enough.

Until Later, Peace!

Lurch

Friday Four…No More!

Good day all,

Another Friday and another Friday Four Pack? NOPE! I have decided that I will no longer be doing the Friday Four Packs as I have found that trying to find and review albums everyday has become more of a chore for me than fun. Plus there are plenty of places to go and find great metal music reviews that I don’t have to add my two cents to it every week. What I have noticed is that trying to do these reviews every week has made me miss out on the actual entertainment value of the music and forced me to make listening to music seem like work. I would try to dissect the nuances of an album or a song and not really listen to it for enjoyment purposes and I feel I have missed a bit. I still plan on having an end of year list and there is still a review or two I am working on but overall I think I am going to leave the reviewing to the guys and gals that excel at it and I am going to stick to more of my opinion and article writing.

Speaking of article writing please check out my latest article now on The Gauntlet:The Devil You Know: Internet, Social Media, and The Independent http://www.thegauntlet.com/article/1225/27523/The-Devil-You-Know-Internet-Social-Media-and-The-Independent  I really enjoyed working on this and am going to get ready to work on a follow-up if I can find the interview subjects and time.

Since I won’t be doing  the Friday Four Pack anymore I think I will just list the bands I have found that I am currently into and maybe a quick blurb about each. Whether they have been released this week or earlier I will try to leave something for everyone every Friday. Here is this weeks music choices

Thrawsunblat: Wanderer on the Continent of Saplings http://metalbandcamp.com/2013/03/thrawsunblat-wanderer-on-the-continent-of-saplings.html

Zed: The Invitation http://zedisded.bandcamp.com/

Cojones: Sunrise http://cojones.bandcamp.com/album/sunrise-2009

Hatchet: Dawn of the End https://www.facebook.com/hatchetofficial#!/hatchetofficial

Also go and check out my bandcamp site at http://bandcamp.com/justinpetrick I have a lot of great music on there and don’t forget to check out my wishlist as well.

Like I said earlier there are a lot of great reviewers out there and I will link to some each week so that you can still get your fix of new music and maybe get a taste of something new. For instance look at this weeks new releases courtesy of MSN Headbang http://social.entertainment.msn.com/music/blogs/headbang-blogpost.aspx?post=1681f842-a1ee-4fdb-8659-55f29a16cada  As well as About.com Heavy Metal Crew http://heavymetal.about.com/od/cdreviews/tp/New-Heavy-Metal-Album-Reviews-March-12-2013.htm These guys really know how to give you the most out of a music review. I would also make sure you check out their Twitter pages as their writers tweet out a lot of great stuff throughout the week and most work for multiple outlets which will give you a wider variety of music to choose from. Additionally, if you are a metal fan you should be checking out Metal Bandcamp http://metalbandcamp.com/ on a regular basis as they have both the music and the reviews, also follow them on twitter to keep up with everything they have going on.

CHeck out this post I wrote back in September about these websites and these reviewers: http://culturemisnomer.wordpress.com/?s=metal+ed

I hope I have not disappointed anybody but I am pretty sure you don’t come to my blog for the reviews…and I don’t blame you!

Until Later, Peace!

Lurch

 

 

 

 

Instrumentality

Good day all,

As I sit here and listen to the EPs of the band Vasquez I can’t help but be astonished of their ability to make what is basically noise and turn it into an outstanding display of musicianship and music. As I listen to these songs I try to isolate certain sounds so I can understand what they would sound like alone. In a particular song Vasquez drummer Jon Adams hits the cymbal in a constant strike that by itself sounds like noise. The type of noise that my 4-year-old son makes on his drum set. But together with the music of Ciaran Mckenna and Sean Quinn a remarkable and beautiful song is created. This type of talent floors me!

I think I am also a little more impressed by how instrumental bands create music more than bands who use singers. One reason is it seems when you are using a singer and are writing a song you are telling a story and the lyrics can be created before the music or vice versa, or they can both be created together but an instrumental band has to be able to tell the story without the words, only the music. Maybe instrumental bands write the lyrics only to discard them after they have a firm grip on the story and use their ability to let it flow from the instruments in a coherent form. I don’t know, maybe someone can tell me.

I also think that writing an instrumental piece as a bridge or segway for an album with songs that have vocals is different from an instrumental album. Like I said an instrumental song could be an intro, outro, bridge to a story that the band is telling and that non-vocal song fits the mood. However, an instrumental band has to be able to tell the story with their music alone and that to me seems like a daunting task. I can barely keep two coherent thoughts together writing this post let alone a whole album of songs that work so well together without any words. 

I personally do not listen to a lot of instrumental only music, I am someone who needs lyrics so that I can follow and understand what and artist or group is telling me but I have found that I get lost in Vasquez’s music and sometimes can’t pull myself out. I have had similar experiences with bands in my past that seem to make more instrumental music than vocal, but it seems that a majority of these artists were solo artists and it was their personal vision they where sharing with the instrumental songs. Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Johnson, Kenny Wayne Shepherd to name just a few. When these guys play an instrumental song it gets my attention, and yes I do realize that they are all guitar virtuosos as well, not many drummer led instrumental bands.

But I guess the thing is that if you can make me care and understand what you are doing with a song and make me feel as if I am part of the song,  you are doing what you set out to do. Vasquez did that to me today and the other artists I have mentioned have done it to me in the past. It seems a unique thing to create an extraordinary song without lyrics that makes people feel something that they wouldn’t ordinarily feel. I know that this is a majority of classical music but I am talking about our favorite genres here, to me it is important to give those who create great stories without words a bit of my attention and gratitude. If you don’t listen to instrumental metal or hard rock you should really give it a try! I think like me that you will be mighty impressed with what you here and how the story is told.

Know I have to look into this whole Black Metal Instrumental thing…

Until Later, Peace!

Lurch