An Open Letter To Eddie Trunk

Dear Eddie,

I have noticed from your Twitter feed that you will soon be getting ready to record a new season of That Metal Show for VH1 Classic. I have to tell you upfront that I am a fan of your shows, including both of your radio shows as well as TMS and look very forward to the start of the new season.  I think what you are doing to make hard rock and metal relevant is a great benefit to those of us who have tried to carry on this torch for so long. I appreciate what you do and who you take the time to interview. I think your crusade against the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is honorable if not a bit useless, and I believe that in your heart you believe you are giving your fans the best show(s) possible; and for that you should be commended.

 I follow you on Twitter and try to catch your radio show as much as possible. I record TMS every season and look forward to what you have in store for us each week. I do not listen to your Sirius/XM show anymore because I couldn’t justify the cost for poor programming,(not your show but everything else) but what I did hear while you were on Boneyard was enjoyable and again full of interesting information. It is just too bad that Sharon Osbourne’s issues with you had to force you to a different station.

I personally find what you do for hard rock and heavy metal to be very important. Your knowledge of these genres is significant and your willingness to pass this knowledge and information on to your viewers and listeners is both admirable and noble as most would not understand the importance of bands like Riot and UFO to the music we listen to today without you.  You are an important part of the history of this type of music because you KNOW this music arguably better than anyone else and when I listen to your radio shows I am amazed at your knowledge and the people you know, have worked with, are friends with, have interviewed and still reach out to for information and entertainment for your fans. I guess in a certain context you are an important ambassador for our favorite genre of music and we should be grateful that someone like you is around to fill us full of your never-ending wisdom.

That being said I have some issues I would like to bring up to you before you start taping the next season of VH1 Classic’s That Metal Show. As I said before I do like the show but like all good things there is always room for change and maybe even a little tweak here and there. I would hate to see the show change completely but there are certain aspects that need major tweaking in order for us fans, that have been with you since the inception of this show can continue to keep watching.

I am just going to go ahead and get to my biggest gripe first and that is the two bozos you have sitting next to you on the stage every episode. I know that they are your “besties” but all they really do is bring the show to a grinding halt anytime they talk. I understand that one of the things that you are trying to do on the show is accentuate the banter between the three of you and have a solid debate on different topics in the metal and hard rock world but they are just not up to par with your knowledge and it is completely obvious and slightly embarrassing for them and uncomfortable for us as we watch. I like Jim and Don and I think that they are really funny comedians, hell I have even purchased their albums, but they have no business being on the stage with you for this show.  Every time either one of them looks in to the camera and reads off of the teleprompter it is embarrassing for them and us and should be embarrassing to you. I know they are your friends but you certainly do not need them when interviewing the bands and musicians you have on the show. Use them in the beginning for the “Top 5” and then send them away for the rest of the show, or at least until “Stump The Trunk”, which is another issues but I will discuss that later. If the sole purpose of having the two of them on the stage is to get under your skin for a laugh? Then that plan is failing, I find it more embarrassing for them to be in that position than the funny they actually bring to the show.

Now, about “Stump The Trunk”; can you kill this bit already? We get it, you know just about everything there is to know about hard rock and metal. We also get that it is amusing when you get frustrated and act like a spoiled child when the answers are a bit different from what you know, but enough already! This bit has been played out and it is time that you and the writing staff and the producers come up with anything else than this bore. What would be better for us as fans and viewers would be more actual interview time with the artists and bands and less time on this peripheral stuff like “Stump The Trunk”, “The Showdown”, etc…Sure it was entertaining for a while but enough is enough after this many seasons of the show it is time to change things up a little bit…for the good of the show. As I have said the knowledge that you have and share with us fans is admirable as well as astonishing but using it in the context of actual interviews instead of a venue for Don and Jim to piss you off would be better for all of us. It is a bit annoying that the interviews last for an 8 minute segment and we get bits for the rest of the hour. We tune in not only for your wisdom but because we care about what our favorite hard rock and heavy metal artists have to say.

So there you have it Eddie, my opinions on your show and how I as a fan would love to see you and VH1 Classic revamp it before the start of the next season. I hope you don’t  find anything I have suggested here to be offensive as I am just laying out what I believe would help your show and what I have heard some of my other friends in metal tell me they like and dislike as well while we discuss TMS. I wish you the best of luck on this coming season and hope for many, many more as long as you can stand it, but don’t you think it is time for a change?

Sincerely,

Justin Petrick

Friday Four Pack 03-01-12

Good day all,

Another Friday, another Four Pack! No need for further adieu…let’s get it on!

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Mustach:  Sounds Like Hell, Looks Like Heaven

This album is everything that I love about heavy metal. There isn’t a note, a riff, a solo, a cow bell that is wasted. This album by Mustach (the first I have heard from this band) is nothing short of a traditional metal classic from beginning to end. There are very few bands that I listen to from the first song to the last and believe that every song on the album is a winner. I had this experience with Dawnbringer and Gypsyhawk this past year and I have it again with Mustach! I thought that the Audrey Horne album was going to be a tough one to beat for me but this album blows it out of the water. It is one of the most solid albums I have heard in a very long time.

Mustach have found a combination of the old and the new and combined them with an expertise and solidity that brings the power and beauty of every song to the listener without fail. Plus they are not afraid to enhance what was once a classic sound and make it their own whether it is Metallica’s “Sad But True” riffage in “Dead Again” or the Coney Hatch attitude of “Morning Star” this album is all strength and no filler. The crusher “Cold Heart Mother Son” starts off with a riff that harkens back to Megadeth’s Symphony of Destruction not a carbon copy but homage. The song itself moves into an Ian Asbury like vocal performance by Ralf Gyllenhammar that makes the song that much stronger. It is very rare to get this excited by an album, but this is a stone cold instant classic as far as I am concerned. A little odd for me to see that this band comes out of Gothenburg, Sweden, usually one would see a melodic death metal band as opposed this fantastic piece of traditional metal. There really has to be something in the water over there to produce this many great metal acts, I mean seriously! Love heavy metal? Buy this album! The only thing I do not like about this album is that it is only a little over thirty minutes long! I need more Mustach! And Cow Bell!

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Darkthrone: The Underground Resistance

Some may think that the review for this album should have come before Mustach because Darkthrone have been around a whole lot longer than most bands and they are the quintessential kings of the metal underground. In the end maybe it should have but it is the album that I liked the best or felt the most relevant that gets the first spot in this weekly post and in this case it is the spectacular journey through the past and present that Mustach served us. That is not to say that the new Darkthrone album isn’t good, but in my opinion it is not as good as Mustach. A couple of things I have to make clear, I have never been a major fan of Darkthrone, yes I have listened to them and yes I like some of their stuff but in the grand scheme of things I have not intentionally sat down and listened to their catalogue of music. One of the reasons is I have issue with anyone who takes a pro-Nazi, Aryan, stand on anything, and I find it doubly offensive when a band uses their notoriety in the metal underground to spread this agenda. But alas, Darkthrone has removed themselves from that arena and stuck with what I guess we as metalheads believe is the straight and narrow (is that possible in metal?).  

So as for the album itself the one thing I really like about it and the thing that struck me on the very first note of the first song “Dead Early” was how grimy the production is, for me this is a good thing.  When I heard that first not all I could think of was Motley Crue’s Too Fast For Love album and how the sound was so familiar and warm. I love the way that Darkthrone has basically genre-jumped throughout this whole album, it is kind of like a extreme metal Quantum Leap episode where they go from punk, to death, to black, to NWOBHM in a matter of six songs. It is a schizophrenics’ dream! I like this album for the most part but I am not jumping up and down with excitement over what Darkthrone has delivered like some other reviews that I have read. Part of this is probably because I am not in the Darkthrone fan club or a listener who is totally familiar with all of their music but the other part is that this album is good but not great to me. While it has it’s high and low points there is just something on the album that makes it forgettable to me. Which is weird because I usually love anything that calls back to the golden age of heavy metal and that grimy sound we love so much?

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Ruins: Place Of No Pity

Death metal, black metal, it doesn’t matter, here is another offering this week from a band that has decided to do its best impression of the past. It is not a terrible album but the obvious Celtic Frost homage can become a bit much at times and it takes away from the overall enjoyment of this album. It has fine qualities about it, the production is good, the vocals are understandable but one comes out of a listen to this album with the feeling that you forgot to listen to the music while it was on. This is quite a feat with a death/black metal album. I was actually listening to the album on my way to work this morning and found myself lost in thought enough that I had to remind myself that I was listening to this album. It starts off well enough and weaves its way through the clichés of the black/death world but after the second or third song they all start sounding the same and it becomes a bit mundane. I think that there is definite promise for this band if they put out more music, but I think they have to find a sound that is more their own.

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Karnya: Coverin’ Thoughts

OK so it seems that every album I have written about today has some type of relationship with the past and this album is no exception. Karnya’s debut album is chocked full of 70’s progressive sounds but with an updated production value and a singer who can handle the large task that they set in front of themselves. Karnya seem to allow the music to lead them as opposed to the other way around. They have written tight songs and incorporated the sounds of the past with an updated tight progressive, hard rock atmosphere that makes this album one I can listen to over and over again. When the opening track “Mechanical Mixtures” starts one gets the feeling of Dream Theater’s debut album, but that is not a bad thing because it was the only Dream Theater that I really enjoyed plus Karnya doesn’t get lost in that sound. They have produced an album that is original, tight, and well conceived and should be enjoyed by anyone with even a small interest on what good progressive metal/hard rock can sound like.

 

That’s it folks, I hope you enjoyed this post and let me know what you think of these bands in the comments. I have said it before and I will say it again, I love hearing from you…

Until later, Peace!

Lurch

Forget Me…NOT!

Good day all,

Wow! A couple of big things happened last week in the metal world, huh? Dave Lombardo is not touring with Slayer right now, that’s big! Plus Bison BC was dropped from Metal Blade Records, to me that seem big. But hey it is the music business so things are bound to be exciting most of the time anyway. But let’s talk about these two events and how or if they have an effect on how we will continue to listen to and/or support these bands.

First Slayer, this situation seems a little weird to me. If you have read Dave Lombardo’s Facebook posts there seems to be an issue with the way and amount he is being paid by the band as a member. Additionally, it seems that the management of Slayer is trying to keep all of this business in-house and not in the public, but alas, thanks to Dave’s post we all know that there is a financial issue that he is not comfortable with. This isn’t the first issue we will see with a band member and management but at this point can Slayer really go on without the likes of Jeff Hanneman and Dave Lombardo? Sure they can, I saw Slayer this past summer at Mayhem Festival and Gary Holt did Yeoman’s work taking the place of Hanneman, leaving the majority of the solos to King and Dave was as superb behind the kit as always but if Guns and Roses can continue without, you know, 99% of the original band then Slayer can continue without Lombardo behind the kit, they have done it before.

How similar does this situation sound to the Bill Ward issues that Black Sabbath has? Either being a drummer makes you a bit more aware of how much you are getting paid, or they are all prime donnas that think they deserve more than they do…I mean, don’t they know that they can just as easily be replaced by a machine! (That was sarcasm folks). I ask this question honestly, do bands and/or their management think that drummers are just ignorant bimbos that they can take advantage of when the time seems right? Additionally, are drummers the smartest member of the band? I mean why is this all of a sudden becoming common place to hear about a disgruntled drummer who thinks they are being screwed out of money? Obviously there has to be some merit to Lombardo’s claims as he has been touring with the band for years and this is the first time there has been an issue, at least that we know of, so the claims can’t be completely baseless right?  Whatever the case, I hope they get it worked out because Slayer, the almighty evil ones, are turning into a parody of themselves.

As for this deal with Bison BC two quick thoughts, 1) I didn’t even realize they were on Metal Blade’s label until I saw their announcement that they are no longer with Metal Blade. And that is not to take away anything from Bison BC, there latest album was excellent and I really like the band, but I pay attention to what Metal Blade does and the artists on their label and for some reason I never really noticed Bison BC. But that points right to thought number two: They seem like they are happier to be free if I interpreted their announcement correctly. So if that is the case good for them and I wish them as much success as possible on their own. This announcement does not surprise me though as I follow Metal Blade on social media and they do a great job of pimping their artists and as I said earlier I don’t recall ever seeing anything on Bison BC and their record just came out a few months ago. So I say “you go Bison BC and move your career on independently and as YOU see fit!”

So thanks metal world for a couple of interesting things to talk about today. Hopefully Slayer can get this thing worked out with Mr. Lombardo and it doesn’t turn into a weird Bill Ward\Black Sabbath situation where they pull in another washed up, talentless ’90s era drummer from an overrated band. I would hate to see the legacy of Slayer tarnished over this. And Bison BC? You go and show the man what you are made of; I have no doubt that there are plenty of labels who want to sign this talented band if they even want that.

Until Later, Peace!

Lurch

Friday Four Pack 02-22-13

Good day all,

It is once again that time for the Friday Four Pack! Sorry about last week but computer issues impacted my ability to not only get the post written but to actually post it in a reasonable time. But it is OK because I am back and I have some leftovers from last week. So it is not like you missed anything. As always, I hope you enjoy today’s installment of the ALL MIGHTY FRIDAY FOUR PACK!

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Mothership:  Mothership

True story: I was sitting in my house last week listening to this new album from Mothership and I thought to myself “Self, this band would be a great compliment to Gypsyhawk on a tour.” And what happened next? I know you won’t believe this, but I checked out my Twitter timeline and there it was, a Tweet from Gypsyhawk announcing their upcoming tour, and who is the support for this tour? Mothership! I swear on a stack of bibles (both holy and unholy if necessary) that this is a true story.

 But outside of my amazing prognostication let’s talk about Mothership and their fun and reasonably strong new album. This self titled musical fare is a fun stoner album that allows the band to really work within their southern rock roots and that is one of the better things about this album. They allow that influence from southern rock’s past to help lead and guide this album without depending directly on that influence. There is enough originality and individuality within the songs and the band that this isn’t a bunch of left over songs from Lynyrd Skynyrd but some fun and rocking songs that allow for the band to showcase some originality and songwriting strength. If I have one issue with this album is that they sometimes get to far into jam band mode and the result is a bit sloppy but not enough to not recommend this album to fans of Gypsyhawk and the stoner/trad metal set.

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Suffocation: Pinnacle of Bedlam

A fact I have not hidden in past reviews is that I am not the biggest fan of death metal yet when something comes out that is absolutely worthy of praise I am not afraid to pile it on. That is what we have with the new Suffocation album; this is a solid death metal album to the highest level and at this time the best death metal album so far this year, yes, I know it is only February. The biggest thing that I like about this album is how incredible the musicianship is for this type of music. This is not technical death metal but plain old, old-school death metal in the vein that would make Chuck Schuldiner proud.

The guitars on this album are non-stop but the solos are taught and to the point with some various timing changes that make for a more interesting listen. Another reason I have never been a big fan of death metal is because of the vocals, I like to know what a vocalist is singing about and I also like to sing along but in death metal that is hard to find. Frank Mullen’s vocals, both understandable and greatly enunciated allow me to be more a part of the music without having to dig for the lyrics to understand what I am hearing. Suffocation has been one of the best bands in this regard in death metal, Aeon being a band that has taken a similar approach. I can honestly say that I would recommend this album to all of my death metal friends, although they don’t need me to tell them about Suffocation, as well as those who have even an inkling of interest into death metal. This is the band that you start with and more than likely you will be spoiled. Plus the album cover is sick cool! 

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Manilla Road: Mysterium

The 16th album from this band is a bit of an enigma to me. I really want to like it and the mix of NWOBHM, speed metal, traditional American metal is right up my alley but there is something about this album that doesn’t stick with me. The songwriting is strong but I think that the vocals are solid but to me, and to me alone, I just don’t feel that they fit with the music as much as they have in the past. This album musically is also a bit of a bore, it doesn’t seem to go anywhere outside of the scope of the individual genre that each song seems to fit into. As far as I can tell with my listens, these are just rehashes of old and used up riffs, melodies, and solos. The ballad “The Battle of Bonchester Bridge” starts off as a Judas Priest Stained Class intro into a Skid Row I’ll Remember you/18 and Life solo and guitar fills. Normally a good thing, but in this case a bit out of place for the subject matter of this album. This band has not made it very far out of the underground of metal and I am sure that they are happy being the masters of that domain, and this release is not going to do them any favors in the mainstream like other releases of theirs have in the past. The songs on this album go from being strong speed metal songs to boring ballads to forgettable thrashers. I have no problem with using the past to create a great old-school traditional metal album but in this case it seems that instead of enhancing what has already been mastered in the past they just copied an pasted  to create an average album, which is a shame because I was really excited for this release.

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Vasquez:  EP426

I am not the biggest fan of the instrumental album as I find that I need vocals in my music to help me stay focused on what I am listening to at the time. If a band opens or closes an album with an instrumental intro or outro I tend to zone out and miss the purpose. However, I was recently introduced to an amazing trio of musicians that make up the band Vasquez and their latest EP EP426. I was a little hesitant to put this album in the four pack as it is usually reserved for the heavier bands but I think it fits well as they have a very heavy prog-rock feel to them in the style of Rush. But as this may be an influence Vasquez has a sound that is distinctively theirs and their ability to make the sounds they make is one of the better features of this EP. For a three-piece the mountain of sound that they produce is very impressive and the songs are some of the finest I have heard in some time. The talent of this band shines through with each and every song and the production is just rough enough that the polish is faded enough not to be a clone. There is a garage type feel to what these guys do and that makes this instrumental EP that much more interesting and focused, which in turn allowed me to be focused. This is not a hard rockin’, heavy metal release but more of a superb break from the sonic metal beating from a band that has the talent to do great things. Check out their new EP here: http://vasquez.bandcamp.com/album/ep426

Enjoy everyone!

Until later, Peace!

Lurch

 

…and on the seventh day there was SABBATH!

Good day all,

Wednesday was the 40th anniversary of Black Sabbath’s debut album and to most the birth of heavy metal. I can get behind that because lets face it, Black Sabbath are the godfathers of metal and it all started with them and the release of Black Sabbath. With that distinctive doom sound and the unmistakable and unimitateable voice of Ozzy Osbourne heavy metal was conceived through the copulation by Marshall stacks and distortion and released through the birth canal of the devil. Take a minute and think about where the world of heavy metal has gone since then. It is amazing what a band from the small steel town of Birmingham England where able to do to the history of music and the creation of heavy metal.

So using the release of Black Sabbath as the starting point how has the last 40 years treated heavy metal and what has happened within the genre? The evolution of metal is something to be amazed at if you ask me, the genre has grown so much since that initial and most important Sabbath album. Sure, sometimes it is hard to tell where the line between heavy metal and other genres of harder rock meet and/or separate but overall I would have to say we are in great shape as fans of this genre. Think about all of the bands from our youth that are having extraordinary resurgence over the last few years: Testament, Anthrax, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Flotsam and Jetsam, Destruction, Kreator, Sodom, among many others and hey even the godfathers themselves, Black Sabbath are releasing a new album. Now look at all of the great up and coming bands that will be carrying the torch of metal for the next generation: Holy Grail, Gypsyhawk, Avenged Sevenfold, Striker, Dust Bolt, and again many, many more. Being a fan of heavy metal, or heavy music in general is really exciting right now!

I think one would find it hard to argue the fact that Black Sabbath really did lead the way to the heavy and that the genius that is Tony Iommi was the force behind what a band can do if the guy making the moves is strong. Sure there were a ton of personnel changes in Sabbath and from all that is written about them Iommi may be hard to deal with on a long-term basis but even without knowing Ozzy personally I have to believe he is a bit difficult to deal with and if not him definitely his wife. Regardless Iommi and company were able to take the loss of Ozzy and turn it into a gain with the hiring of the great Ronnie James Dio. Seriously! What other band has been able to pull a vocalist switch like that and succeed like Sabbath did when they fired Ozzy and hired Dio? I can’t think of many who have done the switch and achieved the same type of success.

So as we celebrate the beauty that was Black Sabbath the album as well as the band think about how far our favorite genre of music has come in the last 40 years. We are a lot better off than most genres of music, at least we don’t have a Justin Bieber or a One Dimension, what we have is a genre that is expanding and benefiting from the advancements of technology and ingenuity! So horns up to the great Black Sabbath on this anniversary of their groundbreaking album and Happy Birthday Heavy Metal, we love you all!

Until later, Peace!

Lurch

Grammy A Halestorm Is Brewing

Good day all,

So Halestorm won the Grammy for best Hard Rock/Metal act at this years’ Grammy Awards: Who Cares? Seriously! Why do we even care? We all know since the “Academy” added a metal category that this whole thing has been a joke. I do not have to go back over the Jethro Tull debacle do I? Look no one should be angry with Halestorm over this as they didn’t stuff the ballot box for themselves but their “peers” voted for them to be the best in this category. That’s right, their “peers” felt that they achieved a higher quality song/album than Anthrax, Megadeth, Lamb of God and Marilyn Manson. I guess my biggest question is who are these “peers” and are any of them even remotely familiar with hard rock or heavy metal?

Here is the thing, I have no problem if Halestorm’s music is considered better than that of those other bands because to some people it is, I don’t get it but my opinion does not matter as I am not a “peer” or a voting member of the Grammy Academy. I don’t know if the “peers” that the Grammys speak of have any clue what to make of heavy metal (and I say only heavy metal because there really wasn’t a hard rock act on the ballot) and chose the song/album that sounded the most commercial and figured that “the kids probably like this one” so why not vote for it. I mean how could they so consistently get it wrong year after year? If it isn’t an irrelevant band, or a mediocre band winning the award it is a song that was released 20 years ago. How do we take any of this seriously?

The sad part is, as far as I can see, that heavy metal is having a really strong comeback in most parts of the world. It has always been big in Europe but even in the United States it is making a resurgence. How do I know this? Just look at the venues that some of your favorite bands are playing this year. Just a few years ago I went to my local club Jaxx (now Empire) and saw Kreator play in front of about 150 people, now they started their concert run this year at the Howard Theater in front of a couple of thousand people. That is a huge step in just a few years, and more and more people are interested in what is happening in metal. But that is neither here nor there, the American media is still not covering the Randy Blythe story so maybe there isn’t hope for metal to make it any bigger. And maybe that is just fine, stay away from our metal people and we will be OK without you!

So here are a couple of questions for your: as a metal fan do you even care about the Grammys or because of the ignorance of the “peers” it is not worth worrying about? Do you feel that the Grammys and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame are about as in touch with todays heavy metal as my local pastor? Finally, if you had a chance to pick a performer other than Halestorm to win who would it have been?

I look at this much like I look at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and that is who cares? The system is so broken at this point that no matter how much screaming, crying, and complaining happens nothing new is ever going to happen unless there is a complete overhaul on the voting process. This system may have been great in the beginning but unlike the people in charge of these “institutions” times have changed. I say congratulations Halestorm on your big win, I am not a fan but as far as I am concerned you won on the merit of your music as decided upon by your “peers” and you deserve the statue. Thankfully there are plenty of other metal awards that have a bit more meaning than this contrived excuse for a pop music show.

Until later, Peace!

Lurch

Friday Four Pack 02-08-13

Good day all,

It is that time of the week again and once again I have four albums that I found to be the most interesting for me this week. I think for the first time in a long time the albums I have chosen for today are all albums that have been released this week. FUN!  So that being said, sit back, relax, and listen to my voice: you are getting sleepy; your eyelids are getting heavy…hold up! No don’t do that I actually want you to read this stuff…consider that a slap in the face and on with the show…

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Destruction: Spiritual Genocide

The resurrection of the thrash metal scene has been getting more and more interesting as the years have gone by and from Testaments resurrection with 2009s Formation of Damnation, to Anthrax’s Worship Music, to Kreator’s Phantom Antichrist, and now Destruction’s latest album it only seems to be getting stronger and stronger and allowing the great to show their stuff once again. This new album from Destruction starts off where Day of Reckoning left off. What is nice to see from our godfathers of thrash is that age has not tempered their aggression and they are the same blasphemous, angry gents we have come to know and love. Destruction to me has always been like the cranky grandfather who is fed up with the status quo or what others think the world should be and has no problem expressing his vehemence toward anything he finds irritating. It is kind of like the thrash version of Grumpy Old Men only with a better soundtrack!

Destruction does not pretend to be anything that they aren’t on this album and just continue to churn out great thrash songs that make those of us who remember this band in their youth long for our denim jackets with the patches all over them and the Mercyful Fate back patch. Destruction is our security blanket and songs like “Cyanide” “To Dust You will Decay” and the title track lull us back to the safety and security of what thrash was, is and should be about for the years to come. If the great bands of thrash keep this up I won’t have room for anything else in my musical catalogue.

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Audrey Horne: Youngblood

Oh how I love this album! Another fantastic hard rock/traditional heavy metal album that hits all of the points that is great about the past of heavy metal. The fun, the power, the melody and the riffs, oh the riffs! Audrey Horne has out done themselves on this album and much like Gypsyhawk last year have created an album that absolutely shifts right into anyone’s top albums of the year list and yes I do know that it is only February. The album opens with the infectious “Redemption Blues” and powers along into a brilliant piece of heavy metal art. The comparisons of this album have appropriately been linked to Rainbow and Joe Lynn Turner but to me this album made me feel like I felt when I heard Aerosmith’s Get Your Wings or Toys in the Attic, just a monster of an album that has you continually coming back for more and singing the songs and choruses for weeks until you just can’t stand it anymore. If you are into the beauty of what heavy metal can be then this is a must listen for you. By the way did I mention the riffs?

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Attacker: Giants Of Canaan

Metal on Metal records have released another superior speed metal album in the tradition of their other bands Mortalicum and Arkham Witch. With the vocals coming from Bobby “Leatherlungs” Lucas this album moves along at a fast pace with some extremely well balanced speed metal songs. With obvious influences from the greats like Iron Maiden and Sabbath, Attacker treats each song with their own unique style and personality. There is not any copy cat material here but more of a tribute to what these bands have been able to do and an homage to them. Lucas’ voice, to me, is as close as I have ever heard anyone get to what Geoff Tate has done with Queensryche and that just adds to the strength of this album. Attacker should be proud of this effort and you would be hard pressed not to find something to enjoy on this album if you give it a try. As a side note, Lucas would be a great choice if Geoff Tate were ever to leave Queensryche…wait a minute…

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Tomahawk: Oddfellows

The big question about this album is: is there anything that Mike Patton does that isn’t both eccentric and awesome? I mean really! Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, and now Tomahawk and their new album Oddfellows! I honestly love everything on this new album by this “super group” and the fun they seemed to have had to have creating this album. You can hear it in songs like “White Hats/Black Hats” and “I.O.U” and that makes the listening experience that much more enjoyable for you and me. My personal favorite song is the jazz fusion/hardcore/rockabilly mess that is “Rise up Dirty Waters”. Now if you are not open to a little, let’s call it, experimentation, then you might as well stay away from this album. But if you are like me and you have a soft spot in your heart for Mike Patton then do not hesitate and go out and get this album, you will be extremely happy to hear Patton in this environment, one that he dominates!

 That does it for this week kids, I hope you enjoy some and/or all of these albums and please feel free to let e know what you think of them in the comments. My job is to make all of you who read this happy and comfortable…Remember I love you all!

Until Later, Peace!

Lurch

Friday Four Pack 02-01-13

Good day all,

I will be brutally honest and tell you that I have not had a chance to listen to a whole lot of news music this week. I was able to delve into one new album deeply and the rest I just kind of listened to half-heartedly. Because of that today I will be telling you about one album that was released this week and three older albums that I have been listening to a lot and I think you will find them interesting.  The reviews will be short and sweet this week because in addition to time issues I went ahead and hurt my thumb and am forced to wear a brace which makes typing a bit difficult (it has taken me an hour to write that sentence). So enough of this on with the reviews…

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Circle II Circle: Seasons Will Fall

I have always liked Circle II Circle, I am a fan of both of the bands that most of the musicians of Circle II Circle came from and I have always found their brand of power metal with prog influence to be an interesting take on the stale power metal genre. But there is something that I really do not like about this album at all…I guess it is just boring to me. It seems like there is something missing when I listen to it, there is a bit of the originality or the grit that I can’t hear when I listen to this album. The songs are well written and the musicianship is again top-notch but there is nothing on this album that sticks with you like their past albums. I really wish I could put my finger on the one thing that is wrong with the album but I just can’t, all I know is that something is just not right and the album as a whole is a giant boring misstep for what is usually a solid band. My suggestion: skip this album.

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Lich King: Born of the Bomb

The next three reviews are similar, these are all older albums, 2 came out last year including this one and one came out several years ago. But let’s talk about Lich King and their fantastic brand of straight ahead, break your neck, thrash.  Here is an album that follows in the footsteps of the thrash metal forefathers and beats the living crap out of you and they do it with a smile on their face. Much like the S.O.Ds and M.O.D.s and Municipal Wastes that came before them, Lich King puts out a solid riff fest of an album while not taking themselves too seriously in the process. With a litany of songs aimed at taking the pretentiousness out of the new wave of thrash, Lich King has given us an album that is both fun to listen to and a masters class in how to place and solidify a riff in today’s heavy metal. If I were to describe Born of the Bomb as a beer I would say “It has an Exodus nose with just the right touches of Slayer and Overkill to fill the robust but not bitter Anthrax and Metallica vibe. The overall finish is very solid with hints of both Municipal Waste and early Billy Milano SOD/MOD with just a hint of Kreator in the overall finish”. Go find this album!

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Mors Principium Est: …And Death Said Live

So apparently this band has been around for a long time and I have just recently come upon this melodic death metal album from them. Because this is the first time I have heard MPE I have nothing in their catalogue to compare them to but I can say I really like this album. It reminds me of really early In Flames before they started really incorporating clean vocals into their songs and maybe even early Dark Tranquility. Regardless of their sound or influences as far as I am concerned this is a really good melodic death metal album with some really interesting guitar work that is missing in a lot of albums that come out in this genre. With the focus on the talent of the dual guitar tandem it allows for more of an exploration of the music and subject than I have heard in most bands of this ilk. Plus the use of more hardcore like vocals adds a little extra to the lyrical content and atmosphere of the album as a whole. Is it just me or are more and more bands taking a more hardcore approach to metal than previously in the different genres? Regardless, take some time out of your day and give Mors Principium Est a listen, especially if you are into the melodic death metal scene.  

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Catapult The Smoke: Unearthed

This album was released way back in 2009 but it is an album that is a must for any sludge/doom fan with its fuzzy power chords and hard charging riffs and beats. I have been more and more into this side of metal lately and CTS does not disappoint on this monster of an album. With the appropriate nod to the kings of doom (Sabbath) and an interesting early Soundgarden-esq vibe this album pummels the listener in the slow, thick way only really good sludge can do. It has enough groove and melody to not become stale and sails by as every song encapsulates all that is right with sludge today.  The soulful vocals add nothing but excellence and the right amount of mood to each and every song and the most important thing is every song is worth listening to without becoming monotonous or extraneous. Best enjoyed with a nice thick black porter in hand!

That is it for today kids, thanks for reading and let me know how I am doing down in the comments…Remember, I do this all for you!

Until Later, Peace!

Lurch

Friday Four Pack 01-25-13

Good day all,

It has been a while! I have missed all of my Little Pretties and I am glad to have at least a little time to fill you full of my insight and intellect (read: ridiculousness and irrelevance) and share today’s Friday Four Pack with you. A couple of things before we get into the Four Pack though, first, Saturday will be the one year anniversary  of this blog and I am amazed by the fact that I have been able to keep it going for that long! I would have liked to have had 365 posts at this point but as we all know life and work sometimes get in the middle of the fun and things cannot always work out like we want, but either way I want to say thank you to all of you who actually take the time to read my stuff and especially to Ken at METAL BUZZ for spreading my voice to a much bigger audience than my little blog is capable of. I have a busy beginning of the year but hopefully will be able to get into full blog mode by spring time. In the mean time I will try to post as many of these super posts as I can muster. But once again a very big thanks to all of you who read my blog, follow me on twitter and hang out and talk metal.

OK, so here is the second thing…Whoever came up with the genre/sub-group of stoner metal? It seems like such an oxymoron to me to consider anything done in metal would translate into a stoned state of mind. Who gets high and turns on heavy metal? Last time I checked (and of course I don’t know from personal experience…wink wink) but the sole purpose of getting high is to become mellow and metal should not EVER be mellow. So where does this stoner vibe fit? Maybe some of the more occult-ish bands like Christian Mistress or Venomous Maximus? I could see how their more subdued sound could be a soundtrack to mellow but really? Am I getting this all wrong? Should I be seeing something I don’t? Or am I so far out of this type of behavior that I will never understand anyway? All of that is possible, let me know what you think, who are the stoner metal bands and how do they enhance the high? I am just curious because I really don’t understand…Now on to the Four Pack…

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Holy Grail: Ride the Void

Holy Grail’s sophomore effort was released this week and I will tell you that it is a release that I was looking forward to as I found there freshman effort Crisis in Utopia to be a fantastic double guitar attack traditional heavy metal /thrash effort. As I have said before if you can last on constant rotation on my MP3 player then as far as I am concerned you are doing something right. Why is that a big deal? Because I listen to so much new music everyday that albums fight for a space on my MP3 player and there are 32 Megs of space to work with. Holy Grail has fit in well with the heavy metal that I love, give me strong hooks, excellent solos, a bit of galloping double bass drum and I am happy. It should come as no surprise to anyone who reads this blog that yes, I am that simple and the little things make me happy. Holy Grail has achieved that on Riding the Void they have created an album with all of the elements I mentioned above and it is a solid effort but there is something about it that bothers me…

I think my only issue with this album is that there is nothing different that makes it stand out from their previous album. As a matter of fact I think that it almost sounds like they wrote these songs at the same time they wrote the songs for Crisis in Utopia and these new songs are the leftovers. I do like this album and there is nothing wrong with what Holy Grail have done here songs like “Dark Passenger” and “Crosswinds” are particular stand outs but there just seems to be something missing that didn’t translate over from the last album. Here is when I knew I had a small issue with this album: I have listened to it several times since I received it on Tuesday and when I finish listening to it I keep singing songs from Crisis of Utopia instead of Ride the Void. Sure, I know the first album better at this point but I think it is because there is really nothing new here.  I am still looking very forward to seeing them live at the Metal Alliance Tour in April because I still think these kids are extremely talented and I want to see in person the talent of these two guitar players switching leads.

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Voivod: Target Earth

Before I go into this review I have to make a confession’ I have never been the biggest Voivod fan but I have enjoyed their music on the periphery. What I mean is as a youth I purchased their debut CD and probably a follow up but I never really got into their music as a whole. It could have been I was not as into their more progressive side because my musical tastes were a bit more immature than they are now and what Voivod was doing was a bit more than my little metal headed brain could comprehend. I mean for goodness sake I thought Carnivore was a great band and wrote impressive lyrics, like I said, a bit immature. Now however my tastes in music have matured and I am a bit more cynical when it comes to my musical tastes. Why? Because in today’s technological age I believe there is a way for even the most un-talented bands to make themselves sound better on an album than they should and because of that I want to be able to take my time and really dig into the sound of a particular band. What does any of this have to do with Voivod? Well, I now understand why this band has been such an underground cult favorite for all of this time and the pure genius of what they put on record.

Target Earth is a fantastic concept album that combines everything good that Voivod has done in the past and, as far as I am concerned, added a little more of a thrashy and possibly hardcore feel to what they have done. This album starts off strong with “Target Earth” and they allow for Snake and Chewy to really enhance their individual performances while Away (underrated drummer!) and Blacky bring an almost jazzy rhythm to the songs as they move through each song in their prog manner. What has always interested me in the genre game is how a band like Voivod falls into the “extreme” side of heavy metal. If Target Earth shows us nothing else it shows that these guys deserve to have their name associated with any of the bands playing true heavy metal today. A really great album that you should look into as soon as you can, I promise you won’t be sorry.

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Deceptor: Chains of Delusion

Deceptor’s new EP is a must have for anyone into the great speed metal of yesteryear.  This band has done a Yeoman’s job of finding and taking everything that was great with mid to late 80’s speed metal and wrapped it up on this excellent EP. The production is even a bit old-school which is not surprising as it comes out of Shadow Kingdom’s label and of the very few new releases they put out they all have an old-school vibe to them (see my review of Corsair). Anyway, listening to this EP will transport you back to the days of hanging out in your garage or basement with a friend and trading tapes of bootlegged shows or homemade metal mixed tapes. This one should not be missed if for nothing else the Rob Halford-esq scream in “To Know Infinity” in addition to the King Diamond-esq scream of “Heatseeker”.  This is old-school speed metal as the current best!

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Bad Religion: True North

I know that Bad Religion is not a metal band but their new album has come out and I would be remiss as a Bad Religion fan not to give them their due here in this forum. I was discussing this album with a friend on Tuesday and he asked for my opinion of the album as he is also a big fan and this is exactly what I told him: “The new Bad Religion album is one of the most adventurous and cutting edge albums that I have ever heard…just kidding it’s a Bad Religion album”. Sure I was messing around but here is the thing, if you are a Bad Religion fan like me you know what to expect album to album. The band’s sound hasn’t changed from the beginning up to today and True North’s release. The anti-establishment, anti-conforming message is as strong as ever and the open your mind to something different vibe is still present, but that is OK because what Bad Religion does is always great even if expected. One thing that you can say about this band is that they do not stray from what we as fan want to hear from them. It is the complete contrast of what I wrote about Holy Grail earlier but Bad Religion does the “same” better than anyone else. I will say this about some of the songs on this album; they definitely have a bit of a Social Distortion feel to them which is an interesting choice. But overall if you are going to buy this album expect to listen to a great Bad Religion album just as before.

So that’s it, I hope you enjoy this week’s reviews, go out buy some support the cause and keep metal (punk) alive! Hopefully I will be able to spew some more gospel over the next couple of weeks but if not I will be posting these Friday Four Packs. Once again thanks for reading me for the last year and HORNS HIGH \m/ !

Until Later, Peace!

Lurch

Friday Four Pack 01-11-13

Good day all,

The Friday Four Pack is back and this week we will touch on three albums that are leftovers from last year that I missed and only was introduced to recently and any of  the three of them could have wound up  in my top 20 had I heard them earlier. So with a New Year here is a new Four Pack just for you, I know you have been lonely without it…

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Behold! The Monolith: Defender / Redeemist

Thanks to the fine folks over at Metal Bandcamp I was introduced to this sludge/thrash/doom/hardcore trio from Southern California. This album was released in early 2012 but I had not heard it until very recently when I stumbled across it on New Year’s Day while perusing the Metal Bandcamp blog site. Now there are certain bands that when you know nothing about them and you listen to their music for the first time you are just blown away and the feeling that you have just discovered a new planet unfold in your mind: that is how I felt when I heard this album for the first time. Defender/Redeemist is from start to finish one of the finest metal albums I have heard to date. The album starts off with a no holds barred doom infested monster in “Guardian’s Procession” and does not let up from there. I would be hard pressed to try to put Behold! The Monolith in a single metal genre because they have the ability to smoothly move from genre to genre with ease and not losing their way in the process. The songs are all soundly arranged and the harsh vocals (even though everyone knows I am not the biggest fan of this type of singing) add to what the band is blasting out of the speakers at you.  Here is a fact: I don’t care what type of metal you are into if you give this album a chance you will be thanking me for introducing you to this incredible band and album. Plus it is really fun for me to run around the house with my four year old screaming at the top of our lungs Behold! The Monolith. Get this album, you won’t be sorry! You can find it here: http://beholdthemonolith.bandcamp.com/album/defender-redeemist

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Killing Joke: MMXII

This album by Killing Joke is another that took me a little bit by surprise, I have been a fan of Killing Joke for a long time but they had never released anything that made me say “wow these guys can’t miss” it was more like “Not bad, not something I need to pursue” that all changed with this album. MMXII is a fantastic album with its Pink Floyd-esq opener “Pole Shift” through the various tracks and influences of this album. I was hesitant to add this album to what is normally a metal review but it definitely has a heavier edge than most pop metal albums that are coming out these days. What I like about this album much like Behold! The Monolith is that I am not sure there is one specific genre that this album can fit into, and I really like that about this album. From beginning to end it is a non-stop ride of industrial, punk, hardcore, post-metal sounds that translate into a very listenable album that stretches some of what I think Killing Joke have been doing in the past. So it is either Killing Joke is doing something new to make me pay attention or my tastes in metal and music have changed dramatically, I think it is the former.

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Mammoth Mammoth: Hell’s Likely

Here is another fine album that escaped my ears that was released late last year from Mammoth Mammoth. Hell’s likely is just a fun musical escape that doesn’t take itself too seriously but still is able to produce some solid stoner/southern metal/traditional metal. This is another band that falls under my “metal” all encompassing genre as they have all of the old-school influences of the recently wildly popular Thin Lizzy, as well as some additional help from AC/DC, and the great southern rock acts of our past. Hell’s likely is a solid metal album through and through with the right amount of tongue in cheek lyrics and arena rocking anthems. If you are looking for a fun album to just pound your fist to and have a bit of fun without having to exert any effort then check this album out. Plus if you find no other redeeming value in Mammoth Mammoth’s music buying the album for the cover alone is worth it… You can see the video for the first single off this album here: http://social.entertainment.msn.com/music/blogs/headbang-blogpost.aspx?_blg=2&post=6bcc58e1-e01f-4935-87d7-2256f04256c7

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Hunter’s Ground: No God But The Wild

This is an interesting death metal album that gets its inspiration from the mountains and wilderness that is around us and warns of the dangers of nature as a thing of untamable beauty.  Surprisingly for a death/thrash album it has a lot of interesting and at times catchy hooks and the primitive production just adds to the suspenseful nature of the songs that are included in this album. It is a start to finish solid album that allows the listener to fall, even a little bit, into the dark and ominous world of nature that this band is telling their stories about. For as corny as the movie “The Blair Witch Project” was I could see watching that movie with the sound turned down and this album on full and having a better understanding of the dangers and fears of being in the woods/forest alone.