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

 

Super?Group

Good day all,

I was perusing my Twitter timeline this morning and I came across a tweet mentioning the new release of an album by a band called Reverence announcing the release of their new album. The tweet indicated that the members of Reverence are an amalgam of several other power metal bands. My first inclination when I read this and saw the names of the bands that the members of Reverence came from was that they are billing this a some kind of power metal supergroup, they weren’t but it got me thinking about how often and probably unnecessarily we, they , everyone use the term supergroup. I think we may have over used it at this point.

With all of the side projects of all of the metal bands out there how is it possible that there are all of these supergroups? First let me say that the term supergroup and the over utilization of the term is probably the fault of those of us who grew up in the early days of heavy metal and allowed this labeling to go on. The first supergroup I remember from back in the day was Blue Murder, the project started by former Thin Lizzy guitarist John Sykes. I mean how do you have the members and former members of bands like Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple etc… and not call it a supergroup? Their former bands were super, and they were in those groups, so that must equal supergroup, right? Can anyone name me a Blue Murder song from the top of their head without Googling it? I thought not! But the 80’s and 90’s sure had their fair share of the supergroups, Badlands, The Firm, Mr. Big (who went on to pretty decent success), Damn Yankees, and yes, my all time favorite supergroup from the late 80s with their leather and hard rocking attitude, Bad English! I loved those guys and their syrupy ballads (tongue planted firmly in cheek).

But now a days it seems like every bunch of guys that get together from another group are considered and or marketed as a supergroup. The biggest offenders are the guys who are in new groups in the wake of Pantera’s ashes. Between Kill Devil Hill, Hellyeah (stupid name) and Down they have been living off of the ghost of Pantera forever. Look Rex Brown is a fine bass player and Vinny Appice is one of the most renowned drummers in metal, but just because they are in a band together doesn’t make them a supergroup, it just makes them the ex-members of [enter band name here] and got together to form a new group. It seems to me that any band that Vinny or Carmen Appice are in instantly becomes a supergroup and we should pay homage to their greatness.

And to be a real supergroup shouldn’t it really be a onetime thing rather than creating a band to establish themselves long-term? Shouldn’t what a supergroup does be a one-off, special album or performance? Look at the Metal Masters series recently in LA with members of Anthrax, Down, Slayer, Exodus, etc… That is a supergroup! They got together for something special, a one time deal and made and incredible night of music. All I am saying is that we may be using the term supergroup a little loosely.

As I said before, with all of the bands that have members who are doing side projects shouldn’t we consider them all supergroups? Look at the Murderdolls for an example, it is a combination of Wednesday 13 and Joey Jordison of Slipknot fame, are they a supergroup? And speaking of Slipknot with Joey and Corey Taylor doing their own things outside of Slipknot doesn’t that make Slipknot a supergroup? Granted Slipknot has more members banging away at garbage cans than the Broadway Musical Stomp but with the personal success of both Taylor and Jordison aren’t they enough to put Slipknot into supergroup territory? And look at Maynard James Keenan and the boys in Tool, with all the side projects they have, when they get back together as Tool they must be a supergroup!

Recently I did a review of the new Dublin Death Patrol album and in doing so I had to do a little research on the band itself. When I went to the record label website for the album the first thing it said was supergroup. Now I love Chuck Billy and what he does with Testament and I also really liked this album but supoergroup? The only thing super about this group is Chuck Billy and let’s face it no one remembers Steve Szouza even being in Exodus and the fact that their families make up the rest of the band in no way makes this group super. In fact, besides being a fun side project for Chuck Billy this band in general is anonymous at best. Again, not to take away from the album because it is a good album, but supergroup? Come on now!

Look if this keeps up we are going to have to start calling just about every band out there a supergroup. It seems that every band out there has at least some member of the band on a side project or two or working with other bands while still with their original bands. Pretty soon we will be calling Judas Priest a supergroup, they have members from popular and well-known groups outside of Priest. Take a look: Rob Halford (Halford, Fight, 2wo, Black Sabbath), Glen Tipton ( Glen Tipton Band), Ritchie Faulkner (Dirty Deeds, Voodoo Six, Ace Mafia), Scott Travis (Racer X, Fight), and Ian Hill. The supergroup that is Judas Priest, from now on that is how they should be known! Really if you want to consider a supergroup I would think the 80s charity group Hear N’ Aid created by Ronnie James Dio fits more into this category than any other band mentioned earlier. But hey, that is just me. 

Song of the Day (SUPERGROUP!): http://youtu.be/qZktrrqT1A0

Until Later, Peace!

Lurch

Shreddin’

Good day all,

Have you ever plugged an electric guitar into a distortion pedal and then into an amplifier? If you have and you then played a chord, what did it sound like? More than likely it sounded just like noise. There was nothing to the tone just a distorted chord that could have been used as white noise in a sound machine. But that is not a bad thing, I have done the same thing and have gotten the same results, it’s what makes me a common man. What is amazing is that there are people in this world who can do the exact same thing as mentioned above but make it sound like music, and personally I think metal musicians do it the best.

I am lucky that I was born when I was and have been able to live through a time when some of the greatest guitar players in the world have graced us with their music. From Eric Clapton, to Brian May, to Eddie Van Halen, to Yngwie Malmsteen, to Steve Vai to Slash to Kerry King to Scott Ian, these guys have made amazing music using the simple instrument presented to them early in their lives. Metal is a unique music and because of the speed and power of the music the metal guitarist has to be nimble and agile with his fingers as well as have a knack for the hook and the solo.

The solo of a metal song is an amazing thing to me, as I have said before and will say again, I have no idea how to structure a song, but to hear an amazing solo in a song is one of the great things about music. How a guitarist even starts to come up with a solo is beyond me, or even a really great intro to a song that is guitar heavy. But the solo is still what baffles me. How these great guitarists come up with a solo for a song and are able to remember how they played it time after time after time. I realize after a while it is muscle memory for them and their fingers but in the beginning to be able to come up with a riff and stick to it is impressive to me. Think about your favorite metal song and how the solo actually enters the song. The melody, tempo, rhythm has to stay the same or close to the same for the song to work and the guitarist is able to slip that solo in without breaking the stride of the music. Now, on the other side, there are the bands that have not been able to do this as well, but I’m not sure many of them are around anymore.

So if being able to create a solo is this impressive, and to me it is, then having two guitarists trading solos is doubly impressive, right? If you look at bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Slayer, and others who are able to trade solos back and forth and literally not miss a beat, Awesome! Not only do they have to know what they are doing but they have to know what their partner is doing and when to step in and take over. Nothing better than seeing that in action at a concert. When two guitarist are so in synch that it almost seems impossible for them to do what they do it seems like they are one.

I mentioned earlier how I also find a great guitar intro to be almost as fascinating as the solo. One of the great innovators of the guitar intro is Mr. Eric Clapton, his work with a guitar is nothing other than phenomenal and his ability to start a song with a strong guitar intro is amazing. Two songs that stick out immediately to me from Mr. Clapton are Layla (the original not the slowed down version), and Bad Love. The intros to those songs will stop me in my tracks and I have no choice but to listen to the songs. Really, the pull of the intros of these two songs will force my body, whether I like it or not, to stop whatever I am doing and listen to these songs. Slash is really great at the guitar intro as well (see Don’t Damn Me and Sweet Child ‘O Mine) he seems to be able to find just that right combination of chords and sounds that allows him to pick up on a sound and use it to make these incredible intros. Not to mention his solos, watch him work with his current band and you will find what he is doing awfully impressive. 

Yes, I know what I am talking about here is not groundbreaking or anything new but at least it is a break from the ongoing Randy Blythe saga that doesn’t seem to want to be resolved.  Speaking of Randy, his band Lamb of God, who I am not a huge fan of but I appreciate their music, have a pretty good team of guitarists that take full advantage of their abilities to craft a driving solo that can feel like a punch in the gut. They along with Pantera’s fallen guitar player Dimebag Darrell are really great examples of how you can infuse a really groovy feel into a solo without losing the feel of the song overall. So today’s homework assignment is to take some time and really listen to the guitar solos of some of your favorite bands and marvel at the abilities of these musicians to creat these sonic sounds.

Since I can’t think of just one great song with a great solo I have chosen one of my favorites that is a great intro and a great solo ENJOY!

Song of the Day: http://youtu.be/XDhkVTKTBoY 

Until Later, Peace,

Lurch

 

Metal Thrashin’…Redux

Good day all,

Last week I wrote about my love for all things thrash and a gave a shout out to the Big 4 as well as devolving into a discussion on the states of Teutonic Thrash (German Thrash) and giving big props to these bands from Germany. After thinking about that post for a couple of days I have found myself wondering why I journeyed into the German thrash scene while forgetting about the excellent thrash that was born right here on the shores of America. I think it might be that we all get so caught up with the Big 4 that we sometimes forget about all of the other great thrash bands that come from America, that seems to be what I did, and for that I apologize and offer this redux of a post.

When discussing metal with people who don’t usually listen to it the most that people know about thrash or harder heavy metal is the Big 4, they have not listened to all of the other Bay area and New York thrash bands that started around the same time as the Big 4 but for whatever reason do not have the popularity or fame of the these bands. One of the larger reasons could be because for the most part the Big 4 have really had stable line-ups throughout their careers and if there where changes they where minor, the exception of course being Anthrax, but John Bush stayed on for several albums and was not a one-off replacement. But if you look at a band like Testament that Chuck Billy basically kept going by himself until the reformation of the original band for the excellent album Formation of Damnation in 2008. Hell, for a while Chuck and Testament didn’t have a lead guitarist and wouldn’t have guitar solos on the albums. Wierd right? In addition to Testament though there where many other American bands that could be mentioned with the Big 4, and I personally think that some of them where (are) better than those that have been crowned the Big 4. OK, not all of them, just Megadeth who I personally feel is completely overrated. Bands like Exodus, Overkill, Annihilator (OK, they are Canadian, but still better than Megadeth and I need them to make my point), Dark Angel, Pantera, Nuclear Assault, etc… where far superior to what Megadeth had to offer.

Here is the thing though, of all of the bands that I just mentioned, none of them where able to keep a solid lineup throughout their years and for times didn’t even exist as a band. Annihilator most of the time was just Jeff Waters performing all of the instruments on the albums and hiring a band to take on the road with him. If you look at the two seminal Annihilator albums Alice in Helland Never, Neverland, you will find two thrash masterpieces. These albums of the late 80’s early 90’s should have put Annihilator right up there with Anthrax and Megadeth, but if you can’t hold your band together it can’t happen. Similar things have happened to all of the other bands I mentioned, internal strife, in some cases the death of a founding member and many of the other usual causes of a band breaking up or not being able to grow because of circumstances.

But the reality is that there is a lot of great thrash that comes from America that sometimes gets overlooked because of our infatuation with the Big 4 and being overlooked for the European imports. Obviously my previous post did not help that either. The good news is that thrash is making a resurgence and there have already been some really great thrash albums release this year that everyone should be adding to their music catalogues. One of them has come from Overkill whose newest album is a non-stop barrage of in your face, power mad thrash. Currently one of my favorite albums to date from this band. Additionally, Testament has a new album coming out this summer that I am hoping and praying is as good if not better than their 2008 release. Plus there is a newer California based band, Witchaven whose debut album Terrorstorm is well worth your time.

Hopefully this post can be my mea culpa to American Thrash and I will not be exiled to the land of horror metal (because that is just scary). Just remember when you read this that I am not saying that thrash from America is better than any other, I just felt that I may have short-changed American metal in my last post. I hope everyone who reads this goes out and buys any metal album from their favorite music merchant. As long as we continue to purchase metal it will be with us, and with our future generations. Hell, let’s start a new campaign, forget save the trees how about save the metal…OK, OK, I will stop, but seriously go out and buy some awesome thrash today…and hug a tree!

Until Later, Peace,

Lurch

Unsung

Good day all,

When I am listening to metal, or any music for that matter, I have a tendency to pay particular attention to the bass player and his work throughout a song or album. I do not know what first drew me to the bass, maybe because it had four strings instead of six I thought it would be easier to learn, boy was I wrong. There are some amazing bass players out there some like Geezer Butler who I think is extremely underrated, Steve Harris of Iron Maiden who makes all other aspiring bass players quiver at the speed of his fingers, and Geddy Lee who can make a sound and a rhythm with his bass that is virtually UN-immitatable.

But I am not sure that we give enough credit to the bassists out there in the metal world. Metal music now is so fast and in your face that at times I think we forget how talented these bass players are. Take for instance Robert Trujillo of Metallica, sure Metallica has an issue in general on allowing a bass player to shine but check out his previous bands Suicidal Tendencies and Infectious Grooves, he is a four string wizard that is the focal point of a lot of their songs. Trust me I understand why he joined Metallica but I think he gave up a little something to do so.

In general though, especially in heavy metal there is a tendency to look past the bass player in a band. One reason may be because for a long time the bass player stood in the back of the stage and gave all of the glory to the guitars and vocals (think Ian Hill and Michael Anthony). Additionally and probably appropriately, guitar shredders take a majority of the spotlight from the rest of the band anyway. When one thinks of Slayer, you think of the mad guitar skills of Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman not the important and solid bass work of Tom Araya, granted Tom’s bass work has probably declined in past years with his medical issues but he is still a reason Slayer has the sound that they have. But as we all know the bass player is an integral part of the sound and really great bass players can make all of the difference in the sound of the music. Once again look at Butler and Harris, without their amazing talent and innovative playing, Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden would have been two completely different bands. Look at the sound and rhythm that Rex Brown gave Pantera, take a minute and listen to “A New Level”, the cascading bass line and the crushing rhythm is a great example of how a bass player is so intricate in a bands sound.

I know that what I am saying about bass players is relatively common information, but I ask that the next time you listen to your favorite artist try to identify that bass sound that is probably pretty unique to the music that has been formed. The rhythm is as important to the music as anything and the unsung players should get some more credit. We all love the guitar shredder and the talent that they bring to any band, but without the bass player it would all be chaos!

Song of the day: http://youtu.be/kIa1LocoPq8

Until later, Peace,

Lurch

Vulgar Display of Imagination

Good day all,

I was listening to a Pantera song this afternoon and was considering what would have happened if Dimebag would have lived? Full disclosure, I always thought that Dimebag Darrell was one of the stupidest names around. It just seemed immature and sophomoric to me. But I digress, I consider Pantera one of the best bands ever, they are in my top ten of metal bands and as far as I see it they were the forefathers of metalcore. But the band broke up way before Darrell was killed in a senseless act of violence. The relationship between the band and Phil had deteriorated due to Phil’s addictions and the band went their separate ways. Now, there is no way to rewrite the past, what has happened has happened, but even with the success of Down, I have to believe that with Phil cleaning himself up, they would have gotten back together. I wish it were possible as I think they would be kicking ass right now with their ability, power, and aggression. I guess we could imagine this with a multitude of different bands who had a band member pass away, whether they where still a band or not. Who would you like to see back together? What would be your grand band reunion? There are a few that would definitely have been interesting.

Also, if you never have, check out the band’s first album with Phil as singer: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:PanteraPowerMetal.jpg)

Work schedule is ridiculous so I won’t be able to post as frequently as I want to. I will post when I can for the next couple of weeks but they will probably be pretty short much like the one above. The one thing I will do no matter what is post my song of the day, more for me than you…just kidding, I love bringing the metal to all!

Why can’t I get my videos to embed anymore?

And today’s song of the day: http://youtu.be/30DEXyviskI