Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Cheers to a Great 2008!

Top Shit of 2008

Albums: By Band Alphabetically

Coffins: Buried Death
Dismember: Dismember
Enslaved: Vertebrae
Gigan: The Order of the False Eye
Gojira: the Way Of All Flesh

Lair of the Minotaur: War Metal Battle Master
Metallica: Death Magnetic
Nachtmystium: Assassins, Black Meddle Pt. 1
Warrel Dane: Praises to the War Machine

Classic: King Diamond: Them


Burning Witch: Crippled Lucifer 2xCD
Demolition Hammer: Necrology-A Complete Anthology 2xCD

Life Of Agony: River Runs Red, Top Shelf Edition CD/DVD
Machine Head: The Blackening Special EditionCD/DVD

Live: By Date

Machine Head 2.16.08 The Rave Milwaukee, WI
Trouble 4.5.08 Nite Caps Chicago, IL
Testament 5.3.08 Pearl Room Mokena, IL
Van Halen 5.30.08 Allstate Arena Rosemont, IL

Iron Maiden 6.12.08 Allstate Arena Rosemont, IL
Early Man 7.8.08 Reggie’s Chicago, IL

Machine Head Mayhem Festival 8.9/8.10 Detroit, MI/Tinley Park, IL
Judas Priest/Heaven and Hell/Motorhead 8.19.08 First Midwest Tinley Park, IL

Nifelheim/Nachtmystium 9.7.08 Double Door Chicago, IL
Metallica/Machine Head/The Sword 12.18.08 The Forum LA, CA.


Get Thrashed! - DVD
Cannibal Corpse:
Centuries Of Torment -2xDVD

Iron Maiden: Live After Death -2xDVD
Lair of the Minotaur:War Metal Battle Master - DVD

W.A.R., The Unauthorized Biography of William Axl Rose by Mick Wall - Book

Everybody Wants Some - The Van Halen Saga: Ian Christe -Book
Metal Hammer presents Metallica and the story of Thrash Metal - Magazine
33 1/3: Reign In Blood by D.X. Ferris -Book

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Old Metal Mag III

Here's a double Thrash Attack from Rip Magazine 1988...

Writer Steffan Chirazi does his best to make both bands look their best, but who are we kidding here?

Megadeth's 'So Far, So Good...So What?' is essentially a shit album. Sure it has it's moments, "Set The World Afire" and "Liar" remain killer, but overall it falls short. Third albums for a lot of bands, especially those of the thrash persuasion, seemed to be their pinnacle release. "Master of Puppets", "Reign In Blood", "Among The Living" are all third album releases and what does MegaDave deliver?

"Anarchy In The U.K." was such a fucking dud, I still cringe whenever I'm in the vicinity of this song being played or the video shown. "502", "Mary Jane" and the anti-PMRC inspired "Hook In Mouth" are all pretty horrible. Worse is when you A-B these tracks to any songs off the above mentioned landmarks.

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In the same issue Steffan corners Gary Holt and bits from Rick Hunolt of Exodus upon the release of their own so-so release 1987's 'Pleasures Of The Flesh'.

I say "so-so" because no matter what, Exodus are destined to be a band of the truly doomed. Not musically of course, but from a decision making, career standpoint...doomed. I'm guessing the members of Exodus never wore watches because they were always at the wrong place at the wrong time!

'Pleasures...' finally released after what seemed like an eternity couldn't hold a candle to their debut, 'Bonded By Blood'. Complicating matters was the sacking of Paul Baloff after demos for what was to become 'POTF' had begun. True Paul couldn't carry a tune in a brand new Samsonite luggage collection, but that was hardly the point. Exodus to a lot of people was Paul Baloff and vice versa.

'Pleasures of the Flesh' has some great stuff on it, but why is it every time I listen to it the "should have beens" resonate louder than the grooves in the vinyl? Missing is some of the frantic urgency we heard on 'BBB', the chaotic and violent fury whip somehow controlled enough to end one song and start the next.

While not a total loss, "Brain Dead", "Parasite", "Seeds Of Hate" and the title track are all pure Exodus. However if you want the "real" recording of some these tracks, look no further than the 1997 release of 'Another Lesson in Violence', the Baloff fronted live album. Current day Exodus is another story, loving the Dukes/Altus/Holt/Hunting/Gibson line up and albums. Consistently solid and hopefully many more albums from this line up to come.

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(kinda looks like Scott Ian and Adrian Vandenburg, huh?)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Metallica/Machine Head/The Sword Dec 17/18th The Forum Los Angeles

I’ve been going to see Metallica in concert for 22 years. The first time I saw them was back in 1986 supporting Ozzy. It was a life changing experience. I don’t have the vocabulary to describe what that show meant to me, so again, the words ‘life changing’ will have to suffice.

That concert, the vibe of the band was inescapable. Even in an arena setting the band on stage meant business, it was felt in their delivery and it was a feeling I’ll never forget.

Over the next 11 years I’m sure I saw them at least twenty times. 1988’s Monsters Of Rock, ‘…And Justice For All’, shit I probably saw them seven or eight times just during the ‘Black’ album years (including ‘Live Shit’ era).

The last time I saw Metallica was back in February of 1997. They were touring in support of the ‘Load’ album and at the time I (of course) hated the record…but was still of the mindset that no matter what the recorded output…Metallica live was untouchable. I had the ticket stubs to prove it! I remember being one of “those guys” where I’d tell people who cares about the new album, you have to SEE them!

That gig was the first Metallica concert I ever left early. I hated everything about that show. I don’t want to get into it, but there was not one thing that connected Metallica 96/97 to the band I first saw in 1986. The feeling, the power, the vibe and the connection was gone. I remember looking around at some of the people there and felt bad for them. “This” wasn’t going to change anyone’s lives.

So I took a “live” Metalli-Sabbatical and it lasted, 11 years.

We fast forward to 2008 and many things have seemed to align. Of all of them the most important would have to be the release of ‘
Death Magnetic’. To date I have read only 2 reviews of the album. I have seen at least forty to fifty available to read, but there’s no need to. I don’t care what you or anyone thinks about it. It was never going to sway my opinion one way or another, so why bother? I think the album is kick ass.

Another alignment would be the inclusion of my friends
Machine Head to the Metalli-Party. This is a huge thing for the band, especially in the US, and when they were asked to step in for two shows at The Forum in Los Angeles, well I was already on my way!

The first show on December 17th was a mixture of sweet and sour and while it ultimately ended up pretty sweet it was a show that, for me never really took off. I was preoccupied with a few outside distractions and the only way to over come those were to drink away those blues and live to fight another day, right?

Thursday December 18th however was a totally different story altogether!

The show got off to a good start with the support band of the tour,
The Sword. What a difference a year makes as back in 12/2007 I saw The Sword headline Reggie’s Music Room to about 95 people, a year later they were at the Forum playing to a few thousand. While the spacious venue did little to help them out, they were solid and super tight.

24 hours earlier Machine Head played their first ever show in-the-round. They played that show without a decent sound check and like myself a day earlier their set really never took off. I was hoping they’d rebound and rebound they did!

Opening with “Clenching The Fists of Dissent” it was a more confident and focused Machine Head. Their sound had improved tenfold and song after song both the band and crowd seemed to pass back and forth a higher level of energy. They worked the stage aggressively from the first note until the last and it made all the difference.

Imperium”, “Halo”, and a cover of Iron Maiden’s “Hallowed Be Thy Name” all followed and for those 45 minutes on Metallica’s vast stage, it was a Machine Head show. “Davidian” was the final song of the night as well as the final song of 2008 for the band. Another solid year of touring over and it was party time!

Metallica took the stage surrounded by a rather cool arena rock laser show and blasted into ‘Death Magnetic’s’ opener “That Was Just Your Life”. From the first note I knew this was not the band I had drifted away from a decade earlier. There was something so apparently different, I could do nothing but stare in amazement, stopping only to bang thy head!

The balance of new stuff and classic Metallica was simply impossible to not enjoy. I’d go as far to say ‘Death Magnetic’ material was even better live…and that’s saying a lot as I really enjoy the recorded versions.

We got “The End of the Line” and the blistering “Broken, Beat & Scarred” right next to “Ride The Lightning” and “The Four Horsemen”.

Now without the full on aggression I was witness to, those old songs mean nothing. I saw plenty of old songs being performed by a tired and color-by-numbers Metallica throughout the years (‘
Cunning Stunts’ anyone?) and this was a complete 180. James Hetfield had that fire in his eyes again and it was up to the other three to keep up with him!

Here’s the set list from the second show:

That Was Just Your Life
The End of the Line
The Four Horsemen
Ride The Lightning
Broken, Beat & Scarred
Sad But True
Wherever I May Roam
All Nightmare Long
Kirk Solo #1
The Day That Never Comes
Master Of Puppets
Fight Fire With Fire
Kirk Solo #2
Nothing Else Matters
Enter Sandman
Seek and Destroy

So there you go. The shows were a blast, the after parties were a blur and I met so many fucking cool people at these shows, it was a trip. Many, many thanks to my crue of misfits, alcoholics, musicians and Hollywood Goalies that I am proud as fuck to call my friends!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Merry Cliffmas!

Say what you will about silliness such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band etc. I think they're great! I normally do not play video games, haven't since the dawn of time, but my 9 y/o lives and breathes the shit. So playing these games with him is not only a lot of fun, but it's also bonding time for him and I.

I think these games are also important in that they're introducing the youth of the World to Rock Music! How great is that? Sabbath, Priest, Metallica, Maiden through Ted Nugent, Aerosmith, KISS and everything in between?

How could you go wrong?

Yeah, I read all the negatives from actual musicians, but it's a start and if the kids end up with real I said how could it be wrong?

So what I'm trying to get at is another cool feature of these games. The isolated tracks that make the game. Hearing things you didn't know were there..especially, say on the bass guitar.

Someone has uploaded Cliff's straight-from-the-master recording of "Battery". Fuck!

I know Jason Newsted (where is that guy?) got the proverbial shaft on '...And Justice For All' but 'MOP' producer Flemming Rasmussen and Mixer Michael Wagener didn't exactly give Cliff Steve Harris promenance either...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Heavy Metal Heaven

I read the news today, oh boy...

I sat there, jaw on my desk for what seemed like 10 minutes. Adrian's gone. What the fuck? We're the same age...this isn't right. I'm so sorry for his family, his girl and all his friends.

I always looked forward to seeing Adrian and the entire Canadian Crue...Bruni, Ristic, Adam...all solid people. Adrian was like all of them wrapped into one.

I've been reading this thread on the Brave Words/Bloody Knuckles Forums and felt compelled to write my own thoughts here:

I met Adrian Bromley for the first time over 10 years ago at a Milwaukee Metal Fest. Both of us were promoting our magazines and through a several minute conversation, we were instant friends. I spoke with him all that weekend and after we kept in touch. I would see Adrian and the U! crew every year in Milwaukee and truthfully I looked forward to hanging with the fellas just about as much as seeing all the bands.

Over the years I’d see him at various shows and festivals and every time we got a chance to hang it was memorable.

In 2003, I was still managing Usurper and the band held a listening party for the ‘Twilight Dominion’ album, their debut for Earache Records. Earache flew Chris Bruni and Adrian into Chicago to cover the party for BW/BK and Unrestrained! Unrestrained was the creation of Adrian and Adam Wasylck (sorry man, rough name!) and it is one of the best Metal Magazines around. I had the honor of contributing to a few issues and that was a feeling of accomplishment for sure.

So I picked up the guys from the airport on a fucking freezing January day…we went record shopping at Metal Haven…where Adrian was in heaven…instantly the minute he walked into the old Metal Haven location (where stuff was stocked to the max everywhere you looked) it was like he was “home”. We went for Mexican food and had our share of beers and just had a good time catching up. When we spoke we’d always be comparing “notes” of everything from what we were listening to who was an asshole in the “industry” and who made our jobs harder.

Always lighthearted, always interesting…I’m going to miss talking to that guy.

So at the Usurper party, again Adrian was right at home. The Metal was cranking, the beer was flowing, the heads were-a-banging and there were people all over the place. Adrian was making the rounds chatting it up with members of The Chasm, Cianide, Scepter and made some time to do his “work” as well. I don’t remember how the evening ended other than knowing there was no way I’d be able to drive, let alone walk. Chris and Adrian insisted I stay with them in their room…where the party continued!

Right now I can’t remember if that’s the last I saw Adrian in person. It might have been. Time flies…

Adrian later moved to Brooklyn, NY to work for The End Records and then moved on to his own PR company and everyone who knew him knows he would’ve been massively successful in anything he did.

This was at the end of the evening of the listening party, Adrian had been "working" on this waitress all night. The staff was all doing their money counting and we all were still in party mode. Before we left Adrian talked her into a photo... take care Adrian, until we meet again.

12.9.08- Blah, Blah, Blah...

GUNS N' ROSES: 'Chinese Democracy' To Drop Out Of U.S. Top 10

According to Hits Daily Double, the companion web site of music industry tip sheet HITS, GUNS N' ROSES' long-awaited new album, "Chinese Democracy", will drop out of the Billboard Top 10 next week with second-week U.S. sales that are expected to fall below the 80,000 mark.

"Chinese Democracy" sold 261,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release (including a reported 25,000 downloads at iTunes on November 23 not counted towards the opening week) to debut at position No. 3 on The Billboard 200 chart — right behind Taylor Swift's "Fearless" at No. 2 (with 267,400 sold) and Kanye West's "808s & Heartbreak", which opens at No. 1 with sales of 450,000 and change.

I've gotta say...I've never been happier to see a Hip-Hop/Rap/R&B whatever the fuck you call it, album come in at #1 in the U.S.A. in my life. 'Chinese Democracy', as a whole is fucking horrible.

As a fan of Rock Music, I think it's an embarrassment of an album. Seventeen fucking years and all I hear is bits and pieces of trends long gone and a delusional vocalist who has spent so much time in seclusion, he doesn't even know what's going on.

I'm glad the record is not selling because it doesn't deserve to. Who the fuck does Axl think he is? No press, no promotion, no interviews, nothing for the "fans"...just a "record" with an $11.99 price tag.

People have commented how AC/DC sold 800,000 copies through WalMart, it's a no brainer...the band helped their cause and it shows. Axl can't be bothered, why should you?

ps: Fuck Chuck Klosterman and his blatant ass-kissing 'Chinese Democracy' review. Also, 'Talking Metal' used to be one of my favorite podcasts, simply for entertainment as I never actually discovered shit from them...but their moronic and David Koresh like worship of Axl Rose and 'Chinese Democracy' prevents me from ever bothering with them again. It's almost embarrassing guys.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Old Metal Mag II -

Welcome back to the wonderful world of Metal Magazine collecting. Today, we jump back in the chronovisor and dial it back to late 86/ early 1987. Sir Lemmy Kilmister and Co. were in fine spirits, out and about in support of their 'Orgasmatron' LP.

Over 21 years have passed since this printed and while reading it you'd swear it was conducted yesterday. Motorhead never change, neither does their leader. A straight shooter since the day he was born, Lemmy remains at the top of the heap when it comes to true ambassadors of Rock N' Roll.

Some good stuff in here including some choice words about Dave Mustaine and Megadeth.

Before I forget, inspiration for this look back came from a fellow blogger, Mark DeVito and one of his homes on the web, SKETCHPAD.

Mark's a Rock Merch Mastermind and has been working with Motorhead on several designs, both classic and based around their latest release 'Motorizer'

So do some history reading, do some Holiday shopping, crank some music and all's well.

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