HOLMGREN MUST GO

IMG_0289IMG_1046     Our Philadelphia Sports Teams have really declined the past few years.  I can remember just a few years ago, when all Four professional teams were at the top of their game.  In Hockey, the Flyers made the Stanley Cup…the Phillies made the NLCS…the Eagles made the Playoffs and were very close to going to the next level…and the Sixers also made the playoffs.  This season, the Eagles had one of their worst seasons in recent memory…the Phillies are old, injury prone, and inconsistent…the Sixers are rebuilding AGAIN…and the Flyers finished near the basement and failed to make the playoffs.

The Flyers failure to make the Playoffs came as a complete shock as many experts had picked this team to win the Stanley Cup in a season that was cut in half by the strike.  The Flyers instead were extremely inconsistent and looked unprepared at many times.  Well, after this season, the Flyers decided to Buy-Out Daniel Brieres contract and Ilya Bryzgalov.  Between those two players, thats a savings of over twelve million dollars, which gives the Flyers some cap space to make some moves.

Let us go back a few years and look at some of the moves that Paul Holmgren made and let’s review how this team has found its way to where they are now.  In 2010, the Flyers made the Stanley Cup and came 1 goal away from taking the series to Game 7 and a possible Cup Championship win.  Holmgren had traded for Chris Pronger a year prior and made some other key moves that pushed the team to the Cup.  Holmgren had also signed Daniel Briere a few years prior and also traded for Scott Hartnell.  All of these moves were considered extremely successful and also made Holmgren look like one of the Top General Managers in the NHL.

Ok…let’s fast forward to the offseason after 2010, where some real surprise moves were made.  Claude Giroux, the young forward had established himself as a Superstar that was coming into his prime.  Mike Richards, the teams Captain was a very good player and had become one of the top two-way Centers in the League.  However, Richards had wore out his welcome in the locker room.  Richards was also a player that was into the party scene.  Holmgren made a bold but surprising move when he sent Mike Richards and his long term contract to the Los Angeles Kings for Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds and a First Round Pick.  Holmgren further shocked the city when he traded Jeff Carter the same day, to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Jakub Voracek and another pick.  That same offseason, Holmgren also signed Ilya Bryzgalov to a long term contract.

At the time, these moves were both shocking but also intriguing.  Brayden Schenn was a top Center that has the potential to be better than Richards.  In Simmonds, the Flyers secured a top winger with scoring prowess and toughness.  With Voracek, the Flyers also got a tough winger with a ton of upside.  And then with Bryzgalov, the Flyers thought they had finally solved their Goaltending issues.  However, before signing Bryz…the Flyers had traded for Evgheni Nabakov’s rights.  The Flyers turned down an offer from his agent stating that it was out of their budget.  However, weeks later they ended up giving Bryzgalov more years and more dollars than they would have with Nabakov.  In my opinion, Nabakov is the better goalie.

In my opinion, the Bryzgalov move was the first mistake made by Holmgren.  Then the following year, Holmgren let Matt Carle get away in Free Agency.  To me, Matt Carle was the backbone of the defense along with Timmonen.  Then this past season, Holmgren may have made his worst deals trading away young goalie Sergei Bobrovsky to the Blue Jackets for a bag of pucks and then traded up and coming winger James Van Reimsdyke to the Toronto Maple Leafs.  The Flyers thought they were getting a star defenseman Luke Schenn, Brayden’s brother.  However, after a season of play, JVR had a breakout year and Schenn looked nothing more than an average defenseman.

Holmgren also let Jaromir Jagr go.  Jagr is older, however, he had turned Giroux into an absolute sniper.  Holmgren could have resigned Jagr, who wanted to stay here, for less than he got in Dallas.  Also, another mistake was made by getting rid of  Michael Leighton.  Although they did get him back, Leighton was a great backup that had experience and could have been a more consistent option in net.  

It really was sad when the Flyers announced that they were buying out Daniel Brieres contract.  Danny Briere is one of the top playoff performers in today’s game.  Then the buy-out of Bryzgalov was an admission of fault and a mistake at a position that never seems to be addressed properly.  Holmgren is not the only General Manager that has made mistakes at this position.  Bobby Clarke consistently made bad moves at this position.  Now where to go.  Well, Jonathan Bernier, the 24 Year Old Phenom was targeted early.  Bernier could potentially be a star goalie for years to come.  He has Martin Brodeur written all over him.  Well, Holmgren would not part with Courtier.  Im sorry, but sometimes to get a prospect you have to give up a prospect.

Holmgren to me has ruined this team.  Besides Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek, anyone would be game for trades to me.  Also, the Defense continues to get older.  The Blue Line was once a strength for this team, but now its one of the weak links.  Kimmo Timmonen is 39, Mark Streit (recently acquired from the Islanders) is 36.  Brayden Coburn is 32 and there is talk that he is on the trade block.  This weekend is the draft.  The Flyers have PICK 11.  If I’m the GM, I take the top Goalie.  If I was Ed Snider, as hard as it would be, I would replace this GM.  My top pick would be Ron Hextall.  This team needs a CUP.  To me it all stats with the Goalie.  Anyways, only time will tell.

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Remembering Darren Daulton

Almost 20 Years Ago…The Philadelphia Phillies took the city of Philadelphia on a magical run that ended in Toronto…with a loss in Game 6 of the World Series. Those of us who watched that season can remember all of the important moments that lead this team to its first World Series since 1983. Well, although that team was not able to bring home a championship…they did manage to take over the entire Philly Sports scene and during the playoffs they actually became America’s Team.

In 1992, “Dutch” as he was referred to, led the Major Leagues with 109 RBI. Daulton had 105 RBI in 1993 which was third in the league that year. During his 14 Year Career that was riddled with injuries, Daulton managed a career .245 Average, 147 HomeRuns (92-27/93-24) and 588 RBI (92-109/93-105). Of course, 1992 and 1993 were Daulton’s most prolific offensive seasons. He probably would have had many more seasons like those had he not suffered all of the knee injuries. During his total career, Daulton had a reported 14 Knee Surgeries. Knees are an important part of a Catcher’s game so that should speak volumes about his toughness.

Eventually, Daulton was traded and had a few more seasons after that. He actually was able to go out on top winning a World Series with the Florida Marlins. Daulton has been rated the 25th Best Catcher of all time in Bill James historical baseball abstract. The three time all star was a player that was loved by the fans and media alike. He would never back down from an interview. He is said to be responsible for starting a “fraternity” on that 93 Phillies Team that took care of off the field problems on their own. This Fraternity was called “Macho Row.”

Darren Daulton was the epitome of a Baseball Iron Man. Through all of the Knee Injuries he continued to rehab and come back. Actually, He won a Silver Slugger Award in 1992 and the Comeback Player of the Year Award in 1997. Well…today some very sad news about Daulton was announced. “Dutch” has been diagnosed with two brain tumors. He is scheduled for surgery. This recent determination has come as a shock to many in the sports community. It was said he was not feeling well the past few weeks and saw a doctor. Now this. This is extremely sad news.

MLB I’m sure has A Heavy Heart for Daulton today as this news was announced. We can only hope that the surgery is successful. All of our prayers and thoughts go out to Daulton as this tragedy unfolds. Anyways…I chose to remember Daulton for that magical 1993 Season where he carried the Phillies to the World Series. God…please heal this man. Prayers and thoughts abound. I will keep everyone posted.

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ADDICTED TO DRAMA

    I am a firm believer that we are all truly a by product of our environment.  Childhood development is an essential part of all human beings learning positive coping skills and behaviors.  When there is a divide in the development…it is like taking an axe to those learned skills and behaviors.  In other words…when there is a dysfunctional family situation childhood development ceases.  Personality Disorders and Mental Illness develop during this time period.  If the child is not given proper treatment and therapy, it can be detrimental to their growth as an adult and essentially lead the person to a path of destruction.  Some of these children are taken out of the harmful environment early enough to make a difference in their personality transition.  However, others are either never given the proper support, nor do they ever seek help.

     Growing up as a child in a dysfunctional family…I have first hand experience with this subject.  During my youth, as well as my three other siblings, we went through some horrific trauma at young ages that has haunted all four of us into adulthood.  Studies show that trauma and stress effects each and every one of us differently, and that we all respond in different ways.  The research also tells us that the child will form some type of behavior or habit that makes them feel comfortable with the pain, rather than getting the proper help to heal.  These habits and behaviors tend to be self-destructive.  

     Well, it is during these times that a person begins to equate this type of environment as being normal, since that is all the child knows.  For example, if a child is physically abused constantly, there is a good chance that the child will grow up to abuse their own children.  The reason for this is called “Learned Behavior.”  Many of these dysfunctional settings are filled with chaos and drama.  It leaves the individual in a state of hypomania.  Moreover, the person begins to equate a feeling of calmness when they are involved in other chaotic situations or times of drama.  In fact, when there is a period of normalcy and a lack of such chaos and drama, this person may actually be insecure and unsure of themselves.  They may even develop severe anxiety.  This can lead to severe anxiety disorders as well as other harmful personality traits.  

     So…to further explain this phenomenon, one must understand what chaos and drama are.  Chaos and drama can be described as any periods of stress, negativity, repetition, nagging, demoralizing, upsetting, doom and gloom, and many other depressing activity.  For example, let’s look at the past few months with all of these high profile murder cases.  Murder is sad.  Murder is depressing.  These trials are full of drama.  We had the Jodi Arias murder trial, which became big due to the sexual innuendo and the overall beauty of Jodi Arias.  The drama aspect comes in where many people may feel, how can a girl that is so pretty commit a crime that is so heinous and brutal with no remorse.  We also can look at all of the bad weather and such that has been occurring these past few months.  We had Hurricane Sandy, the killer tornados in Oklahoma.  There was the Boston Bombings.  The school and movie shootings.  The hunt for Osama Bin Laden.  And the list can go on and on.

     Well, I have been doing a ton of soul searching and there is one thing that I can definitely say is true, and others that have dealt with similar trauma can relate.  The fact is…I am addicted to chaos and drama.  The rise of social media and television and news has only made this addiction grow.  Honestly, lately I feel like I have been obsessed with these areas.  Wether it be Facebook, or HLN (Headline News), CNN, or just the local news.  When I see these chaotic and dramatic situations it actually makes me feel comfortable.  When I am around this sort of thing I actually feel like things are normal.  This is the cycle that I must break.  Actually, many people struggle with this same obsession and there are ways to combat it.

     A good friend of mine made a great comment to one of my posts.  He said, “Stop Feeding The Media Frenzy”.  Stop feeding the media frenzy.  What exactly does that mean?  Well, its pretty obvious, stop watching this negative shit and letting it affect my everyday life.  When bad news, or social media becomes an obsession, it can ruin you.  So lately, I have been working on fixing this area of my life.  I am no longer watching these programs.  I am using Facebook much less than I am accustomed too.  I have replaced these behaviors with positive ones like walking my dog, playing guitar, writing lyrics, even writing this blog.  I am trying to feed my mind with positive thoughts and not negative shit that will only make me sick.  Our culture has become a society of drama queens and kings.  Drama is everywhere.  I don’t think that drama will ever disappear.  However, its how we handle this drama that ultimately defines whether we can heal or not.  Hopefully, some of you have learned a valuable lesson from my blog.  I am a work in progress everyday…we all are.  We just need to stop being sucked into the chaos and drama (even though thats what we are used to) and instead focus on the positive things in life.  Stay Tuned.Image

PHILADELPHIA FLYERS GOALTENDING NIGHTMARES

     So…Its official.  The Philadelphia Flyers announced a compliance buy-out on Ilya Bryzgalov’s contract today.  They will still owe him 24 Million of the 42 remaining on his contract.  Since 2011, he was 52-53 with a 2.56 GAA.  That is a complete failure by a player who was supposed to be the answer to all of the team’s goaltending   This is an absolute travesty for a Franchise that has not won a Stanley Cup since 1975.  Whats worse…the Flyers continue to play musical chairs/charades with the goaltending position.  It seems we are always talking about the same topic year in and year out.  So when will the Flyers Ring-Around-The-Rosie Goaltending Saga End???  While teams such as the Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings have won multiple Stanley Cups with homegrown goalies, the Flyers continue to make mistakes every season at that key position.  In 2010…the Flyers actually defied the odds by going to the Stanley Cup with average goaltending.  That season, which really was a magical one, the Flyers made the playoffs on the very last game on the shoulders of Brian Boucher, a career back up goalie as well as Michael Leighton, who one could consider a scrap heap pick up.  That team also was down 3-0 to the Bruins in the second round of the playoffs and came back to win…only the third professional sports team to come back to win a playoff series after being down 3-0.

     Then we have the New Jersey Devils.  Since 1993, Martin Brodeur has been the New Jersey Devil’s starting Goalie every season.  He has won three cups in that span.  Do you know how many different goalies that have suited up for the Flyers since 1993???  Try 23 Different Goaltenders!!!  Ridiculous, right?  Anyways, the point is that the Flyers have continued to devalue that position when its a fact that teams with star goaltending or even above average have a better chance to win a Stanley Cup.  The Flyers devalue goalies just like the Philadelphia Eagles do with Wide Receivers.  For so many seasons, the Eagles  played entire seasons with Donovan McNabb and a bunch of no-name wide-outs.  The Phillies seem to be doing the same thing at the Hot Corner, third base, ever since Mike Schmidt retired.

     So, lets take a look at the Flyers goalies on a season by season carousel since 1987, when a young Ron Hextall took the Flyers to the Cup, winning a Conn-Smythe Trophy in a losing effort.  

1987-Ron Hextall/Bob Froese1988-Ron Hextall/Mark Laforest, 1989-Ron Hextall/Ken Wregget, 1990-Ron Hextall/Ken Wregget/Pete Peters, 1991-Ron Hextall/Ken Wregget/Pete Peters, 1992-Ron Hextall/Tommy Soderstrom, 1993-Dominic Roussel/Tommy Soderstrom, 1994-Ron Hextall/Dominic Roussel, 1995-Ron Hextall/Garth Snow, 1996-Ron Hextall/Garth Snow, 1997-Ron Hextall/Garth Snow/Sean Burke, 1998-John Vanbiesbrouck/Jean-Marc Pellietier, 1999-John Vanbiesbrouck/Brian Boucher, 2000-Roman Checkmanek/Brian Boucher, 2001-Roman Checkmanek/Brian Boucher, 2002-Roman Checkmanek/Robert Esche, 2003-Robert Esche/Jeff Hackett/Sean Burke/Antero Nittymaki, 2004-Robert Esche/Antero Nittymaki, 2005-Robert Esche/Antero Nittymaki, 2006-Robert Esche/Antero Nittymaki/Martin Biron, 2007-Martin Biron/Antero Nittymaki, 2008-Martin Biron/Antero Nittymaki, 2009-Mike Leighton/Ray Emery/Brian Boucher/Johan Baklund, 2010-Mike Leighton/Brian Boucher/Sergei Bobrovsky, 2011-Mike Leighton/Sergei Bobrovsky, 2012-Ilya Bryzgalov/Sergei Bobrovsky, 2013-Ilya Bryzgalov/Brian Boucher/Steve Mason.

     Ok…that is a long list.  Now lets take a look at the highlights and key notes from this list.  Ron Hextall was the only goalie that shows up on this list at least ten seasons.  Hextall was actually on the Flyers roster 10 out of 11 Seasons.  Roman Checkmanek was the only goalie the Flyers had in the regular season to post a Goals Against Average below 2.20 in a full season.  The season that he posted a 1.87 GAA, he actually lost out on the Vezina Trophy to Dominik Hasek, a World Class Goalie who won the award seven times.  In retrospect, Hasek won one Cup.  Brodeur has won three Cups and been in four.

     I remember 1998, the Flyers signed John Vanbiesbrouck to a Free Agent Contract.  The Flyers had a stellar roster and thought they were a goalie away from the Cup.  Well, the other Free Agent that season was Curtis Joseph, who signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Well, we all know what happened that year…the Flyers lost their first round playoff series to the Leafs, who won behind the play of none other than Curtis Joseph.  Then, lets fast forward to 2004.  The Flyers had Robert Esche…they lost the Conference Finals to the Tampa Bay Lightning who had Nikolai Habibulin.  The Flyers had a chance to sign Habibulin in the off season but chose to go the cheaper route with Esche.  Once again…match point.  The Flyers lose and Tampa goes on to win the Cup.  2010…the Flyers were one goal away from Game 7 against the Chicago Blackhawks.  Who knows what the Flyers would have done had they acquired Ryan Miller at the trade deadline.  Instead, the Flyers stood pat and we know the Hollywood Ending that they re-enacted.

     The common theme with this team is porous decisions with the goaltender position.  Now they have once again made a mistake with Ilya Bryzgalov.  And here is a more frustrating fact.  The Flyers traded Sergei Bobrovsky last off season and he goes on to win the Vezina Trophy this season…WTF!!!!!!!!!!  The same off season that we signed Bryzgalov, the Flyers could have signed a comparable contract…actually would have been less with Evgheni Nabakov.  However, they passed.  Now after todays’ news, there are rumors that the Flyers are once again interested in Nabakov, who they already could have if they would have just signed him in the first place.

     The Flyers definitely need to make a change at the General Manager Position again.  Paul Holmgren is a spitten image of Bobby Clarke.  He makes foolish trades.  He has single handedly ruined this current roster.  Besides the Mike Richards trade…which I do believe netted us some talent, the rest of his moves have been questionable at best.  Trade James Van Riemsdyke.  JVR has a career year.  Trade Sergei Bobrovsky.  Bobrovsky wins the Vezina Trophy.  Now look at our defense.  After signing Mark Streit, we have two of our core defenseman over the age of 36.  Streit is 36 and Timmonen is 39.  This team continues to make mistakes season after season.  They have a good core of players with Claude Giroux and Jakub Vorachek.  However, they have misfired more than a Nine.  Holmgren…its time to go.  This team needs to get a good talent evaluator.  They should have traded for Jonathan Bernier, who is only 24 and has the talent to be the next Martin Brodeur.  However, once again they waited too long and the Maple Leafs beat them out.  Now they will have to look at aging goalies…Tim Thomas, Evgheni Nabakov, Roberto Luongo, Ray Emery?????  These guys are all retreads.  C”MON…you must do the right thing.  How bout developing a goalie.  The last goalie that the team developed that had any success long term was Ron Hextall.  And to see Sergei Bobrovsky win the Vezina….that really stings.  This is a travesty that must end soon.  Ed Snider…if you are reading this…please do something.  These fans are dying for a Cup.  BTW…GOOD RIDDANCE Ilya.  If you didn’t hear, in a Russian interview Bryzgalov was bashing Philly saying he doesn’t like it here very much.  He said Philly is “GHETTO”.  Ok, well go back to RUSSIA YOU PRIMA DONNA.  Ok…this better change soon Flyers.  I cannot take another season of a mediocre goalie!!!!!!!ImageImageImage

SUMMER MADNESS

June. 21st…The Official First Day of the Summer. There are so many things that come to mind when we think of the Summer. School’s out for Summer…the kids are done school until September. Graduations…the newest year class of graduates, including Elementary, Middle School, High School, College, and Graduate School. Jeans and long sleeve shirts are shed for shorts, t-shirts, bikinis, swim trunks, bare skin, and sun dresses.

Sunglasses are on, sports cars, convertible tops down, car washes and waxes, sneakers and shoes replaced with sandals and flip-flops, summer sun and heat takes over the everyday weather patterns, barbecues daily on the grill, vacations galore, trips to the shore and beach, and numerous other changes.

In the world of sports it’s another exciting time of the year. The NBA and NHL are winding down…an NBA champion already crowned, an NHL Stanley Cup Winner yet to be determined, the NHL Draft and Free Agent Frenzy, and buy-out periods. MLB is almost halfway over…the All Star Game…teams with big leads…teams with disappointing seasons…injury bug alive and well…and the sprint towards the stretch run and post season. Finally, we have the NFL rookie, mini, and training camp still to come.

Summer is also a huge time period in the world of music. Many brand new CD’s have already been released. Festivals are happening just about every weekend. American Tours are firing on all cylinders. Even bands that have not played in years are making one more go around. Anyone that is a fan of metal and sports has to love the beginning of summer. The beginning of summer is the start of these worldly passions.

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METAL MANIA SPARKS NEW MATERiAL

I’m such a Metal Head. I feel like the only thing that gets my passion going is new music. It’s so amazing these past few years how many bands that are putting out top notch music. Bands that have not produced material in years are making new albums in record numbers. In past blogs I have wrote about the ultimate concert and what bands I would want to be present at these shows. Well anyways…I will be reviewing the new releases of 2013 and rating them on my own scale.

I have to start with “13” that was just released by Black Sabbath on Tuesday. First lets start with the album cover. WOW! OMG! Two statements that come to mind when you first lay eyes on this cover. What a masterpiece. It has what appears to be a dark field in the background, stilts that look like witch stakes, and the Number 13 in Flames with a 3D effect and hologram that appears to be burning. Extremely effective for a band that has not put out a new studio album as the original band since the Reunion Album, which only featured two new songs. 13 is tremendous and actually exceeds all expectations. This is an album that includes all new material. From the moment I popped the CD in I was mesmerized by the sound of what I heard. It felt like I was back in 1970 listening to Classic Black Sabbath from their first three albums. This album is a BADASS work of art. I’m giving it ***** stars and a 9/10 rating. This should be up for an GRAMMY award when the time comes.

The first track “End Of The Beginning” sounds like a new version of “Black Sabbath” the title track of the band’s debut album. “Zeitgeist” sounds like a similar version of Planet Caravan with a very trippy sound and classic Sabbath chords and use of the harmonica. “Live Forever” is similar to “Iron Man” with its dark eerie power chords and the mood the song creates. “God is Dead”, already a radio hit, sounds like a combination of Iron Man/Children of the Grave. This song is classic Sabbath at its best. Of course, this like any album that Sabbath has produced with any of their different lineups will be controversial with their lyrics and song titles. Oh well, just another false stereotypical judgement by people who are misinformed.

Ok, let’s move onto another brand new release, “Super Collider” from Megadeth. This album has been highly anticipated since their last release if Thirteen. Just a coincidence…the same title as the new Sabbath album. After Thirteen, Dave Mustaine decided he wanted to go a little different direction with this new album. Of course, once again there has been extreme backlash by many loyal Megadeth fans, citing the lack of the classic Heavy sound. However, I couldn’t disagree more. In my opinion, the past few Megadeth albums have grown stale and all had the Endgame sound which was very dull and lacked variety. I can’t say that I did not see this coming. I may be one of the rare few that was a huge fan of RISK. When RISK was released, Megadeth was accused of selling out. Although Risk lacked the thrash element, it was an extremely well put together album and had a ton of variety.

Super Collider is no different. The first track Kingmaker is a traditional Megadeth sound that starts out slow and then builds, showing many other aspects of Metal such as bridges and dual solos. Super Collider, the title track is more of a hard rock tune but Dave really pushes his bands opinions and views and is able to make this song come together. “Off the Edge” reminds me of a song from the World Needs a Hero album…”Burning Bridges”. “Dance in the Rain” is another poetic masterpiece and the addition of guest singer David Draiman makes this song kick ass. I love how they conclude with a cover of Thin Lizzy, perhaps one of the most underrated bands in history. “Cold Sweat” is done masterfully with Megadeaths own stamp of approval. I also give this album **** and an 8/10 Rating.

Alice in Chains has released a new album recently as well. “The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here” was released last month. Now I am a huge AIC fan, especially early AIC and have always been fascinated by Layne Staley’s voice and the perfect compliment of Jerry Cantrell to the melodies. When the band made their comeback with “Black Leads to Blue” I was extremely floored at how well new lead vocalist William was able to sound so close to Layne. This album was an extreme hit. I must admit…I am a little disappointed with the latest release. I mean there are a few hits…Hollow being one. But I think the album sounds dull. There is not as much variety as I would have expected and I would have liked to have heard more of Williams voice. I say **** and 6/10. Not bad but not good…just average.

Killswitch Engage is back with a vengeance with their new title “Disarm with Descent”. Killswitch has always been able to mix screaming and melody together with the perfect twist. I have always been a Killswitch fan and this album is no different. I say **** and 8/10. Solid Metal album with a lot if different variety and sound. Also, SevenDust gets the same rating for “Black out the Sun”

Ok, for those of you that have not heard “Anthems” from Anthrax, you must rush to the store and pick up a copy. Anthrax is almost as Thrash as you can get and yet they cover Rush, Thin Lizzy, AC/DC, Journey, Boston, and Cheap Trick on this album, definitely not your classic metal bands. Actually, none of them have ever really been considered Metal, maybe AC/DC being the closest. Anyways, Anthems gets a 10/10 rating and is off the hook. The reason I rate it so high is that Anthrax could not went further out of their element and they “KILLED IT” on this album. All I can say is “WOw”!

Skid Row also released a new album…United World Rebellion Chapter One, which is the beginning of a few chapters. I have always been a huge Skid Row fan, obviously more so when Sebastian Bach was there, but they are still thriving in the metal scene. I give this one a 7/10…very heavy and too the point. Finally, we had 2 DVDs released, Epitaph from Judas Priest and Maiden England. Both of these compilations get an 8/10 Rating. A must buy for any metal guru. Ok, this concludes my review session, I will be exploring the new Black Sabbath release in more detail at a later date. Stay Tuned…

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BLACK SABBATH EVE

On the Eve of Black Sabbath’s new album release, I couldn’t help but delve into my catalog. Of course, the first album that i grabbed was the debut self titled album, “Black Sabbath.” Black Sabbath is single handedly responsible for laying the foundations of what we know today as “Heavy Metal.” Black Sabbath, a four member band, was formed in Birmingham, England in 1968. Their debut album is regarded as a true Heavy Metal Classic today. Their Debut album was released in 1970. Black Sabbath has went through numerous lineup changes throughout the course of 45 Years. The Band’s first lineup is the classic lineup, and probably the best one to don the bands name. Tony Iommi (Lead Guitar), William Ward (Bass Guitar), Terence Butler (Drums) also known as GEEZER, and John Osbourne (Lead Vocals) otherwise known as the legendary “Ozzy”.

The Band’s self titled album “Black Sabbath” was in 1970 under the Warner Brother’s label. The album was masterful and full of blues and rock molded together in a way that was never heard before. The first song, also called “Black Sabbath” has been called the most evil song in Metal by Rob Halford (Judas Priest) another Heavy Metal legend. Black Sabbath uses power chords and medleys that produce a dark eerie sound. The debut album consisted of five songs: 1)Black Sabbath, 2) The Wizard, 3)WASP/BEHIND THE WALL OF SLEEP/BASICALLY/ N.I.B., 4) Wicked World, and 5) A BIT OF FINGER/SLEEPING VILLAGE/WARNING. That same year they released “Paranoid”, which is full of hits. The most notable are “Iron Man”, “Paranoid”, “Fairies Wear Boots,” and “Hand of Doom.”

One of my favorite Black Sabbath albums is actually their third album, “Master of Reality”, which was released only 1 year later, also under the Warner Brother’s label. The album track listing was as follows:
1) Sweet Leaf
2) After Forever
3) Embryo
4) Children of the Grave
5) Orchid
6) Lord of this World
7) Solitude
8) Into the Void.
Master of Reality went one step further than the debut album, taking on an even heavier pointed sound. Tony Iommi became one of the first lead guitarists to play numerous solos throughout the songs as well as in the beginning and end. Sweet Leaf starts out with a voice that sounds like its coughing and gasping for air. Children of the Grave is a more speedy song than the original slow riff composition of Sabbath songs. THe album cover is totally black except for the drastic purple letters, Master of Reality.

There are so many classic hits from this lineup. “Black Sabbath”, “War Pigs”, “Paranoid”, “Iron Man”, “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”, “Sweet Leaf”, “Lord of this World”, “The Wizard”, “Fairies Wear Boots,” “Behind the Wall”, “Spiral Architect”, “Into the Void”, “Snow Blind,” “Nativity in Black,” and many more. Tonight, this Monday Evening I am having my own Black Sabbath marathon. Eight albums from beginning to end. I am listening to the classic lineups albums straight through from the debut “Black Sabbath” to “Never Say Die”, which was the last album featuring Ozzy. After Ozzy left for his solo career, Black Sabbath found another brilliant front man, Ronnie James Dio. Dio was a much better singer than Ozzy and his voice brought a more modern sound to Sabbath. The first album with Ronnie James Dio was “Heaven and Hell.” The title track was a number one hit. Dio was around for another 8 albums, while also going solo. There is no doubt that Sabbath was at its best with Ozzy; however, there are not too many bands that have changed lead singers and kept the same star power. AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath are the most notable that I can think of in the modern era. Nonetheless, Black Sabbath will always best be known as the “Fathers of Heavy Metal.”

Tomorrow, June 11th, 2013 they will release their brand new album “13”. 43 Years after the release of “Black Sabbath.” Amazing…truly amazing. I cannot wait to pop the new CD and blast it at full volume. Black Sabbath has truly stood the test of time. Its amazing that Ozzy, Tony, and Geezer are still able to play at the level they do. They are even going tour, which is absolutely mind blowing. I just wish that DIO was still alive to see this day. I am sure that he would be extremely proud of his former band. Never forget Metal Fans all over…the bands you listen to and follow today…the bands that take up most of your listening time…would not be around today if it was not for BLACK SABBATH. Let us give Black Sabbath the credit due and let us honor them on this eve of yet another “Black” album. Long Live Black Sabbath!20121109-140309.jpg20121211-020537.jpg

500

Ok…so the Phillies have finally reached the .500 mark after some very inconsistent behavior in the first half of the season. First it was Roy Halladay going on the disabled list after some of his worst outings of his career. His ERA when he went on the DL over 8.00. Then it was Chase Utley going down after having an excellent month and a half. Utley looked like he was rejuvenated and was playing his best baseball since 2009.

Their starting Center Fielder, Ben Revere, who they acquired after giving up their best pitching prospect Vance Worley, is hitting under .250 with less than ten stolen bases. This is horrible production from a player who was supposed to bring swagger to the lead off spot. Then there is Michael Young, who the Phillies picked up in the off season to fill their void at third base. Yes…Young is 36 but he was projected to bring a stellar bat to Citizens Bank. Well, after hitting .350 for the first three weeks of the season, his average has now dipped to .257.

And probably the most disappointing aspect of the season so far, Cole Hamels with Nine losses and one win going into today. Also, an over 4.00 ERA. All this without getting more than 2.25 Runs a game on offense during his starts. Actually, that’s the third worst in MLB. Ouch! All of these very disheartening aspects and the Phillies were still one game under .500 going into today’s game against the Marlins. This is truly a testament to how well other aspects are going for the Phillies.

Today, The Phillies won 6-1 after winning 7-4 last night in extra innings on a walk off Grand Slam from John Mayberry. Today they were tied 1-1 going into the bottom of the seventh with Cole Hamels coming out of the game. Then wham…a two run triple for Ryan Howard and Bam…a Two Run Home Run by Dominic Brown.

Brown is finally coming into his own and is the hottest hitter in the Major Leagues right now. He has 10 Home Runs in Fourteen Games and now is second in the league with 18 Home Runs and 46RBI. Brown has been on fire and is finally showing why the Phillies would not trade him for anyone. He was their only “Untouchable Prospect.” Fans were getting weary after two seasons of disappointing call ups for Brown. Now he is their starting Left Fielder and is carrying this team on his BACK.

Ryan Howard has ten Home Runs and 30 RBI, despite seeing his production drop. And Freddy Galvis has been stellar on offense and defense in Chase Utley’s stead. In a cruel twist in events, Cliff Lee, who could not buy a win last year, is 7-2 with a 2.45 ERA and 88 Strikeouts. He is in the Top 10 in every pitching statistical category. If he keeps up this pace, Lee will be a CY Young Candidate.

The Phillies are now .500 and are looking up. They are only 5.5 games back of the Division Lead. If the Phillies can keep playing this way, they should be in great shape. Halladay is on track to come back healthy which would be like getting a star at the trade deadline as long as his shoulder is fully healed. Well, well, well. I would never have predicted this two weeks ago. The Phillies are Hot. And it’s not even the All Star Break Yet. Keep it up Boys.

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JUDAS PRIEST EPiTaPh SICK FINALE

There is not much that Judas Priest has not done in the realms of Metal. The roots of Heavy Metal came from Black Sabbath, Zeppelin, and Priest. Judas Priest has been rocking venues all over the world for over Forty Years. No matter what type of music you are accustomed too nor what your musical interests are, you have to respect Judas Priest as a legend in the Music world.

Rob Halford is the front man and there is no doubt that he has one of the most talented voices in Heavy Metal. Years back…Halford took a hiatus from Priest and did his own solo albums. However, they came back with a bang with Angel of Retribution. Their latest work of art was a Two Disc set called Nostradamus, which was a Concept Album based on Nostradamus who was a well known prophet in the dark ages, who predicted many future events and tragedies.

Nostradamus is an incredible work of art that was not a huge seller but remains extremely underrated to this day. However, Priest has been touring all over the world for the past three years. They concluded their most recent tour called Epitaph almost a year ago. On May 26th, 2012 Priest played at the Hammersmith Apollo Theater in front of over 100,000 fans. This concert was put to video and has 23 Songs and over 2 Hours of Music.

Priest covered their entire catalog from their grand beginnings to the latest album, Nostradamus. KK Downing has left the band but Glenn Tipton and Richie Faulkner rock the house. This DVD is extremely powerful and shows Priest at their absolute best! Rob Halford sounds just the same now as he did over forty years ago when he began fronting the very loud band. Any Priest fan must purchase this Concert and you will be treated to two hours of Metal Magic!

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SUPER COLLIDER KICKS ASS

Megadeth released their fourteenth studio album today. Anyone that is a fan of Megadeth knows that ten years ago…the chance of this day coming was slim to None. Megadeth had released RISK and Mustaine went in rehab for the umpteenth time. Then he had a nerve in his playing arm basically explode. There was a five year hiatus which saw David Elleffson forge a lawsuit against his old band mate for the rights to Megadeth’s material.

Ok…fast forward to Mustaine’s miraculous comeback. Megadeth released The System Has Failed, which originally was supposed to be a solo project, but instead Mustaine chose to use the Megadeth label. This album was extremely heavy and is extremely underrated to this day. After touring for a year and a half, Megadeth released United Abominations, which was a little less heavy but still a Megadeth masterpiece.

Then came EndGame. EndGame was heavy but it seemed to get stale with all of the songs sounding the same. Still Megadeth marched on. Then it happened. David Elleffson came back into the fold and Mustaine signed Chris Broderick to play Guitar. Broderick is on the same level as Marty Friedman and matches Mustaines intensity on the notable solos. This brought the next release…Megadeth’s thirteenth studio album…coincidentally called Thirteen. Thirteen was a hit and really put Megadeth back on the map.

Since 13…Megadeth’s popularity has risen immensely. Dave Mustaine is once again a leader in the Metal Community just like he was when he was the spokesman for MTV as the “Rock The Vote” mascot lol. Everyone that knows Megadeth’s story and the backstory of Dave Mustaine and his long lived hatred for his ex band “Metallica.” Well…today Megadeth is once again a leader in the Metal Scene. Although they will never be bigger than Metallica, Megadeth has never sold out as they continue to put out powerful material.

Super Collider is a strange name for an album…especially for Megadeth. However, from the first track KingMaker the album takes off and really grows on you. This album has more of a variety and does not maintain the same dull sound as most of their previous albums have. This album is top notch. You can tell that a lot of blood, sweat, and tears was put into this album. Even Dave’s voice seems to have come to life once again.

Mustaine has lost a lot in his vocals over the years but he seems recharged in Super Collider. “Burn” is a fast paced in your face metal ensemble. The title track “Super Collider” sounds like a futuristic version of a Megadeth sound. “The Blackest Crow” starts off like a country song and then rips into classic Megadeth. “Dance in the Rain” features David Draiman (Disturbed) on back up vocals. This album has a little of everything.

Now I am one of the most Die Hard Megadeth fans you will find. Ask any of my friends who my favorite band is…and immediately they will tell you MEGADETH! Now I have heard a lot of flack and complaints about this album how it really isn’t a Megadeth album? Really? I would say the people saying this are not true Megadeth fans and really are misinformed. This album may be their best since the Countdown-Youthanasia-World Needs a Hero era. Seriously…The more you listen to it the more it grows on you.

I highly recommend this album for any Metal Fan. Even Track “11” Cold Sweat…a Thin Lizzy cover rocks the house. Don’t Turn Your Back also is a classic sounding Megadeth sound with the heavy double bass drums and the guitar onslaught between Broderick and Mustaine. Wow! I have now listened to the entire album twice straight through! I give it an 8/10. Pretty high score…and as I said…I’m a true Megadeth Junkie.

Also…I highly recommend the new Alice In Chains album and am so looking forward to “13” by Black Sabbath! Also, pick up the new book by Zach Wylde as well as Rex Browns book the story behind Pantera. Finally…if u are a Judas Priest fan a must have is Epitaph, a live DVD of one of their final shows from the past tour as they are supposedly retiring.

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