COVER ME

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I want to have a little fun today and I hope to get some participation and feedback.  This is one of those posts that will require audience participation so please pay attention.  Throughout the history of music, including all of the adaptations and changes, the concept of “cover music” has become a huge part of the art.  First, we have the typical “Cover Bands” that travel the circuit of bars and clubs and play all of the people’s favorites week to week.  We also have the traditional cover band, bands like “Youthanasia” (Megadeth Cover Band), that form and play everyone’s favorite band’s full catalogs.  Some of these bands mix in some occasional original material and some choose to stick to their idol.  “Cover Music” is and always will be an important part of the music industry.  And then finally, we have those bands that will mix in an occasional cover song or two on their studio albums.  Furthermore, some bands take it to the next level and release “Full Length Cover Albums” featuring different songs from bands ranging from the classic sixties, to modern day, and some even cover Holiday Favorites or even other music categories such as rap, pop, and R&B.

Through the years, there have been many great bands that have chose to release these full length “Cover Albums.”  Before Guns N Roses demise, they released a cover album called “The Spaghetti Incident” which was an album that consisted of mostly punk rock and classic hits from the seventies and eighties.  A few years back, Christian Heavy Metal band Stryper released the album called “The Covering”, which featured some Heavy Metal Classics, Hard Rock Classics and even one new song of their own. I must say, for any true Rock N Roll Fan, this is a must listen as this album is incredible.  Stryper covers a wide range of material and they nail every song.  Just this past year, Anthrax released an EP Cover Album named “Anthems” which featured music from AC/DC, Thin Lizzy, Journey, and others.  I was not aware of this, but during Joey Belladonna’s hiatus from Anthrax, he formed a Journey Cover Band in New York City, playing all of the clubs and pounding out all of the Journey Hits.  “Anthems” is another must hear for any metal fan.  You actually get a greater appreciation for a band when they go outside of their “comfort” zone.  Anthrax and Journey???  You are saying to yourself…how could this be any kind of success.  Many others would expect an epic fail.  Well, Anthrax kicked ASS on this album and it was one of the best releases of 2013.

Ok, so let us get to my purpose of this post.  I thought it would be fun to look at some high profile bands and the songs that you as a music fan would love to hear covered by other bands.  Many bands that cover music choose to pick songs that the audience is familiar with so that it may get more airplay.  I am one of those old school metal fans that would rather hear rare songs covered.  I think it makes the whole idea more fun and interesting.  I would like to take a look at some high profile bands of today and yesterday and form a list of cover songs that would be good for the wave of the future.  This is all for fun folks, so if you disagree or have your own opinions please join in.  I want this to be a fun exercise.

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Ok, the first band that I would like to focus on is Metallica.  Metallica, part of the BIG 4, is one of the most popular Metal Bands to ever grace the music scene.  Numerous Metallica songs have been covered throughout history by many bands.  There are even a few Metallica Tribute albums that have been released featuring material from a wide range and variety of bands.  Metallica has covered many songs themselves.  Some popular Metallica covers include “Whiskey in a Jar” and “Turn the Page.”  Also, “Am I Evil” and “Blitzkrieg.”  So this brings me to my next question…if there was any Metallica song that you would want to hear covered by another band, what would that song be??  For me, this is a very difficult choice because I have so many favorite Metallica Songs.  Many have already been covered.  I always like to look at underrated songs when I pick my choice.  Well due to the circumstances of Metallica’s popularity and the large amount of songs that have been covered in the past, I have to go with one of my personal favorites.  I would love to hear “The Shortest Straw” covered someday.  “Shortest Straw” appears on the AND Justice For All album.

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     Pantera has always been one of my favorite all-time bands.  Pantera is another band that has a large group of cover and tribute bands so many of their songs have been covered by once again a wide variety of bands.  Avenged Sevenfold covered “Walk” a few years back.  This is another hard choice for me because there are so many excellent Pantera Classics.  For me, the song “Hollow” has always been a huge song that makes you realize that life is short.  In essence, for the band this song was actually a premonition in a cruel way, as Dimebag Darrell was murdered and this song very well could be about him.  So for me, due to the circumstances and the power of this song, I would love to hear it covered.  Another Pantera song that I would personally love to hear covered, an underrated but very heavy song, would be “The Great Southern Trendkill.”  This is actually the first Pantera song that I heard.

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     Alice In Chains has always been one of my inspirations as far as bands go. Layne Staley definitely died too young, but the band has truly recovered and are very successful today.  This is again another hard choice.  There are so many great Alice In Chains Classics old and new.  “Man in the Box” would be the obvious song that people would probably want to hear.  For me, I think it would be so cool to hear a band cover “The Rooster.”  That song brings chills down my spine.

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     For me, Guns N Roses has been one of my all-time favorite bands.  The artwork from Appetite For Destruction is engraved in my brain like it is 1987 again.  Guns N Roses is one of those bands that you always say to yourself…what could have been?  I have many favorite Guns N Roses songs that I enjoy hearing and they never get old.  However, the one song that always made a lasting impression on me and is my personal favorite is “Its So Easy.”  I even look at bands today that may be able to pull this cover off and I feel that Avenged Sevenfold could be the perfect choice.  If anyone is reading this and is friends with the band, tell them that would be an awesome addition to their next album.

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     For those of you that have never heard Typonegative…you have no idea what you are missing.  Typonegative was one of those Metal bands that shared many styles and meshed them together to form an awesome sound.  I would say that Typonegative was a clash between gothic/dark metal and progressive.  Former lead singer, Peter Steele, who has passed away was an extremely talented singer and songwriter.  Typonegative was short-lived and I wish they were still around because they were quite a band to see live.  The song I definitely would love to see covered is “Christian Woman.”  This song is an awesome tune that will bring chills to your spine.

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     Growing up in the eighties and nineties, Fuel was one of my favorite bands.  Fuel has since disappeared; however, they are returning shortly as they are in studio working on a new album.  There are many personal favorites that would be awesome to hear covered.  Some of these include ‘Shimmer”, “Bittersweet” and “Bad Day.”  However, if I had to pick one song that would be extremely fulfilling to hear covered it would be “Jesus or a Gun.”  I even think the perfect band to cover this would be BuckCherry.

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     When everyone thinks of the most popular Glam Metal Bands of the Eighties, they think Motley Crue, Poison, Warrant, Quiet Riot, Twisted Sister, Cinderella, Stryper etc.  However, growing up, my personal favorite was RATT.  RATT had an excellent set of musicians, Warren Demartini may be one of the most underrated guitarists of all-time.  When you think RATT, the two songs that come to mind are “Round and Round” and “Lay it Down.”  But if i would want to hear one of their songs covered it would definitely be “Body Talk.”  When I hear Body Talk the adrenaline rush I get is amazing.  Just listen to the song and it immediately brings me to the scene in Karate Kid, where the main character is in his fast car with the girl.

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     Wow, this for me is the most difficult of all because Megadeth is my all-time favorite band.  I own every album, DVD, book, and tons of merchandise.  I even own a Dave Mustaine signature guitar.  All my fans know my fascination with Megadeth, so this would definitely be my hardest to pick.  However, I do have a song in mind that is underrated.  It may not be one of their greatest hits, but it surely kicks ass with Megadeth’s throttle tempo.  Its a song that has always done it for me.  The song is called “Scorpion”, and its off of The System Has Failed album.  I have never even heard this song live but I always request it at every live show that I attend.  Maybe someday, some band somewhere will bring this track to the forefront.

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     What fun would this post be without me including a local band.  Overkill in my mind makes the Big 6, behind Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax, and Testament.  Overkill has never went mainstream and has been pounding out aggressive thrash metal for over 30 Years.  Overkill has had many successful albums as well as singles.  For me, I would love to hear the song “Solitude” covered.  Solitude is featured on the album Horroscope, one of Overkills greatest pieces.  Solitude is as close to a ballad as you can get from one of Metal’s pure thrash kings.

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     Metal Church, another 80’s Thrash Giant, just released Generation Nothing, which I voted as my #1 Metal Album release of 2013.  Metal Church, through all of the lineup changes has always been an awesome metal force in the metal community.  As I look at their catalog, there are so many songs that I would love to hear.  However, the song that comes most to mind, is the self-titled “Metal Church”.  The song Metal Church is heavy before its time and I could see a band like Lamb of God cranking the song up as if it were on steroids.

Ok, my list could go on and on forever.  I could probably write a novel of all the music that I would love to hear covered.  However, I would be grey and old by that time.  Oh yeah thats right…I am old.  Anyone that remembers these bands is an old head lol.  So, what are your favorite bands?  What songs would you love to hear covered.  Cover Music will continue to be an important part of the Metal Community forever.  As I am writing this, many other tunes are coming to mind.  Iron Maiden-Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter, Stryper-To Hell With the Devil, Motley Crue-Too Young to Fall in Love, ok…stop Bird…you are getting off track.  Ok, so we are seven days from Christmas, what albums have you asked for this season.  In my next post, I will feature some of the most anticipated album releases of 2014.  Until next time…enjoy your Thursday.  ROCK ON and LONG Live METAL!

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TOP 10 METAL ALBUMS 2013

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As 2013 comes to a close, it is time to rate the Top 10 Metal Albums of this year.  As I have mentioned so often before, there are so many styles of Heavy Metal, too many to possibly cover all genres.  For purposes of this piece, we will be looking at Heavy Metal (Thrash, Speed, Power, Modern, Hardcore).  Death Metal and other variations will not be looked at when picking the Top Albums.  Those albums may be discussed at a later date.  Before we get to my list, let us take a look back to 2012 and some of the music that was released last year and some of the most anticipated Metal Albums.

2012 was a very busy year in the Heavy Metal community.  Lamb of God released “Resolution” in January.  Resolution was the followup album to Wrath, which was one of Lamb of God’s best releases yet.  In March 2012, Impending Doom released “Baptized in Faith” and Soulfly countered with “Enslaved.”  Overkill, part of the “Big Six” released “The Electric Age”, its second album in successive years.  The Band Accept showed the world “Stalingrad.”  My favorite album that was released in 2012 was Testament’s “Dark Roots of Earth.”    Testament went the extra mile on this album and even covered a few songs from other popular bands including Iron Maiden’s “PowerSlave.”  This was Testament’s best album in years and my personal favorite.  Kreator released “Phantom Antichrist” and HellYeah released “Band of Brothers.”  As I Lay Dying put out “Awakened.”  The most anticipated album of the year was SoundGarden’s “King Animal”, which marked the return of the original band lead by Chris Cornell.

2013 was an even better year for Heavy Metal Music.  There were many new releases as well as compilations and movie soundtracks.  Def Leppard released Viva Hysteria, which was a CD/DVD combo that included a concert in Vegas that Def Leppard played in the Summer.  Iron Maiden also released Maiden England and Judas Priest released Epitaph.  Both of these were live concerts on DVD and also included a jacket chronicling both bands history.  Well here we are, I am now ready to give you my Top 10 Metal Albums of 2013.  Without further a due, here are my TOP 10.

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STRYPER (NO MORE HELL TO PAY)

On November 5th, Stryper released their first studio album in over fifteen years.  This album is actually very underrated.  No More Hell to Pay really showcases Stryper’s talent as a Metal Band, albeit Christian Metal.  The lead singer Michael Sweet is extremely dynamic on the album as he hits a wide range in tone and ferocity.  The album starts out with the track “Revelation” which is self explanatory.  The album then stars the Title Track “No More Hell to Pay” which is similar to the epic hit To Hell With the Devil.  This track laments Strypers musical talents al the way across the board and the guitar solos are off the hook and plentiful.  Stryper also covers the popular gospel song, “Jesus is Just Alright” which was originally recorded but the Byrds and more recently by the Doobie Brothers.  No More Hell to Pay rounds out Number Ten on this list.

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MEGADETH (SUPER COLLIDER)

Super Collider is Megadeth’s 14th Studio Album and was the followup to Thirteen which was also produced by Johnny K.  This album is actually the first from Megadeth to be released on Dave Mustaine’s own label.  The album debuted at #6 on the Billboard 200, which was actually the highest for any Megadeth album since Youthanasia.  “Kingmaker” is the first and best track on the album.  Megadeth also covers the Thin Lizzy hit “Cold Sweat”.  David Dramain also makes a guest appearance on one of the tracks.  Unfortunately, despite selling over 80,000 copies of the album thus far, it has received mostly criticism.

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KILLSWITCH ENGAGE (DISARM THE DESCENT)

Disarm the Descent is the sixth studio album for the Metalcore Band Killswitch Engage.  The album was released in April 2013 and is the first album to feature Jesse Leech on vocals since 2002.  “The Hell in Me” and “Beyond the Flames” are both huge hits.  In the albums first week, it reached #7 on the Billboard 200 as well as #1 on the Hard Rock Album Chart.  This was the band’s first studio album since 2009 with their self titled album.  Killswitch Engage definitely cracks the Top 10 with this masterpiece.

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SEVENDUST (BLACKOUT THE SUN)

Blackout the Sun is Sevendust’s Ninth Studio Album and first since 2010.  This album is a darker vibe that still produces Sevendust’s classic melodies.  It has even been described as being a Greatest Hits album of songs never heard before.  Most popular Reviews gave this album 5 Stars out of 5.  The album begins with a ballad instrumental “Memory” and then continues on with an all out onslaught of good song after good song.  For those of you that have never heard Sevendust, Blackout the Sun is a must for your archives.

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ALICE IN CHAINS (THE DEVIL PUT DINOSAURS HERE)

The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here is the 5th Studio Album for the band Alice In Chains.  This album is the followup to Black Gives Way to Blue.  The album was actually put on hold for some time after guitarist Jerry Cantrell had shoulder surgery.  The album peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200.  The best songs on the album (all released as singles) are “Hollow”, “Stone” and “Voices”.  The album also made #1 on the US Top Hard Rock Albums.

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BLACK SABBATH (13)

13 was Black Sabbath’s first studio album since 1995’s “Forbidden.”  13 marks the return of the original Sabbath lineup with Ozzy Osbourne.  The album sold 155,000 copies in its first week of release and reached #1 on the Billboard 200.  This album was unexpectedly brilliant, harmonic, In the second week of release, the album fell to the 5th spot on the charts.  “End of the Beginning” and “God is Dead” are classic Sabbath dark riffs.  Black Sabbath has even toured around the entire continent in support of the new album.  The song “Zeigeist” is like a modern day version of “Planet Caravan”. “God is Dead” has the same style as “War Pigs”.  This album is classic Sabbath at it’s BEST.

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METALLICA (THROUGH THE NEVER)

Through the Never is the live interactive album that lets you know that Metallica is Truly Back.  For those of you that have not heard the album as of yet, I suggest you go buy it.  And after you listen to the CD, go see the 3D Movie.  You will definitely have a greater appreciation for one of the World’s most famous bands.  I kind of liken the movie to Pink Floyd’s The Wall.  The only difference is that they merge the story with a live concert.

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AVENGED SEVENFOLD-AX7 (HAIL TO THE KING)

Hail to the King is Avenged Sevenfold’s greatest piece of work to date.  This is their sixth studio album and is the first album that does not contain any contributions from the late Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan, their talented drummer that passed away a few years back.  Arin llJay is the new drummer and he actually joined the band during the previous tour and was good enough to remain in the band.  Hail to the King has enjoyed both critical and commercial success reaching #1 on the Billboard 200 in America as well as topping the charts in the U.K.  In this album, the Band goes back to an old school metal approach instead of their usual complicated metal core style.  The album received “generally favorable” reviews.  Unfortunately, they mimicked the styles of Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Guns N Roses, Metallica and Pantera so well that many believe they lost their own “metal identity.”  Nonetheless, the album is a Bad Ass, in your face metal onslaught that goes from opening to close like a book.  I highly recommend this album for any true old school Metal Fan.

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VOLBEAT (OUTLAW GENTLEMAN & SHADY LADIES)

For those of you that are not familiar with the band, Volbeat, you really don’t know what you are missing.  Volbeat is a Danish Metal Band that was formed in Copenhagen, Denmark.  Outlaw Gentleman and Shady Ladies is the fifth studio album released by the band and is by far their BEST!  The album features 14 Tracks, including 2 Tracks with guest singers.  “Room 24” is a Metal Classic and features King Diamond in a special guest appearance.  “Lonesome Rider” features Sarah Blackwood.  Volbeat is known for their fusion of Metal, classic Rock, Heavy Metal and Groove Metal.  The new album stays true to form, but Volbeat takes it to the next level.  This is also the 1st album with Lead Guitarist, Rob Caggiano, formerly of Anthrax.  My personal favorites on the album are “Lola Montez” and “The Hangman’s Body Count.”  “Room 24” is also BADASS.  Volbeat was very close to Number One, but their is one album that I rate higher.

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METAL CHURCH (GENERATION NOTHING)

Most of you are probably like, “who the hell is Metal Church?”  Well Metal Church is an American Heavy Metal Band that was formed in 1980, in San Francisco California.  Their first album, “Metal Church” was formed in 1984.  Kurt Vanderhoof, the lead guitarist is the only member that has stood the test of time.  Metal Church has had three lead singers: David Wayne (The Original-He has since passed away), Mike Howe, and now Ronny Munroe.  The band has had multiple breakups and their last album was “This Present Wasteland”.  This Present Wasteland was their Ninth Studio Album and was a major disappointment.  The band broke up after this and the future of Metal Church was bleak.  That was until this past years, when a few of the Band Members bumped into each other and collaborated on the new album. This album has zero filler and keeps you completely on edge.  The album has received a 4/5 on every major review.  From the first song “Bullet Proof” to the last track “Media Horse”, Metal Church pounds out awesome music.  Ronny Munroe has a tremendous voice and he kills the lyrics.  This is just one of those rare albums that has every song as a hit.  There is no drop off.  Seriously, if you have not heard the album, buy it.  If I am wrong, I will refund your money.

HONORABLE MENTION:

Bullet For My Valentine- Temper/Temper, Device-Device, Hatebreed-The Divinity of Purpose, Anthrax-Anthems (Cover Album), Ugly Kid Joe (Stairway to Hell E.P.), Queensryche- Both with Geoff Tate and without, Skid Row-United World Rebellion Chpt.1, Children of Bodom-Halo of Blood, Five Finger Death Punch-The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Motorhead-Aftershock, Trivium-Vengeance Falls.

So this was my Top 10 Heavy Metal Albums of 2013.  Who is yours.  And we have a lot to look forward to in 2014.  Until next time, this has been your host “DA BIRD,” HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL MY FANS!

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MEGADETH/IRON MAIDEN DUO

Megadeth and Iron Maiden are Co-Headlining a select tour to a few cities across the United States. Whoever is lucky enough to be in a city where this show is playing is in for a treat. Iron Maiden is still kicking ASS to this day. They probably bring more energy to a show than any other band. And then we have Megadeth, who continues to improve every year. Megadeth has become a Top Notch Metal band!

Dave Mustaine and Bruce Dickinson both bring excitement to the front man position. These two bands together is an excellent opportunity for any die hard Metal fans. This tour is going on through September and follows Megadeth’s Gigantour that was the biggest show this summer. Anyone that had a chance to go…I urge you to pay the money to see two of the best metal bands today play together. I wish I had the chance! ROCK ON FOLKS!

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SABBATH BLOODY SATURDAY

Well it’s Saturday, August 11th! Tonight, Black Sabbath comes to Philly and the Wells Fargo Center to continue their Summer Sabbath Tour. I must say, when I found out that I had an opportunity to attend this show I was ecstatic. For me this is a once in a lifetime opportunity that probably will never come again.

First of all, I have never saw Black Sabbath live. Secondly, I have never saw Ozzy live so this will be a first on both ends! Wow!!! I am so stoked about this show! As a true Metal Head…I consider Black Sabbath as the forefathers of Heavy Metal. Basically all of the music I listen to now has some type of link to Sabbath. To have the chance of a lifetime to see this band is an honor for me.

I am not sure what to expect as far as a set list, but I am sure they will do a variety of their hits, music from their latest studio album, and maybe some Ozzy classics! I must say, when I first purchased 13…I was not sure what to expect as far as the sound and the skill of the album. Well, anyone that has heard this album has to admit that this is “CLASSIC” Sabbath at its best with the heavy power chords, dark sound, and Iommi’s signature solos!

The only white elephant of this opportunity is the absence of former drummer Bill Ward. It really is ashamed. When you have a band of this Caliber and legend, you really would hope to see the entire original group. However, I will take what I can get. I hope to hear some songs from the DIO era…not sure what the chances of that are. However, this is going to be a Great Day in my life and I will be able to say that I saw the Fathers of Metal live!

I can’t wait to hear the classics…”War Pigs, Paranoid, Black Sabbath, Sweet Leaf, NIB, Lord of this World, Iron Man, Solitude, Children of the Grave…the list goes on and on. Well, the show starts at 7 so we are t minus 10 Hours and counting! I am sure the place will be rocking and there is going to be a certain aura in the air! Anyways, I will provide a review of the show tomorrow. I hope to see Eddie Trunk and the rest of That Metal Show cast. Till next time…”Rock on Droogies”. I AM IROoOOON MaaaN!

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GIGANTOUR GIANT SUCCESS

Dave Mustaine has always been a great talent evaluator, but this year he really has hit a grand slam. Megadeth, who has once again revived the Gigantour “Tour” a few years back after a hiatus are taking the world by storm. After releasing End Game a few years back…they followed that album with Thirteen…which was a HUGE success. Then in early June…they released their brand new album Super Collider.

Many people (I call these the unknowing and non intelligent Megadeth Fans) have given this album bad reviews. I have heard many people saying…oh it’s a great album and all but it’s NOT Megadeth. Well, I am very critical of this band since they have always been one of my FAVS! I totally disagree with these bad reviews. In my opinion…Super Collider may be the best “all around” album since “The World Needs a Hero”. By this I am not judging the album on how heavy it is. I am judging it by the production, the variety, and the tightness of the sound.

Anyways, As Megadeth comes back with a vengeance, they have brought back Gigantour. The 2013 version may be the best yet. On the bill, Death Division, Jason Newstead, Device, Black Label Society, Hell Yeah, and of course Megadeth. Now there are also a few stops on this tour that include even more bands but that is for the lucky ones.

I must say, the only band on this list that I have a ton of knowledge and listening minutes under my belt about is Black Label Society, who I have always been a huge fan due to Zack Wylde. However, as I have begun to listen to these other bands…they all have one thing in common. They are all “BAD ASS!” By this, I mean great Guitarists, star drummers and bassists, and kick ass vocalists.

Let us do a quick review of each band. First we have Death Division…a new up and coming Metal band. They combine all types of metal into one great sound. Their lead singer, Sean De La Tour, hits many ranges! Then we have Jason Newstead. Everyone recognizes this name right? Yes the former bassist of Metallica! Wow! Well he has now put together his own band and they have become very successful. I highly recommend them for any Metal Head!

Device is a band that is made up of a few pieces from other bands, most notably the singer David Draiman from Disturbed. Device has mostly new material but they also do a “Kick Ass” cover of Ozzy/Lita Ford’s If I Close My Eyes Forever! Draiman has also teamed up with Dave Mustaine on Megadeth’s new album on two songs…”Forget to Remember and Dance in the Rain.” Draiman has definitely grown as an artist as well as a lead vocalist. It’s actually cool to see him doing background vocals with his Original sound.

Then we have Black Label Society! For those of you who have never heard BLS…be prepared to be blown away. Zack Wylde is probably in the Top Five Guitarists in the past 20 years if you want my opinion. Some of the material he puts out is utterly amazing! In fact, I keep hoping he will join forces with PANTERA and reunite the Star Band! Anyways, Black Label Society is an in YOUR FACE metal band that keeps it simple!

Then, we have Hell Yeah! Hell Yeah consists of Chad Gray and Gregg Tribbett from Mudvayne, Damage Plan and Pantera’s drummer Vinnie Paul and Bassist Bob Zilla and Nothingface Guitarist Tom Maxwell. Any PANTERA fan will love this band. Of course Tribbett and Maxwell are not DIMEBAG Darrell, but they play similar styles. Chad Grey provides phenomenal vocals!

Finally, we have the Headliners Megadeth! They don’t need any introduction as you all know them! In that note…go see the TOUR! You may be lucky and get them on a night where they all join forces. So far, on 3 of their stops all of the bands joined forces on Megadeth’s cover of the Thin Lizzy classic “Cold Sweat”! Look it up on YOU TUBe!!! Stellar! Epic! See you at the show!

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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

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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