THURSDAY SPOTLIGHT: JUDAS PRIEST

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     Black Sabbath deserves all of the credit for being the Grandfathers and ForeFathers of Heavy Metal.  However, Judas Priest can be seen as the Godfathers of modern day metal.  Judas Priest brought metal to a new level with the dual thrashing guitar playing of KK Downing and and Glen Tipton.  Priest was formed in 1969 in Birmingham England.  Not only was their music loud, but it was mind blowing.  Rob Halford, arguably the best Heavy Metal vocalist in History has that raging voice as well as the stage presence to make fans lose their shit.  As of today, Priest has sold over 50 Million Albums worldwide and that number rises everyday as youngsters become enamored with a band that has been in existence almost 45 Years.  Their most notable lineup was Rob Halford (Vocals), Dave Holland (Drums), Ian Hill (Bass), and KK Downing/Glenn Tipton (Lead Guitar).  Their release of “British Steel” in 1980 was what personified what we know of today as modern day Heavy Metal.

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     Judas Priest has gone through a few lineup changes and even went through a period of time where Rob Halford left the band for his own solo projects including the band “Fight” and “Halford”.  However, in 1995, the band got together in a small kitchen in Birmingham, England, their birthplace.  They were discussing the release of their new box set when they also made a decision to reunite.  You know that moment when heavy metal fans get chills down their spine when they realize their favorite band is having a reunion.  We have saw it with KISS, AC/DC, even the Rolling Stones.  Well that emotion was felt by many when Priest announced to the world that they would be releasing a new album…”Angel of Retribution.”  Fittingly, the first track on the new album was “Judas is Rising.”  When you hear the song live, it really brings chills to the bone.

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     If you are a Heavy Metal fan and you have never saw Judas Priest live you have missed out tremendously.  Judas Priest has released 16 Studio Albums as of now and are currently working on a new album due out sometime in 2014.  The Priest as they are also referred to have been one of the most successful heavy metal bands of all time.  Their most recent material was the album Nostradamus, which is a concept album about the life of Nostradamus who was one of the most famous prophets in history who has predicted many life changing events on earth.  The album features 23 songs.  The first disc focuses on his life and predictions and the second disc focuses on his life, after being exiled and his death.  It covers how mankind had saw how right he was on his predictions after death.  The band even used keyboards, synthesizers and choirs which was extremely new to their repertoire.  NOSTRADAMUS did not have the critical success that was expected, but nonetheless this album is extremely powerful.  Shut the lights out one night, pop in the CD and kickback and listen and you will see what I mean.

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     The band is currently working on their 17th Studio album, which is due out later this year.  KK Downing has retired, but the band has not lost anything with newcomer Richie Faulkner.  If you do not believe me, check out their latest live DVD, Epitaph which has 23 live tracks spanning their entire career.  Epitaph was recorded at the Hammersmith Apollo, London on May 26th, 2012.  The DVD was released as both a normal version and Blu Ray.  I highly recommend this DVD for any METAL Fan.  Especially any newcomers that may have never witnessed Judas Priest live.  Judas Priest is absolutely amazing and their music is even more special.

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      So as we go forward on this Thursday, let us remember the influence that Judas Priest has had on all of our favorite Metal Bands.  Every band that joins today wishes they could be the next Judas Priest.  However, there is only ONE Judas Priest.  Rob Halford in my opinion is the greatest vocalist of all time.  I have blogged about this in the past when I did my TOP 50 Metal Vocalists of all time.  You can also check that out in the archives.  I easily place Priest in the TOP 5 Metal Bands of all time along with Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Metallica, and AC/DC.  So, if you are bored and looking for a change, go to ITUNEs and download some Priest.  Also…Don’t forget to check out Philly’s hottest Internet Radio Station going…PHILLY ROCK RADIO.  Also check out their website.  You will be entertained I promise.  Until next time, this is JJ Rock saying goodbye.

 

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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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NATIONAL METAL DAY 2013

Image     Hey folks…Today is National Metal Day.  Looking back at 2013 so far, the greatest loss to the Metal Community this year was the passing of Jeff Hanneman (49 Years Old), the famous guitarist in the band Slayer.  I remember I was at work when I heard about the passing of this great guitar player.  It was very sad news as Slayer has always been one of my favorite Metal Bands.  Slayer’s latest album “The World Painted Blood”, may have been their best ever produced album and Hanneman was responsible for writing most of the material.  As a veteran Metal Head, this is a very special day for me as well as many of you.  Of course, I will spend my day jamming all of my favorite bands and enjoying the Music that has been the soundtrack of my life.

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     For any Def Leppard fans, I highly recommend their latest release of Viva Hysteria in Las Vegas.  This deluxe set includes 2 Live CD’s from their performance in their Vegas Rock Stand as well as a DVD of their entire Hysteria album live.  I am a huge Def Leppard fan and have always been enamored by their Greatness.  However, these past few years their sound quality has not been as good as Joe Elliot seemed to have lost his voice.  Well, I must say that this performance is truly epic.  First of all, I remember when Hysteria was first released.  I probably listened to the album 30x the first day I purchased the CD…lol.  I also remember reading the jacket and admiring the artwork.  When Hysteria was released, the Band hit a Grand Slam.  This album was highly anticipated as it took over three years to produce.  “Viva Hysteria” is the Hysteria album in its entirety.  Well, from the opening song “Women” to the final tune “Love and Affection” this is the best Def Leppard has sounded in forever.  Vivian Campbell and Phil Collen are brilliant as is Drummer Rick Savage and Rick Allen their bassist.  However, the biggest surprise on the album is how good Joe Elliot sounds.  Its almost like he is a new person.  Trust me, this is a must see performance for any Metal Fans.

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     Megadeth and Iron Maiden both continue their World Tours.  Megadeth, after taking a break to do the “Countdown to Extinction Live” Tour is back on the road promoting their latest album Super Collider.  They even hooked up with Iron Maiden on a few shows out west this past summer and fall.  One show had Death Angel, Testament, Overkill, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Anthrax, Slayer, and Megadeth.  Now, that must have been some show!!  Anyways, Iron Maiden continues to be beasts on Tour, even at their ripe old age.  Bruce Dickinson has to be one of the most energetic Front Men in Metal, even to this day.  Dave Mustaine has signed up for an opportunity to do a solo album with an orchestra.  I am so looking forward to that.  Also, Bassist David Elleffson has released an autobiography.  I have not read the book yet; however, I am planning on picking it up very soon.  Some other good books that came out recently is Rex Brown’s new book which chronicles the end times of Pantera.  

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     Avenged Sevenfold (AX7), recently released their newest album “Hail to the King.”  For those of you that are not familiar with any of Avenged material, I highly suggest purchasing some of their albums.  In reality, it was going to be hard for AX7 to out due their past album “Nightmare”, which was a multi-platinum giant.  However, the Band has managed to go one step further.  Their latest release, “Hail to the King” is a masterpiece.  The first leg of their tour went across the nation and they also had guests Device, Five Finger Death Punch, and Def Tones.  They are now currently touring Europe.  “Hail to the King” sold a very impressive 159,000 copies during the first week of release.  The album stormed to Number #1 on the Billboard 200 as well.  Of course, there are many naysayers that feel that Avenged Sevenfold is not original an that they steal riffs from other great bands.  I have to disagree totally.  Although many of the new songs on the album mirror other great bands such as Guns N Roses, Metallica, Megadeth and Iron Maiden, the production level is top notch.  And may I ask, what is wrong with creating material that is driven from some of the greatest Metal Bands ever.  The album also has a Black Sabbath feel to it at some points.  At any rate, this was a great release, and along with Volbeat, these are my two favorite albums of 2013 so far. 

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     Speaking of Black Sabbath, the Grandfathers of Metal released a new album in 2013 called ironically, “13”.  Well, as far as the album goes, the material was probably some of their most dynamic since back in the DIO years.  Everyone has their favorite Black Sabbath lineup, mine is surprisingly with Ronnie James Dio at the helm.  Dio in my mind is a way better vocalist than Ozzy.  Ozzy may be a better stage presence, however I like music for the lyrics and vocals.  So, I am more of a fan with Sabbath with Dio.  However, their best albums have come from the classic lineup of Ozzy, Geezer, Iommi, and Ward.  Their new album goes back to the roots of Sabbath and has an extremely dynamic sound.  The band was able to make Ozzy’s voice appear like he was 21 again.  I love the new album, if you have not heard it pick it up!

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      The popular Christian Metal band, Stryper has also released their first new album in fifteen years.  Their new album is titled “No More Hell To Pay.”  Michael Sweet has always been one of the greatest vocalists to take the stage.  Stryper has some awesome material and this album is their heaviest in years.  To me, this album goes back to the roots, like their well known track “To Hell With the Devil.”  I have sampled the album and I give it an 8/10 rating.  Michael Sweet has not lost a step and the rest of the band is at the top of its game.  Oz Fox is brilliant with his guitar playing.  Although Stryper has always fit in the Progresive Metal category, this album is a more classic metal sound.  The guitar work is excellent and there are many impressive riffs.

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     Metal Church has also released a new album titled “Generation Nothing.”  This may sound crazy, but in my opinion this is their best Metal album ever.  Although, this is the band’s 3rd Lineup, I feel that this album is top notch from start to finish.  Every song on the album could easily be a hit.  Seriously, check out this one, I promise that you will not be disappointed.  The opening track “Bullet Proof” is a thrash style punk metal riff that rips open the album.  “Dead City” and “Generation Nothing” are hard anthem type Metal songs.  Then the Fourth Track, “Noises in the Wall” uses a ton of bridges, hooks, and even has some unique change ups, kind of like Metallica used to do in their early albums.  My favorite two songs on the album are “Suiciety” and “Hits Keep Coming” which are both hard and fast and rock your core.  The finale’, “The Media Horse” portrays a realistic viewpoint on how the media of today has stained American Life.  Metal Church is underrated in my mind and they are one of the forgotten thrash metal bands of the eighties era.

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    In conclusion, I would like to take a close look at the icon Tim “Ripper” Owens.  Most people recognize Owens as the vocalist that took over for Rob Halford of “Judas Priest”, when Rob left the band.  This is true, and the movie Rockstar was loosely based on the story of Tim Owens.  However, Tim Owens is much more than just “that guy.”  Tim Owens was born in 1967.  He is currently a solo artist, but he also does some guest appearances with “Beyond fear” and “Charred Walls of the Damned.”  He has also recently done work with “Dio’s Disciples” and Yngwie Malmsteen’s “Rising Force.”

     Tim Owens began his stardom in the British cover band “British Steel” a tribute band that did Judas Priest cover songs.  In 1996, Owens went from a fan to being the Lead Singer of Judas Priest.  He was actually nominated for a Grammy Award for the song “Bullet Train” from the album Jugulator but lost to Metallica’s Better than You.  In 2003, Halford reunited with Priest and Owens quickly jumped into the band “Iced Earth” as their lead singer Matt Barlow.  His career with Iced Earth was short lived and included two albums.  I am a huge Iced Earth fan and although I love Matt Barlow, I must say that the band sounded at its best behind Owens.  Tim has started his own cover bar named Tim Owens Tap House, which is a World renowned Eater and Music Bar and Restaurant.  The bar is currently located in Akron, Ohio.  Tim Owens is a legend, just because of his story and the way he became famous.  Not to mention, he is an incredible talent as far as a vocalist.

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******ROCK ON METAL HEADS!!!! HAPPY NATIONAL METAL DAY….KEEP THE METAL ALIVE!!!  Stay tuned for more great posts…until next time Y!

BLACK SATURDAY A HIT

     Black Sabbath visited Philadelphia last night at the Wells Fargo Center.  Not only was this a big deal…as the last time they played together as the original unit…Ozzy had to sit out sick while Judas Priest “Rock God” Rob Halford killed every song without missing a beat.  There will never be a doubt or an argument that Rob Halford is a way better vocalist than Ozzy, even in Ozzy’s hey day.  However, this was my first Sabbath show EVER including the DIO era.  I have also never saw Ozzy Osbourne live.  

     Anyways, considering the year is 2013 and the band is over 45 years into existence…it was an AMAZING experience to see the Forefathers of Heavy Metal Music in action.  Their set list included 17 songs, even four from the new studio album 13.  I don’t care how horrible Ozzy’s voice may be (Years and Years of Drugs, Alcohol, and vocal abuse)…the experience was once in a lifetime for me and I am glad that I was able to see them, as it may be their very last tour.  Of course, never say never to a band that I never thought could take the stage let alone put out a brand new full length studio album.  13 may be one of this band’s best all around albums due to the technology of today.  

     Nonetheless, the band began with the EPIC “WAR PIGS”…as the sirens were blaring and the strobe lights were flaring!  Ozzy welcomed Philly with his calling card HAHAHA evil sounding laugh that only Ozzy can pull off.  Yes, the band did drop down on many of the songs  as far as tuning goes, but it still sounded masterful.  I was extremely curious how the band would sound without one of its core members, drummer Bill Ward.  However, Tommy Clufetos from Rob Zombie and Ted Nugent was absolutely STELLAR!!! He actually did an over eight minute drum solo that rocked the crowd.  

     Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler were both at their absolute BEST.  The setlist was as follows: War Pigs, Into the Void, Under the Sun/Every Day Comes and Goes, Snowblind, Age of Reason, Black Sabbath, Behind the Wall of Sleep, N.I.B., End of the Beginning, Fairies Wear Boots, Rat Salad, “Drum Solo”, Iron Man, God is Dead, Dirty Women, Children of the Grave, and an encore with the Sabbath Bloody Sabbath Intro into Paranoid!  Not bad, seventeen songs for just over a two hour show for one of Metal’s epic bands ever.  The show opened with Andrew WK who mostly whooed the crowd with many Metal Classics.  I am not just saying this, but I thought Ozzy sounded better than I have heard him in years, although he was off tune quite a bit.  

     I will say this, I was shocked that the band did not play “Sweet Leaf”, as I must admit I never smelled the aroma of green as much at a single concert as I did last night.  The entire show was a blast and I will never forget seeing the band that started it all for me and everything music that I enjoy.  At least now I can say, I SAW BLACK SABBATH…well at least 3/4.  It would have been nice to see Bill Ward but unfortunately even the best fight in time.  Greed does not discriminate.  Oh well, Tommy was AWESOME!  Any of my fans that are reading this, I strongly suggest that you attend an upcoming SABBATH show as they ROCKED the HOUSE.  Also, I have put four of their videos on YOU TUBE for your viewing pleasure.  In conclusion, BLACK SABBATH was way better than I expected and I feel like I have visited the Holy Grail of Heavy Metal.  Until next time….Children…Children…children…children of the Grave.ImageImage

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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CRASH COURSE IN METAL: MY HEAVY METAL JOURNEY

     For most of you that know me…Metal Music is a passion for me.  As a 37 Year Old, I have pretty much lived through every Heavy Metal genre besides the very beginning.  Its funny because in my current career…I see many young kids that have once again chose Metal as their passion.  For awhile, it may have seemed that Metal was on its decline…but any sort of thought has been blown up like a bomb in Baghdad.  Heavy Metal is once again on a DRAMATIC rise and there is no sign of this phenomenon going away.  In Fact, although Metal may never reach the peak that it did during the mid eighties to early nineties when different forms of the music grew offspring.

     During the mid seventies to the early eighties, Heavy Metal began to form a pillar of Iron.  Beginning with Black Sabbath, the “God Father’s of Metal” in just about anyone’s opinion…Heavy Metal began to branch out with light speed.  During the late seventies and early eighties…the British wave of Heavy Metal was taking the world by storm.  I was only four years old in 1980…but I can still remember when AC/DC released “Back in Black.”  My father made such a big deal about buying that album.  It marked the return of the band, after parting ways with Bon Scott and the emergence of Brian Johnson as it’s frontman.  At that time, I didn’t know what Heavy Metal was or even had a clue what the different styles of music were.  Bands such as Iron Maiden, KISS, Judas Priest, DIO Motorhead,Van Halen, Def Leppard and many more began to make waves in America as well as Europe.  

     For the sake of not making this a boring drawn out history lesson, I am not going to get anymore into the definition or roots of metal.  All that I know is, my first Metal album was “Appetite For Destruction” by Guns N Roses in 1987.  I was merely an eleven year old kid trying to find my way through this ever changing world.  Guns N Roses quickly became my first “favorite” band.  I quickly began to build a collection of audio cassette tapes, as CD’s were not out yet.  My catalog spread like a disease and I soon had over Forty Tapes.  At that time, I was still in Christian School, so this type of music was frowned upon.  Pretty soon, my mom stumbled upon my collection, and soon my set morphed into a measly five tapes, as my mom threw the other thirty-five out.  I couldn’t believe it…it was like I lost my new best friend.  I would liken it to someone today being an avid face book junkie and then having it stripped away from them like a tornado.

     Anyways, as the years went by, CD’s were invented and became the popular choice for music fans.  Not only did my CD Catalog increase, my tastes in Metal Music filtered out and I was finding all of the traditional sub-genres of metal…British Heavy Metal, Thrash Metal, Glam Metal, Stoner Metal, Speed Metal, Power Metal, Alternative Metal, Industrial Metal, ETC.  The Sub-Genres continue to evolve to this day and I would not be able to tell you every one nor do I care.  I just know what I like.

     My first love was Glam Rock…beginning with Motley Crue, Poison, Twisted Sister, Quiet Riot, Warrant, RATT, Cinderella, Queensryche, WASP, Winger, Autograph, White Snake, Bon Jovi…the list is too long.  These were the bands that I could not get enough of.  I was mostly a Motley Crue and Poison fan but I developed a natural love for all of these bands as well as their CD’s.  During the same time, I was heavy into Van Halen, Def Leppard, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and AC/DC, Skid Row.  

     Then it happened…my neighborhood buddy introduced me to a band that I had never heard of and from there it was all over.  The band was Anthrax.  The CD was an EP “I’m the Man.”  And the song was “Im the Man”.  I can remember it like it was yesterday in his back yard.  We blared that CD over and over again.  After this, I became a THRASH METAL MANIAC.  I went out and bought every CD I could get my hands on.  I started with Megadeth “Countdown to Extinction.” and Metallica “Black Album.”  After this it was every Thrash Band…Testament, Slayer, Metal Church, OverKill, and like wise this list began to grow.  Then as the music continued to evolve…so did I.  Now I was listening to Alice In Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, Faith No More, Slipknot, Seven Dust.  I loved “everything” metal.  YES… I am and always will be a METAL HEAD as my friend Cheryl always reminds me.  However, this does not mean that I do not like other music.  I enjoy all types, including RAP, Classic, Blues, Country, basically anything that I can jam to.  But it always goes back to Metal.

     Then it was Nirvana, Pantera, God Smack, Hate Breed, Rage Against the Machine, Limp Bizkit, Machine Head, Typonegative, Killswitch Engage, Lamb of God, Disturbed, Death Angel, and Linkin Park.  Every year, I have developed new likes and dislikes as far as Metal Music.  However, I still traditionally am pulled to the Eighties/Nineties Glam/Speed/Thrash/Alternative categories.  Like today, I really enjoy the band VOLBEAT.  I also like Bullet For My Valentine, Avenged Sevenfold, Hell Yeah, Lacuna Coil, Black Label Society and many others.  However, its not a secret that “Early” metal is back on the rise.  I mean, Black Sabbath just released a brand new studio album “Thirteen” with three of the original members Ozzy, Geezer, and Iommi.  WOW!!! In case you have not heard this album…go get it now!  AWESOME!  KICK ASS!  BAD ASS!  These would be the adjectives I use to describe this new album.

     As of today, my CD collection stands at 545 CD’s and Counting.  I have another 3,000 songs on my IPOD/IPHONE.  Yes, I am a music junkie.  Although music is available at the touch of a button, I still enjoy purchasing CD’s because I like the artwork and reading the lyrics and credits…call me old fashioned.  I have started sets consisting of my favorite bands.  Right now, today I own every CD for the following bands: Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Slipknot, Testament, Iron Maiden, Alice In Chains, Anthrax, Bullet For My Valentine, Avenged Sevenfold, Skid Row, Motley Crue, Def Leppard, and Lamb of God.  I am always continuing to build on my sets.  The next set that I will have complete is Black Sabbath including all Ozzy and Dio releases.  I always forget bands when mentioning my favorites.  My all time favorite band is Megadeth for my own personal reasons.  However, I am a huge fan of all The Big Four Bands, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Guns N Roses.  I hold these bands at my highest standard.  The next would be on a step down.  I am loving all of these comeback tours and new studio albums.  Metal is alive and well Folks!  I see it out in the neighborhood.  I see it in the workplace.  Its showing in the schools.  Its everywhere!!!!!!  I also attribute the re emergence to Guitar Hero…the popular video game…MTV, VH1, Facebook, Pandora and all of the other music social media outlets.  Well, this was a quick path through my Heavy Metal journey.  I am sure we all have our own tales and war stories.  All of the albums, concerts, tours, festivals, etc.  Heavy Metal will always be one of my passions and music is one of my defining attributes.  Besides listening to music, I have this blog which I write about metal, I read all kinds of books, and I am even currently taking Guitar lessons.  I also write Lyrics.  Maybe I did miss my passion……..ImageImageImage

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

METAL MADNESS

The End of May Is approaching fast, and June is right around the corner. There are so many current events that are in full blown attack. We have the Jodi Arias Murder Trial, The George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case, the Ongoing War and Terror in Syria, the Obama Health Care Reform Referendum, The Oklohoma Tornado, the Boston Massacre II, and many other current events. The NHL is down to the Final Four after skipping half of a season. MLB is in full swing and this year it’s anyone’s crown. NFL training camp is also right around the corner.

However, there is nothing more vivid than the news and notes and stories coming out of the Heavy Metal Community. Alice In Chains just released their new album on Tuesday. Saturday is the debut of That Metal Show with a guest appearance from Vinnie Apiece. Then we have both Megadeth and Black Sabbath releasing brand new studio albums this Tuesday. Also, Gigantour, The Rock Star Energy Concert in California, The Metal Hall of Fame.

June will also see a new biography from Pantera, which will cover the career of the Super Bands journey, including the tragic death of its star guitarist, Dimebag Darrell. Judas Priest is releasing a Blu Ray DVD called “Epitaph” which will include 22 Tracks from their latest tour in Europe. We have Gigantour, Metallica’s 3D Movie, Rock Star Energy Show, as well as many other concerts. Pantera is also contemplating a reunion tour with star Guitarist Zack Wylde. There are so many stories that are about to arise in the Metal Community. Finally, we have many other new albums that are due out. Also, there will be many huge shows in 2013.

Slash is working on a new album, Slayer is still mourning the loss of their Star Guitarist, Jason Newsted is about to embark on tour with Metallica, so many stories…lets get excited Metal Fans! Let me see your Liighhhterrs! As Ozzy says it best!

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DIO: HEAVEN AND HELL

Ronnie James Dio is one of the Greatest Vocalists and front men to ever walk the stages in the Metal Kingdom. We all know that he is responsible for the Heavy Metal Horns Symbol. We also know him for his creative lyrics and his wide range of vocal chords which enable him to hit every note.

DIO had an extremely successful solo career making many masterpieces, the most famous of which was Holy Diver. He also had a very great period with Black Sabbath when he replaced the legend in his own right, Ozzy Osbourne. The first album released by Black Sabbath with Dio was Heaven and Hell. Heaven and Hell was an instant classic. I believe I have it ranked as the 3rd greatest Sabbath album of all time.

In 2009 Heaven and Hell released their only studio album as the Combination of Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler along with former front man Dio and his counterpart Vinny Appicie. The album was called The Devil You Know. For those Black Sabbath fans this is a must album for your collection. The Devil You Know is heavier than the last previous Sabbath album Dehumanizer.

Atom and Evil, Bible Black, Rock N Roll Screw, Eating the Cannibals, and. Follow The Tears are the best songs that were produced on the album. Follow the Tears is a cross between solo DIO and Black Sabbath mixed with an Ozzy vibe. This album is very underrated and is an excellent Metal album. This was one of Dio’s last studio material to come out before his untimely death. Dio has a way of bringing Sabbath to another level. There will always be the debate of who was a better singer for the band. I guess it’s safe to say DIO has a way better voice but Ozzy was the better frontman. After listening to The Devil You Know…you will not know the Difference Between Heaven and Hell and Black Sabbath.

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