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

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METAL MANIA

It has become an ongoing trend the past few years for bands that have not released new studio material in some time to get back in the grind to release new albums. Last year we saw SoundGarden, Aerosmith, KISS, Megadeth, Queensryche, Testament, Sevendust, and many other iconic bands release brand new studio albums. After listening to all of these new albums, there is one noticeable difference in the sound quality. Music Technology has hit a home run as these new albums that are being produced have such good sound quality.

It is 2013 already, and bands are already making their mark. Bullet For My Valentine released Temper Temper. This is their fourth full studio album, coming after Fever, Scream Aim Fire, and their first album The Poison. Although one may argue that Scream Aim Fire was their best all around album to date, Temper Temper does have that extra bump in sound quality that is being described. The one problem that arises with certain bands like Bullet, is that the style of music makes a lot of their material sound mundane.

BuckCherry also just released their new album “Confessions”. This album gets an 8/10 in my eyes. There is superb sound quality and they left their old label to reach new heights. This album has more of the raunchy feel of their very first album but also incorporates some new style. I highly recommend any one who enjoys straight in your face rock n roll to purchase this album. The first song Gluttony is an in your face onslaught about addiction. Nothing Left But Tears is my favorite track on the album. This album has a Velvet Revolver Billy Idol combination of sound.

Ok…these are just two examples of new albums that have been released in 2013. Anthrax will be releasing a new album at the end of March that is a compilation of Cover Songs from the sixties and seventies. This should be a true hit as Anthrax always has a way of making any song sound like their specific style. Michael Sweet has left Boston and has rejoined his original band Stryper, who will be releasing their first new Studio Album since 2009. The album is titled Second Coming and is said to sound like the original Stryper, adding some heavier riffs. This should also be a great addition to the 2013 release party.

Bon Jovi will be releasing a new studio album “What about Now” On March 11th. I have not been able to sample much of it, but the few songs I did hear sound like classic Bon Jovi, which is good considering they have become so mainstream.

The following bands will be releasing new studio albums in the coming months:
David Bowie, Clutch, Sevendust, Killswitch Engage, Paramore, Fallout Boy, Goo Goo Dolls, Switchfoot, Alice In Chains, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Megadeth, Avenged Sevenfold, Five Finger Death Punch, Iron Maiden, Limp Bizkit, Motörhead, Pearl Jam, Sixx Am, Suicidal Tendencies, and Volbeat are all slated for new albums in 2013.

Slayer is working on new material which could also make the 2013 cut. No matter what, it should be a great year for Rock N Roll/Heavy Metal Fans. Keep supporting Metal and be sure to watch That Metal Show every week with Eddie Trunk. There is great material each week and plenty of guest appearances from the band members we have grown to love. There are also many up and coming bands that are making their way to the spotlight. My friend Mario’s band Red Carpet Masquerade is a band to keep an eye on in 2013! Long Live Metal! Rock on Folk

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80’s HAIR METAL TOP BANDS

Ok. Well anyone between the ages of 30-40 could debate this topic endlessly. Everyone of us is familiar with the 80’s Hair Metal Era…which had it’s high point from 1985-1992. For the sake of staying true to this music genre…Guns N Roses did not fit into this category as they created their own category. I point this out because if they were in the category…they would be the unanimous pick. Van Halen is also not in this group because they were in a league of their own. Wether the bands were around long term or only had a few albums….here is my Top 10. I obviously hope that we can have some fun with this topic and I look forward to other people’s picks. Without further adue…here is my Top 10:
10) Ugly Kid Joe- Although they only produced a few albums…they make my list as they also mad my top 10 underrated metal bands list. UKJ were a phenomenal talent and they came around at the end of the scene when Hair Metal was at it’s decline. However, UKJ did very well with it’s album sales and also garnered a large fan base. If UKJ had been around longer…they may have very well been the Number1 Pick here. I’m sure everyone remember’s their Number One Single…”Hate Everything About You.”
9) Dokken- Dokken may have been higher on my list but they did not receive the mainstream popularity that other bands on this list did and that is one of the criteria to make this list. Dokken did however have a huge fan base…especially women and did manage to produce some major hit singles. Their guitar Work was brilliant and they did do well on tour.
8) RATT- This band was one of the First 80’s Hair Bands to make it big and they were also underrated in the mainstream community. Warren DeMartini and Robin Crosby provided excellent guitar hooks and Riggs and Steven Pearcy was the prototype frontman for bands in this era. As stated earlier…they deserve a lot of credit for bringing this type of music to the top.
7) Cinderella- Cinderella was formed in the mid 80’s in Pennsylvania. The original band featured Front man Tom Keifer, Eric Brittingham on Bass, Guitarist Michael Smerick, and Tony Destra on Drums. In 1985…Smerick and Destra left to form Britny Fox another Philadelphia based band, that next moved to Hollywood. Jef Debar and Jim Drnec joined the band and they began touring clubs in Philly. They actually received a big break when Jon Bon Jovi discovered the band playing at the Empire Rock Club in Philly and quickly took the band under his wing. Cinderella became very popular and went on to have a huge career on MTV with lots of airplay. Cinderella has sold over 20 million albums…they are still touring…and actually there is talk orbs new album. “Don’t Know What You Got till it’s Gone” was their major hit but they produced many other hit singles. They brought a bluesy sound to Hair Metal that set them apart from some of the other bands.
6) Bon Jovi- Bon Jovi became an instant star studded band, and they started in Sayerville New Jersey…and their 3rd Album Slippery When Wet put them on the map forever! Their 4th Album New Jersey didn’t miss a beat and produced more number 1 hit singles. Between 1986-1994…Bon Jovi went on to record 13 Top 40 Hits with 4 Number 1 Hits! In total…Bon Jovi has produced 9 Studio Albums and have sold over 130 million records world wide! Quite an accomplishment for a band that’s been around that long. Richie Sambora brings a lot of talent to the band with his guitar style and the only change in the band occurred when bassist Alec John Such left in 1994. Their most known hits include “Livin on a Prayer, You Give Love a Bad Name, I’ll be There For You, and Bad Medicine. Also instant classics…”Wanted Dead or Alive (My personal favorite) and It’s my Life which introduced Bon Jovi to a younger audience.
5) Warrant- Warrant originated in Hollywood, California later in the Hair Metal genre when the music style was at it’s peak. Between 1989-1996 Warrant released Five albums that sold over 10 Million Records World Wide. Their two major hit albums were Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich which was followed up by Cherry Pie. Cherry Pie reached double platinum and the video for the title track put Warrant at the Top of the charts for their time. I mean..you could easily put Bon Jovi ahead of Warrant on this list due to the longevity and the success that they have achieved over the years but Warrant reminds me of one of those running backs….The “Earl Campbell” of Hair Metal. If Warrant had lasted longer, they may have made the Top 3 of this list. Their 3rd album hit gold in sales…Dog Eat Dog….which is a very underrated album which Warrant tried to play a little heavier than their previous albums. Jani Lane had one of the best voices in the Hair Metal era…and should be up there in all time vocalists. He died 2 years ago from alcohol abuse. Warrant was a great band that should not be taken lightly when reviewing this list.
4) Poison- During the mid eighties till the mid nineties…Poison sold over 30 million records world wide and 15million of those in the United States alone. Brett Michaels is one of the greatest hair metal frontmen of all time and CC Deville provides a fast paced style but also was able to incorporate a country/bluesy style into his artwork. Poison was also formed in Philadelphia by Brett Michaels, Bobby Dahl, and Rilki Rockett. During their Hey Day…Poison produced 10 Top 40 Billboard Hits including 6 that made the Top 10. Their only number 1 singles is probably one of the most recognized songs of this time period, “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn'” They got on the map after releasing their first album “Look What the Cat Dragged In” which featured the hit “Talk Dirty To Me.” They hit their peak with their 2nd album release with “Open up and say ahh”. These two albums were followed up with yet their third multiplatinum album…”Flesh and Blood.”. They receive tons of exposure on MTV an their Frontman…popular with the ladies even had his own MTV show…Rock of Love and he was also the winner of Celebrity Apprentice one season. He is probably the most popular frontman of this era. Poison still tours worldwide and are also working on a new album.
3) Skid Row- Skid Row could be considered in a category of their own because they always pushed the envelope and tried to play a little heavier and louder than all of the other Hair Bands. Skid Row was formed in 1986 out of Toms River New Jersey. Sebastian Bach and Dave “Snake” Sabo were the original members as well as Rachel Bolan. Their first three albums went double platinum with their first album “Skid Row” hitting number 6 on the Top 200 Billboard List, second album Slave to the Grind hitting number 1 on this list and the third album SubHuman Race hitting 35. Their biggest hits are still major hits today and are played all over on juke boxes throughout the world. At the en of 1996…the band had sold 20 million records world wide. Sebastian Bach has went on to form a very successful solo career and is considered by many to be one of the greatest vocalists ever. His range is off the charts. Rachel Bolan and Dave Sabo are also very underrated musicians. During that 3 album span…Skid Row was probably the most popular hair metal band of the time.
2) Motley Crüe- Motley Crüe was formed in Los Angeles, California by Bassist Nikki Sixx and Drummer Tommy Lee. They were later joined by Guitarist Mick Mars and Vocalist Vince Neil. Throughout the years…Motley Crüe has been labeled one of the most “Notorious” Rock Bands in History. They even released a Biography that chronicles their path through the bottom to stardom. All members of this band have suffered through some type of addiction, which really shows their toughness considering they are still going strong today. Motley Crüe has sold over 80 million records to date and 25 million in the United States. They have released nine studio albums and are currently working on their tenth one, which will be released in 2013. They hit their peak in 1987 when they released the album Girls, Girls, Girls and then struck gold with their 1989 release of Dr. Feelgood. Dr. Feelgood hit Number 1 on the Billboard Charts and stayed their for 109 days…a long time to be on top. It’s not a coincidence that this album was produced at a time when the Band Members all tried collectively to stay sober. Two hit singles “Kick Start my Heart” and “Dr. Feelgood” were both nominated for Grammy Awards. They also achieved success in 1990 NY beating out Aerosmith for the Best Hard Rock Album of the Year. Motley Crüe is even bigger today and they even have their own festival. They are still going strong and remain one of the last hair metal bands that have it’s original members and are at the top of their game.
1) Def Leppard- Def Leppard is the only band on this list that was not formed in the United States…as they began their career in Sheffield England. They started the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and developed into the Hair Metal Kings. Their 3rd album Pyromania made Def Leppard a household name and put them on the map as major players. In 1987 they released Hysteria which topped The United States charts as well as the UK charts…one of the few albums to ever do this. As of 2009…Hysteria has went 12x Platinum in sales worldwide and has sold over 20 million copies of the album in the US alone. We are not talking 20 million records total…we are talking 20 million sales of one album. That statistic is insane. Hysteria spawned six Top 200 Billboard Hits with “Love Bites” hitting Number 1. Their next album Adrenalize also hit Number 1 in the US and UK. As of today….Def Leppard has been one of the most successful metal bands selling over 100 Million total albums world wide. They are also one of only five bands to sell over 10 million copies of 2 Studio Albums. I think these numbers have to make Def Leppard the Number 1 Choice. Also…they have stood the test of time and are still touring to this day. So they really transpired the Early Heavy Metal movement…Hit their peak during the Hair Metal era…still maintained popularity during the thrash and grunge era and are still going strong. Def Leppard are Legends and are a NO DOUBT ABOUT IT Hall
Of Fame Band!

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