METAL MONDAY

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     The Shepherd of Fire Tour went on sale today at 10AM Eastern Time.  This Tour will span the United States and Canada as Avenged Sevenfold will promote their latest release “Hail to the King.”  I have reviewed this album numerous times in past posts and every time I listen to this album it gets better and better.  The Tour will include 20 Shows at many big venues throughout Canada and the US.  Avenged Sevenfold will kickoff the tour in British Columbia, Canada at the EnCana Events Centre on April 12th.  They will then proceed to the CN Centre in Prince George, British Columbia.  The tour will also visit Saskacthewan, Winnepeg, Minneapolis Minnesota, Huntsville Alabama, Tampa Florida, Jacksonville Florida, Lafayette Louisiana, Hollywood Florida, Virginia Beach, Charlotte North Carolina, Knoxville Tennessee, Hershey Pennsylvania, Bangor Maine, Montreal Quebec, Syracuse New York, and will end in Columbus Ohio on May 17th.

     For those of you that have never saw Avenged Sevenfold, I strongly suggest you purchase tickets to one of these shows.  Sevenfold, otherwise known as AX7, has been a band on the rise for the past ten years and this latest album, Hail to the King is by far their best material to date.  Synester Gates is like the modern day “Slash.”  He plays the same kind of guitar style as the former Guns N Roses standout and matches his intensity.  Johnny Christ on the Bass guitar is equally ferocious.  M. Shadows has become quite a vocalist and has raised his game.  Zacky Vengeance compliments Synester Gates and together they are like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest combined.  By that, I mean they share the heaviness of Priest and the dual guitar melody of Maiden.  The band rounds out with new comer Arin llejay who takes over for “The Rev”, who was AX7’s world class drummer.  The Rev died in 2009, however his legacy lives on and his talent still influences the Band.  Hail to the King reached #1 on the Billboard 200 in both the United States and the U.K.  To date, AX7 has sold over 8 Million Albums world wide.  This tour should be special, as the band has stepped up its game.

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    In other Metal news, Motley Crue Drummer Tommy Lee has gotten engaged to his girlfriend Sofia Toufa.  He announced the news to 430,000 of his Twitter followers.  This is the fourth time that the Rock Star will be married.  The 51 Year old Lee has been previously married to Elaine Starchuk, Heather Locklear, and Pamela Anderson.  Lee insists that this is finally his life partner.  This news comes amidst the Crue’s latest news that they will be doing a farewell tour and album.  I don’t know about you, but I put the over/under on the length of this marriage at Five Years.  Tommy Lee has always been outspoken and is probably second to Vince Neil in female attraction.  

     It was also announced that former Megadeth Guitarist will be releasing a new album called “Inferno.”  This should be interesting as Friedman had lost interest in Metal when he left Megadeth.  AC/DC will also be releasing a new studio album and going back out on the road.  I love Angus Young.  He is like the energizer bunny.  He just keeps going and going and going.  Brian Johnson has lost some of his vocal power, but he can still sing with the best of them.  There is a DIO tribute album being released in March that will include covers from Anthrax, Metallica, Pantera and others.  Sebastian Bach is ready for the release of his new album, which should be KICK ASS!!!!!

     Finally, we will play This or That:

1) Black Sabbath w DIO vs Black Sabbath w Ozzy.

2) Ride the Lightning or Master of Puppets.

3) Cowboys from Hell or Vulgar Display of Power.

4) Deep Purple or Thin Lizzy.

5) Bon Scott or Brian Johnson.

6) Cinderella or RATT.

7) Testament or Overkill.

8) Bad Company or Foreigner.

9) Dave Mustaine or Kirk Hammett.

10) Alice In Chains or Soundgarden.

OK….Now for my answers.  1) Black Sabbath w DIO, 2) Master of Puppets, 3) Cowboys from Hell, 4) Thin Lizzy, 5) Brian Johnson, 6) RATT, 7) Overkill, 8) Bad Company, 9) Dave Mustaine, 10) Alice In Chains.  So what were your picks??  Anyways, rock on mates.  Stay tuned for more Metal Mania.

******Album of the Day- Def Leppard (Slang)*******

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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

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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