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

Remembering Ronnie James Dio

6/10/42-5/16/10…As a metal fan…when I hear the name Ronnie James Dio…I immediately think of the “Metal Horns” hand gesture for which he is known for popularizing. When Ronnie (Otherwise known as DIO) passed away in May of 2010 of stomach cancer, the Heavy Metal community lost a true legend. As I sit here listening to the Black Sabbath Album…”Heaven and Hell”…it sends chills down my spine. I mean…Ozzy Osbourne was the face of Black Sabbath…but I am not sure there has ever been a band where a lead vocalist left and the band did not miss a beat. I mean, Ozzy does not come close to matching Ronnie as far as vocal intensity and range. Ronnie will always be known for his high range pitch and the knack for hitting every vocal note possible.
Ronnie was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in 1942. He graduated from the Cortland City School in 1960 and went on to attend pharmacy school. He would never finish as he started his own band. His first significant band was called “Elf”, which formed in 1969. Ronnie adopted the nickname “Dio” named after the mafia member, Johnny Dio.
While performing in the band Elf, Ronnie recorded 3 albums and was the main opening act for the band Deep Purple. Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple took a liking to Dio’s vocals and recruited him for his own band when he left Deep Purple. The band was known as Rainbow. His time in Rainbow was short lived as he only stuck around for 2 albums. In 1979 Dio left Rainbow and took over for Ozzy as lead vocalist for Metal Legend Black Sabbath.
In 1980, Black Sabbath released the album Heaven and Hell, which revitalized the career of Black Sabbath. The album was a huge success and hit platinum in sales in just 6 years (1,000,000)! After Heaven and Hell, Black Sabbath produced “The Mob Rules,” which was Dio’s 2nd and last album with Sabbath as their were disagreements between the band members.
At this point, Dio and Vinny Apice (Drummer) left and formed “DIO.”. The band featured Dio on vocals, Apice on Drums, Vivian Campbell (who later joined Whitesnake and Def Leppard) on guitar, and Jimmy Bain on Bass, Bain having played with Rainbow. The first album “Holy Diver” was released in 1982. Holy Diver hit 56 on the Billboard 200 in the US and hit #13 in the UK. The album featured the hit title track as well as the single Rainbow in the Dark. All in all, DIO released 10 Studio Albums and was constantly on tour until the band broke up and Ronnie formed “Heaven and Hell” which featured former Sabbath mates Geezer Butler and Toni Iommi along with Vinny Apice in 1986. Ronnie is also accredited for writing some of the very first power metal lyrics in metal music.
Ronnie also participated in many fund raisers during his career, the most notable being Hear n Aid, which was similar to Live Aid. A huge festival that was created to raise money for hunger. Ronnie is known for his deafening lyrics and powerful dark themes. Dio was a musical genius and will always live in the hearts of us metal die Garda.
Ronnie James Dio was more than a vocalist…he was a field general when it came to his stage presence. He was performing right up until his death. Dio is an Icon/ Legend/ Star Vocalist. He popularized his style. Heaven and Hell is one of the top metal albums. Pop it in your CD player and let it play straight up! Ronnie is truly a musical genius. He will never be forgotten.

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