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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SUPER COLLIDER KICKS ASS

Megadeth released their fourteenth studio album today. Anyone that is a fan of Megadeth knows that ten years ago…the chance of this day coming was slim to None. Megadeth had released RISK and Mustaine went in rehab for the umpteenth time. Then he had a nerve in his playing arm basically explode. There was a five year hiatus which saw David Elleffson forge a lawsuit against his old band mate for the rights to Megadeth’s material.

Ok…fast forward to Mustaine’s miraculous comeback. Megadeth released The System Has Failed, which originally was supposed to be a solo project, but instead Mustaine chose to use the Megadeth label. This album was extremely heavy and is extremely underrated to this day. After touring for a year and a half, Megadeth released United Abominations, which was a little less heavy but still a Megadeth masterpiece.

Then came EndGame. EndGame was heavy but it seemed to get stale with all of the songs sounding the same. Still Megadeth marched on. Then it happened. David Elleffson came back into the fold and Mustaine signed Chris Broderick to play Guitar. Broderick is on the same level as Marty Friedman and matches Mustaines intensity on the notable solos. This brought the next release…Megadeth’s thirteenth studio album…coincidentally called Thirteen. Thirteen was a hit and really put Megadeth back on the map.

Since 13…Megadeth’s popularity has risen immensely. Dave Mustaine is once again a leader in the Metal Community just like he was when he was the spokesman for MTV as the “Rock The Vote” mascot lol. Everyone that knows Megadeth’s story and the backstory of Dave Mustaine and his long lived hatred for his ex band “Metallica.” Well…today Megadeth is once again a leader in the Metal Scene. Although they will never be bigger than Metallica, Megadeth has never sold out as they continue to put out powerful material.

Super Collider is a strange name for an album…especially for Megadeth. However, from the first track KingMaker the album takes off and really grows on you. This album has more of a variety and does not maintain the same dull sound as most of their previous albums have. This album is top notch. You can tell that a lot of blood, sweat, and tears was put into this album. Even Dave’s voice seems to have come to life once again.

Mustaine has lost a lot in his vocals over the years but he seems recharged in Super Collider. “Burn” is a fast paced in your face metal ensemble. The title track “Super Collider” sounds like a futuristic version of a Megadeth sound. “The Blackest Crow” starts off like a country song and then rips into classic Megadeth. “Dance in the Rain” features David Draiman (Disturbed) on back up vocals. This album has a little of everything.

Now I am one of the most Die Hard Megadeth fans you will find. Ask any of my friends who my favorite band is…and immediately they will tell you MEGADETH! Now I have heard a lot of flack and complaints about this album how it really isn’t a Megadeth album? Really? I would say the people saying this are not true Megadeth fans and really are misinformed. This album may be their best since the Countdown-Youthanasia-World Needs a Hero era. Seriously…The more you listen to it the more it grows on you.

I highly recommend this album for any Metal Fan. Even Track “11” Cold Sweat…a Thin Lizzy cover rocks the house. Don’t Turn Your Back also is a classic sounding Megadeth sound with the heavy double bass drums and the guitar onslaught between Broderick and Mustaine. Wow! I have now listened to the entire album twice straight through! I give it an 8/10. Pretty high score…and as I said…I’m a true Megadeth Junkie.

Also…I highly recommend the new Alice In Chains album and am so looking forward to “13” by Black Sabbath! Also, pick up the new book by Zach Wylde as well as Rex Browns book the story behind Pantera. Finally…if u are a Judas Priest fan a must have is Epitaph, a live DVD of one of their final shows from the past tour as they are supposedly retiring.

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THE METAL WORLD MOURNS THE LOSS OF ANOTHER TRUE LEGEND

On Thursday, Jeff Hahnemann, Guitarist for one of the “BIG FOUR BANDS” SLAYER, was found dead in his home in Southern California. Jeff along with Kerry King formed the Metal Band Slayer in 1982. In 2011, Hahnemann nearly lost his arm due to a spider bite. The injury initially went untreated but then the star guitarist began to be plagued with health problems. Recently though, his health had improved and he was in the studio working on a new Slayer Album.

The initial cause of death is being stated as liver failure, although the “Spider Bite” and reoccurring skin eating disorder has to have some link to his death. The actual skin disorder is called necrotizing fasciitis. This disease is extremely fast as far as progressing to the later stages. The disease actually involves bacteria that actually eats human flesh. The bacteria spreads easily through the subcutaneous region. Doctors are not sure if the infection can spread to the organs, however the fact that he died from liver failure may be an example of this occurring.

Jeff grew up in Los Angeles and was in a family of many war veterans. His interest in war is the direct influence on his music lyrics and war connotations. “Angel of Death”, which Jeff was responsible for writing, is widely criticized for its link to Nazi Activity in the Auschwitz Death Compound during World War II. Jeff wrote the songs “Angel of Death”, “Raining Blood”, “War Ensemble”, “Seasons in the Abyss”, and “Reigning Blood”, all of which are played at every Slayer Concert!

Jeff had been trying to rehab and a few guitarists including Exodus front man Gary Holt was filling in. As a huge Slayer fan…I am not sure how the band will move forward at this point. It’s similar to Pantera with Dimebag. I mean, Pantera has yet to have a reunion and it would be impossible to replicate Dimebag Darrel and his style of play. The same holds true for Hahnemann. He is an excellent lyricist and has wrote some of the most extreme riffs for Slayers material. It would be like Dave Mustaine passing away and trying to keep Megadeth going.

No matter what the circumstances are surrounding his death, Jeff will be greatly missed. I know today in his memory, I am going to have a Slayer marathon and listen to all of the CDs in order. Rest in Peace Jeff…we pray for your soul. We pray for your family, friends, and band members. We pray for all of those around the Metal Community affected by his loss. We pray for your fans. And as we close the page on your life…you start a new chapter in Heaven. God Bless.

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