13,000 VIEWS/400 POSTS

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    Today I hit a huge milestone in my professional writing career.  In September of 2012, I created my own personal blog, not knowing at the time, even what a blog was.  As I weighed in on the options that I had of topics that I could focus on, it quickly came to my mind that I should focus on music and sports which happen to be my two passions in life.  At that point, I found a blog site called Word Press and embarked on my adventure.  I called the blog…Sports N Metal.  At the time, I was not sure how successful that my first blog would be.  However, as I began to move forward, the blog became more successful and my skill level increased.  Every time I sit down to write a new post, I feel like I have grown, not only as a writer, but also as a journalist.  Furthermore, even though I write about sports and heavy metal, I have also chose to cover current events from time to time as I feel this adds another dimension to the blog.

     From September 2012 until the present, I have been faithfully writing posts and promoting my blog.  As mentioned earlier, my blog first appeared on Word Press, where I quickly gained a large fan base.  However, this past February, a buddy of me gave me an opportunity of a lifetime.  He asked me if I would be interested in using my blog on his internet radio station.  It only took me a few seconds to oblige as I figured this chance would give my blog some more exposure and possibly even open other doors.  The sky is the limit.  However, I would not be sitting here writing this synopsis if it was not for you all…my friends, family and fans.  So today, my blog went over 13,000 views and this is my 400th Post.  For a year and a half, I have been working hard on my new baby.

     So, I am not even 2 years into my writing career and I have already surpassed 13,000 views and likes.  To me this is a tremendous accomplishment.  I need to thank Kevin L and Johnny E from Philly Rock Radio for giving me this opportunity to expand on my blog and constantly evolving in the writing business.  With each passing day, I am even able to enhance the site and make changes and corrections.  I also would like to than Andrew Babcock “The Axeman” for his support and promotion on his rock show, Hair Metal Mansion.  You can check out my new site @ phillyrockradio.com.  Since joining the world of blogging, I have made many new friends and gained many fans.  So as I said, I want to thank my fans for your constant support and questions.  As I say bye, I leave you with the words of Axl Rose…Your In The Jungle Now, baby.  A huge thanks to Johnny E and Kevin L @ Philly Rock Radio.  Until next time, rock on mates \m/!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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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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ICED EARTH: PLAGUES OF BABYLON/ KILL DEVIL HILL: REVOLUTION RISE REVIEWS

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     Iced Earth is not one of the most well known Metal Bands of today.  However, they have actually been pounding out true Heavy Metal classics since 1985.  The Band was originally formed in 1985 by guitarist Jon Schaffer (No Relation…DAMN) and original drummer Greg Seymour.  The Band’s original name was Purgatory.  Since 1990, when Iced Earth released their self titled debut album, they have released a total of ten studio albums, four EP’s, three box sets, one live album, and a cover album.  Ironically, their first album actually shared three different album covers: European/Japanese, American, and Remastered version.  The first two albums followed a traditional thrash metal sound like Metallica, but then transitioned into a Power/Progressive Metal Sound with new singer Matt Barlow.  

     Iced Earth has saw many members come and go, including Barlow who quit the band to become a police officer.  Jon Schaffer is the only remaining member from the original lineup.  During Barlow’s hiatus, Judas Priest’s Tim “Ripper” Owens joined the band for two albums “The Glorious Burden” and “Framing Armegeddon.”  Their most recent album “Dystopia”, has had many positive reviews and many Metal Experts say it’s Iced Earth’s best album to date.  As mentioned, there have been over 20 different musicians to belong to this band and now Stu Block has taken over on lead vocals.  His vocal style fits this band perfect.  Common lyrical themes of Iced Earth has been religion, history, fantasy, literature, and movies.  Several of the band’s albums were Concept Albums.  The two part album Framing Armegeddon and the Crucible of Man (Something Wicked Part 1/Part 2) told the story of Jon Schaffer’s creation of the Setitians.  In this story the Setitians are actually invaded by humans.  Listen to both of these albums back to back with the lights out and you will have a better idea of what a Concept Album is.

     Iced Earth recently released The Plagues of Babylon, which features part of his concept creation, while the other half of the album is a normal style album.  Most music critics have given the new album positive reviews overall.  In January, Plagues of Babylon reached #5 on the German Media Control Chart.  This is actually the highest position Iced Earth has ever hit in the band’s entire career.  In the United States, the album sold 6,500 copies the first week and debuted at 49 on the Billboard 200.  The album begins with “The Plagues of Babylon” the albums cover name.  Plagues of Babylon is a spin off of the Something Wicked concept that has been created by the band’s leader and captain Jon Schaffer.  The album follows Iced Earth’s traditional Progressive/Power Style and has a few hooks here and there.  I have just recently become a fan of Iced Earth; however in that short time I have grown to really enjoy this band.  Their latest album, “Plagues of Babylon” is their best album to date and I give it an 8.5/10.  I strongly recommend this album for any metal fans that like to get taken away by the music.

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     “Revolution Rise” is the sophomore album of the new band KILL DEVIL HILL.  For those of you not familiar with this band, this band was formed in 2011 by Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath/Heaven and Hell/DIO) and Rex Brown (Pantera/Down).  The band consists of Lead Vocalist Dewey Bragg, Guitarist Mark Zavon, Bassist Rex Brown and Drummer Vinny Appice.  Not coincidentally, the band is named after the town of Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.  Apparently this was an area that had extreme pirate activity in history.  They use a heavy/modern sound but they don’t shift to the mainstream sound and stay away from the typical contemporary hardcore sound.  As far as this album, I give the new “Revolution Rise” a strong 8/10.  Kill Devil Hill keeps it real and it does not hurt to have musical geniuses Rex Brown and Vinny Appice.  KILL DEVIL HILL will be a Metal Powerhouse for years to come.

     In other metal news, the band Halestorm released their second Cover EP.  In their first cover EP, they covered Slave to the Grind by Skid Row.  They have an awesome sound and with a female vocalist they do not lose any of the power metal sound.  Among other new releases to look forward to, Limp Bizkit, Overkill, Exodus, Sebastian Bach, Lacuna Coil, Steel Panther, Chevelle, Sevendust, Anthrax, Puddle of Mudd, Corosion of Conformity, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Judas Priest, Godsmack, Guns N Roses, Motley Crue, Testament, Whitesnake all plan on releasing new albums in 2014.  Metallica has released their 3D Movie Through The Never.  Motley Crue is planning their farewell tour.  And I am sure there will be many other great metal stories to come.  Until next time, ROCK ON MY DROOGIES!!!!!!!  KEEP METAL ALIVE!

COVER ME

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I want to have a little fun today and I hope to get some participation and feedback.  This is one of those posts that will require audience participation so please pay attention.  Throughout the history of music, including all of the adaptations and changes, the concept of “cover music” has become a huge part of the art.  First, we have the typical “Cover Bands” that travel the circuit of bars and clubs and play all of the people’s favorites week to week.  We also have the traditional cover band, bands like “Youthanasia” (Megadeth Cover Band), that form and play everyone’s favorite band’s full catalogs.  Some of these bands mix in some occasional original material and some choose to stick to their idol.  “Cover Music” is and always will be an important part of the music industry.  And then finally, we have those bands that will mix in an occasional cover song or two on their studio albums.  Furthermore, some bands take it to the next level and release “Full Length Cover Albums” featuring different songs from bands ranging from the classic sixties, to modern day, and some even cover Holiday Favorites or even other music categories such as rap, pop, and R&B.

Through the years, there have been many great bands that have chose to release these full length “Cover Albums.”  Before Guns N Roses demise, they released a cover album called “The Spaghetti Incident” which was an album that consisted of mostly punk rock and classic hits from the seventies and eighties.  A few years back, Christian Heavy Metal band Stryper released the album called “The Covering”, which featured some Heavy Metal Classics, Hard Rock Classics and even one new song of their own. I must say, for any true Rock N Roll Fan, this is a must listen as this album is incredible.  Stryper covers a wide range of material and they nail every song.  Just this past year, Anthrax released an EP Cover Album named “Anthems” which featured music from AC/DC, Thin Lizzy, Journey, and others.  I was not aware of this, but during Joey Belladonna’s hiatus from Anthrax, he formed a Journey Cover Band in New York City, playing all of the clubs and pounding out all of the Journey Hits.  “Anthems” is another must hear for any metal fan.  You actually get a greater appreciation for a band when they go outside of their “comfort” zone.  Anthrax and Journey???  You are saying to yourself…how could this be any kind of success.  Many others would expect an epic fail.  Well, Anthrax kicked ASS on this album and it was one of the best releases of 2013.

Ok, so let us get to my purpose of this post.  I thought it would be fun to look at some high profile bands and the songs that you as a music fan would love to hear covered by other bands.  Many bands that cover music choose to pick songs that the audience is familiar with so that it may get more airplay.  I am one of those old school metal fans that would rather hear rare songs covered.  I think it makes the whole idea more fun and interesting.  I would like to take a look at some high profile bands of today and yesterday and form a list of cover songs that would be good for the wave of the future.  This is all for fun folks, so if you disagree or have your own opinions please join in.  I want this to be a fun exercise.

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Ok, the first band that I would like to focus on is Metallica.  Metallica, part of the BIG 4, is one of the most popular Metal Bands to ever grace the music scene.  Numerous Metallica songs have been covered throughout history by many bands.  There are even a few Metallica Tribute albums that have been released featuring material from a wide range and variety of bands.  Metallica has covered many songs themselves.  Some popular Metallica covers include “Whiskey in a Jar” and “Turn the Page.”  Also, “Am I Evil” and “Blitzkrieg.”  So this brings me to my next question…if there was any Metallica song that you would want to hear covered by another band, what would that song be??  For me, this is a very difficult choice because I have so many favorite Metallica Songs.  Many have already been covered.  I always like to look at underrated songs when I pick my choice.  Well due to the circumstances of Metallica’s popularity and the large amount of songs that have been covered in the past, I have to go with one of my personal favorites.  I would love to hear “The Shortest Straw” covered someday.  “Shortest Straw” appears on the AND Justice For All album.

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     Pantera has always been one of my favorite all-time bands.  Pantera is another band that has a large group of cover and tribute bands so many of their songs have been covered by once again a wide variety of bands.  Avenged Sevenfold covered “Walk” a few years back.  This is another hard choice for me because there are so many excellent Pantera Classics.  For me, the song “Hollow” has always been a huge song that makes you realize that life is short.  In essence, for the band this song was actually a premonition in a cruel way, as Dimebag Darrell was murdered and this song very well could be about him.  So for me, due to the circumstances and the power of this song, I would love to hear it covered.  Another Pantera song that I would personally love to hear covered, an underrated but very heavy song, would be “The Great Southern Trendkill.”  This is actually the first Pantera song that I heard.

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     Alice In Chains has always been one of my inspirations as far as bands go. Layne Staley definitely died too young, but the band has truly recovered and are very successful today.  This is again another hard choice.  There are so many great Alice In Chains Classics old and new.  “Man in the Box” would be the obvious song that people would probably want to hear.  For me, I think it would be so cool to hear a band cover “The Rooster.”  That song brings chills down my spine.

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     For me, Guns N Roses has been one of my all-time favorite bands.  The artwork from Appetite For Destruction is engraved in my brain like it is 1987 again.  Guns N Roses is one of those bands that you always say to yourself…what could have been?  I have many favorite Guns N Roses songs that I enjoy hearing and they never get old.  However, the one song that always made a lasting impression on me and is my personal favorite is “Its So Easy.”  I even look at bands today that may be able to pull this cover off and I feel that Avenged Sevenfold could be the perfect choice.  If anyone is reading this and is friends with the band, tell them that would be an awesome addition to their next album.

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     For those of you that have never heard Typonegative…you have no idea what you are missing.  Typonegative was one of those Metal bands that shared many styles and meshed them together to form an awesome sound.  I would say that Typonegative was a clash between gothic/dark metal and progressive.  Former lead singer, Peter Steele, who has passed away was an extremely talented singer and songwriter.  Typonegative was short-lived and I wish they were still around because they were quite a band to see live.  The song I definitely would love to see covered is “Christian Woman.”  This song is an awesome tune that will bring chills to your spine.

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     Growing up in the eighties and nineties, Fuel was one of my favorite bands.  Fuel has since disappeared; however, they are returning shortly as they are in studio working on a new album.  There are many personal favorites that would be awesome to hear covered.  Some of these include ‘Shimmer”, “Bittersweet” and “Bad Day.”  However, if I had to pick one song that would be extremely fulfilling to hear covered it would be “Jesus or a Gun.”  I even think the perfect band to cover this would be BuckCherry.

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     When everyone thinks of the most popular Glam Metal Bands of the Eighties, they think Motley Crue, Poison, Warrant, Quiet Riot, Twisted Sister, Cinderella, Stryper etc.  However, growing up, my personal favorite was RATT.  RATT had an excellent set of musicians, Warren Demartini may be one of the most underrated guitarists of all-time.  When you think RATT, the two songs that come to mind are “Round and Round” and “Lay it Down.”  But if i would want to hear one of their songs covered it would definitely be “Body Talk.”  When I hear Body Talk the adrenaline rush I get is amazing.  Just listen to the song and it immediately brings me to the scene in Karate Kid, where the main character is in his fast car with the girl.

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     Wow, this for me is the most difficult of all because Megadeth is my all-time favorite band.  I own every album, DVD, book, and tons of merchandise.  I even own a Dave Mustaine signature guitar.  All my fans know my fascination with Megadeth, so this would definitely be my hardest to pick.  However, I do have a song in mind that is underrated.  It may not be one of their greatest hits, but it surely kicks ass with Megadeth’s throttle tempo.  Its a song that has always done it for me.  The song is called “Scorpion”, and its off of The System Has Failed album.  I have never even heard this song live but I always request it at every live show that I attend.  Maybe someday, some band somewhere will bring this track to the forefront.

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     What fun would this post be without me including a local band.  Overkill in my mind makes the Big 6, behind Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax, and Testament.  Overkill has never went mainstream and has been pounding out aggressive thrash metal for over 30 Years.  Overkill has had many successful albums as well as singles.  For me, I would love to hear the song “Solitude” covered.  Solitude is featured on the album Horroscope, one of Overkills greatest pieces.  Solitude is as close to a ballad as you can get from one of Metal’s pure thrash kings.

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     Metal Church, another 80’s Thrash Giant, just released Generation Nothing, which I voted as my #1 Metal Album release of 2013.  Metal Church, through all of the lineup changes has always been an awesome metal force in the metal community.  As I look at their catalog, there are so many songs that I would love to hear.  However, the song that comes most to mind, is the self-titled “Metal Church”.  The song Metal Church is heavy before its time and I could see a band like Lamb of God cranking the song up as if it were on steroids.

Ok, my list could go on and on forever.  I could probably write a novel of all the music that I would love to hear covered.  However, I would be grey and old by that time.  Oh yeah thats right…I am old.  Anyone that remembers these bands is an old head lol.  So, what are your favorite bands?  What songs would you love to hear covered.  Cover Music will continue to be an important part of the Metal Community forever.  As I am writing this, many other tunes are coming to mind.  Iron Maiden-Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter, Stryper-To Hell With the Devil, Motley Crue-Too Young to Fall in Love, ok…stop Bird…you are getting off track.  Ok, so we are seven days from Christmas, what albums have you asked for this season.  In my next post, I will feature some of the most anticipated album releases of 2014.  Until next time…enjoy your Thursday.  ROCK ON and LONG Live METAL!

METAL CHURCH OUT OF RETIREMENT?

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So…the new soundtrack for Metallica’s Multi Million Dollar 3D Movie “Through the Never” is now out. I highly recommend this for any Metallica Follower. Also, Megadeth just released a new live version of Countdown to Extinction from last year’s tour! It’s pretty awesome so I would also recommend that for any true Metal fan.

Speaking of Megadeth…I just purchased Dave Mustaine’s new Dean Guitar…The Signature Dave Mustaine “ZERO”! This guitar is off the hook. Besides the out if this world graphics…the guitar has all of the essential gear to play your favorite metal music. It is also very light and has a unique shape. I am just starting to see the difference between a good guitar and average one. My first guitar was a BC Rich…no slouch. But you can tell that Dean puts a ton of effort into making the Dave Mustaine Guitars Rock! David Elleffson is also releasing a biography due out next month. This should be a very busy month of metal.

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Finally, Metal Church has come out of retirement again and will be releasing a new album that is due out October 22,2013. Metal Church is underrated and has always been one of my FAVS. I will have a review for you when the album is released.

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OVERKILL: METAL TO THE CORE

     WHEN THE BAND OVERKILL IS MENTIONED, MANY PEOPLE DO NOT RECOGNIZE THE BAND OR ANY OF THEIR MATERIAL.  THIS IS A DAMN SHAME BECAUSE OVERKILL IS ACTUALLY ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL EAST COAST METAL BANDS BEHIND ANTHRAX.  OVERKILL IS A LOCAL THRASH BAND THAT ORIGINATED IN OLD BRIDGE NEW JERSEY IN 1980.  OVERKILL CAME ABOUT AFTER THE PUNK BAND “THE LUBRICANTS” BROKE UP…AND D.D.VERNI AND RAT SKATES PUT AN ADD OUT LOOKING FOR A NEW LEAD VOCALIST.  THEY QUICKLY RECEIVED INTEREST FROM A SINGER NAMED BOBBY ELLSWORTH.  THE EARLY VERSION OF OVERKILL CONSISTED OF MOSTLY COVER SONGS.  THEY COVERED BANDS LIKE MOTORHEAD AND JUDAS PRIEST, WHILE ALSO PLAYING PUNK STYLE MUSIC WITH ADDED DISTORTION AND SPEED.

     IN 1981, THE BAND RECRUITED GUITARISTS RICH CONTE AND BOBBY GUSTAFSON.  THEN RICH CONTE LEFT THE BAND AND OVERKILL WENT FORWARD WITH JUST ONE GUITARIST.  OVERKILL PLAYED NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY CLUBS…THE STAR LAND BALLROOM AND L’AMOURS TO NAME A FEW.  AT THIS POINT, BOBBY WAS GIVEN THE NICKNAME “BLITZ” DUE TO HIS OUT OF CONTROL LIFESTYLE.  IN 1984, THE BAND RELEASED A FOUR TRACK SELF-TITLED DEMO.  “OVERKILL” GAINED INSTANT CLOUT AND THE UNDERGROUND METAL COMMUNITY WAS ALL OVER THIS BAND.  AT THIS POINT, OVERKILL CAUGHT THE EYE OF JOHNNY ZAZULA, WHO ALSO PRODUCED METALLICA AND TESTAMENT AS WELL AS MEGADETH AFTER DAVE MUSTAINE LEFT METALLICA.  ZAZULA’S MEGAFORCE RECORDS SIGNED OVERKILL TO A MULTI-ALBUM RECORD DEAL.  IN 1985, OVERKILL RELEASED THEIR FIRST FULL LENGTH STUDIO ALBUM “FEEL THE FIRE.”  THE ALBUM WAS HAILED AS A METAL MASTERPIECE BY MUSIC CRITICS AND THRASH FANS ALIKE.  OVERKILL SPENT 1985-1986 AS THE OPENING ACT FOR MEGADETH, ANTHRAX, AND AGENT STEEL.  

     IN 1987, OVERKILL RELEASED ALBUM #2 “TAKING OVER.”  THIS ALBUM HAD MUCH BETTER SOUND AND PRODUCTION.  AT THIS POINT THE BAND WENT ON A EUROPEAN TOUR OPENING FOR HELLOWEEN.  THROUGH 1989, OVERKILL REMAINED ON CONSTANT TOUR MAKING THEM ONE OF THE MOST PROMINENT LIVE METAL BANDS IN THRASH.  THEN IN 1989, THE BAND RELEASED “THE YEARS OF DECAY”, AND THE ALBUM WAS PRODUCED BY TERRY DATE WHO ALSO PRODUCED WHITE ZOMBIE, PANTERA, AND SOUNDGARDEN.  THE SONG “ELIMINATION” BECAME A REGULAR VIDEO ON HEADBANGERS BALL.  IN 1991, OVERKILL RELEASED “HORROSCOPE”, ITS FIFTH STUDIO ALBUM.  THIS WAS A DEFINING MOMENT FOR THE BAND AS THE ALBUM WAS MUCH HEAVIER AND DARK THAN PRIOR ALBUMS.  THEN THE BAND THROUGH FANS THROUGH ANOTHER LOOP WHEN THEY RELEASED “I HEAR BLACK” IN 1993.  THIS ALBUM WAS INFLUENCED BY BLACK SABBATH AND HAD A BLUES ROCK TONE.  

     IN 1998, ELLSWORTH WAS DIAGNOSED WITH NASAL CANCER AND HAD IMMEDIATE SURGERY.  IN FEBRUARY 1999, THE BAND RELEASED ITS TENTH STUDIO ALBUM “NECROSHINE”, MAKING THEM THE FIRST THRASH METAL BAND TO PRODUCE TEN ALBUMS.  THEY ALSO RELEASED “COVERKILL” THE SAME YEAR WHICH FEATURED COVERS OF BANDS LIKE KISS, MOTORHEAD, BLACK SABBATH, AND THE RAMONES.  THE NEXT FEW YEARS SAW TURMOIL WITHIN THE BAND AND BROUGHT ON A FEW LINEUP CHANGES.  BOBBY ELLSWORTH EVEN SUFFERED A STROKE ON STAGE DURING ONE TOUR.  IN 2010, OVERKILL RELEASED “IRONBOUND”, WHICH ACTUALLY REFERS TO THE NEWARK AREA WHERE THE BAND ORIGINATED. IRONBOUND WAS ALSO HAILED AS A TRUE METAL CLASSIC.

     THE ONE CONSTANT WITH OVERKILL IS THAT THEY HAVE BEEN HEAVY SINCE DAY ONE AND THEY NEVER WENT MAINSTREAM LIKE MOST OTHER METAL BANDS SUCH AS THE BIG FOUR.  IN 2012, THEY RELEASED “THE ELECTRIC AGE”, ANOTHER FULL SPEED ONSLAUGHT OF THRASH METAL.  AFTER THE RELEASE, THEY JOINED A TOUR WITH TESTAMENT ON THE “DARK ROOTS OF EARTH” TOUR.  BOBBY ELLSWORTH ONCE AGAIN HAD HEALTH PROBLEMS AND THE BAND HAD TO DROP OFF OF THE TOUR.  THE BAND IS CURRENTLY DOING A MINI TOUR WITH ANTHRAX AND TESTAMENT WHICH WILL CULMINATE IN SAN BERNARDINO, CALIFORNIA, WHICH WILL ALSO FEATURE MEGADETH, LAMB OF GOD, DARK ANGEL, AND IRON MAIDEN.  THE BAND IS ALSO READY TO ENTER THE STUDIO TO WORK ON IT’S SEVENTEENTH STUDIO ALBUM.  OVERKILL IN MY OPINION IS EXTREMELY UNDERRATED.  ANY TRUE METAL FAN SHOULD DABBLE IN THEIR CATALOG.  MY PERSONAL FAVORITES ARE HORROSCOPE, ELECTRIC AGE, AND IRONBOUND.  OVERKILL HAS NEVER “SOLD OUT’ AND HAS BEEN BANGING OUT TRUE THRASH METAL SINCE 1980.  THIS IS PRETTY IMPRESSIVE CONSIDERING THEY ARE NOT FEATURED IN THE MAINSTREAM METAL COMMUNITY LIKE METALLICA, MEGADETH, AND ANTHRAX.  EVEN TESTAMENT HAS MORE OF A MAINSTREAM FOLLOWING THAN OVERKILL.  

     IF THERE WAS A BIG SIX, IT WOULD BE METALLICA, MEGADETH, SLAYER, ANTHRAX, TESTAMENT, AND OVERKILL.  THE FUNNY THING IS THAT THE FIVE BANDS ARE WELL KNOWN WHILE OVERKILL IS BARELY ON THE MAP.  HOWEVER, THIS IS ALL OF THE MORE REASON WHY THIS BAND SHOULD BE CONSIDERED AS ONE OF THE TRUE THRASH GREATS.  ELLSWORTH HAS A DISTINCT VOICE THAT RIVALS OTHER METAL SINGERS LIKE ROB HALFORD AND BRUCE DICKINSON.  OVERKILL IS AN AWESOME BAND AND I HIGHLY RECOMMEND ANY TRUE METAL FAN TO DIVE IN AND PURCHASE A LOT OF THEIR MATERIAL.  THEIR EARLY MATERIAL IS EXTREMELY HEAVY AND THEY ARE DEFINITELY INFLUENCED BY THE OTHER EAST COAST METAL BANDS AND WEST COAST THRASH MOVEMENT.  OVERKILL ALSO SHARES A PROMINENT MASCOT, A FLYING BAT WITH SKELETON FACE, HORNS, WINGS AND GREEN EYES.  OVERKILL IS A MUST HAVE FOR ANY TRUE THRASH FAN.  GO GET EM!ImageImageImage

MEGADETH/IRON MAIDEN DUO

Megadeth and Iron Maiden are Co-Headlining a select tour to a few cities across the United States. Whoever is lucky enough to be in a city where this show is playing is in for a treat. Iron Maiden is still kicking ASS to this day. They probably bring more energy to a show than any other band. And then we have Megadeth, who continues to improve every year. Megadeth has become a Top Notch Metal band!

Dave Mustaine and Bruce Dickinson both bring excitement to the front man position. These two bands together is an excellent opportunity for any die hard Metal fans. This tour is going on through September and follows Megadeth’s Gigantour that was the biggest show this summer. Anyone that had a chance to go…I urge you to pay the money to see two of the best metal bands today play together. I wish I had the chance! ROCK ON FOLKS!

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AVENGED SEVENFOLD COMING OF AGE

Image AVENGED SEVENFOLD JUST RELEASED IT’S FIFTH STUDIO ALBUM ON TUESDAY, “HAIL TO THE KING.”  DURING THE BAND’S EXISTENCE THAT BEGAN IN 1999, IN SUNNY CALIFORNIA, A7X AS THEY ARE ALSO KNOWN BY HAS EVOLVED FROM A PUNK METAL STYLE TO A MODERN HEAVY METAL STYLE THAT THEY PLAY TODAY.  TO DATE, AVENGED SEVENFOLD HAS RELEASED FIVE STUDIO ALBUMS, ONE LIVE ALBUM/DVD, EIGHTEEN SINGLES, ALL THE WHILE SELLING OVER EIGHT MILLION ALBUMS WORLDWIDE.  A7X HAS STOOD THE TEST OF ULTIMATE TRAGEDY AND OVERCOME TREMENDOUS OBSTACLES TO END UP WHERE THEY ARE NOW.

     The band was originally formed by M. Shadows, Zacky Vengeance, “The REV”, and Matt Wendt.  The band’s name actually came from a reference to the story of Cain and Abel in the Bible, found in Genesis 4:24.  Although there was a lot of speculation they are not a religious band.  All of the band mates names were actually nicknames that each member had in High School.  Matt Wendt was then replaced by Justin Sane the bassist for Suburban Legends, another up and coming band at the time.

     Avenged Sevenfold’s debut album, “Sounding the Trumpet” was released in 2001, while all of the members were still in High School, a pretty amazing achievement.  At this point Guitarist Synester Gates joined the band and was followed by Johnny Christ  in 2001, as the band began to gain popularity playing with such bands as MushroomHead and Shadows Fall.  In 2003, they released their sophomore album, “Waking the Fallen,” which had a more refined sound.  

     After those albums, A7X joined Warner Brothers Records in 2004.  On June 7, 2005 “City of Evil,” the band’s third album was released and debuted at 30 on the Billboard Top 200, selling 30,000 copies the first week.  City of Evil portrayed a more classic metal sound.  M.Shadows also worked with a vocal coach Ron Anderson, who had also worked with Axl Rose and Chris Cornell in the past.  This did away with the “growling/screaming” vocal tone and achieved a more metal tone with grit.  As their album tour raged on, their lead single “Bat Country” reached number 2 on the Billboard 200 and also number 1 on MTV’s Total Request Videos.

      On October 26, 2007, A7X released their fourth studio album as a self titled hit.  The album debuted at Number Four on the Billboard 200.  Another monumental moment was on April 16th, when they joined Slash on stage to perform “It’s So Easy,” a former Guns n Roses Hit.  Then as the band was growing to new heights tragedy struck.  On December 28, 2009 James “The Rev” Sullivan was found dead at his home at the age of 28.  It was later revealed that James had overdosed on Painkillers.  There was such shock and grief, that the band almost quit.  

     They then recruited Dream Theater’s Drummer Mike Portnoy and released “Nightmare,” their fifth studio album.  The album blew away sales projections and debuted at Number 1 on the Billboard 200.  Nightmare was the band’s best piece in their growing catalog and had a tighter sound and meshed with the more classic sound of the bands metal idols.  Avenged Sevenfold lists Guns N Roses, Iron Maiden, Metallica and Megadeth as their major influences as a band.  Their career took off even further at this time as they even began to headline tours.

     Ok, so yesterday the Band released it’s much anticipated Sixth Studio Album, “Hail to the King.”  Hail to the King leads off with the song Shepherd of Fire, which is a Metallica-esque Blaster that is a direct metal classic.  The Band has shed its hardcore punk sound for the more traditional metal sound.  And why not, just look at the T-shirts that the band wears, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, MotorHead etc and you can definitely understand why this band is ready to take the torch as the next great Metal Band to carry on the next few decades.  Along with Volbeat, Avenged Sevenfold are the new Metallica, the new Megadeth, the new GNR, the new Iron Maiden.

     Zacky Vengeance and Synester Gates are at their best on this album and they establish the dual solo styles of other greats like KK Downing and Glenn Tipton, Dave Mustaine and Marty Friedman, and other greats who use dual lead and backup guitar to produce a power metal sound.  The new drummer Arin Ilejay does an excellent job at producing the pounding bass drum hits that “The Rev” was so known for.  Shepherd of Fire is a song that portrays a theme of the devil singing as if its in the third person.  Hail to the King is another Slam Dunk.  Doing Time sounds like a true GNR song, M.Shadows even sounds exactly like Axl Rose on a few of the lyrics.  The whole album features Synester Gates and some very impressive solos.

    I have now listened to the album three times straight through and I give it a 9/10.  It is definitely Avenged Sevenfold’s best work of art thus far.  Nightmare put them on the map but Hail to the King puts them on top.  In my opinion, they are one of the best modern day metal bands around.  I enjoy listening to them because they are inspired by all of my favorite bands.  This album has a Metallica, Guns N Roses, Iron Maiden feel.  Many of the solos also delve closely to Dave Mustaine and Slash.  M.Shadows has become a stellar lead vocalist and provides the band with a talented front man.  If you haven’t done so, purchase the album today at a local store or on ITUNES.  Avenged Sevenfold has graduated to the next level!  Its been real…Be back soon my Friends!  ROCK ON! HAIL THE KING!

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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

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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