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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NATIONAL METAL DAY 2013

Image     Hey folks…Today is National Metal Day.  Looking back at 2013 so far, the greatest loss to the Metal Community this year was the passing of Jeff Hanneman (49 Years Old), the famous guitarist in the band Slayer.  I remember I was at work when I heard about the passing of this great guitar player.  It was very sad news as Slayer has always been one of my favorite Metal Bands.  Slayer’s latest album “The World Painted Blood”, may have been their best ever produced album and Hanneman was responsible for writing most of the material.  As a veteran Metal Head, this is a very special day for me as well as many of you.  Of course, I will spend my day jamming all of my favorite bands and enjoying the Music that has been the soundtrack of my life.

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     For any Def Leppard fans, I highly recommend their latest release of Viva Hysteria in Las Vegas.  This deluxe set includes 2 Live CD’s from their performance in their Vegas Rock Stand as well as a DVD of their entire Hysteria album live.  I am a huge Def Leppard fan and have always been enamored by their Greatness.  However, these past few years their sound quality has not been as good as Joe Elliot seemed to have lost his voice.  Well, I must say that this performance is truly epic.  First of all, I remember when Hysteria was first released.  I probably listened to the album 30x the first day I purchased the CD…lol.  I also remember reading the jacket and admiring the artwork.  When Hysteria was released, the Band hit a Grand Slam.  This album was highly anticipated as it took over three years to produce.  “Viva Hysteria” is the Hysteria album in its entirety.  Well, from the opening song “Women” to the final tune “Love and Affection” this is the best Def Leppard has sounded in forever.  Vivian Campbell and Phil Collen are brilliant as is Drummer Rick Savage and Rick Allen their bassist.  However, the biggest surprise on the album is how good Joe Elliot sounds.  Its almost like he is a new person.  Trust me, this is a must see performance for any Metal Fans.

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     Megadeth and Iron Maiden both continue their World Tours.  Megadeth, after taking a break to do the “Countdown to Extinction Live” Tour is back on the road promoting their latest album Super Collider.  They even hooked up with Iron Maiden on a few shows out west this past summer and fall.  One show had Death Angel, Testament, Overkill, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Anthrax, Slayer, and Megadeth.  Now, that must have been some show!!  Anyways, Iron Maiden continues to be beasts on Tour, even at their ripe old age.  Bruce Dickinson has to be one of the most energetic Front Men in Metal, even to this day.  Dave Mustaine has signed up for an opportunity to do a solo album with an orchestra.  I am so looking forward to that.  Also, Bassist David Elleffson has released an autobiography.  I have not read the book yet; however, I am planning on picking it up very soon.  Some other good books that came out recently is Rex Brown’s new book which chronicles the end times of Pantera.  

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     Avenged Sevenfold (AX7), recently released their newest album “Hail to the King.”  For those of you that are not familiar with any of Avenged material, I highly suggest purchasing some of their albums.  In reality, it was going to be hard for AX7 to out due their past album “Nightmare”, which was a multi-platinum giant.  However, the Band has managed to go one step further.  Their latest release, “Hail to the King” is a masterpiece.  The first leg of their tour went across the nation and they also had guests Device, Five Finger Death Punch, and Def Tones.  They are now currently touring Europe.  “Hail to the King” sold a very impressive 159,000 copies during the first week of release.  The album stormed to Number #1 on the Billboard 200 as well.  Of course, there are many naysayers that feel that Avenged Sevenfold is not original an that they steal riffs from other great bands.  I have to disagree totally.  Although many of the new songs on the album mirror other great bands such as Guns N Roses, Metallica, Megadeth and Iron Maiden, the production level is top notch.  And may I ask, what is wrong with creating material that is driven from some of the greatest Metal Bands ever.  The album also has a Black Sabbath feel to it at some points.  At any rate, this was a great release, and along with Volbeat, these are my two favorite albums of 2013 so far. 

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     Speaking of Black Sabbath, the Grandfathers of Metal released a new album in 2013 called ironically, “13”.  Well, as far as the album goes, the material was probably some of their most dynamic since back in the DIO years.  Everyone has their favorite Black Sabbath lineup, mine is surprisingly with Ronnie James Dio at the helm.  Dio in my mind is a way better vocalist than Ozzy.  Ozzy may be a better stage presence, however I like music for the lyrics and vocals.  So, I am more of a fan with Sabbath with Dio.  However, their best albums have come from the classic lineup of Ozzy, Geezer, Iommi, and Ward.  Their new album goes back to the roots of Sabbath and has an extremely dynamic sound.  The band was able to make Ozzy’s voice appear like he was 21 again.  I love the new album, if you have not heard it pick it up!

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      The popular Christian Metal band, Stryper has also released their first new album in fifteen years.  Their new album is titled “No More Hell To Pay.”  Michael Sweet has always been one of the greatest vocalists to take the stage.  Stryper has some awesome material and this album is their heaviest in years.  To me, this album goes back to the roots, like their well known track “To Hell With the Devil.”  I have sampled the album and I give it an 8/10 rating.  Michael Sweet has not lost a step and the rest of the band is at the top of its game.  Oz Fox is brilliant with his guitar playing.  Although Stryper has always fit in the Progresive Metal category, this album is a more classic metal sound.  The guitar work is excellent and there are many impressive riffs.

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     Metal Church has also released a new album titled “Generation Nothing.”  This may sound crazy, but in my opinion this is their best Metal album ever.  Although, this is the band’s 3rd Lineup, I feel that this album is top notch from start to finish.  Every song on the album could easily be a hit.  Seriously, check out this one, I promise that you will not be disappointed.  The opening track “Bullet Proof” is a thrash style punk metal riff that rips open the album.  “Dead City” and “Generation Nothing” are hard anthem type Metal songs.  Then the Fourth Track, “Noises in the Wall” uses a ton of bridges, hooks, and even has some unique change ups, kind of like Metallica used to do in their early albums.  My favorite two songs on the album are “Suiciety” and “Hits Keep Coming” which are both hard and fast and rock your core.  The finale’, “The Media Horse” portrays a realistic viewpoint on how the media of today has stained American Life.  Metal Church is underrated in my mind and they are one of the forgotten thrash metal bands of the eighties era.

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    In conclusion, I would like to take a close look at the icon Tim “Ripper” Owens.  Most people recognize Owens as the vocalist that took over for Rob Halford of “Judas Priest”, when Rob left the band.  This is true, and the movie Rockstar was loosely based on the story of Tim Owens.  However, Tim Owens is much more than just “that guy.”  Tim Owens was born in 1967.  He is currently a solo artist, but he also does some guest appearances with “Beyond fear” and “Charred Walls of the Damned.”  He has also recently done work with “Dio’s Disciples” and Yngwie Malmsteen’s “Rising Force.”

     Tim Owens began his stardom in the British cover band “British Steel” a tribute band that did Judas Priest cover songs.  In 1996, Owens went from a fan to being the Lead Singer of Judas Priest.  He was actually nominated for a Grammy Award for the song “Bullet Train” from the album Jugulator but lost to Metallica’s Better than You.  In 2003, Halford reunited with Priest and Owens quickly jumped into the band “Iced Earth” as their lead singer Matt Barlow.  His career with Iced Earth was short lived and included two albums.  I am a huge Iced Earth fan and although I love Matt Barlow, I must say that the band sounded at its best behind Owens.  Tim has started his own cover bar named Tim Owens Tap House, which is a World renowned Eater and Music Bar and Restaurant.  The bar is currently located in Akron, Ohio.  Tim Owens is a legend, just because of his story and the way he became famous.  Not to mention, he is an incredible talent as far as a vocalist.

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******ROCK ON METAL HEADS!!!! HAPPY NATIONAL METAL DAY….KEEP THE METAL ALIVE!!!  Stay tuned for more great posts…until next time Y!

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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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

METAL MADNESS

On Monday, it was announced that Megadeth and Iron Maiden will co- headline a US tour beginning in September. The tour will start in Charlotte, North Carolina. So far, the bill has eight shows including the final two in Las Vegas an San Bernardino, California.

This will mark the first time since the late eighties that Megadeth will share the same stage with Iron Maiden. This tour should be one of ten most highly anticipated this summer. Megadeth will be coming off their new release tour for “Super Collider” which is due out in June. Megadeth has been on a role since their release of Thirteen in 2012. This will also mark the first time since Cryptic Writings and Risk that the band will feature the same line up for two albums in a row.

In recent interviews, Dave Mustaine has been noted to say that this new album will be one of their best ever and that there are many “Potential Hits” on this album. Megadeth recorded this album under Mustaine’s brand new label. 2013 is an exciting year for albums and tours.

Anyways, the Iron Maiden-Megadeth show will be a hot ticket. And to add to the already huge news that these two super bands will be sharing the same stage…a huge announcement was also made. The final show in California will also feature Anthrax, Testament, Overkill and Sabaton. So, two of the Big Four Megadeth and Anthrax will be together. One of the all time legends Iron Maiden will be there. And if there was such a thing as the Big Six…number five Testament and number six Overkill will all be on the same stage together on one night. This show will take place at the Amphitheater in San Bernardino, CA.

Anthrax is coming off their recent release of Anthem…a cover album of some classic bands. Likewise, Testament is coming off their latest album…”The Dark Roots of Earth.” For those Metal fans that are not familiar with Overkill…Overkill is an amazing Metal band that packs power thrash and punch. They are also a local band which gives us an extra rooting interest. Sabaton is also a very good Metal Band. This concert will be one for the Ages and I hope that I can attend this show somehow. I will look forward to to others feed back of where this show can go as far as stardom.

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IRON MAIDEN:DVD MAIDEN ENGLAND

On Tuesday, Iron Maiden released a two disc DVD called Maiden England. This DVD features material from a few live shows on the original Maiden England Tour in Donnington England in 1988. This DVD is one of the many that Maiden has produced throughout their lengthy career. Iron Maiden is still kicking ASS all over the world even after 36 years! Their live shows are full of endless energy.

Iron Maiden is not for everyone. However, if you enjoy Progressive Metal and The Mystique and The World of Fantasy then Maiden is your Cup of Tea. I have been listening to Maiden since I was a teenager and I never get sick of them. Bruce Dickinson knows how to captivate the crowd with his sinister lyrics and his mysterious topics of banter. If you have never enjoyed a Maiden CD, purchase this DVD. It has all of their hit songs live which sound almost identical to their studio productions.

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STRYper: The Covering

In one of my prior posts I mentioned that the band Stryper had released an album of all cover songs called “The Covering.” The album is an instant masterpiece. Michael Sweet has one of the better voices in Metal and his Guitar playing is brilliant. I have heard many Cover albums…Spaghetti Incident (Guns N Roses), Garage Inc. (Metallica), and many more.

What makes this cover album stand out is the great songs that are covered and the star power of the bands that originally produced them. Michael Sweet was also playing with Boston the past few years. Not only is the choice of music stellar, but the quality of their versions is awesome.

They nail every song on the album, including their two singles that were released “Heaven and Hell” and “Carry on my Wayward Son”. The best covers in my opinion are “Blackout (Scorpions), Wayward Son (Kansas), Highway Star (Deep Purple), Over The Mountain (Ozzy), and The Trooper (Iron Maiden). As always, every time a star band produces a cover they usually put their own style, mix and spin on the tune.

From Track 1 (Set Me Free) to the final tune a brand new studio song “God” written by Stryper, the songs kick ass. Every song on the album sounds near exact to the original. Michael Sweet has a good disposition as far as hitting the different notes on the different songs. I rate this album a 9/10 and would highly recommend any true Metal Fan to purchase this album due to its variety and notoriety.

At the end of this month, Stryper will release a brand new album “Second Coming.” The more that I listen to their material, the more I recognize how good of a band they really are. I mean I realize they are a Christian Metal band and that they never really got the airplay that they deserved. However, Stryper is an extremely talented ban not only musically but also lyrically. Michael Sweet has one of those rare voices that can hit all the highs and lows. I mean, when it comes go vocalists you have Ronnie James Dio, Rob Halford, Bruce Dickenson, Sebastian Bach, Axl Rose, and Jani Lane. I put Sweet on the map with these guys.

Purchase this album, which was released in 2011 pop it into your CD player and Rock Out! I am so looking forward to this spring with all of the new material that is being released by many great bands. I will be doing some special blogs on my top metal artists including best vocalists, best guitarists, best drummers, and best bassists. I am sure Michael Sweet will be on one of those lists. I will also be doing my Top 10 Metal Albums as well as Hard Rock albums.

My fellow metal heads, buy this album. You definitely will not be disappointed. And you may even agree that this band is underrated and not given the praise they are truly due. Until next time, ROCK ON!

METAL MANIA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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TOP 10 BANDS THAT CHANGED METAL

So many bands have come and gone in the Metal Music Scene. In fact, Heavy Metal has evolved and grown many subsets throughout the years. VH1 Classic had an awesome documentary on Heavy Metal this past summer that gave a chronological history of Metal Music and it’s roots. Of Course…the Forefathers of Heavy Metal was Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. There was also Rainbow, AC/DC, Aerosmith, And many other bands alike that pushed Heavy Metal to the forefront of the music industry. Whether it be “one hit wonders,” like Autograph or bands that have stood the test of time like AC/DC or KISS….there have been so many good metal bands to surface from the early nineteen eighty’s until modern day metal. Many bands have made their mark and changed the style of music and how it is played. However, some Bands have risen above the rest to make significant impacts on the music genre known as metal and these bands have influenced these styles in ways that are unfathomable. The following article shares my Top 10 Bands that have changed and influenced Heavy Metal today.
1) Iron Maiden- Iron Maiden was formed in 1975 in England by Steve Harris. Since their inception, Iron Maiden has produced 15 Studio Albums, 10 Live Albums, and 7 Video Compilations. They were pioneers of the new wave of British Heavy Metal. In most music congregations…Maiden is considered an underground Metal Band because of their lack of Television and radio support and exposure. Iron Maiden has sold 85 million records, which is a huge accomplishment for a band that does not hit the radio circuit. For most of their career, Bruce Dickinson has piloted Maiden as the lead vocalist…except for it’s very beginning when Paul Diano was the lead singer and also 1994-1999, when Blaze Bayley took over the Helm. They have played over 2000 live shows all over the World and have produced many hit singles. A lot of their style and sound is progressive and uses melodic and harmonic style of guitars. They have produced a few concept albums using this creative style. I would venture to put Bruce Dickinson right up there with the all time great vocalists in Metal History. Iron Maiden has definitely influenced Metal in enormous proportions. Their best album is probably Number of the Beast which includes the title track and Run to The Hills…another Maiden Classic.
2) Judas Priest- Judas Priest was also formed in England, Birmingham to be exact in 1969. Judas Priest was one of the first Metal Bands to feature the “Twin Guitar” style. Glenn Tipton and KK Downing have been able to modernize this sound and perfect it’s effect on the metal style of music. When you combine these two phenomenal Guitarists with the vocals of Rob Halford, you have the making of a Super Power Band. Rob Halford may even be a better vocalist than Bruce Dickinson. Judas Priest was the first band to truly use the double guitar strategy and thus produced a very heavy fast dark sound of music. They were also responsible for introducing the black leather and S/M look to the Metal Scene. They have produced 16 Studio Albums…their last one being a Concept Album “Nostradamus” about the life of Nostradamus who was an ancient philosopher and prophet. Judas Priest is in the Metal Hall of Fame an they continue to tour and make kick ass tunes. In fact…they will release their 17th studio album in 2013. Judas Priest was a catalyst for the New wave of British Heavy Metal, which has totally influenced all major styles of modern metal today. They have sold 50 million records and stood the test of time.
3) Def Leppard- Another English Heavy Metal Band, formed in 1977 in Sheffield England. Def Leppard truly brought a new sound and style to the table and they really took off in the early eighties. They were the first Metal Band to enjoy major commercial success and their high point was between the early eighties and nineties. Def Leppard has produced twelve studio albums and as mentioned achieved huge success in the commercial record area and mainstream metal population. High and Dry, which was their second album (released in 1981) and the single “Bringing on the Heartbrake” became the first metal song played on MTV Videos. Their next album, Pyromania turned Def Leppard into huge stars and the song Photograph was released in 1983 and also received major airplay on MTV. As of 2004…Pyromania was ranked 384 on Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Albums of all time. In 1987, Def Leppard released Hysteria which topped the charts in both the United States and United Kingdom! This album alone has gone on to sell over 20 million copies worldwide and Hysteria reached 12x Platinum in 2010, one of the most successful albums ever. The album spawned 6 Hit Singles in the Billboard Top 100. Def Leppard is one of five bands to have two albums certified as Diamond Platinum (Pyromania/Hysteria) 2 Original Studio Albums to sell over 10 million copies each. They are the number 1 album seller of all time in the US ha ing sold over 100 million records. Def Leppard was recently ranked 31 in the top 100 Hard Rock Bands of all time. Def Leppard brought Metal to new grounds and was the first metal band to achieve huge commercial success. They will always be recognized as a band who changed the face of Metal.
4) METALLICA- METALLICA was formed in 1983 in Los Angeles California and they are known as the founding member of the BIG 4, which is a term for the 4 greatest thrash metal bands of all time. They were the pioneer of Thrash Metal, which became the most popular form of metal music in the mid 1980’s! METALLICA in it’s roots was a Heavy Metal Underground Icon and achieved commercial success with their third album, Master of Puppets. This album is still considered one of the most heavy influential heavy metal albums of all time. Many Thrash Bands were formed during Metallica’s rise including Megadeth, Anthrax, and Slayer who join METALLICA in the Big 4. Other Thrash stars included Tetament, Overkill, Quiet Riot, Metal Church, and many others. METALLICA hit their high point when they released their Fifth Album “Black” which debuted at Number 1 on the Billboard Top 100. Thus far…METALLICA has produced 9 Studio Albums and since 1991 is the highest selling band in the Music Industry. Like Def Leppard, METALLICA too has sold over 100 million records worldwide. The Black Album is actually the 25th most sold album in United States History. METALLICA will always be known for it’s tremendous influence on the emergence of “Thrash” metal which incorporated speed heavy fierce guitars with powerful double bass drums and screeching vocals. Thrash Metal is still one of the most popular forms of Heavy Metal today.
5) Motley Crüe- Motley Crüe was formed in Los Angeles California in 1981 by Bass Guitarist Nikki Six and Drummer Tommy Lee, and were later joined by Mik Mars and Vince Neil on Vocals. Through the years, Motley Crüe is has been considered the most notorious Rock Band of all time. Motley Crüe was the catalyst for the Hair Metal revolution, which was basically heavy metal bands that played themes such as sex, drugs, and rock n roll and they sported long hair and wore makeup. Motley Crüe has produced nine studio albums and are currently working on their tenth. They have been ranked 10th on the MTV Top 10 Heavy Metal List and 9th on the VH1 Top 10 Heavy Metal list respectively. Motley Crüe was a raucous bunch that provided fast heavy guitar with cutting vocals from Vince Neil. Between all of the band members…they probably have all been in trouble with the law than any other heavy metal bands. Motley Crüe achieved great commercial success and thrived with their popularity with MTV exposure…especially among ladies.
6). Poison- Poison was another Hair Metal band that was formed in Pennsylvania by Vocalist Brett Michaels and they combined Motley Crues look with a more mellow sounding rock sound. Poison was also more popular with the ladies. They actually became the catalyst for Glam Metal Bands in the mid eighties which took on a huge part of the metal population. Other bands that followed Poison’s success included Warrant, Skid Row, Bon Jovi, Whitesnake, Ratt, Winger, Quiet Riot, Twisted Sister, Wasp, and many more bands. Poison is most known for their album Open up and say Ahh…their best hit number 1 single “Every Rose Has it’s Thorn.”. Poison popularized Ballads which used heavy guitar but incorporated a mellow sad sound. So many bands followed this trend.
7). Guns N Roses- Guns N Roses was formed in 1985 in Los Angeles California by Slash, Duff McKagan, Axl Rose, Izzy Stradlin, and Steven Adler. The band only released six studio albums but managed to still sell 100 million records worldwide. This gives you a little clarity on the enormous impact that this band had on Heavy Metal. Appetite For Destruction debuted at Number 1 on the Billboard Top 100 and their single “Sweet Child O Mine” reached number 1 on the Top 100 Billboard singles. The album had sold over 18 million copies in the United States alone making it the Number 1 Debut album of Metal history of all time. Guns N Roses has to receive credit for popularizing heavy metal in an era where pop music had taken over the industry. Guns N Roses had a Rolling Stones type of demeanor and they brought Metal to another level. They were not the classic thrash metal or British style…nor were they the hair glam style either. They brought their own style to the table…a combination of hard rock, punk and metal that thrived and gained quick popularity. The Band was around only a short time but they still remain one if the Greatest American Heavy Metal Bands of all time! The Band’s classic lineup was just recently inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012…the Band’s first year of eligibility. This was a tremendous accomplishment considering they were only around a very short time.
8) Nirvana- Nirvana was formed by Kirk Cobain and Dave Grohl in 1987 near Seattle. They quickly became the catalyst for a new style of Metal known as Grunge. Many Grunge Bands were formed in Seattle in the late eighties. The Grunge style of metal relied on dynamic contrasts in sound, between quiet verses and loud heavy choruses. Nirvana’s second Album, NeverMind achieved dramatic success in the grunge community as well as the Alternative Style of Metal. The band was short-lived as Curt Cobain died in 1994. Even with their short lived career…Nirvana has managed to sell over 25 Million Records in the United States alone and over 75 million world wide. Nirvana set the stage for many other bands including Alice In Chains, SoundGarden, Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine, Collective Soul, and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Nirvana is kind of like the Beatles of the 1990’s even tho the Beatles lasted much longer. Curt Cobain is John Lennon. The star vocalist whose life was cut way too short.
9). Pantera- Pantera was formed in Arlington Texas in 1981. However…it wasn’t till many years later that the band made it’s mark. They began as a glam metal band producing four albums in the eighties. In 1990, Pantera released “Cowboys From Hell” which was much more of a thrash metal sound. Then Vulgar Display if Power was released which was even heavier. Finally, Far Beyond Driven which was heavier yet. They are responsible for the New Wave of American Heavy Metal which spawned many bands that are still popular today…KORN, Slipknot, Limp Bizkit, Marilyn Manson, White Zombie/Rob Zombie, Tool, HateBreed, Mastadon, and the list goes on and on. Pantera saw it’s high point during the early 90’s and were famous for their mosh pits. The Band disbanded after the brutal murder of it’s star guitar player…Dimebag Darrell on stage by a crazed fan. Pantera is still considered one of the Best Heavy Metal Bands o all time today.
10). Lamb of God- Lamb of God is like Pantera on Steroids. They carry the torch today for Heavy Metal Music and have a Dark Side but they are not quite raucous enough to be considered Death Metal. The band was formed in 1990 in Richmond Virginia and they have produced 6 Studio Albums. They have a cult fan base and thrive on live shows. Ashes of the Wake is their best selling album and they have sold over 10 million albums in the United States alone and over 15 million world wide. Lamb of God uses Pantera like riffs and the demonic vocal sound of Randy Blythe to get the crowds into a rucus. Lamb of God is carrying the torch now for the New Wave of Heavy Metal. Thy have spawned such bands as Avenged Sevenfold, Buck Cherry, Bullet For My Valentine, Killswitch Engage, and As I Lay Dying. They have stood the test of time also.

Honorable Mention- Alice Cooper, Ozzy Osbourne, Kiss, Marilyn Manson, Slipknot. Well…that is my top 10 list and it’s not in any particular order. If I had to pick the number 1 band for influence it would be Guns N Roses. Stay tuned for the next Heavy Metal installment.

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Metal Is Back

I’m a 36 Year Old Metal Die Hard! The first CD I ever purchased as a young kid was “Countdown to Extinction” by Megadeth. I will never forget my trip to the music store…it was a Tuesday morning and the CD was released earlier in the day. I rode my bicycle from my little neighborhood in Echo Beach, Bensalem to the Woodhaven Mall. I cannot remember the name of the store but that’s where I purchased the CD. The year was 1992. I was not even of legal driving age (hence the bike). Anyways…as I raced home on my bike with CD in hand…I could not wait to pop it into my brand new CD player that my father had purchased for me a week earlier. This CD just happened to be the first one I bought because it was a new release. Many of my child hood friends were avid metal fans so I had heard some of Megadeth’s material at the time, mainly from the “Peace Sells but Who’s Buying” era along with a few songs from “Rust in Peace.”. My friend Sean was a huge METALLICA fan and I had listened to “Ride the Lightning” and “And Justice For All.”. So after listening to METALLICA I became enamored with the back story of Dave Mustaine…who at the time I really did not know all too much about, but only that he had been in METALLICA for a short time before being kicked out because of his widespread drug abuse. I had learned that Mustaine had formed his own band “Megadeth” and when I heard my first Megadeth song, Peace Sells But Who’s Buying I sensed that we had a musical genius on our hands. I’m sure whenever you hear this song you picture the video of the young kid watching a Megadeth Video and the father tells him to turn on the news and he replies…”This is the News.”. So anyways…back to the day that I purchased Countdown. When I got home…I made a BLine for my bedroom and tore apart the plastic covering and opened the CD. The artwork was impressive with the old guy in chains…in what looked to be like his own personal prison. So I popped the CD into my player…cranked up the volume and for the next hour I was blown away! The first track…”Skin of My Teeth”, with the opening heavy guitar riffs and the infamous was siiiicccck! I must have replayed the song 3x before moving onto the next song. Then I heard this slow sounding synthesizer on the next track that went into a hard crunching riff! This was “Symphony of Destruction.”. One thing I noticed right away about this album was the tremendous melodic tones and chords that were used in Its production. Symphony was an awesome production and to this day I know all the words by heart. Of course…this song became one of Megadeth’s signature tunes. “Just like the pied piper…led rats through the streets…we danced like marionettes…swaying to the symphony of destruction.”. Wow powerful lyrics which underlayed an obvious anti-political theme. Then Architecture of Aggression and Foreclosure of a Dream which were both hits in their own right. They may not have gotten the air time but they were absolutely metal high fives. Then it was “Hello me…it’s me again…you can subdue but never tame me…It gives me a migraine headache…thinking down to your level.”. One could tell right away the dark theme of this song and how it correlated with Dave Mustaine and his crazy past. “Sweating Bullets” another signature song. Then perhaps the most underrated track on the CD….”This Was My Life”….more powerful guitar and electrifying lyrics. Then “Countdown to Extinction” the title track…a very creative title and theme and an even better song to boot. Then it was the song about the band’s passion for jumping out if airplanes…”High Speed Dirt!”. This song made you feel like you were in the plane with the band taking the plunge. Then “Psychotron” yet another underrated song. Then one of my personal favorites…”Captive Honor” which if you read the lyrics has a double meaning about being in prison and being addicted to drugs…and it’s close relationship to being in prison. Finally, the album ended with “Ashes in Your Mouth”, which truly fit perfect as the last song on the album. Needless to say…that day I was blown away and from that day forward…Megadeth was my favorite band. To this day…I try to hit as many concerts as possible. This brings me to my next point about how the new trend is bands are tending to play entire albums at concerts. I think this is an awesome idea and truly brings back excitement to a once dying brand of Metal. A few years back, Motley Crüe did the entire Doctor Feelgood anniversary tour. This is by far my favorite Crüe album and this tour had tremendous success. Iron Maiden has been doing this for years…they may be the forefathers of this trend. Over this past summer they did the “Maiden England” tour which virtually covered the entire “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son” a concept album. Hearing these songs together brought back lots of memories. METALLICA did the Orion Festival, which was out of this world awesome!!!! What they did those 2 nights in June was take over the entire Atlantic City night life that weekend. They decided to do 2 successive albums the first night performing “Ride the Lightning” and the second night performing “Black” their signature album, which was actually released after “Countdown to Extinction”. Countdown hit number 4 on the chats only to see the “Black” album hit number 1. Needless to say…Megadeth will be performing the Countdown Anniversary Tour in October. I am so looking forward to being at this show and would not miss it for the world. Not only was this my first CD….it led me to my favorite band…which further led me down the path of Metal Mania. I believe that as more bands adopt this type of concert…that it will only further cement Thrash Metal as a Superpower in todays music world. I am so looking forward to the first riff out of Dave’s Guitar. This will bring back so many childhood memories…some good and some bad…but nonetheless will be an extreme boost for me in general.

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