TOP 10 METAL ALBUMS 2013

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As 2013 comes to a close, it is time to rate the Top 10 Metal Albums of this year.  As I have mentioned so often before, there are so many styles of Heavy Metal, too many to possibly cover all genres.  For purposes of this piece, we will be looking at Heavy Metal (Thrash, Speed, Power, Modern, Hardcore).  Death Metal and other variations will not be looked at when picking the Top Albums.  Those albums may be discussed at a later date.  Before we get to my list, let us take a look back to 2012 and some of the music that was released last year and some of the most anticipated Metal Albums.

2012 was a very busy year in the Heavy Metal community.  Lamb of God released “Resolution” in January.  Resolution was the followup album to Wrath, which was one of Lamb of God’s best releases yet.  In March 2012, Impending Doom released “Baptized in Faith” and Soulfly countered with “Enslaved.”  Overkill, part of the “Big Six” released “The Electric Age”, its second album in successive years.  The Band Accept showed the world “Stalingrad.”  My favorite album that was released in 2012 was Testament’s “Dark Roots of Earth.”    Testament went the extra mile on this album and even covered a few songs from other popular bands including Iron Maiden’s “PowerSlave.”  This was Testament’s best album in years and my personal favorite.  Kreator released “Phantom Antichrist” and HellYeah released “Band of Brothers.”  As I Lay Dying put out “Awakened.”  The most anticipated album of the year was SoundGarden’s “King Animal”, which marked the return of the original band lead by Chris Cornell.

2013 was an even better year for Heavy Metal Music.  There were many new releases as well as compilations and movie soundtracks.  Def Leppard released Viva Hysteria, which was a CD/DVD combo that included a concert in Vegas that Def Leppard played in the Summer.  Iron Maiden also released Maiden England and Judas Priest released Epitaph.  Both of these were live concerts on DVD and also included a jacket chronicling both bands history.  Well here we are, I am now ready to give you my Top 10 Metal Albums of 2013.  Without further a due, here are my TOP 10.

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STRYPER (NO MORE HELL TO PAY)

On November 5th, Stryper released their first studio album in over fifteen years.  This album is actually very underrated.  No More Hell to Pay really showcases Stryper’s talent as a Metal Band, albeit Christian Metal.  The lead singer Michael Sweet is extremely dynamic on the album as he hits a wide range in tone and ferocity.  The album starts out with the track “Revelation” which is self explanatory.  The album then stars the Title Track “No More Hell to Pay” which is similar to the epic hit To Hell With the Devil.  This track laments Strypers musical talents al the way across the board and the guitar solos are off the hook and plentiful.  Stryper also covers the popular gospel song, “Jesus is Just Alright” which was originally recorded but the Byrds and more recently by the Doobie Brothers.  No More Hell to Pay rounds out Number Ten on this list.

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MEGADETH (SUPER COLLIDER)

Super Collider is Megadeth’s 14th Studio Album and was the followup to Thirteen which was also produced by Johnny K.  This album is actually the first from Megadeth to be released on Dave Mustaine’s own label.  The album debuted at #6 on the Billboard 200, which was actually the highest for any Megadeth album since Youthanasia.  “Kingmaker” is the first and best track on the album.  Megadeth also covers the Thin Lizzy hit “Cold Sweat”.  David Dramain also makes a guest appearance on one of the tracks.  Unfortunately, despite selling over 80,000 copies of the album thus far, it has received mostly criticism.

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KILLSWITCH ENGAGE (DISARM THE DESCENT)

Disarm the Descent is the sixth studio album for the Metalcore Band Killswitch Engage.  The album was released in April 2013 and is the first album to feature Jesse Leech on vocals since 2002.  “The Hell in Me” and “Beyond the Flames” are both huge hits.  In the albums first week, it reached #7 on the Billboard 200 as well as #1 on the Hard Rock Album Chart.  This was the band’s first studio album since 2009 with their self titled album.  Killswitch Engage definitely cracks the Top 10 with this masterpiece.

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SEVENDUST (BLACKOUT THE SUN)

Blackout the Sun is Sevendust’s Ninth Studio Album and first since 2010.  This album is a darker vibe that still produces Sevendust’s classic melodies.  It has even been described as being a Greatest Hits album of songs never heard before.  Most popular Reviews gave this album 5 Stars out of 5.  The album begins with a ballad instrumental “Memory” and then continues on with an all out onslaught of good song after good song.  For those of you that have never heard Sevendust, Blackout the Sun is a must for your archives.

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ALICE IN CHAINS (THE DEVIL PUT DINOSAURS HERE)

The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here is the 5th Studio Album for the band Alice In Chains.  This album is the followup to Black Gives Way to Blue.  The album was actually put on hold for some time after guitarist Jerry Cantrell had shoulder surgery.  The album peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200.  The best songs on the album (all released as singles) are “Hollow”, “Stone” and “Voices”.  The album also made #1 on the US Top Hard Rock Albums.

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BLACK SABBATH (13)

13 was Black Sabbath’s first studio album since 1995’s “Forbidden.”  13 marks the return of the original Sabbath lineup with Ozzy Osbourne.  The album sold 155,000 copies in its first week of release and reached #1 on the Billboard 200.  This album was unexpectedly brilliant, harmonic, In the second week of release, the album fell to the 5th spot on the charts.  “End of the Beginning” and “God is Dead” are classic Sabbath dark riffs.  Black Sabbath has even toured around the entire continent in support of the new album.  The song “Zeigeist” is like a modern day version of “Planet Caravan”. “God is Dead” has the same style as “War Pigs”.  This album is classic Sabbath at it’s BEST.

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METALLICA (THROUGH THE NEVER)

Through the Never is the live interactive album that lets you know that Metallica is Truly Back.  For those of you that have not heard the album as of yet, I suggest you go buy it.  And after you listen to the CD, go see the 3D Movie.  You will definitely have a greater appreciation for one of the World’s most famous bands.  I kind of liken the movie to Pink Floyd’s The Wall.  The only difference is that they merge the story with a live concert.

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AVENGED SEVENFOLD-AX7 (HAIL TO THE KING)

Hail to the King is Avenged Sevenfold’s greatest piece of work to date.  This is their sixth studio album and is the first album that does not contain any contributions from the late Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan, their talented drummer that passed away a few years back.  Arin llJay is the new drummer and he actually joined the band during the previous tour and was good enough to remain in the band.  Hail to the King has enjoyed both critical and commercial success reaching #1 on the Billboard 200 in America as well as topping the charts in the U.K.  In this album, the Band goes back to an old school metal approach instead of their usual complicated metal core style.  The album received “generally favorable” reviews.  Unfortunately, they mimicked the styles of Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Guns N Roses, Metallica and Pantera so well that many believe they lost their own “metal identity.”  Nonetheless, the album is a Bad Ass, in your face metal onslaught that goes from opening to close like a book.  I highly recommend this album for any true old school Metal Fan.

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VOLBEAT (OUTLAW GENTLEMAN & SHADY LADIES)

For those of you that are not familiar with the band, Volbeat, you really don’t know what you are missing.  Volbeat is a Danish Metal Band that was formed in Copenhagen, Denmark.  Outlaw Gentleman and Shady Ladies is the fifth studio album released by the band and is by far their BEST!  The album features 14 Tracks, including 2 Tracks with guest singers.  “Room 24” is a Metal Classic and features King Diamond in a special guest appearance.  “Lonesome Rider” features Sarah Blackwood.  Volbeat is known for their fusion of Metal, classic Rock, Heavy Metal and Groove Metal.  The new album stays true to form, but Volbeat takes it to the next level.  This is also the 1st album with Lead Guitarist, Rob Caggiano, formerly of Anthrax.  My personal favorites on the album are “Lola Montez” and “The Hangman’s Body Count.”  “Room 24” is also BADASS.  Volbeat was very close to Number One, but their is one album that I rate higher.

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METAL CHURCH (GENERATION NOTHING)

Most of you are probably like, “who the hell is Metal Church?”  Well Metal Church is an American Heavy Metal Band that was formed in 1980, in San Francisco California.  Their first album, “Metal Church” was formed in 1984.  Kurt Vanderhoof, the lead guitarist is the only member that has stood the test of time.  Metal Church has had three lead singers: David Wayne (The Original-He has since passed away), Mike Howe, and now Ronny Munroe.  The band has had multiple breakups and their last album was “This Present Wasteland”.  This Present Wasteland was their Ninth Studio Album and was a major disappointment.  The band broke up after this and the future of Metal Church was bleak.  That was until this past years, when a few of the Band Members bumped into each other and collaborated on the new album. This album has zero filler and keeps you completely on edge.  The album has received a 4/5 on every major review.  From the first song “Bullet Proof” to the last track “Media Horse”, Metal Church pounds out awesome music.  Ronny Munroe has a tremendous voice and he kills the lyrics.  This is just one of those rare albums that has every song as a hit.  There is no drop off.  Seriously, if you have not heard the album, buy it.  If I am wrong, I will refund your money.

HONORABLE MENTION:

Bullet For My Valentine- Temper/Temper, Device-Device, Hatebreed-The Divinity of Purpose, Anthrax-Anthems (Cover Album), Ugly Kid Joe (Stairway to Hell E.P.), Queensryche- Both with Geoff Tate and without, Skid Row-United World Rebellion Chpt.1, Children of Bodom-Halo of Blood, Five Finger Death Punch-The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Motorhead-Aftershock, Trivium-Vengeance Falls.

So this was my Top 10 Heavy Metal Albums of 2013.  Who is yours.  And we have a lot to look forward to in 2014.  Until next time, this has been your host “DA BIRD,” HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL MY FANS!

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THE BIG FIVE: WHO WOULD BE YOUR NEXT BIG FIVE?

 

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    When it comes to Heavy Metal, there are so many subdivisions and styles.  These styles and subdivisions are constantly changing and adapting to changes in society and mingling between the lines of Mainstream and Underground.  As a teenager, I grew up in the eighties during the initial rise of Heavy Metal Music to the forefront.  During my early dabbles in the Metal Music community, I became enamored with the Thrash wave which was the beginnings of “THE BIG FIVE.”  Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax, and Testament quickly became my favorite bands.  I could not get enough of this music and of course, like a drug I became addicted.  Don’t get me wrong, the depths of my Metal likes goes far beyond The Big Five.  Pantera came to the forefront much later but they quickly became one of my favorites.  

     I was always a Glam Metal fan as well.  I also have become a fan of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, DIO, and Faith No More.  My Metal Catalog grows larger everyday.  In the days of new technology and the ability to listen to all of your favorite bands on outlets such as Pandora, Amazon, ITUNES, Satellite Radio and such, we as a society have been spoiled.  I am probably one of the rare fans that still enjoys buying the CD and reading the lyrics and admiring all of the cool artwork i the albums jacket.  There is no secret who the “Big Five” in Metal is.  This leads me to my next question…what bands would make the next Big Five??

     Well, as much as I am a fan of the original Big Five, my Metal List would not be complete without the mention of OVERKILL!!

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     Overkill has been one of my Favorites since Day One.  Overkill is cut from the same mold as The Big Five.  I also cannot deny the local connection as OVERKILL hails from the “Ironbound”, Newark New Jersey.  Overkill has a ton of material, and unlike the other previous big five, they never went mainstream.  Overkill can Thrash with the best of em.  They are extremely good live and they are also very talented.  Overkill would definitely make my next Big Five.

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     The Metal Community would never be the same if it were not for Pantera.  Pantera was the one band that came during the rise of Alternative Metal and the fall of Thrash Metal.  Pantera is just one of those bands that you could never stop listening too.  With the screeching vocals of Phil Anselmo, the dominant double bass drums of Vinnie Paul, the power bass chords of Rex Brown, and the dynamic guitar artwork of Dimebag Darrell.  Pantera was one of the best bands ever during their heyday and they definitely make the next list.  Who knows how far Pantera would have went in popularity and notoriety had Dimebag not been murdered.

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     Lamb of God is like Pantera on steroids.  Many people do not think that Lamb of God could possibly belong on a list like this but I will fight anyone on that assumption.  Lamb of God has some of the most talented musicians today.  Lamb of God has taken Thrash Metal at its core and really branched out to make an amped up version.  They are always one of the largest draws today for a live show.  Lamb of God has some of the sickest Pits known to man.  Ashes of the Wake put them on the map and Wrath solidified their place on this list.

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     Tool makes this list.  Tool is really not a Thrash Band but they combined the Thrash style with the Progressive Style.  Anyone that has never heard the band Tool, I highly suggest a hardcore listening session.  Tool is just one of those bands that has non-stop action and keeps the crowd on the seat of its pants.  Maynard, the vocalist, is one of the greatest Power Metal Vocalists of today.  Tool is definitely in my next Big Five.

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Image  Killswitch Engage and Sevendust round out my next Big Five!  Both of these bands infuse the old Thrash Metal sound with the new age hooks and progressive styles of todays music.  I am sure I forgot a few bands and maybe left some out.  I will give an honorable mention to Slipknot and Avenged Sevenfold.  I highly suggest Metal Church also.  The new Metal Church album “Generation Next” is phenomenal and may be one of the greatest albums of 2013.  Stay tuned for more Metal News and talk.  Don’t forget to check out the new season of That Metal Show.  There are so many awesome stories going on in the Metal World.  I also highly suggest the new Metallica Movie…Through the Never.

 

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!

THE COUNTDOWN HAS COMPLETED: METALLICA-MEGADETH RELEASE NEW ALBUMS

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     After being dispatched from Metallica in early 1984…DAVE MUSTAINE set out on a course of revenge that would fuel his entire career as an outstanding musician.  When Dave got the boot from Metallica, he decided to form his own band and vowed to be faster, harder, and louder than Metallica.  Dave went on to form Megadeth and for many years still remained in the REAR VIEW MIRROR of Metallica, who seemed hell bent on becoming the most notable Metal Band in the World.  In a series of events, both bands released albums in close proximity of each other as if to try and compete.  In 1984, Metallica released “RIDE TO LIGHTNING.”  Ride the Lightning was an instant classic metal album that quickly gained popularity 

Imagein the mainstream Metal Community.  Soon after, Megadeth released “Killing is My Business” in early 1985.  Killing is My Business was not as successful as Ride the Lightning…causing Dave Mustaine much anguish.

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  Then in 1986, Metallica released “Master of Puppets” which gained popular acclaim in the entire Metal community.  Megadeth answered back with “Peace Sells but Who’s Buying.”

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THEN IN JANUARY of 1998, Megadeth released “So Far…So Good…SO WHAT.”  This album continued the maturation of Megadeth as a Metal force, however the sound quality was less than spectacular.  Then..after the tragic death of famed Metallica Bassist Cliff Burton, Metallica finally released “And Justice For All”, on August 25th of 1988.  AND JUSTICE FOR ALL was a new style for Metallica with most of the songs having long bridges, solos and riffs.  It also marked the debut of Jason Newsted as Metallica’s new bassist.  The single “ONE” hit Number One on the charts and was a huge success on MTV and all over the radio industry.  At that point…Dave Mustaine could have crumbled and went into a hole.  The entire music industry was aware of Dave’s incessant addiction to alcohol and drugs.  However, Megadeth sought a new producer and in 1990, they released their most successful album to date, and maybe their best all around Metal album ever…”RUST IN PEACE!”  Rust in Peace did not get the airplay that Metallica had with their music…however hits like “Holy Wars” and “Hangar 18” put Megadeth much closer to Metallica, on the map as far as critical acclaim and popularity.

ImageBut in a cruel twist of fate…Metallica countered with their Greatest Achievement yet…a Heavy Metal Masterpiece…their Self Titled “Black” album.  Metallica’s Black album took the Heavy Metal Genre to a new level as it crossed entirely over the mainstream lines.  The album immediately went platinum and produced multiple hits…None greater than the famous “Enter Sandman.”  

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But even the “Black” album would not stop Dave’s perpetual need to have revenge on his old band mates.  Megadeth then came out in star power fashion and released “COUNTDOWN TO EXTINCTION.”  The album may not have the same notoriety as Metallica’s Black album, but this album solidified Megadeth as one of the premier Metal Bands of the day.  In fact…Megadeth, Metallica, Anthrax, and Slayer are known today as “THE BIG FOUR”.  They are the Kings of Thrash Metal.  Metallica actually took a hiatus before releasing “Load” and “Reload” which were both tuned down albums compared to the Metallica of old.  Megadeth went on to release “Youthanasia, Cryptic Writings, Risk, and The World Needs a Hero,” before Dave almost had to retire due to an arm injury.  However, in 2004, Dave was back and Megadeth released “The System has Failed, United Abominations, and Endgame.”  There were a few lineup changes, which included the exit of Bassist Dave Ellefson.  Metallica did not put out and album during these years, and finally they released “Death Magnetic.”, which was much more like the Metallica of old.

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Ok…so let’s fast forward a little bit.  Dave Mustaine and his old band mates have made am-mends, even to the tune of touring together.  Metallica has since done many great things, including the ORION FESTIVAL…a Two Day Festival that features many great Heavy Metal bands of all styles.  The First of these festivals was last summer in Atlantic City.  The second one was this year.  They have also been working on their latest project…a 3D Movie…”Through the Never” named after one of their songs on the Black album.  I have yet to see the movie…(Hopefully Tonight)…but I have heard the Soundtrack and it is BADASS!!!!!Image ImageImageImageImageImageImage The Soundtrack is a collection of Live Songs from Metallica that will make you get chills.  Disc1 Features: The Ectasy of Gold, Creeping Death, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Fuel, Ride the Lightning, One, The Memory Remains, and Wherever I May Roam.”  Disc2 Features: Cyanide, …And Justice For All, Master of Puppets, Battery, Nothing Else Matters, Hit the Lights, and Orion.  This soundtrack spans Metallica’s entire catalog and is Kick Ass from beginning to finish.  I give it a 9/10 and seriously this may be their best sounding Live Material Ever!!  Well, Megadeth has been busy as well.  Since EndGame, they have released two more albums “Thirteen” and “Super Collider.”  They also released a 20th Anniversary Live Copy of “Rust in Peace” and re-released “Countdown to Extinction”…a 2Disc remaster of their epic Album.  Last year they actually did the “Countdown Extinction” tour in which they played the entire album live!  I was at one of those shows in New York, and let me say it was extremely amazing.  Countdown was the first album I ever owned so this had sentimental value to me.  Well…now Megadeth has released a live version of “Countdown to Extinction”, that was performed in Dave’s hometown…Arizona.  I also give this album a 9/10 Review as it really is a great version of the album.  It is amazing how a band can perform live and almost sound exactly like the original album.  So Metallica and Megadeth are both doing Great things these days and it is good to see that this story is having a Happy Ending.  Metallica is back and Megadeth, who never left, is on top of their game!  

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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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GIGANTOUR GIANT SUCCESS

Dave Mustaine has always been a great talent evaluator, but this year he really has hit a grand slam. Megadeth, who has once again revived the Gigantour “Tour” a few years back after a hiatus are taking the world by storm. After releasing End Game a few years back…they followed that album with Thirteen…which was a HUGE success. Then in early June…they released their brand new album Super Collider.

Many people (I call these the unknowing and non intelligent Megadeth Fans) have given this album bad reviews. I have heard many people saying…oh it’s a great album and all but it’s NOT Megadeth. Well, I am very critical of this band since they have always been one of my FAVS! I totally disagree with these bad reviews. In my opinion…Super Collider may be the best “all around” album since “The World Needs a Hero”. By this I am not judging the album on how heavy it is. I am judging it by the production, the variety, and the tightness of the sound.

Anyways, As Megadeth comes back with a vengeance, they have brought back Gigantour. The 2013 version may be the best yet. On the bill, Death Division, Jason Newstead, Device, Black Label Society, Hell Yeah, and of course Megadeth. Now there are also a few stops on this tour that include even more bands but that is for the lucky ones.

I must say, the only band on this list that I have a ton of knowledge and listening minutes under my belt about is Black Label Society, who I have always been a huge fan due to Zack Wylde. However, as I have begun to listen to these other bands…they all have one thing in common. They are all “BAD ASS!” By this, I mean great Guitarists, star drummers and bassists, and kick ass vocalists.

Let us do a quick review of each band. First we have Death Division…a new up and coming Metal band. They combine all types of metal into one great sound. Their lead singer, Sean De La Tour, hits many ranges! Then we have Jason Newstead. Everyone recognizes this name right? Yes the former bassist of Metallica! Wow! Well he has now put together his own band and they have become very successful. I highly recommend them for any Metal Head!

Device is a band that is made up of a few pieces from other bands, most notably the singer David Draiman from Disturbed. Device has mostly new material but they also do a “Kick Ass” cover of Ozzy/Lita Ford’s If I Close My Eyes Forever! Draiman has also teamed up with Dave Mustaine on Megadeth’s new album on two songs…”Forget to Remember and Dance in the Rain.” Draiman has definitely grown as an artist as well as a lead vocalist. It’s actually cool to see him doing background vocals with his Original sound.

Then we have Black Label Society! For those of you who have never heard BLS…be prepared to be blown away. Zack Wylde is probably in the Top Five Guitarists in the past 20 years if you want my opinion. Some of the material he puts out is utterly amazing! In fact, I keep hoping he will join forces with PANTERA and reunite the Star Band! Anyways, Black Label Society is an in YOUR FACE metal band that keeps it simple!

Then, we have Hell Yeah! Hell Yeah consists of Chad Gray and Gregg Tribbett from Mudvayne, Damage Plan and Pantera’s drummer Vinnie Paul and Bassist Bob Zilla and Nothingface Guitarist Tom Maxwell. Any PANTERA fan will love this band. Of course Tribbett and Maxwell are not DIMEBAG Darrell, but they play similar styles. Chad Grey provides phenomenal vocals!

Finally, we have the Headliners Megadeth! They don’t need any introduction as you all know them! In that note…go see the TOUR! You may be lucky and get them on a night where they all join forces. So far, on 3 of their stops all of the bands joined forces on Megadeth’s cover of the Thin Lizzy classic “Cold Sweat”! Look it up on YOU TUBe!!! Stellar! Epic! See you at the show!

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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 MANIA SPARKS NEW MATERiAL

I’m such a Metal Head. I feel like the only thing that gets my passion going is new music. It’s so amazing these past few years how many bands that are putting out top notch music. Bands that have not produced material in years are making new albums in record numbers. In past blogs I have wrote about the ultimate concert and what bands I would want to be present at these shows. Well anyways…I will be reviewing the new releases of 2013 and rating them on my own scale.

I have to start with “13” that was just released by Black Sabbath on Tuesday. First lets start with the album cover. WOW! OMG! Two statements that come to mind when you first lay eyes on this cover. What a masterpiece. It has what appears to be a dark field in the background, stilts that look like witch stakes, and the Number 13 in Flames with a 3D effect and hologram that appears to be burning. Extremely effective for a band that has not put out a new studio album as the original band since the Reunion Album, which only featured two new songs. 13 is tremendous and actually exceeds all expectations. This is an album that includes all new material. From the moment I popped the CD in I was mesmerized by the sound of what I heard. It felt like I was back in 1970 listening to Classic Black Sabbath from their first three albums. This album is a BADASS work of art. I’m giving it ***** stars and a 9/10 rating. This should be up for an GRAMMY award when the time comes.

The first track “End Of The Beginning” sounds like a new version of “Black Sabbath” the title track of the band’s debut album. “Zeitgeist” sounds like a similar version of Planet Caravan with a very trippy sound and classic Sabbath chords and use of the harmonica. “Live Forever” is similar to “Iron Man” with its dark eerie power chords and the mood the song creates. “God is Dead”, already a radio hit, sounds like a combination of Iron Man/Children of the Grave. This song is classic Sabbath at its best. Of course, this like any album that Sabbath has produced with any of their different lineups will be controversial with their lyrics and song titles. Oh well, just another false stereotypical judgement by people who are misinformed.

Ok, let’s move onto another brand new release, “Super Collider” from Megadeth. This album has been highly anticipated since their last release if Thirteen. Just a coincidence…the same title as the new Sabbath album. After Thirteen, Dave Mustaine decided he wanted to go a little different direction with this new album. Of course, once again there has been extreme backlash by many loyal Megadeth fans, citing the lack of the classic Heavy sound. However, I couldn’t disagree more. In my opinion, the past few Megadeth albums have grown stale and all had the Endgame sound which was very dull and lacked variety. I can’t say that I did not see this coming. I may be one of the rare few that was a huge fan of RISK. When RISK was released, Megadeth was accused of selling out. Although Risk lacked the thrash element, it was an extremely well put together album and had a ton of variety.

Super Collider is no different. The first track Kingmaker is a traditional Megadeth sound that starts out slow and then builds, showing many other aspects of Metal such as bridges and dual solos. Super Collider, the title track is more of a hard rock tune but Dave really pushes his bands opinions and views and is able to make this song come together. “Off the Edge” reminds me of a song from the World Needs a Hero album…”Burning Bridges”. “Dance in the Rain” is another poetic masterpiece and the addition of guest singer David Draiman makes this song kick ass. I love how they conclude with a cover of Thin Lizzy, perhaps one of the most underrated bands in history. “Cold Sweat” is done masterfully with Megadeaths own stamp of approval. I also give this album **** and an 8/10 Rating.

Alice in Chains has released a new album recently as well. “The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here” was released last month. Now I am a huge AIC fan, especially early AIC and have always been fascinated by Layne Staley’s voice and the perfect compliment of Jerry Cantrell to the melodies. When the band made their comeback with “Black Leads to Blue” I was extremely floored at how well new lead vocalist William was able to sound so close to Layne. This album was an extreme hit. I must admit…I am a little disappointed with the latest release. I mean there are a few hits…Hollow being one. But I think the album sounds dull. There is not as much variety as I would have expected and I would have liked to have heard more of Williams voice. I say **** and 6/10. Not bad but not good…just average.

Killswitch Engage is back with a vengeance with their new title “Disarm with Descent”. Killswitch has always been able to mix screaming and melody together with the perfect twist. I have always been a Killswitch fan and this album is no different. I say **** and 8/10. Solid Metal album with a lot if different variety and sound. Also, SevenDust gets the same rating for “Black out the Sun”

Ok, for those of you that have not heard “Anthems” from Anthrax, you must rush to the store and pick up a copy. Anthrax is almost as Thrash as you can get and yet they cover Rush, Thin Lizzy, AC/DC, Journey, Boston, and Cheap Trick on this album, definitely not your classic metal bands. Actually, none of them have ever really been considered Metal, maybe AC/DC being the closest. Anyways, Anthems gets a 10/10 rating and is off the hook. The reason I rate it so high is that Anthrax could not went further out of their element and they “KILLED IT” on this album. All I can say is “WOw”!

Skid Row also released a new album…United World Rebellion Chapter One, which is the beginning of a few chapters. I have always been a huge Skid Row fan, obviously more so when Sebastian Bach was there, but they are still thriving in the metal scene. I give this one a 7/10…very heavy and too the point. Finally, we had 2 DVDs released, Epitaph from Judas Priest and Maiden England. Both of these compilations get an 8/10 Rating. A must buy for any metal guru. Ok, this concludes my review session, I will be exploring the new Black Sabbath release in more detail at a later date. Stay Tuned…

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SUPER COLLIDER KICKS ASS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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METAL MADNESS

The End of May Is approaching fast, and June is right around the corner. There are so many current events that are in full blown attack. We have the Jodi Arias Murder Trial, The George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case, the Ongoing War and Terror in Syria, the Obama Health Care Reform Referendum, The Oklohoma Tornado, the Boston Massacre II, and many other current events. The NHL is down to the Final Four after skipping half of a season. MLB is in full swing and this year it’s anyone’s crown. NFL training camp is also right around the corner.

However, there is nothing more vivid than the news and notes and stories coming out of the Heavy Metal Community. Alice In Chains just released their new album on Tuesday. Saturday is the debut of That Metal Show with a guest appearance from Vinnie Apiece. Then we have both Megadeth and Black Sabbath releasing brand new studio albums this Tuesday. Also, Gigantour, The Rock Star Energy Concert in California, The Metal Hall of Fame.

June will also see a new biography from Pantera, which will cover the career of the Super Bands journey, including the tragic death of its star guitarist, Dimebag Darrell. Judas Priest is releasing a Blu Ray DVD called “Epitaph” which will include 22 Tracks from their latest tour in Europe. We have Gigantour, Metallica’s 3D Movie, Rock Star Energy Show, as well as many other concerts. Pantera is also contemplating a reunion tour with star Guitarist Zack Wylde. There are so many stories that are about to arise in the Metal Community. Finally, we have many other new albums that are due out. Also, there will be many huge shows in 2013.

Slash is working on a new album, Slayer is still mourning the loss of their Star Guitarist, Jason Newsted is about to embark on tour with Metallica, so many stories…lets get excited Metal Fans! Let me see your Liighhhterrs! As Ozzy says it best!

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