BLACK SATURDAY A HIT

     Black Sabbath visited Philadelphia last night at the Wells Fargo Center.  Not only was this a big deal…as the last time they played together as the original unit…Ozzy had to sit out sick while Judas Priest “Rock God” Rob Halford killed every song without missing a beat.  There will never be a doubt or an argument that Rob Halford is a way better vocalist than Ozzy, even in Ozzy’s hey day.  However, this was my first Sabbath show EVER including the DIO era.  I have also never saw Ozzy Osbourne live.  

     Anyways, considering the year is 2013 and the band is over 45 years into existence…it was an AMAZING experience to see the Forefathers of Heavy Metal Music in action.  Their set list included 17 songs, even four from the new studio album 13.  I don’t care how horrible Ozzy’s voice may be (Years and Years of Drugs, Alcohol, and vocal abuse)…the experience was once in a lifetime for me and I am glad that I was able to see them, as it may be their very last tour.  Of course, never say never to a band that I never thought could take the stage let alone put out a brand new full length studio album.  13 may be one of this band’s best all around albums due to the technology of today.  

     Nonetheless, the band began with the EPIC “WAR PIGS”…as the sirens were blaring and the strobe lights were flaring!  Ozzy welcomed Philly with his calling card HAHAHA evil sounding laugh that only Ozzy can pull off.  Yes, the band did drop down on many of the songs  as far as tuning goes, but it still sounded masterful.  I was extremely curious how the band would sound without one of its core members, drummer Bill Ward.  However, Tommy Clufetos from Rob Zombie and Ted Nugent was absolutely STELLAR!!! He actually did an over eight minute drum solo that rocked the crowd.  

     Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler were both at their absolute BEST.  The setlist was as follows: War Pigs, Into the Void, Under the Sun/Every Day Comes and Goes, Snowblind, Age of Reason, Black Sabbath, Behind the Wall of Sleep, N.I.B., End of the Beginning, Fairies Wear Boots, Rat Salad, “Drum Solo”, Iron Man, God is Dead, Dirty Women, Children of the Grave, and an encore with the Sabbath Bloody Sabbath Intro into Paranoid!  Not bad, seventeen songs for just over a two hour show for one of Metal’s epic bands ever.  The show opened with Andrew WK who mostly whooed the crowd with many Metal Classics.  I am not just saying this, but I thought Ozzy sounded better than I have heard him in years, although he was off tune quite a bit.  

     I will say this, I was shocked that the band did not play “Sweet Leaf”, as I must admit I never smelled the aroma of green as much at a single concert as I did last night.  The entire show was a blast and I will never forget seeing the band that started it all for me and everything music that I enjoy.  At least now I can say, I SAW BLACK SABBATH…well at least 3/4.  It would have been nice to see Bill Ward but unfortunately even the best fight in time.  Greed does not discriminate.  Oh well, Tommy was AWESOME!  Any of my fans that are reading this, I strongly suggest that you attend an upcoming SABBATH show as they ROCKED the HOUSE.  Also, I have put four of their videos on YOU TUBE for your viewing pleasure.  In conclusion, BLACK SABBATH was way better than I expected and I feel like I have visited the Holy Grail of Heavy Metal.  Until next time….Children…Children…children…children of the Grave.ImageImage

SABBATH BLOODY SATURDAY

Well it’s Saturday, August 11th! Tonight, Black Sabbath comes to Philly and the Wells Fargo Center to continue their Summer Sabbath Tour. I must say, when I found out that I had an opportunity to attend this show I was ecstatic. For me this is a once in a lifetime opportunity that probably will never come again.

First of all, I have never saw Black Sabbath live. Secondly, I have never saw Ozzy live so this will be a first on both ends! Wow!!! I am so stoked about this show! As a true Metal Head…I consider Black Sabbath as the forefathers of Heavy Metal. Basically all of the music I listen to now has some type of link to Sabbath. To have the chance of a lifetime to see this band is an honor for me.

I am not sure what to expect as far as a set list, but I am sure they will do a variety of their hits, music from their latest studio album, and maybe some Ozzy classics! I must say, when I first purchased 13…I was not sure what to expect as far as the sound and the skill of the album. Well, anyone that has heard this album has to admit that this is “CLASSIC” Sabbath at its best with the heavy power chords, dark sound, and Iommi’s signature solos!

The only white elephant of this opportunity is the absence of former drummer Bill Ward. It really is ashamed. When you have a band of this Caliber and legend, you really would hope to see the entire original group. However, I will take what I can get. I hope to hear some songs from the DIO era…not sure what the chances of that are. However, this is going to be a Great Day in my life and I will be able to say that I saw the Fathers of Metal live!

I can’t wait to hear the classics…”War Pigs, Paranoid, Black Sabbath, Sweet Leaf, NIB, Lord of this World, Iron Man, Solitude, Children of the Grave…the list goes on and on. Well, the show starts at 7 so we are t minus 10 Hours and counting! I am sure the place will be rocking and there is going to be a certain aura in the air! Anyways, I will provide a review of the show tomorrow. I hope to see Eddie Trunk and the rest of That Metal Show cast. Till next time…”Rock on Droogies”. I AM IROoOOON MaaaN!

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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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BLACK SABBATH EVE

On the Eve of Black Sabbath’s new album release, I couldn’t help but delve into my catalog. Of course, the first album that i grabbed was the debut self titled album, “Black Sabbath.” Black Sabbath is single handedly responsible for laying the foundations of what we know today as “Heavy Metal.” Black Sabbath, a four member band, was formed in Birmingham, England in 1968. Their debut album is regarded as a true Heavy Metal Classic today. Their Debut album was released in 1970. Black Sabbath has went through numerous lineup changes throughout the course of 45 Years. The Band’s first lineup is the classic lineup, and probably the best one to don the bands name. Tony Iommi (Lead Guitar), William Ward (Bass Guitar), Terence Butler (Drums) also known as GEEZER, and John Osbourne (Lead Vocals) otherwise known as the legendary “Ozzy”.

The Band’s self titled album “Black Sabbath” was in 1970 under the Warner Brother’s label. The album was masterful and full of blues and rock molded together in a way that was never heard before. The first song, also called “Black Sabbath” has been called the most evil song in Metal by Rob Halford (Judas Priest) another Heavy Metal legend. Black Sabbath uses power chords and medleys that produce a dark eerie sound. The debut album consisted of five songs: 1)Black Sabbath, 2) The Wizard, 3)WASP/BEHIND THE WALL OF SLEEP/BASICALLY/ N.I.B., 4) Wicked World, and 5) A BIT OF FINGER/SLEEPING VILLAGE/WARNING. That same year they released “Paranoid”, which is full of hits. The most notable are “Iron Man”, “Paranoid”, “Fairies Wear Boots,” and “Hand of Doom.”

One of my favorite Black Sabbath albums is actually their third album, “Master of Reality”, which was released only 1 year later, also under the Warner Brother’s label. The album track listing was as follows:
1) Sweet Leaf
2) After Forever
3) Embryo
4) Children of the Grave
5) Orchid
6) Lord of this World
7) Solitude
8) Into the Void.
Master of Reality went one step further than the debut album, taking on an even heavier pointed sound. Tony Iommi became one of the first lead guitarists to play numerous solos throughout the songs as well as in the beginning and end. Sweet Leaf starts out with a voice that sounds like its coughing and gasping for air. Children of the Grave is a more speedy song than the original slow riff composition of Sabbath songs. THe album cover is totally black except for the drastic purple letters, Master of Reality.

There are so many classic hits from this lineup. “Black Sabbath”, “War Pigs”, “Paranoid”, “Iron Man”, “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”, “Sweet Leaf”, “Lord of this World”, “The Wizard”, “Fairies Wear Boots,” “Behind the Wall”, “Spiral Architect”, “Into the Void”, “Snow Blind,” “Nativity in Black,” and many more. Tonight, this Monday Evening I am having my own Black Sabbath marathon. Eight albums from beginning to end. I am listening to the classic lineups albums straight through from the debut “Black Sabbath” to “Never Say Die”, which was the last album featuring Ozzy. After Ozzy left for his solo career, Black Sabbath found another brilliant front man, Ronnie James Dio. Dio was a much better singer than Ozzy and his voice brought a more modern sound to Sabbath. The first album with Ronnie James Dio was “Heaven and Hell.” The title track was a number one hit. Dio was around for another 8 albums, while also going solo. There is no doubt that Sabbath was at its best with Ozzy; however, there are not too many bands that have changed lead singers and kept the same star power. AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath are the most notable that I can think of in the modern era. Nonetheless, Black Sabbath will always best be known as the “Fathers of Heavy Metal.”

Tomorrow, June 11th, 2013 they will release their brand new album “13”. 43 Years after the release of “Black Sabbath.” Amazing…truly amazing. I cannot wait to pop the new CD and blast it at full volume. Black Sabbath has truly stood the test of time. Its amazing that Ozzy, Tony, and Geezer are still able to play at the level they do. They are even going tour, which is absolutely mind blowing. I just wish that DIO was still alive to see this day. I am sure that he would be extremely proud of his former band. Never forget Metal Fans all over…the bands you listen to and follow today…the bands that take up most of your listening time…would not be around today if it was not for BLACK SABBATH. Let us give Black Sabbath the credit due and let us honor them on this eve of yet another “Black” album. Long Live Black Sabbath!20121109-140309.jpg20121211-020537.jpg

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!