METAL MONDAY

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     The Shepherd of Fire Tour went on sale today at 10AM Eastern Time.  This Tour will span the United States and Canada as Avenged Sevenfold will promote their latest release “Hail to the King.”  I have reviewed this album numerous times in past posts and every time I listen to this album it gets better and better.  The Tour will include 20 Shows at many big venues throughout Canada and the US.  Avenged Sevenfold will kickoff the tour in British Columbia, Canada at the EnCana Events Centre on April 12th.  They will then proceed to the CN Centre in Prince George, British Columbia.  The tour will also visit Saskacthewan, Winnepeg, Minneapolis Minnesota, Huntsville Alabama, Tampa Florida, Jacksonville Florida, Lafayette Louisiana, Hollywood Florida, Virginia Beach, Charlotte North Carolina, Knoxville Tennessee, Hershey Pennsylvania, Bangor Maine, Montreal Quebec, Syracuse New York, and will end in Columbus Ohio on May 17th.

     For those of you that have never saw Avenged Sevenfold, I strongly suggest you purchase tickets to one of these shows.  Sevenfold, otherwise known as AX7, has been a band on the rise for the past ten years and this latest album, Hail to the King is by far their best material to date.  Synester Gates is like the modern day “Slash.”  He plays the same kind of guitar style as the former Guns N Roses standout and matches his intensity.  Johnny Christ on the Bass guitar is equally ferocious.  M. Shadows has become quite a vocalist and has raised his game.  Zacky Vengeance compliments Synester Gates and together they are like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest combined.  By that, I mean they share the heaviness of Priest and the dual guitar melody of Maiden.  The band rounds out with new comer Arin llejay who takes over for “The Rev”, who was AX7’s world class drummer.  The Rev died in 2009, however his legacy lives on and his talent still influences the Band.  Hail to the King reached #1 on the Billboard 200 in both the United States and the U.K.  To date, AX7 has sold over 8 Million Albums world wide.  This tour should be special, as the band has stepped up its game.

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    In other Metal news, Motley Crue Drummer Tommy Lee has gotten engaged to his girlfriend Sofia Toufa.  He announced the news to 430,000 of his Twitter followers.  This is the fourth time that the Rock Star will be married.  The 51 Year old Lee has been previously married to Elaine Starchuk, Heather Locklear, and Pamela Anderson.  Lee insists that this is finally his life partner.  This news comes amidst the Crue’s latest news that they will be doing a farewell tour and album.  I don’t know about you, but I put the over/under on the length of this marriage at Five Years.  Tommy Lee has always been outspoken and is probably second to Vince Neil in female attraction.  

     It was also announced that former Megadeth Guitarist will be releasing a new album called “Inferno.”  This should be interesting as Friedman had lost interest in Metal when he left Megadeth.  AC/DC will also be releasing a new studio album and going back out on the road.  I love Angus Young.  He is like the energizer bunny.  He just keeps going and going and going.  Brian Johnson has lost some of his vocal power, but he can still sing with the best of them.  There is a DIO tribute album being released in March that will include covers from Anthrax, Metallica, Pantera and others.  Sebastian Bach is ready for the release of his new album, which should be KICK ASS!!!!!

     Finally, we will play This or That:

1) Black Sabbath w DIO vs Black Sabbath w Ozzy.

2) Ride the Lightning or Master of Puppets.

3) Cowboys from Hell or Vulgar Display of Power.

4) Deep Purple or Thin Lizzy.

5) Bon Scott or Brian Johnson.

6) Cinderella or RATT.

7) Testament or Overkill.

8) Bad Company or Foreigner.

9) Dave Mustaine or Kirk Hammett.

10) Alice In Chains or Soundgarden.

OK….Now for my answers.  1) Black Sabbath w DIO, 2) Master of Puppets, 3) Cowboys from Hell, 4) Thin Lizzy, 5) Brian Johnson, 6) RATT, 7) Overkill, 8) Bad Company, 9) Dave Mustaine, 10) Alice In Chains.  So what were your picks??  Anyways, rock on mates.  Stay tuned for more Metal Mania.

******Album of the Day- Def Leppard (Slang)*******

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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.

 

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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TESTAMENT: THE BIG 5

Many people ask the question if there was a BIG 5…who would be the Fifth Band amongst METALLICA, Megadeth, Anthrax, and Slayer. Everyone has their own opinion and there are probably a few bands that would come close but the Band that would receive the most votes would be Testament.
Testament is an American Thrash Band that was formed in 1983 in Berkley, CA. Considering the Band played the San Francisco Bay area, they received widespread exposure from the underground metal community just as fellow bands METALLICA and Megadeth. The band was originally formed by guitarist Eric Peterson…and has been through numerous line up changes during its 29 years of existence.
Many people don’t know this, but Testament was originally named Legacy, which actually became the Title of their first album…that was released in 1987. Originally joining Eric Peterson in the band was Alex Skolnick, a Joe Satriana disciple. Also joining the band was lead vocalist Chuck Billy, who replaced Steve Souza, who went on to form the Metal Band Exodus.
When “Legacy” was released in 1987….Testament quickly became a popular trademark in the Thrash Metal Community. In order to promote their new album, they began a tour with Anthrax, who was actually promoting their own new album “Among the Living.”. Legacy and it’s follow up album, consisted of many dark and gothic themes along with the occult. Testament continued to rise to the top of Metal Charts across the world.
Their 3rd album, “Practice What You Preach,” was released in 1989 and shared more realistic themes like politics and world corruption. Then came the Grunge era and Testament was failing to connect with their fans so they released a slower metal album called “The Ritual” was released in the late summer of 1992…over 20 years ago. When it was released it hit 55 on the Top 100 Bilboard List, which was the highest Testament ever went up to this day. The single “Return to Serenity” received favorable reviews and topped the charts at 22. This song received extended radio airplay…allowing them to gain a larger audience.
Up until now, Testament has released 10 Studio albums in the following order:
1) The Legacy (1987)
2) The New Order (1988)
3) Practice What You Preach (1989)
4) Souls of Black (1990)
5) The Ritual (1992)
6) Low (1994)
7) Demonic (1997)
8) The Gathering (1999)
9) The Formation of Damnation (2008)
10) The Dark Roots of Earth (2012)
From 1999-2008 the band failed to produce an album. Chuck Billy was even diagnosed with Cancer and had to temporarily quit the band. They reunited and toured from 2005-2008. Finally, in April of 2008 Testament released Formation of Damnation, which marked the return of Alex Skolnick who had left the band after “The Ritual.”. Now just recently, they released “Dark Roots of Earth” which marked the return of the original lineup. Their newest album, which was released in July , 2012 went back to their heavy roots and Alex Skolnick was better than ever.
Most people are aware of the Big 4…the concerts that toured all over the world with METALLICA, Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer. One always wonders who would make the list of the Big 5 if there was such thing. Testament fits the bill as closely as any other bands of this era. Even though they went through much adversity…it’s no different from these other 4 Bands.
Let’s go back 20 Years ago to 1992 when Testament released “The Ritual.”. This album was “their” Black Album (METALLICA)/ “Countdown to Extinction (Megadeth), “Among the Living (Anthrax), and “Reign in Blood” (Slayer). This album was much more mainstream than what they had put out in the past and was able to sustain some serious air play with a few songs, mainly “Return to Serenity.”. “Electric Crown” also garnered a lot of positive attention from the Metal community. This album is still heavy and really shares Alex Skolnick’s talents on guitar as he has a lot of solos…but more it established that Chuck Billy is capable of singing a more classic heavy metal than the style of Thrash that it’s fans had become accustomed to.
Testament in my mind is right up there with these bands and they deserve much consideration when establishing the Top 5 list of Thrash Bands in America. Last fall…thy supported a tour with Death Angel and Anthrax which promoted the new studio album by Anthrax “Worship Music.”. The tour was a huge success and put Testament back on the map. Me and my best friend had the pleasure of seeing a show on this tour, in north Jersey, and I was very impressed with Testament and their live stage presence and musical talents. Of course…They just released their 10th Studio album “Dark Roots of Earth” which went back to their heavy roots. I give the album a 9 out of 10 rating and highly suggest any Thrash Metal fan pick this album up. It may be their best album to date. Classic Thrash sound and heavy guitar/drum riffs. Next year I am suggesting they create the Big 5. Testament belongs in this group although they never were as popular as the other 4 bands…but they showed they belong in this class. Let’s get a petition up to METALLICA to form the Big 5. Chuck Billy still rocks and Alex Skolnick has refined his guitar skills and can play lead and rhythm with the same intensity. Buy this album…support this band!

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Old School Metal/New Vib

A recent trend has occurred the past few years with 80’s Metal Bands releasing brand new studio albums that not only sound modern…but they may be the best albums these bands have ever produced. I was talking with a buddy of mine and asked his opinion on this subject…why so many of these bands are able to put albums out with Peak Sound? His response was pretty simple…these bands have went back to their roots…they are playing what they want to and as hard and heavy that they can…they have steered away from the temptation to conform to societies standards. One perfect example of this is Anthrax. Anthrax had been quiet for a few years and although they had a very interesting sound with John Bush…it was more of a mainstream grunge metal sound. Well Anthrax got together last year…reuniting with their former Frontman Joey Belladonna and put out what you could argue maybe their best album of all time “Worship Music”. This album kicks some major ass and goes back to the core roots of thrash metal but the sound is superior due to enhancements in technology. One could argue that almost every song on the album is a major hit. Me and my buddy saw Anthrax last winter in a club setting and they played a lot of their new material. It sounded absolutely AMAZING! Another band that has stood the test of time through much adversity…highs and lows…many lineup changes…etc. Is Megadeth. Megadeth has never quite steered away from their roots unlike Anthrax…but they did get away from the more classic sound that you were used to hearing. In their new album “13” former bassist David Elleffson reunited with the band. “13” has some internal meaning…for starters it’s their Thirteenth Studio Album, it was released on November 13th, and it represents the 13x that Mustaine has come close to dying. One single “Public Enemy Number 1” stands out and has that classic hard thrash metal sound that cuts you through the bone. Megadeth has truly stood the test of time. Another band in this category is Testament. They recently released “The Dark Roots of the Earth.”. This is another stellar album and in my opinion is the best they have ever put out. It almost sounds like a Concept album..heavy swift riffs and killer guitar. METALLICA put out “Death Magnetic” which also went back to the more traditional true Thrash Sound. One could argue that this album belongs between And Justice For All and Black album. Great sound quality and its the best James Hettfield has sounded
In forever. Overkill…a local Jersey band who was popular during the 80’s
Has released two new albums. “Ironbound” is an instant classic and this song denotes the area near Newark, New Jersey where the band is from. Needless to say…Metal is back with a Vengeance…their is no stone unturned. Balls to the Wall Metal and unbelievable sound quality. I would recommend all of these albums If you are a true 80’s Thrash Metal fan then I suggest buying them all. Everyone cam have an opinion but cannot deny how good these albums sound!

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Sports September/New Album Review

September has always been the best month in professional sports. It’s the beginning of the always anticipated NFL Season. And nothing beats watching the sizzling pennant races that always seem to heat up going into October and another World Series Champion. Also, Hockey and Basketball both begin their long awaited preseason. So yes….September is always an exciting time of the year as far as sports goes. I will give you my picks now for the NL and AL playoff teams. Washington, Cincinnati, and Los Angeles as the Division winners and the Phillies storm back to take the wildcard (I’m not being a homer I really do believe they are good enough to make another run). The AL will be The Yankees, Rangers, White Sox with the Athletics as the Surprise Wild Card team. Should be an awesome September! In the Metal Scene, I give Testament’s brand new album a huge thumbs up! Chuck Billy sounds better than ever and this is definitely their most technical album ever made. Also, they cover a Queen song, Scorpions song, and Iron Maiden song. 3 really cool tunes but in a Metal Style sticking to Testaments roots. Skolnik also has quite a few impressive solos!! I give this album a 10 and I would definitely put it in the Top 5 Metal albums of 2012 so far. Anyone that is a Metal Fan should purchase this album (it’s well worth it). The album comes in a nice sleeve and has a very nice Insert with the songs and lyrics. The album cover is probably the best one I have saw by Testament! And finally, it also comes with a DVD which has a documentary on the Making of the new album and a few other special events including live shows. Once again…I give it a 10! Very addictive the more you listen to it. Just like Anthrax last year with Worship Music. These bands are putting out their best material the older they get…go figure. Anyways….tomorrow is another day…until then keep rocking!

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