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

Advertisements

MY TOP 20 FAVORITE BANDS

Ok…well most of you that know me are aware of the fact that I am a die hard metal fan. However, this does not mean that I do not enjoy other music…but just that metal is my favorite style. I really do not have a favorite style as some of my favorites fit the thrash category and some of them fit the glam category while some are in the Hard Rock genre. All of us have different tastes in music and these likes and dislikes are influenced by how these different types of music impacted us during our younger years. The following list is my Top 20 Bands not necessarily in any order…starting with my all time favorite:
1) Megadeth- Dave Mustaine has been an inspiration in my life both musically and personally. Dave has spent his entire life struggling with addiction and has battled this fight like a warrior. His story gave me hope to overcome my addictions. Megadeth has very deep lyrics, for which I am a huge fan, and most if their topics include politics, foreign and domestic war and violence, Broken Relationships, Addiction, and Mental Illness all of which I can truly relate.

2) Iron Maiden- I was always obsessed with Iron Maiden since I was a young teenage boy. Maiden not only kicks ass musically, but they are also mystical. Bruce Dickinson is one of the top vocalists of all time and they are tremendous to hear live. Their Concept album Seventh Son of a Seventh Son is one of my favorite albums. I also enjoy Fear of the Dark and Number of the Beast. Their new material is just as heavy and theatrical. The Final Frontier was their latest studio album.

3) Guns N Roses- GNR will always be at the top of my music list. It’s A shame that they disbanded and that Axl and Slash cannot mend their fences. Guns in their prime (Appetite For Destruction) was one of the greatest Metal bands to ever play…no matter how short lived. Slash was a beast on Guitar while Duff McKagan, Izzy Stradlin, and Steven Adler provided the perfect rhythm and percussion sound to compliment Slash. Axl Rose had one of those unique voices and not many vocalists could hit the ranges that he did. Appetite For Destruction ranks in my Top 5 albums of all time along with AC/DC’s Back in Black.

4) Def Leppard- Def Leppard will always be at the top of my all time list. Def Leppard was one of the top Metal Bands to come out of the British New Wave of Heavy Metal and their songs rocked as well as hit a core with fans. My very first Leppard record was High and Dry. I can remember when I heard the tune Another Hit and Run…that song was so tight. And then when their drummer lost his arm in a vehicle accident…just when the world thought Def Leppard would fold, they threw everyone thru a loop by releasing their best album ever Hysteria.

5) Black Sabbath (Ozzy/Dio)- I include both versions of Black Sabbath as one as they were always one of my favs growing up. My first two Sabbath albums were Paranoid and Master of Reality. My third was Heaven and Hell and my fourth was the Mon Rules. I will always rank Dio’s time with the band as better than his solo career. Ozzy will always be the Stone that stirred the drink for Sabbath.

6) Metallica- Metallica is one of those bands that changed my musical interests forever. I can remember listening to my first Metallic album…Master of Puppets. This album was so heavy and fast and really could get your juices flowing on a warm summer night. I will always be partial to And Justice For All which has always been my favorite Metallica album.

7) Mötley Crüe- Mötley Crüe is just what the name says…a Mötley crew. This band always pushed the envelope and I must say I truly became a fan forever after the release of Dr Feelgood. Mötley Crüe is a glam band that plays more in the heavy side. Most of their songs were about partying and such and all of their music has that fast pace sound even their ballads. When I think of Mötley Crüe I think of Dr Feelgood, Without You, Girl Don’t Go Away Mad, Same Ol Situation…and the list goes on and on.

8) Anthrax- I cannot have a Top 20 List without including Anthrax. Anthrax was always one of my favorite bands because they played thrash but they also had a sense of humor to their music and performances. Believe it or not…the very first Anthrax song I became a huge fan of was actually a cover song…Antisocial. My favorite Anthrax song is Indians. Their new album Worship Music may be one of their all time bests as they can still ROCK!

9) Judas Priest- Rob Halford has always been an intimidating figure for me. Breaking the Law was my first Priest song off the album British Steel. I became absolutely mesmerized by their sound. KK Downing and Glenn Tipton are the perfect compliments for each other. Judas Priest Sad Wings of Destiny was my first song that really made me a metal fanatic.

10) Ozzy Osbourne- No More Tears was my first Ozzy solo album. After I bought this album I purchased every studio album Ozzy ever made. He is that good…even in his older years.

11) AC/DC- Back in Black was one of the very first CDs I purchased. The moment I put the tape in my tape player I was hooked. Angus Young was a phenomenal guitar master and Brian Johnson’s vocals struck a chord with my musical style. AC/DC may be one of the most underrated metal bands of all time.

12) Bon Jovi- Bon Jovi has always had a hold on me…just like a prison you can’t break free. Ooh…your love is gone…ooh there’s no where to run…no one can save me the damage is done…SHOT TO THE HEART…Wanted Dead or Alive was actually the first song I heard and as soon as I heard it I went and purchased Slippery When Wet. Slippery When Wet and New Jersey are my two favorite Bon Jovi albums.

13) Poison- Poison was always at the top of my list. I own every Poison studio album and the song Every Rose has Its Thorn was the ballad that really got me into them. Poison was on the lighter side but they always made me feel good when listening to them.

14) Warrant- Warrant was another awesome glam metal band that did not have the longevity if some of these other bands. Jani Lane, the lead vocalist, passed away last year from alcoholism. Warrant will never be forgotten though. With their album Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich and Cherry Pie…they took the scene by storm and kicked major ass while they were in their prime.

15) Skid Row- Need I say more…another New Jersey talent to rise up and be around for a long time. Sebastian Bach may have the best vocal range of all time right up there with all the other all time greats.

16) Led Zeppelin- Zeppelin will always be in my top mood. They really brought me back to my childhood. I think Jimmy Page and Robert Plant were amazing and I have to try to read this over.

17) Slayer- Slayer has truly grown on me as I have gotten older. I recently completed my collection of their entire studio catalog. I have all of their CDs and even saw them live twice now. World Painted Blood is their most recent album and goes back to the Reign in Blood sound. Slayer is a great band to listen to when u are driving.

18) Pantera- Pantera may be a lot higher on my list if Dime Bag Darrel was not shot and the band was forced to disband. Pantera is a true Giant and I can only hope that these talks of a reunion with Zack Wylde on guitar have me completely psyched out of my mind. Pantera will always be in my list of Bands to listen to while driving.

19) Overkill- Overkill is another Jersey band that I just recently became hooked on. They have been around longer than Metallica and they truly play to the core. Once again, I just recently became a huge fan so they could sky rocket on my list.

20) Testament- Another late bloomer but I feel that they would have been higher must they have been a part of my daily listening log.

These are my Top 20 Bands….Just for fun…what are yours??

20121211-205306.jpg