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

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STRYper: The Covering

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VAN HALEN: David Lee Roth or Sammy Hagar?? Which Version Fo You Prefer?

So, this is probably a very popular debate that many metal fans have waged throughout the years. Which Van Halen is the better version: David Lee Roth era or Sammy Hagar. I remember the first Van Halen album that I bought was 1984. When i first popped the album in and heard the intro to Jump…I had an instant rush. The song Jump was probably the first Van Halen song that I became enamored with. David Lee Roth was the prototype front man. David was extremely brash with his bushy blonde hair and he exerted a large amount of energy every time he hit the stage. I remember listening to the song “Ice Cream Man,” when David gets to the chorus it makes you feel like he’s going to jump off the stage into the crowd. I mean, when Van Halen first surfaced…the sound that Eddy Van Halen brought to the table was a totally new and innovative sound. Eddy invented the kneck solo by tapping on different strings instead of strumming. Van Halen with David Lee Roth was a huge success. Then there were differences in opinion and David went on to form his own solo band. Enter Sammy Hagar. Sammy had played with the band Montrose and welcomed the opportunity to join one of the biggest bands ever assembled. Sammy provided a different style than David as he was more of a technical singer. OU812 was a great album. This was a different way to settle the box. For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge was another great gig. I remember when the album first came out they were insane. Well, I liked both vocalists and either one of them could join us at front . Please
Cast your votes people
Every one counts. Goodntie

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