Derivative Works, Influenced, Music

Black Sabbath – 13

When I heard that Ozzy Osbourne had returned to Black Sabbath and that they are going to write and record new music, I was excited.  I was expecting this state of the art album, that would stay true to the Black Sabbath legacy, and an album that defines a new modern legacy for the band.

Then I heard that Rick Rubin was hired and to be honest I was concerned.  Rick Rubin was a master producer.  These days, he just gets bands to recreate albums that they have already created.  I have listened to the new Black Sabbath album a lot on Spotify.

The problem that I have with it, is that it tries too hard to recreate the first four Black Sabbath albums.  However, one thing I do like is that they have stayed away from the Verse – Chorus – Verse – Chorus – Bridge – Solo – Chorus structure.

God Is Dead should have been a fantastic song, only if it was edited down to about six minutes.  The clean tone intro moving into the heavy crunchy riff stays true to the Black Sabbath legacy, while also creating a new modern legacy for the band.  At one stage, Diary Of A Madman popped in my head.  In my opinion, the extra three minutes just drag it out.

End Of The Beginning tries to recreate the song Black Sabbath just a bit too much.  Loner also falls into the same boat, borrowing very heavily from N.I.B.  Live Forever borrows from Fairies Wear Boots.

Zeitgeist on the other hand was surprising, with it’s Emerson Lake Palmer From The Beginning vibe.

Damaged Soul also falls into the surprising category, as it is a blues dirge in the vein of Dazed and Confused from Led Zeppelin merged with Dirty Women, Into The Void and Electric Funeral from Sabbath.  Iommi is at his best when he references the blues genre for Sabbath and I don’t believe he gets the respect he deserves for it.  His lead break is up there with all the blues greats.

Dear Father also has that Into The Void heaviness, however it really borrows a lot from War Pigs and Behind The Wall of Sleep.  I really like that Beatles She’s So Heavy chord progression.

Peace Of Mind is a D side Ozzy Osbourne solo cut.

If there is a song to recommend as almost perfect, it is Age of Reason.  It has everything in it that is Black Sabbath.  It is a nod to the past, a nod to the present and I am sure in twenty years time a new generation of musicians will be crediting this song as an influence.

Methademic is up there as well.  As with Age of Reason, I believe that this song will be talked about by a whole new generation of Black Sabbath fans, brought up on 13.  How good is that sinister acoustic intro, and boogie driven bass verse?  Iommi is in his element, rolling riff after riff.  There are so many blues references that he brings up in the riffs and he makes it sound effortlessly.

Pariah has a riff that is so familiar, I just cant pin point the song.  At first I was thinking Guns N Roses, then I was thinking Deep Purple, then I was trying to rack my brain on a Black Sabbath song.  This is the kind of derivative work that I like.  It’s okay to reference yourself or another band, you just need to do it in a way, that invokes the feeling that Pariah invoked in me; it is familiar, yet i cant pinpoint it.

Overall, it is a comeback album that could set the foundation for the next album.  It has an album that the good, the bad and the ugly.

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Music, Stupidity, Uncategorized

Black Sabbath Debuting New Songs Live

If i was the Black Sabbath management team or marketing team, i would tell them one thing.  Just pick your best new song and play it.  The fans are not there for the new stuff.  They don’t even care about it.  They are there for the classics and if the new stuff is not on par with the classics, don’t play it.

Check out Loner, which is another new song from the greatest thing Ozzy has ever done department, the album 13.  It’s awful.  I know Ozzy is totally out of key and singing the song so bad, it makes the ears hurt.  Even if he did sing it in key, it still can’t help the song, because it is crap.  Watch the clip, every time Ozzy grabs the microphone to move around the stage, he takes one step, stops, realises something and moves back to the microphone stand.  WHY you ask?  That is where his teleprompter is.

So why play a new song if you don’t know the lyrics.  He was doing the same for the Sydney show I saw him.  The normal Sabbath songs that Ozzy performs on his solo tours, came easy to him and he was a different performer.  The other classic Sabbath songs, he had to read,  but not as much as the new ones.  You watch every live clip of the new songs, and Ozzy does the same movements.  His not singing, his reading, making it sound like he is attempting to sing.  It is karaoke in front of thousands, who paid up to $160 to watch them perform.

The irony of all this is that Ozzy went public with his version of Bill Ward’s ousting recently.  The thing is, it is clear that even Ozzy cant go on for a two and a half hour show.  Ozzy mentioned that Bill had post it notes on his drum kit, so that he can remember what to hit on certain songs.  So, how is that different from a teleprompter.

If these four songs are indicative of the album to come, it’s going to be a disappointment.

God Is Dead, is way too long for what it is.

End Of The Beginning is a dead set joke where they rip off their own Black Sabbath song.

Methademic has the best title i have seen in ages, but it is a shit song.

Loner = Methademic.

People have commented on the brilliant guitar riffs from Iommi.  I admit, those four songs have some cool riffs.  As a guitarist, I can appreciate that.  Cool riffs can’t make the song great, and to have a great song, you need more than just cool riffs.

To be honest, the song titles sound way better than what the songs sound at the moment.

I don’t know why Black Sabbath isn’t releasing the songs to be downloaded via iTunes or to be streamed.  It’s just a stupid business model that they are operating on.  The live versions out there, are pretty poorly recorded and Ozzy sounds completely out of tune, so get on the front foot and change peoples perception of the songs.  Release the auto tune, melodyne processed songs.

It looks Sharon cant compete with the Internet age, the best distribution system ever.

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Music

Black Sabbath – Allphones Arena, Sydney, 27 April 2013

Black Sabbath are legends of metal. Black Sabbath are legends of stoner rock.  Black Sabbath are the forefathers of metal.  The accolades go on and on.

I was just walking into the venue when the band kicked off their set at 8.30pm.  That is by far the earliest i have ever seen a headlining band start.  Usually it’s 9pm or later.  Leading off with the classic War Pigs from the Paranoid album.   Tommy Clueftos on the drums, is a great metal drummer.  He was bashing that kit, like it is the last show he is ever going to play.  But he is no Bill Ward.  He doesn’t have the jazz swing feel of Bill Ward.

CONSPIRACY THEORY fact 1; Bill Ward’s initials are BW.  Brad Wilk, the drummer from Rage Against The Machine that replaced him in the studio for the 13 album also has the same initials, BW.

CONSPIRACY THEORY fact 2; Bill Ward is born on the 5th May.  Brad Wilk is born on the 5th September.  (okay i am grasping at straws here).

CONSPIRACY THEORY fact 3; Black Sabbath was formed in 1968 as a heavy blues rock band named Earth.  Brad Wilk was born in 1968.

Coming off War Pigs, Into the Void and Under the Sun where let downs to me.  Snowblind and Electric Funeral dragged it out even more.  To use a phrase from Bill Ward, it was downer rock.  Why they played those songs, instead of Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, Sweet Leaf, or a vocal version of Symptom Of The Universe is beyond me.  You could see the energy in the crowd lift when they went into the first minute of Symptom, just before the drum solo and again the same for the first minute of Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, just before Paranoid.

End of the Beginning is laughable.  Rick Rubin got them to recreate the song, Black Sabbath.  The two songs are identical.  I looked around at the audience, and everyone was laughing it off as some sort of joke.

Ozzy has said that 13 is the best album he has ever done.  From the two songs i have heard so far, Ozzy seems to be forgetting that he has already done those songs.

God Is Dead! sounded better live, however the vocal melodies are weak, the song is too long and Ozzy was reading the lyrics off the teleprompter for the two new songs, so he was stumbling around a little bit with that.

Geezer Butler is the star for me.  His bass work is unbelievable.  He is not just a bass player, he is a back up guitar player as well.  Ozzy is a walking miracle.  People have taken lesser drugs and have overdosed.  Ozzy still keeps on going.  For the state he is in, he gave 100%.  Clueftos on drums gave 500% and Iommi on guitar was the Sheriff in town.

I can tick Black Sabbath with Ozzy off my childhood list of bands i needed to see.  Would i recommend them at $160 a ticket? No.

 

Complete Set List:

War Pigs, Into The Void, Under The Gun, Snowblind, Electric Funeral, Black Sabbath, Behind the Wall of Sleep which ended with a Geezer Butler bass solo, N.I.B., End of the Beginning (new song from 13), Fairies Wear Boots, Symptom of the Universe (for 1 minute and then the drum solo), Iron Man, God Is Dead?, Dirty Women, Children of the Grave and the encore started with the intro to Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, before they went into Paranoid.

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Music

Sales Numbers for the U.S.

Metal Insider

I was looking at the sales figures in the above link.  A lot of people focus on the sales aspect of everything, so if something is sold a lot of times, they class it as being successful.

So if you look at the sales, you will see a lot of hard rock and metal bands doing low numbers for the week.  One can easily jump to conclusions.  The album is bad, it bombed or the industry favourite, piracy.

However, to me the sale numbers mean nothing.  What is important here, is the length of time the music has been out.

Let’s start with Volbeat.  They have two albums that are selling.  Yippee, you say.  Here’s the thing, Beyond Heaven/Above Hell was released in September 2010.  Yes, 2010.  It has been around for over 2 and a half years.  What does this tell you?  They did it without the mainstream sledgehammer across the head marketing like Bon Jovi and Justin Timberlake.  They did it by creating great music and letting the people spread the word.  The funny thing is, the song that made them popular in the U.S, Still Counting is not even on this album (it is from an earlier album from 2007 called Guitar Gangsters and Cadillac Blood) and was added as a bonus track later on.  Talk about great music waiting to be found.  It was released in 2007 and it wasn’t until 2012, that people really heard Still Counting, appreciated it and starting buying it.

You need to remember, there is so much music released each days, (I checked the new release schedule and i counted over 400 releases on one day).  Multiply that by 52 weeks, and you have a lifetimes worth of music to go through.  We need a filter and what better filter than people spreading the word.  Not by the hundreds, but the by the thousands and in PSY’s case, by the millions.

Volbeat’s new album Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies entered the charts in the top 10.  They had the usual big first week sales and second week drop, however this time around, the audience was waiting for a new release.  Time will tell if this album will have the same longevity.

From hearing it, it’s a good album, but it doesn’t have the defining song, and that is what fans want.  Bon Jovi had Wanted Dead Or Alive on Slippery When Wet, Motley Crue had Kick Start My Heart on Dr Feelgood, Metallica had Enter Sandman on the Black album, Poison had Nothing But A Good Time on Open Up and Say Ahh.. and so on.

In This Moment has been doing business since August 2012.  34 weeks.  Bon Jovi’s What About Now, has more or less stalled.  Justin Timberlake’s is slowly declining as well.  Will they still be selling in 34 weeks time.  For Bon Jovi, i am sure they will not.

Otherwise, is a band that i have been following for over a year now.  Each week, you see them move between 400 and 700 units.  They are touring their arses off, picking up new fans along the way.  The album came out in May 2012.  It will make a year, where it has been selling low numbers.  To me this is a success story.  If they stay at the rate they are, they will be passing 40,000.  What’s 40,000, I hear people saying?  That is a year’s worth of touring.  The music is the entry-level to all the other things in the business.  You don’t make money from selling music.  You make money from the doors that music opens.

Stone Sour have two albums that are selling, House of Gold and Bones Pt 1 and Pt 2.  The concept story is the entry for the multimedia projects to come, like the graphic novels, the motion picture movie and the tour.  It’s not all about sales, it’s about different income streams.

Coheed and Cambria has already walked the path that Stone Sour is walking right now.  They have had their concept albums put into comic form, graphic novel and companion books.  Claudio Sanchez has also signed a deal to develop the Armory Wars story into a motion picture film.

Black Veil Brides is another band, involved in the multimedia aspect, with their concept album, Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones.  

Shinedown is one of the best hard rock bands doing the scene right now.  Amaryllis has been out for over a year now and the band is still moving units.  Why, because people are spreading the word, they are hearing the songs live and are liking them.

For the critics that have called this album a failure, just because it didn’t move the same units as The Sound of Madness is a shallow viewpoint to have without any analysis.  A song like Second Chance comes around once in a decade.  That song alone moved over 2 million mp3’s.  The Shinedown tour is doing decent business at the box office.

The key here is longevity.  You don’t want to be here today and gone tomorrow.  You want the music, the band, to remain public, to be in people’s’ minds.  So many have released albums and have been forgotten.  Does anyone remember that Joe Walsh released a new album last year, or that David Bowie and Bon Jovi released an album in the same week.  They have been forgotten.  The hardcore fans will say otherwise and that is okay they are entitled to their opinions.

Life today is all about information.  We have a tonne of it.  We are connected 24/7.  There is always something coming out that takes the flavor of the minute.  Black Sabbath released God Is Dead, and it was tanking, regardless of what the artists and Loudwire said about it.

Ozzy then releases a statement about his fall back into addiction, trying to drum up press and then Sharon chimes in.  It ain’t working, the song is a dud at nine minutes long.  It’s a four-minute song on a 12 inch extended remix.

I am seeing them in two days at the Allphones Arena in Sydney.  I might eat my words after hearing it live.  No one is talking about them.  The 13 album is already in the rear view mirror and it hasn’t even been officially released.  They are touring Australia and there is no buzz.   

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Copyright, Music, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Universal Music Takes Down Black Sabbath’s – God Is Dead? and then Re-Instates It

Article at Torrentfreak

Universal Music Group is known for its bogus take down requests.  Then when it is pointed out the error they made, they blame YouTube for following with their request.  Of course it is now back up.

I can understand the reason for the take down requests.  It was meant to take down content that was infringing or content that was making money by using music from UMG artists and UMG wasn’t taking a cut.

So how the Official Black Sabbath YouTube page fell into that category is beyond me.  All UMG has done here, is ensure that the fans have ripped the work and put it up on a thousand other channels and websites.   Check YouTube now and you will see many pages that are offering the song.

Stupidity by Labels – TICK

Treating Legitimate Fans Like Shit – TICK

Using COPYRIGHT to protect profits and bottom lines – TICK

Blame Technology when errors are made – TICK

Ensure that people pirate the content as the legal option was taken down – TICK

Then Scream PIRACY so that Legislation can be written – TICK

I was looking at the numbers.  PSY’s new song Gentleman has 167,000,000 views.  Black Sabbath’s comeback song with Ozzy is sitting at 118,000.   Even the Sabbath In The Studio series was averaging about 250,000 views.

If you are interested in my take on God Is Dead, click here.

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Music, My Stories

God Is Dead? – Black Sabbath – not a classic song waiting to be discovered

Loudwire

YouTube

Click on the above link if you want to hear it?

WARNING: every minute or so, you hear a woman’s voice over it saying iHeart Radio on demand.  What a stupid idea?  The people that want to hear this song are the fans?  For the people that want to pirate it, they already   would have their hands on the album or have a source that would deliver it to them.

Black Sabbath, 'God is Dead?'

Artwork by Heather Cassils.

Ozzy’s take on the meaning of the song, from Loudwire.  The below excerpt is from that Loudwire post.

“How I got that title was I was in somebody’s office and there was a magazine on a table and it just said, ‘God Is Dead,’ and I suddenly thought about 9/11 and all these terrorist things and religion and how many people have died in the name of religion,” explained Osbourne. “When you think about the tragedy that’s happened throughout time, it just came in my head. You’d think by now that their God would have stopped people dying in the name of, so I just starting thinking that people must be thinking, ‘Where is God? God is dead’ and it just hit me.”

While a simple look at the song title may inflame a few, it’s important to note that there’s a question mark at the end. Osbourne points out that the statement is more of a discussion with a ray of hope. He tells Lowe, “At the end of the thing, there’s still a bit of hope because there I sing that I don’t believe that God is dead. It’s just a question of when you see so many dreadful people killing each other with bombs, and blowing the tube trains up and the World Trade Center.”

To be honest, its nothing original or innovative.  So any people out there looking for anything groundbreaking, this is not the song.

‘God is Dead?’ is everything Black Sabbath fans want from the metal innovators, and if the rest of ’13′ maintains the quality of Sabbath’s latest single, we could be looking at a contender for best metal album of 2013.

Is this guy serious?  Graham Gruhamed Hartmann wrote the above in the Loudwire article  referenced.  It’s very rare that Loudwire commentators review works on a critical basis.  To be honest this song is pretty boring.  It doesn’t have enough ideas in it to sustain the 9 minutes.  It’s not a bad song, nor is it a great song.  I think 5 minutes would have been enough.  To label it as everything Black Sabbath fans want, is not true either.  I am a Black Sabbath fan, and if the rest of the album is like this song, i wont be impressed.

And contender of the year for best metal album?  It sure has a lot of ground to make up on the following releases;

Coheed and Cambria – The Afterman – Descension
Black Veil Brides – Wretched and Divine: The Story Of The Wild Ones
Bullet For My Valentine – Temper Temper
Stone Sour – House Of Gold And Bones Part 2
Volbeat – Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies
Pretty Maids – Motherland
Killswitch Engage – Disarm The Descent
Mutiny Within – Synchronicity
Love and Death – Between Here and The Lost
Defy Tolerance – Stop The Bleeding
Audrey Horne – Youngblood

This is the difference to 1978.  There is so much content being released these days, that if you want your music to be around for a year or more, the music needs to be great.  Ozzy’s album sales since Down To Earth have not been stellar and Black Sabbath’s sales (even Heaven and Hell sales) have not been stellar either.

And from what i heard just now, the music isn’t great.  The slow gloomy riffs worked early on in Sabbath’s career because the music was referencing their gloomy life, growing up in Birmingham.  The gloomy riffs don’t have the same effect now.  Maybe the gloom is referencing Iommi’s fight with cancer.  Regardless, the shock effect is gone.  This is Sabbath playing it safe.

I know it’s only one song, however I can see the album doing the same spiral that Bon Jovi and Aerosmith had with What About Now and Music From Another Dimension.

I have my $180 tickets to see Black Sabbath next Saturday in Sydney at the Allphones Arena.  I am expecting a show of all the classics and maybe this new song thrown in.  I hope not.

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