Influenced, Music, My Stories

1996 – Part 4.4: Pantera – The Great Southern Trendkill

Pantera was popular in Australia. Once they broke into our market, they stayed until they remained as a band.

“The Great Southern Trendkill” came out in May, 1996. It went to number 2 on our ARIA charts and it reached number 4 on the Billboard 200 chart.

It’s listed as their eighth album, however for the Phil Anselmo, Dimebag Darrell, Rex Brown and Vinnie Paul version of Pantera its album number 5 as their first album begins with “Power Metal” but it’s number four from their major label debut “Cowboys From Hell”. And that’s when the Pantera I know really started.

Terry Date and Vinnie Paul are producing, recording and mixing the album.

Coming in to the album, even a band like Pantera was on the outer. The marketing machines of the labels had put their dollars in Grunge and Industrial Metal acts like NIN and Ministry.

Internally, the Abbott brothers were not too impressed when Anselmo took time out to do the “Down” project and then do a 13 date tour with the group. And to top it off, Anselmo moved out of Texas and back home to New Orleans so his vocals were done on his own.

Anyway to the music.

The Great Southern Trendkill

It’s like Death Metal.

I like the riffs and the guitar solo, but the song doesn’t really resonate with me.

War Nerve

It’s very Black Sabbath like, doom sludge metal.

Drag the Waters

The main riff is bone crunching.

10’s

Iommi would be proud of this riff. Actually Zakk Wylde in Black Label Society would be proud of this riff. Vocally, Anselmo is strong here.

But press play on this to hear the acoustic arpeggio passages and Dimebag’s unbelievable solo over em.

13 Steps to Nowhere

It’s weird to explain this song. It’s experimental, a mixture of blues like grooves with a lot of distortion and Sabbath like doom breakdowns.

Suicide Note Pt. I

Synths and backwards effects and then the acoustic guitar kicks in. It’s almost Led Zeppelin like, with a bit of Southern Rock and I like it.

Suicide Note Pt. II

And then what happened. It’s death metal like, with blast beats and fast riffing, with some heavy metal like riffs chucked in here and there.

Living Through Me (Hells’ Wrath)

The riffs on this are “fists in the air, head banging” riffs.

Vocally I’m not a huge fan and halfway through it goes into a weird spoken interlude with weird industrial like effects.

Then a cathartic scream from Anselmo and the head banging riffs are back in.

Floods

The clean tone intro with the acoustic guitar under it, grabs my attention immediately. It’s almost Alice In Chains like, even though the band was critical of the Grunge movement.

Then again, Pantera songs like “Cemetery Gates” and “This Love” come to mind.

The whole “Die” section is heavy and demented but there is no denying the power of Dimebag and his bro Vinnie. These dudes nail every syncopated beat and lick down.

It’s been written extensively that the solo on this song is Dimebag’s best. And it is. If you need to press play on a track, then make this the one.

It’s composed of all these little guitar solo ideas he used for his live guitar spot, while Brown and Paul are simple in their foundations, letting Dimebag fill up the space with his leads.

The Underground in America

Musically, I like it. Vocally I hate it.

(Reprise) Sandblasted Skin

Dimebag brings the riffs again.

In the end it was certified Platinum in the U.S and it charted well in a lot of other countries.

And while the relationships were strained during the recording, things got even more estranged when Brown decided to leave the tour bus he was sharing with the Abbott brothers to share a tour bus with Anselmo. Brown described it as a way to feel comfortable, because Dimebag would be up early and start cranking the guitar, which upset Brown who wanted to sleep.

During the tour, Anselmo overdosed on heroin and was legally dead for four to five minutes. According to Anselmo, he started using heroin for relief of his chronic back pain. Mick Mars has a degenerative spine issue and never turned to heroin, but then again, he did turn to alcohol and lots of it.

For the record, I hate the hardcore death metal vocals that Anselmo resorted to. His clean tone voice is one of the best. He could move between James Hetfield and Tom Araya style vocals to Rob Halford and Bruce Dickinson siren wails. It’s why I became a fan of the “Cowboys From Hell” album.

And I don’t know the exact specifics of what happened with Anselmo and the white power salute he gave at a gig he did about 5/6 years ago. Robb Flynn from Machine Head called him out on it. Which led to a lot of issues for Robb Flynn, receiving death threats and venue owners who supported Anselmo refused to book Machine Head.

One more album would come from Pantera and that would be the end. The air is thin at the top of the mountain, which means that you are not meant to hang around at the summit for long. Anselmo would put the band on hold because he wanted to deal with the back pain and then went on to record and tour with his side projects with the band officially finished in 2003.

Dimebag recently had a 17th Anniversary from when he was tragically shot dead at a gig on Dec 8, 2004. And it’s been three and bit years since Vinnie Paul died from heart disease.

While Anselmo wanted to reconnect, Vinnie Paul didn’t. And that’s how it ended.

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1996 – Part 4.2: Slayer – Undisputed Attitude

“Undisputed Attitude” is the seventh studio album by American thrash metal band Slayer, released on May 28, 1996.

The album consists almost entirely of covers of punk rock and hardcore punk songs. It also includes two tracks written by guitarist Jeff Hanneman in 1984 and 1985 for a side project called Pap Smear and its closing track, “Gemini”, is the only original track.

The album was largely the brainchild of guitarist Kerry King, who stated that the songs chosen were from highly influential bands who “made Slayer what it is”.

The album was initially to feature material from classic heavy metal artists such as Judas Priest, UFO and Deep Purple. However, after several rehearsals “things didn’t pan out” according to King, so the band instead elected to cover punk songs. Then again, maybe Tom Araya’s rough bark just didn’t suit the Judas Priest, UFO and Deep Purple style of songs.

The band for this album is Tom Araya on Bass and Vocals, Kerry King on Guitars, Jeff Hanneman (RIP) on Guitars and Paul Bostaph on Drums. The way Araya sounds vocally on this is how James Hetfield would sound on “St Anger” in six to seven years’ time.

The album is produced by Dave Sardy with Rick Rubin listed as an Executive Producer, whatever an Exec Producer means.

“Disintegration/Free Money”

The original artist is Verbal Abuse and its 1.41 of fast and aggressive metal punk.

“Verbal Abuse/Leeches”

And its followed up by another Verbal Abuse cover, which clocks in at 1.58. While its fast and aggressive punk, there is a small breakdown section which slows things down a little.

“Abolish Government/Superficial Love”

A T.S.O.L. cover and it’s a full 1:48 in length.

Three songs in and it’s like listening to one song.

“Can’t Stand You”

Written by Jeff Hanneman and listed as a Pap Smear cover which clocks in at 1:27. And Tom Araya doesn’t take a breath as he spits out the verses.

“DDAMM (Drunk Drivers Against Mad Mothers)”

Another track written by Jeff Hanneman and listed as a Pap Smear cover which clocks in at the super long length of 1:01.

“Guilty of Being White”

A cover from Minor Threat and it clocks in at another super long time of 1:07.

When the album was released in 1996, there was no controversy over the song or any possible message of white supremacy.

But the internet and social networks are different beasts and people take a moral high ground.

The other controversy was changing the lyrics in the songs ending from “guilty of being white” to “guilty of being right”.

This little changed didn’t go down well with Minor Threat front man Ian MacKaye, who found this change “offensive”.

“I Hate You”

Verbal Abuse makes another appearance on this album with a song that goes into the 2 minute range. This one is more punk like, with a rock tempo and Sex Pistols “Anarchy” style attitude.

“Filler/I Don’t Want to Hear It”

And Minor Threat makes another appearance with a super-fast punk hardcore song.

“Spiritual Law”

A cover from D.I. and its pushing at being the longest song on the album at 3 minutes long. Press play to hear the intro which is very Metal like, otherwise the rest is stock standard fast beats, vocals that cover the microphone in spit and fast alternate picked punk metal riffs.

But at 1.20 a Sabbath like doom groove comes in, before it picks back up into the fast punk metal at the 2.10 mark.

“Mr. Freeze”

A cover from Dr Know. Its 2.24 in length and at times when the song goes into its rock riffs I feel like I am listening to Beatsie Boys, “Fight For Your Rights”.

“Violent Pacification”

A cover from D.R.I. at 2:38 in length.

All I can say about this song is chaos until the 46 second mark, when the drums start a rock style groove and the tempo of the song goes down a notch for the band to rock out. And Tom Araya is barking out “Violent Pacification” over and over and over again.

“Richard Hung Himself”

A cover from D.I. and this song takes the title for the longest song of the cover songs at 3:22.

And for a song with a grisly title it’s actually a catchy rock song.

“I’m Gonna Be Your God” (“I Wanna Be Your Dog”)

A song from The Stooges, clocking in over the 3 minute mark and it received a makeover and some slightly modified lyrics and a faster tempo.

It’s by far my favorite cover and it leads in perfectly to the original track.

“Gemini”

Written by Kerry King and Tom Araya, and it is the longest song on the album at 4.53.

The song begins as a sludge/doom number reminding me of “Season In The Abyss”, before becoming a more typical Slayer song.

But being added to the end, doesn’t do this song proper justice. It’s one of their best tracks written in the 90’s.

And Tom Araya is evil reincarnated with his melodic but sinister vocal melody.

In the end, this is a 33-minute-long release and Slayer wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s not a classic album but the song “Gemini” makes up for it.

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The Record Vault: Dark Tranquility – Skydancer

Dark Tranquillity is a Swedish melodic death metal band from Gothenburg. They are considered one of the pioneering acts of the Gothenburg metal scene, which also includes bands such as In Flames and At the Gates.

The band was formed in 1989 and in August 1993, the band released this album.

And they never stopped releasing music.

But when you look at their catalogue of releases, it’s like this album doesn’t exist.

Wikipedia describes “Skydancer” as a “very weird album and there really isn’t anything else like it – for good and bad. Most of the songs contain 20+ riffs that never are repeated in the same way, and the integration of clear vocals and acoustic guitars were extremely unorthodox for its time, as were the advanced use of counterpoint and recurring musical motifs”.

And I agree.

If you got into the band, post 2010, the debut album would be very strange to your ears and you would be questioning if it’s the same band.

The recording process was stressful. They only had a budget for 10 days of studio time, and working with studio engineers who were clueless about extreme metal. Which tells as the production is definitely demo like.

The band for the album is Anders Fridén on lead vocals, Niklas Sundin on lead guitar, Mikael Stanne on rhythm guitar, backing vocals, Martin Henriksson on bass and Anders Jivarp on drums.

Vocalist Anders Fridén either left or was fired after this album as he joined In Flames and was replaced by then rhythm guitarist, Mikael Stanne on vocals.

And recording history would have it that Mikael Stanne was the lead vocalist on the first In Flames studio album, “Lunar Strain”.

And for all the accolades of being a melodic death metal band, this album is part of the death metal genre.

Nightfall by the Shore of Time

Well it starts off with a guttural scream of the word “Nightfall”. And for the almost 5 minute song, the riffs move between fast thrash riffs, tempo changes and melodic Maiden like riffs.

With guttural singing.

Crimson Winds

It’s mid-tempo rock intro has a sing-a-long melodic lead. Then at the 1 minute mark it goes into a progressive like riff reminding me of Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden and the guttural vocals kick in.

The interlude/solo section is so Maiden like.

A Bolt of Blazing Gold

It has an acoustic intro that sounds like it came from a Spaghetti Western. At about the minute mark, distortion guitars kick in. And 90 seconds in, guttural vocals kick in. At approx. every 30 seconds there is a change in music or tempo or time signature and that’s how this song progresses.

At 2.40, it goes back into a slower doomier tempo and we get clean tone vocals along with the guttural vocals.

In Tears Bereaved

This one is fast. Blast beats everywhere, tempo changes, time changes and guttural vocals.

Musically, there are some cool bits but overall, it’s a skip.

Skywards

Its relentless, with riffs crashing into each other, guttural vocals everywhere and hard to follow.

Through Ebony Archways

It’s a classical guitar piece at the start, almost waltz like. The acoustic riff changes as the song moves into clean tone vocals.

Shadow Duet

There’s some good riffs in this and the singing moves between growling and melody.

My Faeryland Forgotten

Chaos is how I describe this song.

Alone

A slower more doomier groove for the album closer.

However the release I have has the 1994 EP, “Of Chaos And Eternal Night” added to it. And the sound is remarkably improved than the debut.

Of Chaos and Eternal Night

You can hear the fast melodic metal riffs more prominent in this track.

With the Flaming Shades of Fall

This one is a mid-tempo track and the riffs are excellent.

Away, Delight, Away

Press play just to hear the intro as the guitars play an open string lick in harmony that reminds me of “Wasted Years”.

Alone ’94”

An updated version with better production.

If you like melodic vocals, then you will hate this, as the vocals are more growling than singing.

If you want to hear youthful enthusiasm and creativity by putting in as many riffs as possible into a song, then press play.

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1986 – Part 3.1: Megadeth – Peace Sells But Who’s Buying

“Peace Sells… but Who’s Buying?” was released on September 19, 1986.

Edward J. Repka as the cover illustrator is the rock star here. While the concept design is listed as coming from Dave Mustaine and Andy Somers, its Repka who brought the concept to life.

There is Vic Rattlehead, portrayed as a real estate salesman, in front of a desolated United Nations Headquarters with fighter jets in the sky and frayed flags still on the poles.

Brilliant.

The band for this album is the same as the debut, with Dave Mustaine on guitars and lead vocals, David Ellefson on bass, Chris Poland on guitars and Gar Samuelson on drums.

The album is produced by Mustaine but Casey McMackin as the engineer also deserves credit as he was involved with mixing or engineering quite a few albums from the California Thrash Metal scene, for bands like Vio-Lence, Saint Vitus, Nuclear Assault, Zoetrope, Dark Angel and Flotsam and Jetsam. And in the 90’s he did “1916” and “March or Die” by Motorhead. Mixing was done by Paul Lani and Stan Katayama but there’s a story in that as well.

The album was troubled due to the high level of drug abuse. Mustaine and Ellefson were already heavy users, however Samuelson and Poland were said to be even more extreme, something which Poland has disputed to say that what he did was nothing different to what other people were doing at the time. Regardless of the differing point of views, Samuelson and Poland got fired after the promotional tour for this album.

Another issue was the record label. The project started with Combat Records, resulting in the original mix of the album and a co-production by Randy Burns, however Capital Records then purchased the rights to the album (and the band) and got Paul Lani to remix it himself. Lani was more of a Pop Rock mixer, so he knew how the album should sound to get favourable MTV and Radio treatment. And it got that attention as well.

All songs are written and composed by Dave Mustaine, except “I Ain’t Superstitious” by Willie Dixon.

“Wake Up Dead”

The film clip got me interested. It was the steel cage and the chaos around it, with people climbing all over it towards the end. It was dystopian and unsettling and I loved it.

I wasn’t a huge fan of Mustaine’s voice to begin with, but man, the music had me hooked. There was just so much guitar playing to unpack and learn.

Like the head banging riff that plays between 1.10 to 1.40. Or the blistering super-fast picked riff between 2.03 and 2.26. Or the change in groove in tempo from 2.42 with the unorthodox solo from Chris Poland combining exotic lines with fast jazz chromatic lines.

And there wasn’t much singing in this “single” like the hard rock singles I was growing up with. Actually I think all up there are about 8 lines as those lyrics describe Mustaine cheating on his current partner however he stayed with her because he was homeless at the time and needed a place to stay. But he had to leave her because he thought she had intentions to kill him.

“The Conjuring”

The song is about black magic and contains instructions for hexes.

The intro is ominous but it’s the fast riff from 0.57 which I like while Chris Poland moves in with another atonal solo, making sharps and flats fit chords they shouldn’t fit.

Check out the galloping and progressive riff between 1.43 and 1.58. A favourite and so fun to play. Or the fast riffs from 2.36 to 2.57 and then my favourite foot stomping, head banging riff in the song from 2.58 to 3.29.

And Mustaine is not working within a Verse and Chorus structure. Until the next song.

“Peace Sells”

It’s iconic, musically and lyrically.

The bass intro sets the tone. Even though Ellefson plays it, Mustaine wrote it.

The “No More Mr Nice Guy” vocal delivery over a riff that Mr Hetfield would use for the “Enter Sandman” verses is excellent. Then again, the E pedal point with a F chord chucked in was a staple of thrash metal music and Mustaine’s favourite band “Diamond Head”.

The Motorhead inspired outro from 2.20 is where it’s at. It’s fast, its unrelenting and Mustaine’s war cry of “Peace Sells But Who’s Buying” echoes the great work to come, especially in the track “Holy Wars” from “Rust In Peace” a few years later.

I like the lyric “What do you mean, I don’t support your system? I go to court when I have too”

Its clever.

And the best summary of the song is the way Mustaine put it on a VH1 doco; “peace is something we all want, but nobody wants to give up stuff.”

“Devil’s Island”

Mustaine takes some of his riffs from his Metallica days and re-uses em here as the intro reminds me of a section in the song “Phantom Lord”. He also used a similar riff in “This Was My Life” from the “Countdown To Extinction”.

But my favourite riff is the Chorus riff. Check it out.

Another great riff is from 2.22 to 2.43.

The title is a reference to a former French penal colony off the coast of French Guiana. The lyrics detail the thoughts of a condemned prisoner awaiting execution. He is spared by God, but must spend the rest of his life on the island.

“Good Mourning/Black Friday”

Side 2 begins with this.

“Good Mourning” begins with a clean tone acoustic guitar begins. Its haunting.

And some serious shred is heard as the song transitions from “Good Mourning” to “Black Friday”.

How good is the musical groove and feel from 1.48 to 2.23?

“Bad Omen”

Another ominous like intro with arpeggios as the song builds into a thrasher from when the fast bass riff begins at 1.19. But it’s the groove metal riff at 1.36 which gets me interested to learn it.

The soloing from Chris Poland is so different to what I was used to. Very Jazz fusion like in the vein of Al DiMeola.

At 2.50 it goes into a supercharged neck breaking riff and some serious shredding.

“I Ain’t Superstitious”

Other artists did it, but I feel that Mustaine showed the metal community that you could cover songs that didn’t really come from the genre you are classed in and still make em sound like they are from the genre, like this blues funk song, suddenly sounds like a metal blues song.

From a reference point, “I Ain’t Superstitious” is written by Willie Dixon and originally recorded by Howlin’ Wolf in 1961.

“My Last Words”

Mustaine again showcases his arpeggio clean tone riff writing for a song about playing a game of Russian roulette.

The intro on this song is excellent. After the clean tone arpeggios and open string pull offs, it goes into a face melting riff.

But check out the riff from 3.10 to 3.25 and the solo after it. Even Lars Ulrich has given this track his tick of approval.

At 36 minutes long, Mustaine created an album that took hours and hours of learning in order to get the riffs and leads down. And from that, I became a fan of Megadeth.

“Peace Sells… but Who’s Buying?” is very influential in the movement of technical thrash metal. Mustaine (if he hadn’t done so already) raised the bar here. Along with other thrash releases from Metallica and Slayer, future extreme metallers had a holy trinity of release for reference points.

From a commercial point of view, the use of the “Peace Sells” bass riff to introduce the MTV news segment, showed other thrash bands the commercial potential of thrash metal if done right. But MTV didn’t pay em, because they used the “fair use” defence which is why they cut off the music after a few seconds, as if they went past that timeframe, they would have to make payment.

Musicians who would go on to form Sweden’s Melodic Death metal scene have always referred to this album as an influence.

The album does have a Platinum certification for the U.S and Canada and a Silver certification for the U.K.

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Phil Demmel on The Jasta Show

Here’s the link to the Jasta Show interview with Phil Demmel.

Phil Demmel, lead guitar player for VIO-LENCE, formerly of Machine Head is on The Jasta Show. For hard rock fans, Jamey Jasta is the person who wrote the majority of material for Dee Snider’s “For The Love Of Metal” album and working with Dee on a new album. Plus he has albums out as a solo artist and as part of Hatebreed.

I didn’t know of Demmel until he joined Machine Head and I then saw a past link between him and Robb Flynn, when they both did time in the band VIO-LENCE.

It’s a great easy chat between em. Just two muso’s talking and catching up.

Demmel talks about the moment he passed out on stage in Europe at the same time his Dad passed away in the U.S. And he’s spiritual, taking into his life the concepts he likes from Christianity, Buddhism and other religions.

He talks about children.

He found out he has a 33 year old daughter who messaged him via Facebook while he was on tour with Machine Head in the 2000’s and is a product of a 1987 one night high school romance. He has another child from a previous relationship as well.

He also had a vasectomy in 2009, which he then reversed when he got engaged to Bleeding Through keyboardist Marta Peterson in 2012. They have one kid via IVF and another one which “is a miracle”, according to Demmel.

Demmel laughed about never taking the easy route in life.

And both Jasta and Demmel talk about how kids give them focus. Jasta got into podcasting because his daughter wanted to get into it. And I can relate. My kids wanted to make stop motion mini movies so I learned about stop motion. I started to blog because my kids wanted to blog and I did it to show them how. They blogged a few times and stopped.

He talked about his earlier high school bands playing covers of Maiden, AC/DC and Def Leppard. He plays aggressive music and is known for his work with Machine Head but his influences are the same as all of ours, when everything was known as Metal before the labels made up different titles for every sound.

He joined Machine Head in 2002 and he was still working a tradie job, up until 2011. Once the Jackson endorsement money started coming in, he could become a full time musician.

Think about that for a second.

He played and toured the world for a 9 year period and in downtime, had to hustle on a building site for a payday. He remained in Machine Head up until 2018 and he laid down a lot of crushing riffs and a lot of iconic solos, ala Randy Rhoads song within song solo moments.

A listener asked him some of his favourite tracks he’s been involved in.

Demmel mentioned “Farewell To Arms” as he wrote the intro and outro and those sections still give him chills, the Chorus to “Locust” and some of the melodic contributions to “Darkness Within”. “Killers and Kings” was also mentioned as a song he wrote 95% of music to.

He loved being in Machine Head, it was a band he wanted to be in and stay in, but it got to the point where Robb Flynn was going in one direction musically and Phil Demmel was going in another direction musically. So he bailed.

He’s still emotional about the way it ended, the awkward tour and the goodbyes. It wasn’t a clean break, and Demmel mentioned how none of his past break ups have been clean. They’ve all been pretty professional in relation to the departures. He spent 16 years in the band and 98% of it was good, so he’s not going to let the 2% take over the 98%.

If you havent heard him play check out “Darkness Within” and “Locust”.

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2020 Summary

This is it, the final wrap up from the thousands of words written in 2020. Here are the stand out albums for each month.

January
Storm Force – Age Of Fear

February
The Night Flight Orchestra – Aeromantic

March
Harem Scarem – Change The World

April
Trivium – What The Dead Men Say

May
Vandenberg – 2020

June
Protest The Hero – Palimpsest

July
Bush – The Kingdom
Long Distance Calling – How Do We Want To Live?

August
John Petrucci – Terminal Velocity

September
Vanishing Point – Dead Elysium

October
Smith And Myers – Volume 1 and Volume 2

November
AC/DC – PWR UP

And here is a “best of” list of stand alone single releases.

January
Free Spirits Rising – “I Would Love To Rock The World”

February
Machine Head – “Circle The Drain”
Royal Bliss – “Feeling Whitney”

March
Collateral – “Mr Big Shot”

April
Free Spirits Rising – “Moon Of Forever”
Spoken – “Awaken Me”

May
Dee Snider – “Prove Me Wrong”
Shinedown – “Atlas Falls”

June
Free Spirits Rising – “Landing In Heaven”

July
Night Demon – “Vysteria”

August
Daughtry – “World On Fire”

September
Rise Against – “Broken Dreams Inc.”

October
The Night Flight Orchestra – “Impossible”

November
The Night Flight Orchestra – “Paper Moon”
Machine Head – “My Hands Are Empty”
Protest The Hero – “Protect The Land”

Enjoy.

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Number 13 – Metallica Monday

Filmed at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Australia on March 1, 2013 on the Soundwave Tour (which is basically a travelling festival around Australia during the summer, but it doesn’t exist anymore due to increased demands from artists to be paid upfront as the promoter didn’t always pay, a dwindling turnout and a promoter that uses Twitter like Trump).

The thing with this show is that Metallica are not really touring on an album as “Death Magnetic” is 5 years old by now. So it’s like a best off. And after watching this show, it’s a best off, based on songs which work really well in the live arena.

Hit the Lights

It’s become their standard opener in the YouTube live recordings I’ve seen. It’s simplicity is its energy.

Master of Puppets

There is no denying the power of that intro riff.

And the tempo of the song is increased a few more beats per minute. To put it into context, a 7 plus minute song at its normal tempo is reduced to a 6 plus minute song because of the tempo increase.

And as is the norm, the crowd singalong in the slow harmony lead is Maiden-esque from “Rock In Rio”.

The Four Horsemen

As the feedback from “Master Of Puppets” keeps ringing out on James’s guitar, and after asking “if Melbourne is ready” (we pronounce it Mel-Burn while James pronounces it as its spelt, Mel-Bourne), James launches into the opening riff.

And I forgot to mention how Lars is the master of the facials.

And finally there is a pause after the triple knockout of the first three songs.

Harvester of Sorrow

Lars cops a lot of crap for his drumming, but the dude can play and his drum parts are uniquely his.

This song is heavy, and the drum patterns from Lars definitely add to it. Simplicity at its finest.

And I’ve always said that if this song wasn’t written, then “Enter Sandman” wouldn’t have been written to become the beast it became.

The slower tempo, the open string arpeggio riff which grooves and the intro drumming pattern all combine to become the embryo of what “Enter Sandman” is. Check out the version on YouTube from Moscow on the Black tour.

Then there is a two minute “Guitar Doodle” where Kirk plays a few riffs and a lead guitar spotlight, but to me these kind of things are best left in the warm up room.

Welcome Home (Sanitarium)

But the “Guitar Doodle” was a side piece, a sleight of hand, while they set up James with the acoustic guitar for “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)”.

And Lars owns the ending with the harmony guitars as he nails the double bass drumming.

Leper Messiah

There is a section in this song during the intro, when the bass just plays and the guitars play a heavily palm muted E5 power chord, staccato like.

And the title came from the late Mr Cliff Burton (RIP).

To reiterate, I’ve always said to all of the people who dissed the “Black” album for “selling out” to refer to songs like “Leper Messiah”, “For Whom The Bells Toll”, “Escape”, “Jump In The Fire”, “Harvester of Sorrow”, “The Thing That Should Not Be” and “Trapped Under Ice”. They are all slower tempo songs, like the “Black” album songs.

My Friend of Misery

One of my favourite tracks on the “Black” album. My actual favourite is “Holier Than Thou”.

The bass riff is “iconic” and that slow breakdown section with that emotive lead is my favourite part of the song. It’s the norm now for the crowd to sing the harmony part but Melbourne (pronounced Mel-Burn) was the first to do it.

I gotta admit, this is the shit for an artist.

Hearing the Metallica family sing back their riffs and leads, is moving and emotional. If you don’t feel it, check for a pulse.

Sad But True

Its heavy and you can tell the band enjoys playing it.

Then a little “Bass Doodle” is another sleight of hand as the band gets ready for “Fade To Black”.

Fade to Black

For a song that generated so much controversy in the 80’s during that whole “kid commits suicide so let’s sue the heavy metal artist the kid likes” period, it’s become one of their biggest songs ever.

And that whole outro section is some of my favourite piece of music.

All Nightmare Long

I haven’t heard this song for almost a decade, and man, I’m asking myself “why”. It’s a good song. So many riffs in it and that Chorus is excellent.

Then I played “Death Magnetic” and I remembered why I stopped listening to it.

“The Loudness Wars”.

This is when bands compressed their mixes so much to get maximum volume in the master.

Ouch

One

I don’t think there will be a set list that will not have this song on it.

The clean tone intro with the leads, the “landmine” double kick section and that finger tapped outro along with the harmony guitars.

How can you not like it?

For Whom the Bell Tolls

The intro in this song is head banging stuff. A perfect song for the live arena and they played it a bit quicker.

Blackened

The backing tape of the backwards harmony guitars starts it off and it’s one of my favourite Metallica cuts and man, don’t they bring it.

It’s 7/4 staccato intro riff is thrash metal prog. Even in the Chorus it moves between 4/4 and 2/4. It leaves all other pretenders behind as it begins whipping the dance of the dead.

Then there is another “Guitar Doodle” which then sets up, “Nothing Else Matters”.

Nothing Else Matters

Even though Kirk plays the intro live, this is James’s song. It’s his spotlight moment and he takes the Dave Gilmour like lead with a guitar hero gusto.

And I remember when the “Black” album came out, I was reading some of the comments about this song from artists of the thrash genre and writers for magazines like Metal Mania.

Like it was a sell out or whatever.

Tell that to the 50,000 people in attendance who sang every word of it.

One thing about Metallica is that they never remained fixed.

There was always growth in their music.

If you want an example of a growth mindset in music then this band is it. IF you want an example of a fixed mindset in music then AC/DC is it.

There is no right or wrong. It all works.

Enter Sandman

So James lets his guitar feedback ring out, shows his Australian minted guitar picks to the camera which the audience sees on the big screen and they raise their voices in appreciation and “Enter Sandman” begins.

This song is a live powerhouse.

Creeping Death

The “Die By My Hand” chant evolved in the live arena.

This song was also mentioned in one of those “Satanic Panic” articles and documentaries I read in a newspaper written by clueless journalist or saw on TV like 60 minutes.

I remember a lawyer saying, “what kind of band tells their audience to “die” in a concert”.

It’s unbelievable shit to see and hear how desperate people became to blame someone.

Damage, Inc.

It’s not my favourite song but I love the title for its uniqueness.

Seek & Destroy

And the closer, sending the Metallica family on their way to seek and destroy.

You can take it literally or you can use it as growth, to seek new knowledge, gain new skills and destroy your old self as you create a new self, stronger and better.

Metallica, once again is doing something different and not fixed during this COVID break.

Breaking out the archives for free.

Most artists would release these as DVD releases. For a fee. But not Metallica. There is a reason why they are on top.

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Music

Metallica: Live in Nickelsdorf, Austria, – June 10, 2012

Here is the YouTube link.

I was doing some boring things, which involved data entry of receipts for tax returns and I needed some music. So I went to YouTube and I came across a few of the recent live concerts Metallica have released while we have been in isolation.

This one came out a week ago and they play the full “Black” Album (for the 20th Anniversary tour), but a year later, which Lars makes mention in his introduction.

Some of the songs are pedal to the metal aggression and energy, some songs have tempo changes in between courtesy of Lars, some songs like “Hell And Back” from the “Beyond Magnetic” EP sound great, and James getting the crowd to sing harmonies during the “My Friend Of Misery” solo is brilliant.

Hearing the whole “Black” album played from last song to first is brilliant, and I forgot how powerful some songs are, like “Holier Than Thou”. For that song, the guys brought it. Damn did they bring it.

Let’s unpack the set list.

“Hit the Lights” sounded fresh even though at this point in time in 2012 it’s 30 years old. “Master of Puppets” never gets old and neither does “The Four Horsemen”.

Now “For Whom The Bell Tolls” should be a powerful statement, but it was patchy with the tempo swinging around a few times, and Kirk doing ad-libs in that awesome intro solo.

“Hell and Back” was a surprise at how good it sounded live. Then they started with the “Black” album and “The Struggle Within” showed why they never really played it live as it was a struggle.

“My Friend of Misery” was great with James getting the crowd to sing harmonies. “The God That Failed” is also one of my favourite cuts because of the groove and it didn’t disappoint. The intro to “Of Wolf & Man” is perfect for the live arena.

“Nothing Else Matters” is a staple but not their best performance of it on this gig.

The next three cuts all rocked, “Through the Never”, “Don’t Tread On Me” and “Wherever I May Roam”.

“The Unforgiven” has one of Kirk’s best solos. “Holier Than Thou” had so much energy and “Sad But True” is so heavy and a great live song.

“Enter Sandman” was played with the tempo a bit quicker and man, it worked so good. I was tapping my foot and nodding my head the whole time.

Now if you want to hear how Death Metal came to be a thing, check out “Fight Fire With Fire”. While the recorded version still had a young James singing, the voice that James brings out live is guttural.

“One” is a great live song, especially when that double kick section begins and it’s all just a little bit faster.

And “Seek & Destroy” closes it out, so all the fans can cruise the city looking for a fight.

And the thing is, Metallica travels with a professional camera crew and the footage they film is quality. While bands release these kind of concerts on DVD, Metallica bootleg their own concerts and release selections on YouTube or if you subscribe to their “own” streaming service you get all of these concerts, and albums and demos and what not.

So there is a reason why Metallica is staying on top. They are innovating on their own.

How many other big artists have their own streaming service?

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

April 2020 – Part 3

The third installment of April 2020 new music.

Here is the Spotify link. Here are posts 1 and 2.

An Ill-Fated Wonder
Scar Of The Sun

A metal band from Athens, Greece.

This is the beauty of Spotify and music in general right now. For the music styles I like, Spotify tells me the style is vibrant and alive all over the world.

If the record labels still controlled the distribution chain, they will have the world believe that beats and hip hop is the only style.

The open string legato intro gets me interested. And the whole song reminds me of the Paradise Lost, “Draconian Times” album merged with “Shogun” from Trivium.

Hope and pray
Long the day
That your lie turns asunder
Pure dismay
Gone astray
From this ill-fated wonder

And the breakdown section from about 3.40, when it goes to clean tone and then the build-up starts which moves into the open string melodic lead, with double kick drumming. Well, its head banging time.

The Way You Bleed
Taking Dawn

From the U.S.

Originally the band was called “7th Son”. So you can have a guess as to which band is an influence. They changed their name to “Taking Dawn” and a Roadrunner contract came soon after.

Roadrunner is known for its “excellent and non-existent Artists Development Department”, so when the first record didn’t set the world alight commercially, the label dropped them and signed another fresh band.

Then there was some band member changes and the need to use a different name for a few years in “Devils Run” and an eventual return to the “Taking Dawn” band name.

Taking Dawn came into my life because of a few excellent covers in “The Chain” from Fleetwood Mac and “Black Diamond” from Kiss. So I have been following them on Spotify.

What an intro. It reminds me of so many other songs. The acoustic guitar part reminds me of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and “The Housing Of The Rising Sun” and when the distortion kicks in, it’s a smorgasbord of power chords, open string pedal tones, hammer ons and pull offs.

Why can’t you see the beauty in the way you bleed

Turn Away – Radio Edit
Sunflower Dead

A great hard rock song and I know nothing about the band. If it sticks around then I might do a Google search.

Light From Within
My Wicked Twin

A blog I follow, mikeladano.com had a post-up about this album. You can view it here. There is nothing to add except put it on and enjoy.

And the vocal melody in the verses, like the first four lines, are very “Alice In Chains like” in style and delivery. But the music is so far removed from Alice In Chains sludgy vibe.

From A Whisper To A Scream
Gathering Of Kings

I like melodic rock and Europe is leading the way with this kind of music.

Gathering Of Kings keeps delivering on their melodicism’s. The keyboard riff is hooky and it gets me interested straight away.

And the lead break brings back memories of the 80’s Shrapnel Artists.

Perfect.

The Whole “Catastrophist” Album
Trivium

I don’t think there is a better metal act than Trivium right now.

Robb Flynn on Twitter called it a masterpiece.

And I agree.

The Kerrang review said, “you can hear just how much they love heavy metal, injecting elements of thrash, melodic death metal and black metal throughout the 10 songs.”

And I agree.

The Metal Hammer review over at loudersound.com states “ The Sin And The Sentence got Trivium back on the horse. “What The Dead Men Say” has them winning again. One of metal’s most beloved bands are on the form of their lives right now. It doesn’t get much better than that.”

And I agree.

The excellent Sonic Perspectives website, said this; “There is something in this album for everyone, but one might not know what it is until the song has already hit them straight in the chest with its might. Wherever Trivium steps from here, be it down this same path or diverging elsewhere, it will be in the shadow of “What the Dead Men Say.””

And I agree.

I’ll have a review of this album soon as for me there is just so much to unpack.

Freight Train
Vandenberg

Adrian Vandenberg can still write a great song.

“Freight Train” is great because it has a lot of quality riffs, a killer lead break by Vandenberg, which is a lot longer than some of his 8 second teaser lead breaks he did with the “Moonkings”.

Did I mention the chorus vocal line is pretty cool as well?

Like a freight train
Burning down the tracks
Nothing can get in my way
Like a freight train
No looking back
Make no mistakes, I’m here to stay

Adrian Vandenberg is a freight train.

When he sets his mind to come back, he comes back. When he set his mind to pull back and go underground and focus on his art and painting, he did just that. As a fan of his 80’s stuff, I am happy to see that he’s here to stay.

Got no time to hesitate
Never take the easy way
Don’t look back on bad decisions made

What’s done is done.

There’s no way to turn back time, it’s important to move on and live in the now.

Hazard
Long Distance Calling

They play instrumental music, but it’s more of a groove, a band jamming on a groove and seeing where all of the different textures take em. Very different to guitar solo instrumental music like Vai, Satriani and so forth.

And I like it.

Maybe because it reminds me of Tool.

“Hazard” has this female spoken voice about AI’s developing skills that will overpower humans and as soon as the voiceover stops, the song kicks in with a dreamy lead break and the texture gets louder, frantic and sombre.

Its brilliant to listen to.

Always The Same – 2020 Remix
Whitesnake

This song came from out of nowhere and what a track. A left over from the “Flesh And Blood” album. The feel of the music, the vocal line. I dig.

It’s been one of those days when it all goes wrong

Man who hasn’t lived those days. You just can’t get a breath from drowning. Sometimes the wrongness is out of our control, sometimes its self-inflicted from words said or things not done or said.

Now it’s raining, raining in my heart
It’s always the same when were apart

No one wants to be alone. It’s more evident today than ever. For the person who lives alone, self-isolation is proving difficult because they have no one else to talk to when the tech is off. And it’s strange to type these words, because going out and socialising was illegal in lockdown.

The Whole Album
Revolution Saints

There will be a review coming up of this album soon.

In the meantime, if you like bands like Night Ranger (not because Jack Blades is in here, because Doug Aldrich plays that mf guitar like a combination of Jeff Watson and Brad Gillis), Journey (when they knew how to rock out) and of course melodic rock in general, then you should check this out.

If you liked the debut album, you should check this out. If you like the sophomore release, then you should check this one out.

Part 4 is coming up with the usual suspects which are still re-appearing from the start of the year.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Record Vault – Bullet For My Valentine – Venom Edition

I didn’t know I had the CD until I opened up a box and there it was. Still in its wrapping along with a lot of other CD’s in their wrapping. I had a phase when I started streaming, where I just purchased a lot of CD’s online and just put them away in a box as I was streaming the album on Spotify. Based on what was in this box, there will need to be a “Record Vault” revision of some of the other artists as well.

Anyway, this post is about “Venom” released in 2015.

But I need to go back to the “Fever” album released in 2010, because that album started the hard rock and heavy metal phase of BFMV and it’s my favourite album. They followed “Fever” with “Temper, Temper” released in 2013, which went further in a hard rock direction. Like they had a live cover of “Whole Lotta Rosie” from AC/DC as a bonus track. But then again, they also had a Robert Tepper cover, “No Easy Way Out” on the thrash metal “Scream, Aim, Fire” album released in 2008.

But in 2015, they combined elements of all their releases into a very good album called “Venom”.

It was in my top 10 for 2015.

It had the speed metal, from the first two albums, it had the heavy metal and hard rock from the two albums just before “Venom”, plus it had a touch of growth with some modern influences and the digital delay U2 influence heard in the title track “Venom”.

I’ve said it before, BFMV is a melodic rock and hard rock band with thrash and metal influences, however fans of hard rock and melodic rock have not given this band a chance because of the screaming aspect or the classification with a different style because of record label marketing. Like metalcore.

And for a band with metal, hard rock and thrash roots who came out 2005, BFMV have massive numbers when it comes to streaming and YouTube views.

Massive.

And they tour relentlessly. I’ve seen em live and the band delivers.

“No Way Out” is relentless. A thrash-a-thon.

Looking out standing over the edge
Too numb to feel alive

Even though this song was written in 2015, the words are still relevant.

Will life return to normal once COVID-19 is all over?

Will people still gather in larger groups?

A scientist on TV said, there might not be a cure or a vaccine for COVID-19, but a treatment, like how they do with HIV. Its numbing.

Tell me why I feel like there’s no way out

The Chorus deals with the mental struggles of thinking there is no way out and we hate waiting for time to pass and we hate following rules but sometimes following rules is what we need to do.

This negativity
Is dominating and smothering me
I just can’t breathe

I can’t help but over analyse events, thinking that some of the people I deal with have other motives, saying one thing to my face and saying something else behind my back.

The negativity is not productive and its torturous. This was heaps prominent when I was younger and as I got older, my care factor for these kinds of analysis went to ZERO. Other things are more important than putting thoughts in my head which don’t exist.

The guitar solo while brief is quality. And it ends with the same thrash-a-thon that it began with.

“You Want A Battle? (Here’s A War)” from Bullet For My Valentine (BFMV) starts off with a call to arms which is familiar to people who grew up in the 80’s.

“We will not take this anymore, These words will never be ignored, You want a battle? Here’s a war”

And the band blasts in with some pretty cool riffage.

The message based on the first three lines, is the same between Twisted Sister’s war cry of “we’re not gonna take it”, to Bullet For My Valentine’s “we will not take this anymore”.

But the subject matter is a bit different if you look at the film clips.

While in the 80’s, the enemy for Dee Snider and Co. was the disciplinary parent while the BFMV music video the enemy is the abusive parent and the violence in the family, until the victims get their revenge. And the Genus lyrical annotations state the song is about bullying.

Don’t suffer in your silence
Know you are never alone

Vocalist and guitarist, Matt Tuck, said that he suffered a lot of bullying at school because he was the heavy metal kid with long hair that didn’t fit in and how it took him a lot of time to finally stand up for himself. I find it strange that this kind of

From about the 2.50 minute mark there is this bridge like section which I like and then when the outro chorus kicks in with an open string melodic lick under it, its head banging stuff.

“Army Of Noise” could have come from an 80’s album.

Lights out, fist raised
Adrenaline rushing infecting our veins
Now feel the heat as the temperature spikes
Bodies are thrashing the fire ignites

Metallica’s “Kill Em All” album has this vibe with “Seek And Destroy”, “Metal Militia”, “Whiplash” and basically every other song except “The Four Horsemen” and “Jump In The Fire”. The first two songs on the “Ram It Down” album from Judas Priest have this vibe.

So here we are
Weapons in arms
Army of noise has come to destroy
We will not fall

How things change. Hard Rock music went from “noise” to “acceptable” to “mainstream”. And it got heavier and it was till acceptable.

What is classified as noise these days?

“Worthless” is a typical “FU”.

You can keep all your apologies
Those words are worthless to me
And I don’t wanna hear that you’re sorry
Your words mean nothing to me

Take that.

And all the songs are underpinned by great riffage, excellent shredding and drumming.

There was an additional 3D style cover but the photo below doesn’t do the V and the snake justice.

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