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EVILE – Infected Nations

Evile – Infected Nations (2009, Earache Records)

1. “Infected Nation” … 5:33
2. “Now Demolition” … 5:46
3. “Nosophoros” … 5:29
4. “Genocide” … 7:42
5. “Plague To End All Plagues” … 5:55
6. “Devoid Of Thought” … 5:37
7. “Time No More” … 4:00
8. “Metamorphosis” … 7:40
9. “Hundred Wrathful Deities” … 11:41

Band:
Matt Drake – Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Ol Drake – Lead Guitar
Mike Alexander – Bass
Ben Carter – Drums

Producer: Russ Russell

I happened to breeze through review of this album online then a few days later and by chance, not even seeking it out, I came across Infected Nations at FYE for only $9.99 as part of a “young metal” display they had set up. Continuing my “more thrash” initiative, and remembering that this band was indeed labeled as “retro-thrash”, I quickly scanned it at one of their listener booths and really liked what I heard because I’m retro kind of guy. I mean right down to the album art (illustrated by veteran heavy metal album cover artist Michael Whelan) this band is old school!

The only problem? I didn’t hear any vocals! The entire album was sampled and none of those samples featured vocals. I wasn’t sure if maybe they were an instrumental band or what. I had decided I wasn’t going to get the album because too many new metal band like to employ the awful cookie monster voice and that stuff sucks. Luckily, there was a copy of Enter the Grave (their debut from 2007) so I scanned that and finally heard Matt Drake on vocals and he was fine. I almost picked up Enter the Grave instead, thinking it was better to start from the beginning, but it was a few bucks more and I just didn’t like the samples as well. Perhaps someday I’ll pick it up though.

I’ve seen a lot of debate lately over whether it’s good to have a “retro” sound or not. For some people, it’s a turn off. I don’t really seen a problem with having a “retro” sound as long as the music is good and the music here is good. I don’t follow the modern thrash scene, but as far as I’m concerned, the highest compliment you could give a young thrash band is to say they sound like an ’80s thrash band. And that’s exactly what Infected Nations sounds like. To my unrefined thrash ears, I can hear many similarities to Metallica (which isn’t surprising considering the band earned their stripes playing Metallica covers) with a lesser influence from Slayer (most notably in the vocals), but the sticker on the cover of the album compared the band to Slayer, Megadeth and Sepultura.

The Haddonsfield, England-based Evile is on their way to becoming one of the great modern heavy metal bands and if you don’t believe, check out the epic instrumental album closer “Hundred Wrathful Deities”!

Highlights: “Now Demolition”, “Nosophoros”, “Genocide”, “Plague to End All Plagues”, “Hundred Wrathful Deities”

evile.co.uk
www.myspace.com/evileuk

TESTAMENT – The New Order

Testament – The New Order (1988, Atlantic Records)

1. “Eerie Inhabitants” … 5:06
2. “The New Order” … 4:25
3. “Trial by Fire” … 4:14
4. “Into the Pit” .. 2:46
5. “Hypnosis” … 2:04
6. “Disciples of the Watch” … 5:05
7. “The Preacher” … 3:37
8. “Nobody’s Fault” … 3:57
9. “A Day of Reckoning” … 4:00
10. “Musical Death (A Dirge)” … 4:05

Band:
Chuck Billy – Vocals
Alex Skolnick – Guitar
Eric Peterson – Guitar
Greg Christian – Bass
Louie Clemente – Drums

Produced by: Alex Perialas

As the years go by, I have less and less interest in thrash metal. These days, I’m a rocker and I love the ever so broad genre of “heavy metal”, but once you start cutting it down into some of the heavier heavy metal genres, I tend to lose interest quickly outside of the usual big names like Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax.

Pop metal/hair metal/glam metal/whatever you want to call it was always my first love, so it’s not like I’ve ever been a HUGE fan of the thrash genre in the first place. But… I recent times, I’m making a conscious effort to discover some of the more metallic bands out there. Actually, I “discovered” Testament years ago by purchasing The Very Best of Testament compilation. I liked it well enough, but it never made me feel like searching out their albums, even if my original intent was to use it as a “sampler” and gateway to their albums.

Well, given all the praise 2008’s The Formation of Damnation has received, I decided to give the band another look, and most frequently, The New Order was the recommended album for a Testament newbie such as myself. It’s not hard to see why, the band does a better job of bringing melody to thrash metal than most other thrash bands. The instrumentals “Hypnosis” (as short as it is) and “Musical Death (A Dirge)” and the intros to “Eerie Inhabitants” and “Disciples of the Watch” show the band can do much more than just pound away on their instruments and scream.

The band also scores extra points with me for doing a metalized version of Aerosmith’s “Nobody’s Fault”, which I think is exceptional. I can’t help but think of Ratt when I hear it though because Chuck Billy sounds a lot like Stephen Pearcy on this song.

Consider me converted and their melodic style of thrash metal.

Highlights: “Eerie Inhabitants”, “Trial by Fire”, “Hypnosis”, “Disciples of the Watch”, “Nobody’s Fault”, “A Day of Reckoning”, “Musical Death (A Dirge)”

www.testamentlegions.com
www.myspace.com/testamentlegions

MEGADETH – Rude Awakening

Megadeth – Rude Awakening (2002, Sanctuary Records)

DISC 1
1. “Dread and the Fugitive Mind” … 4:12
2. “Kill the King” … 3:50
3. “Wake up Dead” … 3:26
4. “In My Darkest Hour” … 5:28
5. “Angry Again” … 3:22
6. “She Wolf” … 8:17
7. “Reckoning Day” … 4:24
8. “Devil’s Island” … 5:06
9. “Train of Consequences” … 4:30
10. “A Tout le Monde” … 4:49
11. “Burning Bridges” … 4:56
12. “Hangar 18” … 4:45
13. “Return to Hangar” … 3:54
14. “Hook in Mouth” … 4:40

DISC 2
1. “Almost Honest” … 3:57
2. “1000 Times Goodbye” … 6:14
3. “Mechanix” … 4:36
4. “Tornado of Souls” … 5:47
5. “Ashes in Your Mouth” … 6:04
6. “Sweating Bullets” … 4:38
7. “Trust” … 6:46
8. “Symphony of Destruction” … 4:50
9. “Peace Sells” … 5:22
10. “Holy Wars” … 8:51

Band:
Dave Mustaine – Vocals, Guitar
Al Pitrelli – Guitar, Backing Vocals
David Ellefson – Bass, Backing Vocals
Jimmy DeGrasso – Drums

Produced by: Bill Kennedy and Dave Mustaine

The final release from Megadeth before that whole weird arm injury/break up they had in 2002. Luckily, Megadeth would return in 2004.

Not only is this a live album, but it also doubles as a great career retrospective in my opinion, and it would’ve been a nice final release from the band had their unexpected exit stuck. All but Risk is represented here. Heck, even “Angry Again” from the Hidden Treasures EP/Last Action Hero soundtrack is included.

Overall, the band sounds great. Many of the songs come close to sounding like the studio versions, but the more interesting tracks are the ones that differ slightly. Variety is the spice of life! Dave’s voice holds up well enough, but sounds very weak on “Train of Consequences” and “A Tout le Monde”.

My biggest gripe is the crowd. I love to have my live albums with a roaring crowd and this one just seemed dead and lazy for the part. The album was originally to be recorded at a show in Argentina (which surely would have provided the roar I was looking for), but terrorist attacks of 9/11 changed those plans and it ended up being recorded at shows in Tuscon and Phoenix in November 2001.

Dave would eventually get that live Argentina performance he was looking for with the superior That One Night: Live in Buenos Aires, released in 2007.

Highlights: “Dread and the Fugitive Mind”, “In My Darkest Hour”, “Reckoning Day”, “A Tout le Monde”, “Hangar 18”, “Almost Honest”, “Trust”, “Symphony of Destruction”, “Peace Sells”, “Holy Wars”

www.megadeth.com
www.myspace.com/megadeth

Buy Rude Awakening at Amazon.com

Metal Excess Q&A with… IDOLS ARE DEAD

Last month, I had the pleasure of reviewing Idols Are Dead’s debut album Mean and I thought it was great. So, of course I jumped at the chance to have a little Q&A session with band members Mana & Ico!

1. For those who don’t already know, tell us a bit about Idols Are Dead: where are you from, how did the band form, which band member is most likely to send naked girls running out of his hotel room and screaming into the night, etc. That kind of stuff.

(Mana – vocals) Yeah, here we go… we’re Idols Are Dead coming from Italy, Europe. We have formed in August 2006 from the ashes of other bands like Folder, Gzero and Violent Diva! We were doing all different genres but we all loved thrash metal and I think you can hear it in IAD tunes he he…

About the second part of the question I would say Maxx C. (Bass) for sure… he is the playboy of the band and he loves make girl screaming he he…

(Ico – guitar, vocals): Hi guys! What to say in addition? We started it all as a joke and 11 months after we were on the same stage with Iron Maiden, Slayer, Stone Sour, Mastodon… Then other 13 months and the gig was with Opeth, Gammaray and In Flames. I guess it’s time for Idols Are Dead to believe ALSO in miracles!!

2. With one album already behind you and plenty of shows under your belts, what are your plans for the rest of 2009?

(Ico) We’re planning to come there to see the screaming girls u’re talking about…

(Mana) I can easily agree with Ico he he… seriously, we’re starting to write new stuff but we sincerely want to continue in strongly believe in what “Mean” could do y’know. In other words we really wanna find a licence deal for the U.S., we got an ultra cool manager there and we hope we can reach this goal! It’d be very important to help us coming there in tour obviously… see what happens!

3. Your sound is a blend of old school thrash & heavy metal and modern metal that could go over quite well in America, so when can we expect Idols Are Dead to storm the shores of the United States?

(Mana) I’m very glad to hear you to say that… I think that U.S. are pretty important for our genre! Most of the bands we love are coming from there. I can say Avenged Sevenfold, Atreyu, and logically all the Historic Bands like Metallica, Slayer and Testament obviously…

I hope we can come very soon in America and we’re already negotiating it with our manager Alex Gilbert. But I can’t add more details right now, just keep the finger crossed!!!

(Ico) Wait&Bleed guys… we’re coming!!

4. Walk us through the creation process of your songs. Do they generally begin with a single note? A lyric? An idea for theme & mood?

(Ico) They just came out man. We don’t have a writing-process or something like that, some songs were born from a jam, some from a riff, we play and they come…

And now we’re reading all the impression on the album and working to adjust our sounds eventually…

(Mana) I think it often starts from a riff… we have great writers! Alley, Ico and Maxx all write cool riffs and later we all build together the final structure of the song. It is a really easy process I have to say…

5. If there is one song you had to pick from Mean to tell the world “this is what we are about”, which song would it be and why?

(Ico) It’s really hard to choose only one song… You’ll need at least two to understand in my opinon. I’ll tell you only the first pair of our “this is what we are about”: Pain for Sale – Let’s Do It. (other pairs are top secret, object of a massive marketing campaign J) You’ll find out why while listening “Mean”…

(Mana) I pretty agree with Ico y’know… It’s really difficult to pick just one track… but I try: Pain for sale! Even if we will shoot our first Video for the track “Dance with the devil”… it is the more “Thrash & Roll” song on the Album… I think our new direction will be more in this way. Pretty original I think…

6. On Mean, you a do a great version of Guns N’ Roses’ “It’s So Easy”. Has anyone from GNR heard the cover? If so, what did they think of it?

(Mana) Thank you very much! We’re very proud of our version of this classic. Which GNR you mean? That new “Axl Rose project” or the REAL Guns N Roses? In both the cases I have to say no anyway… They did not heard our version! I think it’s pretty difficult to reach these HUGE stars for a band like us. I’d love one day to have Slash or Duff saying something on this song of us! It would be meaning we’re getting pretty famous he he… p.s.: I’ve named Slash and Duff because I consider ‘em the most real GNR around nowadays! I’d like to add I really don’t like “Chinese Democracy”…

(Ico) Oh, yeah… it has to be a surprise but… I’ve had a brunch with Slash a couple of weeks ago… and he said that he was totally impressed by that song!! And he would have wrote that masterpiece… maybe he will suddenly appear on our stage… ahah! It’s time to believe…

7. Any fun “rock ‘n’ roll” stories to share from your careers? You may change names to protect the innocent!

(Ico) Stories like someone been kicked out from a club, not having the chance to perform cause of the invention of :“ The Sexy Step Diving” by a friend of that someone? no. we’re not those kind of men. (ahah)

(Mana) Yeah… it is difficult to explain. I can add we were on tour with Figure of six (Locomotive Records artist) and Slowmotion Apocalypse (label mates on Scarlet) and there was a roadie who was really too naked to stay on the top of a van doing the step thing y’know…

8. What would your ‘dream tour’ look like? Which bands would you like to play with and which venues/countries would you play?

(Mana) Nice question! Uhm… let me think. I would like to say a Tour like Taste of Chaos maybe… I really loved the line-up of last year! It was amazing: Avenged Sevenfold, Atreyu, and Bullet for my valentine all on the same stage! If you add Idols Are Dead it will become perfect J … talking seriously I wanna say I REALLY hope to come over and perform all around the States… here in Italy all people say we have one of the most intense show of the country so we’d love to take it overseas! Anyways, thank you very much for the chance of this ‘view… we have appreciated sooo much!!! IAD.

(Ico) Maybe also with Metallica would be nice…

Well, that’s it, folks! Short and sweet! I want to take the time to thanks Alex Gilbert for putting this together, and of course, a very special thanks to Mana and Ico for taking the time from their busy days to answer my silly questions!

Oh, and if you haven’t gotten your hands on Mean yet, I definitely recommend you do. It’s a great metal album and well worth your time tracking down!

www.IdolsAreDead.com
www.myspace.com/idolsrdead
www.youtube.com/idolsrdead

All About The Music
All About The Music Publicity

The Top 10 Albums of 2008 (#1-5)

Before we get on with the conclusion of the Top 10 (#6-10 found can be found here), let me first say that outside of the #1 spot, there were no clear cut rankings. I spent the last month listening to each and every 2008 release once a day in order to accurately judge where they should be ranked.

Okay, not really, but it was pretty tough deciding who went where, especially when getting down to the cream of the crop…

1. Guns ‘N Roses – Chinese Democracy

Well, this was a no-brainer for me. Is it bloated? Full of ego? Overproduced? Sure. But through all of that, there’s no filler. Regardless of who the public thinks should be a member of GNR and what GNR should sound like, this is a great hard rock album. The fact that I spent the last 7 years listening to most of these tracks (in some form or another) and still play this almost every day in my car to and from work just goes to show how powerful the whole album is. It’s completely epic, UYI sessions to the extreme and I love it.

2. Edguy – Tinnitus Sanctus

Edguy came late in the year and vaulted over everyone to earn the No. 2 spot in my eyes. I’m a big fan of Edguy’s change in style and Tinnitus Sanctus continued the hard rock catchiness and huge choruses found on Rocket Ride.

3. Whitesnake – Good to Be Bad

After hearing the new tracks from Whitesnake’s Live: In the Shadow of the Blues, I knew David was going to give the world a great hard rock album… and he did! This is quite possibly Whitesnake’s best release, it stays true to the Whitesnake sound, and I’m still playing it these days. The band is powerful and so is David’s voice. Just a shame Whitesnake doesn’t carry as much cloat as a band like AC/DC because Good to Be Bad definitely deserved a wider audience.

4. Metallica – Death Magnetic

Funny thing is, this album may have ranked higher had it played in my car, where I tend to do most of my music listening (it’s a 20 minute drive to work at the least, depending on traffic). For some reason, it skips in my car’s CD player, so I was restricted to listening to it in the home, where I’m often distracted. Great album though. I’m still not sure where I’d rank it in the band’s catalog, but easily their best since the Black Album and possibly even better. Metallica just can’t win with fans these days though, because I’ve seen some serious trashing on this album as well.

5. AC/DC – Black Ice

Well, they did it! One of the most successful releases of the year and AC/DC definitely earned it with Black Ice. AC/DC is a great band, but I had grown tired of them quite some time ago. This album pulled me back in.

Now that we’ve talked about the best…

Most Disappointing Releases of 2008

Def Leppard – Nine Lives

I’m okay with Def Leppard abandoning the “Def Leppard sound” for the most part, but I just can’t get behind this album. 1970s glam cover album YEAH! was definitely an influence here, but it didn’t influence them to rock. “Nine Lives” was a great Leppard-esque rocker, but the rest was a huge letdown.

Alice Cooper – Along Came a Spider

Not bad, but definitely one of Alice’s least impressive albums. There’s just nothing special about it. Just to show how little of an impact it made on me, I only remembered it after posting this article! Again, my gripe was that it just didn’t rock out enough.

Don’t forget to check out what these great sites thought of this year’s releases…

All Metal Resource
Bring Back Glam
Hard Rock Hideout
Hair Metal Mansion
Heavy Metal Addiction
Heavy Metal Time Machine
Imagine Echoes
Layla’s Classic Rock
The Metal Minute
The Ripple Effect
Rock And Roll and Meandering Nonsense
Rock Of Ages

The Top Ten Albums of 2008 (#6-10)

2008 has been a phenomenal year in the rock & metal world. Legends returned with a vengeance and were met with  praise and success (AC/DC, Metallica, Motley Crue) and other legends returned to be met with confusion and/or slower than expected sales (Judas Priest, Guns N’ Roses). There were a few surprises, and a few disappointment as well. Today, we take a look at #6-10, tomorrow #1-5.

6. Motley Crue – Saints of Los Angeles

The Crue really upped their game with this release. After hearing the new songs from Red, White and Crue, I was excited to hear a full new albums from these guys and they delivered. The title track is a killer Crue song and stands with all of the classics in their catalog. It also debuted with respectable sales and was supported by the fun and successful Crue Fest tour.

7. SteelHeart – Good 2B Alive

Out of nowhere, SteelHeart delivers in 2008! I was blown away by how good this album was. SteelHeart’s never been a bad band, so I didn’t expect anything horrible, but who knew modern hard rock and the 80s melodic hard rock sound could be fused together so perfectly? Milijenko Matijevic’s voice is STILL one of the most powerful in rock. Shame not many people seemed to notice this album when it came out. Many tracks were worthy of radio play.

8. Judas Priest – Nostradamus

I’ll admit, I was a bit disappointed by this album (though not as much as others) when it first came out. Concept albums don’t do much for me in general, but after giving the album a few closer listens, it’s really grown on me. It’s still bloated, overproduced and has way too much filler in the form of instrumentals, but underneath all of that, between those two discs, is a very good Priest album.

9. Buckcherry – Black Butterfly

Another album that took me by surprise. I’ve always been a fan of the idea and image of Buckcherry more than the music itself, but Black Butterfly has definitely proven the band’s worthiness to me. From top the bottom, the album is enjoyable and the band has begun to broaden their tastes a bit. This album seems to have failed to replicate the success of their last album, 15, which is a shame because it’s superior in nearly every way.

10. Various Artists – We Wish You a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year

Seriously. Who woulda thunk an indie release full of heavy metal takes on Christmas songs would be good, let alone great? I absolutely love this album and I know I’ll be playing it for years to come. I almost feel a bit guilty for ranking it above some of the honorable mentions, but when I’m having this much fun listening to an album, I can’t worry about that!

Honorable Mentions. A couple of albums that were very good, but as whole, didn’t receive as many listens and weren’t as consistent. Not bad albums by any means, all are worth picking up, but they just lacked that extra something to warrant a Top 10 spot.

Tesla – Forever More

A solid effort, but just didn’t come close to Into the Now for me.

Journey – Revelation

This was actually another nice surprise, but as good as it was, I’m a hard rock guy at heart, not an AOR guy.

Avantasia – The Scarecrow

Avantasia started off 2008 in a great way, and it almost made the list, but I my interests wanes listening to nothing but an album full of power metal. That’s why Edguy made the list and this album didn’t.

Extreme – Saudades de Rock

Really strong record that featured one of my favorite songs of the year (“King of the Ladies”). A bit too slow at times to get into the Top 10 though.

Stop by tomorrow as I present numbers 1-5 of 2008! And be sure to check out these fine sites for even more best of ’08 lists:

All Metal Resource
Bring Back Glam
Hard Rock Hideout
Hair Metal Mansion
Heavy Metal Addiction
Heavy Metal Time Machine
Imagine Echoes
Layla’s Classic Rock
The Metal Minute
The Ripple Effect
Rock And Roll and Meandering Nonsense
Rock Of Ages

Metal Excess News Desk #3

Chinese Democracy unleashed upon the world and debuts at #3 on Billboard, world calls it a complete failure! Axl still in hiding, label angry!

So the numbers finally came out for GNR’s Chinese Democracy… 261,000 copies putting it at #3 behind Taylor Swift (#2 with 267,000 copies sold) and Kanye West, the week’s other big release, who came in at #1 with 450,000 copies sold.

People are blasting this #3 debut as if it’s the end of the world because they didn’t get #1. #1 would’ve been great, but for a group that hasn’t released a studio album of new material since 1991, and seeing as how this is essentially The Axl Rose Band now, the #3 spot and 261,000 copies is exceptional, as far as I’m concerned for a group that has had virtually zero precence in the mainstream since the early 90s and it considered by some to be an “80s hair band”. 261,000 copies + praise from highly respected industry critics = good enough for me. What, were people expecting this album to ship diamond to make up for that $13 million+ that has been sunk into this album? Even if this was a hugely anticipated album: perspective, people…

By the way, Axl has been incommunicado with the label pretty much since handing the album in, so it’s been said. Universal/Interscope/Geffen/whatever execs are miffed about Axl’s disappearance and lack of promoting the album. Yes, I’ll agree with that, he should be out there promoting this. But knowing Axl (which I don’t), I think he’s probably just sitting up there in his mansion reading every word people are saying about the album and taking that into account for the band’s next move (which I hope is to tour). After the world waiting 17 for new original material, I think he decided it would be best to let the music talk for him. He’s never been a fan of the press anyway.
Now, as much as Axl is to blame for not helping to promote this album, I have to point a finger at Best Buy as well. Where were the commercials for Chinese Democracy? Where were the huge in-store banners and special sections of GNR merchandise & albums? There weren’t any. Not at my local store, at least. I go to Best Buy frequently, and you wouldn’t have known the album was even coming out if you weren’t on top of the situation already. There was NOTHING there to let you know “HEY! GNR is BACK!!! And it’s EXCLUSIVE RIGHT HERE at BEST BUY!!!!”
I picked my copy up the day it was released. I came in about an hour and half AFTER the store had already opened and they were just then starting to put up a (small) cardboard stand to put GNR’s albums (including the new one) on. I mean, I know Best Buy isn’t Wal-Mart, but should have at least *tried* to follow the extremely successful formula that Wal-Mart used for AC/DC’s Black Ice.

Eleven Seven Music rock label performing well thanks to Motley Crue, SIXX: A.M. and Buckcherry

Blabbermouth

Eleven Seven Music, the independent rock label, dominates the iTunes Critics Picks for 2008. BUCKCHERRY’s “Black Butterfly” is named the Best Rock Album of 2008, MÖTLEY CRÜE’s “Saints of Los Angeles” is the top rock song, SIXX: A.M. is named a Best New Rock Artist of the Year and SIXX: A.M., BUCKCHERRY and MÖTLEY CRÜE top the sales chart. Eleven Seven Music’s releases comprise 25% of the Top 20 Best Rock Songs as selected by iTunes’ Editorial Board with MÖTLEY CRÜE’s “Saints of Los Angeles” at #1, BUCKCHERRY’s “Too Drunk…” at #2 and their “Rescue Me” at #8, SIXX: A.M.’s “Life Is Beautiful” at #10 and TRAPT’s “Who’s Going Home With You Tonight” at #17. iTunes Best of 2008 can be seen in its entirely at this location (you may have to re-enter link address once iTunes opens).

Eleven Seven Music is among the best-performing rock labels, taking hold on a good portion of the rock charts since its inception in January 2006. With the recent #1 independent release from MÖTLEY CRÜE (the label scored the #2 position last year with SIXX: A.M.’s “The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack” and BUCKCHERRY’s platinum and Grammy-nominated “15”), Eleven Seven continues to build on its model of research-based marketing strategies targeted directly to the fans and building out from that base. At rock radio, SIXX: A.M.’s “Life Is Beautiful” was the most played song of the year. Helmed by President Nikki Sixx, the label’s roster includes MÖTLEY CRÜE, BUCKCHERRY, SIXX: A.M., TRAPT, DROWNING POOL, MARION RAVEN, THE LAST VEGAS, CHARM CITY DEVILS and THE EXIES.

Really happy for all these bands and the label. Hopefully the label won’t fizzle and Nikki can stay interested enough to help keep it afloat. Great roster of talent.

Stone Temple Pilots a thing of the past… again?

USA Today

“When you commit to a band that big that sold so many records and touched that many people, you can’t easily get out of it,” he said. “I’m finally on my own, at a place I’ve wanted to be for so long.”

On being gun-shy about band duty, he said, “There’s a beauty in being part of a band, when there’s equality and trust. But at this phase of my life, I want to write and not have to think about whether a song is going to be a hit. I want to explore the music that inspires me, and I don’t want to ape myself.

“I’ve been saying for a long time that I couldn’t see myself shaking my (butt) in leather pants when I’m 40. My goal in STP was to leave an imprint. That was done. I want to move forward and be in control of what I do musically. I have kids, and I don’t want to spend my life on the road.”

This is kind of disappointing to read. STP are my favorite alternative band (probably because they had so little in common with most of the bands from that genre). As much as I don’t like Weiland these days, STP always delivered great music and I’m sure they could do it again.

These comments are quite odd though considering the band still has a few dates to play this month and Weiland has already gone on record to say the’ve written tons of new songs while on the reunion tour… Bait and switch?

And the 2008 Grammy nominees are…

A few categories in which some of the nominees are relevant to this blog:

Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals

* Rock N Roll Train – AC/DC

* Violet Hill – Coldplay

* Long Road Out Of Eden – Eagles

* Sex On Fire – Kings Of Leon

* House Of Cards – Radiohead

Best Hard Rock Performance

* Inside The Fire – Disturbed

* Visions – Judas Priest

* Wax Simulacra – The Mars Volta

* Saints Of Los Angeles – Mötley Crüe

* Lords Of Salem – Rob Zombie

Best Metal Performance

* Heroes Of Our Time – DragonForce

* Nostradamus – Judas Priest

* My Apocalypse – Metallica

* Under My Thumb – Ministry

* Psychosocial – Slipknot

Best Rock Instrumental Performance

* Castellorizon – David Gilmour

* Suicide & Redemption – Metallica

* 34 Ghosts I-IV – Nine Inch Nails

* Hope (Live For The Art Of Peace) – Rush

* Peaches En Regalia – Zappa Plays Zappa

Best Rock Album

* Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends  – Coldplay

* Rock N Roll Jesus – Kid Rock

* Only By The Night – Kings Of Leon

* Death Magnetic – Metallica

* Consolers Of The Lonely – The Raconteurs

It’d be really cool for Priest to win at least one of the awards they’ve been nominated for. I listened to Nostradamus again two weeks ago and I’m becoming a big fan of it.

Thanks

Thanks to all those out there, whether you stumbled across the blog or are a regular reader, who have taken the time to read my ramblings about music! November was METAL EXCESS’ biggest month yet in terms of traffic!

METALLICA – Ride the Lightning

Metallica – Ride the Lightning (1984, Elektra Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Fight Fire with Fire”… 4:45
2. “Ride the Lightning” … 6:37
3. “For Whom the Bell Tolls” … 5:10
4. “Fade to Black” … 6:57
5. “Trapped Under Ice” … 4:04
6. “Escape” … 4:24
7. “Creeping Death” … 6:36
8. “The Call of Ktulu” … 8:54

Band:
James Hetfield – Vocals, Guitar
Kirk Hammett – Guitar
Cliff Burton – Bass
Lars Ulrich – Drums

Produced by: Flemming Rasmussen & Metallica

Gotta love that cover, it’s my favorite album cover from Metallica. The logo always struck me as particularly awesome with the silver & blue.

Anyway, to the music, a lot of people say this is Metallica’s finest moment. It’s hard to argue that point. Though I personally think Master of Puppets is the best (it was my first Metallica album after all), Ride the Lightning would be a very close second.

“Ride the Lightning”, “Fade to Black”, “The Call of Ktulu”, “For Whom the Bell Tolls”… These legendary classic thrash metal songs cannot be denied! And this album would see an end to the Mustaine connection once and for all, “Ride the Lightning” and “The Call of Ktulu” are the last Metallica songs to have Dave’s name appear in the writing credites.

One of the greatest thrash metal albums ever by the greatest thrash metal band ever.

Highlights: Can’t pick just a handful. Everything is a classic.

www.metallica.com
www.myspace.com/metallica

METALLICA – Death Magnetic

Metallica – Death Magnetic (2008, Warner Bros. Records)

Track Listing:
1. “That Was Just Your Life” … 7:07
2. “The End of the Line” … 7:51
3. “Broken, Beat & Scarred” … 6:25
4. “The Day That Never Comes” … 7:55
5. “All Nightmare Long” … 7:57
6. “Cyanide” … 6:39
7. “The Unforgiven III” … 7:45
8. “The Judas Kiss” … 8:00
9. “Suicide & Redemption” … 9:56
10. “My Apocalypse” … 5:00

Band:
James Hetfield – Vocals, Guitar
Kirk Hammett – Guitar
Robert Trujillo – Bass
Lars Ulrich – Drums

Produced by: Rick Rubin

Oh, the controversy! I guess Metallica hasn’t been able please anyone since they released the Black Album way in back 1991. I’m referring to the great mix/master controversy that has gone on about this album. Is it really THAT bad? I don’t think so. Admittedly, I don’t have the ears to pick up things like this, but for what I’m playing my CD through, everything sounds fine (other than some of the drums which I think are a bit too much like St. Anger sometimes).

There’s always been a very vocal group of Metallica “fans” that complain about everything the band has done since …And Justice for All and they’re out in full force again over this one. I’m not saying there isn’t a difference between the album mix and say the Guitar Hero III downloads, but to *most* people, it’s not an outstanding difference and they’ll do just fine listening to the CD. There’s no need to jump off a bridge over this (or to get Metallica and/or Warner Bros. to do the same).

Now, to the music– Easily the best stuff they’ve put out since the Black Album (which I happen to think is great, so those same “fans” can stick it). It’s a return to their heydays and a lot more focused than the emo St. Anger.

Many of these songs harken back to their 80s material such as “This Was Just Your Life” and “My Apocalypse”, but there’s also some Black Album sounds on songs such as “The Day That Never Comes” and “The End of the Line”.

Even Load/Reload influences appear with “The Unforgiven III”, which is a pretty unnecessary sequel. “The Unforgiven” was great, “The Unforgiven II” was good, “The Unforgiven III” is just filler. At least they tried doing something different, whereas the first two “Unforgiven” songs were sonically similar, but it just screams Load to me and that’s not what I wanna hear.

Definitely one of 2008’s best releases. Oh yeah, one more big positive for this album… GUITAR SOLOS!

But alas, not all is well with this release (which for strange reason won’t play in my car stereo without clipping)… The packaging could’ve used some more thought. When it’s on the shelf at the store, it looks great. The old Metallica logo is back in silver and you’ve got “DEATH MAGNETIC” right on the front as well. But you tear off the shrink wrap and what do you get? Nothing, because the text is a PART of the shrink wrap. I originally thought I had torn the cover while tearing the plastic open! The design with the coffin holes is pretty cool, but it needs SOMETHING covering it because I can just imagine this CD getting snagged and torn easily thanks to the open hole on the front. Also, thanks to the coffin hole, some of the lyrics are cut out, when they could’ve easily shifted them *around* the hole. Minor quibble, but worth quibbling about nonetheless.

Highlights: Everything but…

Lowlights: “The Unforgiven III”

www.metallica.com
www.myspace.com/metallica

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