Archive

Archive for the ‘Metal’ Category

Top 10 Metal Albums Of The Decade

December 29, 2009 2 comments

Okay, fuck the BLITEOTW posts. Those were getting boring. Let’s just say that me and my entire family got consumed by zombies. Whatev’.

ANYWAY! With the end of the decade (What the hell do we call this decade, anyway? The ‘oties’?) upon us, it is time to name the greatest music to come out of it. This will – hopefully – be the first of many posts  in which I name the greatest of something from the 2000s. For this post, we’re going to start off simple; The greatest metal albums of 2010… and honorable mentions. These choices weren’t easy ones, that’s for sure, but these albums truly are epic, and show us just what the artist who produced it is made of. Even those that scored low on the list still come with my absolute highest recommendation.

And finally, there’s one rule: Only one album per artist.

NUMBER 10:

Nightwish – Wishmaster – 2001

Wishmaster is the third outing from symphonic metal band Nightwish, who is one of the most popular groups of the genre. Wishmaster demonstrates everything that makes Nightwish, Nightwish, and then improves on their formula even more. The symphony in the background, the mind-blowing vocals from Tarja, and the now-classic song The Kinslayer makes Wishmaster a god’s work.

NUMBER 9:

Arch Enemy – Rise Of The Tyrant – 2007

Arch Enemy is one of the most powerful bands in the Melodic Death Metal sub-genre, and Rise Of The Tyrant shows this better than no other. The band’s bizarre vocals – which are only bizarre because their lead is female – and insane guitar playing and at their peak in Tyrant, and it all just sounds great.

NUMBER 8:

Lordi – The Arockalypse – 2006

I can tell you’re laughing in your seat. But I’m dead serious. While many criticize Lordi for being the single cheesiest band in history, I love them. There’s nothing better than a good round of Lordi to get your spirits up and make you feel good about life! Why? Because it’s the FREAKIN’ AROCKALYPSE. Lordi is one of those bands that is only good if you don’t take them seriously, and if you don’t take The Arockalypse seriously, it really is a great album.

NUMBER 7:

Moonspell – Night Eternal – 2008

Moonspell is a band that I don’t recall ever mentioning until now, and for that I apologize. Why? ‘Cause they’re one of the freakin’ greatest metal bands ever, and Night Eternal proves that. Roaring vocals, more guitar solos than ever before, and some crazy female vocals make for the awesomest thing out of 2008… well, almost the awesomest thing from ’08.

NUMBER 6:

Five Finger Death Punch – War Is The Answer – 2009

Five Finger Death Punch is one of metal’s lesser known groups, and that needs to change. They’re a sound that rivals even that of current super-powers like SlipKnot and Metallica. War Is The Answer is the recently released second album from Five Finger, and… I’m running out of things to say about how awesome these albums are. Just, take my word for it. It’s badass.

NUMBER 5:

Disturbed – Ten Thousand Fists – 2005

I’m sure you’ve heard of Disturbed before. They’re one of the most popular artists in the metal genre, and they deserve that attention. Ten Thousand Fists has everything that makes Disturbed great; beautiful singing, entrancing guitars, and pounding drums… and… God I’m running out of shit to say.

NUMBER 4:

Cradle of Filth – Midian – 2000

Being the oldest album on this list, it’s easy to say that Midian has aged well. This album showed just what Cradle of Filth has to offer, and it set them up to become the metal gods that they are now.

NUMBER 3:

SlipKnot – All Hope Is Gone – 2008

SlipKnot is quite simply the biggest super power in metal culture. They’ve been around for a solid decade now, and they show no sign of stopping. All Hope Is Gone is the roaring, screeching, tearing, mind-blowingly awesome masterpiece from the ‘Knot. In my opinion, it easily beating out Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses, which many fans consider their best.

NUMBER 2

Dope – Life – 2001

Dope is the band that first got me into metal, and Life is the first album I heard from this industrial/speed metal quartet. Its still one of my favorites. No Regrets – the group’s ’09 release – is a strong contender for this spot, but it doesn’t quite beat on the classic that is Life.

Finally…

NUMBER 1:

Mastodon – Crack The Skye – 2009

You probably saw this coming if you’ve been following this blog for awhile. Crack The Skye is not only the best album of 2009, but it’s quite simply the greatest album (Not just metal) of this decade. Every single second of it is a great one, with its trippy sounds, progressive style, and creative story that, while it makes no sense, is still great. If you haven’t heard Crack The Skye yet, you need to go do that right now. Seriously. Go. Shoo. Have you listened to it yet? Then what the hell are you waiting for!? Do it! DO IT NAAOOOUUGGHHH!

HONORABLE MENTIONS

These albums were great, but not quite great enough to make the final cut. Take note that these all still come with my highest recommendation.

Lamb of God – Wrath – 2009

Lamb of God may be one of the biggest names in metal, and even though Wrath was their most impressive album, it still doesn’t beat out the beauty of the others on this list. It fell short on the fact that the songs sound very, very similar after awhile and get boring. Wrath loses its steam after awhile. But its still great.

Bullet For My Valentine – Scream Aim Fire – 2008

Scream Aim Fire was definitely an improvement over Bullet‘s previous, mediocre album, The Poison, but it suffered from the same issues that Wrath had. It just got old.

Albums that broke the only rule:

These albums are great, but one album from the same artist beat it. Plain and simple.

  • Mastodon – Blood Mountain – 2006
  • Nightwish – Once – 2004
  • SlipKnot – Vol. 3 (The Subliminal Verses) – 2004
  • Five Finger Death Punch – The Way Of The Fist – 2007

Well, that’s it, kids! I’m haven’t quite decided what the next countdown in this series will be, but it’ll be here eventually. Really.

Categories: Countdown, Feature, Metal

I’ll Do It All Again, With No Regrets…

November 29, 2009 Leave a comment

No Regrets-era (Current) Dope

Once upon a time, there was a story. A story who’s main idea was centered around two songs – I can’t remember one of them. But the other? I’ll never forget it. That song was Take Your Best Shot, by Dope. I had no clue who this “Dope” fella was, but, honestly, when I first saw the name, I figured it was some bullshit rap artist. So, I go and take a look on Playlist.com for this song, and listened.

From that point on; I was hooked to metal. The gritty riffs, the intense drumming, and the sound of Edsel screaming the word “shot” at the top of his lungs, it entranced me. I was rude enough to have not worn headphones, and my dad overheard the loud, wailing noises emanating from my laptop. He turned, and said, “What the hell is that?” I looked up from the computer, and said, “I have no idea… but I like it.” The look on his face was priceless.

I can thank Dope for a lot of things, aside from bringing some of my favorite songs into this world. But, had I never discovered Dope, I might not be sitting here, writing this, my iPod may instead be filled with the likes of Lady Gaga and Britney Spears (The thought pains me). But, on the other hand, my pessimistic outlook on life may be different, but I don’t always consider that a curse. I suppose I’m rambling now. But, why the hell do I matter? This is a post about the band itself, not my own opinion on them… okay, that’s a lie. SHUDDUP! I’m just trying to think of a good way to lead into a biography type-thing!

Dope formed in 1997 by Edsel Dope (Born as Brian Ebejer), who took charge of lead vocals and song writing, his brother, Simon, who played keyboards, Preston Nash on drums, Tripp Eisen on bass, and Lanson Lang on guitar. The band quickly took over the New York club scene, and after a rather minimal amount of shows, they were signed into the label Epic Records. In 1999, their first record, Felons & Revolutionaries was released. It features twelve tracks, including the covers of “Fuck tha Police” by N.W.A., and “You Spin Me Right ‘Round (Like A Record)” by Dead Or Alive. The album has (To this day) sold approximately 236,000 copies. This debut album featured a very industrial album – no different than that of Nine Inch Nails. The cover of “You Spin Me Round” was released as a single, and placed the band on the #37 spot on the U.S. Mainstream Rock Charts, which gained the band a great deal of attention that, to quote Edsel, “We weren’t quite ready for that attention.”

After the release of Felons, Tripp – who had taken the guitarist position after Lanson left – was replaced with Virus, who is still in lead guitar spot. Preston was also replaced by Racci “Sketchy” Shay on drums. Finally; Sloane Jentry had taken the bass spot, leaving Edsel and Simon as the only two remaining members from the original band. After these changes, the band soon began work on the follow up to Felons, which would be entitled Life. The two singles, Now Or Never, and Slipping Away, hit the charts on #28 and #29 respectively. This brought an eventual success of the album, which hit #180 on the charts. After this album, Simon left to go into video game design. Edsel backed his brother’s decision to leave 100%. Edsel Dope is now the only remaining founding member of Dope.

Fun Fact!: The song “Die Mother Fucker Die” from Life was used by the U.S. Army as interrogation-music-type-stuff when interrogating P.O.Ws! Edsel claims this was one of the best points of his career.

Group Therapy-era Dope

After Life, Dope left Epic and joined Artemis Records, a New York-based independent label. Acey Slade (Who had played lead through Life), left the group, and Virus became the only guitar player. The band has since been a quartet. The band began work on Group Therapy, which was released in 2003, and featured the single I Am”. After putting out a shit-ton of videos for Group Therapy, the band started work on their fourth album – this time without any member-changes! What a shock! American Apathy brought the band back to their Industrial-metal roots, and included a cover of Depeche Mode‘s “People Are People”. The album hit #1 in the ‘Top Heatseekers’ chart, a first for the band.

Fun Fact!: After American Apathy, Edsel got rid of the dred-locks he had throughout the band’s entire career up to that point.

Four years later, all we have is a song entitled Nothing For Me Here on Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock as a bonus track. Dope continued touring, and recording. We knew the groups’ fifth album would be entitled No Regrets, we just had no clue when it would come out. The single “Violence” appeared in late 2008, and the release date for No Regrets finally appeared soon after. On March 10th, 2009, this fifth album from Dope appeared on the stands. It charted at #88 on the charts, and sold over 6,200 copies in the first week. This makes ‘No Regrets’ the group’s most successful album to date, and lemme tell ya, it deserves that. Without question, ‘No Regrets’ is the best work from the quartet, and even Virus agrees!

Today, Dope continues touring, rocking, and being badass. Even if Edsel got rid of his dreds. But, I owe a lot to these guys, because if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be sitting here right now.

Whoohoo… first post on WordPress!
Categories: Dope, Feature, Metal

Today In Music

October 9, 2009 Leave a comment

Well, children, today is a momentous occasion. Why? Because there are things going on the musical world that don’t relate to Miley Cyrus or Lady Gaga. In case you decided to live under a rock for the past month or so, here’s what’s been goin’ down;

  • The new Paramore album, “Brand New Eyes”, was released on the 29th. Critics seem to like it. Review coming eventually.
  • The new Dethklok album, “The Dethalbum II”, also came out on the 29th. I want some Duncan Hills Coffee. Review to come.
  • The new Muse album, “The Resistance”, came out on the 19th. Much rejoice. Guess what? There’ll be a review.
  • Marilyn Manson got THE SWINE FLU OMGWTF PANIC(!) IN THE STREETS MARILYN MANSON HAS THE MOTHER FUCKING SWINE FLU!!!!!!!!!1111!!1one!!!! Only not. Turns out he was just being an attention hog. I still love that guy, though.
  • The lead guitarist of Five Finger Death Punch, Zoltan Bathory, went missing after the release party for the band’s new album. He was found two days later, and their tour started as planned. Open the sky.
  • Kanye West was a serious dick and interrupted Taylor Swift as she accepted an award at the VMAs. But, of course, you already knew that. Ima let u finish!
  • The new Backstreet Boys album is being enjoyed by 13-year old girls, and hated by everyone old enough to understand that AUTOTUNE SOUNDS LIKE SHIT. I want your PDA-A-A-A.
  • My Chemical Romance now offers the ability to create an account on their website/blog. You can manage your own blog, make and add friends… and that’s about it. Welcome to the Black Parade.
  • The Mastodon/Dethklok tour is going nicely. Brent hasn’t been knocked into a coma again, so that’s a good start.
  • Cradle of Filth announced back in August that they’re going back to the studio to work on album #9. It’s expected to be released sometime in 2010.
  • On 9/9/09, The Beatles Remastered Collection was released. Considering it’s the entire discography of the greatest band of all time, you should probably go get it right. Now. The Beatles: Rock Band was also released, and it’s awesome. You should get that, too.
  • brokeNCYDE still sucks ass.
Annnnnnnnnnddddd… that’s it. Sorry about the short post, I need some filler as I await band to end! Once that happens, I should be able to make a lot more posts. Thanks for your patience.
Categories: Metal, Today in Music

Review – War Is The Answer

October 1, 2009 Leave a comment
Five Finger Death Punch is not one of the world’s best known bands. But they’re certainly on their way there. They won the Metal Hammer Golden God Award for Best New Band earlier this year, and this album’s single Hard To See hit #12 in the U.S. Main Rock charts. These guys have it set up for success, and their first full-length album The Way Of The Fist, was loved by critics and fans alike. Yes, it seems that Five Finger is one their way to becoming the next SlipKnot (Okay, that’s a little too far). But does this new album live up to the growing reputation the band is building? You bet your ass it does.
War Is The Answer is the second album that these newcomers have released, and it’s takes everything that makes FFDP great, and increases it ten-fold. Ivan’s incredible screaming keeps things heavy and powerful, but is countered epicly by his singing voice, which provides a slower break from the face-melting power of most of the album. The backup vocals add a nice touch to the sound, and make it far more pleasing to the ear than if it was just Ivan’s roaring.
Zoltan (Lead guitars) lets out an impressive show, the many guitar solos you hear are executed with brilliance, and he retains that metal ‘twinge’ that makes any metal band, a metal band. Jason Hook (rythym guitar) keeps things interesting as he, well, does his job as a rythym player. He adds some great harmony to the guitar parts, and creates that extra layer of music that sometimes is missing from metal. I’d make a comment about Matt, their bassist, but, as any good bass player knows; you can never hear him. I’m sure you’d know if they took him out, though.
And dear Lord have mercy on Jeremy Spencer’s legs! That double-bass just sounds painful. But boy, is it awesome.
Really, the only thing I can say bad about War Is The Answer is this; every song follows the same pattern. “Heavy opening, verse, singing chorus, verse 2, sung chorus, bridge, repeat the chorus two or three more times.” That’s seriously it. Now, they do stray away from this through the songs “Hard To See,” “Crossing Over”, and “Canto 34”. Which are mostly singing – save for Canto, which is an instrumental song.
Trust me, though, this one flaw can be overlooked while you headbang your brains out to the awesomeness of this album. Whatever you may think of Five Finger from their silly name, this is an album that any metal head needs in their collection. Get it. Now.
Key Tracks;
  • Hard To See
  • Dying Breed
  • Bulletproof
  • My Own Hell
  • War Is The Answer

Metal: Defining The Subgenres

September 22, 2009 2 comments

Metal is a genre that has far too many different sounds within it to squeeze under one common adjective. So, we make up new ones. Metal has the most sub-genres of any other musical type, and it’s an extremely lengthy list. People often question exactly what kind of Metal certain bands are, and it never really is easy to classify one. Well, I’m here to try my hand at explaining each of these sub-genres, and hopefully give you a better understanding of what makes them all different from each other.

This list is taken from the Wikipedia list of Heavy Metal sub-genres. Most example bands also taken from lists on Wikipedia. The descriptions of each, however, are of my own work.

  • Black Metal
Black Metal is typically very fast music, more often than not has higher-pitched screams, and tries to create a very dark atmosphere. Lyrical themes can vary from 16th century poetry to a musical biography of a serial killer. A quick way to describe Black Metal is “medieval.” Example bands include; Cradle of Filth, Moonspell, and Celtic Frost.
  • Death Metal
Death Metal is what one typically thinks of when they imagine modern-age Metal. Powerful and repeated drum patterns, thrashing guitars, and very deep, growling vocals are the norm. Lyrics are again variable. Example bands include; Cannibal Corpse, Death, and Morbid Angel.
  • Doom Metal
Doom Metal is… complicated. Like Black Metal, Doom often strives to create a very dark or depressing atmosphere. On the contrary; it’s typically slower, something it shares with Gothic Metal. Despite the often slower speeds, it’s still very powerful music, with raging drums and maybe a ripping guitar solo every now-and-again. Example bands include; Skepticism, Internal Void, and My Dying Bride.
  • Drone Metal
Drone Metal is basically Doom Metal, except it focuses largely on drones, which are notes sustained throughout most of a song. Example bands include; Sun O))), Black Boned Angel, and Burning Witch.
  • Folk Metal
Folk Metal is what you would get if musicians from the Medieval period came to modern times and found out what electric guitars were. Go listen to some folk music, imagine that on an electric guitar, and *poof*, you have Folk Metal. Example bands include: Alestorm, Subway to Sally, and Orphaned Land.
  • Glam Metal
It’s pretty much every single hair-band ever. Glam Metal is what we saw a lot of in the ’80s, and is what pioneered what we know as Metal today. Example bands include: Motley Crüe, Poison, and Murderdolls
  • Gothic Metal
Very similar to Doom Metal, and often mistaken for Black Metal. Gothic Metal is often very slow, and has a large inclusion of piano parts. Unlike Doom Metal, however, it’s not exactly heavy. It’s very calm and moody. I tend to get depressed while listening to it. Example bands include; Moonspell, Paradise Lost, and Evanescence.
  • Groove Metal
It’s Thrash Metal. End of story. Example bands include; Metallica, White Zombie, and Black Sabbath.
  • Industrial Metal
A cross-over of the Industrial genre, Industrial Metal incorporates a lot of synthesizer work, and overall tends to have a very electronic sound. Example bands include; Nine Inch Nails, Static-X, and Dope.
  • Metalcore
Punk Rock/Thrash Metal/Extreme Metal. The end. Example bands include; Killswitch Engage, Zao, and Underoath.
  • Neo-classical Metal
Beethoven meets Death Metal. Example bands include; Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Symphony X, and Rhapsody of Fire.
  • Nu Metal

Nu Metal is often a cross over of metal and Alternative Rock, and it’s not uncommon to hear some turntable scratches. Example bands include; Linkin Park, SlipKnot, and Hollywood Undead.

  • Post-Metal

Post-Metal is a very emotional type of Metal. It’s basically the metal version of Post-Rock, whatever the hell that is. Example bands include; Neuosis, Cult of Luna, and Isis.

  • Power Metal

Power Metal is what you get if you tried to play a techno song on an electric guitar, and threw in a random solo in the middle. High-pitched vocals, pounding double-bass, and crazy solos are all around here. Example bands include; Dragonforce, Blind Guardian, and HammerFall.

  • Progressive Metal
A bizarre twist of Progressive Rock and Metal. Prog. Metal is very unusual and unique to the rest. Odd time-signatures, a huge variety of lyrical themes, and many other little things make it an interesting sub-genre. 
  • Speed Metal

Speed Metal is, as it’s name implies, very fast-paced. It’s instrumentals are like thrash metal sped up times-100. Example bands include; Motorhead, Annihilator, and Accept.

  • Stoner Metal

You are legally required (not really) to be on drugs while writing Stoner Metal. And that’s what it all sounds like. It’s quite possibly the closest thing you can get to a drug-trip outside of actually smoking crack. Example bands include; Acid King, Electric Wizard, and Sons of Otis.

  • Thrash Metal
Fast, aggressive, and heavy. Everything you can think of when it comes to metal. Wailing vocals, slamming double-basses, and, well… thrashing guitars are what define this genre. Example bands include; Pantera, Megadeth, and Anthrax.

So, that’s it. Every single sub-genre of metal… and that only took me an hour to write. Fun. This post was originally meant to be a review of the new Five Finger Death Punch album, War Is The Answer, but I’m not feeling all that great, and my head just said “no” to listening to a metal album. Maybe tomorrow… assuming I have time.


Categories: Metal, Misc.

My Top 5 Album Covers (For Now)

August 16, 2009 2 comments

Oh, the essential album cover. It’s quite possibly the most important part of an album outside of the music itself. It’s the one thing that can make someone browsing the local music store go, “Hm… this looks interesting. I think I’ll buy this,” and end up putting fifteen more bucks in the artist’s pocket. Always nice. I, personally, cannot stand to go without the album artwork being displayed on whatever media player I’m using – on or off my computer. So, I’d like to visit some of my favorite album covers, and why they captured my interest to the point of listening to the album.

#5 – The Black Parade


My Chemical Romance’s third album was definitely their best work, and it had the oddest covers of the three. The little Skeleton-Drum Major dude was rather a cheerful guy, considering he was dead. The inside covers look even stranger, and the way the tracks are listed on the back is creative and unique. It’s a little misleading, as I wouldn’t expect an album with that guy on the front to potentially save my life with it’s awesomeness.


#4 – Godspeed On The Devil’s Thunder
I’ll be blunt: I have no fucking idea what’s going on here. Cradle of Filth’s eighth studio album makes as little sense as it’s cover, but damn does that cover catch your eye. The five-faced dude in the center, and the numerous monsters and disturbing children surrounding it make one creepy-ass scene.

#3 – Ultra Beatdown

While many criticize Dragonforce for the fact that all of their songs sound almost exactly the same: It’s fun music. Their 2008 release, Ultra Beatdown, features that armor-clad chick with the huge-ass gun. Guns and boobs, what else do you need to make customers – at least male ones – pick up your album? I know it grabbed me. This was a fantastic album, too.

#2 – Year Zero

Trent Reznor (A.K.A. Nine Inch Nails) may quite possibly become one of the most influential figures in modern music. His daring acts, such as releasing his last album for free, have led him not only to the top of the headlines, but also to the top of the sales charts. Year Zero, the album before his free one, was an extremely impressive endeavor. The strange alien hand-thing coming from the sky that holds the spot on the cover is complicated, and makes… pretty much no sense. But it’s cool to look at.

#1 – Crack The Skye

To put it simply: I love Mastodon. As I explained in my review of this album (previous post), their bizarre mix of different genres brings an amazing sound, and some of the most impressive things we’ve seen from metal artists in the last decade. Crack The Skye‘s album art caught my attention from the moment I saw it heading their MySpace page. It’s colorfulness and bizarre artwork well represents the album itself, and confuses you, just like the album. Were I looking at this in a store, even if I had never heard of Mastodon before, I still would have bought this album simply because of how crazy it’s cover was.

… so, that’s it. For the record; I’m gone at band camp till Thursday. So no posts until about Friday, maybe Saturday. Not sure yet. G’bye, kids!

Album Review – Crack The Skye

August 14, 2009 Leave a comment

Mastodon is a rather complicated band. They fail to fit into any specific genre, as their unique blend of Prog. Rock, Symphonic Metal, and Power Metal brings out a very imaginative sound that completely separates them from the norm. Crack The Skye is the latest endeavor from Mastodon, and it’s by far their best work.


From the beginning, Crack The Skye proves to be something truly amazing. The opener, Oblivion, captures your attention with some amazing blending of the three different vocalists. They switch off seamlessly, and quickly lead themselves into a vocalized game of Catch. Tossing the parts back and forth, leading into the chorus with glory. This awesomeness continue through the entire album, and the occasional screaming portion doesn’t take away from the smoothness of their voices. On lyrics; there is a wonderful performance out of whichever member(s) of the band do the writing. The words fall straight into one another, and form amazing stories and messages that are simple, but oh so sweet.

The thing that pulls Mastodon away from the typical metal band so much are the instrumentals, and they continue that in this new addition to their discography. The guitarists play like they really, truly want to be heard, and nothing quite beats the Banjo solo at the beginning of Divinations. The drummer doesn’t abuse his bass too much, as many other metal bands are victim of (*cough* Cradle of Filth *cough*), and keeps some good variation in his playing, but never gets boring. None of the instrumentalists that also have vocal parts (Three of the four members) seem to be hindered by the multiple parts, although that may have been a recording trick. No matter, it’s still kick-ass.

To put it in TL;DR form: Crack The Skye is without doubt, glorious. It will capture your attention from start to finish, and loses quality at very few moments throughout. Get this album, you will not regret it.

Key Tracks:
  • Oblivion
  • Divinations
  • Crack The Skye



Categories: Mastodon, Metal, Review