staying aliveEvery once in a while, Saturday Night Live will have a cast member that is so funny that he becomes a star right in front of our own very eyes like Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, and even Tracy Morgan. They are able to transition from stand up to skit comedy all the way to movie stars, but when tragedy hits, it really sucks. That is what it seemed like for Tracy Morgan who was hit by a Walmart truck in an accident that almost killed the 30 Rock star. For a very long time, we wondered if Tracy would ever be the same again and whether he would bounce back or not. In his very first stand up comedy special since the accident, Tracy Morgan was back to prove that he still had it and Netflix was right there to support him with his very own Netflix comedy special Tracy Morgan: Staying Alive. In the special recorded at the Count Basie Theater in Red Bank, NJ, he tackles all sorts of subjects like meeting God while in a coma, being in heaven, Kim Khardashian and the others, the dark side of his family, Mike Tyson, Ancestory.com, therapy, Tiger Woods, Flavor Flav, strip clubs, Madonna, DUI, his first and current marriage, and so much more in this hilarious special.

staying alive 2I have to say that I loved the intro to the special only because I was a huge fan of the film Saturday Night Fever, but more importantly it’s just nice to see him back. I was a huge fan of Tracy;s when it came to his films so I honestly didn’t know what to expect out of the comedy special, but I was very happy when it was over. I say that because I honestly could not stop laughing at so many of his jokes. One of my favorite jokes of the night came when he was talking about his grandma and how she is always praying. He always tries to hide from her or pretend to be in the coma, but one day he had enough. He woke up and told her that he had met God in heaven before and she of course asked what he had told Tracy and he responded back. He said, “Tell your grandma to shut the fu** up. Between her and Tim Tebow, I can’t get any sleep.” It just stuff like that and when he talks about his various family members, it gets really funny. The punchlines to his jokes is where the true genius of him lies and the way he delivers them makes you unable to hold a straight face. I definitely suggest checking this special out from him if you get a chance. I am giving the special an A- for a final grade cause sometimes you need some dirty comedy in your life to counter act the smart comedy.

war of the covers hallowed be thy nameLast week, we had all of you battle it out to decide who covered Alice Cooper’s He’s Back (The Man Behind The Mask) for War Of The Covers. You guys voted and you decided that One Man Army and the Undead Quartet had he better version. This week we have a monumental battle between two bands from very different backgrounds in metal united for one simple reason and that is their love of Iron Maiden. The song I chose for you guys to battle it out over has been in the news lately because of a little controversy called a songwriting dispute. In 1982, Iron Maiden released the album The Number Of The Beast which contained a track that would be played in almost every concert since then in the track Hallowed Be Thy Name. If you want to read all about the controversy, then you can do so here at NME.com because it’s no longer being played live. Anyways, there are two bands that have covered the song with one being a black metal band from England and the other being a metal band from Oakland, CA. In 2002, UK Black Metal legends Cradle Of Filth recorded a cover of the track for a compilation album that had two discs in Lovecraft & Witch Hearts. In 2007, Oakland metal outfit Machine Head recorded a cover of the song as part of a bonus disc to their sixth album The Blackening. Now as you know, only one cover can come out triumphant and make to the radio playlist for later this year. So, choose wisely, but most importantly just vote and let your voices be heard. You have until next week to decide!

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led zeppelin led zeppelin_IIThe album that I chose for this week’s album of the week was inspired by the trailer for the new Thor: Ragnarok film which features the track The Immigrant Song. Now before you jump to any conclusions, I know that The Immigrant Song is not on Led Zeppelin II but rather on Led Zeppelin III. It’s just that you can’t review III before II considering we already reviewed one before. That is why for this week we are reviewing the band’s second album which was aptly titled with a II and it once again featured the classic and only line up that matters in Jimmy Page (Guitars), Robert Plant (Vocals), John Paul Jones (Bass), and John Bonham (Drums). The album was probably one of the most successful albums for the band and it helped them avoid the sophomore jinx as it went number one in seven countries that included the UK, United States, West Germany, Australia, Canada, Denmark, and Spain with three other top three finishes as well. The album has been certified platinum in the United States 12 times meaning that it has sold 12 million records (it went 4X platinum in the UK, 9X Platinum in Canada, etc.).

Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin 2-Back1.Whole Lotta Love– One of the most popular and probably overplayed song on the radio from the band that is about what you think it’s about. Using the AABA formula, Jimmy came up with the track on his houseboat that sees the track go from a blues feel right into a free jazz like break complete with a theramin solo and a bad ass drum solo from Bonham as well. 5/5

2. What Is And What Should Never Be– One of the first tracks that Page recorded with a Gibson Les Paul that contains that cool effect where it pans back and forth on the channels. There is also a cool effect used on Plant’s vocals during the verses. It has that cool effect where it changes in tempo from a cool bluesy tune into a full on rock track. It’s also the first Zeppelin song that Plant received writing credit for in this track that is about a romance he had with his wife’s sister. 5/5

3. The Lemon Song– A very sexual bluesy track in nature, but the song was inspired by Howlin Wolf’s song Killing Floor (Both first verses are indentical). In fact in 1972, the band was sued by the handlers of Howlin Wolf to which they settled out of court and Howlin Wolf is given credit on the track. 4.5/5

4. Thank You– One of my favorite Led Zeppelin songs that was for the first time completely written by Plant. It was the track that showed Page that Plant could handle himself in the lyrics department. A very cool power ballad from the band that everyone should check out. 5/5

5. Heartbreaker– A bad ass bluesy rock track with huge balls is the best way I can describe this track because it has that feel to it. Page told Guitar World in 1998 once that, “The interesting thing about the guitar solo is that it was recorded after we had already finished “Heartbreaker” – it was an afterthought. That whole section was recorded in a different studio and it was sort of slotted in the middle. If you notice, the whole sound of the guitar is different.” 5/5

II6. Living Loving Maid (She’s Just a Woman)– A cool hard rock track from the band that Page recorded with a Vox 12 string guitar and just to let you know, it’s Page’s least favorite song which is why it has never been played live. I definitely approve of the track. 4.5/5

7. Ramble On– If there was ever a track back in the day that made it cool to read The Lord Of The Rings, it was this track from the band. The song starts off with an acoustic feel which is just Page using regular open chords, but played a little higher on the fret board. It’s also a track that Jones and Bonham shined on showing how unique their relationship was in the band. 5/5

8. Moby Dick– For all the John Bonham lovers in the world, this is definitely your track as it was basically Jimmy Page recording all of Bonham’s jam sessions in the studio. The only thing is that in the beginning and the end, Page and Jones lead the way for him and end the track with him. 5/5

9. Bring It On Home– This is the last track on the record and it’s a cover of blues legend Sonny Boy Williamson II’s track that was written by Willie Dixon. 4/5

My Final Thoughts– It is almost the perfect album by the band and one that is considered to be one of the most influential rock albums of all time. Who in their right minds then did not want to be Led Zeppelin. The band’s sound which change however as they went for a more folkier sound with the next album. This is definitely must listen album for any fan off Zeppelin. I am going to give the album 4.7 stars out of five for a final grade.

war of the covers copy He's BackLast week, we had an interesting triple threat match that saw Anthrax do battle with Tarot and Godspeed featuring Bruce Dickinson to decide who covered Black Sabbath’s Sabbath Bloody Sabbath better. You voted and decided that ultimately without contest that Anthrax had the best version. I want to let you guys know that coming in the fall will be my fourth Alumni Weekend Takeover at my Alma Mater and by voting, you are deciding what I am going to play because the winners of the War Of The Covers will be played on the show as we do a covers segment this year. With that being said, it is time to move on to this week’s War Of The Covers which features a track from the king of Shock Rock in Alice Cooper. Back in 1986, Alice recorded a track for the Friday The 13TH Part VI: Jason Lives soundtrack called He’s Back (The Man Behind The Mask) (It was also on the album Constrictor) that was epic with those synths and that cool bass line. This week we have two interesting bands in a European match as Sweden’s One Man Army and The Undead Quartet take on Finland’s Warmen featuring Alexi Laiho. One Man Army… covered the track for their 2007 album Error In Evolution while Warmen covered the song with Alexi of Children Of Bodom on vocals for their 2014 album First Of The Five Elements. Now it’s up to you guys to decide who covered it better and who makes the show this fall. You have until the next War Of The Covers post to decide.

I predicted to a friend of mine that as soon as Donald Trump was elected President of the United States that the political driven Music Videos and albums were going to hit like a ten ton hammer. I was absolutely correct about that because it’s easy to vilify someone who is generally hated by everyone in the world, but Donald J. Trump isn’t the only subject of LA Industrial rock act 3Teeth’s new music video for their track Away From Me. Hilary Clinton, Vladimir Putin, the Pope, and even Black Friday shoppers are the subject of their eerie sounding music video. Alexis Mincolla tells us, “I believe we live in very regressive times despite our huge advances in technology and communication. We’re still territorially pissing like cavemen, and the tragedy of the commons has become an accepted way of life. The song is really about how strong willed minds can still stay autonomous and empowered even in the face of all this. I wanted the video to represent this from a human story rather than a political one as it’s becoming more and more apparent that geopolitics outweigh the human experience in terms of what is navigating our world.” The song is off of the band’s upcoming record shutdown.exe which is due in stores and online May 19TH via OMF Records. Check out the video below:

2003-year-of-the-spiderThere was once a time in the world when Nu Metal was a genre that was ruling the airways and video play on MTV with bands like Korn and Limp Bizkit competing with the likes of The Backstreet Boys and Nsync. Some say that it was a glorious time to be alive while others are very troubled by it’s mere existence. For me, it was a time when I was discovering my love of the metal sub-genres all over again after a brief falling out period. At one point, Flip/Interscope thought it wise to hire Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit as an A&R man and his signings were hitting it big in the industry like Puddle Of Mudd, Staind, and today’s band of focus in Jacksonville, Florida rock act Cold. Cold was made up of Scooter Ward (Vocals), Terry Balsamo (Guitar), Kelly Hayes (Guitar), Jeremy Marshall (Bass), Howard Benson (Piano/Keys/Produced The Album), and Sam McCandless (Drums). Together in 2003, the band would release their most commercially successful album of their careers in Year Of The Spider which peaked at number three on the Billboard Top 200 charts even featuring a top Hot 100 track as well.

cold1.Remedy– A real driving riff starts off the song before this amazing bass riff takes over the verses before the band comes back in. The song seems to be about someone with issues who pushes people away and know this, but doesn’t anyone to really change it. 5/5

2. Suffocate– A clean channel guitar drives the song for the most part before the chorus. The song is about a relationship that is just toxic. The song features former Dollshead/Black Eyed Peas singer Sierra Swan and Sam McCandless’s drum laying is awesome on this track. 5/5

3. Cure My Tragedy (A Letter to God)– a touching track that Scooter wrote about the struggles his sister went through with her battle against Cancer while the band was recording the album. 4.5/5

4. Stupid Girl– This was the band’s lead single and the only single they ever wrote that cracked the Billboard top 100 that was co-written by Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo. 5/5

5. Don’t Belong– A bass driven track until the band comes in for the chorus about feeling like you just don’t belong or you can’t do anything right. 4/5

6. Wasted Years– a cool track with violins in the beginning and some acoustic guitars that compliment them. It is said that Scooter described the track as, “this song is basically about how I let little things take away the things I needed in life.” 4/5

7. Whatever You Became– A slowered tempo track whose melody/structure reminds me a little of first track Remedy. The track seems to be about how people have changed because of his fame, but he hasn’t changed. 4/5

Cold-Year_Of_The_Spider-CD8. Sad Happy– a very eerie track about a someone who is stuck in a very abusive relationship and cant get out of it. A sad reality that is too true in the world we live in. 4.5/5

9. Rain Song– A cool track about someone close to Scooter who may have harmed herself in some way and when it rains it reminds him of her. 4/5

10. The Day Seattle Died– A great track on the album that is the band’s tribute to Seattle’s music icons Kurt Cobain and Layne Staley. 5/5

11. Change The World– The track starts with a drum cadence before the band comes racing in with a killer riff on a track that is basically about relationships. 4/5

12. Black Sunday– A track that starts with some acoustic and clean guitars in a track that is about loss of someone close to Scooter, a reoccurring theme in a lot of songs. 4/5

13. Kill The Music Industry– The bands response to the music industry who were constantly telling them that they were going to fail. It also features the track Gone Away at around the 2:55 mark or so. 4/5

My Final Thoughts: Despite the success of the album, the band would soon go through it’s own troubled times as the label refused to promote any more singles from the album and Terry Balsamo would exit the band in 2004 to replace Ben Moody in Evanescence. I am going to give the album 4.4 stars out of five for a final grade because it was a kick ass album.

ccgf_CDArtwork--3It has been quite some time since we last did a single of the week and I have brought it back with a bang. Who is Waylon Reavis? He is a name that all metal heads all across the world are very familiar with because in 2004 he picked up the ball in Mushroomhead and ran with it in a very successful manor. With Mushroomhead, he was apart of some landmark releases like Savior Sorrow or a personal favorite in The Righteous & The Butterfly which was subsequently his last album with the outfit. Now Waylon has a new band in A Killer’s Confession whose debut album Unbroken is available digitally right now with the physical release this upcoming Friday (May 12TH). The album is being described by some as being “equal parts beauty and tragedy and takes the listener on a journey to the edge of insanity and back.” Whatever the case may be the band’s first single A Killer’s Confession is a symphony of brutality that should leave metal heads everywhere desiring more and more of it. The track is definitely equal parts beauty and brutality as it balances the two elements very smoothly throughout the whole entire track.

a killer's confessionThe album was produced by Waylon Reavis while the track above was co-produced with Thom Hazaert with Richard Easterling (American Head Charge, Doll Skin, Emperors and Elephants) engineering and mixing the album as well. Reavis is joined on the album by fellow band members Jon Dale (drums), JP Cross (bass), Matt Trumpy (guitar), and Paul Elliott (guitar) and the band is signed to EMP Label Group which is a label that is owned by Megadeth bassist David Ellefson. When asked about his feelings and thoughts on the band and record, Waylon commented saying, “I am so proud of this project, and being able to come back with an absolutely KILLER record, with KILLER musicians. Anyone who has been a fan of anything I have done previously, is absolutely going to be floored by AKC.” When it came to signing with EMP Reavis stated, “I am so thankful to Thom and David for believing in me and getting behind this project the way they have.  I have been watching everything they’ve done the last year, and I am so proud and excited to be part of the EMP family.” As I stated above, the album will be released this Friday and be sure to check the band out when they hit the road with Nonpoint at the end of the month. Check out the video below and check out the tour dates below that as well:

UPCOMING TOUR DATES

With Nonpoint

05-30-17 in Lancaster, PA at The Chameleon

05-31-17 in Easton, PA at One Centre Square

06-01-17 in Hampton Beach, NH at Wally’s

06-02-17 in Providence, RI at Fete Ballroom

06-03-17 in Portland, ME at Port City Music Hall

06-04-17 in Syracuse, NY at Lost Horizon

06-05-17 in Rochester, NY at Montage Music Hall

06-07-17 in Fort Wayne, IN at Rusty Spur

06-08-17 in Indianapolis, IN at Birdy’s Live

06-09-17 in Columbus, OH at Alrosa Villa

06-10-17 in Toledo, OH at Toledo Music Festival