Archive for the ‘Album Of The Week’ Category

download (1)One of the most controversial and probably one of the most influential bands in metal is none other than England’s most satanic group Venom. The band which was made up of Conrad “Cronos” Lant (Vocals/Bass), Jeffrey “Mantas” Dunn (Guitars), and Tony “Abaddon” Bray (Drums) started what could have been one of the most controversial bands at the time with the Satanic imagery and lyrics. In 1981, the band would release what Loudwire ranked 14TH on their 50 Best Metal Albums Of All Time list in the band’s debut record Welcome To Hell via Neat Records at the tail end of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. The album had such a distinct sound to it that it sounded like an demo, but was released as an album. That very sound would be very influential in the beginning days of Black Metal, but let’s not forget that their mix of heavy metal and speed metal would have great influence on Thrash, Black, and Death Metal. I don’t believe that the album ever charted and I am not sure how many albums it has sold, but they definitely have sold enough shirts. Rolling Stone Magazine ranked the album 74TH on their The 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time list so let’s check it out.

to-hell-and-back-venom1. Sons Of Satan– The track starts right out of the gate with some fury in this track that I think is about Satan’s sons reeking some havoc as they get followers. 4/5

2. Welcome To Hell– a very Motorhead/Saxon like track from the guys in the title track as they talk about raising some hell. The track features some furious playing as you can compare it’s sound to 2 Minutes To Midnight by Iron Maiden. 5/5

3. Schizo-an in your face metal scorcher about a guy who is obviously a schizophrenic that commits murders. 4.5/5

4. Mayhem With Mercy-The band Mayhem took their name from this track that starts with an eerie but melodic intro instrumental track. 4/5

5. Poison-a raucous track that is all about what happens when you have sex with someone that has a dirty little secret. 4/5

6. Live Like an Angel (Die Like a Devil)-This was one of the first Venom songs I had ever heard and it has that in your face speed of Motorhead which is about living one way to those you love, but being an absolute hellraiser around town. 5/5

2013-09-21-18-32-341-e13797936271367. Witching Hour-If you had the vinyl this was the beginning of side B and it’s a very heavy and fast face melting track that is all about that very hour when Satan comes to Earth to take what he wants. 5/5

8. One Thousand Days in Sodom– a hammering track that is all about that city that God destroyed because they were all sinners and some freaky stuff happened there. 4/5

9. Angel Dust-Venom never really put any hidden meanings to their songs and I am pretty sure that this one is pretty self explanatory. 4/5

10. In League With Satan– This was the second ever song I had ever heard from the band with it’s backwards messaging in the beginning before Abaddon’s tribal drum beats come in as the band preaches that they are in league with Satan. 5/5

11. Red Light Fever– The track starts with some fancy classical music before the band comes in sounding like they crashed the party with a riff that sounds like it could be similar to Symptom Of The Universe, but we could say that about a lot of tracks. The track is all about visiting those pleasure palaces. 4/5

My Final Thoughts-I definitely believe that I enjoyed this album a lot more than I did when it came to Black Metal, but even that album had some highlights. The sound of this album doesn’t bother me that much as it sounds pretty decent to me. My favorite tracks on the album are In League With Satan, Witching Hour, Welcome To Hell, and Live Like An Angel…. My least favorite track on the album is probably Red Light Fever and One Thousand Days In Sodom. I am going to give the album 4.4 stars out of five for a final grade.

tool_lateralus-1For most of 2018 and 2019, the biggest talk of the rock and metal world was always the prospect of a brand new Tool album and when it was going to come out. The album is going to come out on August 30TH according to the band and it’s the band’s first album since 2006’s 10,000 Days, but to help us while we wait, I am going to check out the bands third studio album in Lateralus which Loudwire ranked 13TH on their 50 Best Metal Albums of All Time list.  Lateralus was released on May 15, 2001 via Volcano Entertainment and it featured Maynard James Keenan (Vocals), Adam Jones (Guitar), Justin Chancellor (Bass), and Danny Carey (Drums) and the album was produced by David Bottrill who produced the band’s previous effort Ænima. When the album was released it instantly went to number one on the Billboard Top 200 charts and it also went number one in Australia, Canada, and Poland. It also peaked at number one as the top Internet album selling over two million copies and the rock and roll hall of fame has it ranked number 123 on their definitive 200 list.

UgLvB1. The Grudge– The track starts with what sounds like someone hitting play on a tape machine before Chancellor comes in with an amazing bass riff. One of the great signatures is all the time signature changes you’ll hear in one track, but I think this song is about Maynard throwing how stupid holding grudges can be. 5/5

2. Eon Blue Apocalypse– an instrumental track on the album that is all about Danny Carey’s dog Eon who passed away from Bone marrow cancer. 4/5

3. The Patient– The track starts off a little slow with a persistent and driving guitar riff, but when it gets to a certain point it explodes into one hell of a track that is all about that point when you reach a certain mindset that you are centered. 5/5

4. Mantra-a small instrumental interlude that is actually just Maynard James Keenan squeezing his Siamese cat. 4/5

5. Schism– This track beat out tracks from Black Sabbath, Slayer, Slipknot, and System Of A Down for best metal performance at the Grammys in 2002. Keenan described the science and math behind the track saying, “They’re all about relationships. Learning how to integrate communication back into a relationship. How are we as lovers, as artists, as brothers – how are we going to reconstruct this beautiful temple that we’ve built and that’s tumbled down? It’s universal relationship stuff.” 5/5

6. Parabol-To create the sound of the Buddhist monks chanting on the track, Carey sampled himself breathing through a tube in this very melodic track. This one is about dealing with your problems. 4.5/5

7oo97. Parabola– If the last track was the melodic version, this is the in your face Tool track that everyone loves from them. It’s driving when it needs to be and calculating at others. The track deals with how our minds create an illusion of what we think we are. 5/5

8. Ticks & Leeches– Another great track on the album that is all about the struggle on your journey to enlightenment because of all the leeches that try to suck you dry. 5/5

9. Lateralus– The track is known for it’s signature time changes which go from 9/8 to 8/8 to 7/8 during the chorus. Danny Carey commented saying, “t was originally titled 9-8-7. For the time signatures. Then it turned out that 987 was the 16th number of the Fibonacci sequence. So that was cool.” Keenan described the lyrics saying, “I use the archetype stories of North American aboriginals and the themes or colors which appear over and over again in the oral stories handed down through generations. Black, white, red, and yellow play very heavily in aboriginal stories of creation.” Reports also say that the song could be based on LSD trips. 5/5

10. Disposition-I love the melodic beginning that has a nice and soothing bass riff that opens up the 1st track that forms a sequence with the next two tracks. I think the track is all about realizing that we as people change all the time, it’s just a fact of life. 4.5/5

11. Reflection– The second part of the sequence that really is eye opening lyrically as he tells us that we are really capable of great things if we put our mind into it. The tribal beat from the previous track continues on this one and Chancellor’s bass playing is amazing. There are some great sounds on this 11 minute track. 5/5

12. Triad-The last part of the sequence is a two minute instrumental and a great way to close it out. 4.5/5

13. Faaip de Oiad-The title of the the last track on the album is Enochian for Voice Of God and it features samples of a radio call of a 1997 radio show phone call for the Coast To Coast show by Art Bell of a man claiming to be an Area 51 employee. 4.5/5

My Final Thoughts– The album took four years to come out because of a dispute the band was going through with Volcano Entertainment, but nonetheless the album was definitely worth the wait. We’ll have to see if the same boast true for the new album when that is released. There are a lot of great songs on the album with a lot of amazing playing and some enlightening, but easy to interpret lyrics. That is why I am giving the album 4.7 stars out of five for a final grade.

b223926466145523090ae092b42c83f49a8efc44The album that I chose to check out for today is one that I have always wanted to because I have always respected Opeth as artists. I have always heard tracks from the Swedish Progressive Metal band, but I have never checked out full albums until today as we check out what Loudwire.com ranked 15TH on their 50 Best Metal Albums of All Time list in the band’s fifth studio album Blackwater Park. The band which was made up of Mikael Åkerfeldt (Vocals/Guitars), Peter Lindgren (Guitar), Martín Méndez (Bass), and Martin Lopez (Drums) collaborated with Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree for the first time as he was picked to produce the album. The album was considered a critical success for the band with some calling it their coming of age album, but unfortunately despite spawning two singles in the US, it failed to chart on the Billboard Top 200, but it peaked at number 10 in Poland. In 2007, IGN ranked it 18TH on their top metal albums list while Rolling Stone ranked the album 28TH on their Greatest Prog Rock Albums of all time list and 55TH on their The 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time list as well. Åkerfeldt talked about making the album and how he felt like they were ameteurs compared to Soilwork who were int he studio around the same time saying, “They were working all the time. When they came into the kitchen for a break, we’re still there, on the same break we took 3 hours ago. We don’t want this to become a ‘job’, or something you do because you have to. We wanna have a good time, and thus we only work when it feels right.”

bL6cCUZ1. The Leper Affinity-The 10 plus minute opening track has a slow and eerie buildup with what sounds like an organ before the band comes all guns a blazing in this track that is about a man who is a rapist and a murderer. The guitar work on the track is absolutely amazing. 4.5/5

2. Bleak– an absolute eargasm is the best way to describe this nine minute track that I believe touches upon the theme of a character dealing with loss of a loved one. 5/5

3. Harvest– The next tracks lyrics are powerful and can be left to interpretation by anyone, but I believe the track is about someone who is dying and they have accepted what they have done and feel everyone should too. 4.5/5

4. The Drapery Falls– another almost 11 minute banger that starts out very beautifully with some great acoustic guitars matched with the electric before it changes into a metal track five minutes in as they start the track with clean vocals and go right into the death metal vocals. 5/5

blackwater-park-4f220b8bd721c5. Dirge for November– an eight minute track that takes a journey into the topic of suicide that is very real in this modern day. I love how it starts off with the acoustic guitars before going electric which is a very nice transition. 5/5

6. The Funeral Portrait-I think the track is literally about a man who has a secret that no one else knows and that is that he is a serial killer and the people he kills are his canvas. 4.5/5

7. Patterns in the Ivy-An instrumental track on the album that is almost two minutes in length that leads into the next track. 4/5

8. Blackwater Park-Even though the 12 minute title track was named after a German rock band who went by the name, we will pretend that Blackwater Park is a real place and that everyone around our narrator is dying, but it could be a metaphor for all the corruption and death that happens in the world. 5/5

My Final Thoughts-If you want to expand your horizons musically then this is an album that is worth picking up because it kicks a lot of ass. Musically, the album is definitely one of the best I have heard to come out of that Swedish scene. I am definitely glad I listened to it because I am giving the album 4.7 stars out of five for a final grade.

100755We continue on our road of discovery as we check out albums that were ranked on Loudwire.com’s 50 Best Metal Albums Of All Time list and we are checking out another album from the almighty Black Sabbath. The album we are checking out this week is the fourth Black Sabbath record to be featured on the list (Paranoid, Black Sabbath, and Heaven And Hell are the other three) and Loudwire ranked Master Of Reality, the band’s third album overall tenth on their list. The album once again featured Ozzy Osbourne (Vocals), Tony Iommi (Guitar), Geezer Butler (Bass), and Bill Ward (Drums) with Rodger Bain returning for the third album in a row as the band’s producer. The album was released on July 21, 1971 and is the album that is widely considered the album that helped start the genre’s of Doom Metal, Stoner Rock, and Sludge Metal. The album for a long time was a huge success for the band as it went double platinum and was the only Sabbath record to crack the top 10 in the US as it peaked at number 8 on the Billboard Top 200. It was the only album for 42 years until 13 came out in 2013 which peaked at number one on the Billboard top 200.

black-sabbath-master-of-reality-17-cd1. Sweet Leaf-The track that begins with the coughing and the big riffs is one of the all time classics from Sabbath. That coughing loop is actually Tony Iommi coughing from a joint he was smoking with Ozzy which is what the track is about. 5/5

2. After Forever-A pretty cool track that was written by Iommi featuring lyrics written by self proclaimed catholic Geezer Butler which the lyrics center on various Christian themes like belief in Christ and the Pope. 5/5

3. Embryo-a :28 second instrumental which helps set up the very next track 5/5

4. Children Of The Grave– This bass heavy super charged track is my all time favorite Black Sabbath with it’s prominent drum beats to match. The track is another anti-war track from the band that is along the same lines as War Pigs and Electric Funeral. 5/5

d6dd99c4-0b8c-11e5-90ff-a60d138ab2b75. Orchid-another instrumental track on the album that is a nice segway into the next track. 5/5

6. Lord Of This World-a great track that looks at Satan and how he claims to be Lord of our world due to the fact that we do so much sinning that it allows him to be. 5/5

7. Solitude– a slow track in the same vein as Planet Caravan that is sung so beautifully by Ozzy that we can’t believe it’s him singing. The track is about losing someone that you were in love with and they left you with nothing. 5/5

8. Into The Void– a track that is widely loved by so many including Eddie Van Halen and James Hetfield due to how bad ass the main riff is. It truly is an awesome song that was written in C# Minor in a song that is all about how man is destroying the earth. 5/5

My Final Thoughts– This is one of the most bad ass Black Sabbath records ever made. It’s an album that you can truly listen from beginning to end and it flows together nicely. Again, my all time favorite track is Children Of The Grave, but I love all the songs on this one which is why I am giving it five stars out of five for a final grade.

81mnRoyrC7L._SL1500_We are continuing our voyage through a comprehensive list that Loudwire.com created called the 50 Best Metal Albums Of All Time. When we started this journey, there were a heck of a lot of albums to cover from artists I had not fully explored as well as albums I have always been well aware of. Now that we are finally into the top 20 of the list, it was about time, we checked out #19 on the list which belongs to the mighty Mastodon. In 2004, Mastodon who were made up of Troy Sanders (Bass/Vocals), Brent Hinds (Lead Guitar/Vocals), Bill Kelliher (Rhythm Guitar), and Brann Dailor (Drums) would release their second full length album Leviathan which also marked the first time the band decided to do a concept record. The album is loosely based off the classic novel Moby-Dick that was written by Herman Melville and released in 1851. This was the album that helped me discover who Mastodon was and it certainly was the case for them with the rest of the world as the album helped place them on the map especially with the help of touring.

mast_lev_backtray1. Blood And Thunder– a thunderous riff opens up the album and the track which was the second single released features Clutch frontman Neil Fallon. The song is about the paranoia that Ahab goes through as he dreams of the whale that has escaped him. 5/5

2. I Am Ahab– The third single off the album and a very intricate track with time changes that explores the character of Captain Ahab and his lust for revenge as he sets his eye son the sea. 4.5/5

3. Seabeast– a very melodic opening to the track and the track has more of a sludge metal feel to it as we explore the very beast that Ahab is chasing in Moby Dick himself. 4.5/5

4. Island– an in your face track that I think is Ahab praying to the Norse Gods that he will be able to succeed as he leaves Iceland for the seas. 4/5

5. Iron Tusk– It was the first single released off the album and it’s a punishing track that is heavy as hell and I love it. I think the track is Ahab telling his men exactly how he plans to kill Moby Dick. The track features some of the best drumming I have heard on a track. 5/5

R-9856364-1487694084-2361.jpeg6. Megalodon– I love the guitar playing on this track because I feel it’s Hinds showing you exactly what he has on this track about a giant shark that is stalking them. There is a part in the track where it slows down and it has a country blues moment which was weird but very cool. 4.5/5

7. Naked Burn– a track that Brent Hinds hates playing because of the nature of the track. This is a track that has nothing to do with the concept of Moby Dick, but the track is about how Brent was pissed about Catholic priests raping little boys so he wrote a track to raise awareness about it. 4.5/5

8. Aqua Dementia– The track features Neurosis great Scott Kelly and is all about the battle between the men and Moby Dick as they try to kill him with the spears, but I think it also features a message on pollution of the earth and them trying to raise awareness on that. 5/5

9. Hearts Alive– This song goes hands in hand with the previous track as this tells the grim and dark details of the fall of the Pequod by Moby Dick. I love the melodic nature of the track and it’s the perfect ending of the story. 5/5

10. Joseph Merrick– an instrumental track on the album named after the world famous Elephant Man of England in the mid to late 1800’s. 4/5

My Final Thoughts– This is an album that you better be strapped in and prepared as they take you on a musical voyage that you will not forget. In a way this was a great concept album because the music matched the mood of what the lyrical content was. Tracks 1, 4, 8, and 9 are my favorite on the record and I am going to give the album 4.6 stars out of five for a final grade.

61AChrVmRDLWhen I think of the genre of Heavy Metal and the one band that I think took the flag and it became it’s standard bearer, it always comes back to Birmingham, England’s own Judas Priest. In my opinion, no band better represented the genre then they did and they inspired a whole slew of bands along the way in there 50 year career. That’s right, Judas Priest is celebrating 50 years as a band and we are celebrating it by checking out what Loudwire.com ranked as 18TH on their list of 50 Best Metal Albums of all time in 1976’s Sad Wings Of Destiny. The album was the band’s second overall release and it featured Rob Halford (Vocals), K. K. Downing (Guitar), Glenn Tipton (Guitars), Ian Hill (Bass), and Alan Moore (Drums) who was the band’s third drummer by this point. Unfortunately, when the album was released, it had a hard time getting noticed due to the rise in popularity of punk rock music at the time. With a little bit of touring in the UK, the album eventually peaked at number 48 in the UK and it eventually achieved Gold in 1989.

gulp1015-label-pye-version1. Victim Of Changes-This almost 8 minute epic that was the product of two different tracks kicks off the album that was inspired by Led Zeppelin’s Black Dog. The track is about a woman who drinks too much and loses her man to another woman. The thing I love about this track is all the tempo and mood changes that occur in the song itself over the course of the track. 5/5

2. The Ripper-This Queen inspired chugger brings us into the mind of the great Victorian killer Jack The Ripper as we hear it from his perspective. 4.5/5

3. Dreamer Deceiver-a ballad track where we get some crooning vocals from Halford, but this serves as an intro of sorts for the next track. 4/5

4. Deceiver– A track that features more of that fast paced chugging sound that borders on being the inspiration for speed metal on the track. You can definitely also hear some influence from Black Sabbath in the track which was expected at the time. 5/5

CS487713-01B-BIG5. Prelude– An intricate instrumental track done in the E♭ Aeolian mode, but it has nothing to do with the next track. 4/5

6. Tyrant-Such an intricate track with so many parts, but it definitely kicks a lot of ass in a very short amount of time. It’s a track that is all about going against the grain. 5/5

7. Genocide-a cool riff heavy track that takes influence from Deep Purple tracks like Women From Tokyo and Burn (you can hear it). I guess Rob wanted the track to be thought provoking and controversial, but not sure if it did the trick. 4.5/5

8. Epitaph-a piano track that has been described to be Queen like as far as the vocals are concerned due to how they are layered. The song is basically Halford describing his frustration for how there is no place for the old. 4/5

9. Island Of Domination– The other track bleeds into this one, but the heavy electric guitars take over in this song that Tipton has joked is a little personal to Halford. The very Sabbath like track could have some innuendos contained in it which is what Tipton was joking about. 4.5/5

My Final Thoughts-This is a very different album than what came in the 1980’s and that is what I like about this album. It definitely has a very 70’s Priest vibe to it and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. My favorite tracks on the album are Tyrant, Deceiver, and Victim Of Changes. I am going to give the album 4.5 stars out of five for a final grade.

82542c8381aeda3195ff3948d86419f4.938x938x1I have to be completely honest with everyone in saying that before 2002, hardcore/punk music was not on my radar at all. Sure, I had heard of bands like the Cro-Mags, Biohazard, Black Flag, The Dead Kennedy’s whether it be on t-shirts of kids at school or a friend or family member that was into that kind of music. Unfortunately, I wasn’t going out of my way to buy any of this music, but that would all change in the summer of 2002. In 2002, I attended Ozzfest 2002 ands when I was in the parking lot waiting to get in, I could hear a band that was just decimating the decibel levels that day and I rushed to get in because I had to know who they were. That band was New Haven, CT’s own Hatebreed and they were touring in support of their second album Perseverance which was their major label debut released earlier that year in March via Universal. The band which was made up of Jamey Jasta (Vocals), Lou “Boulder” Richards (R. Guitar), Sean Martin (L. Guitar), Chris “The Xmas Bitch” Beattie (Bass), and Matt Byrne (Drums) were firing off all cylinders that summer and with the help of their track I Will Be Heard on the xXx Soundtrack that propelled the track to number 50 on the Billboard Top 200 Charts.

e756c48d1a5753b606987e8dfe88bb03.532x532x11. Proven- The track starts off firing out of the gates with it’s in your face approach in the track where Jasta claims the band will not change and he will not let them fail to prove the naysayers wrong. 5/5

2. Perseverance– an insane track with some sick breakdowns that just pummel with the help of Kerry King of Slayer on the track. The track is all about moving forward and never stopping until you succeed. 5/5

3. You’re Never Alone– I always took this track as an anthem for the scene and their fans telling them that they never alone because they have each other. 4.5/5

4. I Will Be Heard– This is the track that started my obsession with Hatebreed with Jasta telling you that he is here and he’s not going anywhere because he will be heard. 5/5

5. A Call For Blood– This is a deep track lyrically that can be interpreted in a couple of ways. This could be a song about someone that did some unspeakable things to someone and Jasta is calling for revenge. 5/5

6. Below the Bottom– I feel this is a track about someone who has exhausted the kindness of his family and friends as he deals with whatever addiction he has. This is kind of like Jasta saying enough is enough. 4/5

7. We Still Fight-A great track lyrically about those wanna be radicals in this country that disrespect the very thing soldiers have fought and died for, but like Jasta says if there’s an anarchy your the first one gone. 4.5/5

8. Unloved– An great track lyrically about how no matter how much you try to mask the pain, it never really goes away and it creeps it’s way back. 4.5/5

afe9cd11dcbdb6166b8b2bafd19e36b4.939x939x19. Bloodsoaked Memories-a track about that person that just doesn’t give a crap about your feelings and is all about themselves no matter who they hurt. 4.5/5

10. Hollow Ground-This is an eye opening track lyrically that just asks you what is real in life? Do you really love those you say you love because remember they can be gone in a minute. Do you really own something or are you just a slave? 5/5

11. Final Prayer-a track that is all about how we are destroying our very home, the planet Earth so this is the final prayer. 4.5/5

12. Smash Your Enemies– The track is pretty bad ass and the lyrics are pretty self explanatory so smash your enemies and take no prisoners. 4.5/5

13. Healing to Suffer Again– It’s a track that is just pummeling in sound, but it’s lyrically about how we can be hard on ourselves no matter how much we try to move on. 4.5/5

14. Judgement Strikes (Unbreakable)-a track that talks about those people who are not brilliant enough to do things for themselves so they leach off of you. 4.5/5

15. Remain Nameless– This is another track that is all about proving your doubters wrong because that victory is sweeter. 4.5/5

16. Outro-This outro would eventually be turned into the track Tear It Down on the band’s next album so it’s like a preview. 4/5

My Final Thoughts– This is the album that helped put Hardcore music on the map if you ask me as far as a commercial stand point was concerned. It’s a punishing album from beginning to end and my favorite tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, and 10. This was also Lou Richards last album with the band and unfortunately they wouldn’t have a chance to reunite with him because Lou committed suicide in 2006. I am going to give the album 4.6 stars out of five for a final grade.