Slayer Seasons In The AbyssLast night, I witnessed one of the best performances by thrash metal legends Slayer since the passing of Jeff Hanneman at the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion in Boston, MA. It inspired me to finish the trilogy of albums that featured Dave Lombardo (Drums) as I already covered Reign In Blood and South Of Heaven. The album that I am covering for today is the band’s fifth studio album Seasons In The Abyss which was the first through Def American, was produced once again by Rick Rubin, but was the last to feature Lombardo on drums for a long time. The rest of the band was rounded out by Tom Araya (Bass/Lead Vocals), Kerry King (Guitar), and the late Jeff Hanneman (Guitar). The best way to describe the album is to look at it as the best of both South and Reign with fast and heavy tracks to go along with the more melodic and evil sounding tracks. Upon it’s release on October 9, 1990, the album would peak at number 40 on the US Billboard Top 200 and it peaked in the top 20 in the UK as it made it’s way to be certified Gold (selling 500,000).

117471726-21.War Ensemble– The punishing and sonic ear drums destroying, neckbreaker of a track kicks the album and describes the world’s obsession with war. 5/5

2. Blood Red– Another amazing track that is just hammering as they talk about communist dictatorships. The track also features an amazing guitar solo that displays that signature sound from the boys. 5/5

3. Spirit In Black– Another razor fast barn burner from the band in a track that talks about that infamous spirit in black that haunts you and wants to possess. The cool thing about the track is out of nowhere the band speeds the tempo to Reign In Blood like pace. 4.5/5

4. Expendable Youth– The tempo is slowed down a little, but this is one of my favorite tracks on the album that is an absolute headbanger from beginning to end. The track is social commentary on the youth who grow up in less desirable conditions where killing is all they know. 5/5

5. Dead Skin Mask– A very melodic South Of Heaven-esque track that according to Tom Araya live is a love song, but it’s really a track about serial killer Ed Gein who inspired the characters of Leatherface and Norman Bates. 5/5

6. Hallowed Point– Another superfast tempo track in a track that could be about a gun and the damage that a hallowed point can cause. 4.5/5

Slayer-Seasons-In-The-Ab-4905707. Skeletons of Society– Another one of my personal favorites on the album that is a slowed down tempo, but it’s a headbanger for sure. The song could be talking about war and the the effects of an atomic bomb. 5/5

8. Temptation– A return to the fast tempo like sonic assault that we all love from the band in a track that is about giving into temptation. 4/5

9. Born Of Fire– Another super sonic razor fast assault from the band in a track that could be talking of the coming of something like the antichrist. 4.5/5

10. Seasons In The Abyss– The last track on the album and another of my personal favorites in a track that talks about the abyss (as maybe Aliester Crowley once described). 5/5

My Final Thoughts– The three Slayer albums (Reign, South, and Seasons) are the most untouchable albums in the history of Thrash Metal. It’s some of the best work the band ever did in their careers and don’t get me wrong because they’ve had other triumphs throughout. It just shows the magic that is the dynamics they had and that shouldn’t be taken for granted. I am giving the album 4.75 stars out of five for a final grade.

minutes to midnightI never thought that I was ever going to do an album of the week as a tribute to another fallen rock star with that said person being Linkin Park lead vocalist Chester Bennington. When I found out the news today that the 41 year old singer was found dead in his home due to suicide, I was shocked. The band had just released their seventh studio album One More Light and were about to embark on a summer trek to support the record. Nonetheless, I wanted to pay tribute to one of the great voices of the Nu Metal genre by covering the band’s third album Minutes To Midnight from which they go from the doomsday clock. It was the band;s first album since 2003’s Meteora when the band released this on May 14, 2007. The album was a huge success debuting at number one on the Billboard Top 200 charts with the largest opening week of 2007 selling over 600,000 copies that first week before going triple platinum. The album also went number one in 16 other countries which includes the UK. With Chester on vocals, the rest of the band was made up of Mike Shinoda (Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Piano), Brad Delson (Lead Guitar), Dave “Phoenix” Farrell (Bass), Joseph Hahn (Turntables, sampling), and Rob Bourdon (Drums) while the album was produced by Rick Rubin.

minutes to midnight back cover1.Wake– an instrumental that is eerie and ominous at first before the band comes in. 4/5

2. Given Up– I love the intro with the clapping and the guitar that comes in because the track gets heavy and it’s awesome. A great bass line carries the verses until the band explodes into your speakers for the choruses. It’s one of those tracks that just screams like what the hell because your sick of feeling a certain way and you just want to shut down. 5/5

3. Leave Out The Rest– A very deep track that is kind of eerie to listen to right now, but it’s basically him saying that no matter what he may have been in the past just forgive him and remember him with love. 5/5

4. Bleed It Out– Another in your face track with Mike Shinoda taking lead with his rapping while Chester sings the chorus. The track is about digging deep and if it doesn’t work then throw it out and keep digging deep till you find what you are looking for. 5/5

5. Shadow Of The Day– This was a track that I immediately connected with on a personal level the first time I heard it. It was definitely a track that helped me through tough times as it talks about nothing is easy in life, but everyone has their day. 5/5

6. What I’ve Done– we first heard the track on the Transformers soundtrack before it made it to the album in a track that is all about feeling guilty for what you have done in the past no matter what it is. 5/5

linkin-park-minutes-to-midnight-cd7. Hands Held High-a very interesting track that is rapped by Mike Shinoda that looks at war from a different perspective. One verse comes from the perspective of a Muslim child who is forced to see the ugliness of war. 5/5

8. No More Sorrow– a very political and heavy track with some cool drum beats to go along with some supercharged metal like riffs. 4.5/5

9. Valentine’s Day– A very mellow track on the album that tells the tale of losing someone you loved in the past. 4/5

10. In Between– Mike and Chester sing on this track about feeling guilty about doing something bad and being with the person you hurt. 4/5

11. In Pieces– a track that is all about making sure that you’re ex knows the relationship ended because of her. 4/5

12. The Little Things That You Give Away– The last track on the album that is a little different than most with the acoustic guitars and Hahn’s sampling whose lyrics talk about Hurricane Katrina. 4.5/5

My Final Thoughts– It’s sad to think that we will never hear Chester sing any of these songs ever again, but at least we have a whole catalog to listen to. He was the kind of singer that you could hear the pain in his voice when he sang certain songs. I am giving the album 4.6 stars out of five for a final grade.  Chester, we will never forget you, R.I.P. Chester Bennington (3/20/1976-7/20/2017)

 

predatorIt has been quite some time since the very last Tuesday Night Fights and after covering last week’s Ass Whoopin Wednesdays film, I was inspired to review one more Arnold Schwarzenegger film. To be in a Tuesday Night Fights, our hero has to be facing a villain or just another opponent and that can definitely be said about today’s fight which features Arnold taking on an alien life form in a modern day retelling of The Most Dangerous Game in the form of 1987’s Predator. Some US soldiers have gone missing int he jungles of Latin America and after Dillon (Car Weathers) convinces Arnold, they bring a new team of Commandos deep into the jungles for an excursion that may just be deadlier and stranger than they ever expected. The film also stars Jesse Ventura (WWE Legend) as Blain, Bill Duke (Commando) as Mac, Elpidia Carrillo (Seven Pounds) as Anna, Sonny Landham (Best of The Best II) as Billy, Richard Chaves (Witness) as Poncho, Shane Black (The Hunt For The Red October) as Hawkins, R.G. Armstrong (Children Of The Corn) as Gen. Phillips, Kevin Peter Hall (Harry And The Hendersons) as The Predator, and the film was directed by John McTiernan (Die Hard).

TNF The Predator 1The team is absolutely clueless for a while as to what is going on because they only see a trail of blood and they know it bleeds because they were able to get one shot on it. At one point in the film, the Predator has wiped just about everyone and Anna, Dutch (Arnold), and Hawkins are left, but Poncho is wounded bad. Anna goes to pick up Poncho weapon, but Arnold gets hit in the arm with the laser saving her from getting involved in the film. He tells her to get to the chopper and he slides down a mountain into a water fall. The Predator is behind him, but he cannot see Dutch because Dutch is wet and covered in mud which hides him from the Predator’s heat seeking abilities. After the Predator leaves, this gives Dutch time to set up camp and set up booby traps for our alien counterpart. Dutch decides that he is going to try and beat the Predator at his own game from high in the trees while distracting him with heat to lure him in. The Predator is lured and Dutch is able to avoid him, but as soon as he hits him with an arrow, it destroys his ability to be invisible, but it ticks him off completely.

TNF The Predator 2It ticks him off to the point that he just starts blasting everything in sight and Arnold (Dutch) is hurt. It didn’t matter much though because he was able to regroup and he was able to hurt the Predator a little bit with a spear that knocked him off his perch leaving a trail of blood for Dutch to follow. After failing to realize that he was following a trap, he tries to escape the attack, but lands in the water losing his mud camouflage. The Predator quickly catches up to him and slams him against a rock where he starts examining his skull and he is amazed by it. He lets go and he walks a little bit away from Arnold, but he begins to remove his weapons almost as if this is the fight he has always wanted and he’s going to make it fair. Arnold tries to hit him with a branch, but it busts over his arm and Arnold gets launched backwards by a huge backhand. As Arnold tries to backtrack, the Predator catches him and gets a punch in the face from Arnold and it has no effect. He then begins to pummel Arnold with some fists of his own leaving Arnold wondering what in the hell is he facing.

TNF The Predator 3The Predator continues his absolute assault of Arnold with some vicious blows as Arnold crawls away and by doing this he almost lures the Predator into the trap he set up. Unfortunately, the Predator sees it coming and he avoids it, but it doesn’t matter because Arnold has one trick left up his sleeve which is the giant log that hangs above the Predator. He kicks away the thing that was holding it in the air and it smashes right into the Predator. As Arnold tries to rest thinking it’s over, the log starts to move so he grabs a big rock, but when he comes over he notices that the Predator is hurt real badly. So, he drops the rock, but there is one minor problem as he wonders what in the hell the Predator is. The Predator begins to enter a sequence into a contraption on his arm which turns out to be a self destruct mode which gives Arnold little time to escape, but in the end he makes it. The overall fight lasted most of the film, but the final showdown between Arnold and Kevin Peter Hall (The Predator) lasted for about 14 total minutes with Arnold being the winner as The Predator tapped out by self destruct. I’m definitely excited for the new Predator movie that is in the works because I have always loved these films.

War Of The Covers Rebel YellWe didn’t have a War Of The Covers last week and we apologize for that as we kind of took a Vacation last week. Nevertheless, we have the results of the previous one with Fallen Man easily defeating Fozzy in who covered L.O.V.E. Machine by W.A.S.P. better. Well this week we have an interesting battle for all of you out there as we have a fatal four way match to decide who covered Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell better. In 2007, Nu Metal act Drowning Pool released a cover of the track for their first record with Ryan McCombs of Soil entitled Full Circle. In 2009, Children Of Bodom released a cover of the track for an all covers album called Skeletons In The Closet. Also in 2009, Hard Rock/Metal act Dope would release a cover of the song on their fifth album No Regrets. In 2011, rock act Black Veil Brides released an their Rebels EP which featured a cover of the track as well as a cover of a Kiss song. Now only one version can reign supreme here and it’s up to you guys to decide who recorded the best version. All four tracks are worthy, but only one will make it out alive. You have until the next War Of The Covers post to decide.

Original:

Covers:

Vote:

 

Commando_quad-1This week’s Ass Whoopin Wednesday film is a special one because it’s a film that I should have already covered by now for one of these posts and it’s the quintessential ass whoopin 1980’s action flick. The film I am talking about is the Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Terminator) 1985 classic Commando. At this stage in the game, Arnold had done a lot in the film business with very few words, but this was his chance to shine as former special forces wrecking machine John Matrix. You see little by little someone has been killing all of John’s team, but in an attempt to get him to assassinate the president of Val Verde, they kidnap his daughter which is a bug mistake. Now John has 11 hours to get to his daughter before they figure out he’s not doing the job. The film also stars Alyssa Milano (Who’s The Boss) as Jenny Matrix, Rae Dawn Chong (The Color Purple) as Cindy, Dan Hedaya (The Usual Suspects) as Arius, Vernon Wells (The Road Warrior) as Bennett, James Olson (Amityville 2: The Possession) as General Kirby, David Patrick Kelly (Flags Of Our Fathers) as Sully, Bill Duke (Sister Act 2: Back In The Habit) as Cooke, Bob Minor (Die Hard With A Vengeance) as Jackson, and the film was directed by Mark L. Lester (Class Of 1984). Before we get into the review of the film, let’s check out some stats:

Commando Statscommando 2The stats are a little bit tricky this week and I will definitely explain why. In the film, I wrote that Arnold had 102 total kills in the film out of 109 that was counted (according to IMDB). I counted that there was a 109/105 kills by Arnold in the film alone which is why I wrote +/- 7 next to his kill count. When he’s going crazy on the island taking out dudes, it’s hard to tell at times how many he has taking out. He has no origin story other than he was a deadly soldier who kicks a lot of ass. He also has no love interest at least for most of the film, but his daughter is kidnapped and held from him which puts the yes next to that next question. The big boss is defeated and with a clever one liner from Arnold as he does it, but you’ll have to watch the film for yourself to see how he did it. The action scenes in this film is where it’s at and this is the film that you truly fall in love with Arnold as an action star. There are a lot of fun facts with this film with one being that Vernon Wells was a last minute substitute and the clothing department didn’t have time to alter the clothing so he is literally walking around with clothing that doesn’t fit him. Arnold was also originally not supposed to talk at all during the film, but they allowed him too. They also approached him about doing a sequel and he declined it. Now that film is known as Die Hard and the rest is history. The film has everything action fans could want from explosions, great fight sequences, and typical 80’s villains. I am giving the film 4.8 fists out of five for a final grade.

maxresdefaultI recently read an article last week where the writer was pleading with others to not criticize the often criticized genre known as Nu Metal. For many years, most of society had frowned on the 1980’s and the biggest genre of the decade in Hair Metal for being more style over substance and now everyone loves hair metal these days. I believe it takes the conviction of a younger generation to decide whether something old is cool again and hopefully Nu Metal gets the same treatment. With all of that being said, I want to cover an album by a band from my home state of Massachusetts who took over the scene after being signed by one of the scenes biggest names. Of course, I am talking about the band Staind who at one time were signed by Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit. The album I am covering by the band is the group’s second major label effort Break The Cycle which was a huge success due to perfect timing. The band was coming off of a highly successful stint on the Family Values Tour when it struck with this album on May 22, 2001. The band consisted of Aaron Lewis (Vocals, Rhythm Guitar), Mike Mushok (Lead Guitar), Johnny April (Bass), and Jon Wysocki (Drums). The album was such a success that it peaked at number one on the US Billboard Top 200 charts, Canada Album Charts, New Zealand Charts, and the UK Album Charts as well as being certified platinum five times.

break the cycle1.Open Your Eyes– The song opens up with a hammering riff before it gets melodic and the tempo slows down for the verse in a track that is all about speaking the truth before you talk crap. 4.5/5

2. Pressure– Another hammering riff from the band with a cool bass line that was co written with Josh Abraham that talks about pressure and how the narrator can’t take it anymore. 4/5

3. Fade– One of my favorite tracks that starts with an ominous beat and a cool bass line before the heavy guitar comes in. The track talks about relationships and how they can be strained. 5/5

4. It’s Been Awhile– The big hit from the album in the cavalcade of hits the band has had in their career in a track that Lewis has said was about the acknowledgement of his past mistakes and such. 5/5

5. Change– A track that starts off with a heavy riff, but it gets melodic with the verses in a track that is about how eve though his situation has changed, he still can’t find happiness. 4/5

6. Can’t Believe– Wysocki opens up this heavy ass track that features some screaming from Lewis in it. A very Deftones like track for the time period. A very simple track that just talks about disrespect and how he can’t believe that it’s still going on. 4/5

7. Epiphany– A cool acoustic track that is very personal and talks about depression as well as never taking the opportunities to do or say something to someone. 5/5

break-the-cycle-4e8063edc49808. Suffer– A brilliant track about how we all love to suffer because we all need something to bitch about it whether the TV helps us or not. 5/5

9. Warm Safe Place– A very melodic intro with a cool bass line in a track that is all about life on the road and the difficulties of it. 4/5

10. For You– One of my favorite tracks on the album about not being heard by the right people and this is your anthem to them. 5/5

11. Outside– The original version of this was a live track that was featured on The Family Values Tour Live CD and here is the electric/acoustic version. 5/5

12. Waste– A very melodic track that talks about the narrator being confronted by the mother of a friend who had committed suicide and now she wants answers. Apparently that is what the song is about. 4/5

13. Take It– A heavy ass way to end the album on a high note with the ferocious riffs before the bass carries the verses. 4.5/5

My Final Thoughts– This was definitely one of my favorite albums from the band besides the first one. This was a major step forward for the band at the time even though Nu Metal was slowly dying out at the time. It would soon become adapt or perish for a lot of bands at the time. I am giving the album 4.5 stars out of five for a final grade.

2017-sleepless-bannerIt’s Wednesday which can only mean one thing for all our readers out there and that is it’s Ass Whoopin Wednesday. The film I chose for today I had been putting off for a while, but I wanted to have a film that featured the amazing Jamie Foxx (Baby Driver). So, I decided that it was time to hit my local Redbox and I rented Sleepless which came out back in January of 2017. Jamie plays Vincent Downs, a cop who is undercover playing the game so that he can figure out the snake at the top of the mountain. The only problem is that he is now in some deep water because a job that he and his partner Sean (Tip ‘T.I.’ Harris) try to pull off is about to backfire. You see they rob some drugs from a very bad man in Nevada and they have kidnapped Vincent’s son. They won’t give him back until Vincent returns what is rightfully theirs. The film also stars Michelle Monaghan (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) as Bryant, Scoot McNairy (Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice) as Novak, Dermot Mulroney (My Best Friend’s Wedding) as Rubino, David Harbour (Stranger Things) as Dennison, Gabrielle Union (Bad Boys II) as Dena, Octavius J. Johnson (Ray Donovan) as Thomas, and the film was directed by Baran bo Odar (Who Am I). Before we get into the review of the film, let’s check out some stats:

sleepless Statshero_Sleepless-2017As far as the stats are concerned, there very low, but I will explain all of that in a bit. Jamie Foxx had about nine kills in the film which is low, but he has to give an assist to his son and his wife who both killed a dude. I don’t want to give away too much about who he really is because that is part of the mystery which is why I put sorta as the answer to origin story. I mean other than the secret, we don’t know much about him or his past. I believe that his character is still married to his wife even though she is wearing an engagement ring and his son is kidnapped which answers the next one. The big boss is defeated, but you’ll have to watch the film to find out how. The biggest misconception you can make when choosing to watch this film is believe that it’s just a Taken type action film where his son is taken and now he’s going after them. That is partly correct, but it’s much more than that as you’ll find out when watching the film. The film mixes in the whole dirty cop things so you’re trying to figure out f Jamie is dirty or if someone else is with it’s The Departed type ending. I think that David Harbour is awesome as is Jamie Foxx, but I’m not sure I’m 100% sold on Michelle Monaghan as a fierce, tougher than nails internal affairs cop who is a bad ass. You’ll have to judge that for yourself, but this is a pretty decent film. It’s got some cool action when it needs to and some cool characters, but it can go all over the place at times. I am going to give the film 3.7 fists out of five for a final grade.