Posts Tagged ‘Alex Skolnick’

lamb of godLast week, I went to an amazing concert in Boston, MA where I witnessed killer sets from all the bands on the bill which were Behemoth, Lamb Of God, and Slayer. Last week, I covered Slayer with Seasons In The Abyss and now this week we are moving on to cover an album from Lamb Of God. Lamb Of God was a band that was billed as part of the New Wave Of American Heavy Metal which also included bands like Shadows Fall, Killswitch Engage, and many more. Lamb Of God was a little more special than most bands for the fact that they mixed in groove metal along with elements of metalcore and Thrash Metal making them the band that ultimately took over for Pantera. The band which is made up of Randy Blythe (Vocals), Mark Morton (Lead Guitar), Willie Adler (Rhythm Guitar), Chris Adler (Drums), and John Campbell (Bass). On August 31, 2004, the band would release their third studio album and their biggest to date at the time with Ashes Of The Wake which debuted at number 27 on the Billboard Top 200 selling 35,000 copies in it’s first week. The album is very political in nature where it raises awareness and targets the Iraq War which was happening at the time of the release. As of February 2016, the album has been certified Gold by the RIAA.

Lamb_Of_God-Ashes_Of_The_Wake-Trasera1.Laid To Rest– The lead single from the album and a hammering track that is able to take the elements of Metalcore and Groove metal and layer them together nicely. The track is about a murder victim who haunts his or her killer. 5/5

2. Hourglass– A hammering track from the get go that is unrelenting in a track that could be from a soldiers point of view as war is hell or it could be talking about the end of the world. 4.5/5

3. Now You’ve Got Something To Die For– A groove heavy track that is bad ass from beginning to end in a track that talks about our system and how we readily send kids to die in the middle east. 4.5/5

4. The Faded Line– A pummeling track that has hints of thrash in it’s DNA in a track that tackles the tough topic of drug addiction. 4/5

5. Omerta– The spoken word part of the beginning of this track is actual text from the actual Sicilian Omerta. A groove heavy track that is more or less about betrayal and not about the mafia. 5/5

6. Blood Of The Scribe– a blazing fast and hammering track that continues to showcase the bands love for thrash metal. 4/5

ashes-of-the-wake-4fad377ec839c7. One Gun– The band’s love for Pantera is evident in this one with the groove metal licks in a track about a sniper who has hit his target knowing that they’ll die a martyr. 4/5

8. Break You– a track that starts right off the bat and doesn’t stop kicking ass as we listen to lyrics that could be talking about a prisoner of sorts who dreams of revenge. 4.5/5

9. What I’ve Become– an interesting track that looks at a soldier who sees others that have been engulfed in war for way too long that you can see it in their faces and eyes. 4/5

10. Ashes Of The Wake– a powerful track which features former Marine Staff Sergeant Jimmy Massey and some audio clips of quotes layered into the track. The track features guitar solos from Alex Skolnick of Testament (second solo) and the legendary former Megadeth guitarist Chris Poland (third solo). 5/5

11. Remorse Is For The Dead– The last track on the record that starts with a very melodic intro before they launch into overdrive about a person who hasn’t lived life to the fullest yet, but life is too short to dwell on that. 4.5/5

My Final Thoughts– This was honestly the first time that I actually sat down and listened to this album in it’s entirety. It was a very great experience that has me wanting to listen to more from the band that has been proudly flying the flag of metal for a very long time now. Check it out for yourself, I am giving the record 4.5 stars out of five for a final grade.

drot2-flyer-smIf there was ever an argument as to who deserves to be up there with the original four members of The Big Four of Thrash Metal, there is a band from Berkeley, California called Testament that deserves to be in that conversation for sure. Testament has been cutting their teeth in the business since they first formed as Legion in 1983 and through the point when they became Testament. The band hasn’t stopped as they get ready to celebrate 30 years next year and that is where we are at the Fillmore Silver Springs in Silver Springs, MD where Testament played on their Dark Roots Of Thrash II tour with Exodus and Shattered Sun. The most amazing thing about this band is that they show no signs of slowing down and they are ready to deliver a history lesson to all on what real metal is all about through their deep catalog of amazing music. The show was also broadcasted on Yahoo Live which the band was sure to remind everyone and I have to tell you that this is a great privilege for all to see. How many times can you say that you watched a live show right from your couch on almost every night from all across the country. Chuck Billy along with band mates Alex Skolnick, Eric Peterson, Gene Hoglan, and Steve DiGiorgio were ready to blast the roof off the place as they opened up with the punishing Over The Wall.

1One of the amazing things about the show was that the crowd’s energy was instantly turned up past eleven just like the band as both fed off each others energy all night. One of other the amazing things about this tour that I didn’t realize is that the band played it’s whole entire first album Legacy live in it’s entirety mixing it in with the rest of their setlist. One of the worries the band addressed was the problem in Baltimore as the band expressed their concerns for the crowd and their safety, but they were keeping it old school for the crowd. Right before the performance of the track A Day Of Reckoning (which Billy admitted that it was the first time they were playing it live) he did one of the coolest acts I have ever seen any band do and he invited a fan who was in a wheelchair on stage to rock out with the band during the performance. That was a really cool gesture and it shows that Metal bands care about their fans immensely. The band also dipped heavily into their amazing The New Order record for material and they even played the title track Practice What You Preach before closing the show with Disciples Of The Watch. It was a night of hard charging, in your face, demolishing metal that never led up or quit all night long. Amazing energy from the band and the crowd tonight that you will only get at a metal show and you saw it on Yahooo Live. Now check out some pics from the show as well as the setlist.

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stanger2015It’s been a while since I did one of these and so I figured I would do one today as there are some noteworthy news stories out there. I just wanted to mention real quick that Today is Black Label Society vocalist/axeman Zakk Wylde’s birthday which I already wished here. One of the coolest news stories out today though is the fact that a band actually took time out of their schedule to re-record Metallica’s St. Anger. You have to admit that all of us hated the recording quality of the record especially with Lar’s drum sound which it was apparently turned off while they recorded. We do not know the name of the band, but they are a group of friends. They are Daryl G. & Chris D. of the band Grace The Skies and Dave C. of the band Adjust. Here is what the band said about why they decided to take the time to re-record what they are calling #STANGER2015:

Recorded during a turbulent time in the bands career, St. Anger has always divided opinion. Some longtime fans were turned off by the drop tuned riffs and raw production, whilst some listeners embraced it, myself included. #STANGER2015 is for the listeners who weren’t so fond on the record back when it was released in 2003.

Recorded from the ground up, the album has been shortened by 15 minutes, yet every riff and lyric is intact, resulting in a more concise and focused record.

The production is also more conventional, and we hope that Metallica fans appreciate this new version of an album that is always looked at as an anomaly in the incredible career of the world’s biggest metal band, Metallica.

To listen to the re-recording of the track, just click here. The new version is mo much more tolerable, but I have to admit that I am still not a fan of some of the lyrics.

five fFive Finger Death Punch fans are probably rejoicing at some news that has dropped courtesy of Jeremy Spencer. The band released two volumes of The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell back in 2013 and the band is apparently ready to release some new music. Here is what Drummer Jeremy Spencer had to say, “I’m not sure. We always try to do things a little differently than the time before, but without being drastically different. We are who we are and I don’t see us doing something so left turn that people are going, What is that? I just don’t see that. We sound like what we sound like and I’m excited to see where it goes, honestly. I love making new records, and feeling the energy, seeing how everyone has grown and all that. We do try to push ourselves and experiment a little here and there. We have to keep it fresh for ourselves.”

hell gateMotley Crue, Guns N’ Roses, and Def Leppard have all down Vegas residencies and the next logical person to do one would be none other than the Prince Of Darkness Ozzy Osbourne. Sharon Osbourne told The Sun, “I’m working right now on a Vegas production for Ozzy. It’ll be in time for Halloween and be called ‘Hell Gate’” One source was quoted saying, “Ozzy has never done a stand-alone show in Vegas and there has been huge interest in what he has to offer. Vegas is an amazing spot, which has been a huge hit with the rock crowd. Ozzy would be a top draw and really do something unique.” As I said, this is the next logical step for Vegas and residencies. It will also give fans of his solo career to see him live once again.

tntIn heartbreaking and unfortunate news, TNT have once again parted ways with Tony Harnell. So, there goes any chance of seeing the band tour the US with the only singer that mattered. Tony spoke out in a statement on Facebook that said, “Sadly, it’s not possible for me to continue with the band. I won’t bore you with all the details…It’s nothing mind blowing and it’s certainly nothing new and it’s also best to respect the privacy of the band and keep our issues between us. At least that’s my goal. What I can tell you all is that I tried very hard once again to make it work for the long haul…My heart is broken, again, but I have no regrets about the past year and I’m really happy I could have such a wonderful final tour with the band for you guys.”

In better news than the last article, Saxon drummer Nigel Glockler gave fans an update on his condition after undergoing emergency brain surgery for an aneurysm he suffered last month. Meanwhile, Udo Dirkschneider’s son Sven Dirkschneider will be taking over drum duties for Saxon’s upcoming tour. The video with Nigel can be seen here.

I also wanted to take the time to wish the former voice of Queensryche Geoff Tate a very Happy 56TH Birthday today (January 14TH). I also wanted to wish White Lion frontman Mike Tramp a very Happy 54TH birthday today as well. Tomorrow (January 15TH) is Saxon frontman Biff Byford’s 64TH Birthday so Happy Birthday to him as well.

unnamedRex Brown (Ex-Pantera/Down/Kill Devil Hill) and Gary Holt (Exodus/Slayer) have joined The Metal Allegiance show which takes place at The House Of Blues in Anaheim on January 21ST. Here is the complete lineup of all the people participating, “Frank Bello (Anthrax), Charlie Benante (Anthrax), Chuck Billy (Testament), Chris Broderick (Ex-Megadeth), Rex Brown (Pantera/Kill Devil Hill), David Ellefson (Megadeth), Gary Holt (Slayer/Exodus), Scott Ian (Anthrax), Andreas Kisser (Sepultura), Mark Osegueda (Death Angel), Mike Portnoy (The Winery Dogs), Troy Sanders (Mastodon), Alex Skolnick (Testament) and John Tempesta (The Cult).” The show will stream live for all to see on the internet at this website. Here is what Rex had to say, “What better way to kick the new year in the fucking ass than with a Metal Allegiance show? House of Blues in Anaheim barely survived the last time! GET IT LOUD AND TEAR IT DOWN!!! If you can’t get your ass out to Anaheim, get it in front of a computer and head over to The Music Zoo’s website to watch it all go down.” Check it out or be lame and don’t unless you have a perfectly acceptable excuse.

111The Rock In Rio Festival is coming to the United States for the first time in May and we have some incredible lineups to announce. On May 8TH, this is more like the Alternative day with No Doubt, Mana, The Pretty Reckless, Foster the People, Gary Clark, Jr., Bleachers and Saints of Valory. Now if you’re like me then you are looking forward to day 2 on May 9TH which features the likes of Metallica, Deftones, Linkin Park, Rise Against, Hollywood Undead, Sepultura, Coheed & Cambria, and Of Mice And Men. There is a whole other weekend that I am not interested in, but if you want to get your hands on some tickets, just go here.

rrrRandy Rhoads was one of those rare finds in rock and metal history that came and went too soon. He was one of those rare talents that don’t always come around very often so you cherish the years that he was around and all the music he had created in such a short time. Well, Brian Tichy, a veteran of rock and metal has created the group Randy Rhoads Remembered which is a group that is here to honor the memory and legacy of the great, late Randy Rhoads. The album features so many great guests on the record like Sebastian Bach (ex-Skid Row), David Ellefson (Megadeth), Alex Skolnick (Testament), Tracii Guns (LA Guns), Phil Demmel (Machine Head), and so many more. A press release revealed that Tichy was given the blessing from the Rhoads family to pursue this project and the drummer speaks about it here, “RRR VOL. 1′ is a great representation of the spirit of the RRR shows. This first show was so successful that five more were held in June 2014 on the East Coast with another amazing cast of players. ‘RRR VOL. 1′ is also a true representation of the spirit of the musicians who gave their time.” He goes on to say, “It’s just real players playing their instruments! Guitars are plugged into amps and cranked up with a microphone in front of them! Singers are not auto-tuned! In the spirit of how ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ and ‘Diary of a Madman’ were recorded, ‘Randy Rhoads Remembered, VOL. 1′ was approached the same way.” If you cannot make the 2ND Annual Randy Rhoads Remembered show in Santa Ana, California at The Observatory on January 23RD where the disc will be handed out, you can pre-order the disc here. Check out the track listing below:

1. ‘Sato’
Guitar: Brent Woods (Sebastian Bach/ Vince Neil)
Vocals: Sebastian Bach
Bass: James LoMenzo (John Fogerty, BLS, Megadeth, David Lee Roth, White Lion)
Drums: Brian Tichy (RRR creator)

2. ‘Flying High Again’
Guitar: Kiko Loureiro (Angra)
Vocals: Robert Mason (Warrant)
Bass: Phil Soussan (Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Idol, Vince Neil)
Drums: Brian Tichy (RRR creator)

3. ‘Mr. Crowley’
Guitar: Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal (Guns N’ Roses)
Vocals: Michael Devin (Whitesnake)
Bass: Michael Devin (Whitesnake)
Drums: Brian Tichy (RRR creator)
Keys: Stephen LeBlanc (Jason Bonham Led Zep Exp.)

4. ‘No Bone Movies’
Guitar: Brian Tichy (RRR creator)
Vocals: Chas West (Bonham/ Lynch Mob)
Bass: Brian Tichy (RRR creator)
Drums: Ray Luzier (Korn, David Lee Roth)

5. Suicide Solution’ (Live ’82 version with “Ode To Tommy” drum solo)
Guitar: Rowan Robertson (Dio/ DC4)
Vocals: Michael Devin (Whitesnake)
Bass: Brian Tichy (RRR creator)
Drums: Brian Tichy (RRR creator)
Keys: Stephen LeBlanc (Jason Bonham Led Zep Exp.)

6. ‘Goodbye to Romance’
Guitar: Alex Skolnick (Alex Skolnick Trio/ Testament)
Vocals: Dewey Bragg (Kill Devil Hill)
Bass: Phil Soussan (Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Idol, Vince Neil)
Drums: Brian Tichy (RRR creator)

7. ‘Steal Away the Night’
Guitar: Phil X (Bon Jovi/ The Drills)
Vocals: Whit Crane (Ugly Kid Joe)
Bass: David Ellefson (Megadeth)
Drums: Brian Tichy (RRR creator)

8. ‘Iron Children’ (Randy’s version of “Iron Man” and “Children Of The Grave”)
Guitar: Tracii Guns (Devil City Angels/ LA Guns)
Vocals: Michael Devin (Whitesnake)
Bass: Phil Soussan (Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Idol, Vince Neil)
Drums: Brian Tichy (RRR creator)

9. ‘I Don’t Know’
Guitar: Phil Demmel (Machine Head)
Vocals: Jeff Scott Soto (Jeff Scott Soto Band/ Journey)
Bass: Michael Devin (Whitesnake)
Drums: Brian Tichy (RRR Creator)

10. “Diary of a Madman”
Guitar: Mike Orlando (Adrenaline Mob)
Vocals: Sebastian Bach
Drums: Brian Tichy (RRR creator)
Bass: Phil Soussan (Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Idol, Vince Neil)
Keys: Stephen LeBlanc (Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience)

11. ‘Dee’ (all guitarists together)

12. ‘Winding Rhoads’ (an original song with words and music written by Brian Tichy featuring Phil Soussan on bass and all RRR Vol. I guitar gods)

13. ‘Kelle Rhoads Track’ (an emotional instrumental piano piece written and performed by Kelle Rhoads)
Bass: Phil Soussan (Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Idol, Vince Neil)
Vocals: Brian Tichy (RRR creator)
Rhythm Guitar: Brian Tichy (RRR creator)
Guitar Solos: All guitarists
Drums: Brian Tichy (RRR creator)

14. Kelle Rhoads Piano Bonus Track

Testament-PracticeWhatYouPreachI figured that since I am two albums away from hitting the 100 album of the week reviews, I would choose some of my favorites that I haven’t covered yet for this. I have reviewed everyone in the metal world from Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Avenged Sevenfold, Five Finger Death Punch, Pantera, Job For A Cowboy, Judas Priest, but I have never covered anything from Testament. It shocks me because Testament is one of my favorite bands from the 80’s thrash era and so I am reviewing the band’s third album Practice What You Preach. The band made up of Chuck Billy (Vocals), Eric Peterson (Guitar), Alex Skolnick (Guitar), Greg Christian (Bass), and Louie Clemente (Drums) were riding off the success of their sophomore album The New Order. The album was released on August 4, 1989, but it didn’t enter the charts till a month after it’s release where it peaked at #77 on The Billboard Top 200. By 1992, the album had sold over 450,000 copies in the US alone. This is more of a personal stat for the band, but according to setlist.fm, the title track has been played live over 466 times over the band’s career which ranks the song third behind Into The Pit (501) and Over The Wall (516).

1. Practice What You Preach– The title track kicks off the album with the killer bass lines and the hammering drum riffs with the face scorching guitar riffs in a track that tells you to stop talking and sctually do what you say you’re going to do in life. 5/5

2. Perilous Nation– Another trash classic that speaks about how you have freedom of specch, but yet sometimes we are afraid to say what it is we want to say. The bass line in the beginning is killer match with the razor sharp playing from Skolnick and Peterson. 5/5

3. Envy Life– This is thrash with a little swagger as you slam your fists in the air like hammers. The track could be about blak magic, but I think it has more to do with people who bite off a little more than they can chew. 4/5

4. Time Is Coming– The stop and go riffage in the beginning of the track is like the calm before the storm and they you get hit with the trash magic. The song seems to deal with the subject of the song being sick and tired of authority in general whether it be the cops he speaks about in the first verse or the president of the US in the second verse. 4/5

Testament-Practice_What_You_Preach-Trasera5. Blessed In Contempt– I love this track because when it’s thrashy it’s thrashy, but then the they have the ability at times to slow the tempo down and then before you know it melts your face off again. I think the song’s lyrics deal with child abuse in some capacity. 4/5

6. Greenhouse Effect– This track is another example of the band ditching the subject matter they dealt with before to talk about things that mattered. They talk about the destruction of the rain forests in South America and how the government lies about just to gain a profit. 5/5

7. Sins Of Omission– Another track on the album that deals with serious subject matter in the form of Chuck Billy speaking out against and writing about suicide. A great thrash metal song here. 4.5/5

8. The Ballad– A great track showcasing what the band can really do outside of the in your face thrash metal sounds we had been used to. Hey Metallica wrote Fade To Black and no one bitched. The song can be used for inspirational reasons like being sick and tired of being misused and mistreated and taking a stand against all all that oppresses you. 5/5

9. Nightmare (Coming Back To You)– Another in your face killer thrash track on the album that seems to talk about wanting fame, but then not being able to deal with everything that comes with it. 4/5

10. Confusion Fusion– A great instrumental track to end the album with some killer bass riffs matched with the masterful guitar playing of the duo (Skolnick and Peterson). 5/5

My Final Thoughts– Testament has always been one of the most underrated bands in Metal and Thrash Metal history. These guys have consistently delivered great material since their inception and Practice What You Preach is proof of that. If you’ve never heard this album and you love thrash metal, then I have no idea why you haven’t heard this one yet. I am going to give this album 4.5 stars out of five for a final grade because that is how much ass I think this album kicks.

testament-practice_what_you_preach-CD

electric crownThank God it’s Friday which also means that today’s Music Video Of The Week is going to be a flashback Friday video as we dig deep into the catalog of Testament videos. Testament is one of my favorite Thrash Metal bands from the bay area to ever come out and the song I chose in Electric Crown is one of my favorite songs off The Ritual album. The video for the song isn’t anything flashy, but you get the picture of the message their relaying as you see a man in handcuffs on a long stair way being led to an electric chair at the top of the steps. The song is mostly a performance video featuring the band rocking out to the song as you get occasional imagery of men in executioners outfits bring the man and the man in the actual electric chair. Testament went more for a traditional metal sound with this album while keeping their roots in thrash firmly enact. This would also be the last album to feature Alex Skolnick until he rejoined the band in 2005 and Chuck Billy sounded amazing as usual. Check the video out below and check out The Ritual album while you’re at it cause it’s an underrated classic.

The night that celebrates the genre that gets no respect, Metal, is back and due to the passing of a true Metal legend in Jeff Hanneman, the night was dedicated in his honor. The show kicked off with fellow Big Four legends Anthrax kicking into an amazing version of Caught In A Mosh. The band’s second song that they performed was off of Worship Music called Fight Em Till You Can’t and I have to say that I am so happy that Joey is the singer because he is just amazing. Anthrax ended their set by bringing out Phil Anselmo and Rex Brown to do This Love and dedicating it to Jeff Hanneman. They even ended the song with a little bit of Raining Blood just to top off the tribute. Chris Jericho was back for the fourth time to host the Fifth annual event.

Chuck Billy and Alex Skolnick of Testament would come out to introduce Dillinger Escape Plan who started off their set with Prancer and the singer,Greg Puciato, would bust his own head open during the set. For their second song or maybe their third song of the set, they would invite Chino Moreno of The Deftones to perform Behind The Wheel which was the only song I enjoyed from their set and it featured Greg shooting flames with a torch and the band smashing their equipment in typical rock/metal fashion.

After a heart felt tribute to Jeff Hanneman from Kerry King and Zakk Wylde, Heaven’s Basement came out to introduce Halestorm who started off their set with Love Bites. Before they kicked into I Miss The Misery, there was an amazing intro that featured some killer drumming from Arejay Hale. For their special guest, Halestorm brought out David Draiman to perform Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love and it was actually really good.

Heidi Sheppard and Carla Harvey of The Butcher Babies along with Jill Janus Of Huntress came out to introduce Five Finger Death Punch who started their earth shattering set with Burn It Down. In what turned out be a shocking announcement, Five Finger Death Punch revealed that they had two CD’s coming out within the next six months and one of the tracks from one featured their special guest for the second track. Rob Halford came out to perform Lift Me Up with them dressed in a priest outfit. To top that performance, Five Finger brought out Rob Zombie and John 5 to perform Thunderkiss 65 together on stage.

Maria Brink and Chris Howorth from In This Moment introduced Stone Sour to the stage as they opened up with Gone Sovereign. The second song the band performed was Absolute Zero and it absolutely rocked. Corey after the Zero was over said that before their guest came out, they were going to get the crowd started with their tribute to Sabbath as they began to play Children Of The Grave and sure enough during the song M. Shawn Crahan and Chris Fehn of Slipknot came out and performed with Stone Sour. It was absolutely off the charts and Corey definitely proved he deserved that vocalist of the year award.

One of the funniest incidents occurred  The Black Veil Brides were about to accept the award for best song of the year and the crowd was booing. Andy of BVB came right out and told the crowd off. Metal fans really hate The Black Veil Brides I guess. Papa Emeritus II of Ghost B.C. came out to introduce the one and only Danzig as he opened with Hammer Of The Gods not Mother according to the screen which would end up being the second track performed. Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein would eventually come out to perform Death Comes Ripping, Skulls and Last Caress with Danzig.

Phil Campbell and Lemmy Kilmister came out to introduce the one and only Metallica as they came out and opened with Disposable Heroes.

The Awards:

Guitarist Of The Year: John 5

Drummer Of The Year: Arejay Hale

Most Dedicated Fans: Fans Of Him (just a little side note, I think Marilyn Manson should the biggest sign of disrespect to the band him).

Best Live Band: Slipknot

The 2013 Golden God Award: Rob Zombie’

Best Vocalist: Corey Taylor

Best New Talent: Device

Comeback Of The Year: Tenacious D

Best Bassist: Lemmy Kilmister

Most Metal Athlete: Triple H

Song Of The Year: In The End by The Black Veil Brides

Riff Lord: Tony Iommi

Ronnie James Dio Lifetime Achievement Award: Metallica

Album Of The Year: Koi No Yokan by The Deftones