Posts Tagged ‘Lars Ulrich’

who is that guyIt has been quite some time since since I had watched or even reviewed a Rock Doc so I figured there was no better time than now to start. Normally when I am trying to decide what documentary to watch, I usually do not pick one unless I know the subject matter. That was definitely not the case with today’s choice for Rock Docs entitled Who The Fuck Is That Guy’? The Fabulous Journey Of Michael Alago. To put it in simple terms, the reason I chose to watch this documentary was for the simple fact that it had the word Metallica in the description. The documentary follows the life of a gay Puerto Rican New Yorker who would end up being one of the most important people in the metal industry simply for the fact that he signed Metallica. Watch the documentary as you get testimony straight from the source himself Michael Alago as well as James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Lars Ulrich, Kurdt Vanderhoof, Cyndi Lauper, Mina Caputo, Cherry Vanilla, Cheetah Chrome, Rob Zombie, John Lydon, Eric Bogosian, Mike Gitter, Phil Caivano, Phil Anselmo, Sean Yseult, John Joseph, Joe Sib, Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein, and so many more in this amazing doc.

who is that guy 2You may still be wondering just who in the hell Michael Alago is, but he truly is such an important figure for heavy metal because he signed so many acts from Metallica, Metal Church, White Zombie, and so many more. You find out that he was a guy that truly loved music back in the 70’s and 80’s as he describes the night life in New York City and all the legendary clubs that hosted shows back in the day from the L’amour, The Ritz, CBGBs, and so many more. You figure out that all of the names I mentioned above have a huge amount of respect for Michael Alago. He’s a guy who broke down a lot of barriers in the business being a gay man tackling an over-testosteroned genre and he made people understand that it was all about the music. The documentary features interviews, some animation for certain stories he or someone else tells, and a lot of great photos that Michael has had in his collection. You also learn about the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 80’s firsthand from someone who survived it in Michael Alago. Check it out on Netflix right now as we speak and I am going to give it an A- for a final grade.

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MET_HTSD_Hardwired_2016-08-16If you are a fan of Metal and a fan of Thrash Metal Titans Metallica then you bet your bottom dollar you have a reason to be excited. The kings of thrash are back with a huge announcement and a brand new music video. So, this is a very special Music Video Of The Week because Metallica have just unveiled the first single off their brand new album Hardwired… To Self Destruct which is the first in eight years. The album is slated to be released on November 18TH and to help pass the time the band released a video for the track Hardwired. The music itself starts off with a bang as the guitars of Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield chug away while Lars brings the boom with his massive drum beats. The song honestly reminds of 80’s era Metallica with that same ferociousness that it has me super excited. The video itself is primarily a performance based music video with the band rocking out. The album is available for Pre-order as we speak and you can pre-order it here. Otherwise check out the video below and the album artwork below that.

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1As soon as people found out that Superbowl 50 was going to be played at AT&T Park in San Francisco, they immediately petitioned to have Metallica play the halftime show. The petition garnered a lot of signatures, but that didn’t matter to the NFL who deemed Metallica Too Heavy For Halftime which was also what Metallica dubbed their concert the night before the Superbowl at AT&T Park. As James Hetfield, lead singer of the greatest metal band ever told fans that they basically got the better deal because instead of a short three song set, they received a whole entire concert complete with a new stage setup as well. By the time the band ht the stage Saturday night, the weather wasn’t too bad as it was a nice 61 degrees out and the crowd was ready for one hell of a show. James, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, and Robert Trujillo all looked in shape and ready to roll as they broadcasted the show online as well for fans who couldn’t make it.

2Metallica didn’t waste anytime when they hit the stage playing the classic Creeping Death which got the crowd’s blood pumping. They followed it up with For Whom The Bell Tolls which kept the momentum going throughout the show. The show was a mix of old and relatively old as they played everything from Kill Em All all the way up to Garage Inc. While the band sounded amazing there were a lot of times where Kirk would miss a note on a couple of songs, but he would quickly catch himself. The band still does their guitar solo, bass solo parts in between songs which seems to be an art that is kind of missing in metal concerts. Metallica kept the crowd going and they never faltered as they kept up with everything Metallica threw at them creating an amazing atmosphere. Some of the highlights for me during the show was surprisingly hearing some of the material from Load and Reload like Fuel, King Nothing, and The Memory Remains mixed in with the old material. As you get older, you gain an appreciation for the material.

9Metallica was very appreciative of their roots in San Francisco and it showed all night as they reminisced with the crowd. One of the cool facts that you found out during the show was that Cliff Burton loved the Thin Lizzy track Whiskey In The Jar which Metallica played during the encore as a tribute to him. They closed out the encore set with Nothing Else Matters and Enter Sandman with the same energy as they opened the show with. We also heard from the mouth of Lars during the end of the show that Metallica is going to release new material, but obviously didn’t say when it would happen. Metallica is one of those bands that if you’ve never seen live then you are truly missing out. This was an amazing show put on by one of the best in the business. Enjoy some pictures from the show and check out the complete set list below:

metallica_mustaineMarch 11, 1983 might be a day that has absolutely no significance for some people in the world unless you are a true metal head. Some people may remember that on this day, Pakistan successfully conducted a cold test of a nuclear weapon or that Burt Reynolds, Jane Fonda & Katharine Hepburn won awards at the 9TH annual People’s Choice Award that year. For us metal heads, it was a different event that seemed insignificant at the time, but had some major effects in the music world. You see, Metallica traveled to New York to record a record, but when they got there, they gave Dave Mustaine his walking papers and Kirk Hammett walked in to the role of a lifetime as the new lead guitarist. It changed the course of history because Metallica went on to become the biggest metal band of all time releasing one hit record after another. Meanwhile, Dave Mustaine went home to Hollywood to an uncertain future, but once he got on his feet, he would start arguably the second or third (depending on your perspective) biggest band from the Thrash Metal scene in Megadeth after throwing a plant at David Ellefson’s air conditioning unit. Things were not all that shabby for Dave Mustaine who went on to create what I believe to be some of the most iconic records in Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying, Rust In Peace, Countdown To Extinction, etc.

metallica-1983-metallicacomRegardless of what happened to Dave Mustaine, Metallica were poised to be the biggest band in the world in my opinion, but I believe it benefited them to release Mustaine because the better dynamic was in place with Lars “running” the show (which that can be argued as well). Dave Mustaine was a born leader and as he describes in his book that they were constantly clashing heads because there were too many chiefs so you know it wasn’t going to work. Depending on whose side you are on, Dave did have an essential part in the beginnings of Metalllica as he is credited with being a writer on four tracks on Kill ‘Em All. The groundwork for his firing was laid down as described here by Scott Ian of Anthrax, “I was with them on April 9, 1983, when they were playing L’Amour with Vandenberg and the Rods. Vandenberg were onstage in the middle of the afternoon sound checking, and Mustaine was already hammered. He was in the middle of the floor of the venue, and as soon as they ended a song he started screaming at them that they sucked and they should get the f–k off the stage. [Anthrax/Metallica manager] Jonny Z pulled him away. But I didn’t think any of that s–t was enough to get him kicked out of the band. The guy is arguably the godfather of thrash metal. He wrote a lot of the riffs on Kill ’Em All and even some of Ride the Lightning. Without Dave Mustaine, maybe thrash metal never would have happened. At least in the beginning, he was the driving force, artistically.”

OlineupBrian Slagel of Metal Blade Records reflects on why he was let go, “Dave was an incredibly talented guy, but he also had an incredibly large problem with alcohol and drugs. He’d get wasted and become a real crazy person, a raging maniac, and the other guys just couldn’t deal with that after a while. I mean, they all drank of course, but Dave drank more…much more. I could see they were beginning to get fed up of seeing Dave drunk out of his mind all the time.” The firing of Mustaine as I stated before drove the man to become the legend in his own right as his only goal was to prove that if Metallica could do it so couldn’t he and he wanted blood. In 2009, James Hetfield commented on the situation saying that their reconciliation was needed because , “It’s obvious that he had the same drive as us — he went on to do great things in Megadeth. … He’s an amazing, talented person.” I for one have always thanked Metallica for kicking out Dave Mustaine because as he says in the Rock Icons episode that, “we wanted to be the up most heaviest, ultra furious metal band period. Doesn’t sound like my last band” and that is exactly what we all received. So forget the idea of being sad over a firing that happened 32 years ago and count the blessings while popping in So Far, So Good… So What into your stereo and bang those heads cause I know that I will.

Last night, HBO held The Concert For Valor at The National Mall in Washington DC which was a tribute to all the men and women that serve in the United States Military to celebrate Veterans Days. One of the bands that appeared on stage at The Concert For Valor was Metallica who was given a tremendous introduction by Jack Black. The band opened up with For Whom The Bell Tolls and one of the coolest things you could notice besides the band ripping it was the fact that several men and women of the United States Military and their families were behind the band on stage as they rocked out. The band would then perform Master Of Puppets which was followed by set closer Enter Sandman. The concert also featured Dave Grohl, Bruce Springsteen, Eminem and others, but this is where it’s at if you’re a fan of metal. I have their set for you below, so check it out and bang those heads.

File:Metallica - ...And Justice for All cover.jpgLast month we celebrated the 30TH anniversary of the release of Metallica’s Kill Em All and now we are celebrating a different release by Metallica. On August 25, 2013, …And Justice For All turned 25 years old which means it celebrates its silver anniversary (I believe). By the accounts of a lot of different people, this album signified that a lot of changes were going to come to the beloved Thrash metal genre and it signified the beginning of a new era. For starters, it was the first album to be recorded without Cliff Burton and the first with former Flotsam & Jetsam bassist Jason Newsted. It signified the end of a traditional thrash metal sound for Metallica as they took a more progressive metal approach with this album. Lars commented on the band’s change, “We took the Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets concept as far as we could take it. There was no place else to go with the progressive, nutty, sideways side of Metallica, and I’m so proud of the fact that, in some way, that album is kind of the epitome of that progressive side of us up through the ’80s.” The albums lyrics were also very different and dark while being rooted in politics, inequality, and freedom of speech just being some of the topics. There is also a rumor that if you notice, you’ll barely hear the bass tracks because Metallica supposedly turned the bass down.

andOne of the most badass Metallica songs ever kicks off the album in the form of Blackened, a song that deals with the subject of the environment. I love the slow fade up tactic that Metallica chose for the track which signifies the beginning of the madness. It’s also the best drumming I have heard from Lars in my opinion and I love the breakdown after the 2:30 mark, it’s just punishing. …And Justice For All is the next track on the album and it’s a track that was inspired by the drummer Lars’s aggressive riff and drum patterns. Famed music critic Cosmo Lee once said that the song is, “”a linkage of blocks” rather than “a progressive opus”, because “the song is mid-paced and very playable. None of the riffs are that technical.” Eye Of The Beholder is another track that starts with a slow fade up as the track keeps building up and then it explodes into an all metal assault. The track is played at a conventional 4/4 rhythm while the chorus is famous for being played at a 12/8 time. The tracks lyrics deal with issues of limitations that are constantly placed on freedom of speech and freedom of expression. It makes sense considering the PMRC was hammering down on Heavy Metal at the time.

oneI hate to call the next track a power ballad, but that is exactly what One is. It’s the Grammy award winning track from the album whose lyrics are very anti-war. The song was inspired by a book by Dalton Trumbo that was called Johnny Got His Gun which was released in 1939 and dealt with a soldier who had lost all his limbs in battle.  The song begins in 4/4 time before it gradually switches in 3/4 and even 2/4 time. My favorite part of the song is the machine gun guitar build up with the double bass madness. Here is what James told Guitar World Magazine in 1991 regarding B-G modulation, “I had been fiddling around with that B-G modulation for a long time. The idea for the opening came from a Venom song called “Buried Alive”. The kick drum machine-gun part near the end wasn’t written with the war lyrics in mind, it just came out that way. We started that album with Mike Clink as producer. He didn’t work out so well, so we got Flemming to come over and save our asses.”

harvesterThe Shortest Straw is the next track on the record with it’s stop and smash playing in the beginning, it’s a song that deals with the topic of blacklisting. According to wikipedia, Harvester Of Sorrow is a song about, “a man who descends into madness, taking out his anger on his family. At the end of the song, it is hinted his sanity snaps and he murders them.” The song is a live staple at any Metallica show and deservedly so as the track hits you like a sledgehammer when it kicks off. Frayed Ends Of Sanity is the next track and it deals with the subject of a man who cannot live with the mania inside his head as he tries to become stronger than the demons (at least that’s what I get out of it). To Live Is To Die is the only song on the album where credit is given to Cliff Burton. The song samples a lot of different bass lines that Cliff had done before he passed away, but they were recorded with Jason for the album.

and justiceDyer’s Eve is the last track on the record and it’s a straight forward, cut ‘n dry message to his parents with some awesome and crazy stop and play metal madness in the beginning. Then out of nowhere the madness becomes even more maddening as Metallica embark on all out metal assault. This is definitely one of my favorite albums that started off with Mike Clink as the producer because Flemming Rasmussen wasn’t available when they needed him. After not being happy with what Mike Clink was doing, Flemming was finally brought in as he saved the day. Happy 25TH Anniversary to …And Justice For All you get four stars out of five.

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courtesy of wikipedia

I decided to do this album for a reason besides the fact that it’s one of the most iconic releases Metallica has and besides the fact that it was the first. On July 25, 2013, Kill Em All by Metallica turns 30 years old and I am here to celebrate. It’s probably one of the most contrversial and legendary of the albums for the stories behind it. Metallica’s original line up consisted of James Hetfield (Guitars/Vocals), Lars Ulrich (Drums), Dave Mustaine (Guitars), and Ron McGovney (Bass). Ron McGovney would end up leaving Metallica due to tensions between him and Mustaine hence the reason Cliff Burton was brought in as his replacement. When the band travelled to New York to record the album, they fired Mustaine because of his drug and alcohol problems as well as his aggressive behavior and his clashes with the band. That is when Metallica called in the one time student of Joe Satriani and at the time Exodus guitarist Kirk Hammett to replace him. The story doesn’t end there though with Dave Mustaine as you’ll see in the next paragraph. Let’s check out the album!

File:Metallica - Jump in the Fire cover.jpgHit The Lights is the very first track on the album and it’s actually a song that James brought over from his original band Leather Charm. I like how when the track starts out, it sounds like a bunch of madness before the razor sharp, fast as lightning thrash metal playing begins and it’s a song about hitting the stage to rock out. The Four Horseman is the next track on the album and it’s one of four songs that feature Dave Mustaine with a writing credit. The only thing is that James changed the lyrics and the title of the song from Mechanix to The Four Horseman and he wrote about the four horseman of the apocalypse. One interesting fact about the song is that it was based off of the main riff to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Sweet Home Alabama when Dave was goofing around with it in rehearsals with Cliff. Motorbreath is the next track and it’s actually the shortest track on the album. It’s one of my favorite tracks on the album because every time I hear it, I think of Motorhead for some reason because of the beginning. Jump In The Fire is the next track on the album and it’s another one that gives credit to Mustaine and it’s also one of the first original songs. When Metallica performed the track live, it was in standard g tuning, but since 2004 they changed it to F standard tuning. Lars at one time claimed that the song was written to sound like Iron Maiden’s Run To The Hills which was a very popular song at the time. (Anesthesia) – Pulling Teeth is the iconic bass solo track by Cliff Burton which showcases the legendary skills that Cliff had.

File:Metallica - Whiplash cover.jpgWhiplash is the next track on the record and it was the first single released about the effects of headbanging during concerts. “Bang your head against the stage like you never did before,” is an example of a lyric that talks about it. There’s also a rumor that this was Kurt Cobains favorite Metallica song. Phantom Lord is another track on the album that gives Dave Mustaine credit. The beginning of the track has that early Maiden Killers era like beginning before it shoots out of the canon like a Diamond Head track. No Remorse is a track that starts off with some Metal swagger before it kicks into the prototypical thrash song with the solo in the beginning. There are moments where it seems like Metallica experiments with elements of Doom like in the 1:23 mark. This is definitely one of my favorite tracks on the album. Seek & Destroy is one of the most iconic Metallica songs that was heavily influenced by Diamond Head and Saxon. I say that because Lars claimed that the track was heavily influenced by Diamond Head’s Dead Reckoning. The first three mini solos were influenced by Saxon’s Princess Of The Night. I wonder how many of you have noticed the unusual pitch of the string bend in Kirk Hammett’s solo at the 3:47 to 3:48 mark because Kirk has certainly apologized for it since it’s release stating that it is a bum note.

metallicaMetal Militia is the last track on the album and it’s also the last credited to Dave Mustaine. It’s also another thrash classic and you can certainly hear Dave’s influence on the track. I’m telling you that there hands are moving at the speed of light on the guitar because the song just blazes a trail behind it. Thanks to Cliff Burton, the album was called Kill Em All instead of Metal Up Your Ass which the producers thought was too offensive. I suggest that anyone that wants to get deep into Metallica’s music needs to listen to this record because of it’s historical significance to the band. Expect reviews of Ride The Lightning and Master Of Puppets to come at a later time, but for now this one needs a final grade. I am going to give this album four stars out of five only because it was their first record and it definitely made an impact.

kill em all