Posts Tagged ‘Loudwire’

0000329891I remember when System Of A Down first came out with their self titled album in 1998, they were a band that just stormed the scene out of nowhere with their whacked out in your face alt metal assault. They were the right kind of band to come out when they did because soon enough Rage Against The Machine would be no more and we needed a new band to take over the activist mantra and they did just that with their second album Toxicity.  The album which once again featured Serj Tankian (Vocals/Keyboard/Strings), Daron Malakian (Guitars/Sitar/Vocals), Shavo Odadjian (Bass), and John Dolmayan (Drums) released the album September 4, 2001 and it was produced by Rick Rubin as well as Serj and Daron. The album was a huge success upon it’s release as it peaked at number one on the Billboard Top 200 Charts in the US and in Canada as it sold 220,000 copies in it’s first week. The album was certified triple platinum a year later as well as finishing at 101 on the Billboard Year End charts in 2001 and then it finished 28TH in 2002. Another achievement from the album is that every single released charted on the Billboard Hot 100 as well as having a single finish number one on both the Mainstream Rock Tracks and the Modern Rock Tracks charts. Loudwire ranked the album 13 on their 50 Best Metal Albums of All Time list.

System of a Down - Toxicity back1. Prison Song– an in your face track kicks off the album in this track that was said to be written about how our prisons are overflowing with Americans and so we keep building more prisons. 4/5

2. Needles– an interesting track where one may feel that they are talking about drugs and how can I blame you with a title like that. But I saw someone explain that the song is about euthanasia and the idea of how tough it is to grow old especially when the body begins to fall apart. 4.5/5

3. Deer Dance-a relentless track that is all about the protests that happened during the 2000 Democratic National Convention. 4/5

4. Jet Pilot-SOAD does not take their foot off the pedal going into this track which I ultimately think is a metaphor for the environment 4/5

5. X– a track that is all about how oppressive a government can be especially when it starts telling the people what they can and can’t do. 4.5/5

6. Chop Seuy!– This was the first single off the record and controversy followed it due to the fact that it was released during the week of 9/11. Daron explains the meaning to the lyrics saying, “The song is about how we are regarded differently depending on how we pass. Everyone deserves to die. Like, if I were now to die from drug abuse, they might say I deserved it because I abused dangerous drugs. Hence the line, ‘I cry when angels deserve to die’. The lyric passages ‘Father, into your hands I commend my spirit’ and ‘why have you forsaken me?’ are a reference to Jesus’ death on the cross, as, according to the Gospels, it was one of the seven things Jesus said while dying.” 5/5

7. Bounce-an in your face track that surprisingly is about group sex. I love how it goes crazy during the chorus and calm during the verses. 5/5

toxicity-589cd99826a8a8. Forest-a great track that I think is about how the original concept of religion has been ruined by the people who take something that should be about peace and love, but have created war over it. 5/5

9. ATWA-One of my favorite tracks on the album that starts calm with the clean channel playing before they kick it in overdrive for the choruses. The song is based off of Charles Manson’s views on the environment. 5/5

10. Science– an interesting view on the world of science and the age old topic of science vs religion. It tackles the idea of how science without a moral/faith based view and  understanding could destroy the earth, but also could lead us to the promise land. 5/5

11. Shimmy-an interesting track that looks at the idea of how school instills what the majority believes is the right thing for you to believe in like education, marriage, etc. 4.5/5

12. Toxicity– Another one of my favorite tracks on the album. According to wikipedia, the track is played, ” predominately in triple meter, alternating between 6/4, 12/8 and 4/4 time. The guitar during the verse plays in 6/4 using a 2+2+2 phrasing while the heavy part (“somewhere between the sacred silence and sleep”) makes use of a hemiola with the guitar switching to a 3+3+3+3 pattern while the drums remain in compound duple meter until the bridge.” According to John the song is about, “your poisonous content. Your toxicity level. But toxicity doesn’t necessarily mean the toxicity of a person, it can be the toxicity of a city. Or the toxicity of a nation. The toxicity of a speech. It’s just toxicity in general or whatever.” 5/5

13. Psycho– A great track to hear and sing along with live in this track that is all about drugs and groupies. 5/5

14. Aerials– The best song on the whole entire album with it’s clean channel guitar intro and incredible guitar riff during the chorus that is intoxicating to listen to. The track is about how ignorant we can be as a society when we close our minds to those who are different or have different opinions. An incredible track that still translates well today. 5/5

My Final Thoughts– Besides the Mezmerize/Hypnotize albums, this might be the best piece of work that System Of A Down ever put out as almost every track is brilliant. I have always favorite the mid to late tracks on this album more than I did the opening tracks hence the grades. Check out the album and I am giving the record 4.6 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.

rainbow-rising-1976-album-coverWhen you think of the genre of heavy metal, there are certain faces that are immediately associated with it and those people are Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Halford, Bruce Dickinson, and the late and great Ronnie James Dio. Ronnie was one of those guys that just embodied the genre of heavy metal and he did it with Elf, Black Sabbath, his solo band Dio, and the legendary post Deep Purple band Rainbow. Richie Blackmore had left Deep Purple and he wanted to start a new band that was his vision and he did so with Ronnie on vocals. On May 17, 1976, Rainbow with only Dio and Blackmore remaining from the previous album would release their second album Rising which would now feature Tony Carey (Keyboards), Jimmy Bain (Bass), and Cozy Powell (Drums) while the album was produced by Martin Birch. The album was a huge success for the band as Kerrang Magazine stated in 1981 that it was the greatest Heavy Metal album ever recorded while Rolling Stone ranked it 48TH on their 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time list while Loudwire ranked it 20TH on their Best 50 Metal Albums Of All Time list. The album peaked at number 48 on the Billboard Top 200 Charts while going gold in the UK in 1979.

rainbow-823-6552-cd1. Tarot Woman– The track starts off with a cool spacey keyboard playing by Carey before the band eventually comes in led by Dio’s powerful vocals. I believe the track is about someone who is afraid of what the fortune teller has told them. The tarck features a cool solo by Blackmore. 5/5

2. Run With The Wolf– A track that kind of has a funky rock swagger to it as Dio leads the charge in this track that is all about werewolves I believe. I definitely am a fan of how the keys mix in very nicely with the guitars, they make a great pair in this track. 4.5/5

3. Starstruck– A cool rock track that is all about every rockers favorite types of fans in groupies, but this is apparently about one that took it a little too far and found out where he lived. 4.5/5

4. Do You Close Your Eyes-This is a cool rock track that seems to be about a girl that he knows that he can’t seem to figure out what her deal is, but all that he hopes is that she is into him like he is into her. 4.5/5

RAINBOW_RAINBOW+RISING-233360b5. Stargazer– An epic track on the album that starts off with a drum solo by Powell before Blackmore and company bring the thunder in a track that also features the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, a Vako Orchestron, and a turkish string instrument. The song is apparently a moral song that was written in the perspective of an slave in Egyptian times  that is forced to build something because a wizard becomes obsessed with flying to the stars. 5/5

6. A Light in the Black– The last track on the album that is another 8 minute epic track that is the sequel to the previous track that still follows this slave who attempts to try and fly home now that the wizard has fallen. 5/5

My Final Thoughts– The weird thing about this album is that side two is so drastically different than the first side. The first side is a little more Purple rock side while the second side is more of that Dio awesomeness that we all love. Stargazer is definitely my favorite track on the album, but A Light In The Black is great and Tarot Woman is great too. I am going to give the album 4.75 stars out of five for a final grade.

beneath the remainsWhen you think of heavy metal and the country of Brazil, there is one band that instantly comes to mind and if Sepultura is not that band then what are you 12? Sepultura which in 1989 was made up of Max Cavalera (Vocals/Rhythm Guitar), Andreas Kisser (Lead Guitar), Igor Cavalera (Drums), and Paulo Jr. (bass) was being considered at the time to be the Brazilian version of Slayer or the second coming of Slayer. Nonetheless, the band signed a deal with Indy upstarts Roadrunner Records (Now a major label) and released their third studio album Beneath The Remains on April 7, 1989 which means it celebrates it’s 30TH anniversary this year. The album was a major breakthrough for the band featuring better production while also giving the band the distinction of being the only band with two albums inducted into the Decibel Hall Of  Fame. On Loudwire.com’s 50 Best metal albums of all time list, they ranked the album at 21. There was a bit of controversy surrounding the album cover because originally the band wanted to use Michael Whelan’s cover art Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre which Igor started getting tattooed on his arm. Roadrunner decided that Whelan’s other artwork Nightmare In Red was a better choice and they convinced the band to use it. The funny thing about is that Roadrunner ended up giving the other artwork to Obituary who used it for their album Cause Of Death.

max1495495852-back-cover1. Beneath The Remains– The title track opens the album with a very melodic riff that is haunting in nature before it launches in an all out thrash metal blitzkrieg. The track talks about how senseless war is, but our world is plagued with it. Kisser lays down one killer solo on this track. 5/5

2. Inner Self-This track kicks off right where the title track kicked off in this classic thrash sounding track that reminds you of Megadeth, Testament, etc. The track is all about you being you and not allowing the government or anyone else dictate who you are. 5/5

3. Stronger Than Hate-a killer track whose lyrics were written by Kelly Shaefer of Atheist and features background vocals by him and John Tardy of Obituary. The track seems to be about someone who has lost all hope with the way society is and what he is feeling is stronger than hate. 5/5

4. Mass Hypnosis– an awesome track and one of the more famous tracks from the album about how the government breeds hate into the country which causes people to want war and to fight it. 5/5

5. Sarcastic Existence-The tracks opens up with a cool drum riff from Igor before the band joins in. The track’s lyrics are very interesting because they are talking about a man who hates life so much that he wants to end it, but he doesn’t really hate life he just loves death and destruction. 5/5

118080716-26. Slaves Of Pain– A very Slayer-esque track that is all about how we are slaves to what the government feeds us whether it’s in print or on the TV, but don’t let it define you. 4.5/5

7. Lobotomy-I hear a little bit of Anthrax in the track that’s mixed with the insane shredding that accompanies it. The lyrics seem to be about someone who has always fought for good, but some how has changed what he does like he’s received a lobotomy. 4.5/5

8. Hungry-a track that is all about all the slaves of the corporate world who are too concerned with masking money that they forget to live life. 4.5/5

9. Primitive Future– The last track on the album is kind of inspirational in a way because it’s all about how you have to forge your own future despite how bleak things can be and you can’t look to the past because that will set you backwards. 5/5

My Final Thoughts– This is truly an awesome album and a very awesome thrash metal record that shows you why people probably believed them to be the new Slayer. Sepultura were truly one of the greats and what a time the late 80’s to early 90’s would be for groove/extreme metal bands. My favorite tracks are the first five plus Primitive Future. That is why I am giving this album 4.8 stars out of five for a final grade.