Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Arsis is "Forced to Rock"

Tech-death band Arsis has added another song called "Forced to Rock" on its MySpace Page.

The lyrics are more tongue-in-cheek than I would have expected from Arsis, but I actually am enjoying the "rock 'n' roll" direction of this song a lot. In fact, it's one of the better tunes I've heard from the band. Catchy licks and excellent songwriting all around.

"Starve for the Devil" comes out on February 9, 2010, in the United States.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

21 Best Metal Albums of the Decade

Just about everyone at the major metal publications has posted up their best of the decade lists and of course no one completely agrees with any of them.

I came up with a list of albums that I think have shaped or changed metal in the 21st century or were just damn fun to listen to. These aren't necessarily "THE BEST", but these are the ones that I immediately thought of when making a decade list.

Here are my picks, starting with an honorable mention and descending from #21 to most essential after that.

Honorable Mention:

Pantera - Reinventing the Steel

Why it almost made the list: I really enjoyed this Pantera release (especially "Revolution is My Name"). It's some of Pantera's heaviest work, even if the band would break up shortly after. This decade will always be remembered for Dimebagg's tragic death. Spin this one for him.

21. Slipknot - Iowa

Why it made the list: Let's face it, Slipknot inspired a lot of people to get into heavy metal and is arguably the biggest band to come out of Iowa. Plus tracks like "People = Shit" are just great mindless fun.

20. System of a Down - Toxicity

Why it made the list: Yeah, another "mainstream" metal band on my list. System of a Down are damn good when that guitarist isn't squawking around. "Toxicity" is the shining moment on this album, but it's definitely solid the whole way through.

19. Tool - Lateralus

Why it made the list: Tool has made better albums in the past, but who doesn't remember the constant radioplay of Tool's Schism back in the day?

18. Municipal Waste - Hazardous Mutation

Why it made the list: It seemed like out of nowhere party thrash exploded back into the metal scene over the course of the last decade. Municipal Waste prove that they are true party kings on this breakout album. Check out "Mind Eraser" and "Thrashin' of the Christ" for all around good times.

17. God Forbid - Earthsblood

Why it made the list: You may notice this is my only 2009 release on the list... why? Because it's that good. I never listened much to God Forbid until seeing them on tour a few years back with Anthrax, but the guys slay live and the album features some great songwriting, even if the album didn't sell for shit. Give it a shot.

16. Opeth - Blackwater Park / Damnation

Why it made the list: Sure, Blackwater Park is a fine piece of ace, but for some reason I spent more time listening to the softer Damnation, until I lost my copy of the CD that is. A great mood setter and epic background music. However, I'll throw up both albums as a tie, so the true fans don't have a heart attack.

15. Meshuggah - Catch Thirtythree

Why it made the list: When this album came out, I thought it was terrible (along with the previous one Nothing). Years later, I have finally begun to "get" this cerebral album that takes you on a journey like none other. Then again, I still kind of hate it. Damn you Meshuggah!

14. 3 Inches of Blood - Advance and Vanquish

Why it made the list: One of the most fun and rockin' metal albums of the decade. Sure the high pitch vocals are over-the-top, but that's the point! "Deadly Sinners" and "Crazy Nights" are the key moments on the album.

13. Into Eternity - Buried In Oblivion

Why it made the list: Badass power/death metal combo that is very effective. Sadly the band could never top this, although the The Scattering of Ashes with that newer vocalist is pretty damn good as well. "Beginning of the End" is my personal favorite track.

12. Strapping Young Lad - Alien

Why it made the list: Alien is another album I didn't really get into at first, but I later recognized it to be one of the most aggressive albums I have ever heard. This one needs to be cranked loud to fully appreciate it's awesomeness and Devin Townsend has some amazing moments both vocally and instrumentally throughout the entire album.

11. Black Label Society - Stronger Than Death / 1919 Eternal

Why it made the list: I can't help but love(former) booze smashing and (still) guitar thrashing madman Zakk Wylde. I couldn't decide between these two albums, so they are both at number 11. Here's to hoping he can channel some of the energy of past releases in the next decade!

10. Iron Maiden - Brave New World

Why it made the list: I remember that sticker on the album declaring "Brand New Maiden for the 21st Century" with the return of frontman Bruce Dickinson. Brave New World was Maiden's true shining moment of this decade and almost nothing tops "The Wicker Man".

9. Mastodon - Leviathan

Why it made the list: This is Mastodon's best album hands-down. Crack the Skye and Blood Mountain are fine-and-dandy, but there is just something about this album that rocks much harder than the rest.

8. Dream Theater - Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence

Why it made the list: "The Glass Prison". Enough said.

7. Megadeth - The System Has Failed

Why it made the list: Maybe it was getting Chris Poland to do some lead work, but Megadeth just seemed to get it all right with this album. The later releases haven't been able to top the memorable songs on System, such as "Kick the Chair", "Back in the Day", and Tears in a Vial".

6. Sepultura - Dante XXI

Why it made the list: Derrick Green-era Sepultura always gets a lot of shit, but throw this album on and give it a chance. For me, it is one of the band's finer moments and just an intensely fun album to listen to.

5. Children of Bodom - Follow the Reaper

Why it made the list: Children of Bodom mixed elements of neo-classical music with vicious death metal, creating a very interesting addition to the metal scene. This is easily COB's masterpiece.

4. Killswitch Engage - Alive or Just Breathing

Why it made the list: I'll be the first to admit, when I saw the music video for "My Last Serenade", I thought these dudes were douchebags. Turns out, later I would eventually buy Alive or Just Breathing and be blown away. One of the best guitar tones on a metal album in the 21st century.

3. Lamb of God – Ashes of the Wake

Why it made the list: Lamb of God has one of the best instrumental sections of any metal band out there right now and Randy Blythe finally was able to blend his growling vocals with the rest of the band to perfection. Nothing beats the pummeling riffage in "Now You've Got Something to Die For" or the groove of "What I've Become".

2. Shadows Fall – The Art of Balance

Why it made the list: I got this CD on Christmas Eve after it came out and it is one of the best Christmas presents I have ever received. The Art of Balance is an amazing metal record, combining both clean and growling vocals (as would be popular throughout the decade) with guitar solos that came straight from the 80s heydays. "Destroyer of Senses", "Stepping Outside the Circle" and "A Fire in Babylon" seal the deal.

1. In Flames - Clayman

Why it made the list: "Old" In Flames put out some of the best Swedish Death Metal around. "New" In Flames is what got me into the more extreme forms of metal and is still a personal favorite to this day. "Pinball Map" is the perfect example of how extreme metal with growling vocals can still be catchy as hell. In fact the whole album is a lesson in memorable songwriting.

The band definitely influenced the direction of metal in the 21st century and continues to show innovation with each release. You can do no wrong by checking out this album.

THE END! The list is complete. I highly recommend any album on here if you haven't heard it. It may not be obscure, but these are the albums I still enjoy pulling out to this day.


Monday, December 28, 2009

Immolation Crushes Holiday Spirits

Around this time of year everyone is feeling the Christmas/New Year's cheer. I even put up a post wishing everyone a happy holiday, which isn't very metal! But, here is some news that will set your Christmas trees ablaze with metal.

New York death metal band, Immolation, releases its latest album, Majesty and Decay on March 9, 2010. I'm not a huge fan of the death metal religion bashing trend (prefer the smarter lyrics of bands like Death), but this band writes some solid music.

The cover is below along with an older tune called "Put My Hand in the Fire" off the album Close to a World Below.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Have a Merry Metal Christmas Everyone!

Hopefully all you metalheads are rockin' out to some of your favorite tunes and spending time with family/friends/booze and all that good stuff.

I hope to keep updating the blog regularly over the Winter Break, even if music news is slow around these times. I will try for a post a day and soon will also be writing about some of my favorite metal albums of 09 (and possibly some sort of abbreviated decade list, we will see).

Below are two Christmas songs to get into the spirit with. If you want to see a bunch more cool songs check out Decibel's top 12 metal Xmas list (these are just two that made the cut).

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/insert other holiday here.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

MISFITS Reunite (and open for Danzig)

Hell yes. You read that right. The American Psycho line-up of the band, featuring Michael Graves on vocals, will reunite for a special show on Saturday December 26.

Jerry Only (who is touring with his own version of The Misfits) will not be performing at the show. However, it is cool to hear this line-up will be opening for Danzig. If only I lived near the Starland Ballroom in New Jersey!

Watch some videos below:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Danzig is Still Rockin' and Meshuggah Comes "Alive"

Well, besides the fact that Aerosmith's Steven Tyler is back in rehab, music news is pretty slow around this time. But I did find this cool video of Danzig performing "Tired of Being Alive" off of Danzig II.

Hopefully the good performance here is a sign of things to come on the new album. Now, if only John Christ would get back with Danzig...

In other news, Meshuggah is putting out a live DVD soon (Alive due out February 9, 2010). Here is a teaser trailer for it, although I'm not sure why they chose to use "Future Breed Machine", since it isn't actually on the DVD!

Tuesday Late Night Music Video Roundup: Mudvayne and Rammstein

Two new videos from Mudvayne and Rammstein below. Although Mudvayne's new album is still a bit generic sounding, I think it's a step in the right direction for the band. Also I'm digging the Rammstein song and "Rammlied" is also a great song off the new album.

Check em' out below.

"Scream With Me" video:

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Excellent Moments in Metal: Sanctuary - "Future Tense"

This video doesn't even really need any commentary. Just a great metal band rockin' out to some awesome music.

Brief history lesson: 3/5 of the ending line-up of this band went on to form what is now known as Nevermore, another awesome band. Apparently Warrel Dane is going to be doing some solo shows and playing songs from the Sanctuary days. Badass.

Slipknot "Lite" Now with only 55 calories!

Wait a minute bartender I ordered a Budweiser!

The new Slipknot video for the song "Snuff" has been making its rounds on the Internet and I finally checked it out just now.

I got into the whole Slipknot game late and I'm not a huge fan or anything, but these seems like a perfect example of a band forgetting their history and isolating fans. I'm not one of those dudes who calls every band a sell-out for not making each album 100% brutal, but "Snuff" is just a lame ballad. Period.

(And I don't give a shit that there is cross-dressing or whatever, that's fine if the song is good).

From what I have gathered about Slipknot, who I have followed over the years, is that their fans are loyal to a band that was all about getting out anger and rage with insane live shows. This song live would be a total mood killer and if you are going for the cleaner melodic stuff, Corey Taylor's other band Stone Sour does it better than this.

Right now, it appears Slipknot has stretched its style too far, and hopefully (if the band ever releases another album) they will get back to a full-on aggressive album, then call it quits if they want to do the arena rock anthems.

But that's just my opinion. An example of Slipknot doing what it does best can be seen below.

P.S. If you want to see Slipknot's video for "Snuff", check it out here.

Ozzy Osbourne is a "Soul Sucka"

You may have heard this news by now, but in case you haven't, Ozzy's newest album featuring Gus G. (of Firewind) on guitars in place of Zakk Wylde is called Soul Sucka.

Judging by the name, maybe it's a good thing Wylde won't be on this album. But then again, can we really judge an album based on its title alone?

The Ozzman is still capable of busting out a few surprises (see "Trap Door" below), so who knows what will happen with Ozzy in 2010...


Ozzy Osbourne has scrapped "Soul Sucka" as the working title of his new solo album. "When we put that on the Internet none of my fan base liked the title," Osbourne tells "They were like, 'I can't imagine me walking around the fucking house with the words 'Soul Sucka' on my T-shirt.' So I was like, 'Fuck it. I've got to come up with something else!'" The now-untitled set is due out in July, the same month Osbourne says that Ozzfest will return after a one-year break. "After Ozzfest I'm doing the most extensive tour of my life," he says. "It'll be something like, 3,025 dates."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Relapse Ressurects Convulse's "World Without God"

I don't claim to be the local expert on death metal, but I do know good old school growlin' when I hear it and Convulse definitely delivers. World Without God is set to devastate speakers once more on January 19.

Apparently Convulse only released two albums, but the band made em' count! Check out the official MySpace for more info or just hit play on the tunes below.

"Incantation of Restoration"

"Blasphemous Verses"

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Saturday Night Guitar Noodling with Zakk Wylde

By way of special request from metalhead Chris, I am posting this video, which hopefully is what he was looking for.

Chris comments:

"Wow! Been a ZW fan for ever. I just watched the 8 minute solo with Zakk using the Dimebagg Razor he made for Zakk and at about 7 minute into it, he's using the tremolo and the low E string to make some wild metal guitar noises.

When he bends the E string, I swear it is moving by itself! I can't tell how he's doing it, but it's pretty wicked! Watch that one, and watch the closeup on the strings at 7 minutes for about 30 seconds or more and watch the low E string bend itself!"

That was so enthusiastic, I had to check out the solo and it is pretty badass. Plus it's fitting since two posts ago I mentioned the anniversary of Dimebagg's passing.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Not-so-metal News Update

KISS finally released a music video for "Modern Day Delilah". A little late, but it's still a decent rock tune and the video shows off the live show, although it feels like it has been done many times before.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

5 Years Gone: Remembering Dimebagg

Five years ago on December 8, I received a phone call from my brother late into the night asking if I had heard the news. Dimebagg Darrell, guitarist for Pantera and Damageplan, had been shot pointblank on-stage.

I immediately went downstairs to my computer in disbelief and saw all of the news stories speculating what had happened that night.

I then put on some Pantera. I was wide awake, even if it was late and I had school in the morning.

No matter if you agree that Dimebagg is a legendary guitarist or not, his death was shocking and terrible. It was probably the only "celebrity death" where I felt like I had actually lost a brother and friend.

That was what was so amazing about Dimebagg, even people who only knew him through the music, recognized him as family. That is sort of what is so cool about metal in general. Its ability to connect people is unheard of in just about any other form of music.

As the day draws to an end, I just want to say that no one deserves to go out like Dimebagg did. However, it almost seems kind of fitting for Dimebagg to die doing what he loved on-stage.

He may be dead and gone, but the music still lives on.

Rock In Peace Dimebagg!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Devin Townsend Project Music Video: "Bend it Like Bender"

I haven't had a chance to check out Addicted yet, but from what I have heard it's fairly catchy rock. Here is a video (which I haven't been able to watch yet from where I am typing this), but I have heard mixed things about.

I think it's anime or something, but see for yourself. I'm waiting for the next album which is supposed to be the heaviest thing Townsend has done.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Overkill is "Ironbound"

Listen to the new song "Ironbound" below. If this is the direction this album is going, I will be pleased.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Music Video Roundup: Alice In Chains "Your Decision" and Scar Symmetry "Ascension Chamber"

Two new videos. I dig the Alice In Chains one and great choice for a single. Scar Symmetry's is a little cheesy, but the song is still pretty good.

Go here for the full Alice In Chains video.

SCAR SYMMETRY - Ascension Chamber

SCAR SYMMETRY | MySpace Music Videos

Blaze Bayley creates more fist-pumping metal

Blaze Bayley is coming out with a new album already!

He put out The Man Who Would Not Die in 2008 and now he will be releasing Promise and Terror on February 1, 2010.

Say what you will about Bayley's time in Maiden, but the man has lived a tough life and can belt out some solid tunes.

Below is a video of the band playing a new song called "Watching the Night Sky".

Serj Tankian and the Orchestra

Elect the Dead may not exactly be full of raging metal tunes, but I think it was an excellent album. Although, that probably depends on whether you like Serj Tankian as a vocalist or not to begin with.

The dude sings his ass off all the time and his voice isn't half-bad once you get used to it, unlike that other System of a Down guitar fellow.

Now Tankian is working with an orchestra to release a live recording of the album's material. Seems fitting enough to me... although I question the necessity of playing with an orchestra for some bands.