The Metal Files

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Archive for August 2009

Overlife – Between Passion and Madness – 1998

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1998.  I was really buying a lot of music at the time betweenwhat I was selling through my online music store and what overlifeI was buying for myself.  A lot of the stuff I was buying for myself was from Denis Gulbey at Sentinel Steel Records.  Back in the old days when you could call in and jibber jabber, Denis recommended Overlife to me.  So…thanks Denis!

Overlife hails from Alicante, Spain.   I built their first website (long since gone) and used to correspond with Fabricio quite a bit.  What really drew me to them was Leandro’s voice.  Very unique and a lot of emotion.  The music itself was a little sloppy in places and even the vocals seem a bit out of key sometimes, but this album is really good overall.  It’s sung completely in English but I included 2 bonus tracks in Spanish.  They are good European power/prog metal with a hint of wanting to sound like Dream Theater.  Their later albums sounded more like DT type prog which was a turnoff for me.  So, this album it is.  I still listen to it a few times a year.  It’s a bright memory of a darker time in my life where the death of my father and my divorce seemed to dominate my every day life.

So if you’re into the aforementioned style of power metal, I recommend this highly.

Download here and enjoy.

Concert Review – Hirax – Austin, TX – 08/29/09

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It was 1986 and Metal Blade Records was practically the greatest metal label on the scene.  They consistently released hiraxgreat compilations like the Metal Massacre and Best of Metal Blade series.  Best of Metal Blade Volume 1 (1986) included Call Of The Gods by Hirax.  I always loved that song but for no logical reason whatsoever did I never check them out any further.  I also liked Bombs of Death from Metal Massacre 6.  There’s really no explanation as to why I didn’t follow through on these guys, and after last night I feel like I missed out on some additional great metal in the last 23 years.

So about a month or so ago I read in the local show listings that Hirax was coming to Red 7.  Even though I was not even remotely familiar with any of their material beyond the 2 aforementioned songs, I definitely wanted to see this show.  Through the years I’ve always seen Hirax playing the Euro festivals and have read interviews with Katon W. DePena and have always respected his attitude about music.  The guys has proudly been flying the flag of metal since day 1.

So I get to the club a little early to get MM6 and Best of Metal Blade 1 signed as well as my copy of “Headbangers: Worldwide Megabook of Heavy Metal” (Mark Hale, 1993).  I know the club owner pretty well and he let me go in to the green room to meet Katon and the band.  I was looking forward to this for a few reasons.  One to meet Katon, who really is a true metal legend.  The other reason was to meet Glenn Rogers, former guitar player of Deliverance.  I dug those guys back in the day.  When I went into the room, Katon was in there with his lovely wife, his bassist and guitarist Lance and Steve Harrison and some other guy that I didn’t know.  Glenn was out and about with a friend so I would catch up with him later.

Katon invited me over and we talked for a bit just about music and such and Katon asked about my book.  As he’s flipping through it reading about his band and tons of other obscure bands that are listed in the book.  He signed it and my 2 CD covers and said, “Is DRI in here?  The guy beside me if Felix from DRI.”  Felix thought they wouldn’t be in there but I knew they were.  Much to everyone’s pleasure, there was even a picture of band during the era that Felix was in it (85-90).  I hung out for a bit and asked Katon if he ever had any interactions with Billy Milano, which he had.  So I asked if he wanted to walk over to the club that Billy works in to say hello.  We popped over there for a bit and they shook hands and caught up for a few minutes then I took them over to another club so Katon could catch up with an old friend who unfortunately wasn’t there at the time.  Back to Red 7.  It was great seeing the respect this guy was getting from people in the club, some of who came from Houston and I think a few from Mexico to see this show.

I really expected a much larger crowd, especially with this being on a Saturday.  Typically the San Antonio crew would come up for a show like this but I only saw a few folks from that crowd there.  The Sword was playing up the street for the 2nd night in a row and I can’t imagine they stole much of the crowd from this show.  The club booked 4 grindcore bands to open up which I thought was a bad pairing.  I didn’t go in to check out the other bands as I’m not really a fan of the grind stuff in general.  While the grind bands were playing I got to talk to Glenn Rogers who let me know that Deliverance was going to do one more album with the original lineup sans the drummer.

But then it was time for Hirax.  It was already around 1 or 1:10 AM but the crowd had increased.  I’m guessing there were about 90 people in there.  Cover charge was $15.  Well worth it for me.  Hirax kicked in and just kicked ass.  Katon is a great frontman, reminds me a lot of Jason McMaster.  Knows to to work a crowd and keep them interested during guitar tunings and such.

I have to say that I was truly blown away and really felt a bit guilty about not having checked them out deeper.  But there’s no time like the present, right?  Their set was cut short due to time restraints and I must say I was a little let down that Call of the Gods wasn’t on the set at all.  But it didn’t matter, they were great and I hope they make their way back to Austin again.

Setlist as I remember it:

  1. El Dia De Los Muertos
  2. 100,000 Strong
  3. Blind Faith
  4. New Age of Terror
  5. Chaos and Brutality
  6. Hate, Fear and Power
  7. Broken Neck
  8. Bombs of Death
  9. El Diablo Negro
  10. Walk With Death
  11. Mouth Sewn Shut?

I am not so sure about the ones after El Diablo Negro.

Katon W. De Pena (Hirax), fat dude (me), Felix Griffin (DRI)

RIP Phil.

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60 years ago today one of my favorite singer/songwriters was born.  Such a shame the way he ruined his body and soul.

PhilLynott

Written by The Metal Files

August 20, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Posted in phil lynott, thin lizzy

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Skullview – Legends of Valor (1997)

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A song from this was on one of the many compilation tapes that Kelz sent me over the years.   It was the song Blood on skullview - legends of valor - Frontthe Blade from Skullview‘s debut CD.  I bought this CD and the followup and have enjoyed them both over the years but there was always something missing and I still can’t put my fingers on it.  They vocals were fine, the riffs were fine…these guys were a good traditional American metal band but something always seemed to be lacking.  I always thought the drummer was a bit boring and a tad sloppy.  I don’t know.  But nonetheless, this album is certainly worth putting ears to a few times.

They did play one of the Keep It True fests and I am sure some of the other US metal festivals.  I used to correspond with the guitarist quite a bit in the days of the old usenet metal forums.  Great dude, fine guitarist.  Wonder what he’s up to these days?

I guess I could compare them to Armored Saint and Early Jag Panzer…a little anyway.

You know as I sit here and listen to this album again, I blame it on the drummer.  He definitely had some meter problems which translated to the rest of the band.

DOWNLOAD.

Quiet Riot – Metal Health (1983)

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Let’s just be straight here, I love this album.  I have since it was released.  1983.  I was 13.  It was a tough year for me…I MetalHealthQuietRiotguess 83-85 were a little difficult.  Not necessarily because of going through the typical teenage bullshit, but there were other things going on that really made those some tough years.  But hey, I got through it.  I spent a lot of days and nights listening to this album.  I used to have this little one speaker GE boombox that I would put under my pillow at night to keep listening to music as I went to sleep and so my parents wouldn’t hear it.  Not that they had a problem with QR, they just had a problem with my obsession with music.  haha  It was a thin cassette player so I only needed to remove my bottom pillow to make it fit and not kink my neck.  Usually sometime in the middle of the night the player ended up on the floor and the second pillow was back in its proper place.

I picked this up right after hearing Metal Health on the radio.  “huhuhuhuhuh, the song says bang your head.”  It was catchy.  I never cared for Cum On Feel The Noize.  It was goofy…still is.  I was never a Slade fan, but I don’t dislike them, just never really got exposed to them beyond the 2 songs that QR did, which are goofy.  Beyond the goofiness of COFTN, this album is pretty great.  Especially songs like Breathless, Run for Cover, Don’t Wanna Let You Go…the whole damned thing.  When I pop in the CD I never skip any tracks, not even COFTN, it’s just part of the flow of the record.

In 1999 I got to see them with this lineup.  They did an autograph signing earlier in the day at Mars Music and of course I went.  They were all in good spirits except for Frankie Banali who seemed to have his ass on his shoulders a bit that day.  I brought a few things to get signed like some odd QR EPs, a few CD covers and a few WASP CD covers.  Apparently Frankie didn’t have one of the WASP CDs that I brought and asked if he could have mine.  I told him no and he got a little peeved about it.  “Well I’m not signing anything else.”  “Fine, dude, no biggie,” and I finished out my time with the rest of the band who were gracious.  Cavazo gave a head nod towards Frankie and just shook his head at him in disapproval.  They had about 200 people show up to meet them which I thought was a decent showing for a concert that was getting no promotion and was at a shitty venue.

I came home after the signing to chill out for a while before the show and realized that I had 2 of the WASP CD/EPs so I brought it to the show.  We got to the Riverview Theater and I swear it looked closed.  This place was trying to get revitalized and they were bringing some decent bands there but it never seemed to take off for them.  For this show only about about 40 people showed up…FORTY PEOPLE.  I felt really bad for them.  They came out and played like there were 20,000 people there.  Kevin never once commented on the size of the crowd.  They were awesome.  After watching Cavazo play I gained a lot more respect for him as a guitarist.  That guy is really friggin’ good.

After the show the band came back out to hang out with everybody.  I was talking with Rudy Sarzo about his days with Whitesnake and such Frankie came up to me and said, “Hey, come here a second.”  “Sorry I was such a dick earlier.  I was having a bad day.”  I told him it was no big deal and pulled out the spare  copy of the WASP EP that I had and handed it to him.  He was shocked and gave me a big sweaty hug.  haha.  “Until today I didn’t even know that this EP existed.”  I ended up talking with him quite a bit for the time they hung out.  I told him that his first 2 albums with QR were big influences on me when I was learning how to play drums.  All of them were nice and Kevin seeked out every person in the room and thanked them personally for coming out.  That wasn’t the asshole Kevin Dubrow that I had read about in the ‘zines, this guy was actually nice.

It was a fun day and night and I finally got to meet a band that I had loved for 16 years.  The news of Kevin’s death in 2007 really brought me down.  I had read just prior to that that he had gotten himself clean and sober.  It was too bad that those demons continued to haunt him and that he wasn’t able to continue down that path to recovery.

RIP Kevin.

Purgatory – Tied To The Trax (1986)

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Not sure who I first heard this through and it really doesn’t matter.  I do know that they weren’t my discovery within PurgatoryFmy circle of friends but it was one of those albums that everyone seemed to love.  It was really too bad that they didn’t do a follow-up to this one.  I was happy to finally get a CD copy from Sentinel Steel Records about 15 years ago.

This is 80s speed/thrash metal at its finest.  It’s a great album front to back and was only officially released on CD via SPV/Steamhammer forever and a day ago.  Bill at Auburn Reocrds has said that he wants to re-release it but to date it hasn’t happened.  Auburn Records had a few good bands on it like Shok Paris, Breaker, Purgatory and Black Death.  Pity their bands pretty much wavered around in the underground.

But as I was saying, there’s not a bad song on this album.  The singer, Jeff Hatrix, ended up in Mushroomhead as J.Man I believe.  Shame, the dude had a phenomenal metal voice.

I highly recommend that you download and listen to it…over and over.

DOWNLOAD HERE.

Lord – Second Coming (1988)

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This is one that I only picked up within the last year or so off of eBay.  When I saw that it had Bloodlust’s singer I had to The Second Coming cover (Click to see larger picture)check it out.  How did I not know about this one before?  WTF?  But here we are…Lord’s Second Coming CD rereleased (aka bootlegged) on HOT METAL RECORDS.  This label put out a bunch of obscure stuff like Hammeron, Satan’s Host, Killen, SA Slayer…but of course all as bootlegs and they sound like they were recorded straight from the vinyl.  But I kind of like that on some things.  Takes me back to the old days of listening to metal in my bedroom on my POS record player.

This is a good metal find though and oddly enough this is the first CD I ever loaded into my iTunes that it didn’t recognize.  I am a bit surprised.

Second Coming starts out a bit odd in that there’s a ballad as the opening track.  You do hear a side of Guy Lord’s voice that you don’t hear so much on Bloodlust’s Guilty As Sin LP.  It picks up from here on the song Burnin’ but in more of a NWOBHM style.  His vocals are clean and the riffs and well crafted IMHO.  I’ve probably spun this 20 times since I picked it up last year.  Some of the stuff has a 70s hard rock feel ala Pentagram’s more upbeat early stuff.  There’s a variation of different hard rock/metal styles on here.  I’m not much of a fan of The Doors but they do a pretty cool cover of The End.

So if you liked the vocals on Bloodlust’s Guilty As Sin, I recommend that you download this.  It’s worth a few spins for some old  metal listening.

DOWNLOAD HERE.

Written by The Metal Files

August 12, 2009 at 6:48 pm