The Metal Files

My Life. My Music. Your Voyeurism.

Archive for September 2009

I’m just waiting on a friend…

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It’s no secret that my older brother, Robert, was a big influence on my musical development, especially between 1975 albumcoverTheRollingStones-TattooYouand about 1981/82.  One of the bands that he introduced me to is The Rolling Stones.  To date they are still my 2nd favorite band of all time behind Iron Maiden.  He loved the Stones and subsequently so did I.  He played them a lot and they became ingrained into my musical repertoire.  After Wyman left I was done with them, but I love just about every album they did with him save one or 2 in the 80s.

I can remember coming home from school and listening to Tattoo You on vinyl.  Typically mom and dad were at work and who knows where my brothers were.   I seemed to have time to spin records before they all came home.  Very influential and time well spent.  Homework?  Pfffft!

This album was always special to me though.  It’s one of those albums that brings me back to a certain time in my life, actually to 2 different times in my life.  I guess I have a lot of those types of albums and I am glad for it.  Without music I don’t know how I would have ended up.

Tattoo You wasn’t a perfect album for the Stones although it had one of their biggest gits on it…Start Me Up.  Sure it’s a fun tune but not one of their finest moments in my opinion.  I really loved their slower tunes and this one has some great ones on it, pretty much all of side 2.  Worried About You, Tops, Heaven, No Use In Crying and Waiting On A Friend.  Such a smooth album side.

Side one’s highlight for me is Little T&A.  When I was 19 I briefly dated a girl that this song seemed to fit so well.  Typically when we went out I would play it sometime during the evening.  Hang Fire is pretty good too.  Pretty cool cover art as well.  But all in all, side 2 rules this album.

There are many other Stones album that I like better, but this one does have that special place.

“Ain’t no use…”

Written by The Metal Files

September 30, 2009 at 7:41 pm

Tiamat – Wildhoney – CD Review

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Tiamat first caught my attention with their debut album Astral Sleep.  It was raw, simple, dark…almost run of the mill wildhoneydeath metal.  Typically mid-paced but it didn’t suck by any means.  Daniel and I went tape shopping (yes, I was still buying them in 1991!).  He picked up Solitude Aeturnus’ debut and I picked up the Tiamat.  Great picks by both of us.

I certainly picked up Clouds in 1992 and I believe it was in one of the first 100 CDs I ever owned.  I liked it a lot even though they slowed down a bit more.  It was a little more atmospheric.  Cool album for sure.

But then came 1994.

Wildhoney.

WILDHONEY.

I remember the first time I popped it in.  I was doing some stuff in the house…probably playing TecmoSuperBowl or something.  I just remember that the album felt like it was over soon after it began.  It’s 42 minutes long but it flows.  The way they tied all of the songs in together was simply brilliant.  Wildhoney got even more mellow than Clouds.  They added a certain sense of Pink Floyd to their sound…imagine the song Fearless by Pink Floyd with distortion and better production.  It was awesome.  It still is.  There is not a bad song on it and I think it should be in every metalhead’s collection.

This album gets regular play, at least once a month.  It’s a great one to drive to.  Very smooth.  They use death metal vocals, but not in a cookie monster sort of way.  You can understand everything that Johan sings.

Even though it is very much still in print, I think it needs to be shared.  So here ya go. Listen to it in order.  Many times.

I don’t get high but sometimes I have thought about what it would be like to listen to this one on mushrooms.  Let me know, ok?

Damien Thorne – Sign of the Jackal – CD Review

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Damien Thorne hit the scene in 1986 with their debut release Sign of the Jackal on Roadrunner Records.  At that time thorneRoadrunner had decent distribution and their tapes and records were in most stores.  I am pretty sure a former friend from high school and I were out and about when this one got discovered.  Sometimes it gets hard to remember.  Doesn’t matter.  This was a good discovery.

Damien Thorne fit the category for what I considered speed metal with a hint of NWOBHM in them.  Justin Fates vocals were definitely the high point for me with these guys.  He reminded me a lot of Glen May from Tyrant (LA)…good normal singing voice and great high notes heavily laden with reverb/delay/chorus.  Good times!

Since I was listening to this on cassette for many years, side 2 would be considered my favorite side.  Hell’s Reign, Escape or Die, Siren’s Call and Damien’s Procession (March of the Undead).  Side 1 wasn’t shabby by any means, but the album got better as it went along.

DT had pretty decent riffs and good drumming with some good straightforward double bass stuff in it.  Most of the songs are good mid-paced US metal.

While Damien Thorne weren’t any sort of groundbreaking act, the debut is certainly worth tracking down.  The  CD version was available for a few years but seems to be out of print now.

Tonight was the first time I have spun this in a few years and it really brought back good memories of my high school years (there weren’t many) of hanging out in Churchland with the old crew…

Man, looking back it’s a wonder that some of us are still alive.  Well, sadly, some of us aren’t.  It’s interesting to see who ended up where doing what.

Going back and listening to some of these old albums really sets off some stuff in the brain.  It’s a good stroll down memory lane with some music that always takes me back.  I definitely wore out a few cassette copies of Sign of the Jackal.  Riding around in my 66 Nova II 4dr.  While I generally don’t miss those days, there were enough good times intertwined with friends and music that will never be forgotten.  Luckily I talk to friends that remind me of an album or I listen to an album that reminds me of some old friends.

Download it here. Buy it if you can find it.

Written by The Metal Files

September 22, 2009 at 9:06 pm

Motorhead – Concert Review 092009

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Motorhead!  I’m always excited when they come to town.  Last night was my 6th time seeing them since 1993.  They DSCN2416never let me down with the live show.

Until last night.

So let’s backtrack and put some story along with this.  If you don’t know this already, I have the Another Perfect Day album cover tattooed on my back…my whole back.  88 hours worth of tattoo work.  No regrets!  I’ve met Lemmy a few times but not since getting my backpiece done.  I was hoping last night would be the night.  Just wanted a picture of him with my tattoo.  Didn’t happen.  No big deal, I can live with that.  Like I said, met him a few times and always a good experience.

So my guitar player, Doug Morrison, (Turbin, Waysted) and the drummer of Reverend Horton Heat have been close friends since the late 70s and with the Rev on this tour, we got the hookup.  Doug and I get there early and have dinner with Paul Simmons (drummer for the Rev) and some of the roadcrew guys from Rev Heat and Motorhead.  The guy sitting next to me was pretty special though.  It was Hobbs!  Hobbs has been with the band for almost 30 years and is mentioned in the song Going to Brazil.  I think he may even be the one who screams on We Are The Roadcrew from No Sleep Till Hammersmith.  Not important.  Hobbs!  Talk about a weathered old British soul.  He was extremely polite in a typical British sort of way yet as foul mouthed as an old Greek sea captain.  He was awesome!  Hobbs!

After dinner we headed backstage.  Nashville Pussy was setting up their gear and there it was…Lemmy’s bass rack.  From a distance I snap a picture and Paul says, “Come on, man.  Step over here and get a real look at them.”  His beautiful Rickenbacker 4004LK and one of his old Rics with the original hand-carved oak leaves.   I got to hold history in my hands!  And I couldn’t believe how high the action was on those.  Seemingly about 3/8″ off of the fretboard.

So after hyperventilating over that a bit, we all just hung out backstage while Nashville Pussy played.  I’ve never been a fan so I had no interest in seeing them.  Paul was telling the Motorhead roadcrew guys about my backpiece and they flipped out over it.  “Lemmy needs to see this!”  Yes sir, I agree!

NP finishes their set and Paul had to get prepared for the Reverend Horton Heat set.  Doug and I stayed backstage a little longer.  Matt Sorum, (GnR, The Cult, Velvet Revolver) came in and said hi.  I mentioned that I had just seen his episode of the Dog Whisperer.  “Did Ace and I look like total idiots?”   No man, you guys were fine, no worries.  Apparently he hadn’t seen it yet.  The dude is a class act even if I never cared for his other bands.

So after that, Doug and I just went out in to the crowd to watch the Rev’s set.  As always, they were tight.  The Rev works the crowd very well.  I opened for them back in like 93 or 94 and he’s still the same old cool laid back guy.

The gig was at Stubb’s in Austin, TX.  It’s an amphitheater type set up.  I’ve never really cared for it all that much.  Too narrow and when it gets packed it’s difficult to get around.  So we hung out towards the back.  Run into several friends, of course.  Ran into my other guitarist, Jason McMaster (Broken Teeth, Watchtower, Dangerous Toys) and he says, “Hey man!  You need to meet an old friend of mine, Craig Behrhorst.”  I said, “From Ruffians?”  Craig said, “How did you know that?”  Sir, I am an 80s metal nerd.  Plain and simple.  Turned out that Doug knew him as well.  I guess Craig’s sister used to hang out with Doug and his friends back in the old Sunset Strip days.  I also ran into Art Villareal and Bob Catlin, both of SA SLayer/Juggernaut fame.  They are both in Martyhead, a Motorhead tribute from San Antonio.  Of course I have a Motorhead tribute here in town called Capricorn USA.   That’s the band with Doug and Jason.

Whatever, you don’t care.  You want to know about the Motorhead show!

Light’s go down and they open with Iron Fist.  Sweet!  I love that song.  But I swear it sounded a little slower than album speed.  Stay Clean was next.  Same thing.  The band was tight.  Sorum held his own pretty well for the whole night but they really seemed lifeless to me.  Everything seemed slow.  To be honest I was bored until mid-set when they played a few tracks from Another Perfect Day.  Matt’s drumming on everything was pretty good.  Who knew the guy could play double bass?  But then, they played Ace of Spades.  Of course everyone knows that songs and the drunks in the crowd and the kids who only know it from Guitar Hero were freaking out.  Matt’s drumming killed it.  His bass drum pattern was all wrong.  It put the song in a weird dynamic.  I recently saw a vid from one of the shows a few weeks ago with him and it was the same thing.  I hate to say it (again), but I was so bored for most of their show.  They were missing a key element to their modern sound…MIKKEY DEE.

Mikkey’s a phenomenal drummer.  I’ve known it since I first heard King Diamond’s Abigail and got to experience his playing live on the Them tour.  Mikkey was the main reason why I ever went to see Motorhead the very first time in 1993.  I wasn’t into them at all at that point and oddly enough I don’t like but a handful of songs from his era.  But the live show with him is intense.  If you’ve seen him play, you get it.  He’s a monster.  And with Motorhead, he certainly tightened them up.  They were always fast, vicious.  “We may not be the best band in the world, but we’re certainly the fastest” Lemmy said years and years ago on their famous No Sleep TIll Hammersmith album.

Last night they weren’t fast.  There was just no electricity.  Sometimes I think I am just getting old and crotchety.  I do tend to get hyper-critical when it comes to live shows, but I’ve always been that way.  I can never just sit back and enjoy it, I always have to dissect it.  Oh well.  My problem, not yours, eh?

The setlist was pretty good overall, it was just the feel and the pace of the songs that got to me.  Most people I know loved it and I am glad they had a good time.  I did too, actually.  I got to see some people I hadn’t seen in a while and got to meet a few new folks.

Setlist:

Iron Fist
Stay Clean
Be My Baby
Rock Out
Metropolis
Over the Top
One Night Stand
I Got Mine
The Thousand Names of God
Another Perfect Day
In the Name of Tragedy
Just ‘Cos You Got the Power
Going to Brazil
Killed by Death
Bomber
Whorehouse Blues
Ace of Spades
Overkill

Sure Lem’s in his 60s now and not everyone can do it like they used to. No matter the performance from last night, I’ll always go see them.  It’s Motorhead!

He said something last night that I heard him say the previous 2 times I saw them, “Don’t forget us.”

That line saddens me.

After all, who ever could?

The Big 4 Tour? Blech!

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Seriously?  There’s all this talk about Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax doing a tour together.  I wouldn’t go  no ThrashBandsRulematter how “legendary” it might be.  Let’s just face facts here (my facts!):  Metallica hasn’t put out anything worth listening to since maybe And Justice for all.  Slayer hasn’t released anything decent since Seasons in the Abyss.  Anthrax was lifeless after State of Euphoria.  Megadeth has made a good run of it in the last 5 years, but they wouldn’t be enough for me to want to see the other bands.  I believe they are coming near here with Slayer in a few months.  I’ll likely go and leave before Slayer comes on, just like I did last year when Judas Priest came on, I was out of there.

Now on the marketing side of this, it would be ideal if all of the egos could work it out.  Every band would stand to make a lot of money…mainly by having Metallica on the bill.  They sell out everywhere they play (insert easy joke here!).  Money wise it’s a no brainer as long as these bands don’t actually have to speak to each other.

There are certainly other thrash bands I’d much rather see than these.

Sometimes I really miss the old days.

Written by The Metal Files

September 18, 2009 at 5:40 pm

Megadeth – Endgame (2009) – CD Review

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I like Megadeth…really, I love Megadeth.  But I’m no fanboy.  I really stopped listening to them when Countdown To MegadethEndgameExtinction came out.  I even had a little trouble listening to Rust In Peace, but it’s pretty tolerable now.  I’ll also be at the front of the line to say that I prefer Megadeth’s first 3 albums over Metallica’s.  Dave is a riffmaster and I am sure there are a lot of good songs on the albums between Countdown and The World Needs a Hero, but I just can’t care.

Those first 2 are simply incredible.  The perfect combination of power, sweet riffage, great solos, drumming and heroin.  Even So Far So Good has some really high points.

But they whimped out after Rust In Peace.  Other than Friendman’s Dragon’s Kiss album, his playing never did much for me, so I stayed away from his era of ‘Deth.

Then The System Has Failed came out with Chris Poland back in the ban for the album!  I had to hear it…Loved it!  His trademark sound was all over the album.  I got to see Gigantour and finally got to meet Dave.  It was a memorable experience.  That guy is pretty smart and a phenomenal guitarist.   I also like United Abominations a lot.

So here we are in 2009.  Another Megadeth album.  Endgame.  I’m impressed.  Dave has always hired good guitarists and Chris Broderick (Jag Panzer) is a worthy member.  He’s got some great solos on Endgame as does Dave.  It’s pretty easy to tell who is who.  Dave’s style is pretty unique.  I don’t think he gets the credit he deserves as a guitarist, especially as a soloist.

Endgame is pretty good all the way through.  The opening track is an instrumental and it does remind me of Set The World Afire in a few spots, but it doesn’t detract from the great solos.  I’ve listened to this about 6 times now and I think my least favorite track is Bite The Hand.  I was a little nervous when I heard about the ballad, but it’s not bad at all.  My favorite tracks would be This Day We Fight, The Hardest Part of Letting Go, Endgame and 44 Minutes.  Shawn Drover and James Lomenzo do a great job of holding down the rhythm.

Now I do have a few criticisms.  Dave’s vocals have never been great by any stretch of the imagination.  He’s certainly lost a step in his vocals over the last 2 albums.  It’s natural really.  He’s no spring chicken these days.  They’re not bad, but he sounds a little weaker.  That guy used to have one of the greatest wails in metal!  I’ll also make a small complaint about the lyrics.   Sure, metal has always had a bit of silliness and Megadeth sliced their share of the cheese.  But it doesn’t really detract from the record.  The record is good.  Really good.  Very rarely do I buy albums on their release day, but for modern era Megadeth, I make the exception.

Nice work, Dave.  8.5/10.

Sorry, no free download here.  Go buy it, slacker.

http://www.myspace.com/megadeth is streaming it for free right now as well.

Michael Kiske – Twilight of a vocal god

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Like most people, I was introduced to Kiske’s voice via Helloween’s Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part 1.  He instantly kiske_michael-770967became one of my favorite singers along with Bruce Dickinson, Dio, Jeff Scott Soto and John Arch.  He had a very unique voice but was constantly compared to Dickinson.  I never got that, but whatever.  To this day I still follow Michael’s albums and have only been disappointed a few times along the way.  Unfortunately I have never seen them live except for the Hell On Wheels Halloween Show they did on MTV, which was awesome.  RIP Ingo!

I just spun Keeper 1 and 2 (NOISE Records 2 CD set) a week or so ago.  Keeper 1 holds up well, good songs, great vocals.  Keeper 2?  Not so much.  That album was pretty goofy when it came out and it’s even more so now.  Other than Eagle Fly Free, Save Us and I Want Out, the album is pretty awful.  When Pink Bubbles Go Ape came out, I was none to thrilled about the title or the album cover.  WTF?  The album is almost a joke save a few songs like Kids of the Century and Number One.  I haven’t spun it in years and not sure when I’ll actually pull it off the shelf again.  All that being said, Kiske still had the pipes and could pretty much reach any note he needed to.  By the time Chameleon came out, I was really apprehensive about it, and with good reason based on the previous 2 albums.  Chameleon is mellow, quiet and was really showing a different side of Helloween…a non-German power metal side.  These guys essentially invented that style and ultimately completely abandoned it.  While Kiske’s vocals were consistent on this one and while it is a better album than Pink Bubbles, it’s not great…but I still reach for it from time to time.  It was a good indicator of what was to come for Kiske.

Kiske left after Chameleon to pursue a solo career.  It’s not very often that new like this makes me happy, but this was one of those cases.

I was very excited when Instant Clarity came out in 1996.  It featured Adrian Smith and Kai Hansen as guest musicians.  The album is fantastic and Adiran’s and Kai’s contributions are certainly noteworthy.

A few years later came Readiness To Sacrifice.  While I like this album, it’s certainly even more mellow than the last.  You can see that Kiske really wanted to get away from hard rock.  And that’s quite alright.

Unfortunately his next project was Supared.  I tried and tried to like this post-alternative album, but it just didn’t connect with me at all.

Michael release 2 other solo albums under the moniker “Kiske”:  Kiske and Past In Different Ways which was basically his acoustic interpretations of some Helloween classics.  It’s not bad at all but the Kiske CD is a bit better.

Then there’s Place Vendome.  I simply love the 2 CDs he did with them.  Place Vendome and Streets of Fire are basically radio friendly slightly hard rock with, of course, great solos and really nice guitar solos.  I highly recommend both of these albums if you like some of the mid-to-latter era Journey works.  This is certainly comparable.  AOR they call it?  Whatever, it’s good stuff.

In summation, I love Kiske’s voice, I always have.  I didn’t care much for the offshoot stuff he did with Avantasia etc, I prefer it when he’s the lead singer of a band.  I’d love to see him whip out one more metal album but it’ll never happen.  I think Place Vendome will be as close as he gets to that stuff ever again.

Written by The Metal Files

September 2, 2009 at 8:39 pm