The Metal Files

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Odin Live @ The Whisky 8/27/11

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What a weekend!  As has been discussed on this site ad nauseum, I am a huge Odin fan.  I love their debut Don’t Take No For An Answer and the subsequent albums all had some killer tunes on them.  When I found out in the Spring that Odin was doing a show, I had to go.  I’ve wanted to see them since 1986.  I had a chance to see them 3 or 4 years ago but stuff came up and I couldn’t go.  It almost happened again this time too.  I had purchased my concert ticket right as they went on sale but waited on buying my plane tickets as right around the time of the show announcement, I was told that I’d be getting laid off soon.  So I held off as I didn’t want to spend the extra money.  Fortunately I was only out of work for a month and was living on the severance pay that my former company had given me.  As soon as I got a new job I booked my flight to LA.

Twenty-five years is a long wait to see a band.  Sit tight, this post may take a while.  Maybe not.

The original plan was to stay with a good friend out there but with my flight getting delayed because of Hurricane Irene and some other unavoidable happenstances, I just decided to get a hotel in Hollywood.  Good move.  As soon as I landed in Burbank, I got my rental car and headed straight to Hollywood and my hotel on Santa Monica Blvd.  I checked in, freshened up a bit and headed out for the night.  It was about 10:15PM or so when I hailed a cab and headed straight for the Rainbow Bar and Grill.  Again, good move.  As I was having a few drinks at the inside bar, the guy next to me was talking to the bartender about Hurricane playing at Key Club just a few doors down.  Hurricane!  I always liked the song Hurricane and a few others of theirs.  While they were a pretty boy type of band, they were definitely a cut above bands like Poison, Warrant and much of the other terrible glammy sleaze that plagued LA (and the world) in the late 80s.

I used to own Take Want You Want and one shaped EP on vinyl.  In the late 1990s I started selling off my record collection. They were listed on eBay and Kelly Hansen, the singer for Hurricane, had gotten in touch with me to work a trade for those records.  Of course I

Robert Sarzo – Hurricane

was skeptical, but after he called me and we talked, I knew it was legit.  In trade, he sent me some unopened tapes and CDs and signed one of them for me.  Hard to believe that some bands don’t have their own material…same thing happened one other time with Frankie Banali.  I had a WASP EP that he didn’t have from the Headless Children album.  I had 2 so I gave him one.

OK, let’s get back on track here.  The dude at the bar was the show promoter.  He gave me his card and told me to hand it to the door guy and I’d get in for free.  I offered to pay my way in but he insisted.  Cool!  I finished my drink and went right over to Key Club as Hurricane was getting ready to go on.  I go in with no troubles, grab a beer and hit the floor.  Hurricane comes on and they open with Hurricane.  Sarzo and Cavazo were still in the band and I think Kelly’s brother was on drums.  Of course Kelly sings for Foreigner now.  The new singer is Andrew Freeman who used to play guitar for theOffspring.  He sounded great and played some guitar as well.  I was really impressed with them overall.  I caught a little more than half of the set and then made my way back over to the Rainbow.  Luckily for me Lemmy was there (of course).  I got to say hi again.  He remembered me from Austin.  We only spoke for a minute as he was only taking a short break from the video game machine.  I love the Rainbow.  Such a cool place with so much history.

Being almost 2AM California time, it was almost 4AM my time, so I was pretty worn out.  I grabbed a cab and went back to the hotel.  I watched the weather channel’s coverage of the hurricane until I fell asleep.

After only about 4 or maybe 5 hours of sleep, I got up and muddled around town for a bit before driving out to San Bernardino to meet an old friend for lunch.  It was great to see her and the Thai food was tasty.  From there I headed back into Hollywood to catch Odin’s Aaron, Randy O, Shawn's bass drum, Jeffsoundcheck and to get Randy O and Aaron Samson to sign the book.  I got to watch them do 2 or three songs, got my signatures and hung out with Shawn and Jeff Duncan for a little bit before they left to go back home.  I became friends with them a few years back when their band DC4 played here in Austin.  What a band and a great bunch of guys!  I really wanted to have dinner with Shawn and his fiance but I was so wiped out and just wanted to go take a nap.  So we parted ways and I headed back for an all-too-short nap.

When I originally bought my ticket, I went ahead and bought a spare as I figured a friend from Austin or someone I know in LA would want to go.  Luckily I happened to meet Regina in Austin a few weeks prior to the show through some good friends of mine and I mentioned that I’d be out there for the show.  I asked her to go and she graciously said yes.  So after waking up from my nap, I took a quick shower and grabbed a cab for the Rainbow again.  I wanted some of their pizza.  It’s my favorite ever.  I get there and the door guy remembered me from the night before.  He waived the cover and gave me 2 drink tickets.  SCORE!  It was still a little early so seating was pretty wide open.  I sat at the outside bar as it was a nice evening.  The bartender remembered me and even what I had been drinking the night before and automatically poured one for me.  Peroni on draft by the way.  I ordered a small pizza and it came out pretty quickly.  The small is huge.  I met a few people while waiting for my food and we were having a great time talking shit.  They were super fun and luckily helped me eat the pizza.  After the beers and pizza were done, I paid out and headed over to The Whisky Rowan and Ito see the reason I made this trip…ODIN.  Regina met up with me shortly after and we went in.  I ran into some folks that I knew, mainly the other DC4 guys, Matt Duncan and Rowan Robertson.  I love Rowan.  He’s such a nice guy and we always have a great time hanging out.  (Your arrow, siiiir.)  Saw a few other folks that I knew and we hung out upstairs until Odin was about to come on.  Luckily Regina didn’t mind getting in the crowd.  We were about 2 or 3 people from the stage in the center.

The lights go down and Odin comes out to a loud roar from fans, including me.  This show definitely brought out something in me that doesn’t happen that often.  I see a lot of shows…A LOT.  But very few bands actually get me “juiced”.  Iron Maiden, Testament, Motorhead and a few others do.  Odin did.  The music nerd in me came out completely.  Poor Regina.  haha.  Odin opened with 12 O’Clock High.  It was great.  Their setlist was great and Randy’s voice was in good shape.  A lot of the guys who used to hit those high notes back in the old days can’t do it now.  Randy hit a lot of his.  And the ones he knew he couldn’t hit, he didn’t try.  While they played most of the EP, The Writer and Solar Eye weren’t played.  Well, a piece of Solar Eye was played which gave Jeff some solo time.

It was a great show.  They were awesomely tight.  I really can’t put into words what it meant to see them.  It was a very special night for There's Shawn!sure.

I love California, or at least SoCal.  Never been that far north, but the LA/Hollywood area sets me right every time I am there.  It’s beautiful.  I almost moved there in 1997 and still do the “what if…” game sometimes.

After the show, Regina and I head back over to the Rainbow for a final drink.  It was fun closing it down.  The valet brought her car around and we drove around and foraged for food around town.  We grabbed some fast food and headed back to my hotel.  She dropped me off, I went to my room and went straight to bed, completely wiped out again.

The next morning was checkout, a drive around Hollywood for a bit and then off to the airport.  Absolutely one of the best weekends I have had in a long time thanks to Odin, DC4, Hollywood, and my LA friends, new and old.  Good times.  If/when Odin plays again, I’ll try to be there for sure.

Last view before hitting the airport.

Hurricane setlist

Andrew Freeman – Hurricane/theOffspring

Odin Setlist

Shawn Duncan

The Odin Guitar!

The Odin bass!


Thank you and goodnight!

Written by The Metal Files

August 30, 2011 at 7:08 pm

Classic Buttons

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I was never much of a button collector but I bought a few.  Here are 2 of the 3 I know that I had.  The other was a Stryper button from 1985 (my first metal show) that I lost a few years back.

The Yngwie one came from Triumph/Yngwie 1986.  Thomas’ dad took us to the show.  He sat in the rafters while we stayed close to the front.  Triumph was on the Sport of Kings tour and Yngwie was on the Trilogy tour.  Jeff Scott Soto had come back into the band for the tour.  Don’t really know why Boals left but we were all happy to see JSS on stage.  Both bands were great.  I couldn’t afford a shirt so a button was my souvenir.

The other is from Iron Maiden/Anthrax in 1991.  I am pretty sure that I bought a Maiden shirt that likely disintegrated shortly after the show.

Yngwie and Anthrax buttons (click to enlarge)


Written by The Metal Files

June 18, 2011 at 7:46 pm


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This year was probably one of the most influential years for me as far as music goes.  One big reason is that I got my driver’s license that year and my first job (bagging groceries).  Not that I was making much money at it for a summer job, but it kept gas in my car and allowed me to buy records and tapes a little more freely.  It also afforded me a way to continue to add to my drum set.

Another thing that was a big musical influence that year was a guy I went to high school with that I met later in 1986 (junior year).  Through him and his friends I found a lot more stuff that I may have overlooked otherwise.  For that guy and a small group of his friends, I am eternally grateful.  That dude and I were best friends for our last 2 years of school and for a few years after.  But over time we lost touch and began to run in different circles.  And that’s ok, it happens.

Thankfully we did a lot of tape trading back then.  No way could I afford buying all of these making $3.35/hr!

So much music in that year though, so many great releases.  Let’s just cover a few (not in order of importance).

  • Slayer – Reign in Blood.  Quite possibly one of the biggest albums for me and definitely the biggest one for me in 1986.  I didn’t really care for Slayer that much until I heard this one.  Truly a game changer in thrash/speed metal.  No one other than maybe Gene Hoglan was playing drums to that level in metal.
  • Metallica – Master of Puppets.  I loved this when it came out, but not as much as Ride the Lightning.  I went years upon years without listening to it and finally spun it again recently.  Lots of good memories sitting in the parking lot before church with my pals jamming to this.
  • Megadeth – Peace Sells.  My oh my.  This one may be bigger for me than Reign in Blood.  I’ve lamented more than once on this website how much I love this album.  It still gets plenty of airtime with me.
  • Iron Maiden – Somewhere In Time.  Thanks to Unicorn Records I got this a few days before it came out officially.  I remember calling my friend Chris and playing it for him over the phone.  Good times.  Great album and the last of their run of great albums in my opinion.
  • Dark Angel – Darkness Descends.  Raw…Brutal…Power.  Gene Hoglan’s under-produced drums still powered through.
  • Fates Warning – Awaken the Guardian.  Oh my.  Another of the big ones for me that year.  I had been into Fates since first hearing Night on Brocken but this album was…erm…is such a masterpiece.  Arch’s vocal melodies and harmonies, the songwriting in general, the production…it is a perfect record from front to back.  When I met Frank Aresti a few months ago, he stated that the new album with Arch will be a good follow-up to Guardian.  Let’s hope!
  • Crimson Glory – S/T.  A prog classic.  Not too many folks were singing like Midnight nor had many bands starting trying to emulate early Queensryche like these guys did.
  • Metal Church – The Dark.  This is an album that kicked me in the teeth from the first note.  I love Metal Church and can never place which of the first 3 is my favorite.
  • Flotsam & Jetsam – Doomsday for the Deceiver.  Another thrash classic.  I highly recommend the reissue that came out a few years ago.  The sound is amazing.
  • Queensryche – Rage for Order.  While this album was not as great as Warning, it’s a worthwhile release, and for me the last one I like.  Sorry Mindcrime fans, I’m out.
  • Fifth Angel – S/T.  One of the most underrated albums in metal.  Not too fast, not too slow.  Great vocals and guitar work.  tastefully written and played metal.
  • Omen – The Curse.  Omen releases another perfect album.  Period.  Sure, Battle Cry and Warning of Danger may have been better, but this one stayed on course for them.  Teeth of the Hydra!
  • Nuclear Assault – Game Over.  This was my introduction to Nuclear Assault.  While I didn’t play it a lot, it got some rotation.  I’m pretty sure I got this as a dubbed tape from a friend as I don’t remember actually owning it.
  • Sword – Metalized.  Great effort from these Canadians.  Their follow-up?  Not so much.
  • Hallows Eve – Death and Insanity.  I love this album.  It’s thrash in its simplest form.  It wasn’t until a week ago that I realized they were and east coast band (GA).  It’s a fun album.
  • Damien – Every Dog Has Its Day.  Another great record that never got its due.
  • Cinderella – Night Songs.  Bought it by recommendation right when it came out.  Sold it a week later.  WTF was this trash?  About 10 years ago I gave it another spin and now I like it.  I didn’t care much for the hairband phase of the 80s.
  • Yngwie Malmsteen – Trilogy.  I saw this tour when they opened for Triumph.  I was already a fan but didn’t care much for this album.  Going from Jeff Scott Soto to Mark Boals was a huge change, plus the production value on the album is lacking.  It took some years, but I finally got to where it’s one of my favorites by Yngwie.
  • Loudness – Lightning Strikes.  Man oh man I have listened to this album 100s of times since 1986.  It’s my favorite by Loudness by far.  Just great all the way through.
  • Ozzy – The Ultimate Sin.  I like this album a lot, even with the primarily goofy Ozzy lyrics.  Jake was great even though the production of this album sucked.
  • Zebra – 3.V.  My favorite by these NOLA/NYC rockers.  I still listen to it quite often and was fortunate enough to catch this tour with Alcatrazz (post Yngie/Vai) and Rough Cutt.
  • Lizzy Borden – Menace to Society.  Again, terrible production of a great album.  This one gets more play than any of their others.
  • Battlezone – Fighting Back.  Dianno’s solo band.  Their first 2 releases  are wonderful and I’m so glad I got to see them live.
  • Angus – Track of Doom.  One of the guys from my school gave this to me as a birthday gift.  Thanks Duane!  Great Swedish power metal.
  • Damien Thorne – Sign of the Jackal.  Just find it and buy it.  You won;t be disappointed.
  • Obsession – Scarred for Life.  This is another one of those albums that sits on top for me.  Countless days and nights spent listening to this and playing drums to it.  It’s a perfect album.
  • Triumph – Sport of Kings.  Easily in my top 2 favorite Triumph albums.  Sure it was a little more poppy, but it’s a great record.  Another great tour that I caught.
  • Cerebus – Too Late To Pray.  While I loved this back then, it leaves me flat now.
  • Purgatory – Tied to the Trax.  Heard this one through a friend.  Awesome album.
  • CJSS – Praise the Loud.  Some of Chastain’s finest work.
  • TT Quick – Metal of Honor.  Another great and underrated record.  Buy it.


There are a lot more great albums that came out that year that I didn’t hear until later like King Diamond’s Fatal Portrait and Anthem’s Tightrope.  That’s why they aren’t mentioned above.  Many in the list up there still get played on a regular basis and with good cause.  I guess it can be said that in some ways, I am stuck in 1986…and I make no apologies for it!

Written by The Metal Files

June 4, 2011 at 8:49 am

Posted in 1986, heavy metal

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Metallica – Master of Puppets: The Recap

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I was pretty excited when this first came out.  I thought Ride the Lightning was one of the greatest albums ever made at the time and was really looking forward to what Metallica had to offer on their 3rd album.

I’m pretty sure picked this up from Drew at Unicorn Records (RIP) the week that it came out.  I was 16 and my allowance money or whatever cash I made from cutting grass or other little jobs typically got spent on tapes and gas.  Drew was always pretty good about selling me something the day before its release and I think this was one of the ones I got early (Somewhere in Time and Seventh Son were 2 others that he hooked me up on).

In general I liked this album a lot and listened to it quite often.  My band, like most other cover bands at the time, messed with the title track in our setlist.  But I think I listened to it so much that I started to dislike it…immensely.  I think another thing that turned me off from this album was an interview I read in Modern Drummer with Lars and he stated that none of the drums in any song on the album were played all the way through.  He punched in most of the fills, so I recall from the article.  At the time, I was a pretty big Metallica fan and was even a fan of Lars’ drumming.  As I became a better drummer in subsequent years, I realized how average he is as a drummer.  I was really turned off by that interview.  Sure, everyone does that studio magic and I’ve even done it on some of my past recordings, but this was one of my hero bands at the time.  I’m not sure how my irrational 16yr old mind would have reacted had I read an article saying that Nicko did it too, even though now I’m sure he did and probably still does.  Whatever.

One pleasant memory I have of this is sitting in my 66′ Nova in the church parking lot before church started with Kelz listening to it.  Moments like that made church more tolerable for sure.

I’m actually writing this whole post today because I decided to listen to Master of Puppets on my ride home today since I am sure I haven’t spun it in at least 10 years and probably even more.  Battery sounded fresh, as did Disposable Heroes and the rest of the album.  To be honest I skipped the title track, I’ve heard that enough in recent years.  I could go the rest of my life without hearing it again and be alright with it.

But one thing happened that struck me as funny.  When Orion started, I thought my iPod screwed something up.  I listened for about a minute to figure out what song it was and by whom and was totally lost on it.  I looked at the iPod (while driving – d’oh) and saw that it was Orion.  Apparently I skipped that one back in the day as I did not recognize one note from the entire song.  It sounded like a brand new song to me.  Hell, even though I thought it was a weak instrumental today, Metallica hasn’t written anything that cool in 20 years!  It really made me laugh.  Orion?  Really?  What song is this?  By whom?  hahahaha.

While this album doesn’t match the awesomeness of Ride the Lightning, it’s surely a good album although I’ll likely not listen to it again for another 10 years.

Good times.

Written by The Metal Files

January 25, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Metal Massacre VII

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For many, Metal Massacre VII (MM VII) is considered the holy grail of the series put out by Metal Blade between 1982 and 2006.  Did anyone really care about any of these after maybe Metal Massacre XI?

This one has some awesome tunes on it.  Here’s the quick breakdown.

1.  Heretic – Impulse:  Pre-Mike Howe Heretic.  This one has Mike Torres from the mighty Abattoir!  Awesome song all the way around.  Heretic was great from beginning to end.  For as much as I liked the album with Mike Howe, I loved him in Metal Church.

2.  Sentinel Beast – Sentinel Beast:  Thrash!  I’ve tried and tried to like this band and could never really get into them.  The music is fine on this track but her vocals don’t do much for me at all.

3.  Flotsam & Jetsam – I Live, You Die:  Doomsday for the Deceiver, ’nuff said!  This is really an awesome song. and you can actually hear Newstead playing, something that didn’t happen with Metallica.  Love this song, love Doomsday.  Saw them live a few times in the late 80s and early 90s and they always ruled.

4.  Krank – Rented Heat: Wow.  This was an awesome song.  Absolutely love it.  Krank’s debut album was called Hideous.  Very fitting.  This was the only listenable song on it.  This one always reminded me of Accept to a degree.  Rented Heat seems to be about a renta-cop.  haha.  Still awesome .

Krank. Hideous!

5.  Mad Man – Backstabber:  Mid-paced metal.  Nothing really stands out for me on this at all.

6.  Detente – Widow’s Walk:  RIP Dawn Crosby.  Great thrash from a highly underrated band.  It’s pretty rare that I like female fronted metal bands, but this was one of them.  Dawn was the real deal.  Total hard luck woman who literally grew up on the streets and drank herself to death in the end.  Detente re-released Recognize No Authority a few years back.  Buy it.

7.  Commander – High N Mighty:  Another track that I love.  I think the vocals are what hooked me on this one.  The whole album is pretty good.  I’ll upload it one of these days.

8.  Juggernaut – In The Blood Of Virgins:  I love Juggernaut but not this song so much.  Features Bobby Jarzombek on drums.

9.  Cryptic Slaughter – Reich of Torture:  Blech.  Awful.  Some early forms of blast beats, sloppy as hell.

10.  Have Mercy – The Omen:  Great thrash!  Great vocals!  Great great!

11.  Titanic – The Awakening:  Not a bad song at all.  The intro is way too long and the production was pretty crappy.  But most songs sent to Metal Blade for this series were demos.  I’d like to hear more by these guys.  Some good progressive tendencies.

12.  Lost Horizon – Troubled Ways:  Great NWOBHM influenced song.  Reminds me a bit of Tokyo Blade.  Another band I’d like to hear a full album from.

Download here.

Written by The Metal Files

October 17, 2010 at 9:59 am