The Metal Files

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Archive for the ‘2011’ Category

Anthrax, Testament & Death Angel Concert Review 092911

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It’s really amazing what music can stir up in a person. You know how it is.  You hear a song on the radio/iPod/etc that just shoots you back in time.  Last night’s show at the new Emo’s East did just that.  It was a high school flashback for sure.

I first saw Anthrax and Testament together in 1987 at the now defunct Boathouse in Norfolk, VA.  To this day that hails as one of the greatest shows I have ever seen.  Anthrax was on their Among the Living Tour and Testament was promoting their debut album, The Legacy.  Just an awesome show.

Death Angel opened the show and I’ll readily admit that I am not a fan.  Not for lack of trying, mind you.  About every 10 years I’ll listen to their first 3 albums to see if they sound any different to me and they never do.  I just couldn’t get into them minus a few songs like Mistress of Pain and Room With A View.  My friends here kept saying that I had to see them live and it would change my mind.  Well, it didn’t.  I went in open-minded (no, really, I swear I did!).  They just didn’t do it for me.  Sure, they were solid but their brand of thrash just doesn’t settle with me.  Rob Cavestany is a fine guitarist, though.  He was shredding it up last night.  I did get to meet Mark Osegueda at my favorite bar a while later after the show.  Fun guy for sure.  Super nice.  Shots!

I’ve lamented for years that Testament is the greatest live band ever.  They never disappoint and last night they surely didn’t.  They had Gene Hoglan behind the kit and as always he was perfect with ever hit, every beat.  The guy is the greatest metal drummer alive and certainly the most versatile in my opinion.  I was hoping to catch up with him and say hi but it wasn’t in the cards, unfortunately.  Testament’s set was really strong.  They played a good mix of their back catalogue.  Chuck was in fine form.  Skolnick, while playing great, seemed a light bit bored, like he was going through the motions.  I know he is really into his jazz trio these days and maybe playing the metal is taking a back seat, but again, he shredded it perfectly.  The whole band was on it, as always.

Anthrax…I’ve been a fan since I first bought a used copy of Spreading the Disease on cassette for $3.99 at Unicorn Records in 1986.  They were a band that I had read about but not heard yet and Spreading is still my favorite album of theirs to this day.  Thanks to the Internet, setlists of previous shows get posted instantly and I was able to see what they had been playing on this tour recently.  Great list!  The main part of their set had been consistent for most of their shows with the closer changing up a little.  Only and Medusa had been played recently and I was really hoping to not hear Only and hear Medusa.  You see, they didn’t play Medusa when they were in San Antonio within the last year and I was a little disappointed.  Last night, instead of Medusa, they gave us Be All, End All.  NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!  Seriously?  Man, I really wanted to hear that one badly.  But alas, no dice.  I will admit that I left when they started their encore.  The went into N.F.L. and I was out.  My feet were killing me. Anthrax kills me, though.  With a band whose Belladonna era has some really great material, they continue to throw in Antisocial and Got The Time in their set.  I would’ve been happy with Belly of the Beast from Persistence of Time and something else a little more obscure like Raise Hell (yeah right, I know I’m dreaming) or even A.I.R.

There were a few times during Anthrax’s set that I really felt like it was 1987 all over again.  It was a great feeling, albeit a strange one.  Stirred up all kinds of stuff.  So glad I got to see this show and so glad I got to see most of my favorite Austin folks there.  It was quite refreshing.

I need more shows like this.  NEED!

Death Angel setlist:

I Chose the Sky
Evil Priest
Claws In So Deep
Relentless Revolution
Seemingly Endless Time
The Ultra-Violence
Thrown to the Wolves

Testament Setlist:

The Preacher
The New Order
The Persecuted Won’t Forget
Envy Life
Over the Wall
Souls of Black
Into the Pit
Electric Crown
Henchmen Ride
More Than Meets the Eye
D.N.R. (Do Not Resuscitate)
3 Days in Darkness
Disciples of the Watch

Anthrax Setlist:

Earth on Hell
Fight ‘Em Till You Can’t
Caught in a Mosh
Madhouse
Antisocial
(Trust cover)
I’m Alive
The Devil You Know
Indians
In the End
Got the Time
(Joe Jackson cover)
Be All, End All
Encore:
Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)
Metal Thrashing Mad
I Am The Law

Chuck Billy...THRASH!

Gene Hoglan. (Photo by Brooks M)

Yours truly, Mark Osegueda, T.A.

Written by The Metal Files

October 30, 2011 at 9:56 am

Whitesnake – Box O’Snakes: The Sunburst Years 1978-1982

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Whitesnake.  A band that I loved to hate in the late 80s.  Their videos were annoying and I never saw the allure of Tawny Kitaen.  Then in the late 90s when I started getting into Thin Lizzy and investigating John Sykes’ material, I bought 1987 and realized how great that album was along with Slide It In.  About 10 years ago I heard the pre0Sykes version of Slide It In and thought it was really great in a 70s rock sort of way and started delving backwards into Whitesnake’s back catalogue.  All of their pre-Slide albums are about 50/50 with me. There are some really great songs and some real duds.  Nonetheless, it’s good stuff overall.

In November of 2011, EMI will release Box O’Snakes: The Sunburst Years 1978-1982.  This looks like a nice collector’s piece with all of their pre-Slide studio and live albums along with a DVD and book.  I think I want one!

Check out more details here and on the photo below.

 

 

Written by The Metal Files

September 29, 2011 at 8:31 am

Posted in 2011, box o'snakes, whitesnake

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Evil United – S/T Album Review

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I’ve been meaning to post my review of this one for months now.  I was given an advanced copy  and have even seen them live 3 or 4 times now, but yet, no review.  So here it is.  Who is Evil United you may ask?  Evil United features some legendary dudes like Jason McMaster (Broken Teeth, Dangerous Toys, ex-Watchtower, Ignitor etc), Don Van Stavern (Riot, SA Slayer, Pitbull Daycare), JohnValenzuela (Pitbull Daycare), TC Connally and Json West (Muderdolls, Sebastian Bach).  Not  a shabby group of folks to get together and make a band, eh?

This album is…well…this album is HEAVY.  Very heavy.   From beginning to end it’s in your face.  McMaster’s vocals go from his shrill to a good tenor backed with power.  I really like it when he’s in his lower registers.    It’s a nice change and he’s got a great clean voice which he has used with Ignitor.

The band is as solid as it gets.  The riffs are tight and the drums are as solid as you would want.  In a live setting this band is especially tight.  Again, the drummer is a badass.  The styles on this album flash from old school thrash and some power metal to some nu-metal sounds with some homage to Pantera.  The production is the one thing that bothers me on this.  It’s a bit too clean and the drums are overtriggered (at least they sound that way to my ears).  But that’s my opinion.  I want all albums to sound like an old Omen record.  haha

Highlight tracks include Walking to Sodom, Dawn of Armageddon, Rise and Fall of Earth and Man, Blasphemer and Hexorcism.

If you need a dose of heavy that’s not of the normal cookie cutter brand, I recommend this album for you.  And thankfully there’s no screamo/growling/cookie monster vocals.  It’s a nice change of pace.

You can stream the whole album on their Reverbnation page.

Thrash!

8/10

Written by The Metal Files

September 27, 2011 at 6:47 pm

Arch/Matheos – Sympathetic Resonance Review

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First and foremost, John Arch is in my top 2 or 3 singers of all time.  Personally I feel that man can do no wrong vocally.  His 3 albums with Fates Warning are easily the best 3 consecutive albums a band could ever dream to put out.  From Night On Brocken to Awaken the Guardian his voice progressed along with Fates’ music.  By the time Awaken came out, I felt the band had set a standard for themselves that would make a follow-up album tough to compare.  Then I read in one of the metal magazines that Arch had left the band.  Seriously?  Then out comes No Exit, a serious let down for me.  It wasn’t that Ray Alder was a bad singer, but that certain something that only Arch could bring to the table wasn’t there.  No Exit is a good album in its own right and I’ll be the first to admit that Perfect Symmetry is a great record, but still, it didn’t have John and after that one I was done with Fates Warning forever.  They got too light and proggy for me.

In 2003 Arch released the 2 song EP A Twist of Fate and it was great to hear his voice again.  At the beginning of this year it was announced that he had signed on with Jim Matheos to do an album.  The band was dubbed Arch/Matheos and also includes journeyman bassist Joey Vera, Bobby Jarzombek and Frank Aresti.  Wait, why not just call it Fates Warning?  I’m sure respect for Ray and probaby some legal issues abound that keep that from happening along with John probably not in the mode for touring.  Fair enough.

But for me, this is a Fates Warning album.  This is the album that could have followed Awaken the Guardian.  I finally bought this from iTunes this past Friday night and have listened to it about 8 times all the way through along with the new Anthrax album.  This one’s better by a county mile, no disrespect to ‘Thrax.

I am loving this album on so many levels and for so many reasons.  John’s voice and lyrical phrasing, the lyrics, Bobby Jarzombek’s drumming, Aresti’s contributions, Matheos’ riffage and song structures.  I only wish the bass was a tad more prominent.

The album consists of 6 songs that all seem to flow together very well, much like they do on Awaken.  Under a stained Glass Sky is my favorite so far, but the whole album just great.  And seriously, Bobby Jarzombek is easily one of the best drummers in metal today along with Van Williams (Pure Sweet Hell/ex-Nevermore).  Bobby doesn’t suck and he is perfect for this project.

This album is beautiful from front to back surely a must for any John Arch-era Fates Warning Fan.  I am calling it the album of the year and it gets a 10/10.  This will stay in steady rotation and I can’t get enough of it already.  While it’s not Awaken the Guardian or Spectre Within, it is a wonderful new Fates Warning album with a phenomenal singer/lyricist.

I hope that a second album could be in the works somewhere down the road.  This is good enough to warrant a follow-up.  A tour?  Please?  Doubtful I know, but a man can dream, yes?

Again…10/10.  Buy it!

Written by The Metal Files

September 26, 2011 at 6:08 pm

Anthrax – Worship Music Album Review

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Anthrax has dome some shuffling over the years in the singer department, that’s for sure.  Turbin’s out, Belladonna’s in, Belladonna’s out, Bush is in, Bush is out, Nelson is in, Nelson is out, Bush is back in, Bush pulls aside (or is put aside) to allow for some shows with Belladonna, Bush ih out, Belladonna is in.  Wow.  There’s no question that Anthrax’s most popular era is with Belladonna at the helm.  When we saw them last year, they sounded great overall and Joey’s voice sounded strong.

Anthrax released Worship Music last week and I’ve got 3+ listens into it which is enough to give it a proper review.  Let’s be clear in that while I love John Bush with Armored Saint, he just didn’t cut it for me with Anthrax, although seeing them live with John in 2006 on the We’ve Come For You All Tour and they were really good.

Worship Music opens with the selt-titled intro then blasts into Earth on Hell which starts out fast with blast beats.  That’s a twist.  The next 5 songs are pretty killer with Fight ’em Til You Can’t, The Devil You Know and I’m Alive are my faves on the album.  In the End rounds the last of what I consider the best tracks on the album.  From here they really start changing things up a bit.  The riffs get a bit chunkier and it starts sounding a bit more “modern”.

The last 5 songs really put me off a bit where the previous tracks all work well together.  That being said, Joey sounds great and you don’t hear a lot of “fixes” in his stuff although there are some spots if heavy layering and “harmonizering”.  I am sick of that sound in metal these days.  It’s used as a cover up.  Just get it out there clean and in the raw and of you can’t then don’t try at all.  But this is good stuff.  The ending tracks aren’t bad by any means but they’re quite a departure from the first half of the album.

I will call them out for ripping themselves off though.  Remember Make Me Laugh from State of Euphoria?  They totally jacked some of the vocal melody in the song for Fight ’em Till You Can’t.  It’s a goofy song lyrically (zombie apocalypse) but it’s well-sung and well written.

In general, don’t expect Spreading the Disease or Among The Living, although there are a few flashes from Among on here.  You get more of a State of Euphoria/Persistence of Time vibe in the whole thing with some modern metal vibes.  Benante is a badass on some of these tracks…in general he’s a beast on the drums anyway.  There are some really good guitar melodies here and there, something that you normally don’t get out of Anthrax.

It’s a good album and worthy of any Anthrax fan’s collection.  It’ll get more listens from me fore sure.  I give it a 7.5/10.  With more listens I see that number go up a bit.

Written by The Metal Files

September 25, 2011 at 6:38 pm