The Metal Files

My Life. My Music. Your Voyeurism.

Archive for the ‘kelz’ Category

My Life With Anthrax

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I remember stopping in Unicorn Records on Saturday afternoon in 1986 and perusing Drew’s used cassettes. he had Spreading The Disease in there for $3.99 and I bought it based on a few reviews I had read in some metal magazines. Needless to say I was blown away and became an Anthrax fan instantly. I went through several copies of that cassette between 86 and the time it came out on CD. I always had a copy handy in my car between 86 and 88. It was a great album to listen to on the way to school.

Fistful of Metal – 1984
I heard this album shortly after hearing Spreading the Disease, I believe from Daniel’s older brother if memory serves me correctly. I’ve always liked this album a lot. Very raw. Very heavy. Coincidentally, my current guitarist played with Neil Turbin for about 3 years after his exit from Anthrax. (Note the drummer).

Armed and Dangerous EP – 1985
Exit Turbin, enter Belladonna. It’s a great EP. Listened to it today while in the shower. Raise hell! Not much of a fan of their cover of God Save the Queen but the album showed Belladonna’s range. His versions of the Turbin songs were pretty damned good.

Spreading the Disease – 1985
I think I have this ranked as my 6th favorite metal album ever. Gung-Ho is a bit goofy, but it showcased Charlie Benante’s incredible double bass stamina. The Enemy, Lone Justice, Medusa, A.I.R. are my faves but I never skip any tracks when it’s in the player.

Among the Living – 1987
Hmmm. Well, they got better production but something had changed. Seeing them in the magazines looking like goofballs with TMNT stuff on everything sort of knocked them down a notch or 2 in my eyes. The title track, Skeletons in the Closet, Indians, NFL and Caught in a Mosh were the best tracks but they got a bit silly in their lyrics. I did see this tour with Testament opening (Legacy Tour) and was simply blown away by both bands. Charlie Benante was worth the price of admission alone. Then they played I’m the Man. Ugh. What a let down. I’ve hated that song since I first heard it.

State of Euphoria – 1988
C’mon guys. They really started slipping on this one. I think my favorite song is their cover of Trust’s Antisocial. I guess it’s not a bad overall but it’s far from great. I saw this tour when they opened for Ozzy. They rocked it.

Persistence of Time – 1990
Ugh. The album hurts my ears in general. Again, their cover song is the best song. They did a version of Joe Jackson’s Got the Time. Belly of the Beast is alright. Saw this tour when they opened for Maiden in 1991. They were alright.

Sound of White Noise – 1993
Exit Belladonna, enter John Bush. I was a bit thrilled that Bush was in the band…until I heard the album. Only is the only song I like. The rest sucked. Really.

Stomp 442 – 1995
What? Pass.

I stopped caring. Thanks for reading.

Written by The Metal Files

January 1, 2009 at 2:26 pm

My Life With Fates Warning

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I remember the day that my best friend came home from a California vacation in 1984 and he brought back Night On Brocken…I was instantly a fan.

Night on Brocken – 1984
Upon first listen, I did like most and compared John Arch to Bruce Dickinson but that comparison quickly faded away. John’s voice, Matheos’ songwriting and Zimmerman’s drumming style were the perfect combination. Other than the 2 instrumentals on this one, it’s fabulous. Buried Alive, The Calling and Damnation are my utmost faves.

Spectre Within – 1985
Whoa. Talk about improving on a formula that was already awesome. This album is perfect. Front to back. Perfect. I don’t know what else I could say about it.

Awaken the Guardian – 1986
Three in a row? Really? I am torn sometimes as to which I like better; Spectre or Awaken. Arch’s vocal harmonies and the songs Guardian and Giant’s Lore are phenomenal.

No Exit – 1988
Enter Ray Alder…too bad he still hasn’t exited! Upon first listen, I hated this album. Silent Cries was alright and the Ivory Gate of Dreams was good, but Ray’s nasaly whine didn’t do it for me. Zimmerman’s drumming was pretty good. Lyrically they started to tank on this one. WHIMPY. I bought the recent reissue and can stomach it a little better than I did 20 years ago, but it’s still not great.

Perfect Symmetry – 1989 I was really excited about this one coming out mainly because Mark Zonder was playing on it. I’d been a huge fan of his playing since Warlord. He did a good job on this album and the songs, in general, were much better than No Exit. I still didn’t care much for Ray’s singing but the songs Through Different Eyes and The Arena are great. They are certainly turning into a flower metal band at this point.

Parallels – 1991
WHIMPY FLOWER “METAL”. This is where they started to compete with Dream Theater to see who could consistently release the most boring albums ever.
1/10 – I liked The Eleventh Hour

Inside Out – 1994
I still can’t believe I actually gave this a chance. It didn’t deserve it. Whiny whimpy introspective lyrics and boring rock.

Everything after…I just stopped. I couldn’t take it any more.

Written by The Metal Files

December 29, 2008 at 1:57 pm

I’ll throw the ashes to the sky…

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So it was the summer of ’86 and I was working at Farm Fresh grocery store in Suffolk, VA as a bagger and stockboy making $3.25/hr which I believe was minimum wage at the time. The was the summer before my junior year. I was getting about 30-35 hours a week in for the summer because both of my managers liked me a lot. After taxes I was getting roughly $70-$75 a week. Not too shabby for a 16 year old. Gas was about $0.90/gallon and cassettes were generally $7.99.

So, after picking up my paycheck one morning I went to the A&N shoe store in the same shopping center and bought a pair of hi-top Chuck Taylor’s in the beige/off-white color. I went home, put em on and went about my day. Later that same day my older brother and I went out to bum around town and ended up back at the same shopping center to go to Roses department store. I’m not sure what he was looking for but I went straight to the tapes.

Just browsing through I saw Loudness’ Lightning Strikes. I read a review of it a few weeks earlier and it got a good rating. I didn’t really know anything about them except that they were Japanese. So I bought it. $7.99+tax. After being rung up, my brother and I were walking out (he was a few steps in front of me) and a woman grabs my arm and says “Come with me.” I said, “Say what? Robert! Check this out!” So my brother turns around and we’re both arguing with the lady, a plain clothes police officer. I’m getting pretty belligerent at this point saying “What the fuck is this about? Let me go bitch” etc etc. We go to some back room and the first thing she asks me is “Where did you get those shoes?” So I belligerently tell her that I bought them that morning from A&N. “I don’t believe you.” This is where it gets fun. “Oh yeah? The receipt is on my bed at home. Call my mom and she’ll read it to you.” Before she called my mom the cop was asking me where I got the money to buy the cassette and was accusing me of stealing those shoes from their store. “Look bitch, I work right next store. I don’t bust my ass bagging groceries and stocking eggs for nothing. I work for money so I can buy shoes and tapes and whatever else I want. I don’t need to steal. And if I did, do you think that I’d be stupid enough to wear them back to the store?” What was really funny looking back at all this is that I think my brother had stolen something and had it in his pants. What a doofus. Typical.

So anyway, the cop proceeds to finally call my mom. “Ms. W., we have your son Sean here and we think he stole some shoes from our store. He said the receipt was on his bed. Can you check for it?” A few seconds lapse and I hear mom say, “Yes, I have it. He bought them this morning.” Then the conversation changed. Most of you don’t know my mom but she’s not one to mince words. She ripped that cop a new one. My brother and I could hear it and we were laughing out loud. Mom demanded to know her boss’ name and phone number at the police station. That dude got an earful too. The cop tried telling my mom that I had a foul mouth and I heard mom tell her “Wouldn’t you be raising hell too? Now let him go.”

So they hang up. The cop apologized to me about a dozen times. I told her to piss off. I was pretty upset and shaken up about the whole thing. I don’t steal. period. I saw her around town for several years after that and she even apologized to me again a few years after the non-incident. All was forgiven.

So what does all this have to do with Loudness’ Lightning Strikes? Because of the happenings of that day, this album always held a special memory to me. While it’s not their heaviest or best album, it is certainly my favorite. 1000 eyes, Ashes to the Sky, Dark Desire and Street Life Dream are my favorites but the whole thing is good.

Akira is a shredder and Higuchi’s drumming is insane. He never needed double bass to get a full sound out of his kit. He had the chops.

There is another version of this album called Shadows of War which was the original Japanese pressing. It has a different mix in production and much of the vocals and guitar solos are different. I heard it for the first time a few years ago and was blown away by the differences. I love both versions.

A few years ago, Kelz and I got to see them live in Fayetteville, NC with about 40 other people. Pathetic turnout but it was a cool show. Not enough old stuff and only one half of one song from Lightning Strikes. They were really nice guys and Akira was phenomenal.

Dig the video for let It Go:

Written by The Metal Files

October 15, 2008 at 4:16 pm

I will remember knocking on the cold side of your door

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That simple line hits hard. I don’t necessarily use it in context with the song but it’s deep. Fates Warning had a lot of stuff that just made sense, especially on the Awaken The Guardian album. This is my #3 favorite metal album of all time.

I was fortunate enough to get in to Fates on the ground floor when their debut Night On Brocken came out thanks to Kelz picking it up first. Early Metal Blade Records releases gave you about a 94% chance of getting something good. Fates was one of those bands. Their first 3 LPs are great, especially Spectre Within and Awaken The Guardian. The riffs were better, John Arch’s vocal melodies were brilliant, the songwriting was consistent and the lyrics were cool.

This album is brilliant front to back. There’s not a bad song on here. There’s not even a weak track. The albums brings you to emotional highs and lows. Not to many albums can do that to me. The song Guardian (see YouTube vid below) hits everything in one song. Emotion, power, sadness and then pumps you up at the end and leaves you sitting there in a cold sweat.

John Arch is in my top 2 or 3 all time favorite singers ever. His work on this album is untouchable. The way he harmonizes with himself and just some of his odd phrasing blows me away.

I urge you to see/listen to the other songs the YouTube user posted from this album and check the lyrics out here. Actually, just buy the damned thing if you don’t own it already. You will not be disappointed. I promise.

Written by The Metal Files

September 3, 2008 at 3:12 am

The path I chose has led me to my grave…

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When I first heard Slayer I hated it. It was probably Show No Mercy and I think we were all over at Shelton’s house. He was all about some Slayer which was probably the main reason i didn’t like them. Any time you saw Shelton you heard, “Slayuh rules.” You never really wanted to disagree with him because he was an ox and would wrestle you into submission or body slam you or something. He was a bit of a nutcase and I always felt sorry for his mom. She was so nice.

Metal Blade Records put out 3 compilations called The Best of Metal Blade (vols 1, 2 and 3…duh). Each of them had Slayer and I liked the songs that were compiled…Chemical Warfare, Evil has No Boundaries, Black Magic and Die By the Sword. But I still didn’t consider myself a fan. Then one day in 1986 I was at either at Kelz’ or Danile’s house (sure, his name is Daniel but spelling it Danile is much more fun) and someone had Reign In Blood (on cassette of course!). I was so not into listening to it when they were talking about it. I’m stubborn. Some things never change as I am still stubborn, but I digress. I sat defiantly and quietly in my listening as Angel of Death started.

Then the drums kicked in. WTH? Are those his feet doing that? Really? Someone says dude, check this part out. Yes, you know which part. Right at the end of the solo when everything stops and it’s nothing but Lombardo’s feet pounding the shit out of the kick drums. “Play that again.” “OK, one more time.” “Can we check that part out again?”

On that day I became a Slayer fan. Soon after I went back to the older stuff and really gave it a chance. Raw. Vicious. Vile. Crude. Badass. The whole album plays like a concept album even though it’s not. The cool thing was that the whole album fit on one side of the tape so you never had to turn the tape over when it was in your car stereo. It’s the best and fastest 29:03 of your life.

I went to a Catholic high school and got kicked out of religion class every few weeks for arguing theology or from some other class for just for being a pain in the ass. Instead of going to the office I’d usually just go to the library and listen to Reign In Blood. It was more productive. When classmates would hear it they’d just shake their heads.

I liked South of heaven when it first came out but it was no Reign In Blood. I was pretty much done with Slayer after Seasons In the Abyss. They got a little too…polished.

Written by The Metal Files

September 2, 2008 at 1:24 pm