The Metal Files

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Posts Tagged ‘1988

Dark Angel – Darkness Descends

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I’m pretty sure it was spring 1987 and I was down on Atlantic Ave at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront hanging out for dark angelwhatever reason.  There was a little record store there that I can’t remember the name of.  I’m pretty sure it was an independent store and don’t hink it lasted more than a few years.  I can’t even remember if anyone was with me…maybe Robert S.  Anyhoo, we were browsing the cassettes and I saw Dark Angel’s Darkness Descends.  I immediately knew that this would be my purchase.  I had seen the ads for this in various metal mags and it was on Combat Records which had a pretty good track record of bands so far.

I remember getting in my 66′ Nova 4dr and heading back home while the tape started.  I was immediately blown away.  The drums.  Holy shit, the drums!  I remember seeing fotos in magazines of the band and the big huge drummer in shades looming over them in every foto.  I was fortunate enough to meet him earlier this decade and he was the coolest mofo in the world.

But back to this massive album.  There’s not a stinker in the bunch but my faves are Burning of Sodom, Black Prophecies and Perish In Flames.  Sure it’s a tad sloppy and severely underproduced, but it set a/the standard for early thrash and death metal in my opinion, especially for drummers.

When I finally saw them live in 1989, I got to help sing Merciless Death as the new singer said he didn’t know the lyrics that well.  I was the happiest acne-faced, bad-haired kid in Virginia Beach that night!

If you’re into classic metal and especially early thrash, you NEED this album.

I finally found the foto of Gene and me from 2001.  gene hoglan me

Renee Reviews stuff.

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So way back in 1987 when my first real band first got together, this beautiful girl with big hair (no offense Renee) Renee Roland small_57049_2009-06-16 10-22-42.671and her gorgeous friend Carla used to come over to our house on the farm and hang out during band practice. Realize that my band practiced in my bedroom…9pc Pearl drum set, 2 guitars, bass and sometimes a singer, a bed, a desk and a dresser in a roughly 12×12 room. It was pretty cramped in there. It was always fun having them over there because they were a lot prettier than us sausage heads.

A few years later I started working for VDOT as a surveyor. I had met him a time or 2 back in the band days when we would either go to Renee’s house to pick her up or drop her off. It was never a pleasurable experience but we won’t discuss that any further. Renee’s dad was one of the survey chiefs and ultimately the big boss of the survey department during my tenure as one of the “grubs”. He was always a cool guy. He ultimately moved into a position in the design section and I moved to utilities shortly after. It was cool because I got to work with him more closely. I knew that Renee had moved to LA some years before and had lost touch with her, but her Dad gave me her number when I decided to make a trip to LA to do some business with a few record labels there (Century Media and Metal Blade). Renee graciously invited me to come over and I went there the evening after we landed in LA. We ultimately went to the Hard Rock to see Wayne Kramer (MC5) do a spoken word thing with some poet dude. It was a weird show but fun to meet Wayne and hang out. Before the show, we hung out at Renee’s for a bit and I got to speak to James Hong JamesHongon the phone for a minute as he was friends with Renee. One of the folks hanging out with us that night was John Skipp who wrote Fright Night! The dude was super cool. Anyway, that night and next morning were the only times I got to see Renee when I was there as my schedule was pretty tight with the record labels, but she made my trip that much better.

We spoke a few times since 1997 but not at all in the last 5-6 years. Thanks to social networking we’re in touch again and I’m happy about it. She was/is always the coolest. Now she’s doing movie reviews for The Examiner website. Renee has a very creative mind and I highly recommend that you check out her stuff.

Click here for Renee’s movie reviews, old and new.

Concert Review – RIOT – San Antonio – 6/2/09

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So let’s go back in time…

I remember somewhere around 1984ish and I was over at Daniel’s house for a bit and we would go into his brother’s room and check out his records and cool Kramer Baretta guitars.  I remember seeing Riot’s Fire Down Under (probably on cassette) and we listened to some of it.  I think we only listened to Swords and Tequila as his brother’s band used to cover that song.  I thought it was cool but never really explored them any further.

Flash forward to sometime in 1988.  I was over at Kelz’ house and we stepped outside into Thomas’ car, the 4dr Chevy Cavalier, beige/crème color.  He pulled out Riot’s Thundersteel tape and said “You have to hear this.”  I was reluctant and explained to him that I saw the record at Skinnie’s recently and that the album cover looked too silly to even give them a chance, not to mention their photo on the back.  WTF?  In perfect Thomas fashion he cut me off and said, “Just shut the fuck up and listen to it asshole.”

Thank you Thomas.

I was blown away by it, mainly by the drums.  The only other drummer that I heard play similar styles to this was Deen Castronovo.  It was shortly after getting into this era of riot that I met Deen and asked if Bobby Jarzombek was his pupil.  Deen just replied with, “I wish I could lay claim to that.  That kid is good.”  Yes, Deen, very good.  Back to Thundersteel, this album has great hooks and melodies, not to mention the insane drumming by Bobby, Tony Moore’s almost-out-of-control vocals and Mark Reale’s great solos.  I should mention Mark Edward’s competent drumming on the LP as well.  Nothing too flashy, but solid.  The only song I never cared about was Run For Your Life.  It just seemed too stiff.  Since 1988 this album has stayed in steady listening rotation.  I also picked up the follow-up album Privilege of Power.  There are some blazing songs on there and Bobby J just simply owns that record.

Flash forward again to early May 2009.  I saw online that Riot was performing a one-off show in their partial home of San Antonio and expected it to sell out as they don’t play very often and especially with this line-up, the reunited Thundersteel era band.  So I bought 2 tickets the morning they went on sale, one for THE Doug Morrison and one for me.

So I go to Doug’s after work yesterday and we have some dinner at his house.  The doors were at 7pm and we had about an hour of drive time each way.  Since it was only about 6pm at this point, I went down into our studio and took a 45 minute nap as I was super tired from being up in the middle of the night with a sick cat.  After my little nap, we hop in the car and head to SA.  I was happy of the fact that Jason McMaster’s Broken Teeth were added to the bill but we assumed that they would be the opener of the 4 bands and we figured we would miss them.  Jason is one of my best friends and it’s no biggie for him if we missed the show.  Both he and Doug are in the Motorhead tribute band with me, so we see each other plenty.

We arrived at the show around 8:15pm and I noticed that the crowd was very light in attendance.  I figured since it was still early that people were waiting to come out.  We saw the Broken Teeth guys when we walked in and gave our usual pleasantries and they said they were moved into the slot right before Riot.  Great news!  It meant that we would have on less shitty band to sit through until seeing a band that we liked.  A local band called Eden Burning opened the show and we missed them completely.  From what I was it was no loss.  Top Dead Center played next.  Apparently their singer has another band with Riot’s Don van Stavern called Pitbull Daycare.  Whatever.  TDC wasn’t very good in general.  The highlight of their performance was their drummer.  That guy was rock solid.  I was glad when they were done.  Broken Teeth took the stage and did what they do best, they rocked.  Jason has got to be one of the most underrated front men in rock and roll.  He knows how to grab a crowd’s attention and keep it.  Before they went on, it was cool seeing people who have known him since the Watchtower days.  I am not sure he has ever made an enemy.  The crowd got into Broken Teeth and I am sure most of the folks there had never seen them.  It was a bit ironic that the club uses Dangerous Toys’ old road cases for side stage monitor stands.

By the time that Broken Teeth finished, there may have been 250 people there, certainly no more than that.  I was shocked.  The legendary Riot.  At Home.  Thundersteel lineup.  Sure it was a Tuesday night but c’mon.  The ONLY American show!  WTF?!

So Riot is setting up, erm…their roadies are setting up.  They put this projector on a stand on the stage and Doug and I were trying to figure out if they were going to keep that on stage for the whole show.  Luckily is was just there for their intro and promptly removed.

So the lights go down and the band sans Tony Moore get on stage and play an instrumental assuredly from one of their older albums.  I’m not that familiar with the pre-Thundersteel stuff…yet.

After the instrumental, Moore comes out and they go into Fight or Fall.  His voice is still strong after all these years but he was struggling in some parts and understandably so.  His vocals on that old stuff are pretty high ranged in places.  But in general he sounded fine for the night.  Mark Reale played great and does good backing vocals.    Mike Flynt’s playing was good too.  He did a few solos and he’s a really solid player.  His vocals harmonies were really really good.  I didn’t care for Van Stavern’s tone in the least.  He was playing what looked like a higher end Ibanez bass through an Ampeg rig (ugh).  It sounded like ass.  Seriously.

But most impressively the highlight of the night for me was Bobby Jarzombek’s drumming.  Sure, I’ve known for 20+ years that he was a phenomenal player but you really can’t grasp it until you see him play live.  I saw him with Halford in 2000 in Brooklyn @ Lamour’s Rock Club and he was awesome there too…but not as awesome as he was last night.  His performance was seemingly flawless.  He can do anything.  He really reminds me a lot of how I think Stewart Copeland would play if he was in a metal band and could play double bass.  The handwork is incredible.  I really think Bobby is the best drummer in metal nowadays.  That is difficult for me to say as a HUGE Gene Hoglan fan.  Hoglan and Van Williams (Nevermore) are probably the only guys who can play this style and retain a feel in their playing.  Guys like Mike Portnoy can play it, but have no feel.  Boring.

We ran into Ron Jarzombek after the show and I just shook his hand and said hello.  Doug met him 25+ years ago when he took Dave McClain (SA Slayer/Sacred Reich/Machinehead) out of San Antonio to come play with him in LA in Neil Turbin’s post-Anthrax band.  It took Ron a second to remember then he said, “Oh yeah, I do remember now.  Wow.  Been a long time.”  Then we left.  We drove through one of the scariest lightning storms I have ever seen.  It’s not very often that I get nervous in a storm but I was nervous last night.  Doug was too but we made it back to his place safely and subsequently I was home safely shortly thereafter.

Overall the night was great.  I needed a night like that.  June 2 is a day that lives in infamy for me and in the week leading up to it every year I tend to get a little down.  But there was no time for such feelings last night.  It was a positive night and we had fun.  The only real drawback about the show was that Riot had no merch to sell and I really wanted a shirt.  Oh well.

I shot some video and snapped a few pics.  I’ll try and post them later.  Unfortunately my camera ran out of battery right as I was ready to film Johnny’s Back.  Keep an eye on Youtube as I am sure there will be a lot of footage from the show.

Here’s the setlist in order:

Narita (Instrumental intro)
Fight or Fall
On Your Knees
Metal Soldiers
Speedin’
Johnny’s Back
Crimson Storm
Swords and Tequila
Wings are for Angels (from their forthcoming album)
Tokyo Rose/Rock City
Flight of the Warrior
Bloodstreets
Storming the Gates of Hell/Race with the Devil/Storming the Gates of Hell
Road Racin’/Killer(no lyrics)/Road Racin’
Dance of Death
Thundersteel
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Warrior

I Won’t Dance…The Elder’s Orient

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My introduction to the mighty Celtic Frost was through some knucklehead pal of ours named Chris Shelton. He had the cassette for The Emperor’s Return and I checked it out for a few days. I thought it was absolutely horrible. Total shit even. What was wrong with this singer? Was he trying to pinch one out or something?

Then after reading several glowing reviews of Into the Pandemonium in Aardschok America or Circus or whatever, I decided to give it a shot. I’m glad I did. This album is incredible. Very different than Emperor’s Return, which in later years was deemed to be neither a good nor bad thing.

Pandemonium came out in my senior year of high school.  A former friend from high school and I sat next to each other in Mr. Gordon’s english class and constantly caught hell for talking (about music) during class. I really wish I had kept my english book from that year as just about every page was covered in band names and song quotes, many of which came from this particular Frost LP.

A few years later I started backtracking into the older Frost albums and I am glad I did. I “got it”. Tom G. Warrior was a great songsmith. Sure a lot of the riffs were simple, but he was creating music that no one had created at the time.

I always respected Frost for trying something new with every album, even Cold Lake. Although I will say this…One In Their Pride…WTF? Just plain awful.

As for Cold lake, it’s not a great album by anyone’s standards, but I don’t consider it to be a total wash. I liked Downtown Hanoi, Juices Like Wine and Once They Were Eagles. When I met Frost back in 2006, Tom G. signed my Cold Lake CD with the word “ABOMINATION”. I told him that I liked some of it and he responded, “You’re the only fucking one who did.” haha…Tom G. Ugh!

Now back to Pandemonuim. Other than that stupid “Pride” song, this album is great. I even dug the cover of Mexican Radio (Wall of Voodoo). My favorites would be Babylon Fell, Mesmerized, Rex Irae, Inner Sanctum and I Won’t Dance.

Definitely an album that brought me a lot of joy during such a shitty year. I hated school and didn’t want to be there.

Funny thing…there was this girl we kenw named Theresa(?) that looked EXACTLY like Tom G. Poor girl. She was also such a sleaze bucket…of course we dubbed her “The Bucket”.

ha! The Bucket!

Hey Doro! Nice Ass! Part II

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There is a story after the story about this night.
Please read this to understand the whole story of that night.
I was with Don, JRob and Mike for that show and we rode in Mike’s powder blue Ford Ranger.  Yes, it was powder blue.

But typically after we’d leave shows at the Boathouse, we’d drive through downtown Portsmouth, VA to County St and Commerce St in an area that we called “hookers row”.  After after the Sanctuary/Warlock/Megadeth show we ventured down to see some toothless hookers.  Mike and I were in the front of the truck and Don and JRob were in the back of the truck under the camper shell.  Mike pulls up to this tall nasty tranny hooker and the he-she starts talking, “Heeeeeeeeey, whatchoo lookin’ for tonight, baby?”  Very quickly mike says, “Hey, the 2 guys in the back of the truck have a $50 bill.”   That thing took off like lightning to the back of the truck and was trying to open the shell and get in with them.  “Heeeeeeeeeeeey…gimme that dat money!  I’ll make it worth your while…I’ll do all for of you for that!”  Don and JRob were trying to hold the camper shell flap shut and were yelling at us, “GOOOOOOOOOO!  GOOOOOOO!  Mother F’er GOOOOOOOOOOO!”  Mike and I were in hysterics.  That hooker tranny hooker was trying so damned hard to get back there with them.

Oh man.  I get tears in my eyes every time I think of that.

Written by The Metal Files

May 2, 2009 at 7:57 am

Hey Doro! Nice ass!

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Yes, I said that to her, to her face even.  What a schmuck!  I was 18 and one of the first 5 people in line to see Megadeth, Warlock and Sanctuary(!).  We got there early because we wanted to be on the barricade at the Boathouse for the whole show.  We were so excited to see Sanctuary…getting to see Warlock and Megadeth was just icing on the cake.  But…this whole story is about Warlock.

So there we were in line when a van pulls up and Doro gets out with a few big body guard looking dudes flanking her.  She walks right by us and I was trying to think of something to say.  Being 18, my groin was doing most of my thinking at the time so I said, “Hey Doro!” to which she politely replied, “Jah?!” in her thick german accent.  I pulled the total Butthead moment and said, “uhhhhh…nice ass!”  Instantly in my head I said ‘d’oh!’  A big smile crossed her face and she said, “Oh, tank you!”  Man, I felt like such a dumbass.  I was such a dumbass.

But Warlock kicked total ass that night.  Now if you have known me for longer than a minute, you probably know that I am not a fan of metal bands fronted by women, save a few exceptions.  Warlock is one of those exceptions.

I remember it was right after meeting a former friend from high school in 1986, he introduced me to CK at the Triumph/Yngwie show.  Years later I ended up in a band with CK.  Good times, bad times…but back to Warlock.  So we were at CK’s place and I was flipping through his records and saw Warlock’s first 2 albums, Hellbound and Burning the Witches.  So he put on Burning the Witches and I was digging it.  Instant fan!  I proceeded to go out and buy those 2 on cassette as well as True as Steel a little later.

I remember reading in Circus magazine that they had a new one coming out called Triumph and Agony.  I picked it up the week it came out and loved it.  I still do.  It’s not as raw as the previous 3 albums, but it’s great.  Getting to see that tour was such a treat.  I think there were only a few people there who actually knew anything about Warlock (or Sanctuary for that matter) and we let them know that we were fans.  We were raising holy hell for them and they appreciated it.  Doro made several comments about “this group of guys over here who know what the hell is going on!  All of you should learn how to rock like these guys!”  Sure, cheesey stage banter but to a bunch of 17 and 18 year old fans, it was pretty cool.

I was pretty disappointed when they broke up after that tour.  Doro’s solo albums never did a lot for me but her debut, Force Majeur, was good enough to stay in my collection.

In order from best to worst:

  1. Triumph and Agony
  2. True As Steel
  3. Burning the Witches
  4. Hellbound

They played a good cross section of all of the albums in their set.  I was super excited when they went into “I Rule the Ruins”.

Doro has played San Antonio at least twice since I moved here and I should go the next time she plays.  Everyone says she still kicks ass live.

If you can find the Warlock: Live in London DVD, I highly recommend it.

Written by The Metal Files

April 27, 2009 at 2:16 pm