The Metal Files

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Posts Tagged ‘2011

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

Eric Johnson & Sonny Landreth Concert Review 09/30/2011

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I was introduced to Eric Johnson’s music when Ah Via Musicom was released in 1990 by my friend Mike W.  Mike enjoyed he “shredders” like I did and dubbed the cassette for me.  I liked it a lot and went back and bought Tones as well.  We were excited to see him at the Boathouse in Norfolk later that year.  It was a great show all around.  I didn’t follow Eric’s career, probably because of the time in between the follow-up which was 6 years.  Out of sight, out of mind, eh?

I live in Eric’s hometown now and he rarely plays here but it’s not uncommon to see him do a guest spot when other guitarists roll through town.  He recent jammed with Dweezil Zappa and I’ve seen hm hit the stage with Oz Noy.  I hadn’t see EJ live since that 1990 show and was pretty excited to finally catch him last Friday.  I think he may have done 1 or 2 shows in the last 5 years here (I could be wrong) and I missed them all for one reason or another.

We had good seats and day of the show I was pretty excited about it, even after driving home 3 hours from Dallas.

The opener was Sonny Landreth who I had never heard of until this show was announced.  I was really impressed with his set.  He’s a very unique rock/blues/jazz fusion/country-ish player.  He predominantly uses a slide but does a lot of intricate harmonic techniques and chord structures with both hands.  It was pretty neat to see.  The guy has been around for a long time and had played with John Hiatt and Jimmy Buffett (blech!).  It was a good set and his drummer was great.  I think the bassist was good too, but I couldn’t hear him due to the mix.  The Paramount Theater has strange sound and I think I may try to get seats further back in the venue next time.

There was a short intermission and then EJ and his band took the stage.  It started out with him just doing a few acoustic pieces, one of which was a Paul Simon lullabye.  The band comes out he’s got the phenomenal Chris Marsh on bass.  The drummer was some young guy named Mark something-or-other.  Solid player, obviously schooled.  Eric’s set consisted of a lot of newer material and some covers, including John Coltrane’s Mr. D, which was awesome.  I will be up front and say that I was rather bored with EJ’s set as there wasn’t much of his rock stuff.  So bored as a matter of fact that I left about 3/4 through his set.  I was sitting there about to fall asleep.  As good as EJ is, his stuff does get a bit “samey” sounding and I tend to get bored quickly.

Chris Marsh was certainly the highlight for me.  He’s an astonishing bassist, effortless and awesome.

Other than seeing him sit in with other players, I doubt I’ll go see him live again.

Written by The Metal Files

October 2, 2011 at 9:28 am

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

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

Ancient VVisdom – A Godlike Inferno

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It’s not very often that I hear an album that grabs me by the throat with one hand and slaps me around with the other.  The forthcoming release by Austin, TX’s Ancient VVisdom (yes, that is with 2 Vs) does just that.  I was fortunate enough to get a promo copy of the CD from the band and have been listening to it a lot in the last couple of days.

I first heard the record a week ago riding around with their bassist and I just sat in his van tripping out a bit.  Trying to describe this band’s sound is not so easy.  It’s metal, but not what most would typify as metal.  My first thought when hearing them was mid-era Bathory with much better vocals and a lot less drum work.  Bathory’s “One Rode To Asa Bay” was the first thing that popped to mind.  That’s not a bad thing as I liked some of the more melodic Bathory stuff.  This album is very mellow…but heavy.

But this is still a bit different.  Nice clean vocals, acoustic guitar backed by electric more in the background for enhancement.  Drums are minimal, more used for percussive effect and not necessarily for just “playing the beat”.   All of the songs are catchy and very memorable.  Nathan Opposition’s (f. of Integrity) vocals fit perfectly.  The album conjures a little early Pink Floyd as well and to a lesser extent and surely unintentionally I hear some of the atmospheric tones used on Tiamat’s Wildhoney album, which was hugely influenced by early Pink Floyd as well.

The one rub for a lot of people may be the overtly satanic content of the lyrics.  You won’t miss it when listening to it as it’s right there.  For me personally, I’m indifferent to lyrics by most bands.  If it sounds good it sounds good…and this sounds good.

I’m attaching a song that they posted on YouTube but it will not be on the June 7, 2011 release on Shine Box Recordings.  It will at least give you an idea of what’s in store.  Highlights for me are the songs Alter Reality, Necessary Evil, Lost Civilization and World of Flesh, especially the 2nd half of that song.  The riff is just wonderful!

All I can say from here is buy it when it comes out.  It gets a 10/10 from me.

Written by The Metal Files

May 1, 2011 at 2:04 pm