The Metal Files

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Motorhead – Concert Review 092009

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Motorhead!  I’m always excited when they come to town.  Last night was my 6th time seeing them since 1993.  They DSCN2416never let me down with the live show.

Until last night.

So let’s backtrack and put some story along with this.  If you don’t know this already, I have the Another Perfect Day album cover tattooed on my back…my whole back.  88 hours worth of tattoo work.  No regrets!  I’ve met Lemmy a few times but not since getting my backpiece done.  I was hoping last night would be the night.  Just wanted a picture of him with my tattoo.  Didn’t happen.  No big deal, I can live with that.  Like I said, met him a few times and always a good experience.

So my guitar player, Doug Morrison, (Turbin, Waysted) and the drummer of Reverend Horton Heat have been close friends since the late 70s and with the Rev on this tour, we got the hookup.  Doug and I get there early and have dinner with Paul Simmons (drummer for the Rev) and some of the roadcrew guys from Rev Heat and Motorhead.  The guy sitting next to me was pretty special though.  It was Hobbs!  Hobbs has been with the band for almost 30 years and is mentioned in the song Going to Brazil.  I think he may even be the one who screams on We Are The Roadcrew from No Sleep Till Hammersmith.  Not important.  Hobbs!  Talk about a weathered old British soul.  He was extremely polite in a typical British sort of way yet as foul mouthed as an old Greek sea captain.  He was awesome!  Hobbs!

After dinner we headed backstage.  Nashville Pussy was setting up their gear and there it was…Lemmy’s bass rack.  From a distance I snap a picture and Paul says, “Come on, man.  Step over here and get a real look at them.”  His beautiful Rickenbacker 4004LK and one of his old Rics with the original hand-carved oak leaves.   I got to hold history in my hands!  And I couldn’t believe how high the action was on those.  Seemingly about 3/8″ off of the fretboard.

So after hyperventilating over that a bit, we all just hung out backstage while Nashville Pussy played.  I’ve never been a fan so I had no interest in seeing them.  Paul was telling the Motorhead roadcrew guys about my backpiece and they flipped out over it.  “Lemmy needs to see this!”  Yes sir, I agree!

NP finishes their set and Paul had to get prepared for the Reverend Horton Heat set.  Doug and I stayed backstage a little longer.  Matt Sorum, (GnR, The Cult, Velvet Revolver) came in and said hi.  I mentioned that I had just seen his episode of the Dog Whisperer.  “Did Ace and I look like total idiots?”   No man, you guys were fine, no worries.  Apparently he hadn’t seen it yet.  The dude is a class act even if I never cared for his other bands.

So after that, Doug and I just went out in to the crowd to watch the Rev’s set.  As always, they were tight.  The Rev works the crowd very well.  I opened for them back in like 93 or 94 and he’s still the same old cool laid back guy.

The gig was at Stubb’s in Austin, TX.  It’s an amphitheater type set up.  I’ve never really cared for it all that much.  Too narrow and when it gets packed it’s difficult to get around.  So we hung out towards the back.  Run into several friends, of course.  Ran into my other guitarist, Jason McMaster (Broken Teeth, Watchtower, Dangerous Toys) and he says, “Hey man!  You need to meet an old friend of mine, Craig Behrhorst.”  I said, “From Ruffians?”  Craig said, “How did you know that?”  Sir, I am an 80s metal nerd.  Plain and simple.  Turned out that Doug knew him as well.  I guess Craig’s sister used to hang out with Doug and his friends back in the old Sunset Strip days.  I also ran into Art Villareal and Bob Catlin, both of SA SLayer/Juggernaut fame.  They are both in Martyhead, a Motorhead tribute from San Antonio.  Of course I have a Motorhead tribute here in town called Capricorn USA.   That’s the band with Doug and Jason.

Whatever, you don’t care.  You want to know about the Motorhead show!

Light’s go down and they open with Iron Fist.  Sweet!  I love that song.  But I swear it sounded a little slower than album speed.  Stay Clean was next.  Same thing.  The band was tight.  Sorum held his own pretty well for the whole night but they really seemed lifeless to me.  Everything seemed slow.  To be honest I was bored until mid-set when they played a few tracks from Another Perfect Day.  Matt’s drumming on everything was pretty good.  Who knew the guy could play double bass?  But then, they played Ace of Spades.  Of course everyone knows that songs and the drunks in the crowd and the kids who only know it from Guitar Hero were freaking out.  Matt’s drumming killed it.  His bass drum pattern was all wrong.  It put the song in a weird dynamic.  I recently saw a vid from one of the shows a few weeks ago with him and it was the same thing.  I hate to say it (again), but I was so bored for most of their show.  They were missing a key element to their modern sound…MIKKEY DEE.

Mikkey’s a phenomenal drummer.  I’ve known it since I first heard King Diamond’s Abigail and got to experience his playing live on the Them tour.  Mikkey was the main reason why I ever went to see Motorhead the very first time in 1993.  I wasn’t into them at all at that point and oddly enough I don’t like but a handful of songs from his era.  But the live show with him is intense.  If you’ve seen him play, you get it.  He’s a monster.  And with Motorhead, he certainly tightened them up.  They were always fast, vicious.  “We may not be the best band in the world, but we’re certainly the fastest” Lemmy said years and years ago on their famous No Sleep TIll Hammersmith album.

Last night they weren’t fast.  There was just no electricity.  Sometimes I think I am just getting old and crotchety.  I do tend to get hyper-critical when it comes to live shows, but I’ve always been that way.  I can never just sit back and enjoy it, I always have to dissect it.  Oh well.  My problem, not yours, eh?

The setlist was pretty good overall, it was just the feel and the pace of the songs that got to me.  Most people I know loved it and I am glad they had a good time.  I did too, actually.  I got to see some people I hadn’t seen in a while and got to meet a few new folks.

Setlist:

Iron Fist
Stay Clean
Be My Baby
Rock Out
Metropolis
Over the Top
One Night Stand
I Got Mine
The Thousand Names of God
Another Perfect Day
In the Name of Tragedy
Just ‘Cos You Got the Power
Going to Brazil
Killed by Death
Bomber
Whorehouse Blues
Ace of Spades
Overkill

Sure Lem’s in his 60s now and not everyone can do it like they used to. No matter the performance from last night, I’ll always go see them.  It’s Motorhead!

He said something last night that I heard him say the previous 2 times I saw them, “Don’t forget us.”

That line saddens me.

After all, who ever could?

The Big 4 Tour? Blech!

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Seriously?  There’s all this talk about Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax doing a tour together.  I wouldn’t go  no ThrashBandsRulematter how “legendary” it might be.  Let’s just face facts here (my facts!):  Metallica hasn’t put out anything worth listening to since maybe And Justice for all.  Slayer hasn’t released anything decent since Seasons in the Abyss.  Anthrax was lifeless after State of Euphoria.  Megadeth has made a good run of it in the last 5 years, but they wouldn’t be enough for me to want to see the other bands.  I believe they are coming near here with Slayer in a few months.  I’ll likely go and leave before Slayer comes on, just like I did last year when Judas Priest came on, I was out of there.

Now on the marketing side of this, it would be ideal if all of the egos could work it out.  Every band would stand to make a lot of money…mainly by having Metallica on the bill.  They sell out everywhere they play (insert easy joke here!).  Money wise it’s a no brainer as long as these bands don’t actually have to speak to each other.

There are certainly other thrash bands I’d much rather see than these.

Sometimes I really miss the old days.

Written by The Metal Files

September 18, 2009 at 5:40 pm

Megadeth – Endgame (2009) – CD Review

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I like Megadeth…really, I love Megadeth.  But I’m no fanboy.  I really stopped listening to them when Countdown To MegadethEndgameExtinction came out.  I even had a little trouble listening to Rust In Peace, but it’s pretty tolerable now.  I’ll also be at the front of the line to say that I prefer Megadeth’s first 3 albums over Metallica’s.  Dave is a riffmaster and I am sure there are a lot of good songs on the albums between Countdown and The World Needs a Hero, but I just can’t care.

Those first 2 are simply incredible.  The perfect combination of power, sweet riffage, great solos, drumming and heroin.  Even So Far So Good has some really high points.

But they whimped out after Rust In Peace.  Other than Friendman’s Dragon’s Kiss album, his playing never did much for me, so I stayed away from his era of ‘Deth.

Then The System Has Failed came out with Chris Poland back in the ban for the album!  I had to hear it…Loved it!  His trademark sound was all over the album.  I got to see Gigantour and finally got to meet Dave.  It was a memorable experience.  That guy is pretty smart and a phenomenal guitarist.   I also like United Abominations a lot.

So here we are in 2009.  Another Megadeth album.  Endgame.  I’m impressed.  Dave has always hired good guitarists and Chris Broderick (Jag Panzer) is a worthy member.  He’s got some great solos on Endgame as does Dave.  It’s pretty easy to tell who is who.  Dave’s style is pretty unique.  I don’t think he gets the credit he deserves as a guitarist, especially as a soloist.

Endgame is pretty good all the way through.  The opening track is an instrumental and it does remind me of Set The World Afire in a few spots, but it doesn’t detract from the great solos.  I’ve listened to this about 6 times now and I think my least favorite track is Bite The Hand.  I was a little nervous when I heard about the ballad, but it’s not bad at all.  My favorite tracks would be This Day We Fight, The Hardest Part of Letting Go, Endgame and 44 Minutes.  Shawn Drover and James Lomenzo do a great job of holding down the rhythm.

Now I do have a few criticisms.  Dave’s vocals have never been great by any stretch of the imagination.  He’s certainly lost a step in his vocals over the last 2 albums.  It’s natural really.  He’s no spring chicken these days.  They’re not bad, but he sounds a little weaker.  That guy used to have one of the greatest wails in metal!  I’ll also make a small complaint about the lyrics.   Sure, metal has always had a bit of silliness and Megadeth sliced their share of the cheese.  But it doesn’t really detract from the record.  The record is good.  Really good.  Very rarely do I buy albums on their release day, but for modern era Megadeth, I make the exception.

Nice work, Dave.  8.5/10.

Sorry, no free download here.  Go buy it, slacker.

http://www.myspace.com/megadeth is streaming it for free right now as well.

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

Stratovarius – Visions

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So at the time that this album came out in 1997 I had already started my littleStratovarius-Visions1997 online  record store called Acacia Music that mostly sold stuff on eBay and on my old website.  I was buying most of my stuff from metal Blade and Century Media directly as they were able to get good priced metal imports to me at wholesale prices.  I got to know these guys pretty well and went to LA in Sept/97 to visit with both companies.  It was a wonderful experience and I got turned on to a lot of newer bands via that business.

Stratovarius was one of those bands.

While all of their albums are pretty consistent, Visions is the one for me.  I really don’t need anything else by them except maybe the corresponding live album which is also pretty awesome.

There’s nothing that I can really sad negative about Visions.  It’s powerful.  It’s emotional.  It’s heavy.  It’s tasteful.  I would rank this the best euro-power metal album of the 90s easily with Helloween being the best of the 80s.