album review

Following the death of lead singer Layne Staley, Alice in Chains went on an elongated hiatus. Very few bands have been able to survive the death of a lead singer, but 2009’s “Black Gives Way to Blue” put all doubts to rest and proved to the world that there was indeed life after death for the Seattle-based grunge band. With the “comeback album” now behind them, “The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here” seeks to prove Alice in Chains’ ability to endure in a music scene very much removed from 1990 when “Facelift,” the band’s debut studio album, was released.

Over the past four or so years, no band has risen from underground to head-of-the-class faster than Amon Amarth. Their last album “Surtur Rising” was a breakout party onto the main stage despite being their eighth record, which is testament to the band’s patience and dedication.

It seems like every year there’s another Classic Rock revivalist band that attempts to reimagine the sounds of the ‘70s for a new generation of listeners. Bands like The Sword, Wolfmother, The Answer, Graveyard, and many others have all done a fine job incorporating the sounds of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, but they have survived their own band’s debut because they managed to blend in enough of their own identity.

At the rate these albums have been coming out, I need to either invent a time machine so I can go back to 1983 and learn to love thrash, or stick my head in the sand for another three years until a new trend is established. The number of thrash albums hitting these days is astounding, considering how the genre was all but dead until The Big 4 came out of hibernation. It's great news for adrenaline starved fans, because nothing can pump the blood like good ol' thrash can, but it's slightly less inviting for people like me who have never been filled to the brim with youthful bile.

One of the first rules of journalism is that the story should never be about you. Attention should always be focused on the subject or action of the piece, with the reporter acting only as narrator. We here at Bloody Good Horror pride ourselves on trying to keep to that rule, only allowing our personal experiences to color articles as a product of our editorial insight (or lack thereof, as I’m sure my readers have at least occasionally believed.)

In the annuls of heavy metal, I don't know if there has been anyone more frustrating to be a fan of than Dave Mustaine. Megadeth's run of early albums established him as one of the mainstays of American metal, but the last twenty years have been a see-saw of highs and lows, continually baffling anyone who tries to get a handle on what Megadeth is, and what they're about to be. Mustaine's injury that led to the disbanding of Megadeth came at a perfect time, as the band had hit rock bottom. The well had run dry, and the fans were ready to give up on the melodic rock Megadeth had become.

Despite all its loudly orated trappings to the contrary, metal is very much a genre that embraces the ideas of tradition and legacy. This really isn’t that surprising; all counter cultures recognize their own, and scrutinize members’ inclusion based on a selection of worthy criteria. In this sense, counter-cultures and underground movements aren’t at all different from the mainstream institutions they rail against, which is a sort of cruel, unyielding irony.

Every generation needs an AC/DC. Despite losing their original lead singer, Bon Scott, in 1980, AC/DC has managed to hang around for a few generations thanks to replacement Brian Johnson. However, with guitarist Angus Young getting dangerously close to 60, there’s something about him prancing around in a schoolboy outfit that has lost some of its original appeal. That isn’t to say AC/DC has lost their touch, they’re still one of the most entertaining live acts in the world, but when the time comes to officially pass the torch, no band is better suited for the handoff than Airbourne.

I have a lot of respect for bands that know when the time is right to walk away. Far too often we see bands that cling onto life, churning out albums and tours for no other reason than because they know no other life. It's an understandable temptation, but it's one of the reasons being a fan is sometimes difficult. We invest our time and our energy in the music, only to find that the bands aren't doing the same. The Devil's Blood has taken the other route, choosing to walk away before the release of this, their third and final album.

There are a lot of aspects of the current rock and metal scenes that I just don't understand. Unless a band fashions themselves as a throwback to the past, there is a gravitational pull to include ever increasing amounts of extreme elements into what used to be normal rock. Today, bands like Mastodon and Baroness are considered mainstream, when my ears tell me there's nothing inviting about the majority of the sounds they conjure up. The need to scour the songs, to remove any trace of shine from them, is a train of thought I have never been able to board.