heavy metal

Yeehaw! Rockabilly is alive and well and now available on Victory Records. I was thrilled to find the latest release from The Reverend Horton Heat in my inbox for this week's review. In full disclosure I am, and have been, a big fan of the Reverend and his take on the rockabilly genre. The man has been at it since 1985 and his newest release "Rev" is proof positive that he's still going strong.

For more than twenty-five years now, Iced Earth has represented both the undying spirit of heavy metal and its penchant for rhythmic technical flair. So it is that the metal world pauses for at least a brief moment to bear witness to the birth of a new Iced Earth record, this time called “Plagues of Babylon.”

There was a time when Jake E. Lee was on top of the world. He was a huge star while playing in Ozzy Osbourne's band, and then when he started the cult favorite Badlands. I must admit that while Jake is one of the biggest names in guitar to have emerged from the 80s, I am not familiar with most of his career. Not being a fan of Ozzy in the slightest, I couldn't tell you anything about Jake's time in that revolving door, and I have probably only heard two Badlands songs in all the time I have known of their existence.

Sacrificial Bloods’s new record “SoulS for Sale” is a deliciously straightforward affair, unapologetic in its directness. I shall try to honor that by being equally direct in the discussion of it.

With all the image and promotion and jockeying for position and gamesmanship and preening that vies for our musical attention, it’s devilishly easy for artists to get drowned out by big voices and flashy showpieces. If you listen carefully, you can hear Sacrificial Blood calling all of that noise what it is; bullshit.

The audience at the Metropol Theatre in Berlin settle into their seats, crack open a Coca Cola, and prepare themselves for a little horror film. What they didn't prepare for, is to have the theatre become their own personal hell on earth-- run rampant with obscene, ultra-violent DEMONS. They must do their best to survive this blood bath and pray they don't become one of Satan's spawn. This movie pretty much describes my feelings on the movie theatre "experience." I feel old.

I like all sorts of music, from jazz to early rock and roll to standards to metal. And, when it comes to metal, I particularly enjoy metal with a groove. For our purposes we'll call it "bop-metal" (yet another sub-genre?). I like to bang my head with the best of them but metal you can also bounce to really turns me on. That leads me to this week's review.

If “Jurassic Park” taught us anything (and it most definitely did!) it was that ‘life finds a way.’ As the calendar reached the close of 2013 I noted one odd quirk in that musical year – my year end accolades did not contain any album that impressed me with the sheer volume and ferocity of its power. It was a conspicuous absence, to me at least; always there had been a Cancer Bats or an Indestructible Noise Command to whet my appetite for sonic destruction.

The thing I love about self-proclaimed progressive music is that I never know what to expect. After listening to enough albums, it gets to the point where it's not hard to see where bands are going (especially new bands) after a couple of songs. They rarely change direction, and far too many bands these days play every song in the same tempo, with the same feel, and with the same tones. Eventually, it all blends together into one big song, and it almost never turns out to be a strength.

By now, you all know the rules, but here’s a one phrase recap: New studio records only. Also, like a classic Spinal Tap joke, I went to eleven this year. What can I say, I couldn’t narrow it down farther from that. It happens. Let’s get started.

First off, I really don’t have a ‘Little Band That Could’ award to give out this year, though I am coming around on Bronze Honey. I just haven’t had a chance to really dig into it and see what I think. So hold that thought, you may see something more in January.

M. DREW: Addressing Wizard first, I had never before considered the possibility that glam existed as anything other than meaningless party rock. The revelation that glam was part of a quasi-realist take on the Cold War, an effective 'we're gonna get blown up, so we should have sexy parties now!' changes the entire nature of how I view the genre, and also how grunge could ascend thereafter. It makes entirely too much sense that the hubris of glam would have been a cover for the ever-present fear of nuclear annihilation.