heavy metal

Soundgarden’s new old live album “Live on I5” is an interesting time capsule of music from fifteen years ago.

For those who have never been, the Palladium in Worcester, Massachusetts is one of the preeminent venues in the entire Mid-Atlantic or New England region. Halfway between high-ceiling theatre and dirty roadhouse proving ground, the Palladium has brilliant acoustics, great sight lines, and ample real estate for whatever type of mosh pit mayhem that might ensue. If you get a chance, scope the place out.

The entire experience of Crowbar's "Sever the Wicked Hand" comes down to a good news/bad news equation. The good news is that "Sever the Wicked Hand" is a brutal, straightforward attack on the senses that rumbles ahead with the kind of speed-killing finality usually reserved for broken ankles and police spike strips. The bad news is that from beginning to end, that's really everything the album has to offer.

Slayer frontman Tom Araya was admitted to the hospital and kept, thus canceling Slayer's Sydney, Australia tour date at Soundwave. Rumors abound as to why Araya was admitted, but details are cloudy right now. What's important is that Araya is reportedly "feeling better."

It takes a uniquely creative mind to be the burgeoning force behind the free-wheeling, exploratory and atmospheric riffs that power the band Cradle of Filth. Paul Allender is that mind and is that man. Recently, I got a chance to fire some questions at Paul concerning his band, his music and his art.

This week paid in tribute to Black Sabbath has been a fulfilling one for me personally. My goal was to reach out to as many people as I could and have them join me in a celebration of the hallmark band of heavy metal. It is difficult to believe that four full decades have come and gone since the US release of the breakthrough album in Black Sabbath's legacy. "Paranoid" is and forever shall be a cornerstone of heavy metal's foundation, a critical piece in its history.

There are a small handful of bands and artists that get mentioned as the greatest acts in rock and roll history, a sacred pantheon of untouchable musicians who have earned a reverence unlike any other kind of adulation in popular culture. They are icons, placed on a dais and worshipped with respect and deference that most bands or solo acts can barely feel a whisper of on their best day.

It occurred to me just after the new year that 2011 marked the 40th anniversary of the release of the Black Sabbath album “Paranoid” in the United States. Naturally, when Black Sabbath comes to mind, it’s easy to get lost in their immense legacy, especially on the heels on another milestone anniversary. While “Black Sabbath” put Osbourne, Iommi, Butler and Ward on the map, it was “Paranoid” that cemented them as one of the most unique and powerful bands in the world.

"The Onslaught," the debut from Wisconsin thrashers Lazarus A.D. was, to speak plainly, brilliant. So it was with great anticipation that the metal universe greeted the coming of the band's follow up, "Black Rivers Flow." This new effort is similar but ever so different from its predecessor and equally masterful in its own right.

Hey there, kids! Just a few tidbits that slid across my ethereal desk to pass along:

*First and foremost, Rob Zombie announced to the world that he has been given the honor of inducting father of shock rock Alice Cooper into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Zombie tweeted Tuesday night around 10 PM Eastern:

I am inducting Alice Cooper into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. Crazy. Greatest honor of my life. Love The Coop.