heavy metal

Just a handful of hours before they would ravage the stage, I was invited into the private confines of the tour bus for the Australian powerhouse Sick Puppies. What I encountered was not the metal powerhouse of inexhaustible energy that the band is on stage. Rather, I was presented with three young, appreciative and thoughtful musicians who are humble about their beginnings and proud of their product. We talked conversationally about music, about how they broke it big, and of course, about horror movies. So here are Shimon Moore, Emma Anzai and Mark Goodwin

I remember seeing Insane Clown Posse merchandise begin to crop up in the late years of junior high and early high school. At the time, I truly thought they were just a passing fad, two painted rappers who would eventually lose their edge and move on like a spring rain shower. More than ten years later, as I popped “Big Money Rustlas” into my DVD player, I have to give ICP a certain modicum of credit. The first ten minutes of their DVD, prior to even the title menu, is advertisements for various products, services and wrestling associations that the ICP supports or utilizes.

Albums like this are why I take so much joy in listening to music. It makes sifting through all the boring, blasé, baseless music seem trivial in the face of unearthing such beaming majesty as this.

Somehow, even after all the years of latent dormancy, three of the four original members of Autopsy can come back together and still rock it.

Disturbed always leaves me in a strange place as a metal fan. The selfish, select, protective metal fan in me wants to write them off as another example of metal overproduction; a band that some record label wants me to like.

I find that I like the idea of Hell Within. It seems like they’re built in the same mold as Unearth; a Massachusetts-built strong brand of new age metalcore with flying guitar solos that is coupled with a forceful but unfocused vocal performance.

Metal fans are a fickle lot, aren't we? We demand material worthy of our fandom, and one day's hero can be the next day's goat. Fortunes change both for better or worse in an instant with one album release, one radio hit, or even something as elementary as a haircut.

It's funny to me how the "True Sound of the Underground" sounds suspiciously like the "True Sound of Hot Topic." Everything is a little too arranged, and seems coldly calculated.

Tennessee's take-no-prisoners heavy metal outfit The Showdown starts their new album "Blood in the Gears" with a vengeance. The album begins with "Man Named Hell," a punishing and unrelenting southern metal excursion through a wonderful twist of riff-rocking and virile guitars.