Thrash Bands Putting Cover-Songs Mid-Album:

Posted: August 31, 2015 by kingcrimsonprog in Uncategorized

During my previous Week-Of-Thrash listening a thought occurred to me; why did so many Thrash bands have a cover song on their album. Not even as bonus tracks or for compilations but just in the middle of their album.

Led Zeppelin got covered by both Dark Angel and Nuclear Assault, again mid-album. Sodom covered Motorhead. Testament covered Areosmith, Death Angel covered Kiss, Heathen covered Free and Rainbow and even Slayer covered Judas Priest (which, fun fact, on my first few years of listening I didn’t know was a cover and considered my favourite Slayer song).

Megadeth covered Nancy Sinatra and Willy Dixon and even went so far as to cover The Sex Pistols and release that as a single and video.

Black Sabbath got covered by Exhorder and Sacred Reich on popular releases. All of these aforementioned ones are mid-album, not even as bonus tracks or b-sides (although that happened too as normal, as Kreator would do with Raven and Sodom would with Tank… and Exodus would with AC/DC, Sepultura would with Black Sabbath and Celtic Frost).

Anthrax covered Alice Cooper, Trust and Joe Jackson and in so doing produced some of their biggest hits which take precedence over their own compositions on live sets and compilation albums. They did this without getting the cover-band stigma insults that Quiet Riot earned with less famous covers overall than that.

Exodus covered bloody ‘Low Rider’ for goodness sake! EXODUS! On the middle of the furious Fabulous Disaster album of all things!

Other bands like Overkill also had cover songs mid album (‘Frankenstein’) or as the title of a whole EP (‘Fuck You’).

What was it with all these bands all at the same time putting covers out in the middle of albums? You can hardly imagine Testament or Slayer doing it today. B sides, compilation albums, movie soundtrack contributions (‘No More Mr Nice Guy’ for example) and bonus tracks are one thing…Garage Inc was one thing… but its odd that so many happened at once in the middle of original studio albums.

Thoughts, readers?

Songs With Similar Intros:

Posted: August 31, 2015 by kingcrimsonprog in Uncategorized

A Week Of Thrash

Posted: August 27, 2015 by kingcrimsonprog in Uncategorized

I was recently on holiday in Holland and for whatever reason, had decided that I was going to ‘pause’ my musical listening schedule/habbits, and go back. I made the decision that I could not listen to anything I had bought recently, or in fact anything that wasn’t Thrash Metal.

The rules were simple; only studio albums and EPs, nothing newer than 1993, nothing that isn’t Thrash. I could listen to Bonded By Blood through to Set The World On Fire, but not Powerslave or Vulgar Display Of Power… if that makes any sense.

It got off to a great start; I remember a long time when my favourite band in the world was Anthrax. I got a good listen to all the early Anthrax. Boy, what a band. What a solid run of early albums! They really did write a lot of my all-time favourite songs; ‘Lone Justice,’ ‘One Man Stands,’ ‘Belly Of The Beast,’ ‘I Am The Law,’ ‘Death Rider’ …the list goes on. I remember in the earliest days of being a fan I didn’t like Neil Turban’s voice, but now I can see the Paul Stanley/Eric Adams quality to it and I enjoy it. I also didn’t enjoy the direction of Fistful Of Metal because it didn’t sound like Anthrax yet… they production doesn’t have that Charlie/Frankie clunk, Scott’s riffs don’t have that fat-wrist chug that make the band so special, the solos aren’t weird and unique like Spitz usually is afterwards, and it had Dan Lilker on it but didn’t sound like Nuclear Assault who I was nauseatingly in love with, so it felt weird that it didn’t sound like Game Over in my undeveloped teenage brain. Nowadays, I really like it… I think its great fun, its interesting as a transition point between Mid-80s Thrash and early-80s NWOBHM, and I’m less snobby about the singer and production job. Oh, and it has ‘Metal Thrashing Mad’ on it, so it could never be rated poorly… its ‘Metal Thrashing Mad’ for goodness sake!

Listening to all that great ‘80s Thrash like Kreator, Forbidden, Sacred Reich, Testament etc just puts me right in my element. I remember obsessing about this stuff for years and it feels good to just splurge on it constantly without feeling like I have to get more more more new stuff. I’ve noticed a lot of the albums I didn’t used to like are a lot better than I thought. When I first got Pleasure To Kill, Obsessed By Cruelty, Beneath The Remains and several of the heavier, nastier, non-Bay Area albums, I was usually a little less keen on them. I like things melodic and virtuosic like an Overkill, Exodus or Megadeth, and sometimes those harsher records with more of a proto-Death vibe didn’t click with me the same as the progressive ones like And Justice For All or Victims Of Deception or the what I’d call ‘normal Thrash’ (y’know… The New Order, Fabulous Disaster, Ride The Lightning, Feel The Fire).

This time around, I actually enjoyed a lot the harsher stuff. It wasn’t as monotonous, one dimensional and primitive as I remembered it. There was much more variety on Morbid Visions and In The Sign Of Evil than I ever gave them credit for back in my Thrashiest days. I still don’t like a production job that puts huge reverb on barked vocals, I still don’t like songs that are just a d-beat for five minutes with little variety, but I think I underestimated a lot of bands with a harder edge. There’s a lot going on than I previously believed.

Towards the end of the week, I broke my rule of there being only studio albums, and allowed an Anthrax compilation (Killer Bs) and a live album (Sacred Reich – Still Ignorant) to slip in there. There’s some great stuff on Killer Bs… Anthrax doing the S.O.D songs sounds better than S.O.D. The live tracks are killer, some of the covers are pretty decent, and I never noticed how heavy ‘Bring The Noise’ was. I remember hearing it daily in the Nu Metal era, in the background of Tony Hawks’ videogame and on MTV2 and I always must’ve concentrated on the rap and not noticed how heavy the guitar was. The structure of the album is a bit of a mess, but I’m the kind of person who will restructure it in iTunes to suit my needs (I just did this a week ago with C.O.C’s iconic Blind album to make that flow even better, I have no worries restructuring a rarities compilation).

I have a real clear memory of the day I bought that CD. It was in Gene Stewart’s music shop in Dungannon, and it was on a 3-albums-for-£20 deal (which was good at the time) and I got it together with Rust In Peace and Peace Sells But Whos Buying at the height of the Nu Metal era, and I remember my friends commenting on my friends mentioning ‘Look at Jimmy buying all the 80s Metal’ and then it turned out 2 out of the 3 cds were from the 90s anyway.

Sacred Reich’s live album is monstrous. Very entertaining. A good mix, tracks from every album and EP, a solid performance, heavier vocals, good mix. A real winner!

This really made me want to pick up some of the Thrash live albums I don’t own, like Exodus Good Friendly Violent Fun and Anthrax The Island Years. I’m Skeptical about The Island Years because the tracks fade out apparently, but it could still be cool maybe. I never bought good friendly violent fun because I hate the album artwork so much, but that’s a terrible reason. Oh, and I never got Live Shit Binge Purge… which I always always wanted so that might be nice to add. Shame Megadeth don’t have a live album from this era… I think there’s one on one of the boxsets (Warchest?) but I don’t like buying big boxsets if there’s a greatest hits element to it. Nowadays in the digital downloads era I could get just the bits I want, I guess. Its an option.

Some of the best Thrash albums came out in the 90s rather than the 80s. Anthrax Persistence Of Time, Death Angel Act 3, Megadeth Rust In Peace, Annhilator Never Neverland, Kreator Coma Of Souls etc… even some decent ones like Nuclear Assault Out Of Order, Exodus Impact Is Imminent, Exhorder Slaughter In The Vatican etc which aren’t among the memorable best-ever albums of a band’s career but are damn fine additions to any Thrash collection.

Keeping in mind that Thrash in the 90s can still be great philosophy, I rectified a long term glaring gap in my collection, and finally got myself a copy of Overkill’s Horrorscope album which I avoided at the time because I couldn’t find a copy at a good price and avoided since because I didn’t like the title track as much as other famous Overkill singles. Luckily from the first minute of opener ‘Coma’ I knew this was a good purchase, blistering, fabulously produced double kicks and great chugging guitars lit up my happy-place like I used to get from acquiring a new Thrash album back in the day. Maybe its time to try Sodom’s Tapping The Vein to try the same magic for a second time.

At the end of the week, I broke the original remit even further, by listening to Metallica’s Black Album and Megadeth’s Countdown To Extinction, as well as Exodus’ Force Of Habbit (and to a lesser extent Testament’s The Ritual). These albums are not strictly 100% Thrash if you’re being snobby… but ‘Psychotron’ and ‘The Struggle Within’ are close enough for me; no need to get snobby. Plus a good album is a good album… and those are two damn good albums Metallica and Megadeth released there! I think its interesting that I’ve always listened to The Black Album less than any other Metallica album (and Nirvana’s Nevermind too) due to some weird mental block, and am always surprised when its great. I should rectify this.

I didn’t go so far as to stick in Anthrax’s Sound Of White Noise because that one does feel a bit too removed from Thrash to really justify in a week-of-Thrash situation. I’ll sure as heck be listening to it now that the week is over though!

I still find this subgenre to be one of my favourites in all music and arguably the purest, best form of Heavy Metal in existence. It was nice to just take a week to wallow in it, uninterrupted by anything else. I never got to know the magic of it first hand, …And Justice For All was released a few days before I was born, but good music is good music… and for me it doesn’t come much better than this.

Looks Tempting:

Posted: August 16, 2015 by kingcrimsonprog in Looks Tempting

Stolen from my blogging friends and heroes (if blogging heroes is a concept that can exist without being cheesy) I’ve decided to try my hand at the “how tempting” format. Here is a bunch of musical purchases I’m tempted to make, and likely would have made already if I wasn’t broke:

– No brainer. A new Helloween album. I love Helloween, I’m in a Helloween mood at the minute and they’re a really consistent band who always deliver (well, they have been for a long time anyway, apart from the wobble everyone is familiar with after Kai left). Apart from Chameleon, this is now the only album under the Helloween name I don’t already own.

– Speaking of Kai, new Gamma Ray album. Not THAT new I’ll admit, I’ve been planning on buying it since before it was even released but keep blowing my music budget on multiple cheap cds rather than single expensive new ones. This is really high on my priorities list.

– I have everything else he ever released, and enjoyed the preview track ‘Deep Six’ so this should already be in my collection already. First paycheck I get at my new job will likely see me scoop this up in a hurry. I have a thing with Marilyn Manson where on the one hand I think he got really rubbish after Holywood (one of my all time favourite albums ever and a genuine stone cold masterpiece within all music) but on the other hand I do actually enjoy all his albums and listen to them regularly… its weird, I like them all, but if you said they were crap I’d agree. If you asked which albums to buy, I’d say avoid anything after Holywood, but I’ll personally listen to everything afterward and enjoy it. Its difficult to explain.

– Really solid band. Every album they’ve done is good, so this should be too. Like Devildriver, I’d never ever call them a favourite band of mine and yet I listen to them a lot more than bands I do call favourites. Weird. They’re just really easily digestible and comfortable I guess. I initially avoided this album for fears that it was an all acoustic album like Unblackened’s bonus disc… but it wasn’t and I’m looking forward to it now. I had tickets to see them on this tour but I had to miss it because I was shit-myself-sick from some crazy virus and was also due to be back at work the morning after the gig would’ve been, so it would’ve been really irresponsible to have gone. Shame, I love their live Blu Ray Doom Troopin and it would’ve been nice to see em.

– I absolutely love this band and I’m really surprised that I didn’t cave in and buy this already. I’m very excited for this one and Its super high on my priorities list when it comes to shopping for entertainment. The guest appearances from Chino and Greg also intrigue me, as these can be really interesting when done right. I’m a bit skeptical about how the whole story surrounding the album might impact things (you know the manslaughter story already I presume) but that’s what I thought about Slipknot’s new album and it ended up being my album of the summer.

– This album is absolutely badass, I’ll tell you that right now. It’s the only one on this list I’ve hear all the way through as I am usually CD obsessed and so don’t usually like to stream albums before I buy them …but with all the intrigue in my circle of friends (my buddy Paul is a gigantic Fear Factory fan so this was a big talking point) I couldn’t help myself. I am thoroughly impressed with this and want a legit physical copy for myself asap.

– The only Gamma Ray album (apart from the aforementioned new one) that I don’t own. I like every single other album the band have done and even if this one has a reputation for being a bit stale and recycled I think I’d enjoy it (Land Of The Free Part II has the same reputation and I love it).

– I own the albums before and after this, but this is such a landmark album in the subgenre and for the band that it feels like a giant gap in my collection. Also, considering what a Power Metal mood I’m in these days, this really intrigues and excites me. I definitely see myself picking it up before Christmas.

I also want more from all the Power Metal bands I’ve been listening to recently. More Stratovarius, More Sabaton, More Hammerfall, you get the drift.

Furthermore, just to add to things: Trivium, Children Of Bodom, Parkway Drive, Slayer, Iron Maiden, The Frattelis, Riverside, Disturbed, Clutch, Tesseract, Saxon, Five Finger Death Punch and Stratovarius all have new albums coming out and I want them all. They’re not released yet but I can see them tempting me severely once they are. Especially Clutch and Tesseract given how incredible both of their last albums were.

As well as all that, I have a temptation to fill in gaps in my collection for collections sake sometimes, like Soulfly’s Savages album, which I’m not in the mood for at the moment, but sometimes want just because I have all the other Soulfly records… but that is a wasteful and pointless exercise to actually undertake, its better to go for stuff I’m in the mood for and will enjoy at the time. If I do get in a Soulfly mood again later then there’s something extra to check out at the time. On the other hand, I am in a massive Thrash Metal mood at the minute, and some collection gaps such as Overkill’s Horrorscope and Sodom’s Tapping The Vein are looking increasingly tempting. I mean… if you’ve been planning on buying an album for over a decade, it might be time to take the plunge y’know?

Finally, B Sides and Bonus Tracks. If I buy the standard edition of an album, I’m pretty soon after curious about the bonus tracks and last Summer I got myself Judas Priest’s Redeemer Of Souls album with a birthday giftcard… I have been super curious about the bonus tracks on the special edition ever-after that, and might just iTunes em all soon. Maybe that and the Death Magnetic b-sides EP thing who’s name escapes me at the minute. I already buckled and got the bonus tracks from Trivium’s latest album (that I in fact got on the same giftcard as the Priest one last summer), so it wouldn’t be the craziest idea.

Then there’s all the albums that reading fellow bloggers review that have my eyes bulging and drool pooling around my feet. If you read some of the excellent blogs like Mike Ladano and ’80s Metal Man you’ll soon find yourself salivating over Poison’s Native Tongue or Girlschool’s Screaming Blue Murder. Or over at Nick, Scott and Stone’s blogs to find even more desires for new releases. It’s a dangerous prospect for the bank account, getting into the world of online music fans (he said jestingly).

Some Songs With Similar Intros:

Posted: August 2, 2015 by kingcrimsonprog in Uncategorized

(Maiden one’s a bit of a stretch)

Manowar – Into Glory Ride Review

Posted: August 1, 2015 by kingcrimsonprog in Metal, Metal - Studio, Music Reviews

A lot of people like to make fun of the legendary American Heavy Metal band Manowar, and the cover-art and lyrics to their sophomore album Into Glory Ride often come into the firing line. I don’t like to criticize music too much on these sorts of aspects (I’m an avowed Nu Metal apologist, so I’m not going to start being hypocritical and judge Manowar on non-musical terms either), but I will say one thing, no matter how much I enjoy the band this is by far and away my least favourite record they’ve released to date.

I know it might be blasphemy to some, as many people consider this 1983 record to be an absolute classic, but this really isn’t what I’m looking for in a Manowar record, personally. I like my Manowar fun. I like my Manowar beefy. I most of all like my Manowar fast. Where Into Glory Ride falls down for me is that it is mostly doomy, slow, and ponderous. Its not just a speed thing though, there’s also the energy, the ‘umph’ …a lot of these songs just sound a bit tame, they don’t rip. They’re not exactly samey per sae but there’s a certain lack of something special with the tracks that makes them feel sort of forgettable to me. After the opener ‘Warlord’ which is like an OK version of what the band were doing on their debut, and ‘Revelation (Death’s Angel)’ which is a decent tune, there’s really nothing that interests me, nothing I look forward to seeing in concert, and nothing I’d want on a compilation or playlist.

This is just personal preference, but I’d rather have one hundred bangers like ‘Wheels Of Fire’ ‘Ride The Dragon’ ‘Outlaw’ or ‘House Of Death’ than something as hard work as ‘Hatred.’ I might go on say that the production isn’t that great, but in fairness neither is the production on the albums preceding and following it and it doesn’t stop me enjoying them too much. There’s no denying the talent that the band display, the classic status of the record, and the importance of it to the band’s career, but I just don’t particularly care that much for this set of songs.

I feel almost obliged to say something more positive about it because I know some people hold this in huge esteem. I’ll give it this, at least its original… there’s no other Manowar album like it. I like hearing the band with youthful energy, I like hearing Scott Colombus’ interesting wallopy drums. I love Eric’s powerful vocals. This album, simply not for me though.

Buying Round-Up 2015: Second Quarter

Posted: August 1, 2015 by kingcrimsonprog in Uncategorized

I’m not very good at posting these buying roundups and I haven’t been posting much at all recently due to the final crush at the end of university and an incredibly tiring schedule at work as well. Now that I’ve finally got five minutes to myself I’ve got the time to break open Darksiders 2 for the second time since I got it for xmas two years ago, to go back and listen to all of Biohazard’s albums again, to start reading A Game Of Thrones again, to read Batman Knightfall again. I’ve got to start lifting weights again and while doing so checking out some of the concert Blu Rays I used to enjoy while lifting such as Motorhead’s The Wörld Is Ours, Volume 2: Anyplace Crazy As Anywhere Else. Yes its been so good having free time its been like a big nerdy Christmas.

But its not been all work work work this year. I like to exaggerate and act as if I had no time whatsoever but this last quarter I’ve found the time to get my greasy hands on all of the following:

Its been an interesting half year. Some interesting purchases along the way. Things I didn’t expect myself to ever buy (Less Than Jake). Things I bought but thought would enjoy more (Twilight Time). Things that were pretty terrible (Graveyard Shift). There’s also a bunch of Helloween b sides I got but don’t have a good image for posting. Some of these I’ve reviewed already (most of the Power Metal ones) some I don’t even know how to begin reviewing (I can’t seem to write about comics).

One thing to note, there’s been little to no new releases, I’m falling behind the times. This is becuase I can get old albums for pennies and new albums are usually over ten quid. All that will change soon enough though, when I can work more and earn some proper cash. Then I’ll be able to tell you if the new Marilyn Manson or Children Of Bodom albums are any good etc.

Also, because why not, here’s my LastFM scrobling for the last quarter:
1. Slipknot – 308 plays
2. Iced Earth – 299 plays
3. Helloween – 274 plays
4. Manowar – 257 plays
5. Freedom Call – 248 plays
6. Alkaline Trio – 213 plays
7. Gamma Ray – 185 plays
8. Rancid – 170 plays
9. The Distillers – 170 plays
10. Less Than Jake – 158 plays
11. Dead Kennedys – 152 plays
12. Fear Factory – 148 plays
13. Marilyn Manson – 142 plays
14. Arctic Monkeys – 142 plays
15. Queensrÿche – 126 plays
16. Blind Guardian – 125 plays
17. Mötley Crüe – 120 plays
18. Five Finger Death Punch – 120 plays
19 Angra – 117 plays
20. Disturbed – 114 plays
21. D.O.A. – 112 plays
22. Machine Head – 111 plays
23. Stratovarius – 109 plays
24. Black Flag – 104 plays
25. The Libertines – 100 plays
26. Megadeth – 96 plays
27. Green Day – 95 plays
28. Minor Threat – 90 plays
29. NOFX – 81 plays
30. 7Seconds – 79 plays
31. Black Label Society – 77 plays
32. Periphery – 77 plays
33. Def Leppard – 73 plays
34. The Offspring – 73 plays
35. Metallica – 72 plays
36. The Fratellis – 72 plays
37. Bad Brains – 70 plays
38. Trivium – 70 plays
39. Circle Jerks – 69 plays
40. Sick Of It All – 69 plays
41. Pantera – 66 plays
42. Accept – 60 plays
43. HammerFall – 59 plays
44. Mastodon – 59 plays
45. Sabaton – 59 plays
46. Protest The Hero – 59 plays
47. Motörhead – 57 plays
48. Stone Temple Pilots – 53 plays
49. Soulfly – 53 plays
50. TesseracT – 50 plays