Posts Tagged ‘limp bizkit’

Hello and welcome once more to yet another edition of my blog series, Get (Into) What You Paid For; a series in which I blog about music and media I own, to distract myself from the fact that I am sworn off buying anything new for a month (or in this case, two months).

Its day 40, and I haven’t spent anything new in the last three days… hey, I’m getting the hang of this! Maybe if I keep this going long enough I’ll be able to break free of the habit of spending so frequently. I could use that money for fresh fruit and vegetables! (I’m on a health kick at the moment and that seems like the best use of my money in my current state of mind). I’ve also been experimenting with baking and online grocery shopping with mixed results. I’m planning on being a more successful human being for the next year, more organized and nourished and with more strings to my bow.

Continuing this self-improvement theme, I’ve also decided to cycle for 20-minutes after work every day from when I return to work following my current time-off, all the way up until Christmas. To sure-up this decision, I spent last night making dozens of 20-minute playlists in iTunes for cycling to. (Well, most of them end up being 22 minutes). The main theme of each playlist is pick about 5 songs from about 5 different artists within one subgenre.

So for example: 1 Saxon song, 1 Diamond Head song, 1 Iron Maiden song, 1 Angel Witch Song, 1 Motorhead song…. and then call that playlist “NWOBHM 1.”

In this spirit I have made: 9 Classic Rock Lists, 9 Thrash Metal lists, 9 NWOBHM/Early Metal lists, 9 Thrash Metal lists, 8 Glam Metal lists, 6 Power Metal lists, 5 Metalcore lists, 4 Groove Metal lists, 2 NYHC lists, 2 Indie Lists, 2 Nu Metal lists, 1 Stoner Rock list, and 1 Melodeath list.

Oh yeah, and two lists of Thrash bands’ ‘90s hits…like “Symphony Of Destruction,’ ‘Only,’ ‘Enter Sandman’ etc.

I only chose jaunty up-tempo songs; no ballads, no interludes, no intros, no doomy songs, nothing proggy… just stuff that would make me want to continue cycling. Its basically that I always get a shower when I get home from work, but I am always hesitant to do any exercise once I’ve had a shower because it’s a waste of water and therefore money, and so I’ve decided that I could squeeze in a small bit of exercise after each work day so its not too tiring (and get rewarded by hearing 5 or so classic songs) but since I’ll still work up a sweat it would be advisable before my usual post-work shower. Hopefully it makes me squeeze in exercise all the time, rather than doing it properly when I’m in the mood, but more often ending up doing nothing when it can’t be done right… as they say: “Don’t let Perfect be the enemy of Good.”

Anyway, enough health propaganda, on to the main article:

Since my recent birthday, I’ve been describing how I’ve been reading Martin Popoff’s Top 500 Metal Albums book, and this has not changed. I’ve been happily reading away at this yesterday too, now up to around number-300. It’s a damn good book and I highly recommend it. Even if there are a few small mistakes (eg. he said that Michael Kiske was the singer on Helloween’s Walls Of Jerhico, but it was really Kai Hansen) and sometimes his sentences lack all grammatical logic or you can tell he forgot to type words here and there, it is still a very entertaining and well put-together product.

I’ve also spent the last few days listening to the following albums:

I decided to put this record on again because I recently read an article online which was about biggest disappointments/flops. Untouchables was in it. I thought to myself…”surely not?” I remembered at the time, everyone loved it. They filmed the successful comeback show with loads of songs from it. People on Metal podcasts I listened to remembered it fondly. I listened to it again last night, and yeah, there’s a wee bit of filler (like EVERY Korn record) but it is in no way a weak album for them, plus lead single and album opener “Here To Stay” is just an absolute smasher! Oh yeah, and I looked it up on Wikipedia this morning and that also suggests it is one of the band’s most popular albums. What about the verse to “Embrace” ? …or the chorus to “Wake Up Hate” ?

Disappointment? Pfft…

This album is a weird one for me; I listen to tracks from it almost daily on shuffle, but I have this weird “I don’t listen to this album enough” feeling all the time because I don’t sit down and listen to it in its entirety often enough. Well, I tried to put that right, and its one of my favourite Motorhead records when you add up all the songs I like (although I just usually don’t listen to them together… something it shares in common with Faith No More’s Angel Dust as a matter of fact). Some people called this one a disappointment, or dislike the production. Not me, I love it. Love it all. So many great tracks. Great atmosphere. Its charming. “(Don’t Let ‘Em) Grind Ya Down” is especially fun. Heck it all is; no filler!

I listened to this yesterday whilst weightlifting because I have elderly neighbors in my temporary accommodation and I didn’t want them to have to hear Hatebreed, which is what I was really in the mood for at the time, but I’m a considerate neighbor when all is said and done.

I remember I bought this for super-cheap (around a penny I seem to recall, or maybe one pound at an absolute maximum!) just to have something to talk about with a coworker in my last job, who had an Alkaline Trio tattoo. I’m not really keen on it. I always liked their single “Private Eye” but unfortunately its about the only song on this album that is memorable. Its all competent but its just a bit bland and forgettable. Oh well, a Penny for a few conversations and “Private Eye” …not too much of a waste. Its not like I’ll have to quit doing fucked-up shit.

I’ve mentioned before about how I got this in 2010 and never felt like I’d listened to it enough. I still feel that way. Even with a recent attempt at a revival of it by adding it to my phone on work trips and during my Dutch holiday. To its credit, there are some great songs on the record, like the Title Track, “The Alchemist” and “Talisman.” I just somehow never feel like I give it enough attention though. I’ll keep trying, because it is good, its just… demanding.

This was a birthday gift. It’s the modern Helloween line-up trying to do their version of the Keepers’ albums. BOTH Keepers! It’s a double album, each with a 10 minute epic, a few fast thrashers, a ballad each, and a fun off-the wall song.

Its kind of exhausting. I can tell there’s good stuff on it, because I like Deris-era Helloween a lot anyway. But, its just a huge amount to take in at once. Without the mental division of individual albums the way the original Keepers Part 1 & 2 had. You feel overworked listening to it.

Some people are down on sequel albums, especially those late in a career. I like Operation Mindcrime 2 and Thick As A Brick 2 though… so I’ll give this one a chance as well. It just might take a long time to absorb.


I went for a run the other day, and the soundtrack to this sweaty affair was the suitably sweaty Manowar albums I got for my birthday, all together (Not just the one pictured, but Triumph Of Steel and Fighting The World too) on shuffle. These albums are really growing on me. Sure the drum solos in “Achilles” are pace-killers and that spoken word track is too long, but this is a seriously fun band with some seriously great Metal songs to offer. All of their fast songs are almost instant-favourites of mine, catapulted into Best Of playlists already. This is a good boxset and these albums are showing some real promise to join the best of Helloween and Gamma Ray at the top of my Power Metal pile… almost eclipsing Stratovarius already!

Absolute masterpiece. I’ve spent enough time talking about it. I think its one of the best records ever made, by anyone. I just need to listen to it regularly because I don’t want it to slip out of listening. (Once I let “Crack The Skye” go, it didn’t come back the same).

Another birthday gift. Very fun, pleasant, upbeat and happy record. Perfect listening for this sunshine, and for this good-mood inspired by the exercise and healthy-eating zone I’m in. Also nice and brief, lightweight and succinct. Easily digestible, quick and cheerful stuff for instant gratification and no-brains smiles being put on my face.

I’ve tried once more last night, despite feeling like it wasn’t very good and even with new attention, I just don’t really like this album much at all. I really like their debut, don’t get me wrong, its not just thoughtless Poison-bashing here, I just don’t like this Posion album. This one is just a bit empty. There’s nothing in the style I want from them, and there’s no catchy perfect fun in an alternative style to the one I want either. Its just very bland and unexciting. Nothing “grabs” me.

Halfway between the first and the third. Not just as memorable as their debut, or as forgettable as their third album, this has stuff going for it, but isn’t “wow, this album is great!” either. An enjoyable listen, that will eventually be boiled down to just the best few tracks and mostly ignored otherwise. I like “Back On The Rocking Horse,” “Bad To Be Good,” and “Look But You Can’t Touch” as well as the Kiss-esque hit single “Nuthin But A Good Time” of course.

I used to listen to this all the time last year. It got pushed out by new purchases. I still tend to listen to the post-Ralph albums a lot, but the first three of their albums have done a runner from my limited-storage-space phone long ago, which is a shame really, they deserve more attention. I’m pushing them back in now though. How can you argue with “Money” on a sunny day?

I’ve been listening to this constantly since its release, and so this listen here is just another go-round, rather than any attempt to appreciate an under-appreciated hidden gem. I’ve been constantly listening to it all year because its really good! …Even their absolutely shoddy live gig this time last year didn’t stop this being a good record in my eyes.

I enjoyed listening to it out in the sun today whilst chopping down (or rather trimming to acceptable tidiness, its not like I actually felled them with an axe) the trees surrounding my current accommodation, in the glorious sunshine. The title track and “Fall From Grace” are brilliant cheerful songs to hack trees by! (Although maybe I should’ve listened to Rush, now that I think about it… that’d be good, ey? I wonder if the neighbors would’ve got the joke?).

It took a long time to trim those trees. This was the second album I put on, because its not too-heavy for neighbors. I love this album, any excuse to listen to it is fine by me… even if my thumbs are covered in blisters afterwards! Good album. “Sleeping By Myself Tonight” is superb.

Man, I just never listen to this. I’ve owned it at least a decade, and I think I’ve listened to it fewer than twenty times in all that time (shame it wasn’t Somewhere In Time so I could use yet another “time” in that sentence), with about ten of those listens being made in the same month I bought it.

I love the title track (man, title tracks are usually great, aren’t they?) and “Be Quick Or Be Dead,” which I will always love for its Carmaggeddon 2 memories! (It was in that game’s soundtrack beside “The Trooper” and “Man On The Edge.”) Other than those two tracks however, I almost don’t even recognize over half of the record. I wasn’t even all that fond of it when I listened to it yesterday again either. I must try yet again tomorrow! Maybe it’s a grower, and I’ve never put enough time into it?

This album is fantastic. Its taken me years to think that though. A bit of backstory: I bought Cowboys’ and Vulgar’ on the same day on a Dublin holiday when I was about 12 or 13. I loved Vulgar instantly and forever. The high screams and weird production (and infuriating lack of snare drums on “Primal Concrete Sledge”) on Cowboys however, at the time made me think of it as being bad and cheesy and out-dated and un-Pantera, and for about two years afterwards I only liked the title track. (Title Tracks again, see?). Over the years I’ve liked more and more of it, and getting into thrash unlocked more of its charm, getting into Maiden unlocked yet more. Getting into Priest unlocked the final missing piece. Now I love every second of it… it just took me a while. A kid who mostly listens to Powerman 5000 and Limp Bizkit doesn’t have the palate suitable for “Heresy” or “Psycho Holiday” just yet. Well, it was worth the wait!

Another “I am listening to this all the time anyway” album. I’m surprised how much I’ve come to really enjoy this record. It’s also “unlocked” the band’s first two albums for me, and I can appreciate them as real music now, instead of just a clown-parade of druggy chancers and womanizers writing 80% filler and getting unnaturally lucky with a few hits, like I used to view them. Moving on…

Yet another “I am listening to this all the time anyway” album, like the above. This is my definite album of the summer. It will likely be my album of the year at this rate. Every listen and it gets better, just like Stalingrad did. I’ll be watching the free Blu Ray a lot over the rest of the year too. Good value. I’ve been avoiding new albums recently because I can get boxsets of albums for the same price as individual new albums, and about 5 cheap old albums for the price of one new album, so it just seems wasteful to buy new albums…. This one however was unarguable value for money considering how much enjoyment and use I got out of it!

When I first got the boxset of Dokken’s first five albums (well, four and a live album), I sort of overlooked this one a lot. I’m slowly rectifying that oversight. “Paris Is Burning” and “Live To Rock (Rock To Live)” are excellent jaunty Judas Priest-style Speed Metal tracks (although with a softer production, admittedly).

This still isn’t my favourite Dokken album, or one I’d share with any friends who don’t listen to this sort of thing to convert them, but it’s a nice enough album and worth my time.

This is a classic, everyone loves it. Its not hard to see why. Phil’s voice is excellent here, Pepper and Kirk’s riffs are really memorable and everyone loves a bit of Bower Power, that Bonham-esque groove he can inject songs with really putting the cherry on top.

Good songs (most of a Down setlist most times, ey?), great performances, faultless production… pretty good record. Its not even monotonous, there’s plenty of variety from the brief stunners like “Lifer” and “Hail To The Leaf” and then the acoustic “Jail,” for variety, yet further diversified by the unique genre-of-one in hit single “Stone The Crow” and then topped-off by the big weighty monolith of an album-closer (and live-favourite) “Bury Me In Smoke.”

Its just all good, and there’s a nice mix so you aren’t bored or wore-down. I just need to remind myself to listen to it as often as I listen to Pantera or C.O.C. I’ve been constantly hammering The Purple EP all year, or at least its highlights, so I’ve probably been getting enough Down overall that I didn’t notice the dip in NOLA plays, but Martin Popoff’s book just reminded me to go back to the reason I liked Down in the first place.

I listen to the title track (how many times with the title tracks?) and “Rock N Roll Rebel” all the time, and I have it on Vinyl mounted on my wall, and I listened to the whole record all the time for about a year after I got it… but I’ve noticed a massive decrease in listens recently. I’ve just put it on again (another Popoff inspired move) and noticed that apart from the aforementioned hits, I’ve forgotten most of this record, and there’ actually a lot more good moments on here than I’ve been giving it credit for recently, certainly since last Christmas I’ve not listened to it in full. Well, now I have once more, and it was entertaining. Not the best Ozzy album, but better than the two-tracks-only footnote that I’ve been treating it as! Also the bonus track “One Up The B Side” is great, despite its cheesy joke title.

I bought a set of the first two V.O.D. albums a while back, around the same time I bought the boxset of Life Of Agony albums (I remember mixing the two bands up because of their triple-word names with “of” in the center, their association with ‘90s American Hardcore, and both having tracks with “River” in the title. This “River” song has a guest appearance from Phil Anselmo, Life Of Agony’s didn’t.

I ended up becoming a real fan of the Life Of Agony material… but upon initial listen I wasn’t keen on V.O.D. much at all. Their albums seemed like an exhausting barrage of samey, brash, rough-around-the-edges violence. To be fair, that’s still true, but its more of a compliment than an insult. This album is full of absolutely brilliant tracks. Each one, in isolation, is a blow-away-the-cobwebs breath of fresh air… intense, threatening and very very lively. Their singer reminds me of Chimaira’s Mark Hunter a little… but a less melodic, more screamy version.

Highlights for me are “Jada Bloom,” “Twelve Steps To Nothing” and “Landslide.” I’m warming to this album, its just a bit exhausting all at once… they’re still a band I can only take in small doses.

Another Popoff inspiration. I bought this record around this time last year, wasn’t amazingly sold on it really, and kind of just listened to it in small doses here and there from then on, with decreasing frequency until its now mostly ignored altogether. I stuck it on yesterday and was really impressed, there’s a whole heap of stolen Anthrax, Megadeth and Overkill parts and apart from the slow, grungy tempos and Rob’s unusual voice, this is pretty much a nice Thrash album. “Thrust” and “Black Sunshine” are good. The only problem with the album is that the band seem a bit too relaxed, too calm, holding back a bit. V.O.D are too unhinged and aggressive and abrasive, put this is the opposite end of the spectrum… its very chilled out and softened-down. You can tell the songs are good though, it’d be cool to hear them covered by someone with a bit of energy. Perhaps V.O.D. could cover them and split the difference?

This album is associated with sunshine for me. I was listening to it in the wonderful sunshine in the zoo in Rotterdamn, and I listened to it today whilst going out on a long walk in the countryside while trying to put more of this healthy stuff into action and make the most of this last week away before its back to early 4am work mornings and grey city sludge. The whole album is so bright and clean and uplifting that really sunshine is the only environment in which you could take it seriously… you already need a big smile on your face before it even starts.

What about the record itself? I used to think it was pretty samey, pretty bland, and lacking in the x-factor of its more famous cousin Inhuman Rampage. Listening to it carefully for the first time today, I guess that’s only half true… there’s a little more to things here than I initially credited it with, and while it can wear a little thin all at once its pretty much an honest record with good intentions. Not soon to become a favourite, but worth a few more listens at least.

Ok. That’s enough for one article. I’ve dropped my thoughts on most of the albums I’ve been listening to in the last three days; I’ll leave discussions of Death, Carcass, Cro-Mags and Deicide to another time as I’m pretty sure most people will’ve stopped reading by now anyway.

Oh well, it stopped me from splashing out on Spiderman comic collections, Early ‘80s American Hardcore bands’ debut albums, Musician’s biographies (Five Finger Death Punch’s drummer has a book out!?) and all the live concert DVDs going at the minute (or indeed b-sides and bonus tracks to albums I have but haven’t got all the bonus material from.)

‘Til we meet again…

FIRST IMPRESSIONS Volume 71: Poison – Look What The Cat Dragged In

FIRST IMPRESSIONS Volume 71: Poison – Look What The Cat Dragged In

Hello, and welcome to my Blog. Why is it called KingcrimsonBlog, the official Blog of Kingcrimsonprog?. Good question; It is called that, because I am called Kingcrimsonprog (or Gentlegiantprog). Well, I’m not. I’m called Jimmy. But, I’m called either Kingcrimsonprog or Gentlegiantprog on most websites and forums. (You know, in the way you have to choose a name or “net-handle” when you register?).

Back when this Blog was first devised, it was sort of a hub “digest” of all my various internet output, under one easy “roof.” So people could then tell that my things were not stolen from elsewhere on the internet, I kept my net-handle in the title. The name of my net-handle was simply chosen because I enjoy the Prog band King Crimson (and Gentle Giant) and is not in fact my real name. Forget about the name. Imagine its called “Music Nerd Blog” instead. You’ll get the idea.

I’ve been obsessing about music since about the year 2000. Over this time I’ve bought what must now be nearly 1,000 albums, and heard hundreds more through friends, relatives, streaming services and whatever else. I’ve also watched over a decade’s worth of music videos and heard countless individual songs on the radio, free covermounted CDs, websites and whatever else. All that, as well as read years and years worth of music magazines and websites.

I’m a nerd. Basically. Only, instead of James Bond or Vintage Clothing, its Music that I obsess about. Lots of people are nerds and don’t even realize it. Sometimes its obvious; trainspotting, stamp collecting etc. Sometimes its less obvious due to presentation. Some (make that many) football fans’ depth of knowledge about players and transfer costs and club histories would make many tram-enthusiasts seem normal by comparison. The amount of information that some people know about Reality-TV celebrities and their sex-lives would easily overpower my knowledge of bands, or the most dedicated historian and their knowledge of French Military Tactics. Everyone has a thing they get nerdy about, whether or not they realize or admit that it is similar to the more famous nerdy things like Star Wars. I don’t particularly like Football or Reality TV or French Military Tactics. I like Heavy Metal music. That’s my one thing. That’s what this Blog is all about.

Welcome to my First Impressions series of articles too, incidentally. In this series I (or sometimes my friends, or readers) pick an album for each entry that I will listen to for the first time. I then write in depth about what I know about that album or the artist that created it and the genre and subgenre to which they belong, before describing the experience of listening to it in real time, in a sort of semi-stream-of-consciousness way intended for entertainment purposes. I also enjoy writing reviews of albums, but when I write reviews my goal is to be helpful and provide you with information with which to aide your decision about whether to try out an album or not. When I write a First Impressions article however my goal is purely to entertain the reader, explore how much I know about music and be my own psychiatrist in the process.

I may go into some very specific detail and assume you have heard everything I’ve ever heard and perceived everything in the manner I’ve perceived it, and call out very specific sections of music and draw comparisons between things that the casual listener may find completely unrelated. Don’t worry, most of these songs are on Youtube and most of the terminology is on Wikipedia and Urban Dictionary anyway, so if there’s anything that goes over your head, you can always get clarification in a second web-browser-tab (or ask about it in the comments).

According to the aim of the series, the albums are considered by the public and music critics knowledgeable about the subject to be Classic albums within Rock and Metal, or at least within their own Subgenres. Classic albums that I’ve somehow missed out on, despite my nerdly need to hear and understand almost every piece of recorded Metal music ever.

If you have an album that you’d like to read a KingcrimsonBlog First Impressions article about, please suggest it in the comments, I’m game, I’ll give anything a try.

So that’s the preamble out of the way, on to the article:

This is the seventy-first entry in the series and this time I’ll be listening to the debut album by the American Glam Metal band Poison, 1986’s Look What The Cat Dragged In. (1986 – Which was the year of Peace Sells, Reign In Blood and Master Of Puppets).

I’d like to think I was done with talking about Glam by now. I’ve covered it in previous FI articles on the subject of W.A.S.P , Quiet Riot, Motely Crue, Extreme, Twisted Sister , W.A.S.P again and more recently, Dokken.

Maybe I’m just not done with Glam yet. Maybe there’s something left to say, because I haven’t properly given Posion a detailed scrutiny. I remember a friend saying that even as a fan of Glam, Poison would be an embarrassing band to admit to liking.

I like the sound of that. It seems like it might be an interesting experience. A band that are too over-the-top looking, a band that are considered style over substance by other style-over-substance artists, a band that watered their sound down even more than the rest. A band that is more symbolically pop-with-guitars than Glam METAL. I remember a video of Corey Taylor telling a story of picking up this album to see the “hot chicks” on the cover, only to discover that they were men. That sort of says all I’m going to bother with about how the band looks.

I also know their music videos are stupid. To be fair, almost all music videos are either stupid or else just dull. It took me quite a while to stop judging bands based on music videos, so if you saw one and it put you off the band I completely understand, but I’m going to go on with the article under the premise of “only the music matters, the image and videos don’t change whether the album is good or not.”

I remember my initial point of giving Glam a fair chance was the promise of that Metal part, that Judas Priest sounding Metal that hid in the early material of W.A.S.P and the deep cuts of Twisted Sister. The idea that a band who people write off can sound almost indistinguishable from Overkill’s debut makes me smile a little.

That’s not going to be the case here though is it? This is the other end of the spectrum as far as I know.

Lets find out.

[Play]

‘Cry Tough’ opens up with a nice crowd-friendly drum part people could clap along with that reminds me of Green Day’s ‘Wake Me Up When September Ends’ only shone through the filter of a sunny 80s buddy comedy. Then a mixture of shimmering arpeggios low in the mix, slow distorted guitar chords and a sort of pop-punky bass line. The vocals are quite reminiscent of 80s female pop stars. It also reminds me of Bryan Adams for some reason.. Its about as heavy as the start of ‘Sweet Child Of Mine,’ so its still definitely Rock music, but its not sounding very Priest-esque yet.

I wonder if Poison were quite influential on Emo and Pop Punk bands. Not in a snarky way, because those things are all seen as ‘bad’ by certain vocal minorities online, but because I hear some genuine sonic similarities.

Its interesting that people online can be so venomous towards Pop Punk, Emo, Nu Metal and Hair Metal, but linking back to the James Gill “You Know All The Words” in a Rock-Club-scenario argument, I was in a Rock Club last night, and people most definitely knew all the words to Green Day and Sum 41 and My Chemical Romance and Paramore and Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park and seemed to be having a wonderful time of singing along to all of them, whether they were dressed in Pantera t-shirts or Death t-shirts or Burzum t-shirts.

I guess in a way its redundant to keep pointing out the same hypocrisies over and over again, and to write “Hey a lot of people actually like bands that are quite clearly well liked” when to most people its probably obvious, but it’s a topic that interests me a lot. To my mind, the way I perceive the world, from what I’ve read it seems like almost everyone hates Linkin Park, Sum 41 and Poison, but quite clearly this is the opposite of the case. Its probably because they’re so loved by so many people that online grumps want to deny their quality and popularity and endeavor to convince impressionable and easily-fooled people like me that no-one likes these bands.

I wonder, if the internet had have been bigger back in the 1980s-90s, would the whole Black Metal Helvete-scene thing have happened, or would having an outlet to simply troll Motley Crue and later Nirvana online have stopped all those guys having such a bad attitude towards commercial music in their day to day lives? Furthermore, when Euronymous and Count Grishnack got drunk, did they happily sing all the words to ‘Talk Dirty To Me’?

Its an interesting thought. I’m not a psychologist, and I don’t know enough about human nature to give you an actual insight, but the question is mildly interesting at any rate.

‘I Want Action’ opens up with just vocals, then an intro kicks in, then there’s a bouncy song which unfolds which is almost indistinguishable from Dookie-era Green Day, to my ears anyway, with a little Rock N Roll part thrown in there too. There’s a very pleasing and fun-to-the-ears guitar solo. The production reminds me of Appetite For Destruction but the music reminds me of Green Day. It ends the way you’d end live, with extra long fills and that sort of thing. That aspect reminds me of The Darkness, but not sonically, just in spirit.

‘I Won’t Forget You’ is a sort of ballad, or at least a very soft rock track, it reminds me of The Saw Doctors and The Proclaimers. The production makes it sound really perfect in a way. Its not particularly anything, but its good anyway… like the movie Adventureland. Its not the most emotional, humourous, or interesting film, even among its peer films, but its still good anyway.

‘Play Dirty’ opens up in a more energetic Rock fashion, it reminds me a bit of The Darkness’ ‘Growing On Me’ due to the rhythm of the main riff. This is probably the closest to Guns N Roses or Skid Row that this album has got so far. There’s a bit more attitude to it. The on/off nature of the chorus, combined with the reverby sing-along vocal makes me think of ‘Rock You Like A Hurricane.’ This is quite an enjoyable, fun, 80s Rock song. Kind of the same sort of fun as Quiet Riot’s ‘Metal Health.’

I think so far, Posion are a whole heap more slick, professional and impressive than Motely Crue. More talented as musicians, better songwriters and easier on the ears.

I also think they are more original in a strange way, because you can’t hear any Kiss or Aerosmith or Judas Priest in their sound at all. Maybe though, I just don’t know the band’s they’re ripping off. Even so; They’ve also got heaps of personality. This isn’t just another Glam band. There’s audible personality here. Like Limp Bizkit, even if the-

Woops. Spoke too soon. The Title Track comes in next, its actually quite a Metallic song compared to everything else so far. I guess there is a bit of Priest-influence after all. Well, you’re probably sick of me making Limp Bizkit analogies all the time anyway. Hey. This is actually a good song! Its simple but catchy. I wouldn’t be embarrassed listening to this song in a mix of Ozzy, Judas Priest and Gun N’ Roses songs. Interestingly, it even references Sin After Sin in the lyrics.

‘Talk Dirty To Me’ follows. I used to hate this song when I first heard it in Guitar Hero 3, which I also initially hated, but darn it if they didn’t both really grow on me. This is another very Pop Punky song. That main riff is even quite original-punky in a way. I’m not saying it sounds like The Ramones, but it does remind me of people who like The Ramones practicing guitar. I have a vague memory of a plot point in an episode of Scrubs surrounding a patient wanting to listen to this song.

The guitar solo here is a lot of fun, I think I quite like CC Deville. I’d rather listen to his guitar solos than Kerry King’s or Andreas Kisser’s. Yes I know that looses me a million Metal-points.

‘Want Some, Need Some’ comes next. It reminds me a bit of the Title Track but its a little slower and with a less Metallic feel. The chorus reminds me of Motely Crue slightly. It’s a fair enough song. The guitar solo is less musical this time though.

‘Blame It On You’ is the quintessential, stereotype, LA Stripper music Rock song. I mentioned this in relation to some songs on Dr. Feelgood. There’s a certain, specific way of writing bouncy beats with clunky bass guitar tones that connects a lot of Glam bands together. It’s sort of present in Mr. Brownstone.

‘Number One Bad Boy’ burst out confidently as if it was an extension of the previous song, the production here and the way some of the vocals work remind me of Motely Crue even though the actual vocal tone is closer to Twisted Sister. You know what it also reminds me of? The slightly Glam touches hidden in there on Alice In Chain’s Facelift. The bits with the guitar solo distantly remind me of Cowboys From Hell era Pantera, but that’s probably more to do with the fact that there’s an absence of Rhythm Guitar during the solos more than anything else.

‘Let Me Go To The Show’ comes on next, opening with a guitar solo. It’s a fast, fun, song with clean yet punky energy. It reminds of when Guns N’ Roses cover punk songs like ‘Attitude’ and ‘New Rose.’ There’s a bit in the middle that reminds me of ‘Ballroom Blitz’ due to the snare drum part. In one way it’s a very good song. In another, all the different parts don’t really gel together well. Maybe it was longer and the producer got them to delete a lot of the bridging parts so as to save the spirit of the song.

Ok. That’s it over.

You know what? I can see why people would be embarrassed to listen to Poison, but I would be a bold-faced liar if I said I did not enjoy this record. Admittedly; It doesn’t satisfy much of my Metal receptors, but it’s a whole heap of well-produced, personality-filled fun that reminds me of being a teenager and listening to Green Day for the first time.

I guess I’m not going to convince many Mayhem fans to give Poison a fair chance, but nobody really expects me to. Oh well, I’ll have more fun with this in the coming months than I will with Des Mysteries Dom Sathanis. I don’t really mind if that makes me look silly to the people who found this website for the Cannibal Corpse, Zyklon, Emperor or Melechesh entries, at least I’m enjoying myself.

Instead of beating the same old dead horse for yet another time, I’ll finish with a completely unrelated point. Kiss’ ‘Shout Mercy’ has become one of my favourite songs. I really recommend everyone listen to it. I was walking around Asda with my headphones in one day recently, trying to find powdered milk, and I suddenly stopped, wondering why I was having an absolutely brilliant time. The reason was because Kiss’ ‘Shout Mercy’ was playing. I don’t care if the lyrics are about being so good in bed that your partner has to loudly urge you to stop such is the intensity of their orgasm, because damn it, that is one great combination of musical parts. It also harks back to everything that was great about 70s Kiss but the weird swing feel of the main bit sounds unlike anything the band ever did before, so it’s a real satisfying track because of its mixture of giving you what you want and being creative at the same time too.

If you just skimmed through Kiss’ most recent album Monster and didn’t really play it all that often, take a moment and just set this one song aside, turn it up, and pay attention. You’ll thank me for it.

No, I guess its got nothing to do with Poison other than the fact that the lyrics are about sex, as are most of Poison’s, but its on my mind and I’m writing a blog, so I’ve added it in here. Its happened.

You want a song to put you in a good mood? ‘Shout Mercy’ by Kiss. To be fair, ‘Talk Dirty To Me’ has put me in a good mood too. Listen to that too if you like. The only other song that’s put such a big smile on my face today is when I heard Opeth’s ‘Harlequin Forest’ for the first time and that huge part at 7.32 comes in. That is a seriously cool part.

Oh, I mentioned enjoying Opeth, do I win some Metal-points back?

Cheers. G’bye for now.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS Volume 70: Living Colour – Vivid

FIRST IMPRESSIONS Volume 70: Living Colour – Vivid

Hello, and welcome to my Blog. Why is it called KingcrimsonBlog, the official Blog of Kingcrimsonprog?. Good question; It is called that, because I am called Kingcrimsonprog (or Gentlegiantprog). Well, I’m not. I’m called Jimmy. But, I’m called either Kingcrimsonprog or Gentlegiantprog on most websites and forums. (You know, in the way you have to choose a name or “net-handle” when you register?).

Back when this Blog was first devised, it was sort of a hub “digest” of all my various internet output, under one easy “roof.” So people could then tell that my things were not stolen from elsewhere on the internet, I kept my net-handle in the title. The name of my net-handle was simply chosen because I enjoy the Prog band King Crimson (and Gentle Giant) and is not in fact my real name. Forget about the name. Imagine its called “Music Nerd Blog” instead. You’ll get the idea.

I’ve been obsessing about music since about the year 2000. Over this time I’ve bought what must now be nearly 1,000 albums, and heard hundreds more through friends, relatives, streaming services and whatever else. I’ve also watched over a decade’s worth of music videos and heard countless individual songs on the radio, free covermounted CDs, websites and whatever else. All that, as well as read years and years worth of music magazines and websites.

I’m a nerd. Basically. Only, instead of Real Ale or French Cinema, its Music that I obsess about. Lots of people are nerds and don’t even realize it. Sometimes its obvious; trainspotting, stamp collecting etc. Sometimes its less obvious due to presentation. Some (make that many) football fans’ depth of knowledge about players and transfer costs and club histories would make many tram-enthusiasts seem normal by comparison. The amount of information that some people know about Reality-TV celebrities and their sex-lives would easily overpower my knowledge of bands, or the most dedicated art-lover and their knowledge of Vincent Van Gough. Everyone has a thing they get nerdy about, whether or not they realize or admit that it is similar to the more famous nerdy things like Star Wars. I don’t particularly like Football or Reality TV or Vincent Van Gough. I like Heavy Metal music. That’s my one thing. That’s what this Blog is all about.

Welcome to my First Impressions series of articles too, incidentally. In this series I (or sometimes my friends, or readers) pick an album for each entry that I will listen to for the first time. I then write in depth about what I know about that album or the artist that created it and the genre and subgenre to which they belong, before describing the experience of listening to it in real time, in a sort of semi-stream-of-consciousness way intended for entertainment purposes. I also enjoy writing reviews of albums, but when I write reviews my goal is to be helpful and provide you with information with which to aide your decision about whether to try out an album or not. When I write a First Impressions article however my goal is purely to entertain the reader, explore how much I know about music and be my own psychiatrist in the process.

I may go into some very specific detail and assume you have heard everything I’ve ever heard and perceived everything in the manner I’ve perceived it, and call out very specific sections of music and draw comparisons between things that the casual listener may find completely unrelated. Don’t worry, most of these songs are on Youtube and most of the terminology is on Wikipedia and Urban Dictionary anyway, so if there’s anything that goes over your head, you can always get clarification in a second web-browser-tab (or ask about it in the comments).

According to the aim of the series, the albums are considered by the public and music critics knowledgeable about the subject to be Classic albums within Rock and Metal, or at least within their own Subgenres. Classic albums that I’ve somehow missed out on, despite my nerdly need to hear and understand almost every piece of recorded Metal music ever.

If you have an album that you’d like to read a KingcrimsonBlog First Impressions article about, please suggest it in the comments, I’m game, I’ll give anything a try.

So that’s the preamble out of the way, on to the article:

This is the seventieth entry in the series (wow, I didn’t imagine I’d be doing seventy of these when I first started, especially when I thought it was going to be all Black Metal and Death Metal albums at the start).

This time I’ll be listening to the debut album by the American band Living Colour, (interestingly spelling colour with a ‘u’ despite being American).

This is one of those albums that’s pretty unique and so you can’t really fit it into a true subgenre. Sure its got rap, but its not really Rap Metal in the Limp Bizkit sense. Sure, its got a lively bass player, but it doesn’t really fit in with Primus or indeed with Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Sure its got a big 80s production, but it doesn’t fit in with Warrant or Poison.

I can’t really talk about the genre then. My formula for these articles is usually to discuss the genre, but I think these guys are in a genre of one, really.

Maybe I could talk about Penguins then? Apparently they don’t really mate for life like most people think. What? You don’t want Penguin trivia? Fine…

I guess I’ll talk about the band. I don’t really know about the band. Apparently they were a big deal at the time. To me they are a one-hit-wonder. I only have one Mental Post-it Note about them, and all it says is: “Living Colour. Cult Of Personality. 80s Production. Funk Bits. Rap Bits. Influential To Nu Metal?” – That’s probably because I’m too young to have seen or heard of them when anything other than ‘Cult Of Personality’ was on offer. Wikipedia says it was one the most popular albums of 1988, the year I was born. Apparently a lot of people know about the band then.

What else is interesting is that apparently the album was produced by Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones. I didn’t know or suspect the two bands had any connection. I don’t want to dwell too much on the race issue. Much like the ‘can we please stop thinking of women in Metal as WOMEN in Metal’ thing. Sure a bit of background and context is educational, but at the end of the day, leaning too heavily on that context is a bit reductionist.

With that being said, let’s just have ourselves a listen to the music itself then:

[Play]

The album opens with the main single, and the band’s biggest hit ‘Cult Of Personality.’ I do remember seeing the video on Kerrang and MTV2 a few times but I never watched it, if you know what I mean. Apparently it was in GTA San Andreas too (as was Alice In Chain’s ‘Them Bones’ and Soundgarden’s ‘Rusty Cage’ – but I don’t remember ever hearing any of them there, just ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ and ‘Pretend We’re Dead’ on an endless loop).

The production reminds me a bit of Faith No More’s The Real Thing. I guess they came out around the same time and were a sort of mixture of funk with the bright, trebly Metal of Hair Metal and Van Halen/Randy Rhodes influenced bands.

The main riff and vocal pattern is quite catchy. The tone of the snare drum really reminds me of Vinny Paul for some reason. There’s a guitar solo, but it’s a bit noisy and un-musical. A bit more Kerry King than Eddie Van Halen.

Towards the end, it gets pretty interesting, with extra fills and that fast bit at the very end.

Then comes ‘I Want To Know’ which sounds to me like a mixture of Van Halen, with Kiss and Extreme. Especially with that ‘Hey Kids’ opening line. There’s some occasional funky bass pops. The chorus reminds me of 80s and early-90s pop music actually, as well as Yes’ ‘Owner Of A Lonely Heart’ for some reason. The bit with the word ‘dream’ being repeated reminds me a bit of Queen. Again, there’s a guitar solo, but not a very pleasing-to-the-ear one.

‘Middle Man’ comes in next with quite a punky riff, but then it slows down into a grungey pace that really reminds me of that nickles-and-dimes referencing song that is the opening song to the movie Clerks. It’s a bit more of a lively track than the previous one. The drums are quite bouncy and satisfying. It has the whole rock-meets-funk thing down, but actually is good as well and not just a good idea. There’s a brief solo. Again, same thing. He has a definite style of lead guitar that isn’t quite to my own personal tastes. The drummer on the other hand, is pretty entertaining with his beats and fills.

The big breakdown where most of the music cuts out is quite entertaining, and then when the music all comes back its extra energetic. I always enjoy that sort of thing. Then its over.

Next comes ‘Desperate People’ which opens up with a weird sort of early Greenday sound, y’know the Kerplunk and Slappy stuff, only, with double-kicks and overly funky bass. Its sort of a noisy mish mash, then it kicks into a riff that reminds me of ‘Back In Black’ with a sort of Kiss’ ‘I Love It Loud’ production. There’s also something of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Heartbreaker’ about it. Its pretty entertaining at this point. The vocals actually remind me a bit of Mike Patton here. There’s a middle-eight that reminds me of 80s-Genesis. There’s another guitar solo that doesn’t really do it for me.

‘Open Letter (To A Land Lord)’ opens next, it starts off with a soulful (yet Spice-Girls-esque intro) then it morphs into a funky part that reminds me of the Ghostbusters theme tune. The intro comes back but with guitar and drums and it kind of reminds me of Use Your Illusion’s cheesier moments. At about 2.50 it kicks into a much harder funk part, and has a lot more energy. It reminds me of the colourful purple and green animations from the TV Show “Movies Games and Videos.”

Overall, this song isn’t really doing for me though. Again, the drummer is pretty interesting, but the main parts of the song don’t really do it for me.

‘Funny Vibe’ comes next. It starts with some jazzy filler, before a sort of faster punky bit comes in, its vaguely reminiscent of Faith No More and even King Crimson in the way the guitar seems to be working, then it morphs into pure funk. It sounds like the advertisement a clothes shop would put on for summer parties. Then they start putting in samples. The way the vocals work remind me a little of Faith No More’s ‘We Care A Lot.’ Then an alternative funk bit which might have some DJ scratches (or it might just be the echo from the Hi-Hat) and a guitar solo. Then that part that vaguely, distantly sounds like King Crimson comes back. It also, in no real way that I can explain, reminds me of ‘Duke’s Intro’ by Genesis.

It has a false ending, then they play the fast bit again.

‘Memories Can’t Wait’ opens up with a part that could be Rage Against The Machine (but at the same time, is actually quite similar to Motorhead’s ‘America’ in a weird way) and has a guitar solo as soon as it starts. There’s a few really Faith No More reminiscent vocal parts, and another guitar solo once that RATM-sounding part comes back. Good drums again. This is probably my favourite track so far. There’s a vocal part that reminds me of that song ‘I’m Going Deeper Underground.’

Then there’s this massively Radiohead sounding middle-eight that seems a bit out of place. It goes in and out, with a faster, punkier part in the middle of its departure and return. They start adding proggy guitar effects over the top of it the second time and the song starts freaking out into a sort of psychedelic fade-out.

‘Broken Hearts’ comes next, with a loud sampled intro, then a big cock-rock standium anthem drum beat, that is surprisingly offset by guitar parts that are like a mixture between The Bends era Radiohead with a Lynyrd Skynyrd ballad.

Its weird. It reminds me of underwater and beach levels in Mario games. Its slightly sleepy, with a definite Seagull vibe. There’s a nice bass solo that reminds me of Banjo Kazzooie. Then a brief guitar solo that reminds me of November Rain, and horses.

Could you call this song a ballad? I don’t know. It’s a sort of slow, more contemplative number than the previous tracks, but its not really a ballad. Its not exactly ‘More Than Words’ by Extreme, even if it does have love-forgiveness-song lyrics.

I don’t really dig it at all to be honest. Nothing about this really speaks to me.

‘Glamour Boys’ opens up next. It has a sort of happy Jamacian vibe. It sounds like a Megaderive game’s Jamica level. After a while they throw in a distorted riff, but mostly, its this fun, beach-party music with Phil Collins style vocals. When the distorted riff comes in the second time it really makes me smile, the same way Van Halen’s ‘Jump’ does, every time I hear the line ‘You gotta roll-roll-roll with the punches!’ – For a song called ‘Glamour Boys’ I expected one of two things, either something that sounds like ‘Talk Dirty To Me’ or something that sounds like ‘Big Dumb Sex’ – this super happy, beach barbeque wasn’t ever something I imagined.

‘What’s Your Favorite Color? (Theme Song)’ comes next, it opens with a big does of energy, then starts again as a really calm funk piece that sounds like low background music in a sofa advertisement or a birthday party in Saved By The Bell. If it was four times as energetic, it would remind me of the music that makes McLovin start dancing in Superbad. Its not though. You know what it does remind me of though? ’13 Flavours’ by Sacred Reich. When they ‘break it down’ its actually really entertaining. There’s probably just a bit too much repetition and not enough energy for the rest of it.

‘Which Way To America?’ opens up sounding like a Motorbike level in a megadrive game, its got energy and speed. The vocals are a bit Pattony. There’s a nice distorted chords bit, then a nice guitar rise. Hey, this song is pretty badass.
I think the speed and energy really pay off here. The guitar solo is just as noisy and Kerry King-esque as before, but it suits the more lively music. If more of the album had this much energy I’d really be interested. There’s a good middle part, there’s a few samples. After that he really starts throwing powerful shouts into it. This is great! Where was this passion the whole rest of the record?

Ok. That was the whole album. It was bookended by its two strongest songs, and there were a few interesting or even fun parts, but overall, it was a bit of a dull listen. There was variety yes, but it was such a slow, polite record that it did’t really have the power to keep me interested. I’m not a person who really gets excited by the idea of adding funk or adding rap on its own. I will really respond to them if they are added with the power and passion of good Rock or Metal, but just their mere presence isn’t enough to make me think its interesting.

I’ll give it this; it’s a very unique record. The basis of it isn’t hard rock, hair metal or alternative music you’ve heard before, and even if the only band I can compare them to is Faith No More, that’s only the barest of surface similarities. There’s no other record I’ve ever heard like this, and that’s before you even factor in all the stuff they mixed into it like the funk, soul and rap. The actual basis of it is darn unique too.

It hasn’t won me over though. I‘m glad it only cost me a penny. I’m glad to have heard it, and to now understand how it fits into the musical landscape, but much like MC5, its not really for me. I can’t really ever foresee any of these songs being a personal favourtie.

If you were to ask me if its worth checking out, I think I’d say either ‘only if you buy it for a penny’ or, just to buy ‘Cult Of Personality’ ‘Middle Man’ and ‘Which Way To America’ because that will give you all the best moments and save you all the filler. I think it has a gem to filler ratio about equal to White Zombie’s Astro Creep 2000 album.

[Side Note: I’ve been listening to the album a second time while finishing typing this and checking all the grammar, and I have to say, ‘Middle Man’ is very good. ‘Desperate People’ aint half-bad either actually. I’m enjoying it all a lot better the second time around. Maybe it’s a grower. Its just a minor shame that the sort of last two thirds of the record (excluding the excellent album closer) is so boring.]

Have you heard it? If so, drop me a comment.

I’ve had a lot of free time this week to sit and read blogs. Some of them have really got me thinking. I read a list questioning which are the most famous Metal Songs and most famous Metal Bands. Generally; I love these sorts of things. But then you knew that already, didn’t you?. I read dozens and dozens of these sorts of lists, on blogs and in Magazines and on Rate Your Music or whatever else.

The thing I’ve noticed in dozens of them is that, there’s a sort of mythical set of perfect answers. Some of answers of course are pretty hard to disagree with; Metallica, Iron Maiden and Ozzy Osbourne for example. Ask everyone on a bus in the middle of Manchester to name as many Heavy Metal bands as they can think of, and I reckon those bands would come up quite a lot.

The thing is though, there’s quite a few other names that will regularly come up on the hypothetical average-list that are either controversial among metal fans as to whether or not they actually count as being metal or else are dubious as to how famous they actually are.

This isn’t necessarily a harsh criticism of metal fans and list-makers, but it does raise some interesting points that I think are worth stopping and thinking about. So; when considering who are the most famous Metal bands and Metal songs, you’ve got to ask yourself two questions. What is fame, and What is Metal?

Just a quick thought: Twisted Sister and Motely Crue are probably more famous than Bathory or Mercyful Fate. Bon Jovi are probably more famous than that. Limp Bizkit, Korn and Slipknot probably are too.

Machinehead, Avenged Sevenfold, Disturbed and Bullet For My Valentine are probably all more famous than Queensryche and Celtic Frost nowadays too.

I say “probably” because there’s really no way of knowing. Fame isn’t really a quantifiable concept, its more of an informed perception. We all know that Coca Cola is probably more famous than Only Fools And Horse, but we can’t really prove it on an individual level without gathering gigantic, unrealistic amounts of information that none of us could really be bothered to gather. To actually know for certain you would have to ask everyone on earth if they had heard of each, and then record and compare the answers. You would also have to know that they weren’t lying and that nothing was altering the results.

There’s another issue. The silent majority. You know when you go to a concert and its absolutely full. Think of how many people attend Download Festival every year, and then how many attend a single Motorhead concert. There’s more at Download.

Why does that matter? Well; There are so many people who are casual in their interest of Metal. People who don’t dress as Metal fans, don’t blog about it, don’t talk about it at work, but do know every word to System Of A Down’s Toxicity album. You can look at a Chemistry student who has no indicators of being a Metal fan and who does talk to you about a dubstep song they heard at the weekend, but they actually absolutely loves Disturbed and Bullet For My Valentine and just didn’t bring it up. You can find a girl in a nightclub listening to indie bands who will surprisingly be completely able to drunkenly sing all the lyrics of ‘Run To The Hills’ at you upon request. You’ll find people posting about how much they love pop stars on facebook and when you go into their bedroom there is a huge poster of Zack Wylde.

What I’m getting at, there’s a heck of a lot of people who listen to Metal that you wouldn’t necessarily expect. More than the readership of Metal Hammer Magazine, more than the crowd at your local sold-out mid-October Down concert. There’s hundreds of thousands of people who don’t even consider themselves a Metal fan that could tell you who Lemmy, James Hetfield and Corey Taylor are just from a photograph. My own mother could. Yours probably could too.

So. When we ask ourselves who are the most famous Metal bands; we need to ask “famous to who?” – because I’m pretty sure the average drunk stroppy teenage girl taking ecstasy tablets when asked to name ten heavy metal bands are more likely to identify Slipknot than Venom.

If you played somebody Helloween’s “Keeper Of The Seven Keys,” Judas Priest’s “Painkiller,” Pantera’s “Walk,” Limp Bizkit’s “Nookie,” Motely Crue’s “Girls, Girls, Girls” and Europe’s “The Final Countdown” I’m pretty sure more people can identify the last two or three than the first two. There may be a few generational differences, and there may be a bit of bias in the form of people not wanting to identify bands that they dislike (human nature, its annoying aint it?) but I recon more human beings know the answers to the less Metal-respectable bands on that list.

The easy way around that it to choose who you want “fame” to apply to. OK. Say, we only count people who have at one time owned a copy of Reign In Blood and have attended at least one Metallica concert? More of them will probably still know Marilyn Manson than King Diamond. More of them could identify “Welcome To The Jungle” than “Pull Me Under” by intro alone, because its still more famous overall, even if you are a serious Metalhead. Because you don’t live your entire life in a Metal-bubble.

Well, we’ve considered what fame actually means now.
But hold on a second. What even is Metal?

Are Europe a Metal band? Well, some people say they are a Hair Metal band. Hair Metal is a type of Metal. Therefore by that logic, they are indeed a Metal band. Not so fast though; Some people say Europe are a hard rock band. Some people say they are a Pop band.

Are Led Zeppelin a Heavy Metal band? A heck of a lot of people would say yes. A heck of a lot of people would say no. What about Deep Purple. Watch any worthwhile documentary about Heavy Metal and there’ll be talk of Deep Purple. That being said, nowadays most people on the street would call them “classic rock” rather than “heavy metal” even though the actual term was applied to bands like Zeppelin and Purple and AC/DC for years and years. So are they Metal or aren’t they? They themselves might call themselves “Rock n Roll” but so does Ozzy Osbourne and even Motorhead. If “In The Name Of Tragedy” by Motorhead is just Rock n Roll then I’ve seriously got to start checking out Buddy Holly.

Ok. Well what if you decide that Zeppelin aren’t Metal but Black Sabbath are. What about Queen. You go listen to “Dead On Time” and “Son And Daughter” by Queen and tell me with a straight face that it isn’t as Metallic or Powerful as “The Wizard” by Black Sabbath.

How about if we decide that the first ever Metal album is “Sad Wings Of Destiny” then? What after that is still Metal? Are Metallica? Are Helloween? Are Pantera? Are Machine Head? Are Slipknot? Are Bring Me The Horizon? Are Cannibal Corpse? Are Korpiklaani? Are Emperor? Are Limp Bizkit?

You can say Limp Bizkit aren’t because the vocals are not like Judas Priest and there’s an extra instrument (the DJ). Well, Cannibal Corpse’s vocals are very, very different to Judas Priest’s and Korpiklaani have extra instruments (Violins and Accordions).

I’ll admit some Limp Bizkit songs sound nothing like Metal. Ballads, and songs with electronic drums and effects and no distortion. What about Black Sabbath’s “FX” “Fluff” “Laguna Sunrise” “Changes” and “E5150” ? What about Judas Priest’s “Epitaph,” “Last Rose Of Summer” or “Love You To Death”? Ballads, songs with no distortion and incorporation of electronics on some songs.

Even at that, some classic tracks by Metal’s originators (which weren’t intros, experiments or ballads, but just normal songs) are still less-Metal than some Hair Metal and Nu Metal songs. I’d wager Limp Bizkit’s “Gimme The Mic” is much more Metal than Black Sabbath’s “Am I Going Insane?” or “Solitude” or even “Behind The Wall Of Sleep.”

Going the other way. I think that Korn’s “Blind” is closer to the sound and spirit of the original Black Sabbath tracks than Cannibal Corpse’s “Frantic Disembowelment” does. Hell, I think Twisted Sister sound a thousand times closer to the sound of Judas Priest than Darkthrone do.

Then there’s the people who don’t think Metalcore bands are Metal, either because of catchy clean choruses, or because of the incorporation of parts of Hardcore. Well, Chaos AD is incredibly Hardcore Influenced. Anthrax and Nuclear Assault were Hardcore influenced. Are they no-longer Metal?
Helloween and Stratovarius have some of the catchiest, cleanest choruses going, so are they no-longer Metal?

The thing is though? Who can really say? Metal-ness isn’t a fact. Its an opinion. Its a negotiation for consensus.

Half of the people who say something is not Metal but something else have no clear, quantifiable, non-contradict-able reason why. Its either just that they don’t like the band and have mistaken their own opinion with fact, or that its not something that can be definitively and incontrovertibly proven in the first place. There is no mathematical definition of Metal. Some people think death growls preclude you from being Metal, just read all the reviews of Children Of Bodom by Yngwie Malmsteen fans from the 80s who demand melodic falsetto singing. These people will swear until they are blue in the face that “cookie monster vocals” are the opposite of Heavy Metal. Try telling that to the audience at Hole In The Sky or Bloodstock festival though, they’ll give you a swift and unpleasant rebuttle more likely than not.

At the end of the day, there are people who think Krokus and AC/DC are Metal and that Limp Bizkit and Deicide aren’t. There are people who think that Immortal and Pig Destroyer are Metal but Poison and Quiet Riot aren’t. Heck, until about three years ago even I called pre-Dio Black Sabbath was just classic rock and not Metal.

What is and isn’t Metal is up to your own interpretation, apparently. Except Iron Maiden, nobody has ever said Iron Maiden aren’t Metal. Lemmy says Motorhead aren’t Metal but at least Steve Harris calls Maiden a Heavy Metal band. There’s at least comfort in knowing that whatever else in this world is up for debate, Iron Maiden are undisputed a Metal band (Although you could mistake “Prodigal Son” for a Boston or Rush song if you weren’t paying attention).

So. I guess where I’m going with this is that, there is an element of what the dedicated Metal fans want and indeed expect to be the most famous Metal music. It is based partly on the personal taste of a few Magazine writers, partly on actual consensus and partly on a self fulfilling prophecy of what we’re continuously told. The list seems to cover one arbitrary point of view and one arbitrary period in time. It isn’t full inclusivity nor is it completely strict and based only on true original Heavy Metal. Its often after the first Heavy Metal Bands go reclassified to “Classic Rock” but before other subgenres became popular.

I mean, I can’t tell for certain, but I’m pretty sure more people know and care about Bullet For My Valentine and Slipknot than have ever cared about Venom. But most people who actually like music to the point of making lists don’t want that to be the case.

Similarly, I think that year on year, Deep Purple, AC/DC and Led Zeppelin gain more new fans than Venom do. But we’ve all decided that they don’t count. For some reason. That is not particularly logical or fair.

Then there’s the really commercial bands like Linkin Park and Bon Jovi. Almost (not necessarily if you’re being pedantic, there have been flops, but you know what I’m getting at) by definition of being commercial, more people will know a band. A huge amount of us decide that if a band are too commercial, they aren’t Metal anymore. Why is that? Part of it may be based in truth, but again, part of it seems to just be based on what we want.

Take home message; when we ask ourselves which Metal songs, albums or artists are the most famous, I guess you’ve just got to ask whether or not they are Metal, or who you are being famous too that counts for the purposes of the list. You could spend years aggregating every list and reference to bands in every magazine, videogame, radio-show, podcast and television programme ever made and still only have a small, biased sample of a few people’s impressions of which bands were the most famous. You could count every Youtube view and LastFm scrobble ever recorded and still ultimately not know what’s in people’s heads or even who’s heads to look in.

After you to went all that effort to find the correct numbers, there’d still be debate on who “counts.”

And that’s just “famous.” It gets even muddier when we go onto “most-influential.” Oh well, at least everyone knows when it comes to “best” that its just straight-up unarguably subjective and we can all admit its just our own opinions. (Well, the sensible ones of us at any rate.)

So; With all that being said, I’d like you all to answer in the comments, who do you think are the 20 most famous Metal bands?