Iron Maiden Live Show Review (Deer Creek Music Center (a.k.a. Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center), Noblesville, Indiana, 08/24/19)

In case I haven’t made it clear enough on these pages, Iron Maiden is my favorite band. I saw them live for the first time in St. Louis (well, Maryland Heights, but close enough), on the Maiden England 2013 tour, and it was one of the greatest nights of my life. I cried, I screamed, I cried, I laughed, I cried, I met some very cool people (and one total dud), and I cried some more.

In 2017, Mrs. Stay Heavy and I made the trek back to St. Louis see them again, this time on The Book of Souls World Tour. It was also a badass show, but being that it was a tour for a new (at the time) album, I enjoyed it a bit less, mostly because I hadn’t taken the proper time to familiarize myself with the new songs.

Tangent: I do not dislike The Book of Souls (I do not dislike any Iron Maiden album as a whole), but like most 21st century Maiden, it suffers from a lack of editing, and from a tendency to repeat the name of the song a thousand times during the chorus. The seeds of the latter issue could arguably be traced back to my Second Favorite Iron Maiden Album, 1986’s Somewhere in Time. Lots of the hype surrounding TBoS focused on the fact that it was the band’s first double album ever, and on the fact that album closer “Empire of the Clouds” was the band’s longest song ever. Long runtimes do not automatically make an album less good, but they also do not inherently make an album better. Anyhoo…

That was also a great show, and even 100+ degree temperatures couldn’t keep us from enjoying ourselves. It contained some notable highlights, such as “Powerslave”, “Wrathchild”, and “Blood Brothers”, and I still got plenty choked up, especially during “Wasted Years”.

Time continued its ceaseless march toward humanity’s much-deserved end, and I continued loving Iron Maiden and counting the days until my next Iron Maiden Live Show Experience, knowing that it would likely be another tour built on classic songs, given the band’s touring history these past 20 or so years. When the Legacy of the Beast tour was announced in November 2017, I started to get hyped. When US tour dates were announced a year later, I almost lost my gotdamn mind: they were playing Indianapolis (well, Noblesville, but close enough)! I was finally gonna get to see Maiden without having to drive 4 hours! (The last time they played Indiana, I’d just started a new job and couldn’t get the day off, and all the times before that, I was either terrible with money and couldn’t afford it, or I wasn’t old enough to be able to afford it.)

I bought tickets the day they went on sale, the missus booked us a hotel room (with shuttle service to and from the venue), and I continued loving Iron Maiden and counting the days until my next Iron Maiden Live Show Experience while time continued its ceaseless march toward humanity’s much-deserved end. Finally, after an especially exhausting month-and-a-half at my job, the day was upon us, and this past Saturday, Iron Fucking Maiden delivered the motherfucking goods.

I honestly didn’t think I could enjoy their live show more than I did that first one back in 2013, but I’m here to tell you, friends, that I was very, very wrong. I’ve been reading about this tour, and about the shows, since the first one, in Estonia, on May 26, 2018, so I knew what to expect; I knew the setlist front to back and back again, and I knew about all the props and Bruce’s costume changes, and I still had my mind blown clean apart. It was like watching a movie (or more properly, I suppose, a theater performance) while my favorite band provided the soundtrack.

My only beef with the setlist going into the show was that they’re still not playing any songs from 1990’s obscenely underrated No Prayer for the Dying (at this point I’m just gonna have to resign myself to the fact that I’ll never get to hear “Tailgunner” live in person), and that they included “For the Greater Good of God” from 2005’s A Matter of Life and Death instead of, for example, “Tailgunner”, or maybe “Man on the Edge”, or even something from 2003’s Dance of Death, which is my personal favorite “post-reunion” Maiden album, but ultimately, “For the Greater Good of God” is still a Very Good Song, so I wasn’t about to let one little hitch get in the way of my enjoyment of the otherwise rock solid setlist.

I bought a shirt immediately after entering the venue, then we hung around and did some talking and people-watching while The Raven Age played. They were fine, but I did not/do not care about them.

Here’s my shirt. I don’t know why the back showed up first, but whatever.

Here’s the front. I spent too much money on it, but I don’t give a single fuck, and I’d do it again.

The show started out with a spectacle that most bands would save for their closing number, but when you bring in the kind of money that Iron Maiden does, you can afford to make every song a closing number if you want. A replica Spitfire WWII-era plane “flew” above the stage during “Aces High”, and it was amazing, but then they followed up with “Where Eagles Dare”, and the transition was flawless, and I almost died of Iron Maiden, and then they played “2 Minutes to Midnight” and “The (motherfucking) Clansman” (Bruce: “This song is called ‘The Clansman’. When you put it on social media, make sure you get the spelling right.”), the Blaze Bayley-era song about William Wallace, and if you think it wasn’t absolutely fucking amazing and liberating to scream “FREEDOM!” along with some 24,000 like-minded Maiden fans, you’d be even wronger than I was when I thought I couldn’t enjoy their live show more than I did that first one back in 2013.

*breathe*

“The Trooper” followed, and it remains the Perfect Heavy Metal Song (in case you were wondering), then they played an absolutely crushing rendition of “Revelations” (if you’re keeping score at home, that’s already three songs from 1983’s Piece of Mind, which happens to be my Favorite Iron Maiden Album), and then they started into “For the Greater Good of God”, and I was suddenly glad they were playing it instead of, for example, “Tailgunner”, or maybe “Man on the Edge”, or even something from 2003’s Dance of Death, because I had to rock a piss like I’d never peed before, and while I walked to the restroom amongst the throngs of fellow middle-aged dudes who were leaving their seats for the first time since the first notes of “Transylvania” played over the PA, it occurred to me that the band knew what they were doing when they included that song in the setlist: old dudes need to pee, and they don’t wanna miss out on “Revelations” while they do it.

I got back to my seat approximately 30 seconds before “The Wicker Man” started, and it was just excellent, and then they played “Sign of the Cross”, and it was fucking epic, and THEN THEY PLAYED FUCKING “FLIGHT OF ICARUS” AND BRUCE SHOT FLAMES INTO THE AIR AND THE OVERSIZED ICARUS ABOVE THE STAGE COLLAPSED INTO ASH AT THE END OF THE SONG, and then “Fear of the Dark” started, and the crowd sang along with every note just like they do in South America (though nowhere near as loud), and then they played “The Number of the Beast”, and then “Iron Maiden”, and then they left the stage, but obviously they weren’t finished yet, because I still had some voice left for shouting and some tears left for crying, so they came out for an encore of “The Evil That Men Do” and “Hallowed Be Thy Name” and “Run to the Hills”, and to steal a phrase from Pantera, it was goddamn electric.

One thing of note: this dude sitting in front of us asked us before the show started if we were sitters or standers, and went on to say that he was in attendance at the Pittsburgh show on 8/17 was yelled at several times to sit down. We then found out that he was, in fact, attending his 5th show of the tour, with one more to go before returning home to Atlanta!(!) Iron Maiden fans are insane, and Justin from Atlanta is one of the good ones. When the show was over, he turned to me and said “how is Indianapolis the best?” I replied “I don’t know, it’s often the worst”, and I wasn’t wrong about that, but no bullshit, that crowd was absolutely figuratively on fire.

I’ve been to hundreds and hundreds of shows in all kinds of venues over the past 26 years or so, and this was certainly one of the two or three best shows I’ve ever attended, and hands down the most exciting. Music is my religion, live music is my church, and I absolutely saw the face of god on the night of August 24, 2019.

Thanks for reading, friends. Stay heavy, and Up the motherfucking Irons.

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We’re Scanning the Scene in the City Tonight: A Long, Convoluted Thing About Seeing Metallica Live at the KFC Yum! Center on 03/09/2019

My Metallica Weekend has come and gone, and I still find myself getting giddy and emotional when I think back on the show, but the day wasn’t all harvesters of sorrow, creeping deaths, and lepers messiah, friends. For a day that started out so great, and had so much potential, things got extremely fucking terrible for a while. However, through  sheer force of will (along with some help from Metallica, as well as the wonderful bartending and kitchen staff at Bluegrass Brewing Company), the night ended up being pretty damn perfect. Here’s my rundown…

A quick origin story to set the stage for the extremely fucking terrible part of the day: two months ago, we tried to book a hotel room for the night, only to find insane rates everywhere we looked (within walking distance, anyway – we could’ve stayed 10 miles away from the venue for a decent price, but we wanted to have the option of walking to the show, weather permitting). We later found out that in addition to Metallica, John “Johnny “The Coug” Cougar” Mellencamp was playing in town, and on top of that, our usual downtown Louisville hotel destination is in the process of being remodeled, so they have fewer rooms available than usual. Long story short, we decided, with much hesitation, to give Airbnb a shot.

Both of us had been wary of using the service, mostly because of the lack of accountability it provides, but desperate times call for desperate measures, and we found a listing that was just blocks from the venue. It was not cheap at all, but it was cheaper than any hotel in the area, and it was an entire loft apartment. I booked it, and we were go – approximately one year after Mrs. Stay Heavy purchased the tickets (as an early birthday gift for me), it was all finally starting to seem real.

We left town around 11:00 AM and drove straight to the New Albanian Brewing Company Pizzeria and Public House for delicious pizza and excellent craft beers (all very affordable, as well – do look them up if you’re in that area!), arriving there around 1:30. I contacted our Airbnb hosts and indicated that we were in New Albany, and that I would call them when we were leaving, as Google Maps indicated the drive would take 15 minutes. One of them got back with me and said that would be great, and that they would meet us in the lobby of the building at 3:30 (which was 30 minutes after our  agreed upon check-in time, but it was raining very hard, and I thought maybe that played into it a bit, so I didn’t worry much about it).

With our bellies full, we got in the car and I called the number given to me when I booked the apartment, only to get a business voicemail. I declined to leave a voice message and instead messaged them through the app, telling them that we were on our way, and that we would see them at 3:30. When we arrived in the parking garage across the street, I still hadn’t heard from them, so we walked into the lobby and waited…and waited…and waited…until about 3:45, when I sent another message indicating we were there. At 3:50, I called the number again, leaving a voicemail this time. At 3:55, a woman who earlier had walked through the lobby and gone up the elevator approached us and asked if we had a 4:00 PM check-in.

We indicated that we, in fact, had a 3:00 PM check-in, but were asked to meet the hosts at 3:30. She told us that she was there as a representative of her sister, who in turn works for the hosts. Her sister was out of town or some such, and she was sent to clean the room for us, but turns out the guy who stayed the night before hadn’t checked out yet, all of his stuff was in the apartment, and he was nowhere to be found. She spent the next 15 minutes trying to contact one of the hosts (one of which was out of the country on vacation, while the other was apparently in some kind of business meeting), and eventually she was told by someone to go ahead up and clean the room for us.

We followed her up to the loft and were greeted by a room in complete disarray: TV left on, laundry in the washing machine, air matress inflated in the middle of the living area, dirty clothes and dishes all over the place, and, as expected, no sign of the asshole who clearly had no intention of leaving anytime soon. The poor woman who was acting as the face of the hosts started trying to clean for us while we stood there frantically looking for a hotel room somewhere close, hoping like hell this fuckwad wouldn’t come back while we were all in there, because fuck a bunch of that awkward bullshit. We booked a room about 1 mile from the venue (for an obscene amount of money), told her we were not comfortable staying in this room, for many reasons, and that we were gonna stay somewhere else and get a refund on this ridiculous situation. She replied that she was glad we said that, because she wasn’t comfortable with the sitation either.

We left the buiding, walked back across the street to the parking garage in the torrential rain, and drove to our newly-booked hotel. The front desk staff and the place were very nice (although obviously overpriced), and I’d recommend the Vu Guesthouse to anyone staying in downtown Louisville. We got in the room, freshened up, and requested a Lyft – we still had plenty of time before the show started, but we wanted to stop at the Bluegrass Brewing Company for a small bite to eat and some much more affordable beers before entering the  overpriced confines of the KFC Yum! Center (official motto: A Very Nice Venue With A Very Bad Name*).

We stood out in the rain and watched our Lyft driver speed past us without even looking our way. I got a notification that he was waiting on us, and would be leaving in 1 minute, so I called him and told him where we were. He responded that he was there, too, and after a much-too-long phone conversation, we realized he was in the parking lot behind us. We got in his car to the sounds of some kind of god-awful pop music and proceeded downtown in the worst traffic I’ve ever experienced in Louisville. The one mile trip took us almost 25 minutes, and if it hadn’t been raining so very, very hard, I would’ve gotten out and walked. I told the missus that I was going to have a good time tonight if it killed me, and that I was confident that everything would soon be coming up Milhouse.

We arrived at BBC right around 6:00 PM and were told by the hostess that it would probably be a 1 hour wait for a table. I told her we were gonna go grab a beer and wait inside somewhere, and she said that was fine, as long as we didn’t stand on the stairs. We ordered a couple of pints (the keg blew while the bartender was pouring mine (because at that point, why the hell wouldn’t it?), and she gave me three quarters of a beer for free while she poured a different beer for me – “Milhouse!”, I said to the missus) and found ourselves a back corner next to the stairs. The place was fucking packed, and the music was blaring, almost uncomfortably so – I think they were trying to get people pumped for the show, but I think they may also have trying to get some people to clear out. Only one of those possible motives had the possible desired effect; the crowd was clearly into the jams and had no intention of leaving until the rain lightened up.

“Hey Joel, are you ever gonna get to the fucking point and talk about the goddamn show?” That’s a fair question; we’ll be there soon, I promise.

We chatted up another couple standing near us, both of whom were very friendly, and after about 15 minutes the rain did let up, and over half the crowd (including our new chums) cleared out, seemingly all at once, and crossed the still completely jammed up intersection to wait in line outside the venue. Three seats opened up at the bar, we snagged two, and within one minute, we were able to order food and more beers (“Milhouse!”). Our food arrived in record time, and just as it was placed in front of us, one of the bartenders switched the music over to a strictly Metallica playlist (“Milhouse!”). We finished up, paid our tab, and crossed the still completely jammed up intersection to wait in line outside the venue. We got in quickly, found our seats, and mostly enjoyed the comedy stylings of funnyman Jim Breuer, who for whatever reason is the opening act on this leg of the tour.

Jim Breuer is down there somewhere.

Sometime around 8:15, the lights went down and the crowd roared as the strains of Ennio Morricone’s “The Ecstasy of Gold” began to play over the sound system, accompanied by the scene that accompanies it in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. I was overcome by emotion, due both to the moment and to the beauty of that song and movie, and I may or may not have started weeping uncontrollably. Next thing you know, the band is onstage and ripping through the first two songs from their latest offering, 2016’s Hardwired…to Self-Destruct. James addressed the crowd briefly, then they laid out a killer rendition of “Seek and Destroy”, followed by “Harvester of Sorrow”, then a whole bunch of other rad shit for a set that ended up being somewhere in the neighborhood of 2 hours long.

Here’s the stage minutes before Metallica ruled it.

The band was tight (as they should be), and it might’ve been my imagination, but it seemed like they were playing songs faster than the studio versions, which was extra cool, but did make it a bit more challenging to sing along. James kicked ass on vocals, which honestly was my primary concern going into the show. I’ve seen and heard plenty of live footage of the band from the past several years, and his voice has often sounded strained, but he sounded great, as he has on every live video I’ve seen from this tour so far. He had to pitch a bit lower on the older songs, but every band from the old days has to do that (with the notable exception of Death Angel). He was able to adjust without making it sound weird, and I was very glad about that.

The light show was dope, but I especially enjoyed this, during “Halo on Fire”.

I enjoyed the songs from the new album very much, although I did take a pee break during Lars’ drum solo in the midst of “Now That We’re Dead”, which proved to be a very popular time for a pee break. They played several songs from 1991’s Metallica (a.k.a. “The Black Album”), and I say with absolute certainty that those songs have never sounded better. I even enjoyed the live rendition of “Fuel”, from the band’s much-maligned multi-platinum 1997 Reload, although further research has indicated that I still do not enjoy the studio version.

The band has broken attendance records at several of the venues they’ve played on this absurdly long tour, and our stop was no different, with a final tally of 23,084 (beating the previous record held by country superstar George Strait since 2014). Our crowd also holds the distinction of being the largest crowd so far of the North American leg of the tour. Oddly enough though, for an extremely loud sold-out crowd on a Saturday night, we were the only people in our section who stood at any point during the show, save for the people behind us (who only stood up after we did, which was immediately upon hearing the opening strains of “The Ecstasy of Gold”) and one other dude down the way from us. In fact, all throughout our level, we could see people just sitting, as if Metallica was not rocking their balls and/or tits off. That was weird.

SETLIST

  1. Hardwired
  2. Atlas, Rise!
  3. Seek and Destroy
  4. Harvester of Sorrow
  5. The Unforgiven
  6. Now That We’re Dead (with extended middle drum solo/pee break)
  7. Creeping Death
  8. For Whom the Bell Tolls
  9. Halo on Fire (followed by Kirk and Rob’s solos, featuring “Too Rolling Stoned” (Robin Trower) and “(Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth“)
  10. Motorbreath
  11. Fuel
  12. Moth Into Flame
  13. Sad But True
  14. One
  15. Master of Puppets

ENCORE

  1. Battery
  2. Nothing Else Matters
  3. Enter Sandman

To sum up: I laughed, I cried, I screamed, I cried some more, and I nearly lost my goddamn mind. After almost 33 years of surviving the ups and downs that accompany being a Metallica fan, I finally got to see Metallica live. I can’t help but think that after all the bullshit in the hours leading up to it, I had an even better time than I would otherwise have had, but either way, it was one of the greatest and most cathartic experiences of my life.

At the risk of sounding like a total goober, I’m just gonna go ahead and say that for a couple of hours on Saturday night, March 9, 2019, nothing else mattered. Thanks for reading, friends, and stay heavy.

*Not their real motto.

Once You Have Seen It You’ll Never Be the Same: A Very Brief Update

Just time for a brief update, because…

I’M GONNA SEE METALLICA TONIGHT!

This is a Bucket List item, for sure, even though Lars makes me wanna punch things, and they haven’t released a great album since 1988, and I don’t actually have a Bucket List. I love Metallica’s first 3 albums like they were my own children, and I love their 4th album like it was my own child’s best friend, and I like their 5th album like it was my own child’s best friend’s dad, who is fun to be around sometimes, but who always wears out his welcome sooner or later.

The rest of their albums have some decent-to-good moments, and I tolerate them like they were my neighbors – waving sometimes, ignoring other times. Except for Lulu, which is the next door neighbor who has a yard full of junk and stares at you when you walk by his house and insists that the property line is 3 feet closer to your house than it really is. Fuck Lulu, and fuck that imaginary neighbor.

St. Anger is a cousin who can be fun to hang out with sometimes, except when they start to talk about politics.

Anyhoo, I’m fuckin stoked about this show, friends, and I’m stoked about the people watching that will accompany this event. Rumor has it John “Johnny “The Coug” Cougar” Mellencamp is playing a show in Louisville tonight as well. Maybe he’ll scowl at me for no discernable reason from across a restaurant, like he did one time at Chipotle.

I’ll surely be back with an update sooner or later. Until then, stay heavy.

I’m Tired of the Games We Play, I’m Cashing in My Chips Today: Yet Another Brief Update

Friends, this already completely bitchin year of live music somehow keeps getting even more amazing. Since my last very brief update, four more outstanding shows have been announced, 3 of which I will absolutely be attending (the other is a very long long shot).

Before I get into that, though, I wanna mention that my virgin Metallica experience is nigh (only 7 more sleeps!), and I’m getting giddy as a schoolboy at a nudie bar. A detailed account of my experience will surely be posted here sometime thereafter, but for now, on with the shows!

First up, the mighty Death Angel is headlining a show in Indianapolis in April the week before their show with Overkill in Louisville! I’m gonna see Death Angel two times in less than 7 days! Holy shit!

Looking into the distance, the relentless touring machine that is D.R.I. will be stopping in Indy again this September, like they do almost every year, but my work situation this year will allow me to finally get back up there and see them, and that is some exciting news. I managed to see them once a few years back, and it was an absolutely killer show. I have no reason to assume that this show will be otherwise.

But the biggest and arguably most exciting news just came along this morning: motherfucking Sacred Reich added a headlining show in Indianapolis in May! I’M FINALLY GONNA SEE SACRED MOTHERFUCKING REICH LIVE! I sincerely don’t think I could be more excited about this one. Plus (PLUS!), it comes 5 days after The Mountain Goats show in Bloomington and 2 days before the EyeHateGod show in Indianapolis! Holy week of kickass live music, Batman!

As for the very long long shot, this year’s Full Terror Assault in Cave-in-Rock, Illinois added the newly re-formed Vio-Lence to the lineup, but I’m not likely to be in attendance for that one, as it falls very close to Mrs. Stay Heavy’s birthday, and camping and attending a metal festival is not on her birthday wishlist. However, the news that the band is playing shows again is encouraging, so I may still get a chance to see them someday. For now, that’s good enough.

And speaking of good enough for now, I think this post is. Thanks for reading, and stay heavy, friends.

Shoes Don’t Fit, I Don’t Fit: Another Super-Brief Update

If you read my most recent post, you already know that I’m very excited about a lot of upcoming shows over the next year. That post went up on Thursday, and the next day, another completely ass-kicking show was announced: the almighty, unfuckwithable EYEHATEGOD is headlining a show in Indianapolis on 5/20, with grind heroes Phobia offering direct support!

If you don’t know Eyehategod’s music, there’s not really much I can do to prepare you for it. It’s abrasive, caustic, ugly, angry, misanthropic, nightmarish, and yet strangely beautiful in its own fucked up way. Frontman Mike IX Williams once said in an interview “We call ourselves a modern-day blues band. It’s like if John Lee Hooker listened to Black Flag, he would sound like Eyehategod.”

From that same interview: “I admit, freely, that we stole from the Melvins, we stole from Black Flag, Trouble, Saint Vitus. All those bands were doing it before us, but we just wanted to mix it. I call it “crossover,” but most people think of crossover, they think of thrash metal or funk metal. But Eyehategod is a punk/metal band, it’s just slower. It’s the same elements, just in a whole different style.”

I’ve seen them live once, when they opened for Corrosion of Conformity and Black Label Society, and I was already into their music, but that show made me a true believer. I highly recommend you check them out if they stop anywhere in your area.

Further evidence…

This song hasn’t left my head since the first time I heard it. It might contain my favorite riff ever:

Here’s a full show, if you have the time to watch it (if you don’t, you should make time for it):

Also, Phobia is gonna be there!

Sweet sainted mother of Alan Alda, y’all! This is gonna be a rager! Thanks for reading, and stay heavy, you heavy mothefuckers.

You Are Coming Down With Me, Hand in Unlovable Hand: A Brief Update

Ahoy there, friends. It’s been a very long time since I’ve done anything with this sumbitch, and I’m not here to claim that that’ll change anytime soon, because I know myself, and myself is pretty lazy unless something is required of it. However, this year is shaping up to be a doozy of a motherfucker in the live music field for yours truly, and a few minutes ago, a text from Mrs. Stay Heavy reminded me of the imminence of said live music, so I thought I’d take a few minutes to share some of the upcoming shows that I am looking forward to in the coming year.

First up (and this is a big one): I’m finally gonna see fuckin Metallica live, in Louisville, KY! I know that the band has become a shadow of its former self (I’ve expressed that sentiment in these pages plenty), but I also know that they are one of the primary reasons I’m sitting here writing about this right now (for better or worse). Metallica™️ causes me a wide range of emotions (mostly negative), but Metallica will always be one of my favorites. My amazing wife bought us tickets for my birthday last year, and one of my childhood dreams is about to come true in 30 days. There’ll almost certainly be more to come, re: this.

I’d be over the fucking moon if they played this one…

Approximately one week later, we’re going to see Clutch with Big Business in Indianapolis! It’ll be my 8th or 9th time seeing Clutch live, and the first time in about 5 years. My feelings regarding Clutch have been documented here briefly, but I will say that after two less than stellar albums, they’ve found their way back into my life, and their most recent album, Book of Bad Decisions, kicks a lot of ass. It’ll be my first time seeing Big Business live, but they fucking rule, and I’m super stoked about that. It’s only my second time seeing Clutch with an opening act that I am already familiar with (last time I saw them, The Sword was direct support), and I’m into that. There’s another band opening; they’re from France, and they’re called The Inspector Cluzo, and I don’t know much about them, but based on the songs I’ve listened to, they sound cool, and they sound like a band that would open for Clutch.

In April, Overkill and Death Angel are playing a show in Louisville on my cousin Jason’s birthday. Death Angel is his favorite band, and if you’ve read much of this blog, you’ll know that I love them like they were my own child, so we’re both super stoked about that. I’m also psyched about Overkill, as I haven’t seen them live yet, and that’s pretty stupid of me, quite frankly.

Act of Defiance is opening the shows, but I won’t share anything from them yet, as I haven’t looked into them yet, because I currently cannot stop listening to the Mountain Goats, which leads us into May…

…when I’ll be seeing the Mountain Goats for the first time, here in Bloomington. They’re not musically heavy, but their lyrics can be heavy as fuck, and Mountain Goat/guitarist/vocalist/lyricist John Darnielle is a huge fan of heavy music, and used to write a fucking amazing, hilarious, sometimes surreal column called “South Pole Dispatch” for Decibel magazine. It’s sure to be a great time.

A few days after the Mountain Goats show, Iron Reagan, Sacred Reich, and fucking Leeway (!) are playing in Chicago, but there’s only like a 2% chance I’ll be able to make it to that one. I really wanna see Sacred Reich and Leeway live. Someday, I suppose. There’s a band called Enforced opening the shows as well, but I don’t know anything about them, and since I won’t likely be in attendance, I haven’t bothered looking into them. I’ve been working on a thing about Leeway for a while now, and that’ll possibly be finished eventually, maybe.

In August, Iron fucking Maiden returns to Indianapolis for the first time since 2012, this time on the Legacy of the Beast tour. There’s not much I can say about this one, but I can guarantee that my voice will be shot for at least a day afterward.

Also, while I will not be in attendance, the almighty Vio-Lence are reuniting to play two shows in San Francisco April 13th and 14th. The first day they’ll be playing their 1988 masterpiece Eternal Nightmare in its entirety for the first time ever. If I win the lottery before then, I’ll certainly find a way to attend one or both of those shows, but in reality, I’ll just be here in southern Indiana, jamming Eternal Nightmare like I do any other given day.

Sweet mother of Jeebus, y’all, that’s a heavy goddamn year, and it’s only February, so more shows are sure to be added. Thanks for reading, stay tuned, and as always, stay heavy.

This Goes Way Beyond Expectations: A Thing About Voivod’s New Album, The Wake

It’s been far too long since I’ve written anything here (or anywhere else, for that matter), and life is my only excuse, and I know that’s a mostly shitty excuse, but it’s the only excuse I have.

Hey, speaking of “shitty”, how about the state of the world these days? I know that on some level, things are not as bad as they seem, and that bad news gets more airtime than good news, but I also know that I’m scared and nervous about the state of things more now than I have been since I was just a li’l guy, back in the final decade of the Cold War, and I know that I don’t like that feeling.

However, sometimes good things do still happen. As evidence, I submit The Wake, the 14th studio album by French-Canadian Metal Gods Voivod, released to the undeserving world on September 21 of this year. I’d planned on writing a proper review of the album, but if I’m being honest, I’m having trouble finding words that do it justice, so I’m just gonna kind of think out loud here. Bear with me…

Exhibit A

I know I’ve gushed about Voivod a lot in the past, both on this blog and in person (and I will continue to do so in the future), but I say this without hyperbole: Voivod is one of the greatest bands in the universe (known or unknown), and The Wake is one of the greatest albums in the history of time and space. Every member of the band is in top form here, and it’s obvious that they love and fully believe in what they’re doing.

Exhibit B (L-R): Away (drums), Rocky (bass), Chewy (guitars), Snake (vocals)
Photo by Wayne Archibald. Please don’t sue me, Mr. Archibald

If, gods forbid, The Wake ended up being Voivod’s last album ( and I have seen no indication that anyone in the band has even entertained the thought), it would be the most perfect way imaginable for a band to close out their story. Throughout the album’s 56 minute running time, the band touches on every era from their past, without ever sounding forced, recycled, contrived, or stale. (The chaotic nuclear thrash metal explosions that are their first two albums, 1984’s War and Pain, and 1986’s Rrröööaaarrr, are certainly least represented, although the early thrash assault does get a brief nod here and there.)

Elements of the Holy Trinity of Killing Technology (1987), Dimension Hatröss (1988), and Nothingface (1989) all pop in to say hello repeatedly throughout the album. The first track, “Obsolete Beings”, especially reminds me of Nothingface. Something about the guitar tone, maybe? I’m not a musician, and I certainly don’t know shit about music theory, so I can’t say what it is exactly, I just know it fucking rules. There’s even a brief vocal bit on “Event Horizon” that would not sound out of place on the Eric Forrest-fronted album Phobos (1997). The heaviest and most consistent vibe I pick up from the band’s storied past is that of 1993’s genius The Outer Limits (Snake even reuses a line from that album’s brilliant “Jack Luminous” on this album’s mind-blowing closer “Sonic Mycelium”).

And speaking of “Sonic Mycelium”…

With a band like Voivod (which is to say, Voivod), it’s easy to find examples of “this is unlike anything I’ve ever heard”, but even in the context of this 100% one-of-a-kind band, “Sonic Mycelium” is unlike anything I’ve ever heard. For lack of a better term, the song is a medley, but not a regular medley, because that wouldn’t be Voivod enough. Rather, it’s a medley constructed with sounds from the seven songs that precede it, and it revisits the album in such an inventive, unique, and compelling way that I’m getting excited just thinking about it.

It opens with the music from the coda of “Obsolete Beings”, over which Snake sings the opening lyrics of “Spherical Perspective” (but to the tune of the lyrics he originally sang over the coda of “Obsolete Beings”), and from there, it just goes, branching out and sprouting up like its biological namesake, and more than anything else this band has ever created, no words from any person can do this song justice or properly explain it, so my best advice is to finish reading this, obtain a copy of the album, and let it take over your life, too. You can thank me later.

(Note: I do not recommend obtaining your copy from MerchNOW – it’s a terrible company, and you’ll end up receiving your copy sometime after all the events foretold in the lyrics come true and our doomed planet starts over from the beginning. #merchneveragain)

The album is maybe best described as “cinematic”, and I, for one, definitely feel as though I’m watching a movie when I listen to it. Did I mention that it’s a concept album? I know that I did not mention that, I was just being dramatic, but it is, and holy shit, what a concept!

Seriously though, I’ve gone on long enough. Stop reading my dumb words, get yourself a copy of The Wake, put on some headphones, read those lyrics, and get lost, till your bones turn to dust.

Thanks for reading, and please continue to stay heavy.

I’ve Changed By Staying the Same: A Thing About Thrash Metal Logos

The best metal bands have always had distinct logos, and thrash metal bands have always had the best logos. You can argue that if you want, but you’ll be wrong. When I was a young whippersnapper back in the 1730’s, a bitchin logo was sometimes the single most important factor in deciding which album to buy. As the 1990’s churned along and 80’s metal became something of a taboo, a lot of the more well-known thrash bands changed their classic logos. In most cases, this coincided with a change in the sound of the band as well (and not always for the better).

Here’s a look at some legendary thrash metal bands who changed their logos in the 90’s, along with a brief examination of the album(s) where the change(s) occurred. Note: as proper logos were/are often not utilized on show flyers, those will not be considered in this discussion. Likewise, changes that occured before a band’s first official LP or EP release (i.e., on demos, etc.) will not be discussed; only official releases, beginning with the beginning. Also, this list is in no way meant to complete or comprehensive. Also, it is in no particular order. Also, it could probably be laid out more clearly, but here we are.

1. Metallica

Metallica’s logo evolved along with the band, but it was always based on that distinct stabbing M and A. Their classic logo is possibly the most recognizable logo in all of metal (even my 73-year-old parents recognize it). 1987’s The 5.98 E.P.: Garage Days Re-Revisited fudged the formula a bit by making the logo look like it was taken from the pages of a teenager’s school notebook, but like the songs on the tape, this was a nod to the band’s early days. 1988’s massive …And Justice for All reverted to the classic block format (quite literally this time, by making it appear to be carved in stone). On 1991’s Metallica (aka “The Black Album”), the logo is still pretty much the same, although it was blended almost entirely into the black background, not unlike the band’s thrash metal roots on this album.

This motherfucker is still selling over 200,000 copies a year.

The first real, concrete logo change came with the release of 1996’s Load, which of course found the band slowing things waaaaaaay down, and dabbling in country music and straight-up hard rock sounds. Everything about the cover of Load hinted at a drastic change in sound, tempo, tone, and attitude.

Gross.

They used this logo again on Reload, and 2003’s late term abortion St. Anger saw another evolution of the logo, back into something more like the classic logo, only more “edgy” and “stupid”.

They reverted to the original logo on 2008’s Death Magnetic, and used a slightly altered version of it on 2016’s Hardwired…to Self-Destruct (which, while probably their best album since Metallica, is still not that great), but it doesn’t matter anymore.

2. Anthrax

I always loved Anthrax’s logo, not to mention Anthrax. They were my first favorite band, and I was a proud member of their fan club for a couple of years in the early 90’s. Their sound evolved somewhat throughout the 80’s and into the 90’s, but it changed a lot in 1992, when longtime singer Joey Belladonna was shown the door and former Armored Saint frontman John Bush stepped in. Bush’s debut, 1993’s Sound of White Noise, was a pretty big step in a new direction for Anthrax, with more of an emphasis on vocal melodies, lower tunings, and slower tempos, but it also comes off (to my ears) as a natural continuation of the sound the band had harnessed on 1991’s stellar Persistence of Time. As such, the change in the  logo is slight (perhaps imperceptible to the casual viewer).

Bushthrax

1995’s Stomp 442 is a horse of an entirely different color. All references to the classic, pointy logo were gone, and in its place was a weird, wavy block letter thing, almost unnoticeable down in the lower left corner of the bizarre cover.

Yeah, I don’t really get it either.

The changes didn’t stop at the cover, either. Longtime lead guitarist Danny Spitz left the band after SoWN, and with him vanished nearly any musical connection to the Anthrax of old. Solos still came along (many were played by drummer Charlie Benante, with two guest solos by Dimebag Darrell), and the riffs were still there (albeit much simpler), but overall it was a much more straightforward hard rock album, and was nowhere near the neighborhood of a thrash metal album. Every album since Stomp 442 has utilized a version of the classic logo, but they’ve gotten less interesting as time has gone on.

On a side note, I can’t be the only person to notice the similarities between the Anthrax logo and the Toyota Matrix logo, can I?

3. Testament

Holy shit do I ever love me some Testament. Their first logo change can be found on the cover of 1990’s Souls of Black, but it’s really nothing more than a separation of the letters in their classic logo, as seen above. The band’s sound didn’t change drastically with the cover.

The follow-up, 1992’s underrated The Ritual, crammed the letters back together and turned them into an inverted pentagon/implied pentagram, resulting in a pretty bitchin cover that hinted at a sound more evil (and perhaps more akin to their earlier, more sinister-sounding songs) than what was contained within.

Fantastic cover, fantastic album. Not nearly as evil or comparatively heavy as the cover implies.

The Return to the Apocalyptic City EP (1993) returned the logo to classic form (and threw in a completely fucking bitchin cover, to boot).

See?

In 1994, the band released their final studio album on longtime label Atlantic Records. Low returned the logo to the Souls of Black-style separated letters, and this time, the sounds were noticeably different. Lead guitar maestro Alex Skolnik left the band after the The Ritual, and his replacement by the supremely talented yet stylistically very different James Murphy (Obituary, Death) ushered in some pretty big sonic changes. The album is excellent from beginning to end, and it still sounds like Testament, but it has a decidedly heavier edge than anything the band had released prior, even dipping their toes in the death metal end of the pool with side two opener “Dog Faced Gods”.

This heavier verison of Testament stuck with the newer, separated logo for 1997’s Demonic, then simplified it even more on 1999’s absolutely essential The Gathering (with the second version of the logo incorporated into the artwork) before reverting to their classic logo with their return from hiatus, 2008’s excellent Formation of Damnation.

Boring logo, weird cover, amazing album.

Today, the band kind of goes back and forth between the two logos, and they still kick loads of ass. Their most recent album (Brotherhood of the Snake – 2016) is my least favorite so far, but it’s still better and more consistent than most other classic band’s modern offerings (I’m looking at you, Metallica, Anthrax,  and Slayer).

4. Slayer

Fucking duh.

Speaking of Slayer, their logo is likely the second-most recognizable in the world of thrash metal (and is probably the only one that could really give Metallica’s classic logo a run for its money as far as recognizability), and their first six releases utilized it to varying degrees, with it being most prominent (i.e., mostly unaccompanied) on 1984’s absolute banger Haunting the Chapel EP.

The cover of 1992’s Seasons in the Abyss marks the first of two albums in a row without the logo anywhere on the cover, but the sound didn’t change drastically with either album. 1996’s pretty good collection of punk and hardcore covers Undisputed Attitude returned it to a sort of prominence, albeit in the form a fan-worn t-shirt.

In 1998, the band released the weird, mostly slow, chuggy, nü-metal-influenced Diabolus in Musica, and anyone paying attention was tipped off to the change when they saw the cover,  which, while creepy in its own way, bore absolutely no resemblance to any previous Slayer release.

This may as well have had flashing red lights and sirens on it.

The next few albums varied in their use of the logo, and the most recent album, 2016’s Repentless, brought back the orginal logo (along with echoes of some of the classic artwork), but the magic is pretty much gone at this point. At least we have their first 4 1/2 albums, right?

Fucking beautiful.

5. Megadeth 

Megadeth is a unique on this list in that they changed their logo significantly two different times. The first change occurred between their debut (1985’s Killing is My Business…and Business is Good!, with its classic speed metal-esque, Motörhead inspired cover) and their second album (1986’s godly Peace Sells…but Who’s Buying?) but did not accompany a major change in sound (though the quality did improve significantly. The band stuck with their new, iconic logo (above) from Peace Sells… up through 1995’s Hidden Treasures EP (an overall solid collection of soundtrack/compilation songs and covers).

In 1997, Megadeth died, and Dave Mustaine released Cryptic Writings, an album which marked a drastic change in the band’s sound. They’d already slowed things down quite a bit with Countdown to Extinction (1991) and Youthanasia (1994), but Cryptic Writings found Mustaine and co. actively working to make a more commercial sounding, radio-friendly album, and the results are not so good, but they’re miles ahead of its follow-up, 1999’s Risk.

[sad trombone sound]

Ugh.

Dave Mustaine has remixed, remastered, and re-released Killing is My Business…, Cryptic Writings, and Risk in the past few years and they all have new artwork featuring the classic logo, but don’t be fooled by Cryptic Writings or Risk . To be fair, I haven’t tried listening to either Cryptic Writings or Risk since probably 2001 or so, but when Peace Sells…, So Far, So Good…So What! (1988), and Rust in Peace (1990) all exist, I don’t really have a reason to try again.

Megadeth returned to their classic logo with 2001’s The World Needs a Hero, and have used that logo on every release since, with the exception of one live album and one greatest hits/best of compilation. Musically, they have remained a mixed bag.

6. Exodus

Exodus released three crushing albums between 1985 and 1989, then began to falter a bit. 1990’s Impact is Imminent is good, but it’s not as solid as any of its predecessors. In 1992, they released Force of Habit, which is still a good album, but it is perhaps most notable for slowing down the breakneck tempos quite a bit, and for the weird, weird graffiti cover, complete with spray-painted logo.

Major label influence and declining record sales are a hell of a drug.

It was the last album Exodus released until 1997, when they reunited with original vocalist/lunatic Paul Baloff (RIP) and recorded a fucking amazing live album called Another Lesson in Violence. They have utilized their original logo since that album, and they have continued to crush skulls and snap necks since.

7. Overkill

New Jersey’s Overkill are one of thrash metal’s unsung heroes, churning out good-to-great albums with an almost alarming consistency since 1985. Like all bands not called AC/DC, Motörhead, or Ramones, their sound has changed a bit, but unlike all the other bands on this list, their logo has not changed at all since their first album. The sole exceptions come in the form of live album (1995’s Wrecking Your Neck) and an album of covers from 1999 called Coverkill, which did have a weird ransom note-esque logo at the top, but also included the original logo at the bottom as part of the album title.

I don’t know that Overkill’s musical consistency and logo consistency are related, but I do find it interesting that they are the only thrash band from the 80’s that both never broke up and also never changed their logo in the 90’s.

8. Iron Maiden

Someone did my work for me. Thank you, anonymous stranger!

Iron Maiden is obviously not a thrash band, but they did have a subtle logo change, and I love them, so I’m including them on this list. The logo is iconic to say the least, and the band is quite possibly the biggest metal band in the world (only Metallica could conceivably compete for that title at this point). They had a bit of a rough go in the 1990’s, first losing longtime guitarist Adrian Smith in 1990, during early work on No Prayer for the Dying, followed by vocalist Bruce Dickinson in 1993 (after touring for 1992’s Fear of the Dark). Smith was replaced by Janick Gers, and Dickinson was replaced by Blaze Bayley (whose band Wolfsbane had opened for Maiden during their 1990 tour). This lineup released two albums, 1995’s excellent The X Factor, and 1998’s kind of okay Virtual XI.

The cover for The X Factor is strange, but the logo is more or less the same, and the songs sound more or less like Maiden songs, albeit with a very different voice. Virtual XI, however, is different. Superficially, the logo was changed ever so slightly to be flat across the bottom. The album itself has some very high highlights (album opener “Futureal” and “The Clansman”, especially), but it has some real duds on it, too. The second track, “The Angel and the Gambler”, would be pretty solid if it was 3 minutes long, but instead it drags on for just shy of 10 minutes, most of which is just the chorus, repeated repeatedly. This has become a recurring issue on Iron Maiden albums, as Steve Harris seems to have begun writing songs specifically for a live audience to sing along with. Whatever, they still kick unbelievable amounts of ass live, and I still love them.

The original logo was utilized on a few compilations throughout the 2000’s, and made its unassuming return on a studio album with 2015’s The Book of Souls. Merchandise is available in both logo styles, i.e., with or without “tails”.

9. Voivod

I’ve written a lot about Voivod, so I won’t get into them here, other than to say that their logo has changed with every single release, just as their sound has evolved with every single release. While I’m not sure about the other bands on this list, I can say with certainty that Voivod’s logo changed each time to purposely reflect the evolution of the sounds conatined within the albums. If you don’t already, you should listen to Voivod. If you do already, you should listen to them more often.

These are not in order, but they are all fucking badass.

What can we glean from all this? Fuck if I know, I just love heavy metal, appreciate a well-crafted logo, and realized that no one had really written about logo changes as hints of musical changes (based on my very limited research).

Anyway, thanks for reading, and thanks for staying heavy with me.

 

I Wanna Disconnect Myself: A Thing About the First Time I Met Henry Rollins

The second time I met Henry Rollins was embarrassing, but only in retrospect. At the time, I was brimming with confidence (which is part of what makes it embarrassing).

I went with my buddy Owen to see Rollins Band in Cincinnati on the Get Some Go Again (2000) tour, and afterward, we hung around the bus because I wanted to give him a copy of a collection of poems I’d put together. My writing style back then was very much influenced by his writing style back then, and I put the book together during a time of relative depression in my life. Writing everything down helped me get it out and feel more normal, but in hindsight, I really wish I hadn’t given out so many copies so freely.

Aside from the writing itself, what made my giving Rollins a copy so retrospectively embarrassing was my decision to include a note inside, encouraging him to contact me with any thoughts or feedback he might have. The only part of the entire experience that does not currently embarrass me is the fact that he liked the title (All Aboard the Joel Train), which, as it happens, is the only part of the entire collection that I am not currently embarrassed about.

The first time I met Henry Rollins, though…that was embarrassing then and now, but it’s also pretty hilarious, and that’s what we’re gathered here today to discuss…
A whole mess of us (myself, along with Travis, Darin, Casey, and maybe Casey’s cousin) drove up to Indianapolis to see Rollins Band on the tour for 1997’s Come in and Burn (an album that I don’t listen to often, but which I still feel is underrated). The band was amazing (Melvin Gibbs’ bass is still causing my insides to jiggle), and the crowd was amazing, and everything was amazing, and then then show ended, and everyone (excluding Travis and myself) wanted to hang around the bus and meet everyone.
I should point out that it’s not like we didn’t want to meet Henry Rollins; it was just that as voracious readers of his self-published writings, we knew that he wasn’t into the whole shaking hands/small talk thing (Which I totally get – small talk is the fucking worst!), and he wished that people would/could be happy with the band pouring their hearts and souls and guts out all over the stage, and we didn’t want to come off as some of those people who seemingly couldn’t understand that. In short, we thought we were very cool.
Anyway, we’re all hanging around the bus, along with some other like-minded fans, and the entire band comes out (sans Rollins), and they’re extremely friendly and more than happy to chat with us for a bit (I told Melvin he was a “bass god”, which seemed to embarrass him, but I stand by that assertion). They all signed stuff for us, and it was cool, and then Rollins came out and began to make the rounds.
I remember Casey showing him his driver’s license, which indicated that they have the same birthday, and Rollins saying something like “cool, are you a genius too?” Then everybody else talked to him, and I spent the entire time trying to think of something cool and memorable to say to the man who was, at the time, one of my idols.
It finally comes down to me – Go Time. “Don’t be nervous, just say something cool”, I said to myself. Instead, the following exchange took place:
Me (sweating profusely): That was a really great show.
Rollins: Thanks very much, I appreciate that.
Me: I really loved your part in The Chase. That’s like the greatest movie of all time.
Rollins (dumbfounded): Oh, wow. You really should see more movies. Maybe check out A Streetcar Named Desire. It’s a lot better than The Chase.
Me (sweating even more): Um…yeah…um…
And it just ended there, which was probably for the best.
I didn’t think The Chase was the greatest movie of all time, or even “like” the greatest movie of all time! Why did I tell Henry Rollins I thought that?! Why did that come out of my mouth?! What the hell was wrong with me?!?!
In case you are unfamiliar with The Chase, here’s the synopsis from Wikipedia: “The Chase is a 1994 American action film directed by Adam Rifkin and starring Charlie Sheen and Kristy Swanson, depicting a wrongfully-convicted man who kidnaps a wealthy heiress and leads police on a lengthy car chase in an attempt to escape prison. It features Henry Rollins, Josh Mostel, and Ray Wise in supporting roles, with cameo appearances by pornographic film actor Ron Jeremy and Anthony Kiedis and Flea of the rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers.”
Rollins and Mostel play the cops who are in primary pursuit throughout the titular chase, and they have a Cops-style camera crew in the car with them. Rollins enthusiastically plays the role of Over-the-Top Asshole Tough Guy Cop, and is easily the most consistently entertaining part of the entire movie, which I have to say again, I have never once considered to be the greatest movie of all time, even though I told Henry Rollins I thought that.
If The Chase sounds like it could be a pretty fun and/or probably really dumb movie, that’s because it is in fact both, but I have to make sure I’m being crystal clear about something: as much I used to enjoy watching The Chase, and as much as I thoroughly enjoyed Henry Rollins’ performance as an over-the-top asshole cop, I have never once even considered considering The Chase to be anywhere near even the bottom of any list of “Greatest Movies of All Time”, past or present, even though I told Henry Rollins I thought that.
Travis probably talked to him about John Coltrane or something cool like that, but Henry Rollins definitely left that encounter thinking I was some kind of idiot, and I can’t say that he was wrong to think that.

Dying of Boredom, I’ll Try It All: A Brief Thing About Deftones

I’ve written before about Deftones, and my love/appreciation for them, but I’ve never gotten too specific, and have mostly mentioned off-handedly that I believe they were a much better and more talented band than pretty much any of their nü-metal peers (any of the ones I’ve ever heard, anyway), with the possible exception of System of a Down, who are undeniably talented, but whom I also don’t like as much as I like Deftones.

This is a pretty old picture of the band, but I like it. I used to have a poster of it.

However, I must confess that I’ve really only ever listened to the first four Deftones albums. I used to own  Adrenaline, their 1995 debut, but I haven’t listened to it in a very long time, and back when it was new, the supremely aggro “7 Words” was my most-often played song from the album. I later came to appreciate album opener “Bored”, but by that time, 1997’s Around the Fur had already come out, and I immediately liked it more, so I pretty much stopped listening to Adrenaline.

Around the Fur randomly shoves its way back into my consciousness now and then, and I really like that one. Their third album, 2000’s White Pony, got a lot of play among my friends and me when it came out, and it showed some real growth for the band. I bought their self-titled fourth album the day it came out in 2003, and I liked parts of it, but it contained some elements that didn’t quite grab me and/or mildly disappointed me (at the time), so I fell back on Around the Fur and White Pony, and never really gave the band another chance. I did hear 2010’s Diamond Eyes once, sometime in 2011 or ’12, and I remember liking it, but I didn’t bother going any further.

Side note: for my money, White Pony is the band’s finest hour, and it’s where they really set themselves apart from their angsty, tough-guy-posturing “jumpdafuckup” brethren. White Pony has a certain…how you say…je ne sais quoi, and it’s the Deftones album I return to most often. It feels safe and warm, even when it’s depressing, haunting, or terrifying, and there’s not a misplaced note or a weak moment on the entire thing.

Long story short: I realized I need to examine the Deftones catalog, so I decided to start at the beginning, with Adrenaline, and listen to each album in order (including White Pony, which I’ve already listened to three times in past two weeks), see what I can find, and share my results with you, the reader. I have no thesis statement, and the only thing I really expect to find is some pretty kickass music with which I am mostly unfamiliar. This’ll obviously be a multi-part series, though there will not necessarily be a separate entry for each album.

That said, I’ve just started listening to Adrenaline, and it’s every bit as aggressive and Angry-Young-Man as I remembered it being, but I’m also immediately struck by their excellent use of dynamics and space, which places them more in the neighborhood of Helmet and Clutch than that of Linkin Park or Coal Chamber. I’m gonna give a few proper listens, and I’ll report back later (but hopefully not too much later).

Until then, dig these videos…

The official video for “7 Words” is pretty heavily censored, so here’s this instead.

“Bored” already hints at the greatness to come.

…and don’t forget to stay heavy.