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.

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.

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.

 

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.

We Carry On: A Voivod Primer, Part 4

What follows is Part Four of a multi-part series about the groundbreaking and visionary French-Canadian progressive metal band Voivod.  Part One can be found here, Part Two can be found here, and Part Three can be found here.

After Eric Forrest’s automobile accident and the hiatus that followed, Voivod decided to call it a day, and in 2001, they disbanded, and the world was worse off for it. However, through some beautiful set of circumstances with which I am not entirely familiar, Away and Piggy reunited with Snake, and Voivod was reborn, not unlike Anark. One of the reasons for the reunion was certainly the interest of long-time fan and collaborator Jason Newsted, who joined the band on bass guitar following his departure from Metallica. Voivod Code Name: Jasonic.

The first album recorded by Voivod Mark III (or possibly Mark IV), 2003’s Voivod (which was released on Newsted’s own label, Chophouse Records), finds the band returning to a sound not far removed from 1993’s The Outer Limits. And while I don’t think the former quite stands up to the latter, the songs are pretty great overall, and some of them are utterly fantastic. It’s certainly better than anything Newsted did with Metallica post …And Justice for AllRolling Stone gave it 2 stars (out of a possible 5), but then, Rolling Stone has put Li’l Wayne on their cover three different times, so Rolling Stone clearly knows as much about good music as Billy Ray Cyrus.

“Gasmask Revival” kicks the album off in fine form, although it’s a little more straightforward than most Voivod songs.

Track three, “Blame Us”, is where things start to sound a bit more Voivod-esque…

And by the time we get to track six, “The Multiverse”, things appear to be right in…well, the multiverse…

“Invisible Planet” is also tight as hell. It’s also worth noting that Snake’s spoken part at the end of the song proclaims “This is Voivod Mark III, emergency!” and while I reckon that the band would be the ultimate authority as to which version of the band is responsible for which albums, the idea that the post-Blacky/pre-E-Force years (Angel Rat and The Outer Limits) should be Mark II is not without merit. However, it gets even more confusing a bit further down the line, and all that really matter is that Voivod is still putting out kick ass music. Mark it VIII if you have to, dude. Voivod is better than your band.

Following the release of Voivod, the band scored a slot on the second stage at Ozzfest 2003, with Newsted playing bass for both them and Ozzy Osbourne, and for a moment, it seemed that everything was comin’ up Milhouse.

If you're a fan of the Simpsons, you owe it to yourself to visit frinkiac.com.

If you’re a fan of the Simpsons, you owe it to yourself to visit frinkiac.com.

Then, the cosmic conspiracy reared its ugly head once again, when Piggy was diagnosed with colon cancer. He passed away on August 26, 2005, at the way-too-goddamn-young age of 45, and anyone who thought that the band was finished would not have been called crazy for thinking such. But as Larry told his class in Throw Momma From the Train, “a writer writes, always”, and that’s just what Piggy did after his diagnosis.

Turns out the formidable master of riff mindfuckery had recorded riffs onto his laptop before he died, and he told Away how he wanted said riffs to be utilized, and the end result was two more posthumous albums, 2006’s Katorz [a phonetic spelling of “quatorze”, the French word for fourteen, as it was the band’s 14th album (including live and compilation albums)], and 2009’s Infini, both of which consist of more straight-ahead, hard driving Voivod songs in a similar vein to their self-titled comeback.

The band produced three videos for Katorz, album opener “The Getaway” and album closers “The X-Stream” and “Polaroids”. The video for “Polaroids” is super-cool, and features some of Away’s artwork overlaid onto footage of industrial landscapes. In addition, “The X-Stream”, was included in Guitar Hero II, which you may recall was taking the world by storm at the time.

The announcement of the release of Infini was met with some surprise, as many people assumed that Katorz would be the last Voivod album, but Piggy had too much inside his by all accounts beautiful soul for just one final album, and Infini received a bittersweet release on June 23, 2009. It’s my favorite album from the Jasonic era of Voivod, but it’s also the first album the band released after I got into them, so that probably has something to do with it.

“God Phones” is a solid way to start things off…

“Morpheus” was featured on this blog before, but it’s too damn good to not mention again. The lyrics are inspired by Piggy’s time in the hospital and his subsequent death, and they are incredibly spooky and heartfelt.

“You came to see me, don’t want to see you
I live in my world, so do not disturb
The thing inside me, won’t let me free
It is so unreal, it’s not a bad dream…”

Album closer “Volcano” mercifully brings the mood back up, because that shit was heavier than a really heavy thing, with apologies to Devin Townsend.

So after the release of Infini,  Voivod was finished, right? I mean, one of their principal songwriters and founding members had lost his battle with that motherfucker known as cancer, so surely they couldn’t carry on, right?

Wrong, asshole! Did you even read the title of this piece?

But that’ll be the topic of Part Five, coming soon(ish), but probably not that soon. Until then, wherever you go, and whatever you do, remember to stay heavy. Do it for Piggy.

Also, I’m sorry I called you an asshole. I love you all, except for the assholes. You know who you are, assholes.

Why All This Commotion Now?: A Really Short Thing That’s Kind of About Voivod

As regular readers may know, I am a HUGE fan of Voivod. I’ve written about them quite a bit, and I’ve already been planning plenty more, but another piece has been added today: I just bought tickets to see Voivod live on February 29th! This’ll be my first time, and I don’t think I could be more excited! I’d planned to see them when they  were touring with Kreator a few years back, but I couldn’t make that show, and then I really wanted to see them with Napalm Death last year, but it’s hard to plan for a 4-hour one-way trip to Chicago in the winter, and then tickets sold out, but now none of that shit matters, because I’m going to see the mighty motherfucking Voivod – headlining, no less! – in just over two weeks! I don’t care that I have to work all day and then drive straight down to Louisville after work, and I don’t care that I have to drive straight back home and work the next day on not enough sleep, because I am finally going to experience the majesty that is Voivod live!

Photo by Shawn Evans. Used without permission. Please don't sue me, Shawn! For more amazing pics of this show, check out http://skullsnbones.com/voivod-live-photos-from-atlanta-by-shawn-evans/

Photo by Shawn Evans. Used without permission. Please don’t sue me, Shawn! For more amazing pics of this show, check out http://skullsnbones.com/voivod-live-photos-from-atlanta-by-shawn-evans/

I’m too excited to think properly right now, so I’ll just share a few super sweet tunes from Canada’s greatest metal export.

“Post Society” is the single from the band’s latest release, an EP which is also called Post Society. It’s very fucking good:

“We Are Connected” is Voivod’s side of a split 7″ they released with At the Gates last year. It, too, kicks mucho ass-o:

This is the title track to their third album, 1987’s Killing Technology. They’ve been playing this one live on this current tour for the first time since 1994(!):

And here’s Dave Grohl talking about Voivod, because Dave Grohl talks about everything:

I gotta start dinner prep now, and crank some Voivod. If you’re interested, check out my previous posts on Voivod…

here

here

here

and here.

Thanks for reading! Stay heavy!

Here’s to Future Nostalgia!: A Rambly Thing About Metal T-Shirts

To the nonbeliever, metal t-shirts might seem odd, foolish, scary, wasteful, or some other silly shit – I don’t know, I’ve been a Metalhead for over 75% of my life, so I don’t really know how those types think. What I do know, with absolute certainty, is that I fucking love metal t-shirts, and if lack of disposable income and space were not a hindrance, I would own all of them. I will continue wearing them when I’m an old man, and some people will continue to regard me with disdain, and those people can continue to fuck off.

youdon'tknowme

Anyway, I was thinking about metal t-shirts last night, and I was struck by how different the t-shirt buying experience has become. Shirts are so easy to get now, from countless internet purveyors, including the bands themselves. It’s easier than it has ever been for me to own a shirt by literally any band I can think of, and yet the experience is lacking. It might just be nostalgia talking, because nostalgia is much chattier than I am, but I really miss going into a music store and looking through the t-shirts, often finding truly badass t-shirts.

Like this one, for example. Why the fuck did I get rid of this t-shirt?

Like this one, for example. I used to own this t-shirt! Why the fuck did I get rid of this t-shirt? WHAT KIND OF MONSTER AM I?!

I should point out that I currently own some of my favorite metal t-shirts I’ve ever owned, thanks to the internet and to my increased ability to attend shows and buy them in person, but I think maybe it’s the thrill of the hunt that I miss. There was a pretty significant portion of my life (during which I was mostly unable to drive myself anywhere) when I could go into any one of 5 or 6 different music stores within 30 minutes of my house and browse their ever-changing t-shirt selections. Progress has done its thing, and music stores are a much rarer breed these days, but even the few that remain in my town don’t sell t-shirts (or at least not metal t-shirts). My only option for finding metal t-shirts in an old-school real-life browsing fashion is to visit Hot Topic, and sweet baby Jeebus, do I ever hate going into Hot Topic. Sometimes I need it, though, and I’ll brave the muddy waters of whatever befuddling mallcore horseshit the bondage-panted clerk is blasting over the sound system so I can look at the shirts, but I almost always leave without buying anything, because the music seriously gets to me.

Seriously.

Seriously.

Quick tangent: years ago, before we had a Hot Topic here (before I had even heard of Hot Topic, really), I was visiting a friend in St. Louis, MO, and I went into what I later realized was a Hot Topic in a mall there, and bought myself a super-sweet Agnostic Front t-shirt. I wore the fuck out of that shirt, and I still owned it until recently, even though it had severe pit stains, and was much too large for the significantly less chubby me. A year or so later, I was in the mall here (still pre-Hot Topic), wearing my Agnostic Front t-shirt, and I passed a dude who said “hey man, that’s a sweet AF shirt, where’d you get it?” and I said “oh, thanks, I got it at a mall in St. Louis” and he looked at me as if I’d suddenly transformed into a feces-covered kiddie diddler and said “oh”, because he apparently forgot that we were in a mall right at that moment. People sure are dumb.

This is one of the first images that came up when I googled the word "dumb".

This is one of the first images that came up when I googled the word “dumb”.

Anyway, I was talking about the thrill of the t-shirt hunt. It doesn’t really exist anymore. I can no longer spend a lazy afternoon browsing t-shirt selections, narrowing it down to 4 or 5 choices, agonizing over whether to get another Anthrax shirt or a Corrosion of Conformity shirt. Note: I used to own 6 different Anthrax shirts, now I own zero. A significant part of that is the fact that their newer t-shirt designs just don’t speak to me the same way, but it’s also partly because I’m extremely unlikely to just find one in my hands.

I used to own this one, too. I accidentally left it in Texas when I moved back home. I was very sad when I first realized that.

I used to own this one, too. I accidentally left it in Texas when I moved back home. I was very sad when I first realized that.

I don’t really know where I was going with all this; I’m kind of just thinking out loud, and you’re following along. Lucky you, right? I guess the point is that I’m getting old, and my nostalgia is way cooler than today’s reality.

Stay heavy, y’all.

A Quick Update

I don’t have a lot of time today, with it being Christmas and all, but I wanted to pop in and wish everyone a happy Christmas and wonderful 2016, unless you’re an asshole.

I’ve been busier than usual lately, and as usual, my blog has suffered. I always tell myself I won’t let it suffer, but I always let it suffer, and that’s dumb. However, I’ll be starting a new work situation soon, which will allow me to actually schedule time to write each day, and that, my friends, is not dumb. In fact, it’s very exciting.

Speaking of exciting, sometime very soon I’ll begin contributing to a website called Unholy Music, which is based out of Berlin. Be sure to check them out!

Until next time, heavy people, please do stay heavy.

Mixtape Monday (Friday Edition) Volume 11: Everything Looks Like a Target To Me

I had a pretty shitty day at work on Wednesday, and when I came home, I started putting this Mixtape together. It was inspired by one particular person at work, and I’ve calmed down considerably since, but the person who inspired it can (and very much should) still fuck off. Really though, this mix is just about being pissed off, and sometimes, you need that. This is in no particular order.

Exodus – “A Lesson in Violence” (from Bonded By Blood – 1985) – “You motherfuckers better give it up for Exodus!” If you don’t believe me, listen to the entirety of this scorching live version from one of the best live metal albums ever, Another Lesson in Violence. After you’re finished with this mix, you should probably go ahead and listen to the entire album. It seriously rules.

Minor Threat – “Small Man, Big Mouth” (from Minor Threat – 1981) – This song was on my mind while I was at work that day, and while it’s technically about little guys who overcompensate for their size by being assholes, it’s important to remember that some small men are regular-sized, and are also assholes.

Tool – “Ænema” (from Ænima – 1999)  – I’m not the biggest fan of Tool by any stretch of the imagination, but I have nothing against them. I absolutely fucking adore this song, and the video is creepy as shit, as Tool videos tend to be.

“Some say the end is near.
Some say we’ll see armageddon soon.
I certainly hope we will
I sure could use a vacation from this

Stupid shit, silly shit, stupid shit…”

Metallica – “Damage, Inc.” (from Master of Puppets – 1986)

“We chew and spit you out
We laugh, you scream and shout
All flee, with fear you run
You’ll know just where we come from…”

AC/DC – “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” (from Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap – 1976) – My brother got this tape (along with Led Zeppelin I) for Christmas when I was about 5 or 6 years old, and both albums had a profound influence on me. Dirty Deeds is still my favorite AC/DC album.

Big Business – “I’ll Give You Something to Cry About” (from Here Come the Waterworks – 2007) – I’m only really familiar with this one Big Business album, but if it was the only thing they’d ever released, they would still be fucking legendary.

“I’d like to forgive and forget, but I can’t
It’s just one of the ways that I’m petty…”

Black Flag – “Clocked In” (from The First Four Years compilation – 1983) – This job prompted me to share this song on my personal facebook page once before. The Dez Cadena version is superlative. I’ll fight you about that.

Cannibal Corpse – “Puncture Wound Massacre” (from Vile – 1996) – This song is cathartic as a motherfucker.

“I only see red, rage exploding
Two knives, one mind, that hate has broken…”

Brujeria – “Matando Gueros” (from Matando Gueros – 1993) – If you don’t know the story of Brujeria, you should look them up. Their name is Spanish for “witchcraft”, and they kick a ton of ass. The title of this song translates roughly to “Killing White Boys”. None of this should be confused for the Shakira song “Brujería”; I haven’t heard it, but I am 100% confident that they are unrelated.

Rage Against the Machine – “Killing in the Name” (from Rage Against the Machine  – 1992) – “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me!”? You’d better believe this song and album made a major impact on 15-year-old me.

Clutch – “Binge and Purge” (from Transnational Speedway League: Anthems, Anecdotes, and Undeniable Truths – 1993) – Clutch hasn’t always been the blues-infected groove juggernaut they are today. They came to life in 1991 with a very rough hardcore-tinged sound, as heard on their earliest releases, 1991’s Pitchfork 7″ demo, 1992’s Passive Restraints EP, and to a lesser extent, their 1993 full length debut. I don’t listen to their earlier stuff as much, but some of those old songs are absolute classics. “Binge and Purge” is one of them. It is pure, unbridled adolescent rage, and it’s also where I got the title of this Mixtape.

Faith No More – “Surprise! You’re Dead!” (from The Real Thing – 1989) – I love Faith No More, but I was quite disappointed in their recent comeback album. Sometimes I think about giving it another chance, but with a back catalog that includes songs like this, why bother?

Grim Reaper – “See You in Hell” (from See You In Hell – 1983) – My brother used to have this tape in his room, and I was scared of it. When I finally got around to looking this song up a few years ago, I was surprised to find that it was so much less heavy and evil (and so much goofier!) than I remembered.

Vio-Lence – “Serial Killer” (from Eternal Nightmare – 1988) –  This song has been shared on these pages before, but I don’t give a shit; it should be listened to at least once a day. The first Vio-Lence album is a crash course in Thrash Metal Gang Vocals 101 and Thrash Metal Riffs 201. Fucking amazing.

Overkill – “I Hate” (from The Years of Decay – 1989) – This song probably best sums up my overall feeling from that shitty, shitty work day that inspired this kickass mix, so I’m gonna include the lyrics in their entirety, as transcribed on The Metal Archives.

So much trouble
Hate this job
Tried to get out
Trapped like a dog
No, I don’t like
Pumpin’ gas
Do ya hate to wait?

Life’s a game
We play your rules
Bottle half empty
Or the bottle half full
It does no good
No good to shout
But I scream, I hate

Say I’m hostile,
Gotta relax,
Gotta get a grip,
Here’s the facts:
I hate bein’ here!

I hate people that make you feel small
I hate having my back against the wall
You know, I hate being talked down to

I hate your rules
I hate ’em all
Hate being marked to take the fall

Planet’s not big enough for me and you

So much trouble
Over me
Surrounded by jerks
Can’t ya see?
Smile to my face
I know you lie
Knife in the back

Another game
Rules, rules, rules
Not for me
Ya fuckin’ fool
Open your mouth
Just one more time
And my foot’s goin’ down

In one ear
Out the other
A waste of time
Don’t even bother,
I hate being here!

I hate people that make you feel small
I hate having my back against the wall
You know, I hate being talked down to

I hate your rules
I hate ’em all
Hate being marked to take the fall

Planet’s not big enough for me and you
But most of all
I hate you…

YOU! I hate you
YOU! I hate you
I hate, I hate, I hate, I hate you

[Solo]

I hate people that make you feel small
I hate having my back against the wall
You know, I hate being talked down to

I hate your rules
I hate ’em all
Hate being marked to take the fall

Planet’s not big enough for me and you
But most of all
I hate you…

Think I know
How you got this far?
Think I know how you
Got where you are?

Think I’ll hate you
When you’re dead?
I know I’ll hate ya

Smile to my face
Know you lie
Say I got problems?
Ask yourself why

Hate the games
I hate the rules
You’re gonna lose

Say I’m hostile,
Gotta relax,
Better get a grip,
Here’s the facts:
Not much more of you!

I hate people that make you feel small
I hate having my back against the wall
You know, I hate being talked down to

I hate your rules
I hate ’em all
Hate being marked to take the fall
Planet’s not big enough for me and you
But most of all
I hate you…

I hate people that make you feel small (I HATE YOU!)
I hate having my back against the wall (I HATE YOU!)
I hate being talked down to

I hate your rules
Every one (I HATE YOU!)
Hate having counted you number one
I hate being placed at number two
But most of all
I hate you
I hate you
I HATE YOU!

I HATE!

That’s all for now. Stay heavy, friends.