More Loose Ends and Random Bits

I’ve been neglecting this blog for a while now, and I wish I could say for certain that I’m back at it on a regular basis, but unfortunately, I just don’t have the time to do it up properly, so for now, I’ll continue sporadically updating on what I’ve been up to since my last update.

The main thing I’ve been up to that pertains to metal is that I am now also writing for Global Thrash Assault, an awesome website run by fellow thrash fanatic Chad.  I’ve written two reviews so far, both for albums by bands I’d never even heard of until Chad sent me the assignments, and I’ve really enjoyed both of them.  Greek thrashers Biotoxic Warfare lay down some dark and angry blackened thrash on their full-length debut Lobotomized, and Italian “Moshing Maniax” Blindeath combine dirty NWOBHM-style proto-thrash with balls out mid-to-late 80’s pure thrash metal and deliver an adrenaline-fueled kick to the crotch called Into the Slaughter that you’ll return to again and again.  Both albums are highly recommended.

One odd/interesting thing I’ve noticed during my relative blogging silence is that my post entitled “The Ten Best Thrash Metal Ballads of All Time” has been viewed at least once every single day since I first posted it back in mid-September, lending considerable evidence to my assertion that lists are the only thing most people read on the internet these days.  I noticed a couple of days ago that it was the second link listed if you search “thrash metal ballads” on the Google, which was very exciting, and I just now searched it on Google again to make sure it was still number two, and it is, in fact, number one now, which is obviously even more exciting.  So thanks, whoever keeps looking at my nearly five month old post!

Also, at least once a week, someone finds my blog by searching the internet for some variation of “bill kelliher haircut” or “brent hinds tattoo”, which I find endlessly amusing, and I can only assume that most of those people have not become regular readers of Stay Heavy.

I’ve got a ton of topics cookin in my brain, and eventually you’ll see the continuation of the Voivod saga, another Old-Ass VHS Review or two, some more reviews, some more mixtapes (which I will clearly refer to as “The Best (Whatever) of All Time” now, so that people will actually look at them), some more Metal in the Mainstream adventures, and a whole lot more.

That’s all I got for now.  Here’s some live Exodus with metal madman Paul Baloff on vocals, because today is the thirteenth anniversary of his death from a stroke at the age of 41.  The song begins at around 2:30.

“…and it ain’t about no trout!  This song is called…”

RIP, you crazy fucker.

Stay heavy.  It’s what Paul Baloff would’ve wanted.

A Few Loose Ends

Clearing my brain a little.  It’s been too full lately.

Decibel magazine, which I (mostly) love, recently put out their annual year-end issue, with top albums and live shows, and what-have-you, and I just cannot understand how Exodus, Coffinworm, Overkill,  Today is the Day, and Rigor Mortis could all be absent from not only their Top 40 Extreme Albums of 2014, but from the “Top 5 Records That Tied For #41” sidebar as well.  And then to add insult to injury, those clowns in Mastodon are on the goddamn cover for the 293rd goddamn time.  Add to this the fact that the final edition of “Grinding it Out”, the monthly column by Kevin Sharp (Brutal Truth (RIP)/Venemous Concept/Primate/etc.) appeared within, and you’ve got the makings of a bummer of an issue.

So. Motherfucking. Good.

Despite all this, I wholeheartedly support Decibel, especially when the only real competition it has here in the colonies is Revovler, which I wouldn’t give Rush Limbaugh to wipe his fat, sweaty butt-crack.

This is what you get when you perform a Google Image search for the words "rush limbaugh butt crack".  I go the extra mile to bring the truth to you.  Source:

This is what you get when you perform a Google Image search for the words “rush limbaugh butt crack”. Now you don’t have to Google it yourself. Source:

I’m in the process of losing weight and getting in better shape, because I want to be able to walk up a flight of stairs without getting winded, and I’d like to live a while longer, thanks.  I still don’t know what to make of how dedicated I am to it.  I definitely need to get a better handle on my diet, but the exercise is usually enjoyable, and I’ve lost 15 pounds since I started going to Planet Fitness in mid-October.  The place gets some flack on the internet from people who are offended that they don’t allow you to work out there if you’re the kind of person who screams in the mirror and fantasizes about fucking yourself while you stare at your own muscles, but that’s one of the things I like about it.


There are some real chowderheads there, for sure, but I’m way more comfortable there than I would be at, like, Cardinal Fitness or whatever.  I’m working with a trainer (free to all members of PF) and doing all my exercises in accord with her plan, and I feel better, both mentally and physically, than I have in a long while.  I never used to understand people who enjoyed exercising, but I get it now.

“Joel, what the fuck has this got to do with heavy?”

Sorry, I was just getting to it.  Owning an old iPod (thanks to the incomparable Amy Miller) has made my time at PF tolerable as far as the music is concerned; when I go after work, the music they play is absurdly dumb.  Taylor Swift is the best it gets between the hours of noon-ish and sometime after 4:30, and that just will not do.  I’ve been earlier in the day a couple of times, and it’s mostly good (“Pump it Up” by Elvis Costello & the Attractions, “Right Here, Right Now” by Jesus Jones, heard a Pixies song once, though I forget which one), but I’d still rather listen to something of my own choosing.  I have intentions of putting together a workout playlist at some point, because lists get more views on this blog than anything else, and because I like making lists, but for now I’ll just mention that Agnostic Front’s legendary 1984 hardcore debut, Victim in Pain, followed by Agnostic Front’s oft-maligned crossover classic Liberty and Justice For…(1987) makes a pretty great stationary bike soundtrack, and Rollins Band’s Weight (1994) is a fine background for weight machines (see endnote *).

The lyrics are pretty damned inspirational.

Been listening to some stuff I still intend to write about eventually, not least of which is Gama Bomb’s Tales From the Grave in Space (2009), which I enjoy more than I’ve enjoyed any other release that I’ve heard from any other band from the New Wave of Thrash Metal, though I have admittedly heard very little of the stuff.  I like Municipal Waste well enough, but they invariably make me wanna listen to Nuclear Assault instead, and Toxic Holocaust does the same with Sodom.  Gama Bomb sounds different, and, for lack of a better word, “fresher”, and it doesn’t make me feel like reaching for another, more classic band.  Tales From the Grave in Space is the band’s third album, and is available for free download at

It’s pretty tight.

Oh, and because I just happened upon them a little while ago, here are some pictures of the super-badass Exodus t-shirt I scored earlier this year:

This was somehow the least blasphemous t-shirt available at the Exodus merch booth that day.

This was somehow the least blasphemous t-shirt available at the Exodus merch booth that day.

That’s all for now, I think.  I’m gonna watch a movie.  You stay heavy, internet.

endnote *: I don’t get nearly so excited about Henry Rollins these days, but the man and his work still exist as in important layer in the foundation of the house of Joel, and I still think WeightCome in and Burn (1997), and The End of Silence (1992) are great (I don’t enjoy the stuff before and after as much, with a few exceptions).  Some other time, I’ll tell you about the two different times I met Henry Rollins.  The first time was very awkward, which is my way, and is much funnier in retrospect than the second time, which while it was happening seemed much less awkward than the first time, but is in fact much more awkward in retrospect .

2 Heavy Things You Probably Didn’t Know I’m Not Into (#2 Will Get Your Dog Pregnant!)

Full disclosure: since I started Stay Heavy, I’ve been wondering if giving an entry a “list”-type title would result in more views for that entry, seeing as how lists seem to be the only things that get shared and read these days.  I’m sincerely sick and fucking tired of seeing headlines like “13 Things You Didn’t Know About Geraniums (#4 will change your life in the worst way possible)”, but to be perfectly honest, I understand why websites do that kind of shit, which is why I decided to go ahead and try it out myself.  I feel more okay about utilizing this shady clickbait method because I have actually prepared a (very short) list of sorts.

With that out of the way, I’ll get down to the bare bones of this topic.  Here are two undeniable thruths: 1.) I’ve been a Metalhead for 28 years now, and 2.) Metalheads are nothing if not highly opinionated.  As such, I’ve developed a fair number of opinions about metal-related things.  To put it another way: I’m passionate about heavy metal, and I’m an opinionated, curmudgeonly old fuck (my wife is much nicer about it; she says I’m a “purist”).


That said, there are some things in the realm of metal (and related heavy music) that I simply do not get…things that most other Metalheads seem to have raging boners for (or, for the ladies, raging lady-boners).  I’ll get into two of those things presently, and you can bet your Sweet Aunt Fanny that there will be more posts like this in the future.  For the most part, the items will be in no particular order, but these first two items are most certainly the top two items on the list of Heavy Things I Just Don’t Understand, so I’ma start with them.

1.  Mastodon – I expect I might catch hell over this, but I do not fucking get the hype and praise that people slather all over Mastodon.  I first became aware of them shortly after the release of their second album, 2004’s Leviathan, but I didn’t actually hear them until 2006’s Blood Mountain.  I was excited to hear Leviathan, because I knew that Clutch frontman Neil Fallon had a guest spot on the album, and I was a salivating Clutch fanboy at the time.  I heard both albums pretty regularly at work, where everyone in the kitchen was allowed to take a turn selecting music.  None of the songs from either album ever really grabbed me, but I gave them the benefit of the doubt and chalked it up to the fact that they were meant to be listened to – like, sit down, shut up, and listen to this motherfucker.  So I borrowed Leviathan, took it home, and continued to be underwhelmed.

I understand that they are excellent musicians.  Guitarist Bill Kelliher also played guitar on Primate’s ferocious 2012 album Draw Back a Stump, and I enjoy the hell out of that.  Also, Kelliher and drummer Brann Dailor played bass and drums, respectively, on Today Is the Day’s In the Eyes of God (1999), and that album is fucking amazing.  I also appreciate the concept album leanings they bring/brought to the party, but when you strip Mastodon down to what really matters, which is the songs, I just find them to be b-o-r-i-n-g.  I also heard Crack the Skye plenty of times at that same job, and it bored me, too.  I haven’t listened their first album, Remission, or their most recent album, The Hunter, because I feel that I’ve given Mastodon enough chances, thank you very much, and my conclusion is that Mastodon is a goddamn boring band, and they come off like they’re trying too hard.

Also, Bill Kelliher’s stupid fucking haircut and fellow guitarist Brent Hinds’ stupid fucking face tattoo piss me off.


Exhibit A: Bill Kelliher’s stupid fucking haircut.


Exhibit B: Brent Hinds’ stupid fucking face tattoo.


2. The last two Clutch albums – As stated above, there was a time (roughly 1997-2013) when I was super into Clutch.  I loved every single release from the band, from 1991’s Pitchfork EP up through 2007’s From Beale Street to Oblivion.  Ask anybody who has known me for more than a few years, and they’ll be able to tell you about my love for Clutch.  They started out as a very stripped down, metallic, industrial/hardcore-esque band, and slowly evolved into a grooving, jamming, bluesy, beastly juggernaut.  I saw them live every chance I got (a total of 7 times between 1998 and 2008).  I’ve owned 8 different Clutch shirts (five of which I still own).  I own import-only CDs that cost me more than I care to admit.

And then, after years of nothing but love for the band, Clutch released an album that bored me so much, I’ve only been able to listen to it all the way through three times.  I bought Strange Cousins From the West the day it was released (July 14, 2009), and I was fuckin stoked about it.  The packaging is amazing (though it is a little frustrating and difficult to reassemble),  and I’d heard some of the songs live, and they were pretty badass.  I drove home from work, popped the disc in, pressed play, and proceeded to struggle to stay awake.  Clutch albums prior to Strange Cousins… have a dynamic flow – highs and lows, fasts and slows.  Strange Cousins… took the brilliant mid-tempo groove of songs like “Greenbuckets” (The Elephant Riders – 1998) and “Opossum Minister” (From Beale Street to Oblivion) and made an entire album out of that mid-tempo groove (with very few exceptions).

The dynamic course of Strange Cousins From the West could be plotted more or less like this:


(Tracks 1-2)           (Tracks 3-4)                       (Tracks 5-whenever my alarm goes off)

Compare that to a simulation of a dynamic chart of, for example, 2004’s Blast Tyrant:

(Note: I was unable to prepare a chart, because I was busy getting my ass kicked by Blast Tyrant.)

I decided to just pretend like Strange Cousins From the West never happened, and instead wait patiently for a follow-up to From Beale Street to Oblivion.  (I have tried to listen to Strange Cousins… a few times since, but I honestly can’t finish it – it’s just too boring.)  Then when I started reading about the follow-up, I started to get exceptionally pumped – all signs/reviews pointed to a modern revisiting of the style/sound of Blast Tyrant, which is the band’s heaviest album.  Redemption!

I had to wait a week to buy 2013’s Earth Rocker, because its release didn’t jive up with payday, but when I picked it up, drove home from work, popped the disc in, and pressed play, I pretty quickly began to wonder what the fuck has happened to what was once one of my All-Time Top Five Favorite Bands.  Earth Rocker is heavier than anything since Blast Tyrant (and might even be heavier than Blast Tyrant), and it’s also faster than anything since Blast Tyrant, but like it’s predecessor, it almost completely lacks any kind of dynamic changes.

The dynamic course of Earth Rocker could be plotted more or less like this:


(Tracks 1-5)                     (Track 6)                (Tracks 7-11)

Compare that to a simulation of a dynamic chart of, for example, 1995’s Clutch:

(Note: I was unable to prepare a chart, because I was busy getting my ass kicked by Clutch.)

What bothers me most about Earth Rocker, though, is the vast amounts of praise it has received, from seemingly every possible corner of music-related press – countless magazines and blogs placed it in at least their top 10 albums of 2013, and reviews go on and on about what a punishing return to form it is for the band, but it’s seriously nowhere near as good as anything the band released before 2009.

At any rate, now I pretend like both Strange Cousins… and Earth Rocker didn’t happen, and I continue to wait patiently for a follow-up to From Beale Street to Oblivion.  When it finally comes, I will definitely listen to it before I spend any more money on Clutch.  If it never comes (i.e., if they release another boring turd of an album), at least they have a pretty deep back catalog.

That’s all for today.  What are some heavy things you just don’t understand?