Mixtape Monday, Volume 4: Horror of the Zombies

To celebrate the coming of the second half of the fourth season of The Walking Dead on AMC (Sunday, February 9), today’s mixtape theme is zombies.  I know, zombies are everywhere, and I myself am getting a bit tired of zombies, but I have yet to get tired of The Walking Dead, and I doubt very much if I’ll ever tire of the following badass zombie-themed jams.  This mix doesn’t have quite as many songs as the last two, but three of the songs on this mix are 7 minutes or longer.  Anyway, enjoy this sick motherfucker.

1. “Breakfast at the Manchester Morgue (Let Sleeping Corpses Lie)” by Impetigo (from Horror of the Zombies – 1992) – Impetigo is perhaps best known as a highly contagious bacterial skin infection, characterized by red sores, many of which leak pus, turn to scabs, and sometimes leave scars.  A gross as that may sound, it doesn’t begin to approach the sick, fucked up, disgusting depravity that was Impetigo, the legendary and sadly defunct death metal/grindcore band from Bloomington-Normal, Illinois.  I’ll write more about them another time, as they deserve more space than I can allow here.  Oh, and in case you didn’t notice, the title of this mix comes from the title of the album that this amazingly gross song closes out.

2. “The Undead Will Feast” by Cannibal Corpse (from Eaten Back to Life – 1990) – If you asked the average person to name a death metal band, Cannibal Corpse would probably be the name they’d come up with (although I have a feeling that Slayer would get a lot of mentions, too).  This statement is not based on any actual research, but the fact that Cannibal Corpse was in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective definitely made more people aware of them than would otherwise have been.  Is that a proper sentence?  Anyway, this song is from their first album, when they were almost a thrash band, before Chris Barnes’ voice got totally unintelligible.

3. “Walking Corpse” by Brutal Truth (from Extreme Conditions Demand Extreme Responses – 1992) – This song is not actually about zombies, but is in fact a call to the listener to wake the fuck up and do something with your life.  I included it here for two reasons: 1.) my mixtape, my rules; and 2,) it’s a fucking awesome song.

4. “Live Undead” by Slayer (from South of Heaven – 1988) – Slayer released a “live” album called Live Undead in 1984.  That album has a super-badass cover, and is unrelated to this song, which rules just as much, but in a different way, coming along, as it did, four years later.  That’s a lot of commas.  Here’s “Live Undead”.

5. “Re-Animator” by Rigor Mortis (from Rigor Mortis – 1988) – Rigor Mortis, along with D.R.I., was one of the best bands to come out of Texas in the 1980s.  They played super-intense thrash metal, often poking their rotting head into death metal territory, and their songs are all twisted tales based on and/or inspired by horror movies.  Their phenomenal guitarist, Mike Scaccia (who also played with Ministry and various other Al Jourgenson-related projects), died in 2012 after collapsing onstage during a performance.  Pretty fucked up.  Fun fact: in the opening credits of the 1980s television show Doogie Howser, M.D., you can briefly see a Rigor Mortis poster on Doogie’s bedroom wall.

Anyhoo, this song is inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s really good and really weird 1922 serial novelette Herbert West – Reanimator, which inspired Stuart Gordon’s absolutely outstanding 1985 film Re-Animator, which you should seriously watch ASAP, whether or not you’ve seen it before. This unofficial video uses footage from that movie, and if that footage doesn’t make you want to watch Re-Animator, then what the fuck are you even doing here?

6. “Night of the Seagulls” by Cathedral (from The Carnival Bizarre – 1994) – To be perfectly honest, I don’t really care for most of Cathedral’s output.  Musically, they’re pretty great, but I like singer Lee Dorrian’s voice much more on his performances with Napalm Death (even though I prefer current ND vocalist Barney Greenway over Dorrian).  This song is one of the exceptions to my “don’t-really-care-for-most-of-Cathedral’s-output” rule.  It’s based on the film of the same name, which is part of the Spanish-Portuguese Blind Dead series. I’ve only seen the first one (1972’s Tombs of the Blind Dead), but it was pretty rad, and I look forward to watching the rest.

7. “Hunger of the Undead” by Dark Angel (from Darkness Descends – 1986) – If you’ve read my last two Mixtape Monday posts, you know a little bit about Dark Angel.  This is more from them, and it’s fucking great.

8. “Zombie Ritual” by Death (from Scream Bloody Gore – 1987) – Death, from Tampa, Florida (not to be confused with Death, from Detroit, Michigan), were among the very first death metal bands to exist.  Their sound evolved constanly under the direction of founder/vocalist/guitarist (and only consistent member) Chuck Schuldiner (RIP), and Scream Bloody Gore is the only album of theirs that is really full-on “death metal” from a lyrical standpoint.  Their entire catalog is phenomenal; if you’re not familiar with them, you should check them out.  Individual Thought Patterns (1993) and Human (1991) are my two favorites, but you really can’t go wrong with any of them.

9. “The Zombie Terror” by Sigh (from Infidel Art – 1995) – Sigh is an avant-garde black metal band from Tokyo, Japan.  I don’t know a lot about them, and I haven’t heard much, but I very much like everything I have heard.  I will know more about them someday, and then I will discuss them here.  I find this song to be strangely, captivatingly beautiful.

10. “Eaten Alive” by Repulsion (from Horrified – 1989) – Flint, Michigan’s Repulsion helped invent the grindcore genre.  This album was released as a demo called Slaughter of the Innocent in 1986, and was re-released as a proper album (with the new name) on Bill Steer and Jeff Walker‘s short-lived Necrosis Records (an imprint of British death/grind powerhouse Earache Records) in 1989.  As it was originally a demo, it’s a muddy, fuzzy bastard of an album, but that really helps make it what it is.

11. “Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t” by Anthrax (from Worship Music – 2011) – “Big Four” member Anthrax has been a favorite band of mine since the late 80s, and my relationship with them has had a lot of ups and downs (which I will discuss here in the future), but no matter what happens, I can keep coming back to the songs – their worst songs are pretty good, and their great songs are untouchable.  And even though the chorus riff from “Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t” was lifted directly from their song “Gridlock”, off their 1990 masterpiece Persistence of Time, it is one of their great songs.  And hey, at least they’re stealing from themselves, right?

That does it for this week’s edition of Mixtape Monday.  I hope you enjoyed it, and I hope you’ll always, always, always stay heavy.

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Mixtape Monday, Volume 3: War All the Time

Today’s Mixtape takes its name from a Charles Bukowski book.  If you’re not familar with his work, you should change that.  All the songs herein deal with war in some fashion, which is a pretty natural topic for music as aggressive as heavy metal.  Let’s get right down to it.

1. “War Ensemble” by  Slayer (from Seasons In The Abyss – 1990) – This is the first song off Slayer’s last great album.   Many people will try to tell you that it’s the third and final “essential” Slayer album, along with 1986’s Reign in Blood and 1988’s South of Heaven, but don’t let those people fool you.  Hell Awaits (1985) is much more essential than Seasons in the Abyss.  This album marks the beginning of the end of vocal dynamics for Tom Araya, and the beginning of the beginning (?) of Tom Araya SHOUTING AT THE TOP OF HIS VOICE ALL THE TIME, and that’s where Slayer lost me, for the most part.

2. “Kill On Command” by Vio-Lence (from Eternal Nightmare – 1988) – Vio-lence appeared on last week’s Mixtape as well.  They’ll have a feature on here soon.  I love them dearly.

3. “Nuclear Winter” by Sodom (from Persecution Mania – 1987) – Sodom are considered one of the three essential German thrash metal bands, along with Kreator and Destruction.  Both of those bands would surely have made the cut for this mix as well, if I was more familiar with them.  Instead, you get Sodom.  Ain’t nothin wrong with that.

4. “This is Not an Exercise” by Voivod (from Killing Technology – 1987) – Voivod rules, and Killing Technology is where they began to get weird.  More on this phenomenal band another time.  For now, enjoy the carnage.

5. “Euroshima” by Lääz Rockit (from Know Your Enemy – 1987) – I don’t know much about San Francisco, CA’s Lääz Rockit, but here is what I do know: 1.) this song is awesome; 2.) they had a song called “City’s Gonna Burn” on a compilation tape my brother used to own called The Wild Bunch (which is also where I first heard Slayer and Motörhead); 3.) they also recorded a cool song called “Leatherface” for the highly underrated 1990 film Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III; 4.) according to the band’s page on Encyclopaedia Metallum, their odd name “came from the Clint Eastwood movie The Enforcer, where [SPOILER ALERT – ed.] Clint ends the film by shooting a tower with a Light Anti-tank Weapons System rocket [LAWS]. The band adopted the name by changing the spelling to Lääz Rockit. The name was chosen to describe their raw energy and explosive stage presence.”

6. “Monsterearth Megawar” by Total Fucking Destruction (from Peace, Love And Total Fucking Destruction – 2008) – Total Fucking Destruction = much fucking love.

7. “Scorched Earth Policy” by Warbeast (from Krush the Enemy – 2010) – Warbeast is a fantastic Texas thrash metal band that features Bruce Corbitt, former lead singer of the fantastic (and now-defunct) Texas thrash metal band Rigor Mortis (R.I.P., Mike Scaccia), on vocals.  So far, they’ve released two albums.  I have yet to hear their second one, but based on how fucking good Krush the Enemy is, I have no reason to believe it would be anything but exceptional.

8. “Into the Lungs Of Hell/Set the World Afire” by Megadeth (from So Far, So Good… So What! – 1988) – Megadeth has lots of songs about war, but I included this one because So Far, So Good…So What! often gets the short end of the stick when people discuss Megadeth albums.  It’s not their best album, but it’s miles away from their worst, and it’s much better than some people would have you believe.  These are technically two songs, but they kick off the album together, and they work very well together, so you get both.  Fun fact: “Set the World Afire” was the first song Dave Mustaine wrote after he was uncerimoniously booted out of Metallica.

9. “Perish in Flames” by Dark Angel (from Darkness Descends – 1986) – Darkness Descends was the second album for this Los Angeles thrash metal powerhouse, but it was the one that put them on the map.  Blasts of blinding speed, ferociously shouted and shreiked vocals by original vocalist Don Doty, and almost completely unhinged drumming by Gene Hoglan all add up to make this one badass motherfucker of an album.  I also recommend “Death is Certain, Life is Not”.

10. “The Trooper” by Iron Maiden (from Piece of Mind – 1983) – It’s Iron Fucking Maiden.  The lyrics are inspired by Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s amazing 1854 poem “Charge of the Light Brigade“.  This is the song I think of when I think of “heavy metal”.  This is undeniable and unfuckwithable.  UP THE IRONS!

11. “Nuclear War” by Nuclear Assault (from Game Over – 1986) – As I’ve mentioned before, many 1980s thrash metal bands had a good deal of social awareness to their lyrics, and the threat of nuclear war was a pretty common subject (a look at this Mixtape is proof enough of that).  Even as a generally unaware kid, I myself was pretty much constantly worried about it.  With a name like Nuclear Assault, though, it would be safe to guess that this band had something of an obsession with nuclear war.

12. “Stupid, Stupid War” by D.R.I. (from Dealing With It – 1985) – Originally hailing from Houston, Texas, D.R.I. (Dirty Rotten Imbeciles) are one of the original thrash metal/hardcore punk crossover bands, along with C.O.C. (Corrosion of Conformity), S.O.D. (Stormtroopers of Death), and Suicidal Tendencies (S.T., for good measure).  Aside from S.O.D. (which was a one-off side project to begin with), all these bands started out playing more-or-less metallic hardcore punk and then morphed into straight-up metal bands.  D.R.I. is a great band, and this is from the beginning of their crossover period (1987’s excellent Crossover finished that chapter).

13. “Rise Up” by Testament (from Dark Roots Of Earth – 2012) – If you’ve read almost any of my other posts on this blog, you know that I fucking love Testament (and part three of the accidental three-part story of Testament is still coming soon, in case anyone cares, other than me).  “Rise Up” is the opening song on what is easily one of the strongest, heaviest albums of their career.  The video is a live recording of the song, from their stellar two-disc live album Dark Roots of Thrash (2013), but they played it pretty much exactly like the album, because they’re just that fucking good.

14. “Blitzkrieg Air Attack” by Hirax (from Raging Violence – 1985) – Hirax formed in Los Angeles, California in 1984, but spent a good deal of time in the San Francisco Bay Area instead, as that was where thrash metal was happening on the West Coast (Slayer and Dark Angel notwithstanding).  Vocalist (and only original remaining member) Katon W. De Pena was an early champion of thrash metal, using all of his youthful energy to spread the Good News far and wide.  De Pena’s vocals are definitely one-of-a-kind.

15. “Tools For War” by Leeway (from Born to Expire – 1989) – Hailing from Astoria, Queens, Leeway hit the New York Hardcore (NYHC) ground running in 1984 as The Unruled, before changing their name to Leeway later that same year.  They proudly displayed their metal influences from the start, and their debut album, Born to Expire, was a bonafide crossover record.  It was recorded in November 1987, but various issues caused the release to be delayed until January 1989, by which time crossover had pretty much, well, crossed over.  I firmly believe that Leeway would have been a serious contender on the scene if their album had come out when it was supposed to.  Their style changed pretty drastically as they went on, but if you can get your hands on it, I highly recommend anything from this band (but especially Born to Expire).

16. “Fight Fire With Fire” by Metallica (from Ride The Lightning – 1984) – There’s not much to say about Metallica.  This song is another nuclear war paranoia tune, and it’s pretty rad.  It was co-written by the late, great Cliff Burton (RIP).  James Hetfield’s vocals never got better than on this album.  My brother once painted a stripped-down version of the cover of Ride the Lightning on the back of the army jacket I wore briefly in grade six, and I wish I still had it.  Lars still needs to shut up.  I think that’s enough about Metallica for today.

17. “War Pigs” by Black Sabbath (from Paranoid – 1970) – This is the opening song on Black Sabbath’s second album, which the band intended to call War Pigs (the odd cover art was designed to go along with that title) but their record label balked at the idea, the Vietnam War chugging along in full force as it was at the time.  Fun fact: Paranoid was released 7 months after their first album (Black Sabbath); not enough bands have that kind of work ethic any more.  “War Pigs” is my favorite Sabbath song (followed closely by “Black Sabbath”, from Black Sabbath), and my personal All-Time Number One Karaoke Jam.  It’s a hell of a lot of fun to sing in front of a crowd.  Faith No More also recorded a great version of it for their breakthrough album, 1989’s The Real Thing.  Holy fuck, I love this song.

This concludes another edition of Mixtape Monday.  I’ve got a pretty rad mix set for next week, so I hope you’ll join me for that.  Until then, remember to stay heavy.

Mixtape Monday, Volume 2: Death and Insanity

Hello!  And welcome to the second installment of Mixtape Monday, wherein I take a look at some kickass “mixtapes” I’ve made over the years.  The title/theme of this week’s mix is Death and Insanity (but mostly the “insanity” part, which is to say, if the song is more death-focused, it’s death brought about by mental instability), and it’s a humdinger.  Let’s get right to it.

1. “Death and Insanity” by Hallow’s Eve (from Death & Insanity – 1986) – Hailing from Atlanta, GA, Hallow’s Eve has always been one of the more underrated thrash metal bands.  They had a few songs featured in movies in the late 80s and early 90s (River’s EdgeBlack Roses, and Pacific Heights), but that’s as close as they came to receiving their due.  This opening mixtape track is also the first song on their second album.

2. “Madhouse” by Anthrax (from Spreading the Disease – 1985) – MTV would not play this video when it was first released, because they were afraid it would offend mentally ill people.  For serious.

3. “Deranged” by Exodus (from Pleasures of the Flesh – 1987) – This is the first song off Exodus’ second album (their first with former Legacy (Testament) lead singer Steve “Zetro” Souza), and is also the first Exodus song I ever heard.  A friend of my brother’s gave him a dubbed copy of Pleasures sometime in early 1988, and I listened to it a lot.  I still own it, but I also own the CD, so I don’t really need to listen to the cassette as much these days.  The opening monologue to this song always fascinated me, and I never knew where it came from.  Then one day I remembered that Google exists, decided to look it up, and learned that it’s delivered by a man called Tom Skid, who, according to guitarist/founder Gary Holt, was “…a homeless psycho who lurked around…Hyde Street Studios in San Francisco. We gave him a gallon of wine and let the tape roll.  I heard he died, got hit by a bus. It was probably after he wandered out of our studio after drinking a gallon of four dollar wine. [It] was a great studio but a really seedy area full of winos, crackheads and transvestites.”

4. “Good Mourning/Black Friday” by Megadeth (from Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying? – 1986) – Megadeth needs very little introduction.  All I can really think to say about them at the moment is that I really wish Dave Mustaine would shut up and play his guitar.  Megadeth?  More like Megadouche.  Anyway, this song fucking rules.  It begins with a slow build, where the main character admits that his head feels all funny, and then it unleashes in a torrential speed frenzy, with said main character basically murdering everyone he sees with a hammer, and then dismembering them.  It’s fun for the whole family, assuming your whole family likes high quality thrash metal with exceptionally disturbing lyrics.

5. “War Inside My Head” by Suicidal Tendencies (from Join the Army – 1987) – ST’s second full-length, Join the Army, marked the beginning of their crossover from hardcore punk into metal.  It’s not my favorite album by them, but it definitely contains some bonafide classics.  This is one of them.

6. “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)” by Metallica (from Master of Puppets – 1986) – This is the album that opened the Metal Doorway for me; I stepped through quite willingly, and I haven’t regretted that decision for a second.  I still love the album, even though I very much hate what Metallica has become.  Like Dave Mustaine, Lars Ulrich seriously needs to shut his word hole.  As for the song?  The lyrics are pretty great – they discuss life in a mental institution, from a first person point of view.  I especially like the last section (“Fear of living on/ natives getting restless now…”).

7. “Missing Sequences” by Voivod (from Nothingface – 1989) – Nothingface marked the true beginning of Voivod’s tangent into full-on progressive metal, and it is still ahead of its time.  This song (like much of Voivod’s sound and overall aesthetic) was inspired by the aluminum factories in drummer/artist/genius/visionary Michel “Away” Langevin’s hometown of Jonquiere, Quebec, Canada.  The lyrics deal with loss of memory caused by breathing the noxious fumes from the factory smokestacks.  Musically, this song provides a pretty excellent cross-section of the album as a whole.  I cannot recommend Voivod highly enough, but they only work if you’re willing and able to pay attention.

8. “Pains’ Invention, Madness” by Dark Angel (from Time Does Not Heal – 1991) – Dark Angel are from Los Angeles, California, and they are often overlooked in discussions of thrash metal, which is a shame.  They play usually super-fast (they have been called “the L.A. Caffeine Machine”), always super-tight, sometimes super-long songs, filled to the brim with tempo changes and riffs (246 of them on Time Does Not Heal , according to the sticker affixed to the front of the album upon its original release).  They aren’t necessarily one of my favorite bands, but they have some seriously ass-kicking songs.

9. “Sweetness” by Ripping Corpse (from Dreaming With the Dead – 1991) – Ripping Corpse were truly one of a kind.  They helped to bridge the (admittedly small) gap between thrash metal and death metal, and Dreaming With the Dead was their only release.  Guitarist Erik Rutan left the band in 1993 to join Morbid Angel, and the band didn’t really do much of anything after that.  This one album is enough to cement their place in deathrash history, and the only fault I can find with it is that it makes me wish they’d kept going.  I’ve always been drawn to unconventional vocal styles, and Scott Ruth’s snarling, growling, squealing delivery was enough to get me hooked from the first time I heard this song.  Lyrically, it’s a serial murderer telling us why he gets off on killing.  “My sensitivity, my brutality, it’s all relative.”  So fucked up and so, so good.

11. “Visions From the Dark Side” by Morbid Angel (from Altars of Madness – 1989) – Morbid Angel used to scare me when I was younger, and I’m glad they don’t scare me anymore, because I would’ve deprived myself of the sheer sonic bliss that is their debut album, Altars of Madness.

12. “Woman of Dark Desires” by Bathory (from Under the Sign of the Black Mark – 1987) – Swedish one-man band Bathory was the brainchild of one Thomas “Ace” Börje Forsberg, a.k.a. Quorthon.  He pretty much invented the sound that became black metal, and this song, the tale of Countess Elizabeth Bathory herself, is a shining example of the intensity of Bathory.  Forsberg died of a heart attack in 2004, and extreme metal lost a founding father.

13. “Eternal Nightmare” by Vio-Lence (from Eternal Nightmare – 1988) – Coming out of the San Francisco Bay Area on the second wave of thrash metal, Vio-Lence wanted to be faster and more brutal than the bands that inspired them, and on their 1988 debut album, they proved that they could hang with any of the big boys.  They are another fine example of a band that I absolutely fucking love which has a totally unique vocal style.  Sean Killian’s vocals are a deal breaker for a lot of people, but I find they fit the music, the song structures, and the subject matter perfectly – i.e., he sounds like an unhinged lunatic who can barely keep up with his racing thoughts.

14. “Kill Again” by Slayer (from Hell Awaits – 1985) – It’s fucking Slayer.  “Homicidal maniAC!”  Rest in peace, Jeff Hanneman.

15. “Chasing Fear” by Testament (from Low – 1995) – My love for Testament has been pretty well documented elsewhere on this blog, so I’ll just let the music do the talking.

That’s it for Mixtape Monday, Volume 2, y’all.  Thanks for reading.  What are some of your favorite metal songs dealing with the theme(s) of death and insanity?  Discuss in the comments, if you are so inclined.  Until next time, remember to always, always, always stay heavy.

Mixtape Monday, Volume 1: Eponymous Metal

For me, mixtapes and metal go hand in hand.  I’ve been making metal mixtapes for other people and for myself dating back to the time when I could get my brother to let me use his dual cassette deck (which my memory places somewhere around fifth grade).  I don’t make tapes nearly as often anymore, for obvious reasons, but I do still make mix CDs and iTunes playlists, but “Playlist Monday” doesn’t have the same ring to it.

My plan is for this to be a weekly installment, where I share some of my favorite mixtapes I’ve made over the years.  Up first, Eponymous Metal, wherein all the songs are named after the band.  The songs are listed in the order that I felt created the best flow, with one exception, which is discussed when it arises.

1. “Black Sabbath” by Black Sabbath (from Black Sabbath – 1970) – This one is a no-brainer, and this band needs no introduction.  Heavy metal as we know it began here, and this song still gives me the willies when I hear it.

2. “Anthrax” by Anthrax (from Fistful of Metal – 1984) – The first Anthrax album often gets overlooked in discussions of both the band and the early 80s thrash metal scene.  It’s a fairly atypical sound for the band (Neil Turbin’s vocals are certainly a large factor in that), but it’s arguably the heaviest thing they’ve ever released.  This eponymous song isn’t the best song on that album, but it’s pretty fucking good.  The re-recorded version from the Japanese edition of 2004’s The Greater of Two Evils (with the band’s third official vocalist John Bush) is also good, but then I tend to think that pretty much everything from Anthrax is good.

3. “Exodus” by Exodus (from Bonded By Blood – 1985) – Exodus was the founder of the Bay Area Thrash Metal movement (Kirk Hammett was one of the original members, and left Exodus to join a little band called Metallica after Dave Mustaine was unceremoniously relieved of his duties), and their debut album is heavy and intense, but I didn’t hear it until much later (sometime in the late 90s), and I didn’t really care much for it when I first heard it.  Original vocalist Paul Baloff (RIP) couldn’t carry a tune in dumptruck, so it was hard for me to get down with the Exodus sound (so to speak).  My introduction to Exodus came with a dubbed copy of their second album, 1987’s Pleasures of the Flesh, which a friend of my brother’s gave to him in 1988, and which featured a different vocalist (former Legacy vocalist Steve “Zetro” Souza).  It took the viewing of some old live footage of the band for me to get it, but I’m glad I did.  Much of what 1980s thrash metal became can be traced back to this album.

4. “Repulsion” by Repulsion (from Horrified – 1989) – Hailing from Flint, Michigan, Repulsion is widely viewed as one of the most influential death metal/grindcore bands of all time.  Their sole full-length album, Horrified, was originally recorded as a demo (entitled Slaughter of the Innocent) in 1986, but was not released until 1989.  Clocking in at just under 30 minutes, it is a fuzzy, distorted, disgusting slab of awesome extreme metal, with horror movie lyrics about zombies, murder, and disease.  It’s not for everyone, but it is very much for me.

5. “Dunkelheit (Burzum)” by Burzum (from Filosofem – 1996)Varg Vikernes (a.k.a. Count Grishnack) is undoubtedly one of the worst human beings on the planet, but that angry, murdering, church burning, neo-Nazi motherfucker has created some pretty amazing music.  The name of his one-man black metal band Burzum means “darkness” in the Black Speech created by J.R.R. Tolkien, and the alternate title “Dunkelheit” is the same word translated into German.  I do not recommend paying for any of his music, because he really is a despicable piece of shit; this is one musician I feel perfectly okay about stealing from.

6. “Body Count” by Body Count (from Body Count – 1992) – Before he played a cop on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Ice-T rapped and sang about killing cops (but only the bad ones).  The debut album from his heavy metal band Body Count is a vicious, angry document about life in black Los Angeles in the early 90s, and it’s pretty fucking good, too, although I do not recommend playing it in mixed company (trust me on this one).  My friend Jim bought it for me on cassette for Christmas in 1994, and the version he purchased replaced the song “Cop Killer” with a less-good song called “Freedom of Speech”, which featured Jello Biafra.  I played the hell out of that tape, but I always skipped that last song.  Then one day in early 2007, I decided to stop in one of the local pawnshops, and I found an original CD copy of the album, factory-sealed in a fucking longbox!  So now I can listen to “Cop Killer” anytime I want.  Note: I placed this song directly after the Burzum song just to make Varg Vikernes angry.  I hope it works.

7. “Exhorder” by Exhorder (from Slaughter in the Vatican – 1990) – Exhorder is considered by many to be the fathers of the “groove metal” genre, and some people have gone so far as to criticize Pantera for ripping off their style.  The similarities are definitely there, and it’s true that in their early days, Pantera was a glam metal band, but Exhorder vocalist Kyle Thomas stated in an interview that he’s tired of hearing those comparisons, and that Pantera “worked a lot harder than we did to earn their success.”  Pantera’s first album in the “groove metal” direction came out the same year as Exhorder’s debut so it’s really just a pissing contest between fans of the two bands.  Without a doubt, the title of Exhorder’s debut, along with the not-so-subtle cover art, had at least a little bit to do with their lack of mainstream attention.

8. “Voivod” by Voivod (from War and Pain – 1984) – Voivod came out of the gates ahead of their time.  Their first two albums (War and Pain and the aptly-titled Rrröööaaarrr) are pretty much straight-ahead thrash metal, but signs of the weirdness that would come were already evident.  They are one of my favorite bands, and will be discussed at length in the future.

9. “Total Fucking Destruction” by Total Fucking Destruction (from Peace, Love, and Total Fucking Destruction – 2008) – Total Fucking Destruction was formed by Brutal Truth drummer Rich Hoak after Brutal Truth broke up in 1999.  They play pure grindcore, and I love them.  The song is 13 seconds long, but I can’t find it on YouTube, and I lack the knowledge and skill necessary to make that a reality, so instead here’s my favorite song from the band, from that same album.  This one is called “Non-Existence of the Self”, and contains one of the very few melodies you’ll find in the band’s entire recorded output.

10. “Paradise Lost” by Paradise Lost (from Lost Paradise – 1990) – I don’t know much about this band, other than the facts that they are English, they began as a death/doom metal band, they have gone through several sylistic changes over their career, and the Editor-in-Chief of Decibel magazine loves them.  This album is the only one I’ve heard from them, but I like it a lot, and I also really like guitarist Gregor Mackintosh’s side project, Vallenfyre.  As with song #9 on this mixtape, I couldn’t find a youtube clip of this song by itself, so what you’ll find below is the entire album, and I’ve cued it up to the beginning of this song.  Well, technically I cued it up the last second of the song before it, but I tried.

11. “Sacred Reich” by Sacred Reich (from Ignorance – 1987) – Sacred Reich was/is a political-minded second-wave thrash metal band from Phoenix, Arizona.  They are often overlooked in discussions of thrash metal, and I think that’s a shame.  They were a great band, but their debut album especially is rock solid from beginning to end.  They got a bit of radio airplay in 1993 with a song called “Crawling”, from their album Independent.

12. “Overkill” by Overkill (from Feel the Fire – 1985) – New Jersey’s Overkill are another oft-overlooked thrash metal band, and they are simply amazing.  Their second album (1987’s Taking Over) is one of my all-time favorite thrash metal albums. Like other East Coast thrash metal bands (Anthrax, Nuclear Assault, etc.), Overkill shows more punk influences than their Bay Area contemporaries, who tended to fly their New Wave of British Heavy Metal flags just a little higher.  Fun fact: Overkill has two other songs that I originally included in this mix [“Overkill II (The Nightmare Continues)” and “Overkill III (Under the Influence)”], but I ultimately decided to whittle it down to one.  This one isn’t my favorite of the three, but it fits the definition of “eponymous” better than the other two.

13. “Iron Maiden” by Iron Maiden (from Iron Maiden – 1980) – Iron Fucking Maiden.  Here are three versions, just because.

Original studio version, with Paul Di’Anno on vocals.

Live version from 1981, with Paul Di’Anno on vocals.

Live version from 2008, with Bruce Dickinson on vocals, in front of the most insane crowd of Metalheads I’ve ever seen.

That’s it for the first edition of Mixtape Monday.  Thanks for reading.  I hope you enjoyed it, and maybe even found a new favorite band or song.  If you have any thoughts or song additions, share them in the comments, won’t you?

Until next time, remember to always stay heavy.