heavy metal

In the past twenty-five years, the word ‘goth’ has been assimilated and metamorphosed. In the lexicon of pop culture, the word has come to define things dour and dark; a catch-all for the whims, behaviors and fashions of the misunderstood.

I first heard the name Between The Buried And Me around the time “Alaska” was released. A nascent metal fan delving deeper into the waters, I read as many reviews about as many albums as I could. The words that were written about “Alaska” were rhapsodic, a level of reverent praise that demanded I pay attention to the masterpiece the band had unleashed. And so, like anyone intent on experiencing the best music out there, I listened intently. Perhaps the timing was off, or I had yet to develop an appreciation for outside-the-box thinking, but “Alaska” left me feeling cold and empty.

Steve 'Zetro' Souza remains one of the biggest names in the annals of thrash, a person without whom the story of the genre's rise to fame cannot be told. Most famously the singer for Exodus, Souza has also been part of several other successful bands, including most recently Dublin Death Patrol. His unique, high-speed vocal style has become his calling card, and it will ring again as he ushers forth his new band, Hatriot. The man and I sat down and talked about...well, damn near anything. Horror, music, the state of the business, concert promotion, retirement and a bunch of other stuff. Read on for an engaging conversation.

Meldrum is the brainchild of guitar player Michelle Meldrum, who was the driving force behind what was intended to be a female-fronted band that would take the world by storm. That was until Michelle passed away suddenly in May of 2008, the result of a growth that restricted blood flow to her brain. What had been an up and coming, promising train was suddenly derailed, with no one really knowing is anyone would ever hear the name Meldrum again.

It's one of the inherent truisms about metal that when a band needs a shot of attention, or want to prove they are more artistic than merely a group of guys bashing loud instruments, the concept album is the end result. There's something about a story set to music that piques interest in a way a regular collection of songs doesn't. The strength of a concept, hitting at just the right time, is enough to elevate a set of songs and turn them into something we will always remember, no matter what the actual merit of the music.

The downfall of extreme metal is the overemphasis on the word 'extreme'. So often, bands become obsess with making sure their music is extreme, which ends up taking it so far away from the core of songwriting that little is left but a shell of noise. Listening to those kinds of records can be exhilarating, if in the right frame of mind, but for people who don't fall into the category of angry young men, extreme metal comes off as a parody.

Boston’s Mongrel is a band that has toiled for years in the under-the-radar lights of sweaty clubs and foul-smelling basement venues, gritting out one night of punk-infused heavy metal after another, building a reputation in the difficult world of underground metal. All of that fury and hard work has been tempered in the fires of lyrics and music, then pressed into their new release, “Reclamation.”

Brace yourselves. What you are about to read are words that I never, ever, in a lifetime of music reviews, thought I would say about an album. It is Pathology's new record "The Time of Great Purification" which brings me to this astounding, heretofore thought impossible revelation.

You know, this album reminds me a little of the old band Cock and Ball Torture.

In what has been a quiet year for traditional power metal, there's a gaping hole waiting for someone to step through and become the next big thing. The mainstay bands are either in between albums, or have moved too far away from the core sound for purists, which sets the stage for someone to claim this as their time. One thing we have learned over the years is that power metal is never going to go away, no matter how much it is looked down upon by the masses.

Partnering with Bloody Good Horror, Boston area punk-metal crossover mainstay Mongrel has unveiled their new music video (seen above in glorious color!) for the song “Bored to Death” from their upcoming full length album Reclamation, which is set for release on 25 Sept. on THC-X, the digital imprint of THC-Music, home of American Head Charge, Black Light Burns, Attika7, Slaves on Dope, etc.