heavy metal

In this era where nostalgia reigns supreme and everyone looks back with strained eyes in an attempt to dissect some heretofore uncovered golden nugget of wisdom, music is not immune to these effects. Since 2008, bands celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of the rise of American thrash have gone back to the books, looking to temper their fire with long, discerning studies of trends long gone in hopes of resurrecting the past into the present.

He is the creator of beloved, fan-favorite shows like “Home Movies” and “Metalocalypse.” He is the man behind the phenomenon that is Dethklok, whom legions of fans dutifully keep up with and flock to their shows. He is the man in charge of the upcoming album “Galaktikon,” and probably has his hands full with six or seven others things, too. Mere mortals call him Brendon Small, and he and I had to chance to sit down and talk about a number of subjects, including music, career paths, television shows and trends, Iron Maiden and of course, horror.

Barren Earth – The Devil's Resolve

Countless bands have written songs and albums as an ode to the music they love. From Ronnie James Dio penning “Long Live Rock 'N Roll” during his stint with Rainbow, right through to the current classic metal revival, the psalm of metal solidarity has become almost a rite of passage for young bands. What is often unsaid is that underneath the love for heavy metal, the songs themselves usually offer nothing but an assortment of cliches.

The evening’s conflict had already been constructed before the first fan ever walked through the door. Paganfest 2012 was a tour set on answering a variation of the usual internet quandary concerning pirates and ninjas (on which my pro-ninja stance has been well documented.) Rather, the task for the evening was to settle the erstwhile grudge match between the two groups that were hosting the entire event. Who is superior? Pirates….or Vikings?

When approaching any album tagged with the label 'progressive', it must be kept in mind the two connotations the word carries. Progressive music can be an ethos, eschewing conventional structure to tell stories, or it can be a tightly defined form of music celebrating the virtuosic talents of the players. Oddly enough, for a genre of music that carries an air of intellectualism and musical sophistication, the expectations and tastes of the fans can be as narrow and insular as those of any other metal sub-genre.

Modern Day Escape is the black sheep of Standby Records' family, a wayward but still loving brother who treads a path ever so slightly different than their labelmates. All of the other children that comprise this "Rock and Roll 2.0" movement are caught between the two poles of emo-rock and heavy metal, while Modern Day Escape does not suffer from a similar crisis of identity and image.

Almost two years after announcing that a new album was in the works, God Forbid is returned to the land of the living with their new effort "Equilibrium." The album raises curious questions, as the particular splinter of heavy metal and hardcore that God Forbid helped pioneer may be nearing the end of its most effective window.

Several years ago, following their debut effort "Against the Grain," I wrote on these very pages that for their future albums, The Veer Union would be facing an ultimate choice. They had the talent to pursue one of the two thrones of modern rock and roll. Either they could chase Nickelback and try to carve a niche in the bloated party rock genre, or pursue the Foo Fighters for dominance in the radio-friendly but still skillful traditional rock and roll paradigm.

I have always had a curious fascination with Cannibal Corpse, the veteran metal band originally formed in 1988. Unfortunately for the band, my fascination with them is largely due to reasons totally beyond their control, and interests that likely do not coincide with their ideals. First and foremost, Cannibal Corpse has always been represented in my life by the nerdiest of metal fans; kids with big, tangled mops of unkempt hair, glasses with thick lenses and arms that have never done a push-up voluntarily, and certainly not in the new millennium.