heavy metal

With my birthday having passed not so long ago, I found myself performing an old ritual that I seem to do every time another year gets added to the total, which is wonder what I was doing ten years ago.

In the midst of a procedure to correct some vertebrae in his neck, preparing for the upcoming Australian tour with Slayer, and with the new album "Endgame" on the way, Dave Mustaine has also taken the time to announce that he's canceling his run of "Black Gold" coffee.

Originally bagged and brewed as a charity fundraiser, you could at one point buy four bags and get a fifth autographed by Mustaine himself. The idea was a joint project of Dave and his wife (he's married? who on earth could tolerate him for that long?) along with Net Worth Coffee Brokers.

Maybe just because it's been long enough and maybe because it's overdue, the American thrash spirit seems to be undergoing a rejuvenation. Enter Havok, who is trying to shoehorn their way into a scene that has gone from being bare to suddenly being overcrowded. Still, in the eighties, there were four separate kings of American thrash: Anthrax, Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer. Saying that Toxic Holocaust and Warbringer have assumed the pedestal, it wouldn't be impossible to envision Havok taking a place next to them.

When Audioslave released their first album, comparisons to Rage Against the Machine were inevitable. Unfortunately, they were also unfair. Audioslave had a whole different feel than Rage could have ever conceived, and musically was branching off in a totally different and new direction. The attitude was different, the affect was changed, the music was on a different path. To compare Audioslave and Rage Against the Machine was to compare the proverbial apples and oranges.

Hey, you remember “Repo! The Genetic Opera”? Well, Sean Lacefield, a guitar player who had more than his share of responsibility for the soundtrack, is now working with Los Angeles goth metal band “Ellsbeth.” They self-released their album “Well-Dressed Killing Machine” digitally, in preparation for a summer long tour beginning right about now.

DevilDriver's "Pray for Villains" is a remote control with just one button. And that one button gets mashed over and over again from the word "go." It is brash, loud and substantive, but totally lacking in imagination or variety. The album is one howling metal noisefest after another, with fuzzed-out guitars and so much double-kick drum that I became numb to it. It never relents but also never triggers any adrenaline. "Pray for Villains" is one pace, one sound, one theme, coupled with the usual spate of angry choruses.

Normally, when I hear the words “progressive” and “atmospheric” in front of the word “metal,” I run screaming from the room. So fearful am I of the genre’s technically proficient but terribly brooding boredom that I would rather stick a fork in my own ear. So I don’t know for what reason I took a chance on Madder Mortem’s album “Eight Ways,” but I did. I had heard just enough samples to want to see what it was about.


Been a while since I've managed to compile enough worthwhile news to crush it all together into one of these articles. So here we go!

Coming from the least likely of all heavy metal havens, Scissorfight hails from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, home of....well, I don't really know. Wikipedia suggests that Portsmouth was once the home of naval hero John Paul Jones, lawyer Daniel Webster, and Betty Hill of the Hill UFO Abduction. It is also the birthplace of metal's own Ronnie James Dio.

If the Sick Puppies are a band headed in the right direction, I don’t think Adelitas Way even has a map. Their eponymous first album is exactly what I feared might happen with this entire “light metal” movement. This five-piece from Las Vegas wallows in overwrought emotional choruses, melodramatic guitar hooks, and unimaginative songwriting.