heavy metal


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.

Now we’re getting somewhere. That doesn’t mean we’re there yet, but I think we might be getting closer. Enter Sick Puppies and their album “Tri-Polar.” This band from Australia is giving a good push to wedge their way into the landscape of heavy metal. I remember thinking that this whole “light metal” movement might culminate in something bigger. “Tri-Polar” is, at moments, an example of what this could become.

New Clutch album. The very words strike a certain amount of fear into my heart. They didn’t used to. I used to get excited for new music from one of my all-time favorite bands. Those were good days, when “Pure Rock Fury” and “Blast Tyrant” didn’t leave my CD player for weeks at a time. In what ended up being a very dark period for American heavy metal, Clutch kept the home fires burning with pounding swamp metal albums one after the other.

It was the posting of a Candlemass video earlier in the week that got me thinking: while on the subject, is "Bewitched" really the worst metal video of all time? Surely, I could come up with some rivals.

When I first heard Candlemass’ “Death Magic Doom,” I was blown away. “If I Ever Die” is one of the finest songs I’ve heard this year. The pace is solid, the construction is peerless. The lead guitar riff wastes no time, and is instantly infectious, which is no doubt a side effect of its simplicity. The riff is so compact and well put together that you wonder how it could be possible that no one else thought of it. Couple all this with new singer Robert Lowe (no, not that Rob Lowe,) who could easily pass as an imitation for Dio, and the album is off to an amazing start.

What the hell is this?

I find myself faced with a new album by Marilyn Manson. Now, allow me to be clear; the man has yet to impress me. Sure, he’s done a small handful of pretty good songs, and I’ll also admit that he has (had) some talented musicians in his entourage. Still, even as a young, not-really-angsty teenager, I found the whole act overblown and insipid. It was clear to me that the man was simply a marketing machine; any message he had hidden away was comfortably couched within his ability to sell records.

Yes. Yes, yes, yes. Frequent readers of my little corner of the universe will remember that I have been campaigning for the emergence of a new American thrash metal band for months now. Also recall that when I saw Soilwork live back in February, I spoke at some length about the up and coming band Warbringer. I encouraged everyone to look into their forthcoming album “Waking Into Nightmares” and said we’d reconvene upon its release in the spring.

As I walked into the Chance, I was immediately hit with a revelation about the show I was about to see: the crowd was much smaller than I had anticipated. The Chance, which has a great balcony to watch a show from, had the balcony closed off, keeping everyone contained on the lower level. This actually gave me a lot of hope, as I had seen Overkill under the same circumstances, and the crowd was extraordinarily dedicated to the show.