Archive for anthrax

2018: Tragedies and Triumphs

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 30, 2018 by 80smetalman

We are all reflecting on 2018 as the year comes to a close. For me, the year has been a roller coaster of triumphs and tragedies. The tragedies being losses in my own personal life as well as some in the music and entertainment world. Although it happened in 2017, the effects of the passing of my mother in law were felt for several weeks into the new year. Then, when I thought Mrs 80smetalman and I had gotten over it, my mother died in early March. Losing both mothers barely two months apart is something I would not wish on any couple. After putting that behind us, my wife’s aunt suddenly died. No one was really expecting it but it was not the way anyone wanted to see the year end.

Like 2016 and 17, 2018 has had its share of people we love from the music world departing this world, including two I only just found out about. Those were Matt ‘Guitar’ Murphy from The Blues Brothers and former Jefferson Airplane/Starship lead singer Marty Balin. Saying that, the list I found them on did not include Huntress lead singer, Jill Janus, which I’m a little peeved about. Here’s a list of some of the others who passed on.

Vinnie Paul

Bruno Sammartino

Blues Brothers with Aretha Franklin

It’s rather ironic that Aretha Franklin and Matt Murphy, they played husband and wife in the Blues Brothers film, both died in 2018.

Marty Balin

The only decent shot I got of Jill Janus and she has her back to me

Ed King

Fortunately, there were many triumphs in 2018 as well. The best of those was becoming a grandfather, thus ensuring a third generation of metalheads in the LeFevre family. In addition, two weeks ago, I got to see my daughter receive her master’s degree, a proud moment.

Grandfather and grandson

Needless to say, there were a lot of musical highs in 2018 as well. In February, I was invited to the album launch party for the band Black Emerald. A band I had seen at Bloodstock in 2013 and impressed me so much, I wrote a post as to why they should be signed. Someone must have read it because this year saw the release of Black Emerald’s debut album, “Hell Can’t Handle All of Us. I have listened to the album several times now and it’s brilliant. I hope this is the dawning of great things to come for this band.

Although my trip to the US, was due to tragic circumstances in March, I still got to experience what I called “America’s best kept secret” in the form of blues guitarist and singer Hannah Wicklund and her band the Steppin’ Stones. This was another album from this year that I enjoy more with each listen.

Hannah Wicklund

Hannah wasn’t the only lady in rock to turn my head in 2018. Not long after, I got to experience Lebanese metal maidens Slave to Sirens. Last report I heard, they are working on a full length album and I will definitely be picking it up when it comes out.

Slave to Sirens

No year would be complete without going to a music festival or two. In June, I went to the Sunday at Download where I was awed by the likes of Iglorious, Shinedown, Black Veil Brides, Marilyn Manson and Ozzy himself. I was also introduced to up and coming new band, Puppy but the best part for me was after a more than thirty year wait, I got to see German thrashers, Kreator. It was definitely a day to remember.

Mille leads Kreator onto the stage

Ozzy’s kick ass show

One festival wasn’t enough so in August, I went to Bloodstock for the full three days. Each day brought both the expected and unexpected. On the Friday, Suicidal Tendencies, Judas Priest and Doro all performed as well as I thought but I was further impressed by Kamelot and Feed the Rhino. Likewise on Saturday, Gojira proved they earned the headlining slot but I was also wowed by Orden Organ, the pirate metal of Alestorm and Sophie Lancaster Stage headliners Orphaned Land. I am currently listening to Orphaned Land’s new album, “Unsung Prophets and Dead Messiahs” and so far, I’m very much liking what I am hearing. However, you can’t forget Sunday, which could have been called Scandinavian Day as most of the bands were from Sweden or Finland. Still, Fozzy was brilliant as always and Mr Big showed they could play Bloodstock and Devil Driver was one big mosh pit. On the other hand, I was very grateful for my introductions to Amaranthe and Nepalese metalers Underside. This was a great way to end my festival career.

Feed The Rhino welcome everybody to Bloodstock

ST comes on stage

Doro on the Sophie Stage

Levermann and Kersting leading from the front.

Alestorm on stage with a lot of flying inflatable objects.

Orphaned Land

A shot of the entire band

Amaranthe won me over

Underside show that you can rock in Nepal.

Late in the year, AC/DC tribute band Hell’s Bells made their annual trip to Stroud and were as good as always but the year ended with seeing Slayer, Anthrax and Lamb of God in Cardiff. This is supposed to be Slayer’s farewell tour and it was a great night for them to go out on.

Obviously, I got closer to the stage for Hell’s Bells

Anthrax in Cardiff

Lamb of God

Slayer appear!

Yes, 2018 was a year of triumphs and tragedies for me. The important thing is that I got through it with many great memories. Likewise, 2019 is also looking very promising. On the personal side, both of my sons are getting married this year. My younger one in February and my eldest is getting married in December. While I have retired from going to three day festivals, I think I will go to Bloodstock on the Sunday with the Scorpions headlining that day and Dee Snider playing as well. However, the band I want to see most that day is Queensryche. I’m already looking forward.

So, I wish all of you a very happy 2019! I look forward to continuing my tour through the golden decade of heavy metal as well as talking about relevant events and I look forward to reading what you all have to say in 2019.

Next post: I think I’ll put on some of the music from the bands I mentioned here.

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to:


















Cardiff Slayed!

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2018 by 80smetalman

Nearly 24 hours later, I am home and nearly recovered from the events of the previous night. Last night, I, along with my two sons, one of my future daughters in law and my stepson amassed in Cardiff to see Slayer at the Motorpoint Arena. This is supposed to be Slayer’s farewell tour and they brought a few friends with them to celebrate what might be the final time they play in Cardiff. However, first I’m going to show you boring family photos to show that I’m passing the metal tradition onto future generations.

My grandson Alex. Note the onesy he’s wearing.

Grandfather and grandson

Starting left and going clockwise: Me, my stepson Teal, my younger son Will, his fiancee Ela and my eldest Jake. A true metal family!

There was confusion on the day, my tickets said doors opened at 6, so we thought there was time to get a bite to eat before the show. One can’t headbang on an empty stomach! We went for a meal at a restaurant across the road called the Smoke Haus and with bellies full, returned to the arena. It turns out that my tickets were wrong, though it didn’t prevent us from getting in. The arena opened at 5:30 and the first band went on at six and as a result, we missed the first band. If the first band had been Testament, like I thought it would be, I wouldn’t have been a happy camper. While not fortunate, the first band was Obituary and while I would have liked to have seen them, I’m not as upset at missing them as I would have been if it had been Testament.

It did seem strange to me that Anthrax would have opened the festivities on the evening. Not long after, I knew it wasn’t the case. Anyhow, this being the sixth time seeing Anthrax, I must report that this wasn’t their best. Technically, they were all right. They played many of their best known songs, opening with “Caught in a Mosh” plus “Anti-Social” and Indians,” although like Bloodstock 2013, didn’t play anything from the “Spreading the Disease” album. Joey Belladonna was the good front man he usually is and Ela wanted to have his hair. Likewise, Scott Ian got the crowd going as well. Unfortunately, their set was marred by poor sound quality. Charlie’s drums seemed to overshadow everything else and this was the way all through the forty-five minutes they were on stage. Will was disappointed because he was really looking forward to them. My verdict: While I still headbanged away to Anthrax and enjoyed them, I would also agree that the sound engineer should be fired.

Anthrax on stage

This was the best pic of them

Under the red lights

I have very little experience, practically none, of the next band up, Lamb of God. Views on them have been contradictory. Will doesn’t think much of them while Teal loves them. Observing Lamb of God from a neutral stance, they won me over by the time they had left the stage. I will be listening to more of them in the future. The only songs I remember were “Ghost Walking” and “Curse of the Blackened Sun.” While I won’t say that Randy Blythe is the best vocalist in the world, he’s not, he is brilliant at working the crowd and getting them going. Something he did with great effect in Cardiff. Furthermore, I was also impressed with lead guitarist Mark Morton. Lamb of God had better sound than Anthrax so I retracted my personal complaint that they should have been out first. Besides, they did a great job of getting the crowd worked up for the main event.

Lamb of God

This picture told me I needed to get closer to the stage

See what I mean?

Might be the best shot of them

A good shot of bassist John Campbell with Mark Morton emerging from behind the amp to belt out a solo.

Lamb of God nearing the end

Everyone in the Motorpoint Arena knew that whatever else happened, this night belonged to Slayer. They were the band everyone was there to see and they let everyone know it. From their opening with the wall of flames to their hour and forty minutes of non stop thrash as only they can do to their grand finale, Slayer was on top form. I have to admit, their performance is still whirling around in my head. Maybe I should have waited a couple of days before posting but nah, I had to write about it now.

Some interesting highlights, some guy next to me shouted for them to play something they all knew right after they had played “Mandatory Suicide.” I thought all Slayer fans and even non ones knew that song. My eldest, Jake, risked his life going into a mosh pit. A Slayer mosh pit is not one for beginners! And this was the first time he had ever gone into one. I’m afraid Jake learned the hard way, coming away a little dazed after taking an elbow to the temple. Besides, he made the mistake of removing his shirt and hoodie before going in and ended up losing both of them.

In the mean time, Slayer continued to threaten to blow the roof of the arena as they manically went about the stage creating mayhem and history at the same time. Tom Araya’s vocals were spot on while Kerry King and Gary Holt traded solos back and forth all evening long. When asked after, Will put Holt on the same level as the late Jeff Hanneman. So between the showmanship, the thrash and the flames shooting through the air at the back of the stage, as well as the backdrop changing to a different Slayer album cover every few songs, there was a great deal of unpredictability on the evening and that evening ended way too soon. I did love them coming out to the encore with “South of Heaven.” The only disappointment was at the end. While they thoroughly and deservedly basked in the adulation of the audience, there was no mention of this being their farewell tour. Yes, they did praise the audience throughout but I thought they would have said something at the end. Just a minor point though, the rest was a great night of metal history.

Wall of flames to commence Slayer’s appearance

Slayer appear!

King made his way over to my side of the stage

A shot of the stage with Tom with his back to the audience

Gary plays the solo

Watch out for the flames

Kerry playing at centre stage

Coming down to the finale

Next post: Stevie Ray Vaughan- Soul to Soul

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to:









































Great Metal Albums of 1985: Slayer- Hell Awaits

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 2, 2018 by 80smetalman

As 1985 progressed, I found myself moving away from mainstream music and delving into heavy metal bands who weren’t likely to be played on the radio. It was here where I cut my teeth on bands such as Venom and Slayer. In the case of the latter, it was their second album, “Hell Awaits” which gave me an eye opening experience into more hardcore and thrash metal. Once my eyes were opened, I have never looked back.

The first thing I remember when a friend first spun “Hell Awaits” for me was that it took a while for the album to get started it. The opening title track has a rather long intro, I mean it takes about three minutes before the song truly gets going and on my first listen, I thought it was going to be one of those instrumental intros many albums have before the rest of the album kicks in. However, that is the trick because all of a sudden, Slayer take the tempo way up and the shattering vocals of Tom Araya come through. The title track sets the tone for the rest of the album.

One thing I have found difficult over the years is to pick a favourite track. Every time I think I might have found one, some aspect from another track washes it out. All seven tracks have the in your face vocals from Tom while at the same time, he and Dave Lombardo combine to make a crunching rhythm section further aided by whichever guitarist is not playing the solo at the time. Each track features the guitar solo trade off of Hanneman and King although their best effort is probably on the track, “At Dawn They Sleep.” Saying that, next time I listen to this album, I’ll find that one of the other tracks might have them doing it better. “Hell Awaits” is that kind of album. Seven songs that concuss your brain into jelly but at the same time, feature quality musicianship. If I had to pick a favourite track, it would have to be “Necrophiliac.” Not because of any differential in the music but simply it was one that the religious right in America loved to attack and got all hot and bothered about.  One thing I’ve wondered about was, is “Hardening of the Arteries” a song telling people not to eat too much pork?”

Track Listing:

  1. Hell Awaits
  2. Kill Again
  3. At Dawn They Sleep
  4. Praise of Death
  5. Necrophiliac
  6. Crypts of Eternity
  7. Hardening of the Arteries


Tom Araya- lead vocals, bass

Kerry King- guitar

Jeff Hanneman- guitar

Dave Lombardo- drums

It’s common knowledge that Slayer are in the midst of their farewell tour. This coming Monday, it will be my turn to see them as they are coming to Cardiff. I’m going with Teal, my two actual sons and my younger son’s fiance. It’s going to be a great family affair and listening to “Hell Awaits” has definitely got me psyched for it.

Next post: Report from Slayer, Anthrax, Lamb of God and Testament in Cardiff

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to:









80sMetalman’s Top 30 Power Ballads: 21-30

Posted in Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2018 by 80smetalman

I’ve said on many a post that I’m a sucker for a good power ballad and there have been many on the hundreds of albums I have posted about so far. Therefore, I thought it would be nice, before I take the tour into 1985, that I share my top 30 power ballads, ten at a time. Originally, there was only going to be 20 but there are so many good ones out there that I had to extend it by another ten.

Google defines a power ballad by being an emotional rock song, generally focused on love with strong vocals. That is only half of my definition of the term. For me, a power ballad consists of either good power chords on the electric guitar or a blistering guitar solo, preferably both. That is why I get annoyed at supposed power ballad compilation albums. Sorry, as much as I love, “I Want to Know What Love Is” by Foreigner, it doesn’t match my definition.

The problem many people have with them is the fact that they cross over into forbidden territories. Many metalheads consider them too soft for metal, while more trendy music listeners are put off by the power chords. I can’t see why we can’t have both, especially when they’re done well. Besides, while they won’t admit, many male metalheads keep power ballads on hand when they want to show their ladies their more ‘intimate’ side.

Okay, I’ll stop rambling now and give you 80smetalman’s top power ballads, 21-30.

30. Hanoi Rocks- Million Miles Away

29. Gotthard- Still I Belong to You

28. Jefferson Starship- Fading Lady Light

Note: This was the first power ballad fitting my definition that I ever heard

27. LA Guns- Ballad of Jane

26. Motley Crue- Home Sweet Home

25. Nazereth- Love Hurts

This was the second power ballad I heard. I didn’t hear it until 1981, otherwise it would have been the first.

24. The Scorpions- Winds of Change

23. Anthrax- Nice F*ckin’ Ballad

I know Anthrax were taking to piss here but it still a cool power ballad.

22. Crystal Ball- Silence of the Night

21. Guns N Roses- November Rain

There you have it! The first ten power ballads on the list. Have a listen, sit back, mellow out and enjoy the guitar solos.

Next post: 11-20

To get Rock and Roll Children for free, go to:
































Great Metal Albums of 1984: Anthrax- Fistful of Metal

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2018 by 80smetalman

Normally, when I hear a band’s second album before their first one, I appreciate what a great album the debut was, even if I prefer the second one. That was the case with Twisted Sister, Van Halen and Molly Hatchet for sure. However, there’s always an exception and that comes in the form of Anthrax. My first experience with this band was the second album, “Spreading the Disease,” and you will hear me sing its praises to the heavens. Now, I in no way, shape or form, dislike Anthrax’s debut album, “Fistful of Metal,” it has some great songs which I will elaborate on in a minute. What I do think is that “Spreading the Disease” was a major improvement from this one.

The big improvement comes in the form of the lead singer. While I have nothing against the vocal ability of Neil Turbin, he does some great things on “Fistful of Metal,” it’s just I think Joey Belladonna is a far superior singer. That’s just my opinion. Therefore, I will cease the negative and go for the positive because I have always thought this was a brilliant, in your face, thrash album. In fact, I’ll change my personal history and pretend that I first heard “Fistful of Metal” when it first came out in 1984.

Power chords of Scott Ian and Dan Spitz, combined the shrieks of Neil begin the album in a totally mad metal mayhem. Even though I hadn’t yet heard the term ‘thrash,’ I would have thought that the opening song “Deathrider” comes out and grabs your attention. With the exception of Motorhead, I would have thought it was the most aggressive sound I ever heard back then. Following on immediately after is my favourite song on the album, “Metal Thrashing Mad.” It’s just as thrashy as its predecessor but there is a slight melody to the chorus and I do mean slight. Of all the tracks on the album, this one highlights Neil Turbin’s voice the best.

What I have always liked about the cover of the Alice Cooper classic, “I’m Eighteen,” is the fact that they don’t thrash it up and they pretty much stick to Alice’s formula. Hell, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The next three tracks go back to more mad thrash. It is on the tracks, “Panic” and especially “Subjugator” that I fully hear the brilliant guitar work from Dan Spitz. Also on “Subjugator,” rhythm guitarist Scott Ian has a cool guitar bit on it. It’s certainly the best song of the three and I’ve always questioned why “Soldiers of Metal” was released as a single as there are better tracks to choose from. It still gives you a good mosh. Oops, that word didn’t come out til 1985.

Scott Ian- Anthrax

“Death From Above” is my second favourite song on here. I can’t explain the semantics as to why but I really love this song. Maybe it’s how the song starts with a cool guitar solo from Dan but it just does it for me. The album concludes with “Anthrax,” followed by a very cool instrumental, “Across the River” and probably the best song for the closer, “Howling Furies.” Now there’s a song that lets you know you’ve just had year ears bashed by a cool album.

Track Listing:

  1. Deathrider
  2. Metal Thrashing Mad
  3. I’m Eighteen
  4. Panic
  5. Subjugator
  6. Soldiers of Metal
  7. Death From Above
  8. Anthrax
  9. Across the River
  10. Howling Furies


Neil Turbin- vocals

Scott Ian- rhythm guitar

Dan Spitz- lead guitar

Dan Lilker- bass

Charlie Benante- drums

Looking back at history, I now realize how important “Fistful of Metal” was in establishing Anthrax in the metal world and laying down a foundation for them to go onto to better things. The band is certainly hungry on this album, no doubt. The weird thing is that shortly after the album’s released, Dan Lilker would be forced out of the band by the same two band members whom he’d join up with a year later to make my all time favourite album. Still, that’s something to worry about in the future but if you want a thrashing good mosh, then “Fistful of Metal” is one to have.

Next post: Lee Aaron- Metal Queen

To get Rock and Roll Children, go to:





An Evening of Ska-Punk in Newcastle

Posted in Concerts, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2017 by 80smetalman

Well, I’m back from my three days in Newcastle Upon Tyne and before I left, I did promise that if I saw any great bands at Newcastle’s premier rock club, Trillian’s, I would share the experience here. However, the American tourist in me has briefly taken over so before you get to read what great bands Planet Smashers and Faintest Idea were, you’re going to have to view my holiday snaps. Don’t worry, there aren’t many.

The view from my hotel room, It rained a lot on the first day

Great weather on Thursday. Here’s a view from the Gateshead Millennium Bridge

The bridge opens to let a boat go through

At first, it seemed the rain on the first night was too heavy and I wouldn’t make it past the pub across the road from my hotel room. The Blonde Barrel does do great food though. Thankfully, the Gods of Rock smiled on me and the rain slowed do to a fine spray so I was able to go into the city centre and get to Trillians. I discovered that the two named bands would be playing on the Thursday evening so I went down to the bar where I made another amazing discovery. Motorhead has a beer called Road Crew. Naturally, I had to try some and I can say that it’s very nice.

The next day, I made inquiries about Road Crew being available in shops. I was directed to one place that sold eccentric beers but the owner told me that the beer was massed produced and available in major supermarkets, not where I live. I made a further inquiry at the small supermarket but they didn’t sell it. However, one of the staff advised me to try a small shop in the train station grounds. So I went to a place called CentrAle and yes they did sell Road Crew. Then another surprise, right next to it was another beer called Anthrax War Vance and yes, it’s endorsed by Anthrax. Apparently some cases were left behind after their last UK tour and Bruce, the manager of CentrAle, got them. CentrAle is the only place in the UK where you can get Anthrax War Vance. So, I got lucky there.

Bruce with a can of Anthrax

Eventually, the big night came and I went off to Trillians to see Planet Smashers and Faintest Idea, two bands I knew absolutely nothing about. With nothing to expect, I had a very open mind to them when they came on stage. Faintest Idea took the stage first and that would begin my education. Before this particular evening, I had practically zero experience with ska. I offer no reason for this except it was something I never explored. That will change for sure. Getting back to Faintest Idea, listening to them, I have concluded that the Ramones will never have to go in the ska direction because that’s what this band sounded like. The Ramones playing ska. Every song was done in the ‘one, two, three go’ style that the Ramones made so famous during their career. However, Faintest Idea did it with horns. To that point, I’ve never heard such a tight brass section, fair dues to them. Of course, I can’t take anything away from the guitar, bass (also lead singer) and drums either and together they fused ska and punk very well. Songs I remember the most were “Bull in a China Shop” and “Youth” but all of the songs were played well and I was very much impressed.

Faintest Idea on stage

After a brief intermission where the keg of Road Crew ran dry, headliners Planet Smashers from Quebec, Canada took the stage. My first impression was that there was a Madness influence here. Not a surprise because many put forward the argument that Madness were one of the originators of ska. Madness or not, Planet Smashers stood well enough on their own. Plus, this band has a great sense of humour while on stage. Guitarist/lead singer Matt Collyer knew how to engage the crowd with his banter. However, it was definitely the music that was the main attraction. Not often does one get to see bands with two very tight brass sections on the same night but that’s what I saw. Songs that I remember most were “Life of the Party” and my personal favourite, “Super Orgy Porno Party.” You got to believe that anyone who comes out with a song with a title like that has to be very good and they were.

Planet Smashers

And from the other side

I left Trillians with a much better knowledge of ska music then I had two and a half hours earlier and I’m a much better person for it. But the night didn’t end there. Not feeling tired and knowing the Mrs 80sMetalman and our two granddaughters were asleep, I decided to hit another pub I knew was open later. I can’t remember the exact name, I had too many pints by then. While I was inside, both bands turned up and so I ended up drinking with them. That’s something that doesn’t happen to me every day. The members of both bands were great people and that rounded off a fantastic night.

Meeting up after hours

Next post: Toto- Isolation

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to:






















































An 80smetalman Poll: Which Metal Artist Would Best Cover the Song Yummy, Yummy, Yummy?

Posted in Heavy Metal, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 2, 2017 by 80smetalman

In a post featured by Danica who writes the blog, “Living a Beautiful Life,” I have been inspired and encouraged by her to make up a poll. Danica featured the only hit from 1960s band, Ohio Express, “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy.” That song took me way back as I remember listening to it on the radio when I was seven and would sing along with the words. After all, they weren’t that difficult. What I picked up on when I listened to it a couple of days ago after oh so many years was there was a bit of a crunching beat to it. This led me to conclude that the song would sound pretty good if metalized. When I brought the subject up to Danica, she put forward two acts she thought would do a good job with it and I countered with three.

Danica’s Choices:


Now For My Choices:



Ozzy Osbourne

Obviously, the choices aren’t limited to these. I’m sure there are many of you out there who have their own opinion as to who could best give “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy” a metal spin. If so, Danica and I would love to hear your thoughts.

Next post: Weird Al Yankovic- In 3D

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London


Bloodstock 2016: The Sunday

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2016 by 80smetalman

Sunday, the final day of Bloodstock and while that meant packing up to go home, (I couldn’t stay the Sunday night as I had to be in work for 7:40 the Monday morning), I was determined to make the most of the final day. The two bands at the top of the bill on this day was incentive enough. Therefore, while I didn’t rush things, I still went into the arena fairly early.

Let me declare to the world that I have found the perfect cure for the Sunday morning hangover! It comes in the form of the first band of the day, Ghost Bath. Their brand of what I would call stoner metal definitely soothes the soul and the melody of their music makes it very easy to sway back and forth to with little effort. The vocals basically consisted of the lead singer, he was the one dressed in black, screaming the occasional “Yeah!” down the microphone. Strangely, it went very well with the music. Furthermore, I was intrigued by Ghost Bath’s appearance. Except for the singer, the rest of the band was all in white, sort of like ghosts. Like I said, a great way to get over your hangover on Sunday morning.

Ghost Bath soothing the afflicted

Ghost Bath soothing the afflicted

Going from one extreme to the other, while Ghost Bath were more soothing on the ears, loud vicious wails coming from the New Blood Stage beckoned me in that direction. Needing to investigate, I went into the tent and found the perpetrators, a band by the name of Pteroglyph. They were a well put together quartet of thrash metal mania. Again, like with Witch Tripper, I hope any scouts viewing them this day didn’t pass on a great opportunity. Furthermore, I hoped the older looking appearance of the rhythm guitarist wasn’t a further excuse to ignore this band. He looked close to my age but that could have been the lighting. I was impressed.

Pteroglyph releasing their carnage

Pteroglyph releasing their carnage

Leaving the New Blood Stage, I returned to the Ronnie James Dio Stage in time for the second band of the day, Heart of a Coward. I had seen a picture of this band before and they reminded of the typical English men who go out on a Saturday night, get drunk and then engage in a good punch up. However, from the sounds they were creating on the stage, I get the impression that they put all of their aggression into their music and the sound resulting from that is fantastic. In between the power notes, there was some good intricate guitar work to be heard as well. This leaves me to conclude that the band’s name is a good catchy hook because there is nothing cowardly about this band. Thinking about it, Heart of a Coward with Pteroglyph in support would make a cool concert on its own.

Heart of a Coward proving they weren't

Heart of a Coward proving they weren’t

Having fully been metalized for the Sunday morning, duty called so I had to return to tear down the tent and pack away. Fortunately, tearing down the tent wasn’t nearly as difficult as putting it up. Even though, we had less to carry back the car as we did when we arrived three days earlier, it wasn’t an easy task. That was probably down to my determination to get it all done in one trip. I did use a bit of ingenuity when we got to the edge of the car park. We grounded our gear and went and brought the car around to load it, thus saving a lot of effort. It allowed us to get back in plenty of time to see Dragonforce, who Teal and Joe were raving about.

At first, I was going to give Dragonforce a miss because Anthrax had arrived in the signing tent and getting their autograph would have been a dream come true. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending how you view it, I had to wait in a mile long queue to get an autograph. That line wound in view of the main stage, so when Dragonforce appeared, I got the best of both worlds. Dragonforce’s brand of progressive metal, (they reminded me of Stratovarius), was quite enjoyable. It calmed my frustration brought on by standing in a line that wasn’t moving. If I had known that I would never even get close to seeing my heroes Anthrax, I would have ventured closer to the stage because they seemed to have a good presence. Dragonforce eased the disappointment ten-fold.

Closest I got to Dragonforce

Closest I got to Dragonforce

I should have gotten closer

I should have gotten closer

I figured that I should go see one last band on the Sophie Lancaster Stage before I went home and Dragonforce’s departure from the stage provided that opportunity. Ditty bopping over into the tent, I was treated to the powerful music coming from Vecktor. Here was another band that had some great guitar and progressive interludes in between lashings of pure power. They definitely had me head banging away to them along with most of those who were in the Sophie Lancaster tent at the time. I could feel the powerful climax to the night rapidly building up.

Vecktor putting on a cool performance

Vecktor putting on a cool performance

With the two bands most of Bloodstock I was waiting to see, I thought I would get close to the main stage in preparation. I’m glad I did. Not because I was going to be in a good position for Anthrax but also because I got to see the predecessors, Symphony X. While I only saw about twenty minutes of their time on stage, I thought it was well worth it. They were a natural progression from Dragonforce and Vecktor and would prove to be a good bridge for what was to come after. Power chords melded with some good melody backed by competent keyboards always makes a good listen and Symphony X ticked all of those boxes. By the time they had left the stage, I was a volcano waiting to erupt.

Symphony X

Symphony X

With Symphony X departed from the stage, I maneuvered my way down to the front of the stage, this time removing my glasses first and waited. Time flew by it seemed but watching the crew carry out the final checks only served to heighten the tension. Then it happened, Anthrax were on stage. I don’t know what song they opened with but I didn’t care, especially as they followed up with “Caught in a Mosh” and predictably, a huge pit opened nearby. Now, my only complaint when I saw them in 2013 was that they didn’t play any songs from the “Spreading the Disease” album. This time, they rectified it with the fourth song. Predictably, it was “Madhouse” but that didn’t stop me from singing along. Also, the first time I saw Anthrax was 30 years ago, but they, especially Frank Bello and Scott Ian, moved about the stage as if they hadn’t aged at all. In fact, I never saw Frank quite so animated. He was all over the place. “Indians” proved to be the perfect climax to the show as all those in the pit started a war dance. They were on stage for a little more than an hour but the energy they showed, it seemed like only twenty minutes. Time does fly when you’re having fun.

Anthrax assert their dominance

Anthrax assert their dominance

Ian and Bello proving that age has little effect on metal.

Ian and Bello proving that age has little effect on metal.

Rob Craggiano managed to get close enough for me to take a picture of him

Rob Craggiano managed to get close enough for me to take a picture of him

With Anthrax done and dusted, the only ones left for the festival was headliners Slayer. Not wanting a repeat of Saturday, I drifted to the back but made sure I had a good viewing point. Slayer came out and wowed the crowd with great lights and music. The problem with so many lights, it hampers good photos but nonetheless, I tried. Anyway, Slayer granted my request and played not one but two songs from the “Show No Mercy” album, the title track and “Die by the Sword.” While the played a good mix of material, they played the same two songs from “South of Heaven” they played three years earlier, “Mandatory Suicide” and that title track. However, I didn’t care that much about trivial things like that as Slayer clobbered everyone in the crowd with what they do best. They did disappear on two occasions for a few brief minutes and I never could figure out why. When they returned, their absence was quickly forgotten. However, I wonder if that’s why they never came out for an encore. At least it seemed that way. Nevertheless, when Slayer left the stage, I was completely satisfied with them, the Sunday and the whole weekend!

Slayer come out to fire and light

Slayer come out to fire and light

Slayer, a class headline act

Slayer, a class headline act

Best shot of Slayer on the night

Best shot of Slayer on the night

This photo wasn't too bad

This photo wasn’t too bad

Explosion of light

Explosion of light

On the journey home, I discovered a conspiracy. For the third time in a row, when coming home from Bloodstock, I hit road detours on the motorways and had to go all around the houses. While it lengthened my trip time, I had the musical delights of Megadeath and “Twisted Forever,” a tribute album to Twisted Sister to make the ride home enjoyable and allowed me to rejoice in the history that I had witnessed over the weekend.

Next post: A Surprise Gig

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London






















































Tribute to Frank Formica- A True Metal Fan

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 2, 2014 by 80smetalman

Hi everyone, it’s been awhile and let me just say that I am having a great time here in New Jersey. In the past ten days, I’ve eaten Cap’n Crunch for breakfast nearly every day and I think I’ve consumed enough Yuengling to make up for the eight years I’ve gone without it. Of course there’s the local cusine, I couldn’t go without at least eating one Philly cheese steak. When I return to the UK on Friday, I will be introducing the country, well Gloucestershire anyway, to the game of beer pong. But the best thing about my time in NJ is the chance to meet up with long time no see good friends.

Frank and Me

Frank and Me

The great thing about friends, as far as music goes, is that they are always introducing one another to new music and the latest offerings from artists they have in common. Back in the golden days of heavy metal, the 1980s, my metal friend Frank Formica was always discovering new metal and playing it for the rest of us. Frank  almost singlehandedly introduced me the thrash and enlightened me to the musical offerings of Metallica and Anthrax. On the flip side I introduced him to Kreator and The Killer Dwarfs and together we experienced the Stormtroopers of Death when we saw them live in New York. That concert will live in both our memories as the insaneist one we’ve ever been to and there were many others. Frank was clearly an inspriation behind my love for heavy metal back then.

Frank as Alice Cooper

Frank as Alice Cooper

Nowadays Frank runs a karaoke show called Veteran Cosmic Rocker named after a song from a Moody Blues album I visited earlier this year. In order to get gigs, it’s not total heavy metal although, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind if it was. I went to his show last night at a bar called The Riverside, near Mays Landing, NJ. First, I never knew he could sing that well as he belted out a few classic Alice Cooper ditties in line with the Halloween theme. He also sang several Rolling Stones classics like “Sympathy for the Devil” and his girl friend helped get the party started by singing a few more mainstream tunes like the song by Pink which creates a pun here. The biggest surprise, however, was when Frank introduced his friend who had come all the way from England and that he was going to sing some heavy metal. He proceded to sing some Judas Priest, although I can’t for the life of me remember which one, “Detroit Rock City ” by KISS and to end the night on a good note, he sang “For Whom the Bell Tolls” by Metallica. I felt very honoured that he sang those songs for me.

Frank in action

Frank in action

After a slow start, the night took off and overall things went pretty well. Since half of the clientelle was made up with members of the Tough Guys MC, there wasn’t going to be a mad rush to the microphone but several ladies made more than one trip up and entertained the crowd. Did I go up to the mike? You must be kidding, I can’t carry a tune in a bucket which is why I have always been more of an appreciator of music rather than a purvyeor.

The Riverside or for non- Americans, a typical American bar

The Riverside or for non- Americans, a typical American bar

Many factors have contributed to making me the metalhead I am today. One of the more major ones was my friend Frank Formica who opened my eyes to all sorts of heavy metal. If it hadn’t been for Frank, I would not have been able to write “Rock and Roll Children” and I suspect those who have read it have already figured out that I based the Frankie character in the story on Frank. I’m sure we all have friends who influenced us musically and for me, there was no one better than Frank.

Next post: Black Sabbath- The Mob Rules

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London



Bloodstock! The Sunday

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 15, 2013 by 80smetalman

Many of you have been waiting with baited breath for my account of the Bloodstock concert this past Sunday, well here it is. To start with, the drive there was quite uneventful in a good way and I was glad that most people in Britain decided to spend their Sunday morning in bed allowing me to make such good time. I mean, the two CD’s played for the journey (The Best of Seputura and Megadeth’s “Youthanasia”) weren’t finished by the time I pulled into the car park. It did foretell what a great day it was going to be.

First, I feel I must apologise for the poor quality of the photos, they were taken with my cell phone camera. Anyway, as I got there very early, I thought I would start handing out cards for “Rock And Roll Children.” Handing one to a man of my age, he returned the favour by giving me a CD and saying that I should check this band out on the New Blood Stage and that’s were things began in earnest.

Black Emerald

Black Emerald


The CD was for a band called Black Emerald from Reading. What a great opener to the day as this hungry, unsigned band kicked the ass of those who ventured into the tent to see them. I won’t go into great details about them here but these guys have everything needed to be big. Good vocals, a tight rhythm section and a guitarist who can shred as well as songs about heavy metal’s favourite topics, sex, drugs and Satan. I can’t think of a better way to open the show. I was so impressed with Black Emerald that the next post will be why if any label happened to be there while they were on stage and didn’t immediately sign them, well they’re insane.

Gamma Bomb

Gamma Bomb


From Black Emerald to the Emerald Isle as we made it in time to see the first band to ascend the Ronnie James Dio stage, Irish metallers Gamma Bomb. What a great way to start things on the main stage at Bloodstock! Their speed metal had me ferociously banging my head away from start to finish and I loved the lead singer’s comment that they had started drinking at 9 AM and would continue for the rest of the day. I guess that’s bound to happen when you mix the Irish and heavy metal. Trust me, I have met many Irishmen and the great majority of them love their drink. Still, I will be looking for their albums in the future.

States of Panic

States of Panic


One improvement that Bloodstock 2013 had over 2010 was that in 2010, whenever I an act finished on the one stage, I felt frustrated that when I went to one of the other stages, nothing was happening there either. This year that wasn’t a problem. We decided to take a break after Gamma Bomb and to my surprise, there was music coming out of the Sophie Lancaster tent. My stepson and I went inside and were both delighted by the music played by the band that was currently on the stage, States of Panic. I know you can’t see from this photo but their image might suggest that these guys are simply clones of The Black Veil Brides. However, they had a sound all their own and that sound was fine and I was glad that I was able to catch them on stage.

Music wasn't the only metal on Sunday

Music wasn’t the only metal on Sunday


The next hour and a half or so was spent going in between the three stages. I did catch part of both bands that played the main stage, Whitechapel and Sacred Mother Tongue who both kept the day rocking as well as a band from each of the other two stages. While, they were all enjoyable, I didn’t see enough of any of them to give an account here. When we decided to go for lunch, we happened to go past this display of knights in armour. The sword play was a vicious as any mosh pit as they really went at it.




I knew nothing of this band before they went on stage but there was something familiar about the lead singer. Then he got the crowd to chant “Y2J” and it all fell into place. I knew that WWE Superstar Chris Jerico was singing with a band, but I didn’t know it was this one. Had I known this before hand, I would have assumed that Fozzy were a joke band and not bothered with them. For once, I am grateful for my ignorance. Fozzy are not a joke band. True, I only rate Jerico’s vocals as passable but this is made up for by the fact that he has a great band behind him and that he has something that many singers of superior vocal ability lack, stage presence. Y2J owned the stage during the entire time he was on it and he was able to use his physical abilities as a wrestler to his advantage when he climbed up the stage rigging and sang from on top of that.

Y2J singing from the rafters

Y2J singing from the rafters


Fozzy made a believer out of me, I was impressed to the point that I will have to check out their recorded material.




Amorphis provided a much needed respite between what had been and what was to come. Their more melodic metal sound allowed me to catch my breath for a second while yet continuing to enjoy some fantastic sounds. Once again, they proved my theory that keyboards can work with metal if done properly. Seeing the keyboard player for Amorphis brought back memories of Claude Schnell and Jens Johanssen. This in no way takes anything from the rest of the band, especially the way the guitarists shredded.




One thing I pride myself on when I wrote Rock And Roll Children was my accuracy. When Exodus take the stage in the story, the characters are amazed that mortal men can play so fast. Seeing Exodus again after all these years, I am glad that they continue to prove me right. They were fast, furious and just mental and that effect went out to the entire crowd. They weren’t on stage five seconds when a huge mosh pit opened up at the front. I’m afraid to say that when he saw the pit, my step son lost his nerve and didn’t want to go in but I can’t really blame him. Instead, we stood to one side and enjoyed all the fast paced music delivered by those on the stage. The energy was indescribable as Exodus stamped their name on memory of Bloodstock forever. They only stopped briefly so the lead singer could organise one massive wall of death.

The Wall of Death

The Wall of Death


When that was over with surprising no casualties, Exodus went on to finish their slaughter of the ear drums to the point that it could be argued that they won the day.

Devil Driver

Devil Driver


While Devil Driver may not have matched the violence of Exodus, they continued to carry on the fast metal. Having never heard anything from them before, I can say that I did like them. Especially when the lead singer invited everyone out to California, the only place where weed is legal.




This was my fourth time seeing Anthrax live, the last time was Donnington in 1987. Let me say that they haven’t lost any of that intensity they had back then. They took me with old favourites like “I Am the Law,” “Indians,” and the song they opened with, “Caught In a Mosh” to that magical time nearly 30 years ago when I was a pure Anthraxian and it made me renew my vows to follow them always. They also proceeded to convert my fifteen year old step son, although that didn’t take much. I was so impressed with the performance of Anthrax that I can even forgive them for not playing one single song from the “Spreading the Disease” album. I used to think that there were few better songs to open a concert than A.I.R.” but now I’m not so sure. Not many bands can boast to having two great show opening songs. As for the band themselves, they all proved they still have it.




The problem with the headline act is that they have all the lights and this makes it difficult to get a good photo. After several attempts, this was the best I could get. Slayer fulfilled their duties as a headline act. Taking the energy provided by all the bands on the day to an even higher level. The played a good mix of their material throughout the ages and had the crowd at their mercy. I had never seen them live before this day and I must say that all the good things I heard are all true. This was just one speed paced set going from one song to the next in wildfire succession. It proved to be the perfect end to a magnificent day of heavy metal.

Unfortunately, my stepson had the case of the spirit being strong but the flesh was weak. After an hour and ten minutes of Slayer, he was too tired to continue so I had to leave missing the final half hour. Still, “South of Heaven” was probably the best song to walk back to the car to. In the end, we both enjoyed an historical day of heavy metal, one that will match or supersede any of my previous and will dwell in the mind of my young stepson for a long time. Even getting home, at one in the morning following detours due to the motorway being closed and having to get up at 6:30 the next morning to drive to the in laws didn’t lessen the day. In the end, nothing could as it was a great piece of metal history.

Next post: Why Black Emerald should be signed to a record deal

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in Lonon