Archive for Megadeth

Great Metal Album of 2018: Black Emerald- Hell Can’t Handle All of Us

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2018 by 80smetalman

It’s been four days since my weekend in Reading and after listening to their debut album, “Hell Can’t Handle All of Us,” I can still say I’m really into Black Emerald. I’ve now given the album three spins and I am completely impressed. Back in the 1980s, I used to love to listen to up and coming bands because they were hungry and that hunger was reflected in their music. So, it’s great to see that more than thirty years on, that theme is still present.

Things start off with an intro that totally reminds me of Black Sabbath. You know, that slow gloomy bass and guitar sound that gives the eerie feeling of impending doom. Something I have always loved about Sabbath. However, unlike Sabbath, that mood quickly changes to a faster uptempo sound which the earlier hook leads you into banging your head away to. This is a good opener to the album.

Following on is the more speed metal “Life of Anxiety.” Gutlocker vocalist Craig McBrearty lends a hand on the lead vocals and his vocal trade off with Emerald front man Edd Higgs, is just great to listen to. On “Dr Stein,” we have a fusion of Black Sabbath meets Megadeath. An interesting combination to say the least but it works very well on this song. There is the speed of Megadeath to start and even the first chorus reminds me a tiny bit of one of my favourite Megadeath tracks, “A Tout Le Monde.” Later in the song things go to the slower, gloomier Black Sabbath sound. “Dr Stein” ends with a very interesting combination of sounds from the guitar, bass and drums.

Next comes my favourite song on the album, “B.O.D.” I have said many times before that if the music is good in a song, the content of the lyrics won’t matter. The song could be about loving Jesus, eating fruit or doing terrible things to cats with a spoon and I wouldn’t be affected. “B.O.D.” is an anti- drug song and at my age, I shouldn’t be amused by the lyrics but with the song being so good, I don’t care that the opening line is:

“Shoot it up and snort the line

Dropping acid to drinking wine.”

Even later in the track, there’s “Smoking weed to smoking crack,” but I’m still rocking away. It could be down to the fact that guitarist Simon Hall really opens up on this track.

“One For the Road” continues to show how well the band can change it up during a song with elements of speed metal and melody. Afterwards, there’s “Voodoo Princess” which features Remnant guitarist Andy Gunn. The guitars on this track give the song a Jimi Hendrix feel to it. Like I said when I saw Remnant, Andy Gunn can play a guitar and Simon is playing along with him. I get impressions of guitar solo trade offs in the forms of Tipton/Downing, Smith/Murray and even Hanneman/King.

The second song from the demo tape I was given at Bloodstock is “Drown in the River.” It’s is done even better on the album and now that I have the lyrics on hand, I know know that the singer is drowning in the Thames River and not the River Death like I thought he was the past four and a half years. It also has a cool guitar solo and a great fade out at the end.

Black Sabbath rears its influential head again on the intro for “Sculptures to the Sky.” Now before every starts going WTF? let me say that this track is what Black Sabbath would sound like if Tom Arraya was lead vocalist. I don’t know if that would work in real life but Black Emerald makes it definitely plausible here.

The final crossover track from the demo is “Figure on a Barbed Wire Cross.” During the show, Edd explained that the song was about Charles Manson. Reading the lyrics, I can see that but they could be singing about a Hitler, Manson, Satan orgy and I would still like this song. Another weirdo fanatic is featured in the near ten minute track, “Jonestown.” The song is about Reverend Jim Jones who ordered his cult to commit suicide in 1978. What I love about this song is that’s it’s a celebration of what the band is capable of. Great vocals, musicianship and some cool tempo changes just so you don’t get bored. Not that you would. “Jonestown” leads into the closing instrumental that is “Revelations” and that is a brilliant way to end the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Hell Can’t Handle All of Us
  2. Life of Anxiety
  3. Dr Stein
  4. B.O.D.
  5. One For the Road
  6. Voodoo Pricess
  7. Drown in the River
  8. Sculptures in the Sky
  9. Figure on a Barbed Wire Cross
  10. Jonestown
  11. Revelations

Edd Higgs- bass, lead vocals

Simon Hall- guitars, backing vocals

Connor Shortt- drums

 

 

You know what? Of the many hundreds of albums I have covered here, I have never broken an album down this extensively. This is because every track has something to offer. Black Emerald are hungry and this debut album is surely evidence of that. So, I hope I’ve converted all of you and you will all go out and buy this album.

Next post: WASP

To get Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://book-fm.cf/print/free-download-rock-and-roll-children-by-michael-d-lefevre-pdf.htm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Three Pronged Metal Assault On Bristol

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Music, Uncategorized, video games with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2015 by 80smetalman

It’s Monday morning and I still haven’t fully recovered from Sunday night’s mayhem. Last night, my stepson and I went to see a concert at the Thekla in Bristol, UK, with viking metal giants Amon Amarth, California metallists Huntress and  homegrown Savage Messiah. Let’s just say that the night was one to remember.

It’s about a forty-five minute ride from my home in Stroud, Gloucestershire to Bristol but that’s not important. We did have Megadeth’s “13” album to make the ride enjoyable and provide the inflight entertainment. Once we landed in Bristol, we immediately headed for a nearby pub called The Gryphon which specialises in metal. Four years ago, I had my most successful book signing evening for “Rock and Roll Children” there. There were only three other people in there plus the bartender but I did manage a pint of real ale and the entertainment provided by Sabbaton on the pub’s sound system. Great place for a pre-concert party.

Inside The Gryphon

Inside The Gryphon

Leaving the Gryphon, we made the ten minute walk to the Thekla, which is an old ship turned into a night club. This turned out to be a bit ironic since the headline act prided themselves on being descended from vikings. An email from them gave me the impression that the show would start at 7 but the reality was that that would be the time the doors opened. So, we had to wait in line for fifteen minutes but some rather partied out concert goers who play too much Skyrim made the wait more amusing. My stepson informed me that they were loudly making quotes from the game, although I can’t remember what they were.

The Thekla

The Thekla

So, we went in, found a good place near the stage and waited. The wait was well worth it because at precisely 7:30, Savage Messiah hit the stage at 300 mph. They might have only been on stage for a half an hour but they made sure you took in every minute of it. They gave every ounce of energy they had into that short time span with some powerful playing. I had little experience of them before this night but they were kind enough to play two songs of theirs I did know, “Hellblazer” and “Minority of One.” Both were done brilliantly as were the other songs they played. They only slowed down long enough for lead singer, Dave Silver, to lament how their van broke down four days into their tour and had to pay over £600 in repairs. He said he was going to put the bill on Twitter, so I may have to check that out. Still, it didn’t detract from their performance one bit and when they finished, they still had enough energy to play another half hour.

Savage Messiah

Savage Messiah

More Savage Messiah

More Savage Messiah

The audience didn’t have much time to catch their breath before the second band of the night, Huntress ascended the stage. They wasted no time in carrying on from where their predecessors left off. Huntress wowed the crowd with their own brand of powerful metal which brought out all the ghouls and thrashers. It was in the middle of their set that a mosh pit opened up. This only fueled Huntress more. Lead singer Jill Janus lead the procession very well with both her engagement with the crowd and her singing. I loved her quote, “Put the stars in your bong and smoke the galaxy.” Of course all backed up by her band who proceeded to hammer the ear drums of anyone who was inside the Thekla. Like Savage Messiah, I’m not too familiar with Huntress’s material but they did play the “love song” Lemmy wrote for the band, “I Want to Fuck You to Death.” That brought their show to a thrilling climax and when they left the stage a couple of songs later, I was thinking to myself, that couldn’t have been 45 minutes.

Huntress

Huntress

Blake Meahl hammering out a guitar solo

Blake Meahl hammering out a guitar solo

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

The only decent shot I got of Jill

From the moment they got on stage, it was crystal clear that Amon Amarth were not going to take any prisoners. Viking drums beat, swords and shields clashed and most importantly, guitars, bass, drums and vocals reigned down fire from Valhala as they launched into their domination of the night. A mosh pit opened up straight away and would stay that way for the rest of the evening. My step-son even went into it only to come out a few minutes later drenched in sweat. Like many of the established head liner acts I have seen over the years, Amon Amarth played exactly the right blend of classic and new material. Songs I remember from the night included “Loki Falls,” “Deceiver of Gods,” “Guardians of Asgard” and “Twilight of the Thunder God.” Just over the midpoint of the show, they paused the carnage long enough for lead singer Johan Hegg to explain that he had lost his voice the night before and his band plus assistance from Jill Janus saved the show. Let me say that last night, there were no signs of any vocals problems with Hegg. The band hammered the rest of the night in style and did return for two encore songs, the last of which Hegg got the crowd to sing along. I can only vaguely remember the first line, something about vikings in a ship. Still, the crowd singing was good enough for Johan to declare us honourary Vikings. When Amon Amarth left the stage, it was to thunderous reverence of having conquered Bristol that night.

Johan Hegg leading his troops

Johan Hegg leading his troops

Amon Amarth at their best

Amon Amarth at their best

More Amon Amarth

More Amon Amarth

Johan Hegg talking about his voice

Johan Hegg talking about his voice

Under the green lights

Under the green lights

The residents of Bristol may not realise this but on Sunday January 18, 2015, their town was taken over by vikings assisted by to metal forces in the forms of Huntress and Savage Messiah. The Thekla provided that small club setting which provides an atmosphere all on its own. Three bands reigned supreme that night and I was glad I was there to experience it.

Next post: Outlaws- Los Hombres Malo

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1981: Judas Priest- Point of Entry

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 14, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-Judas_priest_-_point_of_entry_a

You probably have already noticed that I didn’t go to Bloodstock this year and it wasn’t because of all the rain. While I would have loved to have seen Megadeath and Saxon on stage, my finances are dictated by other priorities, mainly my trip to the US in October. Enough of that said, onto the “Point of Entry,” the 1981 album from metal gods Judas Priest.

Many people have shot down “Point of Entry” over the years and I ask myself if this is fair. One such person even put the album on a par with “Turbo” and to me, that is totally way off base. I will be the first to admit, it is not one of Judas Priest’s best albums. What highlights this the most is that it is unfortunately sandwiched between what I think is their two best albums of all time: “British Steel” and “Screaming for Vengeance.” I think that most of the other albums would pale significantly when put between those two monuments to metal. Taking them out of the equation and listening to “Point of Entry” on its own, I can safely say that it doesn’t totally suck.

“Heading Out on the Highway” is an adequate opener and “Don’t Go” does move the party along to the one of the more stronger tracks, “Hot Rockin’.” But I’m not too sure about “Turning Circles” and “Desert Plains,” maybe another listen is due here. However, the most of the remainder of the album is quite good. I do like the guitars in  “Solar Angels” and “You Say Yes” would be a great song to sing along to when drinking heavily. I’m going to have to try it just to make sure. “All the Way” and “Troubleshooter” are decent songs too but I’m not too sure about the closer. A good closing song should make me feel uplifted and I can’t say that “On the Run” does that. Overall though, I think “Point of Entry” is a good album from Judas Priest and there are some of the famous trademark screams from Halford and the solid guitar work of Tipton and Downing. Maybe after the likes of the albums that precede and succeed it, the bar may have been set too high.

Track Listing:

1. Heading Out on the Highway

2. Don’t Go

3. Hot Rockin’

4. Turning Circles

5. Desert Plains

6. Solar Angels

7. You Say Yes

8. All the Way

9. Troubleshooter

10. On the Run

Judas Priest

Judas Priest

Rob Halford- vocals

Glen Tipton- guitar

KK Downing- guitar

Ian Hill- bass

Dave Holland- drums

 “Point of Entry” isn’t the terrible album made out to be. If I were grading it I might be tempted to say it wasn’t done at the best of the band’s ability and it doesn’t stand out from many of the great metal albums that came out in 1981, but it’s still good enough to be included among them.

Next post: Saxon- Denim and Leather, out of respect of not going to Bloodstock

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

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

Why Black Emerald Should Be Signed

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on August 18, 2013 by 80smetalman
Black Emerald

Black Emerald

Last week at the Bloodstock Festival, the very first band I was treated to on the day totally blew me away. Standing in the New Blood tent, where unsigned acts get to show their stuff, the Reading based Black Emerald opened the day and for me, provided a fantastic beginning to what would go on to be a monumental day. When they left the stage, I was totally of the opinion that if there were any record company scouts observing this band, they would be insane not to sign them to a record contract.  One week later, after listening to their demo CD and currently listening to material they posted on the Reverbnation web site, I am still of that opinion. Therefore, the object of this post is to make you the reader of the same mind frame.

Let’s start with the vocals. most of which are carried out by bassist Simon Hall. If you’re expecting some operatic,  melodic vocals in the vein of Coverdale, Gillan, Tempest of Dio, then you will be deeply disappointed. Instead, if I were to make such comparisons, I would go more in line with Hetfield or Mustane and there lies the pleasant problem. Hall’s vocals are unique enough to call his own so it is difficult to compare him with anybody and that’s a good thing. In addition, guitarists Edd Higgs and Dave Toland also contribute in the lead vocal department giving Black Emerald more versatility. When I observed this phenomenon, it immediately took me back to 70’s bands like KISS, Styx and The Eagles where most, if not all, in the band were just as capable of taking the mike.

Another feature I identified with this band is that they have a lead guitarist who can shred. Unfortunately, I don’t know which one was the one who did most of the shredding last Sunday. The other problem at Bloodstock and a little on the demo was that his efforts lacked volume, which I blame on sound production. Fortunately, I have heard three tracks on Reverbnation and this isn’t a problem, I can hear the lead guitar just fine. Finally, I also mentioned the tight rhythm section and drummer Connor Shortt leads this very well, along with the bass and rhythm guitar.

untitled

Simon Hall- bass, vocals

Edd Higgs- guitar, vocals

Dave Toland- guitar, vocals

Connor Shortt- drums

Demo Songs

1. B.O.D.

2. Drown In the River

3. Figure On a Barbed Wire Cross

One last aspect of this band is their material. They sing about all things heavy metal, sex, drugs and Satan. Five days on after listening to their CD, I still find myself singing the lines from B.O.D.: “Smoking weed, smoking crack.” That’s the other thing, if they were to break America, the religious right would undoubtedly put them on their hit list. So, I hope that I have put forward a strong enough argument to why Black Emerald should be given a record contract. But if you don’t want to take me word, check them out on www.reverbnation.com and type Black Emerald in the search. You won’t be disappointed.

Next post: The Jam- Sound Effects

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

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

A Rock/Metal Poll: Who Is The Best Rhythm Guitarist of All Time?

Posted in Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 24, 2013 by 80smetalman

I have written much about guitarists during the two years I have been blogging, but it has all been about the great lead guitarists who have graced us over the years. So today, I thought it would be a grand gesture to pay homage to those unsung heroes, the rhythm guitarists. These are the ones who, while their much more noted and worshiped lead guitarists are cranking out the solos, are playing power chords in rhythm with the music that allows their compatriot to work their magic. Once in a while, they may be allowed to play the occasional solo, but often times just keep striking their chords without any adulation.

So I will not only honour these unsung heroes, I would also like to know who you, my readers, consider to be the best rhythm guitarist. I have put forward a number of candidates but by no means is this list exclusive.

Blackie Lawless- WASP

Blackie Lawless- WASP

Brad Whitford- Aerosmith

Brad Whitford- Aerosmith

Dave Mustane- Megadeth

Dave Mustane- Megadeth

James Hetfield- Metallica

James Hetfield- Metallica

Malcolm Young- AC/DC

Malcolm Young- AC/DC

Glen Frey- The Eagles

Glen Frey- The Eagles

Paul Kantner- Jefferson Starship

Paul Kantner- Jefferson Starship

Rudy Schenker- The Scorpions

Rudy Schenker- The Scorpions

Scott Ian- Anthrax

Scott Ian- Anthrax

I know there are many more out there so all you have to do is comment who your favourite or favourites are. Meanwhile, when you listen to an album from any of the great bands these guys are from, strain your ears for the efforts they are putting in.

Next post: 1980- A Golden Decade Begins

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

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

 

 

The 80s were the golden age of heavy metal!

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 10, 2011 by 80smetalman

Over the past few months, since I started this blog, I have maintained that the 1980s was a golden age in heavy metal.  After much debate, I’ve come to the conclusion that it defintely was the golden age. My first piece of evidence is the Bloodstock Festival. In 2010, Twisted Sister, a famous band from the 80s, headlined on the final day of the festival. They drew the largest crowd and won accolades from both young and old on the day. Furthermore, the band Heaven and Hell were also due to play Bloodstock but they had to pull out due to the death of Ronnie James Dio. Many bands during the 3 days paid tribute to the great Dio and how much of an influence he was on the metal scene.

It seems that in 2011, the promoters of Bloodstock have chosen other great bands from the 80s to play the festival. Headlining on two of the three nights are two memorable bands from that greast decade, Motorhead and WASP. I realise that Motorhead began in the 70s, but they continued to awe millions with their brand of music throughout the 8os as well. As for WASP, in 1986 I bought their album “The Last Command” because it was the first album to have a PMRC sticker on it. Other bands form the 80s who will be playing Bloodstock are Exodus, Napalm Death and Kreator.

It’s not just Bloodstock that has these great shows. There are others like Download which include bands from the 80s. Last year, I believe Iron Maiden and Motley Crue played there. Likewise, there is another festival with the likes of Def Leppard and of course there is the Judas Priest farewell tour with Queensryche and a new release from Whitesnake. Kiss, Megadeth, Metallica and many other famous bands from the 80s are still going strong. True, their records sales may not be as astronomical as they were in the 80s, but over the years, they have amassed a huge following who still buy their albums and go to their concerts. Therefore, this leads me to conclude that the 80s truly was “The Golden Age of Heavy Metal.”

p.s. You can read an account of 80s metal in my book Rock And Roll Children.