Archive for Thrash Metal

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Nuclear Assault- Game Over

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 7, 2021 by 80smetalman

My introduction to Nuclear Assault was in 1986 when I was told they were a spin off of the Stormtroopers of Death. However, it’s only the case of bassist Dan Lilker, who was in S.O.D. Unfortunately, that was my only experience of the band and it wasn’t until 1987 that I heard the album, “Game Over.” More unfortunate was the fact that I never got to see them live until Bloodstock 2015 but I can say that they were definitely worth the wait.

Dan Lilker talking to the crowd, Bloodstock 2015
Nuclear Assault in full assault

Dan Lilker’s time with the Stormtroopers of Death and Anthrax (Dan was cofounder with Scott Ian) comes through straight away on the album. Like with S.O.D., the albums begins with an instrumental. “Live, Suffer, Die,” is a short sharp shock of moshing thrash for the full minute and eight seconds of the song. Those influences carry on over the next four tracks as each of them are serious hard core thrash. While all of those tracks are good, the one which sticks out is “Betrayal,” probably because of the lyrics singing about a back stabbing whore. This is definitely a song about being cheated on and it proves you don’t need to sing about such subjects in a ballad. However, I also love the guitar solo in “Radiation Sickness.”

“Hang the Pope” might only be forty-six seconds long but it is still an amusing song. I don’t know how those of the Catholic faith feel about lyrics calling on people to go to the Vatican and hang the pope until he’s dead but it is a very amusing, explosive song. Things appear to slow down on the intro of “After the Holocaust” but it is probably the fastest song on the album and that is saying something. The guitar solo from Anthony Bramante is amazing. Then as a break in the action, we get the twenty-two second long “Mr. Softee Theme.” For the non-American readers, Mr. Softee is an ice cream company whose vans drive around the streets selling ice cream. Maybe the Mr. Softee company should have used Nuclear Assault’s version for their trucks. It would have been less annoying.

Things go back to full speed thrash on “Stranded in Hell.” It is on this track I get to appreciate the drumming of Glenn Evans and I will say now that Dan Lilker is a very underrated bass player. He really comes through on “My America.” The closer is a real paradox. While all of the other songs are less than four minutes, several less than three, “Brain Death” is over seven minutes. It starts like it’s going to be a slower metal song with the acoustic intro which is a little hypnotic if you listen closely and the pace only picks up a little when the acoustic guitar goes electric. It is at the two minute mark when the song explodes into full thrash glory, though it’s instrumental part in the middle slows down again and goes on for several minutes before going out in a thrash speed flurry.

Track Listing:

  1. Live, Suffer, Die
  2. Sin
  3. Cold Steel
  4. Betrayal
  5. Radiation Sickness
  6. Hang the Pope
  7. After the Holocaust
  8. Mr. Softee Theme
  9. Stranded in Hell
  10. Nuclear War
  11. My America
  12. Vengeance
  13. Brain Dead

John Connelly- guitar, vocals

Anthony Bramante- lead guitar

Dan Lilker- bass

Glen Evans- drums

Calling Nuclear Assault an Anthrax or S.O.D. spin off is inaccurate. Sure, there are heavy influences from both of those bands on the album, “Game Over,” but the album also proves that they are their own band capable of their own brand of thrash.

Next post: Briar- Take On the World

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Metallica- The $5.98 EP/$9.998 CD- The Garage Days Revisited

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2021 by 80smetalman

To mark the occasion of their appearance at the 1987 Donnington Festival, Metallica’s UK label, Vertigo, suggested they release new material. However, initial songwriting attempts with new bassist, Jason Newstead, resulted in one demo and then James Hetfield broke his arm in a skateboarding accident. (I forgot about that incident but I remember while on tour, a roadie played rhythm guitar so the tour could carry on.) Anyway, the band decided that instead of trying to write new material, they recorded covers of some of their favourites. Thus, “The $5.98 EP/$9.98 CD- The Garage Days Revisited” was born.

Up first is a cover of Diamond Head’s “Helpless.” Listening to this, if I hadn’t heard of Diamond Head before, I would have thought that this was a Metallica original. Basically what Metallica do here is increase the song to Metallica level and it’s true to what Metallica were doing at the time. Next comes “The Small Hours” which is a cover of a Holocaust tune. Admittedly, I have no experience of Holocaust, that will be rectified, but there is that Metallica “Thing That Should Not Be” aura to it. It’s just slow crunching guitar at the start before speeding up in the middle and a cool guitar solo from Kirk.

In the middle of the order is the cover of the Killing Joke tune, “The Wait,” which was left off the British pressing in order to comply with UK laws regarding the length of EPs. When I hear this song, I definitely think that it would have been a perfect fit if put on the “Master of Puppets” album as I definitely get that vibe on it. I can bang my head along with it much longer than its four minute and fifty-five second length. That’s a minute and fifteen seconds longer than the Killing Joke’s version!

Jason Newstead gets to show off his bass skills on the penultimate track, “Crash Course in Brain Surgery,” a cover of a Budgie classic. I remember when I saw Metallica and Donnington 87, James introduced Jason as ‘the new mother fucker.’ Was there animosity already? I won’t venture a guess but Jason does lay down a solid bass line here, which compliments Kirk’s guitar solo very well. Metallica took a 70s hippy song and brought it into the late 80s.

Ending this five song Metallica party is my favourite song, “Last Caress/Green Hell,” two Misfits tunes combined together. The reason I like it is that any lyrics which stuck it to the anti- rock establishment was cool in my book and “I killed your baby today” and “I raped your mother today” definitely qualifies. I’m surprised there wasn’t any outcry from the religious zealots in the US over it. Still, the fast thrash pace adds to the fun. At the end, there is some riffs to the Iron Maiden classic, “Run to the Hills,” which I also remember them doing at Donnington. Maybe not necessary but it brought back good memories.

Track Listing:

  1. Helpless
  2. The Small Hours
  3. The Wait
  4. Crash Course in Brain Surgery
  5. Last Caress/Green Hell
Metallica

James Hetfield- lead vocals, rhythm guitar

Kirk Hammett- lead guitar

Jason Newstead- bass, backing vocals

Lars Ulrich- drums

What I didn’t know was that “The $5.98 EP/$9.98 CD- The Garage Days Revisited” was out of print from 1989- 2018 and was considered a collector’s item. Those who had this should consider themselves lucky. While this wasn’t a Metallica album in the proper sense, it was a great bridge between “Master of Puppets” and their next album “And Justice for All.”

Next post: WASP- Inside the Electric Circus

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1987: Anthrax- Among the Living

Posted in 1980s, Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2021 by 80smetalman

Anthrax’s 1987 album, “Among the Living,” which was the follow up to the fame launching “Spreading the Disease” album was one that caught a lot of people off guard. Many people assumed that after the success of the slightly more melodic predecessor, they would continue the same way with the new album. Boy, was everybody wrong! If anything, “Among the Living” was the thrashiest album to date.

This is evident with the very first song, the title track where they do quote the previous album title in the lyrics. This track beats you around the head with two very large blunt objects. It is just hard and heavy, just the way any thrash metal fan would expect. However, Joey Belladonna still has his highly melodic voice, blowing the myth that thrash singers all sound like barking dogs out of the water. If anything, the title track fulfills the speculation of what Joey would have sounded like if he was the lead singer in the Stormtroopers of Death.

Listening to the album again these past few days has brought a paradox to my insane mind. Back in 1987, I accepted the title track as a great opener to the album. However, all three times I saw Anthrax live in the past decade, they opened with the second song on the album, “Caught in a Mosh” and it is a great song to open a show with. Believe me, it gets people moshing but here’s the thing, even though Anthrax opens their live shows with it, it still doesn’t sound out of place being second on the album. God, I better stop thinking about this or my head might do a “Scanners.”

Ian and Bello proving that age has little effect on metal. Bloodstock 2016

Another concern, at least for the record company was that a return to a more hardcore thrash style might not be a successful venture. Album sales and the consensus from many in the metal world that this is Anthrax’s best album shoot that down. Although, I am still partial to “Spreading the Disease” but I admit I’m mental. However, further proof is the fact that in February, 1987, while watching the famous UK show, “Top of the Pops” in the student bar, I had the satisfaction to see Anthrax break into the top 40! Okay, it only got to 34 but it was a slap in the face to all the pop loving trendies.

Yet a further element which sets Anthrax apart from many other thrash bands is that their songs are about topical issues. “Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)” is an anti drug abuse song inspired by the tragic death of John Belushi. It is also “nice fukin’ life” spelled backwards. However, Scott Ian still gets asked by the less informed why he wrote a song about the National Football League. I agree with Scott here, listen to the song you asshole! “Indians” is about how badly the Native Americans have been treated throughout the centuries since Europeans came to the Americas. Then there’s my vote for hidden gem, “A Skeleton in the Closet.” This song is about former Nazis who were allowed to come to the West undetected and live among the populace as if nothing happened in their past but are still being hunted by those who won’t forget the holocaust.

All of these songs are done with the full ear pounding power of Anthrax. Each song has drum fills, pounding bass and a rhythm guitar which can change speed at the drop of a hat. Dan Spitz produces some good solos along with the mosh parts and it is his efforts on “A Skeleton in the Closet,” which makes it my hidden gem. However, in spite of all the hardcore, thrash and speed metal all rolled into one, Joey Belladonna sings through these songs as if it’s just another day at the office. There are also some nice little surprises along the way, for example, the acoustic intro to “A.D.I./Horror of it All.” With all of these element in place, it is little wonder these songs are so good.

Track Listing:

  1. Among the Living
  2. Caught in a Mosh
  3. I Am the Law
  4. Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)
  5. A Skeleton in the Closet
  6. Indians
  7. One World
  8. A.D.I./Horror of It All
  9. Imitation of Life
Anthrax

Joey Belladonna- lead vocals

Scott Ian- rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Dan Spitz- lead guitar, backing vocals

Frank Bello- bass, backing vocals

Charlie Benante- drums

Anthrax proved with “Among the Living” that you don’t always have to compromise your principles to be successful. With this album, they came back harder and faster and for that, the album was very successful.

Next post: Metallica- The $5.98 EP/$9.98 CD Garage Days Revisited

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1986: Slayer- Reign in Blood

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 13, 2020 by 80smetalman

Two major questions always arise whenever Slayer’s 1986 album, “Reign in Blood,” is mentioned. One, is it the best Slayer album of all time? Two, should it take its place along some of the other great albums which helped pioneer thrash metal in 1986 such as Metallica’s “Master of Puppets,” Anthrax’s “Spreading the Disease” and Megadeath’s “Peace Sells Buy Who’s Buying?” To me, the answer is an obvious and definite, “Yes!” While there is room for debate on question one, there shouldn’t be any on question two. “Reign in Blood” was one of the standard bearers for thrash, not only in 1986 but for all time.

What really amused me back then and further proves my insanity is the controversy some of the songs on the album caused. Take the opener and probably best known song on the album, “Angel of Death.” The song is about evil Nazi scientist Josef Mengele, who performed hideous experiments on inmates at Auschwitz during World War 2. A few idiots suggested that the song was pro-Nazi because the lyrics don’t say what an evil man Mengele was. However, I do like guitarist Jeff Hanneman’s response: “Well, wasn’t it obvious?” No matter though, because like all other songs on the album, it’s one massive thrash-a-thon. It gives you a great introduction to what the rest of the album is going to be like: fast, pounding guitar chords, manic vocals, thumping rhythm section and the classic guitar solo trade-off between virtuosos King and Hanneman.

Of course, if you want to get controversial, then look at “Necrophobic.” I remember religious fanatics spitting out their milk and cookies over this one. Then again, the lyrics are about having sex with a corpse but of all the times I’ve listened to the song, I have never had any inclination whatsoever to do such things. Proof that if the music is good and in this case, the music for the entire album is outstanding, then the lyrics won’t matter much. However, a friend and I were thinking of recording the anti-religious song, “Jesus Saves,” and sending it to Jimmy Swaggart. Actually, if I hadn’t already been in England at this time and got to see Slayer in America, I would have been tempted to record and play it to the Jesus freaks who would have undoubtedly come to the concert to save our souls. It’s the only reason why “Jesus Saves” is my choice for hidden gem because every song here is one.

Slayer, Cardiff 2018

Actually, there’s not much more I can say about “Reign in Blood” because the album speaks for itself. With this album, you have the mold which many thrash bands would try to imitate in the years after. It’s definitely one of the greatest thrash albums of all time and did I say, it’s my favourite Slayer album?

Track Listing:

  1. Angel of Death
  2. Piece by Piece
  3. Necrophobic
  4. Altar of Sacrifice
  5. Jesus Saves
  6. Criminally Insane
  7. Reborn
  8. Epidemic
  9. Postmortem
  10. Raining Blood
Slayer

Tom Araya- bass, vocals

Jeff Hanneman- guitar

Kerry King- guitar

Dave Lombardo- drums

Much to the annoyance of Duranies, Madonna Wannabees and glam rock poseurs, thrash metal had truly found its home in 1986. Fantastic albums such as Slayer’s “Reign in Blood” was the reason why.

Next post: Tobrik- Wild On the Run

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1986: Agnostic Front- Cause for Alarm

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2020 by 80smetalman

Even though I had been in England for a couple of months and was soaking up the NWOBHM bands who hadn’t made it across the Atlantic, it didn’t prevent great American thrash bands from making it across the ocean in the opposite direction. Although I like to think I was solely responsible for introducing the Stormtroopers of Death and Suicidal Tendencies to Great Britain, (at least to my new friends at Queen Mary College), I know that this wasn’t the case. Especially as the metalheads of Britain were getting into thrash all on their own and one of these albums which came their way was the 1986, “Cause for Alarm” album from Agnostic Front.

In the spirit of their New York counterparts, Stormtroopers of Death, “Cause for Alarm” is a short, sharp assault of thrash metal. Those with delicate ears should definitely not listen to this album. Ten songs in just over twenty-three minutes but they are all super explosive songs guaranteed to pack any mosh pit. The longest song is “Growing Concern” which is just over four minutes long. One point of note is the contribution of newly added guitarist Alex Kinon. He does produce some good guitar solos on the album and tracks like “Growing Concern” and the opener “The Eliminator” are definitely ones to note. Another point to note was that the track, “Your Mistake,” has been covered by both Fear Factory and Hatebreed. But for me the track of note is “Out for Blood,” which successfully combines the hardcore thrash and a cool more metal guitar solo so well.

One track, which brought some controversy in 1986 was “Public Assistance.” It was even criticized by Dead Kennedys lead singer, Jello Biafra, for its lyrics and if I had actually been able to decipher the lyrics above the music back in 1986, my left leaning self would not have been impressed with them. “Public Assistance” has racist implications, stating that racial minorities were living a life of luxury off the backs of hard working white people. A belief that was particularly common all throughout 1980s Reagan America.

Uncle Sam takes half my pay

So you can live for free

I got a family and bills to pay

No one hands money to me

Get money in advance

You can go to school for nothing

Got that government grant

When you’re sick from shooting up

Medicaid pays full portion

When little Maria gets knocked up

She gets a free abortion

If I had understood lyrics such as this back then, I might have been put off the rest of the album. Back then, I was left of centre in the realms of British politics which in the American realm, would have made me a pinko, Commie subversive. Now a days, I’m more open minded and won’t punish a band just because I don’t agree with the lyrics in one song. Besides, the band didn’t actually write the song. This is still a great thrash album.

Track Listing:

  1. The Eliminator
  2. Existence of Hate
  3. Time Will Come
  4. Growing Concern
  5. Your Mistake
  6. Out for Blood
  7. Toxic Shock
  8. Bomber Zee
  9. Public Assistance
  10. Shoot His Load

Roger Miret- vocals

Alex Kinon- lead guitar

Vinnie Stigma- rhythm guitar

Louie Beatto- drums

Rob Kabula- bass

In 1986, thrash metal was thriving on both sides of the Atlantic and beyond. Agnostic Front contributed to this with one hell of an album in “Cause for Alarm.”

Next post: Billy Squier- Enough is Enough

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1986: Motorhead- Orgasmatron

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on October 29, 2020 by 80smetalman

For some reason, when Motorhead albums get mentioned, I never hear anyone mention their 1986 album, “Orgasmatron.” Do people think this album is bad? Having seen them play at Donington to officially release the album, I naturally had to listen to it and though there are some differences to what I had known about Motorhead, the album is okay.

The change is noticeable from the opening song, “Deaf Forever.” One would think that with such a title, it would come in at 800 mph but it’s more like 250, giving the impression that Motorhead were slowing down to a more mainstream metal pace. Saying that, the opener is a decent song, you could say it’s rather melodic for Motorhead.

There is an attempt in the next two tracks to get things back into more familiar territory. You can hear that the band want to just thrash out but unfortunately, the production lets it down. Again, both “Nothing Up My Sleeve” and “Ain’t My Crime” are very palletable but I can get why Lemmy was not impressed with the production on this album, listening to these two tracks alone. He states that producer Bill Laswell took the album to New York and brought it back worse than before it left England.

Not all is gloom with “Orgasmatron.” “The Claw” is the best track on the album because it does mark a return to what we all love about Motorhead. “Mean Machine” carries it on and has the best guitar solo on the album as well as some great power chords. When you hear these two tracks, you definitely say, “That’s more like it!”

Ditto for “Built for Speed” which begins with a cool drum intro. It’s not as speedy as the two previous tracks but the power is there for sure. Lemmy’s vocals are probably the best on this song and there are a couple of great guitar solos. In fact, I might change my mind and say that this is the best track on the album.

Motorhead as we know it returns for definite on “Ridin’ With the Driver.” This is the fastest song on the album. If played live, it would cause mosh pits to open up. It’s just one of those feel good songs. Although slower, “Doctor Rock” does not lack intensity. Some great power chords and guitar hooks cement for me that “Orgamsatron” is definitely a good album.

The title track closes the album and it is what it is, a good closer. Putting it anywhere else on the album would just make it out of place. What I can say about the closer is that it’s what Suicidal Tendencies would sound like if Lemmy was the lead singer. There are some amusing lyrics in between the guitar hooks, like: “I am the God of war and I will cut you down.” It’s a good way to end the album.

Track Listing:

  1. Deaf Forever
  2. Nothing Up My Sleeve
  3. Ain’t My Crime
  4. The Claw
  5. Mean Machine
  6. Built for Speed
  7. Ridin’ With the Driver
  8. Doctor Rock
  9. Orgasmatron
Motorhead

Lemmy- bass, vocals

Michael ‘Wurzel’ Burston- lead guitar

Phil Campbell- rhythm guitar

Pete Gill- drums

“Orgasmatron” was Motorhead’s first studio album in nearly three years. It did reach number 21 in the UK album charts and broke the top one hundred in other countries but that doesn’t really matter to me, I just like it.

Next post: Sword- Metalized

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

Great Metal Albums of 1986: Possessed- Beyond the Gates

Posted in 1980s, Death, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on October 11, 2020 by 80smetalman

On that evening in November, 1986, in Camden Town, London, after moshing and stage diving to the English Dogs and Voivod, headliners for the evening, Possessed, hit the stage. The band made its appearance with the demand from lead singer and bassist, Jeff Becerra, “Let’s see some blood!” They then went into a mad frenzy of thrash metal which only seemed to increase in speed the longer they were up on stage. And sometime into their set, they got to see some blood when a would be stage diver dove from the stage, only for the crowd to part causing the diver to hit his head on the floor. His head was cut but he seemed otherwise all right.

Listening to the many thrash albums from 1986, I have discovered a recurring theme in most of them. It seems the first track is a mellow, acoustic or classical sounding instrumental, intent to lure you into a false sense of security before blasting your brains with fast powerful chords. It’s the same case with Possessed’s album, “Beyond the Gates.” The opening track is very melodic before “The Heretic” comes in to pulverize your ear drums.

“Beyond the Gates” is somewhere in between the albums by the English Dogs and the Cro-Mags. With this album, you get eleven songs in just over thirty-six minutes although the opener and closer are both instrumentals each lasting exactly one minute and twenty-three seconds. In between that you get nine mad, thrash songs.

Several interesting points come to mind when listening to “Beyond the Gates.” The first is on the track, “Tribulation” where guitarists Mike Torrao and Larry LaLonde trade off guitar solos in a way comparable to King and Hanneman. BTW, if the name Larry LaLonde sounds familiar, yes, he is the guy who would later go onto play in some obscure band called Primus.

Another point is while most songs are pure unadulterated thrash, the track “Phantasm” shows that the band can slow it up when needed without losing any intensity. This bears fruit on my choice for song of the album, “No Will to Live.” It is the longest track on the album at nearly seven minutes long but the way Possessed changes things up throughout the song definitely holds your interest. Even to the point where Jeff Becerra changes his tempo in his vocals. What makes this song unique is that the mosh instrumental part and guitar solo trade offs are saved until the final minute bringing the song to a very cool end.

What I didn’t know at the time was that this was Possessed’s second album. The reason why I hadn’t heard of their debut album, “Seven Churches” at the time was that it had been banned from major record stores on account of the cover showing an upside down cross. If I had known, I would have bought the album just for that.

Track Listing:

  1. Intro
  2. The Heretic
  3. Tribulation
  4. March to Die
  5. Phantasm
  6. No Will to Live
  7. Beyond the Gates
  8. The Beasts of the Apocalypse
  9. Seance
  10. Restless Dead
  11. Dog Fight

Jeff Becerra- bass, vocals

Mike Torrao- guitar

Larry LaLonde- guitar

Mike Sus- drums

Originally, “Beyond the Gates” was heavily criticized for its ‘muddy’ production. I don’t hear it but that’s me. However, these days, it’s being looked upon as a great album that got overlooked and it has even been said that it connects the dots between thrash and death metal. I can agree with that.

Next post: Alice Cooper- Constrictor

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

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: https://c-newfreepdf.cf/olddocs/free-download-online-rock-and-roll-children-pdf-1609763556-by-michael-d-lefevre.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Slayer

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: https://e-pdfwebinar.ml/share/free-ebooks-in-english-rock-and-roll-children-epub-by-michael-d-lefevre.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bloodstock: Farewell

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2018 by 80smetalman

A place to get your air mattresses inflated. I didn’t have one.

At previous Bloodstock Festivals, I always had to leave on the Sunday night due to work commitments. Because I wanted to see so many bands on the Sunday, I made sure I sorted things out so I could sleep Sunday night and leave Monday morning. Monday mornings seem to be an anti-climax at Bloodstock and probably most other weekend festivals. Although, I could hear people partying away on the Sunday night, the campsite seemed deathly quiet when I woke up at 7:15 on Monday morning. Most of the tents were still up although I could see that some had packed up and left in the middle of the night. Therefore, I got Teal and Joe up with no problem, my offer of a MacDonald’s breakfast was good incentive, and we took down the tent, packed and joined the slow but steady procession of people leaving the grounds. There was no conversation, it seemed everyone, like us, was focused on leaving. The whole process only took an hour.

I was totally serious when I said Bloodstock 2018 would be my last ever three day festival unless of course I win the lottery and then I’ll rent a mobile home and go glamping at Bloodstock and Download. The thing is that I’m getting too old to be laying on a piece of ground for an entire weekend. I also felt my age in other ways. After standing to see a couple of bands, I definitely needed to sit down as I felt the aches and pains. While you’re never too old to rock, I have to admit that I’m getting too old for all the other bits that go with it. However, it’s not just me getting old, many of the bands I grew up with and rocked out to are calling it a day as well. Twisted Sister has retired and supposedly so has Ozzy and though Judas Priest claim they will be back, will they be the same without Tipton and Downing bending the six strings? That remains to be seen.

One thing I can say that if this was my last festival, I’m going out on an absolute high. Bloodstock 2018 was fantastic, don’t ask me if it was the best because all of them were that good. At 2018, I got to see personal favourites Suicidal Tendencies, Judas Priest and Doro, all of which put on a magnificent show. On top of that, I got to see Mr Big, a band whose material I have plenty of but never saw live. They proved to doubters that they did belong at Bloodstock. Also, after seeing Gojira twice as a non- headliner, I saw them take their rightful place at the top of Saturday’s lineup and they made the most of it. What I can say what was great about this year’s Bloodstock was that I got to see many bands I had heard little or nothing about and get totally blown away by them! Feed The Rhino and Orden Ogan definitely come to mind here and now that I know more of them, I am delving more into Amaranthe and Nightwitch.

Feed The Rhino welcome everybody to Bloodstock

Levermann and Kersting leading from the front.

Amaranthe won me over

Of all the bands, there are two which I have a special place with me on account of where they’re from, Orphaned Land and Underside. Orphaned Land, from Israel, explained that with all the hatred in the Middle East at the moment, there seems to be a unified hatred for heavy metal there. I have touched on this in past posts, especially with the band Confess who faced long term prison time in Iran for playing the music they loved so much. On the other hand, not all Middle Eastern nations are like Iran as the lovely Lilas Mayassi from Slave to Sirens pointed out to me. Lebanon is a liberal and tolerant country. Furthermore, Underside are from Nepal and they thanked me on Facebook for the kind words I wrote about them. It fills my heart to see that heavy metal is even making its way into small mountain countries. What we as metalheads need to do is to embrace these metal artists coming out of such regions and give them the ear they so desperately seek. Only this way can metal establish world dominance.

Orphaned Land come out under the lights.

Underside finally emerge

Some final observations from the historic weekend was that I noticed and forgive me if I’m not being politically correct here, that there were more persons of colour attending the festival. The New Yorker who was into At The Gates was African American.  I’m not just talking about those of Afro-Caribbean origin, there were also people of other races there too. This is good because it has been a concern of mine ever since I read Laina Dawes book, “What Are You Doing Here?” In order for metal to progress, we must kick racism and sexism out of it. That reminds me, it turns out that Underside’s  great female bassist whose playing totally rocked, isn’t officially a part of the band. It would be great for them to take her on full time.

Thank you for letting an old man rant but I hope the wisdom of my years shows through here. I will take memories of Bloodstock to my grave with me because it is a great metal festival and I enjoyed each and every one I’ve been to.

I finally got a song from Underside for you, enjoy!

Next post: Los Lobos- How Will the Wolf Survive

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1535371510&sr=1-3&keywords=michael+d+lefevre