Sunday, November 16, 2014

Suicidal Tendencies - You Can't Bring Me Down

Today's post is a one off.  I'll be hitting the Suicidal Tendencies, Exodus and Slayer show in December and thought I'd do a a few posts on awesome songs by these bands.  I'll start off with Suicidal Tendencies.  This is a band that helped bring together the punk world and metal world.  Starting off as a hardcore punk band, ST morphed into a killer thrash band and eventually molded into a heavy metal funk, punk band.

Suicidal is often considered one of the fathers of crossover thrash, blending awesome punk and metal into melodic aggressive thrash metal.  Robert Trujillo helped bring an element of funk to ST as well, which spawned the side-project Infectious Grooves.  However, Trujillo's influence stayed with the band long after he left.

I've been a long time fan of Suicidal Tendencies loving pretty much every album they've put out, but my favourite phase of the band would be the thrash years.  The song I'll be featuring today is off their 4th album Lights Camera Revolution and it's "You Can't Bring Me Down".  This song is a blistering thrash assault with a punk aggression, but does not sacrifice melody or emotion.  Mike Muir's vocals take on a very melodic tone and he sings with such conviction that one can't help but be moved.

Add to this the haunting guitar solos and melodic intro and this song just screams awesome!  Muir's lyrics are venomous, with a very punk aesthetic.  "You Can't Bring Me Down" is exactly what it says.  A song designed to pump up those who feel the pressure to conform.  This is probably the greatest song about self empowerment ever written.  Mike Muir's rant in the end is just brilliant too.  Be warned, there are plenty of swears!  So if you need a little boost and are feeling a little Cyco, give this a listen!

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Warrior Soul "Losers" and "Jump For Joy"

Today's post is going feature more of a hard rock band then metal, but these guys ain't your hair band type rock.  Often referred to as acid punk, Warrior Souls style was rock based, but had a rawer, edgier sound.  They didn't stick to safe rock territory, and lyrically these guys are angry, not partying.

I first heard Warrior Soul on Much Music's Power Hour and the song was "Wasteland" which in itself is a great song and there were so many bleeps in it that what teenage boy wouldn't want to check these guys out.  That and Kory Clarke had awesome hair.  Oh ya, I went there.

Starting off with one of (if quite possibly) my favourite Warrior Soul tunes "Losers" , this song was on their debut album Last Decade Dead Century.  "Losers" is a passionate , haunting tune that I dare not call a ballad.  This song is too chilling, yet chalked full of conviction as they stand up for anyone who has ever felt out of place and different.  As someone who has always walked to a different drummer, this song really struck a chord with me.  Here's to the "Losers" !



The second song is off the bands sophomore album "Drugs, God and the New Republic".  This album also features "Wasteland" and is the first album I bought of theirs.  Simply put, the whole album is absolutely brilliant.  Not a bad song here.  Just a solid, angry rock album both too poignant to place amongst fellow rock bands of the time.  My favourite song is "Jump For Joy" which is the bands heaviest song.  It has a killer, dark riff and Kory's vocals are venomous.  Add to this the thunderous military style drumming and this song becomes an apocalyptic foreshadowing of our mankind's future.  This album could be the soundtrack.  Go on and jump up, jump up and get down.


Sunday, November 02, 2014

Gwar - Have You Seen Me & Faith No More - Jizzlobber

Today's post will feature another double bill.  This time I'm focusing on a couple awesome and disturbing metal tunes.  The 2 songs today are Gwar's "Have You Seen Me" and Faith No More's "Jizzlobber".  Both songs are vastly different, but equally dark and disturbing. 

Starting with Gwar's "Have You Seen Me", this song a vicious mix of light jazz and thrash metal.  Lyrically, the song is  pretty graphic more so since the versus are sung over a peppy jazz riff.  The chorus comes in crushingly heavy juxtaposed to the quiet versus.  The song does break into a speedy metal tune before bringing everything back around to the heavy chorus.  Oderus's vocals are especially fun as juggles between smooth clean tones and gruff metal ones.  

This is an odd tune which has stuck with me for years.  When listened to in the right light, it's a great song.  Out of context it's pretty messed up.  "Have You Seen Me" is taken from Gwar's America Must Be Destroyed album which is a concept album spurred to life due to some controversies around censorship during their tours.   The song is intentionally offensive, to make a statement.

 

Faith No More's "Jizzlobber" is just bleak, disturbing and down-right dark.  Starting off with an eerie keyboard and industrial style drumming followed by the sickeningly heavy guitars to create a horror like atmosphere.  Toss in Mike Patton's versatile voice (used to great effect here) and this turns into a very dark and sick tune.  My favourite Faith No More song too!  Once the organ outro fades in, you're left feeling dirty and ashamed. 

Go on and have a listen, then go have a shower.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Grave Digger - Rebellion (The Clans Are Marching)

When I think of fist pumping heavy metal, I'm often reminded of Medieval Scotland.

Well, not really, but Grave Digger's metal anthem "Rebellion (The Clans Are Marching)" is a fist pumping heavy metal tune about Medieval Scotland.  This song is taken from Grave Digger's album Tunes Of War which is a concept record based on Scottish History.  This is also the first of a trilogy of medieval themed albums (2nd being the Crusades and the 3rd about King Arthur).

Although this is not my favourite Grave Digger album, "Rebellion" is my favourite Grave Digger tune.  If ever I go into battle, I want this song cranked.  It starts with a quiet riff and the call to arms chorus, before it kicks into a galloping metal riff.  Once Chris Boltendhal kicks in with his melodically gruff vocals, I'm ready to throw on a kilt and pick up a sword and charge.

The gang style chorus is uber catchy and will stick with you for days.  The solo is slick and stirring and the bagpipe bridge is far from out of place here.  Probably the only song when played live will have thousands of metalheads air-bag piping in the crowd.

A truly energetic and rousing tune in all it's simplicity.  Just a damned fine heavy metal anthem that stands out on it's own outside of the albums concept.  Go on and have a listen.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Savatage's "Believe" and Cyrcle IX's cover of "Believe"

Today I'm going to do a little bit of a different post.  Today I'm featuring the same song by the original artist and a cover by another artist.  The song is "Believe" by Savatage and I can honestly say this is my all time favourite song.  Released on Savatage's Streets: A Rock Opera, "Believe" is the album closer and what a closer it is.  It is the greatest, most epic power ballad ever written.  The lyrics are poignant and uplifting and Chris Oliva's guitar solo at the end is complex in its layered simplicity bringing the song (and album) to a grandiose end.  There is really not much else I can say.  Go ahead and give it a listen and tell me you're not moved at least a little bit.





The cover version of "Believe" I'm featuring is by the band Cyrcle IX off the Savatage Tribute album Return Of The Mountain King.  Oh sure, there is also the Trans-Siberian Orchestra version, but it is too simplified and loses some of the power.  However, Cyrcle IX's version, although simplified, is chalked full of passion and conviction.  The vocalist Pete Wallace is no Jon Oliva, but he doesn't try to be.  What he does do is sing his damned heart out, to the point his voice almost breaks.  Guitarist Mike Hollis does a fine job working his way through the solo at the end.  Certainly not as epic as the original, but far superior to the TSO version.  This is the way a cover song should be done.  Cyrcle IX made it their own, but did not sacrifice the integrity of the original.  Check it out here Cyrcle IX cover of "Believe" youtube


Friday, October 10, 2014

Sacred Steel "Dark Forces Lead Me To The Brimstone Gate"

Today's post is on Sacred Steel's "Dark Forces Lead Me To The Brimstone Gate" off their Bloodlust concept album.  A rather lengthy title, but this 4 minute ditty is a metal assault on your senses.  I've reviewed the album previously on this blog, and I can say that pretty much any song on it would make this list, but that would be silly, so I chose my favourite.

"Dark Forces ..." starts off with a rapid fire thrash like riff and a hammering drum beat that screams metal.  If you don't have the horns raised withing the first 10 sec, your arms must be broken.  Sacred Steel are German Power Metal/ Speed Metal band with an emphasis on straight up heavy metal.  These guys don't dink around.  They aren't of the Rhapsody of Fire or Freedom Call variety of power metal.

"Dark Forces ..." sinks it's claws into you with a hungry aggression that is infectious.  The vocals of Gerrit P. Mutz are unique in that his German accent is fairly noticeable and some might find it distracting, but I actually quite like his mid range screech.  This song incorporates some well placed Death Metal growls which adds a real sinister feel, especially around the 2:30 mark.

Go on and have a listen.  Just remember that even if you're lead to the brimstone gate, you don't have to go through it.

video

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Blind Guardian "Nightfall"

Today's post is on a lighter note.  Blind Guardian are a German Power Metal band and rather a long running one too.  Forming in the mid 80's Blind Guardian were more speed metal then power, but come the album Nightfall In Middle Earth the band were mixing the styles quite nicely and here they enhanced their sound with a folk element.

As the album title suggests, this album is based around JRR Tolkien's epic series.  However, this is not a Lord of The Rings concept album, this is based around The Silmarillion.  The collection of tales that narrates the history of Middle-Earth.  Published posthumously by his son, The Silmarillion is a hard read as it is a collection of works mostly incomplete.  Although this a difficult and often times boring read, it makes for a killer concept album.

The album is my favourite by Blind Guardian and when I caught then on tour when they first came to Canada the majority of the material they played was from this album.  It was awesome!  The song I chose to feature, while not my favourite, is the title track "Nightfall".  The song has a very folky, yet theatrical sound all while remaining metal.

The guitar melodies are folky and run throughout the song and the keyboards add a majestic atmospheric all the while vocalist Hansi Kursch brings a theatrical performance which turns this song from progressive to epic.  The song creeps in (like nightfall ... as the lyrics suggest) and builds into a crescendo of a chorus.  My favourite part is the bridge around 2:30 minute mark leading into the solo.  The song lacks a traditional structure, yet does not feel jarring or odd.  It flows remarkably smoothly and gently creeps away again.

Have a listen.  This is the Middle-Earth I want to lose myself in.