Friday, January 31, 2014

Coms 210 Assignment #1: The Life of a Metalhead

January 23, 1992, the Canadian Rock band Rush played in Inglewood, CA, while on the second leg of their Roll the Bones tour. Why did I bring this date up? First off, I am a die hard Rush and can name all of their studio albums in chronological order. Secondly, that is the exact date when I was born! Yes, just up north from where Rush played that day I was delivered at a San Jose hospital located near downtown. Maybe my infant self could sense the band getting closer to the Bay Area, and I wanted to come out in time to be present for when they arrived. Of course, I did not get to see Rush play live when they came through the Bay Area in 1992, but eventually I would see the band perform live.
    Now, the point I am trying to make with the Rush reference is that the music I listen to has played a major part in shaping my identity. Ever since I was a young dude I have been an avid rock and metal fan. Growing up my parents listened to mostly classic seventies and eighties rock music, so whenever driving somewhere in our family car I remember listening to Deep Purple, Stevie Ray Vaughn, AC/ DC and Van Halen. Also, my older cousin exposed me to bands like Alice In Chains, Metallica, The Misfits, Pantera and Rob Zombie at an early age, which definitely played a major role in influencing my musical tastes going forward.  
    While attending High School in San Ramon, CA I expanded my rock and metal musical range to where the list of bands I listened to would take up an entire page. Now, it wasn’t until I graduated from High School that I became more directly involved with the music I listened to. The spring semester of my freshman year at SSU marked the beginning of my radio show on Ksun called, “The Hard Rock and Heavy Metal Zone.” Over the past four semester I have interviewed some great artists on air like Hank 3, Sean McGrath from Impaled and Oderous Urungus, the outrageous lead singer from the Shock Metal band Gwar. Along with the radio show, my friend and I started our own Heavy Metal news website where I write album reviews and conduct online interviews. The great part about the website is that it allows me to connect with various rock/ metal musicians from all around the world. Who knows? Maybe I will discover the next Rush? No matter where I see myself in life I know at the end of the day rock and metal music will always be there, and no one can take that away. Headbanger for life! \m/

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Artist Recommendation

In the past decade there has been a significant amount of revival Thrash Metal bands putting out great material. Hatchet, a Bay Area Thrash outfit, is one of many groups who are keeping that intense galloping riff based music alive and furiously moshing forward. Last year in Walnut Creek, I saw them open up for Havok, another talented revival Thrash band. Hatchet's style of Thrash stays true to that early Metallica, Exodus, Testament and Megadeth formula. Their riffs are wicked sounding and very fluid. The lead singer's sharp vocals demand your attention on every song. Hatchet's drummer is an extremely talented double bass master who really knows his way around the kit. All around the music is consistent and extreme sounding. If you are a die hard mosh pit loving Thrash Metal fan and have not heard of Hatchet before, then I recommend you start. Here is a sample from their most recent album, "Dawn Of The End". Enjoy \m/!!!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

KXM: Featuring Doug Pinnick(KINGS X), George Lynch(Dokken, Lynch Mob) and Ray Luzier(Korn)

This past week I found out that Doug Pinnick(KINGS X), George Lynch(Dokken, Lynch Mob) and Ray Luzier(Korn) will be working together, and releasing an album under the name KXM. I am personally a huge KINGS X fan and find that whenever Doug collaborates with other artists he brings that great soulful progressive hard rock sound along too. Now Lynch I respect as a guitar player, but I honestly can’t stand his work with Dokken. Those guys were the perfect example of a Hair Metal that lived in excess. Also, their videos were awful, especially “Dream Warriors”. I think Lynch will provide some killer riffs for KXM and the singer he is working with will not annoy me like Don Dokken. The guy from Korn is a surprise, however, I hear he is a big KINGS X fan. Never really got into Korn, but if he likes KINGS X, than he is cool in my book. Besides the title of this group I am really looking forward to hearing what these three talented musicians have to offer. Can’t wait for the album to come out, and I will definitely consider it for a review...possibly a video review.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Enter to the Realm of Satan!

2014 is shaping up to be a good year for Metal. New releases from some high level bands are beginning to stir up chatter across the Metal community. I thought I would focus on the expected release from one of Thrash Metal's most important sinister bands, Slayer. Their last album "World Painted Blood" came out about five years ago. I remember picking the album up right after I got out of school. That release was one of many consistent extreme thrash releases from the Southern California quartet. Sadly, "World Painted Blood" is the last album to feature Jeff Hanneman and Dave Lombardo. Personally, after the passing of Jeff along with Dave's departure from the group, I am really not overly excited about the new album. No matter how many times Kerry King says the new material will sound great there is simply no replacing the original four's sound and chemistry. New guitarist Gary Holt is an talented player in his own right, but Jeff was a huge part of Slayer's sound. Paul Bostaph, the new drummer replacing Dave, has played in Slayer before when Dave left the band back in the early nineties. Dave Lombardo is one of my favorite drummers and I really wish he was playing on the new album. Still, I will listen to the new music from Slayer and fairly evaluate the release once it comes out. If you want to comment on the upcoming Slayer album please feel free to do so below? Also, are you happy with the new line-up? Or as long as it is a official Slayer release, you don't care either way?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Artist Feature: Caladan Brood

    Thought I would share this awesome Atmospheric Black Metal band with everyone today. Caladan Brood is a two piece group out of Salt Lake City, Utah. Their debut release, "Echoes of Battle", was released this past year and received plenty of positive reviews. I personally consider this album to be one of the best releases to comeout last year. Caladan Brood does a brilliant job creating these grand musical atmospheres that draw listeners into a world of epic sounding proportion.

    For only two musicians, I must say that the creativity put into each recording is truly unbelievable. The song I decided to share is called, "Wild Autumn Wind". On this track, Caladan Brood experiments with a variety of different musical compositions. There is a pleasant symphonic undertone which contrasts with the more abrasive Black Metal vocal style used to narrate the triumphant sounding lyrics. My favorite part of the song is the electrifying guitar solo. The guitar tone rings out over the vast musical landscape. His fluid sweeps from each string perfectly follow along to the song's main driving rhythm. When the song finishes I am left speechless, and feel as though I have just returned from a long journey.

    If you enjoy epic fantasy based Atmospheric Black Metal along with some symphonic elements, I highly recommend giving Caladan Brood a listen.

Song: "Wild Autumn Wind"
Band: Caladan Brood