Lyric Quote of the Month!

Lyric quote of the month! February 2014
"For all the time you stand alone, now your life turned into stone.
Let your ashes scatter through my fingertips."
from 'Ride This Bullet Home' by Psychopathic Daze

March 2014
"God of the almighty never answers their calls. Satan is just waiting for the righteous to fall to him."
from 'Damaged Soul' by Black Sabbath

Friday, April 11, 2014

Psychopathic Daze: April 2014 Tour Dates

Post #281

Psychopathic Daze are emerging from the frigid Chicago Winter with a slew of concert dates this month. Spanning 2 states, they start things off tomorrow- Friday, April 11th at Ye Olde Town Inn in Mount Prospect, IL before heading off to Indiana for two weekends packed with show dates.
https://www.facebook.com/psychopathicdaze?ref=br_tf
Once they cross into the Hoosier State, they will be playing Friday the 18th at Chamberfest in Kokomo, IN followed by Jerilee's Pub in Lafayette, IN on Saturday the 19th...

The following weekend they play 3 gigs in 3 nights!
Friday the 25th at Berlin Music Pub in Fort Wayne, IN; Saturday the 26th at Centerstage Bar and Grill in Kokomo, IN; and Sunday the 27th at the Beer Fountain in Indianapolis, IN!

 Psychopathic Daze are searching for a new vocalist, to replace Morahan who is leaving on good terms, so these might be the last dates you can catch this band with their current line-up!!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

When Ronnie James Dio Joined Black Sabbath...

Post # 280 [Poll Winner-Favorite Replacement Vocalist]

Black Sabbath spent the 1970's establishing themselves as the premier heavy metal band on planet Earth. As friction mounted within the band, the time came when they eventually parted ways with original singer Ozzy Osbourne and searched for a replacement. Having toured with Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, other members were in communication with singer Ronnie James Dio.

http://www.ronniejamesdio.com/
Guitarist Tony Iommi and Ronnie got together and worked on some ideas musically. Their collaboration had a good enough vibe that Dio was offered the lead singer spot, and Heaven and Hell- their first album with this new line-up, soon followed. It has stood the test of time as a monumental album in the landscape of 80's heavy metal. The transition gave Sabbath a shot in the arm, and allowed them to get a fresh start at the dawn of a new decade.
http://www.blacksabbath.com/

Recommended tracks from Heaven and Hell:
-Neon Knights
-Heaven and Hell
-Children of the Sea
-Lady Evil
-Die Young
-Lonely is the Word

Friday, March 28, 2014

Psychopathic Daze- Ride This Bullet Home (EP-2013)

Post #279
At the end of 2013 Psychopathic Daze won the reader's poll contest for Independent Band Of The Year. The Chicago-area quintet therefore earned the primary focus of attention here at www.happyheadbanger.com Music reviews, concert schedule updates, interviews and more will be covered right here! Today, I'll focus on their latest release on CD & digital formats...

http://www.psychopathicdaze.com/The music behind the current Independent Band Of The Year is a strain of hardcore metal infused with fury and rage. Released shortly before they won the annual polling contest and claimed that title, their recent EP is entitled Ride This Bullet Home.

For a 4-track EP, this one packs a lot of punch. Thunderous drumming, screamed hardcore vocals, heavy riffs that shred with a razor-like edge, and talented guitar soloing along the way; this Ride will truly strike you like a bullet and leave you enticed to writhe with headbanging urges. The well-refined recording quality of this EP will keep you playing the tracks over and over until you know them by your blood-surging heart!

First track is the title track, 'Ride This Bullet Home'. It strikes me with a Shadows Fall kind of vibe in regards to the riffs, and vocals akin to Lamb Of God. Vocalist Ken Morahan does an excellent job of providing a scream worthy of mention among some of metal's elite hardcore vocalists, then during the choruses guitarist Frank Adamo gives melodic backing vocals. The result is heavy, unyielding sound with some catchy melodies prominent in the mix.

Next comes 'Wicked Hour', which greets your ears with an electric lead guitar intro that buzzes repeatedly in your ears. The riff that follows is a bit slower in tempo but weighted down with so much groove it demands to be moshed to!

The third track is 'Seven', inspired by the seven deadly sins. It is another hardcore, groove metal goliath. Rapid-fire drums make repeated appearances, while the 2-guitar attack keeps the riffs pouring out your speakers. The lyrics remind us of human nature in its darkest primordial state, and how we all fall to temptation and sin at times...

The closing number, 'Moment of Clarity', is where this band eases up on the aggression just a bit and reveal a bit of a softer side. The mood is still dark and melancholic, as the lyrics reflect a bit of soul-searching along with a God-complex that compete within a troubled psyche...

Ride This Bullet Home is a highly recommended EP from Psychopathic Daze. Though there will be many more blog posts centered around them throughout the year, you should add this CD to your collection soon to better appreciate what all the buzz is about.


Keep following this blog for more updates on Psychopathic Daze throughout 2014!
http://www.psychopathicdaze.com/

Monday, March 10, 2014

Blog Update: Hiatus for Reader's Polls

Post # 278

My apologies for those of you who always look forward to the monthly reader's polls I've often featured. I've taken a break from posting polls since last December to allow for a busy schedule. I will soon get around to reviewing the recent poll-winners that I have fallen behind on, and once I get caught back up I will resume posting an interesting question about metal music or artists at that point.

I'll let this hiatus continue for a couple more months, but anticipate the reader's polls to resume this coming summer. Until then, enjoy the blog posts and reviews I have planned. Several requested reviews from independent artists across the globe are in progress, and they should keep you intrigued about discovering new and different metal music for the near future.

Have patience, and the reader's polls will return in due time. Until then, Happy Headbanging!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

DEADMANSWAKE-New Video of Motley Crue cover!

Post # 277
By design or by coincidence the Chicago-area female-fronted metal band DEADMANSWAKE released their first official music video, a cover of Motley Crue's classic 'Kickstart My Heart', mere days before the Crue themselves announced their upcoming farewell tour: All Bad Things Must Come to an End.

This song is featured on the new Motley Crue tribute album, Down at the Whiskey: A Millennium Tribute to Motley Crue's Greatest Hits 1981-2013. You can buy it through amazon.com

For now, enjoy this hilarious video by DEADMANSWAKE...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-3NRQ5h9VM&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D2-3NRQ5h9VM&app=desktop

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Indolent-Stillwalk (2012)

Post #276
As the runner-up from 2012's Independent Band Reader's Poll, Indolent were another local band high on my list to check out. Hearing tracks from their release Stillwalk through their websites and social networks was what brought them to my attention. Though they didn't quite pull out the victory, losing by a slim margin to Fist To The Sky in the end, I still wanted to give their album the attention it deserves.

Stillwalk opens with '49; a clean-guitar instrumental track that serves as an intro to this album, and it leads straight into the fast and furious 'Last Words'. It is an intricate, high-tempo riff that barrages yours ears while vocalist/bassist Scott Murphy's voice delivers the lyrics with a scratchy, melodic growl. His voice could be described as a 'grungier James Hetfield'. Throughout the song there are intermittent guitar leads that complement the rhythm guitars and vocal melodies. At the three-minute mark there's a minute-plus of guitar solos where brothers Jamie and Josh Booth shred like they mean business.

The next track 'Mind Over Martyr', is another heavy thrasher peppered equally with melodic guitar phrases and hardcore backing vocals sung by drummer Adam Booth. This song displays their potential with hardcore metal elements while maintaining their primarily thrash-inspired sound. Traditional metal influence is also apparent in the ever-present guitar solos. By this point I realize Indolent are truly filling the niche of quality thrash metal music for me!

'Visceral' and 'Undone' are two more of my favorite tracks on Stillwalk.They both feature the catchy yet challenging riffs, constant and clever use of melody, and true talent when it comes to lead guitar solos. Honestly, this is classic thrash metal at its best. This album amazed me the first time I heard is and never seems to stop growing on me. I seriously can't picture my music collection without it now. It has become an essential part of my collection.

Not to take away from the brilliance of the thrash and classic metal elements that dominate the style of this release, but there is a fair amount of clean guitar melodies and melodic guitar parts that give the entire album a very rewarding listening experience. Songs like 'Visceral' and 'Eyes Deep' are a couple examples that bring a variety of sounds, tones, and help to round out the diversity of the band's influences. The use of the softer and melodic guitar sounds brings an essential and timeless texture to Stillwalk that has forced me to keep listening to it over and over for months.

Whether you call Indolent traditional metal, melodic thrash, or melodic metalcore doesn't really matter. This album contains all of those elements, but the listening experience transcends them all. This is a top-notch metal album by any standards. If you're a fan of thrash or traditional heavy metal you're really doing yourself a disservice by not checking out Indolent!

Recommended tracks:
-'49/Last Words
-Mind Over Martyr
-Visceral (Melodic intro gives way to a rhythmic thrasher...)
-Undone (A slower-tempo thrashy number with melodic lead guitars. This song really reminds me of the late-80's and early- 90's heyday of thrash metal like Anthrax and Metallica)
-Abandon
-Monkey See
-Eyes Deep (An acoustic, melodic breakdown with guitar solo at the midpoint of this almost 8 minute track makes it a highlight track in my eyes. A true example of this band's talent!)

You can download or purchase this CD through cdbaby.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Trivium-In Waves (Special Edition)

Post #275
Trivium have been one of my favorite bands of the last 5 years, and I recently collected their 2011 release, In Waves. Trivium's musical evolution has fluctuated a little from one album to the next, but always remained a very thrash-centric variety of the heavier side of the metalcore subgenre. In Waves is no different in the sense that it does not sound exactly like any of their previous albums, but still shows some similarities to each of them.

This album starts off with an interesting intro, 'Capsizing the Seas', that has some piano with a snare-drum background rhythm which builds in amplitude until it transitions to the title-track and finally Matt Heafy screams out, "IN WAVES!!!!!!!!" After the intro, the title track sets the tone for the album: brutal heaviness, and bludgeoning riffs. Heafy quickly adds his melodic voice at the bridge, singing "Do I end this now for world to see?" Seconds later he resumes his brutal hardcore screams. The song is sparse on lyrics, but abundant in Trivium's trade-mark formula of heavy thrash riffs tempered with screaming guitar solos and the slightest amount of melodic guitar segments.

The next track, 'Inception of the End', keeps the album flowing in the solid direction of powerful hardcore thrash. By this point if you're not banging your head you should have your head examined. The riffs just keep on coming: heavy, fast, and unique. Heafy continues to infuse melodies with his Hetfield-esque growled vocals.

'Dusk Dismantled' is next, and is also one of my favorite tracks, though for different reasons. This song is perhaps the heaviest number on In Waves. Here Heafy employs his hardcore vocal style to the extreme, it approaches guttural, death-metal screams in many instances. Corey Beaulieu adds his own hardcore screams in backing vocals, bringing the aggression level even higher.

'Drowning In Slow Motion' is one of the bonus tracks. Cleverly interspersed throughout the album, rather than just bunched together at the end, the bonus tracks make for a more continuous listening experience. This is another classic heavy Trivium song, with a balanced mix of hardcore and melodic vocals. Lead guitar riffs and solos again remind me of some of the best thrash metal ever.

Trivium really know how to fill the seams between melodic and hardcore metal. There are a couple songs that showcase their creative and melodic elements. 'Caustic Are the Ties That Bind', while still very heavy for the most part, does contain an extended melodic break down segment. Heafy sings some of the album's most meaningful lyrics here, reflecting the enigmatic state of human nature- trying to find one's path in life. A powerfully melodic guitar solo escalates the song back to a more intense level for it's conclusion.

'Of All These Yesterdays' is by far the most melodic song on this album, but it brings tragic, yet poetic closure to the album. Lyrics that are dark and reflective, a clean-guitar melody that haunts with its minor-key tonality. Before it fades into the next track, 'Leaving This World Behind', my favorite lyrics ensue: "With the end in sight, I cleanse what's left of light, press it against my head, and dream of the color red."

For the old-school thrash metal fans, they include a cover of Sepultura's 'Slave New World' from their masterpiece Chaos A.D. Heafy again proves his voice is among the best in metal today, doing justice to this classic thrash song.

In addition to the bonus tracks on the audio disc, the special edition release also includes a DVD with the music video for In Waves and live rehearsal footage of 8 songs. Four new songs and four classic Trivium songs are performed in-studio. You get close up views of Heafy as he screams and sings, Paulo strutting around the rehearsal space with his bass, Cory ripping some great guitar solos and providing the backing screamed vocals, and new drummer Nick Augusto blasting out the beats. It may be a page out of Metallica's book, as they included a DVD of rehearal footage of the entire St. Anger album when that came out, but it's still an insider's view of Trivium performing with all their energy. Any die-hard fan would love it.

Recommended Tracks from In Waves:
-In Waves
-Dusk Dismantled
-Watch the World Burn
-Built to Fall
-Drowning in Slow Motion
-A Grey So Dark
-Chaos Reigns
-Of All These Yesterdays

Live rehearsal tracks on the DVD:
-In Waves
-Black
-Built to Fall
-Watch the World Burn
-The Deceived
-Suffocating Sight
-Down From The Sky
-Ember to Inferno

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Congratulations Psychopathic Daze-Winner of 2013-2014 Independent Band of the Year!

Post #274

As November came to a close so did the annual Independent Band of the Year reader's poll contest. This year was an exciting competition as always, and this year Psychopathic Daze came out on top. At the start, the competition was as tough as it's ever been! Midway through the polling period 3 bands were vying for the lead. However, persistent self promotion through their social media networks saw Psychopathic Daze slowly extend their lead over the pack until they amassed enough votes to top almost all the other bands combined.

A full review of their music, interviews, and announcements of all their local shows will be coming soon in 2014 here at www.happyheadbanger.com.

Thanks to all of their fans who voted, as well as to the other bands and their fans as well for making this year's contest another exciting one! Happy Headbanging to all!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Fist To The Sky-Forever We Will Stand (2013)

Post #273

Fist to the Sky have been hard at work this past year. Not only have they been playing shows all over the midwest, but they also recorded and released a new EP featuring 4 new songs exhibiting their style of modern melodic heavy metal. As I've said before with the music of Fist To The Sky; fans of Avenged Sevenfold should pay attention to this band!

Their new EP is entitled Forever We Will Stand. It contains 4 newly recorded tracks that rock and thrash in the style that Fist to the Sky have established with their previous releases. The first track, the title track, is a classic of FTTS metal. Heavy Hooks and catchy vocal melodies make this an easy song to get into. Drummer JD adds a few hardcore screams, making this one of the heaviest Fist to the Sky songs I've heard to date.

Next up is 'Dagger in the Heart of the World'. This is another heavy number, with plenty of sharp-tongued lyrics as it is set in the context of an on-again-off-again would-be break-up song. Still, the riffs are heavy, and the guitar soloing is solid. Additionally they add a little minor-key piano melodies at a couple breaks in the song; sounding a bit like Avenged Sevenfold's 'A Little Piece of Heaven'. All are elements that long-time fans have come to expect for this band.

'Count Your Blessings' is a little slower tempo, but still heavy and brutal. Transcending from guilt to redemption, the lyrics are inspiring. Lead guitar appregios during the verses display some influence from classic metal acts like Iron Maiden. A highlight guitar solo is one of my favorite moments of this entire EP.

The fourth track is untitled, or 'Untitled'. It is a bit of a step outside the box for Fist to the Sky. Primarily a piano driven track, with some clean and dark guitar chords setting a melancholic tone throughout. Again, this one is a slow-tempo, dark and ominous anti-ballad. A soft moment of the EP, but still dark in its tone, and ominously haunting in the end.

This is a well rounded effort by Fist to the Sky, and for only four tracks they give you a little taste of everything they have to offer. Definitely worth the couple buck it would be to download. Visit their website here to download it for yourself: www.fisttothesky.com

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

FIST TO THE SKY: Upcoming December 2013 Shows!

Post #272

For their final month as the Independent Band of the Year at www.happyheadbanger.com, Fist To The Sky have a couple shows scheduled. This time they're playing a pair of gigs in Wisconsin: First, on Friday the 13th they're playing at The Rox in Jefferson, WI.

Saturday the 14th they travel to Kenosha, WI to play at The Brat Stop!

Check out either show, or both! You might hear performances like this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tzn0iXODOfI

Happy Headbanging!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Fist to the Sky- Upcoming Show Tonight, Nov 30th, at 7:00pm!

Post #271

Catch FIST TO THE SKY performing live this evening at Toppers in Antioch, IL! Show starts at 7pm! More shows coming up in December. Watch for more announcements here at www.happyheadbanger.com

http://www.reverbnation.com/show/11769648?utm_campaign=a_public_shows&utm_medium=unknown&utm_source=page_object_news_item

Monday, November 11, 2013

Black Sabbath 13 (2013)

Post #270
Exactly 2 years ago, the original line-up of Black Sabbath gathered to announce they were reuniting and would record a new album and plan a world tour. Legendary producer Rick Rubin, who had recently managed the recording of Metallica's return-to-form album Death Magnetic, was also revealed to be their producer. It was the biggest news for heavy metal music of the millennium. The press conference instantly stoked high expectations among the most loyal metal fans around the world.

Since then there have been a few set backs. First there was a contract dispute between the band's management and drummer Bill Ward, which unfortunately could not be resolved. To fill the void at the drum spot Brad Wilk (from Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave) was brought in. His previous work under Rubin's production with Audioslave was a plus. Just when things seemed to be back on track, guitarist Tony Iommi was diagnosed with lymphoma, a form of cancer affecting white blood cells. The recording process went immediately on hold as Iommi began treatment.


However, in spite of the obstacles, the band members pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and the album was completed. Black Sabbath. 13. A collection of songs that surprised me in spite of my skepticism. I had always thought the vibe of the original Black Sabbath albums would be forever lost in the '70's. The diligence and determination of the band members along with Rubin's goal-driven guiding hand on the production board have truly and thoroughly proven me wrong.

Rubin has succeeded with recapturing the band's original sound on 13 as much as he did with Metallica's Death Magnetic, if not more! The opening track, 'End of the Beginning', starts with a simple chord progression in tones that immediately recall the early-Sabbath sound. After a few measures the song transitions to a slow and haunting series of notes from Iommi's lead guitar, and can you hear the fabled diminished 3rd, or "Devil's 3rd", in that riff? I must say yes! Finally Ozzy's voice joins the mix, a long anticipated moment, and the magic of what Black Sabbath should be has been restored. It's almost as if they tried to recreate the song 'Black Sabbath' on purpose, yet there are also parts that sound similar to 'Breaking Into Heaven' (from the last Heaven and Hell album, The Devil You Know.) In any case, by this point any reservations I had held about this reunion have been dispelled.

For the next couple songs, 'God is Dead?' and 'Loner', they continue in the same vein with reestablishing the classic Sabbath sound. The guitar tones remain reminiscent of their works from their debut album through Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. With Ozzy's voice, Geezer and Iommi on bass and guitar, and Brad Wilk doing an impressive job of playing an 'old-school-Sabbath' drumming style this album is living up to expectations, if not exceeding them. Lyrics are challenging conventional religion, and tackling social and political issues left and right. Struggles between good and evil, Satan and God, heaven and hell are omnipresent throughout 13.

Another personal highlight is the track 'Zeitgeist'. It does a better job of recreating the vibe of 'Planet Caravan' than anything else. Eerie reverb effects on Ozzy's vocals, lyrics centering around the esoteric concept of space and time, the gentle strumming of an acoustic guitar, and even the soft bongo-style percussion; it is arguably better than the first 'Planet Caravan'!

The final track on the album, 'Dear Father', is another classic of Sabbath style, with the heavy, low-end guitar tonality, lyrics that beg the elusive higher-power of God for reasons of our existence, and a minor-key chord pregression to add just the right amount of doom and gloom. But then, after the music fades, there is a last little surprise for the old-school Sabbath fan in all of us: the original thunderstorm sounds effect from the intro of the very first Black Sabbath album. A bold statement to incoporate such parallells with their past, but in this case, appropriate!

Recommended tracks from 13:
-End of the Beginning (A great song to start the album. Immediately comparable with their early classics!)
-God is Dead? (Perhaps the most modern-sounding song on the album, but still indisputably classic Sabbath!)
-Loner
-Zeitgeist (Amazing as many of the previous songs have been with recapturing the original Black Sabbath sound, this one takes the cake, as it recreates the mood, vibe, and effect of the classic Sabbath song, 'Planet Caravan')
-Damaged Soul (This song incorporates a little harmonica, bringing back memories of 'The Wizard'...)
-Dear Father (Another great song with the throw-back Sabbath sound, but the finishing touch is when the song closes you're left with a sound effect of a thunderstorm and a tolling bell in the background... Sound familiar, perhaps?)

Friday, November 8, 2013

Fist to the Sky return to Penny Road Pub!

Post # 269

Tomorrow night, November 9th 2013 the reigning Independent Band of the Year here at www.happyheadbanger.com are performing at Penny Road Pub in South Barrington along with Like a Storm and Man the Mighty.

https://www.facebook.com/fisttothesky

FIST TO THE SKY have been busy this year, playing shows constantly, and recently released their EP 'Forever We Will Stand'. Don't miss another great opportunity to hear them live!
Happy Headbanging!