Lyric Quote of the Month!

JULY 2015

"Nothing happens if you don't try. When nothing happens, that's the reason why"
from 'Change the World' by Ace Frehley
"The way we are is not the way we used to be my friend. All things come to he who waits, the waiting never ends."
from 'Get Back In Line' by MOTORHEAD
"Even with my eyes sewn shut I still manage to see straight."
from 'Flowers (Stand Between Us)' by DEADMANSWAKE

Monday, August 31, 2015

Imminent Sonic Destruction-Recurring Themes (2012)

Post #315

Imminent Sonic Destruction, from Detroit, MI are like the 2nd coming of Dream Theater. There are some specific examples of similarities you can directly compare, but as is the case with any new band, they forge their own unique elements into those they take from their influences. Beyond that first impression of mine, they do seem to be true disciples of prog rock and prog metal as their name is a direct inspiration from the progressive space-rock band Hawkwind. It is just with their heavy tonality, and balanced instrumentation, Dream Theater is the most accurate comparison that comes to mind...
Recurring Themes is a full-length album (it's hard not to be when they employ such an accomplished prog-metal style!) that is packed with technical prowess, grand ambition, spectacular musicianship, and jaw-dropping execution. Although a self-released title, they did catch the ear of famous metal producer Roy Z (whom has produced albums for the likes of Rob Halford and Bruce Dickinson), and he offered to produce this album.

The opening song, 'Driving Home' features heavy guitars, synthesizers, and elegant guitar solos. It clocks in at just over 10 minutes and instantly gives you a heavy dose of this band's abilities. Fans of Dream Theater (like myself) will find them to be a promising young talent with a bright and promising future.

Another track, 'With Death This Story Ends', gives you a bit of something new, as it incorporates a subtle amount of hardcore screaming in the vocal palate. At first it is a slower, subdued song, with a mild tempo primarily driven by bass and drums. Overall the vocals are still primarily melodic, it is just that we hear their potential for the harder edge after a transition towards the end of the song. In this day and age almost any serious metal band will use some degree of hardcore vocals. Imminent Sonic Destruction are no different, and they can do so as well as anybody, they just choose to use it sparingly.

Describing their style as "progressive super metal" is no understatement, and neither are the comparissons to Dream Theater! It takes a lot to reach that level of musicianship, and it is not a comparisson to make lightly. They can compose and execute compositions of epic length with professional scope and vision. no less than 3 of this album's tracks break the 10 minute mark. 'Raven', the longest of them all, clocks iin at 16:36, and closes the album in stellar fashion.

Another favorite track I want to highlight is 'Here, It's Over'. This one has a dark, melodic intro that feels like it's building to something. The bridges and choruses are heavy thrash metal segments, while the verses revert to the melodic minor-key vibe of the intro. The lyrics depict a personal relationship: a life built together that is slowly disintegrating. Vocally, there are hardcore screams that come into play when the emotions intensify.

So if any of you are a Dream Theater fan wondering when another band might come along to follow their footsteps, or carry that style of metal into the next generation, wait no longer. That band has arrived, and their name is Imminent Sonic Destruction!

Visit their Youtube Channel to see music videos, interviews, stunts, updates, etc...

Though this release has been out for a couple years already, they are still touring in support of it. As a matter of fact, ISD are opening for Fates Warning on their North American Tour this fall!
Visit their facebook page for more details and updates...

Recommended tracks from Imminent Sonic Destruction's Recurring Themes:
-Driving Home
-With Death This Story Ends
-Here, It's Over

Friday, July 31, 2015

Dee Snider: Shut Up And Give Me The Mic (A Twisted Memoir)

Post #314

Dee Snider has lived quite a memorable life in the world of rock n' roll and heavy metal music. In his 2012 autobiography, Shut Up and Give Me the Mic, he tells his tale, and that of Twisted Sister, with an often humbling honesty born from clear-minded, 20/20 hindsight of a career that was a rock n' roll roller coaster ride. I know that sounds cliché, but there are few more-accurate analogies to make!
Dee's childhood and teen years from his middle-class suburban New York upbringing are covered with enough detail that you get a sense that you knew a kid like Dee at some point or other in your life. As he began to pursue his passion for rock music by singing in local bands, his reputation and natural talent eventually led him to audition for Jay Jay French's band Twisted Sister.

Years of building a cult following on New York's club scene, and a reputation as the hardest working band in the city would eventually pay off as they were finally signed to a major label in the early '80's. However, the circumstances and details of the contract, management at the record company, and promotional support (or lack thereof) would each be key ingredients of the band's fall from grace a few years down the road.

First, however, there was their unprecedented rise to the top of the heavy metal music scene. A couple albums into their career Twisted Sister hit the jackpot. Stay Hungry was their 3rd album, released in 1984, and featured their first genuine hit, "We're Not Gonna Take It". It broke open many doors for the band; international touring, commercial success, multi-platinum album sales... Heck, the entire genre of Glam-Metal (AKA 'Hair Metal') probably got its image from Dee Snider's hair! But one of the biggest keys of Twisted Sister's, and Dee Snider's, success as a cultural phenomenon was their success on MTV.

The band jumped into the MTV music video business with true flair. Dee himself had a specific vision of a semi-scripted mini screen play that would serve as an intro to the actual song. The resulting video was of course, "We're Not Gonna Take It". If you look into the history of music videos, you'll find that this was the first ever music video to feature an extended, scripted segment preceding the song, acting out a story-line that sets the mood for the song, and continuing the plot throughout.

For the next year or so the band enjoyed the success of rock-stars, as their stereotype expectations of a dream-career as rock musicians actually came true... But an unfortunate set of circumstances that would doom their career was just around the corner.

Ironically, the cultural phenomenon that Twisted Sister and Dee Snider had become would also play a role in their downward spiral as the parents of this generation of metal fans would make them an example of the 'evils' they believed lay in the music's themes and lyrics. The Parents Music Resource Center (aka P.M.R.C.) originated at about this time as a crusade of sorts against profanity and violence in music. They sought to demand that music which contained certain offensive lyrics and imagery be labeled with Parental Advisory stickers to make consumers aware of their content. This concept quickly brought up the first amendment and the right to free speech.

Dee was invited to give a statement at the senate hearing for the PMRC's proposed parental warning labels for rock music packaging.
(I.E. the 'Parental Advisory-Explicit Lyrics or Content' labels that are now found on a great many album covers- this is where that practice began, and the artists were against it for the most part...) What the PMRC expected was a wasted, unsophisticated, profanity-spewing, blasphemous, high school drop-out, whose demeanor would incriminate itself and become an example of the exact thing they were against. But what they got was Dee Snider: a 100% clean and sober, composed, intelligent, family man who happened to be the lead singer for one of the most popular rock and roll bands of that era. I could describe Dee's speech in detail, but it's easier to just see it for yourself here:

To put it in a nutshell: The PMRC were unprepared for Dee's logical arguments and defense of his craft. Before they knew what hit them, it was all over, and the pompous politicians and their wives were stuck in a perpetual verbal back-pedal, and having difficulty defending or justifying their own words that Dee Snider had quoted to them.

The down side? There was no social media back in 1985, and the masses who would have been educated from hearing this speech didn't get the chance. Coverage in most media outlets was limited to a couple of paragraphs in a newspaper, or 30 seconds on the nightly news. And each reporter was able to put their own spin on the debate, or the spin they were told to put on it by the company they worked for... in 1985... in the height of the Republican's wave of conservatism... at the peak of Reagan's popularity.

Sure, nowadays, every metal-head who is worth their weight in denim and leather will champion Dee for taking a stand for metal music, and representing the artists with dignity, respect, and composure. But what difference did it make back then? Well, do you see those parental warnings on the cover-art for your cutting edge artists? And even more relevant to this specific review: can you name a top-40 Twisted Sister hit AFTER 1985??? In the fallout from the PMRC's demonizing of heavy metal in general, and Twisted Sister (and Dee Snider) specifically, record stores cut their promotion of their music, parents wouldn't let their kids buy their albums, and MTV even banned their high-budget music video from their follow-up album from their network! That song was 'Be Chrool to Your Scuel', and it featured a guest-appearance by the one and only Alice Cooper, but it was never aired! (Of course now it is available on youtube, you'll see I've posted it below...)

For Twisted Sister, their rise and fall has been a mixed bag of blessings and curses, with one often tied-to or wrapped in the other. Dee recounts all of these circumstances with humble clarity, and foreshadows what's to come as the proverbial dominoes are set up right in front of his face, only to be tumbled down in a collapsing house of cards. By the end of the 80's, Twisted Sister was dead in the water, and for all the ambition, creativity, and side projects that Dee could muster, it was years before he was able to find other successful in-roads back into the entertainment business.

Overall, I have found Shut Up, and Give Me the Mic to be one of the most enjoyable and insightful memoirs of a heavy metal artist I have read yet. I am grateful to Dee for taking the time to write this book, and tell his own side of his life-story. I find I am more appreciative of the music he has made because of my understanding of the work that went into creating it, and circumstances that surrounded it. I sincerely hope I am able to catch Twisted Sister live in concert before they hang it up for good. Even if they remain a nostalgia-act, performing just their hits from the 80's, I would still appreciate the chance to see the hardest working band in show business.

In closing, I'll leave you with links to Twisted Sister's trilogy of classic music videos... (well, 2 classics and the 'controversial' banned-from-MTV 3rd video), followed by some recommended tracks that give you a good slice of Twisted Sister's legacy...

Recommended tracks from Twisted Sister:
-Under the Blade
-Bad Boys (of Rock N' Roll)
-You Can't Stop Rock N' Roll
-I Am (I'm Me)
-Burn In Hell
-Stay Hungry
-The Price
-I Wanna Rock
-Be Chrool to Your Schuel
-We're Not Gonna Take It
-Heroes are Hard to Find

Friday, July 10, 2015

Scarlet Canary-Arise (2015)

Post #313

Scarlet Canary are a female-fronted metal band from Denver, CO. I first discovered them when they came to Chicago to play Dame-Nation in August 2013. Their style could be called hard-rock as easily as it could be called melodic metal. I prefer the latter, especially as they incorporate elements of hardcore and metalcore into their sound.

Scarlet Canary's style and formula is actually quite comparable to Halestorm's for the most part. They employ a crisp and heavy tonality, song structures that vary form alternative rock to classic metal or even thrash, memorable guitar riffs, lead guitar solos, and catchy vocal melodies. Singer Hannah Haze delivers the lyrics with a primarily melodic style, but when she goes for it, her voice has a gritty edge when she pulls out her hardcore screams.

Their newest EP: Arise, gives you everything you'd expect from them for those who have heard their previous recordings, but adds the slightest hardcore edge. Since their last album they've had a change in their line-up and some of the new members bring their own influences into the mix. Overall the results are great! This band was poised to step to the next level and Arise certainly takes them in that direction.

Now for a breakdown of the tracks...
Fade-Clean guitar intro, and clean vocal melodies. The song progresses to include distorted guitars, but remains within a radio-friendly structure. This one is pretty much alt-rock through and through.

Regrets-A little heavier, this slow-to-mid tempo rocker builds to a strong chorus where hardcore vocals are used to deliver the line, "Your strength is beautiful to me!"

Death of Rock and Roll-This one is a great metal song with a strong groove, and could also be called a drinking song. Although if one would listen closely its lyrics are a tongue-in-cheek satire and lamentation of the hardships of struggling to make it in the music business as an independent artist. The crux is summed up best near the song's end when they suggest that the 'shots' you get at the bar will be the only 'shot' you'll get.

Bring Forth the Fire-Here is where Scarlet Canary up the ante a bit. During the choruses of this song hardcore screams are featured more prominently. On this one we may be hearing some of the influence from newer members, but it reveals a promising and versatile palate with which this band could continue to create music. To them I would say, 'Bring forth more music!'

Bottles and Anchors- This one has a more traditional metal/hard rock sound, keeping Scarlet Canary's sound accessible yet still heavy. Backing vocal elements tempt me to compare this number to the style to Iron Maiden. Coincidentally this song also contains one of the better guitar solos on this EP. Lyrically the song walks you through the ashes of a broken relationship, and the protagonist experiences betrayal, despair, and later some retribution.

Ghosts- This one has a memorable riff in a minor key which sets a dark mood, util the chorus brings a key-change and lifts the mood. Then the song returns to the darker mood for the next verse. This song has a true ebb and flow with the well-structured key-changes that keep the mood in flux. Another awesome guitar solo can be found here too.

Scarlet Canary are on tour again this summer and will be appearing in northern Illinois once again. This time they're hitting Rockford, IL on August 29th. Tracks from Arise are sure to be prominently featured in their set-list. If you like what you hear in the links below, then you should definitely catch them when they come through town. Visit their Official Website or facebook page for tour schedule, streaming audio and news updates. Also visit them on Reverbnation, itunes, or Bandcamp for downloads. Or you could buy a CD copy here.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Dark Entropy- 2014 Demos (plus new recording 'Crucifixation')

Post #312

Dark Entropy are a thrash metal band from Chicago. They've been writing, recording, and performing in the greater-Chicago area since 2011. The founding members of guitarist Matt Schering and drummer Richard Spoo have persevered through a couple line-up changes since then, keeping their vision of thrash-centric heavy metal alive. Their current line-up includes vocalist Brandon Castaneda and bassist Chico Weeks. You can catch their live performances around Chicago and the neighboring suburbs this summer-follow their facebook page for dates and venues...

Their formula is strongly influenced by the classic thrash era: Anthrax, Metallica, Megadeth, Testament, Slayer, Sepultura... the tonality and riff structure of their songs is unmistakably thrash. Vocals are rough-edged growls, occasionally skating on the edge of hardcore screams and guttural growls. Castaneda also employs some melodic vocal passages. The melodic vocals are a decent change of pace but the aggressive vocal style is certainly the singer's comfort zone. The guitar solos are on par with classic thrash metal in technique, and provide the artistic highlight on several of their songs.

Now for an overview of the demos they recorded recently. If you do make it to a show, then you are bound to hear at least a couple of these tracks (which can also be streamed in their entirety on the previously mentioned facebook page.)

FEAR I said Dark Entropy were thrash metal, and that's exactly what you'll get with this number. A mid-tempo thrasher with a couple segments of double-time feel, hardcore vocals, sparing amounts of both melodic singing and darker, black-metal style screams.

Dying to go Insane Another great example of  Dark Entropy's thrash abilities, with a little something different. This one incorporates a touch of black-metal style vocals during the bridge and choruses.

Sins of Our Fathers  This song has an intro that reminds me of Metallica's 'That Was Just Your Life', proving yet again how true-to-form these guys are when it comes to thrash metal. This blending of rough and melodic singing continues...

Enlisted in Suicide This song is another solid thrash number. Again Dark Entropy make their influences apparent, either deliberately or subconsciously, this song has a vocal rhythm and melody that recalls the likes of Metallica's 'Phantom Lord' or Pantera's 'Primal Concrete Sledge'.

Crucifixation (2015 Single) This most-recent recording is driven by a relentless rapid-fire drum beat. This is the essence of thrash metal: killer tempos, and shredding, heavy riffs you ears can barely keep up with! This one gets my top pick for this collection of songs.

Overall I find the music of Dark Entropy filled with the promise of even better music to come as they persevere with their vision and hone their craft on Chicago's local scene and beyond. Again, visit their facebook page for tour schedule and links to these songs on Reverbnation for stream or download.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Metallica Mix Challenge

Post # 311 (The Metallica Mix Challenge!)

I thought of this challenge as a way for Metallica fans to exercise their fandom while awaiting the release of the next Metallica album. The challenge: what 13 tracks would you put in your Metallica mix (and can you keep it under 80 minutes-to fit it on an audio-CDR?) Try to make the track-list flow with a purpose and direction, and give your reasons for your picks. The hits? The covers? Deep tracks? Early tracks? Later tracks? From the radio-staples to the rarities, anything is game. I polled several of my friends and followers through this blog's facebook page to get some people to participate.

Here are the Metallica mixes that were created by some of the most die-hard Metallica fans I know. You will see that to each fan, different songs speak to them. Sure, there are several examples of truly essential songs that appear in most of these mixes, but as a long-time fan who appreciates every era of Metallica's career, it is interesting for me to see the songs that mean the most to others. Starting with my own Metallica Mix....

HappyHeadbanger's Metallica Mix: I wanted to compile some of Metallica's recent contributions to tribute albums that have not appeared on a Metallica record yet, plus their performance with Lang Lang from the recent Grammy Awards show, then round out the playlist with some deep tracks- favorites of mine that are never played on the radio, and rarely- if ever- performed by Metallica in concert.
1-The Ecstasy of Gold (Studio version, from the tribute to Ennio Morricone: We All Love Ennio Morricone)
2-Am I Evil? (Diamond Head cover)
3-The God That Failed
4-Fight Fire with Fire
5-The Unnamed Feeling
6-No Remorse
7-53rd and 3rd (Ramones cover, from the tribute to Ramones: We're a Happy Family)
8-Dyers Eve
9-Broken, Beat and Scarred
10-Phantom Lord (Live- taken from the 'Jump in the Fire/Creeping Death EP')
11-Rebel of Babylon
12-Ronnie Rising Medley (From 'Ronnie James Dio: This Is Your Life' a tribute to Ronnie James Dio)

Lance H's Metallica MixAll are just my favorite Metallica songs:
Harvester of Sorrow
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Call of Cthulu
Dyer's Eve
The Thing that Should not be
The Four Horsemen
Hit the Lights
The God that Failed

Matt A's Metallica MixHere is my list. This would be my Metallica concert setlist in order. 13 songs is tough. I want it crazy the whole way 

Creeping Death
Don't Tread On Me
(Anesthsia) Pulling Teeth
The Four Horsemen
And Justice For All
Welcome Home Sanitarium
Fade To Black
Last Caress (cover)
The Day That Never Comes

Denny J's Metallica Mix:

1. One
2. Creeping Death
3. Call of Kluto(spelling I'm sure is wrong lol)
4. Damage Inc.
5. Cyanide
6. Master of Puppets
7. Breadfan (cover)
8. Battery
9. Fade to Black
10. Four Horsemen

Norry M's Metallica Mix:
The Unforgiven (Black album)
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Seek & Destroy
...And Justice for All
Enter Sandman
Master of Puppets
Creeping Death
Wherever I may Roam
Sad but True

JP S's Metallica Mix:
In no particular order:
All Nightmare Long
Sad But True
Hit The Lights
Devil's Dance
Creeping Death
Disposable Heroes
The Frayed Ends of Sanity
Bleeding Me
Wherever I May Roam
Sweet Amber
Ain't My Bitch
Ride The Lightning

Mauricio S's Metallica Mix:

1 Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
2 Damage Inc.
3 Orion
4 Battery
5 Fade to Black
6 Blackened
7 2X4
8 The Four Horsemen
9 Motorbreath
10 Fight Fire with Fire
11 Disposable Heroes
(1st 12th pick- later omitted: Bleeding Me)
12 My Friend of Misery
13 For Whom The Bell Tolls

Aarin O's Metallica Mix:
1. Unforgiven
2. One
3. Leper Messiah
4. Battery
5. Sad but True
6. Of Wolf and Man
7. Trapped Under Ice
8. Ride the Lightning
9. Seek and Destroy
10. Enter Sandman
11. Creeping Death
12. Harvester of Sorrow
13. Turn the Page ( Cover )

Ian A's Metallica Mix:
1- The Ecstasy of Gold (Live version)
2- The Mechanix (Live '82)
3- No Remorse
4- Fade to Black
5- The Thing That Should Not Be
6- Dyers Eve
7- My Friend of Misery
8- Ronnie
9- Where the Wild Things Are
10- So What? (cover)
11- Unnamed Feeling
12- The Day That Never Comes
13- Hate Train

Ryan B's Metallica Mix:

Enter Sandman
The Unforgiven
The Unforgiven II
The Unforgiven III
King Nothing
Breadfan (cover)
Master of Puppets
The Day That Never Comes
The Memory Remains
Turn The Page (cover)

Some fun facts about these 10 Metallica Mixes:

Most picked songs: Battery (8), One (7), The Four Horsemen (4), Fade to Black (4), Blackened (4)

Most picks by album: Master of Puppets (23), Ride The Lightning (19), ...And Justice For All (19), Metallica (17)

Mixes featuring every Metallica studio album: Ian A's, JP S's

Mixes that remained under 80 minutes: Happy Headbanger's, Matt A's, Denny J's, Ian A's, Aarin O's

Master of Puppets was the only album to have every track picked for somebody's mix out of these first ten mixes.

Feel free to post your own Metallica Mix (13 songs or less) as a comment on this post, or on this blog's Facebook Page.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Her Name is Mercy-Oceans (2015)

Post #310

Her Name Is Mercy are the current Independent Band of the Year for this blog, and although I've been trying my best to keep up with announcing their shows throughout the year, I am long overdue to review their recent album 'Oceans'.

Her Name Is Mercy are a hardcore metal band from Lafayette, IN. Their  eight-track debut album, 'Oceans', gives you a little bit from each facet of their musical formula. The most prominent features of their music are of course hardcore screamed vocals, heavy crunching guitar riffs, and intense tempos with powerful double-bass drum rhythms. This is essentially their hallmark, but their talent and creativity doesn't stop there. A close listen to this album in its entirety reveals more layers to their sound...

The first track is simply entitled 'Intro', and sets the mood for the album. Fade-in with the sound of ocean waves washing upon the shore, and gulls squawking in the background. Then a minor key melody begins playing on piano. Cellos join in on the melody, then synthetic percussion followed by true bass-drumming. Lastly come the electric guitars with their powerful heavy riffs. All this is simply to prepare you for the over-the-top intensity that is to follow.

'Faceless' is non-stop riffage and hardcore screams. Vocalist Kory Rogers' voice dwells in the guttural death-metal range for much of the song. This song's formula may be the norm for the album,but there are a few small departures...

'Aftermath' is without a doubt the biggest departure for Her Name Is Mercy on this collection of songs. A clean-tone melodic guitar at the start lets you know this song has something different to offer. While this soft riff continues at a mild tempo, a lead guitar joins the mix. These solos are reminiscent of Metallic's 'Fade to Black'. In fact, 'Aftermath' does for Oceans what 'Fade to Black' did for Ride the Lightning; it gives the album some true variety and depth, making it more memorable in the process.

'Oceans', the title track, is probably the album's crowning achievement. It may not provide anything new, but the intensity, hardcore heaviness, and downright insanity of the vocal delivery are done with some intangible precision that elevates this track a notch above the rest. They even have a music video for this one. Check it out:

For any of you who appreciate hardcore and death metal, take a minute to download Oceans from Her Name Is Mercy. It's currently available for free/name-your-price through their bandcamp page:

Recommended Tracks:

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Her Name is Mercy playing in support of Makeshift Tragedy at their CD release show

Post # 309
Her Name is Mercy, are performing in support of Makeshift Tragedy's CD Release show this Friday, May 29th in Indianapolis, IN and the 5th Quarter Lounge. It's another chance to see this year's Independent Band of the Year live...

Click the link below for details!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Her Name Is Mercy: FREE SHOW This Saturday, April 18th! (Frankfurt, IN)

Post # 308

Her Name is Mercy are about to perform another free concert. 21 and over/no cover, this Saturday, April 18 at the Animal House in Frankfurt, IN. Show starts at 6pm. Guaranteed to be a night of blistering hardcore and death-metal!! Also performing: Damn Us All, Speed God, Only Human, Born Under Burden and more!
Download their album 'Oceans' from

Monday, January 12, 2015

Her Name Is Mercy: FREE SHOW, January 17th- Frankfurt, IN!

Post #307

Her Name Is Mercy recently won the title of 'Independent Band of the Year' here at Their first show of 2015 is a free show at Animal House in Frankfurt, IN. As chance would have it, last year's 'Independent Band of the Year', Psychopathic Daze is also playing this show. Wonder if they'll do any 'Passing of the Torch' ceremony as part of the show? In any case, pure face-melting metal is sure to be heard! Don't miss it!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Psychopathic Daze: December Shows

Post # 306

Psychopathic Daze are keeping a busy schedule right up to the end of the year. Here are their remaining shows for 2014. One last Chicagoland performance at Elgin's Gashaus, then they travel to Michigan for a pair of shows in New Baltimore and Taylor...

Sat, 13 Dec
Elgin, IL
Fri, 19 Dec
New Baltimore, MI
Sat, 20 Dec
Taylor, MI

Catch this band at one of these shows and be sure to follow them on Facebook! Starting in January, the new Independent Band of the Year will be Her Name is Mercy ...

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sinister Fate-Hellbound (2013)

Post #305

Sinister Fate are a heavy metal band from Chicago that excel at delivering demented, graphic, hedonistic, and horror-themed lyrics with a traditional, classic heavy metal sound.
Their newest album is entitled Hellbound, and is appropriately titled given the band's opinions on sins of indulgence and their affinity for breaking cultural taboos. At times their lyrics depict sexual S&M types of behaviors, so there's even a double meaning behind the phrase Hellbound. The titles may be a little campy and cliché but this band is about delivering the fun side of metal music within the context of the horror subculture.

The album opens with a sampled snip of dialog and it sets the tone for the album as a whole:
"Who are you?!?
Explorers in the further regions of experience. Demons to some, Angels to others".
Then the riff assault begins, and Sinister Fate have no shortage of awesome riffs to throw your way. They sometimes sound like groove metal, mid-tempo thrash, or the heavier side of sleazy hair metal. Their songs convey a dark edge of R-rated Horror-cult themes.

Songs like 'Natural Born Killer' and 'Zombie Bomb' give you headbangable riff fests, complete with classic-metal guitar solos, there are other songs like 'Frankenstein Valentine' and 'Drop Dead Gorgeous' that slow things down, and rely on a melodic and plodding bass line to deliver the song's dark ambiance. Incidentally, 'Natural Born Killer' has a riff that reminds me of Pantera's 'Primal Concrete Sledge'...

Musically Sinister Fate could be described as a heavier Motley Crue, or a more thrashy Rob Zombie. While each of those comparisons has some merit, neither is either of them entirely accurate. Suffice to say, the best way to get the understanding of Sinister Fate's sound is just to hear it for yourself. Hellbound is one of those rare gems of independently produced music where there is not a bad song out of the whole 12-track album (13 if you count the hidden track ;-).

So do yourself a favor, don't wait another second, and just click some of the links that follow, and treat yourself to some hedonistic metal music by Sinister Fate. Your ears will thank you, though your neck may protest!

Recommended Tracks from Hellbound:
-(S&M) Anthem
-Frankenstein Valentine
-Zombie Bomb
-Drop Dead Gorgeous
-I Love to say Fuck! (hidden track)

Check out their website:

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Reagan Youth Interview (11-15-14)

Post # 304

I had the opportunity to interview the 80's hardcore punk band Reagan Youth prior to their show on November 15th at Reggies Rock Club in Chicago. I was curious to hear about how the band's current line-up came together, their decision to start performing again after a long abscence, their new material they are currently working on, as well as their thoughts on music, politics, and life in general. Here is how our conversation unfolded...

Transcript follows...
(Reagan Youth- clockwise from bottom left: Paul Cripple, Greg Whisper, Tibbie X, Trey Oswald)

HappyHeadbanger: This is Joel Beverley for (at) Reggies Rock Club in Chicago with Reagan Youth. Reunited since the 80's and doing a shout tour this year and they're headlining tonight.

Paul Cripple: Yes, yes, we don't really tour that often, we just go like a week away, you know like 10 days at the most. Every two or thee months y'know we play and sing our songs of protest. People like to prortest to our songs by getting fucked up and have a good time, and show society that we can do it ourselves and have a good time and I don't know what the fuck I'm sayin'...

Trey Oswald: And that Peace and Anarchy is a real thing!

Tibbie X: Do what you are.

Paul: Do what I am...

HH: How about you guys just introduce yourselves quick 'cause I assume...

Paul: I'm Paul, the guitar player. I was always in the band...

Greg "Stig" Whisper: I'm Greg. I'm the drummer. I'm relatively new. Two years on...

Trey: I'm Trey. I'm the loud-mouth.

HH: Awesome...

Tibbie: Tibbie X, I'm the bassist.

HH: Ok, so I guess you guys disbanded back in the day...

Paul: Yeah...

HH: So what was the thing that got you to reunite, to get a line-up back together and start playing again?

Paul: You know what, the internet was a big part of it. People liked the band. I didn't think they liked it, but they liked it. And then I played a gig, and people started kinda talkin' shit, and I was like, "Fuck that shit man! I'll show 'em!" And then I got some of the old members and we played and it was fun to play music again. And then I started comin' up with some new songs. It's like I'd been empty for awhile.

HH: Alright, so...

Paul: And so that's what keeps me goin'. It keeps me goin', you know?

HH: And how about the rest of the line-up? How'd you guys come to be in the band?

Greg: For me, I ah, my drum teacher actually introduced me to them. He played for them for a little while. He wasn't a big fit. He used to play with Davey Jones. He's not playing with him anymore obviously, he's deceased, but he turned me onto them. I checked them out, and we got along famously, and ever since then it's been like a family. So...

Trey: What was the question?

HH: How did you come to be in the band?

Trey: Oh! Ah, I sought Paul out in 2006 when the band got back together, back in like... it was like summer 2006. I can't remember the month. And I heard the second record for the first time. I mean I was living in Austin, Texas. I sought him out. We hung out and became buddies. Listened to 70's muscle-car-rock, trade shows. Then I did a Reagan youth tribute band called New Aryans back in 2008-2009 just for the fuck of it on Halloween. Pardon the French. And, we just kind of like were together, and they needed a singer, and then I'm here, y'know? Sweet home Chicago, yeah!

HH: Alright!

Tibbie: Paul and I had a series of tremendously fucked up friends in common. So, they brought us together. And they're not around anymore, and we are.

HH: Alright, so um... when you were like getting into music when you were growing up when you were kids. Who was like some of your early influences that really turned you on to, like, 'Oh! I want to sing music. Or perform, or play music.' Stuff like that...

Trey: The Rolling Stones are the reason I started playing music. And like Guns N' Roses back in like the 80's, man. I'm still kinda young. I'm in my 30's. And you know the Ramones, the Misfits, and ah Reagan Youth. That kinda got me here.

Tibbie: I'd say Reagan Youth, Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Adolescence, Agent Orange, Diamondogolas, Lydia Lunch... and ah anyone I could find in the underground 'cause I was stuck in the suburbs where it's really fuckin' boring, so...

Trey: And The Struggling Masses! Even though they didn't get us playing music, they got us here.

Greg: I'm a little different: Blink 182, old Green Day, No Cash, NOFX, Pennywise, Social Distortion, Bathroom Souls. Those are some of the big ones.

HH: Alright Cool.

Trey: Generations, man. It's all tomato/tomato, you know?

HH: Alright, so now...

Tibbie: Smelly Tomatoes.

Trey: Smelly Tomatoes! Smelly Tomatoes were an influence!

HH: Of course, when like the early days of Reagan Youth it was obviously a very political band. Obviously form the name, from the imagery you guys did. And it's like, it's maybe a better question for Paul if he's around, but anyway...

Paul: Yeah?

HH: Early days of Reagan Youth: very political. Very, you know, like reactionary towards the Reagan era...

Paul: Yeah!

HH: Everything like that...

Paul: And it's that same regime is still kinda pulling strings, so I could see why the music has lasted all these years. And that's the brilliance of original singer Dave Insurgent's vision and everything, that he made musically, artistically, and lyrically. So I can see why this band's music is still relevant. And I... as long as it's relevant, I'll have fun playing it.

Trey: The problems are still relevant today. You we have ah... the leaders that are in charge today were originally around when the Carter administration and the Nixon administration went out; the new Republican party came in. And those same people are in charge now! We'll just go ahead and say that.

Paul: Dick Cheney actually used to suck Reagan's cock every Thursday night! And they have that on the White House tapes!

Trey: Now it's Wednesday nights. They've switched it up...

Paul: Ahhh, I think Reagan's dead now. I think Nancy Reagan.... honestly she's a vampire. How could she live so long?

Trey: She just said "No!" "Just say no!"

Paul: How could Cheney have like 8 different hearts put in his chest? He must have real health care. He must have Obamacare!

Trey: Today's open enrollment for Obamacare, by the way.

Paul: I mean, We're just about, you know, exposing the evils of society through some catchy lyrics, and some cool-ass music...

Trey: And to talk about Obamacare!

Paul: Yeah.

HH: So you... any comments on current... I mean, you kinda already are, a little bit, commenting on the current political landscape, and whatnot. I mean it's...

Trey: We have socialist tendencies, which could be alright.

Tibbie: I think this is a very rebellious group of people that are going to be fighting for freedom in one way or another. So we might as well all be in this band together, travelling around the world.

Trey: What Tibbie said!

Paul: Eventually, I think eventually things are gonna catch up with America in the sense that it's... it's...  It can't sustain itself. The system is wrong. It's not sustainable. And I think it's gonna just, this country isn't gonna be the greatest country in the world when your sending jobs overseas. When you're trying to always look at the bottom line is the dollar as opposed to, as what's best for society as a whole.

HH: OK, Now. So you guys obviously have the hardcore punk roots and everything. But I heard the rumor that you're going to be performing some of your House of God material tonight?

Paul: Um, yeah we could do 'Ten Thousand Years From Now'. We do that, but that's kinda a fast song, but it just has such a great arrangement. And I just wanted to do it 'cause I hadn't heard it in so long, live. We did it in Germany. But we could play it anytime we want.

HH: OK, so um, just comment on that, on that project. The last, unreleased demos.

Paul: Yeah, me and Dave...

HH: It's available , by the way, I'm going to just drop this. It's available at bandcamp:

Paul: Yeah. For free. Music is free. Just take it.

HH: Yeah I downloaded it myself before I came to the interview and everything. I like it. It's got some good grooves. I'm more of a 'metal' guy myself so I kind of dig that a bit more.

Paul: Cool.

HH: But anyway, um, you want to talk any more about that um, project itself?

Paul: Well, um, no, um... I wish we, wish it had come to fruitition. Yeah but it didn't, and whatever the reasons why. It's a shame and basically it's drugs, and stay away from drugs.

HH: Alright, so... What was the decision to do that back then, to take that new direction? A little bit of change of pace?

Paul: Um, we were getting better musically. We were growing. Mentally we didn't want to be kids taking on the Republicans, we wanted to be grown-ups taking on a higher authority: God.

HH: Alright, Awesome. And then I also hear you're working on what's reported to be, going to be, the final Reagan Youth album. Talk a bit about that...

Paul: Yes, yeah. Um, I've go a bunch of songs. It's just going to be about, like we have a song 'Hapless Misfits'...

Trey: It's about a Crazy Diamond we all know...

Paul: It's just basically about the life and times that Dave lived. New York City in the 80's, Reaganomics, there's a song 'Idle hands' about how you don't want to work a job at 3, America's dream for society, to be a zombie in a factory, or stood up for the company. I don't know, lyrics like that, but it'll work. And at the end, Dave is dead but still fighting the power.

HH: Any references to like specific events from his tragic life?

Paul: No. No, no, because... Yeah there's this song 'Necrophilia', but I want to be like The Who, and have some humor in it, you know? I don't want to be that literal. You know, I want it to be a loose interpretation, but yet still capture the essence of the man, his message, and his 'fight the power' mentality.

HH: Let the fans read into it what they will...

Paul: Yeah! And if it's good and it's catchy and you can play those songs with the old songs, and they all fit together, and everyone's slam-dancing to it then I know it's good.

HH: Alright, awesome! Um, everybody want to chip in: of the songs in your set, what's your personal favorite when you play it live? The one you really dig the most.

Tibbie: 'Jesus was a Communist'. It's my favorite.

Greg: 'No Class'. The drum rolls are awesome in that song. I love it.

Trey: Right now, this tour, it's the hibernation tour. I like 'What Will the Neighbors Think?' That one, I'm killin' it right now. I love that song. It's so good!

Paul: I love when we cover, "The devils Grip, The Iron Fist". Our cover-song.

HH: Alright. As a band, you're up there, this is what you do. You're putting your heart out there for the fans. Get into the music. Is there like a take-home message? Something like you want them to walk away from the show thinking what?

Paul: Individuality. Think for yourself. Be an individual and embrace the differences in yourself and in others, because that's what makes the world beautiful. Don't shave ya head and walk around with a bunch of other people who shave their heads just to hate on a bunch of other people who haven't shaved their heads.

Trey: Breed skin-heads...

Paul: Or have different shades, you know.

Trey: ...Not the sharks.

HH: I'm gonna paraphrase King Missile here and say, 'Don't want to be comparable, even to yourself.'

Paul: Yeah, yeah...

Trey: Yeah yeah and remember: Love love, and hate hate and when in doubt, just BE.

Paul: And don't be redundant.

Greg: Don't take everything so literally either. Don't read into everything so much. Have fun!

Paul: Yeah, have fun. Have fun, and also look at a deeper meaning in life, you know.

Trey: And listen to Burning Streets!

Greg: Hell yeah!

HH: Alright, any other like, ah.. bands your into? You want to like kinda just say , "Oh! If you like us, check theses guys out?"

Paul: Hank and the Hammerheads, from New Your City. They're making a name for themselves. Trey?

Trey: Ahhh... Call Me Bronco, from Louisville, Kentucky. Bullrep, Louisville.

Tibbie: I'm a sexual catalyst in a band called Gash, from Philadelphia.

HH: Awesome.

Greg: I'm in a band called Lawless Few from New Jersey. Sounds like Gas Light Anthem. A lot of fun band.

HH: I was going to ask about your side-projects. Other bands you've played in. Is that going to be like your ah, you going back to that once Reagan Youth plays out?

Tibbie: Gash is going on tour. We have three tours booked. Our first one is in Boston, and then we're going down south, and after that's California.

Greg: Awesome shows booked with bands like OC45, The Scandals. We're actually about to go record in the studio right now and make our first LP. We're super-stoked about it. We're going to work on that like all winter, so...

HH: And what was your band's name again?

Greg: It's called The Lawless Few.

HH: Ok, and is that like, comparable to the Reagan Youth material? Is it different...

Greg: No. Absolutely not. It's completely different.

HH: How is it?

Greg: It's more like Gas Light Anthem, Bath of Souls...

Trey: It's rock music. It's rock music.

Greg: It's got a soul. It's real cool. Check it out.

HH: Alright. And ah, as for Gash? You were saying?

Tibbie: Gash is an S&M Punk band from south Philly. So we're kinda like Iron Maiden, um Angel Witch, but with a punk rock edge.

HH: Alright, sounds awesome.

Trey: I'm just trying to stay alive until the next tour.

HH: Yeah, that's the best way to get to the next tour.

Trey: Yeah, long live it: stay alive through it, you know what I mean?

Paul: Alright so, um hang in there. We're going to go eat. Hope you enjoy the show. and be good.

HH: It was a good time you guys, thanks for talkin' with us.

Trey: What was the show?

HH: Huh?

Trey: What was the name of the show?

HH: Name of the show?

Trey: For the...

HH: Oh! My blog?

Trey: Yeah.

HH: It's

Trey: This is Reagan Youth, and a big fat peace, love, and anarchy to Thanks!

HH: I'll be out there bangin' my head tonight. You guys give us some rock, we'll let it roll...

Tibbie: Thanks!

Grey: Good time, man.

HH: Take Care... thanks.
(Reagan Youth, from left-to-right: Tibbie X, Greg Whisper, Trey Oswald, Paul Cripple)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Rob Zombie-Hellbilly Deluxe (1998)

Post #303  [Poll winner: Favorite Rob Zombie Album]

When Rob Zombie released his first album after his previous band White Zombie broke up, he delivered a true metal classic for the late '90's. Hellbilly Deluxe was embraced by Rob's fans as much as either of the previous White Zombie albums, if not more so. This album's legacy is easy to find in the hit singles it produced: "Dragula" "Living Dead Girl" and "Superbeast", but the whole album is a quality listening experience for any metal fan who loves scary themes and sounds.

In keeping true to the style and formula established by the late White Zombie albums Hellbilly Deluxe doesn't miss a beat. Eerie sampling from cult-classic horror flicks, ear-splitting nu-metal guitar riffage, and Rob's psychedelic yet twisted and often graphic and disturbing lyrics, along with the occasional sick humor; Rob and his band were truly at the top of their game on this album. Hell, the album's lengthy subtitle is enough of a selling point on its own: "13 Tales of Cadaverous Cavorting Inside the Spookshow International"

Hellbilly Deluxe remains the best example of Rob Zombie's music. It has proven to be the peak of his career, at least commercially, and perhaps creatively as well. If you've not added this album to your collection, then you're missing out. For its own era, this is one of the most significant recordings of its genre for the time it was released.

Recommended tracks from Hellbilly Deluxe:
-Living Dead Girl
-Demonoid Phenomenon
-Meet The Creeper