Thursday, October 27, 2011

Warrant-Cherry Pie

Post #169  [Poll winner: Favorite Warrant album '89-96]

The theme for polls this past summer and fall has been the 90's. While most of these polls have focused on the trend the rose in popularity during that decade-Grunge, this post allows me to focus on one of the trends that faded during the 90's: Hair Metal. Within the Hair Metal scene, Warrant were already late-comers, with their debut album being released in January '89. By '93 the Hair bands were, by and large, struggling to maintain their platinum-selling status.

With the recent passing of Jani Lane, the founding front-man of Hair-Metal legends Warrant, I took the time to reminisce on some of my favorite tracks in post # 156 on August 19th. Soon after, I posted the poll asking your opinion for favorite Warrant album. The resounding answer was Cherry Pie.

Cherry Pie, Warrant's second release, may have had perfect timing, hitting the charts in 1990. The album is still well known for its title-track, a song that has been typified as stereotypical, cliche Hair Metal. Lyrically the  song is virtually 100% innuendo, but the heavy, pop-rock tune has a catchy chorus that is difficult to forget. If you take the time to look past this over-inflated, trade-mark title track, you will discover the true greatness of this album. The other singles it produced; 'I Saw Red', 'Uncle Tom's Cabin', and 'Blind Faith' each give more merit to this album's solid songwriting.

'Uncle Tom's Cabin' in particular shows the versatile side of Warrant. Beginning with an acoustic intro, adding a banjo to the melody, and changing tone a few times throughout as the guitars flip between electric and acoustic, this song gives you just about everything Warrant is capable of. However, what truly makes this song memorable is the narrative style of the lyrics. The song tells the story of a corrupt sheriff and deputy who dispose of a dead body in a swamp. The narrator, who observes the event along with 'Uncle Tom', portrays the weight of this circumstance quite well.

If you want to rediscover Warrant's Cherry Pie album, here are my top recommended songs:
-Cherry Pie
-Uncle Tom's Cabin
-Sure Feels Good to Me
-Mr. Rainmaker
-Train, Train (Blackfoot cover)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Independent Band Reader's Poll 2011

Post #168: 2011 Independent Band Reader's Poll Contestants
Hello happy headbangers! It is time once again for the most anticipated reader's poll event of the year here at Heavy Metal 107: the annual INDEPENDENT BANDS READER'S POLL! This fall marks the 3rd annual running of this polling competition. Whichever band pulls in the most votes over a 35-45 day window will get a full review posted on the blog shortly after the poll closes, a link to their main website on the blog's side-bar for 1 year as 'Honorary Vice President', and brief promo posts announcing any upcoming shows they schedule during that year.

Without a doubt, this is the best opportunity to discover, new, interesting, and diverse independent bands on this blog. I have always tried to select a variety of bands that show different sides of rock and metal music so that there would be at least one band for each reader's unique tastes. This year, I think I've collected the most diverse group of seven bands yet. Here they are for your consideration:

The Bob Clymers
"A two-piece duo specializing in the dirtiest of rock." From late 60's acid-rock legends like Hendrix and Joplin, to the 90's grunge movement, some of this band's influences are apparent when you hear their music. Wherever they draw inspiration from, they compose songs that truly hit home with a raw, untamed sound and pure emotion. Check out these songs at the links below:
'Grain of Sand'

On Myspace:
On Facebook:
On Reverbnation:!/thebobclymers

Sins of a Nation
Nominated by last year's winner, Deadmanswake, Sins Of A Nation blend thrash and classic British-style metal in such a way that one can't help but bang their head to it. Their vocalist has an uncanny ability to channel the likes of Bruce Dickinson, Ozzy, and Phil Anselmo, depending on what the song calls for. You gotta hear these guys!
'Bow Down'

On Myspace:
On Facebook:
On Reverbnation:

Penguins With Shotguns
From Kenosha, Wisconsin, a heavy rock band with tons of attitude... Penguins With Shotguns can win you over with catchy hard rock hooks in one song, then step it up with a furious hardcore edge on the next. They, too, were nominated by a previous winner: Losing Scarlet, who won the first ever Independent Bands poll on this blog. This band has some versatility, so be sure to check out more than one of the following:
'Said and Done'
'Lethal Remedy'
'Wake Up Screaming'

On Myspace:
On Facebook:
On Reverbnation:

Ideal Zero
A female-fronted alternative rock band from the Orlando, Florida area, Ideal Zero are the product of a diverse background of musical inspiration. Heavy guitars, overlaid with keyboards, and a soft, melodic female vocal delivery make for a quality headbanger's listening experience. Check out these songs:
'Beneath The Sun'
'My Road'
'Free Again'

On Myspace:
On Facebook:
On Reverbnation:

Mortal Wrath
(Progressive/Power Metal)
Hailing from Romney, West Virginia, Mortal Wrath draw their musical inspiration from nature, geometry, world history, and politics. Delivering their music as a blend of classic heavy metal and progressive rock, they sometimes sound like they're channeling early Queensryche, or European power metal. For a more cerebral listening experience, check out their tunes:
'The Single Projection'
'Law Under Grace'
'Morningstar Crusade'

On Myspace:
On Facebook:
Band's Main Website:

(Gothic Metal/Progressive)
Sage 4 are another of Chicago's female-fronted metal bands that are on the rise.Their style of Gothic metal fuses influences from the heavy side of mid-90's grunge with a more traditional, and sometimes progressive, melodic metal. Their first release was packed with creative and technical musicianship, and they're working on their second. For a taste of what they have to offer check out these tunes:
'Out of Body'
'Steal My Thunder'

On Myspace:
On Facebook:
Band's Main Website:

(Speed-Black Metal/Thrash)
Eliminator are the hot new underground metal band from Edison, New Jersey. Initially envisioned as a blend of speed metal and black metal, they have quickly expanded their horizons to incorporate some melodic, blues/R and B elements into their musical pallet, resulting in the most unique extreme metal band I've heard in years. Check out:
'No Answers'
'Near Dark'
'Breaking The Wheel'

On Myspace:
On Facebook:
On Reverbnation:

Please vote for your favorite band in the monthly reader's poll!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My Thanks to the Heavy Metal Madness 2012 Selection Committee

Post #167
Selecting the bands that are included in the Heavy Metal Madness 2012 tournament was not as simple as you might think. For this daunting task I actually enlisted a selection committee of my close friends with a broad appreciation of hard rock and heavy metal music to assist me. All of their input has helped make this contest a more accurate representation of the state of heavy metal music today. Although 68 bands seems like a lot, there were many many more that many of us considered that didn't make the cut.

In no particular order, the bands that are not on the final bracket, but deserve an honorable mention: Iced Earth, Skid Row, Lamb of God, Gwar, Machine Head, Ratt, Immortal, Amorphis, Venom, Poison, Behemoth, Mastadon, Overkill, Pink Floyd, Emperor, Staind, Municipal Waste, Beatles, Dimmu Borgir, Offspring, Metal Church, Heathen, Blind Guardian, The Rolling Stones, The Doors, Nile, Mudvayne, Decapitated, Mushroomhead, Therion, In Flames, Otep, Primus, Rancid, Holy Terror, Artillery, Dokken, Journey, Kalmah, Bloodbath, Cannibal Corpse, At the Gates, Shinedown, My Chemical Romance, Nevermore, Sodom, Sacred Reich, Yngwie Malmsteen, Tesla, Morbid Angel, Necrophagist, Suffocation, Cradle of Filth, Bathory, Enslaved, Alkaline Trio, Rammstein, Warrant.

My thanks again to the Heavy Metal Madness Selection Committee: Rocky the Rockette, Franthrax, foxymophandlematt, Jeremy, Wolf, and Stygian.

Good luck on filling out your brackets everyone!

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Post #166
It's finally here! The OFFICIAL Bracket for Heavy Metal Madness 2012! This contest will play out over the course of 2012 through numerous reader's polls each month here at Heavy Metal 107. The winner in each match-up will be determined ENTIRELY BY YOUR VOTES! The only exception will be in the event of a tie, in which case the higher seed will advance. So keep an eye on this blog on a monthly basis so you don't miss a chance to vote for your favorite bands! Spread the news to your friends by sharing this blog on your social networks, the more votes the better. There will also be a contest, with prizes, for the most accurately predicted brackets. THERE IS NO ENTRY FEE! All you need to do is completely fill out the bracket with the bands you think will advance in each round, and send it back to me by the deadlines below and you're in!

HEAVY METAL MADNESS 2012 Scoring, Rules, and how to submit your bracket:
Scoring: For each correctly predicted match-up, each entry will earn points based on the band's original seed multiplied by the number of the round*. The first round of 64 bands begins in January, runs through May, and will be played out in four 30-35 day polling windows. The second round of 32 bands will be conducted over two 30-35 day polling windows in June and July. The Sweet Sixteen is the 3rd round, Elite Eight is 4th, and the Final Four is the 5th AND FINAL round.

*The only exception to the seed-based scoring is in the 'play-in' round (where the 16th and 17th seeds face-off for the chance to face the #1 seed in each quadrant). A correct prediction of this round will count as 1 point, and will only be used to decide a tie-breaker among entries at the conclusion of Heavy Metal Madness. The play-in round is considered a 'bonus round', and is not required to be eligible for this contest. The play-in bonus round does have an earlier deadline than the official deadline to submit a bracket prediction.

In each poll, in the event of a tie, the higher-seeded band will advance, up until the Final Four. If there is a tie for 1st place in the Final Four, there will be a tie-breaking follow-up poll featuring only the 2 bands that tied for first.

Only the correct winner is needed to earn points for any given round.

There is a bonus of 5 points for each correct band to reach the Final Four, and a bonus of 10 points for correctly predicting the overall champion.

Prizes will be given away to at least the 5 highest-scoring brackets, possibly more depending on the number of entries received by the Heavy Metal Madness deadline. Prizes will consist of a variety of the following items: CDs, DVDs, magazines, posters, or stickers featuring bands from the Heavy Metal Madness bracket. I will ship them to the winners at my own expense.

The deadlines for bracket submissions are:

Play-In Bonus Round Deadline: December 5th, 2011

Official Heavy Metal Madness Deadline: January 5th, 2012

To request an email with an attachment containing the official Heavy Metal Madness 2012 Bracket (Excel spreadsheet), send an email to:
You may also request my mailing address through that email, and I will accept paper-copies of your predictions so long as the envelope is post-marked by the deadlines given above.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or are unclear about any specifics in this competition.

Here is an image of the OFFICIAL bracket:

It can also be found at the bottom of the blog, where it will be updated once the tournament has begun.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The American Carnage Tour (2010), Part II: Testament, Megadeth, & Slayer!

Post # 165
Picking up where I left off from part I of this review (post #146), my new friends and I left the VIP suite as Megadeth bid us farewell as they went backstage to prepare for the show. We were granted early entry to the floor-level and vendors. I made a short detour to get a souvenir tour T-shirt (I chose the Megadeth: RUST IN PEACE 20th Anniversary Tour shirt). Then I entered the arena floor and got right up close to the front barricade. There was one row of people in front of me, and I had a great view of the stage. This was sure to be an awesome show!

Time seemed to drag for a while. I conversed here and there with other fans, and watched the crowd slowly fill in the standing-room-only floor level. But finally the wait paid off: Testament took the stage to deliver their set of killer thrash-metal!

When it comes to thrash metal, everyone probably think of the Big Four first, particularly in the last couple years when they have been performing select shows together for the first time. However if there was a 5th thrash band on the totem-pole when it comes to significance in the genre, it is probably Testament. Their energy, bone-crushing heavy riffs, and seriously fast-paced tempos served to prove that they were right at home with two of the Big Four whom they were opening for.

They opened their set with the intro from their latest album The Formation of Damnation. This album was a true return to form for Testament, and they are helping bring traditional thrash back to prominence in today's metal scene. Inevitably, with the break-neck pace of their music came the break-neck intensity of the mosh-pit. It had erupted about 3 or 4 rows of people behind me, and the people who opted out of moshing crammed more closely together. The physical pressure of being packed so tightly together and close to the front barricade built to an uncomfortable level many times, but I'd be damned if I was going to give up this close spot before I had my chance to see Megadeth this close. So I toughed it out, and managed to hold my own through their set.

Testament delivered a killer set, too! I recognized such classics as 'The New Order' and 'Practice What You Preach' before it was all said and done. My favorite moment, though, had to be during their performance of the title-track 'The Formation of Damnation'. The band paused before the closing thrash segment and gave singer Chuck Billy a chance to direct the crowd into a face-off mosh, and he directed the crowd to spread out to either one side or the other of the stadium floor, then when the music kicked back in, they charged each other with as much of their furious abandon as they could manage! After they finished their set we all had a few minutes to catch our breath and prepare for Megadeth...

Many of us knew they were intending to play the entire Rust In Peace album on this night. I for one, couldn't wait. This has long been my favorite Megadeth album, perhaps my favorite metal album of all time! You can go back and read post #1 if you don't believe how much I praise this album for it's technical, speed-driven riffs. Before long, the band took the stage...

Dave Mustaine, one of the founders of the thrash-metal genre, walked to center stage. Clad in his trademark plain white, light weight shirt and jeans, with his signature flying 'V' Dean guitar, he muttered a quick, 'Here we GO!' and instantly flew into the opening riff of 'Holy Wars... The Punishment Due'. For the next 45 minutes there was no looking back...

My adrenal glands got the best of me, and I was helpless to sing along to one of my all-time favorite thrashers, 'BROTHER WILL KILL BROTHER! SPILLING BLOOD ACROSS THE LAND! KILLING FOR RELIGION, SOMETHING I DON'T UNDERSTAND!' I think I sang along for the entire first song. I could see Dave up at the mike, and I could hear the crowd behind my own voice, also singing along. For all I could hear, Mustaine could have been lip-syncing. I could see his jaw moving, but his mop of blond hair kept his face partially obscured. Dave Ellefson and Chris Broderick were thrashing along, keeping perfect time... the band seemed so tight! The fast-paced, complex riffs that overflow the Rust In Peace album seemed second-nature to Megadeth. This was a technical masterpiece of heavy metal being brought to life for the lucky fans that attended this tour.

At some point I cut back on the singing-along, perhaps because my throat was getting dry. This was in early August, remember, and the mass of bodies was making the heat more and more apparent. When they got to 'Poison Was The Cure', the band went back-stage to swap instruments, while Ellefson kept us entertained with the song's bass-intro. Shawn Drove returned to the drum-kit and added the next ingredient, closely followed by Dave and Chris on guitar. Then, right on cue with the song, the intensity was back, and the crowd resumed undulating with headbanging and moshing!

Megadeth continued to fly through this masterpiece album! Some other highlights of the performance for me were Dave Ellefson's bass spotlight during the track 'Dawn Patrol'. During that number, David Ellefson was alone on-stage, while Dave Mustaine spoke the dialog/lyrics from back-stage somewhere. Also, this was the part of the show where Vic Rattlehead walked onto the stage and pointed intimidatingly at us. After this number concluded it was on to 'Rust In Peace... Polaris', the last track on the Rust In Peace album.

Megadeth still had more for us, and they played about 5 more numbers from the rest of their catalog. They saved 'Peace Sells' for their closing number, but it came with a nice twist this time... As the song was about to end, they surprised us by jumping back to the guitar solo from 'Holy Wars...'! The band jammed a few more minutes on that number, during which Dave Mustaine introduced the band, traded several solos with Chris Broderick, and then wrapped it up as 'Holy Wars...' ended: "Next thing you know, they'll take my thoughts away!"

I couldn't imagine a better way to see Megadeth for the first time, except maybe for a longer set! During this intermission, I finally chose to give up my front-row location to seek out the water fountains- I was pretty dehydrated! I found them, and waited through the line to get replenished, then returned to the arena floor. By this time I think I had lost track of some of my new friends, but before the show resumed I did bump into one of them again. But now, it was time for SLAYER!

In slightly different fashion, Slayer kick off their set with 2 tracks back-to-back, from their newest album: 'World Painted Blood', and 'Hate Worldwide'. Then, the anticipated 20th anniversary celebration of their classic album Seasons In The Abyss began as Tom Araya shouted, "WAR ENSEMBLE!"

Seasons In The Abyss (which I reviewed earlier this year already) starts off with 3 tracks that, on the recording, pick up after each other with barely a pause between the tracks. To the best of my recollection, Slayer played them live in a similar fashion: 'War Ensemble', 'Blood Red', and 'Spirit In Black'. They continued through their classic album, with true-to-the-recording accuracy, much like Megadeth had done before them. Again, they added a few of their best known songs after the Seasons In The Abyss performance was over.

To me this was a legendary night of thrash-metal icons performing at their best! From the golden opportunity of meeting the members of Megadeth, and hanging with the before the show, to the KILLER performances of all three bands, to the new friends I made on this day, I'm tempted to say this was the best concert of my life! I hope to catch each of these bands again at points in the future. For now, I'll leave you with their set-lists so you can listen for yourself to at lease some form of this night's great metal music!

-For the Glory of...
-More Than Meets the Eye
-Dog Faced Gods
-The New Order
-Practice What You Preach
-Into the Pit
-3 Days in Darkness
-The Formation of Damnation

-Holy Wars... The Punishment Due
-Hangar 18
-Take No Prisoners
-Five Magics
-Poison Was the Cure
-Tornado of Souls
-Dawn Patrol
-Rust in Peace... Polaris

-Head Crusher
-A Tout Le Monde
-Symphony of Destruction
-Peace Sells/Holy Wars (reprise)

-World Painted Blood
-Hate Worldwide

-War Ensemble
-Blood Red
-Spirit in Black
-Expendable Youth
-Dead Skin Mask
-Hallowed Point
-Skeletons of Society
-Born of Fire
-Seasons in the Abyss

-South of Heaven
-Raining Blood
-Aggressive Perfector
-Angel of Death