Wednesday, July 16, 2008

State of the Blog Address

Post #31
It's been several months now that I've been writing on this blog, and I thought now is a good time to just say what's on my mind about it. I've greatly enjoyed putting my opinions of Heavy Metal music in writing, and hope you have found some entertainment in the reading of my posts. I plan to continue this trend of reviewing Heavy Metal music one artist or album at a time, but also expanding the style of the blog a bit.

The monthly poll is a great vehicle to keep a new topic on the horizon for me, as well as making sure it's music at least some of you are interested in. (You'll find that I always review the poll winner within a month of the closing of the poll, and label that post as a "poll winner"). The poll topics themselves may change in the coming months; as I begin run low on ideas, I might occasionally simply use a trivia question as a monthly poll. So polls of this nature would actually have a correct answer, and not be solely based on readers' opinions.

For those who are relatively new to this blog, I was going to write 2 simple posts in the near future just summarizing the previous "Lyric Quotes of the Month" up to the present, as well as the history of the monthly poll-winners (including my personal vote and my reason for that choice).

I was also considering writing concert reviews from concerts I have attended both past and present. I've given a bit of a taste of this when I've reviewed artists I've seen at Ozzfest (see the posts labeled with "Ozzfest"). Basically, I'll go one step further and review the entire show and highlights from the set list for a given concert, bringing more of a narrative to this blog.

Last but not least, I have a plan to write another "Music Mix" post that will be a "Best of Heavy Metal 107: Volume I". I plan to fill an 80-min CDR with one or two songs from each post on this blog in chronological order and see how far I get. Periodically I'll add a "Volume II" & "III" etc... as the posts on this blog continue to grow! In the end it should amount to a pretty unique mix of Heavy Metal music!

Another small point: you may find that I sometimes add artwork to a post several weeks after I post the text. This is simply a matter of me getting the free time to track down some artwork and uploading it to the blog. So if you go back and check out the same post at a later date, it may look different.

That's about all the thoughts I have for now. I'll update you again as I get new ideas. In the meantime you can always see the "Coming Soon" section to see the music I'm listening to & composing my thoughts on for future posts.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Kings of Thrash Metal...

Post #30 Poll Winner: Favorite Thrash band

Well, I guess it was only a matter of time before I got around to writing about Metallica. In a way I'm glad they won the "thrash" poll, it forces me to work a Metallica review into my plans more quickly. Otherwise I might not have gotten around to it until their new CD is out.

It's no surprise that Metallica won the "Favorite Thrash Band" poll. One could even argue that the whole Thrash/Speed/Power Metal conglomerate would never have made it off the ground if it weren't for Metallica. Factor into the equation the fact that Dave Mustaine only formed Megadeth after being ousted from Metallica, and you might be looking at the history of Heavy Metal without 2 of the biggest titans in the Thrash genre. In short, we might owe more of metal's legacy to the existence of Metallica than we think!

During the early 80's the thrash metal bands formed in the wake of the influence of the (New) Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM). [from this point on I'm dropping the "new"; I mean, come on, the late 70's & early 80's aren't "new" anymore, are they?] Thrash took many aspects of classic heavy metal to new heights. The speed, crunch, distortion, and overall intensity seemed to jump a couple notches each year from about 1982-1987. Metallica were at the forefront of this movement every step of the way. Their albums spread like wild-fire in the heavy metal underground. They stole the show repeatedly from Ozzy Osbourne when they opened for him on his '86 tour. And when they decided to film a music video for their song "One" to air on MTV, doors were blasted open for all of thrash metal.

When they recorded their self-titled "Black" album in 1991 they exhibited a significant phase-shift in their songwriting, as a few songs on the album were notably softer than most of their previous material. After years of touring in support of the "Black" album, Metallica took a thuroughly deserved hiatus, and wouldn't release a new recording until 1996. Thrash-metal as we knew it from Metallica had come to an end. The band has gone on to ever greater success since, but has continued to experiment and expand upon their sound over the years, leaving an ever-growing legacy that few heavy metal bands may ever equal.

Here's a very brief list of recommended songs by Metallica. Eventually I'll write a more in-depth review of their music and highlight my favorite songs album-by-album, so watch for that in the future. For now, try...

-(Welcome Home) Sanitarium
-Holier Than Thou
-King Nothing
-Phantom Lord
-Fight Fire With Fire
-Fade To Black
-No Leaf Clover
-Am I Evil?
-The Unforgiven

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Patriotic Rock for the 4th!

Post #29
Every 4th of July when we celebrate our national independence, I can't help but to make a point to listen to a few hard rockin' renditions of patriotic songs. Here are some of my favorites to listen to this time of year:

-Star Spangled Banner by Jimi Hendrix
-4th of July by Soundgarden
-Light Up The Sky by Van Halen (this one isn't really about patriotism, but I like it because it makes me think of fireworks displays!)
-In America by Britny Fox
-Star Spangled Banner by Kiss
-Star Spangled Banner & Declaration Day by Iced Earth
-Rockin' In The USA by Kiss
-American Girl by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
-Pink Houses by John Mellencamp