It’s Been 10 Years Since Dimebag Was Taken

Dimebag

It’s been a long time since I did a blog post but I’ve just realized it’s been even longer since Dimebag was tragically murdered. On December 8th, 2004 to be exact. I was just going to post what I had said on the 5th anniversary of his passing but when I read it, it was too brief and conveyed nothing really but a lazy tribute. So without further ado here are my thoughts about Dimebag done properly 10 years after his passing.
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Rob's Picks of 2012 to Send TDM Off With

Another year closes and That Devil Music soon will be fading away as well. Though I’ve lost the time and desire to continue on here with TDM I’d be remiss if I didn’t send out one final push for bands and albums that stood out for me this year. I toyed with ranking them but that takes way too much effort especially since half of them aren’t even in the same genre. Therefore here is my list in no particular order of what I thought the best albums of 2012 were. Enjoy and don’t forget that this site will be archived here after the 1st of the year if you miss us.

7 Horns 7 Eyes – Throes of Absolution: I’m by no means Christian and 99.5 percent of the time am more apt to listen to blasphemous death metal then the other side. But I can be moderate in my tastes and it is funny to me how of all the death metal I listened to this year, a Christian band from Seattle ended up topping everyone. From the excellent and brutal vocals to the almost neo classical shredding to the pummeling riffs 7H7E brought a fresh take to death metal that is sorely needed. This is the bar that needed to be set for all bands regardless of their message.

Diablo Swing Orchestra – Pandora’s Pinata: Veterans of this band already knew what to expect but since was my first exposure it was even fresher to my ears. I love uniqueness to an extent and DSO brought it. Mixing jazz and swing with metal was done well and completely fun. Sweden has yet another band in their arsenal I dig.
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Scott's Top Ten Metal Albums of 2012 And Farewell

As we close this year and Rob closes up shop here, I can’t help but have a heavy heart about it. I’ve had my own metal blogs over the years and as I lost ambition to write about metal I’ve taken steps to reduce my role by participating in other people’s blogs. Eventually I found myself having no ambition at all. About that time, Rob informed me of his plans to shut TDM down. I appreciate Rob letting me help out here, but now I can surely focus on my career transition and work on flourishing new talents and ambitions. I wish the best of luck to Rob, Harley, Ken, Don and whoever else may have contributed that I might have missed. With all that said, here is my ten favorite albums of 2012. This list may vary from my “Top Albums For The First Half of 2012.” I’m going to keep this simple and without pictures.

10. Angel Witch – As Above, So Below: Although a lot of these songs were written years ago, the fact is that it is still technically a new Angel Witch album. The band has stuck to their sound while still keeping things modern.

9. Grand Magus – The Hunt: Their style of no frills, classic metal sound still has me hooked. While not their best album, still quite solid.

8. Katatonia – Dead End Kings: Katatonia released another Katatonia album. While not breaking new ground, they are undoubtedly amazing musicians and Dead End Kings does not disappoint.

7. Psycroptic – The Inherited Repression: I almost forgot about this album, which is a shame because I was playing the hell out of it earlier this year.

6. Storm Corrosion – S/T: Metal or not, this album is a treat to listen to.

5. Scott Kelly, Steve Von Till, and Wino – Song Of Townes Van Zandt: A tribute album to a very under-rated folk singer, Kelly, Von Till, and Wino do a great tribute to the late Van Zandt. I highly recommend checking out all of these artists’ [to include Van Zandt] solo work if you enjoy acoustic and ambient rock. Continue reading

Harley's Top 11 of '12

This is my last post for TDM and I have to say I have enjoyed blogging here.  Many thanks to Rob for taking me on and to Scott for his support through the year.  Next year I will be contributing to We Love Metal, rather than starting my own blog at this point.  “Real life” just has too much going on, from finishing up my master’s degree, a 10 week intensive military school, another 2 week National Security course, helping run a photography business, and a move next summer to who-knows-where with a new job to learn.

I have been absent lately from here due to demanding classes in school, last minute trips for work, and spending 3 weeks in October and November supporting the response to Hurricane Sandy in NY & NJ.  Plus a quick vacation in October.  It’s been a little crazy and Metal blogging has taken a back seat.

All that said, the reason for this post is to share with you my top albums for 2012, as well as my song and show of the year.  It was really a hit or miss year, with few hits I think.  It is impossible to predict if any of these will be long-term solid albums, ones I go back to years from now and stand the test of time, but there may be a handful of candidates.  My list consists entirely of veteran bands, averaging over 8 full length album releases over their careers, so no one-hit wonders here.

Some albums that were close, but didn’t quite make it to my list are Varg’s Guten Tag, Kreator’s Phantom Antichrist, Sabaton’s Carolus Rex, At Vance’s Facing Your Enemy, Rush’s Clockwork Angels, and Diablo Swing Orchestra’s Pandora’s Pinata.  Here we go…..

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Ken's Halloween Retro Pick – "Trick or Treat" (the movie-1986)

Ok, normally when I do a “Retro Pick” it is usually of a band from a long time ago. This time around to celebrate the spirit of Halloween, I decided to do something a little different. So my Retro Pick on this Halloween is the 1986 metal movie, “Trick or Treat”.  Metal was booming, to say the least, in the 80’s and it didn’t stop at just music, it ended up in theaters as well.

Trick or Treat is a 1986 horror film by De Laurentiis Entertainment Group, starring Marc Price, Tony Fields, and Lisa Orgolini, with special appearances by Gene Simmons and Ozzy Osbourne. For those of you who may not remember, or may not have even been born yet in the 80’s, lead actor Marc Price is the actor who played Skippy on the TV series “Family Ties” with Michael J. Fox.  Skippy was a nerd on the show and it was cool seeing him transformed into a metal head in this movie.

THE PLOT…High school outcast Eddie Weinbauer is writing a letter to his hero, metal musician Sammi Curr. He puts the letter in an envelope and starts doing his chores. He watches the news at the same time when he hears the worst words to ever reach his mind: Sammi Curr has died in a mysterious hotel fire. He is completely devastated. He goes to his friend “Nuke” (Gene Simmons), a DJ who knew Sammi Curr personally. To take Eddie’s mind off the death of his idol, Nuke gives Eddie the only copy of Curr’s last and only unreleased album on an acetate disc.

Once back home, Eddie falls asleep while listening to the record and has a strange dream about the fire that killed Sammi Curr. When he wakes up he finds that the record is skipping and after listening to it for a few seconds he comes to realize that there is something not right about the words the record is stuck on. Having previous experience with hidden lyrics, Eddie plays the record backwards but receives more than he imagined: Sammi Curr speaking to him from beyond the grave.
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Ken’s Retro Pick – HURRICANE (1988)

Hurricane 1980s heavy metal rock band originally featuring current Foreigner lead vocalist Kelly Hansen (vocals/rhythm guitar), Robert Sarzo (guitar), Tony Cavazo (bass), and Jay Schellen (drums). Cavazo and Sarzo are the younger brothers of Quiet Riot’s Carlos Cavazo and Rudy Sarzo.

Hurricane released four albums: Take What You Want (1985), Over the Edge (1988), Slave to the Thrill (1990), and Liquifury (2001). Over the Edge was their most successful album featuring their only top 40 hit (at 33), “I’m on to You” in 1988 (written byJeff Jones).

Quiet Riot’s Kevin DuBrow introduced Robert Sarzo and Tony Cavazo in the early 1980s. After deciding to form a band, Sarzo and Cavazo recruited singer Kelly Hansen, drummer Jay Schellen and guitarist Michael Guy. With little label interest, the band decided to release a mini-album themselves, Take What You Want. The album and constant touring led to them getting a major label deal.

In 1986 & 1987 they opened for Christian metal band Stryper on their To Hell with the Devil album tour. They were soon signed to Enigma Records, the same label as Stryper.

In 1988, the band released their major label debut album, Over the Edge. Propelled by a powerful, yet melodic hard rock sound, the album dipped into the top 100 (at 92) on the album chartsand featured a cover of Alice Cooper’s “I’m Eighteen,” as well as the band’s most successful hit, the Jeff Jones-penned “I’m On to You.” The title track, “Over the Edge” was also released as a single.

In 1989, Sarzo left the group and was replaced by ex-Lion guitarist, Doug Aldrich. This lineup recorded the album Slave to the Thrill, which was released in 1990. While Allmusic hailed the record as the band’s most “focused” album, its success paled in comparison to its predecessor. Noteworthy, however, is the fact that the album’s relative lack of success could also be attributed to changing musical climates (indeed, the topic of which Hurricane album, Over the Edge or Slave to the Thrill is better remains heavily debated amongst Hurricane fans). Shortly after the release of this album, Aldrich moved on to House of Lords and the rest of the group quickly disintegrated with the onslaught of grunge.

Here is their popular “I’m on to You”…..

Ken's Retro Pick – WILD DOGS (1983)

In the summer of 1981, Jeff Mark, Mick Zane, Pete Holmes and Matt McCourt teamed up to perform in Portland as the Ravers, promoting McCourt’s release of  “I was a Teenage RocknRoller” on Matchbox Records.

Guitarist Mark, drummer Holmes, vocalist McCourt and bassist Danny Kurth were asked to record a few songs for a recording class at Recording Associates. The first session produced “Fugitive of the Law”, which also featured local guitarist Kip Doran. The second session produced “We Got the Power”, “Runnin Away”, and “Tonight We Rock”. The third session proved to be the turning point. Drummer Pete Holmes was lured away by the band Black ‘n Blue and was replaced by Jaime St. James, Black n Blue frontman. The next session yielded “The Tonight Show”, “Life is a Game”, “I need a Love to Call My Own”, “Two Wrongs” and the song that brought them to the attention of local FM radio station KGON, “Born to Rock”.

McCourt saw a one time news segment on the new Music Television (MTV) about Shrapnel label president Mike Varney, who was searching for unsung guitar heroes. Jeff Mark was known as one of the most notable guitarists in Portland. McCourt took notice and sent Varney a demo of their recording sessions with Recording Associates. Varney offered an appearance on his compilation series. The band originally named themselves DMZ, but changed it to Wild Dogs after being inspired by two old hound dogs that the band passed daily, on the stairwell at their practice studio.

After the release of US Metal Vol 2, the response and demand for Wild Dogs increased, evidenced by local and international fan mail, and interview requests by fanzines. McCourt suggested to Shrapnel that they take the band with the best response and produce an album. Varney suggested Wild Dogs since there was most of an album recorded. However, Jaime St. James left the band to join Black n Blue in Hollywood, so the band was left with the task of finding a drummer. McCourt placed ads in the local newspaper, managed to get airplay on a local radio station and persisted at getting the demo played at local clubs during band breaks. McCourt recruited local whiz kid, 16 year old drummer Deen Castronovo to join the band. The first album was released and the band had it’s first gig on August 20, 1982 in San Francisco at The Stone, with Culprit and Varney’s band Cinema, leading to another MTV news segment. The following week the band played in Seattle, sharing the bill with TKO, Rail, Atom Bomb and Myth (Queensryche). They later toured with Slayer, Metal Church, Anthrax, Dio, Raven and Girlschool. Wild Dogs became known for its live show. With McCourt’s use of spiked baseball bats, blow up dolls and other props, and Castronovo’s twirling and stick juggling showmanship, the band earned its wild, bad boy reputation.

Wild Dogs has experienced numerous line-up changes. McCourt is the only original and constant member of the band. Several attempts to reunite most of the original band members have failed, most recently in July 2010. McCourt has kept the band active for 29 years, playing local and regional shows and international festivals with various band members. He continues to reproduce CDs and do interviews for fanzines and radio stations.

Here’s my favorite song, “Life Is Just A Game”. Give it a listen I think you will enjoy it.

Ken’s Retro Pick: EZO (1987)

 

As we all know during the 80’s there were a plethora of metal and rock bands from all different countries. EZO was formed in 1987 with former Loudness singer Masaki Yamada and former Loundness drummer Hirotsugu Homma.  Their self-titled debut album was released in 1987 on Geffen Records and co-produced by Gene Simmons of KISS fame. Songwriters from the Kiss’ entourage contributed heavily to the songs of the album.

Here’s one of my favorite songs from EZO, “Destroyer”…..Enjoy

Ken's Retro Pick: ALCATRAZZ (1983)

Those who know me, know I am a HUGE Graham Bonnet fan. Dating back to his days in Rainbow and The Michael Schenker Group I have been a follower of Bonnet. In 1983 he put together Alcatrazz. This all-star line-up consisted of Bonnet on vocals, guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen who had recently left American band Steeler, Gary Shea and Jimmy Waldo from New England and Clive Burr of Iron Maiden fame. Burr was reportedly only in the band for a week, and left upon discovering that the band was going to be based in the United States, as opposed to his native England. Burr was soon replaced by former Iron Butterfly drummer Jan Uvena, who had just left Alice Cooper’s backing band. Shea dubbed the group “Alcatrazz”. For the first album, the bulk of the material was written by Bonnet and Malmsteen, with Waldo contributing writing to several of the tracks.

The band’s debut album “No Parole From Rock ‘N’ Roll” surfaced in late 1983 on Rocshire Records. MTV gave decent support to the lead single “Island In The Sun” which showed a heavy Rainbow influence. Despite the commercial nature of the song, it barely received any radio play. The album still spent 18 weeks on the Billboard charts and peaked at No. 128. A second video was released in 1984 for “Hiroshima Mon Amour” which became very popular in Japan. Creative differences between Malmsteen and Bonnet surfaced while on tour. Due to this and his admitted desire to begin a solo career, Malmsteen quit in 1984 and formed his own band Rising Force who signed with Polydor Records. Rochsire then put out “Live Sentence”, a concert recording from the recent tour of Japan. A live video concert was also produced. Malmsteen tried to prevent the release of the album but failed. A few Rainbow covers were included, including the classic “Since You Been Gone”. The album would reach No. 133 in the US. Waldo replaced Malmsteen with Steve Vai, former Frank Zappa guitarist, despite resistance from Bonnet, and the band signed with Capitol Records. The group worked on new material and then headlined another tour of Japan which introduced Vai to the fans and allowed them to play new material from the upcoming album.

Here are a few songs from Alcatrazz, “Island in the Sun” and “God Blessed Video”

Ken’s Retro Pick – CIRITH UNGOL (1980)

Cirith Ungol formed in 1972 out of Ventura California. I liked the sound of this band primarily because of the bass lines and the unique vocals.  Although the band formed in 1972 it wasn’t until 1980 that they signed with Enigma Records with their first album,  Frost and Fire. The line-up of the band was Michael Flint on bass, Greg Lindstrom on guitar, Robert Garven on drums, Jerry Fogle on guitar and Tim Baker on vocals. Unfortunately, founding guitarist Jerry Fogle passed away on August 20, 1998 of liver failure.

After their release of their fourth album, Paradise Lost,  the band split up due to frustration caused by problems with their new record company. On a side note, While Michael “Flint” Vujejia is credited as the bass player on this album, it has been confirmed in several interviews that Greg Lindstrom was actually the bassist on this album.

Here is Cirith Ungol’s classic, Frost and Fire.