RUSH Rocks HP Pavilion in San Jose – Clockwork Angels Tour

For the 14th time in my life,  it was with absolute pleasure that I got to see Rush in concert. Looking back to my first Rush concert, Grace Under Pressure in 1984, this band never ceases to amaze me. And amaze me they did on Thursday November 15th. It is very difficult for me to actually pin point a certain tour that I would call my favorite. But with many highlights, Rush keeps coming back with something a little bit better each tour. While attending the Time Machine Tour with my daughter, whose concert was her first, was very special for me being it a Rush concert, I would have to say Clockwork Angels tour is probably one of the best Rush shows I have ever seen.

Many surprises, pleasant surprises, on this tour. The entire first set of the show, Rush did not play one new song. They stuck to the classics as a bit of a warm up leading to the second half. Opening with one of my all time favorite songs, Subdivisions Rush played many classics following such as Big Money, Force Ten, Body Electric and Analog Kid. Also in the first set was Grand Designs, Territories, Bravado, Where’s My Thing? and Far Cry.  Now I mentioned many surprises. One such surprise was drummer Neil Peart’s drum solo coming early  in the first set during the song Where’s My Thing?. It was a short drum solo but pleased the crowd none the less. When Peart started his solo I turned to my brother and looked at him and said, “Wow, this is kinda early”. But it was a preview of what was more to come. Peart also did a drum solo in the second set during Headlong Flight and Manhattan Project. It was something different from Peart doing 3 mini drum solos instead of one long one as he is usually accustomed to doing.

Yet another surprise. After the intermission and right before the start of Caravan, a small 8 string orchestra set up behind Peart’s drum set.  This is the same stringed orchestra that performed on the Clockwork Angels studio album. Let by conductor David Campbell who has done work going as far back as the 1970’s working with Carole King, Art Garfunkel and Jackson Browne to working with rockers Evanescence, Def Leppard and Aerosmith to name just a few. Kicking off the second set with Caravan, it was something else to see more musicians on stage with this trio.  The strings stayed on stage and played 13 songs in a row with Rush. What an experience watching this unfold live.  Off the Clockwork Angels album, the second set consisted of Caravan, Clockwork Angels, The Anarchist, Carnies, The Wreckers, Headlong Flight Wish Them Well, Seven Cities of Gold and The Garden. Here are a few videos of the tour with the strings orchestra playing Caravan and The Garden.

After The Garden, came Manhattan Project where Peart played his 3rd and final drum solo.  After the solo came another one of my favorites, Red Sector A followed by YYZ and The Spirit of Radio. The encore were the classics Tom Sawyer and 2112/Temples of Syrinx. This was such a powerful show and if you missed Rush on their Clockwork Angels Tour and they come back around to your area,  I highly recommend to check out the show.

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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Devil's Spotlight: Sequester releases "Ancestry" EP

Back in April 2012 I spotlighted Canadian “band” Sequester. The band consists of one member, Ryan Boc. Boc is the vocalist, guitarist, bassist and drummer.

In early October 2012 I received an email from Boc who saw my post I did on Sequester. I thought this was so cool, I mean you just never know who is looking at That Devil Music let alone it be someone you are writing about. I thanked Boc for taking the time to write to me about the posting.

In the mean time he gave me access to Sequester’s new album, Ancestry. Boc delivered again with4 new songs, A Feral Apparition,  Niseag, Bonnie Dundee and Skye Boat Song. All four songs are very different in their own way which is something I really liked.  While I enjoyed all four songs, A Feral Apparition and Bonnie Dundee really stood out for me.  A Feral Apparition was total metal with Boc not missing a step. Bonnie Dundee is traditional Scottish folk music with a nice metal touch.  Skye Boat Song is more of a ballad compared to the other songs with great piano and acoustic guitar playing.  The variety of music between all of these songs made me wanting more.  While it must be totally time consuming to just record one song being the sole musician after listening to the Ancestry EP, these 4 songs made me wanting more.

 Solo SEQUESTER musician, Ryan Boc

On Sequester’s website, Boc talks about the new songs on Ancestry (from September 22, 2012)

“So with the album coming out soon, I thought I’d do a brief summary about the songs and the album as a whole. As mentioned before, this is a Scottish themed album titled Ancestry, which is referring to the ‘Niven’ side of my family. With that in mind, I would like to dedicate this work to my granddad, Albert Niven, who cannot be thanked enough for all his support over the years.
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Devil's Review: Testament – Dark Roots of Earth (Rob's Version)

Has it really been 4 years since Testament came back with a vengeance with their last release, Formation of Damnation? It sure doesn’t feel like it. But here we are in 2012 and the latest release, Dark Roots of Earth has been unleashed upon the world. I’d like to first say that the security on Dark Roots was unmatched from any other metal release. No promos were ever released and the usual suspects for leaks had no record of this. That says something about the anticipation of a successful record when bloggers and the public are on even keel and the label (in this case Nuclear Blast) does what it needs to do for maximum return. It drove me crazy as Testament is easily my favorite thrash band of the past twenty years and I wanted to hear this thing really bad, but we’ll have to see what the numbers are like as a result of high security. So is Dark Roots of Earth worth all that security placed upon it?
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Devil’s Review: Testament – Dark Roots of Earth (Rob’s Version)

Has it really been 4 years since Testament came back with a vengeance with their last release, Formation of Damnation? It sure doesn’t feel like it. But here we are in 2012 and the latest release, Dark Roots of Earth has been unleashed upon the world. I’d like to first say that the security on Dark Roots was unmatched from any other metal release. No promos were ever released and the usual suspects for leaks had no record of this. That says something about the anticipation of a successful record when bloggers and the public are on even keel and the label (in this case Nuclear Blast) does what it needs to do for maximum return. It drove me crazy as Testament is easily my favorite thrash band of the past twenty years and I wanted to hear this thing really bad, but we’ll have to see what the numbers are like as a result of high security. So is Dark Roots of Earth worth all that security placed upon it?
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Among The Living Review: Bonded By Blood – The Aftermath

One of the biggest problem I think that I had with Bonded By Blood‘s last album, Exiled To Earth, was the production and the rehashed sound that they continued with from their debut full length. It wasn’t so much the musical abilities of the members, because it was all there. The solos were solid and the songs were overall pretty good, but it just sounded all too familiar, as if the band wasn’t trying to evolve their thrash sound into their own. They simply sounded as if they were continuing to be an Exodus tribute band. Continue reading

Pit of Hell: Iron Maiden in Washington, D.C.

I have been listening to Iron Maiden since I was 14 when The Number of the Beast was released.  We are talking 30 years now!  On June 30th, I finally caught them live at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, VA, a suburb of Washington, D.C.  Their tour this year is based on their Seventh Son of a Seventh Son tour seeing the band play 5 songs from that album nothing newer than 2 songs from 1992’s Fear of the Dark.  The only thing I am asking myself is – why did I wait so long?!?

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Harley’s Top Albums For The First Half of 2012

Thus far, I would say that 2012 has been a good year for Metal, but not particularly spectacular as yet.  Certainly there have been some solid releases, as well as some disappointments.  Since it is already halfway, I am pretty sure that a few of the albums here will make the year end list.  Does my list look like I would have predicted?  Nope – not even close.  I definitely expected Manowar to be here, probably another Power Metal album or two (Firewind perhaps), maybe long-time favorite Prong, as well as possibly Eluveitie’s Helvetios.  As I have it, though, with 5 albums, there is Power, Progressive, Thrash, Folk and Death-ish.

Honorable Mention: Diablo Swing Orchestra – Pandora’s Pinata.  A great improvement over their previous work, Pandora’s Pinata brings back some of the freshness of the band’s debut.

5. Overkill – The Electric Age.  I am a looooong time fan of Blitz, DD and the Wrecking Crew.  The Electric Age is simply a great thrash album.

4. Lanfear – This Harmonic Consonance.  This is a fresh (yet familiar) take on Progressive Metal.  The band has been around a while, but are new to me.  I am still finding this one rewarding and can’t wait to see them at ProgPower in a couple of months.

3. Moonspell – Alpha NoirAlthough I appreciated Moonspell’s previous album, Night Eternal, when Rob asked me if I wanted to review this one, I certainly didn’t think it was going to be one of my favorites.  Their Dark Metal suits me.

2. Pharaoh – Bury the Light.  I was absolutely looking forward to this album, and it did not disappoint.  Complex, powerful, well-written and executed, it almost could swap places with #1 depending on my mood.  I continue to hope for a Pharaoh tour.

1. Vintersorg – Orkan.  This is the biggest surprise on my list.  I definitely did not see it coming and offered to do a review on a whim.  Turns out to be my top album of this half.  Vintersorg have impressed.

So what does the 2nd half of 2012 have in store?  A few albums I am looking forward to are Testament’s Dark Roots of  Earth, Ensiferum’s Unsung Heroes, Wintersun’s Time I, Devin Townsend’s Epicloud, Grave Digger’s Clash of the Gods, Korpiklaani’s Manala, and Threshold’s March of Progress.  I am sure there will be others, and I hope at least one of them becomes that “spectacular” album of the year.

I hear the sound in a METAL way.

-Harley

Devil’s Review: Gojira – L’Enfant Sauvage

Gojira was a band that I didn’t even know how to pronounce their name before I actually heard. Like most, I thought it was pronounced like in Spanish with the ‘J’ being pronounced as an ‘H’. I had heard the name a few dozen times before Prosthetic Records sent me From Mars to Serius in 2007, two years after it was released. This was their third full length album and I have honestly not heard their first two, Terra Incognito and The LinkFrom Mars To Serius really caught my interest and made me eager to hear more from this band that was doing something different during a time when metalcore and deathcore was running strong. The Way of All Flesh was in my top ten of another blog I once edited in 2008. Will L’Enfant Sauvage make my top ten for this year? It’s in the running, but nothing is for sure this early in the game of 2012.l There are still some really great albums I am anticipating.

Upon first listen of LS (I’m tired of typing out the full album name), my very first throughts were, “Yup, this is Gojira”. There was no mistaking their signature sound. Gojira is one of those bands that can truly and honestly say that their sound is unique. While they may sound similar to some other bands in the metal genre, they are one of the few bands that you can quickly distinguish by only hearing a fraction of a song. So how does LS compare to From Mars to Serius and The Way of All Flesh. Let’s not compare them and just focus on the current album and how it compares to itself and Gojira as a band. Continue reading

Devil's Review: Gojira – L'Enfant Sauvage

Gojira was a band that I didn’t even know how to pronounce their name before I actually heard. Like most, I thought it was pronounced like in Spanish with the ‘J’ being pronounced as an ‘H’. I had heard the name a few dozen times before Prosthetic Records sent me From Mars to Serius in 2007, two years after it was released. This was their third full length album and I have honestly not heard their first two, Terra Incognito and The LinkFrom Mars To Serius really caught my interest and made me eager to hear more from this band that was doing something different during a time when metalcore and deathcore was running strong. The Way of All Flesh was in my top ten of another blog I once edited in 2008. Will L’Enfant Sauvage make my top ten for this year? It’s in the running, but nothing is for sure this early in the game of 2012.l There are still some really great albums I am anticipating.

Upon first listen of LS (I’m tired of typing out the full album name), my very first throughts were, “Yup, this is Gojira”. There was no mistaking their signature sound. Gojira is one of those bands that can truly and honestly say that their sound is unique. While they may sound similar to some other bands in the metal genre, they are one of the few bands that you can quickly distinguish by only hearing a fraction of a song. So how does LS compare to From Mars to Serius and The Way of All Flesh. Let’s not compare them and just focus on the current album and how it compares to itself and Gojira as a band. Continue reading