Category Archives: Theme Thursday
On Theme Thursday which is once a week, we will try to come up with a theme and discuss metal in accordance with said theme. Time permitting, we will do this every week. Check it out and enjoy the read.
The riff, a melodic phrase, often constantly repeated, forming an accompaniment or part of an accompaniment for a soloist. In metal, we are not lacking in the heavy use of them. In fact the large majority of all metal and hard rock revolves around the riff. The riff is what hooks you into a song, it’s what drives to keep you engaged, it’s what determines the phrasing of a good solo or breakdown. So, needlessly saying, a fine riff will often lead to a great song. Some bands excel at creating bold and brazen riffs (eg. doom metal, death metal, groove metal) and others may use a more mellow, low-key riff to build atmospheres for the other instruments to build a dynamic off of (eg. black metal, post-metal). But whatever the approach is, the power of the riff compels us!
Some riffs have gone down in metal history as the greatest groups of music ever created. Upon hearing the first few notes of the riff, you can identify the song in no time flat and chances are that the riff has spent extended time stuck in your brain more than once. Here’s a list of what I consider the best riffs of heavy metal. To show fairness to the newer bands out there, they’ll get inclusions also, so if you see a track you don’t know here, give it a listen, I guarantee there will be a damn sick riff contained within. But on the flipside, I also feel that the real signifier of a solid and memorable riff is the test of time. If over 20 years after hearing it the effect it has on me is still the same and my enjoyment of the song is still immense, then that sir, is a f’n killer riff. To not turn this into a list of best Black Sabbath, Pantera, or ‘Tallica riffs, I’m limiting myself to one song per band, so if you dig a riff more than one not included in the list, make sure to give it a shout out in the comments. And also, this is just scratching the surface of the best riffs in metal/hard rock, so be prepared for part deuce. Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!
In popular internet meme culture no meme has become as big as the infamous ‘Rick-Roll’. For those not in the know, when you ‘rick-roll’ someone, you trick them into watching, listening, reading, or doing anything that has to do with Rick Astley’s hit song “Never Gonna Give You Up”. The gag originally started when a Youtube user wanted to play a joke on a bunch of Halo fans by creating a video promising footage of the upcoming Halo 3 game and instead the video quickly cut to footage of the turbo-cheesy video for “Never Gonna Give You Up”. Hilarity of tons of pissed off Halo fans ensued. Since then it has become common throughout the whole of the internet to this day to squeeze in a Rick-Roll when ever possible. Some jokes are just timeless.
It wasn’t long before people started solely using the song for practical joking purposes and just started having fun with it. Covers and mash-up started popping up all over the internet and some are damn quality bits. Proof of a well written song is how well it can work outside it’s comfort zone and the comfort zone furthest removed from 80s pop music is most likely heavy metal. Since I have already ruined the practical joke part of this post by telling you you’re about to get Rick-Rolled, sit back and have a laugh at some of the better uses of “Never Gonna Give You Up” I’ve come across from the realm of metal. Enjoy!! Peace Love and Astley!!!!
Last year I made up my ultimate Halloween playlist for metalheads looking to dress in motley, down some beer and Jager shots, and have a good time. The songs on that list carried an up beat energy and worked well with a party atmosphere. This year I’d like to make another playlist, but instead of focusing on having a good time, this list is going to contain music made to make the listener uncomfortable and all round f’ with their head. The songs (if you would call some of them that) presented here would fit right at home in one of those really well done haunted hay rides, haunted house, or an abandoned insane asylum that has a few nutcases roaming the halls. Some of the music here isn’t technically metal (or even ‘music’), but one thing it will do is scare the living daylights out of you or any unsuspecting visitor you play it for. Enjoy! Peace Love and Metal!!!
I think most metalheads like a good cover tune. What separates a good cover from a bad one? Do you like when the cover is basically exactly the same or recreated using a basic shell of the original song? For me, it doesn’t really matter as long as it’s good. I like both kinds of cover tunes. Some bands lend themselves to being covered more than others. For example, how many Megadeth covers do you hear out there? I think there are a few, but not enough to stack a CD full of Megadeth covers. Is that because Mustaine’s vocals are too hard to recreate? Is it because the guitar work is too hard for the average guitarist? You hardly ever hear bands cover Anthrax or Opeth. I have yet to hear a band cover Blitz’s unique vocals in Overkill. I am sure there are rough and edgy recordings on YouTube out there, but for the most part they are very rare.
Who doesn’t like funny pictures, especially when they’re about metal. If you follow our humble little blog on Facebook you have probably seen them pop up on a semi-regular basis and they will continue to pop up as I keep stumbling on them. For those who don’t follow us on the Facebook, here’s a gallery of silly metal memes I’ve collected in recent times. Enjoy, have a laugh, and if you know of a silly meme about metal not posted here post it down in the comments. Peace Love and Metal!!!
PS. A couple in the gallery aren’t metal related due to my greasy fingers when adding them. I don’t feel like waiting for the whole thing to upload again, so have a laugh at a couple of non metal memes.
Since my creative juices seem to be running at a minimum today, here a nice fun and easy post. A metal/hard rock band for each letter of the alphabet. I’ll pick the first band that jumps into my head on a given letter. Readers, make your own metal and/or hard rock alphabet and post it in the comments, it should be cool to see what bands first pop into everyone’s minds. Enjoy and have fun!! Peace Love and Metal!!!
A is for Anthrax
Other than listening to metal, one of my other favorite things to do is going to live shows and listen to it at ear-numbing decibel levels. Being 39 and having a job has given me ample time and decent resources to see shows wherever I have lived at that moment in time. Location has also been a huge factor. Growing up near Boston, MA and living in San Antonio, TX, Northern California, and England has made things much easier to catch my favorite bands. For that, I am very thankful yet, some bands still elude me. I have managed to catch Megadeth 14 times, Slayer 10 times, and Dream Theater 5 times, plus many others multiple times, but for some reason others have slipped away; some by no fault other than my own. This list is of bands I have yet to see live and still want to see live very much. If you have seen these bands live and think I shouldn’t go, let me know.
I like a good interview especially one that is videotaped for a show. The only problem with being a metal fan is that really good interviews can be hard to find. Sure, there are tons of interviews to sift through, but the problem with most of them are that they tend to be short – anywhere from two to seven minutes give or take. Often, they are backstage after the show and the questions tend to revolve around the performance, interaction with fans, or the status of the latest album. That’s all fine and dandy, but I like to hear good thought-provoking questions. What do I think classifies as a good interview? In my own humble opinion, there needs to be at least 20-minutes to enable a decent discussion to take place. Otherwise, it’s just a question and answer session that provides basically the same information that can be read online.
When the descriptors ‘avant-garde’, ‘cross-over’, or ‘experimental’ gets tossed onto a metal band many people tend to look away as thoughts of music that is too strange for their tastes comes to their minds. And honestly, ya, sometimes that is often the case, but as always it is not de-facto. So, as par for the course, I’m going to highlight some avant-garde bands that are some quality listens and have an experimental style that will appeal to those that don’t like anything too strange (to an extent, there will be a couple deeper cuts). To take it a step further, the songs and bands in this collection will be more on an upbeat note leaning towards having fun with their music as they experiment with what can actually be done within the metal genre. So, call ’em avant-garde, experimental, cross-over, or WTF metal, but don’t say that they didn’t make you smile. Enjoy! Peace Love and Metal!!!
I was trolling YouTube looking for some videos I missed since Music Television no longer plays videos. While seeking out my favorite bands I came across a sampling of Sam Dunn’s work to include at least one full movie. You may recognize his name as the guy who put together several documentaries exploring heavy metal genres and history from an anthropological standpoint. They were very well-done documentaries and I think heavy metal needed it. We (metalheads) have so many genres under the umbrella of heavy metal; it was nice to see how the puzzle pieces fit together and how elements of combined genres formed new ones. It was also cool watching Dunn trace back heavy metal as we know it today all the way back to its origins. You may have seen his work even if you never heard of the guy.