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Roundtable Review: Red Mourning – Where Stone And Water Meet

CoverLabel: Bad Reputation

Release Date:  May 15, 2014

Songs:  13

Genre:  Blues-core/groove/stoner

Studio Albums:  Time to go 2008, Pregnant With Promises 2011

Location:  Paris, France

For Fans of: Pantera, Down, Lamb Of God, Alice In Chains

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Mik’s Top 100 Favourite Albums of All Time #45-41


A while ago, at the same time as Matt and Reggie, I posted my Top 100 All Time Favourite (Metal) Albums over at the forum The History of Metal on FB. It took a good amount of time and effort to put it together, but it was so much fun! My taste in metal is always changing, so the list will not always look the same. In fact, it’s already a bit different than it was when I first put it together and posted it on the forum seven months ago.

I tried to limit myself to three albums per band to make the list a little more diverse and interesting. I don’t really consider the ‘test of time’-factor when selecting what albums that will go on my list, instead I measure it by how strongly the album has affected me emotionally and how much/often it has helped me through both good and bad phases in my life. That’s why you can find quite a few newer releases among my favourites too.


# 45 Ne Obliviscaris – Portal Of I

Ne Obliviscaris is a band I feel deserve a lot more attention. They are an extreme/progressive metal band from Australia and their debut ‘Portal of I’ ended up on many best of the year-lists in 2012, and rightfully so. The technically complex blend of progressive and melodic black metal with jazz and classical influences is stunningly beautiful. The violins play a big part in their songs and it creates a chilling, haunting sound that is impossible to not get addicted to.

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Quickie Reviews: Atilla, Hell, Alice In Chains, Palms

601769_495610077170679_1177019305_nFor those inflicted with a healthy dose of ADD, here’s a nice round of quick reviews and a nice wide variety of new metal/rock releases.  So, after the jump take a quick gander at my condensed thoughts on these 4 albums.  Enjoy! Peace Love and Metal!!!

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Reggie’s Top 25 Favorite Cover Songs #19 – Would?

eVBGQkJXeE9hUDQx_o_opeth---would-alice-in-chains-coverWhen the Grunge movement kicked in, I was hesitant at first, but then fell for it full force.  You name all those popular bands at the time and I probably had their first and/or second albums.  Just as fast as I fell for the genre, I began to dislike it.  I still listen to some of those early albums by Nirvana, Soungarden, and Pearl jam, but never listened to anything they did post 1994-ish…except for Alice in Chains.  Initially, I didn’t care for them either, but when I went to see the Clash of the Titans Tour (Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax) two days in a row, it was Alice in Chains opening…playing songs from their debut album Facelift.  I took a liking to it and out of all those “Seattle” bands; I kept up with Alice in Chains, for the most part.

Overall, this is an unlikely cover.  Who would have thought metal veterans Opeth would pick this song to cover?  It was recorded during the Watershed sessions for the single Burden.  The original Alice in Chains version was recorded as part of the soundtrack to the movie Singles in 1992 for which the band also had a cameo.  Akerfeldt’s voice is the perfect tone to cover this song.  They added a bit of Opeth flair to it, but can be easily identified by anyone who knew this song.  I would love an Opeth album of covers.

Here is the covered version by Opeth found on the Burden single release.

This is the original song and video by Alice in Chains.

Favorite Cover Song #20

Videos of the Week: Hollow and March to the Sea

Have you ever seen that movie Sunshine or the Alien prequel Prometheus.  If not, do check them out, both are great movies and I would imagine that the director of Alice in Chains latest video will reaffirm my recommendation tenfold.  Their latest video is chock full of the outer spacy, stylized, something-bad’s-going-to-happen feel and vibe of those flicks.  Anywho, it’s a really neat video with some cool special effects and cinematography.  And the song is bad ass as well.  Check it out, and get excited for AiC’s new album to be released later this year.

Also new and notable this week is the new video from Baroness.  While it may just seem like a simple collage of recorded live footage, knowing what the band has been through and how hard they are pushing themselves now give much more power to the snippits of live shots.  If you didn’t know, this summer while on their European tour, Baroness were involved in a bus accident in the UK where their tour bus careened off the side of a cliff.  Fortunately there were no deaths, but everyone on the bus suffered some pretty bad injuries with singer/guitarist/songwriter John Baizley facing an amputation of his arm (he is also a painter, so that makes it double suck) and drummer Allen Blickle and bassist Matt Maggione suffering from fractured vertebrae.  Needless to say injuries like those can end a career of a touring musician.  The band however is making fast recovery and pushing their bodies to the max to get back on track and out into the world to continue touring and making music.  You really got to give the band credit for really pushing for what they love to do and this video serves as a reminder that despite nearly losing their lives to touring, the band is driving to continue bring you glorious music.

Matt’s Top 100 Favorite Albums of All Time: #20-#16

Over on my favorite forum for rambling about metal, The History of Metal (it’s an open Facebook forum, so anyone, meaning you, can join and flap your jaw about metal with a wide variety of metalheads from all over the world), the admin made a challenge to all the members to create their top 100 albums of all time. Loving making lists I’m all on this. Between the ~1500 albums I have there is a lot to filter through and this has turned into quite a daunting, yet fun, challenge. This list will represent where I am with my favorite albums right now, if I were to do this last year or next year, while being similar, I’m sure there would be lots of differences. My only self-imposed limitation on this is I’m confining each band 3 albums in the list to avoid entire, very large, discographies over saturating it. Every 5 days or so I’ll make a post with the next 5 entries into the list. Fellow bloggers, I extend this challenge to you (and be sure to let me know where and when you’ll be posting it, I’d love to read it), and for readers without a blog join up with THOM and post yours there! Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!

#20 Still Life by Opeth

And here is where Opeth hits the ball out of the park. With a sizable recording budget and a huge vision everything about Opeth improved immensely over their previously recorded material (which is a trio of damn fine albums, so that’s saying something). The inclusion of new member Martin Mendez on bass brought some much-needed full body to Opeth’s sound and perfectly compliment Mikael’s much deeper growls and the massive improvement of Martin Lopez’s drumming add a great groove to the album ultimately adding yet another enthralling dynamic to Opeth’s sound. I love everything about this record from its flowing and serpentine song structures to the somewhat cliché’ yet Opeth makes it work narrative about a man exiled from his village and torn away from his love for not believing in God. There’s that harrowing intro the album in “The Moor”, the acoustic melody section in “Godhead’s Lament”, that solo in “Benighted”, the insanely sick riffs of “Moonlapse Vertigo”, the damn cool jazzy nature of “Face of Melinda” (pointless Opeth trivia: did you know Mikael’s daughter is named Melinda?), and the brutality of “Serenity Painted Death”. If you need proof that Opeth are one of the best bands in the whole of music you needn’t look any further than Still Life (or further down my list 😉 ).

#19 Sabotage by Black Sabbath

The last great Sabbath album before the Ozzy-era Sabbath started to show signs of wear and tear Sabotage contains some of the bands most diverse and solid work. From the hard rockers “Hole in the Sky” and “Thrill of it All”, the rock epics “Megalomania” and “The Writ”, and the ‘I swear if I ever become a pro wrestler this will be my epic intro music’ “Supertzar”, there is so much to love about this album. As always Tony Iommi is a beast writing some of the riffs which would later inspire me to pick up a guitar and Ozzy’s unique voice sounds superb throughout the whole record. Not much more to say other than I adore this record, Bill Ward’s red pants and Ozzy’s high heels on the cover crack me up, and “Megolomania” is one of my favorite songs of all time.

#18 Panopticon by Isis

Hearing Isis for the first time is an experience I will never forget. I was attending a Tool concert at an open-air venue and had lawn seats. Me and my buddies got there early enough for the opening bands. I happened to be in a really chill mood that day and the weather was beautiful out so I thought I would pass some time by just laying down on the lawn and zoning out. Isis happened to be the opening band at the show and when they took the stage I just continued to lay there staring at the sky turn from day to night in my own little world while they played their music. Feeling the vibrations from the amps in my body and the tones from the my ears it wasn’t long before the combination of my self-inflicted trance and the hypnotizing music of Isis transported me to another world and for the hour that they were on stage I just lay there blissfully floating on cloud 9. To put how that experience felt into words is hard to do, but it felt so spiritual and out-of-body. Needless to say the next day I was quick to the record store to grab me an Isis record which happened to be Panopticon and I was instantly in love with it. Any time I need to put my spirit to rest and just zone out this is one of the first records I reach for. And when I just want to hear some great post-metal Panopticon also fits the bill. All of their other records are excellent, but this one holds a special place in my heart due to the above experience.

#17 Vulgar Display of Power by Pantera

While I love Cowboys from Hell, on VDoP Pantera really found their sound and took it to a new level. Angrier vocals spat from Phil’s mouth for war, insane riffs and solos rise to make listeners fucking hostile, a tighter rhythm section you’d have to live in a hole not to notice, and a crisper production make this album take a walk across the Rubicon as one of the must have classic metal albums of all time and without it your record collection is quite hollow. Even regular people who once thought metal was no good grooved on this album as it stormed the charts. This love I have for this album is immense and, by demons be driven, I will constantly spin this album regularly until the day I day.

#16 Jar of Flies by Alice in Chains

As much as I love AiC’s heavier works, I feel the band shined brightest when they mellowed out and played their somber semi-acoustic ballads. While the tone on Jar of Flies is anything but happy, the sincerity in the songs is more than true. Layne’s lyrics and vocals may be about his struggles with addiction, but written so well that just about any human can find a way to perfectly relate to his introspection. Paired with Jerry Cantrell’s amazing guitar work and songwriting skills, JoF is a 30 minutes of intensely powerful music that brings positivity to a brooding session. For me, JoF is a very personal album with songs like “Rotten Apple” and “No Excuses” really hitting me on a very personal level and “Nutshell” almost bringing me to tears every time I hear it.

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Reggie’s Top 100 Favorite Albums of All Time #80-76

Continuing on with our Top 100 list at The History of Metal, I bring you my next five with a little bit of justification.  If you haven’t checked out The History of Metal or THOM as we call it, please do it’s a cool forum to talk about and share metal.  The page creator does a great job as keeping topics fresh and he also takes the time to pose challenges to the group; Top 100 Albums being one of them.  I think the best part of this whole challenge besides getting to see everyone else’s choices is to reminisce about why I love these albums so much.  It gets me listening to some of these I haven’t heard in a while.  Not to mention, seeing everyone elses favorites gets me to explore some things I haven’t heard yet.  Enjoy!

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Song the Week: Head Creeps

One great think about doing my Top 100 list is rediscovering some albums that I used to listen to a lot and haven’t given a good spin in a long time.  A great example of this is Alice in Chains final album with the late Layne Staley.  I always felt that the self titled record was highly underrated.  It’s probably their darkest record and the hardest one to digest, but there is such a wealth of content on it.  One of my favorite tracks off the album is “Head Creeps”.  That sludgy riffs and Layne’s haunting and tortured vocals add such a thick atmosphere to the song and the catchy chorus doesn’t let the claustrophobic air overburden the tune.

This song is quite a deep look into the mind of a junkie and Layne Staley.  At the point in which AIC wrote the album he was pretty far along into his heroin and hard drug addiction and “Head Creeps” is an attack on the things that Layne thought were against him such as the media publicizing his addiction.  Also in his paranoia he writes off those that were also trying to help him.  He has given up hope that he will overcome his demons and just wants to enjoy his high and leave his body in peace.  It’s a very tragic song and situation, but an emotional and important look into someone, which in turn may help you understand how a heroin addled junkie’s mind works.  It could also be Layne’s way of warning others the hell of addiction.  If you know anyone stuck on hard drugs, don’t look down on them, do what is in your power to help them, even if they don’t want it, deep down inside, they do.  Peace Love and Metal!!!

Monday Metal Madness – Grunge

Congrats to Dethklok for sweeping the polls last week!

I have been watching this 12-part series on Sky called Metal Evolution.  It’s pretty good and quite a comprehensive look at metal from its humble beginnings to where metal stands today.  One particular episode was dedicated mostly to the grunge movement of the early 90s.  Some say it never should have been called “metal.”  Others disagree.  No matter how you look at it, I think grunge was always a sub-genre of metal.  Did you get into or were you ever into grunge?  I jumped on that bandwagon briefly.  I thought it was new and interesting, but it never stuck with me except for one or two bands.  Below is a list of popular grunge bands that made quite  name for themselves, even if their stay in the mainstream was short-lived.  Most are still at it today or making their comebacks.  Here are my choices for this week’s poll.  Happy President’s Day.

Video of the Week- A Looking In View

This week’s Video of the Week will serve two purposes.  The first a bit of Alice in Chains news, the second, the video of the week.

According to Rolling Stone, Alice in Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell has stated that the band is finishing up on the writing of the follow-up to the excellent come-back album Black Gives Way to Blue and will be heading into the studio early this year to start recording.

This is a great bit of news and I am really looking forward to the new album.  Black Gives Way to Blue set the bar for A.I.C. way high and I have a good feeling, given their pedigree, that the new music will not disappoint in the slightest and will be equal too or greater than what was established on the previous.  For those who may not be aware, singer William DuVall, took the lead vocalist reins after the tragic passing of original singer Layne Staley.  While he will never replace Layne, he brings a lot to the band and fits in superbly and is a very welcome addition.  I had the pleasure of seeing tour for Black Gives Way to Blue and can certainly say that Mr. DuVall is excellent with the band and sings the Lanye Staley era songs with passion and conviction.  When they played “Love, Hate, Love”, chills man, chills.

Now onto the video.  While the topic of child abuse, rape, suicide, and religious fanaticism are nothing new in the realm of metal, Alice in Chains‘ harrowing look into these subjects are nothing short of profound and quite disquieting.  The video for “A Looking In View” captures the disturbing nature of the song and throws everything on the table.  While the video does have the blurry boxes to cover a couple naughty bits up the video is NSFW even though the really distressing parts are really left to our own imaginations.

What do you all think about heavy topics like these ones taking the forefront in metal songs?  Do you think it is necessary to show disturbing footage or allusions to rape, suicide, and child abuse in a music video?  And while I wholeheartedly believe A.i.C. was being genuine in the making of this video, some other artists use these topics for shock value.  How do you feel about that?  Let us know down in the comments.

Peace Love and Metal!!!