Blog Archives

Video of the Week – Vio-lence

Since Machine Head just released a stellar new album, I thought I would take a trip down memory lane with this week’s video of the week.  Machine Head lead singer/guitarist Robb Flynn and lead guitarist Phil Demmel both played together in the 80’s thrash metal band Vio-lence.  If you never hear of them, they actually did quite well for themselves in the Bay Area with the likes of Testament and Death Angel. 

I read somewhere that Rob Flynn wanted to start a side project (Machine Head), but the band (or maybe certain members) said no, so he left to form Machine Head.  Phil Demmel joined Machine Head after touring and right before Through The Ashes of Empires was released.  In my own personal opinion, this is when Machine Head went from being bad-ass to holy f**kin-shit-bad-ass.

This clip is more of a piece of a documentary, but showcases the band’s top songs and also some words from the dudes of Vio-lence, 50% of which today comprise Machine Head.  Do you hear familiar guitar work in Vio-lence? I do.  Enjoy!


The New Testament

This really has nothing to do with religion (so to speak).

Bay Area thrashers Testament are back in the studio putting the finishing touches on their forthcoming album The Dark Roots of Earth which is slated for an October 2011 release.  This might be too soon after the September slaughter of metal releases, but I’m gamed!

According to an interview with vocalist Chuck Billy, this is the first album with Alex Skolnick as part of the creative process.  Skolnick did some recording and solos on Formation of Damnation, but was not present from inception to production.

Our fellow Americans will be able to catch what some would consider the next Big Four tour.  Later this year Testament will be hitting the road with none other than fellow Bay Area thrashers Death Angel and also teaming up with East Coast bashers Anthrax and Overkill.   That is a four-band bill you don’t want to miss if you live on American soil!

Here is the interview with Chuck Billy about the new album.

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The Other Big Four

So there has been a lot of talk about the Big Four (Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax) getting up on stage for the first time this summer in Poland.  The show was followed up by several others on the popular European Sonisphere Festival tour.  I had a chance to catch it (with Yungvirticus) in our local theater.  It actually gave me chills (the good kind) to see Dave and James on stage together.  All BS aside, I thought it was  a great metal moment and was happy to be one of the few in a theater somewhere in the world who got to see it.  Soon, I will own it on DVD (Come on Santa!) and see it all over again.

So why am I writing this blog?  Well other people seem to think that other bands should have been included in the Big Four…but then it would be like the Big Six or Big Eight or something.  Personally, the Big Four deserve the credit they received and earned the Big Four moniker.  So who else to you think could have or should have been Big Four material?  Who do you think might have been overlooked as a pioneer of thrash and metal as we know it today?  Well I have my thoughts on this.  So if Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax never existed, who would be the Big Four?  Here are my picks.

1.  Overkill – These guys have been thrashing about (mostly on the East Coast since the early 80s and have not let up.  If anything, they deserve credit for staying power, but one thing that I like about Overkill is that they keep it real.  They had a few weak albums (as all bands do), but overall Overkill is just the epitome of a thrash band.  Some of their better work is The Years of Decay, Horrorscope, From the Underground and Below, and the new Ironbound.  Ironbound is simply amazing and I recommend it for even the new Overkill fan.

2.  Testament – The Bay Area thrashers paved the way for many to follow.  They experimented with a few things, got slightly soft here and there, but for the most part, they thrashed and I was happy to be a part of a few Testament pits in my day.  They are still thrashing their way around the world and Chuck is still belting out those deep growls.  It’s also great to have Alex back in the band for the charged energetic melodies he is so good at.

3.  Pantera – This band may have very well started in 1990 or possibly the very late 80s, but how can you deny their influence on metal.  When Pantera came out is was like OMFG, these guys can shred.  I loved them instantly and I have to say that some of the best pits I have partaken in were Pantera pits…among others.  These guys punched grunge in the face and kept metal on the map.  RIP Dimebag!

4.  Machine Head – These guys got their start a little later than Overkill and Testament, but when I heard Burn My Eyes, I was hooked and knew they had some staying power.  Machine Head also tried some different things (which I respect), but there is no denying that their last two efforts Through the Ashes of Empires and The Blackening were simply superb metal albums.  The Blackening especially was truly a great metal abum…every song kicks ass!

So, there you have my Big Four if the current Big Four never existed.  Did I leave anyone out?  Perhaps Sepultura, Helloween, Flotsam and Jetsam, Fear Factory, Death Angel, or Annihilator would have made your list. I  would love to hear what you think.