Well, here we are again, another end of year list. First, big thanks to you for reading and engaging with us. I have to say, this year’s list is more well-rounded than previous year-end lists. I guess it is because I continue to get exposed to new bands and others that have been out a while, but are new to me. Take my #1 for example. I knew they were out there, but took it took me a while to sit down and have a serious listen. I am glad I did. One major difference between this year and my other lists is the (almost) absence of thrash metal bands. While there are a few, not as much as I would normally have on my list. Seems as though my taste in progressive based metal is expanding. I guess it’s time to see for yourself. Enjoy, and let’s have another great year in metal. Read the rest of this entry →
Posted in Best of 2015
Tags: A Metal State of Mind Best of 2015, Baroness, Best of 2015, Bloom, Caligula's Horse, Cattle Decapitation, Condition Human, Crooked Doors, Dormant Heart, Ensiferum, Finsterforst, Ghost, Intronaut, iron maiden, Leprous, Mach Didh Frei, Meliora, One Man Army, Purple, Queensryche, Royals Thunder, Soilwork, Sylosis, Symphony X, The Antropocene Extinction, The Book of Souls, The Congregation, The Direction of Last THings, The Ride Majestic, The Ruined World, Trials, Underworld
If there’s a single band that personifies heavy metal more than Iron Maiden, fill me in. Metallica? Lars is a dweeb who sues his fans… and Lulu and angry saints. Slayer? They have become caricatures of themselves. Black Sabbath? Sharon Osborne and 1984-1990 happened. Judas Priest? Close, but lack that little something special. No, there isn’t a band out there that can out metal Iron Maiden and after 30 years of inhabiting the embodiment of heavy metal they still continue to be metal as fuck. For example, while recording The Book of Souls, the bands 16th studio album, Bruce Dickinson was suffering from a cancer on his tongue he reportedly got from kissing his wife in an Australian manner one too many times. He went on to record his parts on the record with golf ball sized tumors in his tongue and throat. He then kicked that cancer’s ass. Metal as fuck? I think so.
Because he wasn’t singing when he was at 100%, while still excellent, you can hear that Bruce is really pushing himself. That imperfection is what makes Iron Maiden so perfect and so metal. What is at the core of ‘having a metal state of mind’ more so than determination? Even when lambasted for records like No Prayer for the Dying and Virtual XI Steve Harris and Co. kept their cool, improved themselves, and kept on delivering countless amazing shows and a stack of great songs and albums. With a string of albums that were pretty damn good but not up to the exceedingly high Iron Maiden standards, the English gents, determined as ever, rise to the challenge and attempt to deliver their biggest album to date.
Why single out one video when you can get an entire concert? This week, I was trolling around YouTube looking for new things wondering why I can’t hear anything and in the process came across Iron Maiden Rock in Rio. If you haven’t experienced the splendor of a Maiden concert you are missing out. I have only seen them once and it saddens me I have not seen them more often. So, for now enjoy this concert if you have a couple of hours to kill. Strangely enough, I cannot get any sound out of YouTube. I get sound everywhere else, but nothing out of YouTube. I sure hope this video sounds good because it does look good. Never mind, I figured out the sound thing…silly me. It does sound good!
Talking to other metal admirers has certainly opened my ears to a world of music I barely knew existed. I have to say, my library has expanded quite a bit over the years though meeting friends in blogs and social forums. A recent conversation on a facebook forum called “I, Author of Despair” led me to do some soul searching on songs that define my taste in music, more specifically heavy metal. When asked, I usually tell people I just like the aggressive nature of the music, but after thinking about it for a bit I realized there are so many other reasons that define my particular taste…reasons that opened the door to my favorite genres and opened further doors to new ones. Those 10 reasons in no particular order are Speed, Cadence, and Flow; Rhythm and Groove; Guitars; Presentation and Appearance; Disposition; Artistic Impression; Technicality; Poignant Intelligible Lyrics; Storytelling; and Aggression. Although some of the bands used to articulate the things that define my taste can cross over into multiple areas, I use them as good examples of why it defines my taste in music.
Concert Review: Sonisphere Milan (Rho Fiera) June 8th, 2013 (Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Mastodon, Ghost)
Between countless bits of memorabilia, various t-shirts, an extensive Iron Maiden discography, and a tattoo of Eddie the Head taking up half of my back it’s quite obvious that I am quite the die-hard Iron Maiden fan. So the second I heard that Bruce, Steve, Adrian, Nicko, Dave, Janick, and Eddie were going to be making a stop in Milan to headline the Sonisphere festival it was an immediate ticket purchase, especially after a 6 year dry spell where I haven’t seen my all time favorite band live. At first the only band that was announced was Iron Maiden, and even if Justin Beeber and The Spice Girls were also playing I would have dropped the €60 regardless, I was still curious to which other bands would be on the bill. Lucky for me the ridiculously Satanic doomsters Ghost were announced as well as a band that truly lives up to their name, Mastodon. Also on the bill was Megadeth and a couple of other bands whose names escape me and were on the stage too early for me to see. With such a damn fine line-up and my expectation blasting through the roof did the show live up? Long story short, Hell Fuck Yeah!!!
Ok, since I am going to Sonisphere Italy tomorrow to see Ghost, Mastodon, Megadeth, and IRON F’N MAIDEN I really haven’t been listen to/watching anything other than Maiden videos lately, so I’m a bit behind the curve on what’s new and cool this week in heavy metal video land. So let’s take a trip down memory lane.
My favorite Iron Maiden video ever is “Can I Play With Madness”. When I was a budding Iron Maiden fan I thought this was the coolest thing in the world mainly because of the short animation of Eddie the Head and would swear that there was some kind of Iron Maiden cartoon in England. I would beg my parents to find the cartoon for me and would drag them to the TV whenever the video came on to prove to them an Iron Maiden cartoon really existed. Of course they tried to tell me it was just a promotional video and there wasn’t really an Eddie the Head cartoon but I wasn’t having any of that. So, after many months of disappointment of never getting my Iron Maiden cartoon I just settled for the 2 seconds of animation in the music video which I recorded with our shiny new VCR and would rewind and re-watch this video ad nauseum. And the lizards in the video names are Rocky and Razor and they can transform into huge dragons and they eat mean teachers.
What’s your favorite Iron Maiden video and why? Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!
When we started our “best of” lists a while back, we never showed each other what our favorites were before we posted them. It wasn’t intentional nor was it a secret…it just ended up that we didn’t share our lists with anyone until it was time to post. Matt’s list of favorite albums and cover tunes was as much of a surprise to me as I am sure mine was to him. Despite being interested in many of the same bands, our musical tastes vary even though we are both huge fans of metal and everything under that umbrella. For the first time, we have actually picked the same favorite #1 on any of our lists. A few weeks ago, we both noticed that neither one of us posted this special cover that we both know each other likes a lot. Low and behold, it’s because it’s sitting at number one. -Reggie
Our thoughts after the jump.
After I had heard that Djali Zwan cover of Iron Maiden’s “Number of the Beast” I didn’t think acoustic lightning could ever strike twice with an Iron Maiden tune. And wrong I was. It struck twice and harder the second time around when my ears caught onto alt-country star Ryan Adams’ take on Maiden’s “Wasted Years”. Unlike the other cover, the shift into a more somber and stripped mood didn’t completely change the meaning of the song or make it depressing. Ryan’s arrangement still gleams with the positivity of the original but this time around it takes on a more everyman feel to it, something that even my mother could connect with (she’s not the biggest metal head in the world 😉 ). There is loads of emotion and passion added to the song, and that’s a lot given how charged the original is. I really don’t have much else to say about this song other than it gives me chills each time I listen to it. Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!
Ryan Adams Version:
Original Iron Maiden Version:
The first time I heard this cover of one of Iron Maiden’s most celebrated songs, “The Number of the Beast”, it kinda of creeped up on me and caught me off guard. Me and a couple of buddies had rented a movie called Spun from the video shop (remember those?) and not to long after popping it in my ears and brain got a bit confused. I heard the moody acoustic guitars setting the rather depressing tone for the movie, but within a few seconds of the lyrics kicking I started saying this sounds really familiar. Didn’t take me long to catch on that the tune was an acoustic cover. And I don’t know if it was the context of the movie, which is about crystal meth addiction, or just an awesome job rearranging the song, but the lyrics of “The Number of the Beast” take on a whole new meaning in this cover. In the original Iron Maiden version they have a very literal feel to them as images of demons and monsters course through the mind. But here the demons that show themselves are grounded in real life alluding to the number of the beast being drug addiction.
If you have yet to see Spun, do check it out, it’s one hell of a mindrape of a movie filled with wacked out, yet sobering scenes and some terrific acting from Mickey Rourke, Jason Schwarzman, and Brittney Murphy (Trailer). Check out the cover and the original and let us know what you think of this take on The Number of the Beast. Peace Love and Metal!!!!
Djali Zwan version:
Original Iron Maiden Version:
Last year, for the 2011 Grammy Awards (click here for our 2011 poll), there were some cool deserving bands nominated for an award. Dream Theater received their first nomination and Mastodon and Megadeth were also nominated. However, it was Foo Fighters who swept anything and everything related to Rock/Metal. Nothing bad on them, they deserve to be awarded for their work, they are a great band. But, it’s painfully obvious that the Grammy Committee is still unable to draw the line between Rock, Hard Rock, and Metal. They need to separate these categories completely. Incidentally, A Metal State of Mind voters wanted Dream Theater to win.