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Festival Review: Loud Park 2015 (Tokyo, Japan)


IMG_1633When I left England, I thought my days of hitting up summer festivals were over. America (my home) is not known for festivals though there are a few traveling ones here and there, but nothing on the scale of Europe’s legendary metal festivals. Now that I live in Japan, it’s great to see a three-stage major metal event called Loud Park. And, it’s in Tokyo! Lucky me! This year’s annual experience was the 10th anniversary and was well stocked with heavy-hitting brand names such as Slayer (day 1 headliner), Anthrax, Arch Enemy, Gojira, All That Remains, Testament, Children of Bodom, Metal Allegiance (featuring Big Four members and then some), Hammerfall, Royal Hunt, and Gamma Ray. Since I typically attend one day, I felt this lineup was the weaker of the two. Here is my review of day 2 featuring headliners Megadeth.

First things first though. Attire is important; at least the top half anyway. When going to a festival it makes choosing my tee more difficult. I have a general rule against wearing a shirt of a bands I am going to see. I think it is obvious I like the band if I am there. Therefore, I opted for a Machine Head shirt; one I hadn’t worn yet since I got it from their show in July. Read the rest of this entry

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Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade: 2012, #15 – #13


MetalCatI’d arrived at the time to start posting my songs of 2012 when I finally twigged that I’d picked only 15. Lately I’ve been posting 20 songs for each year.

To make up for that – to the music, not just for me – I’ll post 25 songs next week for 2013. That will be the last year of my year-by-year self-indulgence. I may as well finish with a flourish.

 

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Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade: 2010, #20 – #17


MetalCatDark Metal Cat says it’s healthy to have a mixed diet. Mine today consists of melodic power metal, prog metal, post hardcore and folk death.

He also has a mixed diet. He eats all his own food and all of the other cats’ food. His favourite kind of metal music tastes like tuna, he says.

 

 

 

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Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade: 2007 / #15 – #13


MetalCatIt’s very melodic here today, thanks to Kamelot, Devin Townsend and After Forever. It makes a welcome change from all the whining and complaining that usually happens in this world.

Dark Metal Cat is right — we should ask Ziltoid to transport us to a happy, contented planet. We can conquer the inhabitants and let them do the whining.

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Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade: 2005 / #3 – #1


MetalCatToday we have Pink Floyd disguised as Dream Theater. We also have Kamelot and Circus Maximus as themselves. That makes it a progmost metal selection to end the week and 2005.

If a song is both brilliant and 24 minutes long, the only way to do it justice is to post all 24 minutes of it.

 

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Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade: 1998 / #15 – #13


MetalCatI could have used up the remaining 12% of my working brain and cut the list for 1998 to ten songs. The trouble is that many favourite songs change places quite often on anyone’s list, and I didn’t want to leave any of these out.

Dark Metal Cat says I lack self-discipline. I retort that he lacks opposable thumbs.

 

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iTouch Report


Another great month in metal has gone by.  Many bands had great releases and March shows no signs of really slowing down.  At the end of March we will see releases from both Cavalera Conspiracy and Amon Amarth.  I am sure there will be others, but for now those two are big ones in my metal world.

What did your iTouch say about you in February?  They say technology never lies so let’s see what I have been listening to recently.  My iTouch got a good workout this month.  I started this little experiment with 576 songs and 46 bands.  At the end of the month, I had 619 songs and 50 artists.  Thank you to new DevilDriver, Black Label Society (new to me), Ensiferum (new to me), and  new Evergrey for joining the regular rotation.  Here is my Top 10 for the last half of February.  From now on, I will just do this once a month. 

10.  Megadeth – This Day We Fight – 10 plays

          This is a great song and I am not surprised to find it on the list.  I listen to this one usually with every cardio workout I do. 

9.  Black Label Society – Stillborn – 11 plays

          After seeing BLS in concert they have made their way into my regular rotation and this is one of the songs I like most off Skullage. 

8.  Kamelot – Hunter’s Season – 13 plays

          Kamelot is a great band and after possibly getting to see them in April with Evergrey, they have re-entered a regular rotation.  Hunter’s Season was a Song of the Day last week.  Since then I have listened to it intentionally numerous times.

7.  Ensiferum – Stone Cold Metal – 13 plays

          I just had to hear that banjo solo.  Only a band like Ensiferum could pull that off.

6.  Suicidal Tendencies – I Saw Your Mommy – 14 plays

          Another good workout tune here.  This song is like a satire of all those people who say metal is “kill you momma, kill your baby.”  You know the type, I am sure.  I think this song pokes fun at the people who associate metal with death and dismemberment.  Although in some cases “those” people may be right.  This is a fun song as far as I am concerned.

5.  Paradise Lost – At Horizon’s End – 14 plays

          If you are a Paradise Lost fan, then you probably noticed their latest album is much heavier than several previous releases.  I think they have gotten back to their roots a little bit here.   Faith Divides Us (Death Unites Us) is a very worthy Paradise Lost album especially if you were a fan of the Draconian Times era.

4.  Cradle of Filth – Beast of Extermination (bonus track) – 14 plays

3.  Queensryche – Lat Time in Paris – 15 plays

2.  Black Label Society – Bleed For Me – 15 plays

1.  Bloodbath – Devouring The Feeble – 16 plays

          Another great cardio tune.  This is perhaps one of my top 3 all-time favorite death metal songs.  I can only take death metal in small doses.  Bloodbath is a solid death metal band probably because they are made up of mostly Opeth and Katatonia members.  So the musicianship is there; they are very talented.  Bloodbath take the repetitious speed/death snare drum and actually throw some melody into death without compromising anything. 

I was surprised to see DevilDriver didn’t make the top 10, but they were close at around 8 plays for each song on Beast.  I am sure the end of March report will have multiple DD songs on it. 

My favorite song on this top 10 right now is This Day We Fight from Megadeth.  Apart from being a little biased toward my favorite band, this song is classic Megadeth.

So what have you been listening to lately?

Song of the Day – Hunter’s Season – 15 Feb 11


The song of the day is Hunter’s Season by Kamelot off the Poetry for the Poisoned album

I only just got into Kamelot about a year ago and I have to say they are a talented band.  As mentioned before on A Metal State of Mind, Kamelot is an experience and not something intended for background noise.  Hunter’s Season was the first song on the album that stuck out for me. It’s a mid-range tempo song that leads into a double-bass drum rhythm complimented by smooth vocals.  There is also a great solo in this song; the only downfall with it is its brevity.

When you listen to Kamelot you really need to devote some time to absorb all the things going on within their music.  Even after multiple listens, I hear things I didn’t notice before.  These guys are climbing the notches on my favorite band list.

Poetry for the Poisoned is really an awesome title for an album let alone a possible band name.  You have to know Kamelot and listen to their music to understand why that title is so appropriate.

Top 10 of 2010 by Plantera7


The year is about to close, and I am about to lose internet until Sky gets me online at my new house; so I thought I would post my top 10 of 2010 to close out my year in metal.  The only rule is that the bands I select had to release an album in 2010 and I have to own it.  Sorry, I can’t buy everything so this is comprised of music I own which was released this year.  Ok here goes:

Number 10:  Death Angel – Relentless Retribution

This is a quality CD and easily the best DA has put out since Act III 20 years ago.  Placing Relentless Retribution at number 10 on my list is in no way degrading this CD.

Number 9:  Helloween – 7 Sinners

Perhaps benefitting from its recent release, this album beat out some other tunes I have been listening to all year so that says a lot about helloween…a band I lost track of for more than a decade.  7 Sinners is a great album and will be in my car stereo rotation for some time to come.

Number 8:  Nevermore – The Obsidian Conspiracy

This is one band I only just got into this year.  I wish I had heard them years ago, as they do seriously rock.  The Obsidian Conspiracy impressed me greatly.  I like their musical diversity. They cross the lines between metal and prog – only their songs are much shorter.

Number 7:  Stone Sour – Audio Secrecy

I have mentioned before that I am glad Corey and Co. do not sound like their other band Slipknot.  Audio Secrecy is a bit more toned down than Stone Sour’s previous material, but it is still great music.  I have a lot more appreciation for Corey Taylor after seeing him solo at Sonisphere this year.  The dude is talented.

Number 6:  Kamelot – Poetry for the Poisoned

This is another band I only got into in the last year or so.  They are super talented and every time I listen to Kamelot it is an experience.  There is so much more to their music than just some dudes playing instruments.  The range of guest singers on this album is a real treat.

Number 5:  Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier

What can I say about Maiden?  At their age you would think they would be putting out another album just to keep their livelihood going, but these dudes hit the nail with the hammer with The Final Frontier.  It is really a throwback to some old school Iron Maiden; quite impressive.

Number 4:  The Sword – Warp Riders

The Sword takes that 70’s metal sound and updates it.  You can easily hear that Austin, Texas blues-rhythm in their music.  Warp Riders is a great album and if you like that old school grungy (not Seattle grunge) metal feel you should like this album.  It’s a great 70’s meets modern rock fusion.  They do this quite well!

Number 3:  James LaBrie – Static Impulse

It may seem I am biased because I am a huge Dream Theater fan, so naturally you would think I would love James LaBrie.  Truth is, I only heard his solo stuff this year for the first time.  The best thing about James LaBrie is that he does not sound like Dream Theater.  Static Impulse impressed me right from the start and I find myself listening to this album quite regularly.

Number 2:  Bullet For My Valentine – Fever

Again, a fairly new band to me.  I actually did not like BFMV the first time I heard them.  I can’t remember which song got me into them, but I started buying their stuff and listening to them regularly.  I like BFMV like I like Trivium.  They are a no frills metal band.  They just rock and there is no more or less generalized way to put it.  The only thing I don’t like, and it’s probably the record company’s fault, is that the singles released to the public tend to be more “pop” sounding than the rest of the album.  I think it’s just a cheap way to market to the masses, and like I said, I think record companies push that on the bands.  So if you base your like or dislike of BFMV on what you hear on the radio or see in videos, try picking up an album you might be pleasantly surprised.

Number 1:  Overkill – Ironbound

I am a huge Overkill fan, but I am also not afraid to say music sucks when it sucks.  Overkill has put out a fairly steady flow of music over the last decade or so.  Some of it was good, some great, and some not so great.  I love the band and I am a fan for life, but I will tell you this; Ironbound blew me away.  I was so surprised at this Overkill release.  I figured it would be standard predictable thrash which is not a negative comment.  Ironbound is just one truly heavy album.  If you haven’t heard it yet it will stomp you in the gut.  Whether you are a new or old fan, Ironbound will not disappoint.

So there you have my personal top 10 of 2010.  So what didn’t make the cut?  Well, not to say that any of these bands are bad, but the top 10 above gave me warm fuzzies more than these bands that didn’t make my top 10 – Korn, Soilwork, Sabaton, Kingdom of Sorrow, Apocalyptica, Fear Factory, Cradle of Filth, Hellyeah, Flotsam and Jetsam, Soulfly, and Dimmu Borgir. 

There were numerous albums that were released this year and what I have presented is only a small chuck of what I purchased in 2010.  So if you think I missed out on something that you think was super great let me know. I am all ears.  I hate to miss out on good music so I am happy to hear any input.  Thank you and have a great 2011.  Personally, I will be looking forward to new releases I know are coming from DevilDriver, Dream Theater, Trivium, Anthrax, and hopefully Megadeth.

Album of the Week- 27 Nov 2010


Whew.  I am one fat and happy metalhead. 

Greetings all, thanks for tuning in.

The album of the week for 27 Nov 2010 is “Ghost Opera” by Kamelot. 

I know I gave a less-than-perfect rating for Kamelot’s “Poetry for the Poisoned” album, but there is no mistaking it- “Ghost Opera” is a definite 5 out of 5. 

Give it a listen.  Also, check out the video for “Rule the World” @ www.metalvideo.com.   It is a great site to check out heavy metal videos.  I wouldn’t throw it on our blog unless I thought it helpful.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.