Blog Archives

Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade: 2000 / #15 – #13

MetalCatI’m celebrating the last year of the 20th century by choosing 15 songs, not the usual ten, for 2000. That was the year I turned 50. It feels like 14 years ago.

Dark Metal Cat hadn’t been born yet. He maintains he has always existed, if not physically, then in the deepest recess of inaccessible places. He sounds like Electric Wizard.

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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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Roundtable Retro Review: N.O.L.A. by Down

95_nolaLabel: Electra Records

Release Date: Sept. 1995

Songs: 13

Genre: Sludge, Stoner, Doom, Southern Metal

Studio Albums: 3 studio albums, 2 E.P.s

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Song of the Week – I’m Broken

For those of you that know me, you know that I work for the military machine known as the U.S. Air Force.  A lot of things have been going on in my world that I want to vent about.  If you haven’t heard, cuts need to be made.  In addition to a selection of aircraft, 25K people need to go.  I was informed that my records will be “looked at” and a determination will be made later as to whether or not my services will be needed or not.  Yeah, I could get my walking papers with 24,999 other people.  Luckily I have 22 years under my belt so, no matter what happens I will be able to get my retirement and move on to (hopefully) greener pastures.  Yeah, I am one of the lucky ones all things considered, but I would much rather retire on MY terms.

I went to briefing today and left there feeling a little more confused than before I went in.  I felt Hollow inside and for a brief second wanted to Rise up, Walk out, and Live In A Hole.  But, I have a family, This Love, to look out for so I won’t be making any decisions in haste…though I’d love to Piss on somebody.  I was in a room of Regular People with a Mouth for War and I thought it was about to get downright Fucking Hostile as we were told that many of us may get walking papers later this year…those like me with clean records and a solid career of steadfast duty.

As I sit here I can’t help, but think that the corporate machine I work for is By Demons Be Driven and up to No Good.  Cut aircraft, cut programs, but people?  We are the most precious resource right?  It’s nothing more than a Vulgar Display of Power if you ask me.  Well, what is done is done and for now I have to sit on my hands and wait to see if I will be forced to transition to a new life probably in a new place…something I hope works out for the best.   Oh, I forgot about the song of the week.  I guess I rambled. Thank you for letting me vent.  Here is a song I have been listening to a lot lately.  Enjoy and have a great one.

America! F**k Yeah!!!!!

fyeahamerica-montageSo today is the 4th of July.  The day the whole world celebrate just how awesome the U.S.A. is and the citizens of the States celebrate their superiority in the world by getting rip-roaring drunk, eating their own weight in meat, buying explosives from other countries (mainly China), and blowing shit up.  It’s damn good time for all.  How do you celebrate the 4th of July in your country?

But in all seriousness the 4th of July, also known as Independence Day, is one of the most loved holidays in the United States.  Families and friends get together and party hard in celebration of the day the States gained their independence from the British and marks the start to what is easily one of the most controversial countries in the world.  One thing I love about America is the deep and diverse culture we Americans have.  Having so many immigrants from so many different parts of the world has led to this mish mash of random mannerisms from other countries that lends its self to letting an American have a taste of the rest of the world without having to leave the country’s borders (which is a double-edged sword).  But the thing I love most about the States is the music.  Always a trendsetter in the aural entertainment market some of the most loved aspects of music originated in the States, like you know, the blues, which is the base of rock and roll and by proxy heavy metal.

Today I’m just going to brain fart out some songs and bands that make me think of the stars and strips, amber waves of grain, and sea to shining sea as well as other things love about the U.S.A.   Enjoy!!!  Peace Love and Fuck Yeah!!!!

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Reggie’s Top 25 Favorite Cover Songs #5 – Cemetery Gates

Elmwood Cemetery Gates, Sycamore, ILDoing a cover of Cemetery Gates is a pretty bold move.  It’s one of Pantera’s most cherished and most haunting songs.  It is also Pantera’s longest song and was even nominated for a Grammy Award in 1998…quite a while after it was released.  I am not sure how that Grammy thing works, but whatever…  If you are a Pantera fan, you probably know the words to this song and refuse to skip it when it comes on.  You can find Cemetery Gates on the album Cowboys From Hell (like you didn’t know) released in 1990.  I remember when I first heard it, I was floored.  To this day the album it still a true metal masterpiece…even the remastered version released a year or two ago is killer!

Enter the UKs Evile…one of the bands I see today as carrying on the torch of classic thrash metal.  They are a band of no compromise and no frills.  They are just four dudes that shred and for that I have become a loyal follower of the band.  Their cover version of Cemetery Gates is spot-on.  It was originally recorded on the Metal Hammer Tribute to Dimebag Darrell album released in 2010. The song was later included on Evile’s Infected Nations re-issue.

Here is the cover from Evile.  This fan video features photos of Dimebag and also Mike Alexander, Evile bassist who passed in 2009.

Of course, here is the classic track from the Cowboys From Hell album.  Note, this video is actually shorter than the original cut.


The Power of the Riff Compels Me Pt. I

rhps-crh03-riffrafftimewarplThe 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!!

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Reggie’s Top 100 Favorite Albums of All Time #10-6

As we journey down the path to my number 1 favorite album of all time, we have finally breached the top 10.  From here on out, you will likely see more and more classic metal albums appearing on the list except for one or two that are relatively new (to me) compared to the rest.  This all-time list is an ongoing effort started by our friends at The History of Metal page on facebook.  Each day we list another album until we get to the end.  Below is my next list of five as we near our way to #1.  Enjoy!

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Matt’s Top 100 Favorite Albums of All Time: #10-#6

Is it Top 10 time already!?  It’s been fun recounting my favorite albums to you all.  Thanks for reading!  Doing the list was fun and gave me a great excuse, not that I need one, to go back and listen to some amazing records that I haven’t spun in a while.  Here in the Top 10 is where the big dogs come out.  My ‘stranded on a deserted island’ albums per say.  Each one here holds something special for me and some have helped shape me into the man who I am today and some are just really damn great records.  Here’s the first half of my Top 10 Favorite Albums of All Time with the second half including #1 to drop next Monday.  Enjoy and if you have a spare couple of minutes, let me know what your favorite albums all.  Sharing is caring!  Peace Love and Metal!!!!

#10 Fly By Night by Rush

Picture if you will, a young and impressionable lower-middle class American suburb kid at around the age of 7 in the back yard of his neighborhood buddies home digging a big hole because, well, who really questions a kids motives on stuff like that. Then the older brother of the friend comes out back and does what any awesome older brother should do. “Hey, you kids really need some music to dig that hole to” he says as he plugs in his boombox and proceeds to play 3 albums for the youths. Included in that trio of albums are 2 records that would help shape the passions and interests of the visiting child.

The first to make a massive impact is a hard rocking prog rock album called Fly By Night by a Canadian band called Rush. The opener “Anthem” give him such a surge of energy that he attacks that hole at full force and the following tune, “Best I Can” makes him want to make sure that the crater he is making is the best damn crater in the world where people would travel around the world to see his magnificent work.

Tune by tune the sweet music connects with the dirt encrusted kid as he learns life important skills like quality ditch digging and the pleasures of air-drumming. Soon a period of rest comes as sweet sun tea is guzzled by the glassful in the warm sun and the chill sounds of “Rivendell” grace our ears and initiate a lesson on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien (who would also go on to be another favorite of the impressionable child).

Even at such a young age, there are events in one’s life where the memory sticks vividly as it just had happened an hour ago. This was one of those days, especially when the other album, which will be talked about at a later date, was included. And in case you’re curious, the odd man out album was Appetite For Destruction, which the kid thought the music and songs were great, but the singer sounded like a pig getting his nuts stepped on and it kinda killed the album for him.

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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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