Metallica: Hardwired…to…

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Hit The Lights” was the first track I ever heard from Metallica. I liked the energy and aggression I heard. I thought myself “These guys have something here.”

Well, we all know how that turned out. Metallica, for me at least, has had its ups and downs. But this is something to expect when people grow and their life situations change around them. In the beginning there was a hunger in them, a drive, a sense of angry passion to be heard, they had something to prove.

Over time Metallica went through some changes that like it or not affected the direction of the band.

By the time Kill ‘Em All was released the lineup consisted of James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, and Cliff Burton. The kings of thrash were ready to kick ass and take names.

We got two more fantastic records from this lineup Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets before the tragic death of bassist Cliff Burton. This is where I feel the first chapter closed and the band began to undergo some changes.

The hard choice for them at this time was to find someone who could step up and climb aboard the speeding freight train that was Metallica at this time. That someone had some seriously big shoes to fill as Cliff Burton was a fan favorite. Metallica tapped Jason Newsted to fill those shoes. We probably have all heard the stories of the hazing, the turning down of the bass during recording, blah blah blah, yada yada yada. This was band business and not fan business and we can only speculate as what really went on. This, however, I feel was the catalyst for change in Metallica.

…And Justice for All gave us a different Metallica sound than we were used to. In my opinion a more mature less frantic sound. Not all together bad, just different than before. The next release, Metallica, furthered that change and ultimately became their best-selling record to date and broadened their fan base immensely while at the same time alienating some of their hardcore fans. Suddenly people who looked at you like you were crazy for liking Metallica before were “fans”. And, again this is just my opinion, they became drunk with success.

Despite what we have all heard the members of Metallica are all human and such, subject to the limitations of that. Life experience and growth is what I attribute to the changes in style we saw with the release of Load and Reload. Less thrash and more experimental musical songs combined with image change further pushed their early hardcore fans away and thrust Metallica into the mainstream world.

I happened to respect their changes and growth. While I loved the early aggressive sound, I found an appreciation for this new sound that reflected life changes even as I found myself growing and maturing.

And then, another shakeup, Jason Newsted was out of the picture. No replacement was announced and producer Bob Rock filled in on St. Anger and we were let into the inside world of their lives and problems with the film Some Kind of Monster. The release St. Anger gave us yet another style of Metallica. People panned the writing and production, and others panned the recording. The fair-weather “fans” that came on board with Metallica silently folded their Metallica shirts and placed their CD’s and records on dusty shelves and moved on to the next flavor of the month. The hardcore fans continued to grumble and listen to the early stuff and prayed for a return to the thrash sounds of old…

I have been a longtime fan of Rob Trujillo’s work and was excited to hear of his addition to the Metallica lineup. I had to wait until Death Magnetic dropped to get that chance. While I found this to be a good, solid record I had still expected a little more. Good but not great in my opinion. I did catch them on the Death Magnetic tour and the energy and passion given to the old school tracks was fantastic to see. I refused to give up on Metallica.

I am not even going to speak on Lulu as I feel it not to be a Metallica album (maybe I’ll talk about it down the road on a collaborations article).

All of this leads us to today. Metallica broke the internet yesterday when they released the new track “Hardwired…to Self-Destruct”. All day long I saw back and forth postings about the track. Name calling, bashing, criticisms, speculations…. on and on. My personal thoughts on it? I liked it. Did I love it? Not really. Do I appreciate it? ABSOFRICKINGLUTELY!!!

I posed the question on Facebook yesterday asking if a band that was once relevant could once again gain said relevance in today’s day and age where people just want to hear the “hits” and only the “hits”. Yes, I was talking about Metallica and the upcoming album Hardwired…to Self-Destruct. Given the effect they had on the internet yesterday what do YOU think?

 

It’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s METALLICA!!!

  -the Hellion 

Metallica has jumped the shark (in my opinion)

rant

Many years ago some pissed off disaffected young men decided to tell the world how they were feeling. Their medium: loud, fast, and aggressive music, their name? METALLICA!!!!

When James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich got their shit together and put Dave Mustaine and Cliff Burton in the lineup they were ready to shake up the Rock N’ Roll world. They were loud, obnoxious, and very much what we needed in music at that time.

They then went to New York to record their debut record with which they planned sonic assault on the eardrums of the world, which is when they began their race to “jump the shark” so to say.

Nobody was madder and more disaffected than Dave Mustaine (if you doubt me listen to his music even to this day). When they kicked him out and replaced him with Kirk Hammett from Exodus they started down that road to the shark.

While we got some really good music from Metallica in the early days the clock was ticking for our young anarchists.

Keep in mind these are just my thoughts on Metallica and how I feel they have jumped the shark. Like I stated earlier I believe their path to jumping said shark was with the dismissal of Dave Mustaine. I do indeed own every release by Metallica and I have passed my judgment as this: the so-called Black album was the demise of Metallica in that I feel the loss  of any fire and passion in their music. Yes, there were some great tracks here and there in the subsequent records but none that were solid from open to close.  Now am I saying Metallica sucks? Not a chance, they just aren’t making the music that I fell in love with anymore. I will continue to purchase their future releases and give them a fair listen and hope for that spark to reappear, but I am not holding my breath. I will thank them for the back catalog of music that still put my fist in the air but inside I weep when I listen to St. Anger….

Rest In Peace Cliff Burton, I have always admired and respected you and your style of playing.

 

It’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s ROCK N’ ROLL!

-the Hellion

 

The bassists of Metallica, my thoughts and opinions

A conversation arose today at work about Metallica. This lead to talking about the various bassists that have been in the band. This conversation got me thinking and has led me to write my thoughts and opinions down.

Ron McGovney – 1982: Ron was the original bassist for Metallica. There are very few recordings of Ron with the band. It is said he left the band due to conflicts with band members. You can hear Ron if you are lucky enough to have Metal Massacre Volume 1. This, by the way, is a great record.  Ron left the band and closed his chapter with Metallica.

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MM1_detail

 

Cliff Burton – 1982 to 1986: Cliff Burton will always be my favorite Metallica bassist. It is my opinion that Cliff brought a sense of heaviness to the band. He was that “cool guy” that everyone wanted to be or that guy that we all wanted to hang out with, and the one that your parents wouldn’t approve of. The records Cliff made with Metallica remain my favorites. Kill ‘Em All, Ride The Lightning, Master Of Puppets, are Metallica at its finest. Cliff had such a presence and skill about him. He inspired a lot of musicians in his time. Unfortunately the world lost Cliff on 09/27/86 (my 22nd birthday by the way). Thank you Cliff for the music you left with us.

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Jason Newsted – 1986 to 2001:  Jason had some pretty big shoes to fill, and grieving band members to contend with.   The $5.98 E.P.: Garage Days Re-Revisited, …And Justice For All, Metallica, Load, and Reload are the studio albums Jason made with the band. In my opinion after …And Justice For All the band headed in a direction that began to alienate their hardcore fans. I feel Jason was grossly under appreciated during his time with Metallica. I was familiar with Jason from his previous band  Flotsam And Jetsam and was impressed with his playing. Unfortunately things didn’t work out with Jason and Metallica and they parted ways. Jason is currently killing it with his new band Newsted which showcases his talents.

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Robert Trujillo – 2003 to present: Robert has always been one of my favorite bassists. However, not for Metallica (I know, I know, a bold statement.) Rob has only recorded one studio album, Death Magnetic. Rob is a seasoned bassist, I first heard of him with Suicidal Tendencies. Wow! I was hooked instantly by his style and stage presence. Infectious Grooves, Jerry Cantrell, Black Label Society,Glenn Tipton, Mass Mental? Ozzy, Robert got around. I was, however, disappointed when I heard of his joining Metallica. I just feel that his style and presence does not lend anything to Metallica (again, this is just my opinion).

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Well, there you have it. My opinions on the bassists of Metallica. Not dragging anyone through the mud just voicing my thoughts. I think that Metallica has evolved as the members have grown and experienced life changes. While there is nothing wrong with this, they have grown into a band that no longer interests me. Their new music does not attract me in the least.

I am interested in your thoughts, please chime in and leave some feedback!

it’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s ROCK N’ ROLL!

– the Hellion

NEWSTED – Heavy Metal Music CD review

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It is truly good to see Jason back and flourishing with Newsted. We are fortunate to have been able to review HMM and bring our review to you the music world. Newsted consists of Jason Newsted – lead vocals/bass, Jesus Mendez Jr. – drums, Jessie Farnsworth – guitar, Mike Mushok – guitar. This is a band that has come together to bring us some great heavy ROCK N’ ROLL!

1. “Heroic Dose”
2. “Soldierhead”
3. “…As the Crow Flies”
4. “Ampossible”
5. “Long Time Dead”
6. “Above All”
7. “King of the Underdogs”
8. “Nocturnus”
9. “Twisted Tail of the Comet”
10. “Kindevillusion”
11. “Futureality”

Newsted new press

     Headbanging riffs, heavy vocals, strong lyrics make this record a DO NOT MISS on my list. With familiar elements and yet still something new they have brought  something fresh to the heavy metal table.  This record contains the heaviness that seems lost to a certain other band that shall remain nameless. I have recently been asking myself if some of our Rock N’ Roll veterans can remain relevant in today’s music world. I am happy to say Newsted’s Heavy Metal Music can indeed. Check out Newsted on the net at: https://www.facebook.com/jasonnewstedofficial http://newstedheavymetal.com/

     Check out the video for “Above All”

     it’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s ROCK N’ ROLL!

     the Hellion

10 BANDS TO START 2013 ROCKIN’!

TOXICROSE

toxicrosehttps://www.facebook.com/TOXICROSE.Official?fref=ts

http://toxicrose.org/

Andy- Lead Vocals
Tom – Guitars
Goran – Bass
Michael – Drums

The up-and-coming sensational four-piece modern metal band ToxicRose was formed in Stockholm Sweden in 2010.
Consisting of Tom (Gemini Five), Andy and Michael (both EX Lipstixx ‘n’ Bulletz) and Goran (EX Sexydeath).

There is no compromising or limits in the world of ToxicRose. Powerful Vocals combined with Aggressive Guitars , Grand melodic Synths & Dark Emotional Lyrics.
TXR stands tall for the outcast and they’re here to take metal to a new level.
With their catchy melodic epic metal anthems and shocking look they are unstoppable!

PAIN

pain-2011-out-bb-v2https://www.facebook.com/OfficialPain

http://www.painworldwide.com/

Peter Tägtgren – Vocals & Guitar
David Wallin – Drums (2003)
Michael Bohlin – Guitar (2007)
Johan Husgafvel – Bass (2007)

 PAIN is a musical project from Sweden that mix heavy metal with influences from electronic music and techno. The project started out as a hobby project for front man Peter Tägtgren, whose idea was to fuse heavy metal with 1980s-inspired electro-industrial and techno influences. Tägtgren, who is also the vocalist/guitarist of Hypocrisy and producer of his own The Abyss studios, is the only current member.

LONDON BASED HELLFIRECLUB

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https://www.facebook.com/thelondonbasedhellfireclub

London Legrand: Vocals
Dixxi: Guitar
Vikki Violence: Guitar
Dizzy Leijon: Bass
Vixy Von Starshine: Dancer

Industrial Goth/Glam band that will make your skin crawl! Get ready ’cause once again Zombies and Vampires will walk among you

HALF PAST MY SIN

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https://www.facebook.com/HalfPastMySin

http://halfpastmysin.com

Jason M Arigoni -Vocals-Songwriting
Dan Zavadil- Bass-Songwriting
Session Players:
Jason Bittner-Drums
Ben Carroll-Guitar

With strong melodic presences and driving beats, HALF PAST MY SIN will find a place with fans of bands like SEVENDUST, DISTURBED and DROWNING POOL, to name a few…..
The new Album from Half Past My Sin “4:44” featuring Sinn on vocals and Dan Zavadil on bass with special guests Jason Bittner of Shadows Fall on drums and Ben Carroll of RA on guitars!!! Also appearing on 4:44 will be the songwriting Clint Lowery of Sevendust!!!
Out early 2013!!!!
welcome to the sin!!!

NEWSTED

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https://www.facebook.com/jasonnewstedofficial

http://newstedheavymetal.com/

Jason Newsted – Bass, vocals
Jesus Mendez Jr. – Drums
Jessie Farnsworth – guitars

In December 2012, Jason announced that he had formed his own band called Newsted with drummer Jesus Mendez Jr. and guitarist Jessie Farnsworth. The band released a four-song EP, titled Metal, on January 8, 2013.

 

BLACK STAR RIDERS

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https://www.facebook.com/BlackStarRidersOfficial?fref=ts

http://www.blackstarriders.com

Ricky Warwick – Vocals/Guitar
Scott Gorham – Guitars
Damon Johnson – Guitars
Marco Mendoza – Bass
Jimmy DeGrasso – Drums

In October 2012 Thin Lizzy announced that they would not be recording new material under the Thin Lizzy monicker. The last incarnation of the band – Scott Gorham, Brian Downey, Darren Wharton, Ricky Warwick, Damon Johnson and Marco Mendoza – would be looking to form a new project.

Step forward Black Star Riders…

Today sees the announcement of the new band formed by Thin Lizzy alumni Ricky Warwick (vocals), Scott Gorham (guitar), Damon Johnson (guitar), Marco Mendoza (bass) with new addition Jimmy DeGrasso on drums (Alice Cooper, Megadeth, David Lee Roth, Suicidal Tendencies). The change in personnel came about as Brian Downey didn’t want to commit to the touring cycle a new album would entail and Darren Wharton wanted to concentrate on Dare and other music and film projects.

Black Star Riders is set to enter the studio in Los Angeles in January 2013 to start recording their debut album with the legendary Kevin Shirley (Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden, Aerosmith, Rush). The album will feature material the band wrote whilst touring as Thin Lizzy and the sound retains that classic feel but is very much its own as well. The Black Star Riders record is the next step in the evolution of the Thin Lizzy story.

 

MOBILE DEATH CAMP

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https://www.facebook.com/mobiledeathcamp

http://www.mobiledeathcamp.net

Chad Smith – Drums
Boe Skadeland – Bass
Todd Evans – Guitar/Vocals

Based out of Toledo, Ohio, MOBILE DEATHCAMP has been sawing clubs in half, and leaving crowds with their collective jaws on the floor since the band’s inception in 2008. Formed by Todd Evans at the end of his 6 year stint as Beefcake The Mighty with the legendary shock rockers, GWAR, and joined in aural battle by Boe Skadeland and Chad Smith, this musical terror pocket has been consistently leveling venues across North America.

 

NEVERWAKE

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https://www.facebook.com/neverwakemusic

http://www.neverwakemusic.com/

Johnny DiCarlo – Lead Vocals – Guitar
James Watson – Guitar – Vocals
Marcus Giannamore – Drums
George Scott – Bass

“NeverWake” concentrates on songs that reside between Rock and Metal to bridge both genres. They combine memorable, melodic vocals and gothic guitar harmonies over heavy distortion to achieve their style. They are currently looking to be signed to a record label and hit the road. NeverWake continues to develop their style by incorporating more complex riffs, heavier background vocal style, and dark orchestration while keeping their melodic lyricism. NeverWake released their debut full-length album “VITALITY” in August 2011, produced/engineered/mixed by Mike Ofca at Innovation Studios! “Vitality” is available on iTunes and other main online retailers. You can also order the hard copy by emailing neverwakemusic@gmail.com for inquires.

Recently, they have also released their debut music video on YouTube for the song “Pulse”, produced by Jeff Moore of Axtravaganza Films!

 

3 QUARTERS DEAD

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https://www.facebook.com/pages/3-Quarters-Dead/149922983545

http://www.3quartersdeadmusic.com

Mark Alexander – Guitar
Sam Rhodes – Guitar
Jason Sain – Vocals
Matt Staley – Bass
Kenny Wyatt – Drums

3 Quarters Dead was formed back in 1999 with original members Kenny Wyatt and Mark Alexander. After they returned from a tour with Mushroomhead, they began recording their second full length CD with Steve Felton (Skinny) of Mushroomhead. The vocalist at that time was Waylon Reavis who was recruited by Mushroomhead to take the place of J-Mann (aka Jason Popson) who had announced his departure from the band. After starting all over, they finally found a vocalist that suited their style of music. Jason Sain started with the band in late 2007. In 2008 they recorded “Between Angels & Demons” with producer Jamie King of ‘Between The Buried & Me’, ‘The Human Abstract’ fame. In late 2009 they signed with indie label ‘Project Alpha Music’ and released their latest effort “Once Upon This Broken Glass” in March, 2010.
The lead single, “The Unknown” is off of their new CD “Once Upon This Broken Glass. It about loves someone who doesn’t love you back. This song has many melodic sections to it. But when you hear the change ups which are dynamic, it sets a tone of a story being told through 3 degrees of separation. These three levels are clearly defined and portrayed beautifully by the talents of these individuals.

 

WITCH MOUNTAIN

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https://www.facebook.com/witchmountain

http://witchmountain.bandcamp.com/

Uta Plotkin – Vocals
Rob Wrong – Guitar
Nathan Carson – Percussion
Neal Munson – Bass

In 2009, Uta Plotkin added her voice to Witch Mountain in front of a triumphant sold out crowd at Portland, OR’s venerable club Satyricon. Supporting Pentagram—East coast godfathers of American doom who also took far too long to receive their rightful due—Plotkin brought the necessary ingredient that Witch Mountain founders Rob Wrong and Nate Carson had been seeking since they initially formed the group back in 1997.

Originally far out of step with the lazy, indie-rock scene in Portland, guitarist Wrong and drummer Carson sought to put their own stamp on the tradition of doom metal as laid down by Black Sabbath, Candlemass, Trouble, and Saint Vitus. Years of road work in support of peers such as High on Fire, Spirit Caravan, Electric Wizard, YOB, Weedeater, Eyehategod, and all the rest had granted Witch Mountain a solid footnote in the history of one of music’s heaviest genres. And though real life careers took the band largely out of commission between 2003 and 2008, Plotkin’s emergence kicked the band back into a high gear that shows no signs of waning.

With renewed vigor, WM returned to the studio to capture the long-awaited sophomore album South of Salem. Produced by master “engine-ear” Billy Anderson (Sleep, Neurosis, Melvins), the record was self-released by the band on vinyl, and shortly thereafter recognized as the “#4 Best Metal Album of 2011” by NPR. With a SXSW showcase, west coast tours with Christian Mistress and Wino project Premonition 13, and a massively downloaded Adult Swim compilation under its belt, Witch Mountain proved its modern work ethic and soon signed up with dream label Profound Lore.

Once South of Salem was unleashed on CD and properly distributed, it was time to follow up with all new material. 2012’s Cauldron of the Wild was the answer, produced once more by Billy Anderson, and this time featuring a further matured sound and more immersive influence from Plotkin. Rob Wrong was writing the best, heaviest blues-metal he’d yet conjured, and Carson–as both manager and booker–kept the band grounded in a professional DIY ethic. New bassist Neal Munson fit like a glove, and overall the group has never fired on all cylinders so successfully.

 

 

you know you wanna listen…

the Hellion