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While System of a Down has been tantalizingly teasing longtime fans everywhere with whispers of a true reunion, by which I mean studio time and an eventual resulting album as opposed to some relatively minor touring runs, Scars on Broadway, the side project featuring SOAD guitarist Daron Malakian and drummer John Dolmayan appears to be prepping some honest to goodness new material.

They were even so kind as to post a snippet online, and damn is it tasty!

Don’t get me wrong; I’m excited for new Scars on Broadway, which is essentially SOAD-lite, but there’s nothing quite like the real thing.  Hopefully the Scars project doesn’t keep Daron and John away from their main gig for too long.

-Sam

Metallica – Beyond Magnetic EP Review

12 FebruaryComments Off
Author: Sam

I’ve been on a bit of a Metallica high this last week since I was able to score tickets to the inaugural Orion Music + More festival they announced would be taking place in Atlantic City, New Jersey over a weekend in late June.

Here’s the official site where you can peep the thus far confirmed lineup.  It may come as a surprise to some that the lineup isn’t just metal-focused.    In addition to Metallica headlining both nights of the festival (and playing Metallica and Ride the Lightning in their entirety!), they’ve also got The Sword and Avenged Sevenfold.  But then you’ve also got alternative heavy hitters Arctic Monkeys, Modest Mouse, Cage the Elephant, and Best Coast.  You’ve even got some punk rock in The Gaslight Anthem and some blues rock in Gary Clark, Jr.  That’s a solid lineup, and it’s nice to see the Metalli-dudes willing to expand the scope of their festival and cast a wider net.  There will surely be more bands added to the lineup and the website also promises some comedy acts.  Basically, I’m pretty stoked to be going to my first Metallica show and having all these sweet bonuses tacked on.

This giant concert news also coincided with the release of Beyond Magnetic, a four song EP comprised of tracks recorded during the Death Magnetic sessions but which didn’t make the final cut on that album.

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Feist + Mastodon = Metals + Metal!!!

1 DecemberComments Off
Author: Sam

I’m not just making this up to try and sound smart or clever, but I honestly had this same idea before hearing about it in the news.  Suffice to say, I think this is freakin’ rad:

Feist tipped fans out to her plans in a recent interview with Hit Fix where she recounted a meeting with Mastodon’s Brent Hinds where, playing on the title of her recently released album, she cheekily proposed, “how about ‘Metals’ meeting metal?” But Mastodon bassist Troy Sanders revealed actual details about the proposed collaboration, a split 7-inch for Record Store Day 2012, in an interview with MTV News Canada.

“The idea is for Mastodon to cover a Feist song and throw some hair and dirt on it,” Sanders said. “They’re going to take a Mastodon song and pretty it up a little bit.”

While what songs they each may choose to cover in their own particular styles are still up in the air, Mastodon’s “Oblivion” and Feist’s “The Bad In Each Other” seem to be the frontrunners.  Those each get two big thumbs up from me.  Let’s make this happen!

-Sam

Corey Taylor essentially calls Rick Rubin Jabba The Hutt

28 NovemberComments Off
Author: Sam

You’ve gotta appreciate Corey Taylor’s ever-present honesty.

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I too have often found myself wondering just what Rubin adds to the recording process for a lot of bands he produces for nowadays.  I’m not begrudging him his legacy because he clearly deserves all the accolades he gets for his past work.  But when I was following the making of Linkin Park’s last two records (both produced by Rubin), I got the explicit sense that the albums were both largely produced by Mike Shinoda.  I also got the sense that Shinoda was a bit tentative at those points to ask his band for full production duties over their work, and so Rubin came in as a kind of figurehead and perhaps broke some ties or solved some minor disagreements along the way, but for the most part stayed out of the way.

The thing is, few musicians probably have the courage or feel they have the stature to heap anything but glowing praise upon Rubin after working with him.  And who am I to really say if Taylor’s accusations are all true?  After all, some bands (Metallica, Slayer, Linkin Park, Red Hot Chili Peppers) keep coming back to him time and time again.

[Hat tip to the PRP]

-Sam

Here’s a couple of music news stories to put a smile on your face:

Insane Clown Posse fans are now labeled a gang threat by the FBI.

The FBI report states that most Juggalo-related crime is “sporadic, disorganized, individualistic” and involves “simple assault, personal drug use and possession, petty theft and vandalism.” A subset of the Juggalo community have been known to engage in felony assaults, robberies and drug dealing. The threat assessment also indicates that many Juggalos are transient or homeless individuals.

Detroit Lions fans start a petition to get rid of Nickelback.

“This game is nationally televised, do we really want the rest of the US to associate Detroit with Nickelback? Detroit is home to so many great musicians and they chose Nickelback?!?!?! Does anyone even like Nickelback? Is this some sort of ploy to get people to leave their seats during halftime to spend money on alcoholic beverages and concessions? This is completely unfair to those of us who purchased tickets to the game. At least the people watching at home can mute their TVs. The Lions ought to think about their fans before choosing such an awful band to play at halftime.”

-Sam

Godsmack fans – classy

11 September4 comments
Author: Sam

Every genre of music seems to have a stereotypical fan.  Usually these stereotypes are just based on the most visible fans and don’t represent the wider population.  For instance, you’ve got the teenybopper young girls who fawn over Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber.  You’ve got the hipster, venti-sipping, skinny jean wearing collegians who drool over Panda Bear and the latest buzz band from England or Brooklyn.  And you’ve got the perpetually blazed and genial Deadheads who pray at the altars of Jerry Garcia, tie-dye, and Phish.  And while these genres may indeed have many fans who fall into those classifications, there’s still plenty of others who don’t.

Heavy metal is another genre that is notoriously pigeonholed as the bastion of beer-swilling, moronic, hairy, leather-clad thugs.  As a longtime metal fan, I can attest that, as in any genre, there are far more fans who don’t fit that particular description and who chafe at the idea of being lumped in with the rest of the stereotypes.  That’s why the following story is so annoying:

At a recent Godsmack concert in Iowa, a man was arrested after he tore out another man’s tracheotomy tube.  Please take a moment, and let that sink in.  A fan was so annoyed that the other fan, who was already occupying a front row position, would not yield.  So, naturally, his only means of recourse was to rip out the other man’s trache.  What. the. fuck.  You sir, are why metal fans get a bad name.

-Sam

I’m sure we can all think of some bands that sounded great and seemed like they had a lot going for them, but were always plagued by an inescapable inability to settle on a lineup.  Bands can get away with changing members every now and again, particularly if it’s a smaller role or if the new guy emulates his predecessor’s style.  And sometimes the new guy is just a better fit.

But it sends a bad message when a band is constantly shuffling its lineup, especially if all the changes are coming at a single position.  TesseracT is just the latest young band to catch this affliction.  The band, who released their first demo in 2007 and who have since put out an EP and an album, are now on their fourth lead singer.  That’s more singers than the band has recordings.  And vocalists are almost always the most difficult part of the band to replace.  I think it’s probably because as humans we are so deeply attuned to the nuances of another human’s vocal deliveries that it’s infinitely harder to mask a change in that area than it would be to change a guitarist or drummer.

Anyway, sans any official announcement (yet), the band just showed up to a gig and – surprise! – out walks a brand new singer.  Out with Daniel Tompkins, in with Elliot Coleman, from the metalcore band Sky Eats Airplane.  I raved about TesseracT’s Concealing Fate EP and had high hopes that the band was going to do big things.  But what’s with all this turnover?  And why ditch Tompkins?  I can’t say I know enough about Coleman to render a nuanced judgment, but from a few clicks on YouTube, I think Tompkins was clearly the better fit for TesseracT’s sound.

You be the judge after the jump:

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Miami Dolphins sign heavy metal singer

4 AugustComments Off
Author: Sam

Before I even begin, let me just get down on my knees and thank jeebus that football is back and the NFL season is set to start without any hitches.  Now I won’t have to find any new hobbies (knitting, bird watching?) to occupy my time on those gloriously crisp fall Sunday afternoons because there will be pigskins flying around and bringing me great joy.

Of course, as a Miami Dolphins fan, that joy is generally tempered with disappointment and a certain sarcastic numbness to all the humility.  (Whatever you do Miami, don’t you dare fuckin’ go sniffing around Brett Favre.  Nothing could be more unforgivable.)

Anyways, the Phins recently signed tackle Marc Colombo, which wouldn’t mean all that much except for the fact that he’s the singer in his very own heavy metal band.  Free Reign actually features two other football players (guards Leonard Davis and Cory Procter, who are both currently free agents.  Actually, Procter was on the Dolphins last year, so Free Reign came close to having a semi-reunion on South Beach.)

These guys make totally generic music, but, hey, it’s their freakin’ hobby, not their job.  They’re doing it because they’re having fun.  I’m down with that (and it gives me a reason to write about football and my Phins!).

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It’s too bad they didn’t also resign Joey Haynos so that the following song could live on:

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So the Kings of Leon have been forced to cancel the remainder of their summer tour.  According to a band representative, the cancellation is because Caleb Followill, the group’s singer, has been “suffering from vocal issues and exhaustion.”  Well, OK, that would be fair enough if it were true.

But what exactly was the precipitating event that led to this cancellation?  Oh right, Caleb had to leave the stage during a show in Dallas so that he could vomit.  And let’s not try to pretend that he just had some undercooked burgers that afternoon.  His brother and bandmate Jared Followill had this to say on Twitter following the meltdown: “there are internal sicknesses & problems that have needed to be address,” followed by, “I know you guys aren’t stupid.  I can’t lie.  There are problems in our band bigger than not drinking enough Gatorade.”

The picture can’t get much more crystal clear than that, can it?

Well, actually, according to Us Weekly (take that for what it’s worth), the band has been trying to get Caleb to go to rehab because “he drinks like a fish.”  Another source said, “It’s true. Caleb’s drinking is out of control and they are trying to get him into rehab. It’s a dark demon he’s been fighting for awhile.”

Does this actually come as a surprise to anyone?  I mean, there’s a reason the most commonly used adjective to describe his singing is “boozy.”  And the entire band has made an image out of being hard-partying Southerners with a staggering taste for drink.  Just look at their song “Soft.”  It’s about drinking so much booze, you wind up passed out in a garden with whiskey dick.  Like it or not, the Kings of Leon have partly defined themselves through their drinking, and now it’s apparently catching up with them.  It’d be sad to see a talented young band lose its momentum because of reckless behavior like this.

-Sam

Mastodon released the cover art for their upcoming album The Hunter today, and according to The Daily Blam, the record is set to drop in October – schwing!

The first thing you’ll notice about the cover art is that it’s quite different from Mastodon’s previous four records, which makes sense because it’s by a different artist.  Paul Romano took care of the first four albums, while The Hunter artwork was created by AJ Fosik who also happens to be the band’s set designer/sculptor (whatever the hell that means.  Seriously, what is he sculpting for the band – a new bong?)  Some people are suggesting that the change may be a harbinger of a new musical direction, and I’m sure there will be some sonic differences.  But maybe the change was also made since this new album does not appear to be a part of the band’s “elements” series, wherein each record depicted a different element (ex. Leviathan was water, Blood Mountain was earth, etc.)

Personally, I’m digging the artwork.  Your thoughts?

-Sam