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Archive for the ‘Slayer’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: DANKO JONES-Garage Rock! A Collection of Lost Songs From 1996-1998 (2014).

Danko Jones has released nine albums an a bunch of EPs.  Back in 2014 he released this collection of songs that he wrote and recorded before his first proper single (1998).

This is a collection of raw songs, but the essential elements of Danko are in place. Mostly fast guitars, simple, catchy riffs and Danko’s gruff voice, filled with braggadocio.  With a cover by Peter Bagge!

He describes it:

Back in the 90’s,the Garage Rock scene, as I knew it, was a warts-and-all approach that favoured low-fi recordings and rudimentary playing over any modicum of musical prowess in order to glean some Rock N’ Roll essence. However, once a band got better at their instruments, songwriting and stage performance, the inevitable crossroads would eventually appear. Deliberately continuing to play against their growing skill would only evolve into a pose. There were a lot of bands who did exactly this in order to sustain scenester favour. We did the opposite.

What you hold in your hands is a document of what we were and where we came from. We didn’t know how to write songs and could barely play but we wanted to be near to the music we loved so badly. We ate, slept and drank this music. We still do. That’s why we have never had to reunite because we’ve never broken up. After 18 years, we’ve stayed the course, got tough when the going did and, above all else, we have never stopped. This album is the proof.

The first two songs are the best quality, with the rest slowly deteriorating with more tape hiss.

1. “Who Got It?” a big fat bass sound with lots of mentioning of Danko Jones in the lyrics. [2 minutes]
2. “Make You Mine” is 90 seconds long.  With big loud chords and rumbling bass Danko says “one day I’m going to write a book and let everybody know how to do it.  Seems to me there a lot of people around who want to see if I can prove it.  I been a rock prodigy since the age of 20 and my proof… my proof is right now.”
3. “I’m Your Man” is a bit longer.  The quality isn’t as good but the raw bass sound is great.
4. “She’s Got A Bomb” is good early Danko strutting music.
5. “Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue.”  He would name an album this many years later.  This song is fast and raw and only 90 seconds long.
6. “Dirty Mind Too” This is a fast stomping one-two-three song that rocks for less than a minute.
7. I’m Drinking Alcohol? This is funny because later he says he doesn’t drink.  I don’t know what the words are but the music is great–rumbling bass and feedbacky guitars with lots of screaming.
8. “Love Travel Demo” and 9. “Bounce Demo” are decent demo recordings.  “Bounce” has what might be his first guitar solo.
10. Sexual Interlude” “ladies it’s time to take a chance on a real man.  I’m sick and tired of seeing you women selling yourselves short, going out with a lesser man.
11. “I Stand Accused” Unexpectedly he stands accused of “loving you to much.  If that’s a crime, then I’m guilty.”
12. “Best Good Looking Girl In Town” a fast chugging riff, “oh mama you sure look fine.”
13. “Payback” This one sounds really rough but it totally rocks.
14. “Lowdown” Danko gives the lowdown: “You want a bit of romance?  I got you an bouquet of Flowers and a box of chocolates.  Why you crying for?  That ain’t enough?  Me and the fellas wrote this song just for you.”
15. “One Night Stand” garage swinging sound: Danko is a one woman man and you’re just his type.
16. “Instrumental” is great.
17. “Move On” is a long, slow long bluesy track about love.

It’s not a great introduction to Danko, but if you like him, you won;t be disappointed by this early baby-Danko period.

[READ: August 10, 2019] I’ve Got Something to Say

In the introduction (after the foreword by Duff McKagan), Jones introduces himself not as a writer but as a hack.  He also acknowledges that having something to say doesn’t mean much.  He has too many opinions on music and needed to get them out or his insides would explode.  He acknowledges that obsessing over the minutiae of bands is a waste of time, “but goddammit, it’s a ton of fun.”

So this collection collects some of Danko’s writing over the last dozen or so years. He’s written for many publications, some regularly.  Most of these pieces are a couple of pages.  And pretty much all of them will have you laughing (if you enjoy opinionated music writers).

“Vibing for Thin Lizzy” [Rock Hard magazine, March 2015]
Danko says he was lured into rock music by the theatrics of KISS, Crue and WASP.  But then he really got into the music while his friends seemed to move on.  Thin Lizzy bridged the gap by providing substance without losing its sheen or bite.  And Phil Lynott was a mixed race bassist and singer who didn’t look like the quintessential rock star.  What more could Danko ask for? (more…)

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[ATTENDED: October 25, 2019] Ghost

A few years ago Ghost had just popped on my radar when I saw that they were playing the Fillmore in Philly.  I didn’t go, but a friend of mine took his son and said the show was outstanding.

Before getting tickets for Starset, I had bought tickets for C. and I to see Ghost.  I had heard that their live shows were tremendous and I was pretty excited to bring him to a show like this.  When I looked for tickets, I knew we wouldn’t want GA Floor, but I didn’t know if we should go straight back or close to the stage on the side.  I chose close to the stage and I was pretty happy with the location although C. thought it would be better straight on.

I had no idea we’d be going to see two concerts in two nights.  But it was fun for him to compare the two styles of venue–club vs. arena.

Starset has a backstory and Ghost has a backstory too.  Ghost’s story is pretty fascinating.

But before getting to that I have to say that this show was spectacular.  Holy cow was it fun–the band was fantastic.  The stage set was incredible and Cardinal Copia was an amazing front man.

Now, onto the story of Ghost. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: May 24, 2019] Slayer

I have been a fan of Slayer since their debut album, Show No Mercy.  I was a major metal head in high school, always searching for heavier and heavier music.  Metallica was great but then came Slayer.   I more or less stopped listening to them after college.  Although in 2001 (with the release of God Hates Us All on 9/11) I reintroduced myself to their newer stuff.  And since then I have been checking out each release.

Their final album, Repentless, came in 2015 and they have been touring it ever since.  This is–and I assume it’s true–their Farewell tour.

They’ve had a remarkably stable line-up over nearly 40 years.  Drummer Dave Lombardo left and then came back and then left again.  I would have loved to see Slayer with Lombardo, but I was able to see him (and actually see him) when he played with Dead Cross (I was five feet from the stage).  I would never have actually seen him with Slayer (so much stuff on stage.  I never saw Paul Bostaph behind the kit).

The only other line up change came when guitarist Jeff Hanneman died.  That was pretty major, since Hanneman co-wrote so many of the songs.  But Exodus guitarist Gary Holt filled in and has been in his place for six years (he recorded Repentless).  Holt has a different playing style (his solos are more structured), but he comes from the same heavy, dense guitar background and fits in just fine.

I had actually been intimated about going to a Slayer show, especially as an adult.  I have seen my fair share of metal shows, but I assumed the Slayer audience would be a step more intense.  Just waiting online was intimidating with every other person shouting “SLAYER!” at the top of his lungs.

I finally decided to see them in 2017 at The Electric Factory, but when I called on the night of the show to secure my ticket it had literally just sold out.  So I figured I’d never see them live.

Then they announced this farewell tour.  It was going to be at an arena (which would be less insane than a club, in terms of fan behavior) and I was able to get decent seats.  [This show was better than that one for setlist, and I have to assume pyro as well]. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: May 24, 2019] Lamb of God

I had an idea of what Cannibal Corpse and Amon Amarth were all about before this show, but Lamb of God proved to be elusive to me.  Not that it was hard to figure out they played heavy music. but i didn’t know if they had an “angle.”

I had read that they were in the mold of Slayer and the song or two that I listened to before the show bore that out.

I had no idea they were going to be quite so intense of that singer Randy Blythe would have so much freaking energy.

By this time in the night, the crowd was pretty full.  The pit was writhing and the lights were in full use.  Lamb of God came out with a bang and a lot of red and blue lights (the hardest to photograph).

I was in front of lead guitarist Mark Morton, who was fun to watch.  And I really enjoyed seeing bassist John Campbell and his long grey beard (he never got close enough for a clear picture).  Rhythm guitarist Willie Adler did come over to our side once or twice, but he was hard to get a picture of.  And of course, excellent drummer Chris Adler was behind the kit most of the time and therefore invisible. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: May 24, 2019] Amon Amarth

I was aware of Amon Amarth but really didn’t know anything about them.  I had no idea that they were Vikings from Sweden!  Or that their name came from J.R.R. Tolkien (but I should have guessed that).

I had left the seats after Cannibal Corpse and when I came back, there was a ship on the stage!  And the backdrop had been replaced by this giant warrior dude.

I had listened to Amon Amarth a few days before the show, so I had an idea of what they were about–heavy riffs and lots of chanting.  Lead singer Johan Hegg was something of a growler, but the lyrics were pretty audible.  They were quite different from Cannibal Corpse.

First out was drummer Jocke Wallgren (they’ve had a lot of drummers since they formed in 1992).  Then the rest of the band followed.

Finally singer Johan Hegg came out with a horn on his belt and a swagger in his walk. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: May 24, 2019] Cannibal Corpse

Cannibal Corpse formed in 1988 in Florida.

At the time they were probably the most notoriously revolting band around–taking the violent images in metal songs to a far extreme.  Although perhaps most amusingly, without scanning the lyric sheet I don’t know how anyone could tell what the words are.

Cannibal Corpse are pretty legendary.  They have been banned in many countries. I have never specifically wanted to see them, but I always thought it would be interesting.  In fact, when they announced a show at White Eagle Hall at the end of last year, I briefly considered going.  But I’m glad I didn’t because a little Cannibal Corpse goes a long way (They played 18 songs at White Eagle Hall (!)).

Cannibal Corpse is pretty much a wall of noise.  Although I must admit just how well they were projected, because despite them being superbly loud, I could hear each guitar, the intense drums and the vocals (if not the words) pretty distinctly–even if they are a series of growsl)

The biggest surprise for me was that their songs were quite long.  I associate super fast death metal with short bursts of aggression.  Napalm Death for instance has songs that are about a minute long.  But most Cannibal Corpse songs run to four minutes or more.  That’s some lengthy intensity, especially for the speed of the drums and the massive intensity of Corpsegrinder’s headbanging.

One of the funnest things to say about Cannibal Corpse is that they are in Ace Ventura Pet Detective (1994).  Soon after that (but apparently unrelated), lead singer Chris Barnes left and was replaced by current singer George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher.  There hasn’t been very much change in the lineup for the thirty or so years they’ve been playing.  Although in December 2018, lead guitarist Pat O’Brien was arrested for assault and battery and Morbid Angel guitarist Erik Rutan would fill in.

It’s amusing seeing a band like Cannibal Corpse in the bright sun–I couldn’t imagine sitting in the lawn for them.  But it was early evening and very bright out (which meant good photos!).

But they obviously weren’t bothered by it because they came out on stage and created a noise that made me put earplugs in and not take them out all night.

I didn’t know any of their songs (although I had heard of “Hammer Smashed Face”), I didn’t even know they had FOURTEEN albums out!  So, to pick six songs for this tour must have been a challenge.

They played one song from their most recent album–2017’s Red Before Black (the least offensive or violent seeming title in their discography).  They skipped the previous album and then played one each from the two before that.

Corpsegrinder is known for his headbanging (in which he whips his head around in a circle rather than the old-school back and forth motion).  He told the audience that he would challenge anyone to a headbanging contest.  “You will lose.  And that’s okay.”

I was delighted by how deadpan amusing he was.

Even introducing the song “I Cum Blood,” he said, “this is a song about shooting blood from your cock….  it’s sounds fun… until it happens to you.”

That song as well as “Hammer Smashed Face” comes from their 1992 album, Tomb of the Mutilated.  They had two albums out before that.

Honestly, I couldn’t really tell any of the songs apart, but there were definitely sections to the songs.  These were mostly distinguishable by drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz’s amazing playing (he’s been with the band since the beginning, as has Alex Webster on bass).  Although his playing choices are somewhat limited in this style of music his energy never flagged during his double bass pounding or straight up snare slamming.

I’m glad their set was only about 30 minutes.  It was plenty.  And honestly they didn’t do anything outrageous, like I thought they might.  Maybe if they headline?  Or maybe they’re not Gwar, they just play fast and loud and do a lot of headbanging.

SETLIST

  1. Evisceration Plague
  2. Scourge of Iron
  3. Red Before Black ®
  4. I Cum Blood
  5. Stripped, Raped and Strangled ß
  6. Hammer Smashed Face

 

™ = Tomb of the Mutilated (1992)
ß = The Bleeding (1994)
€ = Evisceration Plague (2009)
⊗ = Torture (2012)
® = Red Before Black (2017)

 

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[ATTENDED: May 17, 2018] Kid Koala’s Vinyl Vaudeville

I have been a fan of Kid Koala since the early 2000s.  He’s not a DJ so much as a magician on the turntable.  He is able to make vinyl do amazing things.  His hands are fast, his timing is impeccable and he uses puppets too!

But I had no idea that his live show would be so much fun.  I mean, sure it was called Vinyl Vaudeville, but could it live up to his calling it “the silliest show on earth?”  Well, I dispute the silliness aspect because silly implies that it’s not also awesome, which this definitely was.

So what exactly does a turntablist do so it’s not just a guy scratching records?

Well, primarily he uses props.  Almost every song has a visual element.  In fact the very first song started out in total darkness with a black light and a sloth puppet.  I don’t know what the song was called or if it had anything to do with sloths, but it was fun to watch.   (more…)

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