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Photos: GHOST Live in Phoenix, Ariz.

I had the pleasure of being in the pit for Ghost | Facebook during their show in Phoenix on Tuesday, October 25. All photos were shot with a Samsung Galaxy S7.

For the full photoset, visit alecdamiano.com


AVENGED SEVENFOLD Premieres New Single ‘Hail to the King’

Avenged Sevenfold has premiered the first single from their upcoming album, “Hail to the King,” which is released August 27.

This will be their first album with drummer Arin Ilejay, who toured with the band since 2011. It is also the first that does not have any musical contributions from the late Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan.


New Music Videos from MEGADETH and GHOST B.C.

Megadeth released the music video for the single “Super Collider” today (we reviewed the entire album here). The plot revolves around two high school kids in love, and Dave Mustaine plays the girl’s angry father who does not let them be together. We see David Ellefson play a science teacher, Chris Broderick play another kid’s father, and Shawn Drover play a school janitor. “Elysian Fields High School 10th Anniversary Reunion” makes us wonder… is a “Youthanasia” anniversary tour in the works?

Ghost B.C. released the music video for “Monstrance Clock,” and we at TBOS must say it’s pretty cool. It was filmed on location at two of the band’s shows in Los Angeles and New York City. We get to see Ghost in their live element, which is where they truly shine. Plus, it’s a nice departure from the “Year Zero” video, where the band barely made an appearance.

Feel free to share your opinions below.


Album Review: MEGADETH “Super Collider” Deluxe Edition (2013)

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Before I begin this review, let me make my biases known.

I am a major-league Megadeth fan. I am a card-carrying member of the Megadeth Cyber Army. If you look at the “about” page of this blog, you will see me happily nestled between the two MegaDaves, singer/guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson.

Naturally, I was very excited about the release of the band’s latest effort, Super Collider.

With Super Collider, you can’t just say something like, “It’s Cryptic Writings-meets-Th1rt3en” and be accurate. SC is truly a culmination of all things ‘Deth, with some flashbacks to their thrashier days, elements of their more melodic and experimental albums like Risk, and the newer 2000s material. If you were expecting Rust in Peace II, you will be disappointed. But if you approach it with an open mind, you might be pleased.

SC kicks off with “Kingmaker”, which was released as a single approximately two weeks ago. It renewed people’s faith in Super Collider after so many had been disillusioned by the previous single, the 70s-road-trip-rock title track. “Kingmaker” is like a cross between Black Sabbath’s “Children of the Grave” and ‘Deth’s own “Sweating Bullets,” a tribute to the band’s own musical heritage while adding the thrash elements Megadeth have become known for.

Then comes the infamous “Super Collider,” in a very stark contrast to the opening song. For those who haven’t heard it, it sounds more like Foghat than Megadeth. It’s a middle-of-the-road hard rock song that doesn’t really go anywhere. Mustaine revealed that the band filmed a humorous music video to promote the lead single, and perhaps his intention behind the song will be known once the video is released.

The title “Burn!” sounds like Mustaine’s yell in “Take No Prisoners,” but the song itself is an average rocker, with a chorus that feels more at home in a KISS, Motley Crüe, or even a disco song (“Burn, baby burn… ’cause it feels so good”).

“Built For War” is definitely the worst song on the album, maybe even Megadeth’s worst song, period. Meme Theater posted a review of the album right after it leaked, and their critique of this track says it all:

“…it feels like there was Megadeth playing a toned down Megadeth song in one room while Dave Mustaine sings an unrelated melody and lyrical arrangement in another room, while a 2ND DAVE MUSTAINE stood in yet another separate room in said ‘Built for War!’ at random times, as bored as possible…”

“Off the Edge” has a very nice, dark intro and segues into an average metal song but with sub-par lyrics, at least for Megadeth (“Lately, it seems the world is going crazy / It won’t be long till they replace me / And nothing seems to faze me, anymore”). Think of “Fast Lane” from Th1rt3en, but with worse lyrics.

“Dance in the Rain” is the turning point of this album. David Draiman (Disturbed, Device) lends songwriting and guest vocals to this amazing song, which is one of Megadeth’s best since Youthanasia. The song is about American politicians/government taking advantage of We The People as we struggle to make ends meet. It reminds me why I love Megadeth in the first place: chugging guitar rhythms, Shawn Drover’s fast feet at the double bass drums, Chris Broderick’s wailing leads perfectly complementing Dave Mustaine’s eternally stark lyrics. The song starts off slow and progressively speeds up, eventually ripping into a blazing riff and brutal drums backing Draiman’s powerhouse vocals. It would be right at home on United Abominations or Endgame.

“Beginning of Sorrow” is another good , somewhat slow song with heavy lyrical content, about a neglected child. Mustaine’s daughter Electra contributes some backing vocals.

“The Blackest Crow” is one of the most anticipated songs on this album, since video previews on the band’s website showed instruments like a banjo, fiddle, and slide guitar being used. There were also talks of country legend Willie Nelson guesting on this track. Though Nelson did not appear, the song does its hype justice, serving as a strange but pleasant bridge between bluegrass and heavy metal.

Mustaine wrote “Forget To Remember” about his mother-in-law, who has Alzheimer’s disease. Though it is an upbeat song for Megadeth, the lyrics are some of their most poignant: “If this is living, what the hell is living for? / You’ve boarded up your eyes, your mind has locked the door”. Broderick’s fills and Mustaine’s voice are beautifully in sync, with the fogginess of some of Mustaine’s vocal lines possibly representing the fogginess of the woman’s memory. This is definitely a highlight of the album, though it is more radio-friendly than most Deth fans are used to.

“Don’t Turn Your Back…” starts off with an impressive bluesy guitar solo and progresses into a badass riff, then into a poppy chorus with more cheesy lyrics (“The best advice I can lend is / Don’t ever turn your back on a friend”). Kinda My Little Pony for Megadeth, even though the musical elements are fantastic.

Though “Cold Sweat” is a Thin Lizzy cover, ironically, it is one of the most Megadeth-sounding songs on the album. Great cover that sounds at home on Endgame.

“All I Want”, the first bonus track, has a vibe similar to Th1rt3en’s “Wrecker” and has obvious KISS influences in the lyrics (“We took off on a rocket ride”). Decent medium-tempo metal song.

“A House Divided” should have been released on all versions of the album. It is truly a shame that it is only available on the deluxe edition. It has an interesting trumpet intro by Bob Findley (who played on Megadeth’s “Silent Scorn”), and like “Dance in the Rain,” reminds me why I’m a fan of this band. Once again, Mustaine sings about injustice (“This is a sad day for violence / When speech results in silence”) as gang vocals creepily chant “We all know something’s wrong” in the background. It gave me goosebumps. It is a suiting finale to the new material.

The final track is a live version of “Countdown to Extinction,” recorded in Pomona, Calif. in December of last year. It is a preview of Megadeth’s next CD/DVD release, Countdown to Extinction Live, which should come out this fall.

Super Collider is just one of those albums that is so different, it has to grow on you. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen it called “Risk II”. But the truth is, there are so many different elements on SC, you can’t compare it to one single item in the Megadeth catalogue. It stands alone.

Final verdict: 7/10

Track Listing:
1. Kingmaker
2 .Super Collider
3. Burn!
4. Built For War
5. Off The Edge
6. Dance In The Rain
7. Beginning Of Sorrow
8. The Blackest Crow
9. Forget To Remember
10. Don’t Turn Your Back…
11. Cold Sweat (Thin Lizzy cover)
12. All I Want (Bonus Track)
13. A House Divided (Bonus Track)
14. Countdown To Extinction (Live In Pomona, CA) (Bonus Track)


Mötley Crüe’s MICK MARS Attacked Onstage

Mötley Crüe guitarist Mick Mars was knocked over by a fan who jumped onstage during the band’s concert in Canada last night.

Mars suffers from a rare condition called ankylosing spondylitis, which fuses his bones together. Though the disease usually stops spreading when a person is in their 30s, Mars has a rare form of the disease where it continues spreading up his back into his brainstem.

Poor Mick. This was on his birthday too.


GHOST B.C., IDES OF GEMINI Live in Tucson, Ariz. – Aprl 23, 2013

Tuesday night may not be the ideal time to host a metal concert, and Tucson, Ariz., isn’t exactly known for its metal scene. But the Rialto Theater was packed with wild headbangers and stagedivers during last night’s Ghost B.C. concert.

(Ghost B.C. will hereafter be referred to as simply “Ghost”.)

Papa Emeritus alongside a Nameless Ghoul. Photo by Alec Damiano.

Ghost B.C.’s Papa Emeritus alongside a Nameless Ghoul. Photo by Alec Damiano.

The Rialto Theater was a seemingly perfect venue choice for the controversial band. With its rustic classic theater vibe and vintage red walls, the building itself matched the incense and candles burning on Ghost’s merch table.

Tucson sludge metallers Godhunter opened the show, their music a combination of death growls and doomy riffs.

Tucson metal band Godhunter performs. Photo by Alec Damiano

Tucson metal band Godhunter performs. Photo by Alec Damiano

Next up were Los Angeles doom outfit Ides of Gemini. Singer and bassist Sera Timms’ powerful voice complemented the death march-esque drums and ripping guitar perfectly.

Female-fronted doom metal band Ides of Gemini. Photo by Alec Damiano.

Female-fronted doom metal band Ides of Gemini. Photo by Alec Damiano.

Before the headliner went on, Ghost’s crew prepared a ritual where incense was lit and fog machines let out a (secular) haze filling the room.

A "secular haze" fills the room before Ghost goes on. Photo by Alec Damiano.

A “secular haze” fills the room before Ghost goes on. Photo by Alec Damiano.

The Nameless Ghouls opened with “Infestissumam” and Papa Emeritus made his grand entrance during “Per Aspera Ad Inferni”.

Ghost played an approximately 90-minute setlist with songs from both their albums, “Opus Eponymous” and “Infestissumam”. Papa Emeritus interacted with the crowd regularly, allowing crazed fans to grab his hands, which were covered by black latex gloves.

Papa Emeritus preaching to the crowd. Photo by Alec Damiano.

Papa Emeritus preaching to the crowd. Photo by Alec Damiano.

At the end of the show, a woman climbed onstage, wearing only a dress and a thong. Two young men later rushed the stage in a desperate attempt to steal the setlist. They were pulled out of the venue by security.

Ghost have always been controversial among metalheads. While some say they’re metal, others say they’re retro pop-rock. But Ghost sound far heavier live than on their albums. Audience members may not have moshed, but they certainly banged their heads and raised their fists.

The Nameless Ghouls. Photo by Alec Damiano.

The Nameless Ghouls. Photo by Alec Damiano.

Though the mysterious band may not record the heaviest music, their show was definitely metal nonetheless.


April’s Most Anticipated Albums – Device, Rob Zombie, Volbeat and More

Despite March being hailed by record stores as “Metal Month,” there are plenty of highly-anticipated albums that will be released in April.

The Blog of Shredding brings you the guide to what albums you should buy and where you can hear them (or at least some of the tracks) before they hit stores.

All release dates are U.S. release dates.

Device – “Device”

Release Date: April 9

Device's self-titled debut album (2013). Photo from Noisecreep.

Device’s self-titled debut album (2013). Photo from Noisecreep.

Device is the side project of Disturbed frontman David Draiman. The entire self-titled effort is now available for streaming on Noisecreep.

The lineup also includes Evanescence drummer Will Hunt, Dope guitarist Vitus and former Filter guitarist Geno Lenardo. M. Shadows from Avenged Sevenfold and Lzzy Hale from Halestorm make guest appearances.

Stone Sour – “House of Gold and Bones Part 2”

Release Date: April 9

Stone Sour's "House of Gold And Bones Part 2" (2013). Photo from Stone Sour's official website.

Stone Sour’s “House of Gold And Bones Part 2” (2013). Photo from Stone Sour’s official website.

“House of Gold and Bones Part 2” is the sequel to Stone Sour’s 2012 chart-topper, “House of Gold and Bones Part 1”. HOGAB is singer Corey Taylor’s project that includes the double album and a comic book series. HOGAB Part 2 also features Skid Row’s Rachel Bolan taking up bass duties.

TBOS previously reviewed this album. It is available for streaming on Stone Sour’s official website.

Volbeat – “Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies”

Release Date: April 9

"Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies" (2013). Photo from Volbeat's official website.

“Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies” (2013). Photo from Volbeat’s official website.

Volbeat’s first album to feature former Anthrax guitarist Rob Caggiano drops Tuesday. Legendary singer King Diamond (Mercyful Fate) is featured on the track “Room 24”.  “Room 24” is available for free on King Diamond’s website, as a gift to the fans.

Ghost B.C. – “Infestissumam”

Release Date: April 9 April 16

Ghost B.C.'s sophomore release. Photo from Ghost B.C.'s official website.

Ghost B.C.’s sophomore release. Photo from Ghost B.C.’s official website.

The release of Ghost B.C.’s sophomore album was delayed by a week due to controversy surrounding the artwork of “Infestissumam”. (The questionable artwork was not even on the album cover, but on the physical CD and would not have been visible to customers unless they purchased the album.)

Several of the songs from “Infestissumam” have already leaked online. The video for “Year Zero” can be seen below.

Skid Row – “United World Rebellion – Chapter One” (EP)

Release Date: April 16

"United World Rebellion" (2013), Skid Row's first record in 7 years. Photo from BLABBERMOUTH.NET

“United World Rebellion” (2013), Skid Row’s first record in seven years. Photo from BLABBERMOUTH.NET

“United World Rebellion – Chapter One” is the first in a series of EPs that Skid Row plans to release in the near future. It is their third record to feature singer Johnny Solinger, who replaced Sebastian Bach in 1999.

The official lyric video for “Kings of Demolition” can be seen below.

Geoff Tate’s Queensryche – “Frequency Unknown”

Release Date: April 23

Geoff Tate's first album with his incarnation of Queensryche. Photo from BLABBERMOUTH.NET

Geoff Tate’s first album with his incarnation of Queensryche. Photo from BLABBERMOUTH.NET

After a nasty split-up between singer Geoff Tate and his band Queensryche in late 2012, two versions of the band emerged: Geoff Tate’s Queensryche and simply, Queensryche.

The lineup of Tate’s version includes bassist Rudy Sarzo (Ozzy Osbourne, Dio, Whitesnake, Quiet Riot) and drummer Simon Wright (AC/DC, Dio). Guest musicians on “Frequency Unknown” include K.K. Downing (Judas Priest), Chris Poland (Megadeth) and Lita Ford.

The single “Cold” is available for streaming below.

Rob Zombie – “Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor”

Release Date: April 23

Rob Zombie, this year's Mayhem Fest headliner, will release his new album later this month. Photo from Rob Zombie's official website.

Rob Zombie, this year’s Mayhem Fest headliner, will release his new album later this month. Photo from Rob Zombie’s official website.

2013 is turning out to be the year of the Zombie.

Rob Zombie is headlining this year’s Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival. His film, “The Lords of Salem,” hits theaters April 19.

On top of that, his new album “Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor” has been highly acclaimed by various critics.

You can listen to the single, “Dead City Radio” here. The official music video will be released on VEVO on Monday.

More of April’s Most Anticipated Albums:

Flotsam and Jetsam – “Ugly Noise”

Release Date: April 16

Deep Purple – “NOW What?!”

Release Date: April 26

HIM – “Tears on Tape”

Release Date: April 26

Cathedral – “The Last Spire”

Release Date: April 29

For a more comprehensive list of upcoming metal releases, visit Metal Storm.