Hard Rock and Heavy Metal news, reviews, and interviews.

Latest

MEGADETH, Suicidal Tendencies, Children of Bodom & Havok Live in Phoenix, Ariz. – 2/27/16

This time last year, the future of Megadeth was uncertain to the public. Guitarist Chris Broderick and drummer Shawn Drover had left the band within hours of each other in November. Bandleader, lead singer, and guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson were auditioning replacements.

There were rumors of a Rust in Peace (1990) lineup reunion. It was attempted, but it didn’t happen.

image

Angra guitarist Kiko Loureiro and Lamb of God drummer Chris Adler were officially announced as Megadeth’s newest members in Spring 2015.

The band’s latest effort, Dystopia, was released this January. Widely acclaimed, it hit #3 on the Billboard Top 200. It beat Adele and Justin Bieber for the #1 iTunes spot in Canada and has been regarded by many as Megadeth’s finest album in decades (or at least since Endgame).

Fresh on the heels of Dystopia‘s success, Megadeth set out on the killing road with a killer set of supporting bands in tow: legendary crossover punks Suicidal Tendencies, Finnish melodeath virtuosos Children of Bodom, and emerging Colorado thrashers, Havok. I am a fan of all the bands on the bill and had seen them all previously, which made me particularly excited for this show.

image

Havok opened with four songs. Among those were “D.O.A.” and “Give Me Liberty… Or Give Me Death”. On my side of the pit, you couldn’t hear David Sanchez’s vocals very well, but the band put on a hell of a show, as was expected of them. Considering I had seen them play to packed smaller venues, I was surprised that more people in the crowd did not know who they were. I was also slightly disappointed that they only played four songs. But even though most of the crowd seemed unfamiliar with the band at first, Havok was given hearty applause once they finished their set.

image

Children of Bodom played another short set, which included songs from their newest album, I Worship Chaos (2015), and classic material like “Hate Me” and “Angels Don’t Kill.” The guitars were nearly inaudible on my side, which saddened me, because I really admire Alexi Laiho’s guitar work. The sound levels were fixed about halfway through their set. Regardless, Bodom shredded.

image

Up to this point, the crowd was mostly calm in my area, with a few people moshing and one girl crowdsurfing during Bodom’s set. But once Suicidal took the stage, all hell broke loose.

image

Suicidal Tendencies opened with a ripping version of “You Can’t Bring Me Down,” and singer Mike Muir was running and jumping all over the stage throughout their whole set. None other than Slayer’s Dave Lombardo was behind S.T.’s kit. Their dynamic seven-song set was filled with hits like “Institutionalized” and “I Saw Your Mommy”. The crowd was going wild, with plenty of people headbanging, moshing, and crowd-surfing. Even though they had small rigs (the guitarists only had half-stacks), they were the best-sounding band of the night so far, and definitely the most energetic.

image

Next up was the band everyone was waiting for.

Suicidal quickly tore down their equipment, and a curtain dropped, revealing the massive futuristic apparatus Megadeth would be playing in front of. It was nice surprise to see Mustaine’s guitar tech, Willie Gee, setting up. From what I knew, he had retired last year.

About twenty minutes later, the lights went down. An intro animation of Megadeth’s logo danced on the video screen as “Prince of Darkness” played in the background. Then, the band launched into “The Threat Is Real,” strutting onstage as lights flashed and smoke machines went off.

image

Dave Mustaine may not be the most flamboyant frontman in metal, but he strode all over the stage throughout the band’s set, bobbing his fiery mane up and down while his fingers danced all over the fretboard. His voice sounded in particularly great condition tonight. Even though the band was tuned down to D to accommodate his vocals, it gave the songs an added darkness.

image

David Ellefson and Kiko Loureiro also walked up and down the stage as they played, heading back to their microphones in time to sing backing vocals. Even as they sang, they smiled and interacted with the crowd, throwing us picks in between songs. To say Kiko nailed Marty Friedman’s solos would be an understatement.

image

Chris Adler was situated atop a massive drum riser embedded into their futuristic stage prop. I couldn’t see his face much during the actual show, but the pictures I took show him smiling.

image

Their setlist spanned 30 years; they played material off most of their albums from Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying? (1986) to Dystopia (2016). It was awesome to hear some deeper cuts from Rust In Peace like “Dawn Patrol” and “Poison Was The Cure,” as well as their hits like “A Tout Le Monde”.

What struck me as odd was that the Phoenix crowd did not seem to know the “Megadeth, Megadeth, aguante Megadeth” chant that Argentina had pioneered for “Symphony Of Destruction”. Not only do the Argentinian crowds chant it, but so do the crowds in other Latin countries. Fellow Latino Kiko Loureiro came to my side of the venue and saw me mouthing those words, then he smiled at me.

As the four members united at center stage to take their final bow and throw picks and wristbands into the audience, my only thought was, “Why did it have to end?”

I had seen Megadeth before. Not once, but three times, and those three shows paled in comparison to this one. It was like I had seen a different band, and in a sense, I had. All the members seemed legitimately happy to belong to the same group, and you could feel their radiance beaming from the stage.

image

Catch this tour if you can. You won’t regret it.

Megadeth Setlist:

  1. The Threat Is Real
  2. Hangar 18
  3. Kingmaker
  4. Wake Up Dead
  5. In My Darkest Hour
  6. Sweating Bullets
  7. Dystopia
  8. Dawn Patrol
  9. Poison Was The Cure
  10. She-Wolf
  11. Trust
  12. Skin O’ My Teeth
  13. Fatal Illusion
  14. A Tout Le Monde
  15. Symphony Of Destruction
  16. Peace Sells
  17. Holy Wars…The Punishment Due

Other setlists: Suicidal Tendencies, Children of Bodom

 

The Blog of Shredding is now TheBlogofShredding.com!

If you are interested in contributing to The Blog of Shredding, please email alecdamiano(at)hotmail.com with a sample of your work!

This website will be undergoing a facelift within the next few weeks, and expect some great content soon!

Cheers.

Photos: KING DIAMOND & EXODUS – Live in Tucson, AZ 11/8/15

Hi everyone,

It’s been a very long time since I’ve posted here on TBOS. A lot of things have been going on in my life, but now I am planning to post here once again.

Sunday, I had the opportunity to shoot the King Diamond/Exodus show in Tucson, Ariz. thanks to Heavy Metal Television. I am also a video DJ on that network, and you can catch me weekdays from 9 am to 1 pm Pacific Standard time.

Here are some photos from the concert, which I think was hands-down the best show of the year.

Setlists 

Exodus

  1. Blacklist
  2. Impaler
  3. Bonded By Blood
  4. Toxic Waltz
  5. Vlad The impaler

King Diamond

  1. Welcome Home
  2. Sleepless Nights
  3. Halloween
  4. Eye of the Witch
  5. Evil
  6. Melissa
  7. Funeral
  8. Arrival
  9. A Mansion In Darkness
  10. The Family Ghost
  11. The 7th Day of July 1777
  12. Omens
  13. The Possession
  14. Abigail
  15. Black Horsemen

AUTOLYSIS – “WTF Is In My Basement” Lyric Video Released

Check out this video by Phoenix brutal death metal band Autolysis

WARNING: contains gore

Help WARHEAD Tour The East Coast

Phoenix thrash metallers Warhead are supposed to tour the East Coast early next year. But their tour van broke down and they’re raising money for a new engine.

You can donate to their Fundrazr campaign and buy some of their merch here.

For more information, you can view the video below.

YE’IITSOH – “For The Empire” Music Video Released

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m proud to present my first music video ever: “For the Empire” by Ye’iitsoh!

“We’ve Come To Make Your Ears Bleed”

Ye’iitsoh is a blackened thrash metal band from Phoenix. They are in the process of recording their first demo.

You can watch the following feature below.

The music video for their first single, “For the Empire,” will be released exclusively here on The Blog of Shredding later this year.

They’ll be opening for Death Angel tomorrow, Saturday Nov. 9.

 

EXMORTUS Talks To The Blaze 1330 AM

1381598_10151917570416749_888955652_n

Check out this interview I did with California metal virtuosos Exmortus! They just signed a 3-album deal with Prosthetic Records, home of Holy Grail and Skeletonwitch. You can hear the full interview here!

SACRED REICH Talks to The Blaze 1330 AM

Image

Check out this interview I did with Jason Rainey from Sacred Reich! He talks about the band’s early days, SR’s reunion, and returning to Metal Blade Records. Sacred Reich plans to tour Europe and South America next year. You can hear the full interview here!

Album Review: AVENGED SEVENFOLD’s ‘Hail To The King’

Image

Controversy has surrounded Avenged Sevenfold’s latest effort since the Internet first saw guitarist Synyster Gates with short hair.

Then came the chaos surrounding the album artwork, with many claiming that the cover had ripped off Lich King’s “World Gone Dead”.  Sevenfold later changed the album cover.

The single and title track, “Hail to the King” was released to mixed-to-positive reception, with many insisting that the new drummer Arin Ilejay’s work was too simplistic. But M. Shadows insisted that the straightforward drum parts were intentional, because the new record would sound like classic 80s hard rock and heavy metal.

Regardless, the metal world just had to see—rather, hear—how this new album would turn out. It was Sevenfold’s first album with a permanent drummer since Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan passed away in late 2009. Ex-Dream Theater powerhouse Mike Portnoy hit the skins on A7X’s previous work, “Nightmare,” which was a massive hit. How would they follow up?

“Shepherd of Fire” is a very powerful start to the album, possibly even better than the single and title track.  The album starts off with the sound of rain and Synyster Gates’ and Zacky Vengeance’s dual guitar leads and Johnny Christ’s rumbling bass. “Shepherd” is very old school and the Iron Maiden influences are very apparent. Singer M. Shadows was correct when he said the album would have a classic hard rock/metal feel combined with the band’s signature sound.

“Hail To the King,” the first single from this album, is next. Though it has Gates’ and Vengeance’s trademark guitar runs, it lacks the power of the first track. When the single was first released, many complained that the Arin Ilejay’s drum work was too simplistic compared to The Rev’s and Mike Portnoy’s (who played on “Nightmare”). Shadows contended that the straightforward drum parts were intentional and meant to make the record sound more 80s metal influenced. After hearing the first track, this makes more sense in the context of the entire album. The production is magnificently crisp. The song can be heard below.

 

“Doing Time” sounds like a mixture of Black Sabbath and Guns N’ Roses with a “Paranoid”-esque riff and Shadows’ spoken intro. The octave vocal harmonies, Shadows’ nasal delivery, and shrieks are very reminiscent of “Appetite For Destruction” Axl Rose. It is a decent song but lacks panache compared to the other two songs.

Slow, beautiful guitar harmonies open “This Means War”. It then evolves into a powerful mid-tempo anthem, like a combination of two earlier Sevenfold songs, “Welcome to the Family” and “Girl I Know”.  The Iron Maiden influence is also evident in this song, with soaring vocal melodies, cleaner singing, and dueling guitars.  The lyrics are pretty awesome: “There’s nothing here for free – Lost who I want to be / My serpent blood can strike so cold / On any given day – I’ll take it all away / Another thought I can’t control”.

“Requiem” opens with a choir singing Gregorian chant, possibly borrowing from Ghost B.C., who Sevenfold will be touring with later this year. A fragment of this song could be heard in one of the albums previews the band released a few months back. Epic strings compliment Synyster Gate’s leads, making the song sound like a more updated version of something off of Ozzy’s “Diary of a Madman”.

The ballad “Crimson Day” opens with a clean intro, kind of reminding me of Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters”.  It is more powerful and poignant than Sevenfold’s best-known ballad, “Seize the Day,” and may even appeal to country audiences. It could be a crossover hit.

“Heretic” takes us back to signature Sevenfold-sounding territory. With rawer production, it would fit right at home on “City of Evil”.  This song showcases how much Shadows has progressed as a singer since then. The acoustic guitar interlude matching underneath the dual guitar riffs remind me of the middle section of Megadeth’s “Reckoning Day”, once again displaying Sevenfold’s 80s metal influences. Synsyter Gates cements his status as a guitar god with this track.

“Coming Home” also wears Iron Maiden influences on its sleeve while still retaining aspects of Sevenfold’s “City Of Evil”-era sound.  We also get to hear some more complex drumming, with Ilejay’s double bass footwork.

“Planets” starts with an interesting drum beat and horns and guitars dancing from the left to right headphones and back, another example of the all the thought that went into the production of this album. The result is an apocalyptic, dissonant, half-thrash-influenced, half-prog thing. It is definitely experimental, even by Sevenfold standards (“A Little Piece of Heaven,” anyone?), and may have to grow on the listener.

“Acid Rain” opens with a piano playing a minor progression of chords. Then dreamy strings kick in, and Synyster plays a very bluesy Slash-sounding solo before Shadows starts singing. It is beautifully melodramatic, almost cabaretish—like if Electric Light Orchestra’s “Mr. Blue Sky” and Guns N’ Roses’ “November Rain” had a bastard child. Who knows if having a piano-based track close the album will be an ongoing trend for Sevenfold (“Fiction” closed their previous album, “Nightmare”).  If so, it is definitely something to look forward to. The album ends with one of its most memorable songs, but the listener is still left wanting more.

Is “Hail to the King” “City Of Evil 2”? No. It’s far more diverse than that and could seem a tad too overproduced at times.

Is it better than “Nightmare”? Yes and no, depending on your individual taste. It is more experimental, which could appeal to some and turn others off.

Is this album one of the best metal albums of 2013 so far? It is a possible contender, but we’ll have to wait and see.

FINAL VERDICT: 8.5/10

Track listing:

  1. Shepherd Of Fire
  2. Hail To The King
  3. Doing Time
  4. This Means War
  5. Requiem
  6. Crimson Day
  7. Heretic
  8. Coming Home
  9. Planets
  10. Acid Rain