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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

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Album Review: CHILDREN OF BODOM’s “Halo of Blood” (Deluxe Edition)

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Finnish melodeath band Children of Bodom is back with a vengeance, releasing possibly their best album in over a decade. “Halo of Blood” shows how CoB has matured musically while still maintaining their aggression and sense of humor.

“Waste of Skin” and “Halo of Blood” start off the album with an aggressive one-two punch, where the keyboards take somewhat of a backseat. Alexi Laiho screams over machine gun drums and melodic dual guitar riffs. Whereas “Waste of Skin” makes one nod and say, “Yep, this is Bodom,” “Halo of Blood” seems too busy at times with its very syncopated rhythms (possibly a drummer’s wet dream).

“Scream for Silence” takes the speed down a notch, but nicely. The keyboards are more noticeable in this song than in the previous two, which lacked a keyboard solo. Interesting lead harmonies complement intense lyrics like, “If you need to feed on pain, you might as well tap my vein.” This track is probably the most radio-friendly of the album and would have made a better single than “Transference”. It ends with a nice Slayer-esque guitar riff and people chanting “Kill! Kill!” Very Bodom indeed.

“Transference” was the choice for the first single of the album. While it still has the elements that differentiate CoB from other bands (chromatic guitar and keyboard runs, leads complementing Laiho’s vocals), it is just ok. It is probably, musically, the simplest song on the album, and that may have been a factor as to why it was chosen as the lead single.

“Bodom Blue Moon” and “The Days Are Numbered” both sound like they could have come straight off “Hatebreeder” (1999). They both possess hypnotic keyboards and are technical eargasms, with the latter possessing more neoclassical elements. Lyrics like, “Your name on my blade I won’t erase / Until I get to cut my name on your face” would make metalheads proudly nod and say, “F**k yeah” to themselves.

“Dead Man’s Hand on You” is definitely the most experimental track on the album, sounding more akin to Marilyn Manson than CoB at the beginning. Laiho doesn’t even scream on this one at the start and is accompanied by acoustic guitars and a piano. But the lyrics, about a twisted proposal to the goddess Mother Kali, showcase CoB’s sense of humor quite nicely: “I’ll be more than just a dead man’s hand on you… Love me one more time and I’ll let you kill me too.”

The last three tracks, “Damaged Beyond Repair,” “All Twisted,” and “One Bottle and a Knee Deep,” all sound like they could be on “Follow the Reaper”. “All Twisted” in particular has a “Hate Me!” vibe and similar riff work.

“Sleeping in My Car” is a Roxette cover and the bonus track on this edition of the album. (What is Children of Bodom without covering pop songs and making them metal?) It is a suitable end to “Halo of Blood,” because this album encompasses elements of CoB’s entire discography, including humorous covers. Instead of Roxette sweetly crooning, “The night is so pretty and so young,” the refrain sounds like it was uttered by a drunken vampire in Bodom’s version. The song ends with the solo from Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'”.

The “Making of” DVD (the second disc) is a nice treat. The viewer gets to see the band fooling around in the studio, but also witness just how self-deprecating these incredible musicians and their crew can be. At one point, the producer exclaims, “Finally this band has a good bass sound!”

“Halo of Blood” is a great album that will definitely please the Hate Crew. It is their best work in years.

FINAL VERDICT: 8.5/10

Track listing:
1. Waste of Skin
2. Halo of Blood
3. Scream for Silence
4. Transference
5. Bodom Blue Moon (the second coming)
6. The Days Are Numbered
7. Dead Man’s Hand on You
8. Damaged Beyond Repair
9. All Twisted
10. One Bottle and a Knee Deep
11. Sleeping in My Car (Roxette cover) (Bonus Track)


This Week In Metal: Slayer, Machine Head, Mayhem Fest and more

  • In what came as as a shock to metalheads everywhere, Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo was allegedly fired for questioning contractual matters. You can read the full statement on his Facebook page.

Slayer released a statement shortly afterward, confirming that John Dette from Testament will be replacing Lombardo on the upcoming Australian tour. It is unclear when or if Lombardo will be readmitted into the band.

  • Another shocking lineup change. Machine Head bassist Adam Duce has left the band. Robb Flynn remains the sole original member. An official statement released on the band’s website describes the split as “amicable,” and they wish Duce the best in his future endeavors.
  • Loudwire premiered Anthrax’s new cover of AC/DC’s “T.N.T.” Their covers album, “Anthems,” will be released March 19.

In other Anthrax news, former guitarist Rob Caggiano performed onstage with Volbeat for the first time.

(link from Blabbermouth.net)

  • Ghost B.C. (formerly known as Ghost) released the music video for their single “Secular Haze”. They also released the album artwork for “Infestissumam,” which goes onsale April 19.

Ghost Artwork

  • A new TV commercial was unveiled to promote the 2013 Revolver Golden God Awards, which will take place May 2. The video features Chris Jericho, Zakk Wylde, Sebastian Bach and others. Metallica is headlining the show. You can vote for the award recipients here.
  • Skid Row debuted a preview of their new single, “Kings of Demolition” and announced that they have signed a deal with Megaforce Records. Their new EP, “United World Rebellion – Chapter One,” will be released in North America April 16.
  • Other bands that have released studio updates this week: Megadeth, Children of Bodom, Steel Panther, Deep Purple.
  • The official Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival lineup for 2013 will be released on March 18. A rumored lineup includes Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch, Lamb of God, Children of Bodom and Amon Amarth.

Thus concludes this week in metal.


This Week in Metal: NAMM, Ozzfest Japan, Whitesnake and More

This week in metal was a hard one to cover due to the excitement surrounding NAMM. So here are the highlights of this week:

  • Ozzfest Japan 2013 will take place in May and feature Black Sabbath. Other bands include: SlipknotSlash featuring Myles Kennedy and the ConspiratorsDeftonesToolThe TreatmentDir En Grey and Steel Panther.
  • Dave Mustaine revealed that Megadeth will embark on a short tour with Iron Maiden in Spain, Italy, and France. He said that Megadeth is nearly finished recording their fourteenth album, but did not reveal what record label they have signed with. Mustaine also gave some hints as to what bands will be on Gigantour 2013. He said they are “notorious bad boys”. Perhaps they will tour with Mötley Crüe once again?
  • Dee Snider (Twisted Sister) was the subject of an all-star roast featuring Lita FordZakk Wylde and Jim Norton.
  • Ray Burton, father of deceased Metallica bassist Cliff Burton, signed autographs at the ARIA Guitars booth at NAMM.
David Ellefson of Megadeth (2nd from left) and Ray Burton (2nd from right) at the ARIA Guitars booth at NAMM 2013. Photo credit: Metallica official Facebook.

David Ellefson of Megadeth (2nd from left) and Ray Burton (2nd from right) at the ARIA Guitars booth at NAMM 2013. Photo credit: Metallica official Facebook.

  • Drummer Tommy Aldridge rejoined Whitesnake.
  • preview of the new 3D Guns N’ Roses concert film is now available.
  • L.A. Guns posted the first photo of their new lineup featuring guitarist Michael Grant (Endeverafter).
New lineup of L.A. Guns. Photo credit: L.A. Guns official Facebook page.

New lineup of L.A. Guns. Photo credit: L.A. Guns official Facebook page.

  • A preview of the new Motörhead book “Roadkill” went online. 
  • Geoff Tate’s Queensryche revealed a new lineup.
  • The Dillinger Escape Plan and Trapped Under Ice were added to New England Metal and Hardcore Fest.
  • A Sepultura  biography is due for release later this year.
  • Roadrunner Records signed Kvelertak.
  • Poison drummer Rikki Rockett will star in a new reality series called “American Drums”.
  • Flotsam and Jetsam bassist Jason Ward will not be joining the band on their upcoming tour with Testament and Overkill due to family commitments.
  • Drummer Lyle Cooper quits The Faceless.
  • A rumored lineup of Mayhem Fest includes Rob Zombie, Amon Amarth, Deftones, and Children of Bodom. The official lineup will be released Mar.18.

Thus concludes TBOS’s “This Week In Metal”.


Doro Pesch Interview Transcript – Part 4

In the final part of this interview, Doro Pesch discusses her future plans and reveals her thoughts on the current metal scene. Her new movie “Anuk: The Path of the Warrior 2” will be released next year. She plans to do a new fashion line and create a champagne to commemorate her career’s 30th anniversary.

The previous parts of the interview are here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Doro Pesch, 2008. Photo courtesy valvemagazine on Flickr.

Doro Pesch, 2008. Photo courtesy valvemagazine on Flickr.

The Blog of Shredding: You design all your own stage clothes, right?

Doro Pesch: Yeah, but somebody else is sewing it and usually it’s not real leather. Because one day, I thought, “Man, I don’t want to hurt anybody and I don’t want to have, you know, any animals getting killed for my stage clothes.” So our stage clothes, they look like leather, but they are actually not real leather or other fabrics. I have a lady who’s sewing it, but we’re always working together and making how I want it and then her ideas, we get together. But she’s sewing it. Yeah, she’s a professional. I used to do that by myself in the 80s, but yeah, it’s better when you have a professional. (laughs)

The Blog of Shredding: Have you ever considered making a fashion line?

Doro Pesch: Yeah, actually I got my own fashion line. It’s called “Love Me in Black,” and it’s all, of course, black clothes and it has all kinds of jean material and like fake leather, which looks really good. And I would love to do a second one in time, maybe for the 30th anniversary. We were thinking about working out with some people together, they are like doing this gothic clothes, gothic metal clothes. Yeah, so it’s maybe something that’s in the making. But so far, I’m always on tour or just finished mixing the record or the promotion tour, so I don’t know if it will come out this year. But something nice.

I want to do something nice for the 30th anniversary, having a big celebration. And I think we will have our own champagne, the 30th anniversary champagne! There’s a perfume line in the making for ladies, so some little goodies. Something for the merchandise, not like big¸ big, big, just something nice to collect and stuff.

The Blog of Shredding: What are some of your other future plans?

Doro Pesch: Just a couple of days ago, I came back from Switzerland and I finished the movie “Anuk: The Path of the Warrior 2.” I did it one time in 2007, and now the second part we just filmed it before the European tour. And we didn’t finish it. And I just finished it last week. I wanna do maybe a couple of songs for the movie because that’s how we got together in the first place. The guy who’s doing it—the director and producer—his name is Luke Gasser, and he asked me if I wanted to write the title track for the movie that was back in 2006, 2007. And I said, “I would love to. I would love to.” So he gave me the script, and I thought, “Wow! This is great.” It’s like an adventure movie, and I said, “Oh, I would love that!” And he said, “Do you want to play a part in it too?” And I said,” Wow! I never did it. I just did (music) videos.” He said,” Oh, let’s do it.” So I did, and my part was actually a warrior named Meha. Now I play the part of Meha again. And we filmed it in the mountains in Switzerland and in Ireland. It was very exciting. So this will come out this year as well, maybe end of 2013, beginning of 2014.

Then nonstop touring the world, and I just wanna concentrate to do a great American tour and to give the fans the best we’ve ever played. And we will play all the songs from the old school metal songs of the 80s, some great Warlock songs which fans never heard (live), some surprises, the title tracks of all the records. Now there’s like 17 records. All the best stuff. All the best songs of the new album. Yeah, that’s actually what I’m most excited about now.

We will celebrate the 30th anniversary, we’ll have some big shows with great guests. The first one, we will do Open Air in Wacken this year in August. Then I want to do two in Dusseldorf, Germany, my hometown. Two shows, two nights in a row, maybe with orchestra and great guests. And the other one, maybe—something spectacular. Something really great. And I want to do one time in London, one time in Paris, and one time in New York, since I live there now since ’87. So we want to do like these extra-special shows… Yeah, I think that’s more than the whole year can be, then there’s time, so yeah.

The Blog of Shredding: What do you think of the state of metal nowadays?

Doro Pesch: Oh, I think it’s in great shape and I think the festivals worldwide—usually they’re like the biggest and best festivals. For example, Wacken, it’s already sold out. It was eight months sold out before the show would take place. And the last time, I think it was sold out six months before it took place. So I think it’s a great sign.

Worldwide, I think we can tour the world much more. In the 80s, it was impossible to tour Russia or China or Romania, Bulgaria, and now, we can tour all over the world and I think that’s awesome. Thailand we did too. It’s fantastic, so I think the world became much more open and I think there’s still a lot of work to do and some other countries where it’s impossible to listen to metal or to even go there to tour.

But other than that, metal is in great shape. I think it almost reminds me of the 80s, and I think that’s very good.

I miss all like the great magazines. I was a big fan of these great magazines, and I miss them. And I miss the big record stores where you could, you know, go in and like, you know, weed through for ten hours. So that’s what I miss a little bit. But on the other hand, now everything’s available on the Internet.

So I guess in one way it’s good, in another way—I still love vinyl. And the few ways to send the record, the record company, I told them I would like to have a vinyl edition. And they said, “Yes, we know your fans would like that.” So there’s actually vinyl editions, that’s awesome. Yeah, and I think metal is in really good shape, very strong.

The Blog of Shredding: What are some new metal bands you’re listening to?

Doro Pesch: I like Children of Bodom, I like In Flames, Arch Enemy, Sabaton, Saltatio Mortis. There’s a very unique metal band that do—I don’t know how you call them. Maybe “Middle Age”. It’s like, they have like these different instruments like the old, old instruments. I don’t know how you call that genre in English.

Me: Folk metal?

Doro: It’s not folk metal. It’s called “mittlelalter”. “Mittlelalter” means “middle age” or “dark age”. And it’s very interesting, so if people are interested, it’s a great band. Saltatio Mortis is their name. I sing on one of their records. We did a duet. The song’s called “Salome”. Yeah, and they’re young guys, really great.

And I’m a big Rammstein fan. Of course, they’re not so new anymore. It’s not like they just came out, but it’s already, you know, so many more years…

All the bands I loved in the 80s, I still love them, I must say (laughs).

I like Steel Panther. They’re so much fun! (laughs)

And so concludes our interview with the ever-humble Metal Queen.

Tomorrow on TBOS: This Week in Metal. NAMM, Ozzfest Japan, Tommy Aldridge rejoins Whitesnake and more.