Monthly Archives: January 2009

Review: Cynic – Traced In Air [2008]

amazon-cynicAfter a 15-year layover, the seminal Florida metal troupe Cynic have triumphantly returned with TRACED IN AIR. This stunning eight-track endeavor picks up where the cult outfit’s 1993 release FOCUS left off, as this disc reassures that Cynic’s mindblowingly technical assault is not only firmly intact but sounding fresher than ever (“The Space For This,” “Integral Birth”). Remaining at the forefront of the progressive end of the metal spectrum, whirlwind time signature switches, jazzy fretwork, complex percussion, and bevy of vocoder-laden vocals (with a good portion of death metal growls strewn in) are conscientiously woven together to create a rich musical tapestry which truly embodies fusion metal at its finest, rendering a welcomed comeback for Cynic. www.season-of-mist.com -Mike SOS

Metallica Live at the Nassau Coliseum [1-29-09]

1-29-08-james-2Last night Metallica delivered over two hours of headbanging heavy metal delight to a sold out crowd of ecstatic Long Islanders at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, NY. Ripping through new cuts “That Was Just Your Life,” “The End of the Line,” “Cyanide,” “The Day That Never Comes,” and “Broken, Beat, & Scarred,” the 2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees never gave their fans a chance to find a flaw within the Death Magnetic record.

1-28-09-rob1April 2004 marked the last time Metallica came to town and there was no better way to deliver a powerful rock show after nearly a five year break. The band led the fans through classics “Creeping Death” (DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE…), “The Thing That Should Not Be” (perfectly placed towards the beginning of the set), “Enter Sandman” (obvious crowd pleaser), and “One” (My eyebrows have begun to grow back after the scorching “Darkness” 1-28-09-kirkflames).

The band played through some classic rarities as well including “Damage, Inc.,” “Phantom Lord,” and “The Unforgiven” (have not seen this one live in quite some time).

James Hetfield’s voice was perfect throughout the show although he did develop an old man gut which was visible for the encore. Kirk Hammett’s guitar solos were excellent within the songs but weak during the short solo breaks. He also wore far too much “guy liner.” Lars Ulrich seemed to be in the best physical condition of them all and looks as if he hasn’t aged a day since the ’97 “Load Tour.” Rob Trujillo’s bass-work is fantastic and fits in really well but I still miss Jason Newstead’s powerful stage presence.

The stage was centered in the middle of the arena with a rotating drum kit and approximately six microphones so the band could perform for every fan in attendance. Large steel coffins lowered towards the stage from above with attached laser lights (awesome during “That Was Just Your Life”) gunning throughout the venue. During the encore, large black inflatable beach balls plummeted from the ceiling converting the Coliseum into a magical heavy metal beach party.

Setlist:

That Was Just Your Life

The End Of The Line

Creeping Death

The Thing That Should Not Be

One

Broken Beat & Scarred

Cyanide

Sad But True

The Unforgiven

All Nightmare Long

Kirk Doodle

The Day That Never Comes

Master Of Puppets

Damage, Inc.

Kirk Doodle

Nothing Else Matters

Enter Sandman

Stone Cold Crazy

Phantom Lord

Seek & Destroy

Above photos courtesy of R.Meds

Review: Evergrey – Torn [2008]

amazon-evergreySwedish melodic metal machine Evergrey re-emerge with TORN, a solid 11-track affair that finds the group rediscovering  their progressive roots while keeping subtle hints from the mainstream metal style found on their last few offerings intact. Tracks like “When Kingdoms Fall” and the In Flames-esque “Nothing is Erased” showcases this squad’s prowess to nimbly straddle the line between genres without irking the diehards, while “Numb” and “Fail” showcase this unit’s ability to create tracks that are perfectly balanced between  brooding and heavy . While the amount of truly memorable songs found here is a bit low, the superior quality of the songwriting, the sterling musicianship displayed across the board, and the rekindling of their early sound makes TORN a surefooted step in the right direction for Evergrey. www.spv.de -Mike SOS

Review: Inhale/Exhale – I Swear… [2008]

amazon-inhaleOhio Christian metalcore troupe Inhale/Exhale exhibit an admirable strain of Underoath meets tough guy hardcore on their latest 11-track disc I SWEAR…. Tracks like “The Impatient Will Suffer” benefits from a smorgasbord of strong guitar parts  even though the hook is blatant and generic, “I Live the Bad Life” keeps a menacing pace that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Terror album before throwing in melodic singing and an Unearth-like gallop while”The Words We Have Chosen” comes across as Thrice when heavy before token angsty metalcore choruses overcome. While this unit has undergone a flurry of lineup changes, they’ve managed to step up their musical prowess and still can wield the explosiveness necessary for songs like “I Needed A Spaceship” to make knees buckle, yet ultimately fall prey to relying on the genre’s basics too much, hampering Inhale/Exhale in their quest to resonate (sans a few great moments) with anything that you haven’t heard before. www.solidstaterecords.com -Mike SOS

"Guitar Hero Metallica" Track List Unveiled

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Here are the tracks slated for Guitar Hero Metallica, hitting the streets on March 29, 2009 for XBox360 and PS3 (Nintendo Wii and PS2 release date is May 31 according to amazon.com).

The game will feature an option for double bass drum action on expert+ mode. Note that the original Bob Seger, Diamond Head, Queen, and Lynyrd Skynyrd versions are incorporated into the game rather than Metallica’s covers. It is also great to see Slayer’s “War Ensemble” and C.O.C.’s “Albatross” on the list.

While the above are all excellent ideas, it is important to note that leaving Jason Newstead and Cliff Burton out of the game is a very poor idea. Maybe next time.

METALLICA
OTHER BANDS
All Nightmare Long
Alice In Chains – No Excuses
Battery
Bob Seger – Turn the Page
Creeping Death
Corrosion of Conformity – Albatross
Disposable Heroes
Diamond Head – Am I Evil?
Dyers Eve
Foo Fighters – Stacked Actors
Enter Sandman
Judas Priest – Hell Bent For Leather
Fade To Black
Kyuss – Demon Cleaner
Fight Fire With Fire
Lynyrd Skynyrd – Tuesday’s Gone
For Whom The Bell Tolls
Machine Head – Beautiful Mourning
Frantic
Mastodon – Blood & Thunder
Fuel
Mercyful Fate – Evil
Hit The Lights
Michael Schenker Group – Armed and Ready
King Nothing
Motorhead – Ace of Spades
Master of Puppets
Queen – Stone Cold Crazy
Mercyful Fate (Medley)
Samhain – Mother of Mercy
No Leaf Clover
Slayer – War Ensemble
Nothing Else Matters
Social Distortion – Mommy’s Little Monster
One
Suicidal Tendencies – War Inside My Head
Orion
System of a Down – Toxicity
Sad But True
The Sword – Black River
Seek And Destroy
Thin Lizzy – The Boys Are Back in Town
The Memory Remains
The Shortest Straw
The Thing That Should Not Be
The Unforgiven
*Track list subject to change*
Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
Wherever I May Roam
Whiplash
Source: metallica.com

Review: The Acacia Strain – Continent [2008]

amazon-acacia-strainPerennially pissed off Massachusetts quartet The Acacia Strain returns with a crippling shot to the throat on the devastating CONTINENT. This 11-track collection is punishingly heavy from end to end, and is relentless in the pursuit to level anything standing in this unmistakably vitriolic outfit’s way. Brazen with hate-filled heft, despite the barrage of cliche tough guy posturings and profane revenge lyrical topics dumbing down the entire affair, everything else heard from the left of center breakdowns to the brutal vocals on this jaded juggernaut oozes angst in ways that make songs such as “Baby Buster” and “Dr. Doom” perfect aggressive anthems for disenchanted youth to go insane to. And stick around for the album’s closer, the atmospheric instrumental “The Behemoth” for a different side to this frothing beast’s dastardly delivery . www.prostheticrecords.com -Mike SOS

Bruce Springsteen 2009 US & European Tour Dates

Here are the latest Springsteen US and European tour dates for 2009 in support of Working On A Dream in stores now:

DATE    CITY                VENUE                           ON-SALE DATE

Apr 1   San Jose, CA        HP Pavilion at San Jose         Feb 2

Apr 3   Glendale, CA        Jobing.com Center               Feb 2

Apr 5   Austin, TX          Frank Erwin Center              Feb 7

Apr 7   Tulsa, OK           BOK Center                      Feb 7

Apr 8   Houston, TX         Toyota Center                   Feb 7

Apr 10  Denver, CO          Pepsi Arena                     Feb 2

Apr 15  Los Angeles, CA     LA Memorial Sports Arena        Feb 2

Apr 21  Boston, MA          TD Banknorth Garden             Feb 2

Apr 22  Boston, MA          TD Banknorth Garden             Feb 2

Apr 24  Hartford, CT        XL Center                       Feb 2

Apr 26  Atlanta, GA         Philips Arena                   Feb 2

Apr 28  Philadelphia, PA    Wachovia Spectrum               Feb 2

Apr 29  Philadelphia, PA    Wachovia Spectrum               Feb 2

May 2   Greensboro, NC      Greensboro Coliseum             Feb 6

May 4   Hempstead, NY       Nassau Veterans Mem. Col.       Feb 2

May 5   Charlottesville, VA John Paul Jones Arena           Feb 2

May 7   Toronto, ONT        Air Canada Centre               Feb 6

May 8   University Park, PA Bryce Jordan Center             Feb 2

May 11  St. Paul, MN        Xcel Energy Center              Feb 2

May 12  Chicago, IL         United Center                   Feb 2

May 14  Albany, NY          Times Union Center              Feb 2

May 15  Hershey, PA         Hersheypark Stadium             Feb 2

May 18  Washington, DC      Verizon Center                  Feb 2

May 19  Pittsburgh, PA      Mellon Arena                    Feb 2

May 21  E. Rutherford, NJ   Izod Center                     Feb 2

May 23  E. Rutherford, NJ   Izod Center                     Feb 2

May 30  Landgraaf, Holland  Pink Pop Festival               March 7

June 2  Tampere, Finland    Ratinan Stadion                 ON SALE

June 4  Stockholm, Sweden   Stockholm Stadium               SOLD OUT

June 5  Stockholm, Sweden   Stockholm Stadium               SOLD OUT

June 7  Stockholm, Sweden   Stockholm Stadium               SOLD OUT

June 9  Bergen, Norway      Koengen                         SOLD OUT

June 10 Bergen, Norway      Koengen                         SOLD OUT

July 2  Munich, Germany     Olympiastadion                  ON SALE NOW

July 3  Frankfurt, Germany  Commerzbank Arena               ON SALE NOW

July 5  Vienna, Austria     Ernst Happel Stadion            ON SALE NOW

July 8  Herning, Denmark    Herning MCH                     ON SALE NOW

July 11 Dublin, Ireland     RDS                             Jan 30

July 16 Carhaix, France     Festival des Vielles Charrues   Jan 30

July 19 Rome, Italy         Stadio Olimpico                 ON SALE SOON

July 21 Turino, Italy       Olimpico di Torino              ON SALE SOON

July 23 Udine, Italy        Stadio Friuli                   ON SALE SOON

July 26 Bilbao, Spain       San Mames Stadium               ON SALE SOON

July 28 Benidorm, Spain     Estadio Municipal de Foietes    ON SALE SOON

July 30 Sevilla, Spain      La Cartuja Olympic Stadium      ON SALE SOON

Aug 1   Valladolid, Spain   Estadio Jose Zorrilla           ON SALE SOON

Aug 2   Santiago, Spain     Monte Del Gozo                  ON SALE SOON

StubHub.com – The Safe Way to Buy & Sell Tickets Online
Update: Owners of “Guitar Hero World Tour” can now download “Lucky Day” and “Born To Run” to their gaming consoles for free!

Resurrection: Anthrax – I'm The Man [1987]

amazon-anthrax-im-manBack in 1987, a fourth grader that lived down the block from me snuck a taped copy of I’m The Man EP into my room. That was the first moment that the thrash door officially opened for me. We must have listened to the explicit version of the Rap Metal crossover parody “I’m The Man” 20 times that day. We could not turn it up too loud because the opening lyric contained the offensive term for excrement, and surely my parents would not approve of their first grade closet metal head hearing such lewd content.

Before Anthrax teamed up with Public Enemy for “Bring The Noise,” Anthrax decided to construct one of the first Rap Metal songs ever using a heavy guitar riff of Hava Nagila, samples of Sam Kinison’s signature yell, James Hetfield’s “Master!” and bassist Frank Bello throwing a shout-out to Rodney Dangerfield’s Easy Money during the chorus.

The I’m The Man EP also features a cover of the Black Sabbath classic “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath,” which is just as perfect, if not better than Bruce Dickinson’s version with Godspeed from Nativity in Black: A Tribute To Black Sabbath. Anthrax throws in a few bars of “Sweet Leaf” at the end of their version [If you would like to hear the worst cover version of “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath,” check out the one that The Cardigans did in 1994—actually I sort of like it but then again, I think Abba’s infectious melodies and unicorns kick ass].

The EP rounds out with two live Anthrax classics “Caught In A Mosh” and “I am the Law” which is a tribute to comic hero Judge Dred (not the Sylvester Stallone movie). Many teens know “Caught” today because of its inclusion in Guitar Hero.

It is time to resurrect this bad ass EP so grab the old tape from your parent’s basement, brush off the dust, and enjoy the 25 minutes of Metal pleasure as you experience the pioneering and mocking of Rap Metal.

Track Listing:

“I’m The Man [Censored]”

“I’m The Man [Explicit]”

“Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” [Black Sabbath cover]

“I’m The Man [Live]”

“Caught In A Mosh [Live]”

“I Am The Law [Live]”

Review: Outlaw Order – Dragging Down The Enforcer [2008]

amazon-outlaw-orderMade up entirely from past members of underground metal stalwarts Eyehategod and formed while all were on probation for various crimes, expect a sinewy and sinister sludgefest courtesy of the NOLA quintet Outlaw Order and their 13-track full-length debut DRAGGING DOWN THE ENFORCER. Pummeling your speakers with a sometimes lethargic but always lethal  low end crunch, cuts like the blunt “Double Barrel Solves Everything” and the bluesy “Alcohol Tobacco Firearms” truly encompass the uniqueness when quicksand grooves meet snarling anarchistic rants while molten rhythms chug in odd times (“Siege Mentality,” “Walking Papers”). Make no mistake, this is New Orleans metal at its most volatile, sounding like a culmination of the city’s fury that still struggles with post-Katrina wreckage long after impact was initiated. www.season-of-mist.com -Mike SOS

Review: Bruce Springsteen – Working On A Dream [2009]

amazon-bruce-workingBruce Springsteen dreams up this exciting 16th studio album that features tales of an outlaw, a supermarket queen, a heartbroken carny, and a hapless wrestler as a special added bonus.

WORKING ON A DREAM opens with an eight minute epic titled “Outlaw Pete,” which is the longest and the most dynamic of all songs on the record. The complex orchestration will please old school fans of the classic work heard on The River.

Shorter tracks, such as  “My Lucky Day” contain hard hitting drums, roaring bass lines, and the signature heavy strummed acoustic guitars.

The title track, “Working on a Dream,” is a highly repetitive tune that would have been a better fit on the previous album, Magic, but does contain a strong message making it an ideal album title, serving as a suitable reflection of America today.

Springsteen offers a psychedelic funk rock party in “What Love Can Do” that features lead guitar riffs that would make Austin Powers proud. If you use your imagination you may find it reminiscent of the Springsteen classic “The Promised Land” from Darkness on the Edge of Town.

The beginning of “This Life” sounds as if a jukebox is about to break into Sinatra’s “New York, New York” before turning into an acoustic rocker.

“Good Eye” is a harmonica infused heavy blues track with a distorted vocal effect similar to “A Night With The Jersey Devil.”

A raking acoustic guitar and a Willie Nelson drum beat, combined with beautiful orchestration in “Tomorrow Never Knows” will bring a smile to the purist’s face.

Other solid tracks include “Kingdom of Days” and “Surprise Surprise,” and of course the Golden Globe Award winning “The Wrestler” which makes for an album highlight as a bonus tune.

This is by far the Boss’s best work since The Rising and should not be overlooked during your next visit to the music shop. Almost every tune on Working is superior to the work heard on 2007’s Magic. B+

Buy Working On A Dream