Monthly Archives: June 2013

Hard Rock Bands vs. Heavy Metal Bands

Hard Rock vs. Heavy Metal

Sometimes it can be challenging to distinguish a hard rock band from a metal band. It is possible for bands to be both, however some bands are either purely hard rock or purely heavy metal. Let’s explore the differences between hard rock and heavy metal bands by considering some real-life examples. Pay attention because you will be tested in the end.

Hard Rock: Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin was a pure hard rock band, a legendary and pioneering hard rock act. What makes Zeppelin purely hard rock is the following. The guitars are bluesy, loud, and heavy, yet crisp and clear. They are distorted and often in standard or open tunings. The singer demonstrates a wide vocal range with an emphasis on the high notes. The drums feature thunderous grooves and the bass does not merely follow the guitar riffs. Hard rock bands put out studio albums that can be loud, but only heavy for certain moments. Hard rock bands like Led Zeppelin are also not shy about throwing in a ballad or two.

Heavy Metal: Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath is a heavy metal band, the godfathers and pioneers of heavy metal. They turn up the distortion on guitars and tune them down to produce a gloomy sound. Sabbath wrote the greatest and heaviest guitar riffs of all-time. The music is blues-based, similar to Zeppelin, only heavier. The subject matter is darker compared to hard rock songs from a lyrical perspective, while the vocals have an eerie feel to complement the song’s subject and tone. Metal bands may write ballads too, but these ballads will NOT heat things up in your bedroom.

Hard Rock: AC/DC

There is nothing metal about AC/DC. They are purely hard rock and are the most consistent hard rock band of all-time. The guitar riffs and solos are based on minor pentatonic blues scales. All instruments are loud and are not very fuzzy. Songs are either in the key of A, E, G, or D minor and contain a 3- or 4-chord progression for the most part. The vocalist emphasizes the high notes and the drums provide a simple and steady backbone.

Heavy Metal: Metallica

Metallica is mainly a heavy metal band, however, they fooled around with hard rock in the mid to late 1990s. Overall, the guitars, bass, and drums are fast and heavy. The vocals are deep and manly, but very difficult to emulate. Subject matter often consists of war, death, or the Old Testament.

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Here are two more quick examples before you take the quiz on your own.

Hard Rock: Aerosmith

Aerosmith is pure hard rock due to bluesy guitars, standard tunings, and panty-removing ballads.

Heavy Metal: Lamb of God

Lamb of God is 100% metal because the guitars, vocals, bass, and drums are relentless and extremely difficult on virginal ears.

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Quiz Yourself: Hard Rock or Heavy Metal?

Now it is time to practice on your own. Are the following bands hard rock or metal? You will fing the answers below. Good luck!

1.  Iron Maiden

2.  Pantera

3.  Van Halen

4.  Megadeth

5.  Slayer

6.  Alice in Chains

7.  Slipknot

8. Guns N’ Roses

9.  Machine Head

10.  Children of Bodom

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Answer Key 1. Metal (NWOBHM), 2. Metal (Power/Groove), 3. Hard Rock, 4. Metal (Thrash), 5. Metal (Thrash), 6. Hard Rock (Alternative), 7. Metal (Nu-Metal early on), 8. Hard Rock, 9. Metal (Power/Groove), 10. Metal (Power/Progressive/Melodic)

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Congratulations, you can now go out in the real world and better characterize bands like Judas Priest, Kiss, and Motley Crue. If you take away one thing from this article, remember this: IT DOESN’T MATTER! Whether the band is hard rock or metal, what matters most is that the music is original, awesome, and rocks.

Attending your first metal concert – Tailgating, drugs, alcohol, moshing, and sex tips

Surviving your first concert experience

Before attending your first heavy metal show during your teenage years or adult life, you should be somewhat aware of proper concert etiquette. You should have a basic understanding of the Dos and Don’ts of the mosh pit, how to handle the opposite sex, and when it’s cool to sing along to your favorite songs. Your primary goal is to avoid looking and feeling like a complete dingleberry. Here are some tips based on real life experiences to help you survive your first rock show, one of the most exciting experiences of your young life.

What not to wear

One of the most daunting tasks of attending a heavy metal concert is deciding what to wear. The bottom half is easy because you can’t go wrong with a pair of jeans or cargo shorts in the summer. When it comes to the top, you have to exercise some caution. The most important rule is that you never wear the t-shirt of the band that you are going to see. As actor Jeremy Piven states in the movie PCU, “don’t be that guy.” You can wear a black t-shirt of another band that you like, but make sure you are a real fan of that band. Chances are someone will ask you about it, “hey, what do you think of their new drummer?” You want to be able to answer with ease. If you lack this type of confidence, then wear a plain black t-shirt. But remember, don’t wear a Disturbed shirt to a Disturbed concert.

Playing music in the parking lot

You get to the parking lot 5 hours before the doors open to take in the culture. You eat a hotdog and tell the roving monks you are not interested in the sacred literature they want to sell you. You also turn down the counterfeit tour t-shirt with the wrong  dates and bands. The main reason you are in the parking lot is to meet cool people with similar interests and to hear some killer music from the car stereo. When playing music before the concert, do not play any songs by the bands you are going to see that night. No one wants to hear “Enter Sandman” in the parking lot at a Metallica show. Concert tip: Steer clear of the cars that are blasting the band’s classic album they are going to see.

Don’t accept alcohol or drugs from anyone

After a couple of hours in the parking lot, you notice people are getting loud and rowdy. They are intoxicated, on drugs, and obnoxious. The hairy dude three cars down stumbles on over and offers you a sip from his 100-proof bottle of whiskey concealed in a beach towel, in exchange for a red Solo cup. If you have an extra cup, then give him one. But, you are better off not taking the whiskey from this weirdo. You do not know what’s in that bottle. If you take liquor from this guy, you will end up in the backseat of a 1988 Pontiac with your hands down his toothless girlfriend’s pants. You will learn later that she recently served jail time for abandoning her second newborn in a dumpster behind the motor lodge. You will be scarred for life all because you drank that guy’s whiskey.

Use the restroom

You enter the venue too early in anticipation of seeing your favorite band. You find a cozy spot on the floor that is really close to the stage. You wait 4 hours for your favorite band to come on and rock your face off. However, you drank 6 Dr. Peppers to pass the time and now you have to pee real bad. You think, I can easily go in my pants without anyone noticing since I am already sweaty and smelly. If I piss myself, I will not lose my spot. Another thought you have is to whip out your little piece and let the stream flow discreetly, while doing your best not to get the couple in front of you wet. These thoughts are somewhat rational given your circumstances, however both will end badly. You will hate yourself for going in your pants as you lose all of your dignity. And, someone will certainly notice that awkward stain down the side of your left pant leg by the end of the night. If you release yourself on the floor then you will deservedly get punched in the groin and escorted out by security. The lesson: use the bathroom. You can always maneuver yourself to a decent location when you have general admission tickets. If you have seats, you have no excuse not to use the restroom.

Use your sex’s restroom

Assume that you really have to urinate badly. You run to the bathroom and the line is enormous. You notice the bathroom line for the opposite sex is much shorter or non-existent. What do you do? The principle rule here is that the sexes should stay in their respective bathrooms. While girls may get a kick out of seeing a line of men unleash the fury at a urinal, and guys may get their jollies hearing girls pee, it becomes a serious safety hazard for both sexes to be in there. Some people go to the restroom specifically to get away from the opposite sex. Hence the name “REST-room.”

Don’t take on a dare from a stranger

Suppose the sink in the bathroom is backed-up. It is overflowing with water, spit, blood, and vomit. Now suppose that a random person, issues a challenge: “I’ll give $20 to anyone who’s willing to take a drink from what’s in that sink.” No matter how bad you want that money to buy an over-priced band t-shirt, do not step up to the challenge. In other words, if you can ignore a dare at a concert, you will avoid contracting hepatitis, herpes, and viral meningitis.

Don’t sexually assault anyone

If you are a guy at a metal concert, then you are part of the 96% of concertgoers. The other 4% are female: 90% of them are there with boyfriends and 10% are single. You see one of the single ladies crowd surfing and observe a guy cop a feel as the girl is passed overhead. You think, this is my big opportunity and nonchalantly graze her chest. Congratulations, you just committed your first act of assault. You are officially a low-life loser and should be arrested.

Don’t go crowd surfing

Crowd surfing should have died out after Woodstock ’94, but unfortunately it still exists. Females should not crowd surf for reasons previously addressed. Males should not crowd surf because they will get punched in places I don’t care to state. Crowd surfing is an inconvenience for all. Crowd surfers cause injury to innocent concertgoers, distract from the performance, and inconvenience the security guards that have to try to catch these inconsiderate drunkards. If you are less than 150 pounds and want to try it once, then go ahead. But you should grow out of it by your 16th birthday at the latest. In the post-grunge period, crowd surfing will make you look uncool.

Know when to sing along

The band that you came to see is now 8 songs into their set. You get really excited because they start playing their latest single and you know the words to the chorus! You sing and scream the refrain at the top of your lungs, thinking you are the bomb-digity. You are not. You are a nuisance to the people around you. The point of the concert is to hear the band perform. Save your performance for the shower. If the band asks or signals for your participation, then go for it. But do not sing for the entire concert.

How to handle your first mosh pit

It is helpful to know what to expect when a mosh pit occurs. Suppose a large pit opens up and you are smack-dab in the middle of it. Don’t panic, just quickly move toward the outskirts if you do not want to be involved. Use your instincts and common sense, but don’t try to fight anyone. If it is your first concert, mosh pits can be intimidating. The goal isn’t to hurt anyone, the goal is to slam into each other as hard as the other person can take it. If someone falls, help them up immediately. Moshing, like ballet and Pinochle, is an art form. However, moshing gets old after you turn 19 years old. Then it becomes an aggravation, though it is still an important part of concert culture.

Put the phone away

The mosh pit pushes you super close to the stage and you are making eye contact with your most favorite guitar player of all-time. You grab your iPhone and decide to record this experience so you remember it for the rest of your life. You are now watching the band perform through your iPhone. Congratulations, you are a dumb-ass. You might as well have stayed home and watched the concert on YouTube the next morning. The whole point of going to a show is to experience it live. If you want to snap one picture on your phone when the band first takes the stage, that is acceptable. Otherwise, keep the phone in your pants where it can continue undermining your future chances of parenthood. If you really want replays of the performance, there is often professional soundboard audio available from the band or pro-shot HD footage available on YouTube.

The aftermath

The concert is over and the band totally kicked your ass. You caught a guitar pick and came really close to getting a drumstick. You avoided catching an STD, being drugged, and becoming a sexual predator. Your first concert experience was a great success, one for the books. The ringing in your ear is borderline unbearable, but you don’t care. You simply make a quick note to yourself to bring ear plugs next time. You can’t imagine going to bed yet with all of that adrenaline pumping.  You hit up the diner with your concert buds for late-night melted mozzarella french fries with gravy on the side. You talk about your favorite moments, how you narrowly averted trouble, and what shows you want to see next. Remember, you only get to experience your first concert once. You will most likely cherish these memories for a long time.

Download Free Heavy Metal Music Always – Legal and Illegal Methods

This post is all about how to download awesome heavy metal music for free.

Stealing music is free, fun, and victimless…right?

When it comes to music in the Internet age, people do not like to pay for it. We like to download it for free whether we are hurting the artists or not. We even justify stealing the music off YouTube and Torrent sites as the Internet has turned us into horrible people. Because we can get away with this crime so easily and we cannot see the harm that we are doing to the artists and industry, we steal without mercy. I have two questions for you: 1. How do you look yourself in the mirror every day and still feel good about yourself? 2. How do you rest at night, knowing you are a criminal? Well, the truth is that you don’t think what you are doing is wrong.

Be only the music fan that you can afford to be

You need to lose your mentality that you are doing no harm. Downloading music illegally is not a victimless crime. Creating music takes time and uses up productive economic resources. Bands pour lots of money into their equipment so the least we can do is compensate them for their hard work. If you have the money to buy music, then buy it. If you do not have the money to buy music, then adjust your musical tastes so that you download music free and legally.

Find your favorite bands and discover the future

Let’s discuss how not to be a degenerate of society but still download music for free. There are many websites that allow for free downloads of thousands of legit bands. Some bands we know of quite well, and others we do not. You can discover many amazing bands on these sites and also find songs from your favorite rock and metal bands.

List of sites that offer free hard rock and heavy metal music for download

Free Metal Albums – Free metal album downloads

Amazon.com – Free hard rock & metal albums

Amazon.com – Free hard rock & metal songs

Last.fm – Free metal music downloads

Last.fm – Free hard rock music downloads

Last.fm – Free thrash metal downloads

Last.fm – Free death metal downloads

Artist Direct – Free downloads

Free Music Archive – Free metal downloads

MadeLoud.com – Free metal music downloads

These sites feature free and legal downloads of legit heavy metal artists. If this type of thing doen’t work for you and you prefer downloading music illegally, then continue in your old sleazy ways. Here are some key sites that offer illegal downloads that are harmful to the artists and violate copyright laws. Gears of Rock does not support any of these methods below.

List of sites that offer illegal downloads of heavy metal music

The Pirate Bay – Free heavy metal torrents to download of every band that you could imagine

Metal-Tracker.com – Free heavy metal downloads

GetRockMusic.org – Download rock and metal music for free

Torlock.com – Free heavy metal torrents to download

KickAss.to – Free heavy metal torrents

There you have it folks. You can either be a good human being and download free music legally and safely, or you can download music illegally with the risky P2P sites that may or may not put a lot of bad stuff on your computer. Remember, downloading copyrighted material is against the law, unless the copyright holder grants you permission. Cheers!

Disclaimer: Gears of Rock does not endorse, condone, or recommend downloading music illegally.

Dream Theater European Tour Dates 2014

Dream Theater released their 2014 European tour plans for January and February. The band will support its upcoming self-titled album Dream Theater which releases on September 24, 2013. Dream Theater will launch a 2014 US tour beginning in March.

Wed 1/15 Porto, Portugal Coliseum of Porto
Thu 1/16 Madrid, Spain Palacio Visalegre
Fri 1/17 Pamplona, Spain Anaitasuna
Sat 1/18 Barcelona, Spain St. Jordi Club
Mon 1/20 Milan, Italy Mediolanum Forum
Tues 1/21 Florence, Italy Obihall
Wed 1/22 Rome, Italy Palalottomatica
Thu 1/23 Padova, Italy Geox Theatre
Sat 1/25 Vienna, Austria Gasometer
Sun 1/26 Munich, Germany Zenith
Mon 1/27 Zurich, Switzerland Volkshaus
Wed 1/29 Prague, Czech Republic Tipsport Arena
Thu 1/30 Ludwigsburg, Germany Arena
Fri 1/31 Paris, France Zenith
Sat 2/1 Offenbach, Germany Stadthalle
Mon 2/3 Zagreb, Croatia Cibona
Tues 2/4 Ljubljana, Slovenia Small Tivoli
Wed 2/5 Katowice, Poland Spodek Hall
Fri 2/7 Bamberg, Germany Stechert Arena
Sat 2/8 Deinze, Belgium Brielpoort
Sun 2/9 Hannover, Germany Swiss Life Hall
Mon 2/10 Saarbrucken, Germany Saarlandhalle
Wed 2/12 Lille, France Aeronef
Thu 2/13 Manchester, UK O2 Apollo
Fri 2/14 London, UK Wembley Arena
Sat 2/15 Wolverhampton, UK Wolverhampton Civic Hall
Mon 2/17 Amsterdam, Holland Heineken Music Hall
Tues 2/18 Dusseldorf, Germany Mitsubishi Electric Halle
Thu 2/20 Copenhagen, Denmark Falconer
Mon 2/24 Helsinki, Finland Icehall

Electronic Drumming on a Budget – Finding a Good Kit for Less Than $300

How to shop smart for an electronic drum kit

I recently stepped into the world of electronic drumming. This is a universe that can be extremely expensive, but if you are a smart shopper on a tight budget, you can get excellent drum sounds for a very reasonable price.

First, you need to invest in an electronic drum set, which includes rack, pads, and drum brain. The brain or module is the most important weapon in the set, however if you play through a computer, you have other options.

Working with a $300 budget

My budget for purchasing an electronic drum kit was $300. My goal was to find a complete kit for under $300, including taxes.

In this price range, there are not many great options. You can find a used Yamaha DTXplorer kit on eBay for $350-$400, or a Roland TD-3 for $500-$600. Even an Alesis DM-6 set is over $400. All of these options break my budget.

My amazing purchase

After searching the Internet for days, I finally stumbled upon an electronic drum kit that would meet my needs with minimal modification. That drum kit is called the Triple-D5 from Acorn Instruments. I found the kit on eBay and Amazon, then visited the official website to hear some samples. The samples were not mind-blowing, but I remained interested.

Next, I searched out the reviews. There were only a handful of reviews on Amazon, but they were mostly positive. I decided to give it a chance.

Several weeks ago, I bought the set on Amazon for $275.99 + free shipping from a seller called Audiotopia. I used some of my American Express rewards points to pay for the set on Amazon, and the set only cost me $176!!! I felt like this was an incredible deal.

The drums arrived less than a week later. I set them up and played around with some of the sounds on the brain. The acoustic drum settings are not all that bad. I started jamming on the set through an old set of Altec Lansing computer speakers with subwoofer that I had lying around. Now I can rock out at low volumes with whoever wants to have a sweet jam session.

Finding drum software on a budget

To take the drum sounds to a whole new level I knew I would need to find good software for recording and even performing. I researched drum software options such as Addictive Drums and EZDrummer. Both programs are excellent options with amazing drum kits and performance, but they each cost $179.00. That is more than I paid for the Acorn Triple-D5 drum kit. This would blow my budget by a lot.

After a little more research, I found a wonderful program to meet all my needs called BFD Eco by FXpansion. The software makers are running a special on this acoustic drum program from June 1-30, 2013. Regularly priced at $99, I paid  only $29!

You get some of the great sounding kits and samples from their flagship program BFD2, which is regularly $299. There are DW, Pearl, Ludwig, and Gretsch sets to name a few, as well as Zildjian and Paiste cymbals.

I run BFD Eco through GarageBand on my MacBook Pro, and cannot be happier. My electronic drum budget was only $300. Many people would call this an impossible task if you are looking for realistic sounds. I say, anything is possible with a little determination and patience.

The Acorn Triple-D5 drumset ran me $275.99 and the software was $29, for an investment of  $304.99. That is only $4.99 over my initial budget. Not to mention, I only had to pay $176 out of pocket for the kit, so it was really $205 for me ($95 under budget). I have money left over to buy mesh heads, or even a used DTXplorer drum brain.

To be fair, I already had a drum throne, which ran me $30 in 2008, and the MacBook Pro, which was about $1,000 3 years ago. I also had speakers, a USB midi cable, and Sennheiser headphones.

It is possible to find a great sounding electronic drum kit for less than $300. You just need a little determination and patience. Good luck in finding the right electronic drums for your home studio.

“13” Black Sabbath Album Review Notes and Thoughts

-Ozzy Osbourne reunites with Black Sabbath for first studio album since 1978.

-In all honesty, it took a several full-album plays for “13” before warming up to it.

-The new songs initially sounded forced, like the band tried too hard to reproduce their early sound without pushing the envelope any further than they have in the past.

-You can hear the influence of classic Tony Iommi guitar riffs from ” “N.I.B.,” “War Pigs,” and “Black Sabbath” on new tracks like “Loner,” “Age of Reason,” and “The End of the Beginning.”

-While the riffs on “13” are good, I never experienced the warm euphoric feeling like when I first heard the intro of “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath,” “Symptom of the Universe,” or “After Forever.”

-Then again, it can be difficult to top the greatest guitar riffs of all-time when you already wrote them.

-Geezer Butler is still amazing on bass.

-It is great to hear Iommi jam out on the 7- and 8-minute tracks.

-Ozzy’s voice is fine on “13,” not washed up like some have suggested.

-After I finished crying about missing Bill Ward on drums, I was able to admit that Brad Wilk keeps the band’s original feel in tact. Although I wonder why Black Sabbath opted for Wilk over the super-talented touring drummer, Tommy Clufetos. I think that was Rick Rubin’s doing.

-In the end, I am very happy that Black Sabbath is back in business. “13” still beats everything else that’s out these days.

Black Sabbath 13 Artwork