Last night in Anaheim during NAMM, The Metal Hall of Fame (formerly the Hall of Heavy Metal), an all-star band of metal legends covered metal classic ‘Paranoid’ Black Sabbath. The band was comprised of Geoff Tate (formerly of Queensrÿche), Joe Satriani (Chickenfoot), Steve Vai, Chris Poland (formerly of Megadeth), Bjorn Englen (Dio Disciples) and Pat Gesualdo last night’s (Wednesday, January 15). Watch fan-filmed footage below! Metal Hall Of Fame event at the Marriott Delta Garden Grove in Anaheim, California. Watch fan-filmed video footage of the performance can be seen below.Continue reading →
Big news! The Hall of Heavy Metal History a.k.a. The Metal Hall of Fame has announced that the 2020 Annual Metal Hall of Fame Celebrity Charity Gala will be filmed live and will air on Amazon Prime. Hard rock and heavy metal fans in attendance will be featured in the filming, which will take place on January 15 at the Marriott Delta Garden Grove in Anaheim, CA. The world premiere of the film will air in early 2020, reaching more than 100 million subscribers. Metal Hall of Fame President/CEO Pat Gesualdo says, “Having the World Premier for the 2020 Metal Hall of Fame Gala on Amazon Prime is a great honor. We are excited to share the most important night in metal with music fans everywhere, and to let so many people take part in our charity event.” 2020 Metal Hall of Fame inductees include Steve Vai, Geoff Tate (Queensryche), Don Dokken (Dokken), Stephen Pearcy (Ratt), Graham Bonnet (Rainbow, Michael Schenker Group, Alcatrazz), Joe Satriani, legendary metal promoter Stone City Attractions, Metal Church, Prong, and former Megadeth guitarist Chris Poland. Continue reading →
Two greats from Megadeth history reunite again as shredder extraordinaire Chris Poland has signed a new record deal with Combat Records, the classic Heavy Metal label re-launched in 2018 by David Ellefson. Combat will release a deluxe reissue of Chris’s 1990 solo debut, “Return To Metalopolis”, in November. Originally released on Enigma Records in 1990, Metalopolis was Poland’s return to the stage after his 1987 departure from Megadeth. Metalopolis showcases Poland’s signature jazz-infused thrash/rock style, in a collection of timeless instrumental compositions.Continue reading →
The back-story of Megadeth’s debut album, released in 1985, is possibly even greater than the impact that the album itself would go on to have. Possibly. For this is a damn fine and damn influential album. Fired and wired, Dave Mustaine set out to make a faster, more technically proficient, and a better album than anything his former employers Metallica had done. He was also hell-bent on proving them wrong in their assertions that he was too hampered by his vices to perform his six-string duties. And perform his six-string duties he did, indeed. However, his and band’s mass consumption of alcohol and other less-than-legal substances put such a dent in the budget of the recording of the album that the producer was fired, and the band produced the record themselves. The results were, aurally, insufficient – even with added funds to try and save the recordings. Continue reading →
Since their formation in 2001, Redemption have always proved a dependable and solid act, never proving truly world-beating or spectacular, but always proving enjoyable with a strong quality and pedigree. Likewise they have always proved steady in the sound, never being too revolutionary but as a result, pleasing to long-term fans. Following in this trend, latest album The Art Of Loss (Metal Blade) proves much of the same, being strong and certainly fun, but with its flaws.
Sadly The Art Of Loss is without long-term guitarist Bernie Versailles as he recovers from an aneurysm, but does see his void instead filled with a plethora of guest spots including ex- Megadeth axemen Marty Friedman, Chris Broderick and Chris Poland. Otherwise this is much the same as we have come to expect; which is not necessarily a negative. Album opener and the title track set up proceedings with an anthemic, instantly memorable number which showcases both the band’s soaring guitar work and powerful vocals of Ray Adler. What follows is more or less in the same vein of prog-tinged metal, which proves melodic yet muscular and dark and melancholic yet with a streak of motivational energy.
So far so good, but The Art Of Loss does have some drawbacks. With little deviation there is a sense that this is going through more of the same, many songs sounding all too similar to one and another and to previous works to really stand out for long. Combined with a long duration and this actually becomes a fairly taxing album, especially with the plus 20 minute closing track, which does shift throughout, but still doesn’t warrant its time frame.
Redemption have never seemed like the band to try and completely reinvent the wheel or their own formula, and depending on viewpoint, an album of more of the same will either prove tiresome or excellent news. For others, there is plenty of value here with some exemplary guitar work and huge passages throughout, but there is surprisingly little depth for an album this long; and there are plenty of bands who do very similar, but a whole lot better.
It’s easy to be dismissive of today’s heavy metal revivalist bands. Aside from the fact they’re ten a penny at a time when even the most obscure bands from the scenes heyday are reforming and enjoying renewed popularity, most just sound and look like cheesy tribute acts. Finnish quintet Speedtrap might be one of the few that are worth your time, however. Their sophomore album, Straight Shooter (Svart), is brimming and energy and authenticity that most of their peers are lacking.
From the first “slide into a solo” of opener ‘No Glory Found’ Speedtrap don’t let up. It’s pure, old school speed metal of the most satisfying variety. Fast riffs, faster solos, and fist pumping vocals. Whether it’s a the rock and roll of ‘Running Rampant’ or the thunderous fury of ‘Serve Your Masters’, Straight Shooter is straight up heavy metal as it should be. Guitarists Ville Valavuo and Jaakko Hietakangas trade solos like Dave Mustaine and Chris Poland, while Jori Sara-aho endlessly wails his way through the 35-odd minutes. His voice might grate on some but it adds to the DIY, slightly rough-around-the-edges appeal.
They occasionally gallop (‘Heavy Armour’), occasionally thrash (‘Savage the Prey’) but mostly just rock. Most of the tracks (‘Eyes for Conquest’ or the title track) occupy that rare sweet spot that’s faster than the boring mid-paced plodder, but slower than your standard thrasher that’s perfect for banging your head along too.
What sets Speedtrap apart is that they manage to sound genuinely authentic – I could tell you these were a bunch of guys from Yorkshire who appeared on a Metal for Muthas compilation and you’d believe it – but manage to avoid sounds like they’re rehashing their favourite Iron Maiden riffs. The artwork – an oil painting of a leather-clad guy on a car bonnet with a guitar-shaped minigun – deserves a special mention too.
If you like proper horn-raising heavy metal, you’ll like Speedtrap. It’s uncomplicated, unfussy, but more importantly, it’s fast, it’s loud, it’s fun. Go listen to it.
Separating a cynical copy-cat retro band from one who are reproducing the sounds and styles they deeply and passionately love can be a difficult task – the former approach smacks of creative redundancy, whereas the latter shows a celebration of a style and a desire to add to the legacy. Biotoxic Warfare, you’ll no doubt be pleased to hear, fall resoundingly into the second of those categories, with their joyous revisit of dark thrash on their debut full length, Lobotomized (Static Tension).
There are no prizes for guessing the Greek thrashers main influence (from ‘Chemical…’ to Biotoxic Warfare in, oh, 0.666 moves), but when they deliver the big riffs, with intricate attention to detail, such as the cuts to one guitar to bridge a section, or when to hit the Dave Lombardo double-bass drum groove, it’s easy to think they have sat down and thought to themselves “Slayer have been disappointing for twenty years, let’s write the album we wish they’d made after Seasons In The Abyss” (DefJam).
Indeed, speaking the Slaytanic ones, the album kicks off with the ‘Criminially Insane’ drum beat, though, boo, sadly we don’t get ‘Criminally Insane’. What we do get is a 3 minute intro that lets us know the band aren’t as silly as their throwback name implies, touching on some grade A Chuck Schuldiner riffing and Chris Poland lead phrasing.
The album ladles dark thrash in big servings, and Biotoxic Warfare provide aggressive choppy riffing, spiralling from Dark Angel to Kreator to (pre-Roots, natch) Sepultura (‘Baptised In Blood & Greed’ in particular showing some well-crafted Beneath The Remains (both Roadrunner) worship, before adding some cold Dissection bite in the form of ‘Dysphoric Reality’, which also possesses some big chugs, a big bridging groove, and some di Giorgio esque bass plunking cutting through.
When thrash made its throwback comeback with a plethora of idiots in radioactive shorts, it was easy to overlook the valid and vital contribution of the good hard, chunky, aggressive and serious mid-to-late 80’s thrash that Biotoxic Warfare have lovingly and fervently recreated, and rather than apeing a bygone genre, have added to in a most febrile and welcome fashion.