I assume it’s easy to look back at the aughts and be dismissive of the entire decade particularly from the perspective of metal or punk fan. Nu-Metal was slowly being phased out as any goodwill from the previous decade had eroded and acts like Simple Plan and Good Charlotte made everyone realize that maybe the idea of Pop-Punk was a mistake. But those who kept their ear close to the ground knew better than to become jaded. Hard rock was alive and well and young bands were doing very exciting things. Young bands like Between the Buried and Me with their seminal Alaska (Victory Records 2005/Craft Recordings 2020).
With bands taking so much time between studio albums these days, it’s astonishing to believe that in the space of just three years, between 1970 and 1973, Brummie icons Black Sabbath released no less than five of the most important records in the annals of heavy metal.
As strange as it may seem, 1988 stands as the only year where each member of the “The Big Four” all released new studio albums. Go on, check if you want. I’ll wait.
With Anthrax, Slayer, Megadeth, and Metallica having pulled significantly away from the rest of the pack with those 1988 releases, the beginning of the ’90s gave each of them the chance to reaffirm their place at the top of the thrash metal food chain. Along with the likes of Testament, Exodus, and Kreator, 1990 opened the new decade in a blaze of glory while also becoming arguably the last truly great year for the genre. Continue reading
The comeback to end all comebacks, the story of Back in Black (Atlantic Records) began with tragedy but ended in triumph. While comebacks usually require some form of absence from the public eye, a few weeks would barely register as a blip on the timelines of most bands. But for AC/DC, that short space of time was literally life-changing. Continue reading
Deftones, even at their best, have been a band of dichotomies. That is what makes them a special band in the history of heavy music: opposing forces pulling and pushing them apart and back again. They may have been coming apart at the seams in the run-up to making Diamond Eyes (Reprise), and you couldn’t blame them. If you follow the band closely, you know the history. The band was nearly done tracking their highly anticipated album Eros in the fall of 2008, when founding bassist Chi Cheng was in a car wreck, on his way home from a funeral. Chi was left in a vegetative state, and the band was in shock. As Chi fought for his life (he passed in 2013, RIP), the band was left wondering what to do. They wanted to make music, but the experience with their best friend caused them to shelve Eros, never to be heard (almost never). When they came back together, the results were unexpected and wild. Continue reading
Black Sabbath, one of the greatest bands ever, was an act in transition as it entered the 1980s. Less than a year earlier they sacked their legendary lead singer Ozzy Osbourne and replaced him with equally great Ronnie James Dio, previously of Rainbow. The flailing former greats and the hungry vocalist reignited each others passion for Heavy Metal to create something incredible in Heaven and Hell (Vertigo/Warner Bros) The album not only gave the band a shot in the arm, but it also launched their second era with a bang, one their fans would never forget. Continue reading
For many, the nineties would prove to be the end of heavy metal as we knew it. Bands who rose to greatness in the preceding decade suddenly found themselves either retreading old ground, out of their depth trying to explore new territories, or simply grinding to an unceremonious halt. Within just a couple of years, denim, leather and even the term “heavy metal” itself, were out. Continue reading
On the sleeve: a grainy picture of a woman dressed in black. A stagnant pond. A creepy looking mill house.
And two words. Black Sabbath.
On the record: Rain. Thunder. A tolling bell. Those three notes. That voice.
And just like that, in February of 1970 – appropriately enough on the 13th – the face of music was changed forever.
Think back if you will to the late great 1999. That was the year we were supposed to party like we were out of time. The states were in the throes of the Y2K scare. It was the year Nelson Mandela stepped down as president of South Africa and Kosovo went to war. It was also the year that Korn released Issues (Immortal/Epic Records). The first single, ‘Falling Away From Me’ was actually given away for free to the fans. Love them or hate them, it was a novel idea at the time and ended up raising over a quarter-million dollars for charity. Continue reading
Fifty years ago, The Beatles released what was their final recording together, Abbey Road (Apple Records). Even though the ‘Get Back’ single sessions and the massive Let it Be (also Apple). Let it Be is always remembered as the swansong and has the epic title track ear-wormed into our souls, but Abbey Road was the last time the band would work together collectively on music. Although they were the biggest band on the planet at the time, and their relationships were disintegrating, the group made some of its best music ever on this album. Continue reading