Thursday, October 31, 2013

Review: 3, "A Fiendish Threat"

Early word was that A Fiendish Threat would be a new album of Hank Williams III’s “hellbilly” material, the mix of hard rock, punk and country that I don’t think he does nearly enough of. As it turns out, the album was a new punk rock project that he’s simply calling 3.

If the Misfits had grown up in Appalachia and formed in Tennessee, they might have sounded something like “Can I Rip U,” the opening track of this record. III wears his Misfits influence on his sleeve throughout the album, as most, if not all, of the songs will put fans in mind of the classic horror punk outfit. But there are also shades of other bands, notably Suicidal Tendencies with “Full On.”

Monday, October 28, 2013

Review: Hank III, "Brothers of the 4x4"

When Hank Williams III finally got out from under his contract with Curb Records in 2011, most fans were expecting another album along the order of his landmark Straight to Hell record.

We assumed that his last few Curb albums had been uneven because he was sandbagging his best stuff. He certainly had plenty of material for fall 2011, when he released four albums — the country/Cajun double album Ghost to a Ghost/Gutter Town, a decent doom metal record under the name Attention Deficit Disorder and the completely bizarre and head-scratching blend of thrash and auctioneer cattle calls entitled 3 Bar Ranch Cattle Callin’. Perhaps our hopes were too high, but it was largely a disappointing mess.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Saturday Shuffle: Jackson Taylor, A7X, Nightwish, Hank Jr., Anthrax

A little country, a little rock 'n' roll, and a drum interlude to end...

Jackson Taylor and the Sinners, “Country Song.” From the album Aces n Eights (2009). This song was my introduction to Jackson Taylor and the reason I’m a fan. I’d taken my kid bowling one day and sat through at least a half dozen country radio songs about pickup trucks. Later that night, I discovered this song by accident, and I was hooked. The video, which features Taylor and his band in corpse paint, is a hoot, too.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Saturday Shuffle: Doyle, Iced Earth, Flotsam and Jetsam, Dash Rip Rock, Volbeat

Interesting shuffle this week in that it hit all newer material.

Doyle, “Mark of the Beast.” From the album Abominator (2013). Doyle, former guitarist for The Misfits, has released a surprisingly strong solo album that bears little resemblance to his former band beyond the horror imagery of the tunes. The music here is far more driven by metal and thrash than the punk of The Misfits. It’s good stuff, though.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Review: Nine Inch Nails, "Hesitation Marks"

As a teenage metal head, I was convinced that all things electronic in music were evil. Then, a roommate in college introduced me to Nine Inch Nails’ Pretty Hate Machine. Much to my embarrassment, I found myself cruising around with tunes like “Terrible Lie” and “Head Like a Hole” blaring out of my speakers. I’d never thought that drum machines and electronics could convey as much emotion as I found on that record. 

When Trent Reznor cranked up the guitars on the Broken EP, my personal favorite, I became an even bigger fan. I had mixed feelings about 1992’s The Downward Spiral, though, and though I always check out his new stuff, not much that Reznor has done since has grabbed me.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Saturday Shuffle: Pantera, Metallica, Adler, BLS, Black Sabbath

Some killer live stuff from Pantera and some new stuff from familiar faces this week:

Pantera, "A New Level." From the bootleg Black Tooth (1998).  The Black Tooth bootleg is perhaps the best-known by Pantera and far more interesting than their official live record. Phil Anselmo is obviously trashed as he rambles from the stage, but it makes his performances that much more intense. We get a warts-and-all Pantera performance that’s actually a pretty strong show despite Phil’s condition. “A New Level” was never one of my favorite Pantera tracks, but they rip it here.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Review: Annihilator, "Feast"

There may be no more underrated musician in thrash than Annihilator guitarist/founder/bandleader Jeff Waters.

Of course, Waters himself may hold some of the blame for that. The band’s debut album Alice in Hell is one of the finest examples of the genre that you’ll find, and the follow-up Never, Neverland, featuring Omen vocalist Coburn Pharr, is almost as good. After that, though, things become spotty for the band.

There’s some great music to be found in the rest of their catalog, but a revolving door of musicians and some occasionally bad ideas — like the programmed electronic drums on 1997′s Remains — diluted the power of those first couple of records and allowed Annihilator to slip out of the minds of many fans outside their native Canada.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Saturday Shuffle: Fifth on the Floor, Savatage, Danzig, Adrenaline Mob, Jon Oliva's Pain

Start off with some country, mix in a couple of Savatage-related tracks, something from Danzig, and could this be the only time Duran Duran will ever appear on this blog?

Fifth on the Floor, “The Fall.” From the album Dark and Bloody Ground (2010). Ooh, this is an easy one. It’s probably my favorite tune from Fifth on the Floor. It’s just so damned soulful and moving. It’s a tight competition between “The Fall” and “Distant Memory Lane,” but I think this one wins.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Something Borrowed: "Ain't No Sunshine," Black Label Society/Bill Withers

I’ve been a fan of Zakk Wylde since his pinch-harmonic screaming debut with Ozzy Osbourne on No Rest for the Wicked. He was a six-string shredding madman who brought a much-needed energy and a much heavier sound to Ozzy’s band.

Over the years, through Pride and Glory and Black Label Society, we’ve come to know a different side of him, but one that’s just as captivating as that loud, brash, flashy side we first knew.