Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Sharing my favorite songs of the year on Facebook

Been on a bit of a break again between holiday activities and work. I'll have some new reviews coming soon, but in the meantime, I'm sharing some of my favorite songs of the year on the Facebook page as I prepare to do my annual best list. Give the page a like or check out the feed below on the right to see my picks. Thanks.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Sunday Sabbath: "Hand of Doom," from Paranoid (1970)

As much as I love the rest of the record, this may be my favorite song on Paranoid. I don’t know that there’s ever been a better song written about the power and hopelessness of drug addiction.

It starts out with that dark and mysterious bass lick from Geezer Butler, and as always, Bill Ward’s jazzy beats lock in perfectly with it to create the mood. Enter Ozzy, moaning out the lyrics in a delivery that’s perfect for the subject matter of the song. To my ears, it’s bleak, even by Black Sabbath standards, then we get the punctuating explosion of sound at the end of each verse, like a mini-climax – perhaps the brief hit of the drug hitting the subject’s veins that soon returns to the low of the original bass and vocal.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Sunday Sabbath: "Electric Funeral," from Paranoid (1970)

Today, we move on to side 2 of Paranoid. Yes, I’m dating myself, but “Electric Funeral” was the first song on side 2 for a long time for me before it became track 5.

And what a way to kick of the second half of this album. Tony Iommi delivers that huge, warbling wah-wah lick, another one of those instantly recognizable riffs. There’s something particularly sinister and ominous about this one, perfect for the lyrical content, a bleak picture of the aftermath of a nuclear war.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Saturday Night Special: Hellbound Glory, "Either Way We're Fucked"

So, if you’ve read my stuff for long, you know I’m not a huge fan of overt politics in music, and I try to keep them off my blogs, too. But I simply couldn’t think of a better song for this week’s election, in which the two major parties took a field of about 20 candidates that most people didn’t really like and winnowed them down to the two worst. Go USA!

Of course, this tune off my personal favorite Hellbound Glory album isn’t at all political in nature. Instead it features songwriter Leroy Virgil’s typically dark sense of humor as it lays out the story of an unhappy relationship in which the two parties decide that “it’s better to stay together, ‘cause either way we’re fucked.”

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Metal Meltdowns: Celtic Frost, "Cold Lake"

In the mid-1980s, Celtic Frost, along with contemporaries like Venom, Hellhammer and Bathory, was one of the pioneering bands of what would become death and black metal. The band’s first two albums – Morbid Tales and To Mega Therion – helped lay down the template for what those styles would become.

Their third outing, Into the Pandemonium, marked a change in style, opening with an unlikely cover of Wall of Voodoo’s “Mexican Radio,” and incorporating many new and jarring influences for fans. But for all its strangeness, that record still doesn’t draw the ire of metal fans like 1988’s Cold Lake.

Frontman/founder Tom Warrior had planned to end the band, but was convinced to continue with an entirely new lineup … and an entirely new sound.