Friday, January 26, 2018

Stuck in My Head: The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, "Fire."

“I am the god of hellfire, and I bring you …”

A proclamation made in a black-and-white video full of fire and smoke, by a singer wearing a flaming crown and decked out in corpse paint – possibly its first use in rock. In 2018, after the music world has seen the likes of Alice Cooper, W.A.S.P., Marilyn Manson and even more bizarre acts, it may not seem that wild or shocking. But imagine being a kid in 1968 and stumbling across the Crazy World of Arthur Brown’s “Fire” for the first time. It had to be just about the coolest thing you’d ever seen – and for parents, probably one of the scariest.

This song pops up on my shuffle on rare occasion, and it always reminds me of just how big an impact this relatively obscure artist had on my favorite music. Though “Fire” was a No. 1 hit in the U.K. and reached No. 2 on Billboard in the U.S., Arthur Brown is far from a household name. His work, however, spawned whole genres of rock and metal.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Best of 2017: Alestorm, Hellbound Glory, White Light Cemetery, Bob Wayne, Savage Messiah

It was, honestly, a pretty lousy year for music to my ears. Not a lot grabbed my attention and even less held it. So, rather than puff up two or three albums that I didn't feel were all that great to round out a Top 10, I've opted to keep it to five and cut a couple that I do feel are deserving.

5. Savage Messiah, Hands of Fate. This spot was by far the toughest call on the list, and I wavered for a good long while between this one and albums from Firewind and Alice Cooper. In the end, though, Savage Messiah just spoke to me more. On previous outings, the band has leaned more toward speed metal and thrash, but Hands of Fate is the kind of fantastic, old school, straight-up heavy metal album that we don’t get much anymore. At the same time, though, it doesn’t sound like a dated imitation of bands that have come before. It’s full of awesome riffs and great hooks, and if the title track doesn’t get your head banging, it may be time to hang up the horns.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Playlist 2017 Week 5: Power Trip, Tyler Childers, BLS

The final installment of the Playlist is going to be a short one. It was a holiday week, and I didn't feel like logging in on those days. Plus, we're getting to the point of the program where we're just going to have a lot of repeat appearances from Alestorm, Hellbound Glory and a couple of others. So here are the final three to round out my 2017 playlist.

Power Trip, "Excutioner's Tax (Swing of the Axe)" from Nightmare Logic. One of the problems I've had with the new crop of thrash bands is that they often seem content to repeat what's come before instead of innovating the style. I already have all of the classic thrash albums, so I don't need a remake. Power Trip doesn't completely avoid that pitfall either, but there's some good stuff on this record. Some nice grooves and memorable melodies.