Auditory Assault

“Darrell my brother. The best of the best.”
Phil Anselmo

Despite the media wars, I believe Anselmo truly is sad. And you have to check out that photo linked above … awesome.

Intro …

Another week, a little closer to the end of another year. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. In the next few weeks you’ll start seeing various Inside Pulse writers commenting on their picks for the year’s top ten albums. Mine, of course, will probably be predominantly metal-related … but I won’t give anything away at the moment. Keep your eyes on this space …

Until then …

Top metal albums…

Last week’s column featured the following post:

..:..Your top metal albums?..:.. A bunch of famous musicians have offered up their choices for the five best metal albums of all time over at Live 4 Metal. I might elaborate on this next week, but for now you can check out the list here. Of note, Christina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil picked Faith No More (“Angel Dust”), Type O Negative (“October Rust”), Paradise Lost (“Draconian Times”), Metallica (“Metallica”) and Tiamat (“Clouds”).

I don’t know, I breezed over most of the lists, and I wasn’t too impressed. There’s some Slayer on there, mentions of Faith No More … I think maybe my problem was that the list was skewed towards a more European slant, and the opinion of metal over there is a lot different. That’s not a good or bad thing, it’s just a fact.

Personally, I really thought long and hard about this topic. On one hand, you want to pick the metal bands you know and love, but on the other, can a newer band like Lamb of God really be on the list when the band is really offering up its own interpretation of band’s that came before … Pantera and Slayer and the like. I don’t know.

In the end, I decided to just point out some notables off my own list … we’re talking straight-up metal here. Sure, Guns N’ Roses will be on the list, but its really straddling the rock line at this point. So, in no order:

First up, Fear Factory, a band that melded industrial edge with metal and melody, inspiring many other along the way (like Spineshank, for one. The band literally scrapped its debut to record a more similar to Fear Factory sounding album). Of all it’s albums, I’d pick “Demanufacture.” It was far enough away from the “Concrete” -era and just before the band embraced an even more melodic, bass-heavy sound with “Obsolete.” While “Obsolete” would be my favorite pick from the band in general, “Demanufacture” is the better metal album.

Hmmm. Next, I’d have to pick a Slayer disc, and I guess it would have to be “Reign in Blood.” The album is the perfect mix of thrash and straight metal with the right mix of punk to keep it all together (short, fast songs). Again, my hands-down favorite would probably be “Seasons in the Abyss,” but I know “Reign in Blood” started it all.

I’ll pick Guns N’ Roses debut “Appitite for Destruction,” because I do believe at it’s heart it was a metal album. I think the band lost that metal edge over time, going for a more rock/metal mix, but “Appetite” was a great mix of blues, rock, funk and metal. All mixed up in a nice, abrasive package. Believe it or not, there was a time when GnR was the biggest band in the world.

I have to put a Megadeth album on here, so I’ll choose “Rust in Peace”: it’s a perfect thrash album from end-to-end, chock-full of headbanging guitar solos. By the time “Rust” came out, Dave Mustaine had found his groove and just knew how to craft this album.

Sadly, to round out the top five, it’s really a toss up.

On one hand, I like Alice In Chains’ second album, “Dirt.” It’s just a great, murky album … it sounded completely unlike anything that came before or since, and has really been overlooked over time. Alice in Chains itself, is credited quite a lot, but this album is the summit. I believe everything the band did was solid, but this album was just … wow!

Then, on the other hand, I want to pick an Obituary album, probably “Cause of Death,” as the band was still finding a groove but managed to craft a killer death metal album and let its influences really shine. “The End Complete” just seemed to polished, and after that the band eased into a slump. Don’t get me wrong, I love all the albums, but “Cause” takes the cake.

So where does that leave the list? Either top 6 or number five is undecided. Your choice.
Don’t forget, I left off some killer albums and bands. I’m not really that into Sabbath, Zepplin, Maiden or Priest (I like the music, but just don’t care to own the albums) … where’s Pantera? Slipknot? Skid Row? Iced Earth? Corrosion of Conformity? Even Metallica!

That’s why these lists are so hard, and probably change from day to day. I’d be interested to hear what your choices might be, so drop me a line.

In brief …

..:..Crue’s latest a Simple Plan leftover?!?!?..:.. According to a story over at Jam!Showbiz, the new Motley Crue single, “If I Die Tomorrow,” is actually a leftover song from Simple Plan’s recording sessions for its latest album, “Still Not Getting Any…” Apparently, the connecting factor here is producer Bob Rock. Quoth the band’s drummer, Chuck Comeau: “It’s pretty dope to be thinking that such a influential huge band chose to work on a song that we wrote, for their comeback, their greatest hits package and their reunion tour. It’s pretty amazing.” How still says dope? This is just one more reason I’m going to choose to remember the Crue of old … hell, the Corabi-fronted Crue for that matter. Did you see the band on Jimmy Kimmel live the other night? Vince Neil couldn’t even make it through “Dr. Feelgood.” File this under “I’ll be skipping the tour.”

..:..Glassjaw is not broken up..:.. Well, there’s some good news. Contrary to rumors circulating over the past few weeks, members of Glassjaw have confirmed that they have not broken up and are instead taking some time off as a result of band front man Daryl Palumbo’s Crohn’s Disease. The recently retooled line-up is expected to remain as a quartet with Palumbo on vocals, Justin Beck on guitars, Manuel Carrero on bass, and Durijah Lang (now of Classic Case) on drums. Glassjaw is a great pseudo-hardcore/metal band that I caught after the initial buzz wore off. Either way, I’m going to go pick up some more of the back catalogue shortly and look forward to newer material.

..:..Hair bands soldier on..:.. According to a post over at Blabbermouth, the 2005 edition of the Rock Never Stops tour will feature Cinderella (rock!), Ratt, Quiet Riot (eh!) and Firehouse. Between 50 and 65 U.S. shows are planned, with a “good chance” that this tour will go outside of the U.S for some dates in Mexico as well. Exact cities and dates will be announced soon.

..:..Norma Jean finally record a follow-up..:.. Norma Jean slowly began to make waves in the hardcore scene after the release of “Bless the Martyr & Kiss the Child” in 2002. Well, it took almost three years, but the band is finally ready for a follow-up. It seems Norma Jean are currently in the studio and eyeing a March release for “O God, The Aftermath.” (Note: some sites list the first NJ album as coming out in 2001, but I have a copy from 2002 … re-release? Who knows?)

..:..Rock soundtrack takes shape..:.. It looks like the line-up for the “Elektra” soundtrack is starting to take shape. Already, Strata (“Never There”), Hawthorne Heights (“Angels with Even Filthier Souls”), Taking Back Sunday (“Your Own Disaster”), Finger Eleven (“Thousand Mile Wish”) and Evanescence (“Breathe No More”) have signed on. The soundtrack is set to hit shelves Jan. 14.

You (and I) need to hear this…

Here’s some CDs I want, recently picked up or already have that I haven’t listened to nearly enough (you should check them out too):

Demon Hunter: “Summer of Darkness”

From First to Last: “dear diary, my teen angst has a bodycount”
Soundgarden: “Superunknown”
Fear Factory: “Fear is the Mindkiller”
Evanescence: “Anywhere But Home”

You need to hear this (Dime memorial)…

Here’s a little mix in tribute to the late Dimebag Darrell (songs he appeared on and are worth revisiting):

1. “Walk” (off Pantera’s “Vulgar Display of Power”)
2. “Wake Up” (off Damageplan’s “New Found Power”)
3. “Breathing New Life” (off Damageplan’s “New Found Power”)
4. “Hostile (live)” (off Pantera’s “101 Proof”)
5. “Drag the Waters” (off Pantera’s “Great Southern Trendkill”)
6. “5 Minutes Alone” (off Pantera’s “Far Beyond Driven”)
7. “Pride” (off Damageplan’s “New Found Power”)
8. “New Level” (off Pantera’s “Vulgar Display of Power”)
9. “Ashes to Ashes” (off the Punisher soundtrack)
10.”Cemetery Gates” (off Pantera’s “Cowboys from Hell”)
11.”Hollow” (off Pantera’s “Vulgar Display of Power”) — extra track for obvious reasons

This doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. Go out and pick up all the Pantera albums …

In closing…

Rough week in the metal world. If you get a chance, check out the following stuff:

— The metal world’s thoughts on Dime. (Seriously, go read what these fellow musicians, fans and friends had to say…)

— My thoughts on Dime.

— Your thoughts on Dime.

— Phil Anselmo’s thoughts on Dime.

And when you’re done with that, check out all the other great stuff going on around the Inside Pulse Music Zone.

And that’s that. As always, drop me a line. Until next time, I’ll be here at Inside Pulse making sure no metal news falls through the cracks.

Take it easy…