Auditory Assault

“It’s like your life becomes a friend dangling over the edge of a building … And that person is your former self.”
— Scott Weiland talking about doing drugs.

Probably one of the cooler quotes I’ve read lately.

Intro …

This week’s most listened to CDs by yours truly were Killswitch Engage’s “Alive Or Just Breathing,” Love/Hate’s “Wasted in America” and Open Hand’s “You and Me.”

Here’s a test run for a potential new feature here: I took a couple of the above mentioned albums and tried to craft micro-reviews of each disc. Each review is kept to under 50 words which, at first sounded pretty easy, but turned out to be a lot harder than I imagined.

First up, Killswitch Engage’s “Alive or Just Breathing” :

From the opening riffs, you can tell the intensity of Killswitch Engage’s music, partnered with intense vocals that shift from a death-metal growl to melodic singing on a dime, combine to form one masterful metal release. Like the singing, Killswitch Engage tempers its aggression with momentary glimpses of melodic beauty.

And then we have Open Hand’s “You and Me” :

Ethereal vocals lay atop a cacophonic blend of genres — alternative rock, stoner rock, heavy metal and a little punk, leading to one amazing, almost indefinable musical masterpiece. Songs range from slow- to fast-paced audio delicacies, which aren’t nearly as strong taken one at a time instead of all together.

Stay tuned for a full review of “You and Me” showing up in the near future on Inside Pulse. I’ll let you in on a little secret, it scored very highly and is on my short list for album of the year. For point of reference, my pick for 2004’s album of the year was Machine Head’s “Through the Ashes of Empires.” The year before, I went with From Autumn to Ashes’ “Fiction We Live.”

And the album of the week …

I’ve been listening to Love/Hate’s “Wasted in America” almost non-stop for the past few days. The group surfaced nationally right at the tail end of the 80s, releasing the bulk of its catalogue well into the 90s, yet somehow managed to get lumped in with the 80’s hair band movement (much like Warrant for that matter).

When talking to people who actually heard of Love/Hate or were fans of the band, everyone almost unanimously points to the group’s debut album “Blackout in the red Room,” as its best offering. While that album is very good, I have a soft spot in my heart for the band’s follow-up, 1992’s “Wasted in America.”

The band managed to craft a perfect blend of sleazy, Hollywood hard rock (think early Guns N’ Roses) and the slight, funk sensibility of a band like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and mix it all together into a blistering rock/metal album.

The album explodes with the title-track and never really loses steam. There’s the hollow feel of “Social Sidewinder,” the funky exploits of “Yucca Man” and “Tranquilizer,” the sleaze of “Miss America” and “Cream” and pure rock heaven of “Time’s Up” and the album’s closer, “Evil Twin.” Plus, sandwiched in the middle is a great ballad-esque attack on social mores.

In short, I’ve always believed Love/Hate was completely, and sadly, overlooked. Following “Wasted,” the band released a handful of albums independently, all good in their own ways. The band’s front man, Jizzy Pearl, went on to front L.A. Guns briefly and is now touring as the vocalist for Ratt.

I really can’t imagine anyone regretting adding “Wasted in America” to their collections, so go out and hunt this record down. You can find it real cheap on-line.

In brief …

..:..Ozzfest competition..:.. So, there’s a new heavy-metal oriented festival tour planned for this summer. A tentative line-up for the jaunt, billed as the “Sounds of the Underground Tour,” includes Lamb Of God, Clutch, Unearth, From Autumn To Ashes, Chimaira, Gwar, Poison The Well, Opeth, Norma Jean, Every Time I Die, Strapping Young Lad, Throwdown, High On Fire, DevilDriver, All That Remains and A Life Once Lost. There’s also a host of bands set to play only East coast, West coast or Midwest dates. Tickets are supposedly going to be held to under $30. Much more information can be found here. The tour sounds pretty good to me, a little more heavy than Ozzfest when taken as a whole (though some bands have appeared on the tour in previous years). I also like the low ticket prices, though I’m sure those will rise if the tour is successful and continues for a couple of years.

..:..Deth keeps a-rollin’..:.. Recently post-happy Megadeth front man Dave Mustaine has been pretty vocal over at the band’s Web-site as of late, mentioning that he is eager to get into the studio to begin “getting the new song (s) out of my head.” Then of course continues, “I am still unsure about whether to put Megadeth into retirement because the tour for this record has gone so well; I was once 100 percent sure, now I am not. So he went from retiring the band to working on a solo album which then became the last Megadeth album … or not. I’m a big Megadeth fan, but I still haven’t picked up the new disc. Everything I’ve read indicates a mixed-bag, so I’m not sure whether it’s time for Mustaine to hang it up in regards to the band. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

..:..Roadrunner and their re-releases (don’t get me started!)..:.. So, now Roadrunner is issuing a two-disc set of “Vol. 3 (The Subliminal Verses)” on April 12. In addition to new packaging, extra tracks set to appear on the set include “Don’t Get Close” and “Scream” (both non-album tracks from the “Vol. 3” sessions), a Terry Date mix of “Vermilion,” the original full-length version of “Danger – Keep Away,” and live versions of “The Blister Exists,” “Three Nil,” “Disasterpiece,” and “People=Shit.” Sounds like it’s worth buying, but that doesn’t make me any more happy. Add this to the recently released two-disc set of Cradle of Filth’s “Nymphetamine” and the soon-to-be released two-disc set of Killswitch Engage’s “The End of Heartache.” Grrrr!

..:..The adventures of Adler..:.. Metalshrine recently interviewed Brooke Ellis, who runs ex-Guns N’ Roses drummer Steven Adler’s official fan site. Ellis also worked on a book about Adler’s life. I wanted to pull this little story about Adler out from the interview just because I found it quirky and interesting: Then there’s the stories from the nineties. One time, Steven was high and left his home to get a Slurpee at 7-11. What he didn’t realize was that he didn’t have any clothes on, except for a pair of boxers. A cop pulls along side him and Steven asks, “Can you take me to the 7-11? I just want to get a Slurpee.” The cop eyes him up and down, says “You’re on your own!” then screeches off. So Adler makes his way to the store only to discover he had no cash. His old house, which he had just sold to ex-MTV VJ Martha Quinn, was of closer proximity so he made his way there. He knocked at the door and her husband answered. Steven said, “Do you have 75 cents? I just want to get a Slurpee.” So Martha’s husband takes him back to the store only to find, after all that, the Slurpee machine is out of order! The entire interview can be found here.

..:..Static follow-up..:.. Guitarist Koichi Fukuda rejoined Static-X, filling the spot left vacant after the band parted ways with Tripp Eisen (he who was recently arrested (twice!) for having sexual relations with minors. Fukuda performed with the band initially and was featured on the group’s first album, “Wisconsin Death Trip.” Fukuda has apparently been in the studio with Static-X since October working on the record.

Mix of the moment…

Here’s a little mix I put together featuring the song’s I’ve been listening to a lot lately (or songs I wish I’d be listening to more). Check one, some or all of them out … who knows, you might discover something you like or remember something you used to …

Biohazard: “Authority” (live) (off ” No Hold’s Barred”)
Love/Hate: “She’s an Angel” (off “Blackout in the Red Room”)
From Autumn to Ashes: ” Take Her To The Music Store” (off ” Too Bad You’re Beautiful”)
Avenged Sevenfold: ” Remenissions” (off ” Waking the Fallen”)
Guns N’ Roses: “Estranged” (off “Use Your Illusions II”)
Open Hand: “In Your Eyes” (off “The Dream”)
Warrant: “April 2031” (off “Dog Eat Dog”)
Killswitch Engage: “Rise Inside” (off “Alive or Just Breathing”)

Sevendust: “Hurt” (off “Southside Double – Wide”)
Breaking Benjamin: “Home” (off “Saturate”)

In closing…

Let me know what you thought of the micro-reviews, I’d love to know. Also, feel free to suggest some discs for potential future micro-reviews, your wishes will be granted if it’s an album I own or am fairly familiar with.

I have a couple of other ideas for future columns, so stay tuned to Inside Pulse.

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…