Auditory Assault

“The Sabbath thing, when we were kids, we didn’t say ‘We’ll, write this song called ‘War Pigs’ and in f*cking 25 years we’ll be icons. We had no idea. We didn’t have any musical education.”
— Ozzy Osbourne talking about the fact there’s no new Black Sabbath album in the works.

Intro …

This week’s most listened to CDs by yours truly were Norma Jean’s “Oh God, the Aftermath” (review forthcoming), Children of Bodom’s “Hate Crew Deathroll,” Clutch’s “Blast Tyrant” and Warrant’s “Cherry Pie” … that’s right, “Cherry Pie.”

Just a quick update from last week: though a majority of the feedback I got in regards to the “micro-reviews” was for them to continue, I’m siding with one specific e-mail I got from a reader. While the reviews are fun to write, I’m not sure they offer enough information to really offer you, the reader, anything of substance. And since you are the reason I’m writing this, I’d like to offer you only that which is worth reading. Maybe they (the micro-reviews) will pop up from time to time, but I will not make them a regular feature.

Album of the week…

I sure at least some of you knew this was coming…

Back in 1988, a little band by the name of Warrant released the album “Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich” … eventually skyrocketing to fame thanks to the power-ballad “Heaven.”

Of course the band was lumped in with all the other “hair bands” at the time … the band’s music was a mix of pop, rock and metal, but the debut was nothing short of a solid album. The group followed it up with the equally impressive “Cherry Pie” in 1990. Then, the music scene began to shift and, by the time the band presented “Dog Eat Dog” in 1992, grunge was beginning to take hold of the nation and the general public felt Warrant had little to offer. Man were they wrong.

Warrant continues to soldier on to this day, albeit sans Jani Lane who left the band in the recent past. Since the release of “Dog Eat Dog” the group experimented with a more aggressive sound (“Ultraphobic” in 1995), then went in a more metal and rock direction (“Belly to Belly” in 1996), did the greatest hits thing a couple of times, did the cover thing (2001’s “Under the Influence”) and even did the live thing (“Warrant Live: 1986-1997).

But, while I enjoy each and every album the band has put out, I constantly look to “Dog Eat Dog” as the seminal album from Warrant. It had the killer, metal-influenced tracks (the first single “Machine Gun” and the insane “Inside Out”); it had the ballads (“Let it Rain” and “Sad Theresa”); there were the arena rockers (“Bonfire” and “Hollywood (So Far So Good)”). But there were also some really deep songs on there too, songs with breathtaking lyrics and serious social commentary: “April 2031” which dealt with the state of the planet in relation to the balance of humans and nature; “Andy Warhol was Right” which dealt everyone’s “15 minutes of fame” (more relevant now than when it was released). All this, plus the band’s attempt (and success) at crafting a truly epic-sounding piece in the vein of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” — “Bitter Pill.”

This album really had everything, wrapped up in a nice little package. And I know I sometimes point out (either here or in my reviews) that this “unfocused” nature can detract from an album, but Warrant did it seamlessly and perfectly. So I recommend this album probably more than any other album of week: Warrant’s “Dog Eat Dog,” an often and unjustly overlooked and underrated album.

Ozzfest announced…

After many weeks of rumor and conjecture, the official line-up for Ozzfest 2005 has finally been announced.

To the surprise of no one, Black Sabbath will once again be headlining the Main Stage, with Iron Maiden in the slot occupied last year by the reunited Judas Priest. Joining the two legends on the Main Stage will be Killswitch Engage, Shadows Fall and Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society.

Rob Zombie will helm activities on the second stage, which features a nice mix of European metal and hardcore acts: As I Lay Dying, Bury Your Dead, The Black Dahlia Murder and It Dies Today will perform alongside The Haunted, In Flames and Arch Enemy. Other bands lined up for the trek include Mastodon (sweet!), Soilwork, Trivium and the winners of the Battle for Ozzfest, A Dozen Furies.

That’s a nice mix, not nearly as extreme as last year’s line-up. While the Main Stage doesn’t overly excite me (it’s not that I don’t like the bands, it’s just nothing I haven’t seen before … plus Killswitch and Shadows Fall would have been better on the second stage), I’m looking forward to The Haunted, Mastodon and In Flames. It Dies Today and As I Lay Dying should also be pretty good, as will Arch Enemy.

The tour will kick off in Boston this year (on July 15). I’ll plan on hitting the Hartford date two days later.

I don’t believe tickets are on sale yet, though apparently a free ticket will be available in initial copies of Ozzy’s upcoming box-set due out March 22 (the deal being you get one free if you buy one). So there you have it. If any more bands are announced, I’ll have the information for you here.

Otherwise, for more information and detailed tour dates, go to the official Ozzfest Web-site.

In brief …

..:..Speaking of Ozzfest..:.. Remember MTV ran that “Battle for Ozzfest” show a while back, showcasing some bands doing things that in no way shape or form proved they deserved a position on the festival. Well, non-winners A Dozen Furies, C.Y.N. (formerly Cyn, formerly Cynder — the name now is apparently an acronym for Curse Your Name) and Manntis put together a Battle for Ozzfest tour. For a complete list of shows, head over to this page at the Manntis site, though Ozzfest.com has some tour updates too.

..:..Anthrax reunited though not on Ozzfest..:.. Anthrax’s “Among the Living” lineup (guitarists Scott Ian and Dan Spitz, vocalist Joey Belladonna, bassist Frank Bello, and drummer Charlie Benante) has reunited, according to MTV.com. Rumor had it that the group was offered a spot on the Ozzfest trek in this form, though that no longer seems to be the case. Still, this seems like a foregone conclusion given the fact that this version of the band had already been confirmed for a variety of European metal fests throughout the year. There’s no firm plans for a North American tour at this point so stay tuned. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I much prefer Anthrax’s most recent line-up to anything they offered up to that point. To me, John Bush is the best front man the band could have asked for so I hope we haven’t seen the last of the Bush-led band.

..:..Audioslave preparing new album..:.. Chart Attack recently spoke to guitarist Tom Morello and drummer Brad Wilk about the band’s upcoming plans. The duo confirmed the still-untitled new album is scheduled to hit shelves May 16. “Be Yourself,” the album’s first single, has already shipped to radio and the group is planning a North American tour from April 7 to 30. Addressing the “secrecy” surrounding the new album, Wilk said, “We figure the less we talk and the more we let the music talk, the better.” Morello added, “The last time, our music was released on the internet eight months beforehand. So this time, mum’s the word.” Check out the whole interview for even more information on the band’s latest plans. I wasn’t “into” the first Audioslave album upon initial release as I just felt like it was being forced down my throat. I picked it up late last year and enjoyed a lot of it, so I’m looking forward to this next album. I don’t think the band is the greatest thing ever as most people were eager to point out upon initial release, but they’re pretty good nonetheless.

..:..Just a little Head update..:.. Only because I sort of get a kick out of this stuff: former Korn guitarist Brian “Head” Welch got in touch with MTV News to defend himself against allegations from Jonathan Davis that he was on a “false crusade.” Among the things that came to light: not only has Welch penned an instrumental tribute to the late Dimebag Darrell, but he’s also crafted some sort of song in an attempt to “save” rapper 50 Cent. Says Welch, “The Big Guy speaks through me a lot when I write, and I have a song for 50 Cent I wrote in the Holy Land. I feel like it’s a personal letter to 50 from God, so I’m going to give it to him personally and see what his reaction is … If it’s a positive reaction and he’s willing to talk to me, then I’m not gonna release it, but if the reaction is not positive, I’m going to share it with the world.” Could this guy be any more obvious in his attempts to cling to the spotlight? Though I honestly don’t care, I’m learning towards Davis’ assertion in this case.

..:..Beatallica’s back!..:.. Also in the realm of news I don’t care too much about: Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich got the band’s attorney to try and defuse the situation between Beatallica and Sony Music. Sony Music had accused the Milwaukee-based parody band known for Metallica-infused covers of Beatles songs of violating copyright laws, demanded that their webmaster pay “unspecified damages” and forced the band’s ISP to shut down their web site. According to BoingBoing.net, Sony is now indicating that it may agree to just drop the case. Beatallica.org should be on-line again in the near future with a new song release. Looks like Ulrich is still attempting an image makeover following all that Napster controversy a couple of years ago…

Mix of the moment (Ozzfest 2005 edition)…

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 …

Black Dahlia Murder: “Hymn For The Wretched” (off “Unhallowed”)
Rob Zombie: “Return of the Phantom Stranger” (off “Hellbilly Deluxe”)
Black Label Society: “America the Beautiful” (off “1919 Eternal”)
As I Lay Dying: “Falling Upon Deaf Ears” (off “Frail Words Collapse”)
The Haunted: “99” (off “rEVOLVEr”)
In Flames: “Land of Confusion” (off “Trigger” EP)
Arch Enemy: “Heart of Darkness” (off “Wages of Sin”)
Killswitch Engage: “Rose of Sharyn” (off “The End of Heartache”)
Shadows Fall: “Stepping Outside the Circle” (off “The Art of Balance”)
Iron Maiden: “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” (off “Live After Death”)

In closing…

I wanted to end things this week with a little something from Zakk Wylde. The guitarist recently sat down with Blistering.com to discuss the latest Black Label Society disc “Mafia.” During the interview, talk turned to 1995, when Wylde was “courted” by Axl Rose for a potential slot in Guns N’ Roses. Wylde was contacted by Rose during the recording for Ozzy’s “Ossmosis” album and … well, he tells it best:

“I received a phone call from Axl Rose asking me if I wanted to get together and jam with him. I said sure, no problem. We ended up jamming, and that was when Ozzy decided to get Joe Holmes into his band as his guitarist. Of course, the jam sessions with Rose amounted to nothing because once you get the lawyers and managers involved, they just f*cking ruin everything. There’s no f*cking fun to be had when they’re involved. It was supposed to be a f*cking rock band! I remember thinking to myself, ‘Even if we are making a shitload of cash, will everyone just shut the f*ck up and relax!’ (Laughs) So it just went down the shitter. Ozzy had Holmes in his touring band while I was finishing up doing ‘Book of Shadows’, but I joined back up with him for ‘Ozzmosis’. After that tour, I thought ‘Fuck it! I have all these f*cking heavy riffs lying around,’ so I started doing Black Label Society. That was in 1998. That’s when it really started. We did ‘Sonic Brew’, ‘Stronger Than Death’, and we toured in-between those albums too. Then I got approached to do that ‘Rock Star’ movie in 2000. I ended up doing that thing, and then I did the guitar shit on the soundtrack alongside the movie. That was a blast. All I did was drink beer, lift weights and play guitar the whole time. After that we recorded a live album, and did ‘1919 Eternal,’ and toured behind that. And then I got back together with Ozzy, and together we did the ‘Down To Earth’ album, then we toured behind that. After that we did ‘The Blessed Hellride’, toured behind that. Then came the DVD ‘Boozed, Broozed & Broken-Boned’, and after that we f*cking did the acoustic shit for ‘Hangover Music Vol. VI’. And now we’ve just pumped out this new album ‘Mafia’! (Laughs) That’s twelve f*cking albums and tours since I jammed with Rose. And in the last ten years, he still hasn’t come out with that ‘Chinese Democracy’ album!”

Great stuff. Make sure to check out the whole interview here.

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…

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