R.I.P. Warrel Dane

•January 10, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Nevermore has probably been in my top 5 favorite bands of all time.  Although very formulaic (much like some of my other fav bands… Iron Maiden I’m looking at you), they had a tight sound that even very few accomplished bands have been able to capture and hold on to for several album runs.  The musicianship within Nevermore was top-notch.  I could go on and on.  But rather than lament the loss of the band Nevermore and one of the best modern Metal vocalists, I thought I would share a memory I had of seeing them.

I couldn’t tell you the exact year nor the tour they were on.  I couldn’t tell you who they opened for or who opened for them.  All I know is this:

  • They played at The Palladium in Worcester, MA
  • It was sometime between 2000 & 2005
  • It was miserably cold when they played
  • It was after they

What stood out was the encore.  They played 2 songs, one of which was “The Engines of Hate”.  Warrel went back stage for a moment during the first song and returned with a little girl, with what I could only imagine was his daughter (or a REALLY long haired little boy).  She could have been anywhere from 6-12, I was pretty far back.  She had long hair just like her dad.  She was happier than a pig in shit getting up there on stage and running around.  I think there were other kids, maybe the other members’ kids?  And they chanted a chorus together, Warrel and his daughter.  He holding the mic for her while they sang together. The music faded from my ears because at that moment, what was burned into my mind was this man, living the life many of us dream about and many of us look to to bring us through the hard and good times of our days through their music, and he included the most important person in his life on stage doing what he loved.

While it saddens me to think that we’ll never be graced with his voice again, I am happy to know that he and his daughter shared a moment that most men only dream of.  I have a daughter of my own and that memory comes to my mind often, even before he died I would think on that concert.  Thinking how cool it must have been for her to stand next to her dad in front of a sea of adoring fans.  I hope she remembers that like I did.

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Aether Realm – Tarot

•December 14, 2017 • Leave a Comment

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I’m not inclined to write much about this other than to notify the few folks that stumble across the blog.  The music speaks for itself.  This is my album of 2017.  Probably one of the best albums I’ve bought in over 5 years.  It’s that good.  These guys have found the perfect formula of blending death metal, black metal, power metal with plenty of thrash elements.  They remind me of Revocation, but with a much more accessible sound.  Go check them out!

A LOOOOONG Overdue Update

•November 29, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Just a quick update….

It’s been nearly 5 years if not more since anyone has posted any new content here.  Aside from the comments that come through (mostly to come flog me for my Slave Raider review) there will most likely never be any new reviews on this blog.  I will not shut it down since it does attract the occasional comment, but one thing I will be doing is removing a few posts that are neither constructive or in the spirit of this once glorious and world wide sensation of a blog haha… Sorry Zach but your posts are coming down.

Review: Jeff Loomis – Zero Order Phase

•September 8, 2009 • Leave a Comment

[jwopitz’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars]

What can I say bad about this album?  Nothing.  It’s a shred head’s wet dream.  Where the likes of Jason Becker, Marty Friedman, Tony Macalpine, Vinnie Moore, etc. left off, Jeff Loomis steps in to lead the shred movement.  Yes we still have our Satriani and Vai but lately they have left me wanting more.  Loomis provides.   Okay let analyze this a bit more.

Where most of the older shred still had a prevalent sound in neo classical roots, Zero Order Phase is more like the chromatic, non-diatonic cacophony that is Nevermore’s signature sound.  There are plenty of sweep pick licks to satisfy even the most ravenous Malmsteen/Dragon Force fans.  But couple that with the ominous, grit from Loomis’ Nevermore playing and you have a truly unique shred album.  Rhythmically speaking it has plenty of disjunct, syncopated rhythms laden with plenty of tastefully done double bass pedal.

Okay I do have on complaint for this album: It makes me want to give up playing. what’s the point.  Now to the choice bits.  If you had to sample only 3 songs I would suggest:

  • Miles of Machines
  • Race Against Disaster
  • Jato Unit

Sorry this is so short of a review but I have found myself lacking the motivation to write much lately.  The bottom line is, if you like Nevermore, if you like shred ala-Cacophony then you really ought to own this album.

Up the Irons!!!!

Review: 10 albums you ought to have

•May 11, 2009 • 2 Comments

Yeah so the passion of actually writing something about music has shrivled up.  But you always have to share the love, you know?  So here is a rundown of 10 albums I have discovered over the past few years that I think you might wanna give a listen to.  And in no particular order here they are:

  1. Concealed by Augury – technical death metal with hints of Cynic, black metal influences and some kinda cool choral arrangements. Angry shit indeed!
  2. Holographic Universe by Scar Symmetry – Swedish technical melodic death metal.  Dunno, I just really like the laid back sound of this album.  The singing is alot more digestible than non-stop cookie monster vox.  I also like the lyrical content as it is on par with Cynic and Death
  3. Riders of the Plague by The Absence – Kinda a combination of Swedish technical death metal and American thrash metal.  Every song on this album is kick ass.  These guys have the sound so many wanna-be’s try to sound like.
  4. In Search of Light by Aabsinth – these guys have a sound that is very hard to describe.  Its definitely metal and sometimes they sound like the same genre as Mastodon and then sometimes they have a death metal sound.  I can’t say that I really focus on the music so much as enjoy having it in the background.
  5. Nemesis by Super Heavy Goat Ass – yeah these guys are kinda a jamming rock band with a mix of some southern rock roots.  Good shit.  And they are from Texas so I gotta love em.
  6. …And They Shall Take Up Serpents by Byzantine – angry thrash metal w/ more riffs than you can shake a stick at.   Another band I can’t really say I like from a per song basis but rather for the atmosphere.  Phil Anselmo anyone?
  7. Bullet in your Head by Made of Hate – thrash metal.  Just fun music.  When you get tired of all the brutality and technicality of day’s death metal, this is more easy going.  Not to say they aren’t technical but they have a bit of space which allows the music to breath.
  8. Planetary Duality by The Faceless – brutal technical death metal at its best.  These guys are on par with Necrophagist, Psycroptic and the like.  Who would have thought such awesome b.t.d.m. would come out of Kansas?
  9. Sumerian Daemons by Septic Flesh – These guys are alot like Augury.  They have the brutal death metal sound down but they also infuse it with sounds of choral and symphonic elements.  They have super fast and they have easy going chug metal too.
  10. At the Soundless Dawn by The Red Sparowes – all instrumental post-rock (who in the hell makes up these names for the genres?)  Anyway they sound on par with bands like Isis, Pelican and 5ive.   Its not about riffs and technicality, its about painting a picture with the music.  If you listen to nothing but metal, you ought to give these guys a listen to broaden your horizons.

I could keep going but I don’t want to burn out doing this.  Plenty of places to find these more obscure bands.  Let me know if you have a hard time finding them.

Quick Review: Chinese Democracy

•April 13, 2009 • 3 Comments

Finally acquired this album.  Let’s get to the meat of it shall we.  As a GnR album this SUCKS!!!!  Let’s face it, GnR was one part Axl and one part Slash/Duff.  Its like having the Roses without the Guns.  The Pie without the Crust.  So minus Slash’s super talented playing, you get mediocre techno-y, NIN, type crap.  Yes there is the occasional good guitar riff and some really cool solos.  But as a GnR album I was disappointed.  I expected that.

Now let’s review this as something other than a GnR album.  Its actually quite good.  This would probably have been better received by metal heads such as myself if it was labeled something like Axl Rose’s Solo Project.  Then digesting the NIN-ish techno crap is a little easier.

Let’s face it, this review is of Axl, not the band that is now GnR.  There are a few complaints I have in general barring any GnR-ish type argument.  Firstly I think Axl overdid the whiney bitch bit a tad much.  “Scraped” is a perfect example of this.   Its as if in the last 15 years he needs to assert himself as a dominant singer again.  So rather than fire off hard hitting lyrics and a great attitude (ala Welcome to the Jungle or Coma), he actually tries to be a little too melodic and too thematic (more along the lines of November Rain, uuggg).  What happens is you get alot of whiney passages where he is TRYING to sing something against a backdrop of music not in his vocabulary.  It clashes and rubs me the wrong way.  Next is Axl trying to do something nobody with a great high range should do: sing low.  Axl has the “you could be mine” low tone that does good so long as its for the most part monotone.  But stick to 3 or 4 notes.  Don’t try to actually sing dude.  It doesn’t work.  Upon first hearing Streets of Dreams I had to start ask if this was a joke.  Was he serious?  Indeed he was.  Not his best work.  He ends up sounding more like a drunk country singer trying to sing to high.  Of course the classic Axl voice is there and it works.

Ok let’s tackle the music now.  If you are expecting a pure rock/metal album, expect to be disappointed.  There are quite a few too-hip-for-you-hop type songs where they have tried to blend styles from elements of hip hop (drums mostly), casino pop (not sure how to describe this genre, just imagine a bunch of British Grifters or go watch Hustle) and some other crap that is just that:  A big mix of crap.

Don’t bother buying this one folks.  Save your good hard earned cash and buy something more relevant than 15 years too late Axl Rose.  Borrow a friend’s CD if you gotta have it.

Let’s go to the Movies

•February 16, 2009 • 2 Comments

I was flipping around around and came across a damn good movie: Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey. Now, if you know anything about me, you know that I am late for the party on most good things. So, I thought I would come here and prove that fact, yet again.

What a great movie! I was into it from beginning to end. It didn’t have that lame VH1 feel to it that I guess I have come to expect from Metal documentaries. It was very well done, smart and showed just how dedicated a fan-base this genre of music has. I was especially into the Norwegian Death Metal guys and the whole church burning thing. It was presented in a way that, I thought, showed both sides of the debate, without taking a side. Difficult to do with a topic so polarizing as Satan and burning down churches. One guy brought up how Christianity was very much forced on the people of that region so long ago. I know from my history lessons, that when that happens, the original beliefs are mostly forgotten.

I went to the site for the movie and also found this Global Metal I’m totaly excited to see this! Has anyone see it yet? Let me know, because i think it will also be great.