Saturday, November 27, 2010

I am simply a fan

In the mid to late 90s, I went to a lot of metal and hardcore shows. Agnostic Front, D.R.I., Pro-Pain, No Innocent Victim, Earth Crisis, S.O.D., Life of Agony, Clutch, Downset, Napalm Death, and Madball (just to name a few) hit the stage in Lawrence, KS more than a few times, and it was great.

Since I was in a local band, I knew many of the regulars who would pop up at these shows. I became friends with a couple guys I would see at the clubs and we would talk music - in particular about the bands we were about to see live.

I began noticing an irritating trend in our infrequent conversations. Whenever we would talk about a band, these two would always make sure to get the following line in:

"I love their first record, but everything after that sucks."

Every time. Every band.

Now, I'm not just talking about bands that radically changed their sound like 90s-era Metallica or post-Max Sepultura. No, these guys ragged on everybody. When Hatebreed released their first major full-length back in 1997, those buddies of mine complained that it wasn't as good as their first independently released ep.

REALLY? Hatebreed? Since when did Hatebreed EVER radically change their sound, let alone between their first ep and their first lp???

After a while, their inevitable statements started to bug me to the point that I wouldn't even want to talk with these guys about the band we were about to see. Most of the time, I already had the band's new release, and usually, I freaking loved it.

Little did I know at the time that such an attitude is fairly widespread amongst so-called fans.

"You know, I love the band's first practice demo they recorded on a cheap boom box in their basement, but everything after that sucks. I mean, they didn't even have vocals recorded over their half-written songs yet - now THAT'S metal!!!

Please, everyone, look at what a purist I am!"
Nowadays, I will get into online discussions about metal, and I'll find the same ideas expressed there as well (in spades). Many will express love and admiration for a band's early records and hate the rest.

For example, Testament's first two albums (The Legacy and The New Order) are thrash classics. To me, so is Practice What You Preach, The Gathering, and even Testament's unfortunately panned heavy weight album Demonic.

But I guess admitting that I like Testament's later material just as much as I like their early stuff makes me, what?...not old-school enough? Not purist enough?

Hell, I simply call it being a FAN of the band.

I may not enjoy everything Testament has put out, but I love their music and will always be a first day buyer of any future releases. I am a fan, see?

For those who hate the later releases of bands they supposedly love, who are they trying to impress when boldly slamming anything past the first or second album? I really would like to know how such ideas give them feelings of self-satisfaction.

I guarantee there is someone out there saying "Municipal Waste's first two releases were good, but the rest sucks."

I guess only a purist's ears can hear the change in quality when there clearly is none.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dr. Living Dead rocks

For those of you who haven't heard of Dr. Living Dead (and who like a little humor in their thrash) are in for a treat. These guys like to mix a little SOD and Slayer with their Suicidal Tendencies to produce something that crushes!

Unbelievably, as of this post, they are unsigned, but you can download their latest demo for free at their web site here.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fueled By Fire - new release available

According to their forum at Thrash Unlimited, Fueled By Fire's new release Plunging Into Darkness is now available!

Details here.

Check out their myspace page here.

Sworn Amongst!

How did these guys fly under my radar? I just discovered these guys by accident and I think their new album Severance is simply killer.

Check out their web site here.

Back to my roots

As a 37 year-old male who grew up on a steady diet of hard rock and heavy metal, I always had a soft spot for thrash. I first noticed thrash metal (and crossover) when my friend Matt played me Cryptic Slaughter, S.O.D. and Metallica. I hated 'em. I couldn't make sense of anything that these supposed musicians were trying to accomplish.

At the time (7th or 8th grade), I was knee-deep in bands like Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin, but I still had this craving for something heavier. However, it didn't take long for those songs that Matt played for me to start getting into my head.

The night I finally gave into the sounds of thrash metal is the time I stayed overnight at Matt's house and asked him to play the "Battle Ray" song ("Battery" by Metallica). The next day, he recorded me a tape of Master of Puppets, and I was hooked.

In high school, I started a thrash band with a couple buddies called Judgement (sic). We covered an array of Big Four songs as well as a few choice cuts from Prong, Sepultura, and D.R.I. among others.

However, just as soon as I found my love for thrash, I discovered bands like Death, Obituary, Entombed, and Malevolent Creation. Soon, my friends and I were all about death metal.

Not that we left thrash in the dust - we would still buy from our favorite bands, but as for searching for NEW stuff, it had to be death metal. Make all the Cookie Monster jokes you want. To me, the sludgy growls only made the music heavier. It fit that type of music, and I loved it. Me want cookies and death metal.

Throughout the years, I dabbled in all things from the heavy spectrum of music, from hardcore (Biohazard, Hatebreed, Sick of it All), nu metal (Korn), metalcore (Demon Hunter, Machine Head), stoner rock (CLUTCH!), grind (Napalm Death, Terrorizer), and power metal (Edguy, Celledor).

I liked it all, and I STILL like it all, but after the dust has settled, I find myself wanting to go back to what got me into heavy music in the first place: Thrash Metal.

Bands like Kreator, I.N.C., Testament, Sacred Reich, Overkill, Exodus, Nuclear Assault, Death Angel, Vio-lence, and the classic Big Four.

So recently, I decided to rediscover my roots in metal, and maybe pick up a few albums that I missed back in the day. Little did I know that there was (and still is) a flourishing new movement in thrash. As soon as I hit the internet looking for my favorite classic bands, I found a slew of relative newcomers influenced by them.

Bands like Merciless Death, Bonded by Blood, Hyades, Fueled by Fire, Municipal Waste, Lich King, Zombie Holocaust, Mantic Ritual, Pitiful Reign, Dr. Living Dead, Gama Bomb, Evile, Warbringer, National Suicide, etc, etc, etc.

Now THIS is exciting, I thought. Look at all these bands! An overflow of them, really. Everything from crossover, Bay Area, and Germany-influenced thrash, with so much from which to choose, and many of them really freaking GOOD.

The thrash snobs may thumb their noses at the New Wave of Thrash Metal (which I cannot understand how one can be a "snob" about thrash metal. It sounds so Caddyshack), but I embrace it. I am a fan of heavy music.

People complain that the NWOTM bands are unoriginal, recycling ideas from 25 years ago. However, when a band adds some new elements to their sound, the purists will THEN complain that the music deviates too far to be actual thrash metal.

Screw all that. I like it. I like the classic stuff and the new stuff. I like THRASH.

So this blog will be a celebration of the New Wave of Thrash Metal (NWOTM) and its influences. Here I will dump links, vids, thoughts and news on all things thrash.

I'll try to keep this blog updated regularly, so I hope you check back often.

Take care and Thrash 'til DEATH!
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