Friday, January 28, 2011

A tiny spotlight on some thrash vocalists

I mentioned in my post on VIO-LENCE about how I was originally put off by Sean Killian's vocals during my first few listens of Eternal Nightmare. After spending quality time with the music, I can honestly say I love them now.

In fact, I've been digging through cyberspace to see if Killian is involved with any other projects, with search results leading to zero. I don't know if he is, but I'd love to hear Sean shouting over some aggressive metal once again.

Anyway, speaking of vocalists, I'd like to concentrate on a few within the new wave that have caught my attention.

-Bobby Fuentes from Blunt Force Trauma.
There's no way around it - the dude sounds a LOT like Billy Milano, but damn, can Bobby belt it out. His vocals possess a strength that makes you want to swing your fists. The way he can bark out lyrics to to songs such as Brutal Fucking Truth is forcefully intense and in-your-face.

-Jose "Aladdin" Barrales, formerly of Bonded by Blood.
I've heard people dis his vocals as whiny. I disagree. I actually like the sound of his voice (as well as BBB's killer music behind it), but what I can not get past is Aladdin's monotonous vocal patterns on 90% of BBB's songs. At times, the consistent use of his thrash chant on song after song becomes such a huge distraction that I cannot pay attention to the music. That is unfortunate, since I actually do like his voice and I absolutely love the music.

I will be interested to see how Aladdin will tackle the vocals in his new band (and with equal interest in how BBB's new singer Mauro Gonzales will do).

-Nate Olp from Demiricous.
Just freaking brutal. Death thrash with a mix of Slayer meets…uh, Slayer, but with gravely harsh vocals that could sand down petrified wood. Not completely indecipherable with great vocal patterns - Olp's vocals blend with Demiricous' head-slamming brand of death thrash perfectly.

-Dr. Ape from Dr. Living Dead.
I've pimped these guys on my blog a couple times, and I love 'em. Ironically the vocalist's name is Dr. Ape, since he does a near perfect job of aping Mike Muir's vocals (I doubt I am the first to use this oh-so-witty observation).

Others may disagree, but I see his near perfect mimicry as a bonus. If Ape did the typical metal grunts (death style or otherwise), they may not have earned as much attention, no matter how good the music thrashes.

-Philly Byrne from Gama Bomb.
I'll admit that I did not like Philly's vocals when I first listened to Gama Bomb. What killed it for me more than anything was his atrociously off-kilter wails that sounded like he was *almost* there, but failed.

However, no matter how I felt about the vocals, I could not stop listening. The riffs, the speed, and the full-throttle thrash are played with such tight precision that it is impossible for any well seasoned thrasher to turn away.

Inevitably, the vocals grew on me. Philly gives them a unique sound, adding to the wall of unstoppable thrash.

All the vocalists I mentioned sound completely different, singing different styles over different branches of thrash. But it IS all thrash, baby, and I freaking love it.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

VIO-LENCE: a new treasure for me

I'm sorry. For years and years I have managed to elude and neglect one of the most well known bands among thrash fans. As for passing up potentially killer albums, we have all done it (especially those who were tied down with a limited budget), but to wait this long to spotlight a little personal attention on such a deserving band is…well, sad, really.

I remember seeing VIO-LENCE tapes and CDs at my local record store, but at the time, my small amount of chump-change was spent on an equal amount of classic rock and "popular" thrash metal. Eternal Nightmare's cover looked cool as hell, but there was always an old Deep Purple or Rainbow album I had to get, not to mention the occasional release by the Big Four and various popular underlings.

So, to sum it up, I just never gave VIO-LENCE a shot. By the time I had a little extra money to spend on music, I was well into death metal and hardcore, leaving what little thrash I had to wait out my obsession with other genres.

What an idiot I was. I don't regret the 90s and early 2000's, buying the ton of non-thrash records I now have in my collection, but why did I ignore my beloved thrash genre for so long?

I recently asked myself that question after I discovered the NWOTM. I bought up some of the re-thrash bands and smartened myself up on my metal roots via the thrash forums and blogs.

Of course, with all the talk of the NWOTM bands, the old-school bands were inevitable topics of conversation. When names like Forbidden, VIO-LENCE or Rigor Mortis were brought up, I would think back to when I would see their covers on the record store shelves as brand-new slabs of metal -- all which I passed up for the next Slayer, Testament, and eventually Obituary and Napalm Death.

Since then, I have scored copies of some of these classic bands, but I want to focus on VIO-LENCE for now.

When I first put on their record, I was slightly taken aback by Sean Killian's vocals. Believe me, I HATE bringing that up, because when folks talk about the band VIO-LENCE, the "strange" vocals always - ALWAYS - garners a healthy mention.

Although I might have been put off at first, I have my iPod set to shuffle and VIO-LENCE would always seem to pop up more frequently than any other band…or at least it seemed that way. Maybe the songs were simply more noticeable than the others, which makes sense because the more I heard them, the more I grew to really freaking LOVE this band.

Now, I can't get enough! Although I want to kick myself for never have listened to VIO-LENCE back in the day, I am happy that I am hearing them "new".

I know that many thrashers out there would love to live vicariously through me as I listen to certain classic albums with fresh ears.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Kublai Kahn ROCKS!

I love doing research on old school thrash bands because it is inevitable that I will find something of which I've never heard. It's a bonus if I love the music as well.

Well, I just came across the band Kublai Kahn on one of the various metal blogs and I want to slightly injure myself for never hearing them before.

After streaming a few Kublai Kahn tunes on YouTube, I had to hit my blog and post this vid:

From their one and only album Annihilation (1987). Killer speed/thrash in the Kill 'Em All/Killing's My Business vein. Plus, their vocalist Greg Handevidt has some of the absolute best pipes for this type of music.

Nothing much more to say except KAAAAAAAAHHHHN!!!!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Nothing wrong with the NWOTM staying old-school

Those of us who actually enjoy the flock of of NWOTM bands have heard it over and over again:

These guys weren't even old enough to remember when thrash started! They aren't doing anything new! Quit dressing like it's 1985!

No matter how good the music, how well played, or how awesomely aggressive, the naysayers never run out of elitist venom to spew at the modern thrash torch-bearers.

Well, over at Blabbermouth, someone expressed the above sentiments toward the band Havok. Soon after, a commenter took the words right out of my head with the following:

"I was there and im loving the 'revival' if that's what you want to call it (personally, I never thought thrash/speed metal ever died in the first place). Id rather kids emulating bands like the ones you mentioned above than Korn, Limp Biskit or any of those horrific bands. Funnily enough, these new thrash bands that are coming out are tearing it harder than any of the originators at the moment. Besides, who the fuck are you to tell anyone what to wear, what to listen to or who to sound like? Let the new bands have a shot at playing metal. Im sick of hearing people complain that its 'nothing new' or 'rehashed' yet when Megadeth or Slayer or whoever from the 80s releases a new album, you're the first to complain that it sounds nothing like 'insert their golden era album here'. Sure Metallica haven't released any thing good since 88, actually, most of those bands haven't but here you got kids ripping riffs out that tear ya head off and playing fast enough to break the sound barrier but yet you still complain. Do you actually like thrash/metal or are you just a angry, old, trolling bitch?"

Although I personally wouldn't have been so harsh in my defense (nor do I believe the statement about the mentioned Big Four bands not putting out anything good since 88), but I agree with the premise.

A revival of something so grand is not bad, especially if it's done well (and it is). Also if today's thrash bands are going to emulate anybody, of COURSE it's going to be their idols. Plus, how can you complain about thrash bands wearing jean jackets, tight jeans and high-tops? That's like complaining that country singers wear cowboy hats.

As for complaining that the NWOTM bands aren't doing anything new, well so what? They are playing thrash metal. If I want new elements to my thrash metal, I'll go listen to one of the many metal bands who expanded on the thrash sound (Machine Head, Pantera, Hatebreed, Demon Hunter).

So I say keep cranking out the old-school influenced tunes, because cutting through a vocal minority of "purists" are the supporters who love it.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Used CDs feed the addiction

Postings here will be a bit sparse until next month, but I wanted to pop in to do some bragging.

Today, I snagged a copy of Death's Scream Bloody Gore CD for $6 over at a local CD Tradepost. For some reason Death's first release has never made itself available to me, so when I saw it on the used shelf -- in perfect condition, mind you -- I was giddy. I still am.

Lately I've been on a lucky streak in finding cheap used CDs.

Recently (over the last two or three months), I found the following gems for between $1 to $5 each.

Anthrax - Among the Living, State of Euphoria, and Persistence of Time
Bonded By Blood - Feed the Beast and Exiled to Earth
Demiricous - One
Death Angel - Act III
Evile - Enter the Grave
Fueled by Fire - Spread the Fire
Guillotine - Blood Money
The Headbanger - Nuclear Devastation
Kreator - Extreme Aggression
Kreator - Terrible Certainty (includes Out of the Dark) - spent $7.99 on this one!
Mantic Ritual - Executioner
M.O.D. - Dictated Aggression
Municipal Waste - The Art of Partying
Napalm Death - Smear Campaign
Overkill - Under the Influence
Razor - Violent Restitution
Speed Kills...Again compilation
Suicidal Tendencies - Lights, Camera...Revolution and The Art of Rebellion
Sworn Amongst - Severance (for 99 cents!!!)
Testament - Demonic
Thrashing Like a Maniac compilation
Uncle Slam - Will Work for Food

Nice catch so far. The funny thing about being a thrash metal fan is that you can never...EVER...get enough. We can leave no riff unturned.

You know, as an addiction, at least it's a safe one (until you get into the pit).

Anyway, I am going to slow my purchases down a bit because although I save a ton on used goods, such purchases usurp from my spending budget for newer releases. Hell, I don't want to wait eight years before I can get a copy of Ironbound for $5.
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