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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Big Four Tour - a reality, kinda.

Pretty entertaining stuff going on at the Sonisphere festivals over in Europe:

METALLICA's official web site has been updated with the following message:

"You've been posting and chatting about it for months and we're here now to confirm it . . . METALLICA, SLAYER, MEGADETH, and ANTHRAX will all share the same stage for the first time EVER! Look for the four of us at the Sonisphere shows in Warsaw, Poland and Prague, Czech Republic on June 16 and 19, 2010, with a few more of the festival dates still in the works. You can be sure these shows won't be the only ones."

Commented METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich: "Who would have thought that more than 25 years after its inception, thrash metal's 'Big Four' would not only still be around and more popular than ever, but will now play together for the first time...what a mindfuck! Bring it on!"

The announcement on METALLICA's official web site seems to directly contradict MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine's December 8, 2009 online posting in which he said, "Although there have been many rumors about a reunion of the 'Big Four' set to happen in Eastern Europe next summer, the plan never came together for us. We are hopeful that this will happen for real one day and will keep you posted as things develop."

Great show! Black Dahlia Murder + Obscura!

Woohoo! Maybe Lawrence will start getting a ton of metal shows again!

On March 13th at the Bottleneck in Lawrence, The Black Dahlia Murder will be tearing the place up along with Augury, Obscura, and Hatesphere. What an awesome line-up.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Thrash for the holidays!

An awesome thrash-tastic tour is coming to the Riot Room on December 22nd. Exmortus and Vektor are headlining, while local support comes from Vanlade and Koktopus. THRASH!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Killswitch Engage back again...again...

March 14 – The Midland by AMC – Kansas City – MO

Killswitch Engage (lame)
The Devil Wears Prada (lame)
Dark Tranquility (awesome)

Randomest. Lineup. Ever.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

2009 Album: #40 - #36

40. Brutal Truth - Evolution Through Revolution

April 14th
Highlights: Get a Therapist...Spare the World, Powder Burn, Global Good Guy

It really sucks that I have to put this album so low, because by all means, it's a pretty good album. It's just that it's very average for someone who is well versed in the grind/death metal world. While Brutal Truth is known for having some of the best grindcore releases around, Evolution Through Revolution just seems to be complacent by going through the numbers in creating an album. One thing I noticed, which kind of seems silly, is that the songs themselves on average are too long for typical grindcore songs. They seem to lose their punch quickly. If they were more towards the death metal side of the spectrum, maybe it'd be for the better, but it's not, and they just sound too strung out.

But the Brutal Truth you know and love is still alive on this CD. Kevin Sharpe still has great vocals that are a staple of the genre, and a couple of gems shine through. It's just too bad that the music to fit the vocals sounds like it's something that's already been done before and done better by either Napalm Death or Pig Destroyer. Again, this isn't a bad album, just extremely underwhelming. Show this CD to new Brutal Truth fans to get them into their older, better releases.


39. Xasthur - All Reflections Drained

April 21st
Highlights: Maze Of Oppression, Masquerade Of Incisions

I'm a fan of this type of black metal usually, but something went wrong on this release. A band like Wolves In The Throne Room creates epic soundscapes with their music. Xasthur here just kind of uncomfortably noodles in and out of several different types of this kind of black metal that he usually is a master of creating. The album doesn't create a mindset for the listener other than waiting to hear the big payoff, which ultimately never comes. And the production is the other big tiff. Although Xasthur is known for his bad production, it ultimately holds the music back and keeps me from really getting into the music and losing myself in it. Bad production can't be the only reason that happens: the LLN had notoriously bad production, but all of those releases had heart. Xasthur didn't put his heart into this album.

That's not to say this release is without its merits, though. Maze Of Oppression does a good job (halfway through) of creating a creepy/beautiful atmosphere. But enjoy the vocals while you can. They are extremely absent more than they should be on this album. Masquerade Of Incisions is another good one, assuming you last through the long intro. All Reflections Drained should be viewed as a more experimental side to Xasthur. Although this was a miss, I have no doubt Malefic will get back on track soon.


38. Sunn O))) - Monoliths & Dimensions

May 5th
Highlights: Hunting & Gathering (Cydonia), Aghartha

If you weren't a fan of Sunn O))) before, this album probably won't change your position. But if you are a fan of Sunn O))), you'd probably like it. But I'm put off because it is more experimental than it is drone. Yes, it's interesting to see how they incorporate a choir and stringed and horn instruments into their music, and yes it can create a unique and creepy vibe through the music (what Sunn O))) album DOESN'T?), but there is little in the way of heavy drone/doom in this album. Hunting & Gathering (Cydonia) is extremely heavy, and Attila Csihar's vocals are inhuman as ever, but something seems to be lacking. A layer underneath the music that gives it its' foundation, perhaps.

This album will be the dividing point among Sunn O))) fans: fans who like them because of crushing drone, or fans that like them for more experimental noise. The album, in my opinion, would be much more in favor of the experimental fan. Although the drone is there, it's not nearly enough to satisfy the crushing power you'd expect from this crazy group.


37. Suffocation - Blood Oath

July 14th
Highlights: Come Hell Or High Priest, Images Of Purgatory, Provoking The Disturbed

Suffocation is a great band, there's no doubt about that. But whereas their self-titled album a few years ago was filled to the brim with brutality and unrelenting death metal, it seems the legendary band has taken a step back on this album unfortunately. They seem to want to add the "brutal" to their "death metal" genre with this release, because it seems like the mid-paced riffing of bands like Devourment have become the focus, rather than the fast paced stuff from their past albums. That's not a huge loss, though. The songs themselves are alright, albeit disappointing in the long run. Some of the guitarists just seem bored throughout the album.

Come Hell Or High Priest, on the other hand, sounds like a staple Suffocation song through and through. The guitars and drums work here to induce as much headbanging as possible. Images Of Purgatory is another neck-breaker with awesome solos. However, it's not enough to bring this album to greatness. It sits comfortably with being "good" and maybe that's alright for Suffocation right now.


36. Whole Wheat Bread - Hearts Of Hoodlums

January 20th
Highlights: Bombs Away, Lower Class Man, New Age Southern Baptist Nigga From Da Hood

Hey, it can't be all metal all the time, can it? Whole Wheat Bread created a pretty addicting pop/punk album, although it is paper-thin. Although criticizing a pop/punk album for depth seems stupid, the songs on this album will make you jump, make you smile, but they don't provoke very much else. And, honestly, that's what I expected from this album. Bombs Away is an a dark anthem for street life and songs like Girlfriend Like This remind Whole Wheat Bread's audience just how junior high they can be in their songwriting: "I don't care if it burns when I piss/I ain't never had no girlfriend like this/I don't care what nobody say/If you don't like her, you're probably gay"

The only large fault I can find with this album is that the actual "punk" moments on this record are far and few between. While Lower Class Man and I Can't Think might induce some pretty awesome circle pits, compared to their last album, this is not a punk album. It seems Whole Wheat Bread might be stretching the pop/"punk" title a bit thin, but for now, it works.

Also: there's a song called "New Age Southern Baptist Nigga From Da Hood". "I'm down with Jesus/He is my homeboy/He smoke the reefer/He break the law"


35-31 next!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

New TRIPTYKON material!

Triptykon, the next project for Celtic Frost/Hellhammer mainman Tom Gabriel Fischer has finally debuted 2 full songs from their upcoming release. And it's fantastic.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

2009 Albums: #41

This is it! The moment you've all been waiting for. From the best to the worst and everything in between. I'm starting off with just one album, the worst, so I can have a nice, even number for the rest of the list. Without further aideu...the worst CD I heard this year:

41. Dååth - The Concealers

Century Media/Roadrunner
April 20th
Highlights: Sharpen The Blades, Self-Corruption Manifesto, The Unbinding Truth

To be completely honest, this is the only album I've heard all year that I would out and out call "bad". And I feel a little remorse that it has to be Dååth, a band I was pretty happy to know about a few years ago. Unfortunately, everything that made this band semi-unique and interesting is pretty much down the drain by now. I'll start with the good on this album: Kevin Talley is the drummer! I mean, no, he's not nearly as good here as he was with Dying Fetus or Misery Index and his talent is definitely repressed by the mediocrity of the songwriting, but hey. It's Kevin Talley! What little there is improves what it can. And there's a couple of shining solos on the album as well. Out of left field is the song "The Unbinding Truth" that has a totally wild Neo-Classical solo (seriously) near the end of the song. It's unexpectedly awesome. But what talent is peeked at there is stored away for the rest of the album.

Dååth was a fun band that was equal parts industrial and death metal, and I really did enjoy their album The Hinderers. However, it's almost as if this album is made by a completely different band. Their sound is about as death metal now as Trivium is. In fact, the Trivium metalcore sound is alive and well all over these tracks. Pseudo-breakdowns, uninspired riffing, and the new vocalist would be much more at home with a hardcore band. And forget about anything "industrial" or interesting except for a few seconds on about two tracks where a keyboards breaks through before being cast back into the shadows. And then there's a completely useless, almost "techno" sounding track near the end of the album. Embarassing.

Next post will be 40 - 35!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Megadeth -- Kansas City, MO -- December 5th, 2009

This was not a concert. This was a religious experience.

First band was Arcanium. They were marginally better than "Seasons After" who opened the Cannibal Corpse show a couple weeks ago. Again, they sounded like they'd be right at home on a rock station or nowadays Headbanger's Ball. Not so much clean singing, but still pretty lame. Props for them at least for winning over most of the crowd. 4/10

Tonight was the first date of the Endgame tour that had Warbringer instead of Machine Head. I thought for sure that the crowd would be full of scene kids hating on thrash, but Warbringer completely leveled the place. This is my third time seeing them and easily the best. They were top-notch. All the solos sounded just like they do on the album, and they got the crowd to pit and scream along all throughout their set. As always, Total War is always amazing to hear live, but Combat Shock is fantastic as well. Best straight-up modern thrash band today. 9/10

A small part of me (a very small part of me) thought that since Suicide Silence was so incredibly popular, that maybe they'd have enough crossover appeal to metal fans like me that I'd find something to like in their set. I mean, I like 2 songs (kinda) by Job For A Cowboy! But, alas, they were pathetic. Their stupid ways of getting the kids in the crowd to rebel against God in "Unanswered" was just about the dumbest part of the night until the final song, "No Pity For A Coward". I couldn't believe how amazingly retarded the lyrics are to this masterpiece. Everyone chanted along "Seconds from the end/What's it gonna be?/Pull the trigger bitch" and I couldn't help but laugh at how terrible it was. I assumed maybe some of the band would have some talent, but what little they gave us was soon followed by ten minutes of breakdowns. Killswitch Engage still may be the worst band I've ever seen, but Suicide Silence is a very close second. On a positive note: The song "Smoke" by them has maybe 20 overall seconds of what I consider "good" but that's about it. 2/10

But nothing was gonna bring me down for Megadeth. The place was absolutely packed for Megadeth and there was a push to the front as soon as the lights dimmed. As soon as Dialectic Chaos started, the crowd was whipped into a frenzy that didn't let up until the end of the set. I was eventually pushed from the front of the venue to around the middle because the chaos was too much. But about Megadeth: Dave Mustaine and Chris Broderick are solo machines. They nailed each note of each solo no matter how challenging or how long they were. Insane. And the crowd pretty much drowned out the vocals with their own singing on every song. Dave let the crowd sing the entire first part of "Sweating Bullets" and the end of "A Tout Le Monde" and, of course, "Peace Sells". If you step back and look at this Megadeth set, you might think that it's pretty weak. But I think that Megadeth falls into the same category of Iron Maiden. No matter what their setlist is, hearing any song in a live setting is amazing and unique. I will be telling my grandchildren to tell their grandchildren about how amazing it is to scream along every word of "Peace Sells" live in concert. I was covered in sweat, blood, beer, and everything else imaginable by the end of the concert, but I was euphoric. Nothing even compares.

Highlights: Sweating Bullets, Peace Sells, Wake Up Dead, Tornado Of Souls (THAT SOLO!)



Living In A Whirlwind
Severed Reality
Total War
Prey For Death
Beneath The Waves
Combat Shock


Dialectic Chaos
This Day We Fight!
Wake Up Dead
Skin O' My Teeth
A Tout Le Monde
Tornado Of Souls
In My Darkest Hour
Sweating Bullets
Hangar 18
44 Minutes
Symphony Of Destruction
Peace Sells
Holy Wars

Friday, December 4, 2009

D.R.I. show!

The pioneers of crossover thrash are making a stop in Kansas City on their first US tour in a while (I think). They will be at the Record Bar (no word yet if it's all ages, 18+ or 21+ yet) on January 24th. That's the same day as Nile and Immolation at the Beaumont Club, unfortunately. :(

New shows: Fang + Ad Astra Per Aspera

A couple of cool shows will be happening at the Jackpot in Lawrence in December!

12/12 - Bay Area Legends Fang will be performing with a myriad of other bands.
12/26 - Ad Astra Per Aspera will be performing their only show of 2009 and opening will be none other than Lawrence's biggest musical export Coalesce.