Results for heavy metal
Heavy Metal, Post-Metal, Grindcore, Post-Grindcore…you name it, Pelican has been called it. But, however you categorize this hard rocking instrumental group, they bring an awesome noise—especially live. Trevor de Brauw, Bryan Herweg, Larry Herweg and Dallas Thomas talk about their desired intensity and play songs from their 2013 album Forever Becoming, the band's first release since the departure of founder Laurent Schroeder-Lebec.Go to episode 436
Rodrigo y Gabriela
The Mexican duo Rodrigo y Gabriela joined us for a special performance at the Goose Island Barrelhouse in Chicago. The duo moved from Mexico City to Dublin and famously busked on the streets. It's now a worldwide phenomenon, combining the sounds of flamenco music, heavy metal and folk rock. Gabriela acts as the bands drummer, using the body of her guitar as a percussive instrument, and Rodrigo plays the guitar as if he were headbanging. In fact, Greg wonders about his collaboration with Testament guitarist Alex Skolnik. The band's last album, Area 42, took them to Cuba, where they collaborated with local musicians.Go to episode 424
The Dawn of Metal
At this point in the show Jim and Greg take a trip back to The Dawn of Metal. Heavy Metal isn't always taken seriously, but it warrants critical, even scholarly analysis. Before there was Metallica or Guns N' Roses, there was a group of rockers that birthed the genre. Jim and Greg trace the history, primarily back to England in the late '60s. Here are the bands the credit with giving us the metal we know and love today.
- Blue Cheer
- Led Zeppelin
- Black Sabbath
- Deep Purple
- Uriah Heep
- Judas Priest
Fans of this early metal period will be happy to know that many of these bands are still rocking out live.Go to episode 422
Black Sabbath Never Say Die
For the first time since 1978's Never Say Die, three of the four OG's of metal are back in the studio. Black Sabbath's Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi, and Bill Ward practically invented heavy metal in the seventies, Jim says, and on the group's 19th studio album 13, Ozzy, Geezer, and Tony are re-united (Bill's on the outs for business reasons). Do the boys still rock all these years later? Greg's answer is a tentative“yes.”Iommi still brings those ten-ton riffs, and the onset of old age means that for once, Ozzy has something substantive to sing about (death). Most important, Black Sabbath doesn‘t embarrass itself, and for Greg that’s worth a Burn It rating. Jim is not as kind. He faults producer Rick Rubin's over-compression for drowning out Geezer's bass, and whatever the subject matter, Jim insists Ozzy just sounds awful. He suggests Greg take off his rose-colored glasses and see 13 for what it is: a Trash It record.
The Deftones Saturday Night Wrist
Next Jim and Greg review The Deftones' fifth release, Saturday Night Wrist. This Sacramento band came out of the nü metal explosion of the mid '90s. That's“nü”with the umlaut, Jim likes to point out. He feels the rap-rock genre that combines heavy metal with a DJ is played out, much like the gangsta rap genre mentioned earlier. But, he explains, The Deftones moved away from nü metal into a more inventive sound with their 2000 release White Pony. Jim witnessed their evolution first hand when he interviewed the band years ago for a Guitar World magazine interview. Now the band has hired producer Bob Ezrin, the man behind Alice Cooper's albums and Lou Reed's Berlin. Greg considers this“an interesting record in terms of tone and texture,”a“plush-sounding record”that would sound great through headphones, and he applauds the band for making such progress. Yet Greg feels the songwriting lacks substance, so he can only rate the album a Burn It. Jim disagrees and gives it a Buy It. He feels the album is for anyone interested in "hard rock that is trying to push the envelope and redefine itself."
Queens of the Stone Age Era Vulgaris
Era Vulgaris is the fifth album from rockers Queens of the Stone Age. Ever since Josh Homme left the stoner rock group Kyuss in 1995, he's been celebrating and satirizing heavy metal as the lead singer of this band. He's often joined by a revolving door of musical guests, which this time around includes Trent Reznor and Julian Casablancas. Jim thinks that Homme and the band have done a great job of bringing brains, melody and psychedelia back to heavy metal. But, he hasn't loved the last two records. He worries that Homme is beginning to phone it in and only gives Era Vulgaris a Burn It. Greg has always been struck by how sensual Queens' music sounds. They embrace using sexy rhythms when most heavy metal acts abandon them, creating a completely unique sound. He calls Era Vulgaris a terrific record and recommends listeners Buy It.
System of a Down Hypnotize
These guys are nuts. System of a Down, one of the best art rock and heavy metal bands in existence, has released two albums in a year. Hypnotize and Mezmerize together make one great album. The albums do have some filler, but not enough to prevent Greg and Jim to both give the double-album a Buy It.
Mastodon Crack the Skye
And just when you thought we couldn't rock any harder, Jim and Greg get to their review of heavy metal band Mastodon's latest release Crack the Skye. The quartet also faces bigger exposure with this album, and the question in fans' minds is if they can do it without selling out. Jim and Greg's response: definitely. For Jim, Crack the Skye is dark and disorienting, as metal should be. But, producer Brendan O'Brien helped keep the music melodic and on course. Greg believes the songs‘ emotions will help draw more people in, but without sacrificing Mastodon’s hardcore metal roots. Crack the Skye gets two Buy Its.
High on Fire Snakes for the Divine
Heavy metal group High on Fire also has a new album out called Snakes for the Divine. The band's guitarist, Matt Pike, began as a member of the legendary stoner rock group Sleep. As Greg explains, you can hear their influence on Pike's playing today, which sounds like three guitars rolled into one. And, he‘d rank Snakes for the Divine as one of High on Fire’s best. Jim admits there's some silliness with regards to the lyrics, but also calls Pike one of the most inventive guitarists in the last two decades. It's a pummeling record that gets a double Buy It.
While Jim was home sick last week he gave some thought to great songs about fevers. He came up with "Burning For You," by Blue Öyster Cult and decided to add it to the Desert Island Jukebox this week. Jim describes Blue Öyster Cult as the thinking man's heavy metal band of the '70s. In fact, the lyrics to this song were written by rock critic Richard Meltzer. There are a number of interpretations, but for Jim it was the perfect antidote to his ills.Go to episode 118
Fleetwood Mac has reunited for another tour, inspiring Greg's Desert Island Jukebox pick this week. While most people think of Lindsay Buckingham or Stevie Nicks, Greg's favorite incarnation of Fleetwood Mac was the earliest, with British blues guitarist Peter Green. An idol to peers like Eric Clapton, Green heavily influenced heavy metal musicians. But, he was also hit hard by LSD use. According to Greg, you can hear Green's descent into madness, as well as his guitar skills, in this week's DIJ song, Fleetwood Mac's "Green Manalishi."Go to episode 169
The Dawn of Metal
At this point in the show Jim and Greg take a trip back to The Dawn of Metal. Heavy Metal isn't always taken seriously, but it warrants critical, even scholarly analysis. Before there was Metallica or Guns N' Roses, there was a group of rockers that birthed the genre. Jim and Greg trace the history primarily back to England in the late '60s. Here are the bands they credit with giving us the metal we know and love today.
- Blue Cheer
- Led Zeppelin
- Black Sabbath
- Deep Purple
- Uriah Heep
- Judas Priest
Fans of this early metal period will be happy to know that many of these bands are still rocking out live.Go to episode 144
Wherever there's youth culture and protest, there's rock and roll. So it's not surprising that heavy metal is at the top of many playlists in Bahrain right now. According to Evolver.fm, the mood of that country is“triumphant”and“warlike”if the music's any indication. Lastmood.fm uses Last.fm's audioscrobbler to monitor people's listening habits and gauge the vibe in almost real time. The most popular song in one hour was "The Ivory Gate of Dreams" by Fates Warning. But, activists and musicians from the region are also popular. A Bahraini activist, Esra'a Al Shafei, started mideastunes.com which highlights everything from Jordanian punk to Palestinian trance.
Fast Company has named its top ten most innovative companies in music, and a the top of the list is Pandora. It's remarkable, considering that Pandora was nearly put out of business by royalty debates a couple of years ago. Now it's valued at $55.2 million and has gone public. The streaming site has also inked a deal with GM. Last year's #1 Spotify didn‘t even make the cut, but it’s been reportedly valued at $1 billion — despite the fact that the digital music service has yet to launch stateside.Go to episode 274
Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton recently released an official Spotify playlist for her 2016 campaign, featuring the likes of Katy Perry and Ariana Grande. Jim doubts that Clinton made the playlist herself, suggesting that the featured artists are more in tune with the tastes of a young campaign staffer. But President Obama's playlist is more authentic, featuring tracks by The Tempations, The Isley Brothers, and even one of Jim's favorite bands, Low Cut Connie. But this isn‘t to say that Obama’s playlist is flawless – Jim is sorely disappointed by the Coldplay pick.
Speaking of presidential candidates, New Jersey governor Chris Christie recently issued a statement proclaiming his adoration for Bruce Springsteen. The politician writes that the Boss“gave voice to the suburban kids like me who were filled with dreams and doubts. He was one of us.”Christie goes so far as to say "Born to Run is my Desert Island disc." Greg is surprised by the pick, given Christie's preference for Bon Jovi, another New Jersey native. Jim thinks that his home state has quite a lot to be embarrassed about these days.
From time to time Jim and Greg like to sit down and take a look at the Billboard Chart to discuss the country's most popular albums. Country rocker Luke Bryan is at #1 with his new album Kill the Lights, but Jim doesn‘t see what’s so great about this seemingly generic country music. Familiar artists Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift continue to dominate, with the #2 and #7 records, respectively. Greg is happy to see former The Voice contestant Melanie Martinez on the charts, a former member of Jim's favorite artist Adam Levine's team. And let's not forget about the #8 artist, Bullet for my Valentine, a Welsh heavy metal band that Jim and Greg just can't get enough of. But perhaps the most interesting chart topper this week is Elvis Presley, whose retrospective album Elvis Forever is selling big in your local Post Office.Go to episode 509
Since the mass shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina earlier this summer, debate over the use of the Confederate flag in American popular culture has become even more heated. The flag has been featured in rock lyrics and performances for decades, most notably by the Texas heavy metal band Pantera in the '90s and also in performances by Tom Petty, Blake Shelton, and Zach Wild. Musicians such as Kid Rock and Patterson Hood of the Drive By Truckers have joined the debate surrounding the flag, with Rock dismissing the issue and Hood criticizing the flag's continued presence in modern music and culture.
Apple Music, the new music streaming service from Apple, launched on June 30th, making it yet another competitor in the global streaming market. In order to attract new users, Apple has offered a three month free trial to any iOS user interested in testing out the service for no cost before committing $10 a month for a subscription. While early reviews of the service have been mixed, two general complaints about Apple's latest innovation have emerged, including criticisms of its somewhat jumbled presentation and its lack of the social networking features that have made Spotify such an attractive streaming option. Jim thinks we'll have to wait and see how many trial users decide to commit to the paid subscription to really get a sense of how Apple Music stacks up against its many fierce competitors.Go to episode 503
This year's crop of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees were celebrated last week at a ceremony in Cleveland. 2009's class includes Metallica, Run DMC, Jeff Beck, Bobby Womack and Little Anthony and the Imperials. While Metallica is getting its props, heavy metal is consistently unrepresented. Greg would vote to nominate Slayer. Jim agrees and adds that progressive rock music is also due for some representation. Love ‘em or hate ’em, Genesis, Yes and Jethro Tull are certainly as influential, if not more, than Little Anthony.
On the same day that U2 released a second set of tickets for their highly sought-after fall tour, New York Senator Chuck Schumer unveiled new legislation to crack down on the secondary ticket market, or scalping. Schumer is riding the wave of popularity he got after criticizing Ticketmaster for sales of Bruce Springsteen tickets, but Jim and Greg don't blame him. Jim calls scalping“a plague”on the music industry, and both critics urge reform.
They may have stopped making music decades ago, but The Beatles' output is still going strong. This fall Apple Corps and EMI will release the band's entire catalog remastered digitally on CD. This is long overdue; their music hasn't been upgraded since songs were first put on CD twenty years ago. But, while fans might be excited for a new model, Jim and Greg see this as a very transparent attempt to keep dipping into the same profit pool year after year.Go to episode 176
With his mutton chops, leather biker gear, and one word moniker, Lemmy was a larger-than-life rock icon. The lead singer, bassist, and founder of English heavy metal innovators Motörhead died on December 28 at the age of 70. Born Ian Kilmister, Lemmy started out as a roadie for Jimi Hendrix before making important contributions to the seminal space rock band Hawkwind. After getting kicked out of that band in 1975, he formed Motörhead. Initially they didn't fit in with the metal and progressive rock acts of the time, but became a template for thrash metal in the 1980s. Greg always appreciated the sly sense of humor behind Lemmy's music. Jim notes that he was also a serious scholar of military history. In tribute to Lemmy's passing, he plays the 1979 Motörhead cut "Bomber" about the Heinkel He 111 aircraft.Go to episode 528
This week Apple CEO Steve Jobs called on the music industry to start selling songs without copy protection software, or DRM. Right now, music purchased digitally may not be compatible with all music players. And, in an open letter, Jobs explained that this kind of protection is not only a challenge for the consumer, but doesn‘t actually thwart piracy. Jim and Greg never expected to hear this kind of statement being made by a major corporate head, but they wonder what his motivation is. It’s unlikely that the labels will actually follow Jobs‘ advice; more likely they’ll all agree to use the iTunes format.
Target entered the music business this week. In an attempt to cash in on a vital demographic, the retail corporation has started a music label geared at“adult”consumers. While much of the music industry is going digital, there are still older music fans who want to buy CDs. With a roster that includes artists like David Cassidy, Kenny Loggins, and Kris Kristofferson, Jim recommends Target set up kiosks in local nursing homes.
Another slick business move is being made by the "Prince of Darkness." Ozzy Osbourne and wife/impresario Sharon Osbourne announced that tickets for this summer's Ozzfest will be given away for free. Instead of relying on ticket sales, they plan on making up costs through the sale of concessions and on-site advertising. Ozzy will headline the tour, which is in its 12th year of bringing hard rock and heavy metal across the nation, but it doesn't appear that any other big names are on the lineup. Jim and Greg suspect that the Osbournes plan to book smaller acts that warrant a ticket price of $0. But they are all in favor of such a creative business move, especially in an industry that desperately needs a new paradigm.Go to episode 63