Saturday, September 6, 2008

METALLICA - DEATH MAGNETIC - The "Disposable heroes" show us how to kill em' all...again!!!

After the embarrassment that was "St. Anger" and the big screen look at the band tripping over themselves, strangely titled "Some King Of Monster", i watched the one time metal heros fall apart. I really could not understand how a band of this magnitude could or would release an album that had so many flaws. Even records like Load and Reload, although changing drastically in sound, had great production, and great performances by all. Losing Jason Newsted no doubt had its effect, sure, and then of course we have James Hetfield's long bout with rehab, that seemed in the movie anyway, to take his balls away. Understandably, he needed to get the help and we are all glad he is clean and sober (Well I am) and honestly, no band, not even Metallica is worth doing, if 
1. You have to be a junkie.
2. You get clean, and then you lose your ability to kick ass, musically.

So, St. Anger comes out, I guess it does somewhat well, but nobody wants to say the obvious...Metallica sounds tired, uninspired, and desperate to fit in with bands like Korn and the rest of the Nu-metal piss ants of current hard rock radio.

Now, after a few long years, the band announced a new album. The rumor is that Rick Rubin is producing it, and that the band pulled a ton of riffs out for this. Rumor also had stated that the band was going back to classic Metallica sound. Yeah right, im not falling for it again!!!

Then, I heard the new album in its entirety. Yeah thats right Metallica, I "downloaded it"

And I could not believe what i heard!!!!


Here, in 2008, nearly 30 years after their emergence, Metallica delivers one of the BEST records of their entire career!!! Not only are the rumors true, but the album gave way to so much more than I had originally suspected. Gone are the annoying whinings of "St. Anger", gone is the annoying snare drum. Gone is the nu-metal "need to be current" on this record Metallica goes back to what they do paced, heavy as hell, old school speed metal/rock. Songs clock in at the 7 or 8 minute range. There is tons of progressive moments, ala the first 4 albums. There is even a third "Unforgiven"!! Rick Rubin clearly put some sort of ass whooping on this project for sure, I am so glad that this band will bounce back, and yes they will most certainly with this record. Like U2, no other band has had this long of a career, went #1, fell back down to earth, got old, and still managed to climb back up. This record is going to do great things for Metallica, no doubt!!! The production and the performances on this record bring to mind the band "Mastodon". Sonically, the guitar and bass have a classic sludgy tone to them, but the playing is fast and thrashy. It is funny how when a band of this caliber just sticks to what they do best, and with the right production, they can sound, not only modern, but urgent, even with the indie rock stuff that rules airwaves. Farewell Bob Rock!!!!There are plenty of Kill em' all style moments. Once and a while it sounds a bit like Black album. Musically, this album fits snug in between ...And Justice For All, and Black album. Maybe even the record to follow Black. I don't know, and i don't care, it just kicks so much ass.
One thing i HAVE to mention, is the turn around performance of James Hetfield. Vocally, his voice has not sounded this good since Black album. His melodies on this record are soaring. He has got that gruff of his youth back too, and the great thing is it sounds naturally, almost like he tried not to sing good in the past 10 years of albums. Weird, but I am proud to say, James is the highlight of this record, where I felt he was the flaw of the last record!!!!!
Hands down BEST Metallica record since 1991, and I am so not exaggerating here.

Metallica (2008) 
Lars, who still hasn't learned how not to look like a douche!!

Track list:
1. That Was Just Your Life
2. The End Of The Line
3. Broken, Beat & Scarred
4. The Day That Never Comes
5. All Nightmare Long
6. Cyanide
7. The Unforgiven III
8. The Judas Kiss
9. Suicide & Redemption
10. My Apocalypse

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Introducing, Christian Guitar Hero!!!

Everyone, and their mother is expecting me to crap all over this game. I mean almost everything about this is cheesy at first glance, from the name "Guitar Praise", as if Christians couldn't afford to sound less stuck in their own Christian marketing, and what about the fact that, to me, 75% of the songs on the game suck? Yes, i get it. We can laugh at how Christians always have to have "the counter act" to pop culture. That said though, I am finding it hard to get angry over this. Truth is, in a perfect world anybody who grows up listening to Christian music, would like some of their faves, mixed in with the mainstream radio picks of "Guitar Hero" and we know, that company sure as hell is not going to acknowledge bands like, The Crucified, Petra, and Whitecross. But "Guitar Praise" did just that, and, wow...who would have thought that there would be a day I would be playing a modern video game, in the vein of "GH" to some of the old songs, that even Christians do not even acknowledge. Im talking the 70s and 80s here!!! That alone, made me excited about this. I honestly was shocked!!!

The pros, and cons go like this...

-There are, although a small number, selections from classic 70s and 80s Christian rock. The addition of "The Pit" by the hardcore pioneers "The Crucified" was a welcome addition. Wow!! Big THANKS for that choice!!!!

-Somebody thought about the Christian kids at home, who don't identify with "GH" songs, and gave them something to do, and for those Christians who were born in 1990, the songs on this game, for the most part, will suffice.

-The game has FAR TOO LITTLE classics. My only hope is that they create in the soon future, a specific "classic Christian rock" version, so us 30+ guys  and gals can enjoy ourselves too.It just seems like they tried to keep it to modern Christian rock, and putting in the 4 or 5 classics kind of makes them stick out more, which would not happen if it was an equal pull from the setlist.

- In typical Christian market fashion, everything is strictly sold separately. This means, you can't play this game on a Wii, or PS3, even though so many people have them,  this game only works on certain computers. Surprisingly they made it work for apple users, wow!

So, it is a good start, I just hope they realize that, "GH" has mostly old songs on it, and that would make this more interesting. Perhaps its just the beginning but it would not hurt to use this product to boast some of the old classics that we had. We can't forget Larry Norman, Stryper, Daniel Amos, The 77s, Steve Taylor, etc, etc. Bands like Barren Cross, Tourniquet, Scaterd Few, and Deliverance, who saw a lot of mainstream success in their day should not be forgotten. Starting with the upcoming documentary on Christian rock entitled "Bleed Into One", I hope that more praise for the classics are sung!!

The snobs of the main stream will no doubt laugh at this little invention, and to some degree, im laughing too, but only on the outside!!!