Wow. Even though this new column idea of mine has been offering up some of my shock about certain events in the Metal Republic, this is one event that I didn’t expect at all. Despite that feeling, the news is true – K.K. Downing has retired from the ranks of Judas Priest. At the time of this announcement two days ago, Downing had been a member of the band for over forty years. As one of its founders he knew bassist Ian Hill and original drummer John Ellis since they were boys. The band Judas Priest was formed in 1970 to best of my knowledge and Downing has been in the role of guitarist in the lineup since that day.
While the news shocked me, I guess I do kind of understand it because they had been going almost non stop since their inception. Yes there were some shifts in the vocal duties and these caused some slowdowns in their touring agenda but the band was always on the active side and never broke up in the official sense of the word. The original news was that Priest was going to be doing one final major go round of the world and call it their “Epitaph” tour. After this had hit all the proper spots on the globe the band was going to call it a day. It was acceptable news to some as the band had really offered up a lot of good for the Metal realm and no one could argue with their wanting to rest and relax instead of always running around in buses and planes at their age. Shortly after that it came to pass in the news that the band would do some more recordings and smaller tours but that K.K. Downing would not be taking part in them and in his place would be guitarist Richie Faulkner. On April 20th, 2011 he officially announced his retirement from the band.
The amusing thing is that while this has happened I somehow get the feeling that we have not seen the last of K.K. Downing on the stages with Judas Priest. Remember when Ozzy retired? That was more than a decade ago and he has been going strong since his “return”. This is all that some of these guys know, so maybe this is more like a leave of absence. Only time will tell. Since this news followed similar information about Dream Theater’s Mike Portnoy, I was actually wondering who was going to surprise us next.
Has it been six years already? Man, time sure does fly when you think about it.
The funny thing about anniversaries when it comes to PiercingMetal.com is that the date is not 100% correct based on the fact that we were building and loading content into what appeared to be a stable and functional design for two months before we launched and announced our presence to the Metal Republic. Back in early 2005 it was a little easier to be online and remain “hidden” so to speak. Some might say that this is cheating, but in truth it is not because how much fun is the announcement of a “Coming Soon” banner or learning of a potentially cool new website with only two or three articles loaded into it? In my humble opinion that is not much fun at all so we coded, tested and waited until almost all of my past writing work was ready to go in the new format which we launched six years ago today on 4/4/2005.
I was on the fence about even adding this one to the mix of Social Network examinations that I have been doing but decided to do it anyway when I discovered that I still had a long (but unused) account on the network and figured what the hell. This is “Hot Or Not”…….
So what the hell is “Hot Or Not” anyway. Well, it’s not so much a Social Networking medium like we find Twitter and Facebook and a few others being, but was more of a ranking site. It was loaded with peoples photos and the visitors to the site could rate the person as being hot or not. Very simple right? It was launched sometime in 2000 and I admit this to you with a slightly reddened cheek that even I have a photo up there somewhere. Thinking back on it, I am pretty sure that I first did this to join into the fun because when this was launched there were not a whole lot of sites of this kind to manuever about on. One surely didn’t have Facebook or even MySpace to consume their daily free time that is for sure. To me it was strange fun and while you also seemed to have the option of “Do You Want To Meet This Person”, I never found myself making any new real time or web space friends but this didn’t upset me all that much. A few years ago, I edited my profile to reflect that I was running the PiercingMetal site and was all about the Metal scene and left it be. My hope was that if I was seen as people browsed the user photos and clicked upon, that the worst case scenario would be a free commercial for the brand name. To me it was better than deleting the page and not having it potentially send me a new reader.
The site itself has gone through some considerable changes since I first signed up and also it appears to have new owners and you can learn even more by clicking their Wiki entry below. OK that is all I really have to say about this one so stay tuned for more of these Social Networking opinion posts. I am sure there will be many more as time marches on.
Even though this has been an item of discussion for some time now to my knowledge, I had to admit that I was a little behind in terms of what it would actually be and who would come out with it first. Let me explain a little bit more about what this is. Envision your music library being stored online and accessible anywhere that you can make a web connection via PC/Mac or mobile device. Pretty cool right? I think so as this moves the music industry in the next possible direction and frees us as fans of music by giving us yet another way to enjoy our favorite bands. The biggest surprise of them all is that it was neither Google or Itunes who came out with this first but instead Amazon.com. The name of this new music player is very simply “The Cloud”.
To begin using the Cloud Player you will need an Amazon.com account and I think most people actually have one by now since the company has been around for so long. Many people are signed into it for book and music purchases and to get recommendations based on their interests not to mention their own Kindle device manner of reading. I’ve been using Amazon.com for as long as I can remember in my online life, and we even made PiercingMetal.com one of their affiliates (but this post is not about that).
Once you have signed in with your account to the main screen you will learn that you have been given 5gb of free space to use as you see fit. That is pretty good and actually a little larger than the amount of space one will find on the most recent iteration of the Ipod Shuffle. You can purchase extra space to use for yourself and I tooled around the medium to see what those costs were like. Check out the next image.
As you can see it can get a little pricy depending on the amount of music you have to upload but I am sure that as this kind of thing becomes the standard that we shall see discounts or premium pricing being offered their participants. You are probably wondering if I tried this yet, and the answer is yes. Recently I had downloaded about six free Metal samplers from the Metalhit.com Folks and was planning on offering up reviews of them on PiercingMetal.com so the readers could fully enjoy this free music and I figured this would be the best stuff to start my Cloud experience with.
To get to this point I had to first download their “Amazon.com Uploader” tool but before using that you also need the Adobe Air applet. That is good to have anyway and will not interfere with other things on your computer. If you use Adobe Reader already you probably have this anyway. Once these items are ready, the Cloud uploader will either search for music on your computer automatically, or let you stop and select the folders that you want. I chose this option because I was only interested in uploading the six samplers from Metalhit along with a select couple of others from Relapse Records, Metalsucks.net and Nuclear Blast.com
The upload time was going to take a little while, and showed about five hours for the nine albums that I would be utilizing for the experiment, but that is probably much faster on a FIOS or T-3 connection. If you are using dial-up for some reason still, I am crying on the inside for you. As you can see via the browser this is VERY EASY to navigate and almost fun in its simplicity. It looks like you can delete the tracks that you added very easily so be careful of that.
Since the service was citing how easy it was to use on one’s Droid phone I quickly turned to my own and did my own test. You need to have the Amazon.com MP3 player from the Droid Market installed and once you open that it asks you to choose either the Amazon.com Store or Player which is of course The Cloud. Selecting “Player” got me a warning about how they recommend using this on 3g, 4g or WiFi connections to avoid incurring additional data charges. These days most data plans on phones are unlimited but I selected WiFi since there are enough hot spots around for me to utilize. Sorry that I do not have a photo of that for you. The sound was very clear and the navigation of these menus as simple/functional as the ones found on the website.
Our friends and supporters over at WeRoqq PR did a little bit more of a comprehensive business analysis of the medium since that is the quest that they are on. You can check out Shukmei Wong’s own stress test for the Amazon.com Cloud Player and some of its Pros and Cons by clicking HERE.
In the end I thought it was pretty cool and if I never move past the allotted free amount of 5GB it is still an interesting and different way to enjoy the Metal that I am listening to and eventually reviewing.
and they’ve immediately moved over to……..no one else!!!! Now that kind of news surprises me and hence has been included in this line of observations. I am kind of shocked because its not often that a band like H.I.M. makes such a drastic parting and doesn’t immediately roll over to another label of note based on their own status in the music world. I had been following them since around 2002-2003 and my own first foray into their sound came with “Razorblade Romance”.
I wasn’t even doing my music journalist stuff as a serious passion at this time but it would be soon after and I swore that this would be the kind of groups I would pay a lot of attention to. Solid and accessible despite no one in my circle of friends even knowing what they were all about at the time of my original recommending. Since becoming a writer in later part of 2003 I have watched the fan base for Ville Vallo and the rest of the guys in H.I.M. grow to a sizable force and to find them without a record label of note in 2011 was a pretty strange thing for me to see being the case.
While I know a few labels pretty well after reviewing their wares and repertoire over the years I had to say that I didn’t feel as though some favorites like Nuclear Blast Records or Napalm Records were the best place for a band like H.I.M. – I also didn’t think Roadrunner Records or Metal Blade Records were suitable either based on the differences that they currently offer. Of course on one hand maybe RR would work since they have their Finnish countrymen Nightwish for a few years and have done right by them. Personally I think I would like to see H.I.M. land on Universal Music in some fashion. That might be the best home for their kind of Melodic Gothic Love Metal. Stay tuned to see what happens and let’s cross our fingers for everyone in H.I.M. – They are one of the most enjoyable providers I have seen over the years and I don’t want them to become a faded memory.