“Humanure” by Cattle Decapitation

Artist: Cattle Decapitation
Title: “Humanure”
Label: Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 7/13/2004
Genre: Grind Core
Rating: 5/10

Looking past the title of the album and the name of the band is not easy to do when it comes to the guys in Cattle Decapitation. The music is also not for the faint of heart and is a non-stop assault on the listeners senses. However, you have to expect this sort of extremism when you choose to listen to a Grind Core artist that borderlines on the Gore Core aspect as well. The crazier and more in your face they are, the more apt to be remembered they will be. The CD at first listen is as brutal as its name denotes and should you not be an expert in this form of music you will find it largely repetitive. As I listened I felt one track blended into the other with little difference and tempo change and it was only noticed when I paused to see where the heck I actually was. It was then that I came to the realization that a number of songs had gone by and I was approaching the close of the album. However, when I witnessed them live I was taken aback by their drive and delivery as lead singer Travis Ryan screams and growls his way through a very energetic set. The bands song titles and lyrical content are abrasive as hell and this band are not for the weak stomached. Meat lovers are not encouraged to read too deeply into the subject matter, but if you do take this as your warning. There is a level of politics and animal rights addressed in these songs which shows that the band is a little different from others who play similar styled stuff.
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“Metal’s Dark Side: Hard And The Furious V.1” by Jasmin St. Claire

Artist: Jasmine St. Claire
Title: “Metal’s Dark Side: Hard And The Furious V.1”
Label: Music Video Distributors
Release Date: 4/25/2006
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 6/10

Sexy hostess and former adult actress Jasmine St. Claire apparently loves Heavy Metal music and by the look of this DVD it seems the harder the better. The DVD series she has launched entitled “Metal’s Dark Side” is her aim at focusing on the darkest and heaviest stuff she can manage to bring you. While it was an interesting premise I wondered what the overall appeal would be on a larger scale. Jasmine being drop-dead gorgeous will appeal to the testosterone levels of most fans of this music but being an actress and then becoming a host of a program (even one of your own design) takes a little more skill than is demonstrated here. On the DVD Jasmine interviews several notable Death and Black Metal personalities along with traditional icons but the interviews seem very ad-hoc and don’t give the viewer much in the way of interesting band commentary. Everyone seems to be whooping it up but there is nothing in-depth that will have you saying “AH HA, that’s what they meant”, and this factor makes the piece a watch once sort of thing. Without being totally negative on it, I felt this would make for an interesting cable television show to give extra pump to the music we all love and fight to keep vital, however just making this a DVD to sell will limit the chance for the wider populace to see it. Jasmine does include some of these bands videos, but with so many groups releasing compilation pieces and with other networks showcasing this type of thing again I was not that taken by their inclusion. There are interview segments and joking with all the groups listed and I think that the interview with Damageplan is probably the best segment on the whole video. It ends with a brief tribute to Dimebag Darrell, a man who Metal misses very much and will never forget.
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“Live At Modern Drummer Festival 2005” w/Chris Adler (Lamb of God) & Jason Bittner (Shadows Fall)

Artist: Chris Adler (Lamb of God) & Jason Bittner (Shadows Fall)
Title: “Modern Drummer Festival 2005”
Label: Music Video Distributors
Release Date: 3/20/2006
Style: Heavy Metal
Rating: 7/10

Filmed at the 2005 Modern Drummer Festival this DVD is a Heavy Metal drummers dream. How else could you describe a video that gives you knock down performance footage from the drummers of both Lamb Of God and Shadow’s Fall. Clearly the two bands are delivering among the best Metal heard in recent years and it would sound a lot different if these two gents were not in the respective drum chairs. Being a former drummer myself I enjoyed this a lot because there was also a lot of dialogue from both players and not just straight performance pieces. Chris starts out the film and tells a lot of his origins and from this the most interesting point is the fact that he has only been drumming since age 21. Hearing the music of Lamb Of God and knowing what Adler does for the band should serve as some inspiration to those who might feel it is too late to begin playing the instrument. Chris performs three LoG songs with the assistance of his Brother (fellow band member Willie) on guitar but he does not do a solo of his own citing that he is more about the songs with the band than that display. Chris also manages to treat the viewer to some rough tracks he is working on with Ron Jarzombek (Brother to killer drummer Bobby). During the talks Adler is very personable and affable, making a sharp contrast to the type of Metal that Lamb Of God plays. I enjoyed his segment very much and feel most viewers will take away the same view.
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“Sound Of The Beast: The Complete Headbanging History Of Heavy Metal” by Ian Christe

Title: “Sound Of The Beast: The Complete Headbanging History Of Heavy Metal”
Author: Ian Christe
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: 2/17/2004
Rating: 8/10

When you take a visit to the local Barnes and Noble or Borders bookstore nowadays you will see quite a few musical biographies on the shelves. As a fan of the Heavy genres it is quite pleasurable to see that a number of these books focus on the lives and exploits of some of music’s most colorful characters (often in very vivid and frank detail). I have enjoyed and recommended several of these so far with Motley Crue’s “The Dirt”, Lemmy’s “White Line Fever”, and the number of releases by KISS’ Gene Simmons; all of them capable of bringing you deeper into their lives of celebrity. You were able to enjoy their war stories, road tales and excitement, and often heartbreak as well. Different from the various biographies mentioned this book takes us on a very historic journey back in time to the beginnings of Heavy Metal music. Taking key moments from heavy music history beginning around the time of Black Sabbath and Deep Purple; author Ian Christie gives us a highly detailed look inside the way it all began with “Sound Of The Beast: The Complete Headbanging History Of Heavy Metal”. I approached the read of this book with a large amount of enjoyment for having finished a couple of biography pieces I was interested in finding out how a Music History book would be presented. Christie does start out from the beginning and of course references the one and only Black Sabbath, however there might be those that feel this area is not covered as much as it could be. The author does make sure to cover many of the vast and varied aspects of the Heavy Metal genre and all the sub-divisions that had sprouted from the doomy-blues laden beginnings of Sabbath. Coverage is given to the bigwigs of the seventies KISS and Judas Priest among others as well as some insight to the NWOBHM and bands that fell under this acronym. A full chapter is devoted to the Black and Death metal bands and to be honest some of that stuff will creep the reader out when they find just how serious they take their various causes. The tail-end of the book leans a lot towards Metallica and one might find fault in that it seems to close out with their being the “be-all, end-all” Metal band.
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“Drugs, God and The New Republic” (remaster) by Warrior Soul

Artist: Warrior Soul
Title: “Drugs, God and The New Republic”
Label: Escapi Music
Release Date: 3/14/2006
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 7.5/10

Join me once again on the soapbox for a deep look inside the politically charged mind of singer Kory Clarke. The second album by Warrior Soul was different from their debut in the fact that it was a little more up beat and not as dark as its predecessor. Don’t get me wrong about the first record because “Last Decade Dead Century” is one of my favorites of all time. Yet there are moments of such bleak and despair laden vibe that it takes some strength to understand their meaning. It’s an in your face style with little apology for its honesty. Similar action is par for the course on the follow up with tracks like “Jump For Joy” and “Drugs, God, And The New Republic”. These are full of volatile rhetoric but on top of the lyrical content the music was quite accessible and seemed to work well with the new and building “Seattle sound” that was coming around the airwaves. Overall the whole second album had a bit more commercial appeal and some of my favorite tracks from it include “Children Of The Winter” and “Hero”; and why these tunes were never snared by Rock radio of the time still amazes me. Along with Ricco, Evans and McClanahan, Clarke had a stupendous Hard Rock group that chose to be different and not formulaic. The remasters of the Warrior Soul catalog bear some looking into because of their deep content and insightful rages against the system at a time when not too many bands were daring to take that route. Perhaps this is the reason for their eventual decline as far as the musical public eye was concerned. Clarke was a visionary front man but I fear too many people didn’t get the point or knew what led to his views and proclamations. You either got it or you didn’t and in the case of Warrior Soul not enough did.
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Where Heavy Music & Pop Culture Collide

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