Today is “Dark Horse Day” so that means you best get yourselves over to your local comic book retailer and help them celebrate thirty years of Dark Horse Comics. Yes, we are at the company’s 30th Anniversary and I am so happy to help rally the charge for such a company. Now while I cannot consider myself an actual “avid” reader to their offerings as I don’t collect every single title that they put out, I have been reading select titles since not long after they first hit the stands.
The company was founded by Mike Richardson in Milwauke, Oregon and it was aimed at being an ideal atmosphere for creative individuals according to its historical link. You can learn all of the finer details care of the Wikipedia entry at the close of this toast because you don’t need me to rehash what is already documented. The first ever title was “Dark Horse Presents” which I do not own but the second offering was “Boris The Bear” and I do have that one. The image below was snagged off the web since I could not determine where my actual copy is at the time that I needed it for this posting. As you can see, the story focused on an anthropomorphic bear who went head to head against a group of martial arts skilled turtles in his debut. This was a very well-received and also strange title and at the time the comics medium was turtles crazy and someone had to stop them before it was too late. Why not Boris. I collected this series up until at least issue #6 or so before the retailer that specialized in your more independent publishers closed up shop. Most of the stores stocked your Marvel and DC Comics stuff and eventually Valiant Comics but the smaller press didn’t always get the love it deserved. Thanks to Norman a lot of us Marvel and DC acolytes got their first go round at stuff like Grendel, Miracleman, Judge Dredd, Grimjack and these early Dark Horse Comics offerings.
Before I get into this one, let me first get out the information that this album’s true 30th Anniversary was on Saturday 1/4/2014; However, with the “New Year’s Music Resolution” series just beginning and a full plate to contend with I held off a few days before getting to raise a glass and a hearty pair of horns to Judas Priest’s fantastic “Defenders Of The Faith” which is celebrating being thirty years and four days old today. Happy Anniversary to a seriously heavy album; let me scroll back in time and give you some personal opinion on it.
“Defenders Of The Faith” is Judas Priest’s 9th album and followed their incredible “Screaming For Vengeance” release of 1982. I was already a Priest fan and had been continually listening since “Hell Bent For Leather” and like many fans of the band around this time, I was happy to see them keeping it nice and heavy and on the fast side with the newest release. Yeah “British Steel” and “Point Of Entry” had some moments but I craved the intensity that they were capable of and with “Defenders” they did not disappoint. I recalled going to the neighborhood record store almost immediately after it was put on the shelves and got the group of fellow Priest fans to join me in a listen down in my parent’s basement. From the moment that the needle hit the grooves on that black disc and the first razor riffs of “Freewheel Burning” began we were all sold on the release. Sure it was only the first track but “Jawbreaker” followed it and that was intense and while “Rock Hard Ride Free” was more of a sing along type of track it only helped warm us up for “The Sentinel” (which became one of my very own personal favorites on the album in addition to the opener). The Metallian kept on riding proud and sinister with its power as “Love Bites” blasted through the speakers and of course since we were dealing with an LP we had to pause our enjoyment and turn the album over. Oh yea and should you not really know what “The Metallian” actually is, it’s that monstrous creature that is presented on the albums cover. It was conceptualized by the members of the band and during their worldwide tour would be on the stage with them. I had to say that was pretty damn cool. Doug Johnson designed it for their album cover. Nice work Doug. Continue reading Judas Priests “Defenders Of The Faith” Is 30 Years Old (1984-2014)→
Wowza, wowza. Talk about a milestone and something that is definitely worthy of some congratulations and a heaping dose of kudos. Metal Blade Records is celebrating their 30th year of operation and one of the coolest aspect of this is more than just the tenure, its the fact that it has been a primarily Metal focused label since its inception way back when record store employee Brian Slagel decided to start up the label to support the local regions Heavy Metal bands. The first ever album that was released under the Metal Blade Records brand was a compilation release entitled “The New Heavy Metal Revue presents Metal Massacre”; this album featured Metallica, Ratt, Black and Blue and many others at a time when all of these groups were relative unknowns. I actually thought I had this on LP somewhere but was wrong. I have a different but still ancient compilation. Oh well. Perhaps they will re-release this on CD to celebrate the iconic 30th year. Historically speaking, I think this original album came out in June of 1982, so we are very likely close to the actual launch date of the record company at this point in time. With that being the case there is no better time to jump into the fray with our congratulatory toast. Continue reading Happy 30th Anniversary To Metal Blade Records (1982-2012)→
I think it’s time to use this blog to celebrate some momentous Metal occasions and particularly so when we find an iconic release reaching a big anniversary. With that being said let me start out by wishing Judas Priest a very Happy Anniversary on their album “British Steel” hitting its 30th year of release. Wow. When “British Steel” first came out in April of 1980 I had only been a Judas Priest fan for a few short years. I was already a heavy music fan but I got my Metal education in the bands work thanks to one of my guitar players who had three of their albums and we were listening to them after practice. I was hooked and immediately asked my folks to buy me this new album for my birthday which would be at the end of the month after it hit the record shops. Yes, this writer owned the album on classic vinyl LP at one time.
From the moment that I first played this album I would blast it nice and loud much to the families and neighbors chagrin and as I was just beginning to start out with my interest in drumming I found tunes like “Breaking The Law”, “Living After Midnight”, “Metal Gods” and “Rapid Fire” to be fun ones to work ones chops out to and aim for harder and harder material. Not long after its release many of these tunes became staples of Rock focused radio stations. I realize that the term might elude many of you younger readers but yes at one time Radio ruled the roost and there were Heavy Rock stations that afforded material like this some attention. To me as a Metal fan this is still a completely relevant album that I love listening to from beginning to end. What does it mean to you as a person who claims that this type of sound is of utmost importance to them? Feel free to let us know in the comments but do stick to topic of course.
To celebrate this momentous occasion, a special edition version of the album will be released sometime next month. I’ve read that it will feature a live DVD performance of the album from the recent tour that they did as well. That is pretty cool for them to do. Back in 2006 I started reviewing some of the Judas Priest remasters that had come out in 2001. You can check out that article by clicking HERE.