Tag Archives: metal edge magazine

Metal Edge Magazine’s “Heavy Metal Mecca’s”: Rock Fantasy – Heavy Metal Specialty Shop

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One of the other cool things that I was able to take part in as a freelance writer for Metal Edge Magazine, was to occasionally offer up an article that fell outside the normal realm of music release review. During my tenure they had a section entitled “Heavy Metal Mecca’s” and this focused on the ever popular Record & Concert shop that was dedicated to the Heavy Metal and Hard Rock scene in terms of what it made available to the consumer. When the editor asked me to pitch such an establishment to their desk I could think of no place better suited to the job than the Rock Fantasy Concert Shop up in Middletown, NY.  Since the magazine that this originally ran in has been off the stands for quite some time and now has ceased publication; I am re-presenting my work with the readers of the PiercingMetal.com Blog so new folks might enjoy it.  It is my hope that these words continue to help out this amazing shop going forward.

“If you take a quick train ride from Manhattan to Middletown, NY, you’ll be able to visit a true institution in Hard Rock and Heavy Metal retail – the one and only Rock Fantasy. The shop is a cornucopia of heavy music and its memorabilia and has been open for business since 1985. Since the doors first opened for the hungry Metal maven, it has seen more than a fair share of genres come and go and through it all Metal has prevailed. The shop was founded and is operated by Steve Keeler who aimed Rock Fantasy at being your one-stop shop for all your Metal needs.

rock fantasy concert shop
The Storefront Of Rock Fantasy

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PiercingMetal’s “Best Of” 2009: The Books and Videos

I know what you are thinking, gee Ken you guys sure did like a lot of stuff over the course of 2009 and you are not kidding. This will be my last installment from the “Best Of” rundowns and we will not only cover the videos and books that we enjoyed the most but also will line out a bunch of the things that disappointed us here at the Metal Media Command HQ. DVD releases continued to impress and amaze as not only were new and exciting videos being released but also a number of cool historical archives had finally come to see the light of day. We reviewed quite a bit of them this year and still have a number of them to go but the list below focuses on some of our favorites which we made sure to line out first to be a part of this list. Let’s take a look.

The Best DVD’s of 2009:

Iron Maiden “Flight 666” (Universal Music): Maiden’s documentary about their “Somewhere Back In Time” World Tour that discussed how the band flew their own airplane to dozens of countries to deliver the Metal to the faithful believers has to be seen to be believed. Filmed by the famous Sam Dunn of “Headbanger’s Journey” fame.

Anvil: “The Story Of Anvil” (VH1 Classic Records): Anvil finally gets their due and some proper attention based on this fine documentary film by Sasha Gervasi.

Journey “Live In Manila” (Wal-Mart): If you didn’t get enough of Arnel Pineda when Journey delivered us “Generations” then wait till you get a load of him doing his thing in his home country, the Philippines. This show rocks and the crowd was going crazy for their countryman as he led this legendary band into the future.

Rick Wakeman “The Six Wives Of Henry XIII” (Eagle Vision): Former Yes keyboard wizard gets to fulfill a dream performance and we are members of the audience thanks to this special DVD release. A companion CD was also offered and this is a must for the legends fans.

ZZ Top “Double Down Live” (Eagle Vision): This DVD presented not one, but two performances from ZZ Top and while one comes from recently, it is the vintage show from 1980 that is the one to appreciate most. There isn’t a lot of footage of the band that’s been made public, so this was something that many classic rock and blues rock fans can appreciate quite a bit.
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Revisiting “Metal Edge” Magazine: The CD Reviews – Part 12

These album overviews were originally written for Metal Edge Magazine when I was a contributor to their “Hear Us Out” CD reviews section back in 2006-2007. With the magazine wrapping up publication a few months ago, I decided to add them to the context of our PiercingMetal presentation. I felt that by doing this I would not only be raising the horns in remembrance of the magazine but would also be able to showcase just how different writing for a major publication was when it all came down to it. Since “Hear Us Out” notations were usually “100” words in length, these posts will feature several reviews each until we run out of them. The freelance writing tenure at Metal Edge Magazine was discussed on THIS LINK so please check that out when done. Here are the final reviews, so “Hear Us Out” one last time.

Various Artists: “Metal For The Masses V” (Century Media Records)

The great thing about this compilation is that it includes members of the whole Century Media family of labels and as result you get Into Eternity with Meshuggah with American Heartbreak. Two CD’s loaded with songs from existing and new signings make this a worthy slab of Metal, but lets not forget the DVD that features videos from the same rosters. It’s a great way to showcase the already known while allowing you time to absorb those that are new. You cannot go wrong with a release like that for who knows how many more fans it can make for legends and how many legends it can foster going forward.

Various Artists: “Saw III” Soundtrack (Artists Addiction Records)

Soundtracks are not often easy to review since many of them are sub-par but lucky us this is an exception. After the shaking in fear has stopped from seeing this movie, you can once again feel your blood boil hot with the power of the great bands presented here. Hot new acts like All That Remains, and Mastodon are tempered by the legends Slayer and Ministry while ever rising super powers like Lamb Of God and Meshuggah dole it out as well. A soundtrack helped Evanescence, perhaps this will make a spike marked dent on someone elses career. Yes, there will be blood.
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Revisiting “Metal Edge” Magazine: The CD Reviews – Part 11

These album overviews were originally written for Metal Edge Magazine when I was a contributor to their “Hear Us Out” CD reviews section back in 2006-2007. With the magazine wrapping up publication a few months ago, I decided to add them to the context of our PiercingMetal presentation. I felt that by doing this I would not only be raising the horns in remembrance of the magazine but would also be able to showcase just how different writing for a major publication was when it all came down to it. Since “Hear Us Out” notations were usually “100” words in length, these posts will feature several reviews each until we run out of them. The freelance writing tenure at Metal Edge Magazine was discussed on THIS LINK so please check that out when done. Here are the reviews, so “Hear Us Out”.

Trail Of Tears: “Existentia” (Napalm Records)

Dark Gothic Metal takes the brooding, morose textures of the conventional Gothic style and adds levels of drama and power that is more akin to Black or Power Metal. Sweeping and thunderous at every turn the effects come to life due to the three lead singers that the band possesses. They duel throughout the recording using dark, clean and operatic vocals to cover the spectrum while the musicians combine intense riffs that are chock full of power. TOT serves the need for those seeking intense music with dynamic vocals; as result Existentia remains exciting with each and every listen.

Tristania: “Illumination” (SPV Records)

Norway’s Tristania moves deeper into the Gothic with their latest release by serving fans a quasi-Evanescence feel but with a lot more depth and dramatics than that outfit provides. Brooding and dark, the textures both chill and warm the blood as Vibeke Stene provides siren melody and operatic styles to the sullen and deep words of her male counterpart Osten. “Destination Departure” & “Mercyside” are its most captivating tracks and will surely enthrall you after moments of hearing them. It’s new ground for the band as they wisely blend Doom into their signature sound as well. The dark never looked as bright before now.
Continue reading Revisiting “Metal Edge” Magazine: The CD Reviews – Part 11

Revisiting “Metal Edge” Magazine: The CD Reviews – Part 10

These album overviews were originally written for Metal Edge Magazine when I was a contributor to their “Hear Us Out” CD reviews section back in 2006-2007. With the magazine wrapping up publication a few months ago, I decided to add them to the context of our PiercingMetal presentation. I felt that by doing this I would not only be raising the horns in remembrance of the magazine but would also be able to showcase just how different writing for a major publication was when it all came down to it. Since “Hear Us Out” notations were usually “100” words in length, these posts will feature several reviews each until we run out of them. The freelance writing tenure at Metal Edge Magazine was discussed on THIS LINK so please check that out when done. Here are the reviews, so “Hear Us Out”.

Staind: ”The Singles: 1996-2006” (Atlantic Records)

With Staind, Aaron Lewis and company most certainly dished out the Melancholy with their major label debut “Break The Cycle”. It was an album whose lead single actually owed some level of popularity based on Fred Durst’s (Limp Bizkit) initial interest in them. Durst had performed the song “Outside” with Lewis on the Family Values tour before the albums release in 2001. The performance built an interest and buzz that kept until the album hit. As a band Staind laid down the radio friendly Alt-Metal with apparent ease and this hits collection is a great way to remember their finest moments from the span of their releases. “BTC” has four presentations on the album, and sadly the studio version is omitted to include the acoustic pairing with Durst. While it’s a good version I am sure that many fans would prefer to have had the darker and heavier studio cut included. Other highlights include the hits from “14 Shades Of Grey”, an album that found the group a little more mainstream as they sang tributes to fallen friends and their family as well. A touching track is “Zoe Jane”, Lewis’ daughter. It was an album that showed there was also light inside the once dark and brooding band. In addition to the main hits there are several acoustic numbers and among them are covers of both Pink Floyd and Tool. The songs show that there is added passion to this group and it’s an interesting manner to hear a Tool song in the first place. Floyd generally translates well acoustically and on this I found the classic track “Comfortably Numb” to be just a little more ominous. I enjoyed Staind as a band, and felt that they strived to be different from the crop of Seattle Sound bands that the decade had just closed us out from. They used elements of this melancholy and angst to a great effect with a dose of Hard Rock that worked out very well in the end. As a result this band has far more memorable tracks than many others would from this same time in music history. Don’t believe me? Name three Limp Bizkit hits……see, I told you so.

Static X: “Cannibal” (Reprise Records)

There are not many bands that sound like Static X nor are there many who are able to infuse the level of Techno-Industrial vibe into Heavy Metal music as good as they do. For over 13 years, they have been continually impressing and surprising their fan base with what they can do and with their fifth recording “Cannibal” – they show that they stand poised to repeat the process once again. Led by Wayne Static, Cannibal finds the group also with their fifth different lineup in terms of the recording of the new music. The changes however, mark the return of their original guitarist Koichi Fukuda who now joins Oshiro (drums) and Campos (bass) to complete the four-piece Industrial Metal Masters. Despite the lineup shifts the listener will still find the aggressive and powerful sound that makes Static-X such a special band to the world of music and truly second to none against those who use this style. The assault begins right away with the title track “Cannibal” – a song that is a not so subtle hint at the overall assault that is looming on the other tracks. This is a heavier release than I every remember them delivering and they use their unique elements to success and make songs like “Chemical Logic” a form of “Techno-Thrash”. When it gets to “Forty Ways” they use the feel of Disco meets Rave music and give a number that you just know is going to have the audience on the feet jumping as they perform it. Static himself seems to be in top form once again as he screams in rage repeatedly and delivers his point with determination and intent. The listeners will find a very “live” sounding record instead of an over-processed piece and the reasoning was for it to maintain the level of an “in your face” album as opposed to sounding too bland and over-produced. They succeeded here as you feel the need to make this a louder and louder listen on your stereo and I continually felt my head bopping and foot tapping in time with the songs as I played it the first time around. This album welcomes new friends while at the same time embraces the old ones. If you like Metal coupled with a solid groove then this is for you, there will be “No Submission” this time. While never truly away, Static-X has returned.
Continue reading Revisiting “Metal Edge” Magazine: The CD Reviews – Part 10