As we’ve been using the blog to speak the occasional memorial words when one of the Metal providers leaves this plane of existence, I felt that when its appropriate to do so, that some thoughts should be compiled when someone of note reaches a big anniversary year. That being said, isn’t it amazing to realize that bassist Cliff Burton from Metallica has been gone for twenty five years? If memory serves me correctly I was at a street festival with a bunch of fellow musicians when we learned the news. In those days you heard about it on the radio stations and maybe television if they felt the person was worth bringing up to the viewers. Life before instant connection to the Internet was very different. Still we got by.
Cliff was beloved by the Metal community for his interesting bass techniques and creativity. As a member of Metallica he was a crucial creative piece and made their early works all the more interesting. He recorded their first three albums and it would be during their Damage Inc. tour for the “Master Of Puppets” album that we would lose him. A tour bus accident would be the culprit in the end and while many still wonder how this could have happened, it did and Cliff was gone. The guys were in Sweden at the time of this occurrence. Continue reading Cliff Burton: Twenty Five Years Have Now Passed→
Artist: The Big Four: Metallica & Slayer Venue: Yankee Stadium (New York, NY) Opener: Megadeth, & Anthrax Date: 9/14/2011 Label: Warner Music Group
Ladies and gentlemen of The Metal Republic we were witnessing a time of absolute chaos because it seemed that indeed Hell had frozen over. Okay, so maybe that is just a little dramatic but let’s be honest with each other here for a second. When did you ever think that you would see these four titans of the Thrash Metal movement doing any shows together? To me this was one of those kinds of events that you only postulated about happening when you talked to your Metal colleagues while hanging out and debating this stuff and yet here we were and it was truly happening. Actually, it had already happened over in Europe several months ago when you think about it. Despite that, it was amazing to know that Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax would be performing together under the title of “The Big Four” in the United States and after a successful event over in California, this evening it would be taking place at the home of the world’s greatest baseball franchise, the one and only Yankee Stadium. For me this would be the second time that I ever attended a show at this particular space – Oh wait, that was at the “Old” Yankee Stadium. Sorry friends. The running order of the show would be Anthrax first followed by Megadeth and then Slayer with Metallica closing up the entire event. That worked for me and I felt that all bands were in the proper order when it came down to the overall popularity of each of them. I was fortunate enough to be sitting in the Press Box for the show which meant that instead of being down in the swirling masses, that I was high above like the sportscasters usually are when there are baseball games. It was a different head for sure, but still I would be able to enjoy the event and bring you the scoop. Here is how it went down for those who for whatever reason on Earth would miss it. Continue reading Metallica/Slayer/Megadeth/Anthrax: The Big Four @ Yankee Stadium (9/14/2011)→
Since starting up the website we have tried our best to maintain an annual list of what we felt was the most stand out of music releases, videos and live concert events. It’s generally a daunting task since being a reviewer of these wide scoping mediums you really have to keep it maintained as the year progresses along. This year the task would be much more involved and intense because it was also the end of the decade and closed out on a very amazing number of years in the Metal realm. Initially I had added the previous ten years views at the end of the “Best Of 2009” thoughts but realized that this was better presented as a standalone piece. That would allow me to keep it as something special of its own and allow for easier digestion and research into the picks. Having been to a lot of shows and listened to a lot of music that was submitted in addition to that which was purchased I did my best at giving a tip of the hat to some of the things that we could recall as being of significant importance on the Metal and Hard Rock scene over the last ten years. I’m going to break this up into two parts and start with the music and videos. I hope you enjoy it.
PiercingMetal.com’s Top 10 CD Releases Of The Decade: 2000-2009:
Are you kidding me? You actually expect me to define only ten releases for an entire decade when the last five years of my life have been spent reviewing music…..do you people realize just how many albums that comes out to when you add it all up? OK, so even though I am closing in on 1000 actual CD reviews for the website, I will give a quick nod to ten of the albums that I found very appealing to my Metal and Hard Rock ears. You know what, since this is a big occasion and only happens once every ten years I will give you even more than CD preferences and add to the mix some of the DVD’s that I found to be noteworthy and make this whole thing a little more worth reading. Please understand that we did NOT offer up a top to bottom ranking on this list and just wanted you to be aware of some of our favorite releases from the decade that spanned from 2000-2009. Enjoy.
Kamelot “Ghost Opera” (SPV Records): The mighty Kamelot followed up their astounding “Black Halo” CD with this album and while they had already snared me with that release, this one signed the paperwork in blood.
KISS “Alive” Boxed Set (Universal Music): You’re probably screaming at me for including a CD boxed set that compiles all three existing KISS “Alive” recordings and offers up a long missing fourth one and if you are too bad about you. I found these albums inspirational, well at least the first two, and to find all of it put in one handy place with a superb booklet I could find no fault in this and it truly was one of my favorite items over the past ten years.
The 69 Eyes “Devils” (EMI Music): For me this ranks as one of the Decade’s best because it was an album that opened the band up to an entirely new fan base since it was the first of the bands catalog to be available in this part of the world. It would be followed by the full back catalogue but without this one they still might have been a best kept musical secret from Finland. My own first go at the band came via “Blessed Be” and the track “Brandon Lee”, so while a few years late to the party still a fan since that time.
Unexpect “In A Flesh Aquarium” (The End Records): This band defies description more than it does not and shows just how much room there is in modern Metal music. Take Progressive, Black Metal, Jazz and blend it up for this tasty musical cocktail. Diversity thy name is Unexpect.
Metallica “Death Magnetic” (Warner Music Group): Love it or not based on the “production” that some experts are lambasting, this was the album that showed us all that Metallica could still kick our ass with a Metal album. Now Rock and Roll Hall of Famers and MTV Icons, they chose to no longer take the role for granted and pummeled us.
Nightwish “Wishmaster” (Century Media Records): This 2001 release would be the album for the band that would somehow spark my own interest in reviewing albums and concerts so how could it not be on my list of best of the decade.
Porcupine Tree “Fear Of A Blank Planet” (Atlantic Records): Really just an incredible album and one that broke a lot of new fans for the work. Congratulations Mr. Wilson.
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. Continue reading PiercingMetal’s “Best Of” 2009: The Books and Videos→
Now that I’ve lined out all the music that blew me away during the 2009 year, its time to lend my focus on the Concerts and Events that we attended. In looking back on it, I would have to say that 2009 was probably the biggest year that I ever had as a music writer and photographer based on not only how many cool concerts there were, but how many I was able to find myself taking part in for your eventual entertainment as readers of the site. I think that I caught something like 95 shows which is a new record for me and probably one that will be very difficult to beat but of course I have been saying this for three years. Below are some of the events that I felt were the most exciting of them all.
The Best Concerts of 2009:
“Paganfest USA – 2”: This time around the tour would feature Korpiklaani, Moonsorrow, Primordial, Blackguard and Swashbuckle and really be an impressive one. What made it exciting for me was the chance to see Korpiklaani, Moonsorrow and Primordial for the most part because none of these bands had ever done a proper tour in the USA. I found Blackguard to be a nice surprise as well.
Judas Priest & Whitesnake (Epic Records/SPV Records): Judas Priest would celebrate their 30th Anniversary of the “British Steel” albums while the Snake would be celebrating two incredible releases of their own. The show featured a solid set from both bands and was a gig that many would talk about for months. According to reports, Priest recorded one of the shows and plans for the video/audio to be released with a special edition of “British Steel”. Whitesnake in turn also released deluxe editions of both “Slide It In” and “Slip Of The Tongue” this year.
Marduk @ The Gramercy Theatre (Candlelight Records): After having missed the Blackenedfest a few months earlier, Marduk was on US Soil to crush the Metal legions. This was an intense show that delivered on all counts and impressed all those fans who had wanted to see them a few months earlier.
Saxon @ B.B. King Blues Club (SPV Records): Saxon had not done a proper US tour in some years and this NYC show would be one of two appearances and be done for a sold out room. The mood and the Metal were intense this evening and proved to many that the Old School glory of traditional Metal had not and will never subside.
Paul McCartney @ Citi Field: I was lucky to catch one of the three performances by Sir Paul McCartney who did a night of wonderful tunes. Lots of Beatles and lots of Wings, which is all classic stuff and still relevant to all fans of good ole Rock & Roll. A DVD/CD would be released of this historic visit.
The 69 Eyes @ Gramercy Theatre (The End Records): The Helsinki Vampires were “Back In Blood” supporting a new album that really delivered the goods and reminded their fans why they remain so special to them. It also featured the talents of Dommin and The Becoming. A very dark night in NYC to say the least.
Mayhem @ The Fillmore NY (Season Of Mist Records): This was called the Blackened Metal Fest and while it depressed some that Marduk was off the tour, the True Mayhem delivered a frightening and powerful set of Black Metal that focused on the bands influential years.
KISS @ Madison Square Garden (KISS Records): Love them or hate them, NYC and Madison Square Garden are nothing less than home for KISS and their show always pulls out all the stops. The rousing good time celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the “Alive” CD and found much of the set focused on that live classic. A lot of other different and more unexpected numbers were in place this time around which made it a great experience. I could have done without Buckcherry as they bored me with their set. Continue reading PiercingMetal’s “Best Of” 2009: The Concerts and Events→