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Friday, August 31, 2007

CD Review: Ted Nugent - Love Grenade

Ted Nugent - Love Grenade
2007 Eagle Records
Ray Van Horn, Jr.

Somewhere in the course of his career, The Motor City Madman lost some of his edge. Well, if you gauge his eighties output such as the Little Miss Dangerous, Penetrator and If You Can't Lick 'Em...Lick 'Em albums, he lost a lot of it. Ted Nugent maintained his rep through his maniacal live performances, running like a loon in tight slacks with that trademark raccoon tail pinned to his ass, and while his albums twenty years ago weren't much to write home about, The Nuge was closely safeguarded by the hard rock community because he was one of us. A rebel, an outcast, a guy living on the edge, we embraced Ted Nugent because he was positively mental and we loved his sheer audacity. Plus, the cat played a mean guitar and we loved to scream his self-created lingo "Wang Dang Sweet Poontang" like it was code amongst ourselves.

Somewhere else in the course of Ted Nugent's career he cased his six string and unlocked his steel barrels and chummed with the Republicans, the NRA and hunting cliques all around the U.S. This new moral fabric to Ted Nugent sat well with many, but a lot of the dirtbag element that supported Uncle Ted (even during that eighties dry spell) looked at Nanook Nugent's transformation as a slight betrayal. Sure, The Nuge crept back into the rock arena for a pop-in hello, but suffice it to say, the rock community had no choice but to write off Ted Nugent as a neo-conservative who redefined his life through guns and reality t.v., more power to him.

Since the snorefest that was If You Can't Lick 'Em...Lick Em in 1988, Ted Nugent had only released two studio albums (Craveman and Spirit of the Wild) and a couple of obligatory live slabs. Both of his studio releases showed Ted still cared about rock 'n roll, though the more he was seen stalking antlers on the tube, the mass wasn't buying into it. In fact, the more extreme Captain America Nuge got about his kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out credo, the more rock fans were turned off.

Love Grenade is tough to accept at face value because a lot of people haven't forgotten that Ted Nugent turned away from rock music, so much we were nearly fearing he was a closet PMRC'er at heart....oh, the humanity of such a prospect! Welp, one thing that is assuaged by Love Grenade--take heart, all you rockin' faithful--is that Uncle Ted hasn't forgotten his roots after all. Let him embrace whatever diatribes he sees fit, because the Gibson is unsheathed and mounted at his crank and Ted Nugent is the Motor City Madman once again.

Love Grenade is absolutely nuts and it's amazing it took Ted so long to rediscover what he's made of musically between this album and 2002's Craveman, all attributed by Ted as music through clean living. Given his past debauchery prior to shooting a straighter arrow, the fact that he wails like he's possessed one minute on silly songs like "Still Raising Hell," "Girl Scout Cookies" and "Funk U," then plays reverent, clean notes on his Native American odes "Spirit of the Buffalo" and "Eagle Brother" (though the latter features more swaying distortion) shows that The Nuge can still swing a blazing axe without external stimuli.

Soon coming up on sixty years in the life, Ted Nugent chugs a backwoods elixir and screams like the rabble rouser he used to be (professing that he has a "magnum cum in loudmouth" on "Funk U"), and despite the fact that Love Grenade is one big ball of dumb, it still kicks a lotta ass and barely settles down, even in the waning moments of the album with the rocksteady "Bridge Over Troubled Daughters" and the greasy blues trudge of "Lay With Me."

Still, The Nuge can't resist sharing his political views on "Stand!" so never forget where Ted's allegiances lie, and that's just where the division line has to make peace, because Ted's not going to back down, but he is going to give his old school rockers a blast of what they've been craving and he's going to deliver with a backup band of seasoned vets such as Tommy Clufetos, Barry Sparks and even old Damn Yankees running pal Jack Blades on a few tracks. For good measure, just to show you he's serious about rocking out, Ted whips out an updated version of his Amboy Dukes' classic "Journey to the Center of the Mind." The pin's been pulled, take cover...

Rating: ***1/2

Every Time I Die - "We'rewolf" Video

The Big Dirty is all that and self-love with Crisco...


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Non-Fiction "The My Way" video

Dan Lorenzo's life between Hades and The Cursed...

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Photos of Ratt and Poison Live at Pier 6 Concert Pavilion, Baltimore, MD 8/29/07

The times have changed but yesterday's shadows have a way of slipping around corners and making themselves known. 20 years ago, however, this bill would've been reversed with Ratt as the headliners and Poison the opening act, which, of course, truly happened many times over until Poison became a larger-than-life glam entity of the eighties, a role that belonged to Ratt until mass tastes shifted in Poison's favor.

In 2007, watching these two bands tear it up in an amphitheatre perched on the edge of Baltimore's Inner Harbor, time never stood still for Poison, it seems, even when CC Deville briefly departed. For Ratt, their legal issues are well-known amongst their fans, but finally the red tape has been severed so that Stephen Pearcy could once again front the band he co-founded, and with three original Mickey Ratts onstage and former Motley Crue vocalist John Carabi still holding a long sentry in this band, the reception for Ratt 2007 was just as loud and nostalgic as for the headliners. Naysayers may say all of this is old school nonsense but hey, if you can still put on a good show...and that's what Ratt and Poison did together as veterans of a woebegone hard rock scene. Poison had family wedged against the stage in the photo pit and Ratt milked every ounce of accolade they were given.

The Metal Minute captured these photos for posterity, even amidst mullet attacks, former groupies now known as MILFs, a scrum with a trashy drunken girl over a spot-a-pot and dodging vomit in the men's room. In some ways, it was 1987 instead of 2007, except we're all older (minus pocket sections of youngsters wanting to experience what it was all about) and still keeping the faith, even though common sense told us we probably should grow up. Nahhhh....



All Photos 2007 Ray Van Horn, Jr. / The Metal Minute

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

CD Review: M.O.D. - Red, White and Screwed

M.O.D. - Red, White and Screwed
2007 Index Entertainment
Ray Van Horn, Jr.

The first thing that's going to come as a bit of a surprise is to tell you that Billy Milano's new M.O.D. album is quite a bit more--dare I say it--serious than previous outings under the moniker. Obviously there's no more bubble butts, spandex enormities, Capt. Crunch or anally-inflicted death sentences to speak of on Red, White and Screwed. One might say that Billy Milano just follows along to what's happening in the scene, gauging by the thrash-heavy silliness that was Surfin' M.O.D. One can also accuse Milano of being a callous instigator using the Rebel You Love to Hate album, but this time around, he's doing neither; or shall we say, he's toned down his act a little. No lie, Billy Milano is playing a straight hand on Red, White and Screwed, and it's one of the most appealing hardcore albums you're going to hear this year.

Maybe Milano decided it was time to show the hardcore contingency how things were done, old-school style, because Red, White and Screwed chugs along on full throttle with far more discipline than anyone could ever expect from M.O.D. Had Milano released this album back in the day, we'd be talking amongst ourselves saying "Hardcore used to be cool when you had Agnostic Front, Rites of Spring, Fear and M.O.D."

Of course, we don't really need to brush M.O.D. back into the past. In fact, it's better we don't, and just embrace what Milano has chosen to offer up, which is a nostalgic waning for the old days when he lived in New York instead of his current residence in Texas. Red, White and Screwed is mostly a love letter to Milano's old running pals on the streets, and while he's also riding on a new S.O.D. EP (Rise of the Infidels), it's evident he's through with trying to shock jock his way by appealing to the lower common denominator. You can hear it just on the chorus to "Speaking Truth to Power" where he and his current backup band (Scott Sargeant, Derek Lopez and Dawson Clawson) plead "There's gotta be a better way..."

Okay, so maybe Milano can't resist himself and his sarcastic ways with an S.O.D. nod in the opening bars of "Alphabet City Stomp" or his nationalist diatribing on "Jose Can You See?" (you live in Texas now, bro, get used to it) but for the most part, Milano's tirades on songs like "Bullshit Politics," "Hardcore Harry" and "Suicide Bomb Pop" are properly fueled and he rages like a bulldog, showing today's breed of howling pied pipers how it's done, complete with perfect flow and pantemeter. Okay, we can't let his hilarious King Diamond impersonation on "G.L.E.T. (Greatest Lie Ever Told)" go without notice, much less his scathing commentary against satanic metal.

Can it be this review was more serious than you were expecting? So is the scorching Red, White and Screwed, rest assured. Better yet, this album is M.O.D.'s finest hour, John Wayne love or not, even though MDC had a better opinion of The Duke. Still, Billy Milano, who mentioned in an upcoming Metal Minute interview that he's at peace with himself, is never afraid to tell it like it is; he's just found a classier vehicle to do it with.

Get some.

Rating: ****

Whattya Listenin' to Wednesday 8/29/07

Things are heating up in the tail end of summer, so it's hard to listen to much free period selections, but this week I've been around the Scorpions a lot in preparation for my interview with Matthias Jabs the other day (which you will see here at The Metal Minute, as previously stated). Plus the new Every Time I Die and Between the Buried and Me albums came and I can't get away from those albums, even to review 'em! So anyway, here's my five for the week. Looking forward to your selections as always!

You know I had to blow this cover up!

1. Scorpions - Lovedrive
2. Scorpions - Humanity Hour V.1
3. Scorpions - Love at First Sting
4. Between the Buried and Me - Colors
5. Every Time I Die - The Big Dirty

Take 5 Interviews update

In case you're wondering, yes, there will be more Take 5 interviews coming atcha. In fact, much of my spare time has been spent conducting these interviews so be ready for 'em. As a preview, expect interviews with Billy Milano of MOD/SOD, Steve Blaze of Lillian Axe and Matthias Jabs of the Scorpions, along with many'll be a blast!

Thanks as always for your patronage!

Turtles Go Hardcore

Cowabunga, dude...or is it fucking cowabunga, dude?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Hatchet is coming...

Once there was a boy named Victor Crowley. He was born hideously deformed, and sadly, folks weren’t too kind to him. So he spent most of his life hidden in his Daddy’s house out in the bayou. One Halloween night, the local children came throwing firecrackers at the house to tease and scare him. And the old Crowley house caught fire.

When Victor’s Daddy arrived home, the house was in flames. He went to the barn, grabbed himself a hatchet, and started chopping down the front door. But what he didn’t know was that Victor was pressed up against the other side, trying to get out. He hit him square in the face with that hatchet...

...and poor Victor Crowley died.

The old man went into mourning and became a recluse after that. Never to leave the house. Never spoke to anyone. He finally passed away about ten years later.

And that’s when the stories started.

They say people tend to disappear in that swamp. And if you get close enough to the old Crowley house at night, you can still hear Victor Crowley. Still roaming in the woods. Still crying for his Daddy.

~Louisiana Folklore

Metal Bits - 8/28/07

One of fall's red-hot bands will be Every Time I Die, who begins a lengthy North American tour in support of their new album The Big Dirty, which hits stores on September 4th. To whet your appetite, Every Time I Die is previewing "No Son of Mine" and "Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Battery" at their MySpace page: Every Time I Die MySpace page

Upcoming tour dates:

Sep 19 2007 7:00P Rocketown Nashville, Tennessee
Sep 20 2007 6:00P Skatepark of Memphis Cordova, Tennessee
Sep 21 2007 6:00P The Parish @ HOB New Orleans, Louisiana
Sep 22 2007 6:00P Verizon Wireless Theater Houston, Texas
Sep 23 2007 7:00P White Rabbit San Antonio, Texas
Sep 24 2007 6:00P La Zona Rosa Austin, Texas
Sep 25 2007 6:00P The Palladium Ballroom Dallas, Texas
Sep 26 2007 6:00P Cain’s Ballroom Tulsa, Oklahoma
Sep 28 2007 6:30P Marquee Theatre Tempe, Arizona
Sep 29 2007 6:00P The Glasshouse Pomona, California
Sep 30 2007 5:00P House of Blues Las Vegas, Nevada
Oct 1 2007 6:30P Rialto Theatre Tucson, Arizona
Oct 3 2007 7:00P SOMA San Diego, California
Oct 5 2007 6:30P Wiltern Theatre Los Angeles, California
Oct 6 2007 6:00P The Dome Bakersfield, California
Oct 7 2007 6:00P The Warfield San Francisco, California
Oct 9 2007 6:00P Roseland Theatre Portland, Oregon
Oct 10 2007 6:30P Showbox SoDu Seattle, Washington
Oct 12 2007 4:30P In The Venue Salt Lake City, Utah
Oct 13 2007 6:00P The Fillmore Auditorium Denver, Colorado
Oct 15 2007 7:00P The Beaumont Club Kansas City
Oct 16 2007 6:00P POP’s Sauget, Illinois
Oct 17 2007 6:00P Sokol Underground Omaha, Nebraska
Oct 18 2007 5:30P MYTH St. Paul, Minnesota
Oct 19 2007 5:00P Riviera Theatre Chicago, Illinois
Oct 20 2007 6:00P State Theatre Detroit, Michigan
Oct 21 2007 6:00P House of Blues Cleveland, Ohio
Oct 23 2007 6:00P Evolution Depew (BUFFALO), New York
Oct 24 2007 6:00P Nokia Theatre @ Times Square New York, New York
Oct 25 2007 6:00P Starland Ballroom Sayerville, New Jersey
Oct 26 2007 6:00P The Palldium Worcester, Massachusetts
Oct 28 2007 7:00P Electric Factory Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Oct 29 2007 6:00P 9:30 Club Washington, Washington DC
Oct 30 2007 6:30P Rams Head Live Baltimore, Maryland
Nov 1 2007 5:30P The Norva Norfolk, Virginia

Former Fear Factory guitarist Dino Cezares brings his new ensemble Divine Heresy to the Operation Annihilation tour with Static-X, Shadows Fall and 3 Inches of Blood following the release of their recent debut album Bleed the Fifth. As a primer, the band has posted videos at YouTube and also created an ecard, which can accessed here: Divine Heresy ecard

Dates for Operation Annihilation:

10/05 Piere’s – Ft. Wayne, IN
10/07 Vic Theatre – Chicago, IL
10/08 Forrest Hills Lodge – Rockford, IL
10/09 First Avenue – Minneapolis, MN
10/10 Rave Ballroom – Milwaukee, WI
10/12 Starland Ballroom – Sayreville, NJ
10/14 Webster Theater – Hartford, CT
10/16 Mulcahy’s – Wantagh, NY
10/18 Norva Theatre – Norfolk, VA
10/19 House of Blues – N. Myrtle Beach, SC
10/20 House of Blues – Lake Buena Vista, FL
10/21 Soul Kitchen – Mobile, AL
10/22 Warehouse Live – Houston, TX
10/23 The Palladium – Dallas, TX
10/25 The Fillmore Auditorium – Denver, CO
10/26 Sunshine Theater – Albuquerque, NM
10/27 House of Blues – Las Vegas, NV
10/29 Marquee Theatre – Tempe, AZ
10/30 Avalon – Hollywood, CA
10/31 House of Blues – Anaheim, CA
11/02 Roseland Theatre – Portland, OR
11/03 The Big Easy – Spokane, WA
11/04 The Fenix – Seattle, WA

Photo by Karl Kuchs

Following a recent split album with Balboa, ambient metallers Rosetta are previewing the title track from their upcoming album Wake/Lift, which is being released through Translation Loss Records. The band reports that those who pre-order the album will receive a three-song bonus disc entitled The Cleansing Undertones of Wake/Lift, which is about 20 minutes shorter than the main album. Rosetta also states, "If you play these CDs together on your Itunes or soundforge or whatever, it will be a sad day for you indeed."

To preview "Wake/Lift," visit the band's MySpace page: Rosetta MySpace page

Monday, August 27, 2007

Iron Maiden Live Photos - 10/8/06

We're going to take it on the chill side today at The Metal Minute because there's a busy week coming up and I have a lot of preparation to do before the three-day weekend. So to honor a humbling request from a Metal Minute regular who wrote in about a week ago, today I'm going to share a bunch of photos of the Iron Maiden show from last October.

Those who used to read my old blog Pulses, Verses and Other Flotsam know this story quite well, and I'm not to recount it in full, but on this particular evening yours truly ventured 2.5 hours to a venue that shall remain nameless as the corrupt bastards that they are. Having interviewed Nicko McBrain the week prior for Caustic Truths magazine and thus fulfilling my personal goal to reach my all-time favorite metal band, Iron Maiden, it was doubly satisfying to be offered the opportunity to go up and catch one of the few U.S. shows they did last year, and be given a photo pass on top of it.

With time healing old wounds, I can relive the moment without the associated anger, but the venue had my photo pass but no actual ticket to the event. Sounds particularly weird, I know, but that's exactly what happened, and after much growling and holding sentry at the box office, I was eventually let inside but only to take photos for three songs. It turned out that my fate was the same as the rest of the photographers at the event, which were only four more than myself, so I take that into consideration in light of that night's events. Luckily, this was Iron Maiden, so three songs came out to 18 minutes on the nose. Moreover, as you can see in these photos, I was pretty much as close as the camera reveals, so it was humbling in itself to be in that position inside an arena right against the stage.

So despite the anger I felt on the drive home that night, the rush of being so close and having finally interviewed Iron Maiden eventually overrode what I felt towards the venue and having traveled so far for only 18 minutes worth of show time. As you can see though, I brought with me some of the best concert photos I've ever taken, and of Iron Maiden, no less. It's my privilege to share these with you and thank you amiga, for writing in and requesting these. Hope everyone enjoys them as much as you.

All Photos (c) 2006 Ray Van Horn, Jr. / The Metal Minute

Sunday, August 26, 2007

CD Review: Smashing Pumpkins - Zeitgeist

Smashing Pumpkins - Zeitgeist
2007 Reprise Records
Ray Van Horn, Jr.

Once upon a time Smashing Pumpkins was the most important alt rock band in the world. In the fuzz-laced haze of a siamese dream, Billy Corgan led his angst-ridden troubadours on a (then) post-metal charge from a fugue corner where The Cure, The Smiths and Sioxie and The Banshees dwell, and after making a name for themselves with 1991's Gish, the Smashing Pumpkins hijacked the rock world in a mere four years by the time their pivotal double-album opus Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness hit the pavement. Mellon Collie might be the definitive statement of nineties rock, given the overall hopelessness the American music scene was stumbling through at the time.

Twelve years have passed since that shattering point in modern rock history, and for whatever reason, Corgan and Smashing Pumpkins fell out of favor with audiences, just as they felt out of favor between themselves. Their breakup was inexplicable at the time, but as Adore was a bit of a last gasp of the Pumpkins as they originally were. Corgan has since quietly released solo work and even a couple of other Smashing Pumpkins albums that slipped into the mist of obscure apathy that many rock bands had fallen into as the surge of rap and hip hop has done its best to kill off the sound of quadrophenia and three-chord bliss.

Zeitgeist is being hailed as Corgan's official return to the scene and now that listners have had the chance to soak up this new rendition of Smashing Pumpkins, they're buying again, and part of the reason why is because Zeitgeist arrives just as heavy rock and metal in North America has become fashionable again, slowly but surely. Listen to the pop divas on your local Top 40 station; there's a sudden advocacy of punk and metal undertones that makes those practitioners even more artificial than ever. Such a pitfall could've been Zeitgeist's undoing, because the first spin of this album leaves you scratching your head. Smashing Pumpkins suddenly sounds like a big arena rock band instead of an alt rock band. Of course, at their height, the Pumpkins had acclimated themselves to playing arenas, and for sure Billy Corgan wants that vibe again, so that's how Zeitgeist is written: bigger than life, powerful, open, breezy, an audile fishing line with sharp hooks seeking your gaping mouth.

Zeitgest is not the sound of an incensed artiste; it is the sound of a rocker, one who realizes the radical change he's submitting his listeners to, and one who has the confidence to believe those listeners will follow despite. It's hard not to bob along to "Tarantula" with its merge between sixties and eighties rock, and surely "7 Shades of Black" has just enough of a sinister undertone beneath its trad rock tempo. "That's the Way (My Love Is)" is the second single from Zeitgeist, and it catches you off-guard with its peppy effervescence that would've been equally shocking if sung by Morrissey, but for some reason, it works.

"Starz" at least dips back into the magic bag of Mellon Collie, while "Neverlost" is one of the most attractive and subtle songs of Zeitgeist with its sensual xylophones and alternative measures that Smashing Pumpkins built its legacy with. "Bring the Light" is as pop-oriented as Corgan has ever written and it still bounces, just as the subsequent song "(Come On) Let's Go!" blatantly prompts you to throw a fist into the air, which is funny, considering that Smashing Pumpkins were once considered something of an anti-metal metal band. On this song, they tantalize with a rocking rhythm and sharp guitars that could be considered a "Cum On Feel the Noize" jam for 2007.

You have to oblige Corgan's temperment on the long and odd protest piece "United States," that would've been more rebellious if cut by a couple minutes, but then again, the original version of this song was reported to be in the half hour territory. It seems like Corgan may be wrestling internally on whether to make a statement or just rock out with Zeitgest, so he simply slinks along on the slick and appreciably sassy "God and Country."

By now many of you have had the chance to decide if you dig what Corgan offers with Zeitgeist, but for those still yet to get around this album, take heart that the shock value of this Pumpkins Big Rock Circus wears off after repeat listens and in the end, Zeitgeist is a feelgood summer album...that sounds like an oxymoron, doesn't it?

Rating: ****

Hail!Hornet - S/T
2007 Dwell Records
Ray Van Horn, Jr.

Kee-rist, it had to happen... Out of some dank part of the South where your mama warns you not to tread too late at night is the meeting spot for representatives of Alabama Thunderpussy, Weedeater, Beaten Back to Pure and Sourvein, and if thought southern hellraising was a stereotype, you're one naive son of a bitch.

Hail!Hornet is a warning that southern sludge is getting thicker and meaner, and no matter how tight you wear your boots, it's going to lock hold and suck your ass right on in. You can conjure in your mind what Hail!Hornet is going to sound like on paper, but they exceed your expectations by twisting chains around their knuckles and smashing windows, bricks and teeth on their self-titled debut album, one that loops theories from each of its constituents and creates a bare-boned, bourbon-breathed (to paraphrase "He Who Walks Behind the Rose Bros.") swamp rat of an album that's going to be mandatory for the mud mutants who trip out on this stuff.

Hail!Hornet snorts sluggish stoner lines and then runs like hell on a moonshine high all over this album, be it on tracks like the fast and abusive "Golden Whore," the roughneck "Foxy Fuck / No Solution" or the out-of-control mood-shifting of the appropriately-titled "Nerves." You'll feel like you're right there with your ass growing cold and your head helplessly spinning on "Drunk Tank" as the song switches from doom to hardcore without warning.

Vince Locke of Beaten Back to Pure and Dave Collins of Weedeater produce low-end chunk riffs that Alabama Thunderpussy's Erik Larson feeds off of as if this offshoot group has been playing together for years, while Sourvein's T. Roy Medlin yowls and caterwauls all over this album like he's both deeply entrenched in Hail!Hornet as well as aloof in the back of a beat-up convertible, left to his designs with a half-empty whiskey bottle. All told, Hail!Hornet is a nasty bastard that still manages to shake, rattle and roll with devil's juice and that's a damned fine proposition, wouldn't you say?

Rating: ****

CD Review: Amplified Heat - How Do You Like the Sound of That

Amplified Heat - How Do You Like the Sound of That
2007 Arclight Records
Ray Van Horn, Jr.

The term "keeping it real" has become so trite and blase it's lost its value as a colloquialism, mostly because it's turned into hipster and chic jargon that rose from the streets to the coffeehouses and water coolers. But let's just pretend "keeping it real" still has some cred, because there is a band out there keeping it real, and that's Austin, Texas' Amplified Heat.

Mashing it up with some Canned Heat, Blue Cheer and vintage Kinks along with generous pourings of boogie, punk and street rock, Amplified Heat is in the position Clutch was on their Elephant Riders album, so in the zone (another one of those tired and wasted colloaquialisms) of their craft and Amplified Heat's confidence is at its highest, despite many adversities presented to them, so much that they cut a 34-second drum solo ("S.A.P.O.") on their hellagood second full release, How Do You Like the Sound of That.

Take note the title is posed as a statement, not a question, which means Amplified Heat has no worries about how you're going to like their sound. After all, since the release of their first album In For Sin in 2004, the Ortiz brothers (Jim, Chris and Gian) have faced the loss of their father, multiple stabbings in a street brawl and a studio flood that did its best to halt this album from becoming reality. The Ortizes know you're going to dig their cracked asphalt bluesy vibes because...ladies and gents, if you've been paying attention...they've kept it real.

"Tough Guy" throws down out of the gate with diverse era hints of Big Brother and the Holding Company, along with Black Flag, so you much you're convinced of Amplified Heat's legitmacy as a grungy blues rock band even before Jim Ortiz hauls off with a greasy guitar solo that sets the album off with a wallop. Some of the other highlight cuts on How Do You Like the Sound of That are the slow and loud antidepressant jam "Through and Through," the laidback gutter candor ala The Animals and early David Bowie on "Rambler" and the delicious speedfest of "What Went Wrong," which collides Steppenwolf with British mod rock. Then if you recall how Canned Heat was so fond of their improv boogie jams that became their legacy, Amplified Heat comes calling with their own hotshot answer set to a savory bop tempo on "Amplified Boogie," which just may go down as their signature tune. Finally, there's something just right about flailing some psychedlic wa-was as Jim Ortiz does on the album's closer "Sickness." Now that's real...

How do you like the sound of that, indeed?

Rating: ****1/2

Hades - "Ground Zero NYC" Video

KMFDM Contest Winner

Congratulations to J.D. for winning the KMFDM CD contest this week. J.D. had the closest answer to my current CD count, which, as of the posting of the contest, was 2784. Your copy of Tohuvabohu will be on its way shortly! A new contest will begin shortly for your chance to win the CD version of Heaven and Hell Live at Radio City Music Hall, so stayed tuned...

Saturday, August 25, 2007

CD Review: Mink - S/T

Mink - S/T
2007 Spitfire Music
Ray Van Horn, Jr.

One of the sectors of underground hard rock that's enjoying a resurge is garage rock, and perhaps we should be grateful that bands like The Lashes, Night Kills the Day, The Hives and New York's Mink give a hoot about late seventies and early eighties garage and glam rock because someone's got to save rock 'n roll before it becomes extinct under the weight of corporate fluff, because when Ashlee Simpson thinks she can amp up to legitimize herself, we're all in fucking trouble. And no disrespect to The Killers, but try as they might to be the new Cheap Trick or new wave revivalist supreme, it just doesn't measure up to the originals, even if the kids out there eat it up like Coco Puffs.

Mink probably would've been one of those LA or NYC club bands that would've had their day in the limelight like Rose Tattoo, Hanoi Rocks or even the obscure Cherry Bombz. Right now in 2007, they're just doing their thing and while Mink isn't exactly a hard-nosed engine of destruction, it has its moments, particularly on the first two songs "Get it Right" and "Madame Chung" that belt with attitude and sass, and perhaps that's where the rest of the album becomes merely average outside of the positively gnarly "Jodi."

Mink splashes in the muddy gutters that made sleaze rock of the past just about irresistible but they only get their soles wet, but not their ankles. In other words, Mink is a little tame despite the fact that these rocking cats are more interesting than what you might hear coming out of one of the Manhattan corporate towers behind their backs. Still, this album loses steam pretty fast and lollygags or goofs around here and there as on "Crazy World" or "Pills," but "New York Summer" is damned catchy, and this shows that Mink does show promise. The Ramones they will never be, but to be fair, no one will...

Rating: ***

One From the Vault: Metal Church - "Watch the Children Pray"

I'm feeling sentimental today...

Friday, August 24, 2007

DVD Review: Waking Up Dead

Note: This review is also appearing in my column "Death From Below" in AMP magazine, but I felt that Phil Varone's message in this documentary is so important it should be republished here as well...

Waking Up Dead
2007 Demolition Visual Entertainments
Ray Van Horn, Jr.

There have been hundreds of testimonials, warnings and Behind the Scene documentaries outlining the potential folly of living the rock ‘n roll lifestyle to the extreme. Most musicians from the eighties have clammed up about their notorious debaucheries that included toking, drinking, pissing, fighting and fucking on the road, and with good reason. Many have spouses and families to take into consideration, and as Phil Varone, former drummer for Saigon Kick and Skid Row is witness to, living excessively to the point that an anonymous groupie you balled on the tour bus materializes out of nowhere and apologizes to your wife will inevitably lead to your downfall.

Waking Up Dead is a responsible examination of irresponsibility, though the footage of Varone snorting coke before your eyes and licking the nipples of ditzy girls on-camera, much less appearing totally blasé about getting a blowjob in front of audience on the tour bus, much less on video might seem like an ode to depravity. Waking Up Dead is, in actuality, a public service announcement. At the core, it is a recorded file for Varone himself, who nearly died from his cocaine abuse, but in the bigger picture, it is one of the first brutally honest narratives serving caution to young up-and-comers who are seduced by the promise of the rock ‘n roll dream, which most musicians have crashed and burned trying to attain, Varone being one of them.

Like Andrew Keidis’ (Red Hot Chili Peppers) revelatory Scar Tissue autobiography, Varone painfully puts himself in front of the world, risking arrest for possession, because the cost of chasing fame is one he wants people to take to heart. Sometimes it isn’t enough to just talk about it to a reporter or in a basement at a private party; Varone himself mentions in a hazed stupor that the entire ordeal of getting high and getting pussy is something you can’t truly understand unless you’re living the life. So rather than let you find out the harsh reality of addiction on your own, Varone turns in footage of himself at his absolute worst to show you what can happen. Since so much reality t.v. out there is utter bullshit, it’s shocking but refreshing that Waking Up Dead is literal gospel. Bret Michaels, take note, you slavering fool...

Bands will tell you not to get into rock ‘n roll if you know what’s good for you. If you want to look like Phil Varone burning his coked-out eyes even further in front of a cathode tube in a zombie-like stupor, that’s your problem, because you’ve had all the warnings in the world why cigarettes will kill you and still you smoke. Drugs are simply the fast lane to an early out, and as Varone’s ex-wife Cathy bats away tears knowing she still cares for a man intent on destroying himself, it is all the evidence you need as to why a life of excess will rob you blind (if not Varone showing you his bank account bearing only $1.57 in it). You’ve heard the warnings; now you can see the warnings. Varone stands to make as many enemies as he does friends by releasing Waking Up Dead, but sometimes you wake up and realize that just being alive prompts you do the right thing...

One From the Vault: Overkill - "Elimination"

Bang your fucking heads!!!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Metal Bits - 8/23/07

DISCLAIMER: Please note that the news item reported yesterday about Between the Buried and Me have proven false. The Metal Minute retracts the statement previously issued to the site.

Photo (c) 2005 Ray Van Horn, Jr. / The Metal Minute

Filed under the Great Big Ball of Suck category, reports that The Hidden Hand has disbanded. After recording the out-of-print Devoid of Color EP and two subsequent albums including The Resurrection of Whiskey Foote released earlier this year, Scott "Wino" Weinrich has called it quits with The Hidden Hand.

Wino comments, "Without going into detail to embarrass anyone, this is a message to inform everyone The Hidden Hand no longer exists. I cannot any longer tolerate being promised stuff that never happens or be accused of dishonesty. I think in my long and fruitful career I have always tried to be fair and honest, even going out of my way creatively and financially to make it happen including compromise. I have put an enormous burden on my family and myself to try and fulfill my dreams which have not been to enrich myself financially, but to enrich others as well as myself spiritually and emotionally. The music industry these days turns on the most mediocre crap, be it pop or cheesy black metal, which is really just sickening or laughable. So be it. I will still be wholeheartedly dedicated to the Shrinebuilder project with Chris and Al of Om and Scott from Neurosis. This will be a long way off but I know these dudes are for real. So all I will say now is thanks for believing. I'm sure some will assume I am some ego guy who's impossible to work with, nothing is farther from the truth. I just expect the same amount of fairness and respect I give. A tall call these days, unfortunately."


Total Fucking Destruction and Rwake (a couple of dates with Weedeater) will be doing a blitz of shows in October, which includes a sushi bar! Raise the horns and up the wasabi! Someone from Indy write in tell us what the hell Casa del Kotex is! Shudder to think... Dates are as follows:

10/04 The Buccaneer - Memphis, TN (Rwake only)
10/05 Lenny's Bar - Atlanta, GA w/Weedeater
10/06 The Jinx - Savannah, GA w/Weedeater
10/07 Volume 11 Tavern - Raleigh, NC
10/08 Nara Sushi - Richmond, VA w/Cough, Parasytic
10/09 The Red and The Black - Washington DC
10/10 Knitting Factory - New York, NY
10/11 Beachland - Cleveland, OH
10/12 Ravari Room - Columbus, OH w/Teeth of the Hydra
10/13 Casa Del Kotex - Indianapolis, IN w/Salvation, Whiskeytits
10/14 The Note - Chicago IL

Photo (c) 2005 Ray Van Horn, Jr. / The Metal Minute

Metal Blade announces the release date of the second Demiricous album Two (Poverty) as October 16th. The Indianapolis thrashers took an entire year off after touring extensively behind their smash debut One (Hellbound) and guitarist Scott Wilson had this to say about the new album:

"We spent a whole fuckin’ year at home getting this fuckin’ new album done. We're broke as shit and we worked shitty jobs, hence the name of the album, Two (Poverty)"

Demiricous recruited Nile, Cannibal Corpse and Through the Eyes of the Dead producer Erik Rutan to man the new album, which may have less Slayer comparables than One (Hellbound), judging by Wilson's remark, "We opened up the flood gates for this one. Let everything out. Blew open the doors and fuckin’ made an album that is all ours."

Some of the song titles on Two (Poverty) are "Leprosaic Belief," "Celebration of Damage," "Stress Fetish," "Knuckle Eye" and "Tusk and Claw." Demiricous is gearing up for another long road haul, so stay tuned for upcoming dates.

One From the Vault: Manowar - "Blow Your Speakers" video

80s air guitarists unite!

Near Life Experience - "Retrieve the Bodies" video

The Metal Minute has an upcoming interview session with Steve Blaze of Lillian Axe, but in the meantime, here's a video from Blaze's other band, Near Life Experience, which has a meatier sound than Lady Lillian. Check it out...

Near Life Experience - Retrieve the Bodies

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Whattya Listenin' to Wednesday - 8/22/07

Whew, big day at The Metal Minute today, and hopefully I'm keeping ya'll busy!

This week I can't seem to keep KMFDM out of my player, and Tohuvabahu literally kept me awake on the road home from Virginia last Friday. Sometimes it's about throbbing music and a chocolate chip ice cream cookie to coast on the lonely highways to...

1. KMFDM - Tohuvabohu
2. The Red Chord - Prey For Eyes
3. Lillian Axe - Waters Rising
4. Ben Harper and The Innocent Criminals - Born to Shine
5. Leaders of the New School - T.I.M.E.

Cough 'em up, readers!

Take 5 With Pierrick of Phazm

The Metal Minute strives to bring you a diverse array of talent from all stretches of the globe, and it was my pleasure to discover the fact that I had some footage laying in my archives from a go-round with France's Phazm. Antebellum Death 'n Roll was one of my favorite albums from last year, so it's a joy to present this lost piece to my reading faithful, complete with the original intro I'd intended for the piece. Cheers...

When your first album deals with nature rising up in personified form and wrecking havoc on mankind, you can take it seriously enough as subtle commentary. When your second album propels you into a pre-Civil War era with a death metal twist to it, you sure as hell can’t take it seriously at all! When listening to France’s Phazm, what you can take seriously is how adept this band is at combining bombastic death metal with American southern slide riffs. Antebellum Death ‘n Roll is a cheeky endeavor, but it’s also one hell of a catchy ride. I caught up with vocalist/lead guitarist Pierrick and got some insight into Phazm’s swampy death trip—with one of the stops leaving the band for broke on a recent European tour.

The Metal Minute: I read about your tour woes with Decapitated and Hate that forced a number of cancellations due to a reportedly inept booking agency that, among other things, left Phazm stranded on the border between France and Spain. Though I’m sure it’s painful to reflect on, what the hell happened?

Pierrick: This tour was a fucking nightmare from the beginning to the end. We should have quit earlier, but you know, by the time you're in the tour bus playing every night, you don't wanna miss anything, and you have to thank the kids for that. All the great support we had from the audience kept us alive and gave us the strength to continue this fucking tour. We had only one meal per day--a meal... I mean a sandwich--no shower, the bus had no heat, no electricity, we had no crew... We of course didn't get paid, nor our bus driver neither, so he decided to stop everything as the situation was becoming really dramatic. You have to blame Rose Production: To all the bands and all the labels, please never work with those ignorants. Kill them.

MM: Your video for “Loneliness” from Hate at First Seed is so over-the-top and a real treat for gorehounds who obviously wouldn’t get to see the impaling and the disemboweling and the girl rubbing her crotch with blood in a mainstream outlet such as Fuse or MTV. When you guys filmed that video, I ’m thinking there was more of a Lucio Fulci fuck-it-all, more is better mentality. Your thoughts?

Pierrick: Well, we of course didn't try to make a commercial video. We just wanted to please our hunger for blood, meat and dark sexual games... We are huge fans of LUCIO FULCI (of corpse) and gore in general; our music is a proof of it. We don't care about being on MTV; PHAZM will never get the attention of this kind of media, so let us do whatever we want! Recording this video was fun, but still I've got some painful memories about the smell of the rotten meat mixed with fake blood. The frozen mud, the spikes and the cold... It was during the winter, in the French mountains, you know...

MM: One of the differences I detect between your first album Hate at First Seed and Antebellum Death ‘n Roll is less focus on the outrageous brutality and more embracing of American sludge and southern Lynard Skynard boogie between the thrash, and I have to mention those riffs again, particularly your slide notes like on “Hunger” and “So White, So Blue, So Cold,” for instance. Lord have mercy, that’s good shit... I think you really tapped into your album’s namesake, as if we’ve stepped into a pre-American Civil War period with a death metal band providing an out of-step (only by 1800s standards) boisterous soundtrack.

Pierrick: What can I say man? I think you understand perfectly what we are all about. Blame us, we're French! We were born in the wrong country, in a wrong period. We love to booze, to raise hell, to ride choppers and to play this fucking death 'n roll music. I'm proud of my country, don't misunderstand me, but I guess we're just too few to know about the real rock 'n roll shit dude, Lynard Skynard, Blackfoot, Down, Black Label Society, Pantera, Crowbar, Molly Hatchet and thousands of bluesmen I could talk about, they are extremely important for us. And you know it's not only about the music, it's a way of thinking, of living!

MM: With “Black ‘n Roll” you guys go for the rockout sections and the stomp marches that is another differentiating factor between these two albums. Do you feel that Phazm has scaled back with Antebellum Death ‘n Roll or taken its next logical step forward?

Pierrick: I don't know man, we're trying to perform as good as we can every day, and we hope we'll play better for the next album, and keep on evolving all the time! “Black 'n Roll” is a song about our sound, between the insanity of extreme metal and the groove of rock 'n roll. It reminds me of “What a Wonderful Death” from our first album. It's up to you to answer this question.

MM: Better yet, I’ll cop out and leave it to the fans. In some ways there’s a certain subliminal cheekiness about the nature’s extolling revenge on mankind motif (similar to The Ents of Lord of the Rings) on Hate at First Seed, and despite the brilliant execution of Antebellum Death ‘n Roll, there’s also an air of lightheartedness about the project, perhaps even more so. Is this accurate in any way?

Pierrick: We're making fun of death, necrophilia and all sorts of macabre topics. We try to put a lot of dark humor into our music and lyrics, and to not take too seriously this satanic circus you can find in the metal scene. We are happy individuals and we try to look at the bright side of death, to make life a better party and turn a sad ending into a joke.

(c) 2007 Ray Van Horn, Jr. / The Metal Minute

CD Review: Dark Funeral - Diabolis Interium reissue

Dark Funeral - Diabolis Interium reissue
2001/2007 Regain Records
Ray Van Horn, Jr.

Let's have another go with Dark Funeral, just to point out a slight contrast from Vobiscum Satanas...

It's quite possible to say that playing for Dark Funeral is more of a commitment than some of its constituents have been able to withstand, physically and perhaps mentally. It seems like Lord Ahriman has had to get creative over the years and though he's had the Emperor Magus Caligula for a good part of the ride, it probably isn't out of the question that say that Ahriman and Dark Funeral devour and consume musicians like offerings at the altar of Satan.

There's no question that Dark Funeral is one of the heaviest and most brutal bands on the planet, so it's probably an oxymoron to say that they overextend themselves just a tad on 2001's Diabolis Interium. The album is equally fast and equally ferocious as anything they've released. Even when stepping down many tempos to cover King Diamond's "The Trial" and Slayer's "Dead Skin Mask" on the bonus disc of this reissue, Dark Funeral is so anti-wussy that they could fuck up entirely and still be one of the best of their trade.

The only criticism of Diabolis Interium, if it can be considered a criticism at all, is that it just isn't as compelling as their earlier bodies of work. They do nothing wrong on this album; it's a blinding, dizzying affair, just as you'd expect from this group, but musically it just doesn't reach deep enough to stir the emotions, save to get you good and jazzed. Maybe this is all you want from Dark Funeral, but as one of the dark sovereigns of the genre, Diabolis Interium falls only a hair short of their renowned mastery of the macabre.

That being said, if you want to get acclimated to the extremity of this band and then dwell in their danker cellars, then Diabolis Interium is an excellent place to get started.

Rating: ***1/2

One From the Archives: Anvil - "Mad Dog" Video

A classic, no matter how you look at it. Cheers...

Metal Bits - 8/22/07

Photo by Keith Kiiroja

Between the Buried and Me reports that they received an email from a young listener that included a picture of him holding a pirated CD of the band's upcoming album Colors, which isn't scheduled for release until September 18th. Between the Buried and Me issued the following statement to The Metal Minute: "Hey, the FBI would like to thank you for the tactless picture of stolen goods."

Photo by Alex Solca

Machine Head bassist Adam Duce broke his leg in a dirt bike incident and will miss the band’s upcoming U.S. Black Tyranny Tour. The band’s publicist reports: “Initially thought to be nothing more than a bad sprain, x-rays later confirmed the break, which required surgery to attach a steel plate and two screws to the broken bone. A disappointed Duce laments, ‘It sucks to be in this position, because we have such a killer tour set up for the end of the summer and now we'll have to find a replacement for me. I've never missed one show that this band has ever played up to this point and I never thought I would see the day when Machine Head would be playing and I wouldn't be on stage.’ The band is auditioning a temporary bassist for the Black Tyranny Tour, which dates are as follows:

Confirmed dates... More to follow.


Photo courtesy of

OBITUARY and ALABAMA THUNDERPUSSY are tag-teaming together, along with FULL BLOWN CHAOS and HEMLOCK on the road throughout early fall. Check out these dates:

09/10 - Raleigh, NC - Volume 11
09/11 - Springfield, VA - Jaxx
09/12 - New York, NY - BB Kings
09/13 - Toronto, ON - the Big Bop
09/15 - Southbridge, MA - ADC Performance Center
09/16 - Williamsville, NY - Fright Fest @ Club Infinity
09/19 - Mt Clemens, MI - the Emerald Theatre
09/20 - Cleveland, OH - Peabody's
09/21 - Maplewood, MN - The Rock
09/22 - Indianapolis, IN - Indianapolis Metal Fest
09/24 - Colorado Springs, CO - Union Station ***Venue Change***
09/27 - South Gate, CA - The Allen Theatre ***NEW DATE!!***
09/28 - Concord, CA - Bourbon Street
09/29 - San Marcos, CA - the Jumping Turtle
09/30 - Hollywood, CA - Knitting Factory
10/03 - San Antonio, TX - The White Rabbit ***NEW DATE!!***
10/04 - Dallas, TX - Granada Theatre
10/05 - Houston, TX - Meridian
10/06 - New Orleans, LA - the Hangar

This news release comes via MySpace:

MySpace LIVE! Teams Up With Projekt Revolution for Gigantic Free Six-Hour Concert on August 22nd

MySpaceTV is hosting a special MySpace LIVE! webcast of the highly anticipated Projekt Revolution concert in Clarkston, Michigan on August 22nd. Matt Pinfield and LA's Metal Sanaz are hosting the six hour concert (presented by NowWhat) that starts at 1:30PM PST exclusively on the NowWhat MySpace profile (

The following bands will be rocking out:

Linkin Park, Placebo, My Chemical Romance, Julien-K, Taking Back Sunday, HIM, Mindless Self-Indulgence and others.

But don’t just watch! In addition to the awesome streaming online video, MySpace users will also be able to submit real-time messages through an on-site message ticker and there will also be FAN CAM! Five lucky fans at the Projekt Revolution concert will be armed with ComVu PocketCaster Nokia N95 compatible cell phones and will deliver personal video footage of the concert which will be incorporated into the live stream on MySpace. ComVu’s PocketCaster lets anyone with a compatible cell phone stream live video from their phone to the internet with a press of a button. Tell them what you want them to film!