Tag: heavy metal

Listening Booth — Scorpions, “The Sails of Charon”

Listening Booth — Scorpions, “The Sails of Charon”

Listening Booth, Music
For Friday, here's a slab of vintage 1970s metal and progressive rock all rolled up into one beautiful, German package. Wait, that doesn't sound right. Anyway, this song is on the excellent 1977 Scorpions LP Taken By Force. It was the last Scorps record with the inimitable Uli Jon Roth. This is a promo video and thus features the horribly synced drumming you'd expect to see in such a thing. For those on Spotify, you can check out this track and most of the ones featured in my Listening Booth series by subscribing to this playlist.
Behold the Strange Beauty of the Metal Ballads Album Covers

Behold the Strange Beauty of the Metal Ballads Album Covers

Album Cover of the Week, Music
I can't tell if these album covers for a compilation series called Metal Ballads are serious or not, but they are 100% undistilled awesome either way. They were released in Germany between 1988 and 1991, before grunge made things like this look even more foolish than they already did, so I'm inclined to think that RCA Records didn't realize they were unintentionally goofing on the entire hair metal scene. But still, look at these things. You could take the title off these drawings and pass them off as the covers to some astoundingly bad romance novels. Ones that take place in a world where shirts are but a distant memory and only the tender, rocking ballads of the Scorpions will see you through another hellish day sharing body heat for survival. Oh and for the curious, I've included ...
Album Cover of the Week: Rainbow — Rising

Album Cover of the Week: Rainbow — Rising

Album Cover of the Week, Music
I'm going to save my longer writeup of Rainbow's Rising for one of my Desert Island Discs posts, but for the moment let's just gaze upon the awesomeness that is the cover. If you had never even heard of Rainbow, Ritchie Blackmore, or Ronnie James Dio, one look at this would probably give you a clue as to what the music sounds like. I mean, it's a titanic fist rising out of misty mountains and clenching a rainbow. Oh and don't forget the castle on the right and the mysterious cloaked figure in the foreground. Yes folks, 1976's Rising is one of the prototypical metal albums of our lifetime. And this painting was created by Ken Kelly, one of the greatest fantasy artists ever. Kiss fans know his work well, as he depicted the band on the covers for Destroyer and Love Gun. His work als
So fresh: 10 Black Sabbath songs that will never get old

So fresh: 10 Black Sabbath songs that will never get old

Music
Last Friday the original, legendary Black Sabbath lineup -- Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Bill Ward -- announced that they are reuniting once again for a tour and a 2012 Rick Rubin-produced album. I'm holding out hope that it won't be a disaster, as the quasi-Sabbath Heaven & Hell project (R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio) was quite good. So to honor the godfathers of heavy metal I've put together this compilation of ten songs (from the original foursome) that are not their biggest hits, but are still true genre classics. 1 -- "Black Sabbath" (from Black Sabbath, 1970) This is it, people. Scholars can debate the origins of metal all they want, but for my money it starts with the first song from Sabbath's first album. Those opening three guitar chords from Iommi ar...
Pop Culture Capsule: Iron Maiden through the years

Pop Culture Capsule: Iron Maiden through the years

Capsules, History
It's no exaggeration to say that Iron Maiden has not only been one of the most influential heavy metal bands of the last thirty or so years, but they've also been one of the greatest. They were one of my first musical loves and to this day are part of my personal trinity of unshakable favorites (next to Kiss and Rush). It's high time I devoted more space to the mighty Maiden, so I thought a trip down memory lane would be nice. Here are the numerous lineups Iron Maiden has known since Steve Harris formed it on Christmas Day 1975. Up the irons! December 1975 – December 1976 The very first Iron Maiden lineup! From left to right are -- Dave Sullivan (guitar), Ron Matthews (drums), Paul Day (lead vocals), Terry Rance (guitar), and Steve Harris (bass guitar and backing vocals).
My favorite music: 1983

My favorite music: 1983

Music
If there's one thing the internet lacks, it's pointless music lists. So to fill that void, here's a sampling of my favorite albums from some random year. Let's say, 1983. (Spotify users, check out the accompanying playlist and subscribe!) Robert Plant, The Principle of Moments -- While I would in no way claim that Robert Plant's solo output bests Led Zeppelin's music, a lot of times I simply prefer to listen to Plant. In fact I'd say that Plant has enjoyed one of the most artistically rewarding solo careers of any artist who was part of a popular band that I can think of. The Principle of Moments is probably my favorite Plant solo effort (next to Fate of Nations) -- he sounds freed from the constraints of creating larger-than-life rock and the music just crackles with energy. "In the...
Listening booth — Mastodon, “Spectrelight”

Listening booth — Mastodon, “Spectrelight”

Listening Booth, Music
It's probably not going to be as awesome as Leviathan, but Mastodon's upcoming LP -- The Hunter -- promises to be better than Crack the Skye. At least based off the first three singles. First there was "Black Tongue," which has the same vibe as Blood Mountain and is quite good. Then there was "Curl of the Burl," which incidentally looks like the title of a Burl Ives exercise video. In any case, it was a bit disappointing. Now there's single/video #3, "Spectrelight," which sounds the most like the Mastodon I love (and looks like a really cool screen saver to boot!). The rawness of the Remission/Leviathan era has been polished away but it's still hella aggressive and cool. It features Scott Kelly from Neurosis on vocals. The Hunter comes out September 26 on Roadrunner Records. Rel...
Listening booth — Mastodon, “Black Tongue”

Listening booth — Mastodon, “Black Tongue”

Listening Booth, Music
I really should know better by now than to predict how much I'll like an album based off one song. I was certain Mastodon's last album, Crack the Skye, would be a total face-melter, but I was sadly wrong. But I do have renewed hope for their upcoming LP, The Hunter. Why? Check out the first single, "Black Tongue." Aw yeah! This sounds like the Mastodon I love - heavy and vengeful, but still melodic. The Hunter is out September 27. Related articles New Mastodon! "Black Tongue!" Full Song! Listen Now, You Fools!!! (metalsucks.net) Mastodon Roar Back With Monster Metal Anthem (spin.com) Mastodon's B-Sides Are Better Than Most Bands A-Sides. (popblerd.com) Mastodon Releases New Song, Forgets They're Mastodon (allmetalresource.com)
Vintage View-Master: Germany (Nations of the World series), reel 2

Vintage View-Master: Germany (Nations of the World series), reel 2

Ephemera
Welcome back, meine freunde! I hope you enjoyed the first part of our trip through 1960s Germany, courtesy my View-Master collection. Our journey continues on reel two, where we stop by beautiful Bavaria in southeast Germany. One of the oldest states of Europe, Bavaria was established as a duchy in the mid first millennium. In the 17th century, the Duke of Bavaria became a Prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire. The Kingdom of Bavaria existed from 1806 to 1918, and Bavaria has since been a free state (republic). Modern Bavaria also includes parts of the historical regions of Franconia and Swabia. It is the largest German state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany.   #1 - Boys' Band on Parade in Dinkelsbühl Festival Dinkelsbühl is currently