Friday, February 27, 2009

On this week, 20 years ago

Growing up in South America in the 1980s, little in the way of metal was readily available to us. The tapes my brother and I owned back then were tenth generation dubs, and the Metal Hammer magazines we cherished were extremely hard to come by. The damn magazines cost five times the price printed on the cover, they were at least two years old by the time we bought them, and were often missing most pages by the time they made it to the store. I know I sound like an old man, the type who constantly tells the story about how when he was a kid he had to, "walk up hill in the snow both ways in order to get to school." But see, I AM an old man. As a matter of fact, here's a picture of me with wearing my Cannibal Corpse leotard after I did some shopping at my local supermarket.

So you see, I can't help myself. I'm old(er) and I now tell war stories to everyone. Look, I'm merely trying to paint a picture here, so give me a chance. Metal was beyond underground and obscure during the late 80s in most South American countries. So few people knew about it, that they guarded whatever information or music they had with all their might. The metal scene was made up of very secretive, often scary individuals. To give you an idea of how tough it was to get your hands on music, I can tell you that no record store sold anything heavier than Def Leppard. Perhaps the greatest source for metal music, a small record store (the size of closet, if you can call that a store) which was located downtown (over an hour away by bus for my brother and I) sold Betamax copies of bootleg videos and tapes of albums. Upon paying a ridiculous sum of money, you would be able to pick up your copy of the tape as late as a month after. Oftentimes, you never got your tape, and ended up paying the very same guy who had just ripped you off for yet another tape.

Why do I tell you all this? Because I'm about to tell you that the first major metal concert I went to was by none other than Quiet Riot....and I want to give you some context so that you don't laugh at me for too long.

Looks like these guys owned a ton of sock in the mill that produced striped fabrics.

Right now, you're probably saying to yourself: "What? I thought this was a blog about metal? Quiet Riot? What?" Believe me, I understand your point. But what I'm asking you to trust me on, is that even though most of us were well aware of bands like Cryptic Slaughter, Venom, Whiplash, Celtic Frost and Tankard back then, the idea of a big time band coming to our lowly country was a huge event. This was even true if the band was weak and sucked. We knew they sucked. By early 1989, Quiet Riot were washed up...even for Quiet Riot standards, and thus they ended up playing some shows in South America to pay for their rent. What in other countries would not have even been news, became a huge deal in our backwards corner of the universe. Like a monkey who drinks its own urine due to a lack of fresh water, my brother and I went to the show to see Quiet Riot, all as a result of not having access to "real" bands.

The concert took place in a large arena, with a pretty good local band opening up. The opening band sounded a bit like Maiden, and we were all pretty excited about that. My brother and I were young, and my mom was way cool, so she went with us. The show took place on Ash Wednesday (hence the image at the top). South America being a wildly catholic part of the planet, nearly every single person at the concert (about 10,000 in attendance) had the cross given to them by a priest on their forehead. This may not seem like a big deal to you, but when you consider that many dudes at the concert kinda' looked like this (see below) it was certainly kinda' funny.

No matter how metal, South Americans know that if they don't get their cross on ash wednesday, their mom will kill them. Luckily, my mom was cool and didn't care that we didn't go get one. We never did, and we never went to church, an absolute oddity for south american standards.

In retrospect, its weird to think that one of my first experiences with heavy live music for me was Quiet Riot. I saw many bands play live before that, some great ones, but they're not worth discussing in a metal blog. So, I'm a bit embarrassed about all this, but I ask you to take into account that the time and place where this happened was and is very different from the environment most of us call home today, and very different from what most of you called home growing up. Had I been able to, I would have surely seen some sick bands around then...but none were around. Thus, like the monkey, I drank urine instead of water. You may think I'm stretching the truth a bit when I tell you it was cool to go see Quiet Riot, but believe me when I tell you that a few other thousand metal dudes, some rocking Sodom shirts and bullet belts, were there with me. And we all loved it. That was then. Today, I am a different man. In fact, here's a picture of me at a recent metal fest.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cynic/Meshuggah, 2.19.2009. Thoughts and Observations

I don't go to many shows anymore. It's not that I don't enjoy seeing live bands, it's just that my priorities have changed as I've aged. Whereas back in my college years I would happily pile into a car with friends and attend just about any show happening within fifty miles, nowadays I'd rather spend my Friday nights sitting in front of the television watching Battlestar Galactica DVDs with a mug of Stash Moroccan Mint Green Tea in my hand. Not exactly the most exciting way to spend a Friday night, I know, but for me it's entirely satisfying. Last Thursday, however, I was motivated to leave the comforts of my home to do something I never thought I'd be able to do--see Cynic live.

I'm a HUGE Cynic fan, ask any of the Metal Inquisition Staffers. I've been listening to Focus and the '91 demo religiously for years. I'm not ashamed to say that when I heard that Cynic was re-forming I shrieked with joy like a teenage girl that's just been offered a deflowering by Robert Pattison. I was a little apprehensive when I heard that they were recording a new album and more than ready to throw myself on a sword if said album sucked and ended up ruining their legacy. Shockingly enough, Traced in Air turned out to be quite possibly the greatest reunion album in the history of music. Against all the odds, Paul Masvidal, Sean Reinert, and Sean Malone (What the fuck does Jason Gobel have going on that he's too good to re-join the band?) managed to make an album that sounds exactly like what I imagine Cynic would sound like in 2009 if they had never broken up. They've dialed down the death metal and turned up the prog and fusion influences, but it still sounds like Cynic. There's still sweet riffs, soaring guitar solos, amazing drumming, and vocoder. So when I heard that they'd be playing Irving Plaza, which is a mere twenty minute train ride from my apartment, I immediately purchased a ticket.

I managed to time my departure perfectly as I arrived just as Cynic was preparing to play so I didn't have to sit through the shitty opening band, The Faceless, who I've never seen nor heard, but I'm sure sucks. I quickly ascended to the balcony and staked out a spot along the railing to the left of the stage. The place was PACKED. The show was completely sold out. As I looked around I couldn't help but notice the motley crowd. Lots of virgins, some legit bangers, meatheads, Hot Topic shoppers, and quite a few norms. The dude standing behind me was wearing a leather motorcycle jacket with a denim vest over it proudly displaying a Metallica patch on his front breast pocket and he kept making fun of Cynic. Motherfucker. Anyway, from the second Cynic hit the stage they killed it. They looked and sounded great. They played behind a huge banner with the band logo and these standees with the Traced in Air cover art. It was totally surreal. I lost my shit when they started playing "Veil of Maya." Watching Sean Reinert play is any drum nerd's wet dream and Paul Masvidal wailed his ass off. The scab bass player was kinda hard to watch and the scab guitarist was relegated to playing in the shadows. They played a bunch of new songs, which all sounded awesome, and Paul gave a little speech about how the band had come full circle by playing this show because the last show Cynic played before breaking up in '94 was in New York. They also played "Celestial Voyage" and "I'm But A Wave To." I'm still bummed they didn't play "Uroboric Forms" and the dude in front of me kept shouting "Pleading for Preservation," which I knew wasn't going to happen, but at least they did play "How Could I." The last solo in that song is probably my all time favorite and it never fails to move me (no homo). They only played for about a half hour, but I'm not about to complain because any live Cynic is better than no live Cynic.

To my surprise quite a few people cleared out once Cynic's set was over. I, on the other hand and against my better judgement, decided to stay and watch some of Meshuggah's set. I really liked Meshuggah in high school, but once I grew out of liking shitty music I stopped listening to them. I really just wanted to hear "Future Breed Machine" which is the only Meshuggah song I know and admit to liking. Let me tell you, people REALLY like Meshuggah. The second they started playing the entire place went fucking nuts. I haven't seen that many retards moshing since E-Town Concrete's "farewell" show. Needless to say, I couldn't take much of those chodes so I decided to bounce after a couple songs. I should also mention that during Meshuggah's set I constantly kept looking over at this really hot girl standing across from me that looked like Amy Winehouse. She was rave dancing throughout their entire set. Before leaving I took a piss and there was a can of Budweiser and a turd floating in the toilet. I'm pretty sure I saw Lord Ezec AKA Danny Diablo enter the restroom as I was leaving.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Retroview: New York Death Metal

Before there was slam metal as we know it today, there was NYDM. When I discovered NYDM, I was listening to Morbid Angel, Obituary, Napalm Death, and all the other classics. I loved those bands, but it wasn't quite scratching the itch. I couldn't put my finger on it, but I knew I wanted to hear something more... When I first heard the slamming slamz of the NYDM sound, it was like someone reached into my brain and pulled out the sounds I had in my head and put them onto, er, cassette. It was as though I had found my musical soulmate! On that note, this is far from a comprehensive study of NYDM, but here is an overview of the bands that I liked the most.

I will start with my favorite NYDM band. They don't get nearly as much press as Suffocation or Internal Bleeding, despite sharing some members, but in my opinion they are better than either. That's right, better than Suffo!! They aren't as accessible as Suffo because they don't really use melody as much, they just fuckin' slam, slam, and slam some more. "Sermon of Mockery" is their best release, although I like all of their records. After "Sermon" they changed their style up, and followed it up with the "Hatredangeranddisgust" EP and "System of the Animal" LP. Unlike "Sermon," which is just pure death metal, those two records pretty much sound like hardcore, or more specifically like Hatebreed playing death metal covers. They're good for sure, but nothing like "Sermon." I recommend that you download all of them, but definitely don't sleep on "Sermon."

Buffalo's Baphomet get no love! OK, they're definitely not the best band of all time, but they don't have to be, they just have to slam- and slam they do. Baphomet is one of those bands that are sort of like Kraft singles: you know they're a shitty, half-assed imitation of the real thing, but you can't help but binge on them every now and then anyway. With that said, I would say this record is for genre enthusiasts only... but still awesome! It's meat-and-potatoes NYDM with no frills or fancy shit, but for some of us, that's just what the doctor ordered.

Internal Bleeding
If you were into this shit in the 90s, you remember how controversial Internal Bleeding were. Lots of people hated on them for their Long Island guido steez, but "Voracious Contempt" struck a chord with all kinds of douchebags and meatheads such as myself. Years later, I was at a Suffocation show in Poughkeepsie, and the fat guy who was singing for them at the time was sweating my girlfriend at the time super hard because she was a skinny indie girl with good hair. In her words, "he wanted it bad." Malamor also played that show, who almost warrant a paragraph in this post... but not quite. They will be featured in the upcoming post entitled "Bands who are named after marshmallows." Anyway, Internal Bleeding didn't invent the "slamz for slamz' sake" style, but they definitely popularized it. For those about the slam, we salute you!

I'm not going to write about Suffocation because I hope everybody reading this is more than familiar with them. All I'm going to say is this: do you remember the Spazz song "The Egg On The Hirax Cover"? They should have written one called "The Killer Robot On The Effigy Of The Forgotten Cover." If you'd like to read more about our thoughts on Suffocation, please read this article which goes into extensive detail on Frank Mullen's Trump Plaza shirt from the "Effigy" photo shoot.

These guys were B-level for sure, and not that great. Their record was pretty much just OK, except for the song "Prophecies Foretold" which was fucking siiiiiiiiiiiiiiick! I was equal parts bummed and surprised that I couldn't find the studio version of the song on Youtube, but you can at least catch a live version above. Watching them bounce to the slam parts is worth a LOL or two when you're not busy moshing your balls off.

I am extremely disappointed that I couldn't find any of their songs on Youtube! It's 2009, shouldn't every song by every obscure Long Island slam metal band be available within like four mouse clicks?! Where's Al Gore, I would like to lodge a complaint. In any case, Disfigured were like thinking man's NYDM. Their song structures were more interesting and nuanced than other B-level bands like, say, Dehumanized, and they could definitely play their instruments a lot better. The drummer, whose name I forget, was particularly good. I know it was something French-sounding, we'll just call him George St. Pierre for now. Anyway, these guys were/are highly underrated, and if there is any justice in the world they will attain legendary kvlt status like Ripping Corpse and Havohej. If you want to impress the Guttural Slamming Brutality Crew with how down you are with NYDM, do yourself a favor and download their EP, "Prelude to Dimentia."

Repudilation / Entorturement / 420
I am lumping all three of these bands together because they shared many of the same members, and were similar in sound and spirit. I could go on forever about them, but for now I'll just say that all you need to know is that these guys were the first geniuses to combine rap and slam metal! Also, the drummer for Repudilation used an ice bell for a ride, which is kind of hilarious and awesome at the same time. And let's talk about how amazingly awful these kids were at naming bands. I mean, it just went from bad to worse! Repudilation is at least a real word, but Entorturement is one of the worst names ever. It was a big source of inspiration for Lucho and I when we named our band Disengorgmentification. But then they managed to one-up themselves by calling their next band fucking 420! It's like the best part of ICP, Internal Bleeding, and Cypress Hill all wrapped up into one. Needless to say I love all three of these bands a lot! If anyone has the full version of the 420 album in the video above, please link it in the comments!!

Morpheus Descends
I'll conclude with one of the godfathers of NYDM. They're really more of the Demolition Hammer style of half-thrash, half-death metal in that they never blast and never really slam, but if you listen closely like the RCA dog, you can def hear the roots of slam in there. Because they were on JL America, the only label shittier than Wild Rags, it was kind of hard to get into Morpheus Descends back in the day. If you were really down with NYDM, though, you tracked that shit down because you saw the dudes in Suffocation rocking Morpheus Descends shirts all the time. And you knew that if it was good enough for Terrence Hobbes, it was fucking good enough for you!! Anyway, if you're into Incantation or that style of sludgy, proto-NYDM, make sure you track this shit down. CORPSE UNDER GLASS!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Hottest fashion accessory of the season: The dragon bag

Not just a fashion accessory, this bag has magical powers. Embedded deep within its leather eyes, are magic crystals that keep the opposite sex at least 50 feet away at all times.

When I think back to some of the things I've worn in my lifetime I cringe. Like any other true fashion pioneer, I was fearless. At my lowest point, I was a mix between a death metal fan, and a gang-banger from the movie Blood In Blood Out. To say I was confused is an understatement.

Is it weird that I wanted to look like these guys? Most metal fans would say "yes, very weird indeed", but the guys in Excruciating Terror would surely understand.

However badly I dressed, and perhaps continue to (what do I know?) I have to say that I was truly amazed and bewildered upon finding the dragon bag that you can see above. Out of all the fashion arenas into which I dipped my toes during my youth (and there are many), I'm proud to say that I never went into any kind of a goth direction. Not the black metal/goth route, not the NIN/goth route, not the The Cure/goth route, not the Nightmare Before Christmas/goth route. I know this is not saying much, but when you've been steeped in stupidity for long periods of time (as I have) you have to take both comfort and pride in the little things.

Nice lunchbox, what's in there...your balls?

Today, perhaps more than ever before, the line between goth and metal is blurred, at least to a partial outsider like me. When I used to Tivo Headbanger's Ball a couple of years ago, I was amazed by how many bands had female singers and dudes in bondage pants. Call me an old man, but I miss the days when musical styles and the fashions that went with them were clearely defined. Bermuda shorts and skateboard? must be an Anthrax fan, good to meet you. Leather jacket, bullet belt, Slayer shirt and black boots? You, sir, are a speed metal fan...the pleasure is all mine.

Sometime around 1995, the world went upside down. Metal guys starting wearing bigger pants (even Chris Barnes wore JNCO jeans), then came the skate shoes and fashion accessories from other subcultures. When metal dudes started shaving their heads, I knew it was all over. By the time goth started to creep in (by way of black metal usually) I knew it was all over. Today, I found the picture of the dragon bag and I began to dream. I began to dream about a simpler time. A time when metal was metal, goth was goth and you knew where people stood. A time before ICP blended metal, with pseudo hip-hop and stupdity.

Is it male or female? Does it make a difference?

Once I saw a picture of this bag/monstrosity I began to wonder just how many misguided metal fans are out there, dreaming of rocking this thing along with an oversized Craddle Of Filth shirt, maybe sweet fishnet arm things, and those big bondage pants that appear to be all the rage in that subculture. In a way, you almost have to give these people credit, they have managed to make themselves unlikable at a time when you can like metal and all kinds of stupid music and still get plenty of action while you are still in high school.

Duh, doesn't he know that gray makes you look fat?

So while the picture of the bag will no doubt depress most people who have any sense of decency, it actually cheers me up. Today I can proudly say that there is at least one horrible metal trend that never had me as an active participant. Hoooray for me!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Metal Inquisition Investigative Report: Metal Real Estate (Part 4)

As I've stated before, one unfortunate aspect of metal is the lack of information about the earnings of metal musicians. In sports, for example, this type of information is often public. Why not in metal? I have long asked for complete transparency in the realm of metal...but my calls to Steamhammer records have gone unanswered, so too have my faxes to Wild Rags. It's for this reason that we here at Metal Inquisition have decided to roll up our sleeves and once again check into these matters the only way we know how. Real estate.

It just so happened that as we were starting this investigation, a fantastic email from a reader who lives in the same town as Manowar came into our mailbox. The email featured all kinds of fantastic insight as to what it's like to be at ground zero of the Manowar epidemic. Notice that I use the term "ground zero", which is often used in the context of 9-11...because in a way, Manowar itself is a good bit like a musical 9-11.

Manowar...pioneers in homoerotic attire since 1980.

As with all information we publish, we had to be thorough in checking out just how factual the reader's information was. As it turns out, it all checked out in multiple ways...and thank god for that. As a result of his email, our readers will now have a more thorough picture of what it's really like to be in and around Manowar. Prepare are moments away from reading about how the KINGS OF METAL really live their lives. It's gonna' be a bumpy ride. Get ready.

FACT #1:
Joey DeMaio lives in the basement of his parents' house in Auburn NY

I know, it's not hard to believe at all. Actually, it's barely shocking...but knowing that it's actually true is simply fantastic. It's a bit like when the gay community found out that Rosie O'Donnell was actually a lesbian. They already knew about it...but having it out in the open gave them all the ability to finally move on.

This is the house Joey lives in. It's worth $190,000. As before, our non-American readers can convert this amount, and other amounts in this article, into their own currency here. Yes, it's out of the basement of this house that Joey runs his musical empire. Maybe when his parents move away or retire in Boca, he'll inherit the house. Could that be his sweet Ford Probe out front? Nothing says "metal" like a fifteen year old American coupe with four cylinders that puts out a "meh" inducing 110 horse power. By the way, look at all the weeds growing in and around the driveway...Joey's mom is going to be pissed! Joey better get out there and do some weeding...pronto! I can hear her saying "Joey, I don't care if you are the King Of Metal. You better be the King Of Weeding, go out there and take care of that driveway!"

Who's that sexy Italian beast wearing the karate uniform? And what about that Casio watch and platform shoes? It's the one and only king of metal of course! He probably keeps this amazing outfit in a closet at his mom's house. Mom threatens to throw it out during every spring cleaning...and Joey flips out each and every time.

As much of a pain as it probably is to have a leech like Joey living in your basement, he also happens to be a nice Catholic boy. Oh yes indeed. Joey is a member of the Knights Of Malta, a catholic order of some kind with a very confusing history. Check out Joey wearing some sweet robes. He looks like an aging, upstate New York, Italian dracula:

Can you imagine being Joey's mom, and seeing him in his dracula robe, or his furry armor sneaking fat 19 year old girls down into the basement? The woman is a saint.

Here we see Joey with his parents, who no doubt cry themselves to sleep over what a joke their pathetic son has turned out to be. See the microwave oven in the back? That's where Joey's mom has tried to put her head during numerous suicide attempts.

Regarding Joey, our reader states:

I have the great misfortune being from the same shithole town as Manowar. One of the perks of living here, though, is that I can get close looks at Joey DeMaio's thinning, dyed hair as he shops for broccoli at the local grocery store. You see dudes wearing Manowar shirts around town all the time. Guys of that age probably went to high school with them, and knew them before they were 'rock stars'. I can imagine how things were in the early 80's when all the local scumbags were into metal. Now, things have changed all of their illegitimate children are a bunch of wiggers. I don't know what's worse.

FACT #2: Karl Logan wears a fanny pack, and gives guitar lessons to 11 year olds.

I know, I know...these are not exactly revelations, but aren't you grateful to know these things are actually true? Our reader also filled us in on the fact that Karl lives in this house (see below), which he rents. Since he rents, I wont bother giving you the price...but looking at the picture, I think you'll agree that you could probably trade a bag of potatoes for it.

The building where Karl Logan lives, which was previously Manowar's practice space. What did you expect...a castle with torches and a mote?

Our reader tells us more:
Karl Logan is the local guitar teacher and lives in some shitty old building that Manowar used to rehearse in. He drives a beat up pickup with "9/11 was a lie" bumper stickers on it. Did I mention he wears a fanny pack everywhere? Living here, I get to see Karl pulling cash out of the fanny pack he wears everywhere to pay for his coffee (dude kinda reminds me of Mantas in that laugh-out-loud funny looking kinda way).

FACT #3: Eric Adams works construction to make ends meet

I know, I probably figured that this was the case. I wish I lived in Auburn so I could have Eric Adams come and do the drywall in my basement. I would blast Manowar upstairs as he huffed and puffed carrying sheets of drywall down the steps. Can you imagine? It would be amazing. Mr. Adams lives in a modest home. A VERY modest home that costs $69,000.

Look above the door, at least the guy has satellite TV. Good for him. I guess you could call this "the house that being the King of Metal built", or "the house that singing at children's parties built". Either will do.

As pointed out by one of our readers, Eric also teaches archery classes at the local Bass Pro Shop. You can read about his hunting abilities in the local news sources here. Eric also seems to perform music at children's festivals. But don't judge him, I'm sure he performs a catalog that is very high in metal content.

Much like a dead bird's feathers which loose their luster after the years, Eric's hair appears to loose both its pizzazz and its hair dye when he's not on the road. What the hell kind of hair color has his plumage faded down to? Is he trying to blend into the surroundings as part of his camouflage? I can't believe he gets away with hunting when he lives so close to Syracuse. If Karl Crisis hears about this, there's gonna' be trouble.

Our reporter on the street tells us:

I get to eavesdrop on Eric Adams' (real name Lou Marullo, his stage name is a combination of his kids' names) tales of glory at recent European festivals, while watching high school football games. Eric lives in a small house, right next door to a metal foundry on some depressing little street. Perhaps that's where they get their swords made. He does construction work on his off time from the band, which probably equates to 11 months a year. One of his kids is in a joke cover band called Motley Crouton that plays the shithole bars around here.

Sweet 'stache go do my drywall!

If you want to go further into the world of all things Manowar, check out Eric's son's MySpace page here. You can also check out his band's page here.

In closing:
Do any readers have any input about other metal demi-stars, their monetary earnings or real estate holdings? Let us know.

Also, if the reader who sent us this email, or any other resident of Auburn can send in pictures of Eric carrying drywall, or Joey buying'll get many, many thanks from us, and the entire world. The only guy who won't thank you will be this 17 year old who just got inked. Imagine his surprise when he figures out that he makes more money bagging groceries part-time than Joey does. Ouch.

In the past, postings about Machine Head and Rob Flynn's Disease (RFD for short) got us an insane number of page views, mostly from angry fans. Our posts also initiated heated, angry diatribes in Machine Head boards. Let's see what this post does to Manowar fans. I can't wait.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Riff salad cookoff 2K9

I'm not sure why, but for some reason metal fans (and especially metal musicians) fetishize technique like Mortiis slurping on a stinky toe. It's as though a band is only as good as the number of notes they play per second. This isn't a new phenomenon, but as the bar gets raised higher and higher, it leads to what we like to call "riff salad," or albums that might as well be a collection of blindingly fast, yet incredibly boring, riffs thrown into a Salad Shooter and spit out the other end, topped with a sprinkling of Willowtip logos. With that in mind, we decided to have a cookoff at our Mid-Atlantic Innovation Center to find out who has the best recipe for riff salad (or worst, as the case may be)! We will rate them on a scale of 1 to 10 Unique Leader logos, with 10 being the ultimate in riff salad.

They got access to the Nocturnus cloning machine and made two copies of the douchelord in the middle.

Deeds of Flesh
Let's start with the inventors of this wretched genre. Once upon a time, Deeds were a great band. I loved the first EP and "Trading Pieces." The drummer for Odious Sanction gave me a cassette dub of it in 1997 and it not-so-gradually melted my 19 year old brain. Those records were super technical, yet also really catchy, with good songwriting. But then came "Inbreeding The Anthropophagi" or whatever the fuck it's called, I'm not looking it up. They traded their once-sick riffs for non-stop tremolo picking and double bass. I looked at the sky and said, to borrow a phrase, "Sir, have I wronged you in some way??" Whatever the case may have been, Deeds had officially jumped the shark and created the dull, lifeless genre known as riff salad. Subsequent albums just got worse and worse. You can just feel the energy leave the room when you put on "Path of the Weakening," and "Reduced to Ashes" reduced me to napping.
Verdict: 9/10 Unique Leader logos

Invisible oranges? Check. Fat guy with a goatee and shaved head? Check. If it looks like a duck...

When the self-titled Origin record came out back in 1999, it ripped my face completely off my skull. I still listen to it pretty regularly, largely for the unique drumming and strange song structures. It sort of sounds like if you took a death metal band and threw them down the stairs while they were playing- in a good way. I especially like "Vomit You Out." Sadly, though, all their other records are the most boring of boring shit that ever bored! It's just one long blast with the tweedly sweep picking or whatever over it, which is a real shame considering how groundbreaking and original their first record was. Although all copies of their newer records should be buried in a landfill like all those unsold copies of "ET" for Atari 2600, the self-titled one is so excellent that I am going to give them a relatively modest riff salad ranking. Also, it's Valentine's Day and I think I have a Valentine, so I'm feeling nice.
Verdict: 7/10 Unique Leader logos

This reminds me of those displays of high school senior photos that you see at the mall where the kid is holding his baseball mitt or whatever.

I'm switching it up a bit here but venturing outside the world of death metal. But just because these guys don't have "tion" or "ment" in their name doesn't mean they aren't riff salad! Their songs are as Salad Shooter as it gets, only the kids like them because they are all about castles and white pride. Also, they were in Guitar Hero- but so what? Kim Wilde is in Singstar and you don't see the kids on her jock. In any case, I like a little fantasy metal here and there: sometimes after a rough day at work I'll draw a bubble bath, light some candles and relax while I bust Rhapsody on the Bose Wave CD player. But let's be honest, this shit sucks. This band is a dumb cartoon and they play too many fucking notes. The last part is the real problem, because I like plenty of bands that are dumb cartoons (Cynic, for example).
Verdict: 6/10 Unique Leader logos

This is from when Decrepit Birth was the most ass-ripping brutal death metal band on the face of the earth. What happened?! Why did you succumb to the siren song of Florideath?!

Decrepit Birth
Are you seeing a trend here?? Once great band loses focus, gets too far up their own asses and turns into riff salad? Decrepit Birth is perhaps the most tragic case of them all. "And Time Begins" is, without question, a game-changing classic that is without equal. I think I speak for everybody when I say that I felt like I got raped by a profoundly retarded baboon with AIDS when I heard that record (in a good way!). It still stands as the most over-the-top execution of the Suffocation formula, or more precisely the early Deeds of Flesh formula. But then they listened to Cynic and Atheist too much and turned into riff salad on their second album!!! Rather than try to use my own crude language to describe the feelings of betrayal that tore my heart into pieces, I will capture my anguish with the lyrics to "Stabbed In The Back" by Youth of Today:
We were brothers you and me loyal to our hardcore brutal death metal scene
our thought our aims our goals were true
then something happened to you you changed
stabbed in the back
I remember all the things that you said
shit you said
I guess it was just a bunch of lies
fucking lies
stabbed us all in the back
right in the back
don't you dare look me in the eyes
all we stood for, all our dreams you've forgotten what they mean
I tell you this my thoughts are real and I'll never change the way I feel

Verdict: 7/10 Unique Leader logos

Every riff salad band looks like this! What is it with the fucking goatees?! The Nazi-looking dude in the bomber jacket obviously dies his- Hitler would be disgusted.

The guy in the jacket sort of reminds me of Gene Hoglan's Balls! I'm sure he will disagree, though. He would never wear that.

Odious Mortem
Gene Hoglan's Balls loves this band. Maybe I would have too when I was 14 and just wanted to hear bands play as fast as they could with no regard for songwriting or dynamics. But I'm not 14 anymore so listening to the singer go "Grrrr grrrr!!" and the rest of the band go "Skronk skronk blast blast!!" just makes me want to run to the catchy grooves of Cock and Ball Torture or Dead. As these bands go, they're pretty good, but that's like saying it's better than a sharp stick in the eye, you know? Plus they're on Willowtip, which means they're not as ignorant as I'd like them to be. I'm pretty sure that dude grew up on hardcore so he's too smart to put out good death metal. If he was a real metaller he'd sign Gorevent and Disconformity. He's probably too busy jamming Abnegation and Green Rage for that, though.
Verdict: 8/10 Unique Leader logos


The first two Cryptopsy records are fucking classics of brutal, yet super catchy and all around awesome death metal. They sound just as good today as they did 15 years ago or whenever the fuck they came out. Then they got rid of Lord Worm and started to practice their instruments too much or something, and became an extremely boring, overly technical riff salad band that forgot how to write songs. If only that was the end of the story, though! Now they are a pseudo-deathcore band so shitty that even I, the man with absolutely no standards, can't tolerate listening to them for more than a single second before I claw at the nearest sharp object and jam it in my eardrums. They managed to make it into an even bigger shit sandwich by putting on retarded Lacuna Coil-style latex JNCOs with excessive buckles and straps. Dudes, you're in your fucking mid 30s!! You can't do that shit! So yeah, their new crap makes me yearn for their riff salad days!
Verdict: 7/10 Unique Leader logos

Erik Rutan and John Tardy apparently go to the same barber/wig store

Hate Eternal
They may not have invented riff salad, but they definitely fucking perfected it!! Holy shit this band is boring!!! The most interesting thing this band ever recorded is the explosion at the beginning of "Conquering The Throne." Actually I really like that one instrumental song "The Faceless Ones," because it sounds like they took a few minutes to think about writing an actual song, rather than just firing up the Salad Shooter. I honestly have no idea how you could keep a band like this together for 12 fucking years. I can see how it would be kind of fun to spend a weekend with your friends goofing around and playing some crazy riff salad just to get it out of your system, but make a career out of it?! I'd rather be toiling away in the salt mines of Blue Grape with Guav and Buske, dreaming about how we'll make it big when we bring back Cabal 315!! Anyway, Hate Eternal wins our riff salad cookoff! Yay them! They get a gold star.
Verdict: 10/10 Unique Leader logos

Monday, February 16, 2009

"I totally hung out with that dude!"

Glen Benton shows these amateurs how to hold an imaginary, highly evil grapefruit.
(Please note that Glen is wearing a shirt with a swastika on it. A kid in my high school wore this shirt often. It features multiple one-armed Jesuses which make up the swastika. Just to let you know, I had to look up what the plural to "Jesus" is)

Back in 1991, my brother's friend showed me a picture of him and Steve Souza from Exodus hanging out. At the time, I thought Exodus were one of the coolest bands in the world (I hadn't heard their cover of "Lowrider" yet) and as a result, the concept of getting to meet Steve was beyond my wildest dreams. Overtime, I got a clue...but not before seeing other such pictures from multiple people, and having to endure the lengthy stories that usually go along with such pictures. "Man, David Vincent totally invited me into their bus and we hung out. It was awesome."

Looking around the internet, I was able to find many such pictures...fleeting moments in the lifes of different losers who thought this was such an important moment that it simply had to be documented photographically. Now I should tell you that I'm not completely above this, since I have pictures with both Glenn Danzig AND members of Unleashed, but I was like 14 then. These fools look like they should have known better. Let's take a closer look, and try to see things from the eyes of the low-level superstars that were photographed.

If you ever dreamed of being in a hugely succesful band for the sake of getting ladies, think again. For nearly three decades Steve Harris has been chin-deep in an ocean of fat turds who look like this lady. Rose-tinted Sally Jesse Raphael glasses? Check. Peg Bundy approved ensamble? Check. A depressed Steve Harris wondering if he would be getting higher quality poon had he stayed working at the oil change place? Check.

Never has the gap between performer and fan been more obvious. While one individual rocks out on his reverse-headstock axe, the other is wearing David Koresh safety glasses, and has such large teeth that his lips can't contain them. One guy is wearing the latest denim tanktop, the other takes great pride in his Kiss patch and Monchichi haircut.

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I HATE shirts with stretched out necks, and the man cleavage they bring about. Simply seeing the two shirts in this picture is making me angry. With that out of the way, we can focus on more important things. Is that Charlie Benante holding an imaginary metal grapefruit? Look at Trevor's face...if that's not an expression of extreme excitement, I don't know what is. Can you imagine spending years in your room learning how to play the guitar and practicing in order to meet girls...then you end up in a band and it's guys like this that want pictures with you?'d be depressed too.

Why does James look so upset? Because if the whole "my lifestyle determines my deathstyle" line turns out to be true, his death will consist of hugging a balding Euro.

When even a douche like James Heatfield is so repulsed by you that he barely agrees to be in a picture with you, you know you've hit an all time low. Why? One word. Neckerchief.

Nothing says "rock" quite like a white, Miami Vice sport coat. Based on this picture, you would assume that the looser with the chipmunk teeth and horrible facial hair is the biggest looser in the bunch. You'd be wrong. Remember that Richie Sambora is now the size of an oil tanker and has to put up with Heather Locklear (who is herself roughly as old as the american constitution) and her kids.* Ooof.

*Information courtesy of US Weekly

Unlike the other pictures, this one at least features two guys that had something in common and could carry on a lengthy conversation as a result. The topic? Rogaine. Why did Kirk make that face you ask? He was simply brushing off the last bits of remaining self worth off his shoulder.

Are you one of these idiots that wants to go back in time to the heyday of thrash metal? Do you miss how things were before Metallica put out the black album? Think again. This is what it was really like. Back then, it was all about guys in Def Lepard shirts and daisy duke shorts, as well as ladies wearing fuchsia spandex pants which reveal a physique that looks like bags of guacamole that were left out in the sun. Oh, and don't forget a lady that looks like your aunt Martha posing with an unenthusiastic James Hetfield. If I were you, I'd put the keys to the Nocturnus time machine down right now. Don't waste the trip.

Look at poor James' face...that's the look of a guy that just realized that this is the best looking lady he'll be able to take back to the hotel room tonight. After another full night spent at the meet-and-greet tent, and it has once again come down to this.... a gender neutral being with pink-tinted welding goggles. Come on, you'd be bummed too.

Why is Kirk wearing gloves? If you had to touch a fat version of Sally Jesse Raphael whose entire body is filled with gravy, you'd wear gloves too.

Jason is saying "I now present to you yet another douche with a neckerchief, and huge glases which make him look like a Greyhound bus." Because I'm a classy guy, I will make no mention of Jason's horrific sideburns.

Closing Note:
Throughout this post I have spelled the last name of Metallica's singer in different ways. I'll be damned if I'm going to look it up on the Googles to figure out the correct spelling. Does it even matter? Answer: No.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Metal Inquisition Investigative Report: Metal Real Estate (Part 3)

Nothing says "sexy" like a greasy Italian dude wearing a satin jacket.

Those of you who follow us on Twitter may have seen my tweet (that's what Twitter posts are called, so the kids tell me) some weeks ago, in which the following comment was accompanied by the image below:

"When you are homeless like Joey Belladonna, your winter gloves become your toilet paper"

Now, I must admit that the image above does not depict Joey Belladonna's poo. As a matter of fact, that post was just a way for me to insert that rancid image in everyone's mind. If I had to see it (and take a picture of it) why shouldn't everyone else be traumatized as well?

After uploading that image, I began to wonder what kind of a house Joey actually could afford. What type of home can you buy with all that State Of Euphoria money? It sounded like a job for the M.I. investigative team. I rounded up the troops (to do so, I point a spotlight at the sky, much like Batman, but in our case it's not a bat that shines in the sky, but the swirly thing from the State of Euphoria record) and we got to work. We hope you enjoy our report:

As Metal Inquisition staffers grow older, our attention has turned from musician's accomplishments on stage, to those off stage. When we were 15, we all thought dudes in metal bands looked cool (at least most of them) and we cared about little else. Now as we age, we start to wonder "how much money is he making?", as well as "does he live with his parents?" Little to no information is available regarding the kind of money you can make by playing metal for a living. We wanted to know. We have chosen, once again, to do this the only way we know looking into real estate holdings of a metal demi-star (see here and here.) This time around, we are looking into the pockets of metal's most beloved Italian crooner, Joey Belladonna.

Where's the other half of his mic stand? We will never know.

Known to most simply as the guy behind the mic (and the tiny mic stand it was attached to) at Anthrax shows, Belladonna has always been a bit of an enigma. Afterall, how many Italian guys (real name Bellardini by the way, even more Italan that Belladonna) do you know who write "Injun" on their hat, and parade around in full native american head dress? Also a mystery about Joey...why didn't he ever get that one crooked tooth fixed. We'll never know. What we do know about is real estate.

Does Joey live in a fantastic triplex penthouse in the Upper West Side? A trendy loft in Chelsea? Has he moved to the West coast to live in Malibu? Close. Turns out, Joey lives in a suburb of Syracuse called Camillus. Perhaps readers from the area can fill us in as to what type of town it is...and if it is in fact a suburb or more of a town near Syracuse. Either way, this is where our beloved Italian Injun hangs his head dress.

I guess you could say that this is the house that "I'm The Man" built.

The home costs $311,000, not bad I guess, but not all that impressive either. For all of our non-American readers, you can figure out the exchange rate into your native currency here. The house has three bedrooms, was built in 1990, and has 2600 square feet of living space. Perhaps the most intriguing thing about the house is that it has no central air conditioning. I know that to our non American readers this may seem normal...but for a house in the US to not have A/C (particularly one this size that was built in 1990) is downright strange, even in upstate New York. Why would Joey not have air conditioning in his house? It could only be for one reason. In order to recreate his glory days on stage with Anthrax, Joey parades around his house wearing the indian head dress as he orders people around with his tiny mic stand. "Kids, do the dishes. Take out the trash!" and then when the kids disobey him, he promptly yells out "NOT!" Due to the lack of A/C, Joey sweats profusely (as all Italians do), as he did on stage back then. In doing so, he replicates an Anthrax concert in the comfort of his home. As part of that recreation, he probably has cardboard cutouts of Anthrax members which he also orders around. If any readers out there have a better suggestion, please let me know.

Two other things worth noting about the home. Why is there a van parked in the driveway? Is Joey installing satellite dishes to make ends meet? Also, why is all the grass dead around his house? Does Joey have the opposite of the Midas touch? Does everything he touch die, much like his solo career? Lastly, if you're wondering why there's a jungle gym and slide in the back yard, that's in case Danny Spitz comes to visit. Gotta' keep that lil' guy happy.

On a closing note, please look at this snapshot I took from Joey's entry in Wikipedia. I don't know if this will still be up by the time you read this. Wikipedia correctly states that:

1. Joey's genitalia was used as a mold for a best selling dildo.
2. Joey's hair can be fashioned into the only weapon known to hurt Chuck Norris.

Whoever tells you that Wikipedia is not a reliable source, has not done their homework.