Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Where are they now (real estate edition): Jonny Z

SOD shirt? Check. Polka-dot suspenders? Check. Leave it to east coast Italians to set the fashion trends that the rest of us will follow for decades to come. To this day, you will never catch me at a formal function or presentation at work without rocking this very outfit.

This is a long post, so enjoy it.

As the foremost authority on washed-up metal nobodies, Metal Inquisition takes it's job seriously. It's for this very reason that we had a hard time ignoring the two emails that were sitting in our inbox, asking where "thrash metal grandfather" Jonny Z is these days. Granted, these emails were from Jonny himself, but nevertheless we found the challenge worth pursuing.

Who is Jonny Z?
If you don't know who Jonny Z is, don't're not missing much. I could play the "I'm way old school" card and make fun of you for not knowing...but really, what would that say about me? To make a big deal about my vast metal knowledge would be like bragging about the fact that I know in which episode of Perfect Strangers Balki mixes up the sugar and the salt (episode 18 by the way). While some might be impressed with such amazing knowledge, pretty much everyone would laugh at me and so many people (mostly women) have done throughout my life. Having said that, I'll give you a quick rundown on why Jonny Z is mildly important, within a musical style that was itself only mildly important (more than 15 years ago) to a small group of acne-faced teenagers.

Is that Johnny Z and Billy Milano having a perfectly normal homoerotic moment at an MOD show as they both sing into a phallus....or is it two disgusting fat Italians fighting over an ice cream cone?


The facts:

Jonny Z had record store in a flea market in New Jersey. He signed Anthrax and Metallica, ran Megaforce records, and then listed himself and the Executive Producer of every horrible thrash metal album throughout the 80's, in order to keep making money off of these bands long after their members had been forced to sell their Toyota Corolla's in order to pay rent at their parent's houses. This, more or less, is all you need to know. I'll stop there, because the idea of looking into the seedy underbelly (and what a fat belly it is) of Johnny Z's musical career simply brings up troubling and painful memories for all of us. What troubling memories you ask? Well, much like a Vietnam vet has trouble sleeping under ceiling fans, I too have issues remembering all that was the 80s thrash scene, and Megaforce Record's output in particular. One part Holocaust, and one part 9-11, the musical output of Megaforce Records and the bands associated with Jonny Z are enough to make even the strongest man dry-heave. There's Overkill, Anthrax's, MOD's Surfin' MOD, not to mention the entire Testament catalog. Yes, "Practice What You Preach", I'm looking at you, and your badly mixed bass. But anyway....why are we looking into the matter of where Jonny Z is today? Well, there's those two emails from him that I mentioned earlier where he begged for some exposure in order to sell the six thousand remaining copies of the first Kings X album that are still sitting in his basement (by the way, remember how Kings X were deemed to be "the new Beatles" by the press, including Rolling Stone?) Aside from the emails urging us to talk about him, there was the unbelievable curiosity we had regarding what kind of house being the "executive producer" on Kill 'Em All, and that one live Trust album will buy you. It was with that question in mind that I released the Metal Inquisition hounds, in order to find Mr Z. By the way, I don't use the phrase "releasing the hounds" as a figure of speech. Most of our investigative reporting is done by an actual group of hounds, five well-trained dachshunds to be exact. These dachshunds have a real nose for sniffing out thrash metal empresarios, the movers and shakers of metal if you will. Sadly, because their training is in searching for "emprasarios", they returned rather quickly to the MI headquarters having found no information. I quickly realized my error. I had told them to look for an "empresario", not a fat annoying guy who is best known for his cameo in MOD's True Colors video. Having realized my error, I gave them a new task: "Go look for information about fat Italian dudes who produced Attack Of The Killer B's, and profit from the work of lesser douchebags." This was a command they understood. Sadly, they found Alex Perialas' house in Ithica NY. By the way, how great is it that if Alex Perialas, a man who accomplished so much during his life, ever Googles himself, he'll see that our blog comes up higher in the results than his own MySpace page. He recently wrote a comment on that post about his house, which leads me to believe that he's an okay guy....even if he did produce Overkill's entire catalog. His comment said: said... AP says life is good and I still know how to get a guitar tone bitches!! This site is some funny sh*t.

Thank you Alex!

Although commonly known as a trait and skill of "pointer" dogs, the Metal Inquisition dachshunds will stand, almost frozen, once they find the living quarters of any metal pseudo-celebrity. Pictured here is the littlest of the bunch, Helmut, who once stood in this very position for four hours outside an apartment that three guys from Internal Bleeding share in Long Island.

Where is Jonny Z today?

At first, I thought I had found this elusive figure of the metal world rather easily. I assumed, incorrectly, that Jonny had finally gone ahead and tried his hand at crafting his own music, rather than simply profiting from the tiny amount of talent that bands like Anthrax could piece together. I found this CD, and thought I had found my man. I quickly realized that wasn't the right Jonny. Then, I found another Johnny Z in the greater New York City area who claims to be a "maestro of sound and entertainment", which means he will DJ your son's Bar Mitzvah, or your amazingly fun company picnic. Quickly, however, I realized I had found the wrong Johnny Z. While they are both "maestros of sound and entertainment" (what would you call the I'm The Man EP after all), one was fatter than the other. With the MI hounds still out searching, I realized how horrible I really am at investigative work, and how terrible the MI dachshunds are at their job.

Damnit, wrong Johnny Z. Like the one I was looking for, this one is a washed up nobody with horrible facial hair and clothing. The difference? This guy was NOT involved in the recording of absolutely crucial albums like Raven's All For One, Ace Frehley's self titled album or any of the MOD records.

Having found the wrong Johnny Z twice over, I re-re-released the hounds...having had them smell a copy of SOD's album to track the scent. Quickly, the correct Jonny was found by the MI hounds. Redemption at last. Jonny Z, the real one, lives in Bucks County Pennsylvania. He lives right by the New Jersey border, which I fully understand. Much like flies don't often fly far away from feces...Italians don't often move far away from Jersey. My excuses to fellow poster Mr Gene Hoglan's balls who is both Italian and a Jersey resident. I know he wont be offended, however, because he knows these things are true. I mean, if I suddenly explained the concept of gravity to you...would you be offended? No, because you know it's true. You'd probably say "Right, right, I know...keep going with your story already...sheesh." So anyway, he lives in Pennsylvania now...not New York or New Jersey. Why?

At the risk of sounding like a washed up, jaded idiot...I still marvel at how the NYHC symbol was so nicely co-opted by Anthrax and Megaforce Records at large. I hope Roger Miret and the Raybeez estate get royalties from its use.

Having co-opted what little juice and iconography the New York City hardcore scene had back in the day (see picture above), I suspect that Mr Z and his family had to flee the greater New York City area in fear of retaliation from members of DMS, or perhaps because of threats from from New Jersey's own Mucky Pup. Those dudes were straight up Jersey gangsta's. Just look at this terrifying picture that the New Jersey Gang Task force sent me:

Can you really blame Jonny Z for having fled New Jersey due to fear of retaliation from Mucky Pup? These guys are a mix of extras from the Sopranos, with a tiny bit of Juggalo, and two parts douchebag thrown in for good measure. Man, nothing says class like purple MC Hammer pants, a sweet Nike tracksuit and dress shoes.

What about his house?
Funny you should ask, because the Metal Inquisition hounds came back from Bucks county quickly, and much like Lassie, their doggie noises were easy to decipher. "What is it girl? Where does he live? Near New Jersey? What? You want to take me to his house? It's by the well? Please take me there!" So I followed the hounds, and they took me here:

This well-apointed master suite is where the brains behind the entire Kings X catalog rests his weary head.

Now look...I'll be honest with you. As much as I want to laugh at the non-cohesive styling cues of the house, as much as I want to laugh about it's "1984 contractor chic" aesthetic values, or its unsuccessful blend of materials and decidedly middle class decor...I have to admit I was surprised that Mr Z could live in a house that is not falling apart. It's size alone was not what I expected. At 1.9 million dollars, in what is basically a semi-rural area of the east coast, I guess being the executive producer in Kill Em All as well as Fistful of Metal really does pay the bills. Seeing this house (all 5 bedrooms, 6 baths and 7,669 square feet of it) suddenly made me feel bad for Joey Belladonna. Why? Because earlier this year, we reported that Joey was living in upstate new york in a house that is merely valued at 300k. How can this be? Jonny Z has a nicer house than the guy who played drums in the musical epic known as I'm The Man? Life, it turns out, is not fair at all. I mean, was Jonny the one waring the indian head dress on stage for all those years? No. Was Jonny there to coach Scott Ian through his hairloss tantrums of '87? No. It was Joey who was there...and now Jonny Z has a nicer and bigger house? Joey is so broke these days, he can't even afford a full mic stand. As a result of all this information, I have finally been able to answer one of humanity's most pressing questions: Does god exist. The answer: Yes, there is a god. Sadly, like most of us, he hates Joey Belladonna.

When you look at Belladonna's entire body of work, you suddenly start to realize that "I'm The Man" as well as the outfit he wore on this picture are actually among the high points in his career. Speaking of "I"m The Man", was it really necessary to give fans like eight versions of the damn song in one EP? It's a bit like bragging about the fact that you can take a shit in eight different positions. We get the point, we're just not impressed.

Back to Jonny Z's house. As much as I was ready to laugh at his tiny, shitty house...I have to say that the house's hefty pricetag (1.9 million) left me silent. Suddenly, the Metal Inquisition offices were almost completely quiet, and all that could be heard was Seargent D practicing the main riff from Forced Entry's "Macrocosm, Microcosm" on his guitar. Putting the Forced Entry song aside, I suddenly felt guilty about having wanted Jonny Z to be living in a small house that looked like a pile of rubble, much like members from Manowar do. I remembered the last time I had a similar feeling of guilt, which was when Peter Steele of Type O Negative (and, more importantly, Carnivore) did a spread for Playgirl. I remember wanting to laugh at Mr Steele's man-junk, but when faced with photographic evidence of what he was working with...I suddenly felt shame, sadness and desperation. Wait a second...wait. Did I just willingly tell the whole world that I saw Peter Steele's Playgirl layout? Damn this truth serum, damn it all to hell!

See, I can explain...although I KNOW that my explanation sounds as made up as they come. Hear me out. When that magazine came out, I was living in Miami. My friend had introduced me to a gay friend of her's, who was an ex-punk rocker turned drag queen. A stretch, I know. This guy had the magazine, and showed it to me. I know you will all say I made this up...but it's totally true.

Okay, where was I? Oh yes, his house. So there you have's big. Bigger than Joey's, and not too horrible looking considering the awful taste that Italians usually have, and the low quality of construction available in the United States.

What else is Jonny Z up to?

Like any other 57 year old man-child, Jonny has a Myspace page and a blog. It's in his blog that we can learn the most about this unlovable man...the man who first had Raven tour in the United Sates. Did you just read what I typed? This is the guy we can thank for bringing Raven to the US? Wow, next up I'll do an article about the Immigration officials who signed the visas for the 9-11 hijackers. But back to his blog. In said blog, we learn about Jonny's obsessive collecting of Nightmare Before Christmas action figures. Just read the quote below, which surely explains his passion for this movie:

“It made me think…What is this Jack really all about…is he really as deep and complex as these faces portray him….we figured there must be something more to this film…” - Jonny Z

If that statement doesn't grab you and tugs away at your heartstrings (mine are tuned to a drop C, for heavier riffing) I don't know what will. I don't know exactly what that quote means, so I'll leave it up to you to figure it out (much like a community college proffesor would when introuducing his students to Nietzsche). I do understand one portion of this quote, however, and that's the question he poses, that of there being "more to this film." As it turns out, MI staff contacted Tim Burton to see if there WAS in fact more to this film. We called his office, and identified ourselves as the guys who "wrote that funny post about the houses that the guys from Manowar live in". They hung up. So that settles that one. Oh, I forgot to mention that Jonny Z also owns an action figure store in New Hope PA, and lists the following people as his heroes:

- Malcolm X
- Ahmet Ertegun (founder of Atlantic Records)
- His wife

I'll let you all ponder that list, but rest assured that some PhD theseis work will be done on it very soon.

What do the demi-stars of thrash metal say about Jonny Z? What does the media say about Jonny Z?

I know that all of you consider us to be the absolute authorities on horrible music that no one cares about, and we thank you for that. Still, in order to keep our status as a peer-reviewed scholastic journal, we have allowed almost-well known bands comment on the man himself. Please watch the videos below.

First, let's all watch a news story about Jonny Z's Rock N' Roll heaven record store from back in the day.

In this video, Anthrax talk about the famed store that Jonny Z had in a New Jersey flea market, a store that has been discussed in every single interview that Anthrax, SOD, Raven, Venom, Testament and Overkill ever did. Megaforce Records insisted that all bands signed to the label mention the store, and Jonny's importance to the scene in all interviews. In some videos, you can actually see Jonny standing off camera pointing a gun to their bands, thus insuring that all mentions of him were included. Jonny Z is first mentioned in this video at 1:10. Please don't get distracted by the amazing poodle haircuts or hairy eyebrows.

Incredibly annoying video of Overkill, where they discuss Megaforce records and Jonny they were contractually obligated to do. Like most bands from Jersey and Long Island, Overkill claimed to be from New York City, as you can see in this video. Please note the fashion statements made in the video, which are incredibly tasteful. Notice how the one guitar player who always tried his hardest to look exactly like James Heatfiled (even using the same guitar as James and rocking the same long sweatbans on his forearms) takes a break from swinging from Metallica's balls and quickly pays homage to Max Cavalera by wearing some sensible urban camo. Johnny Z/Megaforce Records mention occurs :30 seconds in.

So what have we learned today? Absolutely nothing...except that making Lars Ulrich share some of his wealth as a result of you having been the executive producer on one of his albums almost 30 years ago will buy you an almost-nice house in Eastern Pennsylvania. Class dismissed.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Winds of Plague ain't got shit on our steez

I love mash culture. It makes me feel like I am on top of all the latest developments in youth culture when I find a band that combines seemingly disparate influences, and because I am so culturally literate and young-at-heart, I totally get what they are doing. I love to smugly explain all the references to my clueless friends who still think of "World Demise" and "Far Beyond Driven" as "their new stuff." For a few minutes, I can forget that I am turning 31 in six weeks and have been going to hardcore shows since 1989. With that in mind, you can understand why I am such a big fan of Winds of Plague.

We blogged about this sextet of Southern California moshers a while ago (here and here), so if you are not familiar with them please take a few minutes to brush up on the band. Our printer is down at the moment, but we'll pass out a handout that has hard copies of both posts before we leave today. They'll be on the conference room table next to the Panera bagels and juice. There's also one of those cardboard boxes of coffee, please help yourself- we have Sugar In The Raw as well as Sweet N Low for Delores and Gail, our two administrative assistants who are also diabetic.

"[Being a wigger] isn't that tricky, you just say ignorant shit over and over."

Anyhow, the big idea with Winds of Plague is that they combine moshcore ala Hatebreed with symphonic black metal. You've heard that before, but Winds of Plague adds a wiggerish slant that would make Rick Ta Life blush. I feel like we mocked them pretty mercilessly in our first post about WoP, so I was really happy to see that Johnny Plague, the singer, posted in the comments and had fun with it instead of being a butthurt pussy like Short Bus Pile Up and Waking The Cadaver.

Since they were so cool, I figured we should find out more about what makes them tick. I caught up with them on the Summer Slaughter tour where they were playing with Dying Fetus, Suffocation, Origin, and a bunch of boring bands like Born of Osiris with names in the format of "____ of ____" that I had never heard of and didn't watch.

Affliction also makes a brand for girls called Sinful. It is even more atrocious and tacky than their flagship brand, but at least the ads have moderately attractive girls in them who are giving you the "I've been up for 65 hours on a coke binge with the guy from Buck Cherry" stare

In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that the Summer Slaughter tour is sponsored by Decibel Magazine, which is also owned by Metal Inquisition's parent company, Red Flag Media (this blog is the flagship piece of the viral marketing and social media division of Red Flag). Oh, and it's also sponsored by Affliction, which has nothing to do with our corporate structure, but is hilarious.

On wiggers
In retrospect, maybe it would have been better to warm him up a little bit, but I was too impatient and I cut right to the chase with Johnny. In my best Tom Brokaw voice, I tried to sound very frank and down-to-earth when I said "Have a seat, Johnny. I think you know what we're here to talk about: wiggerish arm movements." I thought he might get mad, but to my surprise, he was pretty sheepish about the whole thing, even apologetic!

I put on my best moshbro costume for the show, topped off by a New Era hat which I cocked at a jaunty angle. After all, when in Rome, do as the wiggers, right? (Photo by Kristen Randall)

He started by blaming someone else. "Not to point the finger, but I'm definitely going to have to put the wigger elements on our friend John, who recorded with us on that album. He also played on the new album, but we told him to tone it down," Johnny explained. I'd like to believe him, but as you can see in the photo of us above, he was wearing a Sworn Enemy basketball jersey and a backwards baseball hat. That's two strikes, my friend. If I go through your records and find a Downset CD, you're busted! He also credits moshcore pioneers 18 Visions with inspiration. "18 Visions had it going on. Speaking of wigger, remember when James had like fuckin' dreads and JNCOs?"

"I've grown out of the puffy vests. I had to give it to my friend that lives in Reno so I'm not tempted."

Life on the road can be tough. Just ask Metallica and Kid Rock, both of which have penned sorrowful, melancholy songs in which they sit on the tour bus looking wistfully out the window. Perhaps Winds of Plague will write their own version soon, because Johnny was not enjoying himself on this tour. I kept trying to get him to talk about wiggers, but he kept drifting back to how annoyed he was with this tour and wanted to go home. To bridge the gap, I asked him about touring with Suffocation. By inventing the slam riff and pioneering the use of 808 bass drops in death metal, they arguably created wigger slam metal, yet they have actual black people in the band, which makes things much less black-and-white (ba-dum crash!).

Lucho Metales with Mike Smith of Suffocation. Lucho is making awkward hand gestures in an effort to "be down." Mike appears to be holding his own penis. There is a cheap-looking door in the background.

Johnny wavered a bit, suggesting that "They have black people in the band so that's automatic street cred. I didn't know about [Mike Smith's] rap album, I wish I did before though." Despite such an initially authoritative answer, it seemed like he doubted himself, or was at the very least not yet comfortable with using the w-word. "I don't really know what to say about that, or... like... the word 'wigger' in general..." he stammered, recalling Sarah Palin when Katie Couric asked her which newspapers she read and Palin answered "A-all of them."

I considered calling in Snoop Dogg for an emergency wigger deprogramming session after hanging out with Johnny for the evening

WoP also share the bill with wigger slam pioneers Dying Fetus. I was thinking Johnny would have taken advantage of the opportunity to compare notes and ask Fetus how to be a slam wigger. Had he ever sat down with Fetus singer Jason Gallagher and asked for tips? "On how to properly do it? No. It's not that tricky, you just say ignorant shit over and over."

"Honestly I don't even know what 'steez' means. Is that even a real word?"

On the left is 18 Visions singer Jame Shart rocking his vintage look of dreads and Excessive Force shirt. Also pictured are Earth Crisis vocalist/weirdo Karl Beuchner (far right, with red eyes) and Metal Inquisition's Director of Latin American Communications Jose Galvan Jr (in blue)

Not ready to let him off the hook, I asked him about my favorite line from my favorite WoP song, their wigger mosh anthem "Reloaded." In this song, one part that makes the moshbros go crazy goes "Bustas fall down when we're barking commands. Atlas ain't got shit on our steez." Having moshed my balls off to it earlier that night, I asked for more detail on exactly what Winds of Plague's steez were. Finally the dam broke. Johnny let it all out, all the shame, the lies, the wiggerish secrets he'd kept inside for so long.

If you haven't seen this video yet, you are missing out. This rivals Biohazard's "Punishment" video as an instruction manual for wiggerish arm movements.

"Honestly I don't even know what 'steez' means. Is that even a real word?" he said plaintively. "The wigger stuff is from our one music video," he volunteered. "The video was an awesome idea that wasn't done well. It was supposed to be over the top. I had a great time doing it, and I guess it's cool because we had fun, but in the big picture it's not really the way we wanted to be portrayed... yeah. Going into it I was like, 'Who the fuck watches music videos, anyway? So let's just have fun with it.' We didn't have much of a budget, our friend had a nice car, so we just said fuck it." While the band was generally happy with it, Johnny had some ideas on how it might be improved. After a thoughtful pause, he reflected that "the guys did a great job on it. But there should have been more chains, more large black women."

Pete Wentz from Fall Out Boy used to play in a wretched hardcore band called Extinction. When I saw them in 1997, he had dreads and was wearing a puffy DKNY vest like this one. Now he is married to Ashlee Simpson... I am convinced he somehow gained access to the Nocturnus time machine to pull that one off!!

Most musicians are comfortable to stay within the narrow, conventional definition of what it means to be in a band. But like Dave Mustaine's ventures into the coffee business, Sammy Hagar's tequila brand, and Kiss peddling, well, absolutely anything, Johnny has dreams of being a stylist-slash-image-consultant for bands like his. As the band works on repositioning its brand, Johnny is getting the ball rolling by making some small changes to his personal brand. "I'm gonna say, I've grown out of the puffy vests. I had to give it to my friend that lives in Reno so I'm not tempted," he said, looking down and picking at the table as though he was craving his Nautica vest like a tweaker fiends for a bump.

Totally would, even though she has an ice cream cone tattoo. Her excellent eyebrows make up for it. What is it with the kids these days and their tattoos of junk food? Back in my day, you got tattoos of skulls, monsters, and the Black Flag bars, not fucking candy!
(In case you are wondering why I included this picture, she plays keyboards for Winds of Plague)

On chicks
With the wigger discussion behind us, we moved on to the second most important item on the agenda: chicks. As long-time readers of this blog know, I have advanced-level game, so I wanted to talk shop with one of the few people who might have even better game than me, if such a thing is possible: a dude in a band.

Hot Chicks With Douchbags, metalcore edition: Semi-Gothic Keyboard Hott is surrounded by a horde of Southern California Wiggerish Moshbags

Johnny is a modest guy, so he was hesitant to offer any suggestions on how I might improve my game. "This isn't really the best question for me. I mean, I don't have any game, I really don't. And I'm not afraid to admit that. But basically, just be loud and obnoxious, hang around the merch table and try to trade free shit for head I guess!"

Johnny, if you're reading this, please tell me you know this girl and will introduce me!!

He wasn't nearly as timid when I asked him when band had the most haggard groupies, though. Literally without a split second of hesitation, he said "Blackguard. I love them to death, don't get me wrong. They're kind of a folkish metal band. I dunno man, they just attract some real, uh, winners." I'm sure it's pretty slim pickings on these metal tours, which Johnny confirmed. "Dying Fetus pull some fuckin'... dude I don't even know what the word would be... trollish, stone age type women. I'm not saying they're hooking up with them, I don't know if that happens, but they're there in full force, drunk as fuck."

Drummer Art Cruz showed me some pretty sweet gambits he uses to snare groupies, such as a variety of magic tricks like the one where he made a coin seem to go through my hand. It was cool, but I started to get uncomfortable after a minute because I thought he was going to kiss me or something. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Jeff Foxworthy: If your band sells mesh shorts... you just might be a wigger!

Metal Inquisition + Winds of Plague = hella mass tight bros
I am not sure why so many people pick on Winds of Plague. As you can see they can take a joke and will make you mosh your balls off, and I'm not sure what more you can ask of a band than that. I thought they were going to be uptight dickbags, but it couldn't have been further from the truth. Even if you don't like metalcore, you should pirate their album to show your support!! Every click counts, my friends!!

Check out Winds of Plague on MySpace and Twitter

Friday, July 24, 2009

I usually hate "Mash Ups", but...

I've been on a serious Maiden kick in the last few weeks since I saw Flight 666. Fear of the Dark is actually playing as I type this. Fortunately my office mates love Maiden, too and one of them sent me this last night.

I've hated The Monkees since this girl I was dating in college made me drive her 3 hours to Kent, Ohio, just to meet with her boyfriend, leaving me in a house filled with skinheads drinking vodka and listening to "I'm a Believer." That being said, however, I think this is brilliant.

Here's a another Maiden video from YouTube I thought was funny:

Ever wonder what happened to Blaze Bayley? He mumbles at high schools over England, of course!

Speaking of England, Mark Cavendish needs braces.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Guest post: Behind the scenes at Century Media

Early this morning, I was awoken by the sound of breaking glass at our Midwest Technical Center. I quickly scrambled the S1Ws, my first thought being that someone might have been after our extensive archives of Wild Rags trivia. But no- instead, I found the following guest post scrawled on a My Own Victim flier, with no author given! With that said, we present it to you, the reader, in its unaltered state. We make no claims for or against its authenticity, although I did personally see some of these things a couple of years ago when I was at Century Media for a peacekeeping summit that I chaired (Despise You frontman and Century Media warehouse manager Chris Elder was the keynote speaker, although an OSHA raid of the CM warehouse prevented him from attending [the OSHA inspection really did happen, it was one of the most unmetal things I've ever witnessed]).

Much like the unwritten motto of Metal Inquisition (that is, exposing metal’s soft, often pudgy, underbelly of hilarity) I thought it’d be good to follow suit and further debunk some myths of the metal world. For this post let’s take a quick glance at Century Media Records.

This record has twice as many sawblades on the cover as "Human Waste" does!

This label can be very polarizing depending on who you’re talking to, and to better understand this label’s range and scope it’s wise to review the bands they’ve worked with – if only briefly. On one hand, they’ve released some solid “classic” metal albums back in the day (Grave, Unleashed, Tiamat, etc.) around the early 90’s. The label also had some cult classic releases that didn’t quite fit in with the label’s typical fanfare, bands like Eyehategod, The Gathering and Candiria to name a few random acts. CM even played a significant role in spreading black metal, especially in the U.S., with releases from bands like Emperor, Marduk, Mayhem, Ulver and many more. Unbeknownst to many, they actually had some decent mid-to-late 90s hardcore releases, most predominantly in Europe, from bands like My Own Victim, Only Living Witness, Cro-Mags, Meraurder, Crumbsuckers and others.

However, they’ve also produced some outright laughable acts that have helped bolster the mallcore/ozzfest generation (Lacuna Coil, In This Moment, Nightwish, etc.) I haven’t even touched power metal or their recent wave of pseudo-slam/metalcore bands like Winds Of Plague and Suicide Silence, let’s save that for another post.

In This Moment and Eyehategod: labelmates?! Yep.

In any event, there’s often a stigma of record labels in metal being somewhat larger than life. Further from the truth this could not be (see Wild Rags for a previously blogged about example). In fact, for a closer look at reality, and this is no joke, please rent and watch-if you haven’t already-‘Hedwig and The Angry Inch’ and ‘Spinal Tap’. These two movies are far more accurate than any magazine or sensational fairytale of metal glory.

But I digress; CM is no exception to metal misconceptions of skyscraper offices, big payrolls, and glamour. At the epicenter of CM is its robust warehouse where all of the above bands’ releases and thousands more reside. I learned that it’s actually a major watering hole for metalheads to buy their metal (I’ve been to Relapse Records and Victory’s warehouses among others, and CM’s is nothing to sneeze at). It’s your typical industrial-looking warehouse, like if you’ve ever seen the TV show ‘The Office’, with super high ceilings, hanging fluorescent lighting, Costco sized shelves and more.

Here’s a video of the band Warbringer jamming in the CM warehouse that might give you a better idea. Unfortunately a surly Chris Elder is nowhere to be found.

If you’re new to working at CM you must help with a yearly inventory check. It’s kinda like their way of “jumping you in” where EVERY SINGLE CD GETS COUNTED. It’s a pain and takes a dozen or so people several days to accomplish. This is where I first learned the existence of terrible metal bands like Green Carnation, Raven, Exciter to name a few. However I also discovered some real gems along the way. Chris Elder, of Despise You and Pessimiser Records fame – whom I’ve seen mentioned on here before, is the God of the warehouse. He’s like that guy on ‘Family Guy’ who Peter works with, the “bad ass with a heart of gold”. He’s quiet, nice and also intimidating when you first meet him (then again, being brought up in Inglewood will most likely give you a 1,000 yard stare easily).

Anyway, CM is located literally a few streets from the ‘Welcome to Inglewood’ sign. It’s not the best neighborhood, but certainly not the worst either. However, the car wash directly across the street did get held up and robbed in broad daylight and the Shotgun Crips frequently tag the area.

One thing, though, about the warehouse that was brutal was there were a row of offices out there as part of the warehouse, separate from the front actual OFFICE area (think of it as office overflow from the REAL office area and into the world of the warehouse). These were offices for accounting, IT, graphic design/advertising and others. An important part about warehouses is that they aren’t very well climate controlled, and CM’s was the worst. If it was summer time, you’d walk out of the front part of the building and into the warehouse-office area and instantly feel the sweat come to surface, it was HOT! In the winter people were wearing coats, beanies and scarfs – how crazy is that?! You go to your desk and sit down in front of your computer and you can nearly see your breath. There were space heaters everywhere; I even saw a blanket or two for some people. You’re supposed to work in this environment for eight hours a day, so everyone’s immune systems were put to the test.

The icing on the cake was the building CM occupies was intended for a staff of around 15-20 people (I believe it was a factory building originally for machine equipment); at this time, there were 50+ people working there. The power was so strained from everyone using so much electricity that the power would blow out spontaneously. So there you are freezing in the warehouse with next to no natural light (like many warehouses, there were only a few windows) in darkness and silence for anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. This was tolerated for months, sometimes happening up to a few times a day, before getting properly fixed.

In the last few years the CM office has gone through some renovations and those “warehouse offices” have now had a great facelift and are actually comfortable to work in instead of being the record label equivalent of bums warming their hands over flaming garbage cans.

One a brief side note, the warehouse requires special insurance since it does require a little more physical labor and it’s a more dangerous environment to work in so no one was allowed back there except for the warehouse workers, and anyone who was given permission to go there (or had a specific task or work question). Once in a while, though, certain celebrities would be able to check it out and basically “shop around”.

Century Media's PR whiz George Vallee (left) and Marco Barbieri (right; ex-No Glam Fags) with Casey Chaos

Celebrities is kind of a lose term though, from memory it could be someone like Casey Chaos of Amen to Satyr from Satyricon. So, take the aforementioned rough-around-the-edges neighborhood + crazy warehouse conditions and then throw a self-important metal band in the mix and it’s kind of a funny scenario.

Thanks to this anonymous reader for sharing some info on Century Media! Stay tuned for more CM-fellating in the form of an interview with Winds of Plague...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Back in the United States of America, God's country.

Once I decided upon "Back in the United States of America, God's country." as the title for this piece, I searched through my photo archives for an image that would best express what the USA embodies. As luck would have it, a picture of Donna Stewart-Barris (from Metal Inquisition's accounts payable department) was emailed to me right on time. The picture was taken during our annual company picnic, right after the raffle, during which Donna won a copy of Bolt Thrower's War Master album. Congratulations Donna!

After a thoroughly enjoyable trip to Europe in order to see the Tour de France, I'm now safely back home in the US of A. As a result of Metal Inquisition being a journalistic forum that is devoted to horrible music and not sports, I'll give you only a couple of details about the trip. Why only a few details? Because I don't want to turn off the few remaining readers we have as a result of the stream of posts having slowly dwindled into a trickle in the last month. Oh, and in case you're wondering, yes, Mr Skullkrusher and I did make it on to the TV broadcast of the Tour de France. Simply watch every five hour stage of the last two weeks and look for us. Good luck.


Most healthy adults are able to let go of the silly thoughts and dreams they had as children. That is simply not the case for my brother and me. Sometimes you simply HAVE to do things that the 11 year old version of you would have thought were the shit. The idea of Jens Voigt and Thor Hushovd riding their bikes over an Iron Maiden logo at the Tour de France was simply intoxicating...and as such...we made it happen! Hooray for the 11 year old versions of us! We did it!!! Fuckin-a!


Just last week, I spent a very pleasant afternoon with Mr Bike Snob NYC, who is truly a scholar and a gentleman. As we conversed about the unstoppable freight train of metal schlock that was/is Morbid Angel, I suddenly remembered something that I had long ago put away in the dark recesses of my mind. In the early and mid 90s, I attended a couple of shows in which the audience suddenly began to seig heil. If I remember correctly, this happened in both a Morbid Agnel show (perhaps as a result of David Vincent's very tasteful, and period-appropriate SS uniform) as well as several Slayer shows. Did anyone else experience this during that time? Was it just confined to the area of the country where I lived back then? By the way, don't be a smartass and respond that you saw it once at a Skrewdriver show...that doesn't count. That's a bit like saying that you once got sprayed with feces at a GG Allin show...I mean...while it might be mildly amusing, it's pretty much par for the course.

When you start shopping in the inner-tube section of the Sears website for clothing, you know something's gone horribly wrong.

Every time I mention David Vincent, I'm obligated by law to post a picture of his new persona, Evil D. Boy, it's not often that you find yourself saying "You know, I think you looked better in the SS uniform"


Although I've always been amazed by how similar time travel and flying to Europe are, since they both allow you to see un-ironic metalheads in all their glory (complete with denim vests, white hightops, sweatpants etc), I'm saddened to report that in this latest trip, the number of metalhead sightings was way down. I'm sure other cities, and countries in Europe could perhaps offer more in the banger-watching (as I refer to it) department. But see, in the past, Barcelona always managed to deliver the goods. But not this time. The city is now split into two camps, tourists, and locals who appear to be sponsored by retailing giant Zara. So, aside from the guy who was wearing a Bathory shirt AND flip flops on the metro, I failed to see any of my brothers in metal during the trip. By the way, how un-metal can you get? Flip-flops on a black metal fan? If the fact that Gaahl from Gorgoroth is now officially out of the closet, and that Nicolas Cage's kid has black metal band weren't already signs of black metal's demise....the flip flops/ Bathrory shirt combo surely must be.


An unexpected treat about seeing the Tour de France in Barcelona was being able to see both cycling and architecture simultaneously, since the Tour's route went right by Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona Pavillion. This was an unexpected, and almost debaucherous treat for an absolute looser like me. What would have made the experience better you ask? Well, if Mike Browning and Nocturnus would have descended onto the site on their spaceship and broken into Lake Of life would have been so complete, that I would have gone ahead and committed harakiri right then and there. Luckily for our readers, Mike Browning and Nocturnus never showed up....something about Mike having to go to Pier 1 because of a sale on pseudo Egyptian decor.


Look, I know I've posted this video before...but for some reason I woke up reciting this verbatim today...and as such, I had to share it with all of you once again. What can I say, some things never get old.

If you were able to watch the video above for its full duration, you'll be happy to know that Devry Universtiy will award you three credit hours towards an associates degree in Comparative Religion through their online program. Simply enter the code "MTLINQSTN" in the "coupons" field when you are checking out.


As I've mentioned before, a fun game to play with friends and family is to come up with a word and then draw a super-evil metal logo for it. The more ridiculous the word, the better. Although I would now play this game as a bit of a joke (drawing a black metal logo for a word like "custard" is always fun), I have found proof that I didn't always do it in jest. Hidden among many other treasures, the Metal Inquisition archives revealed perhaps the earliest known example of this game being played. Much like the cave paintings of Lascaux, these logos will be studied by art historians and anthropologiests for year to come. Carbon-14 dating has helped us estimate that this particular sheet of paper is from the summer of 1991. Please note the "Abnegation" logo, a word I remember having found in the dictionary by mere chance. My use of this word as a made-up name for a non-existent band greatly pre-dates its use as the actual name of an actual band. As a result, I believe I may have a lawsuit here. Sadly, I think the settlement would come down to me getting 152 unsold copies of the band's 7"s. Much like getting smallpox infested blankets, this would be a settlement I could easily live without. So, on second thought, they can keep the name.


One last picture from my trip to Europe. This picture was taken at a small bike shop near Plaça d'Espanya in Barcelona. Upon seeing the brand name of this bike, many ask themselves "who would come up with such a name?" Well, I have an answer to this question...or at least a clue as to who would do such a thing. You see, on a daily basis, I'm called a "fag" by numerous drivers as I ride my bike. This happens every hour, on the hour, and the US military now uses these driver outbursts to set its atomic clock.

As I see it, the bike's brand name simply functions as a pre-emptive strike on the part of the bike's owner. Much like the fat kid in school who always made fun of himself before anyone could lay a fat joke on him, this bike proudly states that the guy riding the bike knows what the drivers around him think.

"Oh, you're calling me a 'fag'...joke's on you pal. I'm riding on a Qüer bike...I'm already a step ahead of you, you douche!"

While not particularly effective, this interaction makes the person riding the bike a bit better...and less like...well, a "fag". It's for this reason that the company's name was clearly thought of by a marketing genius...or a fat guy, or a fat guy who is gay and got made fun of in school.

One last note...while this approach of mocking yourself before letting someone else do it may work for adults...I would highly, highly discourage you from getting a Qüer bike for your kid...because really, that's the last thing they need.


Now that I'm back home after a rather crazy month of traveling, I'll try to get back to my normal posting schedule. Hopefully the other slobs who are supposed to be posting will also pick up the slack, damn those bastards.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Random thoughts

A still from the first Metal Inquisition video podcast, soon to be released. In the premiere episode of what promises to be a long-running series, I will discuss how difficult it is to open albums due to that cellophane that they wrap them with. That's the kind of hilarious and insightful commentary you can expect from our podcast series.

Most of my posts for this blog come to me quickly, and always fully formed... and ready to be shared with the world. This, I believe, is a clear sign of my comedic genius as well as my above average intelligence. From time to time, however, lesser thoughts come to mind, and I generally disregard them. Today, however, I present all you (our beloved readers) with some of the very thoughts that fill my brain nearly every hour of the day. These are leftovers, but good ones. Much like you can make sloppy joe's out of old hamburgers, I have made a post out of discarded thoughts. In a sense, I am welcoming you to my inner thoughts, and what goes on inside my mind. It ain't much, but it's all I've got. Welcome to my hell. Welcome to the hell.

I should note that this format (small bits rather than lengthy posts about one subject) have inspired the Metal Inquisition video podcasts, which will be released soon via iTunes, and will be compiled as a DVD series to be released internationally by Steamhammer records. The videos will feature me at my desk (see picture above) sharing my observational remarks about the world of metal and the culture that surrounds it. Stay tuned as we continue to update you on the podcasts, but in the meantime enjoy this post/piece.


Google loves us. How do I know? If you search for any of the following things on Google:

Blue Grape Merchandise

Metal Inquisition

Wigger slam

Tommy Victor disease

Robb Flynn's disease

The first result listed is none other than Metal Inquisition. This may seem like a small feat to many of you, but here at MI we take our success seriously. As such, commemorative plates will be given out this August during our annual company picnic. Note that "metal inquisition" is one of the terms that we have the top listing for. While this may seem obvious, I can just hear the blood pressure of members from the band Piledriver skyrocketting as I type this. Why? Can you imagine naming a song and album "Metal Inquisition", then having it become more popular by a bunch of dudes who don't even really like your music?

Oh, I should mention, that I'm a bit disappointed that we are not the top result when you search for:

David Vincent muffin top

We are the second listing, but that's just not good enough. The struggle continues.


The turning signal in my car makes a clicking sound that is exactly the same tempo as Prong's "Lost And Found". When you play drums, like I do, you encounter this sort of thing all the time. My last car's turning signal was exactly half the tempo of Laaz Rockit's "Fire In The Hole"


A question for all of you who live in Europe, do you sometimes hear the whole world laughing at you? If you do, here's why:


Have I ever mentioned how disappointed I am by the lack of free stuff I get as a result of writing on this blog? I know you will all hate me for saying this, as I'm supposed to write on the blog just because I love it..and I do...but damn it, free stuff would really sweaten the deal. I have not gotten one single thing for free as a result of my bringing happiness to people around the world. In comparison, most other blogs I read (about very different topics) have fewer readers and yet they get free stuff all the time. Lots of it, and they simply review it or whatever, and that's all . I hereby ask our readers to put uncle Lucho on their wills. Leave me your vinyl collection (so I can sell it on eBay), or simply send me your well-cared for long sleeve metal shirts (all size small thank you). Look, if you have free tickets to major sporting events or major label concerts give them to me. Kelly Clarkson? Sure, I'll go see her. Like a good latino, I'll never turn down anything that is free. Send me buckets of house paint, carpet scraps, cycling stuff, HVAC repair manuals, and/or harmonica instructional videos....anything. I swear, I wont tell there would be no risk of us selling out. See how that works? If no one knows, it didn't happen. So if you get me tickets to some horrible show, or the one has to know. Shhhhh.

I'm kinda' kidding. Wait, no I'm not. See, the problem is that the only thing people would probably send us would be horrible metal CDs to review...which are useless, and would simply pile up around my house. I see now that the problem is that we write about metal, something I like but don't necesseraly want more of. Why did we have to start a blog about metal, which is something that you can't get any cool free stuff for? How stupid were we? We should have started a blog called "Ferrari's, stacks of money and supermodels". I mean, metal is cool and all...but the best some horrible label could do is send us horrible CDs from their horrible bands, which all suck. Why can't someone send me the original master tapes to the Terrorizer album, or the headphones that Scott Burns wore on the back of the Terrorizer album.

* I should note that after this entry was originally written one of our great supporters/readers has been kind enough to send us some free t-shirts and sweet merch. Many thanks to this kind soul for hooking it up.


Does anyone remember the records that were widely available in the early 90s that featured interviews with metal bands, instead of music? I used to get so damn excited to see that some rare Slayer EP had made its way to my local record store...only to realize when I was about to buy it that it was just a stupid interview with Tom Araya from a radio show in France. What an odd relic from another time these records are. I now wish I had some of them. Here's an Anthrax one.


While watching Iron Maiden's "Flight 666" documentary on TV, I realized that Nicko McBrain's nose is actually even more fucked up than I originally thought. I mean, he has no nose at all. Does anyone have any information regarding what on earth happen to his face? Did Clive Burr chew it off in as an act of vengance? Was Nicko the model that Derrick Riggs used when first painting Eddie? The only information I found out was not helpful at all, and came from an interview that Metal Sludge did with Nicko. Here it is:

You have an extremely flat face and nose. Kind of like one of those Pug dogs. Has anyone ever mentioned this to you and does it bother you?

No, it doesn't bother me mate.
But you too can have a Roman nose,

It'll be Roman all over your face.(TEE HEE).

So that reply from Nicko doesn't exactly give us any answers...although it does answer the age-old question: Is Nicko McBrain funny? The answer, as you can see, is "no".

As I've reported before, Nicko is a born again christian. With a face like his, I really don't understand his spiritual beliefs. I mean, much in the same way that many Jewish people who went through the Holocaust ceased to believe in God...if I had Nicko's face...I really wouldn't believe in a higher power. Talk about blind faith.


About Anthrax's lackluster State Of Euphoria:

- Does EVERYONE'S copy of State of Euphoria feature a supposedly "limited edition" hologram sticker?

- I once showed my dad the artwork on the back of the album, which was done by that one guy from MAD Magazine, in an attempt to show him that the band was legitimate and not satan worshipers. My dad really liked MAD magazine, but failed to see Megaforce records shelling out some dough to have that illustration made as a sign of the band's legitimacy.

- As a kid, the cover of this record drove me insane, partially because it had no obvious direction. It had a logo on every side, so it had no obvious right side up. I guess that was part of the idea...but to this day it gets me angry. Similarly, Slayer's Haunting The Chapel cover angers me to no end due to it's disregard for information hierarchy. How can you have the EP's name over the band name? Come on now. What's next cats mating with dogs? Is the whole world going crazy?


One of the many unrealized dreams I have in life is the fact that I have never gone ahead and done the very thing I insisted I would do since I was about ten years old. No, I'm not talking about going skydiving, climbing Mt Everest, or spending a week in Cancun (actually, I've done that last one). I'm talking about starting a Kiss tribute band that would ONLY play songs from their best two albums, Music From The Elder and Unmasked.


My brother and I once got tickets to see a taping of the David Letterman show. Luckily, we ended up sitting on the balcony, right above the band's drummer Anton Fig. In case you don't know, Anton Fig is a studio drummer who played on a few Kiss albums as a result of Peter Criss being too drunk and/or sucking too much to play on those albums. Fig played on my favorite Kiss song, Torpedo Girl. As such, during the entire taping of the show, I would lean over the balcony and yell down at him "Play Torpedo Girl!". After the twentieth time of me yelling this out, he looked up at me...and gave me the look. What is "the look" you ask? The way you look at the town idiot before you stone him to death and defecate on his face. I was very quiet for the rest of the taping, including the interview with Uma Thurman.


Have you ever wondered what Joey DeMaio's weightlifting routine is? Have you ever wondered just how homoerotic things can get for Manowar while they're on the road? Well, you're in luck...because this video will show you everything you need to know. Please note that they count in german, and that Eric Adams likes to wear denim shirts to go to the beach. This video remeinds me of the time that I saw The Misfits on that first reunion tour. There was a large crowd behind the venue, I thought it was a fight. It wasn't, the band was lifting weights. Oy.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Malevolent Creation Guitarist Kills A Crackhead

Yes, you read that correctly. No, I did not make this up. Read all about it here and here. Apparently he was just trying to buy some chocolate milk. Only in Florida, folks. Thank God Phil survived this harrowing incident. What would the world do without this genius?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

When Weed And Metal Goes Wrong

I originally approached this post about weed in metal like “When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong” from the Chappelle Show. By that I mean, most of the time weed and metal is a great combo, however, when you fuck it up, you fuck it up so bad that it’s laughable and/or sad.

Truth be told I didn’t even consider the legions of stoner/sludge bands out there for this piece because, in honesty, I think it takes a true fan of the genre to separate the good from the bad and I’m no expert. What I did want to talk about is the everyday, run of the mill metal band and how they tried to tackle the topic of good ‘ol Mary Jane and failed big time.

Six Feet Under – ‘4:20’ (from the Warpath album) Where to begin with this song? First of all there should be a big red flag when a band predominantly does one style (here, it’s boring generic death metal of the horror/gore variety) and then throws a creative/artistic curveball. We can play that childhood game of “One of these things does not belong” to establish this point quite easily here with songs from the Warpath album:

  • Revenge of the Zombie
  • Burning Blood
  • War Is Coming
  • 4:20
  • Death Or Glory
  • Caged and Disgraced

I mean, '4:20' sticks out like a sore thumb amongst that line-up. But I’ll play the conservative role and elaborate further: look at the lyrics for God’s sake! “Let go of perception - enter true reality, A sea of green will set us free, Dank, Expand my inner being, Through what the Earth provides, I hear her voice calling, The hour has arrived...” Yeesh! This is coming from the man who penned lyrics to the song ‘Entrails Ripped From A Virgins Cunt’ so you do the math. I know what you’re thinking, “Chill out, it’s death metal anyway, so you can’t ever tell what he’s saying with those cookie monster vocals!” WRONG! He actually, uses some clean vocals in ‘4:20’. Ahem, Chris Barnes singing with clean vocals (how often do you see that in the same sentence…? Oh yea, and it actually being true?!?! That’s what I thought). Needless to say, the writing is pretty much on the wall with this one, Mr. Frontman got a little carried away with his weed habit and it seeped into Six Feet Under’s music. Since then, it’s been pretty much back to the death metal basics since then (about nine albums worth of it, yawn…) but what cemented this as a major weed and metal DON’T, is the fact that the song happens to be four minutes and twenty seconds long and was recorded on April 20th. I’m not even kidding. FAIL!

Black Label Society – ‘Stoned and Drunk’ (from the album The Blessed Hellride) This one I will admit I’m a little biased about, but I think it’s a valid reason. To again repeat myself, I think weed and metal can be a very winning combination, however, here it’s done ultra cheesy and white trashy. This band, and specifically this song is like the metalhead’s gateway drug to meth. Years ago, I was on a tour and Black Label Society was on the bill for the whole tour and I never saw so many white trash, missing teeth, redneck, ignorant fans. Full on there were so many of those terrible novelty shirts with a 1950’s era guy on it saying like ‘Marijuana! Hey, at least it’s not crack’ (ironically, most people wearing those kinds of shirts are the ones down to smoke some crack), or just blazing pot leafs, etc. It was like the dregs of society secretly had a subconscious war on weed and were trying to re-appropriate it as the idiot-class drug or something. Anyway, again, the lyrics are bad, but I think it’s the blatant Ozzy/Sabbath worship, particularly in the vocals, which drives me a little crazy. This is compounded by the fact that Sabbath wrote ‘Sweet Leaf’ – THE definitive weed and metal song of all time (speaking of which, check out Thou’s cover of ‘Sweet Leaf’, it’s so heavy it’s like, “Ouch!”), so BLS please distance yourselves a bit.

Brujeria – ‘Marijuana’ (from the Marijuana EP) This one kind of pains me to mention cause I love Brujeria. Musically, their satanic druglord shtick, I dig it all. However in 2000 they released an EP at the height of the ‘Macarena’ craze with their own reinterpretation. A few things wrong here: you CAN’T make that song NOT bad, so to give Brujeria some credit, the chips were stacked against them from the get-go. However, rather than give the song their typical death metal/grindcore delivery with Spanish lyrics, they actually incorporate some of the techno-salsa music of the original song. It’s a bad combo, very bad. Also, like the Six Feet Under selection earlier, lead vocalist Juan Brujo attempts a stylistic shift to using some of the more clean vocals, most notably when we sings the chorus “Heeeeeey Marijuana!”

(Stick to the satanic druglord death-grind please)

Dope – (Anything and everything they’ve ever done) Let’s make this a quick one, after all it’s easy like shooting fish in a barrel. First their name is Dope, and while I can respect the fact that, as their Wikipedia notes, they sold drugs to survive and purchase instruments, once you pigeon hole yourself to such a highly specialized niche, you’re instantly relegated to ONLY that small demographic (Bongzilla, is somewhat in a similar position, but they’re so tongue in cheek about it and I like their music better they get a pass). If they’re going for the mainstream thing on rock radio or whatever, they have their cheesy name and drug connection as a huge liability for success, but apparently they like it and are sticking to their guns (just like hordes of fantasy based power metal bands, never gonna get wide recognition, but are content to rock with the D&D lifestyle).

Beyond trying to piggy back the shock value of their drug referencing name, they also covered “You Spin Me ‘Round (Like A Record)” on their first album, one of their minor claims to fame, which also landed on the American Psycho soundtrack.

And finally, look at their early 90s pseudo-industrial dreads (almost ten years after pioneering bands like Front Line Assembly, Skinny Puppy et al were just getting DONE with that style)… sigh.

Stay tuned! There could be other editions of ‘When Weed And Metal Goes Wrong’ in the future…