Your occasional source for heavy metal, progressive rock and hard rock coverage. Whenever I feel like it.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

For Dennis Hopper

Anthrax doing "Now It's Dark", their song based on the movie Blue Velvet. One of Dennis Hopper's most memorable roles featured the actor playing a psychopath named Frank Booth who is embroiled in various crimes and misdemeanors in small-town America. Anthrax wrote the song for their underrated album State of Euphoria.

This is one of the better Anthrax "book report" songs from the height of the Joey Belladonna era of the band. I always liked State although some consider it to be a lesser 'Thrax record.

Other "book report" songs (Scott Ian's term) include the Stephen King-inspired "Misery Loves Company" (from the same record) and "Among the Living" from the album of the same title, inspired by The Stand. Crank it, and remember a man who was not just an actor, but an American icon.

Friday, May 28, 2010

A post that isn't an obituary.

Ozzy Osbourne scares the crap out of tourists. And he has a new album, Scream, dropping on June 22nd. Enjoy the footage which includes a preview of the new track "Let Me Hear You Scream."

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Paul Gray (#2) (1972-2010)

Paul Gray, the bassist for Slipknot, was found dead in his Iowa hotel room yesterday. He was 38.

38. Jesus Christ.

The bassist, who wore No. 2 in the band's 9-member numbering system was one of the three founding
members of the Iowa-based metal band. He was nicknamed "The Pig" because he used to wear pig masks onstage, which he said reflected his self-indulgent personality.

Paul Gray played on all five Slipknot records, including the most recent "All Hope Is Gone." His heavy, de-tuned bass was a key component of the Iowa-based nonet's powerful, driving sound.

I'm sorry I don't have more to write about this. I'm not a huge Slipknot fan, but it's a tragedy that a young, talented musician with a long career ahead of him, is now just another news story. I hope that anyone reading this gets inspired to make the most of what time there is.

Life is too goddamned short.

I am getting really sick of writing obituaries. Can't people stop dying so I can go back to listening to Obituary?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ronnie James Dio 1942-2010

Ronnie James Dio, the diminuitive metal singer whose soaring tenor voice powered the music of Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Dio, and Heaven and Hell, passed away this morning due to complications from stomach cancer. He was 67.

In addition to his long and storied career (which included classic Black Sabbath albums like Heavan and Hell, and solo hits with his band Dio including "Rainbow in the Dark") Dio is credited with bringing the "horned hand" gesture to heavy metal. The salute, with thumb, index and pinky extended, is the traditional gesture of approval in metal circles. It originated as the mano corni, a traditional Italian gesture to ward off evil.

The full AP obituary can be read here.

I only saw Dio in concert on three occasions. Once, with his own band opening for Iron Maiden at the Bell Centre in Montréal. I thought he had a great voice, but never really counted myself as a "Dio fan." I admit it.

In 2007, I saw him play with Heaven and Hell at Jones Beach, on the tour they did with Alice Cooper and Queensrÿche. I was amazed by his powerful vocals, and backed by the power that is Mark II Black Sabbath, I was "converted." I was fortunate enough to see him again on last summer's Metal Masters tour, co-headlining with Judas Priest. He was in excellent voice and sang Sabbath classics like "The Sign of the Southern Cross" and "The Mob Rules" with power and ringing high notes.

Now, while I love metal, I also write about opera. Dio had one of the finest tenor voices I have ever heard. In another century, he would have been well suited to Puccini or maybe even Verdi. We have lost a powerhouse voice, and from everything I have ever heard about the man, a true gentleman.

Ronnie, we wish you Godspeed. Heaven's all-time rock band just got another great singer. And Hell better watch out, because the Mob Rules.