Machine Head: music as religion

Interesting new video from US thrash metal band Machine Head on the Official Roadrunner Records YouTube channel about the making of their new album, the follow-up to the highly acclaimed “The Blackening”.

The video opens with a clean-sounding arpeggiated-riff and lead singer/guitarist Rob Flynn summing up the album with the following monologue:

I wasn’t really raised with religion and in a lot of ways that’s what this records seems to be symbolising for me: music as religion; music as the thing that’s carried me through the darkest chapters of my life.

It’s carried me through the brightest… the highest highs of my life, and everything in between.

It’s always been there for me.

Triptykon – Shatter

I remember the first time I ever heard a Celtic Frost album. Everything about it was other-worldly: the music, the lyrics, the LP artwork.

I saw Celtic Frost live in Glasgow a few years ago. It was an event. In the words of Peter Brook: “The Theatre of the Invisible-Made-Visible”.

After Tom Gabriel Warrior left Celtic Frost in April 2008 he formed Triptykon. This is the official video of Shatter taken from their EP of the same name which was released today.

Last interview with Mike Portnoy before he left Dream Theater

I had mixed feelings this morning about the news that Mike Portnoy has left Dream Theater.

According to his website he wanted to take a breather as “the DT machine was starting to burn [him] out …and [he] really needed a break from the band in order to save [his] relationship with the other members and keep [his] DT spirit hungry and inspired.”  The rest of the band disagreed: they didn’t want to stop. So Portnoy decided to leave.

On the one hand, I felt sad.  Sad that he’s left the band that he has been so central to for 25 years. Sad that the rest of the band couldn’t put his needs above their own and give him the space that he needed.

While on the other hand I felt a great deal of respect for Mike Portnoy that he was able to be true to himself and just say, “Ok, this is what I really need so this is what I’m going to do.”  Inspiring stuff.

Terrorizer gives Death Magnetic 8/10

The latest edition of Terrorizer magazine dropped through my letterbox this morning.

I flicked through to the album reviews (Selected and Dissected) in search of their words of wisdom on the recent Metallica release Death Magnetic.  I wasn’t hopeful.

I found the review on page 77, and was pleasantly surprised.  It didn’t get the slating that I suspected that it might from a magazine that brims over month in, month out with fine examples of extreme music.  A few snippets from Stavros Pamballis’s review, in which he gave it a mighty 8/10:

… when it comes to Metallica, everyone has an opinion. You come to their work loaded with subjective expectations and a hack’s judgement can’t, and shouldn’t, change them.

Well said!

One of the great misconceptions about ‘Death Magnetic’ is that it constitutes a regression to the ‘Old Sound’, a capitulation to the wishes of the band’s hardcore fans. In fact, the album is a work of consolidation; a fusion of Metallica’s many faces; the speed brats, the thrash monsters, the radio megastars, even the groovy rockers of the ‘Load’ era. And that’s a good thing. To go back and remake ‘Kill ‘Em All’ at 45 would have been disingenuous.

I quite agree.  Enough of folks saying that this is the album that sits naturally between 1988’s ‘… And Justice For All’ and 1991’s ‘Metallica’ (aka ‘The Black Album’), this is definitely — to my ears, at least — an album that is post-Justice, post-Metallica, post-(Re)Load, post-St Anger.

Stavros ends his review with:

… bottom line, to anyone who refused to stop believing, ‘Death Magnetic’ will feel like having a beloved brother awaken from a twenty year coma — he’ll never be quite the same, but just hearing the sound of his voice fills your heart with pure joy.

Anthrax – Caught in a Mosh

Anthrax - Caught in a Mosh

Spotted on the HMV website: thrash metal giants Anthrax have  a new live album coming out next week (Monday 7 January 2008): Caught in a Mosh, subtitled “BBC Live in Concert”. Track-listing is as follows:

Disc 1

Live at Hammersmith Odeon, London, 15 February 1987

  1. A.I.R.
  2. Metal Thrashing Mad
  3. Panic
  4. Enemy
  5. I Am The Law
  6. Madhouse
  7. Howling Furies
  8. Medusa
  9. Armed And Dangerous
  10. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
  11. God Save The Queen
  12. Gung Ho

Disc 2

Live at Monsters of Rock (Castle Donington) Festival, England, 22 August 1987

  1. Among The Living
  2. Caught In A Mosh
  3. Madhouse
  4. I Am The Law
  5. Medusa
  6. Indians
  7. God Save The Queen
  8. A.I.R.
  9. I’m The Man

Other Anthrax news is that they’ve announced their new singer: Dan Nelson, a relatively unknown singer from New York. Read the press release.