Friday, January 30, 2015

Live Albums & Disappointments

Another thought in using this blog as a retrospective on metal was to name my favorite live album and biggest disappointment of the year.

For 1980, there really can be no biggest disappointment.  I mean, what can the expectations have been?  Probably half the albums in a top 20 will be debut albums, and the rest are pretty solid.  I can't think of any band that put out an album in 1980 that was worse that their late 70's work.  Maybe UFO, but after losing Michael Schenker, were there really high expectations?

For live albums, I really only see three choices for 1980 - so more discussion on that later.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

1980 - Little Variety

I have been listening to a lot of 1980 music lately, and also searching the web for 1980 lists.  There are several top 10 lists for 1980 metal music.  Back in those days, there just was not much choice.  Almost every top ten list looks the same.  They all have the same top 8, but in different order.  Inevitably, you'll find Ozzy, Sabbath, Maiden, Priest, Motorhead, Leppard, Diamond Head* and AC/DC.  Most lists also have Angel Witch and a Saxon album (or two), but for the most part their top 8 look like those household names you see above.

By no means is this the fault of the authors.  I have scoured YouTube and other corners of the web for 1980 albums that are rare and on the border of metal (Gillan, Krokus, MSG, etc.) that stand up to these, and while I have found some interesting things, the aforementioned groups put out the best stuff of that year (mostly).

I will be doing a top 15 or 20 list in a few days, but don't look here for anything really different.  Bands like Fist (the one from Canada), Viva and Sorcery are only footnotes in the history of metal for a good reason. 

*I am convinced that Diamond Head is seen as the lost NWOBHM gem solely because of their influence on Metallica, and therefore it is uncool** not to have Lightning to the Nations in your top 10.

** It may actually be in mine too - but for the right reasons.....

Monday, January 26, 2015

Where to Start?

In restarting the history of metal blogs, I decided to start with 1980.  While that seems somewhat random, it was well thought out.  There are several reasons for this demarcation.

First and foremost is the NWOBHM.  Although a few acts (Saxon, Samson, Quartz, etc.) had earlier releases, several major bands had debuts this year - Iron Maiden, Fist, Angel Witch, Diamond Head, Tygers of Pan Tang to name a couple.

Also, I have found that the line between hard rock and metal gets fuzzier the further you go back.  So, in 1980, I am considering things like Rush, Michael Schenker and AC/DC in the same category as Iron Maiden, Motörhead, and Judas Priest.  As time passed, the lines between rock and metal became more defined as the music became more extreme.  If you go further back than 1980, the line becomes even more blurred and you start considering Aerosmith and ZZ Top.

Finally, 1980 is a nice round number, and a seemingly good place to start.

So, for the last week or so, I have been listening to nothing but 1980 albums (except for the new Subterranean Masquerade album, brilliant by the way). I have been surprised by some of the things I have been hearing, mostly The Rods and Angel Witch are not as horrible as I remember them.

Friday, January 23, 2015

I know Led Zeppelin, and you sir, are no Led Zeppelin

I don’t like Def Leppard.  I mean some of their music is OK, but I don’t like their attitude.  Let me explain.
First, let’s agree on the facts.  They released two pseudo-metal albums during the heyday of the NWOBHM (which they completely scorn – more on that later).  Next, was a half metal/half glam effort in 1983, which was very well received from a commercial view.  Their mega-blockbuster in 1987 was pure glam/hair metal.  They had another album in 1990 that did OK, but after that they released one commercial dud after another (I think there were six, but I could have missed one).  
So here is a band that shuns their metal roots because they want to be more mainstream than a metal band. For a few years they certainly accomplished this, but those days are long gone.  Joe Elliott always considered his band more like a Led Zeppelin or Rolling Stones, but history will remember Leppard more with Whitesnake and Poison.  So is being a has-been hair metal band better that being considered part of the NWOBHM?
Let’s dismiss Elliott’s premise that Leppard is comparable to Zeppelin, The Who, the Stones, etc.  I’ll easily dismiss this with the fact that Def Leppard can’t sell out a shoebox anymore.  If any of those other bands toured, it would be 50,000+ seat stadiums.  Also, none of those bands have ever released commercial duds like Slang or Songs from the Sparkle Lounge.  Even Led Zeppelin’s Presence was a far more successful and lasting effort.
Yet despite this failure to capture the hearts, minds and pocketbooks of American music consumers for the last quarter century, Leppard still thinks they are too good for the NWOBHM.  Now like any music movement, the NWOBHM had their share of garbage, but there were a lot of good bands and a couple of legendary bands to rise out of that movement; and, considering Def Leppard’s inability to record anything anyone wants to listen to, I would think they would want to associate themselves with anyone that would have them, including the likes of Saxon and the Tygers of Pan Tang. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

An Apology - Sort of

My last post was critical of a list of someone's top 100 albums of 1984.  While the list in question is certainly flawed and open for criticism and debate, I do not think it was without merit.

So, to reiterate, it was deeply flawed and I think that deliberately placing Dio, Iron Maiden and Metallica in the bottom 10 was begging for trouble.  Also the though of placing a 19 minute EP by Acid 50 places above the aforementioned bands is a complete joke.

However, there were a lot of hidden and forgotten gems on that list. 

Like I said, I probably only heard about half the albums/EP's on that list, and some of them I only heard once or twice.

So the list go me thinking maybe it would be cool to revisit the 1980's again.

So - that is what I am going to do.

Stay tuned for a detailed look back at 1980.

Friday, January 09, 2015

Shit sandwich - 1984 style

So, I was browsing the internet and came upon the Metal Archives message board.  I do not participate in message boards anymore because people are stupid.  To further prove my point, I saw this top metal albums of 1984 list.

Now let me preface my remarks by saying everyone is entitled to their opinion and yadda yadda yadda.  I'm sorry, but this list is a crock of shit.  This guy basically had his legit top 10 or so, put some of the most well known albums at the end of this list, and filled in the middle with crap, hoping that anyone reading his list had never heard of half the crap on there.  Well, it's true for me too. I have only heard about half of the crap in the middle, but I can tell you for sure, most of it is crap. Thus this guy created a true shit sandwich. 

He did include almost every decent album from 1984 (let's face it, there weren't even 100 good metal albums world wide that year).  If you look at his top 17, most of these are legit (I admist I have not heard three of them).  So in that regard it's a good list. I wish he did a top 50 instead and left out the Dio, Maiden and Metallica albums.  That would have given the list more crdibility in my opinion.

Let's look at some of the albums he deemed better than Powerslave, The Last in Line and Ride the Lightning (as you know, I am no Metallica fan, but give credit where credit is due - this is a great album).

  • Pantera - Projects in the Jungle.  This record is a joke.  It may not be as bad as Metal Magic, but it is still horrendous (this one was below Metallica)
  • TNT - Knights of the New Thunder - not as laughable as the Pantera album, but still lame.
  • TKO - In your face.  I heard this one and could not sit through it.
  • The Rods - Let Them Eat Metal.  Even Feinstein himself would laugh at this being rated above his far more talented cousin.
  • Saracen - Change of Heart.  This is a metal list, right?
  • Warning - Metamorphose.  Their first two albums had some credibility, but this is better than Powerslave?
  • Acid - Black Car - Really?
  • Savatage - The Dungeons are Calling.  I like Savatage, but they were nowhere ready for prime-time at this point in their career.
  • Raven - Live at the Inferno - a bad band in the studio - worse live
  • Pretty Maids - Red, Hot & Heavy.  This is getting ridiculous.  He had this turd at number 22!!
  • Tank - Honour & Blood.  It's albums like this one that killed the NWOBHM.
I wish he did a top 50 instead and left out the Dio, Maiden and Metallica albums. That would have given the list more crdibility in my opinion.  The shit andwich approach is an obvious cry out for debate.  Well, you got it.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

A look back at 2002

I seems to have covered 2002 a long time ago on this blog.  In looking at that list, I would say the top 5 or 6 spots are going to remain the same.  Some of the bottom of that top 10 will be replaced for sure.  I think there may even be some entries that crack this top ten that we omitted from my big top 500 that I posted on Rateyourmusic a couple of years ago.

I recently listened to Escape by Ram-Zet and I liked it more than the first time I heard it.  I think it is too long (I really do not care for 60 minute plus albums) and probably could have been trimmed down by ten minutes or so, but it is a very good listen.

So this month I will re-listen to the 30+ albums I have from 2002 and remake my top 10.  I wouldn't expect a change from the top 4 as those are all in my top 50 all-time are are in in constant rotation in my iPod, but there are some gems here that I have overlooked.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

A Return

I have decided to return to my long lost home on the web.  Nobody really reads it anymore, but what the heck.

So, stay tuned (lol) for more updates about metal (mostly) and maybe the occasional sports or political post.