Artist: Avenged Sevenfold Title: “Live In The LBC” & “Diamonds In The Rough” Label: Warner Music Group Release Date: 9/16/2008 Genre: Heavy Metal Rating: 4/5
There is truly nothing as triumphant as a bands homecoming gig and the DVD for Avenged Sevenfold “Live in the LBC” captures the group doing just that. The concert film comes not long after the band headlined the Rockstar Taste Of Chaos tour in 2008 and this is a great way to close out the bands musical year. Having never seen the band perform myself, I felt that this was a great way to get in on the action and I had to admit that I loved getting the chance to do so during this incendiary performance in front of home town fans. Collectively the set list that the guys deliver for this show primarily comes from their self-titled “Avenged Sevenfold” album and “City Of Evil”. These two releases have proven very popular and far reaching for the band so I don’t think anyone who picks up this live set will actually mind. The band demonstrates a tightness in the live sense that comes from their consistent touring and they seem very in touch with their fans as we find singer M. Shadows talking to the crowd on a number of occasions. Visually the set is rather interesting as all of the “big concert effects” are pulled out and used to add numerous levels of drama to the performance. There is a lot of fire blasts going on and for a few moments I thought I was watching a KISS show because of them. This was a really great production as far as the audio went as well and the whole show runs just over 100 minutes and is sure to satisfy all of the bands fans. I found myself easily sitting through the whole show as opposed to skipping around and that is always a good thing. My favorite tunes from the show were “Bat Country”, “Seize The Day” and “Almost Easy”. The film is marked for some use of adult language so the parents of those younger listeners should be aware of that, and kudos to them as well for letting the wee lads and lasses enjoy the Metal as well. Continue reading “Live In The LBC” & “Diamonds In The Rough” by Avenged Sevenfold→
In my own personal list of top three bands, the mighty Van Halen has long remained in the second spot following KISS. The bands reunion with singer David Lee Roth was nothing less than historic in my book so attending the appearance at Madison Square Garden was something that could not be avoided. I didn’t shoot any photos but hope that my article on the site keeps your interest just the same.
Artist: Van Halen Venue: Madison Square Garden (New York, NY) Opener: unknown Date: 11/13/2007 Label: Warner Bros
The first announcement of a reunion between the Van Halen brothers and their original lead singer David Lee Roth came several months ago but due to unforeseen personal circumstances needed to be put on hold until a number of things could be worked out. Lucky for the fans the plans were soon back on the drawing board and rehearsals began for what was to be one of the most anticipated tours in Rock & Roll history. I admit that while I had long prayed for this show to happen I honestly never thought that it would see the light of day and this was primarily based on all of the back and forth comments and bickering between the camps of Roth and the Van Halen brothers that we were always finding across many websites or in band interviews. Yet, here we were and not only was the event happening but it was ready to commence. I found myself in a long sold out Madison Square Garden in New York City, the very same place that I first saw Van Halen back in 1982 during their “Diver Down” tour. It was around this time that the guys became one of my top three bands and have held this status since. Needless to say the entire place was electric in terms of the level of excitement and I couldn’t wait to see, hear, and experience the whole thing. It would not be a full reunion as many had hoped for as bassist Michael Anthony was out of the picture and in his place would be young Wolfgang Van Halen, the sixteen year old son of Edward VH. Many fans screamed about this and yet the tour still sold out at every venue that it was to hit so I am sure everyone was more than just a little bit curious. Continue reading Van Halen @ Madison Square Garden (11/13/2007)→
I had only caught Mastodon once before but really loved what they were all about so I made sure that my weekend of Metal with my friends would be complete by getting to their show at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ tonight. Sadly, a last minute snafu/miscommunication had me unable to take photos at the gig but report on it we did and to read this item just continue past their logo below.
Artist: Mastodon Venue: Starland Ballroom (New York, NY) Opener: Converge, Priestess Date: 2/10/2007 Label: Warner Music Group
When you listen to what Mastodon has done musically with their debut release “Leviathan” and then follow the progression along to their major label release “Blood Mountain”, you will find that they are unlike most Metal bands that are on the scene today. Obviously they are heavy as their name implies powerful giants from ancient times but there is nothing “Old School” about them. In a world of Extreme and Black meets Death Metal we find Mastodon changing the mix by offering up elements akin to Fusion and Jazz. The resulting mix gives the listener Metal music that is both technical and avant-garde which gets twisted around into new blends of aggressive music. Tonight the band would be playing a sold out gig at Sayreville NJ’s Starland Ballroom, and given this was the only vicinity show for me I just had to make sure we brought some level of coverage to the readers. I headed to the venue from Upstate New York with SoT’s Pete Pardo and I think we clocked about eighty miles from door to door by the time we arrived. After some initial confusion with entry we eventually made our way inside. Priestess and Converge would be direct support for the show but we would sadly miss anything that Priestess would be playing. Instead we would be in place at the exact time that Converge would be hitting the stage and at first I looked forward to this since I had heard several good things about them from fans of the Metalcore genre. To be quite honest, they just didn’t do it for me and while energetic on the stage were coming off as if they were playing one long song. Every riff seemed the same and the singer was just not as original as others I had seen of late. Some of the crowd loved them, and others were not. My section kept hoping that each song was the last and as they progressed I hungered more and more for Mastodon music. Perhaps they are better on recording than I was able to appreciate at this gig. We shall see if they are on a bill I attend again. Continue reading Mastodon @ Starland Ballroom (2/10/2007)→
Artist: Mastodon Title: “Blood Mountain” Label: Warner Brothers Release Date: 9/12/2006 Genre: Heavy Metal Rating: 4.5/5
With the Relapse Records release of “Leviathan”, Mastodon proved they were a band capable of breaking ground when others fear to even try. “Leviathan” would be an album that was as monstrous in sound as it was in name. The epic release was based on the Melville novel “Moby Dick” and with it the group took strong footing in a Metal scene that was blossoming once again after many years of being stagnant. The group’s move to Warner Bros. led to some to believe that the major signing would come at the sacrifice of some of the artistic integrity that made Mastodon special in the first place. They worried that a new recording would have them find a different Mastodon from what they experienced previously. The assumption would be correct as on “Blood Mountain” Mastodon brings to light just how much change one can offer the listener without sacrificing any of their impact, their musical prowess and overall delivery. “Blood Mountain” is a surprise right off the bat with wilder than ever drum patterns by Brann Dailor who is holding the riffs of Brent Hinds together as the other members pummel and reshape the style of the band. Dailor stands out in particular all over the record and makes the level of play demonstrated a thrill ride that is best experienced loud. Technically exciting, this is an album that pushes the limits of the genre by daring to become almost a Progressive/Experimental endeavor based on the amount of unique rhythms and styles that are delivered here. You will find this most prevalent in songs like “Capillarian Crest” and “Cycle Of Cysquatch” which are among the best offerings on the album as well. Don’t expect the sheer brutality that you found on “Leviathan” as its not here, but instead “Blood Mountain” offers the listener five times the musical exposition and shows that the group possesses advanced musical skills. The level of technical display shows advances in musical growth and I feel this will raise Mastodons level of appeal in the minds of fans of more Extreme Technical Metal. The use of Progressive elements will help raise the musical minds of listeners who love the Metal but as years go on might find themselves needing areas of change. Continue reading “Blood Mountain” by Mastodon→
Artist: Sam Dunn, Scot McFayden & Jessica Wise Title: “METAL: A Headbanger’s Journey” Label: Warner Music Group Release Date: 5/23/2006 Genre: Heavy Metal Rating: 9/10
Sam Dunn found his love of Heavy Metal music at the very early age of twelve years old. The message and the power of this music stayed with him through his formative years and into adulthood as he became an Anthropology student. The study of mans evolution led to his deciding to apply the knowledge to explore and investigate the music he loved so much. He felt there was a level of anthropological detail in the way the music began in history and the factors that have kept it alive in the hearts of the fans that support it in legion and the bands that have come from its influence. It was an interesting idea and I admit that I liked the aspect as I glanced over the press copy of the film. Released as a double DVD set, you get the full 96 minute movie and a bonus DVD of a ton of features that make this something worth referencing against your own Metal love. As I watched I was impressed mainly by the level of detail placed within the film and the research done to put it together. Using a Metal history chart, the film is set up where Metal began historically and how it sprouted off into a number of other genres each holding its own unique audience and style. Dunn ties this all together and gives everything a level of coverage even if it is not the style he prefers. The other standout point of the film is that Metal is taken seriously and not presented as idiotic or childish. There are enough programs that belittle the form at every possible chance and it was admirable to see this would not be one of them. Popular music factions of today want you to believe that Metal is dead and you will see by the film and its commentators that this is very far from the truth. At one point of the film Dunn states regarding Metal “you either get it or you don’t”, “if you do then great, but if you don’t we don’t really care nor need you”. A bold but true statement that’s many of the readers will find themselves in agreement of as they revisit their own defenses of their musical preferences. Continue reading “METAL: A Headbanger’s Journey”by Sam Dunn→