GALVANIZED 10 BEST METAL ALBUMS OF 2013

5997585_f260trees

                     GALVANIZED 10 Best Metal Albums 2013

 

1/ The Wild HuntWATAIN

 The Swedish black metal band returned with a triumphant follow up to their 2010 album; Lawless Darkness. The Wild Hunt is aggressive as hell with your typical musical slant of the dark genre and surprisingly, there’s some doom configurations thrown in for good measure. These guys always impress the shit out of me with each passing album. This is my favorite album (period) of the year. Black metal does not get any better than this. Horns up you freaks!  .\,,/

2/ Solarflesh HATE

 2013 was not a great year for the Polish blackened death band. After the sudden loss of their bass player; Mortifer however, the band can still boast the fantastic release of their 8th studio album; Solarflesh; an album that lives up to their reputation as one of the best in their genre. Safe passage Mortifer!

3/ Welcome FarewellVREID

 The former members of WINDIR returned with another satisfying album. This album displays their trusted pagan influenced black metal sound and dare I day, a touch of ‘classic rock’ in the mix. Norway’s VREID have always come up with the goods and Welcome Farewell is no exception. This album is rather infectious actually.

4/ The Rommel Chronicles III – HAIL OF BULLETS

 For old school death metal, you could not beat this album in 2013. The pride of the Netherlands released the third part of Rommel’s campaign during WW2 and this album is brutally (and gloriously) heavy. So heavy in fact, the riffing and blastbeats are relentless and make your head spin. These guys are the masters of their craft.

5/ Echoes of Battle – CALADAN BROOD

 Without question, this is one of the best pagan/folk black metal albums to surface this year. With epic tracks like; To Walk the Ashes of Dead Empires, CALADAN BROOD pulled out all the stops with this album and surprised many a black metal fan, including myself. And to make things more interesting, they hail from Salt Lake City, Utah. Go figure.

6/ Des Seelebrechen – IHSAHN

 IHSAHN has released one of the strangest and imaginative metal albums of the year. The celebrated former vocalist/guitarist from EMPEROR and PECCATUM released his fifth solo album and the results are marvelous. Some may find Des Seelenbrechen a difficult listen at first but the ebbs and flows of progressive elements and the heavier black metal fare become a pleasant experience upon repeated plays. I have always been intrigued by IHSAHN’s previous works but I do really enjoy his latest effort.

7/ Kingdom of Conspiracy – IMMOLITION

 New York’s death metal masters were at it again in 2013. Kingdom of Conspiracy is the follow up to their 2011 critically acclaimed album; Majesty and Decay and the results are just as impressive. The musicianship is top notch and ROSS DOLAN’s vocals are as brutal as ever. These guys never disappoint.

8/ DREAM THEATER – DREAM THEATER

2013 saw the 12th release of from DREAM THEATER. Their self titled album is, in my opinion their best and most ambitious since 2005’s Octavarium. Vocalist; JAMES LABRIE is back to writing deep and meaningful lyrics and guitarist; JOHN PETRUCCI once again, tears things up. A most welcomed comeback from these American progressive metal veterans with another masterpiece, to say the least.

9/ Ghosts of the Mountain – APPALACHIAN WINTER

 Often referred to as the east coast answer to Agalloch, this one man atmospheric black metal band (D.G. KLYNE) released a beautiful album, earlier this year. Ghosts of the Mountain is mournful, brooding and depicts the harsh cycle of life in the high altitudes. There’s a foreboding sense of melancholy between these grooves which could not make one feel anymore joy in their black little hearts. Quite lovely.

10/ 13 – BLACK SABBATH

 And for the comeback of the year (perhaps the past few decades), we honour the U.K. doom metal vets for a surprisingly good album. GEEZER BUTLER’s songwriting skills are as sharp as ever and OZZY hasn’t sounded this good in years but the star of the show is (and always was, frankly) TONY IOMMI who can still play that reversed SG to perfection. The sound is modern (expertly produced by RICK RUBIN) but the vibe is uniquely SABBATH. Although I had been waiting eons for this arrival, as I heard it, I was still taken back on how damn good it was. A most welcomed return for a bunch of old coots.

 HONERABLE MENTIONS:

THUNDERBOLTS FOR THE GODS – GRAVELAND (pagan black metal – Poland)

NECROCRACY – EXHUMED (death metal – U.S.)

SURGICAL STEEL – CARCASS (melodic death metal – U.K.)

WAITING FOR THE END TO COME – KATAKLYSM (death metal – Canada)

HALO OF BLOOD – CHILDREN OF BODOM (melodic death metal – Sweden)

AFTERSHOCK – MOTORHEAD (traditional metal – U.K.)

SACRIFICE – SAXON (traditional metal – U.K.)

 

Have a Blessed Solstice…see ya next year!  .\,,/

My 30 favorite BLACK METAL ALBUMS

 

imagesCAVZMP72TAAKEgravelandFor the past while now, I have been trying to write down my impressions of the often feared, most under appreciated metal sub genre known as BLACK METAL.

Now I must confess, I have not been posting metal blogs like I used to, mainly due to having so much going on in my life. I have sat down at my infernally uncompromising keyboard and come up with…nothing.

At first, I proceeded to write down the history of BLACK METAL (Venom, Hellhammer, Celtic Frost, Bathory, Mayhem and so on) but this is been done ad nauseum. Every metal devotee knows where the dark sub genre derived from…and where it went (thanx you freaky Norwegians!).

And then I thought I would compose a few words in defending BLACK METAL but figured what is the point of that. For the metal fans who find it too much, too noisy, too abrasive and too dark, they will never understand my attraction to this misunderstood art form…and for those who are impassioned by it like me, they will just probably roll their eyes at my ravings and go; “Yeah, no shit, Sherlock!”

So with the crazy schedule consuming my life, multiple attempts of posting something…anything and numerous procrastinations, I am taking the easy way out and just simply submitting my favorite BLACK METAL albums (yeah, like you didn’t see that coming, right?). I really enjoy listening to these albums. For me, they define BLACK METAL. I realize there are a lot of omissions in this list but I only wanted to submit 30 albums. Other artists who could have easily had albums in here are; Gorgoroth, Aura Noir, Carpathian Forest and Impaled Nazarene. I would like to at some other time, post my favorite PAGAN/FOLK BLACK METAL and ATMOSPHERIC BLACK METAL albums…but that will be for another day, hopefully soon.

I hope you can give me some feedback into what your favorite albums are and give me supreme shit for my omissions and inclusions. I look forward to hearing from ya. Well, without further adieu, they are my favorite BLACK METAL albums!

1/ In the Nightside Eclipse – EMPEROR (1994 Norway)

2/ Over Boergvin Graater Himmerik – TAAKE (2002 Norway)

3/ Nattestid Ser Porten Vid – TAAKE (1999 Norway)

4/ Immortal Pride – GRAVELAND (1998 Poland)

5/ Thousand Swords – GRAVELAND (1995 Poland)

6/ Enthrone Darkness Triumphant – DIMMU BORGIR (1997 Norway)

7/ Sworn to the Dark – WATAIN (2007 Sweden)

8/ The Shadowthrone – SATYRICON (1995 Norway)

9 / Dark Medieval Times – SATYRICON (1993 Norway)

10/ Nattens Madrigal – ULVER (1995 Norway)

11/ 1184 –WINDIR (2001 Norway)

12/ Vikingsligor Valdi – ENSLAVED (1994 Norway)

13/ Moon in the Scorpio – LIMBONIC ART (1996 Norway)

14/ Blood Fire Death – BATHORY (1988 Sweden)

15/ Filosofem – BURZUM (1996 Norway)

16/ Goathorns – NOKTURNAL MORTUM (1997 Ukraine)

17/ Stronghold – SUMMONING (1999 Austria)

18/ Strength and Anger – ILDJARN (2002 Norway)

19/ Pandemonic Incantations – BEHEMOTH (1998 Poland)

20/ From the Pagan Wastelands – BEHEMOTH (1994 Poland)

21/ Lurker of Chalice – LURKER OF CHALICE (2OO5 U.S.)

22/ Nocturnal Poisoning – XASTHUR (2002 U.S.)

23/ Autumn Aurora – DRUDKH (2004 Ukraine)

24/ The Mantle – AGALLOCH (2002 U.S.)

25/ Frost – ENSLAVED (1994 Norway)

26/ Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk – EMPEROR (1994 Norway)

27/ The Tenth Sublevel of Suicide – LEVIATHAN (2003 U.S.)

28/ Agden; a Journey through the Dark – KEEP OF KALESSIN (1999 Norway)

29/ Ravendusk in my Heart – DIABOLICAL MASQUARADE (1996 Sweden)

30/ At the Moonlit Gate – LORD BELIAL (1998 Sweden)imagesCA6V8781Bathoryimages

GALVANIZED for the week of August 19, 2013

 

Chuck Billyimages

So after a relaxing and wonderful summer break, I am back with more metal news for you headbangers.

We begin this edition of GALVANIZED with some disheartening news of MOTORHEAD’s LEMMY KILMISTER failing health. Earlier this year, Lemmy had a defibrillator implanted in his chest due to heart issues and to make matter’s worse, the 67 year old rocker has been suffering with hematoma. His strength and endurance of performing with Motorhead during their hectic summer schedule has been at issue.

After cutting short their performance at Germany’s Wacken festival, a few weeks back, it was advised the veteran British band cancel the remainder of their summer shows while he recuperates at home. No word on Lemmy’s present state of health but we wish him a speedy recovery and all the best! .\,,/

* * * * *

CARCASS has recently announced the cities they will be visiting on the upcoming North American tour and oddly enough, there is only one Canadian date thus far mentioned. It appears their only date in the great white north will be at the McEwen Ballroom in Calgary, Alberta. Surprisingly there have been no Toronto, Detroit or Buffalo dated given as of yet.

Opening for the British melodeath metal act are veteran New York death metallers IMMOLITION, who have just put out a blistering album; Kingdom of Conspiracy. Also on the bill are two other exceptional death metal bands; EXUMED and MACABRE.

The new Carcass album, entitled; Surgical Steel, will be released in North America on September 17th. This will be their first album to hit the stores since 1997. Guitarist JEFF AMOTT and drummer DANIEL ERLANDSON once again helped out on this album but returned soon after to focus on their duties with Swedish melodic-death metal band ARCH ENEMY in late 2012. Guitarist BEN ASH and drummer DANIEL WILDING have since joined Carcass for their touring dates for the remainder of this year.

Okay guys, I’m sure you can find the time to come around this neck of the woods…it’s been quite awhile!

* * * * *

And finally, hats off to CHUCK BILLY of TESTAMENT who earlier this summer received the prestigious honor of being recognized and celebrated by Jim Frazer of the California State Assembly for the positive influence he has made in the Native American community.

Testament’s 2012 video Native Blood earned them a video of the year award at the Native American Film Festival. Some of Chuck Billy’s memorabilia has also been donated to Smithsonian’s American Indian Exhibit in Albuquerque, N.M.

Good on ya, Chuck! .\,,/

* * * * *

It appears it’s been a busy summer for metal fests in Europe and here in North America and as the season winds down, so I salute those who braved the brutal moshpit shenanigans and stood in endless line ups at the beer tents and t-shirt stands. No such luck getting to Europe this summer…and the line up at this year’s Montreal Metal Meet seemed somewhat lackluster so I have lived vicariously, as many others have, through the courtesy of You Tube footage.

Even the WACKEN FESTIVAL in Germany seemed a trifle dull this summer. There were however, quite a few metal shows across the continent that boasted stellar line ups and gorgeous weather. Here are a couple of killer festivals that have just recently passed by;

INTO THE GRAVE METAL FESTIVAL, Lee warden, Netherlands

PARADISE LOST * SODOM * DEVIL DRIVER* SATYRICON *

DECREPIT BIRTH

 

SUMMER BREEZE FESIVAL, Dinklesbuhl, Germany

AMORPHIS * IN FLAMES * DESTRUCTION * EXODUS * GRAVE *

DYING FETUS * MARDUK * MOONSPELL * VADER *

WHITECHAPEL * TRISTANIA * LAMB OF GOD

Word is both festivals went on without a hitch and all performances were amazing!

 

And check this out there are only 346 days left until the next year’s Wacken Fest. In light of this summer’s uneventful weekend, the organizers at the infamous German festival decided to make next year’s metal fest, heavier, faster and louder. The line up thus far is quite intriguing and I, myself am seriously thinking about flying across the Atlantic to this one. Check this out;

WACKEN FESTIVAL 2014 Line up;

ICED EARTH * ARCH ENEMY * CHILDREN OF BODOM *

KING DIAMOND * KREATOR * BEHEMOTH * EMPEROR

And that’s only so far. I believe the Wacken Fest officials are aiming to put on their best metal show ever and with Behemoth, Kreator and the highly anticipated return of black metal legends, Emperor, they very well could do just that!

* * * * *

NEW RELEASES

JAMES LEBRIE is having a busy year as he finished recording a new album with his band DREAM THEATRE. The progressive metal front man has also released his first solo effort; Permanent Resonance. Apparently it’s supposed to be a fantastic album.

Featuring members of HOPE CONSPIRACY, BLOODHORSE and hardcore punks heroes, CONVERGE, grindcore unit, ALL PIGS MUST DIE have released Nothing Violates This Nature. Word is, this is one angry and violent sounding record.

Veteran doom/stoner metal act TROUBLE have released their ninth album, The Distortion Field while veteran American death metallers, AUTOPSY have just put out their sixth studio offering, The Headless Ritual. Can’t wait to hear both!

* * * * *

Okay, so that’s it for this edition of GALVANIZED, if you have any questions, criticisms or suggestions, please let me know. Next time around I’ll send ya some observations of that underappreciated, misunderstood and often feared metal genre from the vastlands of the Carpathians entitled; IN DEFENCE OF BLACK METAL.

In the meantime, I would just like to say, stay healthy Lemmy. We need ya! .\,,/

THE GALVANATOR’S HIDDEN GEMS

Iron_Angel_-_Hellish_Crossfire2322images
Okay kiddies, so this time around, I thought it would be cool to share with you some priceless gems from the metal vault. Now, I must first state a few of these albums are considered masterpieces in their particular genre but for mainstream metal fans, these chosen nuggets are relatively unheard of. I have included entries in the major extreme metal genres (thrash, death and black metal) and through the tests of time, they all still hold up for originality and kick ass satisfaction. For those of you that are familiar with some (or all) of these recordings, you know indeed what I’m talking about. For all of you who have never heard of these titles from the metal days of yor, I wholeheartedly invite you to check them out. You can probably find them on the You tube or My Space sites. Are you ready, my fellow headbangers, rivotheads and earthdogs? Well then, without further adieu, here we go…

* * * * *

1/ IRON ANGEL – Hellish Crossfire (1985)
Genre; Traditional metal/Thrash metal. Country; Germany
We begin with a debut album released in the mid-eighties from kraut – rockers; Iron Angel. Hellish Crossfire has gone down in metal history as one of the best debut albums Germany has ever produced. Alongside, label mates, Destruction; these guys were the first to incorporate the west coast U.S, thrash sound into their music. The modern thrash sound mixed with an obvious Judas Priest influence made for a uniquely refreshing listening experience. Not too dark but with lots of punch, Hellish Crossfire delivered the goods with such songs as; Black Mass, Church of Lost Souls and Legions of Evil. The album cover artwork is impressive as well. Iron Angel’s second album; The Winds of War was a more ambitious endeavor yet not as heavy as their debut. After these two albums, the band basically disappeared into obscurity. Hellish Crossfire however, remains an often revisited source of early thrash metal.

* * * *

2/ INFERNAL MAJESTY – None Shall Defy (1987)
Genre; Thrash metal. Country; Canada
Infernal Majesty’s arrival into the thrash metal scene could not have come at a better time. The genre was popping out bands like candy from a Pez dispenser. West coast, East coast, some European nations; thrash metal was quickly gaining popularity for metal fans, in retaliation to the hair bands who were dominating the radio and television airwaves. Toronto, Canada had a few bands that rocked hard but none did it so well as Infernal Majesty. Their debut album; None Shall Defy, has become a thrash metal favorite throughout the years. Leaning on the Slayer/Forbidden vibe, their album was dark (by eighties standards) and packed a wallop. With songs like; Night of the Living Dead, Anthology of Death, Into the Unknown and Hell on Earth, Infernal Majesty put Canada on the map when it came to thrash metal. Unfortunately, two demos later, the band packed it in. It wasn’t until 1998 when the two remaining guitarists; Kenny Hellman and Steve Terror tried to recapture their earlier success by recording; Holier than Thou, at times sounding somewhat like a death metal affair. It is fair to say that Infernal Majesty’s one and only eighties offering; None Shall Defy will be known as an unsung thrash classic.

* * * *

DEMIGOD – Slumber of the Sullen Eyes (1992)
Genre; Death metal. Country; Finland
A funny thing happened as the genre of death metal grew out of its infancy, many bands in Europe either had a choice of following Tampa Bay conventions or creating something brutally original, as was going on in Sweden. Finnish, death metal newbies; Demigod, opted for the Floridian sound and the results surprised many. Not only did they record an album that sounded as if they were from Tampa Bay themselves, but the overall consensus was that Demigod’s album; Slumber of Sullen Eyes, was more original and brutally satisfying than most American death metal albums, at that time. Yes, the album is brutal, well produced and relentlessly refreshing. At first listen, one would assume there is no European connection but DEMIGOD recorded a death metal album that will forever serve them well. With an astonishing twenty three tracks on one album, songs such as; Darkened and Burning displayed extreme aggression and mature songwriting skills. Guitarists; Jussi Kiski and Esa Linden really tore it up on occasion. Demigod made a few comebacks throughout the years before officially disbanding, not too long ago. Slumber of Sullen Eyes is another example of fine Tampa death metal, from a band who hailed from the cold climate of Scandinavia.

* * * *

ASPHYX – The Rack (1992)
Genre; Death metal. Country; the Netherlands
Asphyx first gained attention as the band who boasted former Pestilence front man, Martin Van Drunan as their own. Their 1991 recording, The Rack, was a great way to start their series of no holds barred, death metal. The album was distinctly European with neo classical interludes and song structures. Considered by many, one of the better European death acts to emerge in the mid-nineties, they wasted no time in releasing a killer album. With songs like; Vermin, Evocation, Ode to a Nameless Grave and the title track, Asphyx quickly went the distance and produced a timeless offering of death metal beauty. Their following albums also proved they were no slouches, including 1992’s Last One of Earth. I personally have always been a huge fan of the Rack. It has everything I look for in classic death metal…and more.

* * * *

CANCER – Death Shall Rise (1993)
Genre; Death metal. Country; the U.K.
With the exception of Carcass, Bolt Thrower and Benediction, England has never been at the center of the death metal universe. 1993’s Death Shall Rise was an album of pure old school death metal. This was Cancer’s second release and the results were quite satisfying. Old school death was indeed the flavor here and this album will forever be considered their best; partly because of the simplicity of the song structures and partly because they employed one, James Murphy on guitar for the outing. His contributions to Death Shall Rise are insurmountable, considering the album is standard death metal. His services for Cancer were short lived however, soon after this album as he returned home to the U.S. and joined ranks with fellow American extreme metal acts; Obituary and Testament. Death shall Rise, years later is still an enjoyable listen with tracks of the typical death metal flare; Hung, Drawn and Quartered, Burning Casket, Corpse Fire, and Eternal Decay. A few releases later, Cancer dissolved into oblivion, leaving with them another vital footnote to the development of the genre.

* * * *

ANGEL CORPSE – The Inexorable (1999)
Genre; Blackened-death metal. Country; U.S.A.
Oh the sweet sounds of blackened death. There is nothing more intoxicating than when two genres such as death and black metal collide. The delivery of the vocals, the guitar arrangements, the hyper blast beats; they all meet together for a brutally distinctive sound. In 1999, a band from the unlikely city of Kansas City, released their masterpiece; The Inexorable. When I first laid my ears on this gem, I didn’t know what to think. Sure, there was a definite Morbid Angel influence, but this album seemed to offer more than your typical Tampa Bay death metal sound. It was as though these cats had been feasting on a diet of all that darkly dwelled in Norway or Sweden. Original, nasty and very addictive; when ANGEL CORPSE disbanded soon after this album, no one was more surprised than me. Every song was killer…and there was no filler. To the dismay (and horror) of my lady, family and friends, I love to, at full blast, crank such tracks as; Christhammer, Into the Storm of Steel, Embrace and Solar Walls. The guitar work by Billy Taylor is remarkable. He left the band to join Immolition, some time later. The drum work from Tony Laureano also deserves a mention. He is also a veteran death metal musician who has worked with Malevolent Creation and Nile among others. Angel Corpse’s first two albums were great death albums, don’t get me wrong but The Inexorable stands out as a recording that had all the toxic pieces put together. Not the biggest or most influential title in the genre of death metal…but it very well should be.

* * * *

LORD BELIAL – Enter the Moonlight Gate (1997)
Genre; Black metal. Country; Sweden
And alas we end our tribute to those hidden treasures by taking a look at an epic black metal adventure. Sweden has certainly produced a lot of crazy black metal albums over the years. Obviously not half as much as Norway, but for what it’s worth, there has been plenty of dark, brutally aggressive recordings from some amazing artists. Lord Belial (the name of the band, not a dude), may have not been the most original of the genre but everything they created was interesting and most importantly, heavy. Enter the Moonlight Gate was at times progressive and the heaviness of the music ebbed and flowed like the waves of the Baltic Sea. Songs such as; Unholy Spell of Lilith, Belial-Northern Prince of Darkness, and Realm of a Thousand Burning Souls (Part 1) showcase their superb songwriting talents and chaotic yet quite competent musicianship. The best way to describe Lord Belial’s music on this album is to think of Bathory meets Emperor with a touch of Nocturnal Mortum thrown in for good measure. After they released this tasty nugget, Lord Belial carried on with many impressive albums.

* * * *

So there you have it, seven albums that for some reason sat in the dark recesses of the mainstream metal vaults. I encourage you to give them all a listen. And again, I must emphasize, many of these offerings are considered classics, be it in the realms of the thrash, death or black metal genres. Metal junkies such as me (the GALVANATOR) value these albums and continuously spin them on my cd player or turntable. I believe it’s a lot of fun to share them with, shall we say, the ‘conventional’ metal enthusiast who is content to simply groove on Sabbath or Metallica. These seven albums are just a few of the many amazing metal projects that have been collecting dust in relative obscurity while the big name corporate artists have been proudly waving the metal banner for years. But you know my philosophy, if it’s good metal, it will always somehow make its way to the metal populous. It’s just really cool to share them and help them rise out of obscurity. I’ll do this again some time soon. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.
Next time, I’ll share with you my usual shards of the latest metal news shrapnel. Until then…keep it metal! .\,,/

GALVANIZED for the Week of June 22nd

images1017102_607818172575247_1001474526_n GALVANIZED for the Week of June 22nd

We begin this week’s edition of Galvanized by congratulating BLACK SABBATH on their remarkable achievement; oddly enough, for the first time in their 44 year career, the band have reached number one on the Billboard Top 200 list. Their long anticipated album, 13 has sold over 155,000 copies in its first week of release. What a cool milestone for the doom metal veterans! The last time Sabbath hit the top ten was in 1971 for their third album, Master of Reality, which peaked at number Eight. Ozzy, Tony and Geezer could not be happier about their unexpected milestone and are all set to play the sold out North American Arenas that lay waiting.
Oh and by the way, the GALVANATOR wholehearted recommends their new album, 13. This is one fantastic recording! All the tracks are superbly produced (thanx to one, RICK RUBIN, of course) and BRAD WILK (formerly of RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE and AUDIOSLAVE) takes over the drumming duties quite competently. Some have said Bill Wards finesse is missing from this project, although, I personally feel, Sabbath needed a powerhouse drummer…and Christ, they have one indeed! My fave tracks are the opening number; End is the Beginning and the fourth song; Zetgeist. Black Sabbath definitely still have it. If one could envision the sound of their bluesy, doomish days of yor…and yet still want to feast their ears on an album that still sounds fresh and contemporary, this eagerly awaited project is for you. All the success Sabbath will enjoy this year will be well deserved! Well done, guys!

* * * * * * * * * *

SEPULTURA is currently labouring on their new album. Guitarist, DAVE KISSER has recently stated that former SLAYER drummer, DAVE LOMBARDO will be guest appearing on the upcoming project. Lombardo has been a long time fan of the Brazilian death metal band and appears on one undisclosed track. Sepultura front man, DERRICK GREEN also said, earlier this year that the album sounds “Really sinister, dark and metal as hell!” The album is scheduled for release October/November on Nuclear Blast Records. No word yet on a working title.

* * * * * * * *

Hardcore industrial metal heads, MINISTRY will release their thirteenth studio album, From Beer to Eternity (Planet Records) on September 6th. Word is that this may be AL JOURGENSON’s final album as it was the last to feature late guitarist MIKE SCACCIA who passed away, earlier last year. The album will feature eleven new Ministry tracks and the first single, PermaWar will be released on I-Tunes (or something lame like that) as late as July. Now, this should be interesting to hear.
Ministry are also releasing their DVD Live at Wacken 2012. The concert can be seen on u-tube and I must admit, it is somewhat lackluster compared to other Ministry ventures in the past. I saw Al and co a couple of times in 1992 and they were amazing. This concert seems as though they were a flogging a dead horse. Having said that, I still want to hear their upcoming album.

* * * * * * * * * *
Two metal fests took place last week in Montebello, Quebec and in the U.K.
The AMNESIA ROCK FEST, which featured many punk acts and some metal bands was apparently plagued with problems, all stemming from band cancellations, poor organization and greedy promoters; sound familiar? The poor townspeople by the Ottawa River, with a population of 1000, were a little freaked out by the onslaught of festival goers. No major mishaps occurred during the two day event.
The DOWNLOAD FESTIVAL at DONNINGTON (formerly the Castle Donnington festival) came and went. 90,000 flocked to the famous U.K. festival. SLIPKNOT, IRON MAIDEN and RAMSTEIN, respectively, were the headliners for the three day festival. Save for Maiden’s brilliant (as usual) performance on Saturday evening, the festival to me, seemed like a yawn fest. There are two far superior Festivals in the U.K.; one is HAMMERFEST in S.E.Wales and the other is the world renowned, BLOODSTOCK, up near Derbyshire.

* * * * * *

Speaking of BLOODSTOCK, this year’s edition has a killer line up but then again, what else is new. Located near Derbyshire by the River Trent, this three day festival is one of the premier metal events of the summer. Some of the acts scheduled to appear this year are;

SLAYER * LAMB OF GOD * EXODUS * ANTHRAX * GOJIRA * AMORPHIS * KING DIAMOND * KATAKLYSYM * DYING FETUS *

The festival gets under way on the weekend of August 8th and is a metal lover’s dream come true! Now this sounds like the weekend I would love to take my girlfriend to, to explore this part of the U.K.; check out my homeland; check out some pubs, lot of castles and take in lots of METAL!
Nah…she ain’t impressed and she ain’t budging.

* * * * * *

Another amazing metal fest takes in Holland in Holland this weekend so if this sounds interesting, you might want to hurry and get your boarding passes to the Netherlands. The DOKK’EM OPEN AIR takes place in oddly enough, DOKKEM, Netherlands and runs on June 21st and 22nd. This line up again, is nothing less than impressive with some of the scheduled performers being;

TESTAMENT * ICED EARTH * AMORPHIS * SYMPHONY X * KEEP OF KALESSIN * BLOOD RED THRONE * CRYPTOPSY * MARDUK *

Yeah, I’m sure veteran Swedish, black metallers, Marduk will scare the shit out of everyone…or not…a very cool list of metal acts; a little something for everyone. I tells ya, nobody does open air metal shows like the Europeans!

* * * * *
Apart from the latest BLACK SABBATH (13) and CHILDREN OF BODOM (Halo of Blood) albums, there are no major new releases to tell you about. Having said that, those two cd’s are fantastic. Both albums have received great reviews and are doing very well, especially the new Sabbath, reaching the top spot on the album charts. Christ, who knows, maybe METAL is far from dead, after all!
Join the GALVANATOR next time as I will show you some crazy, virtually unknown gems and relics from the METAL days of yor. I know you’ll be enlightened…and somewhat amused. Until then…keep it METAL!!! .\,,/

EVERYTHING YOU NEEDED TO KNOW ABOUT IRON MAIDEN by THE GALVANATOR

46641_551356501553494_702162741_n

I/ THE DI’ANNO YEARS

Metal has two defining bands in its infamous 30 odd year history; BLACK SABBATH and IRON MAIDEN (many look at Metallica as runner up but I’d personally go with SLAYER or DEATH on that one).
IRON MAIDEN released their debut album at the height of the NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal) movement in 1980. Many of these bands such as SAXON, DIAMOND HEAD, HOLOCAUST, TYGERS OF PAN TANG and ANGEL WITCH have all since made their ranks in the annals of metal history, but Maiden ‘s first self titled album from the get go, stood out amongst all.
Founding members; STEVE HARRIS (bass) and DAVE MURRAY (rhythm guitar) began writing songs with themes of the macabre, fantasy (and later, warfare). On their first release, they focused on, for the most part, horror themes with fast and aggressive melodic song structures ala JUDAS PRIEST, UFO and THIN LIZZY. This album became a word of mouth metal must have, in my group of friends. If it wasn’t for the releases of Heaven and Hell that year, IRON MAIDEN would have been given the metal album of 1980 nod in my teenage critic’s corner.
Their debut had everything you wanted from a metal album, Odes to Transylvania, the mythological Phantom of the Opera and a seven foot victim of a medieval torture device called an iron maiden. This shaggy (originally), undead and all too happy chap was named EDDY. In one form or another, Eddy has been Maiden’s mascot now for thirty three years and his image has been included on each and every one of Maiden’s album covers
Lead vocalist, PAUL DI’ANNO sang with a strong, rough voice and cool stage presence but there seemed to be something missing with Maiden’s whole persona, meaning their live show seemed somewhat lackluster; having said that, Di’anno sounded great on their next album; Killers (1981) which also saw the addition of ADRIAN SMITH on guitars, taking over for the exiting DENNIS STRATTON.
Killers sounded even heavier than its predecessor. The songs were shorter and full of hooks and tasty solos, thanks to Adrian. Murders in the Rue Morgue and Purgatory still stand up today as essential metal listening and Drifter suggested they had loads more music in store. Adrian Smith was clearly the better guitarist than his predecessor but also brought his songwriting talents to the table. In hindsight, Maiden first two albums, were more original than we knew at the time. Nobody sounded like them and years later, no one has ever has been able to duplicate their majestic thunder.
Paul Di’anno parted ways with Maiden at the end of their 1981 tour, due to fatigue and substance abuse. His replacement help propel Maiden high, into the metal stratosphere.

II/ THE BEAST

In the spring of 1982, Maiden released their third (full length) album; The Number of the Beast. As luck would have it, BRUCE DICKINSON was finished with his NWOBHM band; SAMSON. As a versatile vocalist, high energy front man and talented songwriter, Dickenson quickly became a welcomed asset to the Maiden camp. In only a few short months and with the assistance of the legendary and amazingly talented; MARTIN BIRCH, they carved out their first masterpiece. The Number of the Beast. This album, by years end, was to become one of the most well known…and admired albums in metal history.
Right from the first track, one could hear a major difference in vocal approaches. Dickenson had less of an edge vocally, than Di’anno and leaned more towards the operatic stylings of ROB HALFORD (Judas Priest) or KING DIAMOND (Mercyful Fate). Gruff when he needed to be, screaming like a banshee when it applied, Dickinson was, by far, the superior vocalist and so easily, during that summer of 1982, did he win the hearts of every teenage metalhead in North America.
And I can personally testify to that as I would briefly like to tell you about the first time I saw Maiden, in a small hockey rink in Calgary Alberta, that summer in ‘82. The arena was no larger than an airplane hanger accommodating around 3000 metal fans. The German band, SCORPIONS were the headliners and creating a buzz in Canada that summer with their breakout album; Blackout. Choosing Maiden to open for them on their tour may not have been the Scorp’s best idea. As I sat there mesmerized during Maiden’s opening set, I forgot…or no longer cared who the headlining act was.
With the addition of Dickenson, Maiden were now complete; musically, visually…and now, high energy. I quickly realized these guys were the future of metal and would be around for some time to come. Playing such songs on that legendary “new” album as; 22 Acacia Avenue, Run to the Hills and Hallowed Be Thy Name, they would later join the ranks as some of the greatest metal tracks of time. Watching Adrian Smith and Dave Murray play twins leads on the latter song gave me a chill back then as they soon said, “goodnight”.
The Scorpions came on soon after, complete with full stage regalia. Me…and half the audience wandered out the arena part way through their set. I directly ran to the t shirt vendor to buy a Maiden Number of the Beast tour shirt and then wandered home. Anybody could have followed Maiden’s one hour set, even Jimmy Page and Robert Plant themselves, and it would not have made a difference, for I had just seen the future of Metal and nothing else, at that point, really interested me.
Soon after their Scorpions double header tour, Maiden (and the eight foot tall, Eddy) spent the rest of that year opening for JUDAS PRIEST on their Screaming for Vengeance tour. By the end of 1982 with the success of Number of the Beast, Maiden would no longer need to open for anyone.

III/ PIECE OF MIND and POWERSLAVE

1983 to 85 kept the band busy in the studio and on the road. In late ’82, CLIVE BURR left his seat as resident drummer, citing exhaustion and health reasons. Enter power drummer, NICO McBAIN (formerly of French hard rock outfit; TRUST).
For the Next 5 albums, this would be the classic Maiden line up everybody has came to know (and love). Piece of Mind upon release, received positive reviews and large record sales. Some of the highlights include; Revelation, Where Eagles Dare, the gritty, fast; Die with your Boots On and the forever played, perennial favorite; The Trooper.
Piece of Mind validated popular opinion that these guys were, by no means a fluke. Two remarkable British metal albums were recorded by a revitalized and hungry Maiden, spearheaded by one, Bruce Dickenson. For the first time, as a headlining act, they spent most of 1983 on the road, playing virtually every corner of the globe.
The late fall of 1984 saw Maiden releasing Powerslave and embarking on the massive Powerslave World Tour. Powerslave, their fifth studio recording, enjoyed high chart success has since has been the choice pick as their best work, by many a Maiden fan. The anthems; Aces High and Two Minutes to Midnight get the record off to a soaring start. Adrian Smith’s guitar work is remarkable while Steve Harris and Nico McBain, play really tight and keep the rythym section in fine order. The last track on Powerslave is an epic sea adventure, entitled; The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner. For years, this track, a crowd favorite, showed more diverse songwriting skills from the band.
After a very successful world tour, Maiden released a double live album in 1985, entitled; Live After Death. Another million selling Maiden release, it highlighted selected dates on their 1984 Powerslave Tour.

IV/ PROGRESSIVE TONES

Somewhere in Time (1986) and Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (1988) saw Maiden venturing into the crafty genre of progressive metal. Somewhere in Time took them in a new direction. The songs here didn’t sound like anything from their first two albums; Sea of Madness, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, Wasted Years and Stranger in a Strange Land only proved they were always on top of their game; always changing, moving forward with fresh musical ideas and intriguing lyrical content.
Seventh Son of a Seventh Son took Maiden’s progression even further. Many have called this album, their swansong. This is Maiden as their most adventurous, at any rate. Seventh Son of a Seventh Son is a collection of well written, superb songs, a few of which lean on the words and musings of ALEISTER CROWLEY.
Songs such a Can I Play With Madness and The Evil That Men Do were radio (and video) friendly favorites, back in the late 80’s but epics such as; Moonchild, The Prophecy and the title track were dark, haunting and masterfully performed. On this album, Maiden threw out all the stops and added; synth programming, choirs and classical guitar solos (thanks to Adrian Smith).
Such an over the top album required an over the top world tour and for much of 1988, Maiden did just that, bringing Seventh Son of a Seventh Son out to the masses for most of the year. Many of their North American dates boasted, up and coming hard rock heroes; GUN AND ROSES as the opening act.
Maiden ended their tour at the CASTLE DONNINGTON FESTIVAL, where they recorded their set for cd and video. This concert, personally speaking, is monumental. Besides, the fine performances from the guys, it best captures Maiden at their best in the 80’s.

V/ STRIPPED DOWN and FALLING APART

The nineties got off to a rough start as Adrian Smith left the band citing creative differences. Apparently he wasn’t happy about the new, stripped down direction the band was taking. JANNICK GERS (formerly of GILLIAN), then took over lead guitar duties.
The next album; No Prayer for the Dying (1990) was indeed stripped down, musically, especially when comparing them with their last two adventurous recordings. Although No Prayer for the Dying isn’t epic or particularly heavy…and Adrian Smith is obviously missing, this album contained some true Maiden classics such as; Tailgunner, Holy Smoke and the ever so lovely, sing a long with Eddy, novelty track; Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter.
In 1992, tensions were mounting in the land of Maiden. Bruce Dickinson had at that time, enjoyed some success with his solo project. The sales for their last album and box office receipts for the No Prayer for the Dying tour were less than spectacular. Before things got any worse, however, they managed to record; Fear of the Dark, which when listened to now, one can actually hear the sound of a band breaking up (okay, I know that is so unoriginal but I like it)
Mind you, there are still some fine tracks on here including the title track, which has become another staple in the Maiden set list. Fear of the Dark featured some kick ass rockers including; Be Quick or Be Dead, From Here to Eternity and The Apparition. Also, Steve Harris penned an interesting song of psychedelic influence, entitled; Afraid to Shoot Strangers which implied Maiden were still trying out different things but not much could really save this lackluster outing. Maiden subconsciously knew, at that point, it was time to take a break and regroup.

VI/ STRANGE DAYS

The nineties, in retrospect, were not kind to Iron Maiden. The decade, however, was prosperous for Bruce Dickinson. The early nineties saw him release the albums; Tattooed Millionaire (1990), Balls to Picasso (1994) and the remarkably well written and produced; Skunkworks (1996). All three recordings revealed a different sound (different, meaning there was nothing on these three albums that sounded anyway similar to Iron Maiden). The music from his first albums was that of the metal and hard rock genres. Skunkworks sounded different from his first two solo outings. This album sounded like fresh 90’s heavy alt/rock (In my opinion, I could hear, modern RUSH and SOUNDGARDEN in the tracks. It was quite refreshing). But Bruce had not yet broken away from the heavy British rock that influenced him.
Meanwhile, in 1995, Iron Maiden, recruited U.K. singer/songwriter BLAZE BAYLEY to help them with songwriting dilemma for their upcoming album. With Adrian Smith and Bruce Dickenson gone, Iron Maiden essentially had only songwriter left in the band. Although, bassist Steve Harris penned classic Maiden tracks in the past, he would need a little help in completing the album.
X-Factor was released in 1995 to little fanfare or acclaim. The follow up; Virtual X-I, received similar limited attention. Although vocally and creatively talented, Blaze Bayley struggled with filling in Dickerson’s shoes. Both albums had acceptable moments as one could tell that Virtual X-I and X-Factor were fine, passable metal projects…but were they Maiden albums? The answer became obvious just a few short years later.
Iron Maiden, with the stumbling Blaze Bailey and the over burdened, Jannick Gerrs, toured in support for the two albums in the mid to late nineties. Most of the gigs were scaled down to small venues such as clubs and theatres, a far cry from the filled to capacity arenas and stadiums that they were accustomed to. By decades end, the band’s future was uncertain.

VII/ DICKENSON’S MASTERPIECES

Bruce Dickinson, meanwhile, released two essential metal albums during Maiden’s years of struggle. Accident of Birth (1996) and The Chemical Wedding (1998), put Bruce, once again, on the map as a metal artist that sounded, fresh, relevant…and heavy!
Former Iron Maiden axe man, Adrian Smith, joined forces with Bruce on these albums, reminding the listener that they came from Maiden yet this time around, the music and lyrics were grittier, raunchier, darker and at times, simply gorgeous.
Accident at Birth contains many kickin tracks; The Magician, Welcome Home and Road to Hell are infectious songs that compliment Adrian Smith approach to guitar playing and The Road Home, Arc of Space and Ghost of Cain show Dickenson’s songwriting capabilities.
However well received (and reviewed) this venture was, things only got better. The Chemical Wedding was critically praised. Those who were not paying attention when Accident of Birth came out, clearly did not see this one coming. The Chemical Wedding was Dickenson’s personal tribute to poet/mystic, WILLIAM BLAKE. It was darker than hell with unsettling, wondrous imagery. Songs such as; King in Crimson, the Tower and Book of Thel sounded even musically (and lyrically) heavier than Accident of Birth. The music at times, was somewhat reminiscent of Maiden, with Smith’s trademark melodic lead solos flying everywhere…but dare I say, there seemed to be an extreme raunchiness (think SLAYER) in the riffs of Killing Floor and Book of Thel (with thanx as well, to Johnny Z on rhythm and lead guitars). Bruce had never sounded so metal! Jerusalem, Gates of Urizen and The Alchemist however showed us, once more that his songwriting skills were as sharp as ever. These three songs were wrapped up in a deep level of emotion depicting various mystical themes. Breathtaking is the only word to describe these three tracks. Apart from its conscience effort to be a dark and gloomy, kick ass metal album, The Chemical Wedding is also a very spiritual experience; a tribute to those who are practiced in the arts of magick, divination and alchemy.
Again, on a personal note, I remember falling in love with this album as I was going through a spiritual rebirth. A former Wiccan priest (and friend) turned me on to The Chemical Wedding as my life was going through a transition. How neatly it applied to the chaos going on around me. As I was learning the secrets of the tarot and of the wonder of the old Pagan ways, I must have listened to this cd at least, a thousand times on my headphones. I was a devoted Maiden fan…but they never sounded quite like this.
Dickenson received critical acclaim for The Chemical Wedding and it topped most critics’ list for metal recording of 1998. I used to often wonder how the guys in Maiden felt about Dickinson’s previous masterpieces while their notoriety (and credibility) was sinking fast.
As fate would have it, a resolution was reached with all band members the following year. Perhaps Maiden wasn’t over just yet…and with the 21st century looming around the corner, anything was possible.

MAIDEN IN THE 21st CENTURY

The year 2000 can be looked upon as the year of the comeback. Iron Maiden not only reunited with their charismatic singer, that year but also brought Adrian Smith back into the group, giving them a triple guitar attack. Smith joined fellow Maideners Dave Murray and Jannick Gerrs on their new album; Brave New World bringing with them some much needed life in the songwriting and guitar soloing department.
Brave New World surprised fans and critics alike with its fresh sound. It still had Maiden’s sound but with a contemporary metal component. Their updated sound served them well with the arrival of the new millennium. Songs like; The Wicker Man, Out of the Silent Planet, Blood Brothers and the title track, illustrated the magic that could happen if all six members put their heads together for a common goal. A Thin Line between Love and Hate, also demonstrated their dedication to always trying something new. Although it was a new departure from the typical Maiden, it was a wonderful way to end an album that left the listener wondering; why did they not do this years ago?
The album sold quite well for the first time in twelve or so years and their concert venues were upgraded to large arenas and stadiums, due to increasing popularity. In fact, over a quarter of a million fans flocked to see the “new and improved” Maiden at the annual Rock in Rio festival.
The following year, Bruce Dickenson released another solo record, entitled, Tyranny of Souls (2002). Devil on a hog and Soul Intruders were the hard rockin highlights of the project while Seas of the Sun showed that Dickenson was once again, an instinctually gifted songsmith. This was to be his last solo effort to date.
Maiden’s second album of the decade was entitled; Dance of Death. Some may argue this album was a slight step back from Brave New World, but I believe Maiden were on a roll. With each new album, more surprises with twists and turns came our way. They were clearly maturing as songwriters and perfecting their playing capabilities, if that was at all possible.
Dance of Death offered many sides of Maiden; from the emotionally uplifting No More Lies, Paschendale and Journeyman, to the straight out metal; Wildest Dreams and Montsegur. The title track; The Dance of Death has become, over the years, a cult classic and my personal all time favorite Maiden song. With its tongue in cheek account of a ghostly encounter gone horribly wrong, the epic track runs the gammit of tempo changes and chord progressions. Eight and a half minutes of metal bliss.
A year after a successful world tour, Maiden documented many of their concerts in a live cd/dvd package, entitled; Death on the Road.
In 2006, Maiden creatively surpassed themselves. Upon the release of A Matter of Life and Death, critics (including those who once shunned them) praised the recording as their best album to come out in years, if not ever. The songs featured on A Matter of Life and Death primarily focused on the topics of religion and warfare. At times angry, sometimes hopeful, there was a great lesson to be learned in these tracks about the arrogance, conceit and greed of humanity. Songs such as; For the Greater Love of God and The Legacy investigate such blunders while The Longest Day, undoubtedly has become the most impassioned anthem depicting those who fell on the beaches of Normandy, some sixty years ago. Adrian, Jannick and Dave go all out with some amazing guitar passages as Nico smashes the shit out of his drum kit, playing crazy time signatures. The results are exciting, moving and most satisfying.
In 2007, Maiden went back out on the road to promote the re-release of their 1985 live album; Live After Death. Their set list, more or less, focused on selections from the mid 80’s and again, every arena and stadium worldwide was standing room only.
Maiden documented the tour for film and released it theatrically in 2008. The movie and soundtrack was entitled; Flight 666. The endeavor was well received as Maiden were now drawing a second generation of fans…and after two year’s worth of touring, it was time to take a much deserved break.
In the summer of 2010, Maiden released their 15th studio album; The Final Frontier. Here was a band that did not rest on their laurels. If the showbiz adage, “You are only as good as your last album”, has any validity, than Maiden certainly had nothing to worry about in the world of today’s metal. The Final Frontier was highly ambitious and for the fourth album in a row, there appeared to be no filler. Every track was outstanding, be it, the mesmerizing Isle of Avalon, the outright grittiness of El Dorado and the infectious and lyrically brilliant tracks; Coming Home and When the Wild Blows.
The Final Frontier was so well received, it sat on top of the Billboard charts for weeks and earned the band a Grammy Award for best metal performance for the song; El Dorado. That year, they toured extensively, sometimes having American progressive metal heroes; DREAM THEATRE play an opening set.
2012 saw Maiden cross North America with Alice Cooper, as their special guest, for their 25th Anniversary of the release of Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. There was not an empty seat from coast to coast according to all accounts as they, once again, concentrated on their material from the mid to late 80’s.
Near the end of 2012, Steve Harris managed to release his first solo album, entitled; British Lion. Not for every Maiden or metal fan per se, British Lion was a labour of love for Steve and his studio session mates. The songs have a British hard rock influence (The WHO, UFO ect.) and the record was impeccably produced.
For 2013, Maiden have yet to slow down. The “Made in England” tour commences shortly with headlining dates at many metal festivals through out Europe and South America. They will also headline Donnington, later in the summer. Many of Maiden’s upcoming gigs will include American thrash legends; MEGADETH as the opening act. Quite the show, I must say.

THE GALVANATOR’S FINAL IMPRESSIONS

So I have given you pretty much all you need to know of reigning kings of metal. I needed not to look up Wiki or any metal site for any additional information. I have been following these guys for well over 30 years. I saw first hand, Maiden’s fast rise to the metal elite. I saw their bleak lows as they slugged it out without Dickinson (and Smith) in the 90’s…while he, himself grew as a writer and performer. And then at the turn of the century I saw Maiden reunite as a septet, no less and enjoy the best years of their long musical careers.
Since their reinvention in 1999, Maiden have release 4 out of 4 well received albums (critically and album sales). They play to sold out audiences, worldwide and you can easily tell the guys are enjoying every minute of it.
Three guitar players, a power drummer with a bass player and vocalist who are both imaginative wordsmiths; all with decades of metal experience, who’s to say what Maiden’s next album will sound like.
Progressive, adventurous, melodic, kick ass, just as their previous four albums they masterfully created thus far in the 21st century, it will be all this and more. It will no doubt be a masterpiece. You gotta love musical vets (of any genre), huh? They know their craft because they, for many years, lived their craft.
So no Maiden album for another year; the guys will be on the road in Europe and South America where they are not plugging anything in particular but just having fun.
And with that, the GALVANATOR salutes IRON MAIDEN. Look forward to see you guys make loads of new killer tracks and playing thousands of rockin nights! Thanx! .\,,/

10 KILLER MAIDEN TRACKS

10/ Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner (1985)
9/ The Prisoner (1982)
8/ Sea of Madness (1986)
7/ Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (1988)
6/ The Legacy (2006)
5/ When the Wild Wind Blows (2010)
4/ Isle of Avalon (2010)
3/ Coming Home (2010)
2/ The Longest Day (20o6)
1/ The Dance oF Death (2003)

10 KILLER MAIDEN ALBUMS

10/ Powerslave (1985)
9/ Brave New World (2000)
8/ No Prayer for the Dying (1990)
7/ The Number of the Beast (1982)
6/ Somewhere in Time (1986)
5/ Dance of Death (2003)
4/ Piece of Mind (1883)
3/ The Final Frontier (2010)
2/ A Matter of Life and Death (2006)
1/ Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (1988)
images
imagesCAAQ2F0Z

GALVANIZED; for the Week of June 3rd

imagesCAWRLA4Wimages941701_10151494675702872_981667639_n So once again, we begin this edition of GALVANIZED with news from SLAYER. Wow, what a year it has been for the thrash vets and now things have turned quite ugly.

 It has recently been confirmed KERRY KING and TOM ARAYA have relieved drummer, DAVE LOMBARDO of his duties. An ongoing contract dispute has left Dave Lombardo out in the cold. Apparently, contract negotiations had been in the works, long before JEFF HENNEMAN’s untimely passing with both parties at a stalemate.  

 As we all know, Slayer’s management company had given Lombardo his walking papers back in the 90’s, over a dispute concerning the drummer’s desire to be at his daughter’s birth with management dropping an ultimatum, simply telling him to play the dates or take a walk. Lombardo had apparently already given all concerned, nine months notice of his intention to witness his child’s arrival.

 TESTAMENT drummer, PAUL BOSTOPH took over the skins for the remainder of the 90’s and beyond (and may I add, Divine Intervention and God Hates Us All were not by any means, “below par” Slayer outings).

 Dave Lombardo in 2005, once again reclaimed his role as the resident drummer and all was well…until Jeff’s health issues came to the forefront.

 So… fast forward to the present and again we can see, how a bunch of insensitive and petty folks at Slayer’s management, really have no shame. Frankly, I am disappointed at Kerry and Tom; so much for standing up for your brother, guys. After all these years in the Slayer camp, you would think Dave would be financially independent and three decades later, have had played enough gigs in his life. Well. Yes, Dave could retire forever…and no, after years of giving your life to thrash metal, I’m sure thoughts of hanging up are few and far between.

 All this unnecessary feuding over money, has left one thrash drummer out of a job. And you guessed it, Paul Bostoph has returned again to tour this summer with Slayer…I mean Kerry and Tom. The good news from all this mess is that GARY HOLT from EXODUS will again be taking over the late Jeff Henneman’s spot on lead guitar. Word is he will be sharing both guitar duties for Slayer and Exodus this summer. A difficult task, I must imagine.

 So there you have it, just weeks after Slayer’s tragic loss, this ugly shit again resurfaces and we have now have a disgruntled drummer who has been squeezed out of a gig, all because of frail egos and petty greed…yeah, I’m looking at you Kerry King.

 Throughout Europe and South America during the next few months, Slayer will play many a metal fest and one offs.

The SLAYER line up for 2013 will be;

 TOM ARAYA – Bass, vocals

 KERRY KING – guitars

 PAUL BOSTOPH  (TESTAMENT) – drums

 GARY HOLT (EXODUS) – guitars

 This is a really cool line up, I must admit. There’s no doubt they could kill some crazy Slayer anthems, after all, Bostoph and Holt are also veterans to the Slayer camp. I used to look up local tour dates when these guys came anywhere near my neck of the woods but this time around, I think I’ll pass and just watch one of their concerts on dvd, Youtube or something. Just like Dave Lombardo, I’m feeling a little bitter.

                                                                       *****                               

  By most accounts, the MARYLAND DEATHFEST was a success, despite many complaints of long delays trying to get past the security gates (even for those who wore weekend wristbands).

 VENOM’s Sunday night set was cut short due to a last minute change up from City officials ordering the festival coordinators to shut down the concert at 11pm. Apparently 12 midnight was agreed upon by both parties days prior to the event, but at the last minute on Sunday evening, the headlining act was forced to wrap up their set earlier than expected. Fans of Venom were understandably pissed. It isn’t too often, this legendary and influential British band make their way across the pond for live dates.

 And let’s not forget the last minute cancellation by Norwegian black metal legends; CARPATHIAN FOREST…because of…wait for it…visa issues. Lead vocalist, NATTEFROST could not get his visa in time for Saturday’s performance for the weekend festival. Now personally, if I was to travel all the way to Maryland, only to find out Carpathian Forest were no longer on the bill, I would be somewhat annoyed…okay, I’d be beyond pissed. Here is another band that plays very few North American dates and this high profile extreme metal fest has just slipped through their fingers due to another case of idiotic U.S. bureaucracy.

 Despite all the setbacks and inconveniences during the weekend, the clips from the festival look fantastic. Where else could one see CARCASS, IHSAHN, BOLT THROWER and SLEEP in one 3 day festival? Oh…Europe! Of course, what was I thinking; wide open fields with no security hassles or traffic snarls.

 Oh well, The three day festival will return next year, MDF officials say. I’m sure the line up will again be top notch, offering a wide array of the best in thrash metal, death metal and sometimes if we’re lucky, a touch of black metal. I think the festival itself, really needs to scrap the multi-venue approach (scattered throughout the core of the city) and focus on one large open air concept, free of all urban issues. Oh and they may want to ask (yet again) EXODUS if they are available to play the 2014 event…and for the love of God…or Beelzebub…or whoever! Bring back Carpathian Forest!

                                                                           *****

 And there has just been word that BEHEMOTH has been forced to cancel their appearance at the ROCKSTAR ENERGY DRINK MAYHEM FESTIVAL in San Bernardino, in a couple of weeks.

 Behemoth’s drummer, INFERNO, has been taken very ill and requires immediate appendix surgery. Vocalist-guitarist, NERGAL has recruited ex-DECAPITATED drummer, KRIMH, but only for a few selected dates, mostly European metal festivals…and offers apologies and patience for their fans.

Hopefully, Inferno will have a speedy recovery and all will resume as normal come the autumn…for now, it appears, Behemoth will slow down on the road work thus leaving us North Americans still in waiting. Death metal bands, and blackened death acts at that, do not get any better than these guys.

                                                                             *****

TREVOR BOLDER passed away May 21st at the age of 62 from a lengthy battle with cancer. He, of course was the bass player for British hard rock group, URIAH HEEP (1976-2013). Before his residence with the Heep, Trevor played bass on all of DAVID BOWIE’s glam albums (1969-74) thus making him, at that time, one of the “Spiders from Mars”.

 Although, Uriah Heep were not technically considered metal, they along with other British hard rock/progressive outfits; DEEP PURPLE, ATOMIC ROOSTER and RAINBOW, help define the birth of the genre in the 70’s. More heavy than metal, Uriah Heep had enjoyed success on both sides of the Atlantic and gone through a never ending revolving door of personel changes. Trevor Bolder however, stayed on board for four decades. His contributions can be heard on such Uriah Heep albums as Firefly and Innocent Victim.

 We’ll miss ya, Trevor!

                                                                             ***** 

  And this just shows you’re never too old to get the lead out. Veteran British actor, CHRISTOPHER LEE has just released another metal album, entitled; Charlemagne: The Omens of Death. The album came out, coincidently enough, on Christopher’s 91st birthday.

 JUDAS PRIEST guitarist, RICHIE FAULKNER assisted Sir (hint) Lee in the recording of this, his second metal album (okay, let’s admit it, he essentially played all the instruments and tweeked all the knobs). With Lee’s first album being more a symphonic-metal effort, the actor wanted to make a 100% metal record. Apparently, everybody’s favorite villain has had a long time romance with such unlikely British metal bands as BLACK SABBATH, JUDAS PRIEST, IRON MAIDEN and SAXON

 The celebrated actor has an amazing body of work including; Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Dracula (and every British Hammer horror movie ever made), The Man with the Golden Gun (cool role as Bond nemesis) and recently appeared in Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows.

 I am looking forward to hearing this one! The GALVANATOR salutes ya, Sir Lee. Good on ya!   .\,,/

  NEW RELEASES

 Detroit’s melodic death metal heroes, THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER will soon be releasing their new album, entitled; Everblack. The title track can presently be viewed via Youtube and other sources. The Black Dahlia have been one of the more talked about melodic death metal band to come out of the U.S. over the past ten years…and with good reason.

 After the success of their critically acclaimed documentary, ANVIL; The Story of Anvil; the Toronto metal vets are releasing their 15th album; Hope in Hell. From what I have heard, it’s supposed to be a killer disc that leans on the thrashy side a touch.

 Hailing from Norway, BLOOD RED THRONE, has nailed brutal blackened death metal down to a science. Their new album is entitled Souls of Damnation. Compared to their over produced previous album, Brutality Regime, this offering is stripped down…and far heavier!

 And this one is on my short list of cd’s to check out as soon as I can around to it. IMMOLITION has put out the follow up to their 2011, critically acclaimed disc, Majesty and Decay. Their new one is entitled, King of Conspiracy. The New York death metal unit has so far received nothing but praise for their latest effort. I can’t wait to hear it!

 And finally, I can’t get away without mentioning MEGADETH’s latest album; Super Collider which comes out this week. There are sneak peaks available on Youtube…oh boy, oh joy. Blah, blah, blah…yadda, yadda, yadda (see…I mentioned it).

                                                                            *****

 Next week, I think I’ll do something fun and bring out some dusty gems from metal days of yor. Large shards of shrapnel hidden down deep in the catacombs of the metal vault; albums and artists you may never have heard of. If you are always searching for something heavy yet lurks in the shadows of the dim and gloomy past, this edition may be exactly what you are looking for. Every genre has an endless assortment of killer metal to offer and over the years, I have found some crazy cool albums.

Here is an example; Have you ever heard of 80’s German thrash band, IRON ANGEL? You should…I’ll polish off and share some of these shiny threads of GALVANIZED metal next time. Until then…keep it metal!   .\,,/