I was never really into horror movies as a kid. Just didn’t interest me. It wasn’t that I was a little pussy – okay, maybe a little – but I preferred to get my scares from music. I went to a Catholic school and Black Sabbath seemed like the ultimate rebellion to me. I used to hold my breath every time I heard Ozzy sing “Satan sitting there, he’s smiling” because I was sure that the horned one was going to spring forth from the floor and feast upon my innards. It probably will some day, and if not to “Black Sabbath” then probably to one of these:
Black Sabbath – Dehumanizer
There are many evil Sabbath albums (cf: the line “For I believe Satan lives in the souls of the dying” from Headless Cross – I think my heebies just got jeebied), but notwithstanding the unmitigated evil of the Ozzy and Tony Martin albums, the demonic power of Tony Iommi was never spookier than on this 1992 release, in alliance with the late great Ronnie James Dio. The production is swimming in natural reverb, making it sound like you’ve stumbled across the band playing in a crypt or something, and you can almost hear Dio throwing the devil horn hand gesture as he sings. I’m sure you can hear his wrist jewelry jangling if you have a good enough hi fi. Try to get through the opening riff of “After All (The Dead)” without getting the creeps. You can’t do it.
Slayer – Reign in Blood
Thirty minutes and 20-something seconds of thrash carnage. Topics include death, dying, mortality, killing, and being killed. Aside from a whole bunch of songs with running times less than two and a half minutes, there’s also “Raining Blood” and “Angel of Death,” each at almost five minutes, for those who like their evil to be bigger than snack size. The track “Altar Of Sacrifice” includes another of those lyrics I used to hold my breath for as I awaited the firey arrival of the dark lord: “Learn the sacred words of praise, hail Satan!” AARGH!
Paul Gilbert – Burning Organ
This album as a whole isn’t evil, but it includes the track ‘I Am Satan’ which begins with the count-off “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 6, 6!!!” and goes on to tell the tale of Satan falling in love with a chick, but freaking out about what she’ll do when she finds out who he is. Will she stay or will she go? Burning Organ also includes the track “Suicide Lover,” which features the classic line “She’s a suicide lover. You could say her love’s the bomb.”
Megadeth – United Abominations
Any album loaded with as many puns as this one has got to be evil. Puns are the most evil form of humour there is. This one also gets bonus spooky points for lines like “The Angel of Death is pissed off with me again, just because I got to put you out of my misery.” I like to imagine the Angel of Death as Mustaine’s passive-aggressive flatmate, leaving notes magnetted to the fridge: “Dear housemates. Someone has been putting people out of their misery who clearly have my name written on them. First my a2 milk and now this. I’m sure we would all like to maintain a harmonious household and things would run a lot smoother if we all respected each others’ property. I’d hate to have to consider one of those fridges with separate lockable sections for our individual milks and people to put out of their misery. If it comes to that I will buy it with my own money and then invoice you all for your equal share. Sincerely, Angel of Death.”
Devin Townsend – Ziltoid The Omniscient
What could be more evil than a demented alien who shreds like a demon and attacks the Earth because he needs a caffeine hit? Nothing, that’s what. Dude, I know from personal experience the awesome destructive power of a caffeine-deprived shredder because I’ve lived it. Devin recorded and performed all of this monster album single-handedly, and it features some of his best melodic songwriting since Ocean Machine, as well as lots of brutal Strapping Young Lad-style metal.
The previously advised Metal Health 2011 tour of Australia and New Zealand which was to feature LA Guns (the Phil Lewis version), Warrant and Quiet Riot is now renamed the Sex Action tour featuring LA Guns (still the Phil Lewis version), Defryme (on the Aussie leg) and some other yet-to-be-announced band(s). For a while there The Stick People, the new band of ex Queensryche guitarist Mike Stone, was booked to appear but they’ve just pulled out. Everyone who bought a ticket is entitled to one free ticket in addition to the one they bought, so bring yer friends and rock out and junk. I’ll be at the Melbourne show so if you see me come up and say hi!
Most guitar companies take a degree of inspiration from one of the big ones – y’know, the ones that were right there around the beginning of solidbody electric guitar design. This helps the newer companies find somewhere to start from, and provides players with an easy point of reference from which to base their search for their Next Great Guitar. Godin has refined its designs to the point that even if you can tell from a glance that a particular instrument has started with the inspiration of one classic axe or another, there’s something unmistakably Godin about it. Case in point: the Session. From photos it may look rather Stratocaster-inspired, but as soon as you pick it up, you can tell that it’s got its own thang going on.
The Session features a heavy Canadian Laurentian basswood body in a series of solid and transparent finishes (see them here), including ‘Raw SG,’ the finish of the review model. Some of the finishes are satin gloss, and others are high gloss, and you have your choice of maple or rosewood fretboard for any model. If only more guitar companies would offer this option as standard. Basswood, a very even-toned timber, isn’t typically chosen for transparent finishes since it tends to be rather plain visually, but the particular strain used here has just enough of a grain to be visually interesting.
Recently departed Judas Priest guitarist K.K. Downing has spoken out about his decision to leave the band. Here’s his statement:
“It is with much regret that I will not be with you this summer.
“Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your concerns about my health. Please rest assured that I am OK.
“There has been an ongoing breakdown in working relationship between myself, elements of the band, and the band’s management for some time. Therefore I have decided to step down rather than to tour with negative sentiments as I feel that this would be a deception to you, our cherished fans. However, I would urge you to please support the Priest as I have no doubt that it will be a show not to be missed.
“All my love and respect.”
Downing’s replacement is Richie Faulkner.
Nevermore guitarist Jeff Loomis and drummer Van Williams have quit the band. Here’s their statement:
“In a mutual decision Jeff Loomis and Van Williams have decided to leave Nevermore. The time has come to pursue our own paths from the group. Due to internal struggles and ongoing issues within the band, we feel it is our time to move on. We would like to thank all of our fans around the world for their years of love, support and enthusiasm. This was not an easy decision but a very necessary one at this point, may we all meet again someday, somewhere in time.”
Argh! It’s all happening! Head to this location and follow the steps to get a peek at the Dream Theater drummer auditions! The band has posted a documentary snippet on their site. The seven finalists are all featured in the video and they are Mike Mangini, Marco Minnemann, Virgil Donati, Derek Roddy, Thomas Lang, Peter Wildoer and Aquiles Priester.
In a pairing that unites one of the most well-respected metal guitarists of all time with the hottest rock and roll band for years, BCC / MSG tour dates include – Llandudno Cymru Arena (July 23rd), Leeds o2 Academy (July 26th), Newcastle o2 Academy (July 27th), Glasgow o2 Academy (July 29th) and Manchester Academy (July 30th). National ticket hotline: 0871 230 1101 / Book online:www.seetickets.com.
Featuring the talents of Glenn Hughes, Joe Bonamassa, Jason Bonham and Derek Sherinian, Black Country Communion’s July UK tour will follow the release of their highly anticipated second album “BCC 2” on June 13th. BCC will also appear at London’s High Voltage Festival on Sunday July 24th.
I Heart Guitar buddy Joe Matera is preparing to release a new single, “Face Off,” from his forthcoming EP. It’s a more uptempo affair than the cruisy “Travellin’ West,” and I rather like the Shadows-esque approach to melody, placed within the contest of a more driving rock song. The track also includes a guest guitar solo by the great Rick Brewster of The Angels, which is damn fine.
Former Geisha guitarist Joe Matera is set to release his next original solo instrumental outing on May 2. Titled ‘Face Off’, it is an energetic rocker, and a full blown electric band affair, that features Matera’s signature melodic and tasty guitar playing. After having released previously two acoustic tracks, his original composition ‘Travellin’ West’ in Sept. 2010 and his cover of The Church anthem ‘Almost With You’ earlier this year, Matera decided it was time to return to his rock guitar roots.
It seems Judas Priest guitarist K.K. Downing has decided to down tools, put his 401K into a little shack down south and spend his autumn years tending to a little veggie garden (I’m paraphrasing: actual truth may vary from blog post). That’s right, the legendary axeman has stepped down, and is being replaced by 31-year-old Richie Faulkner for the band’s forthcoming Epitaph tour and whatever new recording stuff they end up doing. Faulkner used to play with Lauren Harris, Iron Maiden legend Steve Harris’s daughter. Dig his playing on his YouTube channel here.
Here’s the official press release:
It is with regret that Judas Priest announce that K.K. Downing has formally retired from the band and will therefore not be joining them on their forthcoming Epitaph tour.
The band respect his decision and naturally all wish him well.
Having thought long and hard about how to proceed, Rob, Glenn, Ian and Scott unanimously agreed that they should go ahead with the tour and not let the fans down all around the world.
Fate also stepped in and delivered the perfect replacement – 31 year old British guitar player Richie Faulkner – He has blended into the band perfectly and is a great talent who is going to help set the stage on fire!
The Epitaph tour will include songs from every Priest studio album and also tracks they have never before performed on stage plus all the old favourites!
With a new album due to be released next year the Metal Gods are preparing to tour the planet once more – heavy metal at its best complete with lasers, lights, bikes and hellfire!! It’s a show not to be missed!!
Check it out! The long-in-development Jim Dunlop John Petrucci pick is imminent! Jim Dunlop offered a little sneak peak here. Check it out – it looks like you could fly away in that freakin’ thing. It’s the most sci-fi pick I’ve ever seen. Can’t wait to get my hands on one.
Go to the Jim Dunlop blog for another pic of the pick.
Hey folks. On the weekend I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr Duff McKagan about The Taking, the new album by his band, Duff McKagan’s Loaded. You can read part of the interview here at Gibson.com. We covered a lot of ground in the interview so there will be a separate – and entirely different – interview on I Heart Guitar soon too. Duff was really great to interview and it was an honour to get to talk one-on-one with such a goddamn legend of rock!
Check out Duff’s site here.