It’s Metal Monday.
Last month on my birthday I was at the nearby mall with my son. We were looking for some new DVDs for his evolving interest in Pokemon. Mission accomplished, I dug through the used CD section hoping for some cheap metal. FYE has their focus and the type of music I’m into is not it. Thus, CD’s can frequently be found for dirt cheap. It doesn’t get much cheaper than a brand new never opened 3 CD set for $1.99.
I know what you’re thinking. Maybe it was that cheap because it’s not that good. Well you would be mistaken. To prove how wrong you are welcome to a 60 part series in which I discuss every track.
No. We won’t be doing that. But between music I’ve heard a hundred times yet never live or songs that were new to me this set was eye opening. The only knock against it is that these are performances from a 2004 concert and here I am in 2019 hearing it for the first time. People have died, bands have split up, and life changes things. Even though it’s impossible to see some of these artists in present day, this recording will never fade, and may never leave my car.
Just to hit the highlights though. I have been a huge fan of Anthrax for around 25 years. I’ll be talking about discovering the band in a different post elsewhere, but since I was 16 I have listened to everything and never has the band fallen out of rotation. However, thanks to a variety of reasons in life, I have yet to see them live. That has to change after hearing their two tracks on the first CD “Indians” and “Only”.
“Only” comes from an album when Anthrax had a different lead singer, but it is still my favorite from their history. “Only” has been called a perfect heavy metal song by many and I can’t argue with it. Heavy, great lyrics, solos, easy sing along.
“Indians” was never one of my favorite songs. Respected, but not a go to track. Yet this live version changed all of that. Maybe there’s emotion that comes through live but not recorded. Much like KISS “Alive” album. Enough changed in this song that it was brand new again. I couldn’t find a video from the same year, but this one at a later version of the festival is damn close.
The first surprise was track 8 on the first CD, “Five Crystals” by Orphanage. I had never heard or heard of the band before and I immediately fell in love with this song. I was driving when I first heard it and thought “what the hell is this?!” In an excited I’m about to fall down the rabbit hole kind of way. Unfortunately the band is no longer together but there’s enough recordings out there for me to discover as if it’s brand new content today. Growling male vocal, harmonizing female vocal, and who traveled to the Indian sub continent and picked up this influence? After I heard it once I rolled the windows down and played it for the world. More people must know this music!
CD 2 starts with Dio and he’s perfect as always. “Holy Diver” is great but much like the aforementioned Anthrax, Dio’s live version of “Don’t Talk to Strangers” forever moved the song into heavy rotation. Like the best metal it’s simultaneously beautiful and haunting. Comforting and creepy. I’ll never see him live, but I can feel the energy though the speakers.
Side note, if you have never heard Bloodhound Gang’s “Fire Water Burn” in German, than you need to listen to J.B.O. “Arschloch Und Spaß Dabei”. What should have been a joke is a party song just like the original.
The biggest surprise on this section was Doro. I had heard of her but never heard her. The queen of metal. Doro’s brilliant because she is so well respected bands around the world ask her to guest on their albums. She agrees, but only if they return the favor. Thus she has built this incredible catalog featuring a who’s who of artist. Doro “Für Immer” is track 4 and it’s good. Really good. But it doesn’t hit until she returns as a surprise guest on the last song of the CD. Blaze Bailey performs “Fear Of The Dark” and Doro surprises the audience with a sing along. Blaze is the former lead singer of Iron Maiden for the time when they split with Bruce Dickinson. While fans can debate that era for years, and have, Blaze is still a great singer and this track is one of the best things I’ve heard all year. This is a song metal heads can put on for those who don’t like metal. My wife even liked it and she has told me many times she hates my music.
The third CD features lots of great artists, unfortunately they’re not in the same band. That’s not quite fair. This final disc is a collection of the newer up and coming second stage artists. Lots of potential here. But only a few bands are tight and at this point sound like they can go somewhere.
Some of the bands on the third disc I can’t find on YouTube to provide examples. Thankfully the best band here, Gutbucket and their song “82 Hours Bus Hellride” is there and this one is a sleeper. An average song at first but now it’s one of my favorites. Great road trip song.
That’s all for this week. I always post my Spotify Discover Weekly Playlist over on Instagram. And I’m always looking for something new.