Posts Tagged ‘metal’


Worst Music Video Ever Of The Week: I’ll Show You Something Special

August 8, 2010

Yeah, that’s special, all right. This is Balaam and the Angel, three Scottish brothers who found refuge under Ian Astbury’s pirate-shirted wing in the mid 1980s and followed a sort of Cult Jr. path for a few years. The flouncy paisley jangle-goth of their first major-label record was followed by Live Free Or Die, a “we can do that, too!” sort of followup to The Cult’s Electric. But where The Cult seemed to actually maybe be the badasses they were pretending to be as they mutated into hard rocking hairballs, the Balaam brothers just looked absolutely terrified by all the leather they now had to wear.

Nowhere is that more evident than in this video, the first from their “metal” era. I particularly like the look on the drummer’s face as he gets out of the muscle car while trying to keep his silly hat balanced on his poofy hair.

Balaam and the Angel put out another album after this, with a fourth member added to flesh out the guitars, and I remember seeing something called just Balaam a few years after that. Apparently they have reformed and are playing some shows again, but they’re on the other side of the ocean from me, and that’s okay.

Added bonus track: “Hey, we’re big in Japan, guys … and they have a wind machine here!”


Peter Steele: Loved To Death

April 15, 2010

There are reports tonight that rock demigod Peter Steele has died of heart failure. This is a down-low blow.

Steele fronted Type O Negative, churning out strangely melodic gothic metal, dark, demonic opera fuelled by soaring keys, grinding guitars and Steele’s voice, deeper than his bass guitar.

The 48-year-old lived a hard life, but he lived it his way, made his choices, and was open about his regrets. He had faults. He had gifts. We all do, but few of us live our lives in that kind of spotlight. Years from now, I will remember Steele’s music, not his problems.

There are few bands out there that captured the sound of late fall, of dead leaves and cold rain, the way Type O Negative does. And there won’t be. Steele is gone, and he cannot be replaced. He was one of a kind, despite what Andrew Eldritch of the Sisters of Mercy might tell you.

I listen to a lot of music, and a lot of different types of music. Type O is one of my favourites, has been for a long, long time. It’s due to the music, which touches the odd black chord in my odd black heart, but it’s also because the band just seemed to be real, and dedicated to their work. They never “sold out,” even when Steele went on Jerry Springer to talk about his Playgirl appearance.

He sang his way, and he rocked his way, and he lived his way.

Sing on, Peter Steele. Rock on. And live on.


A Plea For Purging: Malevolence

March 24, 2010

Hey, I’m swamped at work and busy at home, so I don’t have time to entertain you. I’ll let these guys do it.

This is A Plea For Purging. The song is called Malevolence. And it’s only the best rock video I’ve seen since Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer. I’m not alone in that opinion; the video is spreading virally and is rocketing these schmoes into the public eye. More people are watching this today than that video of George Bush wiping his hand on Bill Clinton (although I hear Hilary has that one set to repeat).

I especially like how the five guys don’t look like they would even hang out together, let alone perform in the same band. They look like they could be the drummers from five different local groups at a cut-rate battle of the bands down at the rink.

Go ahead and watch it again. You know you want to.


Big Bad Hair: Iggy Pop, Instinct

August 25, 2009

I don’t have as much to say about 80s music as I used to think I did, but I cobbled together some thoughts here at my micropodcast site. Have a listen.

After that, read a smarter guy’s thoughts on this album here.


Worst Music Video Ever Of The Week: Thor

July 12, 2009

Yeah, his name is Thor. He’s a Canadian metal “singer” of the 1980s who boasted a fantastic physique and … uh, not much else. I’ve shown this video before, so you may have seen it, but it never hurts to take another look. Witness this:

As a special treat, I offer you some modern Thor. Close to 30 years after recording Keep The Dogs Away, Thor released Devastation of Musculation, an odd title that made me stop and think for a while. I finally decided it was an autobiography.

What’s that Batman body armour all about? Look, I love metal. But this is the sort of thing that makes people think metalheads are morons.


Big Bad Hair: Worst Music Video Ever Of The Week

March 7, 2009

Here’s a real champ from 1985. Raven was a brothers act from England who combined Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop and what appears to be hockey equipment from a thrift shop. Plus spandex. Watch it closely for its full effect; note the classic 80s metal facial expressions.

My favourite moment comes when the drummer throws away his sticks and just starts punching his kit.

This has been in my video collection since I first taped it off television in 1985. And I still like hauling it out for a chuckle. Of course, I should remind you that when I say “worst music video” I mean it in a good way. I love the bad stuff. I live for it.

Strangely, the song itself, On and On, has an interesting and unique structure; blatant English accents were uncommon in 80s American-style metal, and it makes for a fairly decent sound. Of course, in pure 80s fashion, the album this song came from was called Stay Hard.

There isn’t a lot about Raven out there, but according to Wikipedia they’re still together and still touring. Here’s their official site, which features a photograph of Newcastle Brown Ale. Like metal maniacs, podcasters like their Newky Brown, too. I wish I’d heard more Raven, now that I think of it. Maybe I’ll see what I can track down. While a lot of 80s metal hasn’t aged well — actually, most of it — some of this more experimental stuff has an enduring quality that was overlooked back in the day.

Meanwhile, I’m still looking for a few more thoughts for my Anti-U2 episode of Big Bad Hair. You can agree with me that U2 is overrated tripe, or you can defend their honour. I’ll read your emails or play your audio clips, and also probably try to be funny. Contact me via this site if you want to take part.


Big Bad Hair: Metallica

February 12, 2009

I had a chat with Boz today. He’s the sword-fighting movie-reviewing laugh-generating co-host of Here Goes Nothing, one of my favourite podcasts. He also does a dead-on Cartman if you ask, which I didn’t.

Anyway, Boz and I talked about the 80s output of Metallica, a band he worships, but one I am so-so about. That’s the latest episode of Big Bad Hair, available here.

Just to flesh that all out, I basically break Metallica down into three periods:

  • The 1980s. Grubby, skinny California kids playing impossibly fast, brutally heavy thrash metal, but with hints of experimentation and a clear sense of song structure. The albums of this period, Kill ’em All, Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets and ... And Justice For All are pretty diverse, but chart the band’s rise from local heroes to international superstars.
  • The 1990s. Opening with a bang — 1991’s untitled “black album,” Metallica was suddenly on the radio, on MTV, and maybe even on Dad’s car stereo. Abandoning the long, violent riffage of their earlier work, the band crafted shorter songs with simpler riffs, and scored the biggest hit of their career and one of the biggest-selling albums of all time. The rest of the decade — Load and ReLoad, and some more experimental stuff — was uneven, and there were sightings of haircuts and eyeliner.
  • The 2000s. Low point: St. Anger, a ridiculous, inexcusable recording. But then the documentary Some Kind Of Monster told the story of just how Metallica fell into that pit of suck, and how the band crawled back out. This paved the way for Death Magnetic, last year’s epic, perfect metal album … and their inclusion this year in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame.