Extreme Metal Gym Playlist

Gym playlists.  Man, some people out there really seem to not have the balls to delve into nastier shit than they’re accustomed to in order to really raise those adrenaline levels.  I guess they don’t really want to train with fury after all.  Pussies.  This goes back to my first true post on here, titled: “…if I had my own gym”.  I bitched that the so-called metalheads in my gym cried like little girls upon hearing my heavy-as-fuck Spotify playlist, which contained several tracks by Pantera (the super heavy shit from the mid-90’s), Strapping Young Lad, Nevermore and Meshuggah.  The remarks came flying: “What is this crap?”  “Yeah I know I’m a Stripping Young Lad but this sucks!”, “Do you have any Metallica??”

Sure, there are gyms out there that understand that Disturbed is NOT the definition of music that makes you want to fight someone of even deadlift the house.  But they’re few and far between.  Also, I’ve come across plenty of playlists on Bodybuilding.com and, while some have come close, I came across a lot of shit.  When I think of real weightlifting music Bring Me The Horizon and Miss May I are clearly, badass bands to train to.  Right?  Right?  Excuse me while I puke out my flank steak dinner and my creatine powder.

So here are my ten picks, in no particular order, for heavy-as-fuck, balls to the wall, rage fueling, gym music.

  1. Nails – You Will Never Be One Of Us, 2016ywnboou

I’m starting with this one because I need to get something off my chest real quick: I’m so fucking mad at these guys!  Just as this album is getting more critical acclaim and attention than any other album sounding remotely like this the band, without warning, goes on hiatus?!?!  What the fuck is this shit??  And why now???  Did Todd Jones decide he couldn’t handle the sudden popularity??  Did it go against his hardcore ethos??  Good thing I never went to This Is Hardcore in the beginning of the month because I would’ve been really pissed off!

Now that that’s out of the way…this is most likely my album of the year.  In just over twenty-one minutes, this album is literally all killer no filler…at all.  This is just straight up RAGE from start to finish.  The production is rough, the vocals are ridden with the type of slobbering anger that says Todd Jones wants to hurt you so bad.  This is true Meathead music.  It’s totally amped up my workouts since it came out two months ago and will most likely continue to do so.

Key Tracks: You Will Never Be One Of Us, Savage Intolerance, Parasite, They Come Crawling Back

2. Pantera – The Great Southern Trendkill, 1996 tgstk

Yeah…this one…not Cowboys, not Vulgar…this one.  Why?  Listen to the opening seconds of the title track alone.  That’s why.  The Great Southern Trendkill is literally the most violent and intense Pantera release in their entire recording career.  It just wreaks of every negative emotion you DIDN’T expect from Pantera.  I guess it kind of, sort of, also helps that Phil Anselmo was secretly doing heroin during this time.  That shit always brings down the mood!  Featuring the late Seth Putnam of Anal Cunt on backing screams on certain tracks.

Key Tracks: The Great Southern Trendkill, War Nerve, Suicide Note Pt.2, Sandblasted Skin

3. Strapping Young Lad – Alien, 2005

alien

Ever wanted to hear what a bipolar person sounds like when they stop taking their meds just to make their most intense album ever?  Here’s your chance!  But it ain’t pretty.  Which is why I love it!  Devin Townsend knew that Strapping’s 2003 comeback record was clearly stale, minus two tracks.  So what did he do?  He risked his mental health and let the crazies out to play on more time.  I cannot listen to this record when I am driving because there were many times when this record came out that I went into massive road rage, probably came close to INTENTIONALLY running over people and driving into a wall.

Key tracks: Skeksis, Shitstorm, Love?, We Ride

4. Nevermore – This Godless Endeavor, 2005

tge

Without question the heaviest album Nevermore ever did.  I don’t know if it was because of the permanent addition of Steve Smyth as a second guitarist, but whatever it was, it worked.  Usually known for a more diverse musical formula on previous albums, much of that is non-existent here.  Like…compared to the albums before it or after…This Godless Endeavor is musically pitch black.  I can totally see myself bench pressing to Jeff Loomis and Steve Smyth’s dueling leads on “Psalm Of Lydia”.

Key Tracks: Born, My Acid Words, Bittersweet Feast, Psalm Of Lydia

5 and 6.  Crowbar – Crowbar, 1993/Sonic Excess In It’s Purest Form, 2001

Crowbar

I decided I had to put in two albums here.  Crowbar are the ultimate go-to band for intense weight training.  It’s unforgivingly brutal, fast enough, slow enough, sludgy enough and add Kirk Windstein’s increasing raspy vocals on being down and out and all I want to do is eat lots of food and deadlift.

Speaking of food, on their Phil Anselmo-produced, self titled album is a song called “Existence Is Punishment”.  If you ever watched Beavis and Butthead in the 90’s you probably saw them making fun of that song’s video, leaving Beavis to basically say that the band makes you want to eat and get fat.  Oh..and that they’re always taking a dump.  Also featured here the most badass cover of Led Zeppelin’s “No Quarter” that you’ll ever here.

Key Tracks: “High Rate Extinction”, “Existence is Punishment”, “All I Had (I Gave)”, “No Quarter” (Led Zeppelin)

seiipf

Probably the fattest, sludgiest and – believe it or not – most groundbreaking album or their career.  Featuring future Goatwhore guitarist Sammy Duet, Sonic Excess In It’s Purest Form truly lived up to it’s name.  But not just because it’s heavy, or you might as well consider every heavy album to be groundbreaking.  But because the songwriting here is so thought out.  Everything was perfectly arranged.  “The Lasting Dose”, the album’s most popular track – and the one where the moshpits always reach new heights – probably wouldn’t sound as amazing it does if it wasn’t well written.  This one always has me banging my head while training – I could give two shits if anyone’s looking at me.

Key Tracks: The Lasting Does, To Build A Mountain, Failure To Delay Gratification, Empty Room

7. Behemoth – The Satanist, 2014

behemoth-the-satanist-artwork

First off: Nergal is GOD.  I knew I loved Behemoth they day I heard their 2004 album, Demigod, in my college radio station, where I found myself playing it to death for a while.  It was the perfect mix of death metal with black metal themed lyrics, a new style the band were experimenting with.

But here, literally a decade later, the band is beginning to change.  Oh yeah, the brutality of their previous albums is still here, but the music itself feels fresh, much looser, much more off the cuff.  I remember hearing Nergal screaming with passion on the track “Messe Noire:: “I believe in SATAN!!!!”, me yelling to my car stereo with excitement “Oh yes you do!!!”.

Key Tracks: Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel, Messe Noire, Amen, O Father, O Satan, O Sun

8. Meshuggah – obZen, 2008

obZen

This was band’s second album using eight string guitars, but after 2005’s weird, and heavily drum sampled Catch 33, the heaviest band to ever come out of Sweden were back with fury.  Back when everyone and their mother was still on Myspace, I heard “Bleed” on the band’s music player…and nearly fell off my chair.  The slow tempo, mixed with Tomas Haake’s double bass rolls, those bowel inducing, low tuned eight strings locked in just perfectly, Jens Kidman’s newly developed screaming…it was as if the band was reborn!  Meshuggah were already one of my top five gym bands but obZen is a modern day Extreme Metal masterpiece.

Key Tracks: Combustion, Electric Red, Bleed, Dancers To A Discordant System

9. Morbid Angel – Domination, 1995

domination

The one album that causes the most drama between fans.  You either love Domination or the thought of it makes your stomach turn, and that even goes for the members of the band.  Between the production style and the change in David Vincent’s lyrical themes and vocal approach, this is either the band’s most brutal album or the biggest pile of shit they ever recorded.  Me?  I fucking love it!  It’s virtually unrelenting, minus “Hatework”, which I could do without.  I personally think the clarity in production makes Trey and Erik’s guitars that much more brutal.

Key Tracks: Dominate, Where The Slime Lives, Eyes To See Ears To Hear, Dawn Of The Angry

10. Black Label Society – Live Alcohol Fueled Brutality + 5, 2001

bls live

Right off the bat, fuck the “plus 5” on the second disc, it doesn’t matter.  I almost didn’t use this album but first off, Zakk Wylde is GOD.  Second, this live album is endlessly loud, violent, and brutal.  This was recorded on that infamous 2ooo tour were Zakk’s famous “grail” Les Paul was stolen, not to be seen again for a good three years.  This is another album I’ll bang my head to and sing out loud in the gym regardless of who’s watching me.  Fuck them, they’re all listening to the shitty dance music playing through the speakers or some watered down “rock” through their earbuds.

Key Tracks: Low Down, Lost My Better Half, Bored To Tears, No More Tears (Ozzy Cover)

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The End: Black Sabbath live and SOLD OUT at Madison Square Garden February 25th, 2016

I tried to see Black Sabbath with Ozzy Osbourne on vocals on two different occasions.  Now, I intended on writing about this in other blogs as I went through all the concerts I went to, but I feel that would take forever and it would make sense to write about it now since I’m about to discuss the show I just went to.  When I went to see them at Ozzfest 2004 in Camden, NJ,  drummer Bill Ward came out before the band was to play and announced that Ozzy was too sick to play and Rob Halford of Judas Priest was going to sing in his place.  You couldn’t be there and complain much after that!  The next year, before we even got in inside the PNC Bank Arts Center, the girl checking our tickets told my ex-guitarist Chad and I “No Black Sabbath tonight”.  Why this time?  “Because Ozzy’s sick.”  Sure, Iron Maiden played an extended set that night but I was convinced that night that I’d never see Sabbath with Ozzy…and that Ozzy’s voice is just toast.

So when I got wind, a few weeks ago, that Sabbath had to cancel gigs in Canada because Ozzy lost his voice, the only thing I could assume was that my friend Frank was going to have to get a refund.  Little did I know how wrong I would be…and some more.  But I’ll get to that in a bit.

I arrived last night at Madison Square Garden with high expectations for the band and incredibly low expectations for Ozzy. Fuck, I really just wanted to see Tony Iommi anyway.  But I was also looking very much forward to reuniting with my buddy Frank, who got us the tickets, as well as seeing the opening bands, Rival Sons.  Rival Sons got on stage and goddamn they sound even more like Led Zeppelin live than on record!  The most obvious sign of it on their albums is the John Bonham-like drum sound.  But live, Jay Buchanan did some loud ass wailing while barefoot – that he at least had me convinced that Robert Plant found a way to defy age and join Rival Sons.  At one point Frank and I were jokingly singing Zep song titles into two of their songs because they sounds THAT MUCH like Zep songs.  I think the last time I heard anyone sound like Zep to the T was Billy Squier when he recorded “Lonely Is The Night”.

 

To our surprise we didn’t have to wait long for Sabbath to come on.  The lights in the Garden went out at 8:45pm, definitely earlier than expected.  As the sold out crowd was ROARING in excitement  a video came up on the screen.  We saw burning buildings that represented the artwork from their most recent album, 13.  Then it got really weird, like something out of a fucking Final Fantasy game.  But you can see part of it here:

So, as you can see and hear, they opened up with the title track to their self-titled debut.  And from their the broke into the classic “Fairies Wear Boots”.  Say what you want about Ozzy’s solo drummer, Tommy Clufetos, taking Bill Ward’s place for the last few years as well as the fact that his style is not as jazzy or loose as Bill’s.  But he did a really good job emulating Bill’s parts and making him his own.  Do I wish Bill was there?  Hell fuck yeah I do!  But I have to give Tommy respect for making it clear that he was paying his respects.  His DW drum kit even looks like Bill’s Tama set to the T!

Geezer Butler, as usual, was on FIRE last night!  He bass tone, even from where I was sitting in the nosebleed section, was so strong and crystal clear.  HIs fingers were moving so fast on those strings.  His playing, both wild with abandon yet perfectly arranged.  There really is no one like him.  No one.

Which brings me to Lita Ford’s favorite Superhero…as well as the main reason I even wanted to go: Tony Iommi.  This is it for him.  He’s sick, tired, stressed.  No matter what the other guys want to do after this all ends I wouldn’t expect to see him out on the road again.  The lymphoma treatments are clearly taking their toll on him.  But he still put on probably the most amazing show I’ve ever seen from him and this was the fourth time I’ve seen Tony live overall.  His playing was so fluid, so smooth yet so BRUTAL.  His riffs – so horrifying, so scary, so BRUTAL.  This motherfucker CREATED the style of music I love so much as is the primary reason I play guitar.  There will NEVER be anyone like Tony Iommi ever again.  Ever.

Then there was that big shocker of the night that I eluded to earlier.  Ozzy Osbourne, not known to have had a great singing voice since the mid 9o’s…actually sounded good!  I shit you not!  I’m pretty sure the key was that the band played songs that Ozzy could handle, which meant not straying far from their first three albums much if at all.  If you knew anything about how the guy destroyed his voice over the years you knew there was no way he was pulling out “Sabbath Blood Sabbath” or even “Megalomania” for that matter.  Although I was surprised to hear them play “Snowblind” and even more surprised to hear Ozzy hit the high notes without struggle!  He was shockingly on point last night…I guess the third time was the charm after all, eh?

THE SETLIST:

Intro video/Black Sabbath

Jack The Stripper/Fairies Wear Boots

After Forever

Into The Void (\m/\m/\m/\m/!!!!!!)

Snowblind

Wars Pigs

Behind The Wall Of Sleep/Bass Solo/NIB

Hand Of Doom

Rat Salad/Drum Solo

Iron Man

Dirty Women

Children Of The Grave

Encore: Paranoid (well, duh!)

Like I said, the band pretty much hovered around the first three albums which the exceptions of “Snowblind” and especially “Dirty Women”.  Not that Ozzy sang high in that song; but I doubt anyone expected them to pull out something off Technical Ecstacy, which was not their best album during the Ozzy years.  Either way, it was incredibly effective.  My head hurt so much from headbanging yet I refused to stop.  After the show ended we witnessed some guy who was so drunk he nearly fell down the stairs and that would have been a fucking long way down.  He instead fell on his ass and as he when to get his cigarette, which was already lit up, he mistakenly put the lit side in his mouth!

The show was in-fucking-credible, what a fitting way to say goodbye to the band that started it all.  In fact, they are playing another show at the Garden tomorrow night and will be touring through September.  Without them, and especially without Tony Iommi, there would be no heavy metal as we know it now.  For that I’ll always be thankful.

“Is That A Chick’s Ass????”

You see the guitar in the main picture?  Yeah?  Now look at the finish closely.  All you see is a pink guitar?  Look again…closer.  See it now?  Now, if you’re a guy under twenty you just jizzed yourself. Twice.  If you’re over twenty you can’t stop laughing, but you still have control over yourself.  You women though….oh, you….the mixed reactions you broads have given this guitar over the years…some of you are obviously offended…yet…some of you actually like it!!  Really???  Um…ok!

I’ll never forget the first time I laid eyes on this thing back in the early spring of 2004, probably the end of March.  My old music store, where I was no longer taking lessons at this point, was right next door to my shit job where I was working at the time so I took a visit until I had to go clock in.  I looked to my right and immediately saw this…guitar…hanging on the wall.  It was a B.C. Rich Bich, the one shape I’ve always wanted ever since I saw old clips of Dave Mustaine using it with Metallica on Megadeth’s VH1 Behind The Music episode three years earlier.  But this one was…different…and not just because it was part of B.C. Rich’s Body Art Series either.  The pervert in me immediately saw what a lot of people usually need a few looks to see.  Holy shit that’s a chick’s ass in a thong!  A chick’s ass is the finish of a guitar!  What does this say on the tag?  “Bich’s Back”?  Yeah, I’ll say!  Only $300?  Hmmmm.

I was told by the store owner’s piece of shit daughter, who I won’t name because she doesn’t deserve the recognition, that there were two other guitars like that but they sold quickly as should’ve been expected.  She then said that she arranged for B.C. Rich to recall the last one?  Why?  “Because I don’t want kids to come in here and see it.”  I wish I knew what the big deal is, as far as I know she’s only music store employee I ever knew that would say something that stupid.  It’s been more than eleven years since I heard that remark and I still can’t believe I heard it!  So fuckin’ what if a kid sees it??  After much debating I asked this dumb bitch when B.C. Rich were supposed to come.  “Friday”, she told me.  “Yeah?  Well call them and tell them to forget it.  I’ll be back here when I get paid to put money down on it.”, was my immediate response.  I had to get this thing.

The very next Friday I went back there right after I got out of work and used part of my tax return to pay the rest off and this baby was mine!  As the store owner’s cunt of a daughter was counting my money she quipped in a pretty serious tone “I think you’re a pervert for buying this!”.  Oh I have stories on this twat that could last a whole day’s worth of conversation; but then you’d have to knock me out to shut me up.  But who gave a shit?  They had $300 of my money since I was no longer taking lessons with them at this point anyway AND I had a guitar that practically screamed sleazy, filthy no condom fucking…with the risk of a few STDs.  Twenty four frets for hitting those high notes to make this bich scream, a curvaceous body, that finish!  The store’s owner offered to drive me to the mall since I wanted to grab some food before I went home since I didn’t have a car yet; while in his van I asked him if he thought I was a perv like his jackass daughter said I was for buying the guitar.  “I think it’s the most macho thing you can buy!”, he quickly responded.

My time in the mall?  Oh that was just fantastic!  I was given an acoustic guitar case to carry the Bich in because of it’s abnormal shape and when I arrived at the food court to eat I ran into someone and I sadly don’t remember who the guy was.  I showed him the guitar and he couldn’t believe the finish on this.  At that very moment I was approached by this guy I’ve seen on and off at bus stops in his Fun Station USA work shirt.  He had long hair in a pony tail with an under shave and he wanted to let me know that and he and his girlfriend both saw my guitar from across the way and he wanted to tell me he thought it was awesome.  That was cool and he seemed like a nice guy.  The problem?  His girlfriend, who was giving me the death stare right behind him, was this lunatic who I was crazy enough to be friends with not even two years earlier and to say the least I was surprised she was still alive.  I actually spotted her crazy ass a month earlier at a show and when I told my dad the next day even his response was “She’s still alive??”.  So as much as her boyfriend – and future baby daddy – was cool, I could not wait to brush him off as quickly as I could!

It’s amazing, the kinds of people you can attract just by carrying a guitar.  While I was on my way home I was waiting to transfer to my second bus when some homeboy asked to see my guitar.  “Yo dat shit is dope!”, he yelled out with a big laugh.  Then came this weird looking lady who clearly had to be in her late forties.  She saw that I had a B.C. Rich and decided to tell me this story that I still don’t know if I want to believe, in which she saw Metallica with Mustaine on lead guitar at a show.  According to her Dave was playing his first B.C. Rich guitar.  He hated it so much that at the end of the show he smashed it and one of the wooden shards hit this lady’s neck, cutting it open.  She then told me she would force it to stay open for weeks because she wanted to keep the memories.  Ok….

The next day I finally plugged it in and I was kind of surprised to hear how weak the pickups actually were.  I should’ve known, being that the guitar was kind of a novelty.  The solution?  Replacing them with EMG 85 and 81 pickups – problem definitely solved!  Goddamn this thing was loud after that.  I was playing it – and bragged about it – with a sense of pride for years.  It just screamed “METAL!!” as far as I was concerned.  I used it for years, I mean my next three bands.  I saw it as an attention grabber and my ex-guitarist from my first metal band joked that the guitar is the one thing I’d be remembered for.  Months before my second band’s debut gig in 2007 I decided the guitar needed a little extra kink if you will, so I went to Rudy’s on 48th St in Manhattan and got myself a Levy’s Leather Strap with chains going right down the middle.

Of course, not everybody liked the guitar.  Typical scenario: I’d bring the guitar somewhere, where is irrelevant.  I’ll take my guitar out and some woman will notice.  “That’s an interesting guitar, bring it over here.”  I bring it over.  “It’s so interesting that you’d have a pink guitar.  Wait…is that…oh…”.  Just like that she’s grossed out.  In fact the last time I had the guitar set up for it’s final shows in 2013, the female owner of the store I went to, Rustic Music Center, took one look and declared “that’s the funniest and grossest guitar I’ve ever seen” before calling the guys in the place to take a look at the finish.  I auditioned for the thrash band Sun Descends in 2005 and when I took the guitar out the lead singer, ex-Exumer vocalist Mem Von Stein, immediately said to me with weariness in his eyes “You have another guitar…right?”

But as I said earlier, some women thought it was amazing, including my brother’s ex-girlfriend as well as girls who worked at my college radio station.  Speaking of my brother, one day a friend of his that I used to go to school with gave me a ride to the bus, I think.  I had my guitar with me and when my brother told me to show the guitar his wannabe rapper buddy even he yelled out “What???  That’s AWESOME!!”  Yeah, the guitar even transcends musical boundaries.  At my first ever metal show some dope told me he wanted to have sex with my guitar.  My bodybuilder doppelganger and friend Jon has even considered buying one of his own all because of mine!

Since then I’ve been retired from band life.  So where’s the guitar been ever since I’ve moved to New Jersey?  In the closet because my girlfriend doesn’t want to see it.  Oh sure, I’ll take out from time to time.  I think I’d like to give it another setup.  I do know that if I ever got back into it and began work on the offensive metal project of my dreams there’s no better than my Bich’s Back to get the job done!

Here’s the Bich today:

IMG_20151101_163958795 IMG_20151101_164006142 IMG_20151101_164038068  IMG_20151101_164104554