C’mon…if you’ve been reading my blog for the past several months then my first ever pick for Album Of The Year should’ve been PAINFULLY obvious. I was a fan of Nails for months before it was even released, but it was upon the June 17th 2016 release of their grindcore masterpiece, You Will Never Be One Of Us, that they – especially guitarist/vocalist Todd Jones – became absolute GODS. And if you’ve never heard anything off this beautiful shitstorm of an album here’s a quick taste. No really, it’s only a minute and a half long!
So, for those of you new to this blog, why did I pick You Will Never Be One Of Us? Surely, I could’ve picked any number of albums; Crowbar and Meshuggah – two of the heaviest bands on the fucking planet – both released two really badass albums. Gatecreeper released a new album around the same time and one of my YouTube subscribers just declared the new Blood Incantation album is his own pick of the year.
There’s reason number one right there. Not sure how many grindcore bands make it to the cover of a magazine like Terrorizer. We can also discuss the fact that You Will Never Be One Of Us was somehow able to reach #129 on the Billboard Charts among it’s release. I don’t know about you but I personally don’t know of any of grindcore or powerviolence style bands that can hit that kind of a milestone. Fuck, before they went on hiatus without warning over the summer their tour schedule was to be significantly bigger than it had ever been, including a spot on the Ozzfest 20th anniversary card. That’s HUGE for a band like Nails! They’re about to make a comeback in just a few days at The Power Of The Riff Festival, they just released a 12″ split with Full Of Hell eight days ago and now have more dates planned for next year with Gatecreeper, including stops in Philly and at Williamsburg Music Hall in Brooklyn, NY. Needless to say 2016 was Nails’ year.
It’s easy to assume that You Will Never Be One Of Us is on ANY album of the year list due to hype…but why was there so much hype? Easy. Because throughout the record you can feel Todd Jones’ anger, his hatred against those trying to make a living off something his kind have worked so hard to put together only to be working a full time job (although he seems to prefer that), against society…against the fucking world. His vocal delivery alone here was a major change from 2013’s Abandon All Life. Gone was the high pitched scream and in it’s place Todd found his true voice, one of slobbering anger, growling and screaming like a lunatic in a straitjacket, wanting to get out and just murder you. There’s no way you can listen to it and tell me that it isn’t genuine either. And that’s why this is my first album of the year pick…it’s real.
This will be my last post for the year, the next few weeks will be busy. But be sure to follow me on facebook and Instagram. My IG handle is @confessionsofanangrymetalhead
The following is my first ever article for Bodybuilding.com, written today. It was approved by the moderators not too long ago, hopefully it’s good enough to be published. But you can read it here and judge for yourself:
I was first introduced to the idea of abbreviated training in 2009, when a trainer at my former gym told me about a book entitled Brawn. Originally released in 1991, it’s author, Stuart McRobert wrote in extensive detail about the important of shorter training in comparison to the routines found in magazines during the time of the book’s release. McRobert stressed that the average Joe couldn’t possibly get big or strong on a pro bodybuilder’s routine, but they could totally benefit by going back to the basics.
Let me clarify something first, the average Joe is not just a non-competitive bodybuilder. It’s someone like you and me, who works a day job five days out of the week and goes to home to multiple responsibilities. Some of you work more than one job, some of you have young children at home, and then there are other responsibilities that naturally hinder us from being able to just go to the gym and do multiple exercises in the course of four, five or even six days a week.
I can actually relate to this now more than ever as someone who recently competed in his first Powerlifting meet. I live in New Jersey but I work in Brooklyn, NY so it takes me a good hour an a half to get to and get home from work. Once I’m home I still have to prepare dinner, get ready for the next day, do things around the house, etc.
My current program, Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 for Powerlifting, calls for three or four day a week training; so what I decided to do was take the four day a week template and alternate it into a three day per week schedule in order to fit my daily needs as well as give myself time to recover from the previous workouts. That was a very important first step for me. The next thing I did for sake of shortening my training was reducing the amount of exercises I needed to do per training day.
This can especially benefit powerlifters. Are we training for looks come competition time or are we training to improve on the big three moves, Bench Press, Squat and Deadlift? If you chose the latter then keep reading! There are plenty of great powerlifting routines out there but if you’re like me and your trying to save time are you really going to waste your time training your secondary muscles? Sure, having thick lats can be beneficial, but are they what you’re using when you Deadlift? Fat chance! You need the power of those hamstrings and your glutes to help you bring that bar up. Same thing applies for Bench Presses. Once again referring to the lats, do they help you push the bar off your chest to the ceiling or do you need a thick chest along with strong triceps and shoulders to help you do the work?
So what’s the point of all of this? Because I’m strapped for time ten months out of the year I need to train in a way that’s practical and in order to do that I stripped my training of anything I found was unnecessary in helping to improve my functionality in the main lifts. In doing this I shortened my training dramatically and I still get results. Here’s an example of the way I currently train using just my working sets:
Day 1: Overhead Press – 3 x 5/3/1 Barbell Curl – 3 x 10 Tricep Dips – 3 x 10
Day 2: Deadlift – 3 x 5/3/1 Leg Curls – 3 x 10
Day 3: Bench Press – 3 x 5/3/1 Dumbbell Bench Press – 3 x 10 Chest Dips – 3 x 10
Day 4: Squats – 3 x 5/3/1 Leg Press – 3 x 10
Upon reading this you might notice that I split the assistance leg work to two different days. I chose to do that purposely based on which assistance work helps with certain lifts. If I’m squatting then I’d rather just stick with Leg Presses to help me build muscle in my quads, just as I’d rather do Leg Curls on Deadlift days to strengthen my hamstrings. Therefore I have two strictly upper body days and two strictly lower body days, all even arranged as to save time and give me more bang for my buck.
But this is just how I train, for the most part. It might be different for all of you. All I did was take a preset template and removed what I felt was wasting time, because time is money, of which I usually have none. So here’s something to think about in the future if you happen to fall in this category, because it’s amazing to see that the saying “less is more” actually fits here. So if you’re strapped for time and still want to train, get rid of the excuses and make a plan of action today!
Mike is an amateur powerlifter hoping to enter his second competition in the near future.
You can also check out the original article here if you want:
This is actually going to be full article based on a random thought I wrote about just last year, regarding the decline of New York City’s diversity and character because let’s face it…it’s just gotten worse and will continue to do so.
So it all started just two nights ago, when I came across this article:
Wait…what the fuck? A new, two floor Target in the East Village? With a 30-year lease on the building?! First off, I’m a bit biased here because I used to work at Target but…ew! Also…why? Why Target and why in the East Fucking Village?? Then, I reminded myself of exactly why: money talk$.
I wrote a year ago that many of the places I used to know were going away at a pretty steady pace, especially at my old haunts, specifically St. Mark’s Place, which I had said was at least hanging on a thread so long as Sounds was still around, even if it was open just three days a week by that point, if anything for the sake of posture. Whoops! Not too long after I wrote that piece Sounds finally did close down for good, signaling THE end of the more culturally diverse St. Mark’s Place I used to know once and for all. Why? Because who the fuck can afford these fucking rent hikes? Oh wait…chain stores can!
Oh, I can go on and on about when I first noticed this change, and how it changed the entire landscape of Manhattan alone – don’t even get me started with Brooklyn! But instead I’m going to rant about who we can all blame for this and if you live or used to live anywhere in New York City (like me) you already know why: yuppies and especially hipsters. The hipsters started fucking everything up when they came to Williamsburg, Brooklyn from whatever bumfuck towns/states they grew up in during the late 90’s/early 2000’s with their daddys’ checkbooks in search of somewhere cheap as hell. In just a few years time a once extremely dangerous part of Brooklyn now had hipster themed bars and vintage record shops on almost every street corner. And not only that, rent was now fucking sky high. I was an intern for a music marketing firm in Manhattan in 2007 and a considerable portion of the hipster fuckheads I worked with lived in “Billyburg”. The only way they could be living there was if their parents were paying the rent because I can tell you right now they sure as fuck weren’t making even remotely decent salaries at this particular firm. I’d look for apartments in Brooklyn on craigslist and some of these prices were retarded. $2000 for a studio off of Bedford Ave? Really? But if you want to know how I truly feel about hipsters just watch this amazing clip from The Gentlemen’s Rant. Skip to the 1:50 mark for my favorite part!
This was just the beginning, of course. Soon, the resulting trickle down effect happened: Manhattan followed suit. The hipsters lived in Williamsburg in order to be as close to Manhattan as possible so before anyone knew it any area near the Williamsburg Bridge, especially the Lower East Side, started changing at that steady paced I mentioned before to cater to these motherfuckers. The trickle down effect here? Long standing Mom and Pop stores began to close shop to be replaced by some really strange fucking things.
This also spread, of course, throughout most of Manhattan, not just the Lower East Side. Old buildings were being knocked down to make room for high rise condos that I know I sure can’t afford. Here’s a quick story. My dad’s been in real estate since 2005, having gotten his real estate license from NYU in 1988, and he was responsible for one of these buildings in the Lower East Side being knocked down in 2007. He told me that while on site a girl came up to him asking him to please sign her petition to stop these developers from knocking the building down, obviously having no idea she was talking to the very person behind the whole thing. Oops!
To some of you reading this I risk coming off as yelling at yuppies and hipsters to get off my lawn like a bitter old man. You’d be wrong. Yeah, I hate yuppies and REALLY hate hipsters. But my big problem is that because of them, and more specifically about their lack of history, having not grown up in the city like I did, they appear to truly lack any appreciation for the charm New York City once had. It was once such a diverse city. I don’t just mean for the reputation of it’s many areas – not just the parts I mentioned – but because you could go into any street corner and find something completely random and enjoyable. Hell, twelve years ago I could just turn to W 48th St in the tourist trap that is Times Square and I’d just happen to find the once infamous Music Row. You’re reading correctly, there was once an entire block of just music instrument stores. Several Sam Ash buildings, each one dedicated to specific instruments, Rudy’s, the world famous Manny’s Music, just to name a few.
Oh, here’s my favorite. A 111 year old art supply store right around the corner from Webster Hall is being forced out of business because the building was sold to some jerkoff who plans to make the building into a hotel geared toward…millennials?? What the fuck does that require exactly that a piece of HISTORY is being forced to close down for this? Someone please tell me. What exactly makes millennials so fucking special? Is it the computer thing?? Since the age range for millennials is between 1982 and 2002 I guess I’d be considered a millennial on paper, being that I was born in 1984. But I’m no millennial because just about anyone born in the 80’s knew how to survive without cellphones and computers. Ask the kids today when they last experienced a fleeting, random moment. You’d probably hear crickets for a long time because that’s how often their heads are down at their smartphones they honestly have NO BUSINESS carrying around at twelve years old.
So here’s my main point to all of this. Gentrification my ass! If I wanted to go to an outdoor strip mall I’d go to probably any other city…or an outdoor strip mall. I used to live in a city that had a very special charm to it, one that was different, one with so much diversity and excitement, one with character. These were the things that made it The Greatest City In The World, because it’s not that anymore, not when I see Subway restaurants on nearly every street corner and increasingly more homeless people on the streets because they were evicted for their inability to pay their rents. If you’re reading this and are as disgusted with what’s become of it all like I was, do yourself a favor and get out while you still can…like I did, because it’s no longer just the East Village that’s dead – all of New York City is!
There are times now where I drive on Route 3 E and if I catch it around sunset I get a gorgeous view of the city from afar. But every time come across this brilliant view I sadly can’t help but always think to myself the same thing over and over again: “New York City…beautiful to look at…ugly to live in…”
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Since I’ve moved to New Jersey nearly a year ago I truly don’t have many reasons to go back to New York City…for anything. Dead serious. So when I got an invite from Anaka frontman Jimmy Pallis to see them this past Saturday in Brooklyn, I couldn’t say no. It’d been close to two years since I last saw them at Gramercy Theater so I was a little overdue. Brief history for those of you who don’t know them: The band was started by Jimmy and his guitarist brother Peter in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn in 2000. Since then Anaka has realeased five albums between then and last year, when they released The Unwavering, they’ve had their videos played on MTV (particularly “Rust And Jade” in 2004) and they even wrote a new theme song for The Ultimate Warrior when he made his brief return to wrestling in 2008.
But more important than any of that shit, they’re extremely loyal to their fans and you can tell that they love what they do. If Jimmy and Peter were both willing to drive to my neck of the woods a year ago just to sell little ol’ me a ticket that should tell you something. Jimmy also has a great memory, when he texted me he told me he remembered I was out of state now and offered to mail me my ticket. I forgot I even told him I was gone! Now that I think about it…maybe I told him when he was at my house last time.
Anyway, I’ve also wanted to check out the Black Bear Bar for a while now, just too bad that it had to be in the heart of hipsterland, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It’s times like this that I wish Williamsburg went back to being a hellhole – it’d probably be a hell of a lot more affordable than it is now. There’s literally real estate there that pricier than even Manhattan nowadays! So here’s how I’m going to do this: there were five bands on the bill and I don’t want to bore the shit out of you with one to two paragraphs on each band so I’m categorizing everybody in the groups, The Great, The Good and The Shitty. Let’s start from the bottom since that’s how the show seemed to progress anyway!
So the first band on was The Crimson Syndicate. The were loud, which did get me interested at first. The singer could growl like a motherfucker. The problems? First off, what is it with bands that have two singers both practically doing the same fucking thing?? It’s one thing to have two singers with completely different roles, like 3 Inches Of Blood did until 2008. Fuck, what’s the point at all? I used to like Scar Symmetry a lot and even played them on my radio show frequently. But when they decided to replace their departing lead singer with two guys I couldn’t help but place my head in my hands. Next, they turned out to be Deathcore. Enough said. Worse? They’re from Staten Island, home to guidos, guinea trash and lots of herion. There’s not a lot of great music in Staten Island – but there are lots of drugs!
The Last Alliance from Queens was next. I won’t be so brutal with them, at least they were tight and on point. But I have no patience for the power/progressive metal shit. Their guitarist did play some badass stuff at times and the singer has a hell of a set of pipes; I will not deny him his due credit. But the lyrical themes were so power metal that at times you could just taste the cheesiness. Another no no for me? Keyboards.
End All was the first band whose singer had a command over the audience. He had a lot of energy and his voice fit the music perfectly. The band’s music are a little more radio friendly than I’d normally go for but it still was heavy and it didn’t sound phony either. The rhythm section were great. The one thing holding them back from greatness? The guitarist. No, he didn’t suck at all – but his sound sure did. This guy has a Dean Razorback going through a Peavey and I’d love to understand how he can get such a weak sound out of that! It’s a shame because he could’ve easily cut through the band during his solos when the time came and, not that he was inaudible, but he just couldn’t cut through the mix. If you’re THE guitarist in a one guitar band there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to be heard. He was great but he should either work on the sound he’s getting out of that Peavey head or get an overdrive pedal to use just for solos, like an Ibanez Tubescreamer or a Boss Super Overdrive (I actually own both of these and love them!).
Proxima Control impressed me very much. It’s hard to describe their sound. It’s really heavy yet really melodic. At first I really didn’t understand the point of one guitar playing a standard six string and another playing a seven string until they played this one riff were the seven string player was cleverly using the low seven – tuned down to G – to make whatever his co-guitarist was playing sound even beefier. Just like that it all made sense because they weren’t doing that in every single song. That’s what you call a great ear for dynamics, knowing the right place and the right time for everything. It always makes all the difference.
The bassist probably impressed me more than anyone else in the band. Not only could he keep up with those fast tempos with his fingers, sometimes hitting multiple notes at once, he can even tap out the licks and cleanly go back to plucking without skipping a beat.
Anaka were the headliners here. No sooner do they get on stage did Jimmy yell out to the crowd “Brooklyn, New York! What’s our fuckin’ name?!?!” to the roar of the crowd. I was expect a full on moshpit like the one that got me pinned against the bar at Killarney’s, where I first saw Anaka back in 2012. My left quad hurt for two weeks after that night! At the end of this you’ll get a link to a playlist featuring a clip of their set as well as Proxima Control’s and End All’s sets.
The band were firing on all cylinders here. Jimmy looked real hyper up there. I don’t know if I gave him some of my C4 pre-workout and I just don’t remember or he was just amped up but he was wild up there. And the screaming was probably the most intense I’ve ever heard it. It’s not easy to keep up with after sixteen years so he had my respect there. What really caught my eye more than anything was Peter’s guitar. I was standing on his side of the stage and saw he had this gorgeous ESP guitar that resembled a cream Gibson Flying V, similar to Scott Ian’s new Jackson Signature V, but with EMG pickups instead of Duncans.
I had to know what the deal was. So I went up to him and he let me know that he’s officially signed to ESP’s roster and he bought that guitar directly from them. He even let me cop a feel, that neck feels nice. Too bad he’s lefty because I really wanted to try it. He also revealed to me that he’s now also endorsed by KHDK Electronics, you know, the pedal company co-founded/co-owned by Kirk Hammett. He had the Ghoul Screamer on his pedalboard as a booster for his Dual Rectifier. I have to admit, it had to be the thickest Pete’s tone has ever been.
Check out Anaka’s website from their music, facebook and upcoming shows, including North Music Venue in Long Island on July 29th.
So I’ve been pretty busy with recording songs and videos in the last week or so. I’ve really been inspired in the music department, having uploaded two new songs in the last few days. Here’s the one I just uploaded today:
Upon listening to it with the drums I mapped out as well as the distorted bass I put there, I find it to be a cross between early Bathory, speedwise, and a more modern Grindcore song around the breakdown section. I just know my Ibanez Destroyer’s been taking a beating lately with all the things I’m doing. Speaking of guitars I’ll most likely start recording covers sometime next week.
On the powerlifting front I just began the second cycle of my new 5/3/1 conditioning template. Only now I’m training four times a week instead of three since I’m currently off from work for the summer – giving me plenty of time to get out all the extra anger my jackass students gave me this year! I’m serious when I say they need to bring back corporal punishment because today’s kids are way too fucking grown for their own good. Fuck the kids. Anyway, here’s my latest Deadlift video. The whole workout can be found in the description box of the video:
I figured out a great way to use my phone to film myself Deadlift and Overhead Pressing without using anyone’s help. I just need to find a way to do it for Benching and Squatting. Also, I’m not too far away from Diamond Gym in Maplewood, NJ, and I’d like to also make my way over there next week to get a workout in. That place is just so fucking hardcore that I HAVE to go there.
A quick reminder that I’ll be at Anaka’s show at the Black Bear Bar in Brooklyn this Saturday. I’ll be making a video or two, as well as writing about it here so keep your eyes posted. Also, I was approached by Helix Nebula, a band from just outside of Madrid, Spain, about reviewing their new album and I agreed to do it so I should be doing that in the next week as well. Helix Nebula recently played a show with Feel No Pain, another band from Madrid, who’s demo I just reviewed; so I’m assumed that’s how they found me.
I’m now on facebook, so be sure to click here and like the page for more updates.
Anaka live at Black Bear Bar, Brooklyn, NY, July 16th, 2016
On the heels of celebrating more than 15 years together Brooklyn’s own Anaka will be playing Black Bear Bar in Brooklyn this coming Saturday. Also on the bill are Proxima Control, The Last Alliance, and The Crimson Collective. And I’ll be posting a few videos of the show on my YouTube page.
One Foot In The Grave Tour f/ Carcass, Ghoul, Crowbar, and Night Demon live at Gramercy Theater, New York, NY, August 4th, 2016
I’m a little disturbed by the title of this tour just because I’m not really sure if this means Carcass are breaking up again or not. If so, it was awesome of them to release one more album, Surgical Steel, back in 2013. That was probably the album of the year for me. If not then that’s fine too! I just entered Metal Injection’s contest to win free tickets to the Gramercy show, and I’ll find out in two days if I won. I’m afraid I don’t know much about Ghoul or Night Demon…yet, but I’m definitely filming Carcass and Crowbar for sure. Haven’t seen Crowbar since that night last June where I nearly died about three times because that so-called moshpit turned into a barwide fist fight! So it’ll be interesting to see what happens this time, especially since hearing that ex-bassist Todd Strange came back to the band after sixteen years away.
This Is Hardcore Fest Day 2 f/Nails, Iron Reagan and Ringworm live at The Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA, August 5, 2016
Let’s face it, I’m not really a hardcore fan and the only reason I want to go to this is to see the three bands mentioned above. Of course there are a shitload of other bands on the bill but those are three I give a shit about the most. I’ve heard Electric Sleep and they can blow me. The others I haven’t heard. When I imagine how Nails’ set is going to unfold I pretty much see a moshpit so brutal it outdoes the barwide fistfight I went through last June when I saw Crowbar in Brooklyn. They are brutal as fuck, and their disgusting new album is getting a LOT of buzz, more so than even the band itself probably expected.
I’m also looking very much forward to Iron Reagan because their lead singer is Tony from Municipal Waste. Waste actually knew me personally for the better part of a year between 2006 and 2007 but that’s a story for another time. Here’s one of my favorite songs from Iron Reagan!
I last saw Ringworm opening up for Goatwhore in Broooklyn just a week after nearly dying at the Crowbar gig. I actually filmed them twice because when I tried to film them some jackass in the pit threw another guy elbow first right into my ribs. That hurt so bad. After my better second attempt at filming them I was pushed against the wall twice tailbone first. Here’s that second video now!
Operation Domination Tour with Angel Vivaldi and Gus G live at Webster Hall, New York, NY, August 31st, 2016
I was just told about this by my girlfriend a few days ago and it was immediately decided that we are going. The YouTube sensation is obviously showing no signs of slowing down at all and here’s the proof. It’s not everyday an internet darling gets to play with Ozzy’s current guitarist!
This is going to fucking rule!
As I said before I’ll be filming all the shows I go to and you’ll be able to find them on my YouTube page. If you’re reading this and plan on being at any of these shows l free to contact me, maybe we can hang. I’m also on Facebook. Click here to like my page and get quicker notifications on new blog posts.
So, if you know anything at all about old school jazz, big band or Dixieland, you just might be familiar with a song called “Take The A Train”. Here’s the legendary Duke Ellington featuring Beverly in 1943, telling you all about the quickest way to get to Harlem!
Guess what? Fuck Harlem. Fuck Harlem back then and fuck Harlem now, especially now for the gentrification! But more than that, fuck the A train – or as I like to call it – the Asshole train!
So, what makes me call the A train what I call it? I’ll tell ya! So, before I moved to New Jersey at the end of August 2015, I’d take an express bus into Manhattan. From there I’d take either the 4 or 5 express trains to get to my job in the heart of Carribean Brooklyn, Crown Heights. If I remember anything about that ride the clientele totally changed the closer we got to Brooklyn and beyond, since I’d have to get off at Franklin Ave and then transfer to the Shuttle from there to get to my job. Crowding wasn’t that big of a deal; of course, it’d get a bit more packed as I’d head back toward Manhattan to go home on the bus. Needless to say I didn’t really feel like I was on my way home until I was on that bus.
After I moved to Jersey everything obviously changed and I needed to find a new route. Oh, I did all right. The train needed? That much sung about and once glorified A train. When I began using my new route to get to work I left so early that the train seemed to arrive exactly when I got to the platform. Convenient, right? Well, things do change.
I started leaving for work a little latter because I was struggling to get up in the morning and suddenly the train was becoming more and more unreliable for time. And every time I do catch it, it is ALWAYS jam packed with people literally FORCING THEMSELVES ON TO THE TRAIN regardless of how full it is. There have been times were I’d straight up wait for another train or take the C train because these people are some dumb motherfuckers!
Ever since taking this train I’ve come across some of THE dumbest, rudest motherfuckers I’ve ever seen on ANY train. I’ve been on the underground septa trains in Philly and even those people didn’t crush each other to get on the train! Oh, and did I mention that some of these people are so fucking rude?
Just yesterday, I was on my way to Port Authority on the train. Someone comes on the train at 34th St, a stop away from mine. I was playing Angry Birds Pop on my phone, a tad bent over as most of us tend to be when this ghetto looking loser had the balls to tell me:
“Yo, lean back, you’re in my way!”
“I don’t know who you think you’re talking to like that but say ‘excuse me’ and just maybe I’ll do it!”
“Alright, excuse me”
“Good! And look at that – here’s my stop. Have a good day!”
What the fuck does this asshole think I am, a fucking Fat Joe song?? And just today, like most days when I’m headed home, no matter how many times the conductor tried to close the doors at certain stops, more and more people were seriously forcing themselves into the train, making it extremely difficult for ANYONE to get out. Very safe, right? It was about a few months into my time on the A that I knew what I was really on: The Asshole train.
See, I’m sure things were very different in 1939, the year that fucking song was written, but times change of course and sadly it did so for the worse. Forget the fact that I already hate New York City as a whole and most of the jerkoffs that live in it in general, but the fucking trains are the absolute worst – especially the Asshole Train. What I’m very much looking forward to in a just a matter of weeks is two months away from feeling like a can of sardines, away from junkies, that one jackass kid that always wants to sell candy so he can buy more candy and do something positive – “anybody wanna BUY!” – the stragglers that seemingly wait until the last minute to get on the train as the doors are closing, making anyone feel trapped. That day isn’t coming soon enough. For the rest of you? All aboard the Asshole Train and remember: “Stand clear of the closing doors, please!” But I already know you motherfuckers won’t. Suck it.
I first read up on Shadows Fall in a brief one page Guitar World article in 2000, discussing the release of their newest album, Of One Blood, which featured the debut of vocalist Brian Fair. I’m pretty sure I still have that magazine in my attic somewhere in a big ass bin of old GW back issues….along with a shit load of Muscle And Fitness mags that I stole from my ex-job…several times. Those security guards were and probably STILL are dumb as SHIT. All these years later I can’t remember why it didn’t get my attention much in a time when Pantera was just a month away from releasing Reinventing The Steel, and shit rap-metal and pussy pop punk was king; but it was most likely because I read that they mixed thrash and death metal with rhythm guitar Matt Bachand’s love of new-age music. At that time I most likely too young or ignorant to understand the idea or even give it a listen to see how the band melded such styles together.
That changed two and a half years later, by which point I was a few weeks into my college career. They once again were featured in Guitar World, this time discussing their newest album, The Art Of Balance. This time around, the article focused on the fact that lead guitar Jon Donais actually shreds his ass off on the record. Both he and Matt discuss their love of all kinds of metal, as well as the fact that at that point in time the ONLY other guitarists known for TRULY shredding it up were Dimebag Darrell and Zakk Wylde. True story. So I was interested. Then, I started seeing ads for the album in magazines featuring quotes from these rave…and I mean RAVE…reviews, calling Shadows Fall “The Next Metallica”, on the heels of the fact that this CD was supposed to have such a purist, old school thrash feel. Ok…I was sold. So I went to Sam Goody, maybe around Christmas time, bought the CD, and my ass was instantly KICKED so hard. The riffage was very thrash. Jason Bittner’s drums were so precise and so freaking fast on his debut recording with the band, Brian Fair really did sound like Ride The Lightning – era James Hetfield. Then, there was those guitar solos. Jon Donais is an AMAZING lead guitar player. There are guys who shred to blow their load by showing off their knowledge of every scale known to man and there are guys like Jon who shred with aggression, technique…and feel. GASP!!! Not too long after this I finally heard Of One Blood and realized what I was missing out on because that record is even MORE brutal than The Art Of Balance!
Sometime in the summer of 2003 I was in a Hot Topic – the second to last time I ever went into one – and I found myself talking to the guy behind the counter, whose name I no longer remember. The discussion turned to musical styles. Around this time, the nu-metal/rap metal train was close to FINALLY crashing, but so-called hardcore with breakdowns that the kiddies would breakdance too was starting to become the new trend. This guy played in a band called Resin and they liked to do those breakdowns. Too bad. But he told me that his band would be opening for Chimaira and Shadows Fall within a month and he had to sell tickets (gee, I wonder where I heard that shit before) and of course I told him I’d go. They were practically THE only modern metal band I was giving the time of day.
So a month later my mom insisted on driving me to L’Amour on 63rd St, most likely because she was a sissy who couldn’t bare the thought of my taking car service there even though I had done it just three months earlier, when I was last there to see Superjoint Ritual. No sooner did I close the door to her car did I hear a voice yell out to me “Hey! I hear you don’t like beatdowns??”. I turned around there was all of Resin. In the middle was their gruff looking singer, who yelled out to me. To the left was the guy from Hot Topic…who clearly had a great memory! So we spoke for a few minutes and they gave me my ticket.
Going into the show, which was an Ozzfest ’03 off-date, the bill was once again HEAVILY booked by the idiot guineas that ran the place. I think the first band I remember seeing was this band of kids who did a cover of Sepultura’s “Roots Bloody Roots” that was played waaaaaayyy too fast. Even when I was that age I never understood why younger bands just need to speed up even those songs that need to be played a little slower. Is it nervousness? Is it lack of understanding of dynamics? The original tempo for the song was just right because it allowed Igor to put the right kind of groove in there and, more importantly, it allowed the heavy ass riffs to breathe. Most times, fast never equates to heavy. Heavy is not about tempo, or even volume for that matter. It’s about attitude. If you’re a young musician and you’re reading this, don’t ever forget this. Dynamics, more important than ANYTHING else in terms of songwriting.
While seeing this one band one the main stage, whose guitarist was clearly trying so hard to be Dimebag Darrell, I recognized Jon Donais standing literally feet away from me. I went over to him to discuss the band on stage because the guitar player was in fact really good and he put on the biggest smile and even gave me his full attention. That solidified to me once for all the humility of the underground guys. They were playing their first huge festival tour as The Art Of Balance was selling 100,000 copies, the first album in Century Media Record’s history to do so and they were still down to earth guys. I went up to Brian Fair after seeing Jon and he too was a cool guy. I saw a few more local bands including Full Blown Chaos yet again (and they sounded like shit yet again!) and Chimaira came out. Long story short: they sucked.
Shadows Fall went on around 10pm and, long story short: they blew Chimaira out of the fucking water within the first minute of being up there. Although that part wasn’t hard. They were so good, playing songs from the two most recent CDs.
The Idiot Box
A Fire In Babylon
Stepping Outside The Circle
Thoughts Without Words
Of One Blood
Destroyer Of Senses
The show was fucking incredible…and I totally forgive Brian Fair for wearing a Clash t-shirt that night! At some point in the middle of the set, he asked us if we BOUGHT the new album and I’m pretty sure most of the crowd responded pretty positively…by which I mean horns in the air and loud chanting. You could tell it meant a lot; let’s face it, bands in his position NEVER sell 100,000 copies of a record or even make that in combined album sales. And that was a minor miracle compared to the success the band would see a year later! What I did NOT know about that night was that it would be my last time going to the original L’Amour for anything. They’d close down just over five months later in early February 2004.
Here’ a brief video of me squatting 235lbs for 6 reps without a belt last Thursday night.
I managed to pull this off without a belt and it was surprisingly easy. Starting this week I began final preparations for my first meet happening on May 21st in Newark, NJ. As of this past Sunday I’m focusing only on the big three lifts and light cardio, making my training sessions considerably shorter.
Been a little bit since I last wrote in here. Haven’t had the chance due to the grind of my shit job and training for my upcoming powerlifting meet for Revolution Powerlifting Syndicate on Saturday, May 21st. I began preparing for the meet yesterday morning. For this training I completely got rid of shoulder day, focusing just on the big three moves with a bit of assistance work and some conditioning. When I get to the point that I have three weeks left I’m removing the assistance work completely to focus JUST on the big moves…maybe some conditioning. I even started ordering some equipment including Rehband Knee Sleeves, which were delivered today, liquid chalk, which I should be getting tomorrow as well as a black singlet, which I’m supposed to be getting in a few weeks. So far the knee sleeves fit perfectly and feel very comfortable.
Yesterday’s Deadlift workout:
125lbs – 1 x 5
155lbs – 1 x 5
185lbs – 1 x 5
215lbs – 1 x 5
245lbs – 1 x 5
275lbs – 1 x 5
50lbs – 1 x 10
75lbs 1 x 10
100lbs – 1 x 10
This was all followed by ten minutes on a stationary bike which saw my heart rate go up to 170. The average HR for this time was 143.
I’d like to thank Nails and their 2010 album Unsilent Death for totally filling me with the rage needed to hit the gym yesterday. Ever heard Nails before? Holy shit they are fucking BRUTAL!
So I saw this the other day while looking at upcoming shows since the weather’s getting better and because the school year’s almost over, enabling me to go to lots of shows. I had to laugh! Speed Metal Dating? The description should read: “Come to Saint Vitus to find that special someone with so many daddy issues that you’ll never hate yourself again!” Tell me I’m wrong!
It’s been a few weeks since this show happened but I took awhile to finally do this blog partially because of time constraints, partially because of the fact that a lot of things happened at this show, partially because I was sure some drunk piece of shit blatantly sabotaged one of my video of the Black Breath set but as I now know she failed. But I’ll get to her. I’m doing this post a little differently than my other posts because there was a lot to cover so I’m going to recap this as quick as I can and then list the bands and I’ll add their pictures and videos that way.
So I arrived at the bar a good half an hour before the show was supposed to start and within maybe ten minutes of my being there I recognized the woman I was standing next to during the Crowbar show just a week earlier. She had checked on me after the psycho fanboy kicked me in the back of the head and she now revealed to me that her legs at that moment we were talking were still bruised all over from that night. We both spoke for a bit about the crowd as a whole that night, how brutal that show in general was because that pit wasn’t really a mosh pit – it was one big fucking fight! See the video on my post about that night see what I’m talking about!
The first band of the night was a band called Theories, who are out promoting their latest album, Regressions. I recorded the first few songs of their set which I will post. They weren’t bad. I don’t know that I’d buy their stuff but but I’d definitely see them again. I’d say that their singer should definitely work a little more on coming out of his shell with his stage presence. I imagine it will happen over time.
Ringworm were next and all I can say is…OW!! There’s a reason James Bulloch is the “Human Furnace”. Damn. The band as a whole were absolutely brutal…so much so that that this where the circle pits and even some idiotic dancing began! I stood to the side of the room while filming to avoid getting hit but some retard who was dancing around like a spaz threw himself in to the guy next to me, who obviously bumped in me, hitting me right in the ribs and forcing my thumb to turn the camera off. Within a minute or two of starting over I knocked into again twice, tailbone first in to the wall both times so this time I just got out until the band finished. Again…OW!!! By the way as of this writing my tailbone STILL hurts.
Black Breath…where shit went down. What’s in a name? That’s what I need to remember when it comes to Metal bands because these guys shattered all my expectations and fucking killed it! I couldn’t even use the word brutal to describe their intensity on stage. They were PERFECT!! So what was the problem? I had gotten a brand new Droid Maxx just a few days earlier so I was unaware when filming that there was an automatic light that I had to remove. So while I was filming there was a light on the whole time so I was a little confused when the woman in front of me began giving my phone the finger and then gave me the finger. Of course I gave her the finger back. She then turned to me and told me that the light on my phone was really bothering her and I was “making everything suck”. I understood and kindly asked her to give me a minute so I could find a place to move and I guess that wasn’t good enough for her so she pushed me.
I didn’t do anything only because I assumed she was a bit drunk but the fucking bitch did it again! When I was done filming she and her much calmer boyfriend thanked me. I politely approached her and told her that there was no reason to push me. “Well I tried to reason with you and you wouldn’t listen so I’ll push you all I want!” was her immature reply. I called her out on it and she declared “I’m not afraid of you!”. I never threatened her. She then tried to insult me again and gave up. It’s incredible, how tough women act when their boyfriends/husbands are around, although part of me thinks that this drunk bitch wears the pants in the couple. And by the way you dumb twat, if you’re reading this I hope you get shot repeatedly in your fuckin’ head! I do have to acknowledge the guy behind me, who saw everything and offered to lend me his spot so I could continue filming, but I was already finished at that point. If you happen to be reading this, thank you bro, it obviously wasn’t forgotten.
After I took a few deep breaths in amazement that I didn’t punch the drunk bitch in her throat I got ready for Goatwhore. I slowly got more in the mood the longer I heard Venom’s song “In League With Satan” blasting through the speakers…so bad but so good! I was getting ready to film again and when I saw the guy in front of me looking up at my phone I decided to stop and look at the problem. That’s when I discovered the light and turned it off – it still doesn’t justify some dumb bitch pushing me.
Goatwhore got on and they fucking tore it up! I personally feel that leaving Crowbar was the smartest move Sammy Duet ever made; he’s a totally brutal, loud, heavy guitarist. Let’s face it – he never would’ve been able to truly express himself had he stayed. That’s no disrespect to Kirk Windstein, but when the band you’re in is the product of one guy’s sole vision you’re not going to have an easy time getting your ideas out there. The good news here was I was in a spot were I was able to avoid injuries this time and STILL see the band!
This is actually the third time I’ve seen them in the last eight years and the second time I saw them while on tour for their latest album, Constricting Rage of The Merciless, an album I recommend HIGHLY. Someone once said that Goatwhore is exactly what Venom would have sounded like if they weren’t such a joke and I couldn’t agree more. The place really came apart near the end when the began their song “FBS” (right….I don’t know why they didn’t just label it what it is.), of the new CD. At the end of the night everyone knew what is was to get Fucked By Satan…and they loved it.