The End Of Days Is Near…RIP Slayer

I’ve been wondering for almost five years if they’d ever get a fucking clue and just call it a day.  Then, this past Monday, Slayer made this bombshell  announcement amid rumors of a huge summer tour lineup including Testament, Behemoth, Lamb Of God and fellow Big Four band Anthrax:

Well damn.  There was just one thing for me to say….it’s about fucking time!  In my opinion this should’ve been done nearly five years ago, as I said above.  Why?  Nothing against Paul Bostaph who’s currently in his second run with the band, but the band’s treatment and dismissal of Dave Lombardo – especially by Kerry King – was just fucking disgrace by all accounts.  A few months later, guitarist Jeff Hanneman died of alcohol related cirrhosis of the liver.  While they had already been touring with Exodus guitarist Gary Holt for a few years while Jeff was recovering from a near fatal spider bite, they should’ve stopped everything right there.

I’ve spoken about this in an article ripping Kerry for calling Jeff “worm food” back in 2015.  Yeah, Kerry is a great rhythm player, he’s a really good guitarist, probably more technically sound than Jeff.  But Jeff was the better songwriter, having written “Angel Of Death”, “Necrophiliac”. “Spill The Blood”, “Postmortem” and the perennial set closer, “Raining Blood”.  Being that he was the one guy in the band that was more influenced by Punk than the others, his songwriting and playing style were far more reckless and chaotic than anything Kerry wrote.  Same goes for his lead style, just pure balls to the wall ripping.  It was never pretty and that’s why it was amazing.  Here’s an example, go to the 1:42 mark for Jeff’s solo.  By the way the music here is all his too.

I can spend this entire article kissing Jeff’s ass but here’s my point: like it or not Jeff was a KEY member of the band.  With him gone, Slayer was officially nothing more than a tribute band.  You know, that band that just goes out there for the money and play those signature songs they didn’t even write.  Because every time they play “Angel Of Death”, their SIGNATURE song, it just does not look right seeing Gary on the left side of the stage – and by the way this is not to disrespect Gary.

But it’s like David Vincent and Tim Yeung going out on tour as I Am Morbid (I seriously cannot stop laughing at that name!).  Yeah, David wrote almost all the lyrics to those classic Morbid Angel songs; but without Trey killing it on guitar it just sounds like a money grab before the tour even starts.  From a non metal perspective it’s the equivalent of Aerosmith touring and recording without Joe Perry or Brad Whitford – BOTH of the band’s guitarists! – for five years.  Who really gives a shit about Rock And A Hard Place?  Certainly not I!

While it’s clear to me that both Kerry and Tom Araya are the two business partners of the band, Kerry most likely is the one that pushed and pushed to keep going.  He’s much more shrewd of a business man.  But there’s one problem.  His songwriting style has changing DRASTICALLY since the earlier days, as he’s almost embraced shitty trends such as Nu Metal and it showed a little too much on 2001’s God Hates Us All.  Wanna know why I’ll never give Repentless, a complete listen through?  Because who in their RIGHT MIND wants to hear an entire Slayer record written by him?  And if you say you do you’re just a fan boy and should go die – fucking slowly.

Tom, on the other hand, made it clear several times over the years that at his age he’s become homesick.  He’s tired, and I think he’s kind of lonely without Jeff.  Starting in the late eighties/early nineties, Tom and Jeff began a songwriting partnership that produced some of Slayer’s best tracks, including “War Ensemble”, “Season In The Abyss” and my favorite latter era track, “Eyes Of The Insane”.  Jeff wrote the music but Tom wrote the lyrics.  Here’s a statement Tom made to Loudwire in 2016:

“At 35 years, it’s time to collect my pension. [Laughs] This is a career move.  I’m grateful that we’ve been around for 35 years; that’s a really long time. So, yeah, to me, it is. Because when we started off, everything was great, because you’re young and invincible. And then there came a time where I became a family man, and I had a tough time flying back and forth. And now, at this stage, at the level we’re at now, I can do that; I can fly home when I want to, on days off, and spend some time with my family, which is something I wasn’t able to do when [my kids] were growing up. Now they’re both older and mature. So now I take advantage of that.” Araya added: “Yeah, it just gets harder and harder to come back out on the road. 35 years is a long time.”

So I’m wondering if either certain business/contractual matters were finally resolved or Tom finally let Kerry know that he had enough.  I personally think that at 56 years old he’s burnt out.  It probably take it’s physical toll to scream like that every night at his age.  Or just maybe he has enough common sense to understand that things can NEVER be the same with Jeff gone.  Either way, the band has finally made the right call because at this point they’re more than beating a dead horse.  I almost want to see this farewell tour.  The lineup is fucking sick, and I can almost guarantee Anthrax is on there because they’ll probably have both bands on stage together at the end of every show to play a few songs together and it’ll be one big party as 2/4 of the Big Four.  Hell, even Dave Mustaine said he’d like to put together one last Big Four show as his way of sending them off.  Sounds actually really cool, considering the interband relationship between his own band and Kerry (Kerry was in Megadeth for five seconds before he got sick of Dave’s dictator-like approach).  But will they agree to it?  However, as I’ve hashtagged on Instagram posts for a while now, #nojeffnoslayer.

No Jeff, no Slayer.  He’s not there and I’m not interested.  Kerry and Tom, congratulations.  You’ve had an amazing career, creating a legacy that’s UNDENIABLE.  But please, after this is all over, make sure it stays that way.  Don’t be like that pro wrestler that retires then almost as quickly comes back because they can’t stand to be away – or need the money.  Here’s one of THE most fucked up songs the band ever released, written by Jeff:

 

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Album Of The Year 2017

There were lot of brutal albums that came out this year, from just about all forms of Extreme Metal.  I knew by June that it’d be difficult to chose just one.  It was so bad that I even put out an Instagram poll – in which just one person voted…which is why this year’s Album Of The Year…is actually a tie.  One of these two is a record I had already reviewed over the summer, and the other one is a record that took me by surprise, not because I didn’t expect this one in particular to be any good – oh I did! – but the increase in songwriting quality and atmosphere absolutely blew me the fuck away.  So let’s get started:

Municipal Waste – Slime And Punishment

I reviewed this record back in August, by which point it had been out for a few months.  Here’s the link:

https://metalheadconfessions.com/2017/08/03/municipal-waste-slime-and-punishment/

But in short, Municipal Waste are BACK.  Five years away plus the addition of additional guitarist Nick Poulos to beef up their sound, did the band way more good that I ever expected.  The album sounds fresh compared their previous albums, 2009’s Massive Aggressive and especially 2012’s The Fatal Feast, a seeming desperate attempt by the band to be more of a Crossover act.

The songs are all perfectly quick and to the point, with the longest one clocking in at just over three minutes.  The guitars are way beefier, and singer Tony Foresta found the perfect vocal approach, using the same high pitched scream he’s used for the last few Iron Reagan albums.  Bottom like:  With Slime And Punishment, Municipal Waste found a formula that absolutely works for them, one that’s focused yet reckless at the same time.  Let’s just hope they keep this for a bit, eh?

Key Tracks: Breathe Grease, Enjoy The Night, Shrednecks, Parole Violators, Poison The Preacher, Under The Waste Command, Think Fast

The Black Dahlia Murder – Nightbringers

See the source image

The other album that blew me away.  I was dead set on making the Municipal Waste record my album of the year until this past October.  The Black Dahlia Murder went through a possibly band shattering change two years ago when lead guitar Ryan Knight left the band just a month after the release of Abysmal and after four albums with the band.  As far as I’m concerned, Ryan’s playing is what turned The Black Dahlia Murder into a full fledged Death Metal band.  In his place they hired Brandon Ellis of Arsis, marking the second time the band has poached anyone from Arsis – which is fine because Arsis are absolutely fucking BORING.  I never thought technical guitars with a black metal vocal could get so stale so fucking fast!

When I heard the band were releasing a new album I expected it to be good, until I heard this:

Oh fuck!  I knew the band were Carcass disciples but I’ve never heard Trevor Strnad sound so much like Jeff Walker until this moment.  Same with the music, it honestly sounds like the band’s best interpretation of Carcass during their early 90’s peak.  A lot of the credit here goes to guitarist Brian Esbach, the only other remaining original member of the band, for seemingly NEVER forgetting where he came from and NEVER straying away from what has essentially become his signature songwriting style.  You can hear any song from the band and know instantly who you’re listening too.

As mentioned earlier, BDM are essentially disciples of the old school and Nightbringers, at times, is without question equal parts Carcass and even Domination-era Morbid Angel – and if you’ve read this blog in the past you know I love that album!  Tracks such as “Matriarch”, “Widowmaker”, “Of God And Serpent, Of Spectre And Snake”, “Catacomb Hecatomb”, “As Good As Dead”, are absolute balls to the wall musical masterpieces that, while calling on the band’s obvious musical influences, enhance the band’s own signature style, one that seems to easily convey every single negative emotion I could think of.  I own every single BDM album going back to Unhallowed and that album was THE last time the band made me feel every negative emotion I knew of.  That was fourteen years ago, by the way.

I love reading the lyrics sheets to these albums.  Trevor Strnad’s lyrics at times are either straight out sadistic and very Poe-ish.  Take for example these lines from “Kings Of The Nightworld”: Enshrouded in ebony mystery/Blacker than the darkest pitch/A bond of blood to death an drek/Seeking to defile everything which bears his name we will/Destroy you all the same sucking each vein we shall corrupt and dismantle/waging a war without end until/The head of the one fettered Christ doth sate/Our lust for revenge…”.  Trevor never seems to run out of inspiration from the dark side.

So why was this a tie along with ‘Waste for Album Of The Year?  Consistency.  They never strayed to far from what works; they also have a unique signature sound that can reach out to more people than most modern Death Metal bands today.  It’s the reason why Nightbringers was the biggest pre-ordered album in the history of Metal Blade Records.  It’s the reason it’s a tie for my Album Of The Year.

Key Tracks: Of God And Serpant, Of Spectre And Snake; Matriarch; Jars; Kings Of The Nightworld; As Good As Dead; The Lonely Deceased

Honorable Mention

Morbid Angel – Kingdoms Disdained

See the source image

Speaking of Morbid Angel!  I want to make it clear right now – if this came out earlier than it did it would’ve easily knocked off both ‘Waste and Black Dahlia for Album Of The Year without me hesitating.  But I couldn’t write this post without mentioning Kingdoms Disdained.  This is literally THE record no one saw coming regardless of how excited people were to hear Steve Tucker rejoined the band nearly three years ago.

I actually wrote an article on the situation at the time, debating whether David Vincent or Trey Azagthoth himself were to blame for that last pile of shit Morbid Angel released an it could’ve gone either way.  Yeah, David is now a completely different person, but apparently Try is actually into techno.  But with David’s departure, as well as the release of this track, it’s easy to see who wasn’t to blame after all:

Oh yeah.  This right out the gate reminded me of something off Covenant…but with Steve on vocals instead of David.  It’s absolutely brutal from beginning to end, chock full of polyrhythms, time signature changes, and the single most angry performance I’ve ever heard from Steve Tucker as a vocalist.  Sounds to me like he felt the need to make a statement after being gone for twelve years!

Another great addition to the band is new drummer Scott Fuller.  On tracks such as “For No Master”, “Paradigms Warped”, and “Architect And Iconoclast”, Scott shows that not only can he channel the legendary Pete Sandoval’s double bass expertise, but he also has his own feel and style.  That’s important because…there’s only ONE Pete Sandoval.  Back behind the controls for this one as former Morbid Angel and current Hate Eternal guitarist Erik Rutan.  I wonder if he was intentionally trying to give Morbid as much of a bare bones sound as possible because this doesn’t sound like any of the other bands he’s produced over the years.

What I’m thrilled about most, as I’m sure most fans are, is hearing Trey rip it up in a way we haven’t heard in a long ass time.  His solos remind me of the late Jeff Hanneman’s at times, always have.  Oh yeah, there’s structure.  But in that structure is so much dissonance and chaos, yet it all fits perfectly every single time.  Not many guitarists can pull that one off.  As one of my Instagram followers put it recently “thank fuck they are back!”.  And more so than even ‘Waste, lets hope they keep this up!

Key tracks: Piles Of Little Arms, For No Master, Architect And Iconoclast, From The Hand Of Kings

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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)

New Music Uploaded!/Powerlifting Progress

New Music Upload!

A few posts ago I mentioned that I wanted to try and record a few songs I wrote a long time ago, using the Audacity program on my laptop.  I finally did this past week, making my first very dirty sounding recording this past Thursday, and something much cleaner just yesterday…although the guitar solo for it’s a tad sloppy.  But of course you can be the judge:

 

 

Since I just recently downloaded Microsoft Movie Maker I decided to upload two of my favorite CD’s, Mercyful Fate’s Don’t Break The Oath, and Morbid Angel’s Covenant, on to my page.  I tried to upload “Miracle Man” by Ozzy as a test and that shit was immediately blocked worldwide.  Lame.

You can check them out here:

 

 

Powerlifting Progress!

Today starts Week 2 of my final meet prep training for my Powerlfiting debut on May 21st.  Here’s my workout for today:

Deadlift:

125lbs – 1 x 5

155lbs – 1 x 5

185lbs – 1 x 5

240lbs – 1 x 3

270lbs – 1 x 3

305lbs – 1 x 3

I spent 15 minutes on a stationary bike after I was done.  I’d like to think that my going back to taking pre workout is a good chunk of the reason why I was able to pull 305 with NO BELT.  C4: The official Cocaine of Pre Workouts.   I also like to think THIS totally helped:

So Yeah I know I posted this a blog or two ago but this shit is fucking intense that it was in my head the entire time I was deadlifting.  This shit rules.  If you go on the actual YouTube page you’ll see a commenter predict that guitarist/vocalist Todd Jones is slowly becoming the next Phil Anselmo.  I think he might be right!

 

Powerlifting Meet Progression and Musical Inspiration/The IPF Guys Need A Life

Had a damn good leg day this past Thursday.  It was very energetic, I feel myself getting stronger all the time.  5/3/1 is the shit!

2/11/16 Training Log:

Squat

95lbs – 1 x 5

115lbs – 1 x 5

140lbs – 1 x 5

180lbs – 1 x 3

205lbs – 1 x 3

225lbs – 1 x 6

Leg Press

190lbs – 3 x 10, 10, 10

Dumbbell Side Bends

8lbs – 3 x 10, 10, 10

This was all followed by six Prowler Sprints using 90lbs.  I’m looking to slowly increase up to fifteen sprints on Squat and Deadlift days.

I owe part of my energy  to this!

I’d also like to thank the site of the red headed FAGGOT piece of shit that trains at my gym for getting on my nerves just by being there.  Long story short, this asshole decided to be rude with me all because I didn’t realize last week that the dumbbell section was no longer crowded and I could move my duffel bag.  “It’s just…common knowledge”, he blurted out like a jerkoff.  If you’ve got nothing nice to say to a guy you don’t know from a hole in the wall then don’t say shit because that guy might just kick your ass.  I decided to be the better man because I wanted to get my work in but the next time he opens his dumb fucking mouth I might just fuck him up or at least give him a nice warning.  Although I’d love to see someone just shoot him is his face repeatedly – now THAT would be awesome!

ipf-logo

The International Powerlifting Federation…you guys seriously need to get over yourselves, leave your office and go get some air, go meet a girl, buy a plastic doll that you all can share, something.  Is attending the seminar of a guy who’s banned from the IPF for life really considered a form of association with the guy?

Quick back story: Ed Coan, considered the greatest powerlifter of all time, failed three drug tests with the IPF, the most prestigious powerlifting federation in the world, between 1985 and 1996 before finally being banned for life from the fed.  So when Ed was getting ready to host a series of seminars in Sweden the IPF issued a really pathetic statement reminding both IPF lifters as well as their own staff members that they were not to attend Ed’s seminar or they would be banned for life/fired.

I don’t care what anyone says – that’s the dumbest fucking statement the IPF could give.  So, as someone on YouTube said, should Silent Mike from Super Training Gym be banned from USAPL, which is affiliated with the IPF, because he and Mark Bell interviewed Ed for Power Magazine?  Hey how about Stronglifts creator Mehdi Hadim?  There’s a video of him training squats with Ed – should he not be allowed to lift in the IPF should he ever choose to compete?  He’s banned because he fucked up – he wasn’t some junkie pro wrestler who killed his wife and kid, and then hung himself on his lat pulldown machine in his basement.  Oops.

 

Morbid Angel: A Death Metal Soap Opera

What a week it’s been for Morbid Angel, because in a matter of just a few days, the band lost…everyone.  It all started when founding guitarist Trey Azagtoth announced that bassist/vocalist David Vincent was out of the band and back in the band has non other than Steve Tucker – the very guy who replaced David when he first quit the band back in 1996.  Trey even said they were working on new music together.  Then came the drama; a few hours later David responded saying his basically had no idea what anyone was talking about and that he never the band or was asked to leave.

But wait, this gets better!  With the next two to three days drummer Tim Yeung quit the band, saying he left over financial reasons, which is not too much of a surprise, and then co-guitarist Destructhor (his real name is actually Thor.  That is fucking awesome!) announced that he was out because he wanted to go back home to Norway to focus on his other band Myrkskog.  What I find funny about this already is that both Tim and Destruthor decided to leave Morbid Angel after their most recent European Tour ended in December 2014.  I imagine that they both left because of money and their both too professional to say anything, although according to Destructhor the band wanted to work with someone “more local”.  Already sounds a bit fishy.

Then, just two days ago, David reversed his initial statement and announced that he too was in fact out of Morbid Angel.  He said that he Trey had a long conversation and they both agreed that they had some “incompatibilities” in regard to them working together any longer.  Of all the band departures this is the one that was the lightning rod.  David Vincent is the vocalist you hear on those first four classic albums.  He left the band in 1996 to join his wife’s bondage themed rock band The Genitorturers.  There was some dispute over the creative direction of his last album with them, Domination.  David thought at the time that it was sonically their best album to date due to their upgraded production values and the fact that they tried a few new things.  Trey, on the other hand, said a few years later that he found the sound on Domination to be so sterile that it pissed him off.  He also didn’t like that David wrote all the lyrics this time around and that they strayed very far away from the themes of the previous three albums.

Steve Tucker came in and did three albums with the band and then something happened in 2004.  Trey and David started talking again, which led to him doing a few surprise gigs with the band…which led to him rejoining the band altogether due to the positive reaction from the fans.  There’s been a bit of controversy ever since the band released their 2011 album, Illud Divinum Insanus, an album so techno sounding that David was given the blame for the musical direction.  Hell, look at the guy.  Really – look at him, even in the picture on this post!  God damn if he doesn’t look like something out of a sex shop or Hot Topic before they were bought by the Gap!  Some of you call him David Sixx, which I think is hysterical.  Given that along with his Genitorturers past and his big influence on Domination twenty years ago it’s easy to make a martyr out of David.

So I wonder like everybody else what happened because Trey obviously isn’t ready to talk yet.  He might never be because he doesn’t like to talk…which is probably why he kept David around – he’s very social, I met him so I know as does anyone else who met the guy.  Some people are saying that this is Trey cleaning house and regaining control of his band because David was once again too strong when fighting for creative control.  Some are a little bummed that he’s gone again and some are REALLY happy that he’s gone and Steve’s back in.  And remember I mentioned David not knowing he was gone?  Sounds like Trey didn’t really have the balls to tell him he was gone, kind of like when Warrell Dane of Nevermore discovered through Blabbermouth.net that Jeff Loomis had quit the band.  Pretty scummy if you ask me.

So where does Trey Azagtoth go from here?  Does he hire all naive rookies in order to pay them less than guys like Destructhor and Tim were already getting?  Is Trey ever going to discuss what happened?  Is this new album he’s doing with Steve Tucker going to blow Illud Divinum Insanus out of the water?  Only time will tell but if Trey ever talks he has a lot of explaining to do because a whole band leaving in or announcing their gone in just a matter of days raises a few red flags.  I’ll always be grateful that I got to see Morbid Angel with David Vincent during last year’s Summer Slaughter Tour at Irving Plaza in Manhattan.  Great show and no songs from Illud!  Here’s a short video I made of the band playing “Fall From Grace” off their second album, Blessed Are The Sick.  It’s not even two minutes long though because my phone was dying after a long day out.

…if I owned my own gym…

I’ve have thoughts about trying to open my own gym for the past four years now.  Not only would I be my own boss but I could do what I want with it, which obviously includes dictating the entire vibe of the place.  Who would my gym cater to?  How would I design it?  What equipment would I bring in?  And of course there’s also the music. I love hardcore gyms like the ones I’ve seen in articles and on youtube.  They cater to serious trainers, bodybuilders, powerlifters, you name it they are serious trainers.  I’d love to go to a place like Metroflex in Arlington, TX, with those SICK designs all over the walls, music blasting through the speakers and dudes likes Branch Warren training their asses off; a place like Pumping Iron not too far from me.  THAT place is Grunt City!  The first time I walked in there they grunted and screamed so loud they were cutting through the music!  These people were cutting through two big, 80’s era life size speakers! I train at a newly christened Powerhouse Gym.  The owner bought Atlas Gym from the original owner and is looking to renovate the entire building.  Thankfully, Mike, the new owner likes to play lots of rock music and some metal.  But of course he’s not going to play the good shit all the time.  I’ve already heard shit bands like Shinedown, Trapt, Limp Bizkit, Guns N Roses.  Yeah I included Guns on that list – overrated and pretentious as fuck if you ask me! But Mike does let us put our phones/mp3 players into the stereo system – just ask the guy who’s always playing his Eminem mix every Thursday night!  So one day I asked him if I could plug in my Spotify gym mix and he let me.  I need the heaviest music I can think of to amp me up, especially when I’m squatting and deadlifting on the same day.  This is my initial gym playlist called simply Gym Music:

  • Nevermore -Born
  • Meshuggah – Combustion
  • Crowbar – The Lasting Dose
  • Pantera – The Great Southern Trendkill
  • Morbid Angel – God of Emptiness
  • Black Label Society – Black Sunday
  • Strapping Young Lad – Shitstorm
  • Crowbar – All I Had (I Gave)
  • Pantera – Use My Third Arm
  • Slayer – War Ensemble
  • Meshuggah – Future Breed Machine
  • Nevermore – My Acid Words
  • Strapping Young Lad – Oh My Fucking God
  • Meshuggah – New Millenium Cyanide Christ

Pretty heavy, right?  And I know a few guys in the gym that are metalheads but man, not even THEY could handle my shit.  Within a few songs dudes were bitching to me that what they were hearing is “garbage”, “dude you have any Metallica?”, “Why don’t you make a playlist where you mix it up so everyone could enjoy it?”.  Are you people fuckin’ pussies??  This is lifting music!  It’s not supposed to be Master of Puppets; hell, everything on this list fuckin’ buries ‘Puppets six feet under in terms of intensity! The best was when the music ended Eric, one of those metalheads, quietly said “Thank god it’s over!”.  Eric…I heard you buddy.  But that’s not even my problem.  Whenever I go to the gym a lot of what I hear is SHIT in plain English, but I don’t say a word because what right do I have?  Therefore, what right do they have to bitch about my music?  If you don’t like what you hear there’s a thing called HEADPHONES you pussies.  Man, if I had my own gym the music would be loud and heavy as fuck all the time.  And yeah, I’d probably scare a lot of people away…an exercise in weeding out the weak. Also… RIP AJ Pero 1958 – 2015