Album Of The Year

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!

Yeah, exactly.

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.

nailsterrorizer

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

https://www.facebook.com/Confessions-Of-An-Angry-Metalhead-1237695776242081/

My Pilgrimage To Diamond Gym, July 29th, 2016

Yeah…I wrote Pilgrimage.  Why?  Because if you are a serious lifter of any kind, powerlifter, bodybuilder, whatever, and you happen to be anywhere in New Jersey, then it is your duty as the serious lifter you claim to be to go to Diamond Gym at least once.  For forty years now Diamond Gym has been one of THE most badass, hardcore gyms in the entire east coast.  When ex-bodybuilder John Kemper opened up the place it became the original “East Coast Mecca” long before Bev Francis opened up her first Gold’s Gym franchise.

I remember the first time I even heard of the place – and Adam from Black Metal Fitness, if you’re reading this, this is for you buddy! – it was on YouTube, where I discovered an old WWF interview with Mean Gene in this really badass looking dungeon gym, speaking with the owner’s wife, Shirley Kemper, about the types of people the gym attracted.  She then mentioned the British Bulldogs and next thing you knew there was the Dynamite Kid spotting Davey Boy Smith as he was benching four plates without a struggle.  Then Dynamite did the same…again, without a struggle.  Here’s the video, took me a while to find it:

It got me curious, real curious.  At the time I considered myself a gym historian of sorts, trying to learn all I could about the gyms of the past, such as R & J Health Studio in Brooklyn, NY, the breeding ground for Lou Ferrigno, and where my dad trained for fifteen years.  I also wanted to know if these gyms were still around and if so would the environment still be the same?  Well, when I found out Diamond Gym was still around I wanted to know more.  John Kemper retired and sold the gym in 2007, he sadly passed in 2012 at just 67 years old.  But apparently the gym’s current owner, Dwayne McDaniel had no problem keeping the gym’s hardcore vibe.  In fact, when you look at the place in videos it looks like nothing was touched.

So I finally made my way over there yesterday.  First off, god damn Maplewood, NJ is ghetto as fuck!  Secondly, it doesn’t even matter because once I entered the gym – which is right next to a gated community – it was all worth it.  Oh sure, a few walls might’ve had a fresh paintjob recently, and there are a hell of a lot more autographed  pictures on the walls of the bodybuilders that came from here.  But literally nothing else has changed, the equipment is exactly what I saw in that British Bulldogs promo from nineteen eighty-fucking-six, the barbell plates are so old that they probably haven’t even been in production in over thirty years, and the floors in the squat rack and leg press area are uneven.

IMG_20160729_151902577_HDR

See this?  It’s a Nautilus Multi Machine and there’s only one other gym I know that still has it because I used to train in that gym.  If you want to know more about this once fascinating “contraption” go on YouTube and just type in “Mike Mentzer Boyer Coe”.  Trust me here.

I’ll admit I was a little temped to leave if the idiot I heard through the speaker didn’t stop repeating “Ima keep it HOOD!” over and over again, but all in all the place was perfect!  Here’s my workout:

The shitty rap music in the place was so fucking loud that if I didn’t put a song over it I know I would’ve gotten at least five copyright claims because of the stupid algorithms on YouTube – I refuse to let DMX make money off my video.  Also, forget about conditioning.  I’m convinced that cardio isn’t in Diamond Gym’s vocabulary because I saw not one treadmill.  Now that is badass.  THAT is hardcore.

The gym just wreaks of all things tough as nails and I definitely will be back again.  If it wasn’t so far from me I’d leave my gym and sign up there yesterday.  Someone on yelp referred to it as “alpha and the omega” and he definitely hit the nail on the head there.  So to end this I’ll reiterate what said at the start of this.  If you call yourself a serious lifter and you live in Jersey, you need to go to Diamond Gym.

There are more pictures on my facebook page.  Just click here to get to them:

https://www.facebook.com/Confessions-Of-An-Angry-Metalhead-1237695776242081/

Nails – You Will Never Be One Of Us

After probably over 100 listens in the past week since I got this in the mail I still can’t find the words to describe how I feel about Nails’ Nuclear Blast debut, You Will Never Be One Of Us.  Why?  Because all I want to do is jump someone from behind and literally BEAT THAT PERSON TO A BLOODY DEATH AND SET THE FUCKING CORPSE ON FIRE!!!!  This record is the combination of the band’s last two albums, resulting in an album that brings out literally EVERY single negative emotion I can think of.  This has got to be the ugliest, most vile, disgusting, violent, hate-filled album I’ve ever heard in my entire life – and I loved every single second of it!

It kicks right off with the title track, which starts off exactly like in the music video, with members of Neurosis, Youth Code and Baroness saying “You Will Never Be One Of Us”, before the bands kicks in…in one big explosion of rage.  Unless you haven’t seen the video for the title track since it came out back in April, you’ve already heard vocalist/guitarist Todd Jones’ brand new hate filled approach to vocals.  It’s not the high pitched scream of Abandon All Life, and it’s not the yelling of Unsilent Death either.  It’s the type of angry, slobbering, vile (I think I’m going to use that word a few more times here) noise you make when you’re fighting some asshole.

You FEEL Todd’s hate at the scene that he gave his life to when he barks “Fuck your trends/fuck your friends/fuck your groupies”.  That song and the album as a whole are about those who give their all to the lifestyle and those who are only in it for the money and the fame that doesn’t really come with this kind of music.  It’s all about being REAL and that’s what makes this album what it is.

Tracks that follow the opener, such as the vitriol drenched “Friend To All” and “Life Is A Death Sentence” (and he’s not wrong there!) continue the musical beatdown.  If you never knew who Nails were until this record came out last week you should know now that you will never be allowed to catch your breath when listening to any of their shit. One of my favorite tracks on here is “Savage Intolerance”, which also happens to be the second song the band made a video for.  It sounds like Grindcore for most of the song…all 1:46 of it…until the mid-section kicks in.   During that section you hear Taylor Young’s doublebass along with a very metallic, dissonant guitar harmony line that makes me feel like everything I know is crashing down all around me and there is no time at all to save myself.

The final track, “They Come Crawling Back”, is the longest track on here, clocking in a just over eight minutes.  Much like in “Savage Intolerance”, the band seem to branch out of the Grindcore/D-Beat sound more and more, because this song is a lot sludgier than anything they ever did.  It reminds me of “Suum Clique”, the closing track to Abandon All Life, with the deliberately slower tempo.  Come to think about it, the slightly faster chorus reminds me of a much rawer Crowbar, only Todd Jones is barking violently into the mic instead of Kirk Windstein’s sandpaper wails.

It’s hard to believe Nails could top Abandon All Life but they did.   At just over 21 minutes it’s all substances and no bullshit, just like their previous two records.  But the biggest difference with You Will Never Be One Of Us is that, thanks to producer/Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou, Nails is in a position most bands like them will never know and that’s the ability to appeal to not just one crowd.  There are elements of Metal, Grindcore and, true to Todd’s past in Terror, Hardcore.  It’s only June but I’m already calling this the Album Of The fucking Year!

 

 

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!

 

New Nails Video!, First ever training video

New Nails Video!

Ok.  First things first: Anyone here see the new Nails video yet?  No?  Well here is the new video for title track to their upcoming Nuclear Blast Records debut, You Will Never Be One Of Us, coming out on June 17th.

…yeah…super brutal.  And that was just a minute and a half – just imagine what the rest of this shit sounds like!  If you’re a regular reader of my blog and you haven’t figured it out yet…yeah…I’m becoming a HUGE fan of these guys real quick.

First Ever Training Video

So today began week 3 of my current 5/3/1 cycle so I decided I want to go all out and see how many reps I can get at the last set of each big move – the Deadlift in this case.  I managed to pull 310lbs for 6 reps.  It’s a PR for sure, although I forgot to mention that I did pull 315 for 4 reps back in February.  Here’s my routine for the day:

Deadlift

125lbs – 1 x 5

155lbs – 1 x 5

185lbs – 1 x 5

245lbs – 1 x 5

275lbs – 1 x 3

310lbs – 1 x 6

Leg Curl

60lbs – 1 x 10

90lbs – 1 x 10

120lbs – 1 x 6

This was all followed by 7 1/2 minutes on a stationary bike.

Here’s the video:

Much better than I expected.  In fact my bodybuilder doppelganger Jon texted me back just now, telling me: “holy crap!  I got winded just watching!!”.  I plan to make a few more of these soon.