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

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Random Thoughts

Gym Rants

If it wasn’t for the fact that I want to become a personal trainer and wasn’t contracted to New York Sports Club I’d most likely try to find another gym.  I don’t hate my gym but I’d really like to train somewhere that’s more geared toward my goals because let’s face it, a commercial gym doesn’t cater to Powerlifters or anyone strength training related.  Hell, there’s only one power rack for squatting and just one deadlift platform – I do admit it’s a miracle they even have on.  But sometimes it’s being used just as you’re about to use it and sometimes it’s for some real stupid shit.

On the night I was to Deadlift 315 for the first time ever back in February I found someone was occupying the platform doing a stupid Crossfit routine.  What was it?  Ten sets of twenty Clean-And-Jerks followed by “jump rope”.  Noticed the word jump rope was quoted?  That’s because there was no jump rope; instead this guy was jumping up and down looking like he was jerking off two dicks!

My most recent favorite, which I ranted about on my facebook page, was the guy doing Front Squats with a fucking BOSU ball.  First off, if he’s going to be wearing the wrong shoes – by which I mean sneakers – he better hope I’m not there when he tips over because I’m going to laugh so hard.  Also, if you’re front squatting with a BOSU ball you should return your man card and go make that appointment for your sex change now.  Hell, yesterday.

I finally ordered a 10mm Inzer Forever Belt in black on Saturday.  I hope to get it before my next deadlift day.

New Nails (??????)

So Nails cancels all their shows over the summer without any explanation and we hear nothing for two months…and then I was told a few days ago by one of my YouTube subscribers that it was announced the Nails and Full Of Hell are releasing a 7″ split???Don’t get me wrong, I’m fucking stoked about this – that’s going to be some nasty fucking shit!  But dude, what the fuck?  I wrote about how confused I am on facebook because we had no idea if the band were back or what and when I reposted it on my new Instagram account I received this funny little response from Closed Casket Activities, the label releasing the spilt:

funny

Funny guys.  Then I saw this today on Metal Injection:

NAILS To Play THE POWER OF THE RIFF Festival In December

If one thing’s for sure, they’re right about one thing: You Will Never Know What’s Going On.

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Also, as I mentioned fleetingly a few paragraphs ago, I’m now on Instagram.  Be sure to follow me on there, I post shit daily on there.

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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)

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:

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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 Training Videos!, New Nails!

New Training Videos!

I restarted training at the gym last Sunday and so far things are going far better than expected.  I’m still doing 5/3/1 but I’m more focused on conditioning this time so each time I train I’ll just do two exercises and then it’s off to the bike I go since the gym won’t get another prowler until management begins renovations near summer’s end.  Lame.

I did just release two videos I was able to make on last week’s Overhead Press day and today’s Squat day and you can check them out below:

 

Explanations of each workout can be found in their entirety in the description boxes of each video.

I’m already eyeing my next meet and it’ll most likely be RPS’s Autumn Apocolypse in November, same hotel in Newark as the Jersey Rumble back in May.  I’m just hoping that by that time I’ll at least have my Squat and Deadlift in the 300’s and 400’s, respectively.  In fact, my friend Steve, who works at my gym told me he’d take me to the other gym he trains in, East Coast-West Coast in Carlsadt, in July.  I heard about this gym and in fact someone I met at my first meet posted up a video of himself training there.  This gym just looks so fucking badass.  It’s like Skiba’s in Carteret but bigger.  Here, just look at the gallery pictures:

http://eastweststrength.com/facility/nggallery/page/1

Note that some pictures will be of their California location.

I also am in the middle of recording two new original tracks and re-recording the first one I uploaded since I can do better with it.  I should be done, hopefully by the end of this week.  Be sure to subscribe to my channel to get updates on them.

Oh!  And here’s some of the shit that motivated me during my first week back in the gym:

New Nails!

Speaking of my Spotify playlist, in which you’ll see two tracks from Nails…anybody here as psyched up for this new fucking album as I am??  I’m most likely going to do a review on it after a few hundred listens or whenever I’m ready to get it out of my car, or so long as it doesn’t cause me to get into an accident because it makes me drive too fast…whichever comes first.

And if you aren’t as ready as I am check out their video for “Savage Intolerance” here!

The FYE by my apartment better have this come Friday.  I’d like to go see them in Philly on August 5th, I’ll just make sure I’m in the back of the room so I don’t die.  I have a feeling it’ll be even more brutal than when I went to see Crowbar last year for sure.

One Last Thing

I made a small post about this last night but I’m looking for underground bands to review.  If you’re reading this and you know of any extreme bands (death, black, grindcore, sludge, crusty sounding) that you feel should get looked at let me know in either the comment section below or private message me.

 

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!