Lift With Hatred: The Workout – Part 2

In part 1 I discussed our training “philosophy” along with my warmup routine.  So here’s what you’ve all waited for!  I decided to provide not one, but TWO templates for you to choose from.  These are full body routines, because the body needs as much volume as possible, especially when you’re just starting.  Constant stimulation is also CRUCIAL for rapid growth.

The basis for both of these templates are made up of the Squat, Bench Press, Deadlift and Overhead Press.  All classic beginner routines are comprised of these moves because they’re compound lifts, meaning they work more than “just” one body part.  But make no mistake, I’m not here to explain the kinesiology of every lift.  You can go on plenty of sites for that shit.  Remember, make sure you warm up before doing ANYTHING else and, if you have a mini resistance band, take that with you.  So, with that being said, and because I wanted to make a Metal themed routine for building a strength foundation, here’s Template A and B of Lift With Hatred: The Sabbath Years.

Template A 

Back Extensions – 3 x 10 or 3 x 20 (with resistance band)

Squat – 4 x 4-6 or 1 x 20 depending on your goals (preceded by resistance band shoulder  warmup)

Bench Press – 4 x 4-6 (preceded by resistance band shoulder warmup and/or set of chin ups to failure)

Chinups – 4 x failure (you can also superset these with the Bench Press to save time)

Overhead Press – 4 x 4 – 6

Deadlift – 1 x 5

Template B 

This is an alternating A-B-A/B-A-B style routine.

Workout A

Back Extensions – 3×10 or 3×20

Squat – 3 x 15

Bench Press – 3 x 15

Deadlift – 3 x 15

Workout B

Back Extensions – 3 x 10 or 3 x 20

Dumbbell Lunge – 3 x 15

Overhead Press – 3 x 15

Bent Over Row – 3 x 15

Explanation

This is as basic and primitive as it gets, much like the first few Black Sabbath records (especially Master Of Reality!).  They’re equally as brutal as they are simple as time progresses.   Same shit with these exercises.  It’s going to be beyond GED simple at first.  But the workouts will become difficult as the intensity increases.  It’s just up to you to figure out if you can handle it after a while.

Sets And Reps

This shit varies depending on the template.  For Template A I wanted you to be able to get in more sets for the sake of more stimulation.  In most proven strength routines, more than three sets are usually prescribed.  More sets equals more volume, which makes for more stimulation throughout the body.  Just because some doctor prescribed three sets per exercise back in the 30’s doesn’t mean you have to just perform three sets.  Also, I suggested a set 20 for the Squat as an option for you younger kids reading this.  I took the idea from Stuart McRobert’s book Brawn.  Stuart speaks about the classic 20 Rep Squat routine which is beyond simple, yet beyond BRUTAL on your legs.  But your legs will be huge.  Trust me.

Template B offers a more size oriented approach, bringing in dumbbells for one exercise, which will absolutely force more muscle fibers to be used to stimulate more growth.  That’s also why the reps are increased here.  It’s for this reason that this template offers more of a variety.  In fact, the alternating days gives you a chance to use an extra day to recover from the power moves while focusing on more size oriented moves, and vice versa.  I wrote a modified version of this template for my first client and he was a believer in full body training after a few weeks.

Duration

Template A is a three month cycle that’s to be trained three times a week, like most strength routines.  Both of these routines call for a linear progression, meaning the weights will be increased every week.  So make sure to increase the poundage accordingly.  I’d say increase the lower body poundages by 10lbs for the Squat and 10 – 20lbs for the Deadlift.  Increase the upper body poundages by 5lbs or even 2.5lbs.

For Template B, the recommended poundage increases are the same.  But the difference here is this is just Phase One of what will be four phases.  Which each phase comes a decrease in the amount of reps per set and, by Phase Four, the sets will increase to order to bring up the volume.  If you like this let me know and I’ll write up the other three phases.

Training Tips

Back Extensions

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Look at the ass on him!

You might notice that I started every routine with this.  Many of you might ask “…but Angry Metalhead, why can’t I do this as an accessory move like everyone else??”  Simple, because we’re not training to be like everyone else you asshole!  Not only that, but because, as I learned from reading up on Reg Park, training the lower back while it’s fresh loosens and strengthens it.  Everyone forgets that training the lower back is as much of Core training as training your abs is.

And as I found out, a strong lower back makes for a much stronger Squat and Deadlift.  But hey what the fuck do I know, I just know I once was able to deadlift 380lbs without a belt for a reason.  After you get used to the exercise, you can add a mini resistance band to add tension.  After that you can also add weight.  Or, if you’re pressed for time you can simply just use the mini band and add ten extra reps per set.

One more thing.  Guys, make sure you adjust yourself before you perform this move.  Take it from me, there’s no feeling more annoying than that of crushing your own balls because you didn’t fix yourself up on the station.  Your woman or man or whatever needs you to have healthy nuts guys!

Hip Drive! 

Did you really thing that Squats and Deadlift just required strong legs?  Fuck no, it’s all about that Hip Drive, as Mark Rippetoe says.  All Hip Hinge moves, like the Squat , Deadlift, Back Extensions, etc., require the hips to start AND finish the move.  Strong hips make for big numbers.  Strong hips also carry over into other aspects of life too.  Guys, you want to be absolute fuck machine with your wife/girlfriend/baby mamma/one night stand?  Use those hips.  Ladies, wanna be a fuck machine and show your husband/boyfriend/baby daddy/one night stand that you can keep up with the thrusting?  Use your hips!

Grip Strength

I saved the best for last because I wanted to send a clear message to all of you reading this.  I spoke on two separate occasions about grip strength, and the importance of not wearing gloves while performing any exercise or program.  Fuck, I even provided a real life depiction of what you look like when you wear gloves in my last article!  Gloves do provide protection…but it’s still lamer than wearing a rubber.  At least with a rubber you’re trying to avoiding something that might not be wanted right now!

So, to further add to my argument as to why you should NEVER wear gloves to the gym, ladies and germs, meet Sparkles!

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Sparkles is a cross dressing manicurist who underwent TWO gender reassignments (he’s very confused).  He’s great at bedazzling your nails.  His ass looks nice in round in a dress.  As you can see in the last picture, he’ll also hold your newborn, mixed race baby!  Wanna know what Sparkles can’t do?  He can’t deadlift worth a shit.  Why?  It ain’t from the lack of testosterone in his body – it’s because he wears gloves to the gym.

Screenshot_20190913-124131

If you want to see how Sparkles fares trying to pull a measly 145lbs, click on the video above!

This is my vision of you, yes YOU.  When I see you wearing gloves I see Sparkles.  I see a guy with absolutely no desire whatsoever to be stronger than he or even she knows.  I see someone with no desire to to be anything other than average, I could give two shits about how much muscle you have.  I didn’t pull more than double my bodyweight because I wore gloves.  Don’t be average.  Don’t be Sparkles.

Post workout stretching in the next installment.

Lift With Hatred Part 1:

https://metalheadconfessions.com/2019/07/30/lift-with-hatred-the-workout-part-1/

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Lift With Hatred: The Workout – Part 1

I’ve been talking about this for a year.  My own training template for beginning lifters, an easy, basic, bullshit free style, thoughtfully put together through many sources plus my experience both as a personal trainer as well as someone who once struggled to the point that all seemed hopeless.  Training, regardless of your goals, is much more of a cerebral game than most newbies would realize.

You have to learn the art of Autoregulation, listening to your body to realize what kind of stimuli it will and won’t respond to in terms of exercises and reps and sets and all that bullshit.  Speaking of bullshit, be ready to have have all sorts of advice thrown your way by both the ones who actually look like they lift and especially the ones who look more like they just took some program off Bodybuilding.com without doing any real research and just began “working out” a few weeks ago.  They’re hilarious!  But more important than either of those, is the development of your mental toughness.

The lifts you’ll be performing will be simple, but brutal after a while.  You’ll be repeating a lot of these almost every workout and you’ll get bored.  You can either just give up because you can’t take the repetition, or you can suck it up, follow the program to the T and reap the rewards later.  Yeah, I’m an angry asshole – and lack of patience usually comes with being angry!  But I at least understand that Rome wasn’t built in a day either.  But hey, what the fuck do I know?  I only Deadlift more than double my bodyweight.

Training Philosophy

Why do we Lift With Hatred?  What’s your daily life like?  Kids?  Nagging wife/girlfriend/baby mama?  Nagging husband/boyfriend/baby daddy?  Feeling disrespected by your boss?  Colleagues?  Random pieces of shit on the streets who need to be put in their place?  They all have one thing in common: it all can get to your head.

Lift With Hatred isn’t “just” some fucking saying I came up with to look awesome.  It’s cerebral.  It’s emotion.  It’s taking all the negativity that you endure throughout your day, and channeling it into something badass, like hitting a squat PR with everything you have.  Let’s face it, I’d love to beat the shit out of one or two of my “colleagues” at work…as well as several “family” members; but I also know that I’m not in the mood to go to jail right now.

Lift With Hatred is a way of life.  So how exactly do we Lift With Hatred?  You look deep into your mind; think about one person who always does you wrong, or your significant other who cheated on you, or that random shithead on the streets you said the wrong thing.  Take those feelings of wanting to beat them to the point of near death (the movie Bugsy comes to mind!), and take it out on those weights.  Why?  Because a powerful physique is far more beneficial than a rap sheet!

The Do’s and Don’ts Of What You’ll Need

I delved into this a little bit in an article called Lift With Hatred: Stupid Shit In The Gym.  But here’s is small, ridiculously simple list of what you’ll need to start off – and it’s not much – along with what you definitely won’t need.

Need

Shoes With A Flat Sole

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This is often recommended by a lot of reputable coaches and for good reason.  In as  simple of an explanation as possible, you want to always be able to “split the ground”, or push down against the floor, when performing any compound move.  You can’t do that if your shoes don’t allow you feet to be completely on the floor.  So most sneakers are out of the question.  A flat sole usually provides a bit more traction and allows you to use your posterior chain more, which is crucial for most strength based routines.  If you’ve been squatting for a while in sneakers, I guarantee you’ll quickly find out how strong your squat really is once you switch over.  I switched over in 2010 and I couldn’t believe how weak I really was (see the Chuck Taylors above!)!  There’s also the possibility of tipping over during a heavy squat or deadlift.  So you can take my word for it or not.  Up to you.  Just don’t tell me I didn’t warn you.  Recommendations include but are not limited to: Converse Chuck Taylor hi tops, Otomix or Adidas Wrestling Shoes.  Don’t worry about getting Adidas Powerlifts, Do-Wins, or anything with a heel until it’s absolutely necessary.

Mini Resistance Bands

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Resistance bands in short are fucking amazing.  These bands were popularized by those sadistic lunatics over at Westside Barbell long ago, and now everyone and their mother uses them.  Why?  Constant tension.  Advanced and elite level lifters use them at multiple sizes to add weighted tension to lighter percentages of their maxes, because more tension will force you to work faster.  Remember, speed is one of the two components of power.  But you’ll be using these as a quick warm up for your rear delts before every workout because they’re not only conveniently small enough to carry, but because not every gym has a dowel rod available for a move like Shoulder Dislocations.  So for that reason, just order a mini band.

Foam Roller

I first read about foam rollers more than a decade ago in a Men’s Health workout guide that’s I’m pretty sure I still have somewhere; but I’m pretty sure it was Muscle And Fitness that called it “The Poor Man’s Massage”.  And it is.  It’s also a great way to open up the muscles at the beginning of your warm-up.  Does your job require you to sit all day long?  You’re hips, lats, pectorals and front delts are probably tighter than your fifteen year old sister, and you’ll know where those tender spots are when you find it.  You’ll be yelling “hurts so good!” like the closet submissive that you are in no time!

See the source image

Lacrosse Ball

Use a Lacrosse ball to massage areas that you might not be able to successfully hit with a foam roller, such as you piriformis and especially your feet.

Don’t Need 

Any Kind Of Lifting Belt

Go ahead and tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about.  Done?  Feel better?  Great – now go suck me!  Now that that’s out of the way…you’re reading this correctly.  If you’re just starting ANY routine, you do NOT need a belt of any kind.  The purpose of a belt is to provide you with  something to push your abs into, allowing the abs to achieve an even harder contraction.  But unless you’re squatting or deadlifting more than you weigh, focus on developing your “natural belt”, aka your abs.  At one point you’ll need one, but for this beginner’s routine I wouldn’t worry about it.

Almost Every Supplement Out There

Here’s another thing that’ll have people telling me I know nothing.  They can still go suck me.  Not including protein powder, there’s no need to spend your money on any kind of preworkout, creatine monohydrate, or fat burners.  I’m not saying they don’t have they’re place; but if you’re new to training and are thin, you need to eat as if you’re one of the fat slobs slowly marching toward death’s door in Supersize Me, clearly rendering fat burners useless here ((although they don’t really do much at all!).  In terms of preworkout, there’s no real need for that much caffeine if you’re just starting with an empty bar.  Creatine Monohydrate is arguably the single safest supplement out there, especially in it’s powdered form (which is cheaper yet way more effective than it’s pill form).  It retains water in the muscles.  Sodium does the same shit.  But if you want to use Creatine, I’d recommend at least seeing what kind of muscular foundation you can build without it on your own first.  Otherwise, you could just take a tablespoon of sea salt and mix that in a gallon of water.

Gloves

See the source image

An actual depiction of what you look like when you wear gloves to the gym.

Gloves: GAY.  I definitely when on a tirade regarding gloves in the article I mentioned above.  But to be short: DO NOT WEAR FUCKING GLOVES.  Unless you have nerve damage you don’t need them.  Gloves provide a layer between your hands and the bar.  Sounds like protection, and it is.  But your grip strength won’t develop and it needs to in order for this or any REAL program to work.  One of my clients recently bitched when he realized he was developing calluses on his hands, saying when he touched his wife he wanted smooth hands for her.  Yeah?  You know what your wife would appreciate more?  Man hands!  So do yourself a favor and ditch the gloves.  Actually no…BURN THEM.  Or go get a sex change and start calling yourself Sparkles while singing along to this:

The Warm-Up

Here’s a simple warm-up that should take a least ten minutes once you get the hang of everything.  For this you’ll need your foam roller and your mini resistance band.  Some of the moves you’ll see here I’ve taken from either books I’ve read over the years or things I’ve learned recently.  Some of this is taken from the DeFranco Agile 8 (I’ll leave a link below).

  1. Start off by foam rolling your entire body.  As I mentioned earlier, some of you might have jobs that require sitting all day.  So some of the key joints and limbs here might be real tight.  That’s why it’s important to hit EVERYTHING, not just your shoulders, legs and hips.  Foam roll your piriformis (or use a lacrosse ball), your pecs, even your biceps (they’re connected to your shoulders after all).
  2. Dynamic Warm-up.   Remember when your elementary school gym teacher made you do shit like jumping jacks and jogging in place before actually doing anything?  Well they were on to something.  Dynamic movements help loosen your muscles, as well as increase your heart rate.  Never EVER perform static stretches before working out.  Stretching a cold muscle could possibly lead to an injury.  This warm-up includes body only movements along with resistance band movements for the rear delts:

Body Only

Side Planks: 20 – 30 seconds per side

Leg Swings: 10 – 15 swings per leg (make sure you feel the stretch in both your quads and your hamstrings depending on the direction)

Groiners: ten reps altogether.

With A Mini Resistance Band 

Band Pull Aparts: 8 – 12 reps above the nipple line, followed by 8 – 12 reps below the nipple line (where you’d position the bar for the Bench Press); Banded Shoulder Dislocations: 8 – 12 reps; Band Face Pull With External Rotation: 8 – 12 reps.  When I  say external rotation, I simply mean that instead of finishing the movement with your fists facing in front of you and over your head, they instead will be facing you as if you’re flexing your biceps, or jerking off two dicks in a bukkake video, or whatever floats your boat.

I’d actually hold off on the resistance band portion of the warm-up until you’re ready to perform any upper body movements.  In Part 2 of the workout I’ll be presenting to separate templates for two relatively different goals.  But both workouts will be starting with a posterior chain exercise to isolate the lower back and there’s no point, really, in warming up the shoulders to work on your lower back.  But that’s just my two sense.  Stay tuned for part 2.  Feel free to message me with any questions, complaints, death threats, sacrifices, etc.

Buy Shit:

Mini Resistance Bands:

Westside Barbell Mini Band

Foam Rollers:

https://www.amazon.com/TriggerPoint-Roller-Instructional-Original-13-inch/dp/B008YPZQCU

Cheap Yet Highly Effective Weight Lifting Shoes:

https://www.amazon.com/Converse-Mens-Chuck-Taylor-Women/dp/B000OLVPBI/ref=sr_1_4?crid=2Q3JPVWFSXZ7Z&keywords=chuck+taylors&qid=1564284391&s=sporting-goods&sprefix=chuck+%2Csporting%2C136&sr=1-4

My Tirade On Gym Fads:

https://metalheadconfessions.com/2018/09/25/lift-with-hatred-stupid-shit-in-the-gym/

Sources:

https://www.t-nation.com/training/defranco-agile-8

How to Deadlift with Proper Form: The Definitive Guide

https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/lacrosse-ball-massage#9

The Return Of GOD: Megadeth – Live At Roseland Ballroom November 10th 2004

I realized that it’s been a long time since I wrote about my concert history, the last time I wrote anything was about my trip to Ozzfest ’04 featuring headliners Slayer, Judas Priest and Black Sabbath…with Rob Halford on vocals.  Click here if you never read it:

https://metalheadconfessions.com/2016/06/30/possibly-the-best-ozzfest-lineup-ever-ozzfest-2004-august-26th-2004/

But that left one more concert for that year and it was one I NEVER thought I’d see.  Seriously.  Never.

A year earlier, Thrash Metal pioneer Dave Mustaine, who had quit Megadeth – his own band – and retired from music over an arm injury, had announced he was coming out of retirement.  He’d even gotten himself a brand new endorsement deal with ESP Guitars…which I’d wonder from time to time after that if that was yet another blatant attempt to feel validated by his ex Metallica bandmates, as James Hetfield had been endorsed by them since 1988 and by the way still is.  He had announced plans to remix and remaster the entire Megadeth catalogue, which he had actually started in 2001 when he remixed and remastered the band’s 1985 debut Killing Is My Business…And Business Is Good…which really did give the record a fresh pair of raw, drug addled BALLS.   Dave also mentioned the idea of recording a solo record that while he’d never tour for, he’d probably perform a small handful of club shows.  Or so he thought.

About a year later Mustaine started posting snippets of new recordings and to say the least, they did sound promising.  Very promising.  This was also following the news that he managed to get former Megadeth guitarist lead guitarist Chris Poland to play on this new record…which was now a Megadeth record by name only due to contractual obligations with his publishing company.  Let’s speed this up: he teased us with the release of three songs that sounded fucking great.  Later in the year he released The System Has Failed, featuring those three songs as the opening three tracks.  After that it’s such a fucking shitfest.  From a musician’s standpoint the guitar tones were so fucking WEAK due to Mustaine playing an old Marshall Plexi, which is NOT the appropriate amp to play his style of music to begin with.  Second of all, I understood that this was recorded as a solo record before Mustaine was forced to make it a Megadeth record, so I expected to hear a musical departure of sorts.  But this whole album minus the first three songs was just lame.  Oh, and if you’re reading this and you happen to be one of the jackasses that proclaimed that The System Has Failed was the “best album since Rust In Peace!”, you should jump in front of an 18 wheeler yesterday.  Thanks.

Around the time of the album’s release Dave appeared on Friday Night Rocks with Eddie Trunk to discuss everything that was happening from the album’s release to his MAJOR fallout with co-founder/bassist David Ellefson to Ellefson, Marty Freidman and Nick Menza – the classic Rust In Peace lineup – all refusing to join him on this comeback tour.  But when he gave Eddie the list of tour dates he said the New York City on November 10th was a possibility (he couldn’t remember for sure at the time) I knew to save the date.  Yeah the “comeback” record was weak but this allegedly was going to be the last time Dave Mustaine went on the road under the Megadeth banner so I didn’t give a shit.  I had worshiped this guy since high school and some of my own guitar technique was taken from him.  There was NO WAY I was missing this.

Tickets were pretty cheap at $36 each so I bought tickets for the guys in my band at the time: Idrees and Chad (who never paid me back because he’s scumbag piece of shit).  Our newest addition to the band, our drummer Chris, met us there with his girlfriend Shari and her sister Marissa, who was actually the music director of my college radio station at the time, along with her boyfriend Vin.  Marissa claimed to be a big Megadeth fan but as she’d admit to later on, she was nothing more than a poser.  I loved her to death – and she also had a great pair of titties! – but don’t call yourself a big fan of ANY band if you only have two albums from that band.

We arrived at the now-defunct Roseland Ballroom, close to the Ed Sullivan Theater in Manhattan, looking so 80’s it was hilarious, myself wearing a leather jacket with my denim vest over it and leather gloves with my dog chain that I still have.  I had already learned that I’d rather wear just a plain, black shirt instead of any band shirt in order to avoid random losers interrogating me on love of said band and telling me stories I could honestly give two shits about.  As we all walked in, the opening band, Exodus were playing.  This was weird to see only because they had JUST released a new album, Tempo Of The Damned, only for longtime vocalist Steve “Zetro” Sousa to quit shortly after.  So who was singing for him?  Steev from Skinlab…who was doing way too much to try to look like Phil Anselmo circa 1996, between the undershave haircut (Idrees called it the Vagina Haircut), the leather cuffs, the short sleeve flannel shirt, the green cargo shorts and his tendency to always bend down to scream…which by the way Phil stole from Henry Rollins.

In between bands, as Megadeth were next, Idrees was approached by this muscular, 16 year old kid with glasses, who apparently met him in a pit during an Overkill show at the also now-defunct B.B. King’s.  After they shared they shared a few words the boy turned to me and said he knew me too.  I was very confused; between his physique and the glasses I was sure he had to have mistaken me for someone else, until he reminded me that he met me at my former music store were I was still taking lessons at the time, and that he had approached me when he heard me playing the Megadeth song “Sweating Bullets” on an acoustic guitar.  That was two years earlier and I had not seen him in that long a time so the fact that he remembered me was impressive.  Nonetheless we were both stoked to see each other.  We’d wind up hanging out together almost frequently for the next four years after this night but that almost didn’t happen and here’s why!

The lights went out, the crowds lost their shit as Ice T’s “Shut Up, Be Happy” began blaring through the speakers…

One by one, the current touring lineup Mustaine put together for this tour start to walk out on stage: drummer Shawn Drover, ex-Iced Earth bassist James MacDonough, guitarist Glen Drover.  There’s wall of sick looking Marshall cabinets on the stage with a drum kit that looks a LOT like something Nick Menza would’ve played.  After a minute of two…you could hear the sounds of another guitar playing the beginning of “Set The World Afire” from 1988’s So Far, So Good…So What!.  That’s when Dave Mustaine finally walked out on stage, chugging away on his guitar.  At that moment I felt a foot come out of nowhere, kicking me right in the fucking nose, making me bleed.  Then the entire crowd were to become one gigantic mosh pit, meaning Rob and I, as quickly as we were reunited, were being forcefully pushed apart.  We tried to grab on to each other but this crowd was understandably way too violent to try and overcome unless I really wanted broken bones to go with the bloody nose.

The band pulled out the classics on after another, starting with “Afire” and kicking right into “Skin ‘O’ My Teeth” into “Wake Up Dead”, which is when shit REALLY got out of hand.  Then again, if you know ANYTHING about Megadeth I shouldn’t have to tell you that “Wake Up Dead” is essentially that one song meant just for moshing once the band gets into that middle riff after Dave’s first solo.  And that was immediately followed by “In My Darkest Hour”.  The band were really able to hold there own, although I always thought Shawn Drover was the least dynamic drummer in Megadeth’s entire history.  Mustaine, however was surprising.  He’d retired because he couldn’t even move his arm thanks to this bizarre injury he acquired and more than two years later he’s absolutely ripping it up as if nothing happened to him!  It honestly made me and probably a few others rather suspicious as to the actual severity of his injury.  But that’s a story for another time.

Here’s the setlist:

Set The World Afire

Skin ‘O’ My Teeth

Wake Up Dead

In My Darkest Hour

Something That I’m Not

Angry Again

Of Mice And Men

Reckoning Day

A Tout Le Monde

Die Dead Enough

Tornado Of Souls

Kick The Chair

Hangar 18

Sweating Bullets

Symphony Of Destruction

Back In The Day (featuring Exodus near the end of the song)

Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying?

Encore:

Holy Wars…The Punishment Due

At the end of the set, and after the band walked off the stage, Dave Mustaine walked back on for second.  “Thank you…for believing in me!”, he yelled out, before walking off for good.  As I said earlier, this was allegedly going to be the last time he toured not just under the Megadeth banner, but at all.  This would go on for another several months, and on to his first ever attempt at a festival gig, which I did go to.  But that’s for another article.

I no longer remember much about what happened after I left the building with my band, but I can only assume I bumped into Rob again and I’m sure we had to have finally exchanges numbers, either outside the building or on the ferry heading home.  He’d tag along with Idrees and I to see Megadeth in New Jersey two years later.  What I do remember, however, was driving not home, but to my Dad’s house after I was dropped off by ferry.  It was almost 2am; I knew that it’d be way easier to sleep there than home, where my jackass brother and mother were most likely fighting even that late at night.  I totally skipped my Astronomy class the following afternoon, having woken up around the time the class had just started, I think.  No regerts.  None.  But my radio show was that afternoon so I did have to head to campus whether I like it or not.  The show’s opener that afternoon?

I’m on social media these days more than I am on here writing articles because I’m super busy.  Hopefully that’ll change soon.  Here’s where to follow me:

https://www.facebook.com/confessionsofanangrymetalhead

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Album Of The Year 2018

I know what you’re thinking.  There are a few albums I could’ve easily picked to be my top pick for this year’s Album Of The Year pick.   Hate Eternal and High On Fire both came out with new albums.  Fuck, speaking of Matt Pike and High On Fire, his previous band, Sleep, released a comeback album that some of you are STILL fisting yourselves to!  And that’s fine…but I can give two shits because Alice In Chains came back with an amazingly, dark, depressing, desolate new album. I’m talking better than 2013’s The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here by fucking far!

Oh sure, I was already excited since I’ve worshiped this band and especially Jerry Cantrell for half my life now; but then I heard the opening single:

Well holy shit.  Just go straight to that chorus line and I can swear the music sounds like it could’ve fit beautifully on the band’s 1995 self titled album.  In fact, a major portion of Rainier Fog sounds very much like it would’ve fit right in on the aforementioned self titled album.  And as it turns out, the band decided to take trip back to the past to get the right aura for recording my Album Of The Year.

The band set up camp back in Seattle at Studio X, former Bad Animals Studios, which Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart owned between 1991 and 1997 and as actually named after their their 1987 album of the same name (this was when Heart were 80s sellouts playing shit arena rock).  Bad Animals is where the band recorded their self titled album, sadly their last with the late Layne Staley on vocals.  So needless to say, if you believe in ghosts, you just might here one of two on here.

The product of this return to their roots of sorts is such a fucking downer.  It’s so depressing it’s beautiful.  Gone are a lot of the Heavy Metal aspects of their previous album and especially their 2009 masterpiece of a comeback album, Black Gives Way To Blue; but there is still a shit ton of Doom all around, providing the proverbial atmosphere of a perennial rainy day.  Make no mistake though, Rainier Fog is still heavy as balls, still an exercise in Sabbath worship.

Tracks such as “The One You Know”, “Rainier Fog”, Cantrell’s tribute to the Seattle scene, “Red Giant”, “Drone” and “Never Fade”, the second single from the album, prove Alice are still the very definition of a modern day Black Sabbath…and that Cantrell is still a GOD.  These tracks in particular are the closest to being “grungy” as the band has sounded in 23 years, with slow, crushing riffs, drums that supply the groove yet still let the songs breath, and those vocal harmonies.  It can’t be made anymore obvious that whether William DuVall is singing or Jerry himself, Jerry is truly the mastermind behind some of these virtually morbid vocal arrangements.  Only Alice In Chains could ever make me want to kill myself through beautifully depressing harmonies!  In fact, I feel like “The One You Know” can be like the sequel to “Grind”!  And “Drone” is truly a Sabbath Worship song in just about every way.  The chorus line is especially depression as Cantrell sings “I’ll stay here and feed my pet black hole…”.

Speaking of Sabbath Worship, “Deaf Ears Blind Eyes”, is as doomy as it gets.  It’s main, single note guitar lines could’ve easily been used on Master Of Reality.  But what will really grab your attention is Cantrell’s haunting vocal arrangement.  Clearly a song about what happens when you let anxiety run your life, I had to do a double take and make sure I wasn’t listening to a 90’s recording with Layne on vocals because it sure sounded like it!  It’s probably one of to more lyrically profound tracks on here as Cantrell sings “feel like a fake thing/where did the time go?/Memories worth making/pass by the window…”.

On the other end of the Sabbath Worship is “So Far Under”, the one song solely penned by DuVall…who clearly has spent way too much time with Cantrell.  That bending note in the chorus is essentially the “seasick riff” Cantrell used on “Check My Brain”, hence why it can be easily to immediately think Cantrell wrote it.  Oh sure, the lyrics may be some of the most positive on Rainier Fog, but his solo (his not Jerry’s!) screams Tony Iommi and the chorus just happens to bring you r right back down…and seasick.

As for the lighter tracks on here, “Fly” is essentially the sequel to “Over Now”.  I don’t know how else to put it.  Here…just listen for yourself:

And “Maybe” is literally a tour de force of what Jerry and William are capable of as a vocal duo.  They’ve become so good at it in the last nine years that at times it can be hard to figure out who the fuck is singing what.  It’s yet another song about loneliness but their singing will make you want to embrace it in such a romantic way.  If you think I’m nuts after reading that line you’re not an Alice In Chains fan.

Oh, and speaking of loneliness, the most depressing, emotionally draining song on here clearly had to be saved for last.  “All I Am” is sad as fuck from the first atmospheric pulse as it cuts through the ending to “Never Fade”.  It’s hard to really say what the hell Jerry is talking about here.  But I can only assume it’s about someone who’s so damaged from drug use that he can’t even recognize himself anymore.  Would that be too much of a surprise?  Let’s not forget that drugs nearly decimated this band with Layne’s tragic death sixteen years ago to heroin and cocaine.  Everyone in this band were all guilty.  AS I mentioned in my review of Dirt, Jerry was drinking heavily and taking Xanax during the sessions for it.  I just know that when I heard it, I imagine someone on a raft, struggling to stay afloat as he’s being rushed through rapids, rain teaming down in him.  The final result?  Does he survive and rise above?  Does he drown?  It’s all up to you, the listener.  I just know that if you want an album that makes you feel every negative, suicidal emotion you can, Rainier Fog is your go to album.