Kirk Windstein – Dream in Motion (eOne Heavy / Entertainment One, 24 January 2020)
Exactly twenty-five years and eleven months ago, on the 24th of March 1994, the sixth episode of the fourth season of Beavis and Butthead aired on MTV. That was the first exposure — for myself, and I suspect for many others who were teenagers at that time — to the music of Crowbar, as that episode included a portion of the New Orleanian sludge innovators’ “All I Had (I Gave)” video. (For the record, yes I do have a fairly good memory, but no I did not know all of those details off the top of my head; thank you to Wikipedia.)
Anyway, that day marked a pivotal moment in my music fandom. What I heard on that show prompted me to pick up a copy of the band’s self-titled 1993 album, and their blending of sheer heaviness with absolute raw emotion had me hooked for life. That combination is what has set the band apart from most of their peers and imitators over the years. And now after nearly a dozen albums with Crowbar (in addition to participating in a handful of other people’s projects over the past three decades) the founder, vocalist and guitarist Kirk Windstein, has released a solo record — eschewing some of the heaviness this time around, but retaining every bit of the passion and intensity.
Fister – Decade of Depression (Listenable Records, 27 September 2019)
Hey, have you heard? St. Louisan grimy doomlords Fister are celebrating their first decade of existence!
Well, maybe “celebrating” is not the correct word — taking a cue from the Slayer live album Decade of Aggression, the band has assembled an LP filled with covers paying tribute to some of their main influences, entitled Decade of Depression.
Here at VOS we’ve been huge fans of this trio for the better part of that decade — ever since a joint tour with The Lion’s Daughter led to a stop here in Pittsburgh back in the summer of 2013, which was completely mind-blowing to those few of us in attendance. From then on, we’ve tried to make it a point to spread the good word anytime there is new Fister material with which to desecrate one’s ears.
It’s been a little over a month since Decade of Depression hit the streets, but for those who may have been sleeping on this, kindly do yourselves a favor and direct your attention this way…!
Venom Prison – Animus (Prosthetic Records, 14 October 2016 / deluxe edition 23 February 2018)
British death metal horde Venom Prison, who exploded into international consciousness with their Prosthetic-released debut album in late 2016, are currently touring North America with a whole bunch of other heavy hitters in the genre.
In fact, the month-long tour is a little more than halfway over, so we don’t want to waste any more time — here’s our write-up of Animus, and later you can see the full list of dates, plus a handful of European cities the band will be visiting in August with Dying Fetus!
Body Count – Bloodlust (Century Media Records, 31 March 2017)
Some of our younger readers may recognize Ice-T as the curmudgeonly old guy in the “It’s Lemonade” commercials, or maybe they’ll recall his stints as a reality tv star (here and here). Perhaps he’ll even seem familiar from his portrayal of a police officer on Law & Order: SVU. But before he was gracing screens small and big (and by the way, his acting career has included roles as cops dating back more than a quarter-century), the man born as Tracy Marrow in New Jersey (and then raised in the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles) made quite a name for himself as a hugely influential part of the music industry.
Known primarily as one of the innovators who helped to shape the gangster rap genre, with songs like “6 ‘N the Morning,” he later formed the group Body Count with some high school friends who shared an affinity for hard rock music — introducing the band on a self-titled track on his 1991 album O.G. Original Gangster before they came out with a full-length self-titled album the following year.
They have been heavily influenced by fellow Californian contemporaries in the worlds of thrash (like Slayer) and especially crossover (like Suicidal Tendencies) — but for years I’ve seen a lot of negativity expressed towards these guys within the so-called “metal community,” from some of its more closed-minded individuals. Whether that’s a refusal to acknowledge rap or hip hop artists as genuine musicians, or a xenophobic reaction to a perceived “outsider” tresspassing into the “scene” — well, Ice-T‘s spoken-word intro to the original “Body Count” song can be applicable in both directions: “You know, as far as I’m concerned, music is music. I don’t look at it as rock or R&B, all that kind of stuff, I just look at it as music. […] But I do what I like, I happen to like rock ‘n roll. And I feel sorry for anybody who only listens to one form of music.”
All right, people. Today we’re going to kick it old school.
Please accept my apologies for such a lame introduction, but honestly it’s all I have the energy for right now. After a busy weekend that was capped off with watching the Penguins seal a Stanley Cup victory late last night, I barely managed about three hours of sleep.
So anyway, here’s what I’ve got for you: a pair of newly reissued classics by two bands who — while I definitely wouldn’t call either of them unknown or obscure — have never seemed to achieve the level of recognition that they each seem to deserve …
I really don’t recall any fuss having been made back in 1998, which would have been a far more interesting (and concise) thing to share. Of course, at that time we didn’t have memes or Facebooks. We barely had started getting the hang of this whole World Wide Web thing. On the other hand, I do remember the big hubbub over the so-called “Slayer Day” on 06/06/06 (which then became an annual tradition for absolutely no reason that made any kind of sense) — hard to believe it’s been a whole decade since then!
Anyway, Happy New Year to everyone out there. As I write these words, I’m on my way back to work from a nice long weekend, and not quite feeling fully recovered yet. But I did want to say hello, and let you all know that my Top 15 of 2015 list is now online. I’ve placed it alongside the lists from 2011-2014, which have all been collected on this shiny new “Year End Lists” page.
You may notice that almost everything on the 2015 list hasn’t been written about on this website (yet). You may also have noticed that things have been kind of quiet around here for a little while. Both of those things will be changing in the near future, as I’ll gradually be publishing reviews for each of these as time allows. But for now, go enjoy the list. I’ll be checking back with you soon.
EDITOR’S NOTE: as some of you may have noticed, I put out an open call for writers a short while back when I updated this website’s contact page. That offer still stands — anyone who might have something to contribute, please feel free to get in touch! Today I’m posting an article that was sent to me regarding Anthrax/S.O.D. guitarist (and perennial VH1 personality) Scott Ian. Please enjoy!