In 2005, Trivium released Ascendancy, an album combining crushing thrash riffs, elements of metal and metalcore, and what has become a common harsh/clean vocal attack. Though they have much more in common with traditional or thrash metal, Trivium often was lumped into the metalcore genre. The Crusade is the furthest thing from metalcore, combining classic riffs with a modern sensibility. (more…)
Archive for April, 2007
Tags: Jared MacEachern, Jason Suecof, Jeremy London, Matt Heafy, Road to Bloodshed, Roadrunner Records, Sanctity, Trivium, Zeff Childress
Review by Greg Maki
Since Trivium frontman Matt Heafy recommended Sanctity to Roadrunner Records in 2005, the Asheville, N.C., quartet has shared stages with Megadeth, Lamb of God and Arch Enemy on the 2006 edition of Gigantour (handpicked by Dave Mustaine), and toured with the likes of DragonForce, Children of Bodom and Black Label Society. No pressure, then, for Sanctity’s debut, Road to Bloodshed, huh? These boys are up to the challenge, as the disc is a wonderful example of modern thrash metal. (more…)
Tags: Alpha, Baltimore, John Connolly, Lajon Witherspoon, Live photos, Morgan Rose, Rams Head Live, Sevendust, Sonny Mayo, Vinnie Hornsby
Photos by Greg Maki (more…)
Tags: Broken, Capital G, Meet Your Master, Nine Inch Nails, Pretty Hate Machine, Sobriety, Survivalism, The Downward Spiral, The Good Soldier, Trent Reznor, With Teeth, Year Zero
Review by Greg Maki
It’s an amazing thing, sobriety. For most of his career (which now spans nearly two decades), Trent Reznor has been infamous for the five-year gaps between albums of original Nine Inch Nails studio material. But sometime before the release of 2005’s With Teeth, he embraced a healthier lifestyle, kicking his addictions and hitting the weight room. I don’t know whether we have that to thank for the quick turnaround on his follow-up, Year Zero, or if world events inspired Reznor so strongly that he simply couldn’t delay getting his message out. Likely, it’s a combination of those factors. Whatever is driving him, let’s hope it continues. Year Zero is yet another magnificent musical journey with one of the great artists of our time as our guide.
No one has mined the field of self-loathing for better results than Reznor achieved on classics Pretty Hate Machine (1989) and The Downward Spiral (1994), but at 41 years old and sober, his focus finally has shifted from within to without. He’s realized there is world outside his own head, and he’s not at all pleased by what he sees. Year Zero takes us to the year 2022. The war on terror that Reznor assailed on With Teeth’s “The Hand That Feeds” has escalated to the point where the U.S. government has become a virtual religious dictatorship that uses drugs in the water supply and a “Bureau of Morality” to control the populace. The story gradually unfolds over the album’s 16 tracks, and so confident is Reznor in his dystopian vision that he rarely raises his voice. His patented tortured screams are all but absent. Instead, he is more of a singer than ever before, his vocals seemingly the only human element of the recording.
Musically, Reznor abandons the live feel of With Teeth and immerses himself in electronics, creating harsh, cold soundscapes to mirror the inhumanity of his future world. While With Teeth was stripped down, practically a punk album by NIN standards, Year Zero returns to the dense, textured construction more familiar to Reznor. That being said, the walls of noise and distortion that filled The Downward Spiral are mostly missing here. At the same time, Year Zero manages to sound like Nine Inch Nails and unlike anything Reznor has done before. I’m purposely avoiding going into detail concerning the sound and content of individual songs because this is an album that deserves to be heard in its entirety. That may be asking a lot when for a disc that runs nearly 65 minutes, but it’s worth the time. For the record, “Survivalism,” “The Good Soldier,” “Capital G” and “Meet Your Master” are among the standout tracks.
Fans of the harder-edged Broken-era Nine Inch Nails may be put off by the abundance of blips, beeps and sampled drums. But “heavy” doesn’t always mean louder guitars and angrier screams. Driven by a powerful artistic vision, Reznor has placed his personal demons on the backburner to craft a rare work of true importance.
Tags: A Vulgar Display of Power, Alrosa Villa, Chris A., Courage and Carnage at the Alrosa Villa, Dimebag Darrell, Erin Halk, James Niggemeyer, Jeffrey "Mayhem" Thompson, Nathan Bray, Nathan Gale
Review by Greg Maki
Dec. 8, 2004 will forever live on in the hearts and minds of so many people. It has been called the 9/11 of metal, but that description only begins to tell the story. While the news of the on-stage murder of legendary Pantera/Damageplan guitarist Dimebag Darrell Abbott dominated the headlines, the names Jeffrey “Mayhem” Thompson, Erin Halk and Nathan Bray were forgotten by most—if they were even known at all. Like Dimebag, these three men lost their lives at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio, in a senseless act of violence. They were laid to rest with little fanfare, and VH1’s Pantera Behind the Music episode never identified them by name.
Author Chris A. has corrected a great wrong with his book A Vulgar Display of Power: Courage and Carnage at the Alrosa Villa. Through extensive research and the cooperation of the families of Thompson (Damageplan’s security chief), Halk (an Alrosa Villa roadie) and Bray (a diehard metal fan), he paints a vivid portrait of each man, showing the reader how they lived and the heroism in how they died. (more…)