PORTAL is one of the greatest undiscovered metal acts of the 2000s. Sure, lots of folks who are ’2 cool 4 school’ have known about the band and even saw them live on a small US tour this year. However, they have never made it into the mainstream metal scene for some reason. I love them though and they have a new music video for “Larvae” so check that out and then pick up their records from our friends over at PROFOUND LORE!
Archive for November, 2010
Hey all! What I’m trying to do here is an extension of my Jams and Bombs column, where I examine the ups and downs of a particular metal acts’ career.
This time, I’m going to focus on one particular album from a band’s discography; one which I feel is underexposed, and could use a little more light shining.
My first LP took to task will be from the band of Metal Army’s own Rob Dukes, the thrash machine known as Exodus!
During the early nineties, metal was on its last legs within the commercial mainstream. With grunge surely and firmly entrenching itself within the public consciousness, most major label metal was on shaky ground, to say the least. Often during this time, we’ll see peculiar albums being released from former hard ‘n heavy powerhouses; records which may blur the lines a bit for old school fans.
For Exodus, that LP was 1992′s Force of Habit. Released after the commercially and critically disappointing Impact is Imminent, this album was a transitional one for the Bay Area madmen; an attempt to portray a darker, more serious tone. Though the effort ultimately tanked and was forgotten, there remains a silver lining of solid composition here on Force of Habit; one which might have gone under the radar for most of the band’s fans back in the day.
Upon further examination, Force of Habit DOES feature a number of oddities within its track listing, not the least of which are the covers of Elvis Costello and The Rolling Stones. While these covers may have just been the result of record label pressure, expanding musical tastes or the desire to crossover into a new market, the end results are predictably forgettable.
What ISN’T forgettable about Force of Habit is the progressive, involved guitar work of axeman/mainman Gary Holt. The album’s progression is thick, heavy and powerful, lending a lot of credence to Holt’s riff work. Gary’s ideas also tend to fall outside the box on this record, perhaps foreshadowing the approach Holt would take on future, complex efforts with Rob Dukes at the helm.
A superb example of this is the eleven-minute-plus epic “Architect of Pain,” a sweeping jam which takes many sonic turns throughout its journey, similar to the lengthier tracks on the band’s recent Atrocity Exhibition efforts.
Elsewhere, the album’s single and video for “Thorn In My Side” displayed that Exodus could still write some mighty tasty pit riffs, thank you very much, while other such standouts as “When It Rains It Pours,” “Me Myself & I,” and “Fuel For the Fire” all lend Force of Habit a legitimacy which reaches far beyond its lost relic status. Hell, even “Feeding Time at the Zoo” evokes memories of such goofy-but-fun Exodus tracks as “The Lunatic Parade” or “The Toxic Waltz.”
Of course, all of these kind words won’t change the fact that Force of Habit did NOT achieve what the band hoped it would upon release. It wasn’t until 2004′s Tempo of the Damned-which featured returning frontman Steve Souza, after a brief reunion with the sadly departed Paul Baloff in ’97-where Exodus truly began to regroup and regain their focus, eventually working their way back to the top of the underground via a series of well-received, undeniably brutal LPs. With Dukes firmly in tow at this point, however, it looks as if Gary Holt and Co. are ready to write their fabulous disaster for years to come.
Written by MetalGeorge
Check out this fucking sweet footage of DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN main man Greg Puciato performing “Rise of the Fallen” with SOULFLY at a recent show. Having Max Cavalera and Greg Puciato on stage at the same time is the equivalent of having Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford sing a duet – both are just phenomenal performers and some of the best metal singers of our generation! I’m truly jealous that I missed this!
“Lawless Lands” comes from the epic ‘Warp Riders’ album which was released earlier this year on Kemado. THE SWORD have continued their ascent to the top of the metal scene. Striking it big on a video game finally pays off as it should, right DRAGONFORCE?
Cathedral frontman Lee Dorrian was one of the first inspired to write about Ossorio’s undead Knight’s Templar; these unholy warriors who betrayed their christian cause for satanic greed, witchcraft and villainy. Cathedral’s “Night of the Seagulls” is based upon the third film in the series (which we’ll get to in later posts), and is one of the ultimate musical odes to these incredible looking zombie ravagers.
Ultimately, it’s the incredible makeup work on these movies which lends Ossorio’s Blind Dead series the mood and atmosphere they need to truly be successful. Trust me: you’ve never seen zombies looks quite this awesome until you’ve seen a marauding horde of undead horsemen-complete with zombified horses-attack your crew in slow-motion.
Speaking of slow motion, this is probably the only aspect of Tombs which demands some patience: the molasses-like sense pacing. Ossorio’s is in NO hurry to get to the action here, and even when he does, shit goes down with such a relentlessly thorough speed, well….it takes a bit of getting used to, especially when we as a horror audience are so fixated on wop-bang-boom gore and violence.
For those with the fortitude to understand what Ossorio is going for here with the atmosphere, however, Tombs of the Blind Dead can be absolute joy. As mentioned, the Templars’ hollowed out eyes-they follow their prey via the pulse of living heartbeat-and shambling walk is truly an awesome sight to behold, especially once the director’s vision is suitably understood.
Speaking of ‘understood,’ Cathedral isn’t the only metal band penning songs about these bad-ass, blind fiends, as evidenced by the glut of Ossorio-inspired jams coming from the doom and death scene. Whether it’s Finland’s Hooded Menace-who have images of the Blind Dead drawn within their damn logo!-or the US of A’s old school death troupe Denial Fiend (who penned “Return to the Tomb of the Cursed Blind Dead” in homage), many metal artists have taken a jumping-off point from Ossorio’s ruthless, bloody zombie massacres.
Though the series varies in quality, Tombs of the Blind Dead benefits from possessing much of the Knight’s Templar back story within its plot framework, where we see exactly what sorts of nastiness these men indulged in during life. Add to this a heaping helping of blood, nudity and lesbianism, and you have a recipe for quite the enjoyable romp, indeed.
Again, it needs to be stressed that these movies move as slow as their zombie antagonists, or protagonists, if you prefer. It might take a couple of viewings before Tombs of the Blind Dead can truly be appreciated, but trust me: once it clicks with you, it clicks for good. The mythology here is excellent, and would be continued for three more films before Ossorio would put his undead Templars to rest. We’ll cover those later, however; in the meantime, check out a copy of Tombs if you can; it’s the easiest of the series to get a hold, and one of the best!
Written by MetalGeorge
One of the few acts that do justice to the traditional heavy metal movement are ENFORCER. Earache’s new crown jewel plays honest, kick ass metal and ‘Diamonds’ has received rave reviews from everyone who has heard it. Now the new video for “Midnight Vice” is available and it kicks serious ass!
IN THIS MOMENT are currently on tour with NONPOINT and at their recent Detroit show, the bands teamed up for an incredible performance of ITM’s smash hit “The Promise”. IN THIS MOMENT have also been announced as one of the acts featured on the upcoming ‘Music As A Weapon’ tour alongside KORN, DISTURBED and SEVENDUST. With such huge touring in front of them and a smash hit at radio, it looks like this band is destined for superstardom!
Tags: a star crossed wasteland, Disturbed, in this moment, korn, Music as a Weapon, NONPOINT, otherwise, Sevendust, The Promise, tour, videos
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Tags: Baptized In Blood, cancer bats, Coal Chamber, devildriver, Dez Fafara, good fight music, roadrunner records, tours
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All is right in the world. LEMMY is finally getting the attention he deserves and I can’t wait to watch this flick. However, it is a straight to DVD release so I’m a bit worried that it might be underwhelming. We’ll see….