I have had a life-long love of music, but from the first time I heard Kiss and Black Sabbath with my landlord's son in Nicholasville, KY in the mid 70's, I have been hooked on Hard Rock and Metal. While my tastes in music have done nothing but expand since then, Metal remains closest to my heart. In addition, I have played bass, still play guitar and have literally 1000's of CDs/MP3s, so my knowledge is long steeped and honest. I don't buy the whole splintered, sub-genres thing and choose to like bands and music based solely on individual merits. Obviously, this is always colored by my mood, what I need at any given point and time and what is generally pleasing to my ear. I also don't like to rip any music or band, instead having an open mind and ear for it all because I have a passion for it all. It is completely subjective and in a constant state of flux. Consider me a music "nerd" not a music "snob". As an extension of this love, I hope to share this passion with everyone here and learn from your passion as well! - Odyssey -
What can be said about John5 that has not been said a thousand times by ten thousand different people since his meteoric rise in the music business started way back when he moved to Los Angeles from Michigan at the ripe old age of 17? Hell, his resume reads like a veritable who’s who in a wide variety of genres, playing and writing with the likes of RudySarzo, DavidLeeRoth, PaulStanley, MarilynManson, RobHalford, RobZombie all the way to JohnWetton (Asia), Salt–N–Pepa, RickyMartin, k.d. lang, MeatLoaf, LynyrdSkynyrd and many, many others. One hot commodity, to say the least! Now, guitarist friends and I might say that it is his guitar playing that makes him stand apart from the rest of the crowd. Big surprise with influences like Malmsteen, Satch, Vai, Hendrix, Page, AlbertLee, LesPaul, ChetAtkins, PaulGilbert, Bumblefoot, JimRoot, Buckethead and EricJohnson. Others may think that it is the company that he keeps and the bands that he has played and written for that makes him great. Still others may hold the opinion that he is just plain fun to watch live. Well, I am here to tell you that all three apply to this wizard of six-string sorcery, especially having just recently been initiated into John5andTheCreatures live show at 1904MusicHall here in Jacksonville, FL.
Damn. What can be said about the legendary Anvil that has not been said a thousand times before by media outlets, long-time fans and even critics? Hell, even larger-than-life heavy hitters like Motorhead and Metallica have consistently over the years praised and respected Anvil for holding true to what makes them great and not kowtowing to outside influences to put them at the will of any record company, promoter or music outlet. These guys play for two reasons: 1). They love what they do and 2). For their fans. Anything past these two things is just icing. Since 1978, this band has been producing quality, TraditionalHeavyMetal with their distinctive thumbprint, their way 100%. Call them the biggest underground band in the world or a highly underrated and underappreciated A-Lister because it doesn’t really matter in the end. They are still going to slam into you like a runaway ice cream truck and either hurt you or (if you have my sense of humor) truly appreciate everything that they have done and continue to do. No amount of turmoil, band disruption, criticism or boundary can slow down, much less stop Anvil from putting out high-speed quality Metal and then relentlessly tour to get said killer music in your face, up close and personal (what you can expect at one of their shows can be found here). Much and continued sincere respect for Anvil!
This was one of those shows that I could not wait to get to; kind of like Christmas a few weeks late. Not only was I waiting to see a now legendary band, but also to see some friends I have not seen in quite a while, see a couple of bands I have not seen before and able to see a couple of favorite local bands that I have become friends with over time. Great being part of the local Metal scene here in Jacksonville! Some of the best people playing some of the best music available anywhere! Gotta love it! Thanks to GoBig Entertainment for making this show happen!
Wyatt “Screamin’Demon” Anderson – vocals JonLeon – bass/guitars JamesJLaRue – lead guitars and keyboards/orchestration DylanMarks – drums
As an answer to the angsty, low tuned, screamo music that has taken over since the early 2000’s, Los Angeles, CA’sWhiteWizzard was formed by bass/guitar player and songwriter JonLeon in mid-2007. Stressing the importance of superior songwriting, melody and appropriate harmonies, Jon set out to add all of the fun and good times back to HardRock and Metal that had been all but abandoned since the late 80’s and early 90’s when Metal was in its infancy and heyday. Since their inception, WhiteWizzard has released a couple of EPs, a number of singles and four, full-length CDs entitled OvertheTop (2010), FlyingTigers (2011, and one of my favorites!), TheDevil’sCut (2013) and, released Friday, January 12th, 2018 on the M-TheoryAudio label (a first for the band), InfernalOverdrive.
Any fan of Symphonic, female-fronted Metal is intimately familiar with, now legendary, Leaves’ Eyes. Over the course of the last fourteen years, the band has released a total of six albums including Lovelorn(2004), VinlandSaga(2005), Njord (2009), Meredead (2011), SymphoniesoftheNight (2013) and KingofKings in late 2015. Based on a myriad of Nordic themes such as the mystical, underwater world of the mermaid, adventures of the ancient mariner, Celtic folk songs, tales of heroic women over the course of mankind’s existence and, most recently a concept album revolving around the first king of Norway, Leaves’ Eyes has carved their epic status in stone and set a firm foundation for the entire Symphonic sub-genre of Metal. By April 2016, Finnish vocalist ElinaSiirala replaced long-standing front-woman LivKristine amid much drama and controversy. Fans from all over the world held their collective breaths as the first act of the band played out to its close. Once Elina proved herself at Hammersonic in Jakarta, Indonesia, MetalFemaleVoices, WaveGotik, Treffen, MastersofSymphonicMetal, FullMetalCruise and many other, fans breathed a sigh of relief knowing that Elina had what it takes to carry the standard. This should come as no surprise since Liv had a hand in choosing her replacement. Last year, Leaves’ Eyes ventured on their most bold world tour yet, hitting Europe, Asia, North America and South America; even being joined by one of my favorite bands, Sabaton, among many others and selling out shows throughout. Unfortunately, I have not had the pleasure of seeing Leaves’ Eyes live but are said to have “shows [that are] are spectacular events featuring breathtaking stage sets like a Viking ship or the unforgettable ‘SwordsintheStone’ monument.”
Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple and Black Country Communion) – Bass
ChadSmith (RedHotChiliPeppers) – Drums
MikeFraser(AC/DC, TheRazor’s Edge and long time Satriani collaborator since CrystalPlanet) – Producer/Engineer/Mixer
JoeSatriani certainly needs no introduction and remains one of my favorite guitarists of all time. What will be sixteen albums over the course of thirty one years, teacher of many other great guitarists (KirkHammet, AndyTimmons, SteveVai, AlexSkolnick, CharlieHunter, LarryLaLonde, KevinCadogan, RickHunolt, DavidBryson, GeoffTyson, PhilKettner, to name a few), member of supergroup Chickenfoot, undeniably one of the most influential guitarists of all time, multiple GrammyAward nominations, headliner of G3 since 1995 featuring a veritable who’s who of the greatest the guitar world has to offer and a man that just exudes passion and fun on every stage he has ever landed on are just a few meager mentions of this man’s incredible talents. I have had the pleasure of seeing Joe quite a few times over the course of his long career and he so obviously loves what he is doing now more than he ever has. He just keeps getting better and enjoying it more and more as the years wear on. Where a jaded view of the music business has tainted the passion of so many other bands I have seen lately, Satriani hits the stage with continued wide-eyed wonder. Honestly, I think Satch enjoys playing more than his fans like watching him slay his beloved Ibanez.
*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured State*
This month’s State is Nebraska!
On this week’s Stateofthe Art spotlight of Metal from Nebraska, I would like to introduce a Progressive/PowerMetal band that call Omaha home. Members include guitarist/vocalist JodyKermoade, bass player LeighJamieson, drummer AndrewPace and RockyPulley covering keyboards during live shows and will be featured on their forthcoming album. The band is FallenReign.
Little did we know that Allegaeon, whose album ProponentforSentience hit our lists for best of 2016 (check out our extensive review here), recorded not one, but two spectacular Rush covers! Those of us that heard “Subdivisions” immediately fell in love with their rendition of it and made it their most streamed song off of the aforementioned album. Celebrating today’s date, January 6, 2018, the date version of the band’s song “1.618”, Allegaeon have just cut loose with “Animate” worldwide on all of the digital music services. It can be sampled and bought at your favorite source here.
April Rose – Vocals and Guitar Oscar Garcia – Drums DennisBurns – Guitar JusticeMaynard – Bass
AuditoryArmory is a female fronted AlternativeMetal band that manages to take the best of HardRock, Metal, ProgressiveRock and even some Jazz and cleanly distills them into a sound thatcan only be identified as theirs. This is the advantage of taking on music with wide, curious and wandering eyes instead of within the confines of what is and what should be for any certain genre/sub-genre of music and the die-hard fans that constantly in-fight these categorizations to death. This has always been a pet peeve. Categories should be used simply as a way of describing a sound to someone that has not heard of the band, not as some confining boundary of what music should sound like. Imagine, if you will, a musical landscape where Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Bach, Gershwin, Coltrane, WesMontgomery, MilesDavis, CharlieParker, TheBeatles, Elvis, Hendrix, Yes, Rush, MichaelHedges, PinkFloyd, EddieVanHalen, IronMaiden, JudusPriest, TheBig4, ChuckSchuldiner, Pantera, CannibalCorpse and Venom chose not to think outside of the box. Got it worked out? Not a pretty picture, huh? This is precisely the reason I actively search out and share bands that throw the whole “writing within a box” thing to the wind. AuditoryArmory is, obviously, one such band that fits the mold of not fitting in one.
Like every year, we have been inundated with tons of killer, new Metal in 2017. Thankfully, we here at MetalNexus have the freedom to share what we personally liked over the course of the year. No sales numbers. No record label affiliation or pressure. No sub-genre infighting. No BS. Just an honest list of what struck us individually. Like past years, my list is as broad as my musical tastes and covers everything from instrumentals, to TechDeath, to PowerMetal, to Thrash and even a top-notch ProgressiveRock band. Hopefully, some of my favorites will become yours and will propagate the audience for each and every band listed below. I sincerely hope that 2018 brings bands and albums this good. Enjoy and continue expanding our Metal family!