Monday, July 4, 2016

An ABSURD mistake

I just got the Absurd Discography '91 - '92 CD, and when listening to the live '92 tracks, I noticed
that the live versions of "Storm of Malevolence" and "Drained of Body Chemicals" (which are both introduced by name) were swapped compared to the tracklisting on the CD itself and the original EP.

Sure enough, listening to track #1 carefully reveals "drained of body chemicals" is right in the chorus!  So apparently all along the first shorter track has actually been "Drained of Body Chemicals," and "Storm of Malevolence" is the second.  I poked around a bit online but could find nothing at all mentioning an out-of-order tracklisting (which struck me as kind of weird given all the dödsmetall reissue mania and Sunlight guitar tone worship). 

Both versions of the original demo tape also list "Storm of Malevolence" first, so I don't know if this mix-up originated with the original tapes or with Seraphic Decay when the EPs were pressed.  I welcome comments from anyone with further info.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Weird Tales of Metal - Hirax cameo on "Mama's Family"

In the 1988 Mama's Family episode "Many Unhappy Returns," Bubba receives a record by "Spilled Brains."  Keen-eyed metal aficianados will recognize the front as being a modified Hirax Raging Violence cover (the back of the prop appears to be the cover to some other record I don't recognize).

Based on the use of the prop LP, it's most likely someone looked through records randomly, trying to find artwork that was both weird yet content-appropriate for a syndicated sitcom.

If you care, the episode can be seen here (prop in question first appears at 11:10).

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Commercial Metal, Vol. 9

Even back in the 70s, female heavy music "fans" came off as airheads.

"Greatest metal band of all time" made me snicker.  Don't worry, the post with ads from the bonafide greatest metal band of all time is coming soon...

Saturday, May 21, 2016

If You Prefer Heavy Metal!

Just a quick note that I have started up a second blog, Heavy Metal Pervert, where I plan to post pictures of metal releases (with a strong emphasis on CD porn) and notes/commentary about them.  I must stress I am not interested in having anything like a full-fledged review blog; the new blog will be a place to put my initial impressions before I (in most cases) forget what something sounds like.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Ordered to Kill for Pleasure

I realize replacing Gary is no small feat, but couldn't nowadays Blood Feast exhibit a tiny bit of quality control? If the monotonous shouter they currently have on vocals is any indicator, the upcoming album is destined to be a $3.33 Hell's Headbangers clearance title.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Weird Tales of Metal - Lone Rager "Metal Rap" 12" (1984)

Once upon a time, when he still had metal relevance, Jonny Z. of Megaforce got the questionable idea of doing a one-off novelty song with the Rods serving as his backing band.  So what is the resulting record?  An oddball novelty release deserving of its minor infamy? A wacky 80's curiousity?  A strange testament to the growing popularity and mainstream acceptance of metal at the time?  A vanity project?  A well-intentioned attempt to celebrate the greatness of metal gone wrong?  A harebrained Zazula scheme?  Probably some of all of these.

Before going into the music, let's look at the cover, which is an immediate subject of much derision.  Jonny is decked out like a low budget version of El Duce.  Actually, considering that it's El Duce we're talking about, let's say lower budget, but the sweat-stained pillowcase here really does make the Mentors hoods look like highbrow costuming.  The Lone Rager is clearly an early proponent of the fringe-jacket-in-metal look, also championed by Dave Mustaine and Turbo-era Halford.  I wish I had written about this record years ago so I could make a gag about Marsha being whipped with the belt he's wielding, but unfortunately nowadays I'm immediately reminded of the Fueled By Fire album with the Hot Topic patron looking kid being choked with a pyramid stud belt.  The Rager appears to be laying down his metal credo from a law office; since Zazula is Jewish, I'm guessing a relative offered its use for a quick photoshoot.

I have to stress that in contrast to its title, there's no actual rap to be found on Metal Rap.  The backing track is relatively simplistic metal/hard rock that keeps an upbeat rhythm but is free from any trace of rap.  Jonny's vocals are an attempt at "rapping," perhaps, but more accurately it's a Jersey accent--with added "funky" inflection--talking in a stilted cadence.  It's corny, tongue-in-cheek stuff and  the vocals definitely bring a '70s radio DJ-type voice to mind.  The most annoying element is the dumb child chorus singing "Metal Music" after every verse, foreshadowing poppy European power and folk metal trends.  The kids are all individually credited on the back cover, but I don't recognize any of the last names except for Jonny's daughter.  I'm not sure if they are children of band members, of Old Bridge Militia members, of booth owners at the Route 18 flea market, or what.  I would be delighted to learn that any of these children were molested due to having appeared on this recording.

The B-side ("Special Air-Guitar Headbanging Dub") is an instrumental version with guitar shredding over the top courtesy of Andy "Duck" MacDonald (guitarist in later incarnations of Blue Cheer, who also played on the Thrasher album on Combat).  It's pleasant enough but admittedly it exudes a certain feeling of stock music genericness--it reminds me a lot of the end credits music from the old Hard'n'Heavy videotapes.  One can also draw some comparisons to Thor's "Death March," though the Thor instrumental is much more ominous--and better.  All that said, I wouldn't mind listening to an album of instrumental material like this at all.  And therein lies the major problem with this release--the A-side is more "interesting" from a novelty standpoint, but has very limited value for repeat listening.  The B-side is more enjoyable, but without any vocals it completely sidesteps the whole "rap" schtick the record is based on and seems like a tacked-on afterthought.  While the A-side was put on the Deeper into the Vault compilation, the B-side is unfortunately unavailable elsewhere--it would be nice to see it on a compilation or as a bonus track just for the sake of completism.

The lyrics are surprisingly good overall, especially considering they were most likely penned in a couple of minutes.  Yes, some lame bands are mentioned and corny lines show up in order to force things to rhyme, but they're fairly witty--get past the tongue-in-cheek aspect, and they contain a pretty accurate assessment of the early metal scene.  There's also some fun "Heavy Metal Hunter"-style name-checking at the end, and I can't bring myself to be overly harsh with any lyrics that manage to mention Bodine, H-Bomb, and X-Ray in a single verse.

Admittedly this was a pretty dumb idea that ended up being executed well enough, and as an inoffensive novelty, it's far from the worst things Megaforce has been associated with.  I'm not sure it deserved retail release as a 12", though; it should have been a flexi or perhaps a freebie for buying $50 worth of stuff at Rock n' Rock Heaven.  Not to diminish his contributions to heavy metal, but it seems like Jonny Z. always had a bit of a narcissistic streak (some of the old Megaforce, uh, "promotional tactics," the Metallica Behind the Music clip where he made a tenous connection between Megadeth's name and Megaforce, and the liner notes of the Deeper into the Vault compilation, which tout Lone Rager as some sort of groundbreaking genre fusion), so I wonder if putting this out was an extension of that.