Riff of the Day – 08/12/15

Kiss – Shock Me (from the album Love Gun, 1977 Casablanca) When Ace Frehley was on his game, the guy wrote some pretty great riffs. Out of the twenty five albums Kiss has recorded, I listen to Love Gun the most. In my opinion, it is the bands best musical effort, and Ace’s shining moment as a member of Kiss. He even does the singing on Shock Me. Cool fact – Before deciding on Kiss as the name for the band, they went by the moniker Wicked Lester.

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Riff of the Day – 08/11/2015

Masters of RealityIt’s Shit (from the album Welcome to the Western Lodge, 1999 Spitfire Records) Originally from Syracuse, New York, these guys have been making music since the early eighties. Singer/guitarist Chris Goss is also a producer, working with bands like Queens of the Stone Age and Kyuss. Named after the Black Sabbath album ‘Master of Reality‘, these guys are definitely worth checking out.

Five Bands You Should Check Out…

Do you remember the good old days, before internet and smart phones? The long forgotten days when us kids had to read a magazine, watch Much Music (for we Canadians, hey) or MTV to find out about our favorite bands, and for that fact, discover new bands. Now it is as simple as a Google search or logging into iTunes to get information and find your new sound. I can honestly say that the ability to find new music on the World Wide Web is an amazing privilege. This method, and going out to see live shows has given me the pleasure to discover some great new acts. I would like to share a few of these bands with you. I am sure a lot of you will have heard of these outfits, but not everyone is a music nerd (snob) like us folk. Please feel free to share some of your favorites with me.

We Hunt Buffalo (Vancouver, B.C.) Self-described as “dirty, grimy, fuzz rock”, these guys are right up my alley; big riffs, big sound, and Canadian. I have been listening to We Hunt Buffalo since late last year, although they have been around for a spell longer. These guys, along with Anciients and Bison, have made Vancouver one of the best scenes for heavy music over the last few years.

Barn Burner (Montreal, PQ) Disappointingly, Barn Burner is no longer together and have been inactive for a few years. I had the pleasure of seeing this band live, along with Bison at a club show four years back. I was absolutely blown away by how tight they were. They looked like they were having a hell of a good time performing for the hundred or so people that came out to see the show. Barn Burner truly were what the title of their debut album suggests; “Bangers”.

 Pallbearer (Little Rock, AK) Personally, I am a sucker for melodic doom metal. For me, Pallbearer does not disappoint. I purchased a vinyl copy of their debut album Sorrow and Extinction, and have been hooked since. A lot of you who are into the same type of music as me have probably heard about this band, but I figured I would mention them anyways. Pallbearer will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you drink the same tea everyday, life gets boring.

The Shrine (Venice, CA) The dudes in The Shrine seem like the type that would show up at your house party, play an hours worth of blistering rock ’n roll, drink all your beer, make out with your girlfriend, spray paint a dick on your fence and then leave because your party was lame. I had an opportunity to see The Shrine play as part of Calgary’s Sled Island festival last year. I felt violated after their set, but in a good way. Cool fact; The Shrine recorded their debut album, “Primitive Blast” on a reel-to-reel machine. Old school!

Chron Goblin (Calgary, AB) At the risk of sounding like a total homer because they come from my home city, Chron Goblin is another band that deserves more recognition. I have seen them play around town a handful of times, and they get better each time. Locally, they have opened for some great bands like Fu Manchu, 3 Inches of Blood, and Vista Chino. Chron Goblin is a band that will keep heavy music fresh, whether it is locally or they achieve the wider success they deserve.

T.

Top Five – Favorite Screen Serial Killers

Each and every one of us have a little darkness in our soul. It is just human nature.We all go a little mad sometimes…but these next five gentlemen take it maybe a little too far. I am sure they each have their reason for murdering people, but the difference between them and some regular fit-of-rage Joe Blow murderer is that they carefully plot out each and every detail so they don’t get caught. Almost admirable, but wrong none the less. My list has been chosen through a couple of factors. First being style AND substance. You can be as cool as you want, but if you are not smart, you are not a great serial killer. Second being the level of cruelty these characters inflict upon their victims. Please enjoy my top five Hollywood serial killers.

5. Dexter Morgan (Dexter, TV Series played by Michael C. Hall)  Dexter should be higher on my list, but because his kills were restricted to victims whom “deserved to die”, he is bumped down. Dexter had a code, and he pretty much stuck to it. What made Dexter a unique character was that he definitely had a human side. His inner dialogue always had him claim he was a monster, but he was also a husband, father, and brother. The show declined after the fourth season, but when the show was on its game, it was great. Dexter may have been the most intelligent of these five men. After all he did last eight seasons.

4. Patrick Bateman (American Psycho, played by Christian Bale)  Young, rich, handsome, and insane. Sounds like the American dream to me. A few things drove Patrick Bateman to murder. Professional jealousy and vanity were the main reasons. The man put on a rain coat and laid down newspapers so he would not get Paul Allen‘s blood all over his luxurious furniture…while Mr. Allen sat there drinking a cocktail. For those that have seen this film, I’m sure you understand what I mean when I say that Huey Lewis and the News meant something different after this film came out.

3. Sweeny Todd (Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, played by Johnny Depp)  Some musicals are good, some are terrible. Well, most are terrible, but what if you add a maniacal barber who dispatches his victims while they sit down for a trim and a shave. Sweeny Todd not only slits the throats of the good people of London, but he also struck a deal with the neighboring pie shop below. Sweeny kills ’em, and Mrs. Lovett will them into pies. The people of London are eating their own. Sweeny gets bonus points for inventive disposal of his victim’s bodies. Wonderfully dark film with a great cast, including Depp, Helena Bonham-Carter, Alan Rickman, and Sacha Baron Cohen.

2. Hannibal Lector (Hannibal, TV Series, played by Mads Mikkelsen)  Hannibal Lector has been portrayed three times. First, by Brian Cox in the 1986 film Manhunter, followed by an incomparable performance by Sir Anthony Hopkins in the 1991 classic Silence of the Lambs and also in the 2001 release Hannibal. The most recent and current Dr. Lector is played by Mads Mikkelsen on the NBC drama Hannibal. The big screen version of this character from Silence of the Lambs is an incredible work by Hopkins and the film deserves all the attention it has received. I chose the current television version of Hannibal Lector simply because there has been significantly more time to develop the character, and make him more dynamic, and quite frankly, demonic. “The Chesapeake Ripper”  is a man of well refined taste and talent, and a world-class chef when it comes to human flesh. Hannibal is far more than a cannibal. He is also a master manipulator and plays each other character on the show as he pleases. It is a sickening shame that NBC will pull the plug on this show at the end of the current season. It is truly enjoyable and has pushed the boundaries of network television with its mature content.

1. Jame Gumb “Buffalo Bill” (Silence of the Lambs, played by Ted Levine)  Although not the most amount of screen time a serial killer of this ilk deserves, what we do see of “Buffalo Bill” has left a lasting impression on all of us. Mr. Gumb is an all time creep, and the most disturbed serial killer I recall seeing in cinema or television. What gives him this distinction, you ask? Jame Gumb kidnaps his victims, usually larger females (because they have more skin) and keeps them hostage deep in a hole in his basement. This is all done in preparation to skin them and turn them into suits that he can wear. If that is not enough, he also loves moths, and stuffs one down the throat of his victim’s bodies while he discards them. Ted Levine plays this absolutely disturbed maniac brilliantly. There are a handful of scenes involving this character that have become pop culture references that you see from time to time, including a reference in Clerks II that is equally funny and disturbed. “Would you f**k me…?”

Honorable mention: Hannibal Lector (Silence of the Lambs), Mickey and Malory Knox (Natural Born Killers), The Trinity Killer (Dexter), Norman Bates (Psycho 1960)

Top Five Favorite Doom/Stoner Debut Albums

Everybody band has to start somewhere. Some take years to polish their sound before they record their first album. Some bands hit the ground running. In either scenario, you don’t always get a gem on your first try. For some bands, they smash it out of the park their first swing, and capture gold. Look at Gn’R. They made the greatest rock n’ roll record of all time, raw and relentless. Then they imploded. That is a whole discussion for another time. Today I share my top Doom/Stoner band debut albums. I’m sure you won’t agree with a few of my choices, but that’s the fun of it all.  I can’t really decide on a ranking for these five albums. It was hard enough to pick five. So, in no particular order…

Queens of the Stone Age – Queens of the Stone Age (Ipecac, 1998) What do you do if your ground breaking band Kyuss disbands? If you are Joshua Homme, you find a few other musicians and record QOTSA’s self-titled debut. This band has become my favorite over the past decade, and this record still stands up seventeen years later. The riffs drone out and create a total robot-rock feel. Homme proves he has some great falsetto singing chops as well. Listen to: If Only, How To Handle A Rope

Down – NOLA (Electra, 1995) It is hard to believe that this album is twenty years old this year. Pepper Keenan and Phil Anselmo wrote this album of the course of 5 years. The music is heavy and dirty and the lyrics are personal and dark. New Orleans has an amazing history of Doom and Sludge metal, and the members of Down borrowed a little inspiration to bring this amazing record to life. Listen to: Stone the Crow, Bury Me In Smoke

Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath (Vertigo, 1970)  What kind of list would this be if it didn’t have this album as part of the list. The word influence cannot even describe the effect that these lads from Birmingham have had on heavy music for the past 45 years. The title/opening track is still one of the darkest riffs ever played. Tony Iommi created the heavy guitar sound out of necessity as the result of a factory accident. He lost a couple of finger tips, so drop tuning the guitar made it easier to bend the strings as he played. This created his ominous, heavy sound. Listen to: The Wizard, N.I.B. (Nativity in Black)

The Sword – Age Of Winters (Kemado, 2006) It is almost embarrassing to admit that the first time I remember taking notice to The Sword was on the game Guitar Hero II. The song was Freya, and I was blown away by it. I went out and bought the album and listened to it for the better part of the summer. The album is well balanced and the guitar work from J.D. Cronise and Kyle Shutt complement one another perfectly. The riffs are huge, as they should be. These boys are from Texas. Listen to: Barael’s Blade, Winter’s Wolves

High On Fire – The Art of Self Defense (Man’s Ruin, 2000) Stoner rock giants Sleep mad some amazing material, but all good things must end. Guitar player Matt Pike formed High on Fire after his departure from Sleep, and took the musical style into a harder, more aggressive direction. Pike, along with drummer Dez Kensel and bass player George Rice (now former member) recorded The Art of Self Defense. From the opening song Baghdad, you get hit with a wall of riff and sound. After you listen to a High on Fire album you need to sleep it off, because you feel like you just got your ass kicked. Listen to: Fireface, Baghdad

T.

Riff of the Day – 08/03/2015

Black Sabbath – Lord Of This World (from the album Master of Reality 1971) My favorite song from my favorite Sabbath album, Lord of this World is a true blueprint for modern doom and stoner metal. Tony Iommi has written the best riffs for forty-five years, and the rest of these guys are pretty damn good too. I have been blessed to see both the Ozzy Osbourne and Ronnie James Dio incarnations of Black Sabbath. True legends. Crazy fact: Master of Reality was the only Sabbath album to crack the U.S. top ten until their album ’13’ did it forty-two years later.

Pro Wrestlers Turned Horror Film Actors… My Five Favorite Roles for Wrestlers.

Over the years, professional wrestlers have tried to cross over into the world of acting. A few have been successful; Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson might currently be the reigning box office champion with films like San Andreas and Fast 7. On the other side of the coin, many wrestlers have struggled to make the transition, such as Hulk Hogan. Films like Santa With Muscles and No Holds Barred did everything but run wild at the box office. Sure those movies were pretty bad, but you would think that the late 1980’s drawing power and popularity of the “Hulkster” would have translated into Hollywood gold. I guess people do appreciate substance over muscles at the cinema. Today, the world lost one of the all-time greats, and a fine actor in his own right; “Hot Rod” Rowdy Roddy Piper passed away at the far too young age of sixty-one years of age. The Hot Rod could play the hated villain, booed by thousands, but could play the hero as well. adored by the fans who paid to see him in action. Tonight, in Roddy Piper’s honor, I have decided to bring you my top five film roles played by professional wrestlers. Rest in Peace, Hot Rod.

Diamond Dallas PageBilly Ray Snapper (Devil’s Rejects 2005)DDP” was a superstar in the late 90’s to the early 2000’s in the now defunct World Championship Wrestling. In Devil’s Rejects, Page plays one half of the “Unholy Two” with his partner being the incomparable Danny Trejo. The sheriff hires these two to bounty hunt the Firefly Family. Diamond Dallas plays a great greasy, dirty ex-con creep. One of my favorite films.

Paul Levesque (Triple H)Jarko Grimwood (Blade: Trinity 2004) Paul Levesque or “Triple H” has held the WWE world title over ten times and now runs a portion of the WWE along with Vince McMahon. In the second Blade sequel, Levesque plays an unstoppable henchman for the Blade’s most powerful enemy, Dracula. The character is pretty wooden, but Triple H does his best with what he is given. This is a pretty stacked cast, but the former WWE champ still manages to get noticed. Blade wins in the end, but I bet Triple H would show him a thing or to inside a steel cage.

Glen Jacobs (Kane)Jacob Goodnight (See No Evil 2006) In the world of pro wrestling, Glen Jacobs has played Kane, an evil disciple from hell tagged “The Devil’s Favorite Demon” for close to twenty years. In See No Evil, and plays a psychotic recluse who stalks the hallways of an abandoned hotel. Not too much of a stretch as far as stepping outside of his acting comfort zone, but at seven feet tall and three hundred pounds, he plays a mighty imposing slasher. I actually thought this was a well done, if unoriginal, horror flick.

Jesse “The Body” Ventura Blain (Predator 1987) Before “The Body” was a reclusive conspiracy theorist, he was the Governor of the state of Minnesota. Even before that, he tried his hand at acting. After a career as pro wrestler and a WWE color commentator, Hollywood called. Ventura starred in a few action roles, and even played a “Man in Black” in an episode of X-Files. His best, and quite frankly, most macho role was as “Blain” in the Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi classic Predator. A total bad ass complete with chewing tobacco, Gatling gun, and absolutely no time to bleed.

Rowdy Roddy PiperNada (They Live 1988) In John Carpenter’s underrated classic They Live, Piper plays a drifter who finds a pair of Ray Bans that reveal a pretty big secret. Through these sun glasses, Nada can see who is human, and more importantly, an alien. The world is controlled by these creeps, and the Hot Rod must stop them. A much taller order than having a boxing match with Mr. T at Wrestlemania 2. And just like in life, in They Live the Hot Rod came to do two things…chew bubble gum and kick ass. And he is all out of bubblegum.

T.