Results for metal
In the 1980s, Slayer redefined the metal genre by bringing more speed and intensity than many had ever heard. But the band's musical virtuosity was often overshadowed by their lyrics and imagery, which at times referenced violence and satanism. That made them the target of groups like the Parents Music Resource Center, which was cofounded by Tipper Gore. But despite critics, they've been going strong for over three decades, despite personel changes and the tragic death of Jeff Hannenman earlier this year. In 2010, founding members Dave Lombardo (who has since left the band) and Kerry King sat down with Jim and Greg to talk about their favorite Slayer moments, working with Rick Rubin and what they'd say to parents concerned about their music.Go to episode 421
In the 1980's Slayer redefined the metal genre, bringing more speed and intensity than many had ever heard. But the musical virtuosity of members Tom Araya, Jeff Hanneman, Kerry King and Dave Lombardo was often overshadowed by their lyrics and imagery, which at times referenced violence and satanism. That made them the target of groups like the Parents Music Resource Center, which was co-founded by Tipper Gore. But despite critics, they've been going strong for over three decades and are currently out on tour. Drummer Dave Lombardo and guitarist Kerry King sit down with Jim and Greg to talk about their favorite Slayer moments, working with Rick Rubin and what they'd say to parents concerned about their music.Go to episode 250
Mastodon Blood Mountain
Warning: The first album up for review may blow out your speakers. Public radio listeners aren't likely to hear the gargantuan sound of hard core rockers Mastodon, so Sound Opinions is happy to bring it you. After Tool's recent release, Mastodon's new album Blood Mountain was the most highly anticipated metal release of the year. Both Jim and Greg find the members of Mastodon to be highly proficient musicians, as well as good students of rock history. They have a keen sense of melody and understand the all-important guitar riff, and their sound harkens back to that of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, as well as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. In fact, we're hard pressed to classify it, though metal fans certainly love to try. Whatever you call it, Jim and Greg urge you to Buy It.
Black Mountain In the Future
The final album up for debate this week is In the Future from stoner rockers Black Mountain. Jim and Greg describe the genre as something you either get or you don‘t. So if you’re the type of listener to get down to the heavy, psychedelic metal sounds of bands like Kyuss and Fu Manchu, you‘ll find this record to be pure, headbanging joy…at least according to Jim. Greg is also a fan, but he’s impressed with how smart the band is and how relevant their lyrics are. Whether or not you choose to pay attention to the lyrics, both critics recommend that you Buy It.
The Obsessed Sacred
Although The Obsessed was formed by Scott“Wino”Weinrich back in 1976, the Maryland metal band has only released four albums in its career. The latest, Sacred, is its first in 23 years and continues the band's blend of stoner rock, doom metal, and biker rock. According to Greg, Wino is not revisiting his old glories but is instead writing contemplatively about his life as an outsider in very honest terms. Although the production is cleaner than on previous records, that serves to underline the band's great melodies. Jim says that the great thing about metal is that it doesn't matter what you look like or how old you are, as long as you can deliver the goods – and Wino can do just that. The songs on Sacred are as good as any in the band's past, with more bottom than ever in the sound. The album earns a double-Buy It.
Mastodon Emperor of Sand
The Atlanta metal band Mastodon has just released its seventh album, Emperor of Sand. Like previous Mastodon albums, the album follows a thematic concept. This time it follows the tale of a man sentenced to wander the empty, desolate desert. Greg thinks the thematic elements work well, along with a slightly“pop-ish approach”with a turn towards melodic vocals. In addition to the smooth vocals, Greg believes their integration of different instruments is extremely strong (tubular bells!). He gives it a Buy It. Jim likens Mastodon's sound to mid-period Rush, especially when it comes to their progressive rock sound and detailed lyricism. He thinks it's as good as Mastodon gets and gives Emperor of Sand an enthusiastic Buy It.
Converge All We Love We Leave Behind
How could we not end the Halloween special with a band from Salem, Massachusetts? Metal group Converge has a new album out called All We Love We Leave Behind, and it continues their successful two-decade run. Converge is often referred to as“smart metal,”but Jim thinks“ambitious metal”is more apt. This especially applies to the drummer's range of almost jazzy rhythms. Greg says few bands combine aggression with virtuosity better than Converge. The soundscapes are dreamlike and the guitar bursts mind-boggling. All We Love We Leave Behind gets two Buy It ratings.
Anvil This Is Thirteen
Jim and Greg end the show with a review of This Is Thirteen by the Toronto metal band Anvil. Anvil is influential in the speed and thrash communities, but hasn't received much mainstream attention until now. The reason for the increased exposure is the release of the critically acclaimed documentary Anvil! The Story of Anvil, which chronicles the band's tough road. Jim calls Anvil a“meat and potatoes”metal band, but hears the conviction and heart in their music. He gives This is Thirteen a Try It. Greg loves their sound. They aren't on the Motorhead level of fame, but have a similar hard, no-nonsense style. The drummer really kicks it into gear for Greg, and he gives Anvil's new record a Buy It.
Mastodon Crack the Skye
And just when you thought we couldn't rock any harder, Jim and Greg get to their review of heavy metal band Mastodon's latest release Crack the Skye. The quartet also faces bigger exposure with this album, and the question in fans' minds is if they can do it without selling out. Jim and Greg's response: definitely. For Jim, Crack the Skye is dark and disorienting, as metal should be. But, producer Brendan O'Brien helped keep the music melodic and on course. Greg believes the songs‘ emotions will help draw more people in, but without sacrificing Mastodon’s hardcore metal roots. Crack the Skye gets two Buy Its.
Slayer World Painted Blood
Completely shifting gears, Jimand Gregturn their attention to one of the cornerstone metal bands of the past two decades: Slayer. The band has consistently pushed the limits of the genre, and now they are back with their 10th studio album World Painted Blood. When they first emerged, Slayer was full of shock value. Now that some of that has worn off, it's all about the sound. Greg hears more texture added to their trademark speed and aggression. Vocalist Tom Araya is even singing more. It's another fine Slayer album to Greg, and he gives it a Buy It. Jim agrees, and encourages listeners to go see Slayer live. He thinks everyone needs that kind of intensity at least once in their life.
Lou Reed & Metallica Lulu
In the list of rock collaborations we never thought we'd witness, Lou Reed and Metallica are right at the top. A pioneer of punk has joined forces with pioneers of thrash metal for Lulu, an album inspired by the writing of German expressionist playwright Frank Wedekind. Yep it's as strange as it sounds, though Jim reminds us that Reed has gone metal in the past, and well. But here, he is just talking his way through the vocals. And Metallica isn‘t doing him any favors. Jim compares their virtuosity to the kind you’ll hear at Guitar Center. To Greg the album is so dashed off and improvised, its sound like raw demos with no actual songs to be discerned. And he's especially critical of singer James Hetfield's backing vocals. Greg calls Lulu one big raised middle digit to fans; Metallica and Lou Reed get a double Trash It.
Mastodon The Hunter
Some call Mastodon the saviors of metal. Others…hipster sellouts. But Jim and Greg just think they make terrific music. Combining a little Black Sabbath with a little Melvins, they are experimental and hard rocking without losing their sense of melody and harmony. Their new album The Hunter marks five successful releases in a row. Jim and Greg say Buy It.
Disfear Live the Storm
Switching musical gears entirely, Jim and Greg move on to the new album by Swedish metal band Disfear. Sweden is one of the metal capitals of the world, and Live the Storm is the band's sixth album. And with this latest release, Disfear, new vocalist Tomas Lindberg and producer Kurt Ballou, have brought their music up to a new level. Greg thinks their sound and playing have never been captured better. And, while they are hard to understand, listeners who want to parse the provided lyrics won't be disappointed. Jim puts his opinion more simply: Either you Live the Storm or you don't. In other words, either you want to rock out to Swedish metal or you don‘t. And if you do, you won’t be disappointed by this album. Disfear's Live the Storm gets two Buy Its.
Inspired by a recent trip to Portland, OR for a special taping of the show with Broken Bells (stay tuned to hear it!), Jim spends his latest trip to the Desert Island remembering The City of Roses's 1980's hardcore punk scene. Jim tells us that trailblazers like Greg Sage and his Wire-esque band The Wipers never quite get the credit they deserve for laying the groundwork for Seattle's grunge music explosion in the ‘90’s. (Nirvana actually covered a couple Wipers tunes.) Another prominent Portland-area hardcore band, Poison Idea, was also influenced by Sage. Specifically the band's guitarist, Tom Roberts, better known as Pig Champion. Jim recalls that what Roberts may have lacked in showmanship (he mostly sat on a folding chair while on stage), he made up for in sheer metal guitar prowess. Sadly, Roberts passed away in 2006 at the age of only 47. So this week, Jim pays tribute to both the Portland hardcore scene and Robert's indelible mark on it, by playing a live recording of Poison Idea's Wipers cover "Up Front," which features more than 12-minutes of Robert's virtuoso guitar.Go to episode 455
Unless you‘ve been hiding in a cave, it’s been impossible to escape "Hello," the new single from British singer Adele. It sold 1.11 million copies in its first week – only Elton John's "Candle in the Wind 1997" has ever sold more in a single week span. Adele is basically a music industry unto herself. In recent years, only Taylor Swift has come close in terms of sales.“Hello,”a 5-minute piano ballad, features production by Greg Kurstin, who has also worked with big names like Katy Perry and Kelly Clarkson. It remains to be seen if Adele's new album takes her into uncharted territory, or is just a continuation of her previous work.
Tragedy struck a nightclub in Bucharest, Romania on October 30 when the metal band Goodbye to Gravity's stage pyrotechnics started a fire. 32 people died and hundreds were injured. This launched an unprecedented wave of protests against the perceived lax enforcement of laws, culminating in the resignation of Romanian Prime Minster Vincent Porta. This kind of tragedy has happened too frequently, including the deadly 2003 fire at a Great White concert in Rhode Island. Jim is dumbfounded that any band would still use fireworks at an indoor concert.Go to episode 519
With his mutton chops, leather biker gear, and one word moniker, Lemmy was a larger-than-life rock icon. The lead singer, bassist, and founder of English heavy metal innovators Motörhead died on December 28 at the age of 70. Born Ian Kilmister, Lemmy started out as a roadie for Jimi Hendrix before making important contributions to the seminal space rock band Hawkwind. After getting kicked out of that band in 1975, he formed Motörhead. Initially they didn't fit in with the metal and progressive rock acts of the time, but became a template for thrash metal in the 1980s. Greg always appreciated the sly sense of humor behind Lemmy's music. Jim notes that he was also a serious scholar of military history. In tribute to Lemmy's passing, he plays the 1979 Motörhead cut "Bomber" about the Heinkel He 111 aircraft.Go to episode 528
Slayer is undoubtedly one of the most important metal acts ever. Heck, in any genre. And one of its founders, Jeff Hanneman, died recently at age 49. As Greg explains, this guy really brought the riffs. He and fellow guitarist Kerry King were like race car drivers, both playing lead guitar and then zooming out ahead. It was especially amazing to witness this live. Unfortunately Jeff didn't join his bandmates for a visit to our studios a few years ago. But we remember him through Slayer's music. Check out "War Ensemble" from 1990's Seasons in the Abyss.
Say you're Hollywood heavyweight Harvey Weinstein. Who do you turn to in order to bring Led Zeppelin back together for a Hurricane Sandy benefit? Why former President Bill Clinton of course! He's brokered many a deal-both foreign and congressional. So why not a rock and roll deal? Well, turns out the Golden God was not so easily moved by Clinton's charms.Go to episode 389
Fresh from stops in Japan andSweden, the Sound Opinions World Tour continues south of the border. Public radio's "The Latin Alternative" co-host Josh Norek is our guide to Mexico's music scene. As Vice President of the Latin alternative music label Nacional Records, Norek's had a chance to work with many of Mexico's pioneering rock acts, from Saul Hernandez's Jaguares, to pop-rock arena act Mana. He's seen the audience for Mexican music in the U.S. grow (as second and third generation Mexican-Americans get in touch with their musical roots), and he's seen it get more experimental. Norek argues that Mexico's musical renaissance really kicked into gear with Café Tacvba in the nineties. Tacvba fused genres like ska, metal, and punk with traditional Mexican regional music. Cafe Tacvba sounded Mexican and were proud of it. More recently, DJ outfits like Nortec Collective and Mexican Institute of Sound have adapted the same approach to techno, merging beats and norte~no samples, for example. Norek says Mexico's music scene continues to develop in spite of formidable challenges; drug-related violence has forced artists in cities like Monterrey, Guadalajara, and Tijuana to relocate to Mexico City and L.A.
Jim and Greg round out their Mexican tour stop with a call-in to Sesiones TV host and music journalist Alejandro Franco in Mexico City. Their mission? To find out what Mexican music fans are listening to right now. Franco says that while rockers Zoe are topping the charts, it's Carla Morrisson and Juan Cirerol who are packing Mexico City's hipster clubs. And check out our Mexico playlist on Spotify.
Here are the Mexican artists featured in this episode
- Café Tacvba
- Maldita Vecindad
- Nortec Collective
- El Gran Silencio
- Control Machete
- Mexican Institute of Sound
- Carla Morrison
- Juan Cirerol