I’m Not Dead


 

Seriously, I’m still around.

After my absence during most of the month of April I meant to start posting more regularly during the month of May. But how does that old saying go? The best laid plans of mice and men often go array.

During the week from the 14th – 21st I was on vacation with my sister and her family. Vacation isn’t a great time for writing blogs, but the weather wasn’t agreeable for laying on the beach anyway so I thought I’d give it a go. I was still debating on whether or not to write one when I caught the stingray.

This is the wrong way to pick up a stingray.

This is the wrong way to pick up a stingray.

I love to go fishing on vacations. I live in a landlocked part of the world so the chance to cast a line into the ocean is always a treat for me. Unfortunately, my moronic Yankee ass didn’t realize the correct way to pick up a stingray is by it’s tail… with pliers.

This is why.

This is why.

So that put a bit of a damper on writing for a few days. I still enjoyed the aquarium, Jamestown and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, but I didn’t do a whole lot more fishing.

And no, I didn’t get any super powers.

Then on the way home my car broke down in Hagerstown, Maryland. That would have been the perfect time to do a little bit of blog writing. But alas, my heart wasn’t in it. When you’re 300 miles from home and not sure if or when you’re going to make it back it makes for a pretty stressful day. I had hoped to get back into the swing of things quickly, but I’ve spent the last week taking long naps and catching up on Game of Thrones.

So please excuse my absence. Hopefully you’ve noticed I’ve still been liking your posts and occasionally commenting, but I’m hoping to have a few new posts for you in the next few weeks. Hope you enjoy.

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Pantera “The Great Southern Trendkill”


Pantera The Great Southern Trendkill

Platinum Anniversary Albums

7 May 1996, Rhino/Elektra

It’s really difficult to pick just one but if I had to I’d call The Great Southern Trendkill my favorite Pantera album. It wasn’t the first I ever heard and it doesn’t have a lot of big hits on it, but it does have the coolest cover of all their albums. I’ll take that rattlesnake over the guy getting punched in the face on¬†Vulgar Display of Power any day.

Honestly, I think it works better as a whole. All of their other albums lose me during the second half. Sure Vulgar has the great track “Hollow” as a closer and Far Beyond Driven ends with their cover of “Planet Caravan,” but I couldn’t pick out most of the other songs on the latter part of those albums. And I’m not even sure I’ve ever listened to the second half of Reinventing the Steel.

But Trendkill is solid from top to bottom. Right from the opening of the title track you know what you’re in for. BLLLLAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! screamed over the chugged guitars and pounding drums. That may be the greatest opening to any album ever. “Fuck it,” they seem to say. “We’re going all in.”

“War Nerve” won me over as a teenager with the line “Fuck the world for all it’s worth, every inch of planet Earth.” Honestly sometimes after a tough day at work I still find myself humming that.

I remember ¬†thinking the guitar solo in “Drag the Waters” felt forced when I was younger. It seemed like it was jammed in there because Dimebag Darrell was a guitar hero and every Pantera song needed a solo. I’ve since changed my mind on that and love the song structures all through this album. Not only are the songs filled with the riffs and leads that they need but nothing is overplayed. Ironically, this sounds like a rather simple guitar album for a shredder as accomplished as Darrell. The riffs are simple, but goddamn are they heavy.

And it’s hard to ignore how talented the rest of the group was on this album. This is definitely one of Phil Anselmo’s greatest vocal and lyrical performances. From the poignant, heartfelt, somber melodies on “Suicide Note Pt. 1” to the throat searing screeches on “Suicide Note Pt. 2” the man runs from opposite ends of the spectrum seamlessly over the course of two songs.

And how could anyone forget “Floods”? It may not be the greatest song ever, but that is one of the greatest guitar solos ever. When I think of this song I don’t ever get the melodies from the verse or chorus in my head. It’s that solo all the way.

 

I’m not sure if this is a concept album, but some of the themes are repeated. I hear the words “Fuck the World” several times through it. And the desire to kill all trends is reinforced during the closing track “Sandblasted Skin.”

I’m not sure if Pantera just ignored what was going on around them musically, made a conscious decision to go against what they were hearing or just went into the studio and jammed out a great album. I know this was the beginning of the end for them as Anselmo was struggling with heroin addiction and working on his own away from the group. But whatever their goal or statement was, I think it’s safe to say they created a masterpiece.

 

Happy Mother’s Day


The best thing about having done a blog for several years is that I’ve already done the obvious songs for Mother’s Day. The past few years have seen the obvious choices from Danzig and Pink Floyd, but this year I had to dig deep into my knowledge of crossover punk/thrash to remember this great track from Suicidal Tendencies.

Share it with your birth giver!

 

 

I Was So Close…


Sisters_PosterArtDo you remember Snow?

No, not the crystalline winter precipitation that we see less and less of thanks to global warming, but the one-hit, Canadian rapper/ reggae artist.

I swear I almost forgot all about him. It was beautiful. For several years now I’ve been in a state of bliss because I never got his 1992 hit song “Informer” stuck in my head.

Then I watched “Sisters” The new movie where they feature that song during a dance routine.

 

Seriously, all because of one silly scene I get that song stuck in my head all the time now. I don’t know what to do. I’m thinking about suing Amy Poehler and Tina Fey.

This has caused me some serious mental distress.