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Posts tagged “Glam Metal

Drawing Lines – The Self-Defeating Division and Derision in the Metal Community

You may remember me writing a different article on prejudice and bias in the metal community a while back. Consider this a companion piece to that one, as I’m taking on the same basic issue from a slightly different angle. Enjoy!

Image courtesy of  Last.fm

Image courtesy of Last.fm

I had an interesting talk with a co-worker the other day.

This co-worker of mine is big into the punk scene. He’s very much like me in his approach to punk in that he believes all forms have bands with merit. He doesn’t discriminate between pop-punk bands like Gob, hardcore like Black Flag, proto-punk like The Stooges, etc. He feels that there is quality music to be found in every portion of that genre. He feels that for punks to put themselves in even smaller boxes is ultimately self-defeating.

I couldn’t agree with him more. As someone who likes glam metal, death metal, NWOBHM, tech-thrash, and a whole host of other styles, I feel that for a metal fan to deny ones self exposure to new music based purely on some kind of prejudice against a certain scene or time frame is the definition of narrow minded.

For example, I’ve met my share of progressive metal fans in my travels. These are guys who like the high-minded, technical side of traditional and power metal. They like their music to be intelligent and ever-changing. I too think that progressive bands are incredibly interesting and would call myself a fan of several. But many prog fans deride glam metal as some kind of lower form of entertainment for less evolved beings. I don’t think that those fans, in all honesty, are being fair to themselves. Sure, there are many bands in that genre that could be considered simple pop music with hard rock guitars thrown in. But for every Poison or Bon Jovi, there’s a Mötley Crüe or Ratt.

That may make a lot of you chuckle, because they aren’t a technically gifted outfit, but think about it the breadth of their material. Throughout the course of their career, Crüe has never made the same album twice. Their sound has always fluctuated and changed and they now have one of the most musically diverse catalogues of music in heavy metal. Just through their first four albums they have glam rock/glam punk (Too Fast for Love), traditional heavy metal (Shout at the Devil), Sleaze Metal/Hard Rock (Theatre of Pain) and straight-up rock ‘n roll (Girls, Girls, Girls). That’s four different styles of music, each presented within the band’s own identity. Has Dream Theater ever been as diverse from album to album?

If you’re a prog fan who’s in it for the technicality and musicianship more than the variety and evolution, you might appreciate Ratt, who’s simple radio-friendly structures hide supremely talented and technical players. Just listen to the chops on “You’re In Trouble” from their first album.

Courtesy of KonigNick

To go for another example, I’ve met many people who claim to be massive fans of Pantera. I ask them if they’ve ever heard any of the stuff off of Power Metal, Projects In the Jungle, Metal Magic or I Am The Night; the band’s early, glam metal albums. More often than not they just stare at me looking perplexed. This is largely because that band, as awesome and awe-inspiring as they would become, completely abandoned and ignored their older material. I understand the reasons behind that decision, but I still feel it’s a shame that they felt the need to do that. There’s a ton of great songs, like “Out For Blood“, “Right on the Edge“, and “Death Trap“, that many Pantera fans have simply missed because, at the time, the band felt their only way to survive was to completely shed not only their old image, but their old material as well. To this day, many fans don’t know of that fantastic old-school material with Dimebag (Then known as “Diamond”) Darrell’s always stellar guitar work. That is down to the total derision of an entire section of the metal community in the 90s.

So don’t just ignore whole sub-genres based on your own prejudices or preconceptions. Give every band a fair chance to win you over, even if you’re not particularly fond of their image. You may find interesting material in places that you wouldn’t have thought to look.


Live!: Diemonds (w/ Black Stone Hearts, Eagleson, Old James) 22/06/2012

Dirty, Nasty, and Sleazy…

Those are the best words to sum up the feeling that I had from the moment I walked up to Ritual‘s front entrance on Besserer Street. It’s a feeling that would carry through the entirety of the evening, and it was bloody excellent. This wasn’t one of the most technically awe inspiring shows I’ve seen, but it was certainly one of the most fun!

The evening started with a set from the new group Old James, a traditional Hard Rock/Southern Rock  group formed by the Stephenson brothers of Aggressor along with Spencer Levon of Fatality on Keyboard and Graham MacKrell on Bass guitar. Refreshingly different from Aggressor’s Thrash and Groove, Old James is a band that certainly knows how to get a good party started. Good Licks and tunes, coupled with the infectious energy and the jovial, almost comedic attitude of the collected musicians (especially Brian and Spencer, possibly the funniest guys in the room) all equal an entertaining band with miles of potential. The only problem was Spencer’s keyboards being nearly inaudible in the mix. Otherwise, the perfect start to the evening. (8/10)

Eagleson is a band that improves everytime I see them. Their Zeppelin-esque brand of rock continues to evolve as does their performance. This time around the band incorporated Native-American inspired, Genesis-influenced face-painting into their live and lively spectacle; a choice that could have been a bit overbearing and brow-beating had the guys not had the energy to play it off. They absolutely did, with the band members bopping around the stage and visibly having whole heaps of fun with their music. Alex De Paul’s vocals were a little muddy in the group’s live mix, but the man has enough personality to push forward the feel of his music without needing to hear every word said.  Looking forward to the next time I see this rockin’ tribal dance on stage. (9/10)

This was my first time witnessing a performance from Ottawa’s own Black Stone Hearts, and I was really unsure what to expect. What I got was a loud, raucous, sloppy, nasty joke from a group of absolute street urchins, and I mean that in the best possible way. These guys embody the spirit of Faster Pussycat and early G’NR, while channeling the blues influence of AC/DC and Cinderella. I’ve never felt closer to the Sunset Strip than during BSH’s set. Vocalist “The Surge” slithered around the stage like a reptile, spouting tales of sex, sin, and decadence, while guitarists Coup and George laid down the dirtiest riffs and the sloppiest, most drunken solos this side of Mötley Crüe (again, meant in the best way). The rythm section of Johnny (Bass) and Spliff (Drums) does a truly superb job of keeping the whole wasted, sex-addled mess from falling apart under it’s own sleaze. These guys put on a hell of a show and, mark my words, they’re a band to watch. (8.5/10)

The sleaze didn’t stop there however, as the assembled audience was in store for one more round, courtesy of Toronto rock sluts Diemonds. It’s an amazing testament to vocalist Priya Panda that she can sound 100% as crisp and clean in a live setting as on the band’s recorded output, competing note for note with her speed demon band mates. The whole group, infact, was probably the tightest of the evening, not missing a beat throughout their whole performance. This is without a doubt due to the fact that Diemonds has been a touring machine over the last weeks and months, opening for huge acts, including Slash, along the way. In any case, these guys have the feel of a fully-realized, professional outfit that I really can’t fully compare to anyone, but early Def Leppard and Australia’s Airbourne definitely come to mind at points. With a set of songs full to brimming with shout-along choruses, a high energy, booze-fueled stage show, and a gorgeous leather-lunged rock witch on the mic, well the sky’s the limit. Check ’em out before they’re selling out Scotiabank Place! (9/10)

Ultimately, if you came to this show looking for tunes that are technically challenging, ultra-heavy, or full of meaningful lyrical themes, you probably left a little dissappointed. But then you came to this show for entirely the wrong reasons ’cause this was nothing short of an honest to god rock ‘n roll party on all fronts. If it’s too loud, you’re too old!

Overall show score: \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \m (8.5 out of 10)

Weekly Rare Track: Legs Up – “Lock Your Door”

*I do not own the rights to this song. All writing, performance, production, publishing and distribution rights are tht of their respective owners.*

Chris Childs: Lead Vocals
Jade: Guitar and Backing Vocals
Danny Kane: Guitar and Backing Vocals
Johnny Pleasure: Bass Guitar and Backing Vocals
Raychill Bitch: Drums, Percussion and Backing Vocals

Legs Up were a group of guys from Cleveland, Ohio, (and one guy from Phoenix, AZ) who had all relocated to Los Angeles in the late 80s chasing rock ‘n roll dreams. Local favourites for a few years, they eventually changed their name to Sledgehammer Ledge and released a sole, self-titled album in 1994.

Throughout their time, Legs Up released a myriad of demo tapes to the public. “Lock Your Door” is one of those demo songs and actually the only song from the Legs Up-era of the group to make it on to the Sledgehammer Ledge album. Great Hard Rockin’ Sleaze from one of the great unsungs of the scene on Sunset. Loud, Raw, Dirty, and Nasty! Musically, these guys can take-on the big boys no problem! Enjoy!