2016 Did Not Entirely Suck, Metal Version

800px-PostcardHappyNewYearOldManKidScytheHourglass1910

Ten seconds later, the kid put the Scythe through 2016’s head, to roaring applause.

It only partially sucked.

Death touches us all every year, and 2016 was no different. We lost great musicians this year. Nik Green from Blue Murder and Nick Menza from Megadeth, among a great many others. Feel free to offer a moment of silence for them now.

I’d prefer a moment of noise for them, but that’s just me.

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For every second rate, weak kneed radio friendly shit storm that Beyonce or Justin Beiber comes out with, there are awesome ones that come out to balance things out.  There was some pretty damned amazing music this year.

Some things went right in 2016. Like these three albums:

Deströyer 666 gave us the album Wildfire, their fifth, in February. It is, plain and simple, fucking incredible. Angry metal thunder from one end of the album to the other.  Check out the title track. Check out Hounds at ya back. Just check out the album. It’ll be more than worth it. Best cuts: Hounds at ya Back, Die You Fucking Pig

Gojira put out Magma in June of this year, a great album, perhaps their best since From Mars to Sirius.  Thunderous, complex and haunting with that twist that only the DuPlantier brothers can create, the album is full of some of the most compelling harmonies of the year.  Anthemic is the word I’d use to describe it. Best cuts:  Low Lands, Pray.

Metallica came out with Hardwired…To Self-Destruct, their best album since Master of Puppets, in early November. Thrash is back with a vengeance. While some of this double album is more hooky than old school metalheads would like it to be, that isn’t always a bad thing. Ignore the cynics, this is a great listen from front to back. Best cuts: Spit Out the Bone, When a Blind Man Cries(Deep Purple Cover),Dream No More.

Even if everything else that came out in 2016 was crap (and trust me on this, most of it was) These three albums saved the year, musically.

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And without music there can be no perfect knowledge, for there is nothing without it. For even the universe itself is said to have been put together with a certain harmony of sounds, and the very heavens revolve under the guidance of harmony. ~ Saint Isidore of Seville (560-636)

Metal I Had Never Heard Before Today

Today’s article is less an article, and more an Homage to finding music and falling in love with it.  Most everything here is stuff that I should have heard of, but for some reason never did.  Most have no real video, fine by me.  I prefer listening

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This song is originally from the album “Blue Blood” by the band X Japan, released in 1989.  Song title: Kurenai.  Walked in unknowing.   I thought it was  just some sappy ballad by some Japanese glam band.  Then you get to the 1:47 second mark… and the band explodes.  Don’t let the uberglam look or the sappy early bit of the song fool you, these guys can rip. Live version of the song here, from 1997.  Cuts off a bit early. Dammit. 

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This song is from the album “Blessed be this Nightmare“, by the Band Eternal Lord, released in 2008.  Song title: Wasps.  Much heaviness and evil sounding shit.  As happy as I was to find this, I was unhappy to find that these guys put out 1 major label album and went the way of the dodo.  They were excellent. Hoping I’m wrong and they are still around.  I’d pay to see them… if I had money.

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This song is from the album “Face of the Conqueror“, by the band Zemial, released in 2003.  Song title:  Impending Doom.  Black Metal excellence here.  Ripping heaviness from one end to the other, great stuff here. 

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This Song is from the album “In Glorious Times“, by the band Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, released in 2007.  Song Title: Helpless Corpses Enactment.  Weird, fun, heavy, beautifully twisted shit. The beats are very fluid, odd, off, and just plain a ton of fun.  Maybe it’s me, but I can hear the Meshuggah influence here, can’t you?  Excellent music.

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Go to sleep, America.  12 notes tomorrow.

Not Ready At All

The difference between something that can go wrong and something that can’t possibly go wrong is that when something that can’t possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair.

Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless

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It has been for the better part of a month since I’ve written anything serious, or in fact non serious, or in fact anything more than 3 sentences worth of cheap weak crap.  I am completely unprepared to start writing again.  But I have the urge, and it is strong. 

I haven’t written anything in the random thoughts section of this site in a month, and that annoyed me.  I missed the last few weeks of the election campaign, had no real chance to add my two cents, and that annoyed the hell out of me.  I missed talking about the $600,000,000,000 in fresh bailout from the fed, and that annoyed me.  I haven’t written a damn thing about music in two months, and haven’t play guitar regularly in over a month, and that annoyed the hell out of me.  The Democrats lost control of the house, lost seats in the senate, including one of the best senators to grace the floor of the senate in my lifetime, Russ Feingold and…

…well, you know.

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Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.

Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

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Viddy of the day:  Slayer, Disciple.  I reject, I despise.

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But I tell you the biggest event for me over this time, this entire time has not been any of that.  It has been personal news.  In late October I found out that November 12th would be my last day at Sotheby’s as an art handler.  It has been a rough ride. I have given everything to those people, left it on the floor of that place day after day, night after night gotten up at 4:20am so I could run before work, then travelled an hour forty five into Manhattan to work my ass off moving walls, hanging paintings, moving tons of equipment, running freight elevators, moving hundreds of millions of dollars worth of art.  And what do I have to show for it?

Not a damn thing.

I’m still as broke as I was before I started. I have to go out and start up a fresh claim with unemployment.  And I am not going to get as much money this time as I did last time, because there won’t be any Davis Polk money on there.  Bills are going to come due, and I am unsure if I will be able to pay even the few that I have to, rent, phone/internet, power, gas, all that goody, goody bullshit. 

I have started sending out resumes already.  Gonna start calling 814 teamster sites to see if I can latch on to a union mover job somewhere.  I want to work, I want to show some employer out there that I have the goods to do the job, I hope they’re out there, willing to hire me.

I can tell you this, I am ready to work, I am not ready at all to sit on my ass and collect dust and unemployment for any length of time. I want benefits.  I want health insurance, I want dental insurance, I want to be able to afford new glasses, to not feel like I am going to break the bank just getting the most basic essentials for my wife and myself.  I want the self-respect that comes from self-sufficiency, and dammit I want it now. 

I want to go back to Sotheby’s and work again on Monday, they really have one helluva good crew there. Teamsters local 814 has a top notch crew there.  But I can’t go back.  Hiring freeze, Sotheby’s says.  Believe it? Not really, but that doesn’t friggin matter.  My belief makes no difference in the real world in relation to that particular subject.  I’m done there, and it’s time to saddle up and start the search again.  I need to get yet another job. 

Wish me luck.

Go to sleep, America.  I’m back to writing regular again, and frankly we have some serious things to discuss over the next few days, and I want you rested and ready when I talk to you.

The Last in Line

Two eyes from the east
It’s the angel or the beast
And the answer lies between
The good and bad
We search for the truth
We could die upon the tooth
But the thrill of just the chase
Is worth the pain.

Dio, The Last in Line

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Ronnie James Dio is dead.  A moment of silence, for one of metals most loved, best, strongest voices has fallen this day. We all loved ya, Ronnie. Thanks for sharing your life with us all.

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I’ve been reading up on the news involving the Oil spill in the gulf.  In particular the governments response to it.  I started looking at what the Army corp of engineers are doing.  They have been working, according to at least one site I checked out, building berms and sea walls out to protect the shores of the gulf coast. 

Then I read another story about how this could well be Obama’s Katrina, which then mentioned the almost immediate response of the Coast guard to the actual explosion, and the government dispatching both the EPA and Homeland security to the site once the leak started.  That article was kind of silly, claiming the President should have been there within hours of the explosion.  Silliness, but everyone is entitled to their opinion, no matter how silly.

The efforts to work on and find solutions to this are many and varied.  On top of the EPA, Homeland security, and the Army corps of engineers, there is apparently an industry wide effort that is getting almost no press.  I had no idea until I went looking for news in that area,  that companies as varied as Conocophillips and MobilExxon are working side by side with the Coast guard and the Minerals management service in efforts that involve both drill and well control experts.

So it’s good to see that after all the time, and all the issues and problems that have been dancing across the tv and computer screens, that there has finally been some progress in finally fixing this damnable mess made by BP and trans ocean.  They have a tube that they placed in the broken pipe at the sea floor, and it is apparently having some measure of success in siphoning the oil and gas.  It isn’t a fix to the problem, it is at best a bandaid on a stab wound, but it’s a start.

Now if they can only get rid of the oil already in the water and actually fix the pipe…

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Sunday’s top 5 links:

Spill fight shows Progress: BP inserts improvised siphon into shattered seabed oil-pipe; success still unclear

Exxon says it’s helping with Gulf of Mexico oil spill

Metal Icon Ronnie James Dio dead at 67

DIO

Turkey announces deal on Iran nuclear dispute: report

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My pen knows what to do. I close my eyes and I see this girl who glows. A girl who radiates. When she smiles, she beams. She warms my heart. I open my eyes with a feeling of floating past all the garbage around me. I will emerge unscathed because I will not endeavor to hide myself from whatever is coming. Bring on the worst. I welcome it with open arms.

Henry Rollins

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Viddy of the day, part i;  an AP report speaking of giant oil plumes just below the surface, due to the use of “dispersants”.  When it rains it pours, ya know?

Viddy of the day, part ii;  Ronnie James Dio, The Last in Line.

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Quote and Pic of the day:

While on a journey, Chuang Tzu found a skull, dry and parched. With sorrow he questioned and lamented the end to all things. When he finished speaking, he dragged the skull over, and using it as a pillow, lay down to sleep. In the night, the skull came to his dreams and said, “You are a fool to rejoice in the entanglements of life.” Chuang Tzu couldn’t believe this and asked “If I could return you to your life, you would want that, wouldn’t you?”
Stunned by Chuang Tzu’s foolishness the skull replied, “How do you know that it is bad to be dead?”

Zhuangzi

Anagram: Influences/ Fun License

        I have been playing  my guitar a fair bit.  I have in fact been playing a lot more now that I have the time to play between the time I’m looking 800px-Monteverdi_Marienvesper_Altusfor a job and the time I’m blogging or doing whatever around the house.  Today’s blog will have everything to do with musical influences of mine. 

    Let’s begin.

    First off, I think we have to go to the acoustic work of Jethro Tull.  I have been in love with the acoustic work for as long as i have been aware of it.  I think the first place I ran into it was with Aqualung, but I think this song is representative of the stuff that i first fell in love with all those years ago.

    If I move up a few years, and get to the point where I am actually beginning to play music, My life was in flux, i was changing as a person and the music I listened to was changing along with me.  I was also pretty damn high, and i had fun and i think that shows in the music i was listening to at that point.  There was The Grateful Dead, Old Pink Floyd, Tangerine Dream, and this,  Frank Zappa.   Frank wasn’t just fun and subversive, it was also incredibly well put together music.  The man was a musical genius, from both a writing and playing perspective.  Listen and enjoy.

470px-Maple_Leaf_Rag_1st_ed_2    I’m going to fast forward a few years again.  It’s sometime in 1986 or 87, I’m in college and I am working in a radio station with, as well as being taught Jazz Theory by a man named Vanig Hovsepian.  Better known as Turk Van Lake, he played music with and wrote for, among other jazz luminaries Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton. It is here in this place at this time that I learned about true musical diversity, learned that music doesn’t have to be rock to be good.  I heard many names that I had never heard before but which would have a profound impact on my playing.  I am going to pick just one of the many names that defined this period.  I thought about a number of peoples music to throw out.  Cannonball Adderly, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Charlie Parker.  But thought I should go with a guitarist, seeing how i play the instrument.  Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Joe Pass.

      FUN!   Complete 180 Degree musical turnaround.  Those of you who’ve read and listened here before know about my love of metal, so here’s some METAL.  Live Slayer from just a few years ago, but the song is from early in their career.  CHEMICAL WARFARE!  The Dual guitar attack of King and Hanneman is perhaps one of the best in all of Metal.

   That’s all for now, except for a few quotes.  Catch ya later!

Today’s Nuggets, Via Wikiquote:    Don’t be discouraged by a failure. It can be a positive experience. Failure is, in a sense, the highway to success, in as much as every discovery of what is false leads us to seek earnestly after what is true, and every fresh experience points out some form of error which we shall afterwards carefully avoid.    John Keats

Roaming through the jungle of “oohs” and “ahs,” searching for a more agreeable noise, I live a life of primitivity with the mind of a child and an unquenchable thirst for sharps and flats.   Duke Ellington

Relax. Be yourself. Play a lot.  Joe Satriani