Behind the Mirror Werewolf Caught in Time From Elegy to Triumph Time of Requiem. A Walk Throug the Embers Outro Quetzalcoatl Live Love Story Voyage Voyage Desireless cover A World of One Victoria The Legend of Coyote, First Angry Black Romance.
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Comments 2 More. The Design Abstract - Esoteric Ignea - The Realms of Fire and Death Ignea, SymphonicProgressive Metal. Comments 8 More. Cran Arcanaria - The End of Nightmare Cran Arcanaria, SymphonicPower Metal. Moonlight Haze - Lunaris Moonlight Haze, SymphonicPower Metal. Horrorgraphy - Dramma Per Musica Horrorgraphy, SymphonicDoom Metal. Serenity - The Last Knight Serenity, SymphonicProgressive Power Metal. However, where British Steel's simplicity was an effective reworking of the band's sound, Point of Entry's songs aren't always up to par, making its less well-crafted tracks sound like lunkheaded, low-effort filler.
When Point of Entry works, it works well -- "Heading Out to The World Cries Love - The Seer - Organic (Live) (CD) Highway," "Solar Angels," and "Desert Plains," for example, are great, driving hard rock songs, but British rock anthem hits "Don't Go" and "Hot Rockin'" seem oddly generic given Priest's reputation for inventiveness. Even if Point of Entry is somewhat disappointing overall, though, it's partly because of the album's genre-transforming predecessors; it does have enough good moments to make it worthwhile to diehards and fans of the group's more commercial '80s output.
Redeemer of Souls Deluxe. The Essential Judas Priest. On 's almost divine comeback album Angel of Retribution, Judas Priest fans got a modern day update of the band's genre-bending classic, Sad Wings of Destiny.
The New Wave of British Heavy Metal legends return to the mines for 's Nostradamus, though this time it's another band's treasure they're looting, specifically Iron Maiden's concept album, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. Heavy metal's obsession with seers, sorcery, and anything else that falls under the nebulous blanket of the "dark arts" is legendary, and Maiden's loosely knit tale of a visionary "chosen one" provided listeners with one of the last great albums of the pre-grunge, epic metal era, due in part to some truly memorable songs that remain fan favorites even to this day.
At nearly two hours long, one expects a certain amount of filler, but the dated keyboard strings, soft piano, and bluesy, minor-key guitar licks that populate every nook and cranny in between and often throughout each track sound like discarded incidental music from The X-Files or an RPG video game "cut scene.
The predictable but effectively apocalyptic "War" taking a cue from Holst's Mars, Bringer of War spawns one of the few great orchestral breakdowns on the record, while both "Death" and the nearly seven-minute title track feature stunning guitar work from Glenn Tipton and K.
None of this, however, can save Nostradamus from the fact that even if it were reduced to a single album it should have beenits flaws would far outweigh its triumphs. Excess and metal go together like blood and guts, but even gore loses its ability to draw a reaction after the umpteenth beheading.
Sad Wings Of Destiny. Defenders of the Faith 30th Anniversary Edition. Ram It Down. After the failed experiment of Turbo, Judas Priest toned down the synths and returned to the basics, delivering a straight-ahead, much more typical Priest album with Ram It Down. The band's fan base was still devoted enough to consistently push each new album past the platinum sales mark, and perhaps that's part of the reason Ram It Down generally sounds like it's on autopilot.
While there are some well-constructed songs, they tend toward the generic, and the songwriting is pretty lackluster overall, with the up-tempo title track easily standing out as the best tune here.
And even though Ram It Down backed away from the territory explored on Turbo, much of the album still has a too-polished, mechanical-sounding production, especially the drums. Lyrically, Ram It Down is firmly entrenched in adolescent theatrics that lack the personality or toughness of Priest's best anthems, which -- coupled with the lack of much truly memorable music -- makes the record sound cynical and insincere, the lowest point in the Rob Halford era. Further debits are given for the cover of "Johnny The World Cries Love - The Seer - Organic (Live) (CD).
Unleashed In The East. Judas Priest's first official live recording has always been met with equal amounts of acclaim and controversy: acclaim from those who consider it an excellent summation of the metal legend's s output, and controversy from the critics and industry insiders who criticized what they believed to be a heavily overdubbed and studio-enhanced performance, mockingly naming it Unleashed in the Studio at times. Before delving deeper into this issue, let it be said that except for a few unfortunate omissions "Hell Bent for Leather," "Better by You, Better Than Me" the track listing here is quite impressive.
Along with powerful versions of such storming anthems as "Exciter" and "Running Wild," the band delivers the definitive version of the prog metallic "Sinner," and competent versions of their popular covers tunes, "Diamonds and Rust" and "The Green Manalishi With the Two-Pronged Crown. As for the "live" dilemma, in the late '90s estranged singer Rob Halford would claim in interviews that, while the band's playing was indeed recorded entirely live, his vocals had been ruined in the original mix, forcing him to re-record them in one take in a concert-like setting.
If this was the case, it would hardly be the first or most severe case of studio interference on a live recording, and fans seeking a concise, nearly flawless collection of Priest's s hits will not be disappointed. Killing Machine. Given the less violent moniker Hell Bent for Leather for U.
Now looking as fierce as their music sounded, Priest set about scaling back the ambition of Stained Class, making the songs more concise and immediate, with simpler structures and fewer underlying subtleties. However, the band largely maintains its then-trademark aggression; the simpler songs actually allow them to hike the tempo on the proto-speed metal numbers even more, and there are hints of blues-rock creeping back into the overall sound, complementing the newfound tough-guy swagger in the band's attitude.
At the same time, the relative simplicity also provides the first glimpse of the band's more commercial instincts. If these competing impulses don't make for their most cohesive album, it's also true that most of what's here was still pretty peerless for its time. The other title track, "Killing Machine," is a midtempo stomper about a contract hitman, and there's yet another brilliantly reinvented cover song, as the band transforms the Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac chestnut "The Green Manalishi With the Two-Pronged Crown " into a heavy, sinister groover.
Of the more commercial material, the anthemic chorus of "Evening Star" leaves the best impression, while "Rock Forever" is their first explicit ode to heavy metal itself and there would be many, many more to come. The uneasiest implications for the future come from "Take on the World," a lunkheaded stadium shout-along that gave the band its first British hit single, and is clearly patterned after Queen's "We Will Rock You.
The flood of NWOBHM talent they'd inspired was about to be unleashed on the record-buying public, and henceforth, Priest was intent on reaping the rewards.
They would remain a vital force in their second, more commercial phase more so than some fans of their late-'70s classics might care to admitbut their work of redefining the genre had largely been completed. Angel Of Retribution. Sin After Sin. Judas Priest's major-label debut Sin After Sin marks their only recording with then-teenage session drummer Simon Phillips, whose technical prowess helps push the band's burgeoning aggression into overdrive. For their part, K.
Downing and Glenn Tipton employ a great deal more of the driving, palm-muted power-chord picking that would provide the basic rhythmic foundation of all but the most extreme heavy metal from here on out. Sin After Sin finds Priest still experimenting with their range, and thus ends up as perhaps their most varied outing. Yet despite the undeniably tremendous peaks here, the overall package doesn't cohere quite as well as on Sad Wings of Destiny, simply because the heavy moments are so recognizable as the metal we know today that the detours stick out as greater interruptions of the album's flow.
These two sit rather uneasily against the viciousness of the more metallic offerings. Classic opener "Sinner" is packed with driving riffs, sophisticated guitar interplay including a whammy-bar freakout during a slower middle sectiona melody that winds snakily upward, and nifty little production tricks doubtless inspired by Queen.
A galloping, fully metallic reimagining of the Joan Baez folk tune "Diamonds and Rust" is a smashing success, one of the most effective left-field cover choices in metal history.
Proggy, churchy guitar intro "Let Us Prey" quickly leads into the speed-burner "Call for the Priest," which may just be The World Cries Love - The Seer - Organic (Live) (CD) earliest building block in the construction of speed metal, and features some of Tipton and Downing's most impressive twin-guitar harmonies yet.
And then we started selling them, just walking to punk gigs and trying to sell them for a dollar, and made something happen that way. Just by taking the risk and doing it ourselves, we would make something happen. As far as the art aspect, did I learn anything aesthetically from it?
No, not really. Something that I think is really interesting about Swans, is that you clearly came out of New York City, but if you asked most music fans, 99 out of to talk about the continuum of New York groups, people would say Velvet Underground, Television, Modern Lovers, Suicide, Sonic Youth, maybe Glenn Branca, maybe Philip Glass, people usually wouldn't say Swans.
You were obviously from New York but you weren't really a New York group, if you see the distinction? MG: Well, I made a point of that. Whether it was career suicide or not, I don't know, but I made a point of separating ourselves from other people in the scene, very quickly.
So, at the genesis of Swans - I'm sorry that this is a very general question - but what motivated you initially to make music?
I'm guessing, given the sort of music you made, it wasn't necessarily money or chasing girls or any of the normal kind of rock band stuff…. Oh yeah, but anyone knows they can get laid anyway. If you're intelligent you know that you don't need to be in the Swans to get laid, surely…. MG: I don't know, and I still don't know, but I know I need to make things happen, and that's, you know, what I wanted to make happen.
It's sort of an existential demand. I'm not happy unless I'm making art or music or something, and I don't have any current sense of being a whole human being unless I'm actively involved in making something.
As far as the style of music, I knew what I didn't want it to be like. As soon as we started playing and I finally got sort of a semi-permanent net of people together, inevitably it started going into some kind of rock groove, and I was just like, 'No!
So I just simply and completely reconfigured the thing. Even chord progressions were like, out. We were building chunks of sound too; we were using what's known as a staircase chord, because it's a flattened fifth with two octaves. So it has the octaves, which give it a kind of soar, but it has this note in it that makes it ache, not a sour note, but it aches at the same time. I'd use those on bass chords percussively rather than running lines.
Everything was chunks of sound with some generous sheets of extra sound over the top of that. We used two bass players, two drummers and Norman's guitar. Playing in that way, the bass players were like… "Ch-ch-ch-gh-gh! Then we also used this cassette deck. I would record drums, loops, sounds - one was the sound of a cat shrieking, but slowed down two octaves - and that would be the whole cassette, that sound. The other bass player would have a volume pedal and that hooked up to the cassette player, which in turn was hooked up to an SVT cabinet with an SVT head, and another cabinet with a Gallien Krueger head.
It was really loud, so if he hit a bass with a similar set up — bwhhm — and then he'd push his volume pedal down and it would go — BWHHHM, BWHHHM — and the drums would go — bo-chee, bo-chee — in between, so you made these kind of grooves of sound, rather than making punk rock.
MG: [laughs] Yeah, there were no monitors then! It just felt good that, it was very physical but also, to me, elating. I think listening back now, its even easier to hear how, even in your first few releases, you influenced Big Black, the Butthole Surfers, Sunn OKhanate, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Godflesh… this wealth of music that would happen in the rest of the 80s and 90s Yeah of course, and that's even before we get to the more folk related stuff.
But the dark irony is that, in music, it's weird but there's often no cash prize - or any prize at all - for being the first, is there? The main goal is just to be true. And that of course means not wearing someone else's clothes.
So, you know, there's some remuneration involved now, something not what some of those other people you've mentioned have achieved, but that's fine, I mean, I'm still working. Many of them are not standing anymore. That's the interesting thing, isn't it?
How hard was it - given the newness of the sound in the early 80s, not because of the abrasiveness - to find your audience, and where did you find your audience springing up from? MG: Well we didn't have one for a number of years - or those that came, left.
That's an inscription for my tombstone: Those that came, left. Yeah, maybe there would be fifty people there at the start of the show and ten left at the end of it. If you walked in, there wasn't anything like it and it was very brutal, so people weren't prepared to deal with it usually. But we actually developed some kind of audience, and I don't exactly know how, just touring relentlessly, finding whatever misfits were in the town that wanted to hear what we did.
Now fortunately it's reached a pretty wide audience for us, and thank God for that. Is there any extent to which the constant themes of control and violence are helping you deal with specific or non-specific traumas from your own younger life - is this a way of exorcism or catharsis, as it were?
MG: Catharsis is not a word I usually align myself with. Well…[long pause] I don't know what you mean from my youth, but I did work from a very early age, and I was confined at a very early age, and I worked at jobs — not that they didn't have value on their own — but they were not for me, certainly. I did everything from digging ditches, to working in a copper mine, I was a plumber's helper, a roofer's helper, a hod carrier, I worked in a plastics factory, I worked in a tool factory, I washed dishes and I washed cars.
I've been on my own basically since I was about So the idea of work, doing work that one would find to be stultifying or a waste of your time, was the worst thing that could happen to you as a human being, because nothing on Earth is more important than time and what you do with your time. And if you give up one third of your life or more to a task that you find stultifying or not up to your potential, you're really wasting your life.
A lot of my early thinking was about that, and also about the invidious quality of commercial advertising and the media, basically from the time you're reared up through adulthood, it's invading your psyche until eventually it alters your DNA and you become a consuming machine. Your desires are molded by the media, they create anxiety and fears that don't exist naturally, so you feel the need to consume to abate those fears.
Certainly I don't know that it was a mass conspiracy, but this kind of web did not exist until directly after the Second World War, when Madison Avenue and all those things started really looking into how to mind control people. Which has got it where it is - to the point where you don't feel sexy unless you own a particular car or certain clothes. All of that stuff is repulsive to me, and I find it repulsive to see these rock groups and rap groups advertising products as part of their thing, it's like they might as well be cogs working in a factory, they're just part of the whole problem as far as I'm concerned.
This has become only more and more pervasive since the 50s, since my childhood. It's in everybody's brains, it's in my daughter's brain, she's seven and she's already a Walt Disney consuming machine, you know. She's learning how to think and form her identity by these kinds of images and threads that are put out there to control people.
You know, if you go to a McDonald's - I don't - but if you go to McDonald's, they have these playgrounds there conveniently, just to train you to be a McDonald's consumer, you know, you're in there, you feel comfortable, there's Ronald and you're eating this poison, and it's just a cycle, it's become worse and worse.
Consumerism is destroying the earth, and society and people. You know, that's my sermon, but those are some of the subjects that I've taken on, certainly in the early days, less so now.
But it's still something I think about. I wrote a song called 'Promise Of Water' which is sort of about that — they live in your head and they travel your veins. In mine too. I wanted to talk to you about the live performance. I think it's the sign of a healthy and a good band when they attract a lot of urban myths and a lot of stories, and I wanted to ask you to confirm or deny the three or four stories about Swans which I've been unable to either stand up or discount over the years.
One was, I was told that once a hapless sound engineer came up to you before a gig and asked what you wanted it to sound like and you punched him in the stomach and said, 'I want it to sound like that! Now, I'm pretty sure this is true actually, but did you turn off the air conditioning during a gig until the heat in the venue became quite unbearably hot? MG: Yeah but it wasn't an evil intent, it was for my benefit as well. The air-conditioning, first of all, was above me on the stage, blowing on me, and if you're a singer, this immediately means your throat dries up and it ruins your voice, so I had to turn it off.
But I also liked the heat in the room, the intensity of the heat and what it did to the whole experience, and actually things sound better in a humid room too, at least to me. But it just feels good too, it's like being in this kind of psychic sweat lodge and I liked that. I'm not really between that any more, I'm a little more generous with my audience [laughs] Yeah I like that experience.
And in a way it's a kind of unifier too. You're all in it, in the same thing. You think it's hot in the audience? Should be us, with fucking lights on us! I mean literally, my clothes would be soaked as if I've just jumped in a pool, just completely, and I have to just pour water on my head. It feels great in a way. Ironically for me, the first time I saw you after reconstituting Swans was Supersonic in Birmingham, and that is by far and away the coldest gig I've ever been party to. MG: Yeah, I've done that a couple of times.
I think we did that at Town and Country Club when they pulled the plug on us, but the doors were locked! There would always be these exit lights on like, we wanted to be in complete blackness and then lock the doors, and then we'd play.
I think, please correct me if I'm wrong, but I think you're bigger now than you've ever been. Not in terms of record sales, because who is? But in terms of tours and venues played and festivals played, I think you're bigger than you've ever been before. Does this have no impact on you at all, or does this kind of spur you on to greater creative heights?
MG: Oh, it has manifold effects. One of which is I'm able to support my children. The other is that it is encouraging, but encouragement is dangerous in that it can lead to lassitude. But the fact that it's a bigger audience means that I can keep doing what I was put on earth to do, so as long as I'm capable I'll do that. But I wasn't really looking at it in that way, like this is going to be great or big; I just knew that I had to do it, so I did it, and fortunately it panned out.
I don't think I'm wrong in suggesting that if you look back at certain points in the Swans history, that you seem to have been guided, if not primarily then secondarily, by upsetting audience expectations or critical expectations, and you've certainly and admirably followed the path of most resistance rather than the path of least resistance in artistic terms.
It feels like this is less of a consideration these days. MG: First of all, the first premise I don't agree with.
I can see why you would think that but I don't consider myself to be a stimulus and responsive mechanism. So if the critics say one thing I don't respond to that and make something else, or make the same thing, or make anything because of that - I just try to shut that shit out, because I believe it's a false voice in your head when you're trying to make good work.
The main thing is to challenge yourself, and to make work that surprises you and has magic, and if you do the same thing over and over there's no magic, so you have to find a new way to do things. Because I really specifically want that magic that happens when everything is tuned, so to speak, correctly, and it's vibrating and the world sounds and looks differently because of it.
It's nothing to do with critics or anything. What was the other thrust to that question, I'm sorry? I guess that covers it actually. Obviously in a lot of respects, you signing to MCA didn't pan out as you wanted it to? MG: Oh God. It was a horrible experience, and it was horrible for me spiritually.
Because I started to believe my own shit, and made some really bad work as a result, and it was good, it taught me a lesson and any of the money that happened because of that was frittered away stupidly, but I did manage to start my own label and regroup and think about what the hell I was really supposed to be doing.
I mean, what I really came away thinking The World Cries Love - The Seer - Organic (Live) (CD) it reconfirmed something to me, which is that White Light From The Mouth Of Infinity through to and including The Great Annihilator was a really resurgent great period in Swans history, artistically speaking.
That being the case, why did you know or think it was time to put Swans on ice, as it were? MG: Did I? Well, at that point it was fifteen years of constant struggle.
I'm not complaining, but it was fifteen years of constant struggle, and it wasn't getting better. Now my eyes are blocked by the vengeance because I have realized I'm the product of a masterpiece. My eyes are blocked by the vengeance, I have realized I am the product of a masterpiece.
Biological strings expand within to destroy your preservation laws. Drawn lines from above blacken the sun. Redefining the notion of 'possible' I'm the counterintuitive universe.
I'm the onset of an evolution frame. Find what you fear, there is nothing above me. I'm the collapse. Let me wake up! Malice drags me into life, Let me wake up! Be My Girl
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