Album Of The Week – August 8, 2022

This week it’s back to 1993. It was a bit of a strange time, the vacuum left after the events of 1991 wound up being filled by some interesting stuff. One consequence for the years after was that heavier music was getting noticed and would even see mainstream chart success. Today’s album is from a group who’d been known as pioneers of the heaviest possible sounds, and this album provided a template for the shape of metal to come.

Sepultura – Chaos A.D.

Released September 1993 via Epic/Roadrunner Records

My Favorite Tracks – Refuse/Resist, Amen, Territory

Brazil’s Sepultura had captured the attention of the world with several albums of thrash bordering on death metal. By 1993 the band had worn out on the sound and looked to change up the formula some. The results would be downtuned guitars, more groove-based riffing in place of a thrash assault, and drums incorporating tribal and samba influences. It was as if Sepultura timed their move from thrash at the same time the rest of the world did.

There are 12 songs with a run time of a fairly lean 47 minutes. Should be pretty easy to get through.


Opening with one of the album’s three singles (all the first three tracks are), this heavy hitter is an anti-police/authority song that has come away as one of the record’s signature anthems. Even with the band’s move away from thrash, this song is a chaotic, frantic mess. It does its job well of being a protest anthem, and in a time when protests and riots would see a big uptick.


The second single and most likely the best-known song from the album. Territory is a slow, plodding affair that looks at relations between leader/dictator and the people. Topical footage from the Israel-Palestine conflict is used in the video. Sepultura’s new groove-based music was being matched with incendiary political content, something that would get noticed in the same time frame that bands like Rage Against The Machine got big.

Slave New World

The final single from the album, this song was co-written with Biohazard bassist/actor Evan Seinfeld. The song tackles the issues of censorship and what it means to be “free” in modern society. As with the other two singles, this song is a common staple of the group’s live sets.


Though apparently not said outright, the song is a look at the Branch Davidian cult of Waco, Texas. The cult and its leader David Koresh were burned alive by US federal agents in April 1993 after an extended standoff. The song handles both the point of view of the cult leader and a more distant perspective that outlays the apocalyptic consequences.


We arrive at an instrumental and all-acoustic performance, featuring only guitars and tribal percussion. The album’s liner notes pay tribute to a Kaiowas tribe in Brazil that committed mass suicide in response to government taking tribal lands. I have not done the proper scholarly research to corroborate that information.


A song about …. uh, propaganda and confrontation, I guess. It’s a very nice song but I have no idea what Max Cavalera is on about here. Sometimes you just have to quit paying attention and headbang along.

Biotech Is Godzilla

Here is a track with guest lyrics written by Dead Kennedys frontman and alternative icon Jello Biafra. The song gets into the issue of biotechnology and its more insidious uses. The song offers a conspiracy theory that the US government sent lab techs to Brazil to experiment with germs and chemicals on unsuspecting citizens. While the song is brief at two minutes it packs quite a punch and a lot of information and conjecture in its slim timeframe.


An ode to the tribal and traveling peoples of the world, and an appropriately harsh, doom-ridden tune to weave that tale with.

We Who Are Not As Others

Another slow, doomy number that literally just repeats the title as its lone lyric over and over again. And it doesn’t suck. Pretty good job on making that better than a throwaway track. I mean, sure, it’s kind of damn dumb but it still works.


An interesting twist on a metal song, this track provides a spoken-word account of a bloody news item from Brazil – the Carandiru prison massacre of 1992, in which military police handled a prison riot via the slaughter of 111 prisoners (who were pre-trial and not yet convicted). Max Cavalera does offer a few brief, one-word choruses along with the spoken account. It is an interesting and different approach to a metal song that is also obviously really fucking depressing.

The Hunt

We wind toward the close with a cover song – this originally being an offering from 1986 and the English group New Model Army, an act that can be called “rock” but honestly defies most specific categorization. No real matter here, as Sepultura twist this song’s form into their own. It is a tale of street justice and vigilantism in the face of the criminal underworld, a song very fitting of Chaos A.D.’s themes.

Clenched Fist

Bringing it home with one of those tried and true, defiant ’till the end and I’m angry and gonna get busy with it metal songs. It’s an anthem for weightlifting, running or whatever other crazy exercise shit people do (I do cycling myself).

Chaos A.D. saw Sepultura reinvent themselves and their new form landed squarely in the 1993 metal marketplace. The album went gold in the US and three other countries and saw top 20 or better action in several nations’ charts. Sepultura would tour the US with Pantera in 1994, just as the latter obliterated the Billboard charts with their own Far Beyond Driven. Groove metal was here, a “new” metal approach that beckoned great change on the horizon.

This would not be Sepultura’s greatest success – they truly conquered with their next effort, the multi-platinum Roots. That album would lean harder towards the “new” metal approach and was a benchmark for new trends in heavy metal. The band themselves would not enjoy the full fruits of their labor, as frontman Max Cavalera would depart the group in acrimonious circumstances at the end of 1996. While both Sepultura and Cavalera press on in various incarnations, there has been no heralded reunion of the band’s classic lineup that overtook mainstream attention with their very harsh sounds.

But for all that would come after, Chaos A.D. remains as a staple of the band’s catalog. It helped that one of extreme thrash’s most promising bands helped usher in the new age of metal (though some old-school keepers of the gate did not take to the new sound..) and also that the band incorporated specific, real-world examples of big issues in society as opposed to abstract cackling about bad stuff. It is as much a thinking person’s album as it is a vehicle of aggression, and its combined form is a force to be reckoned with.

Emperor – Thus Spake The Nightspirit/Inno A Satana

Today I’m gonna dig out a single I’ve had since its release in 2009. So 13 years, if my math is right. It’s one of those “fun” but totally unnecessary things that was put out as a “limited bonus.” I was very, very excited about the albums being released and so I went whole hog and ordered the LP’s, a CD and DVD set, and also this 7-inch single.

The occasion was two live album releases from festival reunion shows of black metal stalwarts Emperor. The band split up in 2001 and reunited in – uh, 2006, which in the grand scheme of things is not a long time at all. But back then it was really exciting stuff and the hype was unreal. Even now as I’m looking over this paltry 5-year time gap for the first time I’m a bit taken aback at just how amped up I was for this. But hey, that comes with age I guess.

Anyway – the band began playing sporadic shows in 2006, and in early 2009 they announced a few LP and CD releases of two 2006 live sets – performances at the Inferno and Wacken festivals. The records were packaged separately, but a big CD and DVD bundle was released called Live Inferno. Oddly enough, the DVD had the Wacken performance on it.

Anyway, again – also as part of this series of releases, this 7-inch record was put out. Released on gold vinyl, it is a limited edition of 2,000 copies. This release didn’t spell out the specific number of the release by hand-numbering or anything, but I can rest comfortably knowing I’m one of 2,000 people who have this. (FYI, it is readily available on Discogs at the same street market value it sold for 13 years ago…)

Enough of that. I’m not really complaining but I am having a bit of fun with this. Whatever happened, I have this two-song single from the Live Inferno set. The two songs are among the most celebrated of Emperor’s work and my two personal favorites of their entire catalog, so that worked out well. Both performances are from the Inferno festival and are both included on that full live album – this isn’t unreleased content.

Thus Spake The Nightspirit

The A-side features a standout track from the band’s 1996 opus Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk. It was the album that first got me into black metal and this song is my absolute favorite of the group’s entire catalog.

I wont’ delve too much into the song itself here – simple fact is that it will be an S-Tier song someday and I’ll just save the discussion for that. For this version, it is a fantastically-captured live version that sounds absolutely great. You don’t really hear the crowd on it until the end, but that’s to be expected – even in a huge festival setting, black metal isn’t “stand up and shout” music. But the band’s sound got reeled in well that night and it’s easy to see why they chose to release it as a live set.

Inno A Satana

Not the version from the 7 inch

The B-side features a track from the band’s true debut full-length In The Nightside Eclipse. It’s the album that put the band’s name on the map just as all the murder and church-burning stuff made black metal famous (acts that some members of the band were involved in).

Inno A Satana (Hymn To Satan, if you were wondering), is one of the group’s many lush, majestic passages that offered something more to the listener than the chaotic lo-fi frenzy of most black metal of the time. Another of their greatest tracks and also a likely candidate for future evaluation as an S-Tier song.

That covers the two songs from the single. My copy did arrive from Europe with a few bends in the cover, but it’s not that big of a deal really. There is a funny story as to how many times the copies of the full live set LPs changed hands between me and a buddy of mine, but I’ll save that for another time. This single has remained in my collection the entire time and it’s a cool thing to have, even though it could be considered rather useless in some instances.

Upcoming Releases – The Next Few Months

I set this aside for a moment as the new stuff wasn’t coming out with as great a frequency, but of course I wait a little more than a week and it all hits at once. Plenty from across the spectrum to talk about this time around.

Dieth – In The Hall Of The Hanging Serpents

An interesting and unexpected opening salvo here. Two-thirds of the lineup makes sense – Gullherme Miranda, formerly of Entombed AD and Michal Lysejko, late of Decapitated, have formed a band. One would expect death metal, of course, and one would get just that. What one probably wouldn’t expect is for Dave Ellefson to be throwing down on bass for this. I know Dave has been involved in a wide variety of projects over the years, but to take up death metal after his dismissal from Megadeth? That’s pretty big.

There is no album information yet but it appears they’ve already been in the studio. They sound like they know what they’re doing, it’ll be interesting to hear what a full project sounds like. Dave Ellefson has several other projects coming up, including an album with Jeff Scott Soto, but I’ll wait until new music from that comes out before getting into it.

Sammy Hagar And The Circle – Crazy Times

This fresh new song is the title track of a new Circle album due September 30 (later on vinyl). Sammy and this outfit of Michael Anthony, Vic Johnson and Jason Bonham had a pretty big hit album in 2019 and are now back after pandemic-related shutdowns. This incarnation of Sammy sees him get back to rocking out and leaving behind his Jimmy Buffet-like persona of earlier years. Not that there was anything wrong with that, Sammy can do whatever the hell he wants, but it’s nice to hear the Red Rocker back at it.

Taipei Houston – As The Sun Sets

This new indie-ish rock offering is a standalone single for now. The new band is a two piece of brothers Layne and Myles Ulrich, who do also happen to be the kids of Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich. It’s a curious call to go in as a two-piece but hey, I’m not here to tell people how to run their bands. The song is pretty good and does leave me interested in hearing more. It’s certainly its own entity and now owing to Lars’ gig in any way.

David Lee Roth – Nothing Could Have Stopped Us Back Then Anyway

Another standalone single, this is a track John 5 recently put out as a tribute to Van Halen. It’s a sappy, sentimental song with a video showing photo highlights of Van Halen’s career. It’s not a song that will feature on DLR best of list but it also works well for its intended purpose. There were some recording sessions that were supposed to be a new DLR album, no telling if the complete sessions will ever see the light of day.

House Of Lords – House Of The Lord

A name I know but couldn’t tell you a lot about, the melodic hard rock outfit is back with their eleventh studio album. The record is called Saints And Sinners and will be out September 16. These guys have stuck true to a sound that became dated just a few years after the band started out in 1988. It’s not the sort of thing I would fall all over myself to get but it’s also pretty good execution and I know these guys have had a fair share of buzzworthy albums over the years.

Goatwhore – Born Of Satan’s Flesh

The New Orleans extreme metallers are prepping to release their eighth studio album, Angles Hung From The Arches Of Heaven, on October 7. Goatwhore have made quite the name for themselves in recent years and it sounds as though they are ready to get back on the attack after a five-year recording absence. They are firing on all cylinders here.

Charley Crockett – I’m Just A Clown

The hardest working man in country music is inevitably releasing his second album this year (and fourth in two years) with The Man From Waco, due September 9. This single from the new album dispenses with pure country and offers some boogie, swing, soul, I don’t really know. It’s a pretty cool track and we’ll see what the full album has in store in a few weeks.

The Cult – Give Me Mercy

Ending today’s list with a new track from one of rock’s most enigmatic bands. The Cult will be back with their first album in six years – Under The Midnight Sun hits on October 7. Give Me Mercy offers some of the same atmospheric alt-rock the group have been employing in the second half of their career. I’ve enjoyed the past several Cult releases so I don’t expect this to go down any differently.

That’s all for this month. We’ll see what’s up in the next installment of upcoming releases – quite possible that Kerry King’s post-Slayer band will be among them.

One Year In

All right, everyone. It’s time for a bit of a party – today marks the one-year anniversary of my first “real” post on this blog. I did a since-deleted “getting ready” post and a welcome post, but on this day last year I posted my first Album of the Week. A great album and also, to be expected, my least-viewed post. I guess someone has to be the loser.

It’s been a pretty wild ride getting set back up in the blogging sphere. I did blogs in some form semi-regularly from 1998 through to 2011. At that time I intended to “make the big leap” and get my own domain and do stuff on a level I hadn’t done before. It only took ten years for me to actually get to it.

I was a bit worried about doing it again, after all – who the hell reads blogs in 2021 and 2022? Blogging was already “on the way out” in 2011 thanks to YouTube and social media. Was I pissing in the wind trying to start something up in 2021?

As it turns out, no. It’s been a really cool thing this past year. I’ve been able to stick with it, people have been reading, and all in all it’s been a rewarding experience.

It has been kind of funny at times. Back in the “old days” when I was younger and had more cognitive function I could crap out a blog post in no time flat. These days it takes a bit more work, but also I imagine things are a little more “on the rails” than I used to be too. (And also this time around I told myself I was gonna edit and triple check everything – yeah, right. Not happening).

But enough of that – looking forward, I don’t plan or expect any huge changes. I’m working to post four days a week now and I think I have that down. I’d eventually love to get to five every week but that might be a bit off in the distance yet (save this week, which will have five). I have enough “occasional” series running now that it’s fairly easy to come up with ideas to crank out.

There are no huge three or more part projects on the horizon right now. I’ve done a few before but I haven’t been struck with the inspiration with anything big lately. I’m sure something will dawn on me someday, but for now it will be a rotating series of S-Tier Songs, Tales From The Stage, and the other “here and there” things I do (along with the weekly single series). A new thing here or there may pop up, but I’m going to ride it out like this for a bit before I spring anything new.

One thing I had intended to do that hasn’t surfaced yet is YouTube. I was going to do album rankings and other things like that in video form. I honestly just haven’t had the time or inclination to mess with it. I may give it a go and see if I can’t get that off the ground before year’s end, but I wouldn’t advise anyone to hold their breath for it.

I have also considered the idea of doing a second, non-music related blog. That is something that may very well happen but will also be a ways off. I want to make sure I have this one sailing smoothly before I commit to something else. But we’ll see.

One note before I go – thank you to everyone who has visited, commented and/or otherwise interacted here. I got a bigger response than I’d anticipated, it’s certainly not easy to get or keep anyone’s attention these days. It’s nice to know I’m not just typing into the void, I doubt I would’ve hung around a year that way.

That’s about all I got – it’s kind of funny to think that, after a year, I haven’t even scratched the surface of all the music I like and have listened to. This site and concept could easily outlive my ability to run it. That’s a good thing, I suppose. Thank you all and we’ll see what the next year brings.

Album Of The Week – August 1, 2022

Last week I covered one of the most significant albums in heavy metal history. Let’s go 2 for 2 on that front.

Iron Maiden – Powerslave

Released September 3, 1984 via EMI

My Favorite Tracks – 2 Minutes To Midnight, Rime Of The Ancient Mariner, Aces High

This release marks Maiden’s fifth studio album and the one where the band truly became a worldwide phenomenon. The album and resulting tour would get the band in front of audiences across most of the civilized world.

And of course, it usually isn’t an Iron Maiden album without an epic cover. Powerslave does not disappoint on that front. Our friend Eddie was worked into a pharaoh sitting atop his throne and the Derek Riggs cover is one of Maiden’s most celebrated art pieces.

Discussion is a fairly easy task with eight songs coming in a hair over 50 minutes (and also I’ve heard this album a billion times), though the huge epic looms at the album’s close.

Aces High

The album’s opener would also serve as the band’s long-time concert opener. Maiden’s sound was now dialed in and this energetic track showcases the rumbling bass, galloping guitars and soaring vocals the band are known for. The lyrics recreate British air forces during the Battle Of Britain in World War II. It is one of the most well-known and loved songs from the groups catalog.

2 Minutes To Midnight

It’s a song that employs the world’s simplest yet most effective rock riff and tells a tale of destruction through the military industrial complex. The title references the Doomsday Clock and the close setting to midnight, which would signify atomic destruction.

This also is my favorite Iron Maiden song. I don’t really know “why,” just that it is.

Losfer Words (Big ‘Orra)

This is an instrumental and (I think) the final one the band ever did. It’s a very nice song that certainly could have been something with vocals but does just fine on its own. It fits the sound of the album perfectly.

Flash Of The Blade

A two-song mini arc about swordfighting starts here. A young kid plays with his toy sword, then becomes a real swordsman after his family is killed in an attack. He sets out for revenge against the killers with his real sword skills as an adult. The chorus is a pretty clever twist on “live by the sword, die by the sword.”

The Duellists

A pretty simple premise – the song is about a sword duel. The two combatants fight in the lyrics through Maiden’s pummeling musical delivery. Both of the swordfighting songs sometimes get dismissed or overlooked but I’ve always enjoyed them.

Back In The Village

This song isn’t entirely clear but it is another reference by Maiden to the old British TV show The Prisoner. The band had already recorded the song The Prisoner on The Number Of The Beast inspired by the show and are revisiting the setting here. I’m not familiar with the show but here are a handful of direct quotes from it in the lyrics here, such as “I’m not a number, I’m a name,” also words worked into The Prisoner song.


The title track heads to ancient Egypt and visits with a dying pharaoh who is not happy with the premise of mortality. The pharaohs were considered gods, yet here this dude is about to kick the bucket. Probably a startling conclusion to a worshiped and revered figure. Maiden kicked the track length up a bit here to 7 minutes, though even Powerslave pales in comparison to the journey to come.

Rime Of The Ancient Mariner

We arrive now at the album’s close, but it’ll be awhile before we get to the actual finish. This song, a direct adaptation of Samuel Coleridge’s famous poem of the same name, clocks in at 13:45. It would be Iron Maiden’s longest song until 2015, where Empire Of The Clouds from The Book Of Souls would dwarf Rime’s runtime (and The Red And The Black would come very close).

The song and poem’s plot can be summed up in concise fashion – ship gets lost, bird helps ship out of ice, guy shoots bird, guy is cursed for shooting bird. Sure, there’s a hell of a lot more to it than that but it’s the gist of the story.

Maiden makes extensive use of movements and arrangement to convey the poem in song form. An unfamiliar listener could be forgiven for thinking this is more than one song, at least until the curse is lifted in the song’s final few minutes. I’ve even had my mind wander off and forget what I was listening to when playing this album in the background.

While doing a song of such scope posed risks, Iron Maiden was all the better for it. They were not ever a radio hits band, so a lengthy epic based on a poem was eaten up by the fanbase. To this day it is listed among their finest works and no shortage of people have it at the top of their lists.

The Live After Death performance

Powerslave was an immense triumph for a band already on the rise in the mid 1980’s. The album charted in many countries and has several platinum and gold certifications. The resulting World Slavery tour took Iron Maiden all over the world and culminated in their first live album, the immortal Live After Death.

Iron Maiden’s ’80’s run is widely hailed as a series of classic albums and performances, yet Powerslave may be the cornerstone of that era. The two singles Aces High and 2 Minutes To Midnight are constant live presences, the title track is a celebrated epic, and of course Rime Of The Ancient Mariner is hailed as a masterpiece. The album’s influence is inescapable – hell, it’s even used by some to criticize other periods of the band’s work. Even as the band has endured and carved a unique legacy within heavy metal, the shadow of Pharaoh Eddie looms large over Iron Maiden’s work.

Also the Live After Death performance