A Look At Some Recent Videos

This is the first of two posts I’ll do this week. As I said last Friday, I’m just gonna go over some songs so I can get ahead on my writing and be ready to get back in full swing in October. Today I’m gonna have a look at a handful of videos that have hit more recently. This isn’t my usual “upcoming releases” sort of thing, this is more just looking at stuff that hit the YouTube radar. On Friday I’ll have a go at some older videos I’ve been wanting to write about for awhile now.

Iron Maiden – Stratego Live

This one grabbed my interest right away, being Maiden and all. They filmed a video for one of the Senjutsu songs they’ve been playing live lately. Maiden were just in the general area a few weeks ago but I was unable to go due to way too much other stuff going on.

Stratego is an interesting choice for me as it’s not a song I necessarily took to a lot when Senjutsu first came out. I thought it was buried a bit under itself, though the Spotify pre-release version was murkier than the album cut. But hearing it live, the song does shine out in the open. There have been some curious production choices in reunion-era Maiden and, while Senjutsu as a whole came out fine, there was some stuff buried on a handful of tracks.

The band have made it no secret that they wish to play the entire album live in select, smaller venues, knowing that the wider audience probably wouldn’t be into it. Should it come to pass I might venture out for it.

Also, a note since we’re talking about them – in a week or two I’ll have a post (maybe two) talking about all of the songs Iron Maiden have not played live, as relayed by a recent article. Obviously the discussion will not include Stratego.

Courting – Loaded

This is an interesting bit that I just ran into when I was checking out one site or another (it was NME, apparently). This British group has been around since 2018 but just released their debut album Guitar Music last week. It’s been generating a bit of buzz so I thought I’d give the song a go.

Man is this weird. On one hand I like it, it’s very noisy and I’m cool with that. But on the other, wow there is a lot of stuff going on here and it might be missing me a bit. The genre tags being thrown around include post-punk and hyperpop, meaning I don’t know what the hell this is. It’s like Britrock on LSD and steroids, I guess.

I’m not sure if I’m sharing this because I want to say “hey, check this out” or if I’m saying “if I had to hear it, so do you.” I’ll give the album a spin later on and see what I think of them. This did at least catch my attention, no doubt about that.

Liam Gallagher and Foo Fighters – Rock N’ Roll Star and Live Forever

I wanted to talk about this for a minute, this being the first tribute concert for Taylor Hawkins held early September in London. A lot of wonderful performances came from the event and there’s honestly almost too much to talk about. In order to keep it concise I decided to hone in on the opening two songs, featuring the one and only Liam Gallagher fronting as the Foo Fighters run through two Oasis classics. Rock N’ Roll Star, often an Oasis opener and usually Liam’s opening song, fittingly opens this tribute show as well. It could be said that the Foo’s performance is a bit clean compared to the usual snarl of the Oasis version, but it’s nothing to fuss over and is a fine rendition.

Live Forever was an almost mandatory cut, it being the perfect song to honor Taylor. I’m sure Taylor would be honored, having been a huge Oasis and Liam fan. And the remaining Fighters all seem pretty psyched to be sharing a stage with Liam.

The show would go on to produce some heartfelt and also insane moments, not the least of which was Wolfgang Van Halen breaking his usual rule and playing his father’s music. Another show is slated to take place tonight, September 27, in Los Angeles.

Lorna Shore – Pain Remains I: Dancing Like Flames

I’ll wrap this post up with another single from one of the most hotly anticipated extreme metal releases of the year, due out now in just a few weeks’ time. Lorna Shore conquered the Internet, and therefore the world, with their song To The Hellfire last year, and now it’s almost time to see if their new full-length can maintain the buzz of last year’s EP.

So far with the singles released, it appears Lorna Shore are happy to expand their lexicon rather than try to capture lightning in a bottle again with To The Hellfire Part II. A wise choice too, as that almost never works out. Pain Remains seems to offer an expanded pallet and a strong focus on composition and arrangement, moving out of the typical confines of “deathcore” and incorporating many other elements.

This song is clearly the first part of a trilogy and, given the song’s abrupt cut-off at the end, seems to indicate that it’s one long song with three movements. Given the loss illustrated in the video, I’d wager the other two parts are going to get pretty damn heavy.

That’s about all for today’s post. I’ll run through some other videos on Friday, again they’ll be older ones I just want to talk about. Next week I’ll be back at my usual posting frequency. See you all later.

A Quick Programming Note

I’ve been very spotty with my posts lately and I need a minute to reset and recharge a bit. Work has been especially brutal lately and my now middle-age body isn’t responding to it well, I’m very far behind on stuff I need to get done, and September is always a super busy month with a million things going on. It’s all added up to beating me down pretty good. I’ve barely had the time or desire to even listen to much music lately, much less write about it.

This won’t last very long though, thankfully. I am taking a new position at my job in the next week or two that will be far less strenuous and also grant me more time to get things taken care of and also focus on the site. And the September blitz of life and events is almost over and I’ll have a far more quiet fall season lined up.

My goal over the summer was to consistently post four days a week but I’ve missed the mark on that. And getting posts lined up at all has been a chore in this super busy time – if I don’t get a post started and finished in one go, it winds up sitting and collecting dust.

In order to get caught up and build a true queue of posts to be able to meet my own posting goals, I’m going to scrap my usual format next week. Instead of an album of the week and my other usual posts, I’m just going to make two or three quick posts of a handful of songs. They’ll be short and sweet and I’ll probably talk some trash to spice it up a bit. I want to make sure I post something but I need to step back for a second and recharge a bit. It’s also stuff I can just whip up off the cuff and not have to plan out, that will give me time to get October’s content lined out and be able to step into the consistency that I want.

That is really about all there is to say – I’ll be posting light next week in order to get caught up on other stuff and start rolling out more consistent stuff next month. In the meantime, here’s one of the greatest heavy metal videos in history that not that many people have seen.

Album Of The Week – September 19, 2022

This week’s pick is a notable album from 1993 that marked a major lineup change for a long-running group as well as a shift in sound from their standard thrash to a more fit for the times alternative metal approach.

Anthrax – Sound Of White Noise

Released May 25, 1993 via Elektra Records

My Favorite Tracks – Only, This Is Not An Exit, Black Lodge

Anthrax had parted ways with longtime singer Joey Belladonna and replaced him with renowned Armored Saint singer John Bush. Bush’s visceral style fit the new songs well and put the band in prime position to remain afloat as thrash metal was falling out of public attention.

Anthrax did not sacrifice heaviness on this record but they did set the standard thrash formula aside for a more straightforward attack. While “grunge” influence is often spoke of when discussing the album, it seems more like just a very heavy metal album to me. I don’t really hear grunge on this. It fit the times but there was a lot more going on in metal than just people aping grunge back then.

This set runs at just under an hour with 11 tracks, so let’s jump right in to this beefy offering.

Potter’s Field

The blistering opener presents the view of a person mad at his mother for having been born, the troubled guy would have rather been aborted than left to live his crappy life. The song is a harsh, straightforward pummeling through the angry rant towards the mother. John Bush’s raspy and powerful delivery enhances the sharp sting of the lyrical content.


The album’s lead single also serves as its most-known track and one of the highlights of the Bush Anthrax era. The song gets into dealing with someone who is clearly batshit crazy.

Only was a calling card for the new era of Anthrax right out of the gate. It saw consistent MTV play and has gone on to be widely considered the top track from this period of the band. It is also the only “Bushthrax” song that Joey Belladonna has performed after returning to the group.

Room For One More

This is something about a person seeking to use someone with a checkered past for something probably not good. The subject matter of these songs is far beyond the typical thrash offerings and suits the higher intellectual period of the early ’90’s very well.

Packaged Rebellion

A look at how the concept of rebellion was commercialized and put on display as a scene rather than an actual revolutionary movement. A very fitting song that strikes at the heart of music and culture of the time period. Rebellion was sold to the alternative crowd and was bought up just like food on a buffet line.

Hy Pro Glo

This is some kind of “callout” song that doesn’t specifically offer what or who it’s getting into. Many of the songs on the album have lyrical fare that keeps a certain distance and fits the music well yet doesn’t offer an open, literal interpretation that’s easy to digest.


Another sort of “you suck” song, this one deals with the friend who is never around in times of need. This one’s meaning is easier to pick up on than some of the others.

1000 Points Of Hate

A title twisted from the famous “1000 points of light” phrase that George Bush the Elder uttered as president. The album’s most aggressive track, this one spells its points out clearly and is a true beating of a song.

Black Lodge

A dark, plodding “ballad” of sorts that was inspired by the Twin Peaks TV show, this was issued as a single and stands apart from the pounding that the rest of the album delivers. It deals with a person living with some kind of demons that aren’t spelled out – it could be mental illness, drug addiction, perhaps even terminal illness. The song is a well-crafted and creepy tune that uses John Bush’s voice to highlight the plight at hand.

Sodium Pentothal

The track listing spells out the actual chemical formula for this compound, I am not attempting to type that out or even copy and paste it into my document and declare war on my formatting. The drug has been used in lethal injection executions but also saw some limited use as a “truth serum,” and that is its application in the song.


Another pounding of a song that gets into how opinions are just that and really don’t hold much meaning when put up against each other. Sadly a lesson unlearned as the years have gone on.

This Is Not An Exit

The album closes with this extended number that gets back into the creepy vibe explored on Black Lodge. The song deals with the idea of immorality and the mental toll that living forever would actually have on a mortal being.

Sound Of White Noise would be a highlight album for Anthrax. It charted at 7 on Billboard, the band’s highest position. It went gold in the US and Canada and the singles Only and Black Lodge landed in the Top 40. The album received well among critics and it is often featured toward the top of lists of fan rankings.

It was a gamble to reinvent musically and also part with the groups signature singer in Joey Belladonna, but the gamble paid off as Anthrax entered the revamped ’90’s metal scene with a relevant sound and approach. Future albums with Bush would not see the same fanfare, though some highlights are around.

Anthrax would go through some silliness with vocalists for awhile before eventually reuniting with Belladonna and joining the Big 4 of Thrash tours. And while the signature Anthrax era will always be Joey and records like Spreading The Disease and Among The Living, there is no doubt that Sound Of White Noise and John Bush left a huge mark on the band’s career.

Incantation – Deliverance Of Horrific Prophecies

Today’s single is a relic, both of my collection of the death metal renaissance of the early 1990’s. I originally purchased this record via mail order in 1992 or ’93, not sure exactly. And it’s in my collection today, though it spent a very long time not in the collection. It’s a story I’ll tell after getting into the songs.

Incantation are a US East Coast death metal band, having been at it since 1989. While never a chart-topping act with radio play, they have had a huge influence across the extreme metal scene with their blend of death and doom elements. Their 1992 debut Onward To Golgotha is hailed 30 years later as a classic of death metal and it’s the album from which the songs on this 7 inch single are drawn.

There’s no need for me to get to long-winded about the songs. I’ll post them both here. The A-side is the title track and the B-side is Profanation, both songs are from Onward To Golgotha. The single was released in 1991 before the full length came along in 1992. Both of these are prime cuts of what’s known as “cavernous” death metal, like the kind of shit you’d hear if you were locked in a medieval dungeon.

I originally came into this record in 1992 (I think…), it was a part of my very first mail order of underground metal stuff. I got the record and the full-length album on tape, as well as the first album and another 7 inch single of Amorphis. I was pretty stoked to have this kind of stuff in my collection, there was only one other person in my pissant little hometown who was into this kind of music.

Fast forward a few years and I shipped off to the Navy. In fact I was in Europe for a bit over three years. My music collection, including all of this, sat at my mom’s house and survived a move (thankfully just a few miles away). I got back from the Navy and reintegrated my old crap, including this single, into my existence.

A few years after that in what I think was 2002, I met a friend who was very, very into metal in all its forms. He and I are very good friends to this day, in fact. I mentioned having this single as well as the Amorphis record and he was interested in buying them. Given that I didn’t really care about them at the time and was also pretty hard up for money, I cut the deal.

Now on to late 2006 – we went a few hours away to an Incantation show on Black Friday (the day after US Thanksgiving for those unfamiliar). My buddy took this record with him and Incantation mainstay John McEntee signed the cover for him. There was also a newer 7 inch single running around at that time that John also signed for my friend and which is now also in my collection, we’ll get to that in a few weeks.

Fast forward to, uh, 2019 or maybe even 2020, or hell 2021, I don’t recall exactly. I think it was 2020 but I don’t know, the hell with remembering stuff. Anyway – my buddy and I were doing as we often do on Friday nights, drinking beer and listening to metal. We were shooting the shit about the price of records and we wound up going through his 7 inch singles collection to see what the prices of things were. Well, it turns out the Discogs median on this Incantation record was pushing $50, as was the 2006 single he’d bought at the show.

So, after slamming a few more beers and discussing a price that was fair and saw my pal rake in a tidy little profit but also kept me from having to shell out median prices, I am once again the owner of my old single as well as the other one. The stuff you’ll do after a few beers, that could be a blog all its own.

And that is the story of this single, which is kind of beat to hell but still playable and very nice to have, as I honestly don’t have much stuff now that I did in my childhood.

Tales From The Stage – White Zombie

Today I’m going into a now distant memory from a show I saw in 1995. It was the “great summer” between the time I graduated high school and went into the US Navy. It was a case of the openers outshining the headliner, and one opener being an act who’d stick with me for many years since.

I had to Google a bit to find the specific date, but the show was on July 7, 1995 at what was then known as the Riverport Amphitheater in St. Louis, Missouri. To my memory, it was the first show I saw at this infamous venue, this was the location of the 1991 Guns N Roses riot show (which was almost my first concert, more info here) I’d see several other shows here over the years but I’m fairly certain this was the first time I set foot on the grounds tainted in the blood of Axl Rose’s tantrum on that fateful 1991 day.

The show in question today was a three-band bill ,headlined by a group who’d toiled in the underground for a long time but finally found themselves strapped to a rocket and riding mainstream highs. It would also be the last year of their existence before the frontman made the (likely wise) decision to go solo.

Being that this show is now 27 years old in the lexicon, I won’t bother trying to recount setlists and tiny details. I remember it, but I don’t recall a ton of very specific stuff. I’ll discuss each band and their set, and how it impacted me on that month in July just before I shipped off for the military.

Babes In Toyland

The show opened with the all-women’s Minnesota-based outfit. This band was a curiosity to me at the time, as they’d had a share of success and moved a few hundred thousand copies of their albums in the grunge prime. They were “grunge,” but not really. They were “punk,” but not outright. They were a name on MTV and on radio if you were on to the more alternative channels, which I was at the time.

I knew who they were, but didn’t really “know” them, if that makes sense. They put on an impressive set, with their own take on the sound of the time. In a hindsight sense the band probably deserves more credit for their contributions to the early 90’s scene than they get. I can’t say volumes about their set from then but I took it in and liked it, I’m sure part of that being a dumb 17 year old not having been within a six-foot radius of a woman watching these badass women crank out stellar tunes on stage.

Today I have their 3 albums in my collection and recall that they were a very underrated part of the early 90’s scene. I’m probably far more lucky to have seen them than I can know or express.

The Reverend Horton Heat

The second act is the one who blew the headliner off the stage and still resonates with me today. I had barely heard of the group when we went to the show, but goddamn did they leave an impression.

If you would have told me what rockabilly was in 1994, I would have told you to go on your way. I was entirely into metal, from the deepest depths of the underground. I didn’t listen to country, I didn’t listen to surf rock, hell, I didn’t listen to a lot of hard rock at that time beyond maybe the Scorpions. But the early evening set in the open July Missouri sun would resonate with me.

There is no arguing with the sheer power of Reverend Horton Heat. Even back in 1995, earlier into their career, they were a force that set a 20,000 seat amphitheater on fire. I was absolutely picking up what they were putting down, and they had the entire crowd engaged in a good time.

I’ve seen the band many times since this show, if I sat and counted it’s possible that I’ve seen Reverend Horton Heat more times than any other band. And if they come to town tomorrow, rest assured I’ll be there. I didn’t entirely comprehend it at the time, but I was watching sheer magnificence that day and I’ve been a faithful disciple since.

A more recent cut from the good reverend

White Zombie

The headliners of the day were of another world by this time. White Zombie had long been an underground act, with Rob Zombie making occasional appearances on the set of Headbanger’s Ball as a visual artist. We all knew he had a band but we weren’t paying that much attention.

Then a couple of cartoon idiots came along – the infamous Beavis and Butthead, for all the music they shit on or exalted, no band made hay out of it more than White Zombie. There was no more underground – White Zombie and Thunder Kiss ’65 were now a household name.

This isn’t the whole story, of course – the group was out on tour relentlessly in the early 90’s, getting their name out more with each pass through town. The Beavis and Butthead connection launched them into the stratosphere, but it shouldn’t be said that this band didn’t pay their dues and also weren’t the right band with the right sound for those weird early 90’s times.

The group did not waste time with their newfound fame – they cranked out their double-platinum opus Astro-Creep 2000 and hit the road in what was my most formative summer, the year I got out of school and shipped off to boot camp.

And, just to be brief and get to the point – their show wasn’t that great. The band executed well enough, as far as playing that kind of industrial-tinged sludge goes, I guess. But Rob Zombie was totally not in form that day. I don’t know if he smoked a few too many Luck Strikes before the show or what, but it was “More human than (COUGH) human” on that day in St. Louis. Dude had COVID 25 years before it was really a thing.

Now, when I look back on everything I’ve seen in terms of concerts over time, I won’t call it the worst set I’ve ever seen. To call back to one I wrote about in the beginning days of the blog, somewhere buried in my recounting of Iron Maiden memories is the one and only time I saw Queensryche, who truly stunk up the stage that night. I don’t think White Zombie sucked or anything, but they were not in good form, and they were outshined by their opening acts.

I’ll say it was still a decent show from the headliner, but certainly I recall the openers more from that evening. And especially the Reverend Horton Heat, a band I’ve come to love and follow to dive bars across the land to this day. I had a good run of concerts in the summer before I left for the military, and, well, this was one of them.

Album Of The Week – September 12, 2022

This week it’s a look at a 52 year old concert but one only released in full 2 years prior. It was an odd concert for a bad film and was also the second-to-last US performance of rock and roll’s preeminent guitar legend.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Live In Maui

Material originally recorded July 30, 1970

Set released November 20, 2020 via Experience Hendrix/Legacy Records

The Hendrix Maui sets have occupied a bit of lore and some scorn, not for Hendrix’s playing but for the reason he was in Maui filming. It was a full 50 years after the shows that a full, official live document was unveiled. And that document is audio only, though some snippets of video also exist (we’ll get to that).

Hendrix and a reformed Experience, with bassist Billy Cox in place of Noel Redding, were booked for Maui by manager Michael Jeffery. Jeffery had secured a film deal and had a bright idea to do a freeform visual exploration of the hippie/counterculture community of Hawaii. In order to actually try to convince anyone to watch the drivel, Jeffery got Hendrix to play two sets on the island for the purpose of anchoring the film.

The eventual film was called Rainbow Bridge and was a total failure in the marketplace. Any interest in it has been for the 17 minutes of live Hendrix footage. While the complete concert recordings existed and saw the light of day as bootlegs, it took a literal half a century to salvage the full recordings and present an official live package.

Instead of having bit performances in a film made by Jeffery, who at best can be called a shady motherfucker, we now have a full accounting of the Maui sets offered by Experience Hendrix, overseen by Janie Hendrix, Jimi’s sister. Hendrix studio collaborator Eddie Kramer also joined in on the restoration process.

Live In Maui presents a few difficult technical challenges for modern presentation – one, the concerts were recorded on an open field with wind blowing. It led to some re-recording for music used in Rainbow Bridge and some of the drum edits are found on this newer live set.

The official set does mostly triumph over the sound issues and present a worthwhile listening package. It’s by no means the best representation of live Hendrix, but it does a good job of capturing a long sought-after concert. It is evident on listening that sound wasn’t captured at its best but this isn’t a flimsy, barley audible bootleg offering – this is still full on live Jimi Hendrix.

I won’t bother going over all 20 songs in my usual AOTW format. Several of the standard Hendrix tunes are present here – Purple Haze, Foxey Lady, Fire, Red House, and a spirited finale of Stone Free at the finale, with a snippet of Hey Joe thrown in. I found Voodoo Child to be an early favorite on first listen, something about that song worked and stood out from the rest. Of course that might apply to the song in general, but that’s an argument for another time.

This live set is full of what would be unreleased songs at the time of Hendrix’s death a few months later. Cuts like Dolly Dagger and Hey Baby (New Rising Sun) were meant for the next album, to be called The Cry Of Love. The history of posthumous Hendrix releases before the family takeover of the catalog is too much of a task to get into here (or ever) so I’ll spare that but mention that many of these songs have been released in a variety of compilations and other live performances.

It’s nice to have some less familiar stuff aired out live along with the standards. The performance does seem to bog down a bit in the second set, as if maybe playing two shows in front a few hundred hippies out in an open field isn’t the greatest idea or something, I don’t know. But things turn around towards the second set’s conclusion.

Live In Maui is a nice live set to have in the collection. It’s been a pretty eagerly-sought after set in the more die-hard Hendrix circles. While we’re spoiled to have so many of his concerts available, the Maui sets were always lurking on the shelf in the back corner.

There is a video component to the release, as well. A well-done documentary gets into the nuts and bolts of why Hendrix was on Maui in the first place. There is also a video presentation of the concert – but, and this is a huge BUT – cameras weren’t rolling for the entire show. Many songs are only visually available in snippets, or not at all. A few do have full or mostly intact videos and a time or two more than one song runs, but this is not an optimal viewing experience. It is a “cool to have” thing as opposed to having no video at all, but it is weird and not fleshed out with enough video to be recommending viewing on its own.

In the end, Live In Maui fills a hole in official Hendrix collections that some thought would never see the light of day. It’s not something I’d necessarily recommend as a purchase for people who don’t have a ton of live Hendrix, there are far more worthwhile volumes out there. But for a more completionist approach, this fills a massive void and lets people skip the bootleg market. It’s a set with a lot of the unreleased in his lifetime songs on it and the story of why it even exists sets it apart from most concert releases.

The Singles Series – Bad Brains

Today’s single is a massive force from one of the most innovative and pioneering bands in the punk and hardcore scenes. Bad Brains wrote the book on fast, ferocious music and one of their signature songs is the feature of this single.

Also I chose not to air the title of the song out in my post title, I figured I’d use an ounce of discretion and leave it out. But in the post anything goes, so here we are with Pay To Cum!

My version is a 2021 reissue of the landmark single, which was the debut release from Bad Brains. The original pressing goes for an amount of money I’m not paying, it’s at least several hundred dollars and has sold in the thousands before. This very easy to obtain reissue sits on my record shelf just fine.

While this is a huge song in the canon of several music subgenres, there actually isn’t a hell of a lot to talk about as the title song is whopping 1:33 and the B-side gets a hefty 2:25 to flex its muscles.

Pay To Cum

The feature song is a monster flex of speed and energy. It is a musical lightning attack, in and out before the inattentive even know something happened. Yet it is a juggernaut that commands that attention by being one of the damnedest things ever heard. No point in searching for layers of meaning or subtle flourishes – just jam it out and get crazy.

Stay Close To Me

The B-side does offer a contrast to the heavy hitter on the other side. It’s a track that offers a bit of reggae, another style Bad Brains would work with extensively over the years. This isn’t an all-out reggae song but does hint at the style. This song could easily be taken as an early template for ska (not that I know much of anything about the history of ska, but this song gives off that vibe in places).

That’s about all for this single. Bad Brains would go on to ignite several 1980’s scenes with their distinct blend of styles and their blistering live sets. While not a global best-seller, they are easily one of the most influential bands to ever pick up instruments. I could spend the rest of my life simply typing the names of bands and acts who honor Bad Brains as an influence. I won’t, but I could.

S-Tier Songs, Vol. 15

This is another edition of S-Tier songs. For the premise behind this exercise and the list of prior inductees, click here.

Today I visit a song from 2000. Not a hotbed year of music, at least what I and many others who read this listen to. But this band and this song would rise up from the muck and gain widespread notice, becoming a hit single in the mire of post-Woodstock ’99 fatigue and a beacon for the way for alt-metal to go forward. It only helps that the song involves highly charged personal affairs and features the lead singer of alt-metal’s biggest band.

A Perfect Circle – Judith

To begin with, a Cliffnotes version of the formation of A Perfect Circle – guitarist Billy Howerdel had been a guitar tech with Nine Inch Nails and Tool, among others. The latter band is very important, as Tool singer Maynard James Keenan would offer Billy a place to crash in L.A. After Maynard heard Billy’s demos, Maynard offered to sing on them.

Billy Howerdel wanted singer Elizabeth Fraser of the Cocteau Twins to sing on it originally, but was rebuffed and Maynard sang on the demos. The pair assembled a band and got a record deal, signing with a group apart from Tool’s label so that the band would be taken seriously as its own entity.

Well, no problem there.

A Perfect Circle would hit well on the early millennium, with the debut album Mer De Noms debuing on Billboard at number 4 and hitting platinum before year’s end. The band hit on the charts and also toured extensively, initially opening for Nine Inch Nails in the summer of 2000 – a show I caught and detailed here.

It was fairly quick success for APC, and it wasn’t entirely because the singer of Tool was involved. There was a rich, deep song composition to the band and that was evident on the lead single, which is the song we’re discussing today.

Judith hits with a monster riff that isn’t something that could be easily replicated by a band, rock or metal, that I know of. It’s not “complex” in the vein of Dream Theater or Yngwie, but it’s something not of our usual world and gets set apart. This song, for all its lyrical complexities, is a banger. This throws down and slams, and goes very mainstream in a weird 2000’s world where we’re still trying to define the new rules.

And then there is the lyrical content. This is a highly charged, personal song for Maynard James Keenan. The song bears the name of his mother, Judith Marie Keenan. It is directly influenced by her, but not in a way that would be considered a fitting tribute by many (don’t worry, that’s to come)

Judith Marie Keenan suffered a stroke when Maynard was roughly 11, and would live in a debilitated state until her death in 2003. Her devotion to the church through her life and the backbiting talk of members of her church would inspire Maynard’s lyrics for this song.

And the song is not, in any terms, kind to the Christian institution. While “shock rock” had been played out by 2000 and “shock rapper” Eminem was rising to superstardom at this time, it was a different scene to have such a blasphemous song so blunt and upfront on record. Lyrics like “fuck your god” weren’t reserved for much of rock, beyond a bit Nine Inch Nails used on a secondary track on The Downward Spiral in 1994. But A Perfect Circle would slot right in to a very weird early 2000’s MTV and radio scene and score a big hit that charted well in the US and abroad.

But the song is far more personal than just a rant at religious institutions. Judith was struck down by a stroke, left to linger for 10,000 days in a paralyzed state. The song bearing her name takes aim at the gods she deifies, who Maynard holds responsible for her state. The song is really a question, why are you venerating this deity that left you in this position for damn near 30 years?

The combination of complex riffing and instrumentation, as well as the massively charged personal lyrics, mark this song as a dark highlight of the year 2000. It would be a herald for more to come from the band, as 3 Libras would also chart well and The Hollow would be one of the best songs anyone has heard from whatever scene, ever. APC’s second album would bring The Outsider, another banger and very strong performing track.

But Judith was the lead that brought us to the dance, and its mix of uncategorized banging and personally-fueled lyrics were what put the band on the map in the first place, and also separated the work from Maynard’s main gig in Tool. It was a messed up hit single to have, but it worked in the time and place. It gave fuel to a fire no one really saw coming, that was a mesh of an unheralded talent and a known singer that had something else to say.

Why is this an S-Tier song?

The combined simple, headbanging qualities of the track along with its more complex underpinnings make this a worthwhile endeavor on its own. Combine it with some very, very personal lyrics that transcend the typical fare of rock and metal hit-making, and you have a song that sticks out like sore thumb among the rest of what the hell ever we were doing in 2000.

And, as shitty as it is that it resulted in the death of Judith Marie, we get a spiritual sequel to this song next week. Maynard logged time at his day job to pay homage to his since-departed mother a few years later. He doesn’t like talking about it (understandable), but I’m not going to let that masterpiece of a song go.

Leg Day

I’m calling this leg day because, just like leg day, I’m skipping some posts this week.

I clearly didn’t do an album of the week yesterday. The holiday weekend, and more specifically me working it, left me with less time than I was anticipating. I’ve had a ton of other stuff to take care of and I won’t have much time at all this coming weekend, so time to get posts sorted isn’t really happening right now.

This week I will still do a singles series post and one other post to book up Wednesday and Thursday. Next week I will get back at it with an AOTW and some other posts, stuff I will spend time this week getting ready. If I manage my time wisely (lol), I will both get back to a normal posting routine and also have a fair bit of stuff worked up that’s kind of been sitting for awhile.

Anyway, here’s a sneak peak of what will be the album of the week next Monday.

Upcoming Releases – Labor Daze

I’ve been up against it on posts lately, but the old reliable upcoming releases rises again. We are about to enter a holiday in the US, which I actually don’t have off. I’ll get paid handsomely for my time so it’s all good. I might even buy records with my excess money. Or, with the price of vinyl these days, I might buy record. We’ll see.

Anyway, there is some cool stuff lined up and some of it is straight out of a shotgun and coming out very soon, so let’s get into it.

Clutch – Slaughter Beach

I remember being “in” on Clutch in the beginning, which I guess was around 1993 and their full length debut Transnational Speedway League. They have always been a different and interesting proposition, and now here we all all these years later with the quasi-title track to their 13th studio album Sunrise On Slaughter Beach, due just around the corner on September 16.

This is a very accessible version of Clutch, who I think are one of time’s less heralded and, dare I say, underrated bands. I very much like what I’m hearing here and will be on the lookout for the new album just a stone’s throw away. The second half of the year is picking up steam in a big way.

Nita Strauss – Summer Storm

The badass shredder, apparently having stepped away (but now down) from Alice Cooper and linking up with Demi Lovato, has released a new instrumental song. Nita has a 2018 solo album but this new single does not offer any new album info, at least at this time.

This song is straight fire, it’s a monster guitar track and a showcase of someone who knows how to fly on the frets but also compose a listenable song. Whatever is going on, I’ll assume a full solo album would be a 2023 release, Nita nails everything here. A fantastic tune.

Autopsy – Skin By Skin

In 2022, many of the masters of death metal have departed or gone on to other things. Autopsy, who gave up in the mid 90’s when shit got bad then came back to us in the 2010’s, are back in the new decade. Also I just talked about them a bit yesterday.

This is a lead single from their upcoming album Morbidity Triumphant, due on the 30th of this month. This is a total banger band for me and I’ll be totally at attention when this hits.

Ellefson/Soto – Vacation In The Underworld

Here is the title track from the long-awaited collaboration between Jeff Scott Soto and Dave Ellefson. The project was in the works for a long time but got delayed in the wake of Ellefson’s scandal and dismissal from Megadeth last year. The album sees the light of day on October 7.

The song is suitably heavy, this project seemed destined to shade that direction. I’m curious to see if we get more of a “grab bag” of songs and styles or if the album has a more unified focus, press material leads me to think it’ll be the first one. Not long before we find out.

Witch Fever – I Saw You Dancing

This band is totally new to me, I found them a bit ago when this song and video released and came across my radar. The group have been working out of England for roughly five years now and are about to release their full-length debut Congregation, out October 21.

The band have been described as coming from the punk scene, but this song is total doom/noise and also totally amazing. Their earlier singles do seem more punk in nature but still backed with a massive fuzz in the riffs. At any rate, this awesome song and very well done video accompany the new album that is now very much on my want list.

That does it for this shorter but still impactful list. I feel like I forgot something but quick scans of music sites don’t seem to offer anything. Still no word on Kerry King’s post-Slayer project yet, I expect something in the near future with the information that’s been trickling out the past few months. Maybe next time.