Friday, May 16, 2008

Spotlight: Killswitch Engage - Alive or Just Breathing

Well after all the chaos of having another baby and trying to finish the year, I haven't posted as much as I wanted too, but I knew I wouldn't be able too. Just a couple more weeks to go and we are done. Nice.

So this week, we are looking at one of my favorite albums of all time Alive or Just Breathing by Killswitch Engage. I talked about this album before and since I am always crunched for time nowadays I will let you go read it HERE. Real quick though, this album is a masterpiece. It was one of the first albums to incorporate that hardcore/death scream singing with the super clean melodic singing. Jesse Leech pulled it off perfectly. Musically, the riffs and drumming drove this album and it wasn't until I listened to it two times that I realized that there wasn't one guitar solo! That's pretty impressive to me.

Playlist for the week:
the entire album!

BTW, pick up the Roadrunner 25th Anniversary Edition of this album. It comes with a 2nd disc which has 4 new songs. It's worth it and that's the one we are listening to this week.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Who Decides: Metal Vocalists

So a new tag to follow, Who Decides. In this tag I will give top 10 lists or just some sort of ranking. Today's first list is metal vocalists. These are the vocalists that when I hear I can sit back and enjoy purely based upon the vocals. They capture the rawness of metal and have the ability to change. In other words, there is some dynamics to their vocals...don't look for alot of "Cookie Monster" vocals on this list. Enjoy

1. James Hetfield (Metallica) - This is like THE best vocalist I have ever heard. Some hate his newer style of delivery, but it works for me. It wasn't TBA that made me pick him as number one, it was the Load-Era (Load/Re-Load/Garage Inc.) His early work is raw, but works great with the music. Even St. Anger works for me, his off key notes and out of tune screams have that "garage band" feel that they were going for.
Best performance: Garage Inc. (covers both new and old Metallica)

2. John Bush (Anthrax/Armored Saint) - Well if Hetfield is #1, then how about the guy they wanted in Metallica being #2. Bush is probably more famous for his days in Armored Saint than Anthrax, but I fell in love with his vocals in Anthrax. He has that metal guy voice. When I heard Sound of White Noise & Stomp 442 I was so impressed, gone were the horrible Belladonna shrieks and in came a man.
Best Performance: We've Come For You All (Anthrax)

3. Matt Barlow (Iced Earth/Pyramaze) - This is a big year for Barlow. Two albums coming out with him on lead vocals...I can't wait. Especially since he went MIA for about 5 years. His vocals are right up there with Bush and Hetfield, but he has a sort of Paul Stanley appeal to him as well. There are certain songs when you just sit there and think you are listening to a heavier version of KISS.
Best Performance: Alive in Athens (Iced Earth)

4. Tomas Lindberg (At the Gates/The Crown/Nightrage) - Ok I said there wouldn't be alot of "cookie monster" vocals, but Tompa (as he is called) kills. It was very early on in my entrance into harsher vocals when I picked up Slaughter of the Soul (At the Gates). I was impressed by the music, but I wasn't offended by the vocals. In fact, they grew on me a lot. His screams and death like style of singing just works. His vocal styling is copied time and time again, but no one can beat the original.
Best Performance: Slaughter of the Soul (At the Gates)

5. Jesse Leach (Killswitch Engage/Seemless) - What more can I say about KsE's sophmore album, Alive or Just Breathing? I already called it a modern classic. Now I can talk about the vocals. As I said before, Jesse's vocals kill, hands down. He could easily be #1 on this list, but top 5 ain't bad. His death screams combined with his beautiful clean vocals separates him from a ton of wanna be's. His vocals ushered in so many copy cats it's not even funny. Think of all the metalcore bands that do the death and clean vocals...all because of Jesse. Sad thing is that he left KsE after this album because he was hurting his voice. He moved onto Seemless which is a more groove rock band, but he still does some screams, but not as much. Oh yeah, on top of all that, his lyrics are far superior than anyone on this list.
Best Performance: Alive or Just Breathing (Killswitch Engage)

6. Anders Fridén (In Flames) - wow another death metal vocalist? I can't say much about Anders except take the great death styles of Tomas and add in some really great melodic singing on his own and you have Anders. I came into In Flames during Clayman, needless to say the next few albums were a shock to me. But the vocals kept me coming back to more. It seemed that the band moved away from the guitars being the melody and used the vocals instead.
Best Performance: Reroute to Remain (In Flames)

7. Stu Block (Into Eternity) - now this was a tough one. Into Eternity was famous for using 3 different vocalists and harmonizing like no one else. Well two of the vocalists spilt and they were replaced by one guy. How could one guy do death screams/growls and clean singing? Beats me but Stu can... oh yeah he can also hit the Rob Halford like screams as well. I miss the harmonizes of old, but Stu makes you forget them quickly.
Best Performance: Timeless Winter from Scattering of Ashes

8. Athera (Superia) - I could have easily put on Chuck Billy of Testament or Dez Fafara of Devildriver, but why not put on a guy who can do what both of them can do and more. Susperia has captured that modern thrash sound that I love. They have the harsher vocals, not total death, and throw in some clean classic metal vocals all on top of top notch thrash metal. Susperia is a band that I always feel don't get recognized enough for their greatness.
Best Performance: Unlimited (Susperia)

These last two are metal standards. If you don't know them, shame on you. Go check them out. I can't add anything that hasn't been said already classic metal vocalists.

9. Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden/Bruce Dickinson) - Best Performance: The Chemical Wedding (Bruce Dickinson)

10. Rob Halford (Judas Priest/Halford/Fight/2wo) - Best Performance: Crucible (Halford)

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Right Now: future updates

Ok so with the new baby I will be struggling on updates...maybe 1/2 a week. Anyways I need to hit top metal vocalists, BSG, Spider Man (what a great show), and it's getting close to mid year which means top albums of the year. It's a packed year...I already have about 13 solid albums...yeah that's more than 10.

Keep it in the Family: new baby

Well baby is finally here. Ryan was born last night at around 6 pm. Wife did a great job of pushing and bringing him into this world. He weighed 9 lbs. 6 oz. big guy. The nurses and our doctor were all surprised at his size. I am taking the week off from work and will be taking Fridays and Mondays when necessary. I am playing single parent while my wife is at the hospital. We visit 2 times a day. Our daughter is so cute with her little brother. I can't imagine my life without our daughter, now I can't imagine my life without our son.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Right Now: updates

been awhile since I posted so here is a quick update:
- No baby still
- CST's over...what's the point of teaching new material?
- BSG still a great show
- a few weeks of school left
- Spectacular Spider-man is easily the best comic book show on right now