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DREAM EVIL: THE EVOLUTION OF RONNIE JAMES DIO

If Your Circle Stays Unbroken Then You’re a Lucky Man ‘Cause it Never, Never, Never has for me No words spoken by Ronnie James Dio rang truer than the lyrics to “Invisible.” Heartfelt and honest, the statement finds Dio reflecting on the past while in the midst of reinvention. His story is one of broken dreams and unimaginable triumphs. In the end, Dio emerged a legend whose legacy continues to strengthen after his death. Dio was no stranger to change. An elder statesman, Ronnie’s music career pre-dates the very existence…

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Album Art Exploration Articles 

Murray: A Short History of the Dio Mascot

If Ronnie James Dio had simply been the singer of Rainbow and Black Sabbath, his name would have been firmly etched in the annals of rock and roll. With Holy Diver, Dio escaped the shadow of his past and forged an identity that was truly his own. A carefully assembled band helped create the music. The image, however, can be attributed to a monstrous mascot named Murray. An evil creature with blood red eyes, our first glimpse of Murray shows this beast choking a drowning priest with iron chains. The…

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Ten Thrash Ballads

Thrash metal is extremely technical music. Its practitioners are accomplished musicians who have spent years mastering their instruments. They shine in the context of fast, aggressive music, but sometimes speed obscures the nuances of their craft. It’s little wonder that ballads soon crept into the repertoire of thrash bands. These slower songs provided a sense of dynamics that allowed musicians to shine without the hindrance of extreme distortion. Naturally most of these “ballads” became full-on thrashers before the song was over. What follows are ten examples of the heaviest bands…

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Articles Observations and Musings 

To Live Is To Die: A Tribute To Cliff Burton

Cliff Burton was already a legend when I discovered Metallica. Not that I knew who he was at the time. And Justice For All was a brand new album and I was taking it all in through the ears and eyes of a 6th grade boy. Vague, half-remembered memories remain of watching the “world premier” of the “One” video just days after first hearing Justice. There was a feeling that I was witnessing a historic moment. Turns out, I was. Metallica had just released their first record without Cliff Burton….

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WE’RE A HAPPY FAMILY: THE CRETINS OF THE RAMONES

Right out of the gate The Ramones had the best lyrics. Their first album contained songs of sniffing glue, chainsaw wielding maniacs, and tales of beating brats with baseball bats. It also ushered in the first of many colorful characters. This list celebrates the most beloved cretins in the vast Ramones universe. JUDY IS A PUNK Jackie and Judy are a lovable pair of punks with a thirst for adventure. For reasons unknown, they ran away to Berlin and joined the Ice Capades. The lyrics offer little in the way…

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LEGACY OF BRUTALITY: THE MISFITS AND THE CRIMSON GHOST

The Crimson Ghost or The Fiend Skull. Call him what you will, the fiendish ghoul has been the face of The Misfits for decades. With the “original” Misfits reunion looming, the time is right to revisit the legacy of this iconic mascot. The Crimson Ghost first found life in the 1940’s. Starring in a serialized film, the masked villain went to murderous lengths in his attempts to steal an invention dubbed Cyclotrode X. Capable of deflecting atomic rays, the machine would be invaluable in preventing an atomic attack during the…

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Album Art Exploration Articles Observations and Musings 

NOT OF THIS WORLD: THE DANZIG SKULL AND THE SAGA OF CRYSTAR

The artwork of the first Danzig record was perfect. A white skull occupied both panels of black gatefold. All was secondary to the skull. No track list was present. Even the actual logo was pushed to the bottom corner. Visually stimulating, the skull boldly ushered in the next chapter of Glenn Danzig’s storied career. Of course Glenn was using the skull long before his eponymous debut. It was unveiled with the birthing of Samhain. Unlike the Crimson Ghost, this new creation was not taken from Hollywood. It had no immediately…

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UNITED FORCES: METAL COVERS PUNK

It didn’t take long for metal and punk to influence each other. Crossover bands like D.R.I. and Suicidal Tendencies embraced both genres. Even strictly METAL bands had punk influences. What follows are just a few examples of what happens when METAL COVERS PUNK!   SAINT VITUS – THIRSTY AND MISERABLE No band was better prepared to cover Black Flag than Saint Vitus. Spot produced their early records and Dez Candena sang backup on their namesake song. A proud SST band, Black Flag is in the Vitus DNA. Saint Vitus transform…

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PUNKS COVERING PUNKS

In the past, this blog has written about punk bands covering pop hits. Many interpretations were ironic, but others were quite genuine. No matter the intent, these covers were always fun! http://greenandblackmusic.com/2016/05/08/10-punk-rock-cover-songs/ There is another phenomenon lurking in the vast punk universe. Punk bands don’t ALWAYS look outside the genre for inspiration. It’s just as fulfilling to cover other punk bands. What follows are just a few examples of PUNKS COVERING PUNKS. CIRCLE JERKS – WASTED Keith Morris didn’t last very long in Black Flag. The tireless work ethic of…

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SARGENT D AND THE S.O.D. – STORMTROOPERS OF DEATH

The year was 1985. Anthrax was in the midst of recording Spreading the Disease and Scott Ian sat bored in the studio. With guitar tracking complete, Ian began drawing cartoons. From these doodles, the world’s most wretched pile of hate-mongering filth was born. Dubbed Sargent D, this fascist villain began his ascent to world domination. A living skull in an army helmet, Sargent D puffed on a cigar as he spewed words of hatred. Phrases like, “I’m not prejudice, I hate everyone equally” and “Don’t smoke, I’ll rip your lungs…

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