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Heavy Metal Parking Lot: Judas Priest 1986

Judas Priest released the divisive Turbo in 1986. Despite alienating core fans with synthesizers and pop hooks, Turbo became the band’s highest charting album to date. The subsequent “Fuel For Life” tour was equally successful. Fans turned out in droves to see Priest live. Although Judas Priest filmed the tour for home video, two filmmakers provided documentation of a different sort. Armed with equipment borrowed from a cable access studio, John Heyn and Jeff Krulik interviewed tailgating fans outside the Capital Centre in Largo, Maryland. Aptly titled, Heavy Metal Parking Lot, the…

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Album Art Exploration Articles Observations and Musings 

Iron Maiden: The Legend of the Black Cat

Eddie has been the face of Iron Maiden since day one. From seedy underworlds of urban decay to Egyptian pyramids and hostile ice planets, creator Derek Riggs has famously buried jokes and messages in the landscapes that Eddie called home. One particularly murky legend is that a black cat is hidden in each Iron Maiden album. The black cat legend is rarely discussed. I wondered if the concept was some half-invented figment of my imagination. A Google search yielded no conclusive evidence. If not for fruitless inquires posed by random…

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Hardwired…to Self-Destruct: Reconciling with Metallica

Full disclosure. I was one of the fans that felt alienated by the “Black Album.” Those feelings only intensified with the release of Load and Reload. I hated their new image, the haircuts, the music, but most of all, I resented that they had turned their backs on metal. In short, I disconnected from all things Metallica. Please don’t be angry with me. I know many fans stayed with the band every step of the way. Millions came on board during the era that caused me to flee. I don’t…

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Articles Observations and Musings 

Blue Oyster Cult: Don’t Fear the Reaper in Movies and Television

Blue Oyster Cult scored their biggest hit with “Don’t Fear the Reaper.” The macabre love song quickly transcended the music world to appear in movies and television. With a creepy riff that highlighted a lyrical embrace of death, it’s little wonder that “Reaper” first appeared in a horror film. John Carpenter set quite a precedent when using “Don’t Fear the Reaper” in Halloween. Expertly combining the song’s fixation on death with marijuana culture, he touched on two themes that future filmmakers would revisit. Even in the seventies, “Don’t Fear the…

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Articles Observations and Musings 

All The World’s A Stage: Shakespeare Through the Lens of Rush

Rush have a long history of using literary themes in their songs. Songs like “Tom Sawyer” have obvious sources. Other adaptations are less clear. If not for the liner notes explicitly giving thanks “To the genius of Ann Rand,” the author’s influence in “2112” may have been missed entirely. Yet, when the band invokes Shakespeare, the public immediately recognizes the immortal bard. Rush has utilized the line “All the world’s a stage” twice in their career. Taken from Shakespeare’s comedic play, As You Like It, the connection between theater and music…

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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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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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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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