Posts Tagged ‘charts’

A Gift to Artwork: Megadeth

Last month we dove deep to explore the importance of cover artwork, namely through our analysis of two excellent pieces of artwork adorning the latest Caligula’s Horse records. This time we take a closer look at the covers of thrash titans Megadeth , starting with 1986’s iconic Peace Sells… but Who’s Buying? Given its political nature, context is crucial to understanding the artwork and it was created during the latter stages of the Cold War, amidst escalated tensions between the world’s two foremost superpowers of the time, the USA and the Soviet Union/USSR. The world in this period of history was, at times, on the brink of a nuclear third world war, and it was only knowledge that such a cataclysmic event would bring about the Mutually Assured Destruction of both sides which prevented such horrors from occurring. Unfortunately, in the world of Megadeth, that appears to be exactly what has eventuated. Their undead mascot, Vic Rattlehead, stands before a United Nations headquarters lying in ruins, the shades of red and blue depicting a sky ablaze, fires raging in the background. The scene is reminiscent of a nuclear holocaust as three military jets fly menacingly towards the foreground, seemingly scanning the area for any remaining targets, any last vestiges of life. Such themes are undeniably heavy and unsettling in nature, so it should come as no surprise that similarly unsettling motifs have been woven into the record’s music and lyrics as well. ? (Illustrator: Ed Repka) The obvious starting point to our analysis is the all-time classic ‘Peace Sells’. The track emphatically states that peace is nothing more than a commodity, an item which can be easily traded, bought or sold. It is not some idealistic notion to be strived for, but an easily attainable state of the world which the world’s powers manipulate for their own gains. The UN was created following World War II, to bring peace and prevent such atrocities from reoccurring, yet it was powerless to prevent the numerous proxy wars which occurred throughout the Cold War in Asia, the Middle East, South America and elsewhere. Ironically, rather than bringing about peace of any kind, the UN merely served as another theatre of war, this time a political one, in which the antagonistic forces of the US and USSR could engage with one another. The UN headquarters have been annihilated in the illustration, yet that doesn’t stop Vic, dressed as a real estate agent, from looking to sell what’s left of it. One might argue that this would be a tough sell, that Vic is as likely to find a buyer for the rubble as the UN was to find a buyer for world peace. Further still, the fact the UN is on the market at all suggests that, despite its ruined state, it will be just as (in)effective as ever, and thus it still constitutes a legitimate commodity. Looking more broadly at the themes prevalent within the artwork, there are a host of other comparisons to be made. In particular we can cast our minds to the numerous tracks dealing with the occult, beginning with the eerie fan favourite ‘The Conjuring’. Thematically, the war ravaged landscape and grim colour scheme can be seen to represent hell on earth, tying in nicely with the song’s descriptions of satanic rituals and black magic. The song’s portrayal of the devil’s salesman selling yet another abstract commodity, this time the human soul, is further embodied by the figure of Vic, an interesting allegory to his purported sale of a soulless, in every sense of the word, UN. Musically, with the help of the similarly occult ‘Bad Omen’, the homicidal ‘Good Mourning/Black Friday’, the torturous ‘Devil’s Island’ and others, the album as a whole does a fantastic job of providing the illustration with a suitably ominous, disconcerting and sinister soundtrack. Fast forward eight years and Megadeth had just released the polarising Youthanasia . Like its 1992 predecessor Countdown to Extinction , the album continued Megadeth’s transition from the lightning fast thrash which comprised their first four records, to a slower, more commercially viable sound. This radio-friendly approach, with Mustaine seeking that elusive No. 1 ranking on the charts, also saw a shift in the album artwork of the band. The undead Vic Rattlehead was no longer a permanent fixture, whilst this particular cover featured luscious, rolling green hills and cute, innocent babies, images generally associated with nature, peace and positivity. However, it’s crucial to point out that whilst their shift in sound had changed the method of their delivery, their message remained the same. Megadeth still wrote politically abrasive and, at times, downright aggressive songs, only now they were catchier, reaching a wider audience and allowing them to have a greater voice than ever before. This same duality applied to their artwork as well, the youth of their times, symbolised by the babies, being hung out to dry by the older generation, powerless to avoid the oncoming storm. (Illustrator: Hugh Syme) The result is arguably the most shocking Megadeth cover to date, as Mustaine issued a rallying cry, a call of arms for the youth of the ‘90s to take action and free themselves from the status quo. The dark, brooding clouds take up more than half of the image, highlighting the sheer scale of oppression to which the youth have been subjected. Furthermore, there is a seemingly endless line of babies being hung, yet there is only one elderly figure placing them there, suggesting that the oppressed far outnumber their oppressors, and that there is victory to be had in unity. Finally, the imminent storm is itself duplicitous: on the one hand, if nothing is done it will simply decimate the defenceless babies hanging limply from the clothesline; on the other hand, the revolution which Mustaine calls for will see a raging storm engulf society when the opposing factions collide. Thus, the cover of Youthanasia perfectly encapsulates the lyrics and music to be found within, just like the cover of Peace Sells… before it, as Megadeth and their collaborators prove to be yet another gift to artwork. -KD

Alice in Chains Unveil Title of New Album

Photo by Dave Ma Alice in Chains had a little fun yesterday (Feb. 13), asking fans to unscramble a collection of letters that once deciphered would reveal their album title, and the fans could then post their suggested titles to Instagram. But how many people actually came up with ‘The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here’? That is the title of the band’s new album, which is on target for a May release, as revealed in a message on the group’s website and social networking sites. The timing is perfect for Alice in Chains, who have a wealth of spring tour dates and festival appearances that should build the buzz by the time the disc drops. Alice in Chains announced a spring trek that runs April 25 – May 24 earlier this year. They’ll also be plenty busy headlining the Rocklahoma , Carolina Rebellion , Welcome to Rockville and Rock on the Range festivals, as well. The band has also been confirmed internationally for the Download Festival in England on June 15 and the Rock in Rio festival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Sept. 19. The band is already off to a hot start with ‘The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here’ album, with the lead single ‘ Hollow ‘ inching closer to the top of the charts. The group recorded the disc in Los Angeles with producer Nick Raskulinecz. [button href=”http://loudwire.com/alice-in-chains-hollow-video/” title=”Next: Watch Alice in Chains’ ‘Hollow’ Video” align=”center”]

Alice in Chains Unveil Title of New Album

Photo by Dave Ma Alice in Chains had a little fun yesterday (Feb. 13), asking fans to unscramble a collection of letters that once deciphered would reveal their album title, and the fans could then post their suggested titles to Instagram. But how many people actually came up with ‘The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here’? That is the title of the band’s new album, which is on target for a May release, as revealed in a message on the group’s website and social networking sites. The timing is perfect for Alice in Chains, who have a wealth of spring tour dates and festival appearances that should build the buzz by the time the disc drops. Alice in Chains announced a spring trek that runs April 25 – May 24 earlier this year. They’ll also be plenty busy headlining the Rocklahoma , Carolina Rebellion , Welcome to Rockville and Rock on the Range festivals, as well. The band has also been confirmed internationally for the Download Festival in England on June 15 and the Rock in Rio festival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Sept. 19. The band is already off to a hot start with ‘The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here’ album, with the lead single ‘ Hollow ‘ inching closer to the top of the charts. The group recorded the disc in Los Angeles with producer Nick Raskulinecz. [button href=”http://loudwire.com/alice-in-chains-hollow-video/” title=”Next: Watch Alice in Chains’ ‘Hollow’ Video” align=”center”]

Def Leppard’s ‘Pyromania’ Turns 30

Mercury Records The 1980s were well under way by January 1983 – even mathematical geniuses like us can figure that out – but when it came to defining the look, the sound and the vibe of the ’80s, there’s no arguing Def Leppard ’s third album, ‘Pyromania,’ released 30 years ago today (Jan. 20), played a major role. In a year that would see Quiet Riot’s No. 1 album, ‘Metal Health,’ signal hard rock’s unlikely emergence as one of the decade’s most commercially dominant music genres, Def Leppard’s success would reach epic proportions. Now, Leppard’s talent and drive to succeed notwithstanding, few would dispute the claim that the true architect behind ‘Pyromania’s’ inevitable triumph was producer Robert John ‘Mutt’ Lang, whose studio wizardry had allowed him to deliver hit album after hit album in recent years, most notably AC/DC’s seismic ‘Back in Black.’ In 1981, Lang had taken Def Leppard under his wing by producing their equally stupendous, but significantly rawer ‘High ‘n’ Dry’ album; but he truly pulled out all the stops for ‘Pyromania,’ demanding nothing less than perfection from the band and even taking matters into his own hands when necessary – including a few co-songwriting credits and using a drum machine in place of drummer Rick Allen. Controversial as these decisions might seem today, they worked, and beginning with the February release of ‘Pyromania’s’ first single, ‘Photograph,’ the hard-touring Brits would gradually conquer America. Three additional singles and music videos (‘Rock of Ages,’ ‘Foolin’,’ and ‘Too Late for Love’) assaulted the charts before year’s end; their slick, sonically manicured pop metal anthems combining with Leppard’s photogenic good looks to drive a remarkable 6 million copies of ‘Pyromania’ into American households. The album has since been certified Diamond for 10 million units shipped. More importantly in the grand scheme of all things hard rock, this irresistible audio-visual combination became a blueprint quickly adopted by gaggles of up-and-coming bands (not to mention the savvy music industry executives who signed them), all aspiring to concoct the next ‘Pyromania.’ That’s why, beginning in January 1983, ’80s hard rock would almost always be created in Def Leppard’s image, as heard and seen on ‘Pyromania.’ Watch Def Leppard’s ‘Rock of Ages’ Video

Top 20 Songs: Week of Dec. 30, 2012 – Jan. 5, 2013

Ethan Miller / Theo Wargo, Getty Images Happy New Year, everyone! Loudwire’s Top 20 Countdown begins 2013 with a familiar face holding onto the top spot. After a brief taste of the No. 1 position in late November, Shinedown fell back to No. 2 for several weeks, but is now spending its second straight week on top. Soundgarden , Shinedown’s biggest obstacle during the early-December stretch, slips back another notch this week from No. 2 to No. 33. Trading places with Chris Cornell and company is the rapidly rising Avenged Sevenfold  single ‘Carry On,’ which is commanding the No. 2 position and could make a run at No. 1 next week. Rounding out the top five are All That Remains ‘ ‘Stand Up’ and Volbeat ‘s ‘Heaven Nor Hell,’ swapping places this week. All That Remains inch another step closer to the top of the charts at No. 4, while Volbeat slide back to the No. 5 spot. Elsewhere on the countdown, there were significant jumps this week for Adelitas Way ‘s ‘Alive’ and Papa Roach ‘s ‘Where Did the Angels Go.’ Adelitas Way are knocking on the door to the Top 10, patiently awaiting at No. 11 with their latest single. Meanwhile, Jacoby Shaddix ‘s crew have seen ‘Where Did the Angels Go’ take flight up another two spots to No. 15 this week. And finally, Alice in Chains has the lone new entry in the week’s countdown with ‘Hollow’ digging in at No. 18. Look for the track to be a candidate for next week’s rapid riser. Check out the Top 20 songs below and be sure to tune in to Loudwire Radio this weekend to crank up these tunes at full volume. Loudwire Radio Top 20 Songs of the Week: 20. Trapt, ‘Bring It’ 19. Three Days Grace, ‘Chalk Outline’ 18. Alice in Chains, ‘Hollow’ 17. Nonpoint, ‘Left for You’ 16. In This Moment, ‘Blood’ 15. Papa Roach, ‘Where Did the Angels Go’ 14. P.O.D., ‘Higher’ 13. Stone Sour, ‘Absolute Zero’ 12. Young Guns, ‘Bones’ 11. Adelitas Way, ‘Alive’ 10. 3 Doors Down, ‘One Light’ 9. Five Finger Death Punch, ‘The Pride’ 8. Deftones, ‘Tempest’ 7. Slash, ‘Standing in the Sun’ 6. Chevelle, ‘Same Old Trip’ 5. Volbeat, ‘Heaven Nor Hell’ 4. All That Remains, ‘Stand Up’ 3. Soundgarden, ‘Been Away Too Long’ 2. Avenged Sevenfold, ‘Carry On’ 1. Shinedown, ‘Enemies’ [button href=”http://loudwire.com/loudwire-radio-station-list/” title=”See Which Stations Air Loudwire Radio” align=”center”]

Avenged Sevenfold to Join Iron Maiden + Metallica at Rock in Rio 2013

Mary Ouellette, SheWillShootYou.com Avenged Sevenfold are starting to map out their 2013 plans that includes the likely release of a new album and a return to the road. One of the major stops on their upcoming itinerary will be at the Rock in Rio festival, which has become a favorite stopping place over the years. Singer M. Shadows told G1 that they’re anxious to join Iron Maiden and Metallica on the festival bill and will happily play alongside Maiden on the “Metal Day,” Sept. 22, 2013. The vocalist says, “I love Iron Maiden. We’ve done some touring with them in Europe. We are part of that case that each one has its specific fan base, but there are many people who like both the bands, who have the passion for metal [and] like this kind of sound. [We] can’t wait to be part of this festival. Luckily, I know the Brazilian fans of Iron Maiden like our music.” Avenged Sevenfold, a veteran of the 2008, 2010 and 2011 Rock in Rio festivals, says they may also use the festival as a springboard to play other shows in South America. Shadows says, “We’re talking to Metallica and Iron Maiden to [find out] what they will do before and after the Rock in Rio. So, there’s a chance to take the fall and make at least two more shows. We are still seeing [at this point].” The singer says the band is happy to have reached the stage that they are at, selling plenty of records despite not bowing to pop-rock to do so. Shadows explains, “It is possible and we’re not the only example. Iron Maiden and Metallica are two of the greatest bands of all time and [stayed away] from pop. Pantera did well on the charts and has one of the best selling albums of all-time. You have to build a fan club, have to do a good job in the alternative scene and then know how to grow it up. Pop music listeners will not buy our records. We just want to play heavy rock.” At present the band is working on a new record and they have the ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops II’ song ‘ Carry On ‘ keeping fans interested while they complete the upcoming disc. [button href=”http://loudwire.com/avenged-sevenfold-singer-m-shadows-were-introducing-new-drummer-to-pantera-metallica/” title=”Next: Avenged Sevenfold Introduce New Drummer to Pantera + Metallica” align=”center”]

Rock Band of the Year – 2012 Loudwire Music Awards

Which rock band stood out among the rest in 2012? These 10 acts all had huge years in 2012, creating notable accomplishments with their records, singles, tours and the growth of their respective fan bases. The list of nominees in the Loudwire Music Awards category of Rock Band of they Year is filled with newcomers, fresh faces, veterans and even modern-day legends to choose from, so check out these 10 bands and be sure to vote in the poll below: Baroness Georgia sludge band Baroness traveled into a new and experimental realm this year with their double album, ‘Yellow & Green.’ Before releasing the album, which turned out to be an absolute masterpiece, the band toured with Meshuggah and Decapitated. Despite a horrific bus accident in England, Baroness refuse to be stopped. ? ? Chevelle Chicago rockers Chevelle had a spotlit year in 2012. Riding off the release of their sixth studio album, ‘Hats Off to the Bull,’ and the single ‘Face to the Floor’ spending 13 weeks at No. 1 on the rock radio charts, Chevelle hit the road on the Carnival of Madness tour along with their own headlining dates. ? ? Dead Sara As one of this year’s most exciting breakout acts, Dead Sara left their mark on 2012 with their self-titled full-length album, along with the raw rock hit ‘Weatherman.’ The band captivated audiences with support slots on various tours, and the band is set to open for Muse’s 2013 U.S. tour. ? ? Deftones Having compiled an incredible discography in their career, Deftones needed to live up to massive expectations with their 2012 album, ‘Koi No Yokan.’ The band succeeded, creating yet another paramount record. The band also toured with both System of a Down and Scars on Broadway throughout 2012. ? ? Halestorm Halestorm  had a breakout year with their second full-length album, ‘The Strange Case Of…” The group hit the road with the Mass Chaos and Carnival of Madness tours, along with their own headlining dates. ? ? ? Lacuna Coil ‘Dark Adrenaline,’ Lacuna Coil ‘s sixth studio album hit this year with acclaim from both critics and fans. In addition to their studio accomplishment, the band headlined their Dark Legacy tour and appeared on the 2012 edition of Gigantour. ? ? ? Shinedown Shinedown dominated the world of rock radio in 2012, with ‘Bully’ reaching No. 1 on the modern rock radio charts and sticking around for a very long time, and the tracks ‘Unity’ and ‘Enemies’ have also been mainstays on the rock airwaves. Shinedown also headlined this year’s Uproar Festival tour. ? ? ? Soundgarden Perhaps the most discussed comeback of the year, Soundgarden gifted fans with their first studio album since 1996 with ‘King Animal.’ The band is set to tour North America in 2013, and we can expect some follow-up hits to current single ‘Been Away Too Long.’ ? ? ? Stone Sour ‘House of Gold & Bones Part 1′ gave Stone Sour fanatics their newest fix, and the disc has been embraced with phenomenal passion. Singer Corey Taylor shows his range in the album, proving once again that he is one of the most versatile frontmen in rock or metal music. ? ? ? Volbeat Volbeat dominated the charts with ‘A Warrior’s Call’ and ‘Still Counting’ over the course of 2012. They also spent the year touring on the Gigantour and on their own headlining trek with Hellyeah and Iced Earth. ? ? ? Voting for the 2012 Loudwire Music Awards closes on Jan. 12 at 11:59 PM EST. Fans can vote once per hour, so keep coming back to make sure your favorite band wins! Sorry, you need to have javascript running to see this poll. [button href=”http://loudwire.com/metal-band-of-the-year-2012-loudwire-music-awards” title=”Next Category: Metal Band of the Year” align=”center”] Get Notified When Winners Are Announced Enter your email address below to receive the daily Loudwire newsletter, which will include notification of our full list of winners in the 2012 Loudwire Music Awards, as well as the top stories in rock and metal. Email

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