Posts Tagged ‘david-ellefson’

Dream Theater – The Astonishing

While here at Heavy Blog we usually err on the “for its own merit” side of the album/career debate, choosing to focus on an album’s singular traits rather than its place within a band’s discography, this would be a mistake here. While  The Astonishing , one of the most anticipated albums of the year, is certainly a departure from everything  Dream Theater has been giving us in the past few years, it’s also a return to several key sounds from the beginning and middle period of their career. Even that departure requires an understanding of the bigger picture of their trajectory; to depart from something, you need to understand something. And so, the first thing that is immediately apparent when the first real track (that is, not the intro) of  The Astonishing begins to play is: this is a rock opera. When the second track begins to play, something else becomes immediately apparent: the main touchstone for this album within the extensive Dream Theater discography is  Six Degrees of Inner  Turbulence . That spring in the step, that hopeful and cheery outlook, screams of that intricate album, the closest the band have come to a rock opera in the past. Yes, OK, but is it  a good album ? That’s what we’re all here to find out. In two words: yes and no. In more than that,  The Astonishing  contains some amazing tracks, possibly the best the band have produced since the lukewarm  Octavarium  trickled into our ears. When the tracks are playing, it’s impossible to resist how downright energetic this album is. At these moments, the cheesiness is perfectly balanced with that old-school  Rush  feel that Dream Theater have always been famous for and things work. They work really well in several points: on “Lord Nafaryus” for example, LaBrie delivers the intricate villain role with brilliant precision, doing things with his voice that he never has, as far as register and delivery goes. The artificial strings blend perfectly with the over the top piano, accentuated by signature guitar bridges from Petrucci. This cohesion is perhaps one of the best marks of a good Dream Theater album: when they work together, instead of playing against each other, they sound best. The slightest, cheesy touch from Petrucci near the end really closes the deal, making this one of the best tracks on both albums. This track is followed by two more excellent iterations of this new-fangled sound: “A Saviour in the Square” is epic to the exact degree needed, with a splash of horns to spice things up. LaBrie returns to more conventional grounds and reminds us that, regardless of personal taste, he is one of the most consistently excellent singers in the industry. Personal note time: when “When Your Times Has Come” kicks in, the next track down the line, I get teary eyed. This song is cheese to the maximum degree, but Rudess has chosen old school synth effects, with a wink to Kevin Moore perhaps, and LaBrie executes beautifully. This is “Hollow Years” territory: you know it’s cheesy rock but it just touches something within you and it works. Which brings us to the major defect with the album. Honestly, what band can expect to release 33 tracks and get that perfect balance between emotional propensity and technical achievement? Even Dream Theater, one of the most veteran and influential bands operating today, can’t pull it off.  The Astonishing  is replete with filler tracks, songs that really have no right existing other than an obscure parts they play in this (rather underwhelming) story that the album attempts to tell. And that’s not enough: cliche guitar parts mix with over-sweetness in LaBrie’s voice and bounce off the most cliche lines that Rudess can make from his keyboards. And they’re repetitive as well. There’s no reason for “Act of Faythe”, one of the cheesiest songs ever made by Dream Theater, to exist when a track like “The Answer” exists as well. There’s supposedly a common theme being iterated upon here but it’s not interesting enough to carry the tracks forward. Nor are the ways in which the band iterate upon it interesting in anyway: they include shifting the mood just a bit to give it a lighter or darker spin and nothing else. All of these flaws extend to the second “CD” as well, and then some. “A Life Left Behind” for example is a track which could have come right out of  Awake but it’s successor, “Ravenskill” is completely pointless, taking too much time with its intro and failing to deliver when the main theme is introduced. Since the flow between the tracks, a famous trope of progressive records, has been completely abandoned here in favor of the “track by track” structure of rock operas, the second CD is hard to pin down and connect to the first. By the time you’ve reached it, so many filler tracks have gone by without a clear approach to thematization that the thread is almost impossible to grasp. The narrative has been completely lost and every track, even the good ones, start to sound the same. That’s no accident: even the good tricks utilized on this album are the  same old tricks  that we know from this album itself and from past entries in the Dream Theater discography. While the overall style of the album is new, in that it taps into tropes that were only lightly present in their careers so far, the track progression is the same tried and true method. OK, we’ve saved the best (worst) for last. Sharp-eyed readers might have noticed that we haven’t mentioned two current members of the band. The first, John Myung, might not surprise anybody; his absence, both in sound and words, from the band is a thing of legend by now. On  The Astonishing , or at least on the copy that we of the press received, he is almost 100% missing. Whether in the mixing or in the recording, the bass was completely swallowed by the other instruments and is completely absent from the final product. However, now we come, here at the end, to the most egregious and unexplainable flaw in this record: Mike Mangini. Throughout the album, Magini displays an almost impressive amount of disinterest in what’s going on around him. The drums line are not only performed in a lackluster way, they also sound as if zero effort was put into their writing. We  know  Mangini is a talented drummer but that talent is nowhere to be found here: obvious fill after obvious fill churn out under paper thin cymbals and pointless kick drums, ultimately amounting to nothing much. There’s literally no moments on the albums that are worth mentioning for their drums and this infuriatingly frustrating, given what we know of  his obvious ability. At the end of the day, when you put all of the above together, you get a disappointing album. If this had just been a bad album, we could have chalked it down to age, momentum and being out of touch. That’s impossible though, since when the album is good, it’s really quite good. If only it had been cut to about ten tracks and purged of the incessant repetitions, it might have been the best Dream Theater album in years. Instead, it’s a puerile attempt at a grand gesture that ultimately falls on its face, caught too close to the sun with wax spilling over, giving all its features the same, bland, indecipherable structure. ? Dream Theater – The Astonishing gets… 3/5

Megadeth Bassist David Ellefson Donates Bass Strings for Charitable Bracelets

Mary Ouellette, Megadeth ‘s David Ellefson makes the most out of his bass strings on a nightly basis, but now he’s found yet another use for them. The rocker is donating his used bass strings the Wear Your Music Organization so that they may turn them into bracelets. The bassist stated that all proceeds from sales of the bracelets will go to the MusiCares organization. The bracelets will be hand crafted according to orders, with the buyer having the chance to personalize their bracelets based on size, if you add a clasp and whether or not they would like to make it precious by adding a sapphire, ruby or emerald. For further details and to place your order, click here . Ellefson has been busy of late, working with Megadeth on finishing their forthcoming album, ‘ Super Collider .’ The disc is expected to arrive this June. The bassist will take part in a chat this afternoon (Feb. 24) for fans that are part of the Megadeth Cyber Army fan club. The chat will take place at 6PM ET / 3PM PT at this location . [button href=”” title=”Next: Dave Mustaine Asks Fans for Megadeth Guest Vocalist Suggestions” align=”center”]

Megadeth Ask Fans to Suggest Guest Vocalist for Upcoming Album Track

Kevin Winter, Getty Images One of the reasons Megadeth has lasted as long as it has is Dave Mustaine ‘s commitment to evolving the band’s sound. And it looks like Mustaine has another trick up his sleeve. In a new Facebook posting , the vocalist asks his followers, “Any ideas for a guest singer on a track? I have a few ideas, but wanna know what you think.” The timing of the posting is a bit of a head-scratcher as Megadeth recently completed recording on their new album and are currently in the mixing process, so it’s not known if the idea of having a guest vocalist on a song is meant for a future recording or something that might turn up on their next album. In the short amount of time the posting has been up, Mustaine has already received over 3,000 comments from fans with suggestions such as Anthrax ‘s Joey Belladonna , Metallica ‘s James Hetfield and Down ‘s Phil Anselmo among those frequently mentioned. Megadeth have been holed up in the Vic’s Garage studio in San Marcos, California over the last few months with producer Johnny K overseeing the effort. Bassist David Ellefson recently stated , “Really some great, great songs taking shape at this point in the recording process. I told Dave [Mustaine] today that one of them totally reminded me of the earliest stuff back when we first met — fast, rippin’ and fully bringing the REAL old-school Megadeth sound!!!” An official release has not been revealed, but it’s safe to say that Megadeth’s new album is on target for a 2013 street date. [button href=”” title=”Next: Dave Mustaine Guitar Fetches $11K at Auction” align=”center”]

Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine ‘Pumped’ as Band Begins Mixing New Album

Mary Ouellette, Megadeth are inching closer to a new record. In their latest online update, singer Dave Mustaine provides the news that mixing has begun on their forthcoming release. Though the band has yet to reveal any key details like an album title, artwork, track listing or release date, they have been diligent in keeping fans up to date on the progress of their new disc. The group has been working on their fourteenth collection at Vic’s Garage studio in San Marcos, California. Mustaine revealed in his brief posting , “Played guitar, sang and did some minor adjustments yesterday to songs one-four. Mixing has begun and you’ll have something soon to hear! I’m so pumped.” Mustaine’s posting follows another entry from bassist David Ellefson , who commented earlier last week , “Really some great, great songs taking shape at this point in the recording process. I told Dave [Mustaine] today that one of them totally reminded me of the earliest stuff back when we first met — fast, rippin’ and fully bringing the REAL old-school Megadeth sound!!!” The group has been working with producer Johnny K on the effort and expects to release it via a new record label later this year. Footage of the band in recording sessions can be seen below. For members of the band’s Cyber Army fan club, drummer Shawn Drover will be dropping in for a chat this Thursday night (Feb. 7) at 7PM ET. For details on the Megadeth Cyber Army, check here . Watch Megadeth in the Studio Watch Megadeth in the Studio [button href=”” title=”Next: 10 Best Megadeth Songs” align=”center”]

Megadeth Bassist David Ellefson Penning Autobiography ‘My Life With Deth’

Mary Ouellette, Megadeth bassist David Ellefson has been busy at work on his official autobiography. The founding Megadeth musician is approaching the band’s 30th anniversary along with frontman Dave Mustaine , the only other original member still with the legendary thrash act. The memoir, ‘My Life With Deth,’ will tackle subjects such as the band’s road to iconic status, addiction and much more. This won’t be Ellefson’s first endeavor penning a book, as the bassist released ‘Making Music your Business: A Guide for Young Musicians’ in 1997. Fifteen years later, Ellefson returns to writing with some help from author Joel McIver, who has written biographies on bands such as Black Sabbath , Slayer , Metallica , Tool and many others. According to Blabbermouth , Ellefson’s autobiography will also feature contributions from Slayer’s Kerry King , Anthrax’s Scott Ian , current Megadeth bandmate Shawn Drover and former bandmates Chris Poland and Marty Friedman. “My autobiography is not the usual tale of rock ‘n’ roll woe, but rather something I hope will truly inspire people,” says Ellefson. “I have dedicated my life to my craft, and I wanted to share the story of how a kid with a bass guitar and the dream of rock stardom literally risked it all to move from the farm in Minnesota to Los Angeles, and with a lot of hard work, sacrifice and a little luck along the way, made the dream come true.” The bassist continues, “I think the readers will enjoy the stories, as well as the hardships, of this way of life as a musician and artist. I’ve been very open about my life’s obstacles and the means by which I overcame them. Now, my hope is that this story will inspire others to follow their dreams and really live out the purpose for their lives, too.” The official release date for David Ellefson’s ‘My Life With Deth’ will be announced in early 2013. [button href=”” title=”10 Best Megadeth Songs” align=”center”]

Megadeth + Kyng Deliver Powerful Performances at New York City Show

Liz Ramanand, Loudwire Megadeth celebrated the 20th anniversary of their album ‘Countdown to Extinction’ with fans at New York’s Best Buy Theater on Wednesday night (Nov. 14) with some serious support from rock trio Kyng . L.A. band Kyng kicked off the night with a vigorous set as they performed tracks from their debut album ‘Trampled Sun.’ The energy and power the band displays is quite amazing considering that they are a trio. Frontman Eddie Veliz not only shreds it up on guitar but his range of vocals echoed throughout the venue as he performed tracks like  ‘Falling Down,’ ‘Trails In Veins,’ ‘Bleed Easy’ and many others. The bass lines of Tony Campos boomed throughout Best Buy Theater while the very talented drummer Pepe Clark’s thunderous drum patterns shook the foundation of the venue throughout the set. After numerous “Megadeth” chants, first started by Veliz onstage, the headliners hit the stage with ‘Trust,’ then had the fans going out of control with ‘Hangar 18’ and ‘Public Enemy No. 1.’ The band then went on to play ‘Countdown to Extinction’ in its entirety. Of course they also played fan favorites ‘Peace Sells’ and ‘Holy Wars…The Punishment Due.’ Dave Mustaine’s famous ginger red hair flopped around as he played some blistering riffs and belted out some Megadeth anthems. Drummer Shawn Drover kept the beat steady behind the skins while guitarist Chris Broderick and bassist David Ellefson worked the very rowdy crowd of passionate fans. It was one hell of a night for Megadeth die-hards, one they soon won’t forget. Check out the remaining dates to see Kyng and Megadeth on the ‘Countdown to Extinction’ tour here . Photos of Megadeth and Kyng Performing in New York City Megadeth: Liz Ramanand, Loudwire Liz Ramanand, Loudwire Liz Ramanand, Loudwire Liz Ramanand, Loudwire Liz Ramanand, Loudwire Liz Ramanand, Loudwire Liz Ramanand, Loudwire Liz Ramanand, Loudwire Liz Ramanand, Loudwire Liz Ramanand, Loudwire Kyng: Liz Ramanand, Loudwire Liz Ramanand, Loudwire Liz Ramanand, Loudwire Liz Ramanand, Loudwire Liz Ramanand, Loudwire Liz Ramanand, Loudwire

Metallica’s Robert Trujillo to Show Jaco Pastorius Film Clip at Bass Player Event

Theo Wargo, Getty Images / Facebook: Jaco Pastorius Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo is just about finished with the documentary honoring his idol, Jaco Pastorius, and he’s ready to share a bit of the film with a crowd that would truly enjoy it — the audience members at this weekend’s Bass Player LIVE! bash in Hollywood. Back in May, Trujillo revealed that he was financing the project on Pastorius , who is considered one of the most influential bassists in music history despite his battles with mental illness and his death at an early age. Trujillo said at the time, “Jaco was my hero growing up. Hearing him was like hearing Eddie Van Halen doing ‘Eruption’ for the first time. You thought, ‘What instrument is that?’ I love jazz fusion and branched out from there. But Jaco had an edge that far exceeded his jazz persona. He was funk, he was rock, he was soul, and his whole attitude was punk.” Trujillo has created a specially-edited advance clip of his documentary specifically for the Bass Player LIVE crowd. In addition, Pastorius’ family will be on hand to accept the bass great’s posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award at the ceremony. Other honorees at the two-day bash (Oct. 20-21) include Yes ‘ Chris Squire and Bob Marley’s Aston “Family Man” Barrett, who are also receiving Lifetime Achievement honors. Both musicians will perform during tonight’s concert and appear at the live clinic for interviews. The weekend will also give bass players a chance to check out the latest in gear and watch a few clinics, with Anthrax ‘s Frank Bello , Megadeth ‘s David Ellefson , Whitesnake ‘s Marco Mendoza all on hand to take part in the exhibitions. [button href=”” title=”Next: 10 Best Metallica Songs” align=”center”]