Posts Tagged ‘island’

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

Testament to Record Live Album in New York For 2013 Release

Facebook: Testament Testament are undoubtedly one of metal’s greatest live acts. Brandishing nearly unparalleled power throughout their live shows, Testament simply cannot be ignored when they take the stage. It’s been a few years since the thrash legends released a live album, the latest being ‘Live at Eindhoven ’87′ in 2009, but after the success of the band’s 2012 full-length, ‘Dark Roots of Earth,’ it only makes sense that Testament will be taping a new live record on Feb. 15. Testament boasts one of metal’s finest lineups when it comes to pure talent, with Chuck Billy on vocals, Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson on guitars, Greg Christian on bass and the ‘Atomic Clock’ Gene Hoglan on drums. It would truly be a crime not to own a solid piece of history from this particular Testament lineup, so luckily, before the end of 2013, a new live album from the Bay Area thrashers will hit the shelves. “We haven’t shot a live DVD or CD since our Live in London release and we’ve had two killer albums since then,” comments Testament’s towering vocalist Chuck Billy. “We thought it would be cool to put out a live DVD/CD focusing on the last three records (‘The Gathering,’ ‘The Formation of Damnation’ and ‘Dark Roots of Earth’) mixed in with a good amount of classics too. Last time we recorded anything live in America was for Live at the Fillmore on the West Coast. This time we thought we’d give the East Coast a chance to show the world how crazy and loud they can be. We’re going to be playing an extra-long 17 – 18 song set, which will be our lengthiest set of the tour. Let’s see all you thrashers stirring it up out there and singing along! See ya!” Testament are currently touring throughout North America with fellow thrash veterans Overkill . If you’re in the Long Island, N.Y. area, make sure to check out Testament at the Paramount on Feb. 15 to witness the making of the band’s live album in person! For Testament and Overkill’s full tour schedule, click here . [button href=”http://loudwire.com/testament-chuck-billy-touring-creating-music/” title=”Testament’s Chuck Billy Talks Touring, Creating Music + More” align=”center”]

Guns N’ Roses Announced as Third Headliner of New York’s Governors Ball Festival

Chris McKay, Getty Images New York’s annual Governors Ball festival recently revealed its lineup for the 2013 event, and it’s an eclectic mix of primarily indie rock bands and hip-hop acts. But there was one headliner not announced that remained a mystery. Organizers have now filled in that rather conspicuous blank with legendary rockers Guns N’ Roses . The veteran outfit will take their stage show to Randall’s Island park in New York, where they’ll share the spotlight over the June 7-9 three-day weekend with fellow headliners Kings of Leon and Kanye West . The festival will be the band’s first major North American show since their Las Vegas residency and the Neil Young Bridge School benefit last fall. The Governors Ball festival is primarily indie-rock leaning, with GN’R serving as the primary hard rock option for festival-goers. Along with the headliners, fans can also catch the Avett Brothers, Grizzly Bear, Feist, The xx, Best Coast, Animal Collective, Gary Clark Jr., Kendrick Lamar, Nas and more. For ticketing and full lineup details on the Governors Ball festival, check here . Guns N’ Roses have used some of their recent downtime to continue work on a 3D concert film that’s expected later this year. The band is also heading to Australia for a handful of March performances . [button href=”http://loudwire.com/guns-n-roses-offer-first-look-at-3d-concert-film-announce-tour-dates-in-australia/” title=”Next: Catch a Look at Guns N’ Roses’ 3D Concert Film” align=”center”]

Warped Tour Invades Long Island, New York – Review + Photo Gallery

Warped Tour continues to be a major destination for young music fans every year and this year was no different. Numerous bands rocked Long Island’s Nassau Coliseum’s massive parking lot this past Saturday (July 21). Taking Back Sunday and Falling in Reverse headlined the Kia Soul Stage. Fans went nuts as Taking Back Sunday graced the stage as the crowd sang every song word for word. The band performed favorites

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