Posts Tagged ‘usa’

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

Black Sabbath Finish Recording Album, Plot Tour + Offer Tony Iommi Health Update

Tim Whitby, Getty Images It’s official! Black Sabbath have completed recording their upcoming album , ’13.’ Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler announced the exciting news to Eddie Trunk  in a video interview (seen below) at the NAMM convention, in addition to offering an update on guitarist Tony Iommi ‘s current battle with cancer. In the interview, Butler spoke all about all things Black Sabbath. “We’ve finished recording it,” reveals the bassist of the album. “Tony’s back in England putting down a couple of solos. Then we start mixing it in Febraury and it will be out in June. The provisional title is ’13? — unless we can come up with something more constructive. I’ve written most of the lyrics. Ozzy comes up with the titles and then gives me an inspiration to write the lyrics. I think we’ve got 16 songs and I’ve written 14 sets of lyrics.” Butler also updated fans on Black Sabbath’s touring plans. And guess what folks? They’re going all over the world! “We start at the end of April in New Zealand, then we go to Australia, then Japan,” begins the bassist. “June, we’ll be promoting the album, then July and August [is] USA. Then October is South America and Europe in November and December.” Black Sabbath were planning on touring extensively in 2012, but the lymphoma diagnosis of legendary riff master Tony Iommi stalled the heavy metal band’s plans. However, Butler has good news to spread about Iommi’s health. “[Tony]‘s doing well; he’s really responding well,” Butler assures. “He has to go and have his medication every six weeks. But yeah, he’s really coming along well; he’s really doing well.” As for who will be drumming with the band, that is still not determined. After original drummer Bill Ward left the outfit over contract disputes, Tommy Clufetos filled in for the few shows that Sabbath played last year. However, Rage Against the Machine drummer Brad Wilk plays on the actual album. “We’re not sure yet; we don’t know. ‘Cause I think Brad’s got commitments with Rage Against the Machine. So it’ll probably be either Tommy or Brad, depending on their commitments.” So does that mean Rage Against the Machine might be touring in 2013, too? Fingers crossed! But getting back to Sabbath, if everything goes to plan, 2013 should be an incredible year! Watch Eddie Trunk Interview Geezer Butler [button href=”http://loudwire.com/black-sabbath-tony-iommi-thankful-looking-forward-next-year/” title=”Next: Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi ‘Looking Forward’ to 2013″ align=”center”]

Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe ‘Getting Ready Mentally’ for Czech Republic Trial

Liz Ramanand, Loudwire One month ago, Lamb of God vocalist Randy Blythe was handed the reality of a court date in the Czech Republic. Facing manslaughter charges in an incredibly controversial case stemming from a 2010 concert incident, Blythe’s legal proceedings are set to begin on Feb. 4 . With the proverbial hourglass drawing closer to an empty top, Blythe recently posted a poetic and introspective piece of writing on his Instagram account detailing his thoughts. Although Randy Blythe could conceivably remain in the United States to avoid his trial, the vocalist has chosen to face the Prague 8 District Court and fight the charges brought against him. Blythe, who spent five weeks in a Czech prison over the summer while awaiting his bail to be approves, had given his situation a great deal of thought over the past few months. Upon discovering an old suitcase while out and about in his hometown of Richmond, Va., Blythe was inspired to write about his upcoming trial in the Czech Republic: The last 2 or 3 days I have been getting ready mentally to leave my home & return to Prague to do this whole trial thing in early February. It’s not something I particularly WANT to do; but inside, my gut & heart tells me it is the RIGHT thing to do. I cannot turn my back [on] the right thing. As I’ve been thinking, I’ve [been] shooting [pictures] a lot around my hometown. I love this place. A couple of days ago I went to my mechanic to get my truck worked on- the garage is over near the CSX train yard here in Richmond. I dropped off my truck & went creeping under the over pass that runs above the tracks. As usual, there was a lot of sleeping gear, trash, old mattresses & stuff that homeless people keep there. In my younger days, I used to ride freight trains across our country. I have spent many nights under bridges just like this one in freight yards across the USA. I have always loved to travel, & have been across the USA three times without a dime in my pocket most of the time, learning the survival skills of the hobos & street people of our country. You can get by with almost nothing if you know what you are doing. This old suit case sitting up on this ledge really captured my attention. I wonder what it once held? Safe travels to whoever owns it… As mentioned, Randy Blythe’s trial is scheduled to commence on Feb. 4. In addition to the aforementioned suitcase, the Lamb of God frontman has posted a number of his photos on his Instagram account recently, including recent images of his Virginia hometown and his travels in New York City, as well as vintage pictures of him posing with the late Dimebag Darrell. Check them out here . [button href=”http://loudwire.com/2013-grammy-awards-best-hard-rock-metal-performance-nominees-anthrax-halestorm-iron-maiden-lamb-of-god-marilyn-manson-megadeth/” title=”Lamb of God Nominated for 2013 Grammy Award” align=”center”]

Anthrax Drummer Charlie Benante Bows Out of Current European Tour

Kevin Winter, Getty Images / Facebook: Jon Dette It’s been somewhat of a roller-coaster year for Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante . The band has made a huge comeback with the critically acclaimed 2011 album ‘Worship Music,’ but the stickman has dealt with some tough issues along the way. The group has revealed that Benante is at home taking care of some “personal stuff” while they’re on their current European run. Anthrax have tapped Animetal USA and former Testament and Slayer drummer Jon Dette to fill in while they travel through Europe. Guitarist Scott Ian delivered the news to fans when it became noticeable that Benante was not behind the kit. In a tweet , he stated: Many of you asking who is playing drums… Our friend Jon Dette is kicking ass while @ skisum is home taking care of personal stuff. — Scott Ian (@Scott_Ian) November 6, 2012 In February, Benante mourned the death of his mother , missing some shows on Anthrax’s winter tour. At that time, Testament’s Gene Hoglan filled in for Benante. Then, a hand injury and the recovery time forced him out of the group’s Mayhem Festival dates. During that period, Shadows Fall drummer Jason Bittner stepped in to help out. While off the road, Benante was involved in an altercation with his wife at a baseball game in which both he and his wife were arrested for the bust-up that occurred in front of their daughter. According to a statement released at the time , Benante was treated at a local hospital for a gash to the back of the head that required staples when his wife allegedly assaulted him as he was walking away with her cell phone. Footage of Jon Dette behind the kit with Anthrax overseas can be seen below. Watch Drummer Jon Dette Performing With Anthrax [button href=”http://loudwire.com/anthrax-bassist-frank-bello-talks-reissue-of-worship-music-covering-journey-more/” title=”Frank Bello Talks Anthrax ‘Worship Music’ Reissue + Cover Songs” align=”center”]

Beyond the Bridge Guitarist / Keyboardist Simon Oberender Passes Away

Beyond The Bridge, Facebook Musician and producer Simon Oberender, who played guitar and keyboards for the German progressive metal band Beyond the Bridge, has passed away. Beyond the Bridge released their debut album ‘The Old Man and the Spirit’ earlier this year, and played ProgPower USA in Atlanta less than two weeks ago, the band’s first U.S. show. Oberender was also the keyboardist for Amanda Somerville’s band Trillium. The cause of death has not been announced. In an interview with About.com Heavy Metal earlier this year, guitarist Peter Degenfeld explained how Oberender came to join Beyond the Bridge. “Christopher (Tarnow, one of the band’s founders) met Simon during his studies and they became good friends. After finishing University, Simon went to the Gate Studios in Wolfsburg where he is now a sound engineer and producer. He also recorded, mixed, mastered (together with Sascha Paeth) and produced ‘The Old Man And The Spirit.’ Simon also brought Fabian (drums) and Herbie (vocals) to the band.” Oberender appeared on several other albums, including Avantasia’s 2010 releases ‘The Wicked Symphony’ and ‘Angel of Babylon,’ Edguy’s ‘Age of the Joker’ (2011), Epica’s ‘Requiem for the Indifferent’ (2012), Rhapsody of Fire’s ‘The Frozen Tears of Angels’ (2010) and Kamelot’s ‘Silverthorn,’ which will be released next month. As an engineeer, Oberender worked on albums by Avantasia, Destination’s Calling, Edguy, Epica, Mayan and others. The band has posted a photo of Oberender on their Facebook page with the message, “We deeply mourn the passing away of Simon Oberender, our producer, band-mate, and above all, best friend there will ever be. There are no words that could describe our loss. Simon, we will always miss you!” Loudwire offers its deepest condolences to Simon Oberender’s family and bandmates. [button href=”http://loudwire.com/adam-yauch-death-2012/” title=”See the Rockers We’ve Lost in 2012″ align=”center”] ?

Cannibal Corpse Take Bronze Medal in Extreme Metal Olympics

Cannibal Corpse are brutality incarnate, and with the help of their legions of fans, the brutal death metal giants brought one of two medals home to the USA by defeating Children of Bodom in the Bronze Medal Match. As favorites from the beginning, Cannibal Corpse stormed through grindcore innovators Napalm Death for their first win in the Extreme Metal Olympics. From there on, Corpse claimed the souls of Fleshgod Apocalypse

Extreme Metal Olympics: Group 1, Opening Round

We’re kicking off the Opening Round of our Extreme Metal Olympics with some of the heaviest and most legendary innovators of brutality from around the world. Featuring acts from countries such as the USA, Norway, Germany and Greece, Group 1 includes eight of the 32 bands who will compete for gold as the Extreme Metal Olympics runs side-by-side the 2012 London Olympic Games. We begin with a matchup between the

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