Posts Tagged ‘gift’

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

Dave Mustaine Lands on Anderson Cooper’s ‘RidicuList’ for Spat With Men’s Wearhouse

Mark Metcalfe, Getty Images / Men’s Wearhouse In part three of the Dave Mustaine vs. Men’s Wearhouse saga, the Megadeth guitarist scored a mention on a big-time news program. On Jan. 8, the tale of Mustaine’s public statement about how Men’s Wearhouse messed up a delivery made it all the way to CNN program ‘Anderson Cooper 360′ and the show’s ‘RidicuList’ segment. It was on a cold winter’s day that Dave Mustaine, filled with Christmas spirit, purchased a thoughtful present for Megadeth tour manager Jim Carroccio in the form of a gift certificate to Men’s Wearhouse. Unfortunately, the gift certificate wasn’t delivered on time, resulting in an amusing yet serious rant from the mind of Dave Mustaine posted on Megadeth’s Facebook page. Men’s Wearhouse apologized to Mustaine for the mishap, and CNN  jumped in to cover the entire story. CNN host Anderson Cooper gave props to Mustaine for his hard work, legacy as one of thrash metal’s most important artists and even showcased a clip of Mustaine explaining the music theory behind the diminished fifth chord, also known as the “Devil’s Tritone.” Although Mustaine was given said respect, Anderson Cooper offered the witty line, “We are all old. You know that you’re old when one of the founding members of Metallica is upset about a customer service issue with a Men’s Wearhouse in Salt Lake City.” According to Cooper, Men’s Wearhouse did not respond to CNN inquiries about the debacle, leaving the host to playfully state, “Maybe they only like to tweet pioneers of thrash speed metal.” Funnily enough, Mustaine recently blasted CNN for claiming he still had a feud going with Metallica. This is actually the second time Dave Mustaine has been featured on ‘The RidicuList,’ so after you check out the CNN piece on the Mustaine vs. Men’s battle in the video below, click here for Mustaine’s first time on the list. Dave Mustaine Makes it Onto Anderson Cooper’s ‘RidicuList’ [button href=”” title=”Dave Mustaine Rants on Chemtrails + Blasts CNN” align=”center”]

Kirk Hammett Talks Upcoming Metallica Album, Recalls Encounters With Kurt Cobain

Theo Wargo, Getty Images Metallica are busy with their 3D film right now, but guitarist Kirk Hammett says work on their follow-up to ‘Death Magnetic’ will ‘happen soon.’ The guitarist tells Rolling Stone , “Right now, we’re kind of preoccupied with dealing with this 3D movie that we shot up in Canada last month. So that’s kind of taking our time right now – that’s the priority, to deal with that. But once we’re done with that, we’re going to start hunkering down and putting riffs together. That’s all going to happen soon. I really don’t have an answer about Rick Rubin, although his name certainly comes up.” In the same interview, Hammett remembers his encounters with Nirvana  frontman  Kurt Cobain . The guitarist recalls, “He told me that [‘Whiplash’ was his favorite Metallica song]. He came to one of our shows in Seattle, on the ‘Black Album’ tour. I remember at one point, we were playing ‘Whiplash,’ and he looked at me and kept punching the air with his fist and gave me this big thumbs up sign.” Hammett says after seeing the reaction, they dedicated the track to Cobain. The guitarist says, “I knew Kurt kind of well and I hung out with him quite a bit. He was a pretty big Metallica fan – I was surprised at how much of a Metallica fan he was. He loved ‘Ride the Lightning.’ He loved that album.” While the 3D movie and eventual album work are the primary priorities for Hammett, he’s also managing to find some spare time to release his ‘ Too Much Horror Business ‘ book, detailing his extensive collection of horror memorabilia. The guitarist says, “Over the last five years or so, I started to get a few items that made my collection just that much better. I mean, really raised the overall quality of my collection. I thought, ‘I can’t be the solitary collector. It’s time for me to share it with the world.’ So this book is my gift to all the other monster kids and all the other horror nerds out there, who love this stuff as much as I do.” [button href=”” title=”Next: Kirk Hammett Book Signing Tour” align=”center”]

Rob Zombie Dishes on ‘The Lords of Salem,’ Tour With Marilyn Manson, Upcoming Album + More

Photo by Rick Fagan Rob Zombie is the special guest on Loudwire Radio this weekend. He talks to host Mike ‘Sandman’ Sanders about his new movie ‘The Lords of Salem,’ his fall tour with Marilyn Manson and his upcoming album. Tune in to hear Sandman’s chat with Zombie, and read a preview of the interview below: You have some big things on the horizon, the first of which—I got to ask you about, I’m very excited about, as are all Rob Zombie fans—is the movie Lords of Salem. It had its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, apparently scary as hell, as you tend to make some of your movies. Give us a little bit of the background. I know you were at a wedding in Massachusetts and you got interested in the Salem lore…maybe you could give me a little background from there. Well, I grew up in Massachusetts, so I was always very aware of the Salem Witch Trials even as a little kid sometimes the class field trip would be to go to Salem and, you know, they would have reenactments of the witch trials and, you know, lovely things like this for the kids to watch, but I was always well aware of it, you know, the wax museums in that area would have witch trial displays and things. But I hadn’t really thought of it in a long, long time. And about seven years ago, I went to a wedding in Massachusetts and I was just bored and I was in the hotel lobby in the gift store and I bought a book about Salem Witch Trials just to read it and kill time, and it just got me thinking about it and I just came up with this idea for the Salem, a very rough idea. And I kind of jotted down a few notes and forgot all about it. And then, about seven years later, the opportunity came up to make a film but, the only stipulation was — I mean, the budget was the first stipulation but, they just wanted something with a supernatural edge and I remembered this idea and that’s how I sort of dug it out of mothballs and brought it out and started working on it. And, yeah, the movie’s done. We had its premiere in Toronto last week at the Toronto Film Festival and it was fantastic. I don’t know exactly when it’s coming out, I actually have a meeting with Anchor Bay, the company that purchased the film, about the release date and everything…I don’t know it today but I probably will know it tomorrow. So, unfortunately, I can’t tell you. We’ll find out soon enough. Is it going to be — now, you said ‘supernatural’ — is it going to be, maybe, less visceral than some of your previous films? It’s not like a violent, gory movie — that wasn’t really what I wanted to do. I wanted to do something that was more like … It’s a very long, slow, descent of a movie and by the end … it’s just a weird disturbing, mind-altering, trip. It’s a very different type of movie, but that was the goal, I don’t want to keep doing the same thing over and over, that’s just crazy. I’m very excited, I can’t wait. I know it’s a very polarizing film, too, which I find really, really cool. I know some people are just going to love it to death, it’ll be their favorite movie, and other people will just be like, ‘What the hell was that all about?’ Well, you’re certainly no stranger to that, I would say. Pretty much everything I’ve ever done has had that reaction and I don’t really expect anything else to happen, or would I want anything else to happen. I think if I made something that everyone could agree on, I would feel as if I had somehow failed. I was going to say, if you were looking for approval you probably wouldn’t launch a co-headlining tour with Marilyn Manson. It’s always been like that. I never look for approval from anybody because times change and critics change and everything changes. I remember White Zombie, which now, everybody likes to talk about very favorable — like the fans and how great the records were and how great the band was. But I remember on our Geffen release, the first review we got, and I remember it clearly, it was in this magazine called Alternative Press, and the review started off by saying “This is the worst band ever…” And then the review went downhill from there! But now everyone [says] “Oh, classic record, blah, blah, blah.” I don’t give a crap. The tour with Manson is going to be phenomenal. I like touring with other artists who I feel that our audiences are similar. It makes for a really great night. Because, you know, it’s hard to do that. I had that experience at Alice Cooer but sometimes you tour with bands and you can tell their fans don’t like you and your fans don’t like them and…its better when everybody is there for the same reason. A couple of weeks ago I had a chance to talk to John 5. I mean, of course we talked about the soundtrack to ‘The Lords of Salem,’ which I know he worked on and we talked a little bit about the next Rob Zombie album. Can you give us a little cue as to when we might be hearing some of that music? Well, probably not ‘til after Christmas, that’s probably when we’ll release it. The record is done and the recording is done, we’re actually mixing it now, so in about another week the record will be a 100-percent finished. For what its worth — and I know everybody says this — I really think it’s our best record ever. You know, you struggle at times writing songs and other times you feel very inspired, this is a very inspired record and I think it’s the perfect combination of what I’ve done on my own and what White Zombie has done in the past combined. And the few people that have heard it had that reaction. You know, my wife is very honest when I play her music she won’t say something good, if she doesn’t like it she’ll just go “That sucks.” She’s very honest, which is good. She’s been there for everything, she was on the White Zombie tour. I mean, she loves it. The only person that’s been to more shows of mine than her is me. And she heard it the first time and that was exactly her response, she was like, “Wow. That seemed like the best of the old days mixed with the best of the new days.” So, I’m excited for people to hear it. [button href=”” title=”See Which Stations Air Loudwire Radio” align=”center”]

Tom Morello, Serj Tankian + Tim McIlrath Release Pro-‘Occupy’ Song ‘We Are the 99 Percent’

Monika Graff / Kevin Winter (2), Getty Images Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello , System of a Down  singer  Serj Tankian and Rise Against frontman Tim McIlrath have joined forces to create an unofficial anthem for the Occupy Wall Street movement. Morello recently performed a free show to mark the one-year anniversary of Occupy and to help “re-energize” the political faction. Perhaps the most vocal celebrity supporter for Occupy after its members converged on New York City’s Zuccotti Park last year, Morello felt inspired to create an anthem for the movement, which has now taken form in the song ‘We Are the 99 Percent.’ Slightly similar to Ministry ‘s pro-Occupy song, ‘ 99 Percenters ,’ the song’s backbone is in its refrain, which also features field recordings of Occupy protesters from Zuccotti Park and Liberty Square. “It’s our gift to the movement,” Morello tells Rolling Stone about the new song. “I wanted to do a huge riff-rock anthem. It would feel like the excitement of the global Occupy Wall Street movement.” Morello goes on to speak about what he views as Occupy’s biggest strengths. He cites the movement’s ability to “inject into the global dialogue the horrific economic inequality that plagues the planet.” He also believes that Occupy has exposed the “grotesque global poverty and the growing inequality in our country.” Morello adds concerning Mitt Romney’s presidential run, “When is the last time when a Republican candidate for president has had hit feet held to the fire because he’s too rich?” Check out Tom Morello, Serj Tankian and Tim McIlrath on ‘We Are the 99 Percent,’ which officially premiered today on [button href=”″ title=”Click Here to Listen to ‘We Are the 99 Percent'” align=”center”]

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