Blog Archives

Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade: 2002 / #3 – #1


MetalCatThis selection completes ten years of my personal hit parades. Looking at the medals table to date (i.e. 2002), Sweden has had five of my favourite songs of the year; the USA, three; and the Netherlands and the UK, one each.

From this it is manifestly clear that my best musical place in the world is right here in my office, where I can listen to the best of every country.

At the end of the 21 years, I must work out a points system to name my top music country, my top band and my top metal genre over two decades.

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Reggie’s Essential 25 Favorite Instrumentals #10 & #9


bc_rich_widow_wmd_bass_top_imageI love the power of a good instrumental song.  Sometimes they can be energizing or even relaxing depending on the band’s intent with the song.  Some bands use an instrumental song to display a different, sometimes softer side.  And, sometimes an instrumental is a collection of left over riffs and drum parts that didn’t make the final cut.  Or, perhaps they just couldn’t find the words to go with the music.  However they are composed, the instrumental song is a track I look for and hope to find on any album; though there are some bands where it’s almost an expectation.  This list is 25 word-less songs that I find essential to my music library.  I wouldn’t sweat over the exact order, but yeah the ones at or near the top of this list are definitely my favorites.  I know there are many more instrumental songs out there, but these are mine…so to speak.  This list is also limited to only three per band and only one band made this list three times.  Enjoy!

10.  Mr. Scary – Dokken

I have probably said it a million times so one more won’t kill ya.  Dokken was of my favorite bands from the 80s.  I always had a fondness for their music.  Though they did get glam or remained on the fringes of glam (mostly), I thought Dokken’s music was a cut above the rest and it’s pretty much due to George Lynch’s guitar work.  I feel lucky I got to see them one time live…the opening act for my first ever concert actually.  This song appears on Back for the Attack from 1987.

9.  Bombay Vindaloo – Dream Theater

The first time I heard this song was on a live album I picked up called Live at the Marquee.  After doing minimal research on it because I have never seen this song on an actual album, it turns out this track was improvisation based and was played live less than 10 times.  The live recording was released in 1993.  I happen to have the European released which has Surrounded whereas the Japanese release instead has Another Day.  These songs are the only difference on the live 6-track album.  It’s a cool thing to have if you are a Dream Theater enthusiast.

Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade: 1994 / #10 and #9


My, 1993 went by quickly. I have a feeling 1994 is also going to flash by in a week. This continues my personal hit parade. It is not a Metal State hit parade and I don’t claim these were the best songs of any year. They’re the ones I liked and still like.

1994, #10: Bolt Thrower – …For Victory

Album: …For Victory
Country: UK
Genre: Death Metal

 

1994, #9: Dream Theater – Space-Dye Vest

Album: Awake
Country: USA
Genre: Prog Metal

 

 

Reggie’s Essential 25 Favorite Instrumentals #16 & #15


bc_rich_widow_wmd_bass_top_imageI love the power of a good instrumental song.  Sometimes they can be energizing or even relaxing depending on the band’s intent with the song.  Some bands use an instrumental song to display a different, sometimes softer side.  And, sometimes an instrumental is a collection of left over riffs and drum parts that didn’t make the final cut.  Or, perhaps they just couldn’t find the words to go with the music.  However they are composed, the instrumental song is a track I look for and hope to find on any album; though there are some bands where it’s almost an expectation.  This list is comprised of 25 word-less songs that I find essential to my music library.  I wouldn’t sweat over the exact order, but yeah the ones at or near the top of this list are definitely my favorites.  I know there are many more instrumental songs out there, but these are mine…so to speak.  This list is also limited to only three per band and only one band made this list three times.  Enjoy!

16.  Frankenstein – Overkill

Initially, I never knew this was an Edgar Winter’s Group cover from the early 70s.  I can’t remember how it was pointed out; maybe it was in the liner notes, but after giving it a second thought it did seem to sound a bit different from the rest of this outstanding Horrorscope album from 1991.  Overkill certainly held true to the original vibe, but trash-ified the songs nicely.  This album needs a remaster!

15.  Stream of Consciousness – Dream Theater

These guys make great instrumental songs and it’s one of the reasons why they are the only band to have three songs on my list.  This one appeared on the Train of Thought album released in 2003.  I saw that tour, but never got to see this song played live; at least not that I can remember.  Even today, I look to see if Dream Theater adds an instrumental on their new albums and I am glad this is still a practice of theirs.  They are quite good at it.

Metal Meets Yoga


cropped-mudra-sans-faceIn the last couple of months I picked up this thing called yoga.  You might have heard of it.  That thing where you do strength and flexibility poses and it’s supposed to make you strong, limber, and cleansed in the mind and body.  Ask a yogi and they will probably give you a more philosophical answer to what yoga does for a body.  In layman’s terms, all I can tell you is that I feel freakin’ good when it’s over.  I am getting more flexible and stress-free and that’s kind of important at my ripe old age of 40.  I attribute my progress specifically to my twice-weekly sessions.  See, only twice a week and I have come so far.  Who says they don’t have time for this?  Anyway.  When it’s over, I feel like all I need is a shower and a bed – I feel so relaxed.  Something must be working and I found that I am starting to “need” these yoga sessions twice a week.  It’s kind of addicting. Read the rest of this entry

Monday Metal Madness – 56th Grammy’s


1015599-grammy-award-617-409It’s time for the *yawn* Grammy’s; excuse me I don’t mean to be rude, but this normally a waste of time for metal and for people who like metal.  However, this year might be a bit different.  Keep in mind this is America; we are talking about a country where metal is not as out in the open as it is across Europe.  I miss Europe!  I can see where my European friends would think this is a weak list of “metal” bands, and I would normally agree, but again this America and I want to point out one thing.  These are all metal bands.  Last year, Halestorm beat out Megadeth, Anthrax, Marilyn Manson, Iron Maiden and Lamb of God if I remember correctly.  Really?  Nothing against the catchy Halestorm, but they won out of sheer popularity and record sales.  They got played on the radio…during daylight hours.  It just goes to show that the people who run the Grammy’s and/or cast votes know nothing about “great” metal.  Again, nothing against Halestorm, I do like them, but how does a band like that beat such heavyweights?  The year before, Foo Fighters cleaned house and though they are a great band, I wouldn’t exactly call them metal.  Again, they beat out actual metal bands.

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Album Review: Caligula’s Horse – The Tide, The Thief & River’s End


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Caligula’s Horse has crafted songs that are so alive and so powerful that I get tears in my eyes. Their music makes me do more than just listen, I’m feeling it, I’m living it.  

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Genre: Progressive rock/metal with a unique, modern and intelligent sound

Recommended for fans of: Opeth, Pain of Salvation, Porcupine Tree, Karnivool, Dream Theater, TesseracT, concept albums, interesting music

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One Album – Three Perspectives: A Review Dream Theater’s Dream Theater


album_610_340Firs the first time, A Metal State of Mind (all three of us) are reviewing one album.  It’s something we have never done before and thought it would be cool to get three perspectives on one album.   The three of us have our favorite metal genres we gravitate to, but Dream Theater is one band we like that we all have in common.  Though we do not all agree on which of their albums are the best, you will find at least one Dream Theater album on all three of our “favorite albums” lists.  Therefore, it goes without saying, this is probably a good opportunity to compare our thoughts on a new album from a band that has impacted the lives of the three of us at some point in time.  Dream Theater’s self-titled album was released on September 23rd and here are or thoughts on their 12th studio album.

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Songs That Define My Taste In Music #6 & #5 (Reggie)


music-taste--large-msg-132724488296Talking to other metal admirers has certainly opened my ears to a world of music I barely knew existed.  I have to say, my library has expanded quite a bit over the years though meeting friends in blogs and social forums.  A recent conversation on a facebook forum called “I, Author of Despair” led me to do some soul searching on songs that define my taste in music, more specifically heavy metal.  When asked, I usually tell people I just like the aggressive nature of the music, but after thinking about it for a bit I realized there are so many other reasons that define my particular taste…reasons that opened the door to my favorite genres and opened further doors to new ones.   Those 10 reasons in no particular order are Speed, Cadence, and Flow; Rhythm and Groove; Guitars; Presentation and Appearance; Disposition; Artistic Impression; Technicality; Poignant Intelligible Lyrics; Storytelling; and Aggression.  Although some of the bands used to articulate the things that define my taste can cross over into multiple areas, I use them as good examples of why it defines my taste in music.

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Mik’s Top 100 Favourite Albums of All Time #50-46


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A while ago, at the same time as Matt and Reggie, I posted my Top 100 All Time Favourite (Metal) Albums over at the forum The History of Metal on FB. It took a good amount of time and effort to put it together, but it was so much fun! My taste in metal is always changing, so the list will not always look the same. In fact, it’s already a bit different than it was when I first put it together and posted it on the forum seven months ago.

I tried to limit myself to three albums per band to make the list a little more diverse and interesting. I don’t really consider the ‘test of time’-factor when selecting what albums that will go on my list, instead I measure it by how strongly the album has affected me emotionally and how much/often it has helped me through both good and bad phases in my life. That’s why you can find quite a few newer releases among my favourites too.

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#50 Tempus Fusion – To End It All

This is a prog metal album that really surprised me with its fresh and captivating sound. It has a dark, emotional atmosphere, heavy riffs and rolling drums, powerful vocals and interesting, unpredictable melodies. No filler songs and good songwriting. All that is needed to end up on my toplist of favourite albums.

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