Blog Archives

Matt’s Top 15 Albums of 2014!!!


tumblr_static_cm4blpgifnwo8wokk0wo4scscIt’s that time of year again for arbitrary lists of really great albums that were released since the last time I did one of these things.  Contributing to my absolute burnout of writing about kick ass metal bands, I can not think of another year where there were just so damn many stellar records released.  I simply had to say fuck it, step back, and enjoy the great stuff I already had.  Sure, I missed out on some great stuff, but on the other hand, all killer no filler.  To try to make up for the insane amount of great albums this year I’ve expanded my usual 10 to 15 and will have an honorable mentions post sometime in the near future.  I hope you find yourself something cool to listen to with this list or at least nod in agreement with some of my picks.  Thanks for reading, sticking with AMSOM, and being awesome and stuff.  Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!

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Album Review: Primus and the Chocolate Factory with the Fungi Ensemble


Primus-And-The-Chocolate-FactoryThroughout my childhood there have been many films that have captured my impressionable imagination and then warped and raped it.  The Secret of Nimh, The Dark Crystal, The Brave Little Toaster, Labyrinth, Dumbo, Watership Down, etc.  They were all able to lure me in with colors, cuteness, and imagination and then rip the rug up from under me and show me the dark, seedy underbelly of the world in all its twisted glory.  I don’t know why, but I always tended to gravitate toward this style of film in my young age (and well into my teenage years and adulthood).  Sitting at the top of horrifically cute films lies the 1971 cinematic masterpiece Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory starring the great Gene Wilder in the role he was born to play; the magically mad Willy Wonka.  From the colorful cinematography to the densely dark under-themes of consumerism and greed the film didn’t shy away for a moment from the fact it was luring young kids into its mind-rape Ford Econoline van with pretty colors and promises of candy.

Another aspect of Willy Wonka that cements it as one of the greatest cinematic achievements is its soundtrack.  From happy and uplifting ‘Pure Imagination’ to nightmare inducing boat ride song the music of the flick covered just about every reachable aspect of places ones imagination can go.  And I’ll be damned if they weren’t catchy songs.  Don’t tell me you don’t find yourself humming the Oompa Loompa songs from time to time.  It was simply a quirky, fun, and occasionally dark bit of music.  And do you know what else is quirky, fun, and occasionally dark (ok, a bit more than occasionally)?  The long-standing oddball band, Primus.

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Matt’s Top 25 Favorite Cover Songs: #5- The Devil Went Down to Georgia covered by Primus


The_Devil_went_down_2_Georgia_by_MakinitaMany a year ago Primus released a neat little EP called Rhinoplasty which contained various covers including an excellent versions of Metallica’s “The Thing That Should Not Be”, Jerry Reed’s “Amos Moses”, and Andy Partrige’s “Scissor Man”.  There were also a couple live tracks (with the best version of “Bob’s Party Time Lounge” available) and a neat remix of the Primus classic “Too Many Puppies”.  For a quick EP there was a lot of value in the package, but what really got me didn’t hit until about a year later when the technology of a CD ROM drive made its way into my household.  I had randomly popped the CD into my computer to have something to listen to while I did some schoolwork and out of nowhere an autostart screen popped up with the Primus logo on it.  Naturally I clicked on it.  Along with a couple of other things there was an option for a bonus video, catch being, you needed a password to get to it.  Having had lost my jewel case for the CD along with the inlay checking the liner notes for the password wasn’t an option.  Forgetting about my school work I went and started calling up all my Primus fan buddies to see if they still had the inlay or knew the password.  That worked to no avail.  OK, option 2.  I ran to the record store to see if I could snatch up a copy.  No dice there either.  And brute forcing the password didn’t work either.

Well, as you can see I was in a little predicament.  There was no way I’d be able to get anything done until I sated this obsession to get to this golden bonus material.  Luckily I decided to try forcing the sweet, golden, gooey bonus material by trying to find a way to circumvent the password.  And, wow, that was easy.  Simply browsing the CD in the explorer let me double-click a mysterious file called Devil.  Ahhh, but this is back in 1998 and the native Windows 98 player doesn’t recognize the file type and to play it one needs the player on the disc. Want to talk about a frustrating moment.  But giving up wasn’t going to happen.  I don’t remember the exact steps I took to hack my way into getting the video player on the disc to work stand alone, but after hours of messing with ins and outs, I finally bypassed that damn password and my efforts paid off.

Contained behind that iron curtain was an awesome claymation video for Primus’ cover of “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”, a song I was pretty familiar with at the time as I had a friend whose parents were big into bluegrass and would always be on the stereo when I went to my buddy’s house.  It may be the video combined with the effort I put into unlocking the damn thing, but Primus’ version simply just kicks more ass IMO.  Les Claypool’s vocals fit the story so well as well as the tweaks made to the song like making the Devil’s fiddle solo more ominous and metal.  Sooo, great cover, great video, was worth the effort in unlocking.

And funny story, the next day when I was telling my friends at school how I cracked the video, someone nearby overheard and said he had the CD and the password is ‘Violin’ 😉

Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!

Primus Version:

Original Charlie Daniels Band Version:

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Matt’s Top 25 Favorite Cover Songs: #24: Animals covered by Les Claypool’s Frog Brigade


The_Les_Claypool_Frog_Brigade_-_Live_Frogs_Set_2I tip my hat to Mr. Claypool and his brigade of amphibious creatures.  They could have just covered a single song off of Pink Floyd’s masterpiece (and my favorite PF record), Animals.  But Les had too much respect for the album, and to break it up, he felt would hurt the records integrity, so he just covered the whole darn thing.  And he released it as an official Les Claypool’s Frog Brigade live album to boot: Live Frogs Set 2.  So not only do you get the Claypool take on a classic album, but you get to hear it with wonderfully captured live energy as well as quality sound quality (if you ever purchased a bootleg of another band doing this kind of thing, you know how bad the audio recording can get).  I really can not speak enough of how great the sound quality of this record is, hats off to the production and recording team.

Les’ take on Animals is pretty straight forward not changing anything and staying true to the way Roger Waters composed it.  But, given that Claypool carries such a unique bass playing style as well as a peculiar voice, it would be impossible for him to replicate Animals note for note.  When compared to the original the low ends are a lot fuller and much more pronounced with many blue notes added in.  His voice also fits in perfectly with his oddball croon being a nice change of pace from Roger Waters rather pedestrian voice.  The rest of the band also does some outstanding work giving due respect to the source material.  I particularly like how saxophonist, Shriek, was able to replicate many of the sound effects heard on the original with his saxophone and Jay Lane’s excellent drumming working well with Claypool’s occasional improvised bits.

After listening to both records back to back, I have to say, I almost prefer Claypool’s rendition to the original, almost.  And while there is plenty of the Claypool personality and improved moments crammed in, I do wish he deviated from the original a bit more to give it a more Claypool-ish spin to it.  Nonetheless, it’s an excellent homage to Claypool’s favorite band and a wonderful cover that all fans of the original should listen to.  Enjoy!!  Peace Love and Metal!!!

Listen to the cover after the jump:

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Matt’s Top 100 Favorite Albums of All Time: #25-#21


Over on my favorite forum for rambling about metal, The History of Metal (it’s an open Facebook forum, so anyone, meaning you, can join and flap your jaw about metal with a wide variety of metalheads from all over the world), the admin made a challenge to all the members to create their top 100 albums of all time. Loving making lists I’m all on this. Between the ~1500 albums I have there is a lot to filter through and this has turned into quite a daunting, yet fun, challenge. This list will represent where I am with my favorite albums right now, if I were to do this last year or next year, while being similar, I’m sure there would be lots of differences. My only self-imposed limitation on this is I’m confining each band 3 albums in the list to avoid entire, very large, discographies over saturating it. Every 5 days or so I’ll make a post with the next 5 entries into the list. Fellow bloggers, I extend this challenge to you (and be sure to let me know where and when you’ll be posting it, I’d love to read it), and for readers without a blog join up with THOM and post yours there! Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!

#25 Sailing the Seas of Cheese by Primus

As I look back at the Excel file with my ‘list’ on it one common theme that seems to be running through a large part of the albums is that they all include well pronounced bass and rhythm sections. One could argue that having heavy bass dulls down the music and muddies up the intricacies, but I digress and say that some well used bass adds a nice full body to the music that makes it even more tastier. Like a good whiskey, wine, beer, or woman. When it comes to bassists, one of the most skilled and eclectic that will come to many’s mind is Les Claypool. What that man has done with the low-end tones is unique to say the least, but as well as being a titan on the bass he also is a damn fine songwriter/storyteller/lyricist and collaborator. Without the aid of the other 2 members of Primus the complexities of his style wouldn’t come to fruition. Larry LaLonde’s trippy and shredy guitars work wonders when paired with Les’ groove accentuating rather than carrying. And to keep up with the insanity of Claypool a damn fine drummer is needed, and Tim Alexander’s jazz beats dance in tandem with the quirky bass. While the trio have released some damn fine albums, their second full length collects the best the band has to offer in one package. Not a stinker or a dull moment the whole record and this is always the Primus record I cram down everyone’s throat when they tell me they never listened to Primus. So, if you enjoy some thick bass in your music and for some strange reason never heard Primus before, I implore you to go get your hands on this album right now.

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Matt’s Top 100 Favorite Albums of All Time: #40-#36


Over on my favorite forum for rambling about metal, The History of Metal (it’s an open Facebook forum, so anyone, meaning you, can join and flap your jaw about metal with a wide variety of metalheads from all over the world), the admin made a challenge to all the members to create their top 100 albums of all time. Loving making lists I’m all on this. Between the ~1500 albums I have there is a lot to filter through and this has turned into quite a daunting, yet fun, challenge. This list will represent where I am with my favorite albums right now, if I were to do this last year or next year, while being similar, I’m sure there would be lots of differences. My only self-imposed limitation on this is I’m confining each band 3 albums in the list to avoid entire, very large, discographies over saturating it. Every 5 days or so I’ll make a post with the next 5 entries into the list. Fellow bloggers, I extend this challenge to you (and be sure to let me know where and when you’ll be posting it, I’d love to read it), and for readers without a blog join up with THOM and post yours there! Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!

#40 Imaginations from the Other Side by Blind Guardian

What more could a metal head nerd ask for? A band that writes top shelf quality metal and sings about things such as fantasy, sci-fi, history, video games, and all other nerdish troupes. When a buddy mentioned that Blind Guardian was Lord of the Rings metal I knew I had to check them out and my introduction to them was by way of the classic Imaginations from the Other Side (which was their most recent album at the time). My teenage nerd brain was melted, not only were there high energy rockers on the album, but the band had been able to write some of the best metal ballads ever (which, at 15 years old, I wasn’t a huge fan of yet). The Arthurian “Past and Future Secret” and “Mordred’s Song” will go down as a pair of my all time favorite songs by the Bards and my neck still hurts from the copious amounts of headbanging done to “I’m Alive”.

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Matt’s Top 100 Favorite Albums of All Time: #60-#56


Over on my favorite forum for rambling about metal, The History of Metal (it’s an open Facebook forum, so anyone, meaning you, can join and flap your jaw about metal with a wide variety of metalheads from all over the world), the admin made a challenge to all the members to create their top 100 albums of all time. Loving making lists I’m all on this. Between the ~1500 albums I have there is a lot to filter through and this has turned into quite a daunting, yet fun, challenge. This list will represent where I am with my favorite albums right now, if I were to do this last year or next year, while being similar, I’m sure there would be lots of differences. My only self-imposed limitation on this is I’m confining each band 3 albums in the list to avoid entire, very large, discographies over saturating it. Every 5 days or so I’ll make a post with the next 5 entries into the list. Fellow bloggers, I extend this challenge to you (and be sure to let me know where and when you’ll be posting it, I’d love to read it), and for readers without a blog join up with THOM and post yours there! Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!

#60 Tales from the Punchbowl by Primus

I still remember the day that I bought this record. Me and my family were taking a road trip to Florida to go to Disney and Tales… release happened to be one of the days we were all on the road. I kept having my dad take a random exit here and there in hopes that there would be a record store close by so I could grab my precious new Primus album and make the long hours of the drive pass by more quickly. After 2 days on the road we finally found a random record store and I got my Primus fix.

At first I didn’t know what to think of Tales… I wouldn’t call it a departure from Primus’ earlier work as all that bass heavy quirkiness is there. That dark atmosphere from Pork Soda also carried over, but initially I had mixed feeling about this album. It was just weird, for Primus standards that’s quite a feat. As time went on and I kept listening it really started to grow on me. The dark, psychedelic songs really started to click and before long it was getting regular rotation. The fun songs like “Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver” and “De Anza Jig” were always a blast to listen to, but tracks like “Mrs. Blaileen” and “Glass Sandwich” really made an impression on me with an atmosphere unlike anything I’ve ever heard before. And then there’s the Pink Floyd-ish “Southbound Pachyderm” and the insanity drenched “Over the Electric Grapevine”, two of the best songs Primus has ever written.

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Song of the Week: El Sobrante Fortnight


Sticking with rolling completely random Songs of the Week, the wheel landed on “El Sobrante Fortnight” by Les Claypool and Holy Mackerel off of the album Highball with the Devil.  I don’t think one could really classify this as metal, but, is anything that Les Claypool and Primus do that can really fall into any one specific genre.  Seriously, Claypool has created a genre all his own, and nothing else sounds like Claypool or Primus.  Well maybe a bit of XTC and Frank Zappa, but still original enough to stand far apart from the inspirations.  Anywho, metalheads seem to greatly appreciate Primus and other Les Claypool works so enjoy this quirky little ditty.

If you can find a copy of the album it came from it is well worth picking up.  If you’re a fan of Primus you should dig the album.  I remember finding this record in a neat little record store in New Hope, PA sometime in the late 90’s and have never seen it around since then.  I wonder if they still make them?  Enjoy!  Peace Love and Metal!!!

Happy Groundhog Day!!


Today is the day Americans find out how much more Winter they must endure, Groundhog Day.  Enjoy a Primus song.  Peace Love and Metal!!!

Video of the Week-Tragedy’s A Comin’


Fresh off the boat Primus serve up a tasty dish of celluloid for your veiwing pleasure.  Their new video is for the song “Tragedy’s A Comin'” and it’s off their latest released Green Naugahyde.  Not much to say other than it’s Primus doing what Primus does best, making awesomely weird videos.  This time you get a spaceman, Les in a lobster costume, and some snobs eating at a highclass restaurant(reminded me a bit too much of my first job as a prep bitch at a classy seafood place).  Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!