Sunday, February 28, 2016

Megadeth Vs Metallica: The Punishment Due

You will do what I say; 
when I say...
...If there's a new way, 
I'll be the first in line!

This post is something that I've been thinking about posting for a couple years now. I finally decided to do it after reviewing the new Megadeth album, Dystopia. I haven't reviewed any Metallica albums because they haven't released a new one since before I started blogging. Hard to believe they haven't released anything new since 2008, isn't it? Although, I did review their movie Through the Never. Anyway, let's answer that  'who's better' question, and go Into the Arena. 

If you've been living under a rock for 30+ years, or aren't that big of a metal fan, you might not know that Dave Mustaine of Megadeth was the Metallica guitarist prior to Kirk Hammett's arrival. He was kicked out of the band prior to their debut album, Kill Em All. Mustaine then met bassist, Dave Ellefson and Megadeth was born. Shortly after that, their debut album, Killing is My Business, and Business is Good was released. And, a war between the two rival thrash metal bands began, and its still going. If you want to know more about the back story, Google it. 

First of all, Dave Mustaine was co-writer of 4 songs on Kill Em All, as well as 2 tracks (including the title track) of Ride The Lightning. Both albums were released before Killing is My Business was released. So, regardless of how much of the songs were actually written by Mustaine, Megadeth had to start from scratch. And, they had a long way to go...

Metallica's first 3 albums, Kill Em All, Ride the Lightning, and Master of Puppets are thrash metal icons. Master of Puppets is the greatest thrash album of all time. However, they lost a step when they released their fourth album, And Justice For All. Many metal fans, myself included felt that album was a let down after Master of Puppets. After all, topping that album has proven to be a hard feat to accomplish. Nobody (Including Metallica) has been able to top it. 

Megadeth's first 3 releases, Killing is my Business, Peace Sells but Who's Buying, and So Far So Good, So What were also wildly accepted by thrash metal fans as well, with each album getting better and better. But Megadeth's fourth and fifth albums, Rust in Peace and Countdown to Extinction destroyed Metallica's fourth and fifth albums. Metallica's first ever video for their song, One introduced millions of new fans to the band, and their fifth 'Black Album' was a golden goose, where Metallica went mainstream with the radio hits, Enter Sandman, Sad But True, and the ballad, Nothing Else Matters. But Megadeth also got noticed by the masses, and even scored a couple radio hits of their own. Rust in Peace had Holy Wars..The Punishment Due on the radio while the iconic video and musical skill of Hangar 18 dominated MTV. Countdown to Extinction had the radio hit, Symphony of Destruction and MTV hit, Sweating Bullets. Both bands were taking similar paths, but Metallica had the backing of the masses. But, with the release of Rust in Peace and Countdown to Extinction, people started noticing what Megadeth fans had known all along: Megadeth's music was better. The songs were better written, the guitar work was better, and over all, Megadeth was a more talented band. Solos sounded different. The songs flowed better. Most of this was due to the arrival of guitar god, Marty Friedman and drummer, Nick Menza, although if you listen to the first three albums, the skill of the guitarists has always been superior to James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett's efforts. Not to mention, original drummer, Gar Samuelson (RIP) was far superior to Lars Ulrich. 

Gar Samuelson. I hung out with him once.

Next came grunge. <gag> Metallica released Load and Reload. Megadeth released Youthanasia, Cryptic Writings, and Risk. (And, you can probably include The World Needs A Hero in this group) All these albums were departures from their thrash roots, but were part of the band's evolution. Some diehard thrash metal fans hate those albums, but I don't. Both bands did what they needed to do to survive. Although, Metallica only put out one more album before Death Magnetic in 2008, which was St. Anger in 2003, which we won't talk about by name anymore, Megadeth released the ones I mentioned and two more before 2008. But while Metallica was writing simplistic radio hits, Megadeth was growing as a band musically, and had several radio hits of their own like Trust, Secret Place, Almost Honest, Use The Man, Breadline, and more. Did these songs blow up the bank account like Metallica's? No, but once again, musically, the Megadeth songs were superior. Some of the best guitar work I've ever heard is on the albums that lots of people overlook. In fact, one of my all time favorite songs, A Tout le Monde is on Youthanasia. Megadeth re recorded that song as a duet with Christina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil, introducing the band to an even broader base of new fans.  

Mustaine and Scabbia

Still, Megadeth didn't stop. While Metallica was touring all over creation, and not releasing a new album in 8 years and counting, Megadeth kept releasing albums. Since Metallica's last album, Megadeth has released four albums. And, while some of the albums may not be as good as their best ones, their latest album, Dystopia as I mentioned in my review is the best since Rust in Peace and Countdown to Extinction. After Metallica's debacle 2003 album (the one we aren't mentioning by name) everyone was begging for a 'return to form' album from them. The result was Death Magnetic. An album where they attempted to make a good thrash album, but it proved they had forgotten how. The songs are unnecessarily long, and guitar riffs are just thrown together. Plus, honestly, James Hetfield just doesn't have the aggression in his voice anymore. Dave Mustaine, however does. In fact, his voice sounds better than ever. To be fair, the fans were wanting a 'return to form' album from Megadeth too. Megadeth delivered. Several times, with The System Has Failed, United Abominations, Endgame, TH1RT3EN, and of course, the new juggernaut, Dystopia.

One of the main criticisms about Megadeth I've heard is that the lineup has changed so many times. Your point? Have you heard Metallica's stuff? Maybe its time for them to change up. Mustaine has said that he will only bring in a guitarist that is better than he is. Those are some pretty heavy shoes to fill, but he's brought in greats such as Marty Friedman, Al Pitrelli, and newcomer, Kiko Loureiro, among others. Kirk Hammett wouldn't make it into Megadeth, and that's a fact. I can't think of a better way to challenge yourself to improve. And, this new album proves it. Actually, if you go back and listen to 2 songs from each album back to back and in order, you'll see how each album features something new, different, and better than before. You can't say that about Metallica

The age old adage: "When the history books are written, ______."  applies here. Because while Metallica reigned supreme being the greatest marketing band in the history of the world other than Kiss, Megadeth kept putting out good albums, with great songs. Ask any metal musician which is the better band, you will get Megadeth 9 out of 10 times. History has been written, and slowly but surely, more and more people are realizing it. Megadeth gets the last laugh, and is the superior band. Still doubt me? Ask the Metal God Himself, Rob Halford: 

And, don't come away from this thinking I don't like Metallica. I do. I love Master of Puppets and Ride The Lightning. I like Kill Em All. Black, Load, and Reload are okay. The rest, not so much.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Album Review: Kanye West: The Life of Pablo

Well, I was going to review it, but Kanye tweeted this, and I'm a white guy:

So, I'm still going to review it because I don't care what #kanyewest says, I'm going to give it a very very short but very honest review. Here goes:

Click here for another Kanye related article of mine.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Dolphins fan? Here's a Reality Check!

"But there's nothing I can do...
...I only want A FREAKING GOOD TEAM!
Is THAT too much to ask?? 
Apparently so. I'm a Miami Dolphins fan. Everyone knows that. In fact, its pretty easy to figure out since I put it in the header of this blog. Usually, when I post things about the Phins, its positive. Not this time. Yes, this time, I'm going to be real. The reality is that with these coaching hires that the Dolphins are randomly putting into place, I have ZERO expectations for them next season. Maybe that's a good thing, but that's another story. 

Today, we're going to talk about history. More specifically, the history of the team since the AFC Championship game in the 1992-1993 season. Miami vs Buffalo. Buffalo won, and that's the closest Miami has come to the Super Bowl since.

So, let's take a look at what the league has done since then, shall we? Grab a tissue. You might need it.

We'll start with the new Super Bowl Champs, the Denver Broncos. They won 2 Super Bowls in the 90's, rebuilt several times, went to another Super Bowl, lost, went again, and won. 

The Baltimore Ravens aka the original Cleveland Browns have won 2 Super Bowls, and been to the Playoffs multiple times. At least the expansion Browns haven't been to a Super Bowl. I'm not sure if I could take that.

In 1995, the Jacksonville Jaguars and Carolina Panthers became teams. In 1996, both teams were in their conference championship games. The Jaguars were back in the AFC Championship once (At Miami's expense. Remember 62-7?) then took a direction similar to Miami's, but albeit a little worse for them. The Panthers have made the Playoffs multiple times, including the NFC Championship, and several division titles, not to mention 2 Super Bowl appearances. 

Scores more points vs Miami than Brunell, then becomes Miami's QB

The New Orleans Saints, dubbed the Aints for many years built a team around Drew Brees, and won a Super Bowl. Plus multiple playoff appearances. Miami 'aint' done nothing.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers built a dominant defense, and won the Super Bowl, also with multiple division titles.

The expansion Houston Texans have been to the Playoffs several times, including an AFC Championship.

The St Louis Rams, another team that was a perennial loser went 1-1 in two Super Bowls.

The Arizona Cardinals even made it to a Super Bowl, with several Playoff appearances.

The Seattle Seahawks, who for years were a bottom feeder have been to 3 Super Bowls, and won one. 

You also can't leave out the dynasties of the 90's, the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers even rebuilt and went back to a Super Bowl. 

The Green Bay Packers were an average team before Miami's last AFC Championship game, but went to 3 Super Bowls and won 2 since, and are a constant threat in the Playoffs.

The Indianapolis Colts! They were a constant disappointment, and turned into another constant Playoff threat, and won a Super Bowl against a Chicago Bears team that came out of obscurity for one season, then fell back into obscurity.

Even the stinking NY Jets have been to the AFC Championship a couple times!

 The New York Giants are 2-1 in Super Bowls, including knocking off our final team's hopes for a perfect season. I appreciate that, Giants! Thank you!

And, of course, who can forget the freaking the New England Patriots. An impressive 4-3 in Super Bowls, and constant threat to go all the way. And, they will continue to be as long as Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are with them. Before the early 90's, they were also a constant loser, with the exception of one Super Bowl appearance. Since 2001, they have won the AFC East every year except for two. In 2008, Miami won the division because Tom Brady got hurt, and the stupid wildcat play that got exposed by the Ravens in the Playoffs. 

And, let's also not forget about all the players who were mediocre to good with Miami, then went on to dominate with another team. Wes Welker for example. Half the current Buffalo Bills roster, for another example. Ted Ginn and his family have played in TWO Super Bowls!

We're not letting the coaches off the hook either. Since 2004, Miami has had THREE interim head coaches because a coach got fired during the season. THREE!!!! If that doesn't tell you something, nothing will.

The fault is with owner, Steven Ross. I really wish he would sell the team to someone who knows how to hire front office personnel, but it didn't start with Ross. It started with Wayne Huizenga. In the early 2000's, Miami had a very good team. But, the bottom fell out of it, and it was downhill from there. 

Currently, the Dolphins have lots of extremely talented players. There is no reason why they should not dominate, but we've hit the coaching reset button yet again. By the time we know if this coaching staff is any good, they will likely have traded our good players away for draft picks who may or may not be good, but we won't know. Why? Because they won't get the chance to gel, and the coaching staff will be fired yet again. Its a vicious cycle of toilet spins, and the only form of Rid-X that will help would be Ross selling the team. But, he won't. But hell, at least we'll have the most up to date and state of the art stadium!

Buckle up, Dolphins faithful. This pain isn't going to end anytime soon. In fact, its going to be like riding a bike down a bumpy road, with a severe case of hemorrhoids.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Night Time Fiasco's Super Bowl Halftime Show HEAVY METAL Alternative


Okay, we're all sick of the stupid half time shows at the Super Bowl, and this one will be one of the worst. We'll get to see a metal band there eventually, but before that happens, I have the next best thing!

A couple minutes before the halftime show at the Super Bowl, Christiana, Brian the Trucker and I will go live on our radio show, The Night Time Fiasco. We'll chat for a minute or two about the game, but then, we'll start cranking tunes from some of our favorite guests. It will end when the halftime show ends. Just mute the TV, have a computer ready, and plug it into some speakers, and TURN IT UP TO ELEVEN!!!! Too easy, right?

And, rather than being bored to sleep by Coldplay and being disgusted by the booty antics of Beyonce, you can be pumped up by some of the most kick ass music we've had on our show to date.

Sounds like a win! Let's do it!

NOTE: The scheduled time says 7:30PM Eastern. The show will be on at that point, but we won't come on until the first half game clock reads 0:00.

And, while we're at it, join this Facebook group, and read the attached article. (Before or After the Super Bowl of course!)