Do you believe in fate? well I certainly do, I believe that when the stars align, and fate has its way, two people will come together and form something magical, something that can’t be produced by the mere existence of ‘coincidence’, something calculated and designed to change the world as we know it – I’m talking, ofcourse, about the sheer power of musicianship. If history taught us anything, its that music prodigies often come in pairs, especially in the realm of Rock n’ Roll, so here are a bunch of those icons that changed the way music was written:
(NOTE BEFORE YOU GO AHEAD: 1) I blog mostly on memory, so I may have forgotten some ‘teams’ and 2) I have eliminated some bands because their success was also majorly attributed to the other members in the band, or the success was driven by one man)
here it goes …
Tom Morello/Zac DelaRoca (Rage Against the Machine)
These guys may have not created the concept of Rap Rock, but they sure as hell gave it a meaning of its own! With their ‘viva revolution’ attitude, ‘Rage Against the Machine’ managed to sum up legions of loyal fans who believed in their message. From songs like ‘Bulls on Parade’ to ‘Guerilla Radio’, this duo shook every music scene they were a part of. Once these guys split and went their separate ways – the intensity faded with the introduction of their side projects … it just wasnt the same. DelaRoca did his own thing while Morello started Audioslave … both efforts were commendable, but nothing close to the sheer raw power they created together in ‘rage’.
Layne Staley / Jerry Cantrell (Alice in Chains)
This is an undeniable force in music history! Not only did they write rock/metal anthems that led the Seattle scene in the early 90’s … they were the first (and probably the only) rock duo to revolutionize the way vocal harmony was used in a band. Just go back and listen to tracks like ‘Down in a hole’ or ‘Would’ and tell me you dont hear it! The AIC boys created a trademark sound that was unique enough to coin as their own – the vocal melodies became synonymous with their sound, the song arrangements were arena worthy, and the guitar solos exclusive to their explosiveness. This pair will never be forgotten.
James Hetfield/Lars Ulrich (Metallica)
Where would the music industy be today if James Hetfield never saw that ad that Lars Ulrich put in the paper? What if he never called him? Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield’s partnership was not only crucial for their band, but for the music industry as a whole. Together, they formed the titanic Metallica and wrote 4 consecutive undisputed albums in the 80’s that reshaped the way heavy metal was looked at .. in 1991, they wrote their self titled 5th album which went on to be one of biggest selling albums of all-time. This team brought us killer songs like ‘Fade to Black’, ‘Master of Puppets’, ‘Battery’ and ‘Hit the lights’ – if you know any musician(s), chances are they know how to play atleast ONE Metallica song! that should tell you something.
Joe Perry/Steven Tyler (Aerosmith)
We were all probably too young (or not even born) to remember this … but when Joe Perry exited Aerosmith in 1979, it really .. totally .. majorly sucked. These guys were made for each other, just listen to the superb rock tunes they’ve created together, from ‘Amazing’, to ‘Blind man’, ‘ to ‘Deuces are wild’ to ‘Love in an elevator’; rock anthems that rang across stadiums and arenas around the world, anthems that formed the foundations of modern rock as we know them! The Perry/Tyler duo is a ‘rock n’ roll hit machine’. Steven Tyler has a ‘larger-than-life’ vocal approach that can only be complimented with a rockin’ blues man that is found in Joe Perry.
Jimmy Page/Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin)
The fathers of modern Rock! Pause for one second and go back to 2007, a time that we can all relatively remember well (depending on who you ask, ofcourse) .. but just try to remember .. in 2007 .. when Jimmy Page and Robert Plant announced that they would be playing together again for a one-off Led Zeppelin show, the music world went ape-shit! an estimated 80 million people logged online to get a chance to ‘win-to-buy’ tickets … thats right, you had to actually enter a lottery to buy a ticket! that is the power of Page and Plant. Not only are these two responsible for some of rock n roll’s best written gems, they also topped every chart and filled every stadium. Page and Plant simply redefined music, they took all the rules, put em’ in one box, and threw em’ out the window … Without Page and Plant, alot of the bands that you love today would’nt exist, that includes the aforementioned Metallica.
John Lennon/Paul McCartney (The Beatles)
I mean, need I say more? really? I think our memory of music stops at Lennon/McCartney, its like nothing existed prior to that combo. In many ways, they are regarded as the founders of modern pop rock. They scored so many number 1 singles, they filled so many stadiums, they were the center of so many controversies and at points in their careers, they hated each other – recipe for a true Rock n’ Roll story. Simply put, this duo wrote some of the best songs the human race has ever heard, and that isnt even an exaggeration – If you put that in perspective, you’d understand why no words I write would do them any justice.
David Gilmour/Roger Waters (Pink Floyd)
The music world craves a reunion … and not a Pink Floyd reunion, but a Gilmour/Waters reunion! repsonsible for albums like ‘Dark Side of the Moon’, ‘Wish you were here’ and ‘Animals’ (and parts of ‘The Wall’), this duo struck the perfect balance between melody and brilliance. From the lyrical Journies supplied by Waters, to the euphoric musical melodies presented by Gilmours, the men behind Pink Floyd created a progressive-rock sub-genre that is quite simply impossible to replicate. Just think of ‘Dark Side of the Moon’, It remained in the charts for 741 weeks, longer than any other album in history. It went on to sell 45 million copies making it Pink Floyd’s most commercially successful album and one of the best-selling albums of all time. Yeah, we need a reunion.
Noel Gallagher/Liam Gallagher (Oasis)
‘Tonight, Im a Rock n’ Roll Star’ sang Liam – and ironically, “Rock n’ Roll stardom” is what killed this once fantastic duo. Noel, who led the charge, along with Liam had composed and performed on some of the most memorable, and commercially successful, music in British music history. Circa 1994 – 1997, this bands stardom was comparable only to the likes of The Beatles, Noel and Liams turbulent relationship resulted in cancelled tours, firing band members, quitting band members, tabloid frenzies .. it was a mess, but it sure resulted in some great rock tunes. Some may argue that Noel was the main force, and its true .. but you cant have Oasis, a true Oasis, without one or the other. Even though they currently hate each other, and killed Oasis, I have a good feeling that we’ll see them collaborating again sometime in the near future. Glastonbery, lots’a cha-ching perhaps?
Max Cavalera/Igor Cavalera (ex-Sepultura)
Some may scratch their head and say “wha’? .. really?” .. well, yes. really. Max and Igor, the men who started the Brazillian thrash machine ‘Sepultura’, wrote some of the meanest, grimmest, badass-est tunes in metal! But thats barely the reason why this duo made this list, These guys did something much bigger for music in South America. Sepultura’s rise to success, in many ways, opened the gates for many bands in their region to be considered and heard by major labels that would never normally consider them … The Cavalera brothers, probably unknowingly, paved the way for many South American bands to be propelled into the main music arena due to the worlds reception to their music. The boys saw the hight of their success in 1996 with the release of ‘Roots’ – but a decline in popularity was immenent when Max had exited the band, proving that this duo need each other.
Steve Harris/Bruce Dickenson (Iron Maiden)
‘Two minutes .. to miiiidnight’. I say Maiden, and that’s probably one of the first lines that pops in your heard, and who’s voice do you hear? thats right! Bruce the goose Dickenson (I just called him the goose ..wtf), anyway .. Steve Harris, the man leading this legendary outfit, dabbled with quite a few vocalists in his career .. Go back to the ‘Blaze Baley’ years of Iron Maiden, Yeah, we heard some solid tracks in that era, but think about that instant, that second, that mili-micro-second that Bruce Dickenson decided to rejoin, Maiden shot back into stadium-status! Fact is, Harris writes great tracks, but he needs the vocal power-house that is Bruce Dickenson to take those tracks to hights that no other singer can possibly mimmick. and thats the truth!
Axl Rose/Slash (Guns n Roses)
This was an ugly split, an ugly divorce, and those kinds of divorces are hardest on the kids i.e. the fans. Axl and Slash had it made, they were/are brilliant composers and have tremendous talent; they created one of the most notorious rock bands that ever existed, and ruled the world with the surplus of hits that they wrote together. Sure, Duff and Izzy helped .. but the fact of the matter, Guns n’ Roses were all about Axl and Slash. Think of the moment you hear the opening notes of ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’, then think of the countless singers who tried to cover it .. but fell flat. Axl and Slash were a match made in heaven: Axl brought in the big-choruses, and Slash brought in that guitar sound that, despite being replaced by 5 different guitarists in GnR, was never ever recreated. Marriage counsling is in order … we need those two back together, for the sake of music as a whole.
John Patrucci/Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater)
Two extremely, insanely, over-the-topp(ly?) inspired and talented human beings. Patrucci and Portnoy put together one of the worlds most dynamic, couragous, and mindlowing progressive rock bands that music has ever known. Too much music has been created between both these men, from concept albums like ‘Scenes of a memory’ to progressive experimintation in ‘Liquid tension experiment’ .. The names Portnoy and Patrucci became synonems to ‘drumming legend’ and ‘guitar guru’ – a force of synergy that redefined progressive metal, and took it to impossible lengths.
Dave Mustaine/Marty Friedman (Megadeth)
Imagine you had a band that had two of the worlds top guitar players. Two things were bound to happen: 1) Awesome composing and all-around shredding, and 2) a dramatic ‘clash of the titans’ .. and thats what happened in this classic Megadeth lineup (completed by Nick Menza and Dave Ellefson). This was a guitar duo that conquered the mid-90s in skill, talent and excellent musicianship – just think about those metal moments where Mustaine and Friedman would go at a guitar battle that leaves you pretty much dumbfounded. For various reasons, This relationship died in the late 90’s, and even though Megadeth goes on with Mustaine at the helm, that brief crossroads of guitar legends will always remain one of metals finest moments.
Tony Iommi/Ronnie James Dio (Black Sabbath)
Some may argue that the Iommi/Osbourne alliance was the definitive Sabbath, and in many ways , thats correct … But truth be told, Ronnie James Dio unlocked a sound that no other Sabbath singer did. With heavy weight titles like ‘The Mob Rules’ and ‘Heaven and Hell’ under their belt, this formation of Black Sabbath was heavy, melodic, relentless and above all, friggin’ magical. Iommi pretty much invented Heavy Metal, and Dio was that missing ingredient that made it the metal outfit it was always supposed to be. His operatic vocal approach shook the very foundations of what Heavy Metal was supposed to sound like. ‘If you listen to fooollls .. the mooobbb rulllees’ .. Oh Ronnie, RIP.
Dimebag Darrel Abbott/Vinnie Paul Abbott (Pantera)
Another ‘brotherly love’ team that took the world by storm. The Abbotts created one of the most successful heavy-metal outfits in history, ‘Pantera’. But forget the floods of anthems that they wrote, and lets concentrate on the symmetry they had as musicians … the Abbotts were hands down, an insane groove machine. ‘Dime’ had his own approach to guitar that was easily identifiable, and Vinnie was the only drummer who knew how to play along .. making those riffs come to life in a way that only a blood-brother would know. Pantera, and subsequently, DamagePlan, showed their wide array of expertise and how reliant they are/were on one-another to write timeless songs that kick-you in every area worth kicking.
Jon Bon Jovi / Ritchie Sambora (Bon Jovi)
You can’t talk music without mentioning the ’80’s hair’ movement. Of all the bands that infested that decade, I Think its safe to say that Jon Bon Jovi and Ritchie Sambora stuck to writing some tunes that stood the test of time. This duo came up with some of the cheesiest tunes in rock, and I use ‘cheese’ very positively here … they also wrote of straight-up awesome rockers, and sweet-sweet ballads. The Bon Jovi/Sambora duo remains one of the strongest combos to come out of that era in music, and still manage to fill arenas till this very day.
Bono / The Edge (U2)
U2 is a group effort, thats probably true and it could also be said about every band I have mentioned, But U2 aint U2 in any way or form without ‘Bono’ or ‘The Edge’. The explosive combination of sound that both individuals bring to the table is what makes this machine very successful. U2 today is probably one of the most appealing bands out there, their shows are always held in major stadiums around the world, always sold out and always headliner worthy. Bono’s global campaigning for Africa and various other issues makes him one of the music industries most renowned activists , Whereas ‘The Edge’ being coined as a ‘legend’ along side Jimmy Page and Jack White in the documentary ‘It might get loud’ puts him up there with guitar greats and does a whole-lotta-great things for his musical credibility. Two men, one band.
Even though lots of these guys had their personal issues with each other, some even went out of their way to never, ever .. ever play together again – its remains true that they created some of the greatest bands, albums and songs that crafted the world of Rock n’ Roll. Wether you were alive to witness it unfold, live to experience it today, or still in your musical exploration phase, the above teams are amongst the most talented human beings to walk/have walked Gods green (brownish in some areas) earth!
If you have any more that I may have forgot, do let a brotha’ know.
There’s something about concerts that you can’t experience anywhere else. The vibe, the anticipation, the mounting excitement to see your favorite artist, the quality time spent with friends and the great night (day) out. It’s also pretty awesome to see the magnitude of the production going on on-stage, and to what extent a band is willing to go to put on a triumphant performance.
One of my goals since getting out of high-school (I’m a working man now, btw) was to attend as many rock concerts as possible – and I gotta say I’ve been fortunate enough to catch quite a few bands in action in the past decade – so without any further babble, here are the top 10 concerts Ive ever been to:
10 – Sepultura – Dubai Desert Rock, Dubai – March 2005
Now that’s an odd choice! but ill tell you why. This was the first ever true Rock/Metal show to take place in the region .. the hunger of the audience was palpable. When the Sepultura logo was raised as their backdrop, the crowd exploded .. saluting a friggin logo! For the first time, I felt being a part of real fans awaiting an arrival of a real band. The guys excelled when they played – one of the tightest performances I’ve seen, and most ‘metal’ if I may boldly state.
9 – Rage Against the Machine – Rock im Park, Germany – June 2008
After a 7 years hiatus, Rage made their return to europe and I was there to catch it. it was obvious that the majority of folks who came out to this particular festival, came out to see RATM. The field was full, and as the band kicked off their set, it was absolute awesomness … the havoc that was created was intense. the stage set-up was very simple, just a ‘Rage’ logo as the backdrop, and .. well, that’s pretty much it. the band relied on their skills and the strength of their songs to get people going .. and damn, they got people going hard. Zac Dela Roca surely has a way to get the audience fired up, and it isn’t through his crowd interaction, it was purely on his lyrics.
8 – Iron Maiden – Dubai Media City, Dubai – February 2009
This was the second time i had ever seen Maiden! But man, starting a show with ‘Aces High’ can never get you off to a bad start. The show seemed like it needed 3 generators to keep running! it was THAT energetic! the band were spot on, playing a mix of Maidens classics and some of the later tunes. Dickenson (Vocals) is a performer at heart – the man acts like he’s still in his mid-twenties, he runs around the massive stage in full speed, he sings off the top of his lungs with absolutely no off-notes and grabs the crowd in his palm! A great frontman, and a true legend. Not to mention the crowd ruled every song.
7 – Bon jovi – Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi – May 2008
I had mixed feelings about attending a Bon Jovi concert at the beginning, but with tons of classics under their belt, a bunch of friends and a mini-road trip to Abu Dhabi – how on earth could this go wrong!? and thank God almighty, it was a blast. Singing along to ‘You gave love a bad name’ was probably one of the most memorable experiences of my life. the band played a great and lengthy set, and the audience was as loud as any other BonJovi fanbase across the planet. Classics like ‘Livin on a prayer’, ‘Dead or Alive’, ‘Bad Medicine’ and ofcourse the flagship ‘You gave love a bad name’ rang across the arena. The sound was great, the fans were great, the vibe was immense, and the performance was pure Bon Jovi.
6 – Machine Head – Dubai Desert Rock, Dubai – March 2005
The year of anticipation. Machine Head made their Middle East debut in 2005. At a time when Machine Head albums weren’t even being sold in the country a month prior, the expectations were pretty low on the band front .. However, come 8 pm Dubai time … as the legendary Machine Head played their first riff, it was evident that they were the true headliners of Dubai Desert Rock 2005! The crowd went into a state of absolute frenzy, singing every song they knew, jumping collectively as one, and rockin’ hard like their life depended on it. Flynn (vocals) is a great frontman, he interacted with the crowd, played with passion and prepared a surprise to the audience: He brought out Andreas Kisser of Sepultura to perform Metallicas Creeping Death with MH. I remember reading a review the next day in 7-Days (local paper), praising the performance of MH and the fans who, for the first time, showed journalists that these were real fans, and not random people coming to spend a day out. What made the show was the real connection between the band and the audience.
5 – Slipknot – Sonisphere Barcelona, Spain – July 2009
When I was a toddler .. well not a toddler, but younger, I used to be a huge Slipknot fan. As I grew up though, my interest decreased and I pretty much dismissed them for my later discoveries in music. But standing amongst 60,000 people in Barcelona, I was pretty excited to revisit my younger years, the excitement was infectious. as the 9 members of Slipknot walked on stage and kicked off with their brutal ‘Sic’ – I knew this was going to be something special. The production was massive, the band where pretty much insane .. and I mean insane in a ‘not-mentally-right’ type of way. Theres something about watching 9 masked men destroy a stage and play heavy music that makes a show really damn fun to watch. The crowd interaction was awesome, Corey Taylor really knows how to pump up some angry teenagers and .. well, post-angry teenagers trying relive the good ol’ days
4 – Guns n’ Roses – Yas Island, Abu Dhabi – December 2010
Watching Axl scream the words ‘Do you know where you are!? Youre in the jungle baybeh, and youre gonna diiiieeee” is probably one of the most Rock n’ Roll moments I have ever witnessed. Axl Rose is one of the last true remaining Rock stars out there today, and seeing him live only confirms that notion. The man pulled a 2.5 hour set in the utmost sense of rocking – his voice still intact, and his gear as rockin’ as ever … did i say rockin’ enough? the (new) GnR were a power house in every sense. relentless playing, running, jumping, jamming and bowing (yeah, bowing) to fill the 2.5 hour slot they were assigned. In all of my concert-going experiences, I have never seen a reception to a song as loud as it was for ‘Sweet Child O Mine’ … that blew me away. Axl, you still got the pipes, and the larger-than-life rocker charisma that is lacking in many artists and bands today. A special mention goes out to the breathtaking outro of Paradise City, which put an amazing ending to a superb show.
3 – Cold Play – Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi – March 2009
This was one of the most special musical events Ive ever been to. It was perfect. The Rain, the sound, the music, the band, the crowd … the planets had aligned for this one night, and it was pure and absolute magic. This was one of those rare occasions where you feel a 20,000 strong audience actually felt like a small intimate setting. Cold Play performed like they were our heroes, and the crowd sang every word. goosebumps moments were plenty on that day – from the rain falling while we all sang ‘Fix You’ .. to the butterfly confetti falling as Mr. Martin played on his Piano. I’m not the biggest Cold Play fan, but this was a special night … everyone who was there still speaks of that show, nearly 2 years on.
2 – Roger Waters, The Wall Live – Madison Square Garden, New York – October 2010
A paragraph does not do this show justice. The brilliance of Roger Waters is portrayed excellently throughout every second of this 2 hour show. From the pyrotech, to the actors, to the massive .. MASSIVE production, to the building of the wall, to the projections on the wall, to tearing down the wall, to the absolutely flawless performance of the Roger Waters band. It was exceptional. This was a visual experience as it was a musical one – the HD visuals on the wall complimented the classic Pink Floyd sound and took it to another level. The music was remarkable, watching the Comfortably Numb solo being played on the top of the wall, with 3D surround sound was something soul satisfying. this was closer to a broadway show than it was a concert – definitely a great tribute to the 70’s masterpiece .
1 – METALLICA – Rock Im Park, Germany – June 2008
I was hoping Waters could top this – but by God, There is not one band on this planet that could come close to the might of James Hetfield and his comrades. Metallica makes a statement when they play, and that is: We’re the biggest band on the planet, and we’re going to prove it. As the ‘Ecstasy of gold’ started filling a field of 80,000 strong … the audience became one, it was remarkable. everyone’s eyes were glued to the stage in anticipation of the metal kings to come out – As Hetfield made his way to the center, it was – by far – the most memorable concert experience I have ever had. After 13 years of being a fan, there he was .. in the flesh .. standing there doing that ‘Hamster smile’ we all know and love, with his arms open and accepting the 80,000 roars … it … was … earth shattering. The band performs as a tightly-knit unit, with absolute fluidity. Hetfields presence was immense, commanding and determined. the sound was large, thanks to Metallicas long-life engineer, Big Mic. The massive screen that covered their backdrop displayed awesome captures of the concert as it was happening. Hetfield, Ulrich, Hammet and Trujillio all have their own big personalities which makes the show even larger, and more entertaining to watch. The lights and production at many Metalli-show is sure to drop jaws .. but the most awesome part was, the true fans. 80,000 singing every single friggin word uttered by Hetfield .. it was great to be able to enjoy it with such a passionate fanbase.
there ya have it – my top 10 experiences! Ofcourse there are honorable mentions going out to Megadeth, Queen + Paul Rodgers, Korn, Motorhead, Kanye West (2005), Aerosmith (2009), Alter Bridge, Opeth, and Robert Plant. But the above were the ones that had a profound impact on me ..
Ah yes, concerts … a feeling of unity amongst thousands who couldn’t have been more different from you, a feeling of family amongst fans who attend a venue for the same purpose. A sense of connection with musicians you’ve grown up listening to. and ofcourse, an amazingly memorable and great time with your close friends and family.
Heres hoping to see the legendary David Gilmour one day!
Thats all I got! enjoy
Ah yes, the 80’s. The decade where hairspray had the same effects on the Ozone layer as the BP oilspill had on the gulf of Mexico. But that’s not what it’s all about; it’s about all the milestones in music history that took place. Many people hail the 70’s or the 60’s as the most important, but the decade that was the 1980’s was probably the most awesome decade in music history – and when I say awesome, I mean eventful with jaw dropping events. Now now, before you jump onto the bandwagon of judgment and condemnation, let me explain to you as to why this is the truth.
When I refer to the 80’s, I am certainly not referring to bands like Warrant, Poison, Petshop Boys or Tears for Fears (although lets all admit, some of these guys had some pretty catchy tunes. Sweet-Cherry Pieee, oh yeahhh). I am referring to the cross roads of musical legends. I’m talking about McCartney and Lennon, Iron Maiden and Saxon, Metallica and Megadeth, Guns n’ Roses and Queen, Zeppelin and Floyd. Nirvana and Alice in Chains. Imagine living in a decade when all these artists where active (or alive), performing, touring and writing. Forget what was popular, and look at what was real.
John Lennon was alive. For the best part of 1980 .. Lennon was alive. Say that again, Lennon was alive! It just sounds like the world was a better place already, doesn’t it? And what a wonderful time it was to be a Lennon fan, he had just emerged from retirement to release a couple of singles (“Hey, heard the new Lennon song?” ..we can never say that now), a possible tour and you never know, had he lived on -perhaps an album. A world with John Lennon was certainly a more hopeful world. John Lennon was shot in December of 1980 by that a-hole Mark Chapman. This was considered one of the biggest losses (if not the biggest loss) in music history.
That wasn’t the only death that year, ACDC mainman Bon Scott also lost his life in 1980 after a session of alcohol abuse. The boys future was never in doubt though, the band was reborn in the form of Brian Johnson, who also joined later that year – AacaDaca (as they’re known in their home town) would have a long prosperous career with a huge catalogue of great Rock n’ Roll hits such as ‘For those about to Rock, we salute you’ … a phrase that would be used in so many rock occasions to come.
But hold on, who was that kid who replaced the Iron Maiden singer the following year? Bruce Dickenson joined the up-and-coming heavy metal outfit early on in the decade where he co-wrote some of the biggest metal anthems of our time. New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) was the scene Maiden ruled, and although it wasn’t very new by the time the 80’s rolled around, it still inspired the Bay Area scene that produced a handful of music titans.
Bay Area!! Rise … Rise! The most vicious music scene in history. To put this in perspective: the bands we know today as the ‘Big Four of thrash’ only started out as 4 bands that played in their parents garage, barely made ends meet, and developed the biggest underground metal scene that ever existed. The scene produced giants like Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax. On top of that, James Hetfeild and Lars Ulrich, used to be good friends with Dave Mustaine .. hard to believe, eh? Can you imagine a time where you could see the ‘No Life till leather’ lineup of Metallica? How about the fact that Kirk Hammet played for Exodus? or the fact that alot of people got to experience those mammoth albums first hand. Picture yourself in a denim jacket waiting for the doors of Tower Records to open in order to pick up your first copy of the new Metallica album, Master of Puppets. Legendary bassist Cliff Burton, the man who had as much weight in Metallica as James and Lars did, was alive! Prior to the release of Kill em’ All in 1983, Metallica had booted out Dave Mustaine from their band; this resulted in what would become “the 25 year feud” between both parties. Mustaine went on to establish a band with his neighbor at the time, Ellefson was his name, and bass was certainly his game – Megadeth was established – a band so ferocious and hungry, it created an army of followers.
But it aint just about metal …Michael Jackson, the King of Pop! He reigned supreme! releasing classic pop albums like Thriller, Bad and Off the wall. This man touched more people than any other artist in history (hey, I did not mean it that way). The fact is, MJ influenced so many individuals that no other artist ever came close to his might. The 80’s saw him become a massive star, beyond any proportions we can even fathom – Many classics were released that became timeless and eternally relevant.
Shifting gears – early 80s, the classic Pink Floyd still played together until the infamous trial that took place that decade which resulted in Roger Waters exiting Floyd (taking all ‘The Wall’ rights with him) and Gilmour keeping the band and bringing back Rick Wright to the fold. This “Gilmour led era” went on to release ‘A momentary lapse of reason’ and the live ‘Delicate Sounds of Thunder’ … now, pause for a minute and take this in. the 80’s had two eras of Pink Floyd, the classic ‘Wall’ lineup where Waters and Gilmour played in harmony. And then you got the revamped era that was led by Sir David Gilmour, who gracefully retired the name in the mid 90’s.
Led Zeppelin … who are they? just the founders of modern rock! Yes their time was very short-lived in the 80s, but it was there nevertheless. The Zep embarked on a mini-european tour in July-June 1980 where they played a stripped down acoustic set. Nothing too fancy. Page and Co. where actually in the process of rehearsing for a major North American tour before John Bonham passed away in the midst of rehearsals. Another Rock legend was lost to alcohol. Can you picture being there, the devastation the fans must have felt when Bonham passed, and the bigger blow when Led Zeppelin announced they were ending their tenure as a band.
How can one speak of the 80’s scene and not mention Queen? Queen where simply awesome! Rock stars that gave Rolling Stone magazine a reason to exist – Not to mention Freddie friggin’ Mercury was alive and kickin’. Queen where one of the first bands to play the larger-than-life Rock in Rio festival in Rio, Brazil. Those crazy bastards played to over 600,000 people that weekend, 600K! Thats a lot of people my friends! in 1985, Queen played one of the most memorable performances in Rock n’ Roll history … Live Aid. Their sales shot up so high they had to release a single ‘One Vision’ to cash in.
By the time the 80’s was reaching its end, 1988 saw the appetite for destruction grow beyond anyones control. This destruction gave us what is considered a Rock n’ Roll phenomenon – Guns n’ Roses. Imagine experiencing the release of the debut album and seeing the classic lineup, Axl/Slash/Izzy/Adler/Duff! A band so ‘rockin’ it earned them the title “the most dangerous band in Rock n’ Roll”. Appetite For Destruction sold over 15 Million copies. As far as I’m concerned, GnR were the last classic rock band to ever attain legendary status.
The 80’s was concluded with the formation of what would become the ‘next-big-thing’. The grunge scene of Seattle, started in the late 80’s with the formation of Nirvana, Sound Garden and Alice in Chains. But since the impact of these bands would only take effect in the 90’s, we’d leave that discussion for another day.
Ahhh yes, the 80s! it was truly a crossroads for all musical eras, and for most music legends. Being around in these years meant you’ve seen the best, while they were at their best. While they still meant what they were doing.
It is truly unfortunate that many of these icons have lost their lives too soon, either due to accidents or just lack of awareness. I hope their legacy keeps inspiring up-and-coming musicians, and their tragedies teach future icons to stay clear of what may put an end to what could be a glorious career.
On the eve of 1990, as ‘Tears for Fears’ combusted into thin air, and the dust from all the mayhem has settled; People around the world never knew that they would never experience such an era in music, ever again.
–noun, plural -sies. 1. a prolonged public dispute, debate, or contention; disputation concerning a matter of opinion.
Let me say it right off the bat: Metallica is by far one of the most controversial bands in the world, no not because they write scary “satan” music, no not because they have beards and hold black guitars and no not because they have a Danish drummer – With every release over the past 25 years, Metallica have managed to stir some sort of controversy around that particular record – be it writing a commercially unfriendly album (Kill em all), introducing a ballad on the sophomore record (Ride The Lightning), introducing classical elements (Master of puppets), unplugging the bass from all amps (Justice), Writing MTV hits (Black album), abandoning their roots and resorting to hard rock (Loads), introducing an orchestra with their all time classics (S&M) and ofcourse the infamous ditching of the trademark guitar solos (St. Anger).
Despite all the shit they’ve done in the past, all the mishaps and everything they’ve done right – Metallica remain at the heart of every metal heads conversation? BUT Why do we give a shit – why do “haters” and “sheep”, as they call each other, care so much? Why is it that every Metallica record released stirs such controversy amongst metal/rock enthusiasts around the world? In the early 80’s Metallica adopted the METAL Attitude like no other band in history, they released four consecutive relentless albums that changed the face of metal as we know it: That is a fact, not an opinion. They influenced thousands of bands around the world – and although there are bands of the same scene, even on a better caliber musically – no band came close to the success Metallica had achieved. Metallica had influenced a generation of musicians, and raised generations of fans.
Because of this controversy, every Metal enthusiast (or musician) for that matter must put his/her 2 cents into any Metallica release.
I live in the UAE – DUBAI, and unlike the rest of the planet (perhaps the universe aswell) – we, in the Middle East, got our hands on Death Magnetic about a week after everybody else did. Considering we had to wait months in previous years, this is a drastic improvement. Now, I promised myself I would not give DM a spin unless I had the official copy in my hand – it IS the first Metallica release in 5 years, after all.
Having that one week of not having Death Magnetic (while the rest of the world did), I was in a unique position to read hundreds of reviews of the album before even listening to a single note. It really is quite interesting because the songs start shaping in your head before you actually get to listen to them.
Now, every reviewer has to ‘flex’ their musical knowledge prior to ANY Metallica review – for example, a reviewer would either state the bands he/she listens to ; this is to establish his/her background as a ‘true metal’ listener – in this way, if the reviewer gives it a two thumbs up; the album must be good because youre not a ‘sheep’ who liked load and reload. Whereas if the album was absolute dog shit, then you are also credible because, well, you hated load and reload – it’s a win win situation. Other reviewers establish the fact that they got Master of puppets on tape when it was released back in the mid 80’s while the rest of the world was in diapers – this is also to establish your credibility as a Metallica fan.
YOU CANNOT simply start a Metallica review based on objective musical opinion – it could work for any band – but certainly not Metallica.
After the reviewers establish their ‘street’ cred – You will instantly know the direction of the reviewers opinion with one of the following intros:
-Witty/Sarcastic comments about Metallicas musicianship/history: this will be a bad/mediocre review
-Praise beyond reason: This album will rule everything that is alive…and dead.
On to Death Magnetic – lets focus on the negative reviews first, and address those – shall we?
I read reviews that state these tracks have no flow and a lot of the riffs are ‘useless’ or ‘rehashed’ – One particular reviewer posted up a torrent link of a fan ‘edited’ version of Death Magnetic recommending people listen to that rather than the official release by Metallica –
NOW – as a person who had no prior knowledge to these tracks, I had an image of St Anger all over again. As a Metallica fan – I fucking freaked! After listening to Death Magnetic for over a week on constant rotation , I can safely say that these tracks flow perfectly fine! Who is the reviewer to say ‘this is how it should’ve sounded like’ – I’m sorry but if you’re such a fucking expert on song arrangements, or more specifically, METALLICA song arrangements – maybe you should be producing albums and writing masterpieces instead!?
The world write these reviews as if Metallica owed them something, little do these kids know, Metallica paved the way for many of their favorite bands today(be it black metal or pop rock) … Metallica wrote Kill em’ All and slept in cheap motels when these kids weren’t even born yet … so where do they get off suggesting song arrangements to the guys who wrote Master of Puppets? Get off your high-horse damn it.
That’s not where it ends though … you also have the other side of the coin, the damn sheep. I have read a lot of reviews stating that DM is the true follow-up to ‘Justice’ – are you fucking kidding me? That, ofcourse, is a tool of establishing ‘Metlli-street cred’ .. how? By denouncing the ‘black album’. Whether people like it, or not, The black album is the most important album in Metallica’s history. It is the sole album that made Metallica the band they are .. it’s the album that made Metallica the most loathed, or loved band on the planet … it’s the album that introduced Metallica to the world … it’s the album that has Enter Sandman, The Unforgiven, Sad But true, and Nothing Else Matters … Metallica classics by any stretch. Now that my rant about the black album is done, lets carry on – DM’s rightful place is NOT after ‘Justice’, its after St. Anger. There is a reason why DM came out the way it did, and it had to do with the years that preceded it ; ranging from alcohol abuse to near-band break up – to creating the controversial St. Anger . The reason this album was received so well is that we had no idea they still had it in them – the furious riffs, the blinding guitar solos, the trademark growls (not so much though), and the relentless drumming …. We did not see it coming.
Even with this release came controversy! Did you expect otherwise? With DM, Metallica released an ‘overly-loud’ album … you would think that isn’t a problem in the metal world, but low and behold, it surely is. Fans (sheep and haters alike) complained that the mastering of the album was SO loud, that it drowned out some of the finer moments on DM. This controversy filled the internet from blogs, to forums .. even to Facebook status’s (is that even a word? Fuckin’ Facebook)– to a point where the person who Mastered DM responded to a fan on the Metallica forums denouncing the mastering effort on the album, saying that he ‘wasn’t proud of it ’ – even went as far as pulling it off his website. Later, Lars Ulrich, Metallica’s drummer, said that he ‘loved the way the album sounds’ and continued by saying ‘only a minority hate the sound of it, maybe 10,000 out of the 2 million who got it’ … kings of metal, or kings of controversy? It was clear a lot of people weren’t happy with it … but it also remains a fact that Metallica didn’t change the sound of ‘Justice’ back in 88 when people complained about the lack of bass … they surely aren’t going to start listening to people now.
Metallica baby, love em’ or despise em’ … you cannot deny the iconic band they have become. They made a career by making fucking great music, and keeping people on their toes.
Many ‘haters’ wished Metallica stuck to the formula they had in the 80’s … that formula certainly worked, 4 relentless – some say flawless – albums. But how boring would that have been? Metallica would’ve been reduced to playing halls like Slayer, Megadeth or Anthrax (their 80’s companions) … instead, they took risks, listened to no one, pleased themselves and stirred a lot of – yes – controversy. This resulted in Metallica playing huge stadiums, Arenas and festivals to atleast 40,000 people a show (on average) … making them the biggest Metal band alive (and the fifth biggest selling band of all time).
Long live the king(s)