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RESULTS! Black Sabbath Poll: KMA Readers’ Choice Edition!

Only two records into it, and I’m already interrupting the LP Project. But there’s a good reason… you see…

All Apologies, Dear Readers, I got all excited about posting up a poll to determine your favourite Black Sabbath songs, waaaaay back on December 1, 2018! And then I never rounded up the results… hence the apologies.

So, let’s get to it! Most votes for any partcular song(s) was 8 votes, least was 0 (of course). I’d said we were looking 30 songs to make a set, so I’ll post those with the most votes (in order of votes received), and then below that I’ll post ALL of the results as they were received.

Ready? Of course you are. Go!

KMA READERS TOP 30 BLACK SABBATH SONGS:

War Pigs
Paranoid
Iron Man
Children Of The Grave
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
Wasp/Behind The Wall Of Sleep/Bassically/N.I.B.
Electric Funeral
Sweet Leaf
Changes
Supernaut
Snowblind
Black Sabbath
The Wizard
Planet Caravan
Killing Yourself To Live
Heaven And Hell
After Forever (incl. The Elegy)
Into The Void
Neon Knights
The Mob Rules
God Is Dead?

Alright, that’s 21 tracks. Next batch of votes (below) takes us to 32 tracks, not 30, so remove 2 songs from the list above or the following few tracks (as you see fit) to make your 30! Or make it 32, that works too…

Wicked World
A Bit Of Finger/Sleeping Village/Warning
Lord Of This World
Sabbra Cadabra
Dirty Women
Never Say Die
Children Of The Sea
Lady Evil
The Sign Of The Southern Cross
I
End Of The Beginning

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THOUGHTS:

I have to say, that’s an epic collection of tunes! Definitely 30 tracks anyone could call a fantastic Sabbath collection. For those in the know, there’ll likely be agreement (for the most part) with this list. For those not quite so immersed in the Sabbath world (yet!), this list would make a great primer of tunes to get you started! \m/  \m/

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ALL THE VOTES, AS RECEIVED:

8 VOTES

War Pigs
Paranoid

7 VOTES

Iron Man
Children Of The Grave
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath

6 VOTES

Wasp/Behind The Wall Of Sleep/Bassically/N.I.B.
Electric Funeral
Sweet Leaf
Changes
Supernaut
Snowblind

5 VOTES

Black Sabbath
The Wizard
Planet Caravan
Killing Yourself To Live
Heaven And Hell

4 VOTES

After Forever (incl. The Elegy)
Into The Void
Neon Knights
The Mob Rules
God Is Dead?

3 VOTES

Wicked World
A Bit Of Finger/Sleeping Village/Warning
Lord Of This World
Sabbra Cadabra
Dirty Women
Never Say Die
Children Of The Sea
Lady Evil
The Sign Of The Southern Cross
I
End Of The Beginning

2 VOTES  

Hand Of Doom
Rat Salad
Wheels Of Confusion (incl. The Straightener)
Tomorrow’s Dream
St. Vitus Dance
Under The Sun (incl. Every Day Comes And Goes)
Hole In The Sky
Symptom Of The Universe
Rock ’n’ Roll Doctor
Turn Up The Night
Voodoo
Falling Off The Edge Of The World
Methademic

1 VOTE

Embryo
The Haunting
Orchid
Step Up
Solitude
Death Mask
FX
Cornucopia
Laguna Sunrise
A National Acrobat
Who Are You?
Looking For Today
Spiral Architect
Megalomania
The Thrill Of It All
Supertzar
Am I Going Insane (Radio)
Johnny Blade
Junior’s Eyes
Wishing Well
Die Young
Lonely Is The Word
Country Girl
Disturbing The Priest
Zero The Hero
The Shining
When Death Calls
Valhalla
TV Crimes
The Hand That Rocks The Cradle
Kiss Of Death

0 VOTES

EVERYTHING ELSE!

***

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Thanks so much to everyone for your votes on this project! Sorry it took me a friggin’ month to get this information and these results to you. You know how it goes… Anyway, now we know!

SABBATH RULES!  \m/  \m/

Black Sabbath Poll: KMA Readers’ Choice Edition!

It’s been ages since we did a poll, so let’s start off December with a bang! Let’s give ‘er!

Right. We all love Sabbath. YES! \m/  \m/ So let’s choose our favourite Sabbath studio tracks! Nevermind the zillion Hits sets out there, this will the the KMA Readers’ Choice Edition! Record labels should listen to us!

So, I’ve taken all the album tracks from Black Sabbath (1970) through to 13 (2013). That is (if my count is correct) 19 studio albums-worth. No live tracks, just studio. Probably there are live versions that deserve to be here, but I just kept it studio. You’ll also probably find other tracks you’d wanna see here, I just used the official track lists for each record. Also, apologies to our UK readers, some of the early albums had different tracks/orders. I used the North American track listings. 

Let’s assume a 2cd set, filled to the max… so let’s assume 15 tracks per disc, therefore 30 total tracks. 

So this is a daunting list, but you can do it! Go ahead. Pick your top 30 Sabbath tracks. I’ll put up the results in a week or so. Ready? Let’s make our mix!

\m/  \m/

Bro

Well, it really would be like shifting without using the clutch…

2017 Christmas Goodies

Each year I do a quick post of the goodness that has come my way from the holidays. Of course, most importantly, we were able to spend time with family and friends. And watching the kids tear through their stuff in record times was fun (and unnerving). As it should be.

My main gift this year was a new chair, a recliner. It’s pretty sweet, and I’m adjusting to it – I’m a bit tall for most chairs, so I’m figuring out how to maximize my use of it. But this is a music site, so I’ll share a few other things that might interest you guys…

CD (in alphabetical order):

Yup, the 2CD last-ever concert of Sabbath, oh baby… I’ve been wanting that case/lang/veirs album for a long time, right on… these two CCR albums (Green River, Pendulum) are the 40th anniversary releases, with bonus tracks, so now I wants them all…and the Motörhead covers album just pleases me to no end. Can’t wait to dig in!

LP:

 

 

 

 

 

This one’s from James. He probably got tired of telling me to buy the damn thing and just got it for me himself! Hooray! Thanks heaps James!!

DVD:

Letterkenny is also from James (thanks again, Dude!). It’s been recommended to us many times, as it is apparently sure to remind my lovely wife and I of where we grew up (the fictitious place of the show is based on a town about 20 minutes from our own home towns). Looking forward to seeing what’s up… Rogue One and The Force Awakens were ones I should already own and didn’t so here they awesomely are… and the two Tragically Hip DVDs are gonna be glorious and sad and wonderful and painful and awesome and, yeah, mostly awesome but also sad.

Birthday For Christmas:

I also got something awesome for myself. Which I know you’re not supposed to do. But I have good reason… see, I was given an Amazon gift card for my birthday, back in July. Over the past few months I’ve spent that thing a million and one times already without ever actually using it, just browsing and checking things out. Good thing they don’t expire! Well, last night I found a ridiculous post-Christmas sale on something I really wanted (and let’s be honest, I really need it too!), aaaaaaand it’s ordered. I will be sure to do a seperate post about it when it arrives, maybe even an unboxing if all goes well. I am so excited about this. Oh baby!

NB:

My final post for 2017 will be my annual year-end list. I’m still agonizing over the final details, but I promise to have it posted before the new year, which only gives me a couple of days… Stay tuned!

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Thanks for reading – not just this post, but for every post you read. We really love this community and we thank you all for making us a part of it!

KMA Saturday Service: Total Gratitude Edition

Folks, we need to talk about James. My KMA brother, and long-time friend. He’s amazing. He’s the one who brings quality while I bring quantity. And already he’s blushing ‘cos he’s a modest dude. But seriously. James is the man.

The number of times over the years that he’s come through for me in all sorts of ways. It’s crazy. In comparison, I can only try to reciprocate and say close enough! How many times have you read, in these pages, me saying James Rules and OMG James Sent This… if you’re a regular Reader, it’s a lot.

 

Recent Cases In Point:

1) Black Sabbath – The End

James went to the show in Calgary on March 4, and sent me the show-only CD, wouldn’t take money for it. Said Happy Birthday! My birthday is in July.

 

 

2) Record Store Day, April 2016, Pt. 1

I thought the extremely limited edition Iron Maiden ‘Empire Of The Clouds’ 12” single would be awesome to get, but couldn’t get one here. Mike tried for me in his town, but it was one per person. I figured it would be online after the fact… then James texts me, still want the Maiden? His store was getting a late RSD shipment. They even held one for him. It arrived here yesterday. James would not take money for it. He said Merry Christmas. In April.

 

3) Record Store Day, April 2016, Pt. 2

Metallica were amabassadors for RSD this year, and put out their limited edition Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité Bataclan 2003 live CD. This would also be awesome to get. James got that too, and said Happy Your Son’s Birthday (in April). Seriously. At this point, he’s gotta be just making this shit up, or maybe he realized Saying Happy Birthday 2017 was stretching too far?

 

I still cannot get my head around all of this.

By any stretch, by now you have to realize that this is crazy amazing. James. Thank you. Thank You. THANK YOU. A zillion times. A googolplex!

James. Thank you.

SLCR #234: Black Sabbath (March 4, 2016)

If you want to read a review from someone who actually knows a thing about things, go read Boppin’s review of the Hamilton show. We synced up our posts and everything!


 

I don’t really know how this happened. The Calgary trip was booked, timed to coincide with the Frank Turner show, and I happened to check Pollstar to see what else was going on while I was there, and somehow I wound up going to Black Sabbath? I am confused.

I know the show wasn’t originally scheduled for tonight. I was in my favourite Regina record store (Regina’s only record store) and overheard a customer telling the owner that he’d driven to Edmonton to see Sabbath – that’s about 8 hours one way, for those of you unfamiliar with western Canadian geography – only to get there and have Sabbath cancel two hours before showtime because Ozzy Osbourne was sick. He wasn’t able to go to the rescheduled concert since it was in the middle of the week. The guy was out gas and hotel, and because he’d bought his ticket from a reseller, he wasn’t eligible for a refund. He was talking about trying to come to this Calgary show instead. I wonder if he made it.

Black Sabbath is pretty far outside my wheelhouse. When I said I was thinking of going, I mentioned that I know Iron Man, and, well, Iron Man. Mike said that I’d surely know War Pigs and Paranoid, so I gave them a listen, and yeah, I sure did. That brings me up to three whole songs, one of which was wrecked for me by its inclusion on All Day by Girl Talk – I can’t hear War Pigs without wanting to add MOVE BITCH, GET OUT THE WAY, GET OUT THE WAY BITCH, GET OUT THE WAY. I should be prohibited from listening to mashups as they can corrupt (enhance?) perfectly good songs.

Despite being a classic pro wrestling song (the original entrance music for the Road Warriors), my familiarity with Iron Man actually began in high school when after thoroughly and justly tearing apart my taste in music, a classmate made me a mix tape which had Iron Man and other metal of that vintage on it. To be fair, Iron Man has held up a lot better than whatever shit I was listening to at the time.

Notice how I was humourously self-deprecating and yet somewhat vague, so that I don’t have to admit that I specifically remember that I bought an MC Hammer CD which was what set off his (again, 100% justifiable) teardown of my tastes – I mean, it was the one with 2 Legit 2 Quit on it, not even the one with U Can’t Touch This which I could at least defend somewhat as being popular and catchy. But I digress.

Anyway, I thought about going to Black Sabbath and asked Mike and Aaron if they thought it would be worth it for someone like me who ultimately gives no shits as it pertains to Black Sabbath. I knew full well what the answer would be so maybe I just wanted someone to convince me to go?

Honestly, if the show was in Regina, I would never have considered it. Driving? Parking? Leaving my house? Sounds awful. And if I had to take the C-Train or god forbid a bus or cab in Calgary? Forget it. But the Saddledome is walking distance. It was there. I was there. This is probably not a good enough reason. Maybe reading through all those old reviews, listening to Mika say “I can’t believe you saw (whichever band) and didn’t even appreciate it” made me want to give Mike and Aaron the same opportunity.

But I thought about it, and what the hell, right? I know three songs. That’s three more than a lot of bands I go see. And I like walking. And this is supposed to be their farewell tour (I’m sure by that they mean this is the setup for their reunion tour next year, but still). And it might be fun to write a review of something different. Consider this an anthropological expedition.

Walking around 17th Ave this afternoon, I saw a dude who reminded me of the typical metal guy from high school. Hair down to his ass, jean jacket covered in patches with logos of bands I’ve never heard of and that sound vaguely comical in their attempts to be scary. I wanted to ask if he was going to the show tonight. I later saw him there. There was quite a varied mix of folks at this thing – your stereotypical metalheads, for sure, but older folks and young kids and parents and some people who dressed the part and others who were just folks who were out for an evening. Basically the same as any other big arena rock show I’ve ever been to.

I got about 100 metres from the Saddledome when the first wave of pot stink hit me. Dave had predicted I’d wind up stoned by the end of the evening. I don’t know that he was right, but by god, the Calgarians tried their best. It was intermittent until Sabbath actually took the stage, at which point it never let up.

I walked up the stairs to the Saddledome and saw a notice posted on the doors – tonight’s show would feature strobe lights and pyrotechnics. Ah jeez, pyrotechnics, my least favourite of all the technics. I’m jumpy as heck and every time I go to the Saddledome, some shit has to explode and startle me. Either the Flames score a goal or Kane shows up or now this.

Whatever. Too late to back out now. I picked up my ticket at will call and wandered in through the metal detector. I set out in search of a stuff table – they were selling a tour-exclusive CD and Aaron and Mike had asked me to look for it. There were several merch stands, all of which were lined up 12 people deep and 8 across. It was insanity. As I stood in the line (it was more of a throng than a line, really), it occurred to me that if this was a band I was actually a fan of, no way would I bother with this. But being here and only being vaguely interested in Black Sabbath put me in an oddly calm headspace. It’s like how I feel wandering the mall at Christmastime after I’ve done all my shopping. Stress-free and relaxed in the midst of chaos.

I think I was in line for about 45 minutes. Right as I got to the front, they shut off the lights as the opener, Rival Sons, was taking the stage. This did not prevent me from buying three CDs – one each for me, Aaron, and Mike. Not sure why I got one for myself, as I’ll likely never listen to it.

(“You got one for yourself because they called it ‘Limited Edition’ and made it artificially scarce and you are a sucker and an idiot. Look at your amiibo collection.”)

Fair point.

When I was out and about in the afternoon, I bought a six-pack of bottles of Coke Zero. Continuing on the theme of me being a sucker and an idiot, I left the merchandise stand and bought myself a glass of Coke Zero that cost more than the six-pack did. To be fair, I think I’d have likely died of thirst otherwise. I think it’s justifiable.

I climbed more stairs and found my seat – I was on the second level, stage right, pretty far back. Good view. Not too bad for the cheapest available ticket on the day of the show. I caught most of Rival Sons and am struggling to have an opinion about them. They looked very small on that big stage with no help from lighting or a fancy set or anything. Musically, they were the quintessential opening band, perfectly acceptable but not memorable and not anything I’d go out of my way to see again. In fairness, I think I might have liked them a lot better in a smaller setting in front of a more interested audience.

At one point, the lead singer told us that there was a very powerful medicine and I predicted it was going to be “love” but it was “forgiveness” and either way, what about, like, the good Tylenols you need a doctor to prescribe? Or chemotherapy or something? I’ve never once forgiven a headache away.

The break was surprisingly short and soon we were watching some video about the hatching of some monster-type creature. The curtain fell and there was Black Sabbath and we were underway.

And honestly, it was all pretty fun. There’s something about a great big rock spectacle that you just don’t get at most of the shows I go to. Flashy lights, big screens, bright (but delightfully whisper-quiet) pyro – these guys got to use all the toys. There was even a confetti cannon for the final number, which struck me as being somewhat out of place (if still fun). Though there were times they’d superimpose fire or explosion effects on the big screen and that looked really cheesy. If you can’t make it look like a guitar is really on fire, it might be best to not bother.

For someone that seemed so dark and scary when I was a kid, it was weird to see Osbourne using all the standard frontman tricks. I mean, this guy once bit the head off a live bat on stage – or maybe he didn’t but people believed he did, which is just as good (better if you’re the bat) – so it was funny to see him doing all the “Let me see your hands!” stuff. “Make some noise! I can’t hear you! I’m gonna count to three and I want to hear you all scream! Come on, Edmonton did better than that last night, you can’t let them show you up!”

I’m paraphrasing, of course. There were more swears.

Musically, it was apparent that these guys know what they’re doing. I often say I can’t tell when a musician is just messing around or when they’re actually good, but “actually good” was on display here. Everyone got plenty of chances to show off, especially the drummer who played 10-15 minutes of solos in place of an intermission. As for Ozzy’s voice, he sounded like Ozzy. Fine by me. Ask someone with more of a frame of reference if you want details.

You will not be surprised to hear that they played the three songs I know. War Pigs came fairly early on, and Iron Man was first up after the drum solo break. And, um… Into The Void? Is that a song? What about Snowblind? Those are things I think Ozzy said, but I was also pretty sure at one point he said “this next tune is called ‘Where Are My Boobs'” so there’s a chance I wasn’t hearing him correctly. I mean, that’s not a good topic for a song. They’re right where you left them, Ozzy.

After leaving the stage, Ozzy could be heard saying “if you want us to come back, you better chant “one more song, one more song.” Not only was it obvious – even to me who knows nothing – that it was going to be Paranoid, but it was brilliant positioning on his part. You can’t disappoint people with a one-song-only encore if you made them ask you for it beforehand.

The band took their final bow and I took off. I headed towards Shoppers Drug Mart to grab some padded envelopes so I could mail out these CDs, but alas, you can only buy them from the post office and the post office wasn’t open. But it wasn’t a wasted trip – I got a giant bag of Chicago mix popcorn, which I completely annihilated as soon as I got back to my grandma’s place. I was absolutely ravenous for some reason.

It’s Poll Week! The Results

Alright folks, the polls are all closed and the results are in. Here are your results for all seven band polls, as posted on a daily basis last week!

Our huge thanks to everyone who participated. You’ll have noticed that I kept all the results hidden through the week. That was so I could do a big reveal in a post like this one. Fun!

I, myself, refrained from voting on all of the polls this week. Why? I wanted the results to be driven purely by you, our beloved KMA Readers.

NB: Number of votes per album are in brackets after album titles [e.g. (5)]. In the case of multiple albums per rating, each album received the number of votes indicated in parentheses.

Here we go!

 

 

 

 

Monday: Top 5 Iron Maiden Albums  (29 total votes)
1. Powerslave (6 votes)
2. The Number Of The Beast (5)
3. Iron Maiden / Piece Of Mind / Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son (3)
4. Killers / A Matter Of Life And Death / The Book Of Souls (2)
5. Live After Death / Somewhere In Time / Fear Of The Dark (1)

***

 

 

 

Tuesday: Top 5 Led Zeppelin Albums (36 total votes)

1. Led Zeppelin IV / Houses Of The Holy (6 votes)
2. Led Zeppelin II / Physical Graffiti (5)
3. Led Zeppelin III (4)
4. Led Zeppelin I (3)
5. Coda / Led Zeppelin Boxed Set (2)
-and bonus-
6. In Through The Out Door (1)

***

612856-132386

 

 

 

Wednesday: Top 5 Metallica Albums (30 total votes)
1. Master of Puppets (6 votes)
2. Ride The Lightning (5)
3. Metallica (4)
4. Kill ‘Em All / …And Justice For All (3)
5. The $5.98 E.P: Garage Days Re-Revisited / Load / Death Magnetic (2)
-and bonus-
6. Reload / S&M / Limited Edition Vinyl Boxed Set (1)

***

 

 

 

 

Thursday: Top 4* AC/DC Albums (28 total votes)
1. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap / Highway To Hell / Back In Black (5)
2. Powerage (3)
3. For Those About To Rock… / Bonfire (2)
4. High Voltage / If You Want Blood… / Flick Of The Switch / ’74 Jailbreak / The Razor’s Edge / Ballbreaker (1)

* Apparently, there was just a Top 4 for this band, based on votes per album!

***

 

 

 

 

Friday: Top 5 Slayer Albums (0 total votes)

Yes, you read that correctly. For whatever reason, poor Slayer did not receive a single vote in this series!

***

 

 

 

Saturday: Top 5 Judas Priest Albums (35 total votes)
1. Hell Bent For Leather… / Unleashed in The East / Screaming For Vengeance (5 votes)
2. Sad Wings Of Destiny (4)
3. Stained Class / Defenders of The Faith (3)
4. Sin After Sin / British Steel / Painkiller (2)
5. Point Of Entry / Priest… Live! / Nostradamus / Redeemer Of Souls (1)

***

 

 

 

 

Sunday: Top 4* Black Sabbath Albums (32 total votes)
1. Master Of Reality (6 votes)
2. Vol. 4 (5)
3. Black Sabbath / Paranoid / Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (4)
4. Sabotage / Technical Ecstasy / Never Say Die! / Mob Rules / Tyr / Dehumanizer / Black Box / The Dio Years / 13 (1)

* Apparently, there was just a Top 4 for this band, based on votes per album!

***

 

 

 

 

 

In Sum:

This has been a really fun week for me, watching the results come in (or not, as the case may be… sorry Slayer!). I hope you’ve all enjoyed it as much as I have.

And for those of you wondering about dipping your toes into the discographies of any of these bands, you can perhaps use these Top 5 voting lists as a shopping list. After all, those selected here are KMA Reader Approved!

Cheers, everybody!

It’s Poll Week! Sabbath Edition

Welcome to the final poll of Poll Week!

Clever to save the Sabbath for the Sunday edition, eh?

So, can you do it? Can you choose a Top 5 Black Sabbath albums? Or will you look at this poll and say “What is this that stands before me?” Fear not. GIVE ‘ER!

\m/   \m/

 

Rock Star Mom

There’s a mom who drops off her two kids at my son’s school every morning, always waves and smiles, friendly-type. She’s a flamboyant soul, with big furs and make-up, jewellry everywhere (especially big hoop earrings), and swishing around everywhere she goes. Rock star Mom. Fun.

I’ve had occasion to talk to her once last year, and that was enough for me, though. Whatever innocuous thing we were talking about, probably school-related, became her ranting about the government and what a dickhead Stephen Harper is… I remember thinking whoa… he may be a dickhead, but how did we get here? And so quickly? It was tiring.

Anyway, this morning. She came barreling in the driveway like usual, but today the music was blaring. I mean, loud enough to be heard clearly outside her SUV as though the windows were down (they weren’t). When they opened the doors to get out, it got spectacularly loud. It turned everyone’s heads because, of course, she drove right up front and wedged in front of everyone else. Remember, this is 08:30 in the morning, most people are still waiting for their first coffee to kick in. Most people are just weary and bleary from having to wrestle their kids into snowsuits and out the door. No one else blasts their tunes in the morning, like that. Not even close.

And the tune? Black Sabbath’s The Wizard. CRANKED. Which is, of course, the only way to play Sabbath.

I have to think that that can’t be doing her kids’ ears any favours. But it is thoughtful of her to be giving the kids an education before they get to school. Rock star Mom!

Grail Success! And More Goodies!

Hey KMA folks!

I am thrilled to announce that I have procurred another of my Holy Grail items! Now, I understand that, in terms of difficult to find, this one really wasn’t that hard to get, but I added it to my Grail List because it’s part of completing my discography of studio albums for this band, and I have never seen it in my town. Anyway, I am very pleased to announce the arrival of:

Black Sabbath featuring Tony Iommi – Seventh Star!

This means I now own every album up to and including this 1986 entry (plus 1992’s Dehumanizer)! Wahoo! I’ve updated my Grail List to reflect this new addition.

And don’t forget folks, if you have any other items to add to yours, or a list of items you want that you’d like to see in our KMA Master Grail Search List so we can all help you find them, let me know! I’ve helpfully added a link to the full list in the Pluggery post that sits permanently at the top of our main page. Drop me a comment there if you want to add a list or change/update yours!

Other Goodies:

Surely this one was an error:

1) Iron Maiden – Maiden England ’88 (2CD), with the 3 unreleased encore tracks. I got this for $6.54 CDN. Seriously. I think Amazon made an error. A 2CD Iron Maiden set, released only last year, for less than $7? I’m really certain that that should probably have been $16.54 not $6.54. Not that I’m complaining AT ALL! Hahaha total score! Wahoo!!!

And this is one I’ve wanted for a while…

2) Cynic – Focus (The Expanded Edition). Roadrunner Records has had a lot of great records in their roster, as you all know, and this one is supposed to be a sure-fire classic of progressive rock. This expanded edition re-issue includes 6 bonus tracks, a deluxe booklet, new artwork, previously unseen pictures and a personal message from Paul Masvidal. I’m very excited to dig into this one.

Let’s GIVE ‘ER!

Black Sabbath – 13

There has been much excitement around this release. Three decades since Ozzy got together with Iommi and Butler to make a record. Ward didn’t work out, so they got Brad Wilk, the ex-Rage drummer, who must be simultaneously beside himself with glee and shitting in his drawers to be having this experience in his life. Cool. And here we are.

Iommi seems to be as full of killer, monstrously huge riffs as ever. The band sounds tight. And yes, they’ve over-done Ozzy’s voice in the computers, but it was probably necessary, at this point. Fair enough.

But (and this is only my opinion) I think their biggest hurdle must have been trying to overcome all of the super-high expectations placed on this project. The world is full of metalheads, and these guys are credited with starting it all. So a new record at this late stage has to deliver or be the end, really. Of course, I don’t know why anyone was worried. I think this record kills. I’ll break my review into three parts: The Album, The Bonus Tracks, and The Bonus Bonus Track.

Part I: The Album 

End Of The Beginning starts off sounding like another famous Sabbath song you know well. Of course, this is meant as a nod to their beginnings, and planned out well in advance. Well done, boys. One wonders whether Rubin had a say in that choice… Anyway, then it lifts off into classic riffy chug mode. That guitar solo hits like a breath of fresh air. Oh man, we needed THAT! Up next is the single, God Is Dead?, which is a great chunk of Sabbath. So nice to hear it on the rawk radio. It sounds huge even in the tinny car speakers, and that’s a solid test, right there. On this track, I notice that rumbling bass first. Then the rest kicks in. Woo!

Mike says he likes Loner. I agree, it’s a cool track and another great riff. I don’t personally go for the “oh boo hoo he’s so alone, no one understands him” lyrics. There’s lots of other songs like that by other bands, they don’t appeal to me either. Guess I just don’t identify. But it’s a killer tune, musically. Zeitgeist is absolutely beautiful. So welcome, here! It breaks up the album nicely, and is just a gorgeous, trippy quiet throwback. This was a highlight track for me. It oughta be the next track they release for radio! I know it won’t be, but no one ever asks me. Just imagine a night drive, the yellow lines flicking past, and this on the radio… yeah!

Age Of Reason‘s opening drums momentarily made me think of a Foo Fighters song (My Hero, I think?) – sorry guys – but then it kicks in and lays so much waste with that musical assault. Holy hell. I love how it shifts, in the middle, too. It’s like listening to Maiden, a bit, the way they shift in songs. At high volume, this one can strip paint! YEAH! And then Live Forever has such a huge riff – other bands would kill, lie, cheat and steal for something this simple and yet so indelibly awesome and rough. So great. And when the tempo picks up a bit and Iommi’s off to the races… well dammit son, that’s yet another example of why we’re here!

And then we get to my two favourite tracks on the record. Yes, it’s the last two tracks on the record, but for me this whole listening experience has been building up through levels of awesome, culminating in these two centerpiece (and masterpiece) tracks:

Mike’s buddy Uncle Meat drew my attention to Damaged Soul early on, which lead to quite a discussion about it, and I have to agree with Meat. This is the way Sabbath oughta go when (not if) they make their next record. I can’t say enough about it. Just a monster of a tune, so beautiful. It’s Sabbath metal, it’s jazz, it’s Stones-y blues rock, it’s… A mix-tape track without question. And all of that slides right into the incredible Dear Father. This song hits so fucking hard, I couldn’t believe it. Love at first listen! And that middle section, just before the 4-minute mark where it achieves lift-off. Oh man. OH MAN! And then it ends with the bells and the rain, to remind us of their first album, first track (and take us back to the opening track on ’13’ too). Oh baby. Well played, gents.

So. That’s the album proper. My thoughts on this, upon reading it back, seem pretty breathless. In fairness, I do have one semi-complaint: It’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between this being a Sabbath record and a few parts of it sounding a bit like, say, Ozzy’s solo No More Tears record. The line got a little blurred for me, and that’s still alright, it’s not a dealbreaker. Let’s just say that I noticed.

Part II: The Bonus Tracks 

I bought the deluxe edition, which came with three bonus tracks:

Methademic is a great tune, driving and riffy and faster than a lot of what’s on ‘13‘ proper. I liked it (even if that one guitar part reminded me of Black Flag’s Black Coffee). Up next is Peace Of Mind, another Sabbath crusher as only they can do it. It doesn’t matter how many times it repeats in the song, the way that riff chugs and allllmost falls apart (but doesn’t) just slays me. This song is all about that riff. Damn! And Pariah is a slinky beast that is built to shake the foundations of your house, given the proper volume. The lyrics are reminiscent of Loner, in a way.

Honestly, any of them could have been on the record, but since I got it all in my iTunes (and burnt onto CD-Rs for both cars) anyway, it’ll all play like an album anyway, so to me it’s all one big party. But I do agree with the track choices for the album proper, too. It works perfectly. That would have been a tough job, choosing what to leave off – they were clearly spoiled for choice! Hence the bonus disc, surely.

Part III: The Bonus Bonus Track 

And then, Mike being the true gent (and mad collector) that he is, bought the deluxe deluxe edition that had the bonus bonus track on it. He was kind enough to send me a preview copy of that track.

Naïveté In Black is a straight-on, pumelling rocker that just drives itself straight into your forehead from the second you press play. I loved it. This one maybe could have made it to the album itself. It’d fit the feel.  And at appropriately high volume (which is the only way to play this record), it will unapologetically knock you backwards. So great!

IN SUM:

If you’re reading this, you’ve likely already bought the damn thing. You shouldn’t be coming to me for advice as to whether to get it or not, kids – I’ll just tell you YES! What are you waiting for?  Doesn’t matter which edition you buy, JUST BUY IT!

This is such a fun record. It absolutely rocks, and is a throwback to the Sabbath of old without being trapped by the past. It’s way better than a lot of people expected; in fact, it’s GREAT!

You know, it’s only July, but I can already tell you now that you’ll be seeing this on my year-end Best Of list, no question.

Sabbath, Nirvana, BTO, Beatles and The Hip

At long last, here’s another batch of favourites. I will get to yours soon, I swear!

16 MIKE: Black Sabbath – Born Again

Directly From Mike: “Favourite record — I always give the same answer.  Black Sabbath – Born Again.  Considered by some to be one of their worst, due to the horrible production and the addition of Ian Gillan of Deep Purple on vocals.  Me being a Gillan fan, and this being the first Sabbath album I ever heard (didn’t even know Ozzy was in the band back then), this has a warm place in my black, black heart.”

I’ve posted Mike’s response exactly, because after all, what else can I say to add to that? I played this record and to me, without Ozzy, the band is sub-Sabbath. Still brilliant, just less. I listen to Sabbath fairly regularly, but I must admit I’ve never even give this one any thought. Way to go, Mike! Your years spent working in a record shop are showing!

17 MATT: Nirvana – Nevermind

It was inevitable that someone would pick this record. Yes, it was seminal, yes it changed the way the world made rock music for a decade, yes Cobain was a tortured genius (even if, as radiohead said “you do it to yourself, and that’s what really hurts”). What really freaked me out about Matt choosing this one was that he said he was in public school when he first heard it. Man, that makes me feel old. Who did we have in public school, Bon Jovi? Gowan? Glass Tiger, ferchrissakes? What a difference.

I almost didn’t even need to play this record again. Just looking at the track listing on the back of the CD case instantly brought every track fully into my head, but I played it anyway and I loved it for all the reasons I did way back when. It’s loud, it’s angry, it’s messy, it’s slightly out of control (in a very controlled, calculated kind of way, but still). I still contend that Bleach is better, but this is the slick, monumental crest of that wave of grunge, and the world is indelibly altered because of it.

18 JIM: Bachman Turner Overdrive – Four Wheel Drive

What fun! This is pure, balls-out 70’s guitar rawk. Even better, it’s Canadian! We all know this band’s biggest songs, but it was a real pleasure to hear a record that was mostly album tracks that weren’t massive hits. It’s proof that this band had a lot backing up the songs we’ve all heard, and boy do they ever. This record weighs a ton in solid riffs and leads.

I had a bit of a hard time not injecting the words to You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet into the song Hey You (they do sound the same, in certain ways), but that’s OK. It’s all good. I really liked this record. Classic stuff.

19 PHILLIP: Beatles – The Beatles (White Album)

I asked Phillip what his favourite was and he didn’t even hesitate – he said this record. I have to agree, this one is pretty fucking sweet. I like the later Beatles a whole lot more than I like the early Beatles. Call it blasphemy, but that whole early, smarmy tripe thing didn’t sit nearly as well with me as did the band that gave us The Ballad Of John And Yoko. Excellent musicians, just not always the greatest song choices in their formative years. I say that as a Stones fan, you realize.

An excellent choice, Phil. Of all the Beatles albums, I agree, this one is stunning from start to finish. Most bands would give their left nut (and half of their right) to make even one track as good (or weird) as any of these.

20 MARSHA: Tragically Hip – Road Apples

I love the Hip. LOVE! And so does Marsha, apparently. Although she claims to be a HUGE fan and wasn’t even aware of the existence of their box set. Oh well. Such is the love that this band has garnered in this country. It asks no questions. It just rocks out to their tunes, and goes to see them in concert no matter what pot-hole they play in next.

Lots of people find the Hip repetitive and/or boring and/or annoying, and I even know a couple of people (an ex-girlfriend of mine included) who can’t stand Gord Downie’s voice like they can’t stand nails on a chalkboard. But I say it sucks to be them. That’s ‘Little Bones.’ I mean really, get with the program!

This is straight-on great rock/poetry as only the Hip can offer it up, and “we’re all richer for having heard them this evening.” (for those non-Hip fans out there, that’s a quote from the live record, so please try to keep up). Road Apples is one fan-freaking-tastic song after another until it ends far too soon. Just imagine, this happened before (before!) Fully Completely. They are truly unstoppable!

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