In 1993, I moved from my suburban prison in Palatine, IL to a downtown apartment in the Chicago Loop. I sold my car and started walking to work, saving a ton of money on car payments, insurance, gas, and parking. I was still putting in killer hours at the job, though, so there was little time for metal. This month we welcome a new face to the motley collection of usual suspects: Tool. I only have one album by Tool, which is 10,000 Days (2006), but I enjoy the deep-dark style and brooding sort of flavor to the sound. Will Tool's first album reflect this style, or will they evolve into it over time?
Accept: Objection Overruled - Accept is a tough band for me to enjoy. The guitars are good, which is important, and the chords aren't repetitive, which is a major annoyance (looking at you, In Living Color). But the vocals sound so much like AC-DC, which drives me crazy with its machine-like repetition, that I have a hard time letting go of the vocal similarity and just ... Accept Accept (ha!). The very first song on this album, my first comment to myself was, "ugh, this sounds just like AC-DC." It took a little while for me to realize it was only the voice. The rest is actually pretty good.
Anthrax: Sound of White Noise - This CD is terribly tardy, and I'm tired of delaying this blog post because of it. I will try to remember to update when/if it arrives.
Dio: Strange Highways - Dio just keeps getting better. This album wasn't a big splash when it came out, but I think it's nearly as good as Holy Diver (1983). Tracy Griljalva joins the team as lead guitarist, and I hope he sticks around for a while. The only criticism I can think of is that the tempo is a little slow and plodding. But I think Dio makes that work better than most.
Motorhead: Bastards - When I first added Motorhead to the Year-a-Month project, I glanced over the impressive list of albums they had released over the years, and wondered how a drug-addled three-man band could possibly come up with that much material. The answer, of course, is that they're very formulaic. But it's a good formula, so what the heck.
Overkill: I Hear Black - Overkill is a guitar-lover's band. The rhythm guitar riffs never fail to get my head banging, and the lead guitar blends into and out of the rhythm better than almost any other band. I Hear Black was their most popular album so far, which wasn't saying much. This is not a big-name band, by any stretch, which is a shame.
Tool: Undertow - Annoyingly, Tool chooses to run their track count up to 69, with 59 tracks of 1-second silence before the last track. Needless to say, these tracks didn't make it into the music library. I was of course familiar with the hit Sober, but most of the other tracks were new to me. Sure enough, the characteristic broody darkness found in later Tool works was on full display in this debut album. This should make excellent programming music.
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