Guest Shot

The Adventures of Tee Bone Man – Chapter Four: Tee Bone Man And The Rink Of… Doom? (By Aaron KMA)

CHAPTER FOUR:  TEE BONE MAN AND THE RINK OF… DOOM?

by Aaron

Tee Bone Man was exhausted. Going to hell will do that to a guy. Our masked hero was collapsed on a chaise lounge of rock in the basement of Deke’s Palace, drinking fine scotch with the ever-amazing hero Superdekes, his trusty partner in (repeatedly) saving the world.

Superdekes was saying something wise and interesting about Eddie Van Halen’s tapping technique on the guitar, and Tee Bone Man was trying desperately to pay attention, but he was falling asleep. Being Canadian, he naturally felt bad about being rude, but unconsciousness was very quickly gripping him despite his best intentions. What was going on? And then….

Where was he? This wasn’t Deke’s Palace. Superdekes wasn’t there. This didn’t even look like Earth… It was a vast, darkened room with a high ceiling, an echo that was only exacerbated by the cement floor. As Tee Bone Man’s eyes adjusted to the darkness of his surroundings, though, he saw a score clock, hanging from the ceiling of the room. He saw white boards with yellow dashers and thick glass around the top, with ads on them… he was standing at the hash marks of a hockey rink. In summer, clearly, because the floor was cement rather than ice.

Even though he knew he was dreaming, in that weird dream logic he also knew that this experience was completely real and his heightened super senses put his guard up immediately. His exhaustion vanished as his eyes darted around and his ears strained to pick up any noise of danger in the empty space.

Suddenly the score clock lit up, and loud music began blaring through the rink. The message on the board read Welcome To Your Doom, Tee Bone Man!, and the timer on the clock started counting down from ten minutes. Moving to the center ice circle, Tee Bone Man walked around the clock from underneath, but saw nothing of danger, no bomb, no guns, no evil henchmen. Not even a single demon to be found.  Then he heard laughter echoing around the massive space, and saw a light come on in the announcer booth above the stands at center ice. A silhouetted figure stood there, arms wide, laughing.

The music stopped and a gravelly voice came over the PA, still laughing, saying “Welcome to your demise, Tee Bone Man. You have been brought here to be decimated once and for all. There is no escape. Your time is running out, now less than nine minutes. Your end will do the world a favour!”

Facing the dark figure, Tee Bone Man struck the most awesome super hero pose ever, and said loudly “Who are you? Why are you doing this? Stop this madness at once!” The voice boomed overhead, “You know who I am, you love to hate me. I am a hero myself, but the heel of every situation. I am a friend, but also always the enemy. It is time for me to be the hero, and to do that I must end you to make way. Good bye, Tee Bone Man.” And with that the light in the announcer booth went dark, leaving Tee Bone Man alone at center ice with an inexorably ticking clock overhead.

His eyes having fully adjusted to the dark, Tee Bone Man made a quick survey of his surroundings. Nothing impeded him from free movement on the floor of the rink, so he headed towards the zamboni gate but found it locked. Quickly crossing the floor to the far side again, he headed to the team benches, hopped the boards, then climbed the shorter glass into the bleachers. Taking the stairs three at a time, he made his way up into the concourse. All the concessions were closed. Damn. A pretzel at the end of everything would’ve been nice, would’ve helped him think.

Running around the concourse to the announcer booth, Tee Bone Man was able to see the clock ticking down, now under eight minutes. As he ran, he thought about this situation. He knew it was a dream but it felt so real. Who was the figure in the announcer booth? What would he find when he got there? Rounding the last corner of the walkway, the announcer booth came into view. Tee Bone Man slowed up and started a cautious approach. No one was visible. He ducked down a few rows into the stands and approached the booth from underneath. Less than seven minutes now as he crouched and watched for any sign of movement, any booby traps or henchmen. There was nothing.

It seemed he was alone in the building. Had the figure already left? And if so, why did bad guys do this? Why construct some elaborate death trap and then leave a full ten minutes for the good guy to figure it out. And why leave, so there’s no way of confirming you’d been successful? He supposed that this was why the bad guys were always caught: they weren’t necessarily always the brightest.

Seeing no movement, he crept forward as the clock ticked past six minutes. Soon he was directly underneath the announcer booth. He carefully climbed the steps and, constantly checking his surroundings for booby traps and attack, he approached the booth. The door was locked. But now he heard a faint struggling sound behind the door. Looking around, he saw the handle of an old Sherwood hockey stick, solid wood and missing its blade, leaning against the wall. Grabbing it, with now five minutes left on the clock, he smashed the door knob with one mighty, well-aimed swing of the stick, surely a five minute major penalty so hefty was that swing. The door swung open slowly, revealing the gloomy interior of the booth.  The struggling sound got louder.

Rushing into the room, expecting a fight with the mysterious figure, Tee Bone found only a different figure, tied up, lying on the floor. Flicking on the light switch, he saw Superdekes bound and gagged, lying at his feet. Quickly undoing the bindings, our two heroes got caught up. “Thanks, Tee Bone, that was a close one.” Quickly scanning his pal for injury, Tee Bone Man asked him “What happened? Who tied you up? Why are you here? Does this feel like a dream to you too?” Rubbing his wrists to return circulation after being bound, Superdekes said “I don’t know who is doing this. I was drinking scotch and then woke up here, tied, in this dark room. I’m very glad you found me. As for being a dream, yeah, it all feels unreal somehow.” Tee Bone Man recapped his own story so far, and then the two heroes talked about next moves. There was now three and a half minutes left on the clock. They left the booth to search for clues.

With two better able to cover ground than one, they pair quickly searched the main areas of the concourse and found nothing of danger. With less than two minutes on the clock, they found themselves near the exit to the rear parking lot. Behind them was the door to the dressing rooms. “C’mon, Superdekes, we need to check here as well.” Our intrepid heroes, well aware that time was running out, crept through the door and down the hall to the team dressing room. Slowly pushing open the dressing room door, they found the light on but no one in view. Relaxing slightly, Superdekes was just turning to Tee Bone Man to say this was a dead end when wham-o, he was crosschecked from behind! Tee Bone Man swung around to face the assailant and saw a short, strong man in a black hood standing over Superdekes!

“Tee Bone Man, you found me! Your time is almost up!” Looking at a watch on his wrist the figure laughed and said “Less than a minute now!” Moving faster than he’d ever moved, Tee Bone Man sprang forward, swinging the Sherwood stick handle he’d never set down, catching the villain flatfooted with a mighty blow to the chest, sending him to the floor. Superdekes was getting up, stretching out his sore back and looking for revenge as Tee Bone Man stood over the figure. Kneeling on their assailant’s chest, Tee Bone Man snatched the black hood off the figure’s head to reveal… Brad Marchand! The evil Bruins forward, notorious rat, shit disturber and face licker, now holding up his hands in self-defense, crying now that it was all a joke and he’d meant no harm. Grabbing Marchand’s wrist, Tee Bone Man saw on the watch that the time had elapsed to zero but there’d been no explosion, no consequence at all.

Grabbing Marchand by the front of his collar and yanking hard, Tee Bone Man hauled Marchand up and, with fire in his eyes that was a look that could kill if there ever was one, shouted “What happened here? The clock’s run out, what happened? Speak, you fiend!” Marchand looked pained and fearful, repeating “Nothing! Nothing! It’s never anything! I was just trying to have some fun…” Quickly binding Marchand’s hands, our dynamic duo turned around to see police officers filling the hallway and bursting into the room. The day was saved. Marchand was taken away to serve his time, and our heroes were free to go home to try to make sense of it all.

 


Tee Bone Man started awake on the chaise lounge in Deke’s Palace. There was an empty bottle of scotch on the table, and Superdekes was just coming around as well. “Man, I had the weirdest dream, just now,” said Tee Bone Man. “You were in it, and we were in the Owen Sound rink, and…” Superdekes nodded and said “I know, I was there. I remember it all too.” They looked at each other a moment. “But that was a dream, so how…” Superdekes shook his head. “I dunno, brother, but I’m nursing a pretty good headache at the moment, and the one thing that helps with that is the good ol’ hockey game, the best game you can name…” And with that he snapped on the TV and there were the Toronto Maple Leafs facing off against the Boston Bruins! And the announcer was just saying, as they tuned in, “…and the Bruins will be without their star forward Brad Marchand tonight, out with a concussion sustained in the Bruins last game against the Rangers…”

Tee Bone Man and Superdekes started laughing, and settled in to watch the game. Tee Bone Man cracked a new bottle of scotch and Superdekes passed Tee Bone Man a pretzel.

The Adventures of Tee Bone Man – Chapter Two: Hell Freezes Over (by Harrison Kopp)

CHAPTER TWO:  HELL FREEZES OVER

by Harrison Kopp

In the snowy climes of Thunder Bay, two friends sat in the basement of Deke’s Palace listening to records. The name of the establishment was a tongue-in-cheek reference to the fact that this place was most certainly not anything resembling a palace. Those that had the dubious honour of visiting the place would often claim that the only thing holding up the walls were the cockroaches. Legend even has it that Sloan actually refused to play there.

Of course, this was all in service of a very deliberate attempt to keep prying eyes away, because underneath this dilapidated structure was the well-equipped basement these two friends operated from.

As the Scotch flowed and the needle hit wax, their discussion continued.  They had just defeated a mighty sasquatch, saving some new friends from utter doom in the process. Not usually normal conversation topics for a pair of Canadian buddies, but these were not ordinary individuals.

“You know, from a distance that sasquatch kinda looked like my brother Rugg,” said the first man, the spandex-clad superhero Tee Bone Man. A devil on the guitar, he was a champion of arena rock, fine alcohol and Canadian hospitality.

“That’s true, the resemblance was uncanny,” said the second man, the reliable gentleman and (currently) regular hero known as Superdekes who assisted Tee Bone in his heroic endeavours.  “But back to the tunes.  I don’t care what that Brainiac from Southern Ontario thinks.  5150 is killer.  Sammy Hagar was no Roth, but comparisons are silly.”

Tee Bone took a moment to think.

“True, his friend, that meaty guy, seems to agree with you though.”  He paused to sip his drink.  “Drop the needle, let’s play it again.”

Superdekes leaned over the turntable.  “Just like old times man,” he proclaimed as the needle fell.

“Hellllllllllo baby!” screamed Sammy Hagar as the record started playing.

Then came a strange noise that was definitely not the opening guitar squeal to “Good Enough”. While it wasn’t out of the realm of possibility that the noise the two men were hearing was indeed Eddie Van Halen, it would have taken some interesting hand positions to pull it off.

Then a skip. And the record seemed to start again. “Hellllllo…Hell…Hell…Hell…”

“Uh oh” proclaimed Superdekes.  “That’s not a good sign.  That’s the danger vibes again!  Someone needs our help.”

Tee Bone turned to the nearest computer.  “You’re right.  Something’s wrong.  And it’s global this time.  It seems… earthquakes everywhere!”

Suddenly Superdekes had a hunch.

“My metal senses are tingling,” he said.  He placed AC/DC on the turntable.  Dropping the needle on “Highway to Hell”, the skipping was far more pronounced. The danger signs were clear.

“Australia is the epicenter,” said Superdekes.  “Looks like you’re on your own this time.  I’ll monitor from here and do what I can.  Why is it again that you’re the only one who can fly?”

Tee Bone grabbed the nearest guitar and donned his cape.  “You know the origin story as well as anyone, let’s not rehash it. You’re my roadie, remember?” he said with a wry smile, motioning towards the motorbike leaning against the wall. “Quite literally”.

“Har har,” came Superdekes’s reply. “You know that’s not how it goes”.

“I know, and I’m still looking for another one for you, but they don’t sell spares Dekes over at Canadian Tire. So where in Australia am I heading?  It’s not a small country you know.”

Superdekes listened carefully to the skipping record.  “I can’t pinpoint it,” he said in frustration.  “But you’re gonna need to find the Highway to Hell.”

Then he had an idea.

“Give me that guitar a minute. I think I can help narrow it down”

Tee Bone handed his guitar across, and Superdekes began tuning it. After a short time, he handed it back.

“I’ve put it in the same tuning as the danger vibes. It should react the closer you get,” Superdekes explained.

“Thanks, Super Roadie” Tee Bone replied with a smile, flying off into the sky with the guitar.


Tee Bone Flight 666 direct to Australia was pretty uneventful, other than the guitar occasionally humming as he approached the country, and soon enough he was hovering above the western city of Perth.

And he was sweating like never before. This place gave a new meaning to the word hot, and if Tee Bone didn’t know better, he’d have said that it was hotter than hell in this place. Heck, it was even hot in the shade! He was at least somewhat pleased, however, that the inhabitants hadn’t been literal when they said that everything here was trying to kill you.

Then the world began to shake underneath him. He knew it must have been another earthquake because he hadn’t had enough Scotch to affect his vision yet.

The tremor passed quickly, and he flew down to see if anyone needed his assistance. He was relieved to find that no one appeared to be hurt. But then something caught his attention. It was the sound of music. He didn’t recognise the baritone singer, but he knew good riffs whenever he heard them.

He followed it to its source: a house occupied by a moustache-clad young Australian. To go with his shoulder-length hair and moustache was a small tuft on his lower lip that completed the look.

Tee Bone silently remarked that the man’s facial hair was arranged in the shape of an arrow. He wasn’t really sure who needed directions to this man’s nostrils, but whoever they were, they had them.

Needless to say, the moustachioed man was taken rather aback by this sudden development. He was not in the habit of inviting spandex-clad superheroes into his backyard, not that he’d really had the chance too before.

But there was a sense of familiarity about the man hovering before him. Perhaps it was the Van Halen logo on his mask and enjoyment of the music, but the Australian felt like he was in the presence of a friend.

“Hey, uh, Mr. Van Halen. Can I…help you with anything by any chance?” He cautiously asked.

“Call me Tee Bone Man, and, actually, I think you can,” Tee Bone replied “I need to stop these earthquakes, and to do that I need a return ticket to hell. I’ve been told the only way to get that is through the Highway to Hell, which I’m going to need some directions to.”

The moustachioed man thought for a second.

“I know the place. There are a few slight wrinkles though,” he said. “One does not simply drive into hell. There’s a specific ritual that needs to be done”.

“Well, what is it?” came Tee Bone’s reply.

“That’s the other wrinkle,” the Australian sheepishly replied. “The ritual is said to be written on the vinyl sleeve for the AC/DC album Highway to Hell, and I…err…don’t own that album.”

Tee Bone smiled.

“Well lucky for you, I know someone who does,” and he pulled out his phone “Hey Deke, I need you to do something you’re not going to like.”

Superdekes most certainly did not like that suggestion.

“You want me to do what!? Submerge the sleeve for Highway to Hell in the vintage ’66 Scotch? Are you out of your mind?”

“It’s the only way to read the ritual process,” Tee Bone countered “We need it. I’m in Australia, I’ll buy a new copy”

This perked Deke up a little.

“Well now that you mention it, you are indeed in Australia. How’s about you pick up an original Aussie pressing for me.”

“That’s pretty rare you know, they don’t exactly grow on trees. Not that I see many trees around here anyway.”

Deke stood his ground like a bass player on stage.

“Alright, you win. We’ll get that LP for you.”

“Excellent” he said, with a slight grin “You’ll want the Albert Productions vinyl. Shouldn’t be too hard for a man of your abilities.”

“Not at all. We’ll get on it as soon as we finish up here.”

Mollified, Superdekes went to work grudgingly defacing the vinyl sleeve. Sure enough, bright red text appeared on it and, soon enough, he had the answer the two men needed.

“Alright, here it is: You need to drive down the Highway to Hell at 142 kilometres per hour*, in the chariot of death, to the tune of pure rock.”

“Great, that’s going to be a hassle”, Tee Bone grumbled.  “Thanks Deke, we’ll figure it out somehow.”

He hung up and turned back to his new Australian acquaintance.

“I’m guessing it’s been a while since there’s been any chariots around here, so I reckon we’ll need to find a regular old car that suits the criteria.”

It was the moustachioed man’s turn to smile.

“Well lucky for you, I know somewhere that will have what we’re after.”


The Clairemont car show was quite the spectacle. There were certainly vehicles that caught the notice of the two men. Shiny, chromed muscle cars abounded, but none of them had the presence the men required. Until one did, towards the very end of the building, tucked away in the back. The way it caught the attention of both men was ironic, given its black-on-black paint job, but they knew this was the machine they were after. It was difficult persuading the owner to lend it to them, but an unending bottle of Scotch courtesy of Tee Bone and a mobius strip of a guitar solo did the trick.

And so the two men drove their new ride to the site of the ritual: Canning Highway. When they arrived, Tee Bone noticed an immediate problem.

“It’s too crowded now. It would be too dangerous to try and reach those speeds with all these other cars around. We’ll have to wait until night-time.”

The moustachioed man agreed, and decided to kill the time with the Canadian man inside one of the legendary Bon Scott’s favourite haunts along the road, the Raffles Hotel.

Over the next couple of hours Tee Bone found himself treated to some of Australia’s finest Scotch, a revelation about the actual number of people called Bruce in the land, and a particularly amusing crowd interaction with one of the songs on the jukebox.

“No way. Get fucked. Fuck off!” came the crowd’s reply every time the singer asked a seemingly sincere question about seeing someone’s face again.

Tee Bone raised an eyebrow in the direction of the Australian beside him.

“Australian tradition since 1977. We can be an odd bunch sometimes.”

Tee Bone silently wondered if the heat might have had some sort of effect on the people living here, and then went back to his drink.

Eventually nightfall finally came, and the two men left the respectable drinking establishment, more than a little hydrated. As they returned to their new vehicle, Tee Bone put his hand on the moustachioed man’s shoulder.

“Hey, I’ve got something to help this baby hit the speeds we need.”

Resting a bottle of Scotch on the bonnet, Tee Bone played a fiery guitar solo, imbuing the alcohol with an orangey glow.

“Put this in the fuel tank to give it an extra kick” he said, handing the, now very warm, bottle of Scotch to the moustachioed man, who obliged.

Tee Bone breathed in the cool night air and casually observed the road to make sure there weren’t any cars nearby. Satisfied, he turned back to his partner.

Now having finished adding the Scotch mixture to the fuel, the moustachioed man instinctively reached for the driver’s side door, but paused, looking at the Canadian superhero next to him.

“You’d better take the wheel,” Tee Bone assured him. “You’re familiar with the road rules here, and which side of the road to drive on.”

“Right. Good point” came the Australian’s reply.

“And you haven’t just drank a tonne of Scotch,” Tee Bone continued, mounting the car, guitar in hand.

With no rear window, Tee Bone was able to situate himself atop the car, looking forward. Not only did this cut a much cooler image for anyone lucky enough to witness the coming proceedings, but it also allowed him to see any hazards as they came and react to them in time.

The Australian, meanwhile, had taken his seat on the right side of the car and took a brief moment to gather himself for the coming task. It was not going to be easy, but that wasn’t going to stop him from giving it his all. There was no turning back now. He quickly adjusted his moustache, tuned the radio to rock and keyed the ignition. The familiar hum of an internal combustion engine filled him with some warmth.

His nerves somewhat settled, he turned his head back towards the man he might end up spending the rest of his life with, if things went south here.

“Ready?”

“As I’ll ever be” came Tee Bone’s reply. “Let’s do this”

The Australian pressed the accelerator, and with the roar of the eight-cylinder engine, the car lurched forward and began its journey towards hell. The needle climbed with every passing second, but even with the power of Tee Bone’s Scotch coursing through it, the old Ford was not what it used to be.

The Australian began to worry. They were not going fast enough, and they would run into a turn or, worse, another car soon. He threw his head back towards the direction of Tee Bone

“I don’t think we’re gonna make it!”

“Hold on!” Tee Bone yelled back. Then he began to wind his arm around a couple times, gathering air. The supercharger roared with delight. Then he hit the loudest power chord he had ever played, and the car surged forward as the world seemed to disappear in a flash of white.

For several seconds the only sound either of the men heard was the engine in front of them. Then colour returned to their vision. The colour red.

They had made it to hell. Now they just needed to find the source of these disturbances, stop them and get back to the real world without dying. Somehow.

 

 

To be continued in Chapter 3: Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be

 

 

* 88 miles per hour

GUEST REVIEW: Anthem – Ultimate Best Of Nexus Years (2012) by Thunder Blackmore

By Thunder Blackmore

ANTHEM – Ultimate Best Of Nexus Years (2012 King Record Co.)

In the world of metal, there is no short list of underrated bands from every corner and country of the world. Specially with long-standing bands that are still going strong to this day. Would it be bands like E-Z-O from Japan, Pretty Maids from Denmark, Thor from Canada, or Helloween from Germany, everyone regardless of nationality has a favorite band, who did well for themselves, but could’ve, would’ve and should’ve gone big. And while my choice for most underrated metal band ever would go to my fellow countrymen Pretty Maids (national bias has its moments), Japanese metal legends Anthem earns the runner-up spot, easily.

The band, led by bassist Naoto Shibata, who are perhaps more famous for his work with Loudness and Crush 40 in the 90’s, had a tough time in the 80’s with success in their homeland and even a small US tour in ’87, but also with internal struggles which prevented the band to go beyond like their fellow and more successful countrymen, Loudness. Ultimately the band would be disbanded in 1992 until they reunited in 2001 and have been going strong since then. A band considered by many to be part of the big four of Japanese Metal (with X Japan, Loudness and Flatbacker/E-Z-O) with mostly consistent excellent releases throughout the years, who just now are getting released to the west on streaming services and (hopefully) physically by Nuclear Blast. So far, there’s two options for getting into Anthem’s discography, which just so happen to be compilations. For their new era, there is Nucleus, released by the aforementioned Nuclear Blast. But as for their classic period, the import to buy is this one. Ultimate Best Of Nexus Years.

Japanese releases has a reputation of not being a very cheap options, so getting this compilation is definitely a good starter point. It collects songs from the band’s initial 80’s era, starting with the self-titled debut and ending with their final album before their hiatus, Domestic Booty (you’ll be the judge for the supposed meaning of “booty”). Given that the compilation is split into two cd’s, it also reflects the times with the singers Eizo Sakamoto and Yukio Morikawa representing disc 1 and 2, respectively. This decision, coupled with the track list being in chronological order, can be difficult at first listen. Not necessarily with the tracks themselves but more with the unevenness with the production, as the first Anthem albums sound pretty rough. Granted, that’s not a problem exclusive to the band, but that also means that you’ll have to skip to track 13, “Bound to Break”, if you are somewhat put off by the roughness.

If you can hang with it, you are in for 2 hours of kickass catchy melodic metal majesty from glorious Nippon with no noteworthy duds. Even with my nitpicky desire to swap out some tracks for others, I’m still absolutely happy with this purchase. Standouts have to be “Venom Strike”, “Shadow Walk”, “Bound to Break”, “Hunting Time”, “Night After Night” and “Show Must Go On”. The latter being their first original song with English lyrics (courtesy of the late Chris Tsangarides) and being their first to be featured in the Anime OVA, Devilman.

Until Anthem can finally release their back-catalog on physical media for a much more affordable price (CD, vinyl or otherwise), this one will do wonders in the meantime.

4.95/5 stars

Thanks to Thunder Blackmore for this awesome review.

 

 

#892 Perspective 2020: With Dr. Dave

#892: Perspective 2020: With Dr. Dave

Dr. Dave Haslam is the drummer for Max the Axe. A swell guy, but also a bit difficult to get to follow simple instructions. I asked him for a Top 11 of 2020 and he didn’t get it in on time. Dr. Dave doesn’t do deadlines.  However it’s a good list, so we’re re-framing it today as a treatise on some good things that happened in a pretty shitty year.  Perspective 2020:  with Dr. Dave.  Eleven good things that happened in 2020.  A Nigel Tufnel Top Ten!

 


  1. Blue Oyster CultThe Symbol Remains

There’s life in them yet, with enough variety and new blood to maintain interest. It compares particularly well to Ozzy and AC/DC. The former needs to just go away, while the latter has, let’s face it, become the absolute epitome of Dad Rock: safe, comfortable, predictable, and boring as FUCK. BOC still has its tongue planted firmly in cheek, though whose cheek it is remains in question.

 

  1. WayfarerA Romance With Violence

One of the best things about black metal in this century is how it can incorporate different styles, and it was only a matter of time before someone spliced it with a Morricone-spaghetti western feel. Weird heavy stuff coming from Colorado these days.

 

  1. SolstafirEndless Twilight of Codependent Love

Iceland ain’t all Bjork and Sigur Ros. Their black metal scene is led by these lads who have been dialing-up the post-rock on recent albums. Black metal at its best is (barely) controlled fury, but this is not what you’re getting here; rather, it’s like the aftermath of that: the veteran barbarian, grown wistful in retirement, drinking his mead and reflecting on past conquests.

 

  1. Paradise LostObsidian

Their late-career groove continues with another consistent slab of darkly melodic metal with well-timed nods to their earlier stylistic detours.

 

  1. Killer Be KilledReluctant Hero

Supergroups don’t always stick around long enough to make a second album, and it’s great that these guys did. Troy Sanders (Mastodon), Max Cavalera (Sepultura, Soulfly), Greg Puciato (Dillinger Escape Plan) and Ben Koller (Converge) combine for an album that is both heavy and catchy. They use the three different vocalists really well, and the heaviness is a solid blend of the bands they come from. “From a Crowded Wound” might be the core of the album, but the title-track might be my song of the year; supposedly about losing a parent to Alzheimer’s, it’s reminiscent of “Hurt” (yes, that one), before Puciato takes the second half of the song by the neck to a triumphant denouement. If there is a better response to the shitshow of 2020, I don’t know of it.

 

  1. PallbearerForgotten Days

Less immediate than the one before, this album took some distracted listening in my car for it to truly sink in. Though all of the plastic in the dashboard looked and sounded like it was going to disintegrate, I found myself actually singing along to it: me, who’s all about the holy trinity of guitar, bass, and drums. When doom lets the likes of Boston and Kansas shine through, good things happen.

 

  1. Hum – Inlets 

Even more surprising than the BOC album was this. Like Failure five years ago, another promising band from the 90s that didn’t take off like they should have released new stuff. Shoegazy with thick, stonerish-riffage and sharp hooks. STILL waiting for the goddamn cd, though. Grrrrr.

 

  1. WinterfyllethThe Reckoning Dawn

Still some of the catchiest black metal out there. After an entirely acoustic album, this sees them roaring back with some of their thrashiest riffage.

 

  1. DeftonesOhms

Everything likeable about them is represented on this album. Plenty of atmosphere, groove, and riffs. A flat-out masterpiece of sonic craftsmanship from start to finish, and one of the best-produced albums I’ve heard in a long time.

 

  1. The OceanPhanerozoic II: Mesozoic/Cenozoic

Germany’s heaviest nerds complete two-album concept about the extinction of the dinosaurs and the rise of mammalian life on Earth. With one foot in the ISIS/Cult of Luna school of post-metal and the other in the hypnotic prog-metal of Tool, this is like catnip for me. A baked-up headphone album for sure.

 

  1. Elder – Omens

It’s not enough that Reflections of a Floating World is a top-ten 21st century album for me, but they had to go and do this, too. Fuckers. “Halcyon” rides a similar vibe as the krautrocky “Sonntag” from the previous album, but does so better, with more depth and commitment. It’s fitting that the weakest part of the previous album becomes the nucleus for maybe the strongest song this time out (and it’s weird that they again hit me hardest with the fourth song of the album). My top 3 this year are more-or-less interchangeable, depending on my mood, but I don’t think I’m ever not in the mood for these guys. It just doesn’t happen.

 

What’s on the teevee?

Lots of television was consumed this year, and I’ll admit it – The Mandalorian was better than I thought it would be. But it’s still just popcorn, compared to which The Expanse is prime rib, with all the fixins, with a side of even more prime rib. Star Trek: Discovery was somewhere in the middle, though I found season 3 uneven: my emotional g-spot likes more subtle manipulation, and season 3 all-too-often went straight for the aggressive fisting. Ouchie! Also of note was Britannia, which was both dark and goofy while still being committed to the overall vision. Definitely a British thing. The Boys was simply The Boys, and that’s what we all want, of course. Lovecraft Country was a very interesting spin on the Cthulu mythos in a Jim Crow-era America. Cursed was okay but pretty forgettable, and The Witcher was fun enough, I guess. The biggest single disappointment was learning that there will only be one more season of The Expanse after this, the fifth. They haven’t caught up with the books yet, and I highly doubt there will be a Game of Thrones shitting of the bed, but I just can’t accept that we’re nearing the home-stretch.

Dr. Dave

 

Best of 2020 Part 6: Iron Tom Delivers the Lists

Iron Tom returns with his 2020 list of awesome, a little bit of commentary, and plenty of Youtube videos for you to check out!


  • Elder Omens

 

  • King Buffalo Dead Star

 

  • Drive-By Truckers The New OK

 

  • The Atomic Bitchwax Scorpio

 

  • King Gorm King Gorm

 

  • Five Alarm Funk Big Smoke

Let the ‘Wheels on the Bus’ take you on a tight funky ride…

 

  • Jerry Joseph The Beautiful Madness

 

  • Drive-By Truckers The Unraveling

Great album for the shit-storm that was the last four years. However, I’m not sure I’ll be partying to some of it four years from now….

 

  • Brant Bjork Brant Bjork

The coolest dude on the planet being a one-cool-man-band….

 

  • Steve Earle Ghosts of West Virginia

Emphasizing the humanity over politics plays well….

 

  • Deep Purple Whoosh!

After the quality of the last few albums, I don’t know why I was surprised by how much I liked this one… Keep going boys….

 

  • Testament Titans of Creation

This band has been pretty consistent over the decade and have produced another great thrash album that is as catchy as it is heavy….

 

  • Neil Young Homegrown

1974-recorded and 2020-released and enjoyed…I read that Young thinks that the album is ‘the unheard bridge between Harvest and Comes A Time’ and he’s right….

 

  • Armored Saint Punch the Sky

A pleasant surprise…no gimmicks just solid consistent heavy metal.

 

  • Blue Öyster Cult The Symbol Remains

A little uneven but the highs more than outweigh the lows… The videos may be unintentionally hilarious but the rock fire remains….

 

  • Wishbone Ash Coat of Arms

Fans of well crafted rock with tasty twin guitar will enjoy….

 

  • Annihilator Ballistic, Sadistic

A heavy riffy old-school thrashfest that does not let up….

 

  • Jason Isbell, Reunions

It doesn’t quite match the strength of his last two, but that’s only because Isbell has set the bar so damn high for himself… This is an excellent album in its own right….

 

  • Mr. Bungle The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo

Ian’s and Lombardo’s presence help Mr. Bungle deliver little on the experimentation, but some great straight-up thrash….

 

  • Brimstone Coven The Woes Of A Mortal Earth

Riffy modern occult rock with excellent vocal harmonies….

 

  • Lowrider Refractions

Who knew there were deserts in Sweden? These Kyuss-wannabies make a good case that there are….

 

  • Wytch Hazel III: Pentecost

Wishbone Ash fans will have lots here to enjoy….

 

  • King Weed – Riffs Of The Dead
  • King Weed The Seven Sins Of Doomsday

Instrumental Stoner from France… Groovy cool shit… And there are two more 2020 releases I haven’t checked out yet….

 

  • Diamond Head Lightning to the Nations 2020

A fresh coat of paint on some metal masterpieces and some pretty cool covers….

 

  • Wobbler Dwellers of the Deep

Yes, Crimson and Gentle Giant fans will find much to like here….

 

  • Freeways True Bearings

Vintage 70’s guitar rock for 2020 and they are from Brampton….

 

  • Bonehawk Iron Mountain

 

  • Shuffle Demons Crazy Time

 

 

 

Best of 2020 Part 4: Guest Lists from Frankie and Michael

FRANKIE THE MAN OF MYSTERY

Here’s my list, for what it’s worth. Turns out I didn’t go watch many movies in theatre, but did stream a lot of content. It also seems I like watching cartoons and anime, but that’s not really a surprise. – Frank

Film and Streaming

Blood of Zeus, Netflix
Castlevania Season 3, Netflix
Dragon’s Dogma, Netflix
The Mandalorian, Disney+
1917
The Boys season 2, Prime
Bill and Ted Face the Music
Altered Carbon Season 2 Netflix
October Faction, Netflix
Bosch, Prime

Music

Testament, Titans of Creation, track “Night of the Witch”
Static-X, Project Regeneration Vol 1., track “Hollow”
Sepultura, Quadra, track “Raging Void”
Trivium, What the Dead Men Say
Five Finger Death Punch, F8, track “Scar Tissue”


MICHAEL, MAX THE AXE’S STUNT DOUBLE

Gorillaz – Song Machine
Warbringer – Weapons of Tomorrow
Lamb of God – Lamb of God
Run the Jewels – RTJ4
Poppy – I Disagree
The Chats – High Risk Behaviour
Oliver Tree – Ugly is Beautiful
King Gizzard – K.G.
Testament – Titans of Creation
Atomic Bitchwax – Scorpio

Runners Up

Flaming Lips – American Lips
Midnight – Rebirth by Blasphemy
Deep Purple – Whoosh!
Jeff Rosenstock – No Dream
Blue Oyster Cult – The Symbol Remains

 

GUEST REVIEW – Roky Erickson and the Aliens – The Evil One – The Meat Challenge

The Meat Challenge:  Listen to an album we’ve never heard before, and write about it while listening for the first time on headphones.  Meat was given Roky Erikson by LeBrain.

ROKY ERICKSON & THE ALIENS – The Evil One (1981)

How did we get to where we are now?  Let’s have a very quick nutshell synopsis of a pretty incredible story (a story which is captured in much more detail in a very good 2005 documentary titled You’re Gonna Miss Me.  Have you seen it? It’s a beauty.)

Roky Erickson was born in 1947 in Dallas, Texas.  He co-founded an influential psychedelic rock band called The 13th Floor Elevators, who had some chart success in the late 60s. In 1969, Roky Erickson got arrested for smoking a joint and to avoid jail, pled guilty and was sent to the nuthouse until his release in 1974.  Roky Erickson & the Aliens were born and released their debut album in 1980.

Now that we have that out of the way, I have not heard the debut album.  Nor have I heard any other Roky Erickson album going into this.  I was not sure what to expect and what I got was different and frankly more than I expected.  The Evil One was produced by ex-CCR bassist Stu Cook, and together he and Roky definitely came out with a great sounding record…that talks about Lucifer a lot…and the devil …and ghosts….  Basically, you could look at this album a collection of crazy stories.  More specifically, I now look at The Evil One as a collection of 15 short B-movies expressed through exceptional Pop-Rock songwriting.  Imagine if Hall and Oates got a bit of Rock balls and started worshipping Satan.  Here are some thoughts I had while listening to each song/movie on The Evil One.

  1. “Two Headed Dog (Red Temple Prayer)” –  The first track is the only song I had actually heard before on this album.  LeBrain picked this for a tribute back in the days when Sausagefest was doing them.  Hearing this again, I enjoy it like I did when I first heard it.  Great rock song with guitar licks that kinda surprised me.  Roky Erickson possesses a great voice with a naturally high register, which allows him to belt out the hearty Rock.
  1. “I Think of Demons” –  Another solid rock song bringing to mind everything from the Ramones to Thin Lizzy to “insert 70s melodic rock band here”.  A lot of poppy goodness here.  Perhaps the happiest song ever with “Demons” in the title?  You’d be right if you guessed there is more of this kinda thing to come.
  1. “Creature With The Atom Brain” –  Nicholas Cage would have been the star of this movie.  I really like the twin guitar parts in this track.  Bit of a hillbilly rock song.  Some conspiracy-minded strange banter in the middle which leads to even stranger banter at the end.
  1. “The Wind and More” –  This is probably my favorite track on the album.  I really got a Max Webster meets Wishbone Ash vibe from this song.  Erickson seems to have a great way of finding his way melodically through rock and roll riffs.  Of course Lucifer is mentioned again.   Speaking of…could this be what Pye Dubois would have sounded like if he made music? Hmmmm.
  1. “Don’t Shake Me Lucifer” –  Yes, this time the one of the Prince of Darkness’ given names makes the title.  Roky really channels his inner Mick Jagger in this track.  Very Rolling Stones-esque all around really.  A bit more of an aggressive punk thing going on here.  Perhaps Teenage Head would be a better comparison.   Not one of my favorite tracks on the album to be honest.
  1. “Bloody Hammer” –  This is another stand out track on the album.  Bit of a cock-out rock song that probably just cooks live.  Some epic ranting in this too.  For some reason I was thinking about Budgie during this song.  As for lyrically?  I am really not sure if I really wanna know what the actual bloody hammer was that inspired this song.
  1. “Stand For the Fire Demon” –  I don’t know what to make of this one.  While I admire the passion poured out in this track, there is a bit of a drag to it.  Another Nicholas Cager here.  You know…the crazed, bug-eyed Cage where he makes no sense but is really adamant about it?  I think this might be a prayer to Satan.
  1. “Click Your Fingers Applauding the Play” –  Fun Thin Lizzy twin-guitar licks in this.  Other than that nothing especially stands out about this track.
  1. “If You Have Ghosts” –  …You have everything.  This is a hell of a song.  The middle musical part in this song starting with the solo is a fun piece of music.  Very good slightly-off-road rock song.
  1. “I Walked With a Zombie” –  Imagine if you were watching an episode of Happy Days, and instead of a jukebox they had a really fucking high Tom Petty playing music for the acid-tripping kids at Arnold’s.  I think Ralph Malph lost his virginity to this song.   Just another sock-hop with the devil.
  1. “Night of the Vampire” –  This song is very Alice Cooper.  This would be the Rob Zombie directed movie set in the 70s.  By the way, I’ve given up trying to analyse these lyrics.
  1. “It’s a Cold Night for Alligators” –  An average silly mid tempo rock song.  Actually it’s better than that.  I’m getting a Max Webster vibe again, and some fun twin leads once more.
  1. “Mine Mine Mind” –  Starting off with a tribal Alex Harvey rock feel, this is pretty much everything I like about 70s pop-rock.  This is basically what Trooper and Streetheart were doing around this time, but in this case, instead of singing about cars and girls, Roky Erickson chooses to sing about the Devil.  To each his/her own I guess.
  1. “Sputnik” –  The second this song started, I was thinking about Ace Frehley.  Even the lyrics seem cosmos and NASA inspired.  This is the KISS song of the album.  I really like this track, and it could right now be one of those songs everyone is sick of hearing on FM radio.  Why isn’t it?  Well… the science fiction lyrics.  Oh…and Satan.
  1. “White Faces” –  The album ends with more driving rock and roll.  The first verse of this song is:

Friends with a beast,
Because of sharp teeth,
The devil so red,
The fiery evil blieb.
 

WHAT!?!?!?!?!??!

 Once again we have melodic and poppy mid tempo rock referring to Satan.  This man is just too happy about demons.

Overall I would call this a better than average rock record.  Perhaps with multiple listens some of the melodic hooks would sink into me deeper, but as of now better than average is pretty much what I feel about this record.  Anyone who loves 70s rock would really love this album.  The devil is in the details.  No…I’m serious…The devil is truly within the details of this album.  I think the title speaks for itself.  This is an album about The Evil One.

3.75/5 demons

 BY MEAT

Guest Sunday Chuckle: The WTF edition

Guest Sunday Chuckle: The WTF Edition

 

Thussy here again with another Sunday Chuckle.  Being a veteran contributor for the WTF column, this one came naturally.


 

Are these fart panties?  Do they freshen the scent or muffle the sound?  If the top right of the picture didn’t exist I would just think ok these are maybe some sort of padded biking shorts.  Admittedly they looks like they would make long distance bike riding more comfortable.  Is the top right of it just to show that they are breathable because it just looks like a fart?

 

This just looks messed.  Is this some sort of medieval torture device that just eventually rips your nail off?  The two side arms look like they would rip right through the nail making whatever problem these are supposed to solve so much worse.

 

$8 for what mouldy bread or cheese or maybe fruitcake?  I swear this is some joke item someone trys to sell on eBay.  I can just see the write-up now.  “I found this wrapped up in the back of my fridge.  Don’t remember what it is, eat at your own risk or make your own penicillin from it.”

 

Russian nesting knives?  I’m an amateur cook and have a good set of knives and the one thing I know is you need a strong comfortable knife that are well balanced for weight.  These look like they fulfill none of those categories.

 

Guest Sunday Chuckle: Crack Pipe edition

Regular contributor Thussy found this and sent it to me.

Hey, I know weed is legal in Canada now, but slow down people!  Jesus murphy!

 

Don’t be a Stan Smith.  Don’t do crack!

 

 

Guest Sunday Chuckle: Autopilot

Contributor Thussy sent this in. Back in January he snapped this shot from CP24. I’m not sure if this is a Sunday Chuckle or more of a WTF!