Dr. Dave

VIDEO: Max the Axe – Oktoberfest Cheer (2021)

Today is the last day for Oktoberfest…but “Oktoberfest Cheer” goes on and on!

From the new EP Oktoberbest Cheer, written by Mike Koutis, here is the video for “Oktoberfest Cheer”.  Have a schnitzel on a bun and a frosty cold one, and get your copy at Encore Records in Kitchener, or by dropping us a line here.

  • Mike Koutis – guitar
  • Eric Litwiller – lead vocals
  • Mike Mitchell – bass
  • Dr. Dave Haslam – drums

 

  • Accordion by Catherine Thompson

 


Notes:  Since Eric deleted the only rehearsal footage of “Oktoberfest Cheer”, I was forced to use the video for “Randy” live at the Boathouse somewhat ham-fistedly.  However this works perfect with the punky off-the-rails nature of the song.  Speeding things up and slowing things down hides a multitude of sins in the edit, and the Keystone Cops flavour of the high-speed footage lends a comedic profile to the video.  Which is necessary for any song that contains lyrics like “don’t crush my smokes, don’t spill my beer.”

VIDEO: Max the Axe – “Pygmy Blowdart” – vertical video performance !

“Pygmy Blowdart” (2021 Koutis)

  • Mike Koutis – Guitar
  • Eric Litwiller – Lead Vocals
  • Mike Mitchell – Bass
  • Dr. Dave Haslam – Drums

From the brand new EP Oktoberfest Cheer.

VIDEO: Last Summer Weekend at the Lake 2021 / Max the Axe – “Pygmy Blowdart”

Now that the new Max the Axe EP, Oktoberfest Cheer, has been released, I am happy to present to you their new never-before-heard original “Pygmy Blowdart”.  Lead singer Eric Litwiller stressed to me (more than once) “I did not write the lyrics”.

Video footage was taken the last weekend of August, but held on to until I could use some fresh new Max music.  Check out “Pygmy Blowdart” and let Max and Meat know what you think of this new tune in the comments below!

 

Available at Encore Records.

REVIEW: Max the Axe – Oktoberfest Cheer (2021 EP)

MAX THE AXE – Oktoberfest Cheer (2021 EP)

Pandemics suck, but last year Max the Axe began working on a remedy.  Three new songs — one cover, two originals — and a new EP called Oktoberfest Cheer!  With this year’s Bavarian festival just around the corner, Max is ready to rock your beerhallen.  It’s the second release with the same lineup:  Mike Koutis (Max the Axe) – lead guitar, Eric Litwiller (Uncle Meat) – lead vocals, Mike Mitchell – lead bass and Dr. Dave Haslam — lead drums.  It’s a much more punk rock affair than the last album Status Electric.  Perhaps it’s even a concept record about intoxication!

Opening with the original “Pygmy Blow Dart”, Max sounds like Queens of the Stone Age jonesing for a smoke.  Litwiller is in full Homme mode with the groove of the Axe behind him.  “I think I’m going downtown, looking for some dope.”  Ah, the quaint pre-legalization setting!  By the end, the band is in a singalong, looking for some smoke.  “Round and round, and round and round…”  Hey guys…check the local dispensary!  There’s one on every corner now.  Great bass solo in the middle, right before Max rips on the six string.  Fans of the last album will love it.

The Black Flag cover “Thirsty and Miserable” is outstanding, full-on punkfied Max.  Definitely some influence from Lemmy’s version of “Thirsty and Miserable” too.  This track kicks and Litwiller sounds legit.  They could play it two or three times in a row and you wouldn’t get bored.

Finally the punk-inflected EP ends with the title track “Oktoberfest Cheer!”, a song destined to be a seasonal hit.  Feather in cap, beer on tap…October is here so raise up that beer!  You can picture the festhallen going mad for this October anthem.  This is the clear hit, frantic and haggard as it may be.  Adorned with festive accordion, it’s punk rock unlike any other.  You can play it year after year…or in August.  Don’t crush my smokes, don’t spill my beer!

The great thing about this EP is that it’s under 10 minutes in true punk fashion and perfect for repeat plays.

Kitchener knows.

5/5 stars

 

 

2nd Sunday Screening: 4 Max the Axe videos for you!

It’s a long weekend in Canada and I chose to spend my Saturday going through video footage on my hard drive.  Every Sausagefest I take a lot of video and most of it never gets used.  What I discovered was that I had a lot of fun footage that just needed to find a home.

At the same time, I have been making videos for Max the Axe songs, so I can use them on the LeBrain Train.  I like having music videos to play so we can take breaks, and I need things that won’t set off copyright strikes.  All of this footage I’m discovering is helping me kill two birds with one stone.  Or, as Ricky might say, get two birds stoned at once.

“Gods On the Radio” is the first one I made, for the Friday May 14th show.  It’s Max’s favourite.  It doesn’t have any previously unseen footage in it; it is just a video I made to play that night.  All the footage was simply edited down from the Sausagestfest 2019 video.  Dave Haslam approved of the editing and that inspired me to make more.

I didn’t want to keep recycling old footage that everybody has seen, so I started exploring the hard drive for “Next Plane to Vegas”, which was debuted on the Friday May 21 episode of the LeBrain Train.

One of my favourite Max songs is “Overload” from the EP of the same name.  Problem is:  it’s short.  Too short for me to play on the show and still get enough of a break to make a coffee.  So I had to extend it.  I found some cool footage of Uncle Meat singing and drumming “New Orleans Is Sinking” in 2014, accompanied by Max on backing vocals.  This served as a good intro to extend the video.  Bonus:  rare footage of Max playing bass.  60-70% of the footage has never been seen before.

Another goodie but shortie is “I Don’t Advocate Drugs” from Trillion Dollar Threats.  Mickey Straight sang this one with Max at the Boat House, so although Ted Moore is credited on the album, I used a little bit of Mickey footage that I had a few times in this clip.  The video is about 60-70% previously unseen video.

 


BONUS!

I took the most footage at Sausagefest 2015, where this video was performed.  We had multiple live bands jamming and I got video of a lot of it.  Unfortunately, the audio on most of it was completely unusable due to a problem with the camera.  Also, very few songs were captured in full, thanks to a rapidly draining battery.  I did, however, capture this unique version of “Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes, played improvisationally, on the fly.  Though wobbly at times, the vocal is solid, the bass outstanding, and the take on it is unique.  The soloing in the long outro is smokin’.  I’m glad I recorded the whole thing.  If you stay tuned to the end, you’ll hear Bucky complaining that he forgot the snare drum.  That was true.  “Seven Nation Army” and every other song that weekend was performed without a snare!  (It sounds like they were about to go into “Iron Man” at the very end.)

#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

 

Max the Axe – Rocks the LeBrain Train on a Thursday Night

We promised you tunes, and we brought the tunes!  With a special interview with the guy himself, kinda a big deal, Max the Axe!  It was not an uptite Thursday night at all.  This loosey-goosey interview covers Max’s discography and history as an independent musician for over three decades.  Find out about his origins, see rare photographs, and watch the band play live!  We even get to look at the cover art and title of the new EP.  (Added bonus:  running commentary by drummer Dr. Dave.)

Straight outta lockdown, Max the Axe jammed together again for the first time in about a year.  The lockdown session was filmed and tonight we played for you three tracks:

  1. “River Grand”
  2. “Pygmy Blowdart” (NEW SONG)
  3. “Scales of Justice”

For a band who hadn’t practised in a year, filmed on a crummy cell phone that apparently only does vertical video, these were some fine tracks.  Enjoy the show!  Rock on, Max the Axe!

 

LATER TODAY

Don’t forget – the Easter special streams April 2 at 7:00 PM E.S.T.   It’s pure nostalgia as we pull from a grab bag of great memories.  Don’t miss it!

 

*Two more unaired songs were played during the session – “Uptite Friday Night” and the new “Oktoberfest Cheer”.

REVIEW: Max the Axe – “Randy” Live at the Boathouse – VinylArt.co custom picture disc

There are plenty of services online for cutting your own music to vinyl these days.  The one that caught my eye was VinylArt.co, based out of Wales.  This company will cut picture discs with your chosen artwork and (legal) music to four sizes:  5″, 7″, 10″ and 12″.  How well does it work?  Read on to find out.

MAX THE AXE – “Randy” (Live at the Boathouse) (VinylArt.co custom picture disc)

“How many times can you say Randy?”

The first thing I need to note is that I didn’t choose a song to put on vinyl for its fidelity.  The prime factor behind me spending my money wasn’t to test the product for review, it was to make something that I wanted for myself.  It had to be something that you can’t get physically — I wanted to create my own physical product for something that only exists digitally.  In 2018, I recorded a song by Max the Axe when they played the Boathouse, and a few people commented that they liked the video.  I think the live version of “Randy” they played that night was outstanding.  It had bite and presence.  Singer Eric “Uncle Meat” Litwiller really gives his all in this version, particularly on the chorus.  I decided to turn that version, recorded on my phone, into an “official bootleg” live record.  Sound quality wasn’t even a concern in that regard.

VinyArt.co seem to market these records as keepsakes more than a way to play music.  For example, you have two packaging options:  a coloured paper sleeve, or a frame.  You don’t buy frames for records you plan on playing.  I planned on playing my Max the Axe “Randy” bootleg.  I wanted it to sound decent.  Does it?

Actually yeah.  It sounds OK for a picture disc.  There is surface noise that you can hear during the fades.  As you can see from the waveform image below, you also lose volume with a picture disc.  By nature it is not going to sound as clean as the original mp3 file that it was made from.  However VinylArt “master” the track as part of the process, and it does sound full and beefy enough for my needs.

Unaltered vinyl at top, original mp3 at bottom

It’s a very easy process.  All you have to do is upload a photo, and a track that you own (or one from their library).  Then you choose the record size.   The smaller the cheaper, but also the less music that will fit.  A 5″ record can only handle up to four minutes, so I had to go with the standard 7″ single.  The records are one-sided with a smooth white finish on the B-side.  With shipping to Canada, the whole thing cost me $55 CAD and took just over a week.  They track the whole process for you, from photo printing to audio mastering to record cutting.

Keep in mind picture discs do not typically offer the same quality as pure black vinyl, but this is something I wanted for myself as a keepsake.  The bass is nice and fat and the vocals clear as a bell.  Except for the fade-in and fade-out, which are noisy, it sounds like a vinyl record should.  About what I expected.

Now Max the Axe can boast that he has been bootlegged to vinyl, and a decent one at that.  I can claim to own the only copy in existence, a limited edition of one!  The rarest record in my collection.

VinylArt.co aren’t going to make your music sound better than the source material, but it will sound like vinyl.  Your music, on a playable picture disc!  I plan on ordering something from them again, so if repeating a sale is a way to judge a company, then VinylArt gets the passing grade.  And so does Max the Axe!

4/5 stars

#765: “Three Yolks, Two Whites”… The Sausagefest 2019 Story

GETTING MORE TALE #765:
“Three Yolks, Two Whites” …and One Fucked Up Tent: The Sausagefest 2019 Story

It’s better than Christmas. It’s better than birthdays. It’s more rock and roll than Lemmy snorting coke off Ozzy Osbourne’s cock. It’s Sausagefest.

We look forward to this rock and roll party every year. It is the highlight of our calendars. We meticulously plan out songs, sketches, jokes, and food. Mountains of meat, sizzling to a soundtrack of pure integrity (with a couple musical exceptions). Male companionship? More like brotherhood.

Preparation is key. I started recording bits for my Sausagefest contributions late last year. All my introductions were “finished” weeks ahead of time, which gave the rare opportunity to listen and go back and fix things that were not working.  It was worth it.  The intros were well received and Uncle Meat enjoyed the Rob Gronkowski bits that I poached from Family Guy.

Meat and I left town after lunch on Friday, and as per our new tradition, stopped at Value Village to buy new T-shirts for the party.  The more ridiculous the better, for him.  He found a stupidly bright pink shirt depicting a Dr. Aftab Patla, and for me a shirt that said “OFFICER OF ROCK” on the back.

“Should have said ‘cock’,” commented my pal Jason.

This is the kind of stuff we find funny.

It was a blazing hot Friday and as soon as I had my new tent and canopy set up, I went down to the river for the first swim of the weekend.  Many of the boys had already arrived, and our glorious leader Tom pulled in at the same time we did.

There was an issue early in the evening.  Apparently the old laptop that has been playing the Countdown ever since they did the switch to mp3 has a bad audio out jack.  The backup plan was to play the Countdown off Meat’s phone, but it refused to play the tracks in the right order.  As a team we re-numbered all the id3 tags and renamed all the tracks until his phone miraculously began to do what we needed.  All of this done in a big open field on a Samsung phone.

The legendary 100 song Countdown was inaugurated this year by Styx with “Renegade”.  We were treated to a slew of classics (Black Sabbath, the Kinks, Drive By Truckers, Queensryche, Tenacious D, etc.) and a few duds (Afroman).  There is a certain, shall we say, younger element that has grown as Sausagefest expanded.  These highly respected youngsters were responsible for voting in some pretty incredible music from rock to funk.  Where they confuse me periodically is shit like Afroman.  You will hear me ranting about the rap songs on this year’s video, included at the bottom.

Afroman was one of nine songs that were given to me to introduce.  I refused to do it; instead I ranted for a bit about being stuck with a shit song, and asked my radio buddy Erik Woods to do it.  So picture that deep radio voice announcing, “this song is called ‘She Won’t Let Me Fuck'”.

I will give the young fellas credit for one thing.  When I arrived, I found out they were already campaigning for votes to get “Beth” onto next year’s Countdown.  This is, of course, because in 2015 I had to blast the song at full volume to wake up Uncle Meat, and even that wouldn’t do it.   Personally I would love if “Beth” made the Countdown next year, as a little wink to the Meat Man, who is not a morning person.  You’ll see that in the video as well.

Max the Axe wanted to grab breakfast at the Spatula early Saturday morning.  We roused the Meat Man, who was more than a little displeased to find out we arrived before they actually opened.  I took the brunt of the blame even though it was Max (his own band leader) who wanted to go!  And this is where things go slightly sideways.

The Spatula opened just five minutes later, and Max the Axe threw a wrench into things immediately by ordering eggs with “three yolks, and two whites”.  Our server didn’t seem to be in the best of moods, having already referred to Sebastien Munier as “Mr. Tattoo” when he walked in.  Max’s order was probably not the first one she wanted to take that morning.

“I don’t understand what he wants,” she said to us.  “I’m just giving him two eggs.”  The rest of us nodded in agreement.  Three yolks and two whites?  Who the fuck orders that?

“The chefs know how to make it!” testified Max in his own defence.  “They use the leftover egg white to make Hollandaise sauce.”

I did my research on this, and just to make everything even funnier, Max got that 100% wrong.  According to every recipe I consulted, Hollandaise sauce is made with yolks, not whites!

Max ate his two eggs in peace, but we were actually a bit perturbed at a new, teeny-tiny menu.  The legendary Flesherton Fillup breakfast is gone.  So is the steak and eggs.  It’s all gone, replaced by a simplified menu where you have to build your own replica Flesherton Fillup by ordering the extra meats and add-ons yourself.

“When did you get rid of the Flesherton Fillup?” asked Meat.

“Oh, we haven’t had that in a long time,” said the server.

“We were here last year and you had it then, I’m just surprised,” said Meat.

Condescendingly she answered, “Isn’t a year a long time?”

An underwhelming breakfast couldn’t derail us, though we will consider finding a new breakfast joint next year.  Here’s a fact you didn’t know:  the legendary Max the Axe is a garage sale aficionado.  Who knew that rock stars spent their weekend mornings hitting up garage sales?  We took Max to a couple garage sales on our way back, and apparently he just missed an old quadraphonic receiver ($5.00) by about five minutes.

It was a lazy afternoon spent (mostly) in the river, socializing and playing with my new waterproof camera.  With flawless timing, Zach the Lamb Lord served up his perfectly marinated side of lamb.  He outdid himself this year, with perhaps the juiciest lamb ever cooked by anyone.

The second evening’s continuation of the Countdown rewound a bit for those of us (like me) who fell asleep early the night before.  As the sun slowly began to turn into fire behind the trees, we all listened in.  Some were cooking steaks, some playing Frisbee, with the rest of us sitting attentively around the fire.

I had four more song intros on day two.  Another radio buddy, Jason Drury, helped me out with an intro for the B-52’s “Rock Lobster”.  Jason is from Ramsgate in the UK but everybody seemed to have different ideas of where he was from.  “Who was that Australian guy?” or “Who was that Irish guy?”  Day two of the Countdown had some smoking good tunes, including surprises like “Women in Uniform”, a non-album single by Iron Maiden.  When Tom posts the full tracklist for the entire Countdown, I’ll do the same.

Sausagefest may have ended, but the next morning offered its own unique challenge:  waking up Uncle Meat.  “It’s going to be pretty difficult to spin this to make you look good,” he said pointedly, and he’s right.  I’m not asking anyone to take my side in this.  However, if you don’t think it’s funny as hell, that’s not my problem.

I had to be back in town at a certain time.  “When should I start the process of waking him up, given that I want to be home by noon?” I asked his roomate Zach.

“I’d start now,” he said bluntly.  It was 8:00 am.

I gently woke him by telling him I wanted to start getting ready to go.  He could nap a bit longer but I would eventually need his help taking down the canopy.  I put on Kiss Alive II and toiled on packing up my stuff.  I stopped the album a couple times while I was working, but when “Beth” came on, I did what I had to do.  I blasted it for him.  This was his alarm clock.

I waited a while longer, asked some advice.  I shook his tent a little and told him to get up.  An anonymous man (who has an excellent real first name) suggested I remove a couple of the tentpoles.  That seemed reasonable.  It didn’t do much though.  I gave it a little more time, and then removed the final two tentpoles.  Meat lay there motionless.

“Is there anyone even in there?” someone asked.  Oh, he was in there.  Trust me.

“Maybe now you should take the top of the tent off,” said a second anonymous man.  Unnecessary.

Like an animal trapped in a net, first an arm thrust forth.  It failed to penetrate the tent.  Then an unsuccessful leg kicked up.  Then another arm, and another leg.  Then, as the frenzy built, the tent transformed into a ball of limbs, trying to smash their way through.  If you stuck that crazy rat from Stranger Things 3 in a bag, it would have looked a lot like Meat in his tent.  We watched the activity from a distance, guffawing so loudly that I have never come so close to actually piss myself laughing.  I could feel a bead of pee forming.  The futile struggle to open the tent, from a safe orbit, was simultaneously pants-wettingly funny and tear-forming sad!  Max was the first to have mercy on Uncle Meat, and opened the tent for him.

Because I gave him the tent, he threw one of the tent poles into the forest in retaliation.  That’s OK; I have lots of spares!

He was justifiably mad.  So was Chuck, for me blasting “Beth” at a still fairly early hour.  These people don’t get it.  You cannot go anywhere with Uncle Meat when you want to, unless you take extreme measures.  You are at the mercy of his whims, his hangover, and his appetite for cigarettes.  Oh sure, he’ll keep you laughing the whole way home (at least when his voice isn’t completely fucked) but actually getting him packed and into the vehicle is its own entire movie to itself.  The Sausagefest spinoff movie would have to be called Bedsheet Puptent:  The Waking of Meat.

I got home 30 minutes earlier than I had to be, which was fucking perfect.  So, thank you Meat for not bearing a grudge, but I got home in excellent time.  Thank you for your cooperation!  I cheered him up by messing with Dave Haslam on the way home, in the car behind us.  That put the smile back on Meat’s face.  Even though Haslam was completely innocent in all this, he had to pay the price to get Meat back in a good mood.

It was actually a nice ride home, spent listening to a soundboard bootleg from Iron Maiden’s Matter of Life and Death tour.  “That was their best album since Seventh Son“, he said.  I claimed Somewhere in Time.  It matters not.  It was a great listen, even though a few days earlier Meat was complaining about a live Kiss show sounding “too bootleggy”.

It was an awesome Fest, but aren’t they all?  I’ve never experienced a dud.  Our most excellent host and his companions in the shenanigans put on a great show every year.  Stay tuned for the full Countdown.  Until then, enjoy the video which captures the flavour of the Fest.  See how many songs you recognize from the Countdown!

 

REVIEW: Max the Axe – Trillion Dollar Threats (2010)

MAX THE AXE – Trillion Dollar Threats (2010 Mutant Music)

Max the Axe’s stellar new album Status Electric didn’t pop out of thin air.  Before he nailed it with that CD, Max had five prior releases.  Status Electric included a couple songs from the previous album Trillion Dollar Threats.  “River Grand” was vastly improved with Eric “Uncle Meat” Litwiller’s vocals.  Though it’s no Status ElectricTrillion Dollar Threats is still an entertaining slab of rock.

Trillion Dollar Threats features a variety of players.  There are several singers:  Geoff Dyke, Ted Moore, John Kelly, Mickey Straight, Ted Guirey, and Eric Litwiller.  That’s almost enough singers to staff the entire career of Black Sabbath!  Over the 16 tracks, there’s not a lot of cohesiveness, but there is a lot of rock.

“Overload” is a heavy-as-fuck opener, 80s thrash metal through and through.  It’s all about that chug, but the vocals seem like an afterthought.  “Guns to Iran” takes a spoken word approach, over a heavy riff, but when the singer (Geoff Dyke) attempts to sing…it ain’t good.  Mickey Straight improves things immediately on “Daddy Was a Murderin’ Man”.  There’s some punk rock in Max the Axe and this is where it comes out (guitar solo notwithstanding).  Maybe a little Faster Pussycat or LA Guns too.

Max is the master of the chugging heavy metal guitar.  “Labyrinth” has that, before meandering around a few different bits.  It’s a good groove that could use some editing.  “I Don’t Advocate Drugs” has a good riff coupled with entertaining lyrics.  For more amusement, there’s “Belljar Party”, the story of stuff going missing after a party.  “Whoever it was, they took my Walkman too.”  Other cool tracks include the spacey “Mutant Mind”, “Livin’ the Country”, and “Mexican Standoff”.

According to Litwiller, “Uptite Friday Night” is the exact same version as the one on Status Electric.  That’s OK because the sloppy drunk vibe is perfect.  The original “River Grand”  has Terry Guirey singing, but although this is the blueprint the Litwiller version is clearly better.  He took it in a more grungy Alice in Chains direction.

Look at Trillion Dollar Threats as a stepping stone to Status Electric.  All the band members (Max, Eric, Dave Haslam and Mike Mitchell) are there on one track or another.  Status Electric couldn’t be as great as it is without Trillion Dollar Threats laying the groundwork.  It needed to be cut down from 16 tracks (way too much for most albums), and some of the tracks need some tightening, but there is some decent rock on Trillion Dollar Threats.  If you like metal in the retro style, there will be plenty of riffs here for you to digest.

3/5 stars