2007 – A Look at the Year Ahead
Vince and Axl now remember fondly how stoked they were this time last year about all the big releases set for 2006- a little KSE here, some Trivium there, perhaps a dash of LoG? But with new releases from Metallica, Megadeth, Shadows Fall and Chimaira – to name but a few- 2007 is poised to make 2006 seem about as metal as a Hall & Oates concert. To that end, we recently let the boys outta their cages, fed ‘em some pot brownies, and let them sit around and ruminate on some of the discs they’re most excited about in the coming year.
Axl Rosenberg: First of all, THREE of the “big four” have new albums coming out. The one everyone will be talking about, of course, is…
Vince Neilstein: This one could be hugely amazing but will more likely be hugely disappointing. Like that cute puppy who bites you or that bitch that steals your heart every time, you hope the next time is going to be different but it never is!
Axl Rosenberg: Every time there’s a new Metallica album coming out, the band and their publicity team start going around, reminding everyone how important they are to the history of metal- and it’s always to get us psyched up for some piece of shit. This is the second album in a row where they’ve sworn they’re going “back to our roots,” so as much as I enjoyed watching them play MASTER OF PUPPETS in its entirety this Summer, it strikes me as a ploy. I want this album to be good so badly I can taste it, but Metallica are the George Lucas of metal- they’re just raping their fans’ dreams and memories at this point.
Vince Neilstein: Who is singing?
Axl Rosenberg: Joey Belladonna [yawns].
Vince Neilstein: Going to be completely irrelevant. Next.
MEGADETH, UNITED ABOMINATIONS
Axl Rosenberg: I kinda dug the last album, but the new song, “Gears of War,” sucks.
Vince Neilstein: Going to be mostly irrelevant. Next!
Vince Neilstein: Going to be fucking solid, probably their career best. This record will do for them what SACRAMENT did for Lamb of God- it will combine their trademark sound with a slightly more accessible jive that more people can relate to, propelling them onto a much higher plateau.
Axl Rosenberg: I dunno if it’ll be their best, only because I find their last album so complex and rewarding I have a hard time believing they’ll top it- but hey, that’s what I said about Mastodon before I actually heard BLOOD MOUNTAIN.
Axl Rosenberg: I think we both agree things don’t look good for Lajon and the boys.
Vince Neilstein: Agreed. It will be good, with hummable songs, but it won’t deliver lasting power that brings you back again and again.
SHADOWS FALL, THREADS OF LIFE
Vince Neilstein: This is going to kick ass. I have no doubt that Shadows Fall will only change their formula to IMPROVE their sound rather than compromise it. I have faith that these dudes will bring the metal and refine their sound even more without selling out. Press sounds positive that Atlantic is taking a “hands off” approach.
Axl Rosenberg: I agree. It’s their major label debut so obviously there’s a lot at stake, but I don’t expect the Shads to let us down.
MACHINE HEAD, THE BLACKENING
Axl Rosenberg: Rumor is there’s nothing under 10 minutes on the whole disc. Should at least be worth a spin, even if they have a shoddy track record.
Vince Neilstein: Having never been any more than marginally impressed with this band, I don’t have my hopes up. But I’m definitely open to hear what they can bring.
Axl Rosenberg: Now THIS is a fucking supergroup. It’s also Anselmo’s first recording since Dimebag died…
Vince Neilstein: This is a toughie. I’m going to have to abstain here. Phil Anselmo could bring it like a fucking dropkick to the face, or he could sound like a drunk, stoned, burnt out southerner. True about Dime, though; that will be interesting.
Vince Neilstein: The “make it or break it” album. Either they’ll continue their gradual (and slow) upward ascent, or they’ll be relegated to metal obscurity forever.
Axl Rosenberg: I’m pretty optimistic about this one. I think worst case scenario is that they’ll turn out to be one of those bands with no real growth from album to album- but they’ll still rock pretty fuckin’ hard.
Vince Neilstein: Fair enough.
Axl Rosenberg: You never got into Otep, right?
Vince Neilstein: Not really, couldn’t give an informed opinion about them.
Axl Rosenberg: The thing, I wanna get excited about the new disc, because their first album, SEVAS TRA (read it backwards), was pretty much the only decent example of rap metal in the post-Limp Bizkit era; it was like spoken word Slipknot. But the last disc, HOUSE OF SECRETS, was like 70% ambient noise and Otep Shamaya poetry and only 30% metal. Granted, what was there was pretty sweet- having Joey Jordison guesting on drums didn’t hurt- but they’re gonna need to win me back with this one.
NINE INCH NAILS, TBD
Axl Rosenberg: Trent recently gave an interview where he stated that on the last disc, for the first time in his career, he encountered no resistance from the record label. On the new album, he claims, he’s ready for a fight. That bodes well to me.
Vince Neilstein: Likely to do well only because of the legions of fans that will buy NIN no matter what. This is a pure cult act at this point selling only to the fans. The album will probably be decent but is unlikely to expand Trent Reznor’s audience.
MARILYN MANSON, TBD
Axl Rosenberg: Man, this poor guy has something to prove. And I say that as a huge fan of his past work. Everyone seems to see him as a joke now. If he doesn’t release something killer, he’s fucked… Might be time for him to give Jeorde White (a.k.a. Twiggy Ramirez) a call.
Vince Neilstein: It’s a sell to the fans, see: NIN above. Though I’m not sure Manson’s fans will prove quite as loyal as Reznor’s, he should do OK within his genre, but is unlikely to expand much or change it up a whole lot. I’d have to agree that he has something to prove here.
Axl Rosenberg: I’m taking a wait and see approach to this one. I think you nailed it the other day- it’s gonna entirely depend upon who they get to replace Peter.
Vince Neilstein: I think it’s safe to say that whoever replaces Peter will not have a hand, or will hardly have any hand, in writing. The new guy never does. So I think it’s entirely up to what the other 4 guys can accomplish.
GOD FORBID, TBD
Axl Rosenberg: This album will kick ass. ‘Nough said.
Vince Neilstein: Absolutely. Next!
SMASHING PUMPKINS, TBD
Vince Neilstein: Very hard to say. If Billy Corgan continues on his oddball path, I think this could be special. If he tries to “bring back” the old Pumpkins sound, I’m fearful. It will depend if Iha and D’Arcy come back, and, if so, what they offer to the writing process.
Axl Rosenberg: Roy Thomas Baker is producing and he’s a legend, but I don’t see any way that this album won’t suck. Corgan is so anxious to get it out he announced it and started recording without even a full line-up in place… that reeks of desperation to me. This is a money grab by a washed up rock star seeking former glory.
OZZY OSBOURNE, TBD
Vince Neilstein: I don’t have my hopes up. I respect his desire to continue writing, but I don’t think he can ever top NO MORE TEARS, even with Zakk in full control.
Axl Rosenberg: The good news is, he’s writing with Zakk again. The bad news is, he’s writing with Zakk again.
At this point, we tried to get Vince and Axl to duke it out over the two conspicuous absences from this list- the new Velvet Revolver album, which may or may not be called LIBERTAD, and GN’R’s long awaited CHINESE DEMOCRACY. Alas, we had no success- Vince crawled under the table to take a nap while Axl starting throwing his own feces at his handlers. We’ll have to save the rest of this conversation for another time…