Question Of The Week: Glory’s Hole
Oh hi there! Nice to see u here at MetalSucks Question Of The Week! Here’s a pre-question: Have u ever been at a packed concert, kinda shifting your weight from foot to foot, waiting nervously for the sure-to-be exciting show to begin? And as time crawls by, a guy nearby asks his bud, “Hey have u seen ’em since with their new singer? Hope they’re still good.” And only in your head are u bold enough to state that this famous, revered band is much better without the previous guy. (In fact, he might’ve been a bummer, a problem, and a one-note performer.) But to share that opinion would be to court disdain and violence cuz that old guy was the guy, a key piece of a huge band’s glory line-up, totally irreplaceable. Or was he? Let’s hash it all out in today’s MS QOTW! Don’t be afraid; this is a safety zone! lol
Inspired by summer festival season and its circuit of reshuffled bands, we asked our staff the following:
Say, is there any band of which u prefer their non-glory line-up?
Ugh that is some clunky wording :) Please send your QOTW suggestions to Anso (at) MetalSucks.net
I’m not sure who was in The True Mayhem. It had a revolving door of Norse misanthropes — Necrobutcher, Manheim, Hellhammer, the aptly-named Dead, this guy from Burzum playing session bass, and more — along with Hungarian grumbler Attila Csihar. The one constant was riffmaster general Euronymous, whose ominous, re-purposed Bathory guitars spawned countless imitators and admirers. But while I respect early (and beloved) Mayhem, my beloved Mayhem records came after Euronymous and with new guitarist Blasphemer (AKA Rune Eriksen). Chimera (2004) is a marble slab of Wagnerian riffs; its songs are great enough to draw attention away from Maniac’s dying-cat vocals. And 2007’s Ordo ad Chao, which could be Mayhem’s swan song (though not Swan Song), is among their best: Blasphemicksen weaves prog at its most complex and offputting, Hellhammer keeps epically perfect time beneath, and its beautifully schizophrenic vocals mark the return of Csihar — who had last played on 1997’s De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. And like that album, Ordo is a great example of Mayhem’s greatness: First Euronymous laid the framework for decades of black metal lesser-thans, then Blasphemer built on it and created something else to emulate. Whether or not black metal has caught up is debatable. But latter-day Mayhem sounds like a fully-formed band instead of sounding like teenagers taking themselves too seriously (and killing each other). Mayhem is pretty much a live-only festival act now, a grim version of the Pixies. But out of the ashes of what they once were came something far better. It seems like the whole point of black metal now is to point out how that’s wrong.
Yeah, for sure — Anthrax. I prefer John Bush to Joey Belladonna, and truth be told, I have never missed Dan Spitz (although the solos he contributed to Sound of White Noise are awesome). I make absolutely no secret about the fact that I prefer Bush (or almost anyone, really) to Belladonna — I’ve written about it many times on this site and even once said as much to Anthrax’s publicist. My favorite Anthrax albums are Sound of White Noise and We’ve Come For You All. And though I acknowledge that on the whole, Anthrax made more good albums during the Belladonna years (I doubt that Stomp 442 is anyone’s favorite ‘Thrax release), I prefer the Belladonna songs as sung by Bush. Seriously, The Greater of Two Evils features the only re-recordings in metal history that were a good idea. (Belladonna can’t do the same justice to Bush-era material.) The bottom line is that Belladonna’s voice sounds pinched and whiney on his best day, and that day was 25 years ago. Bush made Anthrax sound like they actually had a pair. I will forever pine for his return.
Uhhh, in my sappier moments I sort of prefer Van Hagar. My favorite cheesy VH song is “Why Can’t This Be Love,” plus anyone who adores tequila is all right by me. Sure, classic VH has the superior songs by far — but for pure, corny, feel-ridiculously-sentimental-and-a-little-bittersweet times, 5150 can’t be beat. I’d never say no to mas Hagar.
I wouldn’t say I prefer any “non-glory” lineup, but I have an attachement to Ripper Priest. They were one of the first metal shows I ever went to, and damn if Ripper didn’t hit all the notes perfect. If you had put a blindfold on me, I woulda said it was Halford himself! It was in a small club in McAllen, TX, but they still had the motorcycle come out during “Hell Bent for Leather.” Pale imitation? I was too young to know better. Demolition was a weird record too — Priest trying to modernize without becoming nu. Not a classic, but not entirely worth dismissing.
Two bands come to mind here, both of whose “glory line-ups” were altered by a change of vocalist. The first is Cannibal Corpse; I much prefer George “Corpegrinder” Fisher’s vocals to those of Chris Barnes. But the more controversial one is The Haunted. The Dolving albums are all decent, but the two featuring Marco Aro on throat (The Haunted Made Me Do It, One Kill Wonder) are far superior records, with better riffs, lyrics, and atmospheres than anything else the band has done. Plus, a band as fierce as the Haunted doesn’t need some crooning, squawking frontman. They need a growler. Listen to “DOA” and tell me I’m wrong.
When the singer of Foreigner reached the age of decrepitude around 2005, he did me the awesome favor of being replaced by singer Kelly Hansen, formerly of ’80s hair metal also-rans Hurricane. Hansen is such a superstud, a jolly onstage presence, and a merciless assassin on the mic — but his post-1991 profile was near zero. (I rejoiced in 2000 when I spotted him in the credits of the second album by Slash’s Snakepit.) So like two years ago I accidentally encountered him fronting the all-unoriginal Foreigner (founding guitarist Mick Jones plays um “select” dates) and holy shitballz Hansen killed “Feels Like The First Time” … then laid down on its corpse and fucked it. It was amazing — even on TV (below at 7:45)! So after like three decades of Foreigner indifference, I now care deeply about their official (and overqualified) tribute band. And all thanks to hair metal! Weird!
DAVID LEE ROTHMUND
Ih’ll tell hew hwat: It’s not like I prefer the non-Dino Cazares flavor of Fear Factory — Archetype and Transgression — but they are no better or worse than yes-Dino Fear Factory. You still get the sick machine-gun riffage and mechanical drumming that makes Fear Factory … well, Fear Factory. They kind of exist beyond themselves, you know, like how The Ocean can maintain consistency even with an ever-shifting lineup. But even so, Fear Factory’s newest two releases (as well as Dino’s side project, Divine Heresy) are wicked sweet and raw. Throwbacks to an earlier age, or so they feel. It kind of makes Dino’s hiatus irrelevant, but nevertheless Fear Factory can exist on without him, riding that wave of detuned triplet massacres and cringe-worthy clean-sung choruses. Works for me!