CASH TO FILL YOUR ALEHORN
This column will only have marinated a few days by August 5th, but I’d be repentant if I didn’t mention the Alehorn Of Power, Chicagoland’s premier annual metal get together. There are some important changes in this, the fourth inception, so listen up. First, different venue. Double Door hosted all three previous Alehorns, but now things move south to Cobra Lounge. This means the show, like all Cobra Lounge shows, is free. That’s a significant price reduction from $20 tickets of past.
With the good comes the bad, though. Free instead of an Andrew Jackson is good. Wednesday instead of Saturday is not. Fuck it. Yeah? It’s Alehorn Of Power! Slough Feg (above) headlines a bill that also includes Bible Of The Devil, Hammers Of Misfortune, Ludicra, Argus, and Superchrist. Show starts at 8 p.m.
MORE AUGUST SHOWS: If you heard last year’s Stormlegion (Planet Metal), you know the power of Chicago’s Kommandant. If not, consider the record one of 2008’s best you still need to discover. And if you’ve heard the album but haven’t seen the group (masterminded by former Cianide and Novembers Doom guitarist James Bres-nahan) live, you’re only getting half the experience because Kommandant kills onstage. Heed this knowledge and run out to see the band this month at either Ye Olde Town Inn in Mt. Prospect on the 7th or at
Viaduct Theatre Nite Cap in Chicago on the 21st. The latter is of particular interest because it brings Lightning Swords Of Death to town. Its Dissection-and-Watain take on USBM isn’t fully realized on its most recent release, a split with Valdur, but is certainly promising. Erik Pertl and his fellow grizzled death-metal comrades in Lord Blasphemer open . . . Pimping my own shit within the first three paragraphs? You fucking betcha! I’m excited – and honored – to have Deceased playing Metal Up Your Tap (last Saturday of every month at Red Line Tap) August 29th. If memory fails you, Deceased was the very first band signed to Relapse. That’s worth $5 alone, right? But, for a limited time only (’cause I can’t do this all day, you know), I’ll throw in Superchrist and Lansing, Michigan’s Sauron for the same low price!
SETTLING SABBATH: There are a lot of seriously shitty records in Black Sabbath’s catalog. Remember Forbidden? Tony Martin duetted with Ice-T on that record. That’s how bad it was.
Crud like Forbidden, Never Say Die!, and TYR aside, putting together a list of the definitive five Sabbath records is, like, totally hard, dude. It’s an idea I’ve been threatening for some time but never completed for a multitude of reasons, mostly laziness. It occurred to me, though, if I don’t do it this month to coincide with Heaven & Hell’s Chicago show (the 19th at Charter One Pavilion), I probably never will.
That said, behold, my Top Five Sabbath Records Of All Time. To make it interesting, and cope with the fact my opinion means little, I asked a few local Sabbath disciples to compile their own lists. Brian Lee is guitarist for the recently revived Enforcer (which after 20-something years together finally released a proper CD (Classic Chicago Metal), and Ron Holzner used to play in some band called Trouble and is currently the bassist in Earthen Grave. Any official releases – new Heaven & Hell included – were fair game.
1. Master Of Reality
2. Volume 4
4. Heaven And Hell
5. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
1. Black Sabbath
2. Live Evil
3. Master Of Reality
4. Heaven And Hell
5. Cross Purposes
1. Master Of Reality
2. Vol 4
4. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
5. All the rest of them (including the Dio and Gillian ones but not the weird Tony [Iommi] solo ones)
Lee, by far the most knowledgeable Black Sabbath person I know, threw a couple surprises in with Live Evil and Cross Purposes, the rarely mentioned 1994, post-Dio-again record. Some of you might be bewildered by my inclusion of Dehumanizer, but those who know me well will only be shocked it isn’t number one. To me, that album is the most consistent, start-to-finish, effort in the band’s history. However, that doesn’t make it the best. Holzner totally took a cop out by not actually choosing a specific album for number five, but the promptness of his e-mail reply means I can’t complain. You can, though! E-mail mosh [at] illinoisentertainer.com with your gripes about any of the above lists; make enough sense, or enough of an ass of yourself, and I’ll print it!
OLDIES BUT GOODIES: I wanted to mention White Wizzard’s High Speed GTO (Earache) in last month’s column (July 13th being the release date and all) but didn’t because Paul Speckmann had too much interesting stuff to say. Bastard. Anywho, White Wizzard sounds like Van Halen if VH emerged from 1978 London instead of 1978 Los Angeles. Of course, the fact White Wizzard hails from L.A. kinda makes a mockery of that description. This band is part of the celebrated New Wave Of Traditional Heavy Metal movement.
That whole thing seems sort of stupid to me, but if the results continue to be as riffy and catchy as High Speed GTO, I’ll keep paying attention. Here’s the thing, though: These seven songs are actually from 2007, when one James Paul Luna was the frontman. Luna now sings for rival NWOBHM-influenced L.A. act Holy Grail, which just signed with Prosthetic and features two other former WW members in drummer Tyler Meahl and guitarist James J LaRue. If you haven’t seen it already, Youtube the “High Speed GTO” music video. It’s glorious . . . Funeral Mist’s Maranatha (Southern Lord) came out way back in April, but it’s worth mentioning now because it still has me trembling in fear. FM mainman Arioch (Mortuus from Marduk) has truly captured the essence of a nightmare on this, his band’s second full-length (first in six years!). The absolute hatred and toxicity spewed from songs like “Jesus Saves” and “Living Temples” make me want to crawl in the corner and curl up in the fetal position. Shit, just writing about the album has me considering lighting my keyboard on fire to purify my home. Imagine the violation and shame Maranatha has put my stereo through.
— Trevor Fisher