Van Halen (Epic 2017 #342)

The Epic 2017 Project #342: 171208

Van Halen (1978)

In 1976, Van Halen started recording demos for their first studio album. Although they’d recorded a demo in 1976 with Gene Simmons, no labels discovered these until the following year. Guitarist Eddie Van Halen was not convinced of the quality of the material because they could not make the recordings with their own equipment. Simmons had to leave to tour with Kiss after recording the demos, but said he would make an effort to get Van Halen a record deal after his tour.

After recording the demos, Van Halen were offered several concerts. At a sold-out show in their hometown, Pasadena, the group’s future manager, Marshall Berle, discovered the band. He and musical entrepreneur Kim Fowley paired them with punk rock band Venus and the Razorblades for a gig at the Whisky a Go Go in Los Angeles. Well received here, the band gained the attention of Mo Ostin and Ted Templeman of Warner Bros. Ostin and Templeman were impressed with the band’s performance at the Starwood, and Van Halen went to sign a contract with Warner Bros.

The recordings of their debut album began in October 1977 and lasted only three weeks. Together with producer Ted Templeman, the album was mostly recorded live. Although “Runnin’ with the Devil”, “Jamie’s Cryin'”, “Feel Your Love Tonight” and “Ice Cream Man” contain guitar overdubs.

The subsequent tour to promote album sales began with the band opening for Journey, along with Montrose, in the United States. They later opened for Black Sabbath in Europe and in the U.S.

 

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Skindred – Roots rock riot (Epic #295)

The Epic 2017 Project #295: 171022

Skindred – Roots rock riot (2007)

Skindred hail from Newport in Wales and were formed in 1998. They rather uniquely blend heavy metal and reggae to produce their own take on alternative rock.

They are well known for their energetic and involving live performances, and have won several awards including “Best Live Band” at the 2011 UK Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards and the “Devotion Award” at the 2011 Kerrang! Awards.

Roots Rock Riot was their second album

The Scorpions – Blackout (Epic #288)

The Epic 2017 Project #288: 171015

The Scorpions – Blackout (1982)

Blackout was the eighth studio album by German rock band Scorpions, released in 1982 on EMI Records Germany and Mercury Records.

After losing his voice during the writing of the album, lead singer Klaus Meine had to undergo surgery on his vocal cords and it was uncertain whether he would be able to record it. Demos of the material were recorded with singer Don Dokken as lead singer; however none of those recordings are featured on the album.

In Kerrang! issue 12, Rudolf Schenker said that he could not choose between his guitar solos on “China White”, so the US and European releases differed in this small detail.

A self-portrait of artist Gottfried Helnwein is featured on the cover of the album. Rudolf Schenker portrays this character in the “No One Like You” music video.

The RIAA certified Blackout Gold on 24 June 1982 and Platinum on 8 March 1984.

“China White” was used as entrance music for the professional wrestling tag team The Skyscrapers in World Championship Wrestling.

But here’s the albums title track…

Rage Against the Machine (Epic 2017 #248)

The Epic 2017 Project #248: 170905

Rage Against the Machine (1992)

This was the self-titled debut from Rage Against the Machine released on November 3, 1992. It went to No.1 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart, No.45 on the Billboard 200 chart and No.17 on the UK albums charts.

“Know Your Enemy” features Tool vocalist Maynard James Keenan on “additional vocals”, and also features Jane’s Addiction drummer Stephen Perkins on trashcan percussion. Keenan occasionally appeared onstage with the band to perform the song. The album cover features the self-immolation of Thích Quảng Đức that occurred on June 11, 1963.

The second single release from the album was ‘Bullet in the Head’ This rapidly became a fan favorite and one of the album’s heaviest tracks. It refers to the band’s belief that the government used media to control the population, drawing comparisons between typical residences and Alcatraz. The track was transferred intact from the band’s demo, also titled Rage Against the Machine.

As well as one of the band’s most well known riffs, the song features many innovative guitar techniques by Tom Morello. These heavily use a DigiTech Whammy pitch shifter and wah-wah pedal. In the verses, Morello picks the open D and G strings on his guitar with the DigiTech Whammy in the open position to raise the pitch by two octaves. This creates a ‘sampling’ sound. Not as often heard is an unusual sound believed to be Morello picking a natural harmonic on his guitar and then raising the pitch with the Whammy pitch shifter.

Bullet in the head peaked at No.16 on the UK singles chart, albeit a very heavily censored version. Sadly, this meant that the song was often faded out by the time Zac de la Rocha got to the ante-penultimate line ‘Ya gotta a bullet in the fucking head’ and the song reached its massively powerful crescendo.

But there’s no fade here…

One Minute Silence – One lie fits all (Epic 2017 #194)

The Epic 2017 Project #194: 170713

One Minute Silence – Oner lie fits all (2003)

One Lie Fits All is the third album from One Minute Silence. It was released on 7 July 2003. Produced by John Leckie, it was the band’s last album before they announced their breakup in October 2003 and never enjoyed a supporting tour, unlike the two EP’s (Revolution and We Bounce – a two part single for “I Wear My Skin” was also released) which came during the anticipation for the album release.

The album was a marked progression from their previous rap metal style displayed on Available In All Colours (and to a lesser degree Buy Now… Saved Later which was quite similar in its toned down, more mellow vibe) the sound was much more refined and reflective in places. Although the album still had its epic tracks which the band were known for, especially live.

The album also gave One Minute Silence their highest charting single with ‘I Wear My Skin’ reaching number 44 in the UK charts.

November 17 – Defy Everything (Epic 2017 #189)

The Epic 2017 Project #189: 170708

November 17 – Defy Everything (1999)

N17 (sometimes known as November 17) were an Industrial metal band from Phoenix, Arizona, United States. Formed in 1993, they were one of the original crossover electronic/metal They released two albums and were signed to Slipdisc Records (a division of Mercury Records) until the label closed in late 1999. They were also signed to Spitfire Records until the band’s split in 2001.

The band took its name from the November 17, 1973, student uprising at Athens Polytechnic University. Twenty students were killed when Greek army tanks suppressed the protests, and the group was formed in part to retaliate against the ruling military junta.

Metallica – And justice for all (Epic 2017 #176)

The Epic 2017 Project #176: 170625

Metallica – And justice for all (1988)

Metallica released their 4th studio album “…And Justice for All” on Elektra Records in August 1988. It was the band’s first studio album to feature bassist Jason Newsted after the death of Cliff Burton in 1986. The album is musically progressive, with long and complex songs, fast tempos, and few verse-chorus structures The lyrics feature themes of political and legal injustice seen through the prisms of censorship, war, and nuclear brinkmanship.

The album’s front cover, designed by Stephen Gorman on a scheme by James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich, features a representation of Lady Justice, bound by ropes, with one breast bare and its scales tipping toward one plate filled with money. The phrase “…And Justice for All” appears spray-painted in the lower right corner. The album title is derived from the American Pledge of Allegiance. Three songs from the album were released as singles: “Harvester of Sorrow”, “Eye of the Beholder”, and “One”, while the title track was released as a promotional single.

…And Justice for All was acclaimed by music critics. It was included in The Village Voice’s annual Pazz & Jop critics’ poll of the year’s best albums, and the single “One” earned Metallica its first Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in 1990. The group’s best-selling album at the time, it was the first underground metal album to achieve chart success in the United States.