“Look, if I see things as being f*cked, I’m gonna tell you they’re f*cked. I can’t sit there any say, ‘Oh, everything’s nice because I’ve got a new Porsche.” – Lemmy

1986 was such a landmark year for metal already that a new Motorhead album must have seemed like extra icing on a dense, heavy cake. But at the time, it was the first studio effort from Lemmy and friends in three years–a long time for them!

Assuming they spent all that time just drinking and writing, the effort really shows: the songs on Orgasmatron are some of the band’s finest…and angriest.

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2016 was not off to a good start for us headbangers with Lemmy Kilmister’s passing, but I am happy and proud to say that this latest Megadeth statement helped jerk me out of my mourning phase.
More than thirty years into their career, Megadeth has managed to craft one their stronger all-time records. As the excellent cyborg-apocalypse album art shows, the band has its finger on the fear and anger over the state of our world in 2016, with strong, tight, relevant music to match.

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Dream Theater – Metropolis Pt 2,Scenes From A Memory (1999)

The cinematic, extravagant metal album of the year 1999, the close of the century.

It’s hard enough to create just one new paradigm of progressive, heavy music…but two?

Interestingly enough, Scenes From A Memory would not have happened without the difficulties of the prog metal giants’ previous record to this, 1997’s Falling Into Infinity. On that record, there was stressful label interference and a generally difficult writing and recording process. Among other things, it meant that shorter, more accessible songs would be the focus, at the expense of longer tracks. Clearly, the suits believed nobody liked progressive music anymore because everyone has ADD. Some things never change.

One of those “it’s too long, scrap it” tracks that didn’t make the cut for Falling Into Infinity was “Metropolis, Pt. 2.”

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August 2002 would seem a strange time to release a record so steeped in the eerie beauty of winter as The Mantle. But released it was, and fans were treated to an ambitious 70-minute winter landscape set to metal music. Even the term “metal” is used very loosely here, so varied are the songs. With generous sections of strummed acoustic guitars, folk instruments and ambient sounds, Agalloch is sometimes deemed to be a progressive band. Even the most straightforward metal-type song here, “I Am the Wooden Doors,” still indulges in twin acoustic guitar backdrops and solos to go along with its double-bass drum attack and rasping black metal vocals. To me, the doors symbolize the stoutness of the human spirit, a break in the overall wintry melancholy of The Mantle.

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I wrote this in late 2015, only a few weeks before Lemmy passed away. I have left it unedited since then, as a tribute to memories of a better time when he still walked and rocked this earth. Godspeed.

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The Fallen – Lemmy Kilmister

December 29, 2015 — 1 Comment

I originally planned to take the rest of 2015 off from writing so I could plan Head of Metal’s 2016 year ahead.

But I cannot, and will not, avoid the death of yet another one of my favorite musicians. As saddened and pained as I am today at the news, I have to quite literally force myself to sit down and write for the first time with the knowledge that my buddies and I will never get to see another Motorhead show.

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Coming up with a truly definitive heavy metal album (that most headbangers can generally agree upon) is a dastardly difficult thing to do. It’s difficult because of the rich variety of sounds falling under the metal umbrella, and also because of metalheads’ passionate loyalty to their favorites.

That being said, in all the discussions I’ve had over “the” metal album, I have found minimal resistance to this album, “The Number of the Beast,” taking the prize. That’s the kind of power this album has.

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Ah, I remember when this came out,” my dad observed when this live document arrived in the mail. “When Deep Purple played in Japan, that was unheard of for the time…they were huge.”

Recorded over 3 nights in August 1972 in Osaka and Tokyo, “Made In Japan” is sometimes considered to be metal’s first great live offering, even before Japan hosted Judas Priest for “Unleashed In The East.” It was Deep Purple’s most beloved lineup at the height of its live prowess, raw and distorted but also with a degree of technicality and precision that continues to inspire live acts today.

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