Tag Archives: Requiem Metal Podcast

017 Alice in Chains


They're so metal, they even have a patch for your denim vest, dude.

We love Alice in Chains! And we were so inspired by Requiem Metal Podcast’s Alice in Chains Episode 164 that we wanted to do our own tribute to Layne Staley and the boys. Consider this a companion to the Requiem episode, and we guarantee that there’s no overlap in songs. AIC was the most metal of the Seattle grunge bands, naturally, and deserve lots of love from Metal Urges!

Look, ma!  A cassette tape!  How does that even work?!

Look, ma! A cassette tape! How does that eve work?!

“Whatcha Gonna Do (Demo),” 1999’s Music Bank (originally from 1988’s Treehouse Tapes)
The band was first called Diamond Lie before changing it to Alice ‘N Chains. Treehouse Tapes was AIC’s third demo as a band but their first as Alice in Chains (the band was called Alice ‘N Chains on the first two demos)—and their first to feature the classic line-up of Layne Staley (vocals), Jerry Cantrell (guitar), Mike Starr (bass), and Sean Kinney (drums), Four of the eight cuts were compiled on 1999’s Music Bank box set, and our pick, “Whatcha Gonna Do,” shows Staley’s obvious worship of Guns ‘N Roses’ Axl Rose (maybe Alice ‘N Chains was titled after G’NR?).

Facelift

“It Ain’t Like That” and “Love, Hate, Love,” Facelift (1990, Columbia)
The band’s debut album, Facelift, went gold after the video for “Man in the Box” went into heavy rotation on MTV. They opened the Clash of the Titans tour for Anthrax, Megadeth, and Slayer and also opened for Van Hagar on their For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge tour. Sadly, AIC lost their Best Hard Rock Grammy to Van Halen that year, mimicking a hauntingly similar upset during 1989’s Grammy Awards when Jethro Tull’s Crest of a Knave won over Metallica’s far superior …And Justice For All.

“Right Turn,” Sap EP (1992, Columbia)
This acoustic EP was an interesting shift for the band, released at the same time when Nirvana’s Nevermind was at the top of the charts, thus augmenting their grunge cred. It featured contributing Seattle mega-stars: Heart’s Ann Wilson, Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell, and Mudhoney’s Mark Arm. “Right Turn” was credited to Alice Mudgarden in the liner notes because of Cornell and Arm’s vocals. AIC were featured as the bar band in Cameron Crowe’s 1992 movie Singles, and they recorded the classic “Would?” for its soundtrack.

Dirt Image

“Rain When I Die” and “Dam That River,” Dirt (1992, Columbia)
This was a busy year for the band: after mega-success with the Sap EP and Singles, they released their sophomore album Dirt, which turns out to be their defining album. It sold quadruple platinum and is the most popular album of their career. Slayer’s Tom Araya lent his screams to “Iron Gland.” AIC were one of the top featured bands on the Lollapalooza summer tour in 1993 but refused to headline; Primus gladly accepted. They opened for Ozzy Osbourne on his No More Tears tour. Bassist Mike Starr was having drug problems, so he was replaced by Ozzy bassist Mike Inez.

“What the Hell Have I? (Remix),” 1999’s Music Bank (from 1993’s Last Action Hero)
This was a predominantly metal soundtrack to Ahnold Schwarzenegger’s box-office flop. It featured non-album tracks from Megadeth, Anthrax, Tesla, Queensrÿche, AC/DC, Def Leppard, Fishbone, Aerosmith, et al. and spawned five singles in its wake! AIC was the only band featured to have two songs—this one and “A Little Bitter”—and were the only reasons to keep the CD until both tunes were compiled on 1999’s Music Bank.

“I Stay Away,” Jar of Flies EP (1994, Columbia)
This was first EP in rock history to hit #1 on the Billboard charts. After extensive touring in support of Dirt, the band decided to return to the studio and record acoustic songs like on Sap. Jar of Flies produced AIC’s first #1 song, “No Excuses”; second single was “I Stay Away.” Their summer ’94 tour was scheduled with Metallica, Suicidal Tendencies, Danzig, and Fight, but Staley’s heroin addiction flared and the band backed out one day before the first gig; they were replaced by Candlebox, which proved to be pivotal for that band’s career.

“Again,” Alice in Chains (1995, Columbia)
Before recording this album, Staley joined Mad Season for a one-off album, Above, which featured members of Pearl Jam, Screaming Trees, and the Walkabouts. That album produced a #2 single, “River of Deceit.” Staley rejoined AIC to record their self-titled album, also called the “Tripod” album because of the three-legged dog on the cover. It debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts, though the band didn’t tour in support of this album because of Staley’s drug problems. Staley overdosed and died on April 19, 2002. Cantrell dedicates his second solo album, 2002’s Degradation Trip, to Staley.

“Check My Brain” and “A Looking in View,” Black Gives Way to Blue (Virgin, 2009)
After a few one-off shows with Comes With the Fall vocalist William DuVall, AIC begins to write brand-new material, the first without Staley at the helm. BGWTB is released in 2009 on Virgin, the band’s first non-Columbia release. “A Looking in View” and “Check My Brain” are the first two singles, respectively. Heavy touring followed, including the Blackdiamondskye tour with Deftones and Mastodon.
On March 8, 2011, former bassist Mike Starr died from a drug overdose; he had been the subject of a MTV reality show called Celebrity Rehab.

“Stone,” The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here (Columbia, 2013)
DuVall & company follow up BGWTB with The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here, back on Columbia, and the album peaked at #2 on the Billboard charts. The title is a reference to a religious belief that Satan buried dinosaur bones in the earth to confuse believers.

Devil Put Dinosaurs Here

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012 Maryland Death Fest 2013

As if Deathfest or inner city Baltimore aren't brutal enough. . .

As if Deathfest or inner city Baltimore aren’t brutal enough. . .

This year, both of us attended Maryland Deathfest to witness the metal event of the year. Not only did we join Chris Dick of Decibel for band sets, Bergers cookies, and late-night chili dogs, but we also met Mark Rudolph of Requiem Metal Podcast to talk shop about podcasting. The weather in Baltimore was unseasonably pleasant, and we all had a blast hanging out and breathing in the not-so-fetid air of the Charm City. Shout-outs to our comrades Sean Palmerston, Kevin Stewart-Panko, Gordon Conrad, Ian Christe, and Magnus Henriksson! All the following songs were played live and are in chronological order:

“Incarnated Solvent Abuse” from Carcass’ Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious (1991, Earache)

The reunited Carcass—well, Jeff Walker, Bill Steer, and the new blood—came to slay, and slay they did indeed. The godfathers of UK grindcore who pioneered the melodic death metal subgenre even have a new album, Surgical Steel, out October 1 on Nuclear Blast. Mark your calendars!

Pelican gettin' all Pink Floyd-y.

Pelican gettin’ all Pink Floyd-y.

“Ephemeral” from Pelican’s Ephemeral EP (2009, Southern Lord)

Some fans may’ve thought that post-rockers Pelican didn’t belong at MDF, but actually they added a much needed diversity to the brutal mix. I found it touching that before playing two new songs, guitarist Trevor de Brauw asked the crowd politely to refrain from recording the songs and posting them online: a heartfelt plea from a true artist. Sadly, this made even more people pull out their cells and record the proceedings!

“Skybone” from The Obsessed’s Incarnate (1999, Southern Lord)

The Obsessed, the true grandfathers of doom, formed in 1976 (!) but hadn’t played together since the band broke up around 1995. A few festival gigs and here they are in Baltimore, their first hometown gig in twenty-odd years. For all you collectors: “Skybone” was originally released on the 1991 Hellhound Records comp What the Hell! and later included on their final full-length, The Church Within (1994, Columbia/Hellhound). Wino’s long locks are graying and sophisticating as the years roll on.

When Eric eats a bannana, he becomes. . . BANANAMAN!

When Eric eats a bannana, he becomes. . . BANANAMAN!

“I Am God” from Broken Hope’s Loathing (1997, Metal Blade)

Chicago’s Broken Hope have peddled meat & potatoes death metal since 1991, to varying levels of acclaim. Critics severely panned their early albums, but 1997’s Loathing introduced a more technical style, furthered by 1999’s Grotesque Blessings. Founding throat Joe Ptacek left in 1999 and tragically died in 2010, but the band reunited with Gorgasm vocalist Damian Leski and recorded their first album in almost fifteen years, Omen of Disease, out September 30 on Century Media!

“Night Goat” from Melvins’ Houdini (1993, Atlantic)

Ahh, the Melvins…what can we say about these guys?!? We’ve loved them ever since Houdini blew our minds back in high school, regardless of how spotty or inaccessible their output has been since then. We thought that their inclusion at MDF didn’t make the most perfect sense but were glad when they stuck to their Atlantic catalog for their set list. King Buzzo dressed like a wizard for the festivities, and thankfully Dale Crover was NOT wearing only a Speedo!

“Lifer” from Down’s NOLA (1995, Elektra)

Down is Phil Anselmo’s most famous on-and-off band outside of Pantera, still going strong since 1995. Our enthusiasm for their albums has decidedly waned since the initial fireworks of NOLA, mainly due to the band’s extreme lethargy in releasing albums (usually 5-7 years between them, due to the obligations of the members’ main bands). Yet they released the new Down IV Part I – The Purple EP last year, and it wasn’t half bad. We just wish Pepper Keenan would rejoin COC and set them straight!

“Independent” from Sacred Reich’s Independent (1993, Hollywood)

Straight-up thrash from Phoenix, Sacred Reich was an early signing to Metal Blade in 1987, and major-label Hollywood Records picked them up for only one album, 1993’s Independent. We feel that the Reich hasn’t received a whole lotta love over the years, so we were very pleased with their very enthusiastic reception at MDF. As bassist/vocalist Phil Rind commented during their set, “You younger fans don’t know that we used to a cool band. Now we’re just fat!”

“Dragonaut” from Sleep’s Sleep’s Holy Mountain (1993, Earache)

Since 1991, San Francisco’s infamous Sleep have been the progenitors of stoner doom alongside Kyuss and Monster Magnet. They’re also one of the only metal bands that’ve released only one truly great album before breaking up, the pioneering 1993’s Sleep’s Holy Mountain, which spawned numerous sound-alikes. Check out the original video for “Dragonaut” here [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-FjO3E8K-E].

“Road of Kings” from Manilla Road’s Open the Gates (1985, Black Dragon)

Three crucial game-changing points to remember about Manilla Road: (1) their hometown is the awesome Midwest burg of Wichita, Kansas; (2) they began crafting their cult traditional metal sound in 1981, while most of their fans were still sucking their thumbs; and (3) they’ve released a whopping 18 official albums! The MDF crowd was visibly stoked to see these guys, especially founding guitarist/vocalist Mark ‘The Shark’ Shelton, now 56 years young and rocking like he was a teenager!

You're never too old to play guitar either.

You’re never too old to play guitar either.

“Treat Me Right” from Pentagram’s Last Rites (2011, Metal Blade)

If you haven’t seen the recent documentary Last Days Here about Bobby Leibling’s return to metal, please binge-stream it on Netflix asap. The elder statesman of Sabbath-inspired doom, Leibling was late as usual, but this crowd didn’t mind as they gave this 60-year-old metalhead an ear-splitting ovation as he shuffled onstage. Bug-eyed Bobby aimed to please with fan faves like “Be Forewarned,” “Livin’ in a Ram’s Head,” “20 Buck Spin” (which inspired the record label of the same name), and of course “Forever My Queen.”

“Black Metal” from Venom’s Black Metal (1982, Neat)

We’ve never quite understood the appeal of England’s Venom. They’re known for extremely influential proto-thrash that started as the NWOBHM movement was ebbing. They coined the term “black metal” as the title of their 1982 album and inevitably named an entire metal subgenre/movement. They formed in 1979, before most of their fans were born. But when Cronos took the stage to the fathoms-deep bellows of the MDF crowd, we understood everything. This is metal, after all.

Look:  RequiemMetalUrgesPodcast.

Look: RequiemMetalUrgesPodcast.

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