State of the Blog address…..

Well, it’s 2014 and the 8 year anniversary of this website has come and gone.

Unfortunately, the last 2 or 3 years haven’t been that exciting at Heavy Metal because I just haven’t felt like writing or posting. To be honest, I became very disillusioned with the whole process of trying to write reviews of EVERYTHING that crossed my desk,  of EVERYTHING that was sent via email or traditional mail and of EVERYTHING I experienced in the glorious world of Hard Rock & Heavy Metal. The whole idea of this website was to review albums from my ever-growing personal collection, as the website got bigger and people in the business took notice, I focused more on the deadline of getting things posted rather than the sheer enjoyment of the music. I also decided that since there were so many websites and blogs dedicated to doing the same thing I do here that there was no reason to really continue head on. While I have made a few posts over the last few years, I haven’t really had the excitement to write…..until now.

I’ve been still buying albums & DVDs (or Blu-Rays) as much as I ever have been but I haven’t been going to as many concerts…..I even missed the last two KISS tours and they’re my all time favorite band! Even though I’ve been buying new and old music, thus expanding my personal collection, I’ve been selectively listening. That all changed yesterday when I watched the latest double CD/double DVD live release from Nightwish, Showtime, Storytime. I watched the live DVD and the 2 hour documentary on the bonus disc and something clicked…..maybe it was the enthusiasm of the fans in the DVD, maybe it was the music, maybe it was the band…..who knows? All I know is that I got the itch to write.

So here I am…..8 years after starting this blog…..after a 2 year hiatus of sorts…..after countless emails and submissions…..I’m ready to re-boot!

Nothing flashy is going to happen here, I’m not changing the look of the site or adding in a bunch of extras, I’m just going to try and write with no self imposed deadlines and just give my honest opinion. I am going to try and review as many releases as I can from 2012 and 2013 while trying to keep up with 2014…..I guess that’s a deadline, or a goal, of some sort  isn’t it? Either way, I expect to have more things posted here than previous years, maybe not daily as I would like, but more than I have recently.

For all those who people who emailed me regarding the 2013 Heavy Metal Addiction Awards…..they will happen, maybe sometime in late February/early March. I’m glad to see that people like that part of the site. Besides album, DVD/Blu-Ray, and concert reviews, I will still do the CD Scavenger Hunts and hopefully get back to doing Feature Weeks but the main priority is trying to be more active with writing something and being active.

Cheers to a great Metal year for 2014!

— Steve

My review of Iron Maiden Trooper Ale (a premium British beer)


OK, you see my lovely bottle of Trooper Ale, a premium British beer created by Iron Maiden, specifically Bruce Dickinson, and Robinsons Brewery, a family brewery from the Manchester town Stockport crafting brews since 1838. If you’re reading this website and are a fan of any genre of Metal, then I will assume that you know who Iron Maiden is. I will also assume that you know that Iron Maiden has a song titled ‘The Trooper’ from their 1983 album Piece Of Mind. And, of course, if you know all that, then you know that the dead soldier on the label carrying the Union Jack is Iron Maiden’s famous mascot Eddie. Basically, this beer was created because Bruce Dickinson is a beer enthusiast and the band was approached about creating their own brand of beer. It’s that simple. Bruce did his research, hired Robinsons and off they went to create beer and Metal history.

So what’s so special about Trooper Ale? Well, for me, I wanted to find out what an Iron Maiden beer would taste like and that Iron Maiden logo and Eddie label made it very easy for me to drop down $7.99 per bottle at the local liquor store. Two bottles and $16 later and I have my beer! So the only real reason I bought this was because of the band/brand. I’m not a big drinker, nor am I a beer connoisseur, but I do occasionally like to have a few brews and when I do I’m very particular about the kind I drink. I like to taste my beer, I like a dark beer with different flavors and layers… I sound like a connoisseur? Seriously, I like to drink mainly British beer with the exception of a few local New England beers. My regular beer right now is Hobgoblin, another specialty beer I pay a lot for, but it has a distinctive taste…..that’s what I’m hoping for with The Trooper.

Like I said, I enjoy dark beers and The Trooper has a nice dark amber color to it so we’re off to a good start. I don’t usually sit and smell my beer but each brand is unique and this one smells very rich…..malt, caramel, toffee and some citrus to it. It’s not a fruity beer but a little citrus added in to the brew makes for a unique flavor, I think it’s a bit of lemon in this beer. What do I know? I could be totally off on the smell and it could be anything but that’s what I think. The only reason I smell the beer anyway is because someone told me to do it once and it would enhance my drinking experience. It doesn’t have the same effect if you’re sniffing the Coors Light or Natty Ice but it’s cool if you try different brews. First swig…..second swig…..a decent bitter ale. Definitely has a bit of an after taste but that’s where you can taste the different flavors. Do I sound like a beer connoisseur yet? Reminds me of Hobgoblin a bit, Trooper is a very rich beer, very smooth, 4.7 % alcohol… it goes down easy.

All in all, in my uneducated and Heavy Metal biased opinion, I think it’s a decent beer. I like the color and taste and I’ve downed my first bottle as I wrote this. Will I make The Trooper my beer of choice? Not at the import price of $7.99 for a pint but maybe I’d grab a bottle from time to time while I was getting a sixer of Hobgoblins or something else in the British section. If I found it on tap somewhere I would definitely give it a go a couple rounds but I’ve tried it, enjoyed it and now my bottle will be washed out and put in my Metal collection for posterity. Beer #2 is saved for the football game tonight!

If you want to get more information on Trooper Ale, head to Iron Maiden Beer. If you live in the Rhode Island/southeastern Massachusetts area, you can buy Trooper Ale at Yankee Spirits in South Attleboro, MA.


State of the Blog update & Five Year Blog-versary

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve posted…..since New Year’s Eve in fact! Obviously, I’ve taken a little time off from the site but that’s why this post is going up in order to keep you all informed.

First, I want to mention that Heavy Metal Addiction celebrated it’s 5 year anniversary on January 3rd. Normally I post something on the anniversary day but I just let it pass without doing anything. It’s been a great 5 years and it’s hard to believe that I kept this thig going that long. Originally, the site was created to talk about my growing collection but the site grew as the years went on. I went from discussing albums I bought at the record store to really covering a diverse collection of Hard Rock & Heavy Metal, all made possible by the connections I’ve made in the industry. Not a day doesn’t go by where a package comes in the mail with CDs, or my email account is bursting with press releases and digital albums, for review. I would like to thank all the artists and bands, the labels and all the promotional people who have contacted me and submitted these items for review, without these dedicated people I wouldn’t hear half the albums I have over the last 5 years and I would be missing out on a lot of great music. I would also like to thank the fans and readers of the site, thanks for stopping by (even when there’s nothing new!) and leaving comments. I appreciate all the feedback you’ve emailed me and, hopefully, you’ll enjoy what I have in store for 2011.

That brings me to Part 2 of this post…..the State of the Blog update!

Like I mentioned, I’ve taken some time away from working on HMA for no other reason than I got bored with it. Actually, I’ve been on a steady decline with new posts since the middle of 2009 and 2010 was a very erratic year. I started January 2010 with a good number of new posts, and I had a plan for February, but I just couldn’t get motivated to get behind the computer and write. Some months I was able to get in 15+ posts and others were in the single digits, September & October 2010 only had 6 posts combined! My lack of posting doesn’t mean that I wasn’t listening, I actually listened to more music in 2010 than I did in previous years, especially new music! 2010 was another banner year for Hard Rock & Heavy Metal with so many new releases by so many different bands that it was very hard to keep up! Right now the piles on my desk are still over flowing with albums that were sent in and albums I bought at the record store…..and that’s just the 2010 releases, forget all the 2009 releases that I never got around to and the ones I caught up buying as the year went along. Then take a look at my computer…..there are so many digital files and links that I downloaded from bands, labels and PR firms that I just couldn’t keep up, I haven’t even listened to half of them! So I didn’t work as much as I have in the past, call it laziness, call it boredom but the real reason was that I felt like I was rushing through albums just to get the review posted online. I’m a fan of this kind of music and I have to take my time listening to each album in order to enjoy myself. Doesn’t matter if the album is great or it sucks…..I want to hear it! At times, I felt that I rushed the listening process to meet a self-imposed deadline (Album of the Month) or because every other site had already posted a review. That’s not how I started, and that’s not how I want HMA to be, so I have taken the last few weeks to decide what to do.

That brings me to Part 3…..what’s coming for 2011?

I’ve taken the first 7 weeks of 2011 off from the site to decide what I’m going to do. I’ve thought about leaving a farewell message up and calling it quits and I’ve thought about continuing…..I’ve decided to continue. I’m going to try and kickstart HMA back to it’s 2008 high point and see if I can get a lot more done. Basically, everything will stay the same: albums will be reviewed, I will update everyone on what I buy and I will review the concerts I attend. I’m going to post a few more press releases (something I got away from last year) and I’m going to add book reviews as well. The CD Scavenger Hunts will be a monthly feature and I’m also going to spotlight my collection…..that being the original basis of the site! Another thing that I want to bring back is the Feature Week, where I focus on one band or one topic for an entire week. I haven’t done a Feature Week in a couple of years but doing the 2010 Year End Awards reminded me how much I enjoyed focusing on one specific topic for a week. I’ve done weeks in the past on Judas Priest, Graham Bonnet, AC/DC and the Tony Martin era of Black Sabbath and I’ve really enjoyed focusing on some of the lesser known albums some of the bands have released. Album reviews are the main focus of the website so the Album of the Month feature will stay the same and I’m toying with the idea of an Album of the Week if I can get back on track writing. One thing I can assure you is that I will be posting more reviews of older albums, not just long lost gems but some of the more popular Hard Rock and heavy Metal albums to see if they’ve stood the test of time. The whole point of 2011 will be to get this site back on track and hopefully my dedication and my interest won’t begin to wane as we go forward. The last idea I’m throwing around is a podcast. I barely listen to the radio anymore unless it’s sportstalk but I have discovered the world of podcasts! I subscribe to about 6 or 7 now and they have inspried me with the idea of creating a radio show for Heavy metal Addiction. I’m not really sure if this idea will pan out, I have to research it some more, but it sounds like something that could enhance what I write about. It would be nice to play some of the songs from albums I review, maybe focus on some of the up and coming bands out there, and just have another forum to voice my opinion and go a little more free form or stream of conciousness.

So there you have it, that’s the update for now. I’ll be looking to catch up as soon as I can with both Albums of the Month for January 2011 & February 2011, as well as, the CD Scavenger Hunts for both months. I’ve cleaned up the collection and filed the CDs, the piles on my desk are a little neater and I’m getting a little more organized…..let’s see if I can get this back on track!

Here’s to year #6 and a great 2011! Cheers!

— Steve

Anvil – ‘The Story Of Anvil’ movie review – 5/30/09

The Story Of Anvil movie pic

Anvil – ‘The Story Of Anvil’

Back in April, Anvil made their appearance in Worcester, MA at The Palladium as part of The New England Metal & Hardcore Festival. The band was part of the Thursday night pre-show that included the New England premiere of the documentary and their concert immeadiately after. I was set to go but the problem was that my wife’s birthday was the same day as the show! I was told to go, my wife is understanding when it comes to Metal, but there are some lines you don’t cross and missing my wife’s birthday party was one I wasn’t prepared to try. So I never went. The good news was that the movie has been enjoying a long run at a theater in Cambridge, MA but the hour plus drive into the Boston metro area is something I like to avoid.

So I’m sitting at my computer after work early Saturday morning and I’m searching for info online for the inevitable DVD release in the U.S. and I found a local link to the Avon Cinema in Providence, RI. The Anvil movie started a run there Thursday and the theater is only 15 mins from home! Armed with my iPod blaring Anvil’s latest album, THIS IS THIRTEEN, and the hardcover book of The Story Of Anvil, I made my way down to Thayer Street (near Brown University) for the matinee show.

Thayer Street used to be one of my hangouts in the early ’90s when I was in college, there were plenty of bars and record shops to go along with all the college girls from Brown University. It was a cool place to hang and party back in the day but as I finished school, and the record shops started closing, I stopped going down that way. I probably haven’t been down that area in a good 10 years so I decided to get there early and take in some of the shops. Nothing…..I couldn’t find any of them, there were none left! Turns out the shop I was looking for, In Your Ear Records, moved to Warren, RI so I had nothing to do but buy my movie ticket, listen to some Anvil and wait.

Waiting in the tiny lobby of the old school theater, I found a lot of kindred spirits. There were a few older Metalheads like me bringing their kids to see the movie but what really made the day were the kids/teens that made their way to the movie on their own to discover some Metal. I ended up talking to a group of 5 kids, all within the ages of 13-17, and they were like sponges for Metal information. They saw my Heaven & Hell tour shirt and we started talking. It’s nice to see the younger generation embracing Heavy Metal and it’s history. It’s sounds a bit corny to say something like that but kids nowadays don’t have as many independent record shops or flea markets like I did. There isn’t radio airplay and MTV is a joke, the only way these kids learn is from the Internet and their parents’ music collections. There were about 20 of us in the lobby talking Metal, talking Anvil, and there was just a great vibe almost like going to a concert.

So the doors open, we all file in the theater, and we endure 10 mins of previews! Those things should be outlawed! The movie starts off with some classic Anvil footage of the Japan SuperRock show in ’84…..exactly like the trailer. There was a lot of applause seeing the old footage and a lot of laughter seeing Lips using his trademark dildo to play his guitar!

I’m not going to ruin the movie for everyone by going through the entire story, I’ll save that for the eventual DVD review when VH-1 Classic Records sets a U.S. release date for the soundtrack and DVD, I just want to give some thoughts and highlights. Basically, the documentary centers around the history of Anvil, the highs and lows of being in a legendary band that never quite achieved success, and the journey of making THIS IS THIRTEEN. I was a young kid when I discovered Anvil so I’m an old time fan, it was really cool to see one of the bands I grew up with on the big screen. There was enough claasic footage to satisfy my old school cravings and there was plenty of recent tour footage (circa 2006/2007 before THIS IS THIRTEEN) to give me an idea of where Anvil is. The comparisons to Spinal Tap are inevitable and obvious, there is definitely some comedy to Anvil’s journey: how can so much bad shit happen to one band? Especially one that is so influential to a lot of Metal heavyweights (Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth, Slash, Slayer, etc.)? There was a bit of laughter when some of the lower points of the tour were showed like the band missing a few trains, band fights, venues that hold 10,000 and less than 200 show up…..definitely Spinal Tap! I took it seriously and, even though I laughed a bit too, I couldn’t help but ask the same question that the movie asks over and over: How did Anvil not become stars?

The answers come from the book, something I recommend people read because you get so much more information and insight to the band’s history and the film. I’m 2/3 of the way through the book but I was able to fill in parts of the movie with the information I had read, it made everything more enjoyable. Like I said, I took the documentary seriously because I really love Metal and a band like Anvil, that I grew up with, is close to my heart. Not trying to get all sentimental here but when you love something, you pursue it and that’s one of the main themes of Lips’ and Robbo’s career, it’s the reason they keep going. One of the scenes in the film shows Lips’ 50th birthday party at a club with Anvil playing a set. There are some longtime Anvil diehards there singing all the words right into the camera in the drunken Metal splendor and, even though they were funny, I identified with them, I identified with the band. I’m going to be 37 this year, I’ve put in 29 years of Metal fandom in and I can’t see that stopping as I go forward to the 40s and 50s.

Back to Anvil…..another part of the movie I really got into was the making of THIS IS THIRTEEN with legendary Metal producer Chris Tsangarides. I really thought the album was one of the best of 2007 and it was really cool to see everything from the band sending a demo to Tsangarides, to raising the money, to the studio performances, and the decision to release the album themselves. It gave an insight to the creative process but also the personal journey the band invested in culminating in a triumphant sold-out appearance at a Metal festival in Tokyo, Japan.

When the movie ended, there was some applause from the audience because it was a really great film. I ended up talking to some people outside the theater and gave them some links to some cool Metal websites so they could check out some Anvil and other bands from the early ’80s that these people remembered but lost touch with. All in all, a great film and a great band. I will definitely be going back for another show sometime this week and I’m going to take my 10 yr old daughter with me so she can add Anvil to her Heavy Metal discovery.

Go see this film! Metal On Metal!

Record Store Day – 4/18/2009

Just a friendly reminder that today is Record Store Day… get out there to your local mom & pop/independent record store and drop some cash!

If you’re in the Rhode Island/Southeastern Massachusetts area, I will be visiting the following stores dressed in my Saxon Metalhead Tour 1999 shirt:

Newbury Comics – Warwick, RI

Newbury Comics – North Attleboro, MA

Armageddon Shop – Providence, RI

Luke’s Record Exchange – Pawtucket, RI

My thoughts on AC/DC…..

The first time I heard AC/DC was on the local Rock radio station when I was about 8 years old…..yeah, I go way back! I heard this powerful guitar play the heaviest riff (didn’t know what a riff was back then!) and then the singer came on and the guy couldn’t sing. It was like he was shrieking into the microphone! The one thing I did know was that the song I was listening to was cool…..that song was ‘Back in Black’. I started out at the beginning of the Brian Johnson era with AC/DC and I was finding it hard to understand what was so cool about a singer that couldn’t sing and a new album with a plain black cover. I laugh about it now but at 8 years old I just had no clue! I didn’t even know that AC/DC had a different singer (Bon Scott) and that he had died just a few months prior. This was part of the innocence, or ignorance, of my youth.

I spent hours at my local record stores pouring over vinyl to look at the covers and then buying the cassette version. My first AC/DC album was bought in 1981 and it was BACK IN BLACK. I remember it like yesterday because I was looking through the new albums and there was this new AC/DC album with a cannon on the cover (FOR THOSE ABOUT TO ROCK…WE SALUTE YOU) and I decided that if I was going to listen to AC/DC, I’d better start with BACK IN BLACK. Now I had already heard the whole BACK IN BLACK album, I just didn’t own it. I was lucky to have some older kids living across the street and they were the “rockers” of the neighborhood. They used to sit on their front porch with their friends and listen to tapes all day and smoke cigarettes. Back in those days, us kids were always outside, especially on weekends and in the summer, so I always tried to get the kids my age to play ball closer to the guys playing the music. That idea didn’t always work but sometimes I would get a hit and make it to third (the driveway of this particular house) and I would groove to the tunes these denim clad guys were playing. One day, I was the only kid outside and I decided to actually cross the street and ask if these guys liked AC/DC. These guys were all in high school, 8 to 10 years my senior, so I was a bit afraid but they ended up playing me the BACK IN BLACK album.

Anyway, I ended up buying FOR THOSE ABOUT TO ROCK a few months later and then I bought FLICK OF THE SWITCH (1983) and FLY ON THE WALL (1985) when they came out. At this point I wasn’t really into the older AC/DC albums with the original singer, the current AC/DC was my AC/DC. My first album of the Bon Scott era was HIGHWAY TO HELL (1979) because I always heard the title track on the radio. I knew it word for word and I liked it so I decided to grab it when I bought the WHO MADE WHO (1986) soundtrack. It was like two different bands but also the same. After that, I was hooked on the Bon Scott era and I slowly collected all the older AC/DC albums. Today I tend to lean more towards the Bon Scott era.

AC/DC has been an important band for me because of the way I first heard them on the radio and outside on the neighbor’s porch. I wish it was still that way today! When was the last time you saw a group of teenagers huddled around a boombox or stereo listening to the newest albums? Ask kids today and they are either playing video games or surfing the Net while music is playing as background noise. Same goes for radio…..when was the last time you heard a song so distinct and so cool on the radio? Seriously, today’s radio is more about repeating the same playlist loop over and over to give the listener something to hear in between commercial breaks. It wasn’t like this back in my childhood and I will always remember hearing bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and AC/DC for the first time the way I did.