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Old 12-28-2014, 12:30 PM   #531 (permalink)
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Why? I like Supertramp.
Yeah, but you didn't strike me as a Billy Joel fan.
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Old 12-28-2014, 01:31 PM   #532 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Pet_Sounds View Post
Yeah, but you didn't strike me as a Billy Joel fan.
I'm not, but your reviews would at least get me to listen to him
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If you can't deal with the fact that there are 6+ billion people in the world and none of them think exactly the same that's not my problem. Just deal with it yourself or make actual conversation. This isn't a court and I'm not some poet or prophet that needs everything I say to be analytically critiqued.
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Old 12-28-2014, 03:06 PM   #533 (permalink)
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Default The Music Banter Members Journals Update Thread --- Week Ending December 28 2014

Not that surprisingly, with cases of pudding overdose and many sore heads, not too many of us --- myself included --- have managed to do much work here in Journaltown over the last week. However, a few of you have levered yourselves out of your comfy chairs and dragged yourselves to your PCs or laptops or tablets or pills or whatever-the-hell-you're-using, to throw down a few words, and as this is the last update before the New Year it behooves us to see what it is you've written.

Batty doesn't like Rob Liefeld, but to find out why you'll have to http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...-oblivion.html, where you'll also see his Christmas Joker episode, and his first look at Liefled with X-Force. Hey, it's all new to me...

Down at http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...seur-cave.html Santa, sorry Briks, is wrapping his Christmas pressies and listening to rock radio, somehow mistaking Geddy Lee for female! Now who has ever done that before??

More of http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...rly-years.html to check out before year's end. This week he's looking at a classic from BTO.

We don't often (indeed, to this point, ever) hear from the other half of Freebase's musical partnership, but being as it's Christmas an' all (one can only assume) Piotr is here writing some http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...stronauts.html, so definitely worth checking out. Not to be outdone, Freebase is in there today with details of another new song.

http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...63-2013-a.html hits 1998 with John Zorn, Black Star, Neutral Milk Hotel and The Tiger Lilies among others.

Justin is still sorting out details for next year's twelve-month-long extravaganza of metal, and in http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...-endeavor.html he's asking for your top twenties, so, you know, give him some ideas.

http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...-song-day.html has gone all Christmassy (and it's the best time to do that!) with already as mentioned last week Jesu and this week Machine is keeping the Xmas theme with music from Sufjan Stevens, Run DMC, The Beach Boys and Sir Paul.
Meanwhile, in http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...otistical.html he's talking about his new album. Not “Empty House”, for those of us that have been following his journal... and finally
http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...l-madness.html is where he's introducing the discography of The Flaming Lips, due to begin in the New Year.

Getting his journal going properly, http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...a-yas-out.html and reviews a benefit concert for Bill Graham, a concert promoter in the Bay Area who died.

There's a commemoration of World War One on http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...crap-heap.html, as Pet_Sounds remembers those who fought and died for world freedom. With music, of course.

http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...ar-1965-a.html also moves on to 1998 with albums from Boards of Canada, Beck, Silver Jews and Refused among his picks.

Last few updates over at http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...d-journal.html with some more Weird Christmas songs, the last batch of presents from Under Trollheart's Tree and a review of “Music inspired by the Life and Times of Scrooge”. Er, McDuck, that is. Also squeezing in some memories from my childhood. Finishing up on http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...-emporium.html we have two more Christmas TV specials, from American Dad and The Simpsons, and the latest round of the Scroogedown.

In a deservedly high place (though not number one,scanadlously!) we find Dio's seminal classic “Holy Diver” occupying the numer 2 spot in http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...y-history.html --- it's also Unknown Soldier's AOTY. Well, DUH! As for number one? Well that's Eddie and the boys, with “Piece of Mind” --- what else?

Always interesting the ideas people get for journals. In this age of the download, I think we can all confess to downloading albums we think are cool at the time and “always mean to check out” but never do. Zero certainly is guilty of this, he says, and has used it as the theme to begin a new journal which he has called http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...ollection.html. The first examples come from A Whisper in the Noise, Daniel Land and the Modern Painters, The Azuza Plane and Suun.
He's also writing in his original journal, http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...nal-sound.html where we find him making a mix of some of his favourite songs of 2014. Some good stuff there!



Another journal I missed quite a bit of while away was one which has been up to now one of the hardest-worked-upon in the section, and which situation has pushed its author in the direction of, as I said last week, “Taking a Trollheart”, ie stepping back from everything for a little while, taking a break so that he can return refreshed and ready to go in 2015.

Trying to maintain two journals while still holding down a job may have been partially responsible for this, I have no idea, but as I said to Ki, it is always a good idea to bend before you break. I felt, just prior to my own enforced holiday from here, that I was enjoying my journal less and less, and it felt more like a job than a hobby or something I took pleasure in, and when that happens it's time to slam on the brakes and take a good long look in the mirror. I did it, and now Ki's doing it, very sensibly.

But before he went he left us a lot of really good articles in http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...nal-music.html and in August he was looking at ReinXeed's “1912”, an album he later suggested to me for “Metal Month II”, and which I thoroughly enjoyed. Then there was some Robbie Williams and Opeth, taking us into September with a feature on Lamb of God and Rammstein, then November saw him into more post-rock instrumental music with Swarm of the Sun, also looking at Casualties of Cool and Bring me the Horizon, followed by a review of the game “Borderlands 2” and “Fable”, until he decided to do a whole in-depth review on the man Devin. This began with “Ziltoid the Omniscient”, continued with “Ghost” and then the album that gave the author his name, followed by “Unplugged”, “Addicted” and “Deconstruction”, and ending the month with “Synchestra”.

November opened with my favourite (well, the only DT album I've heard, to be fair) “Epicloud” and then I caught up with him in the Update Thread so you're now, like me, up to date. Wish you all the best on your break Ki and we'll be waiting for your return! Have fun and see you next year!



Two very important years in the genesis of hard rock were chronicled in "Pounding Decibels", as we continue sifting through the wealth of information laid down by Unknown Soldier, a man who must surely be akin to a walking encyclopaedia of rock?

1975 started off with another double-header, from Deep Purple at number ten with “Come taste the band” and “Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow” by ... Rainbow? Yeah, stretching the criterion a little (though it's his to stretch after all) Unknown Soldier planted two albums linked by the famous guitarist together. Fair enough I suppose. Montrose were at number 9 with “Warner Bros presents...” and Sabbath came in at eight with “Sabotage”, leaving the number 7 slot free for Thin Lizzy's “Fighting” and then Nazareth at six with “Hair of the dog”. Correct me if I'm wrong, but this looks to have been the first time US featured Lizzy; every other year they seemed to just miss the cut. Budgie were back at 5 with “Bandolier” and UFO were “Forcing it” into the number four slot, while the top three went to “Welcome to my nightmare” by Alice, (this being his AOTY), Aerosmith's “Toys in the attic” and at the very top in the number one slot, yeah, them again! Zep with “Physical graffiti”.

Angel's self-titled debut was an album you should “Also check this out”, while those that fell by the wayside on US's chopping board for 1975 included Bad Company, Kiss, Rush and Scorpions. The Live Album section had BOC's “On your feet or on your knees”, Kiss “Alive” and Grand Funk's “Caught in the act” while “Hard Heavy and a Classic” came from Armageddon, with their self-titled debut and then US decided to try “Hard, Heavy and Worth a Mention", in which section he placed Uriah Heep's “Return to fantasy” as we rolled, smokin' and screechin' into 1976.

This began with Ian Gillan Band's “Child in time” (a title surely stolen from the classic Deep Purple song) at 10, while Piper had their self-titled debut at 9, with another s/t at eight, from Moxy. Judas Priest's “Sad wings of destiny” was at 7, while BOC's “Agents of fortune” took the number 6 spot. A Double-Header at 5 from Kiss, with “Destroyer” and “Rock and roll over”, while Lizzy finally got some decent recognition with another Double-Header at 4, “Jailbreak” and “Johnny the Fox” sharing the spot. An album called “No rest for the wicked” from an outfit called Truth and Janey took the number three slot, while the seminal “Rainbow Rising” did not quite make it to the top, being pipped at the post by Aerosmith again, with “Rocks”.

The Babys' debut s/t was something you should “Also check this out” and albums to miss the cut included Lucifer's Friend, Stray, Scorpions again and Trapeze, while Heart's “Dreamboat Annie” was one he considered “Hard, Heavy and Worth a Mention”. As were Ocean, with “God's clown”. We then had Motorhead and The Runaways sharing a new slot called “Hard, Heavy and a Tad Aggressive”, and Zep returned in the Live Album section with their classic “The song remains the same”.

Just time then for my

which comes from this guy

whom we don't see enough of around this place. As I mentioned, Zero began a new journal this week, and the idea behind it was so original and yet so obvious (everything's obvious after you've been shown how to do it of course) that I thought it definitely deserved to be shared here. Here's how he introduces the journal and the concept.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zer0 View Post
One thing that I'm guilty of in the past, not so much now since I started using Spotify, is downloading albums, listening to them and then forgetting about them. Quite a lot of albums fail to impress me on first listen and are banished to the depths of my external hard-drive rather than just deleting them. Other albums I enjoy briefly for a period, then just fall out of favour and are forgotten about while I move onto newer discoveries.

So now I've decided to root through my entire music collection and give some albums another chance and also to revisit some albums I used to enjoy but neglected in recent years. I will be posting my thoughts here.
And so that's it for another year. 2014 becomes 2015 on Wednesday at midnight, so the next update will be the first of the new year. Hope you're all enjoying your Christmas and for those who I don't see around over the next few days, Happy New Year and we'll see ya back here next Sunday.

Toodles!
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Old 12-29-2014, 08:06 AM   #534 (permalink)
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Hey, just wondering, will the Journey Awards be awarded this year too?
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Old 12-29-2014, 12:13 PM   #535 (permalink)
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Hey, just wondering, will the Journey Awards be awarded this year too?
This is a good question, to which I have not as yet an answer. Given that I was away from here for three months and am still catching up on people's entries, I'm not sure if I'm qualified to be handing out awards. However, if I do it the ceremony will certainly not take place before maybe March, as I still have a lot of reading to do. I may forego it this year, but I think probably not. I've still to do the year in review, which will be coming up soon-ish...
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Old 12-29-2014, 02:20 PM   #536 (permalink)
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Trollheart thanks for the continued coverage of my journal, you're doing a great job there.
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If you can't deal with the fact that there are 6+ billion people in the world and none of them think exactly the same that's not my problem. Just deal with it yourself or make actual conversation. This isn't a court and I'm not some poet or prophet that needs everything I say to be analytically critiqued.
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Old 12-31-2014, 07:28 PM   #537 (permalink)
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Old 01-04-2015, 01:50 PM   #538 (permalink)
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Default The Music Banter Members Journals Update Thread --- Week Ending January 4 2015

First of all, of course, Happy New Year to everyone, whether you're a reader or an author, or even have just clicked here accidentally and found yourself in unfamiliar territory. Everyone's welcome here. Except that guy. Can't stand him. But as 2014 gives way to 2015 it seems everyone has either resolved to write more updates for their journals this year than last, or else they'd just intended to do that anyway. I know I have major things planned for mine, and others do too. So, if everyone's ready and you've all signed the release forms, let's head on in to what is the first update of the new year.

Before I begin, a small note to bear in mind. You all know that I have not the time to read all of your journal entries, and am skimming through them most of the time (though when I see something that catches my attention I may stop and read it through). I do my best to give a good flavour of what is happening in everyone's journal each week, but I'm sure you all understand that it's hard to catch everything, and given all the other work I have to do it's sometimes a little rushed. So while I will try to mention everything you cover in a specific week I may from time to time miss something out. I would therefore appreciate it if you would accept that, and not for instance post things like “Hey, you forgot I also covered band X and you only mentioned band Y!” or “You forgot my feature on the evolution of punk rock!” or most particularly any smaller entries, especially when they're mostly a video with a few lines. I may occasionally miss something, but this is not meant to be a detailed synopsis of your journal. If it was, there would be little need for anyone to actually check it out.

So quickly then, for those who have joined recently and those who are new to this update thread, some basic rules:

1. If you don't update during the week you will not be featured, unless in some other capacity I decide, such as “Classic journals” or “Great journals we miss” etc.
2. Only updates by YOU, as the author, will be noted. Other people commenting in your journal are not reported.
3. Although not a hard and fast rule, generally an entry needs to be at least a few lines of text. If you just say “Here's a video for a song I heard” and post the YouTube, there's a good chance that I will not consider that for the update.
4. As mentioned above, some omissions may occur. Please accept this. If, however, you do update and your entire journal is missed out, let me know: I'm only human, as are all my clones.
5. If you misspell or use bad grammar in an extract I post, this will appear as is. I am not going to spellcheck your entries, that's up to you.
6. Any posts featured will be stripped of YouTubes if they exist, however pictures and other text effects will be left in. Occasionally, an extract might be too long and so I will truncate it if necessary.
7. The update covers all entries posted before 6pm on Sunday, Irish time. If you post after that, your entry will appear in the next update. If, for some reason, it is important to you that you be featured in the current update but have missed the deadline, PM me before 10pm Sunday, as once the post is done I cannot change it even if I want to.

And now, on with the show!


This is a new section I'm trying out, where any major news about journals will first be broken, whether the author has already done so in their journal or it's been announced or hinted at previously. The details will of course then be discussed in the entry on that person's journal/those persons' journals, but here is where you will read it first, in this thread anyway. Unlike the other entries, these will not be alphabetically organised.

The first big news this month is of course the opening of the doors of "The Devil's Dancefloor" (title @ copyright Trollheart Enterprises, MMXIV), Justin's year-long exploration of the wonderful world of Heavy Metal. He's devoting each month to a specific sub-genre, so there should be something there for everyone who's even slightly into metal. This month he kicks off with Traditional Metal, including a complete discography of the band I consider to be one of, if not the best metal bands, Iron Maiden. Briks will also be getting involved apparently, and so will I. At the moment my involvement is writing reviews of the live Maiden albums.

The next news story concerns Ki, who as we all know is one of the workhorses here. Those who didn't catch previous updates, or read his journal, may not know that he is taking a break from both his journals and the forum, but hopes to be back, rested and raring to go, in a while, when hopefully he'll continue his discography of Devin Townsend. We wish him all the best and are counting the days.

Finally, not content with already eight journals, I've pushed it into double figures by opening two new ones, details of which you'll find below. If anyone ever finds my brain, please return it to me. There is no reward I repeat, no reward. Thank you. Oh yeah, there are also three new journals (other than mine) starting this week.

Kicking the year off alphabetically we welcome back Anteater, who launches the 2015 leg of http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...ravaganza.html with a look at Fleetwood Mac sans Nicks and Buckingham!

The first of those new journals comes from Blackdragon123, whom dedicated and regular readers will recall did a sterling job last year with his “26 best Black Sabbath songs” journal, but then sadly realised that was completely limited, and had nowhere to go. Well, he's back now with http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...ackdragon.html, which is far more broad and allows for a wider scope. He's kicking off with his thoughts on two Black Sabbath album covers, one of which was featured in the main Metal subforum but has been moved to its new home, and is really worth reading.

B then is also for Briks (no Batty: putting a comic panel in without any wording does not qualify as an entry, at least not in my book! Try harder...) as he joins Justin's metal quest in http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...seur-cave.html, looking at Iron Maiden's debut and giving us his thoughts on it.
Spoiler for spoiler:
Spoiler: they're all good.
Also looking at another debut by an even more influential and important band, Sabbath's first outing.

A second new entry comes from Deadchannel, who looks very much like failing to live up to his name (!) and may in fact end up challenging Oriphiel for that Workhorse award! In his new journal http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...sentation.html he's looking at movies, and already we've had a spaghetti western, a Hitchcock classic, and more! Looks like this one could be very interesting indeed.

And the third newbie in Journaltown is http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...ten-music.html where he intends to sift through his music collection and listen to albums he has not heard before, or does not know what they are. Gems or crap? Only he can tell you! There's music from Fosa Común and Shut up. No, I'm not being rude: that's the name of the band!

http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...year-year.html is getting going in earnest now as he looks into Bob Dylan's “Bringing it all back home”.

We were speaking of the J-man earlier, well he's opening the doors, as mentioned above, to http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...ancefloor.html, with a whole month devoted to “Traditional Metal”, much of which will encompass the discography of Iron Maiden, and he starts this off, as anyone should, with a look at the debut album and then on to “Killers”. Also my own small contribution with a review of “Death on the road”, other live albums to follow. And then he looks at Sabbath's seminal debut album. Looks like it could be a good month!

Machine promised to begin a review of the discography of The Flaming Lips (looks like 2015 will be the year of the discography review!) and here he is, in http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...l-madness.html beginning with “Hear it is”. Also back in http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...-song-day.html with more from Tyler, you know, the Creator guy. Swans and Primus, too.

Neapolitan returns for another perfectly-timed blast across the bows in http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...i-journal.html, as he examines The Moody Blues' “Days of future passed”

Oriphiel is already working hard to retain his award, and http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...ck-garage.html as he is, he's writing more of his western, looking into rockabilly, post-punk and even trying out some random albums he picked up second hand. Sweet. Oh, and the Singles Mixer, whatever that may be. I can't keep up! Youre gonna have to go down there, man! Just check it out, you'll see I'm right. He's even venturing into the land of Metal now, with a feature on Stray! Followed by Nikki and the Corvettes and then Boys vs Girls with Thee Headcoats vs Thee Headcoatees (?)

Mind you, Pet_Sounds has been doing some work of his own, in between feeling sick and taking over from Ki on tabulating the votes for the Music Banter Nominations this year. He's going to be checking out Billy Joel's discography as well as telling us about his favourite fifty Beatles songs. It's all happening down at http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...crap-heap.html! “Money” is the first one up by the way.

http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...listening.html tells us that our favourite guitar god is checking out some classical guitar music by Giuseppe Torrisi.

Not content with eight journals already, and trying to book my place at Happyvale Rest Home for the Terminally Bewildered, I've started two more, of which news anon. Down at http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...d-journal.html though, there's another glimpse into my fascinating (yes it is) childhood, a review of Nothing More's latest album called, um, “Nothing more”, a look at a John Denver song which makes me gasp “Say What?” and the return, in the first entry of 2015, of “Nice song --- shame about the album!” with a look at Alan Parsons's “The time machine.” Lots happening on http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...-emporium.html with the final Scroogedown of 2014 (though it'll continue into this month at least), opening 2015 with Babylon 5 and a review of “Unforgiven”. Strontium Dog is back in his second adventure in http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...d-2000-ad.html as he and Wulf take on the space pirate Papa Por-ka, with the aid of an unexpected new ally.

Those new journals of which I spoke? Well one was pre-announced in December, and now as January gets going you'll find http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...e-you-die.html, with the first three albums already done, while one I had kept quiet about (mostly because I only thought of it a few days ago) is http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...ive-metal.html, which is due to get underway properly next week. How do I manage to keep all these plates spinning? Well, it helps to have an army of clones...

Unknown Soldier begins yet another new section in http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...y-history.html as he looks at albums “Down on the slab”. No, I'm not going to tell you what it's about: you know the way there by now! The first to feature though is Sabbath's abortion-worthy “Born again”... then he's looking into some NWOBHM compilations ... that one always reminds me of bondage! Two albums that don't make the list for 1983 then are featured, um, before he gets to 1983, and the first comes from Satan, with “Court in the act”. I doubt the second will be posted before the deadline.... no, it wasn't.

Exciter are the theme in http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...s-journal.html

and Zero is talking about The Drums, Hypomanie, Surfer Blood and, er, Amusement Parks on Fire in http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...ollection.html


I'm bringing this to a close now, as I'm working on The Year in Review, where everyone's journal will get a good dusting off, and I think I've caught up with those of most people anyway.
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Old 01-04-2015, 02:21 PM   #539 (permalink)
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I think I said when I saw this (or if not, I thought it) that were this post in a journal I would have no hesitation in awarding it post of the week. Now that it is, I don't. Have any hesitation, that is. This comes from one of our not quite new members, but one who has only had the one journal here before and hasn't been around for a little while. Well

is certainly making a serious comeback with his new journal, and this is the first post in it, transcribed from the Metal subforum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackdragon123 View Post
ESSAY I - ALBUM ARTWORKS
BLACK SABBATH [1970] -
'Unseen Violence'



The cover art for Black Sabbath is the most timelessly powerful and harrowingly iconic album cover in the history of rock and metal. Even on first glance, without proper inspection, the beholder is shown a completely saturated image of darkness, mystery and the promise of an other-worldly experience. What we see is purely Gothic horror story; captured and framed to forever terrify and intrigue those who stumble across the band’s debut album.

Black Sabbath's cover gives us the image of an androgynous figure in a black cloak, standing upon the dead autumn ground surrounding an old watermill. Many have erroneously claimed that the figure is a drawing of Ozzy Osbourne, but that claim is illogical, as Osbourne did not don clothes of that fashion until late into his solo career (a point to which I will return soon), and so the identity of the figure within the context of the picture remains an absolute mystery. An idea that the figure is an unwelcome omen is reinforced by its juxtaposition with the image behind it. The watermill, a symbol of old, rural and agricultural virtue should permeate a hard-working, clean-living Protestant ambience, but that is not the case in this picture. The figure, with its features teasingly kept just out of focus, and its full form hidden by its tightly wrapped cloak could be seen to be smiling as it stands among the ruins of nature and man. Everything about the artwork appears dead, from the bare, scarred trees, to the still mill and its unkempt surroundings. You may be justified in thinking that the mill is abandoned. Where are its workers and inhabitants? Is that black rectangle doorway a signal that the door has been broken down and the figure’s dark will has been forced upon whoever lay behind it? Every one of these questions remains unanswered, there is no context to the piece when it is viewed on its own, but therein lies only a fragment of its power. We may consider that the figure is the bringer of the barren world you see before you. It sits completely central within the picture, and its black hole eyes are an intimidating betrayal of its hidden intent.

But what is this power? If you were inclined to read the poem included in the album sleeve, penned by an anonymous writer, you may have read the following words;

‘Still falls the rain,
The veils of darkness shroud the blackened trees,
Which, contorted by some unseen violence,
Shed their tired leaves’

The poem itself may be a sub-Alastair Crowley veined imitation, but it offers the line ‘unseen violence’, which captures exactly what makes the Black Sabbath cover art so frightening. Unlike the majority of heavy metal album covers, Black Sabbath visual companion is completely understated and offers only the aftermath of an event that the beholder can only guess at. This ambiguity is furthered by the elimination of time. When is this piece set? The witch-like spectre in the pre-industrial countryside suggest a medieval setting, and all of the demonic connotations that accompany that suggestion seem apt, but in reality the picture could be set in any time. One may read into this image a far more modern and frightening meaning, as you may observe the unnatural coloration of the surroundings. Odd purples, blues and greens stick onto the bark and leaves of the tree, and the walls of the mill. The trees in the background are an impossible red, and the obscurity of the water behind the reeds gives it a sickly, rancid texture. Is this figure the bringer or prophet of the nuclear apocalypse, a fear that would have been alive and well in seventies Britain? The lack of animal and vegetable life and the angry, scarred landscape may suggest so, but even so, the picture remains tortuously ambiguous, until it is paired with the album’s music.

Never before has an album’s sound complimented its artwork so effectively as on Black Sabbath, and the distant, tolling bells and thunderous rain bring the images in the picture to life, echoing that understated feeling of terror and unease. Upon placing the album down and concentrating on the music, the listener may be forgiven for assuming that the image will hold no further bearing on proceedings, and that it was only made to mildly frighten you. That assumption is smashed with such bold simplicity by the opening lines of ‘Black Sabbath’ that you may even feel chills running down your spine. Ozzy Osbourne asks desperately with his signature howling voice;

‘What is this that stands before me?
Figure in black which points at me,’

What is that if not a direct reference to what you are seeing before you, right there on the album cover? You may have even asked a similar question yourself, and now that artwork gains a new dimension. It’s almost as if Osbourne and the band are breaking the fourth wall and talking for you. This innovative feature is often overlooked, and only when one takes the time to consider it can its amazing effect truly be recognised. I’ve yet to see (or hear) this technique used in music in the same fantastic way. It amplifies the fear to a primal level, and although as the album continues, its effect is less prominent, its initial shocking declaration remains as a reverberation throughout. It becomes associated in some way with each of the album’s tracks, and all of their various Gothic themes; ranging from political corruption, magic, treachery and devilry seem to emanate from the mysterious figure.

How many times have you read or heard a statement professing that Black Sabbath were the pioneers and creators of the heavy metal genre? How many interviews have you seen with modern metal stars, who claim that the innumerable styles, trends, sounds and vibes of heavy metal were born from that tolling bell, from that opening line and from that disturbing artwork? Black Sabbath is generally considered (although not by all) to be the first heavy metal album, and its legacy remains constantly evolving to this day. What this piece proposes (as disturbing as it may seem) is that the figure in the artwork; the ‘big black shape with eyes of fire, telling people their desire’ was actually the founder of the genre, and that Black Sabbath were merely the prophets of its message. Geezer Butler has revealed in the past that the inspiration for the song ‘Black Sabbath’ came from his own paranormal experience, where a black shape entered his bedroom and stole a book of black magic from the foot of his bed. That experience no doubt led to the creation of the shadowy figure, and coupled with the lyrics, gave birth to the metal genre. Interestingly, throughout most of the seventies, Black Sabbath and bands like it were treated with disdain by the establishment and music critics, despite their popularity with music fans. Sabbath and the bands inspired by them sang about the darker side of life, and did not shy away from bluntly discussing the perils of war, religious evils, politics and mass conformity. Even today, long after the Cold War era and into the post 9/11 decades, they still warn of a forthcoming disaster and untold injustices against man and his descendants. All of this ruin, Armageddon and fear stems directly from that image that appeared in record stores back in 1970 and it seems that the legacy of the shadowy invader remains as strong as ever. Its message is vague in detail but undeniably clear. It foretells the downfall of man and the ushering in of a demonic reign. Religious fanatics and concerned parents should not have blamed Sabbath for their diabolic songs; they should’ve turned their attention to the figure, which (nameless as it may be) has taken on an almost deified personality in heavy music.

The band have revealed (if bashfully) in past interviews, a flirtation with occultist activities, usually at the request of their contingent, or as a way to seduce impressionable girls. Superstition has never fully removed itself from their psyche, as that first encounter between Geezer and his alleged spirit thief pervades everything he wrote about since it confronted him. Osbourne and Tony Iommi are rarely seen without their large steel crosses around their necks, despite their constant association with Satanism and the occult. Clips can be seen of Osbourne praying before gigs and talking openly about his Christian faith (albeit a vague and non-offensive confession). Perhaps most interestingly of all, the most common image of Osbourne in the 21st Century is of his long, black hair, dark sunglasses and billowing, black cloak. This attire is one that many incorrectly assume has been his style since the early days of Black Sabbath. In fact, his adoption of such clothing is a relatively new trend and is one that bizarrely imitates the look of the figure from the Black Sabbath artwork. On a superficial glance, this may not seem so strange, but when one considers Osbourne’s past taste for bright, white clothing and brighter coloured hair, paying consistent homage to an artwork character from over thirty years ago seems incredibly strange. When coupled with his stooped posture, this donning of the figure’s clothes that so frightened the singer in the band’s debut song appears to be inspired by intimidation or fear of that old ghost among the reeds. One may even read into this connection that the Prince of Darkness (one of the four godfathers of heavy metal) has a continuing relationship with the figure, and that the reprise of the rain and bells featured at the end of the 13 album serve as a ritualistic tribute to that frightening witch that still haunts the minds of music lovers the world over.

This short essay may have passed from the realms of mere speculation into fantasy, and the origins of the spectre in the real world probably have more logical (and hallucinogenic-related explanations) but the connections remain eerie, and deepen the dark wonder surrounding a rock band that seem to work hard at masking their depth of feeling outside of their music. Whether or not you believe that Black Sabbath brought forth heavy metal or not, you cannot deny that a certain frightening figure standing upon the bank in the Oxfordshire countryside has had a monumental impact on the world of rock and metal, and will continue to do so as long as the genre exists and the youth of generations continue to listen to Black Sabbath. Its appearance in any bedroom or in any clearing, or on the shelves of any record store is an omen of heavy sounds; angry, weird and wonderful. Let us not forget, as Osbourne observed:

‘Is it the end, my friend?
Satan’s come around the bend,’


1977 arrived, bringing a fresh breeze across the world of rock as the dominance of progressive rock began to fail (boo!) and hard rock and heavy metal began to gain more ground. You can read all about it here:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unknown Soldier View Post
1977

1977 was such a pivotal and exciting year in rock music as a whole, in fact despite the brilliance of the early 1970s, no year since 1967 had thrown up a batch of albums that challenged the traditional hierarchy of rock in such a way. Despite the similarities of the two years, 1977 was quite different to 1967 in that 1967 had established artists adopting a psychedelic stance over more traditional rock, whereas 1977 had new bands doing new things to challenge the existing hierarchy. The explosion of punk, new-wave and off-the wall rock bands was simply quite staggering at this time, as was the quality of the debut albums on show from the Clash, the Damned, the Stranglers, Dead Boys, Television, Talking Heads and the meanest sounding of them all from Cheap Trick! Not to be outdone the established order of Fleetwood Mac, Styx, Steely Dan, Rush, Pink Floyd and a revitalised David Bowie had put out cornerstone albums, in an age which also saw the rise especially in the USA of the disco era, just think the Bee Gees and you’re away. So where did this leave the bulk of hard rock and heavy metal bands? Well if you were an already established act such as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Kiss, Aerosmith and Blue Oyster Cult you were still selling by the bucketload and filling out concert arenas, regardless of whether you were putting out quality stuff or not and in the case of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath most definitely not! Other bands such as Budgie, Uriah Heep and Nazareth just to name a few where feeling the pinch creatively and looking a shadow of their former selves, despite the last two who were looking to fight back! Thus leaving bands like UFO and Thin Lizzy to keep the flag flying quality wise, along with recent breakthroughs in acts like Judas Priest and AC/DC. What this meant though at the bottom end of the spectrum in terms of new bands coming through, was that these bands were going to struggle in trying to take-off. So between 1977 and 1979 new music at the heavier end of the spectrum, just wasn’t getting the same amount of exposure as a lot of newer and older established genres. Despite this negative, 1977 would still throw up a strong selection of albums to keep the flag flying and in the shape of an unlikely rock opera Bat Out of Hell by Meatloaf, the genre would have one of the biggest selling albums of all time.
Meanwhile, Unknown Soldier had the self-titled debut from The Hunt at number 10 for this year, with Riot's “Rock City” at 9 and a Double-Header from Legs Diamond taking the number 8 slot, with “A diamond is a hard rock” sharing the spot with their self-titled. The madman himself was at 7 as Ted Nugent's “Cat scratch fever” was just edged out by BOC's “Spectres” at 6, Aerosmith coming in then at 5 with “Draw the line” and Judas Priest's “Sin after sin” at number four. That took us to the top three, where we found AC/DC's “Let there be rock” at 3, Lizzy's “Bad reputation” at number two (also featuring as his AOTY) and at the very top, the number one spot went to UFO, with “Lights out”.

The countdown complete, we moved into “Also check this out” which featured Quartz's s/t debut, then some albums that missed the cut came from Motorhead, Kiss, Krokus and Lone Star among others, while the Live Album section had Rainbow and Kiss, with "Live on stage” and “Alive II” respectively. “Hard, heavy and a Classic” is the only way you could really describe “Bat out of Hell” from Meat Loaf, and also there was “High class in borrowed shoes” by Max Webster. Then we had some cheese courtesy of Thor, before Unknown Soldier finished off both his Queen article and the one looking into Hawkwind.

This took us into 1978, where Ian Gillan's solo self-titled debut was at number 10, Nazareth's “No mean city” at nine and the return of The Scorpions at 8 with “Taken by force”. AC/DC were back at 7 with “Powerage” while solo Kiss member Ace Frehley's self-titled debut took the number 6 slot, and was also his AOTY. UFO were down this year to 5 with “Obsession” while Judas Priest took the number four place with “Killing machine/Hell bent for leather”, leaving the top three for this year the first shot from Van Halen, Rainbow's “Long live rock'n'roll” and at the top Priest again, this time with “Stained class.”

In the “Also check this out” category was a band called Sorcery, with “Stunt rock”, while albums to fall outside Unknown Soldier's strict criteria for this year included efforts from Whitesnake, Gary Moore and Uriah Heep. The Live album section featured AC/DC with “If you want blood you've got it” and Ted Nugent was back with “Double live gonzo”, to say nothing of Lizzy's “Live and dangerous” and Scorpions' “The Tokyo Tapes”. Also namechecked but not reviewed were live albums from BOC, Frank Marino, Sammy Hagar and Aerosmith. Finally, there was a shot of southern boogie with Molly Hatchet's self-titled debut in “Hard, heavy and worth a mention”. And so on to 1979.

Next week.

Who's this week's

Why it's me! No, it isn't. How vain do you think I am, how narcissistic that I would award the thing to myself? Really? You think I should? Well if you say so... no really, the person whom I see as working the hardest on their journal this week is one of our newest authors, who has gone out of his way to really throw himself into his journal and make it a must-read. Yeah, the award goes to

Deadchannel, for http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...sentation.html
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Old 01-04-2015, 02:24 PM   #540 (permalink)
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And finally...

Sometimes it's not how much is written (take note, Trollheart!) but what is written. To quote the Urban One again, quality over quantity. Which is why I miss
http://www.musicbanter.com/members-j...c-journal.html
She didn't write a huge amount but what she did write she put her heart and soul into, and you could see it meant a lot to her. Here's a sample:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Astronomer View Post
Sparked by a short conversation I had with a fellow MBer today, I'd thought I'd create this post.

During the 1960s both of my parents lived in Swinging London and as such, adopted quite an attitude of optimism, hedonism, and cultural revolution that they pretty much traipsed through the rest of my childhood. (Don't get me wrong, it was not always the best, especially when they insisted you wear hand-made clothes to school and sent you to camp with a crocheted nana square blanket). I was only but a twinkle in my parents' eyes in the sixties but boy do I love daydreaming of what it would be like to be alive during this time. The counterculture, the revolution in social norms regarding clothing, music, drugs, dress, formalities and schooling. A decade of irresponsible excess, flamboyance, and decay of social order. How marvelous.

A recent almost "revival" of this culture seems to be cropping up around me in various forms lately, and so I've been inspired to share with you some of my favourite snippets of music from this time (and hopefully not just the typical response that you'd expect from some kinda of try-hard imposter such as myself). This may take a few journal entries, and for this first entry, I might focus a little more on the soul-esque tunes that I dig and then move onto other niblets of music that I enjoy. So let's jump right in - sha na boom boom yeah!

1. Diana Ross & The Supremes
I love that the Supremes brought to the Motown scene a delicacy that beforehand had only ever began to sneak out occasionally in female soul artists at the time. Here's what is said about them in 'The Supremes on Show':



2. Joe Tex, 'Show Me'

I love this song, even more so, I love Emma Birdsall's cover of it that I posted earlier.

3. The Staple Singers, 'Heavy Makes You Happy'

How can you not love this one?! It makes me just want to put on a mini skirt and knee-high boots and boogie it out in a local.

4. Bobbie Gentry
Ah, Bobbie Gentry. What a beautiful woman! Her voice I adore, and can easily see how modern artists (such as the lovely Emma Birdsall, featured earlier) draw inspiration from artists such as Gentry. One of the first country artists to record and compose her own material, her songs have classically autobiographic influences. I love this one:

And now moving away from the soul work a little...

5. Russell Morris
And finally, how could I not include an Australian artist on this first installation of my list? And how could it not be Russell Morris? Obviously, 'The Real Thing' is the most notable song to discuss here. Personally, I consider it to be one of the best psychedelic rock singles produced in the 1960s. It came about thanks to a plethora of well-known Australian musical artists and producers such as Molly Meldrum, Johnny Young and John Sayers.


Well, it's time for dinner now, but my sixties journey has only just begun so stay tuned for the next edition!
Come on Astronomically Lovely One! It's time to get up off that perfectly-formed behind of yours and get writing again. Please? Or, you know, not. But we'd all like to see you back among the ranks of the living...

That brings to a close the first update of the new year. I'm currently working, as I say, on 2014's The Year in Review in Journals, so hopefully I'll have that in a few weeks for you. Menwhile, keep writing and having ideas, and remember, if you want to be creative here, this is the place to do it.

Till next week,
Toodles!
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