Tool Fear Inoculum Digital
Label: RCA Records
Release date: August 30, 2019
I’m not going to lie and tell you that I’m a diehard fan of TOOL. Sure, I really got pretty hot and heavy into the band’s 1993 debut LP, Undertow — Beavis & Butt-Head can have that effect on a young mind. Plus, it’s a fantastic freaking album that holds up really well even to this day. But I only got into subsequent releases on a marginal basis. I listened to them if I could find them legally without paying for them. And considering their last studio album released was 13 years ago, I couldn’t even tell you what that legal method was. Probably CD loaners from friends or the library.
But this year’s Fear Inoculum was one that my circle of music peeps was very heavily anticipating. This includes my IRL friends, my co-workers, my online friends… we were all looking forward to it very, very much.
If you’re a fan of New York Hardcore, then you have probably heard the music of The Last Stand before now, perhaps without even realizing. Each of the members has been around the hardcore scene making headbanging music for well over 20 years. Lead singer Michael Scondotto was vocalist for Inhuman, and bassist Dion De Nardo, guitarist Stephen Della Croce and drummer Jimmy McCormack were all members of Shutdown. The Last Stand got together in 2010 and released their self titled record in 2011. This past Friday, June 9th, they released their latest record, This Is Real on Irish Voodoo Records on vinyl and CD. The album features 4 original songs as well as a couple of covers, and provides all the face smashing power one would expect from the genre.
17 years ago, in the summer of 2000, I arrived at a melting hot Giants Stadium parking lot at noon for a day-long festival to metal, Tattoo the Earth. The concert would culminate with me seeing my all-time favorite band for the very first time, Metallica. My friends and I never sat down, sang every lyric, and I even teared up during the firework show that opened “One.” Now 35 years old, I arrived with my wife to the new Giants stadium, MetLife Stadium, in East Rutherford, New Jersey to see Metallica for the 8th time. And as they’ve done every time, Metallica, the greatest metal band of all time, did not disappoint.
Fates Warning Awaken the Guardian Live Blu-ray | 2-CD/1-DVD | Vinyl
Label: Metal Blade Records
Release date: April 28, 2017
In 1986, progressive metal outfit Fates Warning released their Awaken the Guardian album up against such seminal works as Metallica’s Master Of Puppets, Slayer’s Reign In Blood, and Megadeth’s Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying?. With competition like that, it’s no wonder that the band’s third effort didn’t skyrocket to the top of the metal world, even though it deserved to, as Awaken the Guardian is a masterpiece, plain and simple.
The album marked the Connecticut band’s final release with original singer John Arch before continuing till today with frontman Ray Adler. But last year, for the 30th anniversary of Awaken the Guardian, guitarist, songwriter, and mastermind Jim Matheos reassembled the album’s line-up to play two festival shows. Now, Metal Blade Records has released the performances on DVD and Blu-ray as Awaken the Guardian Live, and if you’re a fan of this album and line-up, then this release is going to blow you away.
The tale as old as time is timeless, and so is its music. With the recent release of Disney’s smash success Beauty and the Beast, let’s unpack the music box that is the film’s soundtrack. With all of the original tunes from the 1991 film, as well as some new additions, this new version blends classic and contemporary almost seamlessly, with a few exceptions.
Here is my review of the soundtrack for the 2017 version of Beauty and the Beast.