So here’s why you sometimes have to be dubious of what you buy. After finally succumbing to the black metal bug, I decided I needed to dig deeper in Bathory, one of the primal godfathers of the genre. I had heard the earlier stuff but didn’t own anything beyond the final two albums which – as we’ll see in a few days – were decidedly different. So after deliberation I decided to start with Blood Fire Death, the touchstone for mainman Quorthon’s transition from the gnarly black metal of his earlier album into the more viking metal pomp if his later stuff. And so I bought a CD off of Amazon.
From the Kraze label. Continue reading “Bathory: Blood Fire Death (1988)”
Back in 1993 I got this amazing hardcore punk compilation called Faster & Louder. It was my first introduction to a larger world than I knew from the Dead Kennedys and Minor Threat. Bands like The Dicks, SSD, Mission of Burma and D.O.A. blew my mind, but it was the 52 second blast of “Lights Out” from the Angry Samoans that really struck my young brain’s fancy. For years that was all I knew of the band, but that changed with The Unboxed Set, which collects all of the band’s 12′ release onto one compact disc. Continue reading “Angry Samoans: The Unboxed Set (1995)”
Guitarists whose playing is truly unique and identifiable are few and far between. Sure, you can maybe listen to two seconds of a solo and know who’s playing it and what song it’s off of, but what if it were a new song? Eddie Van Halen? Sure. Brian May? Maybe. If Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn were alive I’d throw them into the mix. But one person truly deserving of being in that conversation is the late, great Allan Holdsworth, whose virtuosity on the instrument is matched by his unique way of using harmony to construct massively complex chord structures that delicately balance straight jazz, fusion, and pop. I.O.U. stands out as a masterpiece that recalls the best of what Holdsworth brought to music, still vibrantly alive almost 40 years after it was recorded. Continue reading “Allan Holdsworth: i.o.u. (1982)”
Oh man…almost 30 years since first hearing this and it sounds just as fresh, just as vibrant, just as alive as the first time I heard it. Friday Night in San Francisco is more than just a live document of three guitar virtuosos at the top of their game; it’s a seminal work of music, astounding in its passion, technicality, and execution, and a high water mark for Al Di Meola, John McLaughin, and Paco De Lucia. It’s bar none one of my favorite records of all time, and remains for me the apex of what you can do with a guitar, unadorned, armed with only your love of making music. Continue reading “Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin & Paco De Lucia: Friday Night in San Francisco (1981)”