Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Green and Black

Overkill, those venerable thrash metal veterans, have released their 54th album, "Ironbound". Now why is this event bloggable?? Read on, kiddies.

I first saw Overkill around 1983-84 when they opened for the legendary Dead End Kids at the Empire Rock room in Philly. They were a young thrash outfit and had the leather and make-up look that was popular at the time. They were hungry to win over the audience and kicked major ass. The Dead End Kids on that night, was perhaps one of the last times we saw them live. They plowed thru their classic riff-rockers like "Dead End Kids" and "Rough House Rock" along with their obscure covers like Alex Harvey's "Faith Healer". Somebody should have a tribute site for them somewhere...they were one helluva live band.

We continued to see Overkill throughout the 80's mostly at the Airport Music Hall, where we could count on a TT Quick gig at least every other month, and also some of the best Ramones shows were there. Every time we saw Overkill Blitz would have a different rap with the audience. For example..."I see there's beer upstairs....I'll be right up after the show!!".....stuff like that. Or...."man, you motherfuckers get uglier every time I see you!"

Here we are 27 years later, and the DEK's are sadly long defunct (probably all dead except for Mattson...). Overkill suprisingly still survive, with Blitz and Verni the sole original members.. but yet as sure as the sun rises, and I lose, a new Overkill album is out.
And dammit, this motherfucker just kills.

I say Overkill are the most underrated band in thrash. They deserve to be right up there with Exodus, Slayer and Testament as the "fourth" great thrash band. Churning out one album and tour after another for 25 plus years, Blitz delivers the goods time and time again. I've seen them live maybe 50 times. My favorite era has to be when Tim Mallare was on drums, the dude ranks up there with Lombardo as one of the great thrash drummers.

Now of course some of their mid-90's albums were spotty. A few good tunes, a few duds, some deviations from true thrash. But compared to other bands of the genre who sold out completely (uh, Metallicrap come to mind), Overkill remained heavy.

Ironbound is a complete return to form and may be their best album in 20 years.
The riffs, the speed, the precision, they are all there. Blitz is Blitz and belts out the vox like it was 1983 and they were opening for the Dead End Kids.

It's early, but this will probably be a contender for album of the year.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Pass the Ketchup...err Catsup

I just placed an order on for some Heinz ketchup and Heinz mustard in the original glass bottles.

I've always thought Heinz was the best ketchup, but lately i've been itching for a showdown between Heinz, Hunts, and Del Monte. Problem is, you can't hardly find Del Monte anymore, and if you do, all of them are in the plastic squeeeze containers which ruins it anyway. But i've read some glowing reviews of Del Monte ketchup, it seems it is a well kept secret and that is IS the best ketchup. I just gotta find some, I think Wal Mart has it.

"Where are you going?" "Wal Mart. I gotta pick up some Del Monte ketchup".

I did pick up a plastic bottle of Hunts cause it was on sale. Hunts seems to be the blue collar ketchup. Only low class establishments serve Hunts.

As for mustard, Heinz mustard is the best. But again, try to find the damn stuff in a store. All you get is French's and Plochmanns. Heinz blows them away.

So thank god for sites like Ketchup World that let you find the stuff in the ORIGINAL FUCKING GLASS BOTTLES!!

Classic Albums Revisited: UFO-Strangers in the Night

This will be one in a series of installments re-visiting some of my favorite albums. Right up there with Grand Funk Live, Live at Leeds, Lizzy's Live and Dangerous, etc etc, is one of my favorite live albums of all time, UFO's Strangers in the Night.

I remember first reading about UFO in Circus magazine in 1974-75. I distinctly remember it was a review for the "Force It" album, and it was one of those reviews where it had the one ear, two ears, two loud ears, etc. rating system. Needless to say the review expounded on the incredible Schenker leads that populate the record, and I had to go out and get it. It was not a disappointment. In fact, I still say that "Force It" is their best studio LP, their most raw and rocking. Schenker is on fire throughout the whole thing.

Which brings us to the live album. After hearing this Schenker became, and still is, my favorite guitarist. The tone, melody, phrasing, is just unbelievable. Plus he's playing a Gibson Flying V into a 50W Marshall stack, the ultimate rock tone set-up. Some of the leads sound easy, but try to play them. You can't. The whole album is just one rock and roll juggernaut from beginning to end with most of the Force It stuff on there, and their show stopping finale "Rock Bottom". Hell, even the Highway Kings covered "Doctor Doctor".

Schenker, being the drunken genius that he is, came and went but UFO carries on to this day with shredder Vinnie Moore on axe. It ain't the same, nor is the Schenker solo stuff the same, either. This was the magic mix, the line up that played on this album. Again, the Chapman-era UFO had some rocking stuff as well but it just wasn't the same.

Next installment: the new Overkill album, "Ironbound". Blitz returns with a thrash masterpiece!!