National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) 2012 Show Report

Every year, NAMM bestows upon us shiny new toys for musicmakers of all genres to make new (and old) sounds with. NAMM 2012 was no less a musical heaven for the products, gadgets, and innovations that help make metal happen. We took a spin through the showroom floor at Anaheim Convention Center to check out some new equipment that our metal cohorts use and abuse. Full report after the jump.
Continue reading

Lament of the Day: I Miss Marty Friedman Playing Metal

If you got into metal after the early 90′s, then Marty Friedman may not have a place in your heart. Back when he was unleashing his godly guitar talents in CACOPHONY or MEGADETH, he was one of the most revered and popular guitarists in metal. So yeah, few people outside Japan or his diehard fanbase has heard much from Mr. Friedman in the many years since he quit MEGADETH and subsequently moved to Japan to co-host TV shows and play with Japanese artists.

Here is a video of Marty playing a Rust in Peace medley featuring some of his most memorable guitar solos. It was filmed on May 13, 2005 at an Ibanez guitar clinic in Korea.

If you’re curious about what Marty‘s been up to in Japan, check out these awesome clips of a TV show, Rock Fujiyama, from a few years back where Marty co-hosts and SLAYER‘s Kerry King guest stars. I asked Kerry a few years ago about this television appearance and he said that it was one of the coolest things that he’s ever done and that Marty is one of the greatest guitarists ever.

WITCHERY – Witchkrieg

After taking a breather in their respective other bands, namely THE HAUNTED, OPETH, and ARCH ENEMY, the members of WITCHERY offer Witchkrieg, the first album with vocalist Legion (ex-MARDUK) on board. Upon first glance, Legion’s vocals are much more varied than when he had the monotone screech in MARDUK – unfortunately, most of his vocals are masked by too many effects, which cheapens the excitement of the new vocalist.

Witchkrieg” opens with the crunchy, old school WITCHERY sound, with nice, crisp production, as the album starts off with a lot of promise. Kerry King’s trademark solo fits the opening track perfectly, and sounds completely in tune with the music. But the album is quite bi-polar, as a song like “The God Who Fell From Earth” opens with a bland nu-metal riff, and even guitar master Hank Shermann cannot save this blunder. “Conqueror’s Return” has a few headbanging riffs, but the layers of effects on the vocals make the song almost unbearable. Witchkrieg thrashes away with “The Reaver,” and the trade off solos from EXODUSGary Holt and Lee Altus show that this album has glimpses of brilliance.

Witchkrieg falls into the cliché of cheesy songwriting, as “From Dead to Worse” has a great opening, but the chorus is so bland that it sounds like Nathan Explosion of DETHKLOK is singing; fortunately, the solos from Andy LaRocque adds a nice flair to the end. “Devil Rides Out” is classic WITCHERY material, and “Hellhound” is a fast, brutal, and all out thrash attack.

Witchkrieg is an average effort, as there are good riffs scattered around here and there, but is mostly mediocre and somewhat disappointing. The band should always be looked upon as just a side project, as guitarist Jensen has used up all his good riffs in THE HAUNTED. While the plethora of guest musicians add a nice touch to the album, it’s safe to say that people have given this band more credit than they deserve. (Century Media Records)