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Volume 8, Issue 3                                    University of Houston

Much to hope for in metal in 2006

The Metal Guy

Scott Whitt

Many of us made resolutions about what we hoped would happen in 2006. Instead of hoping for losing weight or the possibility of twins, let's concentrate on the world of heavy music.

Mastodon's 2004 release Leviathan was the best release of that year and has quickly become a classic. The band was able to parlay that into a slot on last years Ozzfest and was signed to Warner Brothers Records. Here's to hoping Mastadon does not succumb to pressure from a bunch of suits who only look at the bottom line and is able to make another metal masterpiece. 

Lamb of God made the jump to a major label with Ashes of the Wake and headlined the initial Sounds of the Underground tour. It also put out the Killadelphia DVD, which contained a slamming live show and a tour diary. Unlike many acts, Lamb of God showed everything warts and all including a fight between band members where singer Randy Blythe is taken to the ground but never loses his cigarette. The band has the potential to channel its aggression into a new album and become the Megadeth of this generation.

Alongside Lamb of God as the flag bearer for the new wave of American metal is Shadows Fall, which also made the leap and is now on Atlantic Records. Singer Brian Fair and his 4-foot-long dreads front the band that was promoted to the main stage at Ozzfest. Its new CD has a good chance to push the band to headliner status.

Although Slayer's members are now twice the age of some of the metal competition, the band still commands respect. They will release a follow-up to 2001's God Hates Us All by the end of the year. The first studio release with Dave Lombardo behind the drums since 1990 should be worth the wait.

Ozzfest got more ink than other summer tours, but the best show was Sounds of the Underground. This summer package showcased several styles of heavy music without banishing acts to a second stage. Unlike Ozzfest, Sounds did not have bands pay for the privilege of being on tour. Sounds had Lamb of God headline alongside the theatrical GWAR, Every Time I Die, High on Fire, Opeth and Clutch. Here's to Sounds of the Underground's continued success, and maybe this year, it will come to Houston.

The Ozzfest tour first hit the road more than 10 years ago and was the main outlet for metal acts in a world of flannel and Doc Martens. It has now grown into the leading summer tour and has given many acts their first national spot. What is has also become, however, is a bloated carcass of commerce run by Sharon Osbourne where music is secondary. Amidst her many cosmetic surgeries, she has become the 800-pound gorilla of metal. Her incitement of the egging of Iron Maiden on their last show because singer Bruce Dickinson made fun of reality TV is beyond ridiculous. She and her useless daughter ruined the show for more than 40,000 people who worked hard to be able to afford the over-priced tickets and $4 water. Her inclusion of the troops in Iraq in her reasoning was beyond deplorable. Here's to hoping she remembers the tour is Ozzfest and not Sharon-fest, and that Kelly will be on Celebrity Fit Club 4.

Hatebreed, Hellacopters, Lacuna Coil and Tool are just some of the other acts releasing new work this year. Right now, someone is recording an album that is going to melt your face. Let's hope it gets here quickly.
 

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