Big Al's Metal Shop

Greetings Mulleteers,

It?s good to be back after my vacation, and dude, do we have lots to discuss....

First off, my apologies to all of our local practitioners of the Forbidden Art of Heavy Metal for the lack of coverage. Circle Of Dead Children, Built Upon Frustration, and especially my boys in Khanate are sterling examples of what?s next for our genre. Pittsburgh is a fertile breeding ground for violently heavy music, and I?ve been getting my hands on some of it.

Built Upon... puts out some Evil with a capital E music; imagine Hatebreed mixed with Meshuggah. And Khanate is definitely in the running for the ?burgh?s hardest working band. Whether it?s bringing together Horror and Metal fans through their common love of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, or scouting out new venues for metal bands to play, they?re helping to keep our scene strong. Look for an interview very soon.

Speaking of local shows, the loss of Laga will definitely hurt us short term, but there are some real beauties coming soon. Of course, the new home for international acts is the Rock Club at Station Square. In the next few months, we?ll see the triumphant return of Lacuna Coil (opening for P.O.D.), the Darkness (yeah, wish I had tickets too) and Tesla (May 1), coming at you live and armed with a brand-new album. But the biggest show this year, and I can say this in March, will be on August 28.

Although I was but a wee Metallion when they were in their golden days, Judas Priest holds a spot in my heart beside other luminaries like Zeppelin, Kiss, and Sabbath. The dual guitar attack of Tipton and Downing, complemented by one Rob Halford on vox is something that all music fans should experience once before they get married and pretend to love Muzak. And just as with Kiss, I thought I?d never have another chance to see the original line-up before that sad day.

Thanks to the powers that be, not only will my dream be realized, on that day in August, every single band on the Ozzfest line-up will kick my ass and yours too. From the Second Stage to the Main Stage, all the bands I?ve tried to push these last few years will be there. From lamb of god to god forbid to Dimmu Borgir to Slayer to Lacuna Coil to ... excuse me, I?m getting a little moist here.

Anyway, considering the lighter-weight nature of the last few Ozzfest line-ups, the co-headlining of Ozzy and a reunited Priest is a gift to all of us, and I expect to see you all there in appreciation.

Until next week, go check out the new lamb of god DVD, the new Probot (Dave Grohl?s surprisingly cool and dare I say reverential metal project), and anything else delightfully heavy.

Before I go, I would like to dedicate this week?s article to another giant in our genre, Steve Richards. Steve founded No Name Records, and went on to manage and help out bands like Slipknot and Hatebreed when they were still struggling to get their music out to the masses. Sadly, Steve passed away this month after a long illness, leaving behind a legacy and a large circle of friends and loved ones. Steve, your love for this music of ours is a shining example to all of us.