Trial, Sisters Of The Moon (Metal Blade Records 2021)

The new vocalist for Sweden’s metal band Trial debuts on an EP of cover tunes.

Trial (sometimes Trial (swe) ) has been honing their approach to heavy metal for ten years, most recently with the well-received Motherless (2017). The song writing and musical style has evolved over the years, and the solid guitar-driven metal on this new EP is a tantalizing preview of things to come. The members of Trial are Arthur W. Andersson (vocals), Alexander Ellström (guitar), Andreas Johnsson (guitar), Andreas Olsson (bass), and Martin Svensson (drums).

The first song, “Sisters Of The Moon,” is a Fleetwood Mac cover from Tusk. That’s right, Tusk. It might be lost to history now, but that album was the follow-up to the absolutely unfollowable Rumours. There was nothing Fleetwood Mac could have done at the time to get people to like Tusk (or any other album they might have released then) as much as they loved Rumours, no matter how good it was. Interesting, then, that Trial picked this one of all Fleetwood Mac songs to cover. They have laid the metal in heavy compared to the original and this new versions pulses with energy and life.

The second track is less of a surprise. More of an homage to Geezer Butler than to Tony Iommi, this cover of Black Sabbath’s “Die Young” would have pleased Ronnie James Dio, I think. Thankfully the airy, dream sequence from the original is a little less onerous here. Don’t get me wrong – I love this song, and Heaven and Hell was a great album. It was also the first one without Ozzy Osbourne so it continues to be bitter on my tongue. This new version is a banger, just like the original. And there is something cathartic in a way about an EP that pairs a Black Sabbath song with Fleetwood Mac song. Recommended.

Available on January 29th, Metal Blade has the goods (link below).

Links.

Bandcamp, https://trialheavymetal.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/TrialHeavyMetal

Metal Blade, https://www.metalblade.com/trial/

Trial, Sisters Of The Moon (Metal Blade Records 2021)

Clouds Taste Satanic, The Satanic Singles Vol. 2, review (Kinda Like Music 2020)

Clouds Taste Satanic releases Volume 2 in The Satanic Singles project.

This New York instrumental metal band is peopled by these fine persons: Steve Scavuzzo (guitar), Rob Halstead (bass), Greg Acampora (drums), and Brian Bauhs (guitar). For years on end they have been producing their unique brand of vocal-free doom (and doom-adjacent) heavy music, typically in long form. Recently they decided to shift gears a bit a put out a series of shorter cover pieces as singles, leading to a collection in the New Year. The latest installment has just appeared.

Volume 2 has two tracks. Side A is the Black Sabbath classic “Behind the Wall of Sleep” and Side B is the Chicago ballad “If You Leave Me Now,” with a minor title change. The Black Sabbath cover is a delight. It is the song we know by heart abstracted from Tony Iommi’s guitar and with the lead strings singing Ozzy’s part – plus a little extra razzle. Fantastic. “If You Doom Me Now” is a clear improvement over the original. I am a big Chicago fan, preferring the “25 Or 6 To 4” and “Sing A Mean Tune Kid” lanes. Dooming up the quiet, lilting vocal of the second-phase Chicago chart topper is the exact distinction that makes me like the song better.

I am loving this series. Highly recommended.

Bandcamp has Volume 2 waiting for you. There are vinyl versions as well, but know that V1 sold pretty fast so you want to get on it if you are interested in the physicals. Volume 3 drops on New Year’s Day so make a plan for that.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://cloudstastesatanic.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/CloudsTasteSatanic/

Spotify, https://open.spotify.com/artist/5QidF8yXlvTyGkDy24JImY

YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvVu8mcXrE2eVjq_ApcGBmw

Overview Article on Clouds Taste Satanic, https://flyingfiddlesticks.com/2020/04/07/a-quick-look-at-clouds-taste-satanic/

Clouds Taste Satanic, The Satanic Singles Vol. 2, review (Kinda Like Music 2020)

Zakk Sabbath, Vertigo review (Magnetic Eye Records 2020)

Zakk Sabbath gives us a welcome reminder of the pivotal album Black Sabbath, and an exploration of its timelessness.

The band is Zakk Wylde, Blasko, and Joey Castillo. I first saw Zakk Sabbath a couple years ago at the Rock on the Range festival in Columbus and I was completely blown away. I’d seen Zakk Wylde with Black Label Society, of course, and with Ozzy Osbourne, but I didn’t know what to expect from what looked like a tribute band from the billing. What I saw and heard was jaw dropping. An absolutely amazing performance. I tried to find some recordings, but at the time there wasn’t much. Now there is some video, and Zack Sabbath has “live bootlegs” up on their Bandcamp page (for free, by the way – there is actually a lot there so go check that out at the link below). No studio recordings, though. So when I heard Vertigo was coming out, I was on board immediately.

Every metal fan knows about that first Black Sabbath album, and most have heard it more than once. Some of us have listened to it so many times we know it by heart. So while listening to Zakk Sabbath commemorate the album, we are going to hear anything that is different from the original. And of course it is different. This is not meant to be a note by note recreation. It is celebration of the music and the seminal nature of the compositions on the album. There are extensions and bending and warbling variations throughout. The tempo matches the original very closely. Wylde’s vocals are extremely well suited for this music, and the musicianship is absolutely impeccable. At the same time, this is not a tribute album like, say, the Nativity In Black releases, so the new recordings do not reimagine the music. The songs included are the ones on the original US release, meaning that “Evil Woman” is not here and instead “Wicked World” is (on the standard CD).

If you are still wondering what this is all about, then grab a couple of those free live downloads from Bandcamp or check out a few videos of Zakk Sabbath on YouTube. It is clear that the band has great admiration and respect for this music. For me, Black Sabbath was one of the first bands I started listening to when I was a teenager and their music had a massive impact on me. It still does – not a week of my life has ever gone by without me listening to Black Sabbath. As a result, I won’t tolerate any fucking around with their music. With all that said, I really like Vertigo. Go get it now. Highest recommendation.

You can pick Vertigo up now from Magnetic Eye Records either at their website or through another retailer but there are no downloads. Physical versions only.

Live photo from the band’s Facebook site by @bilakos_thrash.

Links.

Zakk Sabbath Bandcamp, https://zakksabbath.bandcamp.com/

Zakk Sabbath Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/officialzakksabbath/

Label website, https://en.merhq.spkr.media/

Label Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/MagneticEyeRecords

Zakk Sabbath, Vertigo review (Magnetic Eye Records 2020)

T-Shirt Inventory, Sixth Wave

Week six was heavy week at the T-Shirt Inventory Project. By the end of the week I had turned nostalgic and just wanted a beer. Actually, I pretty much always want a beer.

From the “13” Tour.
The Final 2-3 Year Tour.
Green Death.
A Classic Band and a Classic Design.
More Black Sabbath — The End Tour.
One of My Earliest Rock and Roll Influences — Alice Cooper.
My Favorite Bar in Long Beach.
T-Shirt Inventory, Sixth Wave