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Updated: Feb 1, 2023

Metal Albums With Billy Disaster #1

Last night’s album was Mastodon’s Hushed and Grim (2021)

Here’s a term for you…”Air Grabbing”…You know when someone is singing something sensitive like “When I look into your eyes”, or “Our love is like an eternal flame” and they reach out and act like they’re grabbing some air? I guess it’s an appropriate thing to do if you’re Barry Manilow or Air Supply but NOT FOR METAL BANDS!

The 1st lyrics that appear on this record…”Oh my dear, look what we’ve done here”…Did my Grandma write these lyrics from the grave? I’m sorry but this is not the “Blood and Thunder” Mastodon that I want.

Now, I understand that a lot of this double album was written on the heels of the band losing their former manager to cancer and so I get why they’re being so sensitive, however it just doesn’t mesh with the kind of metal that I like.

For the record, to understand the mindset that I have while writing this metal series, I am a pretentious asshole when it comes to metal. I gravitate towards the more punk rock Motörhead, Lamb of God, Slayer side of the coin. I cannot fucking stand a metal song that is banging my head against the wall with my fist in the air and then all of a sudden starts singing a chorus that belongs on a Celine Dion record.

Mastodon are such great players and when they are agro, they’re among the best in the biz. And while this 90 minute record had some killer moments, it ultimately sounded too slick and weighed down with too many tracks on each song. This record is like when Rocky got too famous and started training in the spotlight when he really should have gone to a grimy gym and gotten back to his roots. 2 Satans for Mastodons’ Hushed and Grim 👹👹. Tonight’s album will be Russian Cirlces’ Gnosis. ❤️You

Metal Albums With Billy Disaster #2

Russian Circles’ Gnosis

I discovered Russian Circles when they were the opener for Chelsea Wolfe (one of my all time favorites!). They are a 3-piece instrumental prog/sludge metal band from Chicago. They kind of remind me of an instrumental version of A Perfect Circle’s heavier material as well as the early stuff of Seattle legends, Kinski with a little bit of Slayer sprinkled in.

All of Russian Circles’ records are very similar in terms of style, and they are all really good, but Gnosis is their best.

Like Kinski, they know when they’ve landed on a great long form melody and loop that shit into a hypnosis. And then WHAM!! They fuckin’ smash you in your pretty face with a killer metal riff. I love that!

The first 3 tracks are my favorites. Track 1, Tupilak is the type of piece that I wish A Perfect Circle would do more of. The first half is a haunting adventure with that decisive Kinski-like melody The second half begins with a breakdown that evolves in to a Jaws-like riff that left me breathless! It’s truly stunning.

Track 2, Conduit, is when they show their Slayer influence. It’s like they decided to create their own version of the breakdown in Angel of Death and make it into an entire song.

Track 3, the title track, Gnosis starts off like an atmospheric Tool song but then goes into an unbelievable apocalyptic explosion. There’s a moment in the melody that teases a full cadence and actually put a tear in my beer.

This massive sounding record is produced so well that I recommend headphones with the lights off. 5 Satans for Russian Circles’ Gnosis 👹👹👹👹👹. Tonight’s album will be Judas Priest’s Painkiller.


Metal Albums With Billy Disaster #3

Last Night’s album was Judas Priest’s Painkiller (1990)

I know what you’re thinking right now…You’re thinking, “Seriously Mr. Disaster?? You’ve never listened to Painkiller??”…Here’s the deal..I’ve TRIED to listen to it since it came out back in the 1900’s, but every time I put it on, I end up just listening to the title track over and over again because it’s “THE GREATEST METAL PERFORMANCE OF ALL TIME”!

I finally checked out the rest of the record last night and it ranges from very good to downright mediocre, but no other song holds a candle to that opening track.

One of the coolest things about the song Painkiller is that it’s the first record that they did with new drummer Scott Travis who had dreamed of playing with Priest since he was a kid. So what does JP do? They feature the rumbling drums of Travis at the very beginning! That must’ve been the ultimate dream come true.

Painkiller is Priest’s way of keeping up with the times and getting into speed metal and they made it seem natural to them. The intro is an earthquake of drums that lead into classic Priest style guitar riffing. When the 1st verse kicks in, the band is in full force and Halford’s screaming vocals pierce through the thunder like lightning. The chorus is a double bass ferocious pummeling that will leave you black and blue. And then…THE VERY BEST BRIDGE IN HEAVY METAL HISTORY!! It’s the perfect blend of evil melody and chord progression backed by a rhythm that sounds like it came from the 9th circle of hell. AND THEN! The guitar solos are what metal guitar solos are supposed to be: fast, technical and interesting. Finally, The outro of this masterpiece is so good that it should be studied at every music conservatory.

I almost feel like they gave everything they had on the title track with not a lot left in the tank for the rest of the record. There are about 4 or 5 songs on this that maybe should have been thrown away. But when you produce a song as great as Painkiller, nothing else compares anyway. 4 Satans for Judas Priest’s Painkiller 👹👹👹👹. Tonight’s record will be Sandrider’s Armada. ❤️You

Metal Albums With Billy Disaster #4

Last night’s record was Sandrider’s Armada (2018)

This Seattle 3 piece is one of those underground bands that should get some national attention. Not only are they fun to listen to, they are extremely good at what they do. They kind of hover within the High on Fire punk rock metal that I think should be more dominant in the metal scene. They are aggressive with a shitload of tension in their music.

I have a couple of favorite things about this record. #1 is that it’s not overly produced and sounds like an actual band playing in a room. No CGI here. It would sound right at home at a skate jam at the neighborhood half pipe. #2 is the band (Nat Damn-drums and Jesse Roberts- bass) is super tight and loose at the same time. The grooves are interesting, shred hard and are well arranged. #3 is the vocals (Jon Weisnewski-guitar vocals). This dude can wail! He has killer tone and his style is more of the yelling and screaming style that I prefer rather than the lame “emotional pretty voice” singing that so many metal bands have. I fucking hate that shit!

This is one of those rare records that doesn’t have a weak link in it. There are no ballads and as metal and punk as it is, they never forget that they are playing actual rock and roll. It’s dirty but not sleazy. This is the 1st I’d ever listened to them but it won’t be the last. If I were a chick

I would probably be their groupie. 5 Satans for Sandrider’s Armada 👹👹👹👹👹. Tonight’s

record will be Mercyful Fate’s Melissa. ❤️You

Metal Albums With Billy Disaster #5 Last night’s record was Mercyful Fate’s Melissa (1983)

For some stupid reason, I listened to this record for the 1st time with my wife (the metal hating Mrs. Disaster). She thought that King Diamond’s vocals were ridiculous and obnoxious (as impressive as his range is, the wailing does seem a bit forced at times). She totally put me in the wrong mind frame for this record and I was ready to shit all over it for this review. It might be grounds for divorce.

I did the right thing and went back over this record with my homie, Jeff Gilbert, the most metal guy I know. It took me back to 1983 when my room had Iron Maiden and Judas Priest posters on the wall and Sabbath blasting in the turntable. Had I known about Mercyful Fate back then I would have lost my shit!

The opening track, “Evil” is a full blast masterpiece when considering the era that it came out. Having learned much more about the band now I can see what an important influence this record was. It actually reminded me a lot of Judas Priest’s “Painkiller” where it goes all out with an unusually brutal style with multiple guitar solos. They did not fuck around.

Speaking of not fucking around, The 11+ minute “Satan Fall” is like the metal version of The Beatles Abby Road medley. The band says that there are 16 different guitar riffs in it!

Having now gone down a major Meryful Fate rabbit hole, I have really come to appreciate King Diamond (The singer and the band). Having put out 22 albums and creating a performance art that has inspired a massive amount of artists. He’s taken a lot of chances and succeeded. I will say that I kinda agree with Mrs. Disaster…I don’t really like his singing, but the dude deserves respect. I highly recommend the 2022 live concert video of Merciful Fate in LA on YouTube.

Melissa is a great album. I don’t think that it stands the test of time as well as, say, the early Black Sabbath records, but it’s certainly a classic. 4 Satans for Mercyful Fate’s Melissa 👹👹👹👹. Tonight’s album will be Lamb of God’s Omens. ❤️You #HeavyMetal #mercyfulfate

Metal Albums With Billy Disaster #6

Last night’s record was Lamb of God’s Omens (2022)

The 1st time I heard Lamb of God was about 13 years ago when they opened for Slayer and Rob Zombie. Slayer was phenomenal as always. Zombie was a big surprise as I don’t really get into his records, but his live show is an amazing spectacle and I would love to see his show again. I hadn’t even heard of Lamb of God up to that point and was inclined to skip them and partake in some tailgating instead to get primed for Slayer. I’m so glad I didn’t

LOG blew my mind! They had the perfect blend of aggressive punk rock and speed metal. And their singer, the great Randy Blythe, didn’t actually sing at all, he growled and screamed (my preferred style of metal vocals). They kind of reminded me of a faster Pantera but with 2 guitars. I fell in love and immediately bought two of their records, As the Palace Burns and Sacrament. I am a fan. (A funny side note...I played some LOG for my young kids. I asked them what they thought and my little girl said, “He sounds mean.“

Their latest release, Omens features a new drummer, Art Cruz who I actually like better than their departed drummer Chris Adler, which is saying a lot. I just feel like Cruz is a smoother and more creative drummer (example, his playing on track #6 Gomorrah).

As much as I love every every track on this record, I have my favorites, beyond Gomorrah, track #4, Ditch is an instant LOG classic with the best chorus on the album and track #9, Denial Mechanism is a punk/speed metal dream come true, reminiscent of Slayer’s Payback from God Hates Us All.

The whole thing is a metal clinic on metal rhythm section playing. There are not a lot of guitar solos which is fine, and Blythe’s Cookie Monster vocals are, in my book, the best in the biz. 5

Satans for Lamb of God’s Omens 👹👹👹👹👹. Tonight’s album will be Gojira’s Fortitude.

Metal Albums With Billy Disaster #7

Last night’s record was Gojira’s Fortitude (2021)

I’ve always been about a 60% Gojira fan. I REALLY love 60% of their music, and then for the other 40% I’m like “What the hell happened here?!” This record turned me into more of a 40%/

60%, meaning I REALLY love 40% and the other 60%...🤔.

The opening track, “Born for One Thing” is truly stunning. It has everything great about’s aggressive, atmospheric, complex and has one of my favorite choruses I’ve heard in a long time. Lead singer (Joe Andrew Duplantier) has a gift for finding melodies that find a different space than the usual melody that most people would come up with. This chorus is right up there with their song “Stranded” from their 2016 album, Magma.

Other highlights on this album are track #5 “New Found” featuring some signature Gojira guitar effect work, track #9 “Into the Storm” which takes about a minute to get going but pays off big when it does, and track #4 “Hold on” with its cool and weird 1st minute and a half along with another great chorus.

The production of this record gets its own credit. Besides the fact that it sounds great, it also kind of sounds like a lot of it has a movie trailer vibe to it. It’s flavored with some cool sound design that makes it a cool headphone experience.

But then...I don’t know if they switch their meds during their recording sessions, but they have this lame tendency to become a totally different band. It’s not like they suddenly throw some shitty ballad love song in, but like they do a bunch of shrooms and get into a hippy drum circle and...well...I just don’t dig it. And I’m not much of a lyrics guy (Mrs. Disaster is the lyrics person in our family) ears go straight to the music. So I had to look the lyrics up, and...

maybe they are more clever in French. 3 Satans for Gojira’s Fortitude 👹👹👹. Tonight’s album will be High On Fire’s De Vermis Mysteries. ♥️ You

Metal Albums With Billy Disaster #8

Last night’s record was High on Fire’s De Vermis Mysteriis (2012)

Back in 2007, I was finishing a 14 hour day in the studio with Jack Endino (who is no stranger to 14 hour recording sessions). It was 4am and I’m fucking exhausted ready to head home when Jack says, “You wanna hear a rough mix of this killer band I’ve been recording?”. So I rally and sit back down in the control room and he fires up “Rumors of War”, perhaps High on Fire’s signature song. I was floored. The raw Motörhead style nuclear bomb of a song instantly refreshed my love of heavy metal. I’ve been a fan ever since.

HoF’s 6th record, De Vermis Mysteriis continues their consistent output of agro, loose riff, heavy brutality that never over produces their sound. It’s simply balls to the wall (where the hell did that term come from?). There are no sappy ballads that try to appeal to soccer moms like some bands we’ve covered in this series (I’m looking at you Mastadon).

I dig every track on this with the exception of the 1st half of of the last track “Warhorse”...but other than that, this record kicks ass. My favorite song is “Bloody Knuckles” with its Sabbath/ Slayer groove. Track #6, “Spiritual Rights” harkens back to “Rumors of War” and track #4 “Madness of an Architect” will leave you feeling like you just went 15 rounds with Godzilla.

Cheers to HoF for sticking to the purity of heavy music and doing it well. 4 Satans for High on Fire’s De Vermis Mysteriis 👹👹👹👹.

Welp, that’s it for Metal Albums With Billy Disaster. I hope you’ll join me for February’s series

Cow Punk Albums With Billy Disaster. Suggestions please!! ♥️You


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