Anvil Singer Claims Band Originated Speed/Thrash Metal

While the “Big 4” gets a lot of credit for the advancement of thrash metal, especially in the U.S., would any of those acts be considered the originators of the style? In a new chat with The Metal Interview (heard below), Anvil singer Steve “Lips” Kudlow claims his band created that sound and style first.

When initially asked about laying claim as an originator, Kudlow responded, “We’re older. What else am I gonna say? I’m two or three years older than those guys. End of story. I was in line first. [Laughs] Somebody had to do it. And let’s face it, it’s a different kind of situation.”

He then elaborated, “Our drummer, Robb Reiner, is a very, very spectacular, special drummer and inventive and innovative. So when I came up with speed riffs that I thought were like Deep Purple and he’s playing double-bass drums to these kind of riffs, that was the invention of speed metal. People never heard that done before, and that’s an innovation that’s created between a guitar player and a drummer.”

He further explained, “Only a combination of that could do that — not a guitar player and a vocalist, but a guitar player and a drummer. That’s who’s gonna create that kind of music, because the faster you play and the more parts you put in, the less important vocals are, and that’s basically the direction which speed metal took, and that’s why there’s virtually no melody in speed metal, because you can’t — there’s no time to create a melody in the spaces that you make in the songs. So it all goes hand in hand. So some of our stuff like ‘666’ is almost void of melody, but that’s the style. That’s the stuff that everything — Slayer listened to that and said, ‘Okay, let’s make a band around that sound.’ The syncopation and the ideas that were expressed in songs like ‘Jackhammer’ or even ‘March of the Crabs’ became Metallica. It’s actually quite interesting.”

Earlier this year, Loudwire analyzed 15 acts that could be considered pioneers to the thrash metal sound, with Anvil among those included. Check out more of Lips’ chat with That Metal Interview below and see our list of 15 Bands Considered Pioneers of Thrash Metal below that.

Hear Anvil’s Steve “Lips” Kudlow on That Metal Interview

15 Bands Considered Pioneers of Thrash Metal

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Marilyn Manson Role Cut From CBS All Access’ ‘The Stand’

Last year it was revealed that Marilyn Manson was planning to appear in an updated adaptation of the Stephen King novel The Stand and that he also recorded a cover of The Doors‘ “The End” for the CBS All Access limited series. But according to one of the series directors, Manson nor his cover will appear in the upcoming series.

Director Josh Boone spoke with EW.com after rumors began to circulate that Manson’s presumed participation appeared to be in doubt. According to Boone, Manson’s role and music were both excised from the upcoming series due to budgetary concerns. It turns out that Manson had been cast in the role of “The Kid,” who makes a brief but memorable appearance within the book. But a tight budget forced some creative decisions that left “The Kid” out of this adaptation.

Explaining how Manson’s role and participation ended up getting cut from the series, Boone explained, “Just to clarify, Marilyn Manson and I had long-discussed him taking on the role of The Kid in The Stand. He and the great Shooter Jennings even recorded a killer cover of The Doors song, ‘The End,’ that ultimately proved too expensive to use. The show was made on a very tight budget and some of the dreams we had went to the wayside. The Kid was another casualty. When Manson wasn’t able to make it work schedule-wise, the storyline was ultimately excised and never shot, which is for the best, as no one could have slayed that role like Manson would have. Hope to work with him in the future.”

In the book, The Kid is a psychopath who drives a classic hot rod and loves his Coors beer. His main purpose of The Kid in the book is to drive Trashcan Man to Las Vegas, the home base of Randall Flagg’s disciples.

“We thought we were going to be able to restore the character of The Kid, but there really isn’t a lot of reason for The Kid to exist,” show runner Benjamin Cavell previously told EW.

The Stand series stars James Marsden, Whoopi Goldberg, Alexander Skarsgard, Odessa Young, Amber Heard, Heather Graham, Greg Kinnear, Daniel Sunjata, Eion Bailey, Nat Wolff and more. It premieres on CBS All Access Thursday, Dec. 17.

Musically it was a good year for Manson. After a decade of collaborating with Tyler Bates, he kept the creative uptick in his career going by pairing with producer Shooter Jennings on the cinematic-sounding We Are Chaos album.

But late in the year, allegations against Manson surfaced when actress Evan Rachel Wood publicly commented on a past abusive relationship. Though she didn’t call out Manson by name, backlash followed when people traced the timeline to the period when the pair dated. Manson’s team has since commented calling the accusations rumors.

See Marilyn Manson in 57 Rock + Metal Bands Who Changed Names Before Getting Famous

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32 Years Ago: Guns N’ Roses Release ‘GN’R Lies’

When Guns N’ Roses’ debut album Appetite for Destruction finally ascended to No. 1 on the charts a year after its release, it sent the music world into a frenzy, ready to consume any and all GN’R material available. The record label capitalized on the moment with the release of GN’R Lies on Nov. 29, 1988, a disc that was marketed as a new studio album but in essence was a compilation of sorts. That said, GN’R Lies contains some of the band’s all-time greatest songs.

Combining the caustic Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide EP and four contextually polarizing yet musically brilliant acoustic tracks, GN’R Lies drove fans into stores eager to wear down the grooves of a new LP. From the first drop of the needle, new fans were treated to some brutally raw and aggressive tracks: the Hollywood Rose-written “Reckless Life,” followed by the irony of “Nice Boys,” originally by Australian act Rose Tattoo, the original song “Move to the City” and a cover of Aerosmith‘s “Mama Kin.”

These tracks serve as a fitting introduction to where the band came from and who their biggest influences were. Though the EP was not recorded live — crowd noise from one of the Texxas Jam festivals was added in — it showcases the band’s unbridled energy with their own sonic stamp. Slash‘s signature guitar work dominates the riffing attack while Axl Rose‘s jaw-dropping range transforms them from simple covers to arguably besting the originals. However, the real star of Lies is the second half of the collection.

Guns N’ Roses, “Patience”

Leading the set of acoustic tracks is the whistled melody of “Patience,” a song which seized the success wrought by the borderline ballad “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” Where the Appetite single had still showcased the band’s sleazy and savage energy mixed with palpable emotion, “Patience” realized the full spectrum of the band’s songwriting abilities. The song was released in April of the following year and reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

“Used to Love Her” came next with its country twang and cheeky lyrics, making for a fun sing-along, revealing the band’s dark sense of humor. Falling in line thematically was the original version of “You’re Crazy,” which was changed radically in the studio on the band’s debut. One of the fastest and most aggressive songs on Appetite for Destruction was initially a mid-tempo jam. Stripped down on Lies, the song provides a different imagining of how Appetite would have sounded had the song not been altered.

Guns N’ Roses, “Used to Love Her”

Always controversial, Guns N’ Roses managed to make headlines with the seemingly offensive lyrics of “One in a Million.” The song used racial, xenophobic and homophobic slurs describing an altercation Axl had once had at a bus station when he first got to Los Angeles. The album’s cover included a proactive apology with the mock tabloid for the song’s title closing with, “This song is very simple and extremely generic or generalized, my apologies to those who may take offense.”

The artwork for GN’R Lies took the approach of a tabloid newspaper, with headlines including some of the songs on the album with brief descriptions. Some of the extra bits on the cover were removed prior to the CD release, including two quips about domestic violence.

Though the record does not take on the format of a conventional studio album, it serves as a curious time capsule back to the day when a rock band would dominate the world stage seemingly overnight. GN’R Lies was an obvious industry move to propel the ballooning success of what would become the “Most Dangerous Band in the World.” Yet, the result was a release that yielded some classic tracks that hold their own among the band’s best works.

See Where Appetite for Destruction Ranks Among the Top 50 Hard Rock + Metal Debut Albums

10 Most Destructive Guns N’ Roses Moments

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You Can Pay to Spend a Night in Ozzy’s Childhood Bedroom

Ozzy Osbourne was recently bestowed with a ‘Man of the Year — Lifetime Achievement’ award by GQ magazine. In the wide-ranging interview, the Prince of Darkness confirmed the person currently occupying his childhood family home charges money for people to sleep in his old bedroom.

It’s the ultimate one-night stay for any Black Sabbath and Ozzy mega fan — a wholly unique opportunity to get a glimpse into the everyday life of the pre-fame singer in the two-bedroom home located at 14 Lodge Road in Aston, a ward in Birmingham, England.

Looking back on his early life, Osbourne admitted it is now difficult to wrap his head around how a family of eight managed to occupy a relatively small dwelling and also made a joke about how much it costs to stay in his old room.

“He charges £400 a night,” the legendary metal singer told GQ when pressed about the alleged for-rent room. He then exclaimed, “The fucking house weren’t [sic] worth £300!”

“They must be doing an expensive extension on the bathroom,” he quipped before noting, “I tell you what was really weird: I went back to that house many years after I left. When you’re little everything seems massive. But that house was me, my mum and dad and my five sisters and brothers – eight of us in this house. It’s so tiny, I’m going, ‘How the hell did we do this?’

Sharing another anecdote from his childhood, Osbourne recalled an emotionally cold and distant life. When asked if he was able to tell his parents that he loved them, the singer replied, “No, never. My parents never told me they loved me. That wasn’t a thing you did in our house. If I’d told my sister I loved her I’d have had the piss taken out of me. Even now I say to my older sister that I love her and she won’t say she loves me back. When I was a kid it was a sign of weakness to tell your parents that you loved them.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Osbourne recollected the time a vicar visited his home and mistakenly ate a piece of potent hash cake, which left him an a sort of incapacitated and severely stoned state. After eventually sobering up, the vicar told Osbourne he must’ve contracted the flu while visiting his home because he had hallucinated for three days.

Read the full interview with GQ here.

Bogged down by numerous health issues in recent years, Osbourne had been forced to postpone multiple legs of his ongoing farewell tour. The pandemic has pushed retirement even further back and the Prince of Darkness is now aiming to return to the road in 2022 on a European tour. See those dates here.

These 40 Smiling Rock Stars Will Make Your Day

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Three Slipknot Funko Figures Coming in 2021 + Maybe a New Album

At the start of the year, it was announced that three Slipknot figures would be added to Funko’s popular line of “Pop! Rocks” vinyl collectibles. They were originally expected to see an August release and, now, pre-orders are available with the product set to ship in early 2021. What’s even more exciting is that the band may release a new album next year, per Corey Taylor.

Despite Slipknot totaling nine members, and more if you were to count past members, only three figures — Corey Taylor, Sid Wilson and Craig Jones — have been announced. Obviously, with such a high rotation of outfits and masks over the course of Slipknot’s two-decade reign as one of metal’s biggest bands, there’s plenty of variants Funko could have elected to go with.

As seen in Funko’s social media post below, Taylor, Wilson and Jones are depicted in their most current state as seen on the We Are Not Your Kind album cycle. The one exception here is that Jones is wearing a blue, zip-up jumpsuit, a color which was not seen on the tour in support of the 2019 record.

Pre-order the Corey Taylor figure here, the Craig Jones figure here and the Sid Wilson figure here. As Amazon affiliates we earn on qualifying purchases.

Though 2020 has been a disruptive year for artists across the globe, it’s been a productive one for Taylor and Slipknot. The singer released CMFT, his debut solo album, earlier this year and Slipknot percussionist Clown revealed Slipknot have been writing new music.

“The plan right now with Slipknot is to try and a) finish up the touring next year, and b) we’re thinking about kind of putting another album out maybe next year,” Taylor said (transcription via Blabbermouth) as a guest on the “Good Company” podcast with Scott Bowling.

Fans shouldn’t marry themselves to the idea of a 2021 record, however.

Taylor cautioned, “But I don’t know. I don’t know what the plan is yet. I just know that we all kind of feel like there’s unfinished business and we want to finish that out before we do anything. But I know that we were talking about doing it because we only have one album left on our contract [with our record label].”

78 Rock + Metal Artists Turned Into Funko Pop! Figures
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System of a Down’s ‘Chop Suey!’ Hits One Billion Views on YouTube

The music video for System of a Down’s legendary breakout single “Chop Suey!” has just hit one billion views on YouTube. The milestone comes only months before the iconic song marks its 20th anniversary.

Having recruited a cult following with their debut self-titled album, System of a Down were poised to become the next great cult band in the vein of Frank Zappa or Primus, but with the release of 2001’s Toxicity, the Armenian-American band blew apart those expectations and attracted monumental mainstream success. Becoming one of the most bizarre acts to garner universal acclaim, Toxicity hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200, going on to be certified triple platinum by the RIAA.

“I remember when I wrote ‘Chop Suey!’ we didn’t even have a tour bus yet,” Malakian recalled during an interview with Loudwire. “We were still in an RV and I was playing my acoustic guitar in back of the RV where there was a bed. I never write on the road. That’s one of the few, very few songs that I wrote while I was on the road, I remember writing the song when the RV was on the highway. I don’t know where we were, probably [driving] to the next gig, and it all came to me just hanging out in the back of the RV playing my acoustic guitar.”

He continued, “I can always feel when I write something good and I can always tell when I write something that needs a little work. I thought it was really good, but did I think it was going to turn into this huge song that was gonna get on MTV and become a huge hit for System of a Down? No. I didn’t know that. I didn’t know that it was gonna be our first [hit] single. I didn’t think it was gonna be so huge, but at the time I thought it was good. I was a fan of it.”

“Chop Suey!” — released Aug. 13, 2001 — was the first single from Toxicity. Its middle-eastern tonality and wild pacing immediately stood out from ‘90s and early 2000s nu-metal favorites, allowing System to solidify their identity as an avant-garde band, rather than just another angst-ridden clone act.

“All of a sudden I’m walking in the mall, and there are people who recognize me and know who the hell I am through the video asking for pictures, asking for autographs,” Malakian recalled. “I was a big famous rock star, yet I was still living with my parents.”

According to bassist Shavo Odadjian, “Chop Suey!” was originally title “Suicide,” the name was changed following a discussion with System’s record label. “‘Chop Suey!’ is ‘suicide’ chopped in half,” Odadjian told Loudwire. “We had to pick and choose our battles — we couldn’t battle everything. We were smart about it, we made it something cool.”

System of a Down’s Shavo Odadjian: Wikipedia: Fact or Fiction?

At the end of the 2010s, “Chop Suey!” was the eighth-most watched music video on YouTube from the 2000s, accumulating more views (at the time) than Linkin Park’s “In the End” and 50 Cent’s “In Da Club.” As of 2020, “Chop Suey!” has been certified gold or platinum in at least four countries.

By any metric, “Chop Suey!” is one of the 21st century’s definitive singles across all genres and one of the greatest metal songs of all time. Congratulations to System of a Down for reaching the incredible milestone. Watch the video for “Chop Suey!” below.

System Of A Down – Chop Suey! (Official Video)

See ‘Chop Suey!’ in the 66 Best Metal Songs of the 21st Century

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12 Huge Things That Didn’t Suck About 2020

Let’s get one thing out of the way — 2020 sucked. It was an absolute shit show.

We don’t have to go into detail about the COVID-19 pandemic, because it’s something that has impacted the entire world. And the music and live entertainment industries felt that impact hard.

After March, all major tours were canceled. Albums were put on hold. People were being laid off left and right because companies couldn’t afford to employ them anymore with the future of live music left unclear.

Before the pandemic even hit, Neil Peart lost his battle with brain cancer. Rock pioneers such as Little Richard and Charlie Daniels died in the midst of it. Quiet Riot‘s Frankie Banali. Power Trip‘s Riley Gale. The almighty Eddie Van Halen, and many more were lost as well.

But with each of those atrocities, we saw how tight-knit the rock and metal community can really become. The outpouring of love and support in times of mourning, the fundraisers for live industry workers and the communal Zoom sessions were all heartwarming in times that felt ice cold.

Though there were times where it seemed like nothing could get any damn worse, there were certainly a couple of highlights that are worth noting. And for the sake of not always remembering 2020 as a bottomless pit of chaos, isolation, depression and loss, we’ve compiled a list of some of the good things that have come out of this year.

Check ’em out below, and remember that the tough times won’t last. “Nothing lasts forever, even cold November Rain.”

These 40 Smiling Rock Stars Will Make Your Day

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Lars Ulrich: Metallica ‘Some Kind of Monster’ Therapist Saved Us

Metallica‘s Lars Ulrich recently went to bat for Phil Towle, the therapist who memorably mediated between the veteran metal band’s members in the 2004 documentary Some Kind of Monster.

In fact, the drummer outright said he saved the group.

Metallica fans who’ve viewed the film probably haven’t forgotten Towle’s invasive but ultimately helpful role. In the movie, amid some pronounced intra-band turmoil, the band’s management brings the therapist on as a peacemaker thanks to his experience as a “performance enhancement coach.”

But Towle’s presence also makes for some surprising moments in the doc. A particularly obtrusive one was on the mind of singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers when she chatted with Ulrich for Rolling Stone on Nov. 20.

“One of the craziest things I’ve ever seen is in the Metallica documentary [Some Kind of Monster], when your therapist [Phil Towle] slides over [and suggests] lyrics,” Bridgers said. “I was like, ‘Oh, my God.'”

But although that sounds like a possible nightmare scenario between an established rock act and their group counselor, Ulrich stood up for Towle’s methods and explained the situation that led them to him.

“It was a very transitional, experimental time,” Ulrich explained. “We’d been a band for 20 years, and we realized we never had a fucking conversation about how we’re feeling, what being in Metallica is doing to everybody. It was just this fucking machine. And then [James] Hetfield had to go away and deal with some of his [substance abuse] issues, and then that opened up this whole thing.”

The drummer continued, “It was a difficult time with Phil. And as easy as a target as he is to make fun of, whenever I get asked about it now, I find myself defending him. He did save the fucking band. I think you and I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to each other if it wasn’t for him.”

Talk about a robust vindication for the band therapist who’s likely been the butt of many Metallica fans’ jokes upon viewing the film. While Towle’s approach may have seemed silly at times, Ulrich certainly appears pleased with it now. And, since that time, Metallica’s influence has only grown larger.

For her part, Bridgers is also beginning to get a taste of mainstream rock stardom. The musician grabbed a total of four nominations among Tuesday’s (Nov. 24) 2021 rock and metal Grammy nominees. Not the least of which being one of the all-female selections for the Best Rock Performance category.

See Metallica in the 66 Best Metal Songs of the 21st Century

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Batman Death Metal Action Figure Is Coming + It’s F**king Brutal

If you’re finally sick of collecting Funko Pops, this new Batman action figure may scratch your itch for inanimate objects. To celebrate the new Dark Nights: Death Metal comic series, Batman has been molded to shred on an insane metal guitar shaped like a scythe.

Musicians like Marilyn Manson, Rise Against’s Tim McIlrath and film composer Tyler Bates have collaborated on the soundtrack for Dark Nights: Death Metal, adding sonic weight to the bizarre and twisted Scott Snyder/Greg Capullo series. Five issues of Death Metal are currently out, with two more set for release in December and January, respectively.

As for Batman’s red axe, the action figure comes with a highly detailed demonic guitar. The headstock features a screaming hellspawn almost in the style of a cello. The body of the guitar looks to be depicted as pure metal, with bolts and pipes coming out of the body while a massive scythe bends dangerously close to Batman’s strumming arm.

“Your next Build-A Wave sneak peek is here!” McFarlane Toys writes. “Get ready to collect all Death Metal action figures to build The DARKFATHER! Coming to stores Spring 2021.”

“I don’t think he should kill,” Death Metal artist Greg Capullo recently told Loudwire. “If Batman ever were to kill, he would be the bloodiest of the bloody. He would be on a killing rampage that would never stop. He’d make the Punisher look like a pussy. Once he crossed that line, it’s over, and then he becomes exactly what he’s warring against.”

Get ready for Batman’s Death Metal action figure to hit stores in spring 2021 and click here to check out the Dark Nights: Death Metal series. [via PRP]

The Jobs 26 Rock + Metal Musicians Had Before They Were Famous

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Ex-Secrets Vocalist Aaron Melzer Has Died

Aaron Melzer, former vocalist for southern California post-hardcore band Secrets, has died.

As a member of the Secrets between 2013 and 2015, Melzer handled the harsh vocals in relief of original screamer Xander Bourgeois. He appeared one the second of Secrets’ three full length albums, Fragile Figures, and originally joined the band after leaving the local group Author & Finisher.

In a statement released on social media, Secrets lamented the death of their former vocalist and remembered him warmly.

Today we lost our brother, our friend, and our family with the passing og Aaron Melzer. Aaron’s passing came much too soon in his life ad in ours. Words cannot express how devastating and painful this is for all of us to hear and believe.

We will miss Aaron every day. Every day we will remember his presence, his laughter, the joy he could bring to a room, the light he brought with him to the stage, his smiles, his heart and every memory we were able to share with him.

For now we ask that you please respect the privacy of the family and loved ones as we take this time to reflect & grieve.

We love you Aaron & you will not be forgotten.

Aaron Forever

In early 2015, Secrets announced that work had begun on what would become their third record, Everything That Got Us Here while also revealing that Melzer and the group had parted ways as they welcomed Wade Walters into the lineup, making Fragile Figures the only release to feature Melzer’s contributions.

Fragile Figures hit No. 59 on the Billboard 200 upon its debut and featured standouts such as “Sleep Well My Darling” and “Dance of the Dead,” the latter of which appeared on a deluxe edition of the record.

Loudwire extends our condolences to the Melzer family, Secrets and all who knew Aaron. Rest in peace.

Rockers We’ve Lost in 2020

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Every 2021 Rock + Metal Grammy Nominee Revealed

GRAMMY nomination day is finally here and a new batch of nominees have learned their musical works have been recognized with nominations. Here are are the rock and metal nominees.

It should be a solid year for metal with Body Count, Code Orange, In This Moment, Poppy and Power Trip all nominated in the Best Metal Performance category, while the Best Rock Performance nominees include Fiona Apple, Big Thief, Phoebe Bridgers, Haim, Brittany Howard and Grace Potter. And there should be some excitement over Andrew Watt among the Producer nominees for his work on Ozzy Osbourne‘s Ordinary Man album.

The 63rd annual Grammy Awards will take place on Sunday, Jan. 31. The Daily Show‘s Trevor Noah will host this year’s ceremony which will air at 8PM ET / 5PM PT on CBS. We’ve listed some of the key Grammy categories below. You can check out the full list at this location. Stay tuned as we update this post.

Grammy.com

Best Rock Performance

Fiona Apple / “Shameika”
Big Thief / “Not”
Phoebe Bridgers / “Kyoto”
Haim / “The Steps”
Brittany Howard / “Stay High”
Grace Potter / “Daylight”

Best Metal Performance

Body Count / “Bum-Rush”
Code Orange / “Underneath”
In This Moment / “The In-Between”
Poppy / “Bloodmoney”
Power Trip / “Executioner’s Tax (Swing of the Axe) (Live)

Best Rock Song

“Kyoto” / Phoebe Bridgers
“Lost in Yesterday” / Tame Impala
“Not” / Big Thief
“Shameika” / Fiona Apple
“Stay High” / Brittany Howard

Best Rock Album

A Hero’s Death / Fontaines D.C.
Kiwanuka / Michael Kiwanuka
Daylight / Grace Potter
Sound & Fury / Sturgill Simpson
The New Abnormal / The Strokes

Best Alternative Music Album

Fiona Apple / Fetch the Bolt Cutters
Beck / Hyperspace
Phoebe Bridgers /
Brittany Howard / Jaime
Tame Impala / The Slow Rush

Producer of the Year

Jack Antonoff
Dan Auerbach
Dave Cobb
Flying Lotus
Andrew Watt

Record of the Year

Beyonce / “Black Parade”
Black Pumas / “Colors”
Da Baby featuring Roddy Ricch / “Rockstar”
Doja Cat / “Say So”
Billie Eilish / “Everything I Wanted”
Dua Lipa / “Don’t Start Now”
Post Malone / “Circles”
Megan Thee Stallion featuring Beyonce / “Savage”

Album of the Year

Jhene Aiko / Chilombo
Black Pumas / Black Pumas (Deluxe Edition)
Coldplay / Everyday Life
Jacob Collier / Djesse Vol. 3
Haim / Women in Music Pt. 3
Dua Lipa / Future Nostalgia
Post Malone / Hollywood’s Bleeding
Taylor Swift / Folklore

Song of the Year

Beyonce / “Black Parade”
Roddy Ricch / “The Box”
Taylor Swift / “Cardigan”
Post Malone / “Circles”
Dua Lipa / “Don’t Start Now”
Billie Eilish / “Everything I Wanted”
H.E.R. / “I Can’t Breathe”
JP Saxe featuring Julia Michaels / “If the World Was Ending”

Best New Artist

Ingrid Andress
Phoebe Bridgers
Chika
Noah Cyrus
D Smoke
Doja Cat
Kaytranada
Megan Thee Stallion

Best Spoken Word Album

Flea / Acid for the Children: A Memoir
Ken Jennings / Alex Trebek: The Answer Is
Rachel Maddow / Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia and the Richest Most Destructive Industry on Earth
Ronan Farrow / Catch and Kill
Meryl Streep / Charlotte’s Web

Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Bill & Ted Face the Music
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
Frozen 2
Jojo Rabbit

Best Music Film

Beastie Boys Story
Black Is King
We Are Freestyle Love Supreme
Linda Ronstadt: The Song of My Voice
That Little Ol’ Band From Texas

Best Album Notes

At the Minstrel Show (Various)
The Bakersfield Sound (Various)
Dead Man’s Pop (The Replacements)
The Missing Link (Various)
Out of a Clear Blue Sky (Nat Brusiloff)

Best Comedy Album

Black Mitzvah / Tiffany Haddish
I Love Everything / Patton Oswalt
The Pale Tourist / Jim Gaffigan
Paper Tiger / Bill Burr
23 Hours to Kill / Jerry Seinfeld

Metal Grammys Year by Year: Who Really Should Have Won

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Firstborne (Adler, LoMenzo) Debut Thrashy Journey Cover

Firstborne — the band comprised of drummer Chris Adler (ex-Lamb of God, ex-Megadeth), bassist James LoMenzo (ex-White Lion, ex-Megadeth), guitarist Myrone and singer Girish Pradhan — have partnered with Loudwire to bring you the exclusive premiere of their thrashy cover of Journey‘s pounding fan-favorite, “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart).”

On their original songs, Firstborne embrace a mix of classic heavy metal and rock with shades of thrash to give the music a deft balance between aggressive and anthemic.

With “Separate Ways” Firstborne retain their core values, indulging their anthemic side just a bit more, as is only natural when tackling this stomp ‘n’ pomp classic. The same plodding, nervous edge that plays out over the verse is perfectly intact and it’s the chorus that gets a boost courtesy of Adler’s kick drum flurries that beef this up with modern metal overtones.

“It’s hard to not appreciate Journey,” said Adler.

“As a musician I’ve always greatly appreciated their individual talents that combined into something so contagious,” the drummer continued. “I’ve always wanted to cover a Journey song and always thought of ‘Separate Ways’ as their ‘heaviest.’ The problem was always the same. No one can sing it. When I met and performed with Girish across India I knew I’d met one of very few people in the world that could take this on and make it his own. That’s the goal of the group. We can do anything — let’s have fun and share.”

The track comes on the heels of the recently released original single, “Sacred Lights” as Firstborne continue to churn out fresh songs following the five-track self-titled EP, which came out earlier this year in June.

Listen to Firstborne’s cover of Journey’s “Separate Ways” below and read our interview with LoMenzo and Myrone further down the page.

Follow Firstborne on FacebookInstagram and Spotify to stay up to date with everything the band is doing.

Firstborne, “Separate Ways” (Journey Cover)

FIRSTBORNE — INTERVIEW

Do you remember the first time you heard “Separate Ways” or, at least, have a recollection of this song from your youth?

James Lomenzo: I was a fan of Journey’s from their very first album released in 1975. When Escape came out in ’81, I was totally sucked in — so many great songs!

Everyone was really interested in their next record, which was Frontiers. “Separate Ways” was so cool! It had a decidedly heavier edge and Steve Perry’s grittier vocal style seemed to give the song and the band a brand new coat of paint.

I remember thinking, “This sounds angry. After the huge success of Escape what have they go to be so angry about?” [laughs]

Myrone: I vaguely remember hearing this as a kid in the car. There’s something about the way that urgent synth line gets juxtaposed with the absolutely insane, crushing guitar riff that just activates all of the good brain chemicals.

What else were you listening to at the time and how did this song compare?

JL: There was a lot of new metal stuff around that time. Interestingly, “Separate Ways” seemed in the ballpark as far as aggression.

The original music video is widely regarded as the embodiment of cringeworthy. There’s a certain campiness to the ’80s that seems to be embraced more and more today under the guise of ‘take your music seriously, but not yourselves.’ What do you miss most about that time period (other than album sales)?

JL: I think if we weren’t separated by the pandemic, I could probably persuade Firstborne to do a similar, albeit more ironic, version of that wonderfully awful video.

M: Well, I wasn’t alive, so I wouldn’t really know, but I will tell you, the one maxim that has guided my entire experience in the music industry is that it’s supposed to be fun. There are so many better ways of making money in this lifetime, so if I’m going to make a living doing music, it HAS to be fun.

Doing this full-time is stressful. There’s so many emotions involved and the correlation between hours put in and money received isn’t always positive. When I spend 90 billion hours crafting the perfect guitar solo for a track that ultimately doesn’t make the record, you better bet your bottom dollar I had a good time doing it or I wouldn’t have done it at all.

Another note on the music video regarding the woman who is a central figure… have any of you, at any point, ever owned a white leather jacket? It’s pretty much the coolest rock ’n’ roll accessory.

JL: My brother Peter picked one up back then. I alas, only had my standard issue black Schott motorcycle jacket.

M: I’ve only worked up to the Canadian tuxedo phase of my wardrobe. I’m hoping that with a little more time, effort, and maybe some blood and tears, I too can one day achieve the white leather jacket look.

Neal Schon’s abilities seem to fly under the radar with the younger generations. What was so impactful about his style?

JL: Again, I was on board with Journey from their first album. They were actually more of a progressive band, so I was already hip to Schon’s amazing ability, let alone his playing in Santana previously. He has it all — fire, fury and taste!

M: One of my favorite things about Neal Schon is that he was one of Prince’s favorite guitar players. It makes sense. Neal can rip it up with the best of them, but he can also write the Hell out of a song, which I think is more impressive than any of the technical stuff. Also… his guitar collection? Insane. Legendary ripper.

As a bassist, what excites you the most about playing a steady arena rocker versus something more technically-minded?

JL: I like it all — technical, simple. Bass in giant arenas works best if it’s simple and to the point, but If people are sharing live music, any kind, then that’s where it’s at. I’ll say that having toured with AC/DC early on, I came to really appreciate arena rock in it’s best light —fill that giant room with something big, broad and powerful!

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