More Metal trash-talk! Here are the rules of the game:
Single out an absolute masterpiece of an album, a timeless release from a great band that will endure until the end of eternity, full of brilliant songs and priceless treasures. We’re talking desert-island-disc material.
Now identify the flaws in these diamonds. Call out the bad songs on albums that are otherwise excellent.
“Escape” – Metallica from “Ride the Lightning”
“Quest for Fire” by Iron Maiden from “Piece of Mind”
“Invaders” by Iron Maiden from “The Number of the Beast”
“The Time is Coming” by Testament from “Practice What You Preach”
“Silent Scream” by Slayer from “South of Heaven”
This next batch of songs mostly sin by blandness. None of these are actually god-awful, just kind of dull.
Hell, interesting disasters would have been preferable, in most cases. . .
“Deja Vu” – Iron Maiden – Somewhere in Time
Feel like I’ve been here before.
OK, put down the torches and pitchforks. . .
I will praise Iron Maiden until I draw my parting groan. They’re the band that made me a lifelong Metalhead. Their posters took up more wallspace than everyone else combined in my childhood room. When 1986’s “Somewhere in Time” album incorporated guitar synths and some more accessible songs, the haters were triggered. I was not one of them. From my first listen, I felt that this record was a masterpiece.
Except for that one stupid song near the end.
I don’t mean the phenomenal album-closer, “Alexander the Great;” I’m talking about the song that precedes it.
I’m always shocked when people cite “Deja Vu” as one of their favorites. . . Really? It’s so damn awkward and challenging, but not in the cool Rush way. While Bruce Dickinson’s vocals are bizarre and repetitive, this stumble is not his fault. The failure on “Deja Vu” is a collaborative full band effort. Like “Invaders,” which I trashed on Part 1 of this column, it starts off as a passable song (I guess the first 53 seconds of “Deja Vu” are OK. . .), but then wrecks itself halfway through.
Not everyone shares my hatred for this one. That’s fine. I just don’t get the love. When I play “Somewhere in Time” (which is often), this always gets a skip.
“Thanx For Nothin” – Overkill – Horrorscope
It baffles me that this also-ran was released as a single for “Horrorscope.” Overkill’s 5th album is a tight collection of killer Thrash, all the more impressive as their first release after dismissing guitarist Bobby Gustafson. Overkill had already achieved legendary status, but this record saw them reborn as a bare bones new machine. “Horrorscope” has some genuine classics, many solid deep cuts, a few tracks that are just fine, and this simplistic dummy. Thanks for nothing. I said nothing.
“Bloodstone” – Judas Priest – Screaming For Vengeance
How the hell did Judas Priest select this for a live track on their 2019 “Firepower” tour? I applaud the decision to unearth some overlooked tunes. . . but. . . “Bloodstone??” Not “Rock Hard, Ride Free?” “Out in the Cold?” “Steeler?” “All Guns Blazing?” “Judas Rising?” As an album, “Screaming for Vengeance” changed the world. It’s as good as Metal records can get – – but not because of this song.
OK look, I know I’m being a little harsh on “Bloodstone;” it’s not even Judas Priest’s worst song (“Johnny B. Goode,” anyone?). “Bloodstone” is more meh than awful. But just a little.
“Lone Justice” – Anthrax – Spreading the Disease
I’d heard most of “Spreading the Disease” before I got the cassette in my hot little hands, some time in 1986. But even then, “Lone Justice” as the second track gave me some initial doubts, on my first playthrough. The song starts out just fine with a cool Frank Bello bassline, followed by a pretty badass chugging Scott Ian part. . .
But then the horse throws a shoe.
Anthrax have captured stories and characters really well in many of their songs (see: “Among the Living,” “I Am the Law,” “Medusa,” “Now It’s Dark,” etc.), but the Spaghetti Western-themed lyrics to “Lone Justice” are almost embarrassingly silly. Picture Clint Eastwood grimacing.
The rest of “Spreading the Disease” is perfect. This album is untouchable.
“No Bone Movie” – Ozzy Osbourne – Blizzard of Ozz
Oh, stop it.
I’m not going after “Mr. Crowley” or “Revelation (Mother Earth).” You know you have no love for “No Bone Movies” either.
This one is almost as cringey musically as it is lyrically. It sounds and feels like a throwaway, crammed in on one of the most near-perfect albums ever released. Ozzy Osbourne is a G.O.A.T. artist for all of music, not only for Metal. Don’t you dare disrespect Randy Rhoades – – or Bob Daisley, or Don Airey, or Lee Kerslake. But this song? What was the Ozzy team thinking? Don’t ask me, I don’t know.
No, no, “No Bone Movies.”
Reader reactions to part 1:
In a MetalAsylum.net Facebook post, Liam Ordner rightly points out “F/X”, aka, the giant WTF moment from Black Sabbath’s “Vol 4,” aka 2 minutes of Tony Iommi screwing around with guitar noises. It’s Black Sabbath’s answer to “Revolution #9” from “The White Album,” except mercifully, “F/X” only lasts 1:43, before moving on to the fucking brilliant “Supernaut.”
In that same MetalAsylum.net Facebook thread, Tom Price cites “Dawn Patrol” as a bad song from Megadeth’s “Rust in Piece.” That bass riff is a monster, but then the song goes nowhere, does nothing with it. It’s a Sherman tank on a grocery run. So much potential wasted.
Reminder: I love the bands and albums listed above; my disdain is just for those specific songs. And if I offended you, oh, I ‘m sorry. . . Just remember that these are my opinions, not necessarily those of the Metal Hall.
Jack Mangan is best known in the Metal world as the co-host of the popular Metal Hall of Fame and MetalAsylum.net livestreams with Rich Catino. He’s also the lead author/project runner for the “Am I Evil?” graphic novel and a journalist with MetalAsylum.net and the official Metal Hall of Fame. In an adjacent life, he was a podcast pioneer, with numerous appearances on Technorama, Dragon Page, Escape Pod/Pseudopod, and many others, including his own productions: Jack Mangan’s Deadpan, and the Podcast novel, “Spherical Tomi.” Friend him on Facebook if you can find him, but be warned: he’s not great about checking Facebook Messenger.