Metal up your derrière

It would be more awesome if Megadeth, Kreator and Death Angel — three thrash metal bands set to visit the country this year — would be on the same bill. Perhaps the organizers could dub it Metal Thrashing Manila* and give the local longhairs the night of their lives (and a reason to wear that cool patched denim jacket they scored from ukay-ukay).

But alas, the metal gods aren’t that accommodating. Megadeth will perform in August (rescheduled from March 7, reportedly), while Kreator and Death Angel will be part of Pulp magazine’s annual heavy metal hellraiser Summer Slam on April 26.

Kreator rippin’ it up at the 7107 International Music Festival… NOT!

I’m not sure about checking out Megadeth despite the new schedule. Saw them on a stormy night in July 2012, and although it turned out to be an unforgettable gig, I just can’t bring myself to get excited about a second helping of Dave Mustaine. Also: The P3,620 GA ticket price isn’t helping me change my mind. But we’ll see. I remember getting turned off by the ticket price in 2012.

Kreator, on the other hand, is a different devil. With Death Angel (a band I’ve seen before but interested to see again) on the same bill as well as Hatebreed, Bullet for my Valentine and the Black Dahlia Murder, there’s no reason why I should spend April 26 anywhere but Amoranto Stadium, moshing and drinking with like-minded friends like adulthood never happened.

Meanwhile, I torture my eardrums with the latest from Behemoth.


*Reference to the Anthrax song ‘Metal Thrashing Mad.’


CD crazy after all these years

IMG_20130608_140817Imagine a dog that catches the smell of a bitch in heat. One whiff and the bastard goes crazy. That’s kinda like me every time I hear of a CD sale going on somewhere. I get overexcited and won’t be pacified until I hump away the itch by visiting the venue, checking out the available titles, and going home with as many loots as my wallet can handle.

So in the age of MP3s and iPods I still collect CDs. So what? Some people like posting #selfies, some blog endlessly about food, some bash gays in the name of God. As the stubborn unapologetic drunk says to the annoyed non-drinker: to each his own, bitch.

That’s why Saturday morning found me at the biannual Universal CD/DVD Sale at the Smart Icon, Universal Tower on Quezon Ave. experiencing mental orgasm as I gawked at stacks and stacks of interesting titles being sold for as low as P20. Needless to say, I emerged from it an hour or two later with a lighter wallet and a heavier bag, and a happy-kid grin stretching from ear to ear.

Dig the artists:  Interpol, Mercury Rev, Bob Mould, Paul Weller, Cowboy Junkies, Moby, Britny Fox, Crowbar, Ian Gillan, Kings of Convenience, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Cracker, Dog Fashion Disco, The New Pornographers, The Cribs, Daft Punk, LCD Soundsystem, Black Box Recorder, Grandaddy, Amusement Parks on Fire, OHgr. From dance to indie to electronic to metal. With CDs that cheap, it made sense to experiment and introduce my ears to new music and artists. So I did. And that’s why I’m such a happy camper these days. Nothing beats striking gold when you’re in the process of discovering new stuff. It’s a natural high.

Looking forward to the next CD sale already.

*With apologies to Paul Simon for the title.

Rockstar obituary: Jeff Hanneman

hanneman-dghWow. Less than a week after that heavy metal high that was Pulp Summer Slam XIII comes the ultimate letdown: Jeff Hanneman, guitarist and founding member of thrash metal titans Slayer, died Friday (Manila time) due to alleged drink-related liver failure. He was 49.

Really, wow. This genuinely saddens me. I may not be the biggest Slayer fan on the block, but I have the biggest respect for the band and have fond memories of their music.

I remember listening to Decade of Aggression at a friend’s place many summers ago. Nothing really special about that afternoon except the period: I was starting my teenage years, cranked up on that feeling of invincibility that one feels at that age, and Slayer — with Hanneman and Kerry King’s blitzkrieg guitar riffs and face-melting solos — was providing a fitting soundtrack to that. Slayer was also among the first bands I listened to when I wanted to feel “tough” and “evil” and to piss off the adults. Later I’d use their music to get over a particularly hellish day at the office.

They say the most unforgettable music in one’s life is the one he heard when he was a teenager. Hard not to spot sense in that wisdom.

Will be listening to Decade of Aggression all weekend.

Into the pit

cannibal corpse

I’ve been to mosh pits before, including its arguably more insane variant, the circle pit. But it was last Saturday night, at Pulp Summer Slam XIII, when I stayed in one the longest. By my estimate, I was probably at the pit during 90% of Cannibal Corpse’s 14-song set. I got lumps and bruises to show.

It wasn’t planned. I didn’t go to Amoranto Stadium seeking sadistic gratification. I went there to listen to live music, from bands I only see in magazines and on the Internet, to bang my head and perhaps do a little pushing and shoving… but only  at a safe spot and with my bros nearby. That, however, changed after a conversation with my tukayo, the writer Karl de Mesa, at the venue.

“Dude,” he said. “Slam ka?”

I gave him a safe answer: “Not sure.” And then I threw him the same question.

“Nope,” he blurted. “I’m too old for that shit.”

Understandable, I thought. Like me, he’s well into his 30s and isn’t exactly one may call “athletic.” Still, his retort got me thinking. Am I too old for that shit too? The question — and its thinly veiled challenge — burned and festered in my head. It nagged at me. It made me uncomfortable. The English power metal band Dragonforce cried thunder in front of us, but half my concentration was on that question.

I figured there was only one way to find out, and the realization made my amygdala, the “fear center” of the brain, kick into high gear. Those who say there’s no harm in trying aren’t talking about mosh pits. Continue reading