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Megadeth, Black Sabbath and Metal

Sean Nelson, a visitor to the site, kindly offered to write an item on metal. (I am not sure if the term “heavy metal” is passé or not.) Here is what Sean wrote:

Defined by a pounding sonic dominance, huge riffs and wailing vocals, metal was rock as total warfare. It’s since moved into more sub-genres than I can even begin to do justice to, but it starts with Black Sabbath. The darkness, the heaviness, the powerful drums and rumbling bass, the lyrics obsessed with grand themes given religious importance. It’s the source code that would spawn legions throwing the horns.

Metal in a way subsumed prog rock (devoured it whole in some cases) as the rock genre most obsessed with technical virtuosity, which is how you end up with heavily tattooed people swinging their head around at high velocity, screaming about the Devil while playing chord changes that would make a jazz freak nod in approval. Thrash took the gutter crunch of Motorhead and pushed it even further, upping the tempo while remaining compellingly complex.

In addition to the song above, which is Queens of the Stone Age’s A Song for the Dead, Sean recommends Megadeth’s Killing Is My Business…and Business is Good and The Faceless’ Plenetary Duality I & II.

Reminders that all music is connected and that talent runs in families is that Nick Menza, Megadeth’s drummer from 1989 to 1998, is the son of noted saxophonist Don Menza. The elder Menza often played with Henry Mancini and was featured on the famous opening bars of The Pink Panther Theme.

Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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