Mar 29, 2017
Fans pick their favorite HEAVY SONG, and detail why.
Russ - Double Edged Sword: Neurosis (CA, 1990) (0:25-4:27)
"A friend in high school told me that if I ever heard of a band and was going to buy a record that I should get the oldest one first. I partied with these dudes in Seattle that were from the Bay like me and were really cool. So next time I was in San Jose I went to Streetlight Records on Bascom and found Neurosis vinyl. I bought the oldest one: The Word as Law. It came out in 1990 and I was buying it in 1995. The first song proved that I had made a lifetime purchase. I had this this thing blasting on a crappy hand-me-down system so much, my little three-year-old niece started headbanging with me and singing the last line in her high chair. These guys are absolutely one of my all-time favorites and this song always gets me."
<Me: Thank gawd someone picked Neurosis, and of course it was Russ. We went to see Neurosis several times together, the first was in 1999 when Times of Grace released. His The Word as Law album started a hundred parties.>
Kate (Squid) - Friends are Evil: Jesu (UK, 2004) (6:47-16:22)
"(This song is) (f)illed with oppressive, flattening doom. It feels like lying on the ground looking straight up into a tornado. There's a tiny bit of mental solace to be found in the center of great sonic destruction."
<Me: Squid is an epically gorgeous strong-as-fuck independent chick that told me she was a little intimidated to do stuff like this. I had to chuckle. She picked songs from Godflesh and Jesu as her heaviest, both featuring Justin Broadrick, I guess her fantasy boyfriend. Justin created Jesu at the (early 2000s) end of Godflesh. Jesu's first release was an EP in 2004, and Broadrick performed all the instruments and vocals. Broadrick describes Jesu: "I really wanted to take that rhythm and weld it to the Godflesh sensibilities of abstract, surreal, mutated metal." Jesu's first full-length album released in December, 2004, and contains Kate's pick for heaviest.>
Jules - Sacrifice: Flipper (CA, 1984) (17:01-21:35)
"Because I love the singer. Also, I just discovered KUSF radio. I had moved to SF from Detroit and I was sitting on the fire escape of my first crappy studio apartment on Bush street. I heard them coming through my crappy transistor radio. Their sound made my chest ache....kinda like falling in love... or using hard drugs....magic!"
<Me: Jules is into that gritty, filthy, raw, heavy eye-makeup, glam sound. Could be because she grew up in the outskirts of Detroit surrounded by nuns. She is one of the most badass women I have ever known, and listening to this song is like drinking a beer with her. Fucking cool.>
Phil: Continental Drift: Virus (Norway, 2011) (22:08-26:38)
"I mean, who sounds like this? The drums are swinging, the guitars make The Jesus Lizard jealous, and I actually really dig the dramatic vocals. Throw in a touch of prog and this is right up my alley."
<Me: Phil and I often have the exact same taste in music, and that means he is extremely intelligent and good-looking. Phil is a fucking hippie (long hair and all) from the mid-west, and you can practically hear the accent. I met him in my first days of SF, falling in love with his band Lower Forty-Eight. He is also the drummer of for Triclops!, Peace Creep, and Pins of Light.)
Chris: Numb: Sleep (CA, 1991) (27:48-31:15)
"Originally from the Volume I LP. I first heard it on the Four Two Pudding compilation CD on Very Small Records back in '93, and it was a pipe to the knees. 'Numb' was like being buried in wet concrete. It wasn't easy to stand out on that compilation, because it remains one of the best ever from that era.
Sleep sounded like nothing else at that time. They turned it up, slowed it down and defined heavy music for me going forward. Neurosis were at their peak as well, but they didn't hit me like Sleep. Certain bands create branches in one's music taste, Sleep did that for me."
<Me: Chris is my Roommate, and we grew up in the same tiny town in Colorado. Before I knew him, I would see his hardcore/punk band play in town, but I don't remember him because he was younger than me and I wasn’t into robbing the cradle until later in my life. Sleep was a no-brainer for him.>
Ted - Frankenstein: The New York Dolls (uh NYC bro, 1973) (32:09-38:04)
"A lot gets said about these guys, but when you listen to them the shit really unravels your mind. It takes some time to get over the crappy production value of their records but when you get over that and listen to the songs, David Johansen's singing, delivery and lyrics, and the rest of the band's wild and searing music really gets to you. I consider this song the Everest of rock and roll songs, the way it winds up is fucking the shit. Make sure you listen to the 1973 album version if you do, the demo versions fucking SUCK."
<Me: I saw Ted for the first on stage in Boulder around 1993, for his punk/noise/performance art band Baldo Rex. It must have been fate because I randomly moved next door to him a year later. And then years after that, I met him again in San Francisco. I adore this musician to death, and his other bands Veronica and The Red Tack. He is also into making film (does that sound dirty?), so I await his infamous destiny.>
Alex - Captor of Sin: Slayer (CA, 1984) (38:53-42:20)
"(Captor of Sin) is off the EP 'Haunting the Chapel'. This is a phase where Slayer is finding their voice. It took another album before they became the Slayer everyone knows but this was an important move away from the early 80s thrash. This song rips from the devastating opening solo to the double bass attack. Plus Satan and sex...........winning. "I will take you down into the fire." That says it all. Lastly, the not so perfect 80s production puts the finishing touches on my pick for favorite heavy song."
<Me: Alex loves headbanging to energetic, crazy-ass metal; he's got long fucking headbang hair; and is always up front of any show. Alex is fucking raw as fuck, and is possessed by Frank Zappa. He is in multiple bands: Voco, Conquest for Death, and is playing a reunion show of Say Bok Gwai on Wednesday, March 29 at the Knockout.>
Meg – Fear Merchant: House of Lightning (FL, December 2016) (42:52-47:33)
"One of my new fav bands, the closest to touch what Bad Brains did. Listen to Fear Merchant and Rapture off their latest release. Henry, the drummer from Floor plays guitar and sings in this band."
<Me: Meg is an earth goddess and the hot-as-fuck bassist of Totimoshi and her new band All Souls who are playing at Benders on May 27. Every woman who meets her loves her, and that says it all. Meg picked a new album, House of Lightning's sophomore album because she has her finger on the pulse of stuff.)
Sean - Blackened: Metallica (CA, 1988) (49:29-55:58)
"Close your eyes, put on the headphones and take a ride with what I consider to be the heaviest song every written. I have listened to that track on a variety of sound systems and I always consider it the most visceral sounding song - a unforgiving and brutal guitar tone, heavy as fuck drums, and James vocals are ferocious. I'll put that song up against anything from Sleep, Meshuggah, Pantera, Melvins, Cannibal Corpse, etc. The middle of the song is easily one of the heaviest riffs ever composed. Kirk Hammett was at the top of his game (and fell off a cliff after this album - no pun intended) and this is one of my favorite solos. This was my first introduction to Metallica (and metal). My mom bought the album for me as a Valentine’s day gift in 1989. I recall being in awe of the crazy sounding guitar intro, never having heard anything like that. There are a lot of Metallica detractors and I was with them when the black album came out, but for me... this is the quintessential metal song. And it's tuned to standard E and still heavy as fuck!"
<Me: Sean and I are on a "metal" email chain with, like, ten other people; and it has been going on for months. Much of this email chain is dedicated to Metallica: some of it ridicule, but a majority is laudatory. Sean picked from a severely underrated album, '...And Justice For All'. Lots of nerdy controversy on the production quality of the album, including the levels of Jason Newsted's bass. I am so glad someone picked Metallica, they are the best road trip band EVER. Fun Fact: Sean is Lars Ulrich's very handsome doppelgänger.>
Ira - The Ballad Of Hollis Brown: Nazareth (Scotland, 1973) (56:39-1:05:38)
"Oof, that's impossible. I think if it wasn't "favorite" it might be a bit easier. I always thought Nazareth doing The Ballad of Hollis Brown was super heavy. There's this ominous droney rhythm/beat for a while and then it opens up heavier but more psychedelic. However, the song is about a guy that is poor and he kills his family, and then himself. It's originally a Bob Dylan song and has definitely been covered before. Never like this. It's just evil. "
<Me: I met Ira almost 13 year ago, while he was touring with a band. At the time, he hadn't heard the new Neurosis ‘The Eye of Every Storm’; and we listened to it over and over and over again. He hails from the east coast, and we make sure to update each other on whatever insane sound we are hearing. He was one of the people who found it difficult to find a "favorite", no surprise to me.>
Casey - Surprise! You're Dead!: Faith No More (CA, 1989) (1:06:18-1:08:43)
"Two songs immediately pop in my mind when I think "heavy": "Surprise! You're Dead" by Faith No More and "Honey Bucket" by the Melvins. Both just fucking drive and don't let up. No Compromise for either, but Faith No More gets the edge because Mike Patton used to telepathically invade my friend Vince's mind, and that's just fucked up."
<Me: Casey is literally my #1 fan, and I hate using the word ‘literally’. He is just like me; he took this assignment very seriously and let me know that it was keeping him awake at nights. Casey and I have drunk an entire keg together, talking about industrial and metal, and then I think he threw up. That is what I expect of anyone in my presence.>
Me – Dig It: Skinny Puppy (Vancouver, 1986) (1:10:04-END)
Of course, it had to be Skinny Puppy. My first dark, evil little love. At the age of 13, I died for Ogre. They are the kings of transitions, the emperors. Highly influenced by Throbbing Gristle, Coil and other noise experimentalists, Ogre started writing music and created the band in 1982. First and foremost, they are vegans and animal rights activists. They engage the audience in blood and dirt-splattered performance art, creating visuals onstage about war and death and the phases of animal experimentation. In the early 80’s, this was met with incredulity and criminal charges. Most recently they found out, horrified, that their music was being used in Guantanamo Bay. Of all things, their anti-war and anti-torture music was being used to torture humans, and it broke their hearts. They created the most heart-wrenching romantic moments of any songs to ever exist. They make you soar.