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Massive Metal Monday: Budgie “Breadfan”
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Ides Bergen   |  @   |  
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Budgie Band Photo

Formed in 1967, Budgie may just be one of the most underrated and influential bands in the history of heavy metal. The band is widely regarded by music historians and fans alike as being one of the first and most seminal bands in the genre. The original power trio of Burke Shelley (bass and vocals), Tony Bourge (guitar), and Ray Phillips (drums) recorded 3 albums, culminating in the 1973 masterpiece Never Turn Your Back On A Friend.

This week’s Massive Metal Monday selection is a video of the band performing a track from that album, “Breadfan,” for the legendary UK television show The Old Grey Whistle Test from 1973.

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Massive Metal Monday: Black Crown Initiate “Selves We Cannot Forgive”
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Ides Bergen   |  @   |  
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Black Crown Initiate Band Photo 2016

Reading, Pennsylvania’s Black Crown Initiate is one of the most exciting and forward thinking bands in modern metal. The progressive death metal unit’s self-released 2013 EP Song of The Crippled Bull created such a buzz in the underground that it led to them signing to eOne music for their absolutely stunning 2014 debut record The Wreckage of Stars.

Now, two years later the band is set to return on July 22, 2016 with the release of their sophomore album Selves We Cannot Forgive.

The disc will be the first to feature the contributions of new guitarist Wes Hauch (ex-The Faceless) who takes over for departing axe-slinger Rik Stelzpflug. The first single from the record is the title track and it is EPIC! Check it out here below and be sure to pre-order your copy of Selves We Cannot Forgive today!

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Massive Metal Monday: Kvelertak “1985”
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Ides Bergen   |  @   |  
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Kvelertak Band Photo

Norwegian band Kvelertak have been known to jump around, genre wise throughout their ten year career.They have played everything from hardcore to black and roll. But no one could have anticipated the curve ball that they have just thrown with the release of the first single from their upcoming third album Nattesferd.

Check it out below.

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Massive Metal Monday: Devildriver “I Could Care Less”
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Ides Bergen   |  @   |  
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Devildriver Band Photo

Few bands in metal manage to marry the fury of extreme metal with memorable hooks the way that Santa Barbara’s Devildriver do. Formed out of the ashes of lead singer Dez Fafara’s former band Coal Chamber, Devildriver’s self-titled debut album was unleashed on an unsuspecting public in October of 2003. Their sound and fury is (thankfully) a lightyear from the nu metal meanderings of Coal Chamber.

Fafara and a revolving cast of musicians have released six high quality albums over the last dozen years as Devildriver. The unit is currently on hiatus as Fafara is currently touring in support of Coal Chamber’s reunion record. The singer has stated that Devildriver is currently writing material for their next album which should see the light of day sometime in 2016.

Meanwhile, from the debut album here is Devildriver’s manifesto “I Could Care Less.”

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Massive Metal Monday: Queensryche “Queen Of The Reich”
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Ides Bergen   |  @   |  
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Queensryche Band Photo

Long before Seattle spawned Nirvana and their grunge ilk, the city was home to many groundbreaking rock bands. In the ’60s, Jimi Hendrix emerged from the jet city. Seattle sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson carried the torch for female hard rockers with their band Heart in the ’70s. Then in the early ’80s, one of the most groundbreaking bands in metal emerged from the city.

Queensryche‘s independently released 1983 debut EP set the metal world on its ear. The band’s sound was the perfect storm of Iron Maiden meets Judas Priest with a bit of Rush-worshipping prog rock thrown in. The delivery was quite unlike anything that came before, especially from an American band.

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Massive Metal Monday: Scorpions “Still Loving You”
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Ides Bergen   |  @   |  
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The Scorpions Band Photo

In the 1980s, a band couldn’t truly say that they had “made it” until they had a massive, over-the-top, epic, tear-jerking power ballad. It was a trend that dates back to KISS having the biggest hit of their career with the accidental chart-topper “Beth” in 1977. Be it Motley Crue’s “Home Sweet Home” or Cinderella’s “Don’t Know What You’ve Got (Till It’s Gone), the decade was one giant game of balladry one-upmanship. By the time hair metal burned itself out at the dawn of the 90s, there were bands that seemed to deal in nothing but ballads (Firehouse, Warrant, Trixter, et al…).

There is, however, one song that stands out to me as the apex of this movement. Veteran German metal band Scorpions were equally adept at bone-crushing rock and roll and ballads that could make the hair stand up on the back of your neck. This week’s Massive Metal Monday song is one of the latter moments. Here, with the most bitchin’ ballad of the day, is Scorpions with “Still Loving You” from their massively successful 1984 album Love At First Sting.

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Massive Metal Monday: Black Sabbath “Black Sabbath”
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Ides Bergen   |  @   |  
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Black Sabbath Original Band Photo

In honor of the 45th anniversary of the release of Black Sabbath‘s self-titled
debut album this past Friday, today’s edition of Massive Metal Monday is dedicated to the album’s eponymous opening track. Watch the band perform the song live in Paris from 1970 here below.

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Massive Metal Monday: Killswitch Engage “Fixation On The Darkness”
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Ides Bergen   |  @   |  
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Killswitch Engage Band Photo

Every 5 to 10 years there is a band whose arrival signals a sea change in the heavy metal landscape, be it Black Sabbath’s invention of the form, Iron Maiden’s punk/speed metal hybrid, Metallica’s time signature shifting thrash, or Pantera’s grungy southern sludge groove. Killswitch Engage is one of those bands. While their lowbrow nu metal contemporaries were unsuccessfully attempting to bastardize rap and doing it all for the nookie, Killswitch melded the aesthetics of hardcore to melodic, radio-friendly metal hooks to popularize a genre that would come to be known as metalcore.

There would be a million bands that would attempt to emulate Killswitch’s unique brand of beauty and ferocity. Most of them would only succeed in sounding like pale imitations. To this day the band stand as one of the most vital in the genre and their live shows continue to amaze.

From the band’s second album, Alive Or Just Breathing, the Massive Metal Monday track for this week is “Fixation On The Darkness.” Interestingly, the album features the vocals of original singer Jesse Leach who would leave the band before the video for the song was shot. This video features his replacement, Howard Jones, and was shot live to introduce the world to the new singer and his skills.

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Massive Metal Monday: “Angel Witch” By Angel Witch
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Ides Bergen   |  @   |  
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Angel Witch Band Photo

Angel Witch is one of the most underrated bands to emerge during the new wave of British heavy metal movement in the late ’70s and early ’80s. The list of bands who cite them as an influence are as long as your arm, but Angel Witch never broke through to mass acclaim that some of their peers such as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest did.

Formed in London in 1977, the band has endured so many breakups, reunions, lineup changes (at least 28 different musicians have been in the band at some time or another… some multiple times), and mismanagement debacles that they could make a documentary to act as the sequel to This Is Spinal Tap. This has all led to a rather sparse output; Angel Witch have issued only four full-length studio albums in 35 years.

Here below is the title track of the band’s eponymous 1980 debut album, the highly revered Angel Witch.

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Massive Metal Monday: “Hall of the Mountain King” by Savatage
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Ides Bergen   |  @   |  
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Savatage Band Photo

Savatage emerged from the Tampa, Florida scene in the early 1980s and helped usher in a new brand of progressive power metal. Led by virtuoso guitarist Criss Oliva and his brother, the powerhouse operatic vocalist Jon Oliva, Savatage would climb all the way to the top of the metal world with one classic album after another. The pinnacle of their success came with their 1987 album Hall of the Mountain King, which featured two hit singles that received heavy airplay on MTV: “Hall of the Mountain King” and “24 Hours Ago.”

Watch the video for the album’s title track here below.

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