Peter Steele And Me

Peter Steele

As I sit on April 14th, yet again mourning the loss of Type O Negative’s Peter Steele, and reliving the sorrow that I will never get to see this monolithic band on stage, ever, on the 10th anniversary of Peter’s passing, I felt I should add some words of my own, to the floods of tributes already paid, to a literal giant of the alternative music scene.

The first time I truly recall the work of Type O Negative in my life, was a feature in Kerrang, with a beginner’s guide to their work (which was an excellent feature and I think they should’ve kept up, and unless the well ran dry, someone else could really monetise this premise), highlighting their 15 best songs, and the albums you should purchase. Although my love of music had not yet blossomed to its fullest strength, track names, album titles, and finer details quietly seeped into my brain of this newly acquired band, and did not awaken until three or so years later. That being in a time where music streaming and YouTube were still in their embryonic stages, and as a teen with little money, mp3 samples on online retail outlets, and the use of LimeWire, were my common practices to cherry pick and obtain the music I wanted to listen to. Yet I didn’t make the first step. My brother did.

My brother, head deep into his emo phase at this time, scoped out and sourced various different, often provocative, bands and songs from LimeWire, put them on an iPod, or played directly from his laptop, and that music permeated out of his bedroom door seven days a week, right up until he slept. One such song he played was Dead Again, taken from the titular album around the time of its release, and while it never initially gripped me, rotations over months and a huge love for thrash metal, brought pleasure when it belted out from his speakers. I eventually asked for the song to listen to myself, and in that moment, triggered the memory of that Kerrang article, and the song titles I should seek if I wanted to hear more. Unbeknownst to me, my brother did also have this song himself, but Wolf Moon, acclaimed to be the best song they had written by whomever was in charge of that article, was the song I next listened to, and it tore open an entirely new realm of music to me.

There was something about that bone-grinding bass tone against the backdrop of ethereal gloom, the keys alone scratching that 80s itch I’d later become obsessed with, but his ungodly bellow, reaching from a place of pain yet staggeringly melodic, totally floored sixteen year old me. How could something sound so gargantuan, melancholic, and beautiful at the same time? My first encounter with Wolf Moon did precede becoming better acquainted with Sabbath’s back catalogue, but in those six minutes of head-crushing bliss, a world where Ozzy and Paul McCartney went for a sad drink in the pub, and wrote songs together, made absolute sense. I wholeheartedly defend Wolf Moon as the best song ever written about giving head to a girl on her period.

Wolf Moon became somewhat of a staple in what was a meek offering of my musical tastes, but my love and fascination with Peter Steele and Type O Negative never truly took off until Spotify sprung into existence. I had already owned Dead Again in full by this time, but the true birth of music streaming, enabled me to experience so much more of what was Type O’s darker, heavier, and often deeply hilarious universe. You can take countless examples through out their career on what is considered as the funniest Type O song, but mine remains September Sun from Dead Again, while an excellent song in its own right, it almost exists solely to be a upbeat pastiche of November Rain. The Drab Four was perhaps an astute term befitting their music, but it cannot be understated just how funny this band were, attached or separated from their art.

With firm adoration established, the very harsh reality that I could never experience them live began to set in. No chilling rendition of Love You To Death. No deafening chants of Black No.1. No tongue-in-cheek pomp of My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend. No venue-trashing frenzy from I Don’t Wanna Be Me. That particular space in my head to fill with being in the same room with another of my favourite bands, will forever remain a void, and hollow.

Peter Steele, a man whose lore and public perception paints him as one of the nicest people to grace alternative metal, who battled his own demons and vices for decades, and perhaps in a final hope, turned back to Catholicism in his last years, before his body succumbed to the damage that had been done to it. A larger than life person and personality that could never take to the stage again. Especially in an age where the veil surrounding mental health is gradually dissipating, his demeanour and conduct was always that of a magnetic and wildly entertaining songwriter and individual. Were he still alive, could things have been any different? Perhaps, but with so many warming accounts, archive footage, and of course his incredible back catalogue, to ponder that what if scenario only does an injustice to the memories of those who met him, and were touched by his music. A man who by his twilight years came in touch with his own mortality, and despite not following so many parallels with, I felt a genuine human connection to.

The greatest example I can offer you is a lengthy interview with the often considered divisive Juliya, which is still one of my favourite videos I revisit, in which her closing question to the band is ‘How would you like to die?’ The vast majority of the interview is jovial in tone and while the rest of the band answers in the same light-hearted manner, Peter answers with the following, could be considered sobering, statement:

‘How would I like to die? It wouldn’t really matter, so long as I made a difference in the world.’

Every April 14th, I’m reminded of these words as a moral code to abide by, in the hope I can one day get closer to that goal of feeling like I too can make a difference before I shuffle off the mortal coil. It seems fitting that Peter admired Rasputin, a historical figure who famously couldn’t die, because for the influence he has had on my life, and countless others, as a musician and as a true innovator, he too, will surely never die in the hearts of music fans either.

Thank you, Peter.

Rest in peace.

You can like and follow the site below, or follow the site with the link on the bottom right, to never miss an article:

http://www.facebook.com/IAmTheSoundshark
http://www.twitter.com/The_Soundshark

Track of the Week: I Am The Liquor – 454

Very few could’ve seen or predicted the international impact and influence that Canadian mockumentary series Trailer Park Boys has had since its launch in 2001. The Swearnet heads and lead characters scarcely could’ve imagined it too. Yet here we are, nearly two decades since its launch and barring a few years break since its original seven season run, and Trailer Park Boys still broadcasts annual seasons, which in a day and age of binge-watching, streaming services, and rapid proliferation of premium TV series ushering in a home screen renaissance, is unprecedented. The now infamous line uttered from chronic alcoholic Jim Lahey, portrayed by the late John Dunsworth, ‘Randy, I am the liquor,’ said with a smirk and a swig of whiskey between the namesake of his male lover, and acknowledging that alcoholism just may be driving him to have his fellow residents murdered, is iconic in certain pop culture circles. Obviously to the point, where these three gentlemen from Richmond, Virginia have lifted it to front their band. One aside to paying homage to this long-running show, and a beloved and dearly missed character, is that alcohol is not the only vice pulled into the limelight. Aficionados of the sweet green leaf will find plenty to enjoy here too in the ballads of I Am The Liquor.

7d46_1

Since 2014, at the height of a stoner resurgence, I Am The Liquor have quietly but consistently put out excellent, white hot, grunge-fuelled romps that tickle the tastes of music fanatics, pop culture nuts, and grass smokers alike. Their debut established them as a deeply promising underground prospect, while 2017’s Game of Thrones-inspired 7 Days of Smoke expanded their Alice in Chains-goes-Palm Desert approach, with brooding, shadowy, Sabbathesque journeys that became as absorbing as they were skull-shaking. This time round, they’re taking fantasy to the reaches of outer space, with a sci-fi novel concept written by the band themselves, about restarting the Sun’s core with a mythical concentrated strain of weed. Still following? Good. Second track in on Escape From Planet Smoke bears its early highlight, 454, an assertive headrocker of a track that drives as hard as its engine namesake. Brazen, fuzz-drenched chords reel effortlessly from the guitar to start off, a singular booming bass punch and infrequent tom bashes in company, to build towards the verse, but instead of shifting to full speed ahead, ears are first treated to an impromptu groove, drums causing a snake-like winding in the rhythm that makes this track that little more thrilling. Groove does eventually concede to forward motion, and with the wall of fuzz now conducting traffic, you can feel the scorch of sunset and the sparsest of winds in this road trip narrative, as soaring vocal melodies that mirror and match Master Homme himself take the steering wheel. There’s even a brief characteristic stomp in the vein of Queens, that feels right at home in the back pocket of the trio. Lyrically, it hammers in the beginning of their quest, details concerning the launch itinerary before setting off which slots perfectly within the context of the track. Yet while not the most lyrically dexterous track of their repetoire, it has one hell of a memorable right hook in the form of their chorus, that its simplicity and melodic structure makes that 15 second refrain a burst of molten elation, and begs to be sung back en masse. Brief at only three minutes in length, perfectly performing its role as an establishing scene, but it accomplishes and wrings so much out of its duration than some bands manage in a lifetime, that the fire and joy that I Am The Liquor invoke still holds paramount to their offbeat brilliance. The best part being that there’s still an entire tale of fuzzed out, stratosphere-sized moments on par with and beyond 454 to explore, that if the Earth’s last hope for stoner rock lays with I Am The Liquor, we can universally breathe easy that these boys will be heroes.


All I Am The Liquor’s albums including the newly released Escape From Planet Smoke, not to mention a continual stream of sold-out merchandise, can be found right here on their Bandcamp page.

Go set their social media ablaze right here:

http://www.facebook.com/IamtheliquorRVA

And if you are a fan of the fire this site produces, why not give us a like, a follow, or by subscribing to the site using the on-screen Follow button:

http://www.facebook.com/IAmTheSoundshark
http://www.twitter.com/The_Soundshark

Mr.Kitty Embraces Death Like Never Before, On Album Number Seven, Ephemeral

There has never been a time where the conversation about mental health, needs to be louder. Any loss of life is awful, and taking the matter into your own hands will never be any less tragic. But, with the recent deaths of Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington, and now, the loss of Keith Flint, already very raw in the hearts and minds of musicians and fans alike, it is time to stop trivialising the matter of suicide and take affirmative action, not as a society, but as fellow human beings. Forrest LaMaire aka Mr.Kitty understands the value of this conversation, and with his seventh release Ephemeral, the exact value of this conversation becomes all the more evident. Continue reading

20 Bands And Artists With New Music in 2019 You Should Keep An Eye On

By now, the hangover of 2018 should have long subsided, and 2019 should now begin to be as familiar to everyone as much as your work colleagues, classmates, or friends you go clubbing with, are. We’ve conversed, debated and voiced our collective opinions on what the best of the best of 2018 was, and ahead, we look into the eyes of 2019 longingly, yearning for continued musical excellence as this decade draws to a climax. So bearing that in mind, the site has put together 20 bands and artists bearing a variety of new musical fruit in 2019, that you should absolutely sample, and hopefully savour and find immense pleasure from.

Continue reading

Track of The Week: The Burial Choir – Till Death Do Us Part

If ever asked to define a burial choir, you could assume by matter of association, that it is the voices of those in hymns or prayers, at the site of loved ones that have departed this world. The voices of mourning, grief, and heartbreak. Downtrodden and united in sorrow. Turning to Robert Scott, songwriter for 25 years, the singular voice, and sole member of Wisconsin’s The Burial Choir, does he fulfil the namesake and imagery conjured around such a vivid, macabre concept? Well, not exactly.

Granted on his 2017 self-titled debut EP, the ominous toll of a church bell proceeds and concludes the three tracks in between: a mass of swirling mist and melancholy that touches on Type O Negative territory, but has far more in common with the urgent dissonance of post-punk, and the spacial ambience of post-rock and post-metal. Similarities cease there however. Digging deeper, riffs and resoundingly impressive groove form the solid backbone to Robert Scott’s pained wail, closer to a downbeat Queens of The Stone Age. Like if Josh Homme was thrown down a well so to speak.

So mere days into the new year, what does 2019’s Relics herald on the continuation of The Burial Choir saga? Another four more tracks that further tap into Scott’s wider web of influences, introducing shoegaze and more substantial psychedelia into what was already a distinct fusion of styles and sounds. Arguably the best of the bunch is the EP’s second odyssey, Til Death Do Us Part. Seeped in cavernous reverb, a distorted buzzsaw of guitar groove wastes little time in pace-setting, with the tease of short, sharp snare and cymbal shots building anticipation as Scott affirms that ‘This is where it all starts.’ The drums burst forth, the distance between itself, and guitar vocals sounding huge, but working to great effect with the subtlest undercurrent of bass, accenting every beat, as you can slowly feel hips start to sway, losing control to this primitive but mesmerising rhythm. He knows when to throw the hammer down also, launching into a rousing rock ‘n’ roll shuffle between verses, that certainly stokes those Queens of the Stone Age comparisons. Heavier still, is a sludgy, verging on doom-esque breakdown around midway with terrifying guttural roars that sound like abyssal calls from realms far beyond our own. Positioned in the middle of the allusion to a child’s trauma between warring parents, makes it all the more poignant and dramatic, maintaining that consistent tone of melancholia and feeding on very real, raw personal scarring for many, despite an upbeat tempo. Followed by an emotionally charged, melodic guitar solo, which is sure to chill many a spine, and solitary vocals, complete with hand claps you can just visualise any respectable venue participating with, and it tops off what is an early highlight of the very beginning of this year’s new musical calendar. The Burial Choir certainly continues to shapeshift and elude iron-clad genre constraints, instead manifesting itself as one man’s creative playground of smoke and sadness that the world should be dying to hear more of.

Relics is out now on 3ZERO4 Records, only on Bandcamp.

You can find everything that goes on in the world of The Burial Choir here:

http://www.facebook.com/TheBurialChoir

And for everything that goes on in the world of the Soundshark, you can find out with a like, a follow or by subscribing to the site:

http://www.facebook.com/IAmTheSoundshark
http://www.twitter.com/The_Soundshark

The Soundshark’s Top 10 Albums of 2018

As the world begins to stir, gently putting the gears back into production, and steadily adjusting weary eyes to the bright new horizon of 2019 (I mean, it probably won’t be that different, other than some cases of lingering hangovers, apparent nationwide incense about a vegan sausage roll, and more than likely international condemnation of whatever Donald Trump does next), we at least have a period longer to contemplate how good a year of music 2018 really did provide us with. However the longer it took to mull over how a good year of music it was, the more frustrating it became to whittle down and distil the ten best. It’s very safe to say EVERY album about to be mentioned was in contention for a top ten position. Tantrums happened and tears were nearly shed. An iron resolve and persistence eventually paid off, and in the settling dust, lay the final ten chosen to represent the best of 2018. Just one of them became the victor and declared ‘the undisputed favourite.’ Continue reading

Another 10 Great Bands To Listen To While You Wait For The New Tool Album

On the 11th March 2018, something short of ground-breaking was announced on the social media outlets of one of the world’s most renowned progressive metal groups. Tool had entered the studio to record what has become their now fabled follow-up to 2006’s 10,000 Days. While this news has become a revelation and an answer to many a collective prayer (or keyboard warrior whinging, depending on how you view it), Maynard himself put on record at Metal Hammer’s Golden Gods ceremony that the new Tool album will most likely see the light of day in 2019. Affirmation is one thing, and commitment another, and while 2019 is just around the corner, chances are that will be the absolute bare minimum Tool’s global cult following will have to wait for a new sonic masterpiece. One more year after the twelve of relentless internet hyperbole and immeasurable anticipation that proceeded it, is surely doable, right?

Instead of preparing for what may end up becoming a mass exodus from the workplace on the day that album is released, and following the unexpected success of this article’s predecessor, The Soundshark has put together ten more bands from the underground, worthy of your time, until the musical gap has been bridged by the band themselves. To touch upon briefly from previous feedback, you won’t find Karnivool on this list, or any other list on this site themed similarly, as while not entirely known around the planet at present, they’ve had large enough worldwide success to be able to tour anywhere they see fit, which surely evolves beyond underground status.

Semantics aside, let’s begin:

Continue reading

The Soundshark’s Top Ten Albums of 2017

I’ll be among the first to admit that 2017 is now a fading memory in long and short terms of immediate recollection. After all, we’ve reached a quarter of the year in already and only now do I find myself reflecting on and scrutinising the year past, since coming to terms with my current situation. Of which I feel is moving in a more positive direction. That said, while my own personal presence took a negative slant in the seventeenth year of the new millennium, musically, there was such a creative surge of magnificence which resulted in many, many excellent albums being released. Also one such reason for this list being delayed as it is. So, with ever-so-slightly wistful eyes, The Soundshark casts its spotlight on my ten favourite albums released in 2017, and for your listening indulgence:

Continue reading

Chester And Me

Petrusich-Chester-Bennington

I don’t take much pleasure in writing these sorts of things, but I feel that putting thoughts and feelings into words, can alleviate some of the gravity that Chester Bennington’s death has had on me personally. Honestly, I spent a good hour after glimpsing the headline, willing it, imploring for it not to be true, and someone had started some sick joke, like the occasional internet prankster will instigate fake death rumours of minor celebrities. I refused to believe it, outright defiantly unless it came from Linkin Park themselves. And an hour later my heart sank, as Mike Shinoda, a man whose craft I have respected for over 15 years, confirmed it was the truth.

I was very quiet that evening. Trying to process the disbelief and shock I’ve found myself in. 24 hours later and it still doesn’t seem real. I still don’t really know what to say. But I want to try and give you an idea. Even if it seems nothing but an incoherent stream of thought.

I became aware of Linkin Park’s existence around 2001, maybe 2002, when Kerrang was first available on my parents’ TV and my mum would play the In The End video whenever it came on. She loved that song so much, she bought it on single, in a time when singles from a plethora of musical talents came on CDs and were easily obtainable in the same capacity. I too grew to love the song, so much so that years later, I would perform Mike Shinoda’s rap parts in front of my high school class, with two other friends. I looked ridiculous in a short sleeve shirt with dragons on and spiked up hair, but whatever, I was only 12 years old. The deal was that for the performance, I would do the rapping parts, and my friends would sing Chester’s parts, and I complied with their request. Almost. The problem is the simplest words can be the most powerful, and the most catchy, and without trying to steal their spotlight too much, I couldn’t help myself. To this day, the vocals on that bridge are something I still aspire to mimic perfectly. Voice breaking aside, 16 years on I’d like to think I’m getting somewhere close. But I could say that for a lot of Linkin Park’s vocals. There are just some songs in their discography, that specific moments have a certain emotional frequency or delivery that I wish I could imitate. In The End. Somewhere I Belong. Paper Cut. Waiting For The End. From The Inside. Breaking The Habit. I can’t scream to save my life, but the contests I would have to try and hold that scream near the end on Given Up. Truly crazy.

The main contact, or true constant that Linkin Park really had on my life however, was in 2003, the year Meteora was released, and the year my parents’ marriage ended. That album was on repeat in my mum’s car to and from school, so in a sense, you could say that Meteora was the soundtrack to my parents’ divorce. I never truly saw it that way until recently when I listened to that album in full again a few months ago. It was never the most pleasant time in my life, I won’t lie, but I didn’t associate that album with bad memories, and I don’t now, having listened to it irrespective of that time period. I still think that album is incredible, quite honestly. Yet… With Chester’s passing, it does feel like it will eventually become another form of closure on that part of my life. I have grown so much and far beyond that 10 year-old boy I remember, that any lasting impact seems so superficial now, but the imprint of Meteora and the raw emotion in those vocals, it still has a connection to that time, and it does sting right now.

I have never claimed to be their biggest fan. Hell, I can’t stand Crawling and Numb by them. Conversely, I loved it when Jay-Z fused Encore with Numb, for some reason I enjoy it a lot more because of it. Numb has some truly powerful words in it, but there is a self-destructive anguish in it that is incredibly overbearing to me, and I find it hard to enjoy it for that reason. Yet whenever they were releasing a new album, especially after following Minutes To Midnight, I’d give the new single a chance. Results varied. I liked some of them. I didn’t like some of them. What I think matters more is I’ve always admired their guts to experiment with their sound despite the public reaction.

But even as I reach close to a quarter decade in age, Chester’s words, emotions and influence are still finding a way of speaking to me.

The bridge of Somewhere I Belong currently feels like words to live by right now, as I try to make a better life for myself. Leave Out All The Rest has always been a song I have considered for my funeral, and nowadays does make me cry. Lord knows I might be in hysterics when I hear it next. The beginning of Faint I truly consider to be one of the greatest song openings ever in terms of immediate impact and hook. Points of Authority will always be a staple of DJ sets for me. And as far as trying to match his vocals goes, nothing will stop me from trying. Maybe one day I’ll be able to nail them, but it just goes to show how deep his presence has been through out my life, and perhaps why this latest loss in not only the rockstar realm, but in the battle against depression and mental health issues, cuts far deeper than I realised.

Another extraordinary talent, that seemingly succumbed to his demons.

Rest in peace, Chester.

Normally, this is the part of the article where I make a quirky plea to like, follow and subscribe to the site if you so wish. Given the sombre nature of this piece, I’m waiving that gesture for this, but if you feel that you want to, then the links to do so are here:

http://www.facebook.com/IAmTheSoundshark
http://www.twitter.com/The_Soundshark

20 Bands And Artists You Should Listen To In 2017

It seems very few people utter a breath about 2016 any more. Probably for good reason, it seemed very much like a culling of revered figures and idols of popular culture, let alone a universal gasp of disbelief at what idiocy we may have unleashed on the world. 2017 isn’t really fairing any marginally better in that department, by a hair strand at best. But whisper it: The music is fantastic. If you want to invest in it of course. Admittedly, this list was compiled at the inset of 2017, but as the halfway stage of this year rapidly approaches, it still holds as an all-star ensemble of killer bands you may have overlooked, some yet to release their brand new material and some you may never have heard of. It seems like a solid enough foundation for this article to still exist, while maintaining some resemblance of relevance. That, and you may be reading this, looking for some new music to listen over the summer. Let’s get started, shall we?

Continue reading