Retrospective: Three Decades of Iron Maiden’s ‘Piece of Mind’

By Avinash Mittur

It’s been thirty years since Iron Maiden walloped the world with their fourth studio record, Piece of Mind. With the album that came before, The Number of the Beast, the band had to prove to the world that they could still record great material with their new singer, one Mr. Bruce Dickinson. Well as we all know, they went and shattered the expectations of every Maiden fan back then. In 1983 though, the band had to show the world that The Number of the Beast was no fluke. With new drummer Nicko McBrain in tow, Iron Maiden did just that with Piece of Mind, a forty five minute monolith of smoldering heavy metal. Continue reading

Retrospective: Ten Years Of Slough Feg’s Traveller

By Avinash Mittur

When one thinks of epic concept records within the heavy metal genre, a few albums immediately come to mind. Operation: Mindcrime, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son and Nightfall in Middle-Earth are but a couple of the amazing records that have not only successfully told an entertaining story, but also delivered an outstanding collection of music. However, one album that always seems to be unfairly left out of that conversation is The Lord Weird Slough Feg’s Traveller. This album is a true epic in both a musical and narrative sense, and remains Slough Feg’s magnum opus. Ten years ago on March 24th 2003, Traveller was unleashed upon the world, and it stands as a masterpiece of traditional American heavy metal. Continue reading

Retrospective: Blind Guardian’s “Somewhere Far Beyond” Now Two Decades Old

By Avinash Mittur

Blind Guardian are frequently lauded as one of the greatest and most influential power metal acts and it’s tough to make a strong argument against that assertion. The band’s amazingly aggressive songwriting along with Hansi Kursch’s extremely versatile vocal abilities is a winning combination that continues to produce great songs to this day. Many fans and critics point to “Tales From the Twilight World” and “Imaginations From the Other Side” as their masterworks, but the record that came in between, “Somewhere Far Beyond” is often unjustly passed over. On June 30, 1992, “Somewhere Far Beyond” was released; twenty years later, this album is still powerful and catchy, and its songs truly have stood the test of time. Continue reading

Retrospective: 10 Years Of Kreator’s “Violent Revolution”

By Avinash Mittur

The 1990′s were a dark time for many metal bands, and Kreator were no different. The band had lost two hotshot guitarists in one decade, Frank “Blackfire” Gosdzik and Tommy Vetterli, founding bassist Rob Fioretti, and even Jurgen “Ventor”  Reil for a period. Not to mention, four of the band’s five albums released that decade were creative and commercial failures. Continue reading

Retrospective: Kreator’s “Pleasure To Kill”, 25 Years Later

By Avinash Mittur

Allow me to begin by saying that “Pleasure to Kill” is a very, very personal album for me. This isn’t a story of a social misfit, or a slacker who just wanted to play guitar all day. I was simply a junior in high school who wore band shirts and just wanted to get into a decent college. At the time, I was under a massive amount of pressure to succeed in many endeavors. Keeping my grades up, worrying about all of the standardized tests, extra-curricular activities, keeping my weight under control, and having an internship was starting to become too much for my mind to handle. Now, I had known of Kreator before; my friends recommended “Coma of Souls” and “Extreme Aggression” to me knowing that I was into old-school thrash metal, and their then-latest release “Hordes of Chaos” had been blasting through my iPod for a good while. However, when I picked up this album purely on a whim at the Amoeba Records in San Francisco, I had no idea what a bludgeoning aural assault it would inflict upon me. Continue reading