Post No. 125: Alone in the Dark

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Every 25th post, darkadaptedeye takes a planned break from normal business to plumb the shallow depths of its author’s psyche and/or overtly explore the locked attic of memories it only ever really dabbles in otherwise. You might think of it as a pit stop, or maybe a soft reboot. In “Danse Macabre”, Stephen King termed his own such digression “An Annoying Autobiographical Pause”, which I choose to think was kind of charming. Please know I take seriously the challenge of making patent self-indulgence interesting – actual results be damned – and I appreciate you being game. We’ll return to our irregularly scheduled programming shortly…

There is a point to this: what we see, what we hear…what we experience, and how we feel while doing so. It is a vital and inescapable part of being alive. Not only wouldn’t I have it any other way, such an “other way” simply isn’t an option, or at least not for me. The second weekend in November, as you are no doubt well aware, terrorist gunmen inflicted horrible casualties on a coordinated group of targets in Paris, France, including a packed concert by raucous American desert rock institution the Eagles of Death Metal. Due to the time difference, the eastern part of the United States received the news in the wee hours of Saturday morning. I was stunned, as I’m sure were we all, and took the moment, while devouring whatever breaking information on the shootings I could find, to spin EoDM’s new album, Zipper Down, for what was, shamefully, the first full time since a friend had gifted it to me the previous month. It made for a weird but poignant DIY elegy. Continue reading “Post No. 125: Alone in the Dark”

Concert review: Machine Head

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The Agora Ballroom, Cleveland, OH – February 7, 2015

Machine Head roared out of the San Francisco Bay Area in 1994 riding a wave of institutional hype that, properly harnessed, could fell a great elk, and possessed of enough obvious, fiery musical potential to roast the sucker on the spot. The institution in question – post-boom, once again underground heavy metal – was a minor one, granted, but the hype, for an ostensibly lucky sub-subset of genre over-enthusiasts like us, was very real, and, in its reach and fervor, inescapable (and, eventually, fairly persuasive). I remember seeing banner ads and full page spreads touting Machine Head’s debut Burn My Eyes in relatively niche publications like Metal Maniacs*, while a younger friend of mine confirmed he first learned of the album’s existence in the pages of Guitar World. First listens, improbably, almost justified the hype. MH frontman/figurehead Robb Flynn cut his teeth as a guitarist in ‘80s thrash cult underdog Vio-Lence, but had an altogether grander plan for his new band, which, ideally, would combine the complexity and musicality of prime Metallica with the muscular groove and seething aggression of Pantera. Continue reading “Concert review: Machine Head”

“Dimebag” Darrell Abbott: An Appreciation

Pantera 1994

Even in a genre where the distance – emotional, physical, metaphorical – separating player from fan is so paper thin, in a style of music where, above all others, total commitment onstage is a baseline requirement, I find it hard to imagine a metal musician who took such inspiring, unquenchable, childlike pleasure in his craft and so thrilled to find himself in what some might’ve imagined an unlikely spotlight, as did former Pantera guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott. His tragic shooting death ten years ago tonight at the hands of an unbalanced fan on stage at a rock club in my adopted hometown of Columbus, Ohio, is, for the millions worldwide who loved his band and his playing, a wound that sometimes seems as if it will never fully close, let alone heal, the kind of premature and pointlessly cruel removal of a kind man and loving presence from the larger metal community that brings to mind not journeymen but giants – Cliff Burton, Ronnie James Dio, Chuck Schuldiner – the kind of singular artists who did one thing as well as or better than just about anyone who lived, or, failing those lofty heights, did it in a way so innovative and brilliantly different that it redefined the way an instrument was considered and played for years after. Nobody sounded quite like Dimebag Darrell. For a while, though, just about everyone tried. Continue reading ““Dimebag” Darrell Abbott: An Appreciation”