Halloween Films Ranked, So Far . . .

Micheal Myers

Tis the season!!! Halloween has finally arrived and if you’re anything like me, you’ll spend the whole day watching a variety of horror films. Anything from cult classics, slashers, vampires, zombies, splatters, monsters, and anything just purely disgusting!! What a time to be alive!!

But you can’t go through the Halloween season without watching . . . well . . anything from the Halloween franchise. It has been almost 41 years since John Carpenter created one of the best horror flicks in history, and would eventually start one of the best film franchises in Hollywood. It was recently announced by Carpenter and his writers that not one, but two new Halloween films are in the making. Halloween Kills in 2020 and Halloween Ends in 2021.

But before we start debating how everything will supposedly come to an end, here is my extremely bias, personal ranking of the Halloween movies so far from worst to best:

11. Halloween: Resurrection (2002)

Let’s get this one out of the way. Rick Rosenthal, who directed Halloween II, gets hired to direct the follow up to Halloween H20. He did a great job last time, so wouldn’t he do the same this time around? NOPE!!! This film was a mistake from day one! I don’t expect any successful film franchise to be perfect, but this one was a absolute blunder.

For starters, it turned out that there was some conflict between Jamie Lee Curtis and the writers. The actress wanted this to be the final Halloween movie ever made, and only agreed to do it if they didn’t hint at a potential sequel at the end of the movie. They were also not allowed to kill off Micheal thanks to a clause set up by Moustapha Akkad. This may have resulted in the poor introduction where Micheal kills off Laurie Strode right off the bat. I wasn’t a fan of that. After all these years THAT is how Strode dies.

I honestly didn’t mind the idea of having a reality show at the Myers’ house where Micheal goes on a killing spree. However, you can have a decent idea and not come through, and that’s what happened here. Poor acting and camera work throughout the whole film. On top of all that, that same group of sorry writers had a sequel written and, thankfully, they didn’t go through with it. At the same time I am glad it wasn’t the last film of the franchise because Michael deserves much better.

Last year, I read an interview with John Carpenter where he admitted he never watched any of the Halloween movies that weren’t his own, except for one. That’s right, THIS one. The terrible camera work and the lame speech from Busta Rhymes at the end seemed to scare him more than the movie itself. They called it resurrection but it should have stayed at rest.

10. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

The first Halloween film of the 1990’s could have went better for fans that waited 6 years for another sequel. I could dig the idea of Jamie Lloyd having a son that is targeted by Michael, the Tommy Doyle character all grown up and played by Paul Rudd, the last film that would include Donald Pleasence playing Dr. Sam Loomis, and the cute redhead who played Kara Strode. Honestly, most of the movie wasn’t too bad, but the ending was rushed and ruins the whole film.

It was similar to Resurrection where they had a decent idea and didn’t capitalize on it. Did the writers really need to throw in a random cult that was obsessed with Micheal’s evil nature?! The whole curse of Thorn was a large stretch too. I am no Hollywood writer but as a fan you have to wonder if they had better screen play options. The scene before Michael’s return to Smith’s Grove was too random. All of a sudden everyone and their mom are in the cult. All of a sudden Tommy and Loomis are drugged up and can’t remember anything within the past hour. It all just happened with no real explanation and they cut to Smith’s Grove. Not what I would expect from high paid Hollywood writers.

You have Tommy Doyle who has an obsession with Michael. There could have been a story line where Doyle and the Strodes reveal secrets of Michael’s past while trying to avoid him. Put that along with one last stand off with Dr. Loomis. Just an example. Something that would have been a fitting back story to the Halloween saga.

My point being, The Curse of Michael Myers I felt was random and a reach. The previous films before it had a solid story line with brutal kill scenes. This one seemed to lack both.

9. Halloween II (2009)

I do enjoy Rob Zombie’s music and some of the horror films he has created over the years. However, his Halloween II was disappointing to say the least. The movie does include some of Myers’ goriest kills in the whole franchise. It does tend to keep you on your seat throughout the film. But the whole story leaves much to question why he went the bizarre direction he did with this one.

For starters, I didn’t dig the whole “time to come home” thing. I don’t mean to be a dick but I think that was just to keep his wife in the story, since her character died in the first one. I do understand he did not want to make another Halloween movie after this one, and he did what he needed to do to make that happen. There were two big issues I had with the film.

One, never once has adult Michael ever said a word in any of the films. In this one, Zombie had him say “DIE!”, in the final scene. I’m all for breaking tradition and trying something new, but there are just some things that shouldn’t be touched. Michael Myers is the silent killer and should stay that way. It keeps the mystery of the character. The second issue I had with the film was how it ended. The way Michael dies and Laurie’s reaction to the whole thing just was odd. After all Laurie goes through with him, she decides to tell him she loves him while he’s dying. Then puts his mask on and walks outside to the trigger happy police. I know she was a psychotic mess but what the hell went through her mind there?! I mean she does go to an insane asylum at the very end, but still!! But it wouldn’t be a Rob Zombie movie without stepping over boundaries.

8. Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

The only Halloween film to not feature Michael and the last one John Carpenter did until he returned to the franchise in 2018. Instead of making a movie of a slasher, Carpenter and his team turned their attention to a science fiction tale about a company owner using popular Halloween masks to kill children on Halloween night. Carpenter wanted this movie, along with the previous two, to start an anthology series of horror movies based on Halloween night. All different stories, characters, and potential sequels. However, Season of the Witch did not receive good reception from the viewers, and Carpenter’s plans for the series were eventually scrapped.

Even though many fans really didn’t dig this one, I actually don’t mind it. It does start off pretty slow but I thought the story line was well put together. I think the lack of horror and odd special effects really hurt the film. When the audience wants to watch something scary, they tend to prefer the best special effects possible with a less complex story line. That was not the case for Halloween III. I’m not one who likes Hollywood to remake everything, but a remake of this film maybe something to consider. If you get the right people and re-arrange the story a bit, you could have a solid horror flick. However, there is a fan base the film has that many horror flicks don’t, and that says something.

7. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Micheal Myers (1989)

The second film involving Michael attempting to kill his niece, Jamie Lloyd. Halloween 5 had some solid kill scenes and supposedly was going to be the goriest of the franchise. But at the time the film makers were fighting an X rating and had to cut down on the violence. It makes you wonder if we’ll see a release with the original production. The only real downside to this film is that it is essentially a watered down version of Halloween 4 with the same objective and less action. This made fans feel they were just going through the motions with the previous films.

My biggest criticism with this one is how they portrayed Jamie’s character. The telepathic episodes and her inability to speak seemed like an odd direction to go. After the fantastic cliff hanger they gave the fans with the previous one, it was a disappointing way to continue the series. The big positive I will give this film was the coffin in the attic scene, where Jamie for a minute excepts her fate at her uncle’s hands and asks for him to remove his mask before he attempts to kill her. He does so and the camera shoots at Michael’s cheek where a tear begins to move down it. This would be the first real emotional connection Michael gives any person in the series. Such an iconic scene.

6. Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)

The first Halloween to feature Jamie Lee Curtis since Halloween II and the first one not to include Donald Pleasence (Dr. Loomis). This would be a direct sequel to Halloween II, dismissing the timeline of four through six. Micheal Myers finds his sister 20 years after the deadly Halloween night in Haddonfield.

All in all, many fans are on the fence about this one. The majority of reviews seem to be overall positive and I am right there with them. This isn’t the best film of the franchise but it’s far from the worst. The return of Laurie Strode and new story line gave the fans a breathe of fresh air. I think there were a lot of fans that went into it thinking it was going to compare well with the original. If that’s your thought process going into it, you will be disappointed. It’s a solid sequel but doesn’t touch the likes of what John Carpenter and his writers did. This movie is more looked at as Laurie’s revenge as she tries to fight Michael back this time around. Just to have Laurie back in the picture brought so much nostalgia to it, which I think fans enjoyed the most.

5. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

The first Halloween film that John Carpenter was not involved in and the first one not to include the Laurie Strode character. After Halloween III disappointed many fans, Moustapha Akkad was determined to continue the series and bring Michael back. This time, the story was centered around Jamie Lloyd, Michael’s niece and Laurie’s daughter.

Despite the poor reviews when it was first released in 1988, it still stands as one of the favorites among the fans. What I enjoyed more about this film was the writers expanding Michael’s abilities. He became stronger and craftier in this film, which made him seem almost invincible. Danielle Harris, who played Jamie Lloyd, was a fantastic child actor who put on a tremendous performance. And of course, the movie had what I believe to be the best cliff hanger of the whole franchise.

The only thing I really couldn’t stand about this one was Michael’s doofy mask! Seriously! It is the worst mask of the series! Plain, white, and smooth. It looks like it had a liposuction to get all the blood and wrinkles off from the last murder streak. Fans missed the guy but they didn’t have to bring him back looking like a mime with black eyes! How could he even see with that thing is beyond me.

4. Halloween (2007)

Dimension films was desperate for a positive turn for the franchise. Remember, the previous release at the time was Halloween: Resurrection. So yeah, they needed something to help attract a new generation of viewers. They recruited rocker and horror film maker Rob Zombie to help remake the original. Zombie was given advice from John Carpenter to make this film his own. He did just that and came through.

Rob Zombie’s Halloween starts with a whole back story on how Michael became the killer we know and love. We are introduced to young Michael’s abusive life, events leading to his first murders, and his time at Smith’s Grove. Zombie also provided more brutal killings for the night he came home. He also included a desire for Michael wanting to reconnect with his younger sister while fighting the urge to slice her to pieces.

What I appreciate the most about this film is how much Zombie changed the characters to fit his style. In the original, Laurie Strode is a scholar student that tends to keep to herself except when she’s with her small group of friends. In this one, Laurie is an obnoxious, outgoing individual that isn’t necessarily known for her brain. Professor Loomis was also given a serious character change from being a doctor that generally cared about protecting the public from Michael to a greedy writer that used his experience with Michael to gain wealth. I give some serious kudos to Zombie for casting Danielle Harris to play Annie. It helped give the old school fans more nostalgia to see her return to the series.

In my opinion, Rob Zombie delivered with a fresh restart that fans were craving. It was more edging, more violent, and brought back the horror of the Michael Myers character. The only thing that hurt Zombie the most regarding this film was following it up with a subpar sequel. I think fans that really enjoyed the first one expected a little more with the second one. However, that is not to take away the fact this still sits as one of the best slasher films of the 2000’s and brought new life to the franchise.

3. Halloween (2018)

Out of all my rankings here, this one maybe the most controversial with the fans. Critics loved it, but the fans stood divided. Some felt it was the best Halloween in a long time and some felt it was the worst. I saw the movie the night it was released into theaters and I left overjoyed. There are many reasons I really enjoyed it, but the number one reason was this movie gave you a similar vibe to the original.

The movie was made to be a sequel to the original, 40 years after the night he returned home. It is the first Halloween to have Jamie Lee Curtis and John Carpenter both involved since Halloween II in 1981. Michael escapes again and goes up against Laurie Strode who seeks revenge while protecting her family from him.

One of the main complaints from fans was the lack of violence and action. To be technical, there were probably just as many kills from this one then the first two films combined. I also expected there to be more killing, but watching it for the first time I realized that may have been done intentionally to set up for more action sequences with the sequels following it. The main focus with this one was Michael’s return and his reunion with Laurie.

I felt this was one of the better written films of the whole Halloween saga. It was more realistic and didn’t have an over the top story line like many of the sequels before it. You also got much nostalgia from previous John Carpenter Halloween movies such as similar murders to the ones in the first two movies, the kids wearing masks from Halloween III, the use of the ghost costume, and the granddaughter, Alison, being 17 years-old just like Laurie was the original. The more I watch it, the more Easter eggs I find from previous films.

We will find out the next two years if the two sequels following it can live up to the hype. As long as Carpenter is involved I think they have a shot at being something special. Classic horror movies are having a hard time developing new sequels to reach the new generation of viewers. This could be a huge step towards something special or a disappointing turn for die-hard fans.

2. Halloween II (1981)

Direct sequels to classic movies don’t always work out. Fortunately, this one did. I really don’t have a specific reason, but this one stands as my favorite out of the whole series. I love how they started right where they left off at the end of the first one as a continuation of that night of terror. Most sequels would have fast forward to modern times or set a whole new scene.

The revelation when Loomis finds out Laurie is Michael’s sister is the most iconic part of the film. It is up there with Darth Vader revealing to Luke Skywalker that he’s his father. NOT THE SAME THING!!! I don’t want any Star Wars fans coming after me. But similar in the way once the secret was revealed it made sense to the audience why things unfolded the way they did. Michael’s mission was clear and, unfortunately for him, it set up for him to be found.

This was suppose to be the final movie to feature Michael Myers, but thankfully that did not happen. You can’t kill the bogeyman!

1. Halloween (1978)

Ah yes! The very first one tops the list for plenty of reasons. The 1970’s was a decade where horror movies took a huge turning point. Classics such as The Exorcist, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Carrie, The Omen, and Dawn of the Dead scared the living hell out of society! These films inspired many other classic and modern day horror movies we see today. Along with this group, Halloween made its mark at the tail end of the 1970’s. It was known as the biggest slasher film since Psycho.

There are many factors that made this movie so successful. The camera work, the lighting, the music, and scenery all really meshed well together. It was like an ordinary neighborhood in an ordinary house where things went terribly wrong. The mystery behind Michael really grabbed the audience. Why at such a young age did he want to kill? Why is he wearing a mask? Why doesn’t he speak? What is his motive? It was a plot you didn’t see in many movies back at that time. Maybe even the first of its kind. But I am not a film expert so I don’t want to assume.

I think one of the reasons it was viewed as so horrifying, especially back in that time period, is the thought that something like this could really happen. You watch many horror films and much of the action is completely unrealistic. Zombies aren’t just going to come out of nowhere and kill you. Carrie, a movie made from a Stephen King book about a girl with telekinetic powers, would never happen. However, a masked man with a knife going around killing teenagers on Halloween night could happen. If you are a teenager or young adult who lived in a similar quiet neighborhood as Haddonfield, that could terrify you.

No matter what way you look at it, when it comes to horror movies Halloween will stand the test of time. They could make up to 30 different sequels, and fans will still refer to the original as a pioneer to classic horror flicks. Michael Myers will forever be an iconic part of the Halloween season. Do you believe in the bogeyman? Because I love him!

Cleveland Browns 2019 Four Round Mock Draft. Predictions and Preferences.

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Last draft, something weird happened. The Browns picked a quarterback with the first overall pick for the first time since Tim Couch in 1999. But it got even weirder. They made the right pick. That’s right. Their 30th different starting quarterback since 1999 was answer they’ve been looking for. He helped win them more games than they’ve won the previous 3 seasons.

It got even weirder. They selected a Pro Bowler with their 4th overall pick in Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward. Fans were divided between these two picks, but at season’s end they were every fan’s answered prayer. The rest of the draft Dorsey selected key role players and building blocks, including starting running back Nick Chubb.

Mid-season, it got weird. After consistent drama and questionable game management, front office made the move. Head coach Hue Jackson AND offensive coordinator Todd Haley were axed. Defensive coordinator Greg Williams took over and running backs coach Freddie Kitchens was in control of the offense. Then things got really weird. The Cleveland Browns starting WINNING! They were in the playoff picture until week 16.

It continued to get weird. Browns recognized the job interim offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens did, and felt it was fitting to offer him the head coaching position. The Browns actually offered the head coaching job to a man who was trained under some of the best coaches in the collegiate and professional level. Not only that, he was the only coach in the offseason that didn’t have issues filling his staff. While other teams struggled to fill their staff needs and missed out on other assistant coaches, most of the new Browns staff left a good position to work for Kitchens. Why?! Maybe the Browns have finally found THE guy. An actual football guy that knows how to win and build a team. They lacked that in the front office until Dorsey was hired. Now we’ll see if they found the guy that will be on the sidelines and will have impact the Cleveland Browns culture needs.

And then . . . . . it got even weirder. NFL free agency begins and the Browns made a trade that turned the league upside down. Browns landed superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. In a matter of a year, the view of the Cleveland Browns has changed. They went from zero wins laughing stock to the team that could dethrone Tom Brady from his reign of domination. It does get a little bit more weird. After all the noise the Browns made in March, NFL scheduled four primetime games in their schedule. For once, Cleveland is the center of attention in the National Football League.

Draft day is here! The Browns continue their quest to build a winner. For the first time since 2008, they do not have a 1st round pick. I know John Dorsey has mentioned the possibility of trading back in the 1st round, but with limited assets I don’t see it happening. My first prediction is that the Browns start their draft on day 2 with the 49th pick. Here is what I think the Cleveland Browns will do and here’s what I prefer they do. Let’s hope things stay weird.

Key Additions: WR Odell Beckham Jr., DE Oliver Vernon, RB Kareem Hunt, DT Sheldon Richardson, OL Eric Kush, OL Bryan Witzmann, S Eric Murray, and S Morgan Burnett.

Key Departures: QB Tyrod Taylor, OG Kevin Zeitler, DE Emmanuel Ogbah, LB Jamie Collins, CB EJ Gaines, and S Jabrill Peppers.

Round 2 Pick 49

Browns select DT Dre’Mont Jones, Ohio State

I don’t want to do this but I need to squash some Browns fans fantasies. No the Browns aren’t getting Jeffery Simmons. Yes, Dorsey likes to give players a second chance, but with Simmons talent you really think he slips to the second round?! Nope! He’ll be taken earlier than most analysts think. Same thing with Greedy Williams. He will be taken in the 1st round as well.

Dorsey has mentioned that defense is a high priority in this draft. He also hinted at drafting more Ohio State players. The defense line right now is Garrett, Ogunjobi, Richardson, and Vernon. Sheldon Richardson signing will make a big impact for the Browns this year and maybe the following year. You want to add some solid depth to that defensive line. Jones had a standout season with the Buckeyes with 50 tackles, 13 for a loss, and 8.5 sacks. On top that, he’s a Cleveland kid!!! Dorsey adds a big building block with this pick.

Seth picks LB Mack Wilson, Alabama

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for adding depth as much as the next guy. But in the 2nd round I’m looking at team needs and need to ask myself, “Do we have a player here that fits one of our needs and can potentially start right away?”. Browns linebacker group is solid but could use another productive player. Genard Avery has potential to be an everyday player in the league. Joe Schobert is an important player on the defense but had a rough season last year. Many speculating if he is better moving back on the outside. Christian Kirksey is a team leader but one more bad injury could cost him a spot on the roster.

Wilson would cover all of the Browns needs in the middle linebacker position. The kid can blitz and is above average in coverage. He led the Tide with 4 interceptions his sophomore year, in which he was not a starter. Wilson ended his 2018 season with 71 tackles, 5 for a loss, 2 interceptions, and 5 deflections. He has all the tools to help the Browns defense be a force in the league.

TRADE!!!! SETH & BROWNS AGREE TO TRADE DUKE JOHNSON AND THE 80TH PICK TO EAGLES FOR THE 57TH PICK!!!

2nd Round, Pick 57 (from Eagles)

Browns select CB Justin Layne, Michigan State

It will be the local sports story of the week. Browns select two Cleveland kids in the second round. Dorsey hasn’t added any cornerback depth this offseason. Ward, Mitchell, and Currie are expected to be on top of the depth cart. It is important for Cleveland to add a cornerback early in the draft and develop a long term plan opposite of Ward. They trade Duke Johnson’s whole contract and their 3rd round pick to land their next selection.

Layne is great in man coverage and has one of the highest football IQ’s in the class. Scouts believe he needs to add more strength and improve his defense against the run. Watching some of his highlights there were times he reminded me of Denzel Ward. He is good at sticking to the receivers like glue and batting down the pass like Ward. Browns go all defense on Day 2.

Seth selects CB JoeJuan Williams, Vanderbilt

I’m not against going with Layne here with this pick, but I really dig the potential of Williams. A 6’4 defensive back that has a great balance of speed, strength, and size. He had 61 tackles, 4 interceptions, and 14 pass break ups this past season. He can go up against any receiver in the league. It will be a shame we’ll never see him take on Gronk. The coaching staff will have to help Williams improve many fundamentals to his game, but over time he could the Browns number 2 starting cornerback.

Round 4, Pick 119

Browns select G Beau Benzschawel, Wisconsin

Now that the Browns have a true starting quarterback, they need to protect him. Most of the offensive line from last year will be returning. Front office needs to find a permanent replacement for Kevin Zeitler who was traded to the Giants. Last year’s second round pick Austin Corbett is an option along with the few linemen Dorsey signed in March.

Browns select Benzschawel here to help beef up the line. He also looks like an offensive lineman Dorsey would pick. Yes, I know that’s not a real argument but look back at the linemen he’s drafted over the years. He has a unique taste in them. Let’s hope Joe Thomas helps this kid develop. From one Badger to another.

Seth selects OT Isaiah Prince, Ohio State

It’s my turn to pick a Buckeye. Chris Hubbard and Greg Robinson did a solid job protecting Baker last season. I’m honestly not sure what’s left in the tank for either one. Prince could develop into a reliable starter. Good size and a healthy football career. Low risk, high reward situation.

BONUS!!!!

Normally when I do these mocks the Brown have 4 to 6 selections. With most of their picks in the later rounds, I decided to make a list of players and positions they should consider with their Day 3 picks.

QB Will Grier, West Virginia

Browns need a solid backup plan for Baker. I don’t see Drew Stanton making the roster on week 1, and there is a possibility they won’t find their No.2 quarterback until after the preseason cuts. It wouldn’t hurt to pick a quarterback late in the draft and give yourself another option.

Grier had a successful 2018 campaign throwing 37 touchdowns, 3,846 passing yards, and completing 67% of passes attempted. There are many analysts that believe he could be taken as high as the 2nd round to a team that missed out on a quarterback in the 1st round. However, many pro scouts disagree. They see him as a potential career backup and he could be available from the 4th to 6th round. I like the kid because of his accuracy, vision, and quick decision making. His arm is average but can always improve. Grier was also the leader of the locker room for the Mountaineers, and teammates expressed how much they enjoyed playing with him.

Whether Grier is available or not in the later rounds, it would be a good idea to invest in a young prospect signal caller. Even if they spend the whole 2019 season on the practice squad.

RB Bennie Snell Jr., Kentucky

Nick Chubb will enter the season as the starting running back for Cleveland. Kareem Hunt is suspended until week 9. Duke Johnson wants to be traded, and as you see above, I think he does during the draft. This means the team needs a solid backup plan until Hunt can make his Browns debut.

There are a number of backs that could be fitting this draft, but I’m going to be bias here. I’m a huge fan of Snell and what he can do on the field. He was my 2nd overall pick on my fantasy college team, and I learned to be a fan of Snell in no time. His game has a great balance of finesse and power. He can move with the best of them and plows defenders to the ground better than many backs his size. Snell holds the all-time rushing record for the Wildcats. Early mock drafts had him taken in the 2nd round, but now he’s not expected to be taken until Day 3. He would make a fine addition in Cleveland.

DE Joe Jackson, Miami

Browns on paper have one of if not the best defensive line in the league. They traded Emmanuel Ogbah a month ago and it is up in the air whether Chad Thomas is ready to make the gameday roster. Browns need to add more depth to that beast defensive line. So what about a former teammate of Thomas? Jackson led the Hurricanes with 9 sacks last season. He had 47 tackles and 14.5 for a loss. There are many aspects of Jackson’s game that need coached up. However, scouts rave about his strength. He has above average power that will give many offensive linemen headaches. The new Browns defensive coaching staff would love working with him.

DT Khalen Saunders, Western Illinois

They called him the Aaron Donald of the FCS for a reason. He was a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks. Saunders season included 57 tackles, 12 for a loss, led the team with 7.5 sacks, and had 3 pass breakups. What catches scouts attention is his above average break after the snap. The kid was even a red zone fullback option and even caught a touchdown pass last season. Quick, big, and athletic. Taking a chance on him will be similar to when the Browns to a chance on Ogunjobi. A big stud from a lower division school. I say, why not?

EDGE Jalen Jelks, Oregon

Browns need more pass rushers. Jelks will need to get bigger and coached up on some of his techniques, but he would good investment. He has speed to get to the passer and disrupt every play. Last season he had 57 tackles, 7.5 for a loss, and 3.5 sacks. His junior season he recorded 59 tackles, 15 for a loss, and 6.5 sacks. Pressure is his game and he’s good at it! It would be a quality Day 3 pick for Cleveland.

S Jaquan Jackson, Miami

Browns added Eric Murray and Morgan Burnett to join Damarious Randall on the safety squad. It wouldn’t hurt to add another. Jackson was the voice of the Hurricanes. Their hype man. He led the team with 92 tackles including missing 2 games. He also had 2 interceptions and forced 2 fumbles. Scouts are concerned with his lack of size but his hustle and power can not be denied. He would be a fine addition to the dime and nickel packages.

MORE OFFENSIVE LINE!!!!

I know it’s slim picking in the later rounds when it comes to o-linemen. But the more beef, the better. Team needs to protect Baker at all times.

Kicker

Why not take a chance on a kicker in the 7th round? George Joseph may not be a long term plan so give him some competition.

Favorite Noise of 2018

10. Rainer Fog– Alice In Chains

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9. Hive Mind– The Internet

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8. Algorythm– Beyond Creation

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7. Thrice Born– Paper Thin

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6. To Drink From the Night Itself– At The Gates

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5. Book of Bad Decisions– Clutch

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4. For the Love of Metal– Dee Snider

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3. Ritual– Soulfly

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2. Firepower– Judas Priest

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1. Where Owls Know My Name– Rivers of Nihil

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Best Live Performance: Slayer

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This was honestly a difficult choice for multiple reasons. One, I picked the thrash legends a few years ago and I don’t ever dub a band for best performance more than once. Two, I saw the mighty Judas Priest and Ozzy Osbourne for the first time ever in 2018. Both of them absolutely killed it. However, it is Slayer’s final run forever (I actually believe it is over). The setlist and performance was, well, SLAYER!!! It ended with Tom Araya looking around the crowd and telling them, “I’m going to really miss you guys”. I got all feelingsy about that.

Best Comeback Album: Stone Temple Pilots

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Scott Weiland was without a doubt one of the best rock vocalists of all time. So how the hell do you fill those shoes?! It is difficult to move on after a legend dies, but we have seen some bands achieve serious success with a new member and direction. AC/DC and Alice in Chains are two prime examples. When the Stone Temple Pilots announced they hired Jeff Gutt for singer, some fans weren’t sold on the idea right away. But as the singles were coming out and fans were giving Gutt positive reviews of his live performances, he slowly became more accepted. Personally, STP is the band that got me into rock and were the first concert I ever attended. They are special to me. Gutt does a fantastic job. His style fits with STP. After the deaths of Weiland and Chester Bennington, I knew the band would be picky with their next choice. Considering all that happened and the album that came out of it, they did a damn good job. The self-titled album reminds me a little bit of a mix of Tiny Music and Shangri-La Dee Da. Chill, melodic songs with deep lyrics. Gutt took the opportunity and capitalized. The future looks bright for the Stone Temple Pilots.

Best Debut Album: Bad Wolves

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You ask people on the street who Bad Wolves are, and those that know them will most likely tell you they’re that band that covered The Cranberries’ “Zombie”. That maybe true, but there was a lot more to Disobey than that. The new supergroup released a beast of a debut record. With the exception of the cover, every song was hard hitting. What grabbed me about the band was their sound. It’s like mutt of hard rock, metalcore, and bits of djent. I also really dig the vocalist, Tommy Vext. A good mix of clean and heavy vocals, but he tends to use more clean with Bad Wolves than previous bands. I thought for sure he was going to eventually replace Ivan Moody in Five Finger Death Punch. I’m glad it worked out for him to start a new band. I honestly was interested once I heard former God Forbid guitarist Doc Coyle was in the band. Extremely underrated guitar player. I highly encourage anyone that likes heavy music to give Bad Wolves a try.

Best Local Album: Paper Thin

I waited about a year and a half for this album. It was worth the wait. You don’t get progressive rock like this anymore. Listening to it was like an acid trip. At times it was soft and melodic. Then some songs were a complete jam! At times it would get heavy and then it would mellow out again. Old school prog rock format with fantastic vocals. If you want to hear Thrice Born, the whole album is on Bandcamp. The most talented band in Akron, Ohio. If you ever get a chance to see them live, I highly encourage it.

Locals (Northeast Ohio) to look forward to in 2019:

In Malum- Kent is about to give birth to a new monster in 2019. Imagine Rings of Saturn meets Between the Buried and Me. Yeah, no joke. No lack of shredding there.

Van Evera- New material coming out for these dudes soon (so I’m told) and they’re ready to get back on the war path. A band that tends to turn heads and raise horns.

Sterilizing the Deceased- I think we will finally see that first full length album from STD this year. Their only big highlights of 2018 included opening for Lorna Shore, Traitors, Internal Bleeding, Oceano, Spite, and Carnifex. Also, their singer made it on to Tosh.O with one of his gnarly vape tricks. So it was an interesting year for them to say the least.

Sunless Sky- The power metallers from Cleveland will be dropping a new disc in 2019. They won my 2017 local album of the year, so I’m obviously excited for the follow up.

Demons Within- Quiet year overall for DW but it will set up for an exciting 2019. They played some fantastic shows including opening for Carnifex and Jinjer. If things go as expected, they’ll be dropping a new EP next year. One track off that EP will have Fear Factory guitarist Dino Cazares playing lead guitar. Gives fans something to look forward to.

Big Ugly- Mentioned them last year. After some lineup changes, they’re in the process of finishing up their 2nd EP. Let me tell you, it will be very heavy. They sent me a track and it was so heavy I didn’t think it was them for a minute. Things are about to get ugly in Akron!

Stillborn Prodigy- Last March, I was handed a show with a stacked list of locals to help promote and organize. Canton natives Stillborn Prodigy were on that list. Everyone that night did a killer job, but Stillborn stuck out more than anyone else. A good mix of hardcore and metal, and when they get on stage they put on a show! Take heavy riffs, with groove, and Obituary stomp. They even got a mead named after them. That’s metal!!! They should be dropping new music in 2019.

Sorry Mom turned metal- In August, I had the honor of throwing these guys last show. I’m not a huge pop punk guy, but these guys can jam!!! It was the end of Sorry Mom but not for the band members themselves. They will be going under a different name and direction musically. I think they’ll catch attention fast when they start putting out music. The band no one is talking about but will.

*Alot more going on locally, that was just a summary.*

Most Anticipated in 2019:

Without a doubt, 2019 is the most amped up year for metal and rock in a long time (same thing with other genres). It was hard to break it down to 10 but I did. Would like to hear your excitement for 2019 as well.

10. Divitius- The atomspheric, djent band I fell in love with in 2017. I have listened to their album front to back an unholy amount of times. The obsession is real. They told fans that their second album will be released in the summer. I’ll be counting down the days.

9. Jinjer- Fans anticipated Jinjer would blow up eventually. I think 2018 help set them up. Multiple North American tours with different bands helped open eyes to new fans. I finally got to see them in my hometown over the summer. They’ll be dropping a new EP in January and will head to the studio mid-spring to record a new full length. Jinjer comtinues to impress.

8. Abnormality- Their first release under Metal Blade in 2016 was one to remember. The Massachusetts death metallers are without a doubt a rising star in the underground. They just wrapped up a music video for the new album and will be announcing its release soon. They kill it on stage too.

7. Nile- Their first album without Dallas Toler Wade since the very first. However, Nile has always pushed themselves no matter what challenges are in front of them. They decided to take another year to write and record. I think we are in for a treat.

6. Whitechapel- One of the most consistent bands we have out there. Every album different and still extremely heavy. They give their fans their money’s worth. They’ll be dropping their new album The Valley in March.

5. Killswitch Engage- We will finally see the follow up to 2016’s Incarnate. As a big fan of Killswitch, I wasn’t huge with that album. They’ve taken alot of time with this one. Hopefully we’ll be getting another masterpiece. I guess we’ll find out.

4. Lamb of God- They were busy with the Slayer final tour all year. They’re set to continue touring with the thrash metal titans through 2019. Mark Morton has said the new album should be out around Christmas time. Maybe touring with Slayer will influence some nasty, heavy tunes. One would only hope. Then again, it’s Lamb of God. They know what they’re doing.

3. Megadeth- Dystopia was exactly what the doctor ordered after another lineup shakeup. Mustaine and Ellefson have hinted at the same heavy format for the new album with potentially blastbeats added to the mix! Blastbeats or not, Megadeth will always have my money.

2. Tool- I promise you, if this doesn’t get released this year I’m never adding them to the list again! For waiting another year, I have penalized them to 2nd on the list this year. Not that anyone cares. I do have a feeling we’ll finally see the new album. I just hope it will be worth the wait.

1. Gojira- The French metallers always putting out crushing material and they put on a hell of a show everytime! Nothing negative I can say about these guys. One of my favorites. I’m anxious to hear what they have in store for the world to hear. Nothing but love for Gojira!!!

Metalhead Underground Report 1

Since Black Sabbath took the stage in the early 1970’s, heavy metal has reigned as the most superior genre of music. Yes, I am being extremely biased. But since Black Sabbath’s first show, a lot has changed in the world of metal. The music has progressed and evolved into many different styles. No other genre of music has as many subgenres as metal does. Its diversity makes it such a unique form of music. You could sit around 20 metalheads and discuss their favorite bands. No matter how different their opinions would be and the disagreements they might have, they still appreciate the love for metal music. That’s the beauty of it!

Here we are in 2018, and metal is in an odd time. The music industry has changed drastically since Black Sabbath and KISS were rising stars in the music world. Bands and artists of all different kinds of music are finding it hard to live off their art. They will slave away hours in the studio and months on the road and may not see enough funds in end to pay the bills. It is normal these days for a performing artist to have full-time job on the side just to keep their head above water. Sad.

But the love, the passion, the drive, and the hard work keep the music alive.

Aside from the industry, metal is slowly turning to the new generation. Black Sabbath is done touring for good. Rush abruptly retired. Slayer will be retired for good soon. The older bands are slowly diminishing. A new era is taking form. Bands such as The Black Dahlia Murder and Whitechapel are standing out in the underground. No love from terrestrial radio and national television, but can still fill venues without any issues. Bands such as Animals as Leaders and Between the Buried and Me have taken progressive metal to new heights. On a rare occasion, you will see a band make a big splash in the national media. A prime example is when Pittsburgh’s Code Orange was nominated at the last grammy awards. Even though they didn’t win, the fact they were nominated after their sophomore album and had an unusual, incredible year was enough to hype up their nomination.

There is plenty to get excited about in this era of heavy metal. Now comes a question many metalheads may ask: Where do I find new bands? In a world where social media is used daily by most people, finding new music has become easier than ever. I would say for starters to start with your local scene. However, I recognize not everyone has a great local metal scene. Living in Northeast Ohio, we have enough metal bands to fill the rest of the state. We’re pretty spoiled if you ask me. But if you don’t have a solid local scene, don’t stop there. Branch out regionally. Use the internet look up bands with similar genre and sound of other bands you like. The music will only stay alive through support.

Being a heavy metal disc jockey, I do a lot of band research. I know of many bands who, in my opinion, should be getting the spotlight. So if you’re looking for something new that you could potentially get into, I hope this helps. The Metalhead Underground Report will be a short list of newer bands that I hope gain new fans. Here are a few names you should look into:

Once Human

For Fans of: Machine Head, Arch Enemy, and At The Gates

I think some old school Machine Head fans always wondered what happened to original guitarist Logan Mader. Well to make a long story short, he put together a melodic death metal monster by the name of Once Human. What made them stand out to me was the melodic guitar riffs and Lauren Hart’s vocals. Hart’s vocals, clean and heavy, are just phenomenal. It’s hard to find a singer that can provide both vocal styles to a high level like she does. I found this band from a Facebook ad on my newsfeed. YouTubed their music and I was sold. Their sophomore album Evolution was hands down one of my favorites from 2017. I will be honest though, I wasn’t huge with their debut album The Life I Remember. Hart seemed to be trying a raspy vocal style that was much different. Instrumentally it was given an old school melodic death metal feel to it, like 90’s At The Gates or Dark Tranquility. I did like the lyrics and the influence behind the album, but I just couldn’t get myself to appreciate it as much as Evolution. I personally believe they found their sound with their second release. I highly recommend checking Evolution out. As of December 2017, they’re making their third album.

Abnormality

For fans of: Cannibal Corpse, Dying Fetus, and Suffocation

I am sitting by myself on a work break one day and I am just on YouTube checking out new music. I came across this band called Abnormality. I knew they were coming to the area soon with Soulfly, so I clicked on the link out of curiosity. That was a smart decision. The music kicks in and I see this chick start screaming like George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher. No exaggeration. She sounds very similar to Corpsegrinder. Then I heard the groove with aggressive, heavy riffs. My metal soul was filled with joy!!! I found a new death metal band to obsess over!! I didn’t catch them on the Soulfly tour but I did see them when they opened for Napalm Death. They didn’t disappoint. I eventually picked up their album Mechanisms of Omniscience, which was their first under Metal Blade Records. What I found most interesting about it was the meaning behind their songs. They have such a brutal sound but their lyrics had nothing to do with death, murder, torture, or any of those stereotypical death metal subjects. They seemed to be more about life and some of the current events going on in our world. Reminded me of much of the material Chuck Shuldiner wrote for Death. If you are looking for some good groovy, headbanging material, Abnormality maybe up your alley.

Grajo

For fans of: Anything psychedelic and doom metal

I spent some of July 2017 searching for new bands on the other side of the world so I could play them on my radio show. I came across Grajo from Spain and instantly became a fan. What caught my attention was their trippy doom sound. I’ve heard plenty of doom metal in my short time here on Earth, but no one like Grajo. Loud drums, psychedelic lead guitar tone (plenty of delay), and sludgy rythm guitar to round out their doom sound. The vocalist’s style reminds me of old school folk hippies from the 60’s and 70’s. She has excellent pitch and uses it well. What grabbed me the most about the band was the vocal patterns used with the rest of the music. Just brillant! Every song different and unique from the next. They’re real professionals. If you are interested, check out their self titled album and Slowgod II. Those were their most recent releases. I think you’ll like what you hear.

DVSR

For fans of: Body Count, Volumes, and Rage Against the Machine

Most metalheads will shudder if you bring up rap metal. The don’t like the idea of mixing the two together and believe they should stay separate. The way I see it, some styles of metal were made because of different influences and cultures. Who am I to tell someone they have to stick to a certain guideline? Music has no boundaries. If it sounds metal, the attitude is metal, and the lyrics are metal, then its metal. I went on a djent binge about a year or so ago, and that’s when I discovered DVSR. A djent, rap metal power house from Australia. The rapper has an old school style similar to the OG legends from the 90’s. Lyrically he writes about politics, personal stories, and encouraging fans to find the strength within themselves to better themselves. They dropped their new EP, Therapy, November 2017 which is their only release since their self-titled, debut album. DVSR is just getting started but has a very bright future ahead of them. It won’t be too much longer until they get some serious recognition.

Divitius

For fans of: After the Burial, Arch Enemy, and Periphery

About early summer 2017, Circle Pit’s Facebook page had a new artist of the week. I’m always up to hear something new, so I checked it out. I ended up finding one of my new favorite bands that day. I heard one song and I was hooked! Divitius is a djent power house that reigns from Portland, Oregon. Musically their debut album, The Arcadian Parrellel, was like a metal acid trip in space. Every song phenomenal. Heavy rythm guitar riffs along with trippy, melodic leads. Vocalist has Angela Gossow style heavy vocals and a killer set of cleans as well. The energy and uniqueness of this band is off the charts. I’ve honestly debated flying to Oregon just to see them perform. That’s how much I appreciate these guys.

Duel

For fans of: anything stoner doom metal

One Tuesday night this past summer, I went down to Canton to see Doomstress from Texas. Along with Doomstress was a killer insturmental doom band from Cleveland called Sparrowmilk, and this other band from Texas called Duel. I knew nothing about Duel. After the show, I wanted to know everything about them. It was good thing they headlined because they stole the show! Pure old school stoner doom metal. Gritty, dirty, bluesy, and loud as fuck! If you like heavy music that jams hard, do yourself a favor and check them out. They got two studio albums and one live album out right now.

Local Spotlight

With these underground reports I will be having a short local spotlight at the end of each one. This is to help promote the talent in the area. Here are a handful of bands from the Northeast Ohio area you should check out:

A Sense of Purpose

I won’t forget the first time I saw these guys. It was about mid-January and I was hit up by a friend to see this show at a pizza shop in Kent. Place was packed and fire marshall was on vacation, so there was no one to kick people out when it was over capacity. So you have this crowded pizza shop hosting pop punk and metal bands. There was moshing, tossing, alcohol consuming, alcohol spilling, crowd surfing, and total choas. No fights. No issues. A Sense of Purpose headlined that show and blew the roof off the place!!! Extremely talented and musically very technical. Always on top of their game. If you dig any of the new age metalcore/djent coming out, definitely give them a shot. They just put out their new EP, Mend, this past September. They have also opened for After the Burial, Emmure, Veil of Maya, and The Acacia Strain within the past year.

Stillborn Prodigy

Stillborn Prodigy reigns from Canton. The first time I saw these guys was on a show I actually booked and promoted. The lineup was already premade before I booked the date. It was actually a killer lineup. Stillborn turned more heads though than anyone on the bill. I had played them on my radio show before so I was aware of their sound. But their live show was something special. The groove and heavy riffage got the crowd going. It actually got to the point where a few people and I started simultaneously stomping. Their sound just gave you that urge to stomp and headbang. Similar to what Obituary does to their fans. They got a good mix of hardcore and metal in their sound. They dropped their debut album, Coconut Sex Dumpster (pictured above), about a year ago. New material on the way. If you check it out, listen to “Pocket Fulla Fuck You”. That’s my favorite off the album. New band with a bright future.

Army of Athens

The first time I saw Army of Athens was almost 2 years ago. It was February and a friend hit me up to check out one of the many local shows in the area. Ohio is pretty much dead in February so it’s always a great time to check out some local talent. AoA had a show not too far from where we lived so we decided to spend our Saturday night watching them. About only 7 people were there, so I was glad we went to give them a little more support. Long story short, these guys get on stage and tear it up! Very heavy, melodic, and they had some sick breakdowns. Not your stereotypical breakdowns though. I would say faster and more aggressive than your standard breakdown. I’ve seen them about 4 times total and they stay consistent. You get a good show from them everytime.

Paper Thin

These guys are literally my favorite band in the area. The first time I saw them I honestly didn’t know what I was getting into. But after their set, I fell in love. Paper Thin is a unique talent that you can’t find anywhere else. They’re a progressive rock band from Akron. They got a style that stands out amongst everyone else. The members are metalheads so there are some metal elements to their sound. They dropped their first album, Thrice Born, this past June. As of right now, they don’t have it available on any streaming formats with the exception of one song. You would have to look them up and message them if you want the album. I personally thought the album was one bad ass acid trip. Every song had a different energy than the other. I once had a drunk guy in the bathroom tell me he thought the singer sounded like Chris Cornell. The singer is a swell guy, but only Chris Cornell can be Chris Cornell. But it was a hell of a compliment. I could go on and on about these guys. Bottom line, these guys are the shit and you should check them out.

Seth Lipocky is a heavy metal dj for mhioradio.com. His show Sunday Bloody Sunday is on every Sunday from 8 to 11 pm EST. Follow the Sunday Bloody Sunday page on Facebook for updates.

Strive for Change. Prepare to Grow.

For personal reasons, organization names are left out of the blog.

I believe it is fair to say there is a time in everyone’s life when they crave change. Things run their course and people become weary of the everyday routine. They spend most of their days miserable because they’re not satisfied with their current situation. When I hear people talk about their struggles, I can tell they want to be a part of something bigger. When I ask them why they don’t embrace the opportunity to better themselves I get a number of reasons and excuses. Whether it’s bills, schedules, kids, funds, or a few other road blocks in their lives. Responsibilities are the priority. But you will always have responsibilities, so why not find a way to better yourself while taking care of them? The way I see it, the main reason is fear. They want to stay in their comfort zone and settle for the world around them. They may always wonder how things could have been different.

I would like to encourage everyone to find a different path to better themselves. Unfortunately, not everyone will listen to me. Hell, I don’t always listen to my own advice. But I will tell you from personal experience that when you learn to better yourself, life opens up. The opportunities you will receive, the people you will meet, and the memories you will make will be worth while. Somethings may not work out, but will still be of importance in your life.

They say keep pushing forward because your life could completely change in a matter of time. I’m writing this to tell you that I believe in that statement, and I want to use my personal life to prove it. I know there are millions of stories out there that could back up that statement, but the only one I know perfectly is my own. In December 2015, I graduated from Kent State University. I imagined the unlimited amount of opportunities that would be presented for me after this accomplishment. But I made one critical error. I finished the requirements to earn the degree, but I never took the time to better myself. Yes, a degree is a great way to invest in yourself but if you don’t have the connections or experience, you’re fucked. In December of 2017, I was still at the dead end hospital job I had when I was in college. With the determination and commitment to change my whole situation, I found the light at the end of the tunnel. Here’s the story:

It’s Christmas Day and I am working at the dirty, nasty hospital. While everyone seemed excited for the holiday week, I was stuck at work all week long due to a department crisis. To make matters worse, I realized mid-shift I had the flu. I was able to knock it out overnight but still had to deal with some of the symptoms for the next week and a half. I couldn’t call off because my boss said he would kick my fucking ass if I called off. I spent the holiday week working at least 10 hour shifts and traveling in 4 degree weather. The only bright side was house sitting at my brother’s place, which was the house I grew up in. It was near the hospital too so I could quickly rest up after a horrible shift. After my shift on New Years Eve, I walked around the house like a zombie, blasting music. Friends were partying it up or watching the Ohio State bowl game. I was doing absolutely nothing. I started cooking while my brother’s cats stood around and judged me. All I could think about was dreading the next shift in the morning. I looked around the living room trying to figure out how the hell I got to this point in my life. The clock strikes midnight and drunk people start kissing each other across the country. My head just hits the pillow as I prepare for hell in the morning. Little did I know what 2018 had in store for me. My whole situation was about to take a turn for the better.

January & February

Things at the hospital get worse. Tensions are higher than I had ever seen them. The crisis didn’t get much better and we were told it would last until April. My co-workers and I were working longer hours. I only averaged one weekday off a week, and one weekend day off every other weekend. I debated several times to quit, but I didn’t have a back up plan and bills needed paid. It also wouldn’t be fair to all 4 of my co-workers. The only thing keeping me going was my heavy metal radio show and my concerts I was booking on the side. Fortunately, my concerts in January and February did well. While all this was going on, I applied to a number of jobs. I didn’t receive one interview. Not one call. But I knew quitting wasn’t an option.

March

Fast forwarding to mid March. I finally had a whole weekend off. My first one since the weekend before Christmas. I told myself to enjoy it and not give any thought to all noise going on the past few months. I kicked off Friday seeing some killer local bands in my home area of Highland Square. It was good to hang with some good people and not think about work the next morning. Saturday, I had a concert I booked which featured my favorite local band. I had a feeling it would be small crowd but didn’t let that bother me. I was in for a surprise. The crowd was double than anticipated. I was able to help put together a great crowd for the band that I loved and the 3 other fantastic acts. Later that night, I chilled in my basement alone blasting music. To some that may not sound like fun, but I was having the time of my life. I felt like a champion. For once, something went right. At one point that night I thought about my current situation. That’s when I told myself, “You will get out of this. You will win. And you will be in a better place.” Then a song started playing. It was a song I’ve heard before but at that moment it took on a new meaning. To this day I call it my revival song.

After that weekend, I continued to apply for different jobs. I made a personal decision to apply for internships too. I knew it was good idea to gain more experience since I continued to struggle to find anything for over 2 years. College students should do more than one internship during their studies. I only did one and I think that really hurt me in the end. I knew organizations preferred college students as interns over graduates. But I had nothing to loose. As luck would have it, one of the applications changed the course.

April

After having no luck finding a job, I reached out to the career counselor at Kent State Stark. During our meeting he mentioned that he was shocked that I contacted him due to my recent history. He thought I would be loaded with offers giving my work experience. I honestly didn’t know how to take that. We talked over some options and agreed to stay in contact. When I mentioned the idea of becoming an intern again, he wasn’t against it but wasn’t quite sold it was the best solution. I was willing to do anything to get anywhere. Even if it meant temporarily working for free. I took his suggestions and went right to work.

During a shift at the hospital that week, I received an email from the local minor league baseball team about being an intern for them. I had prior experience working for a minor league team when I lived in Indiana. After an interview, I landed the opportunity. I knew the experience was a win for me and the resume. I would start in May.

May

After four months of hell at the hospital, I took my first 2 week vacation. I made a promise to myself to work on other things during that vacation period. The baseball internship was coming up but I still needed to leave the hospital. The toxic atmosphere was really getting to me. I spent a night kicking around a soccer ball, drinking beer, blasting music, and writing a “to do” list. Believe it or not, it was one of the best things I did during my vacation. Everything on the list got accomplished including finding a new gig. I was able to land a job at nursing home down the street from where I lived. It was the same work as the hospital with smaller pay, but it was enough to pay the bills. With living for free, being single, and no kids I could take the risk. Plus, I wasn’t sure about the chances of landing another job for the summer, and I knew they were desperate.

I worked at the nursing home from June to September. They treated me really well and worked around the internship schedule. They made my life much easier. You don’t take people like that for granted. But I promised myself it was only for the summer. I needed to do bigger and better things.

June

My summer schedule is in full swing. Day job in the morning and internship at night. The internship wasn’t what I imagined but I continued to try to get the best out of it. It was about mid June I realized how much I was sacrificing in order to help myself. I’m a summer guy and I love summer activities. I missed out on many events, concerts, and get togethers due to my commitment with the baseball team. It was a helpful reminder that true success comes with dedication and sacrifice. I hated to work my whole summer away, but I needed to grow.

July

July was an interesting month. It was the month were I asked myself multiple times, “What the fuck is going on?!” Anything that could go wrong did. I found myself dreading nights I had to work at the ballpark. I was learning to hate my internship. During all-star break, I had a serious debate with myself about quitting. I wasn’t getting what I wanted to get out of it. I felt like I was being used. The organization was managed poorly. I felt like I got the best out of it. After much research and thought, I decided to see it out till the end. Outside the internship, the radio station was slowly falling apart in front of my eyes. The atmosphere was similar to the ballpark and hospital. Then both my concerts of the month bombed bad. July wasn’t my month, but I knew I had to move forward. I started applying for jobs again. I wanted something else by the end of the summer.

August

The internship starts getting tolerable. It is coming down to end of the season so people are in better spirits. I continue to stay committed and give it my all. The radio station gets sold to new management, which takes me by surprise. This coming right before my 3 year anniversary with them. Something strange happens. I started gaining interest from other organizations and get contacted for a few interviews. I wasn’t used to all that attention. Not once was I concerned about potentially blowing an interview. I knew I needed to capitalize on them. After all I’ve been through it was time for a big win.

September

The internship wraps up on an odd note. The team goes all the way to the championship, keeping the season longer than expected. I worked the last 17 games because I knew they needed help bad. Even though it was more work and we were short staffed, I enjoyed it more on the last few weeks of the schedule than the rest of the season. After it was all over, I received no feedback on my time there, half the things I was promised never happened, and ideas I had for one of their events were used and I was never given any credit. For a little while it did bother me, but at the same time I wasn’t surprised. I got what I needed and moved on. Things don’t always work out. I learned a lot that summer. I was hired by an entertainment facility shortly after the internship. They offered me a chance to grow in their business. Finally, something I can build on. I left the radio station after 3 years and joined a station with the same vision as me. Everything is new and it is good!!!

I started my new job on October 1st. Looking back on the past 10 months it’s amazing how much has changed. I’m not exactly where I want to be, but I’m not suffering. I got something to look forward to. The future continues to get brighter. Something I would wish for everyone.

I’m usually not this personal, especially online. Mainly because people by nature are shitty and I don’t want to tell them anything. But at the same time there are good people with way way way way worse situations than the one I just wrote. If I can convince one person to turn themselves around at any cost, that’s a win in my book. Life is too short to settle. Continue to find change, grow with it, and learn.

Cleveland Browns 2018 4 Round Mock Draft. Predictions and Preferences

Whelp! They did it! After several mediocre seasons, the Browns saw the bottom of the barrel and had themselves a winless season. A season that included a botched trade deadline trade, another failed rookie quarterback experiment, the collapse of a Hall of Fame career, the return of a troubled receiver, and a parade celebration for their failed efforts. Stating the obvious, it was one to forget. Especially if you’re Hugh Jackson, who will enter his 3rd season with a 1-33 team record. It can’t get any worse right?! Lets hope not. But with every dark cloud there is a silver lining. The only win the Browns had this season was firing Sashi Brown and hiring one of the best NFL executives in the league, John Dorsey. The man has a history of putting together a winning enviornment and had one Super Bowl winning team. He actually reunited with key members of the Packers front office that helped assemble the 2011 championship team. Something that didn’t happen while Dorsey was in Kansas City. It could be the most experienced front office the Browns have had since 2002 which was the last season they made the playoffs. So is the tide turning? Will the Browns actually have a bright, winning future? Or is this just another tease and nothing will change? We’ll find out soon. Until then, Dorsey has a boat load of draft picks in the 2018 draft to help mold the future of Cleveland Browns football. Here’s my predictions and preferences for the first 4 rounds of the Browns 2018 draft.

Key Additions: WR Jarvis Landry, QB Tyrod Taylor, RB Carlos Hyde, S Damarius Randall, CB E.J. Gaines, OT Chris Hubbard, and QB Drew Stanton.

Key Departures: OT Joe Thomas, QB Deshone Kizer, QB Cody Kessler, QB Kevin Hogan, RB Isaiah Crowell, DT Danny Shelton, and CB Jason McCourtney.

Here is what I think the Cleveland Browns will do.

Round 1, Pick 1: QB Sam Darnold, USC

John Dorsey made it clear that part of his mission in Cleveland would be to find the franchise quarterback. Tyrod Taylor will be 29th different starter since 1999. There isn’t one specific quarterback in this class that screams out superstar. The one they pick will have to sit on the bench for a few years just like Aaron Rodgers did after Dorsey drafted him in 2005. Many rumors about Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield picked here, but I think that’s just a smokescreen. Dorsey, Jackson, and Haslam were at Darnold’s pro day. The look on Haslam’s face said it all. I have reason to believe his name will be called with the number 1 overall pick. This is coming off an overall disappointing Junior season at USC. He had mostly underclassmen at the offensive line and receiving core that really hurt him statistically. Against great defenses, such as Ohio State, he was average at best. He also had issues with turnovers. But the kid has a high ceiling and great leadership skills. Players around him loved playing with him and he was a winner at the collegiate level. Darold will be the 1st quarterback Cleveland takes 1st overall since Tim Couch. Let’s hope for a better result.

*Browns trade 4th overall pick and Corey Coleman to Cardinals for 15th overall, 47th overall, and 2019 1st round pick. Browns trade 15th overall and Arizona 2019 1st to Colts for 6th overall pick*.

This is probably the boldest prediction I’ve ever had in any mock draft I’ve ever done. But draft day gets wacky at times and I expect the Browns to make it interesting. After Darnold, Barkely, and Mayfield are off the board, Cardinals decide to shake it up. Carson Palmer has retired and Sam Bradford is just as injury prone as Palmer. They need a future plan under center. They also want another wide reciever too. Browns are extremely disappointed in Coleman and have interest in letting him go. Yes, that would mean another former Browns 1st rounder out the door. Arizona offers there top 2 picks and their 1st next year. Browns can’t resist but still want to draft again in the top ten. This is where the Colts come in. Indianapolis has been stockpiling on draft picks since their trade with the Jets. Another 1st rounder next year could help them immensely especially if Luck doesn’t come back the same player. Josh Allen and Quienten Nelson are now off the board going into the 6th pick. As a result . . .

Round 1, Pick 6 (NYJ from IND): DE Bradley Chubb, NC State

I can hear Rothleisberger, Flacco, and Dalton gulp from here. Browns just created a nightmare for AFC North offenses. Myles Garrett and Bradley Chubb on the same line?! I can see the fantasy coming to a reality. Browns need playmakers bad. Chubb would be the best one on the board when they’re on the clock. The Browns were, believe it or not, one of the best at stopping the run last year. Chubb would keep that trend going. Rotating him with Ogbah would wear out offensive lines and open opportunities for stops. Browns could be making a similar defensive front than the Denver Broncos had 3 years ago.

Round 2, Pick 33: CB Donte Jackson, LSU

Browns defensive back squad the past 2 seasons has been atrocious to say the least. One of the big reasons they have won one game the past two seasons. Dorsey went right to work adding three new cornerbacks and trading for Damarius Randall. Moving Randall to free safety and Jabrill Peppers to strong safety could make a world of difference in their back field. However, they don’t have that one shut down cornerback anymore. They added depth and experience but they need a standout corner to matchup against the league’s top receivers. Jackson can learn from the veterans and work his way up there. I expect the Browns to use one of their first four picks on a defensive back.

Round 2, Pick 35 (HOU): DT Maurice Husrt Jr., Michigan

Danny Shelton has been traded leaving a hole at defensive tackle. Browns have a solid young group in Ogunjobi, Coley, and Brantley. Hurst has Pro Bowl potential and would fit in the mix with that young defensive line.

Round 2, Pick 47 (ARI): WR James Washington, Oklahoma St.

When the Browns needed receivers in the past, they never got them. I don’t know why but it has irritated fans the past 10 years. Dorsey has a history of grabbing receivers early and often in the draft. He takes the best available receiver here with this pick.

Round 2, Pick 64 (PHI): S Marcus Allen, Penn St.

Browns traded their 3rd round pick for Tyrod Taylor. They could trade back in but to be safe they secure the best safety on the board with the last pick of the 2nd round. Damarius Randall isn’t guarenteed to work out at free safety, so Browns need a back up plan.

Round 4, Pick 114 (GB): OT Brandon Parker, NC A&T

Joe Thomas called it quits leaving a big hole in left tackle. Hubbard was signed to play right tackle and Browns plan on moving Shon Coleman to left. Parker would be a good prospect to have in case Coleman doesn’t work out.

There are my predictions, so here is what I would prefer the Browns to do with their picks.

Round 1, Pick 1: RB Saquon Barkley, Penn St.

The way I see it, if you have the number 1 pick in the entire draft you need to pick the best potential football player. Browns actually did it right with Myles Garrett last year. There isn’t a stand out quarterback in this class. Quality quarterbacks, but no one who will come right out of the gate. I love the Tyrod Taylor trade. He could be Cleveland’s starter for at least the next 3 years if he stays healthy. Taylor will need all the help he can get. In a passing league, the running back is still relevant. Look at the Cowboys down fall without Elliot. Seahawks struggled to adjust when Lynch retired. Barkley is a game changer and would take pressure off of Taylor. Browns need a work horse running back. Hyde and Jackson are great but if you can upgrade, you upgrade. Make the 1st overall pick the playmaker you need and start finding ways to win with him. For the record, I’m a big fan of Baker Mayfield, but Barkely seems much more fitting here.

*Trade the 4th pick with the Bills for the 12th, 28th, and 2019 1st round pick. Trade the 22nd, Bills 2019 1st, and mutiple mid-late round picks to Colts for the 6th pick.*

I like the idea of trading down and then back up. So why would it be the Bills this time and not the Cardinals? If the Browns pick Barkley instead of Darnold, the whole scenario changes. Giants don’t plan on drafting in the top 10 again the next few seasons, so they draft the heir to Eli Manning with their pick, which I believe will be Rosen (it will be the first shocking pick of the draft). Mayfield goes to Jets. Darnold falls to Browns at number four. However, I don’t mind Darnold but he isn’t the direction I would prefer to go. This pushes the Bills to go all in. As a result, I say tell Indianapolis if they want the mutiple picks including the Bills 2019 1st rounder, they must trade down to 22nd and not 12th. Worst case scenerio, you have the 12th and 22nd pick in the draft. Colts accept the trade to gain more picks. That being said, I would like the 6th pick used on . . .

Round 1, Pick 6 (NYJ from IND): DE Bradley Chubb, NC State

The Browns and I are in an agreement here. I would love to see Chubb in orange and brown next season. Blossom that defensive line into something scary.

Round 1, Pick 12 (BUF): OT Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame

Joe Thomas gone. It’s time to find a way to fill that big void in the offensive line. I’m not huge on Shon Coleman filling in at left tackle. McGlinchey would be a project. Notre Dame said he was better at right tackle than left. He needs to work on strength and technique to be successful at the NFL level. Great leadership skills and consistently healthy. I like the idea of making him a Cleveland Brown.

Round 2, Pick 33: QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville

In case you haven’t noticed, I haven’t picked a quarterback yet. Well here he is!!! Some analyst have him going in the 1st round, but I say he slips to day 2. Jackson didn’t play a whole lot of tough defenses in college. He used his legs alot more than he will in the pro level. However, his 6’3 frame with great arm strength and accuracy can’t be over looked. He reminds me of Dak Prescott in a way and has some flashes of Cam Newton. Tyrod Taylor would be the perfect mentor for him. Be patient with him and you could see some serious results.

Round 2, Pick 35 (HOU): WR Christian Kirk, Texas A&M

In my scenerio, I actually kept Coleman. Giving the kid a second chance. Landry was a great pick up. Gordon needs to keep clean. Higgins could be an underrated player on the roster. But in the NFL you can’t have enough receivers. Kirk has possession hands, speed, and some of the best field awareness in this draft class. He had the best YAC in the NCAA this season. In case Coleman doesn’t pan out, you have Christian Kirk.

Round 2, Pick 64 (PHI): CB Mike Hughes, UCF

I’ve expressed my disappointment and displeasure with the Browns defensive back group. They pissed me off just as much as the Golden State Warriors. Dorsey added much depth but he will need to add more. Hughes off the field issues keeps him on the board at 64. He will not start right away but he kind of reminds me a little bit of Tyrann Mathieu. Explosive and athletic.

Round 4, Pick 114 (GB): DT RJ McIntosh, Miami

The defensive tackle position needs to be addressed at some point in this draft. It’s up in the air where McIntosh falls in the mid rounds. It is possible he falls to this pick. I dig this kid alot. Good head on his shoulders, comes from a football family, knows the game, and can play anywhere on the defensive line. It would be a win for the Browns landing McIntosh.

GO BROWNS!!!!!

Just Another Opinion: Should We Be Concerned with the Current State of Hard Rock?

For decades, rock & roll has been more than just a genre of music. It has united people, it has made memories that would last a life time, it has been there when you were happy, it has been there when you were sad, and it will be there for you until the day you are worm food. But just like anything else, rock has evolved and changed over the years. 

Rewinding back to Woodstock where bands like Jefferson Airplane and Jimi Hendrix were entertaining acid tripping hippies in the middle of a field. They claimed to have found the meaning of life! In reality, they just dropped too much acid. But they did witness the new music revolution. 

Entering the 1970’s, hard rock exploded. Bands like Led Zeppelin, Thin Lzzy, and AC/DC were rocking the other side of the world. While in America, the radio airwaves were ruled by disco. Despite the overrated disco fade, little names like Alice Cooper, KISS, and Van Halen became an iconic part of American music history. 

After disco had died, something odd happened in the 80’s. Heavy metal gained some serious popularity. Metal acts all over the world filled arenas and other venues. Every guy wanted to be them and every woman wanted be with them. Yes, for a short time metal was the cool thing. While metal was mainstream in the mid 80’s, a new monster was created in the world of hard rock: Guns N Roses. The band came out like a bat out of hell! Not only did they have the look, they had a sound that was meaner and heavier than the hair metal bands that looked like them.

Entering the 90’s, hard rock bands influenced by 60’s and 70’s bands ruled the underground. Little did some of them know that they would be part of the new wave of rock music. The hair metal era was getting old. Fans were looking for something new. Then a scene in Seattle, Washington changed the game. Its doomy, dirty sound helped give the sub genre its name, grunge. Seattle helped spawn bands such as Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Mother Loves Bone, Pearl Jam, The Melvins, and a little name known as Nirvana. Music that wasn’t about partying, being bad, or corny heartbreak ballads. It was about . . . .well . . . .feelings. It was music that connected with the current generation. It was short lived but made a lasting impact. Along with the grunge bands, a new wave of alternative rock bands made their mark on rock history. Stone Temple Pilots, Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth, and Collective Soul just to name a few. 

Going into the 2000’s, hard rock took a unique turn. The post grunge era produced some talented bands that continue to have massive success today. Foo Fighters, Nickleback, and Creed were on magazine covers all over the place, and owning the music billboard. While bands like Seether, Smile Empty Soul, Breaking Benjamin, and Stone Sour took on a heavier approach than their influences. 

Now that I have given a brief history of what we know as hard rock, I want to look at what is going on in the rock world today. About a month ago, I was sitting in my room watching the Loudwire Awards. Just like any other music award show, there was performances. Anthrax, Power Trip, and Body Count destroyed the stage in the name of metal! But when the rock bands took the stage it was honestly strange. In all due respect to the fans of these bands, I couldn’t dig it. They weren’t making my rock and roll blood flow. It was time for me to accept that hard rock is evolving once again.

One band that caught my eye a few months ago when I saw Halestorm was Starset from Columbus (pictured above). I knew nothing about them. Musically, they were more electronic than your average rock band. However, I had to give them credit. They put on a show for their fans. I mean, they went all fucking out! Fans got their money’s worth. After they got off stage they really had me thinking. Listening to their sound, I could tell they were influenced by bands like Seether and Breaking Benjamin. It dawned on me that they grew up listening to those bands liks I did. Now they apply thay influence to their sound. The tide was starting to turn. There is nothing anyone can do about it.

Honestly, I am concerned with the current state of hard rock. But I refuse to not give it a chance. One of the worst attitudes for music fans of any kind is to deny all modern bands and artists. You’ll hear, “Its not what it used to be! Everything just sucks! It will never be the same!”. Yes, things change. Nothing will be what it was in the past. But new, good music is out there and you have to find it.

About a few years ago, I made a personal decision that made a positive impact on my personal life. With the internet growing, I made it my primary source to stay current with music and I turned terrestrial radio off. The airwaves were stuck in the past. Too bland for me. Thanks to some kind souls in Kent, Ohio, I was able to have an internet radio show that didn’t follow those poor practices.

So how does one find new bands? Apps such as Reverbnation and Bandcamp can help you find unsigned bands that play the music you like to hear, and in your area! Google isn’t a bad option if you want to find up and coming artists. Join a Facebook group with fans just like you. They tend to have great ideas. I get my modern hard rock fix from the local scene. Bands that love to play the music and share the experience with you. And they’re right in your back yard!

Rock n roll is not going anywhere. It may not be what it used to be, but there’s good reason for that. What if all the bands after The Beatles became similar to The Beatles? You wouldn’t have Led Zeppelin. If Dave Grohl tried to mimic what Kurt Cobain did do you think the Foo Fighters would have been the band they are today? Nope! Grohl moved on and made his sound. Cherish the classics. Give the present a chance. Things maybe much different today, but the music continues.

Seth Lipocky is a heavy metal dj on krmaradio.com. His show, Sunday Bloody Sunday, is on every Sunday from 8 to 11 p.m. EST. 

My Favorite Noise of 2015

Honorable Mentions: Pitch Black Forecast, Marilyn Manson, 36 Crazyfists, Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts, The Agonist, Halestorm, Tyler the Creator, Faith No More, Murs, Six Feet Under, Kamelot, Tremonti, Between the Buried and Me, Veil of Maya, Soulfly, Bullet For My Valentine, Cattle Decapitation, Disturbed, Act of Defiance, Battlecross, Dr. Dre, Motorhead, Five Finger Death Punch, Amorphis, Gary Clark Jr., Metal Allegiance, Huntress, Clutch, Children of Bodom, Audiotopsy, Trivium, Queensryche, Sevendust, Def Leppard, and Dead Sara.

TOP 10 ALBUMS

10. Dark Before Dawn – Breaking Benjamin

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Key Songs: “Angels Fall”, “Breaking the Silence”, and “Defeated”

 

9. Sturm Und Drang – Lamb of God

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Key Songs: “Erase This”, “Embers”, and “Overlord”

 

8. Art of Anarchy – Art of Anarchy

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Key Songs: “Time Every Time”, “Grand Applause”, and “Till The Dust Is Gone”

 

7. They Bleed Red – Devil You Know

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Key Songs: “Consume the Damned”, “The Way We Die”, and “Stay of Execution”

 

6. Genexus – Fear Factory

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Key Songs: “Dielectric”, “Genexus”, and “Regenerate”

 

5. Golgotha – W.A.S.P.

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Key Songs: “Scream”, “Eyes of My Maker”, and “Golgotha”

 

4. Luminiferous – High on Fire

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Key Songs: “The Black Pot”, “Slave the Hive”, and “The Cave”

 

3. The Book of Souls – Iron Maiden

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Key Songs: “If Eternity Should Fail”, “Speed of Light”, and “Tears of a Clown”

 

2. Repentless – Slayer

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Key Songs: “Repentless”, “Vices”, and “When the Stillness Comes”

 

1. High Country – The Sword

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Key Songs: “Empty Temples”, “Mist & Shadows”, and “Suffer No Fools”

 

TOP 10 SONGS of 2015

1. “Mist & Shadows”-The Sword

2. “The Cave”-High on Fire

3. “Until the World Goes Cold”-Trivium

4. “Slave the Hive”-High on Fire

5. “Grand Applause”-Art of Anarchy

6. “Scream”-W.A.S.P.

7. “Flesh”-Huntress

8. “Vices”-Slayer

9. “Defeated”-Breaking Benjamin

10. “Medicine Man”- Dr. Dre feat. Eminem, Candice Pillay, and Anderson Paak

 

BEST NEW BAND: Act of Defiance

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Metal heads that pay as much attention as I do maybe confused with this one. Let me explain. Yes, Act of Defiance did not make my top ten but Art of Anarchy did. I loved both albums but Act of Defiance is a band where as Art of Anarchy was a side project. AoA never planned on touring and hasn’t hinted at making a second one. With Scott Weiland’s death, I doubt we see a replacement. Act of Defiance is a new thrash metal power house created with two former members of Megadeth, Shawn Drover and Chris Broderick. The band released the album in August and was followed by their first headlining tour. Birth and the Burial is an aggressive album with a mix of modern day metal and 80’s thrash. I look forward to what the band has in store for the future.

Other Nominees: Pitch Black Forecast, Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts, Audiotopsy, and Red Sun Rising.

 

BEST COMEBACK: Breaking Benjamin

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Six years had passed since the band’s fourth album, Dear Agony. During that time, band members were fired and Ben Burnley became very ill. A band with a unique, distinct sound with one of the most dedicated fan bases in hard rock had just disappeared. Finally, in 2014, the wait was over. New members were added and new music was on the way. I was one of the lucky few that had the opportunity to see the band’s first show back in five years. It wasn’t a good concert. It was fantastic. Two hours of the Pennsylvania rockers playing classics and fan favorites. Ben sounded as good, if not better, than he ever had. The new album made some fans nervous. Would they pull it together with this new group and please the Breaking Ben fans? SPOILER ALERT! They did. The album landed number one on the Billboard 200 and owned the competition. Interesting enough, a little over 80% of the sales were physical copies. In an age where downloading mp3s is the norm, that was rare. Especially for the best selling album. But then again, you’re talking about metal heads. Physical copies are the best, my opinion. Dark Before Dawn exceeded my expectations and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I still remember hearing “So Cold” at thirteen years old thinking it was one of the best jams I ever heard.

Other Nominees: 36 Crazyfists, Faith No More, Disturbed, and Dr. Dre.

 

BIGGEST SURPRISE: Slayer

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Slayer’s world was turned upside down following the death of Jeff Hanneman. Shorty before Jeff died, Dave Lombardo was fired. Only two original members remained. Gary Holt of Exodus was filling in for Hanneman while he was sick. Holt was retained, and for the first time in the band’s history someone else was playing next to Kerry King. Paul Bostaph was brought in to replace Lombardo behind the set . . . again. Many Slayer fans liked Bostaph’s return to the band but questioned the direction going forward. I was going to pick up Repentless regardless. I knew Jeff would want the fans to buy and blast it. I remember my jaw about hit the ground listening to it. This was not Slayer. This was SSSLLLLAAAAYYYYYYEEEEEERRRR!!!!!! Old school aggressive thrash metal Slayer fans grew up to love was back! I knew the album was going to be good, but little did I know that it would be their best album in years. Jeff would have been proud.

Other Nominees: Murs, Fear Factory, The Sword, and W.A.S.P.

 

SPECIAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Metal Allegiance

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Last year, I gave this award to Sevendust for their acoustic album. This year was something a little bit different and a treat for metal heads. The Metal Allegiance started out as a show featuring metal musicians from different bands getting together and covering songs. It was basically a big metal cover band for fun to entertain the metal community in the area. It was one of the only times you could hear Pantera and Dio songs in the same show with out some local wannabe fucking it up. Then one day, a brilliant idea was brought up. One thing led to another, and the Metal Allegiance album was made. Every song consisted of Alex Skolnick (Testament) on the guitar, David Ellefson (Megadeth) on bass, and Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater, Winery Dogs) on drums. All the material was original with the exception of the killer Dio cover at the end. Guests vocalist included Randy Blythe (Lamb of God), Phil Anselmo (ex-Pantera, Down), Chuck Billy (Testament), Matt Heafy (Trivium), Mark Osegueda (Death Angel), and more. This was the only metal album I ever heard where you got thrash, doom, progressive, and alternative metal in one. Definitely something every metal head should give a try.

 

BEST LIVE BAND: Fear Factory

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An award I give to the band I felt performed the best out of the concerts I attended this year. You can tell by the blurry quality of the picture that it was taken by me. Unfortunately, I was limited to concerts due to my last two semesters of school, but managed to see a few good ones. This was my first time seeing the industrial metallers. They were opening for Coal Chamber that day and played a full set. It was hands down one of the most intense shows I ever attended. You could feel the energy in the air while the band drove their sound down your throat. Sounds unpleasent, but if you love Fear Factory it was outstanding. They will one day take my money again.

Other Nominees: Arch Enemy, Devil You Know, Trivium, and Tremonti 


ROCK HEAVEN AWARD (TRIBUTE TO THE FALLEN): B.B. King, Scott Weiland,  and Lemmy Kilmister.

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B.B. King: The King of Blues had the world singing the blues when he left us on May 14th. The man did more than give a good name to blues, he inspired artists from many different genres. As a metal head, I am very thankful for Mr. King. Rock and metal would be no where without the blues. His music influenced artists such as the Rolling Stones and The Beatles. Those artists influenced others such as Black Sabbath and Judas Priest. You can see the pattern. B. B. was a good musician and soul. The guy died doing what he loved and gave us great tunes to pass down to future generations.

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Scott Weiland: I sometimes get asked about how I got into heavy metal. Before I was a headbanger, I grew up listening to 90’s hard rock. I loved Nirvana, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and other bands that came out of that time period. The Stone Temple Pilots was the first rock band I ever heard. Scott Weiland’s vocals was my introduction to rock ‘n roll. My first concert was STP in Akron, Ohio in 2008. A show I will never forget. I was determined to see them again. Sadly, it never happened. On December 3rd, I lost one of my favorite vocalists. After reading the news, it felt like part of my world had just vanished. I never knew Scott and I never met him. But I took his life and talents for granted. The realization he was gone hurt. Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver were monumental bands for my generation. Scott was one of a kind. His albums with The Wildabouts and Art of Anarchy helped make my year. The man was a rare talent but he also struggled with addiction most of his life. The battle is over, buddy. Rest in peace, and thank you.

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Lemmy Kilmister: A bomb was dropped on the metal world December 28th. An icon passed away a few days after his 70th birthday. Lemmy was a one of a kind person. There is a case to be made he was the first badass in music history. He loved what he did and he loved the fans more. I remember a fan telling me a story of a solo show he did in Cleveland, Ohio. The venue ceiling was falling apart and his loud bass was not helping. He was told to end his show abruptly for the safety of the crowd. The audience and the band didn’t feel like anyone’s life was in danger. Lemmy cussed out security and demanded they give everyone’s money back for ruining their show. No one does that. He wasn’t willing to take their money and run with it. Lemmy recognized what was important in his life and didn’t take anything for granted. The rock ‘n roll lifestyle may have been tough on his body near the end, but he lived with no regrets. Motorhead was a huge part of metal history. Even though the man says they were rock ‘n roll and not metal, I think we can agree it doesn’t matter. Lemmy created a monster that will be remembered till the end of time. Was he the best singer around? No, but he rocked! Was he the best looking dude of all time? No, but that didn’t stop the babes from sitting on his face. Yes, even the bass player gets laid. It is tough realizing he’s gone, but his former band members said it best. HAVE A DRINK! PLAY ROCK LOUD! ENJOY YOURSELF! Thanks for everything you crazy son of a bitch.

 

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: Motorhead

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I didn’t plan on giving this award this year but due to Lemmy’s death, Motorhead officially called it quits. It’s depressing seeing another legendary band fold, but what would we do without them?! Thanks for all the albums and memories. MOTORHEAD FOR LIFE!

 

TOP 10 MOST ANTICIPATED FOR 2016

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10. Tool: Love this band. I have them ranked in the top ten every year. But I’m getting a little impatient. No new album in about eight years. Now I will add that their lawsuit with an artist is officially over, and that played a hand in the delay. Pictures have surfaced of them in the studio, a new song was played during their Halloween show, and a tour is being put together as we speak. I mean if hell can freeze over enough for Slash to return to Guns N Roses, than a little bit more chill may result in a new Tool album.

9. Anthrax: The New York thrashers will release their follow up to Worship Music, February 26th. The band suffered only one lineup change since then but the new song sounds like old school Anthrax. Sounds like another potential masterpiece on it’s way.

8. Animals as Leaders: The band has not announced for sure they’ll release another album in 2016, but I’m going with my gut here and say you will see new material from the Atlanta metallers.

7. Testament: The thrash legends took their time with the new album. They originally aimed for early 2015, but decided not to rush it. New material has been compared to The Gathering. If that’s true, fans are in for a real treat.

6. Deftones: The band has admitted the album is done and mixed. It was originally supposed to be out in November, but was pushed back for early 2016. There are still rumors they may release the unfinished album, Eros, featuring late bassist, Chi Cheng. Either way, they can have my money.

5. Meshuggah: FINALLY! If all goes as planned we will have new Meshuggah album soon. Last few albums were some of their best work.

4. Alice in Chains: The Devil Put The Dinosaurs Here was an okay album. Not what I expected to follow Black Gives Way to Blue. But these guys always put their best efforts in the studio and I know they got a lot left in the tank. Always up for new Chains.

3. Gojira: They entered the studio with Pantera like riffs and claims they’re making the best album of all time. Sounds cocky but Gojira fans will tell you if anyone can do it, it’s them. To top it off, they’re re-releasing their first album. Good things coming from France in 2016.

2. Killswitch Engage: Ah, the band that got me into metal will drop their next album in March. The new song “Strength of the Mind” was released in November and made fans hungry for more. This will be the second album in Jesse Leach’s second stint with the band. In my opinon, he has done a hell of a job since Howard left. Look forward to more of his lyrics.

 1. Megadeth: Those that know me know I love Megadeth. After Broderick and Drover left, some fans felt that it was time to hang it up. They forgot that Dave Mustaine never gives up. Megadeth will release Dystopia on Janurary 22. Lamb of God’s Chris Alder filled in behind the set for only the album and some live performances. The band hired Kiko Loureiro from Angra as a permanent replacement for Broderick. Two songs have been released and the fans continue to rave about them. Some still have doubts that the lineup changes were a good idea. Let me remind them this isn’t the first time major changes have happened to Megadeth. Titles such as The System has Failed, United Abomination, and what was that one called ?. . . Oh yeah! Rust in Peace, were results of lineup changes. The world needs more Megadeth.

Another year in the books! Here’s to 2016! 🤘🏻