Ace Frehley – Space Invader (eOne Music, 2014)

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I’ve only talked about it a few times here on THKD, but those of you that know me personally and/or follow me on social media are no doubt aware of my unabashed love of all things KISS.  As such, I couldn’t help but be a little excited when I heard that my favorite original member, lead guitarist Ace Frehley, had signed a deal with eOne Music and a new solo album was on the horizon.  Frehley’s last effort, 2009’s Anomaly, was a solid slab of rock and the guitarist seemed poised to succeed where Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley had failed with the abysmal pair of recent faux-KISS records, Sonic Boom and Monster.  After all, Frehley’s 1978 solo record was the last great KISS album, and is quite frankly more enjoyable front-to-back than many of the full-band KISS albums from the quartet’s classic era.  Sure, 1978 was a long time ago, but considering the potential shown on Anomaly and the fact that Frehley was on-point when I saw him live a few years back, there was reason to be hopeful.

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THKD t-shirt sale updated list 8/3/14

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I still have a ton of good shirts left for sale. Most are like new and some have hardly ever been worn. All shirts are $8.00 each unless otherwise marked. Don’t like the prices? Make me an offer and we’ll work something out. I ship all packages with tracking numbers via well-packed flat rate USPS mailers. USA customers only, please.  If you’d like to see pictures of any of the shirts, please e-mail me and I will be happy to send them.

If interested, e-mail me at thatshowkidsdie@gmail.com.  Full list of shirts after the jump.

PRICES DO NOT INCLUDE SHIPPING – Unfortunately I was getting killed on shipping last time around, but I promise won’t charge you an arm and a leg.

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Ars Phoenix – Violent Rain (Etxe Records, 2014)

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I’ve long had a thing for the gothic/darkwave sound, and although I don’t seek it out as rabidly as I do metal, some great bands in this style have been coming my way of late.  Last year saw Ghost Noise releasing a promising debut album and the past few months have been all about Bad Psychic’s stunningly beautiful Soon.  Now we have Gainesville, FL trio Ars Phoenix gracing us with yet another must-hear take on the genre in the form of Violent Rain.

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The Metallica Letters: THKD vs. Last Rites – Load

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In 1996, Metallica unleashed Load, an album which saw the band drifting even further away from the complex thrash metal they’d made their name on in favor of stripped-down, southern-tinged hard rock.  They also toyed with their image, chopping off their once flowing locks and ditching black jeans and t-shirts for eyeliner and designer duds.  Before it was even released, the band made seismic waves with the Samuel Bayer-directed, Hieronymus Bosch-inspired music video for first single “Until it Sleeps,” which seemed to exist in another universe both musically and visually from anything they’d done previously.

I distinctly remember me and my buddy Jon going out to our local Best Buy to buy the album the day it came it out; we excitedly popped the CD into his car stereo and… we thought it was awesome.  You see, growing up smack dab in the Midwest with no access to a metal underground of any kind gave us a unique perspective; in spite of being familiar with Metallica’s back catalog we didn’t feel betrayed, rather we welcomed the band doing something different and not putting out The Black Album Part II.  Maybe we were naive, but I’d like to think we were open-minded.  At sixteen years old I wasn’t listening to albums with the critical ear I have now, and we had no concept of elitism or preconceived notions of what metal had to sound like in order to be “true.” The fact that we were raised on classic rock and loved alternative rock almost as much as we loved metal made it pretty easy to appreciate what Metallica were attempting, even if in retrospect their attempt was heavily flawed.

As recently as last year, I was still proclaiming my love for Load, stating that if any other band had released it, it would be hailed as a great hard rock album.  As it turns out, a more thorough critical analysis reveals that only about half the album is as strong as I’ve previously proclaimed it to be, the other half is a combination of filler and failed experiments that make a strong case for Load and its sister album ReLoad being whittled down to a single combined disk (that could be a whole other piece unto itself… hmm…).

In the second part of our Metallica Letters series of collaborative posts, Last Rites‘ Jordan Campbell and myself tackle the bloated, quintuple platinum-selling beast that somehow propelled Lars and Co. even further into the stadium rock stratosphere in spite of its inherent weirdness.  Check out our thoughts on Side A below and then head over to Last Rites for Side B.

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Beastmilk – Climax (Svart Records, 2013)

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There are few things that please me more right now than this resurgence we’re currently seeing in the gothic sounds of the 1980s within the realm of heavy music.  It appears that metal musicians have taken a shining to the the stuff of late, or maybe they’re getting bored with metal, or perhaps they always had it and are only now allowing themselves to cut loose and release the bats.  Whatever the case, Helsinki’s Beastmilk are absolutely killing it with their debut album, Climax.

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The Six-String Kiss of My Bloody Valentine

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I don’t need to tell you to listen to My Bloody Valentine.  I don’t need to tell you what an important band they are.  And yeah, I realize that MBV is the cliche token shoegaze band that metalheads like, and the band that metal writers automatically point to whenever a band exhibits a shoegaze influence (with Slowdive coming in a distant second on both counts).  I know I’m guilty of it.  But sometimes, when you discover one band that’s so fucking amazing and addictive, it’s hard to pull yourself away and explore the rest of what’s out there.
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Listen to: Ghost Noise

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A man cannot live by metal alone.  The problem is, I don’t keep up with other styles of music as obsessively and consistently as I do metal, so when I want something new to listen to that falls outside the genre, I’m often at a bit of a loss.  Not sure where to turn, I recently started trawling Bandcamp to see if I could find anything of note that didn’t involve screaming, Satan, loud guitars and the like.  Most of the bands I found were total duds, but after much intense searching I stumbled across the Los Angeles trio Ghost Noise, and suddenly all was right with the world.
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