(Disclaimer: None of the opinions here represent anyone else in The Grim Tower staff except for me. But even if they did, I’d have to get their consent first before stating as such. But hey, it’s just clay!)
This article is going to be a bit of a mixed bag of topics, so try to bare with me. Let us begin with the Loudwire Awards. It’s been four years since a televised heavy metal awards show has taken off the ground and Loudwire tried their luck with a show to combat the absolutely fucking clueless waste of musical space known as the Grammys. At first, I looked at it for a minute and thought, “Well, this looks like a dumpster fire.” I’d even mentioned the same to one of our writers, who actually replied with; “I hope it isn’t. We’ve had so many that have bombed in the past.” This wasn’t something I would have expected the writer to say, but it gave me hope for the show. At any rate, after covering eight albums I decided to give the show a view. It had actually ran far over it’s three-hour timeslot, mainly because of the unexpected Avenged Sevenfold concert at the end. They won for best metal album, by the way. But I’ll get to that in a bit.
The show started out rather well, with Maria Brink and Rob Halford standing next to each other. They performed a song from the new In This Moment disc, Ritual (which wasn’t a bad blues rock album) as well as another one that I can’t place. I have no idea what Brink is doing with the false English accent, but for some odd reason it’s worked in her favor. According to some information on her website, the woman seems to believe a great deal in the occult, particularly in Chaos Magick from what it would seem. It may very well be a personality shift when she goes into the stage character. But that would make perfect sense, as Marilyn Manson and Brian Warner are two completely different people. So whether or not she really believes in all the magick, I can’t say. In any case, it felt like a Metal Gaga performance, which is why we didn’t really need a Metallica feat. Lady Gaga record, James Hetfield.
After the opening, it was quite comical when Chris Jericho’s mic didn’t work after he’d criticized the Grammy’s for their performance issues. I even noticed that Halford’s mic went out once during the first performance. I think it’s these damn wireless mics to be honest. They’re either not making them how they used to, or they’ve always been crappy. I’m not sure which.
After a few jokes and some award nominations, Body Count came out. I was really surprised to see that the band didn’t only do their single, “No Lives Matter” but my personal favorite cut from the disc, “Civil War.” While “No Lives Matter” was impactful, “Civil War” was extremely heavy for me, especially during my first listen. You may not know this, but I live on the outskirts of town and work in the hood. I have to say it’s the hood, because it is the hood. If shit pops off, it’s exactly as he says in that song. And yes, shit could pop off at any time down here depending on what sorts of racial violence becomes initiated. I’m a bit of sore thumb here and very few people listen to rock music, let alone metal. I like the fact that people haven’t profiled me as something horrible because of my music tastes (which they hear on a daily basis as I listen to metal and rock from my cell while I unload trucks, work freight and hang clothes) and some of the culture around rock music that can come off prejudiced. At the same time, I don’t treat them any different for their musical tastes, because that is silly. Still, if anything happens around my music or my scene that might upset this unique culture that I’ve found myself in, I would be getting the blame for it. I’ve even heard the term “white boy music” used when discussing my taste in music, even though people from all walks of life perform it. It’s just a stereotype that will have to break down over time and definitely seems to embody Ice-T’s lyrics regarding racism and stereotyping of cultures. As I’ve said before, his lyrics are some of the realest shit out there right now. But to be honest, the man who wrote “Freedom Of Speech” and “Evil Dick” has always had some very real lyrics. Body Count tell it like it is, and they didn’t pull punches with that performance. What’s more, is that Dave Mustaine came out for the mega solo on “Civil War.” That’s the only time I saw him during the whole show.
A couple more awards were announced and then this odd kind of proggy/core/alt-rock whatever it is group called Nothing More came out. The frontman came on without a shirt or shoes, so he wouldn’t be allowed in most retail stores and he’d also looked like he’d had steroids for breakfast. The guy just kind of looked odd, like the young man who grew up reading comics, was bullied one day and actually decided to try the Charles Atlas workouts that you could send for. Or he decided to check out those weird supplements advertised at the bottom of various websites. Despite his glassy tone, I couldn’t really tell what kind of music Nothing More made. It was a little all over the place and during a live performance of their single, he seemed to get really into it. Then some weird machine came in and he jumped on it to make some kind of dubstep noises to which the band played in tandem. It was a bizarre machine, like something out of a science fiction film. They also played a tribute to Chris Cornell with the frontman from Of Mice and Men in the form of “Show Me How To Live.” While the Nothing More frontman hit it off rather well, I was a bit disappointed by the frontman for Of Mice and Men. Just a rather slipshod performance. Did he even rehearse it?
A couple more awards came out, this time honoring Tony Iommi, who was more than greatful in his humble British nature. The awards were literally made from casts of his hand. Apparently, most consider Iommi to be the father of the heavy metal riff, of course the debates for that are almost endless and I’m not going there. Rob Halford also won an award, to which he thanked Lemmy for whom the award was named after.
I think Starset came on next, which seem to have all the elements of a near-perfect Linkin Park replacement. I didn’t say that they were Linkin Park, but that they seem to have the formula for that breed of hard rock down, combined with synths, violins and space-suits in a very cool manner. It was impressive at how well the frontman nailed lines that Chester Bennington would hit back in the Hybrid Theory and Meteora days.
Speaking Of Chester Bennington, he was given the best vocalist award which accompanied a speech by the almost unrecognizable Lzzy Hale. Hale advised fans to stop ranting on Facebook (which is why I’ve done it here on my own website, hehe) and to stop all the hate and vitriol in cyber bullying and negative comments. But she doesn’t know the internet very well and how some people absolutely live just to upset others. It’s like a hobby for them. Yes, some people really do get up in the morning and while sipping coffee or an energy drink of sorts, spew all sorts of terrible comments until it’s time for them to rest.
Although I still believe there was more to Bennington and Cornell’s deaths than what we’ve been told. At first, I had my own theory about the new Linkin Park record being so terrible that the label forced Bennington into a sort of pseudo death so that he and his family could move off to Uruguay or something; but that’s when I noticed a little EP that was done between him and Chris Cornell right before the deaths occurred. Some commenters were stating that both artists said they were going to work to expose child sex rings, though I have no proof of any of this. Though I will say, if this was true, (and while I do not believe in something as silly as “pizzagate” I do believe that these sex rings exist and you’d be a fool not to – especially the ones in China) then it doesn’t seem all too unlikely that one individual would go down and then the other. All the legalities and medical stuff can be faked if the person in charge of this deal has enough power and authority to authorize a change of sorts. But this is why we don’t poke our noses into the affairs of people with much more money, power and influence than the rest of us. Money is power, power is influence.
Even so, as there isn’t any proof to this despite the great detective caper that it might be; the result of these circumstances affected the show a great deal. Surprisingly, while Soundgarden and Motorhead covers were performed, none of the bands performed any Linkin Park covers. I found that a bit odd and rather puzzling.
Moving on, we had a humanitarian award given to Sammy Hagar, who I wasn’t even aware was a huge influence in metal music. He played in some band called Montrose of whom I’ve never heard and then in Van Halen before moving onto Chickenfoot. I’ve yet to really dig through those early Van Halen discs, so I can’t confer his greatness. But I can say that he’s doing what the rich and powerful should do, which is donating a lot of money to charity. About 3.2 million dollars worth for everything from autism to cancer research to food banks and then some. He apparently had a discussion with James Hetfield about it, to which Hetfield replied “he didn’t really know much about money” (in regards to business) so someone else in the band must have brought Metallica to great financial success. That kind of made me chuckle a bit.
Halestorm performed next, offering up a Soundgarden cover (No, it wasn’t “Black Hole Sun” thank goodness, let’s not tarnish the man’s memory like that) before bringing in Lita Ford and the other “women of heavy metal” (I mentioned that in quotes as it’s not even a quarter of all the great rocking females in this industry) for a cover of The Runaways‘ “Cherry Bomb.”
It wasn’t much later until many of the musicians began to get plastered and forgot they had to hop on stage. One of these was a member of Royal Thunder. I believe she was the frontwoman. Well, either she was really drunk or completely gone on some kind of substance because she acted as if she was lost in Oz. There was a section where she lowered herself down behind one of the speakers and I literally thought, “Oh, shit. This is it. She’s gonna tumble. There’s no way in hell she’s going to be stable. They’re going to poke at this for years. The show is gonna be ruined, and it started off so great!” But luckily, she managed to regain her footing and walked off the stage.
In other drunken shenanigans, Steven Adler of Guns N’ Roses came out completely fucking wasted. There’s absolutely no sugarcoating this. It was a sight to remember and even Chris Jericho poked fun about it afterwards. He made a great joke about sandwiches in the desert though, I thought it was a real zinger. Comedian Brian Posehn was there, so I’m curious as to what he would have thought of Adler’s joke. I think it was a bit before that, where the drummer of Aerosmith seemed to have a bit of a senior moment. First, he didn’t know the award was on the ground. Secondly, he called the artist’s name out wrong (it was Mario Duplantier of Gojira for best drummer) and thirdly, he said that he’d be shipping it out to Canada, even though the crowd shouted “France!” which Jericho later corrected. “I think he lives in France!”
Stonesour won most of the awards in the hard rock category. They kept getting back on stage. Was Hydrograd really that fucking grand? I thought it was solid, but not masturbation material. BabyMetal actually took home the award for best fans, which involved a video of Suzuka trying her best to not butcher the English language in her speech. I yelled out, “Fucking weebs!” even though you can see clearly that we do dig the band here at The Grim Tower, regardless of the fact that Yui and Yousei Teikoku really deserve the credit, as BabyMetal would be nothing without them starting the whole Idol/metal/heavy rock thing. I Prevail won an award for best rock song I believe it was, for which they gave us a live concert video that was edited and felt like Nu-Metal mixed with core. The song was a “Come on and try to beat my ass” sort of deal, with a wrestling ring behind it.
There was a scene where “Guitarist Of The Year” recipient Zakk Wylde challenged wrestler The Miz to a bout of WWE 2018, where the designers made a horribly modeled (even Jericho pointed out that the hair looked like Medusa) version of his likeness exclusively for the match. He won it in about two minutes, so it was a bit pointless.
Power Trip came on as well, performing good thrash that I’d consider close to Rigor Mortis or Warbeast. Their second track involved Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed for a rendition of Motorhead’s “We Are The Road Crew.” Anthrax came out later with “Caught In A Mosh” and then an unexpected note for note cover of “Carry On My Wayward Son.” Yes, a Kansas cover. Let’s see, GWAR has done it, Anthrax has done it, I’m starting to wonder if Kansas has any other songs for metal to cover. In any case, the problem with many of the covers is that several of them were note for note and didn’t offer anything original. The Kansas cover was the stick that broke the camel’s back for me, as I didn’t expect Anthrax to cover the prog classic without even so much an ounce of thrash. Yes, you heard me. It’s Anthrax gone straight prog.
So after Stonesour got tired of walking onto the stage to accept another award, we had the metal album of the year which went to Avenged Sevenfold. They were the headliner too. Let me say something about these guys and I’ll be frank – I used to hate them, but now I really dig them. Why? Well, I sat and listened to the performances of “The Stage” and “Nightmare” (the band actually ended up doing a full concert but my DVR ended in the middle of the third track, no one expected the show to pull off a full Avenged Sevenfold set at the end. This was the band’s decision as well, which they announced after the second song) and found that everything from the guitar playing to the drum work was actually pretty stellar. I’ve never been the biggest fan of M. Shadows vocals, but I will say that they put on one hell of a live show with real attention to detail in the guitarwork. I was a bit surprised. They’re essentially the big band of the era right now, but they actually deserve that spot. Plus the kids seem to really dig them in the mainstream.
Now here’s where things get a little different. In groups, I’ve noticed that a lot of these kids (and yes, I’ll call them kids – I’ve looked at their profiles and some of them haven’t even left high school yet) in the metal scene have a very bold distaste for classic metal. They seem to hate Slayer, Iron Maiden, Pantera, Judas Priest and others, but Black Sabbath will usually begin fights as there still seems to be some interest in that act in particular. Maybe because they started the whole thing according to these “metal historians.” These kids grew up with the internet, so they’ll school you on history if you’ve gotten it wrong. I’ve gotten into a few debates about it with some that actually managed to prove me wrong with simple facts. Mainly that punk didn’t inspire industrial and that they were more or less around at the same time to inspire each other back in the seventies. He claimed that the precursor to Throbbing Gristle started industrial and noise music, rather than Japan as I had previously read. But the kid grew up with the internet and Google. I grew up with Encyclopedias and metal magazines. It’s a different age and these kids have more knowledge. They like what they like, and what they like seems to be a lot of extreme stuff, some really get into tech-death and black metal. What they don’t seem to care for is power and heavy metal, as well as Nu-Metal. These genres are nearly dad rock for them, which we old heads are pretty much (at least I am) old enough to be a father so I guess the fucking title sticks. Though in the same regards, I didn’t care much for the music of my parents until I got older. I wanted angst-ridden stuff, and now I’ve seen that the creators of that angst-ridden stuff are now getting fat and old. I could not believe what Joey Jordison looked like at the awards. It looks like he read a manual on how to look like Vinnie Paul. Seriously, it was a geriatric convention up there. I kept commenting on how old everyone was getting, they were damn near unrecognizeable. Joey Belladonna looked like he’d been exhumed, and even one of the guys from The Red Hot Chili Peppers was looking much different than I recall back in the nineties. I had a “fuck, we’re all getting old moment” and then noticed all these ladies with these upside down crescent moons on their foreheads.
I know that witch culture is in, for some unknown reason – but as a magician, I just don’t know what to think. Alan Moore wouldn’t care and Grant Morrison apparently only sees dollar signs these days, so I just throw up my hands and sigh. Next, I’ll bet that Cammie Gilbert of Oceans Of Slumber will don a large crescent moon over her head too. It seems to be the new trend among female rockers in this generation.
Jill Janus of course, had the largest of these and said something that I really hope doesn’t get plastered all over metal media. Okay, we already have the Decapitated rape case. We also have the rape incident with Twiggy Remirez. Miss Janus jumps on the stage to announce that she “likes to get hot metal guys really drunk and have her way with them.” Fuck. I mean, what else can I say? It doesn’t bode well for us when we already have musicians in this scene facing rape charges and another musician says something as she did, even if it was the alcohol talking. In any case, it’s apparent that our legends are getting old and the music is still “thriving” in some regards. We really needed this show to happen, to be honest. To show that rock music still exists. Though it also shows that we have a rather unpredictable scene and perhaps some people should not get on stage after they’ve had a few too many to drink or got really high right before their presentation.
At least Wendy Dio and Dime’s widow got onstage to give us a heartfelt moment regarding all those we’ve lost. I didn’t even know one of the guys in Kraanium passed. Tower and New Noise Magazine website readers will know that I never really got into the band, but I didn’t expect any of these guys to cash in their chips so soon. But then again, no one ever does.
Obviously, I’ve touched on a myriad of topics here and have mixed opinions about this broadcast. Do I think it needs to happen again, but on a broader scale? Yes. Does it need heavier bands? Yes. While Behemoth and Amon Amarth were nominated (as well as Pallbearer, so that’s great for Arkansas metal!) we didn’t hear anyone heavier than Power Trip as far as extremities go. This is unfortunate, but perhaps it will be remedied next year.I do hope that AXS televises it again, because I try my best to watch these whenever they appear. The last one I saw was the second or third annual Golden Gods and that was a while back, so it’s good to see that AXS decided to give a heavy music awards show like this another chance. Not everyone can stream these things, you know.
– The Grim Lord