Fort Rock / April 30, 2016 (Fort Myers, FL)

I was rather elated when the Fort Rock lineup was released for the fact that the majority of the bands I wanted to see were all playing on the same day given that this year’s event had been expanded to a two day festival. Tickets were soon acquired, travel and timing plans were made after the set times were released as this event was a little over two hours away from where I lived. The schedule was set so that there would not be more than a ten minute wait between bands and the five bands I wanted to see were playing one after another. In an all-day event like this each band is usually only allotted just under an hour to play, which I am fine with because then there is usually no filler of chat in between songs or drum and/or guitar solos, just five hours of straight up face melting metal from a few of my favorite bands. All of the bands on my radar had recently released new CDs, so given their shortened set times I knew we were in for a mix of a couple of new tunes as well as the fan favorites from each band. Continue reading “Fort Rock / April 30, 2016 (Fort Myers, FL)”

Iron Maiden – 2/24 (Sunrise, FL), 4/6 (Chicago, IL)

Back in early October of last year, having just spent the most metal week of my life aboard Motörhead’s Motörboat, catching up on the metal news that had transpired while we were away was the discovery that Iron Maiden had announced a tour, which was to open only a few hours from where I lived. All focus and discussion about the cruise was temporarily suspended while my cruise mates and I digested the news and planned for acquiring tickets to this metal event. Continue reading “Iron Maiden – 2/24 (Sunrise, FL), 4/6 (Chicago, IL)”

Amon Amarth / April 18, 2016 at The Ritz Ybor, Tampa, FL


This was going to be my third time seeing Swedish Viking metal legends Amon Amarth live and I knew from the two previous shows that the crowd that had gathered for the event this night was in for a treat of total metal brutality as well as a lesson in Viking mythology and history! For this show I opted for the VIP (or as the lanyard displayed, VIV, for Very Important Viking) package that included meeting the band and a very generous autographed memorabilia package that I thought was well worth the asking price.

Amon Amarth / April 18, 2016 at The Ritz Ybor, Tampa, FL


Knowing I was to meet the band and they are all hockey fans, I proudly wore my Amon Amarth hockey themed shirt and took the time I had while chatting with them to talk about their love of hockey, both in the European leagues as well about the current NHL playoffs with them telling me they try to catch what they can of the NHL West coast games, following their favorite countrymen after their sets when they are in the United States during hockey season. How cool is that – they were all very down to earth guys who certainly showed their appreciation for the fan support of everyone who purchased the VIP package and were genuinely enthusiastic about meeting their fans.


Amon Amarth / April 18, 2016 at The Ritz Ybor, Tampa, FL

The band Exmortus opened the show and wow did these guys kick ass! Some very high energy in-your-face extreme metal that surely had me noting to look these guys up after the show as I was not familiar with them at all going in. This band is definitely on my radar for the next time they come around to my area. Entombed A.D. was next up and took the heaviness to the next level with their aggressive death metal sound. Also hailing from Sweden, this is the new iteration of the band Entombed, and they mixed in both new and old tunes in their set. Both of the opening bands had the crowd pumped up and ready for the headliners.


The stage setup was an appropriate giant Viking helmet and Amon Amarth took the stage to a full house and dug right into their crushing hit ‘The Pursuit of Vikings’ which sent the crowd into an absolute frenzy of horns in the air, fists pumping, heads banging and of course a circle pit opened up in the middle of the crowd. Johan just looks like a fearsome Viking as he rears his head back and screams his appreciation of the crowd’s energy that is fueling the band to just crush this song and propel them into the next one.


Amon Amarth / April 18, 2016 at The Ritz Ybor, Tampa, FL


The band sounded amazing, the sound guys have them tuned in and dialed up just right and each member of the band literally fed off of their interaction with the crowd. They played a full 19 song set and the crowd never once stopped their energetic ways, enjoying every bone jarring song and expressing their appreciation for the gods of Viking metal. It was fascinating to watch and be part of the symbiotic relationship with both the band and the crowd feeding off of each other’s energy.

This band is simply freaking amazing to see live, they have such a stage presence and every song they played got a huge response from the crowd. This show was in support of their new release ‘Jomsviking’, which in and of itself is a fantastic CD, the tenth full length CD in their discography, where they just get better and better with each new release. For this show they played new and old material and certainly had great interaction with the crowd. If you’re not familiar with this band be sure to check out their tunes, and if you are a fan and have never seen them live, I urge you to make every effort to do so. \m/


Amon Amarth is:
Johan Hegg – vocals
Olavi Mikkonen – guitar
Ted Lundström – bass
Johan Söderberg – guitar
Jocke Wallgren – drums (touring member)


Rating: 9.5/10

Amon Amarth / April 18, 2016 at The Ritz Ybor, Tampa, FL / Website / Twitter / Facebook


Tool, with Primus and 3Teeth (1/28, Orlando, FL)

To say that I got lucky being able to purchase face value Tool tickets off of the Ticketmaster site the moment they went on sale is an understatement. When Tool played Orlando a couple of years ago I was not as lucky. They are a band that sells out their concerts literally within minutes of tickets going on sale and just like last time, as soon as this show sold out the third-party ticket resellers had tickets for hundreds of dollars more than what they were just minutes ago. After having attended over one hundred and fifty concerts in my life, this was going to be my first time seeing Tool. The venue was over two hours away and the show was on a work night but that was not going to stop me and my three compadres who were also in for their first ever Tool show.Tool1-640x420 Continue reading “Tool, with Primus and 3Teeth (1/28, Orlando, FL)”

Avatar / January 24, 2016 (Pinellas Park, FL)

After discovering the band Avatar from Göteborg, Sweden about six months ago, and thoroughly enjoying their catalog of music I had kept my eye out for when they had a show local to my area. My first taste of the band was the title track video for their most recent CD in 2014 “Hail the Apocalypse” and instantly I was drawn into not only the crushingly heavy and groovy music, but also their look and antics reminded me of dark and twisted vaudeville carnival characters. Although the likes of HELLYEAH and P.O.D. were headlining the seven band event, Avatar played third, which meant not that long of a set time, yet they were the band I went specifically to see. Promotional flyers for the show described Avatar as ‘terrifying Swedish death metal’, while the band’s own Facebook bio describes themselves as ‘A dark, twisted circus sideshow that’s built around bombastically grooving melodic death n’ roll and mesmerizing merriment’ This was a show I was not going to miss! Continue reading “Avatar / January 24, 2016 (Pinellas Park, FL)”

Official Truth, 101 Proof

Being a Pantera fan, Official Truth, 101 Proof was a book I was certain many of us metalheads were eager to read. To me, their songs are filled with so much power and energy with such precise raw aggression they are easily one of my all-time favorite heavy metal bands. Having been fortunate enough to have seen them live back in 1992 (more on that a little later), this was a book I certainly could not wait to get my hands on.Official Truth, 101 Proof


Official Truth, 101 Proof is the chronicle of Rex Brown’s life Continue reading “Official Truth, 101 Proof”

Product of Hate is “Buried in Violence”

Newcomers Product of Hate, with their debut release “Buried in Violence”, are the heavy and technically ferocious kick in the teeth the thrash metal world has been longing for. “When you see the album art, right away you know what to expect: dark, brutal, and unforgiving,” says vocalist Adam Gilley, who along with Cody Rathbone on guitar, Gene Rathbone playing lead guitar, Mark Campbell on bass and Mike McGuire behind the drum kit will make one hell of a mark with this release and establish themselves a foothold in the metal community.  Continue reading “Product of Hate is “Buried in Violence””

Primal Fear “Rulebreaker”

Having been a metalhead for over thirty years one genre I’ve never really gotten into was power metal. Not purposefully mind you – I had always steered toward the thrash and darker side of the metal family tree. After listening to this new Primal Fear CD Rulebreaker, I know for a fact I’ve been missing out on some great music all these years. The two opening songs on here literally melted my face off with some seriously killer ass-kicking metal!Primal Fear - Rulebreaker Continue reading “Primal Fear “Rulebreaker””

Dark Days: A Memoir (Randy Blythe)

David Randall “Randy” Blythe is the vocalist and lyricist of the metal band Lamb of God – from my previous readings of his blog and attending 3 Lamb of God concerts it’s hard to believe that this wild growling madman on stage is such an eloquent writer in his stories beyond just song lyrics. Randy writes this book telling of his arrest, incarceration, trial and ultimate acquittal when he was indicted on manslaughter charges related to the 2010 death of a fan who had attended a Lamb of God concert in the Czech Republic. Daniel Nosek, a 19-year-old fan, was pushed off of the stage and ultimately died from hitting his head on the venue’s floor. The authorities in the Czech Republic charged that Blythe had pushed him off the stage and was “morally responsible” for the Daniel’s death.Days Days: A Memoir Continue reading “Dark Days: A Memoir (Randy Blythe)”

PRONG – X – No Absolutes

This is a solid release from Prong – the opening track “Ultimate Authority” gets things going with that raw crunching guitar sound that we metalheads love and gets your head banging from the start. Every song on here will have your head nodding at some point. There is a change of musical pace from their traditional sound with “Do Nothing”, sort of ballad like, but does pick up as it goes along.X - No Absolutes “In Spite Of Hindrances” brings more of a thrash sound while “Worth Pursuing” and “Soul Sickness“ remind me of the Prong sound from years back. My favorite song on X – No Absolutes was “Belief System” with its heavy beat and positive lyrical message in an aggressive Hatebreed sort of way, yet still sounding like Prong. Continue reading “PRONG – X – No Absolutes”