Chris Cornell died a few days ago. Seems it was a suicide potentially induced by antidepressants. That sucks because he had a good voice and seemed to still have plenty good years in him. Same sad set of circumstances hit when other legendary artists were seemingly taken too soon. While I was never much of a Soundgarden or Audioslave fan, I felt like I lost a brother when Dimebag Darrell from Pantera died. Pantera has been one of my favorite bands for as long as I can remember and when Dime died it was like losing an old friend. With his death (and Cornell, Weiland, Staley, Prince, Dio, Bowie, Cohen, Cobain, etc…) I had to face the harsh reality that I’d never get to hear new music from him again. As saddening of a realization as that can be, I still find ways to move on and still have plenty shows to go to. Below is my personal list of upcoming shows (and some of recent past, and others I’d like to eventually see) to shed a little positive outlook on this sad state of musical events we seem to be living in right now.
1. Rammstein- if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it 100 times, these boys from Berlin are one of my favorite bands and I’m not ashamed to put them right up there with Metallica and Iron Maiden as one of the best shows you can still get to. I’ve heard from actual Germans that in Germany, Rammstein is the equivalent to Nickelback in the States. You know what, I’m totally cool with that. I’m not some music elitist snob that’s too cool or prestigious to like some Nickelback-ish band. Especially when they’re as heavy as Rammstein! Rammstein continues to tour and has a back catalogue over six albums deep to keep you busy if you’re bold enough to try to tackle the German language. If you like heavy industrial beats and lots of comical lyrics (once you translate them of course), Rammstein will do it for you.
2. KMFDM- Sticking with German bands and industrial music, KMFDM have been doing it since 1984 and are still touring and making new music. There are two era’s to KMFDM. One that goes to the mid 90’s and one that picks back up in about 2002. The sound is a little different from the older vs. newer stuff, but it is all good. Lyrics (like Rammstein) are usually pretty funny and satirical, but most are in English (who says Germans don’t have a sense of humor). They’re total anarchists though, but that’s okay. Deep down inside, most of us probably are too. You can get lost in their back catalogue that stretches over 20 albums, but if you’re looking for heavier industrial sounds, go with Nihil or Angst. For more of the electronic/ techno stuff go with Symbols. For ‘new era’ heavy check out WWIII or Kunst. Truthfully though, it’s all good. Touring this fall.
3 & 4. Metallica & Iron Maiden- These guys need no introduction or explanation. Just legends still going out there melting faces off with their shows. Last year both bands recorded new albums too. Both were double albums and both were pretty solid records. If you’re looking for nostalgia look no farther than these guys. Both on tour now.
5. Kitty in a Casket- If it’s a good voice you want (thinking about Cornell), KIAC is as good as you’ll hear. Singer Kitty Casket has an incredible voice. Truthfully, one of the best I’ve heard. Why people like Adele and Lady Gaga get to sellout arenas and KIAC is playing smaller venues is beyond me. Not taking away from the superstars, but Kitty Casket’s voice is that good. I’m glad they’re playing the smaller venues though because I got to meet these cats last year after a show and the whole band was some of the nicest, most humble, down to earth folks I’ve come across. Even the merchandise girl was easy going and a pleasure to visit with. They’re all from Austria and Poland I believe, so it must be a European hospitality. Their music is a very Misfits/ Koffin Kats inspired sound, but with this incredible female vocalist at the helm. Definitely a show you wouldn’t want to miss. They’re playing around Europe now and finalizing a new album so be on the lookout for that!
6, 7, & 8. Sleep, Electric Wizard, & Acid Coma- These three bands cover the super heavy, doomy music I love so much. I just saw Sleep live last month and I swear, I still have a ringing in my ear. One of the best shows, and definitely the loudest one I’ve ever seen. They’re doing sporadic shows around America now. Electric Wizard falls in the same genre, but is doing shows in Europe later this year. Same doomy/ stoner rock you get with Sleep, but darker lyrical content and available across the Pond. Acid Coma is a female fronted powerhouse of a doom band from Russia that borders on the realm of black metal. Think a slower, heavier version of Goatwhore. Her bandcamp page has a new song recorded this year, but I’m haven’t seen shows announced. In regard to back catalogue Sleep and Electric Wizard certainly have enough to keep you busy for a while. Acid Coma has three albums listed on bandcamp that are definitely worth checking out.
Well, there you have it folks. In spite of losing yet another iconic musician that everyone labels as ‘gone too soon’, there are still plenty of great bands out there to get lost in. Honorable mentions that I know are either recording or touring right now that I’m excited to hear from are: Oceans of Slumber (recording, doom/ melodic female fronted metal band from Texas), Creepshow (touring Europe & recording, female fronted psychobilly/ punk band from Canada with a KIAC type sound, but still original), PIG or Raymond Watts (touring, 90’s era heavy industrial music in the same vein as KMFDM, Ministry, or Skinny Puppy).
It’s always sad when an icon dies. What’s even sadder is letting that rob you of the realization that even though that person might not be here anymore, there are still so many great artists pouring their heart and soul into making good music for all of us. Listen to the old records. Never stop doing that. Just don’t get so hung up in nostalgia that you can’t see all the great opportunities still right in front of you.