And now for the Metal.

I don’t want to trip anyone up here. The name of this blog is CliplessMetal. Yes, I ride with clipless pedals. And I have a tendency towards heavy metal. Ok, it’s all rock and roll, some of it’s just heavier. And I really like all kinds of music. But being a metal head, in my industry, in the area that I live in kind of puts me in my own little orbit. For those of you tuning in to hear about a bike ride, let me get that out of the way for you.

This past Saturday, our Social ride wasn’t as social as we hope it will be when we organize these things. Which is to say, that threatening weather kept most people away. Still, four of us showed up, and got in a good ride. Because of the impending weather, I didn’t carry a camera with me, so you don’t get any pictures this time. But we did ride, near as makes no difference, 7 miles according to my GPS  gadgetry. All that with an average speed of 6.6 mph and 850ish feet of climbing may not make it the fastest ride in history, but that’s not the point is it? And that impending weather? It rolled in about 20 minutes after we finished riding, and stuck around for 48 hours.

Now, about that metal thing. If you aren’t in the music industry, you may not have noticed, but new albums are released on Tuesdays. Today was one Tuesday I’ve waited rather anxiously for. See, back in 1997, this upstart band had the temerity to release a single (nay, a whole album!) that sounded like nothing before. Often imitated, but never duplicated, Sevendust secured a place in my personal music history by becoming one of only a handful of bands that I’d never heard of prior to hearing one of their songs on the radio, at which time I immediately proceeded to a record store….remember those? – and bought the album. The song was Black. Today, Sevendust released Black Out the Sun. Of course, if you have the ability to read this far, you can probably infer that I’ve already bought the album. I listened to it twice through between the store I had to drive to to buy it, and the time I got home. At which point, I imported into iTunes.

Now, I could probably make a whole post about my thoughts on music, formats, and listening apparatuses , but suffice to say I’m listening to the album a third time through as I type this, with the mode of transduction being a pair of Sennheiser HD650 head phones. For now, I’ll leave the comments regarding the head phones at this: They are very revealing of problems. As a result, I’m careful about being overly critical of problems I hear when I’m listening to lossy audio files, but when something sounds good, these things never lie.

Black Out the Sun is a monument of heavy, riff driven guitars and big drums. The melodious styling of the vocals are a testament of past works, verification that there’s really something to sing about. The songs on this album are like the faith of the band, painted on a sign, and posted for the world to see. It’s their hearts, worn on their sleeves, as they stand in the spotlight of the worlds stage. The guys have families now, they aren’t kids anymore, and their music is bearing out a more mature world perspective. It’s not just angst, rage, good times, and old friends, it’s a commentary, genuine insight. You don’t have to like it, but you should at least respect it.

When I write something like this up, most people want to know if I have a favorite song. People who know me asked of the last Sevendust album (Cold Day Memory) if there was another Black on that album. Has anything reached out to me, have I latched onto something that was musically, fundamentally life/perspective altering the way Black was. The short answer is ..maybe. The first single from the album is Decay. The video for that song is out today. You can, of course, watch it in the same place you can watch almost any music video you want…not MTV, but YouTube. Have a link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uy_9ql5c4go  The song is almost a perfect image of what a Sevendust song should be, if you want to look at it like that.

But that’s not the song that really has my attention. Til Death is a powerhouse of a song about being proud of your faith. It’s done in a very open way, regardless of what you believe, believe it strongly enough to be bold about it. It’s a fantastic statement. But that’s not the song that really scratched my ears either. Nope, the song that has me backing up at the end and listening again is Dark AM. I won’t bother to try to break the song down and tell you what I hear, but the guitars invite you to experience their pain, and you find it it’s an addictive sort of pain. The whole song opens up, rises and falls, then leaves you hanging, want more, like a drug. Yeah, it’s pretty good.

But look, the whole album is good. There’s not a song on the album I’m not willing to listen to in order to get to the next one. It’s not as big a deal as it used to be, but on vinyl and tape, skipping a song was almost more trouble than it was worth, and we listened to whole albums. With CD’s we skipped around to the songs we liked. With iTunes or whatever, we only buy the tracks we want! If you’re one of those people, don’t do it this time. Buy the whole bleeding thing, it’s that good.

And on that note, next week, more rides to post about, plus, I’m likely to be back in Bells Bend working on more trail out there before too long.