GOODBYE TO ROMANCE; GOODBYE TO PHYSICAL MEDIA: M'S, PART ONE

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* - Asterisk means I already had a good mp3 copy of this album, but threw up a few words anyway in the name of having an internet-based chronicle of all my legally-purchased, store-bought music

times - Beavis Having Rad Times means that this CD's purchase was directly or indirectly influenced by the Beavis & Butthead television show

M

Mama Cass - Mama's Big Ones (1973, MCA) - Whenever I hear the name Cass Elliot, I remember one of the most fucked up things I ever saw in a children's cartoon. Like back in the day, one of the various versions of the Scooby Doo cartoon would always have a celebrity guest show up, voiced by the actual person involved. (Except I do remember one instance of a Bruce Jenner clone named "Juice Brenner" showing up) And usually they're always shown to both the coolest and the best, but when Mama Cass was on there, they just had her hanging out with Shaggy and Scooby, while the three semi-competent members of the team solved the mystery, and she was eating the entire time. Like Shaggy is an exaggerated caricature of a hungry stoner and as a talking dog, Scooby might literally be some sort of lesser god, but she was right there with them, eating dog biscuits and taking out submarine sammiches in a single bite. I think what I'm trying to get at here is that the world is cruel and terrible, and people will make jokes about us after we die.

*Manowar - Kings of Metal (1988, Atlantic) - When I was but a wee lad, I did not like Manowar. They were some idiot shit; these greased up dudes with mullets gallivanting around with loin cloths and fuzzy boots. Ridiculous, just ridiculous. But over the course of decades, somehow, my Grinch heart grew three sizes, and now, I can appreciate these dudes and their love of METAL AND POWER AND STEEL, HAIL AND KILL, WIMPS AND POSERS LEAVE THE HALL, OTHER BANDS PLAY, BUT MANOWAR KILLS, AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGHHHHHHH

Manowar - Warriors of the World (2002, Nuclear Blast) - My wife got this out the Hastings bargain bin when they were doing this "Metal Club" thing, where they threw a bunch of Nuclear Blast/Roadrunner/Century Media/Relapse/etc. stuff on a shelf for $3.99 and if you bought $20 worth, you got a t-shirt. (R.I.P., that t-shirt) And one thing I've noticed about Manowar is that as time goes on, and they get older and less chiseled, and as they drop down from playing basketball arenas to playing clubs, they haven't sacrificed their aesthetic. When they couldn't dress like Conana anymore, they just started dressing like Rob Halford, and they're still using the same quality of "not Frank Frazetta or Boris Vallejo, but close" cover art. No t-shirts/jeans and computer-generated crap here, you guys. That's quality.

Manowar - The Dawn of Battle single (2002, Nuclear Blast) - Whooooa, the Cd is shaped like a guitar pick, I think. Or maybe just a rounded triangle, which would still be neat? Wait, it's longer on one side, so it's a pick. Anyway, this has a song from Warriors of the World, plus two new ones, and it's weird, because "Dawn of Battle" probably would've been the best song on there, so why not just put it on the album in the first place? I dunno. SHAPES!

Master (Мастер) - Talk of the Devil (1991, Moroz Record'$) - This is another bargain bin used rack purchase, but with the pre-internet ritual purity of going in blind, basing everything on the crazy airbrushed album cover. Anyway, Master (aka Мастер) is (was?) a Russian thrash metal band, and they play real fast, and while they're not astoundingly good or anything, they're probably better than a lot of the American or German third/fourth-tier thrash bands that you name drop on Reddit or whatever for street cred, ya freakin' poser. Also, everything I've found lists this as having been released in either 91 or 92, but holy shit, this looks like something that couldn't have come out later than 87 or so, making it even better.

Mastodon - Remission (2002, Relapse) - Oh man, the multiple-CD gauntlets for the letter M are vast in their enormity, so I'm gonna put them on separate pages, so this is the closest thing to one here, and it's a pretty impressive one, given how short Mastodon's run on top ended up being. (spoilers?) Anyway, after I moved to Oklahoma and gained access to MTV2, (they didn't have that in Mississippi) this was all over the shitty new version of Headbanger's Ball. (Man, the Hatebreed dude is just a black hole of charisma, like they could replace him with a mannequin and have someone talk in his voice from behind a curtain, and there'd be no difference. The original version didn't do much better though, and Ricky Rachtman was such a little shit-weasel that bands would make fun of him to his face) And I wasn't all-in on Mastodon immediately, because they were still pretty death metal-ish, but there was something there that made me go "oh man, these guys might be amazing someday" and I immediately illegally downloaded this (I was making $6.20 an hour, come on) and played "March of the Fire Ants" on an endless loop for about a year. After having to abandon my 280Z and its factory 8-track player for a Sentra with a non-working cassette tape player, I dubbed this album to cassette so I could listen to it on a shitty little $20 boombox on the passenger's seat. Now I'm mad, because such a tape player would be like $75 now.

Mastodon - Leviathan (CD/DVD - 2004, Relapse) - This is where they did it man, they put it all together and became the best god dang band in the whole god dang world. Once I got a working Cd player in the ol' Sentra (RIP, that car) this never left, along with the Blood for Blood CD that I bought while I was at Best Buy getting it installed. (They were supposed to throw in a free set of cheap speakers with the installation, but didn't, and normally I wouldn't care, because the ones they offered sucked, but the ones in the car literally had holes in them) But 2004 was an utter dogshit year, where my car died and one of my kittens died and the Bears signed Jeff George and won like five games and my roommate stopped paying rent and pooped up the bathroom and at one point I had lost 20 pounds due to not having money for food, but goddammit, at least I had Leviathan. Or at least an illegally downloaded copy, which I replaced with the real thing once I had a pot to piss in. HELP COMPUTA, STOP ALL DA DOWNLOADIN

Mastodon - Blood Mountain (CD/DVD - 2006, Relapse) - OHHHHH SHIIIIITTTT. Leviathan was the sort of record that usual kind of signals at least the end of a band's peak period, like people probably had to know Metallica didn't have another Master of Puppets in them. But they did it again, man. Leviathan was amazing, and this was so much better than Leviathan in every way, god damn, it is ridiculous. This is one of my all-time favorite things anyone's ever done, just amazing from start to finish, and I'm running out of superlatives to use here, but trust me, I would apply all of them to this. The "we're here to take you on a magical journey through time and space and occasionally Herman Melville" prog rock concept album version of Mastodon was the best, you guys.

Mastodon - Call of the Mastodon (2006, Relapse) - This Cd is weird, because I've really never been able to get a straight answer as to what it is, exactly. Some people say it's a collection of old demos, some say it's the 2000 Nine Song Demo with newly-recorded Troy Sanders vocals to replace the old Eric Saner ones, and others say it's the "Slick Leg" single, plus the Lifesblood EP, with all the samples before the tracks removed. Either way, it's a stuff from back when Mastodon was in more of a "BRAAAUUURRGGH" mode, as opposed to taking you on a magical journey. Thing is, I think I like this better than Remission, meaning they actually took a step backwards after their original demo/EP days. Maybe that's why it was called Remission? Holy crap.

Mastodon - Crack the Skye (2009, Reprise - special fancy Tunnel Box CD/DVD version) - So after Blood Mountain, I was understandably pretty excited for a new Mastodon record, but my enthusiasm was tempered somewhat. They kept releasing these albums they couldn't possibly top, so the streak had to end somewhere, right? Not to mention that they were on a major label, using Pearl Jam's producer, and slowly sliding away from anything resembling what was on Remission, and there was a really big "Metallica using Motley Crue's producer" vibe that filled me with a silent dread. Still, I was reasonably confident that it at least wouldn't suck, and I had a decent bit of uncommitted cash handy at the time, so I went ahead and pre-ordered the fancy $40 version, with a DVD and a lithograph and a fancy box and probably other stuff. And then, one day while I was home for lunch, it arrived. (still lived close enough to work to come home back then) And you guys, HOLY SHIT THIS IS THE GREATEST GODDAMN THING EVER AND I AM ASTOUNDED, JESUS CHRIST, I AM DAVE MELTZER AND I AM GIVING THIS A SEVEN-STAR RATING ON A FIVE-STAR SCALE, HOLY SHIT, YOU GUYS, WHAT THE HELL, IT IS PERFECT AND AMAZING FOREVER AND EVER OH MY GOD. Seriously.

Mastodon - The Hunter (2011, Reprise) - This sucked real, real bad.

MD.45 - The Craving (1996, Capitol) - This was a weird super team-up kind of thing where Dave Mustaine from Megadeth teamed up with Lee Ving from Fear to release an album of terrible, terrible garbage that I'm pretty sure Capitol records actively tried to hide from the public, because I was still all about some Megadeth at that point, and I literally didn't know about this until maybe 2000. Years later, Megadave reissued this as part of the Megadeth remixed/remastered stuff that was getting put out around that time, but he tossed the Ving vocals for new tracks with himself singing, and it made it so much worse, which is probably an achievement of some sort.


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CLICK HERE FOR THE MEGADETH GAUNTLET

*Mercyful Fate - Mellissa (1983, Megaforce) - This is a lot like my youthful Manowar experiences, where back in my teenage years, I just did not like Mercyful Fate or anything King Diamond-related at all, but figured it out once I was shitty and old. Anyway, those crazy falsetto squeaks that turned me off in 1996 are awesome to me now, I have fully embraced the glory and power of The Dark Lord Satan, and I am able to recognize this as one of the best god dang albums ever, and that I wasted a lot of time doing things other than listening to Mercyful Fate.

Metal Church - Metal Church (1985, Elektra) - This is a really weird one for me, because on one hand, I don't like it very much, but on the other, I like what it represents.  Between the music and the cover, with the moldy old guitar in some sort of spooky cemetery setting, this just gives me a good feeling. Like it takes me back to a time I was just barely too young to fully experience, when everything was heavy metal tapes and slasher movies, and most of it was shitty, but at the same time, also good in its own way. Like the sort of feeling that makes me want to listen to that Master CD, even though deep down, I know the songs aren't very good. I dunno if any of this makes sense to you people, but it does to me. Let's all watch Jason movies and hide behind bushes and throw shit at passing cars.

<<<METALLICA GAUNTLET TO BE COMPLETED AT A LATER DATE>>>

The Migraines - Shut Up (1995, Onefoot Records) - This was probably one of the biggest bands of worldly renown that ever played one of our little alley punk shows back home, possibly just behind Pezz and maybe Pain, who I think did a theme song for some Cartoon Network show at some point. (Against Me! did at least one after I moved away though, I think) Anyway, one of the first things I noticed when they took the stage was that the singer looked an awful lot like a younger, slimmer version of ECW-era Paul Heyman, and it was really weird, because he ended up sounding quite a bit like him, too. So this is like a metal-influenced pop punk band with Paul E. Dangerously singing, and I can't decide if this is better than it sounds, or if that sounds awesome, and this is just as good as it sounds.

The Migraines - Juvenilia (1998, Onefoot) - This is along the same lines as the other Cd, except maybe a little cleaner-sounding production-wise, and probably better overall, and I seem to remember "Ritalin Boy" being a song I used to put on mixed tapes a lot. But opening this up and looking at the booklet, oh man, this is back from a more innocent time, when the average band couldn't afford an official dot-com domain name for their web page and still used a juno.com email address. Were we ever so young? The internet was so much better actually good before people learned how to make money off of it.

Minor Threat - Complete Discography (1988, Dischord Records) - Back in the day, upon the decision to try and get into the punk rock, it seemed like everyone in the little local scene was required by law to go out and find this CD immediately. And this thing was pretty much the soundtrack to my life for most of my senior year of high school. I guess a lot of it was because this was one of the first times I ever listened to something that could directly speak to me. Sepultura was cool, but I was probably never going to be in a situation where I'd commit war for territory or arise under a pale gray sky, but I probably would end up feeling alienated by being the only one who didn't want to get drunk at some point. I feel like a dork for saying this, but while there are a whole lot of CDs covered here that I like better than this one, very few are more special to me on a personal level.

Mitch Hedberg - Strategic Grill Locations (1999, self-released - Mine is the 2003 Comedy Central version) - Mitch Hedberg was the best, and my illegally-downloaded copy of this was the background noise for a lot of times in 2002/2003 when all my roommates would be stoned and hungry, and my broke ass would be working hard to convince them that I did indeed pay for the pizzas and/or subs last time. Someday, I need to find an old original copy of this, because apparently, the 2003 versions that's actually in stores has a few jokes edited out, and the change from a silly drawing on the cover to something that looks like an alternative record from 1994 never sat right with me.

Mitch Hedberg - Mitch All Together CD/DVD (2003, Comedy Central) - This one's a little bit different from the first album, where he's either a lot less high or maybe high on some sort of uppers, because he's talking a lot faster and sounds a lot less like he's going to fall asleep at some point during the show. The real highlight though, is the DVD, that has all of his Comedy Central TV appearances up to that point, including an unedited version of his special, that is insanely different from the broadcast version. In the regular TV version, he's telling jokes and the audience is laughing at them, much like what's expected from a stand-up comedian. But the raw version is crazy, because it's about twice as long, and for the first half, the crowd has no idea what the hell is happening, and they're just sort of sitting there in uncomfortable silence or polite applause. But as the thing keeps going, they start to actually get Mitch, and he goes from dying to killing all of a sudden. Bad choice of words, probably.

Mitch Hedberg - Do You Believe in Gosh? (2008, Comedy Central) - This is pulled together from some shows recorded a few months before Mitch died, and probably has a lot of what would have ended up on a third album. It's cool because some of this was material that he had used at a free show I was at that he did in 2004 (with Zach Galifinackis, who no one seemed to care about at the time) on the O.U. campus. Now, I really want to know if someone made a bootleg tape of that show, because it was amazing and roughly 80% of the show was him just abandoning his pre-written material to talk about the ridiculousness of the current situation. ("Wait, they have me doing a show next to a bus stop?") Then again, a lot of it was idiots in the crowd who don't understand standup comedy screaming for the hits from the CD, followed by him angrily reciting the "missing Dufrenes" bit at about ten times the normal speed, just to get the assholes to shut up. We can't have nice things, and sometimes, we don't deserve them, either.

M.O.D. (Method of Destruction) - U.S.A. for M.O.D. (1987, Caroline) - This is a hard one. On one hand, as the unofficial follow-up to the first Stormtroopers of Death album, so much of this is just completely awesome and amazing. On the other hand, left to his own devices without people to reign him in, Billy Milano has a tendency to say some cringe-worthy shit. (although Scott Ian co-produced this, so his hands aren't clean) And I guess you'd have to at least begrudgingly respect the honesty of it if Billy had fully owned up to "Imported Society," "A.I.D.S.," (which I'm pretty sure is just a musical version of a shitty Sam Kinison bit) or the N-bomb he dropped completely out of the blue on "Aren't You Hungry," but once people got pissed off, he spun some of the same "it's from the point-of-view of a fictional character, you see" nonsense that S.O.D. had previously used to try and get away with "Speak English or Die." So not only was Billy a racist, but kind of a coward, too. Jesus. Anyway, if you can stomach all the fucked-up parts and don't mind skipping a track or three, about 75% of this is classic, and either the best thing M.O.D. ever did or the only good thing M.O.D. ever did, depending on how you look at it.

M.O.D. - Gross Misconduct (1989, Caroline) - This is a kinder, gentler version of M.O.D., where Billy Milano was keeping his politics to himself and focusing more on just random goofiness. And really, this has an occasional fun moment, but is kind of forgettable over all. Like I legit can't think of anything else to say about it, and the stupid CD is still ripping.

M.O.D. - Rhythm of Fear (1992, Megaforce) - This one's kind of different from previous stuff, as it feels a lot more like a straight hardcore record than a comedic crossover thrash kind of deal. Half the songs seem to be about mosh pits or playing shows or inner strength or all the other stuff that short-haired bands were singing about in 1992, and he's even wearing a Slapshot shirt on the back cover. Overall, though, this is just kind of there, one of those albums that you forget every aspect of as soon as it's done playing. Coincidentally, I'm pretty sure that this is the precise moment that Billy Milano stopped giving a shit about anything.

M.O.D. - Dictated Aggression (1996, Megaforce) - And here we go. Billy finally realized that no one was paying attention and there were no spots on Headbanger's Ball to jeopardize with his big mouth anymore, so he just said fuck it, and opened his brain to the world. And this album is like a van full of Klansmen colliding with a dune buggy full of skinheads: You don't want to look, but it's hard to look away, and it reeeeaaally hates Mexicans. It's just 13 tracks of Billy draping himself in an American flag and screaming about immigrants and affirmative action, and honestly it sucks ass musically, but is strangely fascinating. Still think it's kind of funny that this got a fancy bonus track-laden reissue, but U.S.A. for M.O.D. might actually be out of print now.

Monster Magnet - Dopes to Infinity (1995, A&M) - Monster Magnet had always been one of those bands I never really paid attention to, but someone like Terrorizer or Metal Hammer did this big long form article about how Dopes to Infinity was one of the all-time classics right around the time I found this on sale for like four dollars, so I gave it a shot. And I guess I didn't hate it, but I just couldn't get into this at all. It must have made some sort of impression though, because when Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Ego the Living Planet showed up in some superhero movies, my mind immediately associated them with their respective Monster Magnet song titles. Weird.

<<<MOTÖRHEAD GAUNTLET TO BE COMPLETED AT A LATER DATE>>>

Murphy's Law - Murphy's Law/Back With a Bong (1994, Another Planet Records - Originally released in '86 and '89 on Profile Records) - Going back to old 80s hardcore punk stuff, Murphy's Law is probably one of my favorites, because they were just a whole lot of fun, for the most part. While everybody else was screaming about anger and unity and being united against things that make them angry, these dudes were just out there singing about getting high and throwing barbecues. And while my own life choices have led me away from the path of beers and bongs and charred meats, I can appreciate the need to write songs more about good times than shitty ones.

Murphy's Law - The Party's Over (2001, Artemis Records) - Man, I just looked these dudes up on the internets, and apparently Murphy's Law exists in some form to this day, but this album from 16 years ago was the last thing they've managed to release. (I keep saying "they," as though it's a fully-realized band, but let's be honest, it's almost always just been Jimmy Gestapo and whoever he can find to play behind him) and that just seems really weird, because Murphy's Law has been on your pretty much constantly over that time, up to and including relatively major stuff like the Warped Tour. So I guess once I hit the Powerball, in addition to moving us out to Dinosaur, Colorado to start a fortified tortoise ranch, I'm gonna throw down a few grand to put out another Murphy's Law album. Just seems like the right thing to do.

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