GOODBYE TO ROMANCE; GOODBYE TO PHYSICAL MEDIA: T-U

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Testament - The Legacy (1987, Atlantic)

Testament - The New Order (1988, Atlantic)

Testament - Practice What You Preach (1989, Atlantic)

Testament - Souls of Black (1990, Atlantic)

Testament - The Ritual (1992, Atlantic) - Look dudes, I have a pretty huge poser confession to make here. As I've alluded to in the past, I waited a real long time to start looking for my own music, and I lived in a big informational dead zone in my youth, so I missed a lot of stuff. And some of those bands I never really checked out got kinda pushed into this weird sort of "I'll check out those dudes someday" reserve. (Off the top of my head, Saxon, Crowbar, Grip Inc., Saint Vitus, and Municipal Waste exist there as well) "But the internet is a free-flowing font of information, and all music and video is on YouTube now!" Fuck y'all, I'm lazy. But yeah, none of my brother's crew seemed to listen to Testament, so I never really got exposed to them at an early age, and once my day came, they were kind of at a career low point that made them easy to ignore. (seriously, whoever told Chuck Billy to become a death metal singer was a dumbass) So they went into the secret reserve of bands I'd theoretically check out someday, and I found this five-CD boxed set of all these early records for like ten bucks last year and jumped all over it. Thing is, I still really never have truly delved into this stuff. So I'd love to sit here and plow though some made-up bullshit about whether or not I believe the First Strike is actually Deadly or whatever, but I've barely even skimmed over these, so all I really know are the "hit single" type songs like "Into the Pit" or "Practice What You Preach." I think my big mistake was getting a similarly cheap box set of Exodus CDs at the same time, and having Bonded By Blood push all knowledge or concern for these records out of my brain. Gonna get around to it someday. Gonna do lots of things, you'll see. You'll see.

Thin Lizzy - Jailbreak (1976, Mercury) - In recent years, "The Boys Are Back in Town" has become some sort of weird internet joke meme thing, and in my most futile hopes, I keep thinking that maybe it'll lead some of y'all internet dumbasses to listen to more Thin Lizzy. "Jailbreak" is the best, and that album cover is the best, and "Emerald" was probably the unofficial invention of power metal, and FUUUUUCK YOOOOOUU, THE BOYS ARE BAAAAAAAAAAAACK, and they're hanging out at Dino's.

This Bike is a Pipe Bomb - Dance Party With This Bike is a Pipe Bomb (1999, Plan It X) - This is another one of those "they played my little town, seemed nice, gas money, etc." purchases from late 90s/extremely early 2000s punk shows. And the words most used to describe this band are "folk punk," and they do this whole acoustic thing that I was too metal to enjoy in 1999. And I still don't enjoy it, but it could theoretically be chalked up to my own tastes, or that it kinda has that whole air of pretentiousness - real or imagined - that stuff like this tends to have when punk kids who grew up on Minor Threat records suddenly bust out the grandfather's instruments. I dunno, honestly, lots of people do like this and I do have intensely bad musical tastes sometimes, so it's probably just me. They did seem really nice.

Today is the Day  - Live Till You Die (2000, Relapse) - This came in a budget-priced two-pack with Sadness Will Prevail, and I'm sorry, I hate this so damn much. I truly can tell it's not just complete chaos and noise, and a lot of creativity clearly went into it *somewhere* but the dude just screeches like that borderline-useless Red Bird from Angry Birds, and it annoys the piss out of me. The cardboard slip cover for this has a big red banner, all "FEATURING DUDES FROM MASTODON, YOU LIKE THEM RIGHT? BUY THIS, MAYBE IT'S LIKE MASTODON, YOU DON'T KNOW, BUY IT, BUY IT" (okay, possible exaggeration) and that's some real desperate stuff when you're a highly-regarded band and you're already selling a three Cd set for $4.99.

Today is the Day - Sadness Will Prevail 2CD (2002, Relapse) - This is two disks long and I hate this, too. I never actually listened to the second disk. It could be a huge departure from the first disk and super-wonderful, but I'll probably never know.

Tool - ├ćnima (1996, Zoo) -I ended up with this Cd in a weird way, when I bought a couple semi-rare Metallica CDs from my brother, and he threw this in as a bonus. See, his CD had a crack halfway through one side, so he replaced it with a new one, and gave me the shitty broken one. Thing is, if you take it and smoosh it together real good, (use two large, hardcover books for best results) it still plays, again proving the superiority of the compact disc. Anyway, this is okay? I'm not as down on Tool as most non-fans, I guess. But the thing with this is that you'll go "oh hey, that was a decent song, maybe I like Tool now?" but the next track will be six minutes of clicking and buzzing without any actual music, and it snaps the listener back into "oh yeah, fuck Tool forever, and fuck Bill Hicks, too" mode.

Turbonegro - Ass Cobra (1995, Sympathy for the Record Industry) - My memory is fuzzy since it's been almost 20 years now (oh god), but I'm pretty sure I got this CD without ever actually hearing the band before. I dunno, you get the internet, you see that there's a band full of Norwegians in sailor outfits with a crazy-ass name like "Turbonegro," a singer who sticks a feather duster up his butt onstage, song titles like "A Dazzling Display of Talent" and "Turbonegro Hates the Kids," and it just draws you in, I guess. For whatever reason, I just HAD to hear these guys, and there was no streaming audio back in the 56K welfare internet days. Anyway, this is literally one of the greatest goddamn albums ever released, so I'm glad I spent the 80 cents for that postal money order to send for this in a pre-debit card world. It is the perfect record for a young metal dude who is interested in punk rock, but is also already souring on metallic-style hardcore bands, in that it's undeniably a punk band and not messing around with all the usual chugga-chugga double-bass stuff, but manages somehow to be HEAVY AS ALL HECK at the same time. Not sure how they did it, but they did it.

stop itTurbonegro - Apocalypse Dudes (1998, Burning Heart) - This was the first record after Euroboy joined the band, and he sent them off in a new direction of kinda leaning toward a big arena/glam rock kinda thing, but still very much Turbonegro. (Read: They're still perverts) It's not as good as Ass Cobra, but it's still good, and I really don't know why I never got any more of their records after this one. (I illegally downloaded got a chance to hear Scandinavian Leather and listened to Sexual Harassment on Amazon Prime, and they're both good, for the record) Overall, "Prince of the Rodeo" might be the best song they ever did.

Turbonegro - Fuck the World (F.T.W.) single (2003, Burning Heart) - I barely remember this song, but I really miss when a physical CD single was still a thing, both as a pre-internet way to sample a new album and as a delivery method for live tracks and b-sides. Anyway, more non-rap groups needed to include instrumental versions of their songs on their singles.

Twisted Sister - Live at Wacken: The Reunion (2005, Eagle Vision) - This was included as Disk Two in a DVD that was one of those random finds at the dollar store. The cool thing about it is that in addition to some stuff from the 2003 Wacken Open Air show that's on the DVD, the first 5 tracks are old pre-Stay Hungry stuff from 1980 and 1982. I wish there were more old live recordings of 80s metal bands that sound better than some asshole holding up a $15 tape recorder. Also, I wish "Under the Blade" had been on here, but what can you do.

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UFO - Essential UFO (1992, Chrysalis) - Sometime after hearing a recording of "Doctor Doctor" used as Iron Maiden's unofficial opening act in 2012, I got super into these guys, but not into them enough to look for individual albums, I guess. And if you are going to try and find an all-encompassing UFO collection, try to find this one, because as far as I can tell, it's the only one where all the really big songs ("Doctor Doctor," "Rock Bottom," and "Lights Out") are there in their regular form, no live stuff or re-recordings. Anyway, like most "best of" records for worthwhile bands, all of this is so good. I guess these guys were too old to be part of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, so does that mean they were in the First Wave of British Heavy Metal? Is that a thing? If so, y'all need to point me to some of it that's not stuff I know, like Black Sabbath or Judas Priest or whatever.

Ugly Kid Joe - As Ugly as They Wanna Be EP (1991, Stardog) - Man, fuck all y'all preemptively, because when they were still on their game, Ugly Kid Joe was the best. They perfectly exemplified the times they existed in, in this weird sort of gray area between hair metal, that groove metal thing all the old thrash bands started doing, and funk metal, which everyone thought was going to blow up huge, but never did. All that was missing was some sort of alternative flavor and maybe some Florida death metal, but that would've been terrible, forget I said that. The last track is just Whitfield Crane going "HEAVY! METAL!" followed by maybe ten seconds of guitars chugging, and if I were a dude of such strong opinions as to start a heavy metal-related podcast, there's no way I'd use anything else as the opening theme.

Ugly Kid Joe - America's Least Wanted (1992, Mercury) - This Cd holds a special place in my heart, as it was another one of the Original Eleven that I've mentioned a hundred times as the first CDs I bought at a bargain price from my cousin after he found Jesus. Also, not sure if I alluded to this, but it's actually part of the Secondary Two CDs that my brother secretly pilfered and slipped into my stack after I ran out of money after actually paying for just nine. It is a sordid and terrible thing to steal from family, but fuck it, he ain't my blood, and there's literally a non-zero chance that he murdered my uncle, sooo if I die and find out there's actually been a God this whole time, I'm sure he'll (or it could be a she, you don't know God, no one does) let me off the hook for swindling a dude out of $4 worth of Ugly Kid Joe and White Zombie albums. So uhh, yeah, anyway, this is one of my favorite things ever, even if they did add a remix of "Madman" from the first EP that mostly seems to just have all the cusses removed for some reason.

Ugly Kid Joe - Menace to Sobriety (1995, Mercury) - Man, it is still astonishing to me the levels to which the world at large did not give one single, drizzling dog dump about this album when it came out. Ugly Kid Joe had sold a zillion records and commercials for this were all over the place during Beavis & Butthead and I'm pretty sure WWF Monday Night Raw, but no one cared. But again, it's that Early 90s Major Label Metal Follow-Up Syndrome, where this honestly was just not that good at all. 22 years in, the only song I can remember from this thing is "Tomorrow's World," and probably only then because it was the song in the commercials. And man, that album cover sucks so bad. Part of me wants to think it's making fun of those gaudy-ass No Limit Records/Pen & Pixel covers, but I'm pretty sure those didn't happen until a year or two after this was out, so I think this was one of those mid-90s "someone just bought their first computer and tried to use it" covers.

Uniform Choice - Staring Into the Sun (1988, Giant) - Sometime around 2007/2008, I got super into old hardcore punk stuff, probably because I'm a huge poser who had just seen the American Hardcore documentary. So I saw this for some tantalizingly low used Cd price and got it, even though I couldn't remember anything about the band other than that I recognized the name. And I guess I had forgotten that "and then everybody started to suck real bad after Reagan got reelected" part of the movie, because this blows. This sounds like something a college student from 1988 probabaly had laying out in a conspicuous area of his dorm room to try and prove he was too smart to listen to U2 or something. Fuck all your fancy book learnin'.

United - No IQ (1996, Metal Blade) - I picked this up from one of those 99-cent sales Metal Blade used to do (or maybe they still do, I dunno) on the recommendation of one kinda cool song off a Metalmeister compilation CD, and I really want to like this. It's heavy as hell and has an absolutely perfect sound to it, but the songs are mostly kind of boring, and the singer is kinda hard to get used to. Like he's usually just kinda talking loudly rather than singing or whatever passes for singing in a metal band, and when he does sing, kinda nasally and off-putting, and he's got a real struggle with those L and R sounds. And I want to have an open mind to that sort of thing, because this is a Japanese band, and hell, that's just what happens when you grow up speaking a language devoid of L's and R's. But I'm a shitty old American, trained by years of racist WW2-era cartoons, Mickey Rooney minstrelsy, and repeated viewings of A Christmas Story to think that shit is utterly hilarious. Basically, what I'm telling you, gentle reader, is that I am an absolute monster, and you probably shouldn't loan me money or trust me around your children or pets. I am Satan.

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