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Widely called the last great album Black Sabbath recorded with their powerhouse lineup – Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward – Sabbath Bloody Sabbath is still considered a classic and influential release. Yet there was a time in the summer of 1973 when it looked like the follow-up to Vol. 4 might have to be scrapped.“I just got stuck and couldn’t think of anything to write,” Iommi told me in 2009. “I…

The music industry was going through seismic changes at the turn of the 21st Century, thanks to accelerating advancement of technology, the Internet and a specific revolutionary catalyst called the MP3 file, which allowed fans to indiscriminately share music, both digitally and illegally, via groundbreaking digital tools like Napster. Every musical artist on earth, without exception, was caught in the crosshairs of this new technology and the sudden, illicit consumer behavior it encouraged — most…

In 2001, System of a Down reached new heights with their Toxicity album, but rather than rush into a follow-up, the band opted to release an odds and ends collection called Steal This Album in 2002. By the time 2004 rolled around, the band had plenty to say and a lot of music set to come out of them.”The whole world’s gone crazy over the past couple of years, so that’s brought out a lot…

Having spent nearly two years working on their 2002 album Untouchables with perfectionist producer Michael Beinhorn, Korn decided they wanted to bang out their sixth studio album, 2003’s Take a Look in the Mirror, quickly and rely more on the impulse and spontaneity that inspired them in the early years of their career. To avoid an extended entanglement with another high-profile producer, frontman Jonathan Davis produced the album at his home studio in Tarzana, California,…

In May 1995, Metallica entered The Plant Studios in Sausalito, Calif., to record a double album as the follow-up to 1991’s Metallica (aka The Black Album), which catapulted the band from thrash heroes to mainstream rock stars. But by February 1996, Metallica had only finished about half the songs, so they scrapped the double-album plan and opted, instead, to release two records one year apart.The first, Load, came out June 4, 1996. Then in July…

By the time they were ready to hit the studio to record Issues, Korn were already three albums into their career and had become a dominant force in the rock and metal world. But, certain dynamics within the band needed to change.The ’90s were quite an interesting time for music, but rock was especially starting to become overshadowed by pop and hip-hop toward the end of the decade. Out went grunge and in came the boy bands.…

The end of the ‘90s was a time of healing for Korn vocalist Jonathan Davis. After a decade of indulging his most dangerous and depraved rock ‘n’ roll fantasies and suffering a breakdown at the end of the ride, Davis decided to get sober and tone down his extracurricular activities. In conjunction, Korn hired dedicated studio producer Brendan O’Brien to help them stay focused and work at peak efficiency. The resulting album, Issues, came out on Nov.…

When Ozzy Osbourne released his third solo album Bark at the Moon on Nov. 15, 1983, it had been two years since the critically acclaimed Diary of a Madman came out. To say that the period in between the records was turbulent would be an understatement of epic proportions, as it saw a slew of personal and professional issues take place with almost none of them for the better. Still, the former Black Sabbath frontman…

When Rob Zombie returned to the studio to work on the full-length follow-up to his 1998 solo debut Hellbilly Deluxe, he took an “if-it-ain’t-broke” approach to songwriting. Not only did he craft a new batch of anthemic industrial-tinged metal songs filled with b-movie samples and campy rhythmic flourishes, he hired the same musicians and drew from the same production team to make a record that’s pretty much a sequel to its predecessor.The Sinister Urge, which…

The commercial breakthrough for megastars KISS was 1976’s Destroyer, a slick polished hard rock album that contained the ballad “Beth,” the band’s most successful single. After its release the band faced a critical fork in the road. Either they could continue down path of mainstream success and seek to continue to appeal to their ever-growing fanbase or they could shake up the formula and return to some of the grit and urgency of their first…

After being kicked out of space rock band Hawkwind following an arrest in Canada for possession of cocaine (the charges were later dropped since he actually had methamphetamine), Lemmy Kilmister formed Motörhead, named after a song he wrote for his former band.By the time they released their third album, 1979’s Bomber, the band had developed a strong underground following in England with a sound that mixed the swing of early rock ‘n’ roll, the groove…

Proving the success of his first solo album, Blizzard of Ozz, was no fluke, Ozzy Osbourne reestablished himself as the wildman of commercial metal with Diary of a Madman, which came out on Nov. 7, 1981.Following a similar structure to that of Blizzard, Osbourne skillfully combined storming fist-in-the-air rockers like “Over the Mountain,” “Flying High Again” and “S.A.T.O.” with more subtle and dynamic songs such as “You Can’t Kill Rock and Roll” and the heartrending power…

Alice in Chains released their third full-length album on Nov. 7, 1995. The self-titled effort marks the band’s final album with vocalist Layne Staley, who passed away in 2002.The LP debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart and has sold more than 3 million copies, spawning the singles “Grind,” “Heaven Beside You,” “Over Now” and “Again.”The effort expands on the signature sound Alice in Chains captured on their 1992 album Dirt, including down-tuned heavy guitars,…

Applying the politics of Rage Against the Machine’s debut album to today’s current climate, it’s obvious the world has not changed like the Los Angeles rebels had hoped. The iconic line, “Some of those that work forces / Are the same that burn crosses” can now caption the polo-clad, tiki-torch wielding white supremacists that marched in the streets of Charlottesville in 2017. The scope of today’s political rage was essentially foretold throughout Rage Against the Machine’s 1992 debut.Rage Against…

There are plenty of ups and downs in history of any long-running band and while Foo Fighters had been through a lot in their relatively short career, in 1999 the band members that were in place were finding a comfort level with each other and it showed in the music.Prior to recording There Is Nothing Left to Lose, Foo Fighters dismissed guitarist Franz Stahl, who had joined the band after the exit of Pat Smear. Stahl…