Staff Infections – August 2021

Well, friends, it hasn’t been the best month. I’m sure we were all hoping we were on the way out of this pandemic, but the delta variant is sending things in the absolute wrong direction. I realize vaccination is a touchy subject, but for those who are able to, yet have resisted getting the vaccine, I offer this: If you ever want life to get back to normal, not just for you, but for the elderly, the infirm, the immunocompromised and other high-risk groups of people, I’d suggest getting vaccinated, not only because it might save your life, but because it might keep you out of the hospital, so they can save someone else’s life. Furthermore, if they have to cancel Maryland Deathfest again next year, I will never forgive you motherfuckers.

Continuing with the bad news, we lost some prominent figures in the metal world in recent weeks. Metal Church’s singer Mike Howe tragically committed suicide at age 55, and Slipknot’s Joey Jordison died of as-yet unrevealed causes at age 46. We’re pretty big Metal Church fans here at Last Rites, and the fact that what had been such a triumphant comeback for both Howe and Metal Church has been cut short hits us particularly hard. Admittedly, there aren’t too many Slipknot fans on the staff, but I think even the crustiest of old-school pricks among us can admit that Slipknot has likely introduced thousands of young folks to heavy music, and Joey Jordison played a big role in that, not only as an absolute beast behind the drum kit, but as one of the band’s primary songwriters. Both men have gone too soon. May they rest in peace.

This is outside of the metal realm, but the death that honestly hit me the hardest this past month was Dusty Hill of ZZ Top, because I’ve been a ZZ Top fan longer than I’ve been a metal fan. While by modern standards I don’t think most people would consider ZZ Top heavy, the band always had a beefy and powerful sound, especially for a trio, and they had a host of undeniably great riffs. They were an important stepping stone on my path to metal fandom, and for that I owe Mr. Hill a great debt.

Finally, let’s get to what we’ve been listening to lately. Not a lot of the same stuff, as it turns out. We have a couple ZZ Top albums on playlists for obvious reasons, and a few Iron Maiden albums, as folks are no-doubt gearing up for the imminent release of SenJutsu. Other than that, though, there’s no real crossover on playlists, so we don’t have an album of the month this time around. In light of that fact let’s bestow the honor upon one of Mike Howe’s finest efforts, Metal Church’s 1989 album, Blessing in Disguise. Have a taste below.

That’ll do for this month. Be sure to have a listen to the staff-curated Spotify playlist below, and share your own playlist in the comments. While you’re at it, give us your favorite Howe-era Metal Church tune, if you have one. Stay safe out there, friends.

  • Andrew Edmunds
    The Kill – Make ‘Em Suffer
    Trauma – Scratch And Scream
    Exil – Warning
    Total Fury – 13 Songs
    David Lee Roth – Eat ‘Em And Smile
    Ratt – Invasion Of Your Privacy
  • Danhammer Obstkrieg
    Sailcloth – Woodcut
    Graham Haynes & Submerged – Echolocation
    Ænigmatum – Deconsecrate
    Wharflurch – Psychedelic Realms Ov Hell
    Daniel Herskedal – Harbour
    Thergothon – Stream from the Heavens
  • Zach Duvall
    Melechesh – Enki
    Jeff Buckley – Grace
    Bjork – Post
    Metal Church – Blessing in Disguise
    Iron Maiden – all re-Bruce albums
  • Dave Pirtle
    ZZ Top – Eliminator
    Slipknot – Iowa
    Thor – Alliance
    Dee Snider – Leave a Scar
    Prong – Rude Awakening
    Antti Martikainen – Carmina Gloria
  • Ryan Tysinger
    Antediluvian – The Divine Punishment
    Dungeon Serpent – World of Sorrows
    Korpituli – The Ancient Spells of the Past
    Agressor – Towards Beyond
    Morta Skuld – For All Eternity
    Trenches – Trenches II
  • Captain
    Sigil – Nether
    Queensrÿche – Empire
    Tyrann – Djävulens Musik
    Motorpsycho – Kingdom of Oblivion
    Fluisteraars – Gegrepen door de geest der Zielsontluiking
    Tangents – Timeslips & Chimeras
  • Lone Watie
    Pharaoh – The Powers That Be
    Intestinal Hex – The Exalted Chambers of Abhorrence
    Hammers of Misfortune – The Bastard
    Big Big Train – Common Ground
    Yes – Relayer
    Kool & the Gang – Wild and Peaceful
  • Jeremy Morse
    Jason Becker – Perpetual Burn
    Sanctuary – Refuge Denied
    Crowbar – Odd Fellows Rest
    Steel Bearing Hand – Slay in Hell
    Slayer – Reign in Blood
    ZZ Top – Tres Hombres
  • Spencer Hotz
    Iron Maiden – Brave New World
    Wolves in the Throne Room – Two Hunters
    Instant Boner – High Place Phenomenon
    Nephilim Grinder – Spiritual Torment
    Giant Sky – Giant Sky
    Krigsgrav – The Sundering


Posted by Jeremy Morse

Riffs or GTFO.

  1. Metallica – Ride the Lightning
    Kate Bush – Hounds of Love
    GAS – Königsforst
    Boards of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest
    Motörhead – Orgasmatron
    Disfear – Live the Storm


  2. Razor – Shotgun Justice
    Kollapse – Sult
    Pupil Slicer – Mirrors
    Hellknife – Dusk of Doom
    Denzel Curry – TA13OO
    Dark Tranquillity – Damage Done


  3. Eldingar – Maenads
    Praise The Plague – The Obsidian Gate
    Felled – The Intimate Earth
    Savatage – Hollywood Babylon (Live 1990)
    Metal Church – The Human Factor
    Judas Priest – Priest…Live!


  4. Paradise Lost – One Second
    Blind Guardian – Nightfall in Middle-Earth / Somewhere Far Beyond
    Crescent Shield – The Stars of Never Seen
    Rhapsody – Dawn of Victory
    Symphony X – The Odyssey
    Pharaoh – The Powers That Be
    Slipknot – S/T
    ZZ Top – Tres Hombres / Eliminator
    Iced Earth – Burnt Offerings

    Slipknot’s first album came out when I was in high school, and I remember not liking it at the time – I was starting to get bored of nu metal and the album felt like more of the same. Listening to it now, I feel I misunderstood the album back then.


  5. Just chiming in about Mike Howe.

    Gotta say that Hanging In the Balance (cover art be damned) is such a great and underrated record.

    Many favorites of the Howe era, but I love Conductor. Not to mention the re-recording is killer as well.

    Not many bands have 2 key vocalist eras that succeed, and I think Metal Church did this without dividing the fan base very well. Wayne is a huge favorite of mine as well and it sucks that they are both gone.

    I am very, VERY, glad I went to the last few Metal Church shows locally with Howe.


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