Archive for September, 2013

Celebrating A Century of Merzbow: The Top 25 Merzbow Albums of All-Time

MerzbowWhile most of Merzbow’s over 44,983 albums have flown under the American musical radar, the legendary experimental Japanese noise project of Masami Akita has been creating some of the most innovative and popular music in the world since 1963.  Merzbow has scored 52 top 10 hits in the war torn-nation of Burkina Faso and is a regular performer on The Ngoc Ngo Hour (the Mynamarian equivalent of The Ed Sullivan Show).  This week they plan on releasing their 17 newest albums putting them at 45,000, only 1347 less than The Melvins who hold the record for most albums ever recorded.  In honor of that feat, we proudly present our list of the Top 25 Merzbow albums of all time.

25. The Sights and Sounds of The Spanish Inquisition

24.  A 3000-Pound Squid Eating 3 Sailors off The Coast of Japan

23.  Merzbow Covers Frank Sinatra’s Greatest Hits Using Only A Sonicare Toothbrush

22.  A Reenactment of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake (featuring Ke$ha)

21.  Of Chainsaws and Babies

20.  An Autopsy of Some Guy Who Is Not Really Dead But Is Only Badly Injured and Unable to Communicate

19.  A Tribute Power Drills

18.  97 Live Caribou Being Shoved Into A Giant Blender

17.  A Chicken Giving Birth To The Lochness Monster

16.  The Soothing Sounds of The Dentist’s Office

15.  Every Backstreet Boys Song Played At The Same Time

14.  Reading All of Marcel Proust’s “Remembrance of Things Past” In a Fake Donald Duck Voice

13.  An Old Man Chewing Tin Foil While Being Fired Out of A Canon

12.  The Noise Harvey Keitel Makes When He’s Really Sad in Bad Lieutenant Looped For 12 Hours

11.  The Best of Frontal Lobotomies From The Early 20th Century

10.  Vin Scully’s Play-By-By Of Nuclear Bombs Destroying Los Angeles

9.  The Gurgling Sound of A Man Choking To Death on A Wendy’s Chicken Sandwich

8.  A Priest, A Rabbi, 22 Rottweilers and A Clown Fight To The Death Inside of A Whale’s Stomach

7.  Having an Ear Infection While Monkeys Break Plates

6.  Just Another Day at Bad Newz Kennels

5.  That Beeping Sound a Truck Makes When It Backs Up

4.  The Vienna Boys Choir Singing The Entire Gettysburg Address While Being Dissolved In Sulfuric Acid

3.  The Songs Of David Allen Coe As Interpreted by a Sea Lion

2.  An Uninterrupted Hour of The Sean Hannity Radio Show

1.  The 7-Month Ultrasound of the Unborn Antichrist

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National Guard Called In As Protests Rock Atlanta’s Prog Power Festival

heavy metal protests

Brandishing signs saying “Better Pay, Shorter Solos” and “No Arpeggios, No Peace” musicians from The People For The Ethical Treatment of Power Metal Inspired Guitarists (PETPIG) clashed with the National Guard at Atlanta’s Prog Power festival on Thursday.  Many of the guitarists are angry about the difficult working conditions they face trying to play so-called “power metal”.

“You have no idea what it’s like,” said Bjorn Amadeus Mozart, guitarist from the band Frodo Baggins, “we are exposed to hours of high-pitched male falsetto vocals, often have to play complicated 25 minute solos, dress in tight pants regardless of our weight and spend hours of our free time reading obscure Robert Jordan novels in order to come up with lyrics to appeal to our audience.  We are tired of it.”

The big issue, according to PETPIG President and Samwise Gamgee guitarist Thor von Wagner, is pay.  “We are expected to carry the band with our classically-influenced, innovative riffing techniques and, yet, when we get our paychecks they are often similar to that of bass players, who basically stand there and “look metal” without exerting much effort.  You could hang a coat on a power metal bassist and they’d be just as useful.”

Power Metal Guitarists Threaten Good, Upstanding Americans With The Use of Dangerous "Pollen Baring Devices" At Prog Power

Power Metal Guitarists Threaten Good, Upstanding Americans With The Use of Dangerous “Pollen Baring Devices” At Prog Power

In spite of what seem to be a reasonable set of grievances, Georgia governor Nathan Deal has taken a strong stand against PETPIG, ordering the entire National Guard to Atlanta to stop the seven protestors from picketing in front of the event.  Citing Georgia’s strict “no public assembly if it in any way interferes with commerce” policy, Deal approved the use of tear gas and rubber bullets to break up the demonstration.

“The people won’t stand for a bunch of Sabaton listening hippie foreigners coming over here and causing a ruckus.  We barely survived influx of peace freak ‘community organizers’ in the 1960s.  It’s time we let them know that Woodstock is over!” screeched Deal into a megaphone from the steps of the Barrow County Elementary School to a bloodthirsty crowd of patriotic Americans.

Many members of the National Guard seemed confused by the sudden use of violence against protestors.  However, others seemed to understand that this sort of display of fascist brutality is simply away for Deal to appeal to his party’s base in his attempt to be reelected governor in 2014.  Still others relished the opportunity to engage in a rampage against people with long hair.

“I’ve always looked back on my father’s generation and thought they were the lucky ones.  They got to fight the battle for freedom right here within our borders back in the days before America became a Kenyan communist dictatorship. Where is our Kent State?  This is the sort of thing we need to do to take back our country from the power metal hippies who are currently taking people’s right to consume jumbo sodas in New York and preventing the children of Georgia from possessing the latest in military-grade weaponry!”

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SPECIAL REPORT: Metallica Looking to Stage Leveraged Buyout of Megadeth


(The Chief Executives of Metallica, pictured above with President Obama, Senator John McCain, and other Federal Reserve Officials in a meeting about the legality of their proposed Megadeth buyout)

We all know about the Super Collider debacle: with the collapse of their latest dud product, the executives of Megadeth have been circling the drain for months. Rumors of a top-line overhaul have leaked out of boardroom minutes, but it seemed as though the crisis was contained, at least, to the 42nd-floor offices of the company’s CEO, CFO, and CDO. Of course, Megadeth has been bleeding capital since at least 2004, but now it looks as though Wall Street is looking to turn the fallen eagle into a veritable vulture’s picnic.

Here’s how the story began: Metallica, one of the largest investment banks on Wall Street and former owners of Megadeth, gradually began buying back Megadeth stock earlier this summer. The bank announced in early July that they would be purchasing up to 20 million Megadeth shares at prices between $52 and $58 a share, supervised by Iva Harrison’s firm, Lazard Freres. In August, they bought even more – 21 million shares – at $53.50 each. Megadeth, which had traded around $52 a share in anticipation of the buyback, immediately fell back into the mid-forties. Metallica had spent more than $1.1 billion buying Megadeth stock, and its price was lower than ever. Private equity analysts began sweating about what this spelled for Megadeth’s future.

“This reeks of classic hostile takeover,” said J. Tonlimson Heartvord, founder of Clearer Markets, a nonpartisan financial accountability firm. “Metallica purchases Megadeth stock en grosse. The stock price then falls, making the company vulnerable to a takeover.”

In a leveraged buyout, a bank, company, or hedge fund takes another, publicly held, company private. The buyout is “leveraged” because the purchaser usually needs a good deal of debt to finance it. Metallica has owned large shares of Megadeth stock since 1984, but according to classified “top-drawer” reports prepared by Metallica’s Mergers & Acquisitions arm, Mergertacquisitionallica, the bank is preparing a complete takeover of Megadeth. One such document obtained by Tyranny of Tradition, “On Megadeth Civil Service Examinations” could be straight out of Orwell:

“This report concludes by stressing the need for “report cards” to furnish conclusions concerning Megadeth staff, expressed in arithmetical terms… This includes personality, which deals with intangible elements the existence of which do not readily admit of proof, but nevertheless, each employee must be rated on personality.”

Another, “Special Report On Megadeth Research & Development” stresses the need to cut back on Megadeth staffing, by “eliminating unnecessary employees,” in order to concentrate capital on R&D projects.

Edvard Robinson and Henry Henderson, formerly of Shearson Lehman, expressed concerns about the vulnerability of Megadeth. “I hope Metallica has a plan for what to do about Megadeth, a company that has been a cash drain for nearly a decade,” said Robinson. “If they can pull off this takeover, we’ll be sure to see some major overhauls of Megadeth personnel, from the top down.”

Henderson speculated about other, far scarier, scenarios. “This could blow up in Metallica’s face – we’re already hearing whispers that other private equity firms, including Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR), The Dillinger Escape Plan (TDEP), The Ocean Collective (TOC), and Lamb of God, LLC (LOG) are taking a serious look at Megadeth.”

KKR defeated Dillinger and Metallica back in 1989 to complete the leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco, which at the time was the largest buyout in history. Subsequent layoffs, downsizing, and restructuring spelled doom for RJR Reynolds and Nabisco employees across the country, as well as the ruin of towns like Winston-Salem. In that sinking ship of a business deal, the executives, financiers, and lawyers floated to safety on golden-parachute life rafts, taking home millions in bonuses while thousands of employees of both companies lost their jobs.

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