Black Sabbath - Dehumanizer [1992]

Time does heal some things.

One of these is the caution I often display when first listening to new or changed personnel in pivotal roles in bands I really like. Like Black Sabbath that isn’t Ozzy, Tony, Geezer and Bill. I’ve spoken about this in my ‘Cross Purposes’ review here, so won’t get into this again unless coaxed.

When ‘Dehumanizer’ was released in 1992, I also didn’t quite get it. Often with the personnel changes also come stylistic changes, and this change (technically a reformation, but that’s not important for now) seemed odd. It sounded tinny, and bass heavy. No actual mid-range work to give the bass drone and treble pitches their place.

The version of this album I got was the 2011 re-issue with the bonus disc of live material from that era. These live recordings are great. They seem to take the awkward edge off the studio work and add just the right amount of cohesion to generate a suitable amount of appreciation from me for them. This has enabled me to listen to the original album with a slightly changed aural attitude.

The album still doesn’t flow well, but I haven’t tried changing the track order to make it work better yet. The songs are good. They’re heavy and powerful. Tony Iommi’s guitar is menacing. Geezer Butler’s bass is as doom-ridden and active as it is at his best. Dio’s vocals are really good. Relaxed and flowing, but with a little grit replacing the high end of his ‘Mob Rules’-era soar. The slight let-down is Vinny Appice’s drum sound. A big cardboard box comes to mind. It’s probably not as bad as I it might sound like I’m making it out to be, but it has remained a slight agitation for me.

Production was done by Reinhold Mack, who has many years of very creditworthy of work on his list of achievements, but may not be accurately matched for this kind of heavy.

This should be listened to at high volume, with lots of space in the room for air guitar, air drumming and vocalist posturing. You’ll feel brilliantly rejuvenated if can just let it all go for 53 minutes.

Worth a long drive into the country with a good boom box or audio set-up in your car if you don’t have a large enough room at home.

Master Of Insanity’

Buried Alive’

Letters From Earth’

Ill-conceived video for ‘T. V. Crimes’

I’ performed live by the same line-up - as Heaven and Hell - in 2009

Geezer Butler, Ronnie James Dio, Tony Iommi and Vinnie Appice as Black Sabbath
Photo by Mark Weiss - used without express permission

Dehumanizer [1992]

PS. I’ve just worked out a possible improvement for the track order.
1. Time Machine
2. Master Of Insanity
3. Buried Alive
4. Letters From Earth
5. Computer God
6. Too Late
7. Sins Of The Father
8. T. V. Crimes
9. After All (The Dead)
10. I

Try it…

(Images used for illustrative purposes and without express permission. If you’d like to object to their use, or give permission for their use - please let me know.)

On The Radio 2017/07/10

A week after my previous show, I was back co-presenting another Wrong Rock Show with Botha on Bush Radio.

Here’s the show, followed by a track list of my contributions, and videos for some of the songs I could find reasonable or interesting videos for:

Night After Night [acoustic version] - The Sounds [Dying To Say This To You ‘06]
Rain Rain Rain - Roxy Music [Flesh + Blood ‘80]

Crash - Asian Dub Foundation [Community Music ‘00]
Our Leaders Have All Gone Underground - Kalahari Surfers [taken from The Eighties Volume 2. The original version appears as ‘Underground’ on the album Sleep Armed from ‘88] Find the whole Sleep Armed album here
Chom’Emdaka - Thandiswa [Ibokwe ‘09]
Sabotage - Beastie Boys [taken from Solid Gold Hits ‘05]

Bruce Bleed - Springbok Nude Girls [Neanderthal 1 ‘95]
Block - Machine Head [Burn My Eyes ‘94]

Unleash - Soulfly [Conquer ‘08] They’ve prohibited embedding, so you can find the official video here
Unchained - Van Halen [Fair Warning ‘81]

Ghost Called Loneliness - Urban Dance Squad [Artantica ‘00]
Wake Up - Rage Against The Machine [Rage Against The Machine ‘92]

Song Dance - Pavlov’s Dog [Pampered Menial ‘74]

Here’s a link to all the shows I’ve done:

On The Radio 2017/07/03

I joined Botha Kruger on The Wrong Rock Show for the first time to co-host my first show in just over a year.

Here’s the show, with the complete track list and some videos of my contributions below:

Darkness Sunday- Jungles!!!
Sun [Leftfield mix] - John Lyndon [Psycho’s Path ‘97]
Boom Box - Blueprint [taken from Rhyme Sayers 2005 Label sampler ‘07]
Department S - G//Z/R [Black Science ‘97]
Letchi Dans L’espace - Golgot VR
Glisten - Slavedriver
Broken Tamagotchi - Nosferatu D2
Hands All Over - Soundgarden [Louder Than Love ‘90]

Hands Of Reason - Paradise Lost [Draconian Times ‘95]
Rain - The Cult [Love ‘85]

Never Enough [Big mix] - The Cure
Young Ones - The Frown
A Drug Against War - KMFDM
Shore’s End (Chapter One) - Asylum Kids [Solid Principles ‘82]
Banshee - Coal [The Ruse ‘15]
Frustrated - Drain [Encounter ‘96]
Wat’s In ‘n Naam - Tas Vol Nardus
Vendetta - Slipknot [All Hope Is Gone ‘08]
Thetawaves - System Of A Down [Steal This Album ‘02]
Hooks & Splinters - Otep [House Of Secrets ‘04]
Celebrate The Harvest - Make-Overs
Evil Child - Blind Butcher
Cover Me - Part Chimp
Mystery - BLK JKS
My Baby - Soo Coo?
Memories Of The Grove - Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster [II ‘07]
Shoot You In The Back - Motörhead [Ace Of Spades ‘81]

Message Beneath Contempt - Raised Fist [Dedication ‘02]


Here’s a link to all the shows I’ve done:

On The Radio 2016/06/13

It’s taken some time to get to Mixcloud, but here it is. There was a bit of an issue with either me or my channel, so my voice is very soft. Fortunately the music is fantastic, so have a listen!

For your benefit - here’s the complete track listing with a couple of videos of songs from my contributions:
Beat Girl – John Barry
Righteous Wrong –Jim Jones Revue
One Last Look Around The House Before We Go – Kate Bush [This Woman’s Work II ‘90]
Bushes – 1 Giant Leap and Baaba Maal [1 Giant Leap ‘02]

Territory – Sepultura [Chaos A. D.‘93]

Animal – The Deathrettes
Marrying Man – To Hire A Nurse
Coffin Dance – Andrew Jackson Jihad
Everything – Morafe [Maru-A-Pula: The Anticipation ‘05]
Halo – Machine Head [The Blackening ‘07]

Dominion/Mother Russia [Floodland ‘87]

Bloodline – RA
Pretty Vacant – Sex Pistols
I Wanna Be Loved – Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers
The Fear – Diesel Whores
Braai Vibes – Not My Dog [Braai Vibes ‘02]
Out On The Tiles – Led Zeppelin [Led Zeppelin III ‘70]
Fish Below The Ice – Shriekback [Oil & Gold ‘85]
Thuggz And Thieves – Three Chord Theory
Brain Damage – Corporal Punishment [from Made in South Africa, a posthumous collection of James Phillips’s work released in ‘95]
Shotgun – 340ml [Moving ‘03]

The Dresden Dolls – Backstabber [Yes, Virginia ‘06]

Animals [live] – Talking Heads
Paralyser –Ghetto Muffin
Sweet Forgiveness – Section 25
Duiwelspiek – Van Coke Kartel
Guerrilla Radio – Rage Against The Machine [The Battle Of Los Angeles ‘99]
Thirsty Dog – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds [Let Love In ‘94]
If you know me well enough, you’ll know that I generally don’t have much affection for Nick Cave. Due to some kindness, I have been able to spend some time with his music without having to commit to it. It’s taken a while, but I’ve developed some appreciation for some of it, mostly from the Let Love In album. This is one of the songs I like.

Cold Sweat – Thin Lizzy [Thunder And Lightning ‘83]
You can find my review of this album here


Note: The video for Rage Against The Machine’s ‘Guerilla Radio’ has been removed from YouTube by Sony (SME), so I have removed the link to it from this post (2021/05/20)

How Did We Get Here?

Having been a collector of music since I was about 13, and having spent 23 years in the music industry, issues around music and the business of music remain close to my heart. The industry has gone through various phases over the years, the last of which seems to have included ‘out’ as an important part of the phase.

But what happened? Are there no albums ‘out there’ that are worth owning? Do people really not have expendable income? Have the recessions hit everybody that badly? Or did the music industry shoot itself in the foot? And then in the other foot? Headshot?

I know I’m not the only one with a cash-flow problem. Since being retrenched in 2012, I haven’t had much income. Because of that I haven’t really been looking too closely, but I can’t seem to convince myself that there is no music being created and being made available for sale that is worth owning. (Now is probably a good time to note the subtle difference between ‘owning’ and ‘having’.)

I have a list of 548 albums that I still need to add to my collection, and that list keeps getting longer.

Through all my years in music retail I was never bored. Ever. Hundreds of new releases were available to me every month, and not every release makes it to every corner of the world. You can imagine that if Coal released a CD in Cape Town, you may not be able access it in a record store in Tulsa immediately, if ever - or at all. If a group of Tuvan throat-singers had a smash hit in Siberia – you probably won’t find their music for sale in Calvinia. When Freshlyground started making a name for themselves, we had countless requests for their CD in Cape Town, but there were no channels facilitating our access to their stock. Not even the fact that one of their members had previously worked at our shop helped. It just doesn’t work that way. Many more releases happened world-wide than we had (relatively easy) access to, and we didn’t buy everything that was available to us. Because of our diverse market, we did buy a fair amount. Not everything we bought and stocked was good, but it was popular, in some way relevant – or really good. I can’t seem to convince myself that the ratio of creativity – and of creation – has changed to the point that we are all doomed as active music consumers.

There’s a difference between music as a business, and music as creative expression. These two are almost worlds apart, but in the context of ‘the music business’, they need to work together. Stock the top sellers to get the business, and stock the niche-market product to keep the business. Specialist product is what forms the basic character of a business. It’s what makes you cool. It makes you more cool to the people who buy Top 20 product than it makes you to the specialists, who are just happy that you can service their music needs. It isn’t like they don’t think you’re cool. Being cool is just less relevant to them than you knowing what they want, and being able to have a reasonably intelligent interaction around it. I’m going to try to put this in one sentence: A successful music business is built by the Top 20 customers on the back of the coolness generated by the specialists. (You also need good customer service and knowledgeable staff, but I won’t get into that now.)
Ever heard someone say “I’m gonna hang out at CNA and check out their music?” You did?(*) Did make you wanna go too?

The trouble started when record companies decided buy in to something that was perceived as being a threat to their business. Go figure…

When the music industry embraced downloading – it wasn’t a well considered idea. Downloads, or mp3s, essentially, are nothing. There’s not an experience beyond hearing something, and this limits its value. Besides that, those involved in offering downloads had significantly more experience in the game than the record companies did by this time. They also had no vested interest in the wellbeing of the record companies or the (legitimate) music industry as a whole.

I suspect that record companies were also seduced by the fact that mp3s could be advantageous in the corporate ‘money for nothing’ framework. Essentially offering less product for not much less money. If consumers wanted anything additional, like a disc to burn the music on to, a sleeve or artwork and a jewel case – they’d have to do it at their own expense.

Music, and the presentation of music, will always be multi-dimensional. Music calls for interaction between a performer and their audience. The presentation of an album in a sleeve (or with a booklet), and as something you can hold in your hand – with artwork, photographs of the artist and stuff they think is cool, lyrics, technical information, etc – puts it into a context. That context becomes a unifying, shared space. Why would you go to a music concert if it wasn’t for the added value and poly-ness of it? If you think downloading mp3s is cool, you may as well stay in and look at pictures of the band on your monitor, or just stare blankly into space. Drinking at home is cheaper anyway…

“Hey, you wanna come to my place and check out my mp3s?”

The industry lost focus of the gains it had made during the booming CD years. That gain was the selling of something cool, and selling it in a cool format. CDs are much easier to deal with than vinyl. They’re physically smaller, so they’re easier to store and transport. They’re also capable of containing more content than LPs, providing extra value (and no – the difference in sound quality isn’t relevant on a day-to-day consumption basis). Goodness knows where I’d have to keep my records if I only collected vinyl. Look, I’d have made a plan, but just to make the point – they would have been everywhere! Now my music collection (sadly) only takes up three quarters of a wall in my lounge.

That’s the one thing.

Piracy has long been an issue for the music industry. I was once told (by a good friend, nogal) that “because she’s not that great – it’s unfair that Lady Gaga makes so much money while I still only have a crappy job, so it’s o.k. to illegally download her music”. Hungry people might ‘steal’ food. Music lovers? ‘Lovers’ is probably being a bit generous, but yes – they will always steal music. Be it by copying from a friend, downloading illegal copies off the internet or by whatever other means are at their disposal. To me this has always meant that: 1. you don’t really care for the artist, and 2. the masses tap into, and do, what is perceived to be cool. “I have that song(…. what’s its name again?)” becomes more important than “I bought that (debut) album (by Dire Straits because the production and playing on it is great, and you can either sit down and listen to it or put it on as background music, and I really like it – especially ‘In The Gallery’ and ‘Setting Me Up’)”.

In The Gallery’ by Dire Straits:

Setting Me Up’ by Dire Straits:

My resistance to mp3s etc is more than the claimed culture or ‘moving with the times’ issue. There’s a line to draw in what may be perceived as progress. Forgoing the physical aspect, to me, is it. In terms of the business – you minimize the value for the consumer. As a lifestyle issue – you effectively remove music from your space. I think someone was trying to impress me once by telling me they have 22 000 songs on their computer. I’m not sure that my lack of enthusiasm was noted. Collecting 22 000 mp3s is trivial, and when done illegally with the justification that you “once owned the album and refuse to pay for the same thing more than once”, it doesn’t fly with me either. It’s lame. It shows no commitment or appreciation, and definitely no support for the artist. (It also shows me that you can’t look after your stuff properly, but that’s not important right now.) All it does is benefit a collection of ‘pay-for-clicks’ scavengers, and maybe impress someone who is equally uninvolved. It’s the nail in the coffin, so to speak…

So, not only did corporatism choke the product, it was killing the medium. Double whammy!

The music industry (to a significantly huge extent) neglected to support artists by failing to ensure that the product they were issuing was valuable to own and could be promoted and marketed effectively as such. CDs were promoted as a valuable product – therefore boosting the industry significantly, but greed took over, leaving nothing of significant value to promote, and hardly anyone even trying. How excited can you really get about an mp3? Less is actually less.

“Gotta love the smell of a new mp3…”

Inertia’ by Coal:

Find Coal here and here

Doo Be Doo’ by Freshlyground:

Find Freshlyground here

In The Gallery’ and ‘Setting Me Up’ are on Dire Straits’ self-titled debut album released in 1978.

(*) Was it Nazeem?!