Battle of the Bands Tournament: Round 1 – Hard Rock & Metal Region (Part 1)

Pregame: In contrast to the Indie Rock/Post-Punk Region from Saturday, this region mostly features bands I got into as a unsuspecting, highly impressionable pre-teen and early teenager. So there will be a lot of sentimental favorites here (though aren’t they all?), similar to the Extreme Metal region considering the breadth of the history spent with these bands.

The Match: #1-Ratt (6) VS #16-Leatherwolf (1)
Ratt sample song: “Nobody Rides for Free”
Leatherwolf sample song: “Thunder”
The Winner: Ratt

Postgame: After their two hard-fought victories in the preliminary play-in rounds to slide into the big dance, not much more needs to be said about Leatherwolf, nor the likely outcome of this matchup. One album, no matter how great it is cannot defeat 6 albums.  This is just a formality. Game over, dude. Thanks for playing.

The Match: #2-Alice in Chains (6) VS #15-Tool (2)

Alice in Chains sample song: “A Looking In View”
Tool sample song: “Schism”
The Winner: Alice In Chains

Postgame: Progressive metal band Tool features some of the best musicians in the entire genre. Vocalist Maynard James Keenan is unmatched as an enigmatic, melodic front man, the rhythm section of Carey and Chancellor is simply sick, and the guitarist Adam Jones (also their art/video director) is an immense force all by himself. I only gave them 2 album-wins: Undertow, and the masterpiece, Lateralus — which fans would say is a crime, but those are the two with enough songs to impressed over the years. Great songs include “Parabola”, “The Grudge”, “Sober”, “The Patient”. I honestly have not spent enough time with the two other key albums, Aenima and 10,000 Days, but two great songs that stand out from those are singles “Stinkfist” & “Vicarious”. However, against Alice in chains, there’s simply no contest anyways. Much more to come from AiC.

The Match: #3-Motley Crue (5) VS #14-Skid Row (2)
Motley Crue sample song: “Wild Side”
Skid Row sample song: “Monkey Business”
The Winner: Motley Crue
Postgame: Skid Row got a late start, so their second and best album, the awesome Slave to the Grind actually came out in 1991, went platinum and earned them a #1 spot atop the charts. I don’t think any other 80s “hair band” had that much success past the 80s decade (unless you want to lump Guns n’ Roses in with that “hair” crowd, which isn’t really a stretch). Including Skid Row’s self-titled debut, they no doubt have great songs like “18 and Life”, “Youth Gone Wild”, “I Remember You”, “Quicksand Jesus” and “Wasted Time”. However, Motley Crue is one of the grandfather bands of this genre, whereas Skid Row, really, was a nice flash in the pan that came a little late to the party just before the cops (grunge) showed up to take them all off the streets.
The Match: #4-The Mars Volta (5) VS #13-Guns n’ Rose (2)
The Mars Volta sample song: “The Widow”
Guns n’ Rose sample song: “Civil War”
The Winner: The Mars Volta

Postgame: Like a lot of bands in this tournament, Guns n’ Roses also has that ONE masterpiece of an album that, if all things were equal they were being judge on one album, G n’ R would slay much of the competion. Appetite for Destruction is just that good and it was a hell of a gamechanger in 1987. But that’s not what this competition is about. After the entirety of Appetite –12 songs that include “Welcome to the Jungle”, “Nightrain”, “Mr. Brownstone”, “My Michelle” and “Sweet Child O’ Mine” — things get pretty spotty from there. Sparse gems on later albums include: “Patience”, “Don’t Cry”, “November Rain” and the sample song above (all balads). The Mars Volta, a progressive hard rock group with five consecutive great albums put out in a seven year span simply eats up a less consistent opponent.

No upsets here. On to Part 2. There’s gotta be at least one upset , right?


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