Who is The Greatest Hard Rock/Metal Band of All Time, Second Round Part 1

HardRockMetal

Rather than delve into the delusion that currently is supposed to oversee this country (and trust me, there’s plenty to call the Tangerine Ignoramus out on simply from this last weekend alone, such as his slashing of the Department of Interior budget by $1.5 billion while donating his first quarter’s pay for sitting on his ass – roughly $70,000 – in the White House to the National Park Service), I’ve decided to start something that will be much more fun. Since college basketball just recently completed the NCAA Basketball Championship, I thought it would be fun to do the same but in a different arena – the genre of hard rock/metal music.

What are the criteria for consideration? First, the band/singer would have to have some sort of longevity to their career – you don’t see many bands or singers that are considered “legendary” if they were only around for a couple of albums (Amy Winehouse is a rare exception, but that’s a discussion for another time). Second, the band/singer would have to have an impact on the genre – did they do something particularly noteworthy or notorious that put them into the annals of the genre’s history, a song or “behavior” that was historic. Third, just how popular were they when they were in existence – a band or singer that was wildly popular with the fans might get some leeway over a critical darling OR vice versa (depending on tastes). Fourth, what accolades did they receive – awards, gold records, and recognition by the industry (Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, hello?) are all under consideration here. Finally, was the band/singer influential on future generations of music – have they helped shape the genre since they have left the sphere?

The first round of the four “regions” – the 1960s/70s, the 1980s, the 1990s and the 2000s/2010s – is complete and there were some big surprises. It’s now time to move into the second round of two of the regions who will match up in the Final Four of Hard Rock/Metal – the 1960s/70s and the 2000s/2010s – and work them down to one half of the Sweet Sixteen. As always, cast your vote and/or opinion on who should win each battle by commenting here or on one of the many social media outlets where you might read this.

Without further ado, here’s the 1960s/70s second round:

Led Zeppelin (1) vs. Rush (8)

The Zep was not even challenged by their first-round matchup against Steppenwolf, but now they might have a fight on their hands. Surviving their first-round battle against Queen, Rush is primed to take down the legends from the U. K. One of the things that might sway some voters is simply the longevity issue; Rush is still around to this day, more than 40 years after their creation. Led Zeppelin, however, still has the panache as one of the most influential bands in music history (how many kids learned “Stairway to Heaven” as their first tune?). Plenty to think about when it comes to this matchup.

Motorhead

Judas Priest (4) vs. Motörhead (12)

Fresh off their upset of Black Sabbath in the first round, Motörhead is loaded for bear with another tough battle against another legend. This is going to be difficult because both bands have longevity, influence and popularity on their sides. It is arguable that the Priest have had more of an impact on the genre than Motörhead, but it is an argument that Lemmy lovers would love to fight over. Mark this one down as “too tough to call” and let’s see where the voters take it!

AC/DC (2) vs. Van Halen (7)

Another matchup that will raise the ire of fans of both bands. AC/DC has an iconic sound that, while simplistic in its three-chord approach, is still as good today as it was when they started back in the early 1970s. Not to be overlooked, Van Halen worked through the latter part of the 70s, made an adjustment to the MTV 80s, stayed popular into the grunge 90s and still is viable today (although some might say that Eddie Van Halen and Co. have fallen from their lofty perch of late). Perhaps the deciding factor? AC/DC’s three vocalists have been the late Bon Scott, Brian Johnson, and Guns ‘N Roses’ Axl Rose. Van Halen? David Lee Roth, Sammy Hagar, and Gary Cherone. Who wins that comparison?

TheWho

KISS (14) vs. The Who (6)

Three upsets in the first round for the 1960s/70s! KISS took down Deep Purple in the first round, but the second-round match against The Who is going to be a bit tougher. The two bands are quite similar, with duos at the lead (Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons for KISS, Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend for The Who) who basically became the faces of their groups. They had iconic members (Ace Frehley and John Entwistle) who were virtuosos on their respective instruments and members that had issues outside of the band with drugs and/or alcohol (Peter Criss and Keith Moon) that either killed them or nearly did while in their prime. Influence might be the key here – who had the greater influence on the history of hard rock/metal?

And now, here’s the second round for the 2000s/2010s

Disturbed (1) vs. Black Label Society (8)

Chalk for the top of the second round as Disturbed pushed aside the assault of Killswitch Engage to get to the second round and BLS got past Mudvayne in a contest decided by longevity. Black Label Society might not go any farther, however, because Disturbed is looking like it might be a juggernaut in this region. Nothing against Zakk Wylde and the members of Black Label Society, but Disturbed could very well be the band that is representative of the early part of the 21st century.

Halestorm

Halestorm (4) vs. Godsmack (5)

Emerging from the matchup of the female-led bands in defeating Evanescence, Halestorm now gets a shot at Godsmack – or is Godsmack getting their shot at Halestorm? The big point that may sway voters in this competition is that Halestorm is still getting their engines revved, with Lzzy Hale simply getting better with each new CD. Godsmack left their label in late 2016 and it doesn’t appear that any new music is coming out of the band in the immediate future. Things like this – how visible you are and how popular – sometimes will be the tipping point in these competitions.

System of a Down (2) vs. Avenged Sevenfold (7)

Avenged Sevenfold took down the old guard Deftones in round one and it faces another legend in round two. System of a Down has long been regarded as one of the preeminent bands of the past decade and a half, at the minimum, selling 40 million records. That type of popularity is tough to overlook in a match where the two competitors are so evenly matched up.

FiveFingerDeathPunch

Five Finger Death Punch (3) vs. Slipknot (6)

And chalk holds true for the entirety of the first round in the 2000s/2010s. This matchup, however, is different in that both bands are similar in their musical stylings and have equal impact and influence on up and coming bands. Slipknot has had some periods of inactivity that are tough to overlook, but their record at the Grammys – ten nominations and one victory – push them past FFDP. It is tough to overlook a band that is still performing strong, however, and FFDP is doing that.

That closes the second round for these two regions. Be sure to get your votes in on who deserves to move on to the Sweet Sixteen! And don’t forget that we’ve got the other side of the bracket – the 1980s and the 1990s – coming soon. We’ll determine the champion, hopefully next week, as to who is the greatest hard rock/metal band in history!

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Why Are the Feds Slow On the Uptake in Oregon?

Militiaman

It didn’t take us long to get into the Year 2016 until we have our first serious confrontation.

Armed militiamen (we’ll get into this in a moment) have “taken over” a federal headquarters for a national park ridge in Oregon following a protest in a nearby town. Swearing to fight off “anyone” who threatens to try to remove them from the land, these ammosexuals who got dressed in their Sunday-finest camouflage to “go to meetin’” say they will maintain the post and continually brag about the weaponry they have and the numbers (approximately 150 by estimates). Oh, and their leader is the son of the Nevada cretin Cliven Bundy, who was doing well with his own diatribe against the federal government (despite the factor he owes over $1 million in grazing rights fees) until he started talking about how the “Negro” needed to be treated.

Yes, Ammon Bundy is at the helm of this little coffee klatch, except the problem is the klatch doesn’t have books (they may have coffee), it has AR-15s. One of many militiamen who flooded to Oregon to protest the further jailing of two Oregonites for arson (they admitted they were burning their land, the fire got out of control and that they threatened federal authorities who put the fire out; originally jailed for a short period of time, federal judges said it should have been longer and the men had to surrender to authorities), Bundy and his buddies decided they weren’t quite ready to head back to Nevada. Instead, they thought it would be a good idea to forcibly take a federal property, then swear that they would shoot any local, state or federal agent who came to try to force them from the area.

Lovely way to start the year, isn’t it?

There are several problems with this beyond simply the legal issues that it implies (and those would be treason, sedition and, if any federal, state or local officers were killed or injured, first degree murder charges; then we’d get to the small shit like seizing federal property). The people in Oregon whom Bundy says he’s helping have said they DON’T WANT HIS HELP. The two men involved in the arson case have already reported to federal prison to continue to serve their sentences and have issued statements through their attorneys that in no way do those at the Bundy camp represent them. It doesn’t stop with just the two men at the center of the case, either.

The Pacific Patriot Network, a loose-knit group that claims to oversee militias on the West Coast, said it “does not support seizing federal property” even though it understood the frustration with the federal government. A group that united behind the Bundys in 2014 in their case in Nevada, the Oath Keepers, has made sure to keep a far distance away from Ammon Bundy this time around. Although others wouldn’t speak ill of Bundy, they also “wish he wouldn’t have done this,” according to a report from Reuters, because it draws a mark of ill-repute on militias.

But here’s the big question that surrounds this situation. Why haven’t the federal authorities – either park rangers, Federal Bureau of Investigation officers, Department of the Interior officers, SOMEONE from the government – reacted to the situation? Is it because it isn’t a threat to anyone at this point? Or is it because these are whites involved in the situation?

The federal government hasn’t exactly had the best track record when it comes to armed standoffs with anti-government opponents. The incident in 1992 in Ruby Ridge, ID, that led to the death of three people (including a woman, a child and one U. S. Marshal) is considered to be one of the worst run operations in the history of law enforcement. Using a Rules of Engagement that was extremely draconian (down to the killing of noncombatants and animals, if necessary), the Ruby Ridge incident was held up as how “not” to handle such a situation.

While the hearings regarding the Ruby Ridge incident were ongoing, the FBI and ATF agents earned another blemish on their records. In attempting to deliver an arrest warrant on David Koresh and a search warrant of his Branch Davidians compound in Waco, TX, four ATF agents and six members of Koresh’s Branch Davidians religion were killed. After a 51-day standoff, the FBI and ATF – believing that children were in danger inside the compound – raided the compound. A resulting fire (investigations revealed it to have been set by those inside the compound in a final suicide pact with Koresh) from the attack killed the 76 people who were inside the compound.

Since those two incidences, however, the federal government has been rather subdued in its responses to domestic incidences. The Bundy case from 2014 – where 1000 militiamen basically dared agents to take some shots at them, all for naught – is a case in point. It is also very likely that this case in Oregon could be run much like the 2014 Bundy case was handled by federal authorities.

In essence, this is a battle being fought on the government’s turf. They can cut off electricity to the building, cut off water, put a loose circle of agents around the area – or none at all – and simply wait for Bundy and his fellow yahoos to decide that playing soldier isn’t as much fun when you have to fend for yourself. Then they’ll come out and, as they do, you pick them up and charge them with an assortment of laws that they’ve broken – or do nothing at all and make them look even more foolish.

There is another point being bandied about out there and it does bear some discussion amongst the adults in the room. These are all, for the most part, middle-aged white males who are involved in this situation in Oregon. What would be the reaction of the federal authorities if there were 150 black, Latino or Asian men heavily armed and storming a federal building?

It is loosely comparable, but we’ve seen a similar response from governmental authorities in the past. In 1985, police in Philadelphia, armed with arrest warrants and orders to evict members of the Black Power group MOVE from a building, instead ended up in a firefight with said group. The Police Commissioner at that time, Commissioner Gregore Sambor, ordered the building to be bombed and Philadelphia Police Lieutenant Frank Powell dropped two one pound “water-gel explosive” devices on the roof of the house.

The results were catastrophic. Not only did the resulting explosion destroy the top of the building, it started a fire that spread to an estimated 65 buildings that surrounded the targeted house (police also refused to allow for firefighters to fight the fire, due to the chance MOVE members might shoot at them). In the end, eleven members of MOVE, including five children, died as a result of the fire, 250 people were left homeless (MOVE members who survived said that survivors were shot at by police as they fled the carnage) and ZERO political or law enforcement personnel faced any repercussions from the event.

Perhaps we’ve come a distance since that day in 1985 – or even those days in 1992 or 1993 – where such usages of force would be considered. There are easier ways to bring about the closure of a standoff – some of which I mentioned previously, cutting off water, power, essentials that would eventually force someone out of a stance – rather than going in with guns blazing. With this current situation, we can only hope that it ends with a peaceful solution; with a Bundy involved, however, and the rhetoric they and the militias wield, they will try to push every button possible to try to goad the government into a fight.