MKH Top Ten Of 2014:

I will begin with saying that 2014 was an incredible year for new music. As you can see, my top 3 are all #1 – they are all tied for first place. It was quite difficult to not put 20-30 albums in this year’s top releases, it is also a feat to put things “in order” – but I shall attempt to!

-MKH

1. Slipknot – .5: The Gray Chapter

Slipknot’s “(sic)” was the first song Trivium ever played live. We performed it in 2000 at The Lake Brantley High School’s Battle Of The Bands when I was 12/13 years old. Needless to say, Slipknot has been a favorite band of mine for ages. Having rotating favorites between the first and third albums, I had no idea what was to come of their fifth.

“.5″ for me, is the greatest Slipknot album yet. “Override” and “Custer” are my two new favorite Slipknot songs. The dimensions and depths and layers to this album are staggering. The brutality is as harsh as ever on the record, the melody is more passionate and infectious as ever. This album is the pinnacle of all things Slipknot. Mind-blowing.

Slipknot – .5: The Gray Chapter (Special Edition)

1. Behemoth – The Satanist

“The Satanist” without question is the best in Death Metal, Black Metal, Extreme Metal, and Metal of the year. Having always been a massive Behemoth fan, I feel with their newest opus, they have ventured into a darkness unlike anything previous. “O Father O Satan O Sun” and “The Satanist” explore new tempos and territories uncharted before by Behemoth. These slower, more melodic, more menacing tracks are equally as heavy and destructive as anything they’ve done previously. “The Satanist” has so many layers and worlds within the music – it’s more like Mozart’s Requiem than simply Black Metal; although – this is the most Black Metal thing Behemoth has done yet – in the sense it’s revolutionized Black Metal all over again.

Behemoth – The Satanist

1. マキシマムザホルモン (Makishimamu Za Horumon/ Maximum The Hormone) – 予襲復讐 (Yoshū Fukushū)

Outside of Japan, Maximum The Hormone isn’t quite a household name just yet. But to put in in perspective, I had the privilege to see MTH play in front of 20,000 people in Osaka a few years back and I easily put it in one of the greatest shows I’ve seen in my life time. The entire crowd knew every word, hand motion; it was as if the crowd was part of the performance.

“Yoshū” captures everything I love about Maximum The Hormone. It’s melodic, spastic, heavy, insane, indescribable, bizarre, hilarious, passionate, manic, beautiful, serious… It’s all things Japan defined by a band. If I absolutely must compare MTH to bands or genres, think: Pantera, Faith No More, The Misfits, Rage Against The Machine, Black Flag and all the insanity that is Japanimation. Although… that still doesn’t quite define them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdwT5JlH8gM

Continue reading

I was recently asked to ghost-write a song for a contemporary band. The song ended up not being used, so I decided you guys may enjoy it. Here it is, “The Wretchedness Inside.”

 

music, lyrics, engineering, production, mixing, and mastering by Matthew Kiichi Heafy

(downloadable link; click on the title below)

 

The Wretchedness Inside

 

You think you’ve won but you don’t stand a chance

Determination is a flame that lives right inside of my bones

You think you buried me but I’ve come back from the dead

You better aim for my head

 

Submerged in dirt: it was never enough

This weightless earth never could hold me down

I’ve had my eyes on my target since birth

Those who oppose? I dismember my rivals

 

I must emancipate my pain

To ensure an unrivaled reign

 

I’m tearing at the seams

I’ve fallen to my knees

I’m begging for the

Strength to kill the wretchedness inside

 

The wretchedness inside

 

My nemesis is one inherent in me

My devastation is the bane of existence and I just can’t kill this beast

Without the fight of a lifetime

For it’s the struggle in me

 

Submerged in dirt: it was never enough

This weightless earth never could hold me down

I’ve had my eyes on my target since birth

Those who oppose? I dismember my rivals

 

I must emancipate my pain

To ensure an unrivaled reign

 

I’m tearing at the seams

I’ve fallen to my knees

I’m begging for the

Strength to kill the wretchedness inside

 

I’m tearing at the seams

I’ve fallen to my knees

I’m begging for the

Strength to kill the wretchedness inside

 

This blood I bleed, I bleed only for me

This blood I bleed, I bleed only for me

 

Solo

 

This blood I bleed, I bleed only for me

 

I’m tearing at the seams

I’ve fallen to my knees

 

I’m tearing at the seams

I’ve fallen to my knees

I’m begging for the

Strength to kill the wretchedness inside

 

I’m tearing at the seams

I’ve fallen to my knees

I’m begging for the

Strength to kill the wretchedness inside

 

The wretchedness inside

 

This blood I bleed, I bleed only for me

This blood I bleed, I bleed only for me

 

The wretchedness inside

Breakfast Quest I

(Trivium, Devildriver, After The Burial, Sylosis Leg 1 North American Tour, 3rd/4th Quarter 2013)

When I think back in the years, I don’t ever recall being a huge American breakfast fan. Since I always had the option of Japanese breakfast growing up, I don’t think I appreciated the greatness that is the American breakfast. Lately, Paolo and I’s thing has been nabbing up as much amazing breakfast in the USA as possible. America does several things very well in food, and breakfast (now that I am of the converted) in America is pretty damn amazing sometimes.

When it comes to narrowing specifics, anything in the range of the diner realm is something I gravitate towards. Whether it’s a greasy spoon, old school diner; or something like a New American diner doing familiar dishes with impeccably sourced local ingredients, having fun and taking liberties with adding in the unexpected – America has something darn fine going on (Canada does a good diner sometimes too).

This best-of-the-best list takes you to the spots I stuffed my face at first thing in the (touring band dudes’) morning (typically 11:45am/noon).

P1070879

1. Albuquerque, NM. The Grove.

This is the cafe that Walter White in Breaking Bad frequented. This is where the Stevia packet was poured. This New American-style diner does modern and classic favorites alike; it has cookbooks and kitchen utensils and such for safe; the orders are done at the counters, and man is everything fantastic here. Paolo and I shared breakfast with Chris and John from Devildriver, I had: coffee, croque madame (toast with ham, cheese, and an egg on top), a side of thick back bacon, and macaroons. I am a sucker for French food, and The Grove nailed it. Best breakfast of the tour in a sacred location of television.

P1070818

2. Asheville, NC. Early Girl Eatery.

Asheville’s Early Girl Eatery has the charm of an old diner, mixed in with being something run by cool local kids. We had lots of the Trivium band and crew in tow here for our feast. The meal included: Local sausage and sweet potato scramble, multigrain pancakes, and fried green tomatoes. The fried green tomatoes here are a show-stopper.

IMG_16983. Chicago, IL. Little Goat.

Little Goat is in my mental notes of the sort of place I would open if I ever owned a restaurant. A modern, sleekly, yet warmly designed spot with the traditional diner as the backbone and inspiration upon what is built up here. Little Goat in Chicago and Skillet in Seattle are my favorite vibes of the “modern” diner as I call ‘em. Chicago is a beast when it comes to having an endless supply of mind-blowing food, and Little Goat follows suit. I went for their corned beef hash and a coffee. It was familiar, but done in that New American way that I love so much in the USA.

P1070696

4. Minneapolis, MN. Moose And Sadie’s.

Moose And Sadie’s like everything previously mentioned has become our tradition every time we hit the city. Moose And Sadie’s is setup like a local coffee shop with a counter you order at which slings out some really delicious stuff. I went for the huevos rancheros and a side of potatoes. Really impeccably done in it’s simplicity and freshness of ingredients.

IMG_1611

5. Boise, ID. Goldy’ Breakfast Bistro.

Great local diner run by younger folks. Beautifully done diner classics. I went for the omelette with spinach and gruyere, Goldy’s peps potatoes, maple house-made sausage, and wheat toast.

IMG_1618

6. Spokane, WA. Frank’s Diner.

Of the list, this is the first truly old school diner that is still hanging around sending out fantastically done breakfast and diner classics. I went for the hobo scramble here. I am a big fan of eggs, potatoes, cheese, and a meat all being paired up. As a kid, my dad would always mash all those components up in his breakfast and him and my sister would call it “mush”. It took me a few decade – but now all I want is “mush”.

P1070836

7. Charlotte, NC. Mattie’s Diner.

P90 Omelette.

IMG_1744

8. Boston, MA. Eastern Standard.

Scrambled Eggs, French Toast.

IMG_1679

9. Thunder Bay, Ontario. Niva’s.

The Big Finn

P1070867

10. Denver, CO. Syrup.

The Remedy.

IMG_1661

11. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The Poached Egg.

Breakfast Plate.

Dishonorable Mention:

Toronto, Ontario. The Senator.

I had the senator omelette. It was vastly overpriced, the potatoes were sad and obviously from a frozen bag, the eggs were burnt, the waitress very rude to Paolo, Chris (Devildriver), and myself. I don’t normally pick out spots to call out – but we walked far as heck to get there, were treated badly, fed badly, and ripped off as far as I’m concerned. Don’t go there.