Hand of Doom – Memorial Day

There is a song by the band Black Sabbath that I’ve always enjoyed because it had a cool jam, but I never really paid attention to the lyrics; honestly, until recently. This song is called “Hand of Doom” from the Black Sabbath Paranoid album.

I write this note, in particular on this Memorial Day, for two reasons. First, heavy metal bands, for the most part are terribly misunderstood. For example, Ozzy Osbourne is NOT the devil, nor anti-Christ or Lucifer. In fact, Ozzy is a nice family orientated person who deeply cares about people and society. Gene Simmons is another ‘fake news’ fabrication. This guy, Gene, who was supposedly the “Devil” but is anything but. It turns out that Gene is actually an educated family man as evidenced in his reality show Gene’s Family Jewels.

Secondly, this particular song entitled ‘Hand of Doom’ and its lyrics are completely anti-drug. Read them for yourself! The lyrics tell a story of sad destruction and an awful death if you use drugs. Hand of Doom is a story about terrible drug addiction in our armed forces and the song identifies the consequences of continuing this behavior.

Anyhow, back to the topic of Hand of Doom, it’s a disturbing (yet honest) reflection on the times during those years of late-60’s and early-70’s. The Wikipedia description is perfect below:


“The song was conceived after the band had observed a growing number of US soldiers arriving in England in the late 1960s from the Vietnam War with severe drug addictions.[1] It’s about them taking drugs to forget the atrocities of war, only to see it catch up on them and slowly destroy them from the inside.”

Share this song if you feel compelled:  https://youtu.be/p1Y9oOusoQs


Hand of Doom

Black Sabbath

Whatcha gonna do?
Time’s caught up with you
Now you wait your turn
You know there’s no return

Take your written rules
You join the other fools
Turn to something new
Now it’s killing you

First it was the bomb
Vietnam napalm
You push the needle in

From life you escape
Reality’s that way
Colours in your mind
Satisfy your time

Oh you, you know you must be blind
To do something like this
To take the sleep that you don’t know
You’re giving death a kiss, oh, little fool now

Your mind is full of pleasure
Your body’s looking ill
To you it’s shallow leisure
So drop the acid pill,

Don’t stop to think now

You’re having a good time baby
But that won’t last
Your mind’s all full of things
You’re living too fast

Go out enjoy yourself
Don’t bottle it in
You need…




Black Sabbath – SAP Center, February 9, 2016

Note: All credit for this article is attributed to Jim Harrington  jharrington@bayareanewsgroup.com

Review: Black Sabbath delivers powerful farewell

Ozzy Osbourne stalked the stage with manic delight. Tony Iommi burned through one face-melting guitar lead after another. And Geezer Butler’s basslines were as heavy as heavy can be.

It was a thing of thundering beauty, made all that more poignant by the knowledge that there won’t be many more opportunities to experience it again.

It was the beginning of a long goodbye for local fans, as the legendary heavy metal band Black Sabbath brought its farewell tour to the SAP Center in San Jose on Tuesday. The other shoe is scheduled to drop when Ozzy and crew return to the Bay Area to perform on Sept. 15 at Oracle Arena in Oakland.

The British band managed to underscore all the reasons why it will be so dearly missed during Tuesday’s show. Indeed, Sabbath sounded so strong that, at times, it seemed like an absolutely ludicrous idea for these guys to even be thinking about hanging it up. Yet, if the goal is to go out on top — in peak fighting form — then Sabbath is right on track.

Following the opening set by Rival Sons, the main attraction took the stage and slowly uncurled its namesake song, the epic title track to the 1970 debut “Black Sabbath.” Osbourne’s vocals, which have ranged greatly in quality over the years, sounded comparatively strong on this night — powerful, confident and (mostly) clear. The 67-year-old former reality TV star also showed a goodly amount of energy, running about and clapping his hands.

The group then charged through “Fairies Wear Boots,” from the 1970 quadruple-platinum effort “Paranoid.” Iommi starred in this song, like he did in so many others. The supremely talented guitarist, who has battled cancer in recent years, was a regular volcano of riffs, firing off leads so hot they should’ve come with warning labels.

The sold-out crowd, numbering some 13,000 strong, reacted with great enthusiasm to the heavy metal onslaught. The fans, many of whom were old enough to possibly remember buying “Paranoid” on eight-track tape, sang along at top volume and pumped their firsts in air for much of the approximately two-hour show.

The set list drew almost exclusively from the band’s first three albums. Unfortunately, Sabbath only played one track (“Snowblind”) from what is, by far, its best album — 1972’s “Vol. 4” — and it entirely skipped over 1973’s “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.” Hearing the title track to the later, after all, should be required at all Sabbath shows.

Sabbath did find time for “Dirty Women,” a tune that stands as one of the few reasons for listening to the band’s seventh studio album, 1976’s “Technical Ecstasy.” It also remembered “God Is Dead?” from “13,” the band’s 19th — and supposedly final — album.

Supporting Iommi, Osbourne and Ward — three founding members of the band — was Tommy Clufetos, a powerhouse drummer who has worked with Alice Cooper, Rob Zombie and others. Clufetos was handling the beats and rhythms originally made famous by Bill Ward, who left the fold in 2013.

The band closed the main set with an epic run through “Children of the Grave,” which featured more fireworks from Iommi, and then returned for an encore of “Paranoid.”

Fans who missed this show — or simply want more — should think about attending the Black Sabbath show on Sept. 15 at Oracle Arena. Tickets are $45-$150, www.ticketmaster.com

Follow Jim Harrington at http://twitter.com/jimthecritic and www.facebook.com/jim.bayareanews.

Rush – Their debut album

Rush recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of their debut album, ‘Rush’, as well as their first tour to promote the album.  In honor of such a great memory for this fantastic band I offer my review of Rush:

rush 40 years


rush bandw













Prelude to Rush album

The self-entitled album, Rush, released on March 1, 1974 is still my personal favorite Rush albums among all the other great Rush albums.  In retrospect, later Rush albums are still absolutely great but there was a different sort of energy to those masterpieces versus ‘Rush’.  One of the main reasons why this album’s sound, lyrics and attitude might be slightly unfamiliar to a casual Rush-fan is the fact that Neil Peart was not the drummer on this particular album.  Yes, that’s right, for any Rush fans that are reading this now and might be in shock.  John Rutsey was the drummer on Rush and he’s clearly got mad-skills as you can hear on the album before leaving the band with complications due to diabetes.  John set the bar extremely high and, of course, Neil has proven over the years that he is one of the world’s finest drummers himself but all-due respect to John.

Rush_self_titledRush album

This album was the perfect debut that any band could have hoped.  It was loud, obnoxious and bold.  If there was one word to sum up this debut it would be ‘Sexy’ which is not very Rush-ish these days but this album certainly was that.  A song list is listed below and even some of the song titles give you a hint into what I mean by ‘Sexy’.

Source:  Wikipedia

Side one
Title Length
Finding My Way 5:03
“Need Some Love” 2:16
“Take a Friend” 4:27
“Here Again” 7:30


Side two
Title Length
“What You’re Doing” 4:19
In the Mood 3:36
“Before and After” 5:33
Working Man


Rush-in-concert_colorRush’ing ‘Till the End

“Take Yourself a Friend, Keep ‘em Till then End, Whether Woman or Man, It Makes you feel so good” is part of the lyrics for song #3 (‘Take a Friend’) on ‘Rush’ and probably accurately represents the great positive overall attitude of this album.  The lyrics and sound of Rush are simply majestic, although raw.  The song and sounds blend perfectly.  ‘Rush’, the album has the highest rating of all time for Steeler Star ratings and the band ‘Rush’ is a required activity to go-see if they are ever near your vicinity.

Overall listening to ‘Rush’ is a great experience.  ‘Working Man’ clearly became one of the most popular rock songs of all time but the seven other songs on this album all had similar pedigree.  They were worthy as well.  This is certainly one of those times where any sort of Music Review does a serious injustice to the power of the music so, therefore, I would just suggest listening to the title track ‘Finding My Way’ and see if this kind of music is of interest to you.

Enjoy and congratulations to Rush on 40+ great years,

Rush Fan

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‘Wake Up Dead’ – Megadeth (Music Review)


The song ‘Wake Up Dead’ by Megadeth has been a favorite of mine from the first time I heard it.  As the lead track for Megadeth’s ‘Peace Sells… but Who’s Buying?’ album, ‘Wake Up Dead’ was not the most popular song on the album due to the smashing success of other singles such as the title track, ‘Peace Sells’.  However, ‘Wake Up Dead’ certainly does not disappoint heavy-metal header-banger enthusiasts in the least.

As always Megadeth delivers a great sound for the song that is groovy if you like heavy metal music but this song has particular harmony among the sound and lyrics that is uncanny.  The song itself is a short-story about someone getting home from a late-night of drinking and crawling into bed with a wife that might bit a tad upset (to say the least).

The sound:  While ‘Wake Up Dead’ has all the common attributes of the Megadeth sound, there certainly is a unique rhythm and cadence of this particular song that flows beautifully with the lyrics.  It’s almost as-if Dave Mustaine himself had lived some of these described life events personally:

“I had too much to drink,

Said I was out with the boys,

I creep in my bedroom,

I slip into bed,

I know if I wake her,

I’ll wake up dead”

The lyrics:  The tone and demeanor in which ‘Wake Up Dead’ is performed by Dave is what I personally love about this song.  Definitely check-out some of his YouTube performances if you have a chance because these videos much better capture the spirit of the song.  For some reason to me the word ‘ironic’ wants to be an appropriate one-word description of ‘Wake Up Dead’.

For the great combination of ironic lyrics and incredible sound, the song ‘Wake Up Dead’ by Megadeth deserves highest possible KevinNeal Steeler Star rating of ten-out-of-ten stars!