Metal Skull Wishes For 2010

Normal Metal Skull protocol dictates at this point that I engage in some kind of preview coverage of metal albums to be released this year. But I think by now you know as well as I do that shit’s lamer than hell. All the stuff previewed is only up until March because those are the release dates that have been announced, and after that it’s pretty much all speculation and crapshooting as to what will actually happen. Blah.

Rather than bother with that this year—if you want to know the albums I’m looking forward to, they’re by High On Fire and Sasquatch; the rest of 2010 is up in the air—I’m going to list a few things I wish would happen over the course of the next 12 months. They have varying degrees of likelihood, or unlikelihood for you pessimists out there, but I figure if nothing else, this will be more fun than trying to track down how long the next Anathema record has been delayed this time. Hope you enjoy and Happy New Year.

#1: Following his bout with stomach cancer, Ronnie James Dio is granted immortality by the Gods Of Metal. He releases the next two albums in the Magica trilogy and tours with Heaven And Hell.

My heart broke when Mrs. Wendy Dio announced that her husband, legendary Rainbow/Black Sabbath/Dio vocalist Ronnie James Dio, had been diagnosed with stomach cancer. Likewise I was filled with relief when it came out that they’d caught it early and the singer was expected to make a full recovery. It’s been heartening to see his messages to his fans, who’ve been sending him well wishes, but I think more than that, it would be appropriate if the Gods Of Metal were to reach their hands down and officially welcome RJD into the hall of the immortals. Literally. I know he’s in his 60s now—not ancient by any stretch, but not young either—but if there’s one thing I don’t like thinking about, it’s Ronnie James Dio’s mortality. I’m not ready to live in a world where there isn’t another Dio record due out sometime soon, where he won’t tour and play “Heaven And Hell” or “We Rock.” I was not one of the masses who sent their get-well-soons because I couldn’t even handle the thought of it not happening. Seriously. I wish Ronnie James Dio would live forever.

#2: Dee Snider’s Take Back The Horns campaign becomes a national rallying cry for headbangers, prompting government attention and eventually leading to Snider’s testifying before congress a second time.

I just think this would be hilarious. We all know the metal horns (and yes, they were invented by Ronnie James Dio), and we all know their wider usage has been an issue of concern for a certain orthodox strain of the metal community. Personally, I could give a shit. But it would be fantastic if there were marches of dudes in black t-shirts holding signs that said “Take Back The Horns!” and other slogans and if it got to the point where congress called in Mr. Snider to discuss the movement he’s led by starting the website Yes, that’s real. What would be even better is if, once he got to Washington D.C., Snider just talked a bunch of crap about the PMRC and noted how differently the capital building was decorated than it was in the ‘80s. “Where’s all the neon?” he could say, after once again brilliantly pulling his eloquent speech out of his back pocket. Man, life would be great. Imagine the coverage on Blabbermouth!

#3: High On Fire’s Snakes For The Divine comes out and is the best thing ever.

I’m not a huge fan of Greg Fidelman’s production. He’s done a lot of commercial-type stuff, and his work on the last Slayer was less than astonishing. As someone who thought Jack Endino nailed the band’s sound perfectly with his work on Death Is This Communion, I only hope that Snakes For The Divine (the band’s first record for new label E1 Music) kicks as much ass as its predecessors. But while we’re wishing, it would be pretty great if the album became an early heavy metal landmark for the next decade—the band’s defining moment and greatest achievement. How awesome would it be if High On Fire hit the charts and Ryan Seacrest had to introduce them on the Top 40? Shit, I think I’d break out my oldschool tape recorder for that one, just so I could have a copy to keep forever. I’d listen to it every morning to start my day. It would be delicious like an egg and cheese sandwich.

#4: Kyuss play one reunion show, and they do it in my back yard.

It’s hardly the Palm Desert they played when they were younger, but it’s remote and noise permits are easily acquired. In fact, I hereby offer my back yard as a venue for a Kyuss reunion. I know Josh Homme is busy with Them Crooked Vultures and Queens Of The Stone Age, that Nick Oliveri is touring with his acoustic solo material, that Brant Bjork has a label to run and a new album coming out and that John Garcia is a family man and considers music a part-time thing at this point, but hey, I’m not saying get back together and tour the whole world. I’m saying one show, original line-up, my back yard. As far as I’m concerned, we don’t even have to tell anyone about it—though I would like to invite a few friends to witness—but beyond that, it’s all the better if we don’t have to worry about promoting it, finding parking space, selling tickets, etc. I’ll even rent the P.A. and buy some pizzas for the band. Yeah, I know that’s really going all out, but I’d genuinely like to make this thing happen, so it’s worth it. Someone from Kyuss, give me a call. We’ll talk.

#5: Saint Vitus decide not to put out a new album.

I know this is heresy, and I feel guilty even thinking it, but really, what more needs to be said from Saint Vitus that hasn’t been said? 1995’s Die Healing was a full-circle closure that capped off a fantastic run and helped seal the band’s legacy as one of the most influential doom acts of all time. And yes, seeing them reunite with Scott “Wino” Weinrich on vocals was amazing, but it was pretty clear from where I was standing that he and guitarist Dave Chandler have no love lost between them and with drummer Armando Acosta out of the band, it just wouldn’t be the same anyway. Not that Blood Of The Sun’s Henry Vasquez didn’t do an admirable job filling in alongside bassist Mark Adams in the rhythm section at the show in Brooklyn, but you know what I mean. As much as I love Saint Vitus, I don’t think there’s anything to be gained from a new studio album. They haven’t announced one or anything, which has me hopeful, but after the success of any reunion, it’s the usual next step. I’m not saying they need to break up, and if they did put out another album, I’d probably come around and think it was the high point of man’s evolution, but on the off chance that it wouldn’t be, I’d almost rather they didn’t do anything at all.

Until they announce it. Then I’ll be psyched.

JJ Koczan hopes all your New Year’s wishes come true.