LATEST UPDATE: 3-3-06
Name: Michael Anthony Francisco
Birthday: November, 1968
Current location: Ohio, U.S.
Current occupation: Husband, Father, Marketing Research, Spiritual Advisor/Counselour (in that order).
Hobbies: Loving my wife, playing with my son, sleeping, reading, surfing the web for more metal information.
Favorite books: Creating Money (by Sanaya Roman), Healing With Angels (by Doreen Virtue), The Angel Experience (by Terry Lynn Taylor), The Jesus Mysteries (by Timothy Freke & Peter Gandy), Healing Grief (by James van Praagh), The Biography of Satan (by Kelsey Graves), The Dictionary & Thesaurus.
Favorite movies: The Muppet Movie, Star Wars (all), Men at Work, Poltergeist, Exit to Eden, Don't be a Menace to South-Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood, Badder Santa, Event Horizon, Raiders of the Lost Ark (all 3), Terminator 2, Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The Ref, Snatch and basically any movie which Paul Veerhoeven directed: Robocop, Total Recall, Flesh & Blood, Basic Instinct, Showgirls, Starship Troopers, Hollowman, etc.
Words that describe me: Locquacious, pleonastic, well-read, witty, extremely selective, anal-lyticool, passionate, "never a dull moment", "voracity for veracity", "spiritually searching; gnostically qualified".
Instrumental talents: Hearing unwritten music in my head which I have to hum to my friends to play for me or transcribe in some way.
Past and present band experience: I was banned from a record store once and a Krogers too during my wreckless youth.
Favorite music listening location and why: I enjoy metal on my stereo, computer, in my car, anywhere I can hear music is fine by me; even grocery stores and retail locations where you hear overhead music; but not the radio with all the B$ and commercials! Why, because I need music like humans need food. Basically food is tertiary to metal & sleep for me.
How I got into metal: I have been listening to metal for close to 3 decades. Growing up in California in the 70s & 80s definitely helped; since they played hard rock and heavy metal on the radio back then. My first cassette was Reo Speedwagon 'Hi-Infidelity', followed shortly by AC/DC 'Dirty deeds'. My older sister had some cool albums and tapes as well by The Who & Led Zeppelin. My real baptism came when I was only 12 and shipped off to Military School where I discovered Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Ozzy, Dio, Riot, Def Leppard, Rush, Accept, Motley Crue, and many other bands. I would also listen to "Metal Shop" and hear several underground bands from all over the world. So I enthusiastically taped the show and searched everywhere for these bands. Usually Military bases carried W.A.S.P., Anthrax, Slayer, Grim Reaper, Pretty Maids, Running Wild, Raven, etc. So when I saved up enough allowance, I'd buy a tape or 2. My one friend from Saudi Arabia always had killer bootleg tapes with bonus tracks not on the domestic release. Thankfully, in the early 80s, I could purchase Rush, Maiden, Judas Priest & Saxon at my local K-mart or Sears at a sale price. By the time I was a junior in high school, I was heavily into the tape trading underground and reading every metal 'zine I could find. Then, I moved to Cincinnati (alone) to attend my senior year at Moeller so I could save on tuition at Xavier University. It was difficult moving from kick-back California to conservative Cincinnati and finding metal brethren with whom to associate; but I managed to find one metal dude who didn't think I worshipped Satan, and he introduced me to some more bands. He had an awesome metal video collection too. Finally, I attended Xavier where my love for metal infected everyone I met who were mostly into the glam bands of the day; which then I utterly repudiated. My one friend Terry and I really became good friends and purchased almost every band on the Noise International label. He also introduced me to older Loudness CDs. I also befriended some dudes who helped me get a metal show on the airwaves where I was introduced to several punk crossover bands which I still love to this day. After College, I went to graduate school to persue my Masters in Theology. By this time I was really into many Christian metal bands which I still enjoy to this day. After I finished graduate school, I came back to Cincinnati where I met several awesome metal brothers who expanded my love for the genre. They were very munificent, lending me rare titles to then dub. In the early 90s Denis's Sentinel Steel distro and Craig Wisnom's argosy of mettle also contributed to my overspending on everything metal, given the expense of imports. Lately, my friend Dave has been such a mettle blessing; especially since he has a lot of CDs I can hear. My greatest joy of all is that I have found a total mettle wife who has celebrated and corroborated my passion for metal for 6 straight years now. My ultimate joy is to listen to a new CD with her for the first time and discover what we can individually glean from it, and then discuss our opinions of it. I Also relish the attending of a concert where she knows the music so well that she even impresses the bands themselves. She has received so many compliments from many famous musicians.
Most influential bands: Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Accept, Gamma Ray, Skyclad, Rush, Alice Cooper, Manowar, Kiss, almost all Noise bands!
Favorite/most memorable concerts: There have been so many shows that I've seen, but the ones with my wife are by far the best ever! We recently saw Therion twice back to back in Colombus & Cleveland. The Cleveland show was the best as we also saw Jon Oliva's Pain, Chris Caffery (celebrating his birthday), and Ripper Owens' new band Beyond Fear. We hung out with Therion both nights which was just amazing sharing mettle wisdom with them. Also we just saw Hammerfall with Edguy which was cool; but the Hammerfall & Dio show on Dec. 5 2002 was a night to remember as our son Stephen was born 9 months later. My wife and I also enjoyed the Classic Metal Fest 2001 with an amazing line-up of bands with such a poor attendance. We met almost every band which played. The after show parties which followed were so intense as members from Cage, Manilla Road, Vicious Rumours, Agent Steel, Exciter, Omen, Destiny's End, New Eden, Anvil, Cauldron Born, Jacob's Dream, Hades, Halloween, Abattoir, Damien Thorne, Premonition, Skullview, and more either gathered for food at 3 a.m. at Denny's or at this one fan's house where we waxed poetic all night while imbibing homemade beer. We even had a hotel party where over 50 people were scrunched into one room. My other classic metal show experience without my wife would be the Headbanger's Ball Tour with Helloween, Anthrax, & Exodus. I finally got to meet Helloween; although, Kai had already departed. They were so cool. We missed Anthrax's entire set so I could wine and dine with Mike Kiske who I so adored. Exodus were cool, but way too drunk. When I saw them recently, I reminded them of that night but they had long since forgot. That recent Exodus show was killer as my wife and I were celebrating our 5th anniversary, so all the bands invited us backstage for food and festivities after the show. This meant a great deal to me, as I got to hang with Lee Altus from Heathen and Paul Bostoph from Forbidden; now new members to Exodus. The other bands; 3 Inches of Blood, Crisis, & Watch Them Die were very entertaining. Also, I later saw Anthrax in 2000 where I broke my ankle while moshing. It was freezing outside, and I could not drive; so Anthrax let me hang with them all night. Apparently, they had remembered seeing me the day before when they went for coffee at the Barnes & Noble where I was working.
Genre likes: Power metal, classic metal, speed metal, thrash.
Genre dislikes: Nu-metal bands which attempt to be metal.
Thoughts on the metal genres:
Black metal: I'm not a fan of blast beat-pure evil with no melody type black metal; but I love bands which transcend the genre like Cradle of Filth. There is enough negativity in this world. Most of these Satansick bands have either evolved into neo-gothic black key lawless driven hyper speed bleed metal with very little talent but shocking artwork or CD titles... oh boy!
Death metal: What is death metal exactly? I love the band Death, but I don't think of them as death metal. It seems that death metal is either thrash with harsh vocals like Morbid Angel, Deicide, etc. or its slow grinding groove tones with blast beats which sound like the breaks squeaking on a roller coaster. How do you categorize Carcass? They began as grindcore and became melodic metal. What about Therion? Consider their earlier work, and how incredible they sound now; basically creating their own style of music; which is never adequately imitated. Over all, death metal is just a marketing term manufactured to appeal to recusant youth seeking something shocking and perverse. My Noise International 'Death metal' compilation from 1985 has Helloween & Running Wild on it for freaks sake. Some of the best metal bands even utilize death-like silence for effect. Recall Rob Halford's "Fight".
Doom metal: Well I guess this all started with the drugged-out hooks of Sabbath & Blue Cheer, but there is no denying the influence of Candlemass & Solitude Aeturnus. Overall, most newer bands are just tired and red and to me don't offer anything new or exciting.
Folk metal: This really became established with Skyclad and their brilliant and witty lyrics characterized by the guitar and fiddle combo. However, several Scandinavian bands have created the sub-genre viking metal stealing heavily from Bathory and early Satyricon. These bands are quite interesting, especially Finntroll. There are some bands which just can't be classified like In Extremo. Overall, I like a band who does a little something different. Check out the new Galloglass and see what I mean.
Gothic metal: Once again, this is propagandic terminology hellbent on compelling mispent youth to shop at Hot Topic and get their bodies pierced and tattoed all over. I worship Moonspell, but are they really gothic metal? Some reviewers classify Nightwish as gothic metal. Ostogoth is classic metal, not gothic. The Goths did not invent metal, now did they?
Heavy/melodic metal: My wife and I love all mettle unless it sucks or is not really metal; same with hard rock...
Power metal: This is one of my favorite genres, and I love the "happy metal" bands who tend to have a more opti-mystic approach to life.
Progressive metal: I can only take so much of the self-indulgent bands which become tedious & boring after awhile. Somehow, Dream Theater & Rush always seem to keep it fresh.
Symphonic metal: I really love this genre as well. One can't deny how Rhapsody used John Williams & Danny Elfman for musical influence. Sadly, like most genres, this one has run it's course for originality. Most symphonic bands have to incorporate some new aspect of instrumentality into their music; while trying not to sound too keyboardy or repititious.
Thrash metal: I love all thrash and speed metal. This is my favorite style of metal! This is what I listened to when I inscribed metal into my heart and became "Bonded by blood". I am always one for being "Caught in a mosh", afraid to "Wake up dead" just "South of heaven". The whiplash effects of the power thrashing death melodies are what sustained me through my early 20s as I slowly began to "Fade to insanity" while "Never losing my humor". So my motto is "Never say never".
Favorite musicians: Kai Hansen, Steve Harris, Ritchie Blackmore, Geddy Lee, Glen Tipton, K.K. Downing, Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, Janick Gers.
Favorite vocalists: Rob Halford, Alice Cooper, Bruce Dickinson, Dio, Tobias Sammet, Andre Matos, Mike Kiske, Udo Dirkschneider, Eric Adams.
Favorite CD covers: Iron Maiden 'Powerslave', Judas Priest 'Painkiller', Gamma Ray 'Land of the free', Accept 'Metal heart', Tankard 'The morning after', Coven 'Blessed is the black', Black Sabbath 'Heaven and Hell'.
Favorite bands: Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Accept, Skyclad, Manowar, too many to mention.
Favorite CDs: Vendetta 'Brain damage', Deathrow 'Deception ignored', Gamma Ray 'Land of the free', Skyclad 'Silent whales of lunar sea', most 80s Noise & Metal Blade titles, the rest would be too many to mention.
CDs that are overrated: All these new bands like God Forbid, Trivium, Mnemic, etc., and also the last couple of Dimmu Borgir CDs.
CDs that are underrated: Vendetta all, Deathrow all, Tankard all & several other killer Noise bands, also Petty Pew 'Against the stream of modern influence'.
Most prized metal posession: My wife! Also my original Kiss dolls, lunch boxes, toys and other rare Kiss merchandise like the comic book signed in blood.
Reasons I joined the Metal CD Ratings site: I just want to share my love and passion for metal to all dedicated fans and to express my heartfelt opinion for the CDs I either worship or despise.
Advantages to being a reviewer on the Metal CD Ratings site: I finally get someone to read my rants whom I may not know.
Disadvantages to being a reviewer on the Metal CD Ratings site: I may upset a true metal fan with my tendency to opinionate. Sorry, but I have such a passion for mettle, that I can't please everyone. I'll try to be as objective as is warranted.
Bands I would like to see in concert: Gamma Ray, Dragonforce, Stratovarius, Vendetta, Onslaught, Sarah Brightman.
People I would like to meet: Rob Halford, Steve Harris, Martin Walkyier, Alice Cooper, King Diamond, Geddy Lee, Udo.
What I would like to see for the future of metal: I would like to see less classification and more appreciation for the bands who strive so diligently to stay alive amidst the poseurs of today. I would like to see a total demise of nu-metal and return to classic metal on the airwaves and domestic venues. Also, I would like to see more bands trying anything new and original. Finally, due to the success of the ABBA tribute; I demand a metal tribute to Michael Jackson! Jeff Walker from Carcass is doing a country & bluegrass tribute featuring songs by John Denver & Johnny Cash; now that sounds quite promising!
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