Metal industry updates during quarantine, by a true metalhead

Metal industry updates during quarantine, by a true metalhead

It’s hard to believe MEGACRUISE was just 7 months ago — where we were all on a boat for five days together! We were singing together, moshing together, sweating together and here we are hanging out in our own homes, anxiously awaiting to swap mosh pit sweat again, someday.

Let’s focus on the cool shit happening.

Testament released their thirteenth album Titans of Creation on April 3rd, 2020. I’m not even going to pretend I write album reviews. I’m a photographer… I can tell stories and I can tell you I love this album! I put my ear buds in, laid down with the sun shining through my second story window, closed my eyes and just soaked in the music and lyrics, like I did when I was a kid. Remember those days? Titans of Creation is a bit old-school Testament mixed with new-level Testament. Eric Peterson and his captivating, dark, haunting vocals on “Curse of Osiris” and “Night of the Witch” has me hitting the replay over and over.

As you listen to “Catacombs”, pretend you are at the show. Close your eyes. The lights go dark and your heart starts pounding, as Gene Hoglan takes his seat behind the drums. Through the fog, you see Alex Skonik, Eric Peterson and Steve Di Giorgio take the stage. The anticipation of the opening song… (okay, if I were at the show, I would have cheated and looked at the set list already). Chuck fucking Billy walks out onstage and… to be continued in 2021.

I checked in with Phillip and Gonzo Sandoval. Besides restoring guitars, being chefs, cooking up some lobsters and finishing new Armored Saint album, what else are they up to lately? The Sandoval brothers have begun gathering the music for Phil’s first solo EP ever! This is going to be fun and hard rocking!!!! Brother Gonzo Sandoval will be playing drums, while also engineering & producing this creative opus! “Stay tuned, stay strong, stay safe! One Love! Rock!” Shouts Gonzo.

Ra Diaz of Suicidal Tendencies never stops moving.

Ra is engaging on so many levels — musically and culturally. Ra has been jamming with Charlie Benante (of Anthrax) and Alex Skolnik (of Testament) covering songs by Rush, Taylor Swift, Billie Ellish… true story. Ra’s also been jamming with Travis Barker of Blink-182. Ra was even creating some new tees for ST. I’m super stoked for the pink-on-black shirts! Catch up with Ra on Instagram

Lamb of God just released their eighth album on June 19th! This is the first album to feature drummer Art Cruz, who officially became a member of the band in 2019. Chuck Billy (Testament) and Jamey Jasta (Hatebreed) special guest on this self-titled album, too. With the current state of the world and you gotta hear this album in its entirety!

At Top Shelf Music, we are about one love, unity and solidarity. Look out for each other, be kind, be mindful! We all are feeling this on different levels. Check in on your people. We are better together.

Photography by Gonzo Sandoval & Craig Newman

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