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Wednesday, 24 June 2009

I'm a bargain hunter, twisted bargain hunter...

I must confess that this post's heading has absolutely no bearing on the content whatsoever. If you were expecting something about the Prodigy, I apologise.

On my lunchtime meandering around the transsexual crack dive that is Soho I wandered into HMV to check out the things I can no longer afford to buy (Download's fault but I care not). As usual, "2 for £10" is slap bang in front of you so I thought I'd amuse myself by seeing how many U2, Bruce Springsteen and Verve albums were on offer but fuck me, they had some actual good music today. Ramones, Clash, Korn, Prodigy (aha, a slight Prodigy reference...) - I was genuinely surprised. Usually I go to the back corner, skulk around the "Metal" section for ten minutes picking up Carcass albums and putting them down again, then leave. But today, I put my hand in my pocket and made a couple of purchases.

Number one is Korn's Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 - not entirely sure what following volumes will include as all the real quality is on here, from "Blind" to "Freak On A Leash", plus their seven-odd minute Pink Floyd "Another Brick In The Wall" cover. An obvious choice, really.

Number two was a bit more left field for me, as it's Pendulum's "In Silico". I'm a bit confused about Pendulum. To me, they're a drum and bass act but fuck me, the crowd go balls-in-a-wasps-nest mental at their gigs, and this aforementioned crowd is made up of everyone from sweaty vest-wearing fuckers like me to day-glow gloved cheesy Quavers. Although they look a bit erroneous on the Download poster, both last year and this they were immense. So sod it, why not? I first heard Pendulum when "Slam" came out donkey's years ago and thought it was a pretty good dance tune, and "Propane Nightmares" is undeniably insane so I'll be interested to hear the rest of the album.

Oh, and this month's Classic Rock has a history of metal, complete with a NWOTM (that's New Wave Of Traditional Metal for all you newbies) free CD on the front plus the Sisters Of Mercy's first interview in 12 years. How could I not take that puppy to the counter?

Until next time...

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Download 2009, we salute you

What can I say? Download 2009 ABSOLUTELY FUCKING RULED. Not eloquent, I know, but it's difficult to express in more verbose terms just how much Download 2009 ABSOLUTELY FUCKING RULED...

So here it is, in as much as a nutshell as this MADman can muster...

Day 1:

Hot Chick and I arrived early doors and dutifully purchased our 68,000 beer tokens. The first act we were treated to were nu-metalish Hollywood Undead which to be fair, weren't my bag but seemed to be getting the crowd going pretty well for a main stage opener. Mind you, everyone was so spurred on by the fact that the event had just opened and the sun was shining that S Club 7 probably could have got a circle pit going.

Sylosis were the first brutally metal band we experienced. I didn't make visual contact with these guys due to a combination of my fat arse laying on the floor through heat exhaustion and there being a big crowd, but the guttural vocal and penetrating bass drum had me intrigued. More on these guys in the coming months...

I've been a fan of "The Plot To Bomb The Panhandle" by A Day To Remember since I first head it a couple of years ago and I've seen these guys in passing before but I was keen to take in the whole set. They played with a passion and energy which surprised me - I was expecting a traditionally smiley emo-tatsic affair but they were serious about kicking the shit out of Download and to be fair, they did a bloody good job.

The revelation for me for Day 1 was Dir En Grey. I've heard a lot about these Japanese oddballs, with comparisons with everyone in the world ("A frankly Dir, Duff announcement", March 30th 2009) so I was interested to see if they'd live up to their hype. I was frankly mesmerised. From the moment that vocalist Kyo kicked into a variety of high-end notes and bassy, grindcore vocals, I could not stop watching them. The songs had tons of layers and kept me engrossed. They're not an obvious band and need listening to but I can see myself becoming a proper, proper fan...

Billy Talent impressed Hot Chick but not I. Benjamin Kowalewicz's vocal did little more than piss me off. Too much screaming; not metal harsh screaming, just pretty gay screaming. They were followed by Killswitch Engage and as I expected, 80's-namesaked Howard Jones et al fucking destroyed their predecessors. Billy Talent didn't deserve the same stage.

And much against my better judgement, I thought Limp Bizkit were un-feckin'-believably good and a major highlight of the day. EVERYONE was singing along, EVERYONE was doing terrible wigger dancing, and EVERYONE was loving it, although not as much as the two guys old fat 'n' bald Durst pulled out of the crowd to sing on stage with him. Limp Bizkit were indeed in the house and to be fair, they brought it down.

So a million beers in, Motley Crue take to the stage and kick off with "Kickstart my Heart", which kickstarted a plethora of flashing titties and massive haired headbanging. As they ploughed through classics such as "Shout At The Devil", the crowd were feeling it, I was feeling it, but couldn't help thinking, "I'm missing Faith No More..."

So Round we went. Patton and the boys smashed through "Surprise, You're Dead", "Epic" and "Midlife Crisis" like they hadn't been apart for the last decade and a half. The atmosphere was ridiculous and Mike-to-tha-P was conversing with 80,000 people like he was chatting with some mates. A clear highlight of day 1. Oh, and I got sunburnt and pissed to fuck as well.

Day 2:

Five Finger Death Punch followed by Devildriver followed by Hatebreed. For me, the main stage was the place to be. 5FDP were unbelievable, combining the brutality of Hatebreed with the melody of Stone Sour in one pit-enducing orgy of violent bliss. Definitely up there in my top five sets of the weekend. However, as I love Devildriver with a quite gay passion, I have to put these guys up there. With Guinness World Records on hand to verify the circle pit, the dust flew as these Californian thrash gods flew into the 2010 book. Sadly, I was watching from afar. Sunburnt, old, hungover and/or drunk, I just couldn't get in in time... And then Hatebreed came onstage and essentially kicked us all in the spleen, spat in our beers and slapped our mum's behinds. Good work Jasta, good work.

Oh, and Lawnmower Deth? The best version of "Kids In America" I have ever heard. Search for it. It will change your life!

Hot Chick was incredibly impressed with Hardcore Superstar and from what I saw, they were a legitimate rock option for a ball-cookingly warm day 2. Of course, we couldn't miss DragonForce. I've loved these guys for a couple of years but I must confess, they do get a wee bit tedious with the ol' guitar wankery. And ZP Theart needs to stop introducing "Through The Fire And The Flames" as "The song that made Guitar Hero 3 famous!" - it's getting a bit dry. Am I falling out of love with the 'Force? Tbc...

Marilyn Manson managed to win my "Cunt Of The Weekend" award. A huge arsenal of potential tunes, a reputation for vile behaviour, a history of causing offence and disgust. His set was like watching the Antiques Roadshow, although Michael Aspel might have been more interesting. Absolute shite. He should be ashamed of himself. Especially as he was warming up the crowd for...

Slipknot. Winners of the "Performance of The Weekend" award. Kicking off with the first four tunes from their eponymous first album, the crowd were going fucking insane. There was not a single thing I can criticise about this set, apart from the renegade spastics who refused to "sit the fuck down" as Corey requested during "Spit It Out". This being said, 70,000-odd people launching into the sky as he shouts "JUMP THE FUCK UP!!!" is a sight/feeling to behold.

My one major beef with day 2 was the sound quality of the second stage. As a lifelong Prodigy fan, I couldn't wait to see them tear it up, as I haven't see them since Reading 1998. However, the sound was similar to if they were playing in an egg box in the boot of a Vauxhall Vectra. Which, to be honest, ate shit in a big way. Not the bands fault though, so my love stays strong.

Day 3:

Further sunburnt, despite the factor 50, hungover to hell and having eaten nothing but food made from the foreskin of impoverished livestock for 48 hours, I was feeling a touch weary. So an 11:30 Tuborg got me back on the right track. The first band we caught were Turbowolf, who were a System Of A Down-meets-Biffy Clyro kinda band who I quite enjoyed. Trigger The Bloodshed were, to be honest, less than believable. I just didn't feel that their singer was right but despite the drummer being a massive ginge, he was hitting the skins with savage ability. They were technically good but together, were a bit shit.

The highlight of Sunday was again, the main stage, with a Tesla, Skin, Black Stone Cherry, Journey fixture. I thought Tesla were miming as they were so damn tight but alas no, they were just 80's hair-tastically amazing. Skin were good fun too and Black Stone Cherry continue to be perhaps the most consistent band I have seen live. This was our fourth outing with the Kentucky quartet and they are still unable to hit a bum note.

But then there's Journey. All I can say is 50,000 people singing "Don't Stop Believing" is a beautiful thing. I'll have a video up shortly so watch this space. Despite the band being so old they forgot a fair few words, this set was probably second, maybe third, for the whole weekend.

Clutch were typically cool and Southern, with Mr. Fallon a amicable frontman. Hot Chick was teenage-tastic when decade-long crush Coby Dick took to the stage with Papa Roach who, although playing a tight set, suffered from poor sound much the same was as The Prodigy had the day before.

Seeing David "Ere's a song for ya" Coverdale singing "Is This Love" and "Here I Go Again" live is truly a spectacle. How a man so haggered and old can be such a damn sexy bastard is extraordinary. I'm not gay for Whitesnake but man, that guy is one smooth mufu'er.

So all that was left was Def Leppard. If I may be blunt, I was a touch disappointed. The Leppard are kinda a bit too chilled out to close a festival and I can't help feeling they're back catalogue doesn't have as many rousing party anthems as you'd like to think. Okay, the crowd were there for "Photograph" and "Let's Get Rocked" but apart from that, there was a lot of MOR rocking, which left some of the crowd so bored that they started a fire.

Well, there it is. No doubt Ive left a couple of bands out but what do you want from me? You're probably bored of reading, you probably were after day one, so don't bitch at me...sorry, I got a bit emotional. You see, I already miss Download. This year, I got to meet a drunken Dez from DevilDriver and Frederiq from DragonForce as they ran through the crowd like retards chasing a dead butterfly. They were happy to have photos taken and like everyone else, were having a fucking awesome time.

I'm tired now. Any questions, please let me know at some point. But to summarise, Download 2009; You were the daddy.

Thursday, 11 June 2009


That's my excited noise.

This time tomorrow I shall be spanking my ageing motor down the motorway, Hot Chick by my side, metal blaring out of the speakers, aiming for Derbyshire. Seemingly the weather is going to be shite but I care not, for there ain't a thang in the world that could dampen my spirits about this weekend. I may even go naked. Or not. People would ask for refunds on their tickets.

So much fuckin' rules about Download 2009. The fact that the line up is arse-juicingly savage and the booze is the same price as last year are big hits with this MADman but the revelation that Domino's Pizza are going to be in attendance made me weep with joy.

So this'll be my last post before the event itself. I fully intend to spend the next 3-4 days a combination of hugely drunk or hugely hungover. If you fancy that, let me know.

See you on the other side.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

The secret's out

And alas, more rock doth come. Metal titans Thunder have been confirmed as one of the secret bands for this years Download, which adds to the plethora of pure headbanging awesomeness already on the bill! I can now confidently say that Download 2009 will be the hairiest event I will ever attend...

In addition, St. Albans shitcore troupe Enter Shikari will also be gracing the stage. I have rarely been less bothered by an announcement to be honest but I guess you've got to keep the youngsters happy. I've heard many people hail these guys as the pioneers of "trance metal" but to be honest, Pitchshifter had this kind of shit recorded many moons ago so Enter Shikari ain't doing anything inspirational. I'm not going to cane them too hard as they haven't ever really offended my sensibilities but I can safely say that their set will well and truly pass me by.

It looks like it's going to be pant-soilingly terrible weather (so Thunder in terms of band and weather then? Ha ha! Sorry, I'm so tired...) but as Hot Chick rightly said, that's why God invented gay yellow ponchos and wellington boots. Not for me though. I'll be down to my vest and pants in the pit getting my air guitar on...

Monday, 8 June 2009

An Epic time or a Feelgood moment?

With less than 5 days to go, my sphincter quivers further at the prospect of the beer-drinking Download carnage that will soon ensue. But some of the clashes are pretty harsh. The key one, of course, being Faith No More vs. Motley Crue.

Let's look at some of the facts; Faith No More have been separated for over a decade and with the exception of a small warm up gig in Brixton, this will be the first chance that thousands of people, including my white self, have had to see them. They have been credited/blamed for starting nu metal, and songs like "Jizzlobber", "Midlife Crisis" and absolute twatting anthem "Epic" are absolute stomp-along classics of our time.

But alas, Motley Crue are perhaps, no, not perhaps, they are the definitive hair/heavy/sleaze metal band. Reading Nikki Sixx's "Heroin Diaries" or the band biog "The Dirt" shows you what a hedonistic fucked-up bunch of oft-dead, grimy bastards these boys are. And that's not the best bit. With seminal work "Dr. Feelgood" reaching the double-decade this year, word on the bridle path is that they're playing the whole album, start to finish. Oh good lord...

So there's the dilemma. Motley Crue's set eats into 45 minutes of FNM's. I shall have to let the gods of chance decide because at the moment, I have just a touch less than no fucking idea.

Other brutal clashes for this MADman are:

The Prodigy vs. Slipknot
God Forbid vs. Black Stone Cherry
Lacuna Coil vs. Killswitch Engage

Trivium vs. Def Leppard/Whitesnake is kind of a clash but having seen Trivium twice (maybe three times?) and knowing I'm pretty much never going to see the NWOBHM stalwarts again, it has to be Joe Elliott et al. This being said, no fucker is going to miss Leppard and 'Snake, so maybe Trivium will be a good choice........ nah. Sorry Matt Heafy; I love you boys but decisions need to be made, and I must stand firm.

Can't wait for Fightstar too....................................HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Almost kept a straight face.

Friday, 5 June 2009


And so the weekend approaches, and I find myself asking, "will anything this weekend be as amazing as listening to 'Contractor' on Lamb Of God's new album?"

Let me make one thing clear; since seeing LOG at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods in 2007, I've had a huge amount of respect for these guys. Raw, brutal, heavy fucking metal. The "Burn The Priest" oh-so-obviously-anti days are gone and the remains are a savage metal band that would beat you and all your mates in any kind of brawl you fancied.

I must admit friends, I have had a couple of beers. However, my opinion is still as important...perhaps...

For three consecutive days in the gym, I've been listening to "Wrath". Not since Machine Head's "The Blackening" have I felt a band transcend their own hype. LOG's Grammy-nominated "Redneck" is an insane tune, don't get me wrong, but this album is something else. "Fake Messiah" is a circle-pit singalong (or smack-the-fuck-out-of-each other-along) the likes of which I haven't heard since Slipknot's "Eyeless" or Marilyn Manson's "Fight Song". 

I don't want to waste to much of your gorgeous time dissecting this album as I am well behind the curve with reviews - it's been out for a good few weeks. However, never have I felt so aurally gang-banged as when I first listened to "Wrath". Don't get me wrong, "Ashes Of The Wake" is a great metal album but with their new joint, Lamb Of God have kicked me in the nuts, pushed me over the table, raped me in the ear and pissed their logo into my bleeding face. If you don't own this shit soon, you are either mad or retarded.

Lamb Of God; this is a mother fucking invitation to be one of the heaviest bands around.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

What a dichotomy

Just a quick note from me today scumbags. I shouldn't really call you scumbags as I do truly love both of you who read Metal Harmony on a regular basis...

The recession is well and truly kicking in for this MADman, as you may have noticed from my last emotional outpouring re: the glory that is the Skynyrd. It's now god knows how long since I've been to a gig and it's making me a bit Jack Nicholson-in-a-big-fuckin'-hotel crazy. My monies are drying up, my drive is in park and despite the sunshine, I'm feeling a bit emo about everything.

I think it's time for me to sit in my room, grow/iron my hair, turn out the lights and listen to 30 Seconds To Mars.

But wait!

Download is but two weeks away. The thought of three days smashing weak lager in front of Slipknot, Hatebreed, Faith No More, 69 Eyes, Def Leppard, Whitesnake, feckin' Journey, and many more deities of rock is keeping me sane (well, sane as ever) and stopping me from going on some kind of brutal Grand Theft Auto-inspired rampage.

Plus, a new tattoo has been designed and shall be scarring me in the not too distant future.

Life sucks and life rocks. Go figure.