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Friday, 30 October 2009

Fun in public toilets

I like Guinness a lot. The rich, silky, slightly metallic taste, the deep, peaty aroma; everything about it is right. Problem is, the day after indulging in a number of these darkened treats you tend to feel like you're being violently raped in the head by a moose whilst having to control a stomach hell bent of leaving your arse with kidneys, liver and eyeballs in tow.

To summarise, I have a hangover. But lo, good things have happened this week, the main being New York hardcore legends Madball announcing a 20th anniversary UK tour, which inexplicably includes a 250-capacity converted public toilet about five minutes from my flat. Combine this with a couple of tickets to see Trivium in March 2010, supported by the awesome Chimaira and unbelievably brutal Whitechapel and all in all, happy fucking days.

It's largely accepted that liking Trivium is uncool amongst the metal elitist penises but I'll say it loud and proud - I really like Trivium (fair enough that wasn't particularly loud but it's the best I can muster). Having seen them a number of times, including a tiny London gig that raised the bar hugely("And then it happened...again", December 12th 2008), they always put on an awesome show so fuck you, alright? This being said, my main reason for bruising the ol' credit card is Whitechapel. Ever since hearing This Is Exile and almost starting to cry due to it's sheer savagery, I've been keen to see if the over-stringed guitar weilders can do the same at a live show. Most folks say yes but until it's proven, I'm reserving judgement.

As I'm a lucky bastard, I've secured a copy of Amon Amarth's Versus the World Reissue, which if it's anything like The Crusher Reissue, is going to peel my face of and replace it with the severed beard of a fallen Viking warlord.

If I may rant briefly, I'm pissed off with Atreyu. The new album Congregation of the Damned was released this week and being a bit gay for Atreyu, I got a substantial sense of scrotal tightening when I saw that for one day only, the album was available for download at the handsome price of $3.99. I don't normally download albums as I like everything about CDs (which I suppose is old fashioned now?) but for £1.50, I'd have to be an indescribable cunt not to, eh? So I set up the Amazon download tool thingy, clicked on "buy", did all that nonsense, only to be informed that the offer was only open to the USA. Rubbish. So if anyone from Atreyu is reading this (ha!) send me a copy or I'll whinge further. Or I'll just go and buy it, to be honest.

Oh, and cheers to the folk at Rock Radio for thinking my shit is good enough to have on their site - my blog on there will be updated a couple of times a month with yet more insightful wonderings from an opinionated drunk. There's a load of other cool shit on there so click on the link and have a gander.

Got to run - Guinness revenge.




Friday, 23 October 2009

He's his father's son

It's got to be hard following in the footsteps of a hugely successful metal parent. Fair enough, former fatty Jack Osbourne has done alright for himself and his barely-stomachable sister is rarely out of the tabloids but aside from them, there ain't millions to choose from.

With this in mind it was with a sense of trepidation that I listened to the new song The Slaughter from Incite. Fronted by the spawn of iconic vocalist Max Cavalera's own balls, Incite have the benefit and disadvantage of a phenomenal metal pedigree. Thankfully, Richie Cavalera manages to emulate his father effectively without being either a carbon copy or a spastic try-hard. This three-minute neckbreaker doesn't change the world musically or vocally but for a debut, it definitely confirms that Incite are one to watch.

After seeing Malefice support DevilDriver last week, I got my hands on their latest offering, Dawn of Reprisal, which is growing on me. Hatred Justified and As I Bleed sound somewhere between Lamb of God and Killswitch Engage - the melodic singing is definitely going to divide people. Not that metallers are opinionated...

In other news, Rammstein sold out Wembley, which is no mean feat. Can't fucking wait. On the subject of German obscurity, I've been tucking into some Teutonic punk in the shape of Kneipenterroristen. I have no idea what they're singing about, what the song titles are, but what I do know is they're a mix of Meteors-esque psychobilly and early Rancid and catchy as fuck. And a German punk version of Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire is always worth a listen. I'm pretty sure the album is all covers but can't find anything about this mob on the 'net so any info, holla at yo' MADman.

And whilst we're talking covers, AFI have decided, perhaps unwisely to cover David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust. The links in the list. In my humble opinion, it's pretty fucking feeble.

Off to see Juliette Lewis tonight - I bought tickets for Hot Chick as she's been dragged to a ton of brutality of late, so it's only right. I'm not filling my pants with excitement but I'm still keen to see what Ms. Lewis can come up with.

Laters masturbaters



Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Another night in London

You may, or indeed may not, have noticed that of late, I've been updating Metal Harmony on a Friday. I think it's nice to give both of you readers something to look forward to so fear not; an end of week post will follow but I swear to Randy Blythe if I don't tell someone about Saturday's DevilDriver gig my testicles will implode.

A 17:00 (that's 5pm for the special needs kids) start is early as fuck for a metal show but not wanting to miss Malefice, me and Hot Chick arrived as the doors opened. Unfortunately, this coincided with tens of thousands of Arsenal fans leaving Highbury so the atmosphere was a touch tense. However, we got into the Relentless Garage (sounds like the worst club night in history) and straight to the bar for a welcome pint of Tuborg. Yes, it's shit lager but it tastes like Download so LET ME HAVE MY MEMORIES!

Hailing from the bleak wastelands of Berkshire, Malefice kicked off in front of a room that can't have been more than about 40% full, which was a shame as they were pretty fucking solid. Frontman Dale Butler's got a decent death/thrash style and they opened up the evening extremely well. They were by no means extraordinary and I was surprised to learn they've been around for six years but no matter; they still got some heads nodding.

After the roadies had finished clearing the stage for Trigger The Bloodshed, we realised the roadies were Trigger The Bloodshed. Dressed in matching sleeveless black numbers, this collective of young, fresh-faced laddies started by standing in a line with their backs to the crowd in a manner that suggested we were about to hear something more akin to the the Backstreet Boys than Cannibal Corpse. And then it kicked in and yes, they're pretty heavy but the fact that vocalist Jonny Burgan had no sound whatsoever made his wild facial contortions and demonic stares all look a bit laughable. But they shredded out a solid musical performance which got a rudimentary pit going. I bought Jonny a Jaeger after their set as he was sitting on their merch stand looking knackered, and he was a thoroughly nice chap.

And so cometh Suicide Silence. This mob are pretty popular at present and according to a mate of mine, would fucking own the show. The problem was, the sound still kept cocking up and despite the fact that Mitch Lucker sounds like somewhere between a cat giving birth and a gorilla raping a meat grinder when he sings, the atmosphere never quite reached the frenzy I was expecting. There were a few bods in their Suicide Silence t-shirts giving it plenty in the middle but I was still standing about 15 feet from the stage without my pint getting so much as nudged. I'll see them again before I pass judgement though, as No Time To Bleed was pretty fucking brutal.

By now I've had a few beers, said my cursory "hello" to Metal Hammer's Alexander Milas and have purchased my merch, so all is going well. Behemoth take to the stage after what has to be the lengthiest drum tech test I have ever seen - seriously, the dude just sat there and blasted on and off for about half an hour, whilst an atmospheric soundtrack of wind and general weather-type shit came over the PA. Once they'd taken to the stage though, it was worth the wait. They've been on the scene for about 20 years so the Polish mentalists know how to work a room of this size although vocalist Adam Darski's shout of "let me see your cunting horns!" did sound ridiculous. However, there's no denying that Darski's voice was the best so far and the synchronised windmills brought even more atmosphere to what was turning into a savagely evil set. Behemoth recently had their video to "Ov Fire and Void" banned by YouTube (it's still in my "Cool Shit" list though") but combine this with the sheer number of Behemoth shirts there on the night and a confirmed slot at Bloodstock's 10-year-anniversary festival next year and I can see a lot more from this mob in the coming months.

But enough of all this bollocks, onto the point of this post. One or two of you may know that I'm a bit of a DevilDriver fan. I had, however, promised Hot Chick that I'd refrain from the pit having fucked my back up royally during a Throwdown pit earlier in the week. So when Dez Fafara and the boys came out and opened with End of the Line, I dutifully handed Hot Chick my beer and went fucking ballistic. The pit went from a bit of a murmur to an absolute onslaught of fists, legs, teeth, knees, and I'm pretty sure I saw a couple of bollocks rolling across the floor. As a 14-stone skinhead, it was my duty to use the youngsters in the pit as a stepladder, enabling me to surf my way to the front for an awesome manly handshake with Dez - what a fucking moment. The pit didn't stop once as they ripped through numbers like Hold Back The Day, Pray for Villains and of course Clouds Over California. Another highlight from me was the fact that they played Nothing Wrong, the first song off of their eponymous debut album - considering they didn't hit the big time until the third album this was an awesome inclusion in the setlist.

The pace slowed for I've Been Sober but the intensity remained, and when Dez informed us that they were filming the video for Another Night In London that very night, and guaranteed it would never be played anywhere other than in London, the pit exploded like a Peter North facial. I managed to get my carcass up onto the crowd three times and when I came down on the second occasion, there were cameras rolling - I swear here and now, if I'm in that video, I'll cry like a gay watching Bambi.

Once the set had finished, I felt fulfilled. I felt that the whole of this year had been leading to this gig. Not only did a man with tattoos of 9mm handguns on his head compliment my tattoos, not only did I get a few beers in me, not only did I see five heavy-as-fuck bands for less than a score, not only did I crowd surf harder than I ever have before, and get kudos off of the lead singer of my favourite band for it, not only did I do a Jaeger with an upcoming death metal band...I could go on...

Needless to say that 2009 is dead now. Nothing can beat this. And 2010? Okay, Lamb of God, Hatebreed and Machine Head are all going to have a good crack at it but to top this gig is going to be a fucking chore.

I'll enjoy seeing bands try though.

I'm off to eat my dinner.


Friday, 16 October 2009

Hardcore and prescription medicine

So Monday finally arrived and after a substantial drought in the land of giggage, I once again got to feel the sweaty embrace of other men in the wondrous pit at Daath/Throwdown/Unearth/Chimaira at London's Electric Ballroom. My hardcore ally Si-KO couldn't make it so there I was, all by myself, drinking snakebite and black and trying to avoid the world's drunkest man from emptying the contents of his pint glass and stomach into my hoody.

Daath opened proceedings with the room at about 40% capacity yet lead singer Sean Zatorsky, who looks like something between Jesus and a heroin tramp, managed to get a pretty noticeable pit going within a couple of songs, as well as gesticulating that their guitarist was a total wanker during one extended solo. Their hardcore-mit-death style set an awesome pace for the evening and with the aid of the ol' snakey 'n' blacks I felt my head start to nod.

Since hearing Venom and Tears and Haymaker, and catching a bit of their live set at Download 2008, I've been keen on a bit of Throwdown so thought this would be a good time to chug a couple of pints and get involved in the pit. Down to the front I went with pockets rammed with t-shirt, phone, MP3, travel card, hoody round my waste, and shoes adequately secured after the Rise Against incident ("The pits", March 10th 2009). I cannot remember a single song they played apart from Holy Roller as to be honest, I was too busy going retard-fuck-spazzingly mental. The pit wasn't as mad as something like Machine Head but it was well executed, concentrated bursts of violence. Dave Peters and I made eye contact long enough for my hand gestures and shouts of "CIRCLE PIT" to get a the big man's approval, and so the bedlam continued. A burst of songs from Vendetta and new album Deathless were complimented by Peters' constant crowd surfing and encouraging those underneath him to help out with some of the singing (well, shouting). And then it ended and I realised I was beyond knackered. Too old for this shit.

Standing at the bar afterwards, a couple of lads came up to me and said "mate, you were going mental at the front!" - yes, yes I was kids. For I have done this sort of thing before. They then pointed out I had blood on my face; a quick check for injuries revealed it wasn't mine. Yummy.

Whilst surviving the pit for Throwdown's whole set was awesome, I was a wee bit worse for wear on the other side so decided to have a little rest for Unearth, who played an absolutely punishing few numbers, taking songs from The Oncoming Storm and even further back, whilst frontman Trevor Phipps managed to keep the insane bastards still in the pit going fucking ballistic, encouraging them to get over the top (much to the annoyance of the security guards). Drummer Derek Kerswill's kick was so brutal that I regularly felt I was going to shit my pants and being as this wasn't a GG Allin gig, I thought that may have been frowned upon.

I was talking to Alexander Milas from Metal Hammer in the beautiful smoking area when I realised I was rapidly approaching the threshold of "better fuck off or you're not getting home sunshine" so had to duck out after Chimaira had only played four songs. Which frankly sucked, as the room was off the chizz-ain. With Darude's 90s trance number Sandstorm playing erroneously over the PA just before Fuck Your Power Trip kicked in, shoes, spit, blood, bodies, everything was flying all over the shop and vocalist Mark Hunter was genuinely humbled by the scene.

On the plus side, Chimaira are playing with Whitechapel and Trivium in March so at least I'll be able to catch a full set then.

All I can say is "fuck me". The absolute fury of these bands on stage created one of the most volatile, high-intensity rooms I've ever been in. But despite this, and with the exception of one guy getting chinned by a complete cunt in the pit, there was no hint of anything nasty outside the circle. A fucking top show by fucking top bands. Good work; carry on.

So the floodgates have opened. Tomorrow is Malefice, Behemoth, Suicide Silence, Trigger the Bloodshed and the mighty godlike DevilDriver. The one problem is that due to my hardcore mental pit monkey slam gnarliness, I've fucked my back up big time. Sleep for the last two nights has been aided by beer and Diazepam, which go together like razor blades and aspirin, so happy days. But once Dez and the boys get going, I'm not sure there's going to be anything that'll fix me afterwards.

I'm off to do some calisthenics. Either that or my next post will probably from my wheelchair.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Political Metal

This week I had the honour and privilege of listening to the new album from Bakteria, eloquently entitled Defecate! Suffocate! Mutilate! Masturbate! And sure enough, songs such as Hospital Fuck Fest and Shit On My Pubes have to rank alongside early Bob Dylan in terms of social relevance and sheer resonance with a generation experiencing it's first major economic downturn.

Metal and politics have a huge amount in common, although there's probably more cunts in politics. I say "probably" because metal's got Axl Rose and Aaron Lewis from Stain'd. But there are clearly parallels to be made. Exhibit 1: Tony Blair came into power in 1997 as an absolute revelation, a complete about-turn for UK politics. Young, ambitious, and full of guts. A decade on, most people think he's a bit of an over-rated tool. Slipknot's debut in 1999 was a blend of then-current nu-metal and downright savage brutality. They were pissed off folk from the arse end of nowhere and spoke to a new generation of metallers. A decade on, they've still got their fans but as far as the metal elitists are concerned...wait for it...all hope is gone.

But the comparisons are everywhere.

Tony Benn - grizzled, old, been there from day one, always stuck to his guns, absolute legend. Iron Maiden, anyone?

David Cameron - young, says all the right things to try to appeal to floating voters young and old but in essence, there's a significant lack of innovation and has nothing of any real depth about him whatsoever - Bring Me The Horizon, come on down.

The entire Liberal Democrat party - always been in the background, the policies are theoretically sound but let's face it; they're never going to run the country - Saxon, please step forward.

Which leaves us with the Political Download Festival; Labour on main stage, Conservatives on the second, Lib Dems in the tent and the Greens, Natural Law and other bizarre people who would shit twice and die if they were ever given any form of responsibility on the unsigned stage.

I think our global overlords would benefit from some time in the pit. Chuck the G20 leaders into a circle whilst DevilDriver are playing Clouds Over California, or face them off in a wall of death during Lamb of God's Redneck and I swear on my silky smooth scrotum they'd all be best mates at the bar afterwards. I reckon Obama, clearly the most gregarious of the collective, would be the first man to chug a Jaeger and surf his way to the front. Clearly Burlusconi would be the one inserting things into strippers whilst sniffing cocaine of the buttcheeks of a mother & daughter groupie combo.

So here's my suggestion; rise up kids, take back control. Let's put Bruce Dickinson in as Prime Minister, Rob Halford as Chancellor of the Exchequer and Brian Johnson as Home Secretary.

We have the power. Vote "yes" to metal.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Ah, memories...

You know what sucks? Not being a teenager anymore. Me and Si-KO were talking at work the other day about the simpler, happier times. I know this is Metal Harmony but allow me this brief digression into the world of 90's punkness...

During my spotty, bumfluffed years there was a massive group of us who used to hang around our country market town with our skateboards, smoking roll-up cigarettes and generally looking immensely badass. I'd like to point out early doors that, despite having a skateboard, I was without exception the shittest skater ever to grace the earth. I think I successfully jumped, or "ollied" (fuck I'm a loser) a kerb on one occasion in about two years. I also fell off once after hitting a leaf. Yes, a leaf.

The bare essentials to be in our righteous cartel were:

Spiky hair (my mum wouldn't let me dye it green)
Wallet on at least one chain
Some kind of bracelet
A 12.5g packet of Amber Leaf/Cutters Choice/whatever tobacco came with free papers
A 16th of solid cannabis resin, normally full of plastic

And then we get to the music. A million people will have a million opinions about what's classified as skate punk so please feel free to leave a bitching and whining comment but for us, it was all about NOFX, Lagwagon, Ten Foot Pole, No Use For A Name, Propagandhi, Strung Out, Millencolin, and some more old school stuff like The Misfits, Black Flag, and so on. For me, I've got to say that The Offspring's S.M.A.S.H has to be up there as Self-Esteem is one of my favourite tunes of all time

Me and Big Mearz used to spend all our hard borrowed cash on everything Fat Wreck Chords had to offer - he got some absolute shitters but most of the time, the music was exactly what we wanted; full of energy, always catchy, often retarded (please see Diesel Boy's Titty Twister) and absolutely fucking awesome. We even made the long arduous journey from the East Anglian countryside to London aged 14(ish) to catch a Lagwagon/N.U.F.A.N double-header which was one of the best gigs ever.

So what's the point of this post? Why the arse-suckling fuck should you give a rat's vulva about my youth? In a nutshell, you probably shouldn't. But listening to these songs for the first time in years reminded me of a fucking ace time in my life. Metal is clearly my passion, and nothing gets my bumps goosed quite like a bit of serious thrash and double-kick mayhem. However, if I listen to Lagwagon's Violins or Undeclinable Ambuscade's 7 Years I can help but get a wee skip to my step.

Now I'm gonna jump on my deck, go spend £10 on weed and sit in the park drinking cider.

All in favour, say "I".