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Friday, 18 December 2009

A time for reflection

What a year it's been, eh? The metal festivals were epic, the gigs were astonishing, and the nutters at MetalasFuck, BorninBlood and Rock Radio decided to publish the bollocks that I write. I joined Twitter, drank alcohol to the point of vomiting several times, got punched in the face twice and slept on a bench once. I had the worst year in history at work but aside from that, 2009 has been alright to be honest.

But what kind of blog would this be if I didn't do a "Top stuff of 2009" list? All bored of reading them yet? Unlucky.

So here's my top ten for this year, and a brief explanation why as I'm sure you can't be fucked to read pages and pages of justifications:

10. Malefice - Dawn of Reprisal
The second album keeps up the momentum of their debut. Malefice proved to the metal world that the UK does it fucking hard and fucking heavy

9. Suicidal Angels - Sanctify The Darkness
Greek thrashers take organised religion and slap the shit out of it. Hardly ground breaking but hugely compelling and full of brutal honesty

8. Milking the Goatmachine - Back From The Goats
The most ridiculous thing I heard all year, this album takes grind to a new level of stupidity. It's great fun and painfully harsh on the ears. Perfect for making sweet love to your lady down by the fire...

7. The Black Dahlia Murder - Deflorate
Highly anticipated and rightly so, Trevor Strnad and the boys pulled an absolute blinder with this. Heavier than a constipated bi-polar elephant and the only music to listen to if you're off out for a scrap

6. Amon Amarth - The Crusher Reissue
The music may not be as polished as with later albums but this reissue gives newcomers to the Amon Amarth brand a chance to hear where it all started. Plus, the live CD of the entire album is a-fucking-stounding

5. Outloud - We'll Rock You To Hell And Back
Without doubt, the most fun album of 2009. 80's cock rock is done often and it ain't always done right but Outloud absolutely nailed it. Just the right amount of cheese makes this a worthy addition to the ol' collection

4. Trigger The Bloodshed - The Great Depression
New drummer, new vocalist, new boot up the arse of the critics. Based on The Great Depression, there is no doubt that TTB are spearheading the new wave of UK death metal. Expect a lot more from these boys in 2010

3. Austrian Death Machine - Double Brutal
Heavy as hell metal based on Arnie's films which is piss your pants funny from start to finish; it has a song called I Need You Clothes, Your Boots and Your Motorcycle, for Christ's sake. Buy it.

2. Lamb Of God - Wrath
LOG have been producing consistently exceptional music for years but Wrath raised the bar. With Randy Blythe's tonsil-rupturing vocals and some of the tightest musicianship in the metal world, this album ripped my balls off and shoved them down my throat. Absolutely fucking excellent.

1. DevilDriver - Pray For Villains
This won't be a surprise for those of you who know me. It was a tough call between Pray For Villains and Wrath but I had to go with the 'Driver. The Last Kind Words, the predecessor to Pray For Villains, is one of my albums of the decade and as such, was a tough act to follow. But Dez Fafara et al combined personal struggles, insane drumming, pounding grooves and catchy as fuck choruses to produce a savagely good piece of work. They got a lot more fans on the back of this album and after a killer performance at Download 2009 and their own headline tour, DevilDriver is a deserving winner for me.

"But MADman, you crazy cock face, what the fuck happened to Rammstein and Megadeth? Are you some sort of cunt?" Yes, yes I am. However, I've not included these guys in my list as although both are excellent, this is my personal opinion. So please dry your eyes, but feel free to give me some shit if you feel it necessary.

I also got to talking to Sa-da-Ko this year, who remain my unsigned band of choice for 2009. Hopefully we'll get an album from these guys in 2010 and I've plenty of faith that it'll make a loud, unpleasant, face-melting noise within the UK metal scene.

So that's me. I hope you lot have enjoyed reading Metal Harmony this year - if you come back in 2010, I'd gratefully appreciate it. And tell your mates. And send me money. And gifts.

Have a fucking brutal Christmas and New Year. Eat, drink, and listen to heavy metal.


Friday, 11 December 2009

Is this the end? Not a chance

MADman had an exceptionally big night, with highlights including sleeping briefly on a bench on the banks of the Thames and getting home as Hot Chick was off to work. Therefore, if the following is total bullshit, he accepts no responsibility whatsoever. In addition, any criticism may make him cry

It has to be said that the lineup for Download 2009 was a fucking sterling effort by the organisers. Motley, Slipknot, Journey, Leppard, a reformed Faith No More; the list is extensive and I was pretty convinced that this was as good as it was ever going to get. But on Wednesday, December 9th, the goalposts weren't so much moved, more taken over to North Korea and discretely obliterated in a covert underground nuclear explosion. The rumour mill had been circulating the possibility of Iron Maiden headlining Sonisphere UK 2010 and sure enough, there they were. However, what wasn't expected was the additional information that Rammstein, Alice Cooper, Slayer, The Cult, Anthrax and Iggy and The Stooges would also be on the bill. Read that again. And again. Now pause, go make a cup of tea, think about how much that list fucking rules and continue reading.

I love the Download Festival. It's an epic weekend. But in 2010, it's going to have one hell of a fight against Sonisphere based on this initial announcement. Not all of us can afford tickets to both and if there's a decision to be made, it's going to have to be something arse-rapingly astonishing to pull people away from the Irons. Few bands have the same draw but some of the names in the hat have pretty widespread appeal that would bring some non-metal money through the door - Bon Jovi are a big rumour, as are Green Day. I'd love to see both but Slayer, Anthrax, Alice...Andy Copping and the Download team had better have something inexplicably phenomenal planned. Ozzy? Or Sabbath with the original lineup? Megadeth? How about Queen with the original lineup? That'd be impressive. Bit dull after a while though.

There are clearly a million bands that can make a festival as hot as your first dump the morning after twelve pints and a madras but it's the big guns that get the numbers. I'm not suggesting Download is going to pack it's bags and fuck off - this is the 30th year of Donnington-based metallness after all. But Sonisphere has come to the UK with a global pedigree. It's cheaper, plus they're currently giving away free tickets to Sonisphere Poland with every weekend ticket to the UK event. The crazy futher muckers.

So what's it gonna be, Download? What have you got for us?

Please God, NOT My Chemical Romance again.


Friday, 4 December 2009

Time to retire?

A sad fact dawned upon me this week: I may be getting too old for the pit. I'm not suggesting that I won't be up for the mosh when the circle starts up but particularly at hardcore shows, it just takes me too long to recover nowadays. The catalyst to this thought process is the fact that my back still fucking kills after windmilling like a mental at Madball on Tuesday night. Sometimes needs must though, eh?

It was extraordinary seeing such a legendary hardcore band playing in my quiet little town. Their relative lack of popularity in my locale meant it was no problem to walk straight up to the stage, put the smack down in the pit, shake hands with frontman Freddy Cricien, and wander back to the bar. But even though me and the four chaps I was with were having an awesome time, the lack of serious crowd numbers was a bit embarrassing, to be honest. Kicking off their 20th anniversary tour in front of 50 people is probably not what Madball expected but to their credit, they didn't give it any less passion, with songs like Set It Off and 100% tearing the venue a new arsehole.

And fuck me they're a scary looking bunch of bastards.

One particular punter was on a mission to get smashed in the face in the pit. He requested I elbow him as hard as possible, which I politely declined as I feel he would have regretted it. Matey boy then walked round the pit with his face at waist level trying to catch a blow from a windmill. Next thing he was being dragged off of the floor by his mates. Mission accomplished buddy.

So thanks Madball, for making a fucking massive effort, even if my home town didn't.

The rumour mill has been churning and word on the street had been that the winner of this year's reality TV abomination The X Factor would be releasing Journey's Don't Stop Believin as their Christmas single. Folks, do not panic. It transpires that it's actually going to be some horrendous Miley Cyrus affair. I firmly believe this is because we, the metal, the rock, the alternative, rose up and made our voices heard - one example being 50,000 joined the Facebook group preventing it from happening, which is a great thing as if I heard one of the toothy little cunts ruining an epic anthem I will be forced to bear arms and kill indiscriminately.

And for all you unsigned mentals, Unbelievable Music UK are after unsigned talent for an online compilation they're doing in 2010 so contact them for more info - link in usual place, of course, you numpties.

It's the time of year/decade for top tens, so that's on my mind at this space for MADman's views in a couple of weeks. I know; you can hardly wait.

Take care of yourselves. And each other.