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Friday, 24 June 2011

'Appy day...(I should be shot for that pun)

Two of my favourite things are thrash metal and beer. The only thing that makes either better is the prefix 'free'. I spent last night enjoying both courtesy of Earache Records at the first playing of Evile's new album Five Serpents Teeth, scheduled for release on September 26th, and I am quite marvelously hungover as a result. Being as the full report is going on to MetalasFuck imminently I shan't regurgitate the evening here but needless to say that me and Shithouse, posing as our photographer and doing a bloody good job, had a belter.

One of our lengthier Stella-fuelled conversation was about genres and band classification. The beauty of Evile is that they're a thrash band. That's it. Simples. However, according to Heavy Metal Encyclopedia, an Android app available now via Marketplace, there are 86 genres of metal.


Now although the app includes 'Punk' and 'Oi' as two genres, the rest are pretty legit, although what the fuck 'Humppa' is is beyond me. Seemingly that's what Finntroll is. I thought they were folk metal. And herein lies the problem.

I'm pretty sure no two people categorise bands the same. Iron Maiden are heavy metal, Megadeth are thrash, Sonic Syndicate are shit; this much we can all agree on. But I recently came across El Schlong who have been described as prog, post-hardcore, spazcore, all of which are broadly correct. Children of Bodom are, in my opinion, a melodic death metal band but are often referred to as blackened death metal, Opeth are everything from death to prog and back again. So despite being a good app, it's a tad flawed on the basis that the vast majority of us categorise bands differently.

It's worth downloading though, predominantly because it's linked to Spotify and has a vast amount of bands listed, although it doesn't have band bios which is a bit shit. There's also a lack of detail on the nastier genres, such as goregrind (which lists Carcass - I thought they were grindcore?...) I'm sure this will be updated over time though.

Another app worth exploring, particularly for fanboys like me, is the new DevilDriver app - tonnes of music, photos, a fan chat board, merch and band info. Both this and Heavy Metal Encyclopedia are free on Android, which is marvelous.

So now Metal Harmony officially does it all; news, reviews, tours, technology updates; you have to wonder if you'll ever really need another music resource ever again?


Friday, 17 June 2011

A storm is coming...

After a bit of a personal drought, there are finally some hugely exciting gigs on the horizon. Firstly, skate punk legends Strung Out are at the Camden Underworld on July 27th. This pleases me greatly as despite having listened to them for the last 15-odd years, I'm pretty sure I've never seen them live.

At the other end of the spectrum is oriental oddballs Dir En Grey in August, again in Camden. Their unique mashup of industrial-Japancore-Rammsteiny-Slipknotism is rather splendid, plus the lead singer Kyo is completely fucking batshit mental so provided he doesn't set fire to his eyeballs this is likely to be a pretty epic gig.

There's also the Hell on Earth tour in August. Headliners Unearth have a new album to promote (Darkness in the Light, out July 5th) and the fact that Evergreen Terrace are on the tour makes this a proper exciting proposition por moi.

My home town then plays host to much-applauded post-hardcore upstarts Letlive in September, all for the hilariously retarded sum of £6. And who said there's no money in music? The venue has a capacity of 250, so a sell out would be £1,500, plus a bit of merch. Then their support will need paying, and I suppose all final profits once the venue has taken it's cut
will have to be split between all five members of Letlive...they'll be rolling it it...

Finally, Deep Purple are undertaking an arena tour complete with a 38-piece orchestra which will be nothing other than awesome. I've not shelled out the necessary £50 yet so if anyone fancies sending me a gratis ticket I'll be sure to buy you a beer.

These are my planned movements so if anyone is intending to break into the house on the above dates, the PS3 is upstairs and the single malt is in the kitchen. Enjoy.

I'll leave you with this, from Dir En Grey. Feel free to have nightmares:


Friday, 10 June 2011

Download 2012...or not

Normally at this time of year me and Hot Chick would be teeing ourselves up for a massive weekend music of beers and sausage and mash-filled Yorkshire puddings, but this year one of our family has rudely decided to get married thus rendering our Download 2012 attendance impossible.

The line-up this year is nothing too exciting for me personally but it's the weekend itself that I'm going to miss; the endless stream of cold beer, the sitting in the sun applying extensive amounts of factor 50 to my bald head, the chatting to random people whilst laying in the sun and enjoying the mid-afternoon twiddlings of some rock legends. Download is just an amazing experience from start to finish.

I have no more to add this week other than wishing everyone that every one of you bastards has an amazing time and if anyone fancies writing a report of the weekend for Metal Harmony, drop me a line...

Laters homies

Friday, 3 June 2011

An homage to the new champions

Way back when, in the distant annals of 2006, Hot Chick played me a track called Hell and High Water by some unknown Southern rock outfit called Black Stone Cherry. I thought it was an alright tune but it didn't cause any scrotal tightening. She then bought their self-titled debut album and on one particular car journey, she stuck the CD on to my complete unbotheredness.

Opening track Rain Wizard started up and by the time the first verse came in I was hooked. It was without doubt one of the best, pure rock and roll albums I'd heard in years. Despite my initial ambivalence to lead single Hell and High Water, there isn't a single stinker on the album.

Black Stone Cherry played at the well-missed London Astoria in October 2007 (after being moved from smaller venue LA2 due to popular demand), and the set was recorded and pressed on CD on the night. In keeping with their humble roots, the BSC lads took the stage and were so grateful that they promised to come and chat to all the crowd and sign anything that needed signing once they'd come off stage.

Second album Folklore and Superstition was an absolute belter, and BSC continued their theme of opening up with a winning anthem in the shape of Blind Man. The gigs and tours that followed included major slots alongside the likes of Def Leppard and Whitesnake, as well as continually brilliant appearances at the major UK festivals.

Skip to the end, MADman...

The Cherry's latest album has recently hit the shelves. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea had a huge amount of promise based on lead singles Blame it on the Boom Boom and White Trash Millionaire. So Hot Chick dutifully bought it on release day and I sat down to give it a listen.

The infamous "tricky third album".

And they have fucking nailed it once again. They may be a more polished, better looking, older, more mainstream version of their 2006 selves but bugger me sideways if this isn't yet another moment of pure Southern rock and roll excellence. So often a band loses their way and becomes too mainstream, or too generic, but BSC have kept their roots whilst spreading their wings. There's nothing complex about the content and to a degree, a lot of the tracks are quite predictable but sometimes you want to throw on a record, chug a beer, drive round to your buddy's house in a Ford F150 truck and go shoot some animals 'n' shit. This is the soundtrack to that afternoon and it is marvellous.

I could spend a lot of time discussing these legends from Kentucky but I shan't; instead, I politely suggest you buy everything they own, sit in the sun and enjoy the noise of the South. Y'all.

Much love