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Friday, 30 September 2011

Being pissed off

I'm pissed off. My ultra super special fanboy edition of Metal Hammer with copy of Machine Head's Unto The Locust still hasn't turned up. I've tweeted, I've sent a strongly worded email - what more can a man do??

Which leads me on to today's blog about things piss me off about metal. And the world in general.

5. People who listen to metal
Well, people that only listen to metal. Great idea, listening to a single genre. Best ignore NWA, they didn't do anything for music. The Eagles? Load of hippy shit. In fact, anything that isn't played in drop D and covered in blood and dead Jesus is mainstream and bland. Wankers.

4. People who do impressions of metal
"I don't know how you can listen to all that 'RAA RAA RAA' music". Well, you be pleased to know I don't. In fact, I don't know anyone who does and more to the point I can't think of a single band or song that just goes 'RAA RAA RAA'. It's like saying "I don't know how you can listen to all that 'bitch bitch bitch' music" to a hip hop fan or 'I don't know how you can listen to all that 'sandals sandals sandals, music" to a Newton Faulkner fan. Fucking annoying.

3. Facebook
I'm all for bands promoting themselves but I'm not going to 'like' something just because you've asked me to. I shall listen, if I like it, then so be it. Also, The Bunny The Bear: I think If You Don't Have Anything Nice To Say... is a great album but if you post the video for Ocean Floor one more time I'm going to shit a badger. And Annotations Of An Autopsy - please, please, please stop. Just stop.

2. The definition of emo
What the fuck does 'emo' even mean anymore? I was always under the impression it stood for 'emotional hardcore' so had Alexisonfire in that category but then Panic At The Disco and My Chemical Romance came and they were seemingly the poster children of emo. Then I was at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods in 2007 and some bearded buffoon was stating how Killswitch Engage were emo, and now I'm being told Black Veil Brides are emo. As I understand now, you must have tight trousers and terrible hair to be emo. Which makes Poison and Whitesnake emo. For fuck's sake.

1. Festival headliners
Here's a shocking statement; sometimes, just sometimes, festivals are put together with bands other than just your favourites. Sometimes, bands that you don't like play the festivals that you go to. The best thing to do in this crazy situation is DON'T GO AND SEE THEM! Stop bitching and whining and go to a different stage, you swamp-dwelling anus chimp. Or better still, go on to every forum you can find and tell everyone how shit the line-up is, and how they should totally have booked real metal like Kvvtlretvtrkkaak from Norway or British up and comers Painful Foreskin Hemorrhage. You twat.

This has been marginally cathartic but I'm still in a bad mood. I'm off to punch Mick Hucknall.


Friday, 23 September 2011

Soundtracks: discuss

I was having a good hearty shuffle the other day, and following on from one of Vomitory's latest ballads my non-Apple MP4 media player selected James Brown's Living in America. This got me thinking about film soundtracks (for reasons most men will immediately recognise) and I wondered what else I'd put in my Top 5 Film Soundtracks Wot Might Not Be Perfect Start To Finish But have Some Proper Belters On list, 2011.

5. Waynes World (1992)

Before Mike Myers created that fucking Austin Powers twat, he was funny. Dudes in a basement make a TV show, they play music, protagonist pulls an impossibly hot girl - it's the things teenage dreams are made of. And thanks to Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath and "that" Queen song, a soundtrack that commands headbanging like a total tit.

4. Singles (1992)

This film about challenged bands, tumultuous relationships and lumberjack shirts wouldn't have made the top five were it not for the inclusion of Pearl Jam's State of Love and Trust in the soundtrack - in my opinion, their finest ever work. Add in some Alice in Chains, Soundgarden and Mudhoney and you've got yourself the grungiest thing since Kurt Cobain woke up, donned a cardigan and decided against the hairbrush.

3. Forrest Gump (1994)

Tom Hanks plays a mong with a weighty beardline who's good at running to an absolutely extraordinary soundtrack that spans a good few decades. Creedance Clearwater Revival, Lynryd Skynyrd, The Doobie Brothers; what more could you need? Oh, The Doors? Fleetwood Mac? Done. Fantastic.

2. The Crow (1994)

A film that played on repeat in my household during my early teens, and which subsequently inspired my sister's dress code, The Crow sees the late Brandon Lee off on a mission to avenge the murder of himself and his fiance. Dark, eh? A soundtrack of angst and pain, provided by the likes of Rage Against The Machine, Stone Temple Pilots and Pantera, mean this is possibly one of the most gothically metal films of all time.

1. Rocky IV (1985)

Quite simply the best soundtrack in history. A man with a melty face runs through the snow carrying logs, sweats a lot and punches five shades of shit out of Dolph Lundgren. Robert Tepper's No Easy Way Out is without exception, the most awesome song you could ever work out to. And of course, Survivor not only had Eye of the Tiger on the soundtrack, they had the monstrously powerful Burning Heart included too. That's some serious rock right there.

Now press play on this video and do some sit ups.


Friday, 16 September 2011

Machine effin Head

If there's one album I really can't wait to hear this year it's Machine Head's Unto The Locust. Reviews thus far suggest it's going to surpass their 2007 masterpiece The Blackening which to be honest, is about as big a feat as can be achieved in metal. Having pleaded for a preview copy with the MetalasFuck boss, only to be told Roadrunner Records will only allow certain people from certain brands to listen to their big hitters for a certain period of time, I decided to order the awesometastic ultramega fanboy deluxe edition, which comes with a bonus track, a 130-odd page Metal Hammer Machine Head special, a bottle opener, a patch and a couple of posters. All vital parts of any album, in my opinion.

Machine Head are one of the few bands who are almost universally loved in the metal world. They've had a few stinkers over the years (the cover of The Police's Message in a Bottle is best left unmentioned) but aside from this they've produced some truly seminal metal tunes. I've often said that if someone who had never heard music asked me what metal was, I'd play them Black Sabbath's Iron Man and Slayer's Raining Blood. I'm confident that Machine Head's Take My Scars would also be a worthy inclusion.

Then of course, their live performances. Having first experienced Machine Fucking Head live at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods in 2007, and five or six times thereafter, they are true masters of their art. Robb Flynn is a phenomenal frontman and aside from his shredding and vocal prowess, the fact that he'll often get people up on stage, pass a bottle of Jagermeister into the crowd, and generally make the whole thing a proper fucking party make the whole live experience something to behold.

And the set lists?Always spot on. Since The Blackening, Aesthetics of Hate has been an integral part of Machine Head's live set - the tribute to Dimebag Darrell and "fuck you" to his critics is always emotional and played with such fury that it's no wonder I ended up bleeding from the face in my inaugural Machine Head pit.

So what will Unto The Locust do for Machine Head? Reviews so far have been universally excellent, lead song Locust is absolutely punishing; it seems as if the band who have repeatedly reached a career high are about to do it again.

Now, to patiently wait for the September 27th release date.


Friday, 2 September 2011

Mo' production, mo' problems

Over-production is the curse of many a modern rock and metal album. All too often the vocals will be polished to within an inch of their lives (never more prevalent than on HIM's latest Screamworks... album - Ville Valo's vocals have no hint of the dark, doom-ridden malevolence of Greatest Love Songs Vol. 666) and you're subsequently left listening to some sort if grandiose example of music that could never be recreated live without Metallica-sized budgets.

The wonderful thing about punk music is that broadly speaking, it tends to avoid the overblown dramatics of soaring, multi-layered guitar harmonies and gets straight to business. I am, of course, referring to actual punk bands and not pop punk clusterfucks like Simple Plan and All-Time Low. Proper punks like Loudmouth, the more melodic Samian and bands such as
Satanic Surfers that came from the skate scene.

This week a copy of Executioner's Anthology landed on my desk. Formed in California in the early 1980s, this group of miscreants have put out a 29-song catalogue of their finest, rawest, most socially unacceptable punk rock. The guitar is fuzzy, the drums are tinny and the vocal levels are all over the shop. It's absolute class. It sounds like punk should sound and creates a crystal clear picture of nutters with mohawks and skinheads draining beers and stamping bovver boots into each other's foreheads. In a nice way, of course.

Don't get me wrong; I'll happily stick on Dimmu Borgir's In Sorte Diaboli and get lost in a whimsical world of black metal fantasy as the plentiful string sections fuse together to create a unique ambiance. But sometimes you get bored of all that bollocks and simply want to get drunk with your mates and sneer at the general public. It's then that the likes of Executioners, Christ on a Crutch, and more recently Trash Talk and Arson Anthem, become the only viable soundtrack.