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Friday, 20 January 2012

Ranting against morons

Are people being serious? Are people actually bitching and moaning about the Download 2012 lineup? Are people fucking retarded?

I'm sure you've heard all this before so please feel free to change the channel but I'm tired, hungry, and subsequently a grumpy bastard.

Download is one of the biggest music festivals in the UK - I think I might be right in saying it's second only to Glastonbury - which means that bands have to appeal to a large audience or they won't sell tickets. And if they don't sell tickets, the festival can't go ahead. Music is a business, hence the phrase 'music business', and businesses have to make money or they close. Money pays for bands too, by the way. Believe it or not, musicians don't just do it for the love, hence AC/DC's multi-million pound headline set at Download 2010.

Like it or not, having Anaal Nathrakh headlining the opening night won't get 80,000 people dipping into their pockets for £150. And if you have any working brain cells you will be aware that regardless of how mainstream you think they are, most people outside of the metal community don't actually know who Lamb of God or Trivium are.

'I thought Download was supposed to be a rock festival?' quips some six-fingered mong on Facebook. He has a point, as Devildriver, Machine Head, Black Sabbath, Anthrax and Devin Townsend are all pop acts. Soundgarden definitely aren't a rock act either.

Yes, Chase and Status are playing, and they're currently enjoying massive airplay on Radio 1 and other mainstream platforms but fuck me, give them a chance to do their thing before start crying about it. How many people though Pendulum were a shit dance act before seeing them tear up Download every time they play?

Every single festival I've been to has included bands I like, hate, and am completely ambivalent towards. It's time to come to terms with the fact that not every festival lineup can be put together based on what you - yes you - listen to.

However, I for one am boycotting all music festivals until I get the following:

Headliners: Slipknot, Leatherface, The Police
Support: Helsingland Underground, Terror, Evergreen Terrace, Iron Maiden, Dr. Dre, Lagwgon, Gaslight Anthem, Carnifex, Motley Crue, Frank Sinatra, Cradle of Filth, Nirvana, Limp Bizkit and 90's boy band Point Break.

So there.


Friday, 13 January 2012

New things and sad things

The year's got off to a bit of a good start in terms of music. Four bands have landed on the Metal Harmony desk (obviously not literally, idiot) that have impressed, which is a good omen for things to come.

Firstly, Topper, a punk outfit from Sweden. Their latest release Punk Don't Death (Just Get Through It) through Sound Pollution is a more melodic type of punk that doesnt have the face-smashing, snot-spitting fury of Executioners and is much closer to the likes of Leatherface, although the song writing is not as strong. Very easy to listen to.

Secondly, Spaniards Noctem release their second album Oblivion (Rising Records) in June this year. This brutally heavy death metal is just horrible. The vocals make your throat hurt, the double kick makes your shins ache, the guitars make your eardrums bleed; pretty much everything you want from death metal. A must for fans if popular beat combo Nile.

Then there's We Die Tonight, who's four track EP Stem the Tide is the polar opposite to Noctem. Dwelling on the metalcore/hardcore border, this London mob are well worth a listen if you like your metal with a bit of singing amidst the mayhem. Big fan of this.

Finally, Otep. Although Atavist was released last year on Victory Records I've only not gotten round to listening to it, and I'm glad I did so. By no means easy listening, Atavist fluctuates between haunting 6-minute narratives from female vocalist Otep Shamaya and, for want of a better term, post nu metal tracks. When Shamaya sings there's a real Courtney Love vibe, and the male backing vocals have a Dez Fafara growl that sits nicely on top of some pretty interesting tuneage.

Awesome music aside, let's not ignore the metal elephant in the corner. The terrible news Tony Iommi has been diagnosed with lymphoma has shaken the music world but seemingly an early diagnosis means he's got a good chance of beating it. Let's bloody well hope so.


Friday, 6 January 2012

Smashing things. Literally.

Welcome one and all, to Metal Harmony  2012. His year, you will notice literally no changes to the blog, so if you weren't a fan before I ain't going to win you over any time soon. Unless you particularly enjoy video posts, as I'll be doing more of them. Some may even have the sound in synch.

But to the rest of you, Happy New Year! I hope that like me, you're suffering from the horrific bloating and general biliousness associated with the consumption of chocolate and beer from 9am onwards for a sustained 7-day period. In order to ease us into a year that will see the reformation of Black Sabbath, new albums from metal titans such as Lamb of God, Cannibal Corpse and Napalm Death, and the inevitability that most bands will get a dubstep makeover, I thought I'd start us off with a good old fashioned list. Everyone loves a list after all.

Today, my Top 6 Favourite Romper Stomping, Arm Round Your Pal, Beer in Hand, Shout at the Stage, Scare the Shit Out of Fashionistas, Belting Punk Singalongs. This is harder than it seems as the hardcore scene is littered with epic gang song classics, but I'm purely focusing on punk before you get grit in your ball bag about me omitting Scratch the Surface.

6. Anti-Flag - Die for Your Government (Die for the Government, 1996)
Although its difficult to identify this band as a punk outfit from their name and song motifs, Die for your Government is one of the best anti establishment punk songs ever. With the rising chorus of "You gotta die, gotta die, gotta die for your government, die for a country that's shit", its impossible not to frown and shout when this is playing. Simple chords, simple lyrics, brilliant.

5. Leatherface - Hops and Barley (Hops and Barley EP w/Wat Tyler, 1992)
The Sunderland outfits seminal work with Wat Tyler may not have the most serious theme, being as its about beers, but all it takes is 'Face frontman Frankie Stubbs to kick the song off with an a cappella "Hops aaaaaand..." before the crowd takes over, beers proudly held up high.

4. Snuff - Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads (Physical Fatness, 1997)
Yes, its a cover of a TV theme but Snuff make it something marvellous. The rousing chorus makes you want to don a pair of 18-hole Doc Martens and kick a window in, all with a smile on your face.

3. NOFX - The Brews (Punk in Drublic, 1994)
NOFX founder/guitarist/vocalist Fat Mike is a bit of a hero of mine. No only do we share a moniker but Heavy Petting Zoo was one if the first albums in the SoCal/skate punk genre that really got me hooked. The Brews is a story about a gang of Jewish skinheads and features some of my favourite NOFX lyrics and possibly their best Oi chorus. Absolute class.

2. Agnostic Front - Gotta Go (Something's Gotta Give, 1998)
Yes, I know, they're a hardcore band so I've gone against my self imposed 'punk only' rule but in all honesty, Gotta Go is as punk as punk gets. Starting with a monstrous sing along and leading into a fist in the air Oi Oi chant, there isn't a better song to unite a crowd in a bout of absolute fucking bedlam

1. Pennywise - Bro Hymn (Pennywise, 1991/Full Circle, 1996)
Of course its number one. If you don't listen to Bro Hymn and imagine yourself with all your mates, arms round each others shoulders and shouting your throat then you're clearly mentally incompetent. Bro Hymn Tribute on Full Circle is equally emotive - the original was penned by Pennywise bassist Jason Thirsk in memory of friends he lost in a car accident, the Tribute was penned in memory of Thirsk himself after committed suicide in 1996. I get actual goosebumps from this song and as far as I'm concerned, its perfect.

So there we have it. Now wherever you are, listen to this and tear the place up*

*Disclaimer: Metal Harmony does not accept responsibility for any damages to person[s] or property during aural consumption of any of the above anthems.