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Friday, 22 June 2012

SoCal bound

I must apologise for my previous post which seemingly cursed both Cancer Bats and Europe's Download 2012 performances. Still, at least the Bats got a slot; the poor Europe camp fell victim to the laughable British weather and failed to get to the site in time to play their set. I would have been devastated. On the subject of Europe the latest album, Bag of Bones, landed at Metal Harmony HQ this week so I'm looking forward to dusting off the air guitar for that one.

Alongside Europe, this week has been all about Dr Acula. This band has, without any exception, the shittest name in music. I refuse to budge on this. Even the days of Half Man Half Biscuit and Prefab Sprout can't touch Dr Acula. It's just fucking terrible. However, despite my desire to hate this sextet the new album, Nation, is good fun. Its not particularly intelligent but there's something particularly compelling about its thunderously heavy guitar and massive breakdowns. Not one for the trve kvlt metal contingent, but then I ain't one of them. Full review on shortly.

This coming weekend Metal Harmony will be jetting off to San Diego for a few days - sadly for day job purposes and not to bronze my rippling abs on the beach (by 'rippling abs' I obviously mean wobbling beer gut) - but nevertheless, being an area of the world that was integral in the whole pop/skate punk movement i'm hoping to sip a beer or two at a reasonable gnarly venue at some point. After all, that dead chap and his chubby friend did famously say that California, knows how to party.

If Californ-I-A fails to yield any good beer-related moments, the day after I return While She Sleeps, Feed The Rhino and Hang the Bastard are playing in my home town. Despite the fact that jetlag may be forcing my aging carcass to desire sleep, I shall be smashing beers and faces to their delightful collective hardcore stylings. Hang the Bastard have always been on point and on the back of a successful Download performance, plus being cited as one of the UK's most exciting live outfits, While She Sleeps will inevitably bring the fury to The Forum in Tunbridge Wells.

I should take this opportunity to congratulate The Forum for recently topping an NME poll for UK's  Best Small Venue. In the last couple of years they've hosted Malefice, Sick of it All, Terror, Trigger TheBloodshed, Bleed Fom Within, Cancer Bats and Trash Talk to name but a few. Not bad for a 250-capacity converted public toilet.

Right, I'm off for a sunbed and some Botox.

Friday, 8 June 2012

I am jealous

As previously whinged about, I sadly shan't be attending the mighty Download this year but alas, it is my duty as an opinionated wannabe music journalist to cast my tuppence into the ring. Obviously the headliners are all bleedin' marvellous but lets not forget the smorgasbord of quality outfits also sharing the woodwork. Ergo, these are the 5 bands that I reckon are going to destroy the stage this weekend.

Machine Head
Obvious, really. Stalwarts of Donnington Park and fresh off the back of an arena tour supporting the epic Unto the Locust, Machine Head will be looking to convince crowds and festival bosses alike that they are ready for the much-coveted main stage headline slot.

I may not be the worlds biggest Skindred fan but Christ alive they can play a live show. Benji Webb refuses to age and has more energy than almost any other metal frontman. Come rain or shine, the Newport Helicopters will no doubt come out in force during Warning.

Cancer Bats
Developing a reputation as one of the most exciting live bands of the moment is no mean feat and there's no doubt in my mind that the Canadian hardcore mob will show that they deserve their main stage billing.

90% of the crowd will go to hear the Final Countdown and will walk away dumbfounded that such an astounding rock band is known for such a shit song. Rumoured to be dropping Countdown from their live sets, they'll definitely play it at Download but On Broken Wings, Rock the Night and Ready or Not will silence all detractors and set the place off.

Sebastian Bach
Last year's Kicking and Screaming was a surprising inclusion in the Metal Harmony Top 10 of the Year and showed that the former Skid Row frontman still has the chops to deliver proper heavy metal anthems. As he only has a 30-min set I hope he focuses on new material, although 18 and Life wouldn't go amiss.
I'd also like to see Emmure to establish if they are as abysmal live as they are on record.

It's good to see the Devildriver boys back on the main stage but I have mixed feelings about their late morning, 30-min set. Four places below Lamb of God is a bit harsh but sharing a stage with Megadeth, Soundgarden and Black Sabbath does make main stage Sunday a bit of premium metal real estate.

The weather looks fucking dreadful but to be honest, who cares? That's why god invented excessive drinking.

If you're going, or are already there, have a dirty great belter, you lucky bastards.


Friday, 1 June 2012

A plea

I feel somewhat deflated this year. Knowing full well that I won't be attending any festivals is a bit of a shitbag, and this will be the first time in five years I've not done a shit in a hot plastic cupboard after a day drinking weak lager.

I'm not too worried though; the Download lineup is rubbish at present anyway.*

*Please sense the fucking irony.

But emo grumblings aside, 'tis still the season to enjoy righteous tunage. There's been some absolute winners landing at Metal Harmony HQ over the past few weeks, notably the latest Allegaeon album, Formshifter,  which is as superb as melodic death metal gets. Most recently though, there's the latest self-titled release from deathcore giants Whitechapel, which will be getting a proper picking apart on the pages of in the next few days, and is bloody marvellous.

However, if there is one thing the Metal Harmony headphones have been lacking it's a new, proper good punk outfit. Many weeks have elapsed since Executioners came to my attention, but now I'm after something along the lines of Rise Against, Strung Out, Lagwagon; I feel like this kind of music simply doesn't exist anymore.

Ergo, consider today a plea: I NEED SKATE PUNK. It simply ain't summer without skate punk. If you can't listen to NOFX whilst drinking a million beers at a barbecue then summer might as well fuck off. My request is simply that if any of you lot know of a band that might have slipped under my radar, drop me a line.

Hook a brother up, people.