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Friday, 31 August 2012

Me having beef

I consider myself pretty open minded when it comes to respecting the musical opinions of others. I have even been known to change my own opinion based on balanced conversations with others, or in the case of Flobots, shit hot live performances.

However, there are certain things that I will pig-headedly refuse to accept or debate in any single way. They are the following, and are all based on direct quotes I've encountered over the years.

"Iron Maiden aren't the greatest heavy metal band of all time"

Yes they are. Of course they are. Saying they're not makes you an indescribable fool. There is quite simply no other band that has the global following of Maiden. There is no band that cares as much for their fans that they'll travel to the ends of the earth to melt faces of every colour and creed. A band that, despite the Bayley road bump, have been so consistent on record that it beggars belief. And most importantly, regardless of their combined age of 8,569, a band who are guaranteed to absolutely tear it up at every live show. They are better than Metallica, so there.

"Slipknot are just a bloody nu metal band"

Hush, you 12-fingered sister fucker. Slipknot are one of the best bands in the world and if you haven't seen or heard 'that' Download headline set then your opinion is completely invalid. There's no doubt that the debut album was a red hot piece of shrapnel from the nu metal explosion but there ain't a damn thing nu metal about Eeyore. And Iowa? Disasterpiece is nu metal is it? You are a buffoon and must immediately be castrated.

"Coal Chamber are a better band than Devildriver"

Not they're fucking not, you mug. Coal Chamber was a laughably bad nu metal ensemble resplendent in face paints, with what remains to this day some of the most poorly written songs in metal. Big Truck, for example. What the actual fuck is that meant to be about? Oh, a truck? A big one? Got it. Devildriver on the other hand have evolved into one of the most rock solid groovey thrashy metal bands in the world. Clouds Over California has the ability to tear a crowd to pieces and most recent albums Pray For Villains and Beast are absolute monsters from start to finish. If you think a shitty nu metal band is superior you are definitely not invited to my birthday party and can't have a go on my bike.

"Limp Bizkit are total shit"

Show me a man who hasn't sung along to Rollin' and I will show you a bastard liar. Chocolate Starfish... is one of my favourite albums of all time because it's so much fun. It's not imperative to constantly listen to serious, complicated musical soundscapes. Even someone who watches nothing but Fry & Laurie and Frasier will launch at a good old fashioned fart; Bizkit is this musical fart. Yes Fred Durst is portrayed as a bit of a bellend but I'd invite him to a barbecue at my parents' house over Dave Mustaine every day of the week.

So there you have it. Please feel free to agree with the above; any other feedback will not be tolerated.


Friday, 10 August 2012

Rubbish bands

Over time, bands change. Their sound changes, their image changes. It might be slight and almost unnoticeable in some instances (AC/DC) but in others, it means a band goes from being something special to being a big pile of fetid shit. You can probably see what's coming next...
5. Throwdown

I should apologise to Throwdown. As a band they're the constant focus of my 'you fucked up' rage following the release of Deathless in 2009, and regular readers will be getting thoroughly bored of my beration but I promise this will be the last time.

The band that released Haymaker and the seminal hardcore/metal crossover anthem Holy Roller and a host of other mayhem-inducing numbers got beyond lazy with Deathless. Being constantly criticised by the elitists for being a Pantera-wannabe band, they decided that they should release an album that sounds like a shit Pantera effort. Despite a couple of decent songs - This Continuum is worth a listen - its just not Throwdown. The hardcore edge had gone and it felt like they were going for unit-shifting as opposed to having any kind for artistic credibility.

4. Black Stone Cherry

Black Stone Cherry are still a great rock band but there's no shying away from the fact that they peaked with their self titled debut in 2006. They have gone from being a truly exciting proposition to a middle of the road rock band who have aged blistering fast. Despite writing the odd song about shagging, the 20-somethings from Edmonton, Kentucky have reached plodding speed far too early in their career. Production values have increased tenfold, tour slots are constantly there but it seems the flame has died out. I really, really hope I'm proved wrong with their next release.

3. Feeder

No one has ever said they're a metal band so don't start. The first band I ever saw live, Feeder were an edgy indie rock outfit with distorted guitars and shouty vocals. My intro to the Welsh trio came in the shape of Woman in Town which is almost certainly still their best song, and in my early teen years, my old mucker Mearz and I played the Polythene album constantly. But then it all went wrong. The edge was well and truly smoothed and Feeder are now known for the fucking abysmal ditty Buck Rogers. If they'd have stopped at Just a Day I'd have been a happy man.

2. Manic Street Preachers

Memories of head banging with my mate Roshan to You Love Us in my bedroom aged about 10 are distant at best. I'm not suggesting James Dean Bradfield et al should still be topless and wearing a balaclava - no one wants to see a part naked fat Welshman - but where did it all go wrong? I point blank refuse to accept the existence of any Manic Street Preachers activity post-Holy Bible. Everything Must Go stayed true to the title, and everything went; interesting songs, punk attitude...I surely can't be on my own in thinking Design For Life is a hideously played bag o' shite? And Australia? Feeble. What happened to If White America Told The Truth For One Day It's World Would Fall Apart? Motorcycle Emptiness? Bastards.

1. Linkin Park

When it came out, Hybrid Theory was a monster album. I fucking love it, but more down the fact that it reminds me of being 18, being in my first year at university and being regularly pissed. A small tangent; a girl at my university and I listened to Hybrid Theory together a lot. In fact, she was so much into the nu metal scene that she managed to get back stage at Korn and ended up getting genital warts off of one of their roadies. True story.

Anyway, Hybrid Theory was, at the time, a new sound. It sounded angry, it joined Limp Bizkit in telling up and coming metallers that you could wear baseball caps and massive trousers, and it was front-to-back singalong classics. However, the warning bells started to ring when almost every song on the album was released as a single, then they released the whole of Hybrid Theory again as a remix album, and then it collapsed. There is no denying that nowadays, the band are total fucking shit.

There are other offenders but these are the big hitters. If you have any to add, I'd be intrigued.

Time to go and celebrate the beautiful 28-degree sunshine in London by sitting in an office staring at a computer.


Monday, 6 August 2012

RIP Tony Sly

By now, you'll all of heard the tragic news that Tony Sly, frontman of legendary punk rockers No Use For a Name passed away on July 31st. I've been desperately trying to find time to write something about this as it is, quite frankly, a fucking tragedy.

No Use For A Name were one of my gateway bands into the skate punk world. I can't pretend I was with them since day one but back in 1997, I bought Fat Wreck Vol III: Physical fatness back in 1997 and was blown away by On The Outside. The drums were fast (and terrible in places), the guitars were heavy but it was Sly's vocals and awesome lyrics that made the song.

My long time bezzie Mearz (who has featured in these pages before) proceeded to get the entire NUFAN back catalogue and whilst the early work didn't quite resonate with our teenage mentality, Leche Con Carne was an absolute belter.

No Use For A Name often showed a much more serious side to their music, with Justified Black Eye moving away from the archetypal willies and bums vibe that made the likes of Diesel Boy and genre stalwarts NOFX so popular. Whilst never reaching the anti-political levels of Propagandhi and Rise Against, NUFAN were still a band with a message.

With nine studio albums and countless collaborations, EPs and compilations under their belt, No Use For A Name are a massively important band not only to me, but to a load of my good friends. Sly's death is a huge loss to the punk world and he will be sadly missed.

Now play this shit loud and proud.