Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Skindred - Roots Rock Riot

How about something different?

I have been a reggae fan for a long time, way before I got into metal. I used to love the feel of reggae and the way the beats crawled along at such a sedate pace. Skindred mixes ska, reggae, punk and metal to create something fused with incredible energy that hooks you right in. I never got into Benji's previous album with Skindred, Babylon. But I love reggae toasting a beats and rhythms and when mixed with punky metal riffs it sounds pretty damn cool. P.O.D. did a track like this on their last CD called Roots in stereo which I loved also. Well Skindred do it for a whole album's length but there is so much melody and groove in this beast. It will get you involuntarily twitching this stuff believe me!

The band sounds like a mix of SOAD, Disturbed, Soulfly, Sum 41, The Specials(two tone ska band) and Shaggy!!

The previous album as too raw but the new one is way more polished and miles better in terms of quality and production. It is seriously damn catchy. It has been ruling my death deck all goddamn week! The riffs are so infectious and melodic whilst front man and toastmaster Benji's vocalisations are superb. Mixing dub reggae toast jams with super smooth melodic refrains and some David Dramain-like aggressive vocal acrobatics. This shit will be insane live! I will definitely catch these guys live next time they play locally. It's gonna be an absolute riot of that there is no doubt.

Best songs:
Roots rock riot. Amazingly catchy thrash reggae song and a riot indeed. Live it will be incendiary.
Alright. Super melodic reggae rock ditty.
State of Emergency. Yet another, madly catching, infuriatingly memorable tune.
Destroy the Dance floor. Another thrashy faster riffy number with superb vocals and truly addictive. I can just imagine the moshpits during this one.
Rudeboy for life. Starts off kinda lame witha casio keyboard and then explodes into a totally incredible chorus that you will be singing along with in seconds. Monstrously catchy!
Killing me - Least reggae influenced track. Just a great melodic rock track with a super smooth vocal delivery from Benji.
Cause Ah Riot - does exactly what the title says! Explodes into a huge reggae dub mixed with nu-metal ala Soulfly. If this doesn't get you moving you must be dead! Amazingly catchy track again!

go and try this with an open mind and believe me you will be hooked!

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

It's Christmassssssss!!!!

As Noddy Holder famously said!!!

Well I haven't been postng too much lately and I thought I had better make an effort today of all days. I have been pretty tired out lately. The Status Quo gig absolutely rockd like hell. Like I said I am no Quo fan but the gig was fun and a great way to bring in the festive season. I will definitely go and see Quo again. Well that's it. Not much else to day at the moment. Let's see what the new year can bring forth..

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

No Manics for moi...

To be honest I didn't really fancy it. A guy on Gumtree wanted to swap his 2 Wednesday tickets for 2 Tuesday night ones. Well I managed to persuade him to give me £30 for my two and he could keep his Wednesday ones and try and flogg'em to someone else. Good deal for me as I only just paid £21 for my tickets from ebay and they only arrived in the morning. I made £9 and got out of seeing those dreary Welsh bastards hehe! Very busy day yesterday as well, trying to sort out references for some agency work I am about to start. It proved a bit of a headache indeed!

I am now bidding on Status Quo tickets at Wembley Arena on Saturday night! I also tried hard for Kaiser Chiefs tickets at Earl's Court but I kept getting pipped at the post for those. Not that I like Quo or the Chiefs much but hey I could always try and get a profit by selling them on or even GO!!

I am high bid on Quo tickets at the mo, but I highly doubt I can bid high enough to win. We will see by the end of tonight.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Monday Morning Muse

It is strange that the with the addition of one letter the word Art becomes Fart. Just goes to show that one man's art could be another man's fart. Reminds me of the line in the Bugs Bunny cartoon. After Wile E Coyote gets covered in mud, Bugs says and remember folks Mud is Dum spelled backwards! Heck isn't Dum spelt Dumb? Whose the dummy here eh? Actually how come we don't spell it dummby? Oh I give up!

I have won tickets to see Manic Street Preachers. Why would a self respecting metal fan be seen dead at a Manics gig you ask. That's the question I was asking myself as I made the bid on the auction. I was fully expecting to lose, however, miraculously I have been conspired against by the music gods and they have decided to torture me by sending me to a dreary Manics gig! What have I done to deserve this purgatory? Why me! Oh I guess they are not that bad. I just have to figure out what to do with my extra ticket. I think i'll flog it to the Brixton beggars. I'll telle'm it's nice and warm inside though they might have to cover their ears for a couple of hours cause of the loud noise!

This year has flown by. Isn't that what people say every year? Well this year particularly has flown by at the speed of light. Really incredible speed this year has shown. It beggars belief really. Yet another year closer to the grave. Oh how desperately sad I am! Cheer up - it might never happen! Well actually it WILL happen. Who can stop the inevitable from happening. As the guy from the Matrix says..that is the soudn of inevitability. It has that swishing sound that all inevitable occurences make.

I would like to make some money from my writing, but I am not sure if I am good enough to be honest. I hope I am and I'm trying to branch out in my writing style. Obviously I love writing reviews about metal music and have been writing them for many years now on various internet message boards. But can one make this pay? Is it really possble that someone will pay me to type words on a screen? It cannot be surely..whatever next...a talking horse?

I have been trying to lose weight unsuccessfully for an age. Around the year 1999 I miraculously lost nearly 5 stones in weight. It was a miracle of rather incredible proportions at that time, but that time has passed unfortunately and some of the weight has come back on. The next step is to try and get in the right frame of mind to lose weight once again. It's a challenge that requires great mental strength once again.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Top 50 recommended death metal releases for 2007

An now for my other passion - Death Metal! I never mixed the two lists up though. I just find it impossible to compare and contrast my two passions in metal together and come up with one definitive list. It's better this way as both styles get their spot in the limelight. However melodic music will always be my first love.

In reverse order:

50. The Body Beneath - Compelled To Suffer
Newcomer death metallers. Pretty solid and with some technique. Bodes well for a future album of clinical brutality.

49. Aborted - Slaughter and Apparatus
Belgian ex Carcass worshippers now entering new territories. Actually a disappointment but still makes the list because the sound is huge and there are good parts.

48. Corpus Mortale – A New Species of Deviant
Brutal, straight-ahead death metal. Decent and tight riffage throughout with no frills brutality and some catchiness.

47. Cadaveryne - Fathering the Apocalypse
Newcomer debut semi-widdly death metal with some blistering leadwork as I recall. Makes an entry solely for the reason of astounding guitar playing alone. They need to get better at songwriting.

46. Lay Down Rotten - Reconquering the Pit
Midpaced, steamrollering death metal with groove ala Bolt thrower. Actually this is not as good as their previous cd but still good.

45. Obituary - Xecutioner's Return
The music is quite cool and catchy here, but the sound is truly abysmal. Maybe they intended it that way but this would rank in the 20s with a better, cleaner sound as I really enjoy the many simple Obituary standard grooves on offer.

44. Human Rejection - Torture of Decimation
Totally sick and heavy death metal with perverse frog burp vocals. The riffs are mammoth like stompathons. When in the mood for some sick shit then Human Rejection is the soundtrack you need.

43. Dark Tranquillity – Fiction
I thought I better squeeze DT in somewhere. I like the album, its solid DT material, perhaps could have been higher.

42. Ontogeny - Pillars of Perversion
Brutal and semi technical jarring death metal. Not bad stuff at all, needs work but cool.

41. Debauchery - Back in blood
The new Six Feet Under. Rock’n’roll based heavy death with some melody. Catchy simplistic death grooves with a huge warm sound.

40. Disavowed - Stagnated Existence
Brutal US styled death metal but from Holland. For Deeds of Flesh and Suffocation fans. One-dimensional listen but still pretty damn chaotic and cool.

39. Soulbreach - My Dividing Line
Tight and thrashy death metal with a thick sound and coo playing. Enjoyable.

38. Sickening Horror - When landscapes bleed backwards
Interesting if ultimately flawed death metal with actually great basswork being the best thing about it IMO. A bit weird for my taste but still a pretty cool death metal beast with something a little different about it to lift it above the norm.

37. Job for a Cowboy - Genesis
These ex deathcore boys thankfully left that scene more or less and morphed into a straight semi-tech death machine. Tight and groovy with a nice heavy sound too. The next album could be their defining moment, because this one shows their intention to make a name for themselves as a top class brutal death band.

36. Human Bloodfeast - She Cums Gutted
The type of release that appeals to few, but is actually pretty damn catchy. I love groove and a touch of melody and also a bit of technique. Human Bloodfeast apes Cannibal Corpse and does a good job, so therefore I like it.

35. Immortal Souls - Wintereich
Actually not a great year for melodeath was it? But this one is one of the best in that style. Catchy and thrashy with loads of melody and good death screams. Enjoyable indeed.

34. Illogicist - The Insight Eye
I really liked the last one and this one is a little different. It’s less heavy and more technical and a little harder for me to get into at first. But slowly I managed to make some headway with this release. Decent melodic and technical death, but I guess they still haven’t really managed to make that really killer album that I know they have in them. Maybe next time for these Italians.

33. Darkest Hour - Deliver Us
I think Darkest Hour have made their best album yet. It’s a little bit more melodeath than core now which is a good thing for me obviously. The songs are strong and the playing and melodies are memorable.

32. Violence Unleashed - Spawned to Kill
It’s all about the groove with these guys. They are totally unknown but they have that groove thang nailed. Their death metal is nothing out of the ordinary music wise, but they have the required level of quality to get this old bastard moving his head!

31. Kalisia - Cybion I and II
Sci-fi melodic deathfest with some moody and epic soundscapes made into two long songs. Epic, bizarre and fairly unique.

30. Demiurg - Breath of the demiurg
Dan Swano produced and contributed to this old school deathgroove project. Heavy sound and cool tunes with groovalicious riffing. Enjoyable for the old school early 90s Swedish death fan.

29. Psyopus - Our Puzzling Encounters Considered
Some of the most incredible OTT technical guitarjams ever on this disk. Unfortunately some of the most atrocious screaming vocals ever too! Still, if I look past the vocals, the musicianship is just astounding and is perhaps some of the craziest shit ever recorded by any tech metal band ever.

28. Sphere - Damned Souls Ritual
Totally unknown band to me before I heard this album. These Polish warriors are from the Decapitated school of death metal. Good sound and groove, catchy songs make for an enjoyable thrashy death metal animal.

27. Dimension Zero - He Who Shall Not Bleed
A surprising entry. Never got into their very heavy thrashy death before but this album blew me away the first time. Blazing rifferama with fierce drumming. Very thrashy and with a venomous bite to it too. Top class thrashy death.

26. Impaled - The Last Gasp
Simplistic Carcass worshipers. They are more much lo-fi though and not pristine or slick, but man do they have some catchy tunes. They know how to write a death metal ditty that gets under your skin with simplistic catchy riffs that you can bob along to.

25. Insision – Ikon
These guys were also-rans to me before but their new album is high precision level brutal death with a clinical cold approach. Very tight and fast with a lethal sense of destruction in the riffage, bulldozing all in their path. Solid!

24. Paths of Possession - The End of the Hour
I expected this to be pretty crappy but Corpsegrinder’s second album is really damn good. It’s a million miles better than the mediocre debut. It’s much more melodic and less brutal than his day job in CC. The riffs are pretty cool and Corpsegrinder himself does a great job on the vox.

23. Defloration - The Bone Collection
Corpse worshippers return with another really solid offering. Their last one made my list too and the new one once again makes a highish entry. These guys are really solid pros at this death metal game. Good stuff!

22. Fleshcrawl - Structures of Death
One of the best, if not the best old school death band going. They have the sound of the Sunlight studios down pat and they know how to make catchy melodic riffage. Hearing that guitar buzz is like travelling back in time. Not as good as their previous album but you can rely on these Germans to always deliver something groovy, headbangable after a few beers!

21. Nightrage - A New Disease is Born
A vast improvement for them IMO. Melodic, thrashy death at the top end of the spectrum with some clean vocals too. Great sound and cool tunes.

20. Dead Syndicate - The Carrion Creed
Brutal and sick underground death metal stompathon with heavy sound. Lots of fabulous lurching grooves ala Morbid Angel and some awesome guitar riffs to enjoy. Solid underground death metal brutality.

19. Soulless - Forever Defiant
Less Death-infused than before but some awesome angry melodic riffage with no little technique. Enjoyable and catchy. Nice sound too.

18. Mors Principium Est - Liberation = Termination
Similar to Nightrage in many ways, but a touch better for me. Melodic, catchy and thrashy with slick sound. Perhaps maybe not even as good as their previous effort but a real solid offering.

17. The Ordher – Weaponize
Uniqueleader band so you know what you’re getting. One-dimensional hate machine with frenzied double kick attack and tight riffs galore. For a debut the band shows a lot of potential and can make a name for themselves in the brutal death metal field.
16. Kronos - The Hellenic Terror
French semi-technical brutal death metallers are true pros at this game. Death metal mastery with slick sound and instrumental skills unbound.

15. Nox – Ixaxaar
Surprise high entry from underground Dutch Morbid Angel worshippers. Especially MA on the fast songs cause these boys are absolutely amazingly quick. They play so fast they have that backwards sounding feel to the riffage. Blazing death metal and really quite catchy in amongst all that speed.

14. Severe Torture - Sworn Vengeance
The best Cannibal Corpse copy band probably. Really solid and enjoyable effort but perhaps a little less catchy than I was expecting, but the quality is so high that it still makes a pretty high entry in the top 50.

13. De Liriums Order – Diagnosis
Tight and brutal death metal with a cold clinical sound ala early Decapitated. Catchy and professional.

12. Sotajumala – Teloitus
Finnish death metal mastery. They used to be a bit thrashier and now they just play tight and heavy death metal influenced by Morbid Angel, Decapitated and Cannibal Corpse. At the top of their game.

11. Dying Fetus - War of attrition
A massive surprise! I never expected the DF disk to kick so hard as this. There are some great riffs to be enjoyed too. Dying Fetus are an underestimated band IMO. This is easily their best album IMO.

10. Element - Aeons past
Brutal and tight death metal with some technical aspects. The riffing goes by like a whirlwind of notes and is really damn heavy and cool. There is room for improvement sure but for a debut, they definitely did their homework and delivered an album that cannot be taken lightly in death metal circles.

09. Sadist – St
Easily the best Sadist album. Melodic and technical with an ethnic flavour at times. Influences from Atheist and Death are of course prevalent and that's a good thing. The playing level is super high and shows that the band was right in making a comeback disk.

08. Aeon - Rise to Dominate
Some of the catchiest vocal patterns ever in a death metal album. These satanic death metal bruisers always make me laugh. I’m not sure how serious they are, as their lyrics seem to be a little jokey. But joking aside, the music is ferociously slick death metal with superb drumming and tight as hell riffing. Top class death metal mastery and catchy to boot.

07. Beneath The Massacre - Mechanics of Dysfunction
Highly technical death metal with some elements of core such as the odd breakdown riff and the core screams. But all in all, the skill level on display is magnificent and shows that the band has a very high level instrumentally speaking. They can improve sure, but this still kicks a hell of a lot of ass.

06. 8 Foot Sativa - Poison of Ages
Woah.. out of the blue come some of the best thrashy death albums I’ve heard in ages. The riffing is marvellous on this one. Aggressive and catchy as bad rash. Loads of At The Gatesisms everywhere. Raspy and waspish vocals also reminding one of ATG. They never seem to run out of killer riffs either from song to song. A huge production as well, possibly the best band ever out of New Zealand?

05. Neaera – Armamentarium
A massive and marked improvement from a former death core mob. Now they are sounding like the mighty and glorious Amon Amarth! They still have the odd core leaning with a breakdown chug or a rant but all in all they have some mighty heavy and melodic riffing that shakes the foundations. This one surprised and rocked the hell out of me!

04. Mithras - Behind the Shadows Lie Madness
Totally unique and moving death metal by these UK chaps. Their previous showed potential but failed but the new one delivers big time. Spacy, atmospheric, strange, epic, grand, bizarre, sci-fi and colossal are some of the words that spring to mind when trying to describe this. The best thing about it is the amazing leads used. They sound almost ethereal and otherworldly. Like they have been written for another dimension!

03. Deadborn - Stigma Eternal
The band born out of Necrophagist. A polarising album it seems. I am firmly of the belief that the album is just plain awesome. I have listened many times now and there are literally tons of killer riffing to be enjoyed. Played with amazing precision and skill. Maybe not as technical as the amazing Necrophagist but still a really tight offering.

And for the number one spot I cannot separate these two. So tied in first place we have…..

Odious Mortem - Cryptic Implosion and Inveracity - Extermination of Millions.
I listened to both albums again once to compare and contrast and it is hard to separate them. They are both at the very top end of the death metal scale for me. They both contain all the ingredients that makes death metal appealing to me. Perhaps the Odeous Mortem has the slightly better and cleaner sound and the higher level of music skill, however the Inveracity has some amazingly catchy riffage which never fails to ignite furious levels of power and brutality. Both albums show that the members are clinical death metal experts. Both tick all the right boxes for me. However in order to make my man John Frank happy I will shade it for Odeous Mortem! So if you twist my arm I will say they shade it due to the slightly better sound, but I think I have listened to Inveracity much more than Odeous this year overall.

Overall not a massively great year for death metal with even the best being not massively great or anything, but in the end it wasn’t so bad. Death Metal is just a hard-headed son of a bitch that plain refuses to go away!

Top 50 recommended melodic metal albums for 2007

Well it's a bit early but I doubt I will change my list now, so here it goes. The definitive list in reverse order:

50. Intense - As Our Army Grows – UK melodic power metal. Decent.
49. Hellfueled - Memories in Black – Ozzy worship. Fun.
48. Godiva – Destruction. Much heavier and better from Spanish guys.
47. Redemption - The origins of ruin. Quality prog. Would be higher if I was more into prog stuff.
46. Nostradameus – Pathway. Their heaviest and best album yet.
45. David Readman – st. PC69 man makes great solo album.
44. Symphony X – Paradise Lost. Not that great as some people say but very heavy.
43. Dark Moor – Tarot. Quality melodic power with good symphonic parts and better than Rhapsody as much as it pains me to say it.
42. Masterplan - MK II. Solid album with new singer. Good melodies.
41. Glory Opera – Equilibrium. Quality Angra worship but more prog and showy.
40. Mind's eye - A Gentleman's Hurricane. Amazing song-based prog rock with great playing.
39. Twilight_Guardians - Ghost Reborn. Catchy melodic power. Cool songs.
38. Messiah's kiss – Dragonheart. Heavy metal with Dio-esque vox. Cool shit.
37. Freedom Call – Dimensions. Happy melodic power, perhaps their heaviest one.
36. Insania Stockholm - Agony: Gift Of Life. Helloween worship but pretty cool and enjoyable in my book.
35. Volbeat - Rock the rebel metal the devil. Very catchy elvis metal.
34. Paragon - Forgotten Prophecies. Heavy power metal as expected. Hammers it home.
33. Threshold - Dead Reckoning. Melodic song based prog metal with cool vox.
32. Sturm Und Drang - Learning To Rock. Young boys doing an amazing job of making catchy melodic metal.
31. Andre Matos - Time To Be Free. To be honest an amazing effort from the ex Shaman/Angra dude.
30. Axxis - Doom of Destiny. Surprisingly great effort and their heaviest and best for me.
29. Keldian - Heaven's Gate. Catchy melodic aor/power with high anthemic vocals.
28. Domine - Ancient Spirit Rising. Epic and melodic power with a more sedate feel.
27. Steel Assassin - War of the Eight Saints. Catchy old school US styled metal with great vocals and epic songs.
26. Olympos Mons – Medievil. Typical catchy melodic power. Some real amazingly catchy tunes amongst them.
25. Bloodbound - Book Of The Dead. Worn off a little but still some great tunes.
24. The Ladder – Sacred. I love Steve Overland so anything he sings on I’m there. No less this!
23. Scariot - Momentum Shift. Technical thrashy power with chunky sound and nice melodic riffing.
22. Silent Force - Walk The Earth. Catchy melodic power with DC Cooper doing the business large stylee.
21. Circus Maximus – Isolate. Epic power/prog goodness. Very free flowing and melodic as expected.
20. Pantheon - Empire of Madness. Catchy and light melodic power with Klaus Meine like vox. Fun stuff.
19. Gamma Ray-Land Of The Free II. Solid offering from Kai but the boys in Helloween got him beat!
18. Astral Doors - New Revelation. Another solid album but this year no top ten for them.
17. Candlemass - King Of The Grey Islands. Grew on me big time. Some amazing songs.
16. DGM - Different Shapes. Masterful prog/power goodness from Italy. ‘A’ level musicianship.
15. Manowar - Gods of War. Love most of it, fillers in all. Epic and melodic.
14. Empire - Chasing Shadows. Dougie wins the day. Great vocals and 5-6 standout tunes
13. King Diamond - Give Me Your Soul... Please. Love da King. Solid tunes all the way.
12. Galneryus - One for all, all for one. Surprise high entry for Japs. Quality melodic power despite dodgy vox but even he can’t ruin it!
11. Scorpions - Humanity Hour I.. Their best album in an age. Never been into them anyway so I would say this is their best album ever.
10. Cage - Hell Destroyer. Quality epic true heavy metal. Great vocals and an epic story. Cool as hell power metal with darkness and melody in spades.
09. Megadeth - United Abominations. The most thrashy Dave has sounded since Rust in peace. Sure some songs are less good, but I feel the quality is pretty high all the way. Love the sound as well, thanks to Andy Sneap for producing this and not some other dude.
08. Primal Fear - New Religion. Maybe one of the best albums of their career. They have added euro goth elements to the sound and this makes it sound much fresher, but when they are doing the METAL thing they are still damn heavy but also very melodic and catchy.
07. Shadowland – Falling. Unknown band out of Sweden with a great release. Melodic metal with huge anthemic choruses and some melodies to die for. Great high vocals as well with a great tone.
06. Mystic Prophecy - Satanic Curses. Heavy as hell and consistent power metal.
05. Powerwolf - Lupus Dei. Super souped up melodic power metal with great vocals.
04. Rob Rock - Garden of Chaos. A top class power metal disk with a huge voice.
03. Vision Divine - The 25th Hour. Amazingly catchy disk with great vocals from Mr.Luppi!
02. Alter Bridge – Blackbird. A totally stunning modern rock release.
01. Helloween - Gambling with the devil. Possibly the best Helloween album ever and I think I might like it more than The Dark Ride my previous favourite.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Paradise Lost live at the Islington Academy

Well it wasn't the greatest gig in the world that's for sure! But for the price of the tickets and a night out I can't complain. It was a decent night actually, due to managing to get Chazzy F to take one of the 2 tickets I had. We had a good chat about this and that and Chas's exploits as a gig promoter amongst other things. Interesting stories he has to tell about how much work and shit goes through organising a gig. It really is a labour of love I think. Even though the Riverside gig he promoted was a full sell-out, he only ended up with a couple of hundred pounds profit to his name after everyone had their piece so to speak. The previous gigs he promoted made losses so in order to basically break even in this business you need to sell all the tickets and that's really hard with this type of music.

Anyway the gig itself was in a venue that I had never been to before and I got lost, walking way down the road before I realised it can't be down here. It turns out the Islington Academy is actually inside this shopping centre area. I had seen hardly any 'black-shirts' around so I never followed them or some such. Eventually I managed to figure it out and saw a couple I recognised walking inside the shopping centre and lo and behold there it was round this corner.

First we had a bite to eat and a drink in the upstairs pub which was nice as me and Chas talked a bit more before finally we decided to enter the venue. As we walked in the support band was already playing and we were a bit taken aback by how packed out it was.

Novembre were like a mix between My Dying Bride and Opeth with some Paradise Lost thrown in. I wasn't particularly taken with them to be honest. Still I never expected to be, seeing as I don't much like that doom with deathy overtones style too much. I prefer the more melodic aspects of Paradise Lost. They played a few more songs to polite applause but I guess the crowd wasn't too interested in them either by the looks of things and everyone was here for the 'Lost. The venue itself was pretty much packed to the rafters and it was quite hard to move around like I said. In the end we managed to get a reasonable spot for the start of the PL set though it was quite a way back. The sound was ok from where I was, but not great. The band played well, but they didn't seem all that animated. Nick Holmes is usually full of quips, but he seemed fairly relaxed and normal. They played well, the crowd seemed to enjoy it. It wasn't earth shatteringly brilliant but it was ok. The setlist was iffy, but I guess I'm not too fussed if I'm honest. They did play a couple of my faves like Enchantment which was great stuff. They could have played a couple of songs from Icon, which would have been nice but not to worry. They played roughly 80 minutes all told which was ok.

Once again at the price, I can't complain and it was nice to talk to Chas at the gig and we had a good time.

A short clip from As I die.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Won a Paradise Lost ticket off ebay

Managed to score a ticket for the 'Lost' tomorrow night at this late stage. Might as well make it 3 gigs in quick succession after not having been to a gig for a good while. Once again I am not a huge Paradise lost fan or anything like that but they are such a consistently enjoyable band these days. I have seen them a couple of time before and they always put on a good show. A gig report will duly arrive no doubt. Should be a good night and it's in a venue that has never had the good fortune of being honoured with my presence! (Islington Carling Academy to be precise.)

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Toto - Falling in Between Live 2CD

Bang goes my metal credibility! here I am praising a Toto album.

This new live platter from the legends of AOR is really something else. The sound is literally unbelievable and the performances are just superb. I will hold back from getting the live album and wait for the DVD release which is due sometime early in 2008.

But this double live cd is a must for all fans of Toto and anybody who likes amazingly catchy songs with great musicianship. I think it's the new songs which appeal most to me so far and of course the classics from the IV album.

Toto are just a great and legendary band. I don't like all their music, but they have such timeless songs that anyone can enjoy regardless of what music you actually like.

Hurry up and get that DVD released!

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Riverside live at the Underworld.

How about a night of prog rock excess!!

Well actually it didn't really materialise because the band in question is not really into that kind of dinosaur prog rock. They are more into dreamy, dark epic sonic landscapes, painted with intricate bass and guitar interplay with shimmering dark keys for atmosphere.

I can't say I am a huge Riverside fan or anything like that, but I like what I've heard from them a lot. It is melodic and quite haunting at times, whilst instrumentally challenging and really quite heavy at times which makes it all the more appealing.

First of all can I say the turn out was great. Probably not all that far from 500. The underworld was pretty steaming and I guess the fact that it was a Friday also helped in bringing out the prog rock brigade.

Anyway first up was some prog band called Haken. Obviously I have never heard of them. They came on stage and I could see three guys. Two guitarists and a drummer. Yet I could hear keyboards and bass! Where were they coming from I wonder and then suddenly I caught the bass player and keyboardist to the far left of the stage standing almost on the balcony with the crowd. It turns out there just wasn't enough room on the tiny Underworld stage. But anyway the band was tight as hell. I was surprised. I really liked them. The singer wasn't the best in the world but he was ok. Their musicianship was pretty damn cool. Great fluid technical bass lines and some nice jazzy noodling. Long songs, with lots of parts that appeal to all the prog nerds out there and even some pretty heavy sections. Good solid warm up!

Soon the stage was set up for Riverside and they got a warm welcome from the packed Underworld on their UK debut. I can't pretend that I know all their songs, but I was here just to enjoy the music and not get caught up in exactly what was played. But there were plenty of people there that knew many of the songs word for word and were singing their hearts out. The sound was good if a touch loud, but it was ok from my position. The bassist/vocalist had a nice demeanour and the crowd was loving every second of Riverside's set. They played not too far off 2 hours with 2 encores. They left to really loud and rapturous applause it has to be said. I think they were a touch surprised at the turnout and very happy to have finally played London. The fans were also very taken with their performances and cheered loudly throughout the gig. I can't give a setlist as I don't know the songs well enough. But most of the band's repertoire was played with great conviction and the band themselves played with much gusto.

Overall, a highly enjoyable evening of epic dark prog rock/metal. Not often that happens in good ol' London Town!

A short video clip below

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Collapsar - Integers

One final hurrah for instrumental tech metal fans in 2007!

So 2007 has been the year of the non-vocal metal extravaganza with quite a few bands flexing their fingers and letting rip on the old fretboard.

Finally it's the turn of Collapsar to have a go at trying to gain John Frank's affections.

Whether they manage to do it is open for debate on first listen. First thing to say is that the sound seems a bit flat and not overly heavy. THough I would definitely say this is metal.But I'm quite picky with sound, I'm sure it will be good enough for others.

Can I say the song titles sound like stuff that Behold..the Arctopus would come out with or even Dillinger. There is also a hint of dissonance or math type jarring riffing and sounds at times. This doesn't please me so being a non fan of that sound. However this is juxtaposed by the full on technical metal riffing which whilst still tech doesn't forget to add groove. This enables the music to 'rock' more.

However I would say the band isn't really melodic at all. They are off-kilter riff merchants with spicy, groovalicious raw tech riffing. I personally prefer more melodic music, hence my liking of Scale the Summit so much. This will appeal to people who like harder edged and slightly wackier off the wall music.

There is 60 minutes worth of music here spread out over 6 songs with the shortest at 5.35 and the longest at 18.52.

This is gonna be hard to sit all the way through I would think even for the most instrumental technophile people out there. But sit throught it they no doubt will.

The music is dense and non-stop thrust and change with some interesting riff patterns that never let up. There is a hint of Meshuggah, but its much faster in the main and more challenging. There are quieter ambient sections added to which are actually a welcome relief when they arrive to break up the crazy riffage.

In fact challenging is a great way to describe this music. It's complex and sometimes bizarre and other times mind altering and then mind numbing within a few bars. Its also quite hypnotic at times and you feel like you are being put into a trance with non-stop repeating patterns. Dare I say it, it can get a touch boring so to speak if you let, but if you concentrate you might get a little more out of it.

This is an album which will definitely test the patience of a saint by the end and I'm not sure how much pleasure the listener will get from long term exposure to music like this but there is so much to take in that repeated plays will be mandatory.

All I can is fasten your seat belts and practice your algebra cause this shit is way mathematical!

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Within Temptation at Brixton Academy

So I can cross Within Temptation off of my bands I've never seen list.

The support was The 69 Eyes. They sound like HIM mixed with Sisters of Mercy or The Mission. Melodic heavy goth if you like. The funny thing is the look like an odd bunch with two members being more punk than anything else with great big mohicans.These guys were ok. It's not really my cuppa. The singer had a nice low voice though.

Soon it was time for Sharon and co to take to the stage. The sound was excellent for a change. Crisp and heavy as lead and not too loud. Sharon had a red corsetted outfit on with a bouffant type skirt which she pulled off after the first couple of numbers to reveal her mini. To be honest Sharon was singing great. I wasn't expecting her to sound as good as she does on the records, but she proved me wrong. The rest of the guys were tight too. I can't say I know or like all the Within temptation material but heck it was fun and it only cost me 99p after all so who the hell am I to complain eh! I should thank my lucky stars I got a ticket that cheap!

They played for nearly one and three-quarter hours in the end which was quite a long set. But I guess with only one support they had the time to increase their set length. The crowd loved Sharon of course and the band thanked the Brixton audience quite a bit indeed, and seemed pretty chuffed at the loud applause and cheers for them at the end.

A nice and relaxed metal show!

Here is a short video clip from What have You Done.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Glampower to the MAX!

Just check that photo!

I came across these Norwegian glam overlords totally by accident whilst searching for some new metal a few months ago. I can't actually recall how I came across it, but as soon as I had read the name, a huge grin had formed across my lips!

Lipstick Liontigers? Are these guys for real? Is that name actually possible? LOL! What a name to conjure up the worst of the worst possible 80s glam band! God knows what possessed me to continue onwards into their site but I think it was just sheer curiosity on my part. I was ready to laugh my headoff, curse them for wasting my time and be on my way! Alas they captured me and held me prisoner in their dungeon of glitter and gold!

So I went looking for song samples and what I didn't expect to see was both their albums available for free download. They have now taken them down so these are very rare and hard to find. These guys are totally amazing and when I first head them i could hardly believe my ears! They are not really all that glam at all. Well sometimes they can be pretty fruity and obnoxious sounding but mostly they sound like old Maiden jamming with say Poison or something! They have really awesome catchy melodies, like you won't believe. I was left open-jawed when I first heard them. The singer doesn't sing glam and has a really nice voice. If only the sound quality was better than demo level on the mp3s - but its still more than passable for a demo anyway. I am putting up two different albums for you. Both are really worth a listen as they have some really good tunes amongst them. Very uber cheesy but also very damn catchy!

An EP called Who needs DJs anyway? and a demo album called With the Forces of Power and Glitter and Glamour of Rock. Don't miss out on these underground gems. A big kissy kiss kiss for the Lipstick Liontigers!

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Speaking of live shows...

I was just now looking up the gig guide and I saw Megadeth gigs advertised for next year. Holy crap I thought, must be a miss print! I missed the last Mega gigs cause I never heard about the gigs and they sold out pretty quick in the summer just gone. Suffice to say I have just bought my ticket right this second. Can't believe they are coming back so soon. Amazing! - and I look forward seeing the 'deth once again.

I just hope they pick a decent support. Apparently the Danish leg will have Volbeat. I hope that they also come here too but I doubt it. Volbeat would be really great to see. Both their albums are rock-and-roll-alicious!

Live shows...

I wish I was going to see Brocas Helm tonight in Athens. Brocas is true cult metal mastery. It's a shame they are not more popular amongst the metal brethren. Fortunately I have seen them once at least, a couple of years ago now. Still to have seen them again tonight would have been glorious! Hail to the Mighty Brocas!

On another note I won an auction for a Within Temptation ticket for this Tuesday's gig at the Brixton Academy. Guess how much for? 99p!!!! Ok it was only a seat ticket but for 99p and postage I'll go see Sharon and co. I like them. Not a lot but hey they are quite a nice band. I want to see what kind of show they put on live and how much of a stage show they have now. I'm expecting quite a theatrical performance from them. To play Brixton Academy is quite big for them really. They are seriously moving up in the world and catching up with the Nightwish's of the goth metal world. Gig report will follow in due course.

Friday, 23 November 2007

After all Israel did for England....

...they go and throw it all away against an already qualified Croatia. Football is a strange game that never surprises me in the least. Just when you think something surely cannot happen, it happens and then some.

To be honest with you, I wanted England not to qualify for Euro 2008. I have never been able to feel real pride or joy from English victories. Obviously this comes from not being actually English! I was hoping Croatia would do it. England players play football in the comfort zone too much for my liking. It never seems to mean too much to them. They talk a great game beforehand and always fail to back it up with passionate performances on the pitch. Yes they have good performances here and there but the next England disaster is normally just round the corner. This qualifying campaign for Euro 2008 has been littered with bad performances.

England didn't really deserve to qualify but I must admit I was totally surprised with how Croatia approached what was a meaningless game for them. They played with a great deal of skill and style, showing England how to play one touch football at a fast pace that caused no end of problems for the English defence. I can see why they played so good though. When you have already qualified, the pressure is lifted from your shoulders and mistakes matter less. You can express yourself more freely without the sense that your errors will cost the team dear. This is exactly how the Croats played.

And so it proved, with the Croats turning in one of the best performances from an away International side in recent times. Of course the manager got the sack the next morning. That was inevitable and he knew it himself though he did have the temerity not to resign, insisting that he would never walk away from a job. You can read that as being, I want my severance payment before I'm going!

Anyway, so next summer's European championships will be played without England. It just doesn't seem right. I know I said I wasn't fussed about whether England qualified or not, but when you really think about it, it just seems strange that the nation that invented the sport cannot play it too good at the moment. Oh Well, International football has never meant all that much to me anyway..roll on the Premiership.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Pirage's Metalopolis finally arrives!!

Welcome to my little old place on the web!

This is my first foray into the realms of webloggery and I hope to make a good job of it! I am such an opinionated so and so with a huge ego to match which often gets me into trouble on my other internet hangouts.

I will use this place to primarily talk about my neverending interest in heavy metal music, however I shall also pontificate and vent on whatever else takes my fancy. I may step on a few toes or I may not, who knows, but I always try to entertain my public with my undoubted hilarious wit and totally deadpan humour!

Stay tuned for more folks...I know youve bookmarked this place already. You know it makes sense!

Stay True!