Tuesday, 18 May 2010

The golden voice of metal is no more...

It's been 2 days now that the metal community took one of the biggest hits since Chuck Schuldiner's passing nearly 10 years ago now. Ronnie was the ultimate voice of metal and although in recent years I can't say I wise a massive fan of his output, I can safely say his title as the greatest voice metal music has ever seen can never be taken away from him. RIP Mr. Dio, we miss you and mourn your passing. There will never be another Ronnie James Dio and your magical voice will echo in all metal fan's hearts till the end of time.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Kiss LIve - I wanted the best and I got the best!

I didn't really have a major plan to go and see Kiss but a trip to ebay left me scoring a late ticket for the Thursday night gig after they had already played the previous night. Having never seen them before and not being a fan of the band at all apart from a few songs here and there, I wasn't that sure what to expect, well up to a point anyway.

On entering the Arena I saw the many 100s of Kiss Army fans getting in the mood for the show with lots of people with Kiss face paint which was pretty cool. Kiss fans are very much into their band and it seems Kiss attracts fans of many other bands be it rock fans who like bands like Led Zeppelin or The Who up to metal fans who like bands like Metallica and Iron Maiden. The atmosphere was quite joyous and very united indeed. Everyone was there to have a great time and what better way than seeing the greatest rock 'n roll band the world has ever seen as they would say!

First up was Taking Dawn whose album is pretty enjoyable. Live they were very energetic and tried to get the crowd going but I would say they never really quite managed to win the Kiss Army over. They tried really hard to get a positive response but alas they got mostly a lukewarm response in the main. These young boys sure have a lot of fire in their bellies, but their song material is so so. They definitely have a few cool tunes no doubt about it, but I think the sound was just a little bit muddy and this hindered them a touch. A decent warm up nevertheless.

Finally at 9pm and 15 minutes later than Schedule finally the legendary Kiss took to the stage launching straight into Modern Day Delilah from Sonic Boom. The sound was immediately a whole load better than it was for Taking Dawn, not unexpectedly! The packed Wembley Arena was singing and dancing to the chorus and the band was quickly into their stride. Not being a major fan of the band I don't even hardly recognise their classic material. The only songs that i knew well were Crazy Crazy Nights and God Gave Rock'n Roll to You from the make up free mid 80s. I didn't hardly know anything else, but alas the Kiss live experience is not cemented by having knowledge of the songs at all thankfully.You can easily enjoy the tunes as they are with the immediate groovy catchiness and a band in top form. I must say Paul Stanley's vocals are not my favourite and he tends to whine a good bit but the crowd was singing so loud that you could barely hear Paul anyway!

The songs that Gene sung were OK but again Gene's voice is nothing to write home about. Watching Kiss live is really an experience and a half. There is a sort of energy coming off from the stage that is hard to resist even if you are not a big fan of the band. The stage set and banks of video screens behind the band was very impressive indeed. The sound was amazing all night from my fairly close vantage point and I had no complaints at all on that score. They played until almost 11.15 which is not bad for an old timer band now is it! At one point Paul flew over the crowd on a pulley onto a small platform near the sound desk all the way at the back of the arena which was pretty damn cool. Gene also had his blood gurgling moment which I've seen on youtube before and he flew up to the top of the arena as well to play his dirty bass solo and singing the following song.

As Paul said, they are going to play one of the longest encores in history and he wasn't wrong as it was probably about 30 minutes or so long. To be honest I left the Wembley Arena amazed at what I'd witnessed. I still don't count myself a fully paid up member of the Kiss Army but hell, all these legions of devoted Kiss fans can't be wrong can they now!

1. Modern Day Delilah
2. Cold Gin
3. Let Me Go, Rock n Roll
4. Firehouse
5. Say Yeah
6. Deuce
7. Crazy, Crazy Nights
8. Calling Dr. Love
9. Shock Me
10. Tommy Thayer & Eric Singer Solos
11. Animal
12. 100,000 Years
13. Gene Simmons's solo
14. I Love It Loud
15. Love Gun
16. Black Diamond
17. Detroit Rock City
18. Lick It Up
19. Paul Stanley's solo
20. Whole Lotta Love
21. I Was Made For Lovin' You
22. God Gave Rock n Roll To You
23. Rock 'n' Roll All Nite

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Fat lady well and truly....

belting it out!!! 1-0 after 5 minutes and then Wigan had a penalty given against and a man sent off. Finally 8-0 as a scoreline. United won 4-0 and did their bit but alas it's not enough this year. A valiant effort to gain our 4th title in a row but it wasn't to be this year as we dropped too many bad points and didn't really deserve to win the title. Had we done so it would have been daylight robbery really. Roll on the World Cup!

Title Decider

Well after three years of being the best in the land it seems that we will finally relinquish our crown as champions on the Premier League. The lads have made a valiant attempt winning the title for the fourth year in a row and some how after a topsy turvy season we've managed to take it to the last game although the odds of victory are now firmly stacked against us. We need the mother of all miracles from Wigan in order to help us retain our crown. Well you have to live in hope as Wigan have already beaten Chelsea once this year at their own ground, but it's a huge ask for them to hold Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Still it's a little bit exciting until Chelsea take the lead and then all our dreams will fade and die as the song about blowing bubbles goes. Let's just do our job and make sure Stoke are beaten and let's see if the Gods are red or blue for the day eh?

It's been a difficult season for United and we only have what seems like a measly Carling Cup to show for it, but we've been very close in the Champions League again and unluckily lost to Bayern and made Chelsea fight all the way for this League till the last game. The proverbial fat lady isn't singing just yet but she's definitely clearing her throat! Come on Wigan! Make her choke!!!

Friday, 7 May 2010

Hammerfall Live Report

Well it was election night but you know what metallers are like - they don't really give a toss when there's metal to be played and heard! Haven't been in the Electric Ballroom for a while and it's quite a nice cavernous venue truth be told with plenty of room to move roam around soaking up the pre-gig atmosphere.

First up was some band called Tribe who were from the North as I found out later from a chap I was talking to. They played regular bog standard mid paced heavy metal with rather average vocals I'm afraid. Not completely offensive but when you lack tunes which stick in the head like the two main bands on show, well you aren't going to win too many friends are you now.

Next up was the awesomely brilliant Dream Evil. These guys are just fun as hell live. The sound was very clear but a little quiet which I didn't mind actually as normally we get blasted with the wall of sound approach but this time ear plugs were not necessary at all. This band are just great at what they do, no doubt about it, and in Niclas they have a plain awesome singer in their ranks. Musically they play a tad heavier and slower than their counterparts in hammerfall but no less catchy. They started the show with Immortal off the new album with the choral parts sounding totally immense. Hit after hit followed with the best moments for me being The Book of Heavy Metal and Bang Your Head from the new CD. They played for roughly 45 minutes which was a little short for me but still they were damn great and you just can't go wrong with da Evil if you're after a fun heavy metal time with tunes galore.

Soon enough the stage was ready and Joacim and co took to the stage and burst straight into the pounder Punish and Enslave from their latest CD which is now over a year old. In fact it's not long since I saw Hammerfall so the show was more or less a repeat of that one however they seemed to be slightly better tonight if anything. Joacim was in good voice, Oscar and Pontus were on top form on the guitars and the bass and drums were solid as you would expect. The set consisted of the cliches of true metal that you would expect. Three way synchronized guitar riffing and head banging, gang vocals, double bass drums and more wooooahhh woooahhhhs than you can shake a stick at! My favourite song of the night were all the songs from the mighty Legacy of Kings album that got an airing. Heeding the Call was awesome as usual as was Let The Hammer Fall. The crowd was lapping it up all day and night as well and everyone had big shit eating grins draped across their faces. Hammerfall are seasoned pros at this power metal game now and it's not hard to see why at all. An enjoyable and fun night of pure melodic heavy metal!

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Bolt Thrower LIve Review @ ULU

Well that was just a good gig I'm afraid and not a great one. I was expecting better things and the sound was pretty bad all night which didn't help matters one bit. First up was a band not listed on the ticket, namely Ancient Ascendant who played a kind of slowish death metal in the vein of Morbid Angel's slower songs. Surprisingly the sound for them was one of the best of the night. These guys were not bad although their songs were fairly meandering and a little bit boring, they weren't actually too bad at all.

Next came The Rotted with their grindcore/death metal mix. I quite like their last album and I far prefer the band to Gorerotted their previous incarnation. The sound was so so for them and went from being quite clear to a little muddy depending on how fast they were playing. They were ok but no great shakes in the end but got a good reaction from the crowd more or less.

Next up were Rotting Christ whom I've never been really able to get a handle on. They are obviously a very professional band and have been at this game a long time. They were actually better than I thought they were going to be especially when they slow down and play more melodic riffs which gets heads banging. The sound was again mixed depending on where you stood and I moved around a fair bit to try and find a good spot with varying degrees of aural success. Any how RC did what they did and got a good reception from a packed ULU.

Next up were Brummie stalwarts Benediction who I last saw supporting Death at the old LA2 almost 15 years ago now and my god how it's flown. Oddly enough their new singer said from the stage that he also was at that legendary gig and he can't believe that he's actually singing for Benediction now. These guys had big technical problems with one guitarist losing sound completely and the band having to play most of the gig with 1 guitar only. Not that it made a huge difference to proceedings as Benediction have a very one dimensional approach to death metal. No technical fretboard wizardry for these guys and very little in the way of melody. The 'heads down and bang away' approach was the order of the day. The frontman whipped up a good old storm and the pit action was pretty intense with a couple of fights breaking out and untold stage divers. The sound for Benediction was again not good and I barely recognised some tracks that were played although recalling Benediction tracks is never the easiest thing anyway! Nightfear was great from Transcend The Rubicon, although I missed Grind Bastard the title track from said album.

Benediction went down well but still everyone was just waiting for the mighty Bolties to take to the stage and finally at around 9.40 or so they sauntered to a packed and hectic crowd. Once again I must say I was very disappointed in the sound as from where I was the guitars were very low and I could mostly hear bass drums and vocals. During the set the sound fluctuated to acceptable standards but most remained fairly dull. I can't say that about Bolt Thrower though as the band seemed in fine form. Karl has the crowd eating out of his hand and the band are highly seasoned professionals although they don't have massive crowd interaction so to speak - they just allow the music to the talking. The set list was mixed between older and classic numbers and hearing tunes like the almighty Cenotaph never gets old as well as songs from my fave BT album, For Victory. The only song that I did miss out on was Where Next To Conquer which was sadly omitted but hey there's only so much time. The stage diving and pit was non stop mental with one guy fucking up his leg badly and limping out looking like he'll need an ambulance. One guy even stage dived with a brolly opened up, a somewhat funny site and reflective of the monsoon outside. Soon enough it was all over and I hurried out to be met by fierce driving cold rain. Great!!! Still it was worth to see the Bolties for the second time although I think it was more fun at the Underworld the first time as I recall.

Next gig is on election night when I will be "heeding the call" Hammerfall and Dream Evil as support. I vote for METAL!!!

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Going to the Bolti house again!

Well I do love a curry but this Bolti is the death metal legend Bolt Thrower! Off to see them tonight with support from fellow stalwarts Benediction, Rotting Christ and The Rotted. Cenotaaaaaph!! Report later.