Archive for October, 2010

Now I never got into Alter Bridge straight off the bat. I think it was the whole ‘they were in Creed’ thing that put me off. I only like a few Creed songs, like ‘Bullets’, so I wasn’t that interested.

It wasn’t until a friend saw them perform at Download a few years back and text me saying “Just watched Alter Bridge. It’s them that do Edge’s entrance music”. For the non-wrestling fans out there, Edge is/was a WWE superstar, and it turns out that his entrance music at the time (still might be for all I know) was Alter Bridge’s ‘Metalingus’. And I liked that song.

So, me being me, just went to a shop the next day and bought myself a copy of ‘One Day Remains’. Got in the car and put it on, skipping straight to the aforementioned track. Loved it. So I listened to the whole C.D., loved that too. Went to see ‘em live and they impressed me. Bought ‘Blackbird’ and loved that. Seen ‘em a few more times since and they’re such a good live act. So it’s hardly surprising I got myself a copy of new album ‘AB III’.

Alter Bridge - AB III

Alter Bridge - AB III

So yeah, I like Alter Bridge. They’re a decent band who can pull out the fast, heavy riffs and still make it melodic, then throw some great clean vocals over the top that just adds to the music so very well. Then they can whip some slower heavy songs and acoustic tunes into the mix and some ‘lighters-in-the-air’ numbers to.

Mark Tremonti is a fantastic guitarist. I’ve watched him thrash the nuts off his guitar and not break a sweat. I’ve read in Total Guitar about how methodical his playing is, and heard some of the showy lead playing (Check out ‘Ahavo Rabo Taco Salad’ if you can) that he can do. And Myles Kennedy is a definite fave vocalist in my books. Always thought he was pretty awesome, but he really sealed the deal when he came over as Slash’s touring singer. I was chuffed to bits to catch the show in Manchester and witness Myles putting Axl to shame on some GN’R classics. Well, just singing the songs without walking off in a strop is putting Axl to shame, but Myles sang everything spot on.

Soooooooo, ‘ABIII’ is yet another great Alter Bridge album, packed full of big riffs, smooth lead playing, catchy vocals and great sing along moments. Each song as a familiarity about it. They’re definitely Alter Bridge tunes. They’re the sort of song you can hear once and the next time you hear it you feel like you’ve listened to it a hundred times before, like it’s one of their classic tunes. You just feel like you know it.

I like that in a song. One you’re instantly singing like you already knew it. For example, I found myself watching the mighty Skindred at Hammerfest performing an acoustic version of ‘Trouble’ at the Jagermeister truck/stage thing. We were all singing along “Trouble’s what you want… then you’re gonna get it!” like it was a firm fave Skindred tune and we’d heard it before. We even did the usual “that’s an ace tune, love that one, gotta stick that on when we get back”. So we got back to our Chalet (how very metal \m/) and proceeded to scour the ipod for the song. I only had Skindred’s first album ‘Bablylon’ at the time and we checked it to no avail. My mate was adamant he had a copy. Alas, no, we’d never actually heard it before! But, it’s the sign of a good song. We were singing it for the remainder of the festival and watched Skindred play the full version later that night. Ace tune. Aaaaanyway, once again I digress….

I’m sitting here with the track ‘I Know It Hurts’ on. It’s another classic Alter Bridge in-car sing along song. Quite fast, catchy chorus and fitting lead guitar. I can see I’m gonna enjoy this CD. On my own, in the car, where the world can’t hear me sing! “We all fall sometimes, you’re not the first, but I know it hurts….

There are some good, punchy songs to get your teeth into, like ‘Isolation’ and ‘Still Remains’, which have some nice metal guitar triplet chuggy moments in, big riffs and big choruses. Or if you prefer a slower tempo, yet still powerful sounding song, check out ‘All Hope Is Gone’. There are other great songs on here like the melodic melancholy of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ or ‘Ghost Of Days Gone By’ where you’ll get slow clean verses building up into heavy, epic choruses.

A stand out track for me is ‘’Words Darker Than Their Wings’, which is a mix of everything. Clean intro, big guitars and a great dual lead vocal from Kennedy and Tremonti. Never heard him sing before. He’s got a pretty good voice. This is one of those epic Alter Bridge tunes like ‘Blackbird’ was and I loved that song.

Yep,  i love this album. So if you’re into Alter Bridge’s style, then I’d say get yourself a copy. It’s like Stone Sour, but all singing and no shouting, and a bit heavier musically.   Or like Creed but much heavier and with a much better singer. Defo worth a punt!

Due to my own stupidity and lack of money, I missed watching Alter Bridge on their current UK tour, just a few days ago. Gutted. I was told they were pretty damn good though. Ah well, Next time, Gadget…. Next time!!!

Hmm, they’ve got a DVD out too.  Didn’t know that!  Consider it on my Christmas list.  Here’s a snippet of Myles performing an acoustic version of “Watch Over You” from said DVD. Enjoy!

Find Alter Bridge on Myspace

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So there loads of you out there in the metal world who hate this band. I know you do, and I confess, I’ve never been a fan either. Whether it’s just down to musical taste or you’ve read something in the press about Oli Sykes being a knobhead, we’ve all got our reasons to not like them. Bring Me The Hairspray, sorry, Horizon have managed to make themselves the Marmite of metal. You either love ‘em or hate ‘em.

I heard first hand the massive “BOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” from the crowd at Sonisphere UK this year when they were announced ‘up next on the Saturn stage…Bring Me The Horizon!’ and was a little bit shocked by the response, so I’m hardly making this up!

But…

Before you completely dismiss them and do the usual “nah, not interested, can’t stand ‘em, etc.”(which is what i probably would have done), do yourself a favour and have a listen to their latest album “There Is a Hell, Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There Is a Heaven, Let’s Keep It a Secret”. It’s actually pretty damn good.

It wasn’t until recently that I started to pay attention. I’d listened to ‘This is What the Edge of Your Seat Was Made For’ and ‘Count Your Blessings’ and they just did nothing for me, so I wasn’t rushing to check out ‘Suicide Season’. I caught their video for ‘The Sadness Will Never End’ featuring Sam Carter from ‘Architects’ recently. I heard it, not knowing who it was, and thought… “this sounds pretty cool, but it sounds like BMTH, but it can’t be, I like it!”.

There Is a Hell, Believe Me I've Seen It. There Is a Heaven, Let's Keep It a Secret

There Is a Hell, Believe Me I've Seen It. There Is a Heaven, Let's Keep It a Secret

So I bought the new album this week, and have given it a thorough listen and I’m quite impressed. I say thorough, I mean it’s been on non-stop. It’s really good. It doesn’t seem as unhinged as previous albums. You might disagree, but there just seems to be more melody and control in the songs, which in my opinion is a good thing. I’m all for mental metal tunes, and some of these are goliaths of non-stop riffage. But it just sounds better.

Maybe it’s the more grown up songwriting and attitude of a band 3 albums and an E.P. into their career or maybe it’s the addition on this release of former I Killed The Prom Queen/Bleeding Through guitarist Jona Weinhofen. I don’t know. But something’s different.

They used to do the whole random fast tecchy guitar bit for the sake of having one in a song, but on this it’s not like that. Each song sounds big, heavy and fresh in it’s own right. It’s like the next step on from where you could see ‘Suicide Season’ needed to go. Ok, I’m still not convinced by the vocals. They sound much better on this album but I just find his voice to be a bit underpowered for such big songs. But as a package, the songs are great.

The songs on the album are a bit of a mix. You’ve got the big, heavy beasts and you’ve got some well thought out melodic tunes too. The opener ‘Crucify Me’ breaks you into what to expect straight off the bat. It’s got a bit of everything in there. Heavy riffs, atmospheric sections, a female vocal from Lights (Canadian Singer/Songwriter), good melodies, some weird effects and it’s a 6 minute epic. Other songs like ‘Anthem’ are songs that’ll really get you shouting along, with it’s hardcore/punk riffing and big pit-stomping end. “This is an anthem, so fucking sing!”. Erm, ok!

The first track I heard (and saw) was ‘It Never Ends’ which is a great song with a really catchy vocal line “I’ve said it once, I’ve said it twice, I’ve said it a thousand fuckin’ times…” which is one of those lines you hear and it sticks in your head. The video’s a bit weird though!

There are some melodic and sing-along tunes, such as ‘Fuck’ with the clean vocal ending from YouMeAtSix vocalist Josh Franceschi and ‘Don’t Go’ with more atmospheric sounding vocals from Lights. And, there are some heavy hitters too. ‘Home Sweet Hole’ is a fast paced number with chanty sing-along moments and ‘Alligator Blood’ ups the pace too, with a catchy riff, more memorable vocals (“Lets play a game of Russian roulette, I’ll load the gun, you place your bets”) and a big stomping ending.

My fave from the CD is ‘Blacklist’. It’s ace. It’s just one of those simple, straight forward, no messing, in-your-face slow heavy riffs that you can imagine people singing along, swinging their arms or punching the air to.

With more fast, yet melodic pieces with great guitar coming in the form of ‘Visions’ and Fox and the Wolf’, and slower, eerie tunes like the instrumental ‘Memorial’ and ‘Blessed with a Curse’ adding more depth to the album, it’s got more playability than previous albums.

All in all, this album has really changed my opinion on Bring Me The Horizon’s music, and I never thought I’d say it, but I genuinely like it. If you’re after a heavy album with some catchy melodies, fast songs, big heavy riffs and solid guitar work, then check this bad boy out.

Catch em at: http://www.myspace.com/bmth

Stone Sour are a great band. They’ve got a good mix of everything you’d like from a metal band, unless you’re after some straight up death or thrash metal, but you know what I mean. They’re a metal band that have heavy riffs, fast songs, great lyrics, great shouting and singing and can even whip an acoustic tune out of the bag if the need arises. If you like that kind of mix, then they’re a band for you.

Stone Sour

Stone Sour

I’m sitting here listening to latest offering ‘Audio Secrecy’ while I’m writing this and it’s a bit different to their previous stuff. Not quite sure what to make of it yet. Think it might be a grower!

I’m looking forward to seeing them in a few weeks as they’re a damn fine live band. It’s their Joint headline tour with Avenged Sevenfold and support from Hellyeah. I didn’t get to watch their full set at Download Festival this year as they clashed with Aerosmith. I’ve never seen Tyler, Perry & Co live before, so sacrifices had to be made. I mean, I needed to hear ‘Eat The Rich’ and ‘Livin On The Edge’ played live at least once in my life.

But I did catch the first 10 mins of Stone Sour and aside from a new song which was a bit slow for an opener, they sounded spot on. I was later informed by a friend that the rest of their set was immense, yet a little emotional given the events of the time (the death of Slipknot bassist Paul Gray). FYI, Aerosmith were also good!

Anyway, Audio Secrecy. It’s a good album, but lacks the ‘beans’ that ‘Stone Sour’ and ‘Come What(ever) May’ had. It starts well with opener ‘Mission Statement’ and ‘Digital (Did You Tell)’ hitting you with Stone Sours trademark heavy/shouty/singy combo, but the majority of the album feels a bit slow.

Stone Sour - Audio Secrecy

Stone Sour - Audio Secrecy

They’re not shit songs though, far from it, it’s just I liked the pace and heaviness of the previous two albums with the mix of mainly fast heavy numbers, with a few slow/acoustic chart friendly numbers thrown in. Audio Secrecy appears to be the reverse. Whereas the likes of ‘Bother’ or ‘Through Glass’ stand out in their field as the singalong songs on otherwise metal albums, new songs like ‘Hesitate’ get surrounded by similar songs and lose their impact.

But as always, the album is loaded with gems. As mentioned, ‘Hesitate’ is a real lighters-in-the-air, crowd swaying moment with some great guitar work (which puts me in mind of Velvet Revolver’s ‘Fall To Pieces’. – I’m a Slash fan, that’s a compliment!) and ‘Unfinished’ is an in-your-face number with riffs and power that match the vibe of Stone Sours debut album. Other songs like ‘Nylon 6/6’ have the heavy and melodic feel down to a tee, whereas ‘Dying’ has an unexpected ‘Theory of a Deadman’ vibe to it.

Corey’s lyrics are always superb. His work with both Slipknot and Stone Sour is far superior to most metal bands. Great guitar work from Jim Root & Josh Rand, with lots of technical stuff and very atmospheric playing. Shawn’s bass lines are solid and fit well with the rest of the music, and Roy Mayorga is one of the best drummers in metal (with an impressive list of employers: Soulfly, Sepultura, Medcation, Roadrunner United, etc…), so can’t be faulted.

I like the album, but I’m still 50/50 on how much. As I said, I think it’s a grower. So pick up a copy, it’s defo worth a go.

Find them at: http://www.myspace.com/stonesour, and In the meantime, here’s the video for ‘Say You’ll Haunt Me’.

I live in the North West of the UK, in a town in North Wales called Wrexham (some of you maybe familiar with this little corner of the galaxy) and we’re on the rise for getting a decent show or two.  Lately we’ve had some cracking gigs on. From 36 CrazyFists, Sabbat, Soulfly (Max Cavalera in Wrexham??  WTF??) and Bolt Thrower, with Exodus, Napalm Death and more are on the way.

But we don’t get the big gigs, so Manchester is my usual stomping ground when it comes to shows. Has anyone seen the gig calendar for Manchester across the next few months for someone who enjoys LOTS of different styles of Rock and Metal??

So recently it’s been August Burns Red, Korn, and on the way are Black Breath, Sick Of It All, Madball, Stone Sour, Avenged Sevenfold, Parkway Drive, Bleeding Through, Job For A Cowboy, Whitechapel, Deftones, DevilDriver, 36 CrazyFists, As I Lay Dying, Suicide Silence, Heaven Shall Burn, All That Remains, Winds Of Plague, Caliban, Napalm Death…

Suicide Silence (Live in Manchester)

Suicide Silence (Live in Manchester)

That’s the end of October and November half covered…on to the rest… Municipal Waste, Biffy Clyro, 30 Seconds To Mars (I’m taking the missus. Please don’t judge me on that!), Hatebreed, Helmet and more!

I tell you what, this Christmas, I am gonna be broke.  But, give or take a few, that’s one hell of an impressive list of bands to try and catch.  I have tickets for several of these shows, so I’ll blog my big opinion on which were ace!

Speaking of ace, I’ve just remembered that ‘HELLYEAH’ are supporting Stone Sour & Avenged Sevenfold.  Get to see Vinnie Paul knocking seven shades out of his kit.

“If ya don’t give a shit ya getcha’ hellyeah, Throwin’ fists in the pit ya getcha’ hellyeah!”

Rob Zombie UK tour 2011 with Skindred & Revoker supporting.

I haven’t seen Rob Zombie in years (his site says he ain’t been over in 12 years – is it really that long?!?!?!?!?!) and i’m really looking forward to this. (Hellbilly Deluxe is blazing in the background!)

He’s bringing his full stage show over so it should be a great tour.  Plus, he’s got Joey Jordison on drums, Piggy D on Bass and John5 on Guitars.  Mint.

Support from Skindred is ace too.  I love Skindred. They’re a top live band and Benji has got to be one of the best frontmen around!  Not sure about Revoker though.  I’ll have to do some research!

Rob Zombie UK Tour

Tickets onsale friday 15th October.  Dates as follows:

Feb. 16 – London, UK @ O2 Academy Brixton
Feb. 17 – Manchester, UK @ Academy
Feb. 18 – Newcastle, UK @ O2 Academy
Feb. 20 – Glasgow, UK @ O2 Academy
Feb. 21 – Leeds, UK @ O2 Academy
Feb. 22 – Birmingham, UK @ O2 Academy

for more info  visit http://spookshowinternational.blogspot.com/

Ok, so a few weeks back I get a call from a friend.  For this instance, we’ll call him Jim (mainly cause his name is Jim).
“Dude”
“What?”
“You gotta check out this band called ‘Black Breath’.  They’re fookin amazing.  They sound like Entombed on Wolverine Blues”
Now, to me, sounding like Entombed on the Wolverine Blues album can only be a good thing, cause lets face it ‘Demon’ and ‘Wolverine Blues’ are awesome tunes.  And that guitar sound…. Filth.

So I do what I usually do at this point and write ‘Check out “Black Breath”’ on a post-it note for later.  These sometimes make it to my PC.  Sometimes to the wash.

Either way, a week or so later, Jim comes round on a music swap mission and brings with him Black Breath’s ‘Heavy Breathing’ album. Remembering he said it was like Entombed, I put it on. Stunned silence.  Followed by laughter (in a good way. When something is that cool, I laugh.  You should have seen me watching ‘The Expendables’ at the cinema).

Black Breath are ace.  They have proper nailed that filthy European death metal sound that the likes of Entombed and Breach got me into, along with that ‘death & roll’ groove to their music.

Heavy Breathing Album Cover

Black Breaths "Heavy Breathing"

Don’t get me wrong, they’re not a rip off band (Flymore -Korn, anyone??). Far from it, they are a fresh twist on a style and sound that is fantastic.  Hardcore-Punk influenced grooves, with filthy guitars and an awesome vocal.

The songs vary from upbeat in-your-face numbers with thrashy riffs and massive walls of chords, to slower doomy tunes with great guitar melodies.  They’ve got elements of loads of great bands rolled into one.  As I’ve said, the guitars have the dirtiest metal sound and the vocals are great.  He sounds like there’s 150% going in to every shout, and that every one might be his last!

The songs will make you wanna get in the pit and start ‘milling around whilst others have that party feel that Snot mastered. And with some simple, but effective, and memorable choruses to chant along with, you’ll be singing along from start to finish.

Check out their ‘Razor To Oblivion’ EP too.  Some great tunes on there too.  The title track has a definite Motorhead feel about it.

Visit the Black Breath Myspace page (http://www.myspace.com/blackbreath) and check em out!!  They’re also on a European/UK tour very soon. If you’re at the Manchester show on Nov 22nd, I’ll see you down the front!!

In the meantime, check out this vid from Youtube of Black Breath performing “Wewhocannotbenamed” live. I love the intro to this song:

Alright, alright…. Where to begin….

Firstly, Hi!  Welcome to the small corner of the world that is mine.  Now on to the main reason I’m here… and hopefully, you too.

For a while now, I’ve wanted to put something together like a blog or resource about the one thing that interests me more than anything.  And thought “what better place than here, what better time than now!” to quote a Rage Against The Machine line.

I’m a metalhead.  I love rock and metal, and most variations on the theme.  I grew up in the sunny(?) U.K. on a diet of Whitesnake, Iron Maiden and Bon Jovi, thanks to influence from my older brother, but like so many others, school and my peers lead me down a different, very dark path for a while.  It wasn’t til I was about 14/15ish that I ‘got into it’ again, courtesy of a friend singing GN’R at me on a school trip.  He, Slash and Guns N’ Roses have a lot to answer for since.

So what am I trying to do. I’m passionate about rock / metal music. I love it. I listen to it every day and go to a show a few times a month if not more. I was in a metal band for 10 years. We were unsigned, yeah, but we achieved more than I ever thought we would.

The point is, I want to write about the things I like. Beats writing about things I don’t like, yeah? …and work! I want to put pen to paper, then finger to keyboard and write about the songs that make me throw the horns, the gigs that make me dive in the pit, great new albums from top bands, some of the fantastic unsigned bands I’ve seen and heard. I just want to pass on my view, my opinion on what I see, and have seen, out there in the metal world.

I want to be able to pick up a new album and tell you what I think. Not a fluffy magazine review that is kissing arse when it should be saying “actually, this ain’t the heaviest thing they’ve written, it’s a bit mellow, really” and I wont be reviewing music I don’t like so you get an uninformed view of it. Like when people into stoner rock review a thrash album and say its shit! I’ll tell you my thoughts on the music I like, just like my mates give me their opinions.

Some people might find it informative. Some won’t. If you agree or find something here that you like then yay! If not, then what the hell, we can still be friends, yeah? Its not like all your mates have the same opinion. I listen to music that a few of my mates will just say “that’s gay” too, but I don’t think they’re dicks for it. (the fact that they are dicks does that quite well without any help! :-p) Anyway, I digress…

I’ll give you reviews of new albums (when I get them), new bands, etc. If I find myself listening to something old that’s still cool, I’ll tell you why I like it! There are bands out there that have been going for years that I’ve only just picked up on. So if I mention something like its brand spanking new, don’t message me saying “ dude, you’re waaaaaaay behind the times, XX has 3 albums out”, I’ve only done it cause I just found em myself and want to share. I know there are others who miss out on stuff to. I mean, it took me a while before I got to listen to Testament. Now there’s something I should have done sooner!!

Unsigned bands too. I’ve been on the UK metal circuit and seen some shit hot unsigned bands that are worthy of mention. To be honest, I’ve seen some bloody terrifying ones too! But if you have something you want me to listen to, then cool – send me a link! I’ve been on the end of bad press, so you won’t get slated if it’s not my cup of tea. If its not, then I’m not a fair judge, so I won’t say anything! We got slated by a magazine for looking like “a stereotypical metal band” and didn’t even rate us on the music. Apologies for dressing like so many of my peers. Twats.

I’ve also got a fair few ‘tales from the unsigned road’ and do’s and don’ts that we learned the hard way that might be cool to write about. God knows, if I’d have found some hints n tips when we were gigging, we’d have saved some money and time. Might have cost a few laughs though! I’ve been to hundreds of gigs and festivals that I’d like to reminisce about, that I’m sure some of you might have been at (Korn in Liverpool Krazy House, Slayer in Nottingham Rock City, Donington 95, etc..) and I’ll be going to loads more, so pop along to here and see what I thought of em.

I’m not claiming to be the be-all and end-all of metal or some rock god fountain of rock musical knowledge. I know what I know, and like what I like. I’m just a guy who hates his job and loves some heavy tunes with a few beers. (usually Hatebreed if I’ve had a few).

So think of this blog/twitter thing I’m doing as another mate of yours who you wanna share new music with and find out about new music from. I want to expand my archive of quality bands and let you know about some of the hidden gems I’ve been passed. I have friends who come around, throw new bands at each other and we both find something we like. Usually.

So, Thanks for listening and enjoy our feature presentation….