Friday, 30 December 2011

We Must Obey's Top 10 Albums of 2011

2011. What an incredible year for rock and metal. This year has seen no end of fantastic, top-level releases, as well as a few disappointments and one or two downright stinkers too. It’s been a year where some of the biggest names have taken one or two risks and experimented on their whole sound. This came with varying results, displaying the occasional success and more often a jaw-dropping ‘what the hell?

Before I go into the main list, I’d just like to give ‘props’ to a few albums that didn’t make the list, because deciding on a top 10 was mighty difficult given how good a year its been. So take a bow:

Joe Bonamassa – Dust Bowl
Vektor – Outer Isolation (Heavy Artillery)
Hammers of Misfortune – 17th Street (Metal Blade)
Bong – Beyond Ancient Space (Ritual)
KEN Mode – Venerable (Profound Lore)
Pyrrhon – An Excellent Slave but a Terrible Master (Selfmadegod)

All of which sit highly in our thoughts for simply being kick ass records. But without further ado, here’s the ten we settled on, ten records that reign supreme over the rest in 2011, ten records we’ll surely revisit again and again.

10. Mastodon – The Hunter (Roadrunner)

Mastodon have sat firmly atop my personal best of lists each year they’ve released a new studio album, always managing to blow me away with how each they seemed to make every slight transition. ‘The Hunter’, however, is their boldest move yet, shifting away from conceptual pieces and elemental themes, in favour of more straight-up rocking action. I personally found it to be a bit of a grower but eventually I fully embraced Mastodon’s latest effort – how can you not love the single of the year, ‘Curl of the Burl’, the bizarre ‘Creature Lives’ and the beautiful centrepieces of the title-track and ‘The Sparrow’, among many others? Mastodon is truly on course to become the next great heavy metal band, and with staggering ease too.

9. No Made Sense – New Season/New Blues (self-released)

I still can’t believe the No Made Sense story appears to be over. After their incredibly received debut ‘The Epilannic Choragi’, they probably disappeared under your radar; that reception should have guaranteed them a bigger audience. Alas, it feels as though they effectively said ‘fuck it’, shoved this album on Bandcamp as a freebie and announced their immediate split. A damn shame and yet another British metal band that will wind up as a footnote in British metal’s recent troubled history. But damn, what a parting gift. Recorded entirely live, it was a stormer from start to finish and monstrously powerful, particularly with an awesome final riff to close off their short career. What the three members will go on next is anyone’s guess – I just hope they have a rethink and give the album the love it deserves.

8. Black Spiders – Sons of the North (Dark Riders)

The UK rock sense seemed worryingly sparse in recent years, with a seemingly short supply of bands set to become the new Motorhead, Therapy?, The Wildhearts, etc. Enter the Black Spiders, who finally lumped their debut album ‘Sons of the North’ onto the wider world to rapturous applause. You won’t find a collection of songs harder rockin’ or arse-kicking as these. ‘Sons’ exudes raw attitude and a real fuck-you mentality, a premise long part of the ‘Spiders’ brand of rock. For the last few years, the notion of proper British rock ‘n’ roll has been sullied by fashion over real substance. Hopefully, this is the start of a renaissance and when the charge is sounded, the Black Spiders will be the ones carrying the flag into battle.

7. Evile – Five Serpent’s Teeth (Earache)

Evile’s career so far has arced in such a way that it’s encapsulated much success and indeed tragedy in the shape of bassist Mike Alexander’s death in 2009. Having regrouped with new bassist Joel Graham, Evile didn’t just recover but, holy balls, they returned with a vengeance. ‘Five Serpent’s Teeth’ represents a coming of age for Evile, without question their finest album to date. Whereas second album ‘Infected Nations’ saw Evile head down a less thrashy road, ‘FST’ found Evile embracing the thrash spirit of old; that being mostly no-nonsense battery and songs to die for. Their unstoppable rise continues – long may the finest UK thrash band since Sabbat reign.

6. Wormrot – Dirge (Earache)

The unstoppable rise of the biggest thing to come out of Singapore (eclipsing black metal compatriots Impiety by some margin) continues to astound and explode people’s heads. Wormrot certainly delivered a cracking grind album with ‘Abuse’ and further impressed on the split with I Abhor, but no one was prepared for this barrage – 25 songs, eighteen minutes, and fucking enjoyable all the way. In my review I described the album as a ‘meteor to the face’ (one of the songs on ‘Dirge’) and I still hold that opinion today. Don’t be too surprised to find if you walked into my house you’d find just a frazzled pair of shoes billowing smoke from the floor, such is the intensity of this record. Wormrot often proclaim on the social networks ‘in grind we rot’. Yes we do.

5. Wolves in the Throne Room – Celestial Lineage (Southern Lord)

The word floating in the ether is that this is to be the last Wolves In The Throne Room album, or at least as we know it…But in a year where black metal was seemingly dominated by the word ‘transcendental’ – no thanks to a Mr. Hunt-Hendrix of Liturgy – ‘Celestial Lineage’ was the black metal album that transcended all others. Effortlessly seaming together traditional black elements with acoustic passages, harp sections, ghostly vocals from Jessica Kenney, ‘Celestial Lineage’ was a calling from the forests to the sky, an ascension ritual, and wow did it feel real. If this is the final WitTR album, the Weaver brothers, Nathan and Aaron, can be content with having created a timeless masterpiece that will echo for all eternity.

4. Revocation – Chaos of Forms (Relapse)

In a scene full of guitar geekery, polyrhythmic drumming and deriritive copycats popping up every two seconds, it’d take something exceptional for another straight up technical death metal band to come up with an eye-catching record. Revocation aren’t trying to reinvent death metal in the same way as, say, Ulcerate, but they do what they do exceptionally well, and after two barnstorming albums prior, ‘Chaos of Forms’ completes a stunning proverbial trifector for them. It’s loud, technical and by-Nigel heavy, but all phased through a melodic, care-free swagger and even a Hammond organ solo. Revocation are undoubtedly one of the best the scene has to offer – now, wider world, will you please wake up?

3. Batillus – Furnace (Seventh Rule)

One we didn’t get round to reviewing this year, but one thoroughly deserving of praise. Without doubt one of the heaviest records I’ve ever listened to. Bustling with atmosphere and vile intensity, Batillus knocked me sideways with their full debut album. I’ve been into the band since their inception as a dronier, instrumental doom trio, but the addition of Fade Keiner (ex-Jarboe of others) on vocals and on synths/effects has given them an atmospheric and venomous edge. It’s cold and unforgiving album, those effects showing their hand at numerous turns, and heavier thunders rains from the sky like ten ton anvils. Clearly there’s still room for development – that’s the exciting part. Definitely a band to keep an eye on, definitely a record to pick up.

2. Crowbar – Sever the Wicked Hand (E1 Entertainment)

For a while it seems we might never get another Crowbar record. After 2006’s ‘Lifesblood for the Downtrodden’, frontman Kirk Windstein’s involvement with NOLA-supergroup Down increased as the band’s mainstream popularity rocketed, and he even had more time to record two albums in Kingdom of Sorrow with Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta. The news of a follow-up to ‘Lifesblood’ was greatly received, and ‘Sever the Wicked Hand’ was one hell of a return from one of the lords of sludge metal. Lyrically, Windstein dispels numerous demons and holy mother of pearl, it’s thunderously heavy, at times producing memorable skullcrushing breakdowns and wake-the-fuck-up shifts that make this possible the best Crowbar record since ‘Odd Fellows Rest’.

1. YOB – Atma (Profound Lore)

In a year in which a number of particularly high profile bounds have sought to alter their sound or dabble in experiments – gambles which haven’t always paid off – its relieving in a way that our number one album of 2011 is one from a band that’s not straying too far from its original template – instead, they refined it, like any master craftsmen, and proceeded to write quite simply the most mind-blowing album all year.

YOB’s ‘Atma’ is five tracks of unequivocally crushing traditional doom metal, which flourishes of psychedelia scattered throughout. Mike Schiedt delivers an incredible vocal performance, from his trademark nasal sounds to some truly guttural, terrifying roars. The trio masterfully build up riffs time and again, only to bring the hammer down with gargantuan might. Underpinning ‘Atma’ is its two longest tracks, both of which feature Neurosis’ Scott Kelly with stunning guest appearances. First, the centre track ‘Before We Dreamed of Two’. A whopping 16:10 in length, it combines Eastern mysticism within its guitar, laying down a cracking riff, before Scott Kelly comes along and damn near steals the show. His delivery of the lyric ‘distant silver shore/bring my body’ resonates far beyond this album, such is its impressive delivery. The second, ‘Adrift in the Ocean’, sees Kelly in a more understated but no less impressive vocal role, and serves as proof of YOB’s ability to produce killer riffs, jarring the senses on the slightly shorter tracks, and calling the great white waves on the two biggies, crushing all in its path. Five tracks in fifty-eight minutes; never does this feel like a slog, or an endurance test or any sort. Instead, it manages to be completely jaw dropping in its beauty and altar worshipping in its crushing dominance.

Put simply, 2011 would not have been the same without ‘Atma’. A classic in every sense of the word, and a deserving number one for 2011.

Peter Clegg

LABELS: BATILLUS; BEST OF 2011; BLACK SPIDERS; EVILE; MASTODON; NO MADE SENSE; REVOCATION; SINGAPORE; UK; US; WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM; WORMROT; YOB

Thursday, 29 December 2011

We Must Obey's top EPs/splits/demos of 2011

Whoever said the short form of music was dead needs their head examining. Yes, as far as the mainstream pop shite goes, full of illiterate idiots that will be here today, gone tomorrow. But no, as in the alternative underground that will forever reverberate. We’ve consumed more EPs, demos and split releases than ever in 2011, a lot of which haven’t even made it to a review on here due to time constraints, and while they can’t be compared rightfully alongside full-length releases, it’s entirely fair that they can be judged on their own merits. So here, without further ado, are our top 10 shorter form releases of the year.

10. Wormrot – Noise (Scion AV/Earache)

If 2009 announced the arrival of Wormrot on the world scene, 2011 was the year they well and truly exploded onto it. Not content with releasing the stunning ‘Dirge’ and getting one-up on the pirates in the process, they contributed a flexi-disc 7” vinyl to Decibel magazine and additionally teamed up with Scion AV to put out another five tracks of grind madness. There’s one or two tiny hints of new sounds in there, particular a punk-ish (even Maiden-ish?) section in the closer ‘Perpetual Extinction’ but largely it’s the Wormrot we’ve come to know and love. Grind!

9. Enslaved – The Sleeping Gods EP (Scion AV)

The notion of a black metal band flirting with the musical offshoot of a major car manufacturer is proverbial blasphemy to trve black metal fans, but Enslaved long threw off the shackles off ultra-grimness and have long offered up something different with every new release. ‘The Sleeping Gods’ was no different and although it’s not their finest material, it showcased the multiple faces of Enslaved, through storming riffs (‘Alu Misyrki’) and ominous Norwegian folk (the title track) and yet more besides -  not a single track sounds the same here, ‘The Sleeping Gods’ is an essential addition to any metal (and in particular Enslaved) fans’ collection and further strengthens Enslaved as one of black metal’s premier acts.

8. Sea Bastard – Great Barrier Riff (self-released)

The general consensus in the UK sludge/doom scene is that an act with the potential that Funeral Hag had will be missed; but at least that potential has been plundered into Sea Bastard, forging together three former Funeral Hag members with former Jovian guitarist. This, their crackingly-titled demo, is three huge tracks spreading over nearly fourty minutes of debut material that serves as another huge hope for UK sludge/doom in 2012.

7. Mogwai – Earth Division EP

Would the masses say this is Mogwai’s best material to date? Almost certainly not. But as a reminder of what Mogwai are capable of, this more than does the trick. The Scots here supplied four incredible tracks, providing an ideal accompaniment to their latest album ‘Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will’, and even as a shortform release, it for me excels the majority of all 2011 releases across various formats and sizes. The lone vocal track ‘Get to France’ is just phenomenal, just drifting by in its simplicity and revelling in it at the same time. It’s not exactly rock by any stretch but its expansive and ambitious, something Mogwai can still claim to be above everybody else this long into their career.

6. Big Business – Quadruple Single EP (Gold Metal)

Big Business have been accumulating more members than putting out actual albums since 2009’s ‘Mind The Drift’, and though we still wait for the follow-up to that incredible record, the ‘Quadruple Single’ EP was a tasty reminder than the bastard offspring of Karp and The Melvins are one of the finest forces in rock. Any band who can pull a track like ‘Guns’ out of the bag, with its solitary line ‘Guns/guns/guns are better than everything else’, to a riff stomp of the exact same rhythm, are absolute genii. Sure, they might now have two guitarists, but it’s still about the finest rhythm section in rock right now, in Jared Warren and Coady Willis. Now come on lads, full length follow-up please?

5. Gripe – Pig Servant (self-released)

Pig Servant’ was the second of two releases in 2011 from Athens, Georgia hardcore/grind/powerviolence crew Gripe, the first being the Grindcore Karaoke-backed ‘The Future Doesn’t Need You’. The first was a statement of intent; ‘Pig Servant’ was that intent pinning you up against the wall by your throat. Featuring Mickey Rourke’s ‘blood for blood’ speech from Sin City as an introduction to the first track, ‘Ghetto Rapist’, was a masterstroke, and damn near everything afterwards destroyed all in its path. Clearly they can only get better, but what is certain is that someone should come along and sign them up right away.

4. Alpinist/Masakari – Split (Antifascista)

The d-beat sound has made a remarkable comeback in recent years. In truth, it never died, but bands like Trap Them, Black Breath, Nails etc. have all contributed to its uprising. Without question though, the split album by German hardcore/d-beat crew Alpinist and the merciless US powerhouse Masakari is one of the finest. Alpinist displayed a remarkably mature approach in their assault, displaying one or two untypical influences in a standout show. Masakari, on the other hand, were simply Masakari, uncompromisingly in-your-face and displaying a level of sonic violence that few can even match, let alone outfight.

3. Between The Buried and Me – The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues (Metal Blade)

Even in restricting themselves to three tracks, the evolution of Between The Buried and Me knows no boundaries, continuing to piss on their contemporaries from a great height as even in a year without a full album release, they still find space to shove in a section consisting of accordion and castanets during ‘Augment of Rebirth’ and still make it fall perfectly into place amongst a progressive death metal overture. It might only be an EP, and only three tracks, but even these 30 minutes alone stand up to their album works for pure quality, and further cements Tommy Rogers and co. as musical genii for the 21st century.

2. Trash Talk – Awake (True Panther Sounds)

Trash Talk have been evolving from their powerviolence beginnings to a fair few people now, no doubt aided by their association with Matt Caughthran and in particular Joby J. Ford from LA punks The Bronx, the latter of whom acted as producer here and on previous album ‘Eyes and Nines’. The latter showed promise in their potential metamorphosis; ‘Awake’ was a perfection of that metamorphosis. Although no less hardcore in its delivery, Trash Talk managed to capture the classic punk vibe in the same fashion as the likes of Black Flag and The Circle Jerks within nine furious minutes. A furious petrol bomb of defiance and ear-to-the-street rallying that no one should be without.

1. Iron Witch – Single Malt EP (Witch Hunter)

It was a real close call deciding between the top three – literally tighter than a gnat’s chuff – but Liverpool’s answer to Eyehategod, Sourvein and southern sludge in general take We Must Obey’s short form crown for this stunning whiskey fuelled assault. Describing them as the best UK sludge band since Iron Monkey might seem lofty but that’s the genuine feeling I get when listening to Iron Witch or watching them play live. And ‘Single Malt’ is truly misanthropic and all kinds of kick-ass heavy, swinging broken glass-haymakers like ‘Jailhouse’, ‘Booze Blues’ and more across the course of the EP. Seriously, the sheer bile that spills out from this record is unreal. That’s how intense it is. And that’s the mark of a great, and I mean truly great, sludge metal band. Wider world, watch out for Iron Witch in 2012.

Peter Clegg

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Dio/Iommi - God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen


Ah sod it, I can't keep up my antipathy any longer.

Here's Dio singing 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen'. Merry fuckin' Christmas.

Peter Clegg

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Bill Bailey - In Metal


Bill Bailey
In Metal


The world would certainly be a poorer and gloomier place without Bill Bailey. The self styled Part Troll has been splitting sides for years with his rambling style of comedy, mixed with warped musical renditions of the Hokey Cokey and the BBC News theme of all things.

But though he's more well known to the wider public for Never Mind The Buzzcocks and his role as Manny in Black Books', he's had plenty of musical dabblings as well, least of all the excellent 'Insect Nation'. And here he bestows 'In Metal', an album of metal-styled songs based on his Sonisphere Festival performance earlier in the year.

There's not much I can say without giving too much away, cos the humour is part of its charm of course. Don't expect full on metal - if anything there's its more rock, with the odd metal styling thrown in. That said though, the Rammstein version of 'Scarborough Fair', as well as a welcome 'metal version' of 'Das Hokey Cokey' show a little bit of steel, although they're more laden with synth, and the heaviest it gets, on , is ruined by a lyric that quickly becomes tired. The best moments are the tracks 'Leg of Time' and 'Love Song', which are genuinely hilarious at times and have exactly the direct effect.

I suspect hardcore Bailey fans will find more to enjoy about his sending up of metal than the casual fan or listener, and its not as though he needed to do this to further his wildly successful career. But for the most part its an enjoyable diversion from the often too serious world of heavy metal, and surely that's what 'In Metal' is all about and nothing more?

Peter Clegg

Buy 'In Metal' here

Official site 
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Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Shining - Live Blackjazz

Shining
Live Blackjazz
Indie

Without question, Shining (NOR) were one of 2010’s top emerging bands. Although they began in 1999 (as a jazz quartet), and later embraced metal fully with 2005’s ‘In The Kingdom of Kitsch You Will Be A Monster’, 2010 was the year that, for me, they truly impacted with the imperious ‘Blackjazz’. Melding black metal, jazz and more in a more intense fashion than ever before, Shining landed themselves in many people’s top albums of 2010 list way before the year had even ended. It was strange, malevolent, gonzoid and somehow cohesive.

Live Blackjazz’ isn’t a performance of that album in full, although the bulk of material from the album is present here. It compiles a full Shining performance comprising of material from that album plus older albums including ‘Kitsch’, and manages to do the rare job of doing what most live albums simply cannot, which is capture the raw, volatile energy of a band at the peak of their game. None of the craziness that manifested the studio album of the same name is lost, with frontman/saxophonist Jørgen Munkeby still screaming the ‘one three seven five’ out of ‘Fisheye’ and sounding nothing short of on the edge on the likes of ‘Madness and the Damage Done’ and ‘Exit Sun’. The closing cover of King Crimson’s ‘21st Century Schizoid Man’ is just as apocalyptic as it was on ‘Blackjazz’, enhanced by its domineering live presence

If you haven’t yet checked out Shining then you really owe it to yourself to immerse yourself right away into one of the most original bands of our time. Rarely does metal lend itself to diversity as much as it does with Shining, and without question this is an opportunity to grab with both hands and ears.

Peter Clegg

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Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Mistress singing Christmas songs on Never Mind The Buzzcocks


OK, Mistress fans, long time Buzzcocks fans, you know the drill.

For those of you not in the know, enjoy.

And oh yeah, prior to Mistress, there's reggae star General Levy. Not metal, I know. But equally hilarious.

Peter Clegg

Monday, 19 December 2011

'Kin Hell Fest @ The Well, Leeds, 13/11/2011


(Originally posted on 12/12/2011 - now with live footage!)

Ninkharsag; I have no idea what that means, but every time I saw the name on a flyer it said to me “black metal,” which I suppose is helpful. Deeply rooted in the early days, this band would probably make those who use the words ‘kvlt’ and ‘trve’ do something sticky in their pants if they weren’t all miserable cunts and actually went to gigs.


The temperature of The Well is lowered as the grim hypnotic riffs flow between rolling drum fills and dark melodies. Ninkharsag have the same trance inducing quality to their music that Burzum have although they don’t follow in the same minimalist vein. They don’t compromise the song for the sake of speed, and the drums often emphasize the groove of a riff giving more weight to the track than endless shred/blast, although there is plenty of that to go around. I felt that the vocals didn’t quite match the power that the rest of the band created but Ninkharsag basically sound how black metal should do, evil as fuck. I was in fact so impressed, the urge to maniacally crab walk around screaming came over me. Unfortunately the ratio of beer to hangover was so far to the latter that by doing this I’d probably have fallen over and died. One black metal lunatic was completely overcome by the performance, he immediately set off out outside and set fire to a pile of leaves. Not quite a church but still.

Colonel Blast
bring death metal but not as you’re used to. There’s a lot of shredding and build up riffs to big moments that sound like some sort of post death metal pinnacle, uplifting rather than minor orientated. Amongst these moments there’s moody acoustic dynamics that are eventually savaged by all out death metal, jittering riffs and gruesome vocals delivered by a front man who gesticulated wildly, throwing punches around his unaware band mates, and at several points I feared for the safety of the bassist. There’s often a feeling of moving over several different types atmosphere within one song, all surrounding one moment of sheer power to follow these disjointed parts. Colonel Blast have defined death metal their own way, and it sounds good.



Oblivionized push the boundaries of the term tech death, the speed and ability of the musicians is incomprehensible to me. The complete insanity of what’s going on is probably a little lost in a live show and I won’t pretend that I knew what was going on most of the time, apart from the drums being ridiculously fast. If you like your death metal as intense as possible and have bionic hands, then these guys would be right up your street, or you could combine a CD with strobe lighting and have a useful tool for extracting information from a prisoner of war. I honestly can’t get into what’s happening and the only appropriate action I can think of while listening to Oblivionized, would be to internally combust or lose my mind. The vocalist also adds a strange style of chaos to the noise. Chaos however is what the band are obviously going for and they do achieve it.

The Atrocity Exhibit were up next and they bring on the filth; an unmistakable gravel like tone slaps you in the face and bastardized punk riffs give you that feeling in your gut that only something so brilliantly rotten can achieve. With the same kind of energy that Magrudergrind or Napalm Death can supply, the Atrocity Exhibit make me want to destroy everything in a grind induced frenzy and generally spaz out. The riffs are simplistic nasty, and seldom without massive groove. Obviously dedicated fans of all styles disgusting, the groove sometimes slows up into a sludged out stomp along, while piercing, abrasive screams tap into the feeling perfectly. Amongst the best underground grind bands in the UK, raw as hell and ferocious.
 

Foetal Juice bludgeon the energetic and appreciative crowd with fantastically sickening death and grind. I however, am sick of talking about the dodgy cunts so that’ll do. (Look at the Cannabis Corpse gig for more on these).


In a welcome change of pace, Wizard’s Beard appear to crush you like some sort of malevolent steam roller, assuming you didn’t have legs and couldn’t escape. The band drops into a disgustingly grim and droning start, each note pulling you further into some kind of sonic nightmare. Screams and shrieks punctuate howling feedback and fill the space between notes. As the tempo increases (not too much) the crowd are drawn in by planet shifting noise. The band are an interesting mix of droning depression and groove laden, schizophrenic blues. The groovier parts have an Iron Monkey type vibe to them, which is even more apparent with the similar all out throat ripping vocal style. While some parts of the set definitely stood out over others, the band has a distinct sound and can be crushingly heavy. One sinister and freakish crowd member of the crowd known as “Professor Big Bulge” described them as “swamp sludge, slow, heavy and powerful”. To be honest, that sums them up.

The band Diascorium is a violent attack on the idea of traditional song writing, and the musical equivalent of Mental illness. Insane sweeps are followed with slamming down beat brutality and a melodic interlude can descend into a complete cacophony within seconds, all while guttural/shrieking vocals perforate your ears. What surprises me about Diascorium is there one of the few bands I’ve seen that really make this work. The changes aren’t whimsical and work for and compliment the whole song. While it would be easy to watch them and focus on how impressive the musicianship is, it isn’t a regurgitated gimmick. There’s was plenty of crackin’ normal paced riffage and even the odd doomy bit to mix it up. One great thing about this was if something’s not to your taste in a track, you can guarantee there’s something in the pipeline that you will appreciate. This made them a fantastic band to watch live and they were certainly appreciated on the night.

 

Hangover defeated, I now faced a new challenge, which was staying upright and functioning with a great deal of beer and some very questionable local chicken inside of me while watching The Afternoon Gentlemen. The realisation that I couldn’t deal with the crowd at this point in time came as I first hit the deck, deciding to retreat towards the back and observe from afar. The Afternoon Gents bring awesomely psychotic violence in the form of music. Shredded vocal chords shout and screech in a constant barrage while relentless snappy punk and grind riffs create a whirlwind of flying bodies at the front of The Well. The bass crunches solo, with fuzz injected twang intermittently preparing you for the next bout of furiosity. The pace doesn’t let up but it doesn’t get boring; it’s kept fresh with stabs of sheer aggression and shredding followed by groove and power that keep the crowd moving.
 

The band are also pioneers of their self-coined genre ‘Power Joogle Pogger Violence’ which is their well practised art of running whilst playing with the retro toy known as “pogs”, and being angry at the same time.

I always though pirates were about disease, alcoholism and being sodomised but Skull Branded Pirates sound like they know otherwise. Power metal and melodic wizardry forms itself in tales of adventure from the seven seas. Good drinking music and a lot of fun if you’re not a cynical wanker (I am).


The drum kit has been moved from the middle of the stage and now sits amongst a captured audience, who are gathered in a circle focusing intently on two individuals in the centre. From the back of the room you can see no band, and the scene looks like a weird pagan ceremony’s under way, having said that, if I was at some sort of ritual of the earth and universe, I’d want Khuda playing as well. It must be almost impossible to define this band with a few words and without mind expanding substances but here goes. A great deal of their sound seems to be influenced by post rock, looping, layering and building up to a sound that should be orchestrated by the big bang itself. Post rock however, wouldn’t exactly be a fully accurate description, a great deal of foreign rhythms and styles present themselves, some of which sound Baltic, yet these are still only part of a complex tapestry of sound. Many of the climatic moments do fit the post rock label but there’s no certainty as to how things will go. Psychedelic acoustic twangs ring out in slow spacey moments that build up to die out or explode with energy and percussive power.


A very interesting and dare I say original band that stole the day for me as I know they did for many others. As if Leeds shat this golden nugget out.

Astrohenge bring the ‘omni metal’, which I’ve never heard before, but quickly decide is fairly odd. They give me the feeling of being chased around a dodgy fairground haunted house by Papa Lazarou, a scenario in which their music certainly fits. The instrumental four-piece have people stomping about the front with an odd combination of synth-fuelled riffs. There’s plenty of E-string thrashing amongst the groove and general anxiety inducing sounds. Astrohenge remind me slightly of Fantomas, but more riff focused.



The crowd that are watching Ingested don’t tell anything of the mixed feelings I’ve listened to through out the day. It’s easy to see why they’ve have gained popularity when watching live; they’re heavy and you know there’s going to be more than several points when you can stomp around pushing each other, or do that weird breakdown dance that makes me uncomfortable. I find parts of the set generic, predictable and very familiar, but there’s also quality death metal in there, plenty of fierce rhythms and some catchy riffs. Ingested have a formula and it works for those watching tonight, many of whom aren’t actually wearing New York caps and Ed Hardy t shirts!

 

‘Kin Hell Fest was a really fucking good day thanks to an awesome selection of bands
and a great atmosphere. It was also however, a very messy time, so the bands aren’t in the order they played, probably. Thanks a lot to Paul Priest and whoever else helped organise what was one of the best underground all dayers I’ve been to. Cheers to Jez Walshaw of Monster Riffage for the footage. Apologies to Decayed Messiah, who I unfortunately missed.

Bring on the next one!

Michael Collins

Friday, 16 December 2011

Vektor - Outer Isolation

Vektor
Outer Isolation
Heavy Artillery

While thrash enjoyed something of a mainstream resurgence in the last few years, one band became a buzzword among underground thrash fans and yet haven't received the attention of their less forward thinking peers. Crossover and Exodus baiting are all well and good, but why not push the boat out a little. Thirteen minute progressive sci-fi thrash metal odysseys? Ladies and gentlemen, and the uninitiated, welcome to Vektor, an outfit mixing old-school values with the lyrical vision of Voivod and classic science-fiction. Their debut 'Black Future' is seen a something of a rare undiscovered diamond, so standout it was from other releases of the time, but chances are you probably haven't heard of it as they didn't get swept up in the first instance.

The surprise factor may have disappeared for the initiated, but Vektor still have plenty to offer the unsuspecting potential fan, and 'Outer Isolation' delivers that in spades. The riffs churn and probe more than ever, and are incredibly distinct and memorable, an ace in the deck for any would-be standout thrash band in 2011. The ten-minute, multi-limbed 'Cosmic Cortex' is a swirling vortex of riffs, soloing and blackened blasts and screams spewing forth from the Arizonans. There's so many awesome riffs in there, blackened or not, as sums up Vektor in a nutshell pretty well. Unlike 'Black Future', where they broke the 10-minute barrier on more than one occasion, there are no further forays of such duration on 'Outer Isolation', yet this doesn't shackle Vektor one bit, often displaying several memorable moments per track A sickening turn of pace halfway through 'Echoless Chamber' is one such example, adhering to old-school thrills, and the riff that appears near the beginning and end of 'Venus Project' is so different and intense it almost channels an unearthly threat. Vektor always recognised the need to input a melody when necessary, the surf-esque lick in 'Tetrastructural Minds' being a highlight, as is the mid-section of the title track. I could go on about these key points within tracks, but they're too numerous to mention them all, and they wouldn't be so important were the bits inbetween them so damn incredible.

The eight tracks here further emphasise Vektor's portrayal of the future as bleak, barren and destined to become hostile. Frontman David DiSanto has a voice perfect for this material - his scowl has a quality that seems almost alien in its delivery, adding to the authenticity of the lyrical themes. His screams (such as those on 'Fast Paced Society') make it seem as though extraterrestrial beings are conducting experiments on him as he lies awake, with lead guitarist Erik Nelson hellbent on getting every skronk, solo and squeal out of his guitar in another impressive lead performance.

Put simply, Vektor have proved themselves not to be one trick ponies, although the constant fast pace could do with being reined in a little more in future. That's just a minor quibble - Vektor may wind up being a distant star, one admired by few from afar and not being fully appreciated for their majesty. Justice decrees their bionic thrash should be worthy of gracing more lost souls in need of an original metal fix. 'Outer Isolation' is an impressive roadmap for a dystopian metal prognosis, and if Vektor were to be at the helm of that potential future, I'd honestly lend myself to their vision.

Peter Clegg
Buy/download 'Outer Isolation' here
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Thursday, 15 December 2011

Agoraphobic Nosebleed - Make a Joyful Noise 7"

Agoraphobic Nosebleed
Make a Joyful Noise

Those of you in the US who subscribe to Decibel magazine will have been the recipients of free Flexi-Disc 7" vinyls from the likes of Wormrot, Goatwhore and more. For the rest of us, there's YouTube, ha ha. And spreading festive joy to extreme music fans with the latest issue are Agoraphobic Nosebleed, making a joyful noise with 'Make a Joyful Noise'.

There's not a heck of a lot I can say about this release as its so damn short. Around a meagre four minutes, in true ANb fashion of course, not one of the 11 tracks exceeds a minute in length, and while there is a Christmas theme, its loose at best as J.Randall, Kat and co go all out with twists on Christmas traditions (have a guess what 'Hung Like a Stocking from the Chimney with Care' is about), as well as tirades against death metal ('Ghost of Christmas Past'), the Entombed obsession (the mosh-friendly 'Little Town of Bethlehem') and even songs about the very vinyl some of you lucky punters own - all awash in feedback and noise from the guitars on numerous occasions, creating one hell of a racket.

Whilst certainly a gift from the band for the holidays, this is no novelty record. Yes, most of the songs are Christmas-themes, but its still 100% Agoraphobic Nosebleed, belligerent, uncompromising and in-your-face as ever. Check it out below and try not to tear down your Christmas tree.

Peter Clegg

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Agoraphobic Nosebleed - Make a Joyful Noise in full (stream below)

We'll Go Machete - Strong Drunk Hands

We'll Go Machete
Strong Drunk Hands 

Earlier in the year this album dropped in our inbox - however, I never got round to listening to it as I had my ear to whatever seemed to be coming out next. Eventually I gently reminded myself to get through the submissions whilst it was still manageable. Hence, here we are at Texan rockers We'll Go Machete and their second album, 'Strong Drunk Hands'.

The first thing to notice of 'Strong Drunk Hands' is the strong afterscent of bands like Fugazi, The Jesus Lizard, Drive Like Jehu, and their ilk, and to a lesser extent, Helmet and At The Drive-In. The discordant riffage and let-me-out vocals wouldn't go amiss in the mid-90's. This is a good thing, helped by crunching, angular melodies and intriguing lyrics besides. 'Strong Drunk Hands' is something of a grower. I didn't take to it straight away and felt it just became a little samey towards the end. Perseverance is a virtue, however, and the quality of the music stands out. Repeated listening exposes this album for what it truly is, and that's a quality record, by a band ready to display their influences but not simply be in awe of them, in the process reviving a classic sound and sounding fresh and menacingly dangerous.

This is definitely an album, and indeed a band, worth seeking out. I didn't exactly see this record coming but I'd definitely rank it as a lot better than most records I've heard this year, and it seems to get better and better with each listen. It feels as those this noise-rock renaissance hinted at by bands such as KEN Mode, for example, really has some legs to it, and We'll Go Machete are a welcome addition to that movement.

Peter Clegg

Buy/Download 'Strong Drunk Hands' here

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Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Sea Bastard - Great Barrier Riff

Sea Bastard
Great Barrier Riff

The UK sludge/doom uprising continues with this excellent demo from Brighton-based doom worshippers Sea Bastard, brilliantly titled 'Great Barrier Riff'. Featuring former members of Funeral Hag and Jovian, 'The Great Barrier Riff' is three life-draining tracks which no self-respecting fan of the genre should overlook, with riffs as deep and massive as the reef its shares its name with.

The highlight here is the middle track 'Taedium', a near 14 minute dirge that agonizingly crushes with an almighty crunch that persists for the first eleven minutes, emphasising just how overpowering doom of this intensity can be, before upping the pace in suckerpunch fashion to finish. Hail indeed. The production is crusty, ugly and raw, perfectly suitable for bowel-shaking riffs. Closer listening might detect one or two mistakes but having only been around since July and this being their first demo, it's not disruptive at all to really matter. Sea Bastard certainly have a lot to offer the UK doom scene and on this basis, the full length can't come soon enough.

Peter Clegg


Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Remembering Chuck Schuldiner - 10 years on


Today marks ten years since a brain tumour claimed the life of Death guitarist/vocalist, and all-round death metal pioneer Chuck Schuldiner, at the age of 34. It’s fair to say that his legacy and influence are stronger than ever, with countless up and coming bands arguably inspired by Schuldiner’s ever evolving take on the style he played a huge role in creating.

The recent reissues of landmark Death albums ‘Human’ and ‘Individual Thought Patterns’ are living proof that Death’s music has stood the test of time. I finally got round to listening to the reissue of ‘Human’ just a couple of weeks ago and not only does it sound as fresh as did when it was released (and indeed, when I first heard it for myself around eight years ago), but its so darn heavier than the majority of (death) metal (or what passes for it) these days. Everything about Death’s Human-era line-up was firing on all cylinders when that album was recorded. As Chuck steered death into a more technical, progressive future, he also changed his approach and insisted on recruiting session musicians, as opposed to being part of a full band as per the first three Death albums. And in guitarist Paul Masvidal and drummer Sean Reinert, both of cosmic progressive death metallers Cynic, he had two candidates who were absolutely ideal for the role, while bassist extraordinaire Steve DiGiorgio (of Sadus) completed the line-up. Such a line-up underlined Chuck’s perfectionism, but Death wouldn’t be Death without Chuck’s attention to detail.

Individual Thought Patterns’ continued Death’s progressive trend, again enlisting DiGiorgio, and replacing the Cynic guys with Gene Hoglan on drums and King Diamond’s legendary guitarist Andy LaRoque. Schuldiner further pushed the boundaries of what could be done with death metal, throwing into jazzy bass rhythms and supreme technicality than was more than ably performed by his backing band, especially so by DiGiorgio. It even turned Hoglan into the in demand name for numerous metal bands to call upon, such was the performance and the album’s impact.

I’ve only put primary focus on those albums given their recent reissuing. Death’s legacy reaches far beyond these albums, of course; their entire discography reads essential, and is full of classic metal anthems, namely ‘Zombie Ritual’ (from 1987’s ‘Scream Bloody Gore’); and Crystal Mountain (from 1995’s ‘Symbolic’) just to name a few. Add to that the numerous bands and musicians who can count Death and Chuck Schuldiner as an influence and the evidence speaks for itself. Chuck Schuldiner was a progressive visionary, a talented genius and unconstrained by the boundaries which seem to shackle so many of Death’s descendants today. 10 years on from his death, Chuck Schuldiner remains death’s metal’s most important figurehead. Keep on rocking Chuck, wherever you are.

Peter Clegg

Monday, 12 December 2011

Hydromedusa - Hydromedusa


Hydromedusa 
Hydromedusa

Another album that I've been sitting on too long, thanks to overstretching myself. But enough about my shoddy timekeeping - Australia might well be more known for stadium filling pub rock, a strong underground death metal network, and Peter André among many other delights, but sludge and doom metal? Well, its a little more well established than you think with acts such as Mournful Congregation and Adrift For Days to name a couple, but a sludge/blues metal band with psychedelic itches and urges to rock out? That be Hydromedusa. This quartet fuse all that together on their self-titled album over the course of six tracks, the centerpiece being 'Pemulwuy', a monstrous 24-minute that encapsulates the band's influences into one song, making for an enjoyable stoner metal fest.

As far as the shorter tracks go, it's by-the-numbers stuff but done pretty well. The album starts with the upbeat rocker 'I'll Make it Home' before diving into 'Pemulwuy', which finds its groove early before jagging into a sweet southern sludge groove, peppering some a dash of psychedelia and a heaping helping of blues through the huge chugging riff that makes up the majority of the song. It could easily get stale, and it often does feel like a 'when will it end?' riff, but thankfully the band have enough nous to know where to implement fretboard worship and blues jams.

The remainder of the album flits from psychedelic interlude to more blues metal, including a more straight-up rocker, the hateful 'Pathetic' and another sludge/blues dirge, 'Caps of Tea', although only half as long on this occasion. And with that, Hydromedusa have run the gamut of their influences in one record. It's wide and varied and perhaps lacking slightly in solid direction, but there's more than enough to suggest Hydromedusa are worth keeping an eye on, especially in the way they fuse blues rock and sludge together. Antipodean sludge is obviously alive and well.

Peter Clegg  

Download 'Hydromedusa' here (name-your-price) 

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Friday, 9 December 2011

Have yourself a very merry Christmas Christmas Christmas Christmas


Earlier this year, we reviewed Scotland's finest grind offenders, the impressively monikered Wheelchair Wheelchair Wheelchair Wheelchair, who delivered an incredible record in the form of the conceptual grind romance piece 'Contraception'.

Now Facebook followers of the band may already be aware, but in case you aren't, its time to get acquainted, if our glowing review didn't persuade you already. Because the Wheelchair x4 boys are the gift that keeps on giving, as their 2008 debut, the festively cheerful 'Christmas Christmas Christmas Christmas', is available as a free download, courtesy of Messrs Finnie and King! Featuring incredible Christmas carols such as 'Daytrip to Lapland New Forest' and 'Holly Berries are Poisonous', delivered through the production of a cheesegrater, as a free download its recommended for any grind/powerviolence fan looking for a twist on the genre.

This is old news to those of you in the know, but with the 25th fast approaching, this is well worth an early festive treat.

Download 'Christmas Christmas Christmas Christmas' here
The 'hymn sheet' can be found here!

Peter Clegg

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Savage Messiah - Plague of Conscience

Savage Messiah
Plague of Conscience

Earache


British melodic heavy metallers Savage Messiah certainly generated themselves some welcome publicity when they announced they'd be giving their new album 'Plague of Conscience' away for the price of your e-mail address just a couple of weeks ago, allowing their fans to taste the album prior to its official January 2012 release, ahead of the major press outlets and without resorting to piracy either. The move is nothing new (labelmates Gama Bomb did the same thing in November 2009 for 'Tales From the Grave in Space') but its still bold to risk your album sales for free promotion and hope of added merch sales.

The promotion is something Savage Messiah could do with. They possess the same melodic metal abilities as the likes of Bullet For My Valentine, Trivium, etc. while maintain a slight thrash leaning that beefs them up enough to distinguish them from the pack. It owes more to Megadeth, Testament, and contemporaries like Evile musically than the more mainstream acts, and this gives them a good platform to work from. Unfortunately, 'Plague of Conscience' doesn't quite exploit the potential shown by the band. The groundwork was there on previous albums 'Spitting Venom' and 'Insurrection Rising', and despite its best efforts, I don't feel 'Plague of Conscience' goes far enough. There's nothing much wrong with the songs, with some pretty enjoyable numbers like 'Carnival of Souls' and 'All Seeing I', and the guitarists are certainly on fire during the solo sections, but ultimately its all a bit too samey for the first nine tracks, as good as the tracks are in terms of quality.

It takes right up until the final song, 'The Mask of Anarchy', for Savage Messiah to truly spread their wings and attempt something different, even if its fairly indifferent within metal circles. At 8:37 in length, it has plenty of time to breathe and develop, starting as an acoustic ballad before shifting into heavy mode, back to acoustic, and then heavy again with some more impressive noodling. For me its by far the best track on the album, and leaves me questioning why they left such an approach late?

'Plague of Conscience' is certainly more palatable than the majority of the radio friendly hard rock/metal frontline (although that's not too difficult in itself) and they ought to be challenging them, putting themselves in the mixer and pushing onwards. Having not quite been swept up by thrash's brief renaissance, 'Plague...' for me represents an opportunity for Savage Messiah, with the right backing, to take the bull by the horns, and will certainly appeal to those looking to try something a little heavier and truer. But its not quite exceptional, and Savage Messiah may just want to take a few more risks in future to get ahead in this game.

Peter Clegg

Download 'Plague of Conscience' here (e-mail sign-up required)
Officially released on Monday 23rd January, 2012

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Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Type O Negative - Red Water (Christmas Mourning)


Life in Peter Steele and Type O Negative's world was certainly not the happiest. Throughout their illustrious career, their songs of love, lust, death, rejection and more, mostly along other depressive lines made for some dark, uneasy but ultimately incredible listening that made Type O one of metal's most unique and interesting bands. Years of alcohol and drug abuse eventually caught up with Steele and despite getting clean, a heart attack took him in April 2010 and robbed the world of any future gloom from the enigmatic frontman.

A good proportion of Type O Negative's songs dealt with personal themes, and 'Red Water (Christmas Mourning)' was no different. It was written about Steele’s dead father at the time, but as we will explore, goes far beyond his personal loss. Songs such as 'Black No.1', 'Christian Woman' and 'Everything Dies' are unquestionably among their greatest anthems but 'Red Water' ought to be considered as great as any of those and despite its title, isn't just a song for Christmas. The album it came from, 'October Rust', yielded 'Love You to Death' and 'My Girlfriend's Girlfriend' as its main singles, as well as a cracking cover of Neil Young's 'Cinnamon Girl', so it isn't really a surprise that 'Red Water' is often overlooked as one of Type O's greatest. Type O apparently insisted they would never play it live, likely due to the subject matter of the song, But in my book, 'Red Water' is simply one of their most incredible to listen to and an absolute must-listen, whether the lyrics resonate powerful with you or not.


Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Gripe - Pig Servant



Gripe
Pig Servant

Right now, Europe and Asia appear to be the hot bed for up and coming bands within grind and powerviolence scenes, although that's not to say America isn't holding up its end of the bargain, which is surely in safe hands if acts the calibre of Gripe continue to break through. We reviewed Gripe earlier this year (the cracking 'The Future Doesn't Need You' EP) and saw the potential then, and that promise continues on EP number two, 'Pig Servant'. Originally a three-piece, the band now have a new vocalist and have added a bassist to expand to a quartet, but that hasn't hindered Gripe and 'Pig Servant' marks a definite improvement all around.

Key to this is the recognised ability to change pace more often - Gripe don't simply power ahead as they did on the first record and recognise when to rein it in and unleash a more controlled violence. They open with 'Ghetto Rapist' again, using Mickey Rourke's 'blood for blood' speech from Sin City - a fine way to open any extreme record, I may say - as they did with 'TFDNY'; but everything else is fresh and the sights are locked on to kill. Tracks like 'Grind Into Extinction' and 'Southern Dehumanization are clear signs of the improvements made to the Gripe machine, displaying turns of pace from fast to slow to fast again with increasing ease and devastation at once.

That they're still independent isn't much of a surprise - there seems to be very much a DIY aesthetic to this band, particularly considering there's not even any artwork for this release. But surely its not going to be much longer, especially with the current grind/powerviolence boom. Things can only get better for Gripe, even if the world around them continues its steep decline.

Peter Clegg

Download 'Pig Servant' here

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Monday, 5 December 2011

Worthy of Your Time: Low Sonic Drift


North of the border, a nation is brimming with heavy musical talent. If it carries on this way, Scotland may well become as well known for its metal bands, as it is for haggis, whiskey and battered Mars bars. I'm positively losing track of how many great bands have emerged from the Tartan nation, especially in the last year or two, and in Glasgow's Low Sonic Drift, we can add another to the list.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Post-review criticism of 'Lulu' is metal journalism at its dumbest


Unless you've been living under a rock, you'll no doubt be aware that metal titans Metallica teamed up with Lou Reed to record the already infamous and controversial 'Lulu', which certainly split fans, pundits and more down the middle. Chances are, if you're an NME or Pitchfork, at least partial to the mainstream type, you might have found it bearable, hell, you might have even liked or enjoyed it. If however, you're among those who are firmly in the metal camp, liking it blacker than your coffee and considering anything mainstream to be false, sellout or over the hill, you probably hated it. And make no mistake, in regards to those last few words, I fall into the latter category, as bar a few choice riffs and a few songs ('The View' and 'Iced Honey'), it was a bit of a disaster and really something I'll think long and hard about before I go back to it. If I go back to it.

A few updates


Hey everyone. Cheers for continuing to check out We Must Obey. Seeing the increased visiting figures is a cracking sight to see, well past the 5,000 mark now, and that’s something we hope to carry into 2012.

Speaking of 2012, of course 2011 is coming to a close, and we still have a few loose ends to tie up. As you may have seen with yesterday’s post, the run-up to Christmas is indeed a shitter, at least in my world, so you will be seeing the odd alternative/anti Christmas post going up, as well as the usual content. We may as well have a laugh and maybe a discussion about it, so keep your eyes peeled. We’ve also got a mega review of the ‘Kin Hell Fest to come – we certainly didn’t end our coverage with the preview, and the full review will be worth it once it comes through.

Finally, the dreaded year-end, best of list. Yes we will be doing one. However, don’t expect it any time soon. Already there’s other metal sites putting up their best of 2011’s as of the beginning of this week. The year’s not over ‘til its over! Damn, I thought I hated the halfway-through-2011 lists that I had a rant about earlier this year. Seems some people just can’t wait. I guess at the end of the day, everyone’s got an opinion. Ours is that we will use every last second of the year to make our decision. You won’t be seeing any lists here until Friday December 30th, at the earliest.

Now I’ve got that off my chest, we hope you continue to enjoy reading. The next post is up at 12:00pm, where I get back on my pedestal again. It’s a doozy. If you’ve got an opinion on the subject matter in question, I’m sure you’ll have something to say. Later everyone!

Peter Clegg

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Christmas is coming...


And I honestly could care less. OK, yes, I'm looking forward to it for my twins as its their first one, and no doubt I'll enjoy the actual occasion.

But the run-up? Phhhhhhh. Roll on the 25th.

Until then, expect occasional antipathy. Here's CKY's 'Santa's Coming'. You'd better be nice...

Peter Clegg

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Mike Patton - The Solitude of Prime Numbers

Mike Patton
The Solitude of Prime Numbers
Ipecac


The ever unpredictable Mike Patton throws yet another curveball at us with the release of 'The Solitude of Prime Numbers', a musical score to the film of the same name (2010's La Solitudine dei Numeri Primi). The film (based on the book of the same name) applied the theory of twin primes - numbers that differ from another prime number by two. Having not seen the film yet, I'm not in a position to judge how well it applies to the silver screen, but Patton makes the theory work well here in a musical sense.

Each musical track is sequenced by Patton according to prime numbers - so therefore, only 2, 3, 5, 7...all the way to 53 feature musical content, the remaining tracks between filled with four seconds of silence or a slight overrun from the previous track. Patton himself is largely absent vocally, only bookending the album with some 'la la la la's' to open and conclude. Instead, its down to the musical arrangement to carry the album's concept and the lonely listener on a distant journey. The general mood of the songs runs anywhere from ominous and unsettling ('11 - Cicatrix' being one example) to dream state ('19 - Radius of Convergence') and simply beautiful ('29 - The Snow Angel'). Ultimately though, the music shouldn't be dissected - the album must be listened to all the way through as a whole, to ensure you capture every mood and emotion going through the music.

Conventional rock or metal fans probably won't buy into this due to its abstract nature and admittedly it will appeal more to the art masses. But Patton has scored this film incredibly well, much likes his previous work on 'A Perfect Place' and on 'Crank 2: High Voltage'. It's an excellent slab of modern classical music from the man of many guises. Needless to say, I found this an excellent diversion from the daily shredding, blasting and growling of metal, and indeed of the daily grind, as I made my daily, long commute home. An excellent companion, particularly within the loneliness of nightfall.

Peter Clegg