Friday, 30 March 2012

The Campaign to Stop the Kingsgate Shopping Centre Expansion: The threat it poses to Huddersfield's music scene and a whole town

To the wider rock/metal community, this next post concerning the plight of a beloved local rock bar/gig venue (pictured above) isn't going to be of too much major concern to you. And indeed, this particular venue only makes up a part of the wider picture which is to be affected.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Live Review: G.U. Medicine @ The Parish, Huddersfield, 23/03/2012

So that's your lot. Any of you ever hoping to catch G.U. Medicine live again, should you not have been in attendance here, have more than likely missed the boat. G.U Medicine signed off in style, delivering a typically raucous set to a packed out crowd in Huddersfield, rallying through a set comprising of their best material from over the years. Songs like 'Needles and Pins' and 'Alcoholocaust' hit the mark just like they always did and will always do, and damn you can headbang like always to 'Dirty Little Girl'. Original guitarist/vocalist Lee Storrar rejoined the band to sing 'Lords of Oblivion' and Mr. Shiraz vocalist Mikey Baird even got up at one point to sing 'The Right Time' with the band. It was a party atmosphere that embodied what the band were all about – sleaze, danger, booze, and all out rock action. The cans of Carling dotted around the stage should have hinted at that alone, if not the band's association with Jagermeister which has been prevalent over the last couple of years. Now the UK is one more quality rock band short. We probably can't hold out much hope for a G.U. reunion, at least not in this vein, but this was a fitting finale nonetheless.

Peter Clegg

Wadge - Tiki Gods, No Masters

Tiki Gods, No Masters EP
Grindcore Karaoke

Anyone who either has a keen ear for diving into the weirder excesses of grindcore, or indeed anyone who was an early visitor to this site may well be aware of Canadian drum-machine surf-grinders Wadge. That description is very real. Although it turns out they've been around since 1991, it was only when they released an album on J Randall's Grindcore Karaoke label last year entitled 'Grindcore Lu'au' that they came to slightly wider attention. 'Grindcore Lu'au' indulged in all manner of Tiki, surf and general island themes with a grind ethic, as well as some pretty tinny production which grated due to the record's excessive (in grind circles, at least) length. That said, it had some memorable highlights and the ridiculousity does not let up on new release, 'Tiki Gods, No Masters'. It should have seen light a couple of years ago as part of a split, but almost got washed away with the tide when Brazilian split partners Dispepsiaa called it a day.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Visions: The Bendal Interlude – Odourama (NSFW)

Liverpool hasn't been short on top quality bands of late, with acts like SSS, Voorhees, Lifeless, Iron Witch and The Bendal Interlude all coming up with the goods over the year. All of them know how to play nasty too when required, and the chaps in The Bendal Interlude have certainly delivered a video nasty here in the form of 'Odourama', taken from their forthcoming EP of the same name. The video itself has a real 90's feel to it – maybe it's the way it's shot that does it for me – and its mired in a mixture of jiggery pokery and sickening sights. Crafted from the twisted genius that is Tom Lee Rutter at Carnie Film Productions, prepare to be disgusted and abhorred at the sights you're about to see – while grooving out to a thoroughly righteous, heavy stoner metal jam. And yes, that is an NSFW label I'm using. It's not the most shocking, just proper graphic. If you like that sort of thing. Which you obviously do. After the jump.

Peter Clegg

Monday, 26 March 2012

Napalm Death - Utilitarian

Napalm Death
Century Media

Robin van Persie. The Klitschko brothers. Rahul Dravid. Valve. Eeyore. The one thing all these names have in common is reliability. In the case of all but Eeyore (for whom I can't vouch 'performance'), quality is another synonymous trait. These people, companies and indeed characters possess an unbelievable ability to produce striking results again and again and again. And again. And yes, again.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Fister - Violence

Violence EP

The best sludge metal is often mired in nihilistic rage, misanthropy and sheer fuck-it-all attitude. It's heavier than a herd of elephants riding a gam of whales, if such a thing ever came to fruition. Fister, if you didn't know, play real heavy sludge/doom metal, and they don't mess about when it comes to pounding your head with slow megaton riffs and the loud beat of the drums, in much the same fashion as described above.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Visions: Mark Lanegan Band - The Gravedigger's Song

Circumstances did not allow me to be able to go and catch Mark Lanegan on his recent UK tour, something which I regret for not having discovered it sooner. Nonetheless, he and his band have at least provided some (dis)comfort in the form of the new video for new album 'Blues Funeral's opening track, 'The Gravedigger's Song'. Right from the off, I felt a tinge of unease. Directed by Alistair Legrand and produced by Jack Richardson, this haunting bluesy number gets a befitting clip. Set in a house filled with ghosts, full of ghostly women and children staring blankly into your soul, often from nowhere, amongst other slightly grisly images of blood, taxidermy, and generally all things dark. Its a loving tribute to old-school horror films and certainly one of the more capitivating videos I've watched recently. Check it out above and indulge yourself in Legrand's mildly disturbing vision.

Peter Clegg

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Josh Homme and Scott Reeder sue Kyuss Lives! Sad news indeed.

I sincerely wish the above headline was a work of fiction, but unfortunately the news is very true. Yep, Queens of the Stone Age and ex-Kyuss guitarist Josh Homme, along with former bassist Scott Reeder, have filed a lawsuit against Kyuss Lives!, the reincarnated version of Kyuss formed by former bandmates John Garcia, Nick Oliveri, Brant Bjork, with Bruno Fevery enlisted in Homme's former role.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Corrosion of Conformity - Corrosion of Conformity

Corrosion of Conformity
Corrosion of Conformity

In a storied career spanning 28 years, it's a testament to Corrosion of Conformity to see themselves standing where they are today. From the original hardcore punk styling, through to crossover thrash, Southern metal and beyond, they've managed to survive a number of sound changes and line-up alterations that would kill many a band in the modern era. Indeed, most bands seem to get stick for daring to evolve their sound, unjustified as that sounds. But perhaps the biggest threat to Corrosion of Conformity, if it could be called that, was the unstoppable rise of NOLA-supergroup Down, featuring their lead vocalist and guitarist Pepper Keenan. After the demise of Pantera, thanks to inner turmoil and 'Dimebag' Darrell's tragic death, Down appeared to become the number one priority for its members and despite releasing 'In the Arms of God' in 2005, it does feel like Corrosion of Conformity became the side-project, rather than the frontline band it deserves to be.

The last G.U. Medicine show as we know it

Without question, Barnsley rockers G.U. Medicine ought to have become one of the UK's most successful rock bands. Their brand of dangerous metallized sleaze rock has won them a cult following who undoubtedly go rabid for their songs whenever they perform live. They released three cracking albums including the phenomenal 'Lords of Oblivion', unquestionably one of the greatest releases of 2010 and certainly one of the most overlooked too. Unfortunately, success has eluded them, not least because of our country's horrible music taste and limited label backing at best. Perhaps their best recent publicity came when, following the departure of their long time vocalist/guitarist Lee Storrar, they recorded a song with Rocky 'The Rockhopper' - that penguin, on vocals.

It's with a tinge of sadness I hereby report on the upcoming G.U. Medicine show taking place at The Parish, Huddersfield, this Friday evening (23rd March). The gig is billed as 'the last G.U. Medicine show as we know it!' – at least, according to the poster. The reality is that G.U. Medicine appear to be calling it quits good and proper. Support is from Girlfixer and Black Hart Idols.

If anything is guaranteed about this final G.U. show, it's that its bound to be everything you can expect from a G.U. show – booze, sweat, headbanging and a damn good time. One last time. Get yourself down there and do far too many again.

Peter Clegg

Friday, 16 March 2012

Stubb - Stubb


If one thing is certain about psychedelic rock and blues rock, it is that they will never die. Any style of music that can continue to pervade and influence some fifty or more years after bands started shoving them together in a drug-addled, scuzzy haze is obviously completely incapable of being killed off and might well outlive humanity. Until that day, we might as well continue to enjoy it, particularly when it comes to Stubb, a London three-piece comprising two members of the avant-garde grunge sludgers Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight (in the form of the rocking rhythm section of Chris West on drums and bassist Pete Holland) and guitarist and lead vocalist Jack Dickinson. Sent to me a few weeks ago by the band, ‘Stubb’, their debut album, is something of a diamond in the rough.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Failure to Follow - Wasting Away

Failure To Follow
Wasting Away EP

It’s my own personal opinion that British hardcore is in need of a band who doesn’t just scream anger and basically play with complete punk energy all the time. There’s no harm in doing that particularly, but however much maligned old-school hardcore seems for its focus on brutal breakdowns and slam moments, I really don’t think it would harm for one or two bands to real smash listeners’ faces in by supplying these moments more often, rather than retreading what seems to have become old ground. If Bristol’s Failure to Follow are anything to go by, my message is perhaps somehow transmitting across.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Iced Out - Demo 2012

Iced Out
Demo 2012

I'm not saying I totally dislike the UK hardcore scene, but it largely falls on the melodic side, whether it be acts like Gallows, The Ghost of a Thousand, etc. It's not really like the US scene which features a fair whack of tough guy hardcore, full of bruising beatdowns, self-motivating/depreciating lyrics and macho pride. You can't really say one is better than the other in general - its how you do it that counts.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Coilguns - Stadia Rods

Stadia Rods
Dead Dead Dead

I hadn't heard much from Coilguns before, despite their links to The Ocean, so when around two minutes in to the opening track, 'Parkensine', my ears and my mind were suddenly alert, that had to be a good sign. 'Stadia Rods' is some heavy shit indeed, mixing elements of Dillinger Escape Plan-esque mathcore, sludge metal and more. It's slightly disappointing that this is just an EP - I'd love to hear a whole album of Coilguns if this is the sort of quality we're going to get from them.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Live Review: The Devil's Blood @ Moho, Manchester, 17/02/2012

Due to my poor timing and the journey taking longer than planned, we managed to arrive moments after Funeral Throne finished. Now, with only candles set up around a shrine in the middle of the stage, and droning atmospheric ambience for entertainment, we waited for what seemed like a long time. The 'scary music' was unceasingly dribbling out of the PA system, giving a restless and cheap feeling that probably wasn’t what The Devil's Blood intended. Not to worry, this at least gave me more opportunity to spend over three pounds a pop for cans of lager.

Eventually five very serious looking figures covered in mud, blood and adorned in tight leather pants enter the stage. The frontwoman or 'priestess' remains out of sight for the moment, while her brother, the creative and spiritual force behind the band, tightly harmonises and solos with the other two guitarists.

The guitarist closest to me chants to himself whilst staring directly ahead in a way that makes me think he might have seen action in ‘Nam. The Devil’s Blood haven’t ever given the impression that they do this for the love of music. Anyone who’s read up on the band will know that their objective is possibly more sinister and occult; it’s also of much less interest to me. Obviously I can’t speak for all as Ghost's recent success has shown; there seems to be a lot of people who find it fascinating. Still, The Devil's Blood were crazy long before Ghost started dressing up as necrotized Klan members and spouting their devil worship. The Devil's Blood’s explanation of their agenda and belief seems cryptic and long winded, but is basically aimed at instilling rebellious behaviour, and it’s no surprise to me that they ideologically align themselves with the likes of Jon Nodviedt from Dissection, whose beliefs lead him to shoot himself instead of making another fucking album.

The band's creation of atmosphere is the first thing to be emphasised. Songs seem to be more of a ritual than played track after track. Lengthy build ups lead into a sublime moment where songs such as 'On the Wings of Gloria' come in with a spine shattering bass line. This is where The Devil's Blood’s brilliance, which is their strength of their songs, becomes apparent. The vocalist stands close to the crowd, her arms open wide, beckoning, with wild hair and shrouded in smoke. Her powerful, melodic voice slices through the mix like a razor through flesh. It would be easy for her to over indulge, yet the performance fits the band's psychedelic rock influenced style perfectly, adding another dynamic that makes The Devil’s Blood special. Another is the bands ambiguity in terms of their musical design, their certainly black metal fans but draw just as much in their style from the likes of Fleetwood Mac amongst an array of trippy 70s rock. I find the band avoids mediocrity and distastefulness completely, even lyrically, on a subject I generally find to be arrogant and stupid. 'The Yonder Beckons' was certainly a highlight in the set, with the band at their most imposing, creating a powerful energy to the haunting march of the song, which gives prominence to the bands most powerful weapon which is their musical subtlety.

Unfortunately the electrical atmosphere these moments created did not last, and the band did not attempt to keep it flowing by moving on quickly. Jams inbetween and during songs were far too lengthy; there would come a point where the crowd, nodding along, would expect the start of the next song, and instead were subjected to another five minutes of solo trade-offs between guitarists. I felt sorry for the bassist having to hold onto what shred of a riff they were playing ten minutes ago. Although it would have worked in moderation, there were several point’s when I wanted them to stop fucking about and play a fucking song. It was a shame that these moments had to contrast so much with the great ones, and also with the band's ability to write songs with none of the bullshit or ego that was displayed live. This, combined with the venues' consistently bad sound didn’t stop the band from being an impressive, enjoyable experience and I left happy, also I'll know at what points to go to the bar when I watch them at Hellfest.

Michael Collins

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Earth - Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II

Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II

Southern Lord

At this stage in their career, there's been so many words used to describe Earth's ever changing sound that there's pretty much no more superlatives available to describe them. So we'll keep it simple and describe new album 'Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II' for what it is. Recorded at the same time as part I, 'Angels II' sees Earth supplying yet more lush riff-orientated sonic soundscapes, continuing down the drone desert blues path forged since their reinvention by mainman Dylan Carlson seven years ago now.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Shameless Plug - Wort supporting Fleshgod Apocalypse!

It’s been a while since I did one of these, owing largely to becoming a father and secondly to getting a new job, both of which have prevented me from returning to my band Poison Dwarf. That hasn’t stopped the remaining members getting the opening slot at an all-dayer taking place this coming Saturday (10th March) at The Parish, Huddersfield, instead now performing as new band Wort when Italian symphonic death metallers Fleshgod Apocalypse come to town, headlining the event with their main tour support acts Dyscarnate and Bloodshot Dawn in tow!

Monday, 5 March 2012

The Well music venue in Leeds is closing down

It was announced last Sunday evening (26th February) that the team behind music venue The Well in Leeds are to pull out of running the venue and that their doors will close for the final time on Saturday 10th March. A statement by The Well’s general manager Kevin Berry was put out explaining their reasons for the closure:

‘Hi all, with deepest regret, we as a team are going to be pulling out of The Well music venue after March 10th. We’ve loved helping rebuild this once great venue’s reputation back up these past few years, and would like to thank all who mucked in.

Friday, 2 March 2012

The Chisora-Haye Brawl - a musical analysis

[Credit for above picture unknown. Apologies]

Dereck 'Del Boy' Chisora probably wasn't known to many people outside boxing circles before his clash with WBC Heavyweight Champion Vitali Klitchko a couple of weeks back. So its safe to say, this was a huge opportunity to make a name for himself. And that he did. For all the wrong reasons. Slapping Vitali at the weigh-in. Spitting water at Vitali's world champion brother Wladimir. Trying to get at Vitali after the result was announced. All this, yet he'd possibly redeemed himself a little bit following a gallant performance in defeat to the elder Klitchko. Of course, that wasn't the end of it. David Haye, former world heavyweight champion and somewhat tarnished by his defeat to Wladimir, which he infamously blamed on his little toe. Haye was at the post-fight press conference and heckled from the back, angling for a fight with Vitali. Chisora threw insults at Haye. Haye retorted back. Chisora got up and went eyeball to eyeball with Haye in the middle of the media scrum. The rest is now history.

 Above: The brawl that shamed boxing

At this point you may be asking, what has any of this got to do with this blog, or rock and metal music in general? Well...

Gorerotted - Only Tools and Corpses

(from 'Only Tools and Corpses', Metal Blade, 2003)

OK, so now you may be wondering, really what has this got to do with boxing at all? Well you'd be right. The title track from UK goregrind/death metal nasties Gorerotted's definitive opus hardly screams out as a boxing anthem a la Survivor's 'Eye of the Tiger' or LL Cool J's 'Mama Said Knock You Out', with it's macabre and tongue-in-cheek lyrics about carving up the dead. That said, the song doesn't half pack a punch and it doesn't mess about in assimilating everything that stands before it.

Gorerotted - Only Tools and Corpses

Think about it symbolically instead. In Chisora and Haye, we have a couple of proverbial tools whose actions that night shamed the sport they love. The corpses in question are potentially Chisora's career - though I expect his remorse will ensure he still has one - and almost certainly Haye's legacy, which could have been something great but will instead now be something of a joke. Plus, this choice of song is more than ironic, given its obvious tealeafing of the classic TV series Only Fools and Horses' opening theme tune drumbeat, and dear old Dereck's love for the show (whose theme tune he normally walks to the ring to). Whatever happens, its certain that Chisora and Haye might have some wheeler-dealing of their own to if they're to salvage anything from this mess.

Peter Clegg

Also in the series:

The trial of Conrad Murray - a musical analysis
The 2011 England Riots - a musical analysis

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Beneath the Massacre - Incongruous

Beneath the Massacre 

The metal scene is absolutely flooded with bands of a technical variety, and it goes without saying there's a fight to get to the very top. Based on their previous record, 'Dystopia', I wouldn't count Montreal, Canada's Beneath the Massacre in that upper echelon, as my expectations for that record were somewhat dampened by a lack of creativity that stifled the promise shown on their debut effort 'Mechanics of Dysfunction'.