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“Well they say it’s kind of frightening how this younger generation swings, you know it’s more than just some new sensation...” And the Cradle Will Rock... - Van Halen

Cover Photo ✪ Wayne Herrschaft 2006 Issue 7 ✪ February 2006 Burn Magazine PO Box 350, Dover, Kent CT17 0WF U.K. www.burnmag.co.uk t: 0778 476 1772 ISSN: 1740-6382

The Cartel: El Diablo ✪ Sion Smith editor@burnmag.co.uk Deputy Editor/Reviews Editor ✪ Kahn Johnson kahn@burnmag.co.uk Movies Editor ✪ Mike Shaw mike@burnmag.co.uk News Editor ✪ Kristian Barford kristian@burnmag.co.uk Radio/Clubs Editor ✪ JJ Haggar radio@burnmag.co.uk Live Editor/Staff Writer ✪ Andy Lye andy@burnmag.co.uk Staff Writer ✪ Louise Steggals louise@burnmag.co.uk Games Editor ✪ John McMeiken games@burnmag.co.uk Design

black dye white noise For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been living under the gun that is Operation Mindcrime: II. Proof positive that it is a good idea to revisit the past so long as you’re damned confident you can pull it off properly. You know when you’ve been touched by an album when you begin to live it in the real world. Stealthily passing up Charing Cross Road with one inside your coat, like you’re about to pull something out of your shoulder holster can be a real buzz - although anyone in the trade wouldn’t be fooled at all as shoulder holsters went out with the ark. Apparently, the new thing is a holster that sits around the area where your liver is.

✪ Curt Evans, Roger Lotring, Sion Smith Photography Crue:

Chiaki Nozu, Wayne Herrschaft, Dijana Capan, Duncan Bryceland, Andrew Lopez-Calvete, Mick Rockster.

Contributors: Roger Lotring, Sharon Edge, Seb Willett, Chrissie Miller, Graham Finney, Simon Gausden, Zodiac Mindwarp, Andrea Perry, Katie Roberts, Duncan Bryceland, James Machin, Tom Canning, David Lillywhite, Ida Langsam, Vikki Roberts, Joe Matera, Paul Acres, Julia Collins, Jim Machin, Johnny Messias, Natalie Li, Nick Cullen, Nick Madeira, Chris Denham, Owen Williams, Marc Shapiro, Andrew Bennet, Lucy Vachell, Bill Long, Sarah Mae Williams.

Advertising ads@burnmag.co.uk

Subscriptions & Back Issues subscribe@burnmag.co.uk backissues@burnmag.co.uk

Syndication & Licencing syndication@burnmag.co.uk

While it may be easier to whip a gun out from there, it’s not half as cool and that’s what’s important around here. Honestly. I tried it out. If you walk up Charing Cross Road with your hand on your liver, people just think you have a stomach ache and that’s more than a little bit rubbish. Then, a few days ago, somebody extremely cool made the Lacuna Coil album available and Kahn has eaten nothing but pizza and lasagne since. Over the other side of the world in Wales, JJ, who fell in love with Dragonforce, has been living five days to everybody elses one. It’s been a weird few weeks that’s for sure, but at least we all agreed on something at the end of it....

Published by: Black Knight Magazines

Printed by Atlantic Print Unit 3 Sittingbourne Industrial Park, Sittingbourne, Kent ME10 3JH

You don’t get into rock. Rock gets into you.

Distributed by Worldwide Magazines © Black Knight 2006 While we take every possible care, we cannot be held responsible for the information herein. Burn Magazine may not be reproduced without the written permission of the publishers. Letters, particularly those submitted by email are welcome but we can only reply through the letters pages of the magazine. Burn Magazine recognises all copyrights and we seriously attempt to credit all material. If we have used and/or credited some of your material incorrectly, please contact us and we will do our best to rectify the error. All information contained herein is for informative/entertainment purposes only and is correct at time of going to press to the best of our knowledge. Can’t find Burn in your newsagents? Buy it somewhere else - or hassle your newsagent, or just get it online. All very simple really.

✪ Look after the place people! One life, one planet. Money where your mouth is time. Burn is printed of recycled paper wherever possible (apart from the cover which sucks when you do that!). May the Goddess have mercy on your soul, but when you’ve no further need for the mag, recycle it. You know it makes sense.

Sion Smith ✪ Editor

why rock the you can

BOAT when ,

ROLL the CAR


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CLAUDIO RIPS UP THE BOARDS AT THE ASTORIA,

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AEROSMITH, HOT ON THE HEELS OF A SOLD OUT SHOW AT THE JOINT, GIVE US A GOOD TALKINGTO...

IT DOESN’T GET MUCH BETTER THAN THIS!

AND SEETHER SHOW OFF THEIR WARES AT THE MEAN FIDDLER...

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...AND SLAVE TO THE SYSTEM DELIVER AN ALBUM SO FULL OF ROCK IT’S A CRIME!


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MEANWHILE, THE BOSS GETS TO GRIPS WITH ONE OF THE HOTTEST RECORD LABELS IN THEN WORLD.

WE PRINT PICTURES OF NICE GIRLS, MOSTLY BECAUSE WE CAN, BUT ALSO BECAUSE LOUIS XIV SAID WE MUST.

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BITTEN BY WOLF OR VAMP? PERSONALLY, WE’D GO FOR THE VAMP... THIS ONE PREFERABLY

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PART 2 OF OUR STEREOPHONICS INTERVIEW 50 FLYING V VS GIBSON! IT’S INFLAMES ON THE ROAD!

FASTER THAN A WHOLE BUNCH OF SHARKS, DRAGONFORCE CHANGE ALL THE RULES!

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Cool From The Wire Delivering only the news that will fit on the page!

BUSTED!

Pic: Chiaki Nozu

The show must go on... just not right now.

Famed for their romocore musings, and their much-lauded appreciation of the opposite sex it came as some surprise to us at Burn Mansions when HiM were forced to postpone their impending UK tour… after guitarist Linde strained his wrist. Now it’s not for us to ask questions, nor point fingers and snigger with a puerile yet playful adolescent charm as to how the six-stringer may or may not have come a cropper, but it’s put him out of action until the end of this month as he’ll be impeded by a cast. Never let it be said that rock stars quite literally have too much time on their hands. The band have, however, decided that the show must go, and have hurriedly moved to reschedule the tour for April. Personal injuries permitting, the Finnish heroes play : Manchester Apollo – April 18th & 19th Birmingham Academy – April 20th & 21st Glasgow Academy – April 23rd Newcastle Academy – April 24th Brixton Academy, London – April 25th Dublin Ambassador – April 27th & 28th Tickets bought for the original shows of course still stand, check with the box offices concerned for further details.

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2005 proved to be a pivotal year for Cleveland’s Chimaira. Inside 365 very successful days, the band toured the world, saw their eponymous third album help redefine modern heavy metal, and graduated with flying colours from rock’s high school into the big league. As if proving the icing on the cake, the band have announced original drummer Andols Herrick back into the fold. Having left the band almost two years ago, the sticksman found himself kicking his heels back at home whilst his former bandmates went from strength to strength. Says Herrick himself : “Being away from the band and touring for almost two years made me realise just how much I missed it…this is where I want to be”. Herrick’s return to competitive action will be marked when the band take to the highways and byways of the US for a clutch of dates with Children Of Bodom, culminating in a hometown show at Peabody’s Down Under on March 31st. Herrick’s return has meant that previous incumbent Kevin Talley has parted company with the band. Burn understands the split has been wholly amicable, and Talley is in line to tour with The Red Chord on the band’s upcoming US tour.

The last single from Funeral For A Friend's gold-selling album 'Hours' is released on February 20 and has a great video being streamed on all the music channels at the moment. The single, entitled 'Roses For The Dead', is a deeply personal song for frontman Matt Davies, dealing as it does with profound personal loss.

"Losing friends and family is hard, no one ever knows how to deal with it," Matt explains, " I coped by writing my grief down on paper - this is what came out. Sometimes we can overlook the things that are important to us until they're taken away. Certain events in my life made me appreciate how lucky I am to be here now and doing the things I do even more. It's a blessing to be able to feel and love so much, and I intend to make the most of my life while it's still being lived." Funerals tour next month will be their last UK dates of 2006.

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Cool From The Wire Andrea Ferro at Download 2005 - we won’t forget you bro!

Pic: Chiaki Nozu

With their breakthrough album ‘Comalies’ still flying off the shelves at the rate of knots, and their stock rising quicker than anybody’s business, Lacuna Coil have decided to hit the studio in a bid to strike whilst the iron remains white hot. Century Media have spared little expense in providing the band with the base to assemble their artillery for world domination. The band have recorded the hugely-anticipated ‘Karmacode’ in both Germany and Italy, recruited the respected talents of Ronald Prent for the mixing process, and had REM knob twiddler Darcy Proper give it the final once over at Belgium’s Galaxy Studios. As if the airfares in getting the band from A to B weren’t threatening to drain the label’s coffers, CM have dug further deep and assigned Grammy-nominated art house Asterik Studio to design the package. You’d expect for their investment Century Media would be wanting some hearty comeback, and according to Lacuna siren Cristina Scabbia, that’s exactly what they’re going to get : “We’re excited for the world to hear the new material. It’ll give everyone the chance to hear the growth the band has experienced over the past couple of years”. Unwittingly heaping yet more expectation on the band’s shoulders, guitarist Cristiano Migliore proudly announced : “It’s taken a long time to put together these songs and I can honestly say they’re the best we’ve ever written. The band have confirmed the following tracklisting for the album, to give it it’s grand title ‘Karmacode – Our Truth’. Scheduled to arrive on these shores for sale on Monday March 6th, it promises to be one of the prime releases of early 2006 : 1. Fragile 2. To The Edge 3. Our Truth 4. Within Me 5. Devoted 6. You Create 7. What I See 8. Fragments Of Faith 9. Closer 10. In Visible Light 11. The Game 12. Without Fear 13. Enjoy The Silence The band will headline The Forum in London the night prior to the album’s release on March 5th – call the box office on 020 7284 1001 for further ticket details.

Are we allowed to use a picture of somebody else in the band? Fuck it. We’ll do as we please. Not to worry though... normal service will be resumed soon.

STARBUCKS ANNOUNCE IN-STORE DIGITAL MUSIC PLANS Well, we always assumed that Starbucks' dabblings in music would lead to some kind of digital music offering. Starbucks' Entertainment President Ken Lombard has confirmed he is currently in talks with technology firms regarding plans to put consoles in place in Starbucks cafes across the US and Canada which would enable customers to download tracks to portable music devices while in-store. While specifics and timelines of the plan are not known, the service is expected to be made available in most of the company's 5500 North American stores. The digital music offer would extend Starbucks' recent music ventures, which have included the selling of CDs via their cafes, including the sale B U R N M A G A Z I N E | w w w. b u r n m a g . c o . u k

of albums from the likes of Bob Dylan and Alanis Morrisette which are exclusively available via the chain. Those exclusivity deals have, of course, pissed off the traditional music retailers, though actually this latest initiative is possibly a much bigger threat, given that the future of music retail surely lies in finding a successful way to integrate the virtual and real world music buying experience, something Starbucks are in danger of taking a lead in. Also Starucks can roll their entire online, digital, in-store options worldwide, you can just see the likes of Borders doing exactly the same bricks and mortar business embracing online and digital futures... scary. 07


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Cool From The Wire A mere ten years ago, Sepultura were readying themselves to release one of the most important and significant metal albums of the last decade. ‘Chaos AD’ had already promoted themselves to the big league, and the Brazilian pioneers were due to release their ‘Roots’ project, a brave, yet superbly executed example of what heavy metal stood for in the mid Nineties. Now, during the Noughties’ middle age, the band are resigned to support metal’s young bucks. Following on from their hugely successful tour supporting Motorhead last year, In Flames have announced their own headline tour for March. Rather than take the easy way out, they’ve asked the Brazilian warhorses to join them on tour, an offer that was gleefully snapped up by the band. To witness an example of the tables being turned, check out the band when they lay waste to the following venues : March March March March March March March March March

22nd – London Forum 23rd – Manchester Academy 24th – Glasgow Barrowlands 25th – Sheffield Corporation 26th – Birmingham Academy 28th – Dublin Ambassador 29th – Liverpool Academy 30th – Cardiff Coal Exchange 31st – Portsmouth Pyramids

The band’s new album, ‘Come Clarity’ is due for release via Nuclear Blast on February 6th.

Throwing everything including the kitchen sink has been the gameplan so far for crossover rockers Head Automatica, and now the band have returned to the studio to prove their debut long-player ‘Decadence’ was no fluke. Of course fronted by diminutive warbler, and occasional Glassjaw frontman Daryl Palumbo, the band have entered a Los Angeles studio to record their sophomore album with acclaimed producer Godhead Howard Benson. According to Palumbo, the album represents an affectionate nod to the heroes of the early 80s British alt.pop scene, the lead taken from the likes of Squeeze and Elvis Costello : “This album is more musical than anything I’ve embarked on in my life. We’re drawing a lot from the Beatles-era backbeat sound, as well as the mod revival of the late 70s”. However, don’t be panicked into thinking it’s going to be all cheap synths and covers of ‘Oliver’s Army’ : “It’s a modern take on those artists – we’re making a contemporary rock album”. The album is provisionally scheduled for a Spring release, tracks set for the album include ‘Scandalous’, ‘K Horse’ and the adorably titled ‘Cannibal Girl’. Meantime the band are booked to play a number of shows in the USA before embarking on a tour of North America. More news on the album’s release as it floats through to us. ✪ Evanescence vocalist Amy Lee is suing her former manager Dennis Rider. The Purple Management supreme is accused of professional negligence, sexual assault and battery, as well as a number of other claims. Rider’s legal team deny all the allegations laid at his door, Lee was still to comment publicly at the time of going to press. ✪ Motley Crue are currently locked up in a film studio devising the movie adaptation of their 2002 autobiography “The Dirt: Confessions Of The World’s Most Notorious Rock Band”. Work’s in it’s infancy right now, but filming is due to start still within 2006. Meantime Crue bassist Nikki Sixx is to issue “The Heroin Diaries”, his account of his life between 1986-1987. In other autobiographical Crue news, Tommy Lee plans to go before the lens of award-winning filmmaker Bruce Sinofsky, director of the warts-and-all documentary “Metallica: Some Kind of Monster.” “I had to do this," Lee said just days before leaving for the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, where he is scheduled to perform as a guest DJ while doing advance promotion for the as-yet-untitled film. “Everybody wants to be liked or admired. And when people only know you from tabloid snippets that have piled up over the years, you want to set everyone straight." Unlike with his appearance on NBC's unscripted series “Tommy Lee Goes to College,” or publishing his bestselling 2004 autobiography, “Tommyland,” Lee

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views the documentary as the best way to put the real Tommy Lee on display. “Doing the show, to me, that's not real — it's a little slice of who you are,” Lee said. “There's so much more that's going on in my life that isn't suitable for prime-time network TV.” The director and his subject have yet to decide upon a narrative arc, but, Lee said, “Bruce has got some dark, really cool, bizarre ideas — it seems like a nice match.” ✪ Seattle’s latest offering to the world of altrock, The Fall Of Troy, have announced a UK tour for March. Last seen on our shores wowing audiences as special guests to The Bled back in December, the band have seen favourable comparisons to the likes of The Mars Volta and Dillinger Escape Plan thrown at their feet. See for yourself when they play : Cardiff Barfly March 8th, Birmingham Barfly March 9th, York Fibbers March 10th, Glasgow Barfly March 11th, Liverpool Barfly March 12th, London Barfly March 13th. ✪ Legendary 80's hard rock festival Monsters of Rock is to return this year, with two big names confirmed as headliners. Set for Saturday, June 3, at the Milton Keynes Bowl, Monsters of Rock 2006 will feature headline slots from seminal classic rock act Deep Purple, with Alice Cooper named as a special guest. The original Monsters Of Rock event was one of the biggest events on the rock calendar, featuring headline slots from AC/DC, Bon Jovi, KISS and Guns N' Roses during its 16-year reign. The event originally took place at Castle Donnington, now home to the annual Download Festival, and maxed out at 112,000 capacity in 1988. Sadly, the event outgrew itself, resulting in the death of two festivalgoers that year. Tickets are priced at £38.50 and are on sale on now! ✪ Is this the return of the Cult? Billy Duffy and Ian Astbury recently inked a management deal with Tom Vitorino, who also represents Riders On The Storm (formerly The Doors 21st Century), the band featuring Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger of The Doors with Astbury as Jim Morrison. The Cult are planning special product reissues and some limited gigs in 2006. However, a full-blown reunion appears to be unlikely at this point. More information will be made available soon.

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Cool From The Wire MY CHEMICAL DVD

It’s been promised for the past six months or so, but it finally seems teen mag mainstays My Chemical Romance are to release their ‘Life On The Murder Scene’ DVD in March.

Despite encountering delay after delay, the DVD’s release has finally been pencilled in for a March 21st release via the Reprise stable. Quite how they’re going to fill it remains to be seen, but the package is a twoDVD / one CD combo, charting the band’s history from their inception to the present day, and every gory facet of the band’s career thus far. The CD will include live favourites ‘Thank You For The Venom’, ‘Give ‘Em Hell Kid’, plus a number of tracks lifted from the band’s AOL sessions, and until-now unreleased demo tracks. The DVD offers documenting the band’s touring entourage, their MTV $2 bill performance, as well as all three of their videos and exclusive behind the cameras footage. Following the release of the DVD, the band head back into the studio to begin the unenviable task of recording the follow-up to the all-conquering ‘Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge’ opus. Rather them than me. The band can of course be caught this side of the pond when they appear as part of the Give It A Name Festival at the following venues. Scheduled also to appear, Lostprophets, The Ataris, Taking Back Sunday amongst a plethora of other acts : London Earls Court – April 29th Manchester MEN Arena – April 30th

They Thought It Was All Over... But Not Yet! Well, here we are again. On the brink of another headlining UK tour from hard rock stalwarts Thunder (actually, it’s already under way as you read this, but you should have known that). A couple of weeks before the off, lead guitarist Luke Morley felt the need (because we asked) to tell us about the tour and what was going on at Thunder Towers before it started. This time around the band are taking in bigger venues than last time and it must feel great to be able to play some of the most prestigious rock venues in the UK. But in particular (sorry to the rest of the country) it must feel very special to upgrade from the London Astoria (played the last three times in the capital) to the legendary Hammersmith Apollo again. “Hammersmith is a very special venue for us,” confirms Morley, “We spent a lot of time watching bands there when we were kids. It’s also great to be back there after ten years. It means we must be doing something right!” I do feel, however, that the subject of support bands needed broaching. If you’ve followed Thunder’s touring over the last fours years since they got back together, which I have, you’ll notice a distinct trend in the support bands being a lot harder and heavier in Europe compared to in the UK. Apparently, though, this isn’t an intentional outcome. “Support acts are largely chosen by us wherever possible but obviously in Europe we’re less familiar with domestic bands so we have to be guided by the promoter to a certain extent. Sometimes this is a good thing, sometimes it isn’t so good. It has nothing to do with musical orientation.” Might have something to do with the musical orientation of the promoters though, mightn’t it? This time they have Toby Jepson of Little Angels fame and a recently remonikered Roadstar (formerly Hurricane Party). They rock pretty hard, so that balances quite nicely with Europe. This tour comes nearly a year after the release of latest album The Magnificent Seventh, so they must be gearing up for that new album vocalist Danny Bowes has mentioned elsewhere, surely?

“We have begun recording the album and so far there are ten songs at various stages of development. At this moment it’s hard to say how long the album will be as it depends largely on how much time we can dedicate to it over the next few months as we have a lot of touring commitments. One of the songs we’ve recorded I cowrote with Chris but so far that’s the only co-write.” Only one? Well, that’s one more with other band members than there’s been on the last two records. There’s been talk of there being more, and the album possibly being a double. We can only hope. “I’ve been the principal writer since Thunder started. It’s really just how things have evolved over the years. I do like it when one of the boys comes in with a good idea though as it can only make the material more interesting. I enjoy writing songs so I don’t feel any pressure in that sense; it’s what I do.” For fans who just can’t wait though, a new behind-thescenes DVD entitled Scenes From The Behind (genius!) has just been released, the live CD from the 2005 Christmas show at Nottingham Rock City will follow soon, and the band are recording a show or two on their Japanese tour for a new DVD release. Trying to equal Deep Purple and Iron Maiden for live releases, then? “No, although the thing we have in common with DP and IM is we are a live band that people keep coming back to see so there’s always a demand for live recordings.” Man has a point. Thunder are one of those high energy bands that generate an awesome rock ‘n’ roll atmosphere at every show with just one song. Yeah, one of those. If it’s not too late, get to a show and see (and feel) what I mean. If it is, don’t panic. They’ll be back. They always are.. AL

BURNT OFFERINGS: Once more into the breach, the beloved team search their ruptured minds for the answers to pretty simple questions really. You really can’t get the staff you know. Sion Hot: Slave to the System, Life On Mars (the TV show), JJ’s new studio, the Strangers in Paradise comic book. Not: Rain, car tax, online DVD rental, last trains home. Looking forward to: More Coheed, Wrestlemania, getting my Alice Cooper tribute band off the ground (coz I have loads of time, right?) Icon of the month: David Blaine The thing I know is cool that very few others yet know about is: That you need to understand about quantum physics ito get your head around chaos majick. When John Lennon was shot, I was: Sitting on a grassy knoll.

Kahn Hot: The Almighty, Ricky Warwick, Crash (not the David Cronenberg one) and the Penguins from Madagascar Not: The fucker who ran my cat over and then drove off Looking forward to: Aforementioned cat being home by the time you read this. Icon of the month: Joss Whedon The thing I know is cool that very few others yet know about is: Arrested Development (the sitcom, not the band) When John Lennon was shot, I was: Wet behind the ears and in short trousers.

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Mike Hot: Bonsai Not: Balding megolomaniacs Looking forward to: Time to get psyched about The Da Vinci Code Icon of the month: Johnny Cash The thing I know is cool that very few others yet know about is: Stories on www.thetemperamentalsoul.co.uk When John Lennon was shot, I was: Sticking it to Yoko.

JJ Hot: The Strokes & Dragonforce New Albums, Loads of great Rock gigs in Jan/Feb. Not: No time off over ‘festive’ period, pays yer’ money & all that... Looking forward to: Summer. Icon of the month: Missy Suicide! The thing I know is cool that very few others yet know about is: Orson! When John Lennon was shot, I was: Still young enough 2 give a fuck!

John Hot: Stubbs The Zombie on X-box, Devil Kings on PS2, Ghost in The Shell 2 on dvd, Weapons of Mass Belief, MVC Closing down sale Not: British weather and the fact it’s quiet on the new games front Looking forward to: New Tomb Raider Game, PS3 Icon of the month: Mike Peters The thing I know is cool that very few others yet know about is: The original Resident evil game is being remade (again) and is coming out on the Nintendo DS When John Lennon was shot, I was: I can’t even remember what I was doing last week.

Kristian Hot: Expensive bottle of rioja which are truly wasted on me, playing to a packed-out Bull & Gate, appearing on Dick & Dom, the super sexy swinging sounds of bloodsimple, God Forbid and Insision Not: Not meeting Terry Wogan or Zammo at BBC Television Centre. Having my car written off for me. Looking for a new car. Looking forward to: The next issue of Auto Trader. Icon of the month: Gwee The thing I know is cool that very few others yet know about is: Trench When John Lennon was shot, I was: Most probably asking my father if we were nearly there yet.

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Cool From The Wire AND ON THE 8TH DAY... Do you honestly think we would be so shallow as to print a random picture of a hot singer just because she was hot? Well, yeah, OK... we’ll give you that one, but in this case, it’s only half the story. Veronica Freeman is the throttle in San Diesgo’s BENEDICTUM - she has the voice of a hellcat and a stage presence to match. That alone is enough to warrant a picture here, but we’re also backing down on the ‘hot chick’ angle because we’ve seen the rest of the guys in the band. Massive! Their debut album Uncreation, drips with old school rock and on some level, we collectively figured that Veronica has touch of Mr Ronnie James Dio about her vocal style. Perhaps no strange coincidence as you’ll find none other than Craig Goldy being the man who gave them a good push in the direction of Jeff Pilson for production duties on the album: "We brought our whole body of work - all of Malady's stuff (their previous band), the stuff More like this please. Much, much, much more. Thanks in advance. Ed.

we wrote as Benedictum - the whole deal, and he picked it apart and re-arranged things. That was hard at first but well worth it. Jeff is extremely focused and he will definitely make you do your best, drawing out of you a new level of performance that you may not have thought possible. He is an amazing individual and we consider him a friend as well as producer." With a host of other metal messiahs floating on the periphery of the bands genesis - Jimmy Bain and Tommy Henricksen to name but two, the future is looking pretty good. Uncreation is available on Locomotive, distributed through Cargo in the UK. Know what, we’re gonna get off our arses and get some kind of interview feature going for the next issue. How big that feature is depends of course, on how many pictures they’ve got... only joking guys. Honest. Check out the bands website at www.benedictum.net. They also have quite a rapid response unit going on at MySpace - but hell, who hasn’t these days!

THUNDER

UNDERGROUND Words: Andy Lye & Vikki Roberts

Surrounded by a London music scene in which The Rolling Stones can charge as much as £150 per ticket for the privilege of being somewhere remotely within spitting distance of something resembling “a view”, no one on the planet, or at the very least in the city, can grumble at the price of admission to see a decent underground band... Surrounded by a London music scene in which The Rolling Stones can charge as much as £150 per ticket for the privilege of being somewhere remotely within spitting distance of something resembling “a view”, no one on the planet, or at the very least in the city, can grumble at the price of admission to see a decent underground band. And 90% of those will come away afterwards with a much greater sense of enjoyment and value-for-money. Not to mention the excitement at knowing about something everyone else doesn’t know about. Admit it, we all love that feeling. With that in mind, we at Jukebox will, once a month, endeavour to bombard you with enough new underground music to keep you busy until next month, including the best venues to keep tabs on for the coolest new stuff in the capital. You will rather quickly notice a pattern in the content of this column as the months go on. To accelerate the process of discovery (and indeed induce it in some cases) I shall lay out the details for you right now. If I’ve written it, it’ll be reasonably heavy stuff (occasionally progressive stuff, but there’s not a lot of that about). If Vikki has written it, it’ll be not-so-heavy. I hope you appreciate the effort taken here to alleviate the burden of thinking from your shoulders. Now, although I’ve written this little introductory piece, Vikki is going to bring you the music. It’s our way of delivering a kind of ice-breaker between you and us. We’re peoplepeople, you see… Indeed we are. We’ll ease you into the new year with something not-so-heavy. I find the best way to discover new talent is to make sure you catch the support acts of any given gig you’re going to. I’ve lost count of the number of acts that surprised and impressed me. One of these, which I discovered just before Christmas, was Seeing Scarlet who were supporting Mando Diao at the Camden Barfly. Seeing Scarlet are a four-piece, indie-poprock, suited, booted and insightful band. Their music is very upbeat and the single, double A-side Ugly Girl/Never Good Enough, is a true reflection of their talents. They’d pass the Old Grey Whistle Test without question. They deserve to be very successful. Another semi-recent discovery has been getAmped, a surfrock band from Dorset who often venture into the capital for gigs. They present a good mix of energetic guitar music with plenty of humorous and kick-ass rock numbers. Their Token Christmas Song is a cheeky jibe at the music industry (we like those! –ed) and Reject & Sterilise blew me away. Those are my two music recommendations for this month. You don’t have to like them but give ‘em a try. Keep an open mind when it comes to new bands. There’s a lot of dross out there but hundreds of diamonds too. Incidentally, check out the Camden Barfly for a venue. With live music pretty much every night and tickets averaging at £7 you could do a lot worse for a night out.

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Cool From The Wire

There might be giants! Over the coming months, although the Gods know that we wish we’d never started this train of thought, we’ll be giving up some space for the scribes to promo what they think will be super hot over the next year or so. Sentinel Johnson, unleash your hounds: back to good ol’ Blighty, the country which gave birth to two of the band’s biggest influences. “We love all music from all countries, but we love the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. Basically rock n roll started in England. And The White Album is undeniably brilliant,” enthuses Charlotte – a point I decide to take issue with (well, what I actually said was “is it bollocks”, but you get my point.). Charlotte’s not one to be swayed by a well reasoned argument, it seems. “Well, you can deny it,” she laughs, “but I really love it!” “It’s so much better than what’s around at the moment as well.” That’s an argument for another day, when we have a lot more time. For now, lets look to the future. Any idea where The Like will be in 10 years? “No idea! “Everything has happened really organically for us, we’ve had nothing in mind for the future. It’s actually weird thinking about the future! We’re just taking it all in – we don’t have built-in egos like boys!” The Like. Mmm mm mm The music industry is always trying to get a bunch of girls together to make some noise – preferably something radio friendly that’s going to sell by the bucketload. But every now and then, a suit somewhere proves he’s actually got a brain, and goes for the girls with talent and tunes. Which is where The Like (Z Berg – guitar/vocals, Charlotte Froom – bass, Tennessee Thomas – drums) come in… “Tennessee and I have been friends for a long time,” explains Charlotte, setting the scene. “We like the same music, listen to the same records, so we decided to get a band together. She decided to play drums and I tried the guitar, and then the bass which was much better! “We then put the word out that we were looking for a singer and a guitarist, and through mutual friends we met Z (pronounced the traditional American way, with two ees). “We went to her house and jammed, and the next thing was like ‘well, we’ll see you tomorrow then’. We basically spent every weekend playing.” From there, one thing led to another, and before you can say ‘overnight success’, they were signed, recorded and out on the road - with England being high on the agenda. “I feel more at home there, because ‘indie’ is more mainstream, unlike America,” explains Charlotte. “I guess I’d say we were more of a rock band. I tend to say indie because that means less popular over here!” Rock they certainly are, which is a great thing given how many polished pop queens are being rammed down our throats these days. The Like are definitely out to address the balance: “There haven’t really been many all-girl bands over the years. I don’t know why that is. “Maybe its because its not always easy for a group of girls to get along – they can be quite bitchy!” Fortunately, that’s not a problem for The Like – which is just as well, as Charlotte, Z and Tennessee plan to spend most of 2006 in a tour bus. After their brief visit to these shores last year, you can be sure they’ll be

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✪ Take loads of aggression, infectious songs and a kickass horn section and you’ve got Buzzkill, a band who should make a big impact this year with their album Driven By Loss. Trumpet chap Ben Whittington gives us the low-down. Pleased with the album? Really happy! We’re all pretty pleased – it was a bit of a rush job recording it, as we didn’t have pounds and pounds. It was recorded and mixed in eight days. It sounds like us though – there’s a nice live sound there. How’s it been received so far? Seems to have gone down well – there’s been some good quotes from some of the mags. Hopes for 2006? Tour as much as possible! The last album we toured Europe, had a great tour, but came back and had lineup problems which knocked us back a bit. Now we’ve got a new bassist (Carl Glover) and we feel like a proper band again. We had our Radio 1 session around the end of Jan, and have got a string of gigs pencilled in until March. There’s even a possibility of gong on the road with Renegade Burlesque, a burlesque show!

the album, Esprit d’Escalier recorded and released earlier this year. Pleased with the album? Pleased? Yes. Relieved? Definitely. It was a long, hard journey getting it together as the whole operation has been entirely self funded and in our spare time. We spent most of 2004 recording 95 per cent of the parts in Steve’s home studio and then burnt them down to about 15 CDRs which got carted into a local studio in late 2004 for mixing. After many frustrating weekend sessions and the odd evening, we finished up in about March and started the process of getting it printed. It was a really tough time and stretched both our experience, our ability and to be honest, our patience! We’ve been playing the majority of the material on Esprit for a long time now so now we can pretty much draw a line under that part of our history and move on and write some new material. How’s it been received so far? It seems to be going down pretty well, especially out on the continent. We haven’t seen any bad reviews yet, and any negative comments have been directed at either some technical problems and sometimes the overall length. We made a choice to finish it and get it released leaving it with only 9 tracks which may be a little short, but we think we made the right choice. Hopes and aspirations for 2006? Early 2006 will see us working on new material towards a second album. It took us so long to get the first one out that we don’t want to wait another 5 odd years to do another. We feel that we’ve learnt a lot during the creation of Esprit d’Escalier and with this year of gigging around the UK, so hopefully we’ll be able to create something special. Also we’d love to start gigging in Europe, either supporting someone on a small tour, or at some of the festivals. We expect it to be tough to get our foot through the door out there, but we can hope!

The Way Of All Flesh: Coming to a town near you!

✪ With goth music in the ascendancy once more, The Way of All Flesh couldn’t have timed their self-released debut, esprit d’escalier, much better. Hopefully. Granted the modern music fan seems to be as fickle as the average 13-year-old girl, but Goths have always been made of sturdier stuff. If there’s any justice out there, they’ll be tracking this lot down in their droves. Here, the band tell how it is, was and – all being well – will be. So how did you guys get together? We’ve been around quite a long time now. The core of the band formed in the mid nineties with the aim of playing the Sheffield University Student Band competition. After several changes and shufflings of line up, we stabilised into our current form in about 1999. We’ve spent a hell of a lot of time since then creating demos and doing home town gigs, but hadn’t really managed to branch out any further until we got

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Probably the best unsigned bands in the World

Words, as ever: Andy Lye

Sinners Inc. Round two. You know the deal, get out there and check ‘em out: Hollow (Sweden) The ‘unsigned’ status of this band must surely be a temporary situation. Hollow released two fulllength albums, Modern Cathedral and Architect of The Mind through Nuclear Blast in 1998 and 1999 respectively. Now without a label, and essentially an Andreas Stoltz (vocals/guitars) solo project, new material is constantly be written and demoed. All of the completed songs are available for download from Andreas’ website. He records everything at home, playing everything himself apart from drums, which he programs. “What I like to achieve with Hollow is to express myself, hopefully to the benefit of others. That at least is what I get from different cultural aspects, be it movies, music or literature. Through my music and lyrics personal growth sounds rather pretentious, doesn’t it? More to the point I find that I write songs about things that bug me and the music is my way of venting irritation or anger. This is not to say that every Hollow song is thought provoking and intelligent; some songs have a more traditional heavy metal content. But when I say something, I like to have something to say.” Musically, the guitars are complex and heavy, while the solos are simply sublime. Complex

technical playing is something the band were famed for around the time they were signed, think Rust In Peace-era Megadeth, but a little heavier. Vocally, Andreas is hard to describe. There are elements of a lot of singers in his voice and delivery, but essentially he is very unique. All his vocals are clean and melodic but certainly don’t lack power. Seriously, Hollow are about as perfect as heavy metal gets. You need this band to get re-signed.

L.I.E. (USA) If signed metal bands sounded like this, metal fans would have nothing to complain about. Based on immense chunky riffs and blazing solos L.I.E.’s sound is something akin to what you’d get if Ville Vallo had some bollocks and sang for Black Label Society. Don’t let the mention of Ville put you off. Hulking great riffs and a powerhouse rhythm section with a firm grasp of melody (ya hear that, nu metal? Melody!) and thoughtful, meaningful lyrics make L.I.E. the complete band. Frontman Tim Lyons: “I was in a band in high school where I wasn’t the leader. It was Hell. So I left that and made my own band, wrote my own music. Not trying to sound like a dictator, because that’s not true at all, that’s just how things started at the time. I write what I like to listen to. I’m that asshole who will listen to his music all of the time, because I made it for myself. If other people like it, that’s fantastic, but it doesn’t leave the drawing board unless I legitimately enjoy it as a listener first.” And with the phenomenal guitar ability Lyons possesses, his talent for crafting meaningful words and his strong voice I’m not sure anyone would blame him if he did call all of the shots. Yet the rest of the band have input into every track. This is evident from the make-up of the songs. Extra drum fills (Mike Lane), bass runs 012

(Jeff Elliott) and keyboard lines (Dustin Banbury). If these were just players doing as they were told you wouldn’t get that. This is a coherent, talented unit. Each member as integral as any other. What a find! Make it yours.

Where can I hear more? All of Hollow’s demos since the original band disbanded are available for download from the official site at moderncathedral.blogspot.com. Their old albums on Nuclear Blast are available from places like Amazon. L.I.E.’s new album Die Trying is available to order from their website at cdbaby.com. One track from the album, one demo and one old track are available to download from their site at www.liemusic.com. Fancy your chances in the grinder? Your first port of call is to drop Andy an email at sinnersinc@burnmag.co.uk

Small record label? Independent PR or marketing company? If you want to make direct contact with any of the bands, drop us a line and we’ll get somebody in the loop to get in touch. We’ll soon be battering that thing called the internet to death soon and launching some kind of Yahoo Group for our Sinners Inc project. Nobody is really sure what the hell we’re going to do there, but the intentions are good. Stick around, things could get interesting...

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BRUTAL AND COMPELLING THE TRUE STORY OF THE WONDERLAND AVENUE MURDERS

Available from all good stockists now


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This Planet’s

On Fire! I’m sitting here listening to Planet Rock as I write this. It’s 9.15pm and Satellite is playing, I don’t know who sings it, but it’s a cracking tune that I ain’t heard for years. Its followed ironically by Rock Of Ages which sums up the entire ethos of this radio station. For the last few hours I’ve not heard a bad song - how often can you say that? This comes just two hours after speaking to executive producer, head honcho, main man, programme controller, head of music... call him what you want, but in fact Trevor White is Planet Rock! I feel a kindred spirit with Trevor, he loves rock, make that LOVES ROCK! He eats, sleeps and shits rock, I do that too, so does the editor and so should you! Trevor’s definition of rock is plain & simple Guitar Driven Album Based Melodic Rock! Classic Rock is a kind of music, it’s not a time that music was made, it’s a genre, not an era, it’s a feeling that you recognise in the music, it has the ability to take you away from where you are. Eddie Van Halen’s guitar solo in a pair of headphones! Trevor has some artists that don’t 014

fit their mantle. Prince does not fit, Led Zep does. The station is about songs. Trevor: “The presenters couldn’t do this if they were not passionate. They have extensive knowledge, have a lot of stories, but they live a rock lifestyle, otherwise they would sound phoney”. Trevor has a rich history of rock. “The Beatles’ I Want To Hold Your Hand started the ball rolling, then through the Small Faces who I loved and Rod after that - both solo and with The Faces. The Who... it was always loud rock! As long as it was melodic though - thrash, grunge et al always leaves me cold. It doesn’t matter how heavy the arrangement, if there is a melody in there, it will float to the surface. I bought into everything on the Island and Harvest labels in the 70’s.” Trevor made the transition from artist recording to radio very easily. The studio is home, regardless of the subject. “I then trained to be a recording engineer, working with Jethro Tull, The Faces, Black Sabbath. I worked out of Morgan recording studios where bands would come and go all the time, I then ran a mobile

recording unit with Jethro for three years”. It was around this time that Trevor made the leap into radio. “I went to Capital Radio to work as a broadcast producer, then Virgin Radio, on to Magic with Emap, ending up at Planet Rock which in small radio stations is unique, but the bigger stations use producers for each show. I was head of music and breakfast show producer at Virgin’ Planet Rock has brought in Tony Iommi and Rick Wakeman on the air - this is quite an achievement. Trevor explains “When I was at Morgan, I met Tony and Rick 30 years ago. Rick also worked at Capital and for me, Black Sabbath invented Heavy Rock. Both are very natural brilliant broadcasters, alongside being special people. Tony has people like Brian May in as guests and they all do it because they admire him so much. He knows guitars and guitarists, Rick does a one man show, so he is very entertaining and no one knows more about prog rock, we hope to expand on this. Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull is going to do a more acoustic based show too, it’s an exciting time”. w w w. b u r n m a g . c o . u k | B U R N M A G A Z I N E


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Digital Radio is growing very quickly, the future’s bright for the station, Trevor has no doubt. “We out-perform all of our competitors on digital. We want to grow quicker than digital radio, which at the moment we are. We have a great team and I want to cover every genre in rock through those who have lived the life. There is an audience that has been waiting for this. When Virgin started three million people switched to AM for what they thought was going to be a rock station, but it never really satisfied them and they drifted away. All those people are still there, a huge demand remains, not just older people, but kids who are raiding their parents collection. If you mix the old and the new together it’s irresistible!” As I come to the end of this piece, the show is about to finish. It’s 10pm on the station, and they end with a song by The Who that’s a mission statement if ever I heard one. You Better, You Bet. If you’re a betting man, the odds are stacked in favour of Planet Rock. Roll the dice. Burn has and we hope to have some great future tie-ins with the station. For now though, we’re just happy and proud to be listeners. Trevor knows the score, so should you. This is the rock station you have waited all your life to listen to. No longer do you need to reside Stateside to hear non-stop rock, Trevor understands the here and now alongside

the now and then. The link is one word - NOW! Planet Rock is right here, right now... The Inside Story Planet Rock started broadcasting the best classic rock from the 60s, 70s and 80s on 15 November 1999. No pop, no rap, no crap, just the best music of all time 24 hours a day. You can’t get Planet Rock or any other DAB digital radio stations through your FM/AM receiver - it’s a whole new type of radio. You can basicallly get Planet Rock in four ways: They broadcast across the UK on DAB Digital Radio - you can buy one online or in good hi-fi stores. You can listen through your digibox on Sky Digital channel 861. It’s a free service so there are no subscription charges. You can get the signal across most of Europe. If you’ve got cable TV from ntl:home or Telewest Broadband, you’ll find Planet Rock in the line up of free channels. Go to channel 880 on ntl: and 924 on Telewest. Planet Rock also broadcast on the internet worldwide: www.planetrock.com (you’ll need Windows Media Player). You can also take over 30 minutes on Planet Rock by choosing your RockBloks. Tell Planet Rock 20 of your favourite rock songs, and why you’ve chosen them, then stay tuned to Planet Rock and listen to Nicky Horne, weekdays from 1pm, and Jack Dann, weekends from 10am to hear your RockBlok. Easy as pie!

A Brief Guide To Whats On

Planet Rock: Ricks Place Every Saturday from 10am to 1pm Join legendary keyboardist Rick Wakeman every Saturday as he presents his live show, exclusive to Planet Rock. Rick will tell tales of his exploits on the road and in the studio, and will be joined by special guests while he plays the very best in rock music, including many of the 2,000 tracks he has played on throughout his extensive career. Win Rick’s tour bus: Rick be giving away his Dodge Ram tour bus (complete with MOT!), which he used on Yes’s 1991 Union Tour of America. To enter, listen to the show and answer Rick’s question by text to 0780 000021 12 or email to rick.wakeman@planetrock.com. Weekly winners will win a stash of Rickrelated prizes, going into the draw to win the bus.

Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi:

Black Sunday! Black Sabbath Guitarist and founding member Tony Iommi joins Planet Rock to present Black Sunday on the nation’s favourite classic rock radio station. The twohour show airs at 7pm and coincides with Tony’s induction into the UK Music Hall of Fame, confirming his status as one of rock’s most influential and enduring talents. Each week, Tony is joined by colleagues and friends from all walks of life who love rock music. He will also share his experiences from over 30 years at the top table of rock’s aristocracy, and reveal the stories behind Black Sabbath’s most famous songs. Tony also wants unsigned bands to send in their demos and will play his pick on air. Tony was one of the founding members of Black Sabbath. Alongside Black Sabbath, Tony has been working on several solo projects - the most recent of which was this summer’s criticallyacclaimed album Fused.

Do U Wanna’ Get Rocked! Well Do Ya’??? Monday - Friday

Saturday:

Sunday:

6AM: Rob Birnie: With a Classic Rock Breakfast. 9AM: Nicky Horne: His featured album, a new release that should be making its way into your collection. Live at Eleven, a legendary live performance from one of the world's top rock acts. 1PM: Rock Blok: You programme Planet Rock with an hour of your classic rock favourites. 2PM: John Griff: Including the 5 O'clock trilogy. 6PM: Rock Blok: You programme Planet Rock with an hour of your classic rock favourites 7PM: Colin Slade: Mixing the old with the new, CD's & Tix giveaways. 10PM: Jay Lucas: Your requests all the way: jay.lucas@planetrock.com Midnight: Rock your socks all the way till' 6AM

7AM; Murray J: everybody's working 4 the weekend, so lets go! 10AM: Rick Wakeman: Tales from the Transit, YES its true! 1PM: Rock Blok: You programme Planet Rock with an hour of your classic rock favourites 2PM: Mark Jeeves: Classic albums. 6PM: Rock Blok: You programme Planet Rock with an hour of your classic rock favourites 7PM: Simon James: A selection from the Planet Rock Archives. Midnight: All Rock, All Night, All Right!

7AM; Murray J; everybody's working 4 the weekend, so lets go! 1PM: Rock Blok: You programme Planet Rock with an hour of your classic rock favourites 2PM: Mark Jeeves: Classic albums. 6PM: Rock Blok: You programme Planet Rock with an hour of your classic rock favourites 7PM: Black Sunday: with Tony Iommi. Fairies Wear Boots you know! 9PM: Simon James: A selection from the Planet Rock Archives. Midnight: All Rock, All Night, All Right!

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12. What unusual method would you use to kill the Cheeky Girls? Lock ‘em in a cell with nothing but a gun with two bullets and listening to the Cheeky Girls album on repeat at full volume. I think they’d do the right thing.

shooting shit

Seb Willett spends the weekend shacked up with Your Vegas - but all he could think of was his stomach and these pointless questions. Sigh. Really big sigh...

1. Where did you get the name “Your Vegas”? It was a song title of ours before it was our name. We had about 5 names before that in about one month but they kept being owned by Christian rock bands in middle America selling a 100 million copies a day. The songs about escaping to somewhere where you feel you belong, where the lights shine and you feel warm - not that Vegas is home to any of us but it means fertile plains in Spanish so its us being smart arses in a way. And thinking ahead too, to getting a free trip to Las Vegas when we do the Video. Oh yes. 2. Have you ever been to Las Vegas? Or have you ever met Johnny Vegas? No to both but Jon really, really fancies Jonny Vegas. He’s got posters of him naked on his wall. And Mat used to be a Vegan so I suppose yeah kind of. And Otley and Las Vegas are very similar. 3. What do you think of the new 24-hour pub opening? It’s about bloody time. 4. What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done? I don’t know really. There’s been a lot. Too many to mention. 5. Conversely, what’s the one thing you’ve done you’re most proud of? Our first single coming out in August and being able to buy it in the shops. It felt amazing. I think when we first make the top 40 its gonna be pretty amazing. Oh and when Mal tied his shoelaces for the first time last week. That was a proud moment for us all and the result of many months hard work. 016

6. Arnold in “Predator” or Stallone in “Rambo: First Blood”? Stallone!!! Arnie’s a twat. Have you heard the guy talk? But still I’m surprised he didn’t get his Oscar for Kindergarten Cop. 7. What did you get for Christmas? (apologies, but this will be going out in January!) 5 fat bags of coal ‘cos we’re very, very naughty boys. And an ipod Nano. 8. Who are your top 3 favourite bands at the moment? Old bands - well we’re listening to Beach Boys right now, erm... Bruce Springsteen and Duran Duran. New bands - Really like the Editors album. Quite like Hard-Fi and a band Coyle saw at last years CMJ festival in New York called Spinto Band. They have a great track called Oh Mandy. Its so catchy. 9. Can you stand on your head? How long for? Mat can. He loves it. He can do all sorts of acrobatics. He won a Gold medal in the 1980 Olympics in Brazil. He could probably stand on his head for days.

13. When are you next touring the UK? The second half of January into February and beyond. You can check all our gig dates on our webpage www.yourvegas.net or our myspace page www.myspace.com/yourvegastheband . There you go- got a plug in!!

14. What’s the meaning of life? (in precisely 18 words) In the wise words of Viv Savage of Spinal Tap fame, ‘have a good time, all the time’! 15. Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever had any supernatural experiences? Yeah. Coyle’s seen a few ghosts. And our flat is haunted. We were told that before we moved in and we often hear weird noises and see things from the corner of our eyes. But we were once all woken up at 4 in the morning to the sound of it banging on the drums. It was pretty scary stuff. But it was a much better drummer than Mal. If only it would’ve stayed around long enough we would have asked it the join. Great gimmick. Even better than the White Stripes! We call him Henry. 16. The Rolling Stones or Led Zeppelin? That’s pretty much an impossible one to answer. 17. What’s in store for 2006 with Your Vegas? Lots of touring, the release of our debut album later in the year, which is gonna be fucking amazing! Seriously good stuff. Hopefully lots of top 40 singles and fun fun fun! 18. Name one album, other than yours, which everyone should own. The White Album by the Beatles. Pure genius. (Bollocks is it - deputy ed) (Double bollocks it is - Ed) 19. What ‘s your New Year’s resolution? To get our album to number one of course!! 20. Who would win a fight between a sheep and a cow? Definitely the sheep. Ewe should never underestimate the strength of a pissed off sheep! Like the man said, Flybuzz is out now. You can cut out and keep this very small picture of it or buy a copy. It’s on White Duke/Vital if you need to know.

10. How does it feel to be half-way through these ridiculous questions? It feels like the end of an era. Its quite emotional actually. When we first started we were so young! 11. You have a single out in January called “Flybuzz” - where did you get such a random name for it? It’s from a Nick Cave book ‘And the Ass saw the Angel’.

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Listening to Brigade soundcheck, I'm surprised at the level of aggression in their music. I'd been expecting more of an emo vibe. It's the opening night of their tour with Hundred Reasons. There's already a lengthy queue forming outside, eager to see their old heroes and these unlikely upstarts. Unlikely? Well-broughtup boys from Suffolk don't make obvious rockstars. With one of the loudest soundchecks I've ever heard over with, they sit bright-eyed and bushy tailed to await tonight's gig. The impossibly pretty (and Kurt Cobain lookalike) singer Charlie Simpson dives right in, “It's a real privilege to be playing with a band like Hundred Reasons. We've been excited for months about it”. Brigade have a real passion for playing live. Maybe their energy is driven by the fact that they're just on the cusp of breaking through… they're nearly there. Or maybe it's just because they love the whole scene. They regularly compare their own set, to the music they love to go and hear live. They're eager to shake of my emo preconceptions. Though they've supported more than a few emo bands, they don't see themselves as part of that crowd. “It's nice to think that we're doing something a bit different," says Will. Brigade's other singer and guitarist James Plant describes the Brigade sound. “It's just a really good, rocking set,” he says, “I think that anybody who enjoys live music would enjoy it.” Will's in agreement, “There's a lot of loud riffs, melody and a lot of energy. That's what I go to see in a gig”. They're hoping that others will share their tastes but know they've got everything to prove. Drummer Fim says, “We've got our work cut out tonight because it's going to be mainly Hundred Reasons fans.” Brigade have had their share of hecklers at gigs. They take it all in their stride, believing that abuse can make you raise your game. They take particular delight in winning over those you come to take the piss. “It's hard to entertain a crowd that don't know you. But I think we so far have done quite a good job,” says Will. Fim grins wryly at the thought of some of their moments of victory, “Sometimes we come on stage and there's people heckling, but by the end I think we've shocked them into silence.” In a good way presumably. Their first ep went down well with the music press. “We did get some really good reviews and people were saying some amazing things about us. It just spurred us on to keep doing what we were doing,” says James. I wonder then if their album is more in the same vein, of if they're spreading their musical wings a bit. “There's some light and shade to the record,” says Fim. As usual, it's Will who has the soundbite answer, “When we made the ep I think we intentionally made it a hard-hitting rock ep. From start to finish it's just non stop. But on the album we can give an overall Brigade sound.” I wonder how much of that sound is down to their high-profile producer, Joe Gibb (Funeral For A Friend, Johnny Truant, Million Dead). “They made us sound massive,” says Will, eager to ensure that co-producer Gethin Woolcock gets his share of the credit, “Some of the guitars sound enormous”. I wondered if such a fledgling band had worried about being pushed in a certain direction by an experienced producer. “We knew going in what he'd done already so I think we were all a little bit apprehensive as to what he'd do to the sound,” says James. But Gibb B U R N M A G A Z I N E | w w w. b u r n m a g . c o . u k

Boys Brigade

gave the boys free reign until he had a handle on where they wanted to take the Brigade sound. “After a few weeks he had a real vision of how he wanted it to go. We made a really good team I think. I think they're (Gibb and Woolcock) proud of it as well,” says Will. Such a dream ticket didn't come out of a void though, and it's been a patchy journey so far for the Brigade boys. James, Will and Fim have been playing in bands together since their school years. But it took more than a few lineup changes to get to the current four-piece. Will is the only member of Brigade to have played at all their gigs. After the release of their ep it seemed that things were on the move. “We had a bit of a buzz about us quite early on and we had a few labels down to see us, but we had the classic scenario of blowing it on the night,” explains Will. Hailing from Suffolk it's not always that easy to get a second bite at the cherry. “I think most other bands who've come from remote places have had a bit of luck, like some A&R guy's been sitting in their local pub having a pint and discovered them. But that doesn't normally happen does it?” Not really. Growing up in Suffolk put them outside the media spotlight from the start. Fim picks up the thread, “Bands that appeared in magazines and stuff - that was a world apart to us. And it's still quite strange to me to see us in magazines. It

just doesn't look right, it doesn't feel right!” So they continued to plug away after 'blowing it'. As James so eloquently puts it, “I've played every shit hole in Ipswich”. But their dedication eventually paid off. “A girl from Mighty Atom came down to watch us a few times - she really liked us and she got the label boss down. He just said on the spot, 'yes I'll sign you', which was a bit of a shock for us!” says Will. So it is possible to break out of rural England. As James puts it, “You've got to have that extra bit of drive”. The same is probably true when you're not signed to a major. Brigade have a hunger for success and have their sites set on all the bands currently hogging the limelight. “Not being on a major, it's very hard to keep yourself in the press being talked about. You see the same bands in the same music magazines every week who are selling more records because they're on bigger labels,” says Will. Brigade are relying on people to listen to the music and make up their own minds. “We just hope that people will go check it (the album) out because we're proud of it, we think it's a good record,” he's passionate as ever about Brigade's mission, “We just want to make a dent in the music scene that we all love so much.” SE

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Soul Traders: <Part 2>

Uniquely in the Hellraiser series, the – so far – final three films share a single director. They’re also – so far – unavailable in the UK, although imports are easy to find. The first of the Rick Bota films, Hellseeker is by some distance the strongest of Hellraiser’s sequels. Never slow to heap opprobrium on the series entries he didn’t like, Clive Barker, to his credit, was equally quick to put his support for Bota’s first instalment on record: “Thank God, somebody finally got it!” Sharing its structure with Inferno, this is another beautifully shot, well-acted, surreal and unpredictable mystery, but unlike Inferno it leads to a devastatingly satisfying payoff. The story concerns Trevor Gooden, the adulterous husband of a certain Kirsty Cotton, who after a car crash that apparently kills his wife, finds his grip on reality becoming alarmingly tenuous. Characters die and return to life as the narrative switches between what we take to be the “real” world and Trevor’s hallucinations, while flashbacks gradually reveal the details of Trevor and Kirsty’s relationship, Trevor’s tracking-down of the box, and the consequences of doing so. Kirsty’s return to the series is modest in terms of screen time but revelatory in terms of her character - twenty years older, but no less ruthless than she was in 1986 in her determination to keep her distance from the Cenobites and their puzzlebox. Moreover, what Hellraiser merely hints at, Hellseeker makes explicit: the box has been seeking Kirsty out, and in 2002 as in 1986, it’s Kirsty’s dark potential that attracts the Cenobites and explains Pinhead’s weird fondness for her. The lady may protest, but she’s always more than willing to deal with the devil… Bota’s 2003 follow-up, Deader is also impressive but less coherent, almost certainly

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due to its origin as a non-Hellraiser script. Straight-to-video queen Kari Wuhrer plays Amy Klein, a journalist investigating the Deader suicide-cult, whose leader Winter seems able to reanimate the dead in sub-Cenobite fashion. Winter has found a box-free backdoor to the Cenobites’ dimension, and this is explained as being somehow to do with his being descended from L’Merchant, although quite how is never clear. Nevertheless, the Hellraiser mythos never seems too bolted-on (unlike in its successor), and as with its predecessors the mystery element and the playing-with-reality aspects are all effectively handled. It’s also the darkest episode for some time, both in its bleak subject matter and claustrophobic atmosphere. It makes excellent use of its Budapest locations, and obliquely references Clive Barker’s Midnight Meat Train from the original Books of Blood. There’s even a titbit of character development for Pinhead, whose confrontation with Winter reveals a hitherto unsuspected anger at the loss of his own mortal soul, hinting that his antipathy for the L’Merchant bloodline actually has a lot to do with revenge. Sadly, the quality dips dramatically with Hellworld. Filmed back-to-back with Deader in 2003 and likewise shelved by the studio until 2005, Hellworld is another retrofitted nonHellraiser script, mounted with little preparation on practically no budget and straying into the teen-horror territory that the series had avoided for so long. The plot requires us to believe that there is a Hellraiser website (which apparently sells Pinhead merchandise) containing an online game which can drive its players to suicide. Two years after one such incident, four unfazed friends of the victim are invited to a Hellraiserthemed party by Lance Henriksen, whereby they are picked off one-by-one in time-honoured slasher-franchise fashion. To be fair, the now obligatory twist/revelation ending rescues the movie from being quite the betrayal it seems to be, but this rarely if ever feels like a bona-fide Hellraiser movie, and ideas that might just have worked (an online version of the puzzlebox as a lure for the twisted?) are left unexplored. One character refers to the puzzlebox as “The Lamont Configuration” when it should be “Lament” (although the idea of Pinhead as

Margaret Thatcher’s Chancellor doesn’t actually seem that outlandish) and even Henriksen fails to bring any gravitas to the whole debacle. At one point he actually growls “It’s like a bad horror movie, isn’t it?” Yes it fucking is. So there you have it. As with another internet-themed eighth instalment, 2002’s Halloween: Resurrection, it seems likely that Hellworld is the end of the series, but for those who tuned out early on, rest assured that there are some genuinely decent series entries late along the way. Nobody sets out to make a bad film, and the interesting thing about long franchises that chug along apparently years after anyone has been paying much attention, is that they’re often a first break for somebody willing to spend creative energy on a relatively insignificant project, and able to get away with those creative risks because they’re below the studio radar. The Hellraisers have occasionally approached pretentiousness, but in doing so have generally avoided sinking into generic predictability. An ambitious failure, for my money, is more worthwhile than a mediocre success, and most of the Hellraisers fall into the former category. Hellseeker alone is neither. It’d be good to think that there will eventually be a Part Nine, but if Hellraiser teaches us anything, it’s that you should be careful what you wish for… Owen Williams

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In the heart of a heartless city, somewhere between Heaven and Hell, an exiled angel trafficks in the darkest trade... and waits...

Buy online now www.goodintentionspaving.com


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The Flight of the

NAVIGATOR Words: John McMeiken

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Max Cavelera has been in this business for some time now. It’s 10 years now since the spit up of Sepultura. Current Soulfly album ‘Dark Ages’ is their 5th release and it seems to be a return to the old Sepultura sound. So I was quite excited as I dialled the lengthy phone number all the way across the pond to the States. I was interested to know why he had returned to a heaver sound. After being asked if I was phoning to do an interview with Max, I was then passed onto the man himself. After exchanging the usual pleasantries, I dived straight in and asked him about this return to a more metal sound. “I wouldn’t call the sound Metal as such, as it has touches of hardcore in there too, and I was very influenced by the Black Sabbath sound while writing this record. Also I found when I got the new guys in to do this one that the injection of new blood gave it the edge I wanted. This one was fun to make too. It reminded me of when I did Nailbomb!” We then got onto chattin about the fact that even though Dark Ages has a heavier sound, it still a Soulfly record. “Yeah, I like to call it a `Max` thing, I try and find different sounds to experiment with. On the last record I went to Serbia. I sometimes feel I am like some Demented Peter Gabriel, you know what I mean. I’ve grown up listening to Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath and they were never afraid to do something different.” I then asked Max about the hardcore track `Molotov`. “I wanted to do a hardcore track that sounded fresh & different, and the only thing I could B U R N M A G A Z I N E | w w w. b u r n m a g . c o . u k

think of was to do it in a couple of different languages. I sing in Portuguese, I have a friend who sings in Russian, and then while we were recording it in the studio, I phoned up Billy Milano (S.O.D) and got him to scream down the cell phone to finish it off. I think it’s the one and only time I can think a cell phone has been put to good use.” We then move onto the subject of the forthcoming European tour and Max says, “The new shit fits right in, they sound awesome live”. I then ask him about support acts: Does he have a say about them, or does the record Company decide that? “Well” he kinda laughs, “I usually make a suggestion that certain bands would be cool to go on tour with. I like to give new up and coming bands a chance, just like I was given a chance in the early days. I hate it when bands get big and forget where they come from. Its also cool when you go to a show and you get more than just the main band, I try and give the fans a good night out, something special. That’s why hopefully once we have finished the UK leg of the tour we are hoping to hook up with Kreator as well for the rest of the European dates.” Then we move onto the recent Roadrunner United record and the fact that he seems to enjoy playing with other musicians on their projects. “Hell yeah, I think its cool getting to perform with lots of other musicians, I heard `Red War` (The track he did with Dave Grohl on his Metal side project ‘Probot’) recently on MTV here in the States and I had forgotten how good that

song was! It was a blast working with Dave. I also found working with Tom Araya really exciting, as I’ve always been a massive Slayer Fan. The thing is I know what I am, and what I am capable of. I hate it when certain musicians seem to think themselves above working with others. They just want all the glory for themselves.” On that note conversation shifts to the Internet as I ask Max if he gets involved personally with the website/myspace pages. “Erm, no I am not an internet kind of guy, in fact I don’t do technology at all, I don’t even own a cell phone.I do provide the internet people with any help I can do and there are some really cool sites out there, but I just hate all the bullshit that can appear on some of the sites, especially the crap about a Sepultura reunion, that just aint gonna happen” So you don’t have an X-box or PS2 on the tour bus? “My kids play computer games. It’s not my kinda thing” Before I let him get off, I had to ask him if he would be watching the World Cup this summer, being Brazilian. “Fuck yeah, If we are still in Europe I may try and catch some games live, but otherwise I’ll be watching on the TV here in America. Soccer is like religion to Brazilians, to some its more important than religion! I think it will be Ronaldinho`s world cup.” So there you have it, Being Welsh myself I think I’ll join Mr Cavelara in supporting Brazil this World Cup, and I’ll be there in the moshpit for the forthcoming tour. 021


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FEED ME! “It’s difficult to say really. I’m in a position where I never really know what I’ll be shooting from one day to the next. If someone said to me last year that by this time this year I would have made a film about feeders on the internet, I would have told them they were out of their fucking mind!” And with good reason, his latest film, Feed is a gritty psychological thriller based on the seedy world of feeders, people who actively ‘feed’ their partners until they are so massive, they can’t do anything without their feeder, therefore creating the ultimate domination. “The idea was actually Patrick’s and Alex’s (the main actors). They brought the idea to me after wandering across a website one night. Seeing as we are now brought up in a culture that is disturbingly fascinated with beauty, image and complying with the modern ideal, I thought that the idea to make a film that tackled the other side of the coin, the underworld culture of people fascinated by the alternative and the weird was perfect. I mean, the concept of feeders and gainers asks so many questions. Just because someone is obese, does that make him or her any less of a person? I wanted to make this an intellectual conceptual horror art film, mainly so that I could have something to arouse me. Plus it was nice to have control, especially after filming Man-Thing.” Man-Thing, Brett’s previous film, was based on the Marvel comic of the same name, and starred a majority of the same cast as Feed. Although loved by comic fans, it was slated by the critics. “The main problem with Man-Thing, in my mind, was that Hulk was released about a week before we were due to start filming, and due to it flopping at the box offices, Marvel intervened and rewrote the entire script, to make it a dumbed down version of the original story. The original story was a lot darker and had a serious environmental message to it, which was all cut out by Marvel.” So it’s fair to say that Brett wasn’t happy with this version? “Not really. Artistically it’s great, but it’s not my story! All it is now is a film for under16s, an afternoon creature feature. Thing is, there is an audience that want to see it. There’s 022

Credited as the director who discovered Russell Crowe and having made such classics as Virtuosity and The Lawnmower Man, Brett Leonard has carved himself a niche for creating eclectic and cutting edge cult films. Now he has the honour of being the first person to put a 602-pound woman on the big screen in his latest film, Feed. But just what attracts him to his projects? There was only one way to find out. Ask the man himself. Tom Canning gets porked up:

an audience that want to buy the DVD, but legal arguments between Lionsgate and Marvel have basically meant this won’t get released. So in a way, Feed was a blessing to film so quickly after I finished Man-Thing.” A blessing it might have been, but a blessing with a bite. Feed not only features a 602-pound woman vomiting, but also makes references to cannibalism and, strangely, dwarf tossing. Is there anything that is more revolting? “No, but that’s the point of the film. What is revolting? Something that is revolting to someone may not be revolting to someone else. I mean, when the film starts, most people will look at Deirdre (the 602 pound woman) and think ‘that’s just grotesque’’, but by the end of the film, when we have got to know her, I think people will be thinking ‘Is she really that bad?’ Same with the cop and the feeder, at the beginning, it’s given that the cop is the good guy and the feeder is the bad guy, but by the end, you get the feeling that

you can’t tell who is more fucked up.” But with some of the scenes being fairly stomach churning, were there any problems filming some of the more shocking scenes? “I don’t think there are that many shocking scenes in the film. The one that made me ill was the cannibal scene at the beginning I guess, and that’s just because Adam Hunt (who played the cannibal) really gave it his all, and it was actually quite disturbing to film.” Disturbing maybe, but surely the violent sex scenes between the main character Phillip and his live-in girlfriend were difficult to film. “They were entirely unplanned. Neither actor knew what was going to happen until the shoot, and so they had to both put their trust in me for that scene. I just shouted out things like ‘Okay bite him’, while they were filming, and so the looks of shock on their faces are real.” Ouch! Still, with this film likely to do well when it hits the box office, would Brett consider making w w w. b u r n m a g . c o . u k | B U R N M A G A Z I N E


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Shooting Shit: Quick fire questions with Brett:

the cliche role reversal sequel of a woman fattening up a man? “Sequel? No way man! I’m not a cop out! There’s nothing worse than seeing your films going for 99 cents in gas station bargain buckets! Plus, I don’t really want to delve into that world again. We (the cast and crew) all went there, and it wasn’t pretty.” So with Feed done and dusted, what’s the next course on Brett cult film menu? “I’m working on a new film called Headless, which I’m writing as a modern day horror for George W. Bush, a sort of blend between Fahrenheit 9/11 and The Ring. Something to really rattle the cage! Other than that, I’m pretty much editing the new Highlander film, Highlander: The Source, which I’ve just finished filming.” A new Highlander film? Isn’t that a bit mainstream for someone who prefers cult status? “Not really, Highlander has a large cult following too. I was always a huge fan of the original Highlander film, but the sequels for me never really worked, for different reasons. So I was asked to come in and reinvent the franchise, so the new one is kind of

a Batman Begins style film. It’s going to be the dark Highlander film, but it ties into the first film a lot better than the other films. Problem is, I’ve just spent three months doing night shoots in Lithuania wrapped up in so much clothing that I looked like an astronaut, and now I’ll be spending three months in a small office editing it. It’s unglamorous work, filmmaking. There’s lots of pressure but lots of fun too! I can imagine. There was just one more question I had to ask Brett before we parted company, as it had been playing on my mind ever since I saw the film. You see, when I went back to the office and told one of the blokes about the film (I’ll keep him nameless), he seemed overly interested about it and was, apparently, “a little overaroused to the point he couldn’t sit down”. Now, I laughed this off, but he keeps asking if I can get him any pictures or a copy of the film. Should I return his phone calls and emails? “No! And if he starts to offer you hamburgers, I’d run like fuck!” Sound advice Brett, sound advice.

Favourite Music: Probably the temporary soundtrack for the new Highlander film! (laugh) I used to listen to Rage against the Machine when they were around, but music these days has lost its edge. I prefer music that has ideals and ideas. Truth is, there’s nothing around. We live in a world controlled by fascist governments and no-one can say anything about it as music companies are scared to release anything that does. To be perfectly honest, I’m pissed off with music! Favourite Food: Probably something Italian. I have Italian roots so I’d better say that. Anything Italian. Favourite Comedian: Six words, Bill Hicks, Bill Hicks and Bill Hicks. The man was a genius. I mean, he’s been dead for 10 years and his comedy is now more relevant than ever before! I must watch one of his DVDs at least once a

month. I always like to make little references to him in all my films. In Feed, there are about four or five references to goatboy alone! Fattest woman you have ever seen: Fattest Women? Well, I was brought up in Toledo USA, where the film is based, so I saw quite a few big people, and I mean BIG. Saying that, the men were bigger… Would you sleep with a 602 pound woman: NO! Thinking about it, every girlfriend I’ve ever been with has been very thin! 023


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Metal Forever There are many that believe ‘traditional’ heavy metal music has no place anymore; clichéd and oldfashioned. There are also more intelligent people who fully appreciate that traditional heavy metal, compared to, say, metal music with a vocalist that can’t sing, deserves its place alongside every other genre of music, whether they like that particular style or not. Music, as we’re all aware, is about passion for what you like. Not trends, not commercialism and not mass marketing. Whatever an artist does, if he does it with enough passion, people will come. Words: Andy Lye. Those that make it for the sake of getting popular quickly are worthless. Those that make what the public have been told they want to hear are worth even less. And it’s on that note that Primal Fear put forth their brand of traditional, technical heavy metal. Perfect, for what it is, in every way and so passionate that seven albums down the line they are still one of the only metal bands to chart in their home country of Germany and have already had phenomenal new album Seven Seals named ‘Album of The Month’ in six European countries upon its release in September of last year. The week before their new tour was due to begin guitarist and founding member Tom Naumann spoke exclusively to Burn about metal music and just where Primal Fear fit in. “We just started writing songs which we liked, the songs came from the bottom of our hearts, and we never thought that our music would be that popular, but then we recorded out first album and it went into the German charts and we started touring around the World. Our fan base has been still growing since then and now we are pretty popular in Europe and special parts of America.

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“I think it depends on where you are. In America it’s like there’s no traditional metal anymore. Probably the old bands have a chance to sell something, but I think bands like Korn are more popular, or gaining in popularity, so I don’t know if there’s really much true original heavy metal at this time in America. As far as South America though, it’s always great for bands like us or Edguy or Hammerfall, it’s always crowded. Also southern parts of Europe. You could say that all over the World the standard for our kind of music is this, or that, but I think you have to see it in special parts of the World. In Germany it’s OK. At the moment a lot of bands are touring in Germany, so it’s very hard to get a good crowd when you play. Arch Enemy played with Trivium and there was only 350 people in Stuttgart [makes sense]. Or like Destruction playing with Candlemass, they played in front of 100 people in Stuttgart [this however, is disgraceful!]. “So I don’t really know where we stand. All I can say is that we are doing the kind of music we really love, it comes from the bottom of our heart and we don’t want to be trendy. We try to improve ourselves in song writing style and put some new

ideas on every album and now with the last album, Seven Seals, I think we took a great step in what’s a probably a new musical direction, which is, let’s say, not really comparable to what we’ve done before. We still have our trademarks in the songs, but we also added some new ingredients, and it brings a new aspect to our music. “We had a discussion after the last album, where we talked about our future plans and we decided that we would love to change our music style a little bit, to put in some new ingredients and to be more open minded for new influences. So that’s why we’ve changed our music a little bit and put in even more influences than before. When we were writing the songs there was no pressure to make something different. It all came really naturally, so we wrote 25 or 30 songs in three months. Which is a pretty good rate. All the song writing was so fluid that it was pretty cool, and in the end it’s something different to the old albums. It was like a real team effort. So with all the orchestral parts and atmosphere on the album, and Ralf’s voice changed a little bit I think it’s

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“We don’t really have a platform where this kind of music can be heard, like radio stations” more listenable than the other ones. I wouldn’t say that the old albums are bad albums, or that this is the best album so far. I just think it’s another chapter in the Primal Fear history. Maybe a new level in song writing and mixing and sound, but I think, I hope, it’s just another step, another level, and we can continue with the next albums. “As far as I know, and as far as I can see from reviews, everyone has really loved the album. It went into the German charts at position #65, which is pretty good, because this kind of music isn’t very popular, so we don’t really have any market or a platform where this kind of music can be heard, like radio stations.” Familiar sounding story, isn’t it? We’re all acutely aware of the lack of variety on UK radio too, with hardly any rock or metal music getting any airplay alongside pop, dance and modern wimp-rock. Those things deserve their place as much as rock and metal, but it’s clear the balance is unfair. Tom, however, feels we are far better at looking after our own than Germany are. “England’s always been a little bit different, because they love their own bands, like The Darkness. The British magazines and the British people push their own bands a lot more than we do in Germany. We are a Germany band, and we have a lot of traditional metal bands and other kinds, like nu metal bands, but no one really cares about that. It’s like, you live in your own country and they don’t care about you and your music, but if you were an American band or a British band, exactly the same, but you would be B U R N M A G A Z I N E | w w w. b u r n m a g . c o . u k

a great band! In Britain you’ve got your bands like The Darkness and you love them and support them and that’s pretty cool.” Well, we don’t all love them Tom, but it’s a fair point. There are other, foreign, bands around doing the same thing as The Darkness. Some were doing it first, and many are doing it better, but it’s The Darkness that get the airplay and the publicity and the hype. And as I’m sure many metal fans have noticed we, as a nation, are doing it again with Dragonforce. Hopefully therefore bands like Primal Fear will feel the increase in popularity of their style of music while the kids go nuts over Dragonforce. Then, when all the kids move on to the next big thing and leave Dragonforce behind, Primal Fear should have the staying power to maintain their momentum. Momentum that has placed them as special guests on tours with Iron Maiden and now the Europe-wide tour with metal legends Helloween, hopefully bringing them to England. “There’s talks of playing London in February with Helloween, but it’s not been confirmed yet. We are definitely confirmed for the Bloodstock festival. We’ll be headlining the Friday.” Apart from an appearance at Bloodstock in 2004, Primal Fear haven’t played in England since a date at the Scala in London in 2002, due to an aborted tour supporting US metal heroes Iced Earth in the Spring of 2004. “Yeah, that was a real shame for us. Originally we were going to do a headlining tour with the guys from Brainstorm supporting. Then we got the

offer to do the Iced Earth shows, so we cancelled our own headlining tour to go on tour with Iced Earth, then the Iced Earth tour got cancelled. So we’re standing there with an album brand new out, and no tour! So that was pretty bad for us, but it went OK and we wrote another album. So hopefully the upcoming tour will be better than the last tour we had! Ha!” Primal Fear have just signed a new deal with Nuclear Blast for more albums and another DVD, but we can’t expect a live recording from the Seven Seals tour. “Between now and the last DVD (The History of Primal Fear) there’s only been the Devil’s Ground album and now the Seven Seals album, so I don’t think it would make any sense doing another DVD just having two more albums [tell that to Dream Theater]. I think we want another album, or another two albums, then we’re thinking about another DVD with a lot of special stuff on it.” Well, there’s a rough game plan for Primal Fear. Any fan of heavy metal that doesn’t have Seven Seals desperately needs it. Every accolade it’s received is deserved. Better yet, in December a very special mail-order-only edition came out packaged in an awesome hard-backed biography of bassist and founder Mat Sinner, complete with bonus rare tracks CD, a DVD, and a numbered certificate hand-signed by Sinner. How freakin’ cool is that? There’s only 1000 pieces worldwide, so move quickly. Then get down to see the band next time they play within 500 miles of you. I promise it’s worth your while. 025


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You say you want a

(R)evolution Owen Williams joins the undead as he delves into the Underworld. . . Released to critical disdain but respectable box office in late 2003, the original Underworld was in many ways just another derivative genre movie. At first glance it was no more than The Matrix in a Goth outfit and The Matrix was fairly Goth to begin with. However it more than found its target audience, especially once unleashed on DVD, spawning two novelisations by Greg Cox (the adaptation of the film followed by an original prequel, Blood Enemy), an extended cut reinstating some important plot threads and character details, and now a full-blown sequel in Underworld: Evolution. There were also some action figures and a Playstation game, but they’re probably best forgotten… The reason for the movie’s popular afterlife is probably the fact that it provides more to sink your teeth into than is immediately apparent (okay, that’s the end of the clever-clever vampirisms, I promise.) Using the Star Wars trick of dropping the audience into the middle of a story that has already been underway for centuries, Underworld boasts a complex storyline peppered with mysteries, revelations, plot and counterplot, a lengthy but sparingly revealed back-story, and undercurrents of class war, racism and miscegenation. Or, from another point of view, it’s about vampires and werewolves knocking chunks out of one another with Big Fucking Guns, and Kate Beckinsale poured into a skin-tight PVC catsuit. It also has the best rock soundtrack of recent years, featuring original collaborations between alt-rock luminaries Maynard James Keenan, Danny Lohner and Wes Borland. Beckinsale plays Selene, part of a vampiric paramilitary “Death Dealer” legion dedicated to wiping out werewolves (here called Lycans) in modern-day Budapest, and kitted out with nifty weaponry and gadgets from a kind of vampire Qbranch. Whilst on an otherwise unremarkable reconnaissance mission Selene stumbles on a Lycan plot to assassinate the triumvirate of vampire elders (the doomed Amelia, Bill Nighy’s fruitily entertaining Victor, and the at-this-point unseen Marcus) and unite the two species’ bloodlines. The human Michael Corvin, played by Scott Speedman, is ultimately revealed to be the missing link that will allow this to happen, as he carries the genetic imprint of the original immortal, twelfth-century warlord Alexander Corvinus; the progenitor of both undead races, and Michael’s distant ancestor. It’s an entertaining ride, though not without its flaws. Even in its alternate cut it’s erratically paced: alternately moving too quickly and stopping dead 026

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in its tracks for sections of info-dump. There appear to be no female Lycans (little wonder then that they feel the need to liaise outside their own kind) and the film doesn’t always avoid the obvious Anne Rice clichés: Ordoghaz, the mansion lair of the vampires, is presented as being full of the sort of fey, listless, pleasure-seeking undead that Wesley Snipes’ Blade would make mincemeat of and Preacher’s Cassidy would reduce to tears – “yeh’re a selfobsessed, pasty-faced, deathfixated dickhead got up in a poncey suit!” The promised romantic undercurrent also never really takes hold. Prepublicity for the movie and most bad journalism since have been keen to suggest that Underworld is a sort of undead Romeo and Juliet, but despite their obvious chemistry and attraction, Selene barely gets it together with Michael, and he doesn’t really belong to the enemy camp anyway. It’s certainly no Near Dark. If there are any star cross’d lovers in the film, the roles are reserved for Lucien and Sonja in the flashback sequences (brief in the film but expanded upon hugely in Blood Enemy), though as a vampire aristocrat and her werewolf servant their relationship is more akin to Lady Chatterley shagging her gardener in the potting shed – if Lady Chatterley had been hanging around for a few hundred years and the potting shed was a castle in 13th century Carpathia. Underworld had its share of legal problems too. White Wolf, a publisher of role-play games, thought there were more immediate sources for the screenplay than Shakespeare’s play and filed a lawsuit against Sony Pictures, claiming seventeen counts of copyright infringement and eighty points of “unique similarity” to its own World of Darkness line Given that the release went ahead, it would seem that the claim amounted to nothing, but the lawsuit does, however, point to an interesting facet of the Underworld concept: in cinema at least, though it would seem like such an obvious idea, vampires have very rarely faced off against werewolves. Books have made the connection – White Wolf’s among them – and of course TV series like Buffy and Angel have long been throwing multiple species into the melting pot. If you’re as old as me you might even remember a cartoon called The Drac Pack with chucked Frankenstein’s Monster into the mix, although they were all friends really (awww). But in the cinema, up until Underworld and the execrable Van Helsing (which also starred Beckinsale, with gypsy garb and a ropey accent), you almost have to go back to the Universal monster mashes of the 1930s and 40s to find that kind of interspecies rumble. Even then, you’re more likely to find that Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man. When Dracula is present (as in House of Dracula and House of Frankenstein) he’s generally killed off early on: something of a relief when John Carradine is playing him. Anyway, Sony’s public reaction to White Wolf’s injunction was to announce pre-production on B U R N M A G A Z I N E | w w w. b u r n m a g . c o . u k

Underworld: Evolution. As before, Evolution is directed with an MTV sheen by Len Wiseman; the art director on Independence Day and 1998’s Godzilla, amongst many others, and Beckinsale’s husband since they met on the first film. It’s a far leaner beast than Underworld, jettisoning the intricate political infighting and extended cast, and tidying away the goofier indulgences and oversights of its predecessor. The original Underworld ends on a superb cliffhanger allowing the sequel a running start. With Amelia and Victor both dead, the now vampire/werewolf hybrid Michael on the run with Selene, and the just-mutated Marcus about to emerge, mightily pissed off, from two centuries of hibernation, Evolution is free to move forward at breakneck speed. The plot this time is a simple race to find the location of an ancient prison that holds Marcus’ brother, super-werewolf William. Along the way the mystery of Selene’s identity is unlocked, and she and Michael finally encounter Alexander Corvinus himself, still living after 800 years and played with obvious relish by a slumming-it Derek Jacobi. Relentlessly in pursuit the whole

time however, is Marcus… A young couple on the run from an unstoppable killing machine? Various near-misses along the way? A foe that doesn’t feel fear, or pity, or remorse, and absolutely will not stop, ever? It is, to be honest, not unlike The Terminator. Happily though, there’s still room for the 13th Century flashbacks, allowing the return of Bill Nighy - Wiseman reportedly regrets having so irrevocably killed him off - as well as that curious stylistic merging of modern-day wirefighting heroics and high-camp Hammer Horrorstyle medieval gothic (complete with torchwielding villagers) that was tentatively attempted first time around. All the unanswered questions from Underworld are dealt with, and the film builds to a climactic Lycan/Death Dealer battle with impressive effects and much-improved werewolves; unachievable on the original’s limited budget, but more than possible for the $50m follow-up. The original Underworld passed many people by, and left many others unimpressed. Less immediately satisfying than Blade or The Crow, audiences often allowed its surface visuals and derivative genre tropes to distract them from its underlying depth. More patient viewers however, found that it more than rewarded repeated viewing; its unwieldy labyrinthine plot revealing itself in short bursts that were easy to miss first time around. The fact that the Underworld mythology has now lent itself to three separate treatments – including Blood Enemy – is evidence of the material’s potential to continue indefinitely, and even with Beckinsale and Speedman’s character arcs apparently completed, there’s still potential for the series to pick up on other characters in the future, not least Sophia Myles’ Erika; an important original presence much missed in the sequel. With strong enough material, it’s difficult to believe that Underworld won’t be resurrected for a few more future instalments.

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THE STATE OF

THE UNION

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There’s not a lot of real hard rock music around anymore. No, The Darkness absolutely do not count. Bands just aren’t making good honest heavy music with passion. Everything’s either trying to be commercial, or it’s heavy metal of some denomination or another. The middle-ground has become somewhat of a no-man’s-land, and for this reason, amongst others, the return of Union is a momentous and much needed event. Not to mention the fact that they’ve never toured Europe and the UK before. Burn caught up with guitarist Bruce Kulick and frontman John Corabi on the London stop of the tour to get an update on all things rock. Words: Andy Lye

e didn’t stop because we didn’t believe in ourselves, or we didn’t get along,” explains Bruce, wearing his woolly hat indoors, as many Americans tend to do when visiting London, “We stopped because it just kind of grinded to a halt without the label continuing on and supporting us. And music changed a lot then, so it was hard to carry on. I got involved in other things, and so did John and the guys.” Union, comprising ex-KISS guitarist Kulick, former Mötley Crüe frontman Corabi and Vince Neil’s rhythm section of Jamie Hunting (bass) and Brent Fitz (drums), released their debut eponymous album in 1998 followed by a live album in 1999 and a second studio album in 2000 before stopping. With an excellent new live DVD out via Bruce’s website (www.kulick.net; which is now the only place for official Union information following the demise of the official Union site some years ago) the desire to play the

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went to Argentina. That was great. So we went to Japan earlier this year, and Eric Singer filled in on drums, which was very kind, and with that happening it made ESP (Eric Singer Project, also featuring Kulick and Corabi) want to tour again, and with that happening it made me and John say “well, let’s do a Union tour”, we’d talked about it, but hadn’t, so let’s do it! The way it was put together was very guerrilla. People were emailing me and saying “who do I contact” so I put them in touch with my tour manager guy and we were able to put these ten shows together.” “It’s a lot of fun. If you have an enthusiastic crowd, you’re happy. People normally ask the question, “What’s the difference between arenas and clubs?” (why would anyone ask that question? Surely it’s freakin’ obvious?), but the point for us is just to have a good time and play, and we enjoy the music we play, so it means a lot, especially because we’re certainly not over-exposed in Europe at all.” Now with Cinderella drummer Fred Coury and Alice Cooper bassist Chuck Garric in tow, the band is more flamboyant and entertaining than ever. John said on stage in London that he’s never laughed so hard and had so much fun on tour before. And with Garric bringing his superb Gene Simmons impression (“Yeah, Chuck can do a great Gene, so we’ve picked some of the best songs for that”) to the live show, the band’s repertoire has expanded to include even more classic hard-rocking KISS songs like I Love It Loud, God of Thunder and Unholy to add to the already highly potent mixture of Union originals, KISS, Mötley Crüe and The Scream (John’s pre-Crüe band). However, unfortunately, we can’t expect a brand new Union album to immediately follow this tour. That’s not

“Were certainly not over-exposed in Europe at all” – Bruce Kulick music has returned. “About a year after [we did our other things] we got back together (with Hunting and Fitz) to do some warmup shows which turn out to be the DVD, for which we 028

to say there won’t be one, just not right away. “It’s possible. I mean, John and I have a great chemistry together, but it’s not like we’ve made a plan yet. I don’t want to lie to you and say “oh yeah, we’re w w w. b u r n m a g . c o . u k | B U R N M A G A Z I N E


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recording later in the year”, you know? I’ve been writing stuff for another solo record of mine, I’ve done two so far, and I know John’s been working on one, so it’s all good. I have this other big commitment with Grand Funk Railroad, of course, where I’ve been playing guitar for five years. So that’s going to mean I have enough on my plate, so I can’t commit to doing a album with Union at this time.” So, in the mean time, we’ve got the awesome (see review later in this very issue) live DVD, and we’re going to get new material from both Bruce and John sometime very soon. In fact, there’s new Corabi CDs to be had right now. They’re not

other one, I talked to Cleopatra Records and a bunch of these other labels that I’d done tribute stuff for and said ‘instead of people having to buy a bunch of different records, why not just give them one record.’ They just said ‘yeah, sure’.” And it’s been a long time coming, but in the near future John will finally release his solo album. “I’m just trying to put a new band together. It’s taking forever because I just want to make sure that it’s people I get along with and that are willing to go out and work hard and struggle, just like I’m gonna struggle. So it’s been a little bit of a chore, but it’s coming together. Even if I don’t

year. I think I can do that if I really start to focus.” He’s even considering an album with his brother Bob, who shares the new instructional DVD with Bruce and will be joining ESP on their Japanese tour. Something that will excite guitar fans around the World, especially those who know how much uncredited work Bob did on the late 70s KISS albums when Ace Frehley was otherwise occupied (drunk) and enjoyed his exceptional work on W.A.S.P.’s The Crimson Idol concept record. Union represent everything that’s good about hard rock. They make the music they want to make, and when they’re not allowed to make it,

“Even if I don’t have a record label, I don’t give a fuck!” –John Corabi full-on commercial releases, they’re just CDRs that John’s put together himself, complete with his own artwork. One is a recording made for radio broadcast of The Scream, the other is a compilation of all the cover songs John has done for various tribute albums. John explains how they came to be: “I’ve got this manager now and he’s always looking for my stuff. He calls me up one day and says I’ve found this Scream show, a bootleg CD. He bought it off eBay or something, I don’t know. I was like ‘really!?’. He played it for me and I thought ‘wow, it is pretty good’. He goes ‘you should do this. Remaster it and put your own cover on it.’ I remember the show. It was the last show I did with The Scream, and three days later I was in Mötley. So somehow he found it, so I put a cover on it and did it myself. I thought if I don’t do it somebody else is only going to do it. The B U R N M A G A Z I N E | w w w. b u r n m a g . c o . u k

have a record label, I don’t give a fuck. I just want to do a great record and just go out and play, and if I have to sell it at gigs, or sell it on the Internet, I’ll do it that way. ” Bruce, meanwhile, has a few things on the cards, including a second Rock N Roll Fantasy Camp, a new tour with Grand Funk Railroad, a new instructional DVD and a new album. “So far I’ve written about half of it, I’m really excited about it. It’s a mixture of lots of different sounds that I like. I’m really jazzed about some of the material. I’ll probably do about half in an acoustic, mellow sort of sense then some real tough rock stuff. I want to have maybe a few more guests on it, singing wise, like John, and maybe I can get the guy from Grand Funk, Max. Terrific singer. Who knows, we’ll see. I haven’t figured it all out yet. I just pick it up in between everything else. I hope to get it out sometime next

they don’t make any, refusing to cater to the lowest common denominator, until such times as they can do their own thing again. Any band featuring the longest serving KISS guitarist to date (yes, he spent more years in KISS than Frehley) and one of the best front men in rock is deserving of your attention. Whether you’ve forgotten about Union since the last time they came around, or you’ve not heard of them yet, take the opportunity now to find out and become a fan, before they’re gone again. Next month, John will help us shed some light on the various projects he’s been involved in between stints with Union and we’ll talk about some of the other things he’s doing at the moment. This is the guy that fronted Mötley Crüe when they made the best album of the bands career (there, I said it), so stay tuned! 029


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Kiss

of the

Dragon When anyone says the word 'Power Metal', visions come screaming of Yngwie, Vai, Helloween and Megadeth, or if you are lucky Pantera, some would argue that there is only one band that are kings of the power genre and that’s Manowar! But you best run to the hills because those Iron Maiden fans will surely disagree... For in 2006 there is a band that is ready and willing to steal the crown, no longer mere pretenders to the throne, they have amassed an army of followers, battle hardened touring around Europe ready to take on all comers in the Heavy Metal Wastelands during the next twelve months. They’re ready but are you? If you think you might be, then prepare yourself for a gripping, exhilarating ride - the one that started on January 9... On that date, DragonForce released their hotly awaited third album, 'Inhuman Rampage' and the title is an apt summation of a devastating musical journey. Combining the primal force of power metal with hard-earned musical proficiency, old-school thrash and generous quantities of melody in a unique style that they call 'extreme power metal', DragonForce have established themselves as the heavy metal band of the past year.

The eight-song album was recorded at Thin Ice Studios in Surrey and guitarist Herman Li's own studio in West London, some of its guitar sections were even recorded in hotel rooms while the band wound up the tour for 'Sonic Firestorm'. Track titles like 'Through The Fire And Flames', 'Operation Ground And Pound', 'Revolution Deathsquad' and 'Storming The Burning Fields' leave the listener in no doubt of DragonForce's malicious intent. I pick up the phone and on the line is guitarist Herman Li. He has only one interview today, that’s me. I'm honoured and surprised, but he tells me that “I spent last month doing loads of interviews, but now I just sitting around talking shit to record companies waiting to go on tour.” I ask him if the reaction to the record has surprised him. “Well not to sound funny, but everytime we put out an album, we try to do the best we can, so therefore we put out the best album, so in a way we expect the record to do well, but not really! We think it's great, but the outside world, you just don't know, but I think that this time it's been half and half! Some people love it, others hate it!” I disagree. The vibe this time around is so much better. Herman agrees...

The summer of 2005 saw them sharing festival stages with Iron Maiden, and a sell-out headlining tour of the UK generating scenes of pandemonium. Intensive bouts of touring to accompany the band's two albums to date – 'Valley Of The Damned' in January 2003 and the following year's 'Sonic Firestorm' – has seen their fan-base escalate in quite dramatic terms. Meanwhile, writers and magazines from France, Greece, Finland, Sweden, Holland, Japan and many more, wasted little time in falling under the band's spell, including those 'hacks' here in the UK.

“Last time we had some stunning reviews, but they were not saying we were going to take over the world, which they are this time! After all the touring we have done and the better production values on this record, the live show over the last six months has got so much better and a lot of writers have come along to the show, including yourself and seen that we can deliver in the live arena. We are not just a studio trickery band, what you hear on the record, you get at the show”.

Against all the odds, DragonForce have singlehandedly revitalised power metal in their homeland of the UK, awarding credibility to a genre that till their arrival was regarded was little more than a joke. Just add Burn as being another convert to the way of the dragon!

He is so right. I went along to see the band with an open mind, but expecting to hate them. I came away thinking that even if you don't like this band, you have to take your hat off to them for putting on a great show. Going back

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to the recording of the album, all of Dragonforce's albums have been done at Thin Ice Studio. I ask Herman if this has helped: “Yes it helps, because you know and trust who you are working with, you know what you want to do and they have a clearer understanding of that from the past albums. It could be a risk, because you could just sound exactly the same, but we were so much more experienced this time round that we did not feel that would happen. We were fully in control as producers. Outside guys can help give you different direction and maybe next time around we may look more closely at that, but we are so stubborn that we stick to our guns, then success or failure is in our hands, not somebody else.” Which isn't intended to under-value the superlative contribution of Vadim Pruzhanov, who co-wrote several of the album's songs, is credited along with Li and Totman as a coproducer, and has really come into his own on 'Inhuman Rampage'. On the other hand, vocalist ZP Theart is already regarded as the glimmering pearl in DragonForce's crown. Theart is the real deal – a stomping, roaring, beerswilling front man who fronts the band with passion and wit. The same ethos is applied when the band do edits of songs.

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“We cut the lead single of the album ‘Through The Fire and Flames’ down to just over five minutes, we had to. No TV station was going to play a seven minute song. We cut up the solos, which was not as hard as we thought it would be, we were pretty proud of it when we finished, it did the job!” Staying with guitars and solos, Herman does not use anything else apart from Ibanez, I was thinking why? “I have had different guitars, but everytime I tried one just did not feel right, so I went back to my Ibanez, I could not play the solos I play on a Gibson or Fender - no disrespect to those great guitars, but for me nothing else works. My hands are small, also it helps me keep the effects down to just using digital delay and distortion, that's pretty much it. A wahwah and a whammy pedal. When I started, I had no money to buy effects I developed a style that way, so I've never felt the need to add any more. The stuff I have now, is the same as at the beginning like my Morley Bad Horsie which has no switch on it; just straight out with the sound.” Herman is a chap who knows what he likes, but he is still in awe of playing good size venues and supporting some well known acts: “Well when I started playing guitar it was because I had nothing else to do, never dreamed of it as a career, only over the last year have I even thought I might still be doing this in ten years time! We just were happy to goout on the road and play gigs, the first time we headlined the Mean Fiddler in London, it was so amazing. I had seen so many great bands play there, so being on that stage meant that we were

achieving something. Now we have sold out The Astoria in London, which is a total wow, I just hope the people turn up but of course it's a major thrill to open up for artists who I have listened to at home for years and admired from afar, but we feel we have earned the right to be on the stage with anyone and we know we are becoming a better live act from touring with artist like Maiden”.

Then I got into Dream Theatre, Steve Vai, but all the time I was into the anger of Power Metal, an older guy in sixth form lent me a Helloween album, that seemed to draw me inside. Then I started to want to play that style myself, but overall I was going from Death Metal through to Soft Rock. As a band we are not trying to be heavy, but more intense, when you are playing fast, you cant be heavy!

Herman is so very excited about going on tour 'We can't wait, it's the reason we make records, to be able to get out on the road and play, we have so much more to show this time around. One of the things is, we had an idea that we might put cameras on the end of the guitars, but people might watch that and not the band, but bigger stages do suit us because we are very energetic, we just try to keep the audience interested all the time.

“It's more 'chugging' it's more about 'riffs' which perhaps have not been around for a while, also playing solos and singing is not so easy live! But riffs and singing, that's a different story.”

We are looking towards doing some festivals, the bigger the stage the better for the band! We have fun, we enjoy it, it could be worse, going around the world, playing gigs, getting drunk, sleeping with women and getting paid for it!” He has a point, but this band does love what it does, they will not be detracted by people who laugh at their style. We also chat about the things that got him off while he was growing up “Bon Jovi, Megadeth, Metallica, Pantera, guitar driven hard rock.

Personally, I believe that they will become one of the most important rock acts over the next few years, the buzz on the band is right on the button. Twelve months ago, no one in my club in Liverpool cared, now the band is one of the most requested. Enter the Dragon...


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Just because youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re paranoid...

As The X Files drew to a close, along came The Lone Gunmen, an entire series centred on the three conspiracy-mad misfits that Mulder and Scully turned to when they needed some help, or an episode needed some comic relief. You know the Lone Gunmen yeah? The trio of John Byers, Melvin Frohike, and Richard (Ringo) Langly? The folks who publish a small circulation newspaper that screams about how the Government is lying to us all, the fellas with no social skills whatsoever? If you're still stuck, have a look at one of the pictures on this page. Got it now? Thought so.... 032

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AlthoughThe Lone Gunmen was cancelled after only one season, a later episode of The X Files was dedicated to wrapping up the plotlines that were left dangling. However, before they were unceremoniously canned, the triumvirate tackled the most shadowy of shadowy plots, including a man who claimed to come from a parallel universe, and a super-chimp that had escaped from a government lab. When they were first introduced in season one, the Lone Gunmen explained that they love Mulder because his ideas about aliens and conspiracies were more out there than their own. Hmmm… maybe – or bearing in mind Scully was there and they had very little ladycontact, it could have been a ‘make your friends look stupid in front of the sexy girl’ ruse. Why they would want to do that though, is incomprehensible, because recently Burn spoke to a real-life Lone Gunman, and he is, beyond doubt, one of the coolest people we ever. Martin Parker is professor of organisation and culture at Leicester University, and he knows everything that there is to know about conspiracies. He doesn’t believe too many of them though, but being able to separate the truth from the bollocks probably stops him getting sucked into the fantasy like us normal gullible folk. One topic he does feel that there is some substance to however, is the Bilderberg group rumour. For more than 50 years the Western world’s chief politicians, business leaders, bankers, industrialists and strategic thinkers have met annually to talk about global issues. What sets Bilderberg apart from other high-powered gettogethers is its mystique. Not a word of what is said at Bilderberg meetings can be breathed outside. No reporters are invited in and while confidential minutes of meetings are taken, names are not noted. “They do meet. There is proof,” says the prof. “The fact that we don’t know about what is discussed, is a conspiracy.” The obvious question is, which of our own politicians attend? The phone line goes dead. After 10 minutes of fruitless redialling, we

aware that they are being manipulated by marketing on TV and things like that. What governments practice are very subtle marketing campaigns on a subliminal level.” Often the theorists themselves use similar tactics. “Take David Icke, for example. He begins with fairly mundane ideas about the New World Order, but then dives into theories about how world leaders throughout history are part of an ancient reptile race, disguised as humans. He reels you in.” Icke’s ideas are pretty hard to swallow, but there are some that resonate strongly with the general public. JFK and Princess Di immediately spring to mind. “There is highly convincing evidence that there was more than one gunman when JFK was assassinated,” Parker agrees. “I could easily believe in the theory that the US Government or the CIA were involved somehow, but I don’t.” Why not? “It’s the same with Princess Di – it’s very difficult to believe in. Sometimes things are just horrible accidents or incidents that there is no control over, and people want to find someone to blame. Most of the conspiracies can be settled by asking yourself a question: if it was you, would you have taken this step to solve the problem? Princess Di was obviously an irritant, but surely not that much of a big deal.” There are some conspiracies though that have been around and infected the public consciousness for so long, that there must be more to them in order to keep them going. Roswell for instance “The entire Roswell incident would have had so many people involved, huge numbers, and there would have been so many possible sources for leaks, but there is precious little information other than the same things that have been doing the rounds for decades. Why has no-one ever managed to come forward, in more than 50 years, with any serious evidence?” There is something about conspiracy theories that we love. Even the most insane ideas are given time. Is it our inbuilt desire to investigate and decode? Or is there an unconscious yearning to be controlled and watched over by a larger, more powerful, presence?

“Most of the conspiracies can be settled by asking yourself a question: if it was you, would you have taken this step to solve the problem?” finally get back in contact, and talk about the Illuminati for a little while, before finally turning the conversation back around to our own government. The phone line goes dead. Again. Spooky non? When we eventually re-establish the connection, and agree that things are seriously fucked-up, we decide it’s maybe prudent to change the subject. I have no desire to end up like David Kelly. What is the fundamental nature of a conspiracy though? ”We live in such a complicated, organised world,” says the professor. “People are often B U R N M A G A Z I N E | w w w. b u r n m a g . c o . u k

Often there is a serious message somewhere in conspiracy theories, but that can get lost in the madness of the ideas. The Lone Gunmen may be filled with a slightly too much toilet humour and slapstick, but there’s something unsettling about some of the scenarios. Particularly the pilot episode, which involves the US Government plotting to fly a domestic passenger airliner into the World Trade Centre, with the intent of boosting arms manufacturing and sales. It was broadcast in March 2001. Sleep tight. The Lone Gunmen is out now on DVD. Turn to page 97 for a review.

Do aliens exist? Very probably, especially when you take into account the Green Bank formula - a scientific formula to figure out the probability of intelligent life on other planets Did the CIA kill Marilyn Monroe? Why? They had no real reason. Was 9/11 orchestrated by the US Government? That's a difficult one - although it is obvious that the US right have gained a lot from it - so it's worth bearing in mind. Does the church have the Holy Grail? The dealings of the Catholic Church are the world's oldest conspiracy theory - but as an atheist, I have to say that I don't believe in any of them. The State of Fear: Is an absolute reality Does the military control the weather? Ha ha ha

WasPaul McCartney: No, I think they would have left him dead, or killed him again after the Frog Chorus. Lennon: No, there'd be a huge pile of corpses if the CIA offed everyone who got up their nose. The whole of the 60s: The Beatles were taken to the United States as part of a social experiment which would subject large population groups to brainwashing of which they were not aware. Backwards messages from satanic sources on records. Not so many reports of this since CDs though are there? The government-co-ordinated deaths of ‘subversive’ musicians like Lennon, Tupac, Keith Moon, Buddy Holly, Jimi Hendrix etc… Elvis…. obviously The continued success of Nickelback Did Paul McCartney die in a scooter accident in the 60s, only to be replaced by a lookalike. Professor Martin Parker says: “Very doubtful, and after the Frog Chorus, they would have killed him again anyway.”

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=C> )74

;0<4B

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Words: Seb Willett Pics: Wayne Herrschaft

If you look around todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s music scene, especially the more underground genres), youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll notice the sheer number of melodic death metal bands. But, 034

unlike other genres, you canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t really place when and where this sound came from â&#x20AC;&#x201C; grunge was early 90â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, nu-metal dominated the late 90â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re

currently suffering the arse-end of the Britpop resurgence. So where the hell did this curiously heavy-but-melodic sound come from? w w w. b u r n m a g . c o . u k | B U R N M A G A Z I N E


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shop’s In Flames section and religiously studied their entire back catalogue, I was hypnotised. Bowel-shifting heaviness. Moments of perfectly composed orchestration bringing cautious relief from the musical onslaught. Serpentine guitar harmonies weaving a patchwork quilt of aural texture beneath the melodies. With so many styles integrated into one brutal death metal melting pot, it’d take a genius a year and a day to pick out all the influences, "We listen to all kinds of music. I’m a music lover – I buy a lot of CD’s, I try to go to a lot of concerts when I’m home," Anders openly reveals. With so many bands nowadays observing the sounds and styles of successful bands from the past, it seems almost impossible not to be influenced by the past. "I can’t really think of any bands in particular," Anders explains, "we were heavily influenced by a lot of bands when we started out, but now we’re In Flames. It’s more about keeping our own style now, but still keeping our roots with us. I can’t really see any one band or musical genre that’s influenced us more than any other. Obviously though, we’re a metal band, so we listen to a lot of metal." There’s a moment of contemplative silence, and Anders adds, "but I still adore bands like Depeche Mode and stuff like that!"

Two words. In Flames. Back in 1990, Jesper Stromblad, Johan Larsson and Glenn Ljungstrom put together a death metal band with a twist – they played a lot of harmonies and explored melody. In Flames was born – and in 1994, secured an album deal and started putting together a more definite lineup. The first album they cut, Lunar Strain, caught the attention of Nuclear Blast, and before the year was out, they were signed to the growing German label and had secured Bjorn Gelotte on drums and Anders Friden on vocals. Following a flurry of albums, each more successful and more refined than the last (see The Evolution of In Flames), and a few member changes, In Flames have just recorded their eighth studio album and started planning for a worldwide tour in 2006. Anders Friden, vocalist on 7 out of 8 of the band’s albums, steps up to shine some light on possibly the most important band in melodic death metal history. Here we go… "Hang on, I’m just gonna step outside, I can’t hear you very well!" Anders warns as I hear the clatter of doors down the telephone, "okay, I’m outside, I can hear you a bit better now." I’ll be honest. I’m not one of those fans that have followed the band since the day they started, or even one of those guys who picked up on them when they got big. I’d heard of In Flames, read about them, heard about them going through town on tour. But until a few weeks ago, I’d never really paid much attention. After managing to catch them support Motorhead last month, I suddenly started realising what I was missing out on. Having frantically raided the local record

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Depeche Mode? Surely not! Having previously confessed adoration of Depeche Mode’s Martin Gore and professing ownership of Duran Duran’s dubious hit Seven and the Ragged Tiger (I shit ye not!), I find myself momentarily silenced, but regain my composure long enough to ask about the lyrics. "Well, we put the music down first, then the lyrics come later. The lyrics are really my personal views on who we are, people close to me, and people far away from me!" Anders notes. But what about bands that write about dark, mysterious subjects? "I like to write about things that happen in our world – things that people can relate to. I don’t write about aliens or dragons, because I don’t know any!" Anders laughs. This certainly distances them from other bands of the death metal genre, whose lyrical content can range from certain pieces of female anatomy being coated in metal (if you’ve heard that song by Cradle of Filth, you’ll know what I mean) to erroneous erections (check out the cover of I Got Erection by Satyricon) – In Flames certainly present themselves, for a death metal band, in a far more approachable manner: lyrics that kids can associate with, a surprisingly positive attitude, and not a hint of make-up! Having brought a refreshing attitude to the death metal scene, In Flames are also

distancing themselves from their darker peers by bringing themselves closer to their fans – Come Clarity includes a bonus DVD of the band playing through the whole album in their rehearsal room: "It came from an idea I’d had for a long a time. We had a listening session, where we just listen to new albums, and I wanted them to look at something at the same time, so we filmed one of the rehearsals. I thought that might catch their attention a bit more than just listening to the album from track to track," Anders explains (with no lack of pride in his voice!), "but the record label ended up liking it a lot, and decided to include it with the album," he reveals. Something a bit special, then? "It’s not really anything special, it’s just us rehearsing!" Sounds special enough to me! I mentioned the support slot that the band secured with Motorhead – if you’ve ever seen Motorhead live, you’ll know what kind of people you’ll find lurking warily around the edges of the pit… "It was a great tour. We played 18 shows in the UK, and had a really good time," Anders says, "I was surprised actually – you always hear in advance about how tough some band’s fans are, but we had a really good time. I was very happy with the UK audience, and I’m looking forward to next time!" Slightly bemused by the idea that anyone would look forward to coming to the UK, I pause, and Anders adds "I’d like to tour initely a place I’d like to go. Parts of Asia, South America – we haven’t been there. I guess I’d just like to tour places we haven’t been yet; but I’m really keen on Iceland! I’ve heard it’s really beautiful place," he muses briefly, "I’ve seen pictures… It really is beautiful out there." A teary-eyed moment at the beauty of Iceland? A secret passion for Depeche Mode? Is this really the singer of one of the biggest melodic death metal bands of all time? I collect my thoughts, and remember that In Flames are touring Come Clarity next year, "We’re playing the US with Trivium and Devildriver," Anders divulges, "We’ve met those guys before, they’re nice people!" What about us stuck over here in Europe? "We’re about to decide who we’re bringing here. We’ve been talking to a few bands, and we’re just really starting to shape up that tour over the next week or so – we’ll let everybody know and it’ll get posted on the website." Considering how much touring these guys are getting through, they must have their fair share of crazy tour stories?

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Lunar Strain (1994) Lunar Strain is the debut studio album from a then-unknown Swedish metal band In Flames. With a decidedly guitarorientated sound, harnessing some pretty unique melodic ideas and rhythmic concepts that few had heard before, Lunar Strain was completed with a mish-mash band line-up and without Anders' trademark vocals. Despite this, many In Flames fans view it as one of the band's finest - yet the overly raw production and slightly unfocused musical direction leaves more to be desired. But the trademark melody and firm rhythms show the beginning of the band's evolution. The Jester Race (1996) Having signed to Nuclear Blast and cemented their line-up (including our good buddy Anders on vocals), In Flames really start kicking into gear. Mention The Jester Race to an In Flames fan, and you'll be literally flattened by the excitement and enthusiasm - supposedly the single best In Flames album to purchase. Definitely nailed their distinctive sound here, and beginning to focus their style a lot more - the thunderous bass and delicate guitar harmonies are showing through, and there is a definite show of individuality. This is definitely the one to get.

"Aha, the Spinal Tap moments!" Anders laughs, "I guess we do have lots of stupid stories from the road, but thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just for yourself really. You just have to try and amuse yourself as much as possible â&#x20AC;&#x201C; you have to kill the hours youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not on stage! I mean, we do play practical jokes on each otherâ&#x20AC;Ś" he trails off slightly, "but theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re censored!" Come Clarity is the bandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s eighth studio album, and doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t show any sign that the band are running out of steam just yet: "As long as weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re still having a good time and enjoying being with each other, and as long as we have something to say, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll put out a new album. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a lot more to come," Anders promises, "but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the kick of playing live â&#x20AC;&#x201C; itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the best feeling in the world, with people screaming your lyrics back at you and jumping aroundâ&#x20AC;Ś When you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get that kick anymore, thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s when to stop. Once we stop getting that kick there will be no more In Flames," he solemnly notes, "but so far, we feel like we have a lot more to give!" Having covered the present and the future, I dare to ask the question that always silences an artist â&#x20AC;&#x201C; what about looking back on each album? "You want me to look back on my own albums?" Anders questions almost incredulously, "Well, I feel we always try to do the best we possibly can with each one, and once everyone in the band is happy with it, we release it and donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t really look back on it," he disputes, "thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s nothing Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d look back on and say I wanted to change or do differently â&#x20AC;&#x201C; each album is like a snapshot of how we were back then, and the things that we went through. "I see a pretty straight evolution from first to last â&#x20AC;&#x201C; weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve always tried to maintain a balance between melody and aggression. Those are really the main ingredients, and sometimes weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re a little more melodic, sometimes weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re a little more aggressive. But we try to never repeat ourselves or do exactly the same thing 036

twice â&#x20AC;&#x201C; itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s important that people can hear that. An In Flames song is an In Flames song, yâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;know? "Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve had a good career â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 12 years with 8 albums â&#x20AC;&#x201C; thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not that many, and there are bands that have done that, but weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been pretty productive. We feel like we have something important to say." Anders finishes. And who am I to disagree with that? I try and slip in a final question about label prestige and the growing importance of record labels in modern music - especially considering the recently released Roadrunner United album, "Uhâ&#x20AC;Ś" There's a moment of silenced filled only with a humming sound as Anders considers his response "Nuclear Blast really helped us get where we are. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all about the band working with the label though â&#x20AC;&#x201C; there are loads of great bands out there that nobody knows about â&#x20AC;&#x201C; but it takes a good collaboration with a label. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re lucky we ended up on Nuclear Blast, because theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been supporting us ever since. Everythingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been going good," Anders reflects for a moment, "But weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re trying a new label in America. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re still on Nuclear Blast in Europe, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just a new chapter for In Flames. Nuclear Blast couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t really deliver for us in the States â&#x20AC;&#x201C; nobody could find our records in the stores etcetera. We just needed to change. But we still have a good connection with the European labels â&#x20AC;&#x201C; theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve done great things for us." So there you have it â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Swedish metallers who listen to Duran Duran and are surprisingly nice guys. With Come Clarity out soon, a tour with some of the biggest bands in metal in the works, and a great label supporting them, I have no doubts that In Flames will continue their musical evolution for many years to come.

Whoracle (1997) Hailed as the metal-lovers In Flames album, Whoracle is toted to be the one that broke the market for In Flames. Whereas most death metal bands were all headed in a certain direction by this point, In Flames have reached back into the past and diluted themselves with a healthy dose of good old-fashioned metal - thereby increasing their appeal and definitely releasing them before the almost self-destructive death metal scene engulfed them. Having already established their sound, the band now start refining their direction... Worth picking up to check out the slight change in sound. Colony (1999) This is it - In Flames have set themselves in stone and their name is etched into the annals of death metal history (you could even argue them as being the main provocateurs of the melodic death metal scene). Colony sees the guys finally standing tall amongst their peers, and with great reason too. Heavy-as-fuck sound, screaming guitar harmonies, abrasive vocals - this is In Flames doing what In Flames do best crushing your bollocks with their big melodic death metal boot. Clayman (2000) Uh-oh. What's this? Clean vocals? More keyboards? Has Anders' secret love of Duran Duran and Depeche Mode (you heard me correctly!) finally taken control? Long answer - no. The short answer would go something like a bemused stare, but that's not the point. Having shown a relentless evolution from album to album over the past 4 efforts, what could you possibly expect on Clayman? A brave exploration of clean vocals and a growing emphasis on keyboards (check out Only For The Weak if you don't believe me!) shows balls in the face of adversity - I like it. Reroute to Remain (2001) Where The Jester Race stands as a landmark in the evolution of their unique sound, Reroute to Remain boldly steps up as the bigger brother. Demonstrating a firmer sound and a decidedly mature evolution in terms of lyricism and song writing, Reroute to Remain is another stepping-stone in the journey of In Flames as they quest to conquer the metal world. Where The Jester Race felt like an almost exclusive effort for existing In Flames fans, this takes what they had there and slaps a new face on it, allowing a broader range of fans to get into the band. Soundtrack To Your Escape (2004) The most recent In Flames album. And with every example of evolution, the most recent steps show themselves to be the most advanced and easily to accept - this is no exception. If you took human evolution into consideration here, this is where the monkey has had a shave and got his suit and briefcase out - they've totally nailed it. Having sunk their teeth into the industry, strengthened both their live and studio sound, and explored pretty much every plausible musical avenue, In Flames stand proud with Soundtrack To Your Escape. This is the product of the last decade of evolution for the band, and stands as a testament to one of the finest melodic death metal bands out there. Come Clarity (2006) Stepping into 2006, In Flames' evolution is now officially off my scale - the monkey has transformed into Bill Gates and there's nowhere left to go. Or is there? In Flames have done the unimaginable, and shoved the monkey and Bill Gates into one of those telepods from The Fly - and this is what has come out at the other end. A perfect blend of old and new - the oldschool aggression and passion is evident, and the flawless production is... flawless. Get Come Clarity as soon as you can.

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k c u st

People talk about “pioneers” and “breaking the mould” and so forth all the time. It seems every year there's at least one band that's said to be breaking new ground. If that were actually the case we'd be inventing new genres of music by the day.

Well, the media are inventing new genres of music by the day when they want a new buzzword to describe the latest hot band, but that's not really achieving anything. Real pioneers are few and far between. Artists and bands that genuinely create something new, that we've never heard before. The Beatles, Cream, Black Sabbath and Jimi Hendrix for example. These are bona fide originators. Atlanta's Stuck Mojo have earned the title 'originator' in the eleven years since their debut album Snappin' Necks hit the shelves. The inventors of rap/rock talk exclusively to Burn about their return. “Before Limp Bizkit, there's Stuck Mojo. Fred Durst will tell you himself that we're influential. We used to put him out with us when he had a band called The Vice out of Florida. Before Rage Against The Machine, there's Stuck Mojo, you know what I'm sayin'?” The day before Helloween 2005 Stuck Mojo lead vocalist Bonz is huddled on a bench in the tiniest dressing room this side of your garden shed in London, wearing a huge coat, gloves and woolly hat, clutching his glow-in-the-dark 'ghostface' mask, and describing the deep and meaningful reasons behind the formation of the World's first rap/rock band. “There was no idea! Haha! When I got into Stuck Mojo it was pretty much already a band. They were looking for somebody to come in and do something a little different, like maybe do some raps or maybe do some other things that we were doing at the time. Rich and I worked at Pizza Hut and he said 'do you rap?' so I just 'yeah man, I throw down', so he brought in a tape of a song called Planet Pluto and within twenty minutes I had a couple of lines and he was like 'you're hired'. They took me into rehearsals and we did maybe a month or so and then they were like 'fuck that, let's get rid of this other guy and bring Bonz in'. And from that point on we started coming up with our concept of rap-rock. We didn't know what the hell we were doing because we didn't have a formula; there was no one before us.” Last year Mojo capped off the 'old days' with the release of their first DVD, Inside The Monster: The Evilution of Stuck Mojo Volume 1. This year, before the new phase of Mojo begins with a new album, fans can look forward to Volume 2. “Our engineer, Simon, started back in March recording it. We did a lot of live shows. We did a big, big film at the Underworld here in London. We had three or four cameras and we had a guy in the pit.” That should tide fans over until the big prize, a brand spanking new Stuck Mojo opus, which apparently is already well under way. “Most of it's written. Well, about half of it's

Not Promised Tomorrow Words: Andy Lye & Lucy Vachell

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o j o m written. Haha! We've still got a long way to go, though. We've just been so busy with our other projects, we just need to make some room in the calendar to sit down and write this new record. It's coming along pretty well, I think the people are going to be surprised by what we have to offer and what we're going to come out with.” 'Surprised' isn't the half of it. The new Stuck Mojo album is going to be, believe it or not, a concept record. No that doesn't mean they're going prog on us, but it sounds like it's going to be a more intelligent thinking-man's Mojo album. “Yeah man! Concept record! I'm already a conspiracy theorist, and I have my own views about how I feel about what's going on, but Rich (Ward, guitars) came to me one day and said 'hey man, I've got this idea, I wanna do a concept record!' I love that idea, and no one's done it in a while. We want to make a statement, say something, and do something different and maybe make a bigger impression on the music World than we have in the past.” The following night, relaxing post-show on the tour bus in Leeds, Ward elaborates for us: “I think its going to be real cool, 'cos it's going to be real controversial. It's going to be a concept record about the end of the earth. Like mixing some Biblical prophecy in with some conspiracy theory stuff and alien abduction encounters mixed with illuminate shadow government. Also mixed with some religious and political stuff. Battles between Christians and Muslims and Jews and Sikhs, and how we're at a point where all these battles have come to a head. I believe in extra-terrestrials, and we theorise that extra-terrestrials may not be extraterrestrials, but they may actually be the original fallen angels from heaven, and as we've become more cynical as a society and we don't necessarily believe in extra-terrestrials or demons anymore, the only way they can intellectualise with us is that we have to think they are people from another universe or something. I have all these great ideas and I'm taking bits and pieces from all these authors and TV shows. It'll be dark, and it'll be ugly but I think it'll make for a brilliant album.” Some people have often viewed Mojo as an anti-establishment band, or an anti-government band with venomous snipes at 'Uncle Sam' in Who's The Devil and Uncle Sam Sham on Snappin' Necks, or the song Crooked Figurehead on the Rising album. But that's not necessarily the case, and similar material is unlikely to appear on the new album. “I don't hate Bush, and I don't like Bush. A lot of us want to be what I call 'arm-chairquarterbacks'. You watch the match on TV and you think if you were the coach you could do better. I mean, we all think that we could do better, but unless you're there and dealing with all the information they have, these people are only humans, and they do the best they can, and we can all make mistakes. I don't believe Bush is evil, or he had the intention of doing anything evil, I just think he has a shitty job. It's impossible to please anybody! It's like when the hurricane happened. There are people in New Orleans who hate the government and they hate Bush, but as soon as anything happens, all they want to do is to get Bush to come and help them. He's one guy! How is he supposed to stop hurricanes and fix wars?! And so I'd like B U R N M A G A Z I N E | w w w. b u r n m a g . c o . u k

Violating The UK: London

30 OCT 2005

Following a packed two-week tour with Fozzy, Rich Ward had a week or so off before another tour, this time with Stuck Mojo. We visited the boys on two back-to-back gigs on the tour, and after the second night, Ward shared with us his thoughts on the shows. First, Andy experienced the mayhem at The Garage in London, which proved to be a totally inadequate venue. The place was tiny and the band were barely afforded the space to move on stage, let alone perform with the energy they're accustomed to. However, nothing keeps a truly great band down, and they were able to turn on the groove and slowly build up to their trademark energy levels despite their tight confines. “There were plenty of mistakes and plenty of things that went wrong, but it's our jobs to be magicians and make it look like nothing went wrong. That's what separates the chumps from the dads! “My guitar sound was not very good and I was struggling a bit. My monitor was really loud and there was lots of guitars, and sometimes, when the guitar's really loud, and I make mistakes, I get very self conscious, and I'm like 'OK, settle down, settle down. Let's get back in the mode here. Let's play tight, let's play tight. Make sure it's groovin'. Oh, but now I'm not moving. OK. Oh God, I made another mistake'. So I start to get really mental when the mix is not right. But when the mix is okay, like if the guitar's not screaming in my face, then I can stay calm. It's the same as if you write a paper; you notice the grammatical mistakes a lot more than if you would talking. And I want it to be a little more 'vibey' than that.”

We didn't know what the hell we were doing because we had no formula, there was no one before us - Bonz not to dwell much on that side of politics.” We can still expect the old aggression Stuck Mojo have always exhibited, but it's not going to be wall-to-wall anger, according to Bonz. “There'll be a couple like that, I mean, we've got to give the fans what we've built on, but we also wanna try some new stuff. We've got all these musicians, we're not all 'AAARRRGGHH', we're not always hatin' and mad. We've got some other things we'd like to share with you all, so we want to put a bit more melody into it. And we're gonna have some guests coming in, get a couple of different voices on there, my man (gesturing to Rich Ward) has graduated as an excellent singer here, if you've heard the Duke record, and I too have graduated a little as a vocalist” “I've been singing for about three or four years now,” explains Ward, “I had lessons from the best coach in The States. She did Usher and Rob Thomas, so some pretty big name people, and it took me forever to get her! I was on the waiting list for a year. I'm not with her anymore though, as it was one of those things where I felt that I'd learnt all that I'd needed to learn.” Stuck Mojo really are back. With two tours under their belt since getting back together, the passion has returned and bolstered by a new rhythm section (drummer Eric Sanders and Fozzy/Duke bassist Sean Delson) the band are proving immensely tight and strong. Despite other projects to devote time to (for those unaware, Rich is also guitarist in the Chris Jericho-led Fozzy and has his own project under the banner The Duke, while Bonz has another band called Dead Gospel) neither man lets it get too much. “How cool is it that I am able to do this?!” enthuses Ward, “There was a period of time

where I didn't really appreciate it as much because you can kinda get caught up in all of the chaos. There was a time when with Stuck Mojo, the goal was to get a record deal, then get an album out there, and tour, tour, tour. And then when that happened, there was a new goal and that was to be a bigger band, as big as Machine Head, and then after that, we need to be as big as Pantera, and then as big as Metallica. There's never enough. You never stop wanting. And recently I've come to the realisation that as long as you don't have any expectations, then you really have no let downs, and then as long as your only expectations are of yourself to be as good as you can be live.” “If this is what you want to do, then this is what you want to do,” explains Bonz, “We're musicians at heart and we understand the price you've got to pay in order to be successful. I don't want to work. I hate work. I don't want another job. This is the job I want, to entertain and be on stage in front of fans all over the World. And we're fortunate enough to have families at home that allow us to do this. A lot of guys get out here and get upset all the time. I tell you what, stay at home. If this is not what you want to do, stay home. I enjoy it. I can't speak for everyone else… well yes I can, if they didn't enjoy it too we wouldn't be on the bus together doing the things that we do. Jumping around on stage every night, there's nothing like it.” And there will continue to be nothing like it. There really is nothing like a Stuck Mojo show, and with a disc full of new material and a new DVD next time they return, there should be no missing them either. This is where rap/rock began, and this is where it ends. With Stuck Mojo. 039


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A Family Affair

Great programme with an uncertain future? No real reason for being cut? Star studded cast but tucked away in a dumb slot? All ingredients present and correct. Mike Shaw spends some time on-set with Arrested Developmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Bluth family.

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Not long ago, Burn was privileged enough to spend a little time on the set of the current holder of the mantle of Best Comedy In The World – Arrested Development. It’s one thing visiting the set of a movie-inprogress, something that no-one has yet seen, but quite another to be on the set of one of your favourite shows, with the characters making their way around you. A very, very odd – but brilliant – experience. Perhaps it’s because there are no dick jokes, or people drinking vomit, or gags about accidentally fisting horses, but Arrested Development – despite being one of the most consistently funny and intelligent American comedies in recent years - has just (apparently) been canned by the Fox network in the States. It’s screenings here on BBC2 have a small, loyal hardcore of fans who put up with the timetable trampolining – being pushed aside for a week to make way for northern men throwing small, sharp sticks, or northern men pushing balls with a long stick – while in America, it has a similarly devoted fanbase; although one which regularly hits the six million plus mark (not much over there it seems). Here, the award-winning show is given room to breathe and is not subjected to ratings scrutiny (hell, what else is the Beeb gonna show at 11pm on a Sunday?), whereas over there, the higher the ratings, the higher the B U R N M A G A Z I N E | w w w. b u r n m a g . c o . u k

charge for adverts, and if a show isn’t making the networks cash, hand over sweaty fist, then they drop it like an ugly baby. And so Arrested Development finds itself in this sorry state of affairs, with plenty of people eager to see it, but no home for the time being. Burn visited the set just before this announcement was made, but it was clear from all around, that they were just waiting for the axe to fall – it was only a matter of time. Season two of this superb show is coming to DVD this month, and with things as they are, it may be one of the last chances to catch it. Best buy it eh? In terms of tone, Arrested Development sits comfortably alongside shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm, but while Curb is carried most of the way by the Partridge-like behaviour of creator Larry David, Arrested Development is much more of a crowd pleaser. It’s not averse to bringing in the big-name guests, (Ben Stiller, Heather Graham, the legend Henry Winkler and Charlize Theron), and has an ensemble cast of equally talented comedy characters, each bringing their own quirks to the family table. The fan favourite however, is Buster, a man-boy with a mother complex, played by Tony Hale. Watching him work on-set is amazing, switching into this Gumpalike persona and then chatting away about how weird it is having a megastar like Theron on-set, and then back again: “I’ve had some scenes with Charlize,” says Hale. “She’s really sweet, and really, really nice. It’s crazy though, cos we’ll be shooting and I’ll

go outside and she’s on the cover of every magazine, and I’m like ‘what are you doing on our show? What’s going on?’” What about the other guest stars you’ve had on? “Scott Baio is really cool, and as he was Chachi, he’s a cult figure. Henry Winkler used to be our family lawyer so we have this Happy Days bloodline going. But Scott’s a really nice guy and he’s doing a great job.” The guy who carries the show, however, and sees all plotlines run through him, is Jason Bateman, who has recently appeared in Dodgeball, Starsky and Hutch, and – not so recently – Teen Wolf Too. We meet after he has spent all of five minutes sitting in a truck delivering a handful of lines. Then he’s done for the day. “I’ve only had three whole days off all year,” he says, not very convincingly. With a palpable sense that they are fighting for their lives, all the cast and crew members that Burn speak to, talk candidly about the show’s disappointing ratings and seem genuinely pleased and excited about the following in the UK. “I’m always a little ashamed to say how much I like the show,” says Bateman. “It sounds a bit cheesy to me, but I feel so lucky to be on it. I’d watch it on TV if I wasn’t in it. I really love doing this, so I watch the ratings really closely.” What is it about the show that has such a hold on you? “The stories - they’re so beautifully complicated, and are like little puzzles, and to be the guy that tries to have it all make sense for the audience, and bridge one storyline to another, or one character to another, is a really nice role. 041


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“I like the challenge of coming in and explaining it to the audience, with a look or an inflection or some surprise – and since there’s not a laugh track, if something is funny, you might have to let the audience know that with a certain look, or if something is important to the storyline you’ve got to register something.” Given the transitory nature of the average TV viewer, maybe that subtlety isn’t the best approach if survival is on the agenda. “I think you guys in the UK have a better attention span than Americans and are a much more sophisticated audience” agrees Bateman. “The TV network is a medium for the masses and there are distractions. It’s difficult to get a huge audience, and I don’t think we ever will.”

There are six million regular viewers, and we’ve had that many since day one. It doesn’t matter when or where they put us, it stays at that level. But that six million are passionate about the show and very loyal, and they are paying full attention.” Do you think the show will survive?

Perhaps the problem here is that Arrested Development is just so different, despite Jason Bateman’s protestations that “The Office makes our show look like Diff’rent Strokes,” it’s a hell of a lot smarter than the Slough-based comedy. It’s deadly serious to the people inside the show, so they play it straight and very dry. It’s a drama to them – there is no mugging to the cameras or ‘Flashdance fused with MC Hammer shit’. Any gags here are entirely incidental. “It’s true that there are no one-liners,” says Bateman. “We’re not trying to hide the funny though, it’s just a different tone.” What do you see happening to the show? “I don’t know. It does not do well here at all.

“Well, networks often use shows like this as a recruiting device for the studio, and to bring in other writers, producers, directors and actors, because it looks like you nurture good product.” However, far from nurturing good product, Fox are gaining themselves a reputation for killing great shows just as they hit their stride: including Futurama, Family Guy, and now Arrested Development. The consensus is that Middle America killed it dead. With no laugh track, no corny one-liners, and gags running across seasons – the show wrongly assumes that the viewers have the capability for smart, independent thought – big

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fucking mistake. Maybe the majority can’t concentrate for long enough, but smart people like us (as I assume all Burn readers are) can, and should support programmes that do new and interesting things, and don’t just regurgitate the same jokes from the 1950s over and over, like nearly every other sitcom. At the moment, with Fox being tight-lipped, and a couple of other networks sniffing around but refusing to commit, the show is in limbo. And it’s our fault. Arrested Development Season 2 is out on DVD now, and is reviewed on page 93.

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working on the

chaingang

Back in the day... whenever that was and I was in the good ole US of A, it was during that period when there were great hard rock bands coming out of the woodwork. One of the bands that was really doing the business was Brother Cane - the sort of band that when they turn up as a track on your pod, you wonder just why in the hell they didn’t break out and destroy the world. Fear not, B.C. frontman Damon Johnson returns with Queensryche’s Scott Rockenfield in the shape on Slave to the System - and boy, are they ever doing the business... Words: Sion Smith

I hate the term ‘supergroup’. It brings forth images of guys from various eighties failed metal bands - after all, nobody from split pop bands who get together later, ever gets called a supergroup. To be fair though, most of the guys who do that sort of thing are excellent musicians looking for a new outlet. It’s normally either the press or the marketing guys that let them down. Times have changed though and both Velvet Revolver and Audioslave have transcended their previous outfits in a seemingly painless fashion. Slave to the System don’t quite fall into the same category but the ethos is the same. Musicians who have been in other bands getting together to see what happens. In this instance, the suspects are Damon Johnson and Roman Glick from Brother Cane and Scott Rockenfield and Kelly Gray from Queensryche. Cornering Damon and Scott, I wondered how this seemingly unlikely alliance came about. Damon: Well, it started as a side project for everyone initially. In reality, these days we all have families so everything is a side project y’know. There are priorities to take care of, but I’m just so thrilled to still be doing something that I love to pay the bills. “When Brother Cane came to an end, I was on a real high because I was so pleased with what we had done with the Wishpool album, but a great thing came out of the ashes of that - meeting with Kelly. He’s so comfortable to work with y’know, it seems so long ago that we started this project though, (2000 was the initial get together). When we first met, 044

we’d been doing some Brother Cane bits and Kelly suggested we get together for a jam with Scott, then the whole damn thing just snowballed. Within a month we had an albums worth of material. “On some level, we were all really pissed off with the ‘system’, hence the band name, but like I said we all come from bands that have been around for a while and we just knew that we could do this ourselves - and with there being no interference, it was just a bunch of friends writing some great songs for the hell of it. “Y’know it was only after 12 songs had been written as a collective that I even brought anything old into the equation. So you mean there’s more material lying around then? “Hell, we have a second record ready to go, but it would have been foolish to put that out as our debut because obviously there’s been a growth in the band and I think it’s important to put that down in the history books. I’m excited about this record. I love both Brother Cane and Queensryche, and although there is very little Queensryche influence to speak of on the album, as Tate is pretty much the ‘definer’ in that band, it’s a hugely relevant record for the time we sit in right now. Pure rock music is hard to come by and I’m so positive that Slave to the System can pull this off. Strategically, I guess it might be a logistical nightmare, but the intentions are certainly there. w w w. b u r n m a g . c o . u k | B U R N M A G A Z I N E


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“We wouldn’t have put the record out if we hadn’t thought it was relevant. There’s not an awful lot of stuff out there that I’m excited by anymore, so I’m glad you think like we do that a small imbalance has been addressed! We’ve done our homework. We know what it’s like out there. Despite appearances to the contrary sometimes, we’re all still very active. For me, being a part of Alice’s band has been awesome. It’s really cool to get out there and play without having to be concerned about the ‘business aspect’ all the time, but there’s a part of you that misses that too, so it’s cool that

We wouldn’t have put the album out if we hadn’t thought it was relevant

we’re in charge of where we’re going with this. Spitfire have been so supportive and enthusiastic.”

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Scott agrees: “It’s so refreshing to have people be excited about a record that you did for fun. It’s a lot like being 20 years old again, when you get that buzz from creating something completely new. It’s all to do with chemistry. The great thing about this band is that although for all intents and purposes we’re a new band, we’ve all been playing together for quite some time in one way or another. It’s just real easy songwriting that comes from the heart and I think that’s what’s going to make it special. “You know, all the time you’re doing it, you can think you’ve got something special on the go, but until you let people hear it you can never be completely sure, so it’s great that people, like yourself, are really into it. It’s a good feeling. With the album hitting the shelves on 21 Feb, we’ll soon find out! Next issue, we’ll crawl further under the skin when we get the whole band together to talk about touring, the ‘other’ album and whatever else crosses our path. If you whip your ass over to our website at www.burnmag.co.uk, Spitfire have let us have a track from the album available for a limited period of time as a free download so that you can check the band out. Just click on ‘Downloads’ and you’ll find it on there somewhere.

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Never ones to pass up on something visually eloquent, the cover of the Louis XIV album The Best Little Secrets Are Kept keeps coming back to haunt us! It’s a weird album if you’ve not heard it yet. It’s so rock n roll that it almost falls out of the genre. The grapevine suggests that they’re going to deal crushing blows to the world over the next year - so we suggest that you’d best familiarise yourselves immediately. Coming from a musically inspired background of T. Rex and the Stones, Louis XIV have now signed to Atlantic - and as luck would have it, we also find them on tour in the coming weeks.

The album is best discussed by playing it though, so you’re going to have fix that for yourselves. Meanwhile, this tender little section is about the photo shoot that went towards the design of the sleeve - which we think is one of the best album sleeves to come along for a while. Shot by Phil Mucci - who has also filmed the bands videos for God Killed the Queen and Finding Out True Love is Blind - and coolly modelled by Karen Miller, they strike up the bohemian originality of the band more than words ever could. The story behind the shoot and the album design (which comes from John Hofstetter) is as good as industry stories go but we’re saving up all of those people for a future feature. For now, sit back, light up and enjoy...

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The final album sleeve. All hail seventies design in a small plastic box! B U R N M A G A Z I N E | w w w. b u r n m a g . c o . u k

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When you were last with us, Kelly, Rich and Javier were talking about the success of the Dakota single, getting arrested in a Brazilian lap-dancing club and finding a new drummer. For those of you who have been under a rock for the past year (Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m being kind), Kelly (Jones, singer, guitarist, bona fide rock star), Rich (Jones, bass and tattoos) and Javier (Weyler, drums and big grins) are The Stereophonics, arguably one of the biggest bands in the country at the moment and not half as hard to interview as some wives would have you believe...

Mr Jones & Me Part 2. Words: Kahn Johnson

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Mr Jones & Me...

Right, where were we… Ah yes, I’ve just suggested the band are now in the ‘elder statesman’ category. Kelly just laughs. “I don’t think we’re there yet! We’re only just gone 30. Lots of bands on their first album are only 27, so we’ve got a fuckin’ big head start on them!” Five albums is certainly a head start, and it’s four more than some of their contemporaries managed, such as Addict and The Crocketts – both signed to V2 around the same as the Welsh trio and launched with more fuss, if I recall correctly. Rich has a theory. “It’s just all the hype that builds up around bands. When that dies down, if a band’s not releasing anything decent then the band’s gonna die as well. We never had the hype, unless you call the first album hyped.” Javier agrees. “It’s different now. Now there are, like, a lot of awards involved, and stuff. For us it’s just more important to keep on going…” “…And just stay clear of all that and just do what you do best,” adds Rich. Which brings the conversation around to the spotlight bands find themselves under so early on in their careers. “It’s difficult to live up to that exposure and reputation in a way,” ventures Javier. “It’s quite difficult, not many people can pull it off.” “It’s not fair on the bands as well,” agrees Rich.

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“The bands don’t expect all the hype, but when you’re there, you know, you just take it on board. But then, when you’re in the studio, doing your follow-up album, it’s like, ‘shit, we’ve got to follow that’.” Which, fortunately, was not something the boys had to deal with early on in their career. “Word Gets Around (the band’s debut) didn’t get played on the radio at all,” remembers Kelly, “and then at the end of Word Gets Around was when everybody started nominating us for awards, which was ridiculous really. “We were, like, winning Best British Newcomer at the Brits, as voted by Radio 1 listeners and we’d never been played on fuckin’ Radio 1! “We were up against, like, All Saints, Finley Quaye, and Travis and all these people who were getting hammered on the radio – so for us to win there was quite a big statement to them in a way, and then they started playing us! “So, we re-released Local Boy In A Photograph, and then when we came back with the next album, it was Bartender And The Thief and MTV started playing us and then the record went ridiculous really. “But we didn’t really buy into the size of it ‘cos, to us, we’d been waiting for it for two years, working our bollocks off and nobody was writing about us and then all of a sudden we’re on the cover of NME four times in a year and we were on Kerrang, we were on Melody Maker, Select, so to us it

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was like, ‘well, about fuckin’ time really’ and that wasn’t really in an arrogant way. It was quite a relief that people had started listening. “And then we completely fucked it up right away by doing Mr Writer! They wouldn’t write anything!” Kelly laughs at the situation caused by the band’s first single from their third album, Just Enough Education To Perform (known hereafter as the JEEP album). It was the start of a strange few years for the band, which saw them take a journey through territory which, with the benefit of hindsight, they’d have been more than happy to leave behind. Kelly continues: “This album, to me, is very reminiscent of what Performance And Cocktails did, because now at the gigs, it’s fuckin’ full of 15 and 16 year olds again, who would only have been about 7 when the first record came out. “So we’ve completely flipped it back around from what the accidents of Handbags and Gladrags and Have A Nice day did. You know, that took us from a ditch into the middle of the road, and now we’re driving the van back into 052

the ditch. We’re in exactly the place we want to be now.” So do the band see Gladrags as a mistake? “Think the song was a great version n all that, but I wish it wasn’t ever as big as it was,” reflects Kelly Rich agrees: “It just turned into something we didn’t expect. We weren’t going to release it. It was the record company’s decision...” Kelly takes up the tale. “It was just something I did for the Jools Holland show. It just snowballed. We recorded it in, like, a two-hour afternoon, didn’t give a fuck about it. At that time we didn’t think nothing of it, and then the record company wanted to release it. “We put it out, but Radio 1 didn’t play it, then it went into the top five and they didn’t stop fuckin’ playing it! And then they (the record company) stuck it on the JEEP album, and that sold another million records…” “It was the same story with the video,” adds Rich. “We had a spare afternoon, we went into the Roundhouse in London, with a director we knew

and we did that in an afternoon and then that kept getting played – it was like, ‘fuckin’ hell, what’s happening here?’” “It was all good though,” chuckles Kelly, “because it made the JEEP album get known. “But the JEEP record’s a really dark record, but its only known for Have A Nice Day and Handbags and Gladrags. They forget about Mr Write and Rooftop, and Every Day I Think of Money and Vegas Two Times and stuff like that. “When a song gets hammered to death, the perception of a band gets all filtered through that one song, and that wasn’t where we were at at the time, it was just one song. “Even when we made the JEEP record, we were going to take Have A Nice Day off ‘cos we thought it didn’t fit the record. And then it became the biggest fuckin’ radio thing, so…” Maybe if the song hadn’t been used by The Sunday Times? Kelly shakes his head. “Well, the Sunday Times thing was only meant to be a fuckin’ two-week run which ended up being half a year. We went off around the world, came back and it was fuckin’ everywhere. You learn!” w w w. b u r n m a g . c o . u k | B U R N M A G A Z I N E


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Mr Jones & Me... Isn’t that one of the great things about experience? “Definitely,” agrees Kelly. “We’ve always been really careful about adverts n stuff, but the Sunday Times Culture magazine, the song fitted with that – it was the right song for that magazine. It was the right audience – because it’s intelligent, it’s not stupid, it’s not throw-away. It wasn’t like giving it to The Sun or something, for a free CD or something like that. It was something that was quality that a lot of people take interest in every weekend. “But what ended up happening was it just got played for far too many weeks!” You could forgive the band if they never wanted to play those songs ever again. Kelly agrees. “We don’t play Have A Nice Day or Handbags and Gladrags – haven’t played them for over two years!” “We played them for four years when we had them out,” adds Rich, while Kelly pauses for a moment. “Doesn’t fit in the set now, to be honest,” concludes Kelly. “The set’s not a greatest hits set, it’s a very electric set. There’s no acoustic songs in the set. Much more of a rock n roll set.” One thing that comes across loud and clear when talking to the three of them is just how relaxed with life they are now. They take their families on the road, they’re free to make the albums they want, and – as proved with Language Sex Violence Other, they’re as relevant today as when Word Gets Around was released. But, with so few bands even making it

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as far as five albums these days, can the lads see themselves joining the elite few who are still making records 20 or 30 years after starting out? Kelly says: “If someone had said at the beginning will you be doing this in 10 years we’d have said no! You don’t put a number or date on it, you just truck on through. “As long as our records still excite me, and still remain relevant to today’s music scene, then I’ll keep doing it! That’s what Dakota did on this album – it’s as relevant as Razorlight’s first record, and Kasabian and all that, you know. “A lot of bands we know on their fifth album are treading water and still depending on their first two albums, still riding that wave and never having done anything in between. “I quite like the fact that it keeps moving on, and as long as we keep moving on we’ll keep doing it. “I don’t know if I’ll ever have jet black hair, playing golf with eyeliner on, doing the Alice Cooper thing – God bless him! He’s been around for nearly fuckin’ 40 years, hasn’t he?” “A lot of people in this environment, this all you can do, and all you want to do,” adds Rich, one last time. “It’s not like, well, I’m gonna go off and do something else now. If you weren’t doing this for a living, you’d probably end up just doing it in your house!” And with that, our time is up. Local FM are waiting outside, and there’s the small matter of a show to get ready for. Maybe I’ll try that ‘elder statesmen’ question in 2016….

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Men Of Armor For Sleep: Don’t let the smiles fool you....

Vision

It came to a head when I noticed that I was consistently getting a string of great sounding releases. Over a period of a few weeks, I also noticed that while I was checking the bands out online, that I kept ending up in the same place. That place was Equal Vision records - home of a truckload of great bands. More importantly, home to a truckload of bands who love being there. It was only right that we get off the sofa and check out exactly what’s going on there. Are they really... Man, for a label I’d never heard of about six months ago, Equal Vision seem to have become a huge part of my life. It all started with Circa Survive. This job brings with it many hours of randomly throwing into a machine, disc after disc in the hope of finding something great. My personal take on this is that I strip all the albums out of their sleeves so that I’m not influenced by big labels or favourite bands in some vague attempt to get everything on a level playing field. Obviously, when you drop something like Bon Jovi in the deck, you can tell who it is immediately, but by doing things this way I found that music has become different, it remains exciting day after day when it has the

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absolute potential to become a bit of a chore. I digress. At the end of the month, I had a pile of discs to drop in the rack on the wall and a far bigger pile to throw in the ‘cupboard under the stairs’ - amongst that pile that would be relistened to relentlessly were - in no order of preference: Circa Survive, Armor for Sleep, The Hope Conspiracy, Fear Before the March of Flames - and later I also noticed that Coheed & Cambria are signed with them, (but more on that later). Since then, I’ve also come to investigate The Fall of Troy, Bear vs Shark, Chiodos and Versus the Mirror. No shit... each and every one of these albums stands out as being a law unto itself - and it’s that ethos that keeps Equal Vision at the cutting edge of new music. Sadly,

Bear vs Shark decided to call it a day recently only 6 months after their latest album was released -don’t let that stop you rummaging about for it though. There’s more bands too - and that’s just on the surface. Who knows what they’re looking at for the rest of the year, but I’d stake what little reputation I have left on the fact that it will be pretty damn hot. What’s a poor boy to do... play in a rock n roll band of course, but if they won’t have you, you get on the phone to the guy in charge of all things A&R at Equal Vision and drain his brain of all information available. Dan Sandshaw is a... what’s the phrase people always use? Unassuming guy? It’s

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Bane: frighteningly intelligent rock. Honest!

almost as if it never occurs to him the level of talent he’s putting on the table, but I guess it’s not everyday people are interested in the company behind a string of independent releases. A simple question such as “just what in hell are you guys doing out there to attract such talent”, prompts an answer that a million other record companies could heed well; “The talent pool comes from all manner of different places. We get sent a lot of demo material, some of which is great immediately, but some of it you become aware of as being ‘with potential’. There’s the bands we see as part of us being proactive in going out to gigs too. Then, there’s also word of mouth from the bands already with us. “I think what we have at the moment though is an ability to spot bands with a lot of potential and give them a platform from which to develop themselves without too much pressure to reach the pinnacle of their ability within the first five minutes of their signing. That’s a bit of an exaggeration but..” We hear what you’re saying - and it’s more than true. Whilst putting together the cover story for next month on Coheed & Cambria, the subject of Equal Vision came up out of the blue. Mike Todd was more than complementary about them and how they had very much left the band to their own creative devices whilst also encouraging them to grow under their own speed. Of course, the problem with growing and growing is that you attract the attention of others and their new deal sees Equal Vision taking rather a backseat in the deal, but as Dan was swift to point out, that’s certainly no bad thing: “On one level, probably the personal one, it always hurts a bit when you have to let a band move on because you’ve put so much time and effort into it. Sometimes you even become friends too - but on another level, you can’t help but be pleased that the band are jumping up that ladder towards bigger success. After all, that’s why a lot of people are here at all - to succeed as musicians and get their music out to as many people as possible. Where Coheed are concerned, the money put behind them is obviously working as their profile is becoming a lot bigger.”

“...it always hurts a bit when you have to let a band move on because you’ve put so much time and effort into it.” Fall of Troy: a pattern emerges! More normal looking guys with the ability to lay waste...

The words he speaks are true... and there’s the not so small subject of Circa Survive. I think their trip to the top of the mountain is going to take a while though. I really didn’t get the album at first. It was obvious that it wasn’t shit, but I just didn’t get it. Sometimes that’s the way it goes. Time goes by though and Juturna is deeply entrenched in my psyche. It hosts a hatful of great songs... it’s a bit like that somebody that you work with that you don’t realise is attractive until you get to know them a little better - get used to their nuances... and then, well, this time you get the picture. Juturna is a great example of what Equal Vision do best: give a storming band a platform from which to work. Sometimes though, a band seems to come out of the stable and just take on the world on it’s own terms. Such seems to be the story with Fall of Troy. One minute, silence. Then the next, cacophony reigns supreme. Their recent trip to the UK had most of the national radio stations sitting up and taking notice immediately. Further investigating into B U R N M A G A Z I N E | w w w. b u r n m a g . c o . u k

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Four Equal Vision releases you shouldn’t be without: Circa Survive: Juturna Juturna is an album without challenge. It takes no notice of anything that’s going on around it. The vocals seem to whine at first, but stay long enough to hear the message and you too will learn that there is so much more to this band than a cool album sleeve. Standout tracks: Holding Someone’s Hair Back, Act Appalled, We’re All Thieves and The Glorious Nosebleed. Buy it for yourself and sit at home being very smug that they might be the worlds best kept secret. Chiodos: Don’t worry, despite the sticking plaster, they sound nothing like Nelly.

the said phenomena proved fatal for us here in the office. Sunk! Another great band dealt by the hands of EV Records, but a similar story was written - it wasn’t a case of ‘Hey another band on EV, let’s check them out!’ - it can be days or weeks even before somebody notices what label something is on... although I have to admit that lately, I’ve started to look a lot more often! As I said before though, these are the bands that are currently cutting themselves a profile over here in the UK. Still to come are the bombastic Versus the Mirror - you can check them out right now (as you can with all the EV bands) at www.purevolume.com/versusthemirror In the vein of Bullet for My Valentine, they bring something new to the table with their searing vocal ‘unharmonies’. Chiodos, being a far more commercial act, bring with them some real old school styling and a penchant for excellent song titles such as ‘One Day Women Will All Become Monsters’ and ‘Baby You Wouldn’t Last a Minute on the Creek’, this is the band that I’m most looking forward to breaking through next. Finally, from my pick of the fruit bowl for you too investigate would be Bane. Thoroughly equipped to attack the youth market from the offset if you’re after a comparison, well, Henry

Versus the Mirror: Waiting to go into church to confess their sins...

Rollins wouldn’t be too upset if they moved in across the street. The beauty of EV though is that they have something for everyone. Some of my favourite Equal Vision acts have called it a day or moved on to pastures new. Fivespeed have since moved on to Virgin, but they wouldn't have grown into such a solid band without their time at EV. Check out their huge melodies and chugging guitars. On the new release front, you can expect a DVD from Armor for Sleep, some nice reissues from Coheed and Boysetsfire - a new album from Boysetsfire called The Misery Index which we’re all really looking forward to here and some new talent coming in from Jonah Matranga - haven’t heard anything at all from him yet, but that’s part of the excitement factor for us. You never know what’s around the corner at Equal Vision, but the one thing you can be sure of is that it will be diverse and have its heart in the right place. You can’t really ask for much more than that.

You can check out all of the Equal Vision bands, past and present at www.equalvision.com - they also run some streaming tracks (and a few downloads) at www.purevolume.com

Armor For Sleep: What To Do When You Are Dead ...Dead is an album of contradictions. It wants to take you to places you’re familiar with but just can’t help itself taking the long and scenic route. It’s melodic, it’s exciting and heartfelt. Is there anything else you need from an album which also has excellent artwork? Standout tracks: The Truth About Heaven, Awkward Last Words, The More You Talk The Less I Hear and Car Underwater. For extra things to do when listening, try recreating the album artwork on the back of your leather jacket. The Fall of Troy: Doppelganger Scared? You should be. The noise meisters will be round at a town near you very soon brandishing their tunes of mass destruction - scratching their fretboards in your face and raising the spirits of those devoid of new talent for so long. Standout tracks: Act One Scene One, You Got A Death Wish Johnny Truant?, Laces Out Dan! and We Better Learn to Hotwire a Uterus. Splendid band for people who love to carve up the train with their ipod running at full tilt. Coheed & Cambria: In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 Assuming you have already been to the altar of Good Apollo, this is the next stage in your therapy. We challenge you to resist the story - sit back and watch a previous chapter unfold before your very eyes. Standout tracks: Blood Red Summer, The Crowing, A Favor House Atlantic and In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3. Sit down and take it like a man...

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Circa Survivethe story so far... The story how Circa Survive came into existence would not look out place on the desk of a Hollywood mogul as a screenplay. Singer Anthony Green had been working in a notunsuccessful band Saosin, out in California but was unhappy. During a trip home to Philadelphia spent time hanging out and playing music with old friend Colin Frangicetto. The two enjoyed that time so much that, halfway back to California, Anthony decided to quit his band, abandoning all his possessions and turn around, heading back to Philly. “I had a layover in Phoenix before I got to LA,” explains Green. “I was freaking out. It was such a weird turning point. I just felt like, if something’s going to happen, I’m going to have to do it.” Frangicetto got a call begging him to pick the singer up from the airport at 6am. The surreal reunion was immortalised by the song “Handshakes at Sunrise” and Circa Survive was on its way to being born. With the backing of Equal Vision Records on the basis of their demo material, Green and Frangicetto went about recruiting the other band members. Frangicetto had no hesitation in asking guitarist Brendan Ekstrom to join, as he had worked with him in his previous band This Day Forward. “I was blown away by Brendan’s

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presence and guitar playing from the start,” says Frangicetto. “I had always known that if I were to ever start another band I would need and want him with me.” A drummer was found in the shape of Steve Clifford (“He’s the young funny guy of the band. He makes us laugh,” says Frangicetto). Bassist Nick Beard also came from California to Philly from the band Taken. The line-up now complete, the band could concentrate on developing their music. The group rented a house in the area, moved in, and came up with the material that would make up their debut album, Juturna. They describe it as a “mind-bending amalgamation of influences ranging from prog-rock to art-metal, which reflects both the diverse backgrounds and the common bonds of the five unique individuals who make up Circa Survive”. The visceral songs full of mish-mash guitars and machine gun drums are certainly a compelling listen. They say that fans of any of the members’ former bands will be surprised—in a very good way. “It’s definitely a lot more straight up rock and roll than our previous projects.” offers Green. “I definitely sound different than I’ve ever sounded, but I don’t entirely know why that is. Maybe it’s because I’m a little bit older. It’s delicate music, but it’s not too passive. It’s got

all this bulk to it. There’s a sick amount of groove.” Time will tell if this story will have the Hollywood happy ending but if the band’s future success is anything like their level of passion and dedication to their art we can expect very big things indeed. Louise Steggals

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In the darkest hole ever known to man - the dressing room at the Mean Fiddler in London - Seether wax lyrical about Britney Spears, pinball and South Africa... It’s been a while since we’ve been here – about a year or so I think - rumour had it that we had some new fans we should play to, so here we are. With a new album, we’re concentrating on doing more European stuff. That maybe so but the question on everybody’s lips right now is, is this the smallest dressing room you’ve ever been in? Yes. Definitely. I don’t think we’ve been in one smaller for about six years. Normally we have the bus to drop all our bags and shopping in but here we are. So you’re flying in off the back of the album – there’s a hell of a difference between that and the first album, but I guess so much time has elapsed because essentially, you put that out twice. Putting it out ‘twice’ as you put it, definitely helped us out internationally in as much as getting the exposure we needed. Especially with the resulting touring that came out of that outside of the USA, because up until then there wasn’t really that much interest in us as far as the rest of the world goes. It was good for us to get Broken out – especially here. Sure, Broken just unzipped the bag for you didn’t it. It must have been priceless. In a sense it had been growing for a while but it was only the constant touring that made it grow. Releasing that song in Europe definitely took us from being nobodies to somebodies. But then isn’t that also because Seether bring something a little bit different to the table than the norm? I was reading something this morning in which you said that you’d been brought up as a kid on ABBA – I don’t think you can get a much better grounding in songwriting than that. You can add all the metal you like, but in so far as song structure and melody goes, not many come close. I think as far as melody goes, ABBA wrote real catchy stuff. Between them, Kenny Rogers and Paula Abdul. It’s just real cool catchy pop songs and that’s OK you know.

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Do the rest of you have a similar background? No! Most of us come up from a background of grunge and rock of the early nineties. It’s kind of cool that we have a little diversity within the band though. Is there much of a scene to speak of in South Africa? It’s not a subject anybody ever brings up here very much. There’s a lot of rock bands, it’s just that there’s not a lot of support for any of them because it doesn’t make them any money so they don’t care about it. So what happened? You just figured it wasn’t going to happen and moved Stateside? No, we actually got signed by a computer game distributor, released an album which we sent out to record companies all over the world and Wind-Up Records in New York heard it.

They flew us out for a showcase and subsequently signed us. Good label. They’re not afraid of picking up a band that shows promise and sticking with them, which is good to see these days. They also have our support band tonight, People in Planes. They’re drinkers! We’re joining them after this! So where to after this apart from Birmingham tomorrow of course? Well, Munich and Vienna, but then we got a month off and then start up again in the States until March, then back over to South Africa in April and after that there’s a whole bunch of options. It’s cool to come back and see that the venue is sold out - it’s about seeing your work. It’s really working – when you have a couple of guys in the band that are from somewhere else – no matter where that somewhere else is – you always have the advantage of seeing the bigger picture internationally. We just did the Audioslave tour in the US, so it’ll be good to pick up in January where we left off with that. That was a great tour. We’re all kind of hoping that the whole tour will come over here too. It was great because I don’t think we’re that different to be honest. In every band there’s always someone who gravitates to the production level, and one who takes to the road more than the others – what’s the story in Seether? Pat: – I honestly prefer playing live. I’m gonna play til I die. Dale: The studio is good fun for all of us. Exposure to different aspects of the business that you like is inevitable because essentially, when you’re out on the road, you only play for a couple of hours a day. I’ve produced a few small bands back home just to test the water, but hopefully you can bring something to the table. With all the knowledge that you bring in from all the different producers you work with, hopefully you can give something to those younger bands and help them with a ‘shorter trip’, maybe teach them to avoid some of the shit you went through. It’s cool to help out younger bands, but we’re way too busy for that right now. Shaun: I’d like to have a record company at some point that doesn’t fuck over bands. That would be good... well to a point! Especially just signing South African bands. There’s some great bands out there and it’s just circumstances and location that keep them from becoming hugely successful. Big record companies don’t give a fuck about South African bands. Do they have offices out there? Yeah! They do actually. The country though is basically a pop music country. There’s a lot of indigenous music to, so that’s a priority for them. So one rock band will come out and sell 5000 copies and then an Afrikaans album will come out and do 500,000 – you can kind of 059


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leaves you. But then Chris is like that too, he told me about the effects of Johnny Cash doing Rusty Cage, but that was cool because he always had that element of danger – some things I’d have a problem with though like Garth Brooks doing one of your best songs – I don’t think I’d like that too much. Money or no money! I’ll spare you the conversation we then had that grew from Garth Brooks having a song on the Kiss tribute album, because you know where that wanders off too, but it leads us to a good place – honest… I got a pinball machine. Fully restored. It’s a piece of art.

...yeah, and this bumping backstage area where there’s mounds of blow and girls and drink! see their point and who can blame them, but it would be nice to see it growing, because it could happen. There is one guy out there who is great, who actually cares… ..that’s got to be the hardest job in the world, caring! He’s great, he’s signed like four or five of the best bands out there. Sadly he’s just not up high enough in the food chain to make a big enough difference. So what can we look forward to tonight? Guillotines, blood and fire... Fuck yeah. Dragons too – our amps go to 11! There’ll be beer and sweat. That’s all you need to know. We’re not a smoke and mirrors band. Everybody seems to have a video crew on the road with them these days. Where’s the crew? I’ve seen that too. There was a local band last night in Paris who had crew following them around documenting them. I guess it would be cool if you were planning to put a DVD out of a certain period in a bands life, but there’s not gonna be a Seether reality show. I wouldn’t want my life invaded up to that point. Reality is such a farce. We did this ‘reality’ thing one day about snowboarding. Fucking ‘Hanging with Seether’ or something and it was bullshit. You’d walk in this store and they’d go, “Can you walk in again and can you stand on this side because it looks better.” We went to this one little store and there was an old lady behind the camera, and everything was cool. We were asking for directions or 060

something and we finished that and then they wanted us to do it again. The old lady was a real trooper, but as it went on, she was self editing and trying to make her lines a little bit better than they were the last time! She was just excited about being on TV, but what you see and what you get get isn’t always what really happened. It’s weird what people expect from a band in those situations. Like a troupe of midgets or something… Yeah, and this bumping backstage area where there’s mounds of blow and girls and drink! …and yet what do we have here on the rider guys… cheese, assorted cold meats... Maybe if we play good they’ll take us out to Burger King. But y’know, the level of expectation is weird. I know why people want to go backstage, it’s because the bands there, but once you’re there it’s normally boring as hell! I mean we hang out most of the day and that’s cool because we’re friends but nothing really ‘happens’. That’s why everybody draws pictures on the walls. Every backstage area has at least one penis on the wall – look around you’ll find it! Sure enough, Dale finds it tucked away in a corner along with assorted T & A. There’s a mirror that comes off the wall too (natch), but surely all of this must get weird when you come up through the ranks so fast with no ‘gradual’ exposure. Well, we’re all still fans, as I’m sure every band always says, but we’d like, move to one side to let Chris Cornell past – stuff like that never

I used to have one of them. It was a piece of shit – it’s rubbish. Did you get it restored? Yeah. The paint job I got done cost me as much as the machine did! I never play mine. Nobody is allowed to touch it! It’s like the holy grail of Kiss collectibles. It’s all gotten a bit Spinal Tap. A six year old would probably love to play it but I’d be like ‘That’s enough! You’re being too hard on the flippers!’. Man, that tune sucks. Would you do the Seether pinball machine thing? Shit yeah – but only because it’s funny as fuck. Didn’t GnR used to have one? I think Aerosmith used to have a video game where you threw CDs at people. We’d do it if it was funny and maybe if there were only five made. Would you do the McFarlane thing with the dolls? Not sure.. it would be a cool promo item. Each of them would have a little beer bottle and an ipod – man it would be funny. Y’know, that’s not a bad idea as a promo item – might be worth looking into (you read it here first!). I always found it quite odd that the party bands like Poison were always really ‘up’ on stage but pretty much killing themselves with angst off it, whereas bands like Seether tend to use any bad feelings to fuel the songs and then have a great outlook on life because most of the shit is dealt with. You’re right. There’s this great clip from Headbangers Ball where they’re like in a water park and Alice in Chains are all hanging out in their speedos and shit. They’re having a really good time and it was awesome. I think that shows a well balanced band… Maybe Alice in Chains aren’t the best example in the world huh! Yeah… like Britney Spears then - she’s a big fucking wreck.. But you still would though right… Shaun: No Everyone else: yeah Pat: Er… yeah I guess. You know, if she wasn’t famous I don’t know if I would, but because she is, I would do it just so that I could say I did it! Which led me nicely into my stupid game! See the side panel on the next page… play along. It’s not as easy as it looks once you’ve committed yourself…

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Marry, Fuck, Kill, Kill, Kill! I saw this on a TV show a while back – couldn’t resist it when the opportunity came up to play it with Pat: So… Pat, you’re choices are: Britney, Christine and Avril;

Man, that’s easy – OK, fuck Avril, kill Britney and marry Christine. No wait! Er…. Fuck, that’s a lose, lose, lose situation bro! Can’t be done! Can I do all three to all three – in the right order of course. The rules are very strict bro. It’s a hard game. Especially when you have a girlfriend and some fuck you hardly know is about to print it in a magazine...

Seether At work, rest and play. Not sure which is which though..

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live

Pics: Chiaki Nozu

The Secrets of Silent Earth: Revealed!

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COHEED & CAMBRIA London Astoria 16 December 2005 You see it once or twice in a lifetime and when it happens you just know that you’re in the presence of something special. The queue at the Astoria was as typically long as it always is but the sense of anticipation was beyond. Like the first time HIM played here, it’s a marking event. An event that states, without comeback, that the likelihood of them ever returning to a venue this intimate is minuscule. Next up is Brixton Academy, from there, who knows, but an event like this at the Astoria means one thing: the vast majority of the people here are hardcore fans who know the words not just to the obvious material from Good Apollo, but also go way back with the ability to match Claudio word for word from the first album onwards. Lest we forget, Thrice provided a worthy support but ultimately will be forgotten in the midst of this desert storm. There are few bands who stand a chance of a decent support slot in an atmosphere like this - the best they can hope for is that some people might recognise the name next time they hear it. Sad but true. Eventually, the lights go down and the lights go up. A sea of arms explodes not just down at the front but right up to the back and in the balconies too. Even the cordoned off record company area is buzzing. None of that arms folded ‘impress me’ shit going on here. Everybody knows they’re going to be knocked out, it’s just a matter of where the suckerpunch is going to land. Claudio is greeted like the messiah everybody so badly wants him to be.

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There’s no love lost on this band as it all hits the mark and as the first bars thunder from the stage, we’re lost. Each and every single one of us. You couldn’t think of a more bizarre scenario than close on a thousand people bellowing “Man your own jackhammer, Man your battlestations” to the assault of In Keeping Secrets: 3. Stranger still, or maybe it’s just me, that those very same hardcore moshpit creators are capable of being just as into the pop sensibility that is Blood Red Summer and A Favor House Atlantic as they are the brooding sadness of The Crowing. Hardly surprisingly though, it is the material from Good Apollo that’s met with the most fervour. Ten Speed should really so badly be released as a single - and soon too. This, amongst all the other material is the song that sums the band up the best. Melody, ferocity, great lyrics and a sweeping dynamism that’s utterly irresistible - it would be the killing blow. Welcome Home is also received with open arms. With its stabbing chord structure, it’s a perfect vehicle for fist throwing motherfuckers. Likewise with Crossing the Frame, just great songs on CD and brought into another dimension live. Whilst it may be Claudio’s show, no man is an island and the guys in the band form an absolutely integral part of the chemistry at play here. Mike’s bass is as important as John Paul Jones’ ever was, Josh will not be forgotten out back there... he won’t let it happen and if Travis is quite prepared to live in the shadow of Claudios theatrics, he will one day be rewarded as being one hell of a fucking guitarist. Rather unprofessionally, I was so engrossed in what was going on onstage, I have no idea what the set list was or in what order it came, but I

think that’s the way the game should be played with these guys. Not a minute by minute reference but just one huge sensory experience. Have I said too much? Come on... you know I love this band. To quote the incorrigible Mr Adam Ant, “You may not like it now, but you will”. Nothing else even comes close right now. Catch them on the next leg of the tour or get seriously left behind.

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live BON JOVI TD BANKNORTH GARDEN BOSTON, MA 9 DECEMBER 2005 The party started long before the house lights dimmed, lots of highspirited ladies bouncing and flaunting to the sound of AC/DC and the Stones warming up the PA. It’s all about the chicks, and wherever they are, guys always seem to follow. That tried and true rock and roll theorem still works well for Bon Jovi, confirmed by the early season snowstorm having no affect on attendance for the first of two sold out nights at the Garden. The core band sounded tight, with added guitarist Bobby Bandiera and keyboardist Jeff Kazee rounding out a bigger sound. Too bad the venue better designed for hockey and basketball games swallowed any acoustic subtlety. Still, showmanship evened the field, namesake frontman Jon still a master of big arena rock moves. His broken-hearted gestures played out Novocaine and Bed Of Roses, sweeping all the way back to the furthest seats. And smartly leading a chorus 20,000 strong through Livin’ On A Prayer made the high notes lost to his younger vocal range a non-issue. Alternating between new songs, familiar tunes like Bad Medicine and You Give Love A Bad Name sounded warmer without the predated ‘80s studio gloss. Likewise the maturity of Jon and guitarist Richie Sambora as songwriters made the largely unfamiliar new material equally wellreceived, like the spirited call and response chorus of Who Says You Can’t Go Home? Blaze Of Glory was a clear high point of the show, drummer Tico Torres creating the percussive ambiance of desolate melancholy, feeding the acoustic drama of a slower pace that shaped the Hollywood blockbuster soundtrack into more heartfelt realism. The same thing with a sparse rendering of Tom Petty’s I Won’t Back Down that was also firstrate. A tip of the hat to Bon Jovi for taking the calculated risk of not coasting through nostalgia, the payoff being an overwhelming response not dated by sentimentality, but characterized instead by an invigorated sense of fun. RL

INXS QUEEN ELIZABETH THEATRE, VANCOUVER JANUARY 18, 2006 Canadian singer J.D. Fortune had some mighty big shoes to fill when he won last summer's reality series Rockstar: INXS, replacing the late, great Michael Hutchence as lead singer of the Aussie dance-rock band. Hutchence killed himself in 1997. The hour-and-25-minute performance began with the questionable song choice of Suicide Blonde, but the crowd went nuts from the get-go for the combination of the handsome homegrown singer and the familiar INXS back catalogue,

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particularly such funky rockers as New Sensation, Mystify, Need You Tonight, Kick, Devil Inside, early hits such as Original Sin, Don't Change, and What You Need, and the emotional one-two punch of Stairs and Never Tear Us Apart during the encore. About a half-dozen songs from INXS' newest album, Switch, recorded with Fortune in the post-Rockstar: INXS period, were also represented -including the huge hit, Pretty Vegas, which Fortune co-wrote and performed on the reality show, and the appealing and Bowie-esque Hungry. But the most poignant moment of the evening came during the new tune, Afterglow, written as a tribute to Hutchence, when the band seemed to collectively have moved on from his rather large shadow. If Hutchence was funky, sexy, mysterious and dangerous, Fortune is way more more accessible, right down to the crotch grabs, beer-swilling, cigarette-smoking and liberal use of the f-bomb. The good news is that Fortune -who changed outfits three times, including into a black t-shirt with the world "Hustler" on it -- will eventually forge his own style, hopefully by the time the group arrives at Massey Hall for two soldout shows on Feb. 6-7. There's still some of the former Elvis impersonator left in him yet. JK

If you think I'm being too harsh, know that I was a Nickelback fan from way back - 1996 to be exact - when I picked up the band's independent EP, Hesher. While it was still somewhat derivative of the early '90s Seattle sound, waning at that point because of Kurt Cobain's suicide, Hesher was still a solid collection of rock tunes. Many of those same tracks appear on the band's debut album, Curb, and apparently Hesher fetches a decent chunk of change on Ebay as a collector's item. So, that said, the question is whether I could leave my Nickelbaggage at Rexall's door. In the same way I hoped Nickelback could channel that decade-old vitality, it was Live's back catalogue of hits I was most anxious to hear. Live's never been able to match the success of Throwing Copper, its 1994 breakthrough album. Having said that, Awake, Live's best-of album from a couple years ago, demonstrates the band's longstanding command of melodic rock. Not, however, soft rock; Live lead Ed Kowalczyk's voice carries too much weight. And Live did everything right. They played enough classics like Lightning Crashes, I Alone and Lakini's Juice so as to actually make you interested in their upcoming album, Songs from Black Mountain. Nickelback - the shame of Nickelback is that they're not an especially

bad band, nor are they a truly great one. It makes their success that much more confounding. Unlike the opening acts, Nickelback weren't restricted on stage - lead singer Chad Kroeger was allowed to step past this unspoken barrier on the stage's catwalk that neither Jones or Ed Kowalczyk did, or was allowed to. Nickelback's stage setup was also complemented by fireworks, a massive six-panel light display behind the band, cannons shooting free swag and flames shooting up from the stage floor. A lot of gimmickry that cast all the more light on the band's inability to carry a show based on its own artistic merit. Kroeger's songs about growing up in small town Alberta could have been small town anywhere and his onedimensional growl made every song drift by that much more anonymously. If nothing else, for a merely passing talent, Nickelback is well-managed. The light show is a great distraction, and opening acts like the superb Danko Jones and Live, who played great sets without the benefit of parlor tricks, are another. Ultimately, Nickelback's lack of imagination played right into my narrow-mindedness about giving them the benefit of the doubt. In the future, Alberta, I implore you, set aside your misplaced patriotism and bestow your love on bands that really deserve it - Live and Danko Jones for a start. We're all people, after all. YW

NICKELBACK/LIVE REXALL PLACE, EDMONTON CANADA JANUARY 22, 2006 Until last night at Rexall Place, I had never seen Nickelback live. Yes, I should probably turn in my "I love Alberta beef - and Nickelback" bumper sticker. Nickelback, a raised-in-Alberta band, has ascended to rock stardom's upper echelons. As they're from here, last night's sold-out show isn't all that surprising. We want to see our boys that made good. However, the Canadian reputation for politeness is exacerbated in Alberta, where we're plagued by a misplaced sense of provincial pride. This is true of Nickelback. We're willing to forgive anything - even mediocrity - so long as it finds an international audience that allows us to say, yeah world, you're welcome. Medicine Hat-raised country star Terri Clark, who happened to play at Rexall on Friday, is another telling example of our apologists' sense of rah-rah. On her latest album, Life Goes On, Clark's cliched lyrics are best read in a Dr. Seuss rhyming style - they are that funny. Still, Clark made it big in Nashville so all is forgiven. Nickelback, too, found an American audience - the ultimate validation - so who cares if hits like How You Remind Me and Someday more or less sound alike? The band knows about the wayward MP3 that syncs the songs together (try Googling "How You Remind Me of Someday") to illustrate their sameness. Nickelback, of course, don't concede a formulaic dependency.

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The Truth About Heaven ARMOR FOR SLEEP/CHIODOS THE CATHOUSE, GLASGOW 12 DECEMBER 2005 With the last minute cancellation of main support Idiotpilot, it’s left to Chiodos to take on the mantle. A wall of noise introduces the sextet as they explode into a sea of emotional turmoil and unbridled energy to fill the stage in every sense of the word. Their ever shifting tempos of metal guitar riffs to engaging melodic exuberance and almost everything in-between is enticing. Although the band put their heart and soul into the performance, frontman Craig Owens’ rambling rants dilutes an otherwise potent set. Having toured with Charlie Simpson’s Fightstar may be both a blessing and a curse for New Jersey quartet Armor For Sleep. The recently revamped Cathouse has an unusually healthy crowd for a Monday night, there are the typical rock and indie contin-

GETAMPED KOKO, CAMDEN, LONDON 14 DECEMBER 2005 I’d been looking forward to seeing getAmped, the surfer dudes from the south coast of England, for quite some time. As the UK’s best kept secret, I really enjoy these guys. They came on stage looking every inch the surfer dudes in cut off shorts and beach hair. These guys have enthusiasm by the bucket load - the bassist was leaping around the stage like a loon! It’s a pity I wasn’t more familiar with the material because they didn’t introduce many of their songs. They didn’t play either of their latest releases, “Reject and Sterilise” or “Token Christmas Song”. Even a slight hitch with the microphones, resulting in the loss of the vocal for part of the first song, didn’t put the surf-rockers off their performance. Cranking it up a notch with the all-out rocking track Short Fuse, they won the audience over. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen a support act incorporate a drum solo into the set and comparing themselves to KY jelly might have been a mistake! It was all over far too soon. VR

LIFE OF AGONY KOKO, LONDON 14 DECEMBER 2005 KOKO wasn’t quite the sort of venue I’d have put Life Of Agony in but it

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gent, but also a suspicious scattering of pop-punk teenagers. Opening with the crowd pleaser ‘My Town’ is a clever move, it ignites and excites with its infectious melody, with the propelling power chords of ‘Car Underwater’ bursting with emo poppunk sensibilities. However singer/guitarist Ben Jorgensen is strangely muted between songs and initially seems to be going through the motions, together with a batch of mediocre numbers pacifies the already semi-nonchalant audience further. Just when the gig is in danger of going into freefall, the rock charged and inspired new song ‘The Way Out Is Broken’ kick-starts it with a vengeance. By the closing number ‘Truth About Heaven’ the now unrestrained vocalist takes it to the fans, joining them for an impromptu sing-along to end the night on a positive high. A rollercoaster gig by the promising dream inspired indierockers.

Pic: Duncan Bryceland

AFS leave New Jersey in search of new territories to conquer and find a good home in Glasgow...

DB

seemed to work. The red and purple ex-theatre was fairly slow to fill up, there was no queue and the mix of people was refreshing. I expected it to be black-clad teenagers but I suppose that’s naïve of me given LOA’s history and longevity. With an almighty roar (from the audience), the band took to the stage for the last gig of the current tour. Let the crowd surfing, stage diving and moshing commence! Kicking off with Don’t Bother, promptly followed up with The Day He Died from the new album Broken Valley, the atmosphere was charged. It was a great way to start the set as I suspect quite a few people were new to the band like I was. The inclusion of older numbers was, of course, necessary and welcomed by old and new fans alike. Clearly the favourite track from the new album was Love To Let You Down and I Regret was frantic. During Lost at 22 (which got changed to Lost at 32) Caputo jumped into the audience to hug someone. Then into Strung Out and Wicked Ways, he perched on the monitors like Gollum, surveying the audience. Banter during the evening included slagging off of Sony and thanking everyone who’d helped them put the album out. Of course there was an encore, and of course it was River Runs Red. Bonus features of the encore included the smashing of a guitar and giving the pieces to a fan. Not sure the

roadie was too happy about that little episode. All in, an awesome set. VR

PORCUPINE TREE MANCHESTER ACADEMY 2 8 DECEMBER 2005 During 2005, two bands impressed me more than any others. The first was Coheed and Cambria who I will hopefully get to see in February and the other is Porcupine Tree. Their respective albums shot to number 1 & 2 in my top CDs of 2005 and to the top spot in my ‘most wanted live acts’ So to tonight’s show. I’ve never seen the Academy 2 so packed. The security must have been shoehorning people in! Porcupine Tree hit the stage with the awesome Open Car and then went straight into Blackest Eyes and showed they can rock with the best of them. Loads of chunky riffs and note perfect musicianship show that Porcupine Tree are not just “Another Prog Rock band”. Tonight Steven Wilson was in a chatty mood. After apologising that there would be no Status Quo style dual axemanship between himself and guitarist John Wesley due to the small stage, he then halted, mid song, as the strings on his acoustic snapped. Stating that they would leave that song until later, if that was ok by us, he then strapped his electric guitar back on and powered into the next track, only to return to the aborted song once the

‘poorly acoustic’ was ready. The main set included songs old and new with the last two albums being well represented. All tracks were intelligent and played with passion and professionalism. The set was finished with my favourite track off Dead Wing – Halo, which left the crowd wanting more. The encore comprised of two songs only, but the first was one of their older numbers and live favourite Radioactive Toys, which was absolutely stunning, and they closed with the excellent Trains from In Absentia. With a live cd/dvd promised for 2006 and a tour to promote it, next year should be the year Porcupine Tree kick off big time. JMc

ARCH ENEMY & STRAPPING YOUNG LAD ASTORIA, LONDON 15 DECEMBER 2005 “We own your fuckin’ asses...” screams Strapping Young Lad nutjob Devin Townsend. He could have said houses though because, quite frankly, by the time the Canadian heavyweights are heaving through another of their fourminute aural assaults my ears are bleeding too heavily to clearly hear him. Led from the back by drum God Gene Hoglan, Strapping Young Lad’s set is a forty minute sonic orgasm although not everyone seems to be loving Townsends whacky jibes. “Stick this in your pipe and smoke it Manchester” he bellows

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Live and as the band troop off stage Hoglan is treated to a shower of spit from the front rows. Recent interviews have made Arch Enemy’s Angela Gossow look like, well, a bit of a cow really. Still, the heaving dance floor don’t seem to give two hoots as the band stroll out for this rescheduled show to a hero’s welcome. The reaction from this sold-out-to-fuck show is no surprise though as their recently released slab of metal, The Doomsday Machine is one hell of a shot in the arm for the metal scene. The diminutive Gossow stomps around the stage barking like a banshee with the likes of My Apocalypse almost sounding like the end of the world. I say almost because there seems to be a laid back, looser approach to the bands performance tonight with only Gossow firing on all cylinders. The rest of the band seem content to step back and just jam and groove their way through the set which, let’s face it, when you watch a band who are fronted by a woman who sounds like

the female equivalent of Lucifer, is not really what you want. More metal, less jam next time please. GF

SKIN KING'S COLLEGE, LONDON 16 NOVEMBER 2005 In the build up to the release of her second solo album, 'Fake Chemical State', Skin has decided to take it out onto the streets with a sweaty intimate club tour and the student hell venue King's College is certainly intimate and sweaty tonight. If there were any doubts as to whether Skin can still cut the rock mustard these are blown away within minutes. As soon as she takes the stage the room turns to a heaving mass of excitement as cheap beer douses the walls and me. But what of the new material? Well, perhaps unsurprisingly, comparisons to Skunk Anansie are of course there. The choruses are still big enough to build a

Arch Enemy: We predict a riot!

EDITORS BIRMINGHAM BARFLY 10 DECEMBER 2005

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house on but having two guitarists on board has allowed her to widen the musical landscape and introduce more subtlety to the verses. The guitarists' interplay has allowed for a textured and more layered sound than allowed in Skunk Anansie. Of course Skin is intelligent enough to know that this is a live gig and the audience won't leave happy without 'The Hits'; 'Hedonism', 'Charlie Big Potato' and in particular a slowed down version of 'Weak' provides the most hysterical reaction of the evening. Of the new tracks download only single 'Alone in my Room' is instantly recognisable and loud, whereas 'Falling' proves that Skin still has a way with ballads.. At this stage in her career it remains to be seen whether she can or even wants to repeat the success she enjoyed with Skunk Anansie, it is very apparent that her heart is in what she is doing the new material is certainly strong and bodes well for her maintaining a successful career. AB

There's cool. There's uber-cool. And then there's Editors. When it was announced that upcoming indie-rock heroes Editors were to play the Levis 'Ones to Watch' tour at a series of tiny Barfly venues, the rush for tickets was not much short of vicious. Forget about phoning. They'd sold out in ten minutes. Internet tickets were all gone before some pages even had them listed. And as for ebay… So, it's safe to say that everyone inside Birmingham Barfly tonight had fought like a dog to secure their place. That's why it's so odd to see all four members of Editors out in the audience watching their support bands, with nobody bothering them. Beyond cool. Guitarist Chris Urbanowicz brushes against me on his way to the bar. My jaded heart flutters but even I say nothing. Weird. Once on stage it's all change. Never have I seen a grown-up audience displaying such devotion to a band. The guys behind me are at their third gig of the tour, with two more to go. The girls in front of me top that. This is their eleventh gig - and they've come down from Glasgow for the night to be here. Such is the level of passion these brooding Brummies inspire. Favourites Sparks and Munich are towards the top of the set causing frontman Tom Smith to strangle his guitar and stalk around the stage as the throng punch the air and sing every lyric back it him. Chris Urbanowicz swings his guitar listlessly from side to side as he plays, looking like he's waiting for a bus, with rock star charisma pouring out of him. By four songs in, it's necessary to cool everyone off - band and crowd alike - with the poignant slowy Fall which Tom sings almost lying down on the floor. The only problem with their debut album The Back Room, is that it's so good, you can't help but wonder if they'll ever top it. So Find Yourself a Safe Place,

a new song not featured on the album, hints at a promising future for Editors. By the time they reach their anthemic single Bullets every hand in the place is in the air. Russell Leech on bass scowls at his devotees. Tom Smith starts to play his guitar on top of his head. Chris Urbanowicz is still waiting for his bus. Open Your Arms closes the main part of the set with the crowd's singing easily heard over the booming PA. They return to their adopted-hometown crowd for Lights, Fingers in the Factories and an inspired cover of a Stereolab song. I've been going to gigs for twenty years. I can't begin to count the number of bands that I've seen - the great and the good amongst them. But Editors are the best live band I've ever experienced. End of. SE

FALL OF TROY/FEAR BEFORE THE MARCH OF FLAMES NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY UNION 28 NOVEMBER 2005 Perhaps it was the bitter cold, or the forty-five minute wait in the snow that prevented all but the most dedicated of fans from turning out to the Newcastle Union on this damp Monday night, but the fairly sparse audience didn’t seem to faze Seattle three-piece, Fall of Troy as they strode on the stage, put their heads down, and commenced what was to be an intense and exhilarating set. Slightly shocking, however, was the extremely high-pitched hardcore screaming that sporadically erupted from the guitarist (quite unexpected from an unassuming-looking bloke in jeans and a brown t-shirt) before launching into some fast-paced, catchy emo melodies. But Fall of Troy’s talent was most definitely to be found in their instrumental capabilities; despite a couple of messy changeovers their assault of harsh, hard-hitting turbulence interspersed with intricate guitar twiddling was enough to set your pulse racing as they turned from the audience and lost themselves amidst their beautifully chaotic noise. Next up was Fear Before The March of Flames - not exactly a band name that rolls off the tongue, in just the same way that their songs aren’t really the kind that you can sing along to. The crowd had grown, but was still relatively un-enthusiastic as FBTMF confidently burst into their much heavier, harder set. The lead singer’s piercing vocals were bitterly spat forth in a torrent of deep-throated screams, while a wall of discordant guitar built to a climactic ache amidst incessant offbeat drumming. But by the end of the set, these unrelenting and overbearing cut-glass vocals rapidly began to loose their appeal, and as the front man convulsed around the stage, became not dissimilar to a toddler having a tantrum in the middle of a supermarket. Exhausting, remorseless, and frankly quite painful, FBTMOF failed to set me on fire, and instead just left me feeling old. SE

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Discs ..

QUEENSRYCHE OPERATION MINDCRIME: II RHINO ✪✪✪✪✪ Well, before the disc even arrives - and before you get one in your hand opinions will be formed. My personal opinion is that it’s a brave move. It’s do or die time. In a word: Mindcrime II has all the ingredients to be the audio event equivalent of an RTA. If it’s a bad album, I would say the writing was pretty much all over the wall. If it’s a great album, fans around the world will be breathing a sigh of relief and it should see the ressurection of a slightly stalled career.

Well, the good news is, for what it’s worth, I think it’s a great album. It’s hard to put into perspective though. I remember when Mindcrime originally came out - it became album of the year for the troops on the ground, although if I recall correctly, the press weren’t very kind to it. It continued to be held dear for many years after too. Time has its wicked ways though, and I haven’t listened to it for years. I think it would be unfair to drag it out now and buff it up against this one though, so Mindcrime 2 will be standing here on its own merits. With the benefit of already having a time proven solid story underpinning the whole concept, Queensryche have taken the production values inherent

in tha first album and brought them into a whole new dimension. Does it work. Fuck yeah... and then some! The first time around the ride is a strange experience. I find myself waiting for something familiar to happen - and there are snatches too. Small nods to the past dropped in here and there are enough to anchor it in place. By the end of the first listen, I’m exhausted! First impression is that I’ve just listened to one of the greatest duets in rock as Geoff and Ronnie Dio (Dr X) battle it out in the studio and tear up the rule book. Shit like this doesn’t happen often enough. People shouldn’t shy away from this sort of thing, they should embrace it.

Like me, you might find it tough going for a couple of listens. Torn between trying to enjoy it for what it is and trying to figure out what the story is, I guess my attention is somewhat distracted but very soon, all the pieces slot together and when they do, I’m left with the impression that we’re looking at an exceptionally fine piece of work here. Geoff Tate sounds more intense than he has on the last couple of studio releases for sure and there is no faulting any aspect of the album whatsoever. This is going to be a love it or hate it experience for you. Every aspect of the album has had a harsh eye cast over it. The backing vocals serve to bring out the best in the songs melodies, there’s some superb guitar work and Scott’s drums sound incredible. Check out those rhythms onThe Hands (that starts with a very familiar chord structure), that string arrangement during Re-arrange You it’s pure unadulterated classic Queensryche. The aforementioned Dio duet of The Chase is a highlight of the album as it races from one dynamic to another all of this and so much more leads to a crushing finale to the story with a series of melancholy songs to wrap it up... ...and yet, when I start the disc over from the beginning again, I keep finding new and exciting things to say about it. There’s a lot of love and serious hard graft gone into making this album work properly for its audience. To put it in context for you, if you were to liken Mindcrime to an audio version of The 39 Steps movie, then Mindcrime II is like Mission Impossible 2 by comparison - and if you thought even for a moment that Queesryche were a spent force, think again. Their best album since Empire without a shadow of a doubt. I love this album. SS

The shape of things to come: With Tate & co planning to take the show on the road and airing the entire concept on the road, no collection would be complete without this as well:

The Return of the Kings ·· Queensryche return to form and reclaim the crown from the young pretenders! 076

The LiveCrime album is also available as a DVD and is a sight for sore eyes! Someone really needs to re-release the original Mindcrime video though...

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AMORPHIS ECLIPSE NUCLEAR BLAST ✪✪✪✪✪ Now, the rules are quite simple here. If the singer busies himself with the ol’ death metal growl, I don’t wanna know. There’s a reason people write lyrics, it’s so they can be heard. So, why do I love this? Well, first up is the fact Tomi Joutsen only takes that option occasionally – for the most part, his deep voice resonates beautifully over the intricate guitar work of Tomi Koivusaari and Esa Holopainen. Secondly, there’s the fact that the songs are so damn catchy. Two spins and you’ll be humming Brother Moon all day, Two Moons starts off like Dio (not a good thing) before the band kick in and rip your head off, House Of Sleep is one of the most infectious, catchy songs I’ve heard in a while. I’m also a sucker for flutes (Leaves Scar). With Lacuna Coil and Within Temptation riding high at the moment, Amorphis have come along with their 11th album to prove that the boys can do it just as well. If not better. KJ

ACE FREHLEY GREATEST HITS LIVE MEGAFORCE ✪✪✪✪ Ace is a weird puppy to review. I mean, the guy is a legend, a personal hero, a guitar god in the most unlikely sense and an all round good egg - if not a little fucked up sometimes. I say this because Ace’s solo output has always been somewhat less than thumbs-up all round - however, less than brilliant has always been good for me. Ace does what he does and when brilliance strikes, it’s always memorable. A greatest hits package is an awesome idea. A bunch of great songs performed live - it’s Ace in his element. Rip It Out and New York Groove from his ‘78 solo outing form a good sandwich on which to

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base the rest. Breakout and Rock Soliders have always been fan favourites and they’re performed here with enough fire to really bring them to the fore. To be honest, the album could live without the Kiss tracks on it. they’re always welcome and it has to be hard to move on from a machine like Kiss, but Ace has other songs that could have filled the album just as well, (having said that, this is great version of Shock Me!). Ace’s version of Hide Your Heart for one and where the hell is Insane - the best song in his deck? Never mind. Ace and Kiss fans will lap it up. Others will steer clear. Alas, those are the ones who’ll be missing out. SS

except that the disc costs $15. Decide for yourself if that’s too much or not (the individual CDs would cost you more). AL

DEATHSTARS TERMINATION BLISS NUCLEAR BLAST ✪✪✪

JOHN CORABI UNCOVERED ✪✪✪✪ I’m sure I’m not the only one to have listened to a load of those all-star tribute albums and thought “John Corabi’s track is the best one!”. Well, Crabby fans need worry no more (almost). John has contacted the labels of some of the tribute albums he’s contributed tracks to in the past and gained permission to put out his own compilation CD, available for a limited time exclusively from his new website. While this collection isn’t entirely complete (notable absences include Patience by Guns N’ Roses, Hells Bells by AC/DC and The Girl Can’t Help It by Journey) it’s still better than buying the individual tribute albums for the sake of one track (10 albums in all). Some of John’s best covers are here, though, including his awesome version of Def Leppard’s Wasted, Aerosmith’s Livin’ On The Edge and Rod Stewart’s Maggie May (worthy of note because he’s the first person in history to make a Rod Stewart song sound great) as well as cuts from Scorpions, Van Halen, GN’R, Jeff Beck and Ted Nugent (don’t worry, it’s the good one). There are however two niggles (much underused word, niggles) I have with this release. Firstly, the inclusion of the two cover songs on Union’s live album Live In The Galaxy to make up the numbers is a little disappointing as this release is intended for Corabi fans who want all of his songs, and will therefore already have those as they’re on one of John’s albums. Secondly, the CD is only a CDR. John designed the disc artwork and liner artwork himself, and while the printing is of such a high quality that it’s identical to a professional product, the disc itself isn’t. Not really a huge problem,

Despite the shock-rock suggestiveness of their image, and pseudonyms like ‘Nightmare Industries’, ‘Beast X Electric’ and ‘Whiplasher’, vocally Deathstars opt for a rasping gothicmetal growl, while musically the band embrace a slower, more deliberately chilling industrial sound, exploiting both the eerie atmospherics of fragile sounding keyboards in the twinkling yet terrifying introduction to ‘Play God’, and the chant-like quality of ‘Tongues’ to capture some of the smouldering militant ferocity of Rammstein. While there is a tendency for the industrial drone of the guitars to become repetitive, and at times the dominating march of earlier tracks seems to slow to more of a plod, ultimately ‘Termination Bliss’ is a sophisticated second album from the Swedish industrial-goths that is simultaneously sinister and sexy, with the ability to make your blood run cold. CM

BENEDICTUM UNCREATION LOCOMOTIVE RECORDS ✪✪✪✪ Female fronted metal. Love it or hate? Well, whoever you are, if you like metal you’ll love this. We’re not talking Evanescence/Lacuna Coil type stuff. Or even Arch Enemy. We’re talking Halford meets Dio meets 80s Black Sabbath meets Metallica. Pure unadulterated heavy metal; fast, melodic and crushingly heavy. Vocalist Veronica Freeman has one or two Ronnie James Dio vocal traits, demonstrated particularly on covers of Black Sabbath’s Heaven & Hell and

The Mob Rules, but overall she has an identity of her own. At the risk of offending someone, I wouldn’t really blame anyone who listened to this CD and thought they were listening to a male vocalist. She’s certainly got more balls than many of the male singers around at the moment! Musically I’d say the closest match is recent Saxon and Halford band stuff. There’s certainly some serious shredding on show here, with squeals Zakk Wylde would be proud of. Song-wise the first half is the best. Title track Uncreation, Wicca, namesake Benedictum and #4 (oddly at number 3) are all superb. Later the Sabbath covers and the epic Valkyrie Rising (featuring the best ever guitar solo from Dio’s Craig Goldy) help to balance less-inspiring tracks Them (the obligatory middle-finger to anti-female metal fans) and Two Steps From The Sun. There may not be a purer metal album released in 2006. You’ve been warned. AL

GODHEAD EVOLVER REALITY ENTERTAINMENT REISSUE ✪✪✪✪ It might be a reissue but no contemporary record collection would be complete without it. With one eye on the past which came in the shape of Stabbing Westward and Gravity Kills, Godhead released an album worthy of more than it received. Chock full of full on melodic industrial sounds, there’s not a song here that wouldn’t appeal to anybody who loves rock with a heavy-ass edge to it. Formed in Washington DC in the early 90s, it took a long time for people to take notice of the band, but, helped along by inclusions on the soundtrack albums for Blair Witch Project and Queen of the Damned, they propelled themselves out of the US and finally found a worldwide audience. Hitting the road with the likes of Rammstein, Marilyn Manson, Disturbed and a stint on the Ozzfest in 2001, their following grew and the end result of all the roadwork became that which is Evolver. So, enough of the background shit and to the album. Evolver probably sits a lot better in the world with a little bit of hindsight attached. Before their time or a little bit too late with the percieved genre? It doesn’t really matter anymore. 12 songs of this calibre should just be defined as a great rock album. It has an industrial tinge to it that’s been diluted by time and made it more accessible

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Discs BROTHER CANE THE BAND THAT YOU REALLY SHOULD KNOW ABOUT: They never really made it over here like they should have. They were perfect for the UK audience, but alas it was not to be. Still, that’s no reason not to pick up on them now.

Our stress free sessions really paid off - I’m on turbo about this whole thing! Damon Johnson

SLAVE TO THE SYSTEM SLAVE TO THE SYSTEM SPITFIRE RECORDS ✪✪✪✪ Whenever a bunch of musicians get together who have previously been successful, there’s usually one of two extreme outcomes. A band better than the previous outfits (read Audioslave, Velvet Revolver) or complete fan misery (Damn Yankees). Thankfully, with nothing to prove to anybody but themselves, Slave To The System fall into the former category and although the law of averages figures that they won’t achieve success on the level of Audioslave or Revolver, they damn well deserve to. To get behind the idea, the members of the band are Damon Johnson and Roman Glick from Brother Cane (they sold gazillions in the States and about 4 copies here - hunt them down) and Scott Rockenfield of Queensryche along with Kelly Gray on bass. For a project that evolved out of a jam session, this is one monster of an album and if you’re looking for a band that can rock out with the big boys, look no further. Album opener Stigmata has Johnsons trademark Brother Cane vocal written all over it and backing it up are the relentless driving riffs just crying out for air guitar mayhem.

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With a chorus that will raise the hairs on the back of your neck, it’s a crucial opener and sets one hell of a standard to follow. Luckily, waiting in the wings to follow is Ruby Wednesday. A great singalong chorus will ensure this songs place in history but the strongest song on the album must surely be the title track. Slave to the System has got this this fantastic Cantrell type chugging guitar throughout the verses but the killer pre-chorus and chorus are what makes the song. It builds stealthily and breeds the sentiment of every man and woman that has to work a job they hate for a living. A great radio song, but an even better driving song with an awesome guitar solo to boot. Then, beautifully out of the blue, a serene ballad in the shape of Live the Life crops up. Yet another radio friendly rock monster, with the right push, this could be a huge hit for the band. I’m not sure if they’re going down that route but they damn well should. A surefire hit track that could break them with the adult market Planet Rock are you listening! So now you’re four tracks in, you know the remainder ain’t going to turn to shit in your hands. WIth all that experience behind them, the band know this too and chill into then groove and just let themselves roll out some quality rock songs. Abyss turns out to be one those

immensely catchy acoustic style numbers that has every budding songwriter hunting on Olga for then chords to play it in the bedroom. Hot on the heels of this Disinfected, and it’s like the whole album has started again! Another massive song with some huge drums and bass sitting behind it providing a great backdrop for some more riff mayhem and Johnson doing what he does best - it’s no wonder Alice Cooper picked him up for the band recently. Lyrically, Disinfected raises the bar for the band as well. Good choice not to lead the album in with it. Whatever else, it’s going to be a barnstormer on the live circuit - and there does promise to be one. Gone Today leads us to another acoustic based ballad, with, if I’m not mistaken (though I might be!) Kelly Gray taking over the lead vocal duties, which is a great idea and adds another dimension to an already great record. To be honest, the album doesn’t let up all the way to the end. Leaves is another easy hit for the band and kicks in at track 10. Nobody should make albums this good and go unnoticed, so you know what to do. Go get it.. I’m not sure why I only went in with a four star review, so here’s the other one - ✪ - I’m happy now. Fuck it. After two weeks constant play in the car, it deserves it. SS

Brother Cane was formed in 1990 by singer/guitarist Damon Johnson and bassist Glen Maxey, the group's line-up was soon complete with the addition of guitarist Roman Glick and drummer Scott Collier. After signing to Virgin Records, Brother Cane issued their self-titled debut LP in 1993 (✪✪✪✪), with the first single Got No Shame becoming a major hit although there are also the nuggets Hard Act to Follow and Don’t Turn Your Back On Me. A short time later, however, Maxey quit the band, at which time Glick assumed bass duties, and with new guitarist David Anderson they returned with 1995's Seeds. Seeds (✪✪✪✪✪)should be your first introduction to the band as it sports the belting classics Kerosene, And Fools Shine On and Horses & Needles and is a far superior album all round a definite 5 star rating going on there.

Wishpool (✪✪✪✪) followed in 1998. Launching the hit I Lie in the Bed I Make, the album also sported the excellent Machete and Come Alive Again.

If you like your rock music as real as rock music ever comes - dig ‘em out! SS

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and Evolver is all the better for it. The lead track The Hate in Me is pure emotion driven by a thumping drum and a cool bass mix that pounds up your spine. Quickly followed by Just Like You, the album quickly establishes itself as a collection of really quite melodic tunes, each one of them as catchy as hell. The Giveaway changes the pace a little and the keyboards become a little more prominent but the whole album experience is that of listening to a soundtrack to a movie - this is the track that makes you think Gravity Kills. Let’s see a rerelease in promotion of the reissue - it just deserves to be heard. Period. Frontman Jason Miller is quoted as saying “if you don’t have the base of solid songs, the rest doesn’t matter and there’s nowhere to go” - the evidence that they truly put their money where their mouth is is all over Evolver. Keep Me Down is a good example of this, yet again jumping the tracks from where you think the album is going. Always changing and morphing into a different beast, multiple plays just makes it stronger.. Damn fine SS

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HERESY 1985-’87 BOSS TUNEAGE ✪✪✪ During the mid to late-eighties Heresy were leading the way in the expanding UK hardcore scene. This remastered collection offers a look back at the band’s formative years, compiling tracks from their previously unreleased 1985 demo tape, the debut ‘Never Healed’ E.P., the foursong ‘Thanks’ E.P. and two previously unreleased tracks. The result? Thirtysix volatile minutes of distorted hardcore punk. While many tracks never really aspire to more than snippets of noise resembling an explosion in a biscuit tin, tracks from the debut E.P. give way to some surprisingly impressive riffs and (despite being unable to resist from descending into more blinding noise) feel almost listenable. Ultimately, your enjoyment of this album will depend on your perspective; while punk fans will surely be in their element, others may feel that some tracks are unreleased for a reason. CM

STILL REMAINS OF LOVE AND LUNACY ROAD RUNNER ✪✪✪✪ One of Road Runner’s newest signings, there’s wide appeal to be found in the dynamic sound and intelligent approach of Still Remains’ first major label debut. T.J. Miller’s deep-throated vocals range from a low growls to an impassioned scream, alongside the dark, twisting metal guitars and crazed rhythmic drumming. Yet surprisingly, the band still manage to retain their soaring passionate melodies, while swirling keyboards add a gothic eloquence not typically found in this kind of genre.

The band resembles Killswitch Engage in their ability to combine unrelenting metal and hardcore with beautifully singable melodies, particularly evident in the unforgettable ‘The Worst Is Yet To Come’, ‘White Walls’ and the intoxicating chorus of ‘Recovery’. Brutal and compelling, ‘Of Love and Lunacy’ is an intense album that demands to be played loud. CM

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SHAKRA FALL AFM RECORDS ✪✪✪✪ Fall is actually the bands fourth outing. They even have a live DVD (available exclusively in selected central European countries, it seems), but this seems to be the one that’s gaining them the most attention in the rock World. Vocalist Mark Fox has one of those raspy hard-rock voices that exudes passion. I don’t mean Bobby Elsworth (Overkill) throat-shredding raspy, more Steve Lee (Gotthard)/Joe Elliott (Def Leppard) raspy, but without sounding like a wimp (Hello Mr. Elliott). So, quite like Steve Lee, then. Much like fellow countrymen Pure Inc. the album contains a nice mix of rockers and ballads (i.e. 80% rockers, 20% ballads) with none of the softer moments ever getting Def Leppard-soft (I seem to have it in for the Leps this month, don’t I?). Shakra are the complete rock band. Talented players, great songs, endless hooks and brilliant solos. Stand out tracks are opener Chains of Temptation, the swaggering Take Me Now and later Walk On Water and She’s My Ecstasy. There’s very little that’s original about Shakra’s music, but that isn’t the point. The point is to rock hard, the way it’s meant to be done, with good songs. They’ve accomplished that and are now outshining headlining

bands wherever they go (like Stratovarius last November). Catch them whenever you can, and pick this little gem up in the mean time. AL

P.M.T. ACUPUNCTURE FOR THE SOUL REVOLVER RECORDS ✪✪✪ While the occasional bursts of highenergy rap-rock seen in ‘Anti-Gravity Device’ and ‘Peace Tank, Peekaboom’ are perhaps slightly dubious, they are ultimately reprieved by the punishing arrangements of fuzzy nu-metal guitar and brutal metal vocals that schizophrenically switch to bursts of dark, twisted tunes. Just as you’re sucked into the painfully catchy, writhing melodies of ‘Compost’ and ‘Sillykonne’, just a few tracks later, melodies give way to the sheer brutality of tortured screaming and hard-hitting riffage in the likes of ‘Frigo’ and ‘Tous En Orbite’ In this huge melting pot of sounds and influences it’s hard to confine P.M.T to a specific genre, but trust me, ‘Acupuncture for the Soul’ is like everything and nothing you’ve ever heard before; either way, the first UK release from the Swiss sextet certainly packs a punch. CM

ONE MAN ARMY AND THE UNDEAD QUARTET 21ST CENTURY KILLING MACHINE NUCLEAR BLAST ✪✪✪✪ One Man Army and the Undead Quartet prepare for battle: ‘Let’s show these fuckers we’re made of steel and we take no shit’ roars the ex-The Crown vocalist Johan Lindstrand. And we believe him as they march menacingly through ‘21st Century Killing Machine’. Pounding drums and dirty chugging metal guitars drive them forward with the help of razorsharp riffage and soaring solos, while Lindstrand growls like a man possessed. And every track is attacked with the same kind of immediate violence, from the brutal unrelenting drumming and sinister guitar work of ‘So Grim So True So Real’ to the huge riffs of ‘Killing Machine’ and ‘Devil on the Red Carpet’. Once again, the Swedes show us how it’s done with this muscular metal debut. CM

INTERLOCK SKINLESS REMIXES ANTICULTURE ✪✪✪✪ Quite why anyone would feel the need to remix anything by a band as already mixed-up as Interlock, I’m not sure, as their name suggests, the band’s aim seems to be to combine as many genres and influences as is humanly possible. Death metal thrashing and pounding drums clash with screams and growls interspersed by ethereal female vocals, while an industrial drone and atmospheric cyber beats add yet another dimension to the mix. But each of the remixes on this E.P. seem to emphasises a different element of the band’s sound, some picking up on the dance-like intensity, while others exploit the crushing rock and metal influences. Having already received plenty of attention for their individuality and experimental style, the terrific yet beautiful fusion of dark intensity in this E.P. will surely see their success continue in 2006. CM

TH’LEGENDARY SHACK*SHAKERS PANDELIRIUM YEPROC RECORDS ✪✪✪ The first few songs on this album will leave you a bit disorientated as you try and figure out what exactly is going on! A band that have emerged from America’s Deep South and kept their roots in mind, th’Legendary Shack*Shakers literally batter the listener with their influences – country, folk, blues and punk. Punk in amongst that lot? Hell yes. Portraying a sound that gives the impression that somebody taught the Beverley Hillbillies how to play punk, this is easily one of the most unusual albums I’ve ever heard! Iron Lung Oompah and Somethin’ In The Water are distinct rockabilly anthems, and although you probably wont see these guys on TOTP any time soon, this is a testament to the diversity of modern music – no matter how strange it is! SW

MENDEED THIS WAR WILL LAST FOREVER RISING RECORDS ✪✪✪✪ I’m a big fan of good, old-fashioned heavy metal, and at first, I was worried Mendeed would be another one of those substandard copycat emo-metal bands. But these guys deliver a semi-unique brand of

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Discs

THE 88 OVER AND OVER RED INK/ZOMBA

LIVING THINGS AHEAD OF THE LIONS RED INK/ZOMBA ✪✪✪✪✪ Record companies are stupid bastard sometimes. Two years ago, the Berlin brothers (Lillian - vocals/guitar, Eve – bass, Bosh – drums) were signed to a major and plonked in the studio with Steve Albini. Bear in mind, no band gets signed without copious amounts of gig attending, demo listening, and general hooharring. So it beggars belief that they were told the album was too political and in need of a radio-friendly hit. Living Things told them to ram it and carried on regardless. Their label got taken over, the corporate system kicked in and the album got shelved and Living Things were dropped. Two years on, and they’re back – and thank fuck. This is pure, down n dirty rock n

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roll. It’s soaked in attitude, Lillian’s vocals are crawling out of the gutter (think an angry Ron Sweetheart of The Throbs fame), his guitar even manages to sound like it’s being played low-slung. It’s laid back and arrogant at the same time. It demands to be listened to, but couldn’t give a fuck if you don’t. It’s already a contender for album of the year. And as for a lack of singles, whoever claimed that must be deaf – Ahead Of The Lions is more chock-full of potential hits than Nevermind and Hysteria combined. Bom Bom Bom is infectious, No New Jesus is a sugar-coated sledghammer, Keep It Till You Fold could grace Radio 1 without shame, Monsters of Man even manages to steal from some fine 70s funk albums. This lot have got it all. All you have to do is wait ‘til March to get your hands on it. Worth the wait. KJ

✪✪✪✪ For people with either a) great taste b) good record collections and c) excellent memories, this is one album that should be gracing your collection sometime soon. If you are one of then above ‘listees’, then you already own Bolans ‘Scare Me To Death’ album - the one that was a bit to the left of what we would normally expect - and despite the 30 years that come between them, Over and Over is like its sister album. It doesn’t sound like Bolan, but it’s got his glitter spilled all over it. In every vocal nuance, in every hook and melody... it’s just what's been needed around here - I love the heavy shit as much as anybody, but when you come from that T.Rex school, hell it’s good to be back if you know what I mean.

It’s a brave move in 2006 to release an album like this - it’s not suited to any musical climate but that’s just what makes it so great. It slots right in there with Louis XIV and Living Things... maybe there’s a new breed coming in. Certainly hope so these days, genres come and go and just leave an unhealthy tang in the mouth. When bands transcend that, they certainly have a long exciting career ahead of them. The tone of the album is very ‘Peter Pan’... the band absolutely refuse to grow up and pick up the mantle where Red Kross left it lying in the road. Who can resist the pop swagger of Hide Another Mistake as it rounds the corner with a bottle of red wine in its hand? The rest of the album continues on its merry way. If you’re a lover of good n proper pop rock n roll complete with ultra harmonies and hand claps, this little baby is for you. SS

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metalcore that satisfies. With a musical sound very similar to Killswitch Engage and vocals that sit somewhere between Funeral For A Friend-esque obnoxiousness and Phil Anselmo-level aggression, tending more towards the Anselmo-esque power-grunt. Each track offers something a bit different – and it feels like you’re seeing the band evolve and mature over the course of the album – sometimes even over the period of a single song! This does mean the songs take time to get going, but once they do, they kick ass. Heavy rhythms, shredding solos and screaming vocals you just have to head-bang to. SW

NAIO SSAION OUT LOUD NAPALM RECORDS ✪✪✪✪ A girl singer and a guy with an electric violin. Sound unlikely? Well, it is unlikely, but it’s good, nevertheless. In fact, it’s excellent. It’s not just those two, you understand. There are two guitars, bass and drums too. The violin essentially provides the solos and softer melodies over the riffing of the guitars. It really is something quite unique and brilliant. Vocalist Barbara Jedovnicky proves she is every bit as good as the popular female singers in metal (in fact, she’s better, but don’t tell the others!) and is every bit as attractive. All good so far, then. With two guitars they rock like bastards and with the violin providing melodies and solo spots, they’re elevated above the likes of the solo-less Within Temptation instantly. What about the songs, then? Well, again, it’s all top drawer. Despite some of the lyrics being the usual passionate-love-song fare, the songs are so much stronger than the competition that it can be forgiven. Throw in a couple of heavyas-hell classical compositions (Bow Link In E Minor for example) and you’ve got the complete package firing on all cylinders, showing off the immense skill of everyone involved. There are a couple of Evanescence moments (N.SS and Miss You in particular) which, along with the slight similarity between Barbara’s voice and that of Amy Lee, will undoubtedly see them labelled as a Slovenian (yes, that’s right) Evanescence-clone by the small-minded. But totally unique and astounding tracks like Shut Up will dispel any fears of that nature. Absolutely essential for the Nightwish/Within Temptation/Lacuna Coil school of rock fans. AL

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IN FLAMES COME CLARITY NUCLEAR BLAST

ANNALISE HERE’S TO HOPE NO IDEA RECORDS

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I’ve never been a big fan of In Flames, but once I’d heard this album, I was totally converted. With a sound far evolved from their last album, In Flames offer a lot with Come Clarity – a heavy and fast ‘death metal’ sound meshed together with some spectacular use of harmony and melody. Tracks such as Take This Life and Leeches perfectly epitomise the absolutely monstrous style these guys have culminated (now classified as the “Gothenburg sound”), and then with the album’s title track, the aggression is toned down and a more sensitive sound is brought forward. Every track offers something new and a bit different – bit more keyboards here, guest vocalist there… this is a true landmark in the melodic death metal scene. SW

In the red corner, we have Dundee pop-punkers Annalise; and in the blue corner, we have my deep-rooted preconceptions and prejudices. I throw a left hook with the awful history of pop-punk (Green Day et al.) – round one to me. Annalise retaliate with a swift uppercut with their surprising creativity despite the genre conventions – round two to the band. I draw back unleashing a flurry of body shots: not enough hooks, trying to resuscitate a dying genre. Staggering back, Annalise fall against the ropes, but then lunge forward with a brutal rally of headshots: anthemic sing-along choruses, a shockingly mature interpretation of pop-punk, inspired lyrics. Down I go, the sounds of cheery Dundee-based pop-punk ringing in my ears. You might have won the battle, but you’ll never win the war! SW

ONION FLAVOURED RINGS TWO MINUTES’ ENLIGHTENMENT NO IDEA RECORDS

THE HAZEY JANES HOTEL RADIO MEASURED RECORDS ✪✪✪ This is the most cheery pop-rock record I’ve ever heard in my life. Ever. Hitting the scene at a time where bands like Rilo Kiley and The Magic Numbers are slowly creeping (read as plodding gently) onto our radios, The Hazey Janes are really going to find themselves an audience. With a delightfully cheery attitude towards life (I sense a healthy dose of Prozac featuring in the creative process), The Hazey Janes have a sound that leaves you wondering whether they drafted The Monkees in on vocals, but then makes you realise you just don’t care because you’re just so happy! Tracks include Fire In The Sky and the first single, Your Enemy, which is decidedly upbeat and can get a bit sickly in places, but overall, it’s good enough! SW

✪ If this review was a boxing match, we’d be seeing the Predator squaring up to Mr Magoo. This is an absolutely appalling effort – I may not be an expert in this genre but I can tell this just is not good. 1 riff, 13 songs. There’s a difference between having samey songs, and just using the same riff for every song intro. 2 Minutes’ Enlightenment is a perfect name for the album – because exactly 2 minutes in, you have a moment of enlightenment and just dispose of the CD. This is the most awful kind of punk-tinged pop I’ve heard in a long time – avoid this, unless you have something stuck on the bottom of your boot. SW

MOHAIR SMALL TALK EAR CANDY ✪✪✪✪ What makes an album ‘rock’? Is it screaming guitars? Throat-shredding vocals? Songs about boinking your best mate’s girl? Or just the simple fact it rocks your world? Mohair are not what traditional fans would call ‘rock’ by any stretch, in fact the less charitable will be calling this indie-pop – but screw you. This review is for the open-minded in the room. This Watford-based four piece

straddle that grey area inhabited by blands (that’s not a typo) like Franz Ferdinand, Killers, even Kaiser Chiefs to a degree – only they piss all over them. Opening track Keep It Together sets the tone, soulful vocals and a chorus that won’t leave you alone. Elsewhere, Everything I Want has a beat Stray Cats would kill for, and Caught (in the middle of nowhere) is a cool bar room boogie. Sure, it tails off towards the end (End Of The Line and L.A. Song are best skipped), but for a debut effort this deserves to be applauded for its depth, variety and sheer audacity. KJ

FIREBALL MINISTRY THEIR ROCK IS NOT OUR ROCK CENTURY MEDIA ✪✪✪✪ Apparently this lot have been around since 1999, but somehow they’ve never registered on my radar. So, with no idea of what to expect (press releases are for wimps), I stuck it on and settled down for a session of LMA on the ol’ Xbox. But that didn’t last long. With every song, my attention was snapped to the stereo. The chunky, Sabbath-esque quitars, the razorblade, Ozzy-meets-Bob-Scott vocals of James A Rota II, the piercing drums and pounding beats – man, this album has the lot. From It Flies Again, through In The End, to the heavy drive of Save The Saved via the gentle (relatively speaking!) of Hellspeak, there’s not a bad track on here. This is a great driving album, it’s a great ‘bad day at work’ album, hell it can even play in the background while you read and sink a bottle of red. It’s just a great, raw, direct, rock album. Not a bad start to 2006… KJ

BATTLES EP C/B EP WARP ✪✪✪ The great thing about this job is that every now and then something comes along that makes you go “what the fuck?”. So it is with Battles. According to the press release, they mix post-rock, jazz, hardcore and electronics. In plain English, they’re weird. Good weird, don’t get me wrong, but weird none the less. Hailing from NYC, this four piece sound like the bastard child of Sonic

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Discs Youth and a whole host of free-form jazz greats. They’re not easy to listen to, but with a bit of perseverance, over the two EPs you are transported on psychedelic journeys the like of which you have never known. I’ve listened to this four or five times so far, and I still can’t work out if this is a good thing. And the song titles are off the wall too – B + T, IPT-2, BTTLS IPT2, this lot either do a lot of acid or a lot of texting. Only to be considered by diehard musos or the terminally brave. KJ

SUZI QUATRO BACK TO THE DRIVE EMI ✪ To say I stuck this in the CD player with some trepidation is no exaggeration. To say the rest of the office sniggered when they heard what I had to listen to would be no fib. To say I was stunned by the opening track would be a shock. But it’s true. Fortunately, the rest of the album’s as weak as watered down gnats pee, so life can return to normal. To be honest, I thought ol’ Suzi Q had hung up her six string. Now I wish she had. Opener, and the title track, is pure 70s glam, given a modern dressing down and pumped up – it rocks, seriously! From there on in, it’s blandola – stuff even Diane Warren and Desmond Child would think twice about getting involved in. She makes Bon Jovi sound cutting edge. And for covering Rockin’ In The Free World she should be deported to Mars, sans space suit. In her day, she was a ballsy chick who showed the lads how it was done while they tried to work out the best way to get her out of her leather jump suits. Now, musically at least, she’s a just poor-man’s Shania Twain or Bonnie Tyler. Nostalgia sure ain’t what it used to be. KJ (Editors note: I’ll have you know Mr Johnson that the above review is sacriledge and I shall be relieving you of said disc very shortly)

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HAWTHORNE HEIGHTS IF ONLY YOU WERE LONELY VICTORY

post-grunges every wannabe, and out ‘nu’s all that crap which has become old hat.

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The last HH album promised much and delivered quite a large portion of that promise. If Only You Were Lonely however delivers the full hit this time around. Now the kids from Ohio have toned down some of their shouty crap which is so unnecessary when you're songwriting is this good - they've become even more accessible. There's some killer singles on here - We Are So Last Year is an absolute MTV destroyer and Language Lessons provides a really obvious way to any unbelievers heart. Saying Sorry might be the first single to be cut from this solid block of granite, but it won't be the last. Truth of the matter is, there's nothing not to like about this album. Well thought out and delivered harmonies takes them head and shoulders above the competition, fantastic sounding guitars and heartfelt lyrics only serve to make an already winning chemistry even stronger. It's great to see their incessant road work and crowd winning antics is paying off at last - it has to be that very work ethic that's pushed the envelope on the album. Growth wise, Hawthorne Heights appear to have been shoveling growth hormones down their throat over the last year like there's no tomorrow. On the production side, Lonely is pretty damn flawless. This is one great sounding CD - on a pod, on a surround sound DVD player - even of a fucked up Mac with built-in speakers. Honestly speaking, there is no way on earth this band aren't going to make it huge. Forget the hype, forget the genre tags but don't forget to buy it. Hawthorne Heights have just set the benchmark for the others to follow. SS

WHEN GRAVITY FAILS WHEN GRAVITY FAILS ASTRO: NOUGHT RECORDINGS ✪✪✪✪ Finally, we’ve done it. We’ve come up with a band who can take on all of the nu-metal bozos from Yanksville and club them proudly around the head. Ivan Fegen (vocals/ keyboards), Alex Mackie (guitars), Dave Penney (guitars), Nick Emery (bass) and Darren Bullis (drums) have produced a debut that can hold its head up high. It

Headlight grooves along, blending Zep and Soundgarden in equal measure, with Ivan Fegan oozing attitude. The Enemy starts off delicately and then builds to an explosive conclusion, Bitter has a chorus that will have you slamming your brain against the inside of your skull – you get the idea. My one complaint is the length of the album (but with this being a self-titled release, I do understand the reasons) – at a mere seven tracks, you are left hankering for more far too soon. Still, that’s what the repeat button was invented for… KJ

BILL WYMAN STONED ALONE ANTHOLOGY 1974 - 2001 ✪✪✪✪ It’s often a question that comes up ‘Why did Bill leave The Rolling Stones?’ I don’t know the answer, why would you leave the ‘Greatest Rock n Roll Band’ in the world? I saw Bill play with The Rolling Stones twice, once in the 70’s, once in the 80’s. Like Charlie Watts (Stones Drummer) there were claims that he didn’t do that much, but Bill just made it look easy, he was that good, he is what they call a ‘bass players’ player! So Bill went solo, well, went wherever the fuck he wanted to, Bill does not need the sales, he has the gold records, Bill’s solo career has been, chequered to say the least, but one thing you can’t say is that it has been prolific or indeed safe! This collection spans four solo albums and Bill’s work with The Poor Boys alongside Charlie Watts, Led

Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page and Free vocalist Paul Rodgers and Rhythm Kings (Bootleg Kings), who feature Albert Lee and Peter Frampton, amongst others in it’s ranks, it’s these two acts that make up the backbone of disc II in this set. There is a tendency to forget that Bill loves Rhythm and Blues, (before it got taken over as R’n’ B and seemed to lose the ‘Blues’ element forever). It’s a throwback to the kind of bands that anyone over the age of forty used to see week in and week out at their local pub, in a way that’s the crux of the matter, the best pub band in the world ever, I don’t mean that with any disrespect because there are some great songs here, played by musicians at the top of their game, but you know just what I mean. Plenty of the songs that Bill and his band does are lost classics, they play with fervour and emotion, panache and style, often loose, often walking the line between shambles and genius, but this is pure and simple, two words, Rock ‘N’ Roll. As for disc 1, it just deals with Bill’s solo albums from the star studded debut ‘Monkey Grip’ in 1974, into it’s follow up in 1976 ‘Stone Alone’ from where this collection takes it’s name, both show a band member flexing his muscle, going down roads not previously allowed, ‘White Lightning’ and ‘A Quarter To Three’ are standout cuts from these two, Seems like the ‘Day Job’ took over because Bill did not get to album III until 1982, with the self titled ‘Bill Wyman’ spawning ‘Je Suis Un Rock Star’ and ‘Come Back Suzanne’ six tracks feature from this record, Bill was in danger of being more in the public eye than the Stones at this point and his well documented public life was certainly adding to his ‘Notoriety’ with the ladies! Sometimes being ‘Notorious’ was more Bill’s thing than being ‘Famous’ Bill jumped from The Rolling Stones a year later in 1983. Many would say that the band merely ‘continued’ without him, I would go so far that it was not until 2005’s ‘A Bigger Bang’ that they creatively replaced Bill, Wyman then took 10 years until he followed up with solo album number 4, which was called simply ‘Stuff’ there are only three tracks from this record, but each is worthy of a place. As a testament to a body of work, overall Bill sits in 2006, 30 years since those initial two albums having released just another two, one hopes this collection is not the end of Bill’s solo years, he has much to say and I would like to see how Bill’s deals the cards in the ‘Digital Age’ I always thought of The Rolling Stones as a ‘Band of Brothers’ five guys who just wanted to play the ‘Blues’ They became part of a 60’s double act alongside that ‘other’ group from Liverpool that changed music forever. Bill has his place in Rock ‘N’ Roll history assured, he’s having fun, doing his thing, but Bill, this is a great way to close a chapter, but before you go, just one more for the road! JJ

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LEMMY DAMAGE CASE SANCTUARY ✪✪✪✪

MOTORHEAD OVERKILL (REMASTERED) SANCTUARY ✪✪✪✪✪

MOTORHEAD ACE OF SPADES (REMASTERED) SANCTUARY ✪✪✪✪✪

MOTORHEAD IRON FIST (REMASTERED) SANCTUARY ✪✪✪

INFERNO (RE-ISSUE) SPV ✪✪✪✪

In case you missed it, two important things happened last year – Lemmy didn’t keel over, and Motorhead celebrated 30 years of being the noisiest, ugliest, loudest bunch of fuckers ever to crawl on stage. To celebrate the bands anniversary, Sanctuary and SPV have gone re-issue mad. The only ‘new’ album is Damage Case, a two-disc career over view compiled in conjunction with Lemmy. So lets look at that first. Over the two discs, you get everything – old shit (Rockin’ Vicars,

STATUS QUO REISSUES: BACK TO BACK UNIVERSAL ✪✪

LIVE ALIVE QUO UNIVERSAL ✪✪✪

STATUS QUO LIVE AT THE N.E.C UNIVERSAL ✪✪✪✪

IN THE ARMY NOW UNIVERSAL ✪✪✪

THIRSTY WORK UNIVERSAL ✪✪

While I’m not the greatest Quo fan in the world, it would be super-dumb of anybody to write them off as a

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Hawkwind, Sam Gopal), Motorhead shit (Damage Case and 1916 amongst them), cover versions (Enter Sandman, Tie Your Mother Down) and a bunch of collaborations (with, amongst others, Dave Grohl and The Ramones). A must for any fan, and a great audio biography for the just plain curious. Next up, Over Kill. Now, if, like me, you spent years not wanting to go near a Motorhead album, its time to change. First, go and get hold of a copy of 1916. when you’ve done that, grab hold of Over Kill (the band’s second album). For the title track and Damage Case alone, its worth owning, but what this album does is exemplify exactly why Motorhead are an important band. They boogie, they play blues, they play ballads (Capricorn Sister) of a sort, they’re just a fuckin’ great rock n roll band. Ace of Spades (the band’s fourth

album) captures them at the original trio’s peak. You’ll know the title track, obviously, but there’s so much more to this album. We Are The Road Crew, The Chase Is Better Than

waste of time. How do you define a band that has outlasted a million others, contributed more riffs to the world than AC/DC, matched Aerosmith and Motley Crue for substance abuse and sold more albums than most ‘cool’ bands would dare to dream. There has to be something there right? There sure is - songs. Whether it be in your car, a distant memory of a school disco or Top of the Pops, they had ‘em by the bucketload. I’m sure every hardened Quo fan out there will disagree with my every word, but here’s the shots as I see ‘em: Back to Back from 1983 finds a band resting on it’s haunches. Pretty much Quo by numbers, it’s OK, but nothing jumps out or makes you want to put it on again. Plus it’s got that single on it... Marguerita Time which is in a word, fucking awful - especially when it’s followed by a real song on the album which is Your Kind Of Love (written by the often undermined Alan Lancaster). Never mind. The early eighties was a fucked up place anyway - nobody had a clue what to do with it! Live Alive Quo fares much better. 1993 was a time when bands could kick back and drag up the good shit and this album fares from a pretty decent track listing, a great production and an enthusiastic crowd. Kicking in with Whatever You Want sees the guys in great shape. Gritty vocals and nimble fingers, this was a good place for Quo to be. Likewise, Status

Quo Live has an even better tracklisting, and if you’re looking for a place to start then this is as good a place as any. Recorded in 1982, this is Quo at their absolute best as far as I’m concerned. You couldn’t go anywhere without hearing them - and this is what got them through the eighties... not new material, but honing that huge raft of classics that they’d built up over previous years. Caroline, Don’t Drive My Car, Backwater and Hold You Back make a damn good album - although to make it fair, Live Alive Quo has a far better performance. In the Army Now saw a 1986 version of Quo starting to get back on

The Catch, Love Me Like A Reptile – there’s not a duff track here. Iron Fist (the band’s sixth) had the distinction of following No Sleep Till Hammersmith, probably the definitive live album., and suffered a little from the comparisons. The fact it was coproduced by guitarist ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke didn’t help matters, and this is the weakest of the three re-issues. The title track is a ‘Head classic, and I’m The Doctor stand up well, but there’s a just too much filler. All three re-mastered albums come with a second disc of b-sides, BBC sessions, alternative versions (three each of Louie Louie and Tear Ya Down on Overkill. Go figure) and live stuff (a show from Canada in 82 on Iron Fist), all of which make the albums essential purchases for fans and

their feet. The title track is pretty damn good in hindsight and shows Quo doing something a little bit different from the generic fodder they’d been pumping out over the previous two years - which amounted to

those in need of a musical education. Finally – Inferno. Released in 2004, some of you will already have the version that came with a bonus DVD. Well, now it comes with a different DVD! This one has live performances, interviews with the band looking back at the last 30 years and a talk through all of the album covers with Joe Petagno. Worth buying the album again for? I’d say so… KJ

nothing but repackaging the past. Whatever the reasons, this was a glimmer of light for the legions who

had been starved for so long. Not classic Quo but as most of you would probably have it, it was “fuckin’ close enough!” Unlike Thirsty Work, which is just awful. It sounds like a band who just can’t be bothered so I’ll return the compliment. When Status Quo are good, they’re fantastic, but when they’re bad, they tend to churn up the worst dirge imaginable. If you’re new to the Quo camp, stick with the seventies. It was cool ground breaking stuff but by the eighties, it was a band that had turned into a parody of themselves. Somethings never change. SS

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cool shit

WITHIN TEMPTATION THE SILENT FORCE TOUR ROADRUNNER ✪✪✪✪✪ For a band who are only just starting to take off, this DVD is light years away from the competition. Everything about it is superior - even right down to the plastic box it comes in with its smooth corners. The damn box is like an Audi for fucks sake! But the important stuff... where to start? The production values of the show are incredible. There’s fire where there should be fire, costume changes where there should be costume changes... no limp songs clogging up the smooth drive through town. If you’re a fan and you don’t yet own this, you have to go shopping right now. If you’re not a fan, maybe the sheer quality of Sharon’s vocals will convince you. Maybe the stilt-walkers or the ass pounding drums will convince you. There is absolutely nothing about this DVD that is wrong - well, not putting a track listing on the sleeve is a bit remiss, but when everything else is so spot on, I think that’s forgivable. The Silent Force won’t be quiet for much longer... SS

ALICE COOPER GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN EAGLE ROCK/SPITFIRE ✪✪✪✪✪ Wow. I grew up on Alice but I caught him just around the time when Nightmare was hip. From there, I carried on just carrying on, year after year. Sometimes you hear why a band or a person used to be classed as dangerous but you can never truly

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imagine how it really goes. This DVD shattered a whole bunch of illusions for me. Bearing in mind that this is footage from 1973, I can honestly say that Alice really was as dangerous and subversive as they said he was. With plenty of audience confrontation and posturing that Manson stole pretty much word for word, Alice and his band perform a fantastic set of great tunes from the first few relevant albums of his career. It’s hardly surprising that the band couldn’t hold it together forever. If there’s a whinge about the film though, it’s that the interruptive footage that originally aired with the film is dated so badly it spoils it a bit. You can watch the concert footage by itself though.. I think I’m only pissed off because I didn’t see that option until about the fifth time through it! End result? Brilliant. The king is dead. Long live the king SS

IRON MAIDEN DEATH ON THE ROAD EMI ✪✪✪✪✪ Dance Of Death was a real return to form for Maiden. Full of the majesty of their hey day, yet still able to hold its head up amongst the young pretenders to their thrown. The ensuing tour was one of the most ambitious the band had ever undertaken, and so it is only fitting that the whole shebang is captured for all to enjoy. Here, in both stereo and 5.1 Dolby surround, the Dortmund show is brought to life, painstakingly edited by head honcho Steve Harris. It’s everything you remember (assuming you were there), and everything you hoped it would be (especially for those who didn’t get there). Classic tracks (Wrathchild, The Trooper, Hallowed Be They Name) nestle alongside the new stuff (Wildest Dreams, Rainmaker and the epic Paschendale), as the band rip it up and tear it down. And if that’s not enough for you, over on disc 2 are three documentaries – the making of Dance Of Death, the tour itself, and half an hour of whippersnapper to young to remember Number Of The Beast being released banging on about why they love The Maiden (They’re called fans – Ed). The documentary stuff is almost as compelling as the live show, especially the making of the album, and makes for a brilliant value for money package. KJ

NICKELBACK SILVER SIDE UP SPECIAL EDITION ROADRUNNER ✪✪✪✪

Silver Side Up was (and probably still is) Roadrunner’s biggest ever selling album – helped in no small part by How You Remind Me being played to death in 2001. In celebration of the label’s 25th birthday, they’ve decided to give you another chance to own the album, and thi time around you get live DVD as well. Live At Home see’s the band return to Canada as conquering heroes, having tamed the world with their “post-grunge” sound (I’d love to meet the tone-deaf gimp who coined that phrase). The band are on fire, the crowd are near hysterical, and a good time is had by all. Also included are the videos for How You Remind Me, Too Bad, and – somewhat strangely – Leader of Men (which is actually from The State, but it’s a fuckin’ great song, so who cares), and The Making of Too Bad. There’s also a variety of back stage and on the road footage, which – while interesting – are split up into so many small sections it started to get annoying. That said, this deserves to be added to your collection, if only for the live show. KJ

KILLSWITCH ENGAGE ALIVE OR JUST BREATHING TWO DISC SPECIAL EDITION ROADRUNNER ✪✪✪ Another album re-issued to celebrate the label’s birthday, tenuously included here because there are some videos on disc two. According to the blurb, this is the album that brought the band to the world’s attention. If you’re a fan, you’ll know all about the metal pounding piffle this lot trot out. If you’re not (guess which camp I’m in…), and you like your metal driving, screaming

and intense, then this is for you. On disc two, you’ll find rare tracks, demos, previously unreleased material and videos for My Last Serenade, Fixation On The Darkness and Life To Lifeless. For the already ordained, this is a must have. For the uninitiated – approach with caution. KJ

BRET HITMAN HART 3 DISC COLLECTORS EDITION SILVER VISION ✪✪✪✪ Hart has always been one of the best loved performers in the WWE circuit. With his legacy underlined by being royally fucked over by the company, it’s a wonder this ever came out at all, but in fairness, Vince and Bret put their differences aside for long enough to get the job done. So let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first. Why, when all the parties concerned are prepared to talk openly about the ‘fucking over’ does the match not appear. If I recall correctly, the match was pretty damn good and it would have been great to see it - I gave the disc to Mike for a viewing. He’s a bit younger than me, so doesn’t recall seeing the match, so the only way he knew what was going on was by hitting the internet. That’s not good - and pretty bad of the WWE not to screen it here. It leaves a huge hole in the story. Having said that, everyone is willing to talk about Owens death (Brets brother) in the ring. That takes some balls as it’s still a pretty sensitive subject for all concerned and there’s some top commentary from superstars past and present. Bundle it all together with some of Harts best matches and it’s pretty damn obvious why he was on top of his game for so long. There’s also pretty much all you need to know about his short stint with WCW and why he doesn’t... or can’t wrestle anymore. Throw in the obligatory knocking of WCW as a company and you couldn’t want much more from the set. Would have liked to see some interview segments with Jim Neidhart and maybe some of the other guys he feuded with, but then, the ring action pretty much speaks for itself here. Worth the money for the three disc set? You better believe it. SS

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NO MERCY 2005 SILVER VISION ✪✪✪✪

This is more like it! I found the last WWE release of Unforgiven just a touch on the lame side. Good matches sandwiched between average matches doesn’t make good late night viewing! No Mercy is a different story altogether. Kicking in with LoD and MnM in a tag team, I’m still not 100% sure about this Heidenreich in LoD story. I don’t think the WWE are either. What the hell do you do with a mad bastard apart from put him in the ring with another one! Once the MnM gimmick wears thin, you’re looking

at a couple of great athletes there. Also worthy of attention is a fatal 4 way match with Benoit, Booker T, Jordan and Christian. A little further up the bill is a great match between JBL and Rey Mysterio. But there are three truly excellent matches at No Mercy. The first is The Undertaker vs Randy Orton - there could surely never be such a thing as ‘bad match’ between these two. The second, a cruiserweight match features one of my all time favourite guys, Juventud Guerrero. Pound for pound as they say, that guy has got to be the best lucha libre artist in the world. Finally, we come to the main event. The late Eddie Guerrero vs Batista. Two guys at the top of their game deliver a match that you couldn’t script if you tried. For a big guy, Batista can move with the best - Guerrero too is on top form. Sadly, this was his last ever PPV and he went out with his honour intact. There are a few moments were the pace flags a little but come the moment, both guys pull everything they have out of the bag and with the crowd not knowing who to get behind, these two fan favourites deliver one of the best main events I’ve seen for a long time. One to buy, not one to borrow. Roll on the next one. I think I’m addicted again. SS

PRIDE 5 & 6 FIGHT DVD/CLEAR VISION ✪✪✪✪

So. Specialist subject time. I love this shit. From UFC across to K1 and Pride, I love them all. There’s something about tactical fighting that is really exciting. Unlike WWE were the outcome of the fight is not half as important as what happens on the way, Pride is real as hell. Grown men who know exactly what they’re doing pit their individual martial arts skills against a similar opponent. On the way, the lesser man will get knocked out, submitted, have something broken, twisted or flattened. In the name of entertainment, who could ask for more. It’s probably a

WWE COMPETITON! Friends in high places? Friends in low places? Who cares... whatever place it is, those fantastic people at Silver Vision have given us this exclusive set of UMDs for that funky PSP Christmas pressie you got a few weeks back. It embraces old school, comes right up to date with the new school and also includes the awesome Monday Night War! We’ve also got a copy of the HHH book Making the Game to give away! To be in with a chance of winning the whole damn shooting match... (that’s all eight if you’re being a bit dense today), simply answer this multiple choice question... Who beat Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania VI to become the new WWF (as it was then) World Heavyweight Champ? Was it: a) Jake the Snake Roberts b) The Undertaker c) The Ultimate Warrior Send your name and address along with what you think is the correct answer to wwecomp@burnmag.co.uk - entries by email only please by 28 February.

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hangover from when my old man used to make me stay up to watch Ali when the BBC would screen a match live back in the dark ages. Anyway, this double disc set flaunts some of the best action of recent times. In the main event of 5, Nobuhiko Takada and Mark Coleman go head to head in a cool battle and demonstrate some serious wrestling skills. Vitor Belfort also makes an appearance up against Sakuraba, although I have to admit I prefer watching the guy in the cage. Over on Pride 6 - the better of the two discs, Mark Kerr goes full on with that old wrestling pro Takada in a one round bout and Sakuraba takes on the Vale Tudo bossman Braga. This will all mean nothing unless you’re a fan already of course. If you fancy getting into the system with this little lot, then I’d suggest you start with UFC, which is much more exciting and the footage is just plain better. However, if this is your bag already, then Pride 5 & 6 knock spots off the previous releases. It’s just an all round better put together package. SS


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cinema GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK RELEASED: FEBRUARY 17 ✪✪✪✪✪ George Clooney’s second directorial foray is a tense, black and white newsroom drama set in the shameful days of Senator McCarthy’s anticommunist witchhunts of the 1950s. Staged almost entirely in the claustrophobic and pressure-cooker atmosphere of the CBS live news studio, the film follows legendary newsman Edward R Murrow as he and his team batten down the hatches and lock horns with McCarthy via a series of elegantly damning broadcasts, placing their jobs, careers and reputations on the line as a result. Apart from having class, charisma and style to spare, Good Night And Good Luck is gripping and, best of all, never patronises the audience’s intelligence. It’s immaculately performed, written and shot and the sense of time and place is evoked with a fascinating eye for detail. One word of warning - this is not a good film to see if you’re trying to quit smoking. Apparently everyone was at it like chimneys in the 50s, onscreen as well as off. Indeed, it’s indicative of the quality of the film that it never balks at details such as this and the casual sexism which one can well-imagine being utterly unremarkable in the mid-20th century work place. The inclusion of archive footage is both seamless and eye opening, and although intellectually rigorous in its treatment of the subject matter, the pace of the drama never feels bogged down in historical detail. If this all sounds like less fun than I mean it to, let me state unequivocally that it’s an absolute joy to watch. JMa

LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN RELEASED: FEBRUARY 24 ✪✪✪✪ Most films are predictable – we got over that when we first saw a postAirplane disaster movie. Unfortunately, even the unpredictable ones are somehow predictably so, all

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laboured twists and measured quirks. Yet there remains a need to revisit old subjects, ever hungry for vengeful heroes and the undoing of their proud nemeses. Paul McGuigan, director of Gangster No. 1 has tried to solve this conundrum, and succeeds in giving things an unconventional sheen. He twists genres rather than plots, so while the ‘dream’ cast and their accomplished support don’t stray too far from type, this is a means to an irregular end. One of several producers, Tyler Mitchell describes how, “..many times, a scene became better than it was on the page because (McGuigan) let the actors run with it,” and this is apparent. Bruce Willis is brooding, Morgan Freeman stately, Ben Kingsley dynamic, and all without effort. Having established strong foundations, the filmmakers take a big risk, spinning familial blood feuds into romantic melodrama and back again, all the while encircling a mistaken identity farce. And the risk pays off. Taking the lead are Josh Hartnett and Lucy Liu, he cocksure yet ambiguous, she flirtatious but analytical. It’s as if Robert Rodriguez had eschewed the original Sin City comic for a wayward episode of Coupling, with Danny Boyle taking Tarantino’s place as guest director. Perhaps best of all though is the dialogue, when it’s given room to breathe; and despite painful undertones, the whole affair is peppered with spirited one liners and vested with an implacable 1970s good feeling. So dash any fears of gimmickry, ignore the traces of contrivance, and this film deserves to be a crossover hit. NM

SEVEN SWORDS RELEASED: FEBRUARY 24 ✪✪✪✪ Martial art films have been on the increase in the last few years. Ever since Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon was released onto the UK screens in 1999, the British have been fascinated by all things oriental. Produced by Tsui Hawk, the man behind Once Upon a Time in China, Seven

Swords is described as a Wuxia film, meaning basically Chinese martial art fiction. The film is set in the 1660’s, just after the Ming Dynasty has been destroyed and the start of the Qing Dynasty. As a way of controlling the possibility of rebel uprising, the new government tries to impose a ban on the study and practise of martial arts. Fire-Wind, an ex-employee of the Ming Dynasty, sees this as a way of making money, and so goes around wiping out villages and towns where they teach martial arts. Fu Qinghu, a retired executioner from the Ming Dynasty decides to stop Fire-Wind and his aggressive, yet very gothic looking army, destroying Martial Village (what do they teach here I wonder?) by convincing two people from the village to go with him to the legendary Mount Tian. While here, they ask Master Shadow-Glow for some help with their little predicament. He agrees and orders four of his best trainees to help out. He then gives each one a magical sword, and they become the Seven Swords. In essence, it’s the Magnificent Seven with swords, with each person having a particular skill and characteristic. There’s the always happy, partying one, the quiet, aggressive one, the clever inventive one, the leader… wait a minute, it’s more like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles than anything else, only there are seven of them, not four. And there’s no Krang... Still, there are some amazing action sequences involving lots of swords. If you thought Star Wars had cool

‘sabre’ action, just wait until you see this bad boy. The only problem with this film is that at 2 hours 17 minutes, it’s a hell of a mission to sit though. Rumours of a four hour version had better stay a rumour, no matter how great a film it is! TC

THE FOG RELEASED: FEBRUARY 24 ✪ A remake of John Carpenter’s 1980 creepathon, this takes everything that made the original compelling, removes it along with any remaining logic, and replaces it with voyeurism of its buff young leads (Lost’s Maggie Grace and Smallville’s Tom Welling) and not much else. The plot is simple - a small fishing town’s disreputable past comes back to haunt it in the form of the eponymous grey swirly stuff – but whereas Carpenter used this premise to build and maintain an almost unbearable level of tension, this is at best soporific, at worse laughable. Carpenter’s original score of taught nagging electronica is replaced by bombastic and overbearing strings, and this seems indicative of the film’s failures as a whole. Weller looks utterly at sea throughout, providing some unintentionally hilarious moments - his look of vague disapproval when he spots his girlfriend necking an undead leper will haunt me for a long time. He’s not entirely to blame - the director often leaves him inexplicably stranded in frame before eventually letting him slope off in whatever direc-

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tion the screams are coming from. To be fair, the ghost lepers are quite good, although far more effective in shadow than in close up detail, as Carpenter of course understood. One thing we do learn is that Google is the search engine of choice for those researching the sinister past of haunted islands. Apparently, the film was green lit with only eighteen pages of the script written. I’m not totally convinced any further work was done on it. JMa

documentaries of any subject one could hope to see. Nothing is glossed over or dramatised; the sad and bizarre events of Johnston’s life are merely presented in as raw and gritty a form as possible, which allows you to laugh and cry with him at what is undoubtedly an amazing life. KR

FEED RELEASED: FEBRUARY 17

MATCH POINT RELEASED: OUT NOW ✪✪✪ Woody Allen goes both ways. You never know whether to expect an intellectual drama, or breezy comedy. Match Point is the first of at least two London-based films that Woody has lined up. The story revolves around Chris, (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) a former tennis pro with no particular life plans, newly arrived in London. Giving lessons at London’s Queens club, he makes a new, well-todo, best friend, Tom (Matthew Goode) and before he’s knows it, he’s fixed up with Tom’s sister (Emily Mortimer) and gains a father-in-law (Brian Cox) who puts him on the fast track into the “business” world. Enter Scarlett Johansen as a struggling American actress who is Tom’s fiancé. The sparks of attraction between them throw Chris’ cosy new life into peril. It’s clear early on, that Allen doesn’t quite have the ear for contemporary London dialogue, away from his famous home. Superficially too, the depiction of Tom’s family as caviar quaffing, tweed jacket wearing hunters seems clichéd; fun though it is to hear a Woody Allen character say the line: “I think you’ve had one too many G&Ts dear.” Scarlett Johansen lights the film up, with, let’s be honest, her sensuality. Her character Nola, gets the film going; tempting Chris to stray, and leading to his downfall. It becomes a murderous and darkly amusing morality tale about chance, sex, and adultery. All the main characters are depicted as pawns in a larger tragic story with a nod to classic literature. Match Point has moments of character and dialogue that don’t quite ring true, but overall it’s another intelligent, compelling film from the New Yorker. JMess

SHOPGIRL RELEASED: OUT NOW ✪✪✪ Shopgirl is a beautiful, if somewhat strange film. Based on Steve Martin’s slim (all 130 pages of it – font size unknown) novella published in 2000. The story tells the tale of outatown Saks sales assistant Mirabelle, (Clare Danes) and her quest for love in tinseltown. Whilst trying to fulfil her dream of being an artist she first meets dorky young artist try-hard Jeremy (Jason Schwartzmann) and then mature highflying divorcee Ray Porter (Martin). Though both suitors are at the opposite ends of the slick spectrum, both are equally hapless at beguiling Mirabelle and giving her what she truly needs. The awkward nature of the way

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the film plays out is meant to be reflective of the awkward nature of fledgling relationships; you feel nervous when the characters first meet, and anxious when Jeremy is plucking up the courage to ring Mirabelle for the first time, but this doesn’t make for particularly easy watching Mirabelle seems to drift along with both relationships, not really questioning either, but from the voyeuristic angle the film adopts, I want and expect to know more! There’s lots of footage of Saks, which is amazingly shot, though not exactly flattering. Al Fayed would set the dogs loose if they ever tried to film in Harrods in the same way! However, we know more about the assistants at Saks and the perfume they spritz at people all day than why Ray Porter suddenly appears and buys gloves from Mirabelle, yet this is one of the key points in the film. Rather than most films having to shorten what was originally a hefty novel, some scenes really are nothing more than obvious padding, with Martin’s daft attempts to try and prove he can still write comedy. On the plus side of this, Jeremy’s strange charming character is reminiscent of a The Jerk era young Steve Martin.... you know, in the period everyone said he was still funny. The narration provided by Martin is totally unnecessary for an English audience. It seems to be there totally as a way to link beautifully shot but nevertheless disjointed scenes that are never explained fully in the first place. Shopgirl is a charming witty love story that shouldn’t try to be anything else. This film suffers from schizophrenia and though I was enchanted by it, doctor, I would like a second opinion. LM

a small town in West Virginia. Whilst growing up he started to show a remarkable artistic talent, as he made his own short films, wrote songs, and drew endlessly. Unfortunately, his burgeoning talent wasn’t appreciated in his fundamentalist Christian family, and the young genius ended up running away to the circus, and finding himself alone in Austin, Texas. With his huge collection of selfpenned songs recorded onto tape, Johnston set about making a name for himself on the local music scene, even appearing briefly on MTV. However, at this time, Johnston’s mental illness started to make itself known, and his increasingly erratic behaviour lead to numerous arrests and hospital stays. All this, and details of Johnston’s cult following are covered in director Jeff Feurzeig’s moving and compelling documentary, which allows a rare insight into the tortured mind of a genius. Footage gathered from Johnston’s own extensive collection of videos and cassettes are interspersed with purposefilmed interviews with those close to him and location shots, all of which add up to one of the most comprehensive

✪✪✪✪ It’s fair to say that in the last 10 years, usage of the internet has grown by an exponential amount. Whereas we used to read newspapers every morning, we are now turning more and more to the internet for our information fix. Problem is, this growth has also opened a window for perverts and weirdos to distribute erotica across wider channels, and in turn the public are finding out about more and more disgusting pastimes. One that has come to light recently is that of feeders and gainers, people who like to feed their partners up until they are so fat that they can’t move or function without them, therefore creating the ultimate domination. Although there have been some films based on the internet (Net and Hackers spring to mind), no one has ever thought about making a film about these subjects. That is, until now. Feed is a psychological thriller set in the sunny town of Toledo, USA. Directed by Brett Leonard (The Lawnmower Man), it stars Patrick Thompson as Phillip Jackson, an Australian cybercop whose job it is to locate and shut down obscene websites. One day, he stumbles across a feeder website run by Michael (Alex O’Loughin), which features Deirdre (played by Gabby Millgate), a 602 pound woman whom Michael is “feeding up”. Sensing that there is more to this site than meets the eye, Phillip heads to America to find ‘Feeder X’ (Michael) and discover the truth behind the website. What then ensues is a psychological cross between Supersize Me and Seven, with both Philip and Michael trying to get the other to break and give up on their obsession.

THE DEVIL AND DANIEL JOHNSTON RELEASED: TBC ✪✪✪✪✪ The chances are that you probably won’t have heard of Daniel Johnston, but that really shouldn’t stop you from seeing this superb documentary about a potential star almost completely lost to mental illness. Daniel Johnston’s life started in

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cinema that include a wizened native American and a drag queen, both of whom help the eccentric Munro on his quest. The World’s Fastest Indian is an inspirational, dramatic and gripping story. It is a simple, and heartwarming, tale of individual triumph, with tears and laughter in equal measure which, in the end, is a tale about one man and his dream.... but what a dream. PA

WALK THE LINE RELEASED: FEBRUARY 3 ✪✪✪ Music biopics can be notoriously crap, but despite being slightly slow, Walk The Line has superb central performances from Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon as Johnny Cash and his long-time sweetheart June Carter, that raise it to the next stage. You’ll have heard about it, so let’s get it over with: Phoenix is so much like Cash, it begs the question of whether it’s incredible acting or whether the two are just similar souls with tragic pasts? Either way, it’s spoton, and Phoenix carries some rather lumpen scenes single handedly. Witherspoon’s role could have been one of a cowed bumpkin wifey from a happy clappy family, but she brings

The beauty of this film is that it not only combines the gross out factors involved with “feeders” (Watching 602 pound women vomit is not my idea of a good night’s entertainment), it also tackles many of the moral questions. Questions like “Should private behaviour between consenting adults, no matter how extreme, be judged as wrong by the state?” or “Just because someone weighs 602 pounds, does that make them ugly?” By the end of the film, you find yourself asking who was the more messed up, Philip (the hunter) or Michael (the hunted)? TC

FUN WITH DICK AND JANE RELEASED: OUT NOW ✪✪ And so the Hollywood remake wagon rolls relentlessly on with this version of the 70s Jane Fonda/George Segal vehicle. Pitched unevenly between screwball comedy, gross out comedy, broad farce, big business satire and heist caper, whether or not you enjoy this Jim Carrey vehicle will largely depend on your resistance or otherwise to his default setting shtick. He’s not trying to operate at anything remotely above autopilot here, and, to be fair, the material in no way demands it. He and wife Téa Leoni are living a life of suburban aspirational bliss until his ruthless employers decide to cast him as chief patsy in the Enron-style collapse of their corporation. Losing everything, and feeling betrayed by the American dream, he and his wife attempt to make ends meet and find happiness via a life of crime. Will they succeed? Will they end up in prison?

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out the desperation and confusion bubbling under June’s plaidskirted exterior, and adds considerable weight to the movie. The film’s hardly riveting throughout though, and we’ve seen the strung-out junkie scenes before in a thousand different things. For a movie about someone with such an exciting, rollercoaster life, it all becomes a bit, well… formulaic, and that’s a shame. One of the major draws here is the promise that the central performers sing their own songs - and it’s certainly refreshing. Phoenix has Cash’s bassy drawl down spookily, and while Witherspoon is too high-pitched to pull off Carter, she is nonetheless an impressive country singer, and resonates well with Phoenix when they duet. The performances fit faultlessly into the film, and never feel forced, and often the songs themselves will carry the story along as we see the relationship develop between the pair while onstage. Just make sure you have money to spare to buy the Cash back catalogue when you leave. If none of these arguments win you over, Walk The Line is worth seeing simply to prove that country music doesn’t have to be shit, and show those Emo pig fuckers a man who takes wearing black to another level. LL

Or will they discover that crime doesn’t pay, while learning a few important life lessons and fundamentally re-appraising their values along the way? Take a wild stab in the dark. There is an occasional laugh to be had here and there, and Leoni holds her own against Carrey with no little aplomb, but ultimately the whole exercise rings a little hollow. JMa

THE WORLD’S FASTEST INDIAN RELEASED: FEBRUARY 24 ✪✪✪✪✪ The World’s Fastest Indian follows the trials and tribulations of elderly speed freak Burt Munro who, at the ripe old age of 68, embarks on an epic, and sometimes misguided, quest to break the world land speed record for a motorcycle. Burt gives little thought to the fact that he is attempting to do so on a 40-year-old bike with antiquated components, home-made pistons and tyres that he smothers in boot polish to hide the cracks. Director Roger Donaldson follows up his early 1970s’ documentary Offerings To The Gods of Speed, also based on the life of the ageing speedster, with this colourful tale of Burt’s journey from New Zealand to the salt flats of Utah and, ultimately, into the record books. Anthony Hopkins’ Burt Munro is a rich and magnetic character, who wears his notable physical ailments, which include heart, prostate and hearing problems, like quirky idiosyncrasies. Burt takes everyone he meets at face value, and his zest for life, as well as his love for his vintage motorcycle, win him a great many friends. Friends

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dvds DIVERGENCE RELEASED: FEBRUARY 20 ✪✪✪ Japanese films have never settled well with me. It’s nothing personal, I just feel that they have far too much spiritual meaning in them and the plot usually takes about five viewings to clock on to what’s actually happening. Luckily, Divergence isn’t your average “spiritual” Japanese film, dealing with the gritty world of assassinations, money laundering and missing girlfriends. CID officer Suen (Aaron Kwok) is escorting an arrested accountant from Canada to Hong Kong, when the accountant is assassinated. The assassin, called Coke (Daniel Wu) escapes from the scene without leaving any evidence, and the wealthy businessman the accountant was about to grass up for money laundering, is happy. At least, until his pop star son, Xia, is kidnapped. The plot then goes into overload, with Suen looking for his wife, who has been missing for 10 years, the assassin trying to help Suen find out who is behind mysterious deaths in the city, and a successful city lawyer To (Ekin Cheng), who as well as representing the earlier mentioned wealthy businessman, has a wife who looks not to dissimilar to Suen’s missing wife, Fong. Confusing no? Winning three prestigious Golden Horse Awards (yes, it is a real award…), Divergence comes across as a film with a lost identity. It’s not a thriller, it’s not an action film and it’s not a drama, and because of this, you feel unsure about what’s going on. Aaron Kwok, who plays Suen, could easily be Hong Kong’s answer to Charlie Sheen, it’s just a pity that with the film having so many little plotlines spread through it, you finish the film asking yourself, “did I miss something?” Thank god it’s on DVD. Chapter menu here we come. Extras: ✪✪✪✪ Making of featurette, premiere footage, photo gallery and that all-important Dolby Digital 5.1 & DTS.

EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE BOX SET/ ANY WHICH WAY YOU CAN: RELEASED: FEB 27 ✪✪

Before Clint redeemed the western, and grabbed us by the short and curlies with Million Dollar Baby, he paid off some of his mortgage by messing around with an Orang Utan called Clyde, for the two features in this DVD double-header. In 1978, Eastwood wanted a change of pace after The Outlaw Josey Wales, and choose Every Which Way But Loose, as a vehicle for both Clyde and his then paramour, Sandra Locke. He plays Philo Beddoe, a bare-knuckle fighter, chasing a girl country singer across the Rockies from LA, whilst being pursued by two cops and a gang of un-amusing Hell’s angels. Both movies are pretty weak on comedy, resorting to a number of silly gags and references to other Clint movies. Any Which Way You Can (1980), if anything, is slightly superior with more monkey comedy for your buck, but not much. Extras: Trailers JMess

As anime films go, this one is up there with the best of them. I ain’t convinced by the plot, but the eye candy looks like it’s been created by Willy Wonka himself!

This story takes place three years after the original Ghost In The Shell masterpiece. The world is still cohabited by humans and cyborgs, and centres on robo-being Batou, who works as a detective with his partner Togusa. They are investigating a gynoid (female cyborg who has been made simply for sexual pleasure), who has gone mental, killed its owner, and then committed suicide. The investigation drags them into confrontations with hackers and the Japanese Mafia as well as a whole world of corporate bullshit. This two disc set is well put together and makes a perfect partner to a very thought-provoking, lavish film. Extras: Making of featurette, directors commentary and trailers. JMc

GHOST IN THE SHELL 2: INNOCENCE RELEASED: FEBRUARY 27 ✪✪✪✪ Bloody hell, this is one stunning piece of animation!

make watching it worthwhile when there are actual good things in the world? I think you know the answer. Extras: None NC

DOMINO RELEASED: FEBRUARY 6 ✪ Baring the legend “based on a true story”, Domino the movie bares only the vaguest connection to the fairly melancholy life story of the late British born ex-model turned LA bounty hunter, Domino Harvey. It’s hamstrung at the outset by Keira Knightly’s hilariously clipped RP vowels and a performance so wooden it’s surprising one of the chippies on set didn’t slap a coat of Ronseal on her. If her consistently glazed eyes and vacant expression are in fact a subtle reference to Harvey’s well-documented drug problems (conveniently never addressed in the film), then I can only apologise. Even a cameo from Tom Waits doesn’t do anything to help matters. Easy as it is to imagine that Domino was directed by an ADT-addled 11 year old addicted to MTV, happy slapping, pop tarts and crack, it’s actually our very own Tony Scott who’s responsible for this execrable mess. Extras: TBC JMa

LEPRECHAUN 4: IN SPACE RELEASED: FEBRUARY 6 ✪ I’ve never understood the fuss about Bmovies. Liking something in an ironic way is all very well, but somewhere a line has to be drawn. Leprechaun 4: In Space, which is certainly a B-movie (or at least some letter not “A”), is a case in point. With production values somewhere between Space Cadets and early Star Trek; a motley collection of soft-porn actors and a cliché foie-gras goose of a script, the only thing to recommend it is its cheerful recognition of its own crapness. The question is, is that enough to

WHEELS ON MEALS: PLATINUM ED. RELEASED: OUT NOW ✪✪✪✪ One of Jackie Chan’s first forays out of Asia, Wheels On Meals teams him up with trusty sidekick Sammo Hung as they attempt to establish a burger van franchise in downtown Barcelona (as

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you do). Yuan Biao is also involved as a private eye searching for a missing girl thief who’s actually a wealthy heiress. Oh, and there are some bad guys. All this is really beside the point, however, as the patently inane plotting and creaky production values are quickly forgotten and the sheer joie de vivre and exuberant charm of the action make any such criticisms seem simply mean spirited. A superb showpiece punch up between Chan and Benny “The Jet” Urquidez is only one of a smorgasbord of nunchukwaving, high-kicking delights on offer here, Hung and Biao both having plenty of scene stealing moments in their own right. Class. Extras: Commentary, interviews, featurettes, outtakes.... loads. JMa

WISHING STAIRS RELEASED: OUT NOW ✪✪✪

Wishing Stairs is the third instalment in the Whispering Corridors trilogy. Set this time in a ballet school, the story revolves around two friends, one of whom, Kim So-heui, is gifted, outgoing and wealthy, but injured, while the other, Yun Jin-seung, is more reserved and less talented. There is a staircase leading to the girls’dormitory that has 28 stairs, if a 29th step appears, a spirit will grant a wish. The two girls’ friendship is tested to the limit when a competition to win a place at a prestigious Russian ballet school is announced. Despite her injury, So-heui dances impeccably to win, prompting the jealous Jin-seung to visit the wishing stairs. The next day, someone puts glass in So-heui’s ballet shoes, and so a tragic and horrifying chain of events begins. Despite Wishing Stairs’ bigger budget, slicker direction, and wellcrafted characterisation it lacks cohesion, with a lot of unresolved and unexplained events that left me confused and, ultimately, uninterested. There are some truly haunting moments, but all the good work is undone by the failure to really identify what was real, and what was not. And you can’t have a ghost story if you don’t know who the ghosts are… Extras:: ‘Making of’ featurette, director’s sketchbook and notes, theatrical trailer, photo gallery and film notes PA

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FIST OF FURY: PLATINUM EDITION RELEASED: OUT NOW ✪✪✪✪

Ask anyone to name a world famous kung-fu expert and unless they have been in a straw filled box all their life, they will probably say Bruce Lee (I would accept Hong Kong Fooey as well though..) From his first appearance in The Green Hornet to his final scene in Enter The Dragon, Bruce Lee was the epitome of Kung-Fu, deadly dangerous, fast and yet with a boyish charm that most actors only acquire via publicists. Regarded as possibly one of his best films, Fist of Fury is released on a two disc Platinum Edition crammed full of extras and features that pack a punch. The story revolves around the murder of Bruce Lee’s kung-fu teacher, which naturally pisses him off to the state of pure retaliation against the murderers. As you can imagine from any Bruce Lee film, Mr Lee kicks 17 barrels of crap out of anyone who taps him on the shoulder or merely looks at him in a funny way. Admittedly, it doesn’t look as good as Enter the Dragon, but the raw energy that Lee puts into every punch is phenomenal and just amazing to watch. Extras: ✪✪✪ The DVD comes complete with interviews with practically everyone involved with the film and Bruce Lee’s life. Just a pity there’s no word from the big man himself. He was probably too busy punching down brick walls or having a cup of tea with Mr Miyagi to do one. DL

FULL METAL ALCHEMIST 4 RELEASED: OUT NOW ✪✪✪✪ Set in Europe in the early part of the 20th Century, Full Metal Alchemist’s semi-mythical world is one in which people with special abilities are able to manipulate and transform objects from one form to another. These people are known as alchemists. However, this manipulation process does not come without a price, as young brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric learn to their cost. Volume 4 of this awesome anime series (currently being shown on Rapture TV) brings together episodes 13-16 (there are 51 in total) of our two heroes’ continuing search for the

Philosopher’s Stone. This series gets better and better. The writing is superb and the characters are some of the most likeable and believable in anime today. Along with Manga’s Ghost In The Shell: SAC 2, this series is a must buy!

DVD notes from Billy Chainsaw, theatrical trailer. JC

CINDERELLA MAN RELEASED: OUT NOW Extras: English and Japanese language, illustration, line art and model galleries. JMc

THE HEART IS DECEITFUL ABOVE ALL THINGS RELEASED: OUT NOW ✪✪ Asia Argento directs and stars in this adaptation of cult novelist J T Leroy’s semi-autobiographical novel. It tells the story of Jeremiah, taken away from his happy foster-home by his druggieprostitute mother (Argento). This is essentially a road movie, told in a sequence of impressionistic episodes from the viewpoint of Jeremiah (impressively played by three child actors). Little relief is offered either to Jeremiah or the audience as he watches his mother shag her way across redneck America and is beaten and raped by her boyfriends. At one point he is removed to a bible school under the tutelage of his evangelical grandfather, but a righteous life proves as warped as a sinful one. The subject matter may not lend itself to levity, but the film is at times uncomfortably relentless in its depictions of squalor and brutality. While successfully grim it fails to salvage much poetry or humour from the ruin it evokes. Extras: ✪✪ Interview with Asia Argento and author J.T. Leroy,

✪✪✪✪ Russell Crowe playing a boxer? Art imitating life one might say, considering the number of scraps the Australian hardman seems to get himself into. But the film-going public is well aware by now how seriously Crowe takes his film roles, and Cinderella Man is no exception. Crowe plays Jim Braddock, an ex-prizefighter in depression-ravaged America, who is forced back into boxing to help support his family. With his wife Mae (Renee Zellwegger) begrudgingly standing by her man, Braddock takes on the world’s heavyweight champion in a fight against all the odds. With superb performances all round and some gritty and violent fight scenes, Cinderella Man is another cinematic triumph for the Oscarwinning director of A Beautiful Mind Ron Howard. As 2004’s best reviewed film, you could do worse than spend a night in watching Russell Crowe do what he does best. Extras: Deleted scenes, Ron Howard introductions, making of featurette KR

RED EYE RELEASED: OUT NOW ✪✪✪ Since directing Scream 3 way back in 2000, modern day master of B-movie horror and thrills Wes Craven has been quiet…a little too quiet in fact. His early 2005 werewolf movie comeback Cursed didn’t bode well for Craven fans, but luckily for them his most recent offering Red Eye is a

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dvds welcome return to form. The suspense-filled thriller, set almost entirely on a plane, sees Craven go back to basics with spine-tingling results. Lisa Reisert (Rachel McAdams) is returning to Miami from her grandmother’s funeral on the muchdelayed ‘Red Eye’ flight. Lisa is rather pleased with herself when she is seated with the intriguing fellow passenger Jackson Rippner on the plane, but her anticipation soon turns to terror when Jackson informs her he will kill her father unless she helps him assassinate the head of Homeland Security. Huge leaps of credibility and logic ensue, but with this thoroughly enjoyable thriller, you probably won’t even notice. Extras: Commentary, making of featurette, Wes Craven featurette, gag reel, previews KR

FOUR BROTHERS RELEASED: OUT NOW ✪✪✪✪ How do you put a new spin on a family drawn together by a mutual sense of vengeance? Orphans, baby! Four guys are bonded by their adoptive mother as young orphans, and pulled tighter still by her loss. Sombre though its premise, it makes for a cracking action movie. Obviously, several talented leads are a must, and Mark Wahlberg, Andre Benjamin, Tyrese Gibson and Garrett Hedlund do well. What really fuels proceedings, though, is the pitch perfect drama-to-action ratio. The slow bits are engaging, the fast bits are villain-killin’ gold. What more could you ask for? Think what you will of the tried and tested sheen in such produce, but the so-called dumb action movie, when made by an experienced professional, is never as dumb as we like to kid our cool-conscious cortex. A refugee from the late eighties blockbuster school, sure, but Four Brothers is hugely enjoyable. Extras: Audio commentary, deleted scenes, numerous featurettes. NM

ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW - RELEASED: OUT NOW ✪✪✪✪ Films with multiple, seemingly unconnected narratives are nothing new. Tom Cruise vehicle Magnolia is perhaps the finest example in recent years of how well this can come off if handled in the right way. Director Miranda July is a

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relative unknown compared to the star status of the crew of the aforementioned cult hit, and as such was being extremely ambitious in taking on, for her first feature length film, such a tangled, tangent-ridden story as is present in Me and You and Everyone We Know.

Taking this task on head first, July stars as Christine, an eccentric performance artist who is struggling to forge a bond with recently dumped shoe-salesman Richard (John Hawkes). Running parallel to this narrative we witness the trials and tribulations of Richard’s two sons, and the burgeoning sexual awareness of the young girls in the neighbourhood. July weaves a warm and sensitive tale that unashamedly embraces issues of loneliness and inappropriate sexuality, making her a rising star of the indie film scene. Extras: Interviews with director and cast, behind the scenes footage, trailers KR

R-POINT RELEASED: OUT NOW ✪✪✪✪ Kong Su-chang has quickly built a reputation as a screenwriter who can hold his own against more established peers. He’s taken this one step further with R-Point, filling the director’s chair for the first time as well as sharing script duties, and the result is bristling with promise. One of the Vietnam war’s lesser known mysteries forms the basis for a superior horror outing; namely, the sheer terror of an unknown enemy on an isolated island. There are clear comparisons to be made with the all-conquering

Predator, but this Korean fable commands a greater sense of the legendary in its pared-down, if bloody, set-pieces. Not surprising, then, that in real life the inexplicable events stretch all the way to the 1800s. Suchang makes the most of this scary heritage, and the action draws (far from) nicely to a bewildering close. A timeless psych-shock melodrama that scratches knowingly on your nervous system. Extras: Director’s commentary, theatrical trailer, English subtitles. NM

THE ARISTOCRATS RELEASED: OUT NOW ✪✪✪✪ Imagine a film that consists of the rudest, vilest, stinking joke ever spoken, repeated for 90 minutes, and you have some idea of this movie. To be sure, Paul Provenza’s flick carries the genre of documentary, and attempts a form of narrative about the joke comedians only tell each other, but it is basically 90 minutes of people swearing. It features coprophilia (look it up), paedophilia, zoophilia and many other philias I had not even realised existed as a who’s who of jokers tell their own versions of the tale, including the most famous teller of all, Gilbert Gottfried. He winds himself into a frenzy of filth, spilling degradation with every word as the joke winds on, touching every corner of every forbidden comedy zone until it climaxes in a torrent of excreta. I loved it. The downsides are - you can’t watch it with your family (unless their minds are so broad they could show an IMAX film on them) and it isn’t funny if you aren’t with a group of people. Oh yeah, and the punchline sucks. Extras: TBC CD

WONDERLAND RELEASED: FEBRUARY 6 ✪✪✪ Wonderland is the story of the July 1, 1981 murders on Wonderland Avenue in LA’s Hollywood Hills. The four victims were part of an unsavoury gang of druggies and thieves, and the killers were most likely in the employ of a nightclub owner whom the group had made the mistake of ripping off.

The wild card was legendary porn star John Holmes.

What did Johnny (Val Kilmer) do and when did he do it? These are the questions director James Cox seeks to resolve and, if halfway through the film you find yourself not caring about the answer, you’re not alone. Cox tells his sordid tale from three points of view, using flashback and, while I found it confusing at times, as the film progressed, I found myself being sucked deeper into a world of drug-fuelled crime and confusion, an unsettling landscape of truths, halftruths and lies, where no one could tell the difference. Kilmer is excellent, revealing both a live-for-the-moment raffishness and the emptiness that comes from lying to yourself and everyone around you. Wonderland is directed with high style. Colours bleed in and out, and the murder scenes, when they come, have a ferocious, leaping animal urgency. Gritty and uncompromising, Wonderland is not for the faint-hearted or the impatient, but some steely resolve will bring its own rewards. Extras: None PA

NUMBER ONE RELEASED: OUT NOW ✪✪ A contented nonchalant snooker hustler, Harry Gordon (Bob Geldolf) hustles games in low-end halls all over London, picking up cash here and there and often facing trouble along the way. Satisfied enough, Harry spends his days in this fashion with his girlfriend (a prostitute) to steer him along. Harry crosses paths with Billy Evans (Mel Smith), who convinces him

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compete in a national championship for real money. As you can imagine, the stakes are high for Harry as he is faced with the final game and the decision to save his skin and give in to the pressure to throw the game or does he stick to his scruples and play as best as possible? The film is entertaining enough with its safe conventional tale and predictable plot. Don’t expect anything more. Extras: None NL

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Hicks was. His material here is very accomplished and he performs with that trademark confidence that even today still sets him apart from virtually every other stand-up out there. Extras: As an added incentive, this disc comes with a hoard of extras which any fan seeking new material will appreciate. These include some outtakes from the performance, a biography of Hicks (no substitute for Cynthia True’s American Scream, mind) and some previously unseen footage of the man himself. DL

THE LONE GUNMEN. SERIES ONE RELEASED: OUT NOW ✪✪✪✪

BILL HICKS: RELENTLESS RELEASED: FEBRUARY 6 ✪✪✪✪ Does this legendary and much missed comedian need an introduction? Suffice it to say, if you’re reading this and still not grinning manically, where have you been? But don’t worry. There’ll be time for that later. Relentless is the timely re-release of Hicks’ superb one man show from the 1991 Just For Laughs Montreal Festival. Mixing acerbic observation with political vitriol, Hicks’ material was, and remarkably still is, a breath of fresh air. With pointed attacks on President Bush and the Iraq War amongst others, Hicks is still as relevant today as he was back then. Sadly Hicks died on the cusp of his major breakthrough and subsequently enjoyed more success in death than he did during his life. Not only was Bill uncompromising, he was just as fearless. Often imitated and never bettered (I’m looking at you, Dennis Leary), this is a fantastic performance from one of the 20th century’s best comics on top of his game. Extras: TBC DL

BILL HICKS: SANE MAN RELEASED: FEBRUARY 27 ✪✪✪✪✪ Our second Bill Hicks release this month is this vintage performance from 1989. Recorded around the time Hicks recorded Dangerous (his first comedy album), Sane Man is Bill’s first performance on film. Instead of waiting for television to give him his own show, a determined Hicks reached into his own pocket to help finance the filming. For any aficionado this disc is a slice of history. Filmed in front of a home crowd, the comic is on fine form and it’s still startling just how precocious

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THE COOLER RELEASED: FEBRUARY 6 ✪✪✪✪ Having spent much of his career playing losers, the always-watchable William H. Macy takes on the role of the man who must surely be their monarch. He is Bernie, the cooler of the title, the guy whose job it is to be so unlucky in life, love and everything else that if he merely walks past a roulette table, he’ll bring bad luck to those who are playing it. He’s employed at a Las Vegas casino (naturally) run by ruthless old-school casino boss Shelly, played by Alec Baldwin in a perfectly-balanced career highlight of a role. So determined is Shelly to keep Bernie in his business, he employs waitress Natalie (Maria Bello) to befriend him and give him a reason to stay in town. If it had been any other performers in the roles of Bernie and Natalie, you could be forgiven for being totally unconvinced by sexy Natalie gradually falling for the less-than-gorgeous Bernie but Macy and Bello make their characters likeable and their tentative romance totally believable. If this is the kind of performance that Macy can turn in when he’s given the lead role, why the hell can’t he be given more of them? With three such strong performances it’s surprising that the film isn’t pretty much perfect. And it just might have been had the scriptwriters managed to keep a tighter rein on themselves and given the thing an ending that, rather than making it feel like they grabbed a random idea out of thin air to carry on a theme, matched the brutal but beautiful tone of the rest of it. Extras: Trailer JC

The Lone Gumnen is the spin-off show from The X Files featuring the series’ most interesting characters, the three conspiracy nut misfits, Byers, Frohike, and Langly. The Lone Gunmen is spookily prescient, particularly with the pilot episode’s 9/11 predicting plot, screened in early 2001.Given the magnitude of this, there’s not too much mention of it on the commentary... interesting. Perhaps another conspiracy at foot? The series is lighter in tone than the root series, with a fair bit of slapstick, but it shows the three gunmen up to be smart, brave characters, who are all acted very well - better than their cursory appearances in The X Files would suggest. Shamefully cancelled after the first series, take this chance of a longawaited Region 2 release to join the conspiracy yourself. Extras: Director, writers and actors commentaries, making-of documentaries and TV spots LL

enjoying a bit of feather-light eye candy once in a while, but that sort of shit is brain lard - clogging up the imaginative arteries, and destroying any hope of restoring top quality, genuinely entertaining, well written, shot and directed programmes back onto our schedules. Let us mourn the brilliant Arrested Development, one of the few that were left trying to be original and make a difference Extras: Commentaries, extended and deleted scenes, blooper reel and campaign videos. LL

THE PERFECT CATCH RELEASED: FEBRUARY 13 ✪✪✪✪ The Perfect Catch is the Farrelly Brothers’ (There’s Something About Mary, Kingpin) take on 90s Brit flick Fever Pitch, originally a Nick Hornby Novel, but in true American style, the brothers have swapped London for Boston, and swapped football for baseball. Starring the ever beautiful Drew Barrymore as a high-flying business woman, and comedian Jimmy Fallon as a high school teacher with a passion for the ill fated Red Sox, this film is better than the average romantic comedy – thanks largely to a sparkling performance from Barrymore and a likeable turn from Fallon. With the Sox winning their first World Series for nearly a century, the ending of this romantic comedy had to be hastily re-written – but that just gives the feelgood factor a little authenticity. Good fun fluff, that’s couple-friendly and pretty painless. Extras: Commentary, featurette, alternative ending, gag-reel and trailer. RW

ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT SEASON 2 RELEASED: OUT NOW ✪✪✪✪ Hardly an issue goes by without us bemoaning the cancellation of a superior TV show in favour of the sort vacuous crap that the proles greedily consume - cramming it into their slack, soggy minds via daytime TV and worthless digital channels. There’s something to be said for

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books IDENTITY CRISIS BRAD MELTZER TITAN BOOKS ✪✪✪✪✪

Cheating Death Stealing Life Eddie Guerrero WWE Books ✪✪✪✪ Irony. You really can’t beat it can you. The once apt title for this book is made all the more poignant by the death of the man who fought so hard to whup its ass and ultimately lost. There’s no shame in that though. We all succumb eventually, but it just seems sad that at the time when he was really getting his shit together, the sins of the past crept up and took it all away. Eddie Guerrero was a great wrestler. Not one of the greats, but he could have been. Hell the guy had only just started to chip away at what he was capable of. This heartspoken autobiography follows Eddie as he grows up in Mexico and follows his dream through some pretty shitty times. There’s some really good times too and that seems to be the way Eddie’s life always was and probably always would be. One big rollercoaster. There’s some good ‘footage’ of what life is like in the stomping ground of Mexican lucha libre and some background into life in Japan (although not enough for my liking). Not surprisingly, there’s plenty of bad mouthing of Eric Bischoff, but then all of the books tend to give him a really hard time - I’m shocked that the guy still has a job. Maybe he should

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write a book - although he does come off slightly better than he does in Ric Flairs book! Ultimately, the WWE is where everybody wants to be and Eddie really began to make his mark there. Among friends, he climbed the ladder and stayed at the top long enough to stake his claim as one of the best in the business. His feuds and friendships are well covered but it’s his relationship with his wife and children that are most moving. Torn between the booze, the pills and his family, Eddie slowly ripped himself apart until he found (natch) Jesus - which seems to be a popular pastime amongst the WWE crew. Shawn Michaels also devotes a lot of his book to his saviour. Sadly even Jesus couldn’t save Eddie as the ghosts of his past finally caught up with him and his previous use of steroids forced his heart into submission. If you’ve ever followed WWE for any length of time, you’d be stunned at the number of wrestlers who have died this way, but at the end of the day, none of them have anyone to blame but themselves. The WWE was a better place with Eddie in - maybe the book could have devoted a little more time to his life on the independent circuit, he’s had some fantastic matches all over the world that aren’t even mentioned here. They say that wrestling ain’t real. Let me tell you, it don’t get more real than being so busted up you can’t speak. Sports entertainment. Gotta love it. SS

Oh no - not another ‘millions of super heroes all in one place’ novel. No - it’s not. I mean, there is lots of super people all over the book, almost every DC character there has ever been in fact, but the story is a winner from start to finish as Meltzer rewrites some history in his quest for a great story. Second fiddle characters are given a makeover. It’s not every writer that can give a decent lick of paint to some of the dirge DC have pumped out over the years and make something decent out of it. However. If you’re looking for a story, this is the one to pick up... and it ain’t over by a long shot. The Crisis series runs throughout the whole of the rest of the year through different strains of the associated titles, but this is a great place to start! There’s some really good material here that runs in relation to Bruce Wayne, there’s also some nice side angles into the life of Clark Kent. After all, what Crisis does best is reveal the people behind the costumes. Everybody is vulnerable throughout this book, as the killer appears intent on attacking each and every one of them not directly, but by targeting the human members of their families. Wives, parents, children... nothing appears to be sacred as every one of the DC super hero teams get together in support of each other. The artwork is also second to

none as it seamlessly integrates the multiple stories into each other. There’s a great funeral scene in which the guys manage to cram everyone in the cast list into a couple of panels. There’s also a great scene with the Spectre. The Spectre is one of those characters that needs resurrecting full time (and if anybody from DC ever gets to read this, isn’t it about time to give the Question a new lease of life? I know a guy with a cool script you could start off with...). Anyway, the plot gets thicker and thicker and really does have a surprise ending - I was a million miles away from where it was going! If it’s been a long time since you’ve read a ‘comic book’ and you don’t think you’ve got the stomach for something as deep rooted as Hellblazer or Sandman, then Identity Crisis is a great place to start. Up the back end of the book, there’s also some great discussions about how the characters were put in their relative positions for the story and some fantastic cover art from the individual comics - which reminds me - DC don’t put out enough art books for my liking - get the lead out guys! Bang in an introduction by Joss Whedon and you’ve got yourself a pretty swanky package. Take away all the pictures and you’d still have a thriller worthy of a bestseller on the stands. One day, all stories will be written this well. SS

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VIMANARAMA GRANT MORRISON & PHILIP BOND TITAN BOOKS

THE ORIGINALS DAVE GIBBONS TITAN BOOKS ✪✪✪✪ Hopefully, this little gem won’t be overlooked in the post Christmas hangover period because it’s an absolute scorcher. Loosely based on a mods vs rockers culture set sometime in the future (sort of) or possibly an alternate dimension of the sixties, Lel and Bok want just on thing out of life. To join the Originals. Their whole lives are dedicated to fashion and moving up the hierarchy of the gang - hey, isn’t that what it was all about back then? Being a ‘face’ There’s absolutely stacks more to this book than meets the eye and despite it being wholly enjoyable as a stand alone instant read, it’s message is subtle, if not a scathing attack on the youth culture of today. It’s done with such stealth that unless you were familiar with Gibbons previous work, you probably wouldn’t even notice, but if you pretty much grew up with the guy like I did, you learn to look out for this sort of thing and it’s all the better for it. The characters are really simple to understand, it’s the situations that arouse the beast in them and the plot is something that could happen at any given moment now, even outside of the mod ethos. Lovingly illustrated in glorious black and white, The Originals paints a bleak picture of lives when they spin out of control. If you’re unfamiliar with Gibbons work, go hunt it down. He had a hand in some of the most influential comic books to have ever been written, his style is unique and you’ll get loads more out of this for your effort. SS

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MAKING THE GAME HHH W/ROBERT CAPRIO WWE BOOKS ✪✪✪ Hmm. If you’re an addictive fan like myself, I’m just a tiny bit disappointed that HHH didn’t go down the route of pumping out a fully fledged autobiog like the rest of the crew, I mean shit, there must be so much to know. Instead, HHH chooses to give us the highlights of his youth and early career, goes a little bit deeper with the latter years but populates the remainder with hitting the gym. Sure - I read it all but it just seems a bit weird because all the other WWE biogs are accessible to anybody who can read and are great reading under any circumstances. This one however seems to have targeted it’s audience very specifically and I think it will suffer because of that. All of that aside though, it’s another good read from the camp who just can’t stop pumping them out. If you’re a WWE junkie, this is pretty much essential reading. Everybody around the scene in the last eight years will let you know that HHH has nothing to prove to anybody. I would say that he’s almost single handedly responsible for the successful u-turn that the company has made recently - check out any match on any night and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Along with the Undertaker, HHH is the flag in the ground that enables the company to say ‘we’re great at what we do’. Is it any good as from a weight-training aspect. It’s too early to tell! Seriously though - if it’s shot from the hip as I suspect it is, it all seems like a good way of training. It looks hard work, but if that’s what you’re after, then who better to train with than HHH - after all, he’s got the best in business to consult. Specialist book for specialist people. Good stuff. Check out the competition in the front end of the mag. SS

✪✪✪ A bit left of field for Mr Morrison, but then, he doesn’t really have a field to play in does he. This is one madass idea for a book though even by his standards - beneath a corner shop in Bradford lies a buried city where evil has been imprisoned for 6,000 years - but what superhero story would be complete without that unwitting young boy who sets loose the evil by mistake. Sift under the surface and there’s all manner of subtext about arranged marriages and the intricacies of an Asian family - blood being thicker than water and all that. It’s a nice easy read though but being the semi-shallow infidel that I am, there’s probably a lot of fun in here that I’m missing out on from a lack of Eastern knowledge and maybe that drags it down a little - I certainly never thought I would be handing out a miserly three stars to Morrison - no matter what day of the week it is, but it left me feeling a bit like I hadn’t read anything with any substance behind it. On the other hand, the artwork is brilliant. I’ve always loved Bonds angular work and it works really well here (for the full hit, check out Kill Your Boyfriend), buffering right up to the story seamlessly. So, overall a little disappointing but for a hit ‘n’ run read, it fills a gap. SS

THE VESUVIUS CLUB: GRAPHIC EDITION MARK GATISS & IAN BASS SIMON & SCHUSTER ✪✪✪ Mark Gattis is starting to get himself a reputation of being a top British writer with many strings to his bow. I think we all know him essentially from his work with “A League of Gentlemen” which he co-writes and co-stars in (radio show/TV series and big Hollywood movie). He has also written for the recent Doctor Who series. Now the bugger has even written, the first in a series of novels, about an Edwardian secret Agent. This review is concerning the Graphic Edition (read ‘Graphic Novel’). Of said first novel-The Vesuvius Club. Welcome to the world of Lucifer Box (great name!), a kinda Dandy Edwardian James Bond. Starting our story in London, no.9 Downing Street to be precise (someone has to live there!) After the disappearance of Jocelyn Poop (“Our man in Naples”), who, in turn had been investigating the unusual, possible kidnapping of 2 of our most eminent Vulcanologists (and no, they do not study Mr. Spock outta Star Trek…they study Volcanoes!).Our cock-sure hero finds himself on a roller coaster ride that involves decadence, murder, purple zombies, debauchery, portrait painting and oh yeah, a homoerotic relationship with his new manservant! This is a surreal tale, which certainly justifies the “For the Discerning Mature Reader” tag that it has on the front. It’s very well written and the artwork is of a very high standard. I`ll admit I haven’t read the ‘non picture’ version of this book, but I am quite looking forward to the next helping of Mister Box later on this yearcalled ‘The Devil in Amber’. JMc

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Games LUMINES PSP

"You are NOT my Father" said Hector as they acted out the famous scene from 'Bill n Teds Excellent Adventure'

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game is good, but it could have been a lot better, and I certainly hope that if there is a fourth game, that the development team will have learnt from the mistakes they’ve made with this title. BL

DEVIL KINGS PS2 ✪✪✪✪ Someone at Capcom must be a big fan of the Dynasty Warriors series. It seems to me that they have looked at a series which seemed to have lost its way, and said “right, this it what it would take to make this kind of game kick serious ass” and someone else has said “Sweet, lets do it!” and by god have they ‘done it’. Chose one of six different characters and go onto the field of battle, and kill thousands of enemies…what could be simpler? Each character has different fighting styles and finishing moves. You can also combine moves together to form devastating combos. New to this genre is the ability to control the camera and the fact that you can block opponents, so you can actually defend yourself as well as attack. What a great idea, why didn’t anyone else think of that! As you expect, you will gain experience as you go along the excellently detailed levels looking cool as you play the hero! Coming from the people who brought us Resident Evil and Devil May Cry, you will expect the production values to be of the highest order, and you won’t be disappointed. This is a stunning game which only doesn’t get the full 5 stars because it not exactly original, but I guess there aren’t too many original games out there with the better selling games these days seeming to be sequels. It’s the gamer that wins here, anyway, as this is as fun as any game I’ve played so far this year. Job done Capcom! JMc

Lumines is a crazy addictive puzzle game that came as a big shock to me when I first played it, and it will probably do the same to a lot of people. I’ve never been big on puzzle games, in fact I get tired of them really easily, but Lumines is totally different, and its probably one of the best games I’ve played in a long time. It’s fresh, exciting and quite easy to sit and play for hours on end; with a mix of vibrant colours, cool music and a ingenuity that makes you want more. The puzzle formula is so simple, yet original at the same time; each level consists of blocks made out of two colours, and sometimes a block of one colour. The blocks come down in a square of four (in different variations of the two colours) and the idea is to get a block of four, in a square, of the same colour. There is a little more to, but simply put, the puzzle formula is very easy to pick up, but also challenging at the same time, making this game one of the most original and inventive games made for a long time, and certainly one of the best games on the PSP. BL

"Fuck me" thought Voldo, “I only asked her if she came her often”.

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SOUL CALIBUR III PS2 ✪✪✪ Perhaps one of the most outstanding and consistent fighting games to date, the Soul Calibur series returns with a somewhat lacklustre sequel. Now before I carry on with the review I wont to get this clear; this game is great, no doubt about it, and I love the Soul Calibur series itself, but this instalment does nothing to add on, or improve, the games. In fact it seems more like Soul Calibur 2.5 than a direct sequel to the amazing Soul Calibur 2. The graphics, whilst stunning, haven’t improved a great deal and neither has the voice acting. The story also feels like it has been pushed aside for some of the new modes and features. Other than that, the original, crazy cast has all returned, with the three new additions; Zasalamel, a big Scythe wielding guy, Tira, who (like a lot of the Soul Calibur females) looks like a prostitute and Setsuka, a woman who uses a katana hidden by an umbrella. The newcomers are all good, but the main reason that the story feels a little disappointing is possibly the new character creation mode. Whilst it’s a lot of fun making your characters look like transvestite vampires, or giving them bright blue skin, the characters don’t prove that useful in actual fights, and having both the main story and a story mode for the created character makes it feel like they’ve wasted one great mode to have to satisfactory modes. However, the tournament modes and the ability to fiddle with the current characters colours make up for it. Overall the

KAMEO: ELEMENTS OF POWER XBOX 360 ✪✪✪ The next generation of gaming is off to a very good start. The first game to be released on the Xbox 360 is a fitting showcase for Microsoft’s sparkling new console. This colourful, creative action adventure game is one of the most family-friendly games included in Xbox 360’s starting line-up, but don’t let that fact put you off .It provides excellent entertainment for all walks of life, from your ankle biters to your wrinkly old gramps! It’s packed with clever and entertaining action, not to mention some of the best hi-definition graphics around, along with some cracking sound effects thrown in. You play as Kameo, an Elven princess with fairy wings and the ability to transform into a variety of unusual creatures. She single handedly assaults an ominous castle inhabited with trolls and we presume, smelly industrial companions. It turns out Kalus, Kameo’s wicked sister is in league with the troll king, so what would any woman do…fight, using a range of transformations to help her along the way. Overall, the game combines familiar storybook scenery (with all of the colourful, lovable characters you’d expect) with much more unusual imagery that older, or more experienced gamers will appreciate. This works well and makes a fun

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game for everyone. Sadly, the adventure is over oh so soon…after about 8 hrs of gameplay to be exact. With a little more time and effort put into the depth of the story this would have been an essential purchase. SMW

CASTLEVANIA : CURSE OF DARKNESS XBOX ✪✪✪ Finally Konami have got their fingers out and given us a Castlevania game for the xbox. If seems like ages since we delighted in fighting against vampires with our trusty whip in the classic 2D side scroller, but now we get to play in 3Dsweet! This time there is a slight twist, your main character, Hector, was once a powerful “Devil Forge master” who was a servant of the dark Lord Dracula himself. This means that you can create shed loads of powerful weapons & artefacts whose individual parts (amazingly) drop off the baddies you fight! There are a whole bunch of different types of items you can create, including all manner of weapons and armour. This is the primary means by which you’ll upgrade your weapons and armour, and it lends the game an undeniably addicting quality. Also, you learn to steal items from enemies at an early stage in the game, and of course, some of the most awesome components can only be stolen from some of the most difficult-to-pilfer-from enemies. The dudes behind Castlevania certainly know what they’re doing. On the downside the graphics and gameplay make it look like it should be on another console made by Sony. Also some of the fighting can get a little repetitive and the level design early on is a bit bland .If you bear with it, it blossoms into a kick ass third person slash ‘em up with some cool RPG elements. JMc

FABLE : THE LOST CHAPTERS XBOX ✪✪✪✪ Ok, this is a weird one to review… Simply because, like Ninja Gaiden Black, this is just an update of a classic xbox game. If you are not

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aware of the original Fable, and you have a passion for a decent RPG, then boy are you in for a treat: Role-playing fans yearning for a rich adventure will find much to engage them in Fable: The Lost Chapters. In the mystical land of Albion, the game will immerse players in a world where every action has a consequence, and players shape their destiny to rise to fame... or descend into infamy.

Fable: The Lost Chapters builds upon Fable’s legendary and award-winning gameplay with spectacular new spells, devastating new weapons and stout new armour, all of which will be needed to contend with new monsters and other threats in the treacherous Snowy Wastes. Basically, if you have played the original Fable then you get another couple of hours gameplay and a few extra bits n bobs, so not worth the money unless you are a real hardcore fan. If on the other hand you haven’t played Fable before, then change the above score to 5/5 and get the hell outta here and buy this masterpiece…but don’t plan much once you have bought it…this baby will take over your life- trust me. JMc

more surprising than that is the fact the game works, and it works really well. Although it’s not entirely clear, the game seems to take place between MGS1 and 2 or just after 2, using a new host of characters including another playable character named Teliko, or Swallowtail. The game uses a “turn based” card strategy system, allowing you to move and perform actions within your turn. At the end of your turn “cost” is racked up, and depending on the cards you used, the amount of “cost” can vary. The more “cost” you have at he end of your turn, the longer it takes for your next turn to come around, and this all applies to enemies and allies alike. It’s all very complicated at first, and I haven’t even explained all of the game play, but it can get confusing and some missions may take several attempts to finish. Nonetheless, applying different strategies and tactics makes the game a very individual experience each time you play. With a brilliant, clever story, great graphics and awesome sounds to boot, this game is a must buy for anyone who loves a challenge, loves crazy and original games or just loves any of the previous MGS games. BL

STAR WARS: BATTLEFRONT 2 PSP ✪✪✪✪

PRINCE OF PERSIA THE TWO THRONES PS2/Xbox/Gamecube ✪✪✪✪

METAL GEAR AC!D PSP ✪✪✪✪✪ Metal Gear AC!D is the newest installment to the much loved Metal Gear series, but this game adds a peculiar twist to the tactical espionage found in the other games. This time we’re found playing cards, and before you ask, this is nothing like Yu-Gi-Oh or any other Japanese card based anime. The idea is very weird, big bad ass Solid Snake using cards to move around and shoot people? Yeah came as a shock to me as well, but what’s

It can be whipped around defensively, cracked at individual enemies and used Indy-style as a whip for swinging to new places. Dark Prince is more powerful than Prince, but you lose health all the time you use him, so when you’re forced to use him during puzzles, time is of the essence. Also new to the game are stealth kills, where with a few well timed button presses, you can stylishly (and sometimes very graphically and violently) finish off a foe with no retaliation. Graphics are gorgeous as usual, backed up by the fact that the locations are awesome and the animation smooth as an Arabian oil-slick. All in all a very satisfying conclusion to the Prince of Persia Trilogy. DB

We’ve all got our dark side. The poor Prince literally has to live with his! In this third and final installment of the new Prince of Persia series, you spend your time battling monsters and solving puzzles, not only as the Prince Of Persia, but also his demonic dark side, morphing between the two as you progress. Fans of the original will like that the Prince is once more voiced by the original artist, while Dark Prince is voiced by a new voice actor. Fighting as the Prince is the same as before, you can run, jump, make acrobatic leaps, vaults and swings of Olympic standard proportions, and also fight brutally, with some of larger weapons decapitating and slicing enemies in half. Playing as the Dark Prince is a bit different. He has a weapon called the Daggertail (shown on the box-shot) which is like a chain-whip with many blades.

Star Wars: Battlefront 2 is the sequel to the extremely popular, online shoot ‘em up based on the ever brilliant film franchise. The game returns in this installment with a fortified single player mode, better graphics and even a PSP version, which is what this review is based on. The controls can be a little tricky at first as aiming is made difficult with the lack of a second analogue stick, but it can be easily over looked as there is an auto aim which will stick to a target once you’ve aimed in his or her general direction. The graphics look great on the screen, and all though they may not be as awe inspiring as the console versions of the game, it still does itself justice. The game also has a great score, using music composed for the films in all the right places and the sound effects of the laser gun battles have made the transition from film to game brilliantly. The game now has battles set in all 6 of the star wars films and now also includes jedis and star battles; whilst these two new features may not feel as good as games based around them, they still work well within the game. There are several different types of game play modes, including galactic conquest, challenges and instant action. All of this coupled with a great multiplayer mode makes it a very fun game to play. BL

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Grease paint &

Monkey

Brains And so that was Christmas… And now it’s not, but I had the most excellent fortune to attend three awesome gigs in these last few weeks. Coheed & Cambria at the Astoria was just above and beyond expectation, the other two featured my two kids. The first was a four year olds nativity play, (now renamed a “Christmas Play” in case it offends non-Christians, but I’m sure the last time I looked Christmas was a Christian thing as well). Anyway, the place was sold out, absolutely jacked to the max. Standing room only at the back. For a reception class, it was a pretty sophisticated affair with more hi-tech recording equipment and tripods than you see at most gigs. The lighting wasn’t quite so good as a Pink Floyd show, but as I mentioned at the last PTFA meeting, you really need pyro at the Summer Fair if you’re going to raise enough money for that sort of thing. Two things really rocked the play up this year though. The first was the introduction of a new character into the plot – and that was the owl. At least I think it was an owl. In between the wise men and the shepherds, the owl flew about in the background doing some excellent wing flapping and hooting. Most bizarre. I don’t recall there being an owl in the story before. The second thing was even more exciting. The musical director, being classically trained as she is, chose a great piece of music for the coming of Gabrielle and also for the “great arrival”. I’m not sure what the piece is called in the real world but two hundred parents all did a double take as we all recognised the theme from the Exorcist. Awesome. I assume it was done without that knowledge but whether it was or wasn’t, I take my hat off to you! I would rather organise a Motley Crue world tour than an hour long play for 30 four year olds – and I must also mention the lead shepherd who thought it would be a bit of laugh to punch the unholy crap out of the stuffed lamb he was holding. My second outing was to the church up the road. For those of you who might be a bit disappointed at me for that, let me tell you that I bought my house because it backs onto the cemetery. Cemeteries generally come with church attached, but never mind – apart from those freaking bells on a Sunday morning and the outlandish parking skills of people who stick plastic fish on the back of their cars, they’re quite well behaved. This one was more of a carol concert. Again, they really ramped it up this year and the carols were rocked out with lots of Lenny 098

Kravitz style funk. The lyrics were a bit lame but hey, they are nine years old. Once again, standing room only at the back and the King Kong production crew was on hand again to capture it in all its glory. Afterwards, the er.. vicar, I think that’s what they’re called, gave a little speech. In a true Paul Stanley style, he swept in and grabbed everyone’s attention by asking if anybody had seen Narnia yet. Millions of hands went up. We

and the car behind me which is already in the right hand lane is going pretty slowly so I pull out. At which point, the dick behind the wheel decides to put his foot down. He twigs to the fact that there’s now a car in front of him and loses his mind completely. Man, he’s banging on the wheel, shaking his fist and shouting so loudly that all sic of his chins have the best workout of their life.

Two hundred parents all did a double take as we all recognised the theme from

the Exorcist... were then told about the similarities between the Narnia story and the Christmas story… and as 60 kids and 300 parents listened intently, Mr Electric Head just wanted to stand and say, wait! That’s not right! It’s not similar at all! Mary and Joseph did not go into a stable and find another world in the back of a cupboard. There was no lion that said ‘sorry, there is no room at the inn’. Neither was there a minotaur, a centaur, a beaver or a fox… and Mr Tumnus certainly didn’t appear and tell Mary she was going to bare a child. It’s wrong. People shouldn’t say something is like something else when it’s so clearly not. This is why I’m not one of those people who go to that place. It all seems to be a desperate, and despite my calcium hardened heart, all it takes is a few kids doing their thing to soften it up a bit. Kids rock. In other seasonal happenings, I was heading out to Folkestone last week, (can’t remember what for, it couldn’t have been very important, if you’ve ever been there, you’ll know what I’m talking about) - just before the M20 starts, there’s like this manic series of un-navigable roundabouts. Every town has them. So, I’m inthe left hand lane of a dual carriageway, I indicate to come out into the right hand lane

Now, I don’t have a small car, not one of those Smart Cars or a Fiat that looks like somebody forgot to finish it off. It’s an old black Audi. Big fucker right, so it’s not like he didn’t see me coming. Anyway, this guy has an even bigger car - one of those brand new Rovers that’s supposed to look like a Jag but everyone knows is piece of tin. He’s running about 5mm away from my ass for about a half mile, thinking he’s a big man and I’m some kind of hippy fag. I put my foot down for a bit, whip into the slow lane and let him go past. After he’s gone past me, I catch him up - and keeping a respectful distance - follow him into Folkestone. He eventually pulls into a pay and display car park. Now I have no idea why I followed him or what I was going to do. Must be the devil in me, but as he parks up, I park next to him and smile my best smile as I stick my car about 2 inches from his door so he can’t get out. I give him a an even bigger smile. What’s a 25 stone tub of lard gonna do? Jump over into the passenger seat and come get me? I don’t think so. Possibly the most satisying 25 minutes of the week and just goes to prove, being childish can be hugely satisfying sometimes. Especially when you’re playing with a cock. w w w. b u r n m a g . c o . u k | B U R N M A G A Z I N E


BURN ISSUE 7

25/1/06

1:19 am

Page 099

Jesse Jane

www.digitalplayground.com


BURN ISSUE 7

23/1/06

8:16 pm

Page 0100

A P R I L / M AY 2 0 0 4 BURN

Burn Magazine Issue 7  

Issue 7 of music and movies magazine, Burn