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ISSUE 121 | APRIL 2009



REleases revieweD IN





ツ」3.80 APR. 2009 ISSUE 121

USA $8.99 / CAN $10.95 / AUS $9.75

MAIN FEATURES 38 ALKALINE TRIO Humping trannies, getting arrested and licensing music to Barbie. Alkaline Trio have a lot to answer for…

54 DANANANANAYKROYD ROCK SOUND enters the weird and wonderful world of Dananananaykroyd as they prepare to unleash the best UK debut of the year so far…

56 MASTODON It’s been a tough couple of years for Mastodon, but they’re finally back with a new album. We caught up with the band (and Thin Lizzy) to find out why they’re stronger than ever…

60 IN THIS MOMENT Whoever said that women can’t rock obviously had never heard of In This Moment. Let ROCK SOUND introduce you to rock’s new heroine, Maria Brink…

62 30 SECONDS TO MARS With the completion of their third album looming, 30 Seconds To Mars still need to work out this lawsuit business so that it can actually be released. ROCK SOUND spoke to the three-piece to get the lowdown…

68 DEATHSTARS ROCK SOUND takes a walk on the wild side to talk huge erections and lighthouses with the new Prince Of Darkness…

No.121 APRIL 2009

70 SHRED YR FACE TOUR REPORT SStrange odours, knickerless birds and inner-band ‘warfare’ – it’s all going off on the ROCK SOUND Shred Yr Face II tour. We head to the Welsh capital to get in on the action…… [3]









verybody’s getting back together. What’s going on? Do these bands feel they still have something left to give musically, or are they simply cashing in while they still can? So far this year we’ve seen the likes of Blink-182, Limp Bizkit, Blur, Faith No More (who are fine to reform in our book), Skunk Anansie and more, all putting their ‘issues’ to one side to give it another go – most for a nice, big, fat pay cheque to boot. Surely, witnessing Blink singing ‘What’s My Age Again?’ will beg the same the question. So, who would you like to see reform if none of the above tickle your musical fancy? Personally, I’d like to catch Botch doing the rounds again, and Refused too. Unfortunately, I missed both bands the first time around (a man’s got to wash his hair sometime, you know?), so a second chance would be a fantastic opportunity. Turn to page 12 to read our Top 10 Reformations feature if you fancy a giggle. So who’s going reform next? All bets are on! Darren Taylor, Editor

Blink and you’ll miss it

Rock Sound, Unit 22, Jack’s Place, 6 Corbet Place, Spitalfields, London, E1 6NN Tel: + 44 (0)20 7877 8770 Fax: + 44 (0)20 7377 0455 e-mail:



REGULARS 6 RSVP 23 EXPOSURE New bands that we think you need to know

Got something to say? We’re listening…


The latest news and interviews featuring Gallows, The Living End, Future Of The Left, Sonny Moore and more…

about, featuring And So I Watch You From Afar, The Thermals, No Made Sense, Vanna and more…


52 OFF THE PEG ROCK SOUND’s guide to the coolest new togs… 75 REVIEWS ROCK SOUND reviews and rates over 100 new


releases in music, films, DVDs, games and books. Featuring Duff McKagan, Silversun Pickups, Mono and Wolves In The Throne Room, while Goldie Lookin Chain give their verdict on this month’s singles. Ouch!

The latest studio news from Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster and This City, plus recording news from around the world. Win! Kings Of Neon goodies, Madina Lake gear and Sammy Hagar merch.

96 LIVES The hottest gigs from around the world reviewed, including Soundwave Festival, Young Widows, Taste Of Chaos, Rise Against and more…



Your A-Z of the best upcoming gigs, plus Vessels and Propagandhi give us the goss about life on the road…


EDITOR: Darren Taylor DEPUTY EDITOR: Darren Sadler REVIEWS EDITOR: Darren Taylor SUB EDITOR: Jen Walker EDITORIAL ASSISTANT / STAFF WRITER: Faye Lewis GAMES EDITOR: David Jenkins FILMS EDITOR: Rachel Kellehar DESIGN: Alistair Cook ONLINE EDITOR: Andy Kelham WEB DEVELOPER: Sonic Network ROCK SOUND SLAVES: Tarik Algin, Trevor Baker, Duncan Bryceland, Jim Burt, Richard Cartey, Helen Catchpowle, Richard Childs, Alex Deller, Mike Diver, James Dominic, Robyn Doreian, Victoria Durham, Lewis Fraser, Neil Gardner, Noel F Gardner, Eleanor Goodman, Shane Harrison, Mike Haydock, Chantal Hennessey, Chris Hidden, Darren Johns, Emily Kearns, Rachel Kellehar, Mike Kemp, Adam F Kennedy, Ronnie Kerswell, Jonathan Long, Amy Mcgill, James Mclaren, Joe Marshall, Ken McGrath, Iain Moffat, Dan Morgan, Giles Moorhouse, Tim Newbound, Kevin Stewart-Panko, Hardeep Phull, Paul Raggity, Oli Robertson, James Skinner, Mike Watt, Plum Woodard, Ben Yates. HAPPY SNAPPERS: Tom Barnes, Duncan Bryceland, Nigel Crane, Steve Gerrard, Kate Hoggett, Zen Inoya, Mark Latham, Mei Lewis, Danny North, Owen Richards, Graham Smith, Andy Stubbs, Joe Watson, Gary Wolstenholme.

US CORRESPONDENTS: J Bennett, Nick Green, David Lewis, Sean Rhorer, Corey Taylor (8), Andrew W.K, Robin Laananen (photos), Chris Mottalini (photos), Roger Mahler (photos) SPECIAL THANKS: Niamh Brogan, Jonathan Kalter, Scott Gorham, Duff Battye, The Bronx, Fucked Up, Rolo Tomassi - awesome tour! Swound! – thanks for the cake. Ethan Kemp welcome to the world of rock! ADVERTISING MANAGER: Lianne Sparkes Tel: 0207 877 8776 EVENTS COORDINATOR: Chloe Brown PUBLISHER: Patrick Napier Tel: 0207 877 8779 patrick.napier@rocksound.tvnet Newstrade distribution by Marketforce. If you have any trouble getting hold of Rock Sound in the shops please call: 020 3148 3333. Subscription rates are as follows: UK £34.97, Europe £46.00, US/Canada £46.00, Rest of world £66.00. To subscribe or if you have a problem with your subscription please call: 0844 249 0217 or email: Rock Sound cannot accept responsibility for any unsolicited manuscripts and transparencies. All material remains the copyright of Rock Sound Ltd. No part of Rock Sound may be reproduced without the prior permission of the publisher (and that includes scanning and uploading it to the net, kids!). Or our lawyers will be round (and they’re very scary!). ABC Member of The Audit Bureau Of Circulation July-Dec 2008: Average net circulation 20,011 ISSN: 1465-0185 COVER PHOTO: Robin Laananen Printed in the UK by St Ives (Roche) Published by Rock Sound Ltd – a 100 per cent independent operation. Text printed on 100 per cent post consumer recylced waste.



Edited by Darren Sadler


Original G.U. Medicine drummer and founding member Pete Williams died on March 05 after a short illness. Pete played on the band’s first two albums. Rock Sound sends its condolences to friends and family. The new G.U. Medicine album ‘Lords Of Oblivion’ is due out later this year.


French-based psyche-doom merchants Fiend (featured in our Myspace section of issue 116) have just released their debut CD, ‘Alga’, on Trendkill Records. Fiend feature Senser frontman Heitham Al-Sayed on vocals. Check them out at



Hot on the heels of The Ghost Of A Thousand, Welsh crew The Blackout have inked a deal with Epitaph. The album ‘The Best In Town’ (produced by ex-A frontman Jason Perry) will drop May 25, preceded by the download single ‘STFUppercut’ on March 30.



Hertfordshire ravecore crew Enter Shikari are giving a free download listed from the band’s forthcoming second album ‘Common Dreads’ at their website. The song ‘Antwerpen’ can be found here at The album is scheduled for an early summer release.


Daniel Krauss, guitarist with American noise merchants Admiral Angry, has died at the age of 22 from a Cystic Fibrosis-related illness. The band had recently signed to Shelsmusic who will release the album later this spring. /


Undergound supergroup Spylacopa who feature in their ranks members of Isis, The Dillinger Escape Plan and Candiria have released their debut CD in Europe via Trendkill. Of the project, Isis bassist Jeff Caxide said: “This was a totally different experience to what I’m used to with Isis. These particular songs were written and tracked before I came along, so I had to find a way to put my spin on something I didn’t help write. I found it to be a fun challenge.” With material being worked on, live shows are not out of the question. Watch this space!

“Frank says in a lot of the lyrics that you might as well kill yourself.”



Stu Gili-Ross

Gallows: talk to the hand...

BLEAK TIMES AHEAD Gallows get angry on album two


allows unleash their second album ‘Grey Britain’ on May 04 and Rock Sound can confirm it’s one hell of an angry beast! “I’m surprised that there are not more bands being angry because the world is in a state,” explained bassist Stu Gili-Ross. “I don’t know how people can’t be angry at the moment. For us, we don’t need any more bands talking about girls. No one is saying anything for us, it was natural to be pissed off and angry because, quite frankly, we are.” Recorded by Garth Richardson (Biffy Clyro, Rise Against), ‘Grey Britain’ is Gallows’ collective view of how society has failed its people. “There are a lot of people in the firing line at the moment, be it organised religion, politicians or just life in general,” he continued. “Unfortunately, there are no real solutions offered up by this record and we’re not even trying to discuss the possibility of there even being a solution, we’re just saying that this is how things are and they’re fucked. In fact, Frank [Carter, vocals] says in a lot of the lyrics that you might as well kill yourself. There is no way out, there is no redemption for us, no matter what organised religion may try and sell off to you we’re not going to be forgiven for this and everything isn’t going to be okay and that’s all we are saying.” Stuart hopes that the album will change the minds of detractors of the first album and will prove that, despite signing to a major label, the quintet didn’t sellout and opt for a commercial second album.

“I don’t think it’s instantly as gratifying as maybe the first one was,” he added. “I think it’s more of a music lovers album from our perspective, in the sense that you sit down and digest it rather than just be like, ‘Yeah, I could mosh to this part’. We wanted to challenge our listeners – we’re aware that the fans are older now and it would be doing a disservice to them for us to write something that hadn’t matured like we have after spending the last three years on the road.” As previously reported on, the original artwork – designed by frontman Frank Carter – has been banned under the Obscene Publications Act but, according to Stuart, will be seen on a special edition version of ‘Grey Britain’. This edition, which also features a 30-minute short film written by Frank and directed by acclaimed music director Adam Powell (Architects, The Ghost of A Thousand), features four songs from the album and reflects the themes of the record. “If you think ‘Grey Britain’ is a dark album, the film is incredibly dark,” laughed the bassist. ‘Grey Britain’ hits the streets on May 04, while the single ‘The Vulture (Act II)’ is released on April 20, both via Black Envelope / Warners. Catch Gallows on tour in May; see gig guide for dates. [9]


© Graham Smith

They defy pigeonholing and have no respect for your eardrums; Belfast’s And So I Watch You From Afar share their mission statement with ROCK SOUND…

ASIWYFAS: storm bringers...



A Burning Sensation “Music is number one, we don’t sit around discussing what sort of feeling we intend to evoke or any other new age bullshit with our tunes,” says And So I Watch You From Afar guitarist Rory Friers. “We want to push boundaries with what we’re doing and put across that we care so fucking deeply about the music we produce; we really hope that comes over when you listen to it. Most importantly, we wanna RAWK.” The Northern Irish four-piece are certainly following this manifesto with their self-titled debut full-length: as emotively atmospheric as it is devastatingly overpowering, it’s an album that demands to be played loud. Although this sonic assault is administered through largely vocal-free songs, the quartet refuse to be dubbed ‘instrumental’ – and they strongly reject the ‘post-rock’ tag. “Post-rock is all about building textures and timbres within the music, and when done right it’s incredible; I just think we have too many riffs and changes of tempo to be in that particular bracket,” reasons Rory. “There are some fucking amazing instrumental Fugazi tunes, remember – I don’t think anybody would call those legends post-rock. We certainly wouldn’t.” He adds: “We were borne out of jamming and we have never once stated that we were strictly instrumental – we herded in 40 of our friends from the Northern Ireland scene to record a huge choir on [album track] ‘Don’t Waste Time Doing Things You Hate’, and it turned out amazing, even if we do say so ourselves. Plus, the album is littered with ‘Whoops!’ and ‘Heys!’. Are those the actions of an instrumental band? We think not!” Given their class, journalistic superlatives should be rightly flying these guys’ way soon, although they have experienced the downside of dealing with suspect media types already. “The most disgusting thing we’ve had to endure while on tour had to be this fraud journalist who turned up at a London show and proceeded to give you lovely people, professional journalists, a bad name,” says Rory. “He stuffed his nose full of coke, drank the majority

“Post-rock is all about building textures and timbres within the music; I just think we have too many riffs and changes of tempo to be in that particular bracket.” Rory Friers of our rider, ate our food, didn’t bother watching us and went on to pretend he did, while contradicting himself constantly. He came up to us and said, ‘It was an awful show, nobody was watching’. I interjected and pointed out that the place was near capacity, we’d had an amazing reception and went down really well, to which he responded, ‘Yep, it was great, the place was rammed’. The final straw was when he said, ‘Your singer was out of key the whole time!’ Huh!? The guy was an ex-pat from Belfast and also bad-mouthed a lot of people we really respect from home. I think his name was BALLBAG.” Formed a couple of years ago and with mini-album ‘This Is Our Machine And Nothing Can Stop It’ already under their belts, the band now intend to “tour the fuck out of” their self-titled debut, as they continue to push those boundaries and set about writing album number two. Here’s to the RAWK.

Tim Newbound LINE-UP: Rory Friers (guitar), Tony Wright (guitar), Johnny Adger (bass), Chris Wee (drums) FROM: Belfast SOUNDS LIKE: Your most beautiful dreams and worst nightmares spliced and translated via the medium of intense volume. CURRENT RELEASE: ‘And So I Watch You From Afar’ (album, Smalltown America. Out April 06) WEBSITE: DOWNLOAD THIS: ‘Clench Fists, Grit Teeth... GO!’ [25]

You starin’ at me, punk?



INTERVIEW: Ronnie Kerswell / PHOTOS: Zen Inoya


country. Winnipeg is cold – really cold! Anywhere you’ve been, Winnipeg is colder! It makes Wales feel like spring! I lived there for the first few years, but my family moved around a lot because of my dad’s job. He was in trucking and if he wasn’t driving, he was managing. He used to drive before I was born and now that we tour and do 40-hour drives, he’s like, ‘I’ve done that’. It’s like we have that bond.”

YOU MOVED TO SOUTHERN ONTARIO WHEN YOU WERE FOUR… “We lived in a few of the cities close by,

mostly in Kitchener-Waterloo – two towns that are basically the same. It used to be called New Berlin but that changed because of the Second World War; it has a huge German population and has the second largest Oktoberfest in the world.”


guy’s not cool…’, but in Nashville it was like, ‘I’m not cool now so anyone who wants to be my friend is fucking on!’ It made me a stronger person in so many ways and once we moved back to Canada I was much more confident in myself.”


my friends were doing it and it was very much ‘of the time’ – we were starting to get into straightedge hardcore and bands like Earth Crisis who are into veganism. It was more a health thing for me; I was pretty heavy as a kid and couldn’t stop eating burgers. I care about animals so it was the natural thing.”


it when I was 18 and my best friend, who got me into being vegetarian, was straightedge. I still drank and partied; I’d take a break from drinking for six months and I’d say to him, ‘I’m never going to say I’m straightedge’. Saying, ‘I know I’m going to be straightedge for the rest of my life’ is a really serious commitment. When I finally became straightedge I’d been sober for a certain amount of time first.”

“Toboganning outside the house. It’s a good memory. I had a lot of friends in the neighbourhood so I wasn’t a loner. We were always out riding bikes and in the woods hanging out, catching frogs and building forts.”

kids’ stuff…”



to sew when I was really young and I’m really thankful. For instance, as a teenager and growing up skateboarding, if I wanted an Element hoodie, I’d cut up and sew an Element T-shirt on a hoodie. When I was in high school baggy jeans were the style so I altered my own jeans. Conversely, now tighter jeans are the style, I’ll buy a boot-cut or flare and sew it tighter at the ankles. I’ve made stuff from scratch and I’ll hand-sew in the van, too. It’s handy for sewing on patches. Bleeding Through have patches on everything – jeans, jackets, vests, so it’s cool to be like, ‘I’m sewing!’”


“I looked up to skateboarders and, growing up in the early 90s, that’s how we got into bands. Your favourite skateboarder would either be into hip-hop or punk rock. We’d watch skate videos and think, ‘Who are all these bands?’ so we’d pause the credits, write down all the bands and go to the record store. I liked skateboarding, but I was always way more into snowboarding.”


like that! When you’re a kid and going out partying it’s almost easier to get drugs than alcohol, as those guys always gave it to you because they want your money whereas in Ontario you can only buy booze in government-run shops. All my friends would get into insane stuff but I stopped smoking weed when I was 18 as it put me in the worst mood. I’d be at a party, stoned, just feeling like all my friends were dicks and I’d walk home – even in the middle of winter and I’d walk for three hours! I’m really lucky now as my close friends are either straightedge or have a good head on their shoulders. I started drinking when I was 11 – it was not like I was this hardcore boozer, you’d steal stuff off your friend’s grandpa so you knew what it did and you got hungover. When I got to 19 it wasn’t a big thrill to be drinking and I’m almost glad I got that out the way when I was younger.”

DID YOU EVER WANT TO GET INTO THAT AS A CAREER? “I always worked in skate and snowboard shops

and, up until I was 21, I actually thought I was going to work in the snowboard industry – not so much as a professional snowboarder, but I loved the whole industry side of it, like helping at events. I didn’t think I’d be in a band full-time.”

WHAT HAS HAD THE MOST IMPACT ON YOUR LIFE? “My dad’s job took us to the US and we lived in

Nashville, Tennessee for a bit. At 15, being taken away from all your friends is really gnarly – especially to a completely different culture. That was really low-end for me; I was the only one who listened to punk rock at my school, except for one guy who was into Crass and Oi Polloi. I also had to squash the idea that I could only be friends with certain people. When I first hung out with my punk rock friends we were like, ‘That

[[40] 40]] 40

and couldn’t stop eating burgers.” WHAT’S YOUR PHILOSOPHY ON LIFE?

“Live for the moment and appreciate everything. We never had any goals as a band – the only goal was to be a band so, because of that, we’ve always been so stoked.” Cancer Bats will be hitting the UK in April and May; see gig guide for dates.

He started boozing at 11 and is pretty nifty with a needle, welcome to the batty world of Mr Cormier‌ [41]

o t d e t n a w e “W e v i s i c e d e m take so w e n a n i s p e st direction, we wanted to create a c i t a m e n i c e r mo experience.” Jared Leto


WORDS: Andrew Kelham / PHOTOS: Robin Laananen


With the completion of their third album looming, 30 Seconds To Mars still need to work out be this lawsuit business so that it can actually iece released. ROCK SOUND spoke to the three-p to get the lowdown…


t-sized (yet d as it arrives at the front door of a decen t is a strange scene that greets Rock Soun nestles that les Ange Los in ood bourh a hub neigh not gargantuan) house in Studio City, a medi re of peace and calm pictu a to open s swing door front The at the foot of the Hollywood Hills. the airy and attractive interior space which leads as the doorway gives way to a large, light, and an array of trees, pool ssive impre an ts boas that n garde eye naturally out to a resplendent uctory view sanctuary. The impressive and calming introd plants and lush grass in a serene private nly thrust sudde are n rame ensues when two came lasts for all of a second before complete chaos it becomes house the ing Enter . move every our to document a band directly into Rock Sound’s vision as they begin and eers engin cer, currently a factory. Downstairs a produ ing with immediately obvious that this property is build the late popu le peop 15 of rds upwa med track as discuss which mix should be used for an unna puncture the tracks, guitar parts and other instrumentation bustle, activity and noise as strands of drum this? like live in a house atmosphere at regular intervals. Who could e to greet Rock Sound To Mars frontman emerges from the mele Jared Leto could and does. The 30 Seconds conversations that the by cted distra ars appe he rst impression warmly with a worn and tired look. From fi Milicevic continue Tomo rist guita , drummer Shannon Leto and are simmering downstairs as producer Flood y finished the nearl have band the time, al critic a at arrived their dialogue without him. Rock Sound has to get the record push nal fi a of Is War’ and they are in the midst writing and recording of third album ‘This still a million deare there l, tunne the of end the at light ise of complete for mixing in May. Despite the prom his demeanour from us obvio it’s and job can be considered done cisions to be made by the band before the one. even not decisions, that Leto doesn’t want to miss out on any hectic surroundhouse to the backyard so we can talk in less The singer leads Rock Sound through the he filmed the when wore Leto that rm unifo army a Greek ings. We go down a flight of stairs passing mannequins that towards the back doors we pass a set of Oliver Stone epic Alexander and as we head in with his brother lives Jared h (whic e hous The e. Orang work look suspiciously like props from A Clock ive people. usly decorated and lived in by highly creat Shannon) is full of incredible art and obvio [63]

REVIEWS ROCK IN THEIR WORDS… Duff McKagan (VOCALS, GUITAR) You’ve previously stated that Loaded isn’t as ‘big business’ as Velvet Revolver / Guns N’ Roses, does this bring you closer to the listener? “I have a much easier rapport with the audience – and it’s not because it’s smaller audiences; I’ve let down another barrier and I feel more in touch with the audience.”


Let’s forget all the supergroup rubbish and the million-year wait for other related albums, instead let’s remember what we’re all doing here and what we all love. Without all the interference and general bullshit factors of managers, labels and industry politics, Duff McKagan has managed to remember the most important factor – yup, you guessed it folks, the God damn music! Loaded is Duff’s back-to-basics, kick-ass rock ‘n’ roll beast, and when ‘Sick’ kicks in with its blistering anarchic Amen-grappling with G N’R’s infectious swagger, you know you’re onto a winner. With its musical ethos firmly in the punk rock gutter, ‘Sick‘ is the album that every





Just when you thought you couldn’t give a fig for yet more instrumental post-rock, along come these upstarts to clout you upside the head for taking your eye off the ball. Kissing cousins to From Monument To Masses, ASIWYFA deal in a similar line of dynamic crashes, danceable rhythms and Dave Knudson guitar squiggle, even giving their songs similarly statesmashing titles to again raise the question of just how political you can really be while barely uttering a word. True to form, the band occasionally lose themselves amidst untold minutes of panoramic fartarsery, but there’s always a tubby fucker of a riff lurking on the horizon to ensure things come back to life with another reassuring thunk. FOR FANS OF: From Monument To Masses, Pelican, Russian Circles ALEX DELLER

Black Math Horseman [8] ‘Wyllt’


Their moniker conjures up images of an odd mix of moustachioed dudes in corpse paint belting out the latest in advanced polyrhythmic grindcore. In reality, Los Angeles’ Black Math Horseman are a much more psychedelic and doomy proposition accented by a dark twang ‘n’ shimmer. When they click the distortion pedals on, it’s like Isis being chased through a foggy veil by a bloodthirsty succubus. ‘Tyrant’ balances spacious textures with palm-muted crushing and pounding drums, while ‘A Barren Cause’ builds like a glorious exorcism before a climax that’s like Clutch being joined by Dave Wyndorf and Scott ’Wino’ Weinrich for a brown acid jammola. Excellent stuff. FOR FANS OF: Across Tundras, Earth, Isis, Pink Floyd KEVIN STEWART-PANKO


disillusioned G N’R fan should own; it’s an album to remember why we‘re still interested in Duff and, despite his incredible musical pedigree, it’s a album that demonstrates Duff is an artist that is still relevant and not just living on his past glories. There’s an autobiographical slant throughout the record, and songs like ‘Flatlined’, ‘No More’ and ‘Sleaze Factory’ all pack a serious rock punch. This isn’t music to revolutionalise the world, but highenergy rock ‘n’ roll doesn’t half make the world a better place. FOR FANS OF: Guns N‘ Roses, Velvet Revolver, The Wildhearts, Ramones DARREN SADLER







Epic doesn’t even begin to do this justice; two vast records of sprawling, expansive and mindbogglingly schizophrenic neoprog (also available in a single ‘digested’ 80-minute version), ‘200 Tons Of Bad Luck’ could hardly be less suited for the current musical climate. Unsurprisingly, it’s fucking brilliant, evoking everything from the studied tension of classic GY!BE (‘Time Of Ye Life…’) to the crystalline guitar lines of Mogwai (‘Wendingo’) and labyrinthine structures of classic 70s psyche (the frankly insane ‘Rise Up And Fight’). So while, on occasion, things might stray a little too far into Pink Floyd territory, it would be churlish to criticise what looks set to be one of 09s most intriguing releases. FOR FANS OF: Black Mountain, Popol Vuh, Teeth Of The Sea, Mogwai



Starting precisely where their recently-reissued EP left off, California’s Crystal Antlers dive straight back into the technicolour fray with their first fulllength. Drenched in a haze of whirligig organ notes and spiralling guitar freak-outs, ‘Tentacles’ is as slippery and multi-limbed as its name would suggest, the 13 tracks forming a foaming torrent atop which Jonny Bell’s ecstatic whoops, yelps and hollers sit astride. While many of their psyche-mining indie peers remain po-faced and artsy, Crystal Antlers seem to be the genre’s Merry Pranksters, losing themselves in the joy of it all like a troublefree Black Heart Procession decked out in frightwigs and tye dye T-shirts. FOR FANS OF: Oneida, Comets On Fire, Iron Butterfly 


It’s certainly more upbeat – it’s music to make you feel chuffed! “That’s great! It’s killer. We’ve been together for 10 years, we’re guys who love each other and it’s very easy company, there’s no real pressure and there never really has been. We’re not on Velvet Revolver money but we can survive and we’re happy.”



One of melodic punk’s founding fathers as frontman of seminal 80s outfit Hüsker Dü, Bob Mould is at his gruff, grunged-up best on this latest solo outing. From the title onwards, the record is underpinned by a worrying farewell tone, however, a sense of noble finality coursing through its veins. That’s especially prevalent on ‘Bad Blood Better’, so raw it’s almost difficult to witness, Mould’s voice strained with emotion. ‘I’m Sorry, Baby, But You Can’t Stand In My Light Anymore’ is nearly as choking, a painfully honest rumination on a love that has run its course. Let’s hope ‘Life And Times’ is merely a career bookmark rather than bookend. FOR FANS OF: Hüsker Dü, Sugar, Frank Black


Slash has written a biography; your life story is all in the lyrics, tell us about that? “I write about everything from my love for the situation that I’m in [wife, kids…], that I’m pretty fucking blessed to have gone through some shit and survived and have what I have. Life for me is pretty good, I’m not talking about material stuff – people think I’m rich and ride around in yachts, but that’s not the way it is. I’m a normal guy with a normal family and I’m thankful to be here. I’m a sober guy who should have been dead 14 years ago, so every day is killer!”



“Five dollars? Ten euros? Eight pounds? One thousand yen? That is how much an hour of your life is worth!” This, a lyric from the fifth album by German gloss-punkers Fire In The Attic, is about working for peanuts to buy shoddy consumer ephemera. It could, however, just as easily serve as a painfully self-critical take on the increasing futility of expecting Johnny CD Purchaser to shell-out for albums that offer very little unavailable elsewhere in large quantities. It recalls lots of forgettable late-90s Deep Elm outfits, post-pop-punk emo-notemo flotsam like Hundred Reasons and the sort of bands you’d nod along to at all-dayers out of guilt more than anything. FOR FANS OF: Hundred Reasons, Brandtson, Jimmy Eat World NOEL F GARDNER




This record is brilliant. Dananananaykroyd have absolutely no sympathy for formulaic song structures; in fact, quite the opposite: they defy them with a rare expertise that has to be cherished. More remarkable is that in doing this, they cram in more pop hooks than should be allowed by law. If there was a regulatory monopolies panel on how many standout, infectious movements should be afforded within single songs, ‘Hey Everyone!’ would be banned. Their devilish ability to meld punk experimentalism with an indie-pop sensibility is fantastic. Given the chance to capture these 12 songs in the first-rate studio environment they deserve, Dananananaykroyd have raised the bar for 09. FOR FANS OF: The Blood Brothers, Distophia, Johnny Foreigner, Hot Club De Paris TIM NEWBOUND




It’s hard to know where to begin with Italy’s Fog In The Shell. Not only is there next to no biographical information available online (in English, at least), but their music is frequently erratic and oblique, dipping into numerous genres without ever aligning itself to any one camp. Dirty great doom riffs tussle with delicate post-rock dynamics during the opening bars of ‘They’, before gentle vocals and radiant synths arrive to set things up for a full-blown psychedelic freak-out. But while the band are clearly fond of pulling the rug from under the listener’s feet, it is never to the detriment of the songwriting, which remains top-notch throughout. Curiously brilliant. FOR FANS OF: Guapo, 5ive, Tortoise MIKE KEMP


‘DOG ALMIGHTY’ (STUNTED) Dog Almighty have been sitting on this little bomb of rock ‘n’ roll for too long, released in their native Norway in 07, this self-titled debut has the attitude and swagger of Span, but adds a concoction of filth and anger to the stew. [JW]

Heartless Bastards [5] ‘The Mountain’ (FAT POSSUM)

Heartless Bastards’ frontwoman Erika Wennerstrom has got a voice that’s so chewy, gnarled and bluesy that it’s not always clear what she’s singing. If the slide guitar and grunge mixture here’s any indication, though, it’s probably something to do with crops failing and dogs dying. Proper country rock, then. [TB]


Imperial Vipers [6] ‘BROKEN‘ (EMINENCE)

Alan McGee reckons Imperial Vipers are “the best hard rock band since AC/DC”, which takes hyperbole to a whole new level. They have some decent songs, good choruses, and socially aware lyrics, but they’re closer to 3 Colours Red, which is by no means an insult. [TN]

The Chelsea Smiles [7] ‘The Chelsea Smiles’ [DR2]

Straight up, balls to the wall rock, predominantly rolling along tracks left by the Antipodean ‘scene’ of yesteryear (think Hoodoo Gurus, Lime Spiders). That aforementioned wall has seen mucho balls; The Chelsea Smiles thankfully don’t sully it with further sack cheese. [PR]

Zeromancer [4]

‘Sinners International‘ (TRISOL)

A state of the art rock band wrapped in a Cyberdog jacket, for all their ice-cool synths and razorsharp production Zeromancer have lost all notion of soul in the process. Elevator muzak for spookykids, ‘Sinners International‘ is the dull made flesh. [GM]

LIFE-CHANGING ALBUM CORMAC NEESON (THE ANSWER) “I first got my hands on a cassette of Therapy?’s ‘Troublegum’ when I was 14. At this point in my life, Therapy?’s music was exactly what I needed to hear. Like me, they come from a small town in Northern Ireland where it’s very easy to feel like a freak just growing your hair and listening to music that’s not on Top Of The Pops. ‘Troublegum’ confirmed my notions that I didn’t need to toe that line. If people didn’t like me for who I was then I really didn’t need to give a shit. When I put that record on it was an escape and a fuckin’ great listen!”






When a band counts members of Khanate and Burning Witch among its number, you can be sure it’s not going to be pretty. The good news (if you can call it that) is that Gnaw’s debut is every bit as bleak and disturbed as its creators’ past endeavours. But more than that, ‘This Face’ is downright malicious. ‘Haven Vault’ hurls the listener face first into a frenzied electronic maelstrom; Alan Dubin’s tortured screams penetrating a wall of grisly industrial noise, while ‘Vacant’, with its cheery refrain of “everybody’s fucking but you”, is ‘Streetcleaner’era Godflesh with severe behavioural difficulties. Rest assured, your inner masochist will love this. FOR FANS OF: Khanate, Black Sun, Godflesh, Bastard Noise MIKE KEMP




(what's your rupture?)

After flash-in-the-pan success with 05 debut ‘Nine Times That Same Song’, Sweden’s Love Is All have returned from a self-imposed hiatus to refine their sound into a competent sophomore record. They’re still doing catchy indie-pop, keeping up what seems to be signature feel-good melodies and Cars-esque chord changes mixed with jaded, emotional lyrics. ‘Give It Back’ and ‘Wishing Well’ have killer choruses and a good dose of handclaps, and even the slower album tracks have enough going on instrumentally to keep things interesting. The often-done-wrong combination of shouting and singing hybrid vocals is done right here, thanks to singers Josephine Olausson and Nicholaus Sparding. Here’s hoping they stick around this time. FOR FANS OF: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Blondie, Sahara Hotnights  AMY BANGS





Jacoby Shaddix’s big-league crew are back with their selfproclaimed “balls-to-the-wall, organic rock ‘n’ roll, with raw, in-your-face emotion”. Indeed, torrents of emotion ravage through the Californian quartet’s sixth full-length album and no doubt several balls will meet the wall when confronted with ‘Metamorphosis’ cranked at full volume, but with its super-slick production values and effects, it’s a little difficult to associate it with the word ‘organic’. With undeniably catchy hooks, pounding guitars, full-on rock star vocal lines and more beef than an Aberdeen Steak House, Shaddix and co will keep fans happy with their latest offering and perhaps even snare a few more. FOR FANS OF: Linkin Park, Lostprophets EMILY KEARNS





(Thrill Jockey)

Pontiak’s previous outing for the redoubtable Thrill Jockey label was a split LP with their buddies Arboretum (from Baltimore, their original homestead; Pontiak, now live in Virginia), where both bands cosily covered songs by John Cale. On ‘Maker’, the 11 tracks are 100 per cent self-penned, but persist in bearing notable resemblance to Arboretum – the 70s-doused low-drama country atmospherics and Crazy Horseesque arena wiggery are very much present. It carries a strangely triumphalist air without ever being very anthemic, and the title track, a dumbly repetitive jam of superfuzz bass and Cro-Magnon drums that turns into some Sir Lord Baltimore brain-bashing riff monster, shows that Pontiak handle life in the avant-basement comfortably. FOR FANS OF: Neil Young, Arboretum, Bardo Pond NOEL F GARDNER





The debut album from Scale The Summit represents a pockmarked battlefield where eyebrow-scorching aptitude meets melodic vistas in a tooth and claw battle to the finish. Fiddly Joe Satriani guitar licks trickle like quicksilver through a series of well-placed crunches, pitter-pat drum flurries and ambitious bass exercises that make for 40 minutes’ worth of prog-informed post-metal that’s beyond accomplished for such a fresh-faced (or bloody precocious) outfit. If there’s criticism to be levelled, it’s that the band’s confidence hasn’t extended to allowing themselves to simply lose their shit and go at it hammer and tong once in a while, but hopefully this is a lesson they’ll learn with time and, let’s face it, that’s something these talented whippersnappers have in abundance. FOR FANS OF: Behold... The Arctopus, Souvenir’s Young America, Dream Theater ALEX DELLER



Throw together some inspirational artists of modern times (Candiria’s John LaMacchia, Isis’ Jeff Caxide, Greg ‘The Dillinger Escape Plan’ Puciato and Made Out Of Babies singer Julie Christmas) and the chances are you’re not going to get a rubbish musical outing! But this is not about just championing musical pedigree, as this minialbum shows Spylacopa can create their own excitement in their own right. Uneasy to categorise, these tracks jump from broody post-hardcore, instrumental piano-led soundscapes, spazzy Jane’s Addiction-esque hardcore freak-outs, and the whole CD comes together beautifully with the final track ‘I Should Have Known You Would’, which is a dreamy pysche / prog atmospheric conclusion to an altogether exciting project. FOR FANS OF: The Dillinger Escape Plan, Isis, Candiria DARREN SADLER

The Bakerton Group [5] ‘El Rojo’


You might not have heard of The Bakerton Group, but these Maryland rockers have been playing together for nearly 20 years under the more familiar guise of Clutch. The most striking difference between ‘El Rojo’ and a Clutch record is that here Neil Fallon keeps his beardy gob shut throughout (save for one brief instance on ‘Work ‘Em’), giving his band mates complete freedom to flex their well-honed chops. It’s basically one long jam session, with Opeth’s Per Wiberg dropping in to provide some vintage Deep Purple-style organ licks. Forays into jazz, funk and Latin music are carried off with aplomb, but the lack of any truly memorable songs holds the whole thing back. FOR FANS OF: Clutch, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple MIKE KEMP

ツゥ Shannon Morris








© Graham Smith


In Case Of Fire are the kind of band who give you hope for the future of the UK prog-rock scene. Playing to a packed-out gig, the Northern Ireland trio build skilfully on a set laden with deliciously metallic post-punk. Dressed to impress in military attire, the band display a patently savvy grasp of rock dynamics – looking good as they saunter onstage – and as the band strike their opening riffs the crowd begin to nod mimetically along to the beats, adding a slightly surreal feeling to proceedings. Things really explode as the band launch into fan favourites ‘This Time We Stand’ and ‘The Cleansing’, and Steven Robinson is as ever the perfect frontman, alternating between broody glares and all-out attacks on the eardrums of punters. After a slow start, the performance ends with a bang, leaving fans sweaty but sated.


n a day predicted to reach 38 degrees and presenting Victoria with yet more bushfire danger, Melbournians are grateful for a distraction. That it’s presented itself as a mammoth festival promising almost 60 bands such as Nine Inch Nails, Alice In Chains and Lamb Of God is something of a bonus for 20,000 rock-heads. Spread over six stages in a vast area usually reserved for livestock displays and carnival rides, the action begins at 11:30am. Impossible to see more than a dozen acts, Rock Sound’s first stop is US band, Finch. Chuffed to learn they have reformed, the Californian quintet impress with their post-hardcore blend of raucous tunes and melody. Singer Nate Barcalow hurls himself around the stage like a pegged sheet flung by the wind, alternating between the raw ‘Insomniatic Meat’ to the mellower ‘Letters To You’ and grooveheavy ‘What It Is To Burn’. Unlike many of their ilk, Finch stand out as sincere, their tunes magnetic and emotive. At the central dustbowl of the arena, Forever The Sickest Kids are attracting a substantial crowd. Wearing garish T-shirts, they appear like a frat party band as they speed through upbeat versions of ‘Whoa Oh! (Me vs. Everyone)’ and ‘Hey Brittany’. Energetic and ‘fun’, Rock Sound is relieved when their vacuousness ceases. Of much greater significance are Underøath. Considering their religious imperative, singer Spencer Chamberlain emerges like a Jesus Christ figure, lofty with long, lanky hair, his message commanding and his presence compelling. Possessing the savagery of death metal, so intense is their sound that it strikes like a stealth bomber. Switching to a different cog of intensity are Poison The Well. In the Henry Rollins mould of hard man, vocalist Jeffrey Moreira delivers no-nonsense hardcore, barking out older tunes like ‘Sticks And Stones Never Made Sense’, with drummer Christopher Hornbrook a powerhouse to Moreira’s grist. Back on the main stage, The Dillinger Escape Plan swing into maniacal intensity, playing so fast, their speed makes it hard to decipher one song from the next. Crowd favourites such as ‘Lurch’ and ‘Sugar


Coated Sour’ make up the 40-minute set, their music so violent it could shatter glass. Providing welcome levity, Funeral For A Friend vocalist Matthew Davies-Kreye jokes that drinking hot water (his bottle warmed from the heat) is “good for your arse, apparently”. Alternating powerful grooves with echoes of hardcore, crowd hits include ‘Rules And Games’, ‘Kicking And Screaming’ and ‘She Drove Me To Daytime Television’. A cow shed doesn’t provide quite the ambience for Italian gothic metal, but with aid of a smoke machine and lights, Lacuna Coil manage. Songs include ‘Heaven’s A Lie’ and the under-whelming new single ‘Spellbound’, from their forthcoming album. Wanting to relish Cristina Scabbia’s silken vocals, more often than not, they are overpowered by vocalist Andrea Ferro’s gruff stamp. Having seen Alice In Chains with original vocalist Layne Staley, Rock Sound are anxious as to how the band will be with their new frontman, William DuVall. However, the former Comes With The Fall singer fits seamlessly into the glum Seattle quartet, adding a robust quality and giving them invincible strength. Heaven for Alice In Chains fans, their hour-long set is like a greatest hits package, featuring ‘Rooster’, ‘Man In The Box’, ‘We Die Young’ and ‘Angry Chair’. Classic songs, solid musicianship; the band’s second coming is stunning. As dark falls, Nine Inch Nails light the sky with cold fluorescent strip lights, pulsing in sync with the beat. Now a four-piece, the stage is staffed by expensive equipment needed to play loops and samples, as well as keyboards and two drum kits. Trent Reznor appears raging with energy, as the band launch into a repertoire fuelled by politics, disgust, self-examination and existential pain, exorcising hits such as ‘March Of The Pigs’, ‘The Line Begins To Blur’ and ‘Head Like A Hole’. Electric and artistic, NIN provide a moving spectacle delivered from the mind of a true visionary. Simultaneously, in the cow shed, Lamb Of God conclude the evening with a ferocious display of metal, spitting out tracks including ‘Laid To Rest’ and ‘Hourglass’. Brazen, brutal and confronting, the Americans punctuate the day in a suitably deafening manner.


This evening, saying that A Day To Remember are the American equivalent of Enter Shikari will probably get you knee-capped. Among the throng of teenage fans and sweaty mist, however, it’s easy to see the similarities between the two bands. Based on foundations of punk rock riffs, guitar solos bowing towards Guns N’ Roses and a clean-cut attitude, A Day To Remember are bubblegum rock. Dressed in basketball tops with boy band haircuts, they’re the usual drab of unimaginative teen-rock. A cringe-worthy cover of Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Since U Been Gone’ fails to help matters – yet a quick glance around the room shows many teenagers tonight have found their musical calling. However, as they stand hanging on to every word and chanting, ‘This is my time to shine!’ at the top of their lungs, even we have to begrudgingly agree that ADTR are punk rock heroes tonight. RUTH OFFORD


‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’. An idiom aptly applied to tonight’s adventures, which see Fei Comodo encourage the audience to go “fucking crazy!” – which, of course, they do. Within the first ear-splitting seconds of play, the Barfly is transformed into a mass of sweaty bodies crowd-surfing, stage diving and ricocheting off one another while joining in the mandatory headbanging and fist-pumping that Fei Comodo dictate. Circle-pit favourites ‘Break The Ice’ and ‘The Rest Will Follow’ display Marc Halls’ ability to work up the crowd as he throws himself from the stage and passes his microphone into the audience. Fei Comodo’s hook-laden blend of rock, metal and punk proves more incendiary than anyone could imagine – and from the outset their sound is intoxicating and dynamic. The band executes lysergic power and provides one of the most euphoric evenings (despite the multiple bruisings) Rock Sound has seen. Nothing short of excellent. FAYE LEWIS


Many may be surprised to find that, despite being hailed as instrumental gods of the north, some people are yet to understand 65daysofstatic. Among the fans tonight are many students gazing at the stage in awe and looking a little clueless as the band’s polyrhythms seep through the room. However, while they adapt, 65daysofstatic have even the most hardcore of fans on their toes. Tracks like ‘Retreat! Retreat!’ and ‘Radio Protector’ leap from the stage, reaching even the furthest corners of the venue, as the band mix album tracks with new material. Slowly the hard instrumentation is replaced by electronic synths as each track evolves into a remix, yet the sheer force of this band makes every note sound jaw-dropping. During the high-power, vast instrumentation we glance around the room to find a series of harsh, impacting on-screen images – and not only the outsiders, but now the whole room, staring at the stage in disbelief. RUTH OFFORD


save the world · get the girl the album · out now includes the singles let’s hang the landlord, my boulder, save the world, get the girl and the new single i got love "right now very few bands sound more relevant, more vital or more alive" kerrang!   “deserves your attention right now” rocksound WWW.KINGBLUES.NET


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