Fields of The
ROCK’N’ROBBED Issue 7/2012
.... to this...
Nephilim, Ian Anderson, Biohazard, Cannibal Corpse, Goatwhore, Missing Andy, The Black Dahlia Murder, A Pale Horse Named Death, The Mighty Mighty BossTones, Tuff, Rammstein, The Yo-Yo’s, The Union, Hatesphereand much more
by Cristina Massei We all expected it but no one wanted to say it out loud: Black Sabbath can’t make it. Surprised? Bill Ward was offered a contract he deemed ‘unsignable’, keeping into account the fact he probably wouldn’t make it to the end of the tour; clearly, the ‘original line-up’ bollocks was a promise never meant to be kept. Then there’s Tony Iommi, who is surely some kind of a God when it comes to playing guitar, but his body reacts just like yours and mine when subjected to chemotherapy. Ozzy himself is no spring chicken and years of excesses are starting to take their toll. In the end, Black Sabbath had to wave the white flag and replace that ‘original line-up’ with ‘Ozzy & Friends’, where ‘Friends’ stands for guests so special that maybe will keep the show decently interesting and the fans almost happy; maybe the likes of Slash and Zakk Wylde will partially make up for the fact that there’s no Black Sabbath in sight, just another tired Ozzy performance. That if at least Ozzy can handle such an intense schedule… Yet Black Sabbath promise to keep their Download commitment, confident that the Prince of Darkness will be able to have a word with the Guy up – or down – there to negotiate at least a weekend break for Tony’s cancer. I bet the people at Hellfest, Gods of Metal and all the others unceremoniously let down were chuffed to hear the news. Poor Greece, definitely not their year.
... but is it really better than THIS?
But aside false promises and disappointed ticket holders, there’s something I find way more disturbing here, a sad indication of the state of this industry: promoters seem to have completely forgotten what Festivals are all about. UK festivals used to be a legendary event for all music fans, a tradition of mud, wellies, cheap beer and rock’n’roll, making the rest of the world utterly jealous. Kids would save money off their summer jobs for an overdose of the best artists around and a chance to spend a basic camping weekend with friends in a place where not showering was not only allowed, but worn as a badge of honour. Was a cheap way to catch all those bands you didn’t have a chance to see on tour and discover new ones, get the merchandise you wouldn’t find at your local store and spend the night in a cheap tent having the time of your life. Every year would be different bands and the same anticipation for a line up that was surely going to blow your mind. In the past few years however, what used to be an invaluable tradition has been turned in yet another meaningless cash cow. Small independent festivals are the new heroes for young music consumers; events like Bloodstock, Hevy or Supersonic are doing their best to keep the tradition alive. But where are the big players going wrong? For a start, the 284,567,342 stages. Unless you secretly cracked clonation in your own bedroom, you will pay for 345,596,495,393 bands, but you will only see 30 at the most if you can make the whole 3-4 days. So basically the only effect of booking 345,596,495,393 – from a punter’s point of view – will be an insanely high ticket price, resulting in the necessity to make a choice; with that money you could have done more Festivals and see the majority of the acts without cloning yourself or even trekking from one stage to the other for most of the weekend. Next: the insane amount charged for food and drinks. Now there are pop up hotel rooms, posh caravans and even a 6k luxury tour bus, surely those who rent them can afford to spend well over 10 quid for a burger and a beer, never mind the poor scums in the tents; they are the traditional festival crowd and those who bought most of the tickets to fill up your muddy field, but they’ll find £4 for a portion of chips and be back for more next year anyway. And finally – and here we go back to Black Sabbath - the line-up war. I mean guys, honestly, when we complain there are too many bands on the market, do we really need to see Metallica EVERY YEAR at one Festival or the other, and do you need to shock us into buying tickets months in advance promising an original line-up reunion which is about as likely as an Amy Winehouse/Whitney Houston duet? Please. There’s so much going on if you make an effort to look around. Young bands end up overfilling claustrophobic tents while blazoned has-beens play to no one on main stages. Don’t be afraid, DARE. Festivals used to SET trends, LAUNCH bands, celebrate newborn talent rather than old dinosaurs’ funerals. Bands like Exit International, Vintage Trouble, The Defiled are growing stronger by the day only through word of mouth. And if you really want to get some of the old classics on the bill – it’s certainly nice to have both – at least get me a Trent Reznor who doesn’t need a bottle of oxygen backstage!
PURE RAWK AWARDS: Where your vote REALLY counts The night will see the following awards presented by special guests. Awards categories for 2012: Band of the Year New Band of the Year Axe Hero of the Year Frontperson of the Year Bassist of the Year Drummer of the Year EP/Single of the Year Album of the Year Promoter of the Year (for dedication to unsigned and new bands) Video of the Year New Breed of the Year ** Pure Rawk contributors only ** Underground Record Label of the Year Underground Photographer of the Year Local Venue of the Year DJ of the Year ** New for 2012 ** The John Rayner Award (for outstanding contribution to underground music) The Pure Rawk Awards 2012 is sponsored by Jagermeister, Olympus, Bloodstock Open Air Festival, Big Green Coach, InTuneGP, Free Running Films.
Sonic Shocks Ltd www.sonicshocks.com firstname.lastname@example.org Editor in Chief and Creative Director Cristina Massei
Content Director Matt Dawson
Business Director Marcus J West
Unsigned Editor Dan Balchin
US Correspondent Denise Bales Britt Burlesque & Nightlife Sophia Disgrace Photographers (this issue) Cristina Massei Marcus J West David Lees Matt Higgs
Writers (this issue) Cristina Massei Matt Dawson Marcus J West Dan Balchin The 5th Pure Rawk Awards will feature some brand new awards specifically designed to salute the grassroots level of unsigned, independent and new Matthew Tilt music. Mike Hughes Tickets for the Awards were offered for free for the first time due to the commitment of major sponsorship and they were snapped up within a week by Sophia Disgrace punters forcing Pure Rawk to create a waiting list for any returned tickets. The 2012 Awards will be the 3rd year running that the event has ‘sold out’. The shortlist voting is still open at www.purerawkawards.com until Monday 27th February. Nelly Loriaux Eddi Osborne The bands: Claudio Pucci Obsessive Compulsive: Winners of the Best Album at the 2011 Awards with “Dreams of Death and the Death of Dreams”. Anger, energy, intensity, belief … these are the essential ingredients in all great rock ‘n’ roll and they have them all in abundance. OC are an alternative rock band from Manchester, Anthony Lee mixing elements of metal, punk, goth and grunge they have created a sound all their own. Check them out online at: www.obsessivecompulsiveband. com | www.facebook.com/ObsessiveCompulsiveBand
The Lost Souls Club: They stand in a low-lit bubble of dark, all moody stances and bursts of frenetic energy - edgy, dirty and raw. With hints of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Jesus and Mary Chain, as well as NIN-edge that remains, there’s a real intensity that really makes it hard to turn away.There’s something dark and wrong going on here, but at the same time its irresistible… you just want to reach out and touch it. www.thelostsoulsclub.co.uk Jonny Cola and the A-Grades: They describe themselves as “Pop stars in temporary accommodation”. Roxy Music meets Easyworld with a hint of Ultrasound via Remote Control perhaps? Or in the theme of thoughtful ambiguity, perhaps not. Either way, this is Proper British Pop – fronted by the eponymous Jonny Cola, they are a visually exciting and highly invigorating experience, that comes off the stage and grabs your attention. Check them out online at: www.jonnycolaandtheagrades.net James Warner Prophecies: Winners of the 2011 “Best EP/Single” Award for their EP ‘Fell’. The band have just signed to independent Midlands label, Sound-Hub Records. They are hard edged three piece rock band from the Midlands, with their dirty little fingers in Rock, Pop, and Lyrical storytelling. They have played at both intimate venues, and prominent festivals around the UK and Europe, picking up an ever-growing fanbase along the way due to their spectacular live performances. Check them out online at: www.james-warner.com | www.facebook.com/jameswarnerprophecies Patchwork Grace: They released their latest EP play Dead in August 2010. The three song release was produced by Brit Rock legend John Mitchell (YouMe@Six, Funeral for a Friend, Enter Shikari, Kids in Glass Houses, My Passion) and received rave reviews.Patchwork Grace were also voted by Kerrang Radio and its listeners as the best Female Fronted Unsigned band in the UK 2010. www.patchworkgrace.co.uk
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This is definitely due in part to my upbringing; these themes are deeply rooted in me. This mythological approach to life is not something that I am trying, it’s just natural and it’s just what inspires me both in music and in songwriting. This makes it a whole with the audience, we are reacting together in one big ritual; I cannot strip anything away. We worked very hard at producing and getting that across, compensating for the fact that some people were not there; we just wanted to recapture those moments of unity. What would you say were the finest moments of those two night event for you personally? Now you are taking me back! I do not know, I think it was the coming on stage both nights to a really welcoming audience. It felt as if I had been welcomed back home. The venue was just perfect and very suitable for us. Did Ceromonies materialise easily? It all came together over a period of time. In the end, I did it all myself which was not what I planned originally (laugh!) I did not want another cold, clean cut video. That would have been too easy to do. I took more of an artistic approach, putting lots of effort into it. Do you think Ceromonies will have an even higher impact on Fields of the Nephilim fans than Paradise Regained (Live in Düsseldorf, 1991) which was released in 2008? Ceromonies is as far we have come. I think it shows all the sides of Fields of the Nephilim and the development of the band. It’s got more to say. I do not think it comes across just like a live show, it summarises what we are about. Hopefully it will give a clear picture of us and will be timeless. What about the current line up? Can we expect more live shows from Fields of the Nephilim in the near future? I have not had a permanent line up since the original band, which was a long time ago. At a certain point I realised I had to move on, taking down barriers and accepting changes sometimes; as a result, I got quite used at working on my own. The band I have performed live with over the last few years is still with me at the moment, so we’ll see. I can only say it’s up to them to stay involved as much as they want as there will always be Fields of the Nephilim. We are definitely planning to do some touring and festivals this year. Are you ready to record new material? I want to get a new record out; there is nothing more I want to do at the moment. I have been working on new material on and off over the last couple of months and I will be back in the studio at the beginning of February. I feel very good about what we are doing at the moment; we are definitely moving forward. Field of the Nephilim have just been announced for this year’s Sonisphere Festival - get your tickets now!
EMI - 19th March 2012
by Marcus J. West A double hit for the venerated English gothic establishment better known as Fields of the Nephilim; on March 5th, Ceromonies will be released in two formats: a striking dvd and a live recording immortalizing the two sold out shows at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire in 2008. The subtle allure of the chaos magic instilled a sense of oneness with the band at the screening at the Sanctun Hotel in Soho (courtesy of EMI). Carl McCoy, frontman and mastermind of Fields of Nephilim, explains what inspired this state of the art project destined to feed the insatiable hunger of those who dare to explore the barrier of the unknown where magic and occult meet. On March 5th, Ceromonies will be released both as a dvd and as a live album: what triggered the desire to commemorate the two-night event at London's Shepherd's Bush Empire in 2008 on two formats after three years? We actually did the shows with the feeling of wanting to move on; we were becoming a completely different entity. We played live a lot on the Ceromonies tour and we never told this to anyone before, but we performed on very significant dates: births and deaths of people that I have always admired and that are important to me. The structure which is visible on the dvd was built up in such a way to commemorate these important events. Your music has always been inspired by magical themes, referencing the Cthulhu Mythos (from the works of American horror writer H. P. Lovecraft), the Sumerian religion, chaos magic and the works of Aleister Crowley. Would you say that Ceromonies gives an example of what Fields of the Nephilim wants to symbolise?
There are many words to describe Fields of the Nephilim frontman and mastermind Carl McCoy: cowboy, warlock, wizard and gothic being but a few. All labels aside, he is back at maximum force with his new band mates, his chaos magic and his Sumerian Gods, feeding the occult cravings of his fans once again. Ceromonies encompasses the whole Fields of Nephilim live experience; the crowd’s feeling of oneness with the band juxtaposed with the passion and excitement of discovering hidden worlds. The experience is truly a breath stealing phenomenon that enchants the darkest corners of the soul. On March 19th, Ceremonies will be released in two formats: a stunning dvd and a live recording which serve to immortalise the two sold out shows played at London’s Shepherds Bush Empire on the 12th and 13th of July 2008. Flawless vocals, precise riffs and a futuristic feeling blend into a mist of sound which symphonically captivates and penetrates the crowd; director Richard Stanley (Hardware, Dust Devil) captures the supernatural ambience perfectly while including shots of the mesmerized audience. McCoy represents the connection to an inner being and all are sharing in this bond. The set takes off with Shroud and drifts to Straight to the Light and to From the Fire on layers of subtle tones whilst also employing harsher, sharper, contrasting black and white imagery. With a sudden flash of McCoy’s piercing eyes, Psychonaut follows Penetration in its full glory and generates a magnetic vehemence from the crowd which is sustained until the final notes of Mourning Sun; the film ends with fervent applause. The three year wait for Ceromonies draws attention to McCoy’s well known perfectionism, and it is this which has made it such a landmark live accomplishment. Both releases are must haves for any who dare to crave the immortal Fields of the Nephilim.
BIOHAZARD: LOVE DENIED allowed the four of us to spill our guts in the studio and let it happen. You can hear lot of diversity in the attack and the delivery of each song; that comes from not holding yourself back and with that extra passion that makes you go through the barricades that rise above any negative, discouraging obstacle. Billy: We grew a lot as musicians. Being apart was as important as being together for this record because when we got together again, the essence of the band was there but we have more newfound tools and experience. I am so excited to continue working with this band, we are already planning the next album! Now when I am on stage, I look up at Bobby and I feel as if I am looking up at Keith Richards (laugh!) Bobby: Naaah, I hate the way I play! Would you consider Reborn In Defiance an old school Biohazard album? Billy: Reborn In Defiance is everything I Iove about the band from all of the records we have made. We did not re-write old stuff, it’s a new thing; it’s Biohazard 2012.
by Marcus J West An interview with Billy Graziadei and Bobby Hambel of the veteran hardcore band Biohazard mere hours before history repeats itself and they wildly take possession of The Underworld fuelled by their newfound energy from the ninth chapter of their overpowered career, Reborn In Defiance. They have been missed a lot by the perennial diehards as no one really compares to them; it would be too dangerous even to try. The explosive Brooklyn quartet has gone full circle after more than twenty years of smashing all uncertain musical boundaries and there is much more to expect, thanks to their innate capacity to stay true to their raging core. Since the early days, Biohazard live shows have been known for their intensity and for being very physically demanding: have you ever sustained serious physical damage on tour? Billy: Well let me think…. Yes, much damage has been done to me because of Biohazard live shows. I had a microphone smashed into my teeth, I was kicked in the head as I stage dived and had to be taken to hospital for stitches in the back of my head. During one tour, I and Bobby ended up having thirty two stitches between the two of us because of all the various incidents we had on stage. I have always looked at our live shows as a full contact sport. We all have energy and lots of pressure from work and other aspects of our lives and sometimes you have to let that steam out, whatever night of the week it is. For us, being on stage is cheaper than therapy in a way. I get off stage and the shit that was bothering me the day before is gone; it’s not in my head anymore and I can deal with it better. It is the same thing as going to shows: whether it is hardcore or death metal, whatever the music is, you leave with a sense of relief, you expel that energy in a much healthier way than in some of the ways I used to choose when I was younger. How do you keep fit after so many years to sustain such hard work on stage? Billy: My diet has a lot to do with it: I eat healthy, I sleep a lot and I drink a lot of water. Bobby: (just entering the room): Do you need me here? Billy: Yes, please Bobby. We were talking about how to keep fit. Ah, and more importantly, no more drugs. Bobby: It’s hard enough being on tour for so long, getting up and doing it everyday and giving our 100% on stage. You have to reserve your energy and keep the strength up, stretch, all that kind of stuff, eat right as Billy was saying; at least we try. Sometimes the food is not that good on tour, that’s why we keep on going back to Italy (laugh!) where they really know how to cook. What made 2011 the right year to go back to the studio to record? Does naming your ninth studio album Reborn In Defiance refer to a newfound energy and anger and if so, what triggered it, particularly in songs like Vengeance Is Mine and Skullcrusher? Billy: I do not think it’s about newfound anger, but definitely newfound energy. We have been apart for so many years and then we started it all again…... Bobby: We decided to play again in 2008 for the twenty year anniversary; we started touring and we thought it was going to be for few months but the response of the audience made nearly two years of going around and playing live, even in places we had never been before. The inspiration to do the next step, the album, all came from the audience, from us being a band again. We all looked at each other and said “We need to do this record!” We would write a song like Vengeance Is Mine, play it live and then we would go back to the studio and feel that the album was getting there already. We were basically writing with the crowd response. Billy: The live energy was always flowing in our veins and it was always in the studio, it’s the energy that transpired from Reborn In Defiance that for some reason has been missing from us for a long time; we just recaptured the old Biohazard energy. We would go on tour for two weeks then come home to the studio for two weeks and then back on tour and so on. We are very proud and we like this album a lot and hope that people like it the way we do. Bobby: It was a very honest record for us, it deserves all our respect and humility. We did not judge any of it or dictate in any way which music style it was going to be, we just
Are you still happy with the way Biohazard (1990), your first album, sounds today or if you could, would it change anything about it? Bobby: When you listen to old records, you remember the old, scratchy part of it; that was the appeal. To listen to it “digitally remastered” today just ruins it. Back then, we were too young to have any creative control and had to leave other people to do the finishing job in the end. But the songs were there and the message got through. To change that record would anger some people, those imperfections of the early days were part of the music which breathes and grows, that’s why when we play some of the old songs, they always sound a bit different; they change with our improvisation and how we play them live today. What are the main lessons you have learned from being part of Biohazard for so many years, both artistically and personally? Billy: The part of me as an artist thinks that Picasso did not repaint any of his masterpieces; that first expression was the most pure. When you make something as an artist, is a representation of what you are at that moment. As a producer, I notice lots of bands I work with that want to re-record their music all the time and I keep on telling them to let it be, to leave the inspiration. Bobby: You cannot forget the genesis and creation of that particular moment, what caused it, and you cannot let it get lost in the outside influences of the industry because the next thing you know, you forget why it was created. Also lyric wise, we have always kept the words in tune with our inspiration; we have always been true for ourselves. Billy: Biohazard fans know more about us than our families. How is this tour going? Any anticipation on future live shows and festivals? Billy: We have been on tour in Europe for two weeks with Suicidal Tendencies and we have now been on the UK tour for two days with sold-out dates, which for us is just awesome! Tonight’s bands, DripBack and Heights just have true musicianship; it’s great to tour with them! And then we have few festivals lined up; the list is growing!
SURVIVING CANNIBAL CORPSE come into play of course, but as I mentioned, they only brought subtle changes; we are still Cannibal Corpse, the way we started over twenty years ago, this has always been very important for the band. Cannibal Corpse artwork and lyrics have always generated highly controversial reactions throughout the years: do you think Torture will continue this pattern? Do you think you will run the risk of being banned in some countries as has happened in the past in Australia and Germany? I think that we will probably have a problem in Germany, as it seems there are some ongoing troubles with our publisher there. We felt the need to go back to even more brutality with Torture; the band loves it and it’s a big part of Cannibal Corpse. We also wanted to go back to a more old school style artwork, but to be honest, we did not really think of the consequences, we never really did. If something occurs because of one of our covers, so be it, you definitely have to be seen.
by Marcus J West Cannibal Corpse: an interview with Paul Mazurkiewicz, founding member (together with bassist Alex Webster) and drummer, of the colossal death metal quintet. The ruthless Buffalo troopers are about to take off with their twelfth studio album, Torture, which will hit the death metal community more brutally than ever on March 16th. The band will invade Europe this spring with label mates Job for a Cowboy amongst other bands on the Destroyers of the Faith tour (www.metalblade.com). How is it going these days Paul? You have been with Cannibal Corpse since the very beginning in 1988, how did you survive all these years with one of the wildest, maddest, loudest death metal bands in the world? I am doing ok, thank you! How did I survive all these years with Cannibal Corpse? Honestly, I do not know… good question though! I guess it has to do with the fact that we always wanted to keep the band together as a whole, always staying true to ourselves, playing the brutal music that we all love. We never thought we would have gone up to this point, staying over twenty years together, but here we are, about to release our 12th studio album. We just feel we can still write good death metal songs and do it all again. Your 12th studio album, Torture, will be released in March this year. What would you like to say about it to Cannibal Corpse fans, current and future? I have been listening to it and… awesome start with Demented Aggression! I can tell you that we all agree that this is the best album we have done in a
long time, if not the best ever. It’s a very diverse work with lots of aggression, not only in the music but also in the song writing. I think that for the true Cannibal Corpse fans, this is the album they want to hear from us; I am very excited for everybody to finally hear it. There isn’t a title track in Torture: is there any particular song that you would consider to represent the whole album? It just depends on the album and the way it’s created. Evisceration Plague happened to have a title track, Torture doesn’t; we did not really think about this too much, the songs just came with these titles and there are definitely several songs that give an idea of what the album is about. I think the song that stands out the most is the third one, Scourge of Iron, as it’s a little bit different from what we have done so far: it’s slower, but still quite brutal. My first impression is that Torture will hit the death meal community hard. It’s heavy, violent and fully loaded, much like the songs As Deep as the Knife Will Go and Followed Home Then Killed. I agree these are very good songs, and the titles are very interesting and will definitely catch the listener’s eye. When I was listening to the whole album myself, I just thought that Followed Home Then Killed just fit perfectly: the lyrics and the pattern just complement the music. As far as As Deep as the Knife Will Go, Pat (Patrick O'Brien, lead guitarist since 1997) wrote the riffs and the lyrics, but the song just seemed to have written itself; I agree with you, it’s a very catchy song with a very catchy chorus. These are two of my favorite songs on the album, I am very glad you pointed
them out. With regard to the writing process, was it a team effort or was it more a merger of individual ideas and inputs? It’s definitely done very individually; every one of us writes on the computer in our home studio, guitar parts and drum parts are then put on demos and when the band gets together in the studio, the whole song comes together; everybody takes care of each individual section. Pat definitely always works on the tracks a bit more, enhancing every step, adding the lyrics and getting to the final work. Was the recording process of Torture a difficult one and how would you compare it to Evisceration Plague? The recording process has been very similar for both albums; the only main difference is that we changed studio. With Evisceration Plague, we started incorporating quick track and we continued to on Torture. So if you compare the two albums that way, this is the main constant because prior to Eviscerations Plague, we did not use quick track at all; we will definitely continue this way now. How would you describe the evolution of Cannibal Corpse from Eaten Back to Life (1990) and Butchered at Birth (1991) to Torture both musically and lyrically? I think it’s all a matter of very subtle changes. As we have always been a brutal death metal, it’s a matter of progression; our last album is the next Cannibal Corpse chapter. We are always trying to retain the Cannibal Corpse quality and I can definitely say we have achieved that but you know, we are getting older and supposedly getting wiser. All these kind of things
As a matter of fact, the cover of Torture is very red and very brutal, was it still the result of your longstanding arrangement with Vincent Locke? Yes, he did the cover. He always allows us to express whatever we want and he is always down to do our covers; he is a great artist. We came up with some suggestions; however, he usually develops his work by our song titles. This is another great piece of art, a great Cannibal Corpse piece of art. Over the years, Cannibal Corpse has developed a true cult following: do you think that Torture will reach also the younger generations? It’s great to see there always more young fans involved into our type of music. Torture could easily be the first Cannibal Corpse album that some kids who just get into death metal may hear; I would not be surprised by the way the album and each individual song have turned out. Torture is a strong album, it will have an impact. Torture will be followed by an extensive European tour t h i s spring with your label mates Job for a Cowboy, amongst others: are you considering to immortalise any of the forthcoming live shows on DVD? Not at the moment. As the Global Evisceration DVD hasn’t been out that long yet, we do not want to overload our fans with DVDs. I am sure there will be lots of recordings of our next live shows that may be distributed, you never know. As far as the tour is concerned, I just cannot wait; I will see you on the road!
CANNIBAL CORPSE Torture Metal Blade Records by Marcus J West The ferocious death metal troopers from Buffalo, NY are back with their twelfth studio album. Torture is full of the ferociously fragmented push and pull dynamics that have become intrinsic to the Cannibal Corpse experience; it is part of their being and they do it effortlessly. Torture is definitely reminiscent of their craziest early albums: songs like Demented Aggression and Scourge of Iron hark back to the Eaten Back to Life (1990) and Butchered at Birth (1991) days, when Cannibal Corpse’s unpolished and brutal notes commenced their invasion of the extreme metal community. There is, however, a deep darkness which ebbs and flows with the music. As Deep as the Knife Will Go and Followed Home Then Killed blend grating, guttural vocals with lyrics that are destined to assault the brain and insult the senses like an inverted cross to a priest. Rabid and Torn Through end the album violently and are impregnated with schizoid riffing and skittering beats; they come together as a destructive, monstrous whole. Cannibal Corpse redefines fury and Torture brings them back impressively. They should not be missed live at the Destroyers of the Faith tour with, amongst others, label mates Job for a Cowboy (London HMV Forum, Saturday 10th March.). Carnage is guaranteed!
an interview with guitarist Sammy Duet “Splintered shards of broken glass, tearing teeth through raw flesh Revival is not complete, rotten soil of eternal sleep Summon the phoenix from rest, ignite from ashes of death Call upon the kings of flame, lend me the spell to resurrect” -An End To Nothingby Marcus J West Over the last 15 years, New Orleans’ Goatwhore have established themselves as one of the most unruly bands in the world. Despite a series of lineup changes and other mishaps, they have never failed to deliver their blood fuelled blackened death metal with an exceptional fury. Sammy Duet, the founding guitarist/vocalist, spawned Goatwhore from his Acid Bath/Crowbar background and brutally debuted with The Eclipse of Ages into Black. In 2012, four albums later, the band is ready to maul again; their fifth progeny, Blood For The Master, is out now on Metal Blade Records. Today’s line-up, besides the unstoppable Goatwhore machine Duet, includes Louis B. Falgoust II (vocals,) Zack Simmons (drums) and James Harvey (bass). The influential founding member discusses, in an openly up-front interview, his thoughts on the past, on Goatwhore’s fierce presence today in the uncanny underworld and their current chapter called Blood To the Master. You started the brutal Goatwhore journey nearly fifteen years ago in the haunted city of New Orleans: how was the transition from Acid Bath and Crowbar to Goatwhore? These are three completely different bands; I have always been into extreme metal and looking at Acid Bath and Crowbar, you can definitely see that. I guess that with Goatwhore, I wanted to do even more extreme stuff; it’s hard to explain how it happened. Today, I feel that this transition was totally worth it. Since the release of the first demo, Serenades to the Tides of Blood, back in 1997, Goatwhore has harvested a legion of followers who are possessed by the your profound maze of unhallowed lyrics, Celtic Frost-ian rhythms and blackened bayou swagger. What would you say was the driving force behind so much creativity? At that time, there were so many extreme bands coming out; the black metal scene was really coming forward in its full force. For myself and the other guys, the band becoming Goatwhore was just a natural course. We just felt we wanted to make music that felt organic and raw, while making sure it would sound great on albums and also live. So many bands out there record their music so that it sounds perfect on the album but then the potency does not reflect live; it should still sound really awesome when you play it in front of people.
by Marcus J. West You are now becoming one of the most influential death metal bands on the planet: your music is raw but technical, brutal, extreme and so ‘The Black Dahlia Murder’. How do you manage to keep it all together and what is the driving force behind? I think it’s all about seeing as far as we can go now. I mean, my first dream was to make one album, one cd with our music on it; that’s all I wanted and it’s gone so much further than that! We have been touring so much around the world; I just want to keep it going. My goal now is that it does not have to get any bigger at all. I am happy if things stay the way they are. Look at Cannibal Corpse and Napalm Death, they have that kind of longevity I am aspiring to, these are bands that stay around forever but are still lots of fun. The challenge of wanting to write a new album and seeing it going as well as Ritual (The Black Dahlia Murder’s latest album, out now on Metal Blade Records) did is going is the best feeling. Ten years into the band and celebrating with the best album for us so far, saleswise, makes us feel there are no signs of slowing down yet; it just keeps us going. The expectations that we have of ourselves and of each other are to do as much as we can. Playing live has been the best advertising for us and we have never wanted to stop. The energy of the band has just been non-stop. Ritual sees The Black Dahlia Murder staying true to the band’s original sound and style while progressing in both writing and musicianship. Would you say Ritual is an important chapter in your history? The way that it all came together was with all the different kinds of explorations that we did, like incorporating different samples and textures, acoustic guitars, new dynamics and more parts that add a creepier feel to them. It is definitely a more mature album; it’s a new chapter for us. We wanted to do things more tridimensional, with more to chew on and speed. The slow songs are made strong too, like On Stirring Seas of Salted Blood has that Domination era Morbid Angel slimy guitar parts. It’s definitely cool to do songs like that. We took some risks in wanting to do something more surprising than Deflorate (fourth album of the band, 2009) this time, but as always with The Black Dahlia Murder ideas are at heart. We also sound more educated on Ritual; the guys worked really hard,
they sacrificed everything to play the best they could. Would you say that with Ritual you are continuing with the “horror” themes such as sacrifices, witchcraft and cults you started with Unhallowed and Nocturnal? We sat down and asked each other what people liked about the band. We thought that these two albums, with their deep macabre feeling, were the ones our fans liked the most; in a way, Ritual has been a return to the initial mindset we had when we where eighteen and wanted to do the most fucked up record ever, repulsive lyrically and scary. I love horror and the horror aspect of death metal: the old school themes like necrophilia and coming back to life. I always think about a new generation of kids hearing our band for the first time and I try to keep this in mind with a vision to communicate what I feel is death metal; however, the fact that we have not really been placed in a box (some people wonder where the long hair is!) gave us more fans, some of them would even question which planet we are from.
then that I would ended up talking to them, touring and even singing on stage with them; I still have that little kid inside me that just goes like that (Trevor makes a deeply startled face) when I am near bands like these and my love for metal has been increasing ever since. I still spend all my money on CDs, it’s beyond an obsession. The cover of the album is one of my favorite around. How did you come up with such an original artwork? The goal was to make something what would just separate us from what we have done in the past, but still macabre and evil and beautiful in a way. Valnoir Mortsonge (Watain/Morbid Angel) did the cover; he knew exactly what we were trying to go for, that made things very easy. The cover is supposed to represent the duality of a ritual: it was meant to kind of express the way our fans are about us to the point that some of them are maniacs; they even have tattoos of us! And our live performances are also some kind of ritual between us and the crowd; we become the senders and the receivers. How is it going being on tour with Fleshgod Apocalypse and Skeletonwitch? To have such bands in the line up is just a compliment for us, Fleshgod Apocalypse is an amazing new band and we have known Skeletonwitch for a long time, we are touring with them in the US soon, with Nile and Hour Of Penance, it would be their first time for this awesome Italian band in the States. We like the idea of bringing bands over to the US, we have done it a lot in the past, it always worked out great. We took Decrepit Birth over before they got signed to Nuclear Blast, it was huge man!
What was the first live show you have been to that made you want to do all this? The first band that blew my hair back was definitely Megadeth, and I was like “there it I, the rest of my life has just been figured out, forget about everything else.” I was twelve or thirteen years old, my dad and my uncle took me; it was the Youthanesia tour. It was awesome. It was very intimidating for me playing at Sonisphere last year right after them! Then I saw Cannibal Corpse in 1996 in the broad daylight; I was just a little kid. How little I knew
One last question: could you tell us about your tattoo on your right arm? (inspired by Carcass Tools Of The Trade 1992 EP cover). (Laugh!!) I actually saw those guys the other day when I was in London; they were at the bar near the Underworld, The Black Heart (very cool place by the way.) Our manager took us there. I cannot be myself around those guys because I worship them, obviously. I have a tattoo from The Tools of the Trade; just talking about it makes me excited. We played with them a couple of times. I will always remember those shows. Playing with Carcass and Cannibal Corpse is beyond any gift or possession I could ever want or dream of; it’s a mindfuck, the coolest thing ever.
Your music genre is defined today as blackened death metal: what do you think makes it blackened and how has it changed over the years? The music we do could be considered straight forward death metal with some thrash influence; however, the lyrics we write are definitely from a black metal perspective. We never really wanted to categorise our music in any genre, it’s hard to place it within a description. Words like extreme and dark are just us; Goatwhore music comes from us. What about the line-up as it is today? Do you feel you have achieved a balance within the band? Unfortunately there have been people in the band that had to leave for whatever reason; I guess these things just happen. I find that as the line up stands today (besides Duet, Louis Benjamin Falgoust on vocals, Zack Simmons on drums and James Harvey on bass,) every one of us is completely on the same page; we all wanted to do the same record. We did have all different thoughts on how the music should be, but in the end we all agreed on this music direction. The band felt complete. Do you all live in New Orleans? I do and so does Louis. Our drummer lives in Arizona and Harvey lives in Florida. We are not that far from each other; in a way, we all feel we live locally. Your fifth album, Blood For The Master, will be released on February 14th. It is an apocalyptic menace, epic in sound, mind and execution. What were the main elements that triggered the making of this ruthless opus? This is the way we came forward doing all the songs in Blood For The Master and we really like working with Eric (Rutan, producer.) He gave his input on the album so that it would sound exactly like we wanted. So many bands out there sound too processed and synthesized these days. They use all the available technology to sound extreme; that was the last thing we wanted to do. We tried to sound as natural and organic as possible. For us, the final result was that we just wanted each song to sound perfect, even if we had to play it fifteen times in a row to get there. The guitar solo of Parasitic Scriptures Of The Sacred World is just staggering and seems to lead to pure destruction. Was it intentional to give such a strong impact on this song and if so, why? The way I approached this solo and all the others on Blood For The Master, even if they are completely different from each other, was about making a conscious effort to generate destructive chaos, an atmosphere that propels each song much further. There is a feeling of poetic, occultish charm in songs like the violent opener Collapse In Eternal Worth, Embodiment Of This Bitter Chaos (mesmerizing intro!) and In Deathless Tradition (my favorite song of the album so far, by the way!) What inspired such an intense, almost uncanny vibe? We just pushed ourselves further in the way we perceive things. We did not sit down and say “let’s make that song more brutal than one…” It’s really hard to explain. The closing track, My Name Is Frightful Among The Believers, is simply magnificent; it sounds like a tale from a very dark, evil place. I noticed how Louis spells out the word sacrifice. The lyrics here become even more defined and hard-hitting. How did you put this song together? We absolutely did not want anything abstract in each song; nothing was left to the imagination when we approached the songwriting process. The aggressive path of Goatwhore is just following its course. As a whole, Blood for the Master gives the impression that you are further exploring the ritual of death with your snarls of wrath throughout the album. Who is the Master you refer to? The master we refer to is Satan; however, the way we define Satan is very different from how the majority of people perceive this entity. For us, he is not the guy who is running around with his horns; he is more a dark feeling that everyone has inside. Human beings cannot be smiling and happy all the time. We choose to embrace this feeling rather than trying to suppress it like so many people are trying to do. You have maintained an infamously unyielding tour cycle throughout the US, Canada, Europe and Australia with your praised live rituals. Any anticipation on how you are planning to take Blood For The Master live? We are trying to come to you in Europe right now… so expect to see us live soon! And we promise a very
intense live show that you won’t forget!
A PALE HORSE NAMED DEATH
The colors and shades of darkness
There are many ways to find your own style: to those of you who have been paying attention to the metal world for the last three decades, Sal Abruscato needs no introduction. His discography, which includes drum credits on classic albums like Life of Agony's River Runs Red and Type O Negative's Bloody Kisses, is now taking an important turn which seems to encompass everything that is missing in rock music: the dreamscapes, the energy and the essence of raw beauty. Going with the flow and letting things unfold in their own way is what Abruscato’s new band, A Pale Horse Named Death, is all about. He forged this new project with longtime friend and former Supermassiv bandmate Matt Brown and the result is just impressive: a state of the art debut album entitled And Hell Will Follow Me consisting of a collection of spellbinding riffs and solos that transport the listener into distant realms. Swiss Blood Runs Deep are getting ready to sound check as they have the honour to warm up the Borderline’s stage tonight, where tonight A Pale Horse Named Death will reveal their quest. This is how Abruscato tells about the new chapter of this life:
Your debut album, And Hell Will Follow Me was released last June. It has a great apocalyptic, doomy vibe that is quite different from anything you've done before with Type O Negative and Life of Agony. How did you develop such a diverse, powerful creativity throughout the years? How do you think your loyal fans have embraced the album so far? The creativity is just inside of me. I cannot explain it. I also have a lot of influences, I have learnt a lot from Peter (Pete Steel, Type O Negative, rip) and from my old roots. Sometimes a song would just happen in a day for me, sometimes it would take months; it’s weird and it’s all very emotional. I am influenced by things I see, sometimes I am sitting on a bus and I would hear someone say something that would trigger an emotion in me. I love creating, orchestrating, embellishing music; it’s kind of natural to make the music I am making now, dark and sweet at the same time. As far as the fans embracing the album, I have noticed more Type O Negative fans than Life Of Agony ones that find A Pale Horse Name Death a continuation of this kind of dark music; for me, it’s an honor for them to like it so much.
Was APHND supposed to be your "solo" project or did you know you wanted Matt with the band from the beginning? I first starting recording music by myself and then I would show Matt what I had come up with; me and Matt have been friends for a long time, so I wanted him to get involved in what I was doing. We were playing together in 2002 in another band called Supermassiv and we knew we would end up working together again when that ended. Then eventually, in January 2009 when I had all this material ready, Matt said “We gotta do it, this is amazing!” So we began recording in November of that year and this new partnership with Matt began, with lots of spontaneity and energy in all aspects of the recording, production and mixing.
How would you characterise then the album's sound? To be honest, I have no idea what to call it and I do not want to pigeonhole myself and say “I play this!” because I can be very diverse and you never know, I could even come out with a pop song one day. Let’s say it’s hard rock, alternative, gothic, metal, doom, but this goes on.
What inspired such an original band name? Believe it or not, it’s a very familiar name. In 2009 I was watching the history channel on TV; they were showing a program about the Bible and the revelations. They were talking about the four horsemen, the apocalypse; one of the four horsemen is death. The Bible says: death rode a pale horse…. And hell followed him. So I am sitting and without even trying, the words just happened in my head. I knew right away that this is the concept, this is the darkness, the desperation. It was a point in my life where I was getting tired of many situations; I had been a drummer for many, many years and I wanted to change things and do something I really wanted to do like playing guitar and singing (by the way, I have always sung kind of in the closet, at home, not in public). So I felt it was the time to take control of the situation and do an album for myself. If this is the last thing I do, I know I did something that I wanted to do. How has the reaction been to your switching from drums to guitar playing and also to becoming the frontman of the band? These are all very different roles. It was definitely a big transition. I have a newfound respect for great singers because it’s not easy. People may think that I have a fun life when I am on tour, but for me it can be quite boring. I can’t hang out with everybody all night, I have to go to bed early, I do not drink, I
The intro on Die Alone really struck me, how did you create that mesmerizing and gripping guitar part? It brings very deep, metaphoric dreamscapes to float in and out. We are playing it tonight, towards the end. It’s a straight up simple song I think, I was very depressed when I wrote it; I have always been fascinated by suicides and I was thinking that when anyone dies, you do it alone, even if you have family around you. You go through that transition, wherever it is, another dimension or another world, alone. Another song that caught my attention since day one is Devil In The Closet: where does all this darkness come from? Was it a difficult song to conceive? No…. This song, I think, relates to everyone. It is about when I was a kid, I was always afraid when I would go to bed at night, that there would be the devil in the closet, and if my mum left it open he would just jump out. have to be careful on how much I talk: no yelling, no screaming, no laughing. I have to reserve myself all the time so I am good for the next show because if I lose my voice, it will make things quite hard for all of us. This is a big commitment, it changes the way you do things. As a drummer, I could stay up until six in the morning, if I wanted to drink I could drink, If I wanted to smoke I could smoke; I could party and laugh with people all night. Now it’s more a kind of an organic situation where I must take care of myself. When you are at the back on your drums, you are hiding; being all the way in the front, you can see everybody and everybody can see you; however, it’s fun because I have a big mouth and I love to talk to the audience; I say all kind of stuff. I engage with the audience a lot more now and it’s a very reciprocating relationship.
What has the response to the album live been like so far? What was your most memorable live show? Summer Breeze last August was just great and this week we played in Dublin. I was blown away as the venue was packed; I did not expect that, I could not believe that everybody was singing our songs. This is all very new to us as this is only our second tour. Did you stay in contact with Peter before his death? Yes, we stayed in touch until few days before he died…. He wanted to play together again. And then it happened, suddenly… it was all too emotional. But one thing is sure, I talk to him all the time, he is with me on stage every night, and he tells me to keep going.
by Cristina Massei Here we are, all wondering: will the next big thing really come out of the HMV Next Big Thing selection? Well, if it is, we would put our money on Missing Andy. Here we have a chance to talk to Steve and Alex before their album ‘Generation Silenced’ is officially released in all record stores on 19th March, preceeded by single ‘Money’ on the 11th... Your album ‘Generation Silenced’ has been available for download for a while, but it’s now about to be released in regular record stores through Nova/Universal; is there going to be any difference between the two versions in terms of track list? STEVE: We originally released the album late 2011 because we just couldn’t make the fans wait any longer for it, but at the time it just wasn’t possible to release in stores. So we’ve upgraded the album to a Deluxe version with 4 extra tracks for the HMV release. They include Made in England and Sing for the Deaf, a coupe of tracks a lot of people said they missed off the album. Now you can get them all in hard copy at HMV! I’ve heard that you walked off a deal with Universal that would have required you to change what you are about, yet the album is being distributed by Universal… Can you tell us more about that deal and how did you get to the present one? STEVE: Not that I’m an expert or anything but Distribution is different to a Record Deal. We didn’t want to just sign with a label that doesn’t hold our best interests, so we went the independent, DIY route. Which means for certain stuff like distribution you still have to tap up the big players, and seeing as Universal own EVERYTHING its not unusual to cross paths. How would you describe ‘Generation Silenced’ to someone who has never heard your music? STEVE: One great review said that we’d ‘cherry picked’ the best of British music and created a sound that couldn’t really be ‘pigeon holed’. It’s an eclectic album with absolutely no filler! ALEX:We intentionally set out to write
an album that wasn’t genre specific, no matter what feel the song has, as long as it’s a great record with poignant and strong lyrics and something people can sing along to, then it’s a Missing Andy song. The album is really eclectic which we all love. When it came to recording the album, there were about 3 album’s worth of songs we had, it was really hard picking which songs made it on, especially as all of them were great records. But that’s what we’re all about, constantly raising the bar and making sure everything is to the highest possible standard of all of our combined abilities. Is there any particular musical influence that can be heard in this album? STEVE: I think there’s several. Madness is a band we can all agree on and there’s definitely some ‘Nutty Boy’ influence there. We also take point lyrically from bands like The Jam, The Clash, The Specials…. I don’t think we necessarily sound like those Mod/Ska bands but we carry the same sentiment of delivering subjects that people can relate to. We’re a news band, we keep it current. ‘Dave’ is one of my favourite and a clear example of the humour you use in describing the world we live in. How important are lyrics in a Missing Andy song? Our lyrics is one of the things that sets us apart in today’s music. We aren’t just generating love song after love song. Our lyrics have to be engaging. It’s something that our fans comment on all the time and it’s a big reason why they follow us. ALEX:Paramount, if the song has naff lyrics, it ain’t a Missing Andy record. Even though we flirt with many different genres and themes in this album, the thing that ties them all together is the lyrical content. Is ‘Dave’ inspired to anyone in particular? You don’t have to tell names… but you certainly can! HAHA yes we take inspiration from real life! We we’re at a gig in Canning Town and we met a lovely girl that had trouble with her speech, every time she said Steve it came out like Deeeve! After that the guys started calling me Dave! There was also a little rumble in the back of the van that night, but let’s keep the names to ourselves to protect the innocent. The next single is ‘Money’, out on 11th March. What is the song about and why
did you feel it was the best choice one to release right before the album (19th March)? STEVE: Originally written for a movie called ‘Hot Potato’ with Ray Winstone set in the 60’s, that’s what gave it its Motown vibe. It’s largely about the Bankers and Traders that have been betting with people’s money and getting us in all this shit we’re in now. It’s still a very current issue and we wanted to get it out there….. just in case all the bankers become sweet, selfless people in the next couple months……. yeah right!! ALEX: The song is about bankers and big wig ‘tax gamblers’ who have over the past few years thrown a lot of our money away, yet still find some budget to give themselves nice hefty bonuses and claim 2nd homes in the countryside, while some of us are struggling to find work in a crumbling economy. You filmed plenty of videos for a young band; do your videos tell the story behind the song or are they just a totally unrelated viewing pleasure? STEVE: It varies from song to song. The more narrative tracks like Made in England and Dave had to have more of a story telling approach. Otherwise there’s too much to listen to and watch and work out….it wouldn’t work. Money gave us a bit more freedom to do what we wanted, so we went for the True Lies, Espionage, rob the bankers route. It was an awesome shoot and we’re still amazed at how many fans and friends come down to help us out and be in it for free! Thank you, it means a lot! ALEX: All of our videos are thought about, all of the ideas for the videos come from inside the band as well. We never throw away any outlet of creativity, be it songs, videos, artwork, it all has to say something! What do you think the lovely people at HMV found in ‘Generation Silenced’ that prompted them to include it in their Next Big Thing initiative? STEVE: I’m hoping they thought it was something fresh and necessary in an industry that’s just getting swamped with the same crap about being in a club and getting low with ones ‘shortie’. It’s time for some real music to come back and I think people like Adele and Gotye are doing a great job of kicking it off. I wan-
na live in a world where Rihanna doesn’t sing every chorus!! ALEX: I think something that we haven’t had in this country for a long time, which is surprising. We’ve sat through years and years of music that has no real content and nothing that people can really relate to, other than the occasional love song, but how many of those have we had over the years? We set out with the album to change the way people think about music, and make it mean something, rather than preaching with our songs we challenge people to think for themselves and spark off some kind of passion in music rather than sitting in silence and making do with what’s being spoon fed to them. I think HMV got behind us purely because we’re going to be the biggest band from the UK since Oasis. In a music market that is clearly overcrowded, what’s your recipe to go from ‘Next Big Thing’ to just Big? STEVE: Write a killer album 2!! ALEX: Delivering good songs time after time without fail. Every now and then you have a band or artist who have a good year or two, but you can’t ride the coat tails of one good song/album forever. Musicians that please their fans time after time are those that will stick around and be remembered. You performed in front of 11,000 at Wembley for the final of Sky One ‘Must Be the Music’: how did that feel? STEVE: Yeah it was alright, all in a day’s work really! It was pretty cool hearing thousands of people singing your song back to you, but I still prefer those tighter, smaller venues where you’ve got the crowd right in your face. The energy at the gig is so much more explosive. ALEX:It felt fantastic, but having said that, I’d love to go back and do a full show the Missing Andy way. What’s next on the live front? STEVE: Well we have a packed March all over the UK, but there’s some big tour supports we cant mention yet! It’s the next step for us, going on tour with those more established acts and gaining loads of new fans. I’m sure there will be some more gigs with Madness this year too! ALEX:We’re touring all over the country in March, all of our dates are on www. facebook.com/missingandyofficial and I
believe you can get most of our tickets from www.ents24.com or www.seetickets.com . We’re looking forward to getting back out on the road, we live for live, and every show is an explosive one. If you had to pick a Festival this year to play at, which slot do you think would be better for your career: a small stage on a major one or main stage on an independent smaller one? You would be more or less half way through that stage bill in both cases. STEVE:I’d have to say small stage at something like V Fest. We did some big stages at last years festivals and for me it’s the next rung of the ladder, moving to the major leagues. ALEX:In terms of career boosting, a smaller stage on a major festival would be better, but we’ve done a lot of festivals and sometimes you’re surprised by the smaller independent festivals, some of them are cracking and have plenty of hidden gems It’s been quite a while since you finished recording ‘Generation Silenced’ (June I believe?); have you been writing any new music since? STEVE: Nah, we thought we’d just wing it a couple weeks before release! There’s plenty of great stuff coming out the MA camp at the moment! The second album will also be a KILLER! ALEX:Oh yes, we never stop writing, I can’t say anything about what goes on in a Missing Andy studio, but let’s just say that we’re definitely not one of those bands whose second album is nowhere near as good as the first. Constantly raising the bar! Is there anything else you would like to tell your fans and those who have yet no idea who you are? STEVE: You know when you’re listening to the radio and there’s fuck all on, you change stations and there’s fuck all on then you change again and etc etc…..We here to fix that! ALEX: To all those that have supported us since day one and onwards, thank you very much for your support, you’re the people we make this music for, all of you newbies, you’re in for a ride! Get down to a gig soon! Peace www.facebook.com/missingandyofficial www.youtube.com/missingandy
It may be only rock’n’roll, but always make sure you read everything first! Every week we’ll talk to musicians, industry figures and a Musicians Union representative to help you find out more about your rights and the importance of understanding even the smallest print before signing
A NECESSARY INTRODUCTION Please read with an open mind By Cristina Massei, non-musician So, you are – or you think you are – a proficient musician. You start a band, open a Bandcamp account, stick a couple of videos on YouTube, start a Facebook page, each member invites – or forces – friends and family to like you and follow you on Twitter. You play a few gig at the local pub run by your drummer’s cousin and next step you record a DIY EP, post it for free on SoundCloud and all your mates comment how cool it is… but it’s a bit like saying all babies are cute: they’re not. Not all of them anyway. Obviously it’s hard to judge your own baby, so - trusting your enthusiastic mates - you start posting copies to a few independent labels, until one gets back to you offering you a deal where basically you pay them an unfair amount of money just to update your MySpace to ‘SIGNED’. You still have to do everything yourself, but you’re now SIGNED. You can officially call yourself a musician, be the coolest dude in your pack and maybe even get laid on a regular basis. In the enthusiasm, you didn’t even read the small print, where you commit to give the label 80% of your royalties for the rest of your life whoever you’ll ever play with and your first born – if any cuter than your old first EP – plus an ‘x’ amount of money to record three more albums, amount that doubles if you decide to be a full time plumber instead and want to back off the deal. I heard many stories like this – aside from the first born, haven’t come across that one yet. Sometimes it happens to small bands that don’t really go anywhere but still end up in a lot of debts for nothing. Sometimes they don’t go anywhere because they crack under those debts. Sometimes they actually make it big and the small print comes back to haunt them. Every now and then you even see them in the papers, big names ending up potless because they signed the wrong dotted line when they were too young and naïve to know better. Sonic Shocks has decided to come to your help, trying to find out from the right people in the industry what you should and should not be signing for, be it a label, promoter, manager or PR. This week we start with some questions to the very kind Kelly Wood, Regional Membership Development Officer - Secretary to the Gig Section at the Musicians Union. From the next issue we’ll look into labels, PR, promoters and management one by one by talking to some of the people on the other side of the fence that we trust the most in the whole industry. And we met a fair few by now… Before we start, however, I want to play the devil’s advocate here and make a couple of things clear: 1) A bad deal IS NOT necessarily a con/scam. You need to grow up, have at least one in the band who keeps his feet firmly on Planet Earth and you need to make sure you read what you sign, because once you sign you agree with what is printed on there, as small and unfair as it may be. 2) Consider the possibility that, if you’re offered a shit deal, the label A&R may be an idiot BUT ALSO you MAY not be as good as you think you are. Don’t limit your feedback requests to your friends and family – or the young girl in the front row you snogged at the pub gig. 3) If you haven’t yet, please watch ‘Anvil! The Story of Anvil’. If it reminds you of your band, it’s probably not gonna work out. Skip the signing, touring and recording part, save yourselves the humiliation, buy a camcorder and film the new Spinal Tap for easy, painless success. Good luck to you all with your careers and may true talent always shine. But remember, if someone asks for 5k for the honour to have their logo on your DIY cd, stick a middle finger up and have a reality check. And if it comes out music is not likely to be a career for you, don’t worry: there are plenty more ways to get laid. I swear.
KELLY WOOD FROM THE MUSICIANS’ UNION ANSWERS OUR QUESTIONS Hi Kelly, thank you very much for taking the time to answer our questions. Let’s start with talking about labels as they’ve been a recurring topic on musicians’ forums lately. What kind of career help should we expect when signing to a label? This depends very much on the label and deal in question. Some labels work very closely with their artists, taking a kind of A&R approach, whereas others offer a more distribution- or marketing-focussed service to artists. Artists should ensure that they’re working with a label that best suits them, in terms of the role played by both parties. What should THEY expect from us musicians? Again, this varies. Some deals require artists to produce the material that is to be marketed and distributed by the label, whereas others may involve a closer relationship between the artist and the label, with creative and businessrelated decisions being made together. What clauses should we consider deal breakers when signing a deal? I’ve heard about artists unknowingly signing off their rights on everything done with current and future bands or solo for the rest of their lives… Artists’ rights should be taken very seriously, particularly by the artists themselves, and it isn’t uncommon for these to be inadvertently signed away, which often causes serious implications further down the line. However, contracts can include several other factors relating to artists and their material that require careful consideration prior to signing. Members of the MU benefit from a free vetting service whereby music lawyers check contracts that musicians have been offered, and advise as to how the artists should proceed. This allows musicians to enter into deals with confidence and an understanding of what is expected of each party. What are the advantages of ‘DIY’? Many musicians now take the DIY route, and it’s often the best route to ensure that material is formally released. The artists retain full control in this situation, and therefore need to be aware of the process of releasing music, and the rights involved. The MU offers comprehensive, step-by-step advice as to how artists can release their own material. PR: what kind of deal should we look for, what to expect for –let’s say – a £500 campaign for an album? Is it possible to have a deal based on results obtained – i.e. articles/reviews published – or ask for proof of work done if paying a fixed sum for the whole campaign? Initially, musicians can take care of their own press and PR campaigns, as they can be very expensive, and aren’t necessarily appropriate until there is a product e.g., an album release, to promote. If paying a guaranteed fee, artists should ensure that they are happy with the proposed deal, and should take the time to research the agency and their current roster and previous success rate in securing results. Some agencies will offer a deal that is results-based, but artists should still ensure that they can afford the potential fee, as high press coverage doesn’t necessarily immediately translate to financial remuneration. Another hot topic is promoters/gigs: with ‘pay to play’ being such a big part of the live scene, what kind of contribution should we expect from a promoter in terms, in fact, of promotion? Co-promotion deals, whereby the artists play a part in promoting the show and/or selling tickets are increasingly popular, and can be both financially and artistically rewarding for artists and promoters. Most good promoters will work with artists in a way that best suits both parties. Whilst it is the role of a promoter to promote, artists are often in a good position to be involved with the process, as they have a closer and more direct link to their fanbase. The MU will soon be publishing the Fair Play Guide, which outlines how artists can recognise and negotiate fair deals. This will be available via www.themu.org When trying to start a music career, what are the advantages in signing to the Musicians Union? The MU represents and supports musicians working across all professions and genres within the industry. The benefits offered as part of membership include: • Instrument/equipment insurance to the value of £2k • Public Liability Insurance to the value of £10m • Legal advice and assistance in relation to contracts, unpaid fees and employment situations. • Professional advice in relation to any aspect of a musical career • Partnership agreements, drawn up by a music lawyer, for use by anyone working within a musical band or group. Full-time students qualify for a discounted membership, which costs just £20 per year, and includes all membership benefits. Is it possible to get advice from the MU BEFORE signing a deal, is it free and where should we go? MU members are able to have contracts that have been offered to them checked by music lawyers, which is a free service offered as part of membership. The lawyers advise as to the suitability of the contract, and also recommend amendments, if appropriate. Find out more on www.musiciansunion.org.uk Based on your experience, what’s the biggest obstacle nowadays in making music a career? A lot of musicians struggle to earn enough money through their music to comfortably exist. Sales of recorded music have dropped over the years, which affects the role and income of recording artists. The MU assists musicians by helping them to understand the business that accompanies the creative process, in order that they can realise the true value of their music, and tap into the various revenue streams within the industry. Many musicians also encounter problems in the way of unpaid fees and cancelled gigs etc - The MU’s Legal Department pursues unpaid fees on behalf of members.
The industry is also very competitive, which makes it hard for artists to break through. The MU
Page 10 by Marcus J West You come from Aarhus, Denmark: how did you develop your extreme music direction growing up in a country not known for it as much as neighbouring Norway, Sweden and Finland? You can make good music wherever you come from, and I don’t think that you make better music just because you come from a country with a lot of good bands. We didn’t really think about that Denmark isn’t that known for metal bands; we just started writing our own music inspired by what we liked and suddenly we were quite good at it in making music for the band, I have always worked hard to make something that is our own, not something similar to a lot of other bands. Even though we haven’t invented anything new, I don’t think that there are any other bands that do things exactly as we do it; we have our own sound, and that is important to me. Your first three albums, HateSphere (2001), Bloodred Hatred (2002) and Ballet of the Brute (2004) upgraded your status from a Danish sensation to one of Europe hottest thrash quintet. What triggered such a rapid rising? We worked hard and toured a lot and that really did something. People got to know about us, not only on albums but also as a live band, and we visited a lot of places many times. We got a lot of contacts and I guess that is how you should work your way up. Suddenly more people know about you simply because you have worked your ass off. We actually first started touring abroad after the second album, so in the years 2003-2006 we toured a lot to get people’s attention. Talking about your latest project, The Great Bludgeoning, which has been out for a short while now, it has an even harder sense of devastating, striking, blasting thrash: what was the major inspiration for this remarkable album? Well, we finally had the line-up that we wanted and I guess you can hear that on the album as well; we all looked forward to writing this album. The new guys are not only great guys and mu-
sicians, but they are also all big HateSphere fans, so when we started writing the album everybody knew how they wanted it to sound. We didn’t agree on a certain direction, we never do, but it ended up a bit more old school than our last couple of albums. Was it intentional to make it sound so rich with old school thrash? No, actually not; however, we all love our old school sound and I guess I had a lot of old school thrash riffs in me at that time ;-) Now it’s quite exciting to see what kind of riffs I have in me for the next album, hehe! How do you avoid your lyrical content becoming repetitive and stale seeing as you having six albums out already? Hmm, I don’t know. I think in the music it is the small details that make the difference and, as we got a new singer, Esben "Esse" Hansen, he automatically took over the lyrical part of the band. Luckily for us, he is a great lyricist and had a lot of cool ideas for what the songs could be about. Mainly everything is still about death and destruction, but as I said before it’s the small details that makes the difference. What, for you, are the differences between The Great Bludgeoning and the previous album, To The Nines, and did you approach the new creation in a different way to its predecessor? I think it’s obviously more old school this time and one of the reasons is surely the fact that the new guys are all metal heads and all long-time fans of HateSphere; they know how HateSphere should sound and how they want it to sound. A couple of guys from the previous line-up weren’t that much into the metal that we do, so I am sure that this new line-up has got a lot to say. All in all, this album just feels great; it feels like we have played together for many years! I was so impressed by the acoustic intro of Venom: how did it happen and how did you put together such an amazing track? I don’t quite know how to describe the creation of a song because it’s always a mix of things that makes the song turn out as it does. The acoustic intro was one that I had been working on and playing
with at home for my kid and my girlfriend for a long time; I wanted to make a song out of it and I just wrote it. You made history by being the first Danish band to play China, what was it like to play there? How differently did you perceive the reaction of the audience? It was a great, great experience but also very different to play there. It was amazing to experience the atmosphere and the excitement of the crowd over there. I guess not that many knew about us, but they all treated us like we were pretty big. It was Painkiller Mag and Schecter Guitars who brought us over there and they did a lot of promotion for it. We hope to be back there soon as well, so
by Marcus J West Pilgrim makes their entrance in the black and doom metal world with their debut album, Misery Wizard out not on Metal Blade Records. Here is what The Wizard tells about their chronicles through darkness and sorcery that started in the peaceful and isolating community of Rhode Island. The Wizard: as guitarist and vocalist of the band, how would like to introduce Pilgrim? We are Pilgrim, the holy reincarnates of the rightful defenders of good heavy music. Begone, foul impersonators and imitators, your days on this earth are numbered! How did the names The Wizard, Krolg, Slayer of Men (on drums) and Count El-
ric the Soothsayer (on bass) came up? Did you feel the need to create a character behind your persona, so to give a more story telling effect to your music? A lot of our favorite black and doom metal bands, Mayhem, Darkthrone, Reverend Bizarre and Burzum, to name a few, use stage names. We asked ourselves Are we cool enough to do the same thing? The answer was No, but we did it anyway. Was growing up in Rhode Island a bit isolating? Did you ever feel as you were defining your path as a musician, that you had to move to a larger city to be closer to where the action was? Rhode Island is isolating in the fact that no one that I grew up with shared my interests or influences. I didn't know a soul that listened to music seriously and played in a band until I got into high
hopefully that’s gonna happen. You toured with great bands such as Exodus, Morbid Angel and Dark Tranquillity: are there any of these bands that HateSphere could be touring with every year? If the world was a better place, then every one of them. We are grateful for having played with that many great bands and if we could choose, then we would play with all of them. But the competition is way harder now. There are tons and tons of bands and in the end it’s not always the bands themselves who decided who to bring on tour; it’s booking agencies and record companies etc. So, you gotta work hard and you gotta be lucky to get the good tours. But I am their attitude was spot on. They never took themselves too seriously and never pretended to be anything they weren't. I remember when I was about 18 or so, I heard them for the first time. It was their first demo, it changed my life right then and there, in my back yard, 2010. Your debut album, Misery Wizard is out now on Metal Blade Records. How did you get the attention of such a major label? Alan Averill of Primordial heard us on MySpace (back when it was still popular) and contacted us about maybe doing a record for his label, Poison Tongue Records. We were stoked. About a year later, our record came out! Technically we are on Posion Tongue, a sub-label of Metal Blade.
school. I played a lot of video games by myself growing up, and it was actually the music from these crazy fucking Japanese games that made me want to get into music in the first place. As we got older, we thought about moving away a few times. Once we had a plan to move to Oakland and grow medical weed to make money, and we've always pondered the idea of moving to NYC to make having a band easier. Maybe if we had some actual money we could move away to a more prime location, but even though we hate it, Rhode Island has a special place in our hearts. Which band would you say had an impact on your upbringing and helped developing your sound and your approach to creativity? Reverend Bizarre. Their music is the best, their songwriting is perfect and
Misery Wizard starts very magically and intensively with Astaroth, it’s hard to believe it’s only three of you behind this awe-inspiring song. How did you create this enfolding, full-bodied track? Lots of drugs and time. This particular song was inspired by some demonology study I was doing at the time. I also believe it's style was influenced heavily by Burzum, with all the harmonies and progressive sort of song structure. I don't know what else to say! It just came out! The vocals sound very deep and seem you are singing from the afterlife, was it intentional? I suppose. I always tell the band I want my vocals to sound like a wizard is singing from the top of a mountain, and his booming voice is carrying all through the hills and valleys. I like it to be mixed behind the music, so it becomes an instrument and not the fucking focal point of the song. I ate it when people sit around listening to our tracks and say Wow, 4 minutes and still no vocals, this is bullshit. Sorry that our music isn't like every popular band on the planet. The title-track and Quest evolve towards a very sinister path, is there an end to it and
sure that we have a lot of great tours coming up. Is there any European festival that holds a special place in your heart apart from Roskilde (of course?) and why? I would say Graspop in Belgium and Hellfest in France. We have played both of those festivals and the atmosphere, the line-up and everything is just amazing. Hope to be able to play there soon again! HateSphere proves that thrash is still in big demand: why do you think that so many people need it so bad? I guess it’s just because it ROCKS!!!!
if so, where does it end? Like many doom metal bands, I too am obsessed with the battle between good and evil. The record deals with both sides of the battle. I really like the guitar attacks on Masters Of The Sky: are you planning to take this song live and if so, what kind of setting would you like to have around you on stage as you perform this song? Masters of the Sky is a pain in the ass to perform live, I have to be singing notes out of my range for two minutes straight at a time! We've attempted it before, but we quickly wished that we hadn't once it began. We never try to go too far out of our way to achieve a certain sound. We like to plug in and play, and let the tone of our guitars set the timber of the rest of the songs. Adventurer and Forsaken Man close magnificently your debut album. As a whole, was it a difficult album to conceive? Are you satisfied with the results? Thanks. It was easily conceived after a few years of song-writing and serious dedication to the music. It took only three days in the studio to complete. The record is rather raw when you listen to it, there aren't any effects on it except for reverb on some of the vocals, and even then, most of the reverb we captured is analog. We're very proud with how it came out and I think it has the potential to be remembered for a very long time. I am sure that after listening to Misery Wizard lots of doom fans will want to see you playing live: any anticipation on your next tour? We will be spending the entire month of March 2012 on the road in the US, so fans will get a chance to see us. Then, in early May we'll be heading to Copenhagen, Denmark to play the Heavy Days of Doom Town Festival, and then jumping over to Oslo, Norway to play a set or two.
Nelly Loriaux chats to Peter Shoulder and Luke Morley as they get ready to tour the UK with The Answer Peter Should er
You won a W.C Handy Blues Foundation award, quite an accomplishment considering you're only one of 3 British artists to achieve this recognition. What went through your mind when you received this prestigious award? It was nice, it was for a song I’d written a few years previously so it kind of came out of the blue.
You were previously in Winterville. I realise lack of finance and backing cut it short. How did you feel about it at the time? What did you learn from this experience? It was quite frustrating towards the end of Winterville, we were dropped from our label halfway through making the album so we finished the rest of the album off with the cash we had left from the deal. We managed to do a tour promoting the album but after that we ran out of cash. It got to the point where we couldn’t even afford to rehearse because we all lived so far away from each other. It was a shame because we were a great band, especially live. It would have been nice to see how we fared in the studio for a second album, but you never know! What about your stint with 21 Gun? Is anything going to come out of it? Maybe one day. Myself, Scott Gorham and Leif Johannssen wrote and recorded nearly an album’s worth of demo’s but then we all just got too busy with other things. I saw Scott recently and we talked about working on it again so who knows. So now you're part of The Union. How does it differ from your previous outfits? It’s the first band I’ve fronted where I haven’t been the sole songwriter. I can’t really think of anything else apart from that!!
20 years with Thunder, a rather amazing record for a British Rock band. What did it feel like when you performed your last tour? How does it feel like now? It was a good way to draw a line under what was a big part of my life. It was like looking back for a moment before moving on. When did the idea of forming a new project came to mind? Because I’d been working with Pete on and off for ten years it was the natural next step. I’d always admired his talent and we got along very well so it was easy really.
Mor e k Lu
Any hindsight in the choice of the name The Union? Naming a band is like naming a child – once you’ve done it you have to live with it! We wanted something that reflected the creative relationship between us and that we wanted to cover different musical styles so ‘The Union’ seemed appropriate. How would you describe the differences between Thunder and The Union in term of let's say songwriting, interpersonal dynamics or even touring? Songwriting is much easier because both Pete and myself write. In Thunder I was the sole writer, which meant I was constantly under pressure to come up with the next album. I can’t remember ever worrying about dynamics within any band I’ve been in. You all have to be tolerant of each other at times so it’s best you all like each other and fortunately I’ve always worked in an environment where people get on well. I don’t think I could be in a band that didn’t like each other. What do you miss the most about Thunder? I don’t miss it. The Union is very much my priority and I’m not the sort of person that likes to look back. I’m still great friends with all the guys and we talk often so I don’t miss them either!! Thunder, is it really over or might we see some more one-off reunion in the future? There’s always a possibility of one-off things. You have been a supporter of Childline Rocks event first with Thunder then with The Union. Tell us a bit more about your motivation to participate in this project It’s good to raise awareness and money for good causes when the opportunity presents itself so we always try and do what we can. A very good friend is the chief fundraiser for Childline Rocks which is how we first became involved.
The Union Where did you 2 first get acquainted? PETE: I met Luke when I was 17. Someone had passed him a copy of one of my early demos and he got in touch to see if I fancied doing some writing with him. I went and stayed at his house for a week and wrote a few things LUKE: I heard Pete’s voice and wanted to work with him so I found out where he was and we took it from there. What made you decide to collaborate together? PETE: After that we stayed in touch and worked together off and on through the years. Starting The Union seemed like the natural thing to do. LUKE: We’d always collaborated well on anything we’d done together so taking the decision to form a band was fairly easy really There's obviously a discerning age gap between you 2, both being raised in a different musical era. Does it affect in any way your creative partnership? PETE: Despite the age gap we both have pretty similar tastes in music. I grew up listening and studying my Dad’s record collection, which is pretty similar to Luke’s I think! All the great classic stuff from the 60s and 70s. We do disagree on a few things, but it doesn’t really affect the creative process. LUKE: Good music is timeless and if you asked either of us who our two favourite bands are we’d probably both say The Beatles and Led Zeppelin. The age gap isn’t something we worry about so it’s irrelevant really as long as we both enjoy what we’re doing. Your style is described as a modern mix of classic rock,blues and country. Would you agree on this or do you have anything you'd like to add in the way you perceive yourself your music style? PETE: We just try to make music that excites us. We never think about what kind of music we want to make. I’d get very bored if we stuck to one thing. That really infuriates some people because they can’t work out what we are. Are we a rock band, a blues band, a Jazz band or a country band? I quite like confusing these people! LUKE: I’m not quite sure what we are which is why it’s an interesting band to be in! You're embarking on a new tour in March with The Answer. What made you decide to join forces on this tour? PETE: We thought it would make a great bill. LUKE: It’s good for both bands and the fans of both bands so everybody wins! Both you and The Answer will be flying the flag for British rock music. Any thoughts on how you'll both be received in the UK? PETE: Well so far it seems to have been received well. People seem to be excited about it. We’ve never been over to Ireland yet either, so that should be fun. LUKE: I think it will be a fun tour for everybody involved and the audience so hopefully it’ll be received very well. I assume this tour primarily goal is to promote your new album 'Sirens Song' but you're also releasing a new double a-side single - 'Make Up Your Mind / Obsession' on 12th March to coincide with the joint headline tour with The Answer. Any particular reason for this release? PETE: “Obsession” seems to be one of our more popular tracks, it went down a storm on our last tour so it was a no brainer. We always thought “Make up your Mind” had single potential so we decided to put them out together. LUKE:We thought both songs together would be a nice package – one is a fairly gentle acoustic-based track and the other is more rock with almost 70s Glam rock overtones. As usual with The Union what you get is a variation of genre but hopefully a distinctive style.
The Union With 2 albums under your belt and this new release, what can you fans expect to hear on this tour? Which version of 'Make Up Your Mind' will make it to your setlist? PETE: Expect a mixture of both of our albums. If we do MUYM live we will do the single version of the song. LUKE: You’ll have to wait and see!! Who will be joining you on drums and bass? PETE: On Drums will be Dave Mccluskey and on Bass will be Chris Childs. In 2010 The Union was voted 'best new band' at the Classic Rock'Roll of Honour Awards playing in front of a room full of 'rock royalty', were you surprised? How did you celebrate afterwards? PETE: I celebrated by drinking my bodyweight in booze and throwing myself down a flight of stairs. LUKE: Hahahahaha…….that’s absolutely true. I of course went to bed early with a nice book and some warm milk….. You both have different experiences in the music industry so what piece of advice would you give to any upcoming bands wishing to reproduce the kind of success you have achieved? PETE: Never stop working on your talent. Stay creative and always stay open to learning new skills. LUKE: Eat your vegetables and don’t hang out with loose women!! Finally any particular goal you’d like to achieve with The Union? PETE: We’d love to get over to America LUKE: Just to keep making great music and enjoying doing it.
Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson
We interview on why the world is now ready for something that’s proud to call itself a progressive rock concept album, and why vinyl records are ‘totally crap’ but it's looking a better bet than it might have done a couple
It's got to have a bit of a home-made look about it. So while it's got a look about it and the contents as though it's been done by professionals, it doesn't look as though it's been done by media professionals in website design, it just wouldn't be credible. So I tried to follow the example of
by Mike Hughes Jethro Tull have announced a follow up to their seminal 1972 album Thick As A Brick. At the time, they were slightly stung that its predecessor, Aqualung, had been cast as one of those dreaded concept albums. Don't forget this was in the days of Mike Oldfield, or even worse, Bo Hansen doing his take on Lord Of The Rings. Rather than be all defensive about it, Ian Anderson's response was 'They want a concept album? Let them have one then' and came up with Thick As A Brick, the alleged story of Gerald Bostock, a ten year old boy caught out cheating in a poetry contest. Although split over two sides, it was one single track. Whereas many might have bombed, TAAB soared, proving the ascendancy of British Prog Rock. Tull, and Anderson, ploughed their own furrow, and as fashions have come and gone, have sold more than 60 million albums over 40 years. And thus it came to pass that Anderson decided to make a follow up, Thick As A Brick 2, which examines the possible ways in which that ten year old might have turned out. It’s a daring concept, but one which Ian thinks will work. The new album is out in April and they will be touring, during which they will play BOTH albums in their entirety. Sonic Shocks’ Mike Hughes caught up with Ian to talk about the whole thing. Hi Ian, how’s it going? Busy I guess? Yes it's one of those days where I have an awful lot of promo and I have yet to go and pack my little suitcase for a trip I have off to Germany tomorrow to do some press, then rehearsals the next night for a show on Friday with a full symphony orchestra. So yes things are busy So tell me about the concept album? From what I've read I think I'm safe calling it that? You are indeed. It is on the face of it an unlikely thing to be entertaining the idea of a progressive rock concept album in the year 2012. Most people would think that was a pretty suicidal move to make, but I have on the other hand been out and about around the world in the past couple of years noticing that there is a new wave of interest. It’s mostly evident in a much younger audience, people in their teens and 20s particularly in the Latin countries, South America, Italy and Spain and so on, where people are rediscovering progressive rock if they are over the age of 40 or 50, or discovering it for the first time if they're in their teenage years. There is definitely a move, definitely something buzzing, and I think even the record companies who have a lot of catalogue of that sort have recognised that it is something to try and develop. In the last 10 years there have been a number of bands of some prominence who are a little more in the progressive rock or prog-metal kind of direction who have probably surprised people as to how well they've done in terms of concert ticket sales and record sales, even in this world of remarkably dwindling physical record sales. So yes in some ways, it's not exactly a safe bet,
of years ago. I don't disagree at all. In fact I'm not far off Gerald's age so I've lived through the whole thing of seeing bands like yourselves, Pink Floyd, and then the next thing we were all wearing bin bags and safety pins. And then in the last couple of years there has been a resurgence of what calls itself progressive. I am even now listening to young bands from the mid-western States that will deserve the title. But why right now? It was to do primarily with having been staunchly against the idea of doing any remakes, sequels or whatever, and then having been asked a few times over the years by people in the record company to do a follow-up to Thick As A Brick or Aqualung. No way did I want to go back there and have some nostalgic re-creation of something that should be respectfully left alone. But the thing that changed that was probably in late 2010 or early 2011 was in response to the question "I wonder what Gerald Bostock would be doing today?" You know this child character that supposedly wrote the lyrics? What would the St Cleve Chronicle be like today? What would be on the front page? Those two questions began to push me in the direction of coming up with an answer in the form of a fairly detailed concept piece that would look at some of the outcomes of Gerald Bostock's life. And of course in doing that I would take some moments from my own life and some references from things I know about, either through other people or my own experiences, and invent the rest. The St Cleve Chronicle is now an online parish news magazine, which indeed is the reality for a lot of the communities in the countryside of the UK which have an online website for their village. It's a rather parochial and amateurish thing in most cases. I tried to capture the spirit of it, not wanting StCleve.com to look like it was operated by professional website managers.
some things that I found online, while at the same time I tried to keep some point of reference with the original album on the homepage. It's steering somewhere down the middle, both slick and professional and also somewhat amateurish. I think it's important to find that nuance that is somewhere down the middle, and that is what we've also tried to do on stage. It will be a certain amount of theatrical, visual but I don't want it to look too much like Madonna or Lady Gaga. It doesn't want to look showbiz, it wants to look like a slightly slicker version of what you might find in the village hall. I really enjoyed having a delve around the St Cleve website. It's got some resonance as I used to work for a local paper that has long since gone online. Am I right in thinking then that you are dealing with quite a few possible outcomes of now-grown-older Gerald? I can see there's a story on St. Cleve that he is a now stood-down Labour MP and he's bought £1 million house in the village. But there are several possible outcomes there for him? I had to think of some possibilities of what various divergences might have occurred in a young person's life. My first thought was that a precocious young schoolboy with a way with words would have become a politician. But that was so obvious that I thought I wouldn't do that in a song, I'd keep that for the album cover. So I have chosen a fat-cat investment banker, I’ve choses an ex-military person involved in the repatriation of the dead and injured from our adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. I chose the defrocked corrupted evangelist. But I also chose Gerald as an ordinary man with no great ambitions or lofty intentions in life, who had chosen a quiet cosy life, with the things that most people are happy to accept as being their lot. That in a way is quite a positive feeling that I've tried to invoke. That there is nothing at all, no sense of loss, no disre-
spect, nothing wrong with just setting your sights low. You know, choosing to enjoy your life, possibly in the company of someone you are close to, and doing ordinary things, and having rather ordinary and perhaps rather boring hobbies. There is nothing wrong with that, some of us have got to do that, otherwise the world would be far too challenging a place if we were all Tony Blair. I thought I would have a look at those various things, in order I suppose to show that there are those pivotal moments in your life, or when you either make decisions that will affect the rest of your life, or things just intervene … chance events that pull you one way or the other. For younger people who are facing those moments, perhaps in their teenage years, it's good to give a little thought that you will be making decisions that really will determine what will happen from there on in. It may be good and it may be bad. For people looking back on their lives it may be a way of thinking ‘thank goodness I didn't do that particular thing’, or perhaps wistfully thinking ‘I wish I had signed up for a university course’ or whatever. There is nothing wrong with being a little reflective in older age. I'm happy that I'm one of those people for whom life turned out pretty well, but I can go back to think about a few moments in my life where I might well have made a different decision, or been affected by something that happened to me and taken a different tack. I feel privileged but I know that a lot of other people might feel a sense of regret. I feel that all these things are worth exploring, especially in the context that there may be something like fate or personal karma that pre-ordains where you will end up in life anyway, almost regardless of what you might do in between. I don't believe that but I think that's an interesting if somewhat intellectual proposition. That's interesting. I have a theory that you are more likely to regret the things you chose not to do and less likely to regret the things you positively chose. Let's carry on. I know nothing whatsoever about your personal life except that you live in some sort of country lifestyle. I wondered whether the parochialism of St Cleve in any way reflected your experience of that sort of rural existence? Well it certainly would be giving me a bit of authority in presenting the notion, even if it is a bit of a send-up, of parochial life in the countryside. Then yes of course I'm well qualified to talk about that. But it doesn't mean that I'm extolling its virtues, and in fact might on the face of it appeared to be mocking it. But actually I think that community spirit is alive and well today. It's just that we don't meet in church on Sunday. I think we're more likely to be communicating by Facebook or Twitter or e-mail. I don't think the neighbours necessarily jaw over the garden fence in this day and age. I think that even if they live 20 metres away they are more likely to e-mail or Facebook. That might seem like it's a bad thing but on the other hand that does open up and take away some of the geographical boundaries of what is traditionally thought of as community. On the face of it, as an observer, I'm trying to pick up on the change in technology and the changing culture, even in the context of something that would seem much more traditional and much more conservative. That's conservative with a small ‘c’, it's not a political standpoint. I'm sure you’re right.. I'm sure there are Guardian readers in the village where I live. Well maybe one or two... I'm sure there are everywhere. I understand you are re-mastering the original Thick As A Brick?
It was already re-mastered at the end of last summer. Both TAAB1 and TAAB2 will be presented as vinyl editions later in the year. One of my next little jobs in the next two or three weeks is to go and check out the vinyl cut of Thick As A Brick 2, which is testing the system a little bit. It's rather long so it will be cut on copper rather than the traditional acetate. It's a bit more stable for manufacturing from a harder metal rather than the traditional soft lacquer which frankly has to go the next day straight to the factory otherwise it starts to literally sag under its own weight. So are you a bit of an analog type of person then? Do you like the idea of vinyl these days? It is there purely to serve the wishes of those folks who are deluded enough to think that vinyl sounds okay. It's totally crap, it was always totally crap. I have absolutely no interest in owning a turntable. I do still have some high-end analogue audio equipment, but it's never been out of the cupboard in the last 30 years frankly. Ever since any digital format came along it was obviously that much better. Even for those who decry the quality of the CD, it's still frankly a better dynamic range, a better noise floor. Everything about it is so far superior to the old vinyl. Anyone who thinks that vinyl has this special quality, well they haven't lived through the hours of depression that I have, those endless days spent in cutting studios, trying to get what it was you slaved over in the studio for weeks or months onto a piece of black plastic, through which you are scratching a groove with a nylon stylus to make the master. It really is just so full of compromises to get it on to vinyl that it really is just not an enjoyable past time. Most of the old cutting engineers are dead and gone now. There are very few places that still cut vinyl and very few engineers who know how to do it. We have to accept that there are those people who really do like that stuff. I think it's the physicality of it. I would doubt that most people would ever play it, and if they would, it'll only be once or twice, because they will be fully aware that the more they play it, the worse it's going to sound. I must admit you're talking to somebody just like that. Yes it's lovely to get a nice big chunk of vinyl, but thank heavens when it comes with a download code. There you go you see, that's the reality. You can have your physical thing and put it in your bookshelf, but when it comes to the convenience of listening to it, you are just as well, even better off, with even a high-quality MP3, let alone a 16-bit CD version. On the special edition of our new album, there is a 24 bit version as well as the 5.1 surround. So you get a chance to hear exactly what was coming out of the studio. I think that's an important offering to the public, where with any modern computer you can play back the 24 bit audio without any problem at all. That, plus some good speakers or some good headphones, and you're in business, you're hearing just exactly what I heard in the studio. And with those musings on life, the choices we make, and the quality of plastic records, we had to call it a day. There was so much more I wanted to know, but that plane to Germany would wait for no man.
THE HAIRSPRAY CORNER Todd Chase from TUFF
in life. But I doubt we will ever see a full TUFF reunion. Me and Mickeal are still good friends, in fact we hung out at NAMM and had a few beer together in January! I don’t know where Jorge is or what he is up to these days. I wish him well!
by Claudio Pucci Today we talk to Todd Chase from Tuff: with an album being recorded and a tour (Europe included!) coming soon, there are plenty of reasons to be excited, for both the band and the fans… Let’s find out more about present, past and future from Mr Chase himself.
by Sophia Disgrace Burlesque! Welcome to your one stop drop for all the news on the best burlesque nights, in the capital and beyond! My name is Sophia Disgrace and I’ve performed at numerous events in the U.K and abroad, from festivals to the most exclusive clubs. I tend perform in a neo burlesque style and o en incorparate other elements, such as fire play, into my routines. Burlesque - or ‘the art of tease’ as it’s also known, first rose to prominence in the 1950’s; in recent years it’s enjoyed something of a revival, with stars such as Dita Von Teese helping to popularise the scene once again. London as ever is at the fore front of this movement, which is both alluring and inspiring for men and women alike. Here are my pick of all things burlesque this month... Burlesque in Your Kitchen Proud Gallery,Camden,London 2nd March 2012 Doors open 7.30pm-2.30am Winning the award for the most novel event title in town, 'Burlesque in your Kitchen' gives little hint as to what it’s offering theme wise, although its eccentric line up of established artists suggests it will be nothing if not unique for entertainment. Prepare yourself for a show headed by the outrageously funny Ophelia Blitz and friends - including Moonfish and the infuriably hot to trot Kiki Kaboom! Tickets available from £8.00-£10.00,please call +44 (0)20 7482 3867 for further information. The Wam Bam Club! Cafe De Paris,London Saturday 3rd March 2012 From 6pm-Late If you're not nursing a hangover after Fridays shenanigans at Proud, why not head over to the infamous Cafe De Paris and allow the delightfully decadent host Lady Alex guide you through a night of magic, music and cheeky erotica! Acts such as the strong lady Betty Brawn add a touch of kitsch to proceedings and the Boy With Tape Over His Face makes the mind boggle - surely a good thing!
Cabaret Rouge and Bunny Galore keep the Burlesque flame burning brightly, along with associated artists. P.S At 6pm and 6.30pm there are free burlesque taster classes, for those brave enough to shake their tail feather's like a pro! Go on, you know you want to! (Limited places available, please book in advance to avoid disappointment via firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hi Todd, it’s so nice to meet you! So how are you? I am really great brother! Tuff is completing the “What Comes Around Goes Around – AGAIN” CD and I couldn’t be more excited!
Tickets start from £35.00, for an extra fee dinner is included; please call 0800 242 5753 for further information.
There’s been a long silence from the Tuff camp before this album, can you tell us why? The answer is simply life. Stevie and I are the chief members of the band. He has 2 awesome kids and Metal Sludge and I have a life in Ohio. We have been back together doing occasional shows for about three years now. We wanted to see if could still have fun playing music together before we got into the commitment of a new record. And we’re having a blast!
No Strings Cabaret Norwich Puppet Theatre, Norwich 24th March 2012 From 7pm-Late
I still remember Tuff ’s "golden era" and the first cd, I remember the ads on Circus magazine and the old demos… Those days were great in so many ways! Lots of partying and girls! We certainly lived the life!
Venture a little further afield for some hidden delights... A sit down theatre show, proudly presented in two halves, No Strings is Norwich’s first and longest running Burlesque Vaudeville night. Also hosted by the mysterious Hocus Pocus Theatre, expect walkabout acts and other oddities through out the night, alongside the main dancers. Artists performing on the 24th of March include Pixie Le Knot and The Hot Boppin Girls.
Now we hear news of a Tuff reunion, can you give us all the details? We are finishing work on “What Comes Around Goes Around – AGAIN!” What we have done is re-recorded 4 premium tracks from WCGA and 2 killer tracks that didn’t make the record for whatever reason. We have dropped down the tuning a full step to give it a heavier and fuller sound. There are several guest ap-
Please call the box office on 01603 629 921 for further information. This months velvet curtain reveals...
Burlesque Spotlight! The First Ever Welsh Burlesque Festival Guildford Hall,Cardiff 31st March 2012 From 4pm-Late Proudly presented by The Blue Stocking Lounge and Burlesque Cardiff, this momentous (first ever!) event will be hosted by a variety of Welsh performers (new and professional) and shall include a selection of vintage stalls, workshops and of course, lots of live performances. Surely one to watch,prepare to be impressed as Cardiff shows the U.K what its shimmying well made of! Tickets are £45 ,please email info@ welshburlesquefestival.com for further information.
pearances by some of our favorite rock stars like, George Lynch, Jaime St. James, Steven Brown, Keri Kelli, Stephen Pearcy, Jeff Loomis, Lizzy Divine & Howie Simon! There will also be a number of other unreleased tracks and maybe some special treats for die hard fans. If this goes well, Stevie and I have discussed maybe doing another CD next year with all new music, but we’ll see. Will it feature original members George DeSaint and Michael Lean? Unfortunately no. I love those guys and wish them nothing but the best
What are you looking to achieve with this album? We hope the re-recorded tracks are in your face and heavier than you remember TUFF being. We want to put the “Metal” back in “Hair Metal!” We also have a new image for this year, which is over the top crazy awesome!
You play on different projects, but when is Todd really having fun? I am always having fun! I have TUFF, which I love! I also have a super fun rock and roll show band in Cleveland called “Dirty Little Rock Stars” which is a total blast! Other than that, I have a great time with my beautiful wife, Dana and our friends and family. Usually involves listening to cool music and drinking a lot of beers! We live in the Country in the middle of no where, which is how I like it when I am not touring with TUFF. How does it feel knowing that there are still plenty of Tuff fans all over the world who haven’t forgotten you? Shit brother, I am SOOOOOO flattered that we still have very loyal and dedicated fans! Our fans are amazing and if I ever see any of you, please do not hesitate to come and say hi. I love taking pictures and hanging with the fans. We really try to integrate ourselves in with the fans. That’s one of the best parts of being in TUFF!
The first album and Regurgitation are amongst your fans’ favourites and they also feature some demo songs… Some of the demo songs will be on the new release. Why do Tuff always have plenty of old songs in their live setlist? Maybe because was funny that period? The fans that see TUFF live today still want to hear their favorite songs from the earlier recordings, so we play those and try to do some modifications to them to keep them fresh. Next year we hope to start playing “NEW” songs. Can you tell me why you left Tuff and what happened after that? I left TUFF in 1991 for a few reasons. The main reason was in-fighting between the members. The band at that time was clearly divided and it had become no longer fun to be in the band. I have a rule, that when it’s no longer fun, I’m out! After TUFF I formed a hard core metal band called SubstAnce D and I LOVED that band and still do! I am dear friends with the members still today. The drummer T now plays with me in TUFF. I loved your live video for All New Generation; who else played with you on that event? I don’t recall all of the bands that played that event in Phoenix where we filmed All New Generations. But my brother Greg’s band Badlands played and my whole family was there. One of my best days! What’s your favorite song to play live? That changes a lot, but today I would have to say What Comes Around Goes Around for TUFF. How many bands are still friends with Tuff? Ha ha ha! Good question! I really cant give a number, but I think Tuff is friends with many bands. We always try to be friendly. But Stevie runs Metal Sludge and that upset some bands to where they hate us. Fuck those pussies! I back Stevie 100% on and off stage. So all you haters can blow me! But if you look at the new recording we have several big name rock stars playing or singing on the songs. So clearly some bands still like us. Do you think there’s any good band in Europe right now? I’m sure that there are great bands in every corner of the world. Two of my favorite bands are Volbeat and Bullet for my Valentine. So yeah Europe has some great music! What do you think about this new wave of hair metal bands trying to copy 1990? I love it! Do what makes you happy and you’ll always BE HAPPY! And that’s really the key! If it’s not fun, it’s done!
Do you really have a strong friendship with Mr Rachelle or is it more a show for the fans? Stevie is one of my best friends and that will always be the case. He is my brother in music and TUFF and I would not be same without him. He’s awesome! Why didn’t the others stick around? People grow and change. Michael is very successful with his many restaurants and we really would like for him to come and play some songs with us this year. But that is totally up to him. Jorge had his reasons for leaving TUFF when he did, and I can’t really speak to that as I don’t those reasons. I wish him well. How does it feel having your fans singing along to your songs at a live show? We love our fans and it makes us very happy when they enjoy the live show. Can we still find merch with the old logo? Fans can still get old TUFF merchandise and CD’s at www.tuffcds.com Are you planning on touring Europe once this CD is out? TUFF will be playing all over Europe this year, but I won’t be on that tour. It will be Stevie and T from TUFF pairing up with Shameless. That tour starts in March. Dates are posted on Stevie’s Facebook page. Do you think there is still room in the US for Hair metal? There is always room for good bands playing good music. Can you tell me about the time the tour bus was set on fire? I think it was 1990 or 1991 when our truck was stolen after a gig in Memphis TN. It was one of the worst days ever! We lost everything. Whatever they couldn’t carry, they burned. Scumbags! Do you have a last message for your fans? WE LOVE YOU ALL AND CAN’T WAIT TO SEE YOU ON TOUR! Please buy our new CD “What Comes Around Goes Around – AGAIN” available hopefully in March! Friend me at Todd Chaisson on Facebook! TUFF IS BACK!
by Marcus J West Photos Cristina Massei To sell out an arena with a twenty three thousand person capacity within hours, you must fulfill several criteria: firstly, you have to be called Rammstein and secondly, you have to have an opening band that ignites the fire appropriately, in other words a band called Deathstars; London’s O2 tonight hosts nothing but the best. As the doors finally open at 6.30 pm, the diehard fans who had fought fiercely to get their precious tickets flood the standing area and the seats are taken by the ones who simply do not want to miss anything; the atmosphere becomes full of pervading electricity. Welcomed by their many loyal followers who have supported the eclectic glam death quintet since their impressive debut album Synthetic Generation in 2002, Sweden’s Deathstars proudly introduce themselves as the honourable warm up for the German warriors. Bassist Skinny Disco (Jonas Kangur) and guitarists Cat Casino (Eric Bäckman) and Nightmare Industries (Emil Nödtveidt) advance with a captivating poise and position themselves proudly on stage; drummer Vice (Oscar Leander) takes ownership of his kit and is ready to kick start what will be a succession of staggering tracks, blended perfectly with alluring lights and entrancing smoke. This is the perfect setup for Deathstars’ lead singer, Whiplasher Bernadotte (Andreas Bergh); he charms the audience with an explosion of deep, guttural vocals during Blitzkrieg. However, it is with Metal, one of the two new tracks (alongside Death is Wasted on the Dead) on the band’s latest album entitled The Greatest Hits On Earth, that the quintet reaches the highest standard, nailing the accelerator to the floor with their ferocious assaults and pure live savagery in the midst of truly hardcore riffs and ripping beats. Nine songs is just not enough, there should be more of Deathstars; however, the greed for more is soon comforted by the much awaited headliner. To honour their motherland, Rammstein arrive at 8.30 sharp and as pompously than ever, sending the whole arena into uncontrollable fervor. They enter the stage from above as mighty crusaders in a procession to conquer their promised land. Stomping over a majestic bridge built on the right hand side of the stage for their colossal, holy purpose, they advance fuelled by the assurance of certain victory. With their unique confidence, the battle begins. Fontman Till Lindeman sets the crowd alight with Sonne and the whole supernatural pyrotechnic Rammstein detonations take over. Their inimitable, lethal mix of blasting flames and
LIVE! fireworks matches the potent craftsmanship of these seasoned musicians: guitarists Richard Kruspe and Paul Landers, accompanied by bassist Ollie Riedel, keyboard player Christian “Flake” Lorenz and drummer Christoph “Doom” Schneider simply have no rivals. Their set takes a formidable shape with the fatal succession of Wollt ihr das Bett in Flammen sehen, Keine Lust and Sehnsucht and the fire keeps burning. As they disappear briefly underneath the stage and then return, it is as if they were returning from hell. It’s now Feuer Frei’s turn: the audience is just too mesmerized to move and they all feel part of the final chapter of the Terminator sequel. The ambience of Mutter with subtle green and underwater lights is reminiscent of their memorable video, with the addition of the breathtaking rain of fireworks that falls on Landers during his unforgettable solo. Time to go back to hell and return with the familiar cauldron that announces Mein Teil and a not very promising faith for Flake. Lindemann, dressed as the perverted cannibal cook hungry for German flesh, viscously tries to cook his bandmate with his evil flames while delivering one of the best renditions ever of their hit from Reise Reise. Suddenly, Schneider (wearing his blond wig) leads his bandmates as barbarized dogs on a leash (as in the controversial video of Mein Teil) to their second stage that magically appears in the middle of the floor. Here, a powerful version of Mann Gegen Mann, with Lindemann proudly showing his manhood to the blasting notes of this above reproach track, becomes the second turning point of the set: they go back to the main stage to the ecstatic waves of Ohne dich. As a gigantic propeller descends on the stage from a frozen heaven - a reminiscence of their Rosenrot cover - the final chapter of their set is about to hit hard. Mein Herz brennt and Amerika are accompanied by cannons shooting the colours of stars and stripes. The two encores, headed by the massive Ich Will and Pussy, with Till shooting foam from another cannon (nothing is left to the imagination here) heralds the end; Rammstein salute the audience, bowing with honour. The standards tonight were just too high, there is no comparison with anything in the human world; there was just one negative note: it came to an end, eventually.
+ DEATHSTARS London, O2 Arena 24th February 2012
by Cristina Massei
+ special guests Danny McCormack’s 40th birthday celebration @ Jubilee - Camden Barfly Friday 17th February 2012
Last time I met Danny McCormack was about five years ago. He was writing some new stuff I’ve been lucky enough to listen to, and I can remember one particular chorus to this day, no matter how many tunes have been hitting my eardrums since. I remember him playing that song on an old guitar in his living room, with the biggest smile and enthusiasm known to mankind. Yet again, artistic genius comes from passion, and with passion comes trouble. Highs and lows of a soul so deep kept that song from being shared with the world, or at least that’s my guess; what I know for a fact is that it was never released and trust me, we’ve all been missing out there. When loving little brother Chris – of 3 Colours Red and Gary Numan fame - got a very special line-up together to celebrate Danny’s 40th, we all knew it wasn’t going to be ‘just’ another reunion, or just another gig for the matter. There’s some kind of a rock’n’roll family in London’s underground scene that survives all trends and roadworks: the 12 Bar in Denmark Street is probably their favourite gathering hole, but you can always find them around when the gig is a good one, and in very special occasions even the old club members resurface, altering the notion of time and reality to set up the ultimate party in a whirlwind of beer and emotions. This was one of those occasions. It was supposed to be an early gig, followed by aftershow, cake and confetti at the Barfly, ‘hijacking’ Chris and Carl Barat’s regular Friday club night ‘Jubilee’; it went sold out so quick that had to be turned into a double, with a later show in between. Plan A were the apt openers for this rnr trip down Memory Lane, soon highlighting tonight’s friendly atmosphere in the audience; I would say every single punter had at least a couple of pints with frontman Jef Streatfield at some point in their life, judging from the level of confidence and interaction with the ex Wildhearts guitarist. And it’s finally time for the Yo-Yo’s. Danny walks on stage seemingly a bit tense after such a long time away from the spotlight; it doesn’t last long however, and as the love in the room hugs the stage, our birthday boy breaks in one of his smiles to light the whole of Camden Town. Most of ‘Uppers and Downers’ gets played, plus the title track from the ‘Given up giving up’ EP and some b-sides; having to pick two songs to highlight tonight’s atmosphere, it would be ‘Time of Your Life’ and ‘Home From Home’, as this London crowd closes around their long missed Geordie friend. Next to Danny are original Yo-Yo’s member Tom Spencer, ‘usual suspect’ Rich Jones. Cake is served by hot chick in turquoise pvc, which Danny seem to appreciate. The show continues with Therapy’s Andy Cairns taking on vocals, Chris McCormack on guitar and Ritch Battersby on drumsfor covers of ‘Teenage Kicks’ and ‘I want to be sedated’, followed by Therapy?’s own hit ‘Screamager’ – insert moshpit here – and more vintage tunes and happy smiles. The second instalment of this one-off (sigh) Yo-Yo’s reunion is even better than the first as I imagined, as a mixture of love and alcohol works its magic and the the Barfly turns into the ultimate rock’n’roll party. More contagious smiles enlighten the stage and more special guests join in, including Carl Barat himself, Ray Mcveigh from The Professionals and Wildhearts Stidi. The song I heard five years ago still doesn’t get played, but hey, was just a birthday party after all. Who knows, after feeling the warmth of this gathering tonight -and maybe reading this piece -Danny may see the light and share that song and more with the rest of us; come on pet, don’t be selfish…! But if that doesn’t happen, I’ll always count myself lucky to have been given a chance to listen. Happy birthday Danny McCormack, just don’t keep us waiting ‘til your 50th now…
+ THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, RED FANG
@ Brixton Academy, London - 11th February 2012 good on stage. They blend splendidly fervent dynamics with a refreshing complexity of rich sounds and certainly make their mark when they smash some of their gear as they close with 43% Burnt; with that much pent up energy, the catharsis is hard to resist! Class, history and repertoire: in a triumphant roar, Mastodon are welcomed to the stage. Troy Sand-
by Marcus J. West When somebody mentions “Mastodon, The Dillinger Escape Plan and Red Fang” in the same sentence, the only conceivable reply is “Yes. Yes please.” For this reason alone, it is no surprise that this show sold out before many Londoners even realised it was happening. Portland, Oregon’s, Red Fang had the honour of opening the curtains on what will swiftly become known as one of the most memorable shows in living memory. Although they have only
toured in Europe once, they introduce themselves to the rabid Mastodon fans with remarkable confidence. Their sludge-esque metal rapidly wins over the crowd, in no small part to David Sullivan and Bryan Giles’ captivating riffs and epic solos during Hank is Dead; the set is framed by John Sherman’s wild drumming and Aaron Beam’s cutting bass and refined vocals. As the opening band, their set is cut far too short; however, they leave the stage to metalcore champions The Dillinger Escape Plan. Powerful and structured, they always look
ers and Brent Hint’s vocal duels unleash a shockwave of raw energy that is nothing short of perfection. Coupled with state of the art lighting, the set could not be better. Magnificent renditions of Ghost of Karelia and Creature Lives as an encore with Red Fang and The Dillinger Escape Plan, the perfect ending to the perfect tour. There are very few words to describe all of this: epic, grand and unique.
WE CAME AS ROMANS
@ The Electric Ballroom, London - 10th February 2012 by Marcus J. West Metalcore is sometimes taken as being just another repetitive phase; however, anyone who has seen We Came As Romans live knows that they are the logical progression of the genre, not merely another archetypal manifestation. These youngsters know their history (no pun intended) and have fresh new ideas, including the name they chose to represent their mission: they indeed came, or more accurately assaulted the stage like a Roman horde, giving impetus and strength to their conquest. by Matthew Tilt I’ve been here a good hour before the first note is played, but what a note. Horrorshow start things off by blasting out some seriously catchy punk tunes in the vein of The Cramps and The Birthday Party, with a healthy dose of The Misfits as well. Vocalist and guitarist Miles Cocker oozes just enough attitude to pull off the incendiary mix, while Luke Pyper keeps up a ferocious rhythm on the drums. A welcome kick up the arse for the Birmingham scene. Next up are Human Hands who aren’t afraid to bring some angst to the proceedings. Mixing some gorgeous melodies with the nosier moments to create something that’s a little harsher than their recorded output but no less involving. It’s just a shame that Chas’ vocals are way to quiet at times. Thrashcore misfits No Coast were always going to be a little out of place on this bill, but it doesn’t stop them proving exactly why they’ve exploded onto the U.K. scene in the last twelve months. Tracks from their split with Jackals hit the crowd with ear splitting efficiency while the new track they unveil sees them expanding on their short, sharp blasts with swirling feedback and discordant guitar lines. It’s a tough act to follow but run, WALK! are more than capable of pulling it off. Playing tracks from their split with Sirs and their upcoming album they’re an absolute joy to watch. The Sirs split sees them thrashing it out with the best, but still with those breaks and melodies that helped define them, while the newer songs embrace the noughties indie influences that have always been present but buried deeper in the sound. The late finish means that maybe only two thirds of the people who came through the door see this; what they missed was a band proving themselves ready for bigger things.
The band consists of two brilliant singers, David Stephens and Kyle Pavone, two epic guitarists, Joshua Moore and Brian “Lou” Cotton, a master bassist, Andrew Glass and a ruthless drummer, Eric Choi; gathered on the Electric Ballroom’s stage, one cannot help but be awed by the raw power. The crowd responds with a remarkable ferocity to What I Wish I Never Had and Intention; moshers resemble gladiators and lions fighting to the death at the Emperor’s behest. Though battered and bruised, nobody left unsatisfied.
Issue 7/2012 13th February 2012 O2 Academy 3 Birmingham by Anthony Lee Photos Matthew Higgs Tonight Hyro Da Hero's 'World’s Stage' tour hits its second city, Birmigham. With support from Welsh group Astroid Boys and young Yorkshire upstarts Marmozets, who have regularly found themselves being touted by the press as ones to watch, it promised to be a fantastic show.
Astroid Boys were a great way to start the night; with their live show consisting of 2 MC's, a producer, guitarist and drummer, they created a sound that was, in one word, interesting. Playing with boundless energy and a good amount of crowd interaction which is well received, I'm sure we'll be seeing a lot more of them in the near future. If tonight is anything to go by, they will have developed their own following nationwide for future dates. Marmozets are a band being constantly championed by some of the leading magazines and blogs. The Yorkshire 5 piece have gained lots of exposure in the last few months with festival appearances at Hevy and Freeze, not to mention high profile support slots with bands such as Four Year Strong and The Blackout. The Hyro tour being their first multiple date outing, this will prove a good test for the hype surrounding the band. Their set consisted of tracks from debut EP “Passive Aggressive” - which is available as a free download - and their latest release “Vexed”. Unfortunately during the set Will's guitar head cut, however they handled it well playing a little medley for the crowd and making light of the situation. Despite the technical difficulty, Marmozets do show tonight why so many people are talking about them and do themselves justice as one of the brightest new bands in the UK. I was really looking forward to seeing Hyro Da Hero after hearing so many positive accounts of his live performance. Straight away it's clear why people have been hailing him as one of the best live performers of the moment. With tracks from his album “Birth, School, Work, Death” such as “Ghetto Ambiance” and “Grudge” getting airings, the crowd are absolutely buzzing and getting involved by singing and dancing themselves silly. Hyro's stage presence is something to be envied by all front men; with his electrifying energy and brilliant crowd interaction, it's no surprise the audience are hanging on his every word. To top the set for fans following the final chord, Hyro is quick to climb over the barrier and show incredible gratitude to the people who have come to see him. While lots of bands make the effort to thank those followers who keep them on the road, Hyro really does go the extra mile to make them feel valued. Hype is a fickle thing, thankfully tonight all the bands on the bill have lived up to it. Expect to see them all again soon, I expect in ever increasingly large venues.
+ London, Shepherds Bush Empire 9th February 2012 by Cristina Massei Orange feel good brand of tongue-in-cheek pop punk is a spicy, welcome starter for tonight’s show. Joe Dexter & Co. open with Elektron Gun and the party is immediately in full swing: the joyful spirit and mind blowing energy of this lot should have taken them much further by now. We saw them not too long ago with Bowling For Soup, and here they are again supporting another major player in their scene, Reel Big Fish… If they earned these dudes’ respect, surely they deserve at least your attention, so make sure you check them out on the web and at the venue near you as soon as you get a chance: live is where they truly shine. And we love that ‘Help’ cover! But here come headlining legends Reel Big Fish, complete with trumpets and saxophones, ready to take Shepherds Bush Empire by storm: a storm of endless fun to the cheerful sound of ska. How could you not smile – and shake all you can shake – with an opener like ‘Everything Sucks’? The crowd sings and dances every tune; we particularly dig ‘Don’t start a band’, that ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ cover, ‘She has a girlfriend now’ – for the ladies in the audience - and all the versions of ‘SR’ – the death metal one will haunt me every time I get a growling CD for review. Note, all you moshpitters, headbangers and stagedivers alike: circle pit is the shit. Seeing it from the top level of the Empire, looked like my washing machine spinning a full load of coloured. Simply awesome. Still, the highlight had to be ‘Another F(uck)U Song’… We sang, we danced and we raised our middle finger in the air screaming to the world where to stick it at the top of our lungs, accompanied by about 2,000 pairs of stomping feet. Cold? Snow even? All bloody worth it.
by Matt Dawson & Eddi Osborne Why the comeback in 2007? We were a band that played together, made music together, and have always stayed together. At one point we decided to take some time off. Having done that for a few years we decided as a band to get back together and start being fully functioning BossToneS again. It's not fair really to call it a come-back. The band has been back together for nearly five years since. How do you feel this has gone so far? It's been great and a whole lot of fun. We're making some of the best music of our career and we are really enjoying ourselves. What were your influences growing up? First show? What was THE moment that made you want to become a musician? I loved late 70's Punk Rock - Sham 69, The Undertones, Stiff Little Fingers and the English Ska bands - The Specials, Madness, Bad Manners and so on. The first concert I saw was The J Giels Band followed a month later by Thin Lizzy I was quite young but those shows changed my life for sure. At what moment did you realise that the BossTones could become a career? I still don't look at the band that way. It's not just what we do, it is also who we are. You might as well ask me "at what point did you realize you need oxygen?"
blame them. I'm very happy and excited by how well it is being received.
As we just pass 25 years for the band, what do you say has been the highest point of your career? Stand back I feel a cliche'd, corny and most likely unsatisfying answer heading your way. Being in The Mighty Mighty BossToneS has been a fairly consistent and sustained high. We have been very lucky to have been able to travel all over the world, go to places where people are happy to see us, play music we love playing, with people we want to be around, for as long as we have.
What would you say is the state of ska/punk in 2011? With festivals such as the UK’s Rebellion do you feel that the genre is in fine form? I think there are still a lot of people (myself included) that still care about, have a passion for, and listen to Ska music. I don't care if it is the current trend or the genre du jour. Having said that I think it's more important to be a good band then a Ska band.
What is that special ingredient that the BossTones has that many other bands simply don’t have? I think it's either the bond we have with one another or the one the band shares with the people that support it.
What is it about Boston that has such a thriving scene? Boston is the greatest city on earth (I've done the research) Musically there's always been plethora of great bands and artists. I don't know why, I only know it to be true.
The Magic Of Youth has just been released, what were your main thoughts while making the album and what goals were you hoping to achieve with this record? We set out to make the best Mighty Mighty BossToneS record we could right now and with the help of the other BossToneS and producer Ted Hutt we can confidently brag "mission accomplished!" How are your feelings toward the aforementioned record’s reaction so far? People seem to love The Magic Of Youth and that makes me proud, but I can't say I
What are your thoughts on the rise of independent labels in the past few years? As a man that runs one yourself in Big Rig Records, do you feel that the use of services such as Spotify etc help in finding a new audience or do you feel there’s a catch? I think anything versus the old feudal system of the major label music industry bullshit is better. We all can agree on that. Any plans to tour the UK in 2012? There are always plans to tour the UK!
AGHAST! Live Dangerously
ALL THE SAINTS Intro to Fractions
Out March 1st for FREE via www.facebook.com/ AGHASTKVLT
Out now on Souterrain Transmissions
Welcome to AGHAST!’s world, one that some may thought they were familiar with through a track called ‘It’s Your Funeral’ back in 2010 that mixed the genres of thrash, hardcore and melodic death metal with a turntable scratch thrown in for good measure. Two years pass by and the clean vocal and the turntable scratch have been thrown out of the damn window in order to embrace the sweet love of thrash and death even more than before; this is made incredibly clear from the very beginning of ‘Look Alive’ with the furious blastbeats and the well crafted use of the chromatic scale during the chorus. ‘We Fear Silence’ and ‘Drop Dead Famous’ also add the melodic death metal – with At The Gates being an influence naturally – and in the case of the latter even decides to add some melody during the chorus, albeit not to the extreme of ‘It’s Your Funeral’, while actually telling a cautionary tale about the trappings of the rise of celebrity culture including certain reality TV shows. Of course we cannot leave out how absolutely insane the artwork is as only a band like AGHAST could have them piloting a plane that’s exploding due to a GIANT TIGER attacking it, fitting given the madness of the music within really! There’s no excuse to miss out on this 3 track delight if you enjoy metal and don’t forget IT’S BLOODY FREE so NO EXCUSES not to give it a try. Matt Dawson
Intro to Fractions. An unfortunately apt title for an album that feels so disjointed at times that they may as well have taken the tracks of the cutting room floor. That’s not to say that All the Saints aren’t talented, because they are. The far-away effects on Matt Lambert’s vocals give off the feeling of some lost Pink Floyd tracks, while Titus Brown and Jim Crook show their capabilities during the frequent tempo and style changes. No it’s nothing to do with their talents as musicians but instead with the writing. The whole thing feels unfocused, and there are two definite sides to this album. The majority of tracks on the first half (with the exception of 4H Trip; a 13 year olds experiment with Audacity) wear the Floyd influence with pride, smoothly mixing it with hints of the Melvins and raw grunge; but when Danger Flowers hits things get messy. Tracks feel incomplete and out of place. Like B-sides lazily thrown on the end of a ‘Deluxe’ edition. The noisy Danger Flowers comes across as a pointless tip of the cap to the nastier end of the musical spectrum, only without the bile that’s needed to pull it off; while Sunk Hill sees them committing a cardinal sin in the form of an instrumental that’s far less interesting than the musical prowess shown before. It’s a difficult sophomore attempt for these guys, where they walk the fine line between smart and too smart. If they can focus their writing we could see something special soon, but at the moment they’re just procrastinating. Matthew Tilt
CASABLANCA Apocalyptic Youth
CHIDDY BANG Breakfast
16th March 2012 Rocket Songs
5th March 2012 Regal
Let’s be honest, there have been quite a few out there lately trying to bring back long hair and make-up, reviving faded memories of a once glamorous and happening Sunset Strip: most of them only made us remember once and for all why they faded. Casablanca – like many – are a US/Sweden mix that, on paper, may leave you slightly sceptical… Don’t be.
They describe their sound as ‘HipHop-Electronica-Afrobeat-ClubPop’: there’s so much in the definition that it hardly defines at all. What it should tell you though, is that Chiddy Bang have something for everyone. ‘Pop’ puts the final accent on the irresistible catchiness of the whole of ‘Breakfast’, an album to be enjoyed by every palate with a taste for joyful songs.
First of all, we have a very particular line up here, made of seasoned musicians and unexpected surprises alike. Quintessential rock star Ryan Roxie (Alice Cooper, Dads Porno Mag, Electric Angels) is on guitars with Erik Stenemo; we have a rare female drummer in Josephine Forsman and Anders Ljung (Space Age Baby Jane) on vocals; on bass, say hello to Mats Rubarth – a popular former Swedish national football star and red/yellow cards collector: a promising mix in terms of entertaining for sure. Secondly, and most importantly, Casablanca are not trying to imitate Poison and not even Motley Crue; they go a few steps above and - although the music doesn’t hit you straight away with opening title track ‘Apocalyptic Youth’ - by song three ‘Downtown’ they take you back to early Bon Jovi, with hints of Kiss (‘Love and Desperation’) and occasionally the warmness of the best Dogs D’Amour. The Bon Jovi element however is the one that grows throughout (try ‘Secret Agents of Lust’), together with a good dose of energy and confidence, making this an album that will appeal to all rock fans rather than just nostalgics. A slow burner maybe, but subtly addictive: nice buzz, you don’t think too much about it, start really enjoying it half way through and need more when it’s over, especially after a final hit of ‘Last of the Rockstars’ and ‘A Lifetime on the Run’. Try Casablanca, and then again and again… ‘Apocalyptic Youth’ is available on March 19th from your local dealer. Cristina Massei
The diversity of its 12-and-an-intro tracks is immediately evident; there’s an ocean – yet a bright common lifeline – between the opening title track and new single ‘Ray Charles’, an immediate favourite, no matter what generally rocks your boat. After their break with MGMT sampling ‘Opposite of Adults’, Chiddy Bang have been going from living room sized gigs to Festivals like Glastonbury and Bamboozle and touring with/being championed by the likes of Snoop Dogg, Tinie Tempah, Three 6 Mafia, Kid Cudi and Kanye. They also broke two Guinness Book of World Records: Longest Freestyle Rap and Longest Marathon Rapping record, after rapping continuously for 9 hours, 18 minutes and 22 seconds. But make no mistake, Chiddy Bang are not some rapping endurance YouTube sensation: it’s party energy of tunes like ‘Mind Your Manners’ and ‘Talking to Myself ’, coupled with that kind of pop creativity that makes you wonder ‘how no one thought about this yet’. Sprinkle with a rapping style somewhere between LL Cool J and Snoop Dogg 2012 version, those dazzles of electronic never cooling the afrobeat warmth and you have the most important meal – and album – of your day: ‘Breakfast’ is out on March 5th – just bring coffee. Cristina Massei
ENOCHIAN THEORY Life... And All It Entails 12th March 2012 Mascot Record/Music Theories Recordings As one of the rising progressive bands to come out of the UK in recent times, Enochian Theory have known that if they bided their time it would not take long for them to make an impact; with Evolution: Creatio Ex Nihillo the impact began to take shape, with slots at Metalcamp along with a tour with Spock’s Beard and a show with Katatonia. Could the band carry on this momentum with Life… And All it Entails? The main answer is yes they can, by continuing the blueprint they set previously: progressive without having to create extended solos, yet managing to retain a narrative with interludes that allow the chance for a breather from the great work provided by Ben Harris Hayes –both as guitarist and vocalist- along with Shaun Rayment on bass during tracks such as ‘Distances’. For the fans of bands such as Jurojin, Transatlantic and Spock’s Beard, if you’ve not heard Enochian Theory before now this album serves as a perfect starting point for the accessibility factor, along with the Rob Aubrey connection production wise allowing for a spot of classic prog mentality but with a modern twist. This band have made a moment become even bigger; expect to see them growing exponentially very quick. Matt Dawson
MPIRE OF EVIL Hell To The Holy
NAPALM DEATH Utilitarian
PATENT PENDING Second Family
26th March 2012 Scarlet Records
27th February 2012 Century Media
March 2012 We Put Out Records
After last year’s mini debut album “Creatures of the Black”, 2012 sees the release of the full length album “Hell to the Holy” by Mpire of Evil. With original Venom vocalist/bassist Cronos taking Venom into 2012 with a new release, I was very curious to hear the latest work of Mantas, original and best guitarist ever to walk the Venom boards. Re-uniting with original drummer Antton and metal stalwart Tony “Demolition Man”, this is the same line up that recorded the Venom album “Prime Evil” back in 1995, considered by many to be one of the best Venom records in later years. Produced by Mantas himself, the album showcases 10 new songs in all, and I must admit that after a few spins I found it quite a good listen. The band sway between old school thrash and traditional British heavy metal, and this sound is helped by modern production and musicians that have been around long enough to know how to make a heavy metal album. Obviously, coming from a legacy that is Venom, there are always going to be comparisons and having song titles like “Hellspawn”, “All Hail” and “Devil” will do little to change that. Taken on its own merits, this is a good album, especially for the younger listener who may be experiencing these guys for the first time; however, for us old farts, one thought still remains: ‘it ain’t as good as their old stuff ’... 7/10. John Morgan
In a world where we have movements such as Occupy and Anonymous fighting for what is believed to be right against corruption in its various forms, it’s only right for a new Napalm Death album to grace our ears. As usual it’s the sound of a band fucking screaming bloody murder at the world, while at one moment grinding relentlessly then going with the stomping punk influence that we all know and love on tracks such as ‘Nom De Guerre’ and ‘Blank Look About Face’, but they’re not afraid to throw two significant curveballs at us. The first comes three tracks in with ‘Everyday Pox’, where an instrument that has gained quite some credibility in the metal world returns: making another appearance since Shining’s Blackjazz is the Saxophone, this time handled by John Zorn, a man you may know for his work in the past with a certain Mr Mike Patton. The second one is something that if all suspicions are correct no one probably saw coming on a Napalm Death album at all – and no doubt will cause some rage amongst some circles but there we are- Barney Greenway doing CLEAN VOCALS on ‘The Wolf I Feed’. Feel free to read that last part again if you so wish. These do not change the fact that even twenty years and fourteen albums later not a single iota of passion, fury and power in sending a message has been lost at all. This is Napalm Death in 2012 and what a glorious thing to have in this world. Matt Dawson
Infectious, uplifting, so damn catchy that you can’t help but wonder: how didn’t Europe and the UK catch the Patent Pending virus yet? Well, get ready for an epidemic, and be warned: it’s chronic and contagious. Signed to We Put Out Records since 2005 (a division of East/West) the band have notched up nearly 30,000 sales of their "Attack Of The Awesome!!" and "I'm Not Alone" EPs and support slots with Zebrahead, Catch22, Suburban Legends, Gym Class Heroes, Bowling For Soup, Cobra Starship and Less Than Jake as well as stints on the Vans Warped Tour. The album ‘Second Family’ is due for UK release in late March and was produced by Jordan Schmidt (All Time Low, Motion City Soundtrack). They even got Jaret Reddick involved for lead single ‘Douchebag’, so yes, you guessed it: it’s a colourful mess of pop punk catchy melodies and sense of humour that makes you forget your troubles and go back to everything that was good about high school. The intense use of ‘dude’ and ‘bro’ is back in 39 seconds long ‘Bro, Seriously’ later in the album for more light hearted fun. However, there’s no room for boredom or passive listening in the whole 15 tracks of ‘Second Family. From ‘I already know (she don’t give a s__t about me)’ all the way to ‘Dance Till’ We Die’ through ‘Valentine’ and ‘Spin Me Around’, this is a ‘feel good and bounce about’ album that fans of the genre cannot afford to miss. If Sum 41’s pullout left you disappointed and you need to fill the gap, here’s something to put a smile back on your face. Find ‘Douchebag’ on YouTube if you don’t believe me. Cristina Massei
SCREAM SILENCE Scream Silence
24th February 2012 Out of Line
13th March 2012 Roadrunner Records
After fourteen years and seven albums it can be easy for a band to start repeating themselves, falling back on the formulas of past glories, justified with the seductive idea that they're just giving their fans what they want. Scream Silence, however, claim the three years since their last album, Apathology, has been spent evolving and finding new ways to express themselves and on the strength of this self-titled offering it's been time well spent.
After seven albums some people must be thinking ‘Surely there isn’t much left for Max Cavalera to be angry about?’ Well, sorry to disappoint but Soulfly make their return and once again a couple of changes have been made.
Although easy to categorise as gothic rock the band draw from a wide range of influences to set themselves apart from their peers. There are traces of indie, prog rock and even some electronica here and frontman Hardy Fieting has the versatility to match, veering from sweeping melodic rock of One and epic first single Dreamer's Court to the more melancholy Solitude and Cocoon, which bring the album to a close. His performance always feels heartfelt and never over-dramatic or striving too hard for pathos. Existing fans of Scream Silence will love this. For others whose exposure to gothic rock has been limited to those bands who get press for their hot frontwomen as much, if not more, than their talents, it's a highly polished and accessible exposure to what else this genre has to offer. David Lees
Goodbye Bobby Burns and Joe Nunez, welcome Tony Campos (Ministry, Prong) and David Kinkade (Borkangar) on bass and drums alongside Marc Rizzo and of course Max himself, bringing the usual nuance of ‘we are the resistance against tyranny’ that has been the lyrical content of Soulfly for their length - bar a couple of tracks here and there. There are moments that are refreshing, such as Travis Ryan from Cattle Decapitation guesting on ‘World Scum’ - probably the closest Soulfly will get to a ‘death metal’ song-, the solos by Marc Rizzo on tracks such as ‘Legions’ and the family closer with Max’s sons ‘Revengeance’. When it comes to anything particularly ground breaking however don’t expect much, it IS for all intents and purposes Soulfly doing what they do best: nu-metal/tribal music together so fans will love it, critics will hate it. Despite moments like ‘Gladiator’ - which has been done quite a few times concept wise by now - Enslaved is OK, but it’s nothing that will be stuck in the mind for very long. Matt Dawson
THE MACHINES The Machines Out Now Angels in Exile Records I believe that some of the most interesting punk bands in music history had quite a short life, due to their ‘live fast die young’ nature and lifestyle and to the fact that, as the years go by, one may feel less and less inclined to sing ‘I just wanna sniff some glue’. Often though, past forties and a few tries to embrace the rules of society for a quiet life, punk heroes come back with a more mature way to say ‘fuck the system’. It’s less needles and pins and more Elvis hairdos and prom dresses, but the old consumed leather jacket is still there, and the will to stick a middle finger up to the man and have fun is still intact. Say hello and welcome back to Southend punk legends The Machines, with a 16 tracks release bringing to your speakers old, new and hidden treasures. There are old demos from 1977, including Rancid reminiscent ‘Racing’ opening the album; there are newer tunes like the awesome ‘Weekend’ – blues suede shoes required – and ‘Girl in Black’, a brilliant tribute to Johnny Thunder; and finally, the ‘True Life’ EP, four songs released in 1978 and still listed in Records Collector’s 100 Most Collectible Punk Albums. The EP songs have a rawer edge compared to more recent recordings, but the whole CD is a mood booster, an explosion of high energy punk rock the way it should be done. Together with Stephen Reddihough on bass and Steve Pegrum (aka Steve Machine) on drums, Nick Paul finds himself fronting a band that is regenerated and matured and ready to take down a seedy little venue near you hopefully very, very soon. Cristina Massei
THE MEN THAT WILL THE OMEGA NOT BE BLAMED EXPERIMENT FOR NOTHING This May Be The Reason The Omega Experiment Why The Men That Will now via theomegaexperiNot Be Blamed For Noth- Out ment.bandcamp.com ing Cannot Be Killed by Conventional Weapons Sometimes there are albums each 12th March 2012 Leather Apron Created by comedians Andrew O’Neill and Marc Burrows, The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing’s second release manages to combine the sense of humour both are known for on the comedy circuit with a mix of education, politics and the old school punk mentality, hence the clarification by the band during interviews on the PUNK half of the Steampunk genre. Kicking off with an intro by Sylvester McCoy, otherwise known as the 7th Doctor from a particularly well known Sci-fi series, we then venture into a song about Queen Victoria resurrecting Prince Albert, but of course it goes a bit Re-Animator style. Along the way we get songs that go after the Tories of the Victorian era - that still applies for today -, a song about how the first question towards most illnesses was masturbation, a family meeting Cthulhu on a trip to Margate in ‘Margate Fhtagn’, Nikolas Tesla and London’s sewer system created by Joseph Bazalgette. What really works is that for every song like ‘Victoria’s Secret’, leaning on the comedic side, there’s songs like ‘Mutiny For The Common Soldiery’, which become quite emotional and powerful. Steampunk is a genre that not many will know at all but This May Be The Reason Why The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing Cannot Be Killed by Conventional Weapons may be the album that makes it more well known, thanks to the use of influences like death metal and the accessible humour and lyrics within. Matt Dawson
year, no matter what month it may be released in, that just stand out and engage you as soon as the first track begins; already in February a very strong contender has shown up for the inevitable year end lists in the debut by The Omega Experiment. Still unsigned at the time of writing – a move that on a personal level is quite surprising- Dan Weiten’s story about his struggle with addiction and redemption may seem to people as a story that has been told by many others countless times, but probably not in this way; moments such as the last few minutes of ‘Gift’ or the pure aggression of ‘Furor’ - as the addiction consumption becomes too much - showcase the insanely gifted technical skill that Dan himself, along with keyboard player Ryan Aldridge, brings to the progressive genre. With influences such as Queensryche, Devin Townsend (more specifically Infinity and Synchestra eras) and Dream Theater – particularly the twelve step suite in keeping with the addiction concept- the album manages to have the complexities of showcasing a topic such as addiction and yet make it accessible through the melodies throughout. Throw in as the last piece of the puzzle the very skilled production by Dan along with mastering done by Acle of TesseracT and, with no questions asked, The Omega Experiment is a record that defines music as a whole. In a year the new wave of progressive bands will have this as an inspiration, no need to look harder. Matt Dawson
WALLIS BIRD Wallis Bird 12th March 2012 Rubyworks How could you possibly not like a record starting with the words ‘You don’t know shit’ in a warm country/ folksy vibe? Relaxing your mind and subtly catching your attention in music and words, Irish Wallis Bird introduces her multifaceted self-titled album. Recorded in three different places chosen for their isolation and heavy atmosphere – former communist radio station GDR in Berlin, Brixton during the London riots and a ghostly, isolated cottage in Ireland during an epic snowstorm – ‘Wallis Bird’ is an emotional album, intricate in its simplicity; at first sounds almost acoustic, then it surprises you with ‘I am so tired of that line’; Bird at times evolves into a hybrid of Chrissie Hynde, Kim Carnes and even Annie Lennox, with some unexpectedly fierce episodes like ‘Who’s Listening Now?’, but then comes ‘Feathered pocket’ with its graceful lightness… Wallis Bird is one of those artists you won’t be able to pigeonhole, and ‘Wallis Bird’ is one of those albums that you’ll find difficult to categorize, or even just relate to for a particular moment of your day, a particular mood or emotion. The truth is, it will take you on a ride of ups and downs, dark and light, relaxed and fully charged, and it’s a ride well worth taking. Fasten your heart’s seatbelt and enjoy… ‘Wallis Bird’ is out on 12th March, preceded by single ‘Encore’ on 5th March. Cristina Massei
WOODS OF YPRES Woods 5: Grey Skies And Electric Light 13th February 2012 Earache The traumatic news of David Gold’s premature death in a sudden car accident was just too hard to take in. Woods Of Ypres, the Canadian Black Metal icons had just finished their fifth album, Grey Skies and Electric Light, a masterpiece of evolutionary musicianship with lyrics fired like bullets. The tortured intro of Adora Vivos starts with captivating, shivering vocal assaults that capture the rugged beauty of uncanny surroundings. This is all too terrifying as Gold already feels settled in the afterlife (don’t wait for death to see my face,) as if he knew his days were short numbered. Suddenly the eerie atmosphere becomes angry, twisted in contrast to the magnificent guitar paths. Alternate Ending is heavier and pierces the heart and then transforms itself, becoming a wonderful hymn to a lost promise thrown in an ocean of wretched desolation. Vocals become very doom influenced and nostalgically Nick Cave-esque. John Fryer’s (Nine Inch Nails, White Zombie) contribution is perceived in the grand closing track, Traveling Alone. But it’s Kiss My Ashes (Goodbye) Part 2 that upsets beyond limits; the words “No monument for me, I didn’t want it in life, I won’t need it in death” slither between violin thorns and pitch black riffs. We lost a great musician; however, because of his latest chapter on hearth, David Gold has been with no doubt welcomed with open arms into the greenest meadows of Heaven. He did a remarkable job: the future of Woods of Ypres is at a standstill, but Grey Skies and Electric Lights will make them immortal. Joel Violette, David’s close friend and band mate has the difficult task of (hopefully) continuing this important legacy...... but he will be watched and assisted from above. Marcus J West
FORMALIN Wasteland Manifesto
OPERA DIABOLICUS 1614
PINK CIGAR Pink Cigar (EP)
KATIE MELUA Secret Symphony
2nd March 2012 Out Of Line
Out Now Sanguine Records
Out Now Metalville
Out Now Self Released
Dramatico Records 5th March 2012
Distorted, growly vocals. They're a common mainstay of industrial music, whether it's an artistic decision to add a sense of menace and aggression to a song or just because the lone artist can't sing for peanuts but is determined to be the frontman and score with some hot cybergoth groupies. There's a fine line between serious and silly and it's a line Formalin walk precariously on their second album.
Joey Jordison is not the type of guy praising every band, so those few approving words over Sanguine’s demo tracks from the Slipknot star must have felt better than any talent show’ first prize for this young outfit from Exeter. As their self-titled debut album finally hits the shelves, we’re all eager to hear more from the female fronted alternative metallers and find out what attracted Mr Jordison and the recent hype surrounding Sanguine.
For those wanting their King Diamond inspired musical fix, the Swedish duo of David Grimore and Adrian De Crow are willing to provide it with 1614, a concept album of the gothic kind featuring the well known Countess Bathory as a subject.
Ladbroke Grove lads Pink Cigar have finally unleashed their debut EP ‘Generation Next’ online. After intoxicating the live circuit with a relentless gig schedule, the time has come to put their old school rock’n’roll sound on record.
Listening to Katie Melua’s new album ‘Secret Symphony is like watching a Disney fairytale without the visuals; the invaluable plus is that you can close your eyes and imagine your very own fairytale, caressed by her divine gift of a voice. The opening is a marvellous interpretation of Ron Sexsmith ‘ Gold in Them Hills’ followed by lead single ‘Better Than a Dream’, quite an apt title for this delicate gem we owe to the talent of producer Mike Batt, who arranged the album.
Billed as “a dark picture of a post-apocalyptic world” Wasteland Manifesto opens with a moody, cinematic introduction before jumping into the electro with the title track. It's a damn good first track but immediately the vocals are dancing on that line, occasionally veering into the laughably over-dramatic and unfortunately that's a trend that carries on through most of the album, though the worst offenders are in the first half-dozen songs. The absolute worst is Fruits of Evil, which features the silliest “demon” voice I've heard outside of a low-budget horror movie though in contrast Antiheld is sung in German (the only track on the album not in English, randomly) and it's a massive improvement. Whether that's because German is a better language to sound snarly and over-dramatic in or just because I can't understand the lyrics I don't know. It's unclear whether Formalin really take themselves seriously here or are in on the joke. There's more range on display in the second half and the dodgy vocal posturing really is the only disappointment on an otherwise pretty darn good album. In terms of the harsh beats there are no weak tracks or padding here with the album building satisfyingly to some of Formalin's strongest material such as the aforementioned Antiheld, the highly danceable Fight the Enemy and the surprisingly upbeat final track The End of All Suffering. Formalin draw their influences from a lot of old school industrial and there are traces of Front 242 and Skinny Puppy on display in their DNA. It's genuinely refreshing to find a new industrial band who have ambitions beyond just filling dance floors with “four on the floor” beats and anyone bemoaning the repetitive nature of current EBM releases will find something to like here for sure. David Lees
Singer Tarin Kerrey is no doubt the vocalist every band would kill for; her extensive range touches every colour in the rainbow and every shade in between, thanks to passion and hard work, but also thanks to a selection of tracks that is refreshingly different and not afraid to dare. For every ‘Anger Song’ there’s a ghostly ‘In The Sky’, delicate yet intense, and a mosh pit filler like ‘Contagious’. Nick Magee on guitar and the rhythm session made of bassist Tom Sherwood and drummer Matt Feld weave the magnificent canvas where Tarin relentlessly paints an array of emotions, showing a chemistry we truly hope will stand the test of time. There’s only one thing – so we hear – that can move you more than this long awaited Sanguine debut: one of their much talked about live shows. Grab a copy from your favourite record e-dealer and point your mouse to www.sanguineband. com for updates on their upcoming gigs. And once again, we have to agree with Joey Jordison… Cristina Massei
They’re not alone, as members of some of the biggest Swedish metal bands provide their help: Snowy Shaw (Therion/King Diamond), Niklas Isfeldt (Dream Evil) and Mats Leven (Therion) help on drums, vocals and guitar respectively; what also gives it even MORE of a Diamond feel is Andy LaRocque helms the producing role. Where the album triumphs however is in the chemistry between the range of vocalists’ interaction, with the operatic Camilla Alisander-Ason giving us more of an accessibility towards the story; for those that take a vested interest into the delights of the macabre, it also calls to mind the albums of Areyon such as The Human Equation. One of the few instances where the word ‘supergroup’ at least doesn’t feel as tacked on, and also an album that feels more of a collaboration, with the grandiose nature being more of the influence from Snowy as anyone that listened to his work with Therion can truly testify. With a mixture of the symphonic, thrash and gothic, songs such as ‘The Gates’ manage to not outstay their welcome and manage to please not only fans of the gothic world; if you love bands such as Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth and of course King Diamond himself, 1614 is worth investing your time in and has our intrigue into what Grimore and De Crow could use next both in concept and guests.
Very little pink and a hell of a lot of cigar here, as the boys manage to reproduce in studio the raw smokey sound they’re well known for. Title track ‘Generation Next’ is a down & dirty punk number which sounds like it’s been recorded straight at your local basement venue. And I’m saying it in a good way. There’s still smoke in next song ‘Strange’, but seems to belong to a jazz club in a black and white 1920s movie scene, as gangsters and colourful ladies puff from long ciggie holders to the bluesy, sexy notes. ‘Ladykiller’ brings back some dirty rock’n’roll while closer ‘The Throat’ – a fans favourite available on a special limited edition of the EP – is another languid, raspy bluesy number that Sam ‘Sharkie’ Cottrell commands effortlessly. Pink Cigar is nothing you haven’t heard before, and again, I mean it in a good way: will remind you a bit the Stooges and the Stones, and NO ONE can complain about that. A promising start for these young Londoners; rather than a breath of fresh air, I’d say a breath of the old blissfully intoxicating air from the old rock clubs long before the old smoking ban came into place and alcopops took over the bar… Remember?
As the emotional, flawlessly intense tracks go by, the fairytale seems to mature and assume subtle sexier tones - like in Katie’s take on Fran Healy ‘Moonshine’ – proving the range and versatility of the artist’s vocal capabilities. As she lends her chords to Jimmy Cox’ unforgettable ‘Nobody knows you when you’re down and out’, it’s hard not to feel goose bumps all over your skin. ‘Forgetting all my troubles’ is the all-Katie track that ‘represents who and where I am today’, and with an album like ‘Secret Symphony’ she seems to be well past any sort of trouble, at least for what concerns her music career. It’s looking up to the sky for Katie Melua; let this album take away all your troubles too while lying on a fluffy cloud right next to hers. Cristina Massei
For more reviews, please check out www.sonicshocks.com Contact us on email@example.com for submissions
by Dan Balchin Here you’ll find some full length reviews, alongside more succinct summaries of the latest in Unsigned and New music. All of these artist’s deserve your time and attention, so look them up and maybe you’ll find something special.
Visit them here - http://www.facebook.com/resando For fans of: Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode 4. Palm Reader ‘Self Titled’ [EP]
book.com/bahttr.band For fans of: Rammstein, Mastodon 7. Stonecollar ‘Swallowed by the sun’ [Single] Drawing influence from the likes of
2. The After Affect ‘Self Titled’ [EP]
‘...There are many bands trying to do what The After Affect do, but they are the exception to the rule in being able to pull it off to a decent standard.’ Read the full review here - http://reviews.sonicshocks.com/ THE-AFTER-AFFECT-EP.php 3. Resando – Secrets [Album]
THE CAPILLARIES feature, congratulations! Thanks, what an honour!
Who are 'Capillaries' and how would you describe yourselves to potential new fans? We're four guys from Atlanta, GA who met over a shared love of big crescendos and effects pedals. I would describe our sound the way others have described it to us (at the risk of sounding a bit clique); epic, cinematic, sometimes pretty and sometimes aggressive. Jared's Dad said we sound like "astronauts floating around in space". We'll take that and maybe add a gorgeous earthrise and a shuttle malfunction to the situation.
Raw and powerful, Palm Reader are relative newcomers to the Unsigned circuit. Having caught them live a few times, they never fall short when encouraging sweaty youths to create numerous circle pits. Heavy riffs and the deep bass lines provide the perfect template for lead vocalist Josh Mckeown to provide throat curdling screams. Lyrically and musically Palm Reader are not for the feint hearted and their self titled EP will certainly cause a stir amongst the hardcore scene. Visit them here - http://www.facebook.com/palmreaderuk For fans of: Cancer Bats, Heart In Hand 5. Skarlett Riot ‘Villains’ [EP]
‘...Quite simply, this is a multiple listen affair and whilst opening track ‘Party Hard’ delivers a catchy and memorable hook, giving me no alternative but to hit repeat, the remaining three tracks require additional time.... On the whole, this is a great progression and I have high hopes for a debut album in the near future.’ Read the full review here http://www.sonicshocks.com/ SKARLETT-RIOT-Villains-EP.php 6. Baht ‘In my veins’ [Album]
Alter Bridge and Shinedown, unsigned South African’s Stonecollar release Swallowed By The Sun. At times, this band really connect with the crisp, rock sound for which I believe they aim, but it feels like something is missing. Perhaps too clean at times, where they could really punch it and deliver a truly memorable and head-banging number. I have every faith we’ll be hearing more about Stonecollar in 2012. Visit them here - http://www.facebook.com/STONECOLLAR For fans of: Nickelback, Revelation Theory, Shinedown 8. Goodnight City Lights ‘The world at my feet’ [Album]
Here is a pop-rock group who sound like they could dominate the US charts and find a place alongside All Time Low and that ilk. Catchy and charming, ‘Goodnight City Lights’ are a feel good band and you’ll be tapping your feet along to their music, but there longevity rests on popular culture and the trends of teenage girls purchase power. Visit them here - http://www.facebook.com/goodnightcitylights For fans of: All Time Low, New Found Glory 9. Fire Fall Down ‘These Wounds’ [Album]
Where electronics meet the dark and unknown, Resando find their niche. Resando are the type of band who could perform a Nine Inch Nails cover set and it would be a more than satisfying experience. Each track has relevance and builds necessary melodies to step outside of the inane box often ticked by others striving for this sound. Electronics compliment the musical elements, rather than simply providing a bassy drone which is too often overused by artists wishing to cross genres. I do have to admit favouring the heavier sounds, rather than the Depeche Mode approach heard in a number of tracks. That said, I haven’t enjoyed many artists attempting this style of music for a while, so a thumbs up to Resando for their work thus far. Stand out tracks include ‘Change’ and ‘Secret’.
You have reached the number one spot in our Sonic Shocks new bands spotlight
1. Capillaries ‘Into the history of light’ [Album]
Reminiscent of atmospheric group Anathema, Capillaries are a thinking man’s band. With a collection of six and eight minute pieces, it is clear that their music has weight and quality to it. It isn’t often the unsigned scene see’s music of this nature surface and it’s about time Capillaries showed the way. Well worth checking out. Visit them here - http://www.facebook.com/Capillaries For fans of: Tesseract, Heights, Porcupine Tree
Which artists do you cite as influences on your sound? We all come from different musical backgrounds that converge in all the right places. I can't speak for everyone definitively but I know Nick fell in love with guitar in the nineties and, as such, was heavily influenced by bands like Failure, Chavez and Radiohead. Jared, who also plays guitar, cites bands that have very unique approaches to guitar playing like Brainiac, Television and Les Savy Fav. I would say based on their guitar textures that he and Nick would have fit right in with bands like Ride and Slowdive. Tim grew up listening to a lot of metal and still likes to blast some Slayer and old-school Metallica sometimes when we carpool to practice. His drumming approach is very forwardthinking and you can hear hints of Bill Bruford and Billy Cobham if you listen closely. As for myself, it's always changing but I've played this new Sharon Van Etten album like ten times since it came out and I've been listening to this band Zs quite a bit lately. And then the obvious touchstones; Mono, Godspeed! You Black Emperor, Isis, Russian Circles, etc. You have just released your new album 'Into the history of light'. How did you approach the writing and recording of this record? Slowly. We didn't rush into playing live and we spent a good amount of time living with the songs and getting to know each other before we started working on what would become "Into the History of Light". None of us are childhood friends or anything so it took us a little while to learn each other's quirks and preferences and build a solid collection of songs that we were all confident in. It's constantly becoming more fun and adventurous as we push each others' comfort zones and blend disparate influences into our sound. What has the feedback been like so far? It's been wonderful. Atlanta has been very welcoming of our music and whether we're playing to 20 people or 200, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. We've also got a great and growing collection of similar-minded bands we enjoy playing with, like Nigredo and Hail The Titans. How do your songs translate live? And are there any personal favourites for both yourselves and the fans? When we play live it sounds a lot like the album, just with more passion, more volume and crazier drum fills. Nothing can replace the live setting and while we're all very happy with how the album turned out, there are things that come with playing for people and our own growing musicianship with each other that are invigorating. Also, we've got a few more songs now we can throw into the set that we're fully excited about. As far as favourites, 'Metals of Callisto' always goes over well and the brutal ending is my favourite part to play in any of our songs. What is it like on the unsigned circuit for Capillaries? We're quite content being unsigned right now, as we're in great company! I don't think any of us have delusions of grandeur or anything. With the way album sales are and the way people consume music today, bands just need to adapt and adopt a more DIY mentality to make anything happen. We all have day jobs and none of us expect that will change any time soon, but at the same time it's nice to see that people are coming to the shows and buying the album (digitally right now with a physical release in the next month). Do you have any plans for 2012- tours, festivals, videos, resolutions? The general plan is to keep playing shows and start doing some mini-tours in the south eastern US. As we gain momentum hopefully we'll venture out farther and maybe even "cross the pond" in the next year or two. We have some creative friends so we'll probably have a few videos in the near future and we're all excited about the way our new songs are coming out, so another album in a year or so isn't out of the question. If you could share the stage with any band, who would it be and why? I think I would have to say Godspeed! You Black Emperor because their sound is so huge and the fact that they rarely play live makes every show a personal and unique occasion. I'd also love to play with Jaga Jazzist as they never seem to play in the US. Where can we find out more about you online? We have a bandcamp page and a facebook page here: capillaries.bandcamp.com facebook.com/capillaries Our music is also up on Spotify and in the itunes and amazon digital stores. We'll soon have a limited CD pressing available on bandcamp and amazon as well.
Turkish Metallers Baht sure know how to make a gloomy and dark record. The vocals growl over intense and dominating background sounds, creating something altogether captivating. Baht are definitely not your run of the mill band have earned their place in the market alongside international acts such as Rammstein. When they explore melodies and instrumental sections, it is at that point that you can see the potential Baht have. The dividing line will be whether listeners enjoy the vocal delivery and it is for that reason that Baht will find themselves fighting hard to get exposure they deserve. Visit them here - http://www.face-
Any parting words or advice to the Sonic Shocks readers.... Thanks for reading and listening! Be kind to one another and never stop seeking out music that inspires and excites you.
Fire Fall Down create relatively simplistic tunes, of pop-rock ilk. It is clear that the band are attempting to produce tracks which are anthemic, although this doesn’t always materialise with chorus lines and break downs you can find in any number of upcoming acts of similar nature. Where the band opt for something a little more solid and heavy, they achieve their desired effect, but they need to work on polishing those rough edges. Occasional disjointed changes in tempo make the listening experi-
ence relatively unsettling, but there are sparks of potential. Worth checking out if only for the intruige. Visit them here - http://www.facebook.com/firefalldownmusic For fans of: Switchfoot, Jimmy Eat World 10. Captain Kill – Nuclear Eli [Single] Captain Kill are unusual outfit, with just two members. They offer ‘Nuclear Eli’, a dark and haunting single which utilises the bass and drums to create space-rock moods and themes in the style of early
Hawkwind. Whilst, captivating and intriguing, an album of this nature might get a little tiresome. Visit them here - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Captain-Kill/ For fans of: Something out of the ordinary
London - O2 Arena Friday, 24th February 2012