Tuesday, 9 June 2009

How to Make it Big!

“Crazy people are not crazy if one accepts their reasoning” – Gabriel Garcia Márquez, Of Love and Other Demons

Telling my teachers and career advisor that I wanted to be a Rock Star didn’t, on the whole, go down well… the most frequent warning I had repeated to me was; “For every thousand bands that form, only one ‘makes it’”… Like they knew what they were talking about or something…

But despite the fact that this opinion was delivered by rote, never coming from someone with any experience in the field, the statement does have some truth to it. Having done a little work in bands, I feel able to offer some thoughts…

Firstly, and most simply, for every thousand bands that form, only one tends to actually take the prospect seriously, and have the stamina to take the challenge on properly – both artistically and practically; gotta have songs… (remember I am talking about rock bands, who tend to use actual instruments… things get simpler if you start talking about boy/girl bands and all that…)

The second, and much more significant, point is more subtle…

The person who starts being in bands, and is of the mindset to be part of that ‘one in a thousand’ band, very rarely realises, at the beginning, that they are, in fact, utterly deluded… in most cases, the majority I would argue, the person thinks that being a rock star is an attainable career goal, which is clearly delusional… but for a very plain reason, having little to do with ‘odds’ and absolutely nothing to do with ‘talent’… In the majority of cases the neophyte adopts the delusion of a Rock Star as a care-free, free-willed artist and explorer, assuming this to be the required qualifications of a full-fledged Metal Lord…

Just like I did…

The true nature of a successful Rock Star is quite different… the person who will become Iconic, a legend of the Genre, is the person who sees the implicit financial and commercial aspects of the nature of modern popular music… their basic operating principles are not progressive in anyway, but are grounded in business entrepreneurship. The successful band, the ‘one in a thousand’ that ‘makes it big’ will have members who embody the profit-making agenda…

Not that this means that the music itself will be trite and worthless… but when it isn’t, it’ just an accident a fluke… look at Tool, specifically ‘Hooker with a Penis’[1]… great band… under no illusions…

…the primary idea of any ‘successful’ band, like all modern businesses, is not to produce goods, but to produce a brand that sells stuff… sells anything…

…and that’s why Metallica Guitar Hero exists…

Things, of course, don’t have to be like that… you could actually take Music seriously… actually explore the limits of your own musical imagination, as limited or as expansive as they may be… nowhere near as glamorous as the ‘dreams’ that are handed down to you, but you will be in the dubious situation of thinking for yourself…

Bing!x – www.bing-em-all.blogpot.com

[1] Aenima, ‘Hooker with a Penis’ http://www.toolband.com/album/index.html

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Freaks is grass roots...

Every other Thursday for the last month I have been helping out at a place called the Vault. The place has a reputation for being a bit of, err, drum and bass/speed garage[1] place… basically not a Rock vibe at all… but on Thursdays the venue has started putting on Rock shows; band based shows… and that’s why I’ve been helping out… however things have not gone swimmingly at all…

Trying to set up a Rock night in Roth is a fucking cool idea… trying to do it using the framework of profit making is probably not the coolest thing in the world and, if truth be told, a little daft…

The place is apparently a 400 capacity venue, has a large bar downstairs where the concert room is and a smaller bar upstairs where the entrance is… the venue itself has a goods entrance – good if you are lugging heavy amplifiers , cabs and drums – and has a small backstage area… the stage itself is respectable enough… I’ve played much more incommodious stages...

The trouble is that no one has been coming to the shows… £4 on the door helps to explain that… especially when there is a gig at another venue, on the same night that charges f**k all on the door… see, I think that the problem is that Rock or Metal, like other fringe music genres, relies on a strong sense of solidarity, about building a scene, where the few separate Freaks can meet and let loose in a place where they can get their tunes administered to them at the volumes the music was designed for…

You can’t just get a fairly cool room, book a load of local Yahoos to come a make a f**ing row and then charge people £4 to stand in an largely empty room and clap politely… the promoter was bemused; “why didn’t the bands bring people? If there are 5 lads in a band, they must know 5 other lads… we should charge the bands for playing if they don’t bring people in…”

…chances are mate, the kid is probably in a band with the only other people he knows… unless they are indie kids… I’ve never understood it, but that lot always know loads of folk…

What we can learn though, is the importance of developing new ‘institutions’ by nurturing latent and dispersed interests that are common amongst an emerging network of like-minded people… at least; it is important if you want an enduring and wholesome institution… anything built on the principles of profit, by it’s nature, can only exist if it makes cash… happiness, fairness, positive contributions to society, all this can happen too, but only by accident, as a side-effect, only encouraged if it is thought to stimulate profit in someway…

…what a revelation…

And we shouldn’t be surprised that a non-establishment-oriented project, based on top-down Establishment operating procedures, went tits up…

Look at Libraries, Youth Services, Worker Education Association… there are attempts run all from the top with Managerialisms and Jargon… Who knows how to run the Library better than the people who work there? Who knows how to help young people better than people who help young people? As for the Workers Education Association, well, there’s a reason we don’t know what it is… it don’t make cash… ‘tain’t ‘posed to…

To achieve different objectives you need to reform basic operating principles; if you don’t, if you try and create something cool within the Establishment framework at some point your project will become bent or twisted to accommodate to the pressure exerted by the framework itself…

Rotherham Renaissance got back in touch with me[2]; they got some Man, some big ‘executive’ male to explain to me that “There are currently no projects proposed which will employ wind or hydro electric power, however, solar panels will be introduced as part of the refurbishment of Rotherham Rail Station.”[3]

I suppose I can’t claim that energy issues didn’t even cross the minds of Elite planners of Rotherham future, but it is obvious that their thinking was something like ‘it would be nice if we could have green energy, but if not - never mind…”

…like peak-oil or sky-high energy bills are optional… it’d be nice if we could deal with those things, but if not, never mind…

Bing!x - www.bing-em-all.blogspot.com


[1] Don’t know what those words mean… I heard someone say them…
[2] See Rotherham Renaissance Pt 1 + 2 @ www.bing-em-all.blogspot.com
[3] Private Correspondence from Mike Shires – reckons he’s an Implementation Team Manager… I assume he’s something to do with Rotherham Renaissance…

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Change is boring...

My mate Evil Dave came back off tour for a couple days… my folks being away, we got a few ales in and got ‘tipsy’ in my back yard… for once the sun was out (ish) and it wasn’t blowing a gale, and so there we sat chatting… about Rock and changing the world… like you do.

Now, Evil Dave, he worked at the Live Earth[1] thing that happened a bit ago (07 July 2007). We are both a bit ‘right on’ and I suppose the idea of something like Live Earth basically appeals to us… thank f**k I had Evil Dave there to give me a eye-witness account… “Why can’t saving the world be more fun” says Dave. I’m not going to give you the details (because I’m not Dave) but, I think, it really will come as no surprise to you that the whole thing was about as ‘Eco’ as Jeremy ‘the environment is gay’ Clarkson… and how could it be?


What Dave pointed out so succintly, with his plaintive statement, was that for all the good Live Earth may’ve done to ‘raise awareness’ about climate issues, the fact is that going to concerts will not save the whales… and I should point out that I’m not justhaving a go at this Live Earth thing… the point is that whenever there are these big, super-bloated, feel-good ‘Green/Eco’ events, it take the initiative away from individuals… it helps to instill the belief that massive, radical social change – change that all serious people (like my mate’s gran and the barman at the local) recognised is needed – will come about, primarily, by the activites of Establishment institutions… it’s all part of way that Establishment power structure take away people’s sense of connection with the world they live in… ‘Yes’, we think, ‘climate change: bad… but so long as I go to Live Earth, give to charity, buy fair trade… it’ll be fine… THEY are on it…’

The problem, typically, with Establishment attempts to tackle the problems facing humanity – and the earth as a whole – is that they only reinforce the notion in the populace that we need a leader to sort stuff out, that it is beyond our reach and capablities. It’s all incredibly subtle and never expressed in any explicit way, but it’s the underlying presupposition that Establishment institutions are thinking for us…

So yeah, changing the world is boring… it is the day to day commitment to work towards a future you will probably not live to see… handing leaflets out, watching lectures, reading news, talking and debating with people, trying to increase the common perception that if the world is f**ked, as most of us suspect anyway, it is only up to us to do something – anything- about it...

But it’s not so different from other thing in our lives…

…take me… I wanted to be in a Heavy Metal band… First, I had to learn how to use a guitar… years of boring classes and quiet practice… never mind the hours of air-guitar in the mirror, learning how to make it look good… then, finding a band, people who you can work with… then writing material that is at least coherent, the endless string of s**tty gigs… of course, having chosen possibly the most unlistenable form of music yet created it was always going to be a struggle…

…and that’s my point… if you have a goal or aim that does not resemble the status quo, that opposes the way things are, you’ve got to expect it to be difficult to realise, with bearly noticable results… stick to the way things are and you can have an easy, ‘fun’ life… choose to work for an alternative perspective and it will be boring and slow and unrewarding…


…but that’s how Power is, and has always been, challenged and defeated…

Bing!x - www.bing-em-all.blogspot.com


[1] http://liveearth.org/070707_liveearth/

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Metal means... (Pt3)

Putting your money where you mouth is, is quite something… probably the most overwhelming revelation of my past two weeks has been how incredibly mundane being serious about revolutionary social change actually is - needs to be…

…the biggest struggle, the most challenging part of actually trying to ‘lead a complete, a noble, a rational existence’[1] - of trying to do something about the things I love moaning about - is the deconstruction of a whole lotta nonsense in the ol’ noggin… it’s a mess up there, turns out…

I’ve really had to sit myself down and give myself the ‘you will never be a Rock Star’ talk, which is heart-breaking… I’ve been able to console myself, slightly – being a generous and compassionate fellah – by pointing out that no matter how genius my Rock maybe, unless I am a business man ready to sacrifice and devote a large part of my personality to ‘working in the industry’ my art will never be known… yep… I gotta cast off all my dreams about appearing in really poorly directed Rock videos, adorned with Python, clad in vac-pressed leggings… Rotherham, or wherever you maybe, is not glamourous…

.deal.with.it.

I’ve noticed that I have to really believe those bits about equality, justice, peace, freedom, meaningful work, enduring community relationships, that I say I agree with… all that stuff and the rest… really necessary to actually believe that s**t and carry it all around with me, baring it in the forefront of my mind, letting it hang from the tip of my tongue like lung-butter ready to flobbed out into a doubter’s face – obviously in a compassionate way…

…the reason I, and anyone who is serious about social change, have to be thus is that there is so little in the way of support for these ideas… more accurately, you just don’t hear or encounter much evidence for these ideas in an average day… if you did, it wouldn’t take such a conscious effort to bare it all in mind…

…stood on the stall with my crane-driver mate, handing out leaflets and getting people to sign petitions against the privatization of the Post Offices I did notice that, other than the odd nutter (glad of a bit of human attention), older folk are much more ready to come up and take a leaflet or sign the petition or have a natter about the state of this or that… if I were being funny, I could make some joke about the old buggers having nothing better to do, but that would be in bad taste…

But you get no young f**kers coming up to you… the girls, especially, look like you just asked them if they would mind terribly being spaffed on… the lads just look sheepish and call you w**ker, not realizing the bone-shaving accurateness of their flippant remarks…

But my hilarious gags aside, I think I know why this is, why old folks are a bit more willing to engage…

…they remember Thatcher telling the world “T.I.N.A.” – there is no alternative and that there is no society… and they remember thinking that it was b****cks then; and it is still b****cks now… us young uns, well, we don’t know that Thatcher said these things; at least 30 years ago people knew that Trade Unions existed and were up to something…

…but we (and here I place myself in the ranks of the young) have been brought up in a societal environment that has gradually accepted these ideas and implied them into our consciousnesses, along with their associated values and presuppositions, so now they act as a kind of filter, only letting through concepts about the world that resemble the way it already looks… more, these filters allow us to structure our attitudes to resemble the very narrow spectrum presented to us in education, media and art; which means the closer we are able to resemble these values, the more likely we will be selected from the pool of like minded non-thinkers for a well paid position as cheer-leader for the status quo…

…you end up wanting to be a rock star, in a spandex jump suite with sequins, standing in front of millions of people chanting your name because you ‘co-write’ songs that sound like cheap, toothless versions of songs by bands no-one listens to anymore but who everyone has a T-shirt of…

Peace,

Bing!x - http://www.bing-em-all.blogspot.com/

[1] http://flag.blackened.net/daver/anarchism/kropotkin/atty.html

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Metal Means... (Pt2)

*Disclaimer – more people into Metal is cool… people younger than me, who are into Metal do have brains. Metal bands, record companies, merchandisers etc are entitled to make money from whatever they do, if they want to. There has never been and there never will be a Golden Age of Metal... ta!*

This is how I remember it. Early nineties, big f**ked up hair; big, daft glasses, band t-shirts with skulls and angular band names, going to gigs and seeing the few other such atrocities and knowing – just knowing – that you were amongst your own people. Seeing a Metallica song once a year on TV and going berserk cos Metal was right up in peoples face.

The first time I heard Sepultura, I did believe that the Devil actually existed and had a band. I heard that awfulsome dirge of loosed anger and wanted to know if he actually thought in the same way I did; I wanted to know what the f**k Satan Cavalera was so pissed about. Sure enough, a few Machine Head and Fear Factory songs later – amongst many others, I realized that there was indeed a sort of shared Metal credo, a sort of unspoken, informal understanding that Metal was a combination of outrage, independence and pro-activity like; ‘stuff is s**t, I don’t like it so I best do something about it…’

Yeah… you just weren’t into metal unless you meant it. I think that things are a bit different today, no doubt, those a little longer in the tooth would have had similar things to say to my age-group. But the point is that Metal has gradually been absorbed into the mainstream, becoming an Establishment form of business, I mean, Iron Maiden T-Shirts being sold in Top Shop… you what?

When something becomes ‘mainstreamed’, and becomes part of the Establishment scenery of society, then it necessarily has it’s fangs pulled out. See, if something like Metal, is seen to be encouraging dissent amongst rational people, it is perceived as a threat to the way things are – the Establishment. Obviously this just will not do, and the threat has to be eliminated.

But it is not effective to smash dissent in the face with truncheons and smother it with overt repression. Martyrs are made thus, instead it is much more effective to absorb the cultural force (whatever it maybe – Metal, Punk, Hip Hop, Blues, R&B, Film, whatever) into business; make it a new, novel way for people to spend money. Impose some ideas of hierarchy; make it about big heroes and unattainable levels of celebrity; about the piercing, clothing and tattoos, about an image and crucially, maintain the rhetoric of ‘self-expression’, ‘individualism’ and dissent, to show what diversity your culture allows. Make it so when people say that ‘nobody tells me what to think’ or ‘I do what I want’ they are telling the truth, because they don’t need telling, they just adopt and internalize – then repeat - the mantras given to them.

Metal isn’t anything special in itself. The ideas that give Metal teeth are things shared by all manner of people; the bits of Metal that tell you to give the finger to anyone who tries to tread on you and to tell them to f**k off should be like friends you will never lose if you treat them with the honesty and respect they deserve. The same honesty and respect you and all people expect and demand.

Otherwise metal will go the way of Ernesto Guevara’s face, a sad relic of resistance turned into a exotic and risqué money-maker.

Peace,

Bing!x - http://www.bing-em-all.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Metal means... (Pt1)

I spent last Saturday walking around Leeds city centre with a friend who I had known for about 4 years. I can’t remember what we were talking about, but all of a sudden she told me that at the age of 17 she used to listen to Metal, wear ripped tights and loads of Mascara; that kind of thing. I had no idea that she had ever been into ‘The Word’ but she replied; “Oh yeah; my mum used to hate it!”

While I was sad that my friend had long left the ranks of believers, I did take a lot of heart from the fact that it was to Metal that she had turned when she felt the need to protest against the incumbent power structure in her life.

When I think about why I got into Metal, I can now articulate what I couldn’t have at the time; Metal appealed to my innate sense of independence and disobedience. It was the idea that the world was not full of people with the same attitudes and modes of existence, it reflected the heterogeneity of society; that which is vital in society, and of course that which cannot be allowed to flourish in a society with as much potential freedom as ours.

Also Metal did not just spring up out of nowhere, it was developed and made into something which nowadays cannot be recognized from people at the different ends of the Metal spectrum. I remember a Def Leppard versus Metallica argument that went on, literally, for months, within this art-form itself then, we see this idea of heterogeny.

While as Metal-beasts and beastesses we can bare witness that Metal is for life not just for puberty, we can also, I think admit that Metal does indeed have strong associations to ideas of youth and rebellion… at the same time I think that it is often implicit in these associations that both youth and rebellion are equally childish, transient and idealistic.

My old man even says to my face that it is embarrassing to be seen with me in my leather jacket… (for full disclosure – I am 28).

But the point is that in my youth I believed certain things, not because I was taught them explicitly, but because I felt they were right – and they were my right; things like freedom of expression, the right to challenge authority, the right to use my own wits to solve problems (and so on) and the education system was there to make sure that these rights were smothered, belittled and eventually abandoned.

And my education would indeed have succeeded in cutting me loose from my innate sense of me, but was thwarted by Metal. This, to me, proves that Music is MORE than “just entertainment folks”[1], more than just dancing and having a good time.

Democracynow.org, on Monday May 4th had a special programme dedicated to Pete Seger’s 90th (!) birthday. Turns out, this is a man who has used his form of music to fight power for, well, all his life, by the sounds of things. He wrote once on his banjo “THIS MACHINE SURROUNDS HATE AND FORCES IT TO SURRENDER!”, you can’t call him childish or idealistic; he hates power with all his heart.

I mean, How Metal can you get!?

Now it’s your turn, use the Metal that has been bestowed upon you.

Peace,

BING!x - http://www.bing-em-all.blogspot.com/

[1] Dev Townsend, “Earth Day” Terria, 2001

Monday, 4 May 2009

My Dying Bride - For Lies I Sire CD Review

My Dying Bride
For Lies I Sire
Peaceville
2009

My Dying Bride return with the full force of doom on this epic record. I had not heard much other than their "A Line of Deathless Kings" album, which in it's own was great. For Lies I Sire was practically and impulse buy, and now it has definitely peaked my interest in this band. The special UK guitar edition pack even came with an extended booklet, a custom pick with the My Dying Bride logo on it and a 12 page guitar tab book! Never before have I heard of a band releasing their music with tab (or sheet music) to accompany it.

The album kicks off with the first epic, My Body, A Funeral, which sets the mood perfectly for the album to come. There's a mixture of instruments that make appearances throughout, including a piano interlude in Echoes From A Hollow Soul and cello in My Body, A Funeral. The album is full of memorable moments with riffs that play over and over in my head even long after hearing them. Santuario Di Sanguine is one of my most memorable songs, and rightfully so. It contains an interesting interlude with violin and sounds of horses and people, before going back into the most epic riff/vocal line I can recall.

The second last song in the album, A Chapter In Loathing, is completely different to everything else on the CD. It's fast, aggressive, and completely scream vocals. It reminds me a of of Diabolical Masquerade for some reason I cannot put my finger on, only that that must be a good thing. The production is flawless, and sounds great! Everything on this record is awesome, the artwork looks amazing in the extended booklet. I can't think of anything they could have done better, which is a rare occasion. I only wish they'd tour to Australia, but that's a topic for another day.

My Dying Bride - For Lies I Sire is out now through Peaceville Records, I recommend it for any fans of decent metal.

Track List:
My Body, a Funeral
Fall With Me

The Lies I Sire

Bring Me Victory
Echoes From a Hollow Soul

ShadowHaunt

Santuario di Sangue

A Chapter in Loathing

Death Triumphant

Total running time: 59:51

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Metallica at Sheffield Arena – 28/2/09


The Sword: The latest in a long line of bands charged with the daunting task of opening a Metallica arena show are Texans The Sword and while they don’t fair badly tonight they do fail to make much of an impact. The Sword have some real heavy riff monsters in their repetoire but the mixture of a murky sound and such a large arena does them no favours tonight and overall the band fail to fill Metallica’s giant stage. Although not suited the big arenas just yet, The Sword are a good band and in a club setting they would be great.
Machine Head: A band more suited to the big stage and veterans of the Metallica support slot are Machine Head. They whip the crowd into a frenzy and go down an absolute storm as they always do but anyone who saw them on the Black Crusade Tour or supporting Slipknot a few months ago will get a sense of deja vu about tonight. There is no doubt that Machine Head put in a great performance tonight but it’s a performance that’s been done several times in the past 18 months and unless Machine Head make some changes to their setlist before they support Metallica again at Knebworth in August then even the die-hards may start to get a bit restless.

Setlist: Clenching The Fists Of Dissent, Imperium, Halo, Beautiful Morning, Descend The Shades Of Night, Davidian
Metallica: Like many others, I’d only seen Metallica at festivals before which makes the sight of them playing to ‘only’ 10,000 people in an arena seem like somewhat of an ‘intimate’ show. It certainly is a different spectacle altogether seeing Metallica at their own arena shows. We are treated to an unexpected and spectacular Pink Floyd-esque light show before the metal gods themselves hit the stage and ferociously launch into the opening salvo of their latest masterpiece Death Magnetic – ‘That Was Just Your Life’ and ‘The End Of The Line’. A further four songs from DM are aired tonight and it really is a testament to just how good the new material is when over the half the album is performed in favour of so many classics that Metallica could have included from their back catalogue and both the fans and the band know it. In stark contrast to their last arena tour in support of the woefully disappointing St. Anger, when only two new songs were played, tonight the band sound rejuvenated with the confidence in their new material and this shows on stage. Metallica are a well-oiled machine tonight – tight as hell and also clearly having the time of their lives, none more so than ‘new’ bassist Rob Trujillo. Despite having been in the band for six years now, he seemingly still can’t believe he is part of the biggest metal band on the planet – never has a man been so over-joyed to be somewhere.
Given that the Death Magnetic material was always going to take up a large chunk of the set, it was a welcome surprise to hear such seldom-heard gems as ‘Ride The Lightning’ and an incredibly moving and outstanding version of ‘ The Unforgiven’. But the biggest sing-along of the night undoubtedly came at the end of ‘The Memory Remains’ which seemingly lasted about ten minutes, much to the enjoyment of fans and band alike. Of course the classics are superb too, ‘One’ comes complete with a pyro display that the fans in the second tier can feel the heat from, ‘Sad But True’ still has one of the heaviest bottom-ends and ‘Nothing Else Matters’ is still the finest ballad that never gets referred to as one. Metallica have been flawless tonight, hopefully they won’t leave it another decade before another full arena tour.
Setlist: That Was Just Your Life, The End Of The Line, Ride The Lightning, The Memory Remains, One, Broken, Beat And Scarred, Cyanide, Sad But True, The Unforgiven, All Nightmare Long, Kirk Hammett Solo, The Day That Never Comes, Master Of Puppets, Nothing Else Matters, Enter Sandman. Encore: Am I Evil?/Helpless, Seek And Destroy

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Aeon Of Horus, Ritual Of The Oak, Heathen Ritual and Knight Queste

Get down to the Lewisham Hotel in Sydney on April 24th, to see Aeon Of Horus, Ritual Of The Oak, Heathen Ritual and Knight Queste. This will be Rituals Of The Dark's debut performance, featuring ex-members from Lycanthia and Transcending Mortality.
This should be one brutal evening of metal, and all for only $10. See you there!! From 8pm.


Sunday, 15 March 2009

CD Review: Mournful Congregation - The June frost

Mournful Congregation
The June Frost
Weird Truth Productions
2009

Mournful Congregation
are certainly one of, if not Australia's best doom/death metal band. Their music is slow, yet aggressive and emotional. I recently got into these guy thanks to a friend of mine, and just this year, they've released their third full length album titled The June Frost.

The June Frost is considered to be their best work sofar, from what I've heard from other fans of this band, and after hearing some of their earlier stuff, including the double album "The Dawning Of Mournful Hymns" (which is also excellent), I'd be incline to agree. This band has grown heaps, and they certainly do keep getting better, with this album, it's 8 songs of pure metal doom.

"White Cold Wrath Burnt Frozen Blood" is one of my favourite tracks from the album, and the longest at 17 mins. Part of it includes an awesome harmonized melody with acoustic guitar and the usual deep vocals that are featured on this album. This is the doom I'd been waiting for, but hadn't realised yet. It doesn't get much better than this song. Some side guitar that reminds me a little of Opeth pops up here aswell, which sees this song off to an end. Very thought inducing and emotional playing here, as it is with the rest of this album.

The album is very diverse in it's style of doom, with a few instrumental pieces. The title song of the album, "The June Frost" is one of those instrumentals which features solos playing over an acoustic guitar, which pretty much proves that this band can do more than one thing for an entire album, which is rarely seen in some bands these days. It's a curious song that seems to use mainly major sounding scales and chords, yet it invokes the same feeling on despair as the other songs on this record. The contrast between this type of playing and the slow doom of the other songs is quite interesting in itself.

This is a very impressive album, with many interesting and well written musical ideas. The mixture of heavy and soft is pulled of with amazing precision. The production of the album is also spotless. It sounds absolutely awesome! What I find to be the most interesting thing about this band, is after some 15 years of being around, they only just did their debut live performance this year. It's definitely a great time to get into this band, with an European tour supporting Mourning Beloveth coming up this April to follow-up this album's release.

The June Frost will mark a very important spot for Australian metal, with much recognition following in it's wake. Definitely an album worth buying, and Mournful Congregation are definitely a band worth seeing live (keep an eye out for a live review coming soon).

Mournful Congregation - The June Frost
Solemn Strikes The Funeral Chime
Descent Of The Flames
White Cold Wrath Burnt Frozen Blood
The June Frost
A Slow March To The Burial
The Februar Winds
Suicide Chior
The Wreath

Playing Time: 60 mins

www.myspace.com/mournfulcongregation

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Norther Seeking Replacement Vocalist

The following advert has been posted on the bands mypsace blog.

Norther is now looking for a new full time singer. We are looking for a versatile, creative individual with high motivation and a preferable capability of singing in different styles.The person we are looking for must be at least 20 years of age and preferably live in Finland. Guitar playing skills are considered as anadvantage but not necessary.

If you feel you might be the one, please download the following instrumental version of our song Frozen Angel.

Return it to us with your own vocals recorded on top to singer@norther.net in MP3 format. You can download the song here, and the lyrics here. It is also possible to send a free-form audio or video sample of yourself.

We offer the new singer a possibility to rock around the globe inan excellent team and enjoy the full benefits of being in aninternational heavy metal band.May the best one win, the search is on!!

All the best,

Norther



Petri was removed from the line up due to his commitments with Ensiferum. The following was posted on the 4th of Match.

Finnish metal band Norther parts ways with long timesinger/guitarist Petri
Lindroos. Norther was forced to let Petri go tobe able to continue. Petri's
full time engagement in Ensiferum increasingly prevented Norther from functioning as an active band.

Petri wishes Norther all the best for the future. Current Norther crew, Kristian, Jukka, Tuomas and Heikki, wants to thank Petri for all these great years together and wishes him the best of luck with Ensiferum.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

SubVerSi0N seek drummer


Metaholic Band Contest winners from 2008, SubVerSi0N, are currently in search of a drummer to help out with their upcoming gigs.

"We regret to have reached this awful situation we are in, but we are in desperate need of a session or permanent drummer to fill in for the gigs we have booked.


If you feel you are competent and skilled enough to fill in for us, then please let us know.


We have till Wednesday to find someone, at least a stand in, as this is the day we will be forced to pull out of gigs.
No time wasters please as we have wasted enough time already.

SubVerSi0N"


If you think this could be you, then you can contact them via their Myspace page www.myspace.com/svsnband

Monday, 2 March 2009

Priest Feast Tour - Manchester Apollo 17th Feb

Testament: Unfortunately, due to the wonders of the M62 traffic jam, we only caught the tail end of Testament’s set but what we did see was simply awesome. The band are as good as they’ve ever been, perhaps better, and the strength of the new ‘Formation of Damnation’ material compared to the classics of yore is simply stunning. This is probably the best line-up Testament have ever had – Chuck Billy is a commanding, mountain of a frontman, Alex Skolnick is playing as good as ever and with the addition of ex-Slayer man Paul Bostaph behind the drum kit, Testament now have an extra edge to their performance. If only their upcoming special “evening with…” show was up north…
Setlist: For The Glory Of…, Over The Wall, New Order, More Than Meets The Eye, Persecuted Won't Forget, DNR, 3 Days in Darkness, Practice What You Preach, The Formation of Damnation

Megadeth:Undoubtedly the band of the night for me (and judging by the crowd’s reactions, most people). Yes, people can make all the ‘MegaDave’ jokes they like but the fact remains that Megadeth has always been Mustaine’s creation and they’ve always had an ever-changing line-up. And what the detractors certainly cannot deny is that Mustaine has more often than not surrounded himself with some brilliant musicians and the current line-up is no exception. Shawn Drover, James Lomenzo and ex-Nevermore guitarist Chris Broderick play the set flawlessly and from the opening notes of ‘Sleepwalker’ to the finale of ‘Holy Wars…’ what we get is an unrelenting and constant assault of some of the best metal songs ever written. Mustaine keeps his in-between song chatter to a minimum, preferring instead to let the music do the talking and its hard to argue with the quality of classics such as ‘In My Darkest Hour’, ‘Hangar 18’, ‘Symphony of Destruction’ and the rarely heard but criminally underrated ‘A Tout Le Monde’ which was a welcome surprise in the set.

Megadeth always put in great performances as the whole band, particularly Dave, play each show like it’s their last and that they really have something to prove. This is ironically one of the best things about a Megadeth performance but is also one of the most saddening things about Mustaine himself. Never one to miss a swipe at his former bandmates, Mustaine introduces ‘Mechanix’ by announcing that ‘it is NOT the Four Horsemen’. Seriously Dave, it’s been over 25 years. And with performances like tonight, Mustaine has nothing to feel second best about.
Setlist: Sleepwalker, Take No Prisoners, Wake Up Dead, A Tout Le Monde, Washington Is Next, In My Darkest Hour, Hangar 18, Symphony of Destruction, Peace Sells, Mechanix, Holy Wars

Judas Priest:Priest are among metal’s elite and rightly so. The band don’t put on a bad show but anyone who saw them in 2005 upon Halford’s return will probably walk away feeling a little disappointed tonight as the metal god himself is beginning to show his limitations. Don’t get me wrong, even a slightly deflated performance from Halford is better than most screaming nerks that pass themselves off as ‘metal’ frontmen could muster these days but it’s a shame when you know it could’ve and should’ve been better. His voice is beginning to fail him ever so slightly (but only compared to his previous high standards, not to anyone else’s) and you get the feeling that his slow movement on stage and the fact that he sings one song entirely seated is not just for effect…

And those who saw Priest last year at numerous festivals will no doubt have left tonight feeling a touch of déjà vu given that both the setlist and the stage show were exactly the same which is somewhat disappointing when you consider the wealth of material they have to choose from. Still, the setlist is far from predictable and we do get to hear some rarely aired Priest songs such as ‘Rock Hard, Ride Free’, ‘Eat Me Alive’ and an awesome rendition of ‘Sinner’. And of course no Priest show is complete without classics such as the mighty ‘Painkiller’ (which seems to get heavier each time the band play it and remains a lesson to all young bands in how to really be ‘heavy’), ‘Hell Bent For Leather’, complete with Halford riding the Harley, and ‘Breaking The Law’ which is still probably the most fun you can have singing along at a concert. All in all, it’s a very good performance from Priest without being great and if Megadeth had not been on such fine form, they may have nicked it. But tonight, it’s Mustaine, not Halford, who walks away with the spoils.

Setlist:Dawn Of Creation (Intro), Prophecy, Metal Gods, Eat Me Alive, Between The Hammer And The Anvil, Devil’s Child, Breaking The Law, Hell Patrol, Death, Dissident Aggressor, Angel, The Hellion/Electric Eye, Rock Hard, Ride Free, Sinner, Painkiller Encore:Hell Bent For Leather, The Green Manalishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown), You’ve Got Another Thing Coming

Monday, 23 February 2009

CD Review: Futility

Futility
Futility
Unsigned
2009

Futility are one of Australia's premier Doom metal bands, and this year they released their debut self titled album, which includes a full listing of 6 reasonablylengthed songs. Futility hail from Canberra and are doing their best to mark their own section in the Australian metal community. In my opinion Futility are yet to meet their peak, but that doesn't mean that this album isn't good, infact it's quite the opposite. This album will likely be one of my most played Australian albums throughout 2009, and I can see this band being one of few I follow that keep getting better.

Futility released their album alongside Ironwood at the show in Canberra, which was a blast. Their live performance is pretty spot on, and the new album reflects that perfectly. What you hear on record is what you get live, which can be the aim of many bands, but also the downfall of many more. One of the most difficult objectives for a band.

Futility is full of solid riffing, flawless drumming and brutal vocals. The power behind some of these songs is just awesome, the intro to "My Sickness" makes me want to headbang like crazy, which, might I add, can be quite rare for me. They've got an original twist to their music which I can't put my finger on, butsome of their songs remind me of a few European bands, like Katatonia meets October Tide with a slice of In Mourning on the side. But since I hate comparing bands to others, I'll just say that as far as I can tell, Futility's sound is their own.

The production on this album is great. For another 2009 independent release from Australia's (often unappreciated) metal scene, these guys have done a great job on bringing the quality back to our metal! The performance on this album is absolutely flawless, it's not overdone with production, and as a result you get a nice raw sound. This really is how the band sounds live, which is a great accomplishment.

As many are probably aware, Katatonia's Brave Murder Day album has added a pretty decent influence to the community of decent doom metal bands we have around today, and Futility are no exception to that. Infact, this album even includes a cover of "Murder", from that very album of Katatonia's. Some may say this is a fatal mistake, to include another bands song on their own album, but I think it's awesome! It's always interesting to hear other bands interpretations of some of my favourite songs ever (which Murder fits into), and Futility have done a great job of recording this song.

Those who have no hope in the Australian metal scene, give this band a listen and see if you still feel the same after hearing it. And anyone else who is into decent metal, give Futility a go. This album has not disappointed me at all!

Futility - Futility
Track Listing
...Failed
Saline Oasis
My Sickness
Fallen
Nothing
Murder (Katatonia Cover)

Playing Time: 43:35

Check them out here:
www.myspace.com/futilitycanberra

Review of the Futility launch show:
Click Here

Friday, 20 February 2009

Cd Review: Ironwood :Fire:Water:Ash:

Ironwood
:Fire:Water:Ash:
Unsigned
2009


Ironwood's debut album, :Fire:Water:Ash:, is most likely one of 2009s best unsigned releases by far. These four awesome musicians from Sydney have yet again outdone themselves with this release. Since hearing their debut EP I have been waiting anxiously for this album to come into the light, and I must say, it's certainly refreshing to hear something so different to everything else that I hear these days.

:Fire:Water:Ash: is THE album to get if you're into metal with a twist like this. The music drifts through heavy and softer sections flawlessly, often flicking between both in one song. It caters to just about every musical need you may have. Some of the vocals on this album are very different from what I'm used to hearing from other bands, particularly the low sung ones. The Raven Song, and Tide Of Memory both contain beautifully sung harmonies, another of the many vocal techniques you'll hear throughout this album.

The bass is still as impressive as it was on the EP. Henry plays it much like a 'real' guitar (for the elitists), often with complicated bass lines. A few bass solos pop up here and there also (Like a bass should be played), which are quite impressive, particularly when the bass is usually forgotten by the listeners, and poorly played by the musician. Ironwood proudly bring the bass back towards the listeners attention with this. The guitars are also very well played, with many switches between electric and acoustic, and rightfully so. The musicianship on this record stands out really well, and you can really tell that these guys enjoy what they do, and have done for a long time.

Jarnvidr Gallows, a 12 minute epic, holds one of my favourite Ironwood moments towards the end of the song, with a half sung, whispered vocal line along a guitar part that'll send shivers down your spine. Audio clips are used cleverly all through this album also, with sounds of rain, birds, and other ambient noises popping up all over the place. River of Fire was known as "Yggr" on the EP, and it has returned with great triumph. This was my favourite song off that recording, and sounds heaps better with the new production. The second longest song on this epic album, and possibly the most epic.

The production as a whole is great, everything is flawless and sounds awesome, and the artwork is definitely something else to behold. For an independent release, it can't get much better than this, particularly with an Australian band. Ironwood is definitely worth checking out if you haven't already. :Fire:Water:Ash: is out now and worth every penny!!!

Track Listing:
Önd Ascending
The Oncoming Storm
The Raven Song
Jarvindr Gallows
The Serpent Seeks It's Tail
Tide Of Memory
Love In Death
River Of Fire
Eihwaz Descending

Playing time: 70:35

Available from:
http://www.ironwoodsound.com.au/

www.myspace.com/ironwoodband

Metaholic review of the :Fire:Water:Ash: launch show.


Thursday, 19 February 2009

Lordi at Sheffield Academy - 16th Feb 2009

This being my first trip to the relatively new Sheffield Academy, I was intrigued to see what it would be like and I’ve got to say it’s one of the best venues of it’s size that I’ve been in. The stage is great, there are almost no viewing obstructions from what is quite a large and wide floor area and there’s a circular bar at the back which I’ve always felt was a great idea providing the logistics of the venue would allow it. The venue is also handily located about 5 minutes from the train station too.

So, on to the band. Well, there’s not much left that can be said about Lordi that hasn’t already been said since their record-breaking Eurovision win almost 3 years ago. But suffice to say that if you haven’t seen this band at least once yet, then you really are missing out (though I’ve no idea who in their camp thought £30 for a t-shirt is justifiable – I know the pound is bad at the moment but not that bad!).

Lordi will always be more about the live show than their recorded output but as any Kiss fan will tell you (myself included), if a band can put on one hell of a show then they are more than half-way there. It’s just a shame that more people aren’t here to witness this (the academy seems about half-full tonight), possibly due to the far-more publicised Children of Bodom gig over in Manchester on the same night. Alas, it is the Bodom fans that are missing out tonight as Lordi do indeed put on one hell of a show. From the moment they walk on its GWAR meets Kiss with a touch of Alice Cooper thrown in – fake blood, monster costumes, decapitations, ticker tape and a sloth-like gimp creature that is given his five minutes of fame before running off stage (no, I’m not sure what that was about either) are just some of Lordi’s stage props and theatrics tonight – and the fans lap it up right until the end.

You could say that once the theatrics and the costumes are stripped away that Lordi don’t have a great deal of good songs and that may be true. Their albums do tend to have a few standout tracks on them surrounded by a lot of filler and tonight the response to most of the songs is fairly placid when compared to the enormous cheers that greet ‘Would You Love A Monsterman’, ‘Devil Is A Loser’, ‘Blood Red Sandman’ and, of course, ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah’, but I ask you, when the lead singer is stomping around in a monster costume with giant wings sprouting from his back, does that really matter?

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

In Flames cancel UK and Irish dates

This information has been taken from the In Flames Myspace page:

"We are very sad to announce that the UK & Ireland tour will not happen as planned.
As you already know, Jesper is currently at an alcohol rehabilitation clinic and is taking some time off to get better. Peter is about to become a dad. We obviously knew about Peter becoming a dad and originally planned to have a replacement bassist, but with the recent events surrounding Jesper we simply feel that it is not fair on the fans to see a completely different line up, which in our eyes is not In Flames.
Again, sorry to make any UK & Irish fans disappointed and we hope to make it up to you very soon!
- In Flames
For already purchased tickets please contact your local ticket office/venue."

www.myspace.com/inflames

Monday, 16 February 2009

Cerement




This is Cerement.

A three-piece metal band that's spawned from the depths of the hellish domain of Okmulgee Oklahoma.

Goal: To spawn pure, crushing metal that sends all this fake sh** out there into a state of absolute fear. Death to bullsh** metal!

They are also seeking a Bassist, so if there are any talented bassists who are actually devoted to being in an up and coming band, and live around the Okmulgee area, hit em up
www.myspace.com/cerementmetal

They have amazing stage performance, brutal vocals, and epic shreds.
Seriously, if you wanna hear what these Oklahoma boys can come up with, add them. NOW!

www.myspace.com/cerementmetal
www.myspace.com/cerementmetal
www.myspace.com/cerementmetal

An Evening Of Sonic Misery

I made the two something hour trip from my home town to Canberra specifically for this event, and left very satisfied. The show was entitled 'An Evening Of Sonic Misery', but to me it was an evening of total awesome! It was also the debut album launch for bands Futility and Ironwood, and they certainly delivered.The turnout could have been a lot better, for a Saturday evening it was rather shameful actually. I had higher hopes for Canberra metal fans. But despite that all the bands played very well.

First band up was Tranquil Deception for their very first live gig. For a trio, two guitarists and a drummer, they had a great sound. Using controlled feedback quite a lot alongside some pretty awesome riffs, they were a great warmer for the evening. I was quite impressed when one of the guitarists used the feedback and a flange, or phase pedals to change it's pitch to what the other guitarist was playing. Looking forward to hearing what these these guys pull off.

Futility were awesome tonight. Their set was a decent length and included songs from the new album, which also includes a Katatonia cover of the song Murder from the Brave Murder Day album. From up the front the sound was awesome, and I caught a decent view of the energy these guys put into their show. Even though I had seen them live before, I still wasn't prepared for the great-ness of this show. Each song was played spot on, and the band wasn't uptight in the sense that whenever they made a mistake they cringed, infact they laughed about it. That was quite refreshing to see. It was worth the trip just for these guys!

The Veil put on an okay set aswell, although there were some aspects of their music that I couldn't handle. Just picky stuff like how some of the vocals weren't to my liking, but other than that they were great. I couldn't really hear the keyboards during the heavier sections which was a shame, but other than that the sound was awesome. They all played well, or so I could tell from where I was getting some much needed rest on the couch.

Ironwood were definitely a highlight of the evening. For an album launch show, this was amazing. They played awesomely all through their set, and what a talented lot they are! The mixture of heavy and clean works so well, even live. They played a few songs I recognised from the self titled EP, some of which feature on the new album titled :Fire:Water:Ash:. Ironwood are certainly by no means, one of those bands that needs to be constantly heavy, fast and aggressive to be good. They do have those moments of aggression, and even when played on stage you can see the emotion in their playing. It's refreshing to see, rather than another band of statues.

Some sections of their music uses external sounds, like rain, birds etc, and this was used live with great precision. I'd notice their rhythm guitarist, Matthew, cuing the sounds with what looked to be a portable audio device. This worked well, since the band had full control over this part of their music. In a live setting the dynamics of the bands sound really stand out, particularly with their song "The Oncoming Storm", where it goes from a soft section straight into fast riffs and solos. This was pulled off flawlessly, like the rest of their set.

One of the highlights for this set for me was 'The Raven Song", which is one if their ballads, but a very powerful one at that. And again, like last time I saw them, during one song Dan (drums) got out of his chair, picked up Matt's guitar and played a bit while Matt sang, and played a quick crescendo on a cymbal. Definitely impressive to see, since most drummer hide behind their kit almost all the time during a set.
I'll definitely make a trip like this again for a gig like this one, although I don't recommend driving home after the show ends aswell. Perhaps a hotel would be a good idea for next time.

Be sure to check out all of the bands mentioned, and give Futility's debut self titled album, and Ironwood's debut :Fire:Water:Ash: albums a listen.


Tranquil Deception: www.myspace.com/tranquildeceptiondrone
The Veil: www.myspace.com/theveilau
Futility: www.myspace.com/futilitycanberra
Ironwood: www.myspace.com/ironwoodband

Photos © Mat Newton 2009

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Want to play this year's Bloodstock?!

I've just received a message on Myspace that I thought may just interest some of the bands out there who would like a chance to play at this year's Bloodstock Open Air Festival in August!

"Hey All.

Bloodstock Open Air is looking for the best in Metal from the Midlands to play at this years Festival. Bands already confirmed on this years line up include Saxon, Amon Amorth, Candlemass, Satyricon, Apocolyptica, Gwar, The Haunted and many many more.

Heats are being held at The Queens Hall in Nuneaton so if ya think ya metal enough for Bloodstock then contact the following.....but make it quick as slots are goin fast!!

Email: simon@dspromotions.co.uk

Tel: 07973699014

Best Regards

Simon."

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Cannibal Corpse "Evisceration Plague" review!

For a Death Metal band, a twenty year long career seems almost impossible, but Cannibal Corpse have safely passed across the two decade mark. But how on earth did they do it? With albums like their latest offering, "Evisceration Plague," and a helping hand of gory artwork, violent lyrics and a fair bit of controversy, it's no surprise why they're still here.

By far their most technical recording, "Evisceration Plague" is exactly what you would want from a Cannibal Corpse album. Song after song of their trade mark brutality, and razor sharp speed. Straight in with the blistering "Priests of Sodom", throughout the album, the sheer aggressiveness and intensity never stops. In contrast with the lightning speed, the band have also incorporated more slower tempo sections within their songs, and have even written the doomy, slower paced "A Cauldron of Hate".

This album also shows off some of the band's best performances and song writing skills. Guitarist Pat O'Brien and Rob Barret, delivers catchy, chuggy riffs. Drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz has never sounded so good, and the extraordinarily talented Alex Websters bass playing is still as great as ever, but I do feel that the bass has been drowned out a bit on some songs, due to the low tuned guitars.

The band's love and dedication for their music is obvious. Death Metal can be a limited genre, but Cannibal Corpse have done everything they can do with it, and have taken it to new levels. Is this the greatest Cannibal Corpse album? Tomb of the Mutilated is still their classic album, but "Evisceration Plague" is definitely up there with their best. It's great to see that even after twenty years, Cannibal Corpse can still bring out excellent albums.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

A Myspace forum post that got my back up!!!

As I was browsing through the metal forums on Myspace, I came across a post that really got my back up! As a fan of metal for over 10 years now, I despise when people misinturrperate the music I love because they've heard one metal band, and from there have closed their minds to the whole genre!

This is the original post:

"Hey, you all.

My name is Clifford Rafferty and I would like your opinions on something.

Is this 'Metal' music actually taken seriously by anyone?

I have listened to some of these 'Metal' tunes, and they all sounded horribly loud and abrasive. The lead singer was simply yelling in a decidedly rage filled tone and I found the whole thing laughable.

I for one enjoy a wide range of musical genres, everything from good old Rock & Roll to Showtunes to Americana, but the idea of listening to a full LP of this 'Metal' junk makes me cringe. My suggestion to any 'Metal' groups who try to make music again in the future is this: Turn down your equipment, lay off the drums and sing properly instead of just shouting. Writing intelligible lyrics would also help.

For example, I imagine the typical 'Metal' lyricist would write something along these lines.

"Help, I am angry
What should I do
I am cursing and yelling
At all of you
I dispose of smiles and create frowns
I really hope you all die
Don't tell me to calm down
I'm not even going to try"

The problem with these sorts of lyrics is that they are not positive. The message expressed is that the young man is confused and desperate for help, and decides to take his anger out on innocent bystanders, causing their moods to be affected by his rage. That is the wrong message to be sending.

Why don't you 'Metal' lyricists write something more positive and uplifting once in a while?

If I was the lead singer and lyricist in a 'Metal' group, I would write happier and much less morbid lyrics, as displayed below.

This is an excerpt from a 'Metal' piece I wrote, as I like to dabble in all genres.

"Life really gets me down sometimes
But gosh, the world is an amazing place
Filled with natural beauty and wonder
We all train for the human race
Anger is not productive
I'm grateful for my happiness
I sing and dance and laugh
I don't complain like activists
Other 'Metal' groups should follow our lead
Stop being angry
For there is no need
To express such rage
You must keep all your positive emotions
In a metaphorical cage
I wish you fellows would stop yelling
I can't understand what you say"

Notice how I present my thoughts in a clear manner and I don't dwell on negatives.

I show that problems can be conquered as long as you want them to be. I don't yell about Satan and killing children or anything lewd.

I'm sure there will be detractors on this forum who will disagree with me, and that's fine. You're allowed to have an opinion as well. Just don't pretend that I'm incorrect because we all know the truth.

Until next time

The People's Lifeline,
Clifford Rafferty.
"

This sheer ignorance for a genre of music that the writer has clearly no idea about, got me worked up, so I had to respond to this:

"Is metal taken seriously by people? Yes it certainly is, else there wouldn't have been so many replies to this thread.

I think what you are having a problem understanding is that metal is a very large genre of music, with many different subgenres. Some of the lyrics can be "Argh, I hate my mom and dad", that's usually the metal aimed at teenagers (the likes of Slipknot you can tie in here). But there are bands who have more postive messages, perhaps the ones who aren't so mainstream, and don't get the media out there talking about them and scapegoating them into whatever bad things happen to be going on in the world.

Yes you do get the bands who like to go out and burn down churches and sing about how great Satan is, you also get the bands who go to church every Sunday and sing about how great being a Christian is.

You can't really swipe at a genre because you've only heard what the media say about it. You can't taint all metal with the same brush. As I say, it's a very big genre with a lot of different subgenres, not all will appeal to each individual metal fan though. The fans are equally as diverse as the bands are.

Personally, I listen to a whole range of music, from Opeth to Beethoven, Johnny Cash to Frank Sinatra, Black Sabbath to Alphabeat, Terror 2000 to Kelly Clarkson, Little Richard to Andrew Lloyd Webber. I am very open in my musical tastes, but I would prefer to listen to metal if I had the choice.

Lyrics vary from band to band. There is a lot of angst from some bands, there are also some bands who write the funniest lyrics that will have you in stitches. Some bands put a lot of effort into writing about things they have a passion for, for example Rage Against The Machine have a lot of political lyrics which highlight problems that people may not have had any idea about before. Or Deadlock who sing about animal rights, and saving the seals. It's not all hatred in the lyrics!

People can relate to some metal, because there are lyrics that you feel tie in with how you're feeling at a certain point. They don't sugarcoat the lyrics just to make people blind to what's going on around them, they sing from the heart, and if that's singing about despair, then that's their choice. And people will relate to it and take something from it, I know I've personally pulled myself out from a dark place knowing I'm not alone in how I feel.

Yes it can be a therapy. People need something they can feel relates to them. It's also a great way of letting go of your anger without smashing someone's face in for the hell of it. I'd much rather head into a mosh pit and release my anger without injuring anyone, than going down to the local park and beating the sh*t out of someone for no reason.

I heard in the news lately about how different people who listen to different music are related. It said that there isn't a lot of difference between people who listen to metal and people who listen to classical music. Don't believe me? Here is a newspaper artical about the study:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2680987/Heavy-metal-and-c lassical-music-fans-share-personality-traits.html

"Professor Adrian North, of Edinburgh's Heriot-Watt University who carried out the study, said he was surprised by the results.

"I was struck by how similar fans of heavy metal and classical music really are," he said.

"Apart from the age differences, they were virtually identical. Both were more creative than other people, both were not terribly outgoing and they were also quite at ease.""

We are not all a bunch of mindless idiots! We listen to metal because it speaks something to us (or perhaps yells something to us) that we can relate to. Plus, it's not all about the lyrics, the music is what appeals to me a lot more. The sheer complicity you hear in how the music is written is mindblowing. The likes of Opeth and Tool who write music in different time signatures, that push the boundries on how music is meant to sound. You can hear the influences from old 70s progressive rock bands, who in-turn were highly influenced by the great classical composers.

Open your eyes, open your ears, and open your mind. We have listened to what you have said, and sure you got the odd "f*ck off", but there are some serious responses from people who HAVE listened to what you said, and HAVE responded. The metal fans are very protective of their tastes, which you must have noticed. So why not take on board what has been said, and respect our views on why we listen to metal, and stop bitching about why you don't like it. That's your choice, and this is ours!
"

The original post can be found here:

http://forums.myspace.com/t/4303706.aspx?fuseaction=forums.viewthread

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Ironwood, The Veil, Futility - An Evening of Sonic Misery

Be sure to get yourselves down to Canberra tomorrow night to witness these awesome bands live! Ironwood and Futility will both be launching an album in this show. From 8pm at The Basement in Belconnen.

www.myspace.com/ironwoodband
www.myspace.com/theveilau
www.myspace.com/futilitycanberra

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Jesper Strömblad hits Rehab



Jesper Strömblad Guitarist with Gothenburg Melodic Death Metal Titans has entered rehab in relation with alcohol abuse.

Due to this he will miss the South American, Austrailian and Japanese leg of the current touring cycle. Although he should be back to take part in the European leg and Festival dates later in the year.

His replacement during his absence will be Nikas Engelin from the Gothenburg band Engel. He previously helped out with live duties during Jespers absence in 2006.


Statement taken from the IN FLAMES myspace blog.

As some may or may not know, Jesper has struggled for some time with alcoholic abuse, and decided to sit this one out (South America/Australia/Japan) in order to seek help and focus on rehabilitation and all that comes with it.We all talked about it and together with Jesper we chose to ask our longtime friend Niclas Engelin, who helped us before, to complete the tour.We are all sad that it needed to come to this, but health comes first.

Thanx for your understanding.

Jesper, Peter, Anders, Daniel & Björn


I hope you all join me in wishing him all the best with his endeavour to get to grips with his problem.

Saturday, 31 January 2009

Your last chance to enter the Metaholic Band Contest!

Today, 31st of January, is your FINAL chance to enter YOUR band into this years Metaholic Band Contest! Yes, if you haven't entered by the end of today, you will not get a chance to take part, and you'll have to wait until next year for the next one!

The bands who have entered so far are as follows:

Argentina


Enchained Souls


Australia


Orpheus

Blatherskite

Troldhaugen

KnightQueste


Brazil


Kylen 'Morgue


Estonia


Plagueround


Germany


Shotgun Justice
Buried In Between


Mexico


Imperium


Sweden


Arcosolium

Kill On Sight


United Kingdom


Sanity Falls

Silent Descent

Adust

Beyond Redemption

Sanctum Incendia

Troika

Save The Rebellion

Through Reverence

SubVerSi0N

Lycan's Blood

Vantage Point

Harvest The Sun


United States of America


Stormglass

Disobey

Till Doomsday

Third Gear Pinned

Tattermask

Tyrant Virus

Wednesday Night Church Fight

For more information on how to sign your band up, head to our previous blog on how to enter:

http://metaholicmusic.blogspot.com/2008/11/metaholic-band-contest-2009.html

Don't miss out on a chance to get our readers checking out YOUR band (so they can decide who to vote for to represent which country)! It's free publicity, it's got to be worth it!

Elimination Gigs!

Elimination are to do two upcoming gigs:

One in their home town of Ipswich on the 7th March at PJ Mcgintys, and the other being in London on the 13th March at The Rock Attic.

I highly recommend checking this band out for yourself, especially fans of bands such as Gama Bomb and Evile. You can listen to tracks from their "Nightmare Asylum" album on the bands MySpace page.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Mental Interrogation: The Return

Last year, I started trying to interview a band every week in the Mental Interrogation. Unfortunately, towards the end of last year, I wasn't getting enough bands interested in taking part, and with other personal issues, I stopped doing these interviews. But I feel that February is the month to relaunch this weekly grilling of bands!

The thing is, I would love us to have some new questions to ask, and I would LOVE if you, the readers of Metaholic Music, would have a think about what you'd like the bands to answer! You can give us as many ideas as you want, and we'll pick out the best ones to ask the bands every week. Just respond in our comments (at the bottom of this, there is a "comments" thing for you to click on).

I would like Metaholic Music to be as much YOUR metal blog as it is ours, and I personally would like to have as much input from our readers as possible!

We have got the first band lined up for the first Interrogation of the year, but if you are interested in taking part, then please send us an email to:

metaholicmusic@live.co.uk

Thanks a lot guys and girls!

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

EVILE-WARPATH-MUTANT UK TOUR

Thrash metallers EVILE are set to do a UK tour in April with support from WARPATH and MUTANT.

15 Birmingham, BarFly
16 Newcastle, Academy 2
17 Manchester Academy 3
18 Dublin IRE, Fibber Magess
19 Cork, An Crusicin Lan
20 Glasgow, BarFly
21 Edinburgh, Studio 24
22 Sheffield, Corporation
23 London, Underworld
24 Hammerfest, Prestatyn
26 Leed, Rios
27 Nottingham, Rock City

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles Presents:


CANNIBAL CORPSE with The Faceless, Neuraxis, and Obscura

Thu/Apr-02 Asheville, NC The Orange Peel
Fri/Apr-03 Memphis, TN New Daisy Theatre
Sat/Apr-04 Tulsa, OK The Marquee
Mon/Apr-06 Salt Lake City, UT Club Vegas
Tue/Apr-07 Boise, ID Knitting Factory Concert House
Wed/Apr-08 Spokane, WA Knitting Factory Concert House
Fri/Apr-10 Vancouver, BC Croatian Cultural Center
Sun/Apr-12 Edmonton, AB The Starlite Room
Mon/Apr-13 Calgary, AB MacEwan Hall Ballroom
Tue/Apr-14 Regina, SK Riddell Centre
Wed/Apr-15 Winnipeg, MB The Garrick Centre
Fri/Apr-17 St.
Paul, MN Station 4
Sat/Apr-18 Milwaukee, WI Eagles Ballroom
Sun/Apr-19 Grand Rapids, MI The Intersection
Tue/Apr-21 Montreal, QC The Medley
Wed/Apr-22 Ottawa, ON Babylon
Thu/Apr-23 Quebec City, QC Theatre Imperial
Fri/Apr-24 Poughkeepsie, NY The Chance
Sat/Apr-25 Richmond, VA Alley Katz
Sun/Apr-26 Jacksonville, NC Hooligan's Music Hall
Mon/Apr-27 Jacksonville, FL Freebird Live

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Your last week to register for the Metaholic Band Contest

This coming Saturday, 31st of January, is the final day to register your band for the Metaholic Band Contest and represent your country!


Click here
for more information on how to register your band!

It's a good way to get extra exposure for your band, a chance to be heard by potential new fans!!! So make sure you register today!

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Morbid Angel Australia & New Zealand tour

The legendary Morbid Angel have announced their return to Australia and New Zealand after a long 13 year gap! Through late May and early June, they will be playing one NZ show and four unmissable Aussie shows.

Those dates are:

Saturday May 30th - Transmission Room , Auckland
Monday June 1st - Billboards Nightclub, Melbourne
Wednesday June 3rd - Capitol, Perth
Friday June 5th - The Metro, Sydney
Sunday June 7th - The Arena, Brisbane

Tickets on Sale from Monday January 27th!

Friday, 23 January 2009

Submerged In Dirt

Oklahoma death metal band Submerged in Dirt recently dropped their bassist and went back to their previous one, Justin, and the band is once again a whole.
The band is still scheduled for recording in Wisconsin, come May.

The guitarist Royce is recovering from a minor surgery a few weeks ago, he had his middle fingertip partially amputated after an accident at work but he's doing well and still playing amazingly.


These guys are killer! You suck if you don't concur.

Submerged In Dirt Crushes Your Soul

www.myspace.com/submergedindirtband










Thursday, 22 January 2009

The community of heavy metal - where's that then?

Those of you who have seen Sam Dunn’s docu-film “Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey” will know he set out to study the music we love as a culture as much as for the art form – as he’s an anthropologist.

Culture would, however, denote a sense of a shared passion and of community, something Mr Dunn focuses on. But there’s a flaw in his reasoning.

You do see this sense of community forming at the big festivals like Download and Bloodstock. These festivals have the infectious spirit of a huge group of like-minded people uniting to have fun and enjoy the music we all love. The fact the world outside the festival’s bubble doesn’t understand? We just don’t care.

Moshers, metalheads, Goths – call us what you like – we’re heavy metal fans and we are proud of it!

So why do we not get this same spirit found at the festivals in the local scene here in the Steel City (Sheffield, UK)?

Something that’s become very apparent is the idea of “true metal” – only metal which falls into this category, usually the most extreme forms of black, death and doom, is considered to be the real thing – everything else is “poser” or “fake”. So apparently, if you can’t growl like Nergal of Behemoth or you don’t have the scream of Mortuus from Marduk, you just aren’t metal?

To me, metal is an art form that has to be reckoned with. In the late 70’s and early 80’s it was actually one of the most popular forms of music, despite the efforts of many in authority in America and elsewhere. Despite a drop in popularity from those dizzying heights, it maintains a vast and loyal fan base who are enduringly passionate for the music. In the words of Rob Zombie – “I’ve never heard “Yeah, I was in to Slayer, one summer!” I’ve never met that guy!”

And whether the metal in question is black, death, power, symphonic, progressive, battle or any other of the prefixes it acquires, on a basic level it has the same elements as all the rest – it’s metal, pure and simple. And metal is a force all of its own.

Heavy Metal is the kind of music that speaks to the outsiders and the loners, the people who never fitted in to the model society had laid out for them for any number of reasons. We all know we are set apart by being fans of metal music – we’re considered society’s outcasts as a whole because we dare to follow the music that doesn’t confirm to the prescribed format, and doesn’t set out to please the masses. Metal is as it is, you take it or you leave it, and if you don’t like the message it gives out, well then, don’t listen. And that is the attitude of a united front.

So why are we splitting ourselves up even further into silly factions of what’s “true” and what isn’t? Surely all the music which falls under the bracket of “metal”, like it or not, is speaking on the same level?

What a lot of people don’t accept is that metal, by its nature as a type of music, is also an art form. Art and music both have to change, they have to grow and evolve with time. Those that don’t frankly just don’t last long. Moving with the times can sometimes mean commercial success on a given level. But wait! That’s not metal, that’s selling out!

I hate to break this to the True Metal Elitists out there, but if metal didn’t have any viable commercial success at all, there would be no albums, no metal club nights, no live gigs and definitely no festivals. And what, pray tell, would be the point of that? Yes, the message would still be there loud and clear – but a message is there to be shouted from the rooftops and heard by anyone who will listen, not to be hidden away to die unheard?

If heavy metal had no commercial success at all, if it had died on its feet back in the days of the mighty Black Sabbath, then think of what we would be missing from our lives, and think of the unspoken numbers of people that metal reached out to and helped, who wouldn’t ever have received that comfort because there was no success and therefore, frankly, no music. For example, what’s wrong with a Grammy for Best Metal Performance? The bands we love are artists at the end of the day, and they deserve some kind of recognition by the masses for their dedication and brilliance.

Put in that context, is commercial viability really so “not metal?”

All these silly things are splitting the metal fan base apart for no good reason – society by its very nature would do that job quite happily for us, so why are we doing it for them?

If we’re a community of outcasts, as Mr Dunn suggests in his film, isn’t it about time we banded together again and acted like a one?