Monday, 23 February 2009

CD Review: Futility


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
Saline Oasis
My Sickness
Murder (Katatonia Cover)

Playing Time: 43:35

Check them out here:

Review of the Futility launch show:
Click Here

Friday, 20 February 2009

Cd Review: Ironwood :Fire:Water:Ash:


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:

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."

Monday, 16 February 2009


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

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!

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:
The Veil:

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!!


Tel: 07973699014

Best Regards


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: 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:

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.

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.