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

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

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 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,


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.


If you think this could be you, then you can contact them via their Myspace page

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