Pick Your Rock and Metal

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Top 10 CDs of 2008

IT’S that time of year when it is time to look back – that is the end of the year – at what the past 12 months provided. And in metal terms it was a bumper 2008. A host of fantastic gigs, a bumper crop of songs and a superb basketful of albums.

It would be a tough task to gather all the highlights, but rather than bore all the constant readers, better to focus on one – our take here on the top 10 albums of the year. After all, every magazine, TV channel and radio station picks their top 10.

So below is our choice of Top 10 albums of 2008. We’re sure to have left one or two out, maybe left out your favourite platter of the year. Or you might think we’ve gotten it all wrong. Anyway, enjoy the choice and leave your comments.

Number One: Metallica – Death Magnetic.
After years of seeming wilderness twiddling the kings retook their throne at the top of the global metal tree. Only Iron Maiden are on a par. Death Magnetic was both a return to the progressive thrash roots and an evolution. Complex changes and simple riffing sit side by side, but above all it is simply a damn fine metal album.

Number Two: Amon Amarth – Twilight of the Thunder God.
Amon Amarth promised much in the past, but inconsistent albums hindered them. Twilight is a different proposition. If Vikings sounded like this then no wonder they kicked medieval ass: a surging triumph of battle metal that knows its thrash heritage – fearless and victorious.

Number Three: Airbourne – Runnin Wild.
Hell – small Australians, the Young brothers, Angry Anderson, and now the O’Keefe led Airbourne show that small Aussie rockers know how to provide a soundtrack for a good time. Runnin Wild is a soundtrack to a good time.

Number Four: Slipknot – All Hope is Gone.
The Nine aren’t the most optimistic bunch of extreme metallers. All Hope is Gone is a slavering beast of noise. Intermittent melody mixed with brutality. Simply superb.

Number Five: Cancer Bats – Hail Destroyer.
Swinging, angry, humorous, demons flying – Cancer Bats delivered a hilarious and nasty album, replete with anthems and irate tirades. But above all it was a chant-a-long party of metal.

Number Six: Trivium – Shogun.
Okay – it has been fashionable to slag off the Floridian crew, but Shogun finally saw Trivium throw off the training wheels. Approach this album with an open mind and you’ll find melody and aggression coupled with musicianship of the highest quality.

Number Seven: Dragonforce – Ultra Beatdown.
Only included here because it always makes us smile: yeah it isn’t much different from any other Dragonforce but it is fun as hell to listen to

Number Eight: Cavalera Conspiracy – Inflikted.
When the Cavalera’s got together they delivered a brutal, back to basics sound storm of riffs and primal beats. Not easy on the ear, but damn fine metal listening.

Number Nine: Alice Cooper – Along Came A Spider.
Vincent Furnier’s alter ego delivered a tasteful tale of murder and slaughter, all with his usual poignancy and evil take on life – who said the son of a preacher man couldn’t rock out.

Number Ten: AC/DC – Black Ice.
Much overdue DC provided us with a reminder as to what straight forward hard rockin’ is supposed to sound like. And this was it. More bluesier in some parts, and even with a singalong anthem in Anything Goes.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sweet 09 ahead

As mentioned earlier, Sweet Savage are supporting Saxon for the 26th April, 2009 Mandella Hall gig (tix £17). In preparation for this mighty NWOBHM line-up we caught up with Savage's axeman, Ian 'Speedo' Wilson who is looking forward to a healthy 2009 for Belfast's legendary rockers.

"We supported Saxon at their St George's Day concert in London last year and Biff was impressed enough to promise us this gig as well as others which we can't reveal just yet. I hope we can let everyone at Belfastmetalheads know the full details after Christmas.

"This is an exciting time for Sweet Savavge, we are currently half way through recording our new album and it's sounding pretty damn good, even though i say so myself!

"It will open a few eyes. There are promo videos scheduled as well as a rockumentry which began with us opening for Metallica in the summer.

"Aside from the album, we are eagerly awaiting our dates for next year. All we know is we will be touring throughout Europe over the Spring & Summer months as support to someone, we just can't say yet. In late summer we will be off to Germany/Spain for the Metal festivals."

Good luck to Speedo and the Savage crew - about time they were recognised for being more than a band that Metallica covered one of their songs. They were, and remain an inspiration -sometimes unknown - for so much of today's hard rock and metal.

Great way to end the tour

Couldn't make it to Black Stone Cherry tonight for various reasons...but to quote someone who was there...

"Great show. Hot and sweaty but they loved it. Voice was going half way through as he sings so harshly and they’ve being going 5 weeks straight.

"To quote them: ‘Great fucking way to end the tour man, amazing'!"

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

April Fools...that would be the Eagles (of Death Metal)

While the Eagles are set for a return to Belfast, on April Fool's Day an entirely different set of raptors are set to make their Belfast début - Eagles of Death Metal.

Dismissed by some, loved by others - the Eagles arrived in 2004 when they launched their wholesome good-graciousness with “Peace, Love, and Death Metal.”

It was a favorite of advertisers, as several songs from it were used in television advertisements including those for Ask.com, Comcast, Payless ShoeSource, Nissan Motors, Budweiser, Pontiac Motors, Wendys, as well as in the trailer for the film Thank You for Smoking and for a promotional disc for the film Grindhouse.

Since then their 2006 release, Death By Sexy and this year's Heart On have earned then plaudits and cynicism in equal amounts.

The Eagles Of Death Metal play The Spring & Airbrake on Wednesday 1st April 2009. Tickets are on sale now from all usual outlets, priced £15 subject to booking fee as usual.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The other bit of Darkness

The Darkness played in Belfast twice...once at Ormeau Park, the second time at the Odyssey. At Ormeau Park they were at their trashy best, full of a mischievous glee at finding their glam rock, twin guitar pastiche popular. While the Odyssey gig was musically sound, the floating tits and overall campness suggested -looking back - that it was the beginning of the end for the Hawkins brothers as a gigging unit.

Cue trip to Priory for Justin, awful Eurovision attempt and gloom all round as the mainstream media pretended they knew it was a joke all along - the self-same mainstream media who nearly shat themselves handing The Darkness major-league awards and fawning at the feet of the band.

Dan Hawkins was first to dust himself off and return with a healthy spattering of old bandmates and start gigging with Stone Gods, bearing the same pomposity, but with a harder edge.

Now Justin is back recording and gigging with new act Hot Legs. On February 26th Hot Legs will be playing at The Limelight (tickets £11) in his new persona. While he remains as over-the-top and full of bullshit as ever, he has now moved on from the 70s inspired glam rock to a persona more akin to Dave Lee Roth. He's now added a 'Dave' in the middle of his name and was wearing a get-up much like Mr Roth's 'Jump' era denim and neck bandana in recent TV appearances.

February 26th will be a fascinating gig for a number of reasons. It could be like watching a car wreck.

Or it could be seeing a real resurrection from a man prepared to admit he has always been a pastiche of the past, and prepared to pay homage to an era we older wrinkly rockers earned our stripes in; and still hanker for innocent days when you could actually like Van Halen and Def Leppard as well as Metallica and Slayer without anyone batting an eyelid.

I'm hoping that Hawkins manages to pull it off - he's an annoying prat at the best of times, but I suspect he knows that it is all really for a laugh now, pays a few bills, that his arena headlining days are behind him, but playing in front of fans is just as important has having the 'serious' critics and fashionistas fawn up to him for fifteen minutes. Good luck for the 26th 'Dave' Hawkins!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Real Punch for DC fans!

Fretting over missing AC/DC's sold-out April date in Dublin...fear not for the Aussie monsters of rock will be bringing their Black Ice tour back to Ireland in June, with a date at Punchestown Racecourse.

So far only the date has been confirmed (28th June) with no details of ticket prices, support slots (surely it has to be The Answer!) or timings.

As soon as these are in the public domain we'll post it here.

New Zealand Datsun...

New Zealand hard rockers, The Datsuns, are set to play Belfast's Spring & Airbrake on February 6th...details and ticket prices to come

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

BBC finally realise there is a metal community

BBC Radio Ulster's Good Morning Ulster programme is recording a feature for Christmas week (exact broadcast date to be confirmed) on hard rock and heavy metal.

The hook they are using is that hard rock and metal is 'enjoying' a resurgence with Metallica, AC/DC, Slipknot all topping the charts recently.

Reporter Julie Flanaghan contacted Belfastmetalheadsreunited and a few words were quickly laid down on tape. Truth be told it was a lot of waffle on my part...but it was early morning and without the requisite caffeine injection I may have even mentioned metal tapping into the deepest darkest psyche of the human condition....

Of course, seeing as Judas Priest are playing on the 11th February the old 'metal causes young people to commit suicide' line came out. Suffice to say she was reminded that the case was thrown out of court.

Julie also interviewed Circadian for the piece. We here at the Metal Mansion also put her in touch with several luminaries of the hard rock and metal scene, from Sweet Savage's Speedo, through to many, many others. If she ever gets in touch with them all and lays down interviews it may run to a three-hour piece...

Once the broadcast date is known please email goodmorningulster@bbc.co.uk and text in on 81771 to show the BBC that the metal community is in rude good health...

Thanks for the link below in the comments for the full interview...hear it here:

Supersuckin' pussy...

Excuse the headline innuendo, but it was too good an opportunity to plug the Supersuckers appearance with Nashville Pussy at the Limelight on 20th April. Ticket's £14.50

Saxon back

Saxon are to make a return visit to Belfast as part of their spring tour. According to Totalrock.com the veteran rockers will be playing the Mandella Hall on the 27th April. Support comes from out own NWOBHM legends Sweet Savage, who are laying down tracks for a new CD. More details soon.

Ticket prices to be confirmed

No need for a requiem for metal, all is not lost...

No need for a requiem for metal, all is not lost...okay, been a bit lax posting this, but suffice to say that last week BNB Promotions announced the headliner for this year's Full Metal Racket.

Paradise Lost will head the line-up of several stunning acts on Saturday 25th April at the Mandella Hall for what is sure to be an awesome all ages gig.

Full line-up:

Monday, December 08, 2008

When does protection become censorship?

The Internet Watch Foundation has caused internet service providers across the UK to censor a Wikipedia Scorpions page with the cover of the 1976 album Virgin Killer. The picture is of a naked pre-pubescent girl. The picture is already available on dozens of websites as part of the band's discography.

The IWF statement is here, and you can judge for yourself the album's cover here.

Obviously in 1976 the internet was non-existent, and the standards of the time were less rigid. While we wouldn't condone such an album cover now, there is no hint of any child having been abused at the time through this picture being taken. Ironically, the album is not one of Scropions best of the 70's era, with only two tracks making it to the live Tokyo Tapes double platter just two years later.

But the IWF's action has enraged Wikipedia editors and users, with the claim being that the IWF action has led to users being unable to edit pages.

While this is a debate relating to web censorship, one has to wonder what is the next step in the IWF's crusade? While all of us should support actions to prevent child pornography and stop the abuse of children, the ability of a self-appointed body, which has no oversight or accountability to decide on the distinction between creativity and abuse. What would they have make of W.A.S.P.'s Animal: Fuck Like a Beast, Motorhead's Jailbait or other lyrics, stageshows, album covers etc.

I fear that heavy metal is once again under the censor's spotlight.

ADDENDUM: The IWF has backed down...they have now withdrawn their objection...in slightly less than gracious terms. :) Read the BBC report here.

while you're waiting...

Been up to my eyes lately hence the lack of regular posts...thanks for the kind emails...("where the f**k are you you lazy shit" being the highlight so far.

Normal service will be resumed shortly...til then check out the new Metallica video here for All Nightmare Long.

This one won't get past uncut by the censors on Kerrang! Scuzz and MTV etc, but it's well worth checking out, with an homage to so many art forms and trashy Zombie movies, as well as classical Soviet propoganda...nice merging between 'live' action and animation.

All proving the thesis that there are few acts who put as much effort into their promo videos...even though they will only be rarely seen!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Maiden vocalist's April battle

Paul Di'Anno has announced April dates on his myspace that are set to include a Belfast show. With Blaze Bayley playing around the time (full details to come soon). Will be interesting to see which one has the better solo material...my money is on Blaze

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Slightly off topic...but all hail FUEL!

Slightly off normal topic this post, but all hail to the young people led project in Enniskillen called FUEL. I was there today as part of my 'day job' as Media and Public Affairs Officer for the Children's Commissioner and met up with a group of young people determined to help themselves by setting up a project they run.

Welcoming the Commissioner amid TV cameras and press photographers local act Setoria [think that's the right spelling!] débuted, followed by a hilarious duet singing about being ginger! (that has to go on Youtube!

And who was in the middle of it all lending a helping hand but Krum of Darkest Era!

Great to see that west of the Bann the shining beacon of metal burns fiercely and more to the point under 18s proving once again they're not wasters intent on causing crap, but rather contributing and rocking out in a safe, healthy environment. All hail FUEL, keep it rockin' keepin' it real!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Soulfly tribe is once again on the warpath

Soulfly have confirmed a Belfast date - 5th February, 2009 at the Spring and Airbrake.

Max Cavalera's happy band of warriors will bring their metal on the back of the album release of Conquer earlier this year. And the main has this to say about his commitment to the world metal music cause:

“I do this for the love of music. We could use the tools of the market to make a commercial record and sell more, but I wouldn’t be as happy inside. I made the choice, and we aren’t going down the easy road. We’re going down the fucked up road, but that’s the road that we know.”

Tickets £17.50, usual outlets, neck brace must be purchased separately.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Warm up for Gorgoroth on Saturday

If you want to warm yourself up for Sunday's Gorgoroth gig the Distortion Project's regular RockD slot tomorrow (Saturday) sees Arcane and Niyah Sky play at Katy Daly's.

Priced £2.50...excellent value!

The following Saturday RockD sees Interrogate, No Grace Given, and Razor Sentry - same venue, same price!

Aussie prog covers...

Nearly forgot to post this...the world's largest tribute act, The Australian Pink Floyd, are returning to Belfast for an Odyssey gig on 26th April, 2009. Talk about enduring appeal for prog!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Welcome to Free P Hell :)

In case you've forgotten (not likely!) those fun-loving, controversy stirring, friends of Free Presbyterian demonstrators everywhere, and Black Metal legends Gorgoroth will be paying their first visit to Belfast on November 23rd.

They play Ormeau Avenue's Limelight. Tickets, priced £15 are still on sale from Katy Daly's or http://www.geturticket.com.

"Expect the unexpected from a band that constantly push themselves to their physical and emotional limits," rightly said promoters, The Distortion Project.

Doors on the day are at 8pm. Support comes from AVERSE SEFIRA and ZEBEDIAH CROWE http://www.myspace.com/gorgoroth

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Lamb of God support

Thanks to Wayne for the tip, Belfast promoter, CDC Leisure, has confirmed to me that Five Finger Death Punch and Mass Extinction will be the support for Lamb of God's 8th February Mandella Hall spectacular metal assault. Neck braces at the ready!

Monday, November 17, 2008

December 13th All-Ages line-up

Pre-Christmas All-Ages gig at Black Box on December 13th...here's the lineup (Not in any particular order)
  • Escape Fails
  • Hand of Death
  • Ozzmium
  • Circadian
  • This Years Confession
  • Dead til Friday
  • Niyah Sky

Doors are at noon and tickets, available at the door are priced at a very reasonable £5

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More batty action

Total Rock is reporting that Cancer Bats will support In Flames' Belfast Mandella Hall appearance on 23rd April...more soon

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Trivium support

Support for Trivium's December 5th Mandeall Hall comes from The Haunted and Rise to Remain. Tickets are £20.50 for this over 16 gig...doors 7pm

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ain't a Bitter Saturday at all

Playing at Katy Dalys, Ormeau Avenue on Saturday 15th:
A Little Bitter and

Doors 3.30pm, admission £2.50. First band at 5.30pm, music til 8.

Gig courtesy of the Distortion Project regular RockD slot at the Ormeau Avenue venue.

Escaping to a December party?

Fed up with the office geeks and schoolyard arseholes planning Christmas parties with stupid dance music and X-Factor rejects as a soundtrack to turkey stuffed nightmares? As well as the healthy crop of gigs for us 'older' folks (Mastodon, Trivium, Municipal Waste, Biffy Clyro, Black Stone Cherry) littler ones will have the chance for some hard rockin' oblivion in December.

Those dame fine chaps Escape Fails will be bringing their "post-hardcore wrecking ball" to the Black Box on December 13th for an all-ages show.

Support from Circadian and at least one other act.

More details to follow...Christmas crackers, tinsel and mistletoe optional...

Flaming good Belfast date!

As if the queue of metal bands set to play Belfast wasn't getting ridiculous enough as it is, Swedish mentallists In Flames have posted a Mandella Hall date on their Myspace.

The proposed date is April 23rd next year.

No definite confirmation from a promoter as yet, though this looks a certainty :)

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Ormeau Park and Metallica

Seems that the rumour mill over Metallica playing Belfast's Ormeau Park has been spiralling all over the place. While any sensible metalhead would back this to the hilt there are a few facts that we have been trying to piece together. Here they are:
  • Metallica have told their buddies that they want to play Belfast;
  • There is an application for an entertainment event at Ormeau Park;
  • A security firm has been requested to provide a crew for a possible June/July/August outdoor event in Belfast
  • There are slots in Metallica's current confirmed tour diary in June and July and nothing has been announced beyond the 5th Copenhagen show.
  • Belfast hasn't an indoor venue large enough to cope with the in-the-round set, but it has ben adapted for both indoor and outdoor use
So far all sounds good...but here are the contra points:
  • At least one local promoter has no idea if this is real or not
  • A close contact with the band has intimated that while they'd love to play Belfast again nothing has been discussed in detail yet
  • The last big outdoor gig (Botanic Gardens) in Belfast ended in a row between the promoter and PSNI over bills
  • The traffic management around Ormeau Park may cause objections to a large gig

All this didn't stop website that sells "legitimate pre-sale tickets" offering to secure two tickets for me for a, ahem, a reasonable booking charge. When I called them it was strange there was no answer...passed details on to the authorities and lo and behold within 30 minutes that date on the 'Tallica tour was taken down....

In other words we have to take the balance of these arguments. As those of you who may remember school/uni philosophy it all comes down to the burden of proof. As it stands the burden of proof does not rest either way....

But...the final word from an ill-informed/well-informed (you choose :) after the summer) source was that if you're serious about Metallica don't even think of booking your summer holidays til we know the exact date!

On this occassion I'll leave impartiality well outside the door and say to the promoters..."Make this happen!"

Friday, November 07, 2008

Dimmu Borgir

No official confirmation yet, but Kerrang! reported this week that Dimmu Borgir will be co-headlining with Lamb of God at the February 8th Mandella Hall gig.

Will let you know as soon as promoter says one way or t'other; this could be one very, very noisy gig :)

ADDENDUM: No confirmation from promoter - spoke to a staffer at Kerrang! today who said they 'assumed' it was another date on the Metal Hammer sponsored Defenders of the Faith 2 tour with DM. It's not listed as a DM tour date on their official site...any update we'll post here

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

NOFX for Spring and Airbrake

Back on October 11th we trailed the forthcoming announcement of a NOFX Belfast date. Today CDC made it official. NOFX are playing an intimate show at the Spring & Airbrake on 26th April, 2009.

Tickets are on sale now for £19.00 (subject to booking fee).

I for one don't have too much time for a lot of the pop punk dross that has been thrown up in the wake of the likes of NOFX, but they are among the bands that have a genuine sense of the absurd, as well as a keen awareness of their place in the world.

Fat Mike is not only a talented songwriter, but has demonstrated a political nous many of his contemporaries lack. Today as America casts votes for the next incumbent it was Fat Mike and a few like minded souls four years ago that campaigned long and hard throughout the Warped Tour to get more young people registered to vote. While it didn't oust Dubbya that time, the seeds were sown. How many of those registered disaffected, angry, angst-ridden will now tip the balance when tonight's results roll in.

I'm putting my vote down now for a healthy smattering of tracks from 2003 platter 'War on Errorism', and an extra big request for 'The Idiots have Taken Over'.

Errr... Mastodon guys supporting Mastodon...

Fiend Without A Face featuring Brent Hinds & Brann Dailor will support Mastodon on Dec 4 2008 Belfast @ Spring & Airbrake

Go figure...http://www. myspace. com/fiendatl

Monday, November 03, 2008

Full Metal Racket 09

Full Metal Racket
Saturday 25th April 2009
Mandella Hall Belfast
All Ages.

More to follow

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Ormeau Park going all metallic....

If it happens you heard it hear first! Well placed sources at Belfast City Council have laid huge hints that Ormeau Park will be the venue for Metallica's 2009 Belfast date. Whether it all pans out or not we'll have to wait and see.

The facts we have so far: Sweet Savage, who as we all who know are on more than casual terms with 'Tallica, have announded on stage that Metallica will be playing Belfast in 2009; promoters are negotiating with Metallica's management; privately band members have expressed a desire to play NI again (...Justice for All Tour was the last time they played and that was in Antrim!); security is being booked for a 'big' summer heavy rock date; and, every fucking 'head has been talking about this since Death Magnetic was released...

All hardly conclusive, but we hear at Belfastmetalheadsreunited intend to be first in the queue, down the front and banging that head that doesn't bang! Get ready for whiplash motherfuckers


Friday, October 24, 2008

Attention all rockers and metalheads – the Ulster Hall needs you!

Belfast’s most historic venue is currently undergoing a massive £7.43 million refurbishment, and is re-opening at the beginning of March 2009.

When it does so, it will house an interpretative exhibition telling the Hall’s story through words, pictures and sound.

Organisers are now asking anyone who has a special memory of an Ulster Hall experience to contribute by sharing their unique stories or personal memorabilia.

As Tim Husbands, Managing Director of Belfast Waterfront and the Ulster Hall, explains:

“The Ulster Hall stands out as one of Northern Ireland’s most impressive cultural icons with a history of staging live events that is unrivalled by any other Belfast venue. We want to explore and reveal people’s own special experiences and recollections of the Ulster Hall for everyone to share.

“We all have our own stories and there are really no limits to the kinds of information and memorabilia we are looking for. It could be a special memory of a concert or sporting event, seeing an idol on stage, people you used to meet at the Ulster Hall or even something special that happened while you were there.”

“It could even be a ticket or a programme that you still have. We are keen to see any memorabilia that you may have tucked away. It’s up to you! The Ulster Hall holds special memories for so many of us. Don’t keep them to yourself!”

So, metalheads, do you have a special memory of your favourite gig? Were you there when Led Zeppelin played ‘Stairway…’ for the first time? Or the night Cliff Burton ripped the roof of the joint so shortly before his tragic passing? Do you have that precious Motorhead backstage pass tucked away in a drawer somewhere? Or that Megadeth T-shirt you can’t quite squeeze into anymore?

Don’t worry if any of your memorabilia has sentimental venue – it will all be safely returned.

If you would like your Ulster Hall story to be heard, or would like to pass on any memorabilia (don’t send any at this stage), get in touch by emailing ulsterhall@belfastcity.gov.uk, with ‘Ulster Hall Memories’, in the subject line.

Article by Monk from our associate
The Pied Piper Agency

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Wasn't going to mention this, but some of you apparently like some of these bands...
Kerrang Relentless Tour Tuesday 13th Jan Mandela Hall Mindless Self Indulgence Bring Me The Horizon Black Tide In Case Of Fire £20

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Metallica UK tour dates

Metallica are to play Nottingham Arena February 25, Manchester MEN Arena 26, Sheffield Arena 28, London 02 Arena March 2, Newcastle Arena 3, Birmingham LG Arena 25, Glasgow SECC 26, London 02 Arena 28. Tickets go on sale at 9am on October 24. Machine Head and The Sword will support. No confirmation of an Irish or Northern Irish date...yet.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Lamb of God official notice

We've been touting this for a wee while - and CDC have now made official the Lamb of God February gig. Details below and extracts from official band interviews

LAMB OF GOD have confirmed a show in Belfast’s Mandela Hall in 2009.

The Virgina band play Mandela Hall on Sunday 8th February.

Tickets are priced £17.00 subject to booking fee are available at all usual outlets.

Venue: Mandela Hall Date: Sunday 8th February 2009, doors 7:00pm. Support: TBC

The roots of Lamb of God were planted in 1990 when Chris Adler, Mark Morton and John Campbell were floor mates at a Virginia Commonwealth University dormitory.

Four years later (1994) the trio met up at Chris's rental house in Church Hill, Richmond to make some noise. "There was no heat at the house," recalls Campbell. "Kerosene fumes and Black Label beer were definitely what fueled our early days."

"I couldn't afford to heat the house. We could see each other's breath when we played" recalls Adler. "It was rough, but in retrospect this was the perfect setting to prove our dedication to the aggressive music we wrote."

After graduation, Morton moved to Chicago to pursue a master's degree, but the band continued.

A new guitarist, Abe Spear, quickly replaced Morton. Soon after the band retired its instrumental sound and added Randy Blythe on vocals.

The quartet, known then as Burn the Priest, became a fixture in the tightly-knit Richmond music scene. To compete with the high-level of musicianship displayed by their contemporaries, the band adopted a rigid practice schedule.

"To this day, we practice five days a week," says Campbell. "Many of the bands in Richmond can flat outplay you and if you don't practice, they will blow you off the stage. They inspired us to raise the bar musically and taught us the work ethic we needed to be a success.

"The band worked incessantly, rehearsing and booking small shows across the country for the next three years.

"John and I would screen print shirts at my apartment in hopes of selling them at shows for gas money to the next show," recalls Adler.

The band got in early and made good use of the internet. Even without a record label or a full-length release, the band became the most downloaded metal act at the popular music-sharing site MP3.com. In 1997, Morton moved back from Chicago and soon after re-joined the group.

Burn the Priest released a self-titled full-length album on Legion Records in 1998. Two years of DIY touring followed. The band played hundreds of shows during this time including several shows at the legendary CBGB's in Manhattan as well as multiple appearances at the well-known Milwaukee Metal Festival.

In early 2000, Abe amicably left the band to pursue a new career. This opened a spot for guitarist. Chris's younger brother Willie had recently moved back to Virginia from a stint in Seattle, WA.

Knowing his talent and ability first hand, Chris called him to Richmond to audition. There were no additional auditions.With the change in blood, a new energy and potential, Burn the Priest changed its name to Lamb of God.The newly monikered band's debut, New American Gospel, was released in 2000.

"This album was all about creating a rhythmic and pummeling musical landscape," explains Morton. Drummer Adler notes: "This is a classic record. We had all the elements come together to make one of the heaviest, yet contagious records of our career. It was difficult to contain us - we didn't even understand at the time what we had created.

"Another two years of extensive touring in support of the album raised Lamb of God's profile before the band buckled down to write and release the critically acclaimed, As The Palaces Burn (2003). As The Palaces Burn won record of the year honors in such notable magazines as Revolver and Metal Hammer while garnering positive mainstream press in Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly.

As The Palaces Burn earned them a new level of respect and admiration, but it was 2004's virulent major label debut (Epic Records) Ashes of the Wake that turned the band into true contenders for the metal throne.

Revolver magazine voted it the album of the year, a Guitar World readers poll deemed it best metal album and awarded the band "most valuable players," "best shredders" and "best riffs."

The video for "Now You've Got Something to Die For" earned "best video" from both MTV and Revolver. A DVD chronicling the tour and life on the road with the band, Killadelphia, now certified Platinum by the RIAA, was released in 2005 creating a feeding frenzy for the bands live show.

Lamb of God supported Ashes of the Wake with relentless touring, now playing mostly arenas and festivals, starting with a headlining run on Second Stage at Ozzfest 2004, and ending by headlining the North American Sounds of The Underground Festival in 2005.

The political angst that fueled the lyrics on As The Palaces Burn continues unabated on Ashes of the Wake. However, Blythe admits that his plans to write songs about personal responsibility quickly changed.

"At the start of this album we agreed that we wanted to concentrate on internal instead of external politics," he explains. "But as we got into it, considering the condition of the world today, we felt obligated as responsible artists to give accurate social commentary, and that meant writing a few indictments against the powers that be."Mixing a call to arms with a sneering disdain balances Ashes of the Wake.

"In the end, I think the album is stronger because we show the relation between internal and external politics instead of just focusing on one or the other," Blythe says. "These songs are a reality check for everyone because they rail against a wrong-headed government and against the apathetic people that ignore the government and allow it to exist."After Ashes of the Wake, they had been praised as one of the leaders of the new American metal movement, and while they were flattered to be considered part of something so influential, this time they wanted to stand alone.

"I believe it's important for us to create a legacy for this band, and I don't want that legacy to be in association with anyone else," drummer Chris Adler commented.

Towards the end of 2005, the band stopped all touring and came home to Richmond, VA, to begin writing the next chapter. An intense 8-month writing process followed. "We pretty much killed ourselves working on it five to six days a week for six to eight hours a day," says Adler.

"It was important to push ourselves into uncomfortable territory as players. A lot of times one of us would say, 'I'm not sure if I can play that.' The typical response was, 'Well, you've got a few months to figure it out.' We pushed ourselves to step it up and threw out a lot of decent material because we were insisting on only the best.

"One reason Lamb of God pushed so hard is because they wanted to create something that couldn't be classified, categorized or marginalized.

August 22, 2006 brought Sacrament, a stunning example of how diverse, articulate and pummeling metal can be. It's a record that emphasizes just how far the band members have come as players, writers and people and stands as a true testament of triumph over adversity.

With Sacrament, Lamb of God has stoked the flames even higher than their previous works had blazed. The songs are bleak and dark, yet key ingredients of a ride that's as breathless, exhilarating and terrifying as an overdose.Guitarist and co-lyricist Mark Morton notes the band chose the name Sacrament based on a specific lyrical reference as well as a more general symbolic perspective.

"It employs the idea of the traditional religious Sacrament, which is something you do as ritual to get to a different level of your faith," he says. "It was also symbolic in terms of us putting out another record and getting to the next stage of our musical development."

"This is definitely a personal record and it's the darkest thing we've ever done," adds Blythe. "It stems from a lot of depression and a bleak worldview. In the last couple years I've been going through a lot of intense personal issues.

"The biggest difference between Sacrament and Ashes of the Wake is the lyrical content. In the past, Lamb of God has lyrically been motivated by the hypocrisy, greed and turmoil of politics and politicians. This time the band turned within to reveal an even greater source of despair and frustration.

Songs like 'Pathetic' and 'Descending' for instance are about the whirlpool of addiction and alcoholism, 'Walk With Me In Hell' addresses the destruction of codependency and 'Blacken the Cursed Sun' confronts suicidal depression.

"The lyrics were so intense for me, when I was recording, it was like breathing pain instead of air," Blythe says.

"Once it was done, I couldn't listen to the record for another two months. It took so much out of me to get all this out, I didn't want to touch it right away."In addition to being undeniably heavy in many ways, Sacrament is a sincere expression of the turmoil that has tumbled through the last few years of the band's existence.

In an era of stagnant, contrived metal, Lamb of God is a harrowing rush of honesty, a declaration that no matter what anyone else is playing, Lamb of God will always follow their own hearts.The record went on to become the top selling metal record of the next 2 years and, as As The Palaces Burn was in 2003, Sacrament was voted the #1 Metal Album of the Year in Revolver Magazine. The reviews both from the media and from fans were overwhelmingly positive.

"We hit a nerve," commented Adler. "This music and the lyrics within Sacrament speak and cut deeply. This is an intense record and comes at an important time in our lives and the world we live in."

By the end of 2006 the band had shattered every goal most metal bands can expect to attain. Despite this, the music industry had in large part ignored them. This was about to change. The band and the overwhelming grass roots following would no longer go unnoticed. Sacrament and Lamb of God were nominated for a Grammy in best category of best Metal Performance.

Can't wait til February!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

They've got The Answer

Review by Allison Sutherland

There’s no denying that ‘The Answer’ are one of the best bands to come out of Northern Ireland in the last 10 years. I looked forward to seeing them again and listening to some new material. It has to be said that I wasn’t in agreement with their record label releasing ‘Rise’ again (plus 'new' material) last year. Okay, I know that the band have been on the road and that time was short to get back in the studio, however, did we fans feel justified by a re-hash?
Was it fair on us to ask us go back out and buy what we already had?

Saying that, Rise II's extra tracks were good; not mind bowingly so, but good none the less.

The gig at the Spring and Airbrake on 16th October was a nice way for the lads to experiment with what they’ll showcase to the States and the massive audiences they’ll get supporting AC/DC. It was tight and it was professional, I think that they did us proud in their offering.

I will state at this juncture that there was nothing different and nothing that broke the mould in what we were given. It was pure un-adulterated ‘Answer.’ Let’s face it, if you’ve come so far with one album, why change your style?

The boys opened with ‘Come Follow me’ it was as good as it always is and then followed with 10 other tracks. Only ‘Never Too Late, Under the Sky and Preachin’ were ones that the audience had heard before.

The rendition of a new offering ‘Demon Eyes’ started ok, but BOY, did it pick up. Excuse me, but I was left speechless!

‘Tonight’ had Micky doing a good lot of backing vocals and it worked real well. It rocked like a child with no real parentage confirmed. There’s a track called ‘On Tow’ and it’s Blue Grass influenced, with Cormac on harmonica and Paul giving it some welly with his guitar behind his head. Flash bastard … luckily, he’s good enough to get away with it!

Comfort Zone is cool, but again very influenced by deep south American Blues/Blue Grass in total honesty it reminded me of Steve Earle’s ‘Copper Head Road’ don’t knock it ‘till you tried it people! What this song does do is allow us to hear Cormac’s incredibly powerful vibrato, can that guy sing or what?

I LOVE these guys and adore the first album, but in all honesty I hope that after their crack at America , with the support slot for AC/DC, they get a chance to re-group and have some time out to find a grown up sound that allows them to develop. There’s a ‘comfort zone’ going on (not trying to be ironic at all) but I’d love to see them push themselves further.

The thing with The Answer is that they’re not up their own arses, they like to meet the fans, saying that, they’re so terribly humble you feel like you’re intruding. How can that be, when they have such a HUGE fan base? Let it remain the same and they will continue to grow and grow … just like Topsy!

No denying it though, that the good old US of A is in for one Hell of a treat when our boys from Downpatrick hit them full on and will not be taking any prisoners, I for one wish them the best, but in total honesty ...they don't need it!! These home grown boys will find their level and after chatting with David Coverdale a couple of weeks ago .... he's 'watchin' their space!'

Friday, October 17, 2008

Lamb of God Belfast date

Roadrunner Records have officially listed a Lamb of God date at the Mandella Hall on 8th February.

It's not yet clear whether they will be accompanied by Dimmu Borgir and Five Finger Death Punch, or if this is to be part of the official Kerrang! tour package, but it seems likely. But hell! Lamb of God in Belfast! Excellent!

More details as soon as we get them!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Quick, there's a bandwagon rolling by

Quick, catch that bandwagon - The Answer are flavour of the month again with the local rags entertainment sections - even making it to the news pages of the Irish News.

Amazing what snagging the AC/DC US support slot can do.

But then again, The Answer deserve it - hell we should demand that the local papers and magazines devote more time to them and the many local bands who are consistently delivering fine hard rock. So, come on the local press and get there.

Good luck to all the guys in The Answer in the US, and especially good luck tonight at the Spring and Airbrake.

Breaking Boundaries

Funeral for a Friend’s return to the tour circuit saw a genre defying line-up, but they kept their Welsh roots to the fore in the line-up with fellow countrymen Attack Attack opening to a sold-out Spring and Airbrake.

Their Jimmy-Eat-World tinged emo brought a few cheers although the crackly guitars and singalong choruses ultimately were too samey, both on the night and in terms of too many bands that sound the same.

Portadown’s In Case Of Fire were always guaranteed rousing local support, but the band’s sub-Muse panderings took too long to get going, and it was crowd favourite Parallels that finally saw them warm up and begin to really engage with the packed front rows.

Their experience of touring with the likes of Biffy Clyro and Ash is beginning to pay off for the trio, but the use of samples between songs only breaks the flow of the set.

Toronto’s Cancer Bats have no problem with engaging the crowd – from the unpretentious tuning of their own gear on stage through to the manic arrival of singer Liam Cormier they knew which part of the crowd they were playing. And that was the part swirling in the mosh pit as they kicked off with Let It Pour.

Cormier’s commitment to the cause ran to literally joining the crowd, held aloft crowd surfing, and from the middle of the crush at the front. Highlights were mainly from their most recent new album, with Lucifer’s Rocking Chair prompting old style headbanging. Set closer and album title track Hail Destroyer kicked off a manic pit and mass chanting. What the younger fans made off it was beyond saying as they tried to make it to the front amid flailing bodies.

Funeral for a Friend are accomplished performers; and they have been open about the sometimes dark journey that dogged periods of their career

Tonight the darkness was dispelled in what was a performance that owed as much to re-connecting with fans as to airing tracks off new album, Memory and Humanity.

From which there were a precious few – highlight being Maybe I Am.

This though, was as much about giving fans a tour through the back catalogue – reminding them why they became fans and why the band enjoy hitting the stage even in the darkest of times.

Matt Davies clearly was enjoying himself on stage in a well paced that ranged from the impassioned Juneau through the plaintive Your Revolution Is A Joke to hitting the audience with full-on version’s of She Drove Me To Daytime Television, and Novella.

They have shrugged off the emo/scremo tag, shrugged off the lighter moments off their last album to morph into a simply damn fine hard rock band; and a band that may be able to retain its fanbase when many contemporaries have fallen by the wayside.

As they left the stage with a powerful version of Escape Artists Never Die, Funeral for A Friend left contented and left the Belfast crowd eager for the Welsh band’s return.

First tentative news on Metallica

The first tentative confirmation has emerged of the what, where and when of Metallica's indoor European dates - of which Belfast is touted to be one!

Shows are being scheduled between May and July and support will be in some two or three from Lamb of God, Machine Head, Mastodon and The Sword; the exact mix of bands to be decided in each country/region.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Turisas vs Dragonforce

A review I did of Saturdays Dargonforce/Turisas double bill has been picked up by a few Scandanavian/Finnish fanzine, which should be published next month, but the comments I have been hearing from local fans are split.

Many are saying that Dargonforce were blown off the stage by Turisas, while others were saying to me that Dragonforce were, unlike their last tired Mandella Hall appearance, seemed re-invogorated by playing new songs.

Taking off the dispassionate reviewer's hat I'll put my cards down and say I 'totally' enjoyed both bands, but will leave the final word to the Belfastmetalheads junior editor (a.k.a my son). His considered, thoughtful comment..."HOLY SHIT!"

I think he liked it.

Wednesday night in Belfast

They've been dubbed screamo, emo and even post-hardcore pop (seriously!) but as they move into a mature phase in their writing and performing Funeral for a Friend are proving that they are simply a damn good hard rock band.

Tonight they play at the Spring and Airbrake. Support comes from another genre-defying act, Cancer Bats, who have already played Belfast recently. Cancer Bats are one of the most underrated acts on the circuit at the moment, and their Hail Destroyer album could be the breakthrough platter they deserve.

Also on the line-up are Portadown's In Case of Fire and Attack Attack!

DC for Dublin

After much speculation the Aussie maestros, AC/DC have confirmed an Irish date. They are set to play the O2 (formerly known as The Point) on April 18th, 2009.

No word yet on whether The Answer will continue their US support slot into the European tour.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Busy week of hard rock and metal ahead!

As if Saturday's awesome double bill of metal, when Dragonforce and Turisas laid waste to the crowd at the Mandella Hall, wasn't enough there's a helluva busy week of hard rock and metal ahead!

Tomorrow (Tuesday) Raging Speedhorn, backed by local noisenicks Residual Effect and Stand-Up Guy, blast the Bunkers.

On Wednesday, Funeral for a Friend (new darker, harder album out today), Cancer Bats, In Case of Fire, and Attack Attack are at the Spring and Airbrake.

And on Thursday The Answer play the same venue before heading off to support AC/DC on their Black Ice US tour!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

NOFX for Belfast....

Seems those punk poets of political disillusion, NOFX, are set for a Belfast date on April 26th...nothing too official yet, but as soon as it is official...well you know the drill!

The Answer to support AC/DC on US tour

THE Answer's intimte gig at the Spring and Airbrake this coming Thursday could be our last chance to see the rocking County Down quartet tred such boards. Just announced today they are to support AC/DC on their Black Ice US tour.

The tour runs between the 28th October to the 31st of January, with highlights including dates at New York's Madison Square Garden on November 12th and 13th, and two shows at The Forum in Los Angeles on December the 6th and 8th. Prior to the AC/DC shows The Answer will be performing their New York debut at a CMJ show at The Crash Mansion on October 25th.

"It is an honour and a privilege for The Answer to be offered the opportunity to support probably the greatest rock 'n' roll act on the planet. We are incredibly humbled," said The Answer's front man Corma Neeson

Tickets for Thursday's show are selling fast (and at £6 is it any wonder!). From the Spring and Airbrake to Madison Square Gardens and the LA Forum!!!! Well done to all the guys in The Answer, it's well deserved and the US won't know what has hit it with Angus and The Answer.

Support on Thursday comes from Inch High.

What a Saturday!

Saturday, October 11th...If you're a fan of hard rock and heavy metal it's a helluva day!

Kicking matters off at Katy Daly's is the RockD gig with Thunderchild and Rabid Bitch of the North. Doors open at 3.30pm and the gig is priced at a very reasonable £2.50.

Then Mandella Hall will be strewn with Battle and Power Metal warriors Turisas and Dragonforce. A few tickets remain - a very, very few!

Also tomorrow night, Whitesnake UK - a tribute to Mr Coverdale's troubadours - are at the Empire Music Hall.

So tomorrow's itinerary for those that dare...Wake up...head to Katy Daly's, leave Katy Daly's at 8.00pm, with ears ringing... grab plastic sword and storm the Mandella Hall...come 11.00 race to the Empire for a chill out to Whitesnake classic rock vibes...collapse in a bloodied heap with neck aching and ears ringing, knowing that the damage to your liver, wallet and pancreas may not be permanent yet, but all three are imminent danger but it was all worth it!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Forceful night aheads

Tomorrow night sees the Dragonforce Turisas roadshow hit town. The power metal/battle metal duo has already been ripping up dates across the UK - even this week's Kerrang! gives an emphtatic thumbs up. On Turisas, reviewer Steve Beebee at the Rock City they say: "From start to finish, the war paint daubed, fur-wearing warriorss hold this packed house in thrall..." On Dragonforce they say: "Who else combines these big rock finishes with iridescent soloing and so much sheer, unrepentant shred."

Wise words indeed. After all Dragonforce are a band that number Zakk Wylde and Kirk Hammet as fans...and they know a thing or two about guitars...Hammet describes them their guitar work as "Yngwie Malmsteen on steroids!"

This will be a return visit to the Mandella Hall for Dragonforce, and when they last played they really rocked a house that had a diverse range of ages and fans. Dragonforce's over-the-top may not be to everyone's taste, but they lay down metal party power songs to die for. That combined with Turisas's folk battle metal ethos is sure to bring the house down. Altogether for Turisas's cover of Rasputin!

A last few tickets (£19.50) are available from Katy Daly's and Ticketmaster today, but very, very few are left...get moving!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

An intimate night with...THE ANSWER

One Belfast show before we go...so say The Answer. As the band prepare to head off to America for a couple of months, they have decided to play a last minute intimate show before they go.

They will take to the stage NEXT Thursday 16th October in Belfast’s Spring & Airbrake. Tickets are available now from all usual outlets...and get this - for £6! A band that understands the term credit crunch; and who understand that it pays to say thanks!

They released the following statement as the gig was announced:

"We are heading off to America for a few months so we wanted to put on a last minute gig for all the good people that have been with The Answer from the beginning. Belfast is where we cut our teeth as a rock band so we will keep coming back to play there any chance we get.

"We will be playing material off our new record and some of the old songs so it's gonna be a great night so don't miss it!"

Methinks the Spring & Airbrake may be a little packed next Thursday!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

An Almighty Return

Following his successful show in Katy Dalys earlier this year, The former Almighty vocalist/Guitarist Ricky Warwick is set to make another solo appearance in Belfast.

He will play Auntie Annie's, on Thursday, October 16th. Support will once again come from Michael Mormecha.

He'll once again be playing songs from his forthcoming album, Belfast Confetti as well as solo back catalogue material and songs from The Almighty.

For younger readers...The Almighty were a Glasgow band, fronted by Warwick, who had lived a fair proportion of his formative years in Belfast before his family upped sticks to move across the water. There, with The Almighty Warwick established a trademark hard rock/metal sound, which even briefly bothered the charts. Doomed by bad timing The Almighty's flamed burned bright briefly until the time, in the early 90s record labels weren't willing to touch metal acts with a barge pole and underground labels and the 'net were not on hand to make sure those of the true faith could have access to acts of this calibre.

Since then Warwick has pursued singer songwriter material ranging from soulful acoustic to his rock and metal roots. Recently he has made several appearances here, all earning appropriately excellent reviews.

Doors on the 16th will be at 8pm, and admission will be £5.50.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Savage homecoming

Sweet Savage hold a special place in metal history. They may not have been the biggest band in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal that burgeoned in the late 70s and early 80s. They may not have been the most influential. But they sure as hell earned their place in the pantheon of power through hard rock, craft and a welter of tunes that rocked...and they attracted the attention, patronage and friendship of one of the biggest bands in the planet.

When the Savage eagle landed at the Spring & Airbrake there was always a hint that after festival appearances an sharing a stage with Metallica there could be an anticlimax.

But from the first chords through until the house lights rose, Savage were an assured and confident presence; pounding out the sort of heavy melody that was the trademark of that era.

But this was not a heritage night, nor was it a night to revel in past glories.

From opener Ground Zero through to closing classic Killing Time and Eye of the Storm Sweet Savage retained an energy and presence many of the newer metal contenders would do well to try and emulate.

The well paced set captured the range the band has, and their obvious pleasure at simply performing.

From covering Budgie's classic Bread Fan (another 'Tallica fave!) through to playing with the riff of Purple's Women in Tokyo to introduce Dirty Money the entire band rarely took the foot off the pedal, with Speedo revelling in fretboard olympics, through to Raymie's facial contortions as he wrenched all available emotion out of the lyrics.

Though, perhaps most telling was when Trev, Raymie and Speedo lined up to Riff with Jules pounding out behind them. Smiling faces, whispered comments between themselves...this was a band clearly enjoying themselves as much as the audience.

Sweet Savage are back...and on Friday night they were home at last.

News of Raymie breaking the 'Metallica playing Belfast in 2009' story to come soon...

Special mention for World's End (who some of us, err, older metalheads may remember as Annex) who warmed up for Savage with a nicely balanced set.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Six support for Extreme

Voodoo Six have been confirmed as support for Extreme's Spring & Airbrake gig on 9th November.

Voodoo Six's new single, Feed My Soul, has just been released on White Knuckle Records.

Savage night ahead

Don't forget tomorrow night's homecoming gig, as Sweet Savage touch down in the Spring & Airbrake. Tickets (£10) available at the door. Interview with Speedo here.

Blaze dates re-scheduled

Following the understandable postponement of Blaze Bayley's October Irish tour owing to the recent death of his wife and tour manager Debbie, new dates have been put in place.

Blaze will now be appearing at the Rosetta on 9th April.

Fair play to Blaze and his team for re-organising this at what must be a very difficult time for them. Condolences again to Blaze, the band and Debbie's family and friends.


Judas Priest are making a return to Belfast's Odyssey Arena in February, touching down with their Priestfest, that will see them joined by Megadeth and Testament.

Tickets for the 11th February gig go on sale on Monday.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Under the glare of the TV spotlight

UTV have to be commended for undertaking their Limelight unsigned band series, and despite the indie, shoe-gazing crap that will no doubt feature strongly, they at least let Banbridge's finest kick things off on Sunday night.

Confusing intros (including the link man forgetting the band's name!) and trying to work out the cues from UTV's woman on the spot might have put many a band off their game, but Soundstone rose to the TV challenge.

With healthy support down the front and beardy, indiffernt spectacle wearers at the back, Soundstone took a brief moment to warm to the task. But after a minute of 'Devil on My Back' they hit the groove.

By the time 'My Crime' was blasting the indifferent into action Declan was strutting as if playing to a stadium, and Adrian was slipping into excellence on the axe.

No doubt the saddos and UTV execs would rather not have songs of addiction and killing partners as their chosen 'winners' but Soundstone's penchant for mixing classic rock grooves with dark tales hit the right nerve at the right time in the Limelight.

And to prove they are totally 'nice guys' Ryan helped the stage right camera man to make sure he wasn't bashed by an errant swish of the four string.

Well done to Soundstone for tearing towards the heart of why the Limelight has been so key to the local rock scene - that is bands playing what they believe in, not what the NME says is the fashion of the day/week/month.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sad news

It is with deepest regret we have learned that Blaze Bayley's wife Debbie passed away this morning in hospital. You can read a statement from the band's drummer on the official website's news section.

Blaze was planning to play the Rosetta on 8th October, but I'm sure we'll all understand if he now does not.

Our condolences to Blaze, the band and Debbie's family and friends.

Duff's shopping trip

We all sort of hope bands come to Belfast to play to us rabid fans...turns out it's for the shopping.

Check out this BBC story about Duff McKagan dropping into Belfast's Apache

Live at the Limelight

Want to cheer on a local hard rock act in a battle against the indies? Then head along to The Limelight tomorrow night! Soundstone are being filmed alongside other acts (most of which will not interest our readers!) for a UTV programme being broadcast later in the year.

Simply turn up at 7pm and say....it's the only time you can say this without it being cheesy..."I'm with the band" then head in and and cheer on Soundstone - they'll be playing a couple of tracks (go to their myspace site to listen in advance)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Ahhhh Shogun you be aheavy Jap dude

Shogun is defined as a senior Japanese military commander, a dodgy novel and mini-series by James Cavell or... the new Trivium album.

Groans all round by the self-appointed guardians of 'true metal'? Hope not, because this is one seriously heavy album. It has better structure than the flawed Crusade, and a better balance than Ascendancy. Both these albums revelled in the band's reverence for the Floridian death metal scene and a love of Metallica and Megadeth.

At last Trivium seem to have found their own identity and by sweet fuck it is heavy and good. The blurb from the band, for once, stands up well to the bullshit test. It reads:

'.... an album of songs that proudly surpasses everything the band have achieved in the past, available from September 29th.

“It was all very natural,” explained frontman Matt Heafy. “We didn’t care what was going to come out, and that’s why it sounds this way. We all still love extremely heavy music with the brutality and no melody, but we also love stuff that’s incredibly melodic and simple and memorable, so that explains the two extremes. We like to have everything. Vocally we tried everything from the lowest note I can sing to the highest note, from the lowest growl to the highest scream, and everything in between. We wanted to try it all. That was the whole concept behind the record. No limits. Just try anything and see what comes out.”

'With nearly one million album sales to date, Trivium launched Shogun with a free MP3 of bludgeoning opening track Kirisute Gomen. The unusual song title is a dynamic paean to the ways of the Samurai. The release of the new Madden NFL [that's American Football not Gaelic football...] game treated fans to a second hook-laden track, Into The Mouth Of Hell We March.

'From monolithic first single Down From The Sky to the towering steel-plated genius of the 13-minute Shogun itself, this is truly Trivium’s defining album.

“We wrote this album exactly the way we wanted to,” concludes Heafy. “We did our own thing. When people check it out, they’ll realize that we’re not an exclusive band. We’re not doing this for one specific kind of person. If you want to come to a show and rock out, that’s what we’re here for. We’re four normal guys who just happen to be able to play for lots of cool people around the world. And that’s what we’re gonna do. The first shows we do for this album are gonna be just us, our instruments and the music. There’s not going to be any fancy shit going on. It’s just gonna be raw, brutal and exactly what this album is. It’s about the music, and that’s all we’re about. We hope everyone comes out to see us and we hope you all dig the record. We’re really fucking proud of it.”

Out in your local record emporium from Monday, Shogun previews and streamed downloads are available from their Myspace site.

Tickets for Trivium's December 3rd Nerve Centre gig and December 4th Mandella Hall set are available now.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wasting of Belfast confirmed

Municipal Waste's Belfast gig on December 6th, as many of you know by now, has been confirmed for The Limelight. Providing support are Iron Lung and Waste's Earache stablemates our very own Gama Bomb.

More to come on this Revenge Therapy promoted gig soon...but we here are Belfastmetalheadsreunited are still wondering how we're going to cope with Mastodon on the 4th, Trivium on the 5th and this now on the 6th. Still it beats a December office Christmas party hands down!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Speed Theory rocking with My Ruin

You can sort of tell when a band is serious. They remember to reply to comments, drop a line every now and again. Such a band are Wolverhampton's Speed Theory. For those trying to catch up with this cryptic thread, suffice to say Speed Theory will be joining My Ruin (see earlier post) at The Limelight on October 26th.

With these two noisemeisters (on a Jagermeister backed Irish tour natch!) will be Illuminatus and Sanctorum.

All four bands are well worth a listen, and much kudos to Alex from Speed Theory for replying to random posts and messages. He can rest assured more are to come!

In the meantime go to their myspace site and, as well as checking out the tunes, take a look at the Neo Testament video...oh and their new album, Blood Money, is out in November, on Anthill Records.

Make yer mind up!

Thin Lizzy's European tour was called off last week according to Total Rock, Blabbermouth and a host of other sites. This week, Lizzy reps told this site..."It's back on..." No information on why the indecision though.

Monday, September 22, 2008

An interview for older readers...and new ones interested in NWOBHM

As mentioned here previously Sweet Savage are returning to Belfast on October 3rd, with a homecoming gig at the Spring and Airbrake.

On other forums there hae been a few philistines who seem to know nothing about the mighty Savage (did they think Garage Inc was all original 'Tallica tracks!).

Quick resumé - back in the days when bombs and gunshots still echoed across Belfast's overcast skies punk paved a musical path (all hail SLF and their ilk), with renegades such as Terri Hooley instilling a DIY attitude. From thence a small metal scene grew.

Over the water a new breed of metal band, led by Maiden, Saxon, Leppard, Diamond Head et al rose clenched fists, and a movement was dubbed the New Wave of British Heavy Metal.

Here a few misfits gathered together, and from those denim clad few grew a gathering of like minds. Among these Sweet Savage grew to prominence, and yes, a veritable metal legend - hell even James Hetfield has been known to come on stage and singalong with SS!

A wee while back Sweet Savage reformed, and on a combined wave of nostalgia and a hunger from younger fans for something other than jaded re-runs from American obsessed newbies Savage have come back fighting...it's a Belfast thing!

‘We have been playing in London, Sweden & Germany lately and have been getting fantastic responses to the shows, we had no idea we were so popular and were quite surprised to hear the people singing out songs back to us," Sweet Savage guitarist Ian 'Speedo' Wilson told Belfastmetalheadsreunited.

"We all can’t wait to get back to Belfast, we are just so looking forward to playing in our hometown and the the Spring & Airbrake is a brilliant venue to really show the band off to maximum effect.

"We have learned so much over the past year playing Wacken & Headbangers festivals in Germany , Sweden Rocks and by guesting with Metallica."

As to the current 'scene' Speedo is no doubt where we are in our hard rocking world.

"Metal is bigger now than it ever was. We were among the pioneers and we came onto the scene at the same time as Iron Maiden so it is great to be part of all again, great to be involved in the new wave of Metal out there, and we know that it is getting bigger all the time.

"The popularity and social acceptance of Metal has been surely proven by Metallica, at their show there was a huge divergence of fans, from 8 to 80, all in their black t shirts, it was awesome to see."

In the early and mid 80s when Sweet Savage were regulars supporting touring acts and headlining the few medium sized venues here (I hazily remember one gig at the QUB Speakeasy and a few more clearly at the Ulster Hall).

There was a swagger many bands struggled to match. But the swagger came difficulties and line-up changes that led to a hiatius - oh and Vivian Campbell pissing off to join Dio (and then Whitesnake..and then Leppard, where he denies his metal roots much like a Christian trying to convince all he was never a Satanist) didn't help at all.

But after all these years could Sweet Savage still draw a fanbase...

"At all the Metal shows we were unsure where, or if, we would fit in, but we played our thing and have returned home feeling very much a part of that Metal community, and we are ecstatic about it."

Playing 'our thing' epitomised the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. The diversity of the acts (search yer Wikipedia for Blitzkreig, Raven, White Spirit, Venom and combined with Maiden, Leppard etc and you'll see how diverse it really was!).

Sweet Savage deserved the recognition afforded by Metallica covering Killing Time, but more than that they can really be cited as an influence, an original. And yet more than that, they continue being original. There's no need to be unsure.

And being original they know the value of mentioning who they will be playing with. Speedo again:

"Our old friends ‘Worldsend’ (Formerly known as ANNEX) will be guesting on the night & they are sounding red hot at the minute, so it should be a great package for everyone to witness, I’m looking forward to seeing the lads play.

"Also, we like to encourage up and coming acts & we have ‘Jane Doe’ doing support. They are a great bunch of guys & I think they will do very well.”

Tickets are £10 for the 3rd October gig.

Metal and hardcore night at The Bunker

Escape Fails, Hand of Death, Gacy's Threads, Red Enemy, Shiro...Sunday, 5th October, Laverys Bunker, £5...nuff said :)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Wasting Belfast...

Rumours are that Municipal Waste and Iron Lung will be playing Belfast in December...but with Trivium and Mastodon occupying early December dates hard to see how it could fit in...well here's hoping!

UTV rocking the Limelight...with Soundstone

Soundstone will be taking to The Limelight on Sunday, 28th September as part of a UTV backed show airing unsigned bands.

The Live at The Limelight will be aired later in the year, and as yet we hear at Belfastmetalheadsreunited haven't a baldy notion who else is lined up among the16 bands who are playing.

Let's say that the UTV press office was less than helpful...I've been a PR professional for 13+ years and have more awards than you can shake a stick at. Prior to that I was a full-time journalist. In addition I currently write for a number of publications and give the occassional lecture, chair a charity's advisory panel and sit on three voluntary organisation's committees. But in my career in PR and journalism I have never told someone or heard, "The press release is on th website, just down the bottom..."

Much more helpful was Adrian of Soundstone...who even went so far to say that free - yes that is free! - tickets are available for you faithful readers by emailing this address.

If you haven't heard Soundstone, make it your business to head over to their myspace site and grab a listen to the tracks off their excellent (and that is a hard compliment for me to give!) Scratchin' At My Door EP, with it

After hearing that we hope you'll make a point of heading to The Limelight to cheer Soundstone to the rafters of the beloved rafters of The Limelight.

I don't know whether other rock or metal acts will be playing in the run-up to this UTV venture. Cheers for UTV for trying it out, but I have a sneaky suspicion that many of the acts will be indie noodlers and suitably wasted and sincere young gents with dodgy glasses. But then again if the UTV press office had been more helpful I would know who else was on the bill!

NOTE TO UTV PRESS OFFICE: Between 300 and 1,000 people read this site every week. From the emails and comments we receive we know they are passionate about their rock and metal music (correct us when we're wrong, laud us when we are right). In the common parlance: 'They know their shit'. If this is an audience that you would rather ignore, well that shows you don't know the core Limelight audience

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The president's chick and Metallica

Metallica's promotion of Death Magnetic continues apace, but their reach is getting all weird. The 'Tallica dudes turned up on Jools Holland show. Also with Holland was the French President's wife, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy.

Now, as far as I know Carla has sold a few wee records, but nowhere near the 100million plus of 'Tallica, and they topped the album charts after just two days of sales... But she's "hot"* and sleeps with a man who will hold power in France for a few years.

The BBC, and other broadcasters are, of course, obsessed with this sort of thing. Mrs Bruni-Sarkozy is no doubt talented within her chosen genre, but her music has neither relevance nor is it particularly outstanding music.

But that never stopped the Beeb promoting her on telly. Well, at least they gave Metallica some airtime. Although no doubt it was through label promotion rather than Jools Holland's initiative. After all he was the man who announced, with real disdain, Judas Priest on the 80's Channel 4 show as "World Ranked Noisy Bastards" - and he didn't mean it as a compliment.

*"hot" and other sexist terms about Mrs Bruni-Sarkozy are copyright of sad git tabloid sub-editors and we disassociate ourselves from them. It may be right but has no place in responsible blogging...hontesly!

UPDATE: Metallica have entered the record books in the US, and knocked The Beatles off a coveted perch. Death Magnetic débuted at Number 1 in the Billboard charts, the fifth 'Tallica album to do so. The Beatles held the record for having four albums début at number one, a record in existence for over three decades.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Lizzy cancel tour

Total Rock and Blabbermouth are reporting today that Thin Lizzy have cancelled their European tour. No reason has been given, and no dates of potential re-scheduled dates either.


Quick note to mark the passing of Richard Wright, founder member and keyboardist with Pink Floyd, at the age of 65. A short debate on the relevance of Floyd is underway at Slugger O'Toole. Join the thread here

Monday, September 15, 2008

Free Presbyterians promoting Black Metal acts Belfast date

Ok, the Free Presbyterians aren't really promoting Gorgoroth's November date in the Limelight, but as always they seemingly go out of their way to give extra publicity to black metal acts.

In today's News Letter a story, bylined Aaron Tinney, that has the usual suspect, Rev David McIlveen urging a rethink of the Distortion Project's November 23rd Gorgorth date. Apparently all who attend the gig are going to be 'psychologically scarred'. Whether this is because of the Free Presbyterian protest or Gorgoroth's weird philosophy of Satanism as freedom remains unclear...

However, it is gratifying that in the same way the extreme Christian factions helped promote Ackercocke last year on the Nolan Show, they're doing the same for Gogoroth. Even for an atheist like me it can make you wonder if there is a god. After all his mate Rev McIlveen is working to hard to get headlines for metal acts! How often would a band like Gorgoroth get a Page 7 lead billing in a Belfast daily paper?

Final word goes to Ian 'Speedo' Wilson who in response to McIlveen's rant has a statement which ends "It's Just Music".

Friday, September 12, 2008

Let's Get Rocked...Again!

Top Def Leppard tribute act back in town

Lepps tribute - maybe not enough metal for some, but just right for us 'older' metalheads :) - play The Empire on Saturday (okay, if you really want some heavy metal head to Sorrowfall at Katy Daly's in the afternoon!). Here's the Lepps press release...

AS if there wasn’t enough Def Leppard at the Odyssey in June the Sheffield acts top tribute band – Deft Leppard are back to get Belfast rocked again.

Deft Leppard are back for their seventh Belfast gig – and they can’t wait to return to the hallowed stage of The Empire on September 13th to hear the crowd ‘Rock Till It Drops’.

Frontman Ashley Cooper, a.k.a. Joe Elliot on stage, has no doubt about the reception the Botanic Avenue venue will give the band – no different to any other time that they’ve displayed ‘Hysteria’ for Leppard tracks.

“Belfast always gives us a rabble-rousing response,” he said. “We’ve never been less than stunned by the enthusiasm of The Empire crowd!”

Bassist Mike Thomas (Rick Savage) can’t wait to hit boards in Belfast.

“When we play in Belfast it isn’t a night’s work – it’s playing for and meeting up with old friends – even those we haven’t met yet! The audience is always ready for a Leppard party and we always try to lay the soundtrack down for that party.”

Ashley won’t be drawn on what songs will be on the set list, but fans can be assured Leppard faves old and new will be delivered with aplomb and a fire that few tribute bands can deliver.

“We’re coming to rock the place – we’re going to have a helluva lot of fun playing Leppard’s greatest hits and delivering some Leppard surprises,” he said.

Tickets for Deft Leppard’s Empire show are available from The Empire at the door for the amazing value of £10 – A great chance for those who missed out on the gig of the year at the largest millenium project out of London, these Lepps rock, which as all aficionados know is a Rock of Ages!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Rockers and physics

Some of the more curious amongst us have been paying attention to the huge physics experiement in Switzerland to find all sorts of missing particles, dark energy, extra dimensions. While the sheer scale of the Large Hadron Collider is enough to qualify as Heavy Metal there is a weird link to hard rock and even good old Belfast 80s Metal...

One of the physicists involved - and fronting much of the BBC coverage - is Brian Cox. Dr Brian Cox was keyboard player for Dare . Dare was a spin-off band fronted by former Thin Lizzy keyboard player Darren Wharton.

Cox played keyboards with Dare for two years before quitting music to study astrophysics and other really hard thinking stuff.

Dare played in Belfast in eith 1986/1987 supporting Gary Moore on his Out in the Fields Tour, which featured an appearance from the late great Phil Lynott singing on Parisenne Walkways and Out in The Fields.

See, if you look very, very closely you'll find links to rock and metal and Belfast everywhere - even in weird science.

SAD FOOTNOTE: Cox's brief hard rock CV is tarnished by the fact that while an undergraduate he joined D-Ream and helped record that annoying fucking record 'Things Can Only Get Better'. Well if the Large Hadron Collider goes wrong they sure as hell won't get better as the world will disappear up the backside of a rapidly growing black hole...and Slipknot's album 'All Hope is Gone' will be much more appropriate. On that happy note...if the world hasn't ended by the time you're reading this...see y'all at a gig soon

PS: If they had the sense to read Douglas Adams' Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy they'd know the answer to Life, The Universe and Everything is 42!


Whiplash fest organisers have unveiled their October line-up. Held in the Leitrim Bar Sligo, from the 24th to 26th, on the bill are Corral, Steel Tormentor, Warpath, Dyslucsic and Visceral Attack.

Tickets are on the door only.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Truvium Belfast date confirmed

As hinted at very broadly in an earlier post Trivium have confirmed a Belfast Mandella Hall date as part of their brief tour of this island. December 5th, Mandella Hall - tickets £20.50.

So that's Mastodon on the 4th, Trivium on the 5th...plus all the gigs in the previous post! More details and blurb to be added later.

Friday and Nickleback...

Friday sees Nickleback play the Odyssey on the back of the success of the Rock Star single. They've also announced the release date of their next album - November 17th - with lead off single 'If today was your last day' out at the end of September.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Gigs, Beer tokens, merch money - busy autumn & winter schedule

Was just adding the My Ruin Belfast date (26th October, see below) when it dawned on this cash-strapped writer just how many gigs were coming up this autumn and winter...tickets, beer tokens and merch money can be sent to the usual postbox -used, unmarked, non-sequential notes in a brown envelope as normal...

Here's the list. If there's any I missed, let me know and I'll add them:
Sorrowfall Saturday 13th September – Katy Daly’s
Deft Leppard Saturday 13th September – The Empire Music Hall
Duff McKagan’s LOADED Thursday 25th September – Spring & Airbrake
Sweet Savage - Friday, 3rd October – Spring and Airbrake
Blaze Bayley/A Little Bitter/Fireland/Darkest Era – Thursday 9th October
Dragonforce/Turisas (Over 14’s) Saturday 11th October - Mandella Hall
Whitesnake UK – Saturday 11th October – Empire Music Hall
Funeral For A Friend/Cancer Bats/In Case Of Fire/Attack Attack - Wednesday 15th October, Spring & Airbrake
Kill Hannah (Over 14’s show)/My Passion/Gyndogs/Serpico Sunday 26th October S&A
My Ruin – Sunday, 26th October – The Limelight
Grand Magus/Serpent Cult/Honey for Christ – Monday 27th October – Auntie Annies
Sorrowfall/Darkest Era/others TBC – Saturday 8th November – Black Box
Extreme - Sunday 9th November – Spring & Airbrake
Airbourne / Stone Gods Tuesday 11th November – Mandella Hall
Feeder - Friday 21st November – Mandella Hall
Paul Gilbert - Friday 21st November - Spring & Airbrake
Gorgoroth/Averse Sefirah/Zebediah Crowe – Sunday 23rd November - Limelight
Mastodon – 4th December – Spring and Airbrane
Trivium – 4th December – Nerve Centre
Trivium - 5th December - Mandella Hall
Black Stone Cherry - Wednesday 17th December - Limelight
Spitknot - Sunday 28th December - Spring & Airbrake

Ruinous Belfast date

LA-based hard rockers, My Ruin, will be playing Belfast's Limelight on Sunday, 26th October thanks to the Distortion Project team.

The Belfast date is part of My Ruin's 'ReligiosiTour' celebrating the release of the their first live album & DVD 'Alive On The Other Side'.

The new live album was recorded live in Leeds, UK on My Ruin's January 2008 'Tell Your God Tour' of the U.K. and is the follow up to My Ruin's 5th studio album 'Throat Full Of Heart' which was released earlier this year.

Special guests for the tour are UK bands Speed Theory, Illuminatus & Sanctorum. http://www.myspace.com/distortionproject

The blurb:

'My Ruin don't do things by halves. It's all or nothing and you'll either love or hate this fearsome return. We'd bet the former.' 4/5-Steeve Beebee/Kerrang!

'A heavy dose of Southern rock, an unforgiving slab of hardcore and more hard rocking melodies than you can shake a stick at.For anyone who thought My Ruin were just another generic female fronted metal band, stick 'Throat Full...' in your player and prepare to be surprised.From the opening thunder of 'Ready For Blood' to the sudden ending of 'Through The Wound' this band just gets better and better.'

Friday, September 05, 2008

Trivium Irish/Norn Iron tour

The first dates have been announced for Trivium's December Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland tour.

Expected to be a four-date wrap after the Unholy Alliance slots with Slayer and Mastodon, the Trivium mini-tour kicks off in L/Derry's Nerve Centre on December 4th - the same night Mastodon are playing the Spring and Airbrake.

The only other confirmed Trivium date is in Cork on December 7th...so between the 4th and 7th - go figure it out for yourselves :)

Trivium divide opinion. On some of the forums, and among those that consider themselves (rather foolhardily for ones so young - said the wrinkly rocker who writes this crap!) the true voice of metal.

There is no 'true voice of metal' just opinions.

If you don't like Trivium, fair enough (As Baal said: "We were there first time around) but there are many who do. And it is these, who through the likes of Trivium, Bullet for My Valentine, Avenged Sevenfold etc reprensent the next wave of young people who get firmly hooked on metal. It is this next wave that will learn to experiment with the wider metal genres, who will when they reach 18 head to the bars to listen to local acts, buy local acts CDs and even form bands themselves.

So if you feel tempted to slag off this crowd of younger metallers, perhaps you need a wee bit of growing up yourself! Encourage them! Better their going to a metal gig than listening to rave, Kylie or Satan help me Beyonce...

(PS - I pretty much like Trivium - yes the writing is a hybrid 'Tallica and 'Deth, but so what!)

PPS - Belfast and Dublin dates - if they happen will be announced early next week

We're all sensitive types really

No really, all us metalheads are creative, senitive types - with personality types close to fans of classical music...

Psychologists say that all who listen to metal can be defined as having: "low self-esteem, creative, not hard-working, not outgoing, gentle, at ease."

Errrr, I'm sure we're creative and some of us may have low self-esteem at times, but gentle? Sensitive? The authors of this research have obviously never been in the middle of a full-on mosh pit, or headbanged along to some classic metal and thrash.

As for not outgoing...that must explain why air guitaring is going out of fashion...

Reach the story here and if you want you can even take part in the survey by following the links. Be at ease with yourself and be creative when your filling it out, and remember to show your sensitive side!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Death Magnetic

Okay, I confess....while there are those that are backsliders I have always kept the faith. Metallica (along with Maiden) have always held a special place in my twisted heart. Quite simply Metallica and Maiden are simply the behemoths that stride above mere mortal bands.

On September 12th Metallica release Death Magnetic. I have taken the morning off work to make sure I have a copy in my grubby mits when the doors of my chosen record emporium are cast open (and it shall not be Zavvi - see last post)

Some doubted the mighty Metallica, but from the three tracks available to date for streaming there is no doubt that James, Lars, Kirk and Rob have delivered an album that stands head, shoulders and sweaty ball bag above all the pretenders.

Doubt me (and I'm sure many of you do!)? Head over to Metallica.com and check out the tracks released to date and the video for 'The Day That Never Comes'.

Birth, school, Metallica, Death

Oh, and they're mates with our very own Sweet Savage...'nuff said!

(Sweet Savage are playing the Spring and Airbrake on October 3rd...rest assured Killing Time - the song Metallica covered on a B'side and on Garage Inc will be given an airing)

Are Zavvi Lemmy haters..?

Walked into record emporium Zavvi on Monday intent on purchasing the latest CD offering from the Godfather of Heavy Rock and grandfather of oh so many hard rock and metal bands, Lemmy.

Knowing that Motorhead's latest offering, Motorizer, was due to hit the shelves on Monday, I was looking forward to slaying the pathetic with Lemmy, Mickey and Phil's latest...

Errr, then to my utter surprise, it was not on the latest release shelf. It wasn't even in the 'metal' section. Nor was it to be found in the rock and pop racks...

Ahh, thought I! I shall seek out the staff and ask. With a staff member detected wandering amongst the DVD section for the slow of thinking I asked, and lo he did consult the Zavvi computer....and no, neither the Abbeycentre or the Belfast Zavvi had stocks of Motorizer.

He expressed how perplexed he was at this unexpected development.

While my anger has now subsided (well a little) I pondered on this...Could it be that unless a rock or metal act is being promoted (Slipknot, Black Stone Cherry, Dragonforce) Zavvi were not going to stock it? Or could it be they don't really give a damn about keeping up to date?

Anyhow...said CD is now tearing up the laptop's speakers thanks to one very prompt online service. I'd rather have the pleasure of browsing the shelves, but Zavvi, c'mon it's fucking Motorhead - institution and legend! Get your act together

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Savage coming home

SWEET Savage - Belfast pioneers of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal - are coming home to bring their classic metal sound to the Spring and Airbrake on Friday, 3rd October.

It has been widely noted that it was the influence of the music of Sweet Savage were among those that inspired the young members of Metallica to start the band in the early 80’s.

The energy and sound of Sweet Savage proved to be what they were looking for in a band of their own. With Metallica being named as the most inspirational Heavy Metal band in this years Kerrang! Awards, perhaps Sweet Savage could claim the inspiration to the Inspired Award...

Sweet Savage formed in 1978 with band members including Vivian Campbell on guitar, Trev Fleming on guitar, David Bates on drums and Ray Haller on bass and vocals.

In 1980 Sweet Savage released their first single " Take No Prisoners " Which included the NWOBHM classic track " Killing Time " reaching No. 1 in the NWOBHM charts.

During this period they toured Britain with bands such as Budgie, Motorhead, Wild Horses, Wishbone Ash, Ozzy Osbourne. They also toured with Thin Lizzy and was the opening act at the first Slane Castle Concert which included U2 and Thin Lizzy. In fact Sweet Savage was the first act ever to play at Slane!

After recording two further singles ( never released ) Vivian Campbell left the band to pursue other music projects including DIO and Whitesnake, finally settling in as a lead guitarist for Def Leppard after the tragic death of Steve Clark.

It has been widely noted that it was the influence of the music of Sweet Savage that inspired the young members of Metallica to start the band in the early 80’s, the energy and sound of Sweet Savage proved to be what they were looking for in a band of their own.

In the late 90's Metallica covered Sweet Savage track "Killing Time" for their Garage Inc. record, after its mainstream release and performance live in concert, there was large interest in music of Sweet Savage and as a result the band released 2 new studio records. The first full length studio release was 1996’s Killing Time, the second release was 1998’s Rune, both of which were brought out on UK label, Neat Metal Records. Despite this initial success, the band later split up.

Sweet Savage has now reformed, as a favour to a promoter and since then things have unexpectedly began to bloom for the boys, the current lineup included two of the founder member and is in full: Ian Wilson on guitar, Trev Fleming on guitar, Jules Watson on drums and Ray Haller on bass and vocals.

As well as being invited over to London as special guests of Saxon as part of their St George’s day celebrations, Sweet Savage have been playing some of Europe’s Premier music festivals.

If you are don't remember them from first time arouund (I'm old enough to remember a raucous Queen's set and some excellent Belfast Hall support slots) and are into no nonsense Heavy Metal then Sweet Savage is the band to see!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Nebula cancel October date

The following statement has just been released on The Distortion Project's Myspace site:

"We've been informed by the band's agent that due to unforseen circumstances, Nebula have been forced to cancel their show in Belfast on Sunday October 12th. All those who bought tickets can obtain refunds from the point of purchase."

Here's hoping for an early return...looks like it'll just be Dragonforce and Turisas the night before to warm the cockles of our metal hearts that weekend...unless you want to see Whitesnake UK tribute band...

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Another boring Saturday...NOT!

Saturday afternoon's can be a pretty boring time. You've had what passes for lunch, scrabbled your frame in passably clean clothes and now nowt to do til the evening session takes serious hold...

But then again there's always Saturday salvation and hope at the hands of The Distortion Project. And next weekend salvation and hope will be cast into a sulphorous pit..

Condemned http://www.myspace.com/condemneduk
Nailed http://www.myspace.com/naileddeathmetal
Neandertahl http://www.myspace.com/thisisneandertahl
Warpath http://www.myspace.com/warpathire

Saturday 6th September, The Limelight, Ormeau Avenue, Belfast. Doors 4.30pm. Admission £5.00.


Traumatising GORE Metal Since their conception in 1993 Condemned have continually pushed themselves in order to create the definitive sound that they stand by today. The sound of traumatising gore metal. Since the release of their first CD “Prelude” and their second “Somebody stop…” followed a number of gigs overseas as well as high profile gigs including shows with Napalm Death, Extreme Noise Terror, Desecration etc. Since that time a number of disruptions hindered the release of their forthcoming Ep “…and that’s how I found them” such as getting kicked out of one practice hall, the burning down of another and of course the departure of the bass player and rhythm guitarists. However with the addition of Michael Ardill the bass role has once again been redefined within the Condemned line-up. Back from the ashes Condemned decided to keep the band as a four piece and with that in mind “…. And that’s how I found them” was recorded between February and March 2005. With the new CD release Condemned are reassessing their plans for world domination. See you soon.


Aside from pockets of resistance in the major cities, UK death metal is the sole domain of Myspace-dependent idiot bands who'll release two EP's in two months and break up still wondering who or what the subject of their Suffocation T-shirt is and why the guy they got it off Ebay from started crying when he saw them.
And were it not for Nailed, West Yorkshire would be no exception.
Forming in 2000 and culling members from similarly respectable bands In Dying Grace and Sweet Sorrow, the band's ties to their region's maudlin heritage of frilly-shirts-amid-the-gravestones Peaceville gloom began and then quickly ended with the addition of veteran guitarist Mass Firth whose previous bands Ebony Lake and Dominion later contributed members to local powerhouse My Dying Bride. Yet it can't all be rolling fog on isolated moors and Nailed are less the sweeping grandeur of bleak, rural splendour and more the concentrated rage born of urban neglect and industrial decline.

Leeds may have wallpapered over the obvious signs of ill-health with glass-fronted 'renewal' and 'regeneration' but down the road, Wakefield still suffers with an endless parade of fast food outlets, pound shops and broken glass.Having shed all but two of their early members - drummer Garth Wray & Mass Firth - by the release of their debut 'A Pure World Is A Dead World', it was nevertheless a release deeply rooted in their past demos and a product, no matter how slight, of every musician to have played under the Nailed banner.

Gaining a reputation for militant gigging and more importantly, for savagely stirring Floridian death metal chops in with a full-on NYDM slam and a pinch of dirty, early Carcass, they took to stages with Obituary, Entombed, Krisiun, Nile, Dying Fetus, Cancer, Behemoth and many more across the UK and Europe, playing the chugarific Neurotic Deathfest in the Netherlands and the uber-filthy Obscene Extreme grind festival in the Czech Republic.

Long overdue second album 'Hatred, Failure & The Extinction of Mankind' is on the verge of delivering a brutal wake up call to the cause of real death metal. No longer tied to their past material and earlier line-ups, or dogged by associations to bands with whom they share only their accents, Nailed are raising the colours for songwriting, brutality, old school values and a balance of the three in a scene where beatdowns and pinch harmonics are all that seem to matter.