Pick Your Rock and Metal

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

If you ever feel put upon...

IF you ever feel put upon as a fan of hard rock and heavy metal then you should spare a thought for fans in other countries.

While we enjoy our music think of those who can be imprisoned for listening to metal.

Take the time to read this Freemuse report - 'Headbanging Against Repressive Regimes' on the persecution, censorship and the real difficulties faced by fans across the world, especially in the Middle East, north Africa, China and South East Asia.

As the report author, Mark LeVine, acknowledges heavy metal was one of the first truly global art forms, but with that has come misconceptions and sheer unadulterated hatred for everything that bears the label of hard rock or heavy metal.

The causes of such misconceptions may be many, but please, remember that what we have here is something special: the freedom to listen to what we like, when we like and enjoy the music recorded or live.

Y&T still on

DESPITE serious illness within the band, Y&T's September show in the Spring & Airbrake is still on. Read more on the Pied Piper blog.

Infiltrating the mainstream...

HEAVY metal doesn't often penetrate the mainstream sensibility, but perhaps we're making strides. Iron Maiden's The Final Frontier has penetrated the UK album charts at Number One this week, and even the tweedle dee tweedle dumb pop pages of the Daily Mirror managed to mention this (of course, given the hordes we know are out there, like a Nightbreed of Cabal fame it was always going to happen).

And, in the latest shocker the Financial Times, that bastion of besuited bankers and stockbrokers, has included a (brief) review of Black Label Society's Order of the Black.

This, surely means that the pop-tastic pricks and the orderly ranks of merchant bankers has been infiltrated. To those that, by stealth and guile, have snuck upon the unwary, orderly world well done.

What next? Heavy metal in Bollywood? Well Panic Cell have done that with tracks appearing on the forthcoming Pusher movie (they've also snuck into the wholesome world of Lego with their video for 'Crazy' and its hilarious massed ranks of headbanging lego figures).

Hell there even is a Heavy Metal Fun Time Activity Book (you too can indoctrinate the kids before boy bands steal their mojo or Katie Price steals their virginity!).

In all seriousness (no seriously I'm sober so have a tendency to be serious once a week without fail) heavy metal and hard rock lurks in the consciousness of the wider, unwashed and unbidden folks who are normally content with bland, beige tunes. Play them a little AC/DC riff, Metallica's Nothing Else Matters, a snatch of Maiden, a hint of G 'n' R, and a smidge of Sabbath and they nod; a little (bitter) part of their soul yearning for the sweet abandon of metal.

But the, boring, soft, yielding part of their make-up urges them on, forever cautioning them against the wearing of the black, and not caring what the neighbours think about Reign in Blood upsetting the cats.

I cry for them. I despair that they will never have that sweet abandon of having drunk too many pints, yelled till hoarse and been dazzled by the brilliance of a live performance and then stumbled into the street with the brothers and sisters of metal and ears a-buzzing and face-a-grinning.

But, we shall perservere, we'll hail those that infiltrate the beige and slowly, but surely begin the world dominance that will see every speaker blown (tangential Manowar reference there!) in the cause of metal.

[NB: for those who have read this far you may have gathered that the tongue was firmly inserted in cheek (and that wasn't a sexual reference...though I'm sure Steel Panther could come up with one). All heavy metal, even in its most serious, reverential knows the danger of taking itself too seriously!]

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Is it Lizzy or not?

THIS coming Friday 'Thin Lizzy' tickets for a Waterfront Hall performance on 16th February.

That they will be fronted by Ricky Warwick has caused much consternation on a variety of bulletin boards and numerous social media sites.

But is it Thin Lizzy in anything bar name?

Warwick is among the first to acknowledge that no-one could ever replace Phil Lynott, and only Scott Gorham and Brian Downey could realistically claim to have been 'proper' members of Lizzy (okay Darren Wharton was on a couple of tours).

Is this a semi-legit tribute to Lizzy's glory days, with some 'old hands' like Vivian Campbell and Marco Mendoza along for the ride?

Or is it a cynical attempt to cash in on the Lizzy legend?

Or is it a legitimate attempt to keep the memory of Lizzy alive for a new generation of fans and conjure up memories for those longer in the tooth?

I honestly don't know.

Ricky Warwick is a hard-working musician (check out his acoustic set at the Spring & Airbrake on 2nd October to hear more of what he can do!), and much as I find Campbell's attempt to distance himself from his metal roots distasteful he is still a damn fine axeman, I am still in a quandry as to whether there should even be a reference to the February 16th set as a Lizzy gig.

Answers on a postcard....

Archie and the Texts

Archie and the Texts are coming to Belfast...hold on: I mean The Architects.

Yes, that's definitely The Architects and they are playing The Limelight on Sunday, October 16th.

Here at Belfastmetalheads Manor we do confess readily that we're not afficianados of The Architects. While others may claim knowledge of bands, while liberally copying from press packs and paraphrasing Wikipedia, when we don't know, we embrace our ignorance, gaze at the can of Carlsberg and wonder whether any of their songs are on Spotify.

Suffice to say that The Architects are well regarded by Metal Hamster, Merrang! and other mags. The press info claims they are metal/harcore crossover act, and laughingly says that they have had a "prolific career" to date. Given that their début was 2009, the definition of prolific must be different in their PR Officer's dictionary than mine.

Hang on, just listened to a song from Archi and The Texts...sorry The Architects on Spotify....not bad. Might be something in these acts that I miss while writing the rubbish that I do for this blog. Memo to self...listen to more stuff! :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Final Frontier...is it the best Maiden album for a long time

A LOT of people are always wedded to the classic albums bands produce. In Iron Maiden's case this could be Number of the Beast, the eponymous début, or even later works like Fear of the Dark.

It is, of course, difficult to separate that point when nostalgia can be dispassionately viewed, the great tracks can be isolated from the just plain good (Gangland? I mean it sounded good then, but how many of us air it now?).

Which, of course means we all have differing takes on new material from any act we loved some time ago. [I am discounting younger readers - too many of them talk about classic albums, but were not around, or even alive - when these albums were released, and thus have no perspective on their impact].

This all, in a rather meandering way, leads to Iron Maiden's latest offering, The Final Frontier.

I've been mulling this over for some time. It is a diverse, complicated and ultimately fantastic release. It would do a disservice to the album to try and dissect it here, rather I will throw the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons and say that The Final Frontier is their best album to date.

All the Maiden trademark sounds are present, but folded and wrapped by sophistication and accomplished arrangements.

But that is just the fantastic sounds of the album...I simply hate the cover...Eddie just isn't Eddie-ish enough :)

Will, at some stage succomb to the merchandise by buying lates Maiden t-shirts, but hope that they have a slightly better design than the cover.

Still - The Final Frontier shows the band themselves are still fresh, relevant, and most of all getting heavier as they get older!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Chaimira cancel Gunners go ahead...

ACCORDING to Totalrock.com Chaimira have cancelled their UK tour - including a Belfast gig - owing to "acute illness" in the band.

This comes a couple of days after Guns 'n' Roses said their tour was going ahead after Axl's Twitter account had been hacked with the claim that the tour was off.

Well, given that it is Axl and a few mates/session musicians, we know which gig we would rather be going ahead.

While I was too lazy to post about G 'n' R being back on (well it was all over the Interwebby!) I have got a wee bit of cynicism hanging about. No-one was talking about the G 'n' R tour, few tweets or blogs mentioned it: the advertisements were still appearing for the Odyssey show and Reading and Leeds were not attracting the usual coverage. Then, apropos of nothing the story about the tour cancellation comes about. The band's PR company waited several hours to say anything. In the meantime every news outlet, including primetime BBC news/talk shows were covering the story; even our own Belfast Telegraph carried a story on it!

Which gave the band and the tour priceless publicity...

I'm not naturally cynical (okay I am!) but this non-story suited the tour profile very well indeed.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Want a review?

AS I am too often stuck with 'responsibilities' at times I miss out on the immense well of local talent out there. However, in the past I have taken the time to listen and review the many, many excellent local acts in Norn Iron.

If you are a local hard rock/heavy metal band and want your CD/EP reviewed here drop me a line here and we can work it out how to get some more coverage for your efforts!

To Dimebag

THIS week Dimebag would be celebrating his 44th birthday (August 20th). When doing a wee bit of background I saw that some sick fuckers have posted videos of the shooting on the web. I didn't look at them. This type of sick behaviour seeks rewards through trying to get the most click throughts and comments: hell for all I know it may be made up shit!

But I'd rather think that most rockers and metalheads would prefer to remember Dimebag through his music and, like his friend Zakk Wylde, would toast him in true style: http://bit.ly/cLnant

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Wasted in December?

Another one for the ever growing gig list of 2010...Municipal Waste + Saviours + Ramming Speed Spring & Airbrake 03/12/10.

Nice warm-up for Airbourne even if it is a different genre of slightly mental hard rock and metal :)

Axl axes tour?

RUMOURS abound that all forthcoming G 'n' R dates are cancelled, after a post on Axl Rose's Twitter account.

Whether it is really true - and the Belfast date is cancelled - rumours are the tickets haven't exactly been flying out of the window across all tour dates.

Is this a dignified withdrawl, or will we see a 'too much snow on the roof' type of excuse á la Crue.

Confirmation/more word etc once we have it

Friday, August 13, 2010

some of the many gigs coming up...

Jesus fecking hard rockin' metalhead Christ there are a shedload of gigs coming up.

The info has been cobbled together from James, Dino and Derwin's lists and my own faded and jaded memory. All errors are entirely my own, aided and abetted by supermarket own brand vodka and Carlsberg and some weird Schnapps of indeterminate taste and colour.

Please use the comments box to point out gigs I may have missed and errors I may have made..

20th & 21st August. Dan Reed. Diamond Rock Bar
22nd August. Cannibal Corpse + Condedned + Atrax Mantis. Spring & Airbrake. 8pm, £20

23rd August. Suffocation + Coldwar + Overoth + Zombified. The Limelight. 8pm, £18
31st August. Axl and some session musicians...sorry Guns 'n' Roses. Odyssey Arena. £too feckin' much
27th September. Y&T. Spring & Airbrake, £18.50
30th September. Reckless Love + Jett Black. Auntie Annies. 8pm, £12
2nd October. Ricky Warwick + TBC. Spring & Airbrake. 7pm, £14
2nd October. Chimaira. Stiff Kitten
3rd October. A Storm of Light + Stand-Up Guy + Slomatics. Spring & Airbrake. 8pm, £15.
9th October. Glenn Hughes. Spring & Airbrake. £22.50
12th October. Porcupine Tree. Mandella Hall. £22.50
14th October. Fozzy + TBC. Spring & Airbrake. 9pm, £16
15th October. Desaster + Altus Astrum + Decayor Sorcery. Spring & Airbrake. 9pm, £15.
16th October. Girlschool. Diamond Rock Bar
2nd November. Robert Plant & the Band of Joy. Waterfront Hall. £44/38
4th November. Cancer Bats+Trash Talk. Limeligh £12
7th November. White Wizzard + Primitai + TBC. Auntie Annies. 8pm, £10.
7th November. Paul Gilbert. Spring & Airbrake
20th November. Diamond Head + Howlin' Widow + Two Tales of Woe. Spring & Airbrake. 7pm, £15.
21st November. Exodus + Man Must Die. 8pm, £20
26th November. Volbeat + The Black Spiders £11.25
27th November. Toby Jepson. Diamond Rock Bar
28th November. W.A.S.P. details TBC
3rd December. Municipal Waste + Savious + Ramming Speed. 9pm, £17.50
5th December. Airbourne. Ulster Hall. £22.50/£24.50
12th December. The Sword. Stiff Kitten

More may be announced soon... \m/

...and if that is too much for you Jedward are playing (with themselves) at the Waterfront on 22nd August :)

W.A.S.P. back in Belfast

Blackie Lawless is making a return visit to Belfast with his WASP chums on 28th November...more details to follow soon!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Pure rock fury

Finally getting to listen to Carrie's Pure Rock Fury on Blast 106 online...nice to hear Metal on da radio and nice selection from Carrie: she's not just a pretty super photographer person!

Monday, August 02, 2010

Metal week

Recovered from the weekend?
Right, time to get started:
  • Soulfly and Sinocence tonight
  • Fear Factory and Gacy's Threads on Tuesday and
  • Katatonia on Wednesday night...

There! Has that got August off to a good start or what?