Pick Your Rock and Metal

Monday, November 21, 2011

Dimmu Borgir competition winners

CONGRATULATIONS to Coleen and Stephen who each won a pair of tickets to "An Evening With Dimmu Borgir" at the Spring and Airbrake on November 28th, courtesy of those kind folks at CDC Leisure.

Thanks to everyone who entered: as always surprised how many devoted lovers of diverse heavy music there are out there...but there's no excuse for the rest of ya to shell out to see the dark evening with Dimmu!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

So who are Dimmu Borgir

AFTER posting a little about Dimmu Borgir's upcoming show, and the ticket competition, some of the less dark hearted readers contacted me to learn a little about Borgir.

One could have wittered on endlessly on where Borgir fit into the labyrinthine panoply of black metal, how their symphonic metal has grown in complexity and dexterity, but instead it is easier to copy the blurb about the band...

While you read this, just a reminder that the competition for tickets is still running for their November 28th Spring and Airbrake show. All you need to do to one of two sets of double tickets is answer this question: Name the Borgir concept album about a bishop's apprentice who ends up coming to the dark side? Email your answer here (clue read the blurb if you're not sure).

For those of more hard rock rather than black metal leanings check out the side project Chrome Division...

And here's the blurb:

Founded in 1993 by Shagrath, Silenoz, and Tjodalv and named after unusually shaped lava fields and rock formations east of Lake Mývatn in Iceland, Norway’s DIMMU BORGIR made their debut into the underground metal scene via unofficial rehearsal cassette tapes in 1993. Inspired by incarnations of black metal from the ‘80s and ‘90s and inspired by the works of classical composers such as Wagner and Dvořák, the band’s music was resplendent in its raw & melodic vocals, somber guitar work, destructive drums, and haunting keyboard melodies. Less than a year later, the band recorded their full-length debut, For All Tid, to wild acclaim. While the band’s reputation gained momentum throughout Scandinavia and the rest of the tape-trading underground world, DIMMU BORGIR focused their energies on recording what would become one of the most essential albums in black metal history, Stormblåst. While sung completely in Norwegian, it catapulted them out of Europe and into international waters. Displaying a marked escalation in their time signatures, DIMMU BORGIR made significant headway in developing a classically influenced sound that would become their intrinsic, defining blueprint.

Following Stormblåst, DIMMU BORGIR recorded their first material featuring English lyrics for the 1996 mini-CD entitled Devil’s Path, which later got them signed to the independent record label Nuclear Blast. Their third full-length album (now considered an all-time classic), Enthrone Darkness Triumphant, was recorded with living legend Peter Tägtgren at the helm in Abyss Studios. After its release, it marked the band’s significant international breakthrough with over 150,000 copies sold and chart entries all over the world. This breakthrough year also included performances at some of the most esteemed European summer gatherings such as Holland’s Dynamo, Germany’s With Full Force and Wacken Open Air festivals, among others.
After their world tour for Enthrone Darkness Triumphant, DIMMU BORGIR went straight back into the Abyss Studios and recorded the Godless Savage Garden mini-CD, which earned them their first Spellemannprisen award nomination (the Norwegian equivalent to the American Grammy award). Fans around the world curiously waited to see what direction the next full-length, Spiritual Black Dimensions, would take. Once again recorded at Abyss Studios with Peter Tägtgren, the album stormed into music stores around the world in 1999 and single-handedly transformed the market for black metal. Those who ever doubted DIMMU BORGIR’s allegiance to extreme music were forced to face reality when the album proved to be their most complex and severe offering.

Sun Tzu said:
“He who occupies the field of battle first and awaits his enemy is at ease;
he who comes later to the scene and rushes into the fight is weary.”

After Tjodalv resigned from the drum throne in the early stages of their 1999 tour, DIMMU ‘s line-up shifted. The sextet entered Sweden’s Fredman Studio in the fall of 2000 with Fredrik Nordström to record eleven tracks of audible malevolence and exceptional atmospherics which was baptized Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia. Released in 2001, Puritanical expanded DIMMU’s audience even more, earning them their first Spellemanprisen award and setting the stage for 2003’s mammoth Death Cult Armageddon, which debuted at #7 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart, #10 on the Top Independent Albums chart, and at #170 on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums chart. Death Cult Armageddon – which earned the band another Spellemanprisen award in 2003 – went on to sell over 130,000 records in North America alone. Parts of the orchestral versions of the songs “Progenies Of The Great Apocalypse” and “Eradication Instincts Defined” were selected for use in the movie trailer for Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy. Later, parts from the same tracks could also be heard in the trailer for the movie Stardust starring Robert De Niro. In 2004, DIMMU landed a coveted spot on Ozzfest’s Main Stage with Slayer, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath in addition to later being showcased in the MTV reality series “Battle For Ozzfest.”

After re-recording Stormblåst in 2005 with Peter Tägtgren and session drummer Hellhammer, the latter stayed on to record 2007’s In Sorte Diaboli, DIMMU’s first concept album about a bishop’s apprentice searching his true self who – instead of finding the meaning of life through the religion – abandons his religious life in favor of darkness and its endless realm. Recorded with Fredrik Nordström and Patrik J. Sten at Sweden’s (in)famous Studio Fredman, In Sorte Diaboli debuted at #1 on the Norwegian album chart and clinched DIMMU BORGIR their first #1 album and their first Gold Record in Norway. The album sold over 75,000 copies in the U.S. and debuted at #2 on Billboard’s Top Independent Albums chart and at #43 on the Top 200 Albums chart. Yet again, the band took home another Spellemannprisen award, this time in the video category. DIMMU hit the road hard in support of In Sorte and performed at Nuclear Blast’s 20th Anniversary Party in Stuttgart, at Germany’s Rock Am Ring & Rock Im Park festivals, filmed their headlining Wacken Open Air performance, toured Europe with Amon Amarth, toured North America with Devildriver, Behemoth & Keep Of Kalessin, and even appeared at the New England Hardcore & Metal Festival. In 2008, DIMMU’s three-disc The Invaluable Darkness DVD (which included 2007’s live footage at Wacken) entered Norway’s Music DVD chart at #1 and debuted at #5 in the U.S. on the Top Music Videos chart while the band was on tour in North America with Danzig on the “Blackest Of The Black” tour. They also appeared on the television show “The Daily Habit” on Fuel TV – the American extreme sports lifestyle network with over 50 million worldwide viewers. In 2009, DIMMU played Nova Rock – Austria’s largest music festival, Terminal Press debuted the fantasy horror comic book “DIMMU BORGIR: Dark Fortress” at ComiCon in San Diego, and “Progenies Of The Great Apocalypse” was selected for inclusion in the action-adventure video game soundtrack, Brütal Legend.

Sun Tzu said: “Therefore, when I have won a victory, I do not repeat my tactics but respond to circumstances in an infinite variety of ways.”

In June of this year, DIMMU BORGIR proudly announced that over 101 musicians contributed their talents to the making of the new album, including Norwegian composer and Berklee College of Music summa cum laude alumnus Gaute Storaas, the 51 members of KORK (the Norwegian Radio Orchestra) and the 38-member Schola Cantorum Choir. Eleven months in the making, the band broke their three-word title tradition for the second time since 1996 to name their ninth studio album ABRAHADABRA, which roughly translates into “I will create as I speak.” The word first entered the human lexicon in 1904 via Chapter III of Liber AL vel Legis (commonly referred to as The Book of the Law) written by English occultist and mystic Aleister Crowley during his time in Cairo, Egypt.

Set in the post-apocalyptic landscapes of German artist / painter / graphic designer Joachim Luetke, the album cover’s face with tentacles harkens back to H.P. Lovecraft’s nameless elder gods and “personifies dominion of powers far beyond mankind,” according to the artist. “These nameless gods witnessed the birth of our universe and they’ll watch it implode. To them, the age of mankind is but a blink of an eye.”
A return to the famed raw ferocity of 1997′s Enthrone Darkness Triumphant, ABRAHADABRA is, according to North America’s Decibel Magazine, “Norway’s answer to The Omen.” Metallian Magazine from France predicts: “It will become a milestone of the genre. It is impossible not to be amazed.” Inferno Magazine decrees: “Majestic, evil, and pompous, ABRAHADABRA is everything that makes DIMMU BORGIR the elite of the pack.”
An inundation of power, a showcase of incessant skill, and above all, an intelligent manifesto of a highly intact creative force, ABRAHADABRA demonstrates every reason why Norway’s DIMMU BORGIR is – and unquestionably remains – the most prominent symphonic black metal act in the world.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Born to live forevermore...

THERE can be no doubting that when the sneering, shoe gazing numpties who scorn heavy metal conjure up a clichéd image, that of Manowar must spring to their minds; partially clad, long hair, indulgent soloing and lyrical nonsense about fighting and mythical battles.

But those self-same numpties would have had their skulls shaken by the volume when Manowar played the Mandeall Hall last week, and their brains fried by a level of musicianship few can attain. What is more, despite the sheer aural assault, the clear mix would have left them gaping in awe.

Sure even the most staunch metal fan can have reservations about Manowar, seeing as they disappeared into the Teutonic wilderness with much ranting about Norse legends. But on this tour Manowar are back to what they do best - delivering metal with a hammer blow.

Appropriately the anniversary of their début album saw almost the entirety of that platter delivered with aplomb. The first run through of the titula Manowar seemed a little strained in places, perhaps a band wearied on the last night of their tour. But thereafter they hit their stride, with Fast Taker, Shell Shock and Dark Avenger showing that Manowar are not one dimensional.

Sure the solos were a bit over the top (an eight string bass with a whammy bar!) and Eric Adams kept nipping off the stage (for oxygen, water, beer or to entertain a Scandanavian wench?) but overall it is hard to fault the overall performance.

Cocksure they may be, but Manowar don't deal with the fluff and flattery; the nasty whiff of misogyny may pervade some of Joey De Maio's gestures to female fans, but Manowar were unrepentant in their singular quest to play heavy metal "loud as it can be".

After the Battle Hymn outing the set veered throughout their later outings, with Hail and Kill notable. It was on the Fighting the World tour that Joey and company last played Belfast.

After awarding a metal ambassador from....Donaghadee, Manowar ended with a full on blitz and Black Wind, Fire and Steel ending in a cacopohny of feedback and blasts as De Maio ripped strings off his bass and Adams proving his pipes would blast Bieber off his feet and into a coma.

Manowar are to some an anachronism, but a loud and proud anachronism. It is worth, for a moment putting them in their place in metal history. When they kicked off their lengthy career they were unapologetic opponents of a hair metal scene that had mediocrity amidst a few shining stars. They were seen as retrograde classic metallers as thrash injected speed and fury into the music. But they have never faltered from their belief that they are the best at what they do, and few can argue with that. They have out lived many of their contemporaries, and one hopes that they keep their promise to return, this time hopefully with a more stirring number of tickets shifted.

Born to live forevermore? Just ask one new devotee I stumbled across as his jaw gaped...damn right Manowar are!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Belfast Rocks...well we know it does!

BEFORE the balls that was the MTV EMA mime-fest Belfast Music Week laid on a Friday evening event in the Ulster Hall entitled Belfast Rocks.

Well readers of this page sort of knew that anyway...But it is also worth pointing out that Belfast does indeed rock to the sound and fury of hard rock and heavy metal every week. However, that would be just crass to mention that. Ooops just did!

And, credit where credit is due, Belfast City Council put their money behind the Belfast Music Week, and not just the MTV shenanigans. And for Belfast Rocks night they brought together a line up that showed the diverse offerings that Norn Iron can offer.

Opening were La Faro with ther rumbunctious punk sounding metal, warming up for the main attractions.

Therapy?'s set was greeted with enthusiasm, more than matched by the verve, dark humour and spiky authoritian domination of the stage by the County Antrim trio. If Therapy? sometimes deliver a soundscape for the apocalypse then only in this country will we be laughing all the way to annihilation.

As the show was being recorded for the BBC Mr Andy Cairns decided not to use sweary words on stage...better to get the audience to shout out the sweary words.
The Answer gave a tight set, airing equally what are by now old standards with new material from Revivial: even going so far as to play Piece by Piece from the bonus disc, but as it was on various cover mounts they get a by-ball in that one.

So what did we learn from the Belfast Rocks night? La Faro are a prospect for the future once they hone their sound and identity; Therapy? are still the nasty thorn in the side of smiley types with laughs amid the darkness; and The Answer are the standard bearers for a wave of Norn Iron hard rockers...well that's satisfying enough!

Now Belfast City Council, congrats for your work on Belfast Music Week, and let's see a lot more rock and metal next year!

Dimmu Borgir ticket competition

THIS one is for those with the blackest of hearts....yep your chance, thanks to the good folks at CDC Leisure to win tickets to see the kings of symphonic black metal Dimmu Borgir at the Spring and Airbrake on November 28th.

"An evening with Dimmu Borgir" will see Borgir play their classic album Enthrone Darkness Triumphant in its entirity after a fan vote, followed by a selection from their back catalogue.

All you need to do to one of two sets of double tickets is answer this question: Name the Borgir concept album about a bishop's apprentice who ends up coming to the dark side? Email your answer here and sit back and wait.

Competition closes on midnight the 20th November.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Is it just me...

STIFF Little Fingers received the Northern Ireland Music Awards (NIMA) ‘Legends’ award at the biggest event yet on Wednesday 2nd November, and proceeded to show the young whippersnappers just how a proper band delivers a live performance.

Later that same evening I had the privilege, together with my son, to see another legend in the shape of ex-Guns ‘n’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan deliver another solid, stonking set at the Spring and Airbrake with his current touring outfit Loaded. These two legends are worthy of the status in a world where hyperbole is the norm and every numptie who can play two or three chords is given a wow factor.

Attending the Northern Ireland Music Awards was a mixed blessing – the chance to see SLF again being uppermost. But while one must accord congratulations to AU, Oh Yeah and Belfast City Council for organising the event, I was left feeling very much confused for what the mainstream passes off for music. Is it just me? Am I getting too old? But all bar And So I Watched You From Afar left me cold, and for large parts bored.

General Fiasco are an obvious favourite amongst the many teenagers and twentysomethings in the crowd, but even my son was bored by what was a performance that seemed to me to lack depth. Wearing ties and looking like they had just come out of a prep school party.

As for Cashier No. 9...well it was difficult to tell whether they were Byrds wannabes, or some sort of take on reviving the eclecticism of the 60s and 80s. Dogged by technical problems (errr guys even if everything goes down sing something! Or rehearse properly with your gear!) they left in a huff after two songs.

Returning after some much needed refreshment we came across what seemed to be a distorted guitar riff...only to find it was a sample – The Japanese Popstars where on stage. Ohh dear me, Satan must be reserving a very special place in hell for people who ‘perform’ with a couple of samplers and their Apple Mac laptops open. Sure they can mix other people’s music and add yet more samples of other people’s music and other people’s music (getting the theme here) what’s the point. Go programme computer games soundtracks or play Call of Duty, but don’t pass it off as a performance. If you can’t write music...
Is it just me? Am I getting too old?

Salvation was at hand however. Having no real live experience of And So I Watch You From Afar it was a delight to have an edgy, over the top instrumental wall of guitars, bass and drums: the bastard child of alt rock and Mastodon, there was something electric on stage. And for a change it was no faux angst. Tony announced he was leaving ASIWYFA before diving into the crowd. Due adulation, ecstatic scenes among the appreciative and the thrown down guitar... One cannot tell what the future is for ASIWYFA and Tony, but well worth tracking it down.

Radio Ulster’s Rigsy and Emma Fitzpatrick of Citybeat did an admirable job as hosting the event, but special mention must go to Stuart Bailie for organising it, and for Belfast City Council for being so open to Northern Ireland music for being among the backers (can’t figure out the Invest Northern Ireland link, but hey perhaps local bands should be applying for a special rock grant!).

BBC Northern Ireland’s Mike Edgar gave a glowing accolade to SLF, complete with a video charting their history (and some fashion mistakes). But what can you really say. Off stage they could be a group of middle aged men gathered round for a natter and wee bit of craic. But onstage there is a fire and an intensity that few can match even when they are only there for a 20-minute blast through.

Suspect Device, Strummerville, Wasted Life - all delivered like the fury of the late 70s and early 80s was still burning in Jake Burns heart. And with a new – long-awaited album follow-up to Guitar and Drum promised one can only see the Stiffs go from strength to strength.

This is beginning to read like a GCSE attempt at a review rather than a serious journalistic analysis, but what the hell:

With the final chords of Alternative Ulster echoing it was a quick dash to the Spring and Airbrake, thanks to the kind folks at CDC Leisure, to catch the last half of Duff McKagan’s Loaded. Laconic, every bit the Californian superstar punk, heavy rock icon, Duff’s set was almost like he was the resident act for the venue. Chatting to the front row as if with old friends.

But make no mistake about it; this is not a man on nostalgia trip. Yes the Gunner’s It’s So Easy was punched out to the crowd’s delight, while Attitude summed up a lot about the man. The acoustic version of Wasted Heart, however, showed that this is a man and a band prepared to see what comes next rather than resting on past glories.

So, why in the world did it take so long for SLF to be accorded Legends status? Why was the Spring and Airbrake not rammed to the rafters for Duff? And why was local hard rock and metal talent not received accolades and awards in the Ulster Hall? Trucker Diablo, Last Known Addiction, Million Dollar Reload, Worldsend etc etc etc may have small flaws each, but those flaws are tiny, minuscule compared to the flawed fashionable ones.

I posit two reasons: first, fashions fickle fingers swaying from the arms of the playlists of BBC, (un)Cool FM and Citybeat and the pages of AU. The second one is related, but all the more serious: airplay.

The rock and metal scene exists despite being blacklisted from the radio stations and print media. With the right airplay on mainstream stations I have no doubt that hard rock venues and album sales would enjoy a resurgence. Mime-along acts enjoy their allotted scandal rag half hour of fame and sell-out the Odyssey for their pre-pubescent fantasist girls and their mums, but the conversion of the 12,000+ that went to Iron Maiden and Metallica in the Odyssey from weekend rockers to regular attendees for local acts is but an airplay step away. One can but dream that next year’s Northern Ireland Music Awards will offer due recognition to hard rock and metal acts, and SLF get another Legends award, to paraphrase a certain cosmetic advertisement: Because They’re Worth It!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Can I audition to be an asshole please?

OH Satan must be delighted. We, the people of Norn Iron, have sucked on his nether regions and are now hosting an event so divorced from reality that we carry headlines about people "auditioning" to be in the audience!
Yes, you read that right, if you or your brain dead, semi-literate, and certainly not self-aware friends wanted to be in the audience for the MTV European Music Awards on Sunday then those who were not Belfast City councillors (oh how ridiculous is that? Belfast City Council invests in music so old aged has-been political non-entities get free tickets) had to audition to get one of the "extra" 120 tickets.

No doubt it was a carefully planned PR coup (when I'm not writing I work on an in-house PR team...so shoot me!) to have several hundred people who do ot care that the "audience member" criteria was to behave as a dick for the media in a desparate (well no-one offered a kidney or their first born child, so not that desparate then!) bid to be close to the 'stars' or be on TV.

First thing to get clear: fuck off you brain dead numpties! Just fuck the way off! That you would even audition to be in the audience is stupid enough! To be photographed and quoted in the news admitting to the world that you have no sense of proportion...just what were you thinking.

Can you imagine auditions for hard rock and metal gigs:
Q1 - Can you drink beer?
Q2 - Do you own at least two tour t-shirts
Q3 - Have you ever, under the influence of Jagermeister or Jack Daniels sang out of tune
Q4 - Do you understand that Justin Beiber's life should be forfeit in any civilised society?

Yes - big news in Belfast! Justin Beiber is to play at the MTV EMA event in the Odyssey Arena! Grab yer shotguns friends, we get to hunt a 17-year-old that is as manly as a Bangkok ladyboy. Ohhh, he's had several squilion losertube views, so he must be the NEXT BIG THING! No talent? Check! Pretty boy cheekbones? Check! Soccer mum and teeny audience demographic market secured? Check!

NI Music Week is actually a great initiative Belfast City Council has undertaken. Even if hard rock and metal is sidelined as usual, at least it is promoting Norn Iron acts. MTV EMA might get one set of foreign journos to hear something that doesn't have a drum machine or choreographed miming...well I am a dreamer!

Let me, as All Hallow's Eve fades into All Saint's Day (stolen from ancient Celtcic traditions by the church because ancient Celts were rocking out and having too much fun!) explain what is coming up in this week and coming weeks.

On Tuesday the NI Music Awards will see Stiff Little Fingers be accorded the title 'Legends', a title all punk, rock and metal fans should already know they have already attained. On the same night, the nice guy of Guns 'n' Roses, Duff McKagan, will bring his Loaded back to the Spring and Airbrake.

On Friday The Answer, Therapy?, and La Faro will be at the Ulster Hall, rocking it to its foundations.

If you want to chill out a little on Sunday Stormzone are having a listening party at the Diamond Rock Club, Ahoghil for their latest SPV releae Zero to Rage.

On Monday 7th Turisas and the Devon Townsend Project will be destroying the Ormeau Road.

Then on the 10th Manowar will be fighting then world once more, bringing the Black Wind, Fire and Steel to the Mandella Hall.

And that's not to metion Dimmu Borgir, Cynic, Black Stone Cherry and Fish.

Not that the "Bureaucratic Capitalist Whore Cowards", to quote Bill Hicks, would ever consider something as risky as having an actual proper live rockin' act on stage; Therapy? got away with it, but then Metallica played "So What" (and I shouldn't have to tell you about those lyrics!) and frightened the advertisers.

So with TV approved "audiences" and global entertainment "reporters" coming from across the globe thank you for reading my rants; get to gigs when you can; buy the CDs, back local talent and never, ever, stop rockin'!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

What citrus fruit likes oral sex?

WHAT citrus fruit likes oral sex? That would be Orange Goblin! Geddit? No! Ahh c’mon, surely you did! An Orange Gobbling; Orange Goblin!

Argghh! The joke is pathetic, I do hereby confess that, but instead of shaking your head, head off to your local ticket outlet and shell out the cash to see Big Ben and his compatriots in Orange Goblin play Belfast on April 21st with By Any Means and Wizards of Firetop Mountain in support.

Go on, you know you want to: and I promise no more crap jokes if you do!

Venue: Spring and Airbrake and Tickets at the unfeasibly reasonable price of £16.

If you have an IQ over 75 and watch X-Factor shoot yoursellf

SERIOUSLY - if you have an IQ over 75 and watch X-Factor shoot yourself! Or at the very least shoot your computer and give your 'Smartphone' an acid bath.

Here's a fact for you numpties: the advertisers, those sons of Satan grubbing their way into your souls, judge the success of TV on the basis of how many people tweet or update. Media agencies cancel shows when not enough people are tweeting about them.

I mean go and f*ck away off! X-Factor is an off-cut from the mechanically recovered meat of TV entertainment while the real talent, real musicians, artists, scientists are left hanging on the butcher's hook, unwanted; their intellectual muscle forever untasted...

Next week I will have the joy of watching a series of actual, real life, talented musicians. Stiff Little Finges, Loaded, The Answer and Therapy?

I will not be approaching my televisual remote control to watch the 'reality' shows, unless it is to switch over to a music channel or something that might stimulate me to THINK. Go on try it! You think about it for a minute: formulaic fodder for the masses, with cynical executives rubbing their hands as they grub around for another pound of your hard earned cash. Advertising is paid for by you! When you buy their tasteless tat, or have banks sucking cash from you that's you paying for the ads as the bastards hope to get more of the money you earn so it can pay the salaries of those that use every trick in the book to avoid paying tax: yeah they won't pay tax, but when they've a heart attack at their over-priced gym it is your tax money that pays for the paramedic, the emergency department's nurses, doctors and staff, because you pay tax. Every pay packet, every bottle of buorbon, every 10-deck of ciggies, every CD, you're paying tax: they're not.

How has this world, this island come to the state where hard rock and heavy metal is sneered at by prats who idolise the pro-tooled vacuous pretty boys and girls with their sampled drum lines, backing dancers and destruction of the nations brains. They stand accused of murdering songs penned by people who knew what a tune was, how to write and how to perform. Their guilt is apparent to all who watch...

So, what prompted this outburst. Moving languidly to the kitchen to retrieve a stray beer, lest it got lost and failed to make it to my hand, I switched on ye olde transistor radio; BBC Radio 5 Live to be precise. A popular radio presenter from these parts moved from a serious story about standards of care for older people to a report on the X-Factor - in the language these so-called people will understand I thought...WTF!

There then followed a debate that included a snippet of some brain-dead person destroying The Clash's Should I Stay or Should I Go. No intonation, no concept of the song's central themes. Nothing. The debate included one bampot saying that Gary Barlow had been brought to the X-Factor as, and I quote the no-dick nonentity here, "an incredibly authoritative figure". WHAT! He sang in a boy band that was managed within an inch of its life: over-dubbed, studio toned, mimed live and definitely not authoritative. Christopher Hitchens, Richard Attenborough, to name but two, are authoritative. Gary feckin Barlow is a product for pre-teen girls and their middle aged mothers to give air to maternal instincts while hoping he actually has a dick and not some genitalia recepticle for more money.

C'mon people of the UK and Ireland: let's hunt down the executives and producers of this twaddle and ship them off to Rockall, a tiny almost inaccessible island off the north coast. Dump them there and they can live in bird shit and seaweed til they confess the error of their ways.

Right, sorry this is a music blog. But this penchat for people with even a smidgeon of intelligence to watch this dipshit show while Cowell (or to give him his full title as revealed by Jake Burns of SLF, that c**t Cowell) counts his millions and prays for a Christmas Number One because he really, really doesn't have enough money.

Do you think he'd ever, ever think about listening, let alone backing one of the many, unsigned but immensely talented hard rock and heavy metal acts pounding the boards in Norn Iron. Would he feck! Would he back any actual musician? Not unless its the session musos earning peanuts to back talentless musicians.

But you know what's even worse? Pseudo intellectuals trying to rationalise X-Factor, Strictly Wankers Dancing, or Britain's Got Talent (which on the evidence to date it does not have talent on prime time TV shows). These self-same so-called smart people then have their giggle, their tweets and move on to praise some shoe-gazing sweetie eating arsehole. If they have a conscience they'd be calling a care line to have the contestants counselled and referred to a psychiatrist.

I've been listening today in the car and on ye olde computer to Anthrax, Trucker Diablo, Machine Head, Mastodon, Last Known Addiction, Stone Sour, Trivium, Dogs D'Amour, Nightwish and Manowar (random shuffle on iPod!). Now these X-Factor watching numpties will snigger at the growling vocals, the wall-of-noise and worse will guffaw at Manowar. They know nothing, they're worth nothing. Manowar, for all the over-blown theatrics, obsession with deafening a generation and over-the-top attitude are head and shoulders above these non-entities clogging the airwaves and causing previously intelligent people to tweet about this drivel.

A few weeks ago I raised a beer in memory of Cliff Burton, who died just over 25 years ago. I had the honour of seeing Mr Burton perform twice (Donington in the Ulster Hall). This was a bassist who knew his way aroung Bach, Lyrnyrd Skynyrd, The Misfits and Rush. This was a man whose time signatures confused atomic clocks and Danish drummers. Do you think Mr Burton or Johann Sebastian Bach would be enamoured by X-Factor? No, they'd be grabbing the nearest semi-automatic weapon and sending Cowell and his 'friends' back to Satan with the message 'Do Not Return'.

Here's another useless wee fact for you: scientists have begun to work out how quantum physics is at work when the transistors in your radio and older televisions receive power. Do you think Cowell and co would ever think of broadcasting something about how physics, chemistry or another science actually matters? Do you think they'd ever do a show on how modern medicine and pharmacological advances use cutting edge biological understanding and micro-electronics has changed the way we perceive disease? Next time you're in hospital whether seeing and ultra-sound of your unborn child, or watching a sick relative receive an fMRI scan the diagnosis from which may help save their life, spare a thought for X-Factor. They scanned the brains of contestants and the resulting CT scan showed no cerebral activity. They scanned the brain of Rob Flynn of Machine Head to understand how the lyrics of The Darkness Within came about, but the radiographer's mind was too frazzled by Strictly and X-Factor that their head melted.

I'm not even drunk yet and that one snippet of a radio show has got me so enraged! Hell, I checked my Twitter feed and couldn't find a single thing of real importance such as football (side jokes welcome) for all the people going on about X-Factor. Yes, BBC presenter who does shows on a Sunday you know who you are! And, yes one massive supporter of local hard rock talent, you know who you are.

Right here, right now, pledge to boycott X-Factor, Britain's Got Talent, Strictly..or whatever twaddle the ratings hounds want you to empty your brain to.  You have brains, use them.

That is all....apart from this...

I and those about me do not advocate suicide in any way. This post has a satirical note and if you take it seriously then you really have problems. And as to shooting yourself, you may have difficulty procuring a gun: as we have a current issue in Norn Iron with 'dissident' terrorists/gangsters, they may willingly shoot you thereby removing your stupid tweets once and for all as well as keeping the terrorists/gangsters from hurting anyone else (satire, people, satire: see: Bill Hicks, Lenny Bruce, Folks on the Hill etc for further information)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Duff, Devin and Turisas

THE winners of our competitions for tickets to see Duff McKagan's Loaded and Turisas/Devin Townsend have been drawn. Cngratulations to them all.

If you haven't received an email by this morning, then we're sorry that you haven't won out this time. Which means you can now get yer asses into gear and buy tickets!

Thanks again to CDC Leisure for their ongoing support and look out for more competition news soon!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sad news of a split

SAD news comes our way that the mighty Interrogate has split-up.

Following on from rumours on social media I confirmed with former member Stephen Brown that the band is no more.

Now's not the time or place to go into the whys and wherefores, and no word as yet of future plans for the members.

From myself and on behalf of the readers here who were fans of the band, thanks for some great music. Tonight I shall wear my Interrogate 'Tear the Place Down' t-shirt and tip a beer down my neck to toast the great music the band has produced for more than half a dozen years and stick Silence the Fallen on ye olde iPod

Enthrone Darkenss wins out

DIMMU Borgir have announced the album they'll be playing in full on their forthcoming visit to Belfast on 28th November - it's to be Enthrone Darkness Triumphant.

Borgir had run a fan competition to decide which of their output would be aired live in the first part of their show.

Tickets are still available for Triumphant Darkness coming to be enthroned at the Spring and Airbrake.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Viking Roar

THE mighty Viking roar of Amon Amarth is coming back to rock Belfast as the Distortion Project presents Amon Amarth at the Mandella Hall!

Holy Thor! This is going to the Twilight of the Thunder God at Queens, with Grand Magus blasting out as support to Amon and one further act to be confirmed.

The date when Odin's hordes storm back to Belfast? March 14th, 2012.

Tickets are already on sale here at the measly price of £27

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Napalm Christmas Death!

DECEMBER is such a good time for parties...all those office functions with dry turkey and hard-boiled brussel sprouts, not to mention bad dances and inappropriate mistletoe advances...

Alternatively you could just go see Napalm Death at the Spring and Airbrake on December 6th! Much more festive, we're sure you'll agree!

More details to follow.

Ticket competition update

JUST a quick note on the competitions to win pairs of tickets to Duff McKagan's Loaded and the Turisas/Devin Townsend Project.

Thanks for all the entries so far: now to answer a few points from your emails [which saves me writing to each and every one of you]
  • Closing date is midnight, 24th October
  • There is no restriction on the number of entries
  • Each entry is allocated a random number
  • Numbers are them drawn
  • Winners will be contacted directly by email to inform them they have won
  • Winners will simply then need to turn up at the venue on the night
  • Winner's first names will be published on this blog [unless you expressly have not won]

Hope that helps, and if you haven't heard from us by 26th October run out and buy your tickets for these two super shows!

Now a reminder of the questions:

To win a pair of tickets to see Duff McKagan's Loaded on 2nd November:
"Name one of the bands Duff McKagan played in before Loaded?"

To win a pair of tickets to see Turisas and the Devin Townsend Project on 7th November:
"Name of a Turisas album and a Devin Townsend Project album".

Email your answers before midnight on 24th October.




You me at 6...

NOT to the taste of most readers, but some of the younger readers I know like them - You Me at Six - play the Ulster Hall on 14th March.

Pop punk, scene sluts, whatever, their third album Sinners Never Sleep, has been critically acclaimed beyond the pages of Kerrang! and other even less worthy publications.

[Editor's note: Junior Editor a.k.a. son, wishes to disassociate himself from being one of the younger readers who like YMA6: "I just bought Five Finger Death Punch and Dream Theatre albums...go figure why I would want YMA6 when I got those and Machine Head to listen to!"]

Leaving aside his comments, here's the official blurb:

"There aren’t many bands who reach their third album while still only aged between 21 and 22. Fewer still have headlined Brixton Academy, staged two sold out nights at Hammersmith Apollo, or have played to a total of 65,000 people on just two of their many UK tours. That YOU ME AT SIX are also the 2011 Kerrang! Award winners for Best British Band is yet another accomplishment.

"Since the release of YOU ME AT SIX’s 2008 debut album ‘Take Off Your Colours’, they have been at the forefront of British rock music. From that album’s riotous pop-punk, via the explosive thrills of their 2010 Top 5 album ‘Hold Me Down’, the Surrey-based band have dealt in party anthems, relationship dramas as they’ve sound-tracked the summer with their buoyant melodies and crackling riffs.

"But the release of YOU ME AT SIX’s third album, ‘SINNERS NEVER SLEEP’, marks a shift. Older, wiser, and with more to say, this is a band who have enjoyed their youth but who are moving into new pastures.

"This is an ambitious band who, with their third album, are looking ahead. Older, wiser and brimming with confidence, ‘SINNERS NEVER SLEEP’ is the first step towards the rest of their lives and, as the maturity, intensity and quality of the record prove, there is much to be excited about."

Tickets £22.50

Manowar set list

IF there is anyone doubting that the Manowar show at the Mandella Hall on November 10th will be worth the price here's a wee glimpse at the set list:

Death Tone
Metal Daze
Fast Taker
Shell Shock
Dark Avenger
Battle Hymn
Sun Of Death
Brothers Of Metal
Kill With Power
Fighting The World
Sons Of Odin
William's Tale
The Gods Made Heavy Metal
Call To Arms
Hail And Kill
Let The Gods Decide
Hand Of Doom
The Power
Warriors Of The World United
Kings Of Metal
Black Wind, Fire And Steel
The Crown And The Ring

Putting aside the joy of hearing the first album in full Fighting the World, Hail and Kill, and Black Wind, Fire and Steel should surely make it a night to remember [although I might be forced to nip out for a ciggie and extra pint during Sons of Odin :)]

Monday, October 17, 2011

Win tickets to Turisas/Devin Townsend Project

AHH those folks at the Limelight and Spring and Airbrake are so generous to you lot that they're offering ANOTHER competition to win tickets. So not only can you chance your arm to win tickets to see the mighty global superstar Duff McKagan with his sensational band Loaded, but now there's chance to win tickets to see the double header to end all double headers.

Yes! On November 7th Turisas and the Devin Townsend Project play the Spring and Airbrake. Hope y'all have already got your tickets, and as before if not, why not? After all you get the Finnish Battle metal and war paint, allied to the mad genius of yer man Townsend!

Well for the stragglers out there yet to book there tickets, we have two pair of tickets up for grabs.

All you got to do is email the name of a Turisas album and the name of a Devin Townsend Project album before the closing date of 24th October.

As per all competitions on this site all correct answers will be put into a draw; winners notified and details of how to collect their prize.

Good luck hard rock/metal/battle metal/geetar fans!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Win tickets to see Duff McKagan's Loaded

HAVE you got your tickets for Duff McKagan's Loaded's gig on November 2nd at the Spring and Airbrake? If not, why not?

Duff is a true bona fide legend with Guns 'n' Fuckin' Roses and Velvet Revolver. What does this man of many talents, but minus a pancreas, need to tour for, much less than troop along for another appearance in Belfast.

Well, we should be thankful that he is again heading our way on 2nd November. And, if you haven't got your tickets yet then you might be in with a chance of winning a pair, right here right now (okay, not right now, after the closing date!)

In partnership with CDC and those fine men and women of the Airbrake, Limelight etc we are offering as a prize one pair of tickets to have your arse blown away by Duff and his compatriots in Loaded.

To win these tickets you'll have to answer this exceedingly difficult question:

"Name one of the bands Duff McKagan played in before Loaded?"

I know it's difficult and younger viewers may have to look up Wikipedia, but email your answers by Monday 24th October to see if you've won.

It gets better all the time...

THREE Bristolians and I forgot to ask them whether they supported Bristol City or Bristol Rovers...but given how down-to-earth and friendly Onslaught where on their recent visit to Belfast they would not have shied away from the potentially awkward football question.

Remember this is one of the few bands not just content to meet fans after a gig, but to stand shoulder to shoulder with them at the bar too. This is one of the few bands outside the big five or six metal bands to span continents gigging – thanks to budget flights and not deluxe personalised planes and corporate jets.

And being on the carousel of concert venues seems not to bother them at all.

As one Nige Rockett, Sy Keeler and Andy Rosser-Davis agree “It gets better all the time” when asked was the lengthy journey from 1983 to rocking out venues as diverse as the Spring and Airbrake, Italian festivals and south American gigs all worth it.

From personnel changes through to breaks in the band’s career, Onslaught are happy to reflect on the journey with positivity.

Nige declares for the rest of his band mates: “I’m enjoying it more than ever”; his colleagues chipping in their agreement.

And there hinges a lot of what Onslaught are about: a unit, operating at one on stage, at peace with the journey that takes them on a lengthy tour in 2011 and beyond.

Given that the rock and metal news rags and TV stations seem to concentrate all too readily on the latest US release and publicity hyped acts, at the expense of UK and Irish outfits, Onslaught are – perhaps surprisingly – relaxed about the situation. Many in their shoes would reach all too readily for the default grumble button.

“It’s always been the case,” said Andy on the lack of exposure to many homegrown heavy acts.” First time around we had a reasonably good crack of the whip.

“But they [the magazines] were always very trend orientated, especially Kerrang. But it’s a little different for us in Europe, the press isn’t as easily led by trends.”

Nige joining in, points out that many of the “hyped” bands don’t go out and do the touring legwork: a charge that could not be levelled against Onslaught.

Standing corrected as to the many times the band has played Belfast Sy tells that they were the first English band to play “at the height of the Troubles” in 1987, which we had to confess was what we used to tell all the bands that at the time to make sure they came back!

At a time when there was no Odyssey complex and few medium size venues Onslaught ventured to Northern Ireland. At that time only punk and metal bands played gigs in Northern Ireland.

“It was certainly memorable,” says Sy of their first appearance in Belfast in 87, “and for all the right reasons. It was awesome, absolutely awesome. The gig itself was crazy, certainly memorable. I remember looking across the stage for my fellow band members and I couldn’t see them for the stage invasion.

“I remember after the show doing our usual meet and greet and being literally whisked off my feet! There was a real thanks for us coming.”

As to the current resurgence of Thrash, Nige chooses not to namecheck the big four, but notes that the other forerunners of 80s are coming back, like Onslaught, stronger than ever.

“Everyone’s still here!”he says. “Testament are still here, Exodus, Overkill are all still here.” And as Andy points out: “They’re all still making good records!”

It is not too often that bands acknowledge the scene around them, offering praise for contemporaries: “Kreator are making some great records,” says Andy.

And that sort of sums up Onslaught: they’ve been around the block, they know the score. From adulation at massive Italian festivals (“The fans all dress like we all would have in the 80s with cut off denims, motorbike jackets and tight jeans,” says Sy.)

They know that as band they have stretched further musically than ever before both on stage and with the release of ‘Sounds of Violence’ earlier this year. But they recognise that the re-emergence of the thrash scene over the past four or five years it takes a collective success to ensure each band gets their fair crack of the (neck?) whip.

From headlining in Japan to, as I write this, touring Brazil, Onslaught are moving forward. As Andy notes technological developments “over the last 30 years” have helped bands to record without the impediments. “As musicians you can get quicker and heavier without trying to work around the studio.”

But equally, as Nige says, the shredders and dial it in rockers, lay down their licks, “at the expense of songwriting. New thrash and some of the new metal seems to be complex for the sake of being complex.”

“We pushed ourselves as far as we could on the album [Sounds of Violence] technically and in terms of music,” says Andy, “But it is all in the context of the song. The song is the most important thing.”

On stage in Belfast that is clear. The songs are clarion calls, mixed metaphors for middle aged and teens alike; political commentary comfortable with the old black metal-inspired lyrics of the 80s.

Chatting about style changes, when challenged about the changeover from the trend for cookie monster vocals to more clean styles band mates are quick to note the maturing of Sy’s style. He himself says that while he still retains that “chest based growly voice” he prefers clarity, even with his, as he admits “very growly” clean vocal style.

In many ways that speaks to the honesty of Onslaught again: not only are they prepared to stick together, and acknowledge their place in the thrash scene, but to analyse their sound, their individual influences. They are an exemplar for many bands growing through the ranks

Onslaught have grown up gracefully in a scene that has seen so many fade to the blackness of bickering and disillusion.

“When we quit,” says Nige, “we said that was it, and never, never again. But you should never say never. I, and we, could never imagined that we could be doing what we are doing and doing it much better than before.”

Doing it better than before. That’s honesty. And with Onslaught, they have proved it really does get better every time: even if I don't know whether they are City or Rovers fans...

Saturday, October 01, 2011

The grace of music

TO put not too fine a point on it I am a radical atheist. But, as Anthrax, slightly blasphemously put it, I worship music. And specifically hard rock, metal and punk...

And so to Northern Ireland’s ‘For Christ Sake’.

When a Christian band gets in touch, the instinct many would suspect I would adopt would be to slough off any shreds of decency and decry the juxtaposition of my beloved metal with overtly Christian lyrics. To add fuel to the fire of that assumption I am currently reading the memoirs of the renowned atheist and socialist commentator Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22, A Memoir) and am catching up with Richard Dawkins earlier texts.

My views over that juxtaposition are coloured by the awful Stryper (later beset by scandals about the ‘truth’ of their faith) and several other mediocre bands adopting a Christian stance.

The aforementioned Hitchens references a quotation from the 20th Century influential economist John Maynard Keynes: “When the facts change then my opinion changes: and you sir?”

So with that challenge I plunged into For Christ Sake’s ‘Death is But a Breath Away’ to see what the proverbial score was.

This is an ep almost two years old, so this was pretty much a chance to evaluate For Christ Sake as they prepare to record a full-length album and are riding high after getting a track on the Terroriser cover mount CD.

It’s always hard to review local bands, as sometimes their output fails to match their live performances, and especially after seeing the likes of Onslaught and being smitten with the Anthrax, Machine Head and Mastodon recent releases.

For Christ Sake, however, evidence a solid and precocious talent. Navigating the rocky roads between death, black, classic and speed metal, the songs execute a fine balance between fury and aplomb.

The eight-minute ‘Sleep’ is a stand-out track, with its nightmare-ish imagery and the promise of salvation painted on a backdrop of fiery melody, haunting chorus and blistering riffs make this a classic – in tone and structure.

‘O’s revelatory message is strewn across a musical arrangement that mixes styles in a more than satisfactory conclusion.

As Keynes posited – noted above – when facts change, opinions must also. For Christ Sake are the proof that one can, and indeed must, abandon existing musical prejudices when the evidence is laid bare. The comfortable zone of making lyrics match insipid music is one that For Christ Sake have transcended. Their lyrical content is moving towards a more contemporary issue-led style, which many bands could do well to note.

For Christ Sake – I enjoyed the journey so far. Now, as they prepare to record their first full-length platter, it is worthy of a certain amount of anticipation.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Thrash? It hasn't gone away you know...

WHILE they were moaning and whinging a mile away about some over-hyped R&B singer – now known for baring all in a field rather than her banal music – being an hour-and-half late, an unseasonably hot Spring and Airbrake was toasting a Thrash-tacular Thursday night as Fallen Fate, Gama Bomb and Onslaught laid it down like the fallow years of the 90s had never existed.

The morning news this Firiday, paying more attention to Rhianna’s breasts than is healthy, was filled with teeny terrors and chaperone's complaining about a 90 minute delay – they’ve obviously never experienced the real marathon delays of Guns ‘n’ Roses! In contrast the stage times at the Spring and Airbrake were spot on, nailed as tight as the riffs.

Fallen Fate, hailed by Onslaught’s Sy Keeler as the “future”, laid down a tasty set of tight riffage and some nice solos in a slew of tracks from the album ‘The Virus Has Spread’. Origin of Sin and Descendancy stood out.

For Gama Bomb it would have been easy to kick back and enjoy the homecoming banter of band coming back to its roots. Not so. Aside from the ‘raking’ about and the ease of relating to the crowd, Gama Bomb kept the 80s firmly in their sights, with humour and verve.

Three Witches, OCP and Bullet Belt showed the ability of Gama Bomb to keep it tight and sharp as well as explore their heritage. Philly’s range, allied to tight lead and rhythm work from Joe and Domo was under-pinned by Paul and Joe keeping it tight and focussed. There are those – thankfully few – who see the jokey sci-fi, horror and film themes of Gama Bomb and forget that this is one excellent metal band, who deliver one excellent show live.

Onslaught are top blokes. Full stop, end of story. Having had the opportunity to interview, Andy, Nige and Sy before the show it was not just an 'impression', but the sheer simple fact that they’ve been round the block, round the streets, earned their stripes and grown up as men in a field were too many boys try to tread. Men know that you get respect when you give respect: simple respect for the fans (and a forty-something interviewer/reviewer too) does not come easily for many bands; those bands should learn from Onslaught.

With the air of seasoned headliners and festival favourites Onslaught know how to build the anticipation before ripping into a set spanning almost the entirety of their 28 year career. Metal Forces, to coin a phrase, were ready to join the thrash as Belfast raised the horns in adulation.

‘The Sound of Violence’, ‘Planting the Seeds of Hate’, ‘Killing Peace’...there’s no point in trooping out the songs, if you’re fans you know them, and if you were there you’re still remembering them. Sy’s “let’s see  how loud” chat with the crowd was a wee bit of fun that could tire with repetition, but in the context of the night it worked; too many bands use this tactic making it seem a little clichéd at times. Given the vocal desterity the man maintained throughout, from sinister growls to the high end, it is a minor offence.

Having asked Andy earlier about technology and music he talked comfortably about how the band was stretching themselves. And, dominating his axe Andy was easily showing how the solos are getting ever more fluid, while Nige’s counter-foil and musical ripostes were pushing the sound tighter and tighter to what Thrash should be – controlled fury, great sound and the ancient art of headbanging in much evidence in response..

The encore was led-off by what Sy claiming that their cover of Motorhead classic was at the behest of the label, which, whether it was the case or not, was delivered with alacrity; taking the well-worn track and raising the bar yet higher.

Onslaught kicked round the block in the 80s and came back stronger after their temporary break; a break that Nige said earlier had him saying “never again”. Belfast was glad he, and his compadrés , came back. There is a purity about bands like Onslaught – given the second crack of the whip they have taken it from the hands of poseur ringmaster and the thrash lion now roars mightier than ever. If there is justice and not just us Onslaught will be in the vanguard.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thrash-tacular Onslaught on yer senses...

AT the time of writing it is Thursday (just about!) - a day that augurs the weekend, yet is not quite full on relaxation and chilled out just yet...a day when anticipation conjurs an allure for those precious work-free hours that many enjoy and are called 'Friday to Sunday' in our diaries.

But screw all that waiting! Tonight (still Thursday - concentrate people!) will be a Thrash-tacular Thursday when Onslaught descend upon Ormeau Avenue to rip apart the Spring and Airbrake.

Backed by the speedy rabscallions of Gama Bomb and Fallen Fate, Onslaught will be making (and I think this is correct, but at my age you never know!) their fourth visit to Belfast.

The Bristolian metal crew have persisted through line-up changes and a hiatius to emerge stronger in the 21st Century, and their latest release Sounds of Violence manages the difficult trick of being both nostalgic and fresh at the same time.

The message is, of course, get yer hairy arses down to the Spring and Airbrake! Stage times:
  • Fallen Fate: 8.45pm - 9.15pm
  • Gama Bomb: 9.35pm - 10.25pm
  • Onslaught. 10.45pm - Midnight
If you see me there, say hello...oh wait, you may not recognise me, but that's okay because after a pint or three I won't recognise me either, after all it'll be thrash time!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Need Therapy. Ulster Hall provides The Answer

WHEN it comes to hard rock and metal Norn Iron kicks the competition where it hurts. So why not celebrate two of our top bands on November 4th.

The Answer and Therapy? are playing the venerable Ulster Hall on that date. Whoopee to all who have not been able to grab tickets for their smaller venuue tour!

More details when I 'ave 'em!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Grumpy old metaller speaks out...

SCREW the mainstream, it's so bland and formulaic that it doesn't know when it is disappearing up its own back passage...

Why this outburst? For once it is not prompted by alcohol (although that is helping!). Some days ago I clocked an episode of Grumpy Old Men in the graveyard of TV that are Sky Channels repeating shows you missed because they were crap first time around. On it the various - and at times vacuous - referenced the music and style of the 80s.

It was either that or watch the utter tripe of the X-Factor (and as per previous posts I recommend SLF's Guitar and Drum, once dedicated, alliteratively, by Jake Burns to "that c**t Cowell), something worthy on BBC or Scuzz and KerrangTV playing pop punk inane posturing...

And it was an alien decade that I stumbled upon. The "grumpy" types referred first to the many style abberations (of which I do confess to many, not least the white leather trousers....) and then to the music of then 80s.

For them the memories were of Kagagogoo, the Birdie Song, Human League, Duran Duran and Spandau Ballix.

All of these dire discourses on crimes against synthesisers and music made me angry (hence this article!).

For me, and many others who love hard rock, heavy metal and, heaven forfend prog rock, the 80s were a nirvana of pure unadulterated joy.

This was a decade when you could hear Ozzy, Maiden, Motorhead. Marrillion and many others on prime time Thursday night TV, a decade when Judas Priest were on kids' shows and Friday night's The Tube.

This was a decade which started with punk's wonderful snarl (of which Norn Iron's many bands were at the forefront) merged, almost seamlessly into the New Wave of British Heavy Metal - a specious genre which spawned the likes of Metallica.

Maiden, Saxon and Leppard led the way amongst many other unheralded acts like White Spirit, Tank and many others who had their moment in the limelight with a session on Tommy Vance's Fridat Night Rock Show.

This was a decade that saw MSG sell-out the Ulster Hall twice, a decade that saw Metallica and Anthrax cause almost terminal damage to the venerable venue before WASP and Slayer ripped it up. This was a decade when Magnum sold out QUB's SU speakeasy (and yes Kyle, Michael and I may have briefly kidnapped Bob Catley for coffee in the History Common Room...during which I am sure he "borrowed" phrases for the Wings of Heaven album) and the Ulster Hall 14 months later.

This was a decade when metal and hard rock was dominant - a sell-out gig by Whitesnake almost caused a riot in Bedford Street after a rumour of more tickets, but Baal, Sylvia and I were safely inside by then...

This was a decade that saw the release of Master of Puppets, Number of the Beast, Among the Living, Misplaced Childhood, Reign in Blood, Peace Sells, Ace of Spades, Holy Diver, Thunder and Lightning, Slide it In, and even Pyromania (these were the days before Lepps discovered cheesiness stinkier than 10-year-old Gorgonzola).

And what do the numpties and non-entities quote to us? Howard F**kin' Marks and Ricke F**kin' Astley!  What do the advertisers and marketeers toss as ready made 80s references? Oh I can't be arsed referencing their crap. But they should remember that Iron Maiden's Transylvania was once on a Lucozade ad...real energy, not faux power.

In this rant, I should as a responsible (well mostly!) former full-time journo (before I sold my soul to PR) point out that the local hard rock and metal talent is better than ever (congrats to Trucker Diablo on their recent Rotosound endorsement) with literally dozens of acts that could grace global stages, compared to the average Driveshaft, the sadly unsigned Winter's Reign and Norn Iron's own NWOBHM standard bearers, Sweet Savage. (who I must note are still pumping out awesome songs!)

So, what is the purpose of this typed rant (other than personal reminiscences). Simply put, hard rock and heavy metal - even the multi platinum selling acts - exists today, as in the 80s, in the 'underground'. And even there there are graduations of 'being underground'.

Iron Maiden and Metallica can sell out the Odyssey Arena, yet the radio rants about Snooze Patrol. Many, many other rock and metal acts like The Answer sell-out the Ulster Hall, the Mandella Hall and other Belfast venues. The Distortion Projects brings international acts to the Ormeau Road, Ma Nelsons is emerging as a trusty metal venue and Ahoghill's Diamond Rock Club is burgeoning.

This rant (brought to you by 'beer') has two-purposes: an opportunity to show off my age as an advantage over the kiddie metallers, and secondly as a rallying call to the young generations and the sedentary older rockers. I may have illnesses, responsibilities and other sh*t meaning I venture to gigs less frequently than I wish.

What's your excuse?

PS: Congrats to Ball and Sylvia on becoming hard rocking grandparents, and Steve on becoming a da...now bring that child up listening to Satan's sounds :)   \m/

PPS: if you love yer rock and metal make a commitment to see at least one local act each quarter and put aside a couple of quid to buy their CD. \m/

PPS: We even liked Meatloaf then, who one asked his girlfriend for some back door action...she told him she would do anything for love, but she'll not do that. \m/

PPPS...apologies for the excessive parentheses, but sobriety disappeared over the horizon about two hours ago

PPPS - I'm stopping now as I could - and I mean it - rant all night...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Alien infestations and deadly horses - that'll be 2012 Distortion Porject style...

HANG on to your bits, never mind the blizzards, because 2012 is kicking off with an alien infestation from GWAR and A Pale Horse Called Death...

The Distortion Project is still assailing the unwilling and willing alike as we approach Friday's 2011 equinox, yet Mr James Loveday has cunningly released the metal world's plans for world domination in 2012. The plan to take over the United Nations by Steve Harris and James Hetfield will be announced later, but for now January's first stage hits Belfast.

First, unleashed upon the denizens of Norn Iron will be alien invaders GWAR, with raucous accomplices Viking Skull and Sister on Monday January 16th at the Spring and Airbrake

Barely five days later A Pale Horse Called Death (two members of Type O Neg are amongst these cheery chaps) on January 21st (support to be confirmed) at the same Ormeau Avenue venue.

And if you don't think they're suitable harbingers for the apocalypse just read this description:

"...sounds like Alice in Chains mysteriously sneaking up behind Type O Negative with a butcher knife while being filmed for a future episode of "Law & Order."

GWAR tix £20 and A Pale Horse Called Death tix £20!

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fishy tour dates - can't wait

OKAY, it's nt exactlt metal, but Fish is part of the heritage of hard rock and a truly great lyricist...and now there's a second date in Norn Iron for his Fishheads Acoustic Tour.

In addition to 10th December at the Diamond Rock Club in Ahoghill the large scaly one will be popping up at the Spring and Airbrake on 15th December...

Two chances to see Fish in the space of five days! Excellent!

Tickets £17.50 Ahoghill (bus may be available) and £15.50 at the Spring and Airbrake...

"Riffs to shoplift to...

THAT headline caught your attention! Wish I could claim it, but it comes in the blurb announcing that La Faro will have the Belfast launch of their Easy Meat CD at The Limelight on October 13th.

Easy Meat is already receiving rave reviews for its eclectic metal and hardcore concept, loosely based on life in Belfast.

Uniquely the price of admission to the gig is simple - own a copy of the CD, available from October 3rd and get in free upon presenting it at the Ormeau Avenue venues hallowed portal (that means door for those less literate!).

I haven't had the pleasure of hearing the album as yet - but it is receiving positive reviews from the likes of Classic Rock and Terroriser; no mean feat! So La Faro if you want a review from a blog that counts (or at least likes to think it does) drop us a note

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Loaded return

EARLY notice of this one passed me by...but Duff McKagan is bringing Loaded back to Belfast for another aural assault of truly inspiring hard rock, bluesy punk.

Loaded will make their third appearance in Belfast on Wednesday, 2nd November in the Spring & Airbrake.

Tickets clock in at £20, but rest assured that Duff and his compadres in Loaded always deliver.

Sure this man is such a legend, and loaded in the monetary sense, that he need never tour or record again, but for that very reason his ongoing commitment to Loaded on the road just further emphasises his hard rock credentials - and few can measure against them in this corporate world of slick managment and soulless re-dubbed and pro-tooled sounds.

That he survived Guns 'n' Roses almost intact (minus a pancreas) and still went on to record two Velvet Revolver albums, and launch Loaded, while at the same time maintaining a role as financial columnist for Playboy and now for even more prestigious outlets tells you something about his energy levels.

And his energy levels peak onstage...and even more revealing is that despite all, he remains genuinely a nice guy.

So, come November 2nd...see ya at the front!

Dimmu Borgir set for Belfast!

NORWEGIAN black metal mentalists are débuting in Belfast on November 28th at the Spring & Airbrake.

I've always had a wee soft spot for their take on what can become a clichéd black metal scene. And to take it a step further Shagrath and his accomplices want fans to vote on which of their past albums will form the first part of their set. Head over to their Bakebook page to vote... The second part of the set will be more in the style of Dimmu classics...Tasty!

Tickets, priced at £17 are on sale now.

Monday, September 12, 2011

'Eavy fuggin' Norn Iron metal...and then some

INTERROGATE have proved to be one of the ambitious bands in the healthy panoply of Northern Ireland heavy music acts, delivering consistently rowdy but tight live sets, and surprisingly excellent recorded output.

It should then come as no surprise then that the new five track EP, Silence the Fallen, delivers a hard-hitting slab of metal.

But from the ferocity of opener Let Me Breathe, through to title track and EP closer Silence the Fallen, Inetrrogate demostrate that being a common or garden riff machine has never been enough when committing their tracks to the studio tape machine.

Like the 2009 release, 'Scarred for Life melody lurks within the monster riffs, like a cold assassin who gets you to sing along before plunging the knife while you are still humming along.

Affliction is an excellent example of how Interrogate can lure the unexpecting into their music.

Darren Brown's take on vocals has developed through gigging, and seems more tuned into the vibe, despite maintaining bass duties, ably supported by Stephen Brown's vocal and drum contributions, while Mark Johnston's guitar tones and skills grow with each release and each new set of touring commitments.

Stand out track is Silence the Fallen itself. Intransigence, defiance and pride stand out lyrically amongst the at times bile filled, but eloquent in their own way, words on the rest of the EP. To add a chorister-style voice - credited to Sabie Campbell - adds to the track rather than jarring. Once upon a time, long ago Interrogate could have been compared to a mix of Cancer Bats and Screamo-style Killswitch. No longer: they can stand proud as their own heavy fuggin' Norn Iron metal beast with an identity of their own and a sound that is growing and developing all the time.

Interrogate are back on the roads of Norn Iron after a short tour sojourn State-side (and a recent birth). When they do return shortly to the gigging circuitthere is likely to be little silence, but many fallen metal warriors may awaken

Saturday, September 03, 2011

NI Rock Music Awards

HAPPY birthday to Ma Nelson's and well done for the launch of the NI Rock Music Awards yesterday (Friday).

Check back here over coming days to find out how to nominate from the immense well of rock, metal and punk talent here in this here wee land.

While the primped, preening ponces come along to the MTV Video Music Awards we'll be celebrating just how much talent in this here wee land kicks righteous arse!

Who will you nominate?

Born to live forever more...

BORN to live forever more, and in their minds they have conquered ever shore, but Manowar probably rightly can claim to be the band that gave birth to battle metal.

Tiny of stature but mighty of  muscle and volume, Manowar are what parodies can be made of, but ultimately there is a glory in their complete disdain for fashion, critics and anything remotely relating to a 'scene'.

Now, more than 20 years since Manowar débuted in Belfast the raucous crew of loin-clothed reprobates are to once again playing at the Mandella Hall to close their Battle Hymns 2011 tour - a tour which will see them playing the entire Battle Hymn album...almost 30 years since it first destroyed decks of doom the world over.

Okay, to clear things up first, it's a wee bit dear to bring yer plastic axes and swords to the Mandella Hall on November 10th - tickets are £45.75 a pop, including booking fee - but then again it is Manowar...

When they last played here the pocket battleships of metal proclaimed amazement at how many people in Belfast drank so much, smoked so much and lived 'impure lives'...but then again it was the 80s and we drank more than even the practiced boozers of today (though it has to be said we're paying for it now!).

At a meet and greet prior to that gig the late, lamented 'Ring' - who Baal, Krono etc will remember - asked Ross and Joey what the feck was the 'false metal' they were always wittering along about. Joey said he would give the answer at the show.

At the start of the encore Joey addressed the crowd...he said he had been "rapping with some brothers" who had asked hin what false metal was. He told a packed audience it was "any band that didn't have the balls to play Belfast!" to rapturous - and at times ironic - applause. For younger readers this was at a time when the so-called Troubles saw death and mayhem in Norn Iron, and when metal (and punk!) was a unifying cross-community force. Such a statement from a US band was seen as a "good thing" even though the likes of Motorhead were regular visitors. That it has taken Manowar so long to come back could easily be sneered at, but at least they've come back...

I declare now that Manowar are above the petty tittle tattle of the hoi poloi - Manowar bring the Metal Daze, leave you Shell Shocked with ther Battle Hymns, have the Dark Avenger at their side with the Death Tone - come join us in Fighting the World; Blow Your Speakers; and, bask in the Black Wind, the Fire and the steel that is heavy metal.

November 10th - Mandella Hall - come see why Manowar Hail and Kill!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Byzantium boogie

JUST listened to a couple of tracks from the new Glyder album courtesy of the Rock Radio NI submissions, and Bat Kinane's crew are back on form with what I have heard of Backroads to Byzantium.

'Long Gone' and 'Down and Out' are welters of classic Irish hard rock,  not lost in some diddley dee nonsense, but building on solid foundations of previous work, decent melodies, tasty and soulful guitar and excellent writing. Mmmm, me likes!

Grrrrrr! Grindscene just made me growly angry!

GRRRR! Before I let lose my anger, this is about death metal, so classic rock fans might want to step aside for a moment!

Right - Grindscene, you've really made my boil and rage for the past week or so. You see, for the past wee while I've sort of fallen out of love with death metal and its associated genres: too many men with a need for cough medicine, too much intensty with little intelligence behind it.

Then Pete at Grindscene sends me two CDs to review...local heroes Zombified, and Neuroma from Liverpool - and how they made me growl. Yep, two refreshing slabs of molten, technical death metal with guile and poise behind the wall of noise, just when I was thinking about buying the new Journey CD...

Neuroma's Extremophile release deserves to descend upon the unwashed masses like any avenging spirit from hell, with an evil smile of intent.

But as you are cowering beneath the howls and growls, take a moment to look beyond the wit in the song titles: can you take seriously songs like 'Semi-skinned Milf'; or 'Chicken Poodle Soup'? You should.

For those that paid attention to a certain story a couple years back about a faked chav kidnapping then the CD opener 'Gash in the Attic' will tell you all you need to know about sharp observations from Neuroma. (And if that doesn't convince you 'Chicken Poodle Soup's' power will do it!)

Zombified release their six-track 'Backroom Eugenics' tomorrow night (Thursday) at Auntie Annies on Dublin Road. Pin yer ears back if you are going because this is a towering release.

Recent support slots have tightened Zombified's sound; the guitars of Jamie McClenaghan and Adrien Crozet are in horror harmony, while you couldn't slide a Rizla paper between the drums of Gary Beattie and Wilbo Slice's bass. As to Pete Clarke's vocals...scary, as in scary good.

The songs come in short, sharp bursts of brutality; not one clocking above three minute 40 seconds.

Not for the faint-hearted, an album that closes with the fury of 'Murder Serpent', and opens with the mature sound of  'An Introduction to the Human Disgrace' sandwiches much in between, not least the deathly good of 'The Forgotten Art of Strangulation'.

Yep, Zombified are realising their potential, much to the thanks of neck collar manufacturers, as many a death metal fan may be suffering from headbanging induced whiplash.

So, all-in-all Nueroma and Zombified have restored faith in what had become a jaded death metal scene. Now to get all that anger out of the system with their new platters, and maybe dig up some old Behemoth, Morbid Angel and Satyricon \m/ Just when I'd renewed my subscription to AOR magazine.!

And don't forget that Zombified launch party at Auntie Annies!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Belfast to host first ever rock awards

I'VE posted about the NI  Rock Music Awards before, but in the tradition of lazy journalism, rather than re-type the official press release, we've done what many so-called rock mag journos do...copied and pasted the press release below.

Comments from me marked in red...

Belfast’s most prolific live bar is to hold the first ever Northern Ireland Rock Music Awards, as part of the city’s second annual Music Week.

The official announcement that Ma Nelson’s will host the prestigious new ceremony will be made this coming Friday evening (2 September), as part of the Lisburn Road venue’s first birthday celebrations.

The bar, formerly Hunters, was taken over in August 2010 by entertainment journalist Tina Calder. In the intervening year, the venue has hosted almost 1,000 live bands, covering every possible genre of music.

Tina said: “When I took over Ma Nelson’s, I decided to do two things immediately. Firstly, keep the name because the bar had been through so many changes another change would not be welcomed by the regular customers, and secondly turn it into a live music, rock and sports bar.

“By rock, we mean we cover everything from blues, classic rock, rock, metal and thrash to goth, punk, mod, ska, indie and alternative. [Editor's Note: As one who remembers the violence perpetuated by mods and skinheads on metallers and punks in the 80's we're not too sure about these, just yet - peace talks need to be entered into....get Skindred to play Ma Nelson's as a first step :)]There is no other bar in Northern Ireland who has dedicated themselves to these particular genres. Other bars do hold separate nights or live music events but none are fully based on this.

“By sports bar, we mean that we accommodate and welcome all sports fans. Primarily, we have been known as a football bar due to Northern Ireland matches and Linfield cup finals and the showing of Premiership and Championship throughout the football season.

“However, we are now working on a marketing plan that will start to publicise and promote everything from rugby, tennis and cricket to boxing, Formula One, American Football [I used to write about that professionally and play it badly too as anyone with the misfortune of seeing me play will testify!] and wrestling.

“On top of our new music and sports fans, we also welcome a lot of regular customers, many who have been drinking in the bar in excess of 30 years. Our policy is to bring Ma Nelson’s back to the magic of a local family owned bar in the heart of a community.”

It is only fitting that, in recognition of the venue’s work ethic in promoting live music, it has been chosen as the venue for the first ever Northern Ireland Rock Music Awards (NIRMAs), which are being held on Saturday 5 November – the night before the MTV EMAs.

Nominations for a wide range of categories will open this coming Friday (2 September), when details are announced at the weekly High Voltage rock club from 8.30pm.

A nominations shortlist from a public vote will then be judged by various panels of industry professionals who will name the winners of each category as well as overall winners in each of the groups.

Rock journalist Mark Ashby, co-founder of the Paradise City classic rock promotion and co-promoter of the NIRMAs, said: “In more than 25 years in and around the local music scene, I cannot remember a time when it has been more energetic, exciting and vibrant. [Damn right - difficult to keep up with all the talent...not counting when you're a diabolical diabetic who really, really shouldn't be 'Drinking Beer, Destroying, to borrow a phrase from Trucker]

“There are so many brilliant bands doing so much good stuff, it’s a real honour to be a small part of it. The local rock and alternative scene has rarely hit the headlines of the mainstream media [Maybe we should keep it that way...BBC and the others are so feckin' patronising when they cover rock and metal - comments on this point welcome!] but this only makes us stronger and more determined to succeed in doing what we love.

“These awards are our way of celebrating the alternative scene throughout Northern Ireland: every musician who picks up an instrument, records a song and gets up on stage deserves an award in my opinion.”
Tina Calder added: “The Northern Ireland alternative music scene has been crying out for recognition for years. All too often awards ceremonies will give accolades to the TV, film and showbiz industries and when music is discussed it’s more often than not commercial chart-topping acts who win.

“While it is undeniable that bands such as Therapy? Ash, Snow Patrol, Stiff Little Fingers, The Divine Comedy and many more have certainly made an impression from their roots here in Northern Ireland, it’s now time to look a bit closer to home.

“They may not be filling stadiums throughout the world but many of our local bands are playing up to six times a month to respectable crowds and have gained themselves quite a reputation on the local music scene.”

For more information or nomination packs, visit www.facebook.com/NIrockmusicawards or email NIrockmusicawards@gmail.com


Now when Friday rolls around nominate ye scurvy dogs!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Last few Maiden tickets released...

THE last few Iron Maiden tickets for next week's gig at the Odyssey have been released - and it is the very last few! And if any of you were wavering in any way - take a wee gander at the set list below and it'll make your mind up...

Satellite 15... The Final Frontier
El Dorado
2 Minutes to Midnight
The Talisman
Coming Home
Dance of Death
The Trooper
The Wicker Man
Blood Brothers
When the Wild Wind Blows
The Evil That Men Do
Fear of the Dark
Iron Maiden


The Number of the Beast
Hallowed Be Thy Name
Running Free

All this and Dragonfartz...sorry Dragonforce - too!

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Getting Reckless with Love in ye olde Limelight

FROM the one and only Mr Loveday:

New gig confirmed: After the success of last years show RECKLESS LOVE make their return to Belfast. Thursday 1st December, Limelight, Belfast. Doors 8pm. Tix (£16) on sale now from 22 Ticketmaster outlets province wide, Eason’s Belfast. 24hr hotlines - Tel: 0844 277 44 55. Buy online at ticketmaster.ie.

Paying tribute, honouring the great, giving for the future

THERE may have been those who noted this before, but I caught this on Total Rock earlier today:


There's to be a charity night in memory of late Sweet Savage guitarist Trevor 'Flinky' Fleming and Mamas Boys drummer Tommy McManus at the Spring & Airbrake in Belfast on September 24. The bill is to feature Sweet Savage, The Pat McManus Band, Million $ Reload and the Stevie K Band. The proceeds will be split between The Belfast City Hospital Cancer Unit, Northern Ireland Cancer Fund For Children and the N.I. Hospice.

Right y'all! September 24th; Spring and Airbrake: honouring the fallen by contributing to tomorrow. Rock and metal stands with those in need.

For all of us true fans in 'Norn Iron' Tommy and Trev will never, ever be forgotten: honour their memory and be there on 24/09/11!

2012...that will be Rammstein then

THEY'RE outrageous, slightly mad, and with an avant garde twist to industrial metal, but Rammstein are heading for Dublin, with a date confirmed by MCD on 27th February 2012.

Tickets go on sale on 8th July at almost sixty Euros. Here's the full blurb:

After highly acclaimed appearances in Australia and South Africa, and following an extended tour of North America and Mexico, for which they were awarded Best Live Band at the REVOLVER GOLDEN GODS AWARDS, it would seem as though they hadn finally deserved to take a breather.

RAMMSTEIN are not resting but have assembled a retrospective of their greatest successes: “Made In Germany 1995 - 2011”!

The machinery of RAMMSTEIN Live is hauling across the whole of Europe and bringing the essence of 16 years to the stage. With a completely new show, and with RAMMSTEIN’s Greatest Hits.

Observers know this: The new RAMMSTEIN spectacle will be a rebirth in thunder!

Parallel to the tour, the band is releasing its personal look back at 20 RAMMSTEIN original bests, including an unreleased track, as well as the entire video catalog.

The work’s title, “Made In Germany 1995 – 2011”, attests likewise that a fair number of the achievements highlighted may well be definitive ones.

MCD Presents


The O2, Dublin

27th February 2012

Tickets from €59.80 including booking fee limited to six per person

On Sale This Friday 8th July at 9.00am

From Ticketmaster Outlets Nationswide

Online: www.ticketmaster.ie http://www.ticketmaster.ie/

Doors: 6:30pm

Under 16s to be accompanied by parent/guardian.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


OKAY, as cynical old rock and metal bastard there are few occassions when I come close to pissing myself laughing when a well turned sneer serves better.

And, as someone who detests labelling bands by specious genres I again came close to pissing myself laughing. Mr Loveday I bow to your descriptions, and even though I have heard only two of these bands I may venture to hear such unique sounds.

I've highlighted the genres...

06 August · 16:00 - 21:00  at The Limelight The Distortion Project Presents:

CONANLiverpool Battle Doom

DRAINLANDSouthern Grump Core

SLOMATICSShould Know Better

DE NOVISSIMIS - Dublin Piratecore

WAR IRONBelfast Beef

Sat 6th August, Limelight Belfast. £5 door tax - Belfast Beef, Dublin Piratecore, Southern Grump Core, Battle Doom death match with 'Should Know Better'...As an aged purveyor of this rock and metal shit I'm in the Grump Core corner

Daft Leopards in Belshaft

HAT tip for the Blabbermouth spot by Seatzie of a Def Leppard video of the Lepps soundcheck in Belfast.

You can view the vid here and decide for yourselves whether this is destined for release or inclusion in DVD?

Personally I fell out of love with the Lepps a long time ago given Mr Elliott and Mr Campbell's comments about metal - which conveniently forgot who put them on the road to Mutt Lange inspired mega bucks - hell I preferred the late lamented Deft Leppard.

But this video of Animal represents a song from a band that I still loved and that has consistently failed to live up to that promise - and if you disagree, fair enough, but remember everyone might have an opinion, but everyone has an arse too: it's spotting the difference that counts :)

And my opinion is that this is a damn good rendition of Animal!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Double Turisas Townsend trouble

CONFIRMATION on their official websites has Turisas and Devin Townsend co-headlining at the Limelight Complex on 7th November in what promises to be a heavy on the metal and loud and proud folk battle fiddle-icous night

More details as soon as we have them

Saturday, June 18, 2011

In a band? Then pay close attention

THERE is a reason why they call it show business. You put on a show/release music/sell merch and it's a business with a show attached. Yeah, we'd all like to believe that the world will stand-up and acclaim our greatness, but it ain't always going to be that way.

And, when it comes to encouraging cynical journos and jaded website radio hosts to carry your tracks just plain waffling, or "here's our song and we're brilliant" will not get our ears turning your direction.

For a variety of reasons I am copied into the submissions to the wonderful Rock Radio NI. To be honest, most of the acts who send tracks etc need a good kick up the arse, but as an atheist, pascifist (except in a pit!) here's some helpful hints for what I will listen to, and what you need to do to catch attention [and, with several years as a full-time journo, 14 years as an award-winning PRO I actually do know what I am talking about - well when I am sober I do].

First of all - the title of this blog includes the word "Belfast" therefore if you are not from Northern Ireland you better have a damn good reason to send tracks that you hope to be reviewed by my or included on Rock Radio NI.

Next, include in any covering email some clear, listed information. As I am a nice person [a.k.a. Maker's Mark bourbon glass #5 tonight making me nicer by the hour] here is a suggested way to present that basic information:
  • Name of band
  • Name of Song
  • Is it from an EP, Album or a one off?
  • Brief profile of band
  • Name of band members
  • Picture (if you have one)
  • Album/EP/Single artwork
  • Web address(es)
  • Contact phone numbers
  • Gigs played/upcoming gigs

If you are serious about your music this sort of information will be a breeze to pull together. The moment it becomes a pain in the arse put your gear on eBay and join me in the pit!

If yout want more advice and you're committed to your hard rock/heavy metal drop me an email.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Warriors of rock -UPDATE

THE ever reliable Distortion Project has scored another cracker for September with confirmation that Warrior Soul will be playing the Spring and Airbrake on Saturday the 17th.

Support comnes from Sinocence and Rebels by Nature: tickets from the usual outlets will cost you a measly £15 plus fees.