Pick Your Rock and Metal

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.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Onslaught on Belfast!

THRASH slaughter's coming to Belfast in September with Onslaught, Gamma Bomb and Fallen Fate play the Spring and Airbrake.

The date for this Distorition Project coup is 29th September.

Tickets will cost you £16.50, plus fees, and are now on sale from 22 Ticketmaster outlets province wide, Eason’s Belfast. 24hr hotlines

Monday, June 13, 2011

Awarding the very best of Norn Iron's rock and metal

IN November a small-time production crew going by the name of MTV will be dragging their preening princes and princess of pop-tastic stupidity over to Belfast for the MTV Europe Music Video Awards

Now forget that stupidity and put the really important date in November in your diary.

November 5th - and the BELFAST ROCK AND METAL AWARDS at The Empire Music Hall.

To quote event organiser Mark Ashby: "For too long, the wonderful rock scene that we all love has been overlooked by the mainstream media, so we're going to get our own back and shove it right in their faces.

"This is the first awards ceremony dedicated solely and exclusively to the rock and metal scene right here in Norn Iron."

The first set of categories include:
  • Best Band
  • Best Live Show
  • Best Visiting Band
  • Best Marketing Campaign and
  • The Gary Moore Inspiration Award

 As if that wasn't enough, playing on the night will be:
  • Sweet Savage
  • Trucker Diablo
  • Triggerman and
  • Last Known Addiction
 Are we excited? Hell Yeah!

More detail soon...


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Why rockers and metalheads should be afraid, very afraid


ARE you sitting comfortably? Well you shouldn't be! You should be looking at your 'net favourites to see is there anything that an innocent wee child could be offended by should they 'encounter it'.

You should be outraged!

Have ever watched a rock/metal music video with a 'violent' or 'sexual' theme? Yes? Well, there is the very real possibility that age rating will put those beyond 9 o'clock, if note air completely and channels will be clogged with pop-punk derivative drivel in the meantime. The  director's artistic and poignant interpretation of Metallica's cover of Bob Seger's 'Turn the Page would never have been made let alone seen.

Why these dire predictions?

For those of you not inclined to watch what passes for news on the telly, on the radio and our snoozepapers, you will have missed the fact that the Tory party backed investigation into the sexualisation of children was published this week past.

And what has this to do with hard rock and heavy metal?

Well for a start, even the most reactionary bands object to censorship; but more importantly, hard rock and heavy metal will be collateral damage when the Tories begin the pressure on the music and fashion business to adopt voluntary codes or else the big legislative stick comes out.

[There now follows a brief historical interlude for younger readers...]

Back in the 1980s heavy metal and hard rock strode the continents, powerful, potent and selling albums by the bucket load. Oh, and the Tories were in power, and right wing politics was in vogue in the USA.

Along came a spider web of organisations with the claim of being the moral majority. Leading the fascist anti-freedom of speech charge was the PMRC. Everytime you see one of those pathetic "Parental Advisory" stickers, it's thanks to Tipper Gore and her PMRC mates. To realise how insane these people were, consider the fact that they published a 'Filthy 15' of songs that would corrupt youth. Consider the fact that Def Leppard were lumped in with WASP, and Venom with Cyndi Lauper...

Misinformed views of what hard rock and heavy metal's themes, memes and attitude were further perpetuated; the cultural value of each and every band and each and every fan was denigrated. As collateral damage escalated, Judas Priest and Ozzy found themselves in court rooms on ridiculous charges that were laughed out of court.

Fast forward now to 2011, and the Tories are back in power with their judas lapdog Lib Dems in close attendance to whatever shit pours from David Cameron's disingenous mouth.

The Tories commissioned a report into the sexualisation of children. Did they ask an expert in the field, an academic with years of experience in the field? Did they trawl the UK and further afield for experts who could present a balanced view?

No, the Tories, in their infinite wisdom appointed a Mr Reg Bailey, the Chief Executive of the Mother's Union and former boss of Danish Bacon. An obvious choice really - administrator in chief for a christian organisation even less interesting than the WI, who in his previous job used to order the mass importation of pig flesh to under-cut local farmers. An obvious choice when you're a Tory Daily Mail reader really...

So what in the name of Sabbath has this all got to do with hard rock and heavy metal?

Well, this report into sexualisation is so vague about everything that whatever you do, say or watch could be interpreted as sexualising something. And this is the bogey word of the generation. As soon as you link sex and anything to do with 'under 18s' The Scum readers, sorry The Sun Page 3  readers, haul their semi-literate arses onto the bandwagon and radio phone-ins.

Let's be clear about something before I go any further. As a father I believe that paedophiles deserve to face the full force of the law with the maximum possible sentences imposed upon each and every one of their crimes...and then they should up to be administered several firm boots in the 'ballix' on behalf of society.

Some of the shit pouring forth from a gullible press was about under-10 girls wearing suggestive t-shirts. Is that any worse than a six-year-old boy wearing a Man U shirt with Giggs on the back?

And remember - just because the child is wearing a stupid wannabe WAG t-shirt doesn't mean she understands any of it, it just means she has stupid parents.

Back to the vague plot here...hard rock and heavy metal exist on the fringes of a society defined by a snobbish so-called intelligentsia who flaunt their media studies 'let's pretend their real degrees' as they denegrate rock.

In this Tory inspired atmosphere of fear and overtly paternal protectionism, where do you think the views of the prudes will fall when it comes to rock and metal?

Will they consider Slayer's output under what Kerry King says is extreme storytelling? Or will consider Journey's Don't Stop Believing as an ode to anonymous sexual adventures of the lonely? Will Metallica's 'Disposable Heroes' be declared too anti-war? Will Iron Maiden's "Number of the Beast" be the final "satanist" nail that sees all non -approved music banned.

Yes, that stretches reality as it is today. But if Rhianna is deemed too raunchy by these self-appointed guardians of taste and decency what will they make of WASP's Animal, or any given Cradle of Filth song?

The problem is that the righteous always seem to know the things to say no to. The very darkest metal, the most melancholic hard rock, and the most indignant punk has a life-affirming quality the X-Factor wannabes will never have. But we must stand together with the numpty mime artist, over-dubbed, auto-tuned, pro-tooled z-listers just this once. The censors are prowling. In their wake comes the churches. In their wake come the blackshirts of oppression.

It might be over-egging the threat, but next thing you know creationism is being taught as secientific fact despite thousands of actual proper scientists having the burden of proof on their side: next thing the priests of the Temple of Syrinx (Rush reference slipped clumsily in there!) will determine what we listen to, what is approved and what haircut you must have as you punch in the wage slave clock.

Hard rock and heavy metal has never presented itself as a counter-culture, it has never been a 'movement'.

In the 80s the anti-rock hype led to albums belonging to a guy I went to school with being burned by his evangelical parents.

Now that's a little too close to the Nazis book-burning, the Stalin-esque purges, or the totalitarian régimes in any number of countries.

Don't raise your voices, don't enter into debate with the censors right now. Just keep being who we all are: those who play in bands, those who watch those bands, those who write and comment about it. When the time comes to resist the censor we'll know that, together, we are louder, we are prouder and we are a music family you will never silence.