Pick Your Rock and Metal

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Henry Cluney beneft gig

REGULAR readers will know that we have a particular soft spot for Stiff Little Fingers, one of the most influential, yet least acknowledged bands ever to come from Northern Ireland. Thus we were saddened to learn that original member Henry Cluney has been taken ill with a brain tumour.

To help with Henry's medical costs a benefit gig is taking place in Belfast's Black Box on the 1st December.

Appearing on the bill will be The Defects, The Outcasts, Protex, The Sabre Jets, Shock Treatment 21, Brian Young (Rudi), Jim Reilly, The Androids and a Henry Cluney Tribute band.

Tickets are £10 and you can make a £5 donation if you are unable to attend. Full details here: http://www.blackboxbelfast.com/event.aspx?e=2024.

As it says in the blurb:
"This is more than a fundraiser this is a celebration of all that is great about the Northern Ireland music scene past and present."

Welcome to a creed of pain as 'III' hits our most baleful fears

LET’S face it, heavy music isn’t always designed for reflect happy thoughts. In our world of distorted guitars, heavy bass and damned drums lyrically our music is a mélange of flavours of hatred and hopelessness, torment and terror.
Yet we often emerge invigorated from the fire of metallic passion able to look life anew; a cynic’s heart is the heart of the true optimism, optimism that one day the world and its people will not be messed up forever.

To those outside the circle, well as Baleful Creed put it at one point in this EP: “You people don’t have a clue”
This is Baleful Creed’s third adventure into the magical mystical world of EPs. And they have cunningly entitled it ‘III’ in case we get confused where to put it in our alphabetised, ordered by release date collections

And this is a worthy addition to your collection of local excellence.
Double F.S. kicks with a slow-burn, down and dirty opening before the tempo stabilises into a rolling riff; the chorus kicking a melodic shock to the taste of filthy rhythm before the solo caresses the bottom feeders to rise to another level

Track two Autumn Leaves has a dark, dreamy quality, with a persistent riff underpinning the nightmare theme, the resonant lyric of a shallow grave adding to the haunting bluesy groove.

Next up we have a down-tuned Sabbath circa Masters of Reality butting heads with Down with agony and a snarl in Thorazine. It has a sweet chorus of hope after the riff has nailed your ass to the floor of despair.
For a song named after the controversial schizophrenia drug the dreamy mid-section sits just about right, before that riff and snarl come back with a vengeance and hope resurfaces.  Angst never felt so good

And here is a lot of the BC secret: for all the influences and nods to the past they have carved their own furrow; the music isn’t always what is expected, and the lyrics have an intelligent undertow.
This is evident on Illuminati with its brief atonal counterpoint in the opening serving to keep you off balance before the ferocity of the lyric smashes complacency and the bridge gets you prepped for the next onslaught of brutal lines. The hope in here is the hope of the cathartic feeling when a fist smashed into an enemy’s face that makes everything feel better:

Concluding with six minutes of heavy groove on Misanthrope, there is clean, sweet singing and a blues sensibility – misanthropy is a hatred of the human race in general;  but if BC hate us all so much why are they sharing these great tunes. Four odd minutes into the groove the tempo arches upwards for dual solos that are measured as well as shredding: a fitting coda for this chapter of BC’s development.
And it is development, there are subtle touches and arrangements that at first seem straightforward, but have hidden treasures. ‘III’ is a waypoint for Baleful Creed, a significant milestone for the band and yet further proof that for all the misery and misanthropy you can produce something truly enjoyable.



Coma time again

BACK in April of this year an alcohol-induced coma was complemented by an awesome display of how to rock the shit right out of Ormeau Avenue - yep Orange Goblin and alcohol messed us big time and we enjoyed the hell out of it.

While our collective livers may tremble at this post, the rest of our functioning body parts are screaming hell yeah - Orange Goblin are coming back to Belfast!

Screw you if you haven't fallen for the satanic groove of Orange Goblin - they're the boogie with a kick in the balls, they're the subtle wrecking crew that leaves you wrecked and screaming for more; and on 27th January waste shall be laid, riffs shall be riffed and necks will ache.

The Goblin deserve to be screwing with the heads of the totalitarian state we live in, but until then there's no justice, there's just us...ready to sing along to A Eulogy for the Damned (they're most recent release).

Orange Goblin shows are always a party with purpose; a gig that gives more; and a majestic mess (hey Paddy, did we really get that messed up last time....).

Ink the date in yer metal calendar - 27th January, 2013, Limelight2: 16 notes well spent to join the company of Orange Goblin; liver transplants you pay for yourself.

[Seriously - Orange Goblin actually write pretty challenging songs, with lyrics that has our editors musing about the meaning of life....and that's when they're all not shit-faced and stoned]

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Bad, bad boys in big boat of noise

FOR those of you, faithful readers under the age of 16 you may not remember two vital things. Firstly, them there MP3 files weren't always how you listened to music, and secondly, Norn Iron rock and metal music has always had a healthy disrespect of conventions and 'scenes'.

Now, pop pickers you can recapture these two quaint old traditions: veteran noiseniks and doomsters writ large Bad Boat have re-released the Lonely Doom 12" Ep on delicious transparent purple 180gm vinyl.

Ahhh, the nostalgia - 12" EPs, a format that you could luxuriate in, and with Bad Boat, a format to scare the neighbours cats, terrify Tyrannosaurs and make smiley happy people weep with fear.

Bad Boat kicked around the lot quite a lot in the early noughties, and through shufflings of personnel managed to maintain a sound like having your ears dragged through the most delicious sludge you've ever heard.

This is not happy, clappy doom like some of the lesser spotted English proponents push out on sample CDs on the front of magazines. This is doom and sludge like Cathedral missed a down-tuning trick, as if Iommi's moustache grabbed the Gibson SG and dragged a minor chord from Satan's arse. This is Bad in the best of senses.

Title track harkens back to the earliest of Sabbath's riff-tastic nastiness. Lonely Doom is for those nights when you're sitting looking up at the stars wondering when this misery will shift. It's cathartic, and its feckin' heavy.

Second track, Mechanical World is a cover of the proto-metal hippies Spirit track, and maybe doesn't hold up as well as the self-penned material; but that is perhaps because the other tracks have a visceral deathliness to them.

Now kiddies, before enjoying the rest of the EP you'll have to do something that you'll never had to do before with yer CDs. You'll have to be careful, because even if it says 180gms this EP just gets heavier.

Grab your jaw before it hits the deck, because Lucky to Be Breathing is eight minutes plus where Tom Clarke's vocal intro supplants a subtle guitar development which builds behind a slow pound of bass and drums. We vaguely remember hearing this live circa 2008/09 but that damned wah scrambled our senses to oblivion. This is a track that builds like an avalanche, slowly advancing down the hillside of your aural senses, before you are swept up in its wake, thankful not to be buried, and grateful not to die. Cathedral? Nah, this is Clutch on better drugs. Although there is no way to prove this there are parts of Clutch's latest release 'Strange Cousins from the West' that nod towards the Bad Boat vibe here.

Rounding things off is an Uphill Struggle. No, you numpties, that's the song title not the effort required. Here's psychadaelia mixed with doom, sludge and a shed load of introspective heaviness. Sway like a spide who's taken mushrooms for the first time shithead because this rolls along barely under control, weighed down with the sheer weight of metal. Then it gets fast and nasty. We love it.

This is an EP that recalls a band weighty in talent, and a band that deserved more acclaim. There are only 250 hand numbered copies of this 12" EP available now on Freak Flag records. Buy one now, or regret it forever. You don't even need a record player, hold it near a speaker and the slowed down terror within will have those cones vibrating.

PS: we hear a whisper that BB may be rehearsing ahead of a re-emergence. Where do we sign for tickets?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Aeon's death metal teaser...

ON 20th January Swedish Satanic Death metal madballs Aeon land at Belfast's Voodoo, with support  Dyscarnate, Ageless Oblivion, Warpath and one still to be confirmed. AGELESS OBLIVION, WARPATH + 1 TBC

Not for the faint-hearted or God-botherers!

This week Aeon revealed the opening track from their forthcoming new full-length, Aeons Black! Entitled "Still They Pray,"

You can check out an exclusive track premiere via Metal Hammer Germany  here: http://www.metal-hammer.de/video-audio/premieren/article330691.ece

Coming out in November through with Metal Blade Records, the 15-track Aeons Black was recorded at Empire Studio in Östersund, Sweden, engineered, mixed and mastered by Ronnie Björnström (Garageland Studios) and features cover art by Kristian "Necrolord" Wåhlin (Bathory, At The Gates, Dissection, Emperor et al).

Doors are 8pm and entry is a paltry £12...


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mon the Biffy, Mon the Goblin etc etc etc

BIFFY Clyro, Orange Goblin, Enslaved, Aeon, Grand Magus coming up – 2013 is shaping up just fine…

2012 has yet to draw to a close and already a torrent of gig announcements have been made or are about to be made for the New Year

You can check out the welter of gigs still left to drain your pockets in 2012 through the rockradioni gig list, the Distortion Project pages or the Limelight listings, but make sure you don’t sell that kidney too quickly on ebay because 2013 has already seen some great shows prepped and ready.

Enslaved, Grand Magus, Aeon and Man Must Die have been unveiled already by the Distortion Project.

And, now MCD have announced Biffy Clyro are to play the Odyssey Arena date on March 29th, with tickets on sale this coming Friday.

And, Orange Goblin, in announcing a spring tour, said “Irish dates to be added” on their Facebook post last night…
Hang on to your hats, wigs and bum fluff because more exciting news will emerge as autumn moves towards winter...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Ambitious and awesome - No Gods, No Masters

IF you set out your stall to release a trilogy of EPs under the one named package you are either very arrogant, or supremely self-confident that your songs and song-writing can stand up to scrutiny. Or, could it be that the trilogy concept suits the music output you have ready to unleash.

Thankfully for the Sinocence team this first part of No Gods, No Masters stands up to scrutiny and unleashes five intense songs, riff heavy, metal as the proverbial fuck without descending into clichés; and where melodies sung or played help paint a musical lanscape few would dare to tread.

The palette that Sinocence draw their brushstrokes from is no where clearer than the opener Coda to Self Slaughter, almost seven minutes of time changes and slightly unsettling lyrics - surely a sign that metal, at its best is both a catharsis and a chance to air the distrubing side of human nature.

West of Eden follows suit - this is not easy listening, but its listening that is essential in the pantheon of metal - or to put it another way, it stands head and shoulders above - as does almost all NI output - the twaddle and mediocrity emerging from the UK and US.

This is no unsubstantiated claim - check out the soloing in Occam's Razor, and the song contruction. Complex, yet appropriate; and with the lyrical theme that nails down the only basic fact in life - the truth is complex, but it is the truth. The refrain: "If God is love, love is war, I can't love you any more..." is haunting when it kicks in around seven minutes into the eight minutes of metal perfection.

Let's make no bones about - before the cookie monster invaded metal (and which we also have regard for here!) there was evidence in abundance that vocals did not need to be indistinguishable grunts. Sinocence do not need to indulge in vocal high jinks - clean and down to the point - no fucking around. Long Way down is an example where the tapestry of guitars, rhythm section and chorus punch you in the face.

The 7:37 conclusion - Cruelty In Silence, references previous Sinonce outings, with its pacey mid-sections and low down guitar growls amidst the melody of pain and anguish. A worthy listen!

Sinocence have been through personal tragedy and personal challenges. There is no silence hidden in this track. This is standing up, with the worthy messsage that there are things to fight for, and that it is worth saying what needs to be said, no matter whether there is an audience or not: there will be for this, but nevertheless the important truths need to be spoken.

It is hellish amibitious to release a five-track ep that has a running time as long as many artists mini or full length albums, clocking in at around 32 minutes.

It is also a tempting tease towards vols 2 and 3. We here at metal mansions are drooling in anticipation: Sinocence claim there will be "No Limitations" moving forward...now that is a bold claim, but it is one that should have metal fans ready and primed for the next releases once they have the time and energy to digest Vol 1.

Ambitious so far? Yes. In a word: awesome! ToSinocence, we doff our caps!

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

You will comply or get a bunch of sixes

COMPLY or Die are a band that has honing their sound of late, getting that crucial mixture of hardcore, punk and metal just right.

And with the release of double single Sixes and Three Suns the mixing bowl has churned out two might tracks.

Like Cancer Bats on speed, attitude flailing with angry purpose, both tracks deliver a firm smack in the face.

Sixes persistent riffery and and tortured delivery hides a subtlety in the arrangement, as it plunges towards a breathless climax.

The same formula batters you senseless on Three Suns, with an anguished cry of 'where can I go' punctuated with straightforwaard, no nonsense pummelling, before a breakdown gives listener and band a brief bass led breather as a tortured all too brief solo leads its way to a solid wall of riffs.

All at Sixes? We think not for Comply or Die! Shining bright in the light of those Three Suns