Pick Your Rock and Metal

Monday, January 28, 2013

Beware MOD alert!

BRADLEY Wiggins not withstanding we have a bit of a problem with MODs - all relates back to the 80s and their hijacking of rock bands and New Wave bands and a devotion to 'fashion' rather than the music. Which makes it all the more worrying that the arrival of The Who in Belfast will see the parkas and scooters out in force.

Here's the blurb:

THE WHO, one of rock’s legendary and defining bands, has announced an Irish and UK arena tour where they’ll perform their iconic 1973 double album QUADROPHENIA in its entirety, along with a selection of WHO classics.
8th June: The O2, Dublin
10th June: Odyssey Arena, Belfast
Tickets are on sale this Friday, 1 February at 9am from Ticketmaster outlets and online at www.ticketmaster.ie
The tour follows on from a hugely successful North American, tour, praised by press and fans alike as probably the definitive interpretation of Quadrophenia and a rock 'n' roll lover's dream come true” (Telegram.com, Boston). “QUADROPHENIA is their (The Who’s) boldest and most fully realized albums,” writes Rolling Stone, “but it's never quite gotten the live show it deserves – until now”.

Orange Goblin and the ancient art of headbanging

THERE'S something unique about Orange Goblin gigs - something that straddles space and time to reach through the infinite wormholes of multi-dimensional travel to pull the adherents of the ancient art of heaadbanging into 2013.

So, that may be a bit of hyperbole right out of a Michael Moorcock novella, but Orange Goblin, back in Belfast on Sunday night (January 27th) bridged that space between young and old, that space between doom and groove, that space between hope and oblivion to lay down the Goblin gospel of heavy metal.

However, it looked as if the night would be off to less that auspicious start with the Foyle river gods, Triggerman struggling with guitar issues. But Bap and his merry crew, with some help from Admiral Sir Cloudeseley Shovell's guitars, managed to turn in a blistering, all beit truncated set. Worms, Thon Strange Brew and Flowers highlights. A long journey, technical hitches and Bap recovering from the flu spurred them on, keeping the focus and laying it down just as the Guardians of Heavy Metal in the Ancient Ale Halls have decreed.

In contrast Admiral Sir Cloudeseley Shovell were a band that failed to engage most of the crowd, who seemed not to be able to get a handle on what they were actually aiming to achieve. Was it stoner, was it trip-rock, was it NWOBHM...probably a combination of all these plus a bit of 70s space rock and a frisson of grunge.

Onstage the three-piece seemed disengaged, with little interplay between the two frontmen (the guitarist/singer looked like Noddy Holder's bastard child, and the bassist sported sideboards that would have honoured the 17th Sea Lord the band are named after).

One senses there is a really great band trying to get out, but with a little more stage presence and showmanship and a tighter arrangement this could be a good act worthhy of their own heaadline club tour in the future.

But if it is showmanship, tight music and sheer presence then look no further than Orange Goblin!

Despite this being only the second date in what promises to be a lengthy 2013 sojourn across the globe the London quartet were tighter than a gnat's arse in a thunderstorm.

Reaching back through the back catalogue and hurtling us towards last year's release of A Eulogy for the Damned this was a helter skelter ride of pure, unadulterated, no flannel, no fucking about heavy metal.

Ben Ward dominating the stage both in height and charisma, Joe Hoare unassuming but with ferocious riffing and solos, all naled by Martyn  Millard and Chris Turner's rhythm section pummeling the crowd into a blissful oblivion with a bottom end that rumbled through the rafters and floorboards of Limelight2.

All the usual suspects were on the setlist, but an honourable mention has to go to The Filthy and The Few and The Fog - dedicated naturally to the Late John Carpenter.

Goblin fans know the score - they come for a party, arrive ready to share the songs, share the good time and bathe in the brilliance of heavy metal played by a band that gets more assured and more astounding each and every time.

Interviewed last week Martyn told us that the band were looking at 2013 as the year when they turned professional: we've always known Orange Goblin were as professional as it comes when on stage and Belfast can now look on as willing partners to the Goblin crew reaping the rewards of the years building the fanbase.

But a fanbase cannot simply be built, it has to be nurtured with good shows, good tunes and camaradarie with the paying punters. Orange Goblin have done all that and more - we emerged blinking into the sodium glare of streetlights, sweaty and with ears ringing, we were the filthy and not so few and we're ready for each step of the Goblin's journey to global conquest.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Orange Goblin's Martyn speaks - we listen in awe! EXCLUSIVE

When a band has been around as long as 18 years they can go two ways – out the door or on to yet further success: for Orange Goblin the second option is the one proving that longevity can result in greater rewards and the just triumph of god solid heavy metal.
As Orange Goblin prepare for their Limelight2 date on January 27th we caught up with the bass maestro Martyn Millard who provided an insight into where 2013 will take the band, thoughts about the unifying strength of metal and the prospects of QPR staying in the Premiership…
But first, we like all sensible men and women wanted to know just how Orange Goblin gave birth to their finest release to date, A Eulogy for the Damned, which by all accounts had a little trouble before its birth.
And Martyn was brutally honest on why it took so long for this masterpiece to hit the shelves.
“The length of time it took to come out was generally down to our inability to rehearse on a regular basis and get off our backsides.” he said.  “It’s certainly our most mature work to date but I'd put that down to the longevity of the band and what we we've been through over the past 18 years, rather than tweeking songs for months on end until they were right.
“We had 1 song (Red Tide Rising) which was written 2 or 3 years ago but the rest were written very close to the recording date and just kind of happened in a very short space of time”
The last time Orange Goblin played in Belfast was yet another live tour de force from a unit that seems to revel on the stage and translate the intensity of recorded output into a ferocious live set. Just how does the band always seem to keep their ‘game’ at such a high intensity?
“We're not entirely sure to be honest,” said Martyn. “I guess it’s a big melting pot of us genuinely loving the songs, loving playing live, feeding off of the energy we get from the audience and maybe being fans and quite down to earth ourselves.”
Perhaps one of the magic ingredients for Orange Goblin is that they’re not ‘stuck up’ rock prima donnas.
“Yes, I believe that has helped us as we have such a good relationship with our fans. We are always are approachable. “We will being in the bar a lot of the time talking to people about music and football etc,and not hiding away in dressing rooms. I think people feel like they can connect with us - we are no different to them, which is exactly how it is and how it should be!”
That connection – along with a straightforward work ethic (despite earlier comments about getting off their backsides) saw its just rewards in 2012 when Orange Goblin netted arms full of accolades, including being named as Terrorizer’s Best Band of the year.
In all honesty we were stunned by the Terrorizer poll results. To win 'best band' and feature in so many other of the categories was fantastic and truly humbling.We never expected those results,ever!
“We knew we had released a decent record so if the album was in the top 20, we would have been over the moon but for people to vote for us over so many categories was unbelievable. So thank you from all of us if you voted! Whether we deserve it or not is a question other people may have to answer, not us .I think we deserve a little recognition certainly!”
And, the just reward for a commitment to getting out there - and to paraphrase another singer – getting down to business is a solid following of devoted fans.
“It takes a long time to build up a fan base and 99 times out of 100, the only way to get that is by jumping in a van and playing up and down the country as much as you can,” explained Martyn.
“We've always been lucky and the four of us get on so well that we just treat it as a trip away with your mates. It just so happens that an hour or so of that time is us playing on stage. You have to enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy gigging and playing in different cities then there ain’t much point being in a band really.”
With that base behind them 2013 promises to be a momentous, busy, globetrotting year for the mighty Goblin’s march to, well to world domination!
“2013 is huge for us,” Martyn continued. “The opening show of the in Dublin on Saturday (26th January) will be our first as a 'professional' band.
“It’s taken 18 years but we finally have a chance to properly tour the world, so that is exactly what we are trying to do.
“After the UK tour we head down under to take part in the Soundwave festivals as well as some club shows with Kyuss Lives and Red Fang. From there we fly straight to the US and Canada where we tour with Clutch for 7 weeks. We have 60 club shows in Europe pencilled in for the summer which are waiting on festival confirmations and then we hope to go back to the States, South America, Japan, New Zealand and maybe even India, but these are only being talked about so nothing definite. But as you can see it is going to be a busy year.”
One area of the fan base that is a times excluded from access to the live power of Orange Goblin is the under 18s, who cannot get to shows in pubs and clubs – a source of concern for Martyn: “The youngsters are the future of anything, be it metal, politics or whatever, so to alienate them is dangerous. I understand the laws but there are ways round it.
“In the US, some of the bars are split down the middle, so you have drinkers and over 21's on 1 side and non drinkers and under 21's on the other. It’s a strange set up, but at least the teenager gets to see his favourite band thus keeping the music alive in the younger generation. We don’t people like teenagers becoming disillusioned with our music and going elsewhere because we are not accessible.”
Throughout the so-called Troubles the flag of metal and punk helped save a generation of fans from alienation and despair here in Northern Ireland, and metal bands like Orange Goblin know the responsibility they bear in helping music as a unifying force, something Martyn is acutely conscious of:
“I think music, no matter what type or genre, is a way of bringing people together,o r at the very least a form of escapism.
“But rock/metal has a bond which its fans feel an allegiance to: much more than any other form of music. That is what makes this type of music special and that is why bands have to keep playing, no matter what the troubles or problems .It’s a way of life!
“A religion in itself. Just without the bullshit!”
Metal as a no bullshit religion – that’s something we can get behind! And let’s face it, if you haven’t already began to worship at the altar of Orange Goblin it’s time you got your groove on, neck brace and stand by and drinking arm well limbered up.
Come January 27th we’ll be there to see the Martyn and his trust cohorts rip apart Ormeau Avenue in Belfast – see y’all there!
But before finally wrapping up the interview we had to ask about QPR. Martyn is a long standing fan and tweets regularly about the highs and lows of following the Loftus Road men. But with this season so chaotic, what is the future for QPR:
“Harry is doing a great job but it won’t be enough. Mark Hughes left a terrible and unbalanced squad of players behind that was beyond repair. You never know but i think the job is too big...even for H!”
Some tickets still remain for the Orange Goblin show and are available from usual outlets or from Katy’s Bar. A Eulogy for the Damned is out now on Candlelight Records.



Orange Goblin comp winner

Congratulations to Barry who won a pair of tickets to see Orange Goblin return to Belfast on January 27th at Limelight2.

Thanks to everyone who entered. If you're names not Barry and you've not received your congratulatory email then you now have no excuse at all not to march out and buy a ticket to see the mighty Orange Goblin.

Oh - the answer - Frequencies from Planet Ten - and we'll not name the person who got that wrong!

Coming soon - an interview with Orange Goblin's bassist Martyn Millard, who reveals what 2013 has in store as the band takes on being 'professional' for the first time.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Moody, melodic, post-hardcore, post punk...WTF

A REVIEWER in a Belfast newspaper last week described a band as: "Moody. melodic, post-harcore, post-punk, informed, indie rock".

What in the name of Lemmy is that? Regular readers of this blog will know that we detest labels. Sometimes they are useful to help classifications, but we usually stick with 'metal', 'hard rock', or 'punk'.

If you get another helpful definition like 'groove', 'doom' or 'death' then you can usually tell what's coming. And we happily report on anything within our range from Journey to Zombified.

We happily take hard rock in the AOR spectrum to the heaviest that Nuclear Blast, Grindscene and Metal Blade can offer.

Which makes it all the more irritating that reviewers spend all their time with hair splitting and labelling.

Then when it all comes down to it we turn the pages of today's Belfast Telegraph to see an initiative that promises support for up and coming local talent. Where's the hard rockers in the line-up? Where's the metal bands? Not one can be seen in this line-up of no doubt earnest shoe gazers.

So, if you are an up and coming band in the hard rock, metal or punk genre let's see you knocking your pans out and we'll at least give you the backing. Following on from ou recent review of 7 Days Dead (from Northern Ireland) we'll be reviewing Cursed Sun's (also from Northern Ireland) excellent Premomitions shortly and Triggerman's (another one from Northern Ireland) support slot with Orange Goblin this Sunday coming.

To all the local hard rock, metal and punk there are sites and local radio stations out there that have your back - you don't need to pander to the pretentious and be all moody, melodic, post-harcore, post punk to get a listen.

And don't forget that you can still enter the competition to win a pair of tickets to see Orange Goblin on January 27th by clicking here. But remember you only have until 5pm today (21st January).

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Goblin monsters are back (win tickets!)

Sunday 27th January - Orange Goblin and Triggerman. For those that have been touched by the Globlin's fierce grooves and got down to Triggerman's rifftastic you'll already know this is a metal party. If you need a bit of convinciing, well your heart, soul and black little metallic heart should shake itself loose from the bonds of servitude to the scene and open up now to the very best of UK heavy metal.

And if you don't believe us at how good Orange Goblin are - here are the views of some national journalists:

  • “It has to be said that Orange Goblin shows are very predictable….you know they are going to be brilliant before they even hit the stage!” – Terry Bezer (Kerrang!)
  • “Consistently one of the greatest live bands the UK has produced in recent decades!” – Dom Lawson (Metal Hammer
  • Put simply, Orange Goblin are the best metal band in Britain!” – Malcolm Dome (Classic Rock)
If you haven't already got your ticker (WHY NOT!!!!) we've a wee incentive courtesy of the good folks at the Limelight we've a competition for a pair of tickets to see Orange Goblin. Read on, the details are at the end of this justified eulogy to the Globlin.

And, speaking of Eulogies - well we were even if you were not - Orange Goblin released their seventh album last year 'A Euology for the Damned', which dare we say it is one of the finest slabs of metal we encountered in the whole 12 months.

On record Orange Goblin are fantastic, live they are on another level: the huge presence of Ben Ward dominating the stage, with Joe Hoare's guitar a counterpoint and Martyn Millard (bass) and Chris Turner (drums) laying a foundation that at times threatens the earth's axis, so powerful is the groove.

17 years Orange Goblin have been on the scene - why the music industry does now collectively bow down in gratitude is currently being studied by Prof Stephen Hawking as one of the geat mysteries of the universe.

But enough of our collective fawning at the feet of Orange Goblin.

Do you want to go see Orange Goblin and Triggerman at Limelight2 on 27th January. Option one: go to Ticketmaster or Limelight.com and spend the measly sum of £16 (if you haven't already done this we say again, why not?). Option 2. Enter the competition to win a pair of tickets to see Orange Goblin.

Simply email the answer to this question here:
What was Orange Goblin's first album.

Competition closes at 5pm on 21st January.
Usual terms and conditions apply:
  1. If you're not in you can't win
  2. Winners will be selected randomly
  3. There is no cash alternative
  4. Tickets are in the form of a guest pass
  5. Seriously, if you're not in you defintely can't win
  6. By entering you agree that you are available to attend on 27th January to have your world rocked
  7. By entering you have a chance of winning
  8. There are no re-draws, penalty shoot-outs or duels, the winner is the winner, end of story
  9. If you don't win we'll let you know so you can dash off and buy tickets

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Week's worth of punch on 7 Days Dead ep

Ahh we love a wee taste of heaviness, and we love it when it comes with swaggering like a metallic groove monster marching from our speakers and pumelling our ears into gleeful submission. And that's why we're loving the forthcoming debut ep from 7 Days Dead.

Tracks 'Broken' 'By Any Means', 'Come Undone' and 'Haunted' have been rocking our wee cotton socks off and by themsleves forcing the volume level to 11.

For those of you who may not have come across 7 Days Dead before here's the brief synopsis. When Interrogate folded in 2011 guitarist Mark Johnston and drummer Stephen Brown dusted themselves down, grabbed hold of bassist Chris Cassidy for bass duties and Ryan McManus, swore them into the 7 Days Dead covenant of heaviness and rose phoenix-like with a mission to pummel the unwitting into conversion to their vision.

The result is four tracks that meld honest hard rocking with a metal vibe. Brown's addiction to double bass runs doesn't overpower like so many pseudo feet tappers, but rather provides a backbeat with Cassidy's bass to anchor the sound. The fills on 'By Any Means' are well-balanced like a scaffold for Johnston and McManus to build the architecture of the song.

Indeed this is a common strength for all of the songs: hard and heavy and no frightened of melody alongside the metal riffing and rhythm section pounding.

Put simply - another damn fine selection of sings from a damn fine local band. Hell, Norn Iron rocker and metallers prove once again that we are the region demographically with more talent that any other patch of earth.

Check out the week's worth of punch from 7 Days Dead yourself and make sure to head along on February 16th when the Distortion Project hosts the ep launch at Limelight2.

Trucker Diablo - The Rebel **Official Video**

In case you missed the launch of the Trucker Diablo single The Rebel, watch the video, buy the song and rock like a beer-fuelled bastard. What other reaction did you expect from us? Its Trucker Diablo, on top form and we're loving every second!

Trucker Diablo - The Rebel **Official Video**

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

It's Belfast (show) business for Maiden frontman in February

WOULD you Adam 'n' Eve it but Bruce Dickinson is to appear in Belfast...only don't expect another high octanse set of heavy metal on February 7th.

The singer formerly known a Bruce Bruce in his Samson days will be guest speaker for the Institute of Directors Annual Dinner in the Europa Hotel.

In an extensive plug for the IoD's dinner the chairman of the Institute, Mervyn McCall, plugs Mr Dickinson's appearance with the following quotation in today's News Letter:

"We are thrilled to have secured such a rock heavyweight as the guest speaker at out annual dinner.

"The dinner is the highlight of the Institute's year and I'm sure everyone who attends will be greatly anticipating hearing from Bruce and how he combines his musical and business careers."

Mr McCall may be ignoring the fact that it is called show business and we recommend he watches the Belly of the Beast Iron Maiden documentary to see the real business about putting on Iron Maiden shows around the globe.

Why Bruce would choose to be a guest speaker for a bunch of business suits is clear to anyone who knows the man's current business interests, which include being a pilot, heading a major aircraft maintenance employer and a fencing equipment company called 'Duellist'.

Bruce's appearance and all these business interests aside we want to know (a) when will there be a new Maiden album and (b) when will he front Maiden again in Belfast.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Sabbath top the charts....

BLACK Sabbath are one again top of the charts...well they're top of the t-shirt charts anyway!

In a remarkabla piece of trivia...well as long time Sabbath fans we're interested in this sort of trivia...the reformation of Ozzy, Geezer and Tony under the Sabbath banner has prompted a surge of interest in bearing the Sabbs banner upon their chest.

That is according to HMV!

The t-shirt concerned is from the 1978 tour (ironically not one of their best) and sits proudly ahead of such rock luminaries as The Beatles and Rolling Stones. Here's the full top-10:

1. Black Sabbath - US Tour 1978

2. Led Zeppelin – US Tour 1977

3. Led Zeppelin – 'Celebration Day'

4. David Bowie - Smoking

5. Bruce Springsteen - Sand Tour

5. Foo Fighters - Gold logo

6. AC/DC - Angus Young And Brian Johnson

7. Metallica - Skull Explosion

8. Rolling Stones - Union Jack Tongue

9. Beatles – 'Sgt. Pepper...'

10. Guns N' Roses – 'Appetite For Destruction'

And yes - we know that makes 11 t-shirts, but that's HMV's figures!

More interestingly - well it is to us - you will note that seven of these tops are from hard rock or heavy metal acts. Some of these purchases are obviously being made by mums and dads for their little hard rockin' children, but set beside the story carried in no less a newspaper than The Times it sort of makes sense.

Yes, The Times has declared that 2013 is to be 'the year of heavy metal', which, if we are to be honest worries us.

Yes, it will be great for more hard rock and metal acts sell more albums and merch (especially our local standard bearers) but what does it mean when the mainstream declares metal as the 'next big thing' as if it hadn't been around for the past 40 odd years.

Does it mean that 2014 metal is dropped? Will we see more rock orientated acts on reality TV shows? Will celebs start sporting classic acts t-shirts (remember Beckham once wore the Exodus Bonded in Blood t-shirt!)?

All of those things are worthy of concern, but on a more hopeful note it might mean that more little hard rockers and metalheads come into the fold, are exposed to the local rock and metal acts and become lifelong devotees to the dark side, where there awaits a sweaty club full of long hairs and weirdos, where you own a computer to organise your playlists, where you discover the joys of vinyl, and the rock t-shirt has tour dates on the back and you actually were at one of the tour dates.

In short - as Sabbath would say - they'll have sold their souls to rock 'n' roll! Come to the Sabbat dearies, it's much warmer here!

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Washing away the pain as the Eagles swoop

ON the Screaming Eagles d├ębut platter, From the Flames, the refrain comes from vocalist Chris Fry that he can’t “…wash away your pain”. But rest assured that if you want to relief from your pains through the cathartic power of rock ‘n’ roll the Screaming Eagles are up to the task.

From the Flames is an album infused with the riff, paying homage to the masters of hard rock with a whiskey glass in hand and a beer chaser nearby – where the anarchic is tamed by a rhythm section, and the guitar tone is torturously balanced between sweet soloing and sleazy riffing.

At times it does pay a little too much homage to the likes of AC/DC, especially on the second track ‘Down the River’ with vocal intonations close to Mr Scott; but that is nit-picking at an extreme level – and it is homage rather than slavishly following a template.

Instead this is a slab of portentous power, which builds and builds and gets better with every listen.

The first four tracks are enough to please the most ardent rock ‘n’ roller, but it is when ‘Vampire’ bites into your aural senses that Screaming Eagles find their real fangs and identity. This is the Northern Irish take on blues drenched hard rock; it’s the Lagan delta not the Mississippi flood plains that formulate the power clout. Down and dirty, menace and passion - the Eagles are coming to rescue us from the mundane.

Golden Eagles were the deux ex machine used by Tolkien in so many of his works, from their role in the coda of the Hobbit, through to rescuing Gandalf and their contribution to the battle at the gates of Mordor. The Screaming Eagles could have been dreamt up by an author to be the plot saviours for all of us fed up with auto-tuned bimbos and play-by-numbers metalcore.

‘Devil in the Dust’ in particular sneaks into your very black heart, with a chorus that nibbles into your consciousness and a structure that reflects the best of rock.

And the flag of rock is proudly perched at the promised land on ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Soul’ – like Marines at Iwa Jimo Screaming Eagles hold the standard of rock aloft and shove aside the doubters - salvation does indeed come from a six-string.

Overall From the Flames is a statement of rock – a statement that you may sideline hard rock and metal, you may deny us the airplay, you may shun our long hair and anachronistic ways, you may walk by us in your business suit or party dress, but you will never stop us rockin’, and you will never stop us loving the rock.

Chris Fry’s impressive pipes, Adrian McAleenan’s finely crafted playing and the tight as a shark’s ass rhythm section of Ryan Lilly (bass) and Kyle Cruikshank (drums) deliver an album that grows on you gradually before smashing its way into your sensitivities. If some ‘lame ass’ Yank band or average Englander rock type recorded this distribution deals would be proffered and hyperbole would spill from the national magazines. If there is justice in this world these will follow for Screaming Eagles.

Once again Northern Ireland has shown that we are a tiny slab of the land on the outer rim of Western Europe that has more talent in our 1.8million population when it comes to rock and metal. Screaming Eagles are worthy of their place on the roll call of Norn Irish hard rock excellence.

That pain you may be suffering will not be taken away by music, but From the Flames will wash it away for a while, as you wallow in rock ‘n’ roll and you find that it is better than any pain killer of anti-depressant.

Copies of ‘From the Flames’ are available from the band’s site for the princely sum of five of those pounds sterling. The album will also be on sale at forthcoming Screaming Eagles gigs.