Live Arena 2016.9

After the weekends excesses and shenanigans in Tilburg and Eindhoven this coming week is looking pretty sparse again.

After last Thursday’s thrash metal master class I’m tempted to head off to Liverpool or Nottingham later in the week to experience it all over again.

One gig I do have a ticket for, but unable to attend now if for the Together Fest back down in London. It is to be headlined by the  Gorilla Biscuits, but I just can’t get there and back using public transport and be in work for 9am the following Monday morning. I might keep an eye on the set times and see if I can catch anything of any worth before I have to head home.  Doubtful though. 

which is likely to only leave…

Saturday – Manchester, Academy 3

A very unlikely pairing of Polish death metal bad Decapitated co-headlining a UK tour with Reading’s much more technical metal band Sylosis. Another one of those gigs where I’ll be the designated driver, if we go.





My Autopsy post earlier got hijacked and began to spin off on to a Bolt Thrower tale, so heres a small post and a video from one of the UK’s finest and most respected death metal bands.

In 2012 Bolt Thrower headlined their own festival, Bolt Fest, at the Kentish Town Forum in London.  It was technically free to attend apart from a £5 booking fee (I think it was £5).  All of these fee’s and profits from the ridiculously cheap merchandise on sale all went to the Teenage Cancer Trust charity and netted them over £12,400.

I missed opening band Vallenfyre as it took so long to get in the venue with the over eager searches to deny anyone who might be bringing in prohibited alcohol to save paying the venues sky high prices. We did hear them from outside though.

I also missed all of Benediction due to queuing up in the horrendous line for shirts.  Bolt Thrower are pretty savvy with their merchandise and you can only get it at their shows, which themselves are very few and far between.  By the time I got to the front of the queue the event shirts were all sold out, but their own shirts were only £10.

A few years later I was involved in the most chaotic display of order to grab a shirt at a gig I’ve been to during 2014’s Darnation Festival.  The stall was set up at the back of the main room from the start, but for some weird reason wasn’t opening until 5pm or something like that.  People were clamouring all afternoon to hand their money over and paying little or no attention to the bands on stage.

On that day, and armed with hindsight, I should have returned later as all designs and sizes were still available.


My Corpse Shall Rise


Bringing the Netherlands Deathfest main stage to a suitable end on Sunday evening is Oakland’s Autopsy, and with a name like that you’re not going to get any ballads or songs about rainbows and unicorns.

They formed way back in 1987 and released their first album, Severed Survival, on the Peaceville Records label in 1989.  I can’t recall the whole story or remember who it involved, but I had some kind of test pressing or rejected t-shirt featuring the Severed Survival art work from a friend at school.  I think one of their parents worked at the place where the shirts were being printed, as I recall it having another bands logo on the back or sleeve.  I wouldn’t be surprised if I still have it in a big black bin liner of shirts that I’ve shoved up in our roof space. One day I’ll send my other half up there to get it down.

I never got to see them live first time around – those dark days of 1990 when I’d just left school and had to rely on those bus things! When Bolt Thrower announced the inaugural  (and so far only) free charity concert in London in 2012 it was a pleasant surprise to have Autopsy as special guests, a band who hadn’t played the UK for 22 years. Admittedly they had split up for nearly 15 years, but their appearance was something that many had been waiting for with baited breath.

This track was taken from The Tomb Within EP, their first release of new music since 1995 and the video clip for My Corpse Shall Rise is the bands first promo.



Savage Land


Groeten uit Holland!

Well, not actually, I’m sitting at the desk in my house, but by the time this gets published I should be in the Netherlands somewhere.

So just to keep this thing ticking over I’m going to post a few short blogs from a band or two appearing in Tilburg over the weekend.

First up a bit of a death metal super group with what could be called their tribute to Death the band.  Featuring current members of Exhumed, Derkéta and Possessed, Gruesome are taking us on a trip back to the early depths of Chuck Schuldiner’s Death career.  Think of the sound of the Scream Bloody Gore, Leprosy and Spiritual Healing releases, even the logo and artwork,  and you won’t be far off.

As I said yesterday (or an hour ago – wow, this is like some weird time travel!) I think this is the bands first foray into Europe on the back of the Savage Land album released almost a year ago to critical acclaim.

This is most definatley a video NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED.  Cotains blood, gore and general nastiness, so don’t press play if you don’t like that kind of thing.  If you have a thing for those late 70’s early 80’s video nasties then feel free to carry on.

You have been warned…..



Sucker For Punishment


Saturday morning will see me rising early, pretty much like 40 Saturdays throughout the calendar year so nothing new there.  But tomorrow I’ll be heading to Manchester airport to jump on a short flight at 7am to Rotterdam, to then catch a train to take me to my hotel in Eindhoven before I take a second, shorter train trip to back on myself to Tilburg for the Netherlands Deathfest, being held at the  Poppodium 013 venue .  Thankfully the flight home is direct from our base in Eindhoven.

A bit of a long winded process I know, but trust me there is reasoning behind it all! There are no direct flights from the north of England on a Saturday to Eindhoven or indeed Tilburg where there is no airport, so it was to go out Friday or travel via Rotterdam or Amsterdam. Our hotel is in Eindhoven as there are very few beds in Tilburg and the few there are sold out aeons ago.  So now you know.

The Netherlands Deathfest is a bit too much on the death metal, black metal and power violence side of things for my complete liking, but over the two out of three days that I’m in attendance there will be several gems to be unearthed. Dutch death metal bands Thanatos and Asphyx are performing, as are Oakland death metal legends Autopsy.  Those three bands are extremely rare visitors to these shores.  Florida’s Gruesome play what I believe is their first European show so there’s another gem right there.  Also I get another opportunity to see Entrails ply their late 90’s inspired Gothenburg death metal, this time to more than a few dozen people.

On Saturday , around 6pm, the band of the day, and fingers crossed the weekend, are Canadians Razor, probably the most thrash metal of the 55  bands on offer.  I’ve liked Razor for quite some time but never had the chance to see them live, so a short hop across the Channel was a bit of a no brainer.

Formed 33 years ago I don’t think these Guelph,  Ontario veterans have made it over to British soil in their on off career, so that was something to tempt me even more into the land of the Euro and cheese with holes in.  Friends older than I have a vague memory of them possibly supporting fellow Canadians Exciter in the early 1980’s, but so far I’ve found no evidence of  Mike Campagnolo and his cohorts receiving a stamp at the UK border.

My favourite Razor track is Miami taken from 1990’s Shotgun Violence release but there is no video for that.  Sucker For Punishment is taken from the following album, 1991’s Open Hostility.




War Is My Shepherd

Just home from my jaunt 60 miles south to the Asylum in Birmingham for a master class in thrash metal or a lesson in violence, if you will.

It is ridiculously scary just how good some of these “old” bands are at this moment in time, many are now entering their third decade. Thrash metal, like whiskey, certainly does get better with age and tonight’s 90 minutes of good friendly violent fun proves it yet again.

They may be missing mainstay Gary Holt who’s moonlighting with Slayer on the other side of the Atlantic, but fellow six stringer Kragen Lum from Bay Area neighbours Heathen is proving again to be a more than worthy stand in.

3 a.m. Eternal

It’s that time of year again where the public faun over the faceless and talentless “pop” musicians for another year and increase the bank balances of the people who actually wrote the stuff. And those of us with a shred of musical taste watch the whole event in a car crash kind of way.

I used to watch the Brits as a kid just hoping that someone interesting would win, or someone I had a connection with. In the 36 years that the awards have been going heavy metal or anything vaguely rock has been generally ignored. They had a rock award for a few years, but their idea of rock included Oasis, The Libertines, Kaiser Cheifs and Snow Patrol. Iron Maiden have a 100% winning streak – one nomination and one win for best live act in 2009 for the previous years Somewhere Back In Time jaunt.

I had a quick look at this years nominations for best album. Someone called Jamie xx has his album In Colour nominated. In the modern age of file sharing and illegal downloading it sold an impressive 60,000 copies – still only 40,000 less than Iron Maiden’s last offering!

The pop part is supposed to mean popular. ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND records is obviously not considered popular or an achievement by the stuffy record executives in their ivory towers. Even after fourty consecutive years as a band shifting millions of records and selling out arenas and stadiums on six continents this doesn’t even get them a sniff of any kind of achievement or recognition award, something the Spice Girls achieved after six years as an entity!!

In 1992 The KLF (a duo I have a bit of a soft spot for) opened up the awards with a truly awful version on their 3 a.m. Eternal single with grind core band Extreme Noise Terror. The machine gun wielding Bill Drummond firing blanks over the crowd was met with polite British applause by an auditorium filled with people who hadn’t got a clue what they had just witnessed. Their performance was closed with a PA announcement of their retirement, and true to their word they haven’t done anything under The KLF moniker since.

Here’s the Brit Awards ENT collaboration.

And for comparison the regular video.