Terror Vision

This time tomorrow I’ll be on a train (again) heading down to London (yet again) to catch the first ever British gig by Dr Living Dead!, the crossover thrash quartet from Sweden.

The masked band formed just over a decade ago in Stockholm and Dr Rad and Dr Toxic are the remaining “doctors” from the original incarnation. They haven’t been through an obscene amount of members, it just seems to have been the drum stool that has been the problem. Over the years doctors Ape, Dawn and New Drummer all preceded Dr Slam. A couple of those drummers have also served time with Dismember and Negative Self over the years.

The band’s fourth album was released in October last year and is another slab of Suicidal Tendencies and Slayer infused crossover thrash with a newly added dose of punk. The Suicidal comparisons, more so from their earlier output, and penchant for wearing bandannas, is always going to be lazily present, so it’s going to be interesting to see if the band feel more relevant and intense than the last few times I crossed paths with the Venice Beach innovators.

Most of today though I’ve been driving around at work, with a few Dr Living Dead! tracks thrown in for good measure, thinking to myself are there any bands that wear masks that I actually like?

Possibly the biggest mask wearing metal band are the eighteen legged Iowan’s Slipknot, who apart from an odd song here and there in their 23 year career I can do without. From Linköping, 125 miles down the E4, are fellow masked Swedes Ghost. Even though they are the current flavour of the month with the metal press I don’t like anything I’ve encountered by them.

“Mexican gangsters” turned grind band Brujeria, who I saw a trio of times last year, leave me bored. The bands associated with the Nu-Metal spectrum (Mushroom Head, Hollywood Undead, Insane Clown Posse) have never floated my boat either.

I’ve seen Gwar a single solitary time. Their live show was extremely entertaining but I don’t posses any of their fourteen albums, so I guess that’s a negative too. Another latex clad band are Eurovision winners Lordi, but I’m only aware of a couple of their songs.

Not really masked bands, more extravagant makeup, so for the purpose of this blog, the two bands I’ve probably listened to most from the “masked genre” in my library are KISS who I can tolerate and one of my favourite bands King Diamond, yet another Nordic offering. So in conclusion maybe not every band who wears a mask is all that bad, especially if they’re from Scandinavia!

I’m pretty gutted I’m missing Dutch death metal band Pestilence in Manchester, a band I’m yet to see live, but I’m very much looking forward to experienced Dr Rad and his crew. It’s going to be a hell of a long day – up at 4am for work, on a train twelve hours later and I might roll into bed by 2am Friday! – but I should be worth it. And I’m so glad I had the foresight to book Friday and Saturday off work.

Terror Vision is taken from last years Cosmic Conqueror album.

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Minority Erazer

Twenty four hours ago I wound up my gigs for the first month of 2018. My tally was a disappointing three shows (actually more so two and a half!), but should’ve and could’ve been more, but there were some excellent performances throughout January.

Kicking off the month with the ever excellent Kreator was a tough act to follow, but yesterday Texans Power Trip proved once again why they are one of the best bands around at this moment in time. They are an opening band on Trivium’s European tour so I can guarantee a few things at a couple of their UK dates.

1) I’ll be there

2) I’ll be heading home early!

From openers Insanity Alert to my final band of the night Terror, this years Persistence Tour was a blast. Unsurprisingly Manchester upstarts got the first pit maelstrom of the evening – no surprise there. I’d be interested to know how they went down with the European crowds compared to their home fans. I’m still slightly miffed I had to miss Hatebreed, but needs must, and Hatebreed and Kreator were announced for Download last week. Fingers crossed the two bands along with Body Count, L7 and Powerflo all appear on the same day to justify buying a day ticket.

Moving into February the shortest month could see me beating last months tally before Sunday’s page gets turned in the diary. Saturday I’m hoping to catch The Faceless in Manchester. Earlier in the day Red Eye Revival play the city as part of an all dayer. The night before Iron Maiden tribute band Hi-On Maiden play just up the road.

Kicking off the trio of shows for me is another trip to the capital to see Dr Living Dead lay waste to the Underworld on their debut and only British show on this tour. They are supported by Swiss thrashers Comaniac and Rezet from Germany. You can see where this blog is heading for the next few days!

The Schleswig quartet have been featured previously I n this blog back in October 2016 when they opened up for Canadians Anvil. This time though I won’t be hot footing it from the venue as soon as the band have played.

Fifteen months ago I arrived at the Rebellion Club a few minutes before they were scheduled to go on. They were the only band I wanted to see and nearly missed the start due to some drunken patrons trying to get in and holding the line up. I saw my 40 minutes or so of the Germans and snagged my self a shirt then made the mile long walk back to Piccadilly station and I was back home by 10:30pm.

I can see myself doing that more regularly in the coming months. So many shows have been announced with, in my eyes, far superior supports than the headliners. Thankfully most of the shows aren’t overly expensive so missing a portion isn’t too much of a travesty.

Yesterday was a prime example. I saw five of the seven bands. Nearly two and a half hours of music for £30, £6 per band. I’m never going to see any of those bands for six quid. It was also slightly longer than my slew of Metallica and Maiden shows last year and at a fraction of the price.

Minority Erazer was released as a digital single back in August last year, nearly a year and a half after their latest album Reality Is A Lie came out. This track is also the opening number on last years EP You Asked For It, which I hope to pick up on CD on Thursday. Maybe it’ll find a place on the next Rezet record?

Run To The Pit

Happy Power Trip – Insanity Alert – Broken Teeth – Terror day!

Today I’m on quite a tight schedule to get down to London and back and see five bands I’ve shelled out £30 to see. With the going ons of my last two disastrous Manchester gigs I’m approaching my ten hours out of the house with a huge amount of trepidation.

As I said in the Born From Pain post, I haven’t seen these opening bands all them many times and I’ve especially been looking forward to seeing Insanity Alert and Power Trip since the last time I saw both bands last year. Not exactly a lifetime ago, but they are two of the best and most exciting bands I saw last year.

To cover myself I’ve ended up with three seats on two trains. I originally purchased my return tickets and estimated what time I presumed Terror would be done and dusted and added a bit of time on to negotiate the tube ride from Kentish Town to Euston.

I overestimated and originally booked a ticket for a train leaving the capital at 2125 which gets me back to my house just before midnight. Once the official times were announced Terror depart the stage at 8pm and I just about have time to get on a train that gets me into my bed nearly 90 minutes earlier. At least if things over run then I now have a plan ‘B’.

On the southbound journey I arrive at Euston two hours before Austrians Insanity Alert take to the stage. Due to the ridiculous prices that the O2 Forum charges a few lubricating beverages will be required away from the venue. The doors open at 4pm and the band appear half an hour later. All fine and good until you remember how notoriously slow the door guys are at the venue. The first time I went to the building we heard the opening band from outside as we snaked around the building in a sloth like queue. Six years further on though O2 customers have the perks of a fast access entrance, so we’ll give that a go later.

Run To The Pit is the closing track of the band’s self titled debut album from 2014. The track itself sounds vaguely familiar but I’m not quite sure where I recognise it from…*

* sarcasm. Of course I know it’s Judas Priest.

Bad Luck

What an absolute stinker of a day today has turned out to be! I need to check to see if I’ve inadvertently smashed a mirror, or crossed a black cat somewhere? Maybe I accidentally refused some lucky heather from a gypsy?

Things were fine when I found a record store come cafe on my route at work and I ended up purchasing an Xentrix 12” that I’ve been after for some time for a decent price. It’s when I left work where things went awry.

I was pushing my luck with the fuel in my car on the way to work but with no petrol stations open at 4:45am – even though the local one has a facility to pay at the pump but is “closed” between midnight and 6am – it’s a risk I had to take. Fortunately I got to work 9 miles away. Coming home not so lucky.

I was less than 400m away from the petrol station when my car came to a juddering halt. Luckily I managed to coast it into a lay by and proceeded to walk to get fuel and at the same time the heavens took pity on me and proceeded to dump a load of rain in my location! Four quid for a shiny new plastic jerry can and 20 minutes later I was off and running again.

It didn’t spoil my afternoon too much I managed to get home at a decent time and grab a 90 minute power nap before it was off to the local train station for my Reprisal gig in Manchester. Considering I needed a return ticket I managed to press the wrong button on the automated machine. Instead of a £13.50 return I ended up with a £12.70 single. Great! Now the relatively inexpensive journey has no doubled in price.

At the start of my journey there the venue had been altered, but it was basically upstairs above the original venue, so no biggie with that one. Fifty minutes later I’m Manchester and I’m not too sure where the venue is so I bring up the iPhones maps to check the route and get the unwelcome news that tonight’s show has been pushed back by an hour. My last train home was at 2146. I only really wanted to see two of the four bands and was more than happy to hand over my £13 cash on the door for Cryptic Shift and Reprisal and have half an hour to amble back for my train.

Reprisal – the only bloody band I really wanted so see – are now scheduled to hit the stage at 2145!

I was debating whether to go and see the first two bands or not and even ventured up to the venue and got myself a quick drink to drown my sorrows in, but I suddenly thought “I really can’t be bothered” (putting it politely) and scooted off for the next train.

Less than three hours later and nearly £24 poorer, I’m sitting at home slurping a coffee wondering why do I bother to make the effort to see shows when promoters or venues seem to think that changing times at the drop of a hat is justified. I get that there can be issues, but they all seem so blasé towards their customer base. That’s a pair of shows in five days in Manchester that have been messed up beyond belief time wise. Not everyone lives ten minutes from a venue or is able to potentially drive to a venue. But that’s a rant for another day.

Sitting on the train home thinking about my bad luck today just got this song stuck in my head and is the only reason I’m posting something by FM. Coincidentally though I did buy this nearly thirty years ago as a single, I’m sure the 7″ came in it’s own box with an exclusive patch or a pin.

Today can do one!

Reclaiming The Crown

Sunday sees the Persistence tour bringing the curtain down on its 2018 run with a nearly sold out show at the Forum in Kentish Town – an area in northwest London. 2017 marked my first experience of this touring hardcore juggernaut in the capital, but it had been the first time it was back on UK soil since 2012 when I caught it in Manchester.

I’ll be leaving the house around noon on Sunday to make the 180 mile journey to the capital got the first time this week – more to come in the city on Thursday! And as I’m trying to be frugal with my holidays and saving them for other things (Slayer farewell shows?) I’ll be back home before 11pm ready for work at 5am Monday. Unfortunately I’ll have to miss at least the headlining band, if not the one beforehand too.

I’m more interested in seeing the first five bands than all seven on the day. I adore Hatebreed and Madball and between the hardcore heavyweights I’ve seen them at least 27 times combined – 18 of those were Hatebreed shows! The opening five acts are less than ten shows between them, but I might have to disputed that in my head.

I’ve seen all seven bands over the years and all but one in the last 24 months. It’s been almost 16 years since I last saw Dutch bruisers Born From Pain on a stage. My excursion to see the Resistance 2002 tour in Sheffield is my only catalogued event for the band on SetlistFM and none of their other UK shows ring a bell in the memory bank.

I know that list is incomplete as I’m aware of the band playing Stoke many years ago at the Stage as it was then and unfortunately I couldn’t make it. I’m pretty sure though I must have seen them a few times pre 2002 as they seemed to be one of those bands that had the connections with the touring bands and promoters, and it felt like they opened up a load of shows – unless my memory is playing tricks on me? They also had a UK connection during a large swathe of the 2000’s when ex Canvas, Unborn and Thirty Seconds to Armageddon guitarist Karl Fieldhouse was in the ranks.

I’m quite looking forward to seeing Born From Pain’s half hour set purely because it’s been such a long time between shows. To be honest though, they’re a band I’ve not listened to for such a long time until recently when I had to refill my iPhone . I used to listen to Reclaiming the Crown relentlessly at the turn of the century and the last album I know I have by them is War from 2006, so there’s a gap in my knowledge of the band covering more than a decade.

Atomic Tectonics

Hopefully on Thursday evening I aim to be on a train and heading up to The Peer Hat in Manchester to catch a few representatives of the UK metal scene.

My main draw is to see Reprisal for what may or may not be the second time. The Home Counties quartet are on a dozen date jaunt of the UK and Ireland with south coast death metal band Bloodshot Dawn – who have a new album out that I need to check out.

Their debut E.P. Ichneumanity surfaced way back in 2013 and it seems like a mighty long time since those five tracks of technical death metal tinged thrash were unleashed upon the world. If I ever get around to my intended run of posts revolving around the artist who created some of metals finest covers Dan Seagrave who painted the piece above will feature heavily in it. His artwork has adorned dozens of albums that have been displayed in countless record stores since 1989 and he’s still going strong nearly thirty years later.

Reprisal are a band that I might have caught at Bloodstock over the last few years, they played their in 2014, but I can’t remember anything about them if I did see them. I may have missed them completely or I briefly caught a few songs whilst flitting between stages. There has been one missed opportunity recently of seeing them live when I was due to go to Oxford last October for the weekend and they were supporting Divine Chaos. Unfortunately things fell through and the Oxford trip had to be postponed.

I’ve seen several shows advertised in the southern portion of the country but I can’t recall seeing any shows in this neck of the woods until the dates for the Reanimation trek were announced. Hopefully I shouldn’t have to wait too long to see them again as I’m hoping to make the ridiculous drive to Norwich again for Thrashersarus in May where they have recently been added to the already stellar bill.

I’m not sure if the E.P. is still available physically to purchase but it’s on most of the digital platforms, but if you want to line the pockets of the band with a hefty £4 (and hopefully help to get a new release out without a Metallica length wait) then have a browse of their Bandcamp page.

Hero

Next week sees a possible slew of shows, but as it has been recently demonstrated I may end up at one or five. Who knows?

Next Sunday’s Persistence gathering in London is the only one I have an entry ticket for and three train tickets! Don’t ask – but no doubt I’ll tell you at some point later I the week.

Thursday evening sees me hopefully making a trip to Manchester for some UK thrash and death metal supplied by Bloodshot Dawn and Reprisal, but that is dependant upon the stage times being announced and fitting in with trains leaving my home town rather than driving to a larger hub and getting home after the witching hour.

A couple of outside bets are ex Misfits frontman Michael Graves kicking off a pretty extensive British tour. He plays close to home the week after in Stafford, but I’m in London yet again that night. If I fancy seeing him dust off some of his solo stuff and his Misfits era tunes an easy train trip to Chester on Tuesday could be on the cards, and no doubt a cheeky trip to the Deva Tap just along the road.

Tomorrow could have seen a trip to Sheffield to catch German heavy metal band Rage play. It’s a joint headliner tour with Firewind who I have no interest in. I’m guessing it’s a rotating headliner and knowing my luck if I go Rage will close out the show and it’ll be a drive home over the dark and winding Peak District hills with a risk of snow, or I’ll go on train and have to suffer the Greek power metal band. If I sit at home it’s guaranteed Peter Wagner’s band will be the second band on and I could have made it there and back with the help of East Midlands Trains.

I also have the option of a couple of local shows. Friday night the Rigger welcomes All The Best Tapes. A local band with an odd moniker who I’ve only seen once several years ago and never had the opportunity since. They play with a couple of stoner rock bands, so that’ll be an early return home.

Milton Keynes blues / garage / alternative rock band RavenEye grace the Sugarmill stage on Wednesday. They’re not a band I’ve heard much by but I have read a lot of decent reviews from some of their shows. They’ve played pretty extensively over the globe in the last few years and last year supported Aerosmith and KISS in Europe besides playing most of the big Euro festivals and some of the newer events in North America in recent times.

Whether the band break into the big time on the back of the support slots they’ve gained, this could be the last time they play a venue as intimate as the Sugarmill and the other rooms on this fifteen date UK tour before heading off to the European mainland.

As I’m not aware of the band at all, I’ve just seen a lot of glowing reviews from a lot of people, it might be worth a few hours of my time and a handful of British pounds to see someone who could be the next big thing.

Hero is taken from the bands 2016 debut album Nova released by Frontiers Records from Italy, a label I’ve always associated more with the AOR and hair metal genre over the years. It’s also an album I’ll have queued up on Spotify for multiple plays in the next 36 hours.