Merciless Death

I could really get used to doing a four day week at work! It only seems like three days ago since I started back at work and tomorrow morning there’s no lie in for me on my first non working Saturday in my job for twenty years, as I’ll be in a train to Glasgow for the Lords of the Land festival.

Back in March last year I was impatiently waiting for my chance to snag tickets to see Metallica in Europe. I’ve always wanted to see the band in Germany and grabbing tickets for Stuttgart was looking the best option as it was a Saturday and I could attend the show and only have to take the one day as a holiday.

Sometime later the Lords of the Land date was announced and when I put it in my calendar it clashed with Germany and I thought nothing more about it.

Some lower bands for the bill were announced (Lawnmower Deth, Vallenfyre and Cannabis Corpse) along with Demolition Hammer. It was a case of I’d like to see Demolition Hammer for a second time, but I’m committed to Stuttgart .

Then a “headliner” in the shape of UK / Swedish death metal band Bloodbath, who have bored me several times were added. Metallica was definitely looking like a better option. More Swede’s courtesy of Unleashed piqued my interest, but still only two from six bands were intriguing me.

Ten days before Christmas and this years headliners were announced. Dark Angel were playing. Well that was a game changer and had me trawling the fine print on the Ticketmaster Germany website. How could I turn down seeing Dark Angel for only a second time? Three years since their last UK appearance, 27 years since their last show over here with a roof on and their first Scottish gig in almost three decades.

Thankfully, and surprisingly, the ever efficient Germans offer a refund service and my pair of tickets are no doubt making someone else happy whilst I get to see Gene “The Atomic Clock” Hoglan for the second time in a week.

Stoke punks Discharge and Norwegian black metal band Carpathian Forest have since been added, so it makes it quite a diverse one day festival and now worth making the effort to travel to Scotland.

Last time I saw a Dark Angel at Bloodstock I brought myself a shirt which had been dropped and lost by the time I left the festival. I know I’m supposed to be cutting down on my band attire, but I’ll have to invest in a Dark Angel shirt on Saturday.

Merciless Death was oddly included on the bands first two albums We Have Arrived (1985) and Darkness Descends a year later. This live version is from their 3-Way Thrash video recorded at London’s Hammersmith Odeon in October 1989. Also on the Hammy O stage on that day were D.A.M. and Candlemas who both feature in the 3-Way Thrash release. Nuclear Assault also performed at the same show and their set ended up being released as the Live at the Hammersmith Odeon CD in 1992.


Heavy Metal Month Listening Challenge 21/31

Day 21 – Favourite Anthrax song. 

Anthrax – Madhouse

This hasn’t been as straight forward as my favourite Slayer or Metallica song. When I first ran through the questions in my head I had a brain freeze as if I’d never heard an Anthrax song!

It could’ve been any one of the hundred plus songs on my iPhone, but I’ve gone with what I think was one of the first songs I ever heard by them. 

Bonded By Blood

I think it’s my sixteenth Exodus show on Saturday and looks likely to be the last, and only time, I get to see them in 2017. They played a brace of shows in the south of the country just prior to their appearances on the fourth stage at the Download Festival. I know they headlined and probably tore the stage apart, but the fourth stage! 

Their back to back performances on the Thrashfest tours back in 2010 and 2011 are up there as some of my favourite shows. Both were in Germany, Berlin and Munich to be precise. Great venues and superb crowds added to the excitement. 

Exodus have been pretty regular visitors to European venues since they were dragged over here for a tour supporting Venom in 1985. Their first appearance at the Dynamo Festival followed in 1988 when they shared the stage again with Toxik. 

I didn’t get to see the band until they were touring for the Tempo of the Damned release in 2004 which was their first release after Force of Habit twelve years previous. Unfortunately it meant I never got to see Paul Baloff fronting the band who is featured on this track as he passed away in 2002 from a stroke. He only recorded the Bonded by Blood album with the band, but he returned to the fray several times before he died and should’ve featured in Tempo. 

This is the title track from the debut album and the live recording is from the Double Live Dynamo! DVD released in 2007 that features two sets, one recorded at the festival in 1997 and another from the club in 1985. 

Total Death

Prior to the Dutch shindig, and on home turf I’ve got two more Kreator shows to look forward to before I set foot inside an airport. 

On Tuesday evening I’ll make the short drive up to Manchester’s Academy and after my last day at work on Thursday I’ll be at the mercy of Northern Rail and Virgin heading to-and-fro from London.  

I’m not sure what the plan is for Tuesday yet, so we might see one band or we might see all four. As with the previous show I saw on this tour in Tilburg, the doors for both shows are opening around about 1730 to 1800 – just in time for the evening rush hour commute for those who work on some kind of normal working hours. So a trip that I could possibly do in under and hour could potentially take me closer to two. 

I’m on the rail network on Thursday so that takes away all the hassle of road congestion – once I’ve reached the station. But the downside of this is the times the last train leaves to take me home. The venue curfew is 2300 – the save time as my train leaves. I’ll have seen the full Kreator show on Tuesday, so I don’t think leaving The Forum early and missing the encore will be too much of a hardship. They’re songs I’ve seen numerous times anyway and I’m more excited to experience the Gods of Violence material. 

Looking at the Netherlands DeathFest II line up for the Saturday and Kreator’s tour routing a bonus trip to Essen could be a real possibility. The extra curricular 74 mile jaunt with be addressed at several points over the next five days. 

For me seeing Kreator play in their home town would be like seeing Iron Maiden in East London, Black Sabbath in Birmingham, Sick of it All in New York City, Metallica perform in San Francisco or what a Discharge gig in Stoke should feel like. From the German bands humble beginnings in the city, and playing Zeche Carl then more than three decades later playing the impressive looking Grugahalle with a capacity in excess of 7,000. If I get to Essen it will be the biggest non festival Kreator show I will have experienced. 

Besides the new material, one of the highlights of the set is the appearance of Total Death. The track is from their very raw sounding debut album Endless Pain, which is several light years away from the polished and professional sounding Gods of Violence. That first album was recorded in ten days back in 1985, they’ve probably spent that much time recording a handful of songs in more recent years, never mind a ten track album. Before its resurrection on this tour the last archived performance of the track being played live was in the aforementioned Zeche Carl venue during the Pleasure to Kill tour on June 21st 1986 (now that is a nine song set list I’d love to have experienced!). So if you’ve seen Kreator a lot in the last thirty plus years it’s very doubtful you’ve seen this played on stage prior to 2017. 

Take On Me


For almost the last nineteen years my working day revolves around driving a van. So far in that time I’m yet to have a vehicle with any capability to play my 2,000 plus tracks stored on my iPhone through the inbuilt stereo. I’ve got a load of CD’s stashed in the groove box that I’ve gone through numerous times, so I just end up listening to the radio. I listen to a local radio station early doors as they play no music until 9am then chop and change as the FM signal strength dictates. 

At 9 they have the staple local radio feature of guess the year, renamed differently here and there but essentially the same thing. This morning was 1985 so that’s spoilt that for you then! They actually played some half decent stuff from the 52 week period which got me thinking to my musical life before I bowed down to the altar of metal. Unbelievably I wasn’t born with heavy metal pre loaded into my cerebellum. 

Over the course of almost twelve months I’ve posted a few pop songs from my pre teen years, so I thought I’d dial down on the speed and aggression that has been on display lately and reminisce of a bygone era. 

First up one of the songs that was featured on the radio today, Take On Me by Norwegian trio A-ha. It reached number two in the UK charts in 1985 on its second release, this song is taken from their debut album Hunting High and Low. This sub four minutes of synth-pop is backed up by one of the most iconic music videos of the era. I’m sure most people have seen the comic book drawings coming to life and manoeuvring people between its pages and the real world with the use of rotoscoping – a combination of live action and animation. 

In my early days of my first year at high school in 1985 when I was nearly 13, I knew a boy in what was then the second year through a cub and scout pack I was associated with. I don’t think I owned any music then and one lunch time we went to his house and he was going to knock up a mix tape and this track was going to be on it. To try and save time he was going to press record and fast forward on the tape player and play the 7″ single at a faster speed. Needless to say I’m still waiting for that tape! Thirty one years later though and in the safe, solitary confines of my van I still sing along (badly) and try (and fail) to hit Morten Harket’s high notes. 

A-ha are my go to answer when the topic of band member longevity is brought up in conversation on the way to a show. Can you name any bands that have been together for say fifteen years and still have the same line up from day one? The only two I can think of are these guys and London hardcore band Knuckledust. It’s a harder task than you suspect.

No Presents For Christmas

Ah December is upon us. The season of joy to all men whilst wearing gaudy jumpers for the holiday season and being sociable to people you only ever seem to bump into around Christmas.

It’s the wife’s works Christmas party tomorrow so I suppose I’d better try and get into the spirit of things – with spirits will help of course. Here’s a delightful Yuletide ditty for anyone else getting ready for the festivities – even though for many Christmas will be celebrated a few days early inside the the numerous cinemas worldwide.

Danish vocalist Kim Bendix Petersen is better known by his alter ego King Diamond. King left (or temporarily disbanded) cult band Mercyful Fate in 1984 go solo with another two fifths of Mercyful Fate.

I can remember getting a copy of the bands sophomore album Abigail in 1987 or 1988 and being completely blown away by it. It was constantly in the ghetto blaster I “borrowed” from my sister and played the album relentlessly, even when I walked to my grandparents house and they only lived five doors up the street!!

King Diamond, the vocalist, is definitely a love / hate proposition. Most of his releases are concept albums weaving a tale about ghostly going ons. The Dane does all the parts and his falsetto vocals don’t appeal to some.

In the UK the band have been the antithesis of prolific, playing maybe half a dozen shows here in their three decade career. They headlined Friday night at 2013’s Bloodstock Festival and it remains one of my highlights from the history of the festival and I’ve been to every single one since its inception in 2003, so that’s a fair few bands to overhaul to reach the top of the pile. Musically the band were spot on, the stage show was there and King carried off all the vocal parts to perfection and for an outdoor festival the sound into the crowd was perfect and all the intricacies performed by the band were audible. My best friend isn’t a fan and he still rates it highly as one of the festivals best performances.

I already have a ticket for their show in London next June and hopefully I’ll be in the crowd at Hellfest.

No Presents For Christmas was King Diamond’s first solo release in 1985 as a 12″ single and actually released on December 25th. There’s no video made for this track and the live fan videos don’t do the song justice.


Happy birthday to Anthrax’s second full length album Spreading The Disease. Thirty years old today.

I didn’t buy it on its release but I must have had this album in my collection for 27 of those 30 years.  It’s scary at times when you realise how old albums are or how long ago you went to a show. Sometimes it doesn’t feel anywhere near three decades since I first heard the opening strains to A.I.R.

The first album to feature Joey Belladonna on vocals making it in turn the first release of what many consider to be classic Anthrax.

Madhouse is still played live on a regular basis and other tracks have cropped up in their set at semi regular intervals.