Heavy Metal Month Listening Challenge 23/31

Day 23 – A song about evil magic.

King Diamond – Voodoo

My first two thoughts were Black Magic and The Conjuring by Slayer and Megadeth respectively, then after day one I decided I wanted to spread out the tracks so it was back to the drawing board for all of ten seconds. 

I’m writing some of these on a dull Sunday morning and today – August 20th – would’ve been Dimebag Darrell’s 51st birthday and he plays a solo on this track. How’s that for some voodoo magic? 

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Glorification Of The Black God

In the current climate this could be perceived as a controversial post. 

It will be my second time overall, and both within the last year, seeing the Norrköping  natives Marduk on stage when they perform a special twentieth anniversary set for their 1996 album Heaven Shall Burn… When We Are Gathered (to give the record its full title) at Lords of the Land on Saturday.  I’m assuming they’ve been doing a twenty year set on their current tour considering it’s officially 21, unless the promoter wanted something more unique considering they played in the city last May. 

They’ve recently completed a two week stint in the United States followed by some Antipodean shows. All appear to have passed without major controversy apart from their date in Oakland, California back in February. 

The Metro Opera House should have been hosting the show, but the faceless keyboard warriors that this era is rife with and Antifa (Anti Fascist Action) activists made threats against the venue proclaiming Marduk to be NSBM band (National Socialist Black Metal). Sure, they have an interest in World War II. There’s even a family connection within the band with the SS, but it doesn’t make them a facist band. 

I remember Slayer getting some similarly  unwanted attention in the past, but that all blew over and people found other things to whine about. Motörhead’s late frontman Lemmy was a renowned artefacts collector, but I can never recall boycotts, death threats or cancellations with them. Likewise with Bolt Thrower, Sabaton and Hail of Bullets who also have an affinity with a very intriguing period in history. 

The venue even ploughed through interviews spanning two decades and found no references, indications or statements referring to white supremacy, immigrants or nationalism. In the end the show was scrapped on police advise and more for the safety of the staff. 

Earlier in the week Stoke punk icons Discharge were announced to play along side Marduk at the Blackest of the Black festival in California in a couple of months time. The festival is curated by and features Danzing, with a whole host of bands performing live including Suicidal Tendencies, Ministry, Suicide Silence and Venom, Inc. 

Reading the mainly congratulatory posts you get smacked in the face with this
 

Sharing a stage with a NSBM band Marduk? How very punk


You know what they say about mud sticking. The author was called out on it and asked to show some evidence to the fact. Surprisingly though, three days later there has been no response. 

It seems to be something happening a lot lately when bands or individuals don’t appear to adhere to what some attention seeking keyboard warriors deem acceptable in their simple little mind. I’ve seen bands kicked off bills or removing themselves all on some unfounded, hear say accusations that just snowball out of control all over the World Wide Web. 

Anyway, rant over. If you’re not going to feel tainted listening to Marduk here’s Glorification of the Black God taken from the album celebrating its anniversary. If you’re wondering the music is an adaptation of Night on Bald Mountain by Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky, and the lyrics are inspired by Bald Mountains theme. 

Ball of Destruction – Manchester, Star & Garter – 13.12.16

  

In another odd concert line up New York hardcore veterans Madball are over in the UK for a bunch of arena shows opening up for Limp Bizkit and Korn. I like Madball but I’m not keen on arena ticket prices – especially when you’re attending for half an hour of the opening band then heading off home into the Manchester gloom. 

About a month ago Ball of Destruction – a tribute band named after Madball’s debut 7″ released in 1989 – were announced to play the Star and Garter in Manchester the day after the Korn show. Three of Manchester’s current crop of hardcore bands were named as support, so as I was off work for a week and I really like Broken Teeth it was an excuse to head into Lancashire. 

We missed Restrict as we were sampling ales in a few other drinking establishments before hand. The first band I got to see was Guilt Trip who were performing to a near capacity room. Their Slayer infused beat down hardcore was very good, they might have spent a bit too much time trying to get the crowd to move about and step forward, but they are a band I’ll check out again. 

After a brief 15 minute change over I tunnelled my way to the back of the room to catch one of Nuclear Blast’s most recent recruits. I’ve seen these guys a few times before and their big label break is more than deserved and especially now with the calibre of hardcore bands that they can now call label mates. Not as many flailing bodies down the front as I’d expected, but everyone seemed to have fun. Surely the venue was an oversold sell out because Broken Teeth were playing their last home town show of 2016?

Walking into the venue a few hours earlier it was odd seeing a tribute band with so much merch and a blatant rip off of the current Madball designs. We slightly over estimated our return home and didn’t have a car arriving until 11:45pm (and that ended up being thirty minutes late) we decided to check out the cover band and if we didn’t like it there’s a bar downstairs. 

As 10pm approached people were still trying to find a square inch of space to gain a vantage point of tonight’s headliners. For a tribute band looks seem to be a big part of the appeal as much as their sound, and as the three musicians were waiting awkwardly on stage for the frontman to appear they did look remarkably like Hoya and Mitts – so bonus points were awarded there for attention to detail. 

A few of those points though were taken away when their version of Freddie Cricien bounded onto the stage. There was some resemblance there, but those long locks looked out of place. They did get the sound spot on though and Set It Off early in the set did get things bouncing. They introduced themselves as “New York’s newest band” and they took everything in good humour and there seemed to be a lack of a rigid set list and they just belted out whatever they could hear the crowd shouting out. At one point there was even an impromptu rendition of Phil Collins’ In The Air Tonight. Just another bizarre moment in an evening of weirdness tonight. 

Almost an hour later when they left the stage the room was still almost at capacity, and as someone who doesn’t really do tribute bands I have to say those four guys really did get their doppelgängers down to a tee and for of those of us too tight to shell out £50 to see them the night before it was a cheaper alternative. 

Hopefully though the original band will hit these shores for another British tour to celebrate twenty eight years as one of New York’s finest. Just for comparison, the video for Pride (Times Are Changing) is below and is taken from Madball’s second album Demonstrating My Style. 
  

Don’t Blame Me

  

To mark St. Andrew’s day here’s something from north of Hadrian’s wall. One of the bands in the second wave of the British punk scene, ex soldier Wattie Buchan joined The Exploited in Edinburgh back in 1979. 

Like a lot of the bands from that time they have moved away from the abrasive punk sound that they are renowned for and are now a much more thrashier, hardcore crossover kind of band. And like Discharge they also had that not much talked about metal phase. 

Pushing forty years together as a band, and a lot of them spent with his drumming brother Wullie, they have got quite a list of ex members but only managed to release nine studio albums so far. 

I’ve only seen them twice, the first time was 1997 in Birmingham around the time of the Beat the Bastards album. It was held in the now defunct Foundry venue which was a perfect size for the medium sized or up and coming bands. I’m pretty sure Stampin’ Ground played that night too. 

The second and last time was in 2013 where they shared the Ritz stage in Manchester with Discharge in what was a prelude to the North West Calling festival that has ran there for the last few years. 

Since my last encounter Wattie suffered a heart attack on stage whilst on tour with Napalm Death in Portugal. In the two years since he’s battled his way back to fitness and has started performing live again. He’s 60 now and due a retirement soon, but hopefully I’ll get to see them again.  

The Sound Of Revolution

  

September 11th 2001 a day that changed the world landscape forever – and the New York City skyline forever. 

I got home just before 2pm from work and just flopped out in front of the TV. What I saw unfolding on the screen in front of me was unbelievable. 
  

NYC is a place I’ve wanted to visit for a long time and eventually I did for the first time in 2004. The city was everything I’d hoped it was and more. The wife and I spent a bit of time at ground zero – which unfortunately, but very expectedly became a tourist trap – where the two towers once stood. Along with our visit to Oświęcim in Poland a few years later, when we visited it was one of the eeriest places we’ve been to. It was hard to comprehend that two of the biggest structures in the world once rose majestically out of the huge hole left in a city street in front of us. 

At that time in my life I was heavily into the music associated with New York hardcore scene. The venue that is akin to Mecca within that whole genre was the 350 capacity CBGB’s once located on the Bowery in the cities East Village district. Unfortunately I never had chance to see a band live in the club, but the people running the venue’s merchandise area were kind enough to let us in and have a look around. It’s now been redeveloped and is some sort of fashion designers outlet store, but apparently there are some nods towards its previous life still preserved inside. 
  

September 11th also marks the passing of a legend in the NYHC scene 19 years ago. Raymond Barbieri, better known as Raybeez, fronted the influential, but often misunderstood, Lower East Side band Warzone since their inception in 1983. Aged just 35 he passed away due to complications brought on by pneumonia. This was the era before instant notifications and I found out about his passing in a small snippet in NME magazine a week later. I’m pretty sure I still have that knocking about the house somewhere too. 

I only got to see Raybeez spitting his venom once in November 1996 at Bradford Rios, one of only a handful of shows they ever performed over here. I’m pretty sure the limited run they did that year were their first on British soil. 

The Sound Of Revolution is taken from the album of the same name and was Warzone’s penultimate release in 1996. 

  

Bring Out Your Dead

  

It’s the last bank holiday weekend in the UK until the Christmas festivities are up on us (Christmas mentioned in consecutive posts and its only August!) and as it’s usually a pretty dull and damp squib of a weekend I am (or more so was) tempted to have a drive down to London to catch Strung Out at the Camden Underworld. I’m saying drive as I’ve not looked yet, but undoubtedly there will be next to no public transport running to the north of this country much after 9pm which is rather unhelpful for a gig due to finish around 11pm. 

I adore their first two albums – Another Day in Paradise and Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues released in 1994 and 1996 respectively. I think I took a liking a bit more instantaneously to these guys over some other stuff on the Fat Wreck Chords rosta due to them incorporating a few heavy metal hooks into their primarily melodic punk sound. An added bonus for a transitioning metal head. 

The only time I’ve seen the band live are a brace shows back in January 1997 in Leeds and Birmingham with Diesel Boy – I think. I’m pretty sure they were amongst their first UK shows too. 

Three fifths of the band have been a constant since day one and they have released new music on a pretty regular basis since their formation in California’s Simi Valley back in 1989. They’ve played over here on regular intervals ever since but as I drifted away from the lighter pop punk side of things to a more brooding and heavier sub genre I’ve missed seeing them in the intervening 19 years. I was a “buying” fan up to their third album Twisted By Design and from the other five releases I think I’ve only partially listened to Blackhawks Over Los Angeles. 

As per usual the London show appears to be a one off appearance tagged on the end of their mainland European jaunt. From the online posters I’ve seen London and Norwich seem to have a date announced with free days either side. I’m hoping I don’t wake up on Tuesday morning to find out that they played Manchester or somewhere close the evening before when I do my time consuming overnight social media catch up prior to leaving for work. 
  

With the addition of the fur ball known as Ozymandias to the household and potentially gigs either side of Strung Out this 330 mile round trip will regrettably be put in the pipe dreams folder and unfortunately my presence around the house will be required. Family time and all that apparently. 

The most official video for this track seems to be a live version interspersed with snowboarding and stuff with a bit of a ropey sound. Instead here’s a fan made video for the song. As soon as I hear that distorted riff kicking in to start the song my hand immediately reaches for the volume control and crank it up several notches. It is such an ominous start to a song. 

Mother North

  

Taking another delve into the Bloodstock line up I’ve come across Norwegian black metal outfit Satyricon – one of the bands at the forefront of the second wave of black metal that arose at the start of the 1990’s. The word satyricon comes from a first century AD Latin work of fiction – just for you fact junkies!

Later I’ll be having my debut blast of their third album from 1996, Nemesis Divinia, that is being played in full during their live performances this year to mark its twenty year anniversary. 

It’s black metal post 1993 so I’ve never listened to it. I’m pretty confident that the last black metal album that I would have brought that didn’t say Behemoth on the spine was by New York based band Havohej. At that point I had a bit of an epiphany and moved away from the black metal movement and unfortunately a lot of the death metal stuff fell by the wayside at the same time. 

Looking back on those first few years at the start of the 90’s I now feel I never had a connection with the music and I think I was only ever into the style of music due to an element of peer pressure. It seemed as if my friends at the time and I just aimed to search out and acquire the most obscure and underground release that we could. Also by the time of me bailing on the genre I was watching in disbelief from the sidelines at the shenanigans mainly going on in Scandinavia. Church burnings, inter band murders and band members seemingly commuting atrocities on a weekly basis that have left many imprisoned. But as a vast majority of the fans expected and enjoyed the controversy they never appeared to question any of the going ons and in a way encouraged things to continually move onto the next level. 

Over the intervening years I’ve seen a fair few black metal bands – mainly appearing on festival stages – but when some of the more established bands incorporated some more rock ‘n’ roll influences into their sound it became much more accessible. Not all that accessible that I was buying black metal releases left, right and centre, but odd songs here and there were much more pleasant on the ear. One such example of this is K.I.N.G. released a decade after Mother North by Satyricon.