World Gone Mad

It’s been eighteen months since I last saw Life of Agony inside a British venue, not too bad a wait considering it took 23 years between Wolverhampton last year and the previous show I attended by them. They have also released their latest album after a wait of a dozen years.   

A Place Where There’s No More Pain came out on Austrian label Napalm Records back in July. I never got around to pre ordering the album, but I was pretty excited to hear their first collection of new material in so long. I ended up streaming it via Spotify as soon as I woke up on the Friday morning and had listened to most of it whilst getting ready for work and on the nine mile journey there in the car. 

On the first listen I wasn’t overly impressed with it. Maybe I wasn’t giving it the full attention it deserves? Debut album River Runs Red is held in such high esteem by me I could possibly be doing the latest release, and on reflection the trio of albums in between, a disservice by trying to compare them to such a high benchmark.  

I walked into the two shows I attended last year not really knowing their 1995 to 2005 output and only being there for the River Runs Red cuts. After watching the original line up bang out what I wanted to hear, interspersed with tracks from the other albums I dusted off the hidden gems from that missing decade and rekindled my affinity with the Brooklyn band. 

After saying all that it’s more disturbing why I’ve not attempted to listen to A Place… for at least a second time in full since April 28th (if I’m being exact!) until this weekend just gone. The band kicked off their UK tour in Norwich last Friday and I had a peak at Saturday’s Manchester setlist the morning after. There are three tracks from this years album in the set so I though it was time to give it a blast considering the fact that I’m off to see them in Birmingham on Friday. 

On second, third and fourth listen it’s a great album. Still angst ridden, but more focused and not as harsh as their debut. Friday night can’t come quick enough for me now. 


Cosmic Dreams

After last weekends jaunt into deepest, darkest  Essex for a wedding it’s now time to get back into inane rambling mode. I’ve been off work for a week now and I’ve got three days to go. Time to finish of the holiday with a few bands I think?

The blueprints in my head consists of three small and cheap shows in as many days, but we all know how that seems to work just lately. Friday night should be my first gig in Shrewsbury and also my first in a prison! W.A.S.P. tribute band Electric Circus UK are playing a rock night at the HM Prison Shrewsbury. Thankfully it closed to inmates in 2013, so we won’t feel like the new fish in there. Whether the metal heads will be allowed out afterwards is another question. 

Saturday sees another tribute band grace the stage at the local venue Eleven. Metallica kicked off their European tour last Saturday in Copenhagen. They played a pair of shows in Amsterdam at the start of the week and finish it with a brace of Paris gigs. I was hoping to snag tickets for a show or two, the whole reason why I had this week off. Alas I didn’t score entry to any, so instead I’ll save myself £95 alone on entrance fees and see the Metallica tribute act Metal Militia for a fiver.  

Fingers crossed, it all kicks off tonight with Leeds science fiction obsessed death / thrash metal quartet Cryptic Shift who have a free shindig at Grand Central in Manchester. I don’t have to be up for work at stupid o’clock Friday morning, so I can finally check out one of the venues free Thursday night showcases. 

This evening is a bit of a reinvention of the free Thursday night gigs the venue had been putting on for a long time now but the ones I wanted to go to have fallen on work days and seemed to have a post 11pm finish. The band I want to see (and the only one I’ve heard of) hit the stage at 9:30pm if things run like clockwork, so I have a few train options to get myself there and home comfortably.  

Cryptic Shift are another one of those bands I seem to miss on a regular basis since I first encountered them with their cover of Sepultura’s Arise a few years ago. I managed to see them in Manchester twice last year, the last time was with their participation on the Vektor show at the Star and Garter last August. Their technical approach to the genre mixes the trash of Voi-Vod and Vektor together with the technical death metal of Gorguts and latter day Death. Fans are still waiting for a full length release after seven years, but there have been a few singles and an EP. in the interim.  Cosmic Dreams, a new track, surfaced from the other side of the Pennines earlier this year and can be found with the rest of their back catalogue at their Bandcamp page

Heavy Metal Month Listening Challenge 16/31

Day 16 – A song about the Devil.

Kreator – Satan is Real

Thirty one songs, thirty bands. You just knew Kreator were going to make an appearance at some point. 

They absolutely slayed the main stage at Bloodstock over the weekend, and for the life of me I don’t know why they weren’t one of the three headliners. 

Intention To Deceive

Today is the first day of this years Bloodstock festival, but I’ve got another two days before I make it to Catton Hall. I’ve never camped there in all the years it’s been outdoors (I probably haven’t camped anywhere since 1987 and ironically that wasn’t too far away from where I spend a weekend every summer) so I’ve never experienced the first night, which is just a handful of bands appearing inside the second stage tent for the assembled campers who aren’t too drunk to gather there. I’m missing Friday due to me not getting a weekend ticket in time, so my grand entrance will he just before Colorado thrashers Havok hit the Ronnie James Dio stage at lunch time on Saturday. 

It’ll be the second time this year that I’ve seen Havok, but as mentioned before, I didn’t see the full headlining set. Hopefully our taxi arrives in time for us to get into the site and through any extra safety precautions and expected extra bag checks in light of recent events around Europe, not that this festival will be on any mad bombers radar. It seems to pass non metal mainstream media over inconspicuously every year. British media seems to think our summer festival season starts with Glastonbury and ends with Reading and Leeds. For something that started sixteen years ago to a few thousand metal heads and has grown to more than fifteen thousand who needs mainstream media?  

I’m hoping the inclement weather we’ve been experiencing lately moves away from the West Midlands, and come 1pm on Saturday I’m standing in a field watching my first band of the shortened weekend with a plastic cup containing Hobgoblin Goddess in hand and some weather masquerading as what most people refer to as summer. 

Intention to Deceive is featured on the latest disc Conformicide released earlier in the year, their first new full length release in four years. 

Remain Violent

You know what they say about buses? You wait for ages for a bus to come along then two come together. 

I waited almost eight years to see California’s Warbringer for a second time and in a little over four months I get to see them again, possibly twice in three days! 

When they supported Havok – who I’ll also have seen again by this time next week – back in April they and Exmortus were absolutely jaw dropingly stunning. I had to cut the Havok set short due to them not working around my train timetable. They said we’ll see you real soon and they weren’t lying. 

I thought I’d posted about Warbringer earlier in the year, but from the four band package they were a part of I only posted about Exmortus, so thankfully no repeat ramblings today. 

I first saw them opening up for Testament with Onslaught (a name Warbringer used when they got together five years earlier) down in Wolverhampton in 2009, the same city I’ll be seeing them in tomorrow. 

They’ve played an absolute slew of British shows since their first time back in 2009 and I have no idea how I’ve only managed to see them once before this year. I’m pretty surprised they’ve never been at Bloodstock either, unless I’ve missed something? And more surprising they weren’t on this year as a few bands who’ve toured together have been booked to perform this year (Kreator and Soilwork, Amon Amarth and Testament.)

The track Remain Violent is from their most recent fifth album Woe to the Vanquished that was released earlier in the year and is an explosive blast of retro thrash metal. With a scruffy hi-top firmly planted in a bygone thrash era, this album could have sat comfortably in the record stores two decades ago. They’ve not reinvented the wheel, but paid homage to the genre and are one of the leading lights in the new wave of thrash metal. 

I think Death Angel will have their work cut out for them having to follow John Kevill and his cohorts but it will be a fantastic evening for all of those who aren’t heading to a field in Burton on Trent just yet. 


Not getting home until gone 3pm today hasn’t been very conducive to me making it to Liverpool tonight. I was in the house for less than ninety minutes until I had to leave again. I’m out now until nearly 7pm and a train is twenty minutes after that. Not too bad I can probably hear someone say, but factor in a 3:40am alarm call today and tomorrow and it’s a no go. I’m sure I’ll have missed a great gig tonight. 

Tomorrow night I have a brace of options and both much closer to home. There’s a Motörhead tribute band playing at Eleven. A few miles further on sees A Page of Punk making a return visit to The Potteries. 

A Page of Punk hail from Tokyo, Japan and play a ferociously fast brand of punk. Not as fast as those I should’ve been seeing tonight, but fast enough. Lots of 1,2,3,4 count ins to pretty short songs. 

I’ve seen the band once before again in Newcastle under Lyme back in 2013. My main reason for attending that show was to see the short lived Thirty Six Strategies play one of their earliest shows. For those who don’t know that was yet another one of Ian Glasper’s bands. That show, as the poster attests, was a peculiar mix of bands all gathered under the punk banner. 

I’m not sure about any of the other bands playing on Friday, but getting four bands for a fiver you can’t really go wrong for a bit of Friday night entertainment. There’s a slim chance I’ll be seeing them again in Leeds on Saturday, but for how busy I’ve been at work lately I fear that’s another show to bite the dust. Sometimes I really hate my job, having to be in early six days a week plays havoc with my social life! At least I’ve only got four days next week then purportedly a straight run of ten days off. 

The track translated as Itarutokoro is included in their latest album Punk Day – Beautiful Day via I Hate Smoke Records. 

Days Go By – London

Second band on stage at the Dynamo Metal Festival in five days is another new band to me, and to be fair, a new band to pretty much the majority of those who will be in attendance within the Ijssportcentrum at 12:25pm. 

VUUR will be a new and unfamiliar name to many, but for the last twenty three years or so front woman Anneke van Giersbergen has been involved with numerous bands and for almost half of that time she fronted The Gathering. She has also appeared alongside Ayreon, Napalm Death, Within Temptation, Anathema and pretty regularly with Devin Townsend, who is also on the bill so I’m guessing a collaboration is in the offing at some point. 

I’ve never seen The Gathering live and they’ve never been a band that I’ve indulged in too much over the years either. I’ve got a couple of albums upstairs (2000’s if_then_else and How to Measure a Planet? from 1998) both of which were the start of their more shoe gaze / experimental period, and I’d be surprised if I have much more than that digitally. 

They’ve not been a band that have played these shores many times in their career either. According to their last dates here were way back in 2003 in support of the Souvenirs release. 

The Eindhoven performance will only be their fourth show from what I can see. I’m guessing there won’t be too much in the way of new material so I’m anticipating a fair amount of The Gathering’s and The Gentle Storms’ back catalogue and maybe a few from some of her other guest appearances. 

Out of the days nine bands on offer two of them I’ve never seen, which is always a bonus at festivals. Having a look online for more VUUR info, their debut album is released in October and they are playing some European dates at the tail end of the year most with Epica and a handful with Scar Symmetry which includes a sole British date in London. If their fifty minute set impresses at the weekend a trip south could be possible.  

So far this is the only track released from the forthcoming In This Moment We Are Free – Cities album. All the tracks are named after a city, and this particular track is about the Great Fire of London from 1666 from the perspective of the fire. Sounds an intriguing concept and the track itself is much more entrenched in the metal genre in comparison to her last few outings with The Gathering.