Chapel Of Ghouls

I keep scrolling through my calendar on my phone to see what shows I could possibly be attending in the latter half of this week and my eye keeps getting drawn towards the two large red X’s which I use to denote a cancellation. On Wednesday I should have been going to see a version of Floridian death metal stalwarts Morbid Angel.

Due to passport issues the band are unable to travel to Europe and all their shows have been cancelled and hopefully to be rearranged for 2018. I was unsure if I was going as this version of the band are refusing to play anything from the first few albums and are solely concentrating on albums F, G and H!

Longstanding guitarist and only original member Trey Azagthoth is calling the shots and two years ago let vocalist and bass player David Vincent and drummer Tim Yeung go and drafted back into the fold on off bassist and vocalist Steve Tucker. He was the voice of Formulas Fatal to the Flesh, Gateways to Annihilation and Heretic (hence F, G and H).

It could’ve been an interesting evening experiencing album cuts that have rarely been played on British soil, but I just think letting fans miss out on hearing something like Chapel of Ghouls is a kick in the teeth. I’m pretty sure in previous Tucker incarnations of the band tracks from the first four albums were included.

For what ever the reasoning is behind the bizarre setlist choices and currently the two “versions” of the babd in existence, if you want to hear tracks from A, B, C and D then you need to keep your eyes peeled for I Am Morbid which features Vincent and Yeung. Technically a cover act, but I’m sure they can smash out some classic death metal with aplomb. I Am Morbid have been announced for the Dynamo Festival in Holland next July, so I’ll be able to make my own conclusions.

I was reluctant to post another Morbid Angel track, who needs two from the band throughout these 502 posts, then I realised I haven’t put anything by the band in here at all, so time for that to be rectified immediately.

Released back in 1989 via Earache Records in the UK, the bands debut album Altars of Madness spawned Chapel of Ghouls amongst its other nine bludgeoning death metal tracks. It also ticks the necessary boxes for any self respecting release bursting out of the Sunshine State during that era. Recorded at Morrisound Studios in Tampa (with Tom Morris rather than Scott Burns) and a stunning piece of artwork by Dan Seagrave. Twenty eight years on from Altars album number 9, Kingdoms Disdained, will be in our sweaty palms in a little over a week.

Advertisements

Rage (The Cost)

At times I feel the path in my near future is mapped well in advance. Take last weekend as an example. Metallica tickets were purchased probably the best part of twelve months ago. This week was booked off work as a holiday at the start of the year, so I’ve had a long time to prepare. I booked, cancelled and rebooked a hotel within the last month and train tickets a few weeks back. Everything from 11:45am on Sunday until 1410 yesterday has been (seemingly) pre determined for a while, even down to the conundrum of what shirts I was going to wear and buy. 

Sometimes I like the spontaneity of what the music world throws up. I’m off for the rest of this week and on the train home I perused Facebook to find shows to go to on the days I didn’t have anything planned. At noon yesterday I was planning on heading to the Star and Garter in Manchester to see The Raven Age. As noted previously in this blog I saw the band in Canada supporting Iron Maiden in the cavernous Air Canada Centre, so seeing them in the intimate surroundings of a ramshackle pub standing in the shadows of Piccadilly train station sounded like fun. 

That possibly changed late yesterday evening after ploughing through half a days worth of tweets. I saw several people mention the Make Them Suffer gig in London last night and how brutal opening band Cursed Earth were. A quick search on Spotify and YouTube piqued my interest for a band I’d never heard of previously. That was followed up with a Facebook search and low and behold the tour hits Manchester tonight. Well I was intending to head to the city today anyway, so why not experience Cursed Earth then head back towards Piccadilly and see The Raven Age? Sounds perfectly feasible to me. 

So what have I learnt from the inter web in the last twelve hours or so about the band? They hail from Perth, Australia. Formed in 2013 and they play ferocious, pummelling hardcore with a huge injection of metal. I’ve seen comparisons in remarks and reviews to Code Orange and Nails (bands I’m not overly familiar with so I can’t really agree or disagree) and Venom Prison, who to me are more death metal orientated than Cursed Earth, but I can see the comparisons. My first thoughts when I listened to War March via YouTube last night was it reminded me of Power Trip.  

Who ever they are comparable to, Jazmine Lunders venomous, rasping vocals are ably supported by the rest of her band with their metallic stomp and copious amounts of break downs, so no doubt the legion of Manchester’s “finest” kick boxing dancers will be in the Rebellion club early tonight. For me that is one of the negatives for this evening, mainly because the venues layout offers little respite for those there to see a band or three and wanting to stand and enjoy an alcoholic beverage without a sized 11 Vans clad foot heading towards an unsuspecting chest or head. 

I’ve made an opinion on fellow Australian headliners Make Them Suffer based on half a song on YouTube, so I’m unlikely to be there for the duration, but I have all day to discover them and the third band on the bill, Novelists from Paris then I can decide which venue the bulk of my time will be spent in. 

Rage (The Cost) is taken from the all too brief release Cycles of Grief, Vol 2: Decay released last month. Six songs clocking in around the fourteen minute mark, so it’s flashed by before you know it. Well worth a listen if you like you metal tinged beatdown hardcore. 

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

Apartment 213

Finally I’m on my way to Bloodstock. First a train trip to Burton on Trent to dump my bag at the hotel and meet up with the other half cut reprobates for a twelve hour stint of metal in a field. 

After tonight’s main stage headliners Ghost have competed their set, Illinois band Macabre bring the curtain down on Saturday’s proceedings with a dose of murder metal. They also have the dubious honour of being the only band I’m scheduled to see this weekend that I have never seen, so it should be worth the wait to still be there until midnight today.  I think it’s a very rare visit to the country and the only other appearance I can see is back in 2010. 

The trio of Nefarious, Dennis the Menace and Corporate Death have been together since 1984 and are considered one of the purveyors of the early death metal and grindcore scene. They haven’t been overly productive in their 33 year career only releasing five full length albums. 

I’m surprised I’ve not been into Macabre much more than I am considering their lyrical content is right up my alley and is based around the majority of the books that I have on my shelf on the bookcase. Yes, they like to write songs about serial killers. 

Their Dahmer album from 2000 is an inspired concept album tracing the life and events of the Milwaukee Cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer in chronological order. Their most recent opus Grim Scary Tales surfaced in 2011 and is inspired by a bunch of more historical murderers. 

I owned a copy of their Grim Reality EP a long time ago, possibly while I was still in school. I’d already got a bit of a burgeoning obsession with the serial killer phenomenon, so a record with songs about Albert Fish and Ed Gein was something I had to buy, and the art work was pretty killer. 

There’s no promotional video that I can find for any of their tracks, so here’s the audio for  Apartment 213 from the aforementioned Dahmer album. It’s the second song I know of with its title taken from the Dahmer’s apartment number, the other being by GGFH – another band I need to feature. I’ve also gone for this album as I haven’t featured a track from an album released in the year 2000, not the greatest of years in music for me I must say. 


The Heretic

After a late finish on Saturday at a time when some people used to attend church on Sunday morning for some divine inspiration, I’ll be on my way to an altar of steel to see one of the surprise packages of the festival open up proceedings on the main stage – Manchester hardcore band Broken Teeth.  

As much as I like Megadeth on record and I’ve seen them many times since my first experience of them twenty six years ago, I unfortunately won’t be in attendance for Mr Mustaine’s performance on Sunday. Modern Megadeth live bores me rigid, I’m an old fan (fader?) and I want to see them do more from the first five releases, not a plethora of songs from the latest album. Arch Enemy sends me to sleep too, and Skindred just adds to the Download Festival Lite version it seems to be morphing into. After Chilean band Criminal have departed I shall be heading to the train station also. 

I am only interested in four of the first five main stage sermons offered up on the Sabbath, and a few Psalms from the second stage. From all the bands I’m hoping to catch over the weekend I think there’s only one I’ve never seen, all the others I’ve seen with varying frequency.  

Californian Bay Area band Possessed have the honour of the death metal genre being labelled after one of their songs, surprisingly called Death Metal from their 1984 demo of the same name, then later the closing track in their debut album Seven Churches. 

In 1989 gutteral sounding frontman Jeff Becerra was involved in an armed robbery and shot at twice, one bullet went through his chest and got stuck in his spine. As a result he is now paralysed from the chest down and confined to a wheel chair, shortly afterwards they disbanded. There had been several reformations without him, until 2007 when Becerra performed at Wacken with a backing band made up of Sadistic Intent members. Now with a stable line up Possessed have recently been signed to Nuclear Blast records and their first new album for thirty two years hits stores next year. 

I’ve only seen the band once at the Garage in London 2014, their first British show since the mid 80’s. They were back last year to play London again along with a jaunt up to Glasgow, but I had already committed myself to seeing Madball on the same night as their capital show. Their set on Sunday is a highly anticipated 45 minutes for me in a pretty poor line up in general. 

The Heretic is the second track on their Beyond the Gates album from 1986. It wasn’t the most polished album ever released, but it seemed like one most kids owned at some point due to it’s rather unique sleeve. The vinyl had a fold out cover that basically opened the gate into hell. I had it, but I’m pretty sure it’s one of the ones that got away from me and unfortunately no longer gathering dust upstairs.