King Parrot

Radio silence post Damnation has been broken! I can’t even say I’ve been too busy in the last few days to post anything I’ve just been way too lazy. 

The winter touring cycle of the UK and Europe is in full effect right now and my calendar is chock a block of gigs I’d really like to get along to and see, but finances and time is not allowing me to commit to everything I’d like to achieve, so at the moment I’m being a bit more selective. 

This weekend I’m staying in the local area for a pair of shows of contrasting styles. First up this evening is a trip to the Sugarmill to see King Parrot take to the stage. 

The last time I saw these demented Australians was a little over twelve months ago when they opened up for Exodus and Obituary. I’m led to believe from friends who have seen the band more than I have that the Melbourne band were a bit restrained, probably at the wishes of the Academy group who owned the venues that the tour steamrollered through last October. Tonight I don’t think they’ll be as subdued and I’m expecting chaos to ensue. 

Originally King Parrot were scheduled to play the same venue on Monday, not that a Friday night or Monday makes that much difference to me when I have to be up and out of the house by 5am the following morning regardless. 

Polish death metal veterans Decapitated were due to play at the Sugarmill in 72 hours time with the Australians, another band from Poland who’s name escapes me and the crushing Venom Prison. I’ve never been a fan of Decapitated, they’ve just never appealed to me and all of their seven album back catalogue has passed me by. I’ve seen them twice – once at Bloodstock (obviously) and again at the tail end of 2014 supporting Behemoth. They’ve played in excess of 100 shows in the UK in the 17 years they’ve been coming over here, so they’re another band I’ve managed to miss more than I’ve seen over the years. I’m more aware of them from their tumultuous off stage misfortunes. In 2007 drummer Vitek died aged only 23 after a bus crash on the Belarus / Russian border. 

In October of this year after their show in Santa Ana, California things took a turn for the worse and all the members of the band were arrested initially for kidnapping after a show a week or so earlier. This allegation has now turned into a sexual assault allegation and the band are being detained in Spokane. Obviously the European tour was cancelled and they’ve been removed from Kreator’s next Euro jaunt in January. 

I’m assuming King Parrot had already had their flights from Down Under booked and paid for so I’m guessing rather than lose out on their money they managed to rearrange shows in the same time slot. Not to be too blasé about the situation in Spokane, I now get a full King Parrot set to look forward to in Stoke and even though Venom Prison aren’t doing a local show on their hastily rescheduled dates I still have an opportunity to see them in Manchester next weekend. 

At work I’ve inherited a newer van than what I’ve been driving for the last few years. It’s nothing special, still a bag of nails, but I’m quite sated with the audio system in the van. I can now Bluetooth my iPhone to the radio and play my own music to my hearts content while at work without having to constantly plug in then remove the phone at each one of my forty stops. Later today I know I’ll be pulling up at calls with the bands latest album Ugly Produce being blasted out at an obscenely loud volume.

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You Will Never Be One Of Us

 
Yet again my week of gigs didn’t go accordingly. I made it to the grinding madness of Famine and Groak in StokeThursday  night and later today I have the same band who I saw last Sunday in London! The three gigs couldn’t be much more apart. Metallica broke the attendance record within the O2 Arena twice over the two shows. Tuesdays slightly surpassed the first night with an official figure of 22,211. A few nights back the Pilgrim’s Pit was undoubtedly beyond capacity with approximately 40 in attendance! Today with be another show in excess of 21,000 in the UK’s biggest arena. 

After Metallica later, if I can’t snag a Birmingham ticket, my next appointment could be in London for a version of the Cro-Mags and a reunited Battery – but more on that show later. Next Saturday sees me return to the Damnation Festival in Leeds after I missed the last two years due to my wallet not thinking the line ups were all that exciting. This years is far from stellar, but worthy of the £40 tickets. So over the next few days I’ll have a look at some of the bands I hope to see, or need to revise on to make sure I don’t miss a hidden gem. 

Making a rare appearance in the north of the country are South Californian hardcore / power violence trio Nails. As far as I can see this will surprisingly be their first show in Leeds and they’ve not ventured further north than Manchester since 2013, they’ve seen plenty of Lindon and Bristol though.  

I name dropped the band in the last post deposited here and I have been told how intense they are up on the stage, so just after 6pm I’ll be patiently waiting around the second stage to experience the Oxnard natives and form my own opinions. 

They’ve been together as a band for a decade now and released three albums with their most recent offering surfacing via Nuclear Blast. They released a split 7″ with Full of Hell last year. I’m sure I should’ve seen them somewhere last year? Maybe Ritual Festival also in Leeds, where Full of Hell also played, but for some reason they never played. 

I played this track via YouTube and immediately blew my speakers in the car when the track really kicked in. A quick look on Spotify and a blast through the 21 minutes and I’m wondering how I hadn’t picked up on this band earlier, maybe it’s down to my new found enthusiasm for the power violence and fast core scene? 

Ten tracks in under 22 minutes with the final track, They Come Crawling Back, clocking in at eight minutes plus, it tells you how brutal and uncompromising the remaining 17 minutes will be. I’m checking out the rest of the back catalogue over the next few days and I’ll be eagerly anticipating their arrival on the second stage next weekend.  If I like what I see I only have to wait until August 2018 to see them again as they’re amongst the first six bands announced for Bloodstock next year. I have a feeling that stage will  demolished in nine months. 

Blindspot 

It’s been a while (well eight days) since I was last inside a concert venue and this weekend I was feeling a bit stir crazy. I was debating atenfing the on, off and back on again Today Is The Day show in Manchester this evening, but I’m thinking it’ll be a show without my attendance tonight. 

The only time I’ve seen Steve Austin and his noisemongers for an evening of pummelling filthy noise was back in 1999 when they played in Dudley with Neurosis and Voi-Vod. Definitely no ballads played that night. 

Today’s show is one of four British shows on this tour to celebrate two decades of the Temple of the Morning Star album. I should have been off work this week but I’m working until Thursday now, so a late train home isn’t conducive to my situation now. When the gig was rearranged to Rebellion from the Ruby Lounge only main support act Fashion Week were advertised. Within the last few days though two more bands have been added to the bill, so what might have been a reasonable finish time will now be stretched to the 11pm curfew. I’d make my last train easily, but I wouldn’t be stepping on to the return platform at Crewe until after midnight with a 5am start later on Tuesday. Never say never and all that, but it looks highly unlikely. 

Blindspot, a satirical look at cable TV news and very prominent all these years later, is taken from the album having its anniversary this year. I’d read that the band were playing the album in full to celebrate, but looking at the few set listings posted  online from their North American trek the set is heavily in favour of the release, but by no means played in full.   

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. 


Media’s Portrayal


It’s been a whole 120 hours since my last gig and it’s looking like another 48 hours until my next visual and aural experience. 

I’m in two minds though about heading off on the train to Liverpool on Thursday to catch the first show of the Six Brew Bantha UK tour. I’ve got some grown up stuff to do before I can consider riding the rails, but the journey is only forty minutes or so and it’ll only cost me £3 to gain entry, so even if I don’t see the main event I’ll still get to see three other bands. 

Six Brew Bantha are a three piece Grindcore band from the Canadian city of Victoria. I’ve never seen the band live, last time they graced these shores was 2014, and I’m not exactly listening to the band on heavy rotation on a daily basis, but how can you not be interested in seeing a band with the coolest name you’ll see today and the extra added bonus of a fifteen minute blast of some Horsebastard tunes?

The nine shows over here culminate with an appearance a Chimpy Fest in London Town on August 13th. As I’m getting more into the whole grind and fastcore thing in recent months I’d really have liked to have been in T. Chances over that weekend, but it’s a choice between Chimpy or Bloodstock. Even though Bloodstock has a pitiful line up for me this year they still have Kreator gracing their stage and I can’t  pass up another Teutonic Thrash masterclass. 

The 36 second Media’s Portrayal is taken from the self released and self titled “full length” album from 2012, seventeen tracks in under 25 minutes. You can check out their output via their Bandcamp page.


Leicester could be another option. 

Suffer The Children

I’m so glad I got one of the last 20 tickets for Napalm Death in Manchester last night. Even though I didn’t stop to see Barney and the boys, or Brujeria, the two bands I saw made it more than worthwhile. 

I bailed early so I could get a train to and from the city from my town to save on more short drives and extortionate parking fees. In hindsight though I’m glad I left when I did for a couple of reasons. 

The main reason is the venue. I’ve only seen four shows there and they’ve all been since October last year. Considering I try and get to Manchester on train as much as I can the Rebellion Club is that little bit too far out to walk back to the station without missing a healthy chunk of the headliners set. 

The three shows prior to last night have been nowhere near to its noted 400 capacity so they were relatively comfortable. Last nights sold out show was beyond comfortable. The assembled throng of metallers were packed in tight for the first two bands. I’d hate to think what it was like come 10pm when Napalm Death had a full head of steam. 

The layout of the place doesn’t help either. The interior is shaped like an offset T with the stage along the horizontal. Looking towards the stage from the vertical your view is obstructed the further you go back so everyone crams in to the front portion. That area also incorporates the entrance and access to the smoking area on one side and the bar and toilets opposite. All the footfall has to traverse that space. It’s definitely not pleasant and almost claustrophobic. 

The local promoter used to use Sound Control, a better laid out venue and half the distance from the station. For some reason shows of this stature have relocated to here. More consideration will have to be given in the future to which shows I attend if there is another option to Rebellion.

Anyway, rant over, on to the show. Lock Up were superb again, and much better than I was honestly expecting. 

Power Trip graced a Manchester stage for the first time in four years and they were on another level last night. They relished their time on the compact stage and seemed much more at home. They had a superb crowd in front of them and there was no barrier so we had a few stage divers, but less than I’d anticipated. For a band influenced by the thrash scene it was weird to see so many metal elitists and purists vacating the room for forty minutes. Too many people paying attention to musical tags. 

As I didn’t get around to posting about the Birmingham grindcore pioneers here’s Suffer the Children from their third album Harmony Corruption. It was the first time they’d recorded outside of England when they entered the famous Morrisound Studios in Tampa with producer Scott Burns. The album vered towards a death metal sound and had a more polished finish, and the Tampa connection was a foothold for the band over in the States.  

Accelerated Mutation

Once again Iron Maiden were stunning last night in Manchester. Unusually for them they were a bit sloppy in places, but nothing to serious to detract from the overall ambiance of the evening. Tonight sees a change in direction and aggression though. 

A quarter of a century after the first Campaign for Musical Destruction tour featuring Napalm Death, Obituary and Dismember, international grindcore “super group” Lock Up are opening up proceedings. Since their inception in 1998 it’s always been a Shane Embury and friends project. Over the years members of Terrorizer, Criminal, Cradle of Filth, Nuclear Assault, Hypocrisy, At The Gates, Brutal Truth and Carcass have all been involved with the band in some way.  

 

I thought I’d seen them live before, a long time ago, but apparently tonight will be my first time. I had a suspicion I’d seen them in Stoke, but I think I’m confusing that with another band with a bassist that appeared with Brujeria – Divine Heresy. I was also pretty sure they’d played Bloodstock but that is a negative too. 

They played the ‘kin hell fest in Leeds in 2014 which I was at but unfortunately I was at the wrong day of the three. They played on Friday and I was only in attendance for the Sunday. 

Looking trough the setlist.fm site they’ve only performed six times prior to this run (again assuming it’s accurate and up to date). I surprised myself to see that I wasn’t at the 2009 edition of the Damnation festival where they played alongside Destruction and Life of Agony, two bands I’ll travel to see. Maybe it was the majority of that years line up that put me off?

They are another band that have passed me by over the last eighteen years. Their debut album came out in 1999 when I was being a bit more adult by arranging and saving for my wedding the year later. There’s a bleak period in my gig timeline where shows completely tailed off for a number of years and it was definitely more quality over quantity to my gigging and purchasing. 

Friends raved about how good the Demonization album released this year was so I checked it out via Spotify with some trepidation, I think I was expecting not to like it as I’ve never been a fan of Brutal Truth’s vocals and Kevin Sharp from said band is supplying the vocal barrage for the album and subsequent tour. I’m glad I gave it a go as I was suitably enthralled. It just means i now have to be in Birmingham and Manchester early to catch them as doors open. 

Accelerated Mutation is from the Necropolis Transparent album from 2011.