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.
I’m on a train home from Manchester after attending the Anvil show where I didn’t even stop to catch a single note from Anvil! German thrashers Rezet with their 40 minute set were more than worthy enough for two hours on a train and the entry fee.
Tomorrow I’m taking a trip to Liverpool’s Echo Arena with my wife to revel in what could have been a second consecutive evening of Canadian music. We’re off to see Nickelback put on one of the most competent arena shows that you will have the privilege to witness. By this time tomorrow the curtain will have fallen on my fifth live Nickelback experience and I’m in no doubt that I’ll be on my way home in a happy frame of mind.
You might have gathered from this blog that has been going for nearly I year now I prefer my music fast and loud – which is a crying shame for those not inducted into the way of Nickelback. It’s amazing how many people dislike the group with a passion – many verging on pure hatred – but usually they’ve only heard two songs which happen to be their biggest. But delve deeper into some of the album tracks and boy can they knock out some spectacularly heavy stuff.
They can pretty much write anything from either end of the spectrum. You have some bands who just seem to churn out ballad after power ballad, but have nothing extra to offer. When you could play a teary track like Lullaby, head straight into the short sharp punk blast of Flat On The Floor and seamlessly flow into a cover of Metallica’s Master of Puppets and round it all off with the song everyone loves to hate, Rockstar, where the band don’t even have to sing it as the majority of the fifteen thousand crowd in attendance will inevitably sing it word perfectly, then you know you are doing something right.
They’re very much aware of the jokes that they are the butt of, but they take it all in their stride and often play upon it during their concerts. What’s the point of getting upset over it when you’ve sold over fifty million albums all around the globe and you can play arenas worldwide? Someone must like your music, otherwise there’s a warehouse somewhere near Vancouver with forty-nine million compact discs stored inside.
Lullaby is taken from the bands seventh release Here And Now. The album cover features a photograph of the steam clock located in the Gastown area of Vancouver. When we were there a fair few years ago now we must have taken (well I rather than we) dozens of photos of that clock. In the UK this track wasn’t released as a single and the video used on music channels over here was different to this heart wrenching version. This version has only been streamed a measly 61 million times on YouTube.
On the same day that I brought Welcome to the Pleasuredome with my paper round money I also brought a copy of In the Army Now by British institution and three chord wonders Status Quo.
That was in the autumn of 1986, and in the three decades since it has been the only Quo album I have physically owned. With the popularity and relative ease of downloads I’ve picked up odd tracks here and there that I have liked, the majority of them have all been prior to this release.
This piece of vinyl has been long lost. Once I got into that heavy metal malarkey I ended up lending it to some one and I have never seen it since. No great loss, but it’s a piece of my history that I now don’t have (cue dramatic music).
This was their first album released after the success that was Live Aid the year before. It is their seventeenth studio release, but I can’t recall another single track from the album – even after I’ve googled the track listing. Maybe it’s something I need to go back and listen to?
I never knew until fairly recently it was a cover of a Bolland & Bolland song who were apparently a Dutch duo originally from Port Elizabeth in South Africa who’d released the track four years earlier. I’ve never heard that original version – and don’t really have any desire to listen to it. Talking of cover versions I enjoy the Laibach version that can be found on their NATO release. Sabaton also covered it for their 2012 album Carolus Rex release, but I’ve not heard that either.
Well you know what they say about judging a book by its cover, that’s something that I should have learnt with music after all this time!
Norway’s Audrey Horne are one such book. They’ve been about for some time now and I’ve seen their logo pop up here and there, but never had the urge to listen to them. For some weird reason I thought they’d be some variant on the metal core sound. Wrong.
As, up until an hour ago, I’d never heard them I thought I’d do some research as they just happen to be on stage at the DMF (read the last post to see what that means) on Saturday. Ah, a super group formed by members of Norwegian black metal bands. Yeah, I was right I won’t like them. And twice wrong.
The few reviews and biographies of the band – named after a Twin Peaks character, just incase it sounded familiar – all seem to start with variations of the same theme. “Contains / featured members of Sahg, Enslaved, God Seed, Gorgoroth BUT sound nothing like them.”
Now I’m intrigued to some point, so let’s switch to my now non premium Spotify account. After the adverts something that to me didn’t sound too dissimilar to Shinedown kicks in. Obviously my first assumption is that Spotify has randomly switched artist. No, it still says Audrey Horne and from the Le Fol album. Song two is up and with its Hammond organ in the background sounds like a modern take on Deep Purple.
So after half an hour or so of listening to them they don’t sound half bad. If moody, mid paced melancholy with addictive sing a long choruses is how you like your rock then you probably would like this. Obviously listening on shuffle I had album tracks thrown at me and I didn’t come across that big anthem, but I’m sure there’ll be one in there somewhere.
Out Of The City has a very Blackstar Riders, or a slower VolBeat feel to it, and looks like the video could have been lifted straight out of Avenue Q. It is taken from their latest album Pure Heavy released a couple of years ago. I think I’ll be listening to more of these Scandinavians later.
I had to take my car into the garage today for some manufacturers recall. I never seem to be far away from some earphones, so on the relatively short walk in the cold to work I stuck the ear buds in and pressed shuffle. First song today turns out to be the oldest song featured in the blog so far – (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction from The Rolling Stones.
The opening three note guitar riff from Keith Richards is absolutely iconic and I’d hazard a guess that most people will recognise it as a Stones song from the opening seconds.
The fuzz tone that runs throughout the songs duration could have sounded so different as Richards wanted that part to be performed on horns and that was just a mental note.
Heading back over half a century in time, the song it’s self at the time was deemed to be controversial due to its sexually suggestive lyrics and an attack on commercialism. I wonder what the same people would make of some of our modern pop songs? The song ended up being the bands first number one Stateside and their fourth in the UK.
I’ve never been a huge Stones fan, I just had more of a passing interest, but I have been listening to them for as long as I can remember. As a kid I liberated the twin cassette version of the bands Rolled Gold best of compilation from my dad and found a home for it in my fledgling musical collection. I’ve never had the opportunity to see the band live, something that I might need to look into sooner rather than later now that three quarters of the band are in their 70’s. Like U2 and some other bands, they are one I’d like to see more out of curiosity and to be able to say I’ve seen once.
Finishing off with the car, the initial job was free but they did a visual inspection for me and found “several problems” that need addressing. I definitely won’t get any satisfaction at that garage if I have the work done there costing me almost £1,500!!
Possible gig number two for Saturday evening is The Treatment at the Sugarmill up Hanley, duck.
I saw these guys opening up for W.A.S.P. in Manchester last year and I was suitably impressed with their take on back to basics heavy rock.
Having said that though possibly the biggest draw for me at this gig is in the shape of female trio The Amorettes who have been described as the “female Motörhead”. Formed in West Lothian, Scotland, back in 2009 they burst onto the worldwide music radar in 2015 with the release of their second album.
Another band with a massive buzz about them, but as I’ve never seen them or heard much by them I’ll hold judgement until I have. It could be a buzz created by testosterone fuelled teenagers or it could be wholly legitimate.
The follow up release to 2015’s Game On is released this summer through Off Ya Rocker Records, who are some of the people behind the Hard Rock Hell brand of festivals. They’ve played North Wales numerous times, but I’ve never been free to see them.
I think at some point on Saturday I’ll be tossing a coin to see where I end up (that’s an interesting concept on how to live your life) or I might see if I can catch a band at both venues, there’s less than two and a half miles between the two piles of bricks.
Next weekend brings around this years debut trip to the Hafan y Môr holiday camp in North Wales which will double up as an indoor festival for three days.
We usually head there twice a year, but organising this one has become a real palaver due to people pulling out left, right and centre. Thankfully this first event combines Hammefest on its eighth cycle and its sister event HRH AOR returning for a fourth year. As we’ve struggled to offload the seven tickets my other half is venturing into the Welsh hills with us, so it’s a good job there are some bands on the mellower side to appease her.
Over the next week I’ll post a few videos of bands that are playing the event that I may, or may not, see. First up something from the AOR side, New York’s Tyketto.
I’ve only seen them once and that was a brief set almost six years ago at the Download Festival. I’m not a massive fan of theirs, never really taken the time to check them out if I’m being honest, but this track is a staple at a lot of rock clubs.
If you have a soft spot, or even a guilty pleasure, for Bon Jovi or the mid 80’s Whitesnake then this will be for you. Forever Young is the lead off track from their 1991 debut album Don’t Come Easy. Like a lot of artists from many genres the tidal wave that was grunge swept s many bands away, and Tyketto were one of the many that suffered and they split in 1996. After a few attempts here and there they finally clicked and have been back together since 2008.