Messenger Of God

Last week I though gigs couldn’t get much weirder when I went to see a W.A.S.P. tribute band belt out a 90 minute greatest hits set in the hallway of an out of use prison. On Saturday I’m of to see a Mexican thrash metal band play in a pub in Macclesfield! 

For those who don’t know, the market town of Macclesfield used to be renowned for its silk trade in the 1800’s. Two centuries later it’s more associated as a stop on the train for those people travelling north from Stoke on Trent to Manchester. 

Much like Shrewsbury a week ago it will be my first gig in the town. I think it should have been my second there as I’m pretty sure I drove there twenty odd years ago to see Skunk Anansie play somewhere but it was sold out and we were turned away. Or we were turned away from a Manchester venue where the band were playing and attempted to attend an alternative show in Macc but couldn’t find the venue, pre sat nav days obviously. One of those statements  is correct! 

On Saturday Mexican thrashers Piraña play what should be their fourth British show, assuming none of the previous three have been scrapped. Their nine date trek is with touring partners Past The Fall from London. I’m not to knowledgeable with either band, but put “thrash metal” and “Mexico” in a sentence appearing in a town less than 15 minutes away by train then I’m obviously interested!

According to the Metal Archives the Querétaro quartet formed in 2003 and have released two full length albums, with 2012’s Corruption being the most recent release, (also the album where Messenger of God can be found.) I have both albums and an EP queued up on Spotify to have a listen to before the weekend and I’ve investigated a few tracks via YouTube, though I have a sneaky suspicion some of the Piraña tracks there could be by a different band? If I’m suitably impressed enough on Saturday I have two further opportunities to see the band within an hours drive next week, but both on a weekday night. 

Over the years I’ve found some gems within the thrash metal scene and well off the beaten track, but virtually every band was from Europe, Australia, Canada or the United States. The underground thrash metal scene from Central and South America has completely passed me by. 

I’ve delved into a few bands here and there, and mainly from Brazil or Mexico (Nuclear, Deathraiser, Commando, Blackning and Drunk in Violence to name check five) but I’ve seen a shed load of  bands online from some far flung territories like Peru, Argentina and Chile and never gave them the time of day and went on to something from Eastern Europe. Piraña are also going to be a much more realistic and authentic Mexican band than the other band from the country that I have seen on stage this year. Brujeria anyone? 

Piraña, and Past the Fall actually, are both bands I’d hoped to have seen somewhere in mainland Europe back in 2015 when they along with Australian band Desecrator, supported Hirax on a Euro trek. Hirax made it to these shores for a handful of dates after the mainland dates finished, but unfortunately none of the three support acts made it over. For as many tours that traverse the British Isles, it’s the ones that don’t arrive on these shores, or the ones that disband the package before they hit the ferry over the channel and we end up with the same names opening up the British leg of the tour. 

 

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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 31/31

Day 31 – A song about insanity. 

Annihilator – Alison Hell 

And now, the end is near; 

And so I face the final curtain.

My friend, I’ll say it clear, 

I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain.

Regrets, I’ve had a few; 

But then again, too few to mention.

I did what I had to do

And saw it through without exemption.

I planned each charted course; 

Each careful step along the byway, 

And more, much more than this, 

I did it my way.

I’ve had fun with these 31 tracks and I think Ol’ Blue Eyes sums up the last month where I’ve managed to post something everyday for a whole month (and some). It’s the first time that’s happened, and originally the plan for this blog. Maybe I’ll incorporate more short blocks of text in the future. 

Nineteen bands have been from the United States, four from England, three Germans and one each from Switzerland, Canada, Denmark and Finland, and only one band repeated. Maybe a bit lopsided towards the thrash metal genre and the 1980’s, but it’s the ones I like most. I could have easily done all 28 with Metallica tracks, with some slight interpretations of the original questions. There were so many bands I wanted to do and I could do all 31 questions multiple times without repeating tracks or bands – apart from the specific artist questions. 

Thanks for reading everyday for a month. 

Heavy Metal Month Listening Challenge 30/31

Day 30 – A song featuring a mythical creature. 

Heathen – Goblin’s Blade

Before I decided to share the tracks between as many different artists as I could this penultimate choice was nailed on to be The Call of Ktulu by Metallica. As that Bay Area band have been featured twice already I have passed the mythical creature torch to fellow Bay Area band Heathen.  

Heavy Metal Month Listening Challenge 28/31

Day 28 – Favourite Megadeth song. 

Megadeth – Wake Up Dead

Another one where I could change my mind every time I ask myself the question. Peace Sells? Mary Jane? Hangar 18? In My Darkest Hour? 

It’s yet another example of how few lyrics there seemed to be in metal songs back in the day and the bands let their musicianship do the talking. 

Heavy Metal Month Listening Challenge 25/31

Day 25 – A song off a bleak landscape cover. 

It was a toss of the coin between the artwork for Death Angel’s The Ultra-Violence, my instant choice, and the devil sitting astride the crumbling Sydney Opera House by Australian thrashers Mortal Sin on their Mayhemic Destruction album. 

Today the Californian’s slightly edged it. 

Death Angel – Evil Priest