Phantom Self

It’s Friday and today that means it’s Sepultura day!

I saw the band a bunch of times early last year when they supported Kreator and it’s been easily twelve months since I last listened to their Machine Messiah album. Surprisingly they played quite a bit from the record on their support slot and it wasn’t overly memorable at the time, but I was there for the Germans and the Brazilian tribe was just an added bonus. Now I’m geared up for a Sep’s show I’ll be more embracing of the newer material.

Once again the band are on a UK tour and yet again the “no Max and Igor no Sepultura” brigade are raising their heads from the woodwork like clockwork.

Max walked out on the band in 1996 – more than two decades ago. His brother followed in his footsteps ten years later, so it couldn’t have been all that bad. In a new interview online l saw last week, Max is still bitter about the split and wishes he’d kept the name. I’m still a bit curious how some one who leaves a band can lay claim to the name.

All this rubbish about it still can’t be the band if certain members or founding members are no longer in the band really frustrates me.

Last week heavy metal legends Judas Priest released probably their strongest record since Painkiller surfaced in 1990 to critical acclaim. From the five members who recorded Firepower only bass player Ian Hill is still in the band from the original 1960’s line up. From the line up that released the 1974 debut album Rocka Rolla three of the five are on the latest album. By the time I next see the band in an East Midlands field in August that three will be a pair with the recent announcement of guitarist Glen Tipton stepping down from live duties.

That’s one original member in Judas Priest, the same as Iron Maiden. Slayer, another band who suffer from this garbage, have half their original members the same as Metallica who don’t have the calls to quit based on band members, just plenty of people who don’t recognise anything released post Cliff, or depending on their age Jason.

Grind innovators Napalm Death have a new album on the horizon and like Sepultura it will feature not a single original member, but much like Firepower I’m sure that release (if it’s any good) will be lauded by the press and fans alike and many a blind eye will be turned regarding the line up.

Granted, Sepultura haven’t released an album of the calibre of Arise or Beneath the Remains during the Derrick Green era, but the Cleveland native has done more justice to those classic tracks in his stint with the band since his arrival. Having seeing Max Cavalera on stage several times in the past two decades doing some of his Sepultura history, Derrick does it much better.


Death To The Architects Of Heaven

And my weekend has already begun. That’s it. The alarms are of and there’s no work until 5am Monday. This time tomorrow my single day at Hammerfest should be well underway. A few bands will have been viewed and several beers sank and probably making inroads on the Hafan-y-Mor caravan parks stock of Jack Daniels.

This afternoon has been spent clearing more rubbish out of the mother in laws house and discovering Goatwhore, who coincidentally will be hitting the Hammerfest stage in pretty much 24 hours time of me writing this.

The NOLA quartet are a band that have evaded me since their inception back in 1997. I’ve seen the name in advertising bumff, but I’ve never taken time to listen to the band. The name alone just makes me think screeching black metal, even some of the imagery used on their albums turns me away.

I saw someone post in a friend’s Facebook group how good Sepultura were, but the touring package was in the wrong order as Goatwhore were head and shoulders above the main support band Obscura. I though I might as well give them a try and searched for them on Spotify and started listening to the latest release Vengeful Ascension and prepared myself for the ensuing disappointment.

Once again I was proved wrong. Essentially a thrash metal band with death and black metal influences and a huge slice of New Orleans style groove.

Trawling though their releases the cover to 2012’s Blood for the Master looks familiar but I wasn’t sure if I was getting the skull cover mixed up with Beastmilk’s Climax album. I have a sneaky feeling that I even have that album in my iPhone library.

Based on that hunch I had a look to see if I had actually seen the band live. After a bit of investigation I’m pretty surprised I haven’t crossed paths with them in the last half a dozen years or so. They’ve played Manchester three times in Sound Control and MOHO. They were on the same bill as Dying Fetus and a year later with Skeletonwitch. I’m pretty sure I had a ticket for the latter show, but never went.

Their debut Mancunian show was back in 2012 on a show that I’m pretty sure I went to, if I didn’t I’m kicking myself six years later on. Thrashers Havok and Angelus Apatrida were on the Long Live Heavy Metal Tour package completed by 3 Inches of Blood. I know I’ve seen Havok in Manchester at least once, but I don’t think I’ve seen the Spaniards in the city, so I’m guessing I missed that stellar line up.

Goatwhore are one of the two bands playing tomorrow I’ve not experienced live and I’m really looking forward to catching them live based on what I’ve been hearing today. They’ll definitely be getting much more of my attention in the weeks ahead and I foresee several Amazon purchases in the very near future.

Barbara The Witch

So much stuff to listen to and seemingly so little time! Tomorrow is my last day at work before an elongated weekend, which sees me driving about 400 miles for an impressive ten bands or so over two gigs.

First up sees our annual pilgrimage to Cymru for this years Hammerfest. This year marks the festivals tenth anniversary. It’s a shame the line up didn’t offer something a bit more remarkable for its decade of existence. For that reason I’m only going for the Friday bands. Four of which are stopping off on their UK trek, so hardly something exciting or exclusive to make people travel.

Having said that though I’ll get to see at least seven decent bands and all for a measly ten quid. There isn’t a band on Friday’s line up that I would pay to see where a ten pound note would gain me entry to their show. The four band Sepultura tour would set me back £25. Ex Iron Maiden frontman Blaze Bayley is another £15 minimum. Last year when I saw Acid Reign who have just been added to Friday’s proceedings cost me £17. So yes, I’d say £10 is an absolute steal.

The band I want to see most though takes to the second stage around 9pm and is one of two bands playing that I’ve never seen live before. All the way from Norway is highly melodic thrash band Critical Solution, who will take to a British stage for the first time in almost five years, and possibly only their second ever show on this lump of rock.

Needless to say I’ve been brushing up on my horror thrash (a term I saw in an advert for their last album) quite a lot lately. I’m an avid King Diamond fan and amongst their nod to bands like Metallica and Maiden, there’s a definite influence there from the Great Dane.

They both like a concept album and have multiple characters running throughout the album. Christer Slettebø doesn’t have the falsetto range that King has, but that might make the latest album, Barbara the Witch, slightly more accessible to metal heads than hearing the shrill vocal delivery on something like Abigail.

They’re a band I’ve been listening to for quite a few years now, probably just prior to their second album Sleepwalker which was released in 2015, and easily one of the main reasons I’ll be driving for nearly three hours on Friday through the winding and often picturesque country roads of North Wales.


It’s pretty weird how things transpire with my musical “hobby”. I’ve had a full week off work with no shows attended and by the end of next Sunday I could’ve attended four shows and worked six days!

My train for Friday’s Within Destruction show was doubtful for getting me home due to the freezing white stuff. Yesterday’s local show was a case of couldn’t really be bothered and tonight’s I’ve pulled the plug on as the band I wanted to see are now not playing a set, just being the backing musicians for the comedic headliner. It’s saved me a bit of cash for the coming weeks.

Before Easter creeps up on us I could have been to a dozen shows in four weeks. The first of the possible twelve is actually a bonus show that I didn’t even know about until 60 hours ago!

With being off this week and having nothing to really do (well I have but I procrastinate about doing grown up stuff) I spent quite a bit of time sat at my Mac trawling Bandcamp and the like. I saw a name crop up on a few of those iffy sites your wife warns you about – no not the porn sites!

Québec City natives Meet the Mailman (or Mailman as I referred to them several times) possibly have one of the worst names for a band I’ve seen in a while and don’t really inspire me to check them out. I saw the word “thrash” connected to the name on several sites and thought I’d give it a go. Plus they come from the city where I had one of my favourite chicken dishes nearly 15 years ago!

How wrong I was to judge this particular book my it’s cover! Horror movie inspired thrash metal with a punk edge, which in hindsight makes the moniker more pertinent in a slightly innocuous horror film title style, like Last House on the Left or Let the Right One In.

I discovered this band last Sunday, so just a week ago and I’ve played their stuff multiple times in the ensuing days. Then I stumbled across some tiny lettering on a gig poster on Friday for a tour headlined by Waco Jesus and I saw the bands logo. Scroll down the dates I see a show for the Dev in Camden and the night before they’re in Nottingham, one of only two UK shows.

I’m not overly keen on driving to Nottingham on a school night and to be fair I’m not a fan of driving around Nottingham at the best of times. I think I’ve made a parking compromise and going as far as the East Midlands Parkway, about an hour from my house, then train in to the city. From their write ups I’m only interested in three of the four opening bands on a six band bill (six bands on a Tuesday apparently starting at 7:30 is asking for trouble!) I’m hoping I can see what I want to see, buy what I want to buy and be back on a train to my car by 10pm and home just after 11.

They have a full length album, Then You Will Die, which surfaced at the end of February, so I believe. Their 2014 EP (Knock Knock Dead, Blood Scream ‘N Gore) is playable and indeed purchasable via their Bandcamp page, and Damnation is the opening track on that seven song offering.

It’s a shame Obituary are playing just around the corner on the same evening and will probably detract from the crowd, but the Waco Jesus show if free entry so you never know some people are bound to experience both.

Ignoble Blackmail

Gig wise February has been running much more smoothly than January seemed to! Last Saturday saw me back in Manchester in Satan’s Hollow for the first time in some years to catch the final night of the A Taste of Reaped Owl Custard tour that took in Liverpool and Derby the two nights previously. The venue looks like a huge prop from a Hellraiser movie with the stage in the round in some sort of demonic park band stand.

The tour slogan is a bit convoluted but it takes in to account the four bands making up the package. All the bands have been on the New Blood stage at Bloodstock in recent times, and it was good to see the camaraderie carrying on.

Killing time in the pub across the road my heart sank yet again when a Facebook post stated a later door opening time and a swap in the running order due to traffic issues. Once again I was on the last train home with only an expensive option of a taxi if I missed it.

Thankfully I managed to see all four bands – or parts there of – and leave at my expected time to make the short walk in the rain back to the station.

First up was Taste of Greed from Hamburg, half the reason I was there and the band who did the last minute switch. Their energetic death / thrash metal hybrid was well received by all and the dapper frontman Jens seemed suitably impressed. If the tour had been any longer I wonder how many consecutive shows he had in him as his voice was worse for wear after three.

Liverpool thrashers Reaper were the traffic casualties and as a result to keep within the strict venue curfew they only had time for three songs. A friend recommended this band and pronounced them as the next big thing in UK thrash. After the briefest of sets I was left wanting more and with their debut album imminent I can’t wait to see them again.

Derbyshire’s Raised by Owls were fun in a noisy uncompromising way. Taking influences from early Napalm Death and replacing their serious standpoint with Lawnmower Deth’s frivolity. Short songs, longer songs, a conger line and a wall of death based on your pronunciation of the word scone! I think you see where I’m coming from.

Headlining was local band (in the most part) Footprints in the Custard. The majority of the crowd were obviously there for these guys and they all knew the in jokes during the set. I was a bit dubious about the band, mainly based on their odd name and albums full of silly songs. Seeing them live though, they come across as fantastic musicians and their drummer Alex is an absolute beast behind his kit.

This weekend sees another return visit to a no doubt rainy Manchester for the Devangelic gig at Aatma, the scene of my disastrous Reprisal gig a few weeks back.

This post is the fourth in my Euro road trip piece, but not for the headlining band who hail from Rome, but for fellow Italians Adversor who are tasked with the unenviable job of opening the six band show at 6:15pm.

The Venetian thrashers were scheduled to be playing the city on the same night as part of their European tour that included four British shows, their debut performances in the country. The dates were announced seemingly months ago, but nothing for this Friday seemed to materialise in the social media ether. A quick electronic message to frontman Dado soon put things straight.

Apparently the promoter for their show disappeared (a worrying trend with Mancunian promoters lately!) and left the band hanging with nowhere else to play. In the end they were late additions to this death metal show, and in all honesty they will stick out like a sore thumb alongside Sodomized Cadaver and Cranial Discharge, but they get to play in the city and it doesn’t mess up the already printed shirts!

They’re only on stage for 20 minutes or so, and I’m only really paying out to see them. So I could have easily declined to go to the event and miss out. I really like their debut album Rise to Survive though, and 20 minutes is better than nothing. Also they are a highlight from a flourishing thrash metal scene in Italy 🇮🇹 right now and I don’t know if I’d get another chance to see them without hoping on a plane.

A couple of the Italian bands have already featured in this blog, namely Game Over and Ultra-Violence, two bands I’d really like to catch live. Throw Vexovoid, Burning Nitrum, Mass Execution and National Suicide on to the bucket list and I’d get to observe some great thrash metal live. If only British audiences lapped up retro thrash as much as the continent does and became more educated to bands outside of the media friendly pack, rather than waiting to be told what’s good and what’s not. Explore the web a bit and see what crops up.

Hopefully on Friday I’ll have the bands sophomore release The End of Mankind in my sweaty mits and have been blown away but some thrash metal from the land of the gladiators. Ignoble Blackmail is taken from that latest album and should be readily available through Punishment 18 Records in the next few weeks.

I’m so tempted to jump on a train and see the band in London on Saturday, if only return trains went a few hours later to the north! If you’re Camden Town way go and visit the Devonshire Arms, the gig there is free.

Terror Vision

This time tomorrow I’ll be on a train (again) heading down to London (yet again) to catch the first ever British gig by Dr Living Dead!, the crossover thrash quartet from Sweden.

The masked band formed just over a decade ago in Stockholm and Dr Rad and Dr Toxic are the remaining “doctors” from the original incarnation. They haven’t been through an obscene amount of members, it just seems to have been the drum stool that has been the problem. Over the years doctors Ape, Dawn and New Drummer all preceded Dr Slam. A couple of those drummers have also served time with Dismember and Negative Self over the years.

The band’s fourth album was released in October last year and is another slab of Suicidal Tendencies and Slayer infused crossover thrash with a newly added dose of punk. The Suicidal comparisons, more so from their earlier output, and penchant for wearing bandannas, is always going to be lazily present, so it’s going to be interesting to see if the band feel more relevant and intense than the last few times I crossed paths with the Venice Beach innovators.

Most of today though I’ve been driving around at work, with a few Dr Living Dead! tracks thrown in for good measure, thinking to myself are there any bands that wear masks that I actually like?

Possibly the biggest mask wearing metal band are the eighteen legged Iowan’s Slipknot, who apart from an odd song here and there in their 23 year career I can do without. From Linköping, 125 miles down the E4, are fellow masked Swedes Ghost. Even though they are the current flavour of the month with the metal press I don’t like anything I’ve encountered by them.

“Mexican gangsters” turned grind band Brujeria, who I saw a trio of times last year, leave me bored. The bands associated with the Nu-Metal spectrum (Mushroom Head, Hollywood Undead, Insane Clown Posse) have never floated my boat either.

I’ve seen Gwar a single solitary time. Their live show was extremely entertaining but I don’t posses any of their fourteen albums, so I guess that’s a negative too. Another latex clad band are Eurovision winners Lordi, but I’m only aware of a couple of their songs.

Not really masked bands, more extravagant makeup, so for the purpose of this blog, the two bands I’ve probably listened to most from the “masked genre” in my library are KISS who I can tolerate and one of my favourite bands King Diamond, yet another Nordic offering. So in conclusion maybe not every band who wears a mask is all that bad, especially if they’re from Scandinavia!

I’m pretty gutted I’m missing Dutch death metal band Pestilence in Manchester, a band I’m yet to see live, but I’m very much looking forward to experienced Dr Rad and his crew. It’s going to be a hell of a long day – up at 4am for work, on a train twelve hours later and I might roll into bed by 2am Friday! – but I should be worth it. And I’m so glad I had the foresight to book Friday and Saturday off work.

Terror Vision is taken from last years Cosmic Conqueror album.

Minority Erazer

Twenty four hours ago I wound up my gigs for the first month of 2018. My tally was a disappointing three shows (actually more so two and a half!), but should’ve and could’ve been more, but there were some excellent performances throughout January.

Kicking off the month with the ever excellent Kreator was a tough act to follow, but yesterday Texans Power Trip proved once again why they are one of the best bands around at this moment in time. They are an opening band on Trivium’s European tour so I can guarantee a few things at a couple of their UK dates.

1) I’ll be there

2) I’ll be heading home early!

From openers Insanity Alert to my final band of the night Terror, this years Persistence Tour was a blast. Unsurprisingly Manchester upstarts got the first pit maelstrom of the evening – no surprise there. I’d be interested to know how they went down with the European crowds compared to their home fans. I’m still slightly miffed I had to miss Hatebreed, but needs must, and Hatebreed and Kreator were announced for Download last week. Fingers crossed the two bands along with Body Count, L7 and Powerflo all appear on the same day to justify buying a day ticket.

Moving into February the shortest month could see me beating last months tally before Sunday’s page gets turned in the diary. Saturday I’m hoping to catch The Faceless in Manchester. Earlier in the day Red Eye Revival play the city as part of an all dayer. The night before Iron Maiden tribute band Hi-On Maiden play just up the road.

Kicking off the trio of shows for me is another trip to the capital to see Dr Living Dead lay waste to the Underworld on their debut and only British show on this tour. They are supported by Swiss thrashers Comaniac and Rezet from Germany. You can see where this blog is heading for the next few days!

The Schleswig quartet have been featured previously I n this blog back in October 2016 when they opened up for Canadians Anvil. This time though I won’t be hot footing it from the venue as soon as the band have played.

Fifteen months ago I arrived at the Rebellion Club a few minutes before they were scheduled to go on. They were the only band I wanted to see and nearly missed the start due to some drunken patrons trying to get in and holding the line up. I saw my 40 minutes or so of the Germans and snagged my self a shirt then made the mile long walk back to Piccadilly station and I was back home by 10:30pm.

I can see myself doing that more regularly in the coming months. So many shows have been announced with, in my eyes, far superior supports than the headliners. Thankfully most of the shows aren’t overly expensive so missing a portion isn’t too much of a travesty.

Yesterday was a prime example. I saw five of the seven bands. Nearly two and a half hours of music for £30, £6 per band. I’m never going to see any of those bands for six quid. It was also slightly longer than my slew of Metallica and Maiden shows last year and at a fraction of the price.

Minority Erazer was released as a digital single back in August last year, nearly a year and a half after their latest album Reality Is A Lie came out. This track is also the opening number on last years EP You Asked For It, which I hope to pick up on CD on Thursday. Maybe it’ll find a place on the next Rezet record?