Ghost Riders In The Sky

Fire & Ice in Manchester last night was another failure. I woke up yesterday for my first day back at work with a sore throat (not the band I hasten to add!). I’ve been expecting to come down with a bout of man flu all of last week with late nights and early morning along with some aeroplane recycled air. I’ve got four days to exorcise it from my body, I don’t really fancy sniffling and my throat hurting when I gulp my pints of Trooper over the weekend.  

Continuing with random iPod shuffling, today’s gold medal goes to a Finnish melodic death metal band who haven’t been featured in the blog since November 2015 and not long after I started this collection of inane ramblings. I almost spun on to the silver track, but I didn’t fancy listening to U2 either. 

I think I have four versions of this 1948 Stan Jones country and western song in my iTunes library, but today gave me the Children of Bodom version, which appeared as a bonus track on the Japanese release of the band’s 2008 album Blooddrunk, not their finest thirty seven minutes. 

I’ve never knowingly heard the original and it has been covered over fifty times in its almost seventy year history. I’m more familiar with versions by Me First and the Gimme Gimme’s on their country inspired album, a cover by Australian rockers Spiderbait that featured in the Ghost Rider film from 2007 and finally the Johnny Cash interpretation from his 1979 album Silver. 

Never released as a single, but on YouTube there are several live versions to pick from. Hopefully I’ve chosen a half decent video for your perusal. This version was filmed during their performance at the Tuska Festival last year. 



This week should have been the calm after the storm, but rather than recuperating from a bank holiday of excess it turned out to be only a single solitary show. This week I’ve only got a four day week at work then a week of heavy metal debauchery begins. Touch wood, I should be off work for nine consecutive days with a pair of Iron Maiden shows, a double blast of the Napalm Death tour and possibly an evening with Chariot, Sodom or Memoriam slotted in. 

After a run of the testosterone fuelled hardcore tunes on the blog from last week, here’s a change in pace and style and possibly a bit controversial but it’s a band that I really like. Controversial in the way that Nickelback seem to be. They are another one of those State side radio friendly bands that have sold a shed load of albums but surprisingly no one seems to like them. 

Going back to our Hard Rock Cafe days Shinedown were one of those bands on heavy rotation on the cafes multiple screens. To my knowledge they hadn’t really dented the mainstream music magazines at home. The two videos that grabbed my attention at the time were both from The Sound of Madness release – Devour and the ballad Second Chance. 

And to use the word controversial yet again, I’m posting up a track by the band as I have the possibility to see the band four times over the next twenty or so days. They’re opening up for Iron Maiden on the current leg of the heavy metal behemoths European jaunt.  

In the States this Floridian band could command a headline performance of their own in arenas of a similar size, but on this side of the Atlantic they seem to be much more of a mid card jobber, which is unfortunate. 

I’ve seen them four times prior to possibly seeing them take to the stage before Maiden, it all depends on how the ale is flowing beforehand, but I am determined to see them at least once on this run of shows. None of the previous quartet of gigs have been headlining shows, which I know I need to rectify at some point. Three have been at festivals (Download and Hellfest) and the other was sandwiched between Alter Bridge and Halestorm at the Arena in Manchester. 

My biggest gripe with a Shinedown live performance though is frontman Brent Smith’s ramblings in between songs, he’s usually preaching love and happiness, but it just feels to me the set doesn’t really flow as it’s so stop start and fractured. 

The politically charged track Devour is one of six singles lifted from 2008’s The Sound of Madness album, the band’s most successful release to date. The album is certified silver by the BPI (the British recorded music trade body) with over 60,000 sales, even though the record only peaked at 143 in the album chart on its release. In the States it’s double platinum with more than two million albums sold. 


Half time has arrived and now it’s time to swap allegiance and listen to something from the Nationalelf.

There’s an abundance of German music in my library, most of it thrash metal, but I’m going to look into another band that I saw at Hellfest. For the existence of their 20 year career I’ve managed to ignore them, even though I first listened to them back in 2000 when I had the Split Program CD that I really had just for the Caliban portion of the disc.

Taking their name from a Marduk album I give you Saalfeld “metal core” mob Heaven Shall Burn. They performed on the awesome Warzone stage and overlapped with Ghost, Enslaved and the start of Black Sabbath on the day. As I have no real interest in those bands I thought I’d give Heaven Shall Burn some of my time, more so out of curiosity and I have to say they were damn impressive.

That for me that is the beauty of festivals. You either camp out at one stage and stick to those few bands, or you can head off and explore a little and watch bands you wouldn’t necessarily pay money for once you get home. Your feet or other appendages might detest you come Monday morning, but you might just have discovered your new favourite band.

I’m not adverse to a slice of metal core every now and again – as long as it’s played well – but I don’t really get the genre tag given to some of the bands. Sitting precariously on a wall with melodic death metal on one side and hardcore on the other, Heaven Shall Burn owe their sound much more to the Gothenburg melodic death metal bands, but with a healthy dose of hardcore breakdowns slotted. If you visited your local record store and saw this lumped in the death metal section you wouldn’t complain about it when you got it home and stuck it in the CD player.

It is odd how these bands are embraced by the hardcore community when most of them are clearly death metal orientated. The Belgian H-8000 scene from the mid 90’s seemed to be the catalyst for the Slayer loving hardcore kids with bands like Liar and Congress. Maybe admitting to liking “metal” is uncool in the 21st century?

During the German’s set Ghost were letting off fireworks at the end of their performance. As metallers have a penchant for all things fire based the majority of the watching crowd turned their head 45° to watch. Vocalist Marcus Bischoff thought there was a problem in the pit somewhere, until he caught a glimpse of the sulphur filled air behind him.

Heaven Shall Burn are yet another band I’ll be delving into at some point, and with seven studio albums to go at it’ll keep me occupied for a while. Endzeit is taken from the 2008 release Iconoclast (Part 1: The Final Resistance).

Useless fact #1,456…

If you’ve seen Kreator live on the last few tours you might have seen bass player Speesy with an Endzeit (Last Days) logo on his attire in the Kreator font. That also happens to be the name of a bar he is involved with in Essen.


Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore, might be uttered by these Topeka natives when their night liner bus rolls into Manchester city centre sometime on Monday – hopefully earlier than Gorguts did back in March!

I’m not overly familiar with Origin who are sandwiched between the two bands who I’m paying my money to see upstairs in Sound Control on Monday.

For some unknown reason we contemplated a trip to the Big Smoke back in 2014 where Origin were on a bill along with Aborted from Belgium, Californian’s Exhumed and Swedes Miasmal at the Underworld. We never went, obviously, but I have no idea why I even looked at this show. This Sunday show was slotted in between Behemoth in Manchester and Kreator in Birmingham, so I’d be broken going down to London and back then off to work Monday morning. Curious.

Unlike Immolation in the last post with their old school death metal approach, Origin play a much more technical version of the death metal brand, incorporating a prog metal vibe into their ferocious sound, with some often chaotic time changes.

Even though I’ve not heard a great deal of music from Origin I’ll still be in my spot taking in their 45 minute set, it’s not like I can do a great deal more once I’m ensconced in the venue. I’ll be more intrigued to watch the drummer, his hands are going to be a blur playing some of this stuff.


Hail Destroyer

Toronto hardcore punks Cancer Bats are on another large UK tour and on Wednesday night they play the Sugarmill in Stoke for at least the third time. The local promoter must be a fan to keep snagging them for the venue every time they do these more intimate tours.

This 18 date run sees them playing venues of a couple of hundred capacity, but they could easily do less dates in bigger venues, but the UK really has taken to these Canadians and they have taken to this rainy island. Since their appearance at 2007’s Download Festival they will have played over 150 shows in this country according to setlistfm – not the definitive list, but I’m sure it’s not far off. Looking at the same source, that’s more British gigs than their native Canada and neighbouring United States combined!

I don’t know if I was just being lazy and not reading magazines properly, but to me the band felt like they just flew out of nowhere and have been here ever since. They were on the cover of Kerrang! magazine early on in their career and received top marks for their sophomore album Hail Destroyer, but it’s been a long time since I immediately took notice of what Kerrang! and Metal Hammer told their readership what was going to be the next big thing. I’m of that age where I remember Kerrang! championing RPLA (Red Patent Leather Angels) and sticking them on the front cover in the early 90’s. That went well didn’t it.

My attention to Cancer Bats was piqued when the token Canadian DJ played Hail Destroyer on a semi regular basis when 106.1 Rock Radio, based in Manchester, had more of an edge in its early days.

What Happened?

Hopefully my flu symptoms subside enough for me to head off to Manchester tonight to catch one of a brace of H2O shows in the UK before they head into Europe to partake on the Persistence Tour with Ignite and Terror amongst others.

Unbelievably it was back in 1995 when I first saw H2O, opening up for CIV and Sick Of It All. Back then frontman Toby Morse was a roadie for Sick Of It All and was often seen participating with the band during their encores.

Besides a single  H2O show in Birmingham during 2000, last years appearance as part of the Slam Dunk Festival was my first time seeing them in 15 years. They’ve been to the UK on a pretty regular basis, so I have no idea why I’ve not seen them more often.

Last years brief set on one of the outdoor stages was a definite highlight of the day’s proceedings. It’s just a shame that with these multiple staged events crowds ebb and flow throughout the day where bands inevitably clash. The bands biggest misgiving with the event was the presence of the safety barrier, as they actively encourage stage diving. Apparently tonight there is no barrier in Sound Control, so it could get interesting. I guarantee there will be a handful of stage divers who want to hog the limelight and prance about on stage like some self important diva, rather than getting on and off in double quick time.

What Happened? is the closing track on 2008’s Nothing To Prove album, with guest vocals from Sick Of It All frontman Lou Koller and Matt Skiba from Alkaline Trio.



I know the poster below is for their London show, but I think it’s such a cool interpretation of The Clash cover and a clever idea it needs to be shown for prosperity more than anything else. I’m surprise it’s never been done before.

All Nightmare Long

It’s Metallica… what else do I need to say?

The second single lifted from this years Death Magnetic album has such a weird video to it – plenty of Russians, aliens and Zombies! And yes, this IS the official video for it – not a you tube fan made project!

The video is directed by Roboshobo. It depicts fictional Soviet newsreels about the Tunguska Event back in 1908. Around the impact site from a crashed meteor spores of an unknown species were discovered that can reanimate the dead. The Soviets exploit this as a weapon to turn the tide in a war against nuclear America.

Originally posted on Jukebox 20 

December 11th 2008

Flash Back Friday!!

Was it really seven years ago since I wrote this? Seven long years and still no follow up to Death Magnetic – as I’m assuming we’re all discounting the Lulu collaboration with Lou Reed?

A staple in the bands set between 2008 and 2011 and played a handful of times since. The last time I saw it performed live was at Yankee Stadium in New York when we went to see the Big 4.

I state in the original it’s the second single when in fact it’s the fifth. Three of those though were digital releases, so is it a real single with nothing physical?