Welcome Home

Today marks the 29th anniversary, somewhere in the world, of King Diamond’s third opus “Them” hitting record stores, the first of two conceptual releases about “King’s” mentally ill grandmother. 

“Them” in this case are the voices that a young King hears around the house, and “they” are controlling King and Missy’s mother. It all ends up in death, mayhem and incarceration, then concluded (in a fashion) with the following release Conspiracy. 

Besides the mini post I’d featured a few weeks ago for the 31 songs in 31 days project I can’t comprehend that it’s taken me so long to post a second King Diamond track properly. December 2015 was my last foray in to the psyche of Kim Bendix Petersen, which really shocked me and that was only posted because it was a Christmas influenced piece of music. 

The Great Dane most definitely has a marmite sound. You either love his vocal delivery or hate it. I know a few people who like it for the musicianship, then their  interest dissipates as soon as Mr Petersen let’s rip. I enjoy that kind of vocal delivery and range  and I like the intricate tales that he weaves with his lyrics. It’d be interesting to view if any Hollywood moguls got involved in a reimagining if the two albums.  Failing that I’d like to see a “Them” tour. Over the last few years the band have been playing the seminal Abigail album in full and a concert DVD is in the pipeline, I’d really like to see that trend carried on with the following pair it albums. 

I got a bit confused with what track I was posting when I started tapping away as I initially looked for the Sleepless Nights promotional video, then I realised that was on the following album. My hopes were briefly dashed then I came across a video for Welcome Home, which I had never seen until this afternoon.  You’re never too old to learn something new! 

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A Drug Against War

I’ve been listening to KMFDM on and off since I started to discover the industrial metal scene via Nine Inch Nails, GGFH, Swamp Terrorists, Laibach and Ministry in the mid 90’s. Tonight the German band play the Ruby Lounge in Manchester and the Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton tomorrow whilst I’m otherwise engaged elsewhere. I’ve never seen them live, then again I don’t own any of their twenty albums, so I doubt I’d be changing my plans for the next two nights, but I’ve enjoyed relistening to them lately. 

I first stumbled upon the band through one of two industrial styles compilation discs. It was either their track Godlike on the Hot Wired Monstertrux album or the Terror – An Industrial Metal Compilation where a remixed version of Money was featured. They’ve also been on the soundtrack albums to several films including Hellraiser III, Mortal Kombat and Johnny Mnemonic. 

Formed in Hamburg in 1984 as a performance project by Sascha Konietzko, Kein Mehrheit Für Die Mitleid (no pity for the majority) has gone through a lot of band members in their 33 year career. I initially liked their earlier output with a more angry metal edge to it. Listening to some of the more recent tracks with American singer Lucia Cifarelli it doesn’t sound quite a metallic as I recall, maybe be a bit more watered down. No doubt I’ll have a binge listen on Spotify over the weekend and regret not going to see them.  

For a long time I was under the impression KMFDM was as acronym for Kill Mother F*****g Depeche Mode. I didn’t find out until recently that was just something the band did with American journalists who weren’t well versed with the German language. Even though the band are considered German now there is only one German native in the band, whilst the rest of the line up is completed by an American singer and a trio of British musicians. 

A Drug Against War was released on the Angst album in 1993 and still keeps all of those elements from the Chicago industrial scene that originally caught my attention. 

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

Nothing Else Matters (S&M)

September 2nd 2000 – a date ingrained on my mind forever and a day, even though an exact time might be a bit hazy seventeen years later. 

A round about this time on (possibly) a bright Saturday afternoon I was a bit of a nervous gibbering wreck waiting to say I do to my better half Angela. I can’t actually remember all the details from the remaining ten hours of that day, some gaps need to be confirmed by my wife, others we have both got different recollections of. If only we had the video memories that we were promised by a member of the extended family. 

Seventeen years on my wife and I are heading home after attending a wedding in Essex. Sitting opposite is my best man from the day and his wife who both put in a lot of work into feeding the handful of guests on the day and generally being our voices of reason. Some people are unfortunately no longer with us, but we have fond memories of most of them. 

The biggest blur of the day was the evening do. I remember some of the music our DJ played that night and I recall heading off to a hotel before the witching hour. Actually meeting and greeting people who were there is a faded memory. All these years on though I can still recall some of the slight disdain from my father in law who seemed disappointed he couldn’t by me an beer on the night as I didn’t drink back then. I think he’d be less disappointed now. 

We had the usual fare of wedding style music played through out the evening but we made sure we had some things a bit more rock orientated interspersed during the night. Extreme’s More Than Words and Angela (obviously) by Mötley Crüe got an airing. A mutual favourite of ours, The Power Of Love by Frankie Goes To Hollywood might have also crowbarred me onto the dance floor for the second time that evening. 

Since then though Dire Straits’ Money For Nothing has brought me out into a cold sweat every time I’ve heard it played on the radio. It’s just the PTSD style flash backs I get of dancing with my mother in law (insert copious mother in jaw jokes here!)

The first dance that we had as a married couple, and possibly had together as a couple, was the power ballad Nothing Else Matters by Metallica from their eponymous 1991 album. Coincidentally enough it was also played at last night celebrations at the behest of the metal head groom, and it was one of the very few times that I have done my impression of someone trying to dance badly in a public setting. Maybe we’ll do it again in another 204 months, unless there is something occurring for our china anniversary (even though I’d much prefer a ticket to Beijing or Shanghai instead.)

So here’s me raising an imaginary glass of train Cava to the love of my life. Besides all the good things that we’ve done together she has had to put up with so many bad moods, tantrums and general issues of  not thinking things through over these last “couple of years” and here’s to many more.  

Angela,

All my love,

Today 

Tomorrow 

and

Forever 

x x x x

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.