The Ballad Of Ruby

Like I said yesterday I love how eclectic my songs seem to be when the shuffle button is utilised. From the more thrash orientated of things I’ve had Hellion, Children of Bodom followed by Deathwish. First song today is by Tyketto. A proper curve ball and I can’t get much further apart from yesterday to today’s offering. 

As stated earlier I don’t do bad songs (even the Nickelback songs I have are decent!*) so I have no problems with listening to this track (which incidentally was followed by Final Six by Slayer). I can’t really remember listening to this song before. Another ballad, obviously, from the band that kind of reminds me of The Black Crowes or bringing it more up to date The Temperance Movement. 

New York’s Tyketto were formed back in 1987 by Waysted vocalist Danny Vaughn, who is a stunning frontman. The Ballad of Ruby is from the bands third release Shine, so I’ve obviously got a cross section of their catalogue in my library, but it’s really only their debut Don’t Come Easy that I’m overly familiar with, and so are most other people who are simply “familiar” with the name. 

I’ve seen them twice now. It should have been three but their UK club dates last year were cancelled and I couldn’t make the rescheduled Liverpool show. The first time was a brief set in a rather large tent during Download 2010. The biggest crowd reaction was for Forever Young. It’s from the debut album and is one of those songs that you didn’t know you knew! 

Six years later they were in North Wales for Hard Rock Hell AOR. It was the same weekend that Hammerfest and AOR were held in union. Quite handy when I had my wife in tow so we didn’t have to suffer Cradle of Filth. It was the silver anniversary of the first album so they played it in full, just backwards, much like Metallica did on the European Black Album tour in 2012. As Danny Vaughn said, everyone would leave after the first song which is Forever Young. The same reason Metallica didn’t open with Enter Sandman? 

Right, I’m suffering with this stinking head cold and making too many mistakes here, I’ve had to write pretty much every other word twice as I just can’t type today. And I also have an Iron Maiden ticket for Saturday to try and sell. Who thought that would be so hard?

After 408 posts I appear to have come across a song that isn’t a standalone track on YouTube in some form. The link below should take you to the full album. Fast forward to about twenty two minutes if you’re interested. 

(* NOT delirium setting in. Honest) 

In The Name Of God

I really enjoy loading as much music as I can onto my phone and just pressing shuffle to see where the ride takes me. It’s a pretty rare occurrence that I’ll grab a CD or start an album in its digital form and just play it from track one, unless it’s a new release or I’m preparing for a gig or something. 

I’ve got a fair few songs on my iPhone and I’d like to think the majority of them are okay songs at the very least, but once in a while something embarrassing might pop up and I have to reach for the advance button, depending on the company at the time. 

Fortunately this track isn’t in that dirty little secret category. It also once in a while throws up something unexpected that you just have to think “wow, I’ve not heard that in ages“. 

I’ve had the the albums Edge of Damnation and Demon Preacher by Brighton’s Deathwish in one format or another in my collection for as long as I can remember, going right back to my school days easily. But that’s about all I know about this band. 

Their Motörhead tinged thrash metal had something a bit different to the other British bands doing the rounds at the time. From the bands this island had to offer Deathwish probably had a sound closest to the German Teutonic artists. 

They seem to be a complete enigma to many, even from those old enough to remember them. Unless someone is trying to gain some retroactive scene points, they very rarely get mentioned in conversations with the likes of UK stalwarts Acid Reign, Xentrix, Onslaught, Sabbat or Re-Animator. Their second album was released in 1988 and I’m not sure when they chucked the towel in, so I might have missed the Deathwish boat completely, but I can’t recall ever seeing them in Kerrang!, Metal Hammer (when both magazines were good) when I was reading them from probably 1988 onwards. 

I hope Mr Glasper managed to get a few words out of them for his UK thrash metal book, as I’d be intrigued to know more about the band from the band themselves. If they’d been from the States I surmise that they’d be much more of a household name than they are today. 

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. 

Screams In The Night


Due to the fact that besides a pair of Iron Maiden and Shinedown shows next weekend, gigs over the next two and a bit weeks are a bit patchy so rather than bore you to death with numerous Maiden tracks (which I wouldn’t mind) I’ll do some random tracks to keep the posts flowing. 

Having said that then the first track on the iPod after shuffle has been selected is Screams in the Night by American heavy metal band Hellion, identified by front woman Ann Bolyen’s unique love them or hate them vocals. How bizarre that I’ve got two different songs with the same title in three posts. 

This album (along with the Postcards from the Asylum EP) was another one doing the rounds at school in the late 80’s. I had the vinyl for a length of time but I don’t think I have it now. It was a time where I was listening to a lot of the female fronted acts at the time, Warlock, Vixen, Lita Ford, etc. With Hellion though I just couldn’t get into the odd vocal range. On reflection though and with thirty years of hindsight I don’t know why I didn’t get into a bit more considering I listened to an insanely massive amount of King Diamond at the time and later on Fear of God. 

Over the years I’ve revisited the band every once in a while and have grown to appreciate it more. The mention of Fear of God above is kind of prophetic as the late Dawn Crosby and Ann Boleyn have a very similar style and I never knew Ann replaced Dawn briefly in Detente circa 2008 for some European shows. 

Hellion had their issues with management and band members over the years and disappeared for large chunks of time. The newest material surfaced in the shape of the Karma’s a Bitch EP in 2014. 

Checking Setlist.fm I was surprised to see that one of the few listed UK dates happened to be a Shelley’s nightclub back in March of 1988. Shelley’s was a local venue to me which had quite an impressive list of bands through its doors, but a venue I never attended. Lee Aaron, GBH, Little Angels, Vow Wow and Godflesh are some of those who have graced the stage there. The last noted act to hit the venue was The Prodigy in 1991 when this area was quite a big deal in the early days of the rave and acid house explosion, apparently.  It closed down due to the unruly ravers behaviour and excessive drug use. And people say metal fans are trouble! 

I think I’ll revisit the full Hellion back catalogue next time I have some free time, but for now I’ll have to be content with the handful of tracks I have on my phone. 

Breathe

Well that’s pretty much my week off finished, and for the first time in a long time an actual run of eight days away without dipping into work for a day or three. Six gigs attended over four cities in two countries and twelve band viewed. I’ll be glad to get back to work for a rest!! 

I have a ticket for a show in Manchester tomorrow, but I also have other things to attend to after work that may stop me heading out. Tuesday is Ozzie’s first birthday and we’re off out to spoil him (for a change!). Realistically then my next gigs will be another pair of Iron Maiden shows when I see them back to back in Liverpool and Birmingham next weekend. 

Just incase I can take advantage of my £8 ticket for Monday, then you could find me in what I’m predicting will be a packed, hot and sweaty Star and Garter experiencing some hardcore beatdowns. 

Fire & Ice from Richmond, Virginia close their European tour with a pair of English shows. Tonight sees them gracing the stage in the Garage down in London Town before bringing the Euro jaunt to a climax in Manchester. 

I hadn’t heard anything from the band until I saw this show announced. In my mind, if I didn’t like what I heard via Spotify it’s worth snagging a ticket just to see Broken Teeth again. I’ve seen the Mancunian band four times in the last year and a half, and probably missed them many more times over the same time span. 

As a fan of Cro-Mags, Leeway and that more thrash metal orientated and groove laden hardcore I instantly liked what I was hearing. It’s a pretty mid paced affair, but there are none of the breakdowns that the king-fu Ken’s seem to use as an excuse for some random pit violence. 

Crowd killing, as it seems to be called, is the main thing that has put me off attending as many hardcore shows as I used to. Maybe I’m a wuss, but at 43 years of age I don’t need to be watching for feet, fists and bodies flying randomly into the crowd from all angles from cowardly kids who slip into the shadows if they push the wrong buttons on the wrong person.  

Breathe was originally featured on the Grim 7″ released in 2010. Digitally you can find it on the Collections release, which brings together their two 7″ singles and compilation tracks. 

Screams In The Night

As my week off dwindles down to its final hours I’m now begrudgingly thinking of setting my alarm clocks for 3:45am at some point tomorrow in preparation for Monday. I’ve got a choice of gigs for tonight but I think I’ll remain within the local vicinity. 

Originally I wanted to catch Sodom again with either a dash over to Ireland last night or in London tonight at the Incineration Festival. Travel and funds scuppered both of those options. 

Another possibility was a one day festival in Keighley, West Yorkshire. Manor Fest is headlined by Swedish heavy metal band Grand Magus who I’m not a fan of, but Memoriam are playing. It’ll be the first British show I’ve missed from Memoriam, but it’s an expensive day and 200 mile round trip essentially for 50 minutes of one band.   

I’ll probably be attending the NWoBHM extravaganza just up the road at Eleven this evening. Chariot headline the night over The Deep (who are formed by members of Deep Machine who were around in the early 80’s) and relative new boys Spoiler.   

I’ve had the chance to see Londoner’s Chariot on a few occasions, usually at the Hard Rock Hell events or their off shoots, but either they’ve played early or clashed with someone else. 

They formed as the New Wave of British Heavy Metal phenomenon was burning out in 1983. They released two albums back in the 80’s (The Warrior and Burning Ambition). I’ve heard their first two albums, then I discovered they issued a further three discs since 2006. 

During their hay day they shared the stage with Manowar in the UK and Exodus and Venom on bothsides of the channel. They were also an opening act at the 1987 edition of the Reading Festival – when it was still a good rock based event.   


Screams in the Night is the opening track from the bands second album Burning Ambition – also the name of the song on the flip side of Iron Maiden’s 1980 debut single Running Free. I think the remainder of the day will be taken up brushing up my Chariot knowledge via YouTube for those three newer albums, unless they are on Spotify, but I can’t see that being the case. 

Suffer The Children

I’m so glad I got one of the last 20 tickets for Napalm Death in Manchester last night. Even though I didn’t stop to see Barney and the boys, or Brujeria, the two bands I saw made it more than worthwhile. 

I bailed early so I could get a train to and from the city from my town to save on more short drives and extortionate parking fees. In hindsight though I’m glad I left when I did for a couple of reasons. 

The main reason is the venue. I’ve only seen four shows there and they’ve all been since October last year. Considering I try and get to Manchester on train as much as I can the Rebellion Club is that little bit too far out to walk back to the station without missing a healthy chunk of the headliners set. 

The three shows prior to last night have been nowhere near to its noted 400 capacity so they were relatively comfortable. Last nights sold out show was beyond comfortable. The assembled throng of metallers were packed in tight for the first two bands. I’d hate to think what it was like come 10pm when Napalm Death had a full head of steam. 

The layout of the place doesn’t help either. The interior is shaped like an offset T with the stage along the horizontal. Looking towards the stage from the vertical your view is obstructed the further you go back so everyone crams in to the front portion. That area also incorporates the entrance and access to the smoking area on one side and the bar and toilets opposite. All the footfall has to traverse that space. It’s definitely not pleasant and almost claustrophobic. 

The local promoter used to use Sound Control, a better laid out venue and half the distance from the station. For some reason shows of this stature have relocated to here. More consideration will have to be given in the future to which shows I attend if there is another option to Rebellion.

Anyway, rant over, on to the show. Lock Up were superb again, and much better than I was honestly expecting. 

Power Trip graced a Manchester stage for the first time in four years and they were on another level last night. They relished their time on the compact stage and seemed much more at home. They had a superb crowd in front of them and there was no barrier so we had a few stage divers, but less than I’d anticipated. For a band influenced by the thrash scene it was weird to see so many metal elitists and purists vacating the room for forty minutes. Too many people paying attention to musical tags. 

As I didn’t get around to posting about the Birmingham grindcore pioneers here’s Suffer the Children from their third album Harmony Corruption. It was the first time they’d recorded outside of England when they entered the famous Morrisound Studios in Tampa with producer Scott Burns. The album vered towards a death metal sound and had a more polished finish, and the Tampa connection was a foothold for the band over in the States.