Tears Of Tragedy

  

I’m just watching this video out of curiosity more than anything at the moment. With a slice of luck I’m hoping to see this band tomorrow evening when they warm up the crowd for Annihilator in Manchester, but I have a few things to do after work that could impact on my attendance to the show. 

Until Mason were announced as tour support for the Ottawa thrashers I wasn’t aware of the band, let alone heard anything by them. Due to sheer laziness, or incompetence, I’ve left it with less than 24 hours before they hit the stage to even listen to them. 

The Annihilator tour is the second leg in Europe covering mainly cities that they omitted last year. Twelve months ago I caught the tour in Birmingham with fellow Australian thrashers Harlott and much like Mason I’d never heard anything by them until they were announced. This year Manchester is one of a trio of English shows, with only London being a repeat city. 

Besides knowing that Mason are a thrash band from Melbourne I knew nothing else about them without doing some research. They released their debut album Warhead in 2013 and a pair of EP’s either side of that. In March 2015 they split up, but soon regrouped two months later. 

Tears Of Tragedy will be featured on the bands sophomore album Impervious that will be released sometime in 2017, and judging by this four minute rip snorter it will be worth getting hold of it. 

Australia seems to be unleashing some cracking thrash metal bands upon the world lately who are finally coming out from the shadows of Mortal Sin. It’s also nice to see some of the bands reaching the European landmass. Harlott were out last year with Annihilator, Desecrator are currently ripping up stages in Europe with Venom, Inc then straight onto the Overkill tour (it’s just a shame they’ve not reached British shores) and obviously King Parrot opening up the Battle of the Bays shindig. The one I’m now waiting for to get a chance to traverse The continent is In Malice’s Wake, if you like the modern sound of Testament then you’ll lap up that lot. 


  
 

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Like A Rat

  

On Tuesday the Battle of the Bays tour rolls onto British soil to demolish five venues before they head back into Europe. For those of you not in the know Australian’s King Parrot will be opening up this four band bill ahead of Prong, Exodus and Obituary. Easily one of the most eagerly anticipated packages seen over here this year. 

King Parrot will be a new revelation to me. They’ve been recommended to me by friends and as I’m catching the tour twice on Friday and Saturday I’ll most definitely see them at least once. 

Formed in Melbourne half a dozen years ago, and played about as many shows over here,  I should have seen these guys on the Soulfly tour earlier this year but it clashed with a Discharge gig, and I’m actually a bit loathe to waste my time and money with Max Cavalera when he never projects any interest in being on the stage the last few times I’ve seen him. 

Described as a “mixture of thrash metal, grindcore, sludge metal and early hardcore punk” and as “an intense live act” I’m quite looking forward to being within an academy venue shortly after the doors have opened. 

The Like A Rat video features a cameo by Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo, who owns Housecore Records who handled the release of the bands Dead Set album in the United States. 

  

I Am Immortal

  
Carrying on with the international thrash feast today we’re gonna fly down to Sydney to enjoy a bit of sun to give us some respite from Britain’s dreary grey and wet winter. Say “G’Day” to defunct Antipodean thrashers Mortal Sin. 

There’s nothing scientific with this statement, but they’re probably the country’s best and most popular thrash metal band. They’ve shared the stage with Metallica, Anthrax, Kreator and Overkill amongst others on home soil. Undertaken numerous tours in mainland Europe over the years and played the huge Wacken festival and even had legendary metal producer Randy Burns behind the desk for the bands second release Face of Despair. 

Not long after they released the superb Psychology of Death album in 2011 and participated in the Thrash Fest Classics tour they imploded as a band and called it quits for a fourth and final time. 

Mortal Sin are a band I’ve liked since I read about them in Metal Forces magazine and brought the aforementioned Face of Despair album on cassette tape! They’ve only played a handful of UK dates and as far as I’m aware they were back in 1990 supporting an up and coming Faith No More, and a London show with Xentrix. 

Luckily though I had the chance to see the band live at the Markethalle in Hamburg during the Thrash Fest jaunt. If the mountain isn’t coming to me then I’ll go to the mountain!

In 2010 I ventured to Berlin for the first instalment (Kreator, Exodus, Death Angel and Suicidal Angels) and had a blast. When the following years edition was being assembled and announced a 90 minute flight to Germany was a no brainier. Exodus again, Destruction and Heathen were all good enough, then there was addition of headliners Sepulture and all with the stipulation of all the bands playing only songs from their early and classic back catalogue. The final band confirmed were the openers Mortal Sin. I had to go. 
  

Leaving a snowy, cold Birmingham airport behind me I arrived in a cold but rather sunny Hamburg. I undertook a bit of the touristy thing, visited the cities Hard Rock Cafe and had a stroll through the St. Pauli area where the infamous Reeperbahn is situated. Then back to the hotel for the early start of the gig. 

The Markethalle is in spitting distance of my hotel and the train station, so it didn’t take long to stroll there. I was outside before doors opened, mingling with fellow German thrashers. Once inside I loaded up on a bit of merch and took my place inside the fabulous venue ready for the Sinners. A short six song set (and the only band to stray from the classics brief) to a relatively sparse crowd, but it was well worth the anticipation and trouble. Heathen, Destruction and Exodus who followed were all superb. It was getting late by the time Sepultura emerged and I was going to call it a night after a few songs, but their Arise heavy set blew the roof off the venue and I was there to the bitter end.  

  

I’m thinking this live recording of I Am Immortal is taken from the bands Face of Mayhem – Live VHS video (VHS and cassette tapes mentioned in the same post!). I have it upstairs, gathering dust and unable to play it, I need to look into a DVD version (if it exists) or a conversion some time. 

 

Systematic Reduction


Harlott hail from Melbourne, Australia, and have released one of the best unadulterated, pure thrash metal releases of the year with Proliferation. Proper heads down, fast metal. No ballads, no over long solo’s, no death metal screams and grunts.  Thrash metal how it used to be played at it’s height. Comparisons can be made to modern era Slayer with a nod to recent Exodus, but these lights will fade sooner rather than later and some bands will need to carry the torch, and Harlott are doing a mighty fine job with their sophomore effort.

Seen on stages over on this continent when they opened up for Canadian heavyweights Annihilator on their mammoth five week European tour earlier in the year. It was good seeing an opening band have a proper 45 minute set rather than a brief 20 minutes and off they go, and it made it really worth while getting to Birmingham early to see them.

Australian thrash metal is now more than just Hobb’s Angel of Death and Mortal Sin.  There appears to be a cracking scene developing Down Under with some of the most exciting bands I’ve heard for a long time.  Check out fellow Melbourne band In Malice’s Wake some time! Actually, thrash metal is alive and kicking worldwide, so a new school thrash metal thread is most definitely on the cards with this blog next year.

 

Heatseeker

Morning, I’m now on a break from work for the next four days – I should have been off for ten days in all, but work called… and I’m that generous!

 

First song thrown up on the iPod this morning was AC/DC’s highest charting UK single hitting number 12 in 1988.  This was the case for a quarter of a century until Highway to Hell reached fourth spot in December 2013.  The success of Highway to Hell was another internet campaign to keep Simon Cowell’s X Factor offering for the year off the coveted Christmas number 1 slot.  Over here that has been a pretty regular “call to arms” but I’m almost certain the only time that it has been totally successful is when Rage Against The Machine topped the carts in 2009 with Killing in the Name.  As a rock fan though you can’t complain with the Aussie veterans reaching number 4 though.

 

Heatseeker is the first single and lead off track from the bands 10th or 11th album Blow Up Your Video.  I say tenth or eleventh as it depends of if you count just international releases – making it 10 – or it’s number 11 going on domestic Australian releases (1975’s T.N.T. has never received a reissue on any other label than Albert Records).