Media’s Portrayal


It’s been a whole 120 hours since my last gig and it’s looking like another 48 hours until my next visual and aural experience. 

I’m in two minds though about heading off on the train to Liverpool on Thursday to catch the first show of the Six Brew Bantha UK tour. I’ve got some grown up stuff to do before I can consider riding the rails, but the journey is only forty minutes or so and it’ll only cost me £3 to gain entry, so even if I don’t see the main event I’ll still get to see three other bands. 

Six Brew Bantha are a three piece Grindcore band from the Canadian city of Victoria. I’ve never seen the band live, last time they graced these shores was 2014, and I’m not exactly listening to the band on heavy rotation on a daily basis, but how can you not be interested in seeing a band with the coolest name you’ll see today and the extra added bonus of a fifteen minute blast of some Horsebastard tunes?

The nine shows over here culminate with an appearance a Chimpy Fest in London Town on August 13th. As I’m getting more into the whole grind and fastcore thing in recent months I’d really have liked to have been in T. Chances over that weekend, but it’s a choice between Chimpy or Bloodstock. Even though Bloodstock has a pitiful line up for me this year they still have Kreator gracing their stage and I can’t  pass up another Teutonic Thrash masterclass. 

The 36 second Media’s Portrayal is taken from the self released and self titled “full length” album from 2012, seventeen tracks in under 25 minutes. You can check out their output via their Bandcamp page.


Leicester could be another option. 

Nuclear Demolisher

It’s 7am on Sunday morning in the UK and it’s still, just about, Canada Day for a little longer over in British Columbia, so after yesterday’s old Canadian band, here’s something newer for you aural pleasure. When does a band stop being new? Chase Thibodeau has fronted the band since 2003, so hardly a new band. 

Hailing from Kelowana, coincidentally in British Columbia, Terrifier released their sophomore album Weapons of Thrash Destruction earlier in the year, and this post could also serve as a reminder that I need to grab myself a copy of this latest slab of thrash metal. 

This band have confused me more than just about any other band ever has. After a mooch online, probably early on a Sunday morning, I came across an album entitled Destroyers of the Faith by Canadian band Skull Hammer. I gave it a background listen and thought it was pretty decent. Spin on a little while and I come across Terrifier via Facebook and think they looked interesting from the logo alone, and got hold of their debut album, also called Destroyers of the Faith. I never made the connection until sometime later when I was on an iTunes library clean up and noticed all the similarities. I wasn’t aware that they’d changed moniker and re-released the album.  

Whether it’s me not paying enough attention but the thrash scene in Canada seems pretty quirky. Some of its bands that have gained a following outside of the countries borders, Voi-Vod, Annihilator, Sacrifice, Razor, etc, are highly renowned. But unlike some scenes there doesn’t seem to be the slew of bands gaining international recognition. If you can have a trawl around online there are some cracking bands worth listening to. 

A band like Edmonton’s Mortillery or Untimely Demise from Saskatoon, are examples of two acts I’ve heard and managed to see on stage, but until I’ve bored someone to death about them, no one else I know has been aware of them. Some of the death metal bands from the ten provinces are pretty well known worldwide, then there’s the juggernaut of Nickelback flying the radio friendly rock flag. But looking at thrash metal in recent years I’m struggling to think of what you could call a household name. No doubt I’ll have something pop into my head hours after this has gone public and look like a right ill informed wally. 

Nuclear Demolisher is taken from this years release and once I find somewhere selling it with reasonable shipping costs to the UK I’ll be adding a physical copy to the vault, and maybe another shirt for the washing pile! I really do need to implement my online documentation of the few dozen shirts I own…

Exit The Giants

Happy Canada Day to my brethren from the great white north. 

I’ve visited the country quite a few times in the last thirteen years or so and really enjoyed every city I’ve been in. The first time the wife and I were there we visited the eastern side during the autumn. Driving through the countryside of Maine and eventually up to Quebec City and seeing all the different colours of the fall foliage was something to cherish. 

Toronto quickly became one of my favourite cities to visit. We had the briefest of lay overs in Montreal and Ottawa before our first experience of Toronto. We’ve been back four or five times since and I got to see my first and only baseball game in the Skydome. I’ve also been lucky enough to catch the Maple Leafs and Metallica several times and Iron Maiden last year all in the Air Canada Centre. 

The scenery we encountered to the west was absolutely breathtaking – even if I was hampered with a broken elbow at the time which I knew nothing about apart for bouts of searing pain. A chilly and damp day was soon brightened up with a visit to the stunning chateaux on the shore of Lake Louise. I think Vancouver and Calgary deserve a return visit and maybe stretch to Edmonton? 

When we booked the Vancouver jaunt our original plan was to traverse the Rockies by train, but the extra cost put us off that and we opted for a short flight. I’d still like to experience that journey so I hope it’s something I don’t regret in time. 

To celebrate Canada Day, eh, here’s a band I haven’t listened to in an age. When I was thinking of bands to include today it was the same old faithful Canuck acts that kept popping into my head (Annihilator, Razor, Mortillery, Cancer Bats – basically those I’ve featured before). Then I remembered about DBC. 

Dead Brain Cells formed in Montreal in the mid 1980’s and released a pair of albums before the end of that decade before disbanding. Original guitarist Gerry Ouellette passed away less than four years after the split. According to The Metal Archives site the band have been back together since 2005, but no new music appears to have surfaced and no shows logged since that year either. 

A long time ago I had both albums on vinyl, but I ever really gave them the time of day back then. I’m pretty sure I have them both, and maybe the unreleased EP recorded in 1990 that surfaced in 2002, digitally. I’d like to track them down on CD but I fear the original Combat releases will be out of my price league. I do think I saw something of a reissue a few years ago, so Sunday morning could involve a trawl on eBay or Discogs. 

Shapeshifter

  

Yesterday should have been my last day at work for eight days and during the upcoming week I had a plethora of gigs to pick from and an abundance of time. But as what seems to be the norm lately at work due to resignations, holidays, sickness and injury I’m now working three of my eight days. C’est la vie! 

One band I was hoping to catch was yet another from the proud nation of Canada. When the Suicidal Angels tour was announced I was pleased to see at least one UK date on there and Crisix and Mortillery supporting. I was less than pleased to see Mortillery were only doing the last portion of the trek. 

Checking my iPhone calendar it was good to see I’m actually off work for the final seven shows and I’d be able to make one of them. How wrong could I have been? Leipzig in Germany was an option but we already had tickets for the Battle of the Bays tour in Birmingham. The most straight forward trip was Berlin but with that being on Sunday I’d needed Monday off – please see the above regarding holidays, illness and resignations! 

I would have been quite partial to a flying visit to Warsaw, Kraków, Prague, Vienna or Zurich, but in an ideal world I needed to have been there and back inside of 24 hours and from an airport close to home – I have five to choose from. Yet again no such luck. Early morning flights leaving at the crack of dawn from airports with a three hour drive were a no go. From the few that went from central England there was no return flight the next day. I looked at different airport combinations or flying to a near by city and jump on a train. Nothing worked in. I think my hand was dealt and I wasn’t off to Europe to catch these Canadians for a second time. 

I got to see the band opening up for Sepultura in Munich back in 2014 – a gig that has been mentioned on numerous occasions throughout this blog. In a nutshell I was mainly there for Flotsam & Jetsam who I’d never seen at that point (I’ve since seen them a further four times). Mortillery were second on after Exarsis and really left a mark. Absolutely stunning stuff in such a short slot. I snagged my tour shirt and in the intervening time I’ve never noticed anyone wearing their shirt inside a UK venue. 

As a shirt hoarder I’m even more frustrated that I won’t be adding their latest shirt to my ever expanding “collection”. I’ll have to keep an eye out for any tour left overs in a few weeks time. 
  

Maybe they’ll reach these shores next time? Failing that their next sojourn into Europe are more accommodating to my often inflexible work schedule. In the meantime here’s nearly six minutes from their latest album Shapeshifter – another gem in the Napalm Records catalogue.  

  

Lullaby

  

I’m on a train home from Manchester after attending the Anvil show where I didn’t even stop to catch a single note from Anvil! German thrashers Rezet with their 40 minute set were more than worthy enough for two hours on a train and the entry fee. 

Tomorrow I’m taking a trip to Liverpool’s Echo Arena with my wife to revel in what could have been a second consecutive evening of Canadian music. We’re off to see Nickelback put on one of the most competent arena shows that you will have the privilege to witness.  By this time tomorrow the curtain will have fallen on my fifth live Nickelback experience and I’m in no doubt that I’ll be on my way home in a happy frame of mind. 

You might have gathered from this blog that has been going for nearly I year now I prefer my music fast and loud – which is a crying shame for those not inducted into the way of Nickelback. It’s amazing how many people dislike the group with a passion – many verging on pure hatred –  but usually they’ve only heard two songs which happen to be their biggest. But delve deeper into some of the album tracks and boy can they knock out some spectacularly heavy stuff. 

They can pretty much write anything from either end of the spectrum. You have some bands who just seem to churn out ballad after power ballad, but have nothing extra to offer. When you could play a teary track like Lullaby, head straight into the short sharp punk blast of Flat On The Floor and seamlessly flow into a cover of Metallica’s Master of Puppets and round it all off with the song everyone loves to hate, Rockstar, where the band don’t even have to sing it as the majority of the fifteen thousand crowd in attendance will inevitably sing it word perfectly, then you know you are doing something right. 

They’re very much aware of the jokes that they are the butt of, but they take it all in their stride and often play upon it during their concerts. What’s the point of getting upset over it when you’ve sold over fifty million albums all around the globe and you can play arenas worldwide? Someone must like your music, otherwise there’s a warehouse somewhere near Vancouver with forty-nine  million compact discs stored inside. 

  

Lullaby is taken from the bands seventh release Here And Now. The album cover features a photograph of the steam clock located in the Gastown area of Vancouver. When we were there a fair few years ago now we must have taken (well I rather than we) dozens of photos of that clock. In the UK this track wasn’t released as a single and the video used on music channels over here was different to this heart wrenching version. This version has only been streamed a measly 61 million times on YouTube. 

Bad For Good

  

Its looking like the main support act for the majority of the Suicidal Angel’s tour are Toronto metallers Skull Fist and the band from the four perfirming on Sunday that I have no knowledge of. 

I’m a bit fussy when it comes to the power metal and speed metal genres – I much prefer heads down and balls out thrash. 

As I’m seeing them in two days I though I’d better give them ago to see if I’ve missed out on a hidden gem. Pressing play on the first track I came across on YouTube  (Bad For Good) I thought the track had been labelled up wrong with its almost Bon Jovi esque drum crashing intro. Musically it straddles the early heavy metal sound, and the NWOBHM era in particular, but almost bleeds into the heavier end of the hair metal scene of the 80’s. The vocals remind me of someone but I just can’t think who, and the cowboy boots nearly shove it into the hair metal arena. 

Viewing a few more videos they definitely  do have a heavier edge to their sound than the first one I viewed. The falsetto vocals are going to drive a wedge between those that like and dislike, but these Canuks certainly can play their instruments. In a time when retro sounds are all the rage a few of these songs wouldn’t sound out of place on a 7″ piece of  black vinyl with a logo from Neat, Heavy Metal Records or Rave-On emblazoned on the cover, but with a much more polished and precise sound.  

Tomorrow I’ll see if I have time to procure their two albums and give them a proper listen. Failing that I will approach their set with mild trepidation and an open mind. If nothing else musically shines through for me it looks like it should be a lot of fun in the Underworld. 

Re-Animation

I’m back!!!

I can’t believe it’s been a month since I last posted here – and things with the blog we’re going so well!! There’s been no real reason for my absence, if anything due to a lack of gigs over the last thirty days I should have been more prolific on here.

I dodged a bullet by not attending the Download Festival earlier in the month. I was only interested in the Sunday for Iron Maiden, I’m gutted I missed them but relieved I didn’t spend six hours getting there – when it’s only an hours drive from home – then trudging through liquified mud for a day.

The following weekend was spent over in France with nine friends attending Hellfest in Clisson. Hands down this was the best festival I’ve ever attended on so many levels. It was three long days, 11am till 2am of wall to wall music over six stages. There was rain, but the actual site coped with the downpours much better than Drownload did the weekend previous. Over three days I caught the majority of sets by 41 bands. My feet weren’t happy though.

 

Due to festivals gigs for the rest of this month are a few and far between. Unless I find something beforehand my next gig is probably another continental visit to Holland for the Dynamo Metal Festival in Eindhoven, sandwiched in between some down time in Amsterdam for my wife’s birthday.

As today is Canada Day and I appear to have an soft spot for the world’s second largest country here’s a video from a Canadian band. Another track by Nickelback or Annihilator were on the short list. Progressive rockers Rush or Canada’s best kept secret The Tragically Hip were also under consideration. In the end I though I’d go for something a bit more noisy.

Taken from the 1987 album Forward To Termination I give you Sacrifice from Toronto. I’ve never seen the band live, and I feel I am unlikely to see them any time soon.  Forming in 1983 they split a decade later. As with so many bands of that era they reformed in 2006. In that time they have only played Europe once as far as I am aware when they were part of Germany’s Keep It True Festival XIV in 2011. Fingers crossed that the Netherlands Deathfest can drag them across the Atlantic (from sea to sea) next March.