Hangin’ On The Telephone

Well that’s my first day back at work done since my return from deepest darkest Wales. It was a mixed weekend with some ups and downs. The festival itself was a bit hit and miss and the multiple sets of roadworks on the outbound and return journeys in a short stretch on the A55 were extremely irritating. On the plus side though we had decent weather, sun in the UK in mid March and a trip to the beach with the puppy. 

I’ve got a few real life things to plough through, then Friday starts a busy four days of gigs and travelling. Friday evening should see me attending the first date of Acid Reign’s six date UK tour. Early on Saturday sees us travelling up to Glasgow for the Lords of the Land Festival, where Acid Reign play their second date, but only a brief thirty minute set, hence seeing them in Manchester the evening before for the full on thrash assault. 

Sunday involves killing time in Scotland before a late afternoon train back to the Potteries. Back to work on Monday before heading down to Birmingham to catch the Havok tour. 

Originally I was anticipating seeing Havok in Manchester on Sunday, but due to engineering works we’ve had to opt for a later train as it prevents us sitting on a coach for three hours and a journey home in excess of five hours. I should be stepping through the front door on Sunday at pretty much the same time as Havok wind up their set. 

Yes, it’s going to be a busy four days with roughly 650 miles traversed, possibly fifteen bands viewed and half a dozen new pieces of merchandise procured. I honestly wouldn’t want to meet myself at 5am on Tuesday morning! But it should be worth it in the long run. After that there’s nothing set in stone for more than a week and Easter will be upon us. 

Let’s kick off this little run of posts with the band I’ll see twice over the weekend, Acid Reign. I’ve already posted the only real promotional video I can find, so here’s the audio for Hangin’ on the Telephone released as a single in December 1989 which explains the wrapping paper style cover above. Maybe they were hoping to snag that all impressive Christmas number one single? I helped to get it unsuccessfully to the top spot and I still have it tucked away upstairs, waiting for it to become an expensive collectors item. 

Originally it was recorded by short lived Los Angeles bands The Nerves in 1976. But it’s the Blondie version from two years later that most people will know it from. It’s had quite a few homages paid to it in its lifetime by band’s like Def Leppard, L7 and Roxette, but the Acid Reign interpretation of the song is omitted from the Wikipedia write up of the track. 


Ghost Busters

  

If you can’t beat them you might as well join them!!

As predicted, national and local radio got into the “spirit” of Hallowe’en by playing spectacularly spooky songs at regular intervals. I’m pretty sure the combination of radio stations I listen to in my van have to share the same disc as it only appeared to be 1962’s Monster Mash by Bobby Pickett – a song once banned by the BBC for over a decade during the 60’s for being too morbid, Michael Jackson’s Thriller or Ghostbusters by the one hit wonder Ray Parker Jr. 

Released in 1984 as the theme tune for the first film of the Ghostbusters franchise, it peaked at number two for three weeks in September of that year on the UK singles Top 40 chart, kept off the summit by I Just Called to Say I Love You. 

It’s  been covered by numerous artists over the years, but the glaring omission from the songs Wikipedia entry is from Preston thrashers Xentrix. Even though I’ve possessed a copy of the original song at some point in time – I don’t think I have now though – this cover is the only version I own and play on any kind of regular basis. 

  

Originally released in 1990 the single gained some notoriety thanks to the  above original art work that had to be withdrawn due to copyright infringement. The song featured prominently in the bands live set in one way or another up until the end of 2014. During their last run with Acid Reign last year the song was omitted, despite numerous chants from the crowds. 

Talking of Xentrix, when they played last year they asked people to stay behind in the venue for a few minutes to hear a track from their newly recorded album. That was October 2015, since then and with zero explanation, the album hasn’t surfaced and the band seem to have disappeared off the face of the planet. Maybe one day we’ll get to hear album number five. The track I heard in Manchester sounded great, as did the songs thrown into their set,  so it’d be a shame that it never saw the light of day, even posthumously via some cried funding scheme if that’s the case. 

In The Army Now

  

On the same day that I brought Welcome to the Pleasuredome with my paper round money I also brought a copy of In the Army Now by British institution and three chord wonders Status Quo. 

That was in the autumn of 1986, and in the three decades since it has been the only Quo album I have physically owned. With the popularity and relative ease of downloads I’ve picked up odd tracks here and there that I have liked, the majority of them have all been prior to this release. 

This piece of vinyl has been long lost. Once I got into that heavy metal malarkey I ended up lending it to some one and I have never seen it since. No great loss, but it’s a piece of my history that I now don’t have (cue dramatic music). 

This was their first album released after the success that was Live Aid the year before. It is their seventeenth studio release, but I can’t recall another single track from the album – even after I’ve googled the track listing. Maybe it’s something I need to go back and listen to? 

I never knew until fairly recently it was a cover of a Bolland & Bolland song who were apparently a Dutch duo originally from Port Elizabeth in South Africa who’d released the track four years earlier. I’ve never heard that original version – and don’t  really have any desire to listen to it. Talking of cover versions I enjoy the Laibach version that can be found on their NATO release. Sabaton also covered it for their 2012 album Carolus Rex release, but I’ve not heard that either. 

I Want You (She’s So Heavy) 

   

Time to dig out some Coroner and give them a blast before Autopsy arrives on Friday – but more about that on Monday!

Formed in Zürich back in 1983 the Swiss trio eventually found the stable lineup of Ron Royce, Tommy Vetterli and Marquis Marky in 1985 and released their debut album R.I.P. two years later. This was a very thrash metal orientated release and the band were embraced by the predominantly German Teutonic thrash scene. 

By the time third album No More Color surfaced they were a much more avant-garde thrash outfit with the introduction of some progressive metal and even bits of jazz fusion elements incorporated. 

Coroner fit the thrash metal template (seen on this blog previously) to a tee.

  • Formed in the 80’s – check. 
  • Were popular in the 80/90’s – check. 
  • Played in the UK in the 80/90’s – check. 
  • Split up at some point – check. 
  • Reformed in recent years – check. 
  • Played the Bloodstock festival – check.  

Their eight song set at Bloodstock 2011 was the first time they’d performed in the UK since 1993 and unfortunately they’ve not been back in the five years since. At least I got to see them once, but with so many decent indoor festivals popping up over here now hopefully they’re under consideration somewhere along the line. 

I think I first heard the band on the original Doomsday News album from 1988. There was a point where I was heavily into the bands on Germany’s Noise International  Records. When you have bands including Kreator, Helloween, Sabbat, Celtic Frost and Mordred on the rosta how could any metal head not own a Noise release?

Die By My Hand taken from the glorious No More Color album remains my favourite song of theirs from my favourite album by them – even though they didn’t play it a Bloodstock which, if I don’t see them again, I will eternally remain disappointed about. I see a European trek for a slice of Coroner in the near future. 

They don’t have too many videos to chose from, but this pretty unrecognisable version of The Beatles 1969 track I Want You (She’s So Heavy) can be found on their fourth album, and the extremely technical release Mental Vortex. It also featured on a 1993 Tribute to The Beatles album where they rubbed shoulders with artists like Leo Sayer, Nina Simone, Carpenters and Elton John. In the metal world Ministry, Soundgarden and Type O Negative have all covered this track.  

Opus Dei (Life Is Life)

Oh the joys of making decisions between multiple shows and seemingly picking the wrong one!

Yesterday I passed up the chance to finally break my live Laibach duck in London for a chance to see Michigan based death metal / grind core band Repulsion, also for the first time. They were due to play in Manchester, unfortunately the pair of UK Repulsion dates were scrapped, for whatever reason that hasn’t been disclosed yet, a few weeks ago which meant train prices were too high to justify a trip to the capital. One day I’ll see Laibach.

Last year they played a few dates around Easter and Manchester was one of them. Last Easter I was already committed to a death metal double header by seeing Dutch bands Thanatos and Asphyx in London.

Laibach haven’t played the UK much in the later stages of their career and as with most bands, the majority of those dates have been in or around London.

Listening to Laibach goes right back to the (very) late 80’s and early 90’s and my tape trading days. A couple of the guys I traded with used to send random stuff and one day I got a copy of the bands album Let It Be – basically the Yugoslavian bands take on The Beatles album of the same name. A few trades later I received the Sympathy For The Devil EP – seven versions of the Rolling Stones track. The bands Opus Dei release was on the flip side of the TDK D-90 cassette, which was almost my first foray into an original Laibach album.

I probably didn’t listen to much more by the band for quite some time until I dropped on Jesus Christ Superstar and NATO in the mid 1990’s. The bands industrial styled marching music can be hard going at times and the mood has to take me before I binge on the band. Not exactly the most upbeat music I have in my library.

Formed way back in 1980 behind the Iron Curtain in the town of Trbovlje, in what is now Slovenia. Their name is derived from the German name of their countries capital city Ljubljana when they were occupied by the Germans during World War II. Over the years they have courted much controversy in their native land and in parts of Europe. They have been accused of politically being far right AND left, neo nationalists and even fascists. A lot of this is down to their totalitarian imagery and use of military style uniforms and hardly ever being out of character. Rammstein have acknowledged them as an influence on their own music and aesthetics. In 2004 Rammstein even had a Laibach remix of the track Ohne Dich included on the single of the same name.

In August of 2015 the band became the first western band to play in Pyongyang, North Korea, when they performed two shows there, to commemorate 70 years since Japanese colonial rule ended in Korea. Apparently a documentary was made with the band during their visit, that could be an interesting watch when it surfaces.

This track is a subversive reworking of the song Live is Life by Austrian pop rock band and one hit wonders Opus, performed in Laibach’s familiar trade mark martial style.

 

Kids In America

With their tongues firmly in their cheeks, Nottinghamshire thrashers Lawnmower Deth will be bringing proceedings on the Hammerfest stage to an end until 2017.

I had Qualcast Mutilator and his cohorts debut release, a split album shared with Metal Duck, dubbed onto an audio tape when I was still in high school. A friend at school did if for me and if I recall correctly he brought the album when Metal Duck played locally.

The kings of mower core called it a day in 1993 after three and a half albums. Surprisingly they were announced as guests for Welsh metal band Bullet For My Valentine when they played in London’s Alexander Palace in 2008.

I’ve seen them a few times since their reformation, mainly at festivals, and I caught their now regular Christmas shindig in Nottingham back in 2013 when they shared the stage with Xentrix and Re-Animator, who played their first gig for pretty much a quarter of a century.

The last time I saw them was at last years Bloodstock festival. Their set was great fun, in a typically British pantomime kind of way, even though I got smacked in the back of the head by a giant green beach ball at one point. Besides the initial embarrassment of nearly losing my cap in from of a couple of giggling teens it was a fun filled hour. I must admit I cracked a wry smile when karma struck and one of the duo also received a beach ball to the face and they soon departed the tent.

They’ll be the perfect band to bring the curtain down on proceeding in front of the drunken hordes in north Wales.

This take of Kim Wilde’s 1981 hit Kids in America was also the only single to be released by the band.

Temptation

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Headlining the Hammerfest Arena on the Friday evening are Cradle Of Filth – the Suffolk black metal band was recently voted the as the counties greatest icon.  Very embarrassing for the publication that ran the poll!

I’m not a Filth fan, I used to like them when I was dabbling with black metal shortly  after I left school and I wrote to frontman Dani a few times and purchased the bands first two demo tapes directly from him (Orgiastic Pleasures Foul and T.F.D. in 1992 and 1993 respectively). You could always recognize his packet in a pile of mail as it was always drenched in patchouli oil. By the time their debut album The Principle of Evil Made Flesh I was disillusioned with the black metal genre and never really looked back.

In the intervening years I’ve actually attended four of their shows, but always down to other bands that they had playing with them on the day. Their  Nottingham Rock City gig in 2001 they had Medulla Nocte opening up for them.  They were part of  the rearranged Tattoo the Planet tour which Slayer headlined again in 2001. The early Christmas present in 2006 was seeing a reformed Sabbat opening up in Manchester, and the last time I saw them was as co-headliner with Behemoth in 2014.  On the drive down to London we had our fingers crossed in the car that Cradle would headline so we could head back north that little bit earlier, sadly not.

They are on stage at the same time as Joe Lynn Turner ploughs through his Rainbow, Yngwie Malmsteen and Deep Purple back catalogue, so I don’t think Friday will mark my fifth viewing.

This version of Heaven 17’s Temptation is taken from the bands Thornography release, with female vocals performed by short live London singer Dirty Harry .