Restored To Life

Earlier in the week we invested in a cheap garden bench to try and force ourselves to take a bit more pride in our tiny patch of grass. Rather than deciding to cut it once the dog was buried in foot long green blades, we’re hoping it’ll get us outside a bit more. This morning was my first al fresco breakfast (well cereal and a coffee) on the bench, but at 9:30am still not quite in the sun. At least Ozzie is having fun running around and yapping at random nothingness.

One thing I need to invest in is some kind of outdoor Bluetooth speaker to crank out some tunes early in the morning – mainly to annoy our house music loving neighbours who haven’t long called it quits and retired to their beds. On a day dominated with a media frenzy of a Royal wedding and an FA Cup final, I have zero interest in either, so I’ve had to find my own entertainment for this evening.

Tonight I’m off to see an old school death metal band in the shape of Sabiendas from the North Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany. They’re a new name to me and I unfortunately only showed an interest in the show due to Derbyshire’s Forgotten Remains being added to the bill, coincidentally another band I caught at Thrashersaurus a few weekends prior.

So far I’ve only had time to listen to their Column of Skulls album from 2015 and not had a chance to search out their debut album Restored to Life yet. Listening to this album I’m subconsciously thinking of a band sounding akin to Grave and a less technical version of Morbid Angel as I blast this out in the yard as the sun carry’s on creeping around, tonight should be a bargain night of death metal. And if I had something more substantial to listen to it on rather than the iPhones speakers it would annoy the neighbours without a doubt.

Prior to the German’s shows so far this weekend I’m not sure if they’ve ever graced UK shores previously. A quick look on SetlistFM only shows a handful of shows in Germany and the Netherlands, but I’d put my house on them playing many more shows during their dozen year existence.

With the addition of Forgotten Remains on a bill that has seemingly been fraught with line up changes, hopefully the Manchester death metal fraternity will show up in decent numbers. Eight quid on the door isn’t a lot to ask, considering many of us probably shelled much more than that yesterday for Slayer tickets.

Needless to say I haven’t seen the band live yet, but scouring the web for the tour posters I came across the running order for the Eindhoven Metal Meeting that I attended last December and they were the band on prior to Mortal Strike, the first band we were in the Effenar for, so I only just missed out on seeing them. If only we had one less IPA in the Drinkers Pub beforehand.

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Minority Erazer

Twenty four hours ago I wound up my gigs for the first month of 2018. My tally was a disappointing three shows (actually more so two and a half!), but should’ve and could’ve been more, but there were some excellent performances throughout January.

Kicking off the month with the ever excellent Kreator was a tough act to follow, but yesterday Texans Power Trip proved once again why they are one of the best bands around at this moment in time. They are an opening band on Trivium’s European tour so I can guarantee a few things at a couple of their UK dates.

1) I’ll be there

2) I’ll be heading home early!

From openers Insanity Alert to my final band of the night Terror, this years Persistence Tour was a blast. Unsurprisingly Manchester upstarts got the first pit maelstrom of the evening – no surprise there. I’d be interested to know how they went down with the European crowds compared to their home fans. I’m still slightly miffed I had to miss Hatebreed, but needs must, and Hatebreed and Kreator were announced for Download last week. Fingers crossed the two bands along with Body Count, L7 and Powerflo all appear on the same day to justify buying a day ticket.

Moving into February the shortest month could see me beating last months tally before Sunday’s page gets turned in the diary. Saturday I’m hoping to catch The Faceless in Manchester. Earlier in the day Red Eye Revival play the city as part of an all dayer. The night before Iron Maiden tribute band Hi-On Maiden play just up the road.

Kicking off the trio of shows for me is another trip to the capital to see Dr Living Dead lay waste to the Underworld on their debut and only British show on this tour. They are supported by Swiss thrashers Comaniac and Rezet from Germany. You can see where this blog is heading for the next few days!

The Schleswig quartet have been featured previously I n this blog back in October 2016 when they opened up for Canadians Anvil. This time though I won’t be hot footing it from the venue as soon as the band have played.

Fifteen months ago I arrived at the Rebellion Club a few minutes before they were scheduled to go on. They were the only band I wanted to see and nearly missed the start due to some drunken patrons trying to get in and holding the line up. I saw my 40 minutes or so of the Germans and snagged my self a shirt then made the mile long walk back to Piccadilly station and I was back home by 10:30pm.

I can see myself doing that more regularly in the coming months. So many shows have been announced with, in my eyes, far superior supports than the headliners. Thankfully most of the shows aren’t overly expensive so missing a portion isn’t too much of a travesty.

Yesterday was a prime example. I saw five of the seven bands. Nearly two and a half hours of music for £30, £6 per band. I’m never going to see any of those bands for six quid. It was also slightly longer than my slew of Metallica and Maiden shows last year and at a fraction of the price.

Minority Erazer was released as a digital single back in August last year, nearly a year and a half after their latest album Reality Is A Lie came out. This track is also the opening number on last years EP You Asked For It, which I hope to pick up on CD on Thursday. Maybe it’ll find a place on the next Rezet record?

I Can

I’ve been a Helloween fan for as long as I can remember, but I let the membership of that club slip from my grasp in the early 90’s around the time that Chameleon and Pink Bubbles Go Ape surfaced. That’s also the stretch of albums where Kai Hansen, Michael Kiske and Ingo Schwichtenberg all departed.

I might have given Master of the Rings a listen at some point – the first album with Andi Deris taking the frontman’s spotlight – but it wasn’t on a par with the pair of Keeper albums or Walls of Jericho. Over the course of the next two decades and ten albums I never really gave the “new” line up a chance. I dipped in to the back catalogue every once in a while but nothing grabbed my attention. I have even seen them live four times since 2008 too. Three of those at festivals and the other in London purely due to the fact that Rage were supporting in a rare UK visit.

Actually a Helloween visit to these shores is a rarity in itself. My four live experiences of the band have been part of only seven in the same time period. None of those seven have been outside of London unless it’s been a festival stage that they have graced.

Needless to say, I’ve never been excited about an upcoming album release in the last two decades and hardly been expectant of a tour announcement, but all that changed some months ago and now I’m sitting at home with the winter sun streaming through the window on Armistice Day plotting.

Hansen and Kiske are rejoining the rest of the current line up to participate in a world tour with under the Pumpkins United banner and I really want to go, even more so since the first shows in South America when the setlist hit the internet and it’s a collection on Germanic power metal songs to die for. So many songs I’ve grown up with in the past thirty years and ones I’d never thought I’d see live and especially with Kiske on vocals.

So onto the dilemma. The only British appearance is on Tuesday in London (obviously). I’ve pretty much ran out of holidays at work so if I was to make the spectacle I’d have to head down to the big smoke on the train after work and either be on a train home by 10pm to make it home before 1230am Wednesday, or I can suck it up, see the full set and get the last train 90 minutes later and roll into bed less than two and a half hours before my alarms go off for work. If I went for the first option I’d get a pretty decent set list (longer than some bands I’ve seen lately) and plenty of the early stuff I’m craving to see. Their Stuttgart show last night clocked in at just under three hours long!

There’s a third alternative, but a bit of a long shot if I’m being honest. Next week I’m off work, talk about bad timing, and the band take to the 013 stage in Tilburg on Monday evening. Eight days in advance and the flight prices aren’t overly expensive (especially considering what a train might cost me) and I’m sure I can grab a bed to sleep in relatively cheaply. Watch this space.

In a response to my renewed vigour for the German troupe I’ve put all the back catalogue in my iTunes library and listened to the missing albums with a much more open mind and there’s been some really great hidden gems popping up over the course of the last few weeks. Taken from 1998’s Better Than Raw, I Can is one of those gems. It’s time I go and do something useful for the day before it suddenly turns into Monday, but I’ll still be running the pros and cons in my mind until Tuesday morning easily.

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. 

Heavy Metal Month Listening Challenge 16/31


 
Day 16 – A song about the Devil.

Kreator – Satan is Real

Thirty one songs, thirty bands. You just knew Kreator were going to make an appearance at some point. 

They absolutely slayed the main stage at Bloodstock over the weekend, and for the life of me I don’t know why they weren’t one of the three headliners. 

Pleasure To Kill

This weekend marks my nineteenth visit to the Bloodstock festival, whether it’s at its inaugural Assembly Rooms home or located somewhere with in the confines of Catton Hall Park. Nineteen represents the total amount of festivals flying the Bloodstock banner, and I can say I’ve attended at least a day at every single one. There can’t be too many people who can claim that, as the first event was only fifteen hundred or so attendees.  

If anyone has read many of my 455 posts to date they might have seen Bloodstock mentioned on a pretty repetitive, and possibly boring, basis. I’ve seen about 280 different sets over those fifteen years, that’s more than double the amount of bands I’ve seen over thirteen Download Festivals.  

I’ve witnessed some stunning performances and I’ve also suffered some diabolical days, whether it be line ups, performances or weather. This weekend falls into the lower end of that equation. Over the two days I’m there I’m hoping to catch about sixteen bands if it all runs to plan. From those sixteen there is only one band I’ve never seen before. Nearly half of those bands I’ve also seen at the festival at some point too. If I took the main stage over the three days I’ve seen exactly half at Bloodstock already, and many of those multiple times. It’s fine if you go infrequently, but year after year with the same bands cropping up it makes you wonder why I keep going. 

More than a music event it’s a time to catch up with people you don’t necessarily see other than at the festival. The people I consider friends seem to be in many of the far flung corners of the UK and as we grow older, many have grown wiser and don’t necessarily go to as many gigs now they are used to. A few beers and much chat is higher on the agenda than most of the bands this year. 

The festival is only 44 miles from my house, so that’s one reason I go religiously. This year though I considered a trip to one of the two festivals in Belgium over the same weekend (Alcatraz and Ieper) or even the Brutal Assault event in the Czech Republic. I was even tempted with Chimpy Fest in London for an all out noise assault.  All because the line ups were offering me a better calibre of bands that I haven’t seen, or seen as much. Maybe next year? 

The one band that made my decision to go this year was a band I’ve seen more than twenty times, so sitting here writing that makes me sound like such a hypocrite after slating repeat performances, but the Teutonic thrashers Kreator are one of my top five bands and to see them again and again doesn’t get at all that stale to me. 

The thing that perplexes me most about their appearance this year is why aren’t they headlining? Over the six years since they last graced this stage they’ve headlined some of the biggest festivals throughout Europe and have a more than worthy stage show to go with their headline credentials. Without my rose tinted glasses on,  I personally feel they deserve it more than Amon Amarth and Ghost. Megadeth have the CV to close the weekend, but it’s something they did as recently as 2014. Maybe it’s not meant to be for them?

This video to Pleasure to Kill was released recently to coincide with the remastered versions of the bands first four offerings. As I’d already got them on CD I wasn’t too bothered about buying them for a second time (repeats again!!) but I listened to them on Spotify and just having a decent audio of the East Berlin show tempted me to part with my cash. 

To carry on with the repetitive theme, here’s Pleasure to Kill again for the second time since last October, but with a more imaginative and befitting video for the track.