One Foot In The Grave


When it’s my time to leave this mortal coil there are two things I want to happen on the day. When the funeral procession leaves wherever to my final destination I don’t want it to drive slowly and clog up all the roads. I’ve been stuck behind way too many funeral processions to know how frustrating it is for people still going about their daily work. 

Secondly I want to be slightly late! I used to pride myself on my punctuality for most things that weren’t work based. In the last couple of decades I seem to be late for anything and everything. Today is just another point in case. 

I’ve had more than six hours since I got up this morning to get ready and arrive at the station in time. So rather than being prepared I decide to hunt for a specific shirt (which I didn’t locate) within the hour window of having to be seven miles away. Then I manage to drop my cash card behind the radiator. Rather than falling straight through to the floor, as would do 99% of the time, it ledges on some detritus behind the fins. I end up leaving fifteen minutes before my train leaves and I make it with minutes to spare.  

Now ensconced in my seat for the next ninety minutes I’m trying to calm down and listen to some music. First track playing after hitting shuffle is the title track from the most recent album from the alcohol soaked Tankard. Ironically trying to put this CD into my iTunes library and syncing the phone was a contributing factor to my mad dash to the station. My PC and the iTunes interface really don’t get along! 

It’s also ironic that I’m listening to a German thrash metal stalwart, who this year celebrate 35 years together as a band, as I make my journey to London to watch a band that the old guard will undoubtedly pass the German thrash metal torch onto in the near future. 

I think I wrote in the last Tankard post that I’d be seeing them in Scotland in September. For whatever unexplained reason that had been replaced with a date in Portugal, which has now been replaced by another German show, so another year without the Frankfurt band gracing a British stage. There are a couple of options involving a short flight to see them in either Berlin or Eindhoven in December which I might have a peruse at next time I’m off work. 

Until then here’s the video for One Foot in the Grave, from the superb album of the same name, that isn’t all about alcohol. I’m not old enough yet for my leather diaper but I hope I go senile in style. 

Toxik Attack

I’m currently sitting in a pub with the “boy” with one other guy in here who’s completey enthralled in the FBI enquiry playing out on the TV. Once again I’ve neglected the blog for what feels like way too long and yet again I have no real excuse. I haven’t been to many gigs at all since the last posting so I’ve had the time. Let’s see how long this run of last for. 

The last post was during the May bank holiday weekend for a local gig that I ended up not attending. Greek thrashers Domination and Bloodrocuted from Belgium were two more shows I missed. Both were on the same evening so one had to be sacrificed. My trip to Birmingham for the Greeks was scuppered by crossed wires and a horrendously busy day at work. 

The last show I went to was a six band power violence shindig above a vegan cafe on the outskirts of Manchester City centre. What more would you want in a tiny hot and sweaty room with no stage for 84p a band? My first time seeing and actually experience Boak from Aberdeen, ably supported by Nothing Clean and for the second time in eight days Horsebastard and further trio of noisy upstarts. 

Discharge playing an almost local show was on the cards for tomorrow. They’re playing Stafford, a thirty minute drive along the A34 isn’t an issue, the main band hitting the stage at 1210am, technically on Saturday morning, is though, especially as I’m at work at 5am. 

I could venture up to Liverpool for the third time in four weekends for the American death metal blasts of Exhumed, but with the trains home ceasing just before 10pm and having the audacity to be a rail replacement bus it’s another one I’d have to drive myself to. 

Ironically the next gig I am going to is headlined by Exhumed, but I’ll probably be on the way home by the time they hit the stage in London. I’m making the 340 mile round trip just to catch German thrashers Dust Bolt. 

Sunday will be the third time I’ve seen them. The first time was also in London, just up the road at the Electric Ballroom when they opened up for Obituary. The last time was over in France when I just about made it through the melee of the Hellfest entrance. Thanks to the sloth like queues they’d already hit the stage, but I saw most of their set. 

On both occasions I’ve dragged friends in early to catch the band, friends who up until that point hadn’t heard of the band. I’m pleased to say on both occasions all attendees were suitably impressed, and a couple of them can be notoriously hard to impress with new bands. 

The group are on British soil for a quaret of shows, two with Exodus in the south east of the country, a show up in Scotland then back to London for the Exhumed support slot. There’s a day off between the last two shows and I was hoping for a more middle of the country event on Saturday. Alas it never materialised and I have to make the trek to London. It’s been over two months since my last foray to the capital, so I’m not as tainted by the thought of another trip down south. By the end of the month though could garner a different response. 

Last time they were included in this blog it was with a track from their brand new third album Mass Confusion. This time we go all the way back to 2012 and their debut album Violent Demolition. 

Roll on Sunday when the DxBxTxCx demolish the nations capital. 

Betrayer

As if I need an excuse to post a video by Kreator! 

Last nights Havok show in Birmingham was absolutely superb – but more about that later, hopefully. 

Before the introduction of mobile phones more powerful than the computers used for the moon landing, 3G, 4G, wifi, Facebook, Twitter and the like, I used to pass my time reading the humble printed fanzine. Much like I do now, I like my own company too much, so in between bands I’d keep myself to myself and get engrossed in the humble fanzine. 

I’ve spent so much time over the years typing, cutting and gluing pieces of paper to other pieces of paper. It was a very time consuming process, but I enjoyed it and it gave this non musician a toe hold in the inner sanctum of a fledgling UK hardcore scene. 

Anyway I digress. Kreator. Last night between bands I was “keeping in the loop” with Facebook and I came across this awesome tour announcement….

Anyone want to buy me a ticket to Brazil? 

The four bands have performed as this package at a handful of European festivals a few years ago. I looked into the possibility of attending it in Spain one summer, but it wasn’t feasibly possible.  

For me that line up is to die for. If I get to that point where I end up “retiring” disgracefully from the gig circuit I really do hope I get to experience this show and I’d really like to see Metallica in their San Francisco back yard.  

It’s apparently a thing that all four bands want to do more often. There seemed to be speculation that it as Kreator that was the problem and it all revolved on their agreement. I was reading an interview with Destruction frontman Schmier that the stumbling block is more to do with Sodom and Tankard. Both of those bands now have to hold down regular day jobs unlike Destruction and Kreator who you could say are full time musicians. Tankard and Sodom tour, but it’s in fits and starts as they have to schedule shows around weekends and holidays. Hopefully more shows follow in the very near future and no doubt I’ll be making the trek in homage. 

If I played the lottery and won an obscene amount of money I’d love to put on some kind of festival in Stoke on Trent. I’d be like one of those oil rich sheiks and money would be no option. 

One night would be the Teutonic big four and maybe throw in some other Euro thrash bands. The second night would finally see Metallica play the Victoria Hall with either the classic Master of Puppets set or the Damaged Justice collapsing Doris on the stage and a much more relaxed and stripped back show. The venue should have been the scene of their first British show (not that I’d heard the band back then), but the tour got cancelled due to poor ticket sales I believe and only the London show went ahead. 


The weekend would all be for charity with donations from an invited audience of friends and acquaintances who like the bands, and in the case of Metallica’s forthcoming tour, and those who can’t afford the near on £100 for a ticket. I don’t even waste my money on the lottery so this will never become a reality, but I can have my pipe dream can’t I? 

Betrayer was released in 1989 on the Extreme Aggression album. I’d heard the three previous albums via tape trading and friends, but this album I think was the first release that I purchased with my own money and still remains a firm favourite with me. 

Soul Collector

Welcome to the morning after the night before! Im feeling a bit delicate this morning, but I’m thinking sitting on a packed train with two sub sixteen year old nephews on our way to a film and comic convention is the cure required this morning. I have a funny feeling I won’t make the L.A. Guns show either tonight. I should know better at my age. 

Assuming I don’t make it to Chester this evening my next scheduled show is a trip to North Wales and another reinvention of the Hammerfest brand of festivals from HRH. 

Last year the combined Hammerfest with the AOR brand which I quite enjoyed, and I was able to take my significant other as there were bands there where she could take refuge from the noisy thrash and death metal stuff. This year AOR was two weekends ago as a stand alone event just like Hammerfest is again this year. 

I “won” a bunch of tickets almost twelve months ago and some of the early announcements were a huge draw to sorting out entry so far in advance. Unfortunately for varying reasons never announced by the promoters, many I wanted to see have pulled out. It’s still a value for money weekend – only a £10 booking fee to pay per ticket – but the weekend is so stacked towards the on site dwellers pre party on Thursday (Armored Saint and Venom, Inc) and Friday’s shenanigans. Saturday is looking rather threadbare for my refined tastes, so I think I’ll be spending much of Saturday in some sleepy Welsh village with the wife and Ozymandias, fingers crossed the weather is half decent. And for how I feel today, I’ll be steering well away from alcohol. 

I’m nearly at the convention so here’s Friday headliners who I’ve posted about several times so enjoy some Teutonic thrash from Destruction. Soul Collector from 2005’s Inventor of Evil. 

Total Death

Prior to the Dutch shindig, and on home turf I’ve got two more Kreator shows to look forward to before I set foot inside an airport. 

On Tuesday evening I’ll make the short drive up to Manchester’s Academy and after my last day at work on Thursday I’ll be at the mercy of Northern Rail and Virgin heading to-and-fro from London.  

I’m not sure what the plan is for Tuesday yet, so we might see one band or we might see all four. As with the previous show I saw on this tour in Tilburg, the doors for both shows are opening around about 1730 to 1800 – just in time for the evening rush hour commute for those who work on some kind of normal working hours. So a trip that I could possibly do in under and hour could potentially take me closer to two. 

I’m on the rail network on Thursday so that takes away all the hassle of road congestion – once I’ve reached the station. But the downside of this is the times the last train leaves to take me home. The venue curfew is 2300 – the save time as my train leaves. I’ll have seen the full Kreator show on Tuesday, so I don’t think leaving The Forum early and missing the encore will be too much of a hardship. They’re songs I’ve seen numerous times anyway and I’m more excited to experience the Gods of Violence material. 

Looking at the Netherlands DeathFest II line up for the Saturday and Kreator’s tour routing a bonus trip to Essen could be a real possibility. The extra curricular 74 mile jaunt with be addressed at several points over the next five days. 

For me seeing Kreator play in their home town would be like seeing Iron Maiden in East London, Black Sabbath in Birmingham, Sick of it All in New York City, Metallica perform in San Francisco or what a Discharge gig in Stoke should feel like. From the German bands humble beginnings in the city, and playing Zeche Carl then more than three decades later playing the impressive looking Grugahalle with a capacity in excess of 7,000. If I get to Essen it will be the biggest non festival Kreator show I will have experienced. 

Besides the new material, one of the highlights of the set is the appearance of Total Death. The track is from their very raw sounding debut album Endless Pain, which is several light years away from the polished and professional sounding Gods of Violence. That first album was recorded in ten days back in 1985, they’ve probably spent that much time recording a handful of songs in more recent years, never mind a ten track album. Before its resurrection on this tour the last archived performance of the track being played live was in the aforementioned Zeche Carl venue during the Pleasure to Kill tour on June 21st 1986 (now that is a nine song set list I’d love to have experienced!). So if you’ve seen Kreator a lot in the last thirty plus years it’s very doubtful you’ve seen this played on stage prior to 2017. 


Stigmatized

After a day away from the second city Saturday and Sunday will be spent in what many call the spiritual home of metal for yet another addition to the Chic Festivals pretty impressive and diverse festival line up. 

From the holiday camp in North Wales home to Hard Rock Hell, Hammerfest and AOR via Blues, Doom and Sleaze in Sheffield, we now have HRH Metal. One venue, two days, three stages, forty odd bands all in Birmingham. 

Much like the more established holiday camp events that have been running for over a decade now, HRH Metal features a mix of signed and unsigned talent with quite a few hidden gems dotted here and there. The pricing system, as with all their events, is a bit odd. I paid £20 for the weekend, so I’m not balking at that even if I could if got a ticket for half of that if I’d bided my time. 

Teutonic thrashers Sodom make a third visit to this blog and make a rare British appearance that isn’t at a London venue. It will be my fifth time seeing the Germans and half of my previous outings have been in London and the other two have been at Hammerfest and Bloodstock Festivals. 

They will be closing the inaugural HRH Metal event late on Sunday night. It’ll be interesting to see how many rivet heads are still there when they depart the stage at 2325 that evening. Why it didn’t run Friday and Saturday rather than finishing Sunday, which in my eyes would make travel easier for all, especially if you are expected in to school or work at some point on Monday . It’s also going to be a pair of long days. The first band on each day takes to their respective stage at 1pm. The Sunday finish is late enough, but Saturday headliners Skindred vacate the stage after midnight. 

By the end of 2017 I should have seen all four of the fabled Teutonic thrashers on home turf. Kreator roll into England for two dates in three weeks time. Destruction hit the stage in Wales during the Hammerfest festivities. Meanwhile Tankard make an even rarer British appearance when they tread the boards in Glasgow in September. I also have another opportunity to see the Gelsenkirchen outfit when they return to London, Glasgow and Dublin in May. Now if only someone will do the decent think and drag Exumer over here. 

Stigmatized is taken from the trio’s 2013 album Epitome of Torture. 

Kreator – Tilburg, O13 – 2.3.17

My first chance of the year to spend plastic coins at Tilburg’s 013 venue and my first chance to catch the thrash metal juggernaut that is Kreator as they begin their assault through Europe taking no prisoners.

A relatively early start saw Belgian death metal stalwarts Aborted kicking off proceedings with a half hour visceral assault on those who bothered to turn up early. For an opening band they had a great sound afforded to them – and probably the best shirt on sale tonight with their Ghostbusters inspired attire. But I just can’t get into this band. Musically they’re exceptional, but the high pitch screechy whistling thing isn’t for me.

This venue is pretty impressive size wise – great views from all over the hall floor and it’s tiered standing, and the back stage area must be almost as big again. Each band used their own drum kits and with them set up out of sight there was the briefest of change overs before Swedish heavy weights Soilwork stormed the stage. Another fantastic bunch of musicians giving it their all, but as usual with me I was left bored rigid after their 40 minute set concluded. For me they just don’t seem to have that one anthem to get things going or look forward to.

One of Brazil’s finest exports graced the ever expanding Dutch hordes with an hour to impress. Their latest collection of songs is a pretty solid affair so I’d have expected them to kick off with something new and throw in another one, maybe two. Four new songs in the first six was a bit of a hard slog and the crowd didn’t really embrace them until Desperate Cry rumbled out of the PA. A few more Machine Messiah tracks were thrown in for good measure and before I knew it Territory, Refuse/Resist and Roots Bloody Roots drew their time to an end. It was a bit of a disappointing end as I was probably expecting a more classics set with the time constraints they had.

It’s The Teutonic Terrors were afforded a half hour change over and as per usual with modern day Kreator the stage set was pretty impressive especially for what you’d usually expect for a thrash metal band. There was so much attention to detail that time was taken to remotely align the on stage spot lights for optimum effect.

German precision was not met tonight with their shoddy time keeping – the Choir of the Damned intro tape rolled a minute early by my watch – and a deafening Hordes of Chaos kicked off proceeding to a hall filled with thrashers many covered in ticker tape from the get go. Crowd favourite Phobia followed before a pair of new songs – Satan is Real and Gods of Violence. An omission from recent sets in the shape of People of the Lie proceeded Total Death from their debt album for all the original die hards, a song that hasn’t been played live in thirty years.

A mix of new tracks, some from their more recent past and their 80’s heyday rounded out the main set before Civilisation Collapse closed the first 70 minutes. Flames, smoke and streamers were all in an abundance. At one point though it looked like some flames leapt from the stage unannounced. The glare frontman Millie Petroza gave to the side of stage could have killed, or caused serious damage at the very least.

A four song encore of Violent Revolution, Flag of Hate, Under the Guillotine and the punishing Pleasure to Kill left the 013 a fiery wreck and the hordes left suitably impressed.

The first three hours or so of the evening were a bit of a let down but Kreator more than made the admission price worth it. The five new tracks slotted in to the live area a seamlessly as if they’ve been there for years and some will be in future Kreator productions for as long as these road warriors continue. The Manchester Academy show can’t come quick enough. Only six hours until the next adventure begins.