Ignoble Blackmail

Gig wise February has been running much more smoothly than January seemed to! Last Saturday saw me back in Manchester in Satan’s Hollow for the first time in some years to catch the final night of the A Taste of Reaped Owl Custard tour that took in Liverpool and Derby the two nights previously. The venue looks like a huge prop from a Hellraiser movie with the stage in the round in some sort of demonic park band stand.

The tour slogan is a bit convoluted but it takes in to account the four bands making up the package. All the bands have been on the New Blood stage at Bloodstock in recent times, and it was good to see the camaraderie carrying on.

Killing time in the pub across the road my heart sank yet again when a Facebook post stated a later door opening time and a swap in the running order due to traffic issues. Once again I was on the last train home with only an expensive option of a taxi if I missed it.

Thankfully I managed to see all four bands – or parts there of – and leave at my expected time to make the short walk in the rain back to the station.

First up was Taste of Greed from Hamburg, half the reason I was there and the band who did the last minute switch. Their energetic death / thrash metal hybrid was well received by all and the dapper frontman Jens seemed suitably impressed. If the tour had been any longer I wonder how many consecutive shows he had in him as his voice was worse for wear after three.

Liverpool thrashers Reaper were the traffic casualties and as a result to keep within the strict venue curfew they only had time for three songs. A friend recommended this band and pronounced them as the next big thing in UK thrash. After the briefest of sets I was left wanting more and with their debut album imminent I can’t wait to see them again.

Derbyshire’s Raised by Owls were fun in a noisy uncompromising way. Taking influences from early Napalm Death and replacing their serious standpoint with Lawnmower Deth’s frivolity. Short songs, longer songs, a conger line and a wall of death based on your pronunciation of the word scone! I think you see where I’m coming from.

Headlining was local band (in the most part) Footprints in the Custard. The majority of the crowd were obviously there for these guys and they all knew the in jokes during the set. I was a bit dubious about the band, mainly based on their odd name and albums full of silly songs. Seeing them live though, they come across as fantastic musicians and their drummer Alex is an absolute beast behind his kit.

This weekend sees another return visit to a no doubt rainy Manchester for the Devangelic gig at Aatma, the scene of my disastrous Reprisal gig a few weeks back.

This post is the fourth in my Euro road trip piece, but not for the headlining band who hail from Rome, but for fellow Italians Adversor who are tasked with the unenviable job of opening the six band show at 6:15pm.

The Venetian thrashers were scheduled to be playing the city on the same night as part of their European tour that included four British shows, their debut performances in the country. The dates were announced seemingly months ago, but nothing for this Friday seemed to materialise in the social media ether. A quick electronic message to frontman Dado soon put things straight.

Apparently the promoter for their show disappeared (a worrying trend with Mancunian promoters lately!) and left the band hanging with nowhere else to play. In the end they were late additions to this death metal show, and in all honesty they will stick out like a sore thumb alongside Sodomized Cadaver and Cranial Discharge, but they get to play in the city and it doesn’t mess up the already printed shirts!

They’re only on stage for 20 minutes or so, and I’m only really paying out to see them. So I could have easily declined to go to the event and miss out. I really like their debut album Rise to Survive though, and 20 minutes is better than nothing. Also they are a highlight from a flourishing thrash metal scene in Italy 🇮🇹 right now and I don’t know if I’d get another chance to see them without hoping on a plane.

A couple of the Italian bands have already featured in this blog, namely Game Over and Ultra-Violence, two bands I’d really like to catch live. Throw Vexovoid, Burning Nitrum, Mass Execution and National Suicide on to the bucket list and I’d get to observe some great thrash metal live. If only British audiences lapped up retro thrash as much as the continent does and became more educated to bands outside of the media friendly pack, rather than waiting to be told what’s good and what’s not. Explore the web a bit and see what crops up.

Hopefully on Friday I’ll have the bands sophomore release The End of Mankind in my sweaty mits and have been blown away but some thrash metal from the land of the gladiators. Ignoble Blackmail is taken from that latest album and should be readily available through Punishment 18 Records in the next few weeks.

I’m so tempted to jump on a train and see the band in London on Saturday, if only return trains went a few hours later to the north! If you’re Camden Town way go and visit the Devonshire Arms, the gig there is free.

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Last Before The End

What an odd week this has turned out to be. I ended up missing Helloween completely in London earlier in the week. I had an extremely busy day at work on Tuesday and got home a few hours later than expected and just didn’t have the urge to head down to London on a whim.

For the exact same reason I missed Venom Prison in Manchester on Thursday. Another long day and no desire to stay awake any longer than I had to.

Yesterday I was intending to spend a few hours up in Eleven watching Demon perform the Unexpected Guest in full as they celebrated the one year anniversary of the venue’s opening. I had yet another unfeasibly late finish, but I had plenty of time to grab a power nap before we headed out. I thought I’d check up on Facebook before I dozed and the first post on my feed is the poster saying the show was now sold out! Let’s see if the same fate befalls me later when I might make the short journey to Eleven to catch NWOBHM pioneers Tygers of Pan Tang.

Yesterday should also have been the start of an eight day stint off work. But the recurring theme of staff shortages means I’m working the first three days of the week. The Tygers show is a possible replacement for a gig I really wanted to be at in Holland tonight, but due to leaving it late to buy a seat on a plane and now committing to extra work means I had to miss Italian thrashers Game Over in the intimate Little Devil bar in Tilburg.

When I saw the date announced and the added bonuses of it being free entry and a matinee show got me excited to finally see one of my favourite European thrash metal bands live. I was on the precipice of buying tickets for the Thrash or be Thrashed festival they were announced for last year along with Exumer in Belgium (I think), but that got cancelled.

There is such a rich vein of retro thrash across Europe it’s a crying shame that history is repeating itself yet again and the UK seems to be lagging way behind the European mainland in terms of quality and fanbase for this scene. In the last three days alone I have had three CDs delivered from bands within the Euro zone. Acid Force from the Czech Republic and hailing from Italy National Suicide and the latest offering from Game Over.

So later this evening rather than getting drenched in a combination of sweat and Jupiler and vying to gain a vantage point and enjoying an hour of Azzurri thrash I’ll have to reluctantly make do with blasting out the Claiming Supremacy album again.

I doubt I’ll get chance to see Game Over on British shores anytime soon, unless they get an invite like Bloodrocuted, Distillator or Exarsis in recent years and snag a place on a pretty significant tour. But with the amount of European festivals and the still relatively easy access to the continent, fingers crossed, one day my path will cross with as many of these fantastic bands as possible.

Last Before The End is the third track from their fourth and most recent album officially release last Friday. It’s so much easier now to sample new music before you commit to buying and all four albums are readily available on Spotify. Go and have a listen and see what you think.

Neon Maniacs

  

In a bout of reminiscing in what could have been yesterday here’s the third Italian band to be included in this blog in the shape of Bay  Area infused thrashers Game Over. 

These Ferrara natives got together in 2008 and have recently unleashed their fourth album Crimes Against Reality on the unsuspecting thrash metal community. That was their third album in as many years and their debut, For Humanity, only saw the light of day in January of 2012. 

Four full length albums in less than five years alongside the touring they’ve done is no mean feat. They’ve supported a veritable who’s who of thrash and hardcore bands in their native Italy – including one of my hometown heroes Broken Bones – plenty of European shows, a pair in Japan and they’ve ventured over to the States. In a week or so they’re off on a jaunt to China for ten gigs. They just now need to venture into the UK for a gig or three. 

  
I looked into getting onto the continent back in 2014 for their tour they did with Condition Critical from New Jersey and Italian compadres Ultra-Violence, but none of the dates fell kindly with work or the ones that did didn’t fall kindly with flights over from Britain. 
  

When they were announced for the Thrash or be Thrashed Festival they were the band that pushed me over the edge and wanted to get a ticket that day. Thankfully with the eventual cancellation tickets hadn’t yet gone on sale and no flights had been booked. Yesterday I consoled myself with some retail therapy and I snagged myself a shirt and CD via their Big Cartel site which I would have ended up buying in Belgium anyway. 

Neon Maniacs is taken from their latest album and can be purchased directly through their Big Cartel site if you are that way inclined. Reasonable shipping costs too which is a bonus, €7 on a €25 order which is acceptable compared to the €15 I was quoted  for shipping by a Dutch band for a shirt of the same price!

10.000 Ways To Spread My Hate

 

Well I had a brain wave about an hour ago. With all this football going on I could do a post associated with that days matches. Original ain’t it? Well I’ve got five matches left to have a crack at it, and leaving it so late means I haven’t got to delve into Albania’s rich musical heritage!!

As I’m currently watching the Germany vs Italy quarter final and by sheer coincidence I posted a German band earlier here’s an insight into something from lo Stivale.

I thought I might have struggled a bit with something Italian, but I’ve seen a few bands from the country in recent months. Methedras supported Morgoth – another German vs Italian match up. Sofisticator were on before Solstice in London, and I caught half a set from Sadist at Hellfest. This ended up being a straight cage fight between the cities of Ferrara and Turin. After three gruelling rounds the referee held aloft the hand of victory of the Torinessi.

Here’s a blast of Azzurri styled thrash metal from Ultra-Violence. They released their second album Deflect The Flow last year and like their debut album the art work was done by the one and only Ed Repka, and as the band name suggests they are heavily influenced by the imagery of Alex DeLarge and his gag of droogs.

I’m yet to see these guys live, something that I hope to rectify sooner rather than later. Coincidentally, Game Over, the runners up in this cage match, are on my live radar in September when they play the Thrash or be Thrashed festival.

10.000 Ways To Spread My Hate is taken from their 2013 debut album Privilege To Overcome. When I saw the cover of this album on a shirt I just had to purchase one. Anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that I am a complete merchandise junkie.

Brawl

Well I have to say Morgoth were mightily impressive last night and justified the time, effort and expense to fulfil my quarter of a century wait to finally see them live. It was just a crying shame so few people turned up to hand over £12 to see five bands on a Friday evening. There were at least two of us there who’d traveled over 120 miles to catch tonight’s show.

Five or six band bills seem to be the norm in this day and age, but sticking that number of bands on in a little more than four hours can always seem like a drag. Just as you are getting into a new band and they themselves have found their feet with the onstage sound, their set comes to a grinding halt and another band is thrown on. I’d much rather see a two or three band bill with longer sets than an early band having a slight delay and finish late then everyone who follows suffers and ultimately it’s the headliner who loses out as its them who have to finish on time

You know when you arrange things well in advance and it seems like a good idea at the time? Well yesterday was one of those days and then some.

Alarm calls for work around 4am – check. Nine hours at work – check. Traversing the M6 and M5 southbound on a Friday afternoon wasn’t quite as bad as feared. Being awake for nearly 16 hours before the first band played a note was the start of the problem last night.

After finding a pre gig fuelling station in the form of a KFC I was OK, but as soon as my mind stopped I started nodding – as my gran used to say. First time I have ever had my car key confiscated by a friend in 28 years of gig going. It was definitely for the best. Thanks to the wonderful technology in the palm of your hand in 2016 we managed to get a hotel at the last minute for a reasonable £60.

I didn’t get too much sleep – too many aches and pains at the moment in this ageing body, which I am trying my best to ignore. And as I’m used to being awake at 5am I’m starting this unexpectedly in a Bristol hotel room, which wasn’t in the original plan.

It could have turned out much differently as I’d been trying to get the day off work, but one of my work colleagues is currently throwing his toys out of the proverbial pram at work and was adamant he was having Saturday off on lieu of overtime. Once he knew yesterday he wasn’t being paid for said day off he declined to not take the day and I was informed mid journey yesterday I could now have the days holiday, otherwise it would have been a perilous drive home at 1am that I was psyching myself up for. If I’d have known earlier I could of booked a few seats and let the train take the strain.

Just to tag a music video into the blog here’s a song from Italians Methedras, who were one of the five bands gracing the Bierkeller stage last night. I’d seen the band last year supporting Overkill in Zwolle so I knew what to expect. The other four with me were a bit on the sceptical side and were prepared to get to the venue late. After I stood my ground we were all inside in good time to see all five bands and these Milanese thrashers picked up a few new fans. As with the nights headliners Morgoth, their name is taken from the world of J.R.R. Tolkien.