Bloodline

  

Right, we’ve had industrial, grunge, parody and hardcore posts in the last week or two so let’s get back to some punishing thrash metal. 

I’m looking over the horizon to the West in awe of the thrash metal juggernaut tour currently rolling through the North American continent. Slayer, Anthrax and Death Angel all on the same stage one after another. This line up and a lot of the packages assembled in the States in recent years are any self respecting thrash metal fans dreams. 

Fine, Europe had Slayer and Anthrax at the tail end of last year, but who would you prefer to see opening up Death Angel or the band we got Kvelertak? Europe might know how to put together a decent festival line up, but the USA gets far better touring packages. 

In an ironic twist of fate Slayer released God Hates Us All on what’s now recognised as 9/11. I’m pretty sure the UK release was a day earlier as our record release day always used to be a Monday rather than the American Tuesday until it was all brought inline worldwide. 

The album was a slight return to form after the previous trio of records released since 1990’s Seasons in the Abyss. Recorded in a Vancouver studio owned by Bryan Adams, it should have seen the light of day on July 10th but there were issues with the mix, album cover and the label changing distributors. The release date has for some unknown reason courted controversy, but unless a band member or label executive is a distant relative of Nostradamus, then no one could have foreseen the tragedy that unfolded in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania on that particular day. 

  

Bloodline was the only track to get the video treatment even though Disciple still slots into a Slayer set list on a pretty regular basis fifteen years after it debut. God Hates Us All was also the last release to feature drummer Paul Bostaph due to  a chronic elbow injury until they reunited for Repentless. 

  

Mandatory Suicide

I was going to do a couple of random tracks today, but then I discovered two classic thrash albums were both released today back in 1988.

First up, and in my opinion, is the underrated South Of Heaven album by the mighty Slayer. I wasn’t quite old enough to buy previous album – and Slayer benchmark – Reign In Blood when it was released, but I did with this one. Like so many other bands I’m into my favourite release or era of that particular artist always seems  to gravitate towards the first thing I actually went into a shop and actually brought on, or as close as I could, to release day. For most people, and my older peers included, Reign In Blood or Hell Awaits are at the top of the pile. For me given a choice it’ll always be between South Of Heaven or Seasons In The Abyss. Controversial.

I can remember the furore in Kerrang! magazine at the time over the controversial artwork that was going to be used for maybe a single release or some merchandise – I’m going back 28 years now, so I might be a bit cloudy on the details, especially as I often struggle to remember what I did 28 minutes ago! The song is about kids being drafted and sent to the frontline, but the cover was going to be what the internet now describes as the hanging boy – a protest to being sent to war.

 

After the pummelling 29 minutes of Reign In Blood this 37 minute “opus” was deliberately slowed down a few notches. It certainly makes it more accessible, but still retains that Slayer brutality and darkness. In someways it marked an evolution for the band, but thankfully didn’t elevate them (or as some would say sell out) to a stadium juggernaut of a band.

The band also courted controversy with some people regarding the song Silent Scream on this record, seen by many as an anti abortion song.

This live version of Mandatory Suicide is taken from the Still Reigning DVD released back in 2004.

Live Arena 2016.20

Well the weekend just gone was another bust for the proposed gigs I was considering going to. I have actual tickets for things for this upcoming week so after what seems like an eternity I should get to see some on stage action this week. 

Wednesday – Buckely, The Tivoli

I have no ticket for this, so I may or may not be in North Wales on Wednesday evening. LA Guns are doing a handful of UK shows over the week, but nothing closer to me than this that I can attend. Watch this space. 
  

Friday – London, The Black Heart

My rota week off starts Saturday, so pretty much straight from work I’m on a train down to London for an evening of mainly thrash metal. I think it’s the first time over here for the three international bands on the bill, but I’m not 100% if Solstice ever made it over first time around. My train gets me home at 1:30am, so glad I booked Saturday as a holiday. 
  

Saturday – Bromsgrove, Stoke Prior Sports Club

I managed to snag one of the last tickets for this three day event. I’m not overly fussed by the majority of the line up, bands I’ve seen loads or no interest in at all. My main draw is for German Teutonic thrashers Godslave playing just after 7pm. This is now their second UK show after they added a late show in London on the Friday. 
  

Saturday – Hanley, The Underground

As I should be away from there early enough I’m hoping to catch the EP launch by local band Fallen. Fingers crossed for no delays on the 67 mile drive back home. 
  

Sunday – Munich, Olympic Stadium

With a week to go this is still up in the air for me. A few friends are going over for the day to celebrate a birthday, but when I was originally asked I declined. Now one has dropped out, so there’s a ticket and a seat on a plane going to waste. How can I say no to Iron Maiden, Slayer and Anthrax all on the same day? Failing that I’ll be back in Bromsgrove. 
   

  

Angel Of Death

 

Another birthday for today…

Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman would have been 52 today.

Taken from 1986’s Reign In Blood, Angel Of Death (even though it is shrouded in much controversy) is probably Slayer’s most popular song with their fans.  If it was put out to a poll I’m sure there would be lots of votes for song x, y or z.  But having seen the band play this song almost twenty times live it is THE song that unites the crowd into a swirling mass of sweat, flailing arms and hair – well not as much hair as there used to be.

 

Any band that writes a song with Auschwitz’s chief physician Josef Mengele as it’s main protagonist are surly going to get the inevitable negative press and accusations of being Nazi sympathisers and racists.  Half the band at the time were made up with a Cuban and a Chilean, makes perfect sense to racist then!

 

(January 31, 1964 – May 2, 2013)

 

 

Repentless

Two bands from the metal genre with some of the most fanatical fans released albums this year, so I can’t really not say anything about either.

California thrash behemoth’s Slayer released perhaps their best album according to some in ten to fifteen years – it’s so subjective depending on what era of Slayer you like. Hitting number 11 on the UK album charts it certainly made it the bands most commercially successful release on these shores – their previous best was 1994’s Divine Intervention that reached number 15.

As with all Slayer releases there are plenty of songs about death, destruction, evil, mayhem and the end of the world, you wouldn’t expect anything less and this doesn’t disappoint.

The bands big budget,  blood soaked prison riot video that accompanies this track is most definitely not suitable for work but if you’re a Slayer fan you will lap it up!  The “mini film” was shot at the Sybil Brand Institute (a women’s prison) in East Los Angeles in 100 degree heat and directed by Hatchet III director BJ McDonnell who was also a camera man on blockbusters like Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man.

The all star cast is headed up by Danny Trejo (Sons of Anarchy, Hatchet, From Dusk Till Dawn) and bolstering the rioting inmates are actors from some of the most iconic films of recent times – Derek Mears (Predators), Tyler Mane (X-Men and the Halloween reboot) and Tony Moran also from the Halloween reboot, Sean Whalen (Halloween II),  Vernon Wells (Mad Max 2) and Jason Trost (Hatchet III).