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. 


Remember The Fallen


For no real reason I’ve managed to neglect the blog for a week. It’s been a quite week since I saw Testament last Saturday. A Siege performance in Leeds later this afternoon is my first gig in little over a week – with only one on Wednesday in Chester now that Vader in Birmingham has been quietly canned. Oh, and the small matter of a new Metallica album on Friday. 

November 11th marks Armistice Day where we pause for reflection to remember the fallen resulting from arm conflicts since 1914. The nearest Sunday to the 11th is Remembrance Sunday which falls today, so at 11pm I’ll be there to pay my respects. 

I’ve lost no close relatives to conflicts, but I have links to the armed forces in the family. My father served in the Royal Navy in the late 60’s. He didn’t see any combat, but managed to traverse the world many times – something I’m inanely jealous of. At one point as a kid growing up I had my sights set on joining the navy just for the travel options! 

My father in law served proudly in the Royal Engineers and spent a lot of time in Germany at a similar time to my dad being in the navy. Perhaps the only time I saw a glint of jealousy in his eyes was when my wife told him we were off to Berlin in 2005. At his funeral some years back veterans from the Staffordshire Regiment were resplendent with their medals on display as flag bearers at the church. 

My grandad on my mum’s side didn’t serve but was a Bevin Boy, who’s work was recently recognised with an unveiling of a monument at the National Memorial Arboretum last year. The Bevin Boys consisted of over 45,000 young men who were conscripted to work in the coal mines. They were released from their duties two years after World War II ended with no recognition for their work. More than half a century later their endeavours were recognised and medals were posthumously awarded. 

The only member of my family I’m aware of that died in battle was my dad’s uncle who is forever engraved on the cenotaph in Audley. Thomas Brown was killed in action on September 22nd 1917 in Flanders, France.   

There aren’t many more fitting songs than this once released by Sodom in 1989 on their Agent Orange album. 

The Conqueror

On this dark miserable evening the shuffle option has thrown up a three and a half minute chunk of Teutonic Thrash metal in the shape of the Gelsenkirchen trio Sodom.

Formed in 1981 Sodom were an early purveyor of the blackened thrash metal sound style. Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax are considered the “Big Four” of thrash metal, but Sodom alongside Kreator, Destruction and Tankard are affectionately known as “The Teutonic Big Four”.

Teutonic Thrash was loosely based on bands in the German area of North Rhine-Westphalia, but over time embraced bands from other Central European countries like Switzerland.

The Conqueror was originally track 2 on 1987’s Expurse of Sodomy 12″ single and later included as a bonus track on the CD version of the Persecution Mania album later that year.