Ghoul

Being awake before 8am on Saturday morning knowing I have to drive home from Leeds after midnight tonight wasn’t what I’d planed for today, but I’m waiting for some one to come and “check” the utility meters and been given a four hour time slot! Hopefully they’ll arrive in the next hour or so and I can be on my way up the M62 for some death metal shenanigan.

Today is Damnation day around the university site in Leeds. A long day will ensue, but there will be some great bands to view, and some not so great. It was pretty hit and miss if I was going until the last few announcements.

At one point I was contemplating paying the forty quid and making the near two hour drive just to see Austrian crossover merchants Insanity Alert for a third time. But nothing was really inspiring me too much until the final couple of reveals.

I think the penultimate reveal included Polish death metal heavy weights Vader and the Brummie institution Napalm Death. The final six bands announced included Telford terrors Cancer, who’s new album was released yesterday 13 years after their last one. Shadow Gripped will definitely be getting an airing in the car on the way north. That final group announcement also featured LIK. I had no idea who they were so I checked them out and was pleasantly pleased with the outcome.

The quartet making up LIK (Swedish for corpse apparently) could be classed as a Stockholm supergroup as they have played in bands like Witchery, Katatonia, Grave, Bloodbath and Nale. Today also marks their UK debut. They seem to fuse the two classic Swedish old school death metal styles into one. The aggression from Stockholm is present as is the more melodious aspects renowned from the Gothenburg scene. I’m really looking forward to seeing these later and a flying visit to Birmingham tomorrow could be in the cards too.

Ghoul can be found on their debut album Mass Funeral Evocation from 2015. Hopefully I’ll be able to snag a copy of this and follow up release Carnage later.

And still no workman.

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Blood On Bannockburn

I’m not much of a Sabaton fan, but I thought I’d do this micro post and this is very apt.

We’re just waiting to leave our hotel in Stirling and head out on out last leg of the trip to Edinburgh before we head home on Sunday evening.

Earlier we took the bus and made the 15 minute trip out to the heritage centre where the Battle of Bannockburn was fought in 1314 during the first war of Scottish independence.

The area didn’t feel quite as poignant as that of Culloden. This seemed to be more of a commemoration of the battle rather than a walk through history where the event took place. At least I can say I’ve been now.

We just ran out of time to visit the bridge where William Wallace defeated the English in 1297. This is what the film Braveheart should’ve have portrayed rather than something resembling Bannockburn. At least it gives us an excuse to come back to Stirling.

Soulless

I’m not designed for this bleedin’ hot weather. I couldn’t wait to get home and take off my work stuff. So uncomfortable to wear in this heat. My shorts are now on. I have my Euro’s for tomorrow’s jaunt and my newly purchased chair is in place in my room. Now all I have to do now is pack a bag then wait for a friend to get here and hope we don’t make ourselves late for the plane tomorrow morning. Not anxious much at all!!

Another one of the many highlights at Stonehenge tomorrow is getting to see Swedish death metal stalwarts Grave for only the second time, but hopefully this time with a much more appreciative crowd.

The only other time I have seen the Visby band was at the ill fated Ritual Festival held in Leeds in 2016. They headlined over bands including a fledgling Venom Prison, Conan, Ingested, Bong Cauldron and Full of Hell. Quite an eclectic mix of bands overall, which is nice to see. But when the festival over runs and people have to leave before the headliner takes to the stage or part way through. It must have been thoroughly depressing looking down on an empty floor from the stage. Ever likely it took them six years to venture outside of London.

Hopefully in 24 hours time the rain and thunderstorms, if they arrive, will be well and truly gone and Ola Lindgren will crush Steenwijk, assuming there is anything left to destroy after the trio of bands playing before them (Thanatos, Gruesome and DRI).

Soulless is taken from the bands third album of the same name. It’s shocking to think how old some of these records are. This one was released 24 years ago.

Terror Vision

This time tomorrow I’ll be on a train (again) heading down to London (yet again) to catch the first ever British gig by Dr Living Dead!, the crossover thrash quartet from Sweden.

The masked band formed just over a decade ago in Stockholm and Dr Rad and Dr Toxic are the remaining “doctors” from the original incarnation. They haven’t been through an obscene amount of members, it just seems to have been the drum stool that has been the problem. Over the years doctors Ape, Dawn and New Drummer all preceded Dr Slam. A couple of those drummers have also served time with Dismember and Negative Self over the years.

The band’s fourth album was released in October last year and is another slab of Suicidal Tendencies and Slayer infused crossover thrash with a newly added dose of punk. The Suicidal comparisons, more so from their earlier output, and penchant for wearing bandannas, is always going to be lazily present, so it’s going to be interesting to see if the band feel more relevant and intense than the last few times I crossed paths with the Venice Beach innovators.

Most of today though I’ve been driving around at work, with a few Dr Living Dead! tracks thrown in for good measure, thinking to myself are there any bands that wear masks that I actually like?

Possibly the biggest mask wearing metal band are the eighteen legged Iowan’s Slipknot, who apart from an odd song here and there in their 23 year career I can do without. From Linköping, 125 miles down the E4, are fellow masked Swedes Ghost. Even though they are the current flavour of the month with the metal press I don’t like anything I’ve encountered by them.

“Mexican gangsters” turned grind band Brujeria, who I saw a trio of times last year, leave me bored. The bands associated with the Nu-Metal spectrum (Mushroom Head, Hollywood Undead, Insane Clown Posse) have never floated my boat either.

I’ve seen Gwar a single solitary time. Their live show was extremely entertaining but I don’t posses any of their fourteen albums, so I guess that’s a negative too. Another latex clad band are Eurovision winners Lordi, but I’m only aware of a couple of their songs.

Not really masked bands, more extravagant makeup, so for the purpose of this blog, the two bands I’ve probably listened to most from the “masked genre” in my library are KISS who I can tolerate and one of my favourite bands King Diamond, yet another Nordic offering. So in conclusion maybe not every band who wears a mask is all that bad, especially if they’re from Scandinavia!

I’m pretty gutted I’m missing Dutch death metal band Pestilence in Manchester, a band I’m yet to see live, but I’m very much looking forward to experienced Dr Rad and his crew. It’s going to be a hell of a long day – up at 4am for work, on a train twelve hours later and I might roll into bed by 2am Friday! – but I should be worth it. And I’m so glad I had the foresight to book Friday and Saturday off work.

Terror Vision is taken from last years Cosmic Conqueror album.

A Touch Of Blessing


It’s that time of year again where I’d best get looking at some of the bands that I’ll be seeing at Catton Hall next weekend, but before that here’s something from 2004 in a retrospective look at the festival from day one that I started this time last year. 

The first weekend in September 2004 saw another denim and leather clad gathering of the metal masses at the Assembly Rooms. 

Only four years in there were already repeat bands on the line up, but this year was my first time seeing Children of Bodom. It wasn’t a classic year for my liking as it’s when the event was much more orientated towards the power metal section of the metal fraternity. I’m pretty certain I was siting in the KFC in Derby before Bodom had finished their set waiting to take my passenger home. 

Looking at the poster again after all these years I don’t think any of the bands who played in the Darwin Suite (second stage) really broke through into the mainstream. 

2004 was, I believe, the first time Swedes Evergrey had set foot on British soil. Since then they haven’t been regular visitors here and have played less than twenty shows in the country, and I’m pretty sure most of those shows have been playing second fiddle to a headline act. 

They were formed by mainstay Tom S Englund in Gothenburg in 1995. In their twenty two year career they’ve released ten albums, but I think I only own two if their albums, In Seatch of Truth and Recreation Day, that I more than likely purchased in the run up to Bloodstock. I probably haven’t listened to them much at all since 2004 either. Odd songs may have popped up in shuffle mode over the years but I certainly haven’t played a full album. Listening to snippets of their songs on YouTube today though I think they might be worthy of a chunk of my time to reinvestigate the band. They haven’t been as much power metal, swords and dragons as I (wrongly) remember them. 

This was the first of my two times seeing the band live with the second arriving within ten months when they played at the inaugural outdoor event in 2005 whilst still promoting The Inner Circle album where A Touch of Blessing is taken from. 

Hollowman

You just can’t beat that buzzsaw sound with your Scandinavian death metal. It’s just so unique and instantaneously recognisable. 

The death metal representative at the Dynamo Metal Festival is left in the capable hands of Swedish masters Entombed A.D. If you think the name sounds a tad familiar then that’s because it’s basically long standing Entombed frontman LG Petrov with most of the Entombed contingent who were there before the splintering of the band. 

Founding members Nicke Anderson, Uffe Cederlund and Alex Hellid are together with the name Entombed, but this line up haven’t released an album yet. The last Entombed disc was a decade ago, where as the Petrov incarnation have two albums under their bullet belts in the last three years. 

I first heard material that would be later be released under the Entombed logo when every tape trader seemed to enjoy pushing one of the several demos by Nihilist. When they renamed themselves and ended up being signed by Earache Records the first two albums, Left Hand Path and Clandestine, later became death metal classics. Album three, Wolverine Blues, veered away from the straight death metal sound to what was later pigeonholed as death ‘n’ roll – adding a bit more rock and groove into the death metal mix. 

I saw the band a hell of a lot in the mid 90’s. They seemed to be over here every few weeks, or so it felt. Since 1997 I drifted away from the band, but still played the first triumvirate of albums on heavy rotation in the years since. I saw them sporadically in the intervening years, but never purchased any new material. 

Saturday will be my second viewing of the A.D. version after I saw them at Bloodstock in 2014. As you might have guessed the majority of the set was taken from the early albums. I’ve not encountered the other version yet, but for me this possibly supersedes them as this one has the distinctive vocals that I grew up with to back it up. 

I’m really surprised how many bands, and especially those from the death metal genre I like, and in 427 posts I still haven’t featured the likes of Deicide, Cannibal Corpse or Morbid Angel, three stalwarts and supremely influential bands in this particular scene. That will be rectified imminently. 

I’ve probably played Wolverine Blues a bit more over the years than the first two albums, so hence the choice of Hollowman to represent Entombed and Entombed A.D. I really enjoy that hammer like into and the much more groove orientated sound and still retaining some the distinct buzzsaw sound. 


Glorification Of The Black God

In the current climate this could be perceived as a controversial post. 

It will be my second time overall, and both within the last year, seeing the Norrköping  natives Marduk on stage when they perform a special twentieth anniversary set for their 1996 album Heaven Shall Burn… When We Are Gathered (to give the record its full title) at Lords of the Land on Saturday.  I’m assuming they’ve been doing a twenty year set on their current tour considering it’s officially 21, unless the promoter wanted something more unique considering they played in the city last May. 

They’ve recently completed a two week stint in the United States followed by some Antipodean shows. All appear to have passed without major controversy apart from their date in Oakland, California back in February. 

The Metro Opera House should have been hosting the show, but the faceless keyboard warriors that this era is rife with and Antifa (Anti Fascist Action) activists made threats against the venue proclaiming Marduk to be NSBM band (National Socialist Black Metal). Sure, they have an interest in World War II. There’s even a family connection within the band with the SS, but it doesn’t make them a facist band. 

I remember Slayer getting some similarly  unwanted attention in the past, but that all blew over and people found other things to whine about. Motörhead’s late frontman Lemmy was a renowned artefacts collector, but I can never recall boycotts, death threats or cancellations with them. Likewise with Bolt Thrower, Sabaton and Hail of Bullets who also have an affinity with a very intriguing period in history. 

The venue even ploughed through interviews spanning two decades and found no references, indications or statements referring to white supremacy, immigrants or nationalism. In the end the show was scrapped on police advise and more for the safety of the staff. 

Earlier in the week Stoke punk icons Discharge were announced to play along side Marduk at the Blackest of the Black festival in California in a couple of months time. The festival is curated by and features Danzing, with a whole host of bands performing live including Suicidal Tendencies, Ministry, Suicide Silence and Venom, Inc. 

Reading the mainly congratulatory posts you get smacked in the face with this
 

Sharing a stage with a NSBM band Marduk? How very punk


You know what they say about mud sticking. The author was called out on it and asked to show some evidence to the fact. Surprisingly though, three days later there has been no response. 

It seems to be something happening a lot lately when bands or individuals don’t appear to adhere to what some attention seeking keyboard warriors deem acceptable in their simple little mind. I’ve seen bands kicked off bills or removing themselves all on some unfounded, hear say accusations that just snowball out of control all over the World Wide Web. 

Anyway, rant over. If you’re not going to feel tainted listening to Marduk here’s Glorification of the Black God taken from the album celebrating its anniversary. If you’re wondering the music is an adaptation of Night on Bald Mountain by Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky, and the lyrics are inspired by Bald Mountains theme.