The Heavy Metal Muppets is a place for all things Metal with a particular emphasis on the London Underground Metal scene. We are a bunch of friends who have been into Metal since the late 80's and want to share our enthusiasm with anyone else who's prepared to listen. The format varies and we hope keeps it interesting for everyone, so keep your eyes peeled for reviews, interviews, memoirs and live videos amongst other things \m/

Monday, 21 November 2011

Vader & Valkyrja - The Underworld, Camden, London - 14 November 2011

I had been looking forward to this gig for ages. Vader are one of the best bands around and you know their show is going to kick ass. On top of that I was meeting up with a good bunch of mates (Dan, Laura, Pat and Steffan) for this show. A swift couple of pints in The Worlds End started off the night nicely and then downstairs to The Underworld for Valkyrja.

Valkyrja are one of those rare black metal bands that I actually like. Even though they look weird and “oh so terrifying” with their corpse paint on the music was awesome. The best way I can describe it is a massive almost anthemic sound. I reckon it has something partly to do with coming from Sweden. So much good stuff comes out of that country it’s ridiculous. The band wasn’t too over the top black metal, i.e. deliberately sounding shit, but performed nicely arranged songs with a vocalist that didn’t make you just want to leave. Overall a quality band that I would happily enjoy seeing again. They seemed to have a pretty large following as well judging by the audience reaction to them.

VADER,VADER, VADER!!! What an unbelievable band. This is proper death metal and I can’t get enough of it. The show was relentless and incredible. The only thing missing was stage diving. It seems to be the norm recently that older bands prefer it if they have the stage to themselves. Fair enough, although I would have loved to have given a cheeky dive to show my appreciation. They played every song with precision and we loved it, dark and old school groovy. There was obviously a high Polish contingency in the audience as Peter spoke quite frequently in his native tongue, which I liked. It kinda made me feel like I was witnessing a home show. What a fantastic gig, well worth the wait.

I’m not a fan of Gorgoroth who were headlining and decided to make an early exit for the Dev as soon as they started screeching away at us. I did try and give them the benefit of the doubt, but no... Sorry, but I just can’t take that stuff... Long may Vader reign.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Dark Tranquillity, Eluveitie, Mercenary & Varg - The Garage, Highbury, London - 7th November 2011

The Neckbreaker’s Ball had been moved from The Forum to The Garage in Highbury obviously because of poor ticket sales, which was a touch for us because frankly I think the Forum sucks a bit and the sound is shit generally. Unfortunately I had to arrive late (about 7pm) because the gig started at a ridiculous early time which was a tad difficult for those of us with day jobs. Whatever, I was here for something different and was meeting my mate Paul and his friend Phil. Happy days.

The first band we caught were Varg (which means ‘Wolf’ in German apparently). At first I was thinking, “oh no these guys look stupid,” with their Braveheart face paint, proudly proclaiming their Viking heritage (aren’t they from Germany? Forgive me but I was under the impression that Vikings were from Scandinavia. Apologies if my history is out of whack). However, despite my obvious prejudice they managed to suitably win me over. When you look past all the cheese you have a heavy, groovy, full sound and incredibly catchy tunes. They remind me of old school death metal acts with a clear blackened death metal tip. I am always extremely pleased when a band manages to surprise me like this. Good stuff and judging by the reaction of the Garage audience I was not alone in thinking this. They even had me singing along to “Wolfskult” regardless of the fact that I’d never heard it before and it was in German, which I don’t speak or understand... Go figure.

Next to tread the boards was Mercenary from Denmark. This band is a confusing one. Every song without exception was half good and half rubbish. They burst on stage reminding me of Pantera back in the day and then within a split second turned the songs into something totally different, whiney, soft and the exact opposite to what we had just been listening to. Check out their facebook page and have a listen if you are unfamiliar with them. Bizarre to say the least and because of this I didn’t enjoy it. It was annoying.

Following Mercenary were Eluveitie. I wasn’t holding high hopes for these guys either because what I’ve heard in the past is a bit folky and weird for me. They plod on stage en masse (there are eight of them in the band). I started to worry when I saw the bagpipes and hurdy-gurdy wheeled out. Call me a traditionalist but this sort of thing just makes alarm bells ring and has me thinking, “horrible gimmick” every time. So, for the second time this evening I was seriously surprised... No, astonished. If you have never seen this band live I sincerely urge you to do so. It was a staggeringly good performance. I couldn’t get enough of the live show. This band from Switzerland had delivered probably one of my favourite shows of 2011. Absolute class. Bring on the flutes, violins, mandolins and hurdy-gurdies. What a shocker! They bloody look the part too.

Dark Tranquillity

Finally Dark Tranquillity. This was the first time I’ve seen this band even though I have been a fan for some time. Melodic Death Metal can be touch and go live in my opinion. However, Dark Tranquillity definitely lean towards the good side of this musical spectrum. The whole stage show was a joy to watch and Stanne looks as pleased as punch to be doing what he does. They promised to play until they got chucked out and they did just that. The projections running in the background gave an awesome feel to the show and the synchronised performance of ‘Zero Distance’ with the video was mesmerising. What a great end to an overall great night. Good company, lots of beer and heavy music, this is why I love Metal.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Abadden & Wrong Side of the Wall - Native Tongue, London - 5th November 2011


I was actually planning on making a trip to Watford to catch Parasitic Earth play a home show, which I have been itching to do for ages. However, due to illness they had to pull out a couple of days before. What was I to do? As fortune had it I received a text from John Blunt asking me if I was coming to “the show”. I assumed he was talking about Parasitic Earth, but no! Abadden were supporting some Hungarian Band called Wrong Side of the Wall at Native Tongue in Barbican. What a touch! Shame on me for not actually realising this to begin with. So I rallied the troops and arranged to meet Pat, The Empress, Renu the Drummer and of course the ever trusty Lady Toes for an evening of Abadden joy.

We found a Sam Smiths pub nearby and enjoyed a few pints before the show. Abadden came and joined us for a while which was brilliant. 8.45pm came and it was time for the performance. We walked in to a slightly odd unplugged set by Achilla that was just finishing.

Then Abadden hit the stage. As always they were on fine form. They played all the usual Abadden goodies plus a couple of new ones including, “Pray For Death”. They didn’t play “Angel of Death” this time but I guess they only had thirty minutes to show those who hadn’t heard them before how bloody good they are. Another stonking set, effortlessly laid on for us. Thanks guys.

Wrong Side of the Wall
I think the next band were Wrong Side of the Wall. It was pretty bizarre and not my cup of tea. I guess some of their stuff was quite catchy but altogether an acquired taste really. The main focus of the show, for our group particularly, was the shirtless, fat singer with the most outrageous man boobs we had ever seen. It did give us a good laugh though, so points scored for that.

All in all a sweet Saturday night out for all of us, which of course ended heavily booze soaked at the Dev in Camden. This time I blame Dan Pool for everything.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Bloodcell & Primitive - 1st November 2011 - The Water Rats, Kings Cross, London

It was a Tuesday night and I was in Kings Cross meeting up with my friends Sam and Dan to see Bloodcell at The Water Rats. We arranged to meet for a couple of swift pints before the gig at the pub across the street (The Lucas Arms I think). Now I’m going to be completely honest because what’s the point of doing this if I’m not, right? Bloodcell is a band made up of friends of mine but I hadn’t caught one of their shows before. I wasn’t holding high hopes because it was a Tuesday night and the show seemed a bit of a mish mash of bands and not particularly well promoted.

We made it to the venue in time to see the end of some boring folk/pop music type band with a terribly posh girl singing. Not a good start. Next up were Primitive. At first they seemed a little awkward on the stage but after a couple of songs really started to get into it. I was pleasantly surprised. They’re a pretty straight up death metal band and I enjoyed the tracks they played. They are a young and solid band who with a bit more experience should prove to be a permanent fixture on the scene. Nice work. Added to facebook and I’ll definitely see them again.

So on to Bloodcell. As I said before I was really there to support my mates on a night that I thought they would need it. Have I ever been more wrong? Hell no! Bloodcell are fucking brilliant and I’m not just saying that. They are a mixture of everything that is great about old school thrash. A pinch of Slayer, a teaspoon of Megadeth, a drop of Exodus, need I labour the point anymore? Pat and the boys have a stage presence of a band that has been doing this shit for years. I can’t even begin to tell you how glad I was to make it down, as clearly were the rest of the audience that pretty much filled the room. Bloodcell kick ass live and you’d be a dumbass to miss their show on 1st December(which is free) at The Unicorn.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Sylosis & Malefice - Islington O2 Academy - 7th October 2011

I seem to spend much of my time hanging around with the guys from Abadden these days and this gig was no exception. I met with John and Dan earlier on in the day at The Dev in Camden. This has got to be the best pub in town for sure, the only problem is that it’s impossible to tell when the place opens... I think 2pm, but won’t put money on it. A few beers later and a random extra ticket purchased off a stranger in the pub that we didn’t need off we headed to the O2 Academy Islington. Once we arrived we were joined by Lady Toes and Pat.

After having staggered in from an afternoon in pubs we were greeted by Malefice. They were stunning live and for me the best of the two bands we saw that night. I had never seen either Sylosis or Malefice before but have been a fan of the music for some time. What an excellent show, the sound, the lights and the all round professional performance had me moshing away like a sixteen year old. Magnificent. If you haven’t had a chance to see this band and do in the future do not hesitate, just do it!!

Don’t get me wrong, Sylosis were pretty shit hot too. This kind of venue suits them perfectly. The place was almost, if not, a sell out and the audience was lively. At times the pit became a little hostile, as can happen with loads of beer and awesome metal but whatever. An extremely polished set performed by an experienced and accomplished band.

A gig on a Friday is always going to end in carnage and this was a prime example. Smashing company, a truckload of beer and exciting music made for a brilliant evening in Islington. This is what makes being a metal fan so (in the words of Bill and Ted) excellent.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Abadden & Parasitic Earth - The Hat Factory, Luton - 1st October 2011

Day three. Even though I wasn’t actually going to a gig that night doesn’t make attending Abadden’s rehearsal before their homecoming show, where I would be hearing their new stuff and the secret cover they had up their sleeves, any less part of my marathon. I had attended Evile with John from the band so we decided that a pub crawl around London to begin with was in order. Mission accomplished.

So we caught the train up to Luton from St Pancras in the late afternoon and found that we still had time for more beer. Finally after countless pints it was time to make our way to their practice studio in Leagrave. On arrival we found Dan and Billy waiting outside drinking anticipating John and Bell’s imminent arrival. Fast forward an hour and everything was set up and ready to go. It’s a strange feeling the transition from being a fan to becoming a mate but this has been my experience with Abadden. The rehearsal was astonishing. I was expecting almost to be bored shitless at points but I assuredly wasn’t. It was engaging and I was honoured to have been one of the first to hear the new songs and the cover they had been hyping for the show the following day.

After a few hours of this I was taken to a dodgy rock club, “The Edge” until fuck knows what time that morning. Bloody hell these guys can put the beers away. Good times though, definitely good times.

The next morning I wake with a sand paper mouth and a more than sketchy head, but still pumped for the show that night. Which is what I want to talk about now...

Parasitic Earth
I was only able to see two bands at this show, put on at The Hat Factory in Luton, but they were the ones I had to see without question. The first being PARASITIC EARTH. I’ve seen these guys a few times, quoted them as one of my top ten bands of 2011, and have to say I like them more and more every time I see them. The only criticism I have of this show is that Parasitic Earth do not get the reception they deserve and I have seen this happen before (I just don’t get it). These guys are bloody good. Their songs kick ass and their live show is so energetic and well oiled. Every time I see them they put 100% into the performance and there was no change this time. I will have to catch a home show in Watford, I’m sure it’ll be a whole different situation. Don’t be disheartened lads, there are seriously positive things in your future, absolutely no doubt. For what it’s worth I thoroughly enjoyed the set and I am proudly a firm fan. For those of you that haven’t seen them before, go when you get a chance and show them the love they so deserve. You won’t regret it.

The moment we had been waiting for had finally arrived... ABADDEN. The rig was awesome making the sound in the room crisp and heavy. I like this venue, it’s a great place for a metal show. The place was full and Abadden tore it up. They played all the usual classics plus the new stuff, but the highlight for me had to be their cover of “Angel of Death”. It was so well performed, close enough to the original not to make it sound stupid but with Abadden’s distinctive style sewn all the way through the song. The crowd were going mental from start to finish. I have seen this band many times before but I think this was the best ever for me. I cannot believe that they haven’t been snapped up by the likes of Earache yet. The mind boggles. The set flew by and we all went out to fuck knows what time afterwards to celebrate. They had a show in Leicester the following day and if Luton was anything to go by Leicester won’t know what hit it. This was probably my favourite show of 2011, completely astonishing stuff.

One thing I won’t recommend though is the EasyHotel around the corner from The Hat Factory. It’s like stepping into The Twilight Zone, and I’ll leave it at that. 10/10 to both Abadden and Parasitic Earth. Check out my interviews with both bands previously from our web TV show at Thrash Thursday here.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Evile, Sworn Amongst, Stuka Squadron & L Sol Tace - Relentless Garage, Highbury, London -29 September 2011

Evile‘s Album Launch Party was finally upon us. I’d been looking forward to this for some time. I was looking forward to it even more after I heard “Five Serpents Teeth”, a fine return to their original form. Joining me for this one were my good and trusty pals, John and Pat. As the gig was at The Relentless Garage in Highbury we decided to meet early and sink a few at “The Famous Cock” across the street from the venue. We decided, however, to be on time because we’d heard good things about the first support L Sol Tace.

L Sol Tace
L Sol Tace are a hellacious band. At first I thought they seemed a bit weird because they didn’t move. They literally stood glued to the spot cranking out a heavy brand of thrash/death/groove. I soon realised it was because the drum kit was so close to the front of the stage that they had no choice but to remain still. Anton the vocalist looks a bit like a pirate and has an extraordinary voice. Enjoyable stuff, although I’d like to see them with a bit more space and experience everything this band’s live performance has to offer. I’ll be looking for their next show.

Stuka Squadron
Next up were Stuka Squadron. I’m not sure if this was a piss take or not. Assuming it wasn’t, I don’t think I have seen anything so ridiculous. There were five of them on stage dressed from head to toe in what appeared to be some semblance of comical Air Force costumes (long black leather jackets and gay bar leather aviation hats) accessorised by feeble plastic vampire fangs and joke shop blood. They were cheesy and a bad counterfeit of Iron Maiden at points. I hate this kind of stuff. I mean I enjoy the lighter side of metal but it pisses me off that some shit like this gets a slot supporting Evile than the multitude of bands that deserve it more. I wouldn’t recommend it... Total rubbish.

Sworn Amongst
Sworn Amongst followed. This is a class act. This is real, balls out new British thrash. They have a new EP “Evolution” (I haven’t heard it yet but if it’s anything like “Severance” it’ll be dazzling). The set seemed to fly by, I guess because we were enjoying it so much. I fucking love the vocals in this band. The lads seem very comfortable on the stage and the crowd certainly seemed to be getting into the bewildering, full on thrash attack. I think for me Sworn Amongst were the best band of the evening. Buy their album, buy their EP and go to their shows, you won’t regret it. Seriously.

Finally Evile. I know I said that Sworn Amongst were my favourite band of the evening but I don’t want you to think for one moment that Evile weren’t impressive. As always Evile delivered the goods. They played a blistering and lengthy set. The new album “Five Serpents Teeth” is a proficient and masterful example of how thrash should be performed. From start to finish it gleams. As it was the album launch party they played a hefty chunk from the new album to our delight. A particular new favourite for me is the single “Cult”. The whole bloody set was fantastic and we all left thoroughly entertained. The crowning stroke was as we left was the handing out of limited edition Evile Energy drinks as souvenirs. Nice touch.

Furyborn, Phyrexia & Kemakil - The Purple Turtle - 28 September 2011

Well this was to be the first night of my four day metal marathon and to kick off with a Kemakil gig is nothing short of perfection. The Purple Turtle is not my favourite venue at the moment but to be fair there didn’t appear to be the same queuing issue that there has been lately. Let’s be serious for a moment Kemakil and Furyborn are kick ass bands but it’s a Wednesday night, it’s not going to be full and a stupid long queue outside isn’t going to fool anyone. So, thanks Purple Turtle for that. Pat and I sunk a couple at The Hope & Anchor before we made our way in. Kemakil were a little bit late but nobody really cared.  As has been the usual thing lately I opt instantly for the Bee Sting cider they have on tap here at The Purple Turtle, and this is what I am blaming for the limited review I am able to give for this night... Sorry.

First on stage... KEMAKIL. You have got to love this band. They are what thrash is all about. Even though the sound is bollocks in this venue they still gave us a top notch performance. Being the first band on (I have no idea why this was the case but still) and the fact that the doors were opened a bit late meant that they didn’t have the audience they deserved, but for those of us that were there they delivered just as they always do. To make things even better I was able to meet them properly this time and we had a few beers. Top blokes, all of them. Proper rock stars. Best band of the night for me.

The next band that I can remember seeing were Phyrexia. What caught my attention most was how young these guys seem to be. Or maybe that’s just because I’m getting old. Regardless they are accomplished musicians that have decent stage presence. I enjoyed their set and applaud their energy. Good stuff, death metal mixed with melody. Sounds as if Johan Hegg is on vocals with Iron Maiden backing him up (at times).

Up next were Furyborn. This was a great set. Brutal as fuck. They delivered what was advertised “Crushing the South Tour”. Jut Tabor is a very charismatic front man and the crowd responded to him accordingly. If you haven’t already and have a chance to catch these guys live I would strongly urge you to do so. The Bee Sting had seriously kicked in by this point but not enough for me not to realise that these guys are the shit. Definitely one to watch.

That’s all I remember unfortunately. The two bands that have disappeared into a haze are Engraved Disillusion and Codex Alimentarius who I will endeavour to see again in the near future and make up for my poor and ailing memory. Overall a splendid evening was had, mostly thanks to the Kemakil lads, and what an amazing start to my metal marathon. Bring on Evile.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Cannabis Corpse, Necroriser & Cavity Search - 8th September 2011 - The Purple Turtle, London

Thursday 8th September was the long awaited night for parody act Cannabis Corpse at The Purple Turtle. I met my friend Pat in good time and joined the stupid queues that they always insist on having outside this venue. Who are they kidding? As if there’s going to be a rammed to capacity show at 730pm. It’s becoming seriously annoying because every time I go to this place I always end up missing most of the first band’s set.

Cavity Search
So in true Purple Turtle style I managed to only catch half of Cavity Search’s show despite being on time. The moment I walked in was the moment that one of the guitarists strings broke and had to leave the stage looking for someone to lend him another guitar. Which incidentally turns out to be a harder thing to do than you might imagine because apparently Cavity Search tune their guitars normally and not weirdly like the other bands. As a result it meant no more gig for him. However, for us it didn’t seem to make too much difference because they’re a ballsy punk/hardcore band. I like this kind of stuff and found Cavity Search pretty cool. Slightly off key on the bill but definitely one to watch if you’re into the punky stuff.

NECRORISER!! This band are pure metal and truthfully the reason I was there. Despite the problems the band were having with their monitors (apparently they couldn’t hear anything on stage) they still managed to pull off a killer set. They look awesome and sound great. Early Sepultura eat your heart out. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and there were plenty of Necroriser shirts in the crowd. There’s a reason I quoted them as one of my top ten bands of 2011 and this gig just proved why. Not only do they know how to slay on stage they also have plenty of time for the fans who came to see them... Made even more evident by the late night drinking at The Dev afterwards.

I don’t even want to talk about what happened next... Seriously, I’m going to pretend it never happened.

Cannabis Corpse
So on to Cannabis Corpse, one word... Wicked. They remind me so much of the slower, less technical old school death metal bands of the early 90’s. Bands akin to Death, Cancer, Gutted and Massacre. There’s a real groove to their music that takes me back. The band is a tribute/parody of the mighty Cannibal Corpse (and made up of members of Municipal Waste amongst others) which almost seems a shame because Pat hadn’t taken them in anyway seriously before the show, which I imagine as a result of the comedic aspect of the band, many others probably feel the same. I only mean it’s a shame because the music and the live show is so fucking good, basically too good to be taken so lightly. Great show, great band.

In conclusion the bill was unusual and I had heard that the promoter was trying to mix things up a little, which seems a bit weird if you ask me. I am also going off The Purple Turtle because they seem to be taking the piss. Apart from that, overall the night was a success.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

The Treatment, Six Hour Sundown & The Crave - The Borderline, London - 6th September 2011


With great excitement and anticipation my brother Max and I met in London’s West End in preparation to see The Treatment’s first London headlining show and new album launch at The Borderline. It seems poignant to mention here that this was where I first caught them supporting Zodiac Mindwarp a couple of years ago. It is testament to how far they’ve come in such a short time. We had a couple of beers in a pub close by as a quick livener for the show to come. Who cares that it’s a Tuesday night, this is The Treatment.

After making a few swift greetings to some friends No Americana graced the stage. I don’t consider this band rock or metal so don’t have much to say about them. It’s not my sort of thing and not for this blog at least. If you like poppy American Pie type music, then you might appreciate this lot.

Six Hour Sundown
The second band up were Six Hour Sundown. The first thing I clocked was that they’re fronted by a female singer. I’m not normally that beguiled with female vocals so didn’t hang much hope on them from the outset. They sure proved me wrong. They are a belting rock band that certainly delivered. I found out later that the girl in question is Lauren Harris, daughter to the important and celebrated Steve Harris of Iron Maiden. The set seemed to fly by in a flash. Good stuff and I’d absolutely check them out again.
The Treatment

Finally, The Treatment. What can I say? There is no way I can be impartial about this band. I am a HUGE fan. They rocked through their set effortlessly, providing a faultless show to a packed Borderline crowd. They played a substantial portion from their new album and threw a couple of covers in for good measure, one I believe was an homage to Dhani’s Dad Laurie. I behaved in my typical fashion at a Treatment gig, like a Metal Muppet! I have no qualms with exhibiting my propensity for the guys. All I can say is what a wonderful evening of rock excellence. These boys are beyond any doubt ready for their European Tour with Alice Cooper. Mind blowing.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Ten UK Metal Acts Not To Be Missed

August is always a bit dry on the old gig front, so I thought I’d take a few minutes out to round up my top 10 UK metal bands of the last six months. I strongly urge you all to check this lot out. I’ve also updated the playlist to incorporate songs from these fine UK bands.

Abadden – The absolute bollocks. They mix thrash with death in a totally unique and accessible way. Their live show is faultless and they also happen to be some of the coolest guys around.

Seed of Detest – One of the tightest bands I have ever seen. New death metal, their EP is impeccably produced by Russ Russell. The EP is available for free download.

Kemakil – As I said before, “old school cool.” This is UK thrash at its very best. A band with supremely confident stage presence.

Parasitic Earth – The only way I can describe them is deathcore I suppose. These guys are serious troopers. Excellent live performances and equally impressive studio recordings.

Suicide Watch – New thrash metal. If their album “Global Warning” is anything to go by these guys have a bright future ahead of them. Itching to catch them live.

Necroriser – Not technically from the UK (Brazil actually) but still a firm fixture on the UK scene. Think early Sepultura and you’re getting close.

Basement Torture Killings – How can you not love this band? The stage show is bonkers and the music is brutal as fuck. One of my favourite death metal bands ever.

Amputated – One word for this lot, outrageous. Pig squeeling , death metal brilliance. Do not miss these guys... Seriously.

Revoker – Surprisingly good metal from South Wales. The live show is vibrant and energetic. The studio album “Revenge for the Ruthless” is one of those that stays on repeat for weeks.

The Treatment – I have seen these guys go from strength to strength. The album “This Might Hurt” is throwback Rock n Roll reminiscent of Guns N Roses and AC/DC to name but a few. Extremely competent live and a great bunch of lads to boot.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Thrash Thursday III feat Abadden, Parasitic Earth, XXXX & Desolator - The Unicorn, Camden - 21 July 2011

We love Thrash Thursday so much we thought we'd make a web TV show for a change. We hope you enjoy it. Support your local scene... Support UK thrash!

Check the bands out below:

Friday, 22 July 2011

Agnostic Front, First Blood & Pay No Respect - 20 July 2011 - Camden Underworld

Pay No Respect

I was joined this evening by my mate John for the Agnostic Front show at the Camden Underworld. I'd been itching to get to this gig because it feels like forever since my last outing and from experience you know that Agnostic Front are unlikely to disappoint.
Pay No Respect were the first band we caught. Unfortunately for them the sound was terrible which made their set almost uncomfortable to watch. This new type of hardcore that attracts the windmilling bellends gets on my nerves as regular readers of this blog well know, and they were in force during this set. I could slate the performance but I won't because I think they made a good effort but were severely let down by the sound. I'll reserve judgement for another time.
First Blood
First Blood were the next band we saw and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. Of course there were the usual hardcore dancing dicks but it didn't bother me so much during this set. They play with an energy that is quite magnetic. After the disappointing band previously this was a breath of fresh air and an excellent warm up for what was to come. Definitely worth checking out if you like the hardcore stuff.
Agnostic Front
Agnostic Front were incredible. I've seen them many times over the years and their shows have always been highly charged but on this night it was taken another level. Roger Miret and his band of hardcore nutters whipped the crowd into an absolute frenzy. What was cool was that the crowd was thick enough to prevent the stupid dancing and what we were left with was a perfect pit. The stage diving was off the scale and the atmosphere prickled with old school New York hardcore goodness. I had a blast and it appeared everyone else did to. It must be such a trip playing in Agnostic Front and getting to experience that every night of your tour. Bang on, cracking stuff!

Monday, 18 July 2011

CONCLUSION - Airbourne - 30 July 2011 - Shepherds Bush Empire - DOWNGRADED TICKETS

Following my last update on the Airbourne situation (see here) Live Nation refused to communicate with me any further. Any attempt to resolve the situation has simply been ignored. After I had received the original promise that our tickets would be honoured (as standing tickets) I had purchased one further (through Ticketweb/Ticketmaster) in order to add another person to our group going to the concert. So, since Live Nation have refused to speak to me and offered only a seated separation of our entire group for the evening as an acceptable alternative to standing all together, we were left with no other option but to take the refund. I like Airbourne, but not so much that I would sit and watch them by myself knowing my friends were dotted all around the venue.

Having had to return the tickets to Stargreen (who incidentally took almost a month to refund the money after I had chased them five times*) I contacted Ticketweb to try and have the single ticket (a standing ticket no less (!) bought months after my original purchase through Stargreen) refunded under these unusual circumstances (not an altogether unreasonable request). It took them three days to reply and guess what? They wouldn’t refund the ticket under any circumstances. I was also asked, in the same email, to complete a customer satisfaction survey. The survey was hosted by Live Nation. The penny then dropped. Ticketmaster and Live Nation are one and the same. So to add insult to injury they wouldn’t even refund one ticket considering how much they had lied and screwed us (the fans) over and despite the fact that I called them on it. They know what they are doing is wrong and obviously believe that turning their backs on us is acceptable business practise.

It’s hardly surprising therefore that after a little digging, to find that Live Nation and Ticketmaster are no strangers to this kind of controversy. Have a read of this article on the subject. With particular reference to the quote from Sally Greenberg, executive director of the National Consumers League, “we remain concerned that these two companies, with a history of anti-consumer behaviour, will abide only by the letter and not the spirit of the settlement agreement.” The concerns that Sally and many other people had voiced so vehemently before the merger are clearly demonstrated by this, albeit minor, incident.  I for one think that it’s disgusting that we are left with very little option than to line the pockets of these dishonest and deceitful charlatans.

* Stargreen aren’t entirely blameless in this situation. Having tried to initially sort this problem out they had no interest in doing so. I was given a clear cut choice, (a) take the refund or (b) take the seats. No discussion. Apparently, “there is nothing that they can do” in these situations. Considering the way I have been spoken to and dealt with by these people over the last few months it makes me laugh when I read on their website, “If you have questions about your order, sorry but we can’t deal with them on the Internet. Please telephone – our office staff are friendly real people and don’t bite.” Could’ve fooled me. It has so far taken weeks and you need to chase them constantly to try and get a refund at all, a process that takes less than a minute. Avoid using them at all costs.

More reading on the subject:

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

The Power of Eddie

Dave’s story was well received and as a result has inspired another metal mini-biography from Sam. I hope you like it. We certainly did.

The Power of Eddie

I read Dave's story and it got me thinking about my own and my love affair with Metal and the subsequent effect it has had on my life, so here goes...

It was 1984 and I was nine and up until then had only been exposed to my brother's music (Zappa, Little Feat, The Doors etc) and the early Now That's What I Call Music. Then one fateful day I went to Heathrow airport with my mum to pick up a friend of hers. Whilst waiting we went into a shop to get a present or something for her mate, she let me wander off to look at the selection of cassettes on offer. One album cover leapt out at me and told me that it had to leave with me at any cost. It was Iron Maiden's first album Iron Maiden. I could not take my eyes off the picture of Eddie, I had never seen any thing like it. It is now tattooed on my left foot.

I took it off the shelf and basically harassed my Ma into buying it for me, I think she did it to simply shut me up. We collected the friend and went home where upon I ran upstairs and put on the tape and listened whilst staring at the cover. I wish I could say that I loved it there and then, but that would be a lie. I loved the cover but my young ears just weren't ready yet. It was put away in a box.

A year later whilst tidying my room I found the tape and stuck it on, this time I had a very different reaction. Steve Harris' bass on Running Free made me shiver as did Iron Maiden. I learned the lyrics and sang along having no idea what it all meant, just that it was awesome. There it began, as did my collecting of any Maiden album I could lay my hands on.

The next great discovery came in the form of punk. My cousin gave me one  Christmas  The Clash's Combat Rock and a home made anarchy badge and a whole new world opened up. From that I discovered The Sex Pistols and Putney's first twelve year old middle class punk was born. I had the lot, bondage trousers, donkey jacket with ‘I Hate’ in safety pins on the back, ripped Pistols T-shirt, DM's and  spiky hair. I loved The Pistols and still do.

From there regular trips to the bowels of High St. Ken market led to bands such as Charged G.B.H. and The Exploited and obscure one's like The Snivelling Shits. I could not get enough of punk.

I went to school at seven and made friends with a dude called Alex and on my return to school after the awakening to Maiden we started to listen to as much Metal as we could. This was aided by his older brother, Dan, who not only had loads of tapes but also played guitar in a band. We listened to W.A.S.P, Led Zepplin, Motorhead and lots of Maiden, Scorpions and plenty of 80's hair metal.

W.A.S.P were a favourite, how could you not love a band that covered themselves in blood and raw meat and sung about fucking like a beast, drinking and so on, perfect.

Then  it all changed as we found Metallica and Megadeth. We just could not believe our ears. What was this? Thrash was just so much heavier and faster than what we had known before and we loved it.

The first Megadeth album we heard was Killing Is My Business, it was mind blowing, but then came along Peace Sells and it was even better. The title track is with out doubt one of the greatest thrash tracks ever written, it is timeless. If it was first released tomorrow it would still be seminal.

Megadeth were our favourites by far, how ever Metallica of course made an impression. We loved Kill ‘Em All and in my opinion their finest album, Master of the Puppets, a perfect combination of technical thrash and pounding heaviness. I enjoyed Justice but never became a big Metallica fan.

By now I had become obsessed with punk and metal. I got my first leather jacket. I started to collect vinyl at a ferocious rate all my pocket money, birthdays and Christmas were used to buy records. I still have a lot of it and bought a record player recently to play them again. I went to Our Price, Reckless Records, Ken Market, Shades and later Metal Head off Carnaby St, where I managed to do work experience after G.C.S.E's.

Even though I was on a search for as heavy as I could find when Appetite for Destruction came out both Alex and I were hooked and it still is one of my favourite records ever. To me Guns and Roses were a one record band like the Pistols, one moment of pure perfection. Thanks to Slash I got hold of a guitar, cowboy boots, and started to smoke.

1989 was a big year in metal for me. Firstly, through the BBC Arena  documentary I made two very important discoveries. Firstly, Napalm Death and the mighty Slayer. Napalm were amazing, so fast and so heavy and yet still reminded me of early 80's punk. I went out and bought Scum, From Enslavement to Obliteration and the Mentally Murdered E.P., which had a band photo with Lee Dorian wearing khaki army trousers with confuse written on them, so I did the same. I became a total Grind fan and an avid collector of any Earache release. Carcass quickly became a favourite; Symphonies of Sickness being a classic album.

Slayer, what can any one say about them, unbelievable. Raining Blood is another timeless thrash track, the feedback, rain effect, then Dave Lombardo's bass drum and the duel guitars howling out that riff. They fast became one of my favourites and I still listen to them.

Secondly, I went to my first gig with my older brother, Overkill at the Astoria, supported by Mordred. It is safe to say I was shitting myself, but ended up loving every second. It took awhile to relax but by the end of the gig I was singing “Fuck You” at the top of my voice along with Bobby Blitz.

Thirdly, I discovered the band Death one of the first true Death Metal bands.  I was now into extreme metal any way but this was different, Leprosy was my first Death album and was spellbinding. Not long after finding Death other Death Metal bands emerged form the Florida scene, Morbid Angel, Obituary, Cannibal Corpse, Deicide and Massacre all genre defining bands.

Last but not least I met your resident Metal Muppet, Matt, at school. We became a double act and the Heavy Metal Dicks were born!

Matt and I dedicated the next 8 years to all things Metal. We formed a band Exus, recorded a demo which Shane form Napalm liked. We were never out of our metal uniform, combat trousers, boots, T-shirts and painted leather jackets, bullet belts and the odd mistake like our prat hats, TWAT hats more like. Matt's Butchered At Birth jacket became well known on the London scene.

We attended any gig we could go to and I mean any. From a shit pub thrash band to Guns and Roses at Wembley Stadium. We even got free tickets and back stage passes to Iron Maiden, thanks to my Dad. There are far to many to mention here but I will mention the ones that really stuck out as special; Deicide, Biohazard, Obituary, Ministry, Fuck Reading festival especially The Exploited, Slayer, Carcass, Megadeth, Overkill, Morbid Angel, all the Donnington's attended... this is stupid we saw them all, every great band in Thrash and Death from that 90's era, I don't want to sound arrogant but we really did!

My love of Heavy Metal went on a break when is was 21 and I lost myself in dance music. 10 years later I started listening to the old bands again and fell in love again. The first gig I went to, after the break, was  one of my top bands ever Suicidal Tendencies, they were awesome and it was my first pit in 12 years. Since then I have been to quite a few gigs.

I am not as hardcore as once was, my tastes have changed. There is more chance of catching me in high end fashion, trying to learn how to make men's clothes and listening to Johnny Cash, than boots and leather. But even now that image of Eddie I was so drawn too at 9 defined my taste, as did my whole youth spent with heavy metal. I am covered in tattoos, lots of skulls, I am a sucker for skulls and the darker images of life. But I think most of all, like the music, I just can't conform, I can't be part of straight (normal) society. Always on the fringe and not quite accepted and may it stay like this forever.

Writing this, I know I have missed out so much stuff, stories, moments, and bands. I think I have talked about myself enough. When all is said and done I think I am still a 12 year old punk stuck in my ageing 35 year old body. I will all ways love Metal in its many forms and if I have any kids they better get their ears ready...

Thank you to Matt and Alex for being my partners in Metal and all those bands that shaped my youth and still affect me even now.