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.