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/

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. 

Monday, 4 July 2011

Sepultura, Nightlord & Revoker - Islington O2 Academy - 30th June 2011

Six, that's six bruises on my arms and chest and a really sore chin. I've either gone ten rounds with David Haye or Sepultura fucked me up last night, and given the way I'm hiding these bruises from the wife I'm going to tell her it was David Haye if she sees them, It's just easier than trying to explain what a mosh pit is. If any of you have ever tried to explain a mosh to the uninitiated, it's hard for it not to sound really, really lame especially when you're 36.

ME: "You know... it's like, guys pushing other guys  but quite hard"
WIFE: "How old are these guys"
ME: I don't know 18 or 20 maybe some older"
WIFE: " basically bash kids barely out of their teens on the floor, isn't that more like assault"
ME: "No it's not like that (yes it is), they like it"

That's the point you give up.

Anyway, back to the review and the first band up were Revoker.

Revoker & The Metal Muppets
These guys are amazingly talented musicians with a great vocalist in Jamie Mathias. I have to say to my shame I thought they were Yanks at first until I bought a t-shirt from Chris Green (Guitarist) at the merch stand, so It was a bit of a shock when he spoke in his deepest darkest Welsh accent. The boys from Rhymney Valley apart from handing out shots of jagermeister put on a great show and obviously are doing very well for themselves on the back of these great performances. I see they supported Ozzy as part of Kerrang's 30th birthday celebrations so they're doing more than ok. I have to be honest about not having heard of these chaps until this week so I wasn't that familiar with their material before the gig. I hope if they ever read this they don't think me saying they were not the best match for Sepultura is in any way a criticism of their performance because as I've already said they were really good. The aggressive sound of Sepultura didn't blend so well with the more thrash/hard rock sound and the catchy tunes of Revoker. I'm sure it wont be long before Revoker are choosing their own support bands for the O2 Islington. They really are that good.

As far as I can make out NightLord hasn't played since 1993 and 18 years of rust has obviously made it's mark on them. The few albums they did make I'm sorry to say weren't that great and maybe if they had stayed together and continued writing they may have developed their style a little more. It was always going to be a tough ask for them to have any kind of polished stage presence and the lack of natural charisma really showed with very little participation from the crowd. I did give them a chance, I went to the front for ten minutes and obediently put my hand in the air when they told me to but my heart wasn't in it and it was fairly obvious theirs wasn't either. The crowd were so bored at this point they may as well have put some organ music on and fucked off. Not a great warm up for Sepultura.

I love this band. The last time I saw them they played the Scala to a sold out crowd so I was a little surprised they were playing the O2 Islington. Whatever though, all the better for us. Again I was unfamiliar with the new album which isn't amazing I have to say. Their performance was however off the scale amazing. Derrick Green is the scariest vegetarian I've ever seen, with a seriously good vocal. Everyone knows how good this band are so there's little point me going on about it I guess. The mosh was fairly brutal and I have my battle scars to prove it. All together a great night of metal \m/.