Avenged Sevenfold - Avenged Sevenfold

Whatever the concept of this album was originally, it was lost in the meanderings of a band lacking a clear direction. Their videos and single releases give the impression of a very focused band. This album shatters that illusion. With the release of 'Almost Easy' expectations were high - ten tracks of similar rocking, edgy, drum and guitar laden songs. Not so.

For whatever reason, 'Lost' is an apt description and should've been the album title. Shadows sounds like a kid using a transformer-voice changer. That is, when he (rarely) stops whinging in that supremely nasal voice of his. Then there's the string section in 'afterlife' which makes you want to hurry them on their way to it by garotting the entire band with strings from their own instruments.

A7X are not a terrible band. Far from it. Tracks like 'Gunslinger' and 'Dear God' show that they're capable of some OK tracks. But then they blow it all with the likes of 'A Little Piece Of Heaven'. It sounds like Tim Burton/Danny Elfman writing the soundtrack to Roger Rabbit whilst holidaying in the Czech Republic. Unlike Marilyn Manson who CAN pull off the surreal, and slightly scary, Willy Wonka songs, A7X are far too 'normal' and their attempts at cartoony weirdness just don't work. 'A Little Piece Of Heaven' just sounds somewhat silly - especially with the use of a very MM sounding voice towards the end of the track.

It's almost too easy (Geddit??!) to deride this album. City of Evil was much stronger overall. As the band were also the producers on this, the blame lies most definitely with them. A very poor body of work compared to their other works. Hopefully next time they'll hire a decent producer!  5/10


Paramore - Riot!

Fantastic! This is what Avril Lavigne should have been. Ok, so Hayley Williams (and bandmate Josh Farro) may not be writing this style of music if not for Avril. This isn't Inspired. It's not original. But it's good nonetheless.

Although Paramore are another Christian Rock Group, it doesn't take over the music, which is chirpy, catchy, easy to sing along to. Tracks like 'Hallelujah', 'CrushCrushCrush' and 'Misery Business' give the band credibility. The band are obviously talented, and unlike Avril, Hayley has a rich texture to her voice, especially when singing in the sexier lower registers.

With Hayley being this years girly 'Style Icon' and Paramore putting out a second good album, they look set to stick around for a while.   6/10


Foo Fighters - Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace

Rock at it's finest. This band don't seem capable of putting a foot wrong. The reason this band is one of the greatest is possibly due to their ability to incorporate such diversity in their albums, whilst still managing to keep a very distinctive sound. Most well known for their rock anthems this album includes 'The Pretender' and 'Long Road To Ruin'. But the Foos are much more than just rock: the ballads 'Let It Die' and 'Home' are exquisite. The acoustic track 'Ballad of Beaconsfield' is truly beautiful and 'But Honestly' is possibly the most dynamic song on the album - 2 minutes of acoustic performance that builds into a further 2 minutes of the best Rock session on the entire album.  

These guys are consistently intricate, thought-provoking, energetic, calming, and strangely god-like; every album has a track that touches us in different ways. Intuitively, they have evolved with the changing face of music, and this is the band that sets the bar for everyone else. This may be their finest album - hard to say with such an amazing range of albums to date. Let's just pray they never stop making music!


Down - Over The Under

Heavy, bluesy, sexy, chilled out. Down continue to produce albums that are for men! Whisky and pole dancers automatically spring to mind.  Any fans of Alice in Chains/Jerry Cantrell, Tool, or even Pantera's 'Planet Caravan' will appreciate this offering. The heavy, pronounced drumming and grinding guitar lines in 'Mourn' are balanced by the gentle sway of 'His Majesty the Desert' whilst B.B.King would be at home playing on 'Never Try'.

To be properly appreciated it should come with a health warning - No kids/Dogs/Girlfriends or other annoying pests to be around at time of playing! The perfect alone-time album! 6.5/10


Marilyn Manson - Eat Me, Drink Me

Mr Manson was truly depressed when he wrote this Alice in Wonderland inspired album. Having split with Dita von Teese, it's easy to understand his mental state. The songs are, for the most part, bleak. A couple of tracks would've been more at home on the Queen of the Damned soundtrack. The remainder of the album is still typical Manson rock - but not at it's best. It's the type of rock that you want to slit your wrists to, not jump around to.

Overall, the album isn't too bad. It's got the distinctive MM sound - clean and well produced with the OCD attitude MM has for all his work. Just don't expect the upbeat tempo of Antichrist, GAOTG, or even Mechanical Animals. This is one you listen to on a dark rainy night whilst driving home alone!. 


Roadrunner United - The Allstar Sessions

This album was truly inspired.  A collaboration of Roadrunner artists of the last 25 years, from the first note you can tell the album is going to be legendary.  Produced to the usual high standard seen in RR albums, this is full of edgy, gripping sounds; a combination of the heavy, the dark, the serenely beautiful, the melancholy, and the downright comical!  All areas of metal have been cleverly combined to complete a walk through history of 'metal through the ages', presented with an entirely fresh approach. 

The masterpiece of the album is also the first single release.  'The End' was written by Dino Cazares of Fear Factory but features Matt Heafy (Trivium), Nadja Peulen (Coal Chamber), Roy Mayorga (Soulfly), Logan Mader (Machinehead) and producer extraordinaire, Rhys Fulber.  All 18 tracks show the same diversity in artists and is an album that any band would be proud to put  out.

There is absolutely nothing critical to be said of this album.  No collection is complete without the likes of The Black Album, Iowa, Nevermind, and Use Your Illusion.  No collection is complete without The Allstar Sessions!  10/10


Fear My Thoughts - Hell Sweet Hell

Fear My Thoughts are a Metalcore band with a hint of Black Metal; this despite the rather Emo sounding name!  'Hell Sweet Hell' is packed chock with huge riffs, evil bass lines, demonic vocals, and some brilliant guitar solos you can't ignore.  The music is perfectly accompanied by the unintelligible lyrics.  The lyrics you do manage to decipher will knock you out!

The album is let down by the length of some of the instrumental sections which drag on and the final track will leave you bored enough you'd rather listen to 'S Club 7'!!!  I love a good guitar solo, but some solos contravene human rights!!!

The album is one to take notice of, and a band that I look forward to seeing live.  8/10

[Richard Gibbs]

Deadlock - Earth. Revolt

If you like Dimmu Borgir or Cradle of Filth, add this album to your shopping list!  Earth.Revolt promises to be one of the biggest melodic death metal albums of the year.  It winds it's way through the 10 tracks without ever becoming repetitive.  Johannes Prem's raw vocals  would benefit from being more pronounced, hiding too much in the background.  This is only a minor distraction as they are enhanced by keyboards producing highly charged atmospheric melodies and complemented both by the swirling acoustic and piano pieces, and Sabine Wenigers lush vocals.  In fact, Sabine adds some gorgeous overtones to an already rich album, sounding something like a young girl with a voice ideally suited to the rock power-ballads of the 80's.

This is a fantastically emotive album and deserves high praise.  I for one, can't wait for their next offering!     8/10

To listen to the album preview or chat to the band click here: -Deadlock on Myspace 


Hell Within - Asylum of the Human Predator

A mosh-monsters orgy.  The whole album is fast-paced and angry from beginning to end.  If you're feeling pissed-off at life and just wanna shout till your tonsils burst, this is the album to put on.   Fast, heavy, brutal, catastrophic. The main emphasis is on the crushing double-bass drumming by Bubba, and the throat-ripping vocals, which is where this band differ from their contemporaries; - the 'singing' is secondary to the growling of Matt McChesney - an exceptionally angry man.  Unfortunately the songs are littered with guitar solos, which detract from the F-5 power of this album.

7.5/10  To listen to the album preview or chat to the band click here: - Hell Within on Myspace


System of A Down- Mesmerize 

In a genre that is constantly expanding, growing and shape shifting, System of a Down have created a niche all of their own. Three years ago, I had no idea who they were. Since then they’ve come on leaps and bounds, practically starting a whole new genre by themselves, mixing Armenian Folk Music with Metal.

Systems previous albums have been astoundingly good. I was a bit thrown when I played the latest offering, Mesmerize, and found it to be so polished and on the verge of mainstream, almost pop metal! However, after the initial shock of how cheesy the sound is, the album takes on a life of its own. It’s very musical with subtly intricate percussion; the guitars are doing a lot more than you can hear on a first listening. Relief in the form of musical talent!

Soldier Side is a sombre introduction to the album, short lived with the onset of BYOB, an onslaught of pretty awesome riffage.

The rest of the album from ‘Revenga’ all the way through to ‘Lost in Hollywood’ is a non-stop ride of insane music and vocals, with lots of laughs and screams thrown in for good measure! There are so many different musical ideas from a bit of reggae to blatant metal to the classical Eastern sound, all of which System have managed to make work so well.

The whole album is an insane collection of stunning soundscapes, and despite the cheesiness, System have maintained a semblance of their hallmark sound. Be prepared for lots of schizoid vocals, weirdness, cheesy, poppy, gutsy and damn anthemic monster tunes. 7/10

[Pasha Shah]


God Forbid - Gone Forever

"Force Fed" is the opening track but rest assured this isn't something that needs to be shoved through your earholes! Mosh monsters beware - this album will leave you with neck-ache!!  With a fantastic drumbeat that carries you all the way through the album without becoming stodgy, and a driving guitar section, the music moves you from beginning to end with barely a ripple.  The twinned guitars from the Coyle brothers produce a completely solid wall of sound with the occasional superb solo - fortunately not something they do to the death (unlike their label mates Shadows Fall!).  The vocals are just plain vicious and would intimidate a hard-arsed marine into getting naked and bending over - not something you'd wanna mess with!  Strangely enough, the title track - "Gone Forever" - is nowhere near as catchy as the second track, "Antihero", at times sounding as if they're trying too hard to be a 'musicians' band.  The solo work sometimes sounds as if it was written for a different track entirely.  However, this is followed up by the final track - "Judge The Blood" - which has the most serenely exquisite piano opening and a head-nodding rhythm which ties up the album beautifully.  All-in-all a fantastic return from these Metal Titans. 6/10


Soil - Re.De.Fine

This album is easily as good as Scars - just as heavy, just as pissed-off, with some middle-eastern spice thrown in just to heat things up.  The general feel of the album is much darker than previous offerings, and far more aggressive, with the tortured soul exposed by Ryan's lyrics taking the listener on a journey of exquisite pain and suffering. There are the usual radio-friendly tracks in Pride, Re.De.Fine and Deny Me, with Remember and Can You Heal Me exploring the thoughts of the dying and suicidal, whilst Obsession takes a look at the weird and wonderful world of the lunatic fanatic.  Not exactly an up-beat album, but it's far too angry to be melancholy and it's this middle-finger-to-the-world attitude that saves it from becoming a poor-me dirge.  An excellent follow-up album - 8/10


Wednesday 13 and the Frankenstein Drag Queens - 6 Years 6 Feet Under The Influence

Another comical masterpiece from the Queen of Horror, Wednesday 13.  6 Years, 6 Feet Under...contains both new material, and revamped FDQ songs.  With titles like 'Evil is Good, We Have To Kill You Now, and Transmission D.E.A.D.' you'd get the impression that the whole album is about maiming and killing.  And you'd be right.  But it's all very tongue in cheek and is simply a musical form of the old B-movie horror classics. 'Kung Fu You' and 'R.A.M.B.O.'  take a comical look at childhood heroes as Wednesday reminisces on blowing things up like his TV idol, whilst 'The Wolfman Stole My Baby' and 'Rocketship Oddity 13' have a real slinky and sexy feel to them.  Wednesdays other (more famous) band, the Murderdolls, were the commercial version of FDQ, but this album produced without any of the Murderdolls members, is a far grungier, dirtier and ultimately sexier return to that which Wednesday does so well - bring those B-movie horrors to life! 7/10


Soil - Pride EP

Two of the tracks on this EP - Pride and Cross My Heart feature on the new Re.def.ine album and are merely a taster of what's to come on the full-length album. Pride opens with a kick-ass drum beat and is a full-on headbangers delight. Cross My Heart is a blend heavy-laden guitar riffs, smackdown drums and spit-in-your-face lyrics that makes it a perfect track to put on when you want to scream at the world. The third track is a remix of Halo and, well, should've probably been left alone as the remix does nothing to enhance the already fantastic rock-anthem from the Scars album.  If the EP is anything to go by, the new album should be at least as good, if not better than Scars. 



Arnocorps - The Greatest Band of All Time

It would appear that Hollywood Icon/Actor/Politician Arnold Schwarzenegger has had a profound impact on 6 Austrian rogues… Arnocorps. A Germanic sextet that argue that the Hollywood legend stole and defiled Austrian folklore by turning it into films!  

The album consists of 15 tracks of non stop regurgitation of Arnie quotes from films like Predator, Terminator, Total Recall, Commando, the list goes on! Hell Holzfeuer, the vocalist, has even managed to pull off a very good impersonation of the Hollywood star.  

It's interesting that there are two bass players in the band. However it doesn't make that much difference to the final production as it is difficult to make out what each bassist is doing, and the music is rather lacking; in fact it is quite boring in places, using punk progressions that I thought had died out in the early nineties. [Obviously, only a bad thing if you happen to dislike punk! - Ed]

For sheer comedy value, this album can’t be faulted. It is rather tongue and cheek as is the whole Arnocorps marketing campaign! It is well worth a listen for anyone into reminiscing about muscle-bound Austrians butchering all the bad guys to historically bad movie puns!  5/10


Disturbed - Ten Thousand Fists

Ten Thousand Fists is a disappointing album - considering all the hype.  Had it been released by any other band it would be considered a great album.  Unfortunately Disturbed raised their game with Believe and have failed to attain the same exalted heights with this.  It's not a bad album - far from it!  Every track is instantly recognisable as Disturbed, but the fire which produced such monster anthems as Down with the Sickness has been damped down to a smouldering glow.  There are no anthems on this album.  Just a series of really good songs.

What really unravels the album is Land of Confusion (which is how it leaves you feeling).  A fantastic cover of the Phil Collins 80's release, though badly advised! It would've worked well as a 'B' side track on a single, or even as an individual single release, but it really doesn't fit the remainder of the album and subsequently stands out from it like Ayres Rock!!!

With the 'sameness' of every track suffusing the album and a complete lack of testosterone, Ten Thousand Fists should be renamed Ten Thousand Handbags!!  7.5/10


Alice Cooper - Dirty Diamonds

The usual comedy pervades the majority of Dirty Diamonds, from stealing cars, to being a transvestite bride locked in a 'wild west' cell. 

The album isn't as highly produced as most of the music we hear nowadays - it has an 'unfinished', raw feel to it which makes the whole album far more enjoyable.  Almost a vinyl quality. 

The Title track, sounds like Batman (the TV show) is fighting off gangsters from 1940's Hollywood, with Iron Maiden playing in the background!  Pretty Ballerina is more of a 60's stylee that Pams People could easily dance to.  There's Rock'n'Roll, Blues, Country, Stripper, and 70's rock.  There's even (and here's a real surprise)  a collaboration with Xzibit!  The fusion is remarkable - old school Alice meets Xzibits Hiphop.  And it dominates the album.  This really is an album with something for everyone.  Alice does it again!!!    8/10


Jon Petrucci - Suspended Animation

Ok, I like to drive when reviewing albums; it gives me a sense of freedom and space to absorb the artistry as I fly down the A3, taking in the Surrey countryside. However, sticking this CD into the player sent me into an altered state of driving! My Jaw nearly hit the clutch!

The album is a dream for guitarists who are looking for the slightly more challenging intricacies with quality arpeggios, shredding, chops, licks and harmonics that work in a really catchy and musical way. You are introduced to it with ball busting riffage that had me up at about 100mph (I so hope that speed camera was not working!)!! Jaws of Life is a musical explosion of fierce and intense guitars coupled with some beautiful melodies and licks.

The second track, Glasgow Kiss, threw me off balance slightly as I was thrown into the world of Michael Flatley and Riverdance! I thought that kind of playing belonged on violins! It is a fantastic example of how to use hammer-on’s and pull-off’s, and some tapping with amazing control of speed when scaling the fret board. I was down at 80mph for this one, but all the same it was a completely fantastic piece of work!

An interesting dance intro followed on the next track. Tunnel Vision  is another example of Mr Petrucci using tapping and hammer-on controls with extraordinary use of octaves and intricate soloing techniques, so back on the inside lane, doing 100mph again!  

The entire album is full of interesting ideas and has a lot of emotion thrown into the mix. A lot of guitarists will be spending plenty of time churning this one over; definitely a masterpiece to look up to! As for me, driving will not be the same without this album in my CD player!  8/10


Thunder- The Magnificent Seventh

The ULTIMATE ENGLISH ROCK BAND...Who gives a sod about Bon Jovi??  Thunder have been more consistent and have produced a huge catalogue of songs that don't age.  The second album release in two years, The Magnificent Seventh really is that, a magnificent seventh album.  Monkey See, Monkey Do is reminiscent of some of the more 'ethnic' tracks on Aerosmiths Nine Lives album, whilst You Can't Keep A Good Man Down is something you just can't sit still to.  I Love You More Than Rock 'n' Roll is another Thunder classic that'll compete with Backstreet Symphony and Love Walked In and is the best track on the album.  One of my all time favourite bands do it again.  Get Down and Dirty, and Rock your socks off!!   8/10             


Machine Head- Through the Ashes of Empires

The Monsters of Metal, MachineHead, are back.  They've taken a different approach to their music on this album, like many bands before, but Machine Head are one of the few that have truly succeeded. 

With an opening track like the megalith that is 'Imperium', it was always going to be difficult to live up to throughout the rest of the album, yet somehow they managed it. Lyrically, the album could have been stronger and it lacked any half-decent guitar solos, yet the music is still phenomenal.  With tracks like 'Elegy' feeling like a desert thunderstorm,  the latest single release from the album - 'Days turn Blue to Gray', being a real moody work-of-art, and 'Descend the Shades of Night' the most serene mexican-scented eulogy to finish with, from beginning to end the album is dark and emotive, as if witnessing Rob Flynns personal torments and anguish.

This album is outstanding, and may well be Machine Heads greatest achievement to date.  The only album to come close is 'Burn My Eyes'.  They may have shot themselves in the foot with this one, as both the critics and publics expectations for their future material may be too high, after work of such a calibre.  9/10

[Richard Gibbs]

Slipknot - Vol. 3 (The Subliminal Verses)

This album a complete departure from anything they've released before.  At times just as angry and belligerent, but generally more mellow, deep, and more emotive.  The first release from the album - 'Duality' - is not what you'd expect from the masters of mayhem.  Melodic.  An unusual word to associate with the Knot.  And yet it works, as this track, and the many others on the album prove.  'Circle', 'Vermilion Pt. 2' and 'Danger - Keep Away', are acoustic masterpieces, that show the Knot are beginning to mature.  There are those critics that would say they've lost their edge and are becoming too old and mellow.  They are wrong.  The Knot have become something more dynamic than previous, with the songs being more personal to the individuals that make up the band.  But fear not.  The heavies are still there with 'Pulse of The Maggots', 'Three Nil' and 'Opium of The People' driving the album along.  'The Blister Exists' has some fantastic drumming in it - from Joey, Shawn and Chris - not with the soaring complications that normally characterise Joeys style, but with a far simpler militaristic feel that has you tapping along to it as if hypnotised, and 'Welcome' has the most intricate drum opening that has been heard in many-a-year, with Joey losing none of his skill.

With this album firmly placing Slipknot in the realms of musical gods, it is to be hoped that they can maintain such a vaulted position.  After all, it's a long way down!   10/10


Shadows Fall - The Art of Balance.

This album is unlike anything you're ever likely to have heard before.  It effectively combines Death metal with Classical; 80's Hair Metal with the Prog Rock sounds of the 70's.  And there's no apology for the noise they make.  Alright, there are a few too many Led Zep style guitar solo's that could've been cut back a little.  Yet the fusion of old skool and new wave still manages to sound surprisingly contemporary and fresh.

Destroyer of Senses could well have been written for Killswitch Engage, which contrasts really well with the next track on the album - Casting Shade -which is a soulful instrumental acoustic.  But the title track - The Art Of Balance - is in a league of it's own, showcasing the technical talents of all the members of the band and yet still managing to be a fantastic piece of melodic metal.  With something for everyone, this is a totally unique band making music that may well end up being hailed as some of the most original to have come out of America in the last twelve months.   7/10


Bowes and Morley

Forget any preconceptions you may have about this album.  Yes it is written, performed and produced by two fifths of Thunder.  No it isn't Thunder!  It still has a generous helping of their trademark Rock, but it's an album that has wandered off to North America and picked up an eclectic mix of sounds, from Blues and Jazz, to Motown.  It's inspired by B&M's early musical influences and is more laid-back than their usual offerings.

Why Did You Do It and Waiting For The Sky To Fall are pure funky Motown. Living for the city is a song you can imagine Stevie Wonder recording (coincidentally one of Danny's favourite artists).  [It reminds me of a track - 'Signed, Sealed, Delivered' (Don't recall who it's by - Luther Vandross maybe?? If anyone knows, please tell me!!)].  Yet the best track on the album is Desire simply because you can't hear it without getting down.  An album to enjoy with friends, sunshine and beer!    6/10


Thunder - Shooting At The Sun.

What do you mean - NEVER HEARD OF THEM??  Alright, I know you know about Def Leppard. But they aren't Britains only decent Rock export you know.  Thunder are probably Britains best kept secret. They've been making music for a long time and they're a dab hand at it.  I confess, I was expecting this album to be a bit of a Bon Jovi - you know, cool when they were younger and full of testosterone; crap now they're old and mellow! So I was surprised to find that, not only did I make it through the album without finding an excuse to leave the room, but I actually wanted to play it again. And again. This band have never enjoyed the commercial success and fame of certain other bands, although they definitely deserve it - as this album testifies.  Their sound is totally unique, from the way they play their music, and the things they write about, to the smokily, shaggably sexy voice of Danny Bowes. You HAVE to hear these guys. The BEST of Rock. If there's one must have album this summer, it's Shooting At The Sun.    


Cradle Of Filth-Damnation and a Day

This is their finest album yet.  Ferocious at times, Exquisite at others, the band have come together to produce something that is both melodically and lyrically superb. The lyrics deserve an award for sheer beauty. At 77 minutes long, and with a sometimes brutal, sometimes mellow pace, the album is a killer.  All of the tracks are equally worth listening to, whether it be the album in its entirety, or track by track, the fusion of the classically inspired with the heaviest of metal produces an harmonic balance that is unexpected.

The same care that went into producing the album has gone into the design of the packaging to accompany it. All of the 'scriptures' are contained in the booklet which, as ever, is decorated with the most phenomenal artwork (Check the 'Babalon A.D.' DVD single for more images). This album is most assuredly worth spending your money on! 
on the web
To see the longer review : CoF long


Sol Asunder

This group describe themselves as Melodic Death Metal; disagreement would be futile.   The drums are pounded mercilessly and the guitar work is fast and intense (I was going to say menacing, but when in any horror film has the bad guy menaced the good guy in a hurry?).  The vocalist reminds me very much of Dani Filth (Cradle of Filth) though without the range. In 'Hate-Fuelled Anger' there's a neat little moshin' drum roll, and a neck-ache just waiting to happen.  'Beneath the Surface' again has some pretty amazing drumming.  The guitar work isn't as impressive because, although it's fast, it's pretty basic and the solos seem out of place - almost as if they were added to give the drummer a chance to show off how long he could keep up his double bass for.  Putting the minor irritants aside, this band could go far - I definitely feel some Kerrang/Scuzz airplay is on the way. Have a mooch on over to their download page, but make sure you've got some JD and/or painkillers nearby (whatever you prefer) for the neck-ache you're gonna get!


Sonic Syndicate - Extinction EP

There's only an EP available from these guys at the moment, but we figured a heads-up was called for before the release of their 'coming-out party' album - Eden Fire.  The four songs on the EP are crafted around the stories of Hell on Earth, as depicted by the Book of Revelations, which tied in nicely with the original name of the band - Fallen Angels.  With the youngest member of the band being only 16, the newly re-named Sonic Syndicate show a lot of promise. 

Swedish Hardcore Death Metal with some Electronica thrown in for good measure.  These guys are what Nightwish would sound like on anabolic steroids!  From the little to be heard, things sound good - especially Richard Sjunnessons vocals - who must've been in training for the 'Best Tazmanian Devil Impersonator' awards.  However, the ZX Spectrum sounding opening to Misanthropic Coil is more than a little disturbing, and Lament of Innocence seems especially inspired by Rammstein.

As angry as a cat with a wasp up it's arse!    5/10  

To listen to the album preview or chat to the band click here: -Sonic Syndicate on Myspace 


Withered - Memento Mori

With type on the cover that's harder to understand than the lyrics, the album makes a confusing but good first impression.  The album has a strange background of Punk roots, overlaid with Trash metal and Metalcore.  It has a measly seven tracks, but this is made up for by the length of them, one track being close to 9 minutes.  The album is full of life; or rather, the feelings of the lack of it, with heavy bass and drums on every single track - the album is beautifully pounding.  There is little on this album to complain about.

'Memento Mori' is a true must have album - worthy of all the praise heaped upon it.  A modern-day masterpiece!  10/10

[Richard Gibbs] 

Magica - The Scroll of Stone

Magica originate from Romania and subsequently have a decidedly 'Eastern Block' quality, particularly in the deep and throaty voice of Ana yet another female vocalist.  Recently formed, the band have already released two albums.  'The Scroll of Stone' contains the Dimmu Borgir flavoured 'Mountains of Ice' - a marvelously heavy track.  The band are mainly inspired by the Fantasy bands of Europe, including the likes of 80's band 'Dreamtheatre', as can be heard in 'Redemption' and 'Bind You Forever' - from the new album 'Lightseeker'.

If this band were to lose much of the 80's guitar solos and get a good producer they could go far.  5/10


Blackbird 'The Last of the Rockstars'.

The opening track on this five track EP is Unstoppable. Let's hope they will be. With catchy little riffs, simple lyrics, and melodies that you find humming while in the lav, this three piece American band have a lot to offer.  Especially if you were into the British 'student' scene of the early nineties. 
A couple of the tracks have a kind of 'Irish folk' feel to them, the style being very reminiscent of some of the livelier tracks by The Levellers, whilst The One shows the bands musical diversity, as they have a bit of a dark storm cloud moment.  However, lightness comes once again as they finish with something a little heavier in the rock department that, with a little spit and polish in post-production, could even end up as the Radio track they need.  It's got the guitar solo and catchy chorus bit, and a singer with a pretty good voice. So they're at least in with a million-to-one chance. (And as everyone knows, million-to-one chances occur nine times out of ten - so the odds are pretty good ~ for all you TP fans out there!)
So, if you're in a bit of a Happy Larry mood then check them out at:


Freewheeler-Whisky and the Pills

Whiskey and the Pills is an EP from British rock band Freewheeler.  They have a definite bubble-gum rock flavour; the driving along crooning with the top down type of feel. Reminiscent of 80’s bands like Motley Cruë and the Black Crowes, they sing about the standards that keep any rocker going ­ Sex, Drugs, and good ole Rock ‘n’ Roll.  Influenced by bands such as AC/DC and the Rolling Stones, British pop-rock has never been so good. The tunes are full of energy and sleaze ala Sex and Drugs, with Seb’s vocals make him sound very much like Mr. Jagger, giving the impression that he’s a very Naughty(!) man.   The guitar riffs throughout the EP are strong, and the lead guitar work on ‘This is Rock ‘n’ Roll’ is the epitome of biker leathers and girls in short skirts.  Retro is back in, and this stuff is retro/traditional Rock ‘n’ Roll in the best possible sense.  It’s full of the energy of long summer days, boys chasing girls, and sitting in a bar with your mates, sinking just one too many drinks.

Hard times, cheap thrills ­ just give it up for ‘The Whisky and The Pills’.


Draconian Order - In Absence of Light

Italy’s Draconian Orders new alum release, 'In Absence of Light', is a good example of how a band can utilise an exhausted sound and make it their own. The music, beautiful and haunting, meanders through each story like a giant serpent. The sound is very old fashioned black metal, with the guitars blazing out high pitched distortion, the drums a very subtle undertone, often woefully transparent, topped by sepulchral vocals that echo from the pits of Hades. The dark whispers of Krimloth are unsubtle in the message of atheistic Anti-Christ, God-Slander and works well with the music, setting a tone of forsakenness.

The album kicks off with 'Requiem for the Funeral of God', a dark musical masterpiece worthy of all those who love vampire-esque symphonie. It's solemn and dark with a haunting quality that leaves a feeling of emptiness in your soul only to be filled by a blast beaten cacophony with the second track; 'I am Vengeance', a blitz of guitar riffage covered in pure hatred toward the Cross. ‘At the Gates Inferno’ opens with savage guitar shredding, moving into stirring melodies, the lyrics imply beautiful and gothic imagery with satanic overtones.

The title track merges a deliverance of evil though dark musical shifts with satanic lyrics that would turn any man of cloth ashen in terror!

The album is a good blend of old-fashioned Scandinavian metal with a twist of Cradle of Filth to measure. Draconian are sticking to a musical recipe that has been used by a thousand bands before, and although the album is very good and a thoroughly enjoyable listen with lots of great musical ideas and beautiful melodies, it lacks in originality, and sounds pretty much the same as most of the Scandinavian Black metal that has ridden the tides of the paganisitic and satanic ocean of black roots. 6/10

[Pasha Shah]

Extol- The Blueprint Dives

This album needs a good few listens in order to get any sense or fulfilment from it.  As a musician, I was immediately captured by the guitar work and arrangement of the songs. It’s Björk meets Incubus meets Paradise Lost. The content is depressing and melancholy; it’s dark, and has a damp-alley feel about it from beginning to end, meandering without any real direction, leaving you feeling despondent and pensive!

This album is an eclectic mixture of influences, merging Jazz, Pop, Metal and who knows what else into something that only a select group of listeners would be interested in. I'll be honest and say it took at least six plays for me to get a feel for the album.  I'm not sure what the theme is, or what direction it has, but I like the musical content. It's very arty; the songs are cleverly written, heightened by David Husviks’ intricate drumming, and Ole Halvaard Sveens and Tor Glidjes subtle but persistent use of 7ths, 9ths, diminished, and who knows what kind of chords - enough to keep any guitarist guessing! 'Lost in Dismay' is a great substitute for Prozac! whereas 'The Death Sedative'  (notice the depressing song titles!) is not really trying to say much, but it has a haunting and dark feel which caught me. The movement of the bass guitar against the guitars is interesting and works well. This is a more musical piece with Peter screaming some nonsensical stuff at the top his lungs! A very nice piece of work!

This is truly a musician’s album.  Not the easiest to listen to, if you are looking for balls out metal.      5.5 /10

[Pasha Shah]


Upon Descent
supporting Ozzmosis
JB's Dudley

A newly formed four-piece outfit that reminds one forcibly of Sepultura in both music and style, not least because the lead singer is a mini Max Cavalera. Not a bad comparison at their third ever gig.

'The Unleashing Of I' was a blistering opening that any band would be proud to have in their arsenal. It thumped, bashed, pounded it's way through the rib-cage and smashed into the brain, leaving a stunning gap whilst the crowd absorbed the enormity of the metal manifestation they had witnessed. 'To End All Wars' was just as devastating, and a potential classic.

The drummer (Stu Selwood - ex-Exico) is experienced, but the others are relative newbies. That said, it was a solid, confident performance. Intricate solo's, challenging tempo changes, face-grinding bass lines, and Dab's emotive poetry, the individual elements are very very good. The tight playing that's needed live was elusive but will develop with experience.

Overall, a damn fine performance from such a new band. We eagerly await the shows of 2008!

Set List: The Unleashing Of I; The Rendering; This Of Suffocation; Under These Fists; To End All Wars; Burning Through.


Anaheim Convention Centre, California

NAMM - Anaheim Convention Centre, California. 18-21st January 2006

NAMM isn't a Four-day Rock festival, although at first glance you'd be forgiven for thinking so, with its throngs of jean-clad rockers and black-clad metal heads. But then you'd notice the smart-suited businessmen also going in through the same doors, and then you'd REALLY become confused when you noticed the doors being held open for the Grey-haired ladies by these same black-eyed Goths, with pleasantries and laughter being exchanged by both.

You may even explain it away by thinking 'the Rolling Stones must be playing here', but you'd be wrong.

This is the biggest event in music in the U.S. - the Four-day weekend when the Music Industry shows off it's wares.

NAMM (the National Association of Music Merchants) has been going for 105 years, since it's inception in 1901. It's strictly for people who work in the industry, as noted by the huge lettering on the top of the building, 'TRADE ONLY. NOT OPEN TO THE PUBLIC'.

And this is the one event in the country that attracts Rock Stars IN DROVES. Why? Myriad reasons. The first one is that, if you or your band have attracted enough attention, you could be picked up by a company to promote their product - which, for instance, means you get to meet Jim Marshall, who asks you to promote his amplifiers, which not only means that you get to use his amps for free, but your face is now in every music publication in the world, AND you get paid, AND you got to meet your hero, Jim Marshall. Geddit?

The second reason is that you get to meet all the other Rock Stars that you admire, catch up with old friends, ask Slipknot if you can support them on their next tour, find new band members, ask someone to mix your C.D. 'cause it sounds crap the way you did it, etc. etc. 

But it's not just about Rock 'n' Roll - if you play the harp, direct a symphony orchestra, or just want a decent tuner for your violin, it's all here, too. And because these are all the LATEST Gadgets and Gizmo's, you get to see them before they're even in the stores - but you can't buy anything on the spot at NAMM, just place orders (and millions of dollars worth of business is generated here at NAMM), which is horrible - it's the proverbial Kid-in-the-Candy-Store that wants everything and can't have anything, except a few guitar-pic freebies.

However, there are very relaxed rock stars every three feet signing pictures of themselves, very happy to hang out and chat and have their pictures taken with you.

And after the lights go out at NAMM at 6pm every night, the partying begins, with Rock shows, coffin-case fashion shows, acoustic sets, food, wine, and deafness 'cause you forgot your earplugs.

Click here to see a tiny fragment of the Rock Stars who were there - and visit 

[Ghouls R Us]

with Hypocrisy

The Underworld, Camden, London

With the recording of their latest album almost complete, Abgott are out to impress. Agamoth, dressed like the token Satanic Priest, certainly gives a cheesy presence on stage! The image is old school black metal, long hair, white face paint rendering these guys kind of stagnant in a time when Emperor ruled the Black Metal scene!

There was some excellent guitar work, plenty of shredding, maddeningly fast riffs, insane speed drumming, dark scream vocals, all the ingredients of what makes a great black metal band. Sadly, the end result was not much to sink teeth into. The performance was tired and lacklustre. Nothing really stood out to capture my inner musical nerd! There is potential but a lot of grooming is needed for this band to move into the present!


Here’s a great example of why some bands should stay in the studio! It is not often that I get bored at a gig; However, Hypocrisy failed to deliver a performance to captivate. It may have been sheer exhaustion, or the fact the band had been relocated from the Electric Ballroom to the Underworld, but I am not here to make excuses on their behalf! The fact remains, I was bored throughout the set. It is possible my expectations were very high seeing that Hypocrisy’s studio work is next to impeccable! There was little energy on stage, Peter Taetgren’s vocal were weak and lacked substance. The crowd looked bored and despite the occasional eruption in the mosh pit, it seemed most people were falling asleep!

They did redeem themselves slightly with the song Eraser; but in all honesty, the albums are far more entertaining than seeing them live!


Billy Idol
The Civic, Wolverhampton, UK

'A return to 1981, New York, my finger euphemistically and metaphorically up Madonna's arse!'  And so began my instant love affair for the Rock legend known as Billy Idol.  A man who sweats as much as funny man Lee Evans, whilst wearing a moth-eaten t-shirt and entertaining himself by performing robot moves from the 80's and pretending he's a boxer!  Doesn't sound all that great, right?  WRONG!  This man is performing to sell-out venues 28years after he first played them with Generation X.  No small achievement for a man now 50.

The entire show was peppered with lewd and crude manoeuvres aimed at members of the crowd that left many of the men muttering to their female partners not to watch...only for the females to scream all the louder.  Billy spent a good portion of the show with his upper-body naked, parading it for his own gratification as much as anyone's. 'As you can see I've been working on MY BODY of work - this is for all the ladies'.  More screams. 

During Hot in the City Billy sang 'Don't you know I'm well hung' and grabbed his crotch (there was possibly an undoing of flies, but security were blocking the view), and the lyrics to the revised Mony Mony had the audience singing along to 'Hey Mother F***er, get laid, get laid, get f***ed'!!  Mimed licking of his own jubblies, and oral sex makes this one of the most overtly sexual performances to hit Wolverhampton in a year.  It was brilliant!!

None of this detracts from the amazing performances put in by all members of the band.  Steve Stevens solo guitar work left me breathless and a little teary-eyed during his flamenco-influenced solo.  The favourite songs were the oldies - Mony Mony, White Wedding, Sweet 16 and Rebel Yell which had the entire crowd singing, clapping, chanting and dancing along with the Idol. 

The tour is coming to a close, but that's not the last we'll see of Billy.  A new album is planned for early 2006, and a tour to follow close on its heels.  The promised return will be eagerly anticipated by all who were in attendance tonight.

Set List

Dancing with Myself; Flesh for Fantasy; White Wedding; Scream; Sweet 16; To be a Lover; Cherie; Louisiana (Randy Newman); guitar solo; Rampage; L.A. Woman; Blue Highway; World coming Down;  Ready, Steady, Go (Gen x); Rebel Yell (Gen X); Hot in the City (Wolverhampton nights!); Kiss me (fucking) Deadly (Gen X); drum Solo; Mony, Mony.


Arch Enemy
The Palace, Melbourne, Aus

“One for all, all for one. We are one, WE ARE STRONG” Truer words could not be spoken about Sweden’s Arch Enemy.  With the recent release of their Doomsday Machine album, Arch Enemy hit the Australian Shores for the first time with the intensity of a freight train and the ferocity of a polar bear on amphetamines. 

Enthusiasm from the crowd could have been higher for Melbourne support band Synthetic Breed although Former Frankenbok singer Adam Glynn showed no vast changes with new effort Five Star Prison Cell.

There was a sudden change of environment though, as the Introduction song from Doomsday Machine could be heard. People couldn’t get close enough to the stage and a chant began “Arch Enemy, Arch Enemy” The tension was high within the crowd. A dark blue-green light shone across the smoke filled stage creating an almost surreal mist in front of the giant canvases that stood either side of the drum-kit at the back of the stage displaying artwork from the new album. Without a moments notice the band had busted onto stage and were already well into the first song of the night “Nemesis”.

 The band was superb to say the least. Guitarist Michael Amott, wide eyed and hyper energetic played with immense precision, never missing a note, even through insanely intricate solos that never seem to end.

Angela’s growl rang out over The Palace flowing back as a stream of ecstatic screams from the adrenalin driven crowd. From her deep demonic growls to her head piercing screams, Angela sounded all the more menacing and impressive in person. Taking every possible moment she could to thank and encourage the swelling pit of people, which had waited almost 10 years for this event.

About half way through the show a breath-taking drum solo blasted out from the immense kit that adorned the back of the stage.

An extensive was played over the ninety minutes or so that Arch Enemy exerted their reign of mind-blowing music upon the Melbourne crowd. Performing songs from every stage of their existence even including a few tracks from the albums before Angela was part of the band.

I doubt that anyone could narrow this show down to one thing that stood out. The collaboration of the perfect mix of melody and metal, the tremendous musicianship, the amazing stage presence and the atmosphere in the palace all added up to a remarkable night which will not be forgotten.


Bloody Mary
Mean Fiddler

It would appear that Dave Pybus’ Six Six Six Records have a knack of finding the darker, gothic side of metal; in this instance, a fine concoction of Dark Gothic melodies manifested in the beautiful, sensual and highly talented bunch called Bloody Mary.  

This is the debut tour from the quintet and the Mean Fiddlers Rock evening seems fitting for this gothic metal coterie, promoting their recently released album, Blood and Roll

Aldebran, the front man is most certainly a striking presence on stage. I’m going out on a limb and guessing he’s a big Tim Burton fan as his post modern gothic style is reminiscent of Edward Scissorhands! He’s a total beauty queen and flirts outrageously with the crowd! 

The vocal style is suggestive of The Cure’s Robert Smith, deep and seductive.  Aldebrans performance has a truly charismatic air. With a large dose of Sisters of Mercy thrown in for measure, shaken about, et Voila! One Bloody Mary!  

The crowd definitely took to them, especially the girls! This band is full of pretty people and will have to suffer a cult following of young Goth girlies drooling over their posters! They look great on stage and really enjoy the attention the audience throws back at them! An hour of solid entertainment and excellent music, even if it was a little on the camp side! I’ll wager that these guys will be around for quite a while!


Wednesday 13
The Corner Hotel, Melbourne, Aus

Wednesday 13 blew the lid off more than a few caskets with the first show of the 6 Feet Down-Under tour, at the Corner Hotel, Richmond.

Previously seen at the Big Day Out in 2003 fronting the Murderdolls, Wednesday returned to Australia with his new bunch of ghouls; Kid Kid (bass), Ghastly (drums) and Pig (guitar).

The support band, The Dead Things, didn't impress, and sounded like they should still be in their parent’s garage covering Motley Crue and Poison tracks rather than supporting the superior and far more original headlining act WEDNESDAY 13.

A dark stage stands before the crowd at the Corner, samples from horror movies can be heard, smoke fills the stage and then a small flashlight attached to a microphone switches on to reveal the face of the ghoulish singer...

Blasting into “House by the Cemetery”, from the album “Transylvania 90210; Songs of Death, Dying and the Dead”, the set was an all out assault of demonically catchy rhythms, horror movie references and scream along choruses. The crowd became like a black and red ocean on a stormy night. Devil horns up in praise as the singer informed everyone that “God is a Lie”.

Being a smaller venue the show seemed all the more closer and intimate, Wednesday took every spare moment to talk to crowd thanking them for their support and introducing the members of his new band.

As well as songs from Transylvania 90210, Wednesday 13 performed past hits from former band Frankenstein Dragqueens from Planet 13, and current side-project The Murderdolls.

Pulling off rock moves, spitting in the air and catching it in their make-up smeared mouths, playing with plastic laser guns and handing out 13 dollar bills were all part of what made the show that people have come to expect from their ghoul scout leader and more.


CRÜEFEST - 33 Degree
The Whiskey, Sunset Strip, LA

IN THE DARKNESS, the rain lashed against the red-brick walls of the building, turning them into a dull, black fortress.
Thunder rumbled menacingly overhead, announcing to the mortal world at large that hell had taken over the venue for the evening. As the opening strains of the sweetly melodic Death-By-Audio sounds of 33 Degree began to induce a hallucinogenic haze into the dark recesses of telepathic souls entwined, flashes of lightening tore through quivering bodies like hells own strobe lighting, illuminating the rhythmic beating of hearts, each one pumping blood to the music.

O.K., so I lied. This is L.A., the sun was beaming down, and there wasn't a raindrop in site. But for THIS BAND, 33 Degree, the accompanying sounds of a summer rainstorm would have been perfect.
Never Mind.
The small stature of the lead singer totally dominated the stage. Through the dimness, through the fog, her alabaster skin shone like a Vampire in a graveyard looking for victims.
But this was Cruefest, so we were sucked in unawares as she wore a disguise - no hint of the Gothic finery previously worn. No, this time she looked like a pirate, and the boys in the band were her own Motley Crew.
They were magnificent. The music was tight, executed perfectly, with some wonderful Rock-Star poses from Jesus, and a sharply cool 007 demeanour from Blair. The good looks of Mack (the drummer) were tantalisingly seen far too few times due to the height of the stage and the plethora of cymbals surrounding the drumkit - we need to tilt you forward a few inches, our Demonic blue-eyed Drummerboy!    
Mack was preparing for his own starring role in his upcoming Wedding, and all our best wishes and congratulations go to him and his beautiful new Bride - The next Rockin' wil be the cradle!

[Ghouls R Us]

Vendetta at the Purple Turtle

Vendetta, a great name for a Metal event, held at the Purple Turtle in Camden, offers a fantastic opportunity for new bands to strut their stuff. Tonight’s headline act was a band that I had only recently heard of along the grapevine and went along solely on the strength of their demo, available on

The support act, Diastole were weak and, well, disappointing and even though a lot of the music was intelligent and well constructed, there was nothing gutsy about them and they came across as quite boring.

Enter Orakai. A band whose name is derived from the infamous Uruk-Hai of Middle Earth, although nothing about the bands image is remotely Orc-ish, which was kind of what I was hoping for!

Orakai are a very in-your-face energy troupe and have an impressive presence for a relatively new band. They are very animated and I felt that the stage was a little small for them. Their ebullience, coupled with their unpretentious demeanour, gives these guys a lot of potential.

They kicked off their set with ‘Two Tone’ and also introduced two new songs, ‘Facts That Don’t Rely on Truth’ and ‘Make Amends (Face Up)’.  The songs are strong and although, quite simple, they work well. Recently appointed frontman Ush came across really well on stage and certainly enjoys the attention the crowd dishes out back. He has a very versatile vocal style jumping between singing and roaring. The guitarists, Marv, Steve and Ed really enjoy jumping around and totally get lost in the playing. Orakai are a band that love being on stage and it shows.

Orcs aside, I was a little confused as to what image the band is trying to portray, but this was easily overlooked with the energy these five young lads give off! I thoroughly enjoyed watching these guys. There is a lot of potential here and with some careful nurturing these guys could definitely realise it.

One to watch out for!

[Pasha Shah]

Napalm Death
Insomnium, 25 Ta Life, Cataract, DieCast, and Cancer
London Koko

The Koko in Camden, formerly known as the Camden Palace was ground zero for Napalm Deaths London gig, promoting their latest release, The Code is Red, Long Live the Code.  I got there just as Insomnium were starting off their set, which I have to say, really impressed me, seeing as I had never listened to their stuff before. These Finnish lads gave a pretty good start to what was going to turn into a Monster Metal Fest of a Sunday!

New York’s 25 Ta life, kicked off with a huge amount of energy, with Frontman Rick trying very hard to get the Sunday afternoon crowd to start a mosh pit. He almost succeeded! This didn’t take away from their performance though, which was a very energetic demonstration of the New York Hardcore Scene!

One band that really did it for me was Cataract. They just came on, did their shit, got into the pulse of the crowd, upping the ante. This was the first time today that I actually really felt the head go into mosh mode!

As part of the Do or Die, End of Days tour with Napalm, Die Cast came on to a much fuller audience. It was a power-filled performance with tracks like ‘Seize the Day’. Paul Stoddard and the crew jumped the pace of the show up a few notches and had the crowd going. Paul got down off the stage after the set and mingled with the first row of the crowd. I guess there’s no feeling like getting up close to the smell of the sweat from the audience!  In contrast, Cancers John Walker was quite wooden and didn’t really show too much enthusiasm on stage. Their show was disappointing for these veterans of the Death scene.

With the show at its peak it was time for the masters of Grindcore to come on, Shane, Mitch, Danny and the vocal chords from hell, Barney Greenway. Napalm Death returned to London in a blaze of fury.

Barney, as always, looked like a coiled spring, ready to unleash Hell on the Koko. His unique side to side headbanging, wide-eyes and gritted teeth, all adding to the insanity of the pace these guys generate on stage! A cacophony of blast beats followed with blitzing guitar shredding, so typical of Napalms super fast metal antics.

With a now pretty decent crowd, and the mosh-pit going full-on from the very start, they churned out great tracks like Scum, Nazi Punks, Fuck Off, Siege of Power, and Suffer the Children. They also shot out stuff from their current release; The Code is Red, Long Live the Code playing the title Track and ‘Silence is deafening.’

Sadly they had to cut the evening short as they had run over the curfew time by quite a long way, but hey, who cares… This was a pure metal event and time has no meaning! What had been delivered by Napalm and the rest of the day’s bands was an onslaught of death/grindcore to the max and was a thoroughly enjoyable day of music!

[Pasha Shah]

 System of a Down
Brixton Academy

The Brixton Academy was totally heaving, a massive turn out for a band that has taken the world of mainstream metal by storm. There was a lot of intensity building up due to the fact we had to wait so long for the main act, which rather annoyed the crowd who ended up booing each time a new song started over the tanoid! The atmosphere was electric!

Finally, after a good hours wait for the main act, the subtlety of the intro, Soldier Side, sang from behind the giant curtain, covered with the artwork from their new album, only served as an hors d’oerve before the main course of obliterating, passionate, schizophrenic insanity that System of a Down are so good at unleashing live!

BYOB, the current single off their latest album, Mesmerize, kicked off, the riff coinciding with the curtain being pulled away to reveal the lads all dressed up rather smartly, but clearly ready to kick the Academy’s arse! And, like with the new album, they wasted no time moving from track to track. Straight from BYOB into Revenga, both these songs had everyone singing along, and moshing like nutcases!

The entire gig was a clever mixture of songs from the past and present; Songs like War? through to Cigaro (Which I must add, Daron’s intro for was most amusing…) served to drive the audience wild. Everyone went nuts when they played Toxicity and Arial’s but the clincher, as expected, was Chop Suey, driving the audience into a stampede! They ended the show with one of my personal favourites, Sugar, which again, had me moshing like a loon!

They really played on how well the crowd responded to the older stuff… Serj, with his robust, masculine vocals, and his flagrant twirls and random dancing, Daron with his high pitched vocals and wide-eyed, psychotic expressions and Shavo’s pounding up and down the stage flaunting his weird-as-ever beard, gave the show a comical and cultural twist.

This tour promises to be a huge success for the System lads with the powerful delivery of a set that has taken the best songs of their career and mixed them with their current work, which is impressive! I can’t wait to see them again at the Download Festival!

[Pasha Shah]

Theatres Des Vampires
with Bloody Mary and
Faces of Sarah
Camden Underworld

Well, back at my favourite haunt and it was absolutely heaving. The anticipation in the crowd was electrifying. Everyone who turned up looked awesome! There were all sorts of Goths, Vampires, Metallers, Rockers, all beautiful this night! I felt under-dressed, and at a disadvantage.

Bloody Mary

From the outset, the crowd were chanting Italy’s Bloody Mary on… it was electric and almost seemed that the crowd were there for them! Aldebran, the vocalist, walked on looking like something out of Tim Burton’s imagination! These guys are awesome; a little on the camp side, but damn they know how to kick ass… Aldebran is a bag of non-stop energy, jumping here, squatting there, and falling on the floor basking in the attention that the crowd lavishly dish out to him. The girls especially love him. Well, he did look edible in that PVC suit! An amazing performance which had the crowd going mental! A great act that was going to be very tough to follow! Bloody Mary’s debut album with Six Six Six Records goes on sale on May the 23rd, 2005… This is one to watch or for!

Theatres Des Vampires

Anyone going to see Theatre Des Vampires, best be prepared to be blown away, shocked, mortified, obliterated by sound and mesmerised by the sheer beauty and presence of the newly elected frontman, Sonia Scarlet.

I was immediately hit by the haunting presence, elegance and fairness of Scarlet, who arrived on stage draped in a velvet robe. Zimon, (Bass) and Fabian (Keyboards) both came on with ballroom masks.  The effect is wholly gothic and enthralling.  From the moment Scarlet began singing, her voice haunting and perilous, I was caught.  The band performed incredibly and conjured up tracks reminiscent of Queen of the Damned and The Coven.  

Scarlet played with the erotic and her whole performance was carnal and seductive.  The intimacy of the venue allowed for the crowd to touch and feel her.  There was an air of darkness, mystery and immorality, down to the burning of the Pope’s picture and the Necronomicon Spontaneously Combusting in her hands.  Toward the end of the gig, she cut her right arm and fed the crowd her blood, which seemed to lap it up in pure ecstasy.  As the gig ended, she poured blood all over herself from a large golden vial.  This was a fantastic performance by Theatres who seem to have made a really good decision in placing Scarlet at the helm.  If I didn’t believe in Vampires before, I do now, and they rock!

[Pasha Shah]

Hecate Enthroned

with Draconian Order and
Camden Underworld

Once again, I visited the Camden Underworld, only this time, to see a legend of the Black Metal Genre. This place has become like a second home to me and the bands I have seen there have all impressed me. Tonight’s gig certainly was no disappointment.  


The first act of the night… They made their entrance while I was interviewing Hecate Enthroned so I missed about twenty minutes or so of their set. I did however catch the last three or four songs which I have to say, really blasted the living daylights out me! These guys put out a great performance and seemed very comfortable with the crowd. Akatechon has pretty good presence on stage and really enjoys interacting with his audience. This band has a lot of potential and will probably make serious waves on the grindcore/death scene. Their forthcoming album, Provenience, is due for release in September 2005 and is definitely one to look out for!  

Draconian Order

Another of Six Six Six Records progenies took to the stage, Italy’s own Draconian Order, and I have to say I was seriously impressed with the colourful style and shear presence of the band. The guitarists with their over-the-top Mohicans, over white face paint, tons of black eyeliner and more than a fair share of PVC to match! There is a definite feel of Cradle of Filth about these guys, but a lot more raw and unrefined. Really got me head-banging! Their new album In Absence of Light is on release now.  

Hecate Enthroned

An eagerly awaited return from the legendary Black Metal Warriors - Hecate Enthroned definitely did not disappoint!

From the outset, the intensity of Hecates’ mind boggling riffage blew the Underworld into submission! These guys have it sussed when it comes to giving an all out, raw, ball-busting performance!

With the absence of Dagon, who was off sick, Dean Seddon took over on vocals, reclaiming the helm of Hecate, albeit for a short while. Nonetheless, his vocal abilities are as amazing as his intensity on stage. They churned out classics like 'The Deceiver' and 'Beneath a December Twilight' as well as some awesome tracks off their latest album 'Redimus', - 'like An Eternal Belief', giving Pete, who has just returned to the band, an opportunity to shine with his awesome keyboard skills! The whole performance was amazing and the crowd really got into it.

The set was interrupted by an idiot who decided it would be funny to change the levels on Andy’s guitar pedals. I thought Andy was going to deck him, which would’ve been hilarious! A clearly well mouthed ‘FUCK OFF’ put things straight though! At the end of the gig, there seemed to be some confusion between the management and the band about the last song as the lights came on… however the crowd seemed to have the final say!

A beautiful and finely polished performance just goes to show that these guys are back, hopefully to stay and kick some serious ass! Gone are the days of the face paint and a more mature and musically evolved band showed that British Black Metal is very much alive and on the Rampage! Keep it going lads!

[Pasha Shah]

with 33 Degree
The Key Club, West Hollywood


That was the reaction of the (almost) entirely-male crowd who had been waiting patiently for their Demi-Gods to appear. The moment the first ear-splitting note was struck a thunderous roar like an approaching Armageddon emanated from the guttural throats of united souls in worship.

A writhing sea of limbs thrust forward in a collective horn-waving approval as Wayne Static and his new (old) replacement lead guitarist Koichi crashed through the old familiar hits and new songs destined to become old familiar hits.

Wayne took time out to talk to the fans, expressing his gratitude for their loyalty during recent trying times, speaking about the recording of their new album (out in June), and joked about his love-affair with Hollywood - ("It's been six whole months since we played here - we REALLY missed you"!)

He also made a symbolic "**** you" gesture to Tripp Eisen, his former bandmate, by taking off Tripps animated moves on stage to the Nth degree, delighting his fans who yelled their appreciation.

Was Tripp missed? Not by one single person in the Key Club that night. Koichi is such a great guitarist, he was an easy choice for the band as Tripps replacement -  and he doesn't lust after little girls to boot.

For fearsome mosh pits, slam pits, and Hell-driven guitar riffs, you need look no further than Static-X.

The Devil's limo is always parked outside a Static-X gig!

Bloodletting By Appointment - We Drain Your Veins!

33 Degree
The Key Club, West Hollywood

BEWITCHING. This is a band that would be entertaining even with the sound switched off. However, with the music seeping into your brain, your eyes take in all the elements of a French 18th-century movie. The heroine, clasping her hand to her breast like a poisoned Cleopatra, is completely mesmerising.
Writhing, swaying, her head grasped in her hands in convulsive agony, this girl is an amazing performer. The voice is strong, the songs captivating. She is ably supported by the (male) band members, who are a pivotal element in this dramatic stage performance.
One small criticism is of the guitarist who insisted on frequently dashing across the stage in front of our beautiful heroine during particularly dramatic gestures on her part - whilst swooning tragically, or leaning forward to whisper intimate secrets with the only person in the world who matters -you.
Apart from the annoying interruptions, however, was an immensely interesting stage show put on by a girl who doesn't just look and sound very gothic, but who is eerily reminiscent of a female Marilyn Manson.
The Beautiful People indeed.

Bloodletting By Appointment - We Drain Your Veins!

Billy Idol
The Roxy, West Hollywood

IDOLISING IDOL has always been easy to do.  From the bad-boy image to the ever-present stand-alone blonde locks (which probably only grow in an upward direction by now) Billy NEVER changes.

However, for this particular Invitation-only event, he didn't make things easy. In order to get the coveted wrist band (Hey, this is Hollywood - you don't get into ANY gig without the prerequisite glittering wrist band), you had to jump through a few hoops - a way to sort the true die-hard fans from the trendy's. 

First, you had to stay out all night outside Tower Records on Sunset. The first 300 people would get a wristband both for the gig and to meet Billy. But you couldn't get the bands without buying his new C.D. "Running with the Devil" - a steal at $11.95! Then, three days later you had to get in line (again) to meet him. He was older, sure, with a few lines on his face - too much California sun. But he still smiled, joked and spoke in an English accent just like the 20 yr-old Billy in his punk days in London. Then it was time to get in line (Aaargh! Again!) at the Roxy to see the show, being broadcast live on Indie 103.1. Fun was had when I spotted Billy's Harley Davison parked next to the Roxy, where the band were unloading their equipment. They made sure we didn't make off with it......

It all added to the Billy Idol persona - we'd have been disappointed to see him turn up in a Toyota!

When Billy finally made it on stage, you could see WHY he's lasted so long. He was a true Rock Star, doing all the poses, showing off his lean, muscled (still) 20-yr old body, laughing and joking, singing all his old songs as if they were brand new, and singing all his new songs in such a catchy manner that you  knew them before he finished. He sang the "Dirty" version of "Mony Mony" which had the entire audience singing along amid gales of laughter, and a BLINDING Rebel Yell, which reminded you of just WHY you had gone to so much trouble to be there.

Stay out all night? I'd have camped out all WEEK for this one!

One things for sure, Billy will never be a Fallen Idol!  Idolatry Rocks!!!

Bloodletting By Appointment - We Drain Your Veins!

God Forbid
Extol and Ted Maul
Camden Underworld

Once again, the Underworld in Camden, the most intense venue I have had the pleasure of moshing in, hosted another monstrous, formidable, Death Metal giant, ‘God Forbid’.

I got there just in time to see the second support act finish their set.   What I did see of Extol was not too bad, though I'll be honest and say I was really there for the headliners!

Anyway, the main event… the lights dimmed down and out walked Doc, Dallas, John, Corey and finally Byron ­ The dude! This guy has such an amazing stage presence, and you can’t help but warm toward him.  From kick off, the lads gave true meaning to the word ‘Energy’! Death Metal has never sounded so damn good! It was like pure power of the Divine mixed with Unadulterated Angst on a maximum decibel rush!   Doc and Dallas are just masters of the fret-boards and threw a constant string of harmonised guitar solos throughout. They delivered some awesome tunes like 'Washed out World', 'Antihero', and even treated the audience to a song off their new album; IV : Constitution of Treason, which I can’t wait for!

There was a feeling of closeness and intimacy that only such a venue can deliver, making it all the more mind blowing!  Byron really played with this, often letting fans grab his amazing hair, scream into the microphone and surf onto the stage and head-bang with him!  Byron demanded a circle pit, and that's precisely what he got - thirty feet across!!  And the guy that jumped from the balcony rails?  Total respect to the people underneath that were brave (drunk?) enough to catch him!!

The band looked like they thoroughly enjoyed the gig, Dallas and John both grinning from ear to ear almost throughout the whole thing. It’s always fantastic to see a band enjoy themselves so much!  It helps that Byron has a really quirky sense of humour - this guy knows how to talk to a crowd, whether he is going on about how much he loves playing London to handing out vials of Jagermeister to the mutants in the first few rows!!

To sum up, I was completely blown away by how good God Forbid are live!  It was two hours of pure hardcore adrenaline, insane death metal!  We even got to have a brief chat with Doc after the show, where he enlightened us with how he got his nickname! This is a band who knows how to have fun, kick pure butt and know how to drive a crowd nuts!!! Can’t wait for them to return!

[Pasha Shah]

with Winterville

Birmingham Academy

Winterville were the opening band on this UK tour.  A three piece outfit playing music suited to an older and more discerning public -  the guys in the band can't be much older than 25 themselves.  From the songs they played it's doubtful they'll ever receive any commercial success.  Yet they went down a storm with the Thunder crowd.

However, I was there to see one band only.  Just the way Danny came on stage eclipsed Winterville.  He bounced his way around the stage as they covered all the Thunder classics, including Backstreet Symphony, Love Walked In, Loser - and the soon to be classics from the Magnificent Seventh - Monkey See, Monkey Do, The Gods of Love, Amy's On The Run, and I Love You More Than Rock'N'Roll...

Thunder shows always feel as though they're in a local pub - no matter how big the stage is - which adds to the charm.  And the fact that they make mistakes but don't worry about them makes them seem more accessible. The last show of theirs I saw, Danny forgot his own lyrics.  This time Ben was so engrossed in what he was playing that he turned round and smacked his head off his microphone.  He looked so indignant at the mic for being there! 

Thunder really seem to enjoy the audience participation aspect of their live shows.  So Danny had the crowd clapping, screaming, waving, jumping and singing along to You Can't Keep a Good Man Down, and Dirty Love - the song that contains the genius lyrics 'na na na na na na na!'  And there was the legendary Harry who stepped out from behind his kit to play acoustic guitar for A Better Man with Luke playing the Harmonica.  Harry enjoyed himself that much that he wouldn't stop when he needed to - Danny telling him to shut up just resulted in chants of 'HARRY' (or in the case of the guy behind me 'Barry'!!).  It wouldn't be a decent show if the fans didn't call out to Harry at least once in the gig.  Though no-one seems to know where the tradition has arisen from.

Thunder's energy and vitality on stage is prodigious.  This band have lost nothing over the years and I for one am grateful they reformed.  Here's to many more years of fun and frolics (and cowboy hats)!

(And to the guy who didn't have the new album ... Danny wants to know if you've bought it yet?!!!)


Battle of the Bands
Wolverhampton Civic

Five Emo/Ska/Indie bands and one Metal band - Exico - managed to get through to the finals of one of the largest National Battle of the Bands competitions in the country.  No small feat then.  And due to the crowds Exico manage to draw they always manage to get the Headline slot too.  Amazing Willie and the Treehouse gang(!) were up first and although they were very good they would have been better as a No Doubt tribute band.  The lead singer is gorgeous to look at and had every male drooling but her voice and mannerisms - down to the way she used the stage - were very much Gwen Stefani - and with a very good brass section it's unfortunate that the sound they produced was far from original.  Wagstaffe were an uninspiring Indie Rock band.  Not much about them made an impact.  They were good, but Indie has never been my scene.  Pang were a three piece outfit who need to wear really dodgy hats to get them noticed - though fortunately nothing as ridiculous as at the Semis (you know the jester-type hats and top hats you get at footie matches?  Nuff said!).

Overhead Wires are a young Indie Rock band from South Wales.  After a few tracks of the same prescription Indie pap I came to the conclusion that they were methodic, boring and uninspired writers.  This band need to get out of  Wales and go somewhere that gives them a boot up the jacksie!!  Their coachload of fans upset a good portion of the crowd with their flag waving and insults to other bands and led to an awful lot of 'sheep shagger' banter from the English fans in attendance.  This band are obviously used to being big fish in their little pond, but seemed out of their depth in these finals.

My Girl Sleeps were very professional, experienced, and one of the older bands in the finals - with the members all being in their early to mid twenties.  The singer had a voice that you either loved or hated and was a fairly decent frontman, whilst one of the guitarists put on a good show.  The drummer had been really ill in the dressing rooms before the show but came out and gave it his all.  Total respect.  Especially as there was talk that he had mumps.  Unfortunately, this band are let down by two things.  Two boring guitarists, and music that - although good (in a Maroon 5 kinda way) - just didn't stand out from the norm.  Not one of the songs made me sit up and pay attention.  Yet this band had already won ITV's Music Unsigned competition a year ago and had released an album.  They don't currently seem to be anything more than a one-hit-wonder type of band.  It would be possible for them to produce a track that made it onto the airwaves, but they don't have the 'spark' that would make them a really good band.

Exico are turning their stage show into a fine art.  The crowd were chanting and moshing for at least ten minutes before the band even walked on stage.  For all the other bands there had only been two security guys behind the barriers, but they pulled out seven for these guys and had the head of security himself make an appearance.  They certainly didn't want anyone in the pit taking pictures but smiles, waving of passes and stamping of feet prevailed.  With the powerful opening overture from Carmina Burana  the lights went down and the volume from the crowd increased.  This was going to be a SHOW.

As the final strains of O Fortuna came to an end the band were in place for the crashing opening of Rise of the Minority.  The lights came up and the place went crazy.  For twenty minutes mayhem ensued.  Pictures of Me is still the classic track that it's proven to be on numerous occassions, followed by Self Destruction and rounded off with Oracle.  You can't stand still to this band.  Over 300 fans were in attendance - with girls taking off their bras and throwing them onstage and a Mosh pit to rival anything Hatebreed have yet come up with.  The fans were wearing their injuries with pride at the end of the show - even the kids that were there had tried to get into the pit - though fortunately the guys had sense to throw them out.  At the end of the twenty minutes there had been five KO's, two busted noses, and a back injury that had lead to a trip to the local ER.  Imagine the damage if this lot were to play a full 90 minute show.

The band had had to cope with numerous technical difficulties - a drum riser that wasn't big enough for the rack - which lead to problems for the drummer as the rack wouldn't stay in place, and an electrical fault which lead to all three of the guitars cutting in and out continuously, no matter how they tried to remedy it on stage.  Hugely distracting at such an important event, but it demonstrated the professionalism of the band.

Exico came joint second with Amazing Willie (what an insult for Metal!) whilst My Girl Sleeps won first place.  For a full-on metal band to come second out of over 400 bands in a competition of this nature is a huge achievement. 


 Napalm Death
Camden Underworld

As someone who has not listened to Napalm Death since, can’t remember when, I was in for shock therapy!  The Underworld is quite a small venue and it was, expectedly, heaving!  The stage being right up against a crowd of frenzied Metalheads!  This is an amazing venue for getting right up close and personal with the band.  Got backstage and met Danny Herrera, which was pretty awesome!  Went out and watched the last few minutes of Mistress who were not at all bad…very intense but a bit simplistic for my liking. But then I had Napalm to look forward to!   As soon as the band walked on after sound checking, an insane blend of immense blast beats and power chords filled the Underworld, heads in the mosh all thrashing in tandem… Napalm delivered what they are so renowned for… Savage Speed!   Bring on the Whiplash!!  

They churned out track after track of Napalm classics and then started on a load of stuff from their forthcoming album - ‘The Code is Red’ (to be released in April), which I will say, is definitely gonna be a ‘must have’ for anyone who takes their death metal seriously!  

Danny certainly has not lost his touch behind the kit. His footwork certainly blew me away… Barney, the front man was both very welcoming too, and impressive, his vocals as thunder! He managed a brief but severe speech regarding the President of the USA bringing a serious smile to my face…above being able to produce some of the most aggressive grindcore I have heard in years, Napalm have a political sense of humour! Nuff Respect!  

A real treat came with the arrival of Carcass’s Jeff Walker who did a number with the Napalm lads… That had to be the highlight of the gig for me!   I walked out of the underworld with a newfound respect for a band I had totally lost touch with over the years. There certainly was no better way in my mind to get reacquainted with one of the legends of Metal!

(Along with Jeff Walker were Hatebreed's Jamie Jasta & Jello Biafra - who appear on the new album. - ed)

[Pasha Shah]

Bulldog Bash 2004
Long Marston Airfield, Stratford-upon-Avon

Four days of music, leather, naked bodies and so much chrome it was a good job I'd bought spare undies!!!  The weather turned out to be brilliant for pretty much the whole weekend and the beer was flowing in generous quantities.  Unusually for this roving reporter, so much time was spent orgasming over the bikes (unfortunately not many of the leather clad bodies were worth the effort) that more time was spent on the dragstrip than in front of the music stages.  So unfortunately there were a lot of bands that were missed and to them I sincerely apologise - Panic Cell, Broadzilla, Orange Goblin, The Ga Ga's...  However, on the friday night it was a real treat to watch Breed 77 play.  At Download they were good, but this time I got the chance to be up-close and personal with them, and what an enjoyable experience it was too.  Definitely one of the highlights of the weekend.  Paul Isola is an amazing frontman with the energy of the Tasmanian Devil.  He didn't stop moving throughout the whole show, and the rest of the band were superb too with an amazing demonstration of technical ability by the guitarists.  The crowd got right into the swing of things with a pit forming that Paul urged on to wilder and more violent moshing.

After their show should've been a band that I really wanted to see - Insane Clown Posse - but due to one reason or another they pulled out and left a band called The Alarm to fill the slot.  Not exactly what one would call a new band, having been around since 1979, still they put on a good show.  In fact their were some older bikers there who were so excited at seeing this band that they forged their way to the barriers and started singing some Alarm hits as soon as Breed were off the stage! They didn't play any tracks that I knew, but for a last minute Headlining band they played a pretty good set.

Now as well as spending many hours on the Dragstrip on saturday, there was the huge market to walk around, trying desperately not to blow a months wages on the bikes and really cool stuff that you just can't buy anywhere else.  And there were the custom cars which were absolutely divine.  The custom car show had been put on specifically in honour of the Headline act of the weekend - Chuck Berry.  Unfortunately, another illness prevented him from appearing.  C'est la vie, I suppose.  And of course there were the custom bikes, the wrestling and other numerous entertainments to distract one from the musical events.  So after all this I made it just in time to catch the Wildhearts who had been brought in to replace Chuck.  I knew that I liked some of their music but wasn't sure what to expect, or if the crowd would even like them.  As it happened they ended up playing to a huge crowd who were really supportive and out for a good time.  At this point the Hells Angels security pretty much gave up and came into the bearpit to enjoy the fun.  It was a really good performance and I think it's a shame they don't get as much airplay as they deserve. 

The whole event is organised by the Hells Angels and they do a brilliant job in making sure that everyone has fun.  The event is recognised as being the safest festival in the country and when you take a look at the security (all HA's) you can understand why.  The event is about everything that makes someone a biker - chrome, food/beer (guts!!), music, women and fun!  There was even a rifle range, and pool tables!  If you only want to see arena acts then obviously the Download festival is where you belong.  But if you're up for good music AND a fun weekend that's perfectly safe and keeps you entertained right through the whole four days then BDB is where you should be heading next year.


Battle Of The Bands Round 3
Wolverhampton Civic Bar

What a crazy night!  Exico were due to arrive for 5pm, but didn't get to the venue till 6.  This was because of a hit-and-run accident they had on the way to the venue.  The driver had to be taken to hospital because he was badly injured and the equipment had got locked in the back of the car.  Fortunately the band only had minor injuries and the equipment was fine.  So after arriving late they weren't sure if they were even going to play.  They didn't want to let down all their fans, and the drummer was pissed off enough about what had happened that he needed to thrash out his anger on the drums.  So they decided to play anyway and what an absolutely blinding performance it was too.  I've seen them play numerous times now and this was definitely a show to remember.  It all came together perfectly and both the band and the fans had a fantastic time.  They opened with a new song - Pictures of Me - and this is a track thats going to be one of those classic hits everyone still listens to in ten years time.  They followed it with Worthless, When I fall and Rise of the Minority.  Mike got really into the swing of things and threw a bottle of water over the crowd, while Oakesy was busy letting everyone shake hands with him (all good practice for when they're famous lol).  The fans were screaming for more at the end of the set, but being BOTB they only get 20 minutes to play and are penalised if they run over.    When the next band - Dementia - came on, the fans started chanting 'Exico' over and over, which quite understandably upset the lead singer. (Though lets face it, this was meant to be a competition about original music and all they did was rehash old Metallica stuff like 'Creeping Death' - no coincidence then that the lead singer/guitarist is also the lead in the metallica tribute band Mentallica!)  It very nearly kicked off when he started saying 'Fuck Exico' and was a little too insulting.  Fortunately Exico weren't around to hear it.  And a big thanks goes out to the crowd for behaving so well.  They were all there to have a good time and so even when things could have turned nasty they kept calm and didn't let things get out of hand.  So after winning that round, I for one can't wait to see them win through the quarter finals - It can only get better!!


Killswitch Engage / Chimaira
Shadows Fall and God Forbid
Wolverhampton Wulfrun

God Forbid opened the show and the crowd went F***ing wild!!  It was a great start to what turned out to be a fantastic show.  God forbid aren't new at playing live - they've been doing it for years.  They've even supported such monster acts as Mushroomhead, Machinehead, and Cradle of Filth!!  But it's only recently that they've received the recognition they deserve.  Playing on this version of the Roadrunner Roadrage tour let them showcase their fantastic new album - Gone Forever!  They're a talented bunch, though Byrons vocals, great as they are, lacked any kind of range (which was compensated for by the brothers Coyle who both have great voices) and there were too many of the little 80's solos where a couple would've sufficed.  But these were minor irritants as they all put on a really good show - playing to the crowd and just really having a monster time.

Shadows Fall were up next with some good riffs and some great solo's.  The whole set was put together really well, as you would expect from a band that have shared the stage with Hatebreed, Kittie, Pantera and Slayer!  The guitar work from Matt Bachand and Jon Donais was pretty impressive and the drumming was excellent.  Brian Fair is a great singer and looks fucking awesome with his dreads.  Unfortunately he doesn't have the biggest set of lungs and his voice just wasn't powerful enough.  But this didn't detract from the show.  They played some old stuff and some new stuff and the crowd again went crazy - punches were flying all over the place - and that wasn't confined to the pit!  And this was just the warm-up for the madness that was to come next...

Chimaira.  These guys completely stole the show.  From the mini-moshers at the front to the ancients at the back everybody got down and moshed to this lot.  40 mins of mayhem.  Mark Hunter is a lyrical god, a screaming maniac who really drove the crowd to the limits of physical punishment as he got a Wall of Death started that utilised just about every available body.  It was frigging intense! Chris Spicuzza was a showman and then some with a fantastic voice and some neat little synth effects which worked really well live.  Ricky Evensand is a good drummer - not quite up to the level of Andols - but he beat the crap out of those drums and won over a hardened sceptic. There's nothing bad that could be said about these guys as they tore the place up to the best of their tracks from the Impossibility of Reason, finishing their set with the classic Pure Hatred.

Killswitch Engage.  It would've been a better line-up with Chimaira headlining.  It didn't start well cos KsE looked so bland after Chimaira completely upstaged them.  They're definitely not a live band.  They didn't seem to be interested or organised - they just came out, did their stuff, and left.  It was a decent sound but not enough to captivate.  It was more than a little anti-climatic after the previous bands all had so much energy.  Howard is unfortunately, no replacement for Jesse, leaving the vocals sounding flat and disinterested, though replacement drummer Justin Foley was pretty amazing - no surprise when you find out he's got a masters degree in percussion!  This band lack any kind of presence - even with dickhead Adam pratting around on stage.  Due to the amount of time between tracks he made a complete arse of himself, and did the band no favours.  In all this just wasn't anything the crowd wanted to mosh to.  The biggest response was to the last track of the night - My Last Serenade - so the gig at least finished with some kind of mosh.  Disappointing to say the least.

Overall it was a fantastic line-up, with three of the bands giving us a night of shoulder-wrenching, neck-aching, blood-flowing moshes.  Who's up for the next RoadRage Tour???

[Stu Selwood]

Slipknot with My Ruin
London Astoria

A train ride of three hours to get to the Astoria, an adventure on the underground, and an hours wait outside the venue with a drunken, but highly entertaining, tramp.  It was well worth the effort.  The fans outside were screaming Wait and Bleed and the Heretic Anthem which really made you want more.  They were making such a din that japanese camera wielding tourists came to stare, along with a reporter from the Observer who had heard something interesting was going on.  Eventually the doors opened and the fans made it through the dreaded bag and pat-down search with the aim of finding the cameras that weren't allowed. (But we managed to sneak three in.  tee hee).

Another wait began to test our patience.  First up were My Ruin, with vocalist Tarrie B sounding like a man - what a woman!!  And the incomparable Yael.  She doesn't just beat the drums - she does it with style.  Never having heard any of their music before, what they played that night can only be described as a mean set!  Corey obviously thought they were pretty good as he was spotted watching them, unmasked, at the side of the stage.

The tension in the Astoria nearly brought the roof down.  When Slipknot finally arrived onstage it was surprising the roof stayed up!  The set opened with a track from the new album, Circle, which was played in it's entirety before the band walked on.  Three Nil, Duality, Pulse of The Maggots, and The Blister Exists were the tracks taken from the new album with some old classics like Wait and Bleed, and the Heretic Anthem thrown in for good measure.  These guys were great, producing a sound which is never likely to be heard again. 

Joeys feet weren't up to scratch and Shaun messed up, but Coreys voice has never sounded better and so the whole added up to a uniquely intimate and unmissable show. Those people who caught Slipknot at the N.E.C. were pretty pissed at the fact that Corey had said Spit It Out would never be performed live again, but for those who hadn't been to that show, having to find a spot to sit on the floor (or on some unfortunate sods head) and then jumping up again was definitely an unforgettable experience.  With only the hardcore fans in attendance, and the liklihood that at no time in the future are Slipknot going to play in such a small venue, the sizzling atmosphere and the knowledge that this was a really special evening made this one of the most electric and memorable shows ever attended.

[Stu Selwood]

Wednesday 13

Death Becomes You
Birmingham Academy

Wednesday, before being the frontman of the Murderdolls, was the lead singer of a somewhat underground glam-horror-punk band, from which most of the Murderdolls tracks came.  This band was the Frankenstein Drag Queens (from Planet 13).  As Wednesday had split from the FDQ's he asked Death Becomes You to be his support band for the tour, and what a mighty fine union it has been.  They played to a sold out BA2 filled with ghouls, glams, goths, and freaks from every walk of life. 

Unusually, Wednesday also played guitar, as he used to with FDQ and he's not too shabby at it either.  W13 and DBY put on a fast-paced nightmare of a show, with lots of oldie tracks that everyone knew, some new tracks, plus a load of old FDQ tracks that feature on the new album, the titles of which leave nothing to the imagination...'Your mother sucks cock in Hell',  'We have to kill you now', 'the Wolfman stole my baby' etc...  One of the most amusing songs of the evening had to be R.A.M.B.O., a childhood hero of Wednesdays. 

This show was so much more raw and less produced than the Murderdolls shows are - the way Punk is meant to be played.  Every song was fast and every song got faster, with the guitarists really interacting with the crowd, letting the girlies grab hold of them and the usual crap that you get with a predominantly female audience.  In fact those girls (and the guys that can't tell what sex they were made - and here I must mention sexy Liam - total respect to you dude for the nurses outfit!) were frightening to look at - more frightening than the band.  Unlike the Soil gig previously there was very little crowd surfing, though hundreds of girls screaming to 'The Witch is Dead' was more painful than a pair of New Rocks in the back of your head!  The best song of the evening in my opinion, even with Wednesdays fuck-up at the beginning, was 197666 which rocked harder and (surprise) faster than anything else they played that night.  Nico was a friggin amazin performer (thanks for the shots nic) whilst Gory was wicked on the guitar...but my heart went out to Christopher Lee - drummer extraordinaire.  How he kept up the pace all night I do not know.  A fantastic show from both Wednesday and DBY.  Lets hope we see more from them...


Birmingham Academy

 The Garage, London

I was really surprised to find that the venue was the BA2...normally reserved for much smaller acts.  Where was all the publicity for the new Soil tour?  Why weren't there crowds of you to see them?  Turns out this was a bit of a warm up tour for the guys, and they'd decided they wanted to have some intimate shows with their real fans.  So a 'cosy' venue was chosen.  Considering the band had just arrived and there were so few fans there to see them (only a couple of hundred) there was a great atmosphere.  The band were awesome, though very tired looking. The new material from the upcoming album Redefine was certainly as good as the stuff from the Scars album - if not better.  'Obsession' is a more sombre and much darker song than is usual for Soil, though it becomes much angrier. 'Love Hate Game' had a salsa sounding opening to it, but with beautifully heavy riffs it turns into a proper mosh song, which the crowd loved.  'Redefined'  is the title track and the first song to be released from the album.  Bloody Awesome.  Shaun was like a big kid, and Adam spent the evening trying out his English accent with expressions like 'Cheeky Monkey'...and they definitely sounded more Scottish than English.  This show was nowhere near as energetic as I've come to expect of these guys, yet it still got the crowd going as much as ever.  And because of the early curfew, the guys got to spend quality time signing and chatting after the show, making everyone feel like part of the family!

But the better show was definitely at the Garage.  You guys in the crowd were fucking nuts!!!  This show was the dogs doo-dahs!  The support - Hiding Place, were pretty good but they just didn't do it for me...  But the lads from Soil?  Now they were sexy.  They came out and goddamn if I didn't have a mini orgasm when they played!!  They were so good...better than chocolate.  There wasn't a barrier by the stage so everyone could get right up close to the band - a little too close for comfort.  As I was shooting the show and there was nothing to separate me from all you nutters it got just a little squashed.  In all my life I have NEVER had to be lifted out, but by all that's unholy it was too much for a wee little 'un like me and I ended up dragged out onto the stage...just so's not to have the camera smashed to smithereens by the crowd-surfers that poured torrentially upon my head!   What can I say?... the atmosphere was electric and what with the music, heat, sweat (buckets of it), and no security, it was one of the best shows I've been to!  The band are due to play out here again in May on a mini tour before they play the festivals so keep your eyes peeled for them...


Stone Sour
Birmingham Academy


Well, I bought the album - thought it was OK, with a couple of outstanding tracks - though I didn't rate it or the band too highly.  But then I saw them live for the first time and was completely blown away.  Why had I not heard about how fantastic they were? There's all this hype because the band are seen to be a Slipknot side-project, even though they formed before Corey Taylor and James Root joined Slipknot, and it obscures the fact that they are a damn fine band.  The recorded stuff just doesn't do them credit - and Corey and his guys have soooo much more to offer than Slipknot.

This band is good. No Gimmicky stage sets.  No playing to the crowd.  Corey is the master of performance, dragging the crowd any way he pleased. He teased, cajoled, caressed and made the crowd his slaves.  Half-way through the set the band left and Corey came out with his guitar.  He played a 'hillbilly' riff to get the crowd going, then launched into 'Bother'.  The crowd swayed and lighters were gently waved in the air. A truly beautiful moment. 
He paused mid-way and gave a fantastic rendition of Metallica's 'Sanitarium' (though many of the crowd didn't know it),  returning to finish 'Bother', only to find that he'd fucked up the line and so having to ask the crowd for the lyrics. It was great to see such a human and fallible performance.

There were songs about drinking JD and having sex with dead people (what does Corey do in his spare time - other than hang out with the Murderdolls?!), drunken phone messages, and the latest single release from the self-titled album, 'Inhale'. This was dedicated to the much ridiculed Kelly Osbourne, who managed to offend the band recently by claiming they were hanging on the coat-tails of Slipknot's success. ('Pot' and 'Black' spring to mind!).  'Inside the Cynic' is on the new single.  Fast. Furious. Heavy. LOUD.  And dynamic too.  The song has an almost power-ballad moment (I did say almost) that keeps you yearning to hear more.

This band are phenomenal live, and I for one, can't wait to hear the new album.


Birmingham Academy

Another fantastic show from a band who truly understand what 'ROCK' means.

Before the band even arrive onstage, the crowd are prepped for the show. They hum along to the A-team theme tune, clap to the theme from the Addams family (very apt), and sing along to the sometimes witty Weird Al Yankovich's version of the Kid Rocks version of Metallica's 'Sad But True'!!!  So by the time the ghoulish green stage lights come on, the crowd are totally hyped.

It was a great evening.  The band were (except for Eric) really enjoying themselves which lead to an electric atmosphere. They played most of the album and their new single (released July 14th - UK), the rather good cover of Billy Idol's 'White Wedding'.  Most of the crowd were simply too young to remember the original (quite a few of them had never even heard of BI!), but they enjoyed the dolls rendition. And they played another new track 'MurderPie', which will hopefully appear on the White Wedding single. It has the coolest bluesy opening and is another masterpiece of the 'dolls warped minds, pertaining to alcohol and murder - in a very light-hearted sense, of course.

Wednesday must've been hungry as he was busy picking his nose and eating the bogey's (alright, he was just pretending - I hope!), while Joey looked far prettier than any man has a right to, in his leather skirt (sorry, should that have been kilt?) and trademark long red wig.  Poor Ben worked up quite a sweat. The venue was ridiculously hot, and during 'The Devil made me do it (and I'll do it again)' he was working that hard that a stagehand had to feed him water and towel him down - and he was wearing only his undies, stockings, and boots! Acey joined in with the near-nudity and appeared half-way through the set in only his T-shirt. No trousers. No undies. Just as nature intended! And yes, he did give us quite an eyeful.

Even though Stone Sour and the Murderdolls make very different styles of music, it worked to produce one of the best evenings I've had in a long time; great music, chilled beers, and nude bodies. What more could one ask for?


Download Festival
Donnington Race Track
May 31-June 1, 2003

Download is the name given to the new two day Metal/Rock festival that took place in May on the famed Donington race circuit. For many years, Donington has served to host the heavier music fest's, including Ozzfest and the Monsters of Rock.  It is a time for camping out, getting laid, and drinking till you can't remember the names of any of the bands you've seen!  (A complete travesty! A friend of mine has made claims of going to at least 2-3 festivals a year for 13 years, and he only remembers five of the bands that have played!!). Along with the usual stalls selling waterproofs and sunglasses, come the tattoo and body piercing parlours, the legal 'herbal' drug booth's, the jewellery and clothing stalls, and fun fair rides.  There are also two stages that operate at the same time.  So if you don't appreciate the acts on the mainstage, you can always check out some of the other bands on the Scuzz stage, or maybe watch the BMXing, skateboarding, or boxing at Deconstruction.  It's a completely exhausting festival of the senses. You start out as a clock-watcher, calculating what bands you can cram in where, and by the end of it, you laze on the grass and just hope that the next band on don't sound like Oasis.

This was one of the best festivals I have attended.  It included some bands who are breaking the British charts at the moment, such as Stampin Ground and The Darkness - a throwback to 70's lycra jumpsuits and caterwauling like there's no tomorrow but, in my opinion, combined with the diversity, richness and far more melodic music of today (I mean, what was all that ProgRock about anyway?).  The bands I tuned into over the weekend included the Murderdolls, Disturbed, and Soil. (What do you mean, never heard of Soil???  They're an American Metal band who are FANTASTIC - and are often referred to as the new Metallica.  Though as much as I love them, I don't think they're quite that good!). The Headliners included Marilyn Manson, Iron Maiden and Audioslave, of which, I'm sorry to upset all you die-hards out there, Maiden were the least worth watching. 

But there was a surprise band, which I'm happy to say I saw in all their glory.  A band billed as Apocalyptica ~ the ride of the four Horsemen ~ indeed it was METALLICA. Due to contractual obligations they were not really allowed to play, hence the pseudonym. But, God, they were good.  They were on the Scuzz stage - under a circus tent with a two thousand capacity. Five thousand crammed in as tight as they could be, sitting on the inclines outside, and just generally going nuts for this band.  The most amazing small performance to get them warmed up for the Summer Sanitarium tour. And the new guy, Rob, was pretty good, though he did remind me forcibly of an Orangutan on speed.  Can't quite think why... They played the classics, and they played some stuff from the St. Anger album - of which the title track and Frantic were the ones everyone talked about afterwards. I suffered an adrenaline rush for a good half hour after the show.  Seeing them was like having sex.  In fact, it was much more satisfying and certainly more interesting!  I'm glad they're back, and let's hope that Download is here to stay.


The Underworld, Camden

This is Freewheelers home territory.  They've played here before, and being the main support for Love/Hate, the band could relax a little.  The stage layout was better than the Rock Café, and the crowd were far more ready to join in and have fun.  It made a huge difference to how the band performed, with Seb being more of a showman than previously - in a very '70's Rock God' kinda way.  The crowd enjoyed themselves and the band obviously did too. 

Something new for this show was the use of keyboards.  Though they have been used on the CD, they're not usually used live.  It makes a helluva difference though, producing a resonant undertone that makes the music seem more complete.

I enjoyed this show far more than the last one and was caught humming along to the tracks I knew.  Alright, it's not exactly the performance of the century, or even the week.  Seb tries too hard, Jim (the drummer) looks like he's playing for the Devil, and Sophie hides behind her beautiful blonde hair.  Doesn't sound too promising, does it?  But they're still relatively inexperienced.  With time they will (hopefully) learn to interact with the crowds more and let their sense of humour do the work for them.

A promising band, the stage shows fraught with flying chickens and Drew in the front row wiggling his arse (enough to convince any band to play just for the comedy of watching him!), they receive a well-earned 'thumbs-up' for a fun evening. 


Cradle of Filth
Immolation and Akercocke

Astoria, London, 21/04/03

The Lord’s of the Underworld were back and ready to bombard the 2000 strong crowd with their black noise.  The support, Akercocke, went down well, but people were there for one band only and Akercocke were merely the aperitif before the feast.

(NB ­ Just a point of interest; back in 1992 Cradle sent a demo to Akercocke, with the aim of being their Support.  Akercocke didn’t reply.  Funny how Akercocke are now Cradles support!)

 As the lights went down, the crowd let out a communal moan of anticipation.  The band, minus Dani took to the stage and the crowd went completely balmy.  The ghoulish ambience created with the dry ice and green lights ensured that as Dani appeared on the stage he gave the impression of being a hell-lord incarnate.  The crowd surged, just to be that teensy bit closer to the ones they worshipped.  And the Spectacle began.

 The band seemed a little tense, as if they could’ve done with the night off.  They still managed to entertain us for the 90 minute set, which was fantastic throughout. They bought out a dancer, Melissa, who was entirely trashy and rather keen on flashing her bits.  The little black dress had a tendency to ride up, giving us a good view of a completely see-through black thong (ick!).  But Dani was not to be outdone by some tart in a short dress.  Ever the showman, he completely upstaged everyone, with his swaggering stance and lascivious affectations.

The show was, well, rather good.  It was a back-to-basics gig without the usual ostentation. No o.t.t. stuff tonight, just a black metal show for black metal fans. The band were superb. The ‘opera’ singer, Sarah, was ‘OK’ but hardly a startling vocal performance.  Actually, I’m being too nice.  A fart would have had more of an impact.  But then, I wasn’t there to see her.  I was there to watch the demoniacal leather clad bodies, and enjoy the nifty guitar riffs and BIG sound.  Not exactly a striking performance, but certainly worth the four and a half hour journey to see.

The Wulfrun, Wolverhampton, 22/04/03

Immolation were up first with a blinding show, rather unfortunately followed by Akercocke.  After Immo had been on, the crowd sure weren’t in the mood for the London-based satanists, and booed merrily until they left the stage ­ a rather insipid offering.  Whilst waiting for the main act, the video screens ran the latest offering from CoF ­ a shortened version of the film entitled ‘Cradle of Fear’.  It seems to have been inspired by dodgy porn, the classic film ‘Alien’ and an unhealthy dose of Dani’s warped imagination.  A masterpiece of hilarity, the crowd cheered at every hint of blood, nudity and lesbian sex. 

Again the dry-ice and lights with Dani making an entrance.  This time he was in a fantastically mischievious mood, and the crowd loved it.  He strutted ­ pushing his chest out like your typical alpha-male, derision heaped upon the competition.  The audiological extravaganza unfolded without interruption.  Wave after wave of cheers and applause broke across the stage, leading to truly fantastic performances from all of the band.

With the sweat dripping from those leather clad bodies in rivulets, the Lord’s of Darkness reigned supreme, proving that, with or without the props, the theatrics, and the nudey dancers, they can produce the goods ­ a musical pageant for the soul by the masters of epic black metal, Cradle of Filth.


The Wulfrun, Wolverhampton

Immolation were fantastic.  They were supporting Cradle of Filth on their European Tour.  I'd never come across them before and didn't have a clue what to expect.  But they were Damn fine!  Heavy, yet melodic; showy, though reserved, this band have been playing the circuits long enough to know how to please the crowds.  They received the most enthusiastic applause, and yet I was told by a fan of theirs that it was far from their best show! (Blimey, what are they like on a good day?)

The drummer, Alex, was fantastic, and the guitar work was likewise brill.  There was a good mosh pit going down the front, and the crowd were totally into what the band were doing.  They made plenty of fans that night, and I for one am gonna pay them a visit next time they play over here.  An enthusiastic 'thumbs up' for these guys (and not just cos of the length of Ross's hair!).


The Rock Café, Stourbridge

I caught Freewheeler when they were supporting L.A. Guns, along with Enuff Z'nuff.  Now as I've mentioned before, crowds in Britain, especially in the Midlands, can be horrendously difficult to get a response from.  Any response.  If they don't love you or hate you they'll stand stock still in mute silence.  You could expect more feedback from a thousand year old corpse.  But Freewheeler knew what they were up against.

The crowd chose to stand ten feet from the stage which was hardly the most encouraging start.  As the band took to the stage, the lead singer, Seb, greets the crowd with a rather loud "This is Rock 'n' Roll!" which, coincidentally, is the name of the opening number.  The volume was cranked - which was bothersome to mine poor old ears, as there were two bands to follow who were undoubtedly going to be even louder!  It was a great track to open with, and was the start of a real sing-along evening. 

The guitar work was really good, especially the bass riffs played by the beautiful Sophie, whilst Sebs vocals were easy on the ears, with lyrics that were simple enough to learn before the songs were over.  The tunes were true 'rock n roll', with one rather comical and un-'PC' song about fat women who sweat a little too much!

All-in-all, a pretty good set for a bloody impossible crowd.



80's Matchbox B-Line Disaster

Wulfrun Centre, Wolverhampton 04/12/02

It was a cold ­ freezing cold ­ night. The type of night where anyone with any sense would curl up in a big bed with considerable quantities of alcohol.  The streets were fairly empty.  An hour before the gig all the desperate and lonely made their way to the venue and queued outside till they were as deathly looking as the band they were going to see. (I took one look at the crowd amassing and decided to stay in the warmth of the bar next door).  So missing the first ten minutes of the support act ­ the 80’s Matchbox B-Line Disaster.  But the twenty minutes I did see of them managed to convince me that the first ten minutes wouldn’t have been any different.  I have it on the best authority that it wasn’t just one bleedin’ long song that they played, though it sure sounded like it. And I didn’t particularly get-off on the singers desire to beat himself around the head every couple of bars either. Though I’m pretty sure he did. It just distracted me from their, uh-hm, ‘music’.

The Murderdolls came on, and were fairly mediocre.  After seeing them when they supported Papa-Roach on tour I expected more from them. (But then, they had just recently flown in and supposedly had jet-lag). The kids were lively enough, but the parents there definitely put a dampener on the lively antics one would expect at a gig like this.  And the Wolverhampton crowd are a notoriously hard-headed bunch to please.  So the atmosphere lacked energy, and wasn’t helped by the bands lack of enthusiasm.  Don’t get me wrong, it was good, but just too much of a warm up for their more important gig on Saturday at the Forum.

I was left feeling a little despondent and unfulfilled.

However, the band graced us with their presence after the show for some quick signatures.  We were hanging around the Barbie-Bus ­ a bright pink tour bus ­ trying vainly to keep some warmth flowing to our extremities.  Out they came after what seemed like hours (and was, in fact, hours) to accept ever-such thoughtful and generous gifts of fried chicken that had long since gone cold, and yoyos. While the others remained to be thanked and praised, Eric made off with the excuse of a bad throat to the tour bus.  And so ended a rather cold, and somewhat flat evening.

 The Forum, London 07/12/02

OK.  Totally different venue, totally different punters. This lot are even more insane than the Wolverhampton lot.  I mean, these desperate buggers started to show up at 12 noon. So straight off, you could tell it was gonna be a lively show.  By the time we arrived, the queue was so long we couldn’t see the end, so again it was time to find a bar.  (And what a bizarre experience that was ­ Punks, Glams, Goths ­ and Wednesday wanna-be’s of course ­ and old men playing card games in a corner.  One old guy was wandering round collecting beer glasses with a nose that dripped continuously ­ providing much merriment and grossness as we took bets on whose pint it would drip into!)

The Forum is a big old Victorian theatre complete with balconies and a massive chandelier (with bulbs rather than candles). Impressive in it’s time, it still has that feeling of grandeur about it that you only get in really old theatres.  So a very different venue to the Wulfrun - a purpose built dance hall.  (This time I made it into the venue in time to see 80’s MBLD.  And that first ten minutes really did sound exactly like the following twenty, with the lead singer still busy trying to knock himself out).

For this particular gig, people have travelled far and wide. Everyone’s in a real happy mood, lots of drinking going on ­ and then there’s the cameras.  Suddenly, people begin to realise that this is being filmed, and the feeling in the air becomes tense with interest. The band come on and tell us we’re being filmed for a DVD to be released and that they want the crowd to go wild.  But the venue is too big for the number of people and only minimal riotous behaviour takes place. This gig should’ve taken place at the renowned (and smaller) Astoria but was moved to the Forum. All the same, the band give a blinding performance with Wednesday going so far as to break his microphone in a fit of energetic twirling.  Mid-song this is. So Joey calls a halt while Wednesday is kitted out with something to enable us to hear him by.  By mid-show the crowd-surfing is going full whack.  The crowd supporting them start to get a bit pissed-off at being booted in the head quite so much and they begin to just, well, drop them.  Splat.  This did not deter any of the surfers from getting up and trying again - and again. They were almost more interesting to watch than the band. Alright maybe not.

Wednesdays voice was in full mettle and Eric, bless his little cotton socks, was still giving it his all ­ with almost no voice left at all. Ben hammered away with the sweat flying from him, Acey kept the ladies smiling, and Joey was being pretty flash too.

The band had put on a really good show, and I for one will be buying the DVD when it is finally released (and not to see if I‘ve been caught on camera at all).

 Nottingham Rock City, Nottingham. 09/12/02

With the Barbie-Bus very much in evidence, the atmosphere was anticipatory.  80’s MBLD were the same as previously ­ still with the songs that blend into one, and the singer that’s into self-abuse.  By now, I’m more used to them and can see that actually, they’re pretty good. It just takes a while to actually learn where one song ends and the next begins. And the best way to listen to them is with eyes closed to stop that bloody irritating singer being a distraction. The reason for them being on tour with the Murderdolls is now clear ­ their particular style of music (‘psychobilly’ ­ is this a new genre or what?) gets the crowd ready to party.

The crowd were definitely up for being entertained.  And the band didn’t disappoint. As they ripped their way through the entire album, the crowd (and band) had muchos fun times. The atmosphere ­ totally rocking.

We jumped like lunatics to Love At First Fright and Lets Go To War; Middle-finger, double-fisted our way through People Hate Me; and ‘fucked’ till there was no breath left in us.  To FUCK of course!

The crowd loved the new piece ‘The devil made me do it (and I’ll do it again)’ and the kids crowd-surfed their sweaty adolescent (and often pre-pubescent) bodies all over us.

The atmosphere at Nottingham is always different to any other venue in the UK. It is renowned for being the best venue in the country.  I’m not sure why. But something about it makes the crowd more ready to jump and sing and get involved with the band.  It’s much cosier and makes you feel like the band are actually just mates mucking around in your bedroom (now wouldn’t That be nice)

After this gig, as with most of their shows, the band graced the die-hards with a signing session by the Barbie-bus. They weren’t out for long though ‘cos it was so fucking cold.

The adults amongst us went to the club night downstairs. A decidedly strange mix of people were present ­ the ‘glams’ from the gig ­ Ben Sherman, loafer wearing twats, and OH MY GOD, a shell suited piss-head! (Who let him in?).  Wednesday impressed us all with his lack of yo-yoing skills as he tried in vain to learn how to do it (Wednesday, it wasn’t your fault you couldn’t manage it sweetie, it was a duff yo-yo!). The rest of ‘Dolls came in from the cold, joining us for a few hours to chill, while we got in a few rounds for the poor skint gits ­ in payment for pestering them all night for pics and autographs. What a nice bunch of guys!

This gig rated a definite 11 out of 10!  After the others, it was nice to see that the band could still have fun and let us share in it. So lets have a big round of applause (and quaffing of alcoholic beverages) in congratulations and thanks to a band that knows how to really have fun and share it with us lowly wanna-die’s.

Check out the Murderdolls official site: