Thursday, 21 October 2021

Gig Review: SAINT AGNES at The Deaf Institute, Manchester (UK) (17/10/2021)

 

It feels like a lifetime ago I bought tickets for this gig. Since then, I managed to see Saint Agnes play the Download Pilot (click for review), and they were awesome, so I'd been really looking forward to seeing them play a full headline show. Their latest mini-album, Vampire (click for review) is great, and well worth checking out if you haven't already.

I arrived in time to catch the main support, Sit Down. The Brighton three-piece have some catchy songs, with a distinct 90's vibe. Their music is a little poppier, albeit fuzz-tastic, and less aggressive than the headliner's, but they still sounded like a good fit for the bill. OK, they had some annoying, ear-splitting feedback between songs which really got on my tits, but for the most part, I enjoyed their set. 

Sit Down Manchester Deaf Institute 2021
Sit Down

Opening up with the raucous, energetic Daughter Of Lucifer, Saint Agnes were captivating from the start. The sound was fantastic, and the band was clearly a well-oiled machine, ready to go. They played eleven songs, back-to-back with no encore or frills. It was an intense hour of banger-after-banger. 

The set comprised of mostly their newer material, with all four original songs off Vampire, all four from The Family Strange EP, brand-new single Uppercut, and two from their debut album, The Witching Hour and the title track. Their sound is constantly evolving, and the set represented them where they are right now. That's fine with me, as I think their more recent material is their strongest.

Their new single, Uppercut, was a ferocious highlight, coming accross as heavier and more powerful live than on the studio recording. I'm With You Everywhere You Go was another track that truly thrived in the live environment, moreso than on record. The set flowed well, and I felt it was dynamic and continually rewarding, with no dull or awkward moments whatsoever. The only downside is that it all went by so quickly! 

Saint Agnes are one of those bands that seem to be genuinely breaking though at the moment. They're  great live band and have loads of killer songs. The band is on tour right now, so catch them if you can while they're still playing in small clubs.



Saint Agnes at The Deaf Institute, Manchester 2021
Saint Agnes

Saint Agnes at The Deaf Institute, Manchester 2021
Saint Agnes


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Thursday, 14 October 2021

Album Review: VENUES - Solace

 


01. Razorblade Teeth
02. Whydah Gally
03. Rite Of Passage
04. Uncaged Birds
05. Into The Fire
06. Down Below
07. Shifting Colors
08. Our Destiny
09. Deceptive Faces
10. Mountains

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Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Album Review: SPIRITBOX - Eternal Blue

 


01. Sun Killer
02. Hurt You
03. Yellowjacket (feat. Sam Carter of Architects)
04. The Summit
05. Secret Garden
06. Silk In The Strings
07. Holy Roller
08. Eternal Blue
09. We Live In A Strange World
10. Halcyon
11. Circle With Me
12. Constance

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Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Top HALLOWEEN movie recommendations for 2021

The last time I did a 'Top movies for Halloween was five years ago! God, I'm fucking lazy! The list I did back then (click here to read it) was more of an 'all time favourite' list, and I'll happily recommend those films every year. 

I thought, instead of a 'best of'', I'd just recommend some Horror movies that I simply think are cool. I picked '13' movies because 666 seemed a little excessive. Let me know if you watch any of these, and if you enjoyed them or if I wasted a chunk of your life.



HALLOWEEN KILLS (2021)

OK, I haven't seen this yet but I'm going to recommend it anyway. You were already planning to see this at the cinema next week, right? The follow-up to the fantastic Halloween (2018) (Click for review) looks amazing, and I'm more excited than a squealing little pig.




UNCLE PECKERHEAD (2020)

This is the story of a punk band who meet a dude who ends up being their roadie. He just neglected to tell them that he turns into a flash-eating monster. This film is great fun and I can't recommend it enough. CLICK HERE for my full review.




PSYCHO GOREMAN (2020)

Psycho Goreman is a Horror/Sci-Fi/Comedy about an intergalactic warlord who finds himself under the control of a child in suburbia. I absolutely loved it, and if stupid shit is your thing, you'll love it too!. CLICK HERE for my full review. 




TERRIFIER 2017

Art the clown is a new Horror icon who deserves to be up there with Freddy, Jason, Leatherface, and Chucky. Terrifier is a fucked up, violent movie that's as funny as it is twisted. CLICK HERE for my full review.




TRAIN TO BUSAN (2016)

This Korean zombie movie is an absolute gem. If you're a fan of 28 Days Later and The Walking Dead, you need to see this ASAP! CLICK HERE for my full review.




A CLASSIC HORROR STORY (2021)

I recently watched this Italian movie on Netflix and really enjoyed it. I won't spoil it by giving much away, but it involves a group of people who have an accident in a camper van in the middle of nowhere, and the only building around is the creepiest looking house ever. Would you go in there? Oh, and the cinematography is gorgeous. 




MIDSOMMAR (2019)

A few American students travel to a remote part of Sweden to stay with a cult during their celebrations. What could possibly go wrong? Didn't they watch The Wicker Man? This is a beautifully shot movie and tackles topics such as grief, mental illness, and toxic relationships with a maturity that you don't see in Horror that often. The acting is superb, and it's not surprising that this movie made such an impact.




THE FOREVER PURGE (2021)

I love all of the Purge movies and the TV series too. This new instalment doesn't disappoint, and if you're a Purge fan but haven't got round to seeing The Forever Purge yet, get on it! I love the social commentary, this time the emphasis being on racism and immigration. The Forever Purge is another brilliant chapter in a series that is as important as it is entertaining.




CHOPPING MALL (1986)

If it's 80's trash you're looking for, look no further. This is an absolute classic! Imagine if a bunch of teenagers played by actors in their thirties sneaked into a shopping mall to 'party' after it has closed? What if the mall had recently replaced its security guards with malfunctioning killer robots? You know where this is going. 




JAKOB'S WIFE (2021)

This is a really cool vampire film about a minister's wife who wants more from life than what she's ended up with. Becoming a vampire gives her a fresh sense of empowerment. This is a fantastic movie with a strong feminist tone and plenty of gore and dark humour. Incidentally, the lead actor, Barbara Crampton, was also in Chopping Mall.





FEAR STREET (All 3 Movies) (2021)

Earlier this year, Netflix released this trio of movies that are part of the same story about a town that has been cursed by a witch, but with each having a different feel. The first is set in the 90's and has the associated look and soundtrack, bringing back memories of the slasher films of that era. The second borrows heavily from the Camp Crystal Lake aesthetic, and the third, at least visually, reminded me of 2015's The Witch. All three are 'Teen Horror', so appealed to me a lot, and despite each film's individual character, they all worked well together and this trilogy became a highlight of this year's movie watching. 



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Album Review: THE WILDHEARTS - 21st Century Love Songs

 


01. 21st Century Love Songs
02. Remember These Days
03. Splitter
04. Institutional Submission
05. Sleepaway
06. You Do You
07. Sort Your Fucking Shit Out
08. Directions
09. A Physical Exorcism
10. My Head Wants Me Dead

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Monday, 11 October 2021

Album Review: GARBAGE - No Gods No Masters

 


01. The Men Who Rule The World
02. The Creeps
03. Uncomfortably Me
04. Wolves
05. Waiting For God
06. Godhead
07. Anonymous XXX
08. A Woman Destroyed
09. Flipping The Bird
10. No Gods No Masters
11. This City Will Kill You

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Sunday, 10 October 2021

Album Review: RISE AGAINST - Nowhere Generation

 


01. The Numbers
02. Sudden Urge
03. Nowhere Generation
04. Talking To Ourselves
05. Broken Dreams, Inc
06. Forfeit
07. Monarch
08. Sounds Like
09. Sooner Or Later
10. Middle Of A Dream
11. Rules Of Play

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Saturday, 2 October 2021

Album Review: KK's PRIEST - Sermons of the Sinner

 

01. Incarnation
02. Hellfire Thunderbolt
03. Sermons Of The Sinner
04. Sacerdote Y Diablo
05. Raise Your Fists
06. Brothers Of The Road
07. Metal Through And Through
08. Wild And Free
09. Hail For The Priest
10. Return Of The Sentinel

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Saturday, 25 September 2021

Album Review: SEPULTURA - SepulQuarta

 

01. Territory (feat. David Ellefson)
02. Cut-Throat (feat. Scott Ian)
03. Sepulnation (feat. Danko Jones)
04. Inner Self (feat. Phil Rind)
05. Hatred Aside (feat. Angélica Burns, Mayara Puertas & Fernanda Lira)
06. Mask (feat. Devin Townsend)
07. Fear, Pain, Chaos, Suffering (feat. Emmily Barreto)
08. Vandals Nest (feat. Alex Skolnick)
09. Slave New World (feat. Matthew K. Heafy)
10. Ratamahatta (feat. Joao Barone & Charles Gavin)
11. Apes Of God (feat. Rob Cavestany)
12. Phantom Self (feat. Mark Holcomb)
13. Slaves Of Pain (feat. Frédéric Leclercq & Marcello Pompeu)
14. Kaiowas (feat. Rafael Bittencourt)
15. Orgasmatron (feat. Phil Campbell)

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Friday, 24 September 2021

Album Review: THE AWAKENING - This Alchemy

 


01. Bitter Bliss
02. Into The Machine (part 1 + 2)
03. Zero Down
04. Shadow Call
05. Winter's Unknown
06. When The Fear Subsides
07. A Victory Of Love (Alphaville cover)
08. Take Me Home
09. Empty Garden
10. All Tomorrow's Saints
11. This Alchemy

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Thursday, 23 September 2021

Album Review: Dream Tröll – Realm of the Tormentör

 

Dream Tröll – Realm of the Tormentör

01. The Tormentor
02. She Got The Devil Inside
03. Winner Takes Nothing
04. Here Comes Chaos
05. Watch It Burn
06. As Death Rains From The Sky

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Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Album Review: 5¢ FREAKSHOW - Reanimation Of Annihilation

 


01. One Bite Tonight
02. Goregasm
03. That Night She Died
04. Ex-Mortis
05. Killin' Em Now
06. Co-Ed
07. Deader Together

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Tuesday, 7 September 2021

EP Review: CREEPER - American Noir

 


01. Midnight Militia
02. Midnight
03. America At Night
04. Ghosts Over Calvary
05. The Drowning Room
06. One Of Us
07. Damned And Doomed
08. Frozen Night

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Monday, 6 September 2021

Album Review: IRON MAIDEN - Senjutsu

 


01. Senjutsu
02. Stratego
03. The Writing On The Wall
04. Lost In A Lost World
05. Days Of Future Past
06. The Time Machine
07. Darkest Hour
08. Death Of The Celts
09. The Parchment
10. Hell On Earth

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Sunday, 5 September 2021

Gig Review: GREEN LUNG at The Bread Shed, Manchester (UK) 02/09/2021

 


I haven't been into Green Lung long, but I'm finding myself listening to them a lot these days. I recently witnessed their fantastic set at Bloodstock (Click for review), and decided to see them again in Manchester. I've also pre-ordered their new album, so I'll review that here when it arrives!

I arrived in time to catch the main support, Barbarian Hermit. The venue is packed. Tonight is a sold out show and the place is heaving and stinking as though Covid never happened. These guys are clearly local heroes and there are plenty of people getting into their filthy, fuzzy, mega-heavy Rock n' Roll. This was a superb slot for these guys and I have no doubt they grew their popularity quite a bit.



Having sold out The Dome in London the night before, Green Lung come onstage to a sold out Bread Shed. The atmosphere is electric, and it's been some time since I've seen a band blow up like this.

Opening with the awesome Lady Lucifer, they play for a solid hour and ten mins. It's 'all killer no filler' tonight. The new songs from their forthcoming Black Harvest album, Leaders Of The Blind, Reaper's Scythe, and Graveyard Sun were lapped up by the audience as though they'd been listening to them for years. It shows that their fan-base is very much engaged, familiarising them with the new songs as soon as they hit YouTube. 

The songs from their first record were also pure magic, especially Woodland Rites and The Ritual Tree. Ending the show with the awesome Let The Devil In was a masterstroke, albeit a predictable one. 

What I believe separates Green Lung from the countless Stoner/Doom/Sabbath-worship bands out there are the writing and the character. The songs are so well put together, with some fantastic vocal lines and interesting note choices, keeping the band away from the generic and making their repertoire catchy-as-Hell without having to compromise any crushing heaviness. Their occult lyrics and imagery are cool as fuck too. They're clearly dominating their niche scene right now, and I'm imagining how insanely huge they could become. Best of luck to them, they deserve it. 







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Festival Review: BLOODSTOCK 2021 (11-15 August)

 


The fact that Bloodstock went ahead this year feels like a miracle. With many other festivals and tours being cancelled, it was touch and go as to whether or not Bloodstock would happen. Many bands had to drop out over the months due to Covid alerts, international travel restrictions, and whatever shit this misery of the last eighteen months could throw at us. Considering the ludicrous level of adversity the Bloodstock team had thrown at them, they made it happen. Only a prize bell-end could moan about the line-up changes given the circumstances. Personally, I'm grateful the festival happened, and was delighted with the acts that made it.

No-one wants to read a massive essay, so I'll just write a few words about a few of the bands I saw, and treat you to the mandatory crap photos I took on my mobile phone.

On Wednesday, I arrived in time to catch Beholder who were playing their last ever gig. I'm not massively familiar with them, but they sounded pretty cool with their Prog-meets-Groove Metal thing going on.



Headliner, Onslaught, were absolutely on-point. They gave an absolutely flawless performance, tearing through thrash classics as well as material off their latest record, Generation Antichrist. Their previous singer, Sy Keeler, joined them on-stage too which was a treat for fans. So many great songs, and an awesome finish to the first day! 66 fucking 6 indeed!



Thursday was the day that had the least for me, in all honesty. Living close enough to commute, I turned up early evening. 

I watched The Crawling, who were a Death/Doom trio from Northern Ireland. To my ears, they sounded a lot like very early Paradise Lost. They put on a good show with plenty of fire. Literally.


Replacing Hacktavist, who had to pull out a few days before the show, were Punk Rock Factory. They played covers of themes from various kids' TV shows including Pokemon and MASK. Despite being an odd choice of band, they were a lot of fun and went down amazingly well. 



Lawnmower Deth were Lawnmower Deth. They're more than a bit shit, but for some reason I've seen them several times over the years. OK, three times at Download Festival. Maybe I was drunk?. They are sometimes fun, but the whole 'comedy metal' thing has been done so much better since their heyday that they're just not that great by today's standards. It's a shame, but I hope their forthcoming album is strong and helps them to raise their game. 


 

On Friday, I arrived in time to catch Higher Power. I wasn't familiar with them before. They're kinda Hardcore with some melodic parts that sound a bit like Jane's Addiction. I shit you not. I enjoyed them and they seemed to generally go down well with the crowd, so mission accomplished.


I fucking love Venom Prison, so I was really excited to see them live for the first time. They did not disappoint and tore through their set like feral beasts! They remind me of Carcass, At The Gates, and various Death Metal bands from the mid-90's, but with a fresh modern twist. They're a perfect band for Bloodstock and I'm sure that they gained many new fans from today's performance.



The Wildhearts are one of my favourite bands on the planet. After technical problems brought disaster to their set at this summer's Download Pilot (review here), I had my fingers crossed that everything would go right for them today. Fortunately, they were amazing. The band looked like they were having the time of their lives, playing killer track after killer track. They may have seemed like an odd choice for Bloodstock, but I couldn't have been happier that they were included. 




Skindred are the perfect band for any Rock/Metal festival. After seeing them set the Download Pilot alight a couple of months ago, I knew they'd do the same here at Bloodstock. And they did. The Bloodstock crowd clearly adored them, and were well-up for the expected audience participation including the compulsory Newport helicopter. A brilliant set by a legendary band.



I checked out Haxan in the tiny Jägermeister tent, after enjoying their debut album, White Noise (review here). Their brand of straight forward, no nonsense Rock n' Roll hit the spot, and most of the crowd couldn't even fit inside the tent. You can tell when a band plays together regularly. They're a tight unit, an absolute machine, and undoubtedly impressed everyone who managed to squeeze into that tent to check them out. 



I have a few of Devin Townsend's albums, but I wouldn't consider myself to be a 'mega-fan' or anything. However, tonight I was totally won over. Considering his band were session players who he'd only been playing with for a couple of days or so, this show was an absolute triumph. He played songs from his various projects, which bizarrely seemed to sit alongside each other as part of a cohesive set, despite varying in styles. Highlights for me were the glorious Spirits Will Collide and a face-shredding Detox



After Devin's euphoric headlining slot on the main stage, Napalm Death closed Friday with some savage brutality in the SOPHIE tent. Yes, their performance was a little sloppy, and Barney looks like an embarrassing drunk uncle at a wedding party, but it's still Napalm Death. They played an entertaining career-spanning set, with highlights being Suffer The Children and Breed To Breathe.



I was a bit late to the party on Saturday, with the first band I saw being While She Sleeps. I've seen them many times, the last being their phenomenal performance at the Download Pilot in June. Today, they were as killer as always. Superb.





Paradise Lost are one of my favourite bands and today they played their classic album, Draconian Times, in it's entirety, followed by their hugely popular single, Say Just Words, to round things off nicely. As Draconian Times is one of my favourite albums ever, I was happier than a pig in shit.



Cradle of Filth brought their A-Game today and were one of the best bands of the entire weekend. There was nothing not to love here.






I love Kreator. For me, they're one of the best thrash bands on Earth. This kind of music doesn't get better than this. Dani Filth joined them for Betrayer, which was cool. Satan Is Real, Flag Of Hate, Phobia, Enemy Of God, Phantom Antichrist.. it was just a barrage of immense Metal played by masters of the craft.





I arrived on Sunday to catch a bit of Bloodshot Dawn's set. I'd never heard of them before. What I witnessed was quality thrash metal, so they're now a band on my list to check out further. 



Diamond Head do what they do well, but it's just not for me. Most of their repertoire seems to be generic classic rock that lacks anything to make it stand out from the countless other bands out there. I guess they achieve that by continuing to use the name Diamond Head. I stuck around to hear Am I Evil? which is easily their best song, and has more character than the rest of their back catalogue put together.



Glaswegian Metal-core outfit, Bleed From Within, were awesome at the Download Pilot in June, so I was well-chuffed to see them again so soon afterwards. I can see this band becoming massive over the next couple of years.



I've tried hard to get into Orange Goblin over the years, but I continue to struggle with them. I watched some of their set, but their brand of filthy Rock n' Roll/Stoner just isn't for me for the most part. For a band with a name like that, you'd expect them to be more fun and creative, but to me they sound like a boring. slower Motorhead with few memorable songs. I bailed halfway through to have a piss then watch The Injester on the Hobgoblin stage.




I was interested in checking out The Injester because, unlike the majority of up-and-coming bands that play the Hobgoblin New Blood stage, they made a massive effort to promote their show on social media in the days leading up to the festival. I took notice, listened to a song on YouTube, and gave them a go. Image-wise, they have what looks to me like a Slipknot-meets-ICP thing going on with masks and theatrics. They have some cool melodic-metal tracks up their sleeves and are well worth investigating.



I'm a life-long Therapy? fan, so it's always a pleasure to watch these guys. They busted out most of the big singles from Troublegum and a few more well known tracks such as Stories from Infernal Love, all of which went down a storm. 



I had never heard anything by Gloryhammer before. I hadn't planned on watching them because a good chunk of their set clashed with Green Lung. However, I did stick around for the first three or four songs, and I was glad I did. They were like a self-aware Hammerfall but much more fun. They had loads of fans in the pit waving plastic swords, light sabres, and inflatable unicorns (and possibly a few sheep). Some fans were wearing unicorn onesies too. What sucks is that in the few days between the show and me writing this up, Gloryhammer have sacked their super-popular lead singer, and some remaining band members have been accused of abuse, and writing dumb racist shit on the internet. How disappointing. Sort your fucking shit out boys.



I've become a huge Green Lung fan recently, and this was my first time seeing them. There's clearly a huge buzz about this band and the tent was packed. Luckily, I managed to get down the front. They sounded great and played every track of theirs I wanted to hear. Job done! If you love heavy, dirty riffs, occult topics, and early Sabbath, you need to check these out ASAP.




Despite some technical difficulties at the start of their set, Saxon delivered a strong set of Heavy Metal classics including some personal favourites like And The Bands Played On, Dogs Of War, 747 (Strangers In The Night), and ending with the awesome Princess Of the Night. If Saxon are one thing, it's consistent. 




Let's get something straight. Judas Priest is the greatest Heavy Metal band the world has ever seen, and probably ever will see. Words cannot express how much I love them, so seeing them celebrate 50 years of Judas Priest was worth the price of a festival ticket alone. There were some wonderful surprises in the set such as the opener, One Shot At Glory, Rocka Rolla, and Invader. The usual songs were there as expected suck as Breaking The Law, Painkiller, and Living After Midnight. It was lovely to see Glenn Tipton manage to join the team for the encore, despite his Parkinson's disease. When all is said and done, this was a magnificent show from the greatest of them all.
















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