Archive for Amon Amarth

Happy New Year 2016!

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Music, Rock, television, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2015 by 80smetalman

For the first time in seven years with the company, I am working a sleepover on New Year’s Eve. At least I get double time for it. Therefore, I will wish everyone a happy new year now and reflect on 2015 and what there is to look forward to for 2016.

Amon Amarth at their best

Amon Amarth at their best

Huntress

Huntress

Savage Messiah

Savage Messiah

The year started with a great concert in Bristol featuring Amon Amarth with special guests, Huntress and Savage Messiah. I can’t think of a better way to start any year. While it seemed that on some occasions in the year, I was in danger of disappearing up my own rectum, with work, blogging and other commitments, music of past and present kept me sane. Although, I did have a wonderful break in August to go to Bloodstock and see three bands, two of them I missed in the 80s and the third, I was too partied out to fully appreciate them. They were Nuclear Assault, Armoured Saint and Overkill plus I headbanged to the likes of Sabbaton and Trivium that day while discovering a great little known band in Fire Red Empress. I hope the new year brings all of those bands greater success.

Overkill playing to the crowd

Overkill playing to the crowd

Fire Red Empress entertaining the crowd

Fire Red Empress entertaining the crowd

Nuclear Assault  in full assault

Nuclear Assault in full assault

Armoured Saint establishing their dominance

Armoured Saint establishing their dominance

Sabaton wowing with their sound

Sabaton wowing with their sound

Trivium in full swing

Trivium in full swing

As so many of you have pointed out, there was some great music throughout the year with new releases from Iron Maiden, Queensryche and the Scorpions to name a few. Plus there was a new album from The Darkness. Let’s hope their resurgence continues into the new year.

imbos

Of course, we can’t forget out losses with the recent passing of Lemmy and Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor. Two-thirds of a great band gone in the same year is nothing short of a tragedy. However, I am confident that they are jamming away together in another place. On a personal, non musical note, the year also saw the final episode of my favourite television show, “Sons of Anarchy.” Fortunately, my eldest step son got me the entire series on DVD for Christmas, so there will be some happy viewing for me.

Lemmy

Lemmy

20121115-sons-of-anarchy-306x306-1352997102

Like with every year, the new year gives everyone a chance for a new start or things to look forward to. For me, while Sons of Anarchy is gone, I still can watch “The Blacklist” and so far in season 3, I like what I’m seeing. Then there’s the chance to see Twisted Sister’s farewell gig at Bloodstock this year. That is something I intend to move mountains to go to.

blacklist

Twisted Sister

Twisted Sister

So it leads me to say that whatever your hopes and dreams for the new year are, I hope it all works out for you. Just remember one thing, no matter what the year may bring, there will always be some great music to keep you going.

Happy New Year!

 

 

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Three Pronged Metal Assault On Bristol

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Music, Uncategorized, video games with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2015 by 80smetalman

It’s Monday morning and I still haven’t fully recovered from Sunday night’s mayhem. Last night, my stepson and I went to see a concert at the Thekla in Bristol, UK, with viking metal giants Amon Amarth, California metallists Huntress and ¬†homegrown Savage Messiah. Let’s just say that the night was one to remember.

It’s about a forty-five minute ride from my home in Stroud, Gloucestershire to Bristol but that’s not important. We did have Megadeth’s “13” album to make the ride enjoyable and provide the inflight entertainment. Once we landed in Bristol, we immediately headed for a nearby pub called The Gryphon which specialises in metal. Four years ago, I had my most successful book signing evening for “Rock and Roll Children” there. There were only three other people in there plus the bartender but I did manage a pint of real ale and the entertainment provided by Sabbaton on the pub’s sound system. Great place for a pre-concert party.

Inside The Gryphon

Inside The Gryphon

Leaving the Gryphon, we made the ten minute walk to the Thekla, which is an old ship turned into a night club. This turned out to be a bit ironic since the headline act prided themselves on being descended from vikings. An email from them gave me the impression that the show would start at 7 but the reality was that that would be the time the doors opened. So, we had to wait in line for fifteen minutes but some rather partied out concert goers who play too much Skyrim made the wait more amusing. My stepson informed me that they were loudly making quotes from the game, although I can’t remember what they were.

The Thekla

The Thekla

So, we went in, found a good place near the stage and waited. The wait was well worth it because at precisely 7:30, Savage Messiah hit the stage at 300 mph. They might have only been on stage for a half an hour but they made sure you took in every minute of it. They gave every ounce of energy they had into that short time span with some powerful playing. I had little experience of them before this night but they were kind enough to play two songs of theirs I did know, “Hellblazer” and “Minority of One.” Both were done brilliantly as were the other songs they played. They only slowed down long enough for lead singer, Dave Silver, to lament how their van broke down four days into their tour and had to pay over ¬£600 in repairs. He said he was going to put the bill on Twitter, so I may have to check that out. Still, it didn’t detract from their performance one bit and when they finished, they still had enough energy to play another half hour.

Savage Messiah

Savage Messiah

More Savage Messiah

More Savage Messiah

The audience didn’t have much time to catch their breath before the second band of the night, Huntress ascended the stage. They wasted no time in carrying on from where their predecessors left off. Huntress wowed the crowd with their own brand of powerful metal which brought out all the ghouls and thrashers. It was in the middle of their set that a mosh pit opened up. This only fueled Huntress more. Lead singer Jill Janus lead the procession very well with both her engagement with the crowd and her singing. I loved her quote, “Put the stars in your bong and smoke the galaxy.” Of course all backed up by her band who proceeded to hammer the ear drums of anyone who was inside the Thekla. Like Savage Messiah, I’m not too familiar with Huntress’s material but they did play the “love song” Lemmy wrote for the band, “I Want to Fuck You to Death.” That brought their show to a thrilling climax and when they left the stage a couple of songs later, I was thinking to myself, that couldn’t have been 45 minutes.

Huntress

Huntress

Blake Meahl hammering out a guitar solo

Blake Meahl hammering out a guitar solo

The only decent shot I got of Jill and she has her back to me

The only decent shot I got of Jill

From the moment they got on stage, it was crystal clear that Amon Amarth were not going to take any prisoners. Viking drums beat, swords and shields clashed and most importantly, guitars, bass, drums and vocals reigned down fire from Valhala as they launched into their domination of the night. A mosh pit opened up straight away and would stay that way for the rest of the evening. My step-son even went into it only to come out a few minutes later drenched in sweat. Like many of the established head liner acts I have seen over the years, Amon Amarth played exactly the right blend of classic and new material. Songs I remember from the night included “Loki Falls,” “Deceiver of Gods,” “Guardians of Asgard” and “Twilight of the Thunder God.” Just over the midpoint of the show, they paused the carnage long enough for lead singer Johan Hegg to explain that he had lost his voice the night before and his band plus assistance from Jill Janus saved the show. Let me say that last night, there were no signs of any vocals problems with Hegg. The band hammered the rest of the night in style and did return for two encore songs, the last of which Hegg got the crowd to sing along. I can only vaguely remember the first line, something about vikings in a ship. Still, the crowd singing was good enough for Johan to declare us honourary Vikings. When Amon Amarth left the stage, it was to thunderous reverence of having conquered Bristol that night.

Johan Hegg leading his troops

Johan Hegg leading his troops

Amon Amarth at their best

Amon Amarth at their best

More Amon Amarth

More Amon Amarth

Johan Hegg talking about his voice

Johan Hegg talking about his voice

Under the green lights

Under the green lights

The residents of Bristol may not realise this but on Sunday January 18, 2015, their town was taken over by vikings assisted by to metal forces in the forms of Huntress and Savage Messiah. The Thekla provided that small club setting which provides an atmosphere all on its own. Three bands reigned supreme that night and I was glad I was there to experience it.

Next post: Outlaws- Los Hombres Malo

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1982: Rossington/Collins- This is the Way

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-RossingtonCollinsBandThisIsTheWay

One of the best things about being in the Southeastern part of the US in 1982 was that while the rest of the world seemed to be getting into new wave and synth pop was starting to rear its ugly head, Southern rock was still going strong there. Of course heavy metal was growing into a monster out of control but that’s another story. As I have said many times before, Southern Rock had stamped its authority in 1981 but while most of the trendy world may have moved on, Southerners were still true to their music. The result being that there are still quite a few more albums in this vein for me to visit and one of the major ones was the second album from Rossington/Collins, “This is the Way.”

For me, “This is the Way” is as every bit as good as their debut album “Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere.” It has that very pronounced Southern down home boogie vibe that is synonymous with Southern Rock. Plus, having several ex Lynyrd Skynyrd members in the band, you can definitely hear their influence on the album. What is different about Rossington/Collins is the lead singer, Dale Krantz- Rossington. Not enough mention is given to her vocal ability which is very high indeed. She really shines on the acapella “Pine Box.” Her vocals are just as noteworthy in the songs that have music with them but they have the additional bonus of some of that great Skynyrdesque guitar play from Gary Rossington and Allen Collins. Great examples to this are “Gotta Get it Straight,” “Gonna Miss It When Its Gone” and “Means Nothing to You.” “Don’t Stop Me Now” has an added bonus of the piano work of Billy Powell proving that he could still tinkle the ivories. It beats me why he doesn’t get the respect he deserves as a keyboardist. The best example, though, is the more bluesy ballad “Tashauana.” This song puts together all of the things already mentions and makes a really good song. Dale’s vocals are superb, their is some great powerful guitar and you can hear Powell’s well done efforts as well. “Tashauana” demonstrates why “This is the Way” is such a great album.

Track Listing:

1. Gotta Get it Straight

2. Tashauana

3. Gonna Miss It When Its Gone

4. Pine Box

5. Fancy Ideas

6. Don’t Stop Me Now

7. Seems Like Every Day

8. I’m Free Today

9. Next Phone Call

10. Means Nothing to You

Rossington/Collins

Rossington/Collins

Gary Rossington- guitar

Allen Collins- guitar

Dale Krantz- Rossington- vocals

Billy Powell- keyboards

Barry Lee Harwood- guitar, vocals

Leon Wilkeson- bass

Derek Hess- drums

“This is the Way” would be the second and final album from Rossington/Collins. They would disappear after this for reasons I will never fully understand. Maybe it was because I didn’t appreciate them enough back then. If that’s the case, then that’s not good, because if they kept putting out albums like this one, I would have been listening to them for years.

My stepson Teal holding his concert tickets

My stepson Teal holding his concert tickets

On a personal note, this Sunday my stepson and I will be going to see Amon Amarth, Huntress and Savage Messiah at the Thekla Club in Bristol. I will provide full details of the expected mayhem that is gong to happen in my next post.

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1982: Toto IV

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-Toto_Toto_IV

Before I launch into my first album visit of 2015, I would like to first wish all a happy new year and thank all my friends both old and new for visiting and sticking with me. It’s hard to believe that 80smetalman has been going for nearly four years now and I intend to be around for time to come. After all, I’m only in 1982 and the golden age of heavy metal didn’t end until 1989. So, I have a lot of ground to still cover.

Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy Osbourne

One mega disappointment for the end of the year was that in spite of the many efforts, Ozzy Osbourne did not receive a knighthood. While I shouldn’t be surprised that he was ignored by the British establishment and I can’t even blame it on the metal hating Sun newspaper, it’s still a shame that his near half century of contributions to music still go ignored. Therefore, I say we redouble our efforts in 2015 so he can get his well deserved gong next year.

When I listen to the fourth album by Toto, I find myself pining for what could have been. Three years prior, they came rocking into the world with the heavy rock sound of “Hold the Line.” Those riffs are still catchy within my own mind and back in 1979, that song was an island that refused to be flooded in the sea of disco that was around at the time. “Toto IV” is a total departure from the sound in the song I have already mentioned. It follows subsequent albums in going into a more progressive, pop oriented sound. None of the songs on this fourth album come close to sounding like “Hold the Line.”

This doesn’t mean the album is bad, it’s not. The members of Toto are all talented musicians and it shows on the album. Take the opening song and like many albums of 1982 thus far, the biggest single on the album. If “Rosanna” had been done by some fly by night, 80s synth pop group put together by the likes of Stock, Aiken and Waterman, then it would have totally sucked. Sure, it might have been a top ten single but quickly buried and forgotten. The reason why “Rosanna” appears on a number of rock compilation albums is the good musicianship behind it. Hearing the lyrics does make me want to say “Oh God” but then comes a cool keyboard solo and later a decent guitar solo. They make the song and probably why it has stood the test of time. Other songs on the album are in the same vein. Eight out of the next nine songs are mellow out progressive jazzy blues sounding songs which are great to sit down and listen to but I won’t be listening to them on my way to Amon Amarth in a couple of weeks. The only song that goes anywhere near hard rock is “Afraid of Love” but that song is let down by a keyboard interlude where a cranking guitar solo should be. Still, the musicianship of Toto carry the songs through.

The closer, “Africa,” is more of the same but probably my favourite song on the album. Like the previous nine songs, the closer is definitely a strong progressive song. Unlike “Rosanna,” the lyrics for me are more listenable and the quality musicianship remains but I think they could have used a better instrumental break than the one in the song, perhaps a guitar solo. Still, it is the best song on the album for me.

Track Listing:

1. Rosanna

2. Make Me Believe

3. I Won’t Hold You Back

4. Good For You

5. It’s a Feeling

6. Afraid of Love

7. Lovers in the Night

8. We Made It

9. Waiting for Your Love

10. Africa

Toto

Toto

David Paich- keyboards, lead and backing vocals, all horn and orchestral arrangements

Steve Lukather- guitars, lead and backing vocals

Bobby Kimball- lead and backing vocals

Jeff Procraro- drums, percussion ,tympani

Steve Procraro- keyboards, lead vocals

David Hungate- bass

“Toto IV” is probably the reason why Wayne Campbell of Wayne’s World fame put “anything by Toto” as the number two party killing song. I have to disagree somewhat here. While I wouldn’t listen to the album on my way to a metal concert, I would still listen to it at more appropriate times. This is a good easy listening album, with some decent songs and quality musicianship.

Next post: Dire Straits- Lover Over Gold

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1982: The Jam- The Gift

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2014 by 80smetalman

The_Jam_-_The_Gift

I hope that everyone had a very nice Christmas and will have a Happy New Year and that Santa brought you all the music you wanted. He did bring me the new AC/DC album like I asked and I enjoyed it first listen. Being a parent or step parent in this case, I got to see my stepson open his Christmas card and discover two tickets to see Amon Amarth, Huntress and Savage Messiah in Bristol on January 18. I must thank Stone at Metalodyssey. His post alerted me to the upcoming concert and I would have missed it if I hadn’t seen it in one of his posts. Thank you Stone and I will be posting about that gig after I see it.

My stepson Teal holding his concert tickets

My stepson Teal holding his concert tickets

Now onto The Jam’s 1982 album “The Gift.” If I had been listening to The Jam back in the day and heard this album when it came out after listening to their previous albums, I would have immediately accused them of selling out. “The Gift” marks a departure from the hard, aggressive punk sound that they had been known for. I mean the opener for instance, “Happy Together” sounds more like a happy top 40 song then a traditional Jam punk anthem. However, the song does break with the precedent set by the other albums I have covered for 1982 and is not the hit single. Surprisingly enough, the big single from the album and probably their most successful song, “A Town Called Malice” is probably the closest song to The Jam of old on the entire album and probably why it’s a good song. At least they tried to keep to their traditional roots somewhat. The rest of the album, although not bad lacks that kick I liked about their previous albums. Paul Weller was trying to stretch out a little and you got to respect that but for me, it just doesn’t excite me the way the earlier Jam material did.

Track Listing:

1. Happy Together

2. Ghosts

3. Precious

4. Just Who is the Five O’Clock Hero

5. Trans Global Express

6. Running on the Spot

7. Circus

8. The Planner’s Dream Goes Wrong

9. Carnation

10. A Town Called Malice

11. The Gift

The Jam

The Jam

Paul Weller- guitar, lead vocals

Bruce Foxton- bass, backing vocals

Rick Buckler- drums

While “The Gift” would go to number one, it would also lead to the break up of the band. Bruce Foxton and Rick Buckler wanted to stick to the more punk sound while Weller wanted to branch out more. It appears that this disagreement might have shone through on the album because while it goes to new places, it does so without the angry conviction that had gotten The Jam to where they were in the first place.

Next post: Toto- IV

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London