Archive for death metal

Bloodstock 2018: Sunday

Posted in Concerts, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2018 by 80smetalman

Final full day at Bloodstock and I was prepared for a long one. Five of the final six bands on the Ronnie James Dio Stage were on my ‘must see’ list. That gave me some time to not have to wolf down breakfast and chill before I headed to the arena for a final day of metal. However, that was cut short when Teal suggested I make it six of the last seven bands when he recommended I see Amaranthe. Oh well, one more band wouldn’t hurt so I went with him and Joe to the arena.

That six of seven could have become seven of eight, at least I wished so because when I got to the Dio Stage, the band Evergrey was finishing up. This was yet another band whom I only caught the last few minutes of and wished I had seen more of them. Maybe it’s mellowing with age but I’m getting more into prog-metal bands and these guys from Sweden are definitely worth checking out. Shame I can’t say more.

Evergrey on stage

So far at Bloodstock, Teal had been two for two when recommending bands I should see, Kamelot on Friday and Alestorm on Saturday. No surprises that on Sunday, he was three for three when I saw the second consecutive Swedish band, Amaranthe, although they did have some technical difficulties before they came out on stage. Not to worry, while those difficulties were being sorted, bassist Johan Andreassen entertained the crowd with a bit of improv. I can’t remember anything he said, damn my Swiss cheese memory, but he had me and the rest of the crowd rolling on the ground in laughter. When the rest of the band emerged, the most obvious sight was that they had three singers. Two males, one described as clean vocals, that was Nils Molin and the unclean male vocals of Henrik Eglund Wilhemsson along with the vocals of Elize Ryd. The best thing is that this combination totally worked. Each singer would come in with their style of vocals at the appropriate part in the song and take it in an unexpected direction. Of course, the other reason it worked was the musical efforts of guitar, bass and drums. The end result was forty minutes of good power metal and another band not known to me who impressed me a hell of a lot.

Johan Andreassen doing his improv

Elize and Henrik on the vocals

Amaranthe won me over

Having seen Fozzy twice before I had already regarded Chris Jerico as a good metal singer. Third time is the charm and if I had any doubt in my mind about him, those doubts were obliterated on this particular Sunday. He even came out on stage in a really cool looking long coat. His vocals, if anything, were even better and he still knows how to work a crowd. His band was as good as ever, especially when they played my all time favourite Fozzy song, “Drinkin’ With Jesus.” Really love that song and I have made a promise to myself to listen to more Fozzy.

Chris in his coat

A shot of the entire band

I thought I’d get the guitar and bass in.

Chris engaging the crowd

Got more good shots of Fozzy

I thought he was going to attempt a flying drop kick here.

Since I didn’t want to go back to the campsite but my 57 year old frame didn’t want to stand, I went over to the Sophie Lancaster Stage to have a little sit down at the back. Shortly after, the next band started to get ready to go on stage but they too had some technical difficulties. This time, the bass player didn’t do improv. Instead, she treated the crowd to a brilliant bass solo, she could play! The band took the stage and played some really cool thrash/death metal. I learned they were from Nepal and it’s great to see such a good band coming out from that part of the world. I hope more people will check them out. Unfortunately, someone from either WordPress or Youtube is being a prick and not letting me paste any of their songs here.

Bass player shredding away

Underside finally emerge

Underside show that you can rock in Nepal.

The universal big question asked by many of the 18,000 who attended Bloodstock in 2018 was whether Mr Big was the type of band to play at this Festival. For me, that question was answered in the affirmative on the very first song, it being my vote for their hidden gem, “Daddy, Lover, Brother and Little Boy.” I have always loved that song and that set the stage for the rest of their set. Sure, they played most of their classics, “Green Tinted Sixties Mind” was the fourth song and not long after, “To Be With You” which Eric Martin brought out an acoustic guitar to play along to. He did the same with the cover of the Cat Stevens classic, “Wild World.” On top of that, Paul Gilbert totally impressed me with his guitar work on the songs and when he was left to play a solo. Eric also explained to the crowd that they had been on a European tour and Bloodstock was their last stop. Their final songs were more metal leaning, one of the being “Take Cover.” However, when they left the stage, they proved to everyone that Mr Big belonged at Bloodstock! Even if they didn’t play my other favourite Mr Big song, “The Whole World’s Gonna Know.”

Welcome Mr Big

Paul plays a solo

Paul continues to wail

Here’s a shot of Billy Sheehan

Eric on the acoustic guitar

Billy and Paul jamming together. Mr Big were certainly the most photogenic band at Bloodstock.

Some might think this might be going from one extreme to the other. Going from the melodic metal sounds of Mr Big to the death metal of Devil Driver. That didn’t bother me nor the many others who came to see them. It was metal mayhem to say the least. I can’t really say much about their time on stage. I went close to the front with Teal and Joe and therefore, spent the entire time on the edges of mosh pits and passing crowd surfers to the front. That kind of ruins your concentration a bit. What I did hear from Devil Driver, I totally liked and still had a fantastic time during their set.

Devil Driver

The mayhem spoiled this shot a little.

The best shot of them

I don’t remember anything about them but I got a shot of Servers on the New Blood Stage

At Bloodstock 2016, I took HMO’s advice and went to see a band he recommended on his blog called Ackercoke. So, when he posted about At the Gates a few months ago, I knew I had to see them. He’s now two for two in my book because At the Gates were brilliant. Three Swedish bands took the Dio Stage on this day and all three impressed me. For me, they were a natural progression after the more progressive sound of Evergrey to the sometimes more harder one of Amaranthe to At The Gates’s death metal although, they did go melodic at times. I always have liked that style so these guys fit in well. During their set, I met a man from New York who had come to Bloodstock just to see them. Apparently, they hardly ever go to the States. The band needs to rectify that! All I can say when they left was “Thank you HMO for showing me another great band.”

At The Gates

Singer Thomas Lindberg engaging the crowd

Thomas turned his back on me here.

Headlining the Sunday was the Finnish band Nightwish. I had heard many great things about this band and I further liked what I had heard from them so I was expecting good things. I wasn’t disappointed. A huge clock at the back of the stage counted down the final minute to their appearance and they came out just as it hit zero. From then on it was pure magic, whether it was the vocals of Floor Jansen, the guitar work of Emppu Vuorinen or the keyboards of Tuomas Holopainen. What impressed me even more was Troy Donockley who played guitar, Bouzouki and an assortment of woodwind instruments and all very well. I now have a full appreciation of what is called Gothic metal. The hour and a half went by too fast and the show ended with a spoken word bit but I can’t say who was speaking or what was said but it added greatly to the atmosphere of the show. The band did come back and I was hoping for one more song but they just took more bows. Can’t complain though.

The clock counts down

Good shot of Tuomas Holopainen on keys

I tried to get the band but a bunch of lights got in the way

Flash!

The last shot before they left the stage.

Tired and hungry, I went back to the tent to feed, drink my last beer and get some sleep. Next morning would be time to tear down, pack up and go. However, I left completely fulfilled having seen some great bands not only this day but the entire weekend. However, Scandinavia did win the Sunday.

Next post: Bloodstock, My final thoughts.

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rock-Roll-Children-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1609763556/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1535059396&sr=8-8&keywords=michael+d+lefevre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great Metal Albums of 1984: Venom- At War With Satan

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 29, 2018 by 80smetalman

Everybody probably all knows the stereotypes of all heavy metal bands. They can only play four chords, they scream because they can’t sing, etc. Well, when I came upon the third album from British death metalers, Venom, I thought that they had a point. My first thoughts of “At War With Satan” was that it was loud, it was brash and it sounded like the whole album was recorded in somebody’s basement. Yes, the album ticked all the boxes of the opinions many non-metal people have about heavy metal. But guess what? I couldn’t have cared a monkey’s about what they thought. I liked this album on account of all that.

For those who have or listened to “At War With Satan” on either cassette or vinyl will know that the entire first side is comprised by the title track. Therefore, you get nineteen minutes of Venom viciousness in one song. The song itself is meant to tell the story of how Hell revolts against Heaven and God is thrown into hell, all centered around the keeper of the gates of Hell who shares his name with Venom’s drummer. While a very long concept song, it does keep you on your toes with the various changes throughout so you don’t get bored with it. Plus there’s some interesting guitar soloing from Mantas. Back in the day, if I had listened to the track on CD, I might have thought it was different songs as opposed to one long one.

Side two consists of the remaining six songs whose combined length equal that of the title track on the previous side. If anyone had problems with Venom stretching out like they did on side one, then they’d be rest assured that Venom return to their more traditional roots of short, sharp headbangers. “Rip Ride” starts things off well enough but is quickly superseded by “Genocide.” That is a cool track. “Cry Wolf” actually is slower than what was considered traditional Venom but the band pull it off. The joke at the time was that you could actually make out what Cronus was singing here. Maybe it was meant to be a single. Following, “Stand Up (And Be Counted),” another song whose lyrics you can understand after the initial growls, comes my all time favourite Venom song, “Women, Leather and Hell.” This song typifies what I have always liked about Venom. It’s loud, ferocious and about some of my favourite subjects. I was rather disappointed when they didn’t play it at Bloodstock, 2016. That leads to the very amusing closer, “Aaaaarrrghh.”

Track Listing:

  1. At War With Satan
  2. Rip Ride
  3. Genocide
  4. Cry Wolf
  5. Stand Up (And Be Counted)
  6. Women, Leather and Hell
  7. Aaaaaarrrghh

Venom

Cronus- bass, lead vocals

Mantas- guitar

Abaddon- drums

Critics back in 1984 mostly agreed that “At War With Satan” catapulted Venom into the world of mainstream metal. Maybe it did but those of us who liked this album didn’t care about that. What was good was the fact that the band was able to write more mature songs without losing any of their edge.

Next post: Loudness- Disillusion

It is also my displeasure to announce that due to the events of the past month and a half, I will not be going to the full Download Festival. The good news is that I will attend the Sunday where I intend to see, Kreator, Marilyn Manson and headlining will be Ozzy.

To get Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://crreadac.cf/current/ebooks-free-download-rock-and-roll-children-fb2-by-michael-d-lefevre.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1984: Mercyful Fate- Don’t Break the Oath

Posted in 1980s, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2018 by 80smetalman

To this day, I’m not sure whether or not I should be disappointed by “Don’t Break the Oath,” the second album from Danish metal band, Mercyful Fate. I have to admit, I was expecting great things from them after hearing their great 1983 debut album, “Melissa” and another admission, it did take me a couple of listens before I really got into it. When I did, I discovered that it’s still a pretty cool album.

For those of you who read my post on the “Melissa” album, you might remember that it was the album that really got me into black metal. What I liked about it was the fact that there were no backwards messages from the Dark Lord. On their best known song, “Black Funeral,” lead singer King Diamond comes straight out and sings, “Hail Satan!” He doesn’t do that on any of the songs on “Don’t Break the Oath” and maybe that’s what the disappointment was for me. After all, when I put the album on, I had my altar prepared and my knives sharpened so I could sacrifice a few chickens and goats. The album didn’t inspire me to go through with it. Shame, I know.

On this album, King Diamond not only doesn’t sing “Hail Satan,” on some of the songs, it’s hard to hear what he’s singing. He could be telling us to eat our peas and carrots and we’ll never know. Of course, the counter argument here is that with that versatile trademark voice and falsetto vocals, he could be singing about vegetables and would still sound good. I think the clearest he comes in is on the third track, “Desecration of Souls.” However, it is the track after that I think is the best track on the album, “Night of the Unborn.” King comes in nice and clear although at one point when he goes falsetto, he briefly sounds like a chicken being strangled but he pulls it down and delivers a great performance backed up by the guitar work of Hank Shermann and Michael Denner. This song reminds me so much of the black metal I loved on the previous album.

Speaking of the guitars, it is the work of Shermann and Denner that stands out the most. I didn’t mention the first two tracks above on account of not being able to fully understand the vocals but these two guitarists push the songs through at a break-neck pace and that what makes those songs good. Even when they go a little prog metal on “The Oath,” the guitars are just spot on. The vocals are good as well. I love how the slamming guitars mix well with King’s vocals before going out on a cool guitar solo. That tight chemistry remains on the much more power metal like tracks”Gypsy” and “Welcome Princess of Hell.” Always loving a bit of unpredictability, things slow down a lot so Michael and Hank show their softer side on the guitar instrumental, “To One Far Way.” But things go out with a bang with the closer “Come to the Sabbath” and by the end, I forget why I thought I should be disappointed in the album.

Track Listing:

  1. A Dangerous Meeting
  2. Nightmare
  3. Desecration of Souls
  4. Night of the Unborn
  5. The Oath
  6. Gypsy
  7. Welcome Princess of Hell
  8. To One Far Away
  9. Come to the Sabbath

Mercyful Fate

King Diamond- vocals

Hank Shermann- guitar

Michael Denner- guitar

Timi ‘Grabber’ Hansen- bass

Kim Ruzz- drums

Unfortunately, after “Don’t Break the Oath,” Mercyful Fate would break up due to musical differences. As you will see in future posts, King Diamond would go on to have a fabulous solo career. But for now, I enjoy what a good album this is, even if I don’t want to sacrifice anything.

Next post: Armoured Saint- March of the Saint

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://book-fm.cf/print/free-download-rock-and-roll-children-by-michael-d-lefevre-pdf.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Metal Albums of 1981: Venom- Welcome to Hell

Posted in 1980s, Death, Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal and the 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2014 by 80smetalman

220px-Venom_Welcome

Thank God that my local record store back in the mid 1980s had the foresight to have a heavy metal import section otherwise I might not have heard of Venom for at least two more years from when I did. While Venom came out with all the other great NWOBHM acts in 1981, they didn’t quite enjoy the commercial success of the likes of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest or Saxon. This was in spite of the fact that commercial radio didn’t totally suck at that time. There was a genuine danger of them slipping beneath my radar totally but fortunately they didn’t and I got to hear great metal delights like their debut album “Welcome to Hell.”

After my obligatory listen, twice, to “Welcome to Hell,” I have come to the conclusion that Venom were actually ahead of their time. True, some people worried that rock music was the devil’s tool and would lead many an impressionable young mind to sacrifice goats to the dark lord, there wasn’t the all metal is Satanic fervor that would come a few years later and I was even dead smack in the bible belt at the time, thanks to the military. A few grumbled about demonic persuasion in music but Venom was the first band I know to come right out and sing about it. Songs like “Sons of Satan,” the title track, “One Thousand Days in Sodom” and “In League With the Devil” are all songs that would have the bible bashers wanting to throw copies of this album onto the fire pit. The best thing is that I get the firm impression that Venom just didn’t give a shit. I would never have taken the lyrics seriously then or now. In fact, I would have had a good giggle at them while enjoying the powerful metal that they deliver along with all those amusing lyrics. It can also be argued that they. along with Motorhead, were the first pioneers of thrash because there are a lot of thrash overtones on this album. I honestly believe that most of America wasn’t ready for this type of ear bashing back then though I would have been. “Welcome to Hell” is just a totally enjoyable album.

Track Listing:

1. Sons of Satan

2. Welcome to Hell

3. Schizo

4. Mayhem With Mercy

5. Poison

6. Live Like an Angel (Die Like a Devil)

7. Witching Hour

8. One Thousand Days in Sodom

9. Angel Dust

10. In League With Satan

11. Red Light Fever

Venom

Venom

Conrad ‘Cronos’ Lant- bass, vocals

Jefferey ‘Mantas’ Dunn- guitar

Tony ‘Abbadon’ Bray- drums

Reflecting back, I think the real reason why Venom and “Welcome to Hell” escaped my notice in 1981 was the fact I was down South at the time. It has nothing to do with religion, it was more the fact that I was in the South when Southern Rock had also ascended to its zenith. Come to think about it, what a fantastic year 1981 was for music! We had both Southern Rock and New Wave of British Heavy Metal. What more could a 20 year old US Marine, who was really digging music, could ask for?

On a personal note, I would like to thank everyone for their thoughts on the death of my father in law. The funeral went really well and again, thanks for all your support.

Next post: AC/DC- For Those About to Rock, We Salute You

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