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REVIEW: Job For A Cowboy: Sun Eater

Posted by on Nov 10, 2014 in Featured, Record Releases, Reviews | 0 comments

From the band that made it socially acceptable to pig squeal in metal, comes the fourth full-length to this epic saga. Let’s just point out for a minute here that it’s been almost 10 years since the release of their debut EP Doom and these guys have definitely still got it. What ‘it’ is however is all to do with how heavy you can handle your metal. Personally, ‘it’ would be phlegm spewing, guttural vocals, insane bass licks, borderline techy guitars and furious beats that hold both groove and technique in one. Sun Eater is definitely set to excite and arouse your eardrums.

With the 6-minute leviathan that is Eating The Visions Of God, we’re introduced to a sinister guitar intro followed by a purely demonic growl from Jonny Davy with the rest of the band following suit. Job For A Cowboy have always sparked some intrigue within myself with their song titles and this album doesn’t seem to disappoint with names such as the former, The Stone Cross and Buried Monuments conjuring up images of ancient times and a much more primitive approach to metal. I wouldn’t say this sounds like cavemen playing their instruments for the first time but there’s a much more animalistic and instinctive approach to this album than what’s come before. As talented as each member may be, everything seems a lot more mature in its delivery, which is a great sign for a band still going after 10 years.

Sun Of Nihility shows more proof that the individual musicians on this record have so much talent. The bass riffs are mixed unusually high for a record of this day and age, which can only be assumed, has been done for a reason. And this reason is because bassist, Nick Schendzielos is truly mind-blowing to listen to. The intro wouldn’t be too far off listening to most prog bands but it fits with JFAC’s development into becoming veterans of the death metal scene. Once the vocals kick in it just smacks you in the face with no apology. The guitars are machine-gun quick but leave so much room to pick up on their nuances as opposed to a lot of other death metal bands nowadays that think it’s a race to see how fast you can pick. The guitar solo is precise and methodical sadly and there seems to be a lack of feeling within this aspect of the song. Interesting to listen to but not necessarily solo of the year, although the interplay with the drums are interesting to say the least.

I would recommend if you’re a fan of early JFAC to listen to A Global Shift. It feels like a lost track from their early work with its speed, ferocity and relentless double kick. The standout track for me would have to be Buried Monuments with a stunning dual guitar solo that emanates almost an Avenged Sevenfold sound but with its signature JFAC stamp.

The only issue with Sun Eater is I would personally find it hard to recommend to someone who hasn’t heard of JFAC already. It’s definitely accessible but honestly, it’s not exactly pushing any boundaries. Yes as musicians, these guys are way ahead of the competition but at the same time that presents an issue. There are moments on this record when it feels like each member is trying to outdo the other in their performance, which stops it from sounding like a band and rather a backing band with a soloist on top. This is a reoccurring problem with the bass guitar throughout. Apart from that, JFAC fans will not be disappointed. This is a band who haven’t strayed too far from their roots, have written an album that could easily be played with many other death metal bands right now and are just great at what they do.

Rating: 7.5/10 

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The new Blodhemn album, “H7”, is quite something to behold

Posted by on Nov 10, 2014 in Featured, Record Releases, Reviews | 0 comments

The upcoming album from Norweigan Black Metal band Blodhemn, entitled “H7”, is fated to impress. Continuing on the path paved by the genres musical predecessors, including bands like Immortal and Gorgoroth, Blodhemn – essentially a one-man band commandeered by the multi-talented Invivus – manages to create an iconic, aggressive sound that captures the listener with relentless beats and a medley of savage riffs. After an excellently received first album, “Holmengraa” (2012), the band is back to stun again with this phenomenal second release.

Due to come out on November 10th, “H7” consists of seven punchy, rousing tracks, reminiscent of the Black Metal tradition whilst also being distinct to Blodhemn’s particular style. The music almost dares you to listen, drawing you into its unique strain of old school metal combined with dynamically thunderous and raw sounds. Invivus’ dark guitar work is magical (or, should we say, black-magical) and serves as the driving, urgent force behind each track, matched with ruthless vocals that particularly resonate in the opening number “Flammenes Virke”.

Blodhemn are renowned for being phenomenal live and on listening to this album you can only imagine how incredible it must be to translate Invivus’ raw music to the stage. Instantly big with the underground scene on their fruition in 2004, Blodhemn’s live presence is heralded by existing fans as mesmerizing, a must-see for all fans of both Invivus and the metal genre. Even through their recordings it is obvious that Blodhemn masters creating atmosphere – an atmosphere once again spreading as the band have announced their first ever European tour to promote the release of this album and support metal band Mayhem, commencing on November 2nd. This remarkable testament to the Black Metal tradition will be (and already is by many) adored by fans of the genre, and those who have not yet listened to Blodhemn I invite – and urge you – to do so.

Tracklist:

  1. Flammenes Virke
  2. Slettet Av Tid
  3. Evig Heder
  4. Veiten
  5. Andenes Ansikt
  6. Fandesvenn
  7. Holmengraa
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INTERVIEW: The Black Flag Talks ‘Sex, Drugs & HIV’ with Mat Sargent

Posted by on Oct 23, 2014 in Charity, Interviews, Record Releases, Videos | 0 comments

Mat Sargent is a name that is well known on the UK Punk scene, the Chelsea Guitarist has worked with everyone over the years from Jimmy Pursey to Splodgenessabounds. You could say that Mat is Punk aficionado.

What isn’t as well known though, is that Mat is actually HIV Positive, having been diagnosed in 1989. Six years later Mat began working on a project to raise awareness for HIV and funds for HIV charity the Terence Higgins Trust as well as other charities including Release, Rape Crises and Cancer UK. That project was ‘Sex, Drugs & HIV’ a three disc CD album containing 40 tracks of original music and featuring over 200 Musicians as well as videos charting the albums creation.

I sat down with Mat to discuss HIV, the making of the album and the competition of a  project that has been almost 20 years in the making….

[youtube]http://youtu.be/YbPPRnDwe8A[/youtube]

Sex, Dugs & HIV is released on November 2nd 2014 from Amazon.co.uk

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MADNESS ‘One Step Beyond 35th Anniversary Edition’ CD/DVD released 13th October on Salvo & Sound Vision

Posted by on Oct 7, 2014 in News, Record Releases | 0 comments

When Top Of The Pops rocketed Suggs, Chas, Barzo, Woody, Chrissy, Thommo and Bedders into our living rooms with ‘The Prince’ in 1979, Madness’ rise to stardom was swift. Spearheading the 2Tone Ska revival, along with The Specials, the band adopted an authentic attitude and philosophy that propelled them quickly into the charts. Fast-forward thirty five years and countless hits later, Madness are rightly considered one of the most important acts that Britain has ever produced.

 

Salvo Sound and Vision are pleased to announce ‘Madness: One Step Beyond 35th Anniversary Edition’, released 13th October on CD/DVD.

 

On its initial release, ‘One Step Beyond…’ coined the unmistakable “heavy, heavy monster sound” and catapulted the band from poky rehearsal rooms and sweaty gigs to the hearts of the nation. In truth it delivered so much more: sophisticated pop, vaudevillian vamps, English eccentrics and desert moonstomps.

 

The album stayed in the charts for nearly a year, cementing its position as one of the most seminal albums of the period. Featuring such classic singles as ‘The Prince’, ‘One Step Beyond’, ‘My Girl’ and ‘Night Boat To Cairo’, it blended lively ska, thoughtful pop, rockabilly roots, vaudeville music hall and bouncy-castle carnival vibes: “That Nutty Sound” was born.

 

Included in this special reissue are songs from a recently unearthed 1979 rehearsal cassette which shows Madness’ early songcraft, musicianship and giddy energy. Although not quite uptown Jamaica, you can clearly hear a band following their own anarchic compass from the off. Two previously unheard songs, ‘Sunshine Voice’ and ‘Lost My Head’, appear for the first time anywhere in any form and are certain to catch the interest of Madness fans the world over.

 

With incisive liner notes expertly written by journalist and Madness aficionado Stevie Chick, ‘Madness: One Step Beyond 35th Anniversary Edition’ also features promotional videos to ‘One Step Beyond’, ‘Bed And Breakfast Man’, ‘My Girl’ and ‘Night Boat To Cairo’, plus Top Of The Pops and Old Grey Whistle Test TV performances from 1979/80 and the 2000 BBC ‘Young Guns’ documentary. The 24 page colour booklet features band photos and memorabilia, and includes brand new interviews with producers Clive Langer & Alan Winstanley, plus three-word quotes from band members.

 

35 years on from its original release, ‘One Step Beyond…’ remains the rockingest rock-steady beat, the Nuttiest Sound Around.

 

Tracklisting:

 

Disc 1 / Original album

  1. One Step Beyond
  2. My Girl
  3. Night Boat To Cairo
  4. Believe Me
  5. Land of Hope and Glory
  6. The Prince
  7. Tarzan’s Nuts
  8. In the Middle of the Night
  9. Bed And Breakfast Man
  10. Razor Blade Alley
  11. Swan Lake
  12. Rockin’ in A Flat
  13. Mummy’s Boy
  14. Madness
  15. Chipmunks Are Go!

 

‘Fab Toones!’ / Rehearsal Tape, 1979

  1. Nutty Sounds
  2. Mistakes
  3. Sunshine Voice
  4. My Girl
  5. Memories
  6. Believe Me
  7. Lost My Head
  8. Razor Blade Alley
  9. Land Of Hope & Glory
  10. Mummy’s Boy
  11. In The Middle Of The Night
  12. You Said
  13. Stepping Into Line
  14. Bed And Breakfast Man

 

Disc 2 / DVD

  1. One Step Beyond (Video)
  2. Bed And Breakfast Man (Video)
  3. My Girl (Video)
  4. Night Boat To Cairo (Video)
  5. One Step Beyond (Top Of The Pops, 1979)
  6. The Prince (Top Of The Pops, 1979)
  7. My Girl (Top Of The Pops, 1980)
  8. Bed And Breakfast Man (Old Grey Whistle Test, 1979)
  9. Night Boat To Cairo (Old Grey Whistle Test, 1979)
  10. ‘Young Guns’ Documentary (BBC, 2000)
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Wild Smiles will release their brilliant debut album, Always Tomorrow, on Sunday Best Recordings on 27th October.

Posted by on Oct 3, 2014 in News, Record Releases | 0 comments

Hailing from Winchester, Wild Smiles were amazed when their first forays made such a splash. Their 2013 7”, Sweet Sixteen/Tangled Hair, took in elements of Beach Boys surf pop, Velvet Underground drones, Wall Of Sound beats, Jesus & Mary Chain low-fi garage clatter and Nirvana filth. A dazzling stew of sound, it was simultaneously classic, timely and forward thinking – it seemed amazing no one had smashed such sprawling decades of music together before.

 

A five-track Wild Smiles EP followed on Geoff Barrow’s Invada label that summer, led by the MBV-flecked Take Me Away, and, in that song’s spirit of escape, the band hit the road for much of the rest of the year, earning their touring chops before going on to sign with Sunday Best.

 

Wild Smiles then took time out to concentrate on honing their songwriting, determined that every track on their debut album would be a classic. Their sound expanded – the likes of The Ramones, Pulp and Dinosaur Jr crept in. And Chris Peden blossomed as a lyricist. Tracks like the thrash-pop The Gun hark back to past traumas with a previous band; while the free download single Fool For You is “a simple love song.” The album traces a thematic arc of growing up and getting out, the struggles of the debt-heavy, priced-out youth generation.

 

Indeed, many of the songs on the album tackle issues that most other young bands are too scared or ignorant of to approach. Hold On was inspired by a friend of Chris’ who sadly killed himself, and faces up to the hopelessness of British youth in 2014. “People my age can’t get a job,” Chris sings. “Nothing to do, it’s so fucked up/People my age can’t get a job/Get a house, get a car, get a life… who’s there for us?” While I’m Gone and the single, Never Wanted This, are bold rejections of the mundane sort of life we’re expected to settle for: “I could get a job I could wear a suit/A monkey in a suit to make some money”.

 

“It’s our perception of life,” says Ben. “Not the voice of a generation but just how we three see it.”

 

Always Tomorrow was recorded and produced by Chris Peden. The debut album’s tracklisting runs as follows: Fool For You; Never Wanted This; Always Tomorrow; Everyone’s The Same; Hold On; The Best Four Years; The Gun; Figure It Out; Girlfriend; See You Again; I’m Gone. Pre-order Links:

 

Always Tomorrow digital album pre-order – http://smarturl.it/AlwaysTomorrowiTunes

Always Tomorrow CD album pre-order – http://smarturl.it/AlwaysTomorrowSB

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SPIDERS TO RELEASE SHAKE ELECTRIC ALBUM ON NOVEMBER 3rd

Posted by on Sep 22, 2014 in Festivals, Record Releases, Tours | 0 comments

Female-fronted Swedish rockers Spiders will release their sophomore set, Shake Electric, via Spinefarm Records on November 3rd; the four-piece outfit – who deliver a retro, ’70s-inspired hard rock sound with a uniquely modern vibe – will support the release of the record with a run of UK dates in November, part of a full European tour that also includes an appearance at the Hard Rock Hell festival in North Wales (November 14th).

UK dates

15.11. Glasgow (UK) @ Classic Grand

16.11. London (UK) @ Underworld

17.11. Manchester (UK) @ Roadhouse

18.11. Birmingham (UK) @ Oobleck

An official video for the title track Shake Electric has been revealed today at the following link: http://vevo.ly/Svd66W

The track is also available as an ‘instant grat’ on iTunes album pre-order: http://po.st/SpidersiT

Spiders is fronted by Ann-Sofie Hoyles, a charismatic singer with a haunting, unforgettable voice and striking image; Ann-Sofie has this to say about the title track…

Shake Electric is about me and my old friends who I had so much fun with, partying until the break of dawn. Tons of memories and emotions from several years went into this song, which has a theme I think most people can identify with. Carolina, the female character in the video, is one of the friends I was inspired by when I wrote ‘Shake Electric’, so it was great that she could be in the video!”

Spiders released their debut album, Flashpoint, in 2012, earning them a nomination with P3 Guld – the biggest broadcast music award in Sweden. They’ve also shared stages with artists such as Metallica, Kvelertak, Blood Ceremony & Graveyard.

For Shake Electric, recorded in the group’s hometown of Gothenburg with producer Mattias Glavå, the band built upon the primitive metal-punk hybrid base of their debut, and the result is a fiercely executed, decidedly classic rock, thoroughly turbocharged album with echoes of T-Rex, Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie & Heart.

Choirs, acoustic guitars, piano and various percussion patterns come together to create a stylish sound that is never without a raw and emotive edge. On Shake Electric, Spiders remain both vital and visceral, and you can feel the rush of blood and rock coursing through every song’s veins.

On this album, all of the members were involved in the song-writing process, hence the broader, more diverse, multi-dimensional sound…

“We wanted to move on and find new paths,” explains John Hoyles, up until now Spiders’ sole songwriter. “What we like about many of the records from the 1970s is that they are often heavy yet soft. A really tough riff can be followed by a beautiful piano.”

“Even when we started, we were like a bunch of teenagers in the rehearsal room, and despite jobs and girlfriends, we always accepted every show we were offered. We really love this life,” continues Ann-Sofie. “We have a stronger vibe today, and we can really lean on each other in an amazing way. I am very proud of what we have accomplished with Shake Electric…”

Spiders are: Ann-Sofie Hoyles (vocals); John Hoyles (guitar); Olle Griphammar (bass); Ricard Harryson (drums)

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