HIM - Tears on Tape
It’s hard to believe that HIM have been bringing us their ‘love metal’ sound for almost twenty years now. It seems like a lifetime since we last heard from them despite their last album only being released in 2010, but after a few delays and a change of record label, they are back with Tears on Tape, is it a return to form?
The first single, All Lips Go Blue is a furious mix of noisy guitar and tender vocals, a really great track to kick off the album. The same goes for Love Without Tears, melodic with romantic lyrics, proving the the same formula for gloomy, dark, gothic rock that the band have perfected over the years still works. Some tracks bring the metal element of the band to the forefront a little more, such as I Will Be The End of You, which has a great riff. The title track, Tears on Tape, is a little more on the poppy side, with some nice keyboard sounds and a big sing along chorus. The closing of the album with W.L.S.T.D and Kiss The Void form quite a finale. Dark and haunting synths with an epic scream from Ville Valo, again highlighting the heavier side of the band.
Tears on Tape gives HIM fans exactly what they want. Themes of heartbreak, obsession, the darker side of love, more of what they do best. If you are a HIM fan you will love it, if not, then this record doesn’t give you anything new to win you over, it is however still a very impressive album.
Crashdiet in crisis
Crashdiet have issued a statement and a plea following the tragic death of their manager Michael Sunden in an awful accident last month. Sunden, a very respected professional, died after falling and hitting his head at Rock City music venue in Nottingham.
Following his death, the band have been left in a bit of a financial mess, as Sunden was the sole keeper of their money, transactions etc, and his passing has left them questioning how they are to carry on. The guys said in an official statement, “We have borrowed money from everywhere to be able to begin the tour as planned on Wednesday, but our situation is very insecure to say the least. It looks like we’ll be in debt for years to come. We have managed to get through rough times before, but this time we can’t do it alone.”
This is where you can help! Crashdiet have set up a support campaign right here where you can donate money to them in order to keep them on tour, and keep them together! They in return are offering ‘I Saved The Tour’ t-shirts, signed memorabilia and tour laminates valid for life, amongst other things.They have already managed to raise 168% of their target, but every little bit helps, and the campaign will run for another ten days.
Introducing…. Evilyn Strange
You know how we love to feature a new unsigned band every now and then for your listening pleasure? Well, say hello to Evilyn Strange!
Part English, part Swedish, they formed back in 2008 and have recently been in the studio working on their forthcoming debut Mourning Phoebe. Their music is a whole mixture of delights, heavy but packed full of melody, cracking riffs and a perfect hint of classic rock. The band have just released their latest single Everything, hot on the heels of the success of Love Finds You which found itself hitting number 4 on the Rock/Metal Hot New Release Chart over at Amazon.
Everything combines rough and gritty guitars with some sweet piano and synths to create a great heavy rock ballad. The solo is killer, and the vocals soothing, it almost sounds reminiscent of something by The Cult during the Sonic Temple era.
As i said previously, the band are getting ready to release their debut Mourning Phoebe, and Everything is a great taster of what they have in store. Check out more from Evilyn Strange over at www.evilynstrange.co.uk. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter!
Ghost - Infestissumam
Ghost (or Ghost B.C as they are also known after a recent name change for America) are back with one of this year’s most anticipated releases. They caused a stir in the metal community a few years ago with their incredible debut Opus Eponymous, which came as a breath of fresh air with its retro, occult rock sound. Alongside their anonymous presence in hooded robes and a twisted pope like frontman, its a surprise it worked so well in this day and age, but they have become one of the most talked about bands in the last couple of years with some very famous fans championing them in the process.
Infestissumam begins with a series of choral chants building up to an eruption of loud guitar and thunderous drums, leading to the second track Per Aspera Ad Inferni which is a faster, rockier sound that sets us up with that we can expect for the rest of the album. There is much more exploration here than on its predecessor, it expresses more of a prog rock feel and embraces huge arrangements and dramatic keyboard elements, crossed with an old school metal sound. The songwriting also seems more adventurous than before, while still sticking to the subject matter of Satanism, something they have no fear of straying from.
The music is a world away from what you would expect to hear based on the look of the band. Much more Blue Oyster Cult, Black Sabbath with a hint of psychedelia. Year Zero has a big disco beat and a huge chorus, possibly the best track on the album. Ghuleh/Zombie Queen is more of full on piano ballad with a touch of glam/hair metal guitar in the solo, another of the best here. Other standout tracks are Idolatrine and Depths of Satans Eyes, which also adds a touch of new wave. The record closes in spectacular fashion with Monstrance Clock, heavy on doom and heavy on synth, very enigmatic.
The album appears to be over before you know it, but it leaves you wanting to listen again immediately. No new ground is being broken here, but it is refreshing to see such a band on the fringes of mainstream success in 2013. A lot of talk surrounds Ghost and their authenticity. Really their theatrical performance and ghoulish appearance/presence is a world away from the Satanic occult that their lyrics and visuality is filled with, but their music is brilliant, there is no question about that.
Suede - Alexandra Palace, London - 30.03.2013
After nearly a decade away, Suede have perfected the art of the successful comeback. Their 6th album, Bloodsports went top 10 last month and their announcement of a special concert at Alexandra Palace saw fans from far and wide come to witness their return. The surroundings of the Palace made it quite the spectacle, but the perfect setting to witness a band who have always been full of such grandeur.
From the second the band grace the stage, the tone of the evening was evident, it was going to be a lively one. Kicking off the evening with a trio of new songs, the crowd sing along lustily and the tracks already sound so familiar. Barriers is huge and the riff from Snowblind echoes throughout the venue. Brett Anderson delivers an exuberant performance from the beginning and remains the focal point throughout the night with his shaking hips and microphone twirling.
Moving effortlessly through their classics, Animal Nitrate, Metal Mickey, We Are The Pigs to name a few, they all still sound so strikingly brilliant and epic live. The crowd of course are pleased to hear such favourites, but are still as hyped up to hear the new tracks live, which sit along with the older material perfectly. Sometimes I Feel I’ll Float Away is simply beautiful and a breathtakingly long pause in the middle of the track, with the band frozen onstage emphasizes the atmosphere here tonight, we are hanging on every note.
Brett announces “It’s been twenty years ago yesterday since our debut album” and the band launch into Sleeping Pills, much to everyone’s surprise, followed by Pantomime Horse, it is safe to say the crowd are stunned. Both songs are so passionately performed, with all the might and drive they deserve, and they sound wonderful. We are treated to the likes of Everything Will Flow, So Young and the anthemic Trash, before finishing with Beautiful Ones and this all feels much more than nostalgia, it feels like this is a new chapter for Suede, a celebration of the old and new.
It has to be said that the band are at their best right now, they have managed to cement themselves an incredible comeback and show themselves to be an unbreakable force both live and in the studio. They are faultless, tonight, their dedication and excitement evident throughout the show. It just leaves us with the question, what’s next? Suede are most definitely back, and tonight is just the beginning….
Clutch - Earth Rocker
‘I will suffer no evil, my guitar will guide me through’. A line from the title track from Clutch’s tenth full length album, Earth Rocker. A prominent motto, an ideal sentiment from a band who show no signs of slowing down. Perhaps showing them at their heaviest, how does it measure up?
The album is predominantly guitar centred, crafted with ferocious tunes and memorable riffs. Groovy, thunderous, spacey, psychedelic, brilliant. The huge grooves coupled with the anthemic vibes and choruses is similar to their previous work, but still renewed and fresh enough for anyone new to the band. Crucial Velocity and the danceable Mr Freedom are both highlights, along with Gone Cold which takes a step away from the heavy for a few minutes to break the album up with its folksy feel. Neil Fallon’s unmistakable raspy vocals keep this album rocking and rolling, as does his choice of lyrics, both of which are essential to Clutch’s sound. A lot of the tracks have a gutsy fist pumping feel to them also, alike Motorhead for example, a very classic outlook.
Earth Rocker incorporates various themes and visions, packed full of personality. It showcases Clutch at the top of their game once again, and every song is a killer.
David Bowie - The Next Day
We’ve had Ziggy, Aladdin Sane, the Thin White Duke, Major Tom, the Goblin King etc etc, it’s quite obvious that David Bowie is not a man shy of reinvention. The king of non conformity, throughout the 70s he rifled through many looks and genres without hesitation, from glam to funk and all inbetween, including a cocaine habit that nearly killed him but subsequently led to his fantastic Berlin trilogy. We were shown many faces, but he knew exactly how to wear them.
The following decades saw Bowie become less of a trendsetter and more of a trend follower as he reached stadium heights. Where the 70s were unpredictable, the 80s/90s became reactionary. In saying that however, where ageing rockstars could take the route of riding high on 30 year old songs to arenas full of nostalgic fans, Bowie didn’t. He could have, but thank god he didn’t.
In more recent years, albums like Heathen and Reality saw a little renaissance of Bowie’s career, but this was cut short in 2004 due to him collapsing at a show in Germany and having to undergo emergency heart surgery. Nearly a decade of silence followed, with many rumours of retirement or serious illness, the mystique surrounding his hiatus was rife. But, little did we know that for the past couple of years he has been secretly recording a new album, his 26th, with producer Tony Visconti, titled The Next Day.
The first single Where Are We Now came as a surprise, and with its wistful tone many thought this was the beginning of goodbye, and the album to follow could be Bowie’s farewell to music, but not at all. The Next Day is a record that is happy to look back over his staggering career, borrow from it and move forward from it, with much energy and vigour. Even the album sleeve is a hint of this, as the cover of the classic Heroes is defaced in a meme-like fashion.
The thing about The Next Day is, there is no sense of a need for radical reinvention, that perhaps there has been in the past. The songs here are new and exciting, stories full of aggression, character and comedy. The title track sets the tone of the album perfectly, a stomping rhythm and squealing guitar that builds to a crescendo of a chorus with an in your face attitude and Where Are You Now tells a tale of a man uninterested in revealing his true self, perhaps Bowie himself?
As a songwriter, he tells many tales. He sings of medieval evil, offspring of prison wardens and even a hint of Bob Dylan. The good and evil of fame and stardom is tackled as a subject for The Stars (Are Out Tonight), a theme that regularly shows up on a Bowie record, along with Dancing Out In Space with its trippy guitar and thrilling beat. Valentines Day and I’d Rather Be High are further standouts too.
The band are steered towards a real rock vibe, Bowie sounds refreshed and Visconti has done a great job as producer. The Next Day is bold, innovative, dark in places , but most of all it is perfectly creative and unexpected. Undoubtedly an album only David Bowie could make.
Suede - Bloodsports
Having been a self confessed Suedehead for the majority of my years, it was exciting to learn that after the bands incredibly successful live return a few years ago, they were going to be recording a new album, their first in 11 years. Amd here they are, back with Bloodsports, which infact is pretty brilliant.
A lot of fans have never really gotten over the departure of original guitarist Bernard Butler and were disappointed when he didn’t make a return to the band during their reunion gigs. But, what a lot of people forget is that the bands post Butler records, Coming Up and Head Music are brilliant, and that Richard Oakes stepped into some big shoes and nailed that classic Suede sound. The bands last album A New Morning didn’t quite live up to expectations and that is when the band decided to call it a day, but with Bloodsports, it is a return to their very best, a fantastic effort.
On first listen it is clear that Suede have stayed true to their aesthetic, but they have boosted it to another level, with a sound big enough to fill an arena. Barriers is a powerful opener, and the single It Starts And Ends With You is a great taster of what is ahead. Snowblind is an instant favourite with big guitars and Andersons familiar tones, whilst Hit Me is classic Suede through and through. Oakes riffs lift the bar high, and on tracks like Sabotage his playing really shines. Brett Anderson also steps up, he sounds like a man revived, his vocal delivery is full of magic and vigour, and the whole sound gives off an aura of romanticism.
It seems the time away and recent resurgence has done wonders for Suede and Bloodsports is a fantastic comeback. You would be forgiven for thinking otherwise before, that this could be a big nostalgic trip, but it feels entirely new. It is passionate and dynamic and it pleasantly reminds us just how underestimated and amazing Suede are. Let’s hope it doesn’t end here…
News on new Black Sabbath album!
Yesterday we were treated to a new video from the studio and a little chat with Rick Rubin about the ongoing recording sessions for the new Sabbath album 13.
13 will be released in June via Vertigo and was recorded in LA, with Rage Against The Machine drummer Brad Wilk joining original Sabbath members Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler for the recording sessions.
The album is available for pre-order over at www.blacksabbath.com and is available in the following formats:
• Standard CD album
• Deluxe double CD album in a deluxe soft-pack (includes a second disc of exclusive bonus audio material)
• Vinyl: 12″ heavyweight (180g) vinyl album in a gatefold sleeve
• Super Deluxe Box Set: limited edition 12″ clamshell box set which contains:
- Deluxe double CD album
- 12″ heavyweight (180g) vinyl album in a gatefold sleeve
- Exclusive DVD containing ‘Black Sabbath–The Re-union’ documentary
- 5 behind-the-scenes videos
- Download card containing exclusive track by track interview with Black Sabbath
- Exclusive ’13′ art print
- 13 exclusive photographic prints and hand written album lyrics
Slash feat Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators - Olympia Theatre, Dublin 04.03.2013
It has been 3 years since Slash has visited Dublin, and upon announcement of his return, tickets to his 2 shows at the Olympia Theatre were snapped up in minutes. He makes his return of course with Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators to play the last shows on the current European tour promoting the album Apocalyptic Love.
Kicking things off this evening are The Treatment. Since touring with KISS and Motley Crue in the States last year, these boys have certainly grown as a band and now deliver a performance full of confidence and swagger. A set made up of mainly new material with a few older tracks thrown in, they continue to show great promise and give us a taster of what is to come.
As always, Slash’s hugely energetic show spans material right across his career. Both solo albums, Velvet Revolver, Snakepit and of course Guns N’ Roses all feature in heavy doses, something for everyone. The opening trio of Halo, Been There Lately and Nightrain start things off perfectly and set the bar high, there is no holding back tonight. An evening of pure rock n roll faces the Olympia, as Slash launches himself into the air from the drum riser, you know he means business.
Fan favourite Back From Cali brings immense enthusiasm from the crowd as they sing every word incredibly loud, and Shots Fired taken from the recent release sounds fantastic live. Todd Kerns steps up to deliver his rendition of Doctor Alibi and Guns classic You’re Crazy, both with such force and energy the crowd are worked into a frenzy. Kerns is hard rock personified and his vocals on You’re Crazy are out of this world.
The double necked guitar makes an appearance for Civil War, which again gets the crowd singing, along with the masterpiece that is Anastasia, it proves the newer material fits alongside the old as pure classics. Myles Kennedy shows once again this evening why he is one of the most accomplished singers in modern rock. He gives a stunning performance of Starlight and the sublime Not For Me follows.
An astounding 15 minute solo from Slash in the middle of Rocket Queen cements the fact he is a genius on the guitar, so skilled and in tune, the passion in his playing is mesmerising. Sweet Child of Mine of course blows the roof off the place, and Slither close the show with the guitar hero adding that they couldn’t have asked for a better place to finish.
The band are welcomed back to the stage to mighty roars for a crazy encore of Welcome To The Jungle and Paradise City. As the confetti rains down on the intimate theatre it is clear tonight has been special. Slash, Myles, Todd, Brent and Frank are solid. The chemistry they display as a band is remarkable and their performance is truly alive and kicking. For two hours they lure you in to a rock n roll euphoria and leave you begging for more. A fantastic ending to a hugely successful tour, let’s hope its not too long before they return!
(top photo courtesy of Hels Bels Photograhy)