It is approaching that time of year again, in a few months festival season will be upon us, and once again hundreds and thousands of people will be descending on many a field ready for a chaotic camping experience, but where will you be?
Well, thousands of Brits seem to be turning their back on UK festivals in search for nicer weather and heading overseas for their festival of choice. As great as the Download line up looks this year, not many of us fancy another weekend potentially up to our eyes in mud right? Right. So, let us tell what we reckon is the place to be this Summer, Hellfest!
Hellfest is located in Clisson, close to Nantes in France and is increasingly becoming more and more popular with rock and metal fans all over the world. It has been a well established festival for over a decade and continues to grow and grow each year. It relocated in 2012 meaning it could house even more music fans and ore stages and more bands than ever before!
2013 looks set to be one of its greatest line ups yet with hundreds of bands across many genres making an appearance. American giants KISS will headline, alongside Brit-pioneers Def Leppard and the super cool ZZ Top, i mean that in itself is pretty fantastic. Well, they will also be joined by the likes of Twisted Sister, Whitesnake, Korn, NOFX, Saxon, Hardcore Superstar, Down, Danzig, Volbeat….the list is endless, truly something for everyone.
This years event takes place on 21-23 June and promises to be a killer time to be had by all. So what do you think? Will you be making a trip to Hellfest this year? We certainly will be!
Classic Album Review: KISS - Destroyer
KISS are a band that often divide opinion. Some people see them as little more than a joke band, but they also have legions of hardcore fans that are willing to buy anything they release, from ‘KISS Kondoms’ to ‘Kiss Kaskets’, which also happen to double up as a fridge.
Destroyer, released in 1976, is probably their most critically acclaimed album, featuring on Rolling Stones ‘500 greatest albums’ list. The album opens with the popular ‘Detroit Rock City’, which on the album features an intro over a minute long, setting the scene for a song about a fan who was killed on his way to a KISS show. On vinyl it works as a brilliant lead in to the song, but doesn’t work as well in todays instant gratification mp3 market, perhaps why the intro is rarely included with the song on compilation albums. The song is a fan favourite, with a guitar solo that is used in the Megadeth song ‘She-Wolf’ as homage.
This is followed by track 2, ‘King Of The Night Time World’, which is a typical song about teenage rebellion. The protagonist of the song laments having to go to school and do homework, feeling as though he can only really be himself at night when he can go out with his girlfriend. The next cut, ‘God Of Thunder’ is a song that is a lot heavier than every other song on the album, and most of KISS’ back catalogue. Featuring Gene Simmons on vocals, with his bass line also being the most prominent instrument in the mix, it is a song that really shows a different side to KISS. The following track however couldn’t be more different, ‘Great Expectations’ is a brilliant ballad that uses elements of classical music. As opposed to being about a girl, this ballad is about the band and how much girls want them, a typical display of the bands arrogance.
The two numbers after that, ‘Sweet Pain’ and ‘Flaming Youth’ are great album tracks that fit in perfectly, but they’re not going to change anyone’s opinion on the band, unlike ‘Shout It Out Loud’ which is an excellent rock and roll song with call and response style verses. The next track, ‘Beth’ is the better of the albums two ballads. Co-written and sung by the much-maligned Peter Criss, the song was included as the B-side to the single ‘Detroit Rock City’ and wound up getting more radio airplay than any other song on the album. It was later released as a single in it’s own right, and charted at number 7 in the US. ‘Beth’ also re-ignited album sales, allowing ‘Destroyer’ to be certified platinum in November ’76.
The album is closed with ‘Do You Love Me?’ a song that features Paul Stanley questioning whether girls are with him because he is a rock star, and not because of his personality, something that is perhaps unintentionally hilarious given the fact that most of the bands songs treat women as objects of desire instead of people.
Overall the album is a great example of rock songs done incredibly well within a pop music structure. There is nothing deep or meaningful here – but that’s what KISS are all about, they just want you to turn the music up, forget about your troubles, and shout it out loud.
Songs to Spotify: God Of Thunder, Shout It Out Loud, Beth.
Ace Frehley pulls out of Hard Rock Hell for the second year running
The KISS founding member was due to play the festival in North Wales in December but it was announced yesterday he would no longer be appearing. Frehley was also due to play the same festival last year before pulling out last minute. No reason has been given for his cancellation this time around…
Instead, stepping up to fill his Saturday night slot are Californian rockers Ugly Kid Joe.
KISS - Monster
Pretty much any band that has been around fro the past 20 years or more has survived periods of both great inspiration and dire experimentation, KISS being one of those bands. But, saying this, with their new release they seem to have come back with an album that has rediscovered what made them in the first place. Monster, the follow up to their 2009 comeback Sonic Boom, is full of sleazy riffs, fist pumping choruses and the right amount of arrogance to remind us of their brilliance. Monster has been pushed as ‘no filler, no ballads, just full throttle rock n roll’, but is it? The answer is yes.
The lead single Hell or Hallelujah was a great teaser before the albums release, a brilliant vocal from Paul Stanley and a beauty of a riff to boot. The Devil Is Me and Eat Your Heart Out have this rumbling bass that is oh so familiar and sees Simmons taking the lead.
The age old debate over Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer is bound to grumble a certain amount of fans, but here they really prove their worth. Thayer co-wrote most of the album alongside Stanley, and his and Singers vocals on Outta This World and All For The Love of Rock N Roll stand proud on the record and may finally earn them the credit they deserve.
Monster will resonate perfectly with die hard KISS fans, it may not do much to win them new ones however. Instead of experimenting with new styles they take it back to basics. The album is far from serious, and at times slightly over the top, with tongue in cheek lyrics and its sense of humour, see Take Me Down Below, but it maintains its great energy throughout, with only the odd exception, see Shout Mercy.
The greatest thing about Monster is probably how good it is going to sound live. It comes ready made with stadium filling anthems and songs you can dance to. It may not be one huge step for KISS, but it does prove that the band still have the ability to make great music and market themselves to the masses, and 40 years into their career that is a pretty great achievement.
KISS - HMV Forum, 04.07.12
‘You wanted the best, you got the best! The hottest band in the world…KISS!’ The swarm of KISS t-shirts heading towards Kentish Town’s HMV Forum is an unmissable sign that the kings of flamboyance are in town in aid of Help For Heroes. Upon entering the venue, the stage is hidden behind a silver curtain baring that famous logo, a trigger of great excitement for this evening’s event.
With no support act, the anticipation leading up to a 9 o clock stage time can be felt in the atmosphere. The hour strikes and at the end of Thin Lizzy’s Boys Are Back In Town the curtains falls as the band burst on to stage to Detroit Rock City. If you thought the Forum couldn’t handle KISS’s extravagant stage set ups, think again. With a logo of light bulbs, a heightened drum kit and the usual stage dressage, there was still plenty of fire and fireworks to accompany their characters. New single Hell Or Hallelujah got it’s first outing and received a roaring reception. Their setlist is well crafted to include plenty of fan favourites and the roars of appreciation are deafening. Paul Stanley still has charisma in abundance and has the crowd eating out of his hand, while Gene Simmons continues to flaunt his ridiculously long tongue to the audience and delivers Calling Dr Love with plenty of charm. A call and response of the first verse of Love Gun ensues with one of the most powerful audiences responses I’ve ever heard, and one the Starchild is impressed with as he encourages a repeat session. Theatrics of the night include fireworks from Tommy Thayer’s guitar after a blinding solo, a fake stage malfunction after Eric Singer shoots a gun and of course, Gene and his flaming sword.
Finishing on Black Diamond, a track Singer delivers extremely well, the chants for more don’t quieten for one second. Kicking of the encore with Crazy Crazy Nights, Lick It Up is one of the highlights of the evening and whilst Stanley’s voice may have lost some of it’s power, it is still very commanding. Confetti cannons cover the room in white accompanied by a firework display to rival Trafalgar Square on New Years Eve on tonight’s closer Rock N Roll Nite. As God Gave Rock N Roll To You rings around the venue, everybody is leaving with huge smiles on their faces, knowing they have just seen one of the best shows on the planet.
Song of the day
KISS - Hell or Hallelujah
Check out the brand new single from KISS, taken from their album Monster released later this year!
July’s gig treats!
Don’t know who to go and see in July? Here are our recommendations…
The mighty KISS are playing a one off show at London’s HMV Forum in place of this years cancelled Sonisphere Festival. Titled KISS - Help For Heroes, it is also a fundraising event. Get involved if you can!
Making a triumphant return with Born Villian, Manson is another playing a show in place of Sonisphere. After a few ropey years, recent footage shows he could be heading back in the right direction. Find out for yourself!
Brian Jonestown Massacre
Accompanied by Cate Le Bon, the hugely underrated Brian Jonestown Massacre are bringing their psychedelic sounds to London and Birmingham this month. Check them out.
Hard Rock Calling
Featuring huge names such as Soundgarden and Bruce Springsteen, hopefully the weather will won’t dampen this years festival at Hyde Park. With other names such as Black Stone Cherry and Skindred on the bill, it’d be a shame to miss it! More info here.
More big names added to Sonisphere
Midnight saw the announcement of another round of names for this years Sonisphere festival.
Glassjaw and Hundred Reasons have been added, and both will be playing special ‘album sets’. Glassjaw will perform their classic 2002 album Wordship & Tribute in its entirety during their set, while Hundred Reasons will play their 2001 debut album Ideas Above Our Station from start to finish during their slot.
Also joining them will be the mighty Skindred, Black Stone Cherry, Crowbar, Alestorm, The Getaway Plan, Electric Wizard, New Model Army, Kvelertak and Seether.
Joining the likes of KISS, Queen with Adam Lambert, Faith No More and Marilyn Manson, they are really spoiling us this year!