Martin and Tom…

Here is an interesting interview for Celtic Frost lovers like myself. Martin Eric Ain, sadly no longer with us, here confirms that he does indeed have a strong personality, catching the very attractive interviewer off-guard on more than one occasion. In retrospect, she should take that as a compliment because he would not have been so open had their not been a degree of trust implicit in what he said. Tom, as great as he is, seems quite used to taking a secondary role here -I could be wrong about that however. The interview was published in 2012.


As the T-shirt would suggest, I am to the left as you look. Taken last year.


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Local yes -born out of ‘a spirit of rebellion’.

Chess has been my main hobby throughout much of my life. Even at 16 I wore Metallica and Slayer T-shirts to the local chess club, often attracting attention by older club members. Just before I stopped playing in international tournaments, I continued that fine trend of wearing the attire closest to my heart. Whilst wearing the hoodie in the picture below, someone said something to me which has stayed with me since.


Moi in the year 2013.

It is a Celtic Frost hoodie, of course, and one participant in the tournament was so very surprised to see me in it that he made a B-line straight for me, asking me how I knew who Celtic Frost were. Some discussion followed and he reiterated that he thought of them as a ‘local band’ only, stating that to him they were ‘just a local band’. I wondered what he meant by that because, as we all know, Celtic Frost went on to become famous around the world within metal.


Of all the countries in Europe with their own metal scene, Switzerland has always impressed me the most, to the point where every single band I discovered from there I liked. I’ve never quite been able to put my finger on that, and in watching the following documentary about Coroner

Thomas Fischer stated quite clearly that there was a sense of rebellion about their bands, stating the Zurich riots of 1980, as proof of that. If you go to the 09.24 mark, he talks about what it was like back then. Perhaps this is why some of the Swiss think of their music scene as local only, and to some degree, reactionary. Perhaps this partially explains why there is so much bite and depth in their music, for a peace-loving nation full of cuckoo-clocks and natural beauty. Coroner’s best track can be found below. The degree of technical accomplishment is staggering.

And finally, I discovered this little Swiss masterpiece back in May 1989 and still like it today


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What are Fridays for…

Not just sitting around at home, that’s for sure. You’ll become bored and find things to do, as I just did.






















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The broth of metal evolution…

Having too many cooks isn’t always a bad thing, especially when they come up with a strong contender for the greatest ‘cover song’ ever recorded…

Back in the hallowed antiquity of 2015, a Metal Allegiance of singers and musicians formed and made a mind-blowing track. The track they chose was the track ‘We Rock’ by Dio. The original is here, have a listen first if you don’t know it

It’s a great track, admittedly with imperfections between one or two rhythm changes, nonetheless it is a great track. But metal has evolved and collaborative projects are far more common than they once were as musicians have matured, and to some degree, become more dependent on their friends for help. Here is the Metal Allegiance’s version, I will add a link to their website in case you don’t know who all the artists are. Most probably, you’ll want to know who the female with blue hair is above all others.

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Ain’t bad if ya got a few bob spare

Some hand painted jackets and great leather gear can be found in the following site. Some of it is a little pricey but well worth it however.


I could certainly wear that if I didn’t live in such a hot climate that is.¬†

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The ever-changing map…

‘The Unexamined life is not worth living.’ – Socrates

Establishing to what extent the music industry has evolved in more recent decades past is difficult to say the least. Commercially, there has been sustained growth as the decades have gone by although the sources of revenue have altered in more recent years, courtesy of Napster and its legacy…

…moving on somewhat, music videos are so much greater than what they were, so much so that videos produced in the 70s and 80s often make for uncomfortable viewing. It’s not that technology has improved matters, rather its more so that academic institutes around the world offer video production courses more readily. Well, compared to 30 years ago they do…

I once stopped listening to rock/metal for just over a decade as, quite frankly, when grunge died out I became bored of the whole thing. But how much things have changed since the 90s. Back then only the very best bands had any real chance of a great video but with rock and metal so much broader in its reach and development, a great many bands have music videos well worth watching…

So, if like myself, you come up with some silly idea that you should create a music video library, how on earth do you do that?

Know thyself – Oracle of Delphi to Socrates

Initially it was just a collection of the songs/videos I liked when I was younger. When it got to 44 videos I was quite happy with that and then when it increased to 79 I remember thinking the collection was too large. So what now do I think given it stands -at this moment in time at 559? Some songs are just great songs, and it’s worth keeping them for the song alone. Conversely, the video itself can be enough particularly when you were initially drawn to metal because of the imagery and iconography as I was back in 1988. But when is enough enough? A retrospective of all that you once liked and still like doesn’t quite do it when your interests change and become ore forward looking, and as I have found to my cost, managing that is far from easy. I say ‘to my cost’ because I had to upgrade the SD card to cope, given that the entire collection now takes up over 21 Gig. You may need to spend some extra dollars on headphones to get the most out of your efforts too, as I have indeed done…

I do want to end by saying that if you explore all that lies on youtube with one eye on the future and one foot rooted in the past it can be very interesting indeed. From time to time you will uncover things you forgot about many years ago. Sometimes the newer generation shares the same interest you once did and their take on it can be truly fascinating. As long as you understand what your interests are and how they became so, you have much to explore…

Hmm, I do believe I have seen that T-shirt somewhere before -not to mention the drummer’s, which I bought in 1989.


Stood on thy balcony of thee apt back in Baku 2014


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Cover songs and their purposes…

I take it that by now you have heard more than one or two cover songs but have you ever wondered why they exist in the first place? The obvious answer is that a band covers a song they like but there’s a bit more to it than that.

It may well be, and usually is the case, that a band likes a song but their motives may vary. It might be the case that they like a song but want to rubber stamp it with a new sense of identity, their own for example. A recent example of this is Metallica’s version of Iron Maiden’s Remember Tomorrow, which frankly, pales in comparison to the original and sounds like nothing more than yet another Metallica song produced long after their energy in music¬†per se began sapping away slowly.

It could also be the case that, as musicians, they like a song but want to improve upon its imperfections. Perhaps its so that. as artists, they want to play something a little different to what they are accustomed to.

In any event, I recently thought at length about all the cover songs I have heard over the 30 years I have listened to metal, and although I quickly realised which was by far the best, I could not be sure why. It was only until I came to realise that the three songs I have always like the most have a unifying theme, and that was the reason why I like them. Taking the last point of the previous paragraph: when a band covers a song from a different genre that is what works best. Metal is such an energetic from of music and when songs are taken from a separate genre there is real potential to inject the song with a lease of life that it never had.

A classic example of this is the cover song I was so struck by in the 90’s, the one that is still today the best cover song I have come across. Here’s the original first.

As great as Joy Division were, given how raw their music was, they certainly had their limitations musically. Interzone is an example of how upping the tempo was something they could not do very well. Here’s the cover off the same song. The difference is absolutely mind-blowing. You need to go to 02.50 for it to kick in.

Sticking with a change in genre, but less so than the previous example, the French band Trust from the 70’s had two songs covered by Anthrax. Here’s the original of the better song:

On Attack of the Killer B’s can the cover be found.

The a greater degree of energy here and also a stronger sense of accomplishment, it certainly sounds more fluid than the original, which as so much music form the 70’s often is, is rather disjointed in places. The other song that Anthrax covered from Trust was ‘Antisocial’, again this was never publicized, the song itself was promoted as their own.

Here is Anthrax, the video will play if you click on it. Apologies if the thumbnail does not show.

Lastly, another example of a cross-genre cover song, which has always stuck in the mind due to its brilliance is Nirvana’s cover of the classic David Bowie song, ‘The Man who Sold the World’.

Here’s Kurt’s version, which although also acoustic, is acoustic throughout, and not evocative of a bygone era like the original unfortunately is, particularly when the chorus comes in.

So that’s it, in my opinion a cover song works better if there is a change in style and tempo, making it cross-genre.


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