Did he?

This is important. Did Jesus ever build a hotrod and if so what colour was it?

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No matter what

No matter what I just couldn’t enjoy my first open-air festival in the Czech Republic. It was too hard to adjust to on so many levels and metal heads are the best of people when they group up. I was overweight and not well psychologically. All its done is confirm that they aren’t really for me. 20,000 in one small area is too much and 14 hours of music a day is far too much.

I was glad to leave.

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A Showstopper or a double-crossing Judas?

I recently went to the Czech Republic to the Brutal Assault festival, which I will write about shortly. There is an amusing moment which I want to share. When Sacred Reich came on they opened with everyone’s favourite song ‘Death Squad’. They were a bit rusty and it wasn’t as great as I hoped but was still well worth listening to. But as soon as it finished they announced they would play a new song. Then I accidentally halted their performance. I was very close to the stage and as soon as I heard that, I turned around and walked off. This caused singer Phil Rind to react, he said ‘That guy looks skeptical’ and then claimed he got the song order mixed up. When I can find the whole thing on video I will post it but I can show you the later half. At least he said it with a smile on his face and many laughed. As I walked away, I admit I did feel bad but with 140 bands in 4 days, you had to cut some bands short. Here’s the latter half of his reaction when I walked off.

So the pause at the beginning is after he said ‘That guy looks sceptical’, admittedly it does make me chuckle that I caused that even though I have always loved them as a band.

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Absence makes the heart grow…

A year of self-imposed exile comes to a close when the active life I led resumes from afar. I bought a ticket for my first ever open air-festival. It’s in the Czech Republic and is called Brutal Assault, here is the link https://brutalassault.cz/en

All that is required is to book a flight, buy a tent and promise myself to stay sober solemnly -otherwise I won’t remember a fucking thing about it….oh and take a look at Prague whilst I’m at it.

So exile. How was that? What did I miss? Well, I do have many, many friends in Bangkok and had the best nights of my life with them for sure. Though the underground scene there is small, it is vibrant. The Thai’s are fun-loving and friendly people. Okay, maybe not accomplished musically but they know how to enjoy themselves. And I noticed that when bands from the region came, they picked up on that pretty fast.

If you were to ask me what was my favourite night out from last year, the answer would be obvious -when ‘Evil Singing Pandas’ from Singapore rolled into town of course. When people go to see a band live, its either professionalism or passion that they want to see and hear or ideally a combination of both. In an underground scene, it tends to be passion that wins the audience over -and that’s what I loved about ‘Evil Singing Pandas’ so much. Not only did they play well but, more importantly, they played with real passion. Remy, the singer, took center stage and reveled in the moment. And not only that, they were really great to hang out with too -evil they weren’t, cool they were.

18557259_10154812570301028_8340650542289702616_n.jpg

Yes that’s myself in the background behind the singer.

There is often a ritual obeisance paid towards professional bands, as if they are the only ones seeing but its not so. If you know what you like and those who play for you are passionate too -throw in a few friends, loads of alcohol and a great evening awaits. Snap out of consumerism and buying into the ‘big bands’ go out, mosh, get fucked and stagger home instead…

You only live the once, might as well enjoy it while it lasts…

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Some fine British comedy…

Fine British comedy here, which is not too far from the truth.

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The law of diminishing returns…

Its a widely held belief amongst metalheads, journalists, established bands and professional musicians that the first Metal Allegiance album, way back in 2014, was the best thing in decades. Perhaps that is stretching it a bit far but even if its the best thing in a long time, does that tell us something about the metal genre as a whole? There are so many young and new bands around, so why is it that those who inspired them continue to be better? Is it simply that the previous generation were better because they were influenced by a better generation themselves, compared to today’s many bands?

For example, many of the Scandinavian bands refer to Bathory as a major influence. I grew up listening to them, and if I am being honest, at their very best they weren’t that great. Bathory were influenced by Black Sabbath, who have been listened to for decades for good reasons.

A lot of American bands cite Pantera as a big influence, but again with the exception of one decent album, they didn’t do that much.

I can’t think of one single band in the current metal scene that can come close to those who succeeded in the 80s. Often the bands they copy or are inspired by were also worse than them…I wonder whether I am very wrong here or metal itself has, on the whole, waned…? When you discover a band and those they cite as major influences were at their brief very best, distinctly average, you can’t help but think they don’t have much promise themselves. If what inspires them pales in comparison to the previous generation, what then. Sorry but when bands harp on about how bands from 1995 onwards were a major influence, it tells me straight away that they either have very poor taste or have not yet learnt to go beyond what they grew up with…

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Modern times

The metal scene in modern times is hard to define and there are more than several reasons why. One of them, however, is the down to the ‘so-called’ digital revolution we are currently going through. Metallica sued Napster for good reason despite having already ‘made it’. Their source of revenue was seriously affected. If you’ve ever wondered why concerts costs so much more these days then bear in mind why sales began to drop significantly more than a decade ago. If you read the content on Blabbermouth http://www.blabbermouth.net then you’ll find many articles where band members explain how hard it is for bands to survive today…

http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/former-megadeth-drummer-shawn-drover-says-music-streaming-and-illegal-downloading-is-destroying-the-industry

I don’t agree with what is said in that article at all. Musicians act, primarily, out of self-interest and so equate a loss of revenue with genre degeneration. That’s not true at all and has much more to do with themselves not wanting to make an effort anymore as the cantankerous effect of old age creeps in, and an unquestioned belief that they have already ‘made it’ than anything else, sometimes also combined with a lack of imagination on their part as well as their own transmogrification into a curmudgeon as a result. The scene on the whole is more vibrant than it has been for decades and certainly more diverse.  There is also evidence of adaptation. Those more successful, like Metallica for example, have more clout and exemplify how a band can successfully adapt.

http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/metallica-shapes-setlist-around-what-fans-are-listening-to-on-spotify-says-daniel-ek

One of the benefits of our digital world is that bands can reach an audience much wider than when record companies had full control over distribution outlets, as was the case up until 10-15 years ago. Courtesy of youtube alone bands can attract more than a million fans. When I was young, listening to bands from far flung places that aren’t signed to a major record label was nigh-on impossible. Yet recently I found a track that I still can’t stop listening to and half of it is sung in Maori. You’ll have to forego the first 42 seconds, which in my opinion is a poor example of using music to send a message. What I find most striking is the blend of past genres. The riff is so heavy, almost like a well-crafted Sabbath riff. The way they drop the pace after the second verse and bring the riff into the track is, in my opinion, absolutely astonishing -and that on top of melodic vocals you wouldn’t associate with such a solid sound. Its truly modern fusion and man that is one hell of a riff. Enjoy, I know I certainly did. Couldn’t get it out of my head for days.

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The Celtic, Belgian, Queens effect…

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What to make of this remark…

I am beginning to find autobiographies from known metal guitarists difficult. They say things in a rather whimsical manner which makes you wonder who then put such content into text. In the passage below, Scott Ian -guitarist for NYC band Anthrax as you probably know, gives an account of what is, historically, Metallica’s most controversial song, given the severity of the impact it had on their fan base at the time, who it is reported accused Metallica of ‘selling out’.

Given the numerous accusations levelled at Metallica, mostly centering around suicide as there are at least two cases of that by lost youths, after listening to the song, and many following accusations that Metallica incited suicide amongst the youth of the upper east-coast back in 1984, we would hope that the song ‘Fade to Black’ is more than a lament over stolen equipment!!!!

When I became a father, I used to play the lullaby version to my daughter to help her sleep. Given that I suffered with depression for 8 years when I was young, it brought tears to my eyes to be finally free from that. My daughter found the lullaby version soothing…

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Photos from friends…

I just worked out that when I went to see Annihilator play at the Marquee in London way back on Sept 6th 1990, the support act was Xentrix! Anyway, here’s some photos from a month or two back, sent on by some friends…

I always wear an inverted cross but not due to any religious persuasion as that silly nonsense is for idiots only, but because I love metal and those I admired in mubyouth always wore them. It’s iconographic and not representative of anything other than the aforementioned. Even at 17 I wore one.

In the top picture you can see I am wearing a Celtic Frost shirt, in the second picture Triptykon, the band Thomas Warrior/Fischer went onto form. The picture below is Celtic Frost, at the very front is Martin Eric Ain who sadly died last year. He has always been such a source of inspiration. At the age of 17 I found him fascinating and still do. He believed in himself and never let anything get in his way.

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