Archive for the ‘Metal’ Category

RIP Cliff Burton

September 27, 2007

21 years ago on the evening of 27th September 1986 whilst on the European leg of the Damage Inc Tour in support of the Master of Puppets album, the late great Cliff Burton was tragically killed when the tour bus skidded on black ice near Dorarp rural Sweden.

To me Cliff was the greatest bass player of the time, and still has not been surpassed to this day, the main reason for me taking up the bass in my youth and a huge influence on my playing. Every time I listen to the Metallica albums that came after ‘Master of Puppets’, I can’t help but wonder what they would of sounded like had Cliff still been alive, and indeed would they of gone down some of the musical routes they did. His death was a tragic loss not only to Thrash and Heavy Metal, but to music full stop.

Recently Metallica have been playing Orion in it’s entirety on tour, with James Hetfield marking the end with ‘Cliff Burton…. RIP’, it is a wonderful tribute to a great man.

Cliff

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Metallica – Wembley Stadium July 8th 2007

July 11, 2007

James

What a blinding gig! Considering their collective age, that is the best performance I’ve seen from the mighty Metallic.

I have to say that I was impressed with the new Wembley Stadium as a venue, and getting in turned out to be easy despite what we had heard, well served by the tube too, although the access ramps were a bit messy with rubbish from the Live Earth concert (Oh the irony!).

We’d actually made good time and as such caught the first support act, Mastodon. It would be fair to say I wish we hadn’t, their sound quality wasn’t great which didn’t help, but it really didn’t do it for me.

Next up were Machine Head, now this I was looking forward to. Again the sound wasn’t perfect, but that wasn’t going to stop Rob and the boys, they thundered through their set and Rob owned the place – should I of expect any different? Halo stood out, but Davidian was astounding, particularly with a fair proportion of the crowd shouting ‘Let Freedom ring with a shotgun blast!’.

I didn’t really fancy seeing HIM so decided it was time for a comfort break and a beer, the queues were sufficiently long that I missed the whole set – what a shame 😉

The crowd was getting rampant as we waited for Metallica to hit the stage, every time the music lulled we cheered, but no, it was a false hope, then finally they were on. The fun kicked off with Creeping death, and then quickly into For Whome the Bell Tolls. Metallica were on form and clearly loving the crowd. The presence of large monitors also helped now, giving a chance to see more of what was going on, and keep an eye during Kirk’s solos, and of course see some of what Rob was up to. I can’t remember the full set list, but suffice to say it avoided most of the rubbish and had plenty of classis, highlights included:

Rob

The full ‘…and Justice for all’, the full ‘Orion’ (Touching tribute to Cliff from James at the end), the sing along at the end of ‘The Memory Remains’ , the whole of ‘Master of Puppets’ and ‘Battery’, hearing ‘No leaf clover’, full ‘Four Horsemen’, ‘Disposable Heroes’ (Bizare background vid on the monitors, slap and pop in Rob’s bass solo, a mighty ‘Fade to black’, ‘One’ and all the pyros.

Come the end, James said they had 10 mins left, so they kicked into ‘Whiplash’ and ended with ‘Seek and Destroy’. Absolutely brilliant.

Kirk

Now lets hope they paid attention and realised how much everyone loves the old songs, and solos, take the drum kit out of a dustbin and record a proper album again this time. Still, I’ll be there again next year anyway when they play, and I’m just waiting for the recording of the show to be released on LiveMetallica for me to download.

Bad News, Good News!

July 2, 2007

Rob Flynn

After the bad news that ‘Bullet for my Valentine’ would no longer be on the Metallica support slot at Wembley, I was rather pleased to find that ‘Machine Head’ were now on the bill. The new Machine head album is stonking, and the last time I heard ‘Davidian’ live was Donnington many years ago, so that’ll be cool. I’m sure I’ll get a chance to see ‘BfmV’ some other time, and I wish Matt Tuck a speedy recovery to his tonsillectomy, and look forward to the follow up to ‘The Poison’ which they will be putting the finishing touches to once he is recovered.

Matt Tuck

Nirvana

June 25, 2007

With nothing much else on I stumbled across the ‘Seven Ages of Rock’ on BBC2 on Saturday night, having unfortunately missed the Metal episode the other week, it was the rise of Alternative Rock.

I never realised the relationship between REM and Nirvana, and it was great seeing old Black Flag, and Rollins in interview. I’ll have to dig out some of that stuff, Rollins Rocks!!!!

Nevermind cover

Thing is, as I watched I remembered how great Nirvana were. Bleach wasn’t that great, but somehow with Nevermind everything clicked. Every song on that album is great, and more than that it defined a moment in time. For me personally at that age it made sense, but from the popularity, I wasn’t the only one. It seemed that a whole generation of dis-affected youth could identify with the sound, and the message in the lyrics (Worrying as I listen back to some of them now). I dusted it off and gave it a spin tonight, and it’s still just as good, and dare I say, just as relevant. OK so it took that genre to the mainstream, which spoilt our nice little niche, but so what, it was that good it should be shared.

I was melancholy by the end, and dare I say it shed tear. It’s a real shame that Kurt felt the despair he did, just think where the band would’ve been now? What would the song writing be like? So if you’ve got a copy, dig it out, slap it on, and just say thanks for the time he gave us.

Megadeth – United Abominations – A return to form

May 26, 2007

Megadeth - United Abominations

I’m always excited by the prospect of a new album by one of my fave bands, but with Megadeth this time round it was to prove a little more interesting. They had produced a stunning album with ‘The World Needs a Hero’, and then the ‘self destruct’ button was pressed! Dave Mustaine had sustained a freak injury to his left arm whilst asleep in a chair with his arm over the back of the chair, causing injury to the radial nerve. Unable to play, Megadeth was disbanded, and that looked like it, the end of an era at least going out on a high. Then it just got more bizarre, as Dave managed to re-teach himself to play, and before you knew it, Megadeth were re-forming, but not with the previous line-up, and amazingly no Junior (Dave Ellefson). What had started as a solo album for Dave Mustaine became the new album – ‘The System has Failed’. Personally I wasn’t overly impressed with the offering, and so wasn’t holding out too much hope when the new album was announced, and the release date moving out got me worried.

As the release date finally drew near, the Megadeth website featured the video for the re-recording of ‘A Tout le Monde (Set me free)’, previously featured on the Youthanasia album, which was now a duet featuring Cristina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil. Apparently Dave had always heard this song in his head as a duet, and I have to say I prefer it to the original recording, which I find surprising as my initial reaction when hearing about it was ‘Why?’, not believing songs should be re-visited. Just goes to show perceptions can be changed.

Next up was a sample of ‘Washington is Next’, which showed some return to the old style reminiscent of the Youthanasia days, with some interesting guitar melody underpinning the song. Some surfing also turned up some tracks from the Tour on YouTube, so I had a sample of ‘Gears of War’, but it didn’t really do it justice.

So now my expectations were a bit higher as United Abominations was released featuring Dave Mustaine, Glen Drover on guitar, Shawn Drover on drums and James Lomenzo on bass. The album kicks off with a nice clean guitar, before a very typical Megadeth guitar riff kicks in, and a second quickly builds over this before kicking into the song main for ‘Sleepwalker’. It is very much a typical Megadeth song, until 3:20 when the guitar suddenly kicks in with a riff very reminiscent of ‘Holy Wars’ before hitting the guitar solo and building to a nice crescendo for the finale of the track. The next track is ‘Washington is next’ which I’ve already mentioned, and we then move on to ‘Never walk alone… A call to arms’, which in places brings ‘Tornado of Souls’ from ‘Rust in Peace’ to mind. Track 4 is the title track ‘United Abominations’ which builds from a clean guitar with a nice drum line over a spoken word intro, and the guitars gently come in to a standard gallop rhythm, there’s a nice pre-chorus and melodic chorus but it’s not a stand-out track. ‘Gears of War’ features an almost grandiose guitar and keyboard intro, and then gently simmers before hitting a very ‘Go to Hell’ tempoed main rhythm, and Dave’s voice has a nice snear to it on the vocals. The double time chorus is nicely executed, and the slightly laid back solo features a nice initial harmony. ‘Blessed are the Dead’ starts with a nice bass rumble and is standard Megadeth fair, whilst ‘Pray for Blood’ bruises in with a lovely groove, almost bluesy, and deserves to be cranked up and played LOUD with some nice double bass. The previously mentioned re-recording of ‘A Toute le Monde’ follows, with ‘Amerikhastan’ next up. This is a nice mid paced stomper, with some good old fashioned blistering from Dave. ‘You’re Dead’ starts with an interesting descending riff, and when the vocals kick in harking back to ‘So Far, So Good’, the chorus really stands out on this track, with an interesting guitar squeal/dive in the background over the doomy ascending riff. Official album closer ‘Burnt Ice’ is a slight disappointment at first, but after the first guitar solo it hits 1:36 and suddenly picks up as it moves up a gear into a nice stomping riff, before hitting the second set of solos as Dave and Glen exchange solos, dueling towards the end as the song picks up pace.

The featured bonus track is a Led Zep cover – ‘Out on the Tiles’ (Note – the album was recorded using the late John Bonham’s old kit).

Overall the album is very much in the vein of the glory days of ‘Rust in Peace’, ‘Countdown to Extinction’ and ‘Youthanasia’, and I’m sure will feature regular playing over the coming months. I’m glad to see Megadeth back where they should be, all be it a bit sad that Junior doesn’t feature, I might even be tempted to see them live again.

I’m off to Wembley!

March 22, 2007

Wembley

Hurrah!

I mentioned HERE that my favourite band in the world – METALLICA – are coming to the UK on July 8th to play the new Wembley Stadium. Well, thanks to some fast dialing by Jimbo, the 2 ‘old skool dads’ will be there again with their flecks of grey 😉

And as if that wasn’t enough, the Tour de France hits the UK that weekend, with the Prologue on the Saturday, and the 1st stage from London to Canterbury on the Sunday. So we’ll go and watch that first then, before hitting guitar and bike shops in London, then off to the gig!

Stage 1 Tour map

Metallica to hit the UK!

March 19, 2007

At last something good on at Wembley 😉

Come July 8th Metallica will be playing there, tickets go on sale on Wenesday 21st March at 9am – so best be quick.

More on the Metallica website : London date added

Oh, and whilst I’m at it – recording has begun on the new album.

Mr Trujillo

Details on the Metallica website

Metallica announce when they will start recording new album!

February 9, 2007

Having just typed up my thoughts on the coming F1 season here I thought it was time to have a relax and a surf, and lo and behold what do I find on the Metallica website? They are nearing finishing pre-production and are set to roll with recording come 12th March! How cool, that on the Monday and my wife’s 40th on the Friday, anyway I digress…. Not just that but they are planning a return to Europe for touring around June to get away from the studio, with the promise of hearing some new songs I’m going if they hit the UK!

Full story on the Metallica website here.

Re-living the glory days

February 5, 2007

As I’m sat here typing this, I’m listening to Sacred Reich’s ‘The American Way’The American Way, pure class album. loved it to death back in the day and played until the vinyl was trashed. Somehow listening to it takes me back to that time in my life, but it still moves me too. Shame the band called it a day in 2000.

Since going on-line I’ve loved the opportunity to get hold of the ‘old skool’ stuff I used to listen to (Still haven’t managed to get hold of Mordred though, I need to hear ‘Esse quam videre’ again!), and indeed the new music it’s allowed me to hear. But it has to be said there’s something for nostalgia, I’m still a Thrasher at heart, and those same old classic albums still move me in the same way, just hearing some of them takes me back. It got me wondering recently though, how much of it is just loving it for old time’s sake? How much of it became ingrained? Take the above mentioned ‘Sacred Reich’ for example. ‘The American Way’ – love it, and ‘Independant’ same there, but listen to the newer album for the first time ‘Heal’, and it didn’t do so much for me. Is that because the other’s have a special place in my heart? Or will it too grow into a classic for me?