the blood, the sweat, the fucking mayhem

i shoulda written this before already... but for some reason didnt. Here goes now...
On november 5th i took a nice trip to see thrash titans Machine head. Due to some slow ups on my journey i didnt arrive to the venue until the time the doors were opened. This naturally upset me, "Oh great, i'll have to listen this one from afar". But luckily i somehow still managed to swoop myself to second row. Good lucks perhaps.

The evening was started by Darkest hour. They delivered an energetic set. The sounds were rather mushy at times, but i was not that much bothered by it. I think they sounded amazing and were in top condition. Though it was also pretty quiet in the crowd thorough their set. Most people were hanging at the bar and the back taking it chill. And the ones who crowded the front of the stage were not that into it, without counting the random moshpits at times.

After Darkest hour i mangled myself to the front row for more headbanging to come. DevilDriver was on stage to entertain next. They did have more clear sounds, but seemed to have some problems with mixing the guitars. Minor issue though. Didnt slow me down. And during their set more and more people crammed themselves to front of the stage. I was glad to hear them play you make me sick (one of my favourites from their latest album) and Impending disaster. Deffinetly the highlights of their set. And the evening had only just begun.

next band, Bring me the horizon did not impress me at all and, frankly, i dont get why they were even there. Them emo girls in the front seemed to enjoy but i was anxiously wishing it to be over. And taking a look at the crowd behind me, i sure wasnt the only one. Okey they did had an energetic set and all, i give them that. So if you like their music im sure you would have enjoyed it. But since i hate the music that didn't count for shit.

Machine head was the ruler of the show offcourse. While the other three bands may have struggled to get the audience excited they managed in that in an instant. The whole show and athmospere of it was brilliant. Machine Head showed no sings of tiredness and played through the whole set with incredible force. The set consisted a variety of old and new material, creating an interesting contrast of 10 minute epics with duel guitar shredding and old smashing in your face thrash tunes. The latest album Unto the locust was offcourse most presented. And my own highlights were both from it; Locust, which broke the madness loose for keeps and Darkness within, which is a song Rob Flynn wrote about how much music means to him. The song also greatly speaks to me and i get shivers down my spine whenever i listen it. Also the Blood, the sweat, the tears got me most pumped and headbanging. Machine head is still powerfull, top condition and developing as musicians. More of this please.


The Hunter

So once again Mastodon goes down the road of exploring the limits of their sound. The Hunter follows 2009's Crack the skye, which immediately leads it being compared to that. Like we all know, Crack the skye was a massive and ambitious masterpiece. But the hunter is something complitely different. Its wery down to earth and more easily approachable, full of short and sharp songs.

The tracks feature more hardcore rock, groove and even punk influenced in your face anthems like Black tongue, Curl of the burl and blasteroid. While The sparrow, Thickening, Stargasm and the tittle track represent the prog area. Though you cant speak of overly complex songs. The strucktures are rather tight. And all and all the Hunter is the most straight forward and controlled album Mastodon has ever done in their career.

At first listen the record may sound a bit bland and transient. But if you take a little time it grows and pieces start to click on their places. Couple things that also make the Hunter stand out from other Mastodon releases is that its only their second non-concept album. And does not theme around a classical element like their previous releases. Though the band have stated it to have attachment to Chinese classical element of wood.

in the end the Hunter can immediately be recognized as Mastodon album. Maybe not their best or heaviest, but deffinetly a solid album full of bold riffs and hooks. This time around "exploring the limits of their sound" actually means taking more simple approach. And this album proofs that Mastodon can also impress by doing so. And when it comes to album releases of 2011 the Hunter climbs way up there.

1.Black Tongue - 3:27
2.Curl of the Burl - 3:40
3.Blasteroid - 2:35
4.Stargasm - 4:39
5.Octopus Has No Friends - 3:48
6.All the Heavy Lifting - 4:31
7.The Hunter - 5:17
8.Dry Bone Valley - 3:59
9.Thickening - 4:30
10.Creature Lives - 4:41
11.Spectrelight - 3:09
12.Bedazzled Fingernails - 3:08
13.The Sparrow - 5:30


Unto the locust

When the release of Unto the locust was drawing near everyone were thinking of the guestion how is Machine head planning to follow the mighty Blackening? Will they stick to those same guns or go to new direction? We were answered with the latter one. Im not doubting they coulda made an excellent album following that same road, but a boxfull of fresh ideas were clearly the right way to go here.

The album is filled with complex and experimental riffs and structures while still staying in total order of its creators. In the end its just as big as the Blackening, but is also more easily approachable and surprisingly rougher round the edges. All the songs are over 5 minutes, but everything just clicks together perfectly so dont be alarmed by the lenght.

Album starts up the the three-song anthem I am Hell. A minute of choir vocals followed by bold, trademark, groove riffs. Perhaps a bit predictable but 2, 3 minutes in the song and it shoots into furious thrash metal riffing. The song really sets the pace for the rest of the album.

Be still and know continues on same road. Melodic harmonies staying in accord with furious thrashing. It also demonstrates Robb and Phils fast and highly technical dueling guitar solos.

Both Locust and This is the end are good examples of Machine head really having a lot of different ideas for the album. The songs have many things goin on in them. The central riff of Locust have that deffinet heavy metal feel to it. Then the song breaks into more groovy approach (not to forget those almoust choir-like vocals). This is the end begins with a classic guitar intro, moving on to balsy thrash tune.

Darkness within, also starts with acoustic guitar. Slowly building up with raw emotion to melodic guitar work and catchy chorus. All which characterize the song. Something never heard before from Machine head, but i am still safe to say one of the best songs they have ever written. And also a great song for live performances.

After that were up for furious and upbeat Pearls before the swine. Nothing really stands out in this track. Just your desired great thrash metal.

The album ends up with Who we are, which also slams lot of different ideas on the table: Children's choir vocals (which are actually not that annoying), strings, half way through the song a catchy choir seguence. And also that short, intense speed riffing.

Unto the locust is a deffinet masterpiece. The songs work seperately, they work in an album form. Or you could even mix up the order and it wouldnt harm them. And im sure were all eager to see what on earth Machine head comes up next.

1.I Am Hell (Sonata in C#)
I: Sangre Sani (Blood Saint)
II: I Am Hell
III: Ashes to the Sky
2.Be Still and Know
3. Locust
4.This Is the End
5.Darkness Within
6.Pearls Before the Swine
7.Who We Are


5 different types of metal festival attendants

some time back i wrote about people you meet in a metal concert (http://chooksrockingblogging.blogspot.com/2011/07/10-people-you-meet-in-metal-concert.html) continueing with similar subject delving into festivals (though people mentioned in that other post aplie quite well to festivals as well)

But here goes. 5 different types of festival attendees. I actually havent been to shitloads of festivals yet but everyone mustve observed this shit... im just the one putting it down...wery briefly....

1)"im here to enjoy the atmosphere" people
to these people the music isnt always even the main thing. theyre just there to have fun, drink beer and chat with people. If they are youngsters they most likely have the "I coudnt possibly go to festivals without a friend with me" -syndrome.
There is also a subspecies of "BEEEER, MORE BEEEER" people. And we all know how those are, dont we...

2)"must see everything" people
Unlike the first group they dont waste time blowing all the money on beer or sitting on the back chatting with their friends. They storm to see every band they possibly can no matter what level of fanship they have towards those. Festival is short: Lets take the most of it.

3)"so heres the plan..." people
These people in the other hand have specific group of bands they came to see. Sometimes only 1. Theres no need to be everywhere as long as the most important ones are seen and mayhem is good.
Withing these people there is also a subgroup: "FRONT ROW BE MINE!" people. Who basicly storm to the fence every time and wait up the band they wanna see over there... even if it was the last act of the day.

and then theres offcourse
4)"im here only because my friend dragged me here" people
actually many of them would belong to the first group. But some of them dont even enjoy being at the festival they have been taken into. People, you must stop dragging your friends to festivals just for the sake of having a friend over there. They are suffering and you are suffering because you will have to bare with the whining and sloppy attitude. Ditch em and go nuts.

5)"juuust checking" people
Basicly only there just to see what the hell the whole thing is about (appears to metal concerts as well). Not many of them, but always as annoying. May be turned into metal faith, May be turned into an uptight "dear god what is this savage" person.

as an sidenote:
Where do i fit in? Well Im in the team #3 (aaaand propably in dat subgroup). Personally, I dont fucking get the group #1. To me its all aout music. I do enjoy the atmosphere of festivals, are you kidding, i love it. But thats not the reason im there. Its the mothafuckin bands. And i dont need to drag someone with me every time. Well acutally i have only once done that. Sure it would be nice to have some friend to chat with while im waiting the whole day by the fence for Judas Priest, because im too much of a whimp to start a conversation with strangers (unless im drunk). But fuck that i also love the priviledges of going alone:
-Theres no-one who could possibly slow me down
-I dont have to hear a second opinion about anything (not that i would care about those anyways. I make specific plans on where to be and who to see every time and i stick to those)
-Sometimes i actually do chat with new people

That is all.


Worship music

i havent done an album review in ages (i may be a bit rusty) so i think its finally time.

so, Anthrax reunites with Joey Belladonna first time since the 90's. Needles to say this brought high expectations for the new album Worship music (and you cant forget the fact this is their first album in 8 years). Did Anthrax live to those expectations?

I would say so.

What the album is lacking, is those so called hit songs. Well perhaps fight em till you cant, a song about fighting against Zombies. Real fitting song for the class clowns of thrash (and i sure hope they never grow up). But if you think about the song it also reflects the attitude of Anthrax, who have overcome god knows how many ups and downs during their career. But who needs hit songs when the album is filled with a great, cheerful, headbangity atmosphere and attitude. And nothing makes me happier than albums that work well in a bloody album form (if you know what i mean). As an whole.

And on the other hands also the mediocre filler tracks are missing. The short intro and two hymns may seem a bit unnecessary to some, but they dont weigh down the album. Worship music is quite full of good ol "classic Anthrax" tunes we all love. While also taking a turn to a bit more modern metal direction, which can wery well attrack new fans. But despite that the ol thrashy sounds shine through. Its not an easy task to walk on 2 different roads at the same time, but Anthrax pulls it off. (In a way, you could say this is their black album.)

The highlights (to me atleast) are the afore said fight em till you cant, earth on hell and in the end, a song made in tribute to Ronnie james Dio and Dimebag Darrel. All 3 which are the songs taking us back to the old Belladonna Anthrax era. More heavy metal influenced Judas Priest also works like beer on fridays.

One notable thing is Joeys voice, which is a lot deeper now and better than ever. And also fits perfectly for the album. I may be a bit biased saying the following (being one of those "Belladonna Anthrax is the only right way to go" -people), but i dont think the album would have reached the same hights if it was done with John Bush in the vocals. not to speak of Dan Nelson.

Let me just say: Welcome back Anthrax.

track list:
2.Earth On Hell
3.The Devil You Know
4.Fight ‘em Til You Can’t
5.I’m Alive
6.Hymn 1
7.In The End
8.The Giant
9.Hymn 2
10.Judas Priest
12.The Constant
13.Revolution Screams
14. New noise (refused cover)

as an sidenote: there has been a bunch of great releases recently so expect to see a few more album reviews in the future. Lets say: Chickenfoot III, Unto the locust, the hunter, Th1rt3en (anxiously waiting for the release), Juggernaut of justice (already been a while since the release but i love Anvil so i must do it as well). We'll see...