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Posts tagged “Metal

A Fortunate Return! Don’t miss it!

Santuarium @ the Rainbow

Back at the beginning of August I was present at a show out in the east-end at the relatively new Obsession live lounge. The show was sparsely attended, due in part to the fact that it was competing with at least two other shows happening elsewhere on the same evening. While I’m sure those other events were just as enjoyable, the fact remains that those who didn’t attend missed a talented band from the other side of the world. Usually, such an opportunity wouldn’t happen again.

Fortunately, Brazil’s Santuarium have stuck around our corner of the world and will be coming back to storm the Rainbow on the 16th with Tomahawk Punch and Creeping Beauty. I can’t stress enough how good this band is (check out my review of the last show) and how much they deserve a howling crowd to greet them. Their approach to Metal is one of the most unique I’ve seen, coating their hard rock core with symphonic and gothic elements without allowing those elements to diminish their punchy guitar work and headbanging compositions.

So it’s a Wednesday night. Not the most convenient thing in the world, I know. But this is a dedicated band from across the globe that deserves an appreciative crowd. What else were you going to do that night?

Seriously, don’t miss these guys again. They’re killer!


Drawing Lines – The Self-Defeating Division and Derision in the Metal Community

You may remember me writing a different article on prejudice and bias in the metal community a while back. Consider this a companion piece to that one, as I’m taking on the same basic issue from a slightly different angle. Enjoy!

Image courtesy of  Last.fm

Image courtesy of Last.fm

I had an interesting talk with a co-worker the other day.

This co-worker of mine is big into the punk scene. He’s very much like me in his approach to punk in that he believes all forms have bands with merit. He doesn’t discriminate between pop-punk bands like Gob, hardcore like Black Flag, proto-punk like The Stooges, etc. He feels that there is quality music to be found in every portion of that genre. He feels that for punks to put themselves in even smaller boxes is ultimately self-defeating.

I couldn’t agree with him more. As someone who likes glam metal, death metal, NWOBHM, tech-thrash, and a whole host of other styles, I feel that for a metal fan to deny ones self exposure to new music based purely on some kind of prejudice against a certain scene or time frame is the definition of narrow minded.

For example, I’ve met my share of progressive metal fans in my travels. These are guys who like the high-minded, technical side of traditional and power metal. They like their music to be intelligent and ever-changing. I too think that progressive bands are incredibly interesting and would call myself a fan of several. But many prog fans deride glam metal as some kind of lower form of entertainment for less evolved beings. I don’t think that those fans, in all honesty, are being fair to themselves. Sure, there are many bands in that genre that could be considered simple pop music with hard rock guitars thrown in. But for every Poison or Bon Jovi, there’s a Mötley Crüe or Ratt.

That may make a lot of you chuckle, because they aren’t a technically gifted outfit, but think about it the breadth of their material. Throughout the course of their career, Crüe has never made the same album twice. Their sound has always fluctuated and changed and they now have one of the most musically diverse catalogues of music in heavy metal. Just through their first four albums they have glam rock/glam punk (Too Fast for Love), traditional heavy metal (Shout at the Devil), Sleaze Metal/Hard Rock (Theatre of Pain) and straight-up rock ‘n roll (Girls, Girls, Girls). That’s four different styles of music, each presented within the band’s own identity. Has Dream Theater ever been as diverse from album to album?

If you’re a prog fan who’s in it for the technicality and musicianship more than the variety and evolution, you might appreciate Ratt, who’s simple radio-friendly structures hide supremely talented and technical players. Just listen to the chops on “You’re In Trouble” from their first album.

Courtesy of KonigNick

To go for another example, I’ve met many people who claim to be massive fans of Pantera. I ask them if they’ve ever heard any of the stuff off of Power Metal, Projects In the Jungle, Metal Magic or I Am The Night; the band’s early, glam metal albums. More often than not they just stare at me looking perplexed. This is largely because that band, as awesome and awe-inspiring as they would become, completely abandoned and ignored their older material. I understand the reasons behind that decision, but I still feel it’s a shame that they felt the need to do that. There’s a ton of great songs, like “Out For Blood“, “Right on the Edge“, and “Death Trap“, that many Pantera fans have simply missed because, at the time, the band felt their only way to survive was to completely shed not only their old image, but their old material as well. To this day, many fans don’t know of that fantastic old-school material with Dimebag (Then known as “Diamond”) Darrell’s always stellar guitar work. That is down to the total derision of an entire section of the metal community in the 90s.

So don’t just ignore whole sub-genres based on your own prejudices or preconceptions. Give every band a fair chance to win you over, even if you’re not particularly fond of their image. You may find interesting material in places that you wouldn’t have thought to look.

Retro-Review: Raven – All For One

1983 was an incredible time to be the NWOBHM troupe known as Raven. With a very solid debut album (1981’s Rock Until You Drop) and an extraordinary sophomore release (1982’s Wiped Out) that is, in this writer’s opinion, one of the first Speed Metal albums ever, the young band found themselves with incredible upward momentum. With that in mind, the then current line-up of John (Bass and Vocals) and Mark (Guitar) Gallagher, plus Rob “Wacko” Hunter (Drums) needed to choose whether or not to continue on the road toward hyper-speed annihilation or to switch gears and create a bulkier, skull-crushing, marginally more melodic affair. They chose to split the difference.

From the second John let’s loose his unhinged, raw falsetto at the opening of “Take Control”, the changes in Raven are all too clear. The ever so slight speed reduction from the previous album does nothing but let Wacko crush skulls like everyone knew he could. That new found percussive power lets Mark and John’s work breathe, letting them perfect the AC/DC caliber groove that some previous Raven songs had nearly achieved. A literal bang of an opening salvo.

“Mind Over Metal” is up next, showing that Raven hasn’t so much slowed down as they have learned to use both pedals. Achieving roughly the same pace as classic B-Side “Wiped Out”, the track is one of the bands best ode’s to the Rock club experience. Even John’s vocals have become more controlled, more varied, while remaining the pure sonic incarnation teenaged chaos. Every note is a challenged issued to the listener as he accomplishes inhuman insanity through “Sledgehammer Rock” and combat anthem “All For One”.

Coming through as the A side’s final track is arguably Raven’s finest moment: “Run Silent, Run Deep”. Musically the perfect summary on this record’s thesis on the use of varied velocities in the creation of raw power, it also manages to tell a compelling story of a U-Boat Captain and his ship as they’re persude through the darkness of the Atlantic by Allied destroyers. The instrumental bridge even serves as the perfect illustration, conjuring images of the submarine creeping through the ocean, depth charges exploding all around like lightning in a deep-sea thunderstorm.

Following up that magnum opus is another groove-laden speedball known as “Hung, Drawn, and Quartered”. Lyrically a precursor to the gore fixation of early 90s Death Metal, a tale of torture and execution, it also let’s loose with Marks most manic solo on the whole album. “Take Control’s” lead-booted cousin,”Breaking the Chain”, and a tantrum against tax-collection called “Take It Away” follow suit, combining for the second side’s 1-2 punch combo prelude before “Seek and Destroy”‘s nuclear apocalypse.

Album closer “Athletic Rock” is, quite simply, the period on the end of Raven’s early, golden-age. Functioning as a de-facto title track for the boys, you can tell by the performances that all involved were smiling as this was committed to tape. This was Raven’s take no prisoners, our way or the highway statement. A fun, groovy, neck-snapping track.

Coming in to the Neat Records catalogue at number 1011, All For One was produced by a german duo under the shared psuedonym of “Double Trouble”. A searing, state-of-the-art production would be applied: a smoked and grissled exterior encapsulating a fine-tuned engine. An essential component of this record’s core and, let’s face it, one could expect nothing less from Udo Dirkschnieder and Michael Wagener.

Raven would grab their greatest level of success on the back of this record, touring America with Metallica on the now infamous Kill ‘Em All For One tour. They would also be picked up by Atlantic Records on the strength of All For One, and would record the under-rated Stay Hard and the dismal The Pack is Back. Soon after they would return to their original style, but they would sadly never achieve the heights they could have had it not been for their major-label handlers.

Regardless, All For One is nothing short of a monument. A legendary opus in the early years of Speed Metal that has undoubtedly inspired many a Metalhead to push their playing and songcraft to outrageous and over-the-top heights of hysteria. For that, three dudes from Newcastle will remain an ever growing colossus in the pantheon of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal.

Rating: \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ (10 out of 10)