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Introducing…. The Mantis Divine

Punk/metal hybrid with a divine sound

Line-up:
Nadia Maria – vocals
Kim Young – guitar
Lee Warren – bass
Greg Anderson – drums

This is The Mantis Divine, a Herts-based quartet who’ve been gigging around their home county recently and looking to go further. Though the band has been together for less than a year, their members have previously played in bands such as Sink Or Swim, Swamp Pussy and St Stella, so have already got experience behind them. The fact that they only narrowly missed out on proceeding further in the current Metal 2 The Masses competition (for this year’s Bloodstock Festival) speaks volumes about their potential.

Live at Club 85, Hitchin, 26-03-17

TMD have got the whole package – frontwoman Nadia can easily switch from smooth and melodic to call-to-action punk vocals in a heartbeat, guitarist Kim is an incredibly talented player who knows how to write a solid riff, whilst rhythm section Lee and Greg add a groove and punch to the whole thing.

Check out the lyric video for the ‘To Hell’, available on their demo CD. For a reference point – imagine if Atari Teenage Riot went full punk-rock….

 

Here’s what others from the music scene have to say about them:

“An exciting young band with a lot of potential for the future, catchy riffs and powerful vocals.” – Bruce Hamilton, Gevaudan

“A passionate, curiously successful fusion of metal and punk.” – Brad Smith, Nineteensquared Promotions

“With a profusion of low-end tone and deep sounding heavy riffage, MD does a fine job in combining grubby punk rock with a distinctive creepy Melvinsesque sludge sound. Hold onto your heads!” – Gary Payne, Neverworld/The Graven Sign

Live at The Red Lion, Stevenage, 02-02-17

Their demo CD is currently available at live gigs (and whilst stock lasts, you can grab a free t-shirt too). With a tight sound and a professional attitude, The Mantis Divine are worth some attention. For further info/bookings, please get in touch at the links below.

For fans of: L7, Atari Teenage Riot, Kittie, The Unknownn, Babes In Toyland

Contact:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/themantisdivine/
https://www.instagram/themantisdivine/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIFKLrmwyQlOymOKwLY_Cig
https://soundcloud.com/the-mantis-divine


The Undertaker 1990 – 2017

A brief look back at career highlights

So I finally got round to watching what has been revealed as The Undertaker’s retirement match, against Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania 33. It was kinda sad, but I can understand why it had to happen.

But first, gonna go backwards to 1990.

I can still vividly recall sitting to watch Survivor Series ’90 (not only the first S’Series I had ever seen, but only the second big event I’d seen at that point, after Summerslam ’90 earlier that year). My dad would tape them overnight on a VHS tape for us to watch the following day, being too young at that point to sit up to watch. In the build-up, there had been a mystery surrounding the identity of ‘The Million Dollar Man’ Ted Debiase’s surprise 4th partner in his team, the other two being Rhythm ‘n’ Blues. The night came, and Debiase announces his identity, and what followed was the unveiling of the tallest, scariest looking wrestler I’d seen at that point – The Undertaker, hailing from Death Valley, accompanied by Brother Love. Love would of course eventually hand over management duties to one Paul Bearer, before being retired by The Ultimate Warrior a few months later. The Undertaker would go on to get himself counted-out whilst attacking Koko B.Ware, whom he had just eliminated.

One year later, ‘taker would go on to face and defeat Hulk Hogan at Survivor Series ’91, for his first Championship reign, though he would lose it back again just days later, in a decision that would eventually end up with the title being vacated and awarded to the winner of ’92’s Royal Rumble, Ric Flair. Sadly, this wouldn’t be his only short title reign over the years, or indeed the only time he’d be cheated of a decent win – for one example, jump forward to Royal Rumble’94, some might recall the coffin match he had with Yokozuna, which saw him defeated when seemingly most of WWF’s heel roster came out to assist.

A shot of The Undertaker’s article in the official WWF annual, 1994

There’s far too much in The Undertaker’s history to go into here, but many qualities, events and storylines would see him remain a firm fixture and eventually one of the most popular WWF/WWE wrestlers of all time. These include (just from memory by the way):

– His top rope-walking ability – impressive for anyone, let alone a man his size.
– 92’s face-turn, resulting in a match against former ally Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts at Wrestlemana VIII.
– His ‘disappearance’ in ’94 after the aforementioned coffin match, which resulted in (again) Ted Debiase bringing out a doppelganger ‘Undertaker’ (Brian Lee from SMW Wrestling, his real-life cousin), before the real Undertaker would come back to defeat the fake one at Summerslam ’94.
– The period during which Paul Bearer was also missing, notable for it being a time when The Undertaker’s wrestling style would actually change; even his critics would notice how capable, agile and fluid a wrestler he could be when tested.
– The longest Wrestlemania winning streak of all time – many wrestlers who fought him at Wrestlemania were never seen in the federation again.

A couple of trading cards and stickers, which came inside bubble gum wrappers

There were other moments which, for me at least, weren’t quite as enjoyable. The ‘Corporate Ministry’ thing just became silly (even though it did eventually birth the APA tag team of Ron Simmons and Justin Bradshaw), and his more humanised ‘American Badass’ image a while after this (with his Limp Bizkit/Kid Rock theme music) didn’t appeal to me as much.

Fast forward to 2014, and the match against Brock Lesnar. It has to be said though that The Undertaker was past his peak at this point, as much as I hate to say it – perhaps if the match had occurred in 2004, it would have been a different story, but the decision to break the streak ultimately laid with higher management. My annoyance with that match was perhaps overshadowed by that with Paul Heyman’s impression of a broken record for the next several months afterwards (“MY CLIEEENT….” yeah, we get it). Still, it was good to see ‘taker’s career continue afterwards, with a win over Bray Wyatt at Wrestlemania 31, and a strong match against Shane McMahon at Wrestlemania 32 last year.

From 1995, inside WWF’s official magazine

Jump again to 2017, and whilst I admit this is only speculation on my part, I can understand why he chose to end on a loss, rather than have one last win. One could argue that, had he won, he’d be constantly be dogged by ‘one more match’ demands and rumours – these would get annoying after a while. So, with that in mind, with a recorded loss instead, this perhaps would be a better way of saying to everyone (fans, industry, etc) “Look I’m done now, I simply cannot continue.” I personally, as a long-time fan, would rather see him continue to live comfortably and in better health, rather than see him risk it all to appease demand. Mark is 52 years old now, and has nothing left to prove.

There will never be another Undertaker. No one with the ability to build that atmosphere, with that mystique, no one who’ll make the crowd feel quite the same as he walks across the top rope with such ease.

Thank you, Mark Calloway, and may The Undertaker finally, rest in peace.


Introducing…. Jackal’s Backbone

Groove-injected extreme metal from North Herts

Line-up:
Nathan Draper – vocals
Becca Swinney – bass
Jake Eaton – drums
Mitch Boost – guitar
Odin Long – guitar

Jackal’s Backbone are a North Herts-based metal act, recently boosted to a five-piece, who have already gone down well with Herts’ metal fans and are looking to go further.

Blending death metal, sludge and grindcore influences, JB have proven themselves to be solid live performers and built a loyal local fanbase, and will be playing their first London date at Camden’s popular Fiddler’s Elbow on April 5th. They currently have one EP available on Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify and other outlets, and are currently working on a follow-up. Extreme metal with a sense of groove, Jackal’s Backbone are recommended to any fans of the various sub-genres.

 

Here’s a handful of opinions about them from other members of the local scene:

“Their new expanded lineup only foresees promising things on the horizon. Faster, heavier and raunchier”. – Mark, Praetorian

“Heavy with a groove, always an energetic show.” – Jim, Skrugg/Phlefonyaar

“Jackal’s Backbone is a band that you have to see live to fully experience the power and intensity they bring to their specific brand of metal. It is surely a thing to behold, with Nathan’s extremely wide vocal range and Jake’s impossibly tight and tasteful blast beats.” – Joe, Dorylus


Jackal’s Backbone are one of four bands set to play at this weekend’s Metal 2 The Masses tournament heat at Club 85, Hitchin, vying for a place at this year’s Bloodstock Festival.

For fans of: Napalm Death, Brutal Truth, Discharge

For further information on new releases and live dates, and for booking queries, please get in touch at the links below.

Contact:
https://www.facebook.com/Jackalsbackbone
https://twitter.com/jackalsbackbone
htt://www.instagram.com/jackalsbackbone
https://www.youtube.com/user/jackalsbackbone


Memoirs of a Metalhead – My Gateway Songs

The riffs that started it all

queen-bohemian-rhapsody-still

Partly inspired by that ’10 albums from your teens’ post that was trending on Facebook recently, I’ve been thinking back to the tracks that acted as a springboard to the bands and genres I’ve become interested in since, and decided to gather them together. Here they all are – I’ve done my best to list them in the order that I became introduced, but I can’t be sure on the exact order after all this time.

Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody

I’m sure we’ve all reenacted that scene from Wayne’s World at some point. Party on.

Def Leppard – Let’s Get Rocked

Their cover of ‘Action’ also deserves a mention. One of their previous albums, ‘Hysteria’, has since become one of my favourite albums.

Guns ‘n’ Roses – You Could Be Mine

I think it’s this song that helped me develop an appreciation for building intros.

Michael Jackson – Give In To Me feat. Slash

I was already listening to Michael Jackson before I got into rock music. The riffs in this song took me further.

En Vogue – Free Your Mind

This one might surprise a few people. It’s overlooked by the rock community/press, but in my opinion is actually better than a lot of the proper attempts at ‘crossover’ tracks from other artists.

Soul Asylum – Runaway Train

My introduction to grunge. Don’t listen to it much these days. Be warned, this video is a little heavy going, given the subject matter, but it did help in finding many missing people.

H-Blockx – Move

I’d actually forgotten about this one until, well, writing this. I’ve got the single somewhere.

Soundgarden – Black Hole Sun

Another amongst the first grunge tracks I got into. It would be a little while before I also got into the likes of Alice In Chains and Stone Temple Pilots.

Die Krupps – Isolation

My introduction to industrial music, think I first heard it on Ray Cokes’s ‘Most Wanted’ show, back when MTV played music.

Metallica – One

The first time I ever knowingly listened to them, and it blew me away. To date I still regard this as one of the greatest metal tracks ever.

Mutha’s Day Out – Green

Well, I could post the whole album, as they were one of the first rock/metal bands I got into. A guy I knew at the time recorded this on to a tape for me, and on the b-side of that tape was a mix of things, which included the aforementioned Soundgarden track, Pearl Jam’s ‘Go’, and also….

Biohazard – Love Denied

….this track. At the time, I wasn’t even aware that there was a genre of heavy music known as ‘hardcore’, but this was my introduction to that form of metal.

So there they are, my first steps into heavy music. I had no idea at the time just how important those steps would become.


Herts’ Metal Scene, Class of 2016

39 reasons why metal isn’t dead

A CIMG9998

Recently inspired by a metal magazine’s article about British metal and the problems within the scene (my own response posted here below), I felt prompted to create a list of (most of) the bands that make up Hertfordshire’s current metal scene. This is a scene I’ve been actively helping to promote since 2005, and we’re lucky to have an incredibly varied and talented group of acts right on our doorstep.

Metal Hammer UK scene 27-07-16 3

Countless Skies – Progressive death metallers who have played at Bloodstock Festival, with their debut album out now.

https://www.facebook.com/CountlessSkies

New Dawn full album stream 

Cerberus Unchained – Death metal from former members of Embers Of Angels and Outright Resistance, playing their debut London gig soon, despite only forming a few months ago.

https://www.facebook.com/cerberusunchained

Warm Blooded Beast (free download)

CIMG4959.JPG

Arcane Militia – Intense new act for fans of Amen, Cancer Bats and Atreyu.

https://www.facebook.com/ArcaneMilitia

So Much For A Second Chance

Skrugg – Sludgey metallers from Hithin.

https://www.facebook.com/SkruggAsylum

Asylum Mist EP

Everest Queen – Imagine Tool meets Mastodon and you’re getting warm.

https://www.facebook.com/everestqueenband

 

Dorylus – Frantic thrash/death metal hybrid.

https://www.facebook.com/dorylusband

Deceiving The Pure 

The Wolves Of Avalon – Featuring Metatron from The Meads of Asphodel, this is their Bathory cover taken from their recent album out now on Godreah Records.

https://www.facebook.com/thewolvesofavalon

Across Corpses Grey

Elysian Divide – Another new act who will be debuting their new material soon.

Elysian Divide promo 2016.jpg

https://www.facebook.com/ElysianDivide

Seasons – Melodic metal from former members of Imicus and Alone With Wolves, their debut EP is out now.

https://www.facebook.com/seasonsbanduk

Sailed Ships 

Jackal’s Backbone – Frantic groove-injected sludge, currently working on new material.

https://www.facebook.com/Jackalsbackbone

Puppets EP

Derange – Hotly-tipped tech-metallers who will be playing at Bloodstock this year, this is taken from their debut album, out now.

https://www.facebook.com/DerangeUK

This Is The End lyric video 

CIMG9925

Kill Confirmed – Though they’ve sadly announced they’re set to split soon, two of their members have wasted no time in forming a new band, Excinerus.

https://www.facebook.com/killconfirmedofficial

Hell In A Cell EP

Assimilate – Alt-metallers from Watford.

https://www.facebook.com/AssimilateOfficial

Irrational Fears EP

The Graven Sign – Atmospheric black metallers.

https://www.facebook.com/thegravensign

As Hope Withers

Suffer No Fools – Thrash/metalcore-influenced melodic metal.

https://www.facebook.com/SufferNoFools

Songs For The Restless Youth

Burke & Hare – Doom/sludge/stoner duo, currently working on a new EP.

https://www.facebook.com/burkeandhareband

Titanicus 

Conform To Serve – UKDM with black metal leanings, a sound that could appeal to fans of both old school death metal and modern deathcore.

https://www.facebook.com/Conformtoserve

Dogma Of Sin 

Ivory Fire – A high-energy combination of metal and dance/drum ‘n’ bass from Hitchin.

https://www.facebook.com/ivoryfireofficial

If You can Read This You Have Eyes EP

As You’re Falling – Intense young death/metalcore act from North Herts.

https://www.facebook.com/AsYoureFalling

Divergence EP

Praetorian – A veritable sludge supergroup from Hitchin.

https://www.facebook.com/praetorian000

Mystery Of The Magic Man

CIMG0595.JPG

Skullf*cked – Combining old school death metal with sludge, grindcore and skatepunk.

https://www.facebook.com/Skullfucked-414048352059522/

Self-titled EP

Rough Justice – The debut video from the classic/southern rock-tinged metallers.

https://www.facebook.com/RoughJusticeOfficial

Dirt

Ghostman’s Torch – Doomy garage rock duo.

https://www.facebook.com/GhostmansTorch

GMT

Gevaudan – Doom/stoner metallers who’ve played at Terrorizer-sponsored gigs, currently working on their next EP.

https://www.facebook.com/Gevaudandoom

The Burning of the Black Sun (Single, free download)

CIMG8685

13 – Melodic metallers from Hertford, whose debut album ‘Deliverance’ can be downloaded for free from Soundcloud.

https://www.facebook.com/13musicofficial

Deliverance (title track)

 

Alone With Wolves – Promising melodic metal/post-hardcore quintet who are preparing to launch their debut full-length album soon.

https://www.facebook.com/alonewithwolves

Cutting Ties 

Neverworld – Classic metallers representing the old school, here with their debut music video.

https://www.facebook.com/NeverworldMetal

Armies Of The Night 

Draugr – Intense black metal.

https://www.facebook.com/DraugrBand

Child Of Sorrow EP

Aghast – One of the busiest/most high profile bands from the local metal scene. Currently working on their next EP.

https://www.facebook.com/AGHASTKVLT

All The Rage

 

Slaine – Sludge with death metal influences.

https://www.facebook.com/slainesludge

Shotgunned Brews Shirt Nappy Blues EP

Vendetta – Now performing with a new line-up.

https://www.facebook.com/Vendetta.uk

Demo EP (free download)

Far From History – Soon to be releasing their next EP, from which this track is taken.

https://www.facebook.com/Farfromhistoryuk

A-Negative (free download)

Breaking Illusion – Classic rock-tinged metal with groove.

https://www.facebook.com/breakingillusionuk

Roll With The Punches (free download)

 

Outright Resistance – OR have just released their new EP ‘Me Vs I’, from which this track is taken. Also appearing at this year’s Bloodstock Festival.

https://www.facebook.com/OutrightResistanceBand

Gee, Dysphoria

Blessing Of The Torchbearer – Currently impressing crowds across the county.

https://www.facebook.com/Blessingofthetourchbearer

Vengeance, live

Dark Asphyxia – Old school death metal.

https://www.facebook.com/DarkAsphyxiaOfficial

Gallows

Phlefonyaar – Industrial-tinged sludge from one of the busiest men in the scene (also the founder of Gilla Bruja, Zompok and Zebediah Crowe).

https://www.facebook.com/Phlefonyaar

Kissing Carrion

CIMG1291

Helgrind – For fans of old school thrash metal.

https://www.facebook.com/HelgrindUK

Insurrection

 

Tirgoviste – A black metal side-project from members of Skrugg.

https://www.facebook.com/tirgovisteUK

Albastru Horizon (free download)

This isn’t even the whole picture; there are often new bands forming, and there are other bands who aren’t quite ready to share examples of their material just yet. It’s also worth bearing in mind that this level of talent isn’t exclusive to Herts either – right across the UK, there are underground scenes in every county with bands worth checking out. There are other bands I could have included here, who are either just on the outskirts of Herts or are popular visitors, but then I’d be here all day.

Please support your scene – bands don’t just magically appear on the cover of magazines or on the stages of major festivals overnight. Once upon a time, your favourite band was right where this lot are now.

(All photos, aside from Elysian Divide’s promo shot, taken by me.)


Movies For Metalheads

This literally goes up to 11

bill-and-ted 1024x689

An essential part of being a ‘metalhead’ is having a sense of humour, and just as important is the ability to make fun of one’s self – to both recognise and embrace the absurdities and cliches that exist within the rock and metal world and its lifestyles. It’s this ability that has lead to many of the films listed here being completely embraced by the alternative communities, and becoming firm favourites with rockers, goths and headbangers everywhere.

This Is Spinal Tap

spinal tap

Essential viewing for anyone who calls themselves a rocker or metalhead. Inventors of ‘going up to eleven’.
Basic synopsis – The misadventures of an 80s heavy metal band.
Cameos – Many recognisable faces from television/Hollywood make brief appearances, including Billy Crystal, Dana Carvey and Anjelica Huston.
Soundtrack – The band themselves.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088258/

Not featured in the film, but worth sharing….

 

Wayne’s World 1 & 2

Wayne's_World
Basic synopsis – In the first film, Wayne and Garth’s local cable TV show gets bought by a national company. In the second, the duo decide to organise a huge rock festival.
Cameos – Rock legends Alice Cooper and Aerosmith, Chris Farley.
Soundtracks – Queen, Tia Carrere (performing tracks from the films) and Jimi Hendrix, among others.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0105793/
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0108525/

Still Crazy

Still_crazy_cover
Basic synopsis – A British 70s rock band reunites 20 years later, despite unresolved issues amongst its members.
Cameos – Phil Daniels, Zoe Ball.
Soundtrack – Features music from its stars Jimmy Nail and Billy Connolly, among others.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0149151/

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure/Bogus Journey

bill-and-ted 1024x689
“Be excellent to each other, and…. party on dudes!!” – Abraham Lincoln.
Basic synopsis – In ‘Excellent Adventure’, the ‘Wyld Stallions’ duo travel through time collecting historical figures for a history report. Then, in ‘Bogus Journey’, our heroes travel through the afterlife and battle evil robot versions of themselves.
Cameos – Jim Martin, formerly of Faith No More, and Primus.
Soundtracks – Van Halen, Kiss, Extreme, Big Pig and Slaughter, among others.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096928/
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0101452/

 

Airheads

airheads 600x600

A pre-Mummy Brendan Fraser film, and the first time we see Adam Sandler and Steve Buscemi appearing together.
Basic synopsis – A struggling unsigned rock band highjacks a radio station, in an attempt to get their demo played.
Cameos – Late rock legend Lemmy of Motorhead, White Zombie, Chris Farley. Spinal Tap’s Michael McKean also stars as a radio DJ.
Soundtrack – Motorhead and White Zombie, among others.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109068/

Little Nicky

little nicky
Some might see this as an unlikely choice; whilst not everyone is a fan of his films, this has always been a favourite of mine. Elements of rock music appear in many of Adam Sandler’s films, this being a prime example.
Basic synopsis – The Devil’s youngest son must visit the world above to prevent his brothers from taking over Hell.
Cameos – The man himself, Ozzy Osbourne as himself.
Soundtrack – POD, Linkin Park, Incubus and Filter, among others.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0185431/

 

Queen Of The Damned

QOTD movie poster
Again, another that didn’t win critics over, but found a fanbase attracted by the music.
Basic synopsis – A centuries’ old vampire awakens in 21st century America, joins a rock bands as their frontman.
Cameos – Korn frontman Jonathan Davis appears briefly as a ticket tout.
Soundtrack – Five tracks written specifically for the film by Davis and Richard Gibbs, sang by frontmen from other bands (Disturbed, Static-X, Marilyn Manson, Linkin Park, Orgy), alongside various other tracks.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0238546/

School Of Rock

school-of-rock
Basic synopsis – A substitute teacher introduces his young class to rock music, and turns them into a rock band.
Cameos – None.
Soundtrack – Tracks performed by Jack Black and the cast, alongside Cream, Led Zeppelin and others, with various classic rock bands featured throughout the film.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0332379/

The Crow

the crow
A cult favourite in alternative circles, its star Brandon Lee tragically lost his life during its creation. Three sequels followed, none of which repeated the same success as the original.
Basic synopsis – A murdered rocker is resurrected to seek vengeance on the Los Angeles underworld.
Cameos – None.
Soundtrack – Nine Inch Nails, Pantera and Stone Temple Pilots, among others.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109506/

If documentaries are your thing, track these ones down:

CIMG9907

Other soundtracks worth checking out:
Singles (A who’s who of 90s grunge, including Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, Mother Love Bone and others)
The Crow 2: City Of Angels (White Zombie, Korn, Hole, Bush and many others)
Spawn (a album of techo-rock crossover collaborations)
Judgment Night (the legendary rap-rock crossover album)
Strangelands (Dee Snider’s horror, includes Anthrax, Pantera, SOAD, Sevendust and many others)
I Know What You Did Last Summer (Offspring, Korn, Type O Negative, L7 and others)
Alone In the Dark (a massive 2CD collection of acts right across the metal spectrum)
Last Action Hero (Alice In Chains, Def Leppard, Queensryche, Aerosmith and others)

 


Worst. Survey. Ever.

A day in the life of two market researchers

Worst survey ever CIMG9500

Upon seeing the above sentence, my first thought was, who the hell worked that out? Here’s how it might have gone….

9:00am – “Good morning sir. Here, please wipe your backside with this sheet, then this one, and tell us which you think is softer.”

9:30am – “Erm, no you can keep that. Thanks.”

10:00am – “What? Oh sorry, we’re told we’ll get a cubicle next time. Yes, this aisle is rather draughty isn’t it.”

11:00am – “Hello, Customer Services? Who moved the Wet Floor sign? Well, we’ll need another. Yes, it’s happened again.”

12:00pm – “How many of these can your fit up your shirt, Robert?”

1:00pm – “We could’ve built a fort, Karen….”

2:00pm – “Baby wipes are on aisle 12, madam. Yes I know, I’m burning this shirt when I get home.”

3:00pm – “Could’ve asked us to do a vodka survey, but no, we…. What have you got in that flask? Oooh….”

4:00pm – “What even is my life…. No not you madam sorry, I was just muttering to myself….”

4:15pm – “Oh were we supposed to be counting? Let’s just round up to the nearest whole 100….”

4:30pm – “Might fake my death tomorrow. Oh, you too? Race you.”

5:00pm – “I underestimated how long it’d take for that fire engine to get here.”


Sounds Of The Underground, December 2015

Recent rumblings in the underground music scene

A round-up of recent releases I haven’t had time to blog about in more detail over the festive period.

Bad Pollyanna

 

Bad Pollyanna – new album
UK rockers Bad Pollyanna have just released their second album ‘The Broken Toys’, available now via their website. Immediately engaging and dramatic, ‘The Broken Toys’ has a varied sound that might appeal to a broad range of audiences, from the electro-rock/goth crowd, to fans of 80s post-punk – imagine an act somewhere between Toyah, Evanescence, The Birthday Massacre and The Dirty Youth, and you’d be getting close. Coming as a result of a successful Pledgemusic campaign, and getting strong reviews everywhere in the rock press, 2016 may just be Bad Pollyanna’s year.

A solid album that features some catchy tunes (highlights include ‘Define Me’, ‘Hooks’ and ‘Ugly Love”) with little filler, ‘The Broken Toys’ is available now as a digipak CD and digital download at http://shop.badpollyanna.com/album/the-broken-toys, live gigs and other digital outlets.

Toy Birds – new EP
Toy Birds, featuring The October Game’s drummer Ollie Taylor as frontman, have released their debut self-titled EP. Having offered a preview of their sound with the track ‘These Eyes’ earlier this, the band have now expanded on this with these five tracks, with an electronic-pop sound not a million miles away from some of the popular acts of the 80s – if you’re into pop in the A-Ha/Paul Young/Nik Kershaw vein, give this a listen.

Dorylus – debut tracks
London/Herts-based metallers Dorylus have released their debut EP, two tracks from which are streaming now over at Reverbnation. Having formed less than a year ago, the band have been gigging since May and winning fans with a melodic-death metal sound that would appeal to fans of the likes of Lamb Of God, Meshuggah, In Flames and DevilDriver. The whole EP is out on iTunes, Spotify, Deezer, Googleplay and other outlets.

The Tuesday Club – new EPs
St Albans post-punk/glampop crew The Tuesday Club have recently released EPs 3 and 4 for this year’s set of releases. Titled ‘Lady Gargar’ and ‘Boo Hoo’ respectively, both EPs comprise of three tracks each and are available now via their website. These complete the set of four releases which make up their second album.

Despite recently losing a couple of members (The Minx and J-Rod), the band look set to continue as a five-piece for 2016.

The Wolves Of Avalon – new single/album
Pagan-black metallers The Wolves Of Avalon released a two-track vinyl single a few months ago, and are currently working on the release of their next album for 2016. The A-side of their single is a cover of Venom’s track ‘Die Hard’ and features guest vocal appearances from Rob Miller of Amebix, Mirai Kawashima of Sigh, Alan Averill of Primordial and Venom’s own Mantas guesting on vocals and guitar. The B-side, ‘Carrion Crows Reprise’ is an alternate version of a track originally featured on their first album. Released via Eternal Death Records, available on their Bandcamp site.

The next album, to be titled ‘Across A Twilight Field Of Corpses Grey, Only The Trilling Of Nightingales Can Be Heard’ , is currently scheduled for a May 2016 release via Godreah Records.

Contact:
http://badpollyanna.com
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One-line movie reviews

I may have cheated a little bit….

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Recently, I set myself a challenge: write as many movie reviews as possible, using just one line. How well do you think I’ve done?

* SPOILER ALERT: he wins in the end – Rocky II-V

* It stars a French Scotsman and a Scottish Spaniard, and they can’t die because they’re really aliens – Highlander 1-2

* A dystopian future where policemen now come in tins – Robocop 1-3

* How to thwart an alien invasion using their own USB ports, and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air – Independence Day

* It’s ok, the dog actually survives (seriously though, who could you make a film where the dog dies??), you’re safe with this one – K9

* Nope, not falling for that! – Marley & Me

* This film is just a figment of your imagination and doesn’t actually exist; in the words of Tasha Yar, “It didn’t happen!” – Star Trek: Nemesis

* It’s got past the stage where it might be seen as tragic; he’s just being plain clumsy with his family now – Taken 3

* Seagal’s often clumsy with his famiy too – Any Seagal film.

* Can we watch Bill & Ted instead? – The Matrix

* Still waiting for that third Bill & Ted – The Matrix 2

* Bill & Ted…. just putting it out there – The Matrix 3

* Worst episode of Come Dine With Me ever – Red Dragon

* Did you know that if you watch the whole saga backwards, it becomes the heartwarming tale of an evil cyborg’s quest to become a real human boy? – The Star Wars series

* Know what makes me mad? Lack of closure. – Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome

* Worst episode of Deal Or No Deal ever – Se7en

* Man solves evil Rubix Cube, gets worst facial piercings ever – Hellraiser

* Would’ve been better off with a Teddy Ruxbin, just saying – Child’s Play

* Although, if you’ve ever wondered what would happen if Charlie Sheen possessed Teddy Ruxbin…. – Ted

* Nine hours of proof that Gandalf doesn’t know any flight or teleportations spells – Lord Of The Rings

* They’ve managed to cross Independence Day with Wreck-It Ralph? – Pixels

* Imagine if after Home Alone, Kevin goes into Witness Protection with a new name, but grows into a bitter man with a more twisted imagination and thirst for vengeance – SAW


‘Korn’ and ‘Demanufacture’ hit the 20-year mark

Not feeling old now or anything

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Two 90s metal albums, both key albums during my teens, are now twenty years old – wow. These are Korn’s classic self-titled debut, and Fear Factory’s immense second album, ‘Demanufacture’. Both albums have been celebrated by critics and fans alike, with the anniversaries of both being marked by album performance tours.

When ‘Korn’ debuted, it was a true revelation, not only because it spawned an entire new genre of heavy music, but because that, thanks to frontman Jonathan Davis’s brutally open and honest lyrics, they were genuinely relatable. Oh and they were the first (only?) band to include bagpipes in their material.

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Fear Factory’s ‘Demanufacture’ helped them become genre champions, pretty much laughing in the face of that old ‘difficult second album’ problem faced by many bands, and still sounds just as sharp and immediate as ever.

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Another thing both albums have in common – the buzz their intro tracks both create for the listener. Have a listen to Korn’s ‘Blind’ and the title song for ‘Demanufacture’ for proof.

Special mention should also go FF’s labelmates Machine Head’s debut album ‘Burn My Eyes’ – twenty years old last year, and in my opinion, still their strongest album.

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People aren’t always full of praise when referring to metal from the 90s – perhaps they’re forgetting about the existence of these three albums? Not to mention Sepultura’s ‘Chaos AD’ and ‘Roots’. Or Pantera’s ‘Cowboys Fom Hell’ and ‘A Vulgar Display Of Power’. Or White Zombie’s ‘Astro Creep 2000’. Or Metallica’s self-titled (‘Black’) album…. I could go on. Another blog entry maybe!

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