Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Jimmy’s Musical Landscape Summer 2015

Posted: June 29, 2015 by kingcrimsonprog in Life, Misc Music Articles

I haven’t been posting a lot lately due to being ridiculously busy and tired all summer, so I thought I’d just post an overview of the whole summer for me. It also shows you how my brain works in terms of filtering, catagorizing and compartmentalizing things.

First of all, what would I name my ‘Album of the Summer’ ?
It’s a tie between Slipknot’s .5 The Gray Chapter and Alkaline Trio’s From Here To Infirmary.

When I first heard the announcement of the new Slipknot album without Joey or Paul I was skeptical, when I saw the new masks I wasn’t excited like I usually get when new mask announcements taps into my 13 year old self (Corey’s and Clown’s are so lame looking this cycle, versus how very cool they were on the first two albums). I didn’t like the preview two songs on first listens. It wasn’t looking hot.

Since then its grew and grew and grew and grew (is it grown?) to the point where I absolutely love it and listen to it almost every single day. I listen to it on every trip to work nowadays, every single one.

You know what else I listen to on the way to or sometimes from work too? Well, its obviously Alkaline Trio’s From Here To Infirmary. I set that up pretty obviously, its not as if I’m George RR Martin with double and triple bluffs here.

When I first got the album it was purely because one of my coworkers at the time had an Alkaline Trio tattoo and I thought it might give me a conversation or two. Turns out the album sucked and I didn’t really listen to it much for the next three quarters of a year until I suddenly went on a get-value-for-money spree and re-listened to lots of such albums. This one, in perfect correlation to the increasingly sunny weather has grown/grew on me and now I wouldn’t be without it. It’s the ultimate sunshine album for me. It is also a perfect match for this transitional time in my life and it has a brilliant foreshadowing nature like a George RR Martin easter egg from my present to future (can’t discuss because of no-talking-about-it-on-the-internet policies).

At present I have a 1hr30min bus ride to and from work. I think of it as two trips, one to the bus station and one to work. Usually Slipknot are on the second, and the first is either ‘Trio, or a playlist of Pop Punk albums I’ve been buying for a penny or a pound-ish preowned on Amazon. The Distillers, Less Than Jake, The Offspring, NoFX and especially Rancid. Stuff I had an interest in as a 14 year old but didn’t explore because I wanted to go down a more Metal themed path. Stuff I’d watch on P Rock TV while that was still a thing.

This summer, its nice to get a little vitamin D when listening to All My Best Friends Are Metalheads or The Young Crazed Peeling, y’know?

I also almost always listen to Somewhere Far Beyond or Stairway To Fairyland or Warriors Of The World United on the way home from work, because that’s my main tier new acquisitions line.

The pop punk stuff is the second tier new acquisitions line.

The ‘new releases’ line is still stuck on .5 The Gray Chapter, The Righteous And The Butterfly, Vengeance Falls, Redeemer Of Souls, Bloodstone & Diamonds, LAGWBAT, Once More Round The Sun and IX because I haven’t moved on yet. No new Gamma Ray or Helloween or Sabaton albums that are actually the band’s new release, no new Marilyn Manson, no new whoever’s in the news.

On my days off work, or what I think of as recovering from work (usually spent with 6 or more hours doing work related stuff anyway) I have been listening to a lot of old favourites that are considered classics. Megadeth, Pantera, Sepultura, Fear Factory, Metallica.

So I’ve got my three ‘new imput’ lines to switch between. Then I’ve got the classics line.

There’s also a wildcards line. That’s been very much filled with Minor Threat’s ‘Discography’ compilation and Boston’s sophomore album Don’t Look Back. I don’t know why, but I’ve never felt like I got enough out of Don’t Look Back and I keep drawing on it, drilling it, hoping for the discovery of oil or whatever…. I’m waiting for it to hit. I’m trying to ‘get it.’ I get ‘Party’… Party is Boston doing a Kiss song with Van Halen lyrics. Party is awesome. Then there’s Minor Threat, which I bought to study Hardcore Punk, didn’t like and dismissed. Now I keep going back, like I do with Don’t Look Back (ironically, looking back despite being told not to), trying to get it, or learn the secret truth of Punk or something.

Want a satisfying conclusion to this article? Tough shit. Life is hard in medieval times, things don’t always work out as planned. (Ok maybe I am trying to sound like Gerogre RR Martin now).

*** Ps. Here’s what I’ve been Scrobling for the last 6 months:******

1. Manowar – 684 Plays
2. Slipknot- 672 Plays
3. Helloween – 559 Plays
4. Freedom Call – 427 Plays
5. Arctic Monkeys – 398 Plays
6. Jethro Tull – 356 Plays
7. Iced Earth – 315 Plays
8. Machine Head – 311 Plays
9. Corrosion of Conformity – 302 Plays
10. Accept – 279 Plays
11. Mastodon – 267 Plays
12. Alkaline Trio – 242 Plays
13. Stratovarius – 235 Plays
14. Def Leppard – 225 Plays
15. Sabaton – 224 Plays
16. Blind Guardian – 218 Plays
17. Gamma Ray – 213 Plays
18. Saxon – 198 Plays
19. Stone Temple Pilots – 182 Plays
20. Motörhead – 167 Plays
21. The Fratellis – 166 Plays
22. Fear Factory – 157 Plays
23. Mushroomhead – 152 Plays
24. Five Finger Death Punch – 148 Plays
25. Soundgarden – 147 Plays
26. Alice in Chains – 145 Plays
27. Marilyn Manson – 144 Plays
28. Megadeth – 143 Plays
29. Queensrÿche – 138 Plays
30. Angra – 137 Plays
31. Periphery – 135 Plays
32. Venom – 132 Plays
33. HammerFall – 131 Plays
34. Hatebreed – 130 Plays
35. Mötley Crüe – 128 Plays
36. Slayer – 126 Plays
37. Metallica – 116 Plays
38. Judas Priest – 115 Plays
39. Anthrax – 115 Plays
40. ZZ Top – 112 Plays
41. Raven – 111 Plays
42. The Distillers – 109 Plays
43. Grim Reaper – 107 Plays
44. Trivium – 106 Plays
45. Paolo Nutini – 106 Plays
46. Pantera – 105 Plays
47. Minor Threat – 102 Plays
48. Tygers of Pan Tang – 102 Plays
49. Nirvana – 100 Plays
50. Sick of It All – 99 Plays

Three Months of Music:

Posted: April 1, 2015 by kingcrimsonprog in Life

Ok, so that’s the first quarter of the year over. Three whole months. Three out of the last nine months I’ll ever spend at university.

What was I listening to at this time? LastFM reveals the details:

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Unsurprisingly, the bands who I got music from for Chirstmas all show up: Slipknot, C.O.C, Machine Head, Mushroomhead and Hellstar. Oh and another non-Xmas gift in the form of Mastodon. Oh yeah, and Rishloo’s new album, because, come on, it’s me!

Then there’s a mix of mainly Glam (Dokken, Twisted Sister), Grunge (Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, Silverchair, Nirvana), Thrash (Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Testament, Kreator), Power Metal (Helloween, Sabaton, Blind Guardian,Iced Earth) and NWOBHM/Early Metal (Saxon, Motorhead, Grim Reaper, Diamond Head, Tygers Of Pan Tang, Venom, Judas Priest, Accept, MSG). No surprised there then if you’ve followed the GITWYPF series where I talked about listening to all of that to avoid spending money.

Otherwise, A nice mix of old favourites, such as Queensryche, new acquisitions like Minor Threat, and get-my-money’s-worth attempts from under-listened purchases like White Zombie.

What am I looking forward too in the coming months? More of the same to be honest. Maybe I’ll get the newest albums by Helloween, Gamma Ray, Hammerfall, Sabaton. Maybe I’ll pick up some more NWOBHM, Glam and Power Metal CDs.
Maybe I’ll spend nothing because I’m completely broke; but if that’s the case its still good news because there’s thousands of albums in my collection already and its always nice to get your money’s worth out’ve one you’ve overlooked. I’ve listened to Diano era Maiden more this year than I ever did when I first got into the band over a decade ago.

I went to go see Machine Head live tonight at the 02 Apollo in Manchester, England on the 16/12/2014.

I’ve never been to the Apollo before, I had tickets to see Motorhead with Saxon here but it got cancelled when Lemmy was diagnosed with Diabetes. It was a nice big venue with a good atmosphere and excellent sound quality. I wouldn’t mind going back there again.

The support acts where Heart Of A Coward and Darkest Hour.

Heart Of A Coward were a Parkway Drive or Killswitch Engage sounding Melodic Metalcore band with a bodybuilder singer. Their drummer seemed to play really lightly and politely and never “rocked out” much at all. The music was ok, and would’ve been alright if you knew the songs, but it was a bit “stare with blank expression” from me I’m afraid.

Next up were Darkest Hour who’s first two songs made them sound like a groove-focused modern Metal band like Lamb Of God but then they ended up being more normal Metalcore. They were way better than the first band, and their drummer (also a bodybuilder) had a lot of force, power and style. He even had a kind’ve unique setup with no rack toms and only floor toms. Their singer came out in a legbrace like he’d broken his knee (said it was from partying with Machine Head). He told a joke: “I heard you Brits like dry humour, so this song goes out to the Queen’s vagina” …Darkest Frankie Boyle more like it! They were interesting enough, especially at the start, but my attention waned after a while… again it’s a case of if you knew the songs it would’ve been good.

Then the main event, Machine Head took to the stage. Man… I’ve been to enough concerts to know this wasn’t normal… I’ve never been in such a crush before. I felt like I was in a trash compactor… the crowd just absolutely squished the crap out’ve the front few rows (naturally, as is the case in 99% of concerts I ever go to, I end up front row centre, barr one. So, I’m the second person from front row centre, and also almost always there is a tiny girl or skinny 15 year old dude in front of me who would get squashed if I didn’t have the good sense to spend the entire concert, muscles engaged to maximum effort, trying to push the crowd back).

Well, this crowd was waaaaaay too selfish and eager and they absolutely squashed the crap out of us and I got it from both sides and backwards and I’m not joking, my muscles hurt more than doing two hours of really focused weightlifting, on a day when I’m adding more weights to the bars (so as to advance). It was crazy. I felt like I was in an animal enclosure and not a rock concert. Lamb Of God fans weren’t this crushing, Hatebreed fans weren’t this crushing. Bring Me The Horizon and their attitude-problem hardcore dancing selfish-jerk audience weren’t this crushing. I, and basically everyone towards the middle of the first four rows just got absolutely crushed and pounded. It was exhausting, and out of the ordinary. Joke – All the lyrics about smashing an crushing probably didn’t help either.

…So it was more like a workout than a gig, and you’d think that would spoil it… think spending so much mental energy just not being bulldozed and trampled would’ve distracted me from the music – but no! What a concert! Machine Head were absolutely amazing. It was such a brilliant performance, such good vibes, such energy. The power and belief and showmanship was absolutely top shelf. I can’t recommend this band live enough. Its one of the best concerts I’ve been to in recent years. In fact, one of the best gigs I’ve been to period. And I’m not exactly a gig dodger.

The setlist was awesome too. They’ve been doing a revolving setlist thing on this tour; some nights you get “Supercharger” or “The Blood, The Sweat, The Tears” whereas some nights you get extra tracks off the new album, there’s different songs from The Blackening on different nights, sometimes “Block” is there from Burn My Eyes and sometimes not. On the Dimebag death anniversary there was a load of Pantera covers.

On this particular night, the night I went to see them, they played “Imperium,” “Descend The Shades Of Night” and “Bit The Bullet” off of ‘Ashes Of Empires, “Beautiful Mourning,” “Now I Lay Thee Down,” “Aesthetics Of Hate” and “Halo” off of The Blackening, “Locust” and “Darkness Within” off of Unto The Locust, “Killers & Kings,” “Now We Die,” “Game Over,” “Beneath The Silt” and “In Comes The Flood” off the new album Bloodstone & Diamonds, as well as rap-featuring “From This Day” off of The Burning Read, “Bulldozer” off of Supercharger, “Ten Ton Hammer” off of The More Things Change, and of course “Old” and “Davidian” off of Burn My Eyes. What a setlist!

I am so, so pleased to have gotten to see the two Locust era tracks with my own eyes. Anyone who knows me, knows that I absolutely adore Unto The Locust. I still have the keyring on my keys, the poster on my wall, and the album never comes off my limited-space phone no matter the new stuff I buy. I dig the crap out of that record and to get to see “Locust” and “Darkness Within” live was amazing. Rob did a little speech about the bay area thrash scene beforehand, which was interesting. Those were my favourite moments of the night, with “Bulldozer,” “Davidian” and surprise awesome new track “Game Over” as the next best. But really, it was all golden!

Rob was a very good frontman all evening; being very entertaining, encouraging participation, getting everyone’s energy up, shouting out all the band members including multiple shout-outs for new bassist Jared MacEachern (man, replacing the amazing Adam Duce cant’ve been easy, but this guy nailed every part and “felt right” in the same way Pat Brudders does for Down). The only thing I didn’t like was that he made fun of a kid in the front row for not going mental enough and sitting there still all night with a Dr. Evil from Austin Powers pinky-finger to mouth gesture the whole evening… and fair enough it probably looked funny, but the kid was likely being crushed half to death if I was anything to go by, and he was little and skinny so in that position I wouldn’t have gone that crazy either. Rob did save it though by singing “Last Christmas I Gave You My Heart” so it felt less like bullying and more like a good frontman entertaining the crowd. Oh and the rest of the band had all got Santa Hats on towards the end. Fitting for this time of year, it was nice and amusing. Merry Christmas.

It was good that all the material went over well. People lost their shit for the Supercharger and Burning Red stuff equally to the classic Burn/Change stuff. Everything from ‘Ashes onwards got an extra special reaction. Anything to do with Phil Demmel is just beloved by the fanbase (and rightly so – what a great musician!). I’ve been at some concerts where people only react to the new stuff (Mastodon, Riverside, BMTH) or only the old stuff (Hatebreed, Megadeth, Slayer) but everyone reacted well to everything here.

It was such a great performance, and the band’s high quality, well-designed lightshow really added to things. It went green during “Locust” and red during “From This Day” off of The Burning Red to echo those album’s artwork and it would black out the stage but spotlight one person to highlighted members during key parts like interesting drum fills or separate guitarists on riffs that switch between separate earphones on the record (aka panning). Their stage show had big backdrop banners, Roman Empire looking plinths with the MH logo, smoke cannons, all sorts of lights, banners with lions on them off to the side. It looked expensive and impressive. To top it all off the sound was superb… during that super dirty riff at the end of “Davidian” (y’know that really slow, brutally ugly riff) it was the best sounding moment I’ve heard live in the last two years (and Rob even called out “so fucking heavy!”).

Also… I can’t describe how cool it was to see Dave McClain. He’s just such a unique, bespoke Drummer and no one else plays like him. His style is so singular it sometimes sounds like he’s playing “wrong” because no one else plays like that. Watching some of those badass fills with my own eyes was like a religious experience.

Overall; great concert… but don’t be surprised if you read in the news that someone died from crush injuries.

Saxon Shared My Gig-Review:

Posted: December 6, 2014 by kingcrimsonprog in Blog Stats/Achievments, Life
Tags: , , , ,

The internet is cool for music fans, y’know?

Saxon… legendary British Heavy Metal band with a decades-long career, who I’ve spent the last year getting more and more into (I’ve got a Wheels Of Steel Vinyl up on my wall alongside Motorhead, Maiden and Priest… and the current scroble count is 825 plays since I first got into them)… well THAT Saxon just shared my recent report of my evening out at their concert on their Facebook page:

Saxon Being Cool

What cool guys!

Also, how cool is the internet? That’s Periphery, Accept and Saxon now sharing my stuff online and skyrocketing my traffic (hey, this originally only started out as a private blog for just me and my friend Paul back in the beginning).

Its a pretty neat way of fostering good PR and fan loyalty, because now I think these bands are all really neat for doing that, and am all the more likely to buy tickets/shirts/new albums, and tell my friends what cool guys the band are. Certainly made my day 🙂

So yeah, the internet is pretty cool for music fans.

500

Posted: December 5, 2014 by kingcrimsonprog in Blog Stats/Achievments

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I went to the Manchester Academy 3 tonight (Sat 25th Oct 2014) to see Soil and American Headcharge. You can probably tell from the reviews section of this blog that I like Soil and American Headcharge a lot and think they’re really underrated and unfairly overlooked. I mean, I’m not a huge uberfan with demos and a tattoo and all that stuff, but I have and enjoy most of their records.

I remember my first ever gig was the Irish Ozzfest in Punchastown Racecourse, where I saw American Headcharge (and also, a fucking brilliant Mushroomhead concert that was hand to God one of the best live experiences I’ve ever seen) back when I was around 13-15 (Its too late for maths).

I remember getting my name printed on the Soil Halo vinyl single and winning a Soil demo with a cover of Ramjam’s Black Betty on it. I remember always seeing both bands unfairly written off. I remember even being embarrassed to still like them when each of their second albums came out and everyone seemed to think less of you for still liking that sort of music.

Head PE I don’t much remember. I remember seeing the video for ‘Blackout’ a few times, but not getting their album or anything. My friend John told me they were awesome last year but I didn’t investigate further. Turns out I maybe should have…

But lets not get ahead of ourselves. The first band of the night were called 8 Foot Sativa according to my ticket, but according to all the bands, were called Wolf Born. Wolf Born (not to be confused with Wolfmother, Wolfsbane, Wolf or Power Wolf) sounds like quite a Power Metal name, sounds like it might be a Hammerfall type band.

They weren’t. They were a sort of similar style to Soil. Somewhere between the three worlds of Puddle Of Mud, Soil and Black Label Society (they had a song that sounded a lot like ‘Mass Murder Machine.’) They were a decent band, perfectly suited to this bill. If you like Soil, check them out.

Next came Head PE. I wasn’t expecting much. Their singer came out all hidden in a bandana and heavy coat and stayed hidden during the first song. Then took it all off and was a huge, brawny, built-like-a-tank Hardcore guy. I remember a skinny pretty boy with dredds and a red tracksuit. Anyway…

Turns out the band are amazing live. They were really powerful and confident and self aware that their schtick wasn’t cool anymore but that they were still good enough to pull it off in 2014 convincingly… like what it must’ve been like seeing W.A.S.P during the post-grunge years. They also have this whole Hardcore Punk side I never knew about, playing songs of short fast American Hardcore I never expected in amongst the creamy vintage rap metal. Oh… and a bizarre but very fun cover of “Ghost Town” that just made me think of Father Ted.

Next came American Headcharge who I was pumped about seeing… they played a weird set, a few hits from the debut, a few deep cuts from the sophomore record, and a few new tracks, but no singles from the new EP or sophomore album (I really, really wanted to see “Loyalty” live! And it was nowhere to be seen, but oddly, “Ridicule” was… still, they played “Dirty” which was nice!). I expected “Sugars Of Someday” to be their main promotional drive and they ignored it too.

The band were ok live, but the odd setlist of midtempo numbers and the singers almost mocking attitude to the crowd just didn’t set the place on fire. This must’ve been what it was like seeing Poison live during the grunge years.

Then Soil came on. Fuck me, people were pleased about that. I don’t think I’ve ever met a Soil fan who knew more than “Halo,” “Unreal” and “Breaking Me Down” but people were there, going ape for deep tracks from the new album and Redfine as well as almost half of the whole Scars album. The band played tremendously, the crowd ate it up, good times were had. During Halo, their singer just did the entire song from the center of the crowd (actual middle of the room, not just two people into the front).

I almost skipped going to this gig, I was bloated from dinner, I could really have used the time to do Uni work, I’m homesick as hell and could’ve used this weekend to visit relatives… but nope, I didn’t miss it, and it rewarded me. This was an excellent concert.

Go see Soil live if you like them. Check out Hed PE if you don’t know them. Don’t skip any gigs that you have tickets for, they might just be completely awesome!

Come to think of it, I saw Riverside and Baroness in Academy 3 too, and they were all awesome. Come to Manchester and see a gig in the Academy 3!

Next up on my gig calendar: Tesseract and Animals As Leaders…. Bring on the Djent!

Nice Even Number:

Posted: September 23, 2014 by kingcrimsonprog in Blog Stats/Achievments

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