Buying Round Up

Posted: April 18, 2019 by kingcrimsonprog in Uncategorized

I haven’t been blogging a lot recently becuase my current job is all computer based anyway and by the time I’m finished work I’m done with computers, and typing isn’t so easy on a phone.

However, seeing as I just had my 9 year blogging aniversary, I figured I could at least write a quick blog.

So; what better for a music nerd to blog about that what music I’ve been getting.

A few years ago, back when I lived in Manchester, I got Alice Cooper’s Schools Out and Areosmith’s Toys In The Atttic becuase they were on sale (£3 each I think but memory is fuzzy). I tried them every so often, but apart from the most famous song on each (‘Schools Out’ and ‘Walk This Way’) I wasn’t very fond of them. I would try again every few weeks or months but I never really had them click with me.

Recently, I started collecting pop vinyls of rock musicians. It started with Lemmy, Spread to Slash, and before you know it, this happened…


They made an Alice Cooper one, and I was really torn over whether I would be the kind of person to display and Alice Cooper toy without really listeneing to Alice Cooper (first world problem, cry me a river, I know) so I thought I’d give Schools Out another chance. Eh, I t grew on me a bit, but not enough. But I love Megadeth, and they cover No More Mr Nice Guy, and I figured I should get the album with that on, and so I decided to pick up Billion Dollar Babies, and since there was a boxset with it and Welcome To My Nightmare on it too, well, that takes me to my first purchase to list…

I am not fully converted yet, but there are some great songs, Balck Widdow, Go To Hell, and Elected all stand out, as do Beneath The Wheels (Live) and ‘I’m 18’ (Live) …which I already knew from Anthrax, and Freaks And Geeks.

I also mentioned Aerosmith. I’ve been collecting Aerosmith albums as well now. One day, Toys In The Attic totally clikced with me (how on earth did I never notice how good Sweet Emotion and the titled track are?) and so I wanted to go deeper.

Then this happened.


Since then I’ve also added Permanent Vacation, Pump and Get A Grip.

You know, I’ve heard Dream On before and never knew it was Areosmith. Amazing song when you listen to it closely. I think Rocks is my favourite of the albums so far, maybe its the Testament link (Thrash bands covering 70s bands is becoming a theme here). I also like the 80s hits, Dude Looks Like A Lady and Love In An Elevator are very catchy. Get A Grip was more of a surprise, it sounds quite GnR , which is surprising as you would think it would be the other way around. The student becomes the master.

I also got a box set of 5 ZZ Top albums. I already have a box of 5 ZZ Top albums, but this is a different 5. It has their debut, Tejas, El Loco, Afterburner and Recycler. It is surprising how much they influenced Clutch. Ten Dollar Man is Clutch before Clutch existed. Please forgive me, Mr. Gibbons…

I also added some more Rush to my collection. I’ve always loved the 2112/Kings/Hemispheres triology, but was never quite as impressed with the rest of their output. I guess I came to the band from a metal fan’s point of view and the regaee and synths might not have been what I was looknig for when I was younger. But now, I just like a good song. A good song is a good song, and Rush know how to write a good song even if it isn’t heavy.

You probably also already know, since I wrote a review of it, that I got the new Queensryche album.

Its a seriously good album, pick it up if you haven’t heard it.

Also, I’ve liked Biohazard since I was about 14, but I never got around to getting their debut. I still remember the day that I got my first Biohazard album, it was my Birthday, my dad took me from our small town to Belfast so I could shop in a big music chain shop , they had a deal on Roadrunner Records albums, where if you got a certain number of Roadrunner albums, you got a free VHS tape of music videos called Drilling The Vein. I got Biohazard’s Urban Discipline, Fear Factory’s Demanufacture, Spineshank’s The Height Of Callousness and a 4th one I cannot recall (Maybe it was another Fear Factory album at the same time?), but when I took it to the till, the clerk didn’t want to give me the free VHS as one of them had a diffrent roadrunner logo on the spine (its usually a red square but sometimes its a black rectangle instead), and I remember very clearly my dad wading in and saying ”Just give the cub the tape, its his birthday,” and then them giving it to me. Nice memory. I wouldn’t have had the confidence to argue my case on my own back then.

Anyway, I really like the band, and their excellent drummer Danny Scheuler who really influenced my playing as a drummer. I planned on getting their debut for years and years, it has been in my amazon wishlist since about 2011, and I’ve been into the band since about 2002, and now I finally got around to it.

The other thing I’ve been doing is getting back into biographies. I’ve just finished reading Slash, and am about to start Ozzy and Rex Brown (Pantera)’s. I also bought a book about Grunge called Every Body Loves Our Town as podcast host Stephen Hill recommended it so many times.

I’ve also decided to pick up the last 3 Thin Lizzy albums (China Town, Renegade and Thunder And Lightning) after having finished a Phil Lynott biogrpahy called The Rocker. I have a lot of thoughts about them, so maybe expect a blog about them in the future.

What am I planning to buy next? A Freddie Mercury pop vinyl, and the new Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons ones (the old ones didn’t look good, and are out of print now after I decided to reject them, here’s hopnig they also reisssue Ozzy, hopefully in Blizard Of Ozz garb).

Happy Aniversary

Posted: April 18, 2019 by kingcrimsonprog in Uncategorized
9 Years on wordpress.

Which Artists Have I Listened To Most?

Posted: April 14, 2019 by kingcrimsonprog in Uncategorized

I find myself often wondering, what band have I listened to most in my life?

Was it Green Day? – The first band I got into. Was it Slipknot? – The band all my friends talked about and which was the cultural zeitgeist when I was in high school. Was it Napalm Death – a band with over 20 albums and albums with often nearly 20 songs on them? Was it Arctic Monkeys or Libertines who I was utterly obsessed with around the time of their first two albums.


Was it someone newer? Jethro Tull have and Pink Floyd have a great many albums and I played them absolutely to death between 2007-2010.

What I can tell however, is who all I have listened to since 2011, since that’s when I joined Last FM and it tracks it for me.

Since then I can tell you who I listened to most. Queensryche. By some distance. If I had to guess, I would guess the numeber two spot was Corrosion Of Conformity and number 3 was Helloween. Turns out I was wrong. Perception is interesting. Maybe Green Day while they felt very exposed in my perception, actually got relatively few listens as maybe I didn’t listen as much at that time in my life. And time back then felt longer. One year in highschool feels like about 5 years in your 20s. In the same way 1 year in primary school feels about the same as 3 years of primary school [That’s elementary school for my international readers].

Time is weird, I mean Anthrax told me that on their excellent Persistence Of Time album. Pink Floyd told me that on their iconic track ‘Time.’ I feel like the longer you live, the shorter each year feels. I still think of Helloween and Queensryche as one of my ‘new’ bands, even thoguh I got into them in like 2011, so what, like..8 years ago? I was only ever in highschool for 5 years. I got into Slipknot in the 1st year of high school, and by the time their 3rd album came out in like my 3rd or 4th year of highschool, I felt like I had been listening to them forever and ever.

Time. What a weird thing.

Anyway. I find it very surprising that I have listened to some things more than others. Devildriver are way higher than some others like Creeper and Ratt who I feel like I listen to all of the time and can scarecley remember the last time I listened to Devildriver.

To that end, since 2011, here are all the bands I have listened to more than 4,000 songs from:

Queensryche.


Bands I have listened to more than 3,000 songs from:

Helloween, Saxon, Judas Priest, Arctic Monkeys, Corrsion Of Conformity.

Bands I have listened to more than 2,000 songs from:

Machine Head, Clutch, Manowar, Slipknot, Metallica, Megadeth, Gamma Ray, Volbeat (already, and I only got into them at Download Festival this summer!!), Motorhead, Parkway Drive, Anthrax, Protest The Hero, Coheed & Cambria, Monster Magnet, Ac/DC, Black Label Society, Motley Crue

Bands I have listened to more than 1,000 songs from:

Sepultura, The Fratellis, Jethro Tull, Five Finger Death Punch, Mastodon, Avenged Sevenfold, Trivium, Slayer, Kiss, Prong, Soundgarden, Accept, Iron Maiden, Bullet For My Valentine, Ozzy Osbourne, Fear Factory, Pantera, Deep Purple, Exodus, Architects, Bring Me The Horizon, Queen, Killswitch Engage, Lamb Of God, Savatage, WASP, Devildriver, Rishloo, Hatebreed, Green Day, Iced Earth, Dream Theater, The Libertines, Marilyn Manson, Kreator, Thin Lizzy, Stratovarius, Blind Guardian, Testament, Black Sabbath, Guns N Roses, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, Dio, Overkill, Twisted Sister, Van Halen, Edguy.

Now the thing is, some of those numbers are completely accurate. Queensryche, Saxon, Edguy and Blind Guardian for example. I got into them after Last FM, so it has tracked every time I’ve listened to them. Some of the numbers are not. I got into Maston way before, and I can’t tell you how many hundreds of times I listened to their first 4 albums back in the day. Deep Purple are on the borderline, as I got into them slightly before Last FM, but they were my number one band around the time I started, so I am only maybe 500 listens shy of accurate. But the oldest bands, the ones I was into in highschool like Slipknot, Green Day, Kiss and Iron Maiden…who knows how severely higher they should be. I mean, Led Zeppelin aren’t even on this list, and I feel like I was Mr. Led Zeppelin at one point, lending biographies to classmates and endlessly jamming them into my schoolwork whereever possible and playing cover songs. How much higher would they be?

Who knows. All I know is, for basically the last decade, Queensryche have been champions. And there are almost 850 plays between them and the next highest artist. Long live the Ryche.

Queensrÿche have been on a hell of a hot streak since they got former Crimson Glory frontman Todd La Torre in and started a band called Rising West, playing material from Queensrÿche’s first EP and first 4 albums, following the departure of their long time legendary singer Geoff Tate.

When they changed their name from Rising West back to Queensrÿche, and released their self-titled album in 2013, (with great tracks like ‘Where Dreams Go To Die,’ ‘Redemption’ and ‘Vindication’), it was an utterly excellent batch of material and the ensuing live shows saw the band energised and revitalised in one of the best late-career renaissances in the history of Metal (up there with the likes of Kreator and Accept for later-year triumphs). The following album Condition Human was a strong follow-up that kept up the quality.

As you can imagine, their third album since this revitalisation, 2019’s The Verdict, is my most anticipated album of this year. When they dropped the pre-release tracks, such as ‘Man The Machine,’ ‘Dark Revierie’ and ‘Blood Of The Levant’ it was every bit as good, if not better, than Condition Human’s pre-release tracks like the excellent ‘Arrow Of Time’ and ‘Hellfire.’

With all these expectations I had built up in my head, I was fearful I had built it up too much and set myself up for disappointment.

After having listened to it both via streaming while I waited for the postman, and on CD repeatedly after delivery, I am happy to inform you that not only is it not a disappointment, but rather it is the best Toddryche album to date. Arguably the band’s best album in a very long time at all, Todd or no Todd.

Even from myself, who doesn’t dislike any Queensrÿche album, (even the controversial ones), this ranks easily in the top half of their discography, top quarter even! I hate statements like “it’s the band’s best album since…’’ but in this case, it really feels true.

The production, (once again by ‘Zeuss’) is brilliant. All instruments are clear and distinct, you can hear the bass at all times, you can separate each guitar from each-other and the drums sound fat and powerful. Speaking of drums; Now that singer Todd La Torre is also playing drums this time around as well as his singing duties while classic drummer Scott Rockenfield is on paternity leave, you also get some drum styles you don’t usually hear on a Queensrÿche album. (Have a quick listen to ‘Launder The Conscience’ and ‘Light Years’ and listen to the beats to see what I mean).

The press prior to this saw Whip telling everyone that this was their heaviest and most progressive album in a while. Usually statements like that are always wrong. Strangely though, again, in this case, it really feels true.

There are some nice heavy moments on here; such as the aforementioned pre-released tracks, ‘Man The Machine and ‘Blood Of The Levant’ as well the very crunchy ‘Inner Unrest’ amonst others, and furthermore, there are some great proggy moments; such as ‘Bent,’ ‘Portrait’ and ‘Inside Out.’ There’s moments that recall the middle-eastern vibes of their American Soldier and Tribe albums, there’s some of the bass-driven textured stuff like their underrated Operation Mindcrime 2 album, and there’s some of the trippy expansive stuff reminiscent of their Promised Land album.

As well as the heavy and proggy stuff, there is just loads of great, catchy, accessible Hard Rock meets Heavy Metal material that has been the core thing tying all of the band’s albums together to date. You can hear bits that sound like the last two albums, like calssic material such as Rage For Order and all sorts of new things as well.

There’s so much great bass guitar parts and lots of space for Todd to show off his impressive vocal range. Album upon album he pushes it further, showing off more and more styles and becoming more of his own thing and moving away from the Geoff Tate style, but still staying close enough that it always sounds quintessentially Queensrÿche. (Take that vocal style and mix it with those really distinctive guitar leads, and you’ve got Queensrÿche in a bottle.)

Overall; its yet another strong Queensrÿche album, but more than that, it is an interesting album, with a strong production, a great range of material, and some of their honestly best material in years, even if they have already been on a very strong run.

I went to go see Parkway Drive with Killswitch Engage live in Cardiff Motorpoint Arena tonight, (February 1st 2019). It was my second time seeing Parkway, after they decimated Download Festival and were so powerful that they made Guns N’ Roses, even with all their money and with Slash and Duff back in the band, still pale in comparison. It was my third time seeing Killswitch, who I had seen supporting Bullet For My Valentine on Incarnate and Headlining over Trivium on Disarm The Descent.

I wasn’t sure if the gig was going to go ahead though, as it had been snowing prior and I was afraid (given that we live in Britain and they close down all the schools if a snowflake looks at them funny) that it might be called off, but luckily by the time I needed to leave, the roads were clear. (This must sound funny to my Canadian readers, but seriously, google ‘frozen Britain’ and see what the British reaction to snow is like).

Rather than arrive late and hang at the back like I did for Architects a few weeks ago, I new I had to be in the front row. Parkway at Download had whetted my appetite, and I needed more.

So I got there just as doors opened and didn’t have to queue in the post snow chill, but got to walk right to the front without any trouble at all.

The speakers usually play the same few songs at all the gigs I go to. Walk by Pantera, Snap Your Finger Snap Your Neck by Prong, Sad But True by Metallica, Psychosocial by Slipknot.

Not this time. They played some obscure hardcore punk. I couldn’t pin point anything I recognized from my meager 20-30 album Hardcore punk collection. I am not an expert, but I heard something that sounded like or was early Suicidal Tendencies (pre-Thrash) and something that sounded like but probably wasn’t Black Flag.

Not important, but just, different that basically every concert I’ve went to since 2012.

To open the evening where Deathcore lads, Thy Art Is Murder. Their front-man announced he regretted eating fruit around the start, and ended up barfing on stage around the end. He was a weirdly unprofessional burping, farting lads lad who was very charming, like how Orange Goblin‘s singer won me over with his topless enthusiasm a few months ago. Their music was Deathcore, which I am not too familiar with, but I know Metalcore, and I know Death metal, and its basically a mixture of that. There were death growls and blast beats, but there were beat downs and grooves. They were fun enough, and their guitarist has a fun sweeping style of leads/solos that reminded me more of Periphery or Dream Theater (or the Periphery song with John Petrucci from Dream Theater guesting on it). The drummer was very fun to watch, he was very inventive as a blast beater, and did it in more ways than I knew existed, and alternated hands and speeds and cymbals the way Tommy Lee would for a rock beat. They even had a catchy bit in ‘Puppet Master’ where the intro sounded a bit like Lamb Of God‘s ‘Redneck’ gone evil.

I enjoyed them. A much better support band than Beartooth had been last time. I’d be happy to see them again. A heck of a lot more than Asking Alexandria had been at Download. Generally, one of the better modern bands I’ve seen supporting people I like, but whom I didn’t know the support act beforehand.

It takes strength of the mind

Then the room got a bit fuller. After a Thin Lizzy ‘Boys ‘Back In Town intro; metalcore legends Killswitch Engage took to the stage. I have written before about how utterly majestic KSE are live, and how captivating it is when a whole room full of people sing ‘The End Of Heart Ache’, with its big long…

”This distance
This disillusion
I cling to memories
While falling
Sleep brings release
And the hope of a new day
Waking the misery
Of being without you”

…all done in perfect time, in its entirety. As a music fan it is one of the purest joys you can experience. Its crazy how good it makes you feel. And the band are always such fun, with Adam D clowning around like a hyperactive toddler making better masturbation jokes than Blink 182 ever did and brightening up the room with his infectious sense of fun and his big smile.

You knooooooooow me, you knooow me all too well!

I’ve also said before that Jesse is one of the, if not the, greatest live singers in the genre. Almost no-one can sing cleans that well live. He is a master of this type of music. Sam Carter, Ashe O’Harra and Jesse Leech are probably the best clean singers I’ve ever seen with my own two eye. Up there with Maynard incomparable James Keenan.

They played a set-list that was mostly greatest hits (Rose Of Sharyn, My Curse, End Of Heart Ache, All In Due Time, My Last Serenade) with a few early numbers (Fixation On The Darkness, Breathe Life) and it was more compact than any other time I’d seen them but no less potent.

The crowd seemed to really, really love ‘Always’ too, and Jesse doing the very last line while the band were all silent was some Freddie Mercury level skills. They played the two best songs off the new album too, (‘Hate By Design’ and ‘Strength Of The Mind’) which are even better live than on record, with more of a crushing Pantera groove to them.

Darkness will give way to light

Speaking of better live; ‘My Last Serenade’ is so, so good live. Joint with ‘End Of Heartache’ for the most audience participation (and augmented by all the fun guitar squeals and extra shenanigans) it is just excellent live in every way. And of course, they finished on my favourite Killswitch song, the fantastic ‘All In Due Time’ which turned me from a Jesse-reunion skeptic into the kinda guy who goes and sees em three times even though I don’t go to that many gigs.

Building a revolution to heal nations

If it was over then, it would’ve been enough. A solid opener, and mighty Killswitch doing themselves proud with a perfect set-list, excellent performance and decent sound & lighting. That would’ve done me nicely as a gig.

But I wasn’t ready for what happened next.

Now, I’ve banged on and on in this blog numerous times about how good Parkway were at download festival, and if you’ve met me in real life I’ve probably talked about how Ire is a modern classic that deserves to have the reputation sort of The Blackening has. You’ll have noticed the new album Reverence was high in my most played albums and highly ranked in my end of year list for this year just gone.

Well, that’s about to get a whole to more, because I have just seen. The. Best. Show. Of my whole life. No qualifications. No caveats. No exceptions.

I am not been hyperbolic. I am not exagerating. This was the best concert I have ever seen in every way. Visually, muscially, sonically, intangiable x-factor magiaclly. It was absolute bliss.

The set-list leaned heavily on the newest two albums, with just one song from Atlas and Deep Blue each, and two songs from Horizons, but otherwise all newer stuff since the change in direction.

The sound was immense, and the cruch and chug of big riffs like ‘Absolute Power’ or ‘Crushed’ was immense and made you pull that satisfied ”riff face” even harder than usualy. My view was perfect for most of the show, with a spot where I could see every member and even every cymbal on the drum kit. And the band’s performance was so bombastic, confident and commanding that it felt like witnessing something truly extraordinary.

The way Winston would sweep his hands or stomp his feet, or when he got topless and the end and would throw fists, always timed to some musical highlight like a conductor or film director was so entertaining. He is such a fucking golden rock star like we were back in the 1980s again. Having only been born as the ’80s died, its great someone is that for this generation and I don’t just have to read about it in old books.

The crowd were so into it, doing a gigantic circle pit during ‘Idols and Anchors’ and clapping along to the drumbeat in ‘Writings On The Wall’ like it was ‘We Will Rock You’ by Queen. They sang out not one or two but five or six songs guitar lines like when you see footage of Maiden or Megadeth playing South America. It was a brilliant vibe.

And that’s all without mentioning the fucking sheer spectacle of it all. If you haven’t been paying attention, it might be surprising to learn that Parkway Drive have become one of the most explosive live bands of the modern era. (Or any era).

The evening started with a dubstep or electronic noise while various lights were going off on the empty stage, with crazily loud concussion bombs going off to match the ‘the truth drops like a bomb’ lyrical theme.

Behind use, we could feel heat. Then in unsion we turned and saw that the mixing desk behind the crowd had pyro on it. And then the band, marched through the middle of the crowd, carrying flaming torches like a strange religious ceremony until they got up on stage. Then, wearing matching black outfits like some kind of Apple technology expo, they moved in choreographed and weirdly alien or robotic unison until the music really kicked in after the intro.

Crushed by the fist of god

Attention, attention, welcome to the stage

The first few songs they played in a tasteful white lighting set up. But it just got bigger and bigger.


You never miss your shadow
Till you’re alone, alone in the dark

There were various lights. And then there was smoke. And then there were fire balls. And then there were towers of fire. And then there were rows of fire. And then there were hydrolic platforms going up and down. And then there was a string quartet.

And we all go to heaven in a little row boat

Let’s get this straight, while you’re listening


And then there was an acoustic moment somehow behind the audience again. Then there was mini fire works. Then lights, lasers and fire together. Then well timed concussion bombs, like literally going ‘bang bang bang’ when Winston sang ‘bang bang bang’ in ‘Absolute Power.’ There was a Kiss-esque shower of sparks from the ceiling bouncing off their heads.

We’ve been waiting for the sky to fall!

At one point he came out with a bottle, and a rag in it, and set it on fire for real with a real lighter, and tossed it onto a big floating PWD shield, and there was really well timed explosives that made it look like he blew it up. And they just kept adding in more and more pyro and explosives until it looked like the whole building was on fire, and Winston would sweep his hands and flames would match the directions, such as during ‘Crushed.’

The truth drops like a bomb
Bang, Bang, Bang, drop the hammer of conscience


Between the spark and the ember
You are smoke threading the wind

Messages written within our columns of fire
No life blooms from the ashes of ire

Slayer had more pyro than I expected on their Farewell tour, but this made them look like a bar band with a packet of sparklers. It was almost Rammstein levels. At one point they had everything going off all at once in complete strobe light sensory overload destined to trigger epilepsy and PTSD sufferers in a way I would genuinely advise them not to attend due to. Absolute bloody war. I’m surprised health and safety let them get away with it to be honest.


Burn your heaven, flood your hell

Bombastic doesn’t do it justice. It was so well thought out and planned, cribbing all the best ideas from Motley Crue and Kiss and updating them with touches of Maiden and Rammstein and Tool but somehow feeling like a really cohesive and excellently orchestrated performance piece than a cobbled together greatest hits of concert ideas, the spectacle side of things was off the charts.

And all that being said, if they had have came out in day clothes and played the same set in an empty room with not so much as dry ice or a single light, it would’ve still been the best concert I saw in the last decade purely on the utter majesty and perfection of the performance. Songs like ‘Vice Grip’ are so goddamn triumphant sounding that when you see it live you feel like your team won the world cup. Songs like ‘Wishing Wells’ and ‘Chronos’ are so well constructed that you feel like a tween discovering the love of music for the first time. Songs like ‘Wild Eyes’ and ‘Karma’ are sing along fun that you just don’t have enough of as an adult. And best of all, ‘Bottom Feeder’ and ‘Crushed’ just level the place. When he sang ‘Now snap your neck to this’ and the payoff riff after the build up came in I got the kind of euphoric rush normally exclusive to a wedding day or the birth of a child. Ok, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but the best part is…not by much!

Speaking of the birth of children. This will probably be my last concert for a while. Ozzy with Judas Priest got cancelled due to Ozzy’s ill health (just like my first ever Ozzfest, Ozzy didn’t play due to a quad bike accident.). My son is going to be born just a few months before Kiss say farewell and Download rolls around again so as much as I love music I’m not traveling for any of that this year, and so far nobody seems to be playing in between now and then.

As a last concert for a while, possibly of the year, I could not have asked for a better one. Hands sown the best concert of my life so far. If you ever get the chance to see Parkway live I advise and border on demand that you go. I hope to high heaven that they release a live DVD from this tour. This is how live music is done!

Until next time…

I went to go see Architects at the Cardiff Motorpoint Arena last night (Friday 18th January 2019) with support from BearTooth.

I had to work so didn’t get there in time for the opening act, Polaris. I’ve never been into Polaris though, so it wasn’t too much of a disappointment (even if that sounds a bit rude). I had heard of BearTooth before, and had checked out a few of their songs on Spotify/Amazon Music over the years due to a podcast I like talking about them a few times, but wasn’t really familiar with them overall.

I decided, due to late arrival and back ache, not to bother getting right up to the front, and stood as close to the back as was possible. No moshing and crowd surfing for me. I had loads of space and wasn’t bustled around too much. It was nice being right up near the front for Slayer and Anthrax, but I wasn’t in the mood to be smashed around tonight and just wan’t to look at and listen to the live band.

BearTooth sounded a lot more raw and natural live than of what I vaugley remember about their recorded output, from what I sort of remember they were a bit wet and overproduced and a bit electronic. Live it was less wet and more natural, but still generic melodic metalcore. I feel they’re a little late for me to really fall in love with them.

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All the metalcore slots in my brain are taken up by the likes of Shadows Fall and Chimaira and Killswitch Engage and don’t really feel like there’s that much more I can get into. When I saw a few more modern melodic metalcore bands at Download Festival, like the forgettable Black Veil Brides and  Asking Alexandria or even the quite good Bury Tomorrow, I felt like I’ve had my fill already. Beartooth similarly offer nothing new, and didn’t win me over enough to go buy any of their albums, but where pleasant enough while they were on.

Their singer was very enthusiastic and called out specific riffs to pay attention to and seemed to be enjoying it. The sound for them wasn’t so good though, and you couldn’t really make out the vocals.

Then after a brief interlude with bands like Limp Bizkit and Rammstein played over the sound system, the main event, Architects took to the stage.

I’d seen them live before, back when I lived in Manchester, on the Lost Forever // Lost Together cycle. I really wanted to see them on the All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us cycle too but it was sold out when I got to the counter to buy tickets (should’ve bloody done it online in hindsight!).

I got into Architects when Hollow Crown was their newest album, but I feel like they’ve been getting better over time, and I’d take albums like Daybreaker, All Our Gods’ and even the controversial The Hear And Now over earlier albums like Ruin or Hollow Crown. Lucky for me, the set-list last night was almost entirely off their new album Holy Hell, and the previous two albums Lost’ and Gods’ (as well as one single track off of Daybreaker), which made it quite a different set-list than the last time I saw them, with 12 songs tonight I didn’t see last time (I quite like it when bands do that).

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Last night’s setlist was:

  1. Death Is Not Defeat

  2. Modern Misery

  3. Nihilist

  4. Broken Cross

  5. Holy Hell

  6. Royal Beggars

  7. Gravedigger

  8. Mortal After All

  9. Downfall

  10. Naysayer

  11. These Colours Don’t Run

  12. A Match Made In Heaven

  13. Hereafter

  14. A Wasted Hymn

  15. Memento Mori

  16. Gone With The Wind

  17. Doomsday

I really, really enjoyed ‘Gone With The Wind,’ ‘Downfall’ and ‘Doomsday’ especially, they worked so well live. If you haven’t heard of the band before and you wanted to check them out, they would be good tracks to try out.

Some people online have said the sound wasn’t good, but from where I stood last night, it sounded pretty good to me. A lot better than BearTooth. You could hear everything, each cymbal, all the vocals, every riff was clear (Except in the really heavy parts, like the start of ‘Nay Sayer’).

Sam was very grateful in the stage banter, repeatedly thanking the crowd and pointing out how they used to be in smaller venues and how cool it was to get to play somewhere this big. (He thanked the crowd so much, he ironically called himself a broken record numerous times, so that shows you how much it was!).

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Performance wise, they were top notch. Flawless. Can’t say enough good things about them. Sam’s clean vocals are almost record-perfect live which is impressive as hell and something his peers aren’t half as good at.

The production was really good too. Fire balls. Steam cannons. Confetti Cannons. Confetti from the roof. Lights. Lazers. Video footage of trippy wolves and falling bodies and mountain-scapes. A lot of variety and really well sequenced and well timed. There were lazers coming out above the crowd as well as strobes on stage and interestingly laid out lights and beams on stage. Sometimes all of it was going off at the same time, Very entertaining. It was halfway between the time I saw Tool in Dublin and the time I saw Killswitch in Manchester.

 

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There was also a bit where they had a bit paying tribute to late guitarist Tom Searle, and had a nice speech about how his brother, drummer Dan Searle got the band back together when they were all bereaved. It was really nice, and the had a ‘T // S’ in a heart up on the screen.

It was a very good evening, which is good, because I almost didn’t go. I had a difficult day at work, had a massive headache, had just got new glasses and hadn’t got used to driving in them yet, and a bunch of other lame-o excuses, but the gist of it is I wasn’t in the mood. I was very tempted to just skip it, but I remember how good Architects were last time, and I’d heard they had a really good production this time around, and I really like their newer three albums. Getting in and out of Cardiff was nice and easy too, even though it was a Friday night, the streets were quiet and the roads were pretty empty and it was no hassal with the travel.

Good night. Next up for me concert-wise; is also an evening of Metalcore: Killswtich Engage and Parkway Drive at the venue is February, and that’s going to be madness, if tonight’s production was good, I can’t wait to see the upside down flaming drum-kit like at Download Festival, but at their own show, in a more controlled environment than a festival. Can’t wait.

Kingcrimsonprog Albums Of The Year List 2018 (AOTY)

Posted: December 27, 2018 by kingcrimsonprog in Uncategorized

Readers who have known me for a while will have noticed a sharp decline in my frequency of posting this year, which a bit of behind the scenes information for you, which is due to a change in jobs and both not having the time, and now working with computers I don’t want to look at screens or use my wrists to type after work.

But nothing will stop the frequency of me listening to music. Its in my ears on every walk, every road trip, every commute, while I sleep, while I get ready, basically as much as I can get away with.

This year, I haven’t been focusing as much on getting new releases as I have been filling out gaps in old collections (like finally getting into ’80s Kiss and ’90s Saxon). However, that being said, here were my 10 favourite new release studio albums from 2018…

 

10.  Machine Head – Catharsis

Probably the most controversial album on the list, a lot of people were let down by the change in musical direction which added in a bit on modern pop music flourishes, by the lyrics which hearken back to the Supercharger days and by the very out of character folk punk trump bashing anthem ‘Bastards.’

I’ll admit, it is not as good as any album since Ashes’ and it took me a lot of listens to wrap my head around it, but I really, really enjoy this record. I loved seeing tunes from it live and I’ll happily include tracks from it in any future MH compilation or playlist.

It may not be for everyone, but it is for me.

Best song – ‘Volatile’

09. Architects – Holy Hell

An album with a very tragic backstory, but it is more than just a pity vote due to bereavement, this is a dam fine album easily among the top 3 of their entire career. Great melodies, great songwriting, superb lyrics and the heavy bits kick your teeth in.

Best song – ‘Modern Misery’ and ‘Doomsday’

08. Marmozets – Knowing What You Know Now

I was a bit late getting a copy of this, but when I did I fell in love.

Its a lot more polished and toned down than their debut, which I do prefer, but what it lacks in heaviness it makes up for in catchiness. This is one hell of a fun sing along record.

Best song – ‘Major System Error’

07. Judas Priest – Firepower

2018 and the Priest is back. I liked the last Priest album, but this one is just better for some reason. It took everything that worked last time but just delivered a better set of songs, a better production, a better flow and a much better performance.

I can see why they wanted to include the word ‘fire’ in the title, given how fired up the performance is. Its the kind of shot-in-the-arm enthusiasm boost Queensryche got when Todd joined the band. Maybe we can thank Andy Sneap?

Best song – ‘Rising From Ruins’

06. Clutch – Book Of Bad Decisions

Definitely the most fun album on the list. Apart from the more ’90s throwback first three songs, this album is a rocket ride of wacky characters, strange situations and musical exploration. It has unforgettable choruses, riffs for days and variety out the ying yang.

Best song – ‘How To Shake Hands’

05. Tesseract – Sonder

Short, sweet, tasteful and understated. Tesseract’s Sonder is a quiet Masterpiece, it doesn’t need to get in your face about it, it just sits there, perfect, and if you put in the time to uncover its hidden gems, you really reap the rewards.

Best song – ‘King’

04. Ghost – Prequelle

Square Hammer was the warning shot, alerting the world that Ghost were going to make a run on the big time.

Prequelle takes that promise and delivers upon it, unquestionably. A foot stomping, toe tapping, dance along of that sounds like every band you loved from the past and yet somehow urgently and vitally ‘now.’

Best song – ‘Witch Image’

03. Saxon – Thunderbolt

Old reliable. What else can be said? Its a Saxon album. Of course it was going to be good.

That being said, I didn’t expect it to be this good. Like Accept and Priest, they’ve got a fire up their ass and they’re just flooring the competition.

Best song – ‘They Played Rock And Roll’ and ‘Roadie’s Song’

02. Corrosion Of Conformity – No Cross No Crown

My most anticipated album of any on the list. I couldn’t wait for a new album with Pepper in the band and they did not disappoint. They cover a good cross section of their previous styles from the Pepper years and follow up well. Older, wiser, but still kicking maximum ass.

Best song – ‘Wolf Named Crow’

01. Parkway Drive – Reverence

Was the best moment at Download Festival 2018 seeing Guns N’ Roses with Slash and Duff back in the band? Was it seeing Ozzy say good bye?

No. It was Parkway Drive blowing a fucking hole in the festival with material as explosive as their excessively pyro fueled stage show.

Like Ire before it, Reverence is Parkway stepping outside of the subgenre’s rules and regulations and truly blossoming into their own band.

The material is so good its difficult to describe. The band are just on absolute top form. You would never have heard a song like ‘Shadow Boxing’ on albums like Horizons and Killing With A Smile and yet it so perfectly encapsulates everything Parkway are about, and why they are so much better than so many of their peers.

This album is an absolute triumph. Its got the style and the substance. Its got the flash sure, but you can really sink your teeth in to it too, and I cannot listen to this without dancing and grooving my neck along in the heavy parts.

Best song – ‘Chronos’