rob zombie electricwarlockcover 2016

Rather unsurprisingly, Rob Zombie records are much like Rob Zombie films. You either like them or you don’t. His films are nightmarish, brutal gore-soaked rides featuring masked or grease-painted trailer trash homicidal maniacs, old B-movie references (and actors), a marvelously excessive use of the word “motherfucker”, and of course, Sheri Moon Zombie. His albums are almost identical except possibly for more gasoline guzzling, psychoholic undead werewolf go-go dancers.

So, if you’re reading this review then there’s a good chance you already have more than a reasonable idea of what’s waiting for you even before you start listening. All you really want to do now is read about how fucked up it is and how much you’re going to like it.

The preposterously titled The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser (Zodiac Swan) begins with ‘The Last of the Demons Defeated’, a short intro featuring the voice of infamous occultist Aleister Crowley. The first proper song, ‘Satanic Cyanide! The Killer Rocks On!’, is a typically

bombastic assault, featuring quotes from leader of the Texas Cornerstone “Megachurch”, Pastor John Hagee (amusingly sped up so he sounds like some kind of loopy religious Minion) and author Steven Jacobson speaking about mind control.

‘The Life and Times of a Teenage Rock God’ begins slowly with keyboard effects acting like the soundtrack to a mad scientist’s laboratory, but soon hits you with a driving beat and an Alice Cooper vibe. As a bit of an unusual departure, RZ releases his inner Les Claypool with ‘Everybody’s Fucking in a UFO’. If you haven’t already heard it, just imagine ‘Winona’s Big Brown Beaver’ by Primus, but with a crunching riff, more profanity, and huge spurts of green alien jizz.

 

‘A Hearse That Overturns With the Coffin Bursting Open’ is a an acoustic interlude that lasts only a little longer than it takes to say the title. This is followed by ‘The Hideous Exhibitions of a Dedicated Gore Whore’ which includes a Vox organ and a creepy audio sample featuring Charles Manson family member Leslie Van Houten (taken from the same interview, incidentally, that White Zombie used for ‘Real Solution #9’).

‘Medication For the Melancholy’ is a fast and furious affair, the obligatory featured audio sample coming this time from Pam Grier blaxploitation flick, Coffy. ‘In The Age of the Consecrated Vampire We All Get High’ (come on, Rob. Really?) is a thunderously good signature Zombie tune that doesn’t sound a million miles away from long-time fan favourite, ‘Superbeast’, and ‘Super-Doom Hex-Gloom Part One’ is another instrumental interlude, but unfortunately doesn’t really do anything that interesting.

Rob Zombie, by Melina D Photography

Rob Zombie, by Melina D Photography

‘In The Bone Pile’ comes with bags of attitude and a surprisingly short title, while ‘Get Your Boots On! That’s The End of Rock and Roll” is absurdly catchy with its “Gabba Gabba Hey, Be-Bop-A-Lula” chorus, and album closer ‘Wurdalak’ is a slow, grinding, atmospheric tribute to Boris Karloff in the 1963 Mario Bava horror film “Black Sabbath”.

Zombie has referred to his new album (there’s no way I’m writing that title out again) as “seriously our heaviest most fucked up musical monster to date”, and although it’s clearly a beast, it’s not dramatically heavier than his last couple of releases. It’s also a relatively short album, coming in at only just over thirty minutes in length. But the truth is that it doesn’t have to be heavy as hell or longer than the average album to make an impression. Each song is a short, sharp jab of (sick) bubblegum Americana, a swift, strikingly confident punch in the face that knocks you down but makes you want to get straight back up to take more of its addictive abuse.

8.0/10

GARY ALCOCK

 

slayer testament carcass admat 2 ghostcultmag

A little off the beaten path compared to L.A. and San Francisco, Bakersfield resides in in the California suburbs. The town is actually more well known for its legacy of punk rock more than a hotbed of metal, so it was a little surprising to see the major tour of metal legends Slayer, the well—loved thrashers Testament and death metal leaders Carcass planned a tour stop here. No doubt many resident has driven the traffic heavy, palm-tree lined highways of the 101 and I5 for glimpse of these bands in other towns. But tonight all you had to do if you were a fan of classic metal bands of the last 30-plus years, would be to roll downtown and get a ticket to the big show.

Carcass 2016 www.loyalphoto.com meg burcina (22 of 34)

Carcass, by Meg Loyal Photography

Slayer and Testament are regulars on the annual touring circuit, rarely taking time off to record these days. UK bred Carcass is still on the road supporting 2014’s Surgical Steel album (Editor’s Note: The Ghost Cult Album of the Year for 2014), and have been regular visitors to the USA since their return. You never know these days the way this year has gone if the next time you see a band will be your last, so it was good to see a lot heads in the house early. Carcass ripped through a short set of “hits” the fans seemed to lap it up’ Jeff Walker was seated for the show due to a broken foot, but it made little difference to him.  The band is talking about having a new album out in 2017, so hopefully we will see Carcass again sooner than later back on our shores.

Testament, by Meg Loyal Photography

Testament, by Meg Loyal Photography

 

Testament, by Meg Loyal Photography

Testament, by Meg Loyal Photography

Testament themselves are well-known road warriors. Bay-Area bred thrash metal titans, the band serves as a great opener to Slayer. You would be hard-pressed to find a fan in the building that didn’t like both the headliner and this band, and maybe some preferred the former. Testament has been busy working on their new album, but we heard no new songs tonight. They played their set with an energy and a hostility of the much younger, hungrier band. They slammed through their songs, ran around the stage, and basically had a great time. Led by hulking front man Chuck Billy, his voice is the only thing bigger on stage than his form. Testament knows how to put on a show worthy of the top spot on any bill, not just this one.

Slayer, by Meg Loyal Photography

Slayer, by Meg Loyal Photography

 

Slayer, by Meg Loyal Photography

Slayer, by Meg Loyal Photography

 

Considering that Slayer has toured so much, the crowd here tonight was decidedly pumped up, again owing to the choice of market too. The band as masters at setting the pre-show mood with their mysterious 30-foot tall curtain. When the lights go down the crowd gets pumped as the only soft part of a Slayer show; the intro music and the lights against the curtain, right before the first notes take hold. Once the curtain drops it’s pure madness as the band opened with the title track from their most recent album, Repentless (Nuclear Blast). The band played a good number of tracks from that recent album, but ultimately leaned on older songs. That is what the crowd wants from Slayer: the classics, every time. It’s not really a Slayer show without hearing ‘Mandatory Suicide’, ‘Seasons In The Abyss’, ‘Dead Skin Mask’, ‘South of Heaven’, and ‘Chemical Warfare’, is it?

Slayer, by Meg Loyal Photography

Slayer, by Meg Loyal Photography

The band still get high marks for showmanship, especially Kerry King and Tom Araya. With the three year anniversary of the passing of founding member Jeff Hanneman near, the band pays tribute to him nightly, not just with his music, but with a huge banner draped in hiss honor. Closing of course with ‘Raining Blood’ and ‘Angel of Death’, Slayer continues to be a thrash metal institution. I can’t wait for them to come back!

Slayer Set list:

Repentless

Postmortem

Die by the Sword

Disciple

God Send Death

War Ensemble

When the Stillness Comes

You Against You

Mandatory Suicide

Hate Worldwide

Chemical Warfare

Pride in Prejudice

Take Control

Seasons in the Abyss

Hell Awaits

Dead Skin Mask

Hallowed Point

South of Heaven

Raining Blood

Black Magic

Angel of Death

WORDS AND PHOTOS BY MEG LOYAL PHOTOGRAPHY

 

Trivium-2016-UK-Tour-600-full ghostcultmag

There’s a different feeling about a Trivium show these days. Packed to the rafters with a second generation of fans picked up since their refinement and reinvention on In Waves and the successful follow-ups Vengeance Falls and latest opus Silence In The Snow (all Roadrunner), the Floridian thrashers seem very comfortable in their skin. And with good reason, as since entering the second phase of their evolution they have found themselves, no longer chasing the ephemeral but secure with their sound and who they are.

And it is with this calm confidence and assurance that Matt Heafy addresses the throng, self-deprecating tongue never far from cheek. He gently chides the crowd for being passive between songs despite their enthusiasm during tracks, indulges in classic metal encouragement getting everyone to “sing the guitar part, like Iron Maiden” on a flawless ‘Strife’ (and everyone does), addresses theSpinal Tap-esque number of drummers they go through and mocks his own appearance around the Shogun era.

A secure leader, equally his vocals have never sounder better, as he delivers note perfect cleans across the board, while still dipping into some welcome aggressive harsher tones on the older material. Corey Beaulieu is clearly enjoying connecting with a happy crowd while ripping out a slew of metal hits,Paolo Gregoletto is a head-bobbing pocket-dynamo, chipping in with some great harmonies and a ruthless pounding undertone, and new sticksman Paul “Wanky” Wandtke brings the beat, looking every inch a Steel Panther, adding showmanship, power and humour from behind the kit.

 

And it’s the set that makes you realize just how many great tunes Trivium have under their belt at this stage of their career. Whether it’s the more vocal-led ‘Silence In The Snow’, or the machine gun ‘Rain’, the, um, anthemic ‘Anthem (We Are The Fire)’ or the mix of it all in mid-set highlights ‘Through Blood And Dirt And Bone’ and ‘Ghost That’s Haunting You’, they’ve now reached a consistent, slick and career-high level of performance in the live arena. Flanked by huge white skulls with glowing laser eyes, by embracing their classic heavy metal roots, by the time a bowel-punching ‘In Waves’, complete with every voice bellowing the title closes things up, Trivium have calmly proven they are what we always thought they’d be; an excellent heavy metal band.

Their supports are still in the process of finding their places in the world, with Jamie Graham clearly hungry to bully and cajole every youthful face in the venue to join their cause. Backed by mammoth slabs of head-punching excellence, like ‘Hollow’, ‘Turmoil I’ and ‘Turmoil II’, it’s a successful venture as Heart of a Coward prove last year’s stunning Deliverance (Century Media) belongs in larger venues. Meanwhile, As Lions deliver plenty of promise in an engaging and triumphant opener slot that sees a band with only one song in the public domain convert new recruits by their hundreds; Austin Dickinson a strong presence with a versatile and dominant voice backed by hooks, riffs and people waiting to lap them up.

The next time each and every one of these three bands heads anywhere near you, do yourself a favour and indulge in their quality live fare, you won’t be disappointed.
STEVE TOVEY

deftones gore albumcover news ghostcultmag

One of the most anticipated albums of 2016 is here with Deftones long awaited eighth album, Gore (Reprise). While much has been made in the press by the band themselves of the growing division of styles and tastes between core members Chino Moreno and Stephen Carpenter, the reality is the band has always thrived on challenging themselves musically. Continuing the arc the band started with 2010’s Diamond Eyes and followed to a logical next step with 2012’s Koi No Yokan (both Reprise), musically they continue to flow back in more of the aggro-heaviness that made them shine early in their career. Meanwhile crafting sweet, dreamy shoe-gaze inspired jams takes equal footing without giving any ground. The blend of the two styles is magical most of the time. If there is any disharmony in the ranks, it doesn’t show in these beautifully crafted tracks. In fact, this is music that screams out “let’s get making with the love! Oooh yeah!”

Lead off track ‘Prayers/Triangles’ could be straight off of the White Pony album. The track has a persistent beat and is not overly heavy, but works well. A hypnotic, multi-layered vocal track from Moreno hits home, as few vocalists in modern music can make you feel what he wants you to in an instant. Considering his penchant for obtuse and poetic lyrics, this is quite a feat.

Much heavier and slower, ‘Acid Hologram’ creeps in with massive riffs and subtle melodies. Turntablist/programmer Frank Delgado adds a lot of sonic heft here as well. When the song pivots toward the end and steps up the sonic urgency, it is one of the best moments on Gore.

‘Doomed User’ is another top track out of the gate. Chopping riffs and that patented super-tight Abe Cunningham beat bring it home. I can’t wait to hear this one performed live. Similarly ‘Geometric Headress’ kicks in with a tribal beat, but has a very different feel by the end, almost a proggy, Tool-flavored affair track Chino’s lovely crooning coming in between periods of yelps of dismay.

‘Hearts/Wires’ finds them exploring their Joy Division jones before the epic chorus kicks in. In terms of dynamic interplay and lyrics, this is easily the best track on Gore.

 

 

One standout thing about the last few Deftones releases are the contributions of bassist Sergio Vega. Long past is the time when he was standing in for the late Chi Cheng, and is now a full-fledged, weight-bearing member. Cheng himself was a dynamic writing force on early Deftones albums. Vega has more than picked up that mantle now. Beyond putting his unique stamp on the songs, Vega pushes and pulls the tracks as well now too.

Tracks like ‘Pittura Infamante’ and ‘Xenon’ will call to mind the Around the Fur days of the band, which was the moment they killed off the nu-metal of their youth and became something much more deep and interesting as a band.

If this band made power-ballads in the traditional sense, ‘L(Mirl)’ would be the closest thing to one. Not at all typical, but an easy to digest track that grooves along. Switching it up, the title track comes next and it is like a DNA strand of the bands history. A little metal, a little gaze, and a lot of brilliant.

‘Phantom Bride’ is another standout deep cut. It’s as gorgeous as it is harrowing on the senses. It’s the most “Chino sounding” track here, but isn’t so way out that it sounds out of place. It also has a stellar guest performance from Jerry Cantrell of Alice In Chains adding some slick lead guitar and his trademark harmonized licks. I kind of wished the ending riff of the track would have gone on for a while longer, but it’s pretty satisfying still. ‘Rubicon’ is the album closer, but it has the energy of an opening track. A soaring, emotive song full of chaos and sadness all at once.
Deftones band 2016 Gore photo credit Frank Maddocks ghostcultmag

The hallmark of all the great bands is they continue to grow gradually across many albums and ages, without over-shooting when it comes to experimentation. This band remains unique in that they always sound like themselves, even when incorporating new influences and themes. Deftones remain the same, but spreading outward like a glacier. Solitary, beautiful, cold, and unstoppable.

9.0/10

KEITH CHACHKES

boss keloid herb your enthusiasm ghostcultmag

The warping chords opening The warping chords opening Herb Your Enthusiasm (Black Bow Records), the third full-length from Wigan wags Boss Keloid, are utterly suffocating. What the band has shown with previous output, however, is a basis in the Low-end rather than a reliance on it, and so this enthralling opening proves. As heavy as a rampaging mammoth yet chock-full of groove and Eastern influence, and with a guest holler from Conan’s Jon Davis, ‘Lung Mountain’ is as enlivening as a Clutch rampage.

The swaying, hypnotic growl of ‘Haarlem Struggle’ has many facets: an acoustic intro leading to portentous, snaking inflections, Jazz-infused passages and a pummeling coda. Alex Hurst’s vocal range helps the fluidity immensely, soaring from low roars toward that Davis-esque scream which appears more powerful with Hurst’s strong vibrato.

Paul Swarbrick’s string work is an unsung factor: not merely laying down riffs weighed with chains, it switches and skews with abandon, dictating those mystic patterns and dressing the brutal rhythms in fuzzed leads. Indeed despite the obvious Stoner references, there is an abundance of passion and variety here. The deep, barreling rut of ‘Axis Of Green’ is downright filthy: its ploughing furrows oozing sex and fizzing with a lazy, heavy Funk vibe; its three-quarter an impossibly long moan from Hurst issuing from a curious, medieval-flavoured key riff.

A blend of easy chants and Alice in Chains’ troubled melancholy, lends an almost balladic quality to the resonant yet subtle rhythms of ‘Lung Valley’. Whilst the band’s myriad influences roll together in the living, pulsating ‘Hot Priest’: a quirky Jazz organ bridging elements of knee-crushing, tortoise boogie, raw sexuality bleeding from the crunching verses, whilst more vocal versatility and harmony lead to an oscillating, howling finale.
That much of this album is a story of the Weed is not up for debate. Unlike many such offerings however, Herb Your Enthusiasm possesses true Soul and variation and this makes it a truly immersive, exciting experience. It’s debatable whether the UK Metal Underground has ever been in such rude health; Boss Keloid certainly hasn’t. Much like its subject matter this meaningful, rutting beast will continue to grow.
8.0/10.0

PAUL QUINN

Pearl jam tour 2016

 

In early April Seattle, WA grunge rockers Pearl Jam embarked on a tour celebrating their 25th year as a band with no opening act. The tour made a stop in Hampton, VA at the famous Coliseum also known as the Mothership because of its dome shape. After deciding a few hours before show time to cancel their next stop on the tour in Raleigh, NC due to their opposition to the controversial House Bill 2 (HB2) they had recently passed, front man Eddie Vedder had a little extra aggression and energy for the performance opening with fast paced songs ‘Why Go’, ‘Mind Your Manners’, and ‘Corduroy.’ The crowd was in for a good show.

Pearl Jam, by Matt Lambert

Pearl Jam, by Matt Lambert

 

Pearl Jam, by Matt Lambert

Pearl Jam, by Matt Lambert

For those of you that aren’t aware, Pearl Jam is one of those bands that people follow around on tour because of their unique set lists, no two shows are ever identical. The show was no different, the band is great at tying in local stories, memories and people to incorporate them in the live show. Ed commented on how beautiful Hampton, VA was and that they hadn’t played in 8 years comparing it to the locust schedule. For a little over three hours the band played 32 total songs from 8 of their 10 studio albums as well as covers like ‘I am a Patriot,’ ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ and rare singles like ‘Breath’ from the Singles soundtrack, the whole show was engaging and left no one disappointed. Lead guitarist Mike McCready’s solos were on point most notable during ‘Even Flow’ and Soundgarden drummer turned Pearl Jam drummer Matt Cameron was keeping the beat behind the kit. Bassist Jeff Ament, rhythm guitarist Stone Gossard along with keyboardist Boom Gaspar glued it all together. Ed even performed a song from his solo efforts ‘Sleeping by Myself’ with full band help, and noting that Chris McCandless’ sister was in the crowd he played ‘Setting Forth’ from Into the Wild soundtrack (the film that was about Chris McCandless’ life).

Pearl Jam, by Matt Lambert

Pearl Jam, by Matt Lambert

 

 

Pearl Jam, by Matt Lambert

Pearl Jam, by Matt Lambert

 

Pearl Jam, by Matt Lambert

Pearl Jam, by Matt Lambert

 

Pearl Jam, by Matt Lambert

Pearl Jam, by Matt Lambert

Author’s note: I drove over 600 miles to get to the concert it was worth all of it. Pearl Jam is like one of the seven wonders of live rock and have to be seen at least once. Check out the rest of their tour dates at pearljam.com/tour.

Pearl Jam Set List:

Why Go

Mind Your Manners

Corduroy

Brain of J.

Faithfull

I Am Mine

Jeremy

Setting Forth

Even Flow

Daughter

Long Road

Wishlist

Sirens

Habit

Given to Fly

Lukin

Rearviewmirror

I Am a Patriot Cover

Sleeping By Myself

Come Back

Sad

Lightning Bolt

In My Tree

Breath

Do the Evolution

Porch

Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town

Inside Job

Black

Alive

Rockin’ in the Free World Cover

Indifference

WORDS AND MUSIC BY MATT LAMBERT

 

purson_desires_cover ghostcultmag

Those unfamiliar with the sonic charms of Purson may wonder if the glut of praise engulfing the Southend quintet is garnered mainly by mystical talisman Rosalie Cunningham. There’s more than enough retrograde magic oozing from the pores of second album Desire’s Magic Theatre (Spinefarm Records), however, to justify the hype.Steeped in Folk-Pop whimsy, ‘Electric Landlady’s blend of mid-70s Glam and Prog is graced with oscillating organ notes: its wistful melodies leaning towards All About Eve, alongside Cunningham’s Julianne Regan-like plaintiveness. The vocal lines of the Folky, progressive ‘The Sky Parade’ possess that band’s brittle, striking harmonies and evoke their halcyon days beautifully, whilst the body of the track retains an eerie chord structure and pungent atmospheres. ‘The Way It Is’ and ‘Mr Howard’, however, bring comparison with the Indie-Pop of Regan’s short-lived Mice project: despite this, the Psychedelia coursing through the album increases the heavy feel of the latter’s rhythms.

Creativity abounds throughout: ‘Dead Dodo Down’ intersperses circus-style cascades with the brassy quirks of Tori Amos circa Boys For Pele (Atlantic / East West), all underpinned with that heady whiff of patchouli oil. Indeed, it’s not the only nod to the Goddess of Heartbreaking Piano: ‘Pedigree Chums’ remains rooted in the …Pele experimentation, seedy sax embellishing a lazy, hypnotic delivery and Raphael Mura’s mesmeric drum sequences. The languid, swaying ‘The Window Cleaner’ and closer ‘The Bitter Suite’, meanwhile, perfectly embody the retro, ‘60s Hippie’ feel, possessing subtle Eastern progressions and an air of The Doors’ lighter moments. ‘…Suite’ is the most experimental chapter: moving passages accompanied by flute solos and Jazz inflections, whilst the elongated bridge is reminiscent of Bugsy Malone’s introspective scenes.

Nobody, however, can deny the influence of latter-day Beatles on the whole set. The dreamy ‘I Know’, its gently infectious vocal marrying with a ‘Sgt Pepper’-style centrepiece, is the greatest example: but the hallmark is everywhere and, strangely, it’s no bad thing when conducted by such a free, mischievous spirit. Radiating sunshine from even its most melancholy moments, Desire’s Magic Theatre will delight anyone who yearns for that 70s quirkiness to infect their lush, harmonic heaviness.

7.5/10.0

PAUL QUINN