Pollstar, the music industry bible of data for recording artists has released their list of Highest-grossing Touring bands of the last decade and ranking on the list were Rock and Metal heavy hitters like Bon Jovi, Metallica and Guns N’ Roses. Other top bads include U2, The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Roger Waters, and The Eagles. Continue reading
The new chapter in The Transformers Movie series, Bumblebee is out now. Starring actress and pop singer Hailee Steinfeld, the music in the film has a decidedly 1980s sound with songs from Bon Jovi, Sammy Hagar, The Smiths, Tears For Fears, Duran Duran, Rick Astley, Howard Jones and more heard in the film. The main theme of the film is performed by Steinfeld herself. Check out the trailer and soundtrack now. Continue reading
As summer swings round towards autumn, there are no shortage of odes and tributes to the Gods of power and glory that brought us traditional and classic Heavy Metal. Ghost Cult dives in amongst the raised fists and studded wristbands to round-up the latest album releases.
At its molten heart, Rock music should be a very simple beating beast indeed. It should inspire and excite, yes, but it doesn’t need complicated rhythms, progressive tendencies, cerebral lyrics, analysis, politics or a whole plethora of interesting and additional ingredients to be successful or do what it sets out to do. And that is to, unequivocally, “Rock”. Continue reading
Corey Taylor of Slipknot and Stone Sour fame recently joined television star Jensen Ackles of Supernatural on stage for a cover of Bon Jovi’s classic track ‘Wanted Dead Or Alive’. Continue reading
Well this sucks. The 2018 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees have been announced, and Judas Priest did not make the cut. Continue reading
The 2018 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame nominees have been announced. Continue reading
We need to talk about Howard.
Along with Satan, murder and Vikings, the short fiction of HP Lovecraft is one of the most heavily used – and abused – thematic references in Metal, turning up in the albums of everyone from the kvltest of nocturnal grim panda-faces to Metallica. As you’d expect, Lovecraft’s vision has been treated with varying degrees of respect and authenticity, but Casablanca’s latest concept album takes reinterpreting his legacy to a whole new level of middle-fingers. The stars are right for the Great Old Ones to return (no surprise there) but they’ll meet resistance in the form of The Phantom, the pre-historic proto-human who created Miskatonic University and manifests in the form of a gold-skinned Rock Star Jesus to inspire mankind through songs about fast cars and girls.
The musical background to Casablanca’s gleefully irreverent tale is made of panoramic, hard-rocking Heavy Metal that brings to mind Virgin Steele’s Marriage Of Heaven & Hell mixed with a touch of Graves era Misfits and the kind of whimsical, small-town Americana more associated with early Bon Jovi or even the E Street Band. Not exactly an eldritch maelstrom of writhing tendrils, but it’s sharp and well honed, and the very act of putting lyrics at least ostensibly about HP Lovecraft over music like this seems genuinely iconoclastic. Which wouldn’t count for very much if the song-writing wasn’t there, but Casablanca pull off just the right balance of catchy choruses and driving riffs to make it work.
Perfection can only be obtained by the Old Ones themselves, of course, so a mere mortal Rock band are going to slip up every so often. Miskatonic Graffiti (Despotz) overstays its welcome on several tracks, often missing the opportunity to end the song on a high, and they never quite rock out quite as hard as they should, but on an album as distinctive and rich as this one they seem like minor flaws. Casablanca are very much following their own muse on Miskatonic Graffiti, and it takes them somewhere familiar, but not quite like anywhere their peers have ever gone.
If you were into any form of alternative music during the early 2000s, there is a high chance that Atreyu were a part of your adolescence. Whether it was rocking out to their infamous Bon Jovi cover, putting ‘Bleeding Mascara’ lyrics in your MSN name or listening to ‘The Theft’ when you were feeling blue, it’s true to say that the metalcore quintet hold a special place in many former-emo kids’ hearts. Over a year after they announced their return, Atreyu are back with Long Live (Spinefarm), an incredible fourteen track comeback album.
From the first track alone it is easy to hear exactly how excited Atreyu are to be back. ‘Long Live’ is full of energy from the get-go due to its fast-paced riffs and hard-hitting vocals. Alex Varkatzas is renowned for his unique vocal style and it is fantastic to hear that he has not strayed too far from his previous material. Despite sticking to their roots, Atreyu have been able to kick up the pace and create an album which will appeal to both old and new fans.
One of the best parts of this album is the guitar work. The guitar solo in ‘Live To Labor’ is particularly mosh-worthy, as well as the opening riff for ‘Heartbeats And Flatlines’. It is often hard for bands to convey their energy and enthusiasm through recorded music, however, Atreyu have managed to create music which is almost impossible to sit still for.
Long Live takes a darker turn for the forth track ‘Cut Off The Head’. The sinister-sounding opening merges well with Alex’s heavy vocals and it would not sound out of place in a horror movie. Despite being one of Atreyu’s heavier songs, the chorus is melodic and extremely catchy.
‘Brass Balls’ is a definite contender for the best song on the album due to its aggressive and dynamic nature and it is hard to ignore the rage-filled lyrics: “Lay yourself down on the tracks, be crucified by your own words. You’re no cross-bearer, you’re not a fucking martyr.” Atreyu are not afraid to speak their mind, and that is one of the main reasons that they have such a huge fanbase.
More often than when bands release comeback albums, it is apparent that they only care about the money or fifteen more minutes of fame. However, Atreyu have taken their time to carefully craft each song and to create an album which is as good as their previous material, if not better.
Welcome back Atreyu, you have been sorely missed.
Sometimes we forget what it’s all about, particularly those of us who have delved often into the underbelly and extreme ends of metal. We become concerned with bands being “progressive” or having “depth” and “innovation”. We seek out those making tortured artistic statements; driving dark emotions into their work, or those who seek to push boundaries. Despite being the first to call others on it, we’re being too cool for school ourselves, and writing off bands who sit outside the self-constructed tick box boundaries of what a “good” band should do.
And then you see a show that brings it right back to the heart of what dragged us into this glorious, complicated but actually oh-so-simple melee of metal. You see damn-near every single person leaving drenched in sweat beaming from ear to ear, bro-hugging and congratulating the support band on the way out, clutching drum sticks, or set-lists or just reliving moments from the set just witnessed with their mates. THAT, despite how “cool” or “uncool” you think a band is or are, is the sign of a great gig.
Tonight’s show saw two bands play sets that belonged at a bigger (but not better) venue. Atreyu were warming up for Reading Festival and brought an arena headline performance to a 400 cap venue, while the spirited and lively Shvpes, with their powerful metalcore, won over a whole bunch of people who hadn’t heard much of them before, but will definitely do so now; a young band on their way to a bright future with pounding Parkway Drive riffs, Rage Against The Machine grooves and big, as in Goliath-sized, choruses, all led by livewire frontman Griffin Dickinson. Not just ones to watch, ones to pick up on now.
And Atreyu well and truly proved me a dingbat for sidestepping them all these years. This is what metal is about – a band connecting with an audience that love the music the band are playing, with band and audience just having a great time. Colchester Arts Centre’s growing reputation as one of the best small venues to play at was only enhanced as a “small” gig felt like a huge one, with the rapturous reception one usually reserved for a major headliner at a sell-out marquee show.
Make no mistake, warm up show or no, Atreyu brought it, peppering a ‘best of’ set with new, as yet unheard, tracks from their upcoming Long Live (Spinefarm) album, tracks that were lapped up like old favourites. Personal highlights, beyond the joyous atmosphere that left no horn unraised, were the slamming ‘You Give Love A Bad Name’ (never thought I’d see a moshpit like that to that song) and the pure rock-out jubilance of ‘Blow’.
The venue is a church and the congregation had come to worship, leaving invigorated and with happy souls.