LIVE REVIEW: Amon Amarth – Arch Enemy – Hypocrisy: Live at Birmingham Academy

There’s a wonderfully surreal moment in The Simpsons when Abe Simpson inexplicably proclaims, “the Swedish are coming! The Swedish are coming!”. Well, tonight in frosty Birmingham, that’s exactly what’s happening. Hailing from the land of Abba, Ikea, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, three of the finest exponents of melodic death metal have landed in Blighty to bang heads and kick bottom. Continue reading

FEATURE: Facing Life Without Slayer

Slayer, photo credit Gary Alcock

From the first day of December 2019, we enter a dark, horrifying new era. Life without Slayer.

Sorry. Life without SLAAAAAYYYERRR!!!

There, that’s better.

From the moment I discovered Slayer on a compilation album called Speed Kills back in 1985, my life was changed forever. Just the sound of their name was enough. Everything you needed to know about the band encapsulated in two perfect syllables, especially when screamed at an ear-splitting volume or when chanted with thousands of other like-minded blood-hungry psychopaths. Continue reading

LIVE REVIEW: Agnostic Front – The Take: Live at Mama Roux’s, Birmingham, UK

For years, metal and hardcore have been regular bedfellows but that wasn’t always the way. Back in the ’80s, metalheads regularly ran the risk of getting beaten up if they attended hardcore or punk shows. Skins and Mohawks did not take kindly to long-hairs stepping onto their turf, and vice versa. It wasn’t until the emergence of more popular bands like Slayer who, by straddling both genres, showed that the two sets of fans were capable of co-existing without confrontation.

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EP REVIEW: Black Talon – Existential

Formed in 2010, Edinburgh thrashers Black Talon follow up their 2015 debut Endless Realities (Wasted State Records) with independently released five-track EP Existential. Sounding like a modern Scottish version of the 1980s Bay Area, this short release is replete with riffs and melodies similar to the likes of Forbidden, Testament and Dark Angel with vocals owing a debt to Vio-Lence and UK thrashmonkeys Acid Reign. Continue reading

ALBUM REVIEW: Anacrusis Reissues – Manic Impressions and Screams and Whispers

After re-releasing their first two albums back in September, Metal Blade have now moved onto the remastered and repackaged third and fourth albums from St. Louis progressive thrash act Anacrusis. Continue reading

FESTIVAL REVIEW: Damnation Festival 2019: Live at Leeds University

When Axl Rose waxed romantically about cold November rain in back in 1992, he clearly wasn’t singing about Leeds on a Saturday morning. A cold, depressing day darkened by oppressive black clouds showering their misery relentlessly from above, there is nothing romantic about Leeds city centre. However, above the sound of rain pelting against umbrella canopies, and cars splashing through ankle-high lakes of dirty water, there is hope. Somewhere out there is Damnation Festival. Continue reading

ALBUM REVIEW: Mayhem – Daemon

Twenty-five years on from De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas (Deathlike Silence) and Norwegian Black Metal act Mayhem still face the unenviable task of living up to their infamous debut. Steeped in arson and murder, the legend of De Mysteriis… will never be surpassed, but with new album Daemon (Century Media), the band have arguably crafted their finest collection of songs since that tumultuous time. 

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