Heavy Metal legends Judas Priest has just shared a new video touting their nomination fo the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. Packed with their greatest songs and a ton of facts about the bands’ fifty-year card-career makes the case for the band rightly deserving the honor. Not only is “The Priest” one of the longest-running original heavy metal bands ever, elected to multiple Halls of Fame by press and fans, but also as relevant as ever with their 2018 album Firepower (Epic Records). They will celebrate their anniversary as a band next year with the 50 Years of Heavy Metal tour, headline dates, opening for Ozzy Osbourne, and headlining festivals such as Wacken Open Air. The band is nominated for the hall along with other rock and metal icons Soundgarden, Nine Inch Nails, Motörhead (both on the ballot for the first time), Nine Inch Nails, Thin Lizzy, Todd Rundgren, Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk, as well as stiff competition from Pop, Rock and Rap icons such as possible entrants Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, Dave Matthews Band, The Doobie Brothers, the Notorious B.I.G., Pat Benatar, T-Rex, and the iconic singer (and likely lock to get in) Whitney Houston. Judas Priest is doing solidly in the early fan voting (fifth behind DMB, Pat Benatar, The Doobies, and Soundgarden), but the fan vote barely counts in the end and is a symbolic gesture. Continue reading
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame evokes a mixed reaction from hard rock and metal fans, but every year like Charlie Brown and the football, we try to score a win. The nominees for this year’s induction includes Judas Priest, Soundgarden and Motörhead (both on the ballot for the first time), Nine Inch Nails, Todd Rundgren, Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk, Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, Dave Matthews Band, the Doobie Brothers, the Notorious B.I.G., Pat Benatar, T-Rex, Thin Lizzy, and Whitney Houston. The fan-vote is often debated publicly about who should be in or not, but has very little weight in the final voting and is a symbolic gesture. Continue reading
If you are like us, you spent the weekend binge-watching Season 2 of the amazing Mindhunter series on Netflix. The followup to the Emmy Award-winning 2017 series is a drama based on the real events of the founding of the Behavioral Science Unit of the FBI in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Produced and sometimes directed by David Fincher (S7ven, Fight Club, Zodiac) and starring Jonathan Goff, Holt McCallany, and Anna Torv, the main characters are FBI profilers and they interview serial killers and investigate cases during the show. As they did in season one, the music of the time plays a huge role with the soundtrack, sound design, songs heard in the show. Music in season two features artists such as Blondie, The Doobie Brothers, Peter Gabriel, Talking Heads, Willie Nelson, Marianne Faithful, Pretenders, The Brothers Johnson, Boston, Joan Armatrading, Kenny Rogers, Red Rider, The Police, Patti Smith Group, Christopher Cross, Sammy Davis Jr., Gary Numan, Pat Benatar and more. Even a Charles Manson song is heard in Episode 5 which features Manson himself portrayed by Damon Herriman, who also plays Manson in Quentin Tarantino’s current film Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. Jam out to this playlist! Continue reading
Named after a character from David Lynch’s hit TV show Twin Peaks and hailing from Bergen, Norway are Audrey Horne. Blackout (Nuclear Blast), their first album in four years, follows on from the previous record Pure Heavy (Napalm) in its happy embracing of classic rock and metal influences, much like contemporaries Black Star Riders and Deadlord. A far cry from the Marilyn Manson and Alice in Chains friendly, jagged grunge of their 2005 debut No Hay Banda (Candlelight); Iron Maiden, Thin Lizzy and Pat Benatar are now the primary reference points. Continue reading
In case you haven’t been following the story of The Agonist in the last year, they were in the unenviable position of making a change in the voice and face of the band when mainstay Alissa White-Gluz was hand-picked as the new Arch Enemy singer. Even more tricky… the band seemed to not want her to go, as an upstart band on the same label as Arch Enemy, so you might say the band was in a perilous situation. On top of that, the band was facing pivotal album number four in their career, so to say they had a challenge before them on many fronts, would be an understatement.
However, the band triumphantly rose up and actually created a release with Eye of Providence (Century Media) that stands on equal footing with the bands finest work to date. New singer Vicky Psarakis added last summer injected a her own style, while not changing what the bands make-up musically was at all. Her screaming is on par with White-Gluz, with a brassy contralto, mid-range singing voice; not unlike the best female rock singers in history such as Ann Wilson, Pat Benatar or Linda Perry. This gives Psarakis a grit to her delivery that adds to the emotion of the tracks. Many of the hallmarks of the bands’ past are present on Eye… : anthemic metalcore songs, guitar wizardry, killer double-kick beats, and the pristine production of of long-time producer Christian Donaldson (Crypstopsy).
And the songs! This album has strong, well-written tracks, each with their own identity, but firmly in the tradition they have had. From the blistering opener ‘Gates of Horn and Ivory,’ ‘My Witness, Your victim’, ‘I Endevour’, ‘Perpetual Notion’, ‘A Necessary Evil’ and many more, this album runs the gamut from thrash, prog and rock over and over again. Most of the album carries the positive and impassioned messages associated with them. Acknowledging that it is really hard to lose a singer, especially one so popular with fans, The Agonist has surely proved a lot of doubters wrong here.
Now apparently, this latest effort from Leaves Eyes vocalist Liv Kristine has been sold to us as ‘Ambient doom’. I can safely say that no version of doom has been anywhere near Vervain (Napalm) but within is a sound of some melancholy, despite adding only a touch of gravity to the more expected symphonic template.
Opening track ‘My Wilderness’ houses a sense of despair, lush keys creating a stirring atmosphere while Liv’s heavenly tones are accompanied by haunting backing vocals. The ensuing ‘Love Decay’ features dramatic 80s goth vocals from End of Green‘s Michelle Darkness, adding to the dark pop-rock feel which is given further piquancy by an spiky riff and crashing drums. The title track’s strange synths and gentle but driving beat underpin a gorgeous vocal which is Tori Amos-like at its height: indeed the quirky Goddess is evinced on a number of tracks here, not least in the roughed-up dub of ‘Creeper’ and closer ‘Oblivious’, both full of sparing leads and woolly key fills in the worst traditions of 80s AOR.
It’s a plaintive sound, that largely gothic instrumentation and dark, icicle-drop keys giving the style expected to the Benatar-ish ‘Stronghold of Angels’, which is given a harder edge by a wonderful contribution from Doro Pesch and some heady harmonies. Though devoid of extremity, even weaker moments such as the occasionally feeble ‘Hunters’ are given a little oomph by Kristine’s soaring, crystal-clear voice, full of emotion; the layered backing vocals; and those ‘riff and rhythm’-laden choruses. There’s a hint of Kate Bush also on the edgy ballad ‘Lotus’, evincing a bitter coffee in a lonely Parisian cafe.
There’s an unmistakable air of European rock about it all, even when that riff kicks in, yet it’s emotive despite the clinical over-production and delicious for devotees of heartfelt operatic rock. Liv’s honeyed notes are effortless, even aching on the mournful ‘Two and a Heart’, and overall it’s fairly pleasant though not the sort for rough old me. Catchy, sweet, and choc-full of darkness and melody, it’s Gothic Symphonia with an even softer heart.