STREAMING CONCERT REVIEW: Down’s Quarter Century Throwdown

To celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of their now-iconic debut album NOLA (Elektra Records), the band Down originally planned a tour at select venues worldwide before a global pandemic shut down the normal cadence of life as any of us ever knew it for the foreseeable future. Not to be silenced on such a momentous occasion, the guys took to the stage at a private location instead to stream The Quarter Century Throwdown as a global virtual concert. Featuring vocalist Phil Anselmo, guitarists Pepper Keenan and Kirk Windstein, drummer Jimmy Bower and Pat Bruders on bass, the event aired live with two encore performances in the days following the livestream for ticket holders.

Continue reading

Down Announces Twenty-Fifth Anniversary NOLA Full-Length With Exclusive Livestream 

Stoner Metal supergroup Down has announced a livestream concert to commemorate 25 years since the release of Nola (Electra). The band will play the full debut album at The Quarter Century Throwdown, the high production, multi-camera event will take place August 29th at 6:00pm EST using cutting-edge streaming technology to create a one-of-a-kind virtual concert experience. The show will be rebroadcast August 30th at 6:00pm EST until September 1st at 6:00pm EST. 10% of ticket sales will be donated to the United Houma Nation (UHN), a state-recognized tribe of approximately 17,000 members residing within a six-parish (county) service area encompassing 4,570 square miles. The six parishes — Terrebonne, Lafourche, Jefferson, St. Mary, St. Bernard, and Plaquemines — are located along the Southeastern coast of Louisiana. Within this area, distinct tribal communities are situated among the interwoven bayous and canals where Houmas traditionally earned a living. In addition, 10% of proceeds raised from a special, limited DOWN/United Houma Nation t-shirt will also be donated to the UHN. For preorders , click the link below. Down is vocalist Philip Anselmo, guitarists Pepper Keenan and Kirk Windstein, drummer Jimmy Bower, and bassist Pat Bruders.  Continue reading

Remembering Reed Mullin, Drummer for Corrosion of Conformity (1966-2020)

So far, 2020 has been a cruel mistress as the reaper has claimed several giants of the drumming world. One that hits us particularly hard is the sudden death of Wiliam “Reed” Mullin of Corrosion of Conformity, at the young age of 53. Reed was not only a stellar drummer and musician, but he was also almost universally loved by the Hardcore Punk, Thrash Metal, Doom and Stoner Rock community, which is both amazing and insane. It just goes to show the talent Reed had and the breadth of different styles he helped encompass with C.O.C. Equal to his impact on record and behind the drumkit and the microphone, Mullin impacted a ton of people in the scene with his kindness and sense of humor. Continue reading

Kirk Windstein to Reunite with Down for Their 25th Anniversary Tour

In a new interview with Revolver, Kirk Windstein has confirmed he will reunite with Stoner Metal supergroup Down for the bands’ upcoming 2020 shows to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the release of their debut album NOLA. Kirk stepped down from the band in 2013 to focus on Crowbar and his family life. He also has his debut solo album coming in 2020. He was replaced by Bobby Landgraf, DOWN’s former guitar tech who was previously in Gahdzilla Motor Company, a 1990s outfit also featuring Jason McMaster (Dangerous Toys, Watchtower), and Honky. Continue reading

King Creature – To The Bone EP

Full disclosure here, when I saw the words “acoustic EP”, my toes curled up so far they nestled in my intestines and set off a chain reaction of cringing and shuddering. While King Creature may have established as a sturdy, powerful, energetic Blues Rocking act of growing repute, the acoustic EP is a difficult beast to digest (even without toes clogging up the tracts), with very few examples coming close to Alice In Chains Sap / Jar of Flies (Columbia) levels, and many more being indistinguishable filler littering the bargain bin of many a record store. Continue reading

Corrosion Of Conformity Add Additional UK Tour Dates This Fall

Corrosion Of Conformity has added extra dates to their already planned UK tour with Orange Goblin, Fireball Ministry, and Black Moth. Tickets for COC headline shows in Dublin, Limerick and Belfast are on sale now. The band continues to tour behind early 2018’s excellent comeback album No Cross, No Crown (Nuclear Blast). It is their first album with Pepper Keenan since 2005’s In The Arms Of God. Continue reading

Corrosion of Conformity – No Cross No Crown

It has been 13 years since Pepper Keenan’s last album with Corrosion of Conformity; 2005’s excellent and under-rated In the Arms of God (Sanctuary). In the meantime, the rest of COC ploughed on as a trio, releasing the passable pair of Corrosion of Conformity and IX (both Candlelight); two records which tried to combine their early Punk and Thrash roots with the groove-laden rock and metal of their latter days, to only middling success. Continue reading

Pepper Keenan Discusses His Return To Corrosion Of Conformity, “No Cross No Crown”, And More

Photo by Meg Loyal Photography

It’s been a dozen years since Corrosion Of Conformity recorded new material with Pepper Keenan at the helm, but the long wait for fans is almost over. The legends will be releasing their highly anticipated new album, No Cross No Crown, on January 12th via Nuclear Blast, and I recently got to speak with Pepper about his return to the band, the new record, and so much more. Continue reading

Blackest Of The Black Festival – Silverado, California

As the earth shook and the ground parted, so did the gates to another world open, spewing forth demons of the Blackest of the Black. Bands, fans, vendors and the occasional celebrity descended upon Oak Canyon Park—a quaint little camping spot nestled in the hills of Silverado, California—for the Blackest of the Black Festival. This gathering of the depraved and debauched was the brainchild of none other than Jersey native and trailblazer of horror punk and doom-goth-metal, Glenn Danzig. Opening day of the festival coincided with the release of Danzig’s new album, Black Laden Crown (Nuclear Blast Records), his follow-up to 2015’s Skeletons Continue reading

Bloodstock Open Air 2016 Part 2: Live At Catton Hall- Walton-on-Trent UK

Bloodstock Open Air 2016 ghostcultmag

 

Part 2

After a wobbly Saturday morning start, Akercocke carried on from where they left off a few years ago, improving and gaining/regaining fans as they went along. Rotting Christ sounded fantastic, The King is Blind completely owned the second stage for forty brutal minutes, and Fear Factory treated the crowd to all of 1995’s Demanufacture album while singer Burton C Bell tried his best to keep his voice from cracking. Paradise Lost played a set filled with heavier material, and Gojira stunned the majority of the audience with a set that not even headliners Mastodon could come close to touching. A typically eclectic set, the Atlantan four-piece struggled to get any momentum going, and even with the aid of some fancy video screens, only occasionally showed signs of being genuine headliners. A new version of old UK thrashers Acid Reign also managed to steal Mastodon’s thunder all the way from the second stage, playing one of the fastest and most enjoyable thrash sets of the festival while singer, ‘H’, looked resplendent in his shocking pink suit and top hat.

Gojira, photo credit Bloodstock Open Air on Facebook

Gojira, photo credit Bloodstock Open Air on Facebook

And so to Sunday, and to the wonders of Ghost Bath. Only possessing the vaguest of knowledge about this band, I was simply unprepared for the next forty highly confusing (and occasionally eye-wateringly funny) minutes. Imagine a Black Metal band fronted by the shrieking goat from YouTube and you’d have a good idea of what I witnessed that morning.

Although the pedigree of the members of Metal Allegiance is not in question, I’m afraid the same cannot be said of their collective efforts. Cover version after horrible cover version was mauled and discarded, as people turned to each other in disbelief and disappointment. Playing all of 1996 album Nemesis Divina in full, Black Metallers Satyricon put in one of the performances of the weekend, even in the blazing sunshine. Finland’s Whispered took to the stage in their Japanese costumes and make-up and proceeded to win over an entire tent of confused onlookers. Technical Thrashers Vektor followed and even more people left with smiling faces. Symphony X gave everyone on the main stage plenty to sing along to, but Anthrax obliterated their memory in seconds. The last time the New York outfit played here in 2013, it was all fairly average, maybe even disappointing. But not this time. They were on fire from the second they launched into ‘You Gotta Believe’ until they left the stage to ‘Indians’. Nobody even cared that they dropped a couple of favourites in order to showcase newer material.

Anthrax, photo credit Gary Alcock

Anthrax, photo credit Gary Alcock

Even headliners Slayer struggled to keep up. Again, like Anthrax, it was a much improved performance from 2013, but things seemed to go a little awry in the latter stages of their set. For some reason, ‘Hell Awaits’ became an instrumental after the first chorus, and Tom’s demeanour changed from happy and smiling to fairly disinterested around the same time. Still, when they came back out for the encore of ‘South of Heaven’, ‘Raining Blood’, and ‘Angel of Death’ everything was quickly forgiven and forgotten. It was left up to New Orleans band Goatwhore to close the weekend on the second stage, and they did so imperiously with one of the loudest, heaviest hours of the festival.

Slayer, photo credit Gary Alcock

Slayer, photo credit Gary Alcock

From the almost comical amount of crowd surfers (Acid Reign alone clocked 263 in one hour – an average of over four per minute) to the spontaneous chant of “MAN IN YELLOW”, directed to one of the security staff stood on the scaffolding before Slayer, to the glorious weather and generally contagious good feeling of everyone in attendance (even a lot of the campsite toilets were still usable by the Monday morning!), there was only one place to be last week.

There were a few odd little problems, of course. Since the festival ended, a story has emerged that a girl was sexually assaulted in her tent, and the amount of moshpit idiocy seems to be on the increase again. Not, this time, from the shirtless circle-pitters and kung-fu merchants, but this time from the people who stand on the barrier all day, doing their best to punch and deliberately tear clumps of hair from any crowd surfer (male and female) unlucky enough to invade their personal space as they get dragged over the front. Making sure at all times, of course, that security have a firm hold of their target first so that they can’t retaliate.

The worst thing this year though was the repeated loop of the same bloody music videos on the big screen all weekend. When I arrived in the main arena on the Friday, I said “hey, this new Wormrot song’s great. I’ll definitely be getting the album”. By the time Saturday evening came around, I never wanted to hear fucking thing again. And as for the constant exposure to the videos of Wakrat and Blackberry Smoke, let’s just say that if I ever meet either of those bands in person, then it won’t end pleasantly for either of them.

Overall though, and yet again, Bloodstock Open Air was a roaring success.

Roll on next year.

BLOODSTOCK 2016 REVIEW PART I

WORDS BY GARY ALCOCK