Cradle of Filth – Wednesday 13 – Raven Black: Live at Irving Plaza 

On a chilly New York night, legions of fans gathered under the moonless
sky to witness the return of the British beasts of extermination, Cradle of Filth. They ascended to a sold-out Irving Plaza to witness the destruction during the Cryptoriana – The Second Coming Of Vice tour, which is a continuation of support for their 2017 album, Cryptoriana –The Seductiveness of Decay. Supporting the tour were Hollywood shock rockers, Wednesday 13 and LA’s own Dark Metal carnies, Raven Black. Together, they put on an unforgettable show.

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Lizzy Borden – My Midnight Things

Life after the eighties has proved difficult for Los Angeles based shock rockers Lizzy Borden. Right from their inception in 1983, the act were casually lumped in with the burgeoning LA Glam scene, but in reality owed just as much to Thrash and US Power Metal as anything else. So when over-the-top stage theatrics and bewilderingly big hair suddenly became passé, and the aforementioned genres were effectively wiped out due to the onset of grunge and the alternative scene, the band eventually succumbed and joined many others like them, and in 1996, laid down their axes for what appeared to be for the final time. Continue reading

Alice Cooper – Paranormal

After a gap of six years, legendary shock rocker Alice Cooper is back once again to give today’s youngsters a gentle, but purposeful reminder of how it’s done. At the age of 69, just a few months shy of joining the ranks of the septuagenarians, Alice is clearly in no mood to relax Continue reading

W.A.S.P. – Golgotha

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Having undergone so many changes in personnel during their 33 year career, it’s difficult to think of W.A.S.P. as anything but The Blackie Lawless Band these days. Texan frontman Lawless is (and has been for years) the only remaining member of the band which scared the pants off the PMRC and middle class parents everywhere back in the eighties.

For a while, his partnership with former guitarist and vodka receptacle Chris Holmes delivered some of the best US Heavy Metal of the 1980s, but constant upheaval helped stop the band ever making that final huge step into the big time. The one thing W.A.S.P. lacked was a consistent and definitive line-up.

Even before the release of their self-titled 1984 debut, musicians were already beginning to form a conga line outside the revolving door of W.A.S.P. HQ. Along with Lawless, change (although not as frequent as the likes of Megadeth or Anthrax) has always been the band’s only other constant.

Over the years though, that same problem which held them back actually became, for a time anyway, an advantage. As many of their contemporaries split up due to “personal and/or musical differences”, W.A.S.P. were able to carry on. In fact, after Holmes left, Lawless went onto write W.A.S.P.’s finest hour, The Crimson Idol (Capitol).

Success faded during the ’90s; raw meat shock value theatrics replaced by “Unplugged” albums, Marilyn Manson and Korn. Lawless plugged away regardless though, even experimenting with a darker, more industrial sound for a while (although that was thankfully short-lived), able to continue with a relatively successful career on his own terms.

However, a problem with being a band’s primary songwriter for such a lengthy period is a tendency towards repetition. Rewriting old songs is something Lawless has been guilty of before, and it happens again on the first track of new album, Golgotha (Napalm).

With more than a passing resemblance to ‘Crazy’ from previous album Babylon (Demolition), which in turn sounded like fan favourite ‘Wild Child’, opener ‘Scream’ possesses an unnaturally strong sense of familiarity, but it’s actually a surprisingly enjoyable one. Carbon copy or not, ‘Scream’ is a belter. ‘The Last Runaway’ is up next, a bouncy, uptempo track with an infectious chorus, and then the familiarity returns with ‘Shotgun’ and its’ ’95 NASTY’ meets The Who vibe. Things slow down a little with ‘I Miss You’, arguably one of the best slow songs Lawless has ever penned. Originally written for The Crimson Idol, it features a beautifully tortured vocal performance, and a great solo from guitarist Doug Blair. As the record continues, so does the quality. Easily the most consistent album they’ve put out for years, It’s virtually impossible to pinpoint a weak moment. And if there is one, then it certainly isn’t the title track, a seven minute epic with a chorus which sounds like Blackie sang it on his knees.

Golgotha is a W.A.S.P. album made for W.A.S.P. fans and makes you feel like you’ve slipped into an old pair of comfortable shoes. But shoes with a lot more life left in them than you originally believed.

 

7.5/10

 

GARY ALCOCK

AVATAR unleash video for Vultures Fly

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Swedish shock-rockers Avatar have set free a new visually impressive video for the third single off their acclaimed album Hail The Apocalypse (eOne), ‘Vultures Fly’.

Following the success of previous videos, ‘Vultures Fly’ sees the band once again put the effort in to produce a stylish accompaniment to the track, this time a chilling animated piece. With the title track and ‘Bloody Angels’, the previous videos, serving to raise the profile of the Goth Metal troupe, the release of the video coincides with confirmation that Avatar will support Five Finger Death Punch in the US in the coming months.

 Read our “On The Road… with Avatar” feature

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Lordi – Scare Force One

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Eight years on from their Eurovision Song Contest triumph, Lordi are on their seventh album, Scare Force One (Warners) and you’d think the joke would be stretching thinner than the invisible point of Death’s scythe by now. Yet, more than 20 years after Mr Lordi first assembled a troupe of monsters to try and take over the world, no one seems to have told the band.

And a bloody good job that is, too, because Scare Force One is a surprisingly good album. Not surprisingly good as in “ah, it’s a bit shit, but, y’know…”, but surprisingly good, as in it is packed with Alice Cooper meets King Diamond anthems, and spurts fun, stomping hard rocking metal Glasgow-kissed by a splatter of Twisted Sister.

Lordi, for those who, probably quite rightly, pay little or no attention to the Eurovision Song Contest announced themselves by decimating the competition and winning it with their ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah’s and rubber-monster outfits (I have to confess to loving Eurovision – there’s something about a plethora of cheesy EuroPop mixed with a dross of wannabe Nightwish ballads interspersed by patronising stereotypes, national folk outfits and sorely dated ditties) in 2006 with the biggest ever points total and largest winning margin. They are, fact fiends, still the only Rock band to win the contest.

Mr Lordi, with gravelled tones instantly recognisable and reminiscent of Taneli Jarva in his Sentenced days, knows how to write a catchy, hooky pop-metal song, with choruses that dig their claws into your brain and, like Critters, gnaw their way through the cerebral cortex and implant their earworming gnashers into your memory sacks.

With uptempo zombie stomps deep down the order, with only ‘The United Rocking Dead’ taking it’s mammoth foot off the pedal of quality, Scare Force One is littered with bangers that prove Lordi are much more than just a PG-13 version of GWAR, with the riotous ‘Hell Sent In The Clowns and more-infectious-than-ebola ‘She’s A Demon’ vying with ‘House of Ghosts’, a track which could easily have Lordi-ed it up (sorry) on Alice’s Trash (Epic), as pick of a deadly bunch.

Lorks a-Lordi, I can’t believe how enjoyable this is!

 

7.5/10

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STEVE TOVEY