More sad news as we move into the second month of the year. Legendary post-Punk and Brit Rock guitarist and producer Andy Gil has died after a short respiratory illness in London. He was just 64 years old. As a founding member of Gang of Four, Andy left an indelible mark on music with his style and songcraft. Gang of Four’s first few albums are seminal works in post-Punk and New Wave music and they continued to inspire and affect bands long after they were inactive in the scene. A ground-breaking composer and producer, he worked with artists including the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Stranglers, the Futureheads, Michael Hutchence, Bono, Therapy? and the Young Knives. The band had reunited (with Gill as the only original member) in recent years to much acclaim. His band has released a tribute via their publicist. Continue reading
Check out all of today’s new releases in the music world! Continue reading
Of all the bands that came to prominence in the 1990s, not many were as cantankerous or wilfully stubborn as Northern Ireland three-piece Therapy? Their extant determination and refusal to bend to the various vagaries and winds of fashion was part of the reason why fans took them to their hearts so passionately and may also explain why, nearly three decades later, they have endured. Continue reading
Overlooking their first three widely celebrated albums (at least for now), the latest remasters courtesy of Noise Records arrive in the form of the final two studio releases from thrashers, Coroner. Continue reading
Amplified Open Air Festival is set to take place at Quarrydowns, Gloucestershire UK from 6-8 of June. The fest had announced it’s full line-up, save for one band, the now announced Doyle. The hardcore punk and thrash metal legends’ namesake band will appear as the “very special guests” on the bill, as the band continues his As We Die: World Abomination Tour. Doyle joins the lineup of Soil, Evil Scarecrow, Therapy?, Dust Bolt, Jayce Lewis, Warrior Soul, Power Quest, Jinjer, Psycho Stick and many more. Ticket are available at the links below. Continue reading
As we dash towards the holidays and the end of the year Ghost Cult is feeling good about this season of giving. So we are giving our fans a chance to get to know our partners, peers, and friends from bands in the world of music. They will chime in with some guest blogs, end of year lists, and whatever else is on their minds as we pull the plug on 2015. Today we have José Carlos Santos, who writes a lot about music, being Senior Writer for both Terrorizer and Rock-a-Rolla UK, Chief of staff for LOUD! from Portugal, shared with us his favorite 10 albums of 2015.
1. Solefald – World Metal. Kosmopolis Sud (Indie Recordings)
Pushing the envelope isn’t the half of it. The first song on this truly revolutionary record is called ‘World Music With Black Edges’, and that’s exactly what it is. It should be just about all the guideline you’ll need before embarking on this journey. Black metal, electronics, Frank Zappa and African sounds, among many, many other things, are thrown into a free-flowing, astoundingly cohesive whole. In an age where having two songs that don’t sound like each other is already considered “genre-hopping”, Solefald are one of the few bands worthy of the term avant-garde.
2. Royal Thunder – Crooked Doors (Relapse)
The best pure, true rock album in years, Crooked Doors sees Royal Thunder fulfill the potential they have always shown, and move up to the pantheon of the greats. It feels and sounds timeless – if you hand it to someone and say that it’s a lost 1978 classic, it’ll make the same sense as if you’ll tell them it’s 2024’s album of the year you just brought back from the future in your time machine. A great song is a great song, and they’re all great here.
3. My Dying Bride – Feel The Misery (Peaceville)
My Dying Bride are back to the masterpieces – 14 years after their last truly great record, The Dreadful Hours, Feel The Misery recaptures the tragic sorrow and the decadent grandeur we’ve always loved from them.
4. Revenge – Behold.Total.Rejection (Season Of Mist)
Because fuck you.
5. Dødheimsgard – A Umbra Omega (Peaceville)
The other band alongside Solefald that warrants the proper use of the avant-garde tag, Dødheimsgard have given us a mysterious, shape shifting record, full of dark nuances and details that we’ll still be discovering come the time for the 2016 lists. The best thing Vicotnik’s done since ‘Written In Waters’ – and yes, I’m including ‘666 International’ in that appraisal.
6. Tau Cross – Tau Cross (Relapse)
Amebix are no more, long live Tau Cross. Not only is this the logical successor to the astounding ‘Sonic Mass’, it’s also enriched by the extra talents of Voivod’s Michel “Away” Langevin and crusty guitarists Jon Misery and Andy Lefton, all of them lead to greatness by the might of Rob Miller, who is still one of the most unique songwriters in extreme music.
7. Sigh – Graveward (Candlelight)
Sometimes you’ll have to pause halfway through ‘Graveward’ and wonder how is this possible – roughly five million tracks are all going in a different direction, all at once, and yet everything makes perfect sense, there is order and flow in the middle of the craziness and chaos. Alongside Solefald and Dødheimsgard, you’ve got enough insanity this year to wreck your brain for years to come.
8. Therapy? – Disquiet (Amazing Record Company)
Most of you might only know Therapy?’s most popular phase, but the true essence of the band has been in their last four or five fiery, adventurous and energetic records. ‘Disquiet’ is the best of them all, a mix between instant punk-ish gratification and deep, deceptively simple songwriting that’ll allow for multiple repeat plays without a hint of exhaustion. Also, closer ‘Deathstimate’ is a serious contender for song of the year, or decade, or whatever.
9. Goatsnake – Black Age Blues (Southern Lord)
It’s been a 15 year wait, but for each year of absence there’s a kickass bluesy riff that’ll stay in your head forever. Goatsnake just picked up where they left off, literally – the first song is called ‘Another River To Cross’, a nod to ‘Flower Of Disease’s closer ‘The River’.
10. Steve Von Till – A Life Unto Itself (Neurot)
Rarely has such a subtle and generally quiet record packed such a thunderous emotional punch – the Neurosis guitarist/vocalist might present himself in the sparser, most minimalist fashion, just one man lost in the woods with an acoustic guitar, some effects and his coarse, haunting voice, but these songs will reach down into your heart and squeeze it with the force of a thousand men.
Leeds’ alt.Rockers Hawk Eyes have successfully married US Discord Records style with off-beat prog melodies to good effect. Everything Is Fine (Pledge/Red Vole) is the sound of the band putting their best foot forward and maturing into a more versatile outfit striving to rise to the top of the Brit-rock pack.
The former Chickenhawk have mastered the blend of pop melodies without sacrificing the deliciously punchy nature of their songs. The driving melodies of nineties post-hardcore are injected with a shot of sludge and mathrock passion to great effect. Angular riffs underpin soaring harmonies which give the likes of ‘The Ambassador’ an urgency reminiscent of At The Drive-In.
The exhilarating rush of ‘Die Trying’ with its soaring chorus is another highlight, a deceptively addictive earworm which embeds itself in your cerebral cortex with its catchy lyrics full of righteous determination. The air of confidence the band has gained is never more evident that on the bruising ‘I Never Lose’, which rides an urgent riff and another great chorus.
In the four years since their Ideas (Vinyl Junkie) opus, Hawk Eyes dogged approach to touring has clearly benefited them, honing their craft through touring with rock journeymen such as Therapy?. Their duel vocals are used to great effect and while the maverick spirit of acts like The Melvins hovers over this it never threatens to extinguish the rabid pop nous of tracks like ‘The Ballad Of Michael McGlue’ which flies high on a rousing call and response chorus which declares “I don’t think God is gonna change his mind”.
Gleefully delivering agitated alt rock wrapped in easily swallowed bubblegum melodies Everything Is Fine is a stirring collection which warrants several visits, and the songs flow superbly from one riotous track to the next making this an intoxicating adrenaline rush which you will want to experience frequently.
“Happiness is a risky business” they spit on ‘Terribly Quelled’; it may be one they have to get used to if they continue to progress in such promising fashion.
Sunday sees the sun come out again, and the weekend rapidly coming to an end. To ease the pain of Sonisphere being over for another year, ska-punk legends Reel Big Fish run riot on the Bohemia stage with a setlist made up of happy-go-lucky, bouncy ska hits. Disappointingly, the sound cut out for ‘Where Have You Been’, causing the audience to flit between chanting to get the sound back on as soon as possible, to helping the band out singing along word for word when the chorus kicks in. The ever notorious ‘S.R’ (‘Suburban Rhythm’) and the bands penchant for playing parts of the song in varying genres throughout the duration gives fans a chance to skank, mosh and any other form of dance that tickles their fancy.
Boston-Irish punks Dropkick Murphys are next, their whisky soaked bar room anthems in full swing today, kicking off with the well suited ‘The Boys Are Back’ before following it up with raucous renditions of ‘Black Velvet Band’, ‘Johnny I Hardly Knew Ya’ and ‘Shipping Up To Boston’. Despite a hefty collection of songs from previous albums, the Celtic boys opt for playing a fair few from their 2013 album Signed & Sealed In Blood, and it’s a credit to the guys that these tracks are as well received as ones that have been around for years, ‘Rose Tattoo’ being a notable favourite of the crowd.
Over at the Apollo stage, grunge legends Alice In Chains are in full swing, singer William DuVall once again proving his worth as he throws himself around the stage, his vocals mixing perfectly with guitarist Jerry Cantrell’s harmonies. ‘Dam That River’, ‘Man in the Box’ and ‘Stone’ all make obvious appearances in the set, sounding as good now as they ever did back in the day. After their comeback five years ago, Alice In Chains certainly set the record straight for any disbelievers whose opinons may have ever swayed towards their comeback being an unsuccessful one.
Finally, Metallica bring the weekend to a blinding close, the songs they perform chosen entirely by Sonisphere attendees and fans who’ve spent the last few months casting their votes in the run up to the festival, some of whom were invited on-stage to announce them to the audience. Obviously, there were the odd grumble here and there as some songs are cut from their usual set list, but in all honesty, it’s hard to argue with the likes of ‘Enter Sandman’, ‘One’, ‘Nothing Else Matters’ and all the other hits they cram into their two hour performance. It’s a shame that the screens at each side of the stage were unfortunately hindered by the lack of backdrop due to some issues earlier on in the day, meaning that it wasn’t until dark that those of us vertically challenged and/or stood further to the back were able to watch the performance properly. Striding back on stage for their encore of ‘Whiskey In The Jar’, James Hetfield announces ‘…And Justice For All’ as the song that had won the vote from the ongoing polls, before ‘Seek and Destroy’ brings the main stage to a close for another year.
With just enough left in our vocal chords to have a sing along to some classic 90’s grunge, The Defiled top off the weekend with their ‘Nirvana Defiled’ set. Playing Kurt Cobain, singer Stitch pays homage and does justice to the raspy, gravelly vocals that Cobain was notorious for, as well as pulling off a performance whilst seemingly a little bit too tipsy. Playing the part of Courtney Love, The AvD wanders the stage in a skimpy dress as his band members crash their way through ‘Rape Me’, ‘Lithium’, ‘Heart Shaped Box’ before ending with the obvious choice ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’.
WORDS: EMMA QUINLAN
PHOTOS: COURTESY OF SONISPHERE (WITH PERMISSION)
With the dawn of Saturday morning comes the rain, but if ever there was a band to provide an antidote to the grey skies, it’s British classics Chas & Dave. Though somewhat hard to grasp that the Cockney legends are sharing the stage with the likes of Slayer and Carcass, there’s no doubt that Chas & Dave’s back catalogue of hits such as ‘Gertcha’, ‘Rabbit’ and ‘The Sideboard Song’ is the perfect way to ease those hangovers and build you up for the rest of the days music.
On the opposing Apollo stage, Ghost take to the stage. A band notoriously ridiculed for their ghoulish garb, they’ve still drawn a large crowd to watch their own brand of heavy doom metal. With a set list severely lacking in any major stand out hits, Papa Emeritus and his Nameless Ghouls still manage to keep the attention of the crowd, the grim grey skies providing the perfect backdrop to witness this Swedish six piece at their best.
Over in the Bohemia tent, Finnish glam metallers Reckless Love welcome an eager crowd in out of the rain, singer Olli Herman sending the girls insane with his leather clad hips thrusting and gyrating as he belts out ‘Animal Attraction’, ‘On The Radio’ and ‘Beautiful Bomb’. Akin to an ever so slightly more serious Steel Panther, Reckless Love certainly know how to fill a tent with both a huge audience and blistering, ear splitting hair metal.
Frank Turner makes his Sonisphere debut, and he clearly couldn’t be any happier that he’s got the chance to coincide this with performing on the same stage as his idols Iron Maiden, a fact that he makes no attempt at hiding throughout his set. It’s a shame then, that he plays to a disappointingly uninterested crowd, save for a handful of die hard fans down the front. Thankfully, it turns out that Frank and his Sleeping Souls put on a rip roaring performance regardless; from opening track ‘Photosynthesise’ to the ever poignant ‘Long Live The Queen’, right until set closer ‘Four Simple Words’.
Despite only playing their last ever gig barely a year and a half ago, Hundred Reasons regroup to play their rescheduled Sonisphere show after the last one was cancelled along with the whole festival back in 2012, with none other than ‘Ideas Above Our Station’ in it’s entirety. The album, released back in ’02, is wonderfully nostalgic; ageless songs such as ‘Answers’, ‘Falter’ and climactic closing song ‘Avalanche’ cause widespread sing-alongs across the entire crowd. It’s hard to walk away from the Saturn stage after watching such a performance knowing that there’ll be nothing from the Hundred Reasons camp any time soon, but it does instil hope in the hearts of their fans that this might not necessarily be a one-off show.
It’s Deftones time back over at the Apollo, and despite there being a good few moshpits and circle pits opening up nearer to the front of the stage, I find myself willing the band to end their fourteen song set by the time they’re only just halfway through. Whether it’s a combination of not knowing much of the material they played or a general lull in the afternoons atmosphere, the Californian five piece failed to entertain not only myself, but a good chunk of the audience who were stood further to the back.
Finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Saturday night at Sonisphere 2014 plays host to the final date of an epic three year tour by Iron Maiden, and what better way to end it than for it to coincide with Knebworth’s 40th anniversary of hosting live music. Pulling out the big guns with plenty of fire canons, smoke and other pyro, their setlist is a triumph; crammed with all the hits from their forty year repertoire. With his unmistakeable ‘Scream for me Knebworth!’, Bruce Dickinson tells us we’re a ‘rowdy and thirsty bunch’ before launching into classics such as ‘Moonchild’, ‘Can I Play With Madness’, ‘The Trooper’, ‘Run To The Hills’, the list is endless. Even the ever changing backdrops and various versions of mascot Eddie are overshadowed by the blazing performance that Iron Maiden put on. Even for someone who might not be their biggest fan, it’s hard not to get caught up in the show. Welcomed back onstage for their encore by a recording of a Winston Churchill speech, the band hint towards a new album in the near future, before ending the evening on ‘Sanctuary’.
WORDS: EMMA QUINLAN
PHOTOS: COURTESY OF SONISPHERE (WITH PERMISSION)
July has felt somewhat empty since Sonisphere went on a two year hiatus after the disappointing line up of 2012 caused it to be cancelled, and completely left off the festival circuit in 2013. 2014, however, sees its triumphant return to the fields of Knebworth Park July 4th-6th, coincidentally celebrating its 40th anniversary of live music held in its legendary grounds.
To honour such an occasion, Sonisphere really has pulled out the big guns headliner-wise; Friday welcomes The Prodigy to the Apollo stage for the first time, with the likes of Limp Bizkit, Band Of Skulls, Gary Numan, Anti-Flag and The Defiled playing beforehand to get you in the mood. Across other stages on Friday, there’s Electric Wizard, Bam Margera’s Fuckface Unstoppable, Lostalone, Brutality Will Prevail, Black Spiders, Glamour Of The Kill amongst so many more.
Throughout the Saturday, there’s The Sisters Of Mercy, New Model Army, Reckless Love, The Virginmarys, Bleed From Within, Alestorm, Chas & Dave, Ghost, Frank Turner and Deftones to look forward to, before you’re faced with the impossible challenge of having to choose who to watch between Slayer and legends Iron Maiden headlining the Saturn and Apollo stages respectively. But wait; what’s that? There’s no need for tough decisions, you say? Thankfully, no, as Sonisphere UK is sticking with its age old tradition of alternate stage times, so no pesky clashes between the main and second stage!
Bringing the weekend to a close on Sunday evening is none other than Metallica (By Request!). With the exception of their final song, the band have left it entirely up to festival goers to vote and decide what their setlist will be. Is there one song you’ve spent years desperate to hear them play live, and never had the chance? Well, now’s the time. Head over to http://www.metallica.com/ and cast your votes! But before the weekend is over, there’s of course Dream Theatre, Alice in Chains, Mastodon, Reel Big Fish, Dropkick Murphys, Gojira, Therapy? (playing Infernal Love in its entirety), the list just goes on and on.
Sonisphere is renowned for its diverse line ups, bringing many genres across the metal/rock/alt scene to one festival. It’s been sorely missed the last two years, so make sure you don’t miss out on what will surely prove to be one hell of a welcome home party.
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