Butterfly’s full-length debut isn’t the least bit shy about its Seventies Rock inspirations. That is made immediately apparent with the cover art contrasting Vikings and a mystical title with an innocuous band name, but the music plays out like a grab-bag of Montrose, Uriah Heep, and Budgie among others. Its free-spirited attitude is comparable to their contemporaries in Freeways and one can occasionally detect hints of otherworldly haziness in line with Tanith and Brimstone Coven. Continue reading
Bad news for Judas Priest fans in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Their show tomorrow night, June 5th at Broadmoor Arena is canceled, due to illness. Rob Halford is suffering Bronchitis and cannot perform. He has been fighting the illness for over a week and now doctors have told him he needs full rest so his voice can recover. The bands’ North American tour, with special guests Uriah Heep, is scheduled to resume on Saturday, June 8 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Continue reading
Heavy Metal legends Judas Priest have booked a new North American tour for next spring. Uriah Heep will open all shows. Kicking off on May 3 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida and wrapping up on June 29 at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. The band will also perform at festivals in the USA, like the just-announced Welcome To Rockville. Priest continues to support their album Firepower (Epic) from earlier this year. Continue reading
Mid-September officially sees the start of Crazy Season for album releases… But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered here at Ghost Cult with our round-up of some of this weeks and last weeks albums that may just have escaped your attention, for better or for worse…
Hailing from the east of Germany, Thuringia to be precise, and purveyors of psychedelic doom are Motorowl. Their new album Atlas follows in the footsteps of their 2016 debut Om Generator (both on Century Media Records): metal with fuzzy guitars, doom-laden riffs, meandering, sometimes spacey, sometimes carnivalesque, keyboards and a thick sense of melancholy. Continue reading
Remastering albums is a tricky business. For every perceived mistake or fault which gets cleaned up, smoothed over, or completely erased; for every tweak or alteration to the mix, there will always be listeners who prefer the original, no matter what. Trying to improve a recording can often lead to losing the charm of the original, and so as much as record label Nuclear Blast have given a significant portion of Blind Guardian‘s discography a deserved facelift here, the results will lie purely in the eye (or in this case, the ear) of the beholder. Continue reading
Congrats to the iconic King Diamond and his wife, Livia Zita, who are now the proud parents of a son named Byron. Continue reading
Over the course of the past year or so, many metal heads in the New England area have went from never seeing the great King Diamond, to seeing the master twice in a short few months. However, November 24th was a night that will stick out to all fans whether this was the third time, fifth time, or even the first time seeing King. This time around, we were all treated to the entire Abigail album from front to back, live right in front of our very eyes. As if that was not sweet enough the thrash titans, Exodus, were slated to open the night and get everyone up out of the Orpheum seats.
Exodus kicked off the night to a fair mix of old and new tracks to get all of the fans, young and old, warmed up for what promised to be a great night. The Boston crowd enjoyed newer tracks from the thrash legends including: ‘Blood In, Blood Out’ , ‘Body Harvest’ , and ‘Blacklist’. The longer tenured fans of course got the typical (of late) three track closing rotation of ‘Bonded by Blood’ , ‘The Toxic Waltz’ , and ‘Strike of the Beast’. The only downside of the performance was the inability to actually do the Toxic Waltz while standing in place amongst the rows of seats.
After a short intermission, and ‘The Wizard’ by Uriah Heep over the PA, King Diamond and his cohorts made their way to the stage. King started off the set with a short selection of King Diamond classics like ‘Welcome Home’ , one of my favorites ‘Halloween’ , and ‘Eye of the Witch’. Of course, what would be a King Diamond show without some Mercyful Fate covers? King was happy to oblige with staple ‘Come to the Sabbath’ and a slight change to the usual covers with the epic ‘Melissa’. And then it started, ‘Funeral’ over the PA while the band switched out instruments. It was time for Abigail! Druids came out with a casket with the infant corpse of Abigail inside to which King was happy to hold up the crowd in praise. Track by track the story of Abigail went. From ‘Arrival’ and ‘The Family Ghost’ to ‘Omens’ and ‘Abigail’, the Boston metal heads sang/screeched (and I mean screeched out those falsettos) each and every lyric to each song. But, like all great things, ‘Black Horsemen’ had come and gone as the band said their goodbyes, threw out guitar pics, and made their exit until the next time.
Most would say seeing any band three times in a year is too much. Some days I may even agree to that sentiment, but not towards King Diamond. Even if this was not the Abigail Tour and just another headlining run for the King and Company, I would still have gone. If you have yet to make it to a King Diamond show, you should feel bad and then catch the next one!
WORDS BY TIM LEDIN
While preparing to launch her second band and release her second debut album in as many years, Johanna Sadonis, formerly of The Oath and now of Lucifer, spoke to Ghost Cult about the authentic sound of Lucifer I and why the music of yesteryear is at the core of her bands’ identity.
Lucifer I (Rise Above) has a very authentic, organic, warm 70’s sound to it. Was it difficult, in this age of Pro-tools and plug-ins to find place that would allow you to record in an older style way, and someone skilled enough to do it?
“I didn’t look in the places you would normally look for a band that plays rock and metal. I was working at a record store and there was a guy who plays session bass for a lot of different bands and he said he had to go to the studio to record something with guitar player from The Swans for a side project. He came back with 4 or 5 songs and he played them over the big system in the record shop. And I said “It sounds amazing. It sounds like a 1960’s Serge Gainsbourg record!”, so I asked how on earth did he do this in one day, and he said the guy they recorded with (Ingo Krauss) was a true wizard!”
“He actually used to run Conny Plank’s studio, the old hero of the Krautrock scene, and he told me it was full of vintage equipment, so I asked for the contact. It was good to take it out of the context of going to one of the normal metal studios.”
“It was a good thing to do. He did an amazing job and we were able to record live. You don’t have clicks so you have an organic flow to the music, and it can be a magic trick to have that. So, we went to an old studio with all this vintage equipment, and it sounds so much more organic, and you’re able to record live and you hear the little flaws. It’s not over-produced because that would take the life out of it.”
Occult rock is a very “in” scene to be involved in. Why do you think this is, and do you associate with the other bands coming from a similar vibe?
“I’m sure it’s popular for similar reasons. People realise where the real gems are lying. It’s hard in rock and metal to reinvent the wheel and (when people try to) there have been such abominations of style and sub-genres that have been looming over the last couple of decades that have been quite horrible, you know? Also the horrible productions…”
“You look, and you have to return to the roots. But a lot of bands do that, bands that have been around for a long time, maybe during the 90’s they had a horrible phase trying out other stuff that was in fashion then, but now they return to their raw roots, because they realise where it’s at.”
Ha! I always think of Paradise Lost when you talk about bands doing things like that. I loved the earlier stuff, then they took some musical decisions I didn’t like, and I lost touch, though I’m pleased to hear they’re supposed to be heading back to their earlier sound…
“I guess you have to do that if you play music for a long time because you don’t want to repeat yourself. But, hopefully after you make a horrible album you return to what’s right! But everyone does it – even Sabbath with the last album tried to re-invent the old feeling. Whether it worked or not is another question… Or Danzig, the last album is much more back to the roots and to a raw production.”
“I don’t compare Lucifer to other contemporary bands, even those in the same genre although I am friends with many of those bands. I respect their stuff, and we look back to the old influences. I’d rather have a band looking up to those old classics than trying to copy the copy of a copy.”
What is the attraction of a musical style and aesthetic that is older than you are?
“It’s part of a long journey. Being a metalhead for more than 20 years, and going through various different phrases I started with classic metal, of course, but then I went really into death and black and doom. But then when you get older and you start to open your mind a little more, you start to dig more into the historical paths of music.”
“When you’re a music nerd, you start digging, and I came to realize all the bands were based on these classic bands that have been there for 50 years, and you examine why have these bands been here for all this time. Why are Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep classic bands and so good? If you’re a music lover or musician you hear all that and it’s all genuine.”
“So, here I am, at this stage in my life and I have the taste of a 56 year-old man, you know!”
It’s weird, isn’t it, when you come round to listening to the same music as your parents did…
“Exactly! My Dad listened to Deep Purple, and my Mum was into rock n’roll. When I was 13/14, I thought this is not cool! You don’t want to listen to what your parents listen to, because you’re brought up with it. It’s not something you can find your own individual space, because your parents are there too. For me, it was Metallica and Danzig when I was 13. Later on you grow up and you realize “Oh shit! It’s amazing what my parents listen to! Give me all your records!!””
“So, now I listen to my parents records!”
You’d be forgiven for thinking The Dagger, a band featuring former members of Grave and Dismember, might be a bit scuzzy. A bit riffy. A bit, denim-jackety. And, well, a bit Death Metally. You’d be forgiven, but you’d be very wrong. The Dagger (Century Media) swims in a different pool of influences to the past escapades of its protagonists, swinging its pants at Classic Rock and proto-NWOBHM with plenty of Deep Purple, Sin After Sin era Priest and The Who prevalent in the sound.
The first thing to note is the astonishing attention to detail. The Dagger doesn’t just reference these bands or that period, it has been painstakingly crafted to sound like it was recorded in the 70’s, finding those classic warm Fender guitar tones, that fuzzy bass groove and that thick Ian Paice pound and tickle on the skins. Vocalist Jani Kataja could well be singing on Very ‘eavy… Very ‘umble both in terms of his own delivery, but also in terms of the meticulously recreated rock sound playing around him.
But life is not all aesthetics, and while The Dagger has the tones, does it have the tunes? Opener ‘Ahead Of You All’ suggests so, as does the Mott The Hoople inspired ‘1978’ with its tales of weekend warriors and the Iommi worshipping Mob Rules of ‘Dogs Of Warning’. Elsewhere ‘Electric Dawn’ could have been one of the songs Iron Maiden left behind at the Ruskin Arms as they strode towards a recording contract, and ‘Call Of 9’ is all Blackmore stomp and swagger.
But for all the smiles it induces, for all that it is an enjoyable way to spend 45 minutes, you can’t but think that while the sounds can be replicated, for all the homage being paid, one thing that can’t be copied or magicked out of nowhere is greatness. Where are the distinctive, iconic riffs, and timeless choruses of the Purples, Rainbows, Mountains? The Dagger are a good band, losing the listener in a bygone age, but this album holds no ‘Speed King’, let alone a ‘Child In Time’. (Try and) sound like the true legends and you will invariable come off the worse for the comparison.
But, when the twin guitars bring in ‘Inside The Monolithic Dome’ like Saxon’s ‘Strangers In The Night’, or ‘The Dark Cloud’ dances like it belongs on a Di’Anno era Maiden album, The Dagger can be forgiven their indulgences in paying reverence to their forebears.