Noise-some Notes – A Week in Listening 31st Dec 2012

More in-my-ears action for the week that commenced with Hogmanay!

Candlemass – Live Jönköping (1st LP of the Doomology Box) This is amazing. The very first Candlemass gig from 1987! The sound quality is quite rough as you would expect.  It’s an odd one because, although it’s their first show, they had already released two of the greatest albums of all-time (Epicus, Doomicus, Metallicus and Nightfall)! So… not your average debut gig.

Pentagram – First Daze Here Too These guys are becoming a Noise-some Notes mainstay! Great cover of Under My Thumb on this one. I’ve been enjoying these compilations a lot which means I now want more ‘Ram! But I have my pesky budget to think of…

Jethro Tull – Too Old To Rock and Roll, Too Young To Die LeBrain reviewed this recently so I had to give it a listen. I love Tull but, of their 70s stuff, I’ve always overlooked this one. I really enjoyed it. It was like having a new Tull album! Lots of great acoustic stuff.  Although it’s a bit short on “classics” it’s a strong album. I’ll be going back to this one.

Tygers of Pan Tang – Spellbound Or, as vocalist John Deverill might say: Spell-bah-woond. This is a great NWOBHM album and features an early appearance from superb axe-wrangler John Sykes. John Deverill’s vocals are a bit of an odd fit here though, too AOR for this type of record… despite his excellent diction.

Whitesnake – Give Me More Time (7” single) My first attempt at ripping some vinyl to mp3 and a crashingly stupid track to try it with! Cov the Gov sings so loud at the end of the tune you have to listen to the whole song to see if you got your levels right. I got there… 4 attempts later.

Praying Mantis – The Soundhouse Tapes Part 2 (12” single) Last week’s Single of the Week! And a very good one too.

Urchin – High Roller Another collection of Adrian Smith’s pre-Maiden band. Urchin were far too laid-back to fit into the nascent British Heavy Metal scene of the late 70s but there’s plenty of great ideas and playing here and it’s one of my favourite things I picked up in 2012.

Saxon – Denim and Leather, Power and the Glory and Crusader More Saxon! I just couldn’t get enough of these guys while I was on my hols over Xmas and New Year. What did you do on your holiday, HMO? Listened to SAXON! In my pants! Denim and Leather and Power and the Glory continue the band’s great run of genius songwriting but Crusader ushers in the difficult years. The title track is a fantastic epic and I enjoyed the album a lot while I was pulling down my tree! But, despite many great moments, there are hints of the American fixation that would start to heavily test the patience of the faithful. Crusader is a great album if you can overlook the dire portents.

SONG OF THE WEEK: WHO DARES BATTLE THE SARACEN? Saxon’s Crusader. That’s who.

[Saxon – Crusader]

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37 thoughts on “Noise-some Notes – A Week in Listening 31st Dec 2012”

  1. As you know I picked up Urchin this week too, so I can’t wait to give it a listen. Thanks for pointing me in that direction.

    What’s the deal with Candlemass? How did they manage to record two albums without playing a live gig?

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    1. Hope you like the Urchin CD!

      Candlemass recorded their debut (Epicus) with a singer who then decided he didn’t want to play live. They hadn’t played live at all at that point and the was more like a session singer really! But the album did pretty well so the band brought in Messiah Marcolin to sing.

      The Nightfall album came out just over a month after this first gig so it must have been mostly in the can already. They did two songs from it at the show. It was bit of a weird way to start a career!

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      1. I don’t really know the full story. The bassist writes all the songs and I guess they got a deal based on those! But for the first album they weren’t really a “band” as such.

        Really rare then but I suppose it does happen. Especially now with recording becoming so cheap you get lots of one-man bands that do Metal albums but never tour. Darkthrone gave up touring before their second album was out!

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      2. There was a Toronto band called Slash Puppet — I’ll be talking about them soon — who recorded a demo and garnered a hell of a lot of hype before playing a single gig. The demo was really good, and they sold something like 500 copies on word of mouth alone. So some cynics almost WANTED them to fail, based on the hype. But when they did their first gig they proved they had the goods and probably would have gotten signed if grunge didn’t hit.

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      3. It’s amazing to think that Grunge steamrollered over everything for a while…

        Doesn’t seem like it would happen now. There seems to be more room for music styles to all live alongside each other! Internet must have something to do with that.

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      4. Maybe? But album sales are not what they used to be. Maybe there’s room for all types of music today, but the point is almost moot since “nobody” buys music anymore.

        Unless you’re a Taylor Swift fan, I guess.

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      5. Interesting. I think that must be a massive part of it. I always think that the amount of websites, mags, podcasts etc.. means there is outlets for everything. In the 90s it seemed like there were so few mags that when Grunge took over it got really hard to find info on the bands you loved. I remember being so relived when Classic Rock got published cause there had been nothing like that for ages. Thankfully, now it seems there’s coverage of every musical niche you can think of!

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      6. I hated when the rock magazines all swung to grunge and alternative. I felt like nobody was supporting the talented bands of a straightforward rock style anymore. M.E.A.T and Metal Edge both went grunge and I hated it.

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      7. And it’s own TV shows too — instead, grunge took over my favourite show, the Pepsi Power Hour.

        And look what happened? Now, it’s all just considered heavy rock. The same people buy the same albums. It’s like back in the 90’s when people who liked Nirvana would never buy an Iron Maiden album.

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      8. I remember over here there was quite a crossover between the fanbases but people did start to drift away from the Metal stuff. Not me though!

        There was a program here called Raw Power.. and then it was called Noisy Mothers. It did keep covering the Metal scene but there was lots of Grunge and Industrial stuff to wade through as well. I think maybe the camps weren’t quite as divided over here.

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      9. I believe that to be the case. Here, at least by my perspective, it seemed very different. Some metal people bought some grunge albums, but I knew very few grunge people (mostly younger fans) who would buy metal. A couple liked Guns N’ Roses but not Maiden or Priest which sounded dated to their ears.

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      10. And a lot of the grunge guys trashed the metal guys in the press. Krist Novoselic, who now says he’d be happy to work with David Lee Roth, once called metal stupid and said the music sounded like it was spat out by a computer. And that’s just one example.

        I recall Mudhoney calling Sebastian Bach stupid, and so on. David Grohl making fun of Axl Rose on the MTV awards.

        Dave Grohl though was one of the few grunge guys who used to give metal any credit. In Rolling Stone he once said that Chris Cornell was just doing a Ronnie James Dio impression.

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      11. And really there wasn’t a huge difference between Grunge and what came before! It was all just stupid, media driven posturing and the Grunge guys wanting to do a “Punk” and sweep away the old guard. Of all those bands I still probably only like Alice in Chains.

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      12. They were my favourite from the era, I think, but I’ve really grown to appreciate Pearl Jam since then. Although it’s funny because what do they sound like? A Jam band. Nothing like what you perceive to be grunge!

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    1. I will! Although the quality of their albums starts to slide for a short while…

      I’ve never heard Vandenberg! Is the first album just self-titled? I’ll keep them in mind, their albums were just re-issued over here.

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  2. More in-my-ears action for the week that commenced with Hogmanay!

    Bring it on!

    Candlemass – Live Jönköping (1st LP of the Doomology Box) = Did you expect anything from them to be expected? 😉

    Pentagram – First Daze Here Too These = fun!

    Jethro Tull – Too Old To Rock and Roll, Too Young To Die = Hooray for Mike steering you back to these guys!

    Tygers of Pan Tang – Spellbound = That is a GREAT band name.

    Whitesnake – Give Me More Time (7” single) = You guys and your Whitesnake.

    Praying Mantis – The Soundhouse Tapes Part 2 (12” single) = Sweet!

    Urchin – High Roller = Cool! Exce[t for the one song you sent, I didn’t even know about these guys.

    Saxon – Denim and Leather, Power and the Glory and Crusader = Saxon is a great band to listen to while taking apart your Christmas tree!

    SONG OF THE WEEK: WHO DARES BATTLE THE SARACEN? Saxon’s Crusader. That’s who. = Who else, indeed?

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    1. Tygers of Pan Tang… I think the name comes from one of Michael Moorcock’s Elric books.

      I’ve been a huge Tull fan forever but that album of theirs just seems to always be off my radar. Glad Mike reminded me of it!

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      1. Mike’s devious that way.

        But I am listening to Urchin now, so you’re devious too!

        Now, second question on Urchin: What is the song that can be heard in the Early Years DVD?

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  3. I saw Saxon twice in 2002; great shows! But I’ve only ever owned the pre-Crusader stuff. I’m intrigued by your “American fixation” comment. Is it possible to expand on that here in the comments? Thanks in anticipation…

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  4. Sure! I was just referring to a period, after Crusader, where the band tried to compete with the more MTV-friendly US bands of the 80s with albums like Destiny which had a more “commercial” pop sheen. Ultimately, this focus on the US market just cost them credibility and fans, although the albums weren’t all bad. It was a period of bad decision making that they took a while to recover from.

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    1. Got it. Thanks. I guess I should be happy that Saxon’s more “commercial pop sheen” didn’t succeed in gaining them much of foothold in the U.S. market. “Fleeting” is how I like to think of those years. Allows we Statesiders to still claim some headbanger dignity, eh? (smile)

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      1. Well, you Statesiders have got plenty to be proud of when it comes to headbanging history! A lot of my favourite bands are American.

        I wouldn’t even criticise the kind of Pop Metal bands they were muscling in on, I like a lot of that stuff too. Its just that the US bands were good at that stuff and it wasn’t a good fit for Saxon. A lot of Brit fans were (probably overly) sensitive about the notion of UK bands “selling-out” to America too, so it wasn’t a good move for them here either. Def Leppard really struggled with that over here for quite a while.

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