Category Archives: Now Playing/Mini-Reviews

Now Playing: Anthrax – For All Kings

Some albums are so OK you have to buy them twice.

Funnily enough, after reading an article about Anthrax’s Scott Ian (reportedly) behaving like an arsehole, I ended up going on a big Anthrax kick and buying another copy of their last album For All Kings. Goes to show all publicity is good publicity!

I wasn’t all that impressed by For All Kings when it was released back in 2016 but after hearing some of the songs live on the recent Kings Among Scotland release, I felt like revisiting it.  And ended up not only listening to it again but enjoying it enough to add the ‘Tour Edition’ to my collection (for its extra disc of demo versions). Some great tracks here like You Gotta Believe, Suzerain, Evil Twin and the title track. I’d prefer the sound to have more attack and I find songs like Breathing Lightning and This Battle Chose Us a bit too slick for comfort but, judged on its own merits as a We’ve Come For You All kinda album, it’s a solid and memorable release. Just don’t ask Scott Ian to sign it for you.

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Now Playing: Memoriam – The Silent Vigil

Memoriam – The Silent Vigil (2018)

I initially thought Memoriam’s second album The Silent Vigil was a weaker repeat of their debut album 2017’s For The Fallen but I’ve been drawn back to it a lot in the last couple of weeks and it’s clicking with me now. The authentic old-school death metal sound is a thrill (even if the inconsistent production from song to song can be a bit distracting) and I just love the whole world-weary character of the music, from Karl Willetts’ weathered, crusty vocals to Scott Fairfax’s earthy, war-torn riffs. It’s not quite as memorable or as well-executed as the debut but, like the ominous tree-thing on the cover, it’s a grower. There’s such a deep and powerful vibe here, I know there will be times when this will be the only album that will do. And when there are a gazillion extreme metal albums competing for your attention every week that’s no mean feat. Pay your respects.

CD Edition – with bonus track

Now Playing: Wolfsbane – Live Fast, Die Fast

Wolfsbane – Live Fast, Die Fast (1989)

Last week’s “wee break for some Wolfsbane” has turned into this week’s “listening almost exclusively to Wolfsbane and not much else”. In fact, the last three albums I’ve listened to have been this one, Live Fast, Die Fast. There’s quite a lot wrong with these wicked tales of booze, birds and bad language. The slightly over-smoochy pop metal track I Like It Hot, the bizarre ballad Tears From A Fool, the frankly fuck-witted production job from Rick Rubin and the worst drum sound of all time on Killing Machine. But the happy story is that this album is 100% magnificent despite all those things. Even the over-smoochy and bizarre songs! Even the one with the shit drums! It’s brilliant. Bastards. Glory booouuunnnddd…

[Wolfsbane – Greasy]

It’s going to be a bumpy night
I bought it on CD too…

 

Now Playing: Venom Prison – Animus

I’ve been listening to this pretty solidly this week (with a wee break for some Blackfoot and some Wolfsbane). Animus is an incredibly powerful debut and I’m excited to read that the Welsh band is back in the studio now recording the follow up. If Eliran Kantor’s depiction of a rapist being fed his own dismembered boaby isn’t enough to give you the… err… willies, then Venom Prison’s punishing mix of death metal and hardcore will. The muscular, groovy and inventive riffing is driven home with tight editing, tasty melodic guitar lines and Larissa Stupar’s intense vocals. Real force of character here and I can’t wait to hear what they come up with next.

Best death metal act to come out of Wales since Shakin’ Stevens

Now Playing: Batushka – Litourgiya

This excellent debut album was released back in 2015 but I’m only catching up with it now. I bought this new digipak edition a few weeks ago and I’ve been listening to it solidly ever since. It’s superb black metal with a huge, natural sound and grand atmosphere and the secretive Poles weave Gregorian-style chants throughout the music in a wonderful way. Monk-y magic!

[Batushka – Litany V: Holy Entrance]

Now Playing: Bon Jovi – New Jersey

Bon Jovi – New Jersey (1988)

I always dig out the Jovi when it’s sunny and it has been sunny here for some time now, which means lots of Jovi has been playing. And New Jersey is peak Jovi, the band at the height of their powers. Jon Bon Jovi’s voice is as powerful as it ever got here and Sambora’s guitar is deadly, belting out classic riffs like the drop-D stunner in Lay Your Hands On Me. I like the way the album mixes up Cinderella-style rootsiness with a massive Lep-esque production too. The album gets a bit too drippy at points but songs like Bad Medicine, Blood On Blood and Born To Me Baby are just irresistible.

(This is the deluxe box version which has lots of rare stuff too but I’ve just been listening to the album proper this week)

[Bon Jovi – Lay Your Hands On Me]

Now Playing: Blasphemy – Fallen Angel Of Doom

Today’s listening of choice is Blasphemy’s 1990 seminal debut album Fallen Angel Of Doom. This one still gets regular spins at HMO Mission Control. A ferocious and cult mix of grindcore and early black metal like Bathory and Sarcofago, it’s not especially memorable or kind to the ears but it’s totally addictive. And it’s massively influential too. Tons of bestial black metal and/or war metal bands still devotedly follow the template set here.