In addition to yesterday’s New Release round-up here’s one more thing you should spend some money on this weekend. The upcoming Bernie Tormé album Dublin Cowboy is available as a PledgeMusic offer and, with the offer ending on Mon 20th Feb 2017, this weekend is your last chance to get involved.
Bernie is the incredible axe wizard that played on the classic Gillan albums of the early 80s, Mr. Universe, Glory Road and Future Shock, and his playing on the Reading Festival live recordings is some of my very favourite guitar playing ever. It’s incendiary! And, if that wasn’t enough, he also played with Ozzy Osbourne and formed Desperado with Dee Snider and Clive Burr. Not to mention his excellent solo career.
And now he’s back with his latest solo album Dublin Cowboy, which is going to be a triple studio/live/acoustic release. Go to his PledgeMusic page to get your pledge in. There are a ton of options and, even if you only punt for the £12 digital version, you get access to a ton of great stuff. There are brilliant guitar playthrough videos of some awesome Gillan songs and solos. There are rare song downloads, gear breakdowns, and all sorts of memorabilia like tour itineraries and photos of him drinking Guinness and stuff like that. I’m sure the album will still be available later but it’s well worth getting involved at this Pledge stage as Bernie has really gone to town with the extras here.
Veteris is a one-man thrash metal project hailing from Glasgow. I say thrash but it’s thrash of the blackest sort: shades of Venom, early Slayer and Bathory. Right up my street, in other words. 2015’s Wolf Dawn is Veteris’ only release and the two tracks here are very impressive. It’s proper old-school primitivism and if you’ve ever wondered if the worlds of surf rock and black metal would collide… check out these guitar solos! Veteris is currently working on a full-length album to be released some time this year so I’ll be looking out for that. Lots of potential here. In the meantime, you can check out Wolf Dawn as a name-your-price download on Bandcamp.
News! Links! Listening notes! That is why you are here. So without further ado…
Saxon Saxon Saxon
Well, it’s been a big fortnight for this Saxon fan. Not only did I pen a review of their BBC in Concert album there has also been the small matter of a NEW SAXON ALBUM. It just arrived on Friday there, the Battering Ram deluxe box set (see picture) with the CD, vinyl, T-Shirt (too wee) and an awesome bonus live CD Saxon over Sweden 2011! The live CD has them playing all the tracks from the Denim and Leather album so there are a good number of rarely-heard tracks on it. It’s early yet but the new album is sounding very good indeed. Maybe their strongest for many years and that’s saying something because their latter-day albums have not been weaklings. In a year when many veteran bands have started to sound distinctly doddery, the classic metal crown is Saxon’s for the taking.
Bobby Rock Goes West
Check this out, it’s a great read from former Vinnie Vincent Invasion drummer (and ripped dude) Bobby Rock about his audition for the band. I love stories from behind-the-scenes like this and this is very entertaining indeed. And any inside info on the eternal enigma that is Vinnie Vincent is always welcome. I hope Bobby does more of these.
Calling Carcass the C-Word
Here’s another article written by a musician. It’s an old post but it’s new to me and made me chuckle a lot while I was eating my bacon roll this morning. The Antichrist Imperium singer Sam Bean recollects a hilarious journalistic misadventure involving Carcass’ Jeff Walker and a particularly naughty word.
The HMO-approved doom outfit The Wounded Kings have completed their new album. It’s due for release early in 2016 and is an exciting prospect indeed. And they have a new Bandcamp page up now too where you can buy cheap downloads of their first two albums and there will be merch relating to the upcoming album available there soon too.
Actually, I’ve been listening to things I intend to review fairly soon so I don’t want to spoil the surprise here. Plenty of Saxon naturally! Apart from those, I’ve been listening to Primordial’s debut album Imrama and enjoying that. Quite a big My Dying Bride influence back then, in the vocals especially. And staying in the “miserable” spectrum of things there was some early Anathema getting played: Serenades and The Silent Enigma. Both are weighty and doleful gothic metal classics. The new Queensrÿche album Condition Hüman has been getting quite a few plays. It’s fairly good, a grower, but not really grabbing me like their last one did. But I’ve fallen hook-line-and-sinker for the Gamma Ray debut album Heading for Tomorrow though. I’ve spent a lot of my Free Time (it’s one of the things that I like) listening to it. I can guarantee it’s especially effective as a pick-me-up after a few too many Anathema albums. Or on a Monday morning. Try it!
Only a year had passed since Saxon’s 1985 Hammersmith show was broadcast on BBC Radio but Saxon invaded the UK’s airwaves yet again as their headlining slot at 1986’s Reading Festival was recorded for broadcast on the BBC Friday Rock Show. The band were touring to promote the imminent release of the Rock the Nationsalbum and, while that patchy album found them losing their Midas touch in the studio, on BBC in Concert (23rd August 1986) it sounds like they were losing none of their knack as a live act.
Sadly, the BBC didn’t air the whole set and cherry-picked just 9 songs for broadcast. Much of the broadcast has since been available on Saxon’s BBC Sessions album but this album download (available on Amazon/iTunes etc…) now presents the complete 9 song, 51 min broadcast as it was originally aired. It’s fairly heavy on the classic material and if you didn’t know what year it was from you could be forgiven for thinking this was the band in their NWOBHM pomp. Only two new songs give the game away: an excellent version of Rock the Nations that fits right in with the older material and a performance of Waiting for the Night which… doesn’t. It’s actually a pretty good version of the track but its pop rock breaks the spell cast by glorious versions of metal powerhouses like 747 (Strangers in the Night) and Wheels of Steel. On the bonus side it’s the song here that gets played least often so it’s good to hear and own a live version of it.
That one hiccup aside, the rest of the performance is impressive. The band is on winning form and the crowd sound like they’re lapping it all right up. While new bassist Paul Johnson didn’t command the stage like Steve Dawson he acquits himself well musically. Never Surrender and 20,000ft give the classic TheEagle Has Landed live album versions a run for their money and an excellent Strong Arm of the Law climaxes with a wailing Graham Oliver solo (with some Sabs and Hendrix thrown in for good measure). The real highlight, though, is a captivating The Eagle Has Landed which puts its studio counterpart firmly in the shade.
The vintage quality of this performance must have been heartening stuff for fans troubled by the recent studio albums but any hopes for a return to form would soon be dashed. The Rock the Nations album proved disappointing and, frustrated by the way the band was being managed, Nigel Glockler would leave the band at the end of the tour to join GTR. And Saxon’s next, and last, studio album for EMI would be a desparate gamble that would test the patience and loyalty of their fans more than any other yet.
Let’s take a look at what’s been happening in the last week or so. New shit has come to light etc…
Candlemass 30th Anniversary
2016 will be the 30th anniversary of Candlemass’ debut Epicus Doomicus Metallicus. Lots of exciting plans have been announced to mark the great event. A new EP with new vocalist Mats Leven and a box set planned too. I’ll doom dance to that!
The new Megadave album details have been announced and there’s a new song to check out too. I didn’t find the new song particularly involving though: too by-the-numbers for my liking. I do like the album cover though!
Shrines and Obscene Entity
I reviewed the excellent debut from Shrines. It’s still monopolising my listening time and still getting better with every listen. Read about them here and expect to see them in my end-of-year list. Also, some of the band’s members are also in a band called Obscene Entity. The advance word on their upcoming full-length is very positive so I treated myself to their self-titled EP on Bandcamp.
Excellent Library Sale Shopping
I did excellent library sale shopping. Got these and only came out £2 lighter.
I bought the new Bowie box set Five Years 1969-1973 so there’s been lot of that going on. I’m listening to Live Santa Monica ’72 as I write this. But other than Shrines and Bowie what has the HMOverlord been listening to this week? Here’s some highlights.
PaRtY-cAnNoN’s EP Partied in Half got a spin. The “old enough for what?” intro is the best opening to a CD. Ever. Primordial’s sublime The Gathering Wilderness is still as stirring as ever. And speaking of stirring, Big Country’s Steeltown and The Seer have been hitting that spot too. I’m enjoying Atheist’s Unquestionable Presence a lot. It’s fantastic proggy death metal with Martin Walkyier-style vocals and the new reissue is well worth your time and money. And, on the subject of proggy death, I also listened to Gorguts’ Obscura. It sounds a bit like Gojira being shoved down a big flight of stairs. Excellent! Been listening to the Jimi Hendrix Experience box set a bit too but I only seem to have a limited endurance for Hendrix these days. I can only get into it in small doses.
And that’s been my week pretty much. Hope you enjoyed the notes and links and… happy listening!