I’m fairly skint (blame Ghost and Def Leppard) so hopefully there’s nothing good out today… fingers crossed!
Various Artists – Contract In Blood: A History Of UK Thrash Metal
Ahh baws. Writer/musician Ian Glasper turns the spotlight on the overlooked UK thrash scene with this exciting box set and companion book. The CD set has five whole discs (separated into various areas of the UK) and it looks like a total blast and great value too. There are always going to be gripes and omissions with this kind of thing but who cares? Both the book and box set are getting bought pronto.
Megadeth – Killing Is My Business…And Business Is Good: The Final Kill
Double baws! The incredible, bonkers Megadebut gets reissued (again) with bonus stuff and some sort of re-recorded version of These Boots. Glad I’ve got the original version on LP but I want this too. You can never have too many versions of albums like this! A must(aine) buy.
All that metal thrashing madness leaves me with little interest in the snail’s pace doom of Yob and their new album Our Raw Heart. But it sounds like a good ‘un so I daresay I’ll have to investigate it eventually. Tomb Mold’s Manor Of Infinite Forms, their second album of putrid death metal, sounds more up my alley. And then there’s Zeal & Ardor’s second album Stranger Fruit. Lots of people loving this but I don’t get it. What am I missing?
And that’s the lot. Looks like my wallet isn’t getting a week off after all… ah well…
I’ve been dipping in and out of Julian Cope’s entertaining book Copendium and came across his concept of the “boneyard” position. Basically, the boneyard is the penultimate placing on an album. Cope reasons that, if a band is stuck with a filler track it has to use, it will be placed in the album’s boneyard where it’s more likely to be overlooked. It got me thinking. So, for a fun experiment, I’ve picked five albums at random to see if this concept holds up. I’m going to take a look at each one and decided if its penultimate track belongs in… THE BONEYARD!
UFO – A Fool in Love (from the album No Heavy Petting)
Here’s some mid-70s UFO, by the short-lived line-up with Danny Peyronel on keys. It’s most notable for its opening tracks Natural Thing and I’m a Loser. The rest of the album, while good, doesn’t quite live up to the classic opening. But the album’s B-Side features a couple of great deep cuts in the moody On with the Action and the cosmic ballad Martian Landscape. Our penultimate track, A Fool in Love, is lost between those two. It isn’t awful but it’s a bit of a throwaway and I feel like it’s been buried between those two epics for a reason. Boneyard? YES
[UFO – A Fool in Love]
AC/DC – Love Hungry Man (Highway to Hell)
Hmm… obviously a classic album but what about track nine, Love Hungry Man? Is this anyone’s idea of a classic AC/DC track? It does sport a great chorus but it’s a bit laid-back and lazy otherwise and the bass fills sound like a desperate attempt to liven up a dull tune. Far from a disaster but definitely not one of Acca Dacca’s shining moments either. How about we avoid offending the band’s adoring legions and call this the “least-good” song here? Boneyard? YES
[AC/DC – Love Hungry Man]
Black Sabbath – I (Dehumanizer)
Dehumanizer was a lumbering, colossus of an album from the reformed Mob Rules lineup. It’s not held in the same esteem as that album or its predecessor Heaven and Hell but I’ve always thought it a rewarding album-for-life. So get it up ye. And its penultimate track I is one of the best songs Dio Sabbath ever put out. Pure invigorating metal bravado. Black Sabbath smashing faces in… but with a smile. Boneyard? NO
[Black Sabbath – I]
Iron Maiden – 2 AM (The X Factor)
Maiden’s first album with Blaze Bayley has some under-rated gems but is also quite heavy-going and joyless. I had thought the penultimate track here was The Unbeliever, one of my favourites from the album, but it turns out it’s actually 2 AM: a track I had forgotten existed. Doesn’t bode well does it? It’s one of the least flabby tracks which is good but the lyrics are absolute shite: a brainless, artless mid-life crisis from a band that is supposed to be cleverer than this. Boneyard? YES
[Iron Maiden – 2 AM]
Megadeth – How the Story Ends (Endgame)
This 2009 album is still the pinnacle of modern Megadeth and one of the greatest albums of the ’00s. How the Story Ends (odd title for a penultimate track?) is a sturdy anthemic chugger that, along with the raging Headcrusher, helps recover Endgame after a slight mid-album lull. The riffs are a bit stock by Mustaine standards but it’s a catchy, engaging tune that adds to the album. Boneyard? NO
[Megadeth – How the Story Ends]
So, the boneyards have it… but only just. It’s close enough that another random selection might have went the other way. Obviously, the concept relies on there being a filler track in the first place (and the artist being self-aware enough to know that a given track is sub-par). Also, for the sake of discussion, Cope applies the concept chiefly to vinyl but does the boneyard concept apply equally to albums designed for CD or Spotify?
Hope you enjoyed this. Let me know what you think about the boneyard position and my examples. Got any good examples of your own? Or exceptions? Chip in below.
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!