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Technology is out to get us…

November 18, 2010

Skynet is real and we’re all gonna die.

…and we’re all fucked. How you say? Well for a start #IAmSpartacus just thought we’d get that out the way. If you’re one of those twats who claim that they deliberately ignore social networking because ‘it’s gonna kill us all’ piss off and get a job. I just wanted to make it clear that I am the dude who actually threatened to blow up Robin Hood Airport. The other guy was just covering. He owned me a favour after I brought him a pint… shame it all got so out of hand.

I picked up my Uni’s local ‘Rag’ (I prefer toilet roll myself) but names aside. It contained various idiots sprouting bullshit from every orifice imaginable. This is included some choice pickings; including a review of Todd Phillips’ latest shit film (he’s the guy who made ‘The Hangover’) and before you say anything, I HATED that movie, just terrible, misogynistic bollocks.  But if you want to hear anyone on just why it’s really not worth the time of day I suggest Dr Kermode’s diagnosis. ‘Due Date’ (that’s the new one by the way) just from the trailer looks awful.  Honestly, first time I saw it I turned to my other half and said ‘well that looks shit’ trust me, I really did. ‘Bromance’ isn’t funny.

The second was the words ‘awesome 3D’ used in connection to the cinema really made me realise just how worried I am about ‘3D’ I mean when you’re getting is either bodily fluids, stupid bits of body parts, boobs or whatever else gets thrown out at us. I mean face it Avatar was really bad, just really really bad. Boring, unoriginal and vacuous. I’d much rather go see ‘Papa Smurf’s Sex Tape’ than sit through another screening of ‘Dances with Wolves in Space’.

The question now is what’s next? Am I going to go to see ‘Pirates Of The Caribbean 4’ where Johnny Depp is going to donn his gloves from ‘Edward Scissorhands’ reach out and slice my head off for real? I’m very scared and would warn anyone against it. It’ll be a fucking massacre.

Final thing, the ‘rag’ also listed ‘DVD we’re most looking forward to’ as… no not Toy Story 3 or Inception… but Sex and (the fucking) City 2! I mean COME ON! I LET YOU HAVE THE REST BUT REALLY!!!!!!

Phew, rant over.

Mr Bogle

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Michael Monroe – Another Night In The Sun/Live In Helsinki

November 12, 2010

Monroe has been fronting Hanoi Rocks since it’s inception, and has been the driving force behind their 2002 reunion with the killer 12 Shots On The Rocks.  ANITS is live from Helsinki and features Ginger from The Wildhearts on guitar and Sami Yaffa, a previous H-Rocker, on bass.

And if you do like Hanoi Rocks, you’ll be very happy, as a fair part of the set list is made up of their material. What you have on offer is a nice helping of sleazy glam rock from the early 1980s, with anthems like Back To Mystery City and Malibu Beach Nightmare. I really dislike reviewing live albums, because by and large you comment on the actual performance rather than the actual material, aside from setlist objections. The playing is perfectly good, Monroe sounds as good as he did back ten years ago, and the band sound exactly the kind of thing you’d go to a sweaty, dark shithole of a club to go and see.

ANITS oozes sex, drugs and rock n’ roll, all of which Monroe has had plenty of in his career. While his solo career will never achieve the dream of mega-stardom he’s always wanted, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a belter of hard rock band playing dirty blues like Dead, Jail or Rock N’ Roll.

6/10

Twaddlefish

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Prop19- A Big Change for all of us

November 5, 2010

Potentially the fate of the dope smoking population will be change in the next coming weeks with the Bill; Proposition 19. What happens in California will affect all of us, especially since we English look much cooler if we go along with whatever decision the U.S. makes, cause son I ain’t bein’ funny, but that Iraq war made us look the shiznaz (ooooooo ain’t I clever using political humor, praises to me!). Though just to clear things up, I know that this is a site for music, but music and dope go hand in hand like Cheech and Chong (pre and post break up (break up in a career sense not in a gay way, we can’t condone everything (Joke!)). If you have any ideological complaints about smoking dope then that is fine, no one is forcing you to smoke it (in the same way no one is forcing you to hang with the cool kids) you make your own choices in life that’s  what lifting these ridunkolous laws are all about, letting people make a choice, as well as a couple of other issues (I’ll get to them in my own sweet time).

If health is a concern, well I got some bad news for you, smoking and drinking are bad for you. I think it’s only me that knows this fact, but believe it or not the very things are precious government make a considerable profit on is eventually going to kill you, so it’s either all OK or none of it is. Many studies have shown that cannabis is nowhere near as harmful as tobacco and alcohol. If you look into the illegalizing of cannabis you’ll will find that health and morality weren’t a big factor in the illegalization of the drug.

“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”

“…the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.”

“There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others.”
Actual quotes from the Harry Anslinger (A key player in the criminalization of cannabis, god bless him for fighting the good fight).

Back to the issue of that organized racket (music), there are many artist that are for the legalizing of weed, that you funky fresh kiddie winks   can get down with, for instance Dime Bag (although only way that I could of made that anymore obvious is by spelling it out for you), Sublime  (the members that are alive at least), Colt Jackson, Tenacious D,  Thunder Strook and many more, and if you pay by credit card I’ll provide Actors who are also for Legalizing it such as Seth Rogen, Jack Nicholson, Jennifer Aniston, Johnny Depp and many, many more.

Money is also taken out of the criminals back pocket and convenience is now in the hands of the dope fiends, truly a turn for the tables, as well as money pocketed off the revenue… oh sorry literally just got word through and apparently Prop19 is a no go. Nothing changes the Californian social experiment isn’t going to happen so go about you lives as per usual.

Although there was still a fair percentage that voted yes, so although immediate change didn’t happen, the future of the wonder crop is still uncertain.

Should probably rap up with something about music ermmm… oh it was Tom Petty’s 60th birthday recently (wait who the fuck is Tom Petty).

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Doro Pesch! 25 Years of the Warlock

November 4, 2010

Not that I like to brag, but Doro Pesch called me this afternoon. I’d missed her at Bloodstock because my phone decided it had better things to do other than work. Nevertheless, here we are on a gloomy November afternoon to have a chat.

“We’ve been going 27 years and it’s the first time you’ve seen us?” asks Doro, as we get straight down to business and talk about the tour. I probably shouldn’t mention the fact that I was born in 1986. “We’ve just come back from Japan, we had an amazing time and it’s such a great place to go and visit. We’ll be about again around Christmas time with Motorhead in Europe, but not England sadly”

The 25th Anniversary show took place in December 2008, in Dusseldorf. The new DVD, 25 Years in Rock hits shelves at the end of the month which includes a three hour concert with guest appearances from someone of the many high-fliers Doro has worked with over the years; “There are so  many of my friends on there who made this night very special for me! I asked Klaus Meine (of Scorpions) if he could do it and he said he’d look in his schedule but I didn’t hear back so I assumed he couldn’t do it. But I was so happy when he said he could! There are so many other great people too, Tarja Turunen, Bobbi Blitz, Warrel Dane. We met him when we toured with Megadeth and Sanctuary in the US back in the 1980s”.

Admitting to having sixteen records over four decades, there is a wealth of material to draw on for live shows, including the experimental albums in the 90s, foraying into experimental and rockier territory. “When we only have a sixty minute festival show, it’s really hard to sometimes pick the ones you want to do, so we go for the really big songs like All We Are and Burning The Witches. We love playing these songs so much, even when we came to England in 1986 on the True As Steel tour and played Castle Donington, we never get tired of playing these songs. And the newer stuff is a lot heavier so we can play that. It’s what most fans want to hear, and we do it for them!” Mentioning the eighties, I bring up the jump of model career to being a metal queen. “That never happened! People keep saying this and it’s on the DVD cover I think too, but I was never a model. No, I started singing when I was three years old and I loved it! I eventually got into a band called Snakebite in 1980 and then I eventually joined Warlock and we got a deal with a Belgian record label to release Burning The Witches. It was very strange, there was no metal press in Germany really. The UK had Kerrang, but the only real thing in Germany was stuff that people were photocopying and handwriting, and it wasn’t until a few years later when in 1986 we suddenly had a succesful album. I was a graphic artist, and told my boss I was quitting and he said I was mad! But that year we went on tour with my favourite band, Judas Priest. It’s all I’ve ever want to do, since I was three!”

“When I first began singing in metal, there was already many women singing in rock and metal bands at the time. My absolute favourite was Jody Turner from Rock Goddess, if you remember them?” Well, I was born in 1986. “Haha, but yes they were great and many others, Lita Ford and Joan Jett. And these days there are many others doing different things like Tarja and Sabina Classen, so it wasn’t really that very different. And obviously Girlschool as well, they came and played at the 25 years show”. Interestingly, Motorhead, who are taking Doro on tour, were the only band that’d take Girlschool on tour, on account of others refusing because of the all-girl lineup. “I’m really looking forward to the tour, really sorry we’re not coming to England! I love the English fans so much and we were here last year with Saxon and we had so much fun. But no, after that we’re going to South America for a tour”.  Any news on a follow-up album? “Well, we’ve started thinking about it. We have a couple of ideas that are floating around and we know what we want…some really heavy songs, then some dark gothic ballads, like what we’ve done before.”

But as for current events, it’s no secret that First Lady of heavy metal is thrilled about her upcoming release. “It’s out November 26th and it has so many great things on. We played for three hours and then there’s a documentary and interviews with some of my great friends saying so many wonderful things. Have you seen it yet? No? Well, you should because it’s really great. I love the artwork as well, it’s by an Englishman who lives in France called [someone tell me his name, I didn’t catch it!] and he did this great artwork for the music. When we did the orchestral album we had a very simple black and white photo that was really suited to the music, but this new cover is just what the music needs!”

So, there we have it folks. Doro Pesch, the undisputed queen of metal is still going strong after nearly thirty years. Look at it this way, you can tour the world and make awesome albums, but a door to door salesman will still come and interrupt your interviews.

Twaddlefish

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Revolution Renaissance – Trinity

October 19, 2010

And the award for most unoriginal record goes too… well you get the idea of what I’m going to say about this album. Or do you? Yes you do, except that whilst I found it mostly unbearable, there was a small part of me (that still has long hair at heart) actually enjoyed this latest ‘melodic power metal’ release. It’s got more cliches than Avatar, and if you’ve heard anything by Iced Earth then you’ll be able to predict exactly what’s going to happen next… but it’s still not that bad.

In fact, it’s perfectly fine. It’s an album which genuinely is ‘middle of the road’ in every way. There’s very little to say about it if I’m honest. Trashing it would be unfair and ultimately pointless. But praising it is something that I won’t do because  don’t really like it that much. I’m sure you can understand the problem here.

At the end of the day, if you like your metal flashy, predicable and often tedious then this is for you.

Mr Bogle

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Markus Grosskopf of Helloween

October 18, 2010

Markus has been playing bass with Helloween since 1984, and after twenty six years, their latest album Seven Sinners is just about to come out.

“I’ve been expecting you” says the bass player, almost like a cliched Bond villian. Nevertheless, he’s an amicable sort of chap who like all bass players, loves talking about playing bass. “Well, Edguy’s bass player’s wife was having a baby so they asked me to fill in just for the one show. I was there at Wacken just in case waiting, but I decided to come on and do a few songs anyway!”

Seven Sinners is released at the end of the month, but as we’ve not had a chat in a while, I thought it’d be best to ask about the previous best-of with a non-metal twist, Unarmed.  “The reviews were very mixed. Some thought it was good, a lot of people said it was crap because it wasn’t metal. But it was for us, it was a way to keep the songs fresh and it’s something that we wanted to do. We didn’t really do any of it live, a few acoustic shows here in Germany maybe. But the main focus was getting back onto what Helloween are, and making a metal album”

So, was it a conscious decision to take the sound to almost the other extreme? Seven Sinners is one of, if not the, heaviest album the band has ever produced. “Well, it was a very natural process. We all knew what we wanted to do and how Helloween should sound after all these years”. It’s good to see that there’s a decent spread of credits across the album, with Herr Grosskopf penning two numbers, including album highlight If A Mountain Could Talk. “Well, when I first started playing I couldn’t write a note. I was having fun drinking beer and going to all the parties and bars. I still have fun doing that, but I got interested in the theory of songwriting, so I started sitting down with my four track and just began writing”. As usual, there are nods and hints to older songs, Who Is Mr Madman? in particular; “That was Andi! It’s been 16 years or something since Perfect Gentleman so we thought we’d bring him back a bit. We feel we can do that with Helloween, we have these little bits and pieces like the pumpkin and the Keeper, so we can have fun with it and put it into our newer stuff as a reference”. And what of the flute solos? “That was crazy Weiki’s idea! He always wants to do something that’s a little bit strange, and we eventually found a guy who’d do it because we couldn’t get who we originally wanted. Again, it’s something that we like putting in just to make it a bit different. I’m not sure how we’ll do it live though!”

Well, if Helloween’s long-term bass player doesn’t make it easy for me to make this flow. Helloween hit the road at the end of November with Stratovarius tagging along for the ride. “I’m leaving Friday to start practicing with Dani [Loeble, drummer]. It’s a bit tricky as we all live away from each other. Two are in the south of Germany, I’m in the very north and two are in Spain. What happens is I practice with Dani and to get the bass and the drums right, and then bring in the others once we have our stuff done. It’s just easier that way, and better for me. When the guitarists get here they spend hours going over notes in songs to get right, and I can be there for ages not doing anything. When the basics are down, we bring it all together. We’re off at Christmas until the 10th January, and then we’re doing the second leg of the European tour. After that we’re off to South America, possibly North America, then Indonesia. Places like Malaysia, Singapore, Japan…and then possibly to Australia too. We’ll see!” Helloween are an internationally acclaimed band, but Markus admits he does prefer the European version of going on tour. “I like the bus. When you’re on you can sleep and go back to it after a show. We can go to a bar after a gig with all of the family and the crew and then the next day we can be stood on the stage in a different town. It’s a lot different when you’re on planes. Lots of waiting in airports for flights, for missed flights…it’s a bit more lively when long distance isn’t involved”.

What’s evident about Helloween is that they’ve made a remarkable comeback. From playing arenas in the 80s to being demoted to small clubs in the early 90s, an unfortunate combination of lineup changes, poorly received albums and metal taking a turn for the worse. “Yeah, it was difficult in the 90s because no one was playing anything like this, so we struggled. Everyone was saying metal was crap so we’re quite proud we came out the other side and now people are playing it again. It’s good because we’ve managed to come through it and still be here alongside all these new bands that are playing classic metal again”.

Ever to add the personal touch, we finish up with a quick bit about Markus’ own sideproject, the wonderfully titled Bass Invaders. “We just don’t have time! It’s getting everyone’s schedule to meet. It was great recording though, with Billy Sheehan, Tom from Sodom and Schmier from Destruction [among others]. The problem is that record companies aren’t willing to support a project like that at the moment. In fact, it took more time to schedule everybody together than it took to record!”

Good to see that get every bass player together, and they still can’t organise a record in a studio, as the old saying goes. With that, I left Markus to go and have another listen to his new album.Seven Sinners is out October 31st on Spinefarm Records.

Twaddlefish

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Symphorce – Unrestricted

October 18, 2010

I remember being somewhat ambivalent at Symphorces previous album, Become Death when it arrived through my letterbox sometime in 2007. I’m a Brainstorm fan, Anthony B. Franck bringing some much needed balls to power metal, so it always eluded me why another band that would, in essence, sound like Brainstorm was needed.

Well thankfully, Unrestricted isn’t a Brainstorm album under a different banner. While it is as unrelentingly heavy in places, it’s a much more varied affair, album opener The Eternal teasing us with a mournful piano intro before descending into some truly aggressive and catchy guitar work.Whatever Hurts follows similarly with jilted showground organs, but by this point it’s evident thatUnrestricted is nothing short of a fantastically written album with nigh on perfect execution.

Unlike previous releases, the keys do play a more prominent role, if only in intros and occasional background noise. The vast majority of the songs have slowed down to less than a breakneck pace  which have allowed for some far superior riffs, with Worlds Seem To Collide creating a groove that professional routers would be jealous of. The closer Do You Ever Wonder is by far the best thing on offer, a blend of serrated guitars and the menacing vocals of Mr Franck that nail the Symphorce sound of subtle melody with unrelenting aggression.

Unrestricted is a great album, full of catchy hooks driven by some titanic vocal pieces.  For once, I’m glad an album doesn’t try and blow my mind, but instead tries to beat it to death with a steel girder.

8/10

Twaddlefish