Saturday, 16 March 2013

Skreamer - "Blackened Earth" - Album Review

I've been waiting for this album for what seems an age. And believe me it's been worth the wait!

I first saw Skreamer at The Really Red Roar Festival at The Red Lion in Gravesend last year.
This was a TEN DAY event with 200 bands playing and I think they played three or four times (correct me if it's more guys!) and I managed to see them twice.Not bad as I only managed to make two days due to work commitments.

The first day I thought to myself, "Hmm... Not bad at all! Wouldn't mind seeing them again sometime."
Low and behold, I get to another day and The Skreamer Van was parked up outside and I thought, "Ooh, 'ello!"
The band recognised me from being there a couple of days earlier and asked me if I was recording bands again and if I'd be recording them (I didn't record them the first time) and I said, if they didn't mind, I'd like to.

And so to the album...

"Victim" has a killer riff, psychotic vocals and a great final breakdown that gets the album off to a flying start, followed by "S.M.I.L.E". which is short and more than sweet and has an almost NWOBHM feel to the intro with slightly heavier sounding guitars and a bass sound that certainly gets your attention.

Next up is "Nothing". Heavy as fuck bass again and at this point I noticed how good the drumming was. Why I didn't notice it during the first two tracks I'll never know but it suddenly grabbed me by the balls and brought the kind of grin to my face that only Heavy Metal can! Those who know, know...

"Opiate" with its slow intro gradually gets back on track and leads nicely to "Flesh And Blood" which is semi epic sounding showing true skill and musicianship.

"Straight To Hell" is a somewhat manic track and just what every Metal fan wants. A true 'pit song' for some 'Good Friendly Violent Fun' a la "Toxic Waltz"!

Bass, Bass and More Bass! That's what you get in "Bad Trip". One of my favourite live tracks which comes across brilliantly in the studio also. THAT BASS!!! This track could be a signature song for Skreamer. It's short and to the point, so STOP YOUR BITCHING...

"Time" - My notes read 'Ballad'. Having listened to it a few times I'm still not certain that ballad sounding tunes have a place in modern Metal.

The final track and album title "Blackened Earth", however, is an immense track. Its classic sound and solo's leading to the end tick all the boxes and leaves the hairs on the back of your neck standing up in anticipation of the next release which, hopefully, won't be too long.

To summarise. This is a varied album showing true talent from a young band that, having seen them live, enjoy what they're doing and are deserved of recognition.

Click here to watch the official "Blackened Earth" video.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Devildriver & Cannibal Corpse - The Forum, Kentish Town. 7th March 2012

This was a gig that I'd been looking forward to for about six months. What an amazing line-up at an equally amazing venue, The Forum having taken over from The Astoria for similar sized bands to play.

We missed Winds Of Plague due to the door and start times. No major excuse, just didn't make it. Sorry.

Unfortunately this gig was marred by two of my mates having their phones stolen from the person. They were not both coincidentally lost.
When speaking to the Police they advised us that they're aware of a gang that operates at The Forum taking phones from people when in a crowd and that there had been quite a few reports this night.
This was advertised on the venue screens advising people to be extra vigilant.
Someone was arrested that night for theft but it's unknown if they were part of the gang.
Whilst it's impossible to stamp out crime please, everyone, take care of your belongings at gigs as the scum (only word that's suitable for a blog) do not care who you are or who we are and will target anyone. They don't care about genre. They only care about themselves and their like.
If you see anyone acting suspiciously bring it to the attention of a member of security. They're there to help and if one crime can be prevented and a non fan removed from the venue, then good.

We got in just as The Black Dahlia Murder was hitting the stage. I'd heard them on the radio before and liked what I heard so down towards the front we went.
It didn't take long for me to become entranced by them and look at Will who said, "You wanna go down the front, don't you?"
With a grin like a man possessed, I nodded and we entered the pit!
They play a great set (forgive me for not knowing the song titles) and it was clear to see the whole band had a blast and genuinely enjoyed themselves. The Cheshire Cat smiles gave that away.
And here's a surprise for you... During one track the crowd was told to 'go crazy and get crowd surfing', which they were only to happy to oblige. Even this old man at 43 joined in and took a leap back in time to his youth!

Cannibal Corpse need no introduction. The come on stage, say hello, do a line check and get the Hell on with it!
They play all the favourites you'd play on a first date including 'Hammer Smashed Face' and 'I Cum Blood'.
I can't remember many other titles as, again, I was at the front getting thrown about and doing crazy things!
Isn't that the only way to be at a Cannibal Corpse show?
If the band are giving 100% and then some. Show them a little love and give it back. Go MAD for them!

This was the first time I had the pleasure of seeing Devildriver and what a pleasure it was! No bullshit. Just full on, in your face, Heavy Fucking Metal!
I saw Coal Chamber on several occasions so knew what to expect from Dez Fafara. And, as always, he delivered the goods. He's an amazing front man that knows his stuff and certainly knows how to whip a crowd into a sweaty frenzy!
And when Fafara says his thanks to the bands, especially Cannibal Corpse, saying they're one of the best bands he's ever had the pleasure of touring with and how down to earth they are, you know he means this with (black) heartfelt passion. 
The band clearly enjoy themselves and what they're doing, with plenty of crowd interaction.
Now I've finally caught up with them live, I'll be sure of going to see again. ...And Again!