Archive for the Rock Category

Metallica live in Hämeenlinna

Posted in Gig, Live, Metal, Rock with tags , , , , , on 17th July 2019 by izaforestspirit

Bokassa, Ghost, Metallica
Kantolan Tapahtumapuisto, Hämeenlinna, Finland
16th July 2019

Metallica, it’s been a while… The last time I was at a Metallica show was back in 2007 when I still lived in The U.K. They were and, in many ways, still are one of my favourite bands. I have always hoped that some day I will get to see them live again and this year I finally got that opportunity. This was one of the main events that I was looking forward to. This time the venue was Kantolan Tapahtumapuisto (Kantola Event Park) near the city centre of Hämeenlinna. I do not normally travel to Hämeenlinna and this was my very first time at the venue so I planned my trip well in advance.

Everything went as planned. The one thing that I cannot predict too well however is the weather. It was sunny when I arrived, then there was some heavy rain and thunder just I approached to the entrance. Luckily it did not last long and it had mostly cleared up by the time Bokassa took to the stage. I’m not really into stoner-punk but I have to admit that they were entertaining to watch. It was far more energetic than your average stoner rock, so not a bad start to the night. 3/5

I never really understood the hype surrounding the Swedish hard rock band Ghost. I keep hearing their songs on the radio and seeing their videos on Youtube. Yet I find it hard to fathom why they are so well regarded. I mean if you ignore the elaborate outfits and the imagery, the music itself is good but nothing ground-breaking. This was the first time that I have seen them live and I actually liked the performance. Their singer, Cardinal Copia, as he now calls himself, has a very charismatic stage presence. 4/5

Then it was time for the main event. The Metallica show was absolutely spectacular. They played most of the classic hits including: ‘Master of Puppets’, ‘Enter Sandman’, ‘One’, For Whom The Bell Tolls’, ‘Nothing Else Matters’, ‘Seek and Destroy’. The set also featured some songs from the mid-career period and several from the latest release ‘Hardwired to Self-Destruct’. There was pyrotechnics, lots of visual displays and even fireworks at the end. One of my favourite moments was the Rob and Kirk guitar medley when the performed a cover a Finnish rock classic – Popeda’s ‘Kuuma Kesä’. I could have done without ‘Frantic’ from the dreaded ‘St. Anger’ album and perhaps played more songs from ‘Death Magnetic’ instead, but that is the only extremely minor fault with what was otherwise a flawless performance. 6/5

Overall, I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to see Metallica live again. Twelve years is a very long time to wait but it was totally worth it. The show was an experience that I will cherish for many years to come.

Iza Raittila

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Lumous Gothic Festival 2019

Posted in Festival, Instrumental, Live, Rock with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 14th July 2019 by izaforestspirit

Golden Apes, Danse Society, Das Ich
Pakkahuone and Dog’s Home, Tampere, Finland
12-13th July 2019

Summer is here again. One of my summer traditions since 2012 has been to attend the Lumous Gothic Festival. This year was no exception. The only minor change was that of the main venue. Throughout the time that I have been going there it the main acts have always performed place at Klubi. However Klubi is currently being renovated so the event was moved to Pakkahuone, a much larger venue located in the same building. I have seen several metal shows there before but this was a first for Lumous Gothic Festival.

Friday
This was the main day for me as most of the bands which I wanted to see were playing then. I was mostly looking forward to Das Ich and I had limited knowledge of the other bands.

First up was a Spanish darkwave band called My Own Burial. These guys are really into old horror movies and the performance had lots of eerie visions. The music was catchy and fun to dance to. They reminded me a little of Los Carniceros del Norte minus the punk elements. So a good start to the night. 3.5/5

Then it was time for a German Goth rock band Golden Apes. I’m not a massive fan of Goth rock but I have to admit that the vocals were pretty good. Their singer’s vocal style sounded like a cross between Elvis and Jyrki from The 69 Eyes. 3.5/5

Finally it was time for the main band that I came to see. I discovered Das Ich at the same festival four years ago and it was great to see them live again. I loved the stage actics and the music was fantastic. They played some new material plus some classic hits including ’Destillat’, ’Gott ist tot’, Das dunkel Land’ and my personal favourite ’Reaminat’. 5/5

Saturday

Day Two of the festival started a little earlier since I decided to catch some of the bands playing on the second stage located at a different venue called Dog’s Home. Dog’s Home is essentially a pub or bar near the train station. Unlike Pakkahuone which is primarily an event venue, Dog’s Home is mostly used as a bar but it also doubles as a small gig venue. The stage is pretty small and rather low down.

The Swedish occult dark electro solo artist Blood Magick was on first. The project was originally known as My Own Sorrow and the lyrical themes are centered around horror and the occult. Sadly the venue didn’t do the performance justice. That place really isn’t ideal for an electronic show. For instance, the stage is tiny and there is limted space for props and no means to project any visual imagery. Still, Blood Magick did his best with the limited resources. He managed to convey the creepy atmosphere through which was good. 3.5/5

Next up was a Finnish goth rock band called Murnau’s Playhouse. These guys drew in a bigger crowd and they put on an entertaing show. 3.5/5

Then it was time to move to Pakkahuone for the remainder of the night. The main band that caught my attention, my new discovery was the Russian Gothic rock duo Raven Said. The clue is in the name, Raven Said… I guess that ”Quoth the Raven” might have been a bit too obvious. Oh yes, this band is all about Gothic horror and the works of Edgar Allan Poe. They even have a song called ’Lenore”. The visuals worked a treat too. I will definitely have to give their music a listen. 4/5

Sadly I was unable to stick around for the main headliners, Inertia. So the last band I saw was a British Goth rock band called The Danse Society. More Goth rock… There is not a lot that I can say about their performance. It was fairly good as far as Goth rock goes, I’m just not a massive fan of the genre. Also with a name like The Danse Society, I expected something a bit more dance-inspired. 3.5/5

In summary I had a great time at Lumous Gothic Festival. Das Ich were excellent and I made a new discovery in Raven Said. Blood Magick’s performance would have worked better at a different venue. Kiitos Lumous Gothic Festival! See you next year!

Iza Raittila

Thunderfuck and the Deadly Romantics – Dirty, Sleazy, Rock ‘n’ Roll

Posted in CD, Metal, Rock with tags , , , , , on 6th July 2019 by mickbirchy

Thunderfuck and the Deadly Romantics
Dirty, Sleazy Rock ‘n’ Roll
Sleaze Rock, Hard Rock
Released: 26th July 2019
via Cargo Records

OK, I was not expecting what I actually heard on this album. Then again, I really didn’t fully understand what I was getting this one. I mean, what would you expect from a band called Thunderfuck and the Deadly Romantics? The band comes from Ontario, Canada and have spent quite a lot of time here in the UK. Everything that I’ve heard about them so far is relatively positive, with a great hype building behind them, consistent gigs and good feedback. It really feels like a band that has taken their time and grown on their own accord rather than forcing a quick fix to success. After taking a listen to this album, I have definitely thought about it and the first impressions were mixed to positive. However, now I have had some time to let this one settle, let’s talk about this one.

The album sounds decent from the get-go, great rock tone with well-produced instrumentation all the way through. The balance of the instrumentation is great with all of the instruments coming through clear. Then you get the vocals and, well I’m not a fan. Don’t get me wrong, if you like this style of singing then that’s awesome but if you’re like me, then it’s truly going to grate on you quite quickly. He’s not out of tune but the vocals are incredibly coarse and it doesn’t really fit in with the slick instrumentation. For me, it ruins the sound of the songs. Now, this is just me, I realise that there are people that like the way the rough vocals contracts with the slick and well-executed music. 

Most of the lyrics are about your typical rock ‘n’ roll topics such as sex, drugs, drinking and working-class life. Which is fine, I mean I don’t expect much from sleaze rock, in terms of lyrical content. Usually, sleaze rock mainly focuses on light-hearted, easy to grasp subjects that audiences can immediately identify. However, when one of your songs literally starts with a woman moaning in orgasm, I think you’re going to have a good sense of what album you’re getting into.

Overall, this is not a bad album. I can’t say I personally like the vocals but I can certainly understand the appeal. The rock is great and there are some damn catchy and fun tunes to listen to. If you’re looking for a band that delivers rough and dirty sounding rock music, then Thunderfuck and the Deadly Romantics are something to behold.

2.5/5

Mick Birchall

Rammstein – Rammstein

Posted in CD, Industrial, Metal, Rock with tags , , on 6th June 2019 by izaforestspirit

Rammstein
Rammstein
Released 17th May 2019
Neue Deutsche Härte/ Industrial Metal
Released via Universal Music

It’s been a decade since the world renowned Neue Deutsche Härte band Rammstein last released a studio album. For a long-time fan like myself that is a very long time to wait. Needless to say that my expectations for this were very high. After all it took them this long to record so surely it ought to be worth the wait right? Let’s see…

Well, we’re off to a good start with Deutschland. The video might be a bit too much for some people to handle but the song itself is an absolute gem. I cannot get enough of it. It acts like an anthem for the band, combining all the elements that make Rammstein so special. Till Lindemann’s powerful and emotional vocals, Flake’s delightful keyboard work and the guitars. The chorus works a treat too. What a tune; “Radio, Mein Radio…”, that’s about as much as I can make out from the lyrics without consulting a German dictionary or online translating service but that has never stopped me from enjoying this song. I have had that chorus stuck in my head for weeks. Radio is a wonderfully catchy piece of industrial metal that is bound to be a big hit both live and on the dance floors. Then there’s Ausländer with its disco-esque vibes and somewhat cheesy-sounding chorus.

Basically it’s all good until the fifth track comes along and things slow down a little. It is not so much that the rest of the album is bad, it is not. There are lots of well executed, emotional vocal performances from Mr.Lindemann, there is nothing wrong with guitar riffs or the keyboard melodies. And yet it feels a little lacking in energy. As much as I appreciate the dark lyrical themes and creepy music of tracks such as Puppe, Rammstein are capable of so much more. This suffers from the same issues as their mid-career period albums ‘Reise, Reise’ and ‘Rosenrot’, which have a handful of very good songs each and lots of okayish, but not particularly memorable tracks. The only exception is the ultra creepy and sombre-sounding Hallomann which seems like a fitting way to end the album.

In summary, I am sad to say that this album is a bit of a letdown for me. The first four tracks are great and I absolutely love them. Sadly the rest are a little too slow and ballad-like for my taste. It feels almost like Rammstein are tired of making this kind of music and they are preparing to move on to something new.

3.5/5

Iza Raittila

King Zebra – King Zebra EP

Posted in CD, Rock with tags , , , , , on 6th May 2019 by mickbirchy

King Zebra

King Zebra EP

Hard Rock, Glam Rock

Released: 22 March 2019

Self Released

Right from the first notes of this EP, I knew I was going to like this one. I mean, this is the sound I grew up on, pure hard rock with lots of energy and pep. Swiss hard rockers, King Zebra have been tearing up the European rock scene as of late. Opening for awesome bands like The Dead Daisies, The New Roses and Crystal Ball just to name a few. Armed with their new lead vocalist Eric St Michaels (formally of the band China) and this new self-titled EP, they are setting out to conquer. The EP can really be divided into two pieces, firstly the three songs they released last year and the two new songs they’ve released for this EP. Putting it all together makes for an enjoyable listening experience.

The one thing I will say about this EP is that it has a lot of energy. I mean, it’s the kind of music that makes you want to get up and move. The guitar work is fast and loose and the rhythm sections are tight. The grooves are excellent and the riffs really land a hit every time they come in. The band just feel like a forceful presence at all times. Eric St Michaels is a great vocalist and he sounds amazing here. He’s mixed in really well to the tunes. His vocal performance is really impressive, with a powerful voice and a tonne of charisma he’s able to keep you invested in the songs and adds that extra punch to the hooks. The production is great and easy for any listener to get into and enjoy.

There really isn’t anything to say beyond this. I mean, if you like your 80’s glam rock then this will definitely fill a hole for new material to listen to. It’s an entertaining listen, to say the least. With songs about the general rock topics and production that’s clean enough to get a general audience but edgy enough that rock fan won’t turn it off either. I like the EP, it’s not my favourite release of the year, as good as it sounds and as fun as it is to listen to, it’s just an okay release. Not bad but not something that I have to listen to again and again. It will be one of those EP’s where if it’s on I’ll keep listening but not one I will go out of my way to listen to.

2.5/5

Mick Birchall

More details about the new Rammstein album

Posted in Metal, Misc., News, Rock, Studio Report with tags , , on 26th April 2019 by izaforestspirit

The long-awaited new album from Rammstein is expected to hit the stores worldwide on 17th May 2019. No official album title has been announced but it is possible that it will be a self-titled record.

Here is what the band have confirmed – the album now has a cover and a track-listing. Here are the details:

 

1. DEUTSCHLAND

2. RADIO

3. ZEIG DICH

4. AUSLÄNDER

5. SEX

6. PUPPE

7. WAS ICH LIEBE

8. DIAMANT

9. WEIT WEG

10. TATTOO

11. HALLOMANN

The yet-to-be-titled new album will be out on 17th May 2019 via Universal Records. In the meantime you can check out their latest video for the track ‘Radio’.

For more details visit:

https://www.rammstein.de/

https://www.facebook.com/Rammstein/

Uncle Paul – Dot Rotten

Posted in CD, Experimental, Rock with tags , , , , , , , on 14th April 2019 by mickbirchy

Uncle Paul
Dot Rotten
Noise Rock, Stoner Rock, Psychedelic
Released 14th January 2019
via Introclusor Records

You guys know me by now. I’m usually the first in line for the weird and experimental side of rock n roll. After all, today’s experimental music is tomorrow’s mainstream. So, why not listen to everything that you can? Which leads me to this EP. Dot Rotton is the newest release from the weird and wonderful Uncle Paul and let’s just say it’s an interesting listening experience, to say the least. Sounding like a weird hybrid of Butthole Surfers, Deerhoof and Lightning Bolt, this band have really captured my imagination. Though this isn’t the best example of the genre, the North-West UK rockers certainly work as a weird noise rock psychedelia band, that incorporate elements of garage rock and stoner rock into their style. Referring to themselves as “refined musical dyslexia” is a good call, because this is what this is, a random assortment of musical ideas thrown into a melting pot and left to simmer.

Though it would take you longer to listen to “In A Gadda Da Vida” than it would this entire EP. I think there is some merit to the EP. In the sense, that you shouldn’t try to investigate it or look into it too deep. It’s more just a musical experience with a hodge-podge of ideas, riffs and distortion just blasting full force at the listener. With vocal effect layered over the sound and weird noise coming from every which way. It’s an EP to lose yourself in and not worry too much about its motivations or connotations. It’s just music for music’s sake and, you know what? That’s actually quite refreshing from time to time. The production is all over the place with nothing really meshing or coming together. Very much like the noise rock movement of the early 90’s this band just make what they feel like and run with the ideas they have.

Let me put this straight, this is not of the average consumer of music. There are no hooks or ear-worms to be found here. Yet, there is some creating bass work, some great riff ideas and guitar licks littered throughout the EP. Which makes it enjoyable enough. Also, considering that a couple of the songs don’t even reach two minutes long and the longest track here is four minutes, the music just passes by so quick that you don’t even realise that you’ve just heard something really fun and ridiculous.

By no means is this a great example of modern rock music. Yet, it serves as an interesting example of the noise rock sound and how it can still be relevant today. Then again, noise rock usually exists outside the normal boundaries of music anyway. If you like that  90’s Gen-Xer sound or watched a lot of Bevis and Butthead then I would recommend this in a strange way. It’s not a masterpiece, nor is it trying to be. It’s designed to be off-putting and weird and to be honest, that’s what I liked about it.

3.5/5

Mick Birchall