Blog Archives

It’s Been a While

Apologies for the lack of updates, yikes, this year!  Life has unfortunately kicked my arse for the last nine months, mainly with work and reaping the benefits of my employment by actually going out and doing stuff.  This isn’t a personal blog so I won’t bore you with those details, so here’s a quickfire recap on a few of the things I’ve missed lately.
The European Football Championship was excellent this summer, of course with Spain winning it after murdering Italy 4-0 in the final.  I must admit that shocked me, I was convinced Italy at least stood a good chance of winning seeing as they had a rock-solid defence and Spain more often than not played without a recognised striker.  Good to see Torres back to his best in the Premier League coming back to recent events, the league is as exciting as ever now that Manchester City have joined United and Chelsea to make it a three horse race for the title this year.  Lots of money has been spent as always, Eden Hazard in particular looks to be a fantastic acquisition for Chelsea as does Santi-Cazorla for Arsenal.  I can’t see them challenging for the league title this year but it would be nice to see them beform consistently between now and May rather than choking towards the end.  Time will tell.

Mass Effect 3 is one of the biggest releases of the year

Video games, always a favourite of mine.  We’ve had some belters this year with the amazing Skyrim, the new Hearthfire DLC is something I’m interesting in purchasing as building a detailed property is a feature I’ve always wanted Bethesda to expand upon.  Good call by them, I’ll try and stick a review up once I’ve played it.  Guild Wars 2 is out as well of course, but I’ve not had the chance to play that either just yet. Luckily it’s my birthday in almost exactly a months time and that’s very high on my list of DO WANT! so again more thoughts and opinions on that when the time comes, no doubt that’s just as fantastic as the first one.  As for games I have played I finally got around to playing and completing all three of the main Uncharted games, which on the whole were fantastic but in my opinion gradually got weaker as the series progressed.  It’s still a memorable experience though and one any PS3 owner shouldn’t miss, so go play them if you haven’t already.   Mass Effect 3 was another big release earlier in the year, and my goodness did that get a reaction.  No doubt you’re aware of the controversy surrounding the… rather poor ending, but thankfully that’s been rectified and the new ending is much, much better.  I can honestly say that the final half an hour before the original ending is the most incredible gaming experience I’ve ever had the pleasure of being on the edge of my seat for, again that’s a series well worth investing your time in if you’ve not already done so.

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A review of Rumble In The Ghetto 3

Rumble In The Ghetto is an annual and successful event at the Westcoast Bar in Margate, generally showcasing local talent with the occasional bigger name.  This years’ headline act was originally supposed to be Deaf Havana, but they decided to cancel at the last moment due to receiving a Kerrang nomination for best newcomer.  They didn’t win, so that was worth it.

Despite that the promoters very kindly lowered the entrance fee, not that it particularly mattered to me either way as the local bands were what I wanted to see in the first place, so a reduction in price was an added bonus if nothing else.

Having heard a few of their songs on MySpace I was particularly interested to see Chronos, as it was their first live gig since forming earlier in the year.  They describe themselves as a post-metal band and take inspiration from the likes of Cult of Luna and Isis, two bands I’m very fond of so this was a band I didn’t want to miss.  I was extremely impressed with what they put together, sadly only performing a couple of songs but they were terrific from start to finish.  They had a very death-doom feel to their music in the same vein as Swallow The Sun and In Vain, and along with the aforementioned influences Chronos absolutely nailed their first gig with some fine musicianship.  I honestly cannot wait to see more from these guys in the future, they can’t come back to Margate soon enough. In fact they are, on September 2nd.

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Top 10 Albums of The Decade

Continuing with my Top 10 Lists of The Decade we now move on to albums.  I should state that I’m a big fan of metal music so most of what’s included in this list are from that genre, however I do like to think I have a pretty diverse music taste so hopefully there should be something you recognise in there.

As always comments are welcome, and like the Top 10 Movies list this is in no particular order.

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A review of SOiL, 12th November 2009

On the 12th of November 2009 I went to see SOiL at the Westcoast Bar in Margate, England, and decided to review the gig for my Last.FM profile.  As it’s been a while since I’ve made a blog entry I thought I might as well post it here as well.

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Mid-year music roundup

Before I start this I should clarify I’m a metal fan, and while I like to think I appreciate most genres of music this will mostly be a list of metal releases.

The Good

August Burns Red – Constellations:  Pretty standard metalcore, but enjoyable enough.  I prefer their previous release Messengers (just) over this but it’s good stuff overall.  3.5/5

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Graveworm – Diabolical Figures:  One of my favourite symphonic black metal bands put together a far better album than their previous album, Diabolical Figures is more consistent and more memorable.  Not as good as (N)utopia but a return to form nonetheless. 4/5

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Dream Theater – Black Clouds & Silver Linings:  Simply stunning, to put it simply.  A massive step up from their recent releases in my opinion and second only to Metropolis Pt. II in their discography, this is an absolutely masterpiece. 5/5

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Destroyer 666 – Defiance: So far this is my best album of the year, combining black and thrash metal to produce a brilliant piece of musicianship.  This is a pleasure to listen to from start to finish.  5/5

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The Autumn Offering – Requiem:  Another metalcore release leaning towards screamo in a lot of ways, pretty good though and worth a listen.  3.5/5

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Hardcore Superstar – Beg For It:  A band not to be taken too seriously, Hardcore Superstar reminds me of Motley Crue and this album reflects that.  Pretty decent although lacking that extra something to make it great.  3.5/5

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Gorod – Process of A New Decline:  Really good technical death, very well produced and experimental in places with jazz interludes to give a new dimension on the genre. 4/5

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Trail of Tears – Bloodstained Endurance:    The gothic metal genre is very much hit and miss for me, but this album is very much a hit.  Trail of Tears use the ‘beauty and the beast’ vocals (harsh male with operatic female) to great effect and it’s very atmospheric.  4/5

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Alestorm – Black Sails at Midnight:  This is a good release from the masters of ‘true Scottish pirate metal’ but nowhere near as good as their previous release Captain Morgans Revenge.  It’s still decent for fans of the band or those looking for something different, but for those interested in checking out pirate metal check the other album out first.  3.5/5

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Eternal Tears of Sorrow – Children of the Dark Waters:  Pretty much on par with previous releases, this one has a more epic feel and a slightly different lyrical theme.  Melodic death metal fans should enjoy it for sure. 3.5/5

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Saint Deamon – Pandeamonium:  One of the best power metal albums I’ve heard in some time, Saint Deamon improve on their debut album from 2008 by combining catchy riffs with the powerful voice of the lead singer to blow the listener away.  4.5/5

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Mystic Prophecy – Fireangel: Apart from running out of steam towards the end this is another solid power metal release, but the first half of the album is enjoyable head banging material and a rip-roaring yarn for the most part. 4/5

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Nahemah – A New Constellation: A slightly different take on the progressive metal genre, this band also has death influences to create their own unique sound.  They put it to great use on this release, it has a wonderful and complex atmosphere and is worthy of a listen for fans of bands who want to experience something a little different.  4/5

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Bloodbound – Tabula Rasa: Yet another power metal release, this one features the return of the bands original lead vocalist Urban Breed and he performs his duties flawlessly.  The songs are powerful and melodic for the most part, good stuff overall. 4/5

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God Dethroned – Passiondale: This is a very aggressive war-themed death metal album, right up my street as bands like Hail of Bullets who are lyrically similar.  One of my favourite death metal releases of the year, easily.  4.5/5

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Heaven & Hell – The Devil You Know: Good old fashioned heavy metal performed by a band which is literally the original Black Sabbath but with Dio (of Rainbow) on vocals.  Despite these guys being well in their 60’s they retain the energy they had in their respective heydays, metal fans young and old will appreciate this one.  3.5/5

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Haunted Shores – Following Ivy: Haunted Shores are a relatively new and unknown metalcore band, they’ve only released two EPs to date but they’re both extremely melodic and well put together.  Following Ivy isn’t as good as the previous EP Maelstrom, but if you like that you’ll enjoy this one.  4/5

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Long Distance Calling – Avoid The Light: This is a post-rock album with a depressive theme to it, it’s almost entirely instrumental but features Jonas Renske of Katatonia on guest vocals for the track The Nearing Grave.  A fantastic release, quite simply. 4.5/5

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Daath – The Concealers: A standout album in the melodic death metal genre, The Concealers has a slightly experimental side to it for added uniqueness.  The vocals are a particular highlight along with the song structure.  4/5

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Isis – Wavering Radiant: I’ve never been too savvy on what exactly ‘sludge metal’ is, but apparently this is it.  What I do know is that it’s a very enjoyable album despite being very much an acquired taste. 4.5/5

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Candlemass – Death Magic Doom: One of the pioneers of the doom metal genre return with a solid release, I’ve never been a fan of this band but I’m glad I gave it a try. 4/5

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Lion’s Share – Dark Hours: An interesting heavy/power metal album by a band very few have heard of most likely, Dark Hours is a big improvement over their previous efforts and fully deserves to give them some recognition.  3.5/5

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Blackguard – Profugus Mortis: This is a fun folk metal album with various other influences, slightly let down by the vocals but thigh-slappingly good all the same.  4/5

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Kathaarsis – Anonymous Ballad: There are some very nice atmospheric progressive moments and some more aggressive sections with an extreme metal influence, which all comes together very well.  3.5/5

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D’espairsRay – Redeemer: A little more mainstream than their previous releases due to signing with a new record label, but despite that it’s still an enjoyable album and far better than their previous album Mirror.  4/5

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Centaurus-A – Side Effects Expected: Chaotic, well produced and very technical, Centaurus-A’s complex album Side Effects Expected is also melodic enough to appeal to fans who are perhaps new the the tech death genre.  4.5/5

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Wolf – Ravenous:  Kick-ass heavy metal, catchy yet simple, Wolf have put together a decent album that’s enjoyable from start to finish.  This will appeal to fans of 80’s heavy metal.  3.5/5

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Scale The Summit – Carving Desert Canyons:  A very technically progressive album here, Scale The Summit are a (very) young band who already have a ridiculous amount of talent.  The band are shaping up to be one of the premier progressive metal bands in years to come.  3.5/5

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Luna Mortis – The Absence:  Melodic death metal in the style of Arch Enemy mixed with the power metal elements of Sinergy, The Absence drew fairly negative reviews from those who have listened to it but it’s one I enjoyed.  The guitarist is extremely talented and is more or less responsible for making this album as good as it is.  3.5/5

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Grave Digger – Ballads of A Hangman: I think this was the first 2009 release I heard, and it gave me a lot of hope that this year would be as good as 2008.  This is a typical gritty Grave Digger album but because they’ve been around for so long they’ve basically done this album before, but after a series of lacklustre releases it is a welcome return to what fans of the band know and love.  3.5/5

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IQ – Frequency: Very good progressive rock from England, this is a ‘neo-prog’ (whatever that is) effort that is consistent throughout and features an 80’s flair.  3.5/5

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