Tag Archives: Judas Priest

Judas Priest announce US tour dates

Metal legends Judas Priest have announced a tour of North America, kicking off in March 2018 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania.

Support for the trek will be provided by Yorkshire’s finest, Saxon and Black Star Riders. The tour will be in support of their highly-anticipated new studio album Firepower, the title of which was revealed on Monday.

Since we mentioned new albums, Saxon have just finished mixing theirs. It’s going to be called Thunderbolt and is probably due for release in January 2018, just in time for you to learn the songs before they hit the road with Priest. The album will feature a tribute to the late, great and sadly missed Lemmy Kilmister and Motörhead, entitled They Played Rock And Roll

Here’s the dates for those of you over there in the USA:
Mar. 13 – Wilkes Barre, PA – Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza
Mar. 15 – Youngstown, OH – Covelli Centre
Mar. 17 – Uniondale, NY – Nassau Coliseum
Mar. 18 – Washington, DC – The Anthem
Mar. 20 – Newark, NJ – Prudential Center
Mar. 22 – Uncasville, CT – Mohegan Sun Arena
Mar. 25 – Ottawa, ON – The Arena at TD Place
Mar. 27 – London, ON – Budweiser Gardens
Mar. 28 – Oshawa, ON – Tribute Communities Centre
Mar. 30 – Orillia, ON – Casino Rama
Mar. 31 – Detroit, MI – Detroit Masonic Temple
Apr. 03 – Milwaukee, WI – Riverside Theater
Apr. 05 – Green Bay, WI – Resch Center
Apr. 08 – Bloomington, IL – Grossinger Motors Arena
Apr. 10 – Casper, WY – Casper Events Center
Apr. 11 – Loveland, CO – Budweiser Events Center
Apr. 15 – Kent, WA – ShoWare Center
Apr. 17 – Portland, OR – Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Apr. 19 – San Francisco – The Warfield
Apr. 22 – Los Angeles, CA – Microsoft Theater
Apr. 24 – Phoenix, AZ – Comerica Theatre
Apr. 26 – Tulsa, OK – BOK Center
Apr. 28 – Dallas, TX – The Bomb Factory
Apr. 29 – Sugarland, TX – Smart Financial Centre
May 01 – San Antonio, TX – Freeman Coliseum

Following the tour of the US, Priest will be playing Wacken OA and of course headlining the Friday night at the Wyrd Ways Rock Show’s favourite outdoor festival, Bloodstock.

Bloodstock Announces Judas Priest as Third Headliner for 2018!

Bloodstock are excited and proud to announce their third and final headliner for 2018 will be… JUDAS PRIEST!

The metal icons are one of the most-requested bands by the festival’s loyal fan base and finally make their Bloodstock debut at Catton Park in 2018 on Friday night, 10th August.

A statement for the legendary Heavy Metal pioneers… erm… states:

“Judas Priest are thrilled, honoured and primed, ready to unleash Priest-style metal fury into the headbanging heart and home of heavy metal at Bloodstock 2018!”

In other news, Bloodstock also said they were rightly very proud to reveal that they raised £11,686.88 in 2017 for the Teenage Cancer Trust, bringing the total to over £60,000 since their partnership began.

Get tickets now for 2018!

The first wave of Serpents Lair VIP tickets (priced at £290) and Deluxe VIP packages (Luxpads, Bellepads, Podpads, etc) are available now for those who want their VIP spot guaranteed.  A smaller second wave and a limited amount of VIP upgrades will then become available on 16th December at 9am.

Standard weekend tickets are currently available at ‘early bird’ prices (just £125 for four days of metal fun) so grab yours now at the ticket store if you want to save £20!  In order to keep up with inflation and extra costs in 2018, standard weekend tickets with camping will increase from last year’s £139 to £145 once the ‘early bird’ allocation is gone.  The limited allocation of VIP upgrades (for those who’ve bought early bird tickets) will cost £145.

Click on THIS LINK to get your tickets now.

Rabid Bitch Of The North Reveal Debut Album Details

Belfast Heavy Metal trio Rabid Bitch Of The North have announced they will release their debut full length album, Nothing But a Bitter Taste, this August via Hostile Media.

Frontman Joe McDonnell:

“Nothing But a Bitter Taste has essentially been several years in the making. For the first time in over 10 years of performing live we had to find time to take off, go to our studio, and do this album justice.  [The album], is a concrete slab of that classic British sounding metal. It’s something straight off a NWOBHM compilation cassette. A varied spectrum of styles and tempos, and each track has its own story. It is heavy metal with rock n roll, but it is definitely progressive sounding from the previous EP and singles we’ve released.”

Tracklisting
1. The Missionary
2. Chance
3. Nothing But A Bitter Taste
4. Gilded Men
5. God Of Punishment
6. Demon Mind
7. Defending Two Castles
8. Trapped In 1999

The album was recorded by guitarist Gerard Mulholland, as with all their previous releases.

Joe McDonnell again:

“Gerry’s production has been a learn as you work approach. Using his skills built up from years of making our demos and singles.  What we wanted to achieve was a record that captured our unique character, as well sounding like a record that we would listen to. We wanted it to sound like the metal we like, which is anything from the golden era of heavy metal. Maybe a few Judas Priest records were points of reference at times, but the album was never based on one particular sound.”

As well as announcing details of the album the band have also released the first single, The Missionary:  “It’s a song about the journey of discovering metal, searching out new bands and sounds, and then becoming part of the scene creating your own songs.”

HELL BENT FOR LEATHER: AN ART EXHIBITION

Legendary Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford will attend the private view on Thursday, 27th April at Parliament Tattoo in London.

PARLIAMENT TATTOO STUDIO have joined forces with the iconic metal band JUDAS PRIEST to bring you HELL BENT FOR LEATHER: an exhibition of hand painted leather biker jackets inspired by the band’s albums and song titles by some of the worlds greatest tattoo artists.

The first exhibition of its kind featuring tattooing nobility such as Grime, Jondix, Scott Move, Gregory Whitehead, Xam, and more, the landmark exhibition is set to make waves in both the music and tattoo art communities. Each artist taking part in the exhibition has selected their favourite Judas Priest song or album title from which to create their artwork – painting directly onto the back of biker jackets using specially designed acrylic leather paint – each piece represents hours of meticulous work resulting in some of the most exciting heavy metal artwork ever produced.

Rob Halford

Kicking off with a bang, Metal God Rob Halford will take time out of the studio where he is working with Judas Priest on their new album, to open an exclusive showcase exhibiting the leather jackets to press, influencers and celebrities.

Hosted at Parliament Tattoo in London, guests of the private view will also have the opportunity to take home a piece of artwork of their own that will last a lifetime – a tattoo by one of Parliament’s resident artists. The studio will release Judas Priest themed tattoo flash, which guests can select from should they wish to make the ultimate homage to the legendary band.

Following the private view, the one off pieces will be displayed publicly in London this May, at a free exhibition in the heart of Camden. A drinks reception will launch the week long event on Friday 5th May at the Provender Building, right in the subculture epicenter that is the Stables Market.

Moving on from its stint in London, the jackets will head south to the prestigious Brighton Tattoo Convention on 13th & 14th May where they will exhibit alongside more than 300 world class tattooists, including several of the artists participating in the Hell Bent for Leather exhibition.

Charity Auction

Following the events, the jackets will be auctioned off online to benefit both The Teenage Cancer Trust and the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund; both extremely worthy causes close to the hearts of Judas Priest. The exhibition hopes to raise as much money as possible for the two charities.

FULL LIST OF PARTICIPATING ARTISTS


Abby Drielsma (AUS), Elliot Wells (UK), Gregory Whitehead (USA), Grime (USA), Joao Bosco (BR), Jondix (UK). Kelly Violet (UK), Liam Sparkes (UK), Rafel Delalande (FR), Robert Borbas (HU), Scott Move (UK), Tamara Santibanez (USA), Tas Danazoglou (CY), Tony Hundahl (USA), Uncle Allan (DE), Wendy Pham (DE), Xam (UK). 

DATES FOR THE DIARY 

PRIVATE VIEW (Invitation Only) 27th April 2017 Times: 6.30pm – 10.30pm
Location: Parliament Tattoo

Unit D Leeds Place London
N4 3RF

PUBLIC EXHIBITION

5th – 10th May 2017 

Opening Party: 5th May, Times TBC
Location: Provender Building

The Brighton Tattoo Convention
13th & 14th May 2017 Location: The Brighton Centre

Kings Road
Brighton, BN1 2GR
For more Information visit www.brightontattoo.com

The Stables Market

Chalk Farm Road

London

NW1 8AH

 

About Parliament Tattoo: 

Parliament Tattoo is a private, appointment only tattoo studio with an impressive line up of internationally acclaimed artists. Having opened up shop in an old dress making factory just 2 years ago, the unique tattoo studio has quickly established itself as one the most distinguished tattoo shops in Europe. With a combined social following pushing into the millions, Parliament Tattoo is at the forefront of modern tattooing with premier artwork being produced daily by artists such as Scott Move, Kelly Violet, Rebecca Vincent, Emily Alice Johnston, Adam Ruff, Andrew John Smith, Duncan X, and more. Enquiries to info@nullparliamenttattoo.com .

Wyrd Ways Rock Show Presents: Powerzone! 19th September 2016

Over a couple of hours, tonight you see,
A Powerzone show is a real treat for thee!
New tunes from Sonata Arctica, Testament & Tengger Cavalry,
We’ve also got new stuff from Running Wild, Hammerfall & Lost Society.
From 9pm we’ll be here with all this and more,
Other radio shows right now will be such a bloody bore.
To try and resist such great metal would be completely futile,
So turn to 105 FM and make your Monday BRUTAL.
Ah, close enough, m/

Evil Scarecrow – Hurricanado
Sonata Arctica – Life
Hammerfall – The Sacred Vow
Running Wild – Warmongers
Judas Priest – Eat Me Alive
Krampus – Beast Within
Eluveitie – Omnos
Tankard – Fooled By Your Guts
Lost Society – Hangover Activator
Metallica – One (Epic Track)
Testament – Brotherhood Of The Snake
Stratovarius – Dragons (Volt Track)
Edguy – Down To The Devil
In Flames – Pinball Map
Soilwork – Rejection Role
Sinergy – Gallowmere
Children Of Bodom – Silent Night, Bodom Night
Iron Maiden – Dance Of Death (Epic Track)
Tengger Cavalry – Mountain Side
Nine Tresures – Sonsii
Rammstein – Das Modell [Kraftwerk Cover] (Coverzone) {Overload}
Bear Bear – Мать троллей/Trollhammaren [Finntroll cover] (Coverzone) {Overload}
Tragedy – Jive Talkin’ (Bee Gees Cover) [Coverzone] {Overload}
O.Children – Ruins

Top Ten Judas Priest albums

10: Turbo

Much maligned (most unfairly in my opinion), this one is still one of Priest‘s biggest selling albums.  The change in sound from the more Trad Heavy Metal sound of the previous few albums happened as a reaction to the mid-80’s trend towards incorporating synth pop influences, as pioneered by ZZ Top.  Despite that, the title track is one of my personal favourite songs and has remained in Priest‘s live set.

 

9: Stained Class

This was the album that started the evolution towards Priest becoming the quintessential Heavy Metal band.  Producer Dennis MacKay streamlined Priest‘s songwriting, filtering out most of the Prog to create a tighter, meaner, more direct sound.  Stained Class also spawned Beyond The Realms Of Death and Exciter, as well as the controversial Spooky Tooth cover, Better By You, Better Than Me.

 

8: Jugulator

Even though Rob Halford had left the band somewhat acrimoniously, Priest made a solid attempt to carry on where Painkiller left off.  This was an angry band with a new singer in Tim “Ripper” Owens who could snarl as well as scream.  This may count as sacrilegious, but Ripper‘s version of Green Manlishi (with the Two-Pronged Crown), which can be found as a bonus track on Demolition, has a creeping menace to it that not even The Metal God himself could match.

This one is a grossly underrated album, that is worth re-evaluating purely on the strength of the last two songs: Bullet Train and the truly epic Cathedral Spires.

 

7: Sad Wings Of Destiny

Priest’s second album, the follow-up to 1974’s Rocka Rolla could probably be called the band’s first Heavy Metal album.  The centrepiece is the monumental Victim Of Changes, which set the stamp of what Judas Priest would be for the next six years, before everything changed for British Steel.  The Progginess was still strongly evident, but so were the riffs, solos and stratospheric vocals that became their trademark later on.  As well as Victim… this one is probably best known for The Ripper and Tyrant.

 

6: Defenders Of The Faith

Defenders… was the last of the three absolute classic albums Priest recorded in the 80’s, that pretty much set the standard the rest of their albums are judged by.  In terms of style, it didn’t really veer much from the path laid down by it’s predecessor, Screaming For Vengeance, which is why it’s not higher up in this countdown.

That said, it’s got another one of my favourite Priest songs on it, in the shape of The Sentinel.  It also contains Freewheel Burning, and Eat Me Alive, which is a masterclass in the art of lyrical innuendo and the double entendre, and earned them the ire of a certain Tipper Gore.

 

5: Redeemer Of Souls

After the bitty let-down that was Nostrodamus, Judas Priest needed to get their act back together, especially with the retirement of original member and mainstay, KK Downing.  To be absolutely honest, they played it safe.  Thing is, this is Judas Priest, one of the greatest Heavy Metal bands ever to walk the Earth, so their version of “playing it safe” puts them head and shoulders above most other bands.  This is a bloody good Judas Priest album, with very few weak links.  That’s why it’s sitting at Number 5.

Remember though, that this album was never supposed to happen.  The original plan was that Priest would do one more tour (named “Epitaph”, for obvious reasons), then would hang it up.  Substitute guitarist, Richie Faulkner (who had also worked with the late, great Sir Christopher Lee on his second Charlemagne album) changed all that.  Infused by new energy, they went back into the studio and recorded the album that righted the ship.

 

4: Angel Of Retribution

Arguably Priest‘s most important album, for them at least.  After the acrimonious split in the early 90’s, this was the album that brought Rob Halford back into the fold.

It was like he’d never been away.  The lessons Halford had learned from Fight and his own solo material were folded back into Judas Priest and they were all the better for it.

 

3: Screaming For Vengeance

The term “classic album” is bandied around far too much.  Judas Priest, though, got into a little bit of a habit of producing “classic” albums.  This is one of them.

The album kicks off with The Hellion, which leads into another all-time favourite of mine, and a mainstay of the band’s live set: Electric Eye.  This album also features Bloodstone, You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’ and Devil’s Child.

Then there’s the title track, Screaming For Vengeance, itself.  In the old days of vinyl and cassette, that one kicked off side 2, and… well.  That’s why it’s in the Top 3.

 

2: British Steel

If any album deserved the accolade of being called “all killer, no filler”, it’s this one.  If not for the next album on the list, this would have been unassailable at the top.  There is not one single even slightly below par moment on this entire album.  Even the recording of the album has passed into legend in a way that only an album by a British band can… most notably due to the story behind the sound effects on Metal Gods.

It’s also got Grinder, Livin’ After Midnight, Rapid Fire and the song that is to Judas Priest as Paranoid is to Black Sabbath, Breaking The Law.

The only thing that stops British Steel being Priest‘s greatest album (the genius of the Breaking The Law video isn’t allowed into it) is that it doesn’t have a certain song as it’s title track…

 

1: Painkiller

It was never going to be anything else, really, was it?  As soon as British Steel came in second, this one was obviously the top.

None other than Sy Keeler, singer with Onslaught, agrees with me that this album sums up what Heavy Metal is all about. It was Rob Halford‘s original swansong with the band, and by the gods he went out on top. As with British Steel, this album has no weak links. A quick scan down the tracklisting shows up Hell Patrol, Night Crawler, Between The Hammer and The Anvil and Touch Of Evil. There’s also All Guns Blazing and One Shot At Glory.

Generally, that would be enough to bring it nose-to-nose with British Steel, but then you bring the title track onto the field, and the war is over. Kicking off with new boy (at the time) Scott Travis, formerly of Racer-X absolutely hammering his drumkit into the floor, Painkiller doesn’t let up for a second.

That’s why it’s Judas Priest‘s best album (so far), and possibly the greatest Heavy Metal album ever recorded.

Phil Anselmo, Robb Flynn, Racism and Metal: does it matter if musicians are racist?

If you have an interest in Metal, you’ve more than likely by now seen, or at least heard about, the video showing Phil Anselmo’s actions at Dimebash last week:

You may also have seen Robb Flynn of Machine Head’s response video posted a few days later:

In the first video, Anselmo shouts “white power” accompanied by what is widely believed to be a “sieg heil” salute. In Flynn’s video, he points out that this is by no means the first time that Phil Anselmo has said or done something so inappropriate and that this latest incident is the straw that’s broken the camel’s back; Robb Flynn has had enough of Anselmo’s bullshit and bullying persona, and vows to never perform a Pantera song ever again.

Now this issue has seen tempers flare on opposing sides. We have fans of Phil Anselmo defending him saying that people shouldn’t be so sensitive, his personal actions are separate from his music and, even if he is a racist, Metal is all about being “extreme” and “offensive” and so you’re not really “Metal” if you have a problem with him. On the other hand, we have people more sympathetic to Robb Flynn’s view of things who declare that racism has no place in Metal and that, just because he’s very famous and popular, Anselmo’s actions should not be simply brushed under the carpet and ignored. Like Flynn, I’ve seen several other Metal fans, writers, DJs, etc. say they are now “done” with Anselmo and are boycotting Pantera, Superjoint Ritual, Down and any other band or project he’s been involved with. To be perfectly honest, while I am very sympathetic to Robb Flynn’s take on things, I can, to a degree, see where both sides are coming from here.

First of all, I am not going to debate whether or not Phil Anselmo is a racist. I don’t know if he said what he said with any element of seriousness or malice, I don’t know if he is genuinely prejudiced against people of other races and ethnicities, and I am not sufficiently experienced in racial politics (privileged white bloke speaking here) to discuss the ins and outs of what it actually means to be a racist. What is clear, however, is that regardless of intent, Anselmo’s actions were idiotic, divisive and exclusionary; even if he isn’t racist, he certainly appears to be one in this video. Moreover, even if he was “joking”, the language and symbols used here are so historically offensive that such excuses are irrelevant. Not that I’m in the business of telling people what they can or cannot make jokes about; I’m just saying that, when you attempt (poorly) to inject humour into a subject that is so hurtful to so many people on such a deep, fundamental level, don’t be surprised if not many people are laughing along with you.

The point is that the use of such language and symbols, regardless of context, will ALWAYS alienate a lot of people; to suggest otherwise is to misunderstand or ignore their historical context. But, what about the protestation (which many on Facebook, Twitter, etc. have voiced) that to criticise Anselmo for this is racist against white people? Why, they cry, is it ok for black people to say “black power”, but not ok for white people to say “white power”? Robb Flynn mentions in his video that to compare the two phrases implies a gross ignorance of (quite recent) history. “Black power” is used to fight oppression whereas “white power” is used to promote it. And yes, there have been racially-motivated crimes against white people, but to suggest that it’s anywhere near the level of persecution suffered by black people is preposterously moronic.

Essentially, dismissing the use of racist language and gestures as something that’s no big deal suggests a distinct lack of empathy. A lot of people treat the Metal community as if it’s just them and a few of their mates; everyone looks the same, acts the same and has the same opinions and attitudes about everything, so there’s no need to worry about offending or excluding anyone ever. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have been a Metal fan since my mid-teens, nearly 15 years now, and the Rock/Metal community is by far the most beautifully diverse group of people I have ever known; I have met people of countless nationalities, genders, races, sexualities, religions and socio-political backgrounds. The idea that none of them should have a problem with Anselmo’s actions is ridiculous; maybe you don’t find it offensive, but what about black, Asian, or Hispanic Metal fans? Maybe, for example, there’s a bunch of kids right now in India, Peru or Tunisia who have recently got into metal, are excited about maybe starting a band of their own, and then they see this video of Phil Anselmo: how do you expect they would react? Do you think they’d just laugh it off as a joke? Maybe they would, but what’s more likely is that they’d get the impression that Metal is not meant for them; it’s made by white people, for white people.

This of course is just not true, and you don’t even need to dig that deep to see that Metal is enjoyed by all kinds of people. Black Sabbath, Metallica, Dio, Slayer, Guns N’ Roses, X-Japan, Sepultura, Suffocation, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Dream Theater, Rage Against the Machine, KorRn, Orphaned Land, Deftones, ChthoniC, Lacuna Coil, Opeth, System of a Down, Dragonforce, Skindred, God Forbid, Killswitch Engage: all big-name Metal bands that have had members who don’t conform to the W.A.S.P./Aryan ideal, and there are countless more besides. If the point of Metal was to freely spout racist bile, then you can wave goodbye to these bands ever existing. Metal is of course an alternative, non-mainstream subculture but that doesn’t mean it’s an exclusive club, only open to a select few. There is nothing “extreme” or “alternative” about being racist; if you look throughout human history, it’s just about the most pro-establishment, conservative thing you can be! Mainstream culture often excludes and alienates many people, and Metal is an “alternative” to that. As Rob Zombie said in the documentary Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey: “Metal is all the weird kids in one place”. If Metal is not an inclusive place where people from all walks of life can feel accepted, then what on earth is the point? Ignoring racism is not “Metal”; fighting it and welcoming victims of it certainly is.

As I said at the beginning though, I can to an extent see where both sides are coming from here. Looking at the people who wish to ignore Phil Anselmo’s actions, they are invariably going to be big fans of his music, and it can be hard to accept that your idols are sometimes much less than perfect human beings. Especially with music, it is something that is often enjoyed as a total escape from the world and thus many people would rather not pay attention to its context (i.e. they’d rather concentrate on appreciating the music for its own sake). So, if such people are confronted with unpleasant contextual information (such as a musician’s offensive personal views or actions), they choose to ignore it, deeming it irrelevant in determining how good the music itself is. On the other hand, given that we have people saying they are turning their backs on Anselmo’s music as a result of his actions, it looks like the reverse is true too; that is, we have people refusing to listen to, if not outright disliking, music because of negative contextual factors. My personal position is somewhere in the middle though and, to explain why, I’ll need to recall something I learned at university several years ago…

I have Bachelor and Master’s degrees in philosophy, and one subject I studied was aesthetics: the philosophy of art. A central topic in this area of philosophy is the question of what it means for a piece of art to have value. We learned that a piece of art (be it a song, film, book, painting, etc.) can be said to have both “aesthetic” and “non-aesthetic” value. The aesthetic value of a Metal song or artist, for example, would be found in its composition, style, musicianship and anything else that makes it good from a technical standpoint. Non-aesthetic value however comes from external factors; moral, social and political considerations for example (i.e. anything that is separate from how good a song is on a technical level, but which can still affect how it is critically perceived). Aesthetic and non-aesthetic considerations can often conflict and contrast, so that we may find ourselves struggling to determine how valuable a piece of art is. A key example of this that I looked at during my studies was the film Triumph of the Will by Leni Riefenstahl.download

Aesthetically, it is considered a work of brilliance due to its ground-breaking cinematography. Non-aesthetically, it’s, well, a Nazi propaganda film; regardless of how technically good it is, the controversy of the subject matter invariably affects many people’s opinions of it. So, you might say the film is “good” if you place more importance on aesthetic factors, but “bad” if you place more importance on non-aesthetic factors. In either case, your overall view of the film is limited. Both aesthetic and non-aesthetic factors are necessary in order to determine how good or valuable a piece of art is; if we just focus on one or the other, we don’t see the full picture.

So what does this mean for Phil Anselmo and the large quantity of music that he’s produced?  It means that it’s understandable to criticise or boycott it as his actions arguably affect the non-aesthetic value of his music. Conversely, his actions do not necessarily affect the aesthetic value of his music, and thus many people remain happy to listen to it. I personally think it’s important to try and balance the two though. I am not the biggest Pantera fan but I’ll generally bang my head and so forth if Cowboys from Hell or 5 Minutes Alone comes on in a club. Will I stop doing that now? I don’t know, but I do know that it will perhaps affect my overall enjoyment of the music. Similarly, I think Ted Nugent has written some decent songs, but his Right-Wing views leave a bit of a sour taste in my mouth when I’m listening to them. Art does not exist in a cultural vacuum; how it relates to cultural norms and sensibilities is certainly going to affect many people’s opinions of it as it is just one little piece in the jigsaw of a person’s life. Personally, as well as being a proud Metalhead, I also identify as being English, Irish, bisexual, an atheist, a humanist, a liberal, a social democrat, and a feminist: I don’t stop being any of those things when I put my headphones in or attend a gig, and so they all feed into how I interpret and appreciate my music. 100 people may each recognise the technical brilliance or raw power of a great Metal song but a multitude of factors can affect how non-aesthetically valuable they each judge it to be.

To conclude, racism should not be accepted within Metal as it threatens the community’s inclusivity; we are a family, where no one should be made to feel unwelcome. Does that mean we should all stop listening to Phil Anselmo’s music? I personally think it’s understandable whichever decision you make there. Pantera’s influence and legacy are undeniable and if you are such a big fan of their music (or of Superjoint Ritual or Down), you might very well find it impossible to stop listening to it. But, don’t give people a hard time if, like Robb Flynn, they have decided to turn their back on it. The unacceptable nature of Anselmo’s actions means that, for many people, his music is now irreparably tainted. It may not be bad technically, but it is really hard to enjoy something if it offends, excludes or alienates you. For Metal to survive as a thriving community, it requires us to ultimately be respectful of the differences we have; Metal can make you feel free and liberated from the often oppressive nature of mainstream society and no one should be denied this.

Robb Flynn weighs in on Anselmo debate

The Machine Head main-man posted the following video, providing an alternative to the Anselmo account of the events surrounding the former Pantera frontman’s Nazi salute and shouts of “White power” at the end of Dimebash 2016.

Head over to Wyrdness Abounds for more on this story.

Wyrd Ways Rock Show CCCXXV – The Behemoth

So then… the first show of 2016 is The Behemoth. Over 6 hours of quality music. Yes, you did read that correctly – OVER SIX HOURS. That’s one in the eye (or should that be “ear”?) for the moaning-minis who bang on and on about “Metal isn’t as good as it was in the 80’s/90’s”. Sit them down and force them to listen to this one. It’s subdivided into chapters over on Mixcloud, so you can show the recalcitrants the error of their ways by playing them stuff from their favourite genre.

The next show, by the way, is the first of the Top Ten Albums of 2015, which will include Dr Jim’s contribution. By the time this show topped five hours, and was still going strong, I thought it wise to delay the Hammer Of Retribution for the next show.

UFO – Devil’s In The Details
Black Star Riders – Killer Instinct
Romeo’s Daughter – Touch
Michael Schenker’s Temple Of Rock – Bulletproof
Hollywood Vampires – Raise The Dead
Europe – Nothin’ To Ya
Michael Monroe – This Ain’t No Love Song
Ghost – From The Pinnacle To The Pit
Knock Out Kaine – 16 Grams Of Heart Attack
Devil City Angels – Boneyard
Santa Cruz – Bonafide Heroes
Von Hertzen Brothers – You Don’t Know My Name
Motor Sister – Beg Borrow Steal
RAM – Return Of The Iron Tyrant

Slayer – Repentless
Reign Of Fury – Death Be Thy Shepherd
Gama Bomb – Tuck Your T-Shirt In
Fallen Angels – Fire At Eden’s Gate
Armored Saint – With A Full Head Of Steam

Clutch – Firebirds
Motörhead – Electricity
Iron Maiden – Death Or Glory
Raven – Malice In Geordieland
Saxon – Stand Your Ground
W.A.S.P – Slaves Of The New World Order
Enforcer – Undying Evil
Triaxis – Death Machine
Absolva – Killer Within
I.C.O.N. – Grindin’ Wheel
Tysondog – Shadow Of The Beast
Venom – From The Very Depths
U.D.O. – Under Your Skin
Chastain – We Bleed Metal
Huntress – Four Blood Moons
Vamps – Lips
Black Tide – No Guidelines
Wednesday 13 – Astro Psycho-Galactic Blood Drive
Turbowolf – Twelve Houses

Killing Joke – I Am The Virus
36 Crazyfists – Swing The Noose
Skindred – Shut Ya Mouth
Shining – The Last Stand

Fear Factory – Soul Hacker
New Year’s Day – Scream
Devil You Know – Shattered Silence
Butcher Babies – Never Go Back
Five Finger Death Punch – No Sudden Movement
The Agonist – Danse Macabre
Trivium – The Thing That’s Killing Me
Lamb Of God – Engage The Fear Machine
Atreyu – I Would Kill/Lie/Die For You
Octanic – Aeturnus Imperium

Cradle Of Filth – Hammer Of The Witches
Kataklysm – Thy Serpent’s Tongue
Battlecross – Not Your Slave
Enslaved – Nauthir Bleeding

Ensiferum – Two Of Spades
Tengger Cavalry – Tengger Cavalry
Korpiklaani – Pili On Pajusta Tehty
Manegarm – Call Of The Runes

Witchsorrow – Made Of The Void
Paradise Lost – Punishment Through Time
Orchid – Sign Of The Witch

Powerwolf – Armata Strigoi
Tad Morose – Bow To The Reaper’s Blade
Blind Guardian – Twilight Of The Gods
Jørn Lande & Trond Holter – Queen Of The Dead
Queensrÿche – Arrow Of Time
Symphony X – To Hell And Back
Kamelot – Fallen Star
Helloween – Living On The Edge
Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody – One Ring To Rule Them All
Battlebeast – I Want The World… And Everything In It
Nightwish – The Greatest Show On Earth

Abbath – Abbath

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Season of Mist

Review by Tom Mead

amazon_badgeitunes_logo03-300x112The future of Immortal, everyone’s favourite meme-generating Norwegian Panda Metal band, appears uncertain since the departure of frontman/guitarist Abbath Doom Occulta last year.  Fortunately though, if the remaining Immortal band members struggle to continue without him, Abbath has shown with this new band and album that bear his name that his former band’s legacy of icy Black Metal is at least safe in his hands.

Accompanied by go-to Norwegian Metal sideman King Ov Hell on bass and French session drummer Creature (aka Kevin Foley) on drums, Abbath has crafted 8 excellent tracks of varying degrees of Extreme Metal ferocity. To War! kicks things off nicely, doing exactly what it says on the tin; it’s a pounding, anthemic call-to-arms that recalls the thrash/black crossover sound of latter-day Immortal.  Winterbane follows with a rhythm that some purists may feel is a bit too upbeat for Black Metal, but this does nothing to diminish the cold atmosphere that the title implies (and the doom-laden, semi-acoustic midsection is brilliant).

It’s a shame that Creature has since left the band, as his Death Metal origins (he’s previously played with Benighted and Sepultura amongst others) add an interesting dimension to the band’s sound, leading to similarities with the Blackened Death Metal of Behemoth. This is most notably heard on Ashes of the Damned, which, like Behemoth’s music, includes horns to enhance the atmosphere.

Immortal didn’t just rely on high speeds to create the right mood, and neither does Abbath. Ocean of Wounds is a great mid-paced number, as is Root of the Mountain, which I would say is the album’s standout track.  Taking cues from the likes of Enslaved and Amon Amarth, the band’s conjured up a great Viking atmosphere here, with King in particular delivering a superb galloping bassline that would have even Steve Harris himself nodding along in approval.

Don’t worry if you think this all means Abbath has abandoned his true, grim Black Metal roots. Fenrir Hunts and Endless are more traditional Black Metal fare, with blastbeats and howling guitars aplenty. Moreover, the thrashy Count the Dead is full of crushing riffs and blistering solos, with Abbath trading licks nicely with session player Ole André Farstad. The sonic diversity and clear production on show here might ultimately disappoint some old school Immortal and general Black Metal fans (though they probably haven’t liked any Black Metal albums released in the last 20 years, so it’s a largely insignificant point!)

Following all the tragic deaths that the rock world has suffered over the past month (I’m typing this having only heard of the passing of Rainbow and Dio bassist Jimmy Bain a few hours ago), we need to remind ourselves that there is still plenty of great music being created by many great musicians. Whether Abbath is someone with “legendary” status or not is a controversial debate topic, but one thing’s for certain; he’s made the first great Metal album of 2016.  This is an album to be played loudly and proudly, and should hopefully satisfy most long-term Immortal fans, whilst also appealing to Metal fans in general.  Don’t let the memes fool you, there’s much more to Abbath than wearing odd makeup and running around forests in the snow.

Verdict: 9/10

P.S. Make sure you get the special edition to hear a cracking cover of Judas Priest’s Riding on the Wind.