Wheelchair Wheelchair Wheelchair Wheelchair – Tales of Bonnie Scotland

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Wheelchair Wheelchair Wheelchair Wheelchair
Tales of Bonnie Scotland

A couple of years ago now, I stumbled upon the Perth grind/powerviolence duo fantastically named as ‘Wheelchair Wheelchair Wheelchair Wheelchair’. Quite how is something that escapes me – what does stick in my mind is their debut full-length, ‘Contraception‘ which appeared on J Randall’s Grindcore Karaoke label. A concept album about blossoming romance, with its own little sinister turn at the end. They’ve been sort of busy since, casually throwing out a split here with Brazilian grinders Elasticdeath, and a chaotic split there with Scottish wastelords Deathwank, and two live releases. But ‘Contraception ’ was always the one people went back to. Any attention to their loyal following would have you well up on the fact that people appreciate a well-crafted album, even if said band are clearly having fun taking grind and stewing in songs about sharing an ice cream soda, and meeting your new girlfriend’s mother. There were even one or two who would call ‘Contraception ’ the band’s ‘magnum opus’. And that’s all before ‘Tales of Bonnie Scotland’ came out.

Let’s not kid ourselves. Its not as though WWWW hit it big with that album. I guarantee there’s a number of you out there who’ve probably stumbled across this band for the first time, and only if you have heard of them are you likely to be a dedicated follower of the adventures of guitarist Stuart Finnie and drummer Bobbie King. And it’ll probably be a cold day in hell before they reach a level where they could even dream of being called ‘sell-outs’. Still, ‘Tales of Bonnie Scotland’ has been in the works for sometime, originally due for release last year, even previewed on the ‘Live and Laughing’ album, yet only recently has the band now got it together for release. And we’re pleased to report that, if this is a continuation from where ‘Contraception’ left off, then that relationship is going really well.

And as the bagpipes that signal the ‘Tales of Bonnie Scotland Theme’ come to the fore, it’s a sign that the band are ready to hit top form again. And bang, out they come with blistering pace, wilder than Hurricane Bawbag, with fourteen of the grimiest paeans to Scotland you’ll ever hear. The first half is excellent stuff, from the short groove of ‘We Ride The Pink Crystal Falls’ to the coup-de-grace of ‘Aroused Moorhen’, yet following from the self-titled ‘Interlude’ – this time played out by the band – things really go up a notch as the band allow their massive plumage to unfurl –’The Lady of Loch Throbbing is exhilirating, a thunderously heavy, lengthier session; ‘The A9 to Houghmagandie’ possesses a cracking, brutal riff at first, falling into an angular yell of passion, while ‘Commanding Views of Loch Vulvula’ is a phenomenal way to finish, eventually progressing into a combination of the bagpipes playing over a truly doomy version of the theme. And with that, you’re spent. An exhilarating ride over the lochs and highlands of excitement, WWWW-style, leaving you throbbing and beat. I’m not sure Alex Salmond will take it up as part of his independence manifesto, but yet again WWWW prove that, not only do they (and Scotland) have the goods when it comes to this fast malarkey – whatever the result – but they might just have outdone themselves again.

Peter Clegg

Buy ‘Tales of Bonnie Scotland’ here (CD)
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Go follow C.L.D.H!

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We’re proud to announce that we’re in league with Manchester-based promotions crew C.L.D.H, who want to share, create, distribute and enjoy the best in heavy music, dark artwork and alternative culture. Their force includes Michael Collins who additionally writes for We Must Obey and leads on vocals/bass for doom trio Wort, as well as Foetal Juice vocalist and all round nice chap Sam Read. Go follow them. Now!

Peter Clegg

Black Sabbath – 13

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Black Sabbath
13
Vertigo/Universal

Through heavy metal’s storied history, no universe is bigger than that of Birmingham pioneers Black Sabbath. From the very beginnings of metal’s timeline, through Sabbath’s trailblazing, classic era, the drug-addled 70’s, the Dio-era, the less-well received late 80’s and 90’s, the entire heavy metal, and offshoot stoner, sludge, and doom scenes, ‘The Osbournes’, the hirings, the firings, the rehab, the cleansation, the bitter arguments, the eventual reunions – there’s not a corner of metal’s history, and indeed Black Sabbath’s history, that hasn’t been touched, influenced or even publicly flogged and disgraced and then hailed again like Aston’s favourite sons. You can’t get by listening to one of their many descendants without them immediately described as having ‘Sabbathian’ riffs, a denonym unto itself, as much a noose as it is a form of worship.

But who could have even seen this day coming? True, this isn’t the first time the band have attempted to get back together. There was that period in the middle of the 2000’s when the original line-up of Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Ozzy Osbourne and Bill Ward all toured together. But even after the very public and disappointing spat between Ward and the remainder of Black Sabbath over payments and contracts and everything, the reunion has largely come through unscathed, still widely celebrated – those Bill Ward diehards seem to go a bit quiet, more so in the wake of Iommi’s battle with lymphoma and so the Sabbath return has been hailed as a triumph of metal. Of sorts.

13’ is certainly the best thing that Sabbath have done with Ozzy on vocals for a long time. Considering he was barely able to finish the disappointing ‘Never Say Die’, Ozzy sounds in fine form, as do his compadres Iommi and Butler, over the course of fifty-three minutes. Rick Rubin has done his usual trick of stripping back the old horses sound a la Metallica, Johnny Cash, etc. to excellent effect again, helping to take Sabbath back to the 70s with a modern shine, all relatively cleaned up compared to the days of old, but no less accurate with the laser-precise vision for the riff. There’s not a short moment on ‘13’ – the shortest song is still a reasonable 4:44 – but Sabbath still remain determined through it all to reclaim their throne atop metal’s vast pyramid.

It certainly starts very well – ‘End of the Beginning’ gets straight into business with a loud and clear signal of intent. As the initial din slips into skulking pace, Ozzy muses ‘Is this the end of the beginning?/Or the beginning of the end?’ It continues on as a diatribe on our ever-digital world, commanding us to ‘rise up, reset and be the master of your fate’, morphing into a celebratory riff which Iommi leads with huge pomp. We then get the now very familiar opening strains of the single ‘God Is Dead?’, which follows familiar Sabbath territory with the juxtaposition between jangling chords and huge roaring riffs, as it plods along with menace and great deliberation, while ‘Loner’ is a straight up rocker that screams huge riffs, huge drums and huge grooves.

Black Sabbath – End of the Beginning

It’s really a shame the rest of the album can’t match up to that – not that its particularly bad, just not memorable in the way the rest of the album. There’s some interesting lyrical themes – ‘Age of Reason’ slams the politically, religiously, financially obsessed world while ‘Live Forever’ is a reflection on mortality, and the excellent ‘Dear Father’ is the spiritual successor to ‘After Forever’, focusing its ire on the child priest abuse scandals within the Catholic church. But it just doesn’t stick out as wholly memorable –the opening half packing such considerable weight and force that the inevitable tailing off in quality creeps in.

It was widely talked about that producer Rick Rubin took the remaining original three on an ‘unlearn everything’ approach, taking them back to their debut album and telling them effectively this was their second album. You can see his point – Sabbath throw everything at trying to recapture that late 60’s, early 70’s spirit. ‘Zeitgeist’ is perhaps the most poignant example of this, blatantly harking back to ‘Planet Caravan’ but doing so in supreme fashion, bongos being tapped away and the most melancholy of vocals from Ozzy, the acoustics strummed away in supreme spacey fashion. And by and large, Butler and Iommi are having a hell of a time pulling off the the grooviest dirges. Rage Against The Machine drummer Brad Wilk fills in the inexorable void left by Ward – and does a pretty good job, even though he doesn’t feel quite as free-flowing in style as Ward does, though in the context of Black Sabbath 2013, he fits in fairly well, even as Rubin’s hired hand.

But is this worth the apoplectic praise that some of more established metal zines are losing their stuff over? Hell no. Such fawning is undoubtedly their valid opinion, but it smacks somewhat of hero worship rather than modern day realism. This doesn’t mean that ‘13’ isn’t worth hearing – in fact, this is the most definitive Sabbath album for many, many years, even if it isn’t a patch on anything produced between 1970 and 1974. For me, it just falls short of the line between ‘good’ and ‘great’. Considering Ozzy’s car crash of an exit in 1978, and all that has passed since, the fact three of the four have got back together and made an album of considerable quality, without disgracing either themselves or their back catalogue, is proof that they retain a place at the mantle of 21st century heavy metal, and can be considered an achievement, if not the absolute.

Peter Clegg

Buy ‘13’ here

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I’m running the Great North Run for charity – Let’s crush MND.

Today is known as MND Global Awareness Day. It’s a matter close to my heart as I am about to detail below. I know it’s not what the blog is about but I hope you’re open enough to read the rest of this point to understand my reasons for embarking on what I’m about to do. The majority of you are a regular lot who continue to visit often and I can assure you I’m not going to turn We Must Obey into something about me. Nonetheless, I’m excited about my challenge and have coincided today’s awareness day with the timing of this post. Cheers.

So here I am, cap in hand, asking for your money. Or more specifically, your donations. I never imagined I’d reach this plateau, other than through merchandise if enough people were interested to wear our logos – which judging by my brief post about it on Facebook, floundered quicker than Leeds United’s hopes of getting promoted last season. But alas, my reason for this is not for personal gain and I hope you’re willing to read on, given this isn’t exactly the most musical post.

Last August I put this site on ice to allow me to say goodbye, to fully focus on saying farewell to my mother, who died of motor neurone disease just over ten months ago now. For those of you who don’t know, motor neurone disease is a progressive, terminal illness that attacks the nervous system, leaving the mind unharmed but sapping the life out of the body, as the brain stops sending signals to muscles around the body, until eventually it affects every muscle from the neck down. It eventually can affect swallowing and breathing and that is often the final fatal step. It’s victims rarely survive more than five years with the disease.

I took up running again shortly after that – I wanted to do something for the Motor Neurone Disease Association that supported my mum so well in the last couple of years of her life. I was still embellished in the Olympics and Paralympics, which you really could not escape in the UK, and I used to go running when I was still in high school. Plus, my initial idea, organising a charity gig, was significantly more challenging, given I knew nothing of how to formulate such an event from the ground up.

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So it goes like this – and yes, that is my skinny ass right there with a commemorative medal – I’m competing in the 2013 Bupa Great North Run on Sunday September 15th, an iconic half marathon starting from Newcastle-upon-Tyne and finishing in South Shields. The race was earmarked the day I first went for an early morning jog – my family heritage is in the North East, as my late grandad was from Newcastle, and thus the race is a fitting tribute to my mother and my family, and a sufficient challenge to set myself. In the process, I aim to at least £500 for the MND Association. It’s not a lot, but the money raised will all go directly to the MND Association to help them continue to support patients, their families and carers in need, as well as funding research into finding long-sought treatments to combat and maybe one day cure this wretched disease.

The race was earmarked the day I first went for an early morning jog – my family heritage is in the North East, as my late grandad was from Newcastle, and thus the race is a fitting tribute to my mother and my family, and a sufficient challenge to set myself.

I have a Justgiving page which you can head to here: http://justgiving.com/Peter-Clegg1, where can read a little more about my run and what the MND Association do.
If you’re in the UK, you can also use the JustTextGiving service by texting PCLG £AMOUNT (between £1-10) to 70070.

On top of this, my employers are matching everything I raise up to £500. At time of publication of this post, £121 has been raised, and so effectively that figure is doubled, and every donation up to £500 will be doubled by my employers!

Of course, to supplement this will be a series of rock and metal themed features that will basically be a look into the music that keeps me churning out the miles in different ways. You’ll see a number of these in the next few weeks and I hope you’ll appreciate with this fresh content. I’ll keep you all informed from time to time as well with how training and fundraising is going, but subtly enough to not deviate from our regular coverage too much.

Thank you all for reading this – I promise not to consistently ram this down your throats. The last thing I wish is to beg you for cash. But if you are able to donate anything or even just spread the word about my efforts, that would be the greatest thing, and I promise when I run that race, I’ll make a proud supporter out of you all.

Peter Clegg

Riptide – Mind Beach EP

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Riptide
Mind Beach EP

Hailing from Wilmington, North Carolina, ‘hardcore surf’ crew Riptide have set about aiming for the most bodacious pit since their inception, and here on ‘Mind Beach’, they blitz through five songs that mix chilled out vibes with rabid intensity. There is a sense of schizophrenia about the whole thing, with a purely surf rock instrumental, ‘Tan Lines’, thrown right into the mixer on this release, popping up as the meat in the small, hardcore sandwich. But after the final chords of that song jangle, they rev up two more blistering assaults, the confrontational ‘Loudmouth’ and the eponymous closer, a thrashcore song about tearing it up on the beach. ‘Building up castles just to tear ‘em down’, their vocalist bellows. It sounds a touch gimmicky but its still all veins coarsing with gut-busting rage. There’s something hugely enjoyable about Riptide in the same way as Municipal Waste, Righteous Jams, Judge, Youth Choir, etc. With a bit more time maybe the surf breaks can be executed a little better, without killing any opening momentum, but Riptide are certainly ones to open up that sandpit!

Peter Clegg

Download ‘Mind Beach’ here (free download)
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Kylesa – Ultraviolet

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Kylesa
Ultraviolet
Season of Mist

I have a slight confession to make here. While its no secret that I love sludge and doom metal – as it is present around various parts of this site’s history – I’ve never got Kylesa. I don’t know why. As a drummer, I should at least have been blown away by their incorporation of two drummers into their sound. I should have dug those sweet psychedelic sounds, those thunderous grooves. But for all the explosion of the stoner metal scene in the mid-2000’s, Kylesa seemed to be the band that got away for me. Despite attempts to get into them more, nothing seemed to click. Did I genuinely not enjoy this band? Was it myself, or was it something I deemed them to be missing.

After listening to ‘Ultraviolet’, I’ll possibly never ever understand why it’s taken me so damn long. And most of you are probably wondering the same thing. It’s the wake-up call I’ve been waiting for. One of the most enjoyable slabs of music to come my way this year. I guess after not being able to appreciate the last couple of albums, ‘Ultraviolet’ feels like the apex of the swell; as though Kylesa have been building to this for some time. Much darker and introspective than previous releases, ‘Ultraviolet’ is a vast spectrum of titanic riffs and acidic skies, psychedelic wonderment and ambient gaze. ‘We’re Taking This’ is one of the album’s fiercest songs, before plundering into a trippy midsection before going back to its booming riff. By contrast, the almost mournful ‘Steady Breakdown’ embellishes Kylesa’s new psych-vision, while ‘Quicksand’ makes for one of the more happier sounding songs against the call of ‘I’m choking on my own blood!‘ Founder members Philip Cope and Laura Pleasants trade off riffs and vocals with aplomb, Pleasants in particular showing an immense melodic streak that’s more prevalent than ever before, most terrifically on the closer ‘Drifting’ which evokes a barren, lonely existence through its echoey opening scenery, before exploding in the final 90 seconds to finish on an almost hopeless, yet enthralling journey.

For me, now begins the long process of reparation – to show this band a bit more love and recognition and to make up on what I’ve not realised. That Kylesa, slowly, surely and now definitively, are stamping their territory as one of the standard bearers for modern, innovative sludge metal.

Peter Clegg

Buy/stream ‘Ultraviolet‘ here (CD/vinyl bundles)
Or here (MP3/various formats)

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