Frontline – Subject of Hate

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Frontline
Subject of Hate
Thanks for Nothing

Glaswegian bruisers Frontline are back with their second release, the 8-track mini-album ‘Subject of Hate’, which sees them re-emerging with their chunky, doom-tinged beatdown brutality. And while I’m admittedly not a fan of hardcore being reduced to its simplest common denominator, as I said when reviewing Xibalba’s ‘Hasta La Muerte’, when its done right, damn, its done right. And Frontline do it right. An intro (seemingly the norm these days for a lot of hardcore bands) leads into the Bandcamp single ‘Cold Touch’, the vocalist asking ‘Karma, let me be your arms of justice‘. And justice is served time and again – the low-end riffs are frequent, as are the pounding drums and nasty beatdowns, and Paul Williams from Desolated adds a delightfully scowly touch to ‘Lost’. Don’t expect surprises – you know exactly what you’re getting here, and while not everyone will appreciate its downright brutality, those looking for spiteful lyrics and confrontational songs will no doubt want to step into Frontline’s arena.

Peter Clegg

‘Subject of Hate’ was released in August 2013. CDs available soon. Please click here for stream/release information

Stream it below:

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Chimaira – Crown of Phantoms

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Chimaira
Crown of Phantoms
E1 Music

Years of line-up changes have ravaged Chimaira, and despite their willingness and indeed their ability to forge ahead, their decline from one of the kingpins of the NWOAHM to road-weary, arguably past-it veterans of the scene, have taken their toll. But listening to ‘Crown of Phantoms’, the Cleveland, Ohio outfit have found something within to bring their sound back up to a new level.

I personally felt up until ‘Resurrection’, Chimaira seemed to look pretty strong, but 2007’s slower ‘The Infection’ and 2011’s disappointing ‘The Age of Hell’ – an album vocalist Mark Hunter admitted didn’t contain ‘the fire and the passion’ of previous releases – had me wondering whether Chimaira could ever return to their destroying best. The line-up is unrecognisable now from the days of before, with Jeremy Creamer joining fellow Daath bandmates Emil Werstler and Sean Zatorsky, along with Bleed the Sky drummer Austin D’Amond and Dirge Within’s Matt Szlachta on rhythm guitar now completing the line-up. Fans might well argue that Chimaira died when Matt DeVries and Rob Arnold left the band at the end of 2011, but Hunter insists Chimaira are a band that ‘never quits, no matter the odds’. And thus that spirit seems to carry over into ‘Crown of Phantoms’, their best album for some time.

Bringing together their most recent sound and blending it against the style of some of their mid-career, ‘Crown of Phantoms’ is full of swerve, melodic but harsh choruses, and knockdown grooves when called upon. It’s a continuation of where they left off in 2011, but vastly improved – ‘The Machine’ opens proceedings and shifts into slower gear tremendously for the lead solo. ‘No Mercy’ and ‘I Despise’ are particularly venomous, and the title track truly slams. Yes, it seems the Chimaira of old is truly alive and well. Occasionally it does get a little too groove-orientated – ‘Wrapped in Violence’ being one notable bit of filler – but by and large, this is an enjoyable return to form, marking another notable resurgence along Killswitch Engage for noughties American metal bands who were thought to be past their best. I’d gladly have some more of this from the bands of that era if they can keep producing with a point to prove.

Peter Clegg

Chimaira – No Mercy (official video)

Buy ‘Crown of Phantoms‘ here

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‘Kin Hell Fest 2014 – First 10 bands announced!

‘Kin Hell Fest 2013 was a roaring success and despite some of the financial issues arising from it in the end, these have now been cleared up and the fest is ready to go for its third edition, bigger and better than ever! ‘Kin Hell Fest 2014 will take place over the weekend of Friday May 02-Sunday May 04, with an additional pre-fest show taking place on Saturday April 26. A new venue has been confirmed, with the pre-show taking place at Eiger Studios in Leeds, and the full weekender at Vox in Leeds, promising 1400 indoor capacity, with the usual “food, booze, merch and carnage!” 

Over the past weekend, the first ten bands for the fest were confirmed. Let’s take a look shall we?

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Once again, ‘Kin Hell Fest delivers, with some incredible names announced. Returning to KHF after delivering savage sets in 2011 are death-slammers Ingested and noisy sludge riffers Wizard’s Beard. Eight bands are announced for their first appearance at KHF, most notably acclaimed UKBM crew Wodensthrone, explosive grinders Evisorax, and seasoned death-slam crawlers Crepitation, while newer names also round off a stunning announcement – London industrial dirge duo Necro Deathmort, the pair of Leeds powerviolence dudes Gets Worse and fastcore/grind up and comers Famine, proggy Edinburgh black metallers Haar, and North-East black/deathcore quintet XisForEyes.

Tickets are not yet on sale, but its possible that early bird deals will appear towards the end of next month. Make no mistake, this is just the beginning of what will be yet another incredible line-up. 25 more bands are to be announced, including the headliners, as this incredible festival continues to grow.

Don’t forget, you can help the festival by purchasing the 83-song compilation, released shortly after the festival took place this year. Head over to http://kinhellfest.bandcamp.com/, where you can get yourself all kinds of noisy goodness – and put a little bit more in the festival kitty.

Stay tuned for more updates as and when they come!

Peter Clegg

Primitive Man – Scorn

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Primitive Man
Scorn
Relapse

I’ve listened to some truly deceitful, hate-mongering music over the course of my life, but Primitive Man are without question creating some of the most oppressive noise imaginable when it comes to ‘Scorn’. The Denver, Colorado threesome’s debut album is dark and malevolent in every way possible, running on the combined fuel of their own bile and rampant misery. From the title-track through to the final sledgehammer blow of ‘Astral Sleep’, this is an endurance test and one that should be embellished with sound mind and focus. The ‘interludes’ for me don’t serve any purpose other than to perpetuate the anguished surroundings upon which you’re placed when experiencing ‘Scorn’ – they’re at their best when they’re punishing you with another crashing wall of fuzz and feedback, switching up occasionally as they do on the title-track with a blackened punk fury. Yet though I wouldn’t call this a perfect album by any means, Primitive Man cannot be ignored and thus this is recommended listening, particularly for any doom or sludge fan who thinks they can’t plumb any lower.

Peter Clegg

Pre-order ‘Scorn’ here
Stream it below:

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Hey! Hello! – Hey! Hello!

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Hey! Hello!
Hey! Hello!
PledgeMusic/Round

Its fair to say that despite the success of Ginger Wildheart’s previous fan-funded project ‘555%’, boosted by the backing of a loyal and long accumulated fanbase, his new venture Hey! Hello! was perhaps not quite drawing as much attention as his original PledgeMusic project had earned, although that was no reason, as Ginger recently put it on Twitter, for a certain rock weekly to allegedly not run a feature of any sort on the band or the album for not being ‘buzzy enough’. Cue a torrent of bellicose tweets from Ginger and a wave of publicity following its ‘surprise’ foray into the top 15 of the midweek UK album chart, and Hey! Hello!’s name was being shouted everywhere (well, almost).

Buzz or no buzz, Hey! Hello!’s debut album sees Ginger and New York rock chanteuse Victoria Liedtke team up for 10 tracks of sunshine-soaked pop-rock that shows the rock veteran’s knack for writing stunning choruses as he and Liedtke trade off, beginning with the single ‘Black Valentine’. From there the future classics keep coming; ‘Feral Days’ is awesome from start to finish, ‘Swimwear’ will have you there like swimwear, as the chorus goes, and then there ‘I’m Going to Kiss You Like I’m Going Away’, which sounds like one of the best songs Ginger never wrote for the Wildhearts. And let’s not forget ‘How I Survived the Punk Wars’, which feels like it came out an age ago now, but still remains brutally relevant to today’s decaying rock music scene, as Ginger and Liedtke warn up and comers ‘don’t eat the bullshit

Ginger himself proves adept at playing all the core instruments here, indeed for the first time as a drummer, and when you’re as in control as someone like Ginger is, the results can only look upwards. Industry ‘experts’ might well continue to be surprised, but why should we who are really in the know? You can always trust in Ginger to write a catchy chorus, to identify the personnel through whom he can really click – and he found a pearl in Liedtke, who exudes pure energy and positivity to her approach as a singer. It makes for absolutely essential listening, and it will live on long beyond this summer and next, through heatwave or thunderstorm.

Peter Clegg

Buy/download ‘Hey! Hello!’ here
Stream it below:

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Run For Glory – I: On Your Marks

Hello everyone, and welcome to my new feature ‘Run For Glory’, which is in conjuction with my campaign to raise funds for and awareness of the Motor Neurone Disease Association via my participation in this year’s Great North Run. Over the next few weeks this epically named feature will provide a series of thematically linked songs that will provide you with an insight into not just what I’m running to, but what’s really driving me or pumping me up as I run across the various roads, trails and towpaths of West Yorkshire, England.

This first installment focuses on the only place this could start: the beginning. As in, the songs that prompt you to get up and get out. In the coming weeks, we’ll be publishing lists based on other varying themes, progressing from the start right to the triumphant finish. Let’s get cracking. And leave your appropriate suggestions in the comments box while you’re at it!

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Judas Priest – Battle Hymn/One Shot At Glory
[from ‘Painkiller’, Columbia, 1990]

Judas Priest may have more in common with motorbikes than running, and thematically this song has sod all to do with running the open pathways, but there’s an undeniably epic feel about warming up and heading off to this track. The ‘Battle Hymn’ intro is dispensable, but it serves ably as a warm-up track to mentally prepare you for the miles ahead.

Key lyric: ‘Let me hear the battle cry/Calling in the wind’. It’s the opening salvo and its hard to pick out another lyric to motivate as much as that one, but Halford delivers it with such authority you can’t help but be fired up.

 

wpid-From-Out-Of-Nowhere.jpgFaith No More – From Out of Nowhere
[from ‘The Real Thing’, Slash, 1989]

This selection owes as much to its musicality as it does any wordplay, but the opening riff sets up the beginning of a run perfectly. Of course, it’s a song about a fleeting obsession with a person of extreme beauty before said beautiful person heads off into the never. But portions of its lyrics can be interchanged with that which drives us as runners – but mainly, it’s the riff and the pace of the song that makes this such an excellent track to set off to.

Key lyric: ‘Sifting to the bottom/every day for two/all energy funnels/and all becomes you’. And ‘One minute here, and one minute there/and then you wave goodbye’ – the set up for the driving riff.

wpid-bronx.jpgThe Bronx – Along For The Ride
[from ‘The Bronx (IV), White Drugs/ATO, 2013]

‘Along For the Ride’ possesses a great melodic riff, an anthemic chorus and all round perfect structure to get up and run to. Lyrically it’s perfect as well, with several lines in the song relatable to our eagerness to get up and get out of the door, though the song is seemingly a resignation of trying to be perfect. It sums up exactly what life as a amateur runner should be all about – don’t try too hard to be the best. Just enjoy it.

Key lyrics: The chorus: ‘We’re all flawed by design/we used to be alive but now we’re just along for the ride/there was a time when the world was under our control/but that time has died, so now we’re just along for the ride

 

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Rollins Band – Do It (Live)
[from ‘Insert Band Here’, 2.13.61, 1990]

This one is pretty self-explanatory. The Rollins Band took on this Pink Fairies classic with gusto and morphed it from a psychedelic blues rock number into a…with Rollins as drill sergeant as he barks out the lyrics. As a staple of their live set in their earlier days, the intensity went up another notch, from Rollins’ vocals to the rest of the band. You’d be mad not to follow his commands as he yells ‘Get up off your ass/DO IT!’ 

Key lyric: “I don’t think about it/DO IT!” And pretty much the rest of the song too.

 

 

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Beastie Boys – Alive
[from Beastie Boys Anthology: The Sounds of Science, Capitol, 1999]

OK, so its not exactly a rock track, but good hip hop deserves a much a place in my playlist as any rock or metal soundtrack, and while ‘Alive’ lyrically has no place in a running context, its opening line, as stated below, is emphatic in terms of a primer for when you exit the door or prepare yourself for the mileage ahead.

Key lyric: Its opening statement: I have never been more ready in my entire life to do this right now, never/all building up to this moment…’ That ought to pump you in action.

Peter Clegg

I’m running the 2013 Bupa Great North Run to raise money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association. Please click the link at the top corner to view my sponsor page or click here instead. Thank you.

The Ineptitude of the Rail System and Eyehategod

Mike’s review of Eyehategod’s recent Manchester show, as well as his thoughts on the state of the rail network in this country. Always a good read!

CLDH


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I was delayed on the tram ride down to Manchester by an attempted suicide close to one of the met stops and when I got to Picadilly station, our intended train was cancelled, so we had to wait for the next one, at the other end of the station. When this train arrived it was already too full to board, and there were angry mothers shoving their prams on board to ensure themselves entry, while we stood, wondering if we were in some sort of social experiment.

   The next train was in 40 minutes, again at the other end of the station, so, hurling a half can of Strongbow at the departing cattle wagon and violently cursing ineptitude and privatisation, I set of back down to the other end of the station, amongst the “stags”, in Baywatch fancy dress to attempt to catch my third train.

 

By this…

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