Type O Negative – Red Water (Christmas Mourning)

This post is cropping up in my recent page stats. Must be the time of year. That said, I’m truly proud of this post and truly a fan of this song, and though it’s sadly more poignant and personal than ever, ‘Red Water’ is a true alternative Christmas anthem.

We Must Obey

Life in Peter Steele and Type O Negative’s world was certainly not the happiest. Throughout their illustrious career, their songs of love, lust, death, rejection and more, mostly along other depressive lines made for some dark, uneasy but ultimately incredible listening that made Type O one of metal’s most unique and interesting bands. Years of alcohol and drug abuse eventually caught up with Steele and despite getting clean, a heart attack took him in April 2010 and robbed the world of any future gloom from the enigmatic frontman.

A good proportion of Type O Negative’s songs dealt with personal themes, and ‘Red Water (Christmas Mourning)’ was no different. It was written about Steele’s dead father at the time, but as we will explore, goes far beyond his personal loss. Songs such as ‘Black No.1’, ‘Christian Woman’ and ‘Everything Dies’ are unquestionably among their greatest anthems but ‘Red Water’ ought to be considered…

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Charles Bradley covers Black Sabbath’s ‘Changes’ – and nails it

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Anyone not familiar with Charles Bradley’s story ought to check it out, whichever musical walk you take. A former James Brown impersonator, Bradley got his big career break at 62, releasing the critically acclaimed ‘No Time for Dreaming‘ in 2011 and going from strength to strength since. You’ve got to see his documentary ‘Soul of America’, chronically his slow and sometimes painful rise. He’s one of the best things happening outside of the world of rock and metal right now, and here he’s given me excellent reason to feature him. Bradley has taken on Black Sabbath’s classic single ‘Changes’, and not only has he (& the Budos Band) done it justice with a stunning cover, he’s made it completely his own as well. This was released for Black Friday in the USA on strictly limited vinyl, and my oh my, would I pay the earth for this in future. Bradley is one of the best damn singers in the world now, operating on the fringes of the poisonous mainstream, and sweeping up all plaudits before him. Check out the song below – you won’t regret it and it’s a phenomenal way for 2013 to reach an end.

Peter Clegg

Groan – Ride the Snake

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Groan
Ride the Snake
Superhot

Fun loving doom rockers Groan return here in time for Chrimbo with a new five track EP, ‘Ride the Snake‘. If you’re familiar with Groan you’ll know what to expect, and for the uninitiated, take a trip back into the late 70s/early 80s, only that you’ve taken the modern day scene through a time machine and you’ve pretty much got this band. Riff wise, ‘Ride the Snakekicks arse. The main riff to the lead single ‘Women of Doom’ is big, chunky and full of raw power, and tracks such as ‘Drug Lord’, with the inclusion of gang vocals at the beginning and a rollicking riff, show the band’s versatility between slow doomy trips and straight-up rock monsters. The guitarists here throw some scintillating solos into the mix and really are the driving force of this band Vocalist Andreas Mazzareth reminds me a little of Ronnie James Dio – nowhere near a master thespian as the late metal god but his delivery has a mix of straight up 70s hell rocker and Dio at his encapsulating, soaring best. The only letdown is that lyrically it’s not very inventive at times – perhaps the only thing here that for me really prevents ‘Ride the Snake‘ as being great, instead of ‘rather good’. Still, you can’t sniff at this – Groan come with a solid reputation, which is strengthening with every release, and they are sure to satisfy their growing army of followers with this swaggering record.

Peter Clegg

Buy/download ‘Ride the Snake‘ here (name-your-price download/CD)
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The Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell – Blow Up the Xmas Tree

We Must Obey has not had much time to really look for any alternative Christmas stuff this year, and to be honest the well is running a little bit dry. Thankfully, psychedelic rockers The Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell, in addition to having the most glorious name in rock music right now, have also shown a penchant for parody and indeed something a little unexpected. Hence the potential reasoning behind choosing to record ‘Blow Up the Xmas Tree’, a not-so-faithful cover of infamous crossover legends, Fearless Iranians From Hell’s ‘Blow Up the Embassy’. And it’s not so festive either, declaring ‘I’m going to blow up an elf tonight’ as it kicks into gear. It’s an enjoyable cover and perhaps as aggressive, and indeed comical, as you’ll likely hear the Admirals. It’s limited to 100 vinyl copies, so there’s pretty much nil chance of this being a festive chart-topper, but you can stream it above and rock out with the meagre Christmas spirit you can call upon.

Peter Clegg

Occultist – Death Sigils

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Occultist
Death Sigils
Primitive Ways

Richmond, Virginia, is no stranger to birthing numerous cracking metal bands over the years, from GWAR to Lamb of God to Municipal Waste among many others, and now we can add Occultist to the thriving metal city’s list of awesomeness. Make no mistake, this is a thoroughly monstrous record by a monstrous band, punctuated by numerous riffs of crusty shells, thrash underlayers, and black metal infused incantations. Key to this is vocalist Kerry, who at times is the proverbial daemoness, spewing hell forth and summoning apocalyptic thunder in her vocal delivery, underpinned by impressive guitar work, reckless solo worship and excellently timed shifts in tempo. The band can sail along a loud and malevolent groove comfortably before dropping the warning signal and unleashing a battering turn of speed, evidenced excellently on tracks like ‘Devil’s Breath’ and ‘A Hell for the Innocent’. There’s nothing I don’t love about this release. Yes, the title track is eerily similar to Slayer’s ‘Hell Awaits’ at the beginning, and the riff that carries ‘Path of the Damned’ has a distinct Motörhead/Saxon influence about it, but rather than mark them down for these traits, it’s better to celebrate how they harness them, creating an ultimately dark but violent, malevolent concoction. All these elements together, put simply, leaves you with a banger like ‘Death Sigils‘.

Peter Clegg

Buy/download ‘Death Sigils‘ here (name-your-price)
Stream it below:

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