Headbanging Highlight of The Week: Jaguar- Power Games

 

Welcome back for another Headbanging Highlight of the Week! Well Frost and Fire in Ventura California is only a month and a half away and i’m gearing up big time to see some of the best of the best from today and yesterday. One band in particular is Jaguar from England. This will be their first outing in the US making for a very rare and special performance. Their 1983 ferocious debut “Power Games” has been on repeat a lot this week for me and definitely should be on your playlist too!

One of my favorite albums of the early 80’s, the reason is mainly the bands no nonsense break neck speed and fluid songwriting. With almost punk like songwriting, the band manage to take it into more heavy metal territory with frenzied soloing that is structured just enough to fit the songs melody and catchy lyrics belted from Paul Merrell. There are some softer more ballad-like moments from songs like “Master Game” which still keep the raw heavy metal feel in tact all the way through. The band you can tell have a lot charisma from their performance especially from how tight their playing is. The band also excel at creating memorable hooks through their songs having the vocals simple and ferocious yet adding a touch of melody to keep them being memorable like songs such as “No Lies” and my all time favorite “Prisoner”. This album carries that early 80’s traditional/speed metal tradition which is one of the main reasons they have such a cult following today. I also highly recommend their early singles leading up to this album such as possibly their most famous “Axe Crazy” and “Back Street Woman”

Overall, this album is simply an early  masterpiece showing the future of heavy metal becoming faster and more aggressive but still being true to that NWOBHM sound. This album has so many highlights like “Dutch Connection”, “Prisoner”, “Raw Deal” and just about every other track. It keeps a very consistent pace and is one you need to hear or own if you haven’t heard it before. For lovers of NWOBHM and pure unabashed heavy metal, check this one out. Also, if you have a chance, check them out at Frost and Fire this year along a lot of great other acts, it surely won’t be a performance to forget.

Tour of the Doomed: The Riff Strikes Back

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After multiple successful Days of the Doomed fests, promoter “Mercyful” Mike Smith finally put the show on the road this year with the Tour of The Doomed featuring Apostle of Solitude, Beelzefuzz, Spillage and legendary 90’s Heavy Rock act Sheavy on their first ever outing in the United States. I was lucky enough to catch the tour at Reggies in Chicago on August 13th and overall, it was a very solid show.

 

Apostle of Solitude

First up for the evening was Apostle of Solitude. Their set consisted of heavy slower brooding Sabbath inspired riffing with more melodic vocal deliveries. The band was very tight in their performance but their set I felt lacked a bit of variety. In particularly their last few songs I felt just went a bit too long until their very last song which went for more speed with the band ending on a very explosive note. Overall, not bad but could’ve used a bit more variety in songs.

 

Beelzefuzz

Prog/Doom act Beelzefuzz were up next on the bill and definitely were one of the most unique bands of the night. With a very proto metal sound with proggy elements, these guys were very entertaining. Again, they definitely had their songwriting chops down very well and even brought Spillage vocalist Elvin Rodriguez on stage to duet with one of their earlier songs. Overall, I felt their set was very well paced and definitely earned them some new fans as well.

 

Spillage

Ahh, Spillage what can I say about this band? Ever since hearing some of their material back on MHXradio almost three years ago, I fell in love with their sound. I was able to see them a few years back but seeing them with their new frontman(who had a leather vest sporting a Born Again patch which is badass) and showing off some new tracks was a real treat. The new songs blended very well keeping the hard rock feeling their first album held dear but with a bit more of a progression to it. They were definitely my favorite of the night as being a big fan and supporter it is almost to be expected.

 

Sheavy

Finally, we have the elusive and grooving rockers Sheavy hailing from Canada. This was history in the making as they had never toured the US before so it was a real treat. They played I would say a good balance of classic and newer songs from “Electric Sleep” to “Shadows” and everything in between. I do wish they could have played “Born In A Daze” which is a favorite of mine but oh well. The set I felt was well balanced with slower and faster songs peppered throughout and their sound was impeccable besides the vocals being a bit buried at times. Overall, a very solid closing for the show as a whole.

 

Overall, like I said besides a few nit picks with how sets were paced, it was a very solid show. You got hat you paid for, hard rocking, chugging and grooving doom metal from some of the best of the best. I am hoping this tour does well and we get another like it either next year or in coming years, I know a lot of acts that would be clamoring to do a show as heavy as this. The tour runs until the 19th of august ending in new york so if you can catch any shows between now and then, do it, you won’t be disappointed.

Album Review- Venom Inc: Ave

“Ave” is the debut album from Heavy/Black Metallers Venom Inc. and was released August 11th, 2017. Now Venom Inc. aren’t quite new as they are mostly the “Prime Evil” lineup of Venom featuring Tony “Demolition Man” Dolan, Jeff “Mantas” Dunn and Tony “Abaddon” Bray. With two out of three original Venom members rejoining forces with the Dolan and returning to the Venom name(sorta), it is quite exciting. Personally, this album has been long enough of a wait so lets dig in and see if they can dish out a heavy record after all these years.

 

Track Rundown

 

1.Ave Satanas- Opening with almost an ominous but epic fitting church choir sound, the song goes right into full heavy mid paced chugging. Mantas has some classic really grooving riffs here with Dolan spitting some really heavy lyrics  throughout. I know a lot of people had a lot of mixed feelings about this opening song. Personally I think it is a great catchy sludgy metal tune with some old school feeling and definitely one that would be a great crowd pleaser. I also have to admit every time I hear Mantas go into his solo I get chills. He has always been one of my favorite solo guitarists for how how much feeling he puts in his solo’s. It isn’t always one that is super intricate but it has a lot of feeling and is heavy as hell. Overall, this is a great opener to the album with a fresh sound with the formula still being familiar.

2.Forged In Hell-The main riff for this song is almost a throwback in a way to “Welcome To Hell” but still has an original feel to it with almost a jam kinda pace with Mantas doing some cool fills. Abaddon I have to say has become one hell of a solid drummer performing drum rolls with ease. The chorus has a very NWOBHM-ish feel to it. This song is definitely a throwback in way to the early Venom albums but works very well.

3.Metal We Bleed-This song goes more into Blackened Speed Metal territory and feels like it easily could have came out in 1988 with a pace that is oh so infectious. It is also a tune you could sing to as well with Dolan spitting lyrics fast and furiously.  This is easily one of the best tunes on the album simply for how ferocious and neck breaking it is.

4.Dein Fleisch-The first single on the album and probably the most polarizing song on the album.  It has some simple but effective riffing however it has more of an industrial metal structure not uncommon to bands from the 90s and even has this Rammstein-ish feel in the chorus. The band definitely make it work in their favor keeping it dark and having a quick but very melodic solo included as well. It definitely is a very original song and still keeps the heavy feel that Venom always carried but in  a different way. It shows that Venom Inc is about more than playing fast, they write catchy songs that have their own identity such as this one.

5.Blood Stained-This song has a heavy chugging pace going through it with a more melodic chorus that is one of my favorite on the album. The song is quite simple but works effectively creating a heavy atmosphere with the drums especially having that old school heaviness about them. I especially love the very dark bell tolls over a chugging open riff, it is just one of those moments that you can just hear over and over again.

6.Time To Die-Thus is easily one of the most neck breaking songs on the album with the band not letting up one bit and playing literally as fast as they possibly can. It is quite catchy as well and has a very punk atmosphere to it with the chorus being a simple shout of “TIME TO DIE”. There are some great grooving mid paced sections here to which keep the pace fresh. Easily one of the best on the album bar none.

7.The Evil Dead-This song sounds as if it were a bonus track off “Welcome To Hell” but with a bit more of a modern production and the Demolition Man giving some of his best vocal performances on the album. Mantas gives us another great solo as well and another favorite of mine on the album.

8.Preacher Man-Thus song has more e of a bluesy hard rock feel but still has a hard intense feeling about it. There are some smooth slow hazy moments that give the song character notably in the beginning and mid section of the song. Another very solid grooving tune on the album.

9.War- This song hits back with more of a straight thrash attack again done very solid. There are a lot of bouncing riffs which are always welcome, they always make the song very memorable for having an infectious beat. The solo is definitely the highlight of the track with Mantas doing one of the most intricate solo’s on the album and definitely has that classic Venom feel with it but in a more modern sense. This is another track that you cannot pass u[ when you put this album on.

10.I Kneel To No God-This song sticks to a more mid pace again giving the album variety but still keeping things interesting with infectious almost hard rock tinged riffing. The song does have a more laid back feel at least on first listen which makes it one track that takes a few listens to get really into. The chorus is very similar to the verses so it doesn’t hit as hard as most of the other songs but it still is good with some pounding backup vocals. Mantas’ grooving riffing is definitely the stand out of the whole song for me easily.

11.Black N Roll-The final song on the album shows the band going out guns ablaze. Lyrically, it is one of those homage songs mentioning motorhead songs, acdc songs and so on. It has a very Motorhead feel overall even up to the bass intro. It is a very simple song but its so damn infectious with a chorus that is straight out of an old school punk song. It does come full circle in a sense for Abaddon and Mantas as they are back to playing what they started with. Good old Blackened Speed Metal and they brought it back in spades.

Overall, I give the album a defining 9.5 out of 10. While the album is nothing genre defining(I mean there aren’t many bands that can innovate anymore), this album is history made with two thirds of the original Venom line up reuniting with Dolan since the early 90’s creating an album that has a modern take on an old formula. The spirit that they carried and the magic that bounces off between all three members is still very present creating eleven songs that flow very well with their own style. This album makes me hope that there is more for the band in the future and I can’t wait to catch them in Chicago next month. Ave Venom Inc!

Interview with Evo from the legendary WARFARE

Recently I had the opportunity to interview the legendary EVO Evans from infamous Punk Metal act WARFARE about his official new album and his future plans enjoy!

EVO (2)

 

 

1.So we have the album “WARFARE” under your name finally released after 27 years, how was the experience making the album after so long and was it any different from how you made your records under the Warfare name all those years ago?
 

The experience making the album was really good however studio’s and methods have changed a lot but I recorded the album with the analogue method, playing the instruments on number 12 through marshall amps and not straight through the mixing desk, that way you get every glinch and plec click a huge live bass drum sound to deliver the anger for real just like the mayhem back in the 80’s.

 
2.The album although sticking with the punk formula you were known for has some interesting spoken word sections such as “Screaming At The Sea”. What were your inspirations to include these sections throughout the album?
 

Screaming at the sea is a really deep intro and sets the scene to light the fire and then let it burn growing into pure anarchy it is the only spoken word on the album, but I would urge everybody to buy a physical copy so that the lyrics are fully understood from the first track until the demise, it’s the story of the street on full volume and anger.

3.I’ve been loving the album for the past few weeks and I really like that you had some guest musicians such as Lips from Anvil and Eddie Clarke of Motorhead fame, how was it working with them, any ego clashing going on there?

All Ive had is positive feedback and I’m really pleased people like it, after all you get a year and half work in 50 minutes, people regard WARFARE as the very first true Punk/Metal band and I regard Anvil as the very first true Thrash band Lips was a pleasure to work with and as for FAST EDDIE what can I say this is the heaviest shit he’s played since the Ace of Spades era first class (Fuck Blackmore or Van Halen) this is the real deal with the best guitarist in the world.

 
4.What made you want to get the warfare name back out into the music scene again after so long?
 

I have constantly been asked over 25 years to produce play record all of which I declined, however one night I had a very strange dream and it all just came back, it only took one phone call from my pr and I was signed the same day to HIGH ROLLER RECORDS GMBH…it’s like the first 3 WARFARE albums all rolled into one but louder.

 
5.Besides the brand new Warfare album, do you have any other things planned in terms of recording and/or touring in the future? 

No plans of touring, but I would probably do a guest vocal or maybe production work if it was the kind of stuff that could be interesting, I will maybe do more work with Fast Eddie but obviously it depends on how well the current album sells, before I would consider a follow up, so go on you cunts and get the fucker bought bring some real metal into your lives.

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-Thank you very much for taking some time of the day to answer these questions EVO, hope the future is well. 
You can order the new WARFARE album here:
EVO-Warfare-LP-BLACK

Headbanging Highlight of The Week: Nazareth- Loud ‘n’ Proud

 

For this weeks highlight we are going way back to the year 1973 with the fourth album from Scottish hard rock band Nazareth entitled “Loud n Proud”. Nazareth have been one of those 70s bands that always eluded me until about three months ago when I decided to pick up a copy of their “Anthology” CD at a discount store. After listening to both discs multiple times, I had become almost obsessed with the band. The thing that makes their music so interesting is the fact that they have a heavy edge to them but they have a lot of more melodic up beat pop songs that are just as good and how every album had something to enjoy.  But enough rambling, let us taker a look at one of my favorite albums they released in the 70s.

 

The album opens very bombastically with the bumping rocker “Go Down Fighting” featuring some awesome slide guitar work from Manny Charlton and some of Dan MCcafferty’s best vocals on any Nazareth album. Out of all their albums, this one is definitely one of the most consistent at least in terms of harder rocking songs with another being the infectious cover of “Teenage Nervous Breakdown” and “Not Faking It” being one of my all time favorites from the band. “Turn On Your Receiver” is another great one with a very boogie rock feel to it and Dan’s vocals balancing the raspy and melodic feeling perfectly. The song “Child in the Sun” is the ballad of the album but is still a great melodic 70’s rock song that Nazareth delivers perfectly. The heaviest moment of this album is the epic closer “The Ballad of Hollis Brown” which was originally written by Bob Dylan. Thus is definitely the most interesting song on the album in that compared to Dylans version, it is miles different with the song being dominated by some of the heaviest fuzzed out droning bass that anyone at the time had ever been doing. The song overall has a very proto-doom feel to it and in a way is heavier than anything Sabbath did up until this point. Combining the bass with MCcafferty’s wailing and dread filled sounding vocals really makes for a chilling atmospheric song. Overall, if you want a Heavy and melodic solidly written 70’s Hard Rock album, this one is one you need to check out. The band have a lot of great albums similar to this one such as “Razamanaz”, “Expect No Mercy” and others but I feel they peaked with the heavy rock sound on this album.

 

Album Review- Hexx: Wrath of The Reaper

 

“Wrath of The Reaper” is the fourth album by San Francisco based Heavy Metal group Hexx and is to be released September 15th, 2017. Hexx are one of those bands like Riot where they sort of have a different sound with each of their records. For example, their debut entitled “No Escape” had more of a power/thrash metal feel where by their third album “Morbid Reality” they had adapted more of a death metal-esque sound. Either way I always thought that it made them more of an interesting band with more substance to them. Now in 2017 we have their first album in 27 years. This album is sort of a combination of all their styles and even adds the legendary Bob Wright of Brocas Helm infamy. But lets see how the album really stacks up.

Track Rundown

1.Macabre Procession of Specters- Opening up with some marching drums we get a very raw heavy riff that has a lot of groove to it as the song goes on. I really like the production on the album as it has a very raw sound especially in the drums in how well the bass drum clicks, it just sounds very live and I really like when drums have that sound captured on a record. The sound has sort of a traditional? speed metal feel to it especially with the thrashing chorus that is quite catchy as well. Eddy Vega’s vocals I have to say hold up amazingly with that heavy grit but with the ferocious high screeches that make him such a powerhouse. Overall, this is a great old school sounding tune that would fit in well with their older material.

2.Screaming Sacrifice- This song goes right for the jugular with no holds barred speed metal with a very Priest feel to it but the band put their stamp on it well with a lot of frantic heavy riffing all throughout. it almost has a progressive metal feel to it and is done very well and very tight. The verses I find very catchy here it definitely warrants for multiple listens with some melodic solos sprinkled out as well making it a varied and very original speed metal tune.

3.Slave In Hell-This song has a very old school progressive metal feel to it with a lot of bouncy time changes throughout but still having a heavy traditional metal feel as well especially with the scratchy yet epic sounding vocals. This is one of my favorites on the album with a hard galloping pace and memorable chorus. A must listen for sure.

4.Swimming The Witch- Opening with this pulsating fuzzed out guitar that is epic as hell, the song has this really infectious almost Egyptian sounding main riff and another infectious set of verses as well. The band definitely utilize a lot of early US power metal feeling on this record especially in its pacing. They also are very good at writing original songs as so far no song has sounded the same or even that much similar which is very good. I love the solo in this song as it almost sounds like something from Mercyful Fate. Another absolutely winner of a song.

5.Dark Void Of Evil-This song has a more slower epic pace to it opening with cleaner guitars but still having that raw atmosphere the rest of the records has as well. This is one of the best on the album with some very intriguing riffing that have a sort of ominous melody to them and a lot of soaring vocals that are always a treat and show the band in top form. One of the most original tunes offered here.

6.Unraveled- This song has more of that Power/Speed metal style that we heard earlier in the record and is so damn energetic. It is definitely one of the more simple songs on the album but it is also one of the most fun with a classic as can be solo that just sends the song as a whole over the top.

7.Voices- This song has a bit of a modern feel to it with the vocals singing along with the bass and it works very well. Hexx today sounds like what modern popular Heavy Metal groups should sound like. This is another track that shows the very tight playing between all members as well.

8.Exhumed For The Reaping- I get a very Iron Maiden feeling from this song just for the sheer power and epic notions it carries however with a bit of a heavier kick to it. I love how heavy and grooving the solo is for this song making it my probably my favorite moment of the album with both legendary guitarists trading off and getting seemingly more intense. Definitely one of the most fun tracks on the album.

9.Circle The Drain- The opening of this song does drag a bit but it is a good build to the main beat with a straight almost Exciter sounding tune. The punk roots here cannot be denied as it keeps to a very simple chugging riff at least most of the time. This is an absolute barn burner of a song and for being this far into the album, it definitely holds your attention all the way through.

10.Wrath of The Reaper- This tune sounds like it is straight out of 1985 with the band sounding just like they did on their first few records. The production like I said before really helps this album sound vintage but the bands performance is just as amazing as it was beforehand as they don’t let up to the very second. Definitely one of the best closing tracks I have heard all year!

Overall, this album gets a very well deserved 9 out of 10. With Hexx added to the growing scene of underground acts being revived, they have managed to be one of the best in having the ability to create a record that is not only continuing a very faithful old school sound but also showing a lot of creative writing and progression within a lot of the songs presented here. However, there are some more simple moments that are just as fun if not more sometimes. This is an album you positively don’t want to miss out on this year.

 

“British Steel- The Rising Force of British Heavy Metal” compilation to be released in September

 

As a heavy metal fan, the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal will always be one of the most important movements in the genre’s history. However in the modern day we see yet another legion of young and hungry bands coming from Britain and that is exactly what this compilation is all about. Featuring some of the best up and coming acts such as Seven Sisters, Amulet, Wytch Hazel and many many more, this album will be an amazing representation of the return of British Traditional Heavy Metal in all it’s glory. I am excited for this release personally as the NWOBHM gave me some of my favorite artists of all time and this feels like my generations answer to that. The album will be released September 22nd, 2017 through Dissonance Productions and Back On Black records.

Track listing

01. Amulet – Highwayman

02. Aggressive Perfector – Harlot’s Spell

03. Eliminator – Lost To The Void

04. Dungeon – Queen Of Sin

05. Dark Forest – Where The Arrow Falls

06. Toledo Steel – Rock Nights

07. Vuil – Iron Witch

08. Seven Sisters – The Witch’s Eye

09. Insurgency – Destined For Death

10. Neuronspoiler – Slay The Beast

11. Wytch Hazel – Freedom Battle