Saturday, 10 August 2019

Slipknot - We Are Not Your Kind


So, how do I define Slipknot? It seems so easy, yet so difficult.

In 2001 I went to see Slipknot, in the TurbinenHalle in Oberhausen, Germany. My Mum drove me and my mate to the gig, in a dark warehouse of a venue. Ozzfest never came to Germany, so we had a sort of "best of". Amen, Mudvayne and Static-X supported Slipknot, who, at the time had only 1 major label release. If I were to define them in 2001, they were an angry, scary group of kids dressed as horror movie serial killers, worshipping Satan, and making a lot of noise. They playfully jumped around the crowded stage, tossing goats heads, pissing themselves, jumping into the crowd, and kicking over drinks at the bar. It was brilliant!

A few months after the gig, I lined up at my local record store on a sunny August morning to get their second album, Iowa. It changed my life! These 9 heroes had somehow managed to make their heavy, scary sound even heavier and scarier.

The following year I went to see Slipknot again, this time in Essen, Germany. This time with 5 friends! This time there were fireworks, a drum kit that span upside down, the new masks looked all professional and they sounded unreal! Against all odds, these 9 weirdos in masks were starting to catch on.


Now, fast forward to June 2019. Somehow I find myself standing in front of a huge stage, once again, waiting for Slipknot to come on and rip a layer of skin off my face. They are now headlining the biggest metal festival on earth. I look to my left and see a kid on his Dad's shoulders with the dreadlocked ghost mask I remember seeing at that sweaty hall in Germany. Slipknot have come so far in 2 decades. They are huge, they are important, they are mainstream, and guess what, maggots, They Are Back!

Their new record came out yesterday. It almost picks up where Iowa left off.

I don't want to take anything away from the albums between Iowa and We Are Not Your Kind. After all, their 3rd album gave use Duality, Slipknot's 'Enter Sandman', their big hit, their dancefloor filler. All Hope Has Gone gave us the epic 'Snuff' along with it's chilling video. The Grey Chapter was also a wicked album, paying tribute to Slipknot's fallen brother, Paul Grey. None of them quite managed to grab me the way Iowa did, though.


The new album did grab me, but instead of grabbing me by the heart, it grabbed me by the balls, and it hurt! I will admit, the first time I listened, I didn't quite get it. I didn't like it!
I also didn't like Corey Taylor's new mask when I saw it. Which is kind of the point. In 2001 I was finding my feet musically. I was rebelling against the norm. I was doing things I shouldn't because people didn't like it. I was different. I still am, but now I am one of those grown ups I was rebelling against. The feeling of uncomfort I had listening to this new album, was the feeling of uncomfort I was trying to personify back then. Once I figured that out, I was ready, I am back in the mindframe of that 17 year old, and I am ready to have some fun. Isn't music amazing?

So, yeah, the album. We Are Not Your Kind (the title taken from lyrics from All Out Life which came out earlier this year, which, weirdly, isn't on this album) is Slipknot's sixth album. The album is built from the ashes of band conflict, departed members and tragedy, but I'm not here to talk about that, Google it if you want. I'm here to talk about the music, and this record certainly delivers on that front.

Track 1, Insert Coin: Slipknot's albums tend to begin with atmospheric, instrumental, weird intros, and that's what this is. It's a build to something sinister. "I'm counting all the killers" are the only lyrics before we burst into Track 2.
Unsainted was released a few months ago. It became an instant hit. It introduced the new masks, it built the hype for this latest incarnation of Slipknot. A heavy bastard of a song with the catchiest chorus since Duality. Over 4 million YouTube hits in its first day! By the time I saw Slipknot at Download, I had listened to this song so much it felt like an old song. It's ace! Go listen to it! It's the new dancefloor one. It may very well be Slipknot's best!


Track 3, Birth Of The Cruel was released a few days ago. Can a song be deceptively heavy? Because this is! It's slower, it begins with clean vocals, but by the end, it's aggressive and destructive. We are off to a great start!

Death Because Of Death is track 4, and with its 1:20 run time, it serves as an interlude. Chanted lyrics set to a monotonous drum pattern breaks the album up slightly before the next act beings.

Track 5 and this is what I am talking about!!! Nero Forte is a beast! It's my track of the album! It's so familiarly Slipknot, fast, growly, painful verses! The chorus is something brand new though, a high pitched angelic line followed by an aggressive growling hook. Insane military drumming, chunky power riffs and lyrics that basically scream Fuck You! This is what I wanted! "You can do your worst to me, at the end of the day that's what you do best".

Critical Darling is up next. This is very much a paint by numbers Slipknot song. The big verses are loud and fast, the chorus is catchy, and the whole thing builds to a pumping final burst. You know what you're getting with this, and it's so simple to see why today's metal bands have really followed the flow set by Slipknot. This will be loved by the old faithful!

If Critical Darling is the typical Slipknot song, Track 7 is something totally different. Broody and moody, A Liar's Funeral is deep and depressing and very experimental for a band who have definitely settled on a sound.

Red Flag follows, and we are back to normal. The lyrics, again, take centre stage, but the distinctive guitars supplement them perfectly while the drums will give your heart a good work out. This is heavy! Proper heavy! One for the gym, but nothing special.

Track 9, What's Next is our second interlude. It serves as a mini intro for Spiders. Almost childlike piano keys sound like they are straight from a horror film. I'll admit I didn't like Spiders at first. It's weird, it's not what I wanted to hear, it's almost a pop song. I found myself listening to it again and again. It's good fun! My wife told me I don't like change, she is right. Change is good. I'm gonna end up listening to this the most!

Track 11 already? Now this song, Orphan, sounds like it was ripped straight from Iowa! It's brutal, it's certainly Slipknot! The machine gun drums and screechy guitars are so familiar, and once again, a funky chorus that will bleed its way into your brain, before a screamed "I am the Orphan, The one who kills your world" bridges us back to the quick verses.

I wouldn't recommend listening to the next track alone in the dark. My Pain is scary as shit. A low hum is followed by a rhythmical chiming, before the lyrics creep in to freak you out. This is straight from the head of that psychotic Clown, M. Shawn Crahan. It's fucked!

Track 13 slowly builds up afterwards. Not Long For This World, features the clean vocals we have grown to love from Corey Taylor's other band Stone Sour, however, this is still a Slipknot song, and it's the atmosphere that makes it feel that way. 
A band that have 9 members have the tool
s to do things differently. The 3 drummers are so prominently featured throughout this whole album, Jay Weinberg sits behind the main drum kit, while the Clown and the mysterious new anonymous member clamber all over their custom designed kit of barrels and bass drums, while providing backing vocals for lead vocalist Corey Taylor. The duo of guitarists, Mick Thompson and Jim Root keep the whole thing sounding rhythmical and distinctive. But the atmosphere is what sets this band apart from other bands and that is provided by bassist V-Man, and the 2 DJs Craig Jones and Sid Wilson (who's new mask is SICK).

It all comes together for the final track, and the 3rd track I had heard before the album had come out. Solway Firth isn't the full stop at the end of an essay, it's the middle finger at the end of the rant. If the album serves as an angry outburst, this song is the punch in the face! It's toe curlingly heavy, and it's an assault on all your senses.



So I didn't like it at first. I don't think I was supposed to. This isn't music to make you feel good. This isn't a Christmas album by Michael Bublé. This is Slipknot. These are the bad guys. They want you to feel uncomfortable. They want you to feel their pain. They want to drag you through the dirt. They want you to accept what they are, and in turn accept who you are. They want to be there with you, every step of the way. We are in this together. We are not normal, we are not all the same, we are not afraid of change, we are not afraid of anything, We Are Not Your Kind.

So, how I define Slipknot?
Simple, I don't! Slipknot define me!

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Tool



In these times of MySpace, Instagram, Twitter and Faceparty, it is almost impossible to remain elusive. We know everything about our celebrities. We know about Corey Taylor's testicles, Noel Gallagher's feelings towards Scotland, and Kanye West's… well everything. This makes Tool seem rather unique. We know exactly how much they want us to know, which isn't much.

So, without taking selfies on private jets, bringing out a set of Pop Vinyl figures or even appearing in their own music videos, how have Tool publicised themselves enough to headline major festivals? The answer is so simple. Tool fucking rock!

Last week Tool finally released their back catalogue onto streaming sites. Before now, the only legal way to listen to Tool would be to buy a record. Don't get me wrong, the best way to listen to Tool is playing one of their 4 stellar albums from front to back, but to have them on Spotify, to be able to add their tracks to playlists, or listen to them in the gym, is such a cool thing!

This may also open up Tool to an entirely new fanbase. The casual metal fan who never really got them, or the younger listener who has never bought a CD or even seen a cassette tape. For those people, I have put together a "best of" playlist of Tool songs. However, I don't want you to listen to it. Tool aren't a casual band that you put on in the background, or just listen to a couple of tunes while waiting for your bus. You listen to Tool and that is what you do. You turn the lights off, you play the album from start to finish, and you get lost in the music.


If the music finally being streamable isn't enough. Tool have also released the title track for their new album 'Fear Inoculim', their first studio recorded release in 13 years!

The almost 11 minute song begins hauntingly and atmospherically, until the psychedelic instruments join the track one by one. Danny Carey's drums, as with many Tool songs, take centre stage, the unpredictable time patterns confuse and unsettle you. That is until Maynard James Keenan's distinctive, liquid soft vocals calm the mood. Guitarist Adam Jones keeps the rhythm and leads the ever changing sound, while Bassist Justin Chancellor keeps the whole thing sounding very familiar. This is a Tool song, this is what we are used to, yet it is brand new. It's precisely what we needed to hear, and exactly what the band want us to hear.


I saw Tool for a second time at Download Festival this summer, and once again they mesmerized the crowd. They do everything so differently. There is no focus on the musicians, Maynard doesn't even have a spotlight on him, instead choosing to stand at the back of the stage, often not even facing the crowd. In Tool Maynard isn't a front man, he is merely another instrument. Tool don't post their tea on social media. I've never seen a single gym selfie of Danny Carey, and to be able to move about the drum kit the way he does, just 2 years away from being 60, he must have an intense gym regime. No, Tool aren't the social type, choosing to put graphics and videos on the stage screens rather than themselves, but when they sound the way they sound, the music completely speaks for itself.

The album, Fear Inoculum is out at the end of the month. Before it drops, I insist you go listen to Ænima and Lateralus from start to finish, just to get yourself prepared. Once you do, you will almost certainly want to listen to Opiate and 10,000 Days from start to finish too. Then, maybe, just maybe, you will be ready for Fear Inoculum. I know what to expect, any Tool fan knows what's coming, and at the same time we have no idea what to expect. It's all very clever!

Fuck it all! Tool are back!


Friday, 24 May 2019

Weekend Debt - Living Under the Influence EP & Launch Party

Ahh I can talk for days so I've broken this into parts incase you want to skip sections... the EP, the journey, the gossip and the gig. I'm writing this tired and won't get chance to this weekend as were at Slamdunk Festival and I'll be worse after that, so apologies for mistakes!

Living Under The Influence EP
Damn this is a step up both technical and in the orchestration! It's amazing. We finally get a released version of Tories, Tour De France (see previous post for more on that), Miss Cougar... Name says it all. My favourite on this Il Padrino, which starts with some synths and an obscene number of build-ups! COME ON BABY


Launch Party @ Nice N Sleazy, Glasgow 23rd May

Prologue
It's a Thursday night, 200miles away from Manchester, we have work at 9am Friday - a 4hour Strategic meeting to start that day too! Any normal person would wait until the band play a local venue.
No, we're driving the 3hours to the gig and back in the same night.

Both me and Richard book Thursday off to allow us time to get North. At noon we set off, playlist at the ready, Monster Energy & Snacks at hand... Fast forward several hours, a Nando's and a couple of JDs we get to Nice N Sleazy and settle in for the evening.



Talking with WD
Whilst we sip our several JDs, (only a few, no drink driving people!) We catch up with Russell and Harvey, whilst Calvin and Grant are off interviewing / podcasting at the booth next to us.
I've not heard/read that yet, I'll share it when the lads share, but I'm pretty sure it didn't have a patch on the unrecorded conversations that went down on at our booth ;-).
I'll leave those stories between us, but maybe 'The Rus & Harv Podcast' will one day be a thing, then you can find out yourself about 2tonne TVs, Midnight Road Painting, Snakes Procreating and Balcony Scaling.

Ok I will touch on that last one, as that's the story of why the lads were tired. Getting locked out of their flat after late night practice the night before...tales of lost keys, unanswered the buzzers, a construction fence as a pseudo-ladder and balcony scaling. They finally got into their flat at 2am, before having to get up early for photoshoots! 

Got to be honest, I'm feeling very tired, only on 4 hours sleep myself and a long day and drive, sometimes I wonder why we do this to ourselves. 
Ha, nah, this is why we do it, the conversations, the people, THE MUSIC. When a gig starts, that energy from the stage and crowd absorbs into you, you bounce into another world!


The Gig
The support acts Third Party and Two Tone Television were both great warm ups. 

Third Party (check out track RPB on Spotify), they have a different MO, often did some instrument and lead vocal switching which kept us in our toes. Very they're good! Punky / Indie / Heavy - at times they held a similar sound to False Heads!!!




Two Tone Television (check out The Heavy) they were also pretty heavy indie I liked their sound, at this point I was little preoccupied so can't comment too much, I'd definitely say they are a band to listen to and their now in my playlists


Weekend Debt
So this is the 4th time watching these guys, actually, first time with this line up - with Calvin on guitar. I was unsure how things would be without Ewan, I knew the EP was awesome and the sounds were on another level, but the guys have matured, I'm sure this is partly due to natural growth and a technical skill brought by Calvin... Undoubtedly an amazing guitarist!

The setlist was a good set, I don't want to dwell too much on the that, you know we know these guys are good. They are excelling, vocally even better than ever, entertaining both on and off stage. From Grants goosebump generating solo Magnetic Girl to Russell's sheer enthusiasm bouncing more and more as the gig goes on. Harvey with his crowd pleasing/teasing and 'Technical ability' fixing unruly Instruments... And as I said, Calvins guitar skills just another level.



My favourite parts are the rework of some of their previous tracks, adding new layers and tones. I love bands who have great studio tracks but actually perform them slightly differently and with more breadth, it's like you get several versions of a great song! On top of this, some cool feedback effects and even got a pit during Il Pedrino!



Tho the best bit, the suprise - 303 AM ... Fucking... 303 AM.... With a 2 minute solo and crowd energising buildup, I managed to get a little bit of it on video! This needs to be on every gig, infact I'd take 10minutes of this it was fucking Awesome. Plus 303 is my favourite track so this was even better!


THIS 





Ahh we finally get home at 2am. New merch in hand too! Mega thanks to the lads, worth the journey, and I can tell you when these guys play your town - get there! If they aren't playing near you, get to Scotland.

For now!
Michael & Richard

Catfish And the Bottlemen

I'm late sharing this, and let's be honest you should know what to expect, so I'm just going to share a few pics. They were amazing, my only criticism was the lack of Oxygen 

https://twitter.com/ALifeOfMusicRo1/status/1126276646774898688?s=09




Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Sam Fender - May 2019 - O2 Ritz Manchester

Finally the stars aligned, it's been nearly 2 years of trying to see Sam Fender... If we weren't already booked up then it was that tickets sold out!
But yes last Thursday we got to see the Start Again, Play God, That Sound masterpiece maker Sam Fender. (You can get tickets this week here)




Over at the Ritz in Manchester it was rammed. Sam was so excited and very much humble. I've been banging his drum since I heard him in 2017, and it couldn't have been better. Playing new songs as well as some of my favcs such as That Sound, Start Again and Play God. His vocals were amazing and the band were tight!




What I loved more was his friends he has paying with him, including a mate (I'm sure he was called) Jimmy Blue hat, Which was amazing. Sam was just there to please, no messing around with encores at the end he just went straight into a few acoustic tracks (Poundshop Kardashians) 



I don't want to go too much into it as it was the first night and you guys need to see him to truely enjoy his offerings. Though I will say the Oasis cover Morning Glory was amazing

Hus full album tour is at the end of the year but is on sale this week check out below
http://alom.pw/Sam-Fender-hypersonic


For Manchester gigs click here 

For now. Michael x




Saturday, 13 April 2019

Indoor Pets, Animal House & Ormstons - Deaf Institute Manchester

This was a whim, well, it wasn't, as a friend has been telling me to get to Indoor Pets for a while now, but last week I got a ticket (thankfully) just before they sold out. I had no time to check out the Supports, as I had to catch up on Indoor Pets given I only knew a few tracks.
Honestly if you like Weezer (and I'm calling Temper Trap fans too) you will love Indoor Pets, I cannot tell you this without any more sincerity: Get. On. Them.


Ormstons (@ormstonsuk)


Pretty cool band, 4 Piece from Leeds, they were rocking an Abba cover as we got to the venue. If you're into the likes to Anteros you'll like this group. Was also pretty cool to see Will from Critical Reaction has joined as their drummer, there's another band you should be following, bunch of northern lads with some decent listening! Check out some of my older playlist they feature on a few :)



Animal House (@AnimalHousing)



Ahh now I don't even know how to begin, Aussie / British band based down in Brighton. This 5 piece sound was something unexpected, I think at times It was a go between of The Strokes, Kings of Leon with some Blues and Country (almost Yodelling)! The lead singer certainly hits some high notes! 

Managed to have a chat with the lads after they are a cool bunch. They're playing Jimmy's Manchester in September so get to see them. They are fun! Their take on Tequila is something else, and their harmonies from the 3 backing vocals is pretty unique. They had an energy about them and seemed to enjoy every minute.



Indoor Pets (@indoorpets)

I really didn't think it was gonna bounce so much! From the offset it just went crazy, the floor at Deaf is far bouncier than the Ritz which made for great moshing. The Bouncer was too impressed about this and at one point stood in the centre of the circle with the intent to stop the circle... Fair to say he didn't know the rules of a circle and he swiftly made an exit! Indoor pets got sweat, steamy and damn right awesome. 

Like I said before you need to get on these! 
Here is some of what went down











That's you're lot for now
Mx


Links to bands
Indoor Pets Spotify
Ormstons Spotify
Animal House Spotify

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Weekend Debt - Tour De France

Half the time I think I should rename this blog the Weekend Debt Fanpage, the other half it may as well be FalseHeads! In all serious though, it has been a while since I specifically wrote about Weekend Debt, but its 20:19 on 4th April 2019... 3 hours or so until the lads release Tour De France, their first actual release in over a year! I've tried to find out more but they're being secretive and to be honest the fun is in the wait.

I'll be glad to be able to listen to new track(s) on a decent form of media, rather than Soundcloud or some recording at the back of a gig on YoutubeMusic.


If you haven't heard of WeekendDebt they are a Scottish Indie Band (check the tags, I've posted a fair bit on them) and they definitely far too underrated. I came across them a few years back and they have been in my Top 3 New bands since! Ask anyone I work with, I've pushed WD on them and worn my band T's far too much! Check their website and socials to listen to some tracks (links below). Me and the team here at ALOMR love their raw talent and catchy tunes.


Anyway, Tour De France, its out in a few hours so i'm going to listen and give you the low down (either at midnight, or 7am, depending if i'm awake enough to post something meaningful)....


Links here to Tour De France

YT Music

Spotify

Ok it's 12:20am had a good few listens, first things it's got a lot more production in it, sounds a lot cleaner, higher tones and more colourful (tho that may be my earphones stripping some of the bass out). 

There's something about the lads and creating Intros that just pull you in! It just gets you going, hands tapping and ready to go. There's a few voice cracks from Grant at the start of the verses and actually adds a depth of emotion and keeps that rawness to the band too (the bridge 2:50 is testament to this!)

I'm noticing some nice harmonies too! Gotta be honest I'm still only about 60% on the lyrics 😁 #MansNotScottish - but that's what I love, the accents aren't lost, like many bands can often do.  


It'll take a few more listens but "I don't wanna, I Don't wanna knoooww" is already stuck in my head. 

It's everything I expected and more! Well worth the wait. 

This guy is waiting for more details now tho :P EPs, Tour Dates, whatever it is, you can guarantee we will be on it!


Anyway I'm up in a few hours and long day, long night and considering a Chili Hot Wings eating challenge Tomorrow so I need some serious sleep and level headedness.





https://www.facebook.com/weekenddebt/
https://www.weekenddebt.com/
https://twitter.com/weekenddebt?lang=en

WMCYW!

Mx


Saturday, 23 February 2019

The Clause - Jimmy's Manchester 2019

It's been a while since I wrote about a gig, been too busy at gigs, making music & on the socials.
Anyway it was about time we gave this place a little more attention.

Thankfully building and sharing music on Social Media is what lead to this next band we went to see - The Clause.

4 piece from Birmingham, I'm gonna copy in their bio. When you read it, you think WTF is going on - how does that even work?
The Clause, are a 4 piece alternative indie band from Birmingham formed in 2016. They describe themselves as having a ‘60’s swagger, an 80’s groove and a 90’s attack with the odd techno influence in the live shows’.



I hadn't read that bio until today, and after the gig last night I was sat thinking how do I even explain this band. Their music spans so much from 70s through to 2000s with swing and swagger of Elvis. Each of their tracks had a different style and certainly can't be criticised of being too samey.

I really worried about what I would even say to explain them, I think, at times the closest comparison was these guys are 2019's Alternative answer to The Hives - tho that does a injustice because these guys are miles better and the Hives!
But I think their bio sums them up perfectly.



These guys played a raft of their released songs including Sixteen, Tokyo & their latest slower track Where Are You Now, they dropped a few covers such as Indeeps Last Night a DJ Saved my life. The lads also played as some new tracks which were even better than their current songs and showing a growth in their own (very mixed) sound. I loved it!

My only criticism was Viva La Revolución, the band did something I really love, and that was drop snippets of great speeches into the middle of songs, I think it's underdone. I just really wish it wasn't Charlie Chaplin's Final Speech, which is amazing, but I think it's too soon after Paolo Nutini used it.

One thing I did notice is these guys certainly have a lot of backing and I'm expecting them to make it big time.

So yea check them out over at all the social places, here's a few links save you some time:
Spotify: The Clause
Facebook: TheClauseBrum
Instagram: TheClause_Birmingham

Band members and setup.
Pearce McMenamin (vocals & guitar) - playing a BoyBlue Rickenbacker (I think it was a 330/12 tho don't quote me on that, 2 single coil pickups, beautiful).
Niall Fennell (Mapex Drums & Synth).
Liam Deakin (Guitar) - Liam started with a sweet Cherry Red dual-coil Gretsch (not a clue which model!) tho with a few strap nut issues this was swiftly swapped out for a sunburned Fender Telecaster!
Jonny Fyffe (bass guitar & backing vocals) - keeping the theme with a Fender Jazz.

Also an orange amp head just to round off that retro image.

Anyways that's all for now. Check out a few pics below, There's more on our socials too. I got a few videos but the quality was crackling, so I implore you check them out and listen on your streaming service etc you know the drill

For Now, Mx