Bowie.

11 01 2016

Fuck.

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Bye Bye 2015

31 12 2015

Well 2015….you’ve been an awkward one. While by no means a woeful year, 2015 was a bit stop start for the whole 12 months. Ireland seemed bereft of any real gig excitement this year and news of the passing of the likes of my favourite actor Christopher Lee, wrestlers Dusty Rhodes and Rowdy Roddy Piper and Motorhead’s Lemmy and Philthy Animal Taylor, not to mention the announcement that Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson had cancer just seemed to make the year a bit of a downer. Don’t even get me started on the shocking murders in Paris….

Still, there were highlights. Fleetwood Mac in Dublin was way better than a bunch of drug addled pensioners had any right to be.

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Beach Slang in Manchester re-affirmed their best new band of the decade status during a mega-sweaty gig.

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Finding myself in among a bunch of randy middle aged women at Take That was more fun than it sounds.

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Iron Maiden’s ‘The Book Of Souls’ was more than worth the wait.

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Seeing the Nature Boy Ric Flair in person was an absolute fucking treat.

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And spending evenings reading the liner notes of my Beach Slang records was a blast.

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Thanks to all the bands, promoters, editors, managers and chancers I worked with this year.Here’s to a kickass 2016.

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And finally, here’s my albums, singles and gigs of 2015. Up the Irons.

Albums

Iron Maiden ‘The Book Of Souls’

Beach Slang ‘The Things We Do To Find People Like Us’

Therapy? ‘Disquiet’

Charli XCX ‘Sucker’

Bully ‘Feels Like’

Mutoid Man ‘Bleeder’ 6

Sleater Kinney ‘No Cities To Love’

Kylesa ‘Exhausting Fire’

Fight Like Apes ‘Fight Like Apes’

Best Coast ‘California Nights’

Goatsnake ‘Black Age Blues’

Teenage Time Killers ‘Greatest Hits Vol. 1’

Veruca Salt ‘Ghost Notes’

Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes ‘Blossom’

Gallows ‘Desolation Sounds’

Radkey ‘Dark Black Makeup’

Girls Names ‘Arms Around A Vision’

Ash ‘Kablammo!’

Faith No More ‘Sol Invictus’

Man The Machetes ‘Av Nag’

 

Singles

Beach Slang ‘Too Late To Die Young’ (Original Version)

Charli XCX ‘Doin’ It’

Rihanna ‘Bitch Better Have My Money’

Merchandise featuring Dum Dum Girls ‘Red Sun’

Bully ‘Trying’

Demi Lovato ‘Cool For The Summer’

Galants ‘Seventeen’

Little Mix ‘Love Me Like You’

Bitch Falcon ‘Breed’

Frankie and the Heartstrings ‘Think Yourself Lucky’

 

Gigs

Fleetwood Mac, 3Arena Dublin

Beach Slang, Tiger Lounge Manchester

Sleater Kinney, Vicar Street Dublin

Mutoid Man, Voodoo, Belfast

Therapy?, Button Factory Dublin

 





MY METAL HAMMER TOP 20 LPs OF 2015

30 12 2015

…And now, the end is near…….

Here’s my top 20 metal/rock albums of 2015 which I submitted for the annual critics’ poll in the Crimbo Metal Hammer. Great to see the Maiden album declared the overall winner. Up the fucking Irons!

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Albums of 2015 (Edwin McFee)

Iron Maiden ‘The Book Of Souls’

Therapy? ‘Disquiet’

Mutoid Man ‘Bleeder’

Kylesa ‘Exhausting Fire’

Goatsnake ‘Black Age Blues’

Teenage Time Killers ‘Greatest Hits Vol. 1’

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes ‘Blossom’

Gallows ‘Desolation Sounds’

Radkey ‘Dark Black Makeup’

Faith No More ‘Sol Invictus’

Man The Machetes ‘Av Nag’

The Sword ‘High Country’

Monster Magnet ‘Cobras & Fire (The Mastermind Redux)’

Clutch ‘Psychic Warfare’

Sabbath Assembly ‘Sabbath Assembly’

High On Fire ‘Luminiferous’

KEN Mode ‘Success’

Agnostic Front ‘The American Dream Died’

And So I Watch You From Afar ‘Heirs’

Poison Idea ‘Confuse & Conquer’

 





Joe

22 12 2015

Codladh sámh

 

 

 

 





METAL HAMMER REVIEW: MONSTER MAGNET

16 11 2015

Here’s a reprint of my review of the new Monster Magnet opus that ran in Metal Hammer.

MONSTER MAGNET

COBRAS AND FIRE (THE MASTERMIND REDUX)

NAPALM RECORDS

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Inspired by the creative success of their reboot of Last Patrol (which they re-named Milking The Stars: A Re-Imagining Of Last Patrol) Monster Magnet have decided to give 2010’s Mastermind a makeover too. Now dubbed Cobras And Fire (The Mastermind Redux) Dave Wyndorf and Co. have transformed the original music, often beyond all recognition, focusing on isolated themes and fragments to create a much more expansive and ultimately enjoyable listening experience. A darker and dirtier record compared to its classic rock-flavoured predecessor, sitars and organs augment the Space Lord’s riffs, adding energy and excitement to the likes of Watch Me Fade (which is one of the band’s catchiest efforts to date). Hallucination Bomb is a particular highlight and the cinematic, string-swathed offering is now like a soundtrack from a cosmic spaghetti western, while old school fans will love their fuzzed up cover of the Temptations’ Ball Of Confusion which tips its cap to Blue Cheer’s version of Summertime Blues and features backing vocals from Monster Magnet co-founder/Rib Eye Bros. frontman Tim Cronin. [7]

EDWIN McFEE





HOT PRESS ALBUM REVIEW: BEACH SLANG

14 10 2015

Here’s a reprint of my Hot Press review of the stellar Beach Slang album.

BEACH SLANG

The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us

Big Scary Monsters

9/10

KEY TRACK: ‘Ride The Wild Haze’

PHILLY FOUR-PIECE UNLEASH PHENOMENAL DEBUT.

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Every once in a while a group comes along that seem hell-bent on killing you with thrills. Philadelphia’s Beach Slang are once such band and their debut will make you thank whatever deity you subscribe to for the invention of a repeat button. Marrying romantic words with punk rock and indie guitars, they follow in the tradition of the Replacements, the Smiths and the Gaslight Anthem and make music you can get lost in for hours.

Wilder and more like their incendiary live shows than their previous EP’s, the ten track opus is a short but oh so sweet effort brimming with lyrics that will be inked on the insides of school-books and the outsides of human bodies for years to come. The thunderous ‘Ride The Wild Haze’ is a particular stand-out on an album full of highlights and their frontman James Alex sounds like a future superstar when he sings “I feel most alive when I’m listening/To every record that hits harder than the pain.” The string-laden, acoustic lullaby ‘Too Late To Die Young’ and fuzz-laden ‘Dirty Lights’ also skilfully show they know how to write top pop tunes too and help make the LP one of the best debuts of the decade.

OCT 30

EDWIN McFEE





METAL HAMMER REVIEW

3 09 2015

Here’s a reprint of my review of the awesome new Kylesa album that ran in Metal Hammer.

KYLESA

EXHAUSTING FIRE

SEASON OF MIST

Savannah sludge merchants Kylesa dive further down the rabbit hole for their seventh record Exhausting Fire. Adopting the theme of rebuilding after a particularly gruelling tour drained their batteries, the opus marks another bold stride forward sonically, whilst also nodding to their past. Continuing the trend started with 2013’s Ultraviolet, guitarist Laura Pleasants does most of the heavy lifting in terms of vocals and it’s their most layered and melodic offering yet which explores and expands upon their 80’s goth, space rock and psych influences yet still remaining thunderously heavy. The aptly named Crusher kicks things off with a bang marrying a chugging, doom-laden riff with hypnotic vocals and from there the bass-driven, Banshees-steeped Falling, the mesmerizing, mainstream-bothering, shoegaze informed Moving Day and the anthemic Lost And Confused,which features a badass riff and otherworldly backing vox, all impress. Though it is slightly front-loaded, Exhausting Fire is an incendiary album full of just the right amount of old school thrills (Shaping The Southern Sky) and experimentation (Night Drive) to delight and excite fans old and new. [8]

EDWIN McFEE





HOT PRESS REVIEW: IRON MAIDEN ‘THE BOOK OF SOULS’

28 08 2015

Here’s a reprint of my review of the outstanding new Maiden album.

Fun fact-while I was writing this I had a workman at Castle McFee beating the absolute shit out of my living room ceiling. I don’t recommend trying to make a deadline while it feels like your head in caving in….

IRON MAIDEN

The Book Of Souls

Parlophone

9/10

KEY TRACK: ‘Empire Of The Clouds’

METAL MAESTROS MAKE A MASTERPIECE.

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Arguably their most anticipated album since The Number Of The Beast (a record which saw Maiden take a huge gamble by replacing original singer Paul Di’Anno with heavy metal air raid siren Bruce Dickinson back in ’82), The Book Of Souls is a similarly important opus in the world of rock. Hell, even the likes of Lady Gaga has confessed to getting up at 5am just to buy the damn thing. You see not only it is the band’s inaugural double album, it also features the debut of their frontman playing piano on the 18 minute long ‘Empire Of The Clouds,’ (their longest track to date) and, perhaps most importantly, it is their first release since Bruce Dickinson beat tongue cancer.

Clocking at over 92 minutes of music, the two disc beast is a feast for fans of the evergreen metal titans. The Robin Williams-inspired ‘Tears Of A Clown’ is a touching tribute to the departed comic and has a massive chorus and Thin Lizzy-esque rhythms, the bombastic ‘Death Or Glory’ sees them hark back to their NWOBHM days, while the sprawling, Steve Harris penned ‘The Red And The Black’ is another future classic from the band’s founder thanks to some Irish trad-inspired melodies.

‘Empire Of The Clouds’ is sure to be the album’s biggest talking point though. Inspired by the R101 airship disaster (a craft so big the Titanic could fit inside) and penned solo by Dickinson, it’s a mammoth rock opera packed with orchestra flourishes, numerous time changes and even some Morse Code. Topped off with beautiful piano playing from Bruce (the singer began learning the instrument when he won one in a recent raffle) it’s very much his masterpiece and closes this ambitious and often spell-binding opus in style.

OUT NOW

EDWIN McFEE





METAL HAMMER REVIEW: Mutoid Man ‘Bleeder’

31 07 2015

First off, yep, I suck balls at updating my blog these days.There are only so many hours in the day, unfortunately. I’ll try and change that though from August onwards.

Anywho, here’s a reprint of my review of the awesome new Mutoid Man album that ran in Metal Hammer.They’re playing Ireland and the UK this autumn.You should go and see ’em.

MUTOID MAN

BLEEDER

SARGENT HOUSE

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Continuing the increasingly incestuous relationship between Converge and Cave In, Mutoid Man is the brainchild of drummer Ben Koller from the former and guitarist/vocalist Stephen Brodsky from the latter. Economical in length (around 30minutes) but certainly not in ideas, their 10 track debut builds on the promise of their 2013 released EP Helium Head, adding more bite, a new bassist (Nick Cageao) and beefier production to their thrash, punk, prog and NWOBHM informed sonic assaults. Crammed with old school Tom Araya screams, unusual rhythms inspired by eight bit video games, bluesy grooves and lightning quick riffs, Bleeder is an instantly infectious slab of heavy metal thunder. Book-ended by the glorious, galloping sludge-fest Bridgeburner and the Dio-era Sabbath indebted doom-laden title track, the likes of Soft Spot In My Skull and the pummelling 1000 Mile Stare prove that their debut is much more than a vanity project for Mutoid Man and it’s as thrilling as anything they’ve put their names to in the past. Step aside Avengers, there’s a new super group in town. [8]

EDWIN McFEE





HOT PRESS ALBUM REVIEW: Ash ‘Kablammo!’

28 06 2015

Here’s a reprint of my review of the ace new Ash album that ran in Hot Press.

ASH

Kablammo! (earMUSIC)

Key Track: ‘Go Fight Win’

7/10

ASH ON FIRE FOR THEIR COMEBACK ALBUM.

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Almost eight years to the day, trail-blazing garage pop rockers Ash announced that Twilight Of The Innocents would be their final album and from that point on they’d only release singles. As the quick witted among you might have already guessed, they recently had a change of heart and thank whatever deity you worship they did as it’s a resounding return to form for the Downpatrick natives. Perfectly capturing the fizz and fuzz of Ash’s incendiary live show, Kamlammo! strips away some of the electronic influences of recent singles and reboots the band somewhat.

Old school fans will be thrilled to learn that some material recalls the scuzzy punk of Trailer. The likes of the unrelentingly catchy ‘Cocoon’ and the Brian Wilson meets Rivers Cuomo vibe of ‘Machinery’ are like being punched in the face by a rainbow, while ‘Go Fight Win,’ stomps along like Deep Purple’s ‘Space Truckin’,’ and is packed with pop hooks and metal guitars. It’s not all about revisiting their early days though as the instrumental, galloping sci-fi western ‘Evel Knieval,’ cowpunk-tinged ‘Shutdown’ and string-laden ballad ‘Moondust’ prove they’ve plenty of new ideas and sounds to explore. Welcome back boys.

OUT NOW

EDWIN McFEE