Metal Hammer Top 20 Albums Of The Year

13 12 2012

The Christmas/end of year Metal Hammer is out this week and as is customary, the Top 50 albums of 2012 (voted for by writers for the mag like myself) are revealed.Sadly this year, there wasn’t enough room to print the individual lists of all the scribes (boo!) but since I’m awful good to you Dead Horse readers I’ve posted up mine below.

Towards the end of the month I’ll also post up the less genre-specific list I sent to the other mags I write for,but for now, without further ado, here’s my pick of the heaviest records of ’12.

01) Therapy? ‘A Brief Crack Of Light’ (Blast)

02) Gallows ”Gallows’ (Venn Records)

03) Wolfsbane ‘Wolfsane Save The World’ (Cargo)

04) Triggerman ‘Hail To The River Gods’ (Triggerlad Records)

05) Hour Of 13 ‘333’ (Earache)

06) Down ‘Down IV Part 1: Purple EP’ (Roadrunner)

07) Pulled Apart By Horses ‘Tough Love’ (Transgressive)

08) Gacys Threads ‘The Ignorance Of Purity’ (Savour Your Scene)

09) Turbonegro ‘Sexual Harassment’ (Volcom)

10) Trash Talk ‘119’ (Odd Future Records)

11) The Cult ‘Choice Of Weapon’ (Cooking Vinyl)

12) Rolo Tomassi ‘Astraea’ (Destination Moon)

13) Tankard ‘A Girl Called Cerveza’ (Plastic Head)

14) Pelican ‘Ataraxia/Taraxis’ (Southern Lord)

15) Purified In Blood ‘Flight Of A Dying Sun’ (Indie Recordings)

16) Orange Goblin ‘Eulogy For The Damned’ (Plastic Head)

17) Witchsorrow ‘God Curse Us All’ (Rise Above Records)

18) Paranoid Visions ‘Escape From The Austerity Complex'(Plastic Head)

19) Steve Harris ‘British Lion’ (EMI)

20) Corrosion Of Conformity ‘Corrosion Of Conformity'(Plastic Head)

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News From The North Week 106

23 07 2012

Here’s a reprint of my NI music news column that runs every fortnight in Hot Press.

News

Words: Edwin McFee

This issue I thought I’d kick off proceedings with news about this year’s Tennent’s Vital festival which takes place in Belfast on August 21-22 at Boucher Playing Fields. Some of the more elephant-minded readers among you may recall that the festival organisers recently ran a competition (UnTapped) to find two up and coming NI-based bands to play at the shin-dig and this fortnight it has been revealed that no frills rock ‘n’ rollers Trucker Diablo and hip hop hero Gerard i2 have been selected to appear on the day. Beating off 16 other performers (apologies if that sounds like something from a mucky movie by the way) both turns truly deserve the opportunity and I’d like to wish them the best of luck for the event. For more info on the festival visit tennentsvital.com.

 

Next up, it gives me great pleasure to announce that drummer with the mighty Gacys Threads and all-round prince among men Stephen Currie has lined up another immense, neck-bothering release for his label Savour Your Scene Records. Specialising in Irish hardcore and metal, the enterprising tub thumper has been in touch to let us know about the impending cassette release of Dublin band Milestones’ new mini album Entropy. The date for your diaries is July 9 and on the same night, Milestones perform at Auntie Annie’s, Belfast and support comes from Death Of A Salesman and Katabolis, so make sure you check it out. For further details on the label and their roster of acts visit savouryourscene.co.uk.

 

It’s been a while since I last gave you news on the Stendhal Festival in Limavady and in those couple of months the organsiers have fleshed out the line-up for their festival in spectacular fashion. Taking place on Aug 17-18 at Ballymully Cottage Farm, the event now boasts (deep breath) Henry McCullough, Silhouette, Trucker Diablo, Triggerman, Mundy, Pat McManus Band, Mojo GoGo, Best Boy Grip, Intermission, Lantern For A Gale, Wyldling, Peter McVeigh and many more and you can view the full list at stendhalfestival.com. The organisers are also letting the general public choose which act receives the final slot on the line-up via their Facebook page (facebook.com/pages/Stendhal-festival-of-art) so head over there after you’re done reading this.

 

Finally this fortnight, I’ve just enough room to tell you that the always incendiary Fighting With Wire have been added to the bill for the Tanglewood Festival at Narrow Water Castle (round Newry-way) on August 4. For more details have a wee click here tanglewoodmusic.co.uk.





News From The North Week 68

4 12 2010

Here’s a reprint of my NI news column that runs every fortnight in Hot Press and as I led the piece with news about Gacy Threads I’ve also included their video for the immense ‘Sieving Secrets’ below. The clip was made by Red Cap Productions and looks fucking ace.

News

Words: Edwin McFee

Avid readers of this very column will already be aware of this writer’s love for the mighty Gacys Threads and with that in mind it gives me great pleasure to let you all know that the riff juggernauts are about to embark on a tour of Ireland and (quite possibly) beyond in the near future. Having just released their ace ‘Wolf Bridge’ EP (which is available via www.gacythreads.com alongside a plethora of lovely T-shirts designed by Chris from White Dragon tattoo studio) the boys bring the noise to the likes of Limerick, Derry, Dublin and everywhere in-between from this Dec and the exact dates on where they’re performing are up on their website as we speak.

Possibly the north’s best party band Here Comes the Landed Gentry get the Crimbo vibe started early with the news of a Yuletide show in Gweedore, Derry this Dec 23 (or Christmas Eve Eve as Zig and Zag used to call it). The so-called “Annual Xmas Explosion” is sure to be a fun night and the venue of choice is the handily named Gweedore Bar. The band are planning to make copies of their debut album available on the evening too, so if you’re in the area make sure you check them out as they’re one of the best live acts in the country bar none.

Those lovely (and charitable) people at Common Grounds café in Belfast are once again on the lookout for acoustic performers for their Friday night gigs. At the moment there are a couple of dates free this month and next, so if you fancy letting your inner singer/songwriter free for the evening email the organisers at rentaghost31@yahoo.co.uk for more details. As all proceeds go to charity you won’t be paid, but we’ve been assured that you’ll get fed and hey, a free meal is the best kinda meal, right?

Sludged up heavy types Slomatics have just re-emerged from Start Together Studios in Belfast with five brand new tracks under their arms. If rumours are to be believed the new songs feature accordions, moogs and bicycle wheels so it should sound interesting if nothing else. Two of the cuts are ear-marked for an up-coming split cassette with Comply or Die and the other three are for a split 12”/CD with Liverpool band Conan and both will be released early next year via Head of Crom Records and Aurora Borealis. For more news of Slomatics check out their MySpace (www.myspace.com/slomatics) for future gig dates and a sneak preview of ‘Hold The Skull.’





Silhouette At The Riff Raff Rooms Newry-Tomorrow Night

21 10 2010

If you’re nowt on tomorrow night, you should head to see the uber-good Silhouette at the Riff Raff Rooms in Newry town. Shauna and Co. have had an amazing 10 months so far and next year things look like they’re going to get even better and I can’t think of anyone more deserving of the opportunities right now. If you haven’t caught the band before, they’re an ace mix of avant garde influenced awkward alt-pop and Victory At Sea-esque grandiose clatter and are getting better as the weeks progress. In fact it seems like no time at all when they were debuting the new line-up last year at my 30th birthday show and they’ve really gelled well together in such a (relatively) short space of time.

A few weeks ago I wrote a short piece on the gig for my column in Hot Press, so here’s a reprint. Incidentally, if any bands/promoters want featured in the Hit the North page get in touch. In fact while I’m at it, I’m also looking after the music pages in the Sunday Life for the next few months too, so if you want your gig featured there give us a shout  on here, Facebook, Twitter, or, if you’re that way inclined-you can talk to me via the medium of dance.

But enough waffling, here’s the Hot Press column and the poster for tomorrow’s gig. If I’m not covering a show elsewhere I should be down at this too, so come say hello. I’ll be the grumpy looking bloke with too many tattoos.

News

Words: Edwin McFee

Ever since time began (well, the 80s) this writer’s homeland of Newry has been a bit of a wasteland when it comes to offering some much-needed teenage kicks. While the 60s and 70s saw the likes of Lizzy, U2 and Gallagher tread the town’s boards, (Rory that is, not those two eijits from Manchester) it seemed that the initial spark of a burgeoning live music scene unfortunately fizzled out like a firework that’s been left out in the rain. All is not lost though, as the good people involved with the Riff Raff Rooms have been steadily building up a reputation for themselves as the taste-makers of the border town and have made some excellent bookings in recent months which have whetted Hot Presses collective appetite and marked them out as ones to watch over the months ahead.

Part of the venture’s current appeal lies in their recent union with the 27 Club. Already a staple event in Warrenpoint, the club is masterminded by Beat Poets’ tub thumper Mark Dinsmore and has featured everyone from NI heavyweights And So I Watch You From Afar to General Fiasco over the years and it looks like they’re planning to repeat that success in Newry. Kicking off the union with a gig on Oct 22 by the insanely talented (and arguably one of the best performers in the country right now) Silhouette, there are also plans for shows from the whiskey-soaked lunatics that are Here Comes the Landed Gentry on Nov 19 and the always impressive Cashier No. 9 too and we’d like to wish them every success in the world.

Speaking of success, the annual local band love-in that is Glasgowbury has once again been nominated for several categories in the UK Festival Awards. Paddy Glasgow and Co. are in the running for Best Small Festival and the Grassroots Award (which are voted for by Joe Public via http://uk.festivalawards.com/) as well as the industry selected Promoter of the Year and Line-Up of the Year and fingers crossed they’ll come away with something as we’d love to see the lads channel their inner Halle Berry for their acceptance speeches.

Finally, NI’s all-conquering kings of metal Gacys Threads have announced that they will launch their second EP ‘Wolf Brigade’ with a gig on the night before Hallowe’en at the Pavilion in Belfast. Having supported the likes of Fear Factory, Cancer Bats and August Burns Red in the past, the band’s star has been in ascendance this year and the new four track release leaves us hungry to hear a full length LP from them. For more info check out www.myspace.com/gacysthreads.





Residual Effect

30 09 2009

So I’m back from Portugal, feeling slightly frazzled and dog-eared. I’ll post up some pics of Eddie’s Bar soonish, but for now, here’s a transcript of an interview with the mighty Residual Effect who are playing the Big Gig 6(66)  this Friday and if you’ve even the slighest interest in punk rock or metal then come down. It’s only 4 brick in and we’d love to see you there.

Residual Effect

For the last five years Residual Effect have reigned as one of Ireland’s high kings of metal and on Oct 2 they headline the Big Gig 6(66). This issue we met up with the band’s singer Micky Higgins to hear what it’s like being on the frontlines of the metal scene, why cops in Birckenhead don’t like Judas Priest and how tubs of butter can spontaneously combust in the so-called Crystal County.  

Ok, let’s start at the start-tell us the secret origin of Residual Effect. 

“Well, myself, Willie [Caulfield, guitars] and Anto [McKee, bass] formed Residual Effect from the ashes of Spindrift (remember them?) back in 2004. We’d taken a year off and were itching to get gigging again. We knew Antony Weston [drums 2004-2007] was free and Andy McCallister [guitar] was too, so we arranged a practice and it started there. For the first year or so we were driving to Dublin and back twice a week for practice. It was tough going.”

How’s the new(ish) drummer settling in?

“Gerry [Gallagher] came on board last April after Antony decided he wanted to do other things. He’d been a fan of the band already and knew the songs so he slotted right in. It’s worked well so far!”

 

We’ve heard rumours of a new EP. How’s it coming along?

“Yeah, we haven’t recorded in nearly three years! We’re working on a debut album, it’ll be a full length with 10 tracks. We’ve played some of the tracks live so people will be familiar with them, but the rest we’re keeping under wraps. We’re at the stage where we’re looking at studios and producers to work with-it’s an exciting time.”

 

What’s been your favourite gig of the year so far?

 “My personal favorite in the past 12 months was playing with Raging Speedhorn in the Bunker last October. It was their last ever tour and had a lot of sentimental value for me. We’ve been friends since they started out and we’ve played with them many times over the years. It was a good way to go out.”

 

And what’s been the most memorable (for the wrong reasons) over the last five years?

“Can I have more than one answer to this?! Going on stage in Blackburn to no-one but the barman two years ago was pretty grim. Getting our van clamped in Dublin when we supported Soulfly in 2006 and using our first proper gig pay to unclamp it was another memorable one and having the local constabulary raid a gig in Birkenhead (same tour as Blackburn) whilst we were two songs into a set and threaten to arrest Willie for playing the riff to ‘Breaking the Law’ was something we won’t forget. Yeah, we’ve had a few moments…….”

 

What about these rumours about tubs of butter spontaneously combusting during you appearance at the Lowend Festival in Waterford….?

“Haha, damn the internet for rumours! You’d best ask another Belfast band about that, who don’t ‘sit down!’ We spent the whole weekend in the local church praying for everyone’s souls. Honestly……”

 

What was the one moment growing up where you decided you wanted to be in a band?

“I’d always wanted to be in a band, from I was a wee lad rocking out to ‘Appetite for Destruction.’ Then I was kind of thrown into it, I started out playing the drums when I was 15 because my friend’s band needed a drummer. I had my kit for a week and we played our first gig in the Rosetta in December 1994. I quickly decided I was pretty crap at it, so then I decided to try singing, I’m still deciding if I’m crap or not.”

 

Do the Residual boys get along with the rest of the Irish metal scene? Do you feel like you fit in?

“We might, ahem, possibly have a bit of a reputation for enjoying ourselves too much… but seriously though, I think we get on great with most people. They might not all like or enjoy the music we make and play, but if the dedication and feeling behind it is similar then we have something to talk about. The Irish metal scene has its many genres and sub-genres, but it’s a great community. We’ve never cared about fitting in though, it’s never been about that. If you’re in a band and that’s all you worry about-you’re in the wrong game.” 

 

Personally this writer feels it’s about time the Big List put on a metal and punk gig. How do you feel about playing a show which roots aren’t strictly in the metal scene?

 “It’s a good thing. These things should happen more often in Belfast because there’s A LOT of talent hiding out there and this sort of gig is the perfect exposure. There’s gigs like these almost every night in other parts of the UK and they work. We’re really looking forward to it and we’re really grateful for the chance to play. Oh, and I promise we’ll behave…..”

Residual Effect, the Lobotomies and Gacys Threads play the Big Gig 6(66) on Oct 2 in the Spring and Airbrake. Admission is £4. For more information visit www.myspace.com/residualeffect.





Guilty Pleasures-the Lobotomies

25 09 2009

Next week (Friday October 2, homes) the Lobotomies, Residual Effect and Gacys Threads play the Big Gig 6(66) in the Spring and Airbrake, Belfast. Now I know you’ll all be at it, but here’s a Guilty Pleasures piece I did with one of my favourite punk bands the Lobotomies to plug the show that I thought you might like to read.  

GUILTY PLEASURES

Everyone’s got at least one skeleton in their closet and musicians are no different. Each month at the Big List we aim to find out just what they are and expose them to the nation. This month we’ve the Lobotomies singer/guitarist Kev Bones confesses to having a crush on chav loving popstrel Lily Allen. Enjoy.

“Guilty pleasures you say? This is a difficult one indeed. I play in a hardcore punk band and punk audiences unfortunately are among the most (dare I say it) narrow minded in the world when it comes to genre acceptance. Therefore a large amount of what I listen to could be considered a guilty pleasure in the eyes of those who live by the rules of punk rock 101.

Thankfully I’ve never been one to care much about other people’s opinions on my music tastes, but I can admit to feeling a little bit guilty about listening to a few bits and pieces…

Right so, it’s confession time. I’m going to come straight out and say I absolutely adore Lilly Allen. Ok, maybe she first caught my attention for reasons other than her musical talent but then after a proper listen I realized I genuinely liked her tunes too. Her first single ‘The Fear’ from her second album is a complete gem. It drew me in and I decided to check out the rest of the record and much to my surprise (and horror) I loved it! These days when I discover new music it’s mostly obscure ear-drum bashing American hardcore or thought provoking political folk singers, not English pop stars. My inner crusty punk is telling me “Don’t listen to this corporate drivel, it’s meaningless, mass produced and probably completely manufactured,” but I do listen to it anyway and I bloody love it.

Oh dear, a few punk rock scene points lost. I suppose the only thing I didn’t feel guilty about was downloading both her albums for free. I mean I’ve admitted to thinking she’s genius but I still don’t think she needs my money!”

 The Lobotomies play the Big Gig 6(66) on Oct 2 alongside Residual Effect and Gacys Threads at the Spring and Airbrake. They also launch their album ‘Big Bang Hangover’ with a gig at the Pavilion on Oct 23. www.myspace.com/thelobotomies.





Big Gig 6(66)

8 09 2009

This one’s gonna fuckin’ slay! Gotta put together a mix tape featuring plenty of Poison Idea, King Diamond and Valient Thorr for this bad boy. Oct 2, Spring and Airbrake, Belfast. You know you wanna…