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’

 





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





Bye Bye 2014

31 12 2014

2014 was an incredibly happy, healthy and hugely productive year for me. Now normally when it comes to Dec 31 posts on Dead Horse, I usually stick up a bunch of photos which have summed up the past 12 months, but this time,I’m only going for one as it’s a photo that I’ll always remember until the day I kick the bucket.

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“Childhood Dream Achievement unlocked” as “the kids” say these days.

To put it all into context, in 1987 Daddy Christmas brought me Iron Maiden’s ‘Live After Death’ on double cassette, which I played the absolute shit out of.In fact, here it is here.Fun fact-for years I thought Bruce Dickinson’s iconic “Scream for me Long Beach” line was actually “SCREAM FOR ME LONG BITCH.” What a Long Bitch is, I did not know of course.

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It started a lifelong love affair with all things Maiden.They were like a favourite band, football team and super-heroes all rolled into one big galloping bass/dueling guitar-laden bundle. I really can’t count the amount of amazing times I’ve had that have featured Maiden in some way. There have been tons. They’ve never let me down. They’ve always been inspiring and frankly if the likes of ‘Aces High’ doesn’t make you hold your air guitar aloft and shoot invisible crowd members just like Steve Harris, then frankly you’re a lost cause.

My first ever tape I bought for myself was ‘Killers,’ my first CD I purchases was the live version of ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name,’ my first  “proper” gig was Maiden https://edwinmcfee.wordpress.com/?s=my+first+gig You get the drift…

For decades, I figured the closest I’d get to Steve Harris (AKA Maiden’s head honcho and one of the most creative, driven and inspiring people, well, ever, really) was when he “shot” me a couple of times with his bass at Brixton Academy during the Irons’ Clive-Aid gigs.Little did I know then of course…

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2002 was also the year I started my music journalism career and through sheer bloody-minded-ness and being a stubborn bastard, I eventually interviewed Maiden singers past and present-Paul Di’Anno, Blaze Bayley and Bruce Dickinson. The latter happened when I was 25 (at my brother’s house) and afterwards, while getting well and truly shit-faced to celebrate achieving a/the career goal, I contemplated packing it all in and getting a proper job.

However, despite initially being a little bereft due to ticking off all my entries of my career bucket list in three years (that’s my second bucket reference so far.I fucking love buckets, me!), I stuck at it, came up with some new goals, ticked them off and everything was dandy.

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Steve was still at the back of my head though and on July 5, 2014, something I’ve literally dreamed about since I was 8 became a reality and our paths crossed while I was frantically trying to find the press office at Sonisphere (hence why my face is redder than Babe the Pig’s arse after a night round Dita Von Tease’s gaff. Coz, y’know,she’s proper into spanking and stuff *shrugs*). He was cooler than Pingu in a freezer too,

That moment has literally made all the cancelled interviews, delayed payments, unavoidable dalliances with melters who steal credit and contacts and “that fucking Chris Rea” interview all worth it.Every single horrible minute of it all.

So yep, here’s to 2014.An unforgettable year for me.What happens next, I really don’t know but I’m looking forward to finding out.Maybe I’ll have a pint with Eddie?

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So without further ado, thanks to all the editors, promoters and bands I’ve worked with this year (yes, even those of you who destroy my happiness by bugging me constantly on Facebook via private message).

Here are my end of year lists which I sent off to the mags I write for. Happy New Year folks. Up the Irons.

Albums of 2014

The Murder City Devils ‘The White Ghost Has Blood On Its Hands Again’

The Dwarves ‘Invented Rock & Roll’

Beach Slang ‘Cheap Thrills On Dead End Streets/Who Would Ever Want Anything So Broken’

Gaslight Anthem ‘Get Hurt’

Blood Or Whiskey ‘Tell The Truth And Shame The Devil’

Rancid ‘…Honour Is All We Know’

Raglans ‘Raglans’

Chuck Ragan ‘Til Midnight’

Dan Sartain ‘Dudesblood’

Windings/Land Lovers ‘Windings/Land Lovers’

Brody Dalle ‘Diploid Love’

Death From Above 1979 ‘Physical World’

Abebisi Shank ‘This Is The Third Album By A Band Called Adebisi Shank’

September Girls ‘Cursing The Sea’

Skull Fist ‘Chasing The Dream’

Groom ‘Bread And Jam’

The Riptide Movement ‘Getting Through’

Ben Glover ‘Atlantic’

Metronomy ‘Love Letters’

Kerbdog ‘Congregation’

 

Metal Hammer albums of 2014

The Murder City Devils ‘The White Ghost Has Blood On Its Hands Again’

The Dwarves ‘The Dwarves Invented Rock ‘N’ Roll’

Rancid ‘…Honour Is All We Know’

Skull Fist ‘Chasing The Dream’

Darkest Era ‘Severance’

HARK ‘Crystalline’

Mastodon ‘Once More Round The Sun’

Primordial ‘Where Greater Men Have Fallen’

John Garcia ‘John Garcia’

Cerebral Ballzy ‘Jaded & Faded’

Skindred ‘Kill The Power’

SSS ‘Limp.Gasp.Collapse’

Black Label ‘Society Catacombs Of The Black Vatican’

Demonic Resurrection ‘The Demon King’

Down ‘IV Part II’

Portrait ‘Crossroads’

Grand Magus ‘Triumph And Power’

Trash Talk ‘No Peace’

Orange Goblin ‘Back From The Abyss’

Brant Bjork ‘Black Power Flower’

 

Songs Of 2014

Beach Slang ‘Dirty Cigarettes’

Beach Slang ‘American Girls And French Kisses’

Chuck Ragan ‘Non Typical’

Kasabian ‘Eez-Eh’

Taylor Swift ‘Shake It Off’

Charli XCX ‘Boom Clap’

Bully ‘Milkman’

Lorde ‘Tennis Court’

The Minutes ‘Cherry Bomb’

Iggy Azalea ‘Fancy’





Clive Burr R.I.P.

15 03 2013

A couple of days ago, Clive Burr, drummer on Iron Maiden’s seminal first three albums passed away.

I was lucky enough to be at this gig, front and centre, in 2002 and it was an absolute privilege to see the great man in person.R.I.P.





Maiden England

12 02 2013

Finally….!





Bye Bye 2012

31 12 2012

Yes kids, it’s that time again where we wave buh bye to the year and welcome in a new one. Instead of words this NYE,  I’ve decided to post up some pictures which sum up the last 12 months before finishing off with my top 20 LPs of 2012.

Thanks to all the bands, promoters, PRs and mates who hooked me up with records, gigs and good times.Here’s to 2013.

2012: The Year In Photos (And The Odd You Tube Link)

May 13, 2012. I’ll remember this day until they put me in a pine box.Kinda crazy to think that long after we’re dead, people will still be able to see us on this footage of City winning their first Premier league title. Can you spot me and my Da? Handy hint: We’re under the giant purple arrow….

Chilling like villains backstage at the Odyssey with the WWE alongside my brother and nephew.Also-big thanks to the Celtic Warrior Sheamus for hooking us up and being an absolute hero.

Here’s a clip of Therapy? playing ‘Exiles’ at the Tall Ships in Dublin this summer.Y’know…I might refer to myself as “the wonderful Edwin McFee” for the duration of 2013 (the quality’s amazing, eh…..?). Mad props to the Therapy? boys.

My fanzine, Generation Why, (which started the ball rolling on this mental job of mine) celebrated its tenth birthday.

There was a lot of party rocking in a variety of different places with a number of different people this year.Here’s to more adventures.

I finally got that Iron Maiden mask I’ve always wanted.

…and that Betty Banner tattoo I’ve always been looking for too.

And lastly (but certainly not, um, leastly…) here’s my Top 20 LPs of 2012.It’s been a great year for records and hopefully 2013 will be just as good. Happy New Year and Up the Irons!

1) Therapy? ‘A Brief Crack Of Light’

2) Gallows ‘Gallows’

3) Hot Water Music ‘Exister’

4) Best Coast ‘The Only Place’

5) The Gaslight Anthem ‘Handwritten’

6) Wolfsbane ‘Wolfsbane Saves The World’

7) Triggerman ‘Hail To The River Gods’

8) JD McPherson ‘Signs And Signifiers’

9) Cloud Nothings ‘Attack On Memory’

10) Hour Of 13 ‘333’

11) Cheap Freaks ‘Bury Them All’

12) The Jim Jones Revue ‘The Savage Heart’

13) Bobby Conn ‘Macaroni’

14) James Levy And The Blood Red Rose ‘Pray To Be Free’

15) Mystery Jets ‘Radlands’

16) DZ Deathrays ‘Bloodstreams’

17) Master And Dog ‘Master And Dog’

18) Band Of Horses ‘Mirage Rock’

19) Baby Woodrose ‘Third Eye Surgery’

20) Alabama Shakes ‘Boys & Girls’





Maiden Room

3 08 2012

When I was 8 I wanted to live in a house that had an Iron Maiden room.Here’s 5% of my collection.Dreams can come true kids.Up the Irons!

One of these days I’ll get my full collection together and documented…That’ll be exciting for you all, eh?





Maiden England Setlist

22 06 2012

So, last night Iron Maiden kicked off their Maiden England tour in America.Needless to say, a show based around ‘Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son’ (my favourite Maiden album BTW) is something I’ve always dreamed about seeing and after a look at the setlist this morning I’m hoping we get an Irish show next year.Failing that,I’ll just have to head over to England (it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve done it, after all).

I don’t wanna spoil anything for those who haven’t seen it yet, but it looks like these gigs are going to be nothing short of amazing and here’s a wee clip from the Maiden England video to get everyone’s Friday started in style.

Up the fuckin’ Irons!

EDIT In fact-here’s some footage from their first show!





DVD Review: Iron Maiden ‘En Vivo!’

29 05 2012

Following on from yesterday’s Maiden bloggage, here’s a reprint of a review of their recent DVD ‘En Vivo!’ that ran in the Big List a few months ago.

DVD Review

Iron Maiden-‘En Vivo!’

5/5

Filmed in front of over 50 000 screaming fans last year at the Estadio Nacional in Santiago, Chile as part of their insanely successful Around The World In 66 Days Tour, En Vivo! is metal legends Iron Maiden’s latest live DVD and it captures the mayhem and utter  magnificence of one of their gigs perfectly. Boasting a near flawless set-list filled with classics and new material, the two disc collection brings Eddie and the boys into your living room in spectacular style and is a must-watch for anyone who likes it loud. Maiden maniacs will also adore the 88 minute documentary Behind The Beast on the second disk and the sneak peek at the day to day life of the Killer Krew is as insightful and it is entertaining. With the Irons not making it back over to Europe until at least another year, En Vivo! serves as a fine alternative to experiencing the spectacle firsthand and is an essential purchase for both fans and new-comers alike.





The Number Of The Beast Voted Best British Album Of The Last 60 Years

28 05 2012

Yes folks, the second album I ever bought (the first one was ‘Killers’) has been voted by the general public as being the best British record in six decades. I’ll always remember the first day I head ‘The Number Of The Beast.’ We were having a Christmas party in school and a friend of mine brought in his big brother’s copy of the album on tape. I was in Primary Five at the time, it was 1988 and I was nine and it fucking blew me away. A few weeks later I used the money my Granny gave me for Christmas to buy myself my own copy for £3.99 in Sounds Good in Newry (the tape is pictured below).

Now, ‘The Number Of The Beast’ isn’t my favourite Maiden album (that would be ‘Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son’) but I’ll always remember how I felt the first time I heard Bruce belt out ‘Invaders’ while I stood by the tape desk in Mr Bell’s class to make sure no-one put on shite like Michael Jackson instead, and it’s an absolutely seminal LP from start to finish and I’m happy that it’s getting the recognition it deserves.

Press release is below.Up the fucking Irons!

ron Maiden’s landmark Heavy Metal album of the Eighties The Number of the Beast has been voted the best British album of the past sixty years in a major survey of fans and the wider British public.

The Number of the Beast tops the album poll with a 9.2% share of the total albums vote — a potent reminder of the passion and loyalty of their fanbase and of Rock and Metal fans in particular.  See Notes to Editors for more details.

This landmark recording, which, to date, has sold over 14m copies worldwide and features the anthemic UK top-10 single Run To The Hills, is significant not only for giving the band their first UK no.1 album, but for the debut of their lead vocalist Bruce Dickinson, who comments: “We’re astonished and delighted to hear The Number of the Beast has been named No.1 in HMV’s Diamond Jubilee survey for the greatest British album category. Some of the most influential and classic albums from the past 60 years were in the running so it’s a testament to our incredibly loyal and ever-supportive fans who voted for us. Iron Maiden is a proudly British band, so to win this category as voted for by the British public, in Jubilee year, is very special.  Thank you to all our wonderful fans!

HMV’s Gennaro Castaldo, comments: “You often tend to see the same artists and albums dominate album polls, but with social media increasingly giving the most ardent and passionate fans a powerful voice, I think that’s all going to change, and so it’s no surprise that Iron Maiden have come out on top as their fans are renowned for being the most loyal and dedicated around.  Congratulations to Iron Maiden — we now know The Number Of The Beast is, I fact, ….1.

“The beginning of Elizabeth II’s reign, and the bright new future it represented, didn’t just coincide with a flowering of British popular culture, it helped to provide the very spark that lit the touch-paper for an explosion in music and film talent.  Since then, the Queen has presided over the richest period of cultural achievement in our nation’s history, so it’s only right that her Diamond Jubilee, which ironically also encapsulates sixty years of the official charts, should be a period when we reflect on the greatest British albums and films of the past six decades.”

The top 10 also features Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon — as voted for by Prime Minister
David Cameron in HMV’s poll, Queen’s A Night at the Opera, Oasis (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? and the cultural phenomenon that is Adele’s 21, which is the only album currently in the Official UK Charts top-10 to make it into the poll.  Just outside of the top 10 are a number of other iconic artists/albums including Led Zeppelin IV, The Clash London Calling, David Bowie The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, The Smiths The Queen is Dead,
Black Sabbath’s self-titled album, Radiohead OK Computer and Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.  Featured in the top 30 are acclaimed albums from the likes of Take That, Elbow,
The Who, Coldplay, The Sex Pistols, Muse, Amy Winehouse, Joy Division and The Stone Roses.