Monday, 7 April 2014

Gig Review! Gorgoroth, Vital Remains, Ageless Oblivion and Ethereal - The Garage, London - 6/04/2014

This was my first trip to the Garage in a long time, having last been there for Obituary and Macabre in December 2012. It has stuck in my memory as one of the warmest venues I've ever been to. I mean it gets ludicrously hot in that place. But here I was again, this time for the mighty Gorgoroth.

Doors opened at 7, but having been in the pub around the corner and slightly lost track of time, I didn't get there until 7.20-ish, one song into Ethereal's set. I have never regretted being 5 minutes late more. Ethereal are absolutely incredible. Possibly the best opening act I have ever seen, and I do not say that lightly, they are the raw black metal powerhouse that Gorgoroth could have been shown up by. The energy, the darkness and the visceral power of the whole band, not least the near-perfect blackened shrieking vocals, really tied the set together perfectly. A real discovery for me personally, I'll be seeing them again on the 19th at the Unicorn in London, and I'd encourage anyone and everyone who can to go along and check them out.

Next up were Ageless Oblivion. I personally don't like to review bands that I don't like so just a quick word on these guys. Just because it's not my thing doesn't mean that someone else would have been as enthusiastic about them as I am about Ethereal. They didn't do anything for me musically, but they had excellent stage presence and they were clearly going down well with some of the crowd.

Third up, a band that I had heard of for years, but had never seen or even listened to : Vital Remains. Absolutely unbelievable. I knew there was some connection with Glenn Benton and that Corpsegrinder wears Vital Remains shirts pretty much every time I see Cannibal Corpse, but these guys take all the best elements of Deicide and Cannibal Corpse, and turn it up to maximum. I don't know how some of those growl/shreiks could even be made to be so high pitched by human lungs, but they managed it, and mixed with the most gutteral, bowel-rupturing death-gurgles you have ever heard, Vital Remains absolutely blew me away. I can't believe I hadn't heard them or seen them before, but I'll definitely be seeing them again. Incredible stuff from an amazing band. AND for them to be doing shirts for £15!? Excellent, so I bagged myself a t-shirt. Vital Remains tore the place to pieces.

Headlining were Gorgoroth, who I hadn't seen since Bloodstock in 2010, who then had Pest on vocals and were very much there to play a bunch of songs and clear off. I guess it's just the black metal way sometimes to have pretty limited interaction with the audience. This time, Hoest of Taake was guest vocalist, and he absolutely slayed it. Taake are due to play the same venue in May at Incineration Festival alongside Anaal Nathrakh, Carach Angren, Eastern Front and Nargaroth amongst others, and the Garage was given a taster of how intense that night is going to be. Gorgoroth came out and smashed it, with enormous nails dangling from a heavily corpsepainted lineup of musicians peering through the fog of sweat and dry ice. Incipit Satan, Destroyer and Krig bring the Garage to its knees. Again little interaction with the crowd, which might just be a personal thing, but I quite enjoy at least a little acknowledgement from a band I've seen, but let that take nothing away from the intensity of Gorgoroth, proving that Gaahl or no Gaahl, they are still monoliths of black metal.

Finally, please go and check out Aeon Promotions. They were the guys who put this night on and who are doing Incineration Fest too. They know how to put on an absolute beast of a night.

Find me on Twitter : @bigmetalbastard

Monday, 24 March 2014

Bloodstock Festival Preview - Bloodshot Dawn and Morgue Orgy!

Bloodstock is pretty much undisputedly the leading metal festival in the UK, and it's pretty safe to say that it has now held that position for a few years. Growing year on year without resorting to filling the lineup with pop in the way Download have done.

This year the lineup is strong across the board, the headliners of Down, Emperor and Megadeth are going to kick ass, and bands like Amon Amarth, Dimmu Borgir and Obituary never fail to bring the house down, but lower down the bill are some real hidden gems. Bloodstock has fantastic support for the underground, both global and within the UK. Last year I saw Scarab, who came all the way over from Egypt to play their crushing brand of death metal, and they rank as probably one of the best bands I've ever seen without having known who they were beforehand. Hopefully you'll find something similar here with these two fantastic, crushing British acts.

Bloodshot Dawn have deservedly been afforded a main stage slot for this year, as things stand it looks like they'll be opening the main stage on the Friday, but more bands are yet to be confirmed so that may change. Either way, the main stage is exactly what Bloodshot Dawn deserve. I've been a fan of them for a few years now, since they handed me a copy of their Slaves To The Lie EP in a McDonalds in Camden in London. They were supporting Cerebral Bore that night at the Purple Turtle and they absolutely fucking slayed. I listened to the EP when I got home and I've been a fan ever since. This is real, chunky, bang your head off extreme metal. Bloodshot Dawn are one of the very best in upcoming British metal and if you're going to be at Bloodstock, absolutely check them out on the main stage on the Friday. If you're not going, check them out right here :

Morgue Orgy are another lot that are finally getting the recognition they deserve, even getting a mention on Pointless. I saw this lot at Beermageddon 2013, and they gave festival goers free CD's for elbow dropping one of their earlier releases. Naturally I obliged and the 4 hour journey home became a much more pleasant experience. Not their first time at Bloodstock, having played in 2010, they will be tearing up the Sophie Lancaster Stage on the Saturday in 2014, bringing their brand of British melodic death metal to Catton Hall. The future is bright for Morgue Orgy, who are certainly gathering momentum across the UK. Check them out online here, and download their album "The Last Man On Earth" for free!

As ever with these bands, if you find something you like please do consider buying CD's, merch and all the rest. More importantly, show up and support your local scene!

Big Metal Bastard will be back with more previews, album and EP reviews, gig reviews and all sorts of other stuff coming up.

Follow me on Twitter using @bigmetalbastard

If you want me to feature your band, give me a shout on twitter or by firing an email off to and I'll give your stuff a listen!


Hey guys and girls,

I know I've been away from this blog for quite a while now, having not done anything new for over a year for unfortunate reasons, but now I'm back and ready to get back to digging out the very best in underground and overground metal from all over the world.

Bands that have messaged me that I haven't managed to get back to yet, I will do, fear not! any bands that have stuff that they'd like me to have a look at and maybe write up, get in touch!

Fresh stuff coming soon.

@bigmetalbastard on Twitter, tweet me up!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Orange Goblin, Seaven Deadly and Wretched Soul - Westcoast Bar - Margate - 17th November

Well, this was one that couldn't be missed. Just a short trip down the road from university in Canterbury to Margate and the Westcoast Bar. Having got a lift there from a friend coming down for it and forgotten completely to book transport, after the gig the night was spent sleeping in the front of his car in the freezing cold on Margate seafront. Rock 'n' Roll if ever I've seen it. It was horrifically cold, but totally worth it.

Walking down the hill towards the Westcoast Bar equipped with a few cans of the cheapest non-urine flavoured lager Asda do (Bavaria, from Holland, acceptable) I was struck around the face with the smell of something rotten. As in, literally rotten. I suspect it was those wooden bits that you see on beaches that run into the sea. I forget their name, but I suspect it was those, sodden from high tide and by then rotting away. Either that or Margate is just a very, very smelly place.

Finally we got to the venue, and found that rather a lot of people had got there before us. I'm not sure what the capacity of the place is, but it's not a small place. When you consider that they have had Decapitated and Aborted play there, it's perhaps not surprising. We still have 20 minutes until Wretched Soul take to the stage, so time for a drink. £3.90 for a pint of Kronenbourg!? Grudgingly, I paid the money, and went downstairs, as it was just about Wretched o'clock.

I've seen Wretched Soul an awful lot, and God knows I go on about them on here a fair bit, but this time it seems like a milestone, with them providing support to Orange Goblin. They did, of course, already support Vreid earlier in the month, but as I didn't make it to that one, this really strikes home how far this band has come over the past year or so. Wretched, as usual, absolutely slay it. Those of the band who have the freedom to move around gallop around the stage with colossal energy, and Andy, the drummer, throws the horns to the crowd, which is fair enough, drumming doesn't really lend itself to running around the stage like a maniac. Moshpits galore through the set, and even some attention for the guys from a female audience member, who gets as close as she possibly can to the chaps, and even attempts to play the bass, before being escorted away by who I can only assume was the boyfriend. The Westcoast Bar is also possibly the best sound I've ever heard Wretched Soul have, and it really shows throughout the set. A killer start to a brilliant night.

Up next are Seven Deadly. Featuring ex-Panic Cell members, Seven Deadly are probably great if you like Killswitch Engage. I personally think Killswitch Engage are a big pile of cack, so the less said about that, the better.

To round off the night, Orange Goblin come out with one of the best shows I've seen for a long, long time. I forgot just how much I like these guys, having last seen them in around 2009 on the 'Healing Through Fire' tour and having missed them at Bloodstock this year, it surprised me how much of their stuff I knew. I can't find the entire setlist online, and my memory of the evening by this point is a little hazy, but bear with me. They came onto the stage with the mighty new single 'Red Tide Rising' from the latest album 'A Eulogy For The Damned', put simply, it's a cracker, and gets the entire place (which by this point is absolutely packed) banging their heads and moving their bodies. Moshpits all over the place. Goblin frontman Ben Ward does that thing singers do when they come to the front of the stage and shakes hands with fans whilst leaning over them. Fantastic, what a top guy. Except, I was right in the front row, and only very narrowly avoided getting a faceful of sweaty crotch on the numerous times he came to the front. It was tense, as I didn't want to cop a penis in the face, and he presumably wasn't going to be keen on being headbanged in the balls. Fortunately for both of us, no contact was made. Anyway, back to the set. My personal favourite song 'The Ballad of Solomon Eagle' came up early on, and goodness me, it's been a long time since I've lost myself quite like that. It's a similar story for 'The Filthy and The Few', 'The Fog', 'They Come Back' and 'Quincy The Pigboy'. One of the songs I seem to have missed hearing before is 'Scorpionica', but the room almost literally explodes are Orange Goblin plough their way through that one. Having been on the front row, I was knocked onto the stage, which was only about knee high, by a pit behind me. No room to get back to where I was, so only one way off the stage. Stagedive. Unfortunately the pit was very close to the stage, so I got turned upside-down fairly quickly and fell to the floor. But it was bloody glorious.

After that, it's onto more booze and an incredibly uncomfortable night in the front seat of a car on Margate seafront. I'd do it again for another night like this one.

Find Wretched Soul, and download their free single 'Veronica' from here
Seven Deadly can be found here
Check out the mighty Orange Goblin right here!

Also, I'm on Twitter! Follow @BigMetalBastard.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Best of Bandcamp

Something a bit different for you all this week, and something that I suspect will become a regular feature. For those who don't know, Bandcamp is a website that allows bands to publish their music online for people to stream or download - sometimes for free, sometimes charging money. I'm a student, and a bit of a tight bastard, so have only streamed these free ones. Anyway, here are my top three artists discovered this week.

Seprevation - Ritual Abuse E.P

From the South West of England, Seprevation seem to be turning heads since their performance at Bloodstock this year, and it's easy to see why their debut E.P entitled 'Ritual Abuse' - it's a killer record. Their brand of thrash is lined with death metal and the combination makes this release a really strong piece of work. Ritual Abuse is full of galloping guitar lines, blistering solos with vocals reminiscent of the likes of Sodom, and is every bit as good. Their intensity and brutality doesn't wane for a single second of the 15 minute record. It may be short, but it's certainly sweet. Keep an eye on these guys, they're going places.

Click here for Seprevation at Bandcamp - Ritual Abuse available for download for £2.50
'Like' Seprevation on Facebook here

Xul - Malignance

 In the far off land of Canada there sleeps an absolute monolith of blackened death metal. A bit of research tells me that this lot have shared the stage with Exhumed, Macabre, Cephalic Carnage and Vreid amongst others. These aren't just some small fry band from the middle of nowhere, they mean business, and honestly, I can see them blowing some of those bands off the stage. The perfect combination of black and death metal, even with a particularly thrashy sounding guitar line in places on 'Mastication of Putrescent Empyrean Remains' really comes together on this album. And perhaps best of all, it's currently available for free. (However, if you can afford to pay money for it, please do, these chaps deserve it).

Click here for Xul at Bandcamp - Malignance available for free download
'Like' Xul on Facebook here

More bloggery coming soon for you fine chaps! Until then, keep supporting underground metal!

I'm also on Twitter! Come along and follow @BigMetalBastard 

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Gravesend - November 3rd - Rezinwolf, Kthon, The Furious Horde, Wretched Soul and The Iron Knights!

Kthon almost seem a little left out on this lineup, which attracted my attention personally for it's link to Beermageddon, which I have written about before. With The Iron Knights confirmed for the 2013 festival and The Furious Horde, Wretched Soul and Rezinwolf having been favourites of mine from this year's edition. Still, who knows, Kthon could well show up there next time. I'd certainly welcome it.

It was my first time at the Red Lion, or indeed in Gravesend at all, but the lineup certainly looked promising. The organisers - The Pandemonium Club - have been putting on gigs for a while now and this is the first one I've managed to get to. Unfortunately, presumably through a combination of it being Bonfire night weekend and a bitterly cold night, people stayed away on this occasion, whilst not taking away from the event itself, there is a bit of disappointment from the organisers that more people didn't show up. I know I'm just some idiot on the internet, but guys, if you have a local metal promoter near you who puts on shows, get along to them. These people put blood, sweat and tears into putting on the bands we love to play for us.

Anyway, bitching aside, I pay my £8 to get in for a lineup I'd happily have paid double that to see, escape from the freezing cold of the outside world and grab myself a drink. £3 for a Desperados isn't too shabby I suppose. After a while of soundchecking, Rezinwolf take the stage. These guys seriously impressed me at Beermageddon and absolutely did the same tonight. Whilst I maintain that their drummer looks like Jay from the Inbetweeners and their guitarist is a younger Corpsegrinder with a nice voice and good at guitar, Rezinwolf are exactly what you would want from a thrash metal band, they're full of energy and confidence and tighter than a very, very tight thing. Oh, and they threw in a cover of Pantera's 'Fucking Hostile'. Which was brilliant.

Rezinwolf over, time for another beer or two. It's at this point that I ended up chatting to some of the regulars of the pub, as opposed to the Pandemonium Club, about how to survive a zombie apocalypse. Since they only just met me, they decide that I'd have to be killed first if they had to resort to cannibalism, or if they needed to sacrifice someone to escape. Thanks guys.

Next are Kthon. I had seen them before a year or two ago as part of the Bloodstock 'Metal To The Masses' battle of the bands, where I was very impressed with them. It's slightly odd seeing them on a bill filled with very fast paced bands, but their crushing, chugging doom riffs complement the other bands very well. They're the kind of thing you want to listen to if you're in need of punching a wall, at a very slow pace. They are, by their own admission, a little sloppy, but their songs just have that massive feel to them. Plenty of headbanging, plenty of Lee Dorian-esque doom dancing.

Beer time.

The Furious Horde are up next, a band that I thoroughly enjoyed at Beermageddon and who I raved about on here and  have been yammering on about to my friends for the entire time since then. I was very excited to be seeing them again. This time, the keyboard player and his pink shiny onesie is missing, but accompanied by a keyboard backing track the Horde absolutely slay it. Seeing them again now that I know their songs really makes the experience quite pleasantly different, still just as intense, but with that unrelenting urge to scream the lyrics back at them. For my shame, I held back, as nobody else was singing and I didn't want to look like a bit of a wally, not even for 'Possession', my favourite track. Next time I'll be the irritating guy screaming in your ears so you can't hear their music properly. Good lord though, I'm very glad I discovered these chaps.

Alcohol pit stop.
Thrash o'clock again next as Wretched Soul take to the stage for five tracks of limitless energy. With their debut album due to be released early next year, it's well worth looking out for these chaps. One of my favourite bands on the underground circuit, there are exciting times ahead once the album hits. Despite vocalist Chris's throat giving him a bit of grief, it doesn't show and Wretched Soul once again bring their best to the stage with them.

Next is a little confusing. I had arrived expecting to see Stuka Squadron, but instead am watching the first ever Iron Knights gig, due to complicated issues between the band and an ex-member. They smash through their set with full force, showing that they are just as strong and good as the Iron Knights as they were as Stuka Squadron. A fantastic way to close a brilliant night.

The night is only slightly dampened a day or so later, when the Pandemonium Club release a statement saying that due to lack of numbers coming through the doors, they can not afford to put on any more events for the forseeable future. Please guys, support your local promoters, we can't let these excellent groups of people fall away due to lack of support.

New blog coming up soon. Cheers for reading!

Monday, 22 October 2012

Snailking - Samsara - Swedish Doom/Sludge

Things have really kicked off over the past few months for Sweden's Snailking. Without doing down the bands own hard work in the process, a post by one of the members on the website Reddit a few months ago was picked up by users of the site and the band gained real interest very quickly. Within a few days of the original post, a follow-up was posted saying that Snailking had been approached by a record label. This week, their album - Samsara - was released by ConSouling Sounds.

With influences from the likes of Ufomammut and Sleep, this album is an absolute stormer. From the first atmospheric notes of the 14 minute opener 'Shelter', to the dying end of 'Samsara', the record has a feel that is rare in debuts. Every part of the album compliments the next, from the spoken opening lines and spacey guitar work through the introduction to the crushing, chugging monolith of the rest of the track. Vocally, the track leaves nothing out, gutteral death growls compliment the clean vocals which in places feel like David Bowie and Maynard James Keenan serenading one another.

This band is very exciting to me personally, and early feedback on the record is overwhelmingly positive.

Samsara is available for download at Snailking's Bandcamp, whilst physical CD copies can be ordered from the ConSouling Sounds page.

More bloggery to come soon, including a feature on five new and rising British metal bands.

Bastard out.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

The Big Metal Band Feature - Disfracture

Hailing from the same city as the Kaiser Chiefs, The Pigeon Detectives and Chumbawumba, Disfracture are sorting Leeds out good and proper. This is a band that can't quite be put into one genre or another, with a huge array of influences and songs containing elements of death metal, groove, symphonic and progressive sounds. They kindly spoke to Big Metal Bastard through the medium of electronic mail.

Formed in early 2011, the band has developed in terms of both style and influence. What started as a performance module project at university quickly became independent of that and became an entity in it's own right. The band have overcome the problems of balancing music and jobs, ground through the recording process and are now well on their way to establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned with.

With each band member being influenced by a huge variety of music, to go for one particular standout influence is difficult, Meshuggah are mentioned, but it is clear when listening to their stuff that the intention was never to become a copy of them or any other band, instead developing their own sound that is not limited to one school of heavy metal thought.

Gigs for Disfracture are listed on their Facebook page under tour dates, although priority is at the moment on getting a new EP out (hopefully, they say) around December of this year, to be released via their Bandcamp site, where a free 3 track sampler is available to download (It is also available from their Soundcloud page here, if you prefer) featuring my personal favourite track - False Prophecy (which has an insane growl right at the start, check it out), Scarred Remains, and Commander to the Throne of Jeopardy. Three intensely heavy tracks for no cost, can't argue with that!

When asked who they would most like to open for, the response is a little odd - Lady Gaga, "to watch the faces of 50,000 unsuspecting victims experience the brutality that is Disfracture". When you put it like that, they may well have a point. Terrifying an O2 packed full of children would be quite the sight.

Disfracture are one of the most exciting bands around at the moment, combining brutality and raw aggression with complex musicianship and a hell of a lot of hard work, it can only be a matter of time before Disfracture are given the attention they deserve, they're certainly going to be a name to look out for in 2013.