Pick Your Rock and Metal

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Diabolical diabetic fail and rebound...

OKAY please shut up! Yes it has been a wee while (22 days to be precise) since this diabolical diabetic last posted on this blog. No, I ain't dead (yet) but thanks to Rock Radio NI and the superb PureRockFury from Carrie on Blast 106 for keeping me sane!

More details and shit coming up in coming days - well I am making idle promises as the local offie now stocks miniature bottles of Jager at the superb price of 79 little pennies...which means a lot of shots for a tenner and loads of wee tiny bottles to line up til the recycling man comes along.

Now stay with me on this one...the recycling theme is pertinent to something, even if the link is tenuous.

When is a band justified in recycling its same old sounds? Or should it be like Maiden and try to explore the potential of its sound.

As payday has just stroked the hole in the wall with some available funds, what albums could you recommend that are not just the same old shit?

While you ponder that question remember if you have funds you may want to check out the Distortion Project's four days of mayhem...

Thursday 30th September. Reckless Love + Jett Black + Rebels by Nature. Auntie Annies, Dublin Road, Belfast. Doors8pm, £12
Saturday 2nd October. Ricky Warwick (Thin Lizzy/The Almighty) + Matt Fitzsimons (Black Freeway) solo acoustic performance. The Spring & Airbrake, Ormeau Avenue, Belfast. Doors 7pm, £14
and also on Saturday 2nd October: Overoth + Bloodshot Dawn + Existing Threat. The Limelight, Ormeau Avenue, Belfast. Doors 5pm, £5
Sunday 3rd October. A Storm of Light (Neurot Recordins - feat. members of Neurosis and Tombs) + Slomatics + Annapurna. Spring & Airbrake, Ormeau Avenue, Belfast. Doors 8pm, £15

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

A thing of beauty...sleazy, dirty, noisy beauty

NORTHERN Ireland churns out more great hard rock than is credible for its relatievely small population in rock and metal demographics. Indeed, if you were to listen to the mainstream you'd be forgiven for thinking that apart from a clutch of shoegazers and The Undertones, hard rock is an aberration that now and again raises its long-haired face and tattooed arms above the surface.

How wrong the self-congratulatory pundits are! Proving the quiffed and stylish commentators wrong happens so often that they look uncomfortably around when the likes of The Answer, Therapy?, or any other given quota or metal, rock or punk emerges. Naturally they then claim that they backed and 'discovered' these bands.
At some stage in coming months they will be forced to look at their playlists and note down another few facts from Wikipedia before claiming they knew Trucker Diablo were great all along.

You see Trucker Diablo have produced an album - The Devil Rhythm - that has the alchemist's touch for taking base rock and metal, adding a dash of southern groove and the sort of singalong choruses chart wannabes would trade their latest boob implant to have.

The Devil Rhythm is a thing of beauty, sleazy, noisy beauty. The sort of beauty that can be enjoyed driving too fast, or with a beer in hand, but best of all un-selfconsciouslessly punching the air and unashamedly roaring along to the choruses. Try Big Truck, for example. I defy anyone with a little hard rock heritage in their humble hearts not to find themselves trying desparately to get that chorus out of their heads!

Rarely do bands emerge complete from the ether. Trucker Diablo have an impressive pedigree. Google the bands Joyrider and Titled to understand where the line-up components of Simon Haddock, (Joyrider) Tom Harte and Terry Crawford (Tilted) have been baptised in recording and touring. The heart of Trucker Diablo (with Glenn Harrison completing the line-up) lies in earning their stripes.

But with that heard earned experience many acts would become wistful, occassionally whingeing on about how the 90s was the wrong decade, etc, etc. Instead Trucker Diablo have produced a set of tunes that are the feelgood antithesis for every self-obsessed act out there. When they sing Dirty Love its with the sort of joy that should permeate all good music. The dark grooves of Never Too Late to Sin tempt the wayward back to the bottle, back to the sweaty excellence of hard rock.

Black and Blue is a great cathartic tale of excess of every kind, while Rattlehead has the sort of rockin' blues that ZZ Top used to produce.

Standing out in the track selection are the single Juggernaut with its towering hooks and riffs that burrow into memory; and the album opener, Drink Beer, Destroy. Shurely shome kinda anthem for Norn Iron rock!

There is an easy option for many bands - that is to re-tread sounds, add a new look and claim to be the best thing since a sliced loaf of Ormeau Veda as buttered as a hangover cure. However, this is a trick that cannot achieved in the rock genre. As John Cougar once said, it's just arranging the chords, but as Trucker Diablo and the growing wave of Northern Ireland's quality rock and metal proves, it is how you play those chords, tease out the hooks and tear off the solos that matter.

Trucker Diablo's The Devil Rhythm - raise the glass, punch the air, and most of all enjoy!

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Congrats to Million Dollar Reload

Quick note to say well done to Million Dollar Reload for scoring a deal with Powerage and getting a couple of tracks on the Classic Rock cover mount CD.

They helped me and a mate (Hi Alli!) a couple of years back by playing with Stillroom at the Rosie. Good luck guys!

Reviews and views

A FEW bands (well two actually!) asked my recently why I didn't review their output that has been posted on Myspace. Rather than go into a long convoluted rationale (well I am half cut!) suffice to say there are two reasons:
First - every band seems to have some recordings on Myspace and the quality from PC speakers makes it difficult to judge the mix, playing and arrangement (well that's my excuse;)
Secondly - legally there is a specific requirement as to what constitutes a review. The legal precedent may date back to the 19th century, and has not been tested in terms of blogs but I don't want to be a test case. In other words: if you want a CD/EP/single reviewed here, I've got to have a 'review copy' and if you want a gig reviewed then the reviewer has to be 'invited' to the gig either as a +1 on the guest list or as an invited payee on the door.

Anything else is comment and opinion.

In short, I'd love to have more reviews on the blog, and with the number of page impression/unique visitors there is an opportunity for Norn Iron acts...

Email me if you want a review

Some upcoming Saturday afternoon highlights

Just in case you're stuck for something to do on a Saturday evening,  here are some of the forthcoming RockD Limelight gigs...
Saturday 11th September. For Ruin + Devilmakesthree + Atheos + Corr Mho...na. £5 (First For Ruin rocKD gig since 2007)

Saturday 18th September.Interrogate + By Any Means + Gacys Threads + Exit Wound. £5

Saturday 25th September. "Dickheads of Aggression - an afternoon of all metal fools" featuring Lesshelp + Mental Deficiency + I'll Eat Your Face + William Christ and the One Man Orgy. £5

Doors for all shows are at 5pm, and run until 9pm

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Morbid tales and tunes

LET'S face it, a lot of rock and metal tunes are pretty morbid: if you took the cathartic elements away from listening to such dire, morbid lyrics it could really send you on downer. But, on the other hand a lot of tunes are life affirming.

This tangled talk in my own head (well who else is going to listen to my tortured analysis of 'eavy fugging metal') led me to contemplation about what tunes should be played at a rocker/metalhead funeral.

I've always had a few in mind: Black Sabbath's Never Say Die to mess with expectations; BLS's The Damage is Done to have people reflect (I don't expect any mourners, just people turning up in case there's beer at hand); and maybe Metallica's Fade to Black too.

It may be a weird topic for a beered up Saturday night, but does anyone out there have another suggestions? Highway to Hell will not be on the list...too predictable, and Stairway to Heaven is also off the list, as I don;t believe in Heaven or Hell they're out, although Sabs Heaven & Hell is a contender!

So in brief: suggestions for tracks for my funeral, and what would you like to have played as your coffin is lowered?

Happy thoughts everyone!