From the archives: Haunted resurrected

SWEDISH band The Haunted managed to spirit up something special with their 2000 release The Haunted Made Me Do It.
Brutal metal is the order of the day, and yet, the album is still eminently listenable.
Nothing here is OTT – slimline riffing, vocals that are just the far side of unintelligible, and guitar solos that rarely stretch beyond 30 seconds.
The result is an album which neither offends the purists or alienates the casual metal fan.
So I’m making you do it – pick up a copy of The Haunted Made Me Do It now.

Opinion: Disappointing Mercury Prize 2013 trying too hard

“TOKEN jazz, token folk, seven similar indie bands, two female singers, a ‘surprise’ pop inclusion; no electronica, no metal.”
That was my cynical, withering Mercury Prize 2013 shortlist prediction Tweet earlier today, followed closely by “I hope I’m wrong.”
Turned out I was wrong – but I’m not happy about it.
Because this year’s Mercury Prize could be the heaviest weighting towards electronic music yet – James Blake, Disclosure, and Jon Hopkins line-up alongside the more likely guitar-slinging lads like Arctic Monkeys, Foals, Jake Bugg etc.
But to me, this is a deliberate ploy towards electonica tokenism – an attempt to tackle one of the prize’s biggest criticisms, of the genre being overlooked.
This despite the fact that the likes of 4Hero, The Prodigy, Roni Size, Portishead, La Roux, Hot Chip etc have all featured before.
Now the relative glut of knob-twiddlers in 2013 this has left not room on the shortlist for the oft-ridiculed token jazz record, and token folk record.
Where are Lau? Or Melt Yourself Down?
One of the best things about this award is that it heralds the unheralded.
Elbow weren’t unknown when they won, but they were severely underrated – is David Bowie in their position right now, for instance?
And the unknown likes of Sweet Billy Pilgrim, or Polar Bear, or Portico Quartet would have been missed by so many people who now love these acts, were it not for their nominations – whereas the folkier acts this year, the likes of Villagers and Laura Marling, aren’t exactly under the radar.
It all leads to one of the most disappointing shortlists that I can remember.
And don’t get me started on their approach to metal music…

From the archives: Dreadbanging

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WHAT do you get if you mix dub reggae and heavy metal?
No, the offspring of that unholy union is Dub Trio’s third album, Another Sound Is Dying.
The album, which is instrumental apart from the standout No Flag featuring Mike Patton of Faith No More on vocal duties, fuses heavy metal riffs fuller than Rik Waller leaving an all you can eat buffet with ponderous Mogwai style space rock and skanking Lee “Scratch” Perry dub sections.
On paper this should be a shambles, but on record it actually works.
The movements from one section to another never seem to jar, and there is a unlikely unity that carries through the whole LP.

From the archives: Majestic LP from Rose Kemp

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WOULD Rose Kemp, by any other name, sound so sweet?
Probably – for Rose’s third album, Unholy Majesty, sees the singer blossoming into an epic, unique and awe-inspiring proposition.
Influenced heavily by folk – after all, Rose’s parents were both in the seminal electric folk band Steeleye Span – the Chris Sheldon-produced Unholy Majesty mixes stoner rock and classic rock, with splashes of goth and prog to create a bruising, stomping backdrop for her talents.
For the star of this ten-track show is undoubtedly singer Rose, whose operatic vocals swing from snarls and growls on the polarised likes of the grinding Nanny’s World to the tender Flawless.
The approach to everything on Unholy Majesty is daring and different – and the result is the Bristol-based singer’s crowning glory.

Review: I heart Bullet For My Valentine

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ARE you feeling horny this February?
Metal horny, that is – because you can’t help but love Welsh metal sensations Bullet For My Valentine just a little bit.
The group have honed a real stadium-ready sound on Temper Temper, their fourth album, and sure, their sound may have a hint of cheese to it, but to be fair it’s a mild one, and you cannot help but be carried away by the sheer exuberance of tracks like Riot and the title track.
It can be a tad cliche at times, lyrically, but there’s a driving energy to the riffs, and it all veers to the accessible end of the metal spectrum.
And capping each track is a complex guitar solo, full of trademark guitar wails and fretboard meandering, which in reality is a simple pleasure.

News: Cheers to Conformity of Corrosion

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PUNK-metal legends Corrosion Of Conformity have been honoured with a new beer.
The Burnt Hickory microbrewery in Georgia is creating the unique Imperial Porter ale.
A spokesman said: “The beer will be named for Corrosion of Conformity.
“The beer will be brewed this week and be sent into a wonderfully sublime exile for a few months.”
And to complete the process, whilst resting in a rum barrel the brew will be played the band’s Technocracy EP on a constant loop.

News: Donington to say guten tag to Rammstein

RAMMSTEIN have been unveiled as the second headliner for Download 2013, hot on the heels of Iron Maiden last night.
The gig will be the first time ever that the German industrial metallers will have played at the legendary Donington Park.
Andy Copping, VP of Promotions at Live Nation, said: “We’re very excited to welcome Rammstein to Donington for the very first time.
“They are an epic live act and a perfect Sunday headliner to cap off what is shaping up to be yet another fantastic Download festival.”
When asked how it felt to be playing Download, Rammstein said: “It’s only a festival, not a moon landing.”