• GIGS 2010

    Apr 19 2010, 22:23

  • Slayer - Cardiff

    Nov 1 2006, 21:13


    It's now Wednesday night, this gig took place last Monday. It's taking me this long to recover and to fully take stock.

    It was a night of surprises, some nasty, some pleasing. Unfortunately, this story starts with a melancholy mood. I'd arranged for a very generous mate to take me and the Metal Slug in to Cardiff so that we could drink, he had arranged to meet some friends. Sadly he arrived about an hour late to pick me up. I kept thinking that we might miss the start of Thine Eyes Bleed or maybe get in just in time to catch Lamb of God (I presumed they'd be following TEB). When we got there and got inside me and the Slug were heartbroken to see Children of Bodom already playing! It was like being kicked in the stomach with steel toe-caps.

    We wasted no time and promptly made our way to a few rows back from the front. Thankfully the CIA has always been the sort of venue that's spacious enough to pretty much allow you to choose your spot. We had no idea how many songs we'd missed, but we walked in on Sixpounder. We later discovered that we'd missed Silent Night, Bodom Night(being one of my favourites), Needled 24/7 and Living Dead Beat.

    So there I was feeling pretty lost. Partly because I was trying to enjoy CoB but all the while thinking "how many songs have they got left?", we had no idea. Children of Bodom were the band that I was most looking forward to. I'd seen Slayer and In Flames before. Thine Eyes Bleed and Lamb of God were to be the side portions. It seems that the majority of people there were more looking forward to Lamb of God. The organisers must have picked up on this prior to the event and switched Bodom with LoG for the UK leg of the tour. If only it hadn't been that way. Having said all that, it didn't take me long to get into the mood.

    Children of Bodom sounded great, everything was clear, and being up fairly close was brilliant, I was in awe. I swore an oath to go see Children of Bodom again sometime, preferably as head-liners. Next time I'll fucking camp outside the venue, I'm not missing one note. Bodom went on to play Angel's don't kill, In Your Face, Hate Me! and Downfall.

    Of course, as a result of all this, I can't make any judgement on Thine Eyes Bleed. But I have heard their music and think it would have been a great performance to watch.

    Following the experiences of being gutted and excited in the same instant I decided that because my desire to have a few drinks is ultimately what led us to being late and missing some Bodom, I was going to make the most of the opportunity. And so it came to pass that we made our first trip to the bar for our introductory 2 pints of sweet, cool, amber Strongbow. Not being in the mood to carry 2 plastic cups full of Bow we necked them as best we could and I decided to let my minor disappointment pass and have a great night. We easily took up good positions for Lamb of God. As we waited, Slayer themselves walked out on the upper balcony to takes seats and watch Lamb of God. The crowd turned and raised horns with much chanting of "SLAYER".

    I really do like Lamb of God and at this point I was continuing my drinking mission. It's great drinking music. Also the crowd seemed quite sedated. I felt taller than usual too. I think a lot of kids must be into Lamb of God. I don't mean this in a cynical way. I think it's great. I remember being a little kid getting knocked around by big sweaty metal-heads. And now I felt like a loud, sweaty, drunk wanker. It was great. In all honesty though, Lamb of God are a bit of a one-trick pony. Their music is all great, but they're not the most exciting and varied of metal bands. It was good fun music to get pissed to with a good mate. The new songs were good, I can't really remember them to be honest. The highlight of the set for me had to be the finale... Black Label. It's a killer song. The intense riffs and superb drumming(I love LoG's drumming) on that track make the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.

    Earlier this year I went to see In Flames in The Coal Exchange in Cardiff. In Flames is a special band for me as it's one of the European Melodic Death Metal bands that formed my taste in music today. Their early music, intense death metal contrasted by beautifully melodic folk-like dual acoustic guitar playing always pleases me. But when I saw them back in March I left feeling deflated. I don't like to use the terms 'commercial' or 'sell outs' or whatever, but there's no denying their style has changed dramatically. Not just their style, their image. I always expect a few new songs in a set, it's common sense. But in March there was little of the In Flames I like. So this time round, I wasn't expecting to enjoy In Flames all too much. By this point I was on vodka and now getting quite tipsy and was up for a good time no matter what. So they took to the stage and I think I was repeatedly shouting "COME ON MOTHERFUCKERS". It seemed hilarious at the time. But again, I felt like I was surrounded by people 7 years my junior. I thought being a loud, drunk cunt was a great idea.

    In Flames opened with Pinball Map. Not a surprise, but a great song. It got me in the mood again. I didn't feel crushed yet we were so close to the front. I was tipsy, but not nauseous. The sound was brilliant. In Flames were playing Pinball Map. Life was good. But I was waiting for the moment when they unleash all the Soundtrack To Your Escape bilge on us. Next came Leeches from Come Clarity. In my opinion I hold Come Clarity up as being an improvement on STYE. This song being a track I really like to. It's got quite an uplifting vibe. I have no idea what the words are, but I sang along anyway, not to mention avid air guitar solos. I was loving it.

    Cloud Connected, Trigger and Egonomic made appearances. Again, all tracks I really enjoy, I see Reroute to remain as the album that has just enough old In Flames in it for it to be a great album. Next? Only For The Weak from Clayman! I was over the moon! Lot's of drunken jumping around ensued. Just when I thought this tirade of great In Flames couldn't last they went into Resin! Then Graveland from the Jester Race! This was incredible.

    It was like the gig in March should have been. It came out of the blue and totally surprised me. So my upset about missing a few Bodom songs now seemed like a distant memory. Things slowed down with the title track from Come Clarity. They ended with The Quiet Place, Take This Life and My Sweet Shadow. It seemed odd to end on such a slow dirge of a song. They should have ended on a high. But it didn't bother us, I'd had a great time and we took the chance to make use of the bar before getting ready for Slayer.

    I'd always told myself I was coming to this gig for Children of Bodom and that any of the other bands were just a bonus. I think it's this attitude that meant that the Slayer set blew me away more than I imagined. I'm not a huge fan of Slayer. I'd always liked the stand out tracks like Angel of Death and Raining Blood etc. and had heard lots of other songs. I was also expecting to be knackered by now and not able to stand to even watch Slayer. But I'd reached my peak of drunken stupor and metal fervor.

    The intro music was something I recognised. It was the start of the God Hates Us All album. I remembered that it leads into the track Disciple, a track I really really like, mainly for that opening riff. Once my pissed brain worked this out I was wetting myself with anticipation. It was awesome.

    I found myself recognising more songs than I had anticipated. Such as War Ensemble, Seasons In The Abyss, Hell Awaits and Dead Skin Mask. The finale consisted of probably my 3 favourite Slayer tracks. Raining Blood, South of Heaven and Angel of Death. In my view, they definately ended on a high. When the lights came back on it was like coming out of a trance, snapping back to reality.

    And just as I was thinking my night couldn't possibly get any better... We went and got chicken, garlic bread and a large pizza from Pizza Hut on Crwys Road. It was bliss.

    Following this gig, the frontman from Thine Eyes Bleed has been quoted in the press as saying:

    I would have to say that the fans in Cardiff really brought it to the table, probably the best crowd we have ever seen. From the first note in our set to the last note from SLAYER they were non-stop! Truly amazing, truly metal!

    Thanks to Metal Slug for remembering all the set lists. You nutter.

    *warning: may contain traces of opinions
  • Soilwork - Cardiff

    Set 27 2006, 23:30

    Oh dear!

    Ok. I'm a huge fan of Soilwork. They are one of my favourite bands. But last night I finally realised the Soilwork I love are dead and this shadow of greatness has taken it's place.

    I unfortunately had to go to the gig alone as I was let down by someone. I don't enjoy going to gigs alone, I very much view them as both shared experiences and personal experiences at the same time. However, I was immensley excited at seeing Soilwork in Cardiff.

    The Barfly is a small venue, downstairs. It's a muggy basement type place with a tiny stage. Actually the stage has been extended. When I played there a few years ago it had barely enough space to fit the band. I got my pint and waited. I honestly can't remember what the support acts were called but the sound was so bad there I couldn't really comment on them.

    I jostled for prime position to watch the band but managed to stand behind the tallest person I've ever seen. Now I'm not short, about 6ft 1, but this bloke towered over me and he had decided to stand right at the front and in the middle. I'm sure a lot of people were unhappy to have a view of his back all night. When Soilwork came on I was geared up for a great night, really excited.

    Right, I need to explain something here. I adore Soilwork but their latest two albums, Stabbing the Drama and Figure Number Five, in MY OPNION, are much weaker than their prior work. Intricate and melodic guitar work and interesting song structure has been replaced with simple chug chug riffs, standard song structure and more cleaner singing vocals. In effect they have become more bland, possibly appealing to a larger audience, but losing the very thing that made me love Soilwork in the first place.

    I'm not a neophobe, I'm not against the progression of style. For example, I think Arch Enemy's latest album, The Doomsday Machine, is their greatest. I think Iron Maiden have made a great album in A Matter of Life and Death.

    They opened with Stabbing the Drama from the album of the same title. This is to be expected really. Bands to tend to open with their latest hit or whatever. So I wasn't too disheartened. Following that they launched into Neurotica Rampage from A Predator's Portrait - one of their older albums, an album I love. So at this point I was optimistic that I was going to hear some of my favourites. But then they went into One With the Flies from Stabbing the Drama. The crowd loved it! They were exstatic at the opening scream. It was starting to become apparent that this crowd like the new Soilwork. This was confirmed when they remained perfectly still and perplexed at such musical delights as Bastard Chain and Wings Of Domain. These songs had me air guitaring the sweep picking parts, I really enjoyed it. But taking a look around you could see that people weren't interested. I started to wonder if they'd even heard these songs.

    Later, even Song Of The Damned failed to get a sing-a-long. Whereas their newer stuff had people singing while I had no clue what they were saying. It was like I turned up at the wrong gig.

    Eventually I just moved back to watch, contemplating leaving. But there was no way I could leave... just in case they played either The Chainheart Machine or Millionflame from The Chainheart Machine album. Or possibly Razorlives or Sadistic Lullaby from Steelbath Suicide. Alas such masterpieces were not performed. I left the Barfly an unhappy Soilworker.

    I did buy a t-shirt though. Why? Why buy a t shirt of a band you now consider dead to you? Because I still remember the Soilwork that has me screaming "YOUR SUFFERING WILL BE LEGENDARY, EVEN IN HELL" occasionally. It's a shame to see them as they are now. "We'll come back after we write another killer album" said the singer. I doubt I will see them again, unless they revert back to their former glory. If their upcoming work is an extrapolation of what I witnessed last night... Watching the gig last night gave me the same emotions as watching an elderly relative become senile. Farewell Soilwork.
  • ISIS - Cardiff

    Lug 20 2006, 16:39

    The hottest day since records began in probably the hottest church since churches began I suspect. The church in question is actually The Point in stunning Cardiff Bay. It was like walking into an oven. It's just as well that the bands we were seeing didn't require us to jump around like loonies to enjoy the show, sitting and chilling wasn't going to be incongruous with the experience.

    First, one man stood onstage by his keyboards and Apple laptop and stated "We are Zombi". I thought he was being a bit sarcastic and that he'd be doing a one man set. The music began as computer generated loops that were constantly tweaked to produce slight variations and effects, over and over. Just as I thought this band might be sending me to sleep, the drummer took to the stage. The drumming is what made this duo really. I'm by no means a drummer or indeed an expert in music in general, but it was plain to see that the ryhthms and sound the drums were making were down to a talented person. The set was just long enough I think as too much more and people would have dozed off, but this isn't a critisism.

    Standing by a fan to try and cool down a bit we saw the act known as Thrones take to the stage. It appeared to be one man and his B.C Rich bass. I suspected I had made a wrong judgement and infact his bandmates would be on shortly after him. But he began playing... I say playing but it sounded more like he was just checking that the strings actually made noise if you plucked (or in his case, struck) them. It was only after you realised this wasn't a roady doing a sound check, but that this man was actually performing, could you appreciate the absurdity. He was playing along to a DAT tape or something, it was too quiet anyway, he was angrily pointing upwards at the sound techs and busily fumbling with the myriad of dials at his control. The fact he seemed so into it and the fact he took so much care at fine tuning his equipment was so at odds with the fact that the sound he was making was utter shite. At one point he started singing using some sort of voice changing effects and I burst out laughing. This act was almost like a parody of the dirge metal that's becoming fairly popular. It was almost as if this man was locked into a very personal process and we might as well have not been there at all, you could hear the noise of people's chatter as they let him get on with it. I guess I started to feel a little sorry for the poor misguided imbecile. The set was painfully long, well it would have been too long at 30 seconds. It was a relief when he finished as the interim music between bands was far superior. And of course the anticipation of Isis had set in.

    By the time Isis were on I was exhausted from the heat and I think watching Thrones had taken a chunk of my soul. Isis were tight. The music isn't exactly intricate, but they sounded like they do on their CD's live. The sound in the venue was awesome I have to say. Playing songs from their albums Oceanic and Panopticon made it a great set. Songs like 'False Light' and the 'Beginning and the End' with thier rolling soft melodies and brutal interludes which peaked and troughed at the right points lulled the crowd then roused them. I don't know how the band coped with the heat though, it was bad enough standing and watching, nevermind putting your whole body into the music.

    I'm very happy I went to this gig, I haven't seen bands like this often. I also enjoyed the pleasure of my company.
  • Ephel Duath - Cardiff

    Mag 2 2006, 23:23

    Clwb Ifor Bach, the venue for tonight's show, is a small club down an alley. I love the place even though i've only be a few times, 2 of those occasions to play there myself. As it is a Tuesday night, there weren't that many people there, but this made the show all the better for me.

    First was some band I think called andtheywillriot or something. I wasn't too impressed. Skinng guys, tight trousers round their arse, lots of feedback bla bla bla.

    I think the next band was The Death of Her Money. They were sludgey slow post-rock/doom and weren't bad. ALthough I like this sort of music, Im not entirely sure it's the sort of music I enjoy going to gigs to see.

    Finally, the pinnacle of the evening! Ephel Duath took to the stage in their smart black shirts and black ties, stern faced. The bassist reminds you this band is italian with his mediteranean features and long pony-tailed hair. When they start playing I notice the guitarist is a close resemblence to Howard Moon from the Mighty Boosh(click here to see what i mean), and his jazz facial whinces and twtichy movements add to this effect and had me laughing openly. This band was tight...the sound was clear and I could hear everything perfectly, they sounded exactly like their studio work and pulled each note off brilliantly. In the live setting i was able to see how good the bassist actually is, somehow it all comes together. The singer stood perfectly still, grimacing as he started straight ahead past the peoples heads, looking into nothingness. Sometimes he would mutter to himself and rub his hand down his face before launching into a series of screams. At one point he entered into the small crowd, placing his hand upon people's heads and screaming at them like some demented evangelist. The band played recognisable tracks from their new album,Pain Necessary To Know, such as New Disorder and tracks from previous albums.
  • In Flames & Sepultura - Cardiff

    Mar 31 2006, 12:28

    So metal slug and I once again head off to Cardiff bay for another night of metal. The venue is the Coal Exchange again, which I was happy about. For me the coal exchange is the right size and has the right layout for an intimate but comfortable experience.

    As we walked in some band called gazeebo or gadobo or something had just started. I saw them as the stereotypical 1st support on a 3 act line-up. Their music was average, very unimaginative. Each song sounded the same and involved minimal effort on all parts. Watching the guitarist for 5 minutes you could see that each horn throw, each jump, each thrust of his guitar was the result of hours spent in front of a mirror trying to get it dead on as he wanted it. I would have been quite happy to walk in last night and see Sepultura about to do their stuff, ah well.

    So, after a short wait, Sepultura took to the stage and to be honest exceeded my expectations of them. The tribal/rhythmic sound of the band sounded top notch. Their mixture of songs from early albums such as Beneath the Remains and their latest offering, Dante XXI. The highlight of the set and possibly the entire show was Roots.

    Now I am a fan of In Flames, I like most of their stuff, admittadely not the latest two albums, Soundtrack to Your Escape and Come Clarity. But there were a few things that really spoilt their set for me.

    Firstly, I'm on dialysis and at the moment require tubes coming out from my neck in order to have the treatment. This causes problems as I can't risk having the area knocked or the tubes pulled. So I was resigned to watch In Flames from a comfortable distance AND without moving my head much. Secondly the sound wasn't great. The bass and percussion seemed to over-power the guitars way too much and this was problem because In Flames are a melodic band, if you can't hear the melodies, it's just noise. On occasions it took me a while to work out what song was being played. Some of the songs i could only enjoy becuase in my head i knew what they sounded like, so i could almost fill in the blanks. Having said that, most of their set had a good selection of songs. Starting with Pinball Map and including Behind Space and System. Sadly, towards the end they went through a number of recent songs, ending with My Sweet Shadow, it was then I knew it was hometime.
  • Arch Enemy & Strapping Young Lad - Cardiff

    Dic 14 2005, 12:44

    Well, monday night was the night the Metal Slug and I embarked on our journey to watch Strapping Young Lad and Arch Enemy. The Coal Exchange is situated in stylish Cardiff Bay, the venue itself was brilliant, just the right size. We arrived late and so missed Throwdown, we were not upset by this.

    Pint bought and drank we were ready for SYL. SYL is more metal slug's kind of thing but i still enjoyed it, particularly Devin Townsend's abuse of the crowd. it's refreshing when the vocalist doesn't lavish praise upon his audience. "Hello London!!" screamed Devin and "there's loads of beautiful people in Cardiff tonight....but none of them are here!".

    After what seemed like an age, Arch Enemy took to the stage. Their set consisted of a lot of their new material from Doomsday Machine with some older songs, including one or two pre-Angela ones. Also we were treated to a drum solo, an instrumental and a one man guitar solo. The only thing that spoilt it for me was one or two people in the pit that thought they were at a hardcore gig, fists flying, but on the whole there was the spirit of metal amongst the crowd.

    My neck is still aching and metal slug complains of a sore arm after all the horn throwing.