When the news initially broke earlier this year regarding this Limited Edition vinyl-only box set that brings together remastered editions of the four studio LPs and a double live album recorded by the original line up of Black Metal gods Venom, I was immediately intrigued.
Add into the mix a further double LP of previously unreleased demos, an exclusive shaped picture disc of ‘Bloodlust’, and a veritable cornucopia of memorabilia that includes amongst other things a stunning 40 page ‘History Of Venom’ hardback book along with (if you pre-ordered it from the band themselves) a 12×12 art print signed by Cronos himself, and before I could yell “C’MAAAAAAAAAAAN TURN IT UP’, I had bought a copy.
I actually received mine at the start of May well ahead of the official release date of May 31st but I wanted to really get to grips with this mammoth set before giving you my verdict simply because with a retail price of £150 this is never going to be an impulse purchase.
As I’ve mentioned the ‘History’ book already let’s begin with a little bit of my own history and how I first heard Venom. It was early 1983 and a close friend (who remains so to this very day) who first introduced me to ‘Black Metal’, oddly via a mate of his who had bought said LP (complete with poster) and as he thought it was shit, he had given it away. It wasn’t really like any of the other metal bands we were listening to at the time other than those noisy bastards Motorhead and Tank, in fact, it reminded me more of the relentless racket created by the UK82 punk bands my other school mates were listening to at the time like G.B.H and Discharge. I have to admit I wasn’t exactly an immediate fan but I did have a copy of ‘Black Metal’ taped for me (there’s a gag in there that I won’t need to explain to old school fans) so it did make numerous appearance on my Walkman over the summer of that year but it wasn’t until June 1984 when I just happened to buy a ticket on the door for the awe-inspiring Seventh Date Of Hell show at Hammersmith Odeon that I fully got what Venom were really all about.
Picking up the “remastered from the original tapes” splatter and swirl LPs contained in this lavish box set (they all come with reproduction sleeves and inners) I actually begin my aural assault with ‘At War With Satan’ because that was the Venom record I first purchased for myself (on picture disc) at that legendary Seventh Date gig, and here pressed on heavyweight clear splatter vinyl it sounds absolutely magnificent. Okay, the gatefold doesn’t have the gold leaf cover of the original pressing or the original merch/poster inserts but that’s probably just me being a little bit too pernickety as otherwise this is stonking stuff.
I then go back to the band’s beginnings, with ‘Welcome to Hell’ and ‘Black Metal’ played back to back, and here the rumbling bottom end that bursts out the speakers is enough to wake the dead, or at the very least the neighbours. Both LPs come in embossed sleeves (and include replicas of the posters and lyric inners – here reproduced on the inner bags) and are again pressed on splatter vinyl, sounding as raw as they did back at the dawn of the eighties and equally just as ground-breaking. The only small niggle I have here is my copy of ‘Black Metal’ came with nasty click on the run-in groove to side one, again I may be being over critical here but with the hefty price tag attached to this set I would expect nothing short of perfection.
Which is something I do get with the 74 tracks on offer here that’s for sure, with perhaps the real highlight for me being the chance to rediscover 1985’s (at the time) critically panned ‘Possessed’ LP. A record that has never sounded better than it does here, and coming as it does pressed upon splatter vinyl complete with the original inner bag and a huge poster it’s never looked as good either.
Moving on to ‘Eine Kleine Nachtmusik’ from 1986 and this double live LP for me has never really cut it, largely because some bright spark decided to leave silences between the tracks, so its not really like listening to a live album at all, and why would I want to listen to the band live just as they were falling apart at the seams when I could simply slip in my almost worn out VHS of The Seventh Date of Hell? The soundtrack of which I have always felt would have been a much better alternative as their official live album. Here ‘Nachtmusik’ is lovingly restored in a gatefold sleeve complete with the inner bags, so I’m sure I’ll get to play it more this time around.
With many Venom fans probably looking to buy this box set just for the 15 track ‘Sons Of Satan’ double LP I have to admit that if this were a standalone release I wouldn’t have been happy paying a top price for it. However, as a piece of Venom history contained within such an absorbing time capsule commemorating the band’s 40th anniversary it actually works well. Initially transporting us right back to 1979 via some very boomy cassette recordings of the band’s first line up complete with singer Christ, this is a world away from the Venom that would ultimately change heavy metal forever. However, by the time we get to the 1980 Impulse Studios demos that make up sides 2 and 3 of ‘Sons Of Satan’ the more recognisable “organised chaos” of the classic Venom sound is all but a few bottles of Jack Daniels away and waiting to take on the world. Something Cronos, Mantas and Abaddon were more than ready to do by the time they released the original ‘Bloodlust’/’In Nomine Satanas’ 7” single back in 1982 and thankfully it is included here as a shaped picture disc exclusive to this box set.
Whilst immersing myself in the satanic sounds of this box set I found the aforementioned ‘History Of Venom’ book to be the perfect accompanying piece, formed as it is from quotes from all the band members as well as being crammed with some of the cheesiest band photographs ever taken. This book for me is where this box set truly adds a bit of (black) magic to the mystery of Venom, as does the memory jogging reproduction tour programme.
Wrapping up the memorabilia part of this set you also get a huge Seven Dates Of Hell poster along with a Venom’s Legions back patch and if like me you order it from the band’s official store (linked below) you also get a very frameable art print signed by Count Cronos himself.
So, is it worth the £150 then I hear you cry?
Well, if you don’t already have these seminal albums on vinyl it most certainly is a must buy. If however you are a hardcore Venom collector and have these albums already a bazillion time over you’ll probably have done what I did and already have this box set filed away in your collection, in which case, “what the hell are you doing reading this review?” Ha!
‘In Nomine Satanas – 40 Years In Sodom’ will take a lot to top in the box set stakes that’s for sure and it once again proves that the devil really does still have all the very best tunes.
With 2019 being the 40th anniversary of Venom, it’s well worth noting that it’s also the 10th anniversary of the band’s current line-up of Cronos (vocals and bass), Rage (guitar) and Dante (drums). Their recently released ‘Storm The Gates’ album is the band’s fifteenth to be bursting out with metal of the non-more black variety and thanks to a huge (very limited edition) Venom LP box set and 2 disc career retrospective being on the fire stoked horizon Spinefarm Records are giving this 13 tracker another push right now, which is great for me as this release somehow totally passed me by when it originally hit the shelves back in January of this year.
Which is something I can’t help but feel a bit annoyed with myself about really, simply because Venom are a band that not only reinvented heavy metal but also birthed a bazillion other subgenres, so why aren’t they lauded as all-conquering heroes and afforded multiple page tributes by the metal press like Motorhead always were every time they release a new record…and I then don’t end up missing them?”
Now there’s some food for thought eh?
In fact that Motorhead parallel is even more prevalent once you get to hear ‘Storm The Gates’ because just like what Lemmy did with the Mikkey and Phil line up, Cronos and Venom are doing pretty much the same here, by making some of the best full throttle black metal rackets they have made since their early to mid ‘80s heyday.
Opener ‘Bring Out Your Dead’ is an absolute barnstormer of a track with Cronos rattling his r’s over a pounding rhythm designed to get the heads banging and which seamlessly sets up the full on metal grind of ‘Notorious’ a track that sees Rage out Mantasing the band’s former guitar ninja with his use of the divebombing whammy bar, and the goodies don’t stop there either. ‘Dark Night (Of The Soul)’ is a fierce metal fist to the face as is the album’s title track ‘Storm The Gates’ a track that I can just see a pumped up Cronos stood arms folded 50 hole Dr Martins akimbo commanding his Legions to do his bidding in the live setting.
As a long-time fan of the band I have to admit I do find the flat out and nowt else approach the band take to their songwriting these days more than just a little relentless at times. So, for those of us who might still long an all new ‘At War With Satan’ or perhaps even a 21st century ‘Buried Alive’ you will not find anything remotely like that on ‘Storm The Gates’. In fact, tracks like ‘Over My Dead Body’ and ‘The Mighty Have Fallen’ are perhaps the most brutal the band have ever sounded, largely thanks to the superb almost out of control freight train drumming of Dante and the razor-sharp riffing of Rage.
‘Storm The Gates’ then is the sound of Venom heavier and angrier than ever before, I just hope that with this being such a special year for the band they finally get the credit and recognition they so rightly deserve as a truly ground-breaking metal band especially here in the UK where late-afternoon slots at Bloodstock aside we’re lucky to get to see them live at all.
Lock the church doors Everyone’s favourite Black Metal band are back with a bruising tune. Accept no substitute Venom are in the house and Cronos has a simple request – ‘Bring Out Your Dead’ and make it snappy here just for you lot is the brand new video hot off the press
You can watch the video here which also coincides with the band announcing a special double picture disc version of the album which is out on 19th April.
LATEST STUDIO ALBUM, ‘STORM THE GATES’, OUT NOW VIA SPINEFARM RECORDS
NEW DOUBLE PIC DISC PRESSING AVAILABLE FROM APRIL 19th
Venom, the unholy trinity of Cronos, Rage and Dante, closed 2018 with new studio album, STORM THE GATES, released on CD / digital in December, with the double coloured vinyl LP format following in January of this year…
A classic call-to-arms, STORM THE GATES is a record from a legendary band who can legitimately be classed as both ‘original’ and ‘genre-defining’.
Now Venom have shared a lyric video for latest single ‘Bring Out Your Dead’, an anthem for blasphemers, fornicators and the forever cursed. Produced by the mighty Cronos himself, this is the raw sound of a band who don’t need tricks of technology to make their point. Watch now –
To be honest I know bugger all about the Mud City Manglers. I picked up their debut album “Heart Full of Hate” a few years ago off of eBay having read about them on Facebook and thought that I’d missed the boat on another great band from the turn of the century but I was wrong…….. they’re back (or perhaps they never went away).
It’s only taken 20 years for these Pittsburgh rock & rollers to release a their second album but was it worth the wait? Hell yeah !!!!
“Give Me The Hammer” drags you into a world of melodic Motorhead via the crunch and choruses of New Bomb Turks and Scumbag Millionaire.
“The Way It’s Gonna Be” and “Hangover Hurricane” have a strong Nashville Pussy vibe, which is no bad thing at all.
“One of These Days” notches up the ferocity. Lyrics are spat out with venom. These sure ain’t love songs. “Better off Dead” dials down the speed but not the attitude. Another tail of desperation and debauchery. Half way through the hell ride, side two kicks into gear with “Bring It Down”. There’s almost a fucked up Sunset Strip feel to this bad boy. Faster Pussycat would have killed for a tune like this back in the day. “ Armstrong Park” doesn’t let up the pace much either, it’s kind of got me thinking of The Throbs but more nasty.
“Cheater Bar” is full on Motorhead or maybe melodic Zeke (if there is such a thing). “One More Mile” is takes you right back to Pussy Town. It’s not only a stand out track on this album but it could’ve been a stand out track on “Let Them Eat Pussy” too. Blain-tastic mate!
“Hammered” is an angry Orgasmatron. An exercise in controlled frustration rolled up in monologue with a message – “Be the motherfucker who is unwilling to play along, be the mother fucker who calls them out on their shit…”
Ten tracks in and “Jump into the Fire” throws it all up in the air with a throbbing bass giving way to a banging riff – the spirit of The Five is alive and well – “we can make each other happy!!!”
So there you go…. the wheel has not been reinvented and nor should it. It’s taken Mud City Manglers twenty years to release “Give Me The Hammer” and it’s a shit load better than “Chinese Democracy”. Go and listen to it on Bandcamp and if you’re feeling flush hop over to Spaghetty Town Records, Ghost Highway Records or Beluga Records a grab a copy before it’s too late.
Give Me The Hammer a listen on band camp whilst the limited orange pressing of 100 sold out instantly on pre-order but the traditional chunk black plastic (limited to 400) is still available from Spaghetty Town Records in the USA along with Ghost Highway Records and Beluga Records in Europe.
Another week comes to a crashing end and another week of pretty impressive singles get dumped on the RPM Singles Club dancefloor. The finest in wax, digital and video are here to tickle your taste buds and hopefully inspire you into finding your new favourite band. From all corners and alleyways of the world we search
Jenny – ‘Same’ (Wanda Records) When we saw that this band was fronted by LA Drugz Justin Maurer we had to go and crack it open and crank up the volume and from the first clashing chords of the harmonious ‘Stupid Band’ we smiled knowing we were in the presence of a power pop genius. But with five tunes on this release, it could only get better as the dreamy ‘Rose City’ took us in an upwards trajectory as far as moods go towards that layered vocal chorus it was already a must-have new record. ‘Cockroach Tea’ is more power-pop goodies leaning more towards the pop and then the 60s infused acoustic Thunders melodic ‘Alright With Me’ it has a really early Who mod like quality if it’s possible to mash up some Thunders, meets The Who if it’s not possible then it has just been invented.
To round it off there’s the acoustic ‘Song For Sadie’ an old Suspect PArts track but redone here making this a more eclectic offering than Maurers LA Drugz or Suspect Parts but none the less desirable. Don’t dilly dally as they say in the olden days get it here or on one sided vinyl 12″ from Wanda Records Here
Stiff Richards – ‘Going Numb’ (Legless Records) With two albums in the bag Australias Stiff Richards are hot property. If you managed to get a hold of their debut album first time around then you’re good if you managed to pick up a repress then, well-done pat yourself on the back. Then came ‘Dig’ which was also pretty spectacular to be fair and seemingly unable to do any wrong they sneak out this digital single to let us all know they’re still alive and ready to go (hopefully) with album number three due in October it looks like a winter assault from Melbourne’s finest and we can’t get enough from the southern hemisphere who are leading the way with some awesome punk rock.
Death By Unga Bunga – ‘Trouble’ (Jansen Records) The second in a series of new singles set to be released in the coming months. These Norweigan Nutters have got a slice of summer sunshine in the shape of ‘Trouble’ With a great hook over that steady beat its catchier than a global pandemic. once this one lodges itself into your head it’s not coming out and you’ll be muttering the lyrics for days wondering just who the hell it is. That’s Death By Unga Bunga that is and with the news of more to come there is light at the end of this pandemic that’s for sure and it’s coming from Norway and not some lab in England it might be power pop it might be death metal but one thing for sure it’ll have the DBUB logo on it. Get it here
Killer Hearts – ‘Get Some’ (Spaghetty Town Records) Houston we have a problem. We’re not getting enough Rock and Fucking Roll and that’s a problem. What isn’t a problem is when Killer Hearts this is the first glimpse of what’s coming on their long player ‘Skintight Electric’. Lots of loose riffs and oohs and arghs and some of the best sleazy Rock and Roll since Flash Boys and The Adjusters were about. Go Get some high octane Rock and Roll if you know what’s good for you! Buy Here
Guerrilla Teens – ‘Tell Me What To Do’ (Self Release) Another day another Guerrilla Teens record gets released via Bandcamp. This week’s offering is a right thumper by the name of ‘Tell Me What To Do’ backed by ‘Hurry Up’. One is in your face and bouncing on its toes like a young hooligan the other is a more laid back confident slow burner but both ooze quality and will make for awesome tracks when these weekly offerings finally get pressed by some awesome record label onto a slab of plastic to nestle alongside Those Humpers, Lovesores records you’ve got. buy Here
14 Units – ‘Listen’ (Self Release) This is the lockdown-busting debut release from 14 Units who cram five tunes into this debut EP, Five songs about drinking, getting old, murder, regret, not drinking and Brexit (possibly). opening with a neat uptempo twelve-bar with melody and somewhere between Frank Turner vocally and a cowpunk Quo. They get their jig on from a sprightly ‘Can’t Unlike You’ its melodic and uptempo and carries a decent melody. They certainly like to boogie and then they turn down for a more mellow knocking on heavens door progression for ‘Looks Like Rain’ which heads off down a Buffalo Tom wormhole and its probably the best track on offer with the sparse verse with just percussion before the guitars rejoin for the build-up to the chorus which is a catchy sing-along. A decent EP and first offering from 14 Units. Buy Here
Grindhouse – ‘Ramma Damma’ (Tuff Cuff Records) Melbourne must have something in the water because over the last couple of years its turning up some smoking hot records and this summer has seen that continue with those purveyors of pounding Rock and Roll Grindhouse are back in the room with some sweaty flesh pressing high octane Rock and Roll. in the shape of ‘Ramma Damma’ and ‘City High’ with its bruising riff-a-rama and moon the loon like drumming this is the dogs bollocks. If there ever was a sleeve that best described what was going on in the grooves before you ever played it then it’s this bad boy. or should that be bad girl? Rock and Roll can get you high so fuckin high and Grindhouse has the goods baby!
Relentlessly good band and with a new album on the way these are good times for fans of high octane Rock and Fuckin’ Roll Grindhouse Style. Bring it on. Buy it here
Girls In Synthesis – ‘They’re Not Listening’ (Harbinger Sound) Taken from the debut album ‘Now Here’s An Echo From Your Future’ this video will guarantee you a head fuck from the Jesus and mary chain feedback and the repetitive pounding to the strobe on the video GIS are fucking with you and that’s always a good thing. turn it up and then some more and get lost in that caustic guitar riff before the bass rumble nails you to the floor. Extreme music for extreme times uncompromising and uncomfortable just like punk rock should be. Like crass for the 2020s the album is due the end of the month. Let’s hope this isn’t the soundtrack to the apocalypse like my neighbours think it is.
Cutters – ‘Cutters’ (Legless Records) Another day another slice of punk rock from Down under. This time labelmates of Stiff Richards Cutters are here with this tasty three-track EP. With howls of feedback and a frantic hoof around your ears, this is relentless. ‘Chewed Up Fortune’ is first up and lead throat Al insists he wants to fuck and sleep in that order I guess. Cutters aren’t fucking around either with their Lo-‘Fi take it to the edge of reason and give it a good fuckin’ thrashing. If you think they would be spent after that opener then you’d obviously be wrong. ‘Robo Debt Blues’ is like Motorhead in their late 70s heyday knocking out some ANL and uk82 anthems and dragging through the Melbourne back streets before dropping them off at the studio. Nice!
But then they get all proggy on the five-minute headfuck frenzy of Twister’. Only yanking your chain the intro is painless before they go fuckin’ ape-like Venom meets the Exploited. Its frantic, Nasty, out of control and fuckin’ champion – Buy it here
Zip Gun Bomber – ‘Paper Aeroplanes EP’ (Rum Bar Records) Outta Cambridge, Massachusetts Zip Gun Bombers have been a thing since 2011 and with this being a revisited yup, you guessed it its a new improved take on that EP. Sure its a Nostalgic trip for that early 90’s era Lookout! Records and all things Green Day. ZipGun Bomber’s ‘Paper Airplanes’ EP embraces and embodies all of that. From the opening of ‘Chase That Feeling’ to the acoustic closing of ‘Paper Airplanes’, its easy on the ear pop-punk where the lyrics are easy to embrace and before you know it you’ll be singing the songs like they’ve always been on your playlist. Well worth checking out if any of the previous words ever meant anything to you jump in and lose yourself in the tunes. Sure there is a familiarity here but it’s only pop-punk Rock and Roll and I like it! Oh and if you like you can download the EP for free or name your price. Pick it up Here
Science Man – ‘Match Game’ (Swimming Faith Records) Punk as fuck – a 7″ single with not 2 or 3 songs on it but nine slabs of uncompromising head mashing industrial hardcore. Science Man from Buffalo NY isn’t here to compromise he’s here to lay out his manifesto and from the opening repetitive thump of ‘Tiny Tower’ it’s game on through the frantic thirty-two seconds of ‘Steal The Street’. Don’t leave the fuckin room for gawds sake.
‘Surge’ sounds like the cassette on a Commadore 64 or finally, the aliens are coming. At times it sounds like out of control chaos but I suspect it’s far from that and the almost prog length of the final track ‘Cursed’ clocking in at almost two minutes is a challenge but industrial hardcore isn’t meant to be easy listening, I’m sure only the hearty punk amongst us will endure or even get this straight off. But its certainly interesting as well as a challenging listen.
S V & the Eruptions – ‘Tomorrows Promises’ (Avenue Recordz) An altogether more sombre and thoughtful SV & The Eruptions, It’s not all cheeky chappies and a bit of slap and tickle it can’t be. Here SV busts out a mid-paced thoughtful number with a big catchy chorus that drops back into the muted guitar work and into another tuneful verse. A most excellent twist and shows how versatile and downright bloody good these gents are. I have told him myself the tunes you aren’t expecting are some of his best work and this will grow and grow and in time will be one of those late in the set anthems you look forward to. Excellent song with great vocals.
Ryan Hamilton & Kay Hanley – ‘Oh No’ This dropped last minute so we thought we’d include it in the singles Club because we love some Ryan Hamilton.
The Fuzzstainz – ‘Sick! Sick! Sick!'(Beluga Records) How could we sign off this week’s singles Club without dropping in on Scandinavia Again. Always reliable, Always churning out quality Rock and Roll from all the corners of the world Beluga Records have released this banging 7″ platter with two tracks of sizzling Garage Punk courtesy of The Fuzzstainz. The lead track is sick – no it literally is sick! those guitars sound like razor blades trying to cut through some barbed wire. But it’s catchy and easy to sing along to but the best is yet to come in the shape of ‘Thinkin’ ‘Bout Me’ again the same standards are set but with added floor tom and is that a buzzsaw? Gawd knows but its got swagger and I love it. Pick it up here
Hooray some good things happen in the face of adversity like we have incompetent Governments like the Tory party and their cabinet of chaos and the states have Trump and his fucked up and incestuous administration and they both have some things in common like fucking up dealing with a pandemic but out of such adversities we’ve had some great music and Stateside has seen Portland dish up some good old public civil disobedience against the corrupt man and they’ve also given us Guerrilla Teens and over on the East Coast whilst NYC has been swamped we eventually get this blinding collection of in your face fuck you covers from the inimitable and uncompromising Chesty Malone & The Slice EM Ups.
Right let’s get this out there from the top Chesty Malone & The Slice Em Ups are busting a gut to try and blow my speakers with this awesome rip-snorting fucked off and fucked up six-track digital release. Fuckin Hell if Discharge and 4 Skins covers don’t get you in the mood check this shit out! – Venom and Slayer are taken to task in the slice em ups style but wait they even dismantle a Madonna cover and kick the living shit out of it, to be honest and it never sounded so good.
Let’s start from the top and their opener, Discharge and ‘State Violence / State Control’ oh, of course, they do a nigh-on perfect rendition of this banger they could cover the likes of Discharge in their sleep. It’s got power passion and clarity that this is done from a place of love and respect. Same for ‘Evil’ by the 4 Skins – no brainer job done. but then the fun begins. Who saw a Madonna cover being part of Chestys repertoire? well, believe it boys and girls it happened and owned it they did. Whether it sounds like the original I haven’t a single clue nor do I give a flying fuck this version is killer!
Void and ‘Time To Die’ is the noise that a serial killer must hear when they’re off it which only leaves two tracks the penultimate is a blistering take on ‘In League With Satan’ from the mighty Venom the chorus is slung out as if they know something we don’t. In league with Satan, I’ve no doubt they are. Which only leaves me with the final song and what a belter this one is. ‘South OF Heaven’ by Slayer is owned, dethroned, and tossed out like Beelzebub himself has channeled his thoughts through the medium of a well oiled, well-drilled bunch of Noo Yawk reprobates turning punk into metal and metal into punk and doing it well. I bow down to Chesty Malone & The Slice Em Ups you have created a small slice of magic and in a just non-pandemic globe this would be the marker of how to cover a song or songs. Brilliant!
Again its another week and another bunch of brand new, hot off the press singles. A few debutants and some seasoned vets of these pages get covered. I’m always impressed by the quality of some bands and labels and the lengths they go to to make the little records and this bunch of singles we’ve gotten hold of is no exception. If there was a prize for record of the week, month, the year there was only ever going to be one winner and that honour goes to the new one from The Black Halos. So good it is and so passionate that we drafted in Rich Rags to put pen to paper and pour his thoughts over the page on the release. It’s fair to say he does justice and some to such an awesome song. Now I’ll step aside so you can check out this weeks 7″ singles…
The Black Halos – ‘Ain’t No Good Time To Say Goodbye’ (Yeah Right! Records) Vancouver, Canada’s punk heroes The Black Halos pen impassioned tribute single for inspiration, legend and friend, SNFU’s Mr. Chi Pig.
After the critically lauded 2019 single “Geisterbahn II” and the sold-out shows that followed, many people were hoping that the new line-up of the Halos would continue as a going concern. And for now, it is. At its rock ‘n’ roll heart are the original members, frontman Billy Hopeless and the guitar team of Rich Jones and Jay Millette, joined by pals John Kerns (Age Of Electric) and Danni Action (ACIIDZ) on bass and drums respectively.
When the world’s plans changed due to the pandemic, traditional ways of creating and working had to change along with it.
This single was recorded in isolation. And you couldn’t tell if ya tried. Its rich deep sound and empathetic interplay of guitars, the ragged and street-sure confidence of the rhythm section… well… it all gives a supportive encouraging shoulder for Billy’s aching anthemic send-off. Like the friends who embrace you while still donning their knuckledusters.
The boys surely have his back on this one.
The storied public life and works of Mr. Chi Pig (Earth Name: Ken Chinn) started with the formation of SNFU in Edmonton, Alberta in Canada in the ‘80s. I personally was from a couple of hours south, so let me impart to you the influence and huge amount of PMA that their explosive early existence created. The shockwave was thus… You (yes YOU!) too can come from a city trapped within the mind-numbing cotton wool of hundreds of kilometres of prairie boredom and tragedy and still stand up, be counted and heard. He and his band let ya know you could reach out and connect… you just had to be willing to work. Hard.
Many amazing songs came from the greatest titled albums (“Something Green And Leafy This Way Comes” anyone?). From the “get yer hands off the waitress, asshole!” hardcore skirmish of “She’s Not On The Menu” to the achingly beautiful “Painful Reminder”, they showed everyone you don’t need to be a one-trick kid. Just yourself. Your humour, your heart, your anger… they all can have a chance. Get on that road and let ‘em live.
So I think it’s fitting this song was written and recorded by The Black Halos. The bleeding sunsets they themselves chased lit fires and branded hearts and minds across North America and Europe. All along the miles of matchbook stages, hotel beds and floors… looking at the same neon lights blinking through the drapes that SNFU had.
There’s a family-like connection in that, and it shows.
Billy and Ken were close friends, seeing each other regularly in Vancouver over the years. Hopeless’s love and pain are evident in the song’s lyrics. “If you’re hearing these words, one of us ain’t alive”… writing after the fact a common knowledge or pact they both carried. That whoever remained would surely remember. “I never wanted to sing these words…” pouring out of his perfectly poised poison heart.
He does sing them, though.
The great singers are obituary writers in their own way. They take the thoughts and feelings we didn’t say or find hard to share, no matter how difficult to face, and make sense of them for us. Billy has taken his personal loss and made it into something universal that we can all carry with us to help us through our own experience.
All of this is guided by the perfect touch of Rich Jones’ late-night beer-light to guide us songwriting. This is one of the very best and most emotionally realised works of their long partnership.
Getting better after all this time. Still inspired and inspiring.
The excellent cover of SNFU’s “Rusty Rake” rounds this off nicely, taking their song and giving it a respectful and energised spin back home.
I’ll leave you with the words of Billy Hopeless himself…
“Just know this; whether you cry or smile when you think of him, it’s because he reached you. And you should never let go of that.”
All proceeds of the single will be going to the Chi Pig Mural Fund, for a tribute to be displayed in Edmonton, Canada.
Author: Rich Ragany
In true Halos style and a touch of class, they have pledged to donate all profits from the sale of vinyl and digital copies of the single to theChi Pig Mural fundand as such, the songs will not be available on any streaming services. You know what to do, you good people, you always do. Pick it upHere
Adam West – ‘Hi-Ball’ 7″ EP (Savage Magic Records) Savage Magic Records is turning 10! …and what better way to bookend the first ten years than to release an Adam West record! Their first release was the live Adam West EP ‘Merci, Bon Soir!’. Ten years and over 50 records later, They dish up this little gem.
These three tracks were originally intended to make up half of a split 10″ EP on Munster Records in Spain, but something happened (as things often do) and this entire recording session from 1998 was shelved and remained unreleased in any form until now. Celebrating ten years of doing the record label, Savage Magic wanted to do something special with one of their all-time favorite bands.so here it is kids – Adam West’s “Hi-Ball” EP! The opening track is a high octane rocket ride that’s running on pure adrenaline and is of the finest vintage and being left for a decade to ferment has done it no harm as it sounds like it was penned yesterday and fired onto the wax or bludgeoned by a hefty les paul. ‘Hi-Ball’ might be a blast but the bass line of utter filthy proportions on ‘For All I Care’ is a real rush and as the song rattles along its nasty and snarling like a rabid dog. Adam West and Savage Magic you spoil us with these tunes. If these two weren’t enough there is a third, ‘Something Wicked’ is a rolling riff of gargantuan proportions and it’s making my tweeters and woofers rattle like some old man’s dentures. If this isn’t a slice of supreme Rock and Roll of the action kind then I don’t know what is. Awesome!
Pre-order it now Here but be quick they’re limited in colour and quantity
Manne Olander Following – ‘The Misanthrope EP’ (Savage Magic Records) First solo effort from Deadheads frontman. Some classic garage rock anyone? Manne Olander comes outta the blocks like his backside is on fire and only gets more intense as the track unfolds. The EP only gets better as the second track ‘Dystopia’ has plenty of thump from the lower end as the bass absolutely rattles my speakers. Flip this bad boy over and there’s a stonking Rocker ‘Backstabber’. Uncompromising Loud Rock and Roll just the way it should be. Outlaws dancing with the devil and playing all the best tunes. Oh and Manne Plays everything himself! let that sink in as you spin his single!
Very limited number here – 100 on solid red wax, 100 on white wax, 100 on black wax. Buy It Here
Guerrilla Teens – ‘Mad Love’ (self Release) Well, fuck all for an age then all of a sudden you put ’em on lockdown and they want to monkey around making new music. Recorded remotely our new favourite noisemakers from the mean streets of Portland, Guerrilla Teens are back in the house and this time they’re bringing some ‘Mad Love’ and of course, it’s a fuckin’ banger, what did you expect?
Catchy, sharp and shorter than an orangutang not one more track but two. How about some snotty Steve Jones inspired punk rock and roll riffage entitled ‘Gateway’? what a tune this is. Possibly the best this fledgling band have offered thus far. I only hope some fair-minded label picks these up and when they don’t have to social distance they get into a studio and record an album full of these songs. It’ll be in my top ten for the year no question about that. Go pick em up without delay – Here
The Lurkers – ‘Fits You Like A Glove’ (Damaged Goods Records) Yeah you read that right it’s the fuckin’ Lurkers! Stride, Moore, Esso are back swinging with this catchy little ditty. With a great big dirty riff with plenty of Chugg all the way to that chorus with its understated melody. We might be a bit early here but we couldn’t wait in giving you the heads up. The B Side ‘ When You Are Borderline’ is a bruising encounter from the thuggish riff to the chorus it means business and is pretty damn good. The A-Side is taken from the new long-player ‘Sex Crazy’ oh didn’t I mention there’s a new long-player? Well, there is and if its got better songs than the b side which is exclusive to this single then I can’t wait to get an ear full. Catchy and a bit nasty – perfect! Limited to 500 copies on Yellow vinyl keep your eyes peeled Facebook
Young Francis Hi-Fi – ‘I Wanna Hold You Tight (Tonight)’ (Self Release) Young Brighton punks kicking up a bit of a storm on this up-tempo Banger. They claim to pen two-minute pop songs about love and getting high, well, it is what it is and these guys have the chops with a confident melodic slice of energy which we like a lot round these parts and I guess they walk the walk as well as talk the talk seeing as its less than two minutes long, about Love but we can’t corroborate if they were high when recording so two out of three ain’t bad. To add some context here this Berlin-born Brighton based punk hooked up with those Rotten Foxes which might be why we love it so much and probably why we can confirm that their mission statements must be true and he does indeed love to get high and if it wasn’t for The Black Halos this would be our pick of the pile no doubt about that. – now can we have an album full of songs like this, please? thank you kindly. Check it out Here Social media – Facebook / Instagram / Twitter
The Jailbirds – ‘Dull My Brain’ (Golden Robot Records) Some classic hard rockin riff-a-rama from Canadian Hard rockin trio. With big riffs, big hooks and big vocals The Jailbirds turn the clock back to cock rock o’clock. Man this band sound like they were born several decades too late and had this been the late ’80s they’d be contenders with the big boys. Warrant and Dokken or on a technical side Mr Big fans should be all over this.
The Slackers – ‘Nobody’s Listening / Sleep Outside’ (Pirates Press Records) The Slackers are a band that shouldn’t need any introduction. They fuse the best elements of Ska and reggae. Here they release two brand new songs that showcase what they’re all about and should put a big fat smile across your face. To be fair they’re poignant and send out a timely message when they are so desperately needed. Evoking a sense of nostalgia and sending a message to your feet to not stand still and whilst you’re taking in the lyrics (and Grinning from ear to ear) remember to dance like there’s no tomorrow oh, that sax break on ‘Nobody’s Listening’ is awesome. Check it out. Facebook
Borracho with Jake Starr – ‘Borracho with Jake Starr’ (Savage Magic Records) In the not too distant past well 2015 to be exact at the Strange Magic Showcase Night #1 in Pomona, Jake Starr took the stage with Borracho and knock out two amazing versions of Adam West classics. I’m reliable informed it sounded incredible, So much so that plans were made about getting these two songs recorded in the studio and releasing a 7-inch. Lo and behold, and almost five years later it is actually happening!
‘Sixth Son of a Seventh Son’ from Adam West’s 2002 single of the same name, and ‘Bulletproof’ from Adam West’s 2005 album ‘Power to the People’ are reconstructed Borracho-style! Again super limited amounts of this available with 100 on solid purple wax, 100 on solid green wax, 105 on traditional black wax. The A-side is loud and fair play to Borracho they are fucking loud even when the volume is on low its LOUD! Stoner Rock whatever you’d call it a good tune will always be a good tune and this is proof no matter how its reimagined it’s still a banger As for ‘Bulletproof’ it sounds like something Lemmy would have recorded around ’79 – heavy fuckers . Available Here
Nekrokraft – ‘Witches Funeral / Return of the Kvlt’ (The Sign Records) From Ska to classic Black Metal complete with church organ intro anyone who knows me knows I’m quite partial to a bit of Black Metal and the likes of Venom and Midnight will always have a space in my Black Heart and classic noisemakers like early Mayhem and Hellhammer too. so, Nerokraft (top name obviously) manage to cram in as many cliches as possible from the gruff scary vocals to the double bass thump and spooky scooby doo intro I only hope they wear Monks robes to the supermarket and corpse paint 24/7 and their favourite tipple is a vintage bottle of virgins blood. Anyway, the first track even ends with a clap of thunder so far plays to that whilst ‘Return’ has a thrashing metal riff that goes for broke and is easily the pick of the two on offer here. this Swedish five-piece have re-recorded these tunes and still thrash like satanic mofos so job done. Horns up motherfuckers Nekrocraft are in da house and it’s rather splendid and I’m delighted that they resisted going into Danni Filth territory with the vocals. Nice one gents Facebook
Throwing Stuff – ‘ACIYHAB’(TNS Records) With a take on the classic Black Flag artwork Throwing Stuff are here to raise some money for Black Lives Matter UK and Food Not Bombs Myanmar so we’re always going to get behind good causes through music. The band themselves will match the donations which is a fantastic gesture. The single was recorded across the locked down cities of Manchester, UK, and Yangon, Myanmar, where vocalist Ben now lives.ACIYHAB, which stands for “all coppers inside your head are bastards”, is about how police forces serve to both consciously and unconsciously control those considered a “threat” to the status quo. In your face punk rock is the order of the day and it should be supported. Buy HereFacebook / Twitter
Volcanova – ‘Super Duper Van’ (The Sign Records) With their stoner heavy fuzzed-out rock riffs Volcanova Its the third single taken from their debut album ‘Radical Waves’ its got a big harmonic chorus wrapped up in an even bigger riff that is true to its fuzzed-out roots and God damn it I hear a cowbell! Never will there be a point where I don’t smile upon hearing a song with a cowbell in it and this is no exception. These Icelandic Rockers are cool as a polar bear sitting on an ice cube and they know it. Wear those Kaftans with pride gents you deserve it.
Top of the list of “bands I should have seen live before I moved”, Pussycat And The Dirty Johnsons are back with album number four, ‘Beast’. Check out any live footage of the band, and you’ll see what I mean. Puss was born for the stage, and with the perfectly fuzzed riffs of Dirty Jake and tribal drums of Filfy Antz, they are a three-piece who command your attention.
Don’t panic, but some songs are over three minutes long, and one breaks the four-minute barrier. Almost prog length by their standards, but the music remains as feral as ever. As ‘Lying In My Bed’ batters your speakers with the fear of “existential dread”, yet you can still shake your bones to it.
There is much, righteous anger and venom across the twelve songs, which shouldn’t surprise anyone familiar with their work. Keeping an essentially live sound works well, ‘Doin It’ is perfect for a sweaty club, encouraging you to follow your dreams, regardless of the doubters. Zero tolerance of idiots and hidden agendas runs through ‘Not Your Baby’, ‘Knee Jerk’ and ‘Shit’, while ‘Stale’ despairs at the small town attitudes of “Basingstoke psychosis” (in itself a good title). ‘Abuser’ is plain talking, while the four plus minutes is devoted to ‘Do Ya Feel Me?’, their unique take on a love song, when you wait to see each other again.
‘Hey Honey’ builds from an almost hushed intro, a list of the inevitable judgements of others for carving out your own path. Puss and co. chose their own way long ago. It’s the only way to be happy, and they’re on fine form here.
Armed with a venomous swagger The Heat Inc. release their debut single ‘Raptors’, a caustic slice of vitriolic rock’n’roll through Melted Dino Records.
On this scorching debut, The Heat Inc. have delivered a visceral thrill, with Alain Johannes (Queens of the Stone Age) hailing ‘Raptors’ as “a perfect rock song.”.
Describing themselves as a “Rock and Roll band”, The Heat Inc. recorded ‘Raptors’ in the RYP Recordings Studio in North West London, with Michael Smith (Elvis Costello) producing.
“So when I say I know rock ’n’ roll when I hear it, you best believe I know rock ’n’ roll when I hear it—and The Heat Inc. are good old-fashioned rock ’n’ roll, just like mother used to hate. You might have a good idea of how great The Heat Inc. sound—but don’t bother because The Heat Inc. are so cool they defy definition. There’s all kinds of heat. There’s the summer hot heat that’ll drive you crazy. There’s the in-ring heel heat that’ll get a wrestler over. And there’s the relentless hard heat that’ll track you down until you’re trapped. But ain’t none of them can compare to The Heat Inc you’re about to hear—and that’s not hyperbole, that’s a fact. Who you gonna believe, me or your own ears?” exclaims Jeffrey Morgan – Creem journalist and biographer of Alice Cooper and Iggy & The Stooges.
The Heat Inc. is the suavest new band around and enough to make most God-fearing rockin’ rollers believe in miracles.
TAKEN FROM THEIR NEW STUDIO ALBUM THE AFFAIR OF THE POISONS DUE FOR RELEASE ON PEACEVILLE ON 9TH OCTOBER
Album pre-orders now available
Hellripper have released their debut single and animated lyric video for “Spectres Of The Blood Moon Sabbath” from the upcoming new studio album The Affair Of The Poisons scheduled for release on 9th October 2020 through Peaceville.
“Spectres of the Blood Moon Sabbath” sets the scene for the new album as its themesprimarily revolve around the dark & insidious underworld witchcraft and the occult, with some tracks being based on historical events. The single unfurls in an infernal storm of heavy blackened thrash. James McBain, Hellripper mainman comments “this was one of the first tracks written for the album and has a definite “rock ‘n’ roll” feel to it with its bouncy rhythm & a Motörhead or TANK vibe, and it is one of two songs on the album where Joseph (live guitarist) performed lead guitar”.
James, based in the Scottish Highlands, says of their forthcoming epic new album The Affair of the Poisons that “it contains the mixture of thrash/black/speed metal and punk that Hellripper has become known for, but this time I feel that the end result is more cohesive. Some of the tracks are more straight-forward while others contain some twists and parts that are new to the Hellripper sound. As always, the whole writing and recording process was done at home by myself, with a few friends of mine contributing some additional vocals and lead guitar parts. The album was mixed by myself and was mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege who did an amazing job.
Skadvaldur did an excellent job, as he always does, of creating a piece of artwork that both represents the album’s themes, as well as being a somewhat of a homage in style to the old B-horror movie posters that inspired a few of the album’s tracks.”
The Affair Of The Poisons will be released on CD, LP, cassette and digital through Peaceville on 9th October and is available to pre-order now HERE
The band has also announced that they will be touring later in the year to coincide with the album’s release, some headline shows in the UK plus as special guests to Cleveland based Black Rock ‘n’ Roll/Thrash legends Midnight.
Hellripper has been fast gaining a reputation for whipping up an infectious storm of blackened speed metal greatness in the spirit of old and are one of the most electrifying young, up & coming metal acts in the scene today.
Inspired by the likes of the old-school legends including Venom, Kreator, Sabbat [JPN] and Metallica, McBain formed Hellripper in 2014 and with the release of the debut EP The Manifestation of Evil shortly after, the band were already making a very clear mission statement… Total fucking mayhem!