Is it really six years since the last album from Bristol thrashers Onslaught?

Wow, how time flies eh?

Perhaps more shockingly though is the fact that 2020 also marks the 35th anniversary of me first getting to hear the band via their awesome self-released debut album ‘Power From Hell’.

Throughout the intervening years and with a myriad of band members passing through their ranks one thing has always remained a constant for me, and that is the simple fact that Onslaught always have been and perhaps always will be the UK’s number one thrash metal outfit. Likewise, the one band member who has been the driving force (see what I did there?) behind the band’s career is guitarist Nige Rockett, and here on the band’s seventh studio album he is joined by long standing bassist Jeff Williams, drummer James Perry, guitarist Wayne Dorman  along with new(ish) vocalist Dave Garnett who had previously stood in for then frontman Sy Keeler when he was unable to play live back in 2019.

I must admit the thought of a Keeler-less Onslaught did initially have me a bit worried, I wasn’t exactly blown away by the Steve Grimmett fronted line up and when the band initially re-grouped back in 2005 it was a joy to see Keeler back alongside his old bandmates.

So, where my concerns warranted?

Well, if videos premiered by the band mid UK lockdown were anything to go by perhaps not. ‘Religiousuicide’ was/is like an unsuspected stab in the eye from a band sounding hungry and angry as fuck, whilst ‘Bow Down To The Clowns’ sounds like a lesson to all the Bay Area bands still thrashing in how to take your A game to a whole new generation of headbangers. Garnett I must admit rising to the challenge and then some.

One listen to album opener proper ‘Strike Hard Strike Fast’ (which shoots straight out the blocks after the scene setting ‘Rise To Power’) will immediately have you windmilling and throwing horns like there is no tomorrow and to follow this with the aforementioned ‘….Clowns’ really does make for as impressive an introduction as you could hope from Onslaught in 2020.

‘Generation Antichrist’ fits nicely into the gap in the thrash metal world left vacant by the recently semi-retired Slayer whilst ‘All Seeing Eye’ feels not unlike a 21st century reboot of the mighty Priest’s ‘Electric Eye’, well in the subject matter at the very least.

‘Addicted To The Smell Of Death’ continues the breakneck pace of the record with gang vocals cementing the band’s toxic call to arms. ‘Empire’s Fall’ is up next and this for me is perhaps the sound of Onslaught at their finest, seamlessly blending old school rifferama with a slightly more modern melodic chorus, this is a song that actually makes me want to listen to metal again…something I don’t say too often these days.

Closing things out we have a reworking of the band’s 2019 tribute to Motorhead ‘A Perfect Day To Die’ this time around with Garnett barking out the vocals and making it the almost perfect way to end the record.

‘Generation Antichrist’ is perhaps Onslaught’s finest album since their 1986 thrashterpiece ‘The Force’. So, Trash Till The Death brothers and sisters – this beast of a record is OUT NOW!

Buy ‘Generation Antichrist’ Here

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Author: Johnny Hayward

 

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!

 

Buy it Here

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Author: Dom Daley

If the likes of ‘Hell Awaits’, ‘Restless And Wild’, ‘Black Metal’ and ‘Screaming For Vengeance’ got you bouncing around the room with excitement the first time you heard them then ‘Rebirth By Blasphemy’ the Metal Blade debut album from Midnight is the “must hear” album of 2020 for you.

Long term Midnight fans will no doubt already be tutting at my reference to ‘Black Metal’ but across their impressive 17 year back catalogue there is no way of distancing the band’s sound from that primal guttural roar of Cronos and Co. They are the band I once dubbed as “being able to play Venom’s back catalogue better than Venom”, and I’m going to stick by that.

‘Rebirth By Blasphemy’ then is Midnight possibly taking their first steps into “doing a Ghost” by moving away from the metal underground and into the more mainstream. Fear not though, as the title of opener ‘Fucking Speed And Darkness’ alludes Midnight main man Athenar isn’t about to be prancing about like the Pied Piper in its accompanying video any time soon. Nah, this is still very much “go for the throat” heavy metal music, it’s just this time around it really feels like Athenar has stepped up his game in the songwriting department and here all 10 tracks hit home with equal parts ferocity and finesse.

If I were to single out one thing that ‘Rebirth By Blasphemy’ has throughout its 33 minute running time it is that there is a clear focus to deliver brutal yet memorable songs, and therein lies the secret of why for me Midnight stands head and shoulders above the rest of the black metal pack. There’s still some tongue in cheek stuff going on (Devil’s Excrement’ for example – which could very easily be a Trigger McPoopshute song) but essentially this is heads down no-nonsense heavy metal celebrating everything that is great about the genre in 2020. The likes of ‘Cursed Possessions’, ‘Escape From The Grave’ and ‘The Sounds Of Hell’ would and should be instant dancefloor fillers at any metal all-nighter – if such things still exist?

Granted ‘Rising Scum’ might sail a little close to Venom’s ‘Nightmare’ in terms of being the obvious track to be pulled as a potential single, but this comparison is not being made because of plagiarism, it’s being made simply because it’s also a song driven by a drumbeat set to raise the dead. Likewise, the opening few bars of album closer ‘You Drag Me Through Fire’ are primetime Priest yet the song soon catapults the listener back into the very depths of hell with just enough time left to polish your studded gauntlets before pressing the “Repeat” button on your death deck.

At the top of this review I mentioned a quartet of heavy metal records that loom large over the metal community to this day, ‘Rebirth By Blasphemy’ has all the potential to be such an album for the generations to follow, you just need to decide if you want to buy the inverted cross CD or the limited coloured vinyl.

‘Rebirth By Blasphemy’ is released Tomorrow get the date in your Necronomicon.

Buy ‘Rebirth By Blasphemy’ Here

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Author: Johnny Hayward

 

Rock photographer Bill O’Leary has a book Featuring over 175 full color concert images from the ’70s through ’90s of icons like Van Halen, Rush, Judas Priest, Kiss, Ozzy Osbourne, Queen, Pink Floyd, Zappa, and more Available Here
During his career, photographer Bill O’Leary took pictures of some of rock’s biggest names at the peak of their powers – Van Halen, Rush, Judas Priest, Kiss, Ozzy Osbourne, Queen, Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa, etc. And now, he has opened his archives for the first time ever – assembling a collection of not only his best images, but also, offering stories and recollections behind concerts he shot over the years. Indeed, this book is comprised of over 175 full color, live concert images photographed primarily from the late 1970’s through the 1990’s.

Artists include…AC/DC, Albert King, The Allman Brothers Band, Anthrax, Blues Traveler, Bob Seger, Cheap Trick, Def Leppard, Dixie Dregs, Foreigner, Frank Zappa, Grateful Dead, Hot Tuna, Jeff Beck, Jethro Tull, Joan Jett, Judas Priest, Kiss, Marillion, Mercyful Fate, Michael Schenker Group, Molly Hatchet, Mötley Crüe, Motörhead, Outlaws, Overkill, Ozzy Osbourne, Pat Travers, Phish, Pink Floyd (The Wall), The Police, Queen, Rainbow, Reo Speedwagon, The Romantics, Rossington Collins Band, Rush, Scorpions, Slayer, Styx, Ted Nugent, Todd Rundgren’s Utopia, Triumph, UFO, Van Halen, White Zombie, XTC, Yes, Yngwie Malmsteen with Alcatrazz, and ZZ Top.

O’Leary says:
“Hard to believe that I have been shooting concerts for 4 decades now, beginning in the mid 70’s when I went to my first concert at the world famous Madison Square Garden in New York City. I felt at home among the walls of speakers and the towering lighting rigs, I also immediately knew that leaving the show with a ticket stub, program and maybe a t-shirt would not be enough, so I had to capture the memory permanently. Within’ weeks I had traded my Sony home stereo system for a black leather jacket and my first Minolta SLR camera. After a brief learning period experimenting with the constantly changing lighting and vast array of colors, film speeds and the quick movements of the artists, I was told by many people that I was a “natural”. I have always felt that “knowing” the music deeply and being passionate about it as well, really was the “secret” to capturing the “moment”. With that confidence, I was soon shooting many concerts, 46 in 1980 alone. By then I was also being published in many major magazines as well. In the early days, I practiced “gorilla type tactics” to get my equipment into the venue’s. Later, I was forced to play the game of securing credentials in order to shoot shows. All too soon, promoter and band management rules and demands on photographers began to take the excitement out of shooting shows. Then the ” first 3 song” rule became common, NO more pictures after the third song. Pro concert photographers know that the “best” part of a shows production comes later in the event. In the end, I’m glad to have been a part of the glory days of concert photography.”

FOREWARD by Freddie Salem of The Outlaws:
“Bill O’Leary has played an extremely important part in the rock n’ roll world, as the consummate live performance photographer for over 40 years. As a professional musician, rock photographers are a part of the music scene – whether it be shooting promotional shoots, live concerts, or simply capturing life on tour. Bill first photographed us back in 1979 – a couple years after I joined the Outlaws, at Madison Square Garden in New York City. We were touring in support of our latest album, In the Eye of the Storm. Madison Square Garden is a big show for any touring band – as well as me personally, as a musician. A landmark venue. The following year, 1980, Bill again photographed me onstage – twice. Once at a Pat Travers Band show at the Palladium in Lower Manhattan in April, then again later that fall in November, as the Outlaws were touring in support of our latest album, Ghost Riders. This time, we were playing a smaller venue in Passaic, New Jersey, called the Capitol Theatre. Hundreds upon hundreds of marquis performers from all over the world have been captured on film by Bill – with the help of his trusty camera. I am surely anticipating the release of Bill O’Leary’s book, featuring his life’s passion and his iconic photography work. Looking at the thousands of live photos Bill has shot over the years one thing is very clear – he knows when to “pull the trigger.”