“Fuck Genres” proclaims Swedish multi-instrumentalist Henrik Palm in the press blurb that accompanies his second solo album ‘Poverty Metal’. Reflecting on this statement whilst also chuckling at the fact that the album title was derived from a term he’d heard being used to describe the type of cheesy bargain bin 80s metal that labels like Mausoleum used to release was enough to get me to give this eight tracker a cautionary listen, and by Hades am I glad I did.
I have to admit I had no idea that Henrik had once been a member of (the rather splendid) In Solitude or that he was once a Nameless Ghoul in Ghost but one listen to ‘Bully’ the opening track on ‘Poverty Metal’ (and without knowing Palm’s past) you’d perhaps be forgiven for thinking he was lifting influences from both of these bands with the post-punk/gothic background of In Solitude’s superb ‘Sister’ album very much present and the track also topped off with the dramatic melodic pomp and ceremony of Ghost. In many ways it has the same immediate appeal to me as Zeal & Ardor’ ‘Stranger Fruit’ did a couple of years back and that’s probably why I’ve played little else other than ‘Poverty Metal’ since I first discovered it just a day or so ago.
‘Sugar’ is up next and it’s a tune that initially brings to mind noughties UK progressive alt rockers Minuteman before it dissolves into the larger-than-life rock sound that characterised the early major label days of Ghost. ‘Concrete Antichrist’ continues the underlying theme of the opening trio of tunes, twisting and turning into your psyche, heavy on melody whilst never being what you might call an “easy listen.” At 3 minutes and 36 seconds its actually ready made to be a single but given the fragmentated state of conventional rock radio right now it’ll sadly never be aired on anything other than specialist stations.
A track that very much could breakthrough into the mainstream though is ‘Given Demon’, released as a video in the run up to the release of ‘Poverty Metal’ many existing fans of Palm’s work were quick to point out this track has more than a hint of QOTSA about it, but then again didn’t QOTSA have more than a hint of Masters Of Reality about them, and Masters Of Reality just a hint of The Doors? I hope you catch my drift? Whatever the influences ‘Given Demon’ is a wonderful slab of psych-pop especially the dreamy end sequence which actually sounds like it could have been written by Andy Partridge during XTC’s studio only days.
Being something of a huge fanboy of Twisted ‘fucking’ Sister, Palm’s cover of ‘Destroyer’ (originally from the ‘Under The Blade’ album) which crops up just after the record’s halfway mark is not only something of a surprise but also a huge revelation, slowed down to sludge like speed but with a vocal that actually seems to float over the menacing bass throb this is exactly how a cover version should be done as it leaves me shocked and sniggering at the audacity of it all. I hope Dee and the boys like it too.
It’s then, just when think I have the measure of Henrik Palm’s ‘Poverty Metal’ sound that up pops ‘Nihil’, a short and gentle stand out that segues perfectly into ‘Nihilist’ a tune which harks back to the gothic majesty of In Solitude and gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. and sat alongside Division Of Laura Lee’s recent ‘Apartment’ album it reinforces the fact that Sweden is once again producing some of the most refreshingly essential music out there in 2020.
Closing things down we have ‘Last Christmas’ (no not that ‘Last Christmas’) a largely instrumental track that initially draws heavily on the influence of Black Sabbath before spiralling off into another rock galaxy altogether.
At just 37 minutes long ‘Poverty Metal’ is a record that leaves me wanting more, (so much so I immediately went out and also bought Palm’s 2017 debut ‘Many Days’) and in an age when the mainstream rock media seems to think that regurgitating the term “Classic Rock” is some sort of quality mark, ‘Poverty Metal’ sticks a huge middle finger up at that assumption.
Fuck genres, this is poverty metal and I fucking love it.
Mala Vista – Mala Vista EP (Self Released / Dead Beat Records / No Front Teeth Records) When is a single and EP and when is an EP a mini album or a full album? Mala Vista knows how to confuse those who like categories and lists and like to departmentalise their music with this seven-track (digital) five-track seven-inch release and my pick of the month’s best EPs. Kicking off with an ‘Intro’ and then the rapid ‘Mouth Breeder’ reminding me of our very own Hip Priests in many ways. The ‘Nuclear Missile Crisis’ is another belter from this New York quartet sounding like the bastard offspring of Buzzcocks and SLF.
Originally released early last year but repressed and re-released and thank God for that otherwise we’d have missed out on ‘NY Groove’ and its rapid rock and roll breathing new life into the spirit of The Ramones. I love the feel of the record songs like ‘Criminal’ get better and better the more you spin it and the fact it certainly doesn’t have any Bob Rock big production values only adds to the record. great tunes played well and with a tonne of energy and love poured into every one of them. Keep an eye on these boys I love what I’ve heard thus far. Facebook / Bandcamp
Slash City Daggers – ‘Lose Myself On You (I’m Gonna) It’s certainly been a while but I love me some Slash City Daggers and with this tune I find I’m jonesing for some good time junk rock n roll and this has just given me my fix but what next? I want more, more, more! A wonderful late-night slice of quality from the Daggers who clearly get what it takes to absorb all the New York Dolls and trashy Rock and Roll possible but has it been almost twenty years since we last had a Daggers tune? Wow please don’t make us wait another twenty before the next one, get on with it we need some more of this right here right now. Whoo ho! baby rock and fuckin’ roll! Bandcamp
No Fix – ‘Apocalyptic Rock’ (Self Release) well kids Canada is killing again as Ontario’s No Fix wipes their nose on the sleeve of Rock and Roll with this here EP. First out the gate is the snarling ‘Get Outta Punk’ and in a similar vein, there’s no let-up on the hypnotic ‘Arm The Boys’ which sounds like they’ve found Doc Brown’s time machine and headed back to the early 80s and shown up at a Partisans show and nicked their chord book. The pick of the tunes on offer for me would be the latter offerings. ‘Vicious Cycle’ has guitar playing a simple strum n lick and the rhythm is solid, it might not be breaking new ground but who cares just enjoy the moment and pogo! ‘Big Bopper’ is more like it and they’ve saved the best til last for sure.
The Hawkins – ‘Roomer’ (The Sign Records) The first track taken from their new album sees Swedens rockers The Hawkins with a huge sounding song with a big dramatic chorus and full-on rolling guitar lick that mixes classic rock with something you might have on latter Hellacopters records. ‘Silence is a Bomb’ is due in September and looks like being as solid as their previous album. Infectious tune and it’s got handclaps as well. What’s not to like Rockers. Get those sweatbands on your wrists and turn it up let’s go!
Mononegatives – ‘Half Hour Tour Tape’ Uncompromising lo-fi punk rock. This EP is pushing the needle into the red as the tunes come thick and fast ‘5 Second Future’ is first up and a no-holds attack is their MO. Canada has a rich history of churning out fantastic underground bands and on this EP it seems that conveyor belt is still in production as ‘Lower Animals’ continues with the wall of noise but with added synth into the mix. There is more clarity on ‘Exit’ using a tonne of reverb on the guitar whilst the drums remind me of early Joy Division and if your waiting for the lyrics then forget it there aren’t any. Hit em up over at Bandcamp
The Dirty Truckers – ‘Little Mine’ (Rum Bar Records) The Boston Wrangler’s are back with a brand new penned Tom Baker single and a ‘Second Dose’ from The Dirty Truckers. The brand new single ‘LITTLE MINE’ leads off ‘Second Dose’ celebrating the recklessness & abandonment of Barroom-Heartland Rock n’ Roll delivering the spirit of the moment and kicking its arse’ into high gear. My advice would simply be TURN It UP! It’s never too early to Rock and Roll and this good time tune is outta the Georgia Satellites family songbook its got that overdriven six-string going on and a little ray of sunshine when we need it. Get on it folks have Rum BAr ever let you down? Of Course not. Bandcamp
The Dukes Of Bordello – ‘Deaf Or Gory’ (Self Release) The EP begins with the chugging riff-a-rama of ‘Think I’m Turning Psyco’ but you can follow that with an honest take on The Sonics classic ‘Strychnine’. It might be missing the sax and piano of the original but this is an altogether more stripped back and rocked out take and that’s cool, it has a great guitar solo thrown into the mix adding something new to a top tune.
‘Won’t You Make Up Your Mind’ sees the band rock out with the uptempo boogie-woogie with a cheeky tip of the hat to the mighty Quo for the solo. To round up the EP you get a live run through ‘All In The Name’ with its Motorhead like riff tearing it up without overdubs and sounding like a good quality desk bootleg keeping it real.
Territories / The Vicious Cycles – Split 7″ (Pirates Press Records) ‘Prairie Twister’ from Territories on one side is a great slice of boogie street punk. It’s a punchy tight sound with vocals not unlike those Dropkick Murphys whereas The vicious Cycles is more in line with mid-period Misfits with lots of gang vocals as ‘Problem Officer’ is rowdy like the bar band in a bike clubhouse who give it a twist with some keys before the solo and sounding like a right good time party on record. Both bands are of course from Canada and met at the Pirates Press boat shindig recently so decided to cement the friendship with this here split.
How Tragic – ‘Past Lives’ EP (Self Release) Four tracks of vibrant rock and roll with a super sharp production from the lead track ‘Deathwish’ through the punky ‘Spare ME’ comparisons to the likes of the Distillers are going to be made may be slightly more glossy in production and vocals but its got the same attitude shining through.
‘Let Me Down’ is another twist with a steady rhythm and a great song but the riot Grrrl theme comes to the fore on the final track ‘Done’ which is totally out of the L7 vibe of grinding rhythm and tempo but the guitars are loud and proud. An altogether impressive EP for sure and maybe its time for a riot grrrl resurgence and How Tragic will be at the forefront of that movement. Check em out at their Website
Obnoxious Youth – ‘Mouth Sewn Shut’ (Svart Records) Punk meet metal, metal meet punk now go and come up with something loud obnoxious but good. Ok pop pickers say hello to Obnoxious Youth from Finland and check out their unholy racket of rapid metallic punk rock. Described as six tracks of mayhem, havoc, chaos, death, destruction and savagery which pretty much nails their sound in a nutshell.
What’s not to like? Discharge, Ramones, The Misfits, Danzig, Septic Death, Celtic Frost, Black Flag, Zeke, Adrenalin OD, Slayer, Negative Approach, Venom, Motörhead and Agnostic Front are some of the influences on this beast and if that doesn’t perk your interest then maybe we should give up. If you love a bit of Midnight (We do) then you simply have to jump on board with this lot. It’s fast as fuck – loud as fuck – tight as fuck and a whole lot of pulse-raising uncompromising noise. Get on this before they all vanish. Buy Here / Facebook
This review was originally meant to be a live review of a recent Grave Pleasures show I attended but I was left that unimpressed by the band they were supporting that I thought “let’s review something you can still actually go out and buy and hopefully put some money in the bank for a band who really deserve it”.
For those of you who might not have heard of them yet, Grave Pleasures are a five piece Finnish post punk band with one foot very firmly placed in the Goth camp, their roots stretching back to a band called Beastmilk who released one astoundingly brilliant record called ‘Climax’ back in 2013. Fast forward to 2019 and two albums and two record deals later we find Pleasures mainmen vocalist Mat McNerney and bassist Valtteri Arino along with Juho Vanhanen and Aleksi Kiiskilä on guitars, and not forgetting the human dynamo that is Rainer Tuomikanto on drums, approaching the end of a two year road trip promoting their second studio album, ‘Motherblood’.
‘Doomsday Roadburn’ then is a (dark) celebration of Grave Pleasures time on the road and captures their 14 song set from Roadburn Festival 2018 in full, complete with the odd off vocal note and muted guitar string as all great live records should be, and anyone who knows the band’s back catalogue to date will see from checking out the tracklisting that it’s pretty much a greatest hits set, with not a single weak song in sight. The record itself is presented on double splatter vinyl housed in a gatefold sleeve complete with artwork by Daniel Martin Diaz, and including a large booklet with beautiful monochrome photos from the show. What more could a Grave Pleasures fan want for Christmas eh?
As the band did on the recent support stint I caught them on, the set is book ended by ‘Mind Intruder’ and ‘Joy Through Death’ whilst in between the energy the band conjures up has as much in common with The Stooges or Misfits as it does with say Depeche Mode melodically, and this right there is what makes Grave Pleasures so interesting, because in an age when musical demographics are used to the point of destruction to sell one hit wonders, Grave Pleasures transcend genres and for that reason alone it makes them something very unique indeed.
Of the songs featured here ‘Infatuation Overkill’ immediately brings back visions of Rainer Tuomikanto windmilling whilst systematically trying to destroy his 4 piece drum kit and when ‘Death Reflects Us’ finally pops up as track (unlucky) 13 I can but marvel at how this song was not a huge worldwide hit for the band (then known as Beastmilk). Yet as one of the two studio outtakes from the ‘Motherblood’ sessions added at the end of side four states ‘There Are Powers At Work In This World’ and you really must not let them stop you from sharing the greatness of Grave Pleasures in all their live glory.
‘Violence of Night’ is the second of the studio outtakes and if this brooding slab of goth had been released three decades earlier it would have immediately had gangs of spikey haired teenagers up on their mate’s shoulders chicken dancing like idiots, and sometimes the magic of a band really can be as simple as that.
So, having witnessed the guys make mincemeat of three Tigers just a week or so ago ‘Doomsday Roadburn’ acts to reinforce the point that whoever they play with Grave Pleasures are always going to come out on top, and this record defines what “Live & Dangerous” means for a whole new generation of music fans.
Idles release a new clip from their live album that’s coming out December 6th. Recorded at the famous Le Bataclan It’s Idles innit.
Finally rounding off the three new videos is this Amazing song from Jaz Coleman. Jaz celebrated musician, composer, producer, author, lecturer, traveller, philosopher, actor & Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres’ releases his new album on 29th November and it deserves your attention.
Recorded with Russia’s oldest orchestra, the St Petersburg Philharmonic, this stirring body of work taps into the more melodic, uplifting aspects of the KJ musical canon
Grave Pleasures have a new record out ‘Doomsday Roadburn’ out now on Svart Records and an audio-video is available which isn’t great to watch but you can pick it up Here. Whilst it’s a live album there were two songs recorded at the Moptherblood sessions which this is taken. So we’ve delved into the back catalogue and brought you this bad boy entitled ‘Mind Intruder’ Facebook
As the nights are getting longer you need more excuses to get up in the morning well, on that score we’re offering you a forth video this week and this one is taken from NYC’s MakeWar and its taken from their Debut Fat Wreck Chords album ‘Get It Together’ – the track is entitled – ‘Oh Brother’ – enjoy!
Matti Antero Kristian Fagerholm (Born 17 June 1962), you might know him as the legend that is Michael Monroe. Not content with being the leader of the 80s best band Hanoi Rocks he then went on to form Demolition 23 (ok so Jerusalem Slim was before but that was something of an experiment) after Demolition 23 broke down he went on to record some superb solo albums as well as reform Hanoi for a few years with Andy before forging ahead with his solo career.
Beginning with ‘Nights Are So Long’ Monroe spent time living in NYC before returning to his native Finland where he still lives today. You can debate til the cows come home as to which album is the best but for me ‘Nights Are So Long’ was the first and best. ‘Not Fakin’ It’ followed and whilst it was commercially more accessible I never really liked the sound of the record as it tended to lean towards to Rock fraternity stateside and was the least Rock and Roll album of his back catalogue even if it did have some great tunes on it.
During the two thousands, his solo work contained some excellent self-penned songs as well as some awesome covers that gave the listener a glimpse into his record collection and what shaped him musically, before arriving at the last decade where his output and stable(ish) line up consisting of longtime collaborator and accomplice Sami Yaffa, Karl Rockfist and Steve Conte and Rich Jones are helping churn out some of the best live performances of his career as well as his most consistent albums since Hanoi. ‘One Man Gang’ is eagerly anticipated and I’m sure will be a massive hit with fans old and new.
Svart Records were responsible for doing an amazing job on ‘Nights Are So Long’ and ‘Peace Of Mind’ and work is well underway on the next reissues. So with these the tour and new album its all ramping up to an exciting second half of 2019 and no sign of Monroe slowing down any day soon.
Ask anyone who’s seen him live as he still performs like a teenager. Constantly touring around the world playing songs from all corners of his career he still has the chops that’s not even up for debate – the energy and above all the songs are there as is his energy Monroe is a lifer to the cause of Rock and Roll and the multi-instrumentalist still has the passion.
Having just announced an extensive UK tour for later this year to coincide with the release of this album as well as working on re-releases of his solo albums with new packaging and bonus tracks Michael Monroe is a formidable force of nature. when the album comes out buy it and when the tour comes around watch it.
Over twenty albums and countless singles and guest appearances, Monroe deserves all the plaudits he gets and the adulation of his many fans. Keep Rockin’ like Fuck and Happy Birthday from RPM Online.