One of Norway’s most legendary bands, (that you might be forgiven for never having heard of them, Right? Right) anyway Norway has a good history of knocking out some fantastic bands and a lot of them have been mentioned here on RPM.  Backstreet Girls, Turbonegro, Gluecifer, Good Bad the Zugly, Razorbats, and of course Mayhem.

Well, these punk/hardcore veterans are fronted by Billy Cockroach, one of the first vocalists of Mayhem he performed on the 1987 album “Deathcrush” under the moniker of Messiah and they offer us well-aged vintage punk rock full of cheerful aggression and infectious tunes. throwing in Mayhem is a bit of a red herring because its nothing like Deathcrush this is polished positively glistening in the production stakes compared to that Black Metal demo.

‘Songs about Blunt Knives and Deep Love’, has only taken 22 bloody long years to reach our ears kinda puts Axel to shame with his Chinese Democracy. They’re being heralded as one of Norway’s most legendary bands, it basically consists of new recordings of old hits as well as a handful of new tracks and a cover of Mountain Goat’s “Going to Georgia”. It started out as an idea from producer Hugo Alvarstein (The Good the Bad and the Zugly, Raga Rockers, etc…) Who suggested the band go rehearse their best songs from the 1990s then call him up and he’d take em into his studio and get them recorded and give the songs the justice they deserve. To be fair he’s clearly a man of his word and has recorded one hell of an album..

The band started out as far back as 1994, building a loyal fan base and a reputation of being a riotous live band along the way. Compared to the bands two previous offerings this one is the dog’s bollocks and one that should rightly exalt them to the top table of punk rock.

Having honed the tunes by sharing the stage with acts like The Toy Dolls, Discharge, UK Subs, The Exploited, Cock Sparrer, Anti-Nowhere League, Vice Squad and GBH through the years, now it’s about time they put their hat in the ring with a bunch of songs that justified their boast of being up there with the best of them.

The album begins with a cover, ‘Going To Georgia’ and it drops its music bombs right square in the middle of the speakers with it’s spoken/sung verses holding up rather well over a musical backdrop that just crackles along with a joy and sound of a band just killing it doing something they love for the love. ‘You Have A Bun’ is a breath of fresh air as it has plenty of bounce and whilst the vocals are aggressive (often quite shouty) what did you think he was going to sound like? Ian Gillan? that’s the thing its aggressive as fuck but it sounds content and dare I say it – Happy at the same time, oh and the production is great and really lifts the songs.

‘Fantasyland’ has a little bit of Thin Lizzy in those dueling guitars on the intro.  I did a little momentary gasp on the intro of the piraty ‘Three Wishes’ as I thought we were getting some h ho ho shanty music but worry not me hearties it was only a false intro. Still, it’s quite piraty its the good end of piraty.

‘On An Island’ is just a banger with its head down its one foot in the Motorhead camp and the other, say, Argy Bargy – Imagine that? To be fair the middle part of the album isn’t fucking about and gets stuck in like The Adicts on a good day.  ‘Facts On The Wall’ is Ramones rapid with a dumb yet happy melody and ripping solo this is shaping up to be an excellent record.  ‘Necktie Party’ has a bit of a Crass vibe about it. These boys and these songs would go down a storm at somewhere like Rebellion Festival.

A lot of the pace and tempo of the songs remind me of a Norweigan Sham 69 and none more so that ‘Do It Again’ which is one of the highlights of the record on the breakdown it’s like vintage high jinx Damned who always threw in some cool off the wall melodies in fact there are plenty of influences I am feeling here more than ripping off a band they dance to their own tunes and just let their influences just bleed through..

With twelve songs on offer, I would highly recommend you at least give these cats the benefit of doubt and check em out and once you do that I’m sure you’ll be convinced.  Great album I’m glad has seen the light of day and hope it’s given the band the energy and drive to do it all again except to say next time don’t leave it so fucking long. – Buy it!

 

 

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Not Just your regular summer, no sir, this one is hot! and its only getting hotter!

June 2018

 

Whilst May was relatively quiet (slang) June was positively bristling with releases and live shows for the RPM crew and the beginning of the festival season was open.  But we couldn’t mention June 2018 without a few tributes to fallen comrades in Rock and Roll.

Firstly, Heavy Drapes frontman Garry Alexander Borland passed away the first week after returning from Holland after a really successful show at Rebellion over there.  Garry’s passing was a huge shock to people close to him obviously but his passing was also felt in the wider alternative community with his band on the verge of much bigger and better things what with the up and coming decent billing at Rebellion UK and their debut album ready to go so its only right we record this moment and pay tribute to Garry.  May he rest in peace.

Another sad passing was that of  DJ Fontana who was Elvis Presley’s drummer for many a year, Dominic Joseph Fontana was responsible for laying down the backbeat on almost 500 songs with the king which is no mean feat and a really impressive CV by any standard also it’s only right we recognise his contribution to music.  Rest in Peace DJ.

Sadly a third influential musician passed away in June this year, none other than Nick Knox the second but longest-serving Cramps drummer. Nick joined the band from the Electric Eels and occupied the drum stool from 1977-1991, Knox toured with the band and appeared on some of the Cramps’ best recordings, ‘Songs The Lord Taught Us, ‘Psychedelic Jungle’ and ‘A Date With Elvis’. Rest In Peace Nick Knox the man behind Lux and the man behind the shades.

Sadly the fourth person to pass away in June was none other than West coast punk rock legend Steve Soto of The Adolescents. Steve was originally the bass player in Agent Orange back in ’79 he then served as bass player in the Adolescents until passing.  the most recent album ‘Cropduster‘ being his final piece of work and easily one of 2018 finest albums.  The band went on to tour the summer around Europe with stand-in player and dedicated the set each night to Steve where they had a backdrop replacing the band’s logo and replacing it with SOTO at Rebellion in August Tony Reflex dedicated the show to his bandmate in a touching speech and subsequent performance that was electric and memorable,  Rest In Peace Steve 54 is way too young. 

 

Right hopefully onto much happier matters for the month of June 2018. With Festival season in full swing Fraser headed to Download and watched The Bronx, The Hives and Turbonegro show the festivals other acts how Rock and Roll was meant to be delivered to the people. elsewhere it seemed like the world and his Mrs were off to see the Rolling Stones play some enormadome or should that be a field?

IT might have cost the GDP of some countries to get close enough to see the band measure up to the size of a subbutteo player but it has to be said nobody was disappointed in either the performance or the setlist the band was knocking out on this leg of the tour. Jagger was ever his peter pan like self careering from one side of the huge stage to the other like he was a child with more energy than most performers more than half his age and some.

Nev decided he’d bowl darn London way and take in what Camden Rocks had to offer.  Basically, all the pubs of any note and the dive bars, as well as the more famous landmarks such as Dingwalls, Electric Ballroom etc throw, open their doors to live Rock and Roll for the day and if you have a wristband and there’s room at the inn then uh, you’re in! Just wear some comfortable shoes and a stage planner.  You might just happen across your favourite new band or someone you’ve been meaning to catch and hey presto there they are. (Deep Breath time) This year Nev caught The Ramonas at the Dublin CastleDirty Thrills at The Underworld Talia Dean in Brew Dog then back to the underworld for Sonic Boom Six and some knees up skanking ska which went down rather well with Nev. It wouldn’t have been right had our roving scribe not caught Urban Voodoo Machine down at the lock where the place to be was indeed Dingwalls then to finish off a marathon of live entertainment it was Camden Assembly for some Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors before the Rifles was a curtain call for Mr Brooks but he wasn’t banking on bumping into Paul-Ronny Angel either so his night wasn’t quite over!

Not wanting to be a party pooper Nev still had to take in Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds playing the All Points East Festival along with an impressive support cast of Patti Smith, St Vincent and Courtney Barnett.

Ben went to Rambling Man Fair and enjoyed the performances of such heavyweight rockers as The Cult and also managed to catch RPM favourites  Jim Jones and The Righteous Mind as well as the real mock rockers Steel Panth..Nah I can’t type it sorry folks I’d be doing RPM a disservice even mentioning them. anyway, Ben also managed to take in the large club gig of the month that was the triple-headed Britrock Must Be Destroyed touring carnival that featured a rotating line up of Reef, The Wildhearts, and Terrorvision. there were multiple dates to be fair and it was decided on the day how the running order would play out. I reckon each band made new fans on the night as reports were coming in of all three raising each others game and an excellent way to tour. The night Ben had in Leeds also saw Dodgy added to the lineup.

 

Our intrepid European correspondent or one of them Craggy got to see Repetitor live at Kabinet Muz, Brno I said Craggy got to see Repetitor in Brno…oh forget it he enjoyed it anyway said it was one of his highlights of the year to be fair.

Now with a sharp intake of breath June was positively overflowing with album releases that would bother top tens come the end of the year. Just a few of those contenders has to be The Interrupters with their ‘Fight The Good Fight’ that saw them leap up the rankings with a fantastic collection of tunes that was shaking up not just fans of the bands previous two albums but new music fans who heard one of the many potential hits on the radio or tv with the album set to just keep on selling and selling we are looking at the next big thing as they won’t be playing clubs for much longer.

Getting Tim Armstrong in to produce the record is a great move as the guy oozes class and knows his way around a ska-punk record and if he had a hand in any of the songwriting or arranging then boy pat yourselves on the back because the infectious ‘A Friend Like Me’, ‘Shes Kerosene’ and the awesome ‘Got Each Other’ are three reasons why this record will deservedly be in many ends of year top 3’s and rightly so..

Elsewhere June saw the release of London Towns Portuguese legends The Parkinson’s return with the LP ‘The Shape Of Nothing To Come’ that confirmed that these gentlemen still had it and it was a fine return to the fold in every way. Now expanded to a five piece you can take the boys out of punk rock but you can’t ever take the punk rock out of the boys and that boys and girls is a fact. the Parkinsons still have the chops.

Another couple of worthy mentions in the albums released in June has to be Smash Fashion and their ‘Rompus Pompous’.  Which has gone down a right storm at RPM as they’ve really hit their stride on this one and joioning them would have to be Nottingham’s The Speedways with the fantastic slice of power pop that is ‘Just Another Regular Summer’ the brains behind the idea to write an album was Matt former guitarist of The Breakdowns he’s since formed a band after the success of the record and has played  a number of shows and next year they’ve already planned some shows in Spain and London.  It really is power pop perfection and a record we highly recommend.

The old school shouldn’t be forgotten either because June was also the month when the phrase you can’t teach an old dog new tricks was debunked because The Uk Subs once again released a new album ‘Subversions’ of some of their favourite songs by other people – sure a cover album.  there might well be some you could see coming but there are others on the album that you would never have seen coming. 

Over in NYC the birthplace of hardcore and home to some of the best bands around Madball made a new record they put out in June 2018 and the brutal ‘For The Cause’ was unleashed on the world and immediately felt at home with the RPM crew.

Finally a mention of records released in June this time for the magnificent London power poppin’ punk rockin’ Los Pepe who released their long playing Greatest Hits on Snap Records! it came with a CD of the album and they also got to knock out a single this month as well which was nice. Don’t get me started on singles that appeared this month because ther were plenty with my pick of the pack coming from the Randy Savages who were ‘Guilty Of Nuthin’ .

 

Billed as an incredible rock ‘n’ roll freakshow there will never be any chance of Helldorado being done for false representation. With over 30 live bands, live wrestling, burlesque acts and a whole lot more besides the 40 odd Euros I shelled out for early bird tickets made me feel like I’d bagged myself one of the gig bargains of the year. But would it really live up to my expectations?

Arriving at the Klokgebouw (an arts/theatre venue in a huge multi room warehouse complex situated on an industrial park within a bicycle kick’s distance of PSV’s ground) with about half an hour to spare before the doors were due to open this gave one or two of our travelling group the chance to walk off their fragile states following the previous night’s Turbojugend meet up in the city’s Café The Jack (steady on Daley there were no retrievers in sight here) which had proven to be as colourful an introduction to the city as the Glow art event that was also taking place that same evening.

After finally making our way through the airport style security (which was done as quickly as possible by very friendly staff who seemed to be able to speak a multitude of languages all at the same time) I finally made my way into the venue and hit the main Cobra stage just as Prima Donna were launching into the 2nd song of their set.   With just 30 minutes on stage there was no time for banter or messing about so Kevin Preston and his prima donnas (ouch) just do what they do best and play a set packed full of infectious rock ‘n’ roll anthems largely drawn from their excellent ‘S/T’ album. A better sound mix (something which you’ll see becomes of a recurring theme throughout the day) might have drawn out some of the band’s poppier saxophone driven moments but at 1pm in the afternoon, warming up a largely still hungover crowd, the boys did mighty fine indeed. Now make sure you catch them on the road with Danko Jones right now!

Moving over to the adjoining Lion stage for a little bit of fun with Cirque Du Mort’s Trashy Pandas and it’s somewhat confusing to discover that after travelling all this way this UK troop’s lead hostess speaks with the broadest of Welsh accents. Alright butt. Then just as The Devils (no not the Nick Rhodes pre-Duran act) prepare  to take to their makeshift stage in the middle of a wrestling ring situated mid dancefloor one of our group (whose been on a proper walkabout around the complex) points out we best make our way over to the Tarantula stage as it’s a tad smaller than the other two stages and the buzz surrounding the arrival of The Hip Priests complete with their very own trashy panda on lead vocals might just see us left out in the cold (and boy was it cold outside) if we’re not sharpish. On our way over though we just have time to check out the doom drone of Monolord on the Cobra stage which on another day in another venue might have inspired me to throw my horns in the air, however today I’m all about the Priests. 

Getting into position a few rows behind the Spasm Gang diehards who follow The Hip Priests all over the globe the most rewarding thing for me (and I’m sure the band too) was to glance around and see the venue was indeed fully packed out. If ever there was a reason for this band to exist then there really was no time like right now to fully deliver on their musical promise. With the Fuck Cancer t-shirted Von Cruz dedicating their set to Kathy Rocker this just seemed to light their fuse as they sped off through a set littered with career defining tunes that just exploded right in our faces. The ever present ‘Instant Delinquent’ got the first proper pit of the day going whilst in ‘Zero Fucks Given’ I still say the band have the best Stooges song Iggy never wrote, and it’s not just me that thinks this as the crowd literally hollered the song’s title back at them during the extended coda outro. ‘Stand For Nothing’ might be the ironic(?) title of the band’s soon to be released fourth studio record, but for the thirty minutes spent in their company today they stand for everything, so cheers to you guys you really are muthafucking superior.

It’s almost impossible to get my bearings after such an incendiary set so I drift between Death Alley and The Rock N Roll Wrestling and then Vintage Caravan (none of them able to get anywhere near what had preceded them) and in the meantime I also manage to somehow miss The Dahmers (who talking to someone later were apparently excellent) altogether. Bollocks!

It was the lure of witnessing Nicke Andersson back behind a drum kit (for the first time since his days spent with the mighty The Solution) playing with Lucifer over on the Cobra stage that dragged me out of my stupor, and as the band unfurled its very own fringed tops take of Psych-Doom I suddenly started to have flashbacks to a few years back when a good mate of mine made me watch Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats and Witchcraft back to back at Hellfest and I honestly thought I’d just woken up in 1972. In many ways I feel Lucifer are perhaps not unlike an Andersson’s Night for the Scando-Doom generation, and whilst I personally don’t dig it the many people around me who headbanged constantly throughout the band’s 45 minutes set treated them like headliners in waiting. I’ll stick with my Blues Pills LPs thanks.

Price pointing their merch at 10 and 15 Euros a pop the muthafuckin’ Dwarves really were living up to their rock legends tag long before they had even played a note today. It’s simple acts of punk rock genius like this that see most people either sporting or carrying a cross-boners themed item of  merch by the time the band hit the Cobra stage, and initial dodgy sound aside Blag and his gang of reprobates simply could do no wrong as they stampeded their way through the likes of ‘Way Out’, ‘Sluts Of The USA’, ‘Back Seat Of My Car’ and ‘Devil’s Level’ leaving me with barely time to take a gulp of my beer between the classic tunes crammed into the set list this afternoon. With added human fireball, smurf and a bevvy of lovelies providing visual stimulation for a mosh pit seemingly set on self-destruct (especially during a frenzied ‘I Will Deny’) the only thing that was really missing was more tunes from the band’s superb ‘Take Back The Night’ LP. Then again when you’re as good looking as these fucks you can do whatever the fuck you want and still end up being one of the best bands of the day.

Moving back to the Lion stage for the highly anticipated return of Supersuckers, out on the road promoting the (almost) 20th anniversary of ‘Evil Powers Of Rock N Roll’, it actually took me 2 or 3 songs before I realised this was the same band that totally blew me away all those years ago. The current 3-piece version of the band seem to favour the type of flat-out wall of noise approach to gigs that Motorhead pretty much made their trademark, and to be honest it all kind of goes over my head, especially early doors. Couple this with an Eddie Spaghetti who is obviously trying to warm up and not over stretch his voice (for obvious totally understandable reasons) I simply found the whole thing very frustrating indeed. Yes of course the band still soared majestically when they aired the likes of ‘Born With A Tail’ and ‘Pretty Fucked Up’ but I’d be gobsmacked if anyone went out and bought a copy of ‘Suck It’ as a result of hearing any of the songs aired from that here this evening, and that’s a crying shame because it’s actually a very good album.

Jogging back over to the Cobra stage to find Zeke were just about to into ‘All The Way’ from their ‘Hellbender’ LP the packed out room then proceeded to just totally lose it. This being my third time of seeing the band on this tour meant I knew what was about to come and the odd beer shower was an almost welcome relief from the already oppressive heat being generated by the Olympic sized pit moving at pace stage front and centre. With side stage also packed full of other bands all keen to experience the Zeke-effect it was reassuring to finally put to rest the urban myth that Nick Oliveri and Blind Marky Felchtone were in fact the same person, Oliveri screaming most of the band’s back catalogue from the wings like their number one fan whilst the more eagle eyed amongst us also spotted Austin Rocket from The Hip Priests revealing himself as a closet KISS fan by singing along to the Zeke-ified version of ‘Shout It Out Loud’. If you’ve seen Zeke live yourself recently, you’ll get what I mean when I say they are impossible to critique, they just are muthafuckin’ Zeke end of.

With prospect of the night turning into a progressive/psych type of affair if I hung about in the main stage areas to watch DeWolf and then Kadavar, I instead plumped for the much more sensible (and less satin flared) option of checking out Nick Oliveri – Death Electric back in the Tarantula stage. Backed by his Dwarves bandmates and dedicating his set to Todd Youth, from the opening ‘Tension Head’ to the final chords of ‘Millionaire’ what we were given tonight was a simple lesson into why Nick is so badly missed by Josh Homme in his now piss weak stadium filling version of the once great band. I could have listened to this stuff all night but with barely an hour before the first of the two!! headliners were set to take the stage it was time to finally catch my breath.

Chatting with friends old and new in the food concourse for the best part of that hour the highlight of which involved us people watching two lads trying to get a 12” record into a 10” locker that eventually ended up with said record being bent slightly in half in order to get it in (yeah I’m still cringing writing about it here) it was thankfully the sound of Rich Knox’s kick drum heralding the arrival of  Danko Jones over on the Lion stage rather than the snap of an LP that brought us back into reality with a bump.

Now having mentioned how off the mark the sound had been for a number of bands earlier in the day the immediate thing that impressed me when I took up my place on the barrier for Danko was just how clear and powerful it now was. Could the curse of Castle Donington have made its way all the way to the Netherlands? Oh, what the hell, I’d last seen the band about 5 or 6 years ago at Hellfest struggling a little bit to get a reaction from an audience only looking to throw devil horns and headbang but here at Helldorado Danko Jones (the band) really were in their element, plundering their extensive back catalogue to keep people dancing and humming their tunes long after their hour long set had ended. ‘The Twisting Knife’, ‘Had Enough’, ‘Play The Blues’ and of course ‘Sugar Chocolate’ (which took me right back to 2001 and the band’s  debut UK support slot with Backyard Babies) were all present and with Danko (the frontman) on top form banter-wise tonight really was theirs for the taking and just like with The Hip Priests earlier in the day it was absolutely fantastic to see a band with originality high on their menu (even if it’s the bits they steal from other bands) getting the reception they so justly deserve. Karma indeed!

Having released an album that has caused some pretty diametrically opposite reactions from their diehard fans the Turbonegro of 2018 have certainly come a long way since I first saw them live back in the early noughties playing a small club in Birmingham promoting their then reunion LP ‘Scandinavian Leather’. However, whilst I’m man enough to admit to quite liking ‘RockNRoll Machine’ it’s the distinct possibility of Queen covers (something they have been doing more recently) being played that found me entering into this Cobra stage headline set with more than just a bit of unease. I shouldn’t have worried though because here tonight the band blended the post-Hank and pre-Tony years into a set of high-octane stadium rock that must have had even the out and out haters of ‘RocknRoll Machine’ nodding along. I mean how can you sing along to the likes of ‘Wasted Again’, ‘All My Friends are Dead’ ‘Get It On’ and ‘Back To Dungaree High’ and then not also be drawn in by the likes of ‘Hurry Up & Die’ or the hilariously titled ‘Hot For Nietzsche’ (the pereft counterpart to the band’s love letter to Van Halen’s ‘1984’ that is ‘Chrome Ozone Creation’)?

With an encore consisting of 2 more classics from ‘Apocalypse Dudes’ (‘The Age Of Pamparius’ and ‘Selfdestructo Bust’) before the ultimate vinegar stroke of ‘I Got It Erection’ was dispatched to send some of us off into the cold night air night, I’m not entirely sure where all the anxiety I had about seeing Turbonegro in 2018 came from, they are still the same fun loving bunch, they’ve just polished the whole thing up a bit that’s all.

So as the party raged on hard well into the wee small hours back at the Klokgebouw I walked back to the hotel reflecting on the fact that with hotel, train and gig tickets plus flights, this trip worked out around £275 for each of our party. That’s for a weekend in a fantastic city we’d never been to before, the chance to meet some great new mates plus catch up with some great old ones, plus watch a shit load of superb bands in the process. I just know I’m gonna wake up feeling like I want to do it all over again next year. That’s because you gotta live life people – take some risks- because you never know what you might discover just around the corner even on an industrial park somewhere near PSV Eindhoven’s stadium.

Thank you Helldoardo for being so fucking amazing!!!!!

Author : Johnny Hayward

Helldorado