Sunday, 31 May 2009

Gallows - Grey Britain: THE BANNED ARTWORK!

Here for you to enjoy are a few pictures of the original artwork commissioned for Gallows - Grey Britain. The scenes depicted were deemed so damned extreme that the record label Warner Bros wouldn't allow Frank Carter & Co to use them, which led to the creation of the alternative artwork we're all now familiar with.

I had been trawling the internet for even a glimpse of these after losing out on getting the expanded limitied edition of Grey Britain, so here you are fucking enjoy! These came courtesy of Stuart.


Policeman appears as swine & gets a handjob. There's also rape going on? Some religious woman impaling herself and er.. servicing another woman with Vultures presiding over the scene that takes place on a bed of intestines it looks like.



The inverted cross ever symbolic of the anti-religion. The glorious full body impaling of a female by the Union Jack & suited pigs terrorize a young woman.


The scripture in the background spells out 'EVERYTHING IS FALLING APART', which obviously is pretty apt.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Swamp Thing, Black Haven, Closure @ Hull


So last Friday i went to Hull for pretty much the first time, to meet up with my mate Josh and head off to what would be an insane hardcore gig. Swamp Thing (Hardcore Punk from Virginia US) were touring Europe and the Hull leg of the tour had been swapped from venue to venue because of various double bookings i was told. Which eventually resulted in a kid called Ben (i believe?) offering to host the gig at his house just round the corner from the Adelphi Club.

The house itself was quite big but the room in which the mayhem would take place could hold a mere 15 people i would say, comfortably. When around 30 or so kids had turned up ready to raze this place to the ground. The first band to play was Closure, a local band who kept up a punishing facade of powerviolence and unfortunately had to cope with alot of stopping and starting thanks to involvement from the local Police force who just had to stick their noses in. Either way that didn't stop everyone from unleashing everything they had in that one cramped living room and as you can see from some of the shots taken from Stuarts perch on the window, bodies went flying.


Black Haven had travelled all the way from Belgium and upon their arrival it was difficult to tell whether they were stoked to play such an intimate show or pretty disgruntled that it wasn't at a more accommodating venue. Any such doubts dissipated the moment they took up their instruments, blasting through a wholly intimidating set that shook the cavity walls and sent limbs flailing.


I went out the front of the house and had a good look at the Swamp Thing merchandise, after the gig i went up and bought their new record In Shame on white vinyl which is fucking tasty! We also had a good chat with a couple of the crew they had brought over with them for the trip. I remember going over how good Trap Them are with a freshly inked chap wearing a peaked hat. When it came time for the headliners to play everyone packed in like sardines and eagerly awaited the American Punks to ignite the atmosphere, they played a few tracks from their new album like Crush, In Shame & Hiding providing the soundtrack to a melee of sweat and aggression. One kid was left tight up against the corner of the ceiling balanced on another kids shoulders between songs and when the noise started up again he launched himself back across the room. One of their crew apparently said this was the most manic Swamp Thing show he had seen! Bearing in mind he's been with them since the beginning.


This is if anything a testament to the DIY ethic of the Punk world, 'The venue is double booked? Well nevermind the bands can play at my house' - That's what I'm talking about! It also goes to show how dedicated many of the Hull fans are to keeping the scene fresh & alive.
This is Josh getting cosy with Swamp Thing's lead vocalist


All photos are courtesy of Stuart, I don't even think I'm visible in many of these photos but at least my sweet new shoes got some exposure...


Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Biffy 'break that shit down' Clyro


This will be a brief post, just to vent my anger - well actually it's not anger, more of a raging blend of exasperation and malcontent, over one snippet from an otherwise typically staunch issue of Q Magazine. Yes that is right the glossy paged 'worship at the altar of Radiohead' Rock 'n' Roll conglomerate of the publishing world has pissed me right off.

I like to read other music magazines as well as Rock Sound, Metal Hammer, and that one that begins with K, to seek out good music that i know is out there. Yet this month as i leafed through the review section of Q i happened upon the Marmaduke Duke article which read as follows..

'Scottish Metal gurus go dance pop. Surprisingly good' .. 'Marmaduke Duke is a collaboration between Simon Neil, frontman with Scots metallers Biffy Clyro'

HAS This reviewer (Chris Cottingham) ever picked up a Biffy Clyro album? Tagging them as a metal band is about the equivalent of boxing Cradle of Filth in as just a ballsy Alternative Rock group. Seriously how is it possible to make a blind error such as that? Your eyes can play tricks on you, Simon Neil may look like hes grown up with Tony Iommi and Ozzy Osbourne in Aston 'Birmingham but ears do not lie, Barraging the eardrums in a light and frisky manner, Biffy Clyro rock the boat with an abundance of twee melody. They don't grind their bones to make their bread or stomp around dishing out the breakdowns, They don't adhere to the basic Metal template of 'Less blues, more showmanship, more brute force.'

Please somebody defend this author's case so i can sleep easily at night knowing our collective music knowledge isn't going to the dogs.


Saturday, 16 May 2009

This is not a game of 'Who the Punk are you?'

21st Century Breakdown Banner/Sig Pictures, Images and Photos

I am indebted to John Lydon, truly i am. We all are - at least everyone involved with Punk Rock past or present. Thirty-plus years ago John Lydon (Johnny Rotten) and his motley crew of seminal Punk icons 'The Sex Pistols' scooped up the nascent Punk scene and moulded it into something as ferociously dynamic as it was discordant. It was a revolution of sorts, evolving into a snarling beast throughout the 80's as the term 'Hardcore Punk' was coined. Until, eventually somebody promoted the idea of sharing Punk's spotlight so dominated by angst and aggression, with lightly baked - sun kissed melody. Bad Religion paved the way by smothering their pissed as fuck lyrical content with sugary sweet harmony, arguably a road already laid in it's foundations by earlier acts The Ramones and The Clash.

I'm straying from my point, as i usually tend to do. Punk Rock was a crushing wheel to have set in motion but set in motion it was nonetheless. Which is why i find i have such an issue with stereotypical 'Punks' finding fault with anything that wasn't quite recorded on an 8-track down in the damp basement of Johnny Punk's squat in Stoke Newington. Count yourselves lucky to have been there at the very formation, the very beginning. It seems ignorant to me for people to write-off newer Punk incarnations, i always saw it as a thing of beauty - researching the twisted history of Punk Rock, the writhing differences that spawned between fresh faced new bands and the hard core of the scene's powerhouses.

What provoked this outburst of barely coherent spiel you ask? Well it was John Lydon's comments about Green Day that really struck a nerve...

'So there we are fending off all that and it pisses me off that years later a wank outfit like Green Day hop in and nick all that and attach it to themselves. They didn't earn their wings to do that and if they were true punk they wouldn't look anything like they do.'

C'mon John. If you hadn't been there to kick start a fledgling Punk ethos then some other kid from the gutter would have surely? Be thankful for that. Green Day wouldn't deny that they owe much of their musical chops to a style that you helped to forge, which is why i find it incredulous that an icon such as yourself would fly in the face of the current flag bearers. In my book any one band or artist that incorporates a guitar, the softest of drumming and some lazy vocals is a band or artist that I've got the time of day for.

Besides, if it's a case of having issues with Green Day's commercial success and widespread media promotion, just remember; you sell butter now Johnny Rotten!


Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Dälek - Gutter Tactics (Overview)

Download Dälek - Gutter Tactics

This album, is of the Hip Hop persuasion. STOP! Don't drop that glass you're holding and most certainly close that gaping mouth, as this record is saturated with enough piss, vinegar and bile to hold anyones attention on a knife's edge. Guitars or no Guitars, Drum thrashing or no Drum thrashing Dälek set up camp with an austere, earna-serious sensibility. This world is a vibrating entity of lies & propaganda, of false handshakes and even falser smiles, Gutter Tactics is an amalgamation of those various corruptions colliding with the freakish talent of two New Jersey stalwarts. The outcome is something to be equally respected as it should be cherished.

I'll raise my hand to say I'm a great lover of Punk music, a great fan of all things Metal, Rock 'n' Roll - pretty much a hyper-umbrella term for music descended from the Blues, nevertheless i'm ready to embrace other styles and other ideas when the opportunity presents itself. Enter Dälek, the first track ‘Blessed Are They Who Bash Your Children’s Heads Against A Rock’ immediately grabs you at the scruff of the neck by throwing fact after mind boggling fact straight into your stream of conscience.

MC Dälek rallies home his beliefs in a deluge of politically astute spiel, all the while the music is being given a thorough fleshing out courtesy of Oktopus. See tracks such as 'Who Medgar Evers Was...', and 'We Lost Sight' for an example of how this doom laden atmosphere can tease the senses. The plot thickens as Dälek poke further into the tainted history of Uncle Sam, unearthing nothing but grizzly home truths. It's all well and good crooning over the 'girl next door' and the unfaltering Californian sunshine but when the time calls for a steely cut of unbridled emotion those topics just will not make the cut.Music thrives on bad times, on hardship and never has there been a more pressing global situation.

This record is a sobering wake up call to a lot of the snobby musicologists out there who sit too snugly on their high horses to truly experience the gritty passion of artists such as these twin renegades.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Entombed - Uprising (an overview)

entombed Pictures, Images and Photos
Download Entombed - Uprising

Over the past few months i've really gotten into Entombed. As a band they've varied their musical style throughout their career, shifting from out and out Death Metal on first albums 'Left Hand Path' & 'Clandestine' to a more Hardcore Punk enthused, dirty Rock 'n Roll texture on later albums. My favourite Entombed release is 'Wolverine Blues' so definitely check that out, however i wanted to talk about 'Uprising' purely because this was Entombed's bounce back album after dropping the blunder that was 'Same Difference'

It's pretty obvious just from the opening track 'Seeing Red' that Entombed wanted to throw some more Death Metal vibes back into the mix. There's a busier, gnawing quality to 'Say It In Slugs' that really gets driven home by LG Petrov and his rediscovered howling. Petrov's change of vocal tact is another example of Entombed harking back to their earlier death metal roots.

I'd pick out 'Scottish Hell' as one of my favourites from the entire album, it's not really the album's centrepiece but there's something outright fucking eerie from the start & 30 seconds in you get hit with some properly harrowing guitar musings.

'Come Clean' erupts from the word go, instantly conjuring up visions of Motörhead for me. In my opinion Entombed are among the best in their genre(s). They know how to write seriously savage chunks of ballsy 'Death & Roll' so to put it.

If you want to really get into Entombed i recommend the first two albums along with 'Wolverine Blues' which overall have a sharper, less corrosive sound, showcasing the band in the early stages of their Death Metal era.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Henry Rollins & his chiseled jaw of destiny

This is Henry Rollins speaking at this years Coachella (wish i could have been there this year)

Coachella '09: Henry Rollins Speaks from Anthony DeFrancesco on Vimeo.

I fucking love Rollins, i love how outspoken he is - even more so probably now than in his heyday wreaking havoc with Ginn & co. This is what he's great at, interpreting a common social problem and relaying it back to people. I didn't really care for that video he posted mocking David & Victoria Beckham a while back, oh well who can argue with his eloquence?

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Drugs Party in 226

I am feverishly typing this post, desperate to relay to you just how fucking awesome-a-time i had on the weekend of Sunday 3rd of May.

My best friend and long time brother Jarrad had bought me a sweet ticket to see Cancer Bats live in Manchester. I was fucking stoked, having seen the Bats live twice before i could almost imagine them razing Manchester Academy to it's foundations.


We got into the city centre and met up, (Jarrad being from Lancaster) and headed off. Usually when in Manchester we crash at my cousin Shauns place but seeing as it was Bank Holiday weekend he had skipped off for some time away with family. BOLLOCKS, we were left without anywhere to stay, so first i suggested doing an all nighter round the fabled streets of picadilly to which Jarrad pointed out how unbelievably cold and vulnerable we would be. My answer to this was that we could keep ourselves warm 'using the fire thats in our hearts'.. this did not sit well with Jarrad.

After laughing in the face of Travelodge who demanded £62 for the priviledge of staying in their grey hell hole, we trotted off to find me some 'boat shoes' from town (i'm wearing them now and they're fucking sweet)

The Gig itself was as intense as i had thought it was going to be, the support acts SSS and The Plight came on and gutted the place raw. The vocalist from SSS even took a few cheeky pot shots at the Manchester crowd - with him being from neighbouring Liverpool. Cancer Bats ignited seconds into their opener and proceeded to rattle through a mind-blowing set, French Immersion, Sorceress, 100 Grand Canyon, Deathsmarch, even new track Engine Skull. Jarrad & I both crowd surfed our way to glory, I fell over the stage backwards and Jarrad took over the pit like an absolute maniac decimating teenagers like a rampant idiot.

Haha at one point Jarrad spotted a pasty looking kid wearing a sleeveless Minor Threat shirt, 'nice one' we both thought and i proceeded in asking him what his favourite MT track was, the response we got was 'Oh, erm to tell the truth i just bought the shirt i don't really know any songs' Dear God in Heaven, is that what it's got to nowadays? Posing as Punk?

Before the gig Jarrad had got talking to the Cancer Bats drum tech, Ben was his name & he wanted to know if J had any green, so after the gig i went up to him and asked if he was going to be partying with everyone at Big Hands (amazing little bar in Manchester) after the gig, he said yes and so off we went like little groupies. Ready to get smashed 'cos lets face it we had nowhere else to be and nothing else to do.


A few drinks in with inhibitions lowered i notice the amazing Katie P outside chatting with Bats and The Plight. So, as soon as she came in I grabbed her for a quick hello and went on to tell her i followed her on Twitter. She asked what we were both drinking and i replied with whatever Lager it was i was supping on, JARRAD on the other hand was drinking a raspberry beer from a ridiculously queer shaped glass and no sooner had he spoke these words he batted the empty bottle of beer across the bar and onto the floor for no real reason at all, i couldn't stop laughing.

Coming back from the HORRENDOUS bathroom i ran into drum tech guy, got talking and then invited Jarrad down to the other end of the bar with me and as a result of conversation with drum tech guy we were introduced to Scott Middleton the guitarist and furthermore Liam Cormier & Jay the bassist - who by the way was wearing the SWEETEST denim jacket with an embroidered Entombed patch. The night progressed with us talking to German folk, Jarrad got entangled in conversation with various members of The Plight and me and Jay huddled in the corner talking about Whisky, Ireland and the quality of British Crowds.




This was all going amazingly, until some time in the wee hours everyone slowly filtered out and left, leaving me and my bro to fend for ourselves on the harsh forgiving terrain of Manchester. Jesus i'm making it sound like an arctic tundra. After regretably stumbling into a questionable fast-food outlet we scurried off to the only apartment block stairwell we knew we could get into.

From my perspective things went fairly blurry from then on. I can remember laying down on a balcony and also violently throwing up down the stairs as if poisoned by the shit pizza i bought with shrapnel from my back pocket, i awoke on the ground floor oddly enough with my head on Jarrad's camera bag. I looked up to see him sitting on the stairs keeping watch in his words 'for rapists' like a giant Doberman.

The walk to Picadilly train station at 5 o'clock in the morning was one of the best walks ever. Everyone and everything was still asleep, it was still dark and me and Jarrad walked round at peace with life. I was still fairly drunk but to hell with that, after a brief stop for Jarrad to show me where he had been to a Bike meet we headed into the train station, slept for an hour on a chair, said our goodbyes and put this weekend into our own little history books. Fucking brilliant!


Jarrad took all these photo's, i love him for it. Check out his blog here. His account of events is better put together than mine.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Our Band Could Be Your Life

In Manchester on Sunday i went to Waterstones with the intention of buying a book chronicling the rise of Hardcore Punk, the journey from crusty, gutter punk ethics to what was unquestionably one of the most important independant art movements of the decade.

I came out with Michael Azerrad's 'Our Band Could Be Your Life' which delves into a river of anicdotal scenes springing from 13 bands and their uncompromising shared dream to push hardcore punk to the very forefront of what it could be. The plethora of bands featured weighs in with some big names such as Black Flag, Minor Threat, The Minutemen & Sonic Youth. It really is a yard stick in music journalism, voted by the guardian as one of the 50 greatest music books ever written.

It all comes from a brilliant journalist who already gave us the likes of Come As Your Are: The Story Of Nirvana

our band could be your life Pictures, Images and Photos