Archive for Arch Enemy

I Show You My Stubs

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 6, 2013 by Lightning Slim

…from my concert tickets. A lot of metalheads save up their gig tix for trophy value. Especially in the days before cellphone cameras, they were a great way to say “I was there!” Back then, bands and venues would confiscate pocket cameras and recording devices; now of course everybody wants you to tweet their names far and wide.

I’ve never been very organized, so I’ve lost a lot of my stubs over the years. Recently I was cleaning house and found a stack of them which were very faded, so I decided to throw them on the scanner before consigning them to the circular file. Check it out:

Concert Tix

A fun walk down memory lane. What do you do with your old stubs?

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Riff Sammiches: 5 Multi-Riff Masterpieces

Posted in Lists with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 7, 2012 by Lightning Slim

Welcome to the first segment in my new “Lists” category. Lists are a tried-and-true method for bloggers to put up some content when they’re a little lean on material. People also like ’em because they’re so flexible and generate discussion. After all, everyone has their own personal lists and they love to compare. I’m hoping y’all are no exception, so here we go:
We’re all here because we love a good guitar riff, and there are many ways to put them together and make songs. Some artists are stingy or minimalists, and keep their riffs sparse within the tune. Others are total riff factories and splash them about liberally. Here are five tunes made better by generous helpings of guitar goodness. And yes, of course there are more out there, probably by Tool and Machine Head, but I did want to keep things under the 9-minute mark:

5. Bolt Thrower – “Contact – Wait Out”. Featuring an unloved and unfairly judged one-off vocal performance from Dave Ingram, Honour – Valour – Pride starts off with a track featuring an entry riff, a mid-song change-up at around 3:20 and an exit riff that eventually blends with the entry. Superb.

4. Arch Enemy – “Enemy Within”. Another album starter, this time built on one of the best intros in the genre and the big debut of Angela Gossow. I always have to listen to this track twice because as beautiful as the solo section is, the rhythm guitar work underneath it is just as interesting.

3. Iron Maiden – “Powerslave” C’mon, where do you think Arch Enemy got the idea? Sure, we all know the big title riff, but the middle section has enough spare six-string in it write at least three more songs. Those were the days, no?

2. Overkill – “Gasoline Dream”. No strangers to riff largesse, Overkill often close out their records with something even more big and epic. Sometime it has to do with their Overkill-themed masterwork, sometimes not. “Gasoline Dream” is one of the stand-alones, filled with speed changes, multiple ideas and a Sabbath-influenced acoustic ending.

1. Black Sabbath – “Symptom of the Universe”. Did someone mention Sabbath? Mad drum fills! Super-stoned bouncy-bass outro! Cybernetic unicorns! Containing something for literally everyone, “Symptom” is like seven songs in one; none of which make sense and all of which are great.

Album Review – Arch Enemy “Khaos Legions” 2011

Posted in Album Reviews, Sevens to Nines with tags , , , on June 18, 2011 by Lightning Slim

  If you’re worried about the slightly juvenile artwork and the Anarchist-Lite pretensions* of the press releases and photography, don’t be. Khaos Legions is Arch Enemy’s best album in years, channeling the spirit of Wages of Sin and providing focused, face-melting material for all to enjoy.

All the pieces are in place for a classic AE record. Angela Gossow’s vocals are big, bold and more processed than ever – a possible consequence of the physical strain her chosen style places on her diminutive yet determined body. Amott-powered riffs and solos soar and attack throughout the 14 tracks as the band drops some serious quantity as well as quality. In particular I give full marks to a sequence of tracks beginning with single “Yesterday is Dead and Gone” which blasts its way through five more songs without relenting for a moment. Any of those songs are top-20 material for an Arch Enemy tour, especially “City of the Dead”,  with a retro-vibe that would be at home on any of the Johan-era albums for its sheer ferocity and complexity. 

Too much fun to shelve as pretentious prog-thrash and too skilled to be dismissed as pedestrian, Khaos Legions is an early contender for the Class of 2011. 9 out of 10 

*It’s nice to see a bigger metal band paying at least lip-service to any sort of political agenda (Fear Factory is another), as opposed to the generalized misanthropy currently in vogue.

Deals and Steals: Rarities Old and New

Posted in Deals & Steals with tags , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2010 by Lightning Slim

 Long-awaited stuff in the old mailbox this time around. All prices $US. Without further ado:

Mighty Force – Hypnovel $1.31. Interesting EBM from early 90’s PWEI disciples.

Numb – Language of Silence $3.49. There’s an album after Blood Meridian? I didn’t know either. 

Judas Priest  – Touch of Evil: Live $4.40. Good material from the 2005-2008 reunion tours.   

Arch Enemy – The Root of All Evil $6.29. Early hits redux avec Angela.        

Peaches – I Feel Cream $6.29. Yeah, I like Peaches. Deal with it.

Junkie XL – Today $2.29 and Booming Back at You $3.97. My favourite big beat artist waxes alt-rock and then returns to his roots.

Wesley Willis – Rock ‘N’ Roll Will Never Die $3.41. If you don’t like Wesley you have no soul.

And now the big finds of the batch: 

  The Schoolyard Heroes – The Funeral Sciences $5.59. Hard to find, and no one cares but me. There’s a forthcoming article about why I love this horror/opera/punk band so much.
     

Doubting Thomas – Infidel $5.59. Also hard to find, but well worth it. Pre-Download project from the Skinny Puppy camp.

Lucky thirteen bucks shipping this time – I gotta start reviewing some of the things I’m bringing in!

Deals & Steals: Wild Abandon!

Posted in Deals & Steals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 16, 2010 by Lightning Slim
So I might have lost my shit a bit when I had a 30% off coupon at Second Spin the other day and ended up purchasing 16 new discs. Minor shipping damages this time, discussed below. All prices $US – without further ado here is this month’s glory and shame:

White Zombie – La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Volume 1 $3.77. How did I not have this before? Sure, it’s a classic but it’s overhyped, so I was biding my time…until now. Nightcrawlers: The KMFDM Remixes $2.09. Same thing, really.

The Kovenant – In Times Before the Light $2.64. Kovenant’s lost album. Should it stay lost? I figured it was worth finding out.

Spahn Ranch – Retrofit $1.10, Beat Noir $1.24, and Anthology 1992-1994 $3.27. I know I said I’d filled in my Spahn Ranch collection last time, but look at those prices! Cheap at twice the price for Constantine Maroulis’ gothier (and more musically adventurous) older brother. One’s a remix EP, the second a cabaret record and the third a catch-up compilation. The last one, a double set, was obliterated by the US postal service. I’m hoping that my bros at Beat Goes On can help me buff them back to life, but I think I can see light through the second disc. Ah, well.

Skrew – Dusted $1.66. I know it’s their best record, but it took me 15 years and a red tag less than a Starbuck’s Venti to get me over the stupidest album cover of ever.

Danzig – II: Lucifuge $5.59 and III: How the Gods Kill $4.89. This time the big money’s on the little guy.

Powerman 5000 – Somewhere on the Other Side of Nowhere $5.59. After this review, I’d be a hypocrite not to get this one. Still loving it!

Arch Enemy – Rise of the Tyrant $4.89. No-brainer.

Nailbomb – Point Blank $6.29. Record sounds exactly like the band’s name. This is a remaster with extra tracks, which is nice as the orignal was both noisy and short, if brilliant.

Music from the TV Series Angel – Live Fast, Die Never $6.29. Uhh, it’s for the missus. Really.

Laibach – WAT $5.59. In which Slovenia’s angriest anarchist art-robots show those youngsters in Rammstein that they Can. Not. Hang.

Anthrax – Anthrology: No Hit Wonders 1985-1991. $9.09. What a shelf filler! Two discs crammed with at least 75% of their Island tracks.

And today’s winner for value:

In Flames: The Jester Race/Black Ash Inheritance $5.59. Digipak with both releases together remastered. My interest in early In Flames was rekindled by the inclusion of “Goliaths Disarm their Davids” on a certain heavy metal video game.

Twenty bucks shipping – still puts me close to under $100 after the Canadian conversion. Not bad! — Slim

Decade Review: Ten Bands that Rocked the 2000’s

Posted in Album Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 6, 2010 by Lightning Slim

Decade Review: Ten Bands that Rocked the 2000’s 

This isn’t a best-of, more of a reflection on who had a good decade in my musical universe. Some artists are old masters making a comeback, some are newer bands that hit right around the Millennium, and some are just hard-working dudes who cranked out a good ten years’ worth of tunes without having any kind of meltdown. 

  1. Amon Amarth – With every record, they just keep getting better and better. Not too shabby, especially when they keep banging them out every 20 months or so like clockwork. While the past few years have been their time to shine, AA’s pagan thunder has people excited to see what’s next.
  2. Ministry – After starting the decade in rehab and stumbling out of the gate with Animositisomina, Al Jourgensen roared back into focus with his “Dubya Trilogy”. Ministry’s best moments have always been collaborative, and these supposedly final slabs of finger-pointing are fortified with the likes of Tommy Victor, Burton Bell and Paul Raven (RIP). If he really is done this time, the Alien has capped off his career with head held high. 
  3. Iron Maiden – In early 2000 I received a promotional postcard with a picture of Eddie on one side and one sentence on the other: “Bruce is Back.” Exciting, but that wasn’t the whole story, as Dickinson brought songwriting partner Adrian Smith with him and the band kept bonus guitarist Jannick Gers. Now a six-piece, the big boys of metal released three albums in the Zeroes. All of them are long, noodling and by no means The Number of the Beast, but at the same time they are consistently better than anything since Seventh Son. Maiden were also smart enough to realize that the new material isn’t as rousing onstage – their solution was elegant and ingenious: Dust off your ass-kicking 1985 World Tour gear, pack it on your own  jet plane and just do it all over again. This is captured in all its glory in the highly recommended documentary Flight 666.  
  4. KMFDM – In 1999 KMFDM released Adios, their farewell album. They’ve cheerfully made fun of this while making six studio albums and about a bazillion singles, remixes and side projects since. Bringing in Lucia Cifarelli brought an end to hired-gun female vocalists as well as adding another songwriter to the fold, and the often underrated Tim Skold had his fingerprints all over their third decade of bold-faced rip offs “conceptual continuity”. Still political, still angry, KMFDM have nonetheless loosened up a bit, presenting a little more Blackadder than black leather. 
  5. Amorphis – If Entombed and Chrome Division define Death n’ Roll, Amorphis created a kind of DoomPop with Tuonela, a record filled with the rich textures, lyrical imagery and saxophone (!) you’d normally get from artists associated with the singer/songwriter world. It’s the heaviest U2 album ever made. After that, things got a bit weird with two straight-up psychedelic releases before Eclipse, Silent Waters and Skyforger returned us to the land of the Kalevala with Tomi Joutsen as our upgraded tour guide. By mining the national epic for narrative, Amorphis became a band with stories to tell, the Neil Young of the metal world. 
  6. Arch Enemy – Obviously, it’s been a good decade for the “A” section of my shelves, and AE really got cooking with the addition of pint-sized punk menace Angela Gossow. Debate as you will about who did what first, Gossow has become the poster girl for female contributions to extreme metal. She’s made enough of an impression that the Arnotts have retroactively made her the sole vocalist of the band by putting her up front in early-hits redux record The Root of All Evil. Sorry, Johan! The band put out four studio albums in the Aughts (two great, one good, one so-so), toured relentlessly and recorded tons of live material. We don’t know what the Teens will bring, but as of right now, they are Kind of a Big Deal. 
  7. Rob Halford – I wonder if the Metal God likes to make lists? If he made one for the 2000’s, it might look a bit like this: Reunite legendary metal band Judas Priest – check. Successful solo records praised for their heaviness (thanks Roy Z!) – check. Clothing line, recording studio – check and check. Just for fun, make a well-received Christmas album – check. Do all of this as a gay man in his fifties – ka-check!
  8. In Flames – I’m still learning to love 2004’s Soundtrack to Your Escape (and might never), but otherwise it’s been full speed ahead for the Jesterheads. Arguments over which of Clayman or Reroute to Remain is better are futile, since both are excellent. The choruses have gotten punkier over the years (they do tour with hardcore bands a lot) but the band still lays a firm claim to their piece of the Gothenburg Sound.
  9. Danko Jones – He’s “big in Sweden”! Thus Danko complains to typically lackluster Toronto crowds whenever he plays at home. He can be moody with his non-emotive Canadian fans but it hasn’t stopped him from releasing several chunks of straight-up rock. They’ve all got some great numbers on them, and very little filler. Danko’s also one of the few guys operating today who sings about girls without sounding either emo or femicidal.  
  10. Apocalyptica – There’s that “A” again. 2000 was the year Apocalyptica stopped depending on cover songs and took off on their own with Cult. Each subsequent release added new elements to the cello quartet’s classical sound: Reflections has drums and a touch of piano, Apocalyptica throws in some vocalists and Worlds Collide finally fully embraces the big goth-rock mess of the genre they basically invented. I’m not as much a fan of the latter album, thinking that they lost some of their unique charm by putting too many kids on the vocal side of the teeter-totter. As a whole, however, they make this list by rising above the tide of “A Gimmick X Tribute to Band Y” to become their own masters.

 Honourable Mention: Motörhead, but then, it’s always their time.

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