Archive for Motorhead

Wrap-Up: Heavy MTL 2011

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 17, 2011 by Lightning Slim

Heavy MTL 2011 - They apparently added a hint of FLQ, but I couldn't taste it.

With the next Heavy MTL now scheduled for August of 2012, I feel as though a collective sigh of relief has gone through the metal community, and it’s about damn time I posted some pics and memories from the summer. Here are some highlights:

Big Hit: My name is Slim, and I am now a big believer in the KISS experience. What can I say? The boys are a finely tuned entertainment machine. Everyone gets their money’s worth, paid back in pure spectacle and goofy, irony-free singalongs.

There's something I've been wanting to do all night. Possibly every day. Shit, what was it?

 On a smaller scale, Devildriver is definitely coming into their own – they rocked a hard set for an appreciative group of fans, many of whom were obviously there specifically to see them.

Big Miss: The Sword. Blame it on Canada Customs, blame it on bad border crossing paperwork, use the blamethrower all you like. You weren’t there, and it hurts the fans far more than it hurts you. What’s that? Touring with Kyuss a month later? Any special love for me with my MTL ticket? Guys?

Great as Expected: Motorhead (duh). Amazing as always for a cross-generational audience. There was also a buzz in the air as a re-Belladonna’d Anthrax took to the stage, and they did not disappoint with either old or new material.

Pleasant Surprises: Oldies but Goodies! Girlschool was cheerful, witty and a lot of fun, and Diamond Head was an absolute time-machine revelation. Very nice gents to meet, as well. Younger fishes-out-of-water Billy Talent made the most of a chillaxed and generous Montreal crowd to win a few hearts and minds by keeping a sense of humour about their deeply inappropriate presence amongst much harder acts.

Mo’ Canada: Quebec’s Blackguard seemed glad to bring  the speedy pain on the same bill as their heroes Children of Bodom, and Annihilator pulled Alexi Laiho himself out onstage to join them for a song or two. Good on you, Annihilator fans, for mounting the Facebook campaign to get them to the show in the first place.

Note the Habs logo on Laiho. Clever man!

Organization Bad: If you’re listening, Evenko: WE NEED AN AWNING FOR THE GRANDSTAND. I love things blacker than the darkest black times infinity, except if we’re talking about my sun-charred flesh. Some shade for us hallpass kids would be the cherry on the top of your already well-regarded VIP package.

Tasty, but ultimately ill-advised remedy for the giant hot thing in the sky.

Organization Good: Although the three-stage arrangement still led to a lot of running back and forth and missed moments, the sequestering of the third stage in a separate area (in a cool forest, no less!) meant at least the bands did not have to deal with sound bleeding between acts. Cooler, more diverse merch this time around as well, including giant belt buckles (a personal weakness).

The Vibe: Awesome as usual. Friendly people, a culturally rich city and tons of metal. The press were on hand, as well as some bloggers and amateur filmmakers. The feeling in the air was that if we can keep the momentum going it could really become a reliable summer festival.

A very refreshed young gentleman having his picture taken with who he thinks are Rob Zombie and Kerry King.

That’s it for 2011! Now the speculation games begin. Who will headline 2012? Will it have anything to do with a certain group of geezers and their announcement on Nigel Tufnel Day? I know I can’t wait to dissect and examine all the possibilities.  \m/ \m/! 

What metal hath joined, let no man put asunder.

 
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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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