Slipknot – The O2


Given how close The O2 is to where I live this was the first time I had been there to see a concert. I went there a long time ago to see some tennis but this was the first music event. The “Millennium Dome” as it was known a long time ago was considered a GBP1 Billion white elephant in the early days of the Blair government. The display area was shit. I know, I went there. I never saw the “show” in the arena it was meant to be a bit like a circus – I guess there’s video of it but I care not. I’d also been a couple of other times most notably to see a Star Wars exhibition.

Anyway. Dave from work drove and we met up with Smith and Son. We ate. I drank. We entered the arena just after Behemoth had started.


I didn’t find them particularly good. They were quite boring. There wasn’t much dynamic shift to their songs and it was rather – meh. But still it was an opportunity to study the stage construction and layout of the arena. I noticed plenty of structural high beams, they were interesting, and the cable work holding up the PA system was impressive. Yep, that’s the sort of stuff I find interesting. I think it comes from having and engineering degree and thinking about how stuff works a lot.

The headliners were Slipknot. I was quite excited as I’d been listening to their stuff all week and I have to admit it’s pretty good stuff. It had also been quite a while since we had seen a metal headline act in an arena. Smith and I normally see either small bands in small venues or the classic M’era Luna festival in Germany.

The Stage and Slipknot
The Stage and Slipknot

Slipknot were pretty darn good. They kept the crowd going and all their songs were great. I really enjoyed it. At some points the mosh pit extended two thirds of the way back on the standing area and I don’t think I’ve ever really seen that before.

It was curious to see adverts for Slipknot stuff on the large screens before the band. They were advertising Knotfest which is an open air concert to take place at the National Bowl in Milton Keynes. Then, there was Slipknot whiskey made in Iowa. I mean, sure, you can buy it if you want but are you into a band that much that you want all your kit branded that way? In my experience it’s best to like the music, enjoy the shows and then not worry too much about the other stuff. Buying into a band completely always leaves you exposed to being failed when they turn out to be cunts. Not saying Slipknot are, just saying some bands are.

The Crowd and Slipknot
The Crowd and Slipknot

There was also an advert for some cruise thing from Barcelona to Naples with Slipknot appearing on board playing two shows. You can pay to be stuck on a cruise [honestly sounds quite nice] and then in the evening there will be some gigs. That’s not so bad I reckon. The Norwegian Jade will be a floating music festival and decked out like a museum to this Iowan band.

Slipknot Cruise Price List
Slipknot Cruise Price List

I don’t have this sort of money. The largest venue holds 2500 which is a reasonable size. It would be a pretty special time, but it is an outdoor venue and if the weather is shit you are screwed. Maybe the other bands would make it worthwhile? I don’t know. Maybe I’ll do this kind of thing once I’m retired.

Slipknot were pretty good on stage. There was the expected crowd interaction and I enjoyed it all. I don’t think I’m that fussed about seeing them again though. I think I am slowly seeking new things, new sounds or shows. My limit seems to be two times for seeing bands at the moment. I say this when I’m soon to see Aesthetic Perfection for the seventh time!

Good show. Good time. Enjoyed it. What more do you want?

Kill ‘Em All – Metallica

I’ll keep posting album reviews here while I suffer from such anxiety and anger about the current state of politics in this country and the world. The entire Brexit bullshit needs to be mostly ignored else I’ll get too worked up and angry about it all. An electorate who were lied to with illegal spending and Russian money voted to leave an organisation it knew mostly nothing about because of a systematic campaign over thirty years by right wing newspapers to remove cooperation and friendliness between countries. If you aren’t sure about that last bit then have a look at this website. It’s a list of all the lying claims by the UK press.

Now it’s time to be happy about reviewing this album. This album starts a small series of “Kill” albums that are bloody amazing and ground-breaking. Kill ‘Em All is the fist studio album by a tiny band called Metallica and while they are shit now this collection of songs is bloody amazing. The sheer raw power and energy in the songs is more than in anything else they have produced. It is probably something to do with Dave Mustaine having helped write a lot of it. Once you get to the Black Album it’s all gone wrong. I’ll review that one in about a year I guess.

I was asked recently what is the last decent Metallica song. I took some time and went with “Harvester Of Sorrow”. The question asker plumped for “Shortest Straw”. Fair play. Blackened is also a choice for that but the rest of “Justice” aren’t that good.

Back to “Metal Up Your Ass”. This album, in my view, helped create thrash metal as a genre and introduced chugging as a “note” to be used below lyrics rather than the swinging bouncy guitars used by Iron Maiden.

Hit The Lights – starts with a crash ending of a song and I’ve always loved that. It’s hard and busy.

The Four Horsemen – smashes you in the face with it’s blistering pace and makes you want to rush into the pit.

Jump In The Fire – would be great to sing out loud. It’s got a good moshing pace and plenty of Hetfield trademark “yah!”.

Pulling Teeth – blows my mind. The noise and cacophony that Burton pulls from the basss guitar makes me smile and wonder at the talent. When Ulrich enters the drums create a rhythm perfectly matched that gives a good swing to this bass solo.

Whiplash – I can remember playing this at top volume in school. We were in the sixth form and there was a music box in the common room, which was opposite the staff room. We would open the windows, put Whiplash on full volume and leave the common room leaving the music playing as loud and obnoxiously as possible to the staff trying to enjoy their break time away from those pesky kids. Fast, heavy and a standard song in thrash. Seeing Newstead play this at Download in 2013 was brilliant.

No Remorse – chugs away with a canter. Brilliant. No regrets.

Seek and Destroy – I don’t think you can get better on this album than this song. It’s my favourite and I love it. I once saw Metallica at Milton Keynes bowl and I think the concert was broadcast live on Radio 1. I got a friend to record it from the radio for me and the version they played there crunched away in my head for years. Brilliant.

Metal Militia -we all are aren’t we? Why don’t normal people “get” this music? Why is it that when you play metal to someone who doesn’t understand you can hear their brains pop? You can see the disconnect in their minds as they struggle with the noise. I’ve tried to persuade people to metal over the years and now I don’t bother. I’ve tried playing aggrotech to people but they don’t get that either. It’s all fine by me. Being at a music festival with eighty thousand people all enjoying the same music gives a kinship.

Gardens Of Seth – Reaper

After getting into aggrotech I was searching for music. Reaper was an artist I really liked, the album The Devil Is Female is pretty awesome. So, I found some more albums by Reaper. But, it turns out there are three artists called Reaper. I’d downloaded all of them. The Gardens Of Seth is labelled as “METAL” on my phone to remind me that it is an album of metal and not hellectro.

Do I like the album? I haven’t listened enough. It’s pretty hard and heavy with large themes overall. It’s an occasional listen.

AFAIK the band are Italian.

Disaster Area Gig 20 March 2015

So, here’re some photos from the Disaster Area gig on the 20 March. Our set list, although small, was perfectly formed.

  • Detroit Rock City
  • Symphony of Destruction

The quality of these photos is terrible, mainly because they’ve come from the Disaster Area Facebook page. If you really want to see more head over to that stuff. As I’ve explained before: I don’t do Facebook.

Mastodon – Brixton Academy

I travelled to the lovely Brixton Academy last night, although it might be called something other than that. In my [not really] long time on this glorious planet I have always known the Academy as the Academy and so it shall remain in these communications.

Mastodon were the band of choice last night. I would describe them as a modern 70s rock outfit. Complex musical riffs and tunes, pretty impressive drumming and harmonious vocals leading the way.

Anyway, the first band up were Krokodil. They did nothing for me. Had they lost a guitarist and then had some singing instead of shouting then I could have been persuaded but I spent most of the time considering the audience and surrounds. The Academy is a lovely building, an ex theatre, with a sloping floor so everyone gets a good view. The art-deco interior makes this a high class venue compared to the underground grot [meant nicely] that is Elektrowerkz.

Before Big Business
Before Big Business

Big Business were a two-piece, bass and drummer. Their music was initially impressive and powerful but after a while I was bored. The attraction of just a bassist and drummer wore off and the songs lacked something. I wasn’t moved.

Big Business
Big Business

Mastodon came on at around 21:20. Like most bands they started with their last first song from the latest album. They played until around 22:45 and played lots of songs. I have no idea what songs they played because I don’t know the names of the songs. I could hum them to you, but that wouldn’t work well in this forum.


They were impressive. The sound was heavier than I was expecting as the I have earmarked the albums as 70s rock. There were simple rock riffs and complex twiddly bits. It was nice to hear different singers but sometimes the levels were a bit low, not sure if they turned the microphones down between songs or if I was just slightly in the wrong position to hear correctly, I was near the front directly in line with the SL guitarist.


Overall this gig is rated as SOLID. The music was good and I enjoyed it but there are other bands I would enjoy more. Combichrist is soon and I am rather excited for that!

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There’s a few things I’ve remembered from the show. An odd thing was that once Mastodon had finished the drummer came forward and spoke for what seemed liked ages but was probably only a few minutes. I think he was saying that London “gets” Mastodon. It was nice but very strange. Also, there was no encore. This is great. Play your stuff and then get off.
More! Some young girls (probably about 20) were smoking in front of me. A little part of me was jealous of the carefreeness of this, part of me was annoyed at the smell and part of me was proud of the rebelliousness.
Even more! A plectrum from one of the guitarists fell right in front of me. I put my foot on it and I thought I’d pick it up once people had moved away but one of the aforementioned girls went down to pick it up. She offered it to me, but I let her have it. It’s a plectrum.
And even more! I bumped into an ex-pupil who was at the show with his girlfriend. He was in a metal band while he was at school and they were pretty good. They don’t get together much now but he’s working on new stuff. I wish him all the best. When he left school he gave me a book about Metallica. Good kid.

Five Finger Death Punch

I snuck into London last night to see Five Finger Death Punch at The Forum in Kentish Town. Curiously Kentish Town didn’t look as Kent-like as the name implies. Here’s a power station viewed from the fast train from Ebbsfleet to St Pancras [who was a Roman convert to Christianity and beheaded for his belief].


I had a pleasant walk from the London terminus to The Forum, about 40 minutes, and waited in The Assembly Rooms for Smith. Once he had arrived we chatted and ate. The queues to enter the auditorium were large, but gave us time to digest the contents of the flyers we were handed before discarding them in the traditional manner.

The first band on were called Pop Evil. They played ROCK. It was ok. Not to my current tastes but they were a good warm up band.


Then, on came Upon A Burning Body. A band from Texas. They played pretty good music although I couldn’t understand most of what the singer sang. This didn’t worry me, I don’t really do lyrics. Although I wouldn’t go out of my way to see this band again they were pretty good over all. I liked the suits they wore.


During their set all the lights stopped working and they carried on while lit from torches held by security and the guys in the “desk-in-the-middle”. The pit opened up in front of me and it was quite funny to see this close. Young men running in circles and generally pushing into each other. The atmosphere was one of comradeship as when someone fell down after being hit, they would be helped up by everybody. I saw a couple of rugby tackles and at some point it turned into a competition to see who would be the last man standing. Then, it went wrong. A short tubby man decided he was going to hit with his hands. He threw a punch and got warned to stop by most in and around the circle. He had gone too far. You don’t intentionally hit people in this small world of machismo. Then he threw another punch, caught a chap on the chin and stood gloating. About five guys rushed at him, pushing him to the floor and then two of them dragged the guy to the side and security. I didn’t see him again. As much as most people would look in horror at “the pit” it’s actually a safe place where, if you accept the rules, you will be looked after and everyone has the same needs.

Five Finger Death Punch burst onto the stage playing “Under and Over It”. There was energy and excitement. They played well and have a good stage presence. I was really impressed at Download last year and so was looking forward to this. They played songs. I don’t know the names of the songs. I just recognise them. I’m pretty sure my head is full up and can’t learn new song names. Also, the way I listen to music has changed. I no longer sit in my bedroom staring and the record sleeve, I play music while running, driving or working.


It was a solid gig. They played well. They played 3 ballads too many. I hate ballads. The atmosphere gets lost and the energy of the room fades during ballads. Also, as a rock child of the eighties, ballads were how bands promoted themselves. They had their place but are not necessary anymore.

The set finished at 22:30. This made the FFDP stage time about seventy minutes which was rather short. I was hoping to hear four more hard and heavy songs when the houselights went up. I was left feeling a little disappointed. They didn’t quite “bring the house down” in my opinion. A big problem for me was the singing of the chorus to Champagne Supernova by Oasis. I never liked Oasis. I think they wrote poor songs, sang badly and were hyped in a battle with a group of real intelligent people who could write songs. Don’t be a metal band and then play some Oasis. They were shit. It’s shit and it makes you shit.


Rock Identity

For practically all my life I have been a fan of heavy metal. See this communication about my descent into metal.

For me the 80s were filled with early flirtations with pop, from Madonna to Frankie Goes To Hollywood and then into Heavy Metal and Rock. I love Iron Maiden and AD/DC following on from Bon Jovi and Def Leppard in 1987. Come the very late 80s and early 90s I descend into thrash with Megadeth, Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax. I see these bands regularly along with new British metal bands such as Wolfsbane and The Almighty.

During university I don’t really expand my musical tastes a great deal. My major discovery (via Smith) is Senser and their cross-over political rock and rap. This sustains me for a few more years along with Alice In Chains.

My music buying diminishes as I start my career and I don’t really get into new bands for a few years. I don’t have a network of friends who can inform me of new things and I don’t live in London. I spend a number of years sustaining myself on the stuff I already own. I still see bands like Iron Maiden and Slayer when they come along, but nothing small or new.

In the early 2000s someone gives me her Rammstein CDs (Sara T) and I find the sound fascinating and new. It’s exciting. Along with seeing Slipknot perform on the TFI Friday television programme I have found something new. Something a little scary and something that seems dangerous. All the music I have grown up with seems rather tame in comparison to these new sounds. I played them over and over. Until around 2009 not much happened until Smith returned from abroad and he and I started attending gigs and concerts together again.

In 2009 I saw two bands. AC/DC at Wembley Stadium and I loved it. They were brilliant and I their music has brought me so much pleasure over the years [so much so that I wore out my musical cassette version of “If You Want Blood, You’ve Got It”]. The other band I saw that year was Rammstein. Their stage show is just absolutely brilliant. If you don’t believe me then just search YouTube for “Buch Dich”, it is quite brilliant, a little bit dangerous and something to cause moral outrage amongst the leading classes. The support band for Rammstein was Combichrist and that is when the trouble started.

After hearing Combichrist and being impressed with their sound I ordered a CD.

Today We Are All Demons

This music was exciting, different, morally dubious, scary and just damn brilliant. It made me want to dance (something I just don’t do). The big problem was that there were NO GUITARS and it was all SAMPLES and DRUM MACHINES. For someone who likes his music live and reproducible without machines this caused major issues. Why did I like this? Was I going insane? How can I like music with a complete lack of heavy guitars and bursting riffs? I was at the tip of the mountain staring down a great big slippery slope to the valley of “not real” music [as far as my metal head would tell you].

I bought more Combichrist stuff and started to look at their influences and associated acts. I bought more. Bands like:

  • Aesthetic Perfection
  • Reaper
  • Suicide Commando
  • Funker Vogt
  • Hex-Rx
  • Panzer AG

Pretty much all of this is what I would now call EBM, Aggrotech or Hellektro. These names are good because it means I am back on the edge of society and seeking to be different with my music. When Metallica took the world by storm in 1992 or so I was done with them. Their sound had changed and I didn’t like it any more. The “edge” had gone. This new music I had found has an edge. It makes me feel uncomfortable [sometimes] and it is different.

I have tried to describe it to friends and I say:

It’s heavy metal without any guitars. The lyrics are nasty and the tunes are awesome.


It’s kinda dance music but without the nice lyrics and happy stuff.

I have leant this stuff to friends who like the same sort of metal as me and they don’t really get on with it. They apologised and handed back the USB stick. That’s fine by me because it means I can carry on feeling “on the edge” and liking the music. This stuff ain’t ever going to be mainstream. It sometimes sounds like it should be playing in a night club on a Saturday night but then I have no idea what sort of stuff these people would play. I’d love to be in a club and hear this stuff come on and the crowd just freak out because it hurts them.

I am struggling to come to terms with my new found musical taste. It irks me that I’ve gone for samples and drum machines. I’ve been to see these people play. I’ve liked their music. I’ve had a great time. Yet still the 18 year old me is somewhat miffed at this odd turn in my ear pleasures. As an extreme I have seen a “band” with three Apple Macs on stage and a few leads and then they danced around pressing the odd key here and there. I loved it. There’s a tiny part of me that isn’t sure it’s music but I like it anyway. Over time I’m sure I’ll heal this mental riff. Much like I’ve got used to being a university snob when at the age of 17 I hated that person!

If you want to try this stuff then have a look for the following tracks:

  • 190 – Reaper
  • X-Junkie – Reaper
  • Hit The Streets – Aesthetic Perfection
  • In The Pit – Combichrist
  • God Bless – Combichrist
  • Tip The Dancer – Panzer AG

I am now listening to more industrial stuff. The following bands are on my current active list:

  • Faderhead
  • Eisbecher
  • Rotersand
  • Front 242
  • VNV Nation

My metal taste buds are still there. I watched Mentallica last night. I went to Download last year. I’m going to see Therapy? and FFDP soon. However, this Hellektro is here to stay and just wonderfully stunning: suck on that 18 year old me!

Download 2013 – My Friday

I left work and battled through the traffic at the Dartford Tunnel and then the M1 just being busy. I found the hotel easy enough and Andy had left the key under the door mat so that all worked out ok.
Had some rum and got a cab to the festival. It took at good 25 minutes to walk from the taxi rank to the main arena. I tried getting in touch with Andy but with so many mobiles around a concentrated site the signal was appalling.

I'm In
I’m In

Bullet for my Valentine
I could hear and see this band as I was walking around the arena trying to get some food and Jagermeister. They sounded alright. Not really my stuff, but not the worst in the world. I was more interested in seeing the Friday night headliners.

Bullet For My Valentien
Bullet from the Jager tent

More Bullet
More Bullet


I have know about this band for a long time. My first contact with them was when they played “Wait and Bleed” on TFI Friday in about 2000 or so. I bought the first album straight after that and then even the next two. I hadn’t bought any more and didn’t really listen to it that often. That will change. They were fantastic. The show was excellent and has made me a huge fan.


Slipknot 1
Slipknot 1

Slipknot 2
Slipknot 2


Slipknot The End
Slipknot The End


After the show it was great to meet with Andy and his parents. On the way back to the guest house we argued about the usual things we argue about!

Body Count – Body Count

I’m sorry. Who?
Singing metal?

That’s right. Ice-T has a band called Body Count and they play metal. Ice-T “sings” his stuff. This is a great album. It makes me laugh and slightly sad at the same time. Ice-T definitely has a message to portray and it seems to be one about the desperation of black people in society and getting laid. It’s funny how these things fit the music but when written down they just don’t scan very well.

My favourites:

  • Body Count’s in the House
  • Body Count
  • KKK Bitch