It Doesn't Have To Be Right…

… it just has to sound plausible


Unrestful Music

Some bands are worth the hassle and expense of travelling halfway across the country to see perform. And that’s especially true for ones that haven’t played live for several years. One of my favourite bands is Mithras, an extreme metal duo from Rugby. They’ve released three albums, but they’ve not toured for several years. So when an opportunity to see them play came up, I was determined to go. Even though it was in London.

They were actually appearing with eight other bands at “The Day of Unrest”, the “Zero Tolerance All-Day Xmas Fest”, at the Purple Turtle in Camden on Sunday 14 December. Zero Tolerance is a metal magazine published by Mithras’ guitarist and his wife.

So I’ve been. And I survived. And Mithras were excellent live.

Myself and Calin caught the train down to London on the day and met up with Liam – who provided crash space (ta). Since Calin and I got into the venue early, we received Zero Tolerance goodie bags – a couple of CDs by obscure bands, stickers, posters, stuff like that. Ironically, I already owned one of the CDs in my goody bag. The Purple Turtle was a bit of a dump, but the staff were excellent – helpful and quick to serve.

Of the nine bands playing, Haxan were first up. They weren’t bad, but I’ll not be dashing out to buy the album. Let ’em Burn followed. Their singer was very entertaining, acting about and cracking jokes between songs. Nebukadnezza were quite good, and made a lot of noise considering there were only two of them. De Profundis I liked. Winterfylleth had their moments. Liam had appeared by this time, so we went out for a meal, and enjoyed some Thai food at a place near Camden Lock. Apparently various celebrities, including Mick Jagger and Jimmy Page, had eaten there. Back at the Purple Turtle, we caught the end of Infected Disarray‘s set, which meant we had missed Sarpanitum.

And then Mithras took the stage… And I knew it had been worth making the trip to see them. An almost constant barrage of blinding fast guitar work and 300 bpm drumming. I’ve no idea how they kept it up for their hour-long set. We were knackered afterwards, and that was from just watching them.

We stayed for ten minutes of Satori‘s set. But none of us likes drone all that much, so we left. And once we got to Liam’s we spent a couple of hours playing Guitar Hero. Fortunately, the game doesn’t feature any songs by Mithras

Then it was up early the next morning to catch a train home. St Pancras railway station is pretty impressive now, but it’s also freezing cold. It was the last time I was there, back in March.

On the train back, the bloke sitting next to me received a call on his mobile. Given his proximity, it was hard not to overhear his half of the conversation. And I was much amused to hear him rave about the gig he’d been to the day before… Coldplay at the O2 Arena.

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Så får vi önska våra lyssnare, god natt och tack för i dag

I saw one of my favourite bands perform live last night, Dark Tranquillity. It’s the fourth time I’ve seen them, and I’ve no intention of it being the last. This time it was the official tour for their latest album, Fiction (I picked it as one of my best albums of the year – see here). Um, we’ve had Fiction, and before that Character… What’s next? Plot? Exposition?

Anyway, while the set obviously focused on material from the new album, they did play songs from earlier releases. Including, for the first time for me, a track from Projector, ‘ThereIn’. They also played a song from their 1995 album, The Gallery. I don’t know of many bands who will happily play old material, and introduce it with “this is what we sounded like ten years ago”.

Anyway, here’s a video from Dark Tranquillity‘s Youtube page for you to enjoy. Or not.


Things That Make You Go… WTF?

I read science fiction, I listen to death metal. Which means a lot of people think I’m a little weird (quiet at the back). I, on the other hand, think this is weird: death metal songs about science fiction authors. And here‘s a science fiction anthology with an accompanying death metal CD (by the band from the earlier link, Blöödhag.).

I’ve ordered myself a copy.

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Stars on 45

I have a strange fondness for extreme metal cover versions of popular songs. Sometimes they work really well; sometimes, you wonder what the cover artist was thinking when they recorded the song.

Here’s one I like: it’s Led Zeppelin’s ‘Kashmir‘ by a Czech band called Silent Stream of Godless Elegy. They play doom metal influenced by Moravian folk music and deserve a wider audience.

Survivor’s ‘Eye of the Tiger‘ by Withering, on the other hand, is not so good. A rock anthem with growl vocals just sounds, well, silly. I should point out that Withering, a death/doom metal band from Finland, are actually pretty good. They’re not unlike Insomnium, a favourite band of mine. (I’ve seen Insomnium live twice, and they were excellent on both occasions.)