• Will Haven - Voir Dire

    24 okt 2011, 20:27

    I was nervous about the release of this album. Having anticipated it's arrival as much as I did, it could have been a huge disappointment. I needn't have worried. Voir Dire is like all the best bits of all the best horror films I have ever seen in the form of music. There is an effortless brilliance about his album. A disparing landscape filled with longing and regret, punctuated with momets of hate and hope. The genre monkeys who love to label everything will have a nightmare with this one. It matters not what you call it. Voir Dire is Will Haven at their visceral best and may come to rival Carpe Diem as my favourite album of theirs. What strikes me about this album is it's completeness. All too often albums are just a bunch of songs a band wrote with the best tracks put at the start. Voire Dire flows emotionally and moves from one song to the next without any need to cherry pick your favourites. I also think there is more variety on this album than they have previosuly achieved.

    Put yourself in a darkended room and immerse yourself in the anxiety laden world of Will Haven. Genius that too few will appreciate. Bring on November 11th!
  • Tool at Brixton Academy

    23 aug 2007, 16:03

    Tue 21 Aug – Tool, Russian Circles

    I will try not to indulge my desire to rant and formulate long sentences with no grammar which melodramatically overstate the emotion of a situation or event which ultimately leads to a lack of interest and respect from readers. Crap, failed already. Fine, well to start with I am never going to Brixton Academy again. Unless I get right to the front I can’t see the stage being 5’8’’, and the sound always resembles something being filtered through the rectum of a dead cow or some similarly unpleasant entity. I had predicted to my friends that the sound of Russian Circles would be appalling. Bass, bass and more bass with some drums for a bit of variety. Now for a band that is heavily guitar driven when achieving its structure and melody this seems a bit counterintuitive. I have listened to their material and feel they have some interesting ideas similar in nature to bands like ISIS, Cult of Luna, Oceansize, Pelican and even some of the guitar work of Mastodon. None of this was evident in this performance and they may as well have just played with the bass and drums. This band would probably be great in a small venue. ‘Oh well, Tool will be good’. And that they were. Visually stunning as usual with great songs performed brilliantly. Maynard Keenan has an unbelievably good voice live. Tool are one of the great bands that will be remembered and talked about for many many years. It’s hard to think of a better live rock band around at the moment. Despite all of that I still found myself hating Brixton and wishing I was seeing them at Wembley Arena again where the sound was perfect and I could see absolutely everything and the set was 2hrs not 1 and a half. I may be letting my imagination get the better of me but the atmosphere at Brixton always seems more subdued too. This was Tool! And all that could be mustered was mild overexcitement. Having seen Sepultura 4 nights previously where complete strangers were hugging and everyone was stumbling out radiating with a positivity only an amazing gig can produce, this felt flat and disappointing. The same positivity could be felt at Wembley Arena where Tool were perfection. I guess what I am trying to say is that the venue spoilt what should have been a great night rather than just a satisfactory one. London’s total ineptitude at providing a transport system that works didn’t help either.

    I really hope we start to see more modern music venues being built that offer both better sound and visibility to all.
  • Sepultura at Islington Academy

    23 aug 2007, 16:01

    Fri 17 Aug – Dante XI World Tour 2007

    When I was 16 the album Arise was the most powerful and personally important thing I had ever listened to. My love for Sepultura grew as I followed their subsequent releases and explored albums prior to Arise. The departure of Max hit me hard but news of a new frontman filled me with excitement. Sepultura have since gone on to make some great music but have arguably never been as consistent musically and have certainly not been as successful commercially. I have only seen them live twice, the first occasion being with Slayer and System of a Down at the Astoria in 1998. This event at the Islington Academy was my second time.

    I really have very little to say about the support bands. I will point out that I am open to new music and have always disliked those who sit at the bar outside waiting for the main band. I never miss support bands. On this occasion I wish I had. The support wasn’t overtly offensive it was just plain uninspiring. I won’t exhaustively explore the reasons for this opinion but let’s just say almost all aspects were poor.

    Given the long gap since seeing them last and the weakness of the support bands me and my two friends were slightly anxious about the current credentials held by Sepultura. Oh dear lord, how wrong could we be? From the moment they came on stage to their graceful exit they were imperious. You could point out the lack of microphone sound for the first 30s of the set which had Derrick Greene, who really does look like the predator, looking rather amused. However this was forgotten the instant his vocals came powering through the speakers. His stage presence is immense in all ways and I believe he is a much greater frontman than Max was, and indeed a better vocalist. Andreas Kisser’s guitar work is passionate, immaculate and very much his own. The set was perfect, mixing up old classics with the better stuff from the more recent albums. The encore was predictably Roots which finished off my already exhausted body. The atmosphere was amazing with everyone grinning ear-to-ear in the mosh pit. Seeing a band like this in a venue so intimate is special. If you have never seen them live and like your music heavy and performed with class see them before it’s too late.

    As a final note the new drummer was superb.
  • Live performances

    8 aug 2007, 11:29

    I have seen a number of bands live whose albums I really liked but performed so poorly that I found myself no longer interested in listening to their music. Conversely I have also seen bands live that were so good I went out and bought all of their back-catalogue and wondered why I hadn't heard of them before. There is something about knowing a band can do it on stage. When you listen to an album of a band like Tool you know they are imperious when it comes to the live version. This certainly enhances my affinity for a band and their music. I saw Rammstein a couple of years ago. Prior to seeing them live I really enjoyed listening to their music. The stage show they put on was more suited to a pantomime than a rock concert and I found myself bored and not paticularly listening to the music. Since then I have rarely listened to them. I think most bands know the importance of perfoming well live, after all it is often the means by which they promote themselves and their music. A recent example would be Biffy Clyro who have repeatedly performed brilliantly live and slowly built more and more of a following. Now they can rely on MTV to promote them.
  • That sinking feeling

    6 aug 2007, 16:07

    Biffy Clyro
    I have been a fan of Biffy Clyro for nearly four years and in that time I have seen them live on three occasions. Each time they performed quite brilliantly. What I have always loved about Biffy is the way they make really complicated intricate music sound effortless and instantly memorable. Lyrically they are very good too. I remember when I first saw them live and was sceptical about how they were going to achieve some of the sounds and vocal layering that they achieve on the albums. Little did I know that all three of them could really sing and nail it live. So why do I have a sinking feeling? Having listened to their latest album several times now, I am left in anguish at the lack of classic Biffy and pondering why so many songs sound like Foo Fighters and Blink 182. Both of these bands are highly competent and have made songs I really like. They are however not of the class of musicianship that Biffy possess. There are moments on the new album that hit the spot and resound triumphantly with true Biffy time signatures and tightness of sound. These moments are sadly far too infrequent for me to consider this album anywhere near the quality of 'The Vertigo of Bliss'. Having said all of this, the live version of this album is still worth seeing as Biffy live is something to be treasured. Class is permanent as they say and I have no doubt Biffy will make great stuff again.