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Album Review: TBA

Friday, January 25, 2008

Gig Review: Korn – Brixton Academy, London, 25/01/08

You know you’re at a Korn gig when the mic stand gets the biggest cheer of the night – once when it’s brought out and screwed to the floor, then again when the roadie returns, and with a magician’s flourish, removes its cover. There she stands, the golden goddess of metal, alone on the stage soaking up the applause. It’s insane to cheer an inanimate object but cheer we do. To be honest, support act Flyleaf’s leading lady, Lacey Mosley, was less animated. Like a rocked-out Bjork she stood, playing with her hair, giving us the odd flick of her dress whilst all around her band were leaping off every amp they could find. “We want Korn” was chanted in return. They deserved a little more and eventually received it.

But now the wait is over and Korn stride forth behind their huge booming intro music. Jonathan Davis is wrapped in his black kilt, Fieldy sporting his bluest bandana. They launch into ‘Right Now’ and we devil-horn our heroes and mosh like madmen. ‘A.D.I.D.A.S.’ gets the biggest roar and the accompanying singalong almost drowns out the band. Davis is lapping it up and prompts chanting and fist-pumping which are aped by one and all. Fieldy’s slap-bass is simply stunning and he pulls out that thumb on a regular basis, holding his bass aloft when he feels worthy of a cheer. Behind him the shocking blonde tub-thumper and backing vocalist is wildly windmilling his locks before roaring bloody murder into the mic.

“Why you guys so fucking quiet?” screams Davis during a break prompting a roar so deafening he demands silence. “I need you guys to shut up for a sec”, he yells before paying tribute to the efforts of the current guitar stand-in. If I’ve got this right, it’s Rob Patterson standing in on guitar for Shane Gibson who had to “sort some shit out” who was standing in for Munky who left late last year due to family issues. Phew.

They launch into ‘Coming Undone’, deftly switching to Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’ which is hollered by the whole Academy before slotting back into the song nicely again. Cracking stuff.

With the keyboards setting up the songs, intricately warping with complicated effect patterns and the drums adding vast snare drops the moshing and crowdsurfing intensifies. In fact, Ray Luzier’s drumwork is insanely complex with rapid cymbal work and mighty double-kick drills that ricochet off the walls. There’s a whopping great riser and when the dry ice is pumped on stage it truly puts him on a pedestal. Suddenly all attention is on Davis who has whipped out his bagpipes and is squeezing a truly awful sequence of drones from it but we cheer anyway – the man can do no wrong tonight.

Another cheer for ‘Faget’ and suddenly there’s a strong smell of pot smoke in the air. Must be the laser show that’s brought the stoners but, to be honest, it is mesmorizing. It wraps cages around Luzier’s kit and flashes dancing stars on the venue’s ceiling. The band shine even brighter as they gleefully whip through ‘Bottled Up Inside’, ‘Freak On A Leash’ and ‘Evolution’ before ‘Twisted Transistor’ prompts a whopping great circle pit down the front. They end on ‘Ass Itch’ which Davis claims is ‘totally my favourite track’ before disappearing off stage. The encore doesn’t quite illicit the same hero worship but it’s certainly shown that nu-metal still has a very important voice amongst its number – and that voice right now belongs to Korn.

Also online @ TLOBF =

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Gig Review: Darkest Hour @ Cambridge Barfly 23/1/08

Formed in 1995, Darkest Hour have shifted through a number of genres over the years and are currently settled on a mixture of hardcore, death metal and punk. Since the release of last year’s fifth album, 'Deliver Us', they’ve been blazing a trail across the globe and Cambridge’s tiny Barfly venue is the lucky recipient of their monstrous sound tonight.

The stage is smothered in smoking dry ice and the band coughs their way through whilst simultaneously launching into the anthemic 'Doomsayer'. Looking something akin to a metal Jon Bon Jovi, vocalist, John Henry, is up on the amps bellowing at the crowd with Paul Burnette not far behind, vertically raising his bass so we can worship it. Somewhere amidst the gloom is drummer, Ryan Parrish, pummelling away at his double-kick - the whole heady mix hits us like a speeding train.

These guys mean business and they follow up with 'Demon(s)', a beacon amidst the gloom as Kris Norris, with snake tattoos winding round his middle digits, blazes out some monumental shredding that Mike Schleibaum riffs with across the stage. Only as the mist finally clears do we spot the incredible artwork of Baroness’ vocalist John Baizley. As well as the impressive backdrop he’s obviously been let loose on Burnette’s bass guitar – perhaps that’s why he’s been so keen to show us it.

The crowd, a real mixture of emo haircuts, bag-clutchers and headbanging metallers, are lapping it up. Their attempts at a circle pit, when Henry calls for one, leave a little to be desired. It quickly descends into a push-fest to see who’s drunkest. As they start playing the older material, 'Accessible Losses' gets quite the cheer, the strobes kick off and the dry ice is booted back up to invisible levels. Drummer Parrish, blind from the smokescreen, decides to go for a wander and stalks the crowd coaxing them to clap the beat out for him. In tiny yellow shorts he decides to take out his frustrations on the Barfly’s unfortunate central pillar, which has been blocking his view throughout, by trying to impregnate it before returning to his kit to beat out the remnants of the new album’s awesome title-track, 'Deliver Us', and leave us all gasping for air. The darkest hour approaches and we filter out exhausted, but utterly exhilarated.

Also online @ Music-Zine =

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

News: Rolling The Sonic Dice

Hi folks. Thank you very much for your continued interest in my blog. All your comments and subscriptions are very much appreciated. Now that I have a large enough number of music reviews, my colleague and I are creating a dedicated music site called 'Sonic Dice' where my reviews will appear alongside those of our dedicated review team - hopefully good things will come of the collaboration. This blog will remain active in the meantime.

Sonic Dice Screenshot

Update Jan 2010: