Thursday, 17 January 2013

Download Announcement 16/01/2013

            Ahhh so we had a massive annocment at 9 this morning and like shit I was awake at 8.40 somehow, I’m not a morning person and I don’t like coffee so this was the best start that I theoretically could have hoped for seeing as the rest of the day involved a pointless journey to Cardiff and back. But here goes:-
          Ima just make my way down the poster so KoRn return to Download after a 1 year break, nothing against Korn and I always plan on seeing them, but I never do, this time however there here without the back-up of their new dub step back ups and will have to rely on the classics I guess, I have nothing against that and seeing them positioned belowBullet For My Valentine (personal opinions aside) gives a fair reflection to the drawing power of possibly three of the biggest bands of the last 20 years. Despite everything that’s happened with this band, they are always welcomed at Download and check out their performance from 2009 for universal approval.
          Enter Shikari finally the band I’ve been waiting for to be announced for years are coming and their armed with possibly their best album to date and two steller performances from Reading and a show that I caught in Cardiff last year with LetLive and Your Demise. Currently writing this I am 11 days away from actually going to my first overseas gig to watch them team up with the Cancer Bats in Paris, ohh the joys of travel. Maybe Shikari could have been higher up on this stage, especially taking into their chart success and the quality of bands playing last year, I can only presume it is because of Shikari’s lack of appearances that have led to their position, still however, they have the possibility to be the band of the day.
          Down every festival needs a southern head nod, a time when you can just sit back with a bear in the sun (Hopefully, I don’t want to jynx that shit) and just be tranced by excellent tunes and just nod your head. Down bring heavy riffing and a bluesy beat something seldom gets much mainstream approval, however this supergroup do their music like nobody else.
          Asking Alexandria, again, personal opinions aside, this band are in the decent position on the main stage to finally make a name for themselves. A few years ago there was a lot of buzz around this band and I tried to check them out in ’11 but the tent was jam packed… since then however the band seemed to have gone quiet whilst vocalist hasn’t seemed to gain much sympathy from the metal audience. Who knows?        
          On to what looks like the Saturday and there’s Alice in Chains, As far as I’m concerned this band need no justification for being on this bill at all, the bands return has singled them out as one of the best hard rock/metal bands of the 90’s whilst 2009 album ‘Black Gives Way to Blue’ (my album of the year for that year) shows that Cantrell and co. reinvigorated with a new vocalist still have what it takes.
          UFO? Yeah don’t know anything about them, sorry, but I’m sure they’ll pull a decent crowd. Young Guns however have a lot to prove, I’m not too sure how their last album went down, but I haven’t heard anything from the band since the release of the single Bones, still there were some anthemic songs on that album, and along with ‘All of Our Kings Are Dead’ they should pull off a good show.
          Onto Friday, I have no idea how I missed Parkway Drive, I can only assume I was tired, or taken in by another band announced, more on that later. Great band, probably my standout band at Sonisphere 2011 and the best band on the bill at the Bring me the Horizon shows earlier in the years, armed with a decent bone crunching album, Parkway are on their way to owning this festival just by showing up. Five Finger Death Punch, what happened to these guys, again a few years ago everyone was raving about them, and then the guitarist went missing… and then did the rest of the band really, I know they released an album last year that had a good single but I didn’t check it out, so maybe they can regain some ground this time round.
           Now here is the band I am now going to see, I don’t care how many times I have to see them, or where, the Cancer Bats are coming and by the looks of thing are taking their place on the main stage this year. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not, but I thought it would be a bad thing for Gallows and I was proved wrong and the same with Suicide Silence. Eitherway, Cancer Bats Rule.
          Gaslight Anthem, honestly I’m not the biggest fan of the hard rocking band, however during the monsoon of Download in 2011, The Gaslight Anthem we’re the first band that made me smile the entire day, with really good tunes and a blatant want to be performing at Download the band won me over and really put to shame many of the bigger bands on the bill that day.

           And now the bands without stages:-
Jimmy Eat World- that’s a stock that’s fallen, last time they were at Download they were sub-headliners, I predict they’ll still be pretty high on the second stage however and a chance to see pop-punk’s 21st century hero’s can’t be snuffed at.
3 Doors Down- Never really got into them, but everyone must know Kryptonite, right?
VolBeat—What a band, awesome hard rock band who love to perform and have the tunes to back it up, an excellent addition to any line-up.
Airbourne—or YEAHBOURNE, over the last few times Airborne have played UK festivals they have a got themselves a reputation as a hard rocking party band that are literally climbing the walls on stage, so it will be interesting to see where they take it this time round
Motionless in White—I actually quite like their gothic industrial music but that could be because there making music I wish Manson was still capable of, it will be interesting to catch them live.
Converge—A formidable band both live and on record, Converge bring a Grindcore/hardcore sound made for tents at festivals for people to go ape-shit.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Top 20 Albums of 2012

1. Enter Shikari- A Flash Flood of Colour.

         2012 is probably the year mainstream rock music and dance and electronic beats became an overbearing mess. The two reasons why already this modern idea isn't working are as follows, 1. Every band who haven’t been around for 2 years are trying it and secondly, Enter Shikari have completed it.
              A Flash Flood of Colour combines the radio-rock feel that has united a mass of Shikari fans along with a dub and dance beat to astounding heights, along with some of the best lyrics written this year including ‘Yabba-Dabba-Do One’ but what makes this my stand-out album is just how progressive and current this album feels, the recording is astoundingly great and Shikari are a cut above most of the current radio-friendly rock bands who have the world at their feet.

2. Devin Townsend- Epicloud

     Devin Townsend is a genius, just a glance at the man makes you think either serial killer or madman. And the fact is that he is a madman, but the way he translates the ideas in his mind into music is inspiring and really puts to shame most artist making a living in the music industry. The Devin Townsend Project just expands the work that Heavy Devy has established. Want metal; there’s Strapping Young Land. Want current Prog/metal/ambient? There’s his solo album. Want a mixture along with the most insane theatrics ever put to MP3 format? There is the DTP. 
          Epicloud (A fantastic title btw) takes a few listening to get into, but once you’re into it, it’s almost impossible to put down, mixing Devin’s technical music ability along with the range of his vocals and converging that with hooks and choruses. Not as bonkers as Ziltoid… but nothing really is, but a lot more out there than most things you’re gonna hear this year.

3. The Smashing Pumpkins- Oceania

          What a return to form, I've had a pretty hectic year and I've found help in Pumpkins ‘Mellon Collie…’ album, but anyone who’s tracked their (their?) Billy Corgan’s plight since ‘Siamese Dream’ will have noticed that Corgan has been searching for a new muse for years. As soon as ‘Zeitgeist’ reclaimed Pumpkins’ place within the world of Alternative Rock it was clear that even a happy Corgan wasn't going to be enough to reclaim their former glories. 2012 saw a mental return, this time Corgan uses himself as the must again, using an influence of spirituality and modernizing their sound of monstrous choruses and vocals you wish you could replicate, a fine return from Corgan.

4. Cancer Bats- Dead Set on Living


          This album was inevitably going to be in my top ten, not because Cancer Bats are like my favorite band at the minute, not because they are the best live band on the circuit at the minute or because they are the coolest bunch of guys in music but because with the Cancer Bats you never really know what you’re going to get. Yes there is hardcore parts, and yes there are southern rock influences, but also because this album as ever is full of chest pounding choruses, and anthemic life confirming songs such as the title track itself and more self-reflecting lyrics. Cormeir as ever is on top-form but is outclassed by the single guitar player Scott Middleton who makes it sound like there are three guitarists in the band. 

5. Gallows- Self Titled


                     2011 was shocked with Frank Carter’s departure from Gallows, I don’t think anyone knew how Gallows could keep it together without Frank. Eventually it replacement was named, Canadian Wade McNeil, an obvious massive change from the pure British brutality helmed by Frank’s cockney lyrics. The first time I saw them at Download this year there was an obvious apprehension in the tent, as soon as ‘Misery’ was over Gallows had won the day with their live show, but could the album ever replicate the success that the band have had previously? That remains to be seen, what can be said however is that, despite this being a pure hardcore album, Gallows have opened up and started writing music on a wider range of topics showing that the Kings aren't dead and that they are still one of the most forward thinking bands around. 

6.We Are The Ocean- Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow

          Here we have a band that have yet to release an album that sounds similar to their previous works, in their 3 studio albums and E.P. WATO, have transformed their sound from Alexisonfire sounding Post-Hardcore to the modern sound of radio rock, it isn’t what I wanted from the band but that’s irrelevant when looking at the quality of this release. The first without ‘rougher vocalist’ Dan Brown,  anyone who’s heard the band know which one that is, and despite and really poor performance at Download earlier in the year, WATO have released an album of pure quality and finally seem to be using now remaining vocalist Liam Cromby to their fullest.

7.Billy Talent- Dead Silence
          Now not that the Talent boys release bad albums, but BT:3 was definitely their weakest work. With Dead Silence Billy Talent just trample anyone who stands in their way with their finest version of pop-punk, with great hooks, bouncy songs and chorus’ that stick in your head for hours, Dead Silence is an album that you will find yourself singing along to after only a few listens.

8. Every Time I Die- Ex-Lives
           What I've heard this album described as is a Every Time I Die album by numbers, 11 tracks that is nothing new but implements the bands place amongst the best bands in metal music. I see it more as a greatest hits album full of tracks you've never heard of, what I mean by that is that, there’s nothing here you haven’t heard before  but it’s still a collection of great songs that every ETID fan needs and a great album for those who have never heard the band.

9.Architects- Daybreaker
          If there was an award for the ‘Return to Form’ it would have been stolen by Architects, Daybreaker is itself one of the finest straight up metal albums in years. And by that I mean it holds the bar over albums such as Deep Blue, Grave Times and pisses over newer and ‘fresher’ metal bands such as Of Mice and Men and Heart of a Coward. In short a brutal, refreshing and exceptional return to form.

10.Rush- Clockwork Angels
          There’s a line this albums from the song ‘Halo Effect’ that goes, ‘What did I care, Fool that I was, Little by little I’ve learned’ that really sums up the before and after process of this album for me, when I first saw it I got it because I was bored and wanted something new to listen to, despite knowing of Rush’s at times exceptional back catalogue, I was not expecting anything from this. ‘The Fool That I Was’: Clockwork Angels is an album of 12 fine progressive anthems with enough similarities in the vocals to keep my punk side happy, whilst with enough musical mastery to keep my progressive side more than satisfied. Rush in 2012 the wizards of the prog world. Wow that’s lazy journalism.

11. All Time Low- Don’t Panic
12. Death By Stereo- Black Sheep of the American Dream
13. KISS- Monster
14. The Menzingers- On The Impossible Past
15. Lamb of God- Resolution
16. Marilyn Manson- Born Villain
17. Slash- Apocalyptic Love
18. The Ghost Inside- Get What You Give.
19. While She Sleep- This is the Six
20. Lower Than Atlantis- Changing Tune