Tuesday, October 7, 2008

'Death Magnetic' - Metallica

After their last studio effort, ‘St Anger’, I was very uneasy about Metallica releasing another album despite assuring reports of them returning to their thrash roots, but I can very gladly say that ‘Death Magnetic’ is a true return to form for what is arguably one of the music industry’s biggest rock bands.

Straight from the get go these old monsters batter your ear drums with the relentless opener ‘That Was Just Your Life’ that has a certain reminiscent feel of Master of Puppets. In fact the entire album is very reminiscent of Puppets, perhaps a good sign for a bunch of old buggers who’s last effort in the studio saw them turn into a bunch of whinging oldies. But back to the music: ‘Broken Beat & Scarred’ epitomises Metallica lasting this long with the line “What don’t kill ya/Make ya more strong” and sounds excellent with ol’ Lars Ulrich and Kirk Hammet barely letting up showing that they are still mainly on top form.

I could go on and on about how this album is such a great return to form, even including an instrumental track, but this is really something that only so many words can describe. However in saying that there are a few let downs: the first single ‘The Day That Never Comes’ and ‘All Nightmare Long’ both have the potential to be truly kick ass songs but every now and then they both hit a walls of pretentious dullness. What is also interesting is the return of ‘The Unforgiven’ in its third part, something which I feel speaks to Metallica maybe running out of song ideas having to resort back to old tried-and-true formulas of the past.

However alas, I still say proudly: Welcome back Metallica.

4.5 stars

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Thoughts on the first BDO '09 announcement

Yesterday the first official line up for 2009's Big Day Out was announced to the eargerly awaiting public, including myself. Among the acts announced I have to say that half of the ones I'm interested in seeing I've already seen before, in fact already this year I've seen Tiki, the Datsuns and the Black Seeds at UC's orientation at the beginning of the year. And in respect to The Living End, one of my favourite Aussie bands, it will be the third time I will have seen them - first at 2006's BDO, the second time will be at this year's Southern Amp in Christchurch.

What I'm getting at is that it all seems a little bit too familiar... You (whoever you may be as I have no clue who even reads my blogs) may undoubtadly disagree with me, but I've repeatedly pined for the old school line ups of BDO. For example let's take a look at the line up 10 years ago shall we? In 1999 the International line up included Ash, Fatboy Slim, Fun Lovin' Criminals, Hole, KoRn (small wonder why I'd crap myself to see these guys in their old school form), Marilyn Manson and Soulfly. Now it may be a testament to the simple fact that I loved the music produced by post-generation X but goddamnit what a line up!

Neil Young: While I'm not very familiar with Neil Young's music I do have respect for the organisers of BDO for bringing someone so old school and influential in the history of music down under.

Arctic Monkeys: I'm not a fan of these guys because they've always sounded a bit too poppy for my liking, however they have got a reputation for their live shows and seeing as they're being touted as the co-headliners for '09 I'll probably see them wether I want to or not.

The Living End: Like I mentioned above this will be the third time I will see them live, and the second in the space of less than 6 months. However I still love the Living End to bits, though not so much a fan of their newer stuff I know for a fact that they put on a great show. Keen.

The Prodigy: Undoubtadly an act reserved for the intensity of the Boiler Room the Prodigy is an act I am going to be very interested in seeing (along with the other punters sweating it out on E). The moment 'Smack My Bitch Up' launches the Boiler Room will be one big fuck off pit of sweatiness.

Pendulum: A band that I've only got into within the last year Pendulum would be another act that is safe to assume will dominate the Boiler Room, however a thought has just occured to me in that Pendulum and Prodigy may in fact be one of the later acts of the day so unless there is some smart timetable-ing or a horribly shite headliner to be announced I'm going to be very torn.

The Ting Tings: The Ting Tings are probably going to be seen as one of the big acts of 2008 after having such a succesful year no doubt thanks to the iPod commercial that used one of their songs. This is another act that I've got to admit I'll be interested in seeing if nothing else is on int he same slot, just because their style of pop is something that I don't want to smite (....did I spell smite right? Or is it smight? I should have an editor).

Tiki: Like I mentioned before I saw Tiki earlier this year at Canterbury Uni's Orientation festival, however I had to leave early for some unknown/unrecallable reason. But anyway back to the point, after buying his album Past Present Future I have become an avid fan of Tiki and have thus made it my mission to see him perform whenever I can...perhaps another booking for the Boiler Room?

Headless Chickens: Along with Weta and Head Like a Hole, Headless Chickens are apart of the Rennaissance of kiwi acts reforming for our old school pleasure. I don't know much about them unfortunately but from what I've heard they may be an act to definately check out if I have the time...watch this space.

The Black Seeds: Again another band that I saw at this year's Orientation Festival in Christchurch at the gig Cheap As Chips, so I don't expect to be blown away by them but the simple fact that the weather is always good at BDO (touch wood) it's going to be great to relax and listen to one of NZ's favourite bands - especially seeing as they have a new album out.

The Datsuns: Probably my favourite act at this year's Orientation Festival at Canterbury, closely followed by Supergroove, means that I am going to be head over heels keen to see one of my favourite kiwi rock acts - which, after the release of Beautiful Machine, Shihad no longer dominate.

Cobrah Khan: Being a fan of Kiwi punk kings Sommerset I've been intending to get into more local punk bands...enter Cobra Khan of which Sommerset guitarist Milon Williams heads. Result? Me. Keen.

But in saying all this there are still two more announcements to be made and in past experience the second announcement has the power to change my view of the upcoming BDO while the third is merely there to fill in the blanks.