Sunday, 24 April 2016

Down - For The Love Of Down

For the Love of Down

Having not long started my heavy metal journey, which incidentally started by saying to my best friend "I'm going to buy a metal album" and then going on and buying Slayers' Diabolus in Musika, I stumbled across Pantera.

In Pantera I found a band who seemingly ticked all the boxes. Vocal range, a ground-breaking guitarist, tight rythm and song writing skill. I then proceeded to collect everything Pantera related.

Then metal hammer magazine had a front cover announcing the triumphant return of Down, Pantera singer Phil Anselmos side project, along with a compilation c.d with Lysergic Funeral Prosession on it.

This song changed everything.

What's so good about Down?

The Musical Style;

I'm sure no one's interested in my mini metal biography but those who have not listened to Down  (and I mean really listened to them) might want to know what's so good about them.

Down are a band who, for me, cross over many styles and influences. They capture the feel and sound of so many of my favourite hands and genres.

One minute I'm hearing Skynyrd

The next an awesome bluesy feel

Balls out dangling metal

Good old Rock 'n' Roll

And ultimately and most importantly for every amazing band, they have the fans' anthem, and its the best of all fan anthems.

Why haven't I named the songs? Because I'm an annoying cock..... and because you have to listen to them. If you're already a Down fan and haven't heard them in a while, you'll be smiling all day.

You can not listen to one song and say "Here's Down". No matter what your guitar based musical taste there's likely a set of Down songs for you.

The Albums;

The debut, Nola is a modern classic, anyone who tries to tell me otherwise has either not listened to it, or has had their head infested with a Justin Bieberesque parasite, which only clockwork orange style reconditioning can cure.

It is impossible to pick highlights as start to finish it delivers on every level. It's one of those albums where you listen and think, did they know they completely nailing this when recording it?

Each album/ep they have produced provides a variety of sounds and even the song order seems calculated in such a way that when it ready to hear something a bit more chilled or a bit heavier this is what you get. I imagine many bands within metal who are not out and out aggression do this but no other output (apart from probably Alice in chains' dirt) has sprung out to me as being so deliberate, and this is EVERY release.

I believe the best way to access Down, album wise, is to start at the beginning and go through them chronologically.

Each release has it's own story and reflects where key band members were at he stage they were writing, as well as reflecting outside sources. Namely Down III: Over the under, which was written after hurricane Katrina which affected all of the members, and of course also reflects the passing of Dimebag.

The Live Experience;

I've been fortunate enough to see Down a few times. At one gig I stood close enough to Tommy Lee to catch an STD, but that's another story.

Live, Down deliver the thing that is most important to me in the music I love, a fucking party.

Being a fan of metal but not exclusively a metal fan, I go to a few different types of gigs and they all unfortunately have attendants who hit certain stereo types (fortunately a vast minority of gig goers, but they're there)

Metal gives you the over aggressive dick bag. 

Indie gives you the middle aged man who thinks it's still the 90's and is snorting coke, wearing a daft hat and acting 'ard. 

Blues gives you be 50 odd year old middle class musical conesseur who scoffs at all these young know nothings. 

The common denominator, being a twat.

You don't get this at a Down gig. They may be there but generally they dare not show their face (apart from one pint stealing twat, but there's always one). Mostly though it's kindred spirits.

Everyone knows the vibe and is on the same page. We're there to have fun, we're a brotherhood (and sisterhood) and we're in it together. 

The actions and demeanour of the band on stage perpetuates this. They just wanna have fun, they genuinely want you to have fun. You don't get the feeling that they're just here to play a gig then piss off. You truely believe get are thankful for your support and that they want to be there with you enjoying the music. Bust up, tune down and Sabb off.

The Pathway to Other Music;

Through Down I have discovered and/or learnt to appreciate. 

Namely the mother bands of the original line up. I'd heard Albatross by c.o.c and broken glass by Crowbar, and liked them but never delved beyond these songs. Now I'm a dedicated fan of both I these bands as well as Eyehategod. 

Downs' accessibility and their treatment of fans as one of their own allowed me to learn about the people behind the band whoch helped nurture my interest in these bands. And of course the kick ass music. 

The other great experience is listening to each band then going back to Down and discovering again what each musician is personally bringing to the party.

The Brotherhood;

My two closest friends are Down fans as well. We always see them together, all listen to and discuss new releases. We'd be mates anyway, but our mutual love of this band unites us completely, is a topic of conversation every time were together, no matter what else is going on. 

The bond is strong but not is made stronger because of Down.

Basically what I'm saying is.... LISTEN TO DOWN.

Bury Me In Smoke......

P.S - this blog was written prior to Phil's outburst which hit ke hard at the time. I wrote a reactionary blog about that. After time and reflection I still hate what he did but genuinly do not believe he is racist. His music has had such a profound effect in my life that I can not let one mistake ruin it for me and everyone. Here's hoping he is genuine and LONG LIVE DOWN.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

We Are Tyrants - They Can Rise Again

We Are Tyrants are currently on a hiatus for various reasons, but are aiming to assault our ears again towards the end of this year.

And when and if they do return we should welcome them with open arms because.... well basically they're really, REALLY fucking good.

They are a Melodic Death Metal band, (us metal heads can be a bit precious about sub genres so i'll await some abuse and correction) hailing from Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.

They're last line up according to facebook was Benjamin Wright on Guitar and Vocals. Harry Petcher on Guitar, Connor Lench on Bass and Kelsey James on Drums and Vocals.

The Music
What hits you straight away about this band is they are all clearly class 'A' musicians, without exception.

The vocals performances stand out as a really strong point. From Satan summoning, sphincter losening, stop or I'm going to shit my pants, deep guttural screams to well performed clean melodic vocals with harmonies. They display them all and everything in between.

As I listened to their songs in preparation for writing this I constantly thought to myself "this band know how to compose a song". Although a simple statement, when I say this what I mean is every song has impact, musicianship, complexity, diversity without ever losing direction, melody AND aggression.

What more could a metal fan ask for? I hear you ask. The answer? Nothing, and I don't care what sub genre you like.

We Can Rise Ep

We Can Rise is a very professional sounding release. A haunting intro leads into you being smacked in the stomach by "We are the Gatekeepers of the Matrix" a fast, aggressive song which is an excellent introduction to the album.

With tracks such as Last Dream, Monolithic and the above Gatekeepers, the Melodic Death Metal attributes are whole heartedly embraced with varying time signatures, speed riffing with melodic lines, double bass galore and impressive vocal performances, a theme throughout the entire album.

The albums title track, We Can Rise, has more clean vocals than the previous tracks and may be a bit more accessible than other songs. That's probably why they named the album after it! After an awesome build up intro to the song it is strong throughout but really comes to life for me when the bluesy solo begins.

There are also nice reminders of other styles and influences.

Tides of Virtue has a very Trivium feel to it for me, however benefits from a slightly more edgy, attacking approach making it far more listenable to my angry ears.

Blood of the Yew shows a bit of a groove influence in parts and has a very impressive range of vocal styles within it display.

They have also released the excellent track God Live In Me with the following lyric video. This track shows even more progression in song writing and performance.


I'm a bit gutted to have found We Are Tyrants whilst they are not currently on the circuit. However I hope they do come back and continue where they left off.

I also hope in reading this and listening to the tracks you get to  bandcamp to download the EP and head to facebook to like their page. That way if and when they return they do so to a whole group of new fans.

If they don't return, then they should be proud of their output.

I am Jonny the Music Blogger.

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Sunday, 10 April 2016

Morti Viventi - The Day The Dead Returned Review Blog

The Artist

Morti Viventi is Adrian Heathershaw from Stamford in Lincolnshire (up the Imps). He is a one man band. Thankfully I doubt you'll see him around Stamford High Street with a drum on his back and a kazoo but probably instead in a studio laying down some ass kicking thrash riffs. 

I can genuinely say if I heard this album thinking it was a band I'd be excited about a U.K band (and being a yellow belly myself, one from Lincolnshire no less) I could really get into. But the fact this is the work of one man makes it all the more impressive.

He is signed to UKEM (United Kingdom Extreme Metal) records, a small independent label formed in 2011.

Listening to this I am left thinking, "no one else has brought any sandwiches or sausage rolls to this metal buffet, this guys gone all out on a culinary mission, and he still didn't forget the quiche". And I fucking love quiche. The tracks all have direction and creativity and all tick the boxes of what I think lots of thrash fans would look for; fast head banging riffs, skin melting solos and aggression.

Morti Viventi means "Living Dead", the album is called "The Day the Dead Returned", the sleeve  depicts a Zombie holocaust and the songs are about......... puppies! Of course they're not, they are obviously about Zombies. 

The guy clearly knows his Zombies, in fact I bet he watches walking dead and is wondering why Rick Grimes hasn't lost a hand and thinks "who are you Darrell?". However he is still also thinking "Satan below, they've done a great job of this. (disclaimer: walking dead knowledge is not my own but stolen from someone else, do not hunt me down and kill me if this is wrong, you fanatical nutjobs)

And this is a good analogy of this music, because he also clearly knows his thrash and in the song writing he has successfully used all the great elements of classic thrash whilst giving it his own stamp. 

Sometimes when metal is so heavily themed on a particular subject they get labels like "Pirate Metal" or "Viking Metal" but this is not a trend I like and I think it can sometimes deflect from the technical and song writing ability of a band. I believe this to be the case with Amon Amarth for instance. I hope it does not happen here, for me this album is balls out and swinging in the wind thrash, with some sprinkles of groove.

Album Overview

The Day the Dead Returned... opens with Hell On Earth, an all out thrasher. He has made a video, sadly not Zombie apocolypsey, but that gives an insight to the recording methods. 

This is followed by the extremely impressive title track "The Day the Dead Returned". It is an epic anthem with a great melody running throughout. 

For me in this song the real magic happens happens half way through where it breaks into almost a new track. It has a slightly different direction and dare I say it, guitar parts I wouldn't have been surprised to hear laid down by Dimebag! (Take a deep breath, yes I said it!) 

Whorehouse of the Undead is a speed driven track with a great groove laden passage that really breaks the track up nicely.

"Maniac/Face the Shape has one of the best intros I've heard on any record in a long time. This possibly has the most hooky elements on the album. It would certainly get me in the pit in my local metal club, if i could lift my feet off the sticky floor enough to make my way to the dance floor. 

"Spawn of Another Kind" returns to a more classic thrash sound with a strong solo and some well thought out riffing.

This then brings us into "The Arrival of the Anti-God" This is an instrumental piece and it us quite frankly brilliant. Very much a musical journey which could quite easily be a soundtrack to a Zombie Apocalypse. 

Finally "Thrash Or Die" is a great way to finish the album, a fast aggressive track fitting of its title. 


There are no faults I can pick at with this album. Having listened to it now in excess of 10 times, I'm not getting bored, I'm just finding more I like about it. 

The production is good,  the song writing is brilliant and it has all the riffing and solo quality I could ever ask for.

You can listen to it below, however I'd urge you to seek out and buy a copy or enquire with UKEM about another pressing. Buying it will support this great independent label as well as this excellent artist and encourage further releases.

Also, I think most metalheads will consider it money well spent due to the genuine quality of the album.
This is an album you'll been dying to get your teeth into!..... oh c'mon, I've got to have at least one lame Zombie joke.

Folow Morti Viventi
Twitter: @MortiViventiUK

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