Tag Archives: Review

Biffy Clyro – Opposites (2013)

Biffy_Clyro_-_OppositesMuch has been made in the media of Biffy Clyro’s new album Opposites. For the months leading up to the release there have been interviews, “exclusives”, two tracks released, and Radio gigs to promote it. But also not least the excitement felt from the fans in the wait for it to be with us.

It arrived last Monday morning and I have played it pretty much all the time since. During the week I also discovered that there are two versions of the album; the “deluxe edition” which is the only version I thought existed (certainly how the band described it in all interviews) and a shorter, re-ordered single disc version which apparently the record label wanted to release. More on that later.

This review deals with the album as intended by the band – the two disc “opposites” of each other. I remember reading that disc one is darker, brooding, looking back at how life has changed, strains on relationships, and everything which has happened to get to the point at which they are now. The second disc is the uplifting look to the future and opportunities which await. When listening to the music the tone and mood is clear. There is much anger and pure rock out moments and there is  the anthemic choruses and joy that Biffy seem to have discovered in their most recent releases. Continue reading

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NEWST3D – Metal EP (2013)

Newstead-metal-ep-coverJason Newsted is the longest-serving bassist with Metallica – from 1986 before 1987’s the $5.98 EP until 2001 resigning just before the band entered the studio to record what would become St. Anger.

In addition to Metallica, he was also previously a member of Voivod, Flotsam & Jetsam and Echobrain amongst others before taking a seemingly indefinite break. Last month he announced his return to the music scene.

Apparently his desire to return to the music stage was ignited by his appearances performing with Metallica at their 30th Anniversary shows in late 2011. It is reported the reaction of fans and the buzz he felt caused him to go on to form the band Newsted (or stylistically NEWST3D) with Jesus Mendez Jr. and Jesse Farnsworth on drums and guitar. A few days ago the band released their first music, the Metal EP.

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Gareth’s Top Ten Albums of 2012

Following on from Paul’s top ten review last week it is time for me to put together my thoughts on the albums which really struck a chord with me this past year. Putting the list together this time around proved more difficult than previously as 2012 seemed a far better year for great new albums than 2011.

Halestorm-Strange-Case-Of10. Halestorm – The Strange Case of…

Halestorm are great live and have been working extremely hard over the past few years constantly touring both on their own dime and as support to some big-name acts. They also have some great songs. Latest album The Strange Case of… is worth hearing overall. Tracks such as ‘Love Bites (and So Do I)‘ are up there with the best songs of the year.

Lzzy Hale’s voice is as amazing as ever, and the rest of the band’s playing is getting stronger and stronger. However if I’m totally honest, somehow the album just didn’t live up to all my expectations as the follow-up to the brilliant self-titled Halestorm.

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Led Zeppelin – Celebration Day (2012)

“Good Times Bad Times”, “Black Dog”, “In My Time of Dying”, “No Quarter”, “Dazed and Confused”, “Stairway to Heaven”, “The Song Remains The Same”, “Kashmir”, “Whole Lotta Love”. It is quite a legacy.

It is no wonder then that with such a top calibre selection of songs both fans and Promoters have wanted the band to reform time and time again. Led Zeppelin have always said “No.” Until one day in 2007 they announced for one night only they were reforming along with Jason, their late drummer John Bonham’s son, to play a tribute show for Ahmet Ertegun the founder of Atlantic Records who had died the previous year.

Most will remember the frantic scrabble to get tickets, the ballot system put in place and the millions from around the world who tried to get briefs for the show; myself included. I was unlucky. Five years later the unlucky ones finally get to see the show and those who got the ‘golden’ tickets get a gorgeous reminder with Celebration Day which documents the show in full. Continue reading

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Biffy Clyro – Black Chandelier (2012)

Biffy Clyro are back!

Following the album track release of ‘Stingin’ Belle’ earlier in the year the first single proper got played on BBC Radio 1 last night.

Starting with a ‘drip-drip, drip-drip’ vocal the song is instantly recognisable as Biffy Clyro. Once Simon Neil’s vocal starts you are back in a familiar territory as if they’ve never been away. Understated this track slowly builds to a chorus which I guarantee you’ll be singing along to after only a few listens.

Around about the three-minute mark we are treated to a lovely little “rock out” interlude before the melody of the track returns for the big finish.

Based on this track, with a sold out UK tour already scheduled for May next year, and the album Opposites coming out in January it is very likely that 2013 is going to be the biggest year yet for this Scottish band. Today they’ve posted ‘Black Chandelier’ to their official YouTube channel. Click below to listen to the single from there now.

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Alice Cooper @ Usher Hall, Edinburgh, 31/10/12

Alice Cooper is the original (and best) Horror Rocker on the scene. He’s been doing it longer and better than any other imposter out there.

Tonight it makes sense to go see him since it is Halloween. Halloween with Alice is Edinburgh this year. In the Usher Hall, a venue more used to classical shows actually. The seats have been removed on the ground floor of this gorgeous Victorian building to create a fantastic slanted standing area allowing virtually zombie, vampire, sexy nurse, nun, priest and many other Halloween costumed fan to see the stage from wherever they are stood. Having seen Alice many times before this definitely felt like the smallest and most intimate venue of them all.

The whole bill tonight is a stellar one, with both Duff McKagan’s Loaded and Ugly Kid Joe in support. I don’t always mention the support act when reviewing a show, but it is worth noting such a strong bill when one like this comes along. It felt like a mini-festival with both bands playing their hearts out and definitely re-animating the many zombies amongst us! Continue reading

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Muse @ SECC, Glasgow 24/10/12

So the thing about Muse is that they are phenomenal musicians, and always seem to have exemplary sound production live. Having seen them on every album tour they’ve ever done, the reality is you’re going to get a bit of a biased review from me; I am a huge fan of their live shows.

Tonight in Glasgow they started their UK new album campaign. The 2nd Law isn’t the easiest album to get into immediately. Or at least, it’s not as immediate as previous releases. With the show starting with ’dubstep’ track ‘The 2nd Law : Unsustainable’ it was clear from the get-go that (like all tours before) we were in for a night of perfect musicianship and elaborate stage theatrics.

There was much which was different from those previous shows worthy of mention. These include the fact that Matt seems to have found his talking voice. Normally it is Dom who does all the talking to the crowd and any real interaction. Just watch HAARP to see what I mean. Tonight though, and a first in my memory, Matt did pretty much all the talking. Continue reading

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Radiohead @ Manchester Arena, 06/10/12

A Radiohead gig is an event. They don’t play ‘that’ often, and whenever they roll around to a city nearby there is always a scramble to get tickets.

In an attempt to only sell the tickets to fans, and remove the secondary ticket market of scalping and touts this was a ‘ticketless event’. When buying the tickets – directly from Radiohead you had to submit the names of each person who will be using the tickets to gain entry. Then, on arrival to the venue you needed to present Photo ID of each named attendee and they had to be there in person all together with the booking confirmation and bank card used to purchase. Your booking confirmation was taken from you and each person was given a wristband with a barcode on it; this was your entry to the show.

It seems like a bit of a rigmarole, but the truth is it worked seamlessly. That is if all the people who originally were going six months earlier, were still going now. For us that was the situation and the process was painless and very quick.

The venue is a personal favourite of mine and not long before the band hit the stage there is a clear air of expectation and excitement bubbling over. Coming on stage to King of Limbs album track ‘Lotus Flower’, followed immediately by ‘Airbag’ from OK Computer it was clear that Radiohead were in the top form they always seem to be. The sound was immaculate (in fairness a lot to do with Manchester Arena too) and the playing from all members (including additional drummer Clive Deamer) was exemplary. Continue reading

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