Friday, 28 February 2014

Aüralskit - EXTINCTION

So regular readers of my blog may well have come across my previous post on Aüralskit if not you can find it HERE if not as well as being a great band they are also good friends of mine and I will be honest I've been hearing all of these songs for a week in the mixing stage in various versions however Matt (Vocals and recording engineer) is very obsessive over the recordings and i don't know what kind of recording trickery he has worked on this recording since the last mixes he sent me but the final result here is even a shock to me and as i said i'm pretty damn familiar with the songs!

First up I have to stress that the band have gone for a more blown out and raw sound this time round bringing to mind the sound of recordings by bands like Warvictims and having the "inside track" on this recording i know Matt worked really hard to achieve this but whilst the sound is utterly apocalyptic it doesn't detract from the great songs on display here there are 5 of them and 3 are brand new, one is a brutal new rework of a demo track ("Omnicide") and one is from their forthcoming EP on Desorden records.

I have to say even by Aüralskit standards whilst their writing is coming along leaps and bounds this is some seriously punishing heavy crust firstly the drums are like fucking tanks! over this you have some seriously heavy guitar and gnarly distorted bass with a little clean bass thrown in for some of the flourishes! Then you have Matt and Amy both roaring and screaming like the end of the world is coming and you're being warned! Plus there is some great samples thrown in their as well to give this music even more of a feel of "The End"! There's plenty of heavy riffage and great fast parts some top MANGEL solos and double bass parts as well (that's double bass drums not upright bass ha ha) especially noticeable on the new tracks " Hata Utan Anledning" which also has some brilliant guitar runs working with the thick heavier riffing! and also on the other new track "Peace Is Lies" which is shredding!

I was initially sceptical when Matt first sent me these tracks thinking it didn't do them justice after the more polished sound of the forthcoming EP however having listened to this final version a few times this morning the more i hear it the more it just simply works. These guys have been fairly prolific over what is just less than a year they have been together this is their 3rd demo and they have a studio recorded 7" EP coming in the summer however with each recording they come on leaps and bounds and never drop in consistent great music as the band gain more confidence in their playing and writing.

Titling this recording "Extinction" couldn't have been more appropriate cos by the sounds of it the end of the world is coming and Aüralskit have just given you the soundtrack to it! Utterly brutal and utterly brilliant stuff I really think these guys are among the best "crust" bands we have on our little island here and are more than ready to take on their global contemporaries after less than a year! i can't wait to see these guys live again!

EXTINCTION - Bandcamp 

(This is free/pay what you want but PLEASE wing them some cash if you can as every little helps and these guys work damn hard on their music and their recordings trust me I know)

They also have a brand new blogspot so for all your Aüralskit news go here...

Aüralskit Blog -

and for you all in the north they are playing Saturday the 8th of March at the Wharf Chambers day of Equal Fest read about that HERE on the same day you will also find Burning Flag playing who are also an utterly brilliant band read my post on them HERE

Auralskit are also playing the first gig for Ste Dux of Extinction of Mankind's Northern Scum Collective alongside, Burning Flag, fellow Merseysiders Skitvärld and headlined by The Fiend find out more HERE and go lend your total support to Northern Scum Collective HERE

I know that's a lot of links and info but if we don't support these independent bands, gigs, artists and collectives how the fuck are we ever gonna get any kind of scene anywhere? take a minute to please go check out all the links i provide here it's to your benefit to do so.

And finally here's a sneak preview of the forthcoming EP cover artwork by Jasper "Infested Art" Swerts go check him out on Facebook HERE

COMING SOON on Desorden Records HERE


Burning Flag are a new band from Halifax in West Yorkshire and I had heard their name around because they were playing some gigs with bands i know but i also heard them described as "Hardcore" which put me off listening to them, however on Wednesday this week (it's now only Friday morning) Matt Auralskit said Burning Flag are really good y'know and sent me a link to a stream of one song so i thought why not?...... FUUUUUUCCCK I am so glad I did and I am gutted I slept on this as i believe they played over here in Merseyside last year and i had no idea!

So Burning Flag are a four piece band with a female singer and when I went to their Reverbnation page (find that HERE for info on upcoming gigs, news etc) They stated their influences as Unsane, Helmet, Killing Joke, Jesus Lizard and Entombed, after reading that i was sold! 5 bands that i love and not one of them is either crust or hardcore as i had thought. The bands mentioned are a pretty good indication whilst not an exact one of what they sound like as these guys play some really heavy music which whilst a nod to their influences is wholly original and completely their own.

So Burning Flag have recorded 3 tracks with the awesome Bri Doom at his 1 in 12 studio these are to be used for a forthcoming CDEP as far as I can gather So let's break it down, first up is "Still A Lie" which is the most uptempo of the 3 it has a solid D-beat type backing but that is where the relation to that style ends! There is some nice thick heavy guitar and bass here which has a real nice bottom end to it the guitars are reaching the heaviness of something like Entombed (one of their influences) top this with Ange's utterly venomous vocals and a great shouted chorus with backing vocals and it's one great tune that puts me in mind of Swedish metal/crust titans Misantropic (See my Post on them HERE ) , however it's on the next two songs where i feel Burning Flag really show their originality "Strong" is a great number with some brilliant little bass and guitar runs in the intro and chorus tempered by the verse which has some seriously heavy stop/start guitarwork that brings to mind Helmet when they were good (Think 1st album Helmet more than "Meantime" etc) and maybe just a slight touch of early Godflesh too however this is all wrapped up in a sound that is mean,dirty and nasty with those great vocals as well plus their sound is not as clinical, clipped and clean as the bands i compare them to and there's also some nice dischordant flourishes over the main riff near the end and a quite mournful melodic riff to take us out of the song! So last song "Portal" is in similar territory to "Strong" and starts with a nice bit of clean bass plucking however when the drums/guitar and vocals all kick in at once it's a total fucking avalanche and a great dynamic that is kept up all the way through the song the chorus has a really nice running riff that ups the intensity whilst adding a break from the sheer weight of the track, this is also tempered by some great little breaks where the bass plucking returns with some nice almost punk-esque riffing over it dragging you back in to the bottom end and a great chanting verse for the end when the song collapses and leaves you wondering what the fuck just happened!

I would not normally go into such depth with a new bands first recording as it feels more like a taster or a bit of a teaser as after playing it, when it ends i just have to keep going back to the beginning again! However I am genuinely excited to discover a new underground band who are actually bringing something fresh and fairly original to the table rather than just taking influence from the same bands as everyone else these guys have taken their influences from places you wouldn't expect for music as crushing as this is and they sound all the better for it.

Here's an link to a bandcamp download of their forthcoming EP it was on here free for 6 weeks in advance of this so if you snoozed on that sorry but i decided these guys are deserving of the mere £1.50 for their hard work and for 3 amazing tracks Go check out this great EP and I'm sure you like me will be totally dying for more of their music as soon as you've heard it! Go get it now you think I'd do such a big post for a 1st EP if they weren't 100% deserving of your attention?? DAMN I can't wait for an album!

Burning Flag EP - Bandcamp

Sunday, 23 February 2014


I came across Pettybone purely by chance I was recommended a band called Arboricido (check their bandcamp HERE ) who play a particularly good and heavy style of female fronted modern crust, I made a comment about the vocals sounding a bit like Amy from Auralskit and another friend mentioned the vocalist from Arboricido was called Amy Pettyramone and had been in a band called Pettybone and posted a video I liked the sound of it so i downloaded the one and only Pettybone album "From Desperate Times Come Radical Minds"  and was really blown away! I was obviously attracted by the name Pettybone as i thought it may possibly be a nod to Pettibon as in Ray Pettibon the man responsible for Black Flag's early artwork and flyers and also the "Bars" I don't know for sure if this is the case but this is some seriously powerful and raging female fronted hardcore that intentionally or not is definitely giving a nod to the early SST sound albeit maybe not blatantly as this is way heavier and more intense than anything SST released (with the exception of possibly BL'AST!) there are a few uptempo moments on here but this is mostly mid paced and i can't stress enough how powerful it is! When  i say mid-paced i by no means mean plodding at all,there's also a great variety of styles on display here I hear shades of Guitar Noise, Hardcore, Anarcho punk, Classic era SST bands etc but all put together in a style that is undeniably their own and of course Amy Pettymramone's vocals are just intense this gal can sure HOWL! and some of the breakdowns are just face ripping and utterly shredding! However there's the odd surprise here and there like their 1 min 51secs cover of The Clash's lengthy dub epic "Justice Tonight" which is given a ripping hardcore makeover here and there are plenty of melodic moments to give you a breather from the more intense parts plus the sorta hidden instrumental track ( comes along about 3 mins after the last track ends but is a separate track) "Blues i got nothing to lose" really reminds me of the likes of The Jesus Lizard! I am really struggling for comparisons here as over it's short 30 minute length there's such a great variety of styles on display but as I keep saying all wrapped together in a cohesive package without jumping from one style to the other in a jarring way. This is a highly original intense and powerful album and well deserving of half an hour of your time.

PETTYBONE - Mediafire

Monday, 17 February 2014

77 NOT 666

My pal Andy Agz Rose (pictured above doing his thing with Skitvärld) has started doing his blog again, before i knew Andy i actually obtained a ton of amazing stuff from his blog unfortunately he suffered the same problem with mediafire as i did with 4shared i.e. they cut our blog balls off by deleting our accounts! However it's up and running again and Andy has done 2 posts this week of bands I was going to cover on here France's Black Code and Greece's Lethe both utterly fucking shredding modern crust albums you can go get them at his blog instead and pick up some other fucking quality stuff while your there! Andy has been at this punk game a long fucking time and he knows his stuff well so go check his blog out here and bag yourself even more top tunes for free! Awesome stuff!


Well I made a rod for my own back here! I figured with me saying things were gonna be less about the "rare" and more about the music I like well I decided it was time to tackle my two favorite bands and represent something on this blog that means a lot to me me musically, So let's start with Black Sabbath I knew doing a post on these sonic titans was gonna be hard but i'll try my best not to get too carried away here!

So when we're talking the mighty Sabbath before I even start I have to be clear I'm only interested in Ozzy era Sabbath that is their 1st 6 albums 1970-75 after that even tho Ozzy made a further 2 albums with them I still say everything after "Sabotage" is another era and another band it can bear the name Black Sabbath but it will never match the sheer velocity of those 1st 6 albums. Also this post will venture outside that time frame and beyond the first 6 albums here but all shall become clear later...

I am not gonna even attempt a history of Black Sabbath or their antics we all know they formed in the late 60's in Birmingham out of local and touring heavy blues outfits centered around guitarist Tony Iommi,they were originally called Earth (where Dylan Carlson's outfit took their name from) legend has it they changed the name last minute due to there being a film on at the cinema across from the studio where they were recording the first album the film was called Black Sabbath.The four original members of Black Sabbath were...

Ozzy Osbourne - Vocals

Tonny Iommi - Guitar

Bill Ward - Drums

Geezer Butler - Bass

And that's the four guys we are gonna deal with right now....

So debut self titled album Black Sabbath arrived in Feb 1970 I wasn't even born when this album was released! I realize many bands had been really pushing the envelope as far as heaviness and extremity were concerned (Take the Stooges or MC5 or the legions of unknown Garage and psychedelic bands or even Syd Barret era Pink Floyd for example) and preceding this album the "heaviest" band around were Led Zeppelin (who's place in rock history i get as I can't stand em and don't understand why they are worshiped so slavishly) but that was all about to change... from the foreboding opening of rain and thunder and an ominous tolling bell Tonny Iommi unleashed the 3 heaviest chords ever to exist and in my opinion yet to be equalled, "Black Sabbath" the song is a mighty and terrifiying beast of a song and what a way to introduce yourself to the world, this was a new style and a new take on "Heavy Rock" that was unheard of and unprecedented and would set the standard for the birth of heavy metal and the influence endures to this day! Over the course of 6 albums this is a theme that would continue to dominate Black Sabbath would continue to come up with the heaviest riffs and best music for the next 5 years setting a benchmark so high that no one, no matter how far they downtune or how well they can play will ever equal these recordings.

Now I could very easily dissect the albums/eras etc in great depth with stories from the era etc but I'm not writing a book here there are many fine books on the history of Sabbath and it's 4 original members so i don't see the point in rehashing that here it's been done a million times in the last 43 years and will probably continue to be done for another 43 and done far better than a mere amateur with a small blog could do so I'm gonna go straight to the files here and whats in them giving you a bit of a breakdown i shall try not to be too expansive but we shall see....

Black Sabbath (1970) Right firstly you may or may not know that in 2010 Sabbath reissued their first 3 albums in my much loved/hated "Deluxe Edition" format with bonus discs of outtakes etc I for one was practically salivating at this a whole disc worth of outtakes for each of the first 3 albums was just too much to take! But in the end i discovered that there were slim pickings to be had and I'm guessing releasing their first 4 albums in 2 years (the first 2 both in the same year) that there wasn't much to spare! As the bonus discs contain mostly alternative takes, instrumentals etc not a lot new to discover but I'll come back to that... So here you have The debut Black Sabbath album. First off let's take a look at the cover how it was originally released on vinyl in a gate fold sleeve here's the original folded out......

Now even by today's standards that is a pretty bleak and haunting cover for a debut album and the inside continues this theme here's the gate fold inner....

Now it has been said by the band that the inverted cross and the whole of the gatefold inner were done against the bands wishes the label trying to capitalize on the shock value of satanism by marketing the band as having satanic leanings due to their name etc however the truth being they were just 4 affable brum lads with a love for heavy blues and rock! whether it was the naivety of a new young band bowing to label pressure or not I guess we'll never know but to my mind this album could not have been packaged better and without it I'm guessing 99% of "black" metal bands covers would look much different!

Whilst the cover art etc would lead you to believe this is an album full of brutally heavy jams along the same lines as the opening track this is not the case whilst Sabbath may have invented the super heavy jam their albums are chock full of great grooves as well I defy anyone to not be nodding their head to the bombastic Harmonica and guitar intro to "The Wizard"! This album is chock full of heavy riffs but it is tempered by a sense of groove that is a big nod to their blues influences and is basically the "Stoner template 101" everything bearing the stoner tag owes it's sound to this and the following 5 albums! This is a stunning debut and there is not a bad song on here if ever there was a case of all killer no filler this is it.
So as i said the version i present here is the deluxe edition so whats on your bonus disc? well not a lot really there is "Wicked World" which was originally a bonus b-side on the single disc version you then get various takes on the album tracks there's "Black Sabbath" without it's trademark "rain and thunder" intro then an Instrumental version, there's nothing startling really on this bonus disc I love it because I am a fiend for anything "new" to be had from this era of Sabbath but unless you fall into that category then don't get overexcited! Should you wish to check out whats on there before downloading go here...

"Paranoid" (1970) So moving swiftly along... you'd think that unleashing such a devastating debut album, inventing heavy metal and pretty much everything metal that was to come that maybe the band would do some promotion and touring and get ready for a 2nd album sometime soon? HA! nope in September 1970 a mere 7 months after "Black Sabbath" came the album that made them world famous "Paranoid" Now before I even start on this album i have to say I really cannot stand the song "Paranoid" whether it's through over familiarity or what i don't know I would consider each of the 6 albums here to be amazing and considering the quality of music on display and the short timespan over which they were released you'd expect there to be some filler? I would disagree, but "Paranoid" is a fine song but it's just been done to death,played to death,covered to death and I can't really listen to it anymore! it's a personal thing and nothing to do with the band ok? So having released 2 albums 7 months apart you'd think maybe this album was "too soon" or maybe less quality this is definitely not the case. "Paranoid" is another album full of utterly essential heavy jams and blues grooves opening with another utterly destroying heavy riff fest first track "War Pigs" is just slaying, clocking in at a hefty near 8 mins this is a pretty bold move considering that "Paranoid" a fairly pacey 3 minute throwaway jam they wrote in the studio to basically make the album up to the required length had been released as a single preceding the album you'd think in the tradition of 70's albums that the label would have pressured them to make this track the opening one.This album is again another all killer no filler even the eerie, acoustic/bongo track "Planet Caravan" is great! This album is again chock full of super heavy riffing and great grooves just check the Wah Wah guitar and riff on "Electric Funeral" (A hymn to the fear of nuclear war pre-dating protest punk by near 10 years) As I said I'm not gonna breakdown these albums too much. This is again another stellar album and essential.
So your bonus deluxe disc well again there's not much to be had you get the whole album again in the same order but this time you get 5 tracks instrumental 2 with alternative lyrics and one as an alternative mix and to be honest even for a diehard like me this is pretty lame I have put it up here simply because they are hard to come by to download and for the curious fans who may not have lashed out the extortionate price for these deluxe versions.

"Master Of Reality" (1971) So we are at the halfway mark and album number 3 " Master Of Reality" and again it had only been only 9 months since "Paranoid" and once again Sabbath have pulled another great album out of the bag (bear in mind this was their 3rd album in 1 year and 8 months) and in my opinion probably their heaviest set of the 6 albums i present here! The guitars are good and thick sounding and the riffs are just fucking monolithic towers of sound! There are 2 short instrumental interludes "Embryo" and "Orchid" but every one of the other 6 tracks presented here are just insane considering this is some 42 years ago! Just listen to "Lord Of This World" , "Children Of The Grave" and especially "Into the Void" and you'll see this album gives even modern day metal a run for it's money.
Again this album is in a deluxe edition and this time you get 9 tracks on the bonus disc and actually this time round you get some decent bonuses there's "Weevil Woman '71" an updated version of their cover of "Evil Woman" from the debut and "Spanish Sid" an early version of "Into The Void" as well as the usual Alternate mix/Vocal tracks and instrumentals for a more in-depth look at the full tracklist go here...

"Vol 4" (1972) Onto album number 4 and what else could it be called but "Vol 4" and on a personal note this is my favorite Sabbath album, Opening with the epic 8 minute "Wheels Of Confusion" this album takes you on a ride that is totally unforgettable you can see that they have really developed their chops here due to the high demand for the then heaviest band on the planet the non stop cycle of tour/rehearse/record has done them big favors in the songwriting department, whilst this album is still chock full of heavy riffs there's a maturity on display that given the band were still only a mere 2 years into their career is staggering. Whilst the heavy moments are plentiful the likes of "Cornucopia" , "Supernaut" and "Under The Sun" (Who's opening riff is by far the heaviest in their catalog) are easily the equal of anything from it's predecessor "Master Of Reality" this album is not without it's more experimental and "commercial" moments the likes of the short interludes "FX" and the Acoustic "Laguna Sunrise" there is also the very treacly, ballady "Changes" now many people may be aware of the horrific Kelly Osborne/Ozzy Osborne version of this song that had some small chart success in 2003 when "The Osbornes" fiasco was at it's peak however this original piano led version with it's sweeping and soaring keyboards to me is actually a fairly pleasant listen breaking up the albums more intense moments and not a million miles away from "Planet Caravan" from the "Paranoid" album, sickeningly sweet and twee as it is i still like the song and wouldn't skip it when listening to this album. Again essential stuff, this is taken from the remastered edition as there has been no deluxe re-issue of this album.

"Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" (1973) Their 5th album is definitely a logical extension from it's predecessor, taking the influences and experimentation on "Vol 4" even further, again there are no shortage of Heavy riffs here but there is an obvious leap in the musicianship here but the acoustic interludes whilst previously brief on the other albums have now been extended "Fluff" from this album an acoustic instrumental clocks in at near 5 mins, then there's the prog rock keyboards of "Who Are You" and Rick Wakeman of all people providing keyboards to "Sabbra Caddabra" In fact all but Bill Ward are credited with various keyboards, synth, piano and mellotron here and the band have also employed some soaring strings as well which work pretty well with the heavier parts and even crediting one Will Malone as "conducter/arranger" whilst i may be making this album sound like a stab at a more commercial audience or like a really bad experiment you'd be absolutely wrong whilst the production is way slicker than before this is still one of the first 6  Black Sabbath albums and is still ball kickingly heavy in all the right places, whilst it may be a little lighter than the first 4 just listen to "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" or "Killing Yourself To Live" for evidence of their usual titanic riff standards however it's around this point to my mind that the cracks were starting to appear in their sound whilst it would be foolish to expect a band not to progress in my own selfish way it would have been great if they had stuck with the template set out by the first 4 albums! This is still a great and essential Sabbath album but not the one I would recommend as a starting point for someone new to Sabbath's early albums.

"Sabotage" (1975) So we arrive at the final of the 6 studio albums that are the core of this post, "Sabotage" now there's a few negative points to be made about this album there's the atrocious clothing and terrible cover for a start.....

But the cover aside there are some great songs on this album there's the great opener "Hole In The Sky" which i think is as good as any other of the heavier tracks on the preceding album and Ozzy sounds really intense on this song! Then there's the song that to my mind pretty much gave what would become Thrash metal it's cue "Symptom Of The Universe" it's chugging riff and uptempo speed is fairly shocking for a band now 6 years into their career to come up with a song like this! Then you have the near 10 minute "Megalomania" which to me harks back to the song "Black Sabbath" whilst not nearly as gloomy or shockingly heavy as that song it's definitely coming from the same template. Those 3 songs plus the usual short acoustic interlude "Don't Start (Too Late)" would have originally made up the first side of the album on vinyl and in my opinion the band used all their "A" material for this as it's on the next 4 songs you really start to feel that they are fragmenting as a band as whilst these songs are not terrible they really don't live up to the standard of the A-side or the albums they had already done especially  "Am I Going Insane (Radio)" with it's ultra cheesy keyboards which i have to say is pretty bad, it just seems that the 4 songs that make up the rest of this album feel to me like a band exhausted by the intensity of their career to date with little idea where to go musically and because of that the closing 4 songs just seem a little lackluster and lack the fire and intensity of what they had been doing up to this point, I have to be honest here were it not for the "A-side" tracks i mention this post would have been on the first 5 Black Sabbath albums but the strength of those songs alone is a testament to the greatness of this band and why this album is still (in part) an essential listen.

So there you have 6 of the most important albums in my collection and 6 of the albums that would definitely be among the first i would grab should my house be burning down! but the Sabbath story does not end there there were a further 2 albums with the Ward/Iommi/Osborne/Butler line up and also a career that has lasted to this day with it's ups and downs along the way however the next 2 albums "Technical Ecstacy" and "Never Say Die" with this original line up are to me truly terrible and a blight on the stellar sound of this band's 70's work,

But this being Under The Surface you surely didn't think i would leave you with the 6 easily available Sabbath studio albums even if 3 of them are presented here in their deluxe editions? Hell no! Let us continue....

So Sabbath as i said were probably one of the most in demand live bands of the early 70's i think some folk may not be aware of how much this band dominated globally in the early 70's (their 1st 6 albums i have put up here have at the least 130 versions of each album  listed on released in pretty much every country and on every format short of wax cylinder that you could think of) and in the 70's it was the live performance that really put a band into the minds of the record buying public even more so than the records and Sabbath were a great live band.

Sabbath only ever did one official live album the single album "Live At Last" which was one of those live albums that is selected from several different performances and cobbled together as a single performance in the studio however this was expanded and remastered into a double CD "Past Lives" in 2002 the majority of the tracks are taken from 1970 live performances but there are a few from their 1975 "Vol 4" tour which were taken from a live show in New Jersey so as well as the above studio albums you get "Past Lives" a fairly decent if not completely essential document of one of the best live bands of the early 70's....

... However above i mention the fact that 3 of the tracks from "Past Lives" were taken from a show in New Jersey USA this was a show at Asbury Park Convention Centre from August 1975 the entire show warts and all was recorded professionally for famous American rock'n'roll show "The King Biscuit Flower Hour" with the intention of release as a Sabbath Live album however for some reason the project was shelved and never saw the light of day however the story (vaguely) goes that a CD-R of this show direct from the master tapes fell into the hands of an avid fan this was subsequently bootlegged to death in various forms all of which stem from this one original CD-R source Now this New Jersey show IS a definitive warts and all Sabbath Live performance so here i give you 2 discs 1 hr and 40 minutes of Black Sabbath professionally recorded but absolutely LIVE no studio overdubs or trickery and absolute brilliant quality (The Link is 320kbps direct download) it may well be a "bootleg" release but this recording is the absolute best of the "Unofficial" Sabbath live bootlegs that is out there believe me i have tried a few. This is a recording of a band whilst on the cusp of their downslope are here, live at their very PEAK just have a listen to the insane version of "Symptom of the universe" or the utterly towering version of "Black Sabbath" and you will definitely be convinced. I had to split the two discs into 2 separate links due to file size but trust me you need both of them.

So Sabbath went through many twists and turns, successes and failures, went through several vocalists (Ronnie James Dio and Ian Gillan to name but 2) had their wilderness years etc but Tony Iommi's faith in his music whether I like it or not cannot be denied the mans commitment to keeping the Sabbath name alive over the years is staggering.but let's face it like it or not whether you are a diehard or a casual fan we all known the Ward/Iommi/Butler/Osborne era of the band was their peak and what the fans always wanted and in 1997 that's exactly what they got! There were rumors flying around for a while that the original line up of Black Sabbath were getting back together, recording etc and these rumors turned out to be fact and in 1997 Black Sabbath the original line up returned for a tour and apparent recording, whilst the tour was a massive success the recording was not and in 1998 they released "Reunion" (1997) a double live album of their homecoming show at the NEC Birmingham in Dec 1997 whilst this would smack of cashing in etc what was of specific interest as well as the 90 minute live performance was that this release was bolstered by 2 new Sabbath songs recorded by the original line up in 1997 these being "Psycho Man" and "Selling My Soul" now, whilst the live performance is a great run through their early catalog and all the hits are there and played well this is now some 22 years since these guys performed together and now they were no longer young and hungry lads from Birmingham but middle aged men with a whole lifetimes experience and comfortable living behind them! Not that this is a bad live album quite the opposite it just doesn't have that raw,improvised feel of a true live gig and more the feel of a professional live band of well rehearsed older musicians running through their best songs in a professional no nonsense manner! I include it here because it's an important landmark for the original line up of Sabbath that this post covers, as for the 2 studio songs..... While they are both decent enough songs with crushingly good riffs the problem here is Ozzy had had a busy and prolific solo career for a long time and even though you have the original members of Black Sabbath writing and recording 2 new songs unfortunately there had been too much water under the bridge for both the band and the metal scene in general and it has to be said these two songs would appear to be ploughing similar contemporary metal styles that Ozzy had long been exploring himself over the course of the 90's and whilst they are good heavy songs they are nothing new or particularly exciting, if you like heavy metal and you like Ozzy's solo stuff chances are you'll like them (as i do) they are good but they are nowhere near GREAT!

Phew I am getting exhausted here but the story continues..... So all the promise of the 1997 reunion kinda fizzled away to nothing after the tour no more music appeared no more live work etc etc they just kinda disappeared again and that was that... Fast forward another 16 years to 2013 and here again we have rumors of Black Sabbath's original line up recording a new album with Rick Rubin at the helm, whilst over the years since the 1997 reunion there had been so many rumors of the band getting together again, touring, recording etc there was nothing concrete till 2013 and it turned out to be true they were indeed in the studio with Rick Rubin recording a new album for release that year!

So come June last year they were as good as their word and the new album from Black Sabbath arrived entitled "13" so firstly This was supposed to be the 4 original members but due to internal strife over money Bill Ward pulled out to be replaced by Brad Wilk of Rage Against The Machine whilst undeniably a fantastically talented drummer it's not about proficiency here it's about style and Brad Wilk is NOT Bill Ward.

"13" (2013) was released in a single disc and a 2 disc deluxe edition with a 4 track bonus disc here I present you the full deluxe edition. Now it's at this point i would normally launch into my usual breakdown of the album key points, good songs/bad songs etc. but this time I am not going to do this, I downloaded this album pre-release and i was in 2 minds about this could Sabbath really pull something worthwhile out the bag some 38 years since their last good album, would they stick to what they had done on the first 6 albums or try to bring their sound up to date, would these 3 guys all in their mid to late 60's actually pull this off and reclaim their crowns as the kings and inventors of Heavy metal?? there was so much running through my mind one of the most important bands to me were releasing a new album what would they come up with? That being said, that's all I am going to say, I don't want to give you my opinion on this album you download it for yourself and make up your own mind. It's here in it's complete form 12 tracks of Sabbath in 2013 (minus Bill Ward of course) free for you to download so go get it at the link below and judge for yourself however I would appreciate hearing your opinions in comments if enough people bother to listen to it and comment then I would LOVE to discuss this album with any of you.

Well that was really hard work I have to say trying to do the mighty Sabbath justice in words without getting too expansive was gonna be hard but i didn't realize it would be this hard even though i checked myself on my usual; ramblings it's still a massive post! Anyway in closing i would like to say that many people look upon Black Sabbath with derision mainly due to Ozzy's fame and the Whole "Osbornes" series then there's some of the terrible albums Iommi made under the Black Sabbath name over the years that plus the general derision heavy metal gets due to it's stigma as "dumb" music and the millions of parodies and piss takes over the years. What people tend to forget is that before Black Sabbath arrived in 1970 there was no "heavy metal" (anyone who thinks Led Zeppelin invented it can fuck off they were nothing but preening,muso wankers who ripped off the blues and stood on the shoulders of giants to make themselves a shitload of cash!) the term "heavy metal" originates from someone saying Sabbath's music sounded like a load of Heavy metal being dropped from a great height! It has to be said that looking at these first 6 Sabbath albums and taking into consideration the time they were recorded and the fact that these 6 albums were released over a mere 5 years that what Sabbath were doing not only set the template for Heavy music for all time but it was also genuinely groundbreaking and insanely heavy stuff the fact that those first 6 albums are still held in such high esteem now by a legion of fans not just those interested in "metal" and their influence on music in general these albums should be and probably are in the collection of every music fan worth their salt! All I can say is try this....... imagine it's 1970  press play on "Black Sabbath" the 1st song from the "Black Sabbath" album absorb the wind,rain,thunder and tolling bell intro and when the opening riff kicks in tell me it doesn't feel like the whole world is coming to an end! That's the effect Sabbath must've had all those years ago and still have for me now! One of the 2 greatest and most important and influential bands on the planet for me without Sabbath music as we know it would not exist. Get these downloaded, get on your knees and worship the glory that is early Black Sabbath there's nothing like it and never will be again.

Black Sabbath (1st) (2 Disc Deluxe Edition)Mediafire

Paranoid (2 Disc Deluxe Edition)Mediafire

Master Of Reality (2 Disc Deluxe Edition)Mediafire

Vol 4Mediafire

Sabbath Bloody SabbathMediafire


Live Asbury Park NJ 1975 (Disc 1)Mediafire

Live Asbury Park NJ 1975 (Disc 2)Mediafire

Past Lives (Disc 1)Mediafire

Past Lives (Disc 2)Mediafire

Reunion (Disc 1)Mediafire

Reunion (Disc 2)Mediafire

13 (Deluxe 2 Disc Edition)Mediafire

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Mike V & The Rats

SO whilst doing my Good For You post (HERE) I mentioned Mike Valleys earlier hardcore band Mike V & The Rats so as although these EP's are not collectable or hard to come by they may well be hard to come by better quality as I liked what I heard by these guys so much i sought out Both CD versions of the EP's!

Mike V & The Rats was the short lived hardcore band fronted by popular skater Mike Vallely they did 2 fairly short EP's and they were gone Vallely going on to do an acoustic album and later front rockers Revolution Mother.

However packed into these 2 short EP's is some damn near perfect American Hardcore circa early 80's given a decent production but while it's coming from a far different time both musically and environmentally, in sound at least, these 7 originals and 1 cover (Black Flag's : "Police Story" says a lot really) definitely play a very raging tribute to the sound they are attempting.

Anyway this post was being put up because i really like these EP's a lot and have uploaded them several times but never done a post and now it's more of a link up for the Good For You post as well so you can check out some of what Mike V was doing 10 years before and not a million miles away in sound from Good For You either! That plus I've half done a blurb for this post so many times I'm leaving it to you the reader to check this out or not!

So you have both EP's at 320kbps from my own CD's so if you love classic American hardcore like i do then I consider this essential listening if you want to write it off cos it's Mike V or whatever reason then it is definitely your loss

MIKE V & THE RATSMediafire