Posts Tagged “Shit Eating Grin”

Nile

Nile: Cairo practice

South Carolina metal behemoths, Nile, wound their way to our shores for the first time in over two and half years to lay customary waste to the UK’s metal hordes.

Daniel Cairns was on sentry duty in Highbury, London, and not only sent back this report, but spoke to lead general Karl Sanders about the perilous effects of modern technology on the ancient arts of death metal demon-summoning. Check out the video and live review below!

NILE

EX DEO/SVART CROWN

THE GARAGE, LONDON

SVART CROWN [8] are yet another example of just how far ahead of the pack the French are when it comes to extreme metal. They’re clearly indebted to the discordant likes of Deathspell Omega and Celeste, but they’re also adept at throwing in some beastly Gojira-style grooves too, for when you feel like a bit of a dance. There’s a good turnout for them, and their momentum will only increase. It’s a smashing set, and the bass is absolutely devastating, every thump of the instrument, eliciting a rattle in the chest. EX DEO [8] are a more simplistic and much sillier affair, but by god, they’re fun. It’s genuinely difficult to dislike any band when they come out dressed as Roman Legionnaires and sing songs about fighting and battles. It’s like a heavy metal musical version of Spartacus, without the gore and gratuitous nudity obviously, but still. There’s some excellently heavy metal posing by frontman Maurizio Iacono, as he wails stuff like ‘Hold the line’ and ‘You killed my father’. There’s a fantastic response from the Garage crowd, fists bumping in unison.

NILE [9] come out to an intro track that isn’t a million miles away from the theme of ex-WWE wrestler Goldberg, before going on the warpath. Basically, they sound absolutely devastating tonight. Messrs Sanders and Toller Wade know it too, as a giant, shit-eating grin spreads across Karl’s face constantly. They’re excellent on record obviously, but seeing them live is a different matter altogether. Their mummified, balls to the wall, death metal attack is jaw-dropping in its sheer smothering brutality, even invoking a completely un-ironic throwing up of the metal horns. Highlights include a churning, vicious sounding Sarcophagus and Ithyphalic, featuring the unlikely singalong, ‘Anoint my phallus with the blood of the fallen’. Lovely stuff.

Check out Nile’s Homepage here.

And their Facebook page here.

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Download FTW!

For a large portion of the crowd here at Donnington, Papa Roach are a band who were ubiquitous in their teenage years. The some time nu-metal titans have got the power of nostalgia firmly on their side but to their credit they are a band who have never rested on their laurels. Jacoby Shaddix leads the assembled throng infront of the main stage through a setlist that encompasses both old and new material and does so with such a shit eating grin plastered on his face that it is virtually impossible not to smile along with him.

Shaddix is an genuinely brilliant frontman, bigging up fans both old and new and celebrating his bands twentieth (TWENTIETH!) anniversary by taking a mud bath in the photopit, he has the crowd eating out of his hand by the time inevitable closer Last Resort rolls around. A truly entertaining festival set from a genuinely brilliant festival band.

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Killswitch Engage: back on form

Many people at Download last year will tell you that the defining moment of the festival – perhaps even of the summer or of 2012 itself – was seeing Tony Iommi walk out on stage, shit-eating grin on his face, tens of thousands of teary-eyed fanatics in front of him, witnessing him launch into Black Sabbath and seemingly bring the sun itself down on Donington with some of the most gorgeous, soulful and, of course, heaviest riffs ever written. Let’s be fair: those people were probably right. You can’t really fuck with moments like that.*

For me personally, however, and I’d like to think for a good few other metal fans around my age as well, there was a another, perhaps slightly glossed over moment from that weekend that stood out. On the Saturday afternoon, over on the second stage in a slot that they’d be more likely to command on the main stage in any other year, Killswitch Engage walked out to begin their first ever UK show with Jesse Leach.

What followed was, quite simply, a breathtaking reminder of just why Killswitch Engage are one of the most important metal bands of the 21st century and, more importantly, just what made us all fall in love with them in the first place. More fired up than they’ve been in years and with a singer back in front of them who was clearly in love with what he was doing, it was one of the defining triumphs of the summer, a certified life-affirmer for those of us who picked up Alive Or Just Breathing just over a decade ago and were never quite the same again.

“Ah, so you’re a Jesse guy!” I can imagine some people now proclaiming happily or in disgust, depending on your viewpoint. No, I am not a Jesse guy. Part of the reason that that Download set was so wonderful to watch was being able to see a supremely talented frontman inject another supremely talented frontman’s songs with a new and, I think it’s fair to argue, much-needed burst of passion and heartfelt energy. While AOJB was my baptism of all things Killswitch, The End Of Heartache is clearly even more important to the band and the legacy they have created. And, let it not be forgotten, while the albums that bore them were not quite as impactful, tracks like My Curse, This Is Absolution, The Arms Of Sorrow and, of course, that Dio cover have become as equally and deservedly hailed in the Killswitch canon.

“Oh, so you’re actually a Howard guy!” No, I am not a Howard guy, either. I am not a Howard guy or a Jesse guy. I am a Killswitch Engage guy. I’m not delighted to have Jesse back simply because I didn’t adore much of the “Howard era”. If you hear someone offering an opinion along those lines, chances are they were never a big Killswitch fan to start with and are now simply jumping on the “JESSE’S BACK!” bandwagon for the sake of having an opinion. Fuck those guys.

Neither, however, do I think that Howard could have realistically been involved in an album as powerful, driven and emotionally affecting as Disarm The Descent – plainly the best work the band have produced since …Heartache, even if not quite in the same league as that incredible album or its predecessor. Anyone being totally honest with themselves will admit that Howard looked, to be nice about it, a tad disinterested in his final Killswitch days – the same of which, lest we forget, could have been said about Jesse’s attitude to the band before he originally left the fold.

That Download set wasn’t important because it cast a defining victory in any juvenile, unnecessary arguments over who is ultimately the superior Killswitch Engage singer. Those arguments do nothing for anyone except divide fans, split hairs and provide free facepalms for all. That set was important because it showed a legendary band that was back, doing what they love, and clearly loving it more than they had in quite some time. It rammed home the fact that Killswitch Engage are fucking amazing, and that, whoever is in front of them, it is us lucky sods that ultimately benefit the most.

This week, Killswitch return to the UK for their first ever tour on these shores with Jesse in the band. It’ll be a decade since he was originally supposed to make his UK bow**, and I reckon it’s a fairly safe bet that he’ll be making up for lost time. If he stays with the guys for the next ten years, that’s outstanding. If he buggers off after two albums and they fancy getting Howard back again, that’s fine too! You know why? Because on their day, they’re two of the best metal singers in the business. So just think how fucking brilliant that makes Killswitch Engage. See you at the front, yeah?

Merl

*It’s also worth noting that I was fortunate enough to be at Sabbath’s intimate Birmingham show one month earlier, so I’m basically being a showy-offy industry bell-end, here.

 **(On the Roadrunner Roadrage 2003 tour. Remember those? WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT FIVE POINTE O?!)

Killswitch Engage UK Tour Dates

May 2nd – Manchester, HMV Ritz
May 3rd – Glasgow, O2 ABC
May 4th – Birmingham, HMV Institute
May 5th – London, Shepherds Bush Empire
May 6th – Cardiff, The Great Hall at Cardiff Uni

Follow Merl on Twitter

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Andrew WK: Bloody brilliant

Yeah, we know; Christmas is over, you’ve been forced on a rubbish diet by your partner/mum/sibling/dick of a best mate, it’s cold and wet outside and the world didn’t end.

It’s a shit time of year, but it’s all going to be okay. Why? Because we made an Ultimate Cheer-Up Playlist on Spotify, that’s why. Hoooraaaaay!

Check it out below and resume the shit-eating-grin position.

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Fact: Riff-heavy Georgians Baroness are one of the best bands on the planet right now. FACT: Seeing them at a venue as intimate as the Barfly is just not an opportunity you wanna pass up. Merlin was there to soak it all in.

“It’s great to be at a venue where it’s not about our feet being level with your heads…and we can spit on you and stuff!” It wasn’t the best way to sell an intimate gig, but as this was John Baizley talking, we went with it. Baroness really are a marvellous force of nature: every sludgy hook dragging you in like a shark on a fishing line and every chunky, scorching riff charged with such overwhelmingly positive energy that it takes a conscious effort not to spin around and embrace your nearest bro in a soppy-eyed hug.

Last night was testament to Baroness’ stature as a true band of the people; their infectious positivity running through a swelteringly packed Barfly crowd and cuts from ace new album Yellow & Green sounding mindblowingly good live, even in a venue as modest as this. It’s the small things that make gigs like these: the band being bathed in a different colour light depending on which album they’re turning to, Baizley’s demonic stare-turned shit-eating grin rendering him a cross between a mad monk and an engaging preacher, singalongs that could rival a KISS crowd…it was all here, and it was all beautiful.

Baroness: Preacher Men

As one final, epic jam brought the evening to a close, the only lasting issue was the fact that, even though they can certainly fill venues bigger than these anyway, Baroness really should be one of the biggest metal bands in the world right now. Next time they come around, do not fucking miss them. This was electric.

We’re streaming all of Baroness’ epic, two-disc new album Yellow & Green, right here on Metal Hammer. Like, all of it. HOW DO YOU LIKE US NOW?!

Yellow & Green will be released properly on July 16 via Relapse. You can read more about the Georgian riff machines in the epic new issue of Metal Hammer, on sale now!

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