By Dark Theory's drummer Sam Field.
One of the most daunting parts of any musicians life is thinking to themselves “what to buy”. The multitude of gear available means that people often don’t know what to choose, or they don’t even know that certain products exist! This weekly Gear review will be my top picks for Guitar / Bass and Drums, to find the best products and to fit specifics, this week;
TOP QUALITY PROFESSIONAL GEAR
Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster HSH - £1739
Guitars need to be loud, and they need to grab the attention of whoever is playing it, whether it’s a dirty distorted sound for some Black Metal, or the higher clean solo squealer found in mainstream metal you want, you can’t go wrong with a good Fender, that’s pretty common knowledge. This guitar is the Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster HSH.
This guitar can cover a whole range of sounds, if you want to play some classic Hendrix or Roses numbers, it can do it, if you want to play some Modern stuff, like Sevenfold or System, it can do it, amazingly versatile, the pickups are completely noiseless, it’s got S-1 switching and an LSR rolling nut, for the actual guitar’s sound, i give it 5/5.
As you would expect from Fender, the build quality is superb, featuring a maple neck, rosewood fretboard, Alder solid body, and a good quality 3 ply black pickguard with this model having a beautiful satin finish, under stage lighting it stands out, with the hardware glistening like diamond, i was actually surprised by how well the hardware just reflected the lighting, making the whole thing so much more beautiful. Sturdy, well built, and able to take being thrown around on stage (When i saw it being used, the guy was going mental, jumping all over the place, throwing it around his neck, dominating the stage). another 5/5
Now then, as with everything the part everyone dreads, the cost, Guitars aren’t cheap, especially not something as high end as this beauty, with the RRP being £1739, this guitar certainly isn’t a christmas present for an annoying sibling, this is a serious guitar, and it means business, if you’re touring on a county or country scale, or even globally, then this guitar is probably better suited for you, however for the smaller local band, this is something that you’ll be saving for some time for, however, it is less that it’s competitors guitars of equal quality, for the quality to price ratio, i’ve seen guitars of worse go for nearer the 3K mark, although it’s dear, it’s not extortionate. 4/5
Reliable, Beautiful, Professional, these three words i think best sum it up, if you’re going from local to the further stages, this is the guitar for you, if you want to be the envy of your local scene, this is the guitar for you, if you happen to find Donald Trump’s wallet, this is the guitar for you, One of the finest guitars i’ve heard and seen for a few years, and although the price tag is more than the multiplied IQ of a Post-Hardcore band, it is well worth the buy, all in all, i would give it a 4.5 out of 5, let down purely by the price tag.
DW Finish Ply - Red Twisted Lava finish - £3751
Drum Workshop, AKA DW is a household name for every drummer, their kits are both beautiful in their looks and their sound, the top dogs in the drum world, they know what they’re doing, and this impressive example just re-enforces that, This is from DW’s Finish Ply range, in a red twisted lava finish.
DW are famous for the sound of their drums, and this kit is no exception to the rule, the model i was lucky enough to be able to play was a maple / mahogany cross, and my lord it was wonderful! It had the ring of a vintage kit, and with a very quick quarter turn of each lug i could take it to deep and destructive, with the toms flowing into each other perfectly and the bass drum having an earthshaking boom, if i tuned them back up by a half turn i had a very modern and lively jazzy or poppy kit, perfect for Rock and the softer metals, this truly is versatile, the resonance was perfect, it rang for a good five seconds on the toms and a quick fat punch from the bass drum. Overall, 5/5 for sound.
The build quality of these drums is unlike anything i’ve ever seen, the shells had such a strong and rigid feel to them, with the hardware being exceptionally heavy duty, it felt like this thing would deflect a tank blast, i was quite amazed, the hardware itself never failed, the locks stayed where they should be, the bass drum spurs didn’t slip, and the drums didn’t untune at all, and i was playing it for almost an hour. This is helped by the Beautiful finish, the finish is a Red Lava finish that has been twisted, and there is no evident joints, everything lines up perfectly, and they have applied a clear lacquer over the top to provide that extra strength. 5/5
DW are famous for their drums, but infamous for their pricing, there are people who feel the drums aren’t worth their price tag, setting you back nearly 4K these thoughts are well founded, however, they are justified, if you want a kit that will last the rest of your life, and will always be the best kit, wherever you go, this is it, as well as being fully custom built, they are exceptional in sound and build quality, if you want something this good, this price is justified.
DW have really pushed the boundaries of quality drums here, they have created drums that just leave others looking and sounding terrible, looking dazzling under stage lighting and sounding almost unreal for their perfection these drums certainly earn their reputation. coming straight from the collectors range, these are part of the DW flagship, beautiful, elegant, and sounding amazing, these drums truly are a drummers dream, they have earnt a 5/5 rating from me.
Next week... THE BEST BUDGET GEAR.
So you heard the thoughts of the GMA team on what release we felt was the best from each country this year, now it falls down to the owner Rhys Stevenson to tie up this year with one final review of the year, what a year it has been for metal! Bloodstock experienced a marriage proposal and wheelchair crowdsurfing whilst Ian Watkins gets jailed for abhorrent goings on that we shall not even allude to. Furthermore bands have disbanded and formed and loved musicians sadly departed. None the less, metal lives on and here are Rhys' top 20 albums of 2013.
20. Litvintroll - Czornaja Panna
Probably one of the most promising bands to emerge out of the Belarusian Metal scene, by implementing the classic and recognizable sound of Eastern European Folk Metal with vocals that resonate within the Pagan Metal style, Litvintroll certainly are proving themselves to be one of the most exciting bands to emerge from this area. What I really like about this release is that it provides you with sensational music as well as a taste of the Belarusian language, but more so the feeling you can listen to it next to a camp fire.
19. Dagoba - Post Mortem Nihil Est
Industrial Metal style bands seem to be cropping up out of the French Metal scene as if it was dying out of fashion. But none the less the veterans Dagoba certainly keep that power exploding. What I like about this album is that it weaves Groove Metal and Industrial Metal together to give a sound that forms the underbelly of the Modern Metal storm, that is the phase seeming to be dominating the metal music industry. Let's see if the French musical magicians deliver another album that will shake the very foundations of Europe.
18. Cnoc An Tursa - The Giants of Auld
You have to admire bands who use historical culture and bygone times for their lyrics. This includes Cnoc An Tursa whose much-anticipated debut album "The Giants of Auld", now whilst hogmanay may provide the setting for this album to be played to the masses, it's delinquent Ancestral Folk Metal feeling merging with the sharpness of Black Metal provides the ultimate sound of which signifies the elegant beauty of Scotland, why I like this album is because it has that emotional connection with a culture of such grandeur.
17. Hail Of Bullets - III The Rommel Chronicles
How many bands are out there who sing about WW2 campaigns and theaters, ones that make it interesting and educational? Not many. Hail of Bullets serve up their third album which features that sound of Old-School Death Metal and lyrics so brutal that it warps you back in time to where it happened. Without a doubt "III The Rommel Chronicles" is the best album they have released so far, so why do I like it? Simple, with a fascination of WW2, Hail of Bullets qualify with guns blazing in both the music and lyric departments.
Taking our attention away from music entirely, GMA managed to get some time out with none other than Mr. Felix Baumgartner, the Austrian daredevil who set the world record for highest jump, fastest free-fall and other various records last year, surpassing Joe Kissinger.
Here is how the interview panned out:
Felix, given that you're now possibly the most famous Austrian of modern times, are you hoping that someone will want to follow in your footsteps in the future?
Well, while maybe that's exaggerating my fame, I realize that the jump put me in the public eye, and I do hope others will follow in my footsteps – but not only by setting aerospace records. Records are made to be broken, and I’m sure somebody will set out to break my altitude and speed records one day. If they can do it with a safe program – and especially if they can provide scientific data like we did with Red Bull Stratos, and like Joe Kittinger’s jump did in 1960 – that’s what progression is all about. But besides that, I think Red Bull Stratos reminded people what can be achieved when you have a clear vision and a dedicated team that rises above challenges. If we’ve inspired people to follow their own dreams and passions, even in very different fields, that’s a legacy we can be proud of.
As the world was watching your stratospheric jump, how was you feeling at the time of the jump? Nervous? Excited? What was it like to see the world from nearly 39,000 meters in the sky?
I was all business. This was a flight test program in a dangerous environment, so it was important to stay focused on what I needed to do. For example, I had to go through a checklist of more than 40 items just to get out of the capsule and prepare to jump! But of course when I was standing on the capsule step, I did try to inhale the moment and appreciate it. The view was incredible. Below me, I could see the curve of the earth, but above the sky was black. Completely black. I’d never seen black sky before. It was beautiful and humbling at the same time. Still, I was aware that I had only about 10 minutes of oxygen on my back and I could not afford to become distracted. I had to jump without wasting too much time.
What was the worst part of your experience, both in preparation and the skydive itself?
I don’t really tend to think in terms of “worst” experiences. In a flight test program like this one, you learn important lessons even from the setbacks. But I can tell you that waiting was sometimes hard – whether that was waiting for the capsule to be re-assessed after it took a hard test landing or waiting for the necessary weather conditions. (Days when the weather is safe to launch a massive balloon are very, very rare, even in the desert of New Mexico. And no one had ever launched a balloon as large as mine with a human on board, so the team was especially careful to make sure the weather was perfect.) In the weeks and days leading up to the jump, I sometimes felt a little bit like a tiger in a cage – I was eager to get on with things after five long years of training and preparation.
If you could pass on any advice to someone who also wants to become a BASE jumper, what would you say?
Find an excellent teacher who has lots of experience, and pay attention to everything that teacher tells you. BASE jumping is a demanding sport, and mistakes can have consequences – so learn from the experience of others.
How was you welcomed in your home town and of course Vienna? Did you meet anyone of high importance i.e. Heinz Fischer
The welcome back to Austria was amazing! It felt so good to be home, and people – not just my friends and family, but also people I’d never met before – were so enthusiastic. Many of the members of the mission team joined me in Salzburg for a homecoming celebration and broadcast, which made it extra special. I was very happy to show them around.
What will you be focusing on now? Taking time out with your family or preparing for another challenge?
While I love to hang out with my family and friends, I’ve been on the road a lot in the 12 months since the jump. My next focus, however, is another dream I’ve had since childhood. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve wanted to be a skydiver and fly helicopters. Well, you know how the skydiving turned out – so now that the Red Bull Stratos mission is finished, I’m going to be spending more time on that other passion: helicopters. Even before my jump, I had my private helicopter pilot’s license in Austria and the United States, as well as my commercial European license, and I’ve already done some piloting work. In the future I’d like to put my skills into public service – like piloting mountain rescues or flights to put out wildfires.
Would you do the skydive again if you wanted to and the possibility was there?
I’m the kind of person who doesn’t really enjoy repeating an achievement. All through my career, once I reached a goal, I learned from it and moved forward to the next challenge. I think we accomplished what we set out to do with Red Bull Stratos: we proved that a human can break the sound barrier in freefall, and we provided data to help researchers who are looking for solutions for high-altitude bailout in emergencies. Now it’s time to move on.
Finally are there any hello's, thank you's, greetings you wish to issue to people you know and worked with?
If I started, I wouldn’t know where to stop! So many people have helped me achieve my dreams, and my thanks to them are very personal. Instead, let me thank all the people I haven’t worked with, but who have supported me in other ways: people who followed the mission webstream, or who sent me words of encouragement, or who let me know that Red Bull Stratos was meaningful to them or to their kids. Everyone has their own goals and challenges in life, and when people have been generous enough to share their messages of support with me, it’s meant a lot. My thanks and best wishes to all!
So we know about the basic venues bands and artists perform at, from the local pub to the major city or major town venues and from the flagship venues like the Norwich Waterfront and Camden Underworld to the stadiums like Wembley and the Millennium Stadium.
But once in a while that pattern has to be broken, and boy have some bands performed at some bizarre locations, from the absolutely sublime to the ludicrously crazy. Here we showcase 15 of the world's most unthinkable of places that have at least seen one gig or concert performed at, to make this more interesting we will start in the UK and end up in... the UK.
Let's be honest as long as you have got a music license and council clearance, you can have a live performance wherever, from your bedroom to the pub and from the fields of Derbyshire to London Heathrow's taxiways (come on be realistic, can you imagine the background noise from the planes? Although we think that would be a sensational place to shoot a music video), anyway away we go.
NAME: Tan Hill Inn
LOCATION: North Yorkshire Dales, UK
Tan Hill Inn is the highest inn in the United Kingdom, situated at 1,732 feet (528 m) above sea level the building itself dates back to the 17th century. Even though the last coal mine shut in 1925, the inn was kept open due to the frequent custom by local farmers and passers-by. In 1995, the Tan Hill Inn became the first public house in the UK to be granted a license to hold weddings and civil ceremonies, however it no longer holds the license.
People who watch British television may recognize it from 2008's Everest adverts featuring Craig Doyle of whom is shown installing windows and solar panels.
Bands that have played here include The Arctic Monkeys, Mark Ronson and British Sea Power.
So if altitude is your thing and you like playing pubs, then this is a place that you will have to stop at sometime during your band's career. Just don't be put off by passing sheep.
LOCATION: Bristol, UK
Of course most metal fans know of the 1000 tons of metal festival that is put on a cruise ship and sails from Florida to The Bahamas and back, but how about an actual static cargo ship acting as a venue? We are refraining ourselves from putting out a wave after wave of shipping puns, however we must admit the venue has managed to hook in a wide array of artists over the years, artists such as
Frank Turner, The Pigeon Detectives, The Horrors, Electric Six, Franz Ferdinand, Pete Doherty, Noah & The Whale, Gay For Johnny Depp, Feeder, Nashville Pussy, Mumford & Sons and many more!
The Thekla is moored in the Mud Dock area of Bristol's Floating Harbor. She was built in Germany (probably Hamburg) in 1959 and was one of the last riveted ships manufactured, laden she weighed 650 tons, she measures 180ft long from stern to stern and is 30ft wide. She saw service as a transporter for timer to and from Baltic Sea ports (Finland, Estonia and Sweden most likely, we're surmising here), sadly she ran aground at Gravesend in Kent and was left rusting away in the half-abandoned docks of Sunderland.
However a brighter future initiated as the ship was converted and refurbished, using funds from a loan scheme, to which later sailed to Bristol and took six days and nights in order to complete the 732 nautical mile (842 miles on land) journey.
Later years saw it become a cornerstone in the production of a drum & bass scene in Bristol, as well as featuring renowned art by the famous graffiti artist Banksy. In 2009 the Thekla celebrated its 25th anniversary with a day and night long event featuring bands selected to represent the best of what was happening on the Bristol music scene.
All those Viking Metal bands should feel right at home.
NAME: Arena of Nimes
LOCATION: Languedoc-Roussillon, France
The Amphitheatre of Nîmes is oval-shaped, it measures 133 metres long and 101 metres wide, the arena is 68 by 38 meters. At 21 meters high, its exterior façade comprises two floors of sixty superimposed arches and an attic, separated by a cornice. At the top, pre-drilled stones were positioned to overhang so that long poles could be hung over the arena. A huge canvas canopy was then attached to these poles, thereby providing protection for the spectators against the sun and bad weather. Originally, all the arcades on the ground floor, separated by Tuscan pilasters, were open to act as entrances or exits.
The amphitheater was designed so that everyone had an unrestricted view of the whole arena. Several galleries were located beneath the arena, and were accessed by trap doors and a hoist-lift system. As a result, the decorative effects, animals and gladiators could access the arena during the games.
Just imagine Il Divo or Amici Forever here, imagine also that sound of a double bass drum reverberating around the walls.
LOCATION: Amsterdam, Netherlands
The Paradiso is housed inside a former Church dating from the 19th century and was used until 1965 as the meeting hall for a liberal Dutch religious group known as the "Vrije Gemeente" (Free Congregation).
Located on de Weteringschans it borders the Leidseplein, one of the nightlife and tourism centers of Amsterdam. The main concert hall has high ceilings and two balcony rings overlooking the stage area, with three large illuminated church windows above the stage.
It's entertainment origins started in 1967 whereby hippies squatted there, in 1968 it became a publicly subsidized youth entertainment center. Long associated with clouds of tobacco and hashish smoke, Paradiso banned smoking in the public areas in 2008 in accordance with a nationwide ban on smoking in public venues, and the venue has a 'smoking room' near the entrance, but still inside Paradiso itself. Such artists who have graced this venue include the likes of:
The Rolling Stones, Joy Division, Nightwish, Nirvana, The Cure, Amy Winehouse, Epica, Deftones, Florence & the Machine, Within Temptation, Adele, Garbage, Nine Inch Nails, Arctic Monkeys, Europe, Radiohead, Stereophonics, Guns N' Roses, David Bowie, 30 Seconds To Mars, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Muse, Foo Fighters, Metallica, Faith No More, Pink Floyd, Robbie Williams, Weird Al Yankovic, Lady Gaga and furthermore, Glen Matlock played his last gig with The Sex Pistols at the Paradiso.
That feeling of playing in a church would suit a lot of bands, just do not tell Varg Vikernes.
LOCATION: Berlin, Germany
Seriously? How many times will you be able to play in a renovated power plant? That is what Germany's Tresor venue is, a renovated power plant. Tresor is an underground techno nightclub that was founded in March 1991 in the vaults of the former old Wertheim department store in Mitte, the central part of the former East Berlin, next to the famous Potsdamer Platz, however the history of the club goes back to 1988 when the electronic music label Interfisch opened the Ufo Club in Berlin.
The concept for the Tresor floor in the basement was specifically hard techno, industrial and acid music. The record label Tresor Records was founded soon after the club first opened, in October 1991. Featured artists on the label include Jeff Mills, Blake Baxter, Juan Atkins, Robert Hood, Stewart Walker, Joey Beltram, DJ Surgeon, Pacou, Cristian Vogel, House of Fix and many others.
Tresor closed on the 16th April, 2005, after several years prolonged short-term rent. The city sold the land to an investor group to build offices on the Leipziger Straße location. It was open for each night of April 2005, with the final event starting the Saturday night with queues stretching all the way down the road, and still going Monday morning. Tresor reopened on 24 May 2007 in a renovated power plant on Köpenicker Straße in Mitte.
Nuclear Blast and Toxic Holocaust should feel right at home...
NAME: Psychiatrická Lécebna Bohnice
LOCATION: Prague, Czech Republic
CAPACITY: est. 100
WEBSITE: http://www.plbohnice.cz/ (in Czech)
This psychiatric hospital in the heart of Prague, is notoriously famous and highly recognized as the home of an annual theater festival known as Mezi Ploty ("between the fences"), the building itself is a grand old place, sure to inspire awe in visitors.
It is the biggest in the Czech Republic and was established in 1903.
Furthermore the Eurofestival of which is a collective of other festivals across Europe (surprisingly): Pinkpop in the Netherlands, Roskilde in Denmark, Sziget in Hungary, INMusic in Croatia, and Exit in Serbia. However as stated earlier, the Czech festival Mezi Ploty was held at Psychiatrická léčebna in 2011.
Festival director Robert Cozel told the local newspaper the Prague Post why he chose this location: “Tell me what you think the difference is between a patient and a festival attendee. If you share my view that everyone who attends is a spectator, a listener, an art lover, then you’d feel at home among the Mezi ploty people.”
We think this place is haunted, imagine Ghost playing here.
NAME: A38 Budapest
LOCATION: Budapest, Hungary
Harbored on the River Danube and also used as part of the Budapest public transport service, the A38 ship is home to some of the officially world-class bars (Lonely Planet’s ”World’s Best Bar” 2012).
It first was used as a Ukrainian stone-carrier ship, however as it's inauguration on 30th April 2003 saw it become a cultural venue and also celebrates it's decade of being a venue this year. Furthermore it has been received as one of Europe's coolest clubs by artists who have played there. Funnily enough the first birthday the venue had was also the same day that Hungary joined the EU (30th April 2004) and has hosted around 200 events from an array of international artists.
A38 means Artemovszk 38 and comes from the name of a ship prototype, she was buil in 1968 and was renovated over a course of one and a half years. The ownership is 100% private and is owned by
Zászlóshajó Ltd (established 2001) and the total amount spent on renovations is around € 3 million or £2,536,191 GBP. Naturally the finances was from both the ownership and through financial bank loans, however the technical equipment acquisitions were supported by the Hungarian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and the Ministry of Information.
A38 agreed to provide public services for the local district. An agreement for these activities were signed and Zászlóshajó Ltd. established a Közhasznú Társaság (Public Service Company) in May 2003 with HUF 3 million stock capital (Hungarian Forint). The Ltd. is the sole owner of the Public Service Company. (Kht. in Hungarian), which is a not-for-profit organisation, and fully responsible for its operation and obligations.
A38 has welcomed several excellent international artists with the highest professional and artistic caliber such as the Vienna Art Orchestra (A), Erik Truffaz (Ch), Boris Kovac (Serbia), Maceo Parker (USA), DJ Vadim (UK), Nicola Conte (I) and Amon Tobin (UK).
What a better way to experience Hungarian nightlife than to visit this sensational venue on one of Europe's most elegant rivers.
LOCATION: Mumbai (Bombay), India
Situated in the city of Mumbai, blueFROG began as a revolutionary, integrated music project and has expanded to be regarded as India's top premiere live music venues. It also incorporates four state-of-the-art recording studios as well as housing it's own production studio, independent label and artist management service. How innovative is that?
The blueFROG club plays live music six nights a week, every week in the calendar year and featuring a whole plethora of international artists, encompassing a varied range of music including Jazz, Funk, Blues, Electronic Music, Soul, Club, Afro / Latin, Folk and Rock, plus loads more.
It would be interesting to know what metal bands (if any) have played here.
NAME: A Day On The Green
LOCATION: Various wineries in Australia & New Zealand
CAPACITY: 5,000 to 15,000
Think of a festival like Sonisphere, touring around and playing different locations with a whole host of different artists and bands, except this type of festival has different artists and bands performing at different locations in different times of the summer period... welcome to A Day On The Green.
Celebrating their 13th anniversary in 2013/14 Australian and New Zealander summer period, A Day One The Green is renowned for producing fine wines, sumptuous foods and sensational live performances right in the grounds of vineyards, yes you got it, VINEYARDS.
The first ever show was put on in 2001 on Australia Day, the personnel behind the concept Michael and Anthea Newton of Roundhouse Entertainment chose Victoria as the first location, it now spans across the whole of Australia and New Zealand and has became Australia's most successful and respected outdoor concert events.
Festival goers are allowed to bring their own food and uniquely build it up to contest for the ‘picnic of the day’ prize, whilst this goes on the resident DJ Baitz delivers music in between the bands and artists performances, just like a normal gig. Furthermore like our British festival contemporaries, punters are allowed to meet the artists at the signing desk as well as peruse the wide range of merchandise.
The rolling festival runs from October to March in the Summer (in the Northern Hemisphere this is our Winter) with over 30 concerts per season; New Zealand enjoying the past 5 years of this. Each concert features from three to five artists performing from late afternoon into the evening.
This is solely Roundhouse Entertainment's only product and thus enabling them to focus on delivering top notch quality concerts that will live in punters memories. Furthermore personal achievements and accolades have been achieved including the launching of four albums, three TV specials and being highlighted as a must in the summer concert calendar.
So this is how AC/DC developed the idea for their own wine brand...
NAME: Estádio Do Maracanã (Maracanã Stadium)
LOCATION: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
CAPACITY: Anything from 80,000 to 700,000+
The Maracanã Stadium is a football stadium situated in the heart of Rio De Janeiro, Brazil and is going to be used as part of the FIFA World Cup 2014 tournament.
However many metal and rock fans will remember and know it as the location for the Rock in Rio Festival, but the festival caters for a range of genres. Fans can recap who played at the Rock In Rio 2 Festival here, the same one Brazilian Metal legends Sepultura played at and was featured in the documentary 'Global Metal'.
The stadium, 'Estádio Jornalista Mário Filho' as it is known in Portuguese, was opened on 16th June, 1950 and is owned by the State of Rio De Janeiro. It's past and future tenants include the 1950 FIFA World Cup, the 2007 Pan American Games, the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, the forthcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup, 2016 Summer Olympics and 2016 Summer Paralympics, domestically it is used by Brazilian football club Fluminense and also CR Flamengo.
You could acknowledge Wembley, but come on look at the surroundings, Rio looks more lush no?
NAME: Pappy & Harriet's
LOCATION: Pioneertown, California, USA
CAPACITY: Around 40 to 80
Pappy & Harriet's Pioneertown Palace first opened in 1982 and is renowned for its barbeque, live music, dancing and friendly service. However it was used before becoming a venue, in 1946 a bunch of Hollywood investors constructed Pioneertown in order to craft a living movie set, featuring the classic Wild West feel with stables, saloons and jails being present.
Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Russell Hayden and the Sons of the Pioneers (for whom the town was named) were some of the original investors who enabled Pioneertown to exist. More than 50 films and several television shows were filmed in Pioneertown during the 1940's and 1950's.
1982 saw Harriet and her husband Claude "Pappy" Allen opening "Pappy & Harriet's Pioneertown Palace". Whilst bikers still hanged around, Pappy & Harriet's presence created more of a family atmosphere. With family style Tex-Mex cuisine and live music featuring Pappy, Harriet and their granddaughter Kristina, Pappy & Harriet quickly became a local favorite with all walks of life getting along under one roof!
Musicians such as Robert Plant, Vampire Weekend, Leon Russell, Sean Lennon, Eric Burdon, Joe Ely, Bonnie Raitt, Les Claypool, Lucinda Williams, Arctic Monkeys, Jimmy Page, Band of Horses, Billy Corgan and the Spirits in the Sky, Wanda Jackson and others have graced the Pappy & Harriet stage.
It was named as one of the Top Ten Hidden Gems in the USA in Billboard Magazine's 2012 Best Clubs issue.
It was known as "The Cantina" and was also used in many Western-themed 1950's TV shows including The Cisco Kid, The Range Rider, The Gene Autry Show, Annie Oakley, and Judge Roy Bean. Furthermore it was used as a shooting location in the 1953 movie "Jeopardy", starring Barbara Stanwyck, it was also featured in other films including "The Howling 7: New Moon Rising", "Strutter" and has been featured in the documentary "Nowhere Now: The Ballad of Joshua Tree" as well as Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations Desert Special program featuring Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age).
Know any Western Metal bands? No, Ill Nino does not count.
NAME: Ashbury Lanes
LOCATION: Ashbury Park, New Jersey, USA
CAPACITY: Around 100 (maybe more)
Asbury Lanes is a bowling alley and live music venue / bar that is located in Asbury Park, New Jersey. It is noted as one of the many historic music landmarks located within Asbury Park.
The bowling lanes double as center stage when bands are playing and as a dance floor.
Some acts to have played Ashbury Lanes include:
Big D and the Kids Table, The Butthole Surfers, The Bouncing Souls, D.O.A, Dick Dale, Epoxies, The Ergs!, The Gay Blades, The Germs, Jello Biafra, Jucifer, Los Straitjackets, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, The Menzingers, Mick Jones of the Clash, Murphy's Law, Negative Approach, Neil Hamburger, Reverend Horton Heat, Street Dogs, The Supersuckers, Swingin' Utters, The Toasters, Wanda Jackson (with Bruce Springsteen and wife Patti Scialfa in attendance) and Yesterdays Rising.
We wonder if each band that plays, manages to 'strike' that perfect note.
NAME: Slane Castle
LOCATION: County Meath, Ireland
CAPACITY: 85,000 to 100,000
Slane Rock Concert is held most years since it's inception in 1981 in the grounds of Slane Castle. Concerts typically occur on a Saturday in August, from 12:00 to 22:00. However, the 2011 concert occurred on 28 May and the first concert of 2013 took place on 15 June. The sloping grounds of Slane Castle form a natural amphitheater, one of the venue boundaries is the River Boyne.
Aiken Promotions invited artists such as David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Queen, The Rolling Stones, and Bruce Springsteen to perform during the 1980's. 2001 and 2013 are the only years in which two concerts were held in the same year. In 2001, both concerts were headlined by U2. In 2013, the first concert was headlined by Bon Jovi and the second by Eminem, who had controversially cancelled his 2005 Slane appearance after entering drug rehabilitation.
The Irish Independent claimed in 2004 that "Slane today is the kind of internationally-recognised venue that can claim even Madonna's attention", performers who have headlined Slane concerts include The Rolling Stones, U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Queen, David Bowie, Neil Young, Bryan Adams, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Guns N' Roses, Madonna, R.E.M., Foo Fighters, Celtic Woman and Oasis.
Kings Of Leon headlined the 30th anniversary event at Slane Castle on 28th May 2011, support acts included Thin Lizzy. Artists have also done recordings whilst there: Celtic Woman's "Celtic Woman: A New Journey" DVD in August 2006, U2's "U2 Go Home: Live From Slane Castle" in 2001 (released 2003). They also recorded their 1984 album, "The Unforgettable Fire" there whilst taking up residence for a time. The Red Hot Chili Peppers filmed the DVD Live at Slane Castle in 2003. Parts of Madonna's documentary-film I'm Going to Tell You a Secret were filmed at Slane Castle in 2004.
Could we send a new trend occurring?
NAME: Songs From The Shed
LOCATION: Somerset, UK
CAPACITY: 10 to 15? (more if extension becomes planned)
What about a garden shed?
This shed is actually a former army billet based in Clevedon, Somerset just off junction 20 of the M5. Jon Earl and a small group of friends with a love of Cheese and Cider decided that during one of their regular meetings in The Royal Oak they should try to get some musicians to play at the first meeting.
Since that day the shed has seen many acts play and has featured in several national newspapers, it has been featured on BBC Radio 1, 2, 3 and 5, as well as many local stations. They have been discussed on blogs all over the world and have featured in a BBC documentary.
They are taking bookings up to a year ahead and have an eclectic, genre free, mix of acts planning to come play the shed. Some of these will be familiar names, some you will never of heard of but all will bring something special to the shed.
Some of the acts to record and play here the DIY way include: The Water Tower Bucket Boys; who did live session on Mark Lamarr's Radio 2 show, the Gasworks Choir, Dragonsfly, Lou Brown (who is a firm favorite of Radio 2's Johnnie Walker), Roscoe, Fiddle Me Ree and Lenny Savage
However last year, tragedy struck as songs from the Shed venue in Clevedon 'faces closure' (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-19625578)
We pay homage to a unique venue and recording studio.
NAME: Colchester Arts Centre
LOCATION: Essex, UK
CAPACITY: Around 150 (maybe more)
Yes another church, but welcome to the county of which GMA is situated in, Essex. This has an interesting story to tell too.
The site of the arts centre was originally St Mary At The Walls Church, situated on Church Street and to the east of Balkerne Hill. Built against the Roman Walls and overlooking the western suburbs of the town, hence the nearby pub being called 'The Hole In The Wall', part of the wall still remains.
First documented in 1206, the church bare witness to the execution of 23 Protestant martyrs via being burnt alive during the reign of Mary I (aka Bloody Mary).
The church tower was later used as a gun emplacement by the Royalist Army during the English Civil War, moving onto later times there was further major rebuilding in 1872, however in 1978, the old church became redundant and as a result the bell went to St Leonard's in Lexden and the organ to Brentwood Cathedral.
Joy was brought to Colchester in 1980 when it reopened as the Colchester Arts Centre.
Over 33 (nearly 34) years, the Arts Centre has witnessed a whole range of local to international acts performing there including: Cradle Of Filth, Palfi The Clow, Coldplay, Eddie Izzard, Graham Norton, Harry Hill, Catherine Tate, Jo Brand, The Libertines, Ash, The Killers, The Strokes, Phill Jupitus, Mick Jones, Bill Bailey, Jack Dee, Count Arthur Strong - all before anyone had ever heard of them of course - plus the likes of jazz legend Ronnie Scott and even the late lamented and much loved Brian Johnston the cricket commentator. Also Madina Lake, Fearless Vampire Killers, Malefice, Despite My Deepest Fear, I Killed The Prom Queen & August Burns Red amongst others.
Don't you dare Varg, don't you damn well dare!
So there you have it, we looked at 15 bizarre venues from 12 countries on 5 separate continents, encompassing a wide range of buildings, from churches to castles and from Psychiatric wards to a garden shed, we want to know what your favorite one is and if you have come across any other bizarre venues.
Post your comments below.
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Music downloads, the bane of the music industry, they seem to be dominating the music consumption behavior across the globe, whether through the more apt means of purchasing legal downloads through Amazon, iTunes or similar online and offline applications or via piracy and or illegals means such as filesharing, torrent, or hacking; even to extremes such as leaking.
But is the age of the music download finally reaching saturation point? With the resurgant force of Vinyls making a comeback and their subsequent values increasing, are we really getting the best of the music we have paid for? Clearly no.
Let's look at some figures:
The "IFPI estimates that 3.6 billion downloads were purchased globally in 2011, an increase of 17 per cent (combining singles and album downloads)" (Source: http://www.ifpi.org/content/library/dmr2012.pdf)
So ok that's over a half of the world's population, but what if the same song was downloaded multiple times by the same person? Or 1 million people downloaded 3,600 songs? That's about an eighth of the current population of London. So come on, how can they be absolutely certain more and more people are downloading music? Now lets look at CD's.
"Two-thirds of album sales are still on CD, but their fall of 19 per cent was offset by slightly increased digital sales of albums" (source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/9775844/Album-sales-slump-as-downloads-and-singles-dominate.html)
But there again, are they taking into account unsigned artist album sales? What about charity shop album sales? Boot sales? Ebay? Amazon? Who knows, probably not.
The thing is, sure downloads are cheaper, quicker and easier to get hold of, but there are 10 reasons we believe why CD's, Vinyl's and Tapes still bully the music download trend.
1. Additional features and costs.
What do you also get from music downloads? Well apart from the occasional virus, sweet bugger all. However, when talking of CD's, you get a number of things that total up to make the value of the CD itself more appealing than downloads. For argument's sake let's say Dave's debut album costs 99p per track on iTunes and £9.99 pre-order. So you pay £9.99 for the pre-order, brilliant. But you want to reassure yourself you can keep the music for years, cue problem, how do you manage that? Oh you say you will use a re-writable disc and what wait you have to buy them?!?!? Print off the CD inlay and booklet cover, oh wait ink and paper usage, oh and the CD case too, suddenly you're paying £3-£6 more on top of the £9.99. Others will say, use an external hard drive, ok cool another £70+ spent, financially worth it in the long-run as long as A. it does not die or overload (it will eventually) and or B. you're burgled, bye bye Justin Bieber music. And what about the booklet with the CD, also the portability of the CD, play it in your car. I could waffle on and on but there are 9 other reasons why music download just don't cut it.
2. Misplacement of songs
Oh no disaster, you have deleted your entire iTunes library and you bought every song without backing them up or you deleted a song and want it back, another 99p+ gone down the drain, but with a CD you can burn it to your computer endless times. I think that closes this one.
3. Value and customization
If anyone could realize that if your favorite artist was to die that the music downloads would be worthless, but the CD's, Tapes and Vinyls have a value attached to them, just ask The Beatles whose release "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" (signed by all four members) was sold at an American auction on Saturday 30th March for "$290,500 by Heritage Auctions in Dallas. It had been listed at $30,000 before the sale", now do you need any more persuading? Digital signatures do not count. Oh and you can get physical releases personalized per se "To James, much love. Carly Rae Jepsen".
4. Supporting the local scene
You are no fan if you don't own at least one physical release by a band, even more so where you have local bands that rely solely on your buying of merch, what a better way to support them than to purchase their albums. Oh and referring to point 3 you can get that signed too, furthermore some unsigned bands actually number their releases so consider that purchase of album copy 6/100 a rare. Just downloading the music for free really does not support the band, music has a value, it's an art so don't steal that time and money spent by the artist to record the song just for you to illegally download it.
5. Access to information
Lyrics, now what is the point of attempting to sing a song if you don't know the words. Quite hand to have your booklet with you to sing along, mind you doing a songs of praise style deliverance in a mosh pit is entertaining but not practical. Sure you can look it up online, but for ease of access it's better to read the booklet. Oh and you want to contact their management? Easy look at their managements name in the booklet.
6. Radio DJ's often start out by collecting CD's.
Anyone working in the music industry will admit to owning CD's, this is how most of the Radio DJ's started out. They buy the physical media (CD / Tape / Vinyl) and then play it on the radio, of course nowadays it's all digital on the computer. But back in the earliest days of radio, unsigned artists would send in their music on physical media to be played by the DJ, furthermore did you know Chelmsford, Essex was the birthplace of radio? Pirate radio also used these media types, Radio Caroline is well known for this and actually had an interesting start:
"Radio Caroline was begun by Irish musician manager and businessman Ronan O'Rahilly. O'Rahilly failed to obtain airplay on Radio Luxembourg for Georgie Fame's records because its airtime was committed to sponsored programmes promoting the major record labels; EMI, Decca, Pye and Philips". (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_Caroline#1991_-_present:_Licensed_Support_Group_era)
CD's are in region 0, meaning they can be played anywhere on any PC, CD player or DJ desk. On the other hand, digital downloads come in a variation of types: mp3, wma, m4a, wav, etc and so restricting the playability level to lower than that of the CD. Enough said.
At least with physical media you know what you are buying, with music downloads all kinds of things can happen: tracks missing, wrong track length, wrong music entirely!. The third example is a classic with the Linkin Park vs Tribal Ink issue, the latter had released their song "Refugee" and was mislabeled as Linkin Park's new single "What I've Done" (http://linkinparks818th.blogspot.co.uk/2008/10/tribal-ink-songs.html), at least with a CD, Vinyl or Tape you cannot go wrong.
9. Level of rarity
Say what? Vinyl limited to 10 copies! Physical rare releases are worth more than their download counterparts, need we say more?
10. Fun of collecting.
Jim's band has 12 albums, you are seeking the rare red pressing limited edition of the band's first album, £20 won on eBay, your collection is complete. Has the more personal feeling than downloading the whole discography no?
What is your stance on this? Please leave your thoughts below as a comment.
We all know about heavy metal or at least we all should, you know that the metal music genre started out in 1968 with Black Sabbath kicking it all off in the industrial city of Birmingham, not only did they kick off the heavy metal sound properly but coincidentally through their dark and gloomy lyrics they delivered Doom Metal.
How is it that such a powerful and monstrous music genre has been the most global sound with over 100 countries being represented by it and yet no one has looked in beyond the lyrics, ok so now you're going to say 'what do you mean by that, come one we sing to them and we already know what they mean you idiot!', question is do the lyrics understand you? Consider that a juxtapose to the original hidden question of whether we can actually decipher a song's lyrics to find it's true meaning and or can we actually learn from metal music?
Global Metal Apocalypse examines a couple of carefully selected metal bands across the globe of whose prominence in either the international scene, local or underground scene has exceeded their own expectations and ideally bands whose lyrics focus on a specific theme or set of themes and not just the human emotions; anyone can sing about happiness, sadness, anger and other emotions including hyper sexual activity aka orgasmic happiness.
So where do we start? Simple. England...
Eastern Front. An English Black Metal of whose sub-genre is dubbed 'War Torn Black Metal' specifically focuses their lyrics on exactly that, the Eastern Front in the Second World War. So consider them as a band teaching history that was never taught in your school, with songs like 'Unleash The Panzer Division' and 'Dvenadtzat Kilometrov Ot Moskvy' leading the front line, some have called this band NSBM and naturally they refute this claim, in fact GMA cannot work out how they are anything related to NSBM!. However, referring back to the educational note, catch one of their live sets and their theatrics set the stage remarkably through the use of search lights, barbed war and other props and make-up pertaining to the darkened times of the Eastern Front. Forward March!
Oh how the Finnish love their metal, they were practically born out of the womb with an instrument attached, it runs in their veins and so does the cold harsh winters. Sure Lordi may have nabbed Eurovision through their emphatic 'Hard Rock Hallelujah' but Wintersun capture the true feeling of the Finnish environment and climate through their spine-chilling mix of Power Metal-cross-Melodic Death Metal composition, so in retrospect of their lyrics what you can decipher is the feeling of being in a cold and bitter land and amusingly entering the brain of Jari Mäenpää as the lyrics also tend to expand into space and time, but retaining that distinctive icy feel to their music, Wintersun are not just a Finnish Metal band, they are the pioneers of the umbrella genre 'Winter Metal'.
Heading into Asia, you can't exactly blame ChthoniC for paying attention to bands being connected to their own country because as far as Taiwan's most successful metal export is concerned there is a message everyone should know, that being Taiwan has had a dark and disturbing past. For example take their album 'Mirror Of Retribution' and read the inset, it explains the terrible battles the Taiwanese folk were involved in against the Chinese of whom still lay claim to Taiwan and yet the rest of the world see Taiwan as an independent country (GMA steers clear of politics). But the fact being ChthoniC incorporate traditional Taiwanese music into the foundation of metal and through that they use the Er-hu, a Chinese violin (called the hiân-á in Taiwanese), so effectively distinguishing them as the masters of Oriental metal (a term that covers most bands in Asia and North Africa of whom utilize traditional instruments for a more oriental sound, this sound differs evidently as when you compare ChthoniC to the likes of Myrath, Orphand Land and Melechesh the sounds are totally different).
By GMA's Gibraltar correspondent Nathan Colombo
Recently Gibraltar has been on the end of a beating stick by what could be described as “Un-European” at the hands of Spain. Massive border queues spanning for hours and hours have been brought into effect by the Spanish government at the border of Gibraltar and the Spanish town of La Linea De La Concepción.
Unlike what many Spaniards have been saying, these border queues have affected not only Gibraltarians but Spaniards also. With queues lasting up to FOUR HOURS (and more at a time) it makes it almost impossible for Spaniards who work in Gibraltar to get to work (or vice versa). Now sometimes the queues are not as bad in the morning, but they get rather bad during the evenings, usually around the time people are leaving work to go home, and you may have guessed this also affect their citizens also.
You could imagine those poor workers who have finished a hard day’s work and are now forced to sit in a border queue for hours on end just to get home to their families. One problem that has been created because of these border queues is its effect on the local music scenes of both Gibraltar and Spain. It would seem that some Spanish bands have been put off from wanting to play in Gibraltar, not for political reasons but because of the massive border queues and I see their problem.
Imagine having to play a gig on a Friday in a town only around I don’t know 45 minutes away (that would most likely be around the town of Estepona) but having to be in a queue for around four hours just to get into Gibraltar and then there the whole hassle of setting up, doing the sound check, etc (which can be a while if it’s your first time at a new venue and you are not using your own set up), only to then after your gig go back at whatever time it finishes and you and your band decides to go home only to go into another massive queue just to get home? Now I know what a lot of you guys are thinking...“Go early then?” and I get it bands will always try to find a way but in some cases they can’t.
These are normally underground bands / musicians, which means they do not make a living from their music... most of them have day jobs. When they finish their usual 9-5 routine they would make their way down to Gibraltar and do what they do best. In these cases I see how these bands may suffer and it’s not only them who are suffering. Local bands are suffering also with all that is happening as they are going through the EXACT same thing with the only difference being that instead of them having hassle to play in Gibraltar the hassle is going into Spain. On a lighter note, some locals have seen this in a positive light as now they believe local musicians have their “time to shine”. With more dates open in venues they believe local musicians can now play as much as they want as get some decent exposure.
Now not to s**t on your parade here but you're wrong! In some sense you're right considering locals can get out there locally but that is the problem it’s only locally. Gibraltar is small and a band can only do so much in such a small area and having Spain right next to us helps these local musicians get more exposure and grow a bigger fan base which is what musicians want! These musicians are amazingly competent and work hard to do what they do. They want to grow and play different venues it is only natural. Do you want to see them same bands over and over the same week? NO you don’t! The same thing goes for the bands.... They want to see different crowds, see different places. No musician can really be happy playing the same one or two venues for years and years and it is understandable.
I really hope these border issues can be resolved soon and the musician scenes in both Gibraltar and Spain can continue to work together in these increasingly difficult times.
Moldova, a country situated in Eastern Europe bordering Romania has a long, secretive and unknown history, but as you read through this article there is some hope for it's flickering metal and rock scene. In 1991, Moldova gained independence from the USSR and as a result left it free to roam and trade willingly, furthermore it's glistening capital Chisinau reflects the relics of the post Soviet Union era and the remnants of the intense cold war.
So in regards to the Moldovan music scene, I spoke to one musician, Mr. Alex Glavnenco of the Melodic / Alternative Metal band Alive about how the music scene in Moldova is facing issues regarding selling CD's, it would seem that the digital age is causing this trend to happen and yet most would agree this is happening on a global scale. But for a country that once was under control by the USSR and for just over 20 years independence has much changed in the wake of the digital age onset?
Alex acknowledges that his band only prints a couple of physical copes for each release usually just to have it in it's physical presence, so naturally you would instantly slap 'rare' on each release as it would obviously seem that each copy was numbered. He goes on to say that even though they release a certain number of physical copies, no one in Moldova buys them and so reverting back to the statement of printing a certain number of copies.
Furthermore the claim that the music scene is dogged by pop and folk songs and that metal in particular rarely gets a look in. Given that there are only a handful of bands that play decent music, even still certain bands usually just play covers at weddings and in advertising to generate income. So this is quite interesting in that bands look for other innovative ways to generate income due to the lack of CD sales, yet in the West we're always harping on about people should buy CD's to support the bands but in Moldova it seems to be the complete opposite!
With such a small scene and what seems to be a completely deflated level of support, there seems to be bleak hope for the Moldovan metal scene, what with around five or so metal bands in current existence and who are limited to play at small clubs from which Alex states that they have at maximum between 50-100 capacity (even this turn out he says is very rare), yet our average venue in the UK as around 2 to 4 times that! So there seems to be a massive contrast to what Western Europe experiences to what Eastern Europe dreams of. Regarding the metal bands, they usually end up going to play in nearby nations like Russia, Romania and The Ukraine and it's all down to the band's persistent enthusiasm that gets the Moldovan metal music out there.
The saddening fact is that there is such a weak rock and metal scene out in Moldova, according to Alex "average people listen to schlager and folk music. Nobody pays for CD's and doesn't need them as they will download the music, as I said previously, metal and rock is all enthusiastic. We invest money and don't even think to get anything back. If we play some shows and get a hundreds dollars or so its great, but these shows are really rare", here again it seems that here in the UK we take most things for granted yet over in Moldova it's harder to get anything out of something.
After the USSR dissolved, Alex comments that "the situation got better just because Moldova became more open and free of Soviet propaganda. Everybody plays what they want, there are many bands, but they are all garage. Talented musicians have day-to-day jobs because they just cant earn money by their music. It sucks, so the situation in rock music is FAR from anything you would experience in other parts of Europe or the USA. Nobody says you can become a rock-star in a week in the USA, but there are possibilities at least. There is completely no way here for this to happen yet".
As for the more international bands, they do come to play but on a rare basis and that is mainly rock and metal music, as for pop music and DJ's (especially Russian) they are more common in playing here, however on a better note the old guard of rock bands which were popular amongst civilians back in the day were expensive to get to play in the country but now they are decreasingly becoming more and more cheaper as Alex stated and he feels that this is good for the Moldova music scene.
He goes on to say that in spring 2013 he had the utmost pleasure in working with Boney-M and in the year gone he worked with DJ Tiesto and Nazareth of whom altogether Alex admits was pleasurable working with and in one year he is ecstatic at the outcome.
Referring back to the Moldovan music scene itself, bands like Infected Rain, Alive, Abnormyndeffect, Aeon of Death, The Ward, Advent Fog, Sepsys, Caligo, Lethal Outcome and Neuromist are all worth checking out and there is a plethora of genres there ranging from Death Metal to Alternative Metal and from Black Metal to Nu Metal. It certainly seems a small scene, but Global Metal Apocalypse supports this scene in it's entirety.
Currently one of the leading Moldovan Metal bands is Infected Rain whose aggressive style of Nu Metal features both clean melodic-like and gritty screams by Lena, hard and cutting edge riffs with a Teutonic dose of emphatic drums and samples, creating something you could say wafts in influences from bands like Exilia, Korn and bands under the modern metal tagline. Mixing musical elements from prog metal, industrial metal, nu metal, melodic metal, symphonic metal and alternative metal, Infected Rain are a band hard to pigeon hole in one genre.
For more info on the history of rock 'n' roll in Moldova, visit:
For Moldovan bands check out:
So the heatwave is somewhat nearly over but summer lives on and here at GMA HQ we've been scratching our heads on what bands we should listen to over the summer. Until it dawned onto us that bands played should reflect the prolonged weather, thus we announce the top ten metal bands you should listen to whilst the summer blasts us all with unrelenting heat, sure some may not agreed with some of the choices but through considerable reasoning we felt that the top ten bands below are the sole bands that are most apt to listen to at 28C+, of course they mainly feature from the North African nations, the Middle East and other barren and or sandy nations, so prepare for a massive heatwave of flame-torn metal music.
Each band will feature a song you should download, click the link to listen to it on YouTube.
Arguably the most successful metal band to emerge from Egypt, Scarab is a six-piece Death Metal band signed to Osmose Productions and have been racking up the international fans with no slowing down. Scheduled to play this years Bloodstock Open Air, Scarab are effectively the more authentic version of Nile; meaning that they sing about Egyptology, the Ancient Egyptian culture and it's associated mythologies. However they manage to weave the traditional Egyptian sound into the metal music and as a result develop a sound that will take your mind to the sandy seas of Alexandria and beyond, immerse yourself in True Egyptian Metal.
Download This: 'Valley of the Sandwalkers'
Come on a Progressive Metal band mixing Arabian elements to their music deserves utmost recognition, of course Tunisia's Myrath have followed the same footsteps as Scarab and got signed to a major European label, except this label is XIII Bis Records (still a French label like Osmose Productions). Myrath have recently released their third album 'Tales Of The Sands' and features a whole host of oriental / Arabian style metal. Prepare to have your spine chilled through the eccentricity shown on the keyboards and the vibrancy of Zaher Zorgati's voice as Myrath deliver another taste of Middle Eastern / Arabian style metal
Download This: "Merciless Times"
Perhaps the most softest of the lot we have chosen, but maNga are without a doubt the most successful rock / metal act from Turkey. Consisting of five musicians; now four as Efe the band's DJ left the band this year, (Ferman - vocals, Cem - bass, Yagmur - guitars and Ozgur - drums) they have stormed the Turkish music scene without stopping, having had their first big achievement with their song 'Bir Kadin Cizeceksin' being selected to appear on the FIFA 2006 game soundtrack and as the years passed they released 3 albums to date, played in London at the 02 Islington and most notable finishing a highly respectable 2nd place at the finals of the Eurovision Song Contest 2010, losing out to Germany but accruing 170 points, prompting some people to state they were the worthy winners as their entry song 'We Could Be The Same' was unreleased whereas the German entry Lena had already had her music played on European radio stations on numerous occasions. The band exclusively mix together nu metal with hip-hop and Anatolian melodies, thus making it rather authentic to their nation, and yes they do sing in both Turkish and English.
Download This: "Fly To Stay Alive"
Who cannot love this band? Seriously? Lashing together Black Metal with Thrash Metal influences, the goosebumps this music gives us is enough to make horror movies look like Disney films. Formed in Jerusalem, the band had to move to The Netherlands due to increasing pressure from religious sects, thus meaning that they had to let go of the surrounding Israeli influences, however the band are noted for going to Turkey to record their music as it would seem according to Ashmedi, lead vocalist it gives the band the atmosphere needed to record their music, it makes sense to us seeing as this part of the Middle East / European border features a history that relates to the old civilizations of Sumeria and Mesopotamia; which respectively and funnily enough incorporate modern Iraq and Syria, ironic given the tension between Israel and neighboring Arabic nations, er-hem. None the less Melechesh deliver their unique twist of Middle Eastern Oriental Metal.
Download This: "Ladders To Sumeria"
There aren't many Moroccan Metal bands that actually gain attention outside of the North African Arabian region, so it comes as to no surprise that Power Metal ensemble Analgesia emerge with a sound that rocks the entire nation off its feet. Sure some will argue that bands like Sakadoya should be here, but in terms of developing an atmosphere that mirrors the traditional ethnic sounds of Morocco or as some prefer the Berber culture, Analgesia hit it right on the head. Infusing traditional sounds with the vibrancy of Power Metal to develop a product that truly remains bolted to their cultural influences, consider this lot as a hidden gem.
Download This: "From The Ashes of Morocco"
Without a doubt the most successful Death Metal band from the Middle East, Nervecell is a 3-piece metal machine that spews out Death Metal with Thrash Metal elements. However, none of the members are ethnic Emirati, in fact they comprise of Lebanese, Jordanian and Indian; a testament you could say to the brilliance of global metal. Whilst unlike their Middle Eastern brothers, they don't use instruments that have background heritage in folk music, instead they opt to try to add a Middle Eastern flavour through the guitars, heck it works.
Download This: "Demean"
It's not often this sort of thing grabs GMA's attention but as Sean Tarry and horse owner Chris Van Niekerk celebrate their back-to-back win at South Africa's most prestigious horse race the Durban July for two years running, we could not help but notice that the horse that won it, besides being a 16-1 shot, was called 'Heavy Metal'.
Heavy Metal is the son of Arlington Million hero Silvano and is trained at Randjesfontein in Johannesburg.
Mr. Tarry acknowledges that: "He is comfortable on the Polytrack up there and I didn't want to take any risks bringing him here."
Mr. Tarry is still 50/50 on whether doing an overseas campaign even with current issues in exporting horses from South Africa.
Mr. Tarry added: "He may go, he may not. He is tailor-made for Hong Kong in December but there is no way we are going to be able to get him there by then. "Also we shouldn't turn our backs on what is on offer here. Pomodoro (last year's Durban July winner but only 13th here) is my trump card for the J & B Met. You can put a line through today so far as he is concerned. He had to race three wide and it just wasn't his day.
However for rider Khumalo, admits that the: "horse surprised me today but, when I pulled him out, he knew exactly what to do and he took off."
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This page is purely for general music discussions and thoughts that fall into the periphery of the music industry.