THE EURO 2016 TOURNAMENT OF METAL (DAY SIX)

made by Quantum of Russiaball. Check them out on Facebook.

The the start of the second round of matches I’ll be trying to review the acts I present in the form of haiku (as my writing style has not improved! and with very sincere apologies to Andy Synn at No Clean Singing for ripping off his idea and doing a piss poor job of it!)

GAME THIRTEEN: RUSSIA vs SLOVAKIA

GREY HEAVEN FALL vs ANCESTRAL VOLKHVES

Great black/death metal,

Deathspell Omega worship

makes my ears happy.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Grey_Heaven_Fall/97820

https://greyheavenfall.bandcamp.com/

More folk black metal,

with a strong female singer,

good stuff for your ears.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Ancestral_Volkhves/10860

http://bandzone.cz/ancestralvolkhves

PREDICTION: The Russians will take this one, 2-1 and dash Slovakian hopes.

Musically the Grey Heaven Fall album is a superb piece of work and one to be check out immediately.

GAME FOURTEEN: ROMANIA vs SWITZERLAND

AUTUMN, LEAVES, SCARS vs SCHAMMASCH

Lush post-black metal,

riffs and melodies,

there are not any words.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Autumn%2C_Leaves%2C_Scars/3540348849

https://autumnleavesscars.bandcamp.com/

Avant-garde Black metal:

complex riffs and song structures,

there is beauty here.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Schammasch/3540316251

https://schammasch.bandcamp.com/

PREDICTION: A draw for me 0-0, as the Swiss had a hard time beating Albania,I feel they’ll struggle to beat a good Romanian side.

Musically, Schammasch have released an amazing album, that will be in many peoples Top ten of 2016. Complex, deep and very rewarding with repeated listens.

GAME FIFTEEN: FRANCE vs ALBANIA

THROANE vs ATEN

Dark, brooding black metal,

it’s uneasy listening;

bloody powerful.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Throane/3540412217

https://dmp666.bandcamp.com/album/derri-re-nous-la-lumi-re

Death metal abounds,

raise your horns of evil to

great riffs and strong songs

 

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Aten/3540381609

https://ulknir.bandcamp.com/album/horns-of-evil

PREDICTION: The French will take this game 3-0 and book a spot in the next stage.

Musically the French take it again as Throane has also released a very strong album that is richly rewarding with repeated listens.

 

 

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THE EURO 2016 TOURNAMENT OF METAL (DAY FIVE)

So, the last two matches of the first week sees Group F’s four teams play and maybe, fingers crossed, one team (or more) may score more than 2 goals in the game!

GAME ELEVEN: AUSTRIA vs HUNGARY

HORIZONIST vs ZIVATAR

Horizonist are a gothic/doom tinged outfit from Austria, utilising Pete Steele-esque vocals over heavy riffs and some tasty bass work to produce a quit enjoyable listen. Nothing revolutionary but good just the same.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Horizonist/3540392516

https://horizonist.bandcamp.com/releases

Zivatar is a one-man atmospheric doom act from Hungary who adds some industrial touches that add a sense of foreboding to his songs. He also uses a lot of spoken samples that adds another level of creepiness to the album. Best listened with headphones.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Zivatar/3540401615

https://zivatar.bandcamp.com/

PREDICTION:  As my predictions are falling by the wayside, I’m going to double down and say that this will be the highest scoring game so far: 4-3 to Austria.

Musically, I was quite engaged with Zivatar and his take on atmospheric/industrial/sample-laden doom.

GAME TWELVE: PORTUGAL vs ICELAND

Tongues of Dying Men play polka-infused folk meta……nah I’m just kidding, they play black metal. Not just black metal, the type that ToDM play starts off quite mellow and melodic and when the drums and guitar kicks in it turns into a slow to mid-paced pretty good BM. Worth investigating.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Tongues_of_Dying_Men/3540405005

https://tonguesofdyingmen.bandcamp.com/

When checking out groups for these blog posts I was amazed by the amount of excellent metal acts that are from Iceland. Almyrkvi are an atmospheric BM act that have released a great ep that you really need to listen to. I’m not great at putting my thoughts and emotions into words but I do know good music when I hear it, and this is very good!

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Almyrkvi/3540407990

https://almyrkvi.bandcamp.com/

PREDICTION: Without Christiano Ronaldo, Portugal are a bog-average side. With Ronaldo, Portugal are a bog-average side with a world class player who will fluke a spawny 1-0 over a very good, organised Icelandic team (I hope I’m wrong and Iceland win)

THE EURO 2016 TOURNAMENT OF METAL (DAY FOUR)

Day four and already there’s been tears, fights, bloodied faces and threats of expulsion, oh and England fans showing the Democrats in Nevada, USA what real chair throwing looks like! What a wonderful spectacle this is! Onwards, ever onwards….

GAME EIGHT: SPAIN vs CZECH REPUBLIC

CRYSTAL MOORS vs QUERCUS

Crystal Moors are a pagan/celtic black metal act from Santander and manage to balance the folk elements with the metal elements without either overpowering each other and allowing for some great songs to emerge, leaving the listener very happy indeed.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/CrystalMoors/11545

https://crystalmoors.bandcamp.com/

Quercus are a new band to me, playing funeral doom metal with some avant-garde touches. Their latest album, Heart With Bread, opens with a 22-minute track and ends with a cover of Robert Burns’ ‘My Heart Is In The Highlands’. The whole album is superb; lots of prog-ish moments; think Vincent Crane-meets Peter Gabriel-era Genesis but way slower. Oh, the metal is there most definitely: the riffs are huge, the atmosphere is doom-laden and the organ is the most prevalent instrument throughout.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Quercus/13279

https://quercusdoom.bandcamp.com/releases

PREDICTION: Current holders Spain kick off their defence of the trophy with a tough match against a talented Czech Republic side, who won in 1976 (as Czechoslovakia) and reached the quarter-finals in 2012. It’ll be a good game and ultimately a draw 1-1.

Musically, although Crystal Moors are a great folk/metal band and a cut above most acts in the genre, Quercus win this one simply because their album is one of the best I’ve heard all year. Still going to check out Crystal Moors at a later date.

GAME NINE: REP OF IRELAND vs SWEDEN

LADY MAGGOT vs HEAD OF THE DEMON

Lady Maggot (such a nice name) are a gothic/progressive death metal duo based in Dublin, Ireland but hailing originally from Poland. This is the kind of European union I can get behind. If you’re missing new material from Madder Mortem (six years since the last album) then you could do a lot worse than give Lady Maggot some time.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Lady_Maggot/3540404016

https://lady-maggot.bandcamp.com/

Head of the Demon mix doom and black metal motifs with nods to occult rock acts like Jess and the Ancient Ones mixed with Mortuary Drape with Tom G. Warrior-esque vocals to produce a pretty damn fine listening experience. More occult rock/metal than metal but still great all the same.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Head_of_the_Demon/3540354629

https://headofthedemon.bandcamp.com/

PREDICTION: ZLATAN! ZLATAN! ZLATAN! Can you guess who I’m picking? Sweden 3-1

Musically, I’m inclined to go for Head of the Demon over Lady Maggot. No real reason, it’s just there is something about the occult rock riffs of HotD that speak to me.

GAME TEN: BELGIUM vs ITALY

ELEANORA vs MESSA

Shouty sludge-y post hardcore from the land of chocolate, beer and fat cat politicians. The soundtrack to overthrowing the system. Similar to Thou etc. Good stuff indeed!

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Eleanora/3540381797

https://eleanoramusic.bandcamp.com/

2016 is shaping up to be a stellar year for metal and Italy’s Messa are continuing that trend of excellent debut albums. Bluesy occult doom (with touches of ambient and drone) with enchanting female vocals that will have you cavorting naked in the woods on the next full moon.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Messa/3540411369

https://messa666.bandcamp.com/

PREDICTION: For some reason, I believe this will be the game of the tournament so far. I know, it doesn’t have too much competition but both teams have pedigree and this is one of the best Belgium sides since the 80’s. If the Belgiums score first then it will force the Azzurri to come out and play (to quote Dee Snider). However, the longer it goes scoreless, the more chance Italy will sneak a goal and snuff out the game. Errmmmmmm………3-2 Belgium (he types optimistically)

Musically, Messa take this one with their blend of occult doom rock/metal. See you on the next full moon (clothing optional)

THE EURO 2016 TOURNAMENT OF METAL (DAY TWO)

lyrics from: ‘The Dead Flag Blues” – Godspeed! You Black Emperor

http://www.theguardian.com/profile/david-squires

GAME TWO: ALBANIA vs SWITZERLAND

NIHIL vs DYSRIDER

Nihil are an Albanian black metal  band who have a pretty decent ep out (video below). Mixing COF-keyboards and 2nd-wave BM riffs to produce

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Nihil/3540325402

Previously known as Trophallaxy, Swiss quintet Dysrider play symphonic death metal with lots of low growls from co-vocalist Johnathon mixed with Joelle’s operatic vocal parts, flashy guitar solos and beefy riffs. A lot more enjoyable than most of the ‘Napalm Records, female-fronted-cleavage-core’ that’s out there.

https://dysrider.bandcamp.com/

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Dysrider/3540393079

PREDICTION: This is Albania’s first ever Euro Championship tournament and although they aren’t going to be the whipping boys many think they will be, they aren’t going to win against an experienced Swiss team.

Musically, I’m siding with Dysrider on this one. Their use of brass, cello and violin elevate their songs above the usual female-fronted-symphonic bands.

GAME THREE: WALES vs SLOVAKIA

A VULGAR PICTURE vs ABSTRACT

Wales: it’s not just filled with huge gangs of tough sinewy men roam the valleys terrorising people with their close-harmony singing or mushroomed-addled stoner bands (see previous Welsh posts); and you don’t need half a pint of phlegm in your throat just to pronounce the placenames. Hailing from Swansea (see? not that difficult!) A Vulgar Picture play pretty damn fine progressive death metal. Chunky riffs, cool time signatures and killer drumming add up to a damn fine band from the valleys.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/A_Vulgar_Picture/3540371952

https://avulgarpicture.bandcamp.com/

Representing Slovakia are an instrumental, atmospheric, progressive metal act called Abstract. Three full albums to their name and the musicianship is outstanding, the riffs melodic and the guitar solos pretty damn good. A good variety of songs and melodies without getting too ‘muso’ in places.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Abstract/21123

http://bandzone.cz/abstract

PREDICTION: This will probably end in a draw. Wales are in their first tournament since the ’50’s and this is Slovakia’s first Euro tournament as an independent country (they did have 8 Slovakian players in the Czechoslovakian team that won the Euros in 1976).  A draw but a high-scoring draw.

Musically, it’s another draw. Both bands have a lot going for them and both bands hit the right spot when the time is needed.

GAME FOUR: ENGLAND vs RUSSIA

WODE vs GRIMA

Manchester has given us some pretty good music in the past (Smiths, Joy Division/New Order, A Certain Ratio, Buzzcocks) but I’m struggling to recall a great, or even good, metal act from Manchester……until now. Wode are a quartet who have just delivered one of the best BM albums this year. Ferocious riffs, raspy vocals pretty sweet solos and a grimey production all add up to make this intense slab of black metal one of the best things you’ll hear all year.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Wode/3540338474

https://wode.bandcamp.com

Russia’s Grima are an atmospheric black metal act, who’s debut album, ‘Devotion To Lord’ was a big hit in my household last year. Intense riffing, blastbeats and some tasty soloing all adds to their praise of Mother Nature in this superb album.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Grima/3540404377

https://naturmachtproductions.bandcamp.com/album/devotion-to-lord

PREDICTION: Another tournament for England and another disappointment for them. They should get out of  their group, just like they should have gotten out of their World Cup group, but it will all depend on this first game, which I can see the Russians winning 2-1 (last minute own goal by Smalling) leading to fights, a smashed bar and tear gas all round.

Musically, this is a draw. Both bands are superb and both debut albums are essential listening. Very, very excited to hear from Grima and Wode in the future.

 

THE EURO 2016 TOURNAMENT OF METAL (DAY ONE)

look at all the pretty colours!

Wellity, wellity, well! Look who’s back! Didja miss me? Waddya mean, “No!”. Well, never I have been so insulted in my life!…………………………Except that one time when I was at the International Insult Tournament in the beautiful village of Twatt, Shetland Islands; where I was called a “dobba”, a “mongoloid shoe-fucker” and a “rectum-faced-bucket-of-sex-sauce”. And that was just in the car park!

Anyhoo, another international sporting tournament is underway and I’m shoe-horning my (lack of) sporting knowledge and metal musical discoveries together for yet another highly unpopular edition of ‘Sporting Tournament of Metal’!  So come one, come all for a tournament where ethnic unpleasantness, religious bigotry, terrorism and all round, outright thuggery and hatred will appear at stadiums all over La Belle France and the cafes and bars of the nearby towns. Oh, and some football may be on offer too.

Euro 2016 explained in one handy David Squires cartoon!

 

GAME 1: FRANCE vs ROMANIA

MOURNING DAWN vs VOID FORGER

With a name like Mourning Dawn, you’d expect the band to play some kind of depressive, doom metal, throw in some black metal riffs and howls and you’d be correct. Hefty riffs and great guitar solos and meaty songs keep the listener enthralled. Add the despairing, howling vocals of Laurent, and Mourning Dawn have the depth and range to become a pretty big thing.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Mourning_Dawn/27495

https://mourningdawn.bandcamp.com/

 

Void Forger are a Romanian trio who play a mixture of crust, sludge and death metal. Murky production values, great riffs and some pretty good songs to boot. A grimy, sludgy way to start the day.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Void_Forger/3540345909

https://voidforger.bandcamp.com/album/ruined-demo

PREDICTION:

Opening game of the tournament and I really can’t see past the French winning this. Expectations will be high and they’ll probably scrape by with a single goal, but it’ll be good enough for all three points and will leave the French favourites to win their group. Second place will be fought out between Romania and Switzerland leaving Albania the wooden spoonists of Group A. (watch as this prediction will blow up in my face!)

Musically, both bands are good however Mourning Dawn tickles my depressive fancy more than Void Forger. Allez Les Bleus!

see more brilliant David Squires cartoons at: http://www.theguardian.com/profile/david-squires

 

Happy Thanksgiving! (Cliched Blog Post Title #30926511)

Well, it’s a happy thanksgiving to my legions of fans out there (Mr and Mrs. Fred and Matilda Legions of Ambleside) and what a thanksgiving this is going to be. Now that I’ve been laid off from work I’ve got much too much time on my hands, but unlike pomp-rockers Styx I won’t waste it writing crappy songs; instead I’ll use it to write crappy blog posts instead. Now I’m not going to promise a blog post a day, that would be cruel and unusual punishment but I will attempt to put my jumbled, garbled thoughts down onto a screen. *looks at all the unfinished blog posts in his collection and walks away whistling nonchalantly*  

So the past week or so, thanks to my lack of job, I’ve just been wandering about kicking rocks and such and was amazed to discover that rocks didn’t like to be kicked but they did like to have their pictures taken and have a good old natter as well.

 

various 120

This is Gerald. He’s a happy, little soul with a kind word for everyone. You can see him round town smiling, giving friends and strangers a cheery wave and a happy “Hello!” to any and all passers-by. Gerald is one of the good guys in life that will make you smile and will make you feel good about yourself. Next time you see him ask him about his thimble collection; it’s a good three or four hours well spent in convivial company.

 

just look at his little face!

just look at his little face!

Next up is Rhett and he’s a handsome bugger to go with such a handsome name.  The reason why he has that enigmatic smile is that he is the real reason why Carly Simon wrote ‘You’re So Vain’. The way Rhett tells it, Carly was backpacking round the country and stopped off one night in a local tavern where she caught the gaze of a shy, but handsome young stone. Their eyes locked and, to spare Rhett’s blushes and those of my more sensitive readers out there, magic happened and the next morning Carly was inspired to wrote a heartfelt, passionate and quite obscene song about that night. However, once passions had cooled and the cold light of the afternoon had cleared young Carly’s mind, she realised that she would have to change the lyrics as she wasn’t 100% sure her record label would allow such words as ‘clitoris’, ‘labia’  ‘penetration’ and ‘thrusting rock-cock’ to be in one of her songs; although on a side-note, nobody batted an eyelid when Whitesnake used those words in there 1978 hit “I’ve Got A Cock (Bigger Than A Cadillac)”.  So, despite all the rumours of who the song was really about (Mick Jagger, Warren Beatty, Harvey Korman) no-one really knew it was about a young, handsome stone with an enigmatic smile.

various 100

This is Terry and he’s a bigoted old git! He’s prejudiced against gravel (“liberal know-it-alls”), pebbles (“work-shy scroungers”), rubble (“bloody foreigners!”), cobblestones (“unnatural perverts!”), boulders (they smell!”) and shale (“they’re not even real stones!”). So if you see Terry around town, avoid him like you avoid chuggers.

 

various 121

Finally we come to Melvin. Melvin’s is a sad story: a stone who remembers the time when he was worshiped and loved by his people; when people left food and libations for him; when the virgins of the village danced naked around him in the moonlight in the hopes of finding a suitor; how young couples would make love beneath his shadow in the hopes of their newly-made baby would receive Melvin’s blessing; how, on sacred occasions, all the men and the women of the village would partake in coupling ceremonies to help keep the village safe and strong. Melvin was happy and content with his life until one day strangers from another land came by and removed Melvin from his sacred place and brought him back to their land; a land where no naked, nubile virgins cavorted and frolicked in front of him; where no shy, young couples would make love in his shadows and where he his magic powers and gifts could not be bestowed on anyone anymore. It is said that when the moon is waxing gibbous and the night air is still you can hear a strange, plaintive cry across the fields of: “You fucking bastards! I’ll kill the fucking lot of you! You utter, utter arseholes! Where’s the naked women, you fuckers!” That will be Melvin.

 

 

THE WORLD CUP OF METAL 2015 (RUGBY EDITION) SEMI FINAL 2

The second semi-final of the Rugby World Cup sees the Argentinians face off against the jammy, fluky, unworthy semi-finalists Australia (can you tell I’m a bitter Scotsman?) Who will win? Well if there was any justice in the world it would be Scotland but as the world is clearly unfair I’ll be <spoiler alert!> cheering on the Pumas!

SEMI FINAL 2: ARGENTINA vs AUSTRALIA

AUSLANDER vs MYRAETH

Auslander ( a German word for foreigner) is the brainchild of producer and musician Hernan Conidi. the music is a sweet combination of epic and melodic black metal with traces of doom, post-metal and folk metal into it’s mix. His debut album is quite reminiscent of the first Ihsahn album and that’s a good enough reason to check him out!

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Ausl%C3%A4nder/3540401041

https://auslanderofficial.bandcamp.com/releases

Myraeth are a step above the run-of-the-mill female fronted doom/death metal acts. Less Epica/Within Temptation and more of the November’s Doom/Swallow The Sun ilk. With the sweet ethereal vocals of Samantha Kempster (who also plays violin and keyboards) mixing with the Opeth style growls of vocalist/guitarist Ryan Casey, Myraeth are a great new addition to the doom metal genre.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Myraeth/3540306195

https://myraeth.bandcamp.com/

PREDICTION: This is a simple one: Argentina to defeat the Aussies and hopefully by a cricket score. Yes, I’m bitter about the Scotland defeat but I won’t let it cloud my judgement….aye right!

Musically I’m going with the tie again as I’ve discovered two great new acts.

 

THE WORLD CUP OF METAL 2015 (RUGBY EDITION) SEMI-FINAL 1

Simples!

With only two games left before the final, it seems that someone from the Southern hemisphere is going to be crowned Rugby World Champions. Let’s find out who it’s going to be (hopefully not the Aussies!)

SEMI FINAL 1: SOUTH AFRICA vs NEW ZEALAND

SINDULGENCE vs ARC OF ASCENT

Sindulgence are an experimental metal act from Cape Town, S.A. Their music ranges from a variety of old-school Heavy Metal influences to more modern technical acts; imagine a combination of Metallica, Mastodon, Maiden, S.O.A.D and you’re got an idea of how Sindulgence sound. Not sure why they class themselves as ‘experimental’, sounds like good old fashioned metal to me and that’s alright by me.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Sindulgence/3540348425

https://sindulgence.bandcamp.com/album/recollections

Hamilton natives Arc of Ascent combine great vocals, meaty-heavy riffs and some blistering solos to bring you a glorious stoner/doom noise that will move you and groove you.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Arc_of_Ascent/3540302601

https://arcofascent.bandcamp.com/

PREDICTION: South Africa broke Welsh hearts with their last minute try in the quarter finals but I think beating the All Blacks will be a much sterner ask for the Springboks. Tournament favourites New Zealand will have as much difficulty dispatching South Africa as they did France ie: not much. The All Blacks for the win.

And it’s a Kiwi double as the stoner doom bliss from Arc of Ascent blows Sindulgence off course and into the jaws of defeat.

 

THE WORLD CUP OF METAL 2015 (RUGBY EDITION) QUARTER FINALS 3/4

Day two of the quarter finals and after wins by New Zealand and South Africa yesterday (and only one was my pick and even then they won by more than six points!), it’s up to Ireland and Scotland to keep the Northern Hemisphere flag flying into the semi-finals. Can they do it? Read on my friends………

QUARTER FINAL 3: IRELAND vs ARGENTINA

KRAWWL vs PSICOsFERA

Featuring a couple of guys who’ve played with Altar of Plagues, Krawwl are an avant-garde black metal act that are great for clearing your head after a hangover or scaring the pets. Of the two songs available on bandcamp the second track ‘And Oceans’is the standout for me: all doomy-riffs and mixing harsh screaming with Pete Steele-esque deep vocals.

https://krawwl.bandcamp.com/

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Krawwl/3540374436

Psicosfera are a n instrumental atmospheric black/doom metal act with some slight prog moment in their riffs and songs. Whilst the songs are really good and the riffs are meaty and catchy, I do miss some form of vocals in the songs but I suppose you can always make you own up as the song goes along!

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Psicosfera/3540401586

https://psicosfera.bandcamp.com/

PREDICTION: i’m going for the Irish in this game as I feel the Six Nations champions will havwe a little too much for Argentina but it will be a close game, maybe 3 points in it.

Musically I’m going for Krawwl, even though they have just 2 songs available, the lack of vocals on Psicosfera’s album cost them the win.

QUARTER FINAL 4: AUSTRALIA vs SCOTLAND

UR DRAUGR vs RAMAGE INC.

Combining doom, death, black and progressive sludge elements to their music, Australia’s Ur Draugr are a fantastic new band playing some excellent metal. Similar to Cormorant, Ur Draugr are not afraid to be pigeon-holed and willingly use different influences in their music if it will enhance the song, and it usually works to great affect.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Ur_Draugr/3540390904

https://urdraugr.bandcamp.com/

Ramage Inc (great name btw) are an Edinburgh based band who play progressive metal similar in style to Devin Townsend, and their 2015 album ‘Earth Shaker’ is a fantastic slab of quality metal. Thunderous riffs, powerful vocals (courtesy of Ramage himself) and tasty solos make Ramage Inc. another quality metal act from Bonny Scotland.

https://ramageinc.bandcamp.com/

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Ramage_Inc./3540363122

PREDICTION: Scotland have done well in this tournament despite finishing last in the Six Nations but I feel that the Australians will have too much for the Scots and should run out comfortable winners.

Musically I’m calling a draw again! Both bands have impressed me with their work and it is difficult to choose between either as they are both high quality metal acts.