Category Archives: World Cup of Metal

THE WORLD CUP OF METAL DAY SEVENTEEN- Adding To America’s Moral Decay One Game At A Time

After watching yesterday’s games, I deceided to treat myself to a concert. I went to see Journey. It was a decent gig but I had to leave halfway through as it just seemed to go on and on and on and on……………..



It’s been quite remiss of me to go this far with featured a Dutch or Belgium band with ‘Van Der’ in their name, well I’m making up for it today. Vanderbuyst are a trio who play good old fashioned heavy metal that’s definitely in the NWOBHM-style from the UK. If you can picture the Tygers of Pan Tang with Rory Gallagher on vocals then you’re on your way to the sound of Vanderbuyst. Great playing, songs about rockin out, girls and good times makes for an enjoyable listen for this auld git.

Sidartha Brothel (now that’s a great name!) play avant-garde progressive death metal and what sets them truly apart is the flute player. Honestly, listen to the track below and just be amazed that the flutist is following the guitarist almost note for note! The last time I heard flute playing like that was Napolean Murphy Brock in the ’74 MOI band. Great riffs and songs, more time changes than the TARDIS on a good night and that flute playing makes Sidartha Brothel a band to check out.

verdict: Two great bands but thanks to the flute Sidartha Brothel take the win. On the pitch it’s very difficult to choose but the Oranje will shade it in extra time.

COSTA RICA vs GREECE (The Battle of the Minnows-underestimate these two teams are your peril)


If you’re looking for great, melodic death metal with touches of prog in the songs, then Costa Rica’s Fractal Reality could right up your avenida. Strong, tight playing and great melodies makes this four piece a band to watch out for.

Now this is excellent! Acherontas is a Greek black metal band that conjures a brooding atmosphere of dread in some of their slower songs by the use of ambient effects, the lead singer just intoning the words (sometimes in his native Greek) over rhythmic, repeated guitar runs and all recorded to make it sound like you have stumbled onto a secret, satanic ritual. The faster songs are great slabs of black metal too, but when the band slows the pace down, the malevolence really shines through. I need this music in my life and so will you.

verdict: Musically it’s no contest, Greece take this one by a country mile thanks to some superb black metal wonderfulness, but on the pitch I feel that Costa Rica will just have too much power to break down the resolute Greek defence. Either way it’s a minnow in the Quarter Finals.




I’m quite surprised that my predictions for which teams go through were all correct! One of my greatest days I must say. The second greatest time I had was when me and my father decided to put on a ‘Download’-style festival. We took Chirk Airfield as our site and booked a lot of groups we thought would suit the bill. However, we found out the long range weather forecast from the Met and it said that it would be torrential rain. With this in mind we thought it best to call the whole caboodle off. The greatest time I ever had? We didn’t tell the bands.



Lundi Galilaois the driving force behind one man project Dead Mountain Mouth, a death/black metal band with large progressive and avant garde influences. The lyrics deal with extra-terrestrial lifeforms and space and some of the music reflects that. The quality of the music, the playing and the songwriting itself shines through on almost every track. Another fantastic act to check out.

The SJOB Movement were a bunch of Nigerian backing musicians who were sick of not getting credited on songs and albums they featured on, so they formed their own band and it allowed the four guys to develop and bring their own ideas to the table. The music is funky, groovy, has an Afrobeat essence and features fuzz guitar, psychedelic sounds, keyboards and moogs. Nice!

verdict: if you’ve been reading this blog from the start of the World Cup, you’ll have noticed that the Nigerians have won all of the musical contests, however today their luck runs out. SJOB Movement is really good stuff however Dead Mountain Mouth take this one because I’m a sucker for one-man projects that deal with space. Oh and France to do it on the pitch too.



Farsot play some great black metal, full of melody and mid-tempo songs with raspy/growl ing vocals alongside spoken passages. Similar to Enslaved, Farsot like to stretch out their songs and add some progressive elements to them and, like Enslaved, the music is elevated into something special.

Algeria’s Orcus play symphonic black metal and whilst it’s not re-inventing the wheel, and it’s not exactly my favourite genre, Orcus are very good and the vocals and playing are very competent. Worth a listen or two.

verdict: I really can’t see past the Germans on the pitch and musically black metal with progressive elements will beat out symphonic bm most days, and it does today.



THE METAL WORLD CUP DAY SIXTEEN-ROUND OF 16-The South American Death Matches Edition

So, I’m back and with eight lives to spare! It’s the killer in the woods! I’ve had a mad day or two trying to find new sat-navs for the car. I tried the Supertramp Sat-Nav but that just took me the long way home. There was the Saxon Sat-Nav but that just took me to hell and back again (one for the oldies, there). I tried the Jimmy Webb Sat-Nav but it took me to MacArthur Park, Galveston and by the time I got to Phoenix I was bloody annoyed with whole shebang. Eventually my wife came to pick me up and she drove me home, but her Beatles’ Sat-Nav was even worse! It took us here, there and everywhere,  set us on a long and winding road and kept telling us to get back!  Okay enough with the bad jokes and on with the insightful football analysis and kick-arse music! For this round of 16, I’ve chosen bands whose names I find either strange or amusing and occasionally both. Also Football savant that I am, all my previous predictions in the group stages came through and I’m now starting the knockout stages with 100% accuracy…………..well ok, 80%………………… OK, okay 67%………………….alright I suck at predictions and couldn’t pick a winner to save my life! Happy now? Good, let’s get started.



A three-piece band whose lyrics deal with the enviroment, the destruction of the rainforest and other green concerns, Fishead play the kind of hard rock/heavy metal that I grew up with in the 80’s- all big riffs and soaring solos and you know what? I kinda like it. It gives me a nice warm feeling of nostalgia whilst not being to derivative.

Fliegend on the other hand are a totally different kettle of fish. Playing black/funeral doom music, this duo, which expands to a quartet for live gigs, are quite something. The slow funeral doom pace is there but the guitars and the vocals are definitely from the black metal end of the spectrum. At times it sounds like two different songs, hell even two different bands playing at the same time yet somehow it combines to produce something I haven’t heard before and asomething I’m going to be checking out soon.

verdict: On the pitch Brazil take this obviously but musically Chile deliver the KO punch.



Pagan Folk metal Colombian band MuyzKKubuN are something more than the run-of-the-mill pagan folk metal bands. Yes, the metal is there but what makes this more interesting is the folk passages, the clean singing and the flutes. Great music and cool lyrical concept make for an interesting take on the genre.

Another band out of left field is Pecho e’ Fierro (I think it means Fish and Fire) who play a bluesy infused hard rock. The music has a 70’s style rock vibe and the playing is really cool. Something a little different and a little more mellow than previous bands I’ve featured but the name made me smile and the music got my body moving (not a pretty sight ladies!).

verdict: Two bands with great names I can’t pronounce and playing music that I really dig and making it really difficult to choose a winner, but in the end Muyzkkubun take it slightly and Colombia also advance on the pitch. See, I managed to go through the whole post withing mentioning Uruguay not having enough bite up front or being toothless in attack or even not having a petulant 3 year old playing for them anymore. Go me!

THE METAL WORLD CUP DAY FIFTEEN-You Can’t Stop Talent Like This!

So we are finally at the last set of group matches to determine who progresses to the knockout stages of the 2014 World Cup, with all eight teams having a chance of qualifying. So let’s crack on!



Doom metal newbies Pallbearer released one of the best metal albums of 2012 with Sorrow and Extinction, showcasing a band that can write some of the best doom metal songs currently out there. A new album (on Profound Lore) is due for release in August and looks set to be somewhere near the top of many end of year lists.

Germany’s Atlantean Kodex play epic heavy metal with traces of doom, mixing such influences as Manowar, Candlemass, Maiden and Bathory. Epic is definitely the main adjective to describe this band, strong, clean vocals, dueling guitars and songs of swords and sorcery, mythology and folklore shows that AK know what heavy metal is all about.

verdict: both teams need a draw to advance and I feel both teams will however for the music I got to go with the doom. Pallbearer ftw



Corpus Christii (the mis-spelling is deliberate) is yet another one-man black metal act pedaling the usual misanthropy, anti-christian sentiments, death and despair but he does this in a very well executed way that it sounds quite refreshing and engaging and several cuts above the usual dross.

If I take only one thing away from this endeavour, apart from learning to write better, it’s the different music that I’ve discovered and not just the metal. Mack Porter released one album back in ’72, backed by an Italian band and it fuses prog rock, psychedelia and blues and it’s the last thing I’d expect to hear! I’m going to post the whole album for you to listen and discover this rare slice of Ghanian-Italian prog loveliness!

verdict: both teams are going home, but Ghana can hold their heads high as they walk off with the musical win.



Lelahell are  an Algerian death metal band, nothing to flashy nor spectacular but if you fancy listening to some good, solid death metal you could a lot worse than Lelahell.

Mare Infinitum are a two-piece atmospheric death/doom metal act and has one album to their name. I can’t really explain how much I enjoy their album (‘Sea of Infinity’), I love the atmosphere of dread the guitars and the harsh vocals produce and the slow, ominous pacing of the songs as if they were leading you to your doom. This is sublime stuff and you need to hear it to understand why.

verdict: The Russians win this musical round I feel the Algerians will take it on the pitch.



Lugubrum are another one of those experimental black metal bands that I love but for some reason can’t seem to articulate why I love them. Maybe it’s the time changes, the absurdity of the vocals or the different musical styles and instruments that they use sometimes. Or maybe it’s because i have to hear it a few times to discover the nuances at play to finally understand what these bonkers Belgians are doing. Either way, it’s damn good stuff.

Pronounced ‘Oh-THEEN’, this South Korean is the 96th and final band to feature in the group stages of the World Cup of Metal and play melodic black/death metal and occasionally feature traditional Korean instruments such as the daegeum and the haegeum.  Some good moments, some not but overall a decent stab at the black/death metal genre.

verdict: Belgium are going through to the last 16 and will do it by topping the group and they win this round to.

One day’s rest and then I’m back on Saturday to continue with the knockout rounds of the World Cup of Metal 2014, for more inane drivel, bad jokes and, more importantly, quality metal (unless Nigeria and Ghana qualify, then I’ll just have to google some names on bing).





Once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, three times is an enemy action .

I’ve had a few problems getting to see all the games at this World Cup, mainly due to the car drive home from work. I bought a car from Bonnie Tyler a few months ago and although it’s a good little runner every now and then it falls apart. And don’t get me started on the sat nav, it keeps telling me to turn around. Still it’s better than the Fleetwood Mac sat nav, it keeps telling me to go your own way.

And now we get to the more complicated groups, in terms of qualifying. Of the eight teams playing today, only Argentina are through as winners of the group and France have qualified but are not sure whether they are group winners (and avoid facing Argentina in the next round) or runners up and have to face Argentina.



Southern Cross are a melodic power metal band that don’t actually reek too much of cheese!  Strong singing, great riffs and fantastic melodies makes this Ecuadorian band a cut above some others. Of course, this is power metal so there are some vestiges of cheese lingering about but they’re not that annoying to me. Quelle surprise!

France’s Diapsiquir are a duo who have decided that the terms avant-garde black metal and industrial, experimental black metal are too small to pigeon-hole them and so add hip-hop, electronica, punk/hardcore and whatever the hell they feel like into mix to make for a challenging, uneasy listening experience for anyone who decides to swim in their seas of madness. Utter wonderful stuff, approach with an open mind and a sense of humour and you’ll do well my friend.

verdict: France will do this both on and off the pitch. Allez Les Bleus!



Dream warrior are stuck in a timewarp, an 80’s heavy metal timewarp to be precise. Their one album is entitled ‘Back To The 80’s’ and boy these guys (and gal) ain’t kidding! An album chock full of riffs and solos that wouldn’t sound out of place on any Dokken or Scorpions releases of that time, and lead singer Ambar has a great, powerful voice and gives Lita, Doro et al a good run for their money. A great ‘lost’ 80’s album that puts me in a very good mood indeed

Darkspace are Darkspace, I can’t really add to much more than that. They play atmospheric black metal with some ambient passages thrown in for good measure, and deal with the cold, dark, vastness of space. It can take a few listens for it to click but once it does a richly, rewarding catalogue of music awaits.

verdict: The sheer coldness of Darkspace’s music eliminates any competition.



Playing melodic death metal, My Last Suicide are an unsigned band from Bosnia and show a lot of maturity and talent and could become something big in the metal world given the right backing. Great riffs and melodies and some really strong songs makes My last Suicide a band to watch.

Farzad is a guitarist who fronts the band named after him. They play instrumental progressive metal that also features traditional Persian folk instruments which gives the songs a nice folk-ish feel to them and helps counteract some of the more ‘noodle-y’ aspects of the songs.

verdict: Iran have to beat Bosnia by a large margin and hope Argentina put Nigeria to the sword, if they have any hope of progressing. However, it is not to be but they do win the musical portion of the tournament!



After running out of Kuti family members to feature for Nigeria, a quick Wiki check leads me to King Sunny Ade, a man responsible for some of the greatest quote unquote ‘world music’ ever.

Horcas are an Argentinian metal institute. Formed in 1986, they have opened for the likes of Metallica, Iron Maiden, Kreator and play in a similar heavy, thrash metal style.

verdict: Nigeria 3-0 in the music, on the pitch not so much but they still advance.





Being the wind-swept and interesting, well traveled man-about-town that I am, watching this World Cup has reminded me about my trip to Brazil and into the
deep dark jungle that is the Amazon. I was on a purely humanitarian trip (I do a lot of charity work for the underprivileged and needy that I am loathe to discuss, at the risk of making me seem arrogant and shallow) with the Little Sisters of the Immaculate Conception who, funnily enough, hail from Concepcion in Chile. My guide, Sister Ob’Dwella X, was showing me the way in a manner not to dissimilar to Peter Frampton when suddenly there came the sound of pounding drums. I was startled, but Sister Ob’Dwella remained stoic and unfazed. “What do the drums mean?” I asked with a kind of ‘don’t-show-the-natives-you’re-scared’ vibrato in my voice. “Don’t worry about the drums,” she replied “Worry when the drumming stops!”  We kept on through the jungle, sweating and still worried about the incessant drumming.  “Sister Ob’Dwella X!” I cried “What does the drumming mean?” but again all she gave was same answer “Worry when the drumming stops!” After 15 minutes of incessant, relentless, pounding drumming I could take no more. I stopped, spun Sister Ob’Dwella X around and demanded to know what the drumming meant. She looked at me, ashen face and with a deathly whisper she said “Do not worry about the drums, only worry when the drumming stops!” “Why?” I cried, “Why?”…….I still remember the tremor in her voice as she spoke those fateful words: “Why should you be worried when the drumming stops? When the drumming stops…..BASS SOLO!!!!!!!!!”




Asphodel are a new band from Athens and I discovered them whilst trawling through bandcamp one day (as is my want of an evening). A great mix of gothic doom and black metal, sometimes sounded a little like Amorphis and hey, that ain’t a bad band to be compared to! Hopefully there will be more to come from this great young band.

Tiken Jah Fakoly is a reggae singer from the Ivory Coast and as far as reggae goes his voice is very nice to listen to and the song is quite pleasant to (nice guitar solo)

verdict: Greece need to win to have any chance of advancing and musically they do, Asphodel are, hopefully, going to be big, relatively speaking in metal terms. On the pitch though, I think the Ivorians just shade it.



The more observant of you will have noticed that most of the bands I’ve featured play either death/doom metal, funeral doom metal, avant garde black metal or just plain black metal and I have to say that these genres are probably some of the ones I listen to most. So it comes as no surprise to find that Corrupted play doom metal with sludge influences (think YOB), tonnes of melody and have an album list as long as your arm. Time prohibits me from listening to all their back catalogue (slacker!) so I’ll just choose their latest release Garten der Unbewusstheit from 2011. Only 3 songs long, (28, 5, 30 minutes respectively) yet full of beauty, despair, melodies and utter wonderfulness which has some GYBE! influences in the songs. I really have no idea about this band but I’m really excited to discover their vast back catalogue.

Infernal are a black metal band from Colombia and have quite a melodic style to their playing. Their a pretty good band with a good ear for melody and riffs the only thing I’m not too sure about is the singing, it just seems a little one-dimensional for my tastes but other than that a pretty good band.

verdict: Japan needs to win if they have any chance of progressing to the next round, however I feel that Colombia have just that little bit extra to win this game. Yet, musically I’m going for Japan just because of the range and depth that Corrupted produce in their music.

And now to the so-called Group of Champions. Already through are Costa Fucking Rica Ya BeautY! and playing the role of Scotland in this World Cup is England. That means either Italy or Uruguay (who face each other) will be joining England on the long (or nor so long) voyage home.


CORPSE GARDEN vs OLD CORPSE ROAD (The Battle of the Corpses)

Corpse Garden are a technical death metal band that aren’t too technical or too death-y to put me off. As someone once said it’s best described as “technical really-heavy, heavy metal” and a damn fine thing it is too.

Old Corpse Road are a black/folk metal band from Darlington and are probably one of the better folk/bm bands out there. At times they are quite keyboard heavy and have a strong folk element and the songs are quite varied as all the band members try their hand at singing, and it works really well.If you like the Meads of Asphodel, early CoF, great folk/black metal and just bloody good music then look no further than Old Corpse Road.

verdict: despite going home early England win this one, well you’ve got to give them something lest they smash the place up!



Abhor play a dark, brooding, atmospheric black metal. Rather than assault you with furious riffing and intense drumming, Abhor like to lure you to your doom with subtlety and a sense of menace which is mainly keyboard/piano driven.

Opus Gaia are a symphonic metal band akin to Nightwish (who they’ve opened for) and Within Temptation, so it’s all classically-inspired piano/keyboard solos and operatic female vocals fighting with the beastly bm male vocals. But what makes Opus Gaia stand out a little more is the addition of both a violinist and a cellist to the group to add a little more authenticity to the classical parts in the song.

verdict: I’m going for Uruguay both on the field and in the music.

I finally got to the centre of the Amazon and discovered and drank, not from the Fountain of Youth but from the Fountain of Doubt……or did I?



THE METAL WORLD CUP DAY TWELVE- still hating the seven nation army chant.

So this week is going to feature the final games in each group before the knockout stages. Some have already qualified (tek a boo Netherlands, Chile, Colombia, Argentina and Costa Fucking Rica Ya Beauties- as they are now known in this household.), some have games that will determine who goes through (I’m looking at you Italy v Uruguay and Croatia v Mexico) and others that are going to either pure dogshit, absolute goalfests or just some pure, fucking magic violence (I’m definitely looking at you Honduras!)

This post is taking a while to write as the internet keeps drifting in and out (akin to my interest in the Iran/Nigeria game) and suddenly stopping for no reason. I think it’s this apartment I live in. I’ve a feeling the place is being haunted by Brad Delp; in fact it’s more than a feeling.



Moni Bile is an singer of a musical style called makossa, which is a type of funky, dance music and he was the top selling artist of this genre in the 1980’s.

Vulcano was the first Brazilian band to play ‘extreme’ metal all the way back in the halcyon days of 1981 and play straight up  thrash metal from those glorious days. At times it does sound a little generic but it’s done with a passion and a love for the genre that some of these little foibles can be overlooked for the most part.

verdict: A win or a draw for Brazil will see them through to the last 16 but depending on what the Croatia/Mexico result is, they may not finish top. Vulcano for the win.



Stribog are a Croatian black/folk metal band that employ the usual flutes, whistles and female vocals as other bands pedaling black/folk metal but what sets Stribog apart from most of the pack is the strength of their material. Just the right side of cheesiness  with the right amount of riffs, frantic drums, soaring female vocals to satisfy  even the most jaded fans of this genre.

Now here’s a thing: similar to Portugal’s Ironsword, I discovered Mexico’s Majestic Downfall whilst researching for the Metal World Cup 2014 and then I found out that Hell’s Headbangers distro were having a cd sale and both bands cds were on offer. So sometime after the world cup I’ll be reviewing both albums but in the meantime, MD play death/doom metal that can stand alongside the more well known exponents of this genre (Draconian, Isole,Daylight Dies) and from the clips I’ve heard on youtube, I’m more than excited to hear more from this band.

verdict: another tough call. Mexico just need to draw to qualify for the round of 16 and I think they have enough talent to do so. Majestic Downfall for the win (hopefully their name is not a portent of what is to come for Mexico!)

Next up is Group B in which the Netherlands and Chile have already qualified and will duke it out to see who faces… and the dead rubber match between Australia (Rule 1: Nah Pooftahs!) and the tiki-taka ex-experts that is Spain.



Australia: land of sunshine, surf, Bondi Beach, weak piss beer and throwing another shrimp on the barbie. (Strewth Bruce! How many cliches can you cram into this piece ya flaming goliah!) So how come all the bands I’ve featured for Australia play either introspective black metal or doom metal? Oh yeah, probably something to do with all those insects that are waiting to kill you (Oh, bonzer mate! Another bloody cliche, ya whinging Pom!) anyway, Mournful Congregation play the kind of funeral doom that makes mo moist in places that I didn’t know could get moist. (TMI?) Droning guitars, snail’s pace songs, deep, sonorous vocals and long songs that do not outstay there welcome. Highly recommended.

More one-man black metal band, this time from Spain. Hrizg is certainly prolific (2 albums and 2 ep’s in the space of three years) and whilst not the most unique band in the BM genre, Hrizg’s journey down some familiar territory is quite an enjoyable ride and a lot more fun than most bands in the genre.

verdict: With both teams playing for nothing but pride I predict an Australian win by six clear goals and a hat-trick from both Paul Hogan and Skippy!



Dodecahedron are a Dutch avant-garde black metal band similar in style to Deathspell Omega and Blut Aus Nord and balance aggression, melody, atmosphere and brutality into creating some unsettling music. The music may not connect with you immediately but with repeated listens it slowly makes you realise how fantastic this band is.

Condenados are a Chilean doom metal band and judging from their debut album (‘A Painful Journey Into Nihil’) they are influenced by Candlemass and let’s face it, how many more bands do we need copying early Candlemass? Well, if they’re as good as Condenados we need as many as we can get!

verdict: this has draw written all over it. Two great teams and two great bands.