Tag Archives: atmospheric black metal

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 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.

 

WORLD CUP OF METAL 2015 (RUGBY EDITION) GAME 31/32

Uh-oh! Will I survive another end of the world prediction?

GAME 31 SOUTH AFRICA vs USA

VINTERSLAV vs OBSEQUIAE

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Vinterslav/3540296278

Vinterslav (Swedish for ‘winter slave’) are a South African black metal combo that deal in BM of the ‘raw’ kind. Blastbeats, tremelo riffing and harsh vocals all lead you to believe the lads are wandering the snowy-capped mountains of some Scandinavian countryside rather than kicking back and enjoying the sunny beaches of Cape Town. However the music is good, a tad formulaic at times but still an enjoyable stab at an oversaturated genre.

A change of pace with this next band, Obsequiae: it’s still black metal but it uses melody which seems to be influenced by medieval music and they even use a medieval harp on some of their songs on their latest album. The melodies and the instrument give the songs an ‘authentic’ feel to them rather than some hokey, sub-par ‘folk metal’ band you’d see at Wacken.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Obsequiae/3540290073

http://listen.20buckspin.com/album/aria-of-vernal-tombs-2

PREDICTION:

South Africa will be heavy favourites as they still atop Pool B facing a US side that have no victories in this World Cup. The Springboks for the victory.

Musically the US take this one due in large part to Obsequiae’s use of medieval melodies and harp to produce some truly outstanding black metal.

GAME 32: NAMIBIA vs GEORGIA

FORESTFATHER vs  ENNUI

Forefather are comprised of two Americans and one Chilean and play atmospheric black metal with some folk influences that will have the fans of Agalloch, WITTR, Alcest etc curious to discover them ( and I include myself in this list!) One difference of Forestfather and other bands of this genre is the use of clean vocals, which are used predominantly in the songs and can take a little getting used to but worth it in the end.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Forestfather/3540367025

https://forestfather.bandcamp.com/

A change of pace for this next band representing Georgia. Ennui are a Georgian duo that play funeral doom metal, full of deep, growling vocals, heavy-as-a-mountain-and-twice-as-mobile riffs and some sublime guitar solos and excellent guitar interplay that pushes home the despair and grief the band are singing about.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Ennui/3540353754

https://ennui-funeral.bandcamp.com/

PREDICTION:

Both teams will be going home from the tournament no matter what the result today. Georgia have been quite a nice surprise in this World Cup and I can see them beating the Namibians quite handily.

Musically the contest goes to the Georgians again. Ennui are an excellent funeral doom metal act similar in style to Evoken, and that’s good enough for me!

 

 

THE WORLD CUP OF METAL (RUGBY EDITION) GAMES 14/15/16

GAME 14: ITALY vs CANADA

KROWNN vs WILT

Kicking off the second weekend of the Rugby World Cup I’m featuring some bands that I found on Instagram (@sufferingzappatache is my handle- check me out!).

Firstly we have Italian doom trio Krownn who, if you’re fans of Place of Skulls, Orange Goblin, Grand Magus etc, then you should not hesitate to click their bandcamp page and snap up the two albums that are available right now The riffs are heavy and contagious and the lyrics are inspired by the fantasy greats of Tolkien, Howard,etc. Also check out the guitarist’s Instagram page (@sealsofblackening) for some brilliant artwork.

https://krownn.bandcamp.com/

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Kr%C3%B6wnn/3540359875

From the snowy depths of Canada (Winnipeg, Manitoba to be exact) come atmospheric black metal band Wilt who conjure up spacious, depressive  bm melodies and give the listener a real sense of bleakness and futility. There is some light amongst the shade and dark but the overall feeling is one of despair, and that’s fine with me!

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Wilt/3540353837

https://wiltmanitoba.bandcamp.com/

PREDICTION:

Italy defeated Canada 19-14 at the 2003 World Cup; the five-point margin was the narrowest victory Italy have recorded over Canada in their seven Tests against the Maple Leafs (W5 L2). Italy have won the last four Tests between these nations having lost two of their first three against the North American nation. Both teams suffered a defeat in their opening games and with both France and Ireland already looking like they’ve got the top two spots sewn up, it’s probably just a matter pride for these two teams and I believe the Italians will have just a little too much for their Canuck counterparts.

Musically, Krownn take the erm……..crown for Italy with their retro-doom loveliness and gorgeous riffs.

GAME 15: SOUTH AFRICA vs SAMOA

DREAMS OF NIGHTMARES vs SO HIDEOUS

Up first is South African melodic death/groove metal act Dreams Of Nightmares playing a fairly decent, no frills melodic death/groove metal. It’s nothing too spectacular and a little too much on the groove side for my liking but decent enough.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Dreams_of_Nightmares/3540401152

https://dreamsofnightmares.bandcamp.com/releases

Representing Samoa for this game will be New York orchestral/post-black metal/shoegaze act So Hideous (@sohideous on Instagram). Combining elements of G!YBE-type orchestration, hardore, shoegaze and post BM riffing and phrasing, the band are a powerful act to listen to. Occasionally there is a little too much going on in some of the songs, but when the fire mix just the right amount of their influences together it makes for a potent an heady brew a emotional, uplifting metal.

https://sohideous.bandcamp.com/

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/So_Hideous/3540372881

PREDICTION:

This will be the fifth World Cup Test between these nations; the Springboks have not faced any other side more often (England also four times). South Africa won the previous four games between the sides. This will be a tough game for South Africa to try and bounce back from after their defeat to Japan. Samoa will be confident after their victory over the US and will be looking forward to keeping their winning momentum going. This will be a close game but I feel SA will just do enough to edge out the Samoans.

Musically So Hideous take the victory.

GAME 16: ENGLAND vs WALES

JUKEBOX MONKEY vs ZONDERHOOF- The Battle of the Stoner Bands!

Jukebox Monkey can be found on Instagram (@jukeboxmonkey) and are from the sunny seaside hamlet of Gravesend in the English garden that is Kent. Playing stoner metal/rock that’s similar in style to Grand Magus fronted by Maynard James Keenan , Jukebox Monkey are a powerful four piece with some amazing riffs catchy choruses and excellent songs. One to check out.

https://jukeboxmonkey.bandcamp.com/

Zonderhoof’s take on stoner metal/doom is of a more instrumental variety, with huge riffs, more emphasis on the doom aspect and killer long songs that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Church of Misery or Sleep album (and great song titles too!)

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Zonderhoof/3540287195

https://zonderhoof.bandcamp.com/

PREDICTION:

These two rivals have met twice at World Cups, in 1987 and 2003, with England losing the first encounter but winning 12 years ago and each of those games were settled by significant margins, 13 and 11 points respectively. England are aiming for three straight victories over Wales for the first time since 2011 however England have lost two of their last five Tests at Twickenham against their border rivals but prior to that won 10 in a row against Wales at HQ. In their last three defeats against Wales (2011-2013), England failed to score a try, however, England have failed to score a try just once in their last 15 Tests. With the Australians also in Pool A neither team can afford to slip up and defeat for one team will probably hinder qualification into the next round. England will be favourites due to being the host nation, but the Welsh will have more than enough to counter the English. A tough game settled by a point or two and with the Welsh coming out as victors.

Musically I’m going for the draw. Both bands are excellent examples of the variety in the stoner doom/rock genre. If I was to judge it I’d probably give it to Jukebox Monkey due to the great sing-a-long choruses but it’ll be a close call.

THE WORLD CUP OF METAL 2015 (RUGBY EDITION) GAME 13

GAME 13: ARGENTINA vs GEORGIA

DOWNFALL OF NUR vs NO REGRETS

Argentinian Downfall of Nur are a black metal band but they are much more than that. The use of folk-sounding strings, bag-pipes and flutes add an unsettling atmosphere to some of the tracks on the debut album, which along with the strong songwriting makes ‘Umbras de Barbagia’ a fantastic listen and a wonderful debut album. Atmospheric black metal with equal parts  great atmosphere and excellent black metal puts Downfall of Nur up there with the likes of Agalloch, WITTR, Panopticon as essential listening for fans of this genre, of which I include myself.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Downfall_of_Nur/3540365541

https://avantgardemusic.bandcamp.com/album/umbras-de-barbagia

No Regrets are a melodic doom/death metal act from Georgia who are similar in style to Solitude Aeternus, Swallow The Sun etc. Great riffs and a good sense of melody makes No Regrets a worthy addition to the genre.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/No_Regrets/3540360722

PREDICTION:

These nations met at the 2007 and 2011 World Cups, matches that Los Pumas won by 30 and 18-point margins respectively. Argentina led Georgia at half-time by three points in 2007 (6-3) and trailed at the break in their 2011 clash (5-7). Argentina have lost their last two RWC games and have not been beaten three times in a row since suffering eight consecutive defeats between 1987 and 1999. Georgia pulled one of the surprises of the tournament by beating Tongo in their opening game whilst Los Pumas lost to tournament favourites New Zealand, so they will be looking to defeat Georgia and restart their RWC campaign and I believe they will.

Musically whilst I love the stylings of No Regrets, I have to give this one to Downfall of Nur for producing a debut album of exquisite atmospheric black metal that will be on the best-of 2015 lists of a lot of people, including mine.

 

THE WORLD CUP OF METAL 2015 (RUGBY EDITION) GAMES 9/10/11

Today’s games sees 3 teams opening their World Cup campaign (Scotland, the Aussies and Romania), 2 teams hoping to have a 100% record after two games (France and Japan) and one team looking to get their first points of the tournament (hello Fiji!)

GAME 9: SCOTLAND vs JAPAN

ADABROC vs QUEST FOR BLOOD

Regular readers of these post type things will realise that I have a soft spot for one-man atmospheric black metal acts and Adabroc (from the Isle of Lewis) has wormed his way into the soft spot of my heart with his use of the flute in his atmospheric Drudkh inspired numbers. Great riffs, drumming and songwriting showcases Dómhnall Alasdair MacIlleMhuire’s prodigious talents and is definitely a name to look out for in atmospheric BM circles.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Adabroc/3540359490

https://adabroc.bandcamp.com/

If the use of the flute in Adabroc is used to make his songs sound folk-tinged, then the flautist in Japan’s Quest For Blood (great movie title by the way!) is channeling Iain Anderson, Napolean Murphy Brock and Jimi Hendrix giving this black/folk/progressive metal band an edge not too often seen or heard in metal circles. Jazz, metal, prog, improv and just plain weirdness makes Quest For Blood and interesting and worthwhile listen too. To paraphrase Frank Zappa: “Good God, give the flautist some!”

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Quest_for_Blood/3540257824

PREDICTION:

Scotland faced Japan at the 1991 and 2003 World Cups, winning each game by more than 20 points and Scotland have lost just one of their opening World Cup games (W5 D1), losing their 1999 opener against South Africa. Both of Scotland’s RWC games against Japan were tournament openers for both sides, though this time around it is Japan’s second game.

The Scots have failed to cross the try line in five of their last seven Rugby World Cup matches and last scored a World Cup try in their 2011 opener against Romania, overall Scotland have won all four of their matches against Japan, all by 20+ points. Japan became the first non Tier One nation to beat South Africa in a Test match last weekend, and only the fourth side at all to beat them at the Rugby World Cup (England, NZ and Australia). Whilst it’ll be a tricky game for the Six Nations wooden spoon winners, I can see Scotland getting past this potential banana skin and getting their first points of the tournament.

Musically it’s going to be a tie. Adabroc’s atmospheric BM is beautiful and spectacular but Quest For Blood’s sheer insanity and flute skills are more than a match for the Scot. Everybody’s ears are the winners!

 

GAME 10: AUSTRALIA vs FIJI

WHEN DAY DESCENDS vs BOLIVAR COLA

When Day Descends are an instrumental progressive rock/metal/post rock/metal act from Australia and from that description you can guess what their music sounds like: all chiming, ethereal guitars, complex time signatures, searing guitar solos and just general loveliness and you’d be correct. Nothing to put this act head and shoulders above similar artists but  good stuff nonetheless.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/When_Day_Descends/43342

https://whendaydescends.bandcamp.com/

It seems the flute is more metal than it first appears! Stoner/doom metal act Bolivar Cola incorporate it to pretty nifty effect (along with the jew’s harp) adding a little something different to the standard female-fronted stoner doom.

https://bolivarcola.bandcamp.com/album/the-beast

PREDICTION:

Australia faced Fiji at the 2007 edition of this tournament, running out 55-12 winners; both teams went on to qualify for the quarter-finals. Australia have won six of their seven opening games at World Cups, including the last four in a row and Australia have limited the Fijians to single figures in five of their last eight meetings. Based on this information, and the fact only a fool bets against the Aussies, I’ll be predicting a comfortable Australian victory.

Musically it’s another draw, and yes I do have splinter from sitting on this damn fence so often! Whilst When Day Descends have a bigger catalogue, I’m kinda excited about hearing more from Russia’s Bolivar Cola

 

GAME 11: FRANCE vs ROMANIA

BARUS vs GOD

French progressive death metal, anyone? If you raised your hand then you should be checking out Barús as soon as inhumanely possible. Meshuggah and Gojira combined plus a dash of something other-worldly about the proceedings make Barús quite an exciting listen.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Bar%C3%BAs/3540393658

https://barus.bandcamp.com/releases

And now for something completely blasphemous,, or not depending on your outlook. From Romania come GOD The Barbarian Horde, an atmospheric/melodic death/doom/folk/kitchen sink band who sing in their native language and make no excuses for it. The later material is more folk-infused metal and it’s a pretty interesting listen. Check it our for yourself.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/God/14687

https://godthehorde.bandcamp.com/album/zal-mox

PREDICTION:

These two sides met in the 1987 and 1991 World Cups, with the two matches producing 100 points in total, France won each of those matches by over 25 points and by a combined margin of 70 points. However, the Oaks remained in the game at half-time in both those fixtures, going in level and trailing by just six points in ’87 and ’91 respectively. France have won three Tests in a row, their best run since 2012, Romania however have won three of their last four Tests and have won six of nine in 2015 overall. Despite all that I will go with Les Bleues to get their second win of the tournament. Musically despite the interesting Romanian-folk metal stylings (and awesome name) of GOD The Barbarian Horde I’m giving the win to new guys Barús.

THE WORLD CUP OF METAL 2015 (RUGBY EDITION) GAMES 6/7/8

 

Once more with feeling, chaps!

Another busy schedule of games today, so let’s get to it.

GAME 6: SAMOA vs USA

Up first, representing Samoa, are psychedelic doom metal act Cruthu, which means ‘creation’ in Gaelic, a female-fronted four-piece act from Michigan. Whilst their take on 70’s stoner/occult rock is not the most original, they do seem to have a better understanding of how to use the blues in their sound and singer Teri Brown has a good voice on her.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Cruthu/3540395265

https://cruthu.bandcamp.com/releases

Where would heavy metal, and to an even greater extent black metal and it’s off-shoots, be without the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien? If you’ve seen any of my other ‘World Cup of…’ you’ll discover that Tolkien-inspired band names, albums, songs etc are everywhere and now we add another name to the list ; Mirkwood. In Tolkien’s world, Mirkwood is a vast forest in Middle-Earth whereas Mirkwood here is a one man black metal act from California who wears his Summoning and Windir influences on his sleeve and produces some great symphonic bm. There are only a few demos out so far but hopefully a full album will drop soon.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Mirkwood/110865

https://mirkwoodband.bandcamp.com/

PREDICTION:

These sides clashed in the pool stages of the 2007 tournament in a match which Samoa triumphed 25-21 and Samoa have featured in every World Cup since 1991 and have won their tournament opener on five of six occasions. Since winning their opening match of the 1987 tournament, USA have lost 18 of 20 Rugby World Cup fixtures including all of their openers since. This is going to be a tough ask of the USA and I feel that they will come up short against such tough opponents. Samoa win.

Musically I’m giving this one to Mirkwood due to his songwriting skills and sense of melody.

GAME 7: WALES vs URUGUAY

Siluria are a Welsh epic folk metal band with touches of melodic doom in their songwriting reminding me a little of Falkenbach. The songs and the riffs are excellent and the clean vocals are some of the best I’ve heard for a while.  Only one ep out at the moment but hopefully that will change soon.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Siluria/3540336546

Representing Uruguay are progressive heavy metal act Contracultura and although they aren’t re-inventing the wheel, their brand of heavy metal is really enjoyable and they manage to keep their prog leanings reigned in on their debut album ‘Inmortal’, with most songs being under 6 minutes or so. Strong songwriting and some inventive riffs makes Contracultura a good listen.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Contracultura/117190

PREDICTION:

This will be the first ever meeting between these sides. Wales have lost successive World Cup matches heading into their 2015 opener; they’ve never lost three in a row. Uruguay have a points difference of -254 in their seven Rugby World Cup matches, conceding 352 points and scoring 98. Wales will need to get off to a good start if they want to escape from a group that features both England and Australia and I believe that they will get that win.

Musically it’s a victory for the welsh also as Siluria’s epic folk metal charms win the day.

 

GAME 8: NEW ZEALAND vs ARGENTINA

Heavy metal act West of Hell play no-nonsense thrash metal similar to the Bay Area classic bands of the ’80’s: Testament, Exodus etc. fronted by Zimmer’s Hole and ex-SYL singer Chris Valagao, West of Hell grab your throat from the opening riff of their debut album, ‘Spiral Empire’, and don’t let go for the next 50-odd minutes. Good, old-fashioned kick-arse thrash metal.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/West_of_Hell/3540346155

Argentina’s 2112 changed their name from Fahrenheit in 1986 to their current moniker in honour of Rush (no big surprise there) and whilst they take some of their musical cues from the Canadian rock gods, 2112 also channel a modern, commercial Yes-vibe to their songs, along with some Dream Theatre influences, though fortunately most of their songs last under 7 minutes!.  Great riffs, great songs and some excellent musicianship all adds to a great listen.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/2112/16700

PREDICTION:

A reigning champion has lost their opening game of a World Cup just once, when 1991 winners Australia were beaten in the opening game of 1995 by South Africa. This will be the third World Cup meeting between these two teams; New Zealand won both previous games by a margin of at least 23 points and Argentina have taken New Zealand on 21 times previously; never recording a victory (D1 L20). The All Blacks have won seven of their last eight matches in England (L1). Given all that information I think it’s pretty certain which way I’m going to go on this one! The All Blacks to kick off the defence of their title with a victory.

On the musical side however, I have to go for a tie. Both bands, whilst not ground breaking, are very good, have some excellent songs and are pretty enjoyable to listen to and are both worth checking out.