So it’s a bumper-filled edition today as the Rugby World Cup gets under way with FOUR games today meaning eight new bands for your sweet, delicate little lugholes.
GAME 2: TONGA vs GEORGIA
Ancient Moon are an international black metal/ambient act that have just the one album out and it only features one track, but what a track it is! Grainy tremolo riffing gives way to a cacophony of buzzing guitars and crashing drums followed by an ominous, almost Tuvan throat-like vocals which continue throughout the song. The quieter moments allow the listener a breather before the noise comes crashing back in and sweeping you away. This is a very well written piece of music and there’s enough here to keep you interested over it’s 28 minute length.
Adramalech, hailing from Georgia, is a one-man black metal act (Veliar-all instruments) who has released several eps and albums of varying black metal/ambient quality since 2009. Each release has seen Adramalech expand and improve his songwriting skills and range of music, making his later work a lot more of an enjoyable experience than his earlier stuff, in my opinion.
Tonga have lost their first game of the Rugby World Cup in five of the six editions they have competed in, Georgia have failed to score a try in each of their three Rugby World Cup openers since debuting in 2003, losing all three of those games as well so something’s going to change after this game! Tonga will be favourites and will need a good start if they are to claim second place from Argentina and this game should be theirs for the taking.
Musically it’s also a win for Tonga as Ancient Moon’s single track is a lot more engaging than Adramalech’s work.
GAME 3: IRELAND vs CANADA
Worshiping at the Holy Altar of the Riff, Irish ne’er do wells Astralnaut play fairly enjoyable stoner rock/metal that throws nods to the usual suspects: Kyuss, Sabbath etc. Nothing ground-breaking but pretty damn fine stoner metal to bang your head to.
Finnr’s Cane are an interesting bunch of Canadians. Aside from their nicknames (The Slave, the Peasant and The Bard) Finnr’s Cane’s take on atmospheric doom/black metal is a little different to these ears and that is due in part to the use of a cello instead of a bass guitar which leads to some rocking cello solo moments in the songs! Agalloch, WITTR, Drudkh, early Ulver are the reference points for Finnr’s Cane but their strong sense of melody and songwriting also set them up as their own band and not just a copy of their influences.
Ireland have won their opening match of the last four Webb Ellis editions, scoring a combined 20 tries in these four matches. These two nations met in the inaugural edition of the tournament in 1987, with Ireland running out 46-19 winners. Canada’s record in their Rugby World Cup openers is positive, they have won four and lost three but I feel that Ireland will just have too much experience and power to overcome their opponents and should be comfortable winners.
Musically, the Canadians take this one due to the inventive songwriting and rocking cello parts of Finnr’s Cane.
GAME 4: SOUTH AFRICA vs JAPAN
Firegate are an unusual band for me to feature on one of my blog posts, not because they’re a power metal act but because of their overt Christian lyrics. Now the bible and metal have quite a few lyrical themes in common: war, death, slaughter, bloodshed and some of Firegate’s songs have those themes too but they are a little more forthright in their beliefs (“Give glory to the Lord your God before it’s too late. Acknowledge Him before He brings darkness upon you, causing you to stumble and fall on the darkening mountain
where you’ll find only terrible darkness and gloom.”- subtle isn’t it?) Now the younger more head strong me would have dismissed this straight off the bat as preachy christian crap, however if I can accept bands singing about Odin, Satan, Osiris, Ra, Shiva, unicorns, goblins, Orcs, Cthulhu then why worry about yet another fictional character and his chums? Firegate’s music is pretty decent power metal; nothing too bad but nothing that makes it stand out from the crowd. Competent musicianship and clean, strong but not powerful vocals make Firegate on ‘OK’ listen. Damned with faint praise indeed!
Japan’s Aeternum Sacris (yet another one-man band) are a funeral doom metal act with ambient affectations. Lush keyboards, gothic/doom style vocals and a funeral doom pace to the songs makes Aeternum Sacris a thoroughly enjoyable listening experience.
This game represents these nations’ first meeting at Test level. South Africa have won all their tournament openers since debuting in 1995. Japan are winless in their last 18 World Cup matches and aside from those two draws against Canada, have lost by double-figure margins in 15 of those 16 defeats. South Africa and Samoa will be firm favourites to advance from a group that also features the USA and Six Nations Wooden Spoon winners, Scotland and this game will not give the Springboks too much trouble.
Musically, Japan win this one by a country mile. It’s not the overt Christian message in Firegate’s lyrics that bother me, some of the lyrics are quite metal in places and some of them wouldn’t look too out of place in a Meads of Asphodel song. No, the problem for me is Firegate seem to be a (very) poor man’s Satan’s Host, right down to the Harry Conklin-style vocals but as we all know the devil has all the best tunes and Firegate just can’t compete. Aeternum Sacris’s music is more deeper, more developed and just hits me on a more emotional level than Firegate ever could be.
GAME 5: FRANCE vs ITALY
Atmospheric doom metal is a favourite genre of mine and France’s Ixion have becaome a new favourite band for me (I’m such a bandwagoner!) This Brittany trio produce some very lush, beautiful gothic/doom metal with the clean and the harsh vocals mixing well and the musicianship and songwriting are of a very high standard. Their last album was 2011 so hopefully some new songs will be released soon.
Mourning Mist, an Italian avant-garde doom metal outfit, give a lot of prominence to the violin in their songs and it helps give the band’s music a little extra creepiness and weirdness and adds to the misanthropy. An Italian Sigh if you please.
This is the first Rugby World Cup meeting between these European rivals. France have won five of seven World Cup openers, losing as hosts in 2007 and drawing against Scotland in the inaugural edition in 1987. France have won three of the last five Tests between the sides, all in the Six Nations, with all those wins coming via margins of 18+ points, so it would seem that a French victory is all but assured and quite frankly I’m not going to bet against Les Bleues. Musically it’s a different ball game and although they play different styles of metal I have to give this match to the Italians just because of teh use of violins adds a n extra dimension to their sound.