Tag Archives: heavy metal


A little preamble: whilst browsing the Half Man Half Biscuit Lyrics Project (chrisrand.com/hmhb) I stumbled across a website/blogsite called Ruth and Martin’s Album Club (ramalbumclub.com click on it, it’s a damn fine site) and they featured the album ‘Radiator’ by the Super Furry Animals . Now I love this album, for me it’s probably one of the band’s strongest and one of my favourite 2nd albums ever made. And this got me thinking, there are a lot of albums I like that were the bands or artists second full album, so why not feature them in a post? So here it is: my first, hopefully of many, features about a band’s second album (hence the title). Now these will feature albums that I own or did own at one time; some will be good, some not so good; there will be a hell of a lot of hard rock/heavy metal featured but I will feature other non-metal acts and anything else that tickles my fancy (and my fancy does love to be tickled!) The albums featured will be the bands officially listed second studio album; eps, live albums etc will not be considered, and as I’m originally from the UK I’ll be dealing with the bands officially released second album in the UK (it will become clear when we get to some international acts)  So let’s tackle those albums.

What’s the album today?

‘Paranoid’ by Black Sabbath 1970

This wasn’t the first Black Sabbath album I owned, that pleasure goes to ‘Vol.4’ but after buying the 2 RJD-era Sabbath albums, ‘Paranoid’ along with ‘Master Of Reality’ were quickly snapped up.

Is it any good?

Oh hell, yes! Heavy metal, hell heavy music redefined. Opening with the near-eight minute ‘War Pigs’ and closing with ‘Fairies Wear Boots’  you are bombarded for 42 minutes with skull crushing riffs courtesy of Tony Iommi, without whom heavy metal  (and in particular doom metal) as we know would not exist, lyrics about death, war, hate, drugs, sci-fi themes, you know the usual metal template, blistering guitar solos and some of the most chest-rattling bass riffs and intelligent pounding drumming you ever hear.

Is it better than the debut?

It’s a lot less ‘doom-y’ sounding than the debut and there are more ideas and styles on here than the debut but both albums are very, very strong records. So, yes it’s ‘better’ than the debut but the debut album is no slouch either.

Any good tracks?

Put the record on, let the needle drop and take your pick! From the majestic opening of ‘War Pigs’, the doom-laden ‘Iron Man’, the creepy, jazzy-metal of ‘Hand of Doom’, the tripped out, mellow jazz of ‘Planet Caravan’ to the frantic buzz of the title track, there is just so many good songs on here and some that are still featured in the live set 40+ years after it’s release.

Any bad tracks?

Personal Opinion Alert: For me, ‘Paranoid’ was the first Sabbath song I heard back in the 70’s and I do feel it gets a little over played at times, enough to make me not really want to hear it for a while. And other than the drum solo in ‘Rat Salad’, I can’t find any bad tracks on here. (Don’t worry readers, there will be albums featured later on in this series that will have some very bad tracks)

Any drum solos on this record?

One: ‘Rat Salad’. Now, I’ve mentioned this before but I hate drum solos. In concerts they are great because I know that I can go to the bathroom for a piss or to the bar for a beer (or, if I go to certain venues, a pint of weak piss masquerading as beer- I’m looking at you Carling venues!) and I’m not going to miss much on stage. However I cannot find any excuse to record a drum solo in the studio and put it onto a studio album! What the fuck guys? Black Sabbath weren’t the only culprits to feature a drum solo on their second album (and I’ll be dealing with those bands at later date) and in fairness the song itself is pretty cool, the guitar and bass interplay is great and the Iommi’s solo is short and sweet. Another positive is that the drum solo is quite short on record compared to Zeppelin’s ‘Moby Dick’ and the song doesn’t drag like ‘…Dick’ does, so there’s another bonus!

So the critics loved it, right?

In Nick Tosches’ Rolling Stone review from 1971, he spends about 1,500 words dismissing the band while not once mentioning their name, the album or any of the songs on the album.  Click here to find out why certain drugs are bad (and Rolling Stone reviewers are arseholes)


In the decades succeeding its initial distribution, Paranoid has been regarded by many as Black Sabbath’s best album, and by some the best heavy metal album of all time.[20] Speaking to Guitar World in 2008, Jerry Cantrell of Alice In Chains called “Hand Of Doom” “a masterpiece. It’s hypnotic and terrifying and has a seductive groove. The song explodes into a twisted landscape made physical through sound.” Scott Ian of Anthrax told Nick Bowcott that “War Pigs” is “the sound of the apocalypse. It’s the sound of a vengeful God. It’s the sound of a beast crushing everything in its path.” In the Holiday 2008 issue of Guitar World, Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead called “Iron Man” one of the most memorable riffs of all time while Kerry King of Slayer cited “Electric Funeral” as having “some monster riffs that have stood the test of time.” from Wikipedia.

Did it influence anyone?

No…………………………….joke! It’s difficult to comprehend just how influential this album and this band were. The whole doom metal genre owes a debt of thanks to Sabbath, hell every metal band owes a huge debt of gratitude to Black Sabbath and some hard rock, grunge, punk acts also drink from the Sabbath chalice.

So what happened after this?

Drink, drugs, more great albums, more drugs (especially cocaine), firing the lead singer, hiring Ronnie James Dio, two great albums, firing RJD, hiring Ian Gillan, inspiring the Stonehenge scene in ‘This Is Spinal Tap, hiring Tony Martin,, firing Tony Martin and re-hiring RJD, firing RJD and re-hiring Tony Martin, firing Tony Martin and reforming with RJD under the moniker Heaven and Hell, reunion tours and album with original singer and reality tv star Ozzy Osbourne. Nothing of note really.

Is it their best album?

The first five Black Sabbath albums are quite possibly the greatest run of solid albums by a band ever. It’s difficult to say that ‘Paranoid’ is their best work but blimey Charlie, it’s a bloody good ‘un! The songs are still a part of the band’s setlist, their 2013/14 Reunion Tour saw them perform 6 of the 8 tracks from the album (‘Hand of Doom’ and ‘Planet Caravan’ the two not played) and the album still stands today as a colossal piece of music.

The album in full:




Yesterday South Africa booked their ticket into the semi-finals after beating Sri Lanka by 9 wickets. Their reward is a match against the winners of the New Zealand/West Indies. Who’s next to book themselves a semi-final spot? Let’s find out!


If you read yesterday’s piece, you’ll have seen my bit about how the ‘less well known’ metal nations have a smaller pool talent and sometimes it’s difficult to find good bands. Well…….I’m a fucking idiot and I’d like to retract my statement!

Cryptic Fate have been around since 1993 and play a powerful mixture of heavy metal with thrash elements and some proggy moments. The current members of Cryptic Fate have been together since the band formed, which is somewhat of a rarity these days. The songs are great to headbang and air guitar along to, the vocalist, Chowdhury Fazle Shakib, has a great, powerful range and the harmonies are some of the best this side of Iron Maiden. Good old fashioned heavy metal but in no way derivative.



From Bangalore (I know a salty song about a girl from there) comes stoner/doom band Bevar Sea (pronounced Bay-var Sea) and man, what a fucking trip they are!  Blatant Sabbath/St. Vitus/Trouble worshiping is on display and man does it feel good! Infectious riffs, interstellar guitar solos and some seriously grooving songs makes Bevar Sea’s debut album, ‘Bevar Sea’, worthy of buying. Check it out on bandcamp.



PREDICTION: India was undefeated in the Pool matches and I cannot see anything changing here against a good, but not spectacular Bangladeshi team. Musically, I’m torn. I love me some stoner/doom and Bevar Sea ticks all the boxes for me though Cryptic Fate are no slouches either, playing some terrific thrash-influenced heavy metal that makes me punch the air. After much consideration I’m going for Bevar Sea….just! And when it comes to ‘leeser known’ metal nations and a small talent pool, I’ll keep my mouth firmly shut!



If any one is confused as to how cricket is played, here’s a handy rhyme to remind you.


Today’s match see two sides that have had an bit of history with each other (and with England, when all said and done!) South Africa were Ireland’s first Test-playing nation opponents in 1894 and in 1904 Ireland won their first game against a Test-playing nation by beating…..South Africa! Oh my Cthulhu! Actual facts and research in this blog post! A sure sign of the apocalypse, no doubt!

For the Irish, we have a band named after a Mediterranean wind who play (in their words) ‘Celtic Thrash Metal’, but to these ears Sirocco play good old fashioned NWOBHM-ish heavy metal. My only gripe with the song (and the album in general) is that the guitars don’t sound beefy enough for me, live they probably have a fat, full, beautiful sound but on the album they seem a little weak; but the songwriting shines through and Sirocco are another pleasant surprise to these ears.


As with Thy Wither (who I featured the last time SA played, Crow Black Sky are a melodic black/death metal act who tip their cap to the likes of Hecate Enthroned, Amon Amarth and Primordial but they are not a mere ‘copy’ band. Their songs are melodic, brutal, nuanced and heavy and can hold their own against a lot of metal acts out there.


PREDICTION:  Ireland, unbeaten in two matches so far, take on 2nd placed South Africa in Pool B with a chance of cementing a place in the knockout stages. However SA are coming off a tremendous victory over the West Indies (who Ireland have also beaten!) and so will be fired up to try and catch table leaders India. I can see Ireland reaching the knockout stages of this World Cup (unlike England and Scotland), unfortunately I believe South Africa will have too much momentum and experience for the Irish to overcome. Musically, I’m going to cop out and declare a draw as I do like both bands but if my arm is twisted I’ll give the victory to Crow Black Sky (via the D/L Method) due to the weak guitar sound of Sirocco.




Strange and unsettling scenes occurred at the Brazilian press conference to announce the line-up for the Brazil squad to face the Netherlands for the 3rd/4th Place Play Off this Saturday.  Behind the advertising board noises of a scuffle were heard and the voice of Big Phil Scolari  shouting “7-1!! 7-Bloody-1!!!!! And that were an own goal!” before the sounds of an antique clock being hurled through a window and then Big Phil being unceremoniously shoved out towards the waiting throng of sports writers and journalists. Casting the evil eye over his shoulder to some unseen adversaries behind the screen, Big Phil regained his composure, sat down in front of the microphones, cleared his throat and then announced the Brazil team he had picked for Saturday’s match.

“Haggerty F, Haggerty R, Tomkins, Noble, Carrick, Dobson, Dewhurst, Crapper, McIntyre, Treadmore and Davitt.  Substitutes: Ferris, Codren, Davis, Sullivan, O’Grady, Kembell and Hacker.”

And without waiting for the bemused reporters to gather their thoughts and ask any questions, Big Phil was off like a flash leaving the voice of Al Dvorin’s ghost to intone “Ladies and gentlemen, Big Phil has left the building………thank you and goodnight.”



With lyrical themes of the Hyborian Age and band members named Anderson Stormruler(drums), HardRocker (bass) and Arquimedes666 (on guitar and vocals) what’s not to like about this Brazilian epic heavy metal band? The playing is enthusiastic, the songs rock as you would expect epic heavy metal would and it has a very ‘Bathory’ feel to the production which gladdens the soul of this old fart no end. Thoth Amon only have one demo out at the moment but hopefully more will be heard from this band.


Taking their name from the the point were the mountain ranges of the Ered Lithui and the Ephel Dúath meet, (just to the northwest of Mordor if you ever fancy hiking it one day), Cirith Gorgor are yet another black metal band taking their name from one of Tolkien’s book (The Lord of the Rings for those clueless amongst us) and although some of their early lyrical themes featured LOTR, most of their later stuff is about war. In fact their last album (Der Untergang…) is a concept album, in three parts, about the war on the Eastern front during World War Two and it is an excellent slab of black metal, with some great vocals, brilliant drumming and fantastic, cold riffing. Quality black metal in all departments.


verdict: Musically the Netherlands win this one with an excellent BM band in Cirith Gorgor, however on the field Brazil may just win it especially if Davitt scores one with the back of his from 28 yards like he did against Barnsley reserves.


thanks to the Kubrick on the Guillotine blog for having the scoop on Big Phil’s line up and to the Earth Abides blog for the lowdown on the substitutes.


So here we are at the final four of the 2014 World Cup. These four teams will be last teams featured on this blog and so I’ve chosen eight bands that I think you’re going to enjoy.  Today’s game features two of the most dominant teams in World Cup history: Brazil, with seven appearances and five victories and Germany also with seven appearances but only three victories. A victory for either side will give them an unprecedented eighth appearance in World Cup Finals history. Brazil has never won the trophy as a host nation (they were runners up in 1950) and no European team has ever won the World Cup when it has been held in the Americas, so sit back and relax and watch a game that could have more twists and turns than a M.Night Shyamalan movie. (fun fact: M.Night Shaymalan has a sister called Whoablackbetty)



Statik Majik, who take there name from a Cathedral ep, are a trio (who’ve now expanded to a four piece but all the albums are as a trio) who play heavy metal with a stoner doom vibe especially on the earlier releases. Excellent production, huge heavy riffs, a fantastic guitar sound and an great vocalist in Thiago Neves makes Statik Majik produce some great songs that will keep many a headbanger happy. Check ’em out!


Now there are many metal bands out there that owe a great thanks to J.R.R. Tolkien, H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard et al and I know I’ve featured a few on here during this World Cup blog, however I’ve yet to discover a band influenced by Douglas Adams and his seminal work ‘The Hitch-Hikers Guide To The Galaxy’ (if you know any different please let me know in the comments section) so I was delighted to discover Slartibartfass (the German translation of Slartibartfast, the Magrathian who designed the Norwegian fjords) who play Viking folk metal with a passion and flair and some nice experimentation that would bring a smile to even the most hardened of Vogon faces. There more than enough viking/pagan/folk metal to satisfy fans of the genre but the band also take some risks and for the most part they pay off making the listening experience all the more enjoyable.


verdict: without Neymar and Thiago Silva I feel that the Brazilians will not be able to contain the Germans and it’s Die Mannschaft who will progress to the final.



THE METAL WORLD CUP DAY TWENTY-ONE- (Gun Salute) For Those About To Rock

The final four bands for the final four countries of the final day of the quarter finals and an exciting bunch I’ve got. Four bands whom I’ve never heard of before (let’s face it, before I embarked on this mad parade Argentinian and Costa Rican metal was not exactly on my radar) but after today I’m going to rectify that. Onwards and onwards!



Trube (German for gloomy or dim) is another one man black metal act ambient and doom characteristics. He (Gabriel Loco) has one album out and, to go along with the cheery sounding name and the style of music he plays, it’s a concept album about the Chernobyl disaster and a damn fine piece of work it is. The album gives off a vibe of menace, horror and utter helplessness mainly due in part to the Russian dialogue that sounds like it is from some kind of broadcast that was sent that day and the following weeks after. Sublime music, excellent production and heartily recommended.


In keeping with the doom and gloom feel of this post (and my fears for Belgium’s progression in this tournament) I present to you SLOW, which stands for Silence Lives Out/Over Whirpool and is yet another one man act (I’m losing count of how many I’ve featured!) playing funeral doom metal. Deha (the man behind Slow- and apologies for not adding the accents to his name, acute on the ‘e’ and grave on the ‘a’) has three Slow albums available at his bandcamp page (http://musicalexcrements.bandcamp.com/)  and each one showcases his superb songwriting and excellent playing. The slow, doomy pace, the deep,  growled vocals and the light and shade Deha uses in his compositions are truly stunning. Highly recommended.



verdict: On the pitch, I feel the Argies will beat the chocolate eating, beer-swilling, pissing Belgians (all In need to do is to mention Poirot, Flanders and the Wallonians and we have a full house on our Belgium Bingo Card!) however musically I’m going to call it a draw. Never heard of either band before but know I’m interested in getting their albums.



Originally called Liar Liar Cross On Fire (you can see why I picked!) Terzij de Horde are a five piece post black metal band and sure play a mean pinball. The ‘non’-black metal parts (all dreamy chords and mid paced tempos) sit very nicely with the basic black metal parts of the song. They only have one ep and a split ep to their name, however I do see great things in the future for this band. I just wish they kept the original name.


Howler (umlauts over the ‘o’) are a Costa Rican thrash metal band with plenty of energy and some really nice ideas and tunes. Formed from two bands (Inhaler and Howler) they have opened for DRI and Whiplash and released their debut album in 2014. If you’re looking for a good, new thrash band then Howler could be one.


verdict: Costa Rica’s fairytale ride will come to an end today as the Oranje have to much for them on the field and musically the Dutch take it again.


DAY ELEVEN: and I want to thank my new followers and hope that I keep producing posts that are entertaining and educational (just like a Bruce Willis movie).  In other news, the England football team visited an orphanage in Rio today.
“Its heartbreaking to see all those sad little faces with no hope” said Lucas, aged 6.



Although they’ve been around for over ten years, Cleveland band Midnight have only just be releasing their second album on 19th August (No Mercy For Mayhem available on Hells Headbangers Records http://shop-hellsheadbangers.com/midnight.asp). Mixing classic heavy metal, punk and hard rock and showing their Motorhead/venom influences,they produce some of the filthiest metal sleaze out there today.


Ironsword are a band I discovered whilst doing these posts (one of many!) and once again I’m happy that I started this Metal World Cup thingy. Ironsword play heavy metal. No more no less, just straight up good old fashioned heavy metal featuring tales of brave warriors, bloody battles and fantastic heroes. There’s a lot of the ‘3M’ influences in their sound (Maiden, Manowar, Manilla Road) and it sounds like it could have been released in ’85 not the 2000’s but it never sounds derivative.


verdict: this is a draw. I cannot split the two bands because they both take me back to being a young lad first getting into metal and both bands put a big smile on my face and throw my horns into the air.



Pantheist started out as a funeral doom act and whilst they still play doom but have now added a gothic and progressive element to their sound which has opened up their songwriting.


Amber Tears are a Russian doom metal outfit that have lush, beautiful songs filled with despair and loss and evoking images of tearful goodbyes in the snow. They are similar in style to Draconian but without the female vocals and are well worth checking out if you are into melodious doom metal.




Taekaury play pagan black metal from South Korea. There’s not a lot of information available (that I can find) about this one-man band. From his blog spot and press releases he is interested in the old Korean past of warriors and samurai. The music is excellent, the debut album is a great piece of pagan black metal and I hope to get to hear more stuff by Taekaury.


Barbaros play some great raw, black metal from a country that is not known for metal acts let alone BM bands. (23 acts are listed on metal-archives, only 13 are still listed as active!) Again it’s nothing ground breaking but it is a cut above most of the stuff out there.


verdict: Taekaury because whether you’re singing about Vikings, Romans, Barbarians or Samurais, metal is the only apt choice of music to set it to.


THE METAL WORLD CUP DAY V: Biting Off More Than I Can Chew

This has been one of the most enjoyable World Cups so far, in my memory which stretches back to 1974! In fact I’ve not been this excited about the games since Italia ’90. Great games, exciting football and a plethora of goals to satisfy everyone (that’ll be the kiss of death then!). And I’ve just realised how insane this blog post is. In the group stages there are 32 teams, each playing 3 games and that means I’ll be featuring 96 (32 x 3) different bands and then when the knockout stages occur I’ll be featuring a further 32 musical acts! Insane but at the same time quite enjoyable (when the spotty internet connection decides to work!) Enough of my bitching, let’s rock!



Metal from Iran? Black metal from Iran? Oh yes, my friend very much so! Cold Cry are one of the few metal acts from Iran (47 active metal acts according to metal-archives.com) and play black metal with doom and ambient influences. They have two demos  and a split album with fellow Iranians stalwarts Mogh, pleastanly titled ‘Islam Is Dead’ Nice!


Fela Kuti was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist and political activist who was the father of what is called afrobeat, which is a complex fusion of JazzFunk, Ghanaian/Nigerian High-lifepsychedelic rock, and traditional West African chants and rhythms. Afrobeat also borrows heavily from the native “tinker pan” African-style percussion that Kuti acquired while studying in Ghana with Hugh Masekela , under the uncanny Hedzoleh Soundz. Afrobeat is characterized by a fairly large band with many instruments, vocals, and a musical structure featuring jazzy, funky horn sections. A riff-based “endless groove” is used, in which a base rhythm of drums, shekere, muted West African-style guitar, and melodic bass guitar riffs are repeated throughout the song. Commonly, interlocking melodic riffs and rhythms are introduced one by one, building the groove bit-by-bit and layer-by-layer. The horn section then becomes prominent, introducing other riffs and main melodic themes. Fela’s music is rich, diverse and very satisfying and all albums are essential purchases.




Osibisa are a Ghanaian afro-pop band founded in 1969. They fuse African, Caribbean, jazz, rock, R&B (the good kind) and funk to produce some highly infectious music that can make the most whitest of white boys shake his rump!

Satan’s Host seem the most apt act to feature for the U.S. in this blog as most of the rest of the world consider the States to be the ‘Great Satan’.

sidenote: ‘The Great Satans’ would be an excellent nickname for the U.S. soccer team. Ghana are the ‘Black Stars’; Nigeria ‘The Super Eagles’; Cameroon ‘The Indomitable Lions’ so why not?

Satan’s Host play some great old-school heavy metal (the kind I grew up with in the early ’80’s) mixed in with some blackened power metal, high vocals and some amazing drum work and lyrics that are overtly ‘satanic’, mind you with a name like that you’d hardly except the lyrics to be hippy-dippy ‘boy-meets-girl-and-falls-in-love’ tosh, now do you? The vocalist Harry Conklin (ex-Jag Panzer) is outstanding and once again, all their albums are pretty much essential heavy metal listening.





A one-man band from Germany, Falkenbach is a Black/Viking/Folk metal artist with half a dozen full length albums to his name. The music is dramatic, with plenty of atmosphere and epic tales of Norse mythology.


Midnight Priest are another traditional heavy metal playing like it’s 1985! The good thing about them is their energy and that they sing in their native Portuguese. I do prefer acts that sing in their native tongue as opposed to English, due to the fact that if their knowledge of the English language is not strong, the lyrics can be unintentionally hilarious (“if you are a false, do not entry!” anyone?) whereas singing in the native language can evoke more emotion AND make the singer sound more confident. Anyway here’s their 2009 ep with some interesting cover art.






More matches, more goals, more music, more bands that I’m not familiar with! Let’s get it on!



Switzerland, land of chocolate, Heidi, neutrality and looted Nazi gold is also the home to avant-garde black metal act Blutmond. Three albums in and it’s still quite hard to pin down the musical style of this band. As with Sigh, Hail Spirit Noir et al, Blutmond employ many different influences  to create some very unique sounds. Another band who I’ve not heard of but I’ll be rectifying that tout suite!


The best thing about doing this Metal World Cup is the amount of new bands I’m discovering from countries that I didn’t know had a metal scene. case in point is Delicado Sonido del Trueno, (Delicate Sound of Thunder for you non-Spanish speakers like me!), a seven piece gothic doom metal act that features female vocals juxtaposed with harsh, raspy male vocals and it makes for a very enjoyable sound. They are not reinventing the wheel but they a cut above most female-fronted metal bands.




One of the criteria I am using for the bands that I feature in these posts, is that they are not ‘too famous’. So for example, England won’t be represented by Maiden, Priest, Sabbath etc. There will be no Metallica for the U.S. I want to feature bands that are either not too well known or totally unknown (to me). However for France I cannot NOT feature Gojira! One of the most well known metal bands at the moment, Gojira paly such a heavy form of death metal that will shred your brain and snap your neck! This band just gets better and better with each album and if you’ve not got anything of theirs you need to rectify that immediately!


Apeiron play traditional heavy metal in an ‘Iron Maiden’ style. Plenty of galloping basslines and twin guitars and pounding drums. They only have one album out but it’s enjoyable stuff and deserves to be featured here.





Two new bands for me  (and you) to discover. First up Tierra de Elefantes an unsigned three peice who play progressive stoner metal and have an ep out entitled ‘ATSYS’, which is available on thier bandcamp page. They sing in Spanish, I can’t understand the lyrics but I do like the vocals of the Rey brothers, Nicolas and Luciano.


Brain Forest Rytual hail from Bosnia and Herzegovina (one of the countries that made up Yugoslavia in the old Soviet days) and play experimental fusion metal, in other words it’s another band that likes to take chances with their music and experimental with sounds, tempos etc. (are you noticing a pattern here?). Anyway this 3 piece has one studio album and two live albums to their name and are well worth checking out.