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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.