Tag Archives: Wales

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.

 

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THE WORLD CUP OF METAL 2015 (RUGBY EDITION) GAME 34/35/36

As the final weekend of the Pool matches take place, there are still a few places up for grabs. Can the Japanese beat the USA and pip Scotland for second place? (‘Yes’, and ‘No’ respectively) errrr…….and that’s it really. All the places are more or less sorted and so the majority of the remaining games are for pride only so……….here a picture of some rugby players with the ball replaced by a cat.

GAME 34: SAMOA vs SCOTLAND

VOODOO GODS vs ABANDONED STARS

Voodoo Gods are an American/German/Polish combo that play some pretty damn fine death/thrash metal in a similar vein to Vader and Behemoth etc. Damn good for what ails you and the perfect soundtrack for a night of headbanging goodness.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Voodoo_Gods/3540344431

Abandoned Stars are a young Edinburgh band (with a French vocalist and an Italian drummer) who remind me a lot of Firewind, Sonata Arctica, and Stratovarius in their style of music. Heavy metal with some symphonic cheese added to the mix makes for an ideal soundtrack to practice your air guitar in front of the mirror and slightly scare the cat.

https://ouerghrecords.bandcamp.com/album/fragments

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Abandoned_Stars/3540340199

PREDICTION: Unlike the football team, Scotland’s rugby squad will have no problem progressing to the next round by dispatching Samoa quite easily.

Musically, I’m going to wuss-out and call a draw. Both bands are new to me and both bands hit the spot in different ways, which makes me a very happy bunny indeed.

 

GAME 35: AUSTRALIA vs WALES

AUTUMN’S DAWN vs ANESMWYTHDER

A double dose of depression for you to ……enjoy? Autumn’s Dawn features Tim Yatras (brainchild behind Germ, and ex-member of Austere and Grey Waters to name but a few) and Matthew Bell, guitarist in Bane of Isildur and Troldhaugen, and what a miserably, wonderful listening experience they bring forth! Gorgeous guitar notes, howling vocals and a sense of lovely despair permeate throughout.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Autumn%27s_Dawn/3540380018

http://records.eisenton.de/album/gone

Welsh solo act Anesmwythder is a different kettle of halibut altogether. Musically there’s some great black metal going on but it’s lyrically that sets him apart from others. Depression, dysphoria and body modification, identity issues and other personal experiences with mental illness are some of the subjects he uses for inspiration. A hard, but rewarding listening experience.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Anesmwythder/3540384139

https://anesmwythder.bandcamp.com/releases

PREDICTION: Wales need to win heavily if they are to leap-frog over the Aussies and claim top spot and although I feel they will win, it won’t be by a big enough margin and will have to settle for second spot.

Musically I’m plumping for Autumn’s Dawn slightly ahead of Anesmwythder just on musical variety alone.

GAME 36: ENGLAND vs URUGUAY

NHOR vs VERMIFORNE

I’ve said this once before and I’ll say it again: one of my favourites reasons to do these ‘World Cup’ posts is to discover new bands and new music and the six bands featured in this post are living proof of this. Take Nhor for instance.

hailing from the green fields of Herefordshire, Nhor play a sublime atmospheric/folk black metal, all quiet, chill piano parts lulling you into a dreamy state of mind, conjuring up images  beautiful fields, flowers in bloom and blue skies, until the guitars crash in and you stumble over a rotting corpse or two. Fans of Alcest will enjoy Nhor’s stuff as will fans of Aquilus.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Nhor/3540333774

https://nhor.bandcamp.com/

Vermifone are a different band entirely. Like Sabbath riffs? Enjoy sludgey-doomy goodness? Would you like a crazed Uruguayan sinisterly shouting at you for no reason? Then this is the band for you!

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Vermiforme/3540390142

PREDICTION: Both teams have nothing to play for in this game, so I’m going to pick Uruguay just for shits and giggles.

Musically I’m picking Nhor and I’m off to discover his back catalogue on Prophecy Records. As the old advert goes “Nhor- he’s got the Nhor-how!”

(crap joke so here’s another picture of a rugby player holding a kitty!)

awwwwww!

 

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) 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.

 

THE WORLD CUP OF METAL 2015 (CRICKET EDITION) GAMES 37/38

As we rush headlong into the final matches of the first round it’s all very exciting and tight at the top of Pool B with three teams vying for two spots and one match being a ‘win and you’re in’ kind of thingy……….so it’s a shame that we’re featuring two games from Pool A today, which has already been deceided.

GAME 37: NEW ZEALAND vs BANGLADESH

Lysithia are a melodic/doom metal band who, before singer Mike Wilson joined, were a one man instrumental act (Mike Lamb). The addition of a vocalist (who also plays guitar) has expanded the band’s sound and songwriting style. Reminiscent of Daylight Dies, Draconian and all those other classic melodic/doom bands out there. Very highly recommended.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Lysithea/3540378989

https://lysithea.bandcamp.com/

I’m not a huge fan of one man depressive black metal outfits but Mourning Hours. who is also a member of Brajangngana, and his music is a lot more tuneful and well produced than a lot of ONDBM acts out there, the songwriting is very strong and the vocals aren’t too off-putting for this genre.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Mourning_Hours/3540351761

PREDICTION: It’s more than likely that New Zealand will win this and keep up there 100% record in this tournament, although if Bangladesh they could leapfrog into second place and get an easier quarter-final opponent. Musically, I was very surprised and impressed with Mourning Hours and his take on Depressive Black Metal but again melodic/doom metal wins the day so go check out Lysithea.

 

AFGHANISTAN vs ENGLAND

I was sort of mistaken last time when I said that there were only 2 Afghani rock/metal bands out there. It seems there are now three: (from Wikipedia) White City is progressive/punk/rock band, based in Kabul, Afghanistan. The current line-up consists of Ruth Owen (UK), formerly from the England based band Echobelly, on bass and lead vocals, Travis Beard (Australia) on guitar and backing vocals and Andreas Stefansson (Sweden) on drums and backing vocals. The music has a ‘Brit-Pop’/rock feel to it and it’s very pleasant and Ruth Owen’s voice reminds me a little bit of Chrissie Hynde from the Pretenders……which is nice.

For today’s England selection, I will be choosing a Welsh band. Why? Well the ECB (England’s governing cricket body) is actual the English and Welsh Cricket Board so it seems only fair that a band from the principalities gets featured and what a doozy we have for you!  Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard play psychedelic sludge doom metal, as if you couldn’t get from the name! They have a one-track 30-min ep out available on bandcamp and a glorious sludge-y doom trip it is! Fuzzy guitars, big riffs and being heavier than a really heavy thing with a heavy thing on top of it. Music to be played really fucking loud as the psilocybin ‘shrooms kick in!

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Mammoth_Weed_Wizard_Bastard/3540391894

https://mammothweedwizardbastard.bandcamp.com/

PREDICTION: Musically the mad Welshmen win it, however on the field I would love to see Afghanistan beat England at cricket just for shits and giggles and to make their World Cup misery complete. But that probably won’t happen, so England for the (undeserved) win.