There is an unsettling feeling in the air right now, rock and metal heroes seem to be dropping like flies and for the first time, we are about to see an enforced changing of the guards. In the last few months, we have lost Lemmy, Scott Weiland, David Bowie and now today the sad news of Glenn Frey of Eagles fame. We are reaching an age where the rock and roll bands of yesteryear are getting old and their members are passing away. So the question is, what next?
Where is the next Metallica? Where is the next Iron Maiden? Where is the next (insert big rock and roll band here)? They are questions that pop up at least once a year. Usually around the time that Download announces a batch of headliners who are near identical to the ones announced a couple of years before. But the question is, do we need a new Metallica? Do we need Iron Maiden? Or is this obsession with bands needing to sell out arenas preventing the next generation of metal bands making the step up to festival headliners?
Festival season is a long way off, but that hasn’t stopped it kicking into a lower gear already, with both Download and Bloodstock having named their first bands. Last night’s announcement that Iron Maiden will once again grace Donnington’s hallowed turf is sure to send some all a flutter and leave others calling Andy Copping a cunt. It’s the internet after all. I could, of course, choose to stay well away from such situations, but where is the fun in that? So here’s some thoughts about Downloads first headliner.
Encapsulating an Iron Maiden album into a few hundred measly words is a hard job. You have to mention the fact that now on their sixteenth album, they are arguably better than they were 40 years ago when Steve Harris started this whole thing. You could then throw in the fact that live they are still a life affirming experience and doggedly refuse to follow their peers into becoming a heritage act. After that you’ll probably get round to mentioning the music, which usually defies words anyway. With The Books of Souls, Maiden seem to have set out to make that process even harder, releasing a double album which is just over an hour and a half in length and includes three songs over ten minutes long. Here we go anyway.
Towards the end of last week, I made the mistake of stumbling into the comment section of a post on Metal Hammer’s Facebook. Anyone with any experience of that horrible place, will know it tends towards the unpleasant, filled with trolls trolling trolls and people generally acting like dickheads. However, on this particular comment thread people were throwing around an accusation that I have seen many times before and yet still get pissed off at.
Live music is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Little is more exciting than seeing a band on fire, doing their thing in front of a baying crowd. Therefore, it has to be said that ranking gigs is always kind of difficult, different bands go for different atmospheres. However, I am still going to give it a damn good try.
The annual get so and so to Christmas Number One, has become almost as big a tradition as turkey or drunk argumentative relatives. Ever since the Rage Against the Machine campaign knocked Cowell and co off of the top spot, it has become somewhat fashionable to push an alternative band towards the top of the charts. This year the always wonderful Iron Maiden are the chosen band. Now quite frankly, I would love Iron Maiden to get only their second UK number one single, they damn well deserve it, but do we really need to care about Christmas Number One?
There is a common misconception that all heavy music is angry. Yet that couldn’t be further from the truth. If I listen to a band like Metallica or Iron Maiden, anger is usually the last thing on my mind. Yet to many people those bands are the personification of heavy metal. However, that does not hide the fact that there are some very angry bands out there, who recently I have taken a lot of joy out of spending time listening to.
So in the last few weeks I have seen a few online petitions going around for a variety of musical based reasons. One of these was asking Ghost as a band to break up, because they are not heavy metal (seriously how much of a twat do you have to be to create that) and another one requesting that Iron Maiden go back to having Derek Riggs design their album artwork. Of course, campaigns like this are not new. Weezer once famously had someone attempt to raise ten million dollars, which he was going to offer to them as long as they promised to never make music again. Yet in recent years Change.Org seems to be getting filled up more and more with stupid petitions and more often than ever before, they tend to be aimed at some of our favourite artists.
With the weather continuing to be surprisingly strong, despite some light showers overnight which as it meant waking up to a tent that didn’t feel like a sauna was actually quite welcome, the Saturday at Sonisphere kicked off with Tesseract on the main stage. I only caught about five minutes of them before I headed off to Bohemia, but I felt it was worth throwing in that they sounded awesome. Continue reading “Sonisphere Review: Saturday”