METAL BLOG, Vol. 9 - by Steff Chirazi
At last the Chirazi stereo has exploded into life, and it has taken the most unlikely pair of releases to set it off. First there is Abbath’s eponymous debut album, which is quite simply sensational, a smorgasbord of crisp, brutal, bludgeonous black metal delivered with range, whip, crrraaaacckk and genuine raw excitement. I luuurve the smell of fresh corpse paint in the morning, and this feels alive, fresh and entertainingly dangerous, tracks such as the vicious “Eternal” with it’s neck-whipping riffery and steaming rhythms, the eviscerously paced “Ashes Of The Damned” evoking a magical mixture of Slayer-meets-Priest and their quite stupendous cover of the mighty Priest’s “Riding On The Wind” being among a whole set of crown jewels which will absolutely force you off your lazy arses to see what they can deliver live. Judging by the sheer pagentry and theater teased in their live video clip for “Nebular Ravens Winter” (what a title!) this is going to be one hell of a live act, just like Immortal were. To that point, don’t forget, Immortal were certainly pretty damn good, but to my ear, Abbath are in a whole other level of delivery, this after I must say I expected to be disappointed! Hats off to Olve Eikemo for rattling my cage the right way and forcing my stereo up good and loud!
On another end of the spectrum, there is the upcoming album from Welsh rockers Buffalo Summer, Second Sun, which will be out on UDR in the next few months and which I got to hear some final mixes of. This is one for the long hair, embroidered coats, heavy Les Pauls and facial-hair brigade, a curl-swinging, foot-stomping, weighty melodic rocker invoking all the best elements of a rock’n’roll range from Zeppelin to Jack White (with perhaps a pinch of the Coverdales in there?). It sounds large, warm and fat, like a large happy vinyl cat on a thick woolly matt (??? - what is he on about? - UDR ed), and I fully expect the Summer to deliver some pelvic-thrust-worthy, head-shaking, top-strutting rock’n’roll live in the tradition of the steamiest portion of the ‘70s, and what I wouldn’t give to see them out on a triple bill with Crobot and Northern California’s slightly more psychedelic stoner rockers Spiral Arms, another band with some great music you should hear on their Freedom album… yeah, that would be some triple bill, hell, Levis could sponsor that and enjoy some serious custom.
Got to give special mention to for the new Danko Jones - Live At Wacken album. Jones is sorely underrated, a punk-bizzing-buzzing wrecking ball of frenetic entertainment who enlivens any space his music pours into and does so with a massive charge of positivity. The album easily captures the man whose band is captured at peak performance; Jones has always had a bit of the Green Days about him, with a little less bubble gum perhaps, and this live set will (I think) underscore that perception whilst also showing what the man does best.
…away from the stereo, I had the extreme pleasure of re-aquainting myself with old friends for the first time in 30 years…Jeff Dunn, Tony Bray and Tony Dolan, aka Mantas, Abaddon and Venom Inc, the other incarnation of one of heavy metal’s most enormously influential bands of all time. You think that carries a bit too much hubris? Look at when Venom’s debut Welcome To Hell came out, and you will see for yourself! So yes, my buddies and I went to check them out and my good Goddamn what fun we had as the trio tore through a whole list of classics from “Die Hard” to “Live Like An Angel” to the visionary apocalyptic negativity of “Warhead” to the thoroughbred classic “Black Metal” with a delicious slice of “In Nomine Satanas”…yeah, it brought back some wonderful memories for me, memories of being 17 and on SOUNDS magazine in the UK back in 1984/85, spending loads of time with the-then trio of Mantas, Abaddon and Cronos up in Wallsend, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne at the Neat Records HQ scoffing curries, drinking plenty of Jack Daniels and making sure I got them into the hallowed pages. My finest hour in this regard was getting them on the cover in April 1985, even if the trip to Toronto was the sort of thing that would’ve seen me arrested on landing if it happened today. It is no exaggeration to say that so much bourbon was drunk that I wrecked the upstairs bathroom of the 747 in question, and by the time I had thrown up a further four times, snuck down the stairs and found the crew to drink more, stumbled through immigration and delivered the most ludicrous reason for my state to the absolutely STEAMING immigration officer (“I’m sorry the food didn’t agree with me!”) I was the luckiest Englishman ever to enter Toronto and avoid detention or instant deportation! The folly of youth part 57 eh?
So it was really something to see the boys again. And whilst I never once believed for one single moment that any of them were satanists, looking at Abaddon after 30 years and processing the fact that this handsome bastard looks EXACTLY THE SAME as he did when I last saw him had me wondering if there had, perhaps, been some sort of back-door-deal with the dark lord! What a pleasure to not only see them again, but have such a great time! I sincerely hope that Cronos’ Venom rolls through town in the not too distant future as I’d love to see the old bugger again…yeah…these are the moments that leave you with a little faith in humanity, a little reminder that times you had were made to last. We’ve all had them, and maybe you’ve lost touch with some of the people you had them with…I hope that perhaps you can reach out and find just a few of them again, if only for a quick pint, some tunes and some friendly reaffirmations that yeah, those were some great fucking days. Go on! Try it!
’Til next time,