Buzzbombs – Crossfire’s rad new music playlist

Tropical Fuck Storm – The Future Of History (Joyful Noise Recordings)

This band go so deep. They are from Melbourne, Australia and they ain’t your usuals. You need to take time out to discover Tropical Fuck Storm, as once you are in their own manifested and poetic cyclone, you will find it hard to exit unhappy. Take this new video as a taster and then drown yourself in the main course titled A Laughing Death in Meatspace. Contender for Album of the Year.

A. Swayze & The Ghosts – Suddenly

Musicians from down under are popping up with rad music projects every month, so say hello to the next wave of stoke, this time, from Hobart, the port town of Tasmania. A.Swayze & The Ghost have punk roots and a driving passion to make you dance your arse off! Keep an eye out for them as they seem to have all the ingredients for a British invasion just on this one tune alone. For lovers of Stooges, Strokes, Parquet Courts, and The Saints. Follow their development.

Heirloom – Speak in Tongues

This Brighton based sex machine were featured a while back in another Buzzbombs and return with simply one of the most wonderful tracks of the month that oozes style, sophistication and songwriting genius. Follow them on Fuckbook.

Ona Snop – Rip Roaring Shit Storm Records

This can only be described as the brutal sound of rabies!

Pardans – Moonlit Bags of Meat

This ain’t no new video but gives you an idea of how good Pardans’ live show is. This Copenhagen noise machine are coming to the UK at the end of November for a full UK tour. Miss them at your peril. Dates and new album here.

The Men – Ailment (Sacred Bones)

If you were onto The Men’s early material then re-discover their phenomenal noisy intro from yesteryear in this treat from Sacred Bones, where Ailment here currently lies in a recent compilation called Hated. The masters of multi-genre wizardry have gone on to release bundles of delicious albums since and blown our ears with everything they do. Find this old slice of gold here on vinyl for the ultimate stoke and turn up volume to 11. The songs on Hated are pulled from a variety of sources — the debut demo tape, a split with Nomos, a 7″, a 12″ EP, and a slew of unreleased demos, outtakes, and live recordings.

Darkwing- Vicious / Who U R (Good Eye Records)

Brooklyn’s music scene is more alive than ever right now and Good Eye seem bang on it. Darkwing have surf punk vibes and love a crunching riff. These two tunes are from their new Super Silver EP that you can pick up here.

Mystic Braves – Can’t Have Love (Lollipop Records)

There’s nothing like finding a nugget in the rough when on a mission to find some new tunes in the jungle of tinterweb. Just stumbled across this album for those who love a psychedelic twang inspired by their 60s masters. Move your shoulders and the rest of your body will follow.

Color TV – Serial Offender (Deranged Records)

Melodic punk rock with short songs and spitting energy from Minneapolis. This is Color TV’s debut and will serve lovers of who dig the vibes of Zero Boys early Husker Du and other wonderful punk bands from the good old days.

The Smoking Trees – Who Is The Villain? (Burger Records)

Time to take it down a notch with LA’ outfit The Smoking Trees, who have nailed a beautifully laid-back psych number here that moves with style and nonchalance. Look out for their album that is freshly served right here.

Sick Bookies – Raymond P. Weird (S/R)

Sick Bookies come from Lincoln, a city which started out as a fortress and rolled out the invention of the tank apparently, so with all this warfare in mind, this peaceful approach to their psychedelia seems like an anti-historical fix for your ears in 2018. New album Ad Nauseam is freshly released so dive into sounds that are familiar, but not entirely Ad Nauseum per se. They have a wonderful lo-fi concoction of radness going on that you can devour in full, sitting somewhere between the Chocolate Watch Band and Pavement, here.

Tunng – Sleepwalking (Full Time Hobby)

The magic of Tunng is back with electronic bliss in video form taken from their new album, Songs You Make at Night. This is early morning sunshine for your autumn/winter hibernation period.

Summer Buzzbombs – 11 fresh cuts of sweet new music

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SPIRITUALIZED – “Here It Comes (The Road) Let’s Go” – (Fat Possum)

The welcome return of Jason Pierce’s songwriting does not disappoint. No space rock here though, but who needs it when a tune is this good? Absolutely beautiful work. (Z)

NOTHING – The Carpenter’s Son (Relapse)

It doesn’t get darker and more personal than this tranquilized lullaby by US shoegazer’s NOTHING. This is the most solemn cut on their new album Dance on the Blacktop out Aug 24th. Dig it out. (Z)

WEEED – This

Expect a large dose of heavy psychedelic shit from Portland rockers, Weeed. Once you get through the long af intro of didgery-dont’s, they thump out some great stoner stuff, kind of like The Sword on shrooms. (Z)

KIKAGAKU MOYO – Gatherings

If you search through the Tokyo psych scene you will no doubt hear amazing feedback on Kikagaku Moyo whose new track delivers 70’s inspired stoner vibes with a beautiful Asian feel that seems to refresh the usual American approach to this genre. Search through their Bandcamp for more ahead of the release of a new vinyl offering called Masana Temples where you will find this tune. (Z)

Warp Transmision – The Process Ultra

Time to step up the noise. This album absolutely rips when it’s in full flight and can drop a bongload of chill on a dime. It’s like Hawkwind, Mudhoney and Monster Magnet in a fight to see who can eat the most PCP left on the table at times. Finnish psych/stoner at the highest levels. This tune kicks off a seven track must listen. Go find it and buy it….Yeah, actually own it. (Z)

(Z)

IDIOTA CIVILIZZATO – Idiota Civilizzato (Static Shock Records)

Rampant hardcore featuring the people behind DIÄT and HEAVY METAL. The sound of your last breath before drowning as a shark takes both of your fucking legs off. Intrinsic, chaotic and absolutely out of control. (Z)

APHEX TWIN – T69 Collapse (Warp)

Best video of the year so far? A contender for sure. Cannot wait to find a post with all of this messaging decoded. For me, it’s an ode to the biggest world power war happening right under our noses, right now, you will just have to look harder and deeper every night to see it all happening around you. (Z)

THEE MVPs – American Dreamin’

The MVPs ain’t taking shit no more. they figured it out. Thank fuck for that! They wrote a song about it in celebration. Turn it up and make sure you see them live as they are a very good band to see up close and personal. (Z)

GRIM STREAKER – Mohito

This NYC/Brooklyn band have the sneer, the beat rips and also carry a slightly gothic edge on some tunes from their past catalogue giving their sound an open road for their debut LP. Keep an eye on their activities if this floats your boat.

NO PROBLEM – Let God Sort Em Out (Deranged Records)

No Problem are a Canadian punk band from Edmonton, Alberta, who just completed a short UK tour where they proved to be one of the highlights of the recent Bloodstains festival in Leeds. If you like bands such as The Wipers, Red Dons and the Observers, then you are going to fall head over heels in love with No Problem’s high-energy, echo-laden garage punk attack. They’ve already released three albums on the consistently reliable Deranged Records and ‘Let God Sort ‘Em Out’ is the latest and best of the three. In need of a fresh punk rock buzz? No Problem, they got it. (JS)

FETISH – S​/​T EP (Beach Impediment Records)

When it comes to breeding vicious, dark hardcore punk, Portland, Oregon on the pacific northwest has always had an edge. And that edge just got sharper. Fetish feature former Poison Idea drummer Thee Slayer Hippy and guitarist Vegetable, playing together for the first time since the ‘War All The Time’ album three decades ago, alongside 3/4 of local punk heroes Long Knife, with later PI guitarist Brandon Bentley. It is, as you would expect, fast, furious and ferocious, propelled by Slayer Hippy’s legendary rhythm attack. A full album is due for release later this year, but in the meantime, strap this on for size. (JS)

BLIZZARD – Peace of Mind (Riding Easy Records)

If you’ve not discovered the Brown Acid compilations from Easy Rider Records yet and dig that 70’s garage fuzz and proto metal sound then await their 7th offering coming this Halloween. This Blizzard track from 1973 is for the Hendrix lovers for sure. (Z)

FUTUROPACO – La Torre Cade

This is journey-man driving music that should be the soundtrack to a skateboard video at some point. The no vocal approach works a treat for this Danish psych outfit that can jam out the dirge with happy synth parts, searing solos and colossal beat work. (Z)

30 Years of Public Enemy’s greatest album

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Where were you 30 years ago? If like myself, (and yep, this is a fan feature) you were at school in 1988 discovering that Acid House was a thing and skateboarding was guaranteed to get yourself beat up on any pavement around the UK from people wearing tracksuits, then you know. Boy, so much has changed since!

It was a magical time being 15. Everything was new, the culture tap was constantly dripping, so long as most of it didn’t return home with me. I’m pretty sure I was still eating Polo mints at this stage before returning through the front door of the parents’ house, disguising the smell of Benny & Hedgehogs smoked down the park after school. Girls were a big thing. I was on heat pretty much daily, trying to play catch up with the older kids who had all the filthy stories. But looking back, they were probably talking absolute bollocks – lying because instead, they found a porn mag in the woods and should have been talking about what happened on the last episode of Spitting Image.

That peer pressure also spilled into music and it was Def Jam and Public Enemy that caused the biggest stir of all. You couldn’t miss it. We’d gone through and admired the invasion of the Beastie Boys, we’d robbed the VW badges and set ’em up on chains. We’d also been busted for nicking said badge’s off the car of the bloke next door and learnt that you should never shit on your own doorstep! Ah, the mistakes were rife. I was one of those twonks who could never get away with anything, whilst my mates were doing all sorts of madness and running free. Nothing has changed on that front, but Public Enemy were a serious force in our playground and our ears joined their army.

The sheer mention of skating Stockwell Skatepark before a Public Enemy show in 1987 made most kids shiver with fear. No white kids were going to be anywhere near that show that night, they said. “You will be mugged. Stabbed”. But this was the norm whenever we went street skating. We were moving targets, the lot of us. Me especially, looking like the goth offcuts of Robert Smith’s arse hair in tight jeans. If we attended that show, we were fucking dead, apparently. That was the only conversation we heard everywhere. So of course, we went.

So here we are, 14 years old, me and my mate from school sessioned a freezing cold Brixton Beach and entered what we thought was going to be last night of our lives, grasping onto our skateboards as weapons and ready to take it for the team. But wait, NOTHING happened. In fact, the total opposite happened. All ‘those black people’ that were supposed to be clutching flick knives to steal our one pound notes were stoked to see two white kids on skateboards. And I mean, we were so fucking white with fear that we must have looked like scared-witless ghosts on entry with skid marks trailing. Suddenly when we clocked how rad this actually was PE took the roof off the place in the only way they do best, and boy did it go down! It grained in me forever. A grand AWAKENING.

When ‘It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back‘ was released, a friend copied it from vinyl onto a cassette tape for me. By this stage I’d found hardcore punk via skate videos, yet this was the most punk record that had ever hit my ears, and still is. This album is the most punk record EVER made. It broke every rule lyrically, calling out everything corrupt around us. It also pulled people together, by stealing the best Slayer riff to kick it off! That was the biggest surprise of all. Crazy crossover, but they absolutely smashed it.

Millions also barked Fake News and called out Operation Mockingbird – the CIA’s invention that you still see today clouding your views on what’s really going on via the mainstream media. Chuck wasn’t putting up with that malarkey. The mainstream hated them following Yo! Bum Rush the Show. They hated the mainstream, and then launched the best counter-attack strategy ever recorded in audio. Dope songs with stolen samples from every classic, layered with hard hitting lyrics that will remain relevant forever. I mean, if you have not heard ‘Don’t Believe The Hype’ for a couple of years, turn that shit up and see what happens. It’s one of the most infectious tunes of all time that is guaranteed to make you lose your everything within the first chorus. It’s still, for me, the best tune on this album but feel free to argue the toss.

There’s no point in going through the entire record, discussing Flavor Flav’s criminal records, or Chuck’s views. I’m sure people have done it on every anniversary. So cherish your memories to this absolute gem of a record today as it turns 30 years. I’m not completely sure if anyone else in time will ever be able to match it in terms of influence.

Turn it up! Bring the noise!

Zac

Buzzbombs – Spring Cleaning edition

Ph: IKH

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THE DEATH WHEELERS – 13 Discycles

Following the demise of The Death Wheelers back in 1972, this instrumental biker movement from Canada is about to get a re-oil. Look out for ‘I Tread On Your Grave’ re-issue on May 11th via the mighty Riding Easy Records. What a treat.

WAND – Perfume

Feast on a rocking 7-minute opus from Wand taken from their new EP. Don’t be fooled by the gap in the middle of the tune, it’s followed by a gem of a jam. Out May 25th.

FUTURE WAR BRIDE – Thin Air

Have a quality dose of Danish psych-pop from Future War Bride who have taken the sounds of the 60s and re-invented it with their own synth-led colour schemes. Blissful jams taken from their debut album Majahua, released on June 8th.

DEAD MEADOW – The Nothing They Need

You know what’s coming when a new DM record is dropped. Please don’t ever change. Out now

MELODY’S ECHO CHAMBER – Breathe In, Breathe Out

Admire the lush vocal melodies layered over a distinctive production from French space-cadet Melody Prochet. This wondrous new track is from her second album scheduled for release on June 15th.

HEIRLOOM – Femme

Brighton’s wondrous music scene has unearthed a new band in Heirloom. This sleazy NSFW video should give you the perfect insight into their beautiful world of gloom. Best birthday ever.

FLASHER – Skim Milk

Back with new music since the incredible debut ST/EP in 2016 on Sister Polygon Records, Washington DC’s Flasher continue where they left off with sublime tunes and are now signed to Domino Records. Literally cannot wait to hear a full length.

AMYL AND THE SNIFFERS – Big Attraction

These Australian punks come armed with sleaze, mullets, cunts and blowjobs. Dive in and await a UK release of this EP and Giddy Up together on May 18th.

PARQUET COURTS – Almost Had To Start A Fight / In And Out Of Patience

Their latest funk track Wide Awake! didn’t make this list that sees the band hit full Big Boys output but this scuzzy garage fest is alright by us. New album Wide Awake! drops on 18th May. It’s bound to be dope.

LITTLE TORNADOES – URSA Major

Any band that boasts the presence of Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier and Tortoise’s John Herndon deserves a listen, or two. Drift off into infinity with this laid-back gem. Find the full player, out now.

BONUS LONG PLAYER:

BLACKWATER HOLYLIGHT – S/T

Melt into your sofa with the darkness created by Portland’s BlackWater HolyLight’s doom-like dirge, coloured with eerie synth notes and pounding shards of fuzz. Vinyl available on Riding Easy Records.

Turbonegro Koko live review

Turbonegro,
London, Koko
2/3/18

The announcement of an all-too-rare Turbonegro UK show was a cause for celebration round Crossfire’s way, but as we make our way to a sold-out Koko tonight, there’s an undercurrent of doubt in our minds. Firstly, how many of the Turbojugend faithful will actually show up, given the snow that has paralysed so much of the UK’s public transport? Secondly, we’re not sure what to make of the Norwegian crew’s new album ‘Rock N’ Roll Machine’; whilst it’s great that the band have welcomed a new keyboard player into their ranks (that’s Crown Prince Haakon-Marius to you), his Van Halen-esque synth wizardry has arguably pulled the band away from the down n’ dirty deathpunk sound of their glory days.

We needn’t have worried too much, though, as by the time openers Easy have warmed us up, most of Koko is a sea of dark blue denim, with many a sailor hat floating on top. And although the band themselves have to kick off painfully early (around 8), they rip into ‘Well Hello’ with such panache, you’d defy even the most casual of Turbonegro fans not to feel a sudden and potent jolt of adrenaline. We’re soon pleased to discover that several of those newer cuts grow sharper teeth when played live, and indeed you’d think that the likes of ‘Hurry Up And Die’ and previous single ‘Hot For Nietzsche’ had been around for years, with an increasingly sweaty crowd roaring back every word at vocalist Tony ‘The Duke Of Nothing’ Sylvester.

Ah yes, of course, Mr Sylvester – a man who surely has to take a huge chunk of credit for getting Turbonegro sounding leaner, harder and hungrier than they had in a decade on 2012’s fantastic ‘Sexual Harassment’ (completely ignored tonight, alas), and a true showman to boot. Whether dispensing humorous anecdotes, arranging a ‘wall of deathpunk’ or leading us through a turbo-charged rendition of ‘Get It On’, there is never a dull moment with this guy, and he more than deserves the hometown hero’s welcome he gets tonight.

So yeah, we’re pretty much convinced by now, but Turbonegro are not the kind of band to leave things to chance, and a triple-threat encore airing of old favourites ‘The Age Of Pamparius’, ‘Self-Destructo Bust’ and – of course! – ‘I Got Erection’ leaves us on the ropes and gagging for more. They’ve always been (and probably always will be) a cult concern, but with shows like these, our love for Turbonegro will only grow larger – and harder. Come back soon, guys.

Alex Gosman

Top Fucking 10 Fuck You Songs Of All Fucking Time

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Inspired by the abomination of shite news across the world thanks to the pillocks that were voted to actually SERVE us, we got caught in a fuck-muddle of an afternoon of not giving a flying fuck and decided to do this fuck list. It took no longer than 20 minutes to throw together and if you have better suggestions then leave them in the comments below, or just fuck off. List features are for twonks.

10. Wesley Willis – Fuck You

Wesley Lawrence Willis was a singer-songwriter and artist from Chicago. Diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1989, he spent much of his life living on the streets. He had a tough life and a lot to say fuck you about. Let’s all say Fuck You for Willis. RIP.

9. Poison Idea – Made To Be Broken

Frontman Jerry A gets a Fuck You in before the song has even had a chance to get started. And when the song explodes it’s a total aural Fuck You in your ears. Kings of Punk. Kings of Fuck You.

8. Trail of Dead – A Perfect Teenhood

Tommy Gun
Blood Lust
A perfect teenhood
Fuck You

They’ve released a barrage of amazing records and this is up their with their very fucking best.

7. Articles of Faith – Give Thanks

Vic Bondi’s AOF has the best Fuck You in the breakdown of this Chicago hardcore classic. “We must spread this to all people” says Bondi in this tune and it certainly traveled far and wide. It’s a burst of frustration that has always been a favourite for many.

6. Albertos Y Lost Trios Paranoias – Fuck You

Comedy bandwagon jumpers, Albertos Y Lost Trios Paranoias released this straight up message in 1978. I remember playing it on Glastonbury Radio when I was asked to play there in 1996 and we got shut down and thrown off site. Always better to have a memory like that than a boring one.

5. GG Allin – You Hate Me and I Hate You

“Well, you hate me and I hate you. You never understand the things I say or do – So what’s new? You never liked me so I say Fuck You.” A perfect Fuck You from everyone’s favourite poop-flinging fuck-up. Go find the new documentary, ‘The Allins: One Hell of a Family’ that premiered this winter. Absolutely mental viewing.

4. Cee Lo Green – Fuck You

Take a break from the barrage of punk rock for Cee Lo Green’s absolute tune with the best message of all time. The first message on this YouTube clip reads: “dedicated to my ex boyfriend”. Nuff said.

3. Fear – I Don’t Care About You

It doesn’t get much more fuck you than LA punks Fear, famed for baiting the crowd so much that their gigs would more often than not explode into violence. They truly didn’t give a fuck and don’t care about you, fuck you.

2. The Subhumans – Fuck You

One of the most covered and famous Fuck You songs in punk. Both DOA and New York Metalheads Overkill and The Stiffs covered this, but Canadian (not UK) punks The Subhumans were the ones to do it first.

1. Conflict – The Day Before

Welcome to one of the most super-charged, anarchic, punk rock tracks of all time. A tune that spits venom on the prospect of nuclear war whilst at the same time pays respect to unity and dub. Conflict’s seriously explosive Ungovernable Force album, released back in 1986, is one of the best ways to end a shit day if played on 11. Find it and embrace it, as Colin Jerwood’s vocals are still as relevant today and he will go down in history as one of the masters of all Fuck You’s.

BONUS FUCK:

Dead Kennedys – Nazi Punks Fuck Off

Yes, we know we cheated here, as Jello does not at any point say those two golden words, but in light of selfish politicians stirring up racial hatred worldwide you can suck our oil. Fuck You.

MF DOOM

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Air Crimes – from Black Bastards

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Doom vs MF Doom?! WTAF?!

This is what just hit our inbox this morning from someone who obviously knows what our ears respond to: “MF Doom just released a punk song, the track is called Air Crimes off of the surprise release “Black Bastards”, out on 10/31.”

They call it punk but you can’t ever take the C from the CRUST of the OG UK Doom band. Birmingham’s riff masters have had their stomping ‘War Crimes’ track re-fuzzed with MF Doom’s snazz rap on the upper tier. It will either make you smile or shit. Regardless, this blew some old cobwebs out this morning.

Get a grip and a bag of slags and dive the fuck in. Black Bastards though?! Too much even for Woodstock mate. Conflict collab next?

Free download here:

Brian Wilson Pet Sounds 50th Anniversary at The Apollo

Brian Wilson / The Beach Boys
Pet Sounds 50th Anniversary World Tour
Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith, London
01.08.17

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So here we sit, in a somewhat dated auditorium at the Eventim Hammersmith Apollo watching Brian Wilson helped to his piano ready to deliver a plethora of Beach Boys hits, aged 75. It is, for everyone here, a marvelous sight and one I will personally cherish for years to come. The packed house witnessed a few key hits in advance of why we are all here – the Pet Sounds experience from start to finish, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.

The musicianship on show tonight is exemplary. Every melody and harmony finely tuned, every piece of percussion well oiled, much like their very own Little Deuce Coup made back in 1963. This epic platinum track was released two years after Wilson and his brothers, Dennis and Carl got together with their cousin Mike Love and good friend and co-founder, Al Jardine. The latter is here tonight, playing guitar and singing alongside his son, Matt and South African guitarist Blondie Chaplin (pictured below). The crowd here tonight are also warm and in tune, now doing “a hundred and forty with the top end floored.”

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As “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” filled the speakers hairs on the back of necks all over the venue were higher than Brian’s stint with LSD back in 1965 when Pet Sounds was originally written. It’s an opus album that changed the game for many and left a huge thumbprint in musical history books, but to hear the full works in its entirety in this venue was like being in a dream. Wilson may not be the agile man he once was but his desire to tour this experience is to be commended. Nobody in the house talks of a few bum notes, his stature behind his piano is only moved slightly when a session player gives him a massage halfway through the set. He doesn’t speak much either throughout the show, but when he does, you can hear a pin drop.

The anticipation for arguably the Beach Boys’ biggest hit, God Only Knows follows a fantastic rendition of Sloop John B. “It’s time to turn over the record to the b-side now,” Wilson explains, before the roof is taken off by a now-standing audience who show their appreciation of the masterpiece they have just witnessed. For me though, the lyrics to I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times left me with a tennis ball sized feeling in my throat and took me to the edge of welling up. These lyrics will stand the test of time for everyone, especially those in today’s society wondering why the world destroys itself from the inside out on a daily basis. Wilson wasn’t just ahead of his time when he wrote this record, this man is time, he buys you time. He sends you to another world where all the best musicians take you in need. To be thrown into his time machine in real time is not only an honour, it’s a journey most will never forget.

Help Me Rhonda and Surfin’ USA brought the house down amongst the encore as the band were joined on stage by two children playing tambourines. It’s a beautiful touch. Hits like these are priceless, timeless wonders and we should be thankful of the effort that goes into a production like this tonight. Thank you Brian, may the curtains always be open for you and the gang, let’s hope you make it back to the UK again sooner than later.

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Words and photos: Zac Leeks

Reviewed: Download 2017

Well, we went, we rocked and we made it back alive – unlike my camping stool, which finally gave way after five years of supporting my increasingly overweight arse. Oh well, such is life. Anyway, why dwell on the negatives when there were so many great performances at Download 2017? Here’s the story of our weekend at Donington Park…

FRIDAY

We head over to the Avalanche Stage to check out M O S E S – four young guys armed with scratchy, punky tunes and seemingly boundless energy. They certainly make the most of their slot, and manage to part the lunchtime clouds in a way that would make their biblical namesake proud. Pretty handy, as BLACKWATER CONSPIRACY kick things off on the Zippo Encore Stage with the kind of bar room rock n’ roll that tips its hat to the southern US, but sounds just fine here at Donington Park.

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SABATON are quite the spectacle, with their tank-shaped drum riser, and all six members clad in black t-shirts and navy-style combats (vocalist Joakim Broden, in particular, looks like he could command a SWAT team as readily as he fronts his band). Initially, strong winds rob the Swedes’ power metal anthems of much of their power, but the sound improves enough to make the closing ‘To Hell And Back’ a suitably grandiose, none-more-epic finale.

Not your cup of tea? Never fear, because CODE ORANGE could not be more different. We can only fear for the Avalanche Stage tent’s foundations, as they unleash discordant, twisted sludge metal riffs and into a danger zone of a pit, co-vocalist Eric Balderose displaying an impressive disregard for his own safety in the process. One of the most uncompromising bands of the weekend, we leave with sore necks and a sense of unease… but then we wouldn’t have wanted anything less.

MASTODON, of course, are no slackers in the riff stakes themselves, giving the Main Stage PA a stern testing with several cuts from recent album ‘Emperor Of Sand’. We’re in the mood for something faster, though, and SUICIDAL TENDENCIES are just what the doctor order. Having last seen them headline the 3rd stage at Download ’07, we’re pleased to discover that Mike Muir still dances like an octopus trying to fight its way out of a giant blancmange, and when he’s not sharing hard-learned life lessons with us, he’s leading ST (now with Dave Lombardo on drums!) through a barrage of skate-core classics that refuse to age.

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Back to the Main Stage, for the debut UK show from PROPHETS OF RAGE. The RATM/Public Enemy/Cypress Hill super group’s debut ‘The Party’s Over’ EP falls some way short of their ‘main’ bands’ best efforts, but when you bring this kind of talent together, you’re always going to get some magic. They wind back the clock in fine style, focusing mainly on Rage songs, with Chuck D and B-Real trading rhymes as forcefully and skilfully as you’d expect from these seasoned veterans. Download 2017 will surely see more savage pits, but it’s doubtful that any other band will make us bounce and – yes indeed – dance like Prophets Of Rage do today, and the closing ‘Killing In The Name’ is no less powerful for being predictable. A triumph all round.

Friday headliners SYSTEM OF A DOWN don’t come close. They too are relying on old songs, not having recorded any new material since 2005, but turn in a disappointingly workmanlike performance, with bassist Shavo’s occasional grins the only sign of a band remotely enjoying themselves. Full credit goes to the crowd, who go nuts throughout, and almost drown out Serj’s vocals on the likes of ‘BYOB’, ‘Sugar’ and (of course) ‘Chop Suey!’
Overall, though, if this is the best System can do live, then they probably shouldn’t hurry back into the studio.

The night ends on a high, though, as we scamper over to the Dogtooth Stage in time to see EXODUS finish a scorching thrash attack, and make a mental note to check out ‘Bonded By Blood’ as soon as we get home.

SATURDAY

Crossfire wakes up around 10am with a mild headache, a rumbling stomach and not much of a plan. DEAD LABEL’s impressively savage death metal bludgeon soon drowns out the noise of aforementioned stomach, but it is the bluesy hard rock of TAX THE HEAT that really hits the spot. Certainly not lacking in confidence, they draw a pretty decent-sized crowd for this painfully early hour, and the fact that the chorus of ‘Under Watchful Eye’ is still rolling around in our heads as we write this is testament to their appeal.

Okay, so CREEPER didn’t attract the legions of dark minions that we’d predicted, but they’re clearly headed for greater things. Like AFI (who are playing on the Main Stage later today), they bring a sense of drama and theatricality to proceedings, but beyond the epic choruses there are bursts of the kind of full-tilt hardcore that made vocalist Will Gould’s previous band Our Time Down Here such a formidable live force. Of course, few traces of hardcore remain in the AFI of today; here’s hoping that Creeper don’t airbrush it out of themselves. London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire beckons in December, and on today’s evidence, they’ll easily rise to the challenge.

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Over on the Avalanche Stage, it’s surprising and heartening to see just how many fans TRASH BOAT have gained; and a passionate and energetic bunch they are too. “This is our second show back in the UK after two months with New Found Glory in the States, and it’s great to be back!” declares vocalist Tobi Duncan, following the melodic post-hardcore blast of ‘How Selfish I Seem’, and if they can keep writing songs this good, they could well steal NFG’s crown one day.

A back drop featuring bananas with swan heads and feet? Bass drum skins with a Fray Bentos pie design? Download is about to take a turn for the silly, courtesy of ALESTORM. Their pirate-themed power metal shenanigans would probably wear thin over the course of a headline set, but for today’s forty minutes, we all grin like village idiots and sing along to some of the best drinking songs of the weekend. Arrrr, that feels good!

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Lunch is calling us, so off we go to find it, and return to the Zippo Encore stage in time to see KVELERTAK feed 70s AOR melodies through a hardcore blender. The Norwegians’ triple guitar attack sounds amazing live, and whilst they deserve the pit that forms down the front, this is a band whose music you sometimes have to just step back and feel.

However, if you’re in the mood for going nuts, MAX AND IGOR CAVALERA are more than happy to provide the soundtrack. The Brazilian brothers are re-visiting Sepultura’s ‘Roots’ album today; not their best record in our estimation, but a lot better and more imaginative than the majority of the nu-metal crowd they were lumped in with at the time. Whipping up a storm with the opening ‘Roots Bloody Roots’, they don’t let up in intensity throughout their set, and a turbo-charged cover of ‘Ace Of Spades’ (in tribute to Lemmy, natch) leaves us breathless.

Time now for something more intricate, in the form of THE DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT. We’re more familiar with Mr Townsend’s work as the frontman of industrial/prog/death/whatever merchants Strapping Young Lad, but whereas the latter’s music engulfed you like a sonic tidal wave, the Project slowly draws you in with a heavy yet somehow ambient sound that soothes and punishes in equal measure. Holding our attention as if we’re caught in a musical tractor beam, the band mesmerise without veering off into musical self-indulgence, in part thanks to Devin’s razor-sharp and lightning-quick wit. Superb stuff.

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Biffy Clyro may have drawn the lion’s share of the festival for their Main Stage headline set, but ROB ZOMBIE has brought his trashy industrial metal party to see out the Zippo Encore Stage for the day, and that’s an invitation we can’t refuse. With video screens spewing twisted visuals across almost the entire stage, a generous helping of pyro and riotous renditions of ‘Living Dead Girl’ and ‘More Human Than Human’, this is one hell of an assault on the senses, and Mr Zombie is the consummate band leader of his own frazzled parade. One minute he’s lobbing inflatable aliens into the crowd during ‘Well, Everybody’s Fucking In A UFO’, the next he’s balanced atop the crowd for ‘House Of 1000 Corpses’. Shame he finishes about 10 minutes early, but after a Terminator-strength finale of ‘Dragula’, complaints are few and far between.

SUNDAY

Did we mention that the weather’s been great? An hour or so of drizzle aside, this has been a world away from last year’s ‘Drownload’ washout. You’d struggle to find a friendlier crowd, too; one that’s more than ready with hugs and high fives for kindred spirits.

Fozzy kick things off on the Main Stage with a melodic hard rock vibe, but ultimately pale against the might of ORANGE GOBLIN. Not only do the London quartet have some of the Main Stage’s heaviest grooves, they’ve also got a frontman – Ben Ward – who’s arguably even happier to see us than we are him. Ever a band of the people, they deliver a horns-throwing, foot-stomping, head-banging Sunday sermon of a set, and exit to roars of approval.

Over on the Avalanche Stage, BLOOD YOUTH have a whole lotta angst, but use it to effective ends, whipping the crowd into a frenzy with ‘Making Waves’ and ‘Failure’. The Lincoln quartet seem to have mastered the art of crafting fists-aloft anthems without resorting to saccharine clichés, and the large (and loud) turnout is a just reward.

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The most annoying clash of the weekend for us is DEVILDRIVER vs. IN FLAMES; Dez Fafara’s crew get off to a suitably fearsome start, but ultimately we decide we’d rather have our metal Gothenburg-style. “Ok, here’s some more disco music for you” quips Anders Friden, clearly aware that there are heavier offerings elsewhere on the bill, but ‘Cloud Connected’ and a closing ‘Take This Life’ still have one hell of a sting in the tail.

Those who are craving more industrial metal thrills after Rob Zombie’s set are surely as sated as they’ll ever be once MINISTRY are done with us. It’s easy to wonder just how Al Jourgensen is still alive, let alone stalking the stage like some kind of demented preacher, but it’s impossible to deny the effect the pounding beats and riffs of ‘Psalm 69’ and ‘Just One Fix’ have on the crowd, with a great big slam-dancing mess down the front and pumping fists as far back as we can see. Regarded as godfathers of industrial metal, today they justify that tag, and then some.

The weekend suddenly starts to catch up with me, to the extent that I wander off to find a place to lie down, and promptly doze through half of CLUTCH’s set. Sleeping during a Clutch set – how will I live that down? Answers on a postcard, please. Happily, we can report that the Maryland quartet are still masters of the groove, and – for the most part – keep the musical noodling on a tight leash.

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And then it happens. I am reinvigorated, revitalised, reborn. No, not through coffee (although that did help). SLAYER. Last time we saw Tom Araya’s crew (at Sonisphere 2014), they were hampered by a sub-par sound, and arguably also by the crowd’s expectations of what was their first UK show since the death of founding member Jeff Hanneman. This evening is different.

The sun hides behind a cloud as the intro music kicks in, and as the band rip into a ferocious opening salvo of ‘Repentless’, ‘Disciple’ and ‘Mandatory Suicide’, the crowd goes utterly apeshit in a way that most bands can only dream of. Make no mistake, this is Slayer firing on all cylinders, loud and malevolent as they should be, and delivering an almighty middle finger salute to any notions of comfortably settling in as thrash metal’s elder statesman. This is a band with something to prove, and as Kerry King and Gary Holt trade buzzsaw riffs and squalling solos on the likes of ‘Dead Skin Mask’ and ‘Hate Worldwide’, we feel kind of foolish that we ever doubted them. It’s tempting to imagine that if there was a nuclear holocaust tomorrow, Slayer would probably survive it, write a song about it, and then deafen all the cockroaches with it.

And hey, if that all sounds a bit too sinister for your tastes, consider the added bonus of Tom’s giggling fit midway through ‘Seasons in The Abyss’ – which in turn sets us off. Maybe he saw the girl moshing in a Pikachu onesie.

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As far as we’re concerned, Download 2017 could finish now, but there’s still AEROSMITH to close the Main Stage. In summary: too many covers, and too much blues-rock jamming, especially in the first half. ‘Love In An Elevator’ and ‘Dream On’ still make for a great sing-along, though, and Steven Tyler is a born showman. If this does indeed prove to be their last ever UK show, it’ll have made for a decent Aero-vederci (their words, not mine), and a fitting end to another great weekend at Donington Park. Cheers for having us, guys.

Words: Alex Gosman
Photos: Matt Eachus, Ben Gibson & Ross Silcocks

Trumans Water (premiere)

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The monstrous off-kilter noise-fest known as Trumans Water are back with an incredibly well recorded live album from an epic show in Oslo at Spasibar back in November 2005 that will be available on a double vinyl gatefold package on June 23rd via Handmade Records.

The San Diego band blew up the scene with their vicious indie-rock recordings when they first arrived in 1991 and have since recorded a plethora of albums and EPs for those lucky enough to have found their art. And art is pretty much the only way of explaining what this crew do. It’s fair to say that Trumans Water have a knack for jamming at an incendiary force with energy that can turn on a dime.

Thankfully today, Crossfire were asked to premiere this live track from the release so crank your stereo to 11, enjoy Large Organs and pre-order this treat from Handmade here whilst stocks last.

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