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

Ph: IKH

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.

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.

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

10 Bands to See at Download Festival 2017

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We’ve always had a blast at Download Festival and this year’s line-up is stuffed full of treats old and new, along with the chance to join plenty of like-minded folks in raising a pint or two to another sadly departed icon (RIP Mr Cornell!). Main stage headliners System Of A Down, Biffy Clyro and Aerosmith will no doubt draw legions of fans, but there are also plenty of great bands to be found on the smaller stages and in earlier slots. Here we are to shine a light on some the best…

Download 2017 runs from June 9th-11th at Donington Park, Leicestershire. Check downloadfestival.co.uk for more info and tickets.

1. CREEPER (Main Stage, Saturday)

Given that they recently sold out London’s Electric Ballroom, Creeper won’t be skulking in the shadows for much longer, so this could well be your last chance to catch the Southampton horror-punk crew before they leave lunchtime slots in their cold, dark wake. Taking the malevolent rage of prime Misfits, the anthemic choruses of Muse and My Chemical Romance, and a sense of occasion wherever they play, not even bright sunlight can stop this lot. (Ok, that’s enough gothic cheap shots from me). Remember Trivium’s set at Download 2005? Hey, y’never know…

2. FIZZY BLOOD (Dogtooth Stage, Sunday)

Hey, come back, their music’s much better than their name, honest! Seriously though, Fizzy Blood are well worth your time. One minute, they’ll be spooking you with vocalist/guitarist Benji’s cold croon, the next, they’ll be stomping all over your senses with the kind of desert rock riffs that would surely have Josh Homme nodding in approval. Slightly deranged, and all the better for it.

3. VENOM PRISON (Dogtooth Stage, Friday)

Arguably the band most likely to chalk up a score on the Richter Scale, Venom Prison are where doom and death metal collide, and sound gloriously malevolent on the likes of ‘Corrode The Black Sun’. We’ll be watching from the edge with nervous respect.

4. TAX THE HEAT (Zippo Encore Stage, Saturday)

Channelling the kind of blues-infused rock n’ roll that will never go out of style, Bristol quartet Tax The Heat play tight and loud on no-nonsense cuts like ‘Fed To The Lions’ and ‘Learn To Drown (You’re Wrong)’. Just what you’ll need to shift that hangover come Saturday lunchtime.

5. BLOOD YOUTH (Avalanche Stage, Sunday)

Some bands start out as friends having fun together, others are born as musical catharsis for those involved. Blood Youth fall into the latter camp, and the results are as thrilling as they are intense.
Close your eyes whilst listening to ‘Reason To Stay’, and you can imagine vocalist Kaye balancing atop a seething pit, as a packed tent bellow every word of that chorus right back at him. Go make it happen.

6. CODE ORANGE (Avalanche Stage, Friday)

This Pittsburgh quintet bring together elements of straight-up punk rock, metallic hardcore, granite-hewn sludge rock riffs and even melancholic, almost Cure-esque melodies. Recent LP ‘Forever’ was a refreshingly unpolished treat for my stereo, and should sound pretty damn fearsome live.

7. TRASH BOAT (Avalanche Stage, Saturday)

Considering the musical crimes committed in the name of pop-punk over the years, Trash Boat make for a welcome surprise; a young British band injecting fresh vitriol and vitality into the genre. Check out ‘How Selfish I Seem’ and ‘Strangers’, and get ready to whip up a big ol’ dust cloud.

8. LOVE ZOMBIES (Dogtooth Stage, Sunday)

We at Crossfire strongly suspect that Love Zombies are not genuinely undead, not least because it’s hard to imagine a band of zombies playing such colourful punky power-pop. Better scarper after their set, though; you never know when the craving for brains might kick in.

9. KROKODIL (Dogtooth Stage, Friday)

Ah, the vicious beast Krokodil stirs once again, possibly to practice its scales.* Apparently,”mostly beards and riffs” remains their modus operandi, and whilst we can’t (so far) comment on the length or density of the beards, we can assure you that the riffs are as raw, potent and poisonous as ever.

10. AARON BUCHANAN & THE CULT CLASSICS (Dogtooth Stage, Sunday)

Yes, the erstwhile Heaven’s Basement frontman has returned, and he’s armed with a slick but addictive debut album Imagine Alice In Chains and Stone Temple Pilots bonding over some classic Aerosmith, and you’ve got a soundtrack to see out Download 2017 in fine style.

Written by Alex Gosman

*Sorry, that was terrible. Even for me.

Buzzbombs – 11 tunes that are on our stereo

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HCBP – The Patriot (s/r)

May as well kick this off with a bang. Matt Reynolds and Tom Marsh from Heck (formerly Baby Godzilla) started a side project that absolutely rips. This first thunderous slice of stoner wizardry paints a very fuzzy and dirty world that we are intrigued to find much more about. Turn it up to 11 and jump around your living room.

Brad Pot – Air Strike – Slovenly Records

If you’ve not come across Melbourne garage-punkers Brad Pot yet then here’s a taste of what opens their new LP. Sneering, gritty punk rock with a subtle stench.

Career Suicide – Machine Response – Static Shock

Toronto’s rip roaring punk’s Career Suicide, who have never put out a duff release, are back with another totally in-your-face, razor sharp slice of spitting and sneering hardcore in full length format. Don’t you dare miss this.

Pissing Match – Break The Seal – Feral Kid Records

The Dead Kennedys once said “I Like Short Songs” and with hardcore, you can’t really go wrong. This album in particular is all over in 5 mins. Fill your brains with some Pissing Match and then go shred a bowl.

Pissed Jeans – The Bar Is Low – Sub Pop

Pissed Jeans getting fit-as-fuck is a pleasure to watch. Pick up their new album, Why Love Now on Sub Pop for another classic dose of raging punk rock from this lot. It’s not their best release but you will certainly hear more melodies than usual.

All Them Witches – Internet – New West Records

Let’s take this down a level and appreciate some serious jamming. This lot take blues in its traditional form and spit it back at you with desert dust and marshmallows roasted on open fires. A proper musicians band for real music fans. This is lifted from their new album, Sleeping Through The War of which will suck you in and leave you wanting to move that needle straight back into the first groove. Pick it up on vinyl for the best results.

Part Chimp – MapoLeon – Rock Action Records

Part Chimp are back after eight (!) years’ gestation. They found the artwork to their new album in a bin, but that’s fine, ‘MapoLeon’ will knock your sonic socks clean off with its potent riff that, in an altered state, could well sound like Big Business covering ‘Molly’s Chambers’. Don’t miss what’s sure to be a release show of beyond earth-shaking volume levels at London’s 100 Club on April 28th.

Japandroids – No Known Drink Or Drug – Anti

How do you follow up an album like Celebration Rock? Write another one in exactly the same totally anthemic, uplifting, heart-breaking, heart-warming, inspiring, tear-inducing, fist clenching, scream-along-and-blow-your-voice-out vein, that’s how! Shepherds Bush Empire, May 6th. You’d be insane not to be there.

Gentle Woman, Ruby Man – Everybody Loves The Sunshine – Glassnote

Some would say that to mess with the work of Roy is blasphemous and perverse, but White & Morrissey’s take is as close to the original as you could get and all the better for that. See this band live at any opportunity and look out for their guitar player’s remarkable stage antics.

The Courtneys – Minnesota – Flying Nun

The Courtneys’ self-titled debut was a cult classic. Ever understated but massively anthemic, restrained but similarly gung-ho, new album ‘II’ confirms their dreamy, fuzzy, garage pop remains irresistible.

Duke Garwood – ‘Sal’s Paradise’ – Heavenly

Duke Garwood’s enchanting take on the blues arrives even further refined, minimal and mesmerising on new album ‘Garden Of Ashes’. But tunnel further underground to ‘Sal’s Paradise’, the B-side matching new single ‘Cold Blooded’, and revel in the dimly lit, swampy echoes. The simplicity here is wonderful.

Crossfire Albums of the Year 2016

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CLAIRE ALLEAUME

1. Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool (XL Recordings)
2. Logan Richardson – Shift (Blue Note Records)
3. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Skeleton Tree (Bad Seed Ltd)
4. Plague Vendor – Blood Sweat (Epitaph Records)
5. David Bowie – Black Star (Columbia Records)
6. Theo Croker – Escape Velocity (Okeh Records)
7. Lambchop – FLOTUS (City Slang / Merge)
8. Júníus Meyvant – Floating Harmonies (Record Records)
9. Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker (Columbia Records)
10. PUP – The Dream is Over (Royal Mountain Records)

Honourable mentions: De La Soul, The Coathangers, Paul Simon

Song of the year: Sheer Mag – Can’t Stop Fighting

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JONO COOTE

1. Minneapolis Uranium Club – Human Exploration (Static Shock Records)
2. Serious Sam Barrett – Sometimes You’ve Got To Lose (Yadig? Records)
3. Dinosaur Jr – Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not (Jagjaguwar)
4. Sheer Mag – III (Static Shock Records)
5. Descendents – Hypercaffium Spazzinate (Epitaph Records)
6. Clean Shirts – Marginal (Kids of the Lughole)
7. Thee Oh Sees – A Weird Exits (Castle Face Records)
8. Skiplickers – Skiplickers (Kids of the Lughole)
9. A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service (Epic Records)
10. Anxiety – S/T (La Vida es un Mus)

Song of the year: Serious Sam Barrett – ‘Sometimes You’ve Got To Lose’

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HENRY CALVERT

1. King Gizzard and the Wizard Lizard – Nonagon Infinity (ATO Records)
2. DIIV – Is There Is Are (Captured Tracks)
3. Savages – Adore Life (Matador Records)
4. Fat White Family – Songs for our mothers (Fat Possum Records)
5. Bad Breeding – Bad Breed (S/R)
6. Jamie T – Trick (Virgin EMI Records)
7. YAK – Alas Salvation (Octopus Electrical)
8. Honeyblood – Babes Never Die (FatCat Records)
9. Eagulls – Ullages (Partisan Records)
10. The Wytches – All Your Happy Life (Dine Alone Music Inc.)

Honourable Mentions: Strange Bones, Sleaford Mods, Parquet Courts, Pink Kink.

Song of the year:
Cabbage – Uber Capitalist Death Trade

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JAMES SHERRY

1. Poison Idea – Calling All Ghosts (American Leather Records)
2. Ruts DC – Music Must Destroy (Westworld)
3. Thee Oh Sees – A Weird Exists (Castle Face Records)
4. David Bowie – Blackstar (Columbia Records)
5. Bad Breeding – ST (s/r)
6. King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard – Nonagon Infinity (Heavenly Recordings)
7. Iggy Pop – Post Pop Depression (Loma Vista Recordings)
8. The Minneapolis Uranium Club – All Of Them Naturals (Static Shock Records)
9. Black Mountain – IV (Jagjaguwar)
10. Wire – Nocturnal Koreans (Pink Flag)

Song of the year: Ruts DC – Psychic Attack

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DAVE PALMER

1. Diiv – Is The Is Are (Captured Tracks)
2. Black Mountain – IV (Jagjaguwar)
3. Goon – Dusk Of Punk (s/r)
4. Kikagaku Moyo – House In The Tall Grass (Gurugurubrain)
5. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Nonagon Infinity (Heavenly)
6. The Skiffle Players – Skifflin’ (Spiritual Pajamas)
7. Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool (XL)
8. Swans – The Glowing Man (Young God)
9. Cass McCombs – Mangy Love (Anti)
10. Steve Gunn – Eyes On The Lines (Matador)

Honourable mentions: William Tyler, Wrong, White Lung, Nails, Jambinai, Blown Out, Arabrot, Alex Cameron

Song of the year: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Gamma Knife

Finding Joseph I: An Oral History of H.R. from Bad Brains

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How low can a punk get? It obviously depends of course on state of mind, drug use, religious beliefs and fame and fortune to start with, but let’s digress for a second and introduce H.R to those who may not know him. Paul “H.R.” Hudson, aka Joseph I, is the unique frontman of the legendary and explosive hardcore band, Bad Brains, whose rise to fame in the 1980s saw them travel the world to perform their bone crunching music to thousands. H.R’s presence on stage is unforgettable. Whether he is screaming from the bottom of his soul to thrashing 200mph riffs or singing sweet dulcet Rastafarian tones over dope basslines, this enigma was born to emit electrifying energy to others that can be deeply infectious. Only a chosen few can say that they fronted arguably, the best live punk rock band of all time.

I’m slightly biased here, as my 16 year old self decided to travel to the Marquee Club on Tottenham Court Rd in London back in 1989 to see them play on the ‘Quickness’ Tour. Bad Brains were the first legit hardcore band I had ever witnessed play live and their sheer sonic force and insane energy just ripped the place apart. Bodies flew off the stage all night long, beer was thrown everywhere, H.R was backflipping – someone even dived off the balcony. I had discovered hardcore from the kings of the scene, directly from the inner sanctum, instantly inspiring me to form my own band. They were that influential.

As Bad Brains grew in popularity, H.R’s erratic behaviour rose with it causing chaos within the band’s touring and recording schedule but his character was so compelling that his actions were not seen to be anything other than avant-garde to some. It took a while for those close to him to realise that maybe his abnormal social behaviour was actually out of his control and caused by a legitimate illness such as schizophrenia. This is the subject that forms the basis of this amazing documentary made by director James Lathos. As a lifelong Bad Brains fan, Lathos spent a lot of time with H.R in the US and Jamaica over the space of 10 years and decided to piece together this documentary without any prior experience of film making. A task that on reflection is an accolade in itself as his work sucks you in and turns you upside down revealing a detailed and personal inside view of the band’s struggle to keep their frontman focused throughout serious illness.

The film takes you through the early years of the Hudson family and their movements around the world from birth in Liverpool, England to Kingston, Jamaica, leading to various locations across America to their home in Washington DC, where the two Hudson brothers, Earl and Paul would meet guitarist Gary Miller (aka Dr Know) and bassist Darryl Jennifer. Strangely, both band members decided not to contribute to the documentary at all, leaving the sound bites to Earl Hudson, Bad Brains’ manager Anthony Countey, Positive Force founder Mark Andersen, Dischord’s Ian MacKaye, various members of Sublime, 311, Living Colour, Fishbone and many others, but for once, no Henry Rollins or Dave Grohl! In fact many key hardcore luminaries who we thought would be present in this flick discussing the good old days were not present.

In reflection though, Lathos’ followed H.R’s journey as a solo singer in the many collaborations and reggae projects that he formed around the US that toured Europe during the late 1980s and 90s. A mission that wasn’t all about survival, but a quest to find inner peace and happiness through leaving behind the somewhat negative, in-your-face force that punk rock is famed for. H.R struggled with this aggression and much preferred the more heartfelt, soulful Rasta vibes of reggae and dub leading him on various paths to write music with many other musicians within the genre.

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The director depicts H.R as a Shaman who drifted in search of new musical directions without managing to pay a single electric bill in his life. A deeply religious man who only needed a bed and bible but whose illness eventually lead him to homelessness. Sadly, his schizophrenia became so unbearable that one questioned whether he knew if he was actually on stage performing or not. Lathos’ goes deep into the dark side of the singer’s mental instability in true documentary form making uncomfortable viewing with H.Rs personal archive of self filmed footage confirming that he was stuck in his own hallucinogenic world. But from the depths of despair there is always light and the scene that explains the purchase of a white limousine, his wonderfully bizarre outfits and that unforgettable grin are quick to soften the blow!

From the incredible unseen live footage to learning how H.R invented the word ‘mosh’ from his Jamaican patois chants, ‘Finding Joseph I’ takes you on an inside journey through the success and turmoil of H.R and Bad Brains confirming why they’re included for induction into the 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

For a debut production in the world of music documentaries, Lathos’ film will go down as one of the best you will see within the hardcore scene. I literally cannot believe we managed to see the very first screening that H.R himself has not even seen yet, so thank you Doc’n Roll Film Festival for the opportunity. Apparently there was so much archive interview footage that a book will also be published next January, but as the director mentioned on the night at the Q&A, it’s too early to tell what Small Axe Films will be doing in terms of releasing it online or on DVD yet but it will happen. For now, watch the trailer and get yourself some PMA.

Words: Zac
Photo: Zac (Unseen photo of HR backstage at the Astoria, London 2007)