2007 is here and we welcome you all back to the Pit. We hope that amongst all the turkey sandwiches and boozing you’ve had the urge to be punched and kicked by some fucking tunes, because even if you haven’t, that’s what you’re going to get. As always we’re serving you up the best in metal, punk and indie and if you don’t find something here to quench your musical thirst, you’re getting sent to the back of the queue!
Jane Hawkes’ picks
Album of the Month
INCUBUS – Light Grenades
Lets be honest here, Incubus‘ last album ‘A Crow Left Of The Murder’ was shit. It left many fans disappointed and it never really had the same initial impact as previous albums. Hurrah then, that Incubus are back with a vengeance with their distinctive blend of rock riffs and catchy pop hooks in new album Light Grenades.
Even though the lyrics on some tracks are broken hearted and a little cliché at times, it still makes for enjoyable listening. The steady stream of solemn intensity weaves its way through tracks like ‘Paper Shoes’ and ‘Dig’ and you know Brandon Boyd is singing from the heart. Beautiful, soothing and complex this is surely a contender for best album of 2006.
THE VIEW – Same Jeans
The four piece hailing from Dundee have been quite the success story in 2006. Touring with Primal Scream and Babyshambles and with a spot on the upcoming NME tour, this success looks like it will continue well into 2007 if this single is anything to go by. This shiny, happy tune has an aura of 90’s pop about it, with a little head nod to the likes of Space and Kula Shaker.
Listening to The View singing about the same pair of pants they have worn for ages makes you think sunshine, festivals, warm beer and hair like a bath mat and what with the god awful weather going on outside, we all need a bit of cheering up. I mean, who hasn’t worn the same pair of jeans for four days in a row?? No? Pfft. call yourselves festival goers.
AEROSMITH – The Very Best Of
This must be the eleventy billionth Aerosmith ‘Best Of’ that has been rolled out over the years. Fans surely must be getting a tad pissed off by now that they need to keep forking out for a whole album of stuff they already own just to get a couple of new tracks stuck on the end. Ok, the new tracks ‘Sedona Sunrise’ and ‘Devil’s Got A new Disguise’ on this ‘Best Of’ aren’t bad, but they are hardly stand alone classics in the making either. If you have just discovered Aerosmith, this so called ‘Best Of’ CD is not really the best introduction as some of their best stuff doesn’t even feature, if you are already a fan you know what to expect.
‘Dude Looks Like A Lady’…check. ‘Living On The Edge’…check. ‘Crazy’….check. And so it goes on, just like those before them. This then begs the question, why in the hell did Aerosmith give the green light for this? They surely aint skint. It would have been much better to whack out a few more new songs and stick out an album wouldn’t it? All in all a pretty pointless release which emphasises the bands desire to cash in on their own legacy.
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS – Desecration Smile
Possibly the finest track from epic double album ‘Stadium Arcadium’, ‘Desecration Smile’ begins all mellow with an irresistible slow groove before erupting into the type of huge anthemic chorus the boys are best known for.
Uncontainable energy seeps from every note and ensures that yes dammit, you will be singing along whether you like it or not. An gloriously compelling delight.
Ryan Bird’s picks
Record Of The Month
THE HAUNTED – The Dead Eye
When The Haunted released their self-titled debut in the winter of 1998, it quite literally turned a then diminishing thrash metal scene on its head before slamming it firmly into the nearest wall. As genre greats like Metallica and Megadeth turned to radio rock and the previously mighty Slayer’s wheels at last began to wobble, it was this 40-minute blast of snarling ferocity that provided a float.
Almost a decade on, ‘The Dead Eye’ sees the Swedish quintet at their darkest and most sinister yet. Proof indeed that ambition and creativity need not wither with age.
DEFTONES – Saturday Night Wrist
Sometimes it’s simply too easy to poke fun at Chino Moreno. Not only has he seemingly added an inch to his waistband for every year that passes, he also seems hell bent on convincing us that he’s still “down with the kids”. Baggy shorts and dickie socks, anybody?
One thing that’s simply impossible to mock, however, is the Deftones’ ability to recreate themselves with each release. The fact that they do so without ever losing their artistic sparkle is simply astonishing, and ‘Saturday Night Wrist’ is no exception. As progressive, unpredictable and downright incredible as ever; this is metal at its most grandiose.
GOJIRA – From Mars To Sirius
Quite simply the most terrifying metal prospect ever to cross the channel. Hailing from the unlikely source of France, the quartet deal in some of the most twisted, complex and utterly fucked up soundscapes since Meshuggah first picked up their 8-strings and tuned lower than Abi Titmuss’ sense of morality.
If you’ve picked up a metal rag over the past 12 months you’ll need no introductions, but for the unfamiliar among you, pick up this bad boy and crank the volume to 11. Once your ears start bleeding and your body spontaneously convulses in a state of shock, you’ll wonder how you ever coped with sanity.
CHOKEHOLD – Sweet Sense Of Genocide
The follow-up to 2006’s ‘The Killing has Begun’, this sophomore effort from Oxfordshire’s most promising beast is already shaping up to be one of the unlikely success stories of 2007. Having received copious airplay on the likes of Total Rock radio and Scuzz TV for the song ‘Faith Of Fear’ – as well as sharing stages with the likes of German metal champions Caliban and headlining the latest leg of the Casket Lullabies tour across the UK – these groove-metal behemoths are set to put home grown talent back in the driving seat. Prepare for utter devastation.
BLACK SABBATH – Black Sabbath
It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost 40 years since this essential slice of heavy metal history first came to fruition, and even harder still to contemplate that the entire album was recorded in just one day on a four-track recorder.
Few could have predicted the ever-lasting effect this six-track effort would hold, but the amount of people fortunate enough to discover its glory without being utterly dazzled by the undeniable brilliance is less still. If you don’t like Sabbath, you don’t like metal, and that’s the truth. An pure and untouchable heavy metal nirvana.
Dee Massey’s picks
Record Of The Month
BRAND NEW – The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me
It was a long time in the making but long island emo-supremos Brand New are back in the ring with their eagerly anticipated new album ‘The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me’, which takes its title from a conversation frontman Jesse Lacey had with a schizophrenic friend whilst making the album. Never ones for resting on their laurels, Brand New’s 2003 album ‘Deja-Entendu’ was the polar opposite to their debut ‘My Favourite Weapon’, and similarly, this new offering is another huge leap forward to a darker, more challenging sound. Lacey, a reluctant front man if ever there was one, has grown from a boy singing of love, to deeper, almost menacing topics – his lyrics now spin out stories of death, religion, executions and even drowning babies. So far, so bleak.
Tangled guitars rip into the listener in Sowing Season, ‘Degausser’ brims with an eerie choir, whilst ‘Archers’ stays with you. ‘The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me’ confirms Brand New’s reputation as a band constantly striving evolving into something bigger and better, growing with every new release. Brooding at times, furious and fighting in others – this is an album that’s sure to amaze, scare and delight with every twist. And does the Devil or God win the fight? I’m sure we’ll find out in their next album, I just hope they don’t keep us waiting another 3 years…
THE HEDRONS – Heatseeker
Scottish fourpiece The Hedrons blast their way into 2007 with their third single ‘Heatseeker’ on indy label Measured Records. The girl band has grown in confidence and matured already, and like their previous offerings, ‘Heatseeker’ is a ballsy, aggressive and energy filled track, with Tippi’s lead vocals wonderfully sleazy and gritty, with a gloriously jagged edge.
These four girls are the real deal, with a presence both on record and live that demands your attention, and this single is just a glimpse into what we’ve got to look forward when they hit Metro on 24th January. With slivers of punk and metal, these girls produce a sound that drags you up by the scruff on the neck, but without coming across as try hards. With a phenomenal online following (they were the first British band in history to play a virtual gig on Second Life), the girls are growing in stature with every release – catch them live, you really won’t be disappointed.
TAKING BACK SUNDAY – Liar (Takes One To Know One)
One of the things I admire most about Long Island natives Taking Back Sunday is that they never let you down. Throughout the last three albums they have been consistency impressed with their own brand of screamo and aggressive emo tones which always stay with you hours after the last listen.
Despite their hiatus after their first album and a near split, Lazzara and Co have come back stronger than ever. Their second single from their Eric Valentine (Queens of The Stone Age) produced album ‘Louder Now’ is full of slashing guitars, edgy growling vocals courtesy of enigmatic frontman Adam Lazzara, and a tight drum sound produced by setting up Mark O’Connell’s drum kit in the smallest room in the studio, producing a tight 80s sound.
The sounds is evolving with every album, and this album is without doubt their best yet, it bristles with excitement and vigour, their arena-ready hooks ( so greatly showcased as their Milton Keynes shows last year) are pushing them from just another screamo band to something really quite spectacular…and one of the few bands that didn’t get bottled on the main stage at Reading – impressive stuff!
MARMADUKE DUKE – Everybody Dance
(Captains of Industry)
Taken from the up coming album ‘Duke Pandemonium’ , ‘Everybody Dance ‘is just a sneak preview (check it out on their my space page) of what we’ve got to look forward to. An upbeat, dance fever, up-tempo disco ball of a track, bordered by ample guitars and a in your face bassline. With it’s mantra like lyrics repeated over and over again, the tempo is cranked up from the very beginning, and it’ll have your toes tapping from under the January gloom.
With band members from Sucioperro and Biffy Clyro making up the numbers, the magnificent Marmaduke Duke are a multi-facetted bundle, a band that can attack and soothe, and have you dancing before you even know why. ‘Everybody Dance’ is the track that could lift you out of your winter gloom – whilst it’s not exactly the musical version of prozac, it’s a great bit of ear candy. With their album in the wings, Marmaduke Duke are proving themselves to be more than just a one trick pony, and one of Captains of Industry’s most promising acts for 2007. Watch this space.
Alex Gosman’s picks
Record Of The Month
CANCER BATS – Birthing The Giant
2007: the year of stoner-punk’s resurgence? It won’t seem so ridiculous an idea once you’ve heard the debut Cancer Bats album. This hard-rockin’ Canadian quartet mix the speed and fury of Black Flag with the thunderous grooves and fuzzed-up guitars so beloved of bands like Down and Corrosion Of Conformity, and on ‘Birthing The Giant’ they’ve served up some of the rawest, most visceral rock n’ roll thrills since The Bronx last laid waste to these fair shores. You might as well join ’em; because on this form, there’s no way you’ll beat ’em.
DOWN I GO – This Is Disastercore
If only my school’s history lessons had been half as interesting as this. For the follow-up to their ‘This Is Dinocore‘ debut, London noise experimentalists Down I Go have produced 13 tracks inspired by and chronicling some of history’s most notable disasters; including odes to the Great Plague of London, the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown and the sinking of the Titanic. It might sound bizarre and over-ambitious on paper, but the reality is a unique record that sounds not unlike the Dillinger Escape Plan infused with a dark sense of humour and some clever lyrical twists. Disastercore, indeed, but far from disastrous.
FRANKY LEE – Cutting Edge
If Millencolin vocalist Nikola Sarcevic is the softly-spoken Jekyll of his band, then guitarist Mathias Farm is definitely the hard-partying Hyde. Franky Lee is the latter’s side-project band (also featuring members of fellow Swedish bands Randy and the Peepshows), and their debut album is grittier and louder than you might expect – often reminiscent of band favourites the Afghan Whigs and early Foo Fighters. There’s still enough irresistible choruses in the likes of ‘Antifreeze‘ and ‘The World Just Stopped’ to keep Millencolin fans happy, though. Promising stuff.
FU MANCHU – We Must Obey
If you’re still not convinced of stoner-punk’s potency, then here’s hoping that the daddies of the genre can change your mind. Right from the start, ‘We Must Obey’ sounds like a runaway steamroller bursting out of your speakers; as the likes of ‘Knew It All Along’ and ‘Shake It Loose’ surge forth in waves of Southern-fried riffage and bowel loosening bass. It’s the same brilliantly dirty, unpretentious Fu Manchu sound of old, but this time around they’ve refined it almost to perfection. Enough waxing lyrical – turn this one up loud and just fucking FEEL it.
KUBICHEK! – Not Enough Night
Constant touring can either wear you down or build you up – and in the case of Kubichek!, it’s definitely the latter. This Newcastle quartet’s love of jerky post-punk rhythms and melancholic edge indicates a strong Joy Division/New Order influence, but the fuzzed up, dissonant guitars and a certain sense of urgency help them to stand out from the pack. ‘Not Enough Night’ is an excellent debut; packed with songs that invite you to dig out your dancing shoes, but are far more substantial – both musically and lyrically – than your typical indie club fodder. They’re probably playing near you soon; you know what to do.
Joe Moynihan’s pick
Record Of The Month
NEX – Nex
While cruising through my friend’s Myspace profiles (the one’s with bad music taste at least), I’m persistently ravaged by the general selection of pap they have as their profile song. The second I hear another carbon copy of Bring Me The Horizon or some other gash, so called ‘metal’ band I mute my speakers before you can say “gore”. In fact, pressing the stop button on profile songs was becoming a force of habit. Thankfully I resisted the urge when I stepped across the wee underground beauty that is Nex, lurking innocently on someone’s prof. Check that bass riff! An unexpected, ludicrously versatile group that let their music do the talking. Rather than a shit haircut or jeans that can’t have been put on without the assistance of lube and a shoehorn.
Self-titled debut album, released under the solid, Rising Records name, is a gritty surge of musical ability, combined with witty satire dotted amongst Ed Dickinson’s luxurious wandering vocals. Nex finger out every glob of style in the deep metal/punk crevices and force them together like wrong puzzle pieces to create a better picture than the one on the box. That’s no mean feat. But while boomingly lush tracks like “The Worm” and “Paper Moon” offer an in depth perspective of the bands talent, light hearted ripper “OMG” throws you a package of internet dialect gnarled lovingly into your ear, fully demonstrating how these guys don’t give a fuck. And I dig that shit.