Archive for Review

Review: Motörhead – Bad Magic

Posted in Album Review, Music with tags , , , on September 20, 2015 by Tickets There

MotorheadBadMagicMotörhead have been in the press a lot recently and rightly so. The release of their twenty second studio album is a major accomplishment and cause for celebration. Few bands management such a feat and fewer still can still put out a record of this calibre but the unyielding force that is Motörhead have prevailed. Recently, some have dared to suggest that the God-King Lemmy may not actually be as unstoppable as we all thought! Of course, that is all nonsense and this album proves it.

Bad Magic is a blistering forty three minute display of Motörhead’s powerful song writing abilities and ability to hammer out great rock ‘n’ roll. There are moments on this record that’ll make you question if this is actually the finest collection of songs they’ve ever produced. ‘Victory or Death’ and ‘Thunder & Lightening’ set a bar so high few bands could level up for Lemmy and co just keep knocking them out on this album. While there’s little variety in style, there’s more than enough bad ass, whiskey sippin’ saloon rock ‘n’ roll for everyone.

This is an album to really bask in. Songs like ‘The Devil’, ‘Chocking on Your Screams’, Fire Storm Hotel’ and ‘Tell Me Who To Kill’ put it up there as one of the strongest hard rock albums you’re likely to hear for some time. Other moments on the album give a different perspective to the band. ‘Till the End’ is Lemmy at his most honest. The flawed, sometimes tragic hero bares his soul but assures us from the go, he’s not changing. Another nice surprised is the band’s cover of The Rolling Stones ‘Sympathy for the Devil’. Lemmy reckons it’s better than the original recording and he might just be right. After all,

Simply put, Bad Magic is a terrific album. Exactly what you want from the hard rock legends and more. This is a firm statement from the band that they’re not going anywhere and there’s still a hell of a lot to offer. Well done guys!

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Review: W.A.S.P. – Live @ The Academy (Sept. 16th, 2015)

Posted in Gig Review, Music with tags , , , , , on September 19, 2015 by Tickets There
Photo by: Eva Gunnarsson

Photo by: Eva Gunnarsson

12019764_10153663554323200_1636175679424654029_nW.A.S.P. are a band that has never abandoned Ireland. Since their very first album, Blackie Lawless and co. have always made sure to include Ireland on their European tours and this is something Irish people are very grateful for. Of course they’re not the only band to include us, but while many of their Contemporaries have vanished from our shores over the past five years, W.A.S.P. have remained consistent in their tours. Of course, it’s not just their appearances here that have been consistent. Each performance is a display of their un-compromising professionalism and talent. Songs from over three decades are still performed with passion and energy while Blackie’s voice only seems to grow in strength. Tonight they’re back in the Academy to play us a few of those old favourites and hopefully a sample from their forthcoming album, Golgotha and Wild Childs of all ages have come to welcome back our old pals.

(Sorry about that Wild Childs line. I truly am. – Ed.)

The Treatment open tonight’s show and manage to get a good buzz going. While they’ve drifted more towards a magazine cover friendly looking since their first album and changed a few members around, the band still sound tight and the tunes are only getting better. Despite a few sound and performance ‘malfunctions’, the group have the craic and so do the fans. Also, ‘Shake the Mountain‘ is a savage song and anyone who finishes their set with it gets our vote.

12027689_10153663554478200_11137618468878649_nBy the time the houselights drop for W.A.S.P.’s opener, the Academy crowd has swelled and the pit area has been conquered by dozens of battle vest clad kids ready to do damage. With the intro over, the band make their entrances and Blackie moves in to take centre stage. His tall build and ferocious voice are imposing as he snarls his way through ‘On Your Knees’ and ‘Inside the Electric Circus’ before a blistering performance of ‘The Real Me’. W.A.S.P. have officially arrived and they are on fire. Blackie surveys the crowd and band alike, watching the musician’s performances like a hack and appearing more than pleased with each of their displays, proudly bringing life to the songs he has created and curated for so many years.

12036869_10153663554428200_6747728262245098416_nIn another display that you’re not just dealing with a band going through the motions, Blackie (for the second show in a row) entertains the crowd with a story from one of their Irish shows in the 90’s about an exploding code piece. Despite a few flinches from the men in the crowd, all ends well and the band play the first single from Golgotha, ‘Last Runaway’. The crowd laps it up and give their seal of approval for the new material which carries over to ‘Crazy‘ from 2009’s Babylon album. But even that is trumpeted by Douglas Blair’s incendiary guitar solo on another Golgotha song, ‘Miss You’.

11041548_10153663554208200_5340849801710778393_n‘Hellion’, ‘I Don’t Need No Doctor’ and ‘Arena of Pleasure’ carry the set on as Golgotha’s title track brings the main portion of this night to a close. Although it’s well known that Blackie is a born again Christian, few in the crowd were prepared for Golgotha’s “Jesus I need you now” chorus and it obviously impacts everyone in attendance. Despite a bit of head scratching, there’s no denying the song is a powerful ballad from the same family as ‘Heaven’s Hung In Black’. With that, Blackie bids good night and the band depart.

As chants for “fuck like a beast” and “Blackie” fill the room, the sound of chainsaws rev from the PA and the pit kicks off before we even see a band member back on stage. W.A.S.P. return fired up and bring the house down with ‘Chainsaw Charlie’ before again bidding us goodnight and vanishing. No W.A.S.P. show is complete without ‘LO.V.E. Machine’  so the crowd stays firm and again the band return. Teasing us with the opening notes of ‘Wild Child’, Blackie beams a cheeky smile before the band arrive back to accompany through their classic hit before ending the night on the one, the only L.O.V.E. Machine. Normally this song is performed with a crowd providing backing vocals, but this crowd are so worked up the Academy floor descends into pit chaos the likes of which you’d expect more at one of Nirvana’s early shows.

12042672_10153663554333200_6288302906635125771_nW.A.S.P. returned, they championed and they put on yet another show that won’t be forgotten anytime soon. Blackie may have a few more years on him since he sang “I’ll never get old” but you wouldn’t know it to hear him or see him move and Irish fans are ready to welcome him and guys back each and every time they can come over.

Review: Iron Maiden – Book of Souls

Posted in Album Review, Music, News with tags , , , on August 31, 2015 by Tickets There

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Book_of_Souls_Iron_MaidenIt’s been a long wait, but Iron Maiden are finally ready to unleash their Sixteenth studio album on the world. Book of Souls is the first Maiden record since 2010’s The Final Frontier and fans are chomping at the bit to get a taste of this double disc behemoth. Like Judas Priest with Redeemer of Souls, it’s expected that this album is Maiden back on form and ready to enthral fans with a resurging comeback. We know Maiden have the 747 jumbo jet ready for a tour that’ll visit 35 countries – but does the music stand up to all the fanfare and hype?

Yes, yes it does. Opening with ‘Eternity Should Fall’, there’s a real sense Maiden have gone back to their golden age to pull out their core sound and lather it up with some modernisations. It’s a safe opening and it only gets better from here. ‘Speed of Light’ and ‘The Great Unknown’ follow and both increase the nostalgia, as well as faith in this new record. Fast, fun and full of catchy guitar hooks. ‘The Red and Black’ is a culmination of the best parts from the openers as it delivers the full frontal Maiden sing along we’ve (me) been waiting for. This track is solely written by Steve Harris and it’s a bit of a marathon at thirteen minutes, but who am I to question it? No-one, that’s who! Good work Steve, we’ll share a Trooper.

55DC97AE-iron-maiden-and-the-book-of-souls-go-jumbo-on-massive-2016-world-tour-bruce-dickinson-to-captain-pilot-boeing-747-400-to-play-in-six-of-seven-continents-around-the-glob‘When the River Runs’ continues the up-tempo feel and even ups the guitars and pace. This will be a little beauty played live, with it’s pure head banging built riffs and crashing drums. Maiden at their finest. The record’s title track starts with a more sombre tone before a punishing riff breaks through, casting you back to the Powerslave era for a healthy mix of intimidation and awe. In the song’s first half, the extended chorus seems to dominate a little bit too much and does not provide a catalyst for fans to really rally behind, but half way through the anty is upped and Maiden plough through with ferocity as the second half becomes dominated with power riffs, electrifying solos and all round epicness[ . Well done sirs – fills the 10 minutes nicely.

Ballad time? Not on your life as ‘Death or Glory’ opens with everything you could ever want, expect or ask from a Maiden tune. It’s almost like every song sees them get stronger and stronger on Book of Souls and the excitement of Speed of Light’s classic era sound becomes slightly faded as better and better tunes are propelled forward, Death or Glory has everything for everyone. Love it – no more reviewing, time to re-listen. “Like a monkey climbing out of hell”? Ok, Maiden \,,/.

iron-maidenShadows of the Valley’, and I apologise for doing this tune by tune – but how often do you get a new Maiden album to praise? Every five years or so? Yeah, exactly – keep reading.  Shadows is probably the first dip in quality, but that’s due to the repetitive style and it lacks the bite of the previous few tunes. I wonder if Maiden thought the same because the next song, ‘Tears of a Clown’ changes things completely and offers more of a nineties-era rock anthem. Thoughtful, hooky, fun and a re-affirmance that Book of Souls is probably the most exciting Maiden album in a very long time.

It all culminates  with the reflective ‘The Man of Sorrows’ and the much talked about, eighteen minute ‘Empire of the Clouds’. Both display a mesh of classic Maiden styles and deliveries, but continuing the unique themes that have steadily built up over this record. Maiden are taking stock. Lyrically, they’re looking around them at what’s come before and what the future could hold and musically is no different. Songs about everything from the dawn of creation to historical incidents are baked by a collage of previous Maiden styles all collected under an umbrella that makes Book of Souls distinctive and full.

This is an Iron Maiden album in every way, not merely a carrier for a few treats. Double albums are not easy to pull off and even when they’re done well, they can struggle to keep the listener engaged right to the end. That is fortunately not the case on Book of Souls. While some songs, like this review, could have benefited from some trimming – everything works and as the final notes of Empire of the Clouds come to a close, you sit back and truly recognize the colossal achievement this record is. This is an album Iron Maiden fans and band alike can forever be proud of.

Review: Marilyn Manson – The Pale Emperor

Posted in Album Review, Music with tags , , , , , , on July 16, 2015 by Tickets There

Pale-EmperorYou can call him Self-righteous, egotistical, a genius or just absolutely terrifying. Whatever your view, Marilyn Manson has captured several generations’ attention since he sneered his way into popular culture almost twenty years ago. While music has always had its fair share of villains over the years, few have ever inspired such fear and hate in parents, bible bashers and politicians as the self-proclaimed “God of Fuck”. It wasn’t just Manson’s make-up clad, cross-dressing, bible tearing performances that caused so much outrage – although that made for an easy target for society’s great heard to mock at. Instead it was Manson’s disturbing insights, commentary and criticism of the hypocritical ‘norms’ in society that made him public enemy number 1 for many years. From his first album, Manson had sunk his teeth into those around us who preach one way of life and live another and he has never let go.

antichrist_eraAfter Portrait of American Family, Manson offered an almost biographical commentary on his follow up albums. Building on the early success of Portrait and an ever growing following, Manson went straight for society’s jugular – religion. Antichrist Superstar was a chance for Manson to express his blind rage at religious zealots, jock/beautiful culture and showcase the seedy underbelly and false prophesying and smiles of the world. This was quickly followed with a similarly unsettling insight into the lonely isolation , highs and lows lifestyle associated with fame on Mechanical Animals. The album was a perfect mix of style, pop and bleak emptiness – not in terms of content, but in its message. It’s singles further launched Manson and made him a household name. Its release also brought Manson up to his highest level of infamy – so much so that less than a year after its release, he became the focal point of blame for the Columbine High School massacre.

maxresdefaultFor many months Manson suffered the full wrath of America’s guardians of the peace and all things ‘normal’. His career was stalled and his fans attacked simply for the way they dressed and music they liked. It wasn’t until Manson appeared in Michael Moore’s film, Bowling for Columbine in 2002 and spoke with such sense and undeniable truth about that massacre that society finally accepted defeat and moved on from trying to sacrifice Manson to the lord. His simple comment that the people of Columbine had failed the kids and had failed to hear their problems was a summary of everything Manson had spoken about through his music for the preceding years.

EatMeDrinkeMeAfter Columbine, Manson was both famous and infamous. His next album, Holy Wood capitalized on his reputation and brought him more fame and fans than ever before with anthems such as ‘The Fight Song’ and ‘The Nobodies’ reaching brand new audiences. Unfortunately, some of the raw anger started to disappear and it wasn’t until 2007, when Manson and his wife, Dita von Teese, broke up that we once again heard something that seemed truly from the heart.

Eat Me, Drink Me is not technically a release by the band, but more of a solo album Manson wrote/recorded and produced with Tim Sköld which saw the singer return from semi-retirement. For the first time in several years we got to hear a god’s honest album from Manson’s heart. There was no attempted ‘Beautiful People’ / ‘Rock is Dead’ style anthems. Just straight forward honesty with Manson’s usual unique take on life. Since then, Manson has released two further albums and while both held some promise, they delivered little more than the singer’s own effort in gaining ground with the emo fans who had come of age to the less frightening, style over substance groups like… well, I won’t badmouth any bands here. Onwards!

2015 will now be entered as one of those massively important chapters in Manson’s career. After years of reported drink and drug problems, almost scandal-less obscurity, line-up changes and presented with a very different, far less aggressive world than his sound had originally found a home in – Manson has changed styles, modernized and heralded his return with an absolute classic of an album..

JJjvJtb3_400x400The Pale Emperor is without a doubt the most exciting record MM has released as a group since Mechanical Animals. They have recaptured everything that made their music great on those early records, while still managing to overhaul their style and delivery. It’s still undeniably them, but they have modernized successfully, giving their songs a more relevant and fresh platform from which they can dispense the much loved cynical truths fans have wanted to hear again. Like Eat Me, Drink Me – there are no attempts and peddling out major anthems or angry for the sale of it former glory re-hashes. Instead, you have an extremely melodic, atmospheric and enjoyable collection of songs that will fulfil every hope fans could have for a new album – and more.

Marilyn Manson may never again relive the infamy of his earlier years, but his despise for ‘society’ is unabated. While many of his fans will love this record, the ones who really need to hear and understand his message will hardly blink an eyelid and carry on with their torches and pitchforks to demonize the next person who tries to act improper. Let’s just hope Manson continues to keep them in check.

Review: AC/DC – Live @ Aviva Stadium (Jul 1st, 2015)

Posted in Gig Review, Music with tags , , , , , on July 3, 2015 by Tickets There
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Credit: Pierre Petitpas

IMG_3250Kanye West thinks he is, The Who suggest they are and the Rolling Stones act like they are – but when it comes down to it there’s probably no bigger rock band in the world than AC/DC. For four decades the Aussies (don’t get picky about nationality) have been churning out some of hard rock’s finest arena anthems and giving folks from all musical backgrounds a single banner to rally behind, drink to and of course – rock the f**k out with. There’s hardly a wedding, nightclub, biker bar, brothel or nursery in the country that doesn’t have a bit of the DC in stock and their on-going popularity is proven with each sell out tour they announce. Despite the sad loss of Malcom Young from the band last year and the more amusing / starling departure of drummer Phil Rudd a few months later, the DC keep on rolling and tonight they’re in Dublin to play, what MCD are calling – “the biggest gig of 2015“. Can they pull off a show as big as the hype around it?…….. of course, it’s AC/DC!

Ballsbridge is rammed with thousands of fans from every corner of the country and the mood is electric. Inside the area, the massive custom stage falls perfectly in line with the design of Aviva as the East and West stands collapse into the devil horned dome. With a lovely warm evening, well stocked bars and such a great atmosphere all in full swing – it’s finally time to enjoy some iconic rock ‘n’ roll.

IMG_3258AC/DC explode, rather than arrive on stage – shredding into their new album’s title track, ‘Rock or Bust’. From the go they sound incredible and look like a band in their element. They rocket through fan favourites such as ‘Shoot to Thrill’, ‘Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be’ and the iconic ‘Back in Black’ with the polished yet raunchy blues swagger that made them famous in the first place. Brian Johnson chats to the crowd, thanking everyone for their applause and expressing delight to be back in Ireland while Angus silently stalks the audience in his trademark uniform – flashing devil horns and his incredible guitar skill at every opportunity.

IMG_3254Newer songs like ‘Play Ball’, ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Train’ and ‘Baptism by Fire’ blend seamlessly into a set chocked with classics and receive far more than polite applause, but of course the real excitement comes out on more familiar numbers. ‘Dirty Deeds..’, ‘Thunderstruck’, ‘Hells Bell’s and ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ are crowning glories in the band’s set as they, incredibly enough, still build towards their biggest hits.

Screenshot (81)Dedicating ‘Have A Drink on Me’ to Ireland, Brian leads the band through ‘T.N.T’., ‘Whole Lotta Rose’, accompanied by a massive inflatable – all singing, all dancing Rosie behind the band before wrapping up their set with a mammoth performance of ‘Let There Be Rock’ – complete with an almost 15 minute long solo from the wholly worshiped guitar God; Angus Young. With that, the band regroup momentarily to say goodbye and depart to a standing ovation and rapturous applause.

IMG_3252After a few minutes wait, the stage lights up with pyros as Angus’ guitar fills the PA before the band arrive on to begin their encore with ‘Highway to Hell’, one of rock’s most beloved badass anthems. Angus and fans don the trademark devil horns and the area lights up with thousands of little red lights before the night finishes with raised cannons and explosions as the epic ‘For Those About to Rock’ thunders through the cheers.

No dirty deeds – just high voltage rock ‘n’ roll. Tonight AC/DC put on one of the best shows you could ever hope to see and if they return for a bigger gig next year, there’ll be no shortage of us to welcome them back.

Review: Behemoth – Live @ The Academy (Dec 11th, 2014)

Posted in Gig Review, Music with tags , , , , , , , , on December 17, 2014 by Tickets There

IMG_0781A cancelled gig is always a bummer which can leave a bad taste in the mouth for years to come. That’s why Behemoth fans in Ireland must tip their hats to all the folks at DME and Behemoth themselves for saving the latter’s long awaited return to Irish shores this week. Awful weather conditions meant ferry cancelations this morning which left Decapitated, Grand Magus and Winterfylleth unable to reach Dublin for tonight’s show. Fortunately, with the help of a little luck and fiscal support – DME were able to get Behemoth to Dublin and fill in the support bill with locals Malthusian and Aeternum Vale. A Christmas miracle, you might say? (smug laugh).

IMG_0768The reduction in support didn’t seem to stop anyone coming tonight. The Academy is rammed from wall to wall and right from the start Behemoth ensure no-one, no matter who they originally came to see, is walking out of this venue tonight disappointed. Right from the start they have our bones trembling from their unrelenting force and stripped back, but no less imposing theatrics. There are bands out there who understand the nature of what live shows should be and go above and beyond to put on the most impressive performance and tonight that’s exactly what the Academy is treated to.

Of course, Behemoth don’t just rely on theatrics to get us going as they deliver an incredible set built from their latest album, The Satanist, as well as classics from their extensive back catalogue. ‘Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel’ opens the show and even spurs the crowd to sing it back, a rare feat for a band playing a song from a new album after twenty years on the road. ‘Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer’ swiftly follows and speeds up the pace as they hammer out incredible songs including ‘Conquer All’, ‘The Satanist’, ‘Christians to the Lions’ and many more before ‘Chant for Eschaton 2000′ closes their main set.

IMG_0774After an exhaustive set, Behemoth dim the lights and return in full black metal attire to deliver one final brooding song – the colossal closing number from The Satanist, ‘O Father O Satan O Sun’. An epic performance and easily one of our highlights of 2014. Hopefully it won’t be another ten years before we see them back in the emerald isle.

Review: SLAYER – Live @ The Academy, Dublin (July 1st, 2014)

Posted in Gig Review, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 2, 2014 by Tickets There

If you’re an Irish metal fan, you can be forgiven for thinking SLAYER are the only metal band in the entire world these days. After all, the group has performed here six times in the last year and there’s still tonight’s sold out Academy show to go. While other major metal bands appear to have shrugged off Ireland on their outings over the past few years – SLAYER have been coming back again and again to assault the holy hell out of us and up mid-week drink sales by 12.7% for the entire year. That’s impressive when you consider we live in Ireland.

IMG_9505Tonight’s crowd know the deal. People hang back around Fibbers, Gypsy Rose and the bars around Abbey Street. There’s no rush – no support so nothing to do but relax and avoid the possible elevator pong music that was forced upon us last year. By ten to nine however – the bars have deserted, the Academy is rammed and the familiar opening hiss of ‘Hell Awaits’ from Decade.. comes sneering over the PA.

IMG_9557No sooner or Slayer on that it seems they’re half way into their set. ‘The Antichrist’, ‘Necrophiliac’ and ‘Mandatory Suicide’ just explode out at furious (my favourite Slayer word) speed and power. Tom gleams at the audience, nodding his approval and waits for the roars to calm down before thanking us for showing up and kicking off ‘War Ensemble’ followed by ‘Disciple‘, ‘Post-mortem’ and ‘Hate Worldwide’.

The set is incredible – almost like it’s been handpicked by fans and Slayer sound as fast, filthy and furious as ever before. ‘At Dawn They Sleep’, ‘Die By the Sword’ and ‘Spirit in Black’ pave the way for new tune, ‘Implode‘, to fight it’s corner for a regular space on Slayer’s set. As the end starts to creep nearer, Slayer start whipping out fan favourites and Tom leaves the choruses to the crowd as we begin to drown out the PA. ‘Seasons In The Abyss’ and ‘Dead Skin Mask’ follow before the band finish their main set with ‘Raining Blood’ and  ‘Black Magic’.

As with last year, the giant Hanneman banner drops and Slayer return to finish the night with ‘South of Heaven’ and ‘Angel of Death’. Slayer may have lost Jeff, the legend behind many of their most loved songs. They may also have fallen out with Dave – their founding member, drumming legend! But Gary Holt and Paul Bostaph fill those spots nicely tonight, as with last year and Tom and Kerry are still bad ass motherfuckers. Slayer are proving with every show that nothing can stop them and hopefully we’ll hear some more music from the current line-up in the near future. Failing that, we’ll probably see them again next year in the Academy – hopefully!