Young Guns – Bones

[9th February 2012]

Young Guns 2011 promo photo by Tom Barnes Thrash Hits

Young Guns
Live Forever
03 February 2012

by David Keevill

Us writing types at Thrash Hits don’t always agree on musical tastes, andYoung Guns are one of those bands that polarize opinion in the TH camp. Whereas I thought the 2010 debut release, All Our Kings Are Dead, was a giant, catchy and cohesive beast of steady mainstream rock, one of our omnipotent overlords/editors, Dame Hugh Platt, had the temerity to do some sort of “joke” review, which didn’t seem like much of a “joke” at all. Needless to say, while I thought the Young Gun’s sound was a little contrived but fun nonetheless, other parties flung shit at it like overzealous monkeys.

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Album: Savage Messiah – Plague of Conscience

[12th January 2011]

Savage Messiah promo photo Thrash Hits

Savage Messiah
Plague of Conscience
Earache Records
06 February 2012

by David Keevill

Alterno-crossover bands swarm over metal like herpes over Tommy Lee’s genitals. In fact, the genre has become so riddled with tributary offshoots and bastardised spawn that it’s often easy to forget the birthing wails of metal; the riffs given by Black Sabbath, the vocal acrobatics of Led Zeppelin and how the generation of bands thereafter – Priest, Maiden, Metallica – moulded an undeniably fierce, dark beast (born of its predecessors) that remained the archetype for so long. However ‘purist’ metal bands of late have looked tired and uncertain of this brave new world. Savage Messiah and their latest release, Plague of Conscience, look ready to smash this trend.

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Orange Goblin – A Eulogy For The Damned

[6th January 2012]

Orange Goblin promo photo 2012 Thrash Hits

Orange Goblin
A Eulogy For The Damned
Candlelight Records
13 February 2012

by David Keevill

The big, fat slab of grunt fodder that is Orange Goblin’s latest release belies their psychedelic past, but not entirely to its detriment. The ethereal leanings of their earlier works have been shed and with their latest release they’ve grown a more coherent and altogether heavier sound, that benefits from A Eulogy For the Damned’s assured, singular feel.

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Metal and Metadata: An abominable meeting of science and art?

[19th December 2011]

David Keevill works for Decibel. They make huge spreadsheets filled with data about the music that you listen to. He’s here to explain why it’s more important than ever to label your shit correctly.

metadata computer data thrash hits

Is heavy metal and metadata an abominable meeting of science and art? The short answer is no. The long answer is detailed below.

“What the fuck is metadata?” I hear that one guy at the back ask. Well, consider that music itself is data, its very existence being information. Metadata is data about this information. This includes everything from the instruments played, the date it was recorded, the type of baby oil that Michael Starr of Steel Panther uses… it’s everything around the music that isn’t actually the music itself.

“Decibel use Artificial Intelligence technology to correct, normalize, enhance, and inter-relate metadata on music and create a 3D matrix of rich metadata for the music and media industries. We have created a feasible alternative to the CD sleeve notes for the digital world. We supplement music with the most dense, informative, and pedantically detailed data that exists, and use this information to re-establish channels between all aspects of the music industry.”

Although metadata is essential to the survival and vitality of the music industry as a whole (which I will explain more shortly), it’s a fact that still rubs with some of the most convinced lovers of music. Trying to convince the most adamant muso that something as intangible, convincing and transcendental as music requires data for it to survive is like trying to push a substantial boulder up a very large hill.

Considering that the metal community is one of the most severely passionate sets of people to grace this floating rock, trying to equate these two seemingly disparate entities becomes almost impossible.

However, what people fail to appreciate, metal fans included, is that data is the lifeblood of the music industry and in these rapidly changing times, not being able to access information will be a death-knoll to the music that people know and love. Without metadata, labels don’t have the ability to find out, let alone pay, all of the people in the creation chain who contributed to the making of a track – this affects metal music as much as any other.

The significance of tonality in breakout genres such as metalcore and deathcore, means that production values have become a far more instrumental part of creation process for bands under the metal ‘umbrella’. As a result, participants in the more overlooked part of the recording process (balance engineers, mastering engineers, etc) appear more commonly and deserve credit and a proportion of the revenue stream. Without proper information, these little-known personnel will start to lose out on royalties that are owed to them.

home taping is killing music and it's illegal thrash hits

Still not convinced? Well, it’s clear that piracy is still a huge problem. No matter how many streaming services are set up and however many governmental edicts are issued blocking websites, services are persistently springing up all over the internet that facilitate the illegal access to music, and a large majority of the population are accessing it. Is this proof of a mass criminal mindset? Is it bollocks. People steal music because a) there is no accountability, and b) the digital product has no perceived worth.

Not only does metadata give a blatant and insistent reminder of who this music belongs to, and all the affiliated personnel who suffer from a decision to steal it, but it also boosts the value of the digital product itself. Saturate the digital product with images, information and create the digital equivalent of the CD liner note, and you’ll start to see appreciation of a currently disregarded medium.

The issue of metadata is more current and relevant than you would ever want to acknowledge and it affects the music you & I love, so it’s clearly important. If digital music is a run-away train, then metadata is the thing that jams on the brakes before everything becomes derailed. If it takes metadata to be the unwitting saviour of metal music, then it’s a little price to pay to admit that you appreciate music and data in the same breath.

Thy Catafalque – Rengeteg

[11th November 2011]

Thy Catafalque 2011 promo photo Thrash Hits

Thy Catafalque
Season of Mist
11 November 2011

by David Keevill

Why fanny about with introductions when Thy Catafalque certainly don’t? As the opener to their latest album, Rengeteg, erupts into a solid and rambunctious Mastodon-esque riff, it’s immediately revealing that this avant-garde Hungarian metal band aren’t willing to bear all the ceremony and baggage that’s often associated with more experimentally inclined bands. Instead what we get from Thy Catafalque is a fat, sixty minute slab of interesting, shifting and polygamous music that draws deeply, and to its eternal benefit, from an Eastern, proto-Russian sound.

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Uneven Structure – Februus

[31st October 2011]

Uneven Structure promo photo Thrash Hits

Uneven Structure
Basick Records
31 October 2011

by David Keevill

Okay, take your hand and cup your balls. Feels good, right? Now do the same, but do it holding a dozen metal tacks. Yep, now you have a bleeding scrotum.

Hard as it is to believe, the French ‘djent’ quintet, Uneven Structure have evoked the same kind of dichotomy from their first full-length offering, Februus. Being at once completely immersive and all-encompassing, whilst also strangely uncomfortable and jagged, this is unsettling and complicated music that provides a startlingly rewarding listen.

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Gallows – Death is Birth EP

[21st December 2011]

An instant with the new Gallows EP, Death is Birth is like an instant of being penetrated by a fiery fist. The band have a new singer, and a new perspective, that isn’t just resigned to the gutters of London, but this EP remains an astoundingly furious demonstration of their punk roots.

It’s not without justification that Gallows fans, on the departure of the distinctive vocals and outlook of Frank Carter and the consequent recruitment of Alexisonfire’s guitarist and lyricist, Wade MacNeil, were feeling slightly bereft. Carter is an undoubtedly passionate performer, a singer whose fury spits with every word he growls, and, whilst with Gallows, he funnelled the grime and the piss of London through to a receptive global community. MacNeil, on the other hand, has been with Alexisonfire for years, a band, who although occasionally falling within the punk sphere, is far removed from these wayward British cast-offs.

However, any doubts that may have existed prior to the release of Death Is Birth have quickly dissipated as the shit-storm of “Mondo Chaos” kicks in. It’s important to say firstly that this is not the same band that Frank Carter left; whereas Carter-led-Gallows levelled their sandblasted cancer at their locality, shown in tracks like “London Is The Reason” and “Queensberry Rules,” the MacNeil fronted troupe sets fire to the world, shown immediately in the repeated refrain ‘Hey, you say fuck the world…I say it’s already fucked’ on “Mondo Chaos.” The distinctive guitar-bass-drum pound retains the same sound however, and the repetitive riffs come thick and fast, but lose a lot of the diversity found on Grey Britain. This isn’t to its detriment though, because what Gallows have achieved here is a dangerous and sudden statement of intent with their new frontman that sticks to their punk/hardcore clout rather than walking any other diverse climes.

File:Gallows 2011-11-06 13.jpg

Additionally, for those of you who worried that the inclusion of a member of a Canadian post-hardcore/metalcore band into Gallows would soften the punk crust, Death Is Birth limbers up with the most frenzied and direct music they’ve ever produced. MacNeil’s voice is sandpaper and whiskey, and although not as distinctive as Carter’s, is more than capable of searing through every song on this EP. The capability of MacNeil to convince on the track “Death Is Birth” is astounding, as he fits over Steph Carter’s insistent and piss-soaked riffs, making it sound as if this incarnation of Gallows had always existed.

Bottom Line: This is a short and sweet shot to the head, and does exactly what Gallows have needed to do in presenting their newest bandmate. Instead of playing the change-of-direction card, these British punks have stuck to what they know and have just slightly adjusted their perspective. Essentially, however, the song remains the same, and we’re oh so fucking glad for it.