Yet again I’m combining a couple of days listening because of lack of time. Maybe I should’ve just done one MEGA blog at the end of the month. Well, its too late now, I must persevere! Yesterday and today have been reasonably eclectic, for some strange reason:

Dragonforce – Sonic Firestorm

Grand Funk Railroad – Grand Funk

Cactus – One Way or Another

Anacrusis – Manic Impressions

Kreator – Hordes of Chaos

Blues Pills – Devil Man (EP)

Sodom – Obsessed by Cruelty

Arstidir Lifsins – Jitunheima Dolgferd

Now, I’m technically cheating here because I’m only about halfway through that last one, listening at the moment and its a magnificently crafted slice of pagan black metal. It feels vibrant and passionate, and mostly authentic. Dragonforce’s last record was a big improvement on the 40,000 notes a song bollocks that the one before was. ‘Inhuman Rampage’ continues to be their peak, but ‘Sonic Firestorm’ is a solid, anthemic power metal record where the notes-per-second is beginning to creep up. Anacrusis is a strange record; I like the songs and riffs on ‘Manic Impressions’ but I’m not so sure about it vocally. It’s solid but uninspiring.

Kreator and Sodom are both two of my favourite bands. ‘Obsessed by Cruelty’ is a nasty slice of what would become a prototype of early black metal, whilst retaining all the hallmarks of savage, raw thrash. ‘Hordes of Chaos’ is what thrash needs to sound like in the 21st century. It’s vibrant, catchy as hell and full of headbanging moments. The old guard can always show the young ‘uns how to do it properly. Blues Pills are my new favourite band of the moment, their song ‘Devil Man’ is the most soulful thing I’ve heard in years. Its brilliant.

The final two, Grand Funk Railroad and Cactus are both products of my working with the great folks at The Sleeping Shaman. I’ve started to listen to a lot more psychedelic rock and doom since I started writing for them, and both ‘Grand Funk’ and ‘One Way or Another’ are full of great, hard rock guitar and are blueprints for what would eventually become stoner rock and stoner doom. I particularly enjoyed the Cactus record, and I’m gonna look out some more soon!

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