Saturday, 27 December 2008

SJW - Gigs Of 2008

Okay, so this is going to be my "Top 10 Gigs Of 2008" list. A few things that you should know about the list below:

1) This is the list of gigs that I attended that I enjoyed most
2) The gigs highlighted in bold were attended by 3 men, 6 claws
3) This list is in chronological order
4) I tried my best not to use the word "Awesome" while writing this, but it slipped out 3 times
5) If you don't understand what I mean, fucking listen to VENOM's Acid Queen

Okay, here's my picks for this year's winners!

Feb 8th - BRUTAL TRUTH (Sheffield)
We have a thing for Brutal Truth here at Claw Towers, they are our #1 grind band (followed closely by Rich Hoak's wonderful TFD). I am not too keen on the venue for this show, Sheffield's "Corporation", but that's possibly because they appeared to put BFT's set on in a small room at the back of the club. The band played on a stage that is 6 feet higher than the pit where the audience stands, so we got a great view of Kev Sharpe's feet at least! Also this was a memorable gig because hardly anybody bothered t "get into" the show until towards the end of the set - apart from THEE CLAW that is. After the set was over we ventured into the main Corporation club, where they had a rock night in full swing - and we were soon jumped by a very wild and very animated HOAK, who stunk to high-heaven of green. What a memory that still is! We travelled a fair way across England to be a part of this gig, but then again I did travel further for the next on the list...

Feb 16th - IRON MAIDEN (Tokyo)
So I took a short 10 day vacation from my hum-drum existence here in England (an existence that consists of listening to high volume relentless blood daubed blast beats) to jet out to check out the Japan leg of IRON MAIDEN's 2009 tour. All expenses paid for by THEE CLAW, we all drew straws and I was chosen as the one who got to head off to "The Land Of Moonspeak" to review the world's greatest 'eavy metaaaal band. What a trip man. I saw Maiden play twice while over there, first of all at a place called The Pacifico in Yokohama and then at the Makuhari Messe Convention Centre in downtown Chiba City (which is just outside Tokyo and right by Disney World Japan). Maiden's set at both gigs were identical - identically awesome that is! Fuck, you should see those Japanese metallers go for it when they are at a show, they are so into the whole deal. Maiden figure in the list later on in the year, at England's Twickenham rugby stadium.

Apr 17th-12st - Roadburn (Tilburg)
Patchie and Myself headed along to the Dutch ROADBURN FESTIVAL in April to ensconce ourselves in the Euro Metal scene in the truest of CLAW fashions. We came, we saw, we clawed the fuck out of anyone who came within swinging distance. Roadburn is a real blast, there is no other music festival like it. The whole vibe of the place is very Dutch - no fights, no friction, it's all about being happy and getting in as many awesome shows as possible into 4 days of glorious Tilburg. Highlights of Roadburn 2008 (for me) included CHURCH OF MISERY, TROUBLE, BORIS and THE DEVIL'S BLOOD. (By the way, THEE SKUM never came along because we all decided one of us had to go along to the GRASPOP FESTIVAL in Belgium and he drew the longest straw in that contest, the lucky dirty bastard!)

May 27th - DIO (Birmingham)
You know, I look back on the past 12 months of shows and I think about all of the great bands who we have seen, I think about all of the songs that I have witnessed being played by some of my favourite bands in the world. Strangely, the one thing that sticks out in my mind more than anything else is the moment during Rainbow In The Dark when DIO drummer Simon Wright messed up the beat and Ronnie James turned to him and screamed "ARE YOU FUCKING DEAF?!?!" in a blaze of rage. Dio is certainly a man with a temper, and while he might not have been in the best of moods during this show, you can be sure that THEE CLAW lapped up every last second of it. I am tempted to say that this show was the highlight of 2008 for me, but then I am biased as hell. Oh and it is entirely possible that GIRLSCHOOL were the best support band of the year too. (And Saxon do NOT count as a support band, just so you know!)

June 13th - JUDAS PRIEST / MOTORHEAD / KISS (Donington)
Another gig without THEE SKUM in attendance... what the hell were we thinking about by that?? Patchie and me made the wonderful trip to Donington once again, across the English countryside into a field set in the middle of nowhere. A field that played host to England's biggest metal festival of 2008. Let's not go into the whole "Nu metal has destroyed Donington" debate right now (although, now that I am thinking about it, I want to rant for a good 10,000 words about this very topic), instead let's talk about the 3 bands who really mattered at this event - PRIEST, THE HEAD and KISS. In all honesty, we turned up for PRIEST AND MOTORHEAD, we stayed for KISS. Priest were good, MOTORHEAD were great, and KISS... well, KISS were something else. I have never been so overwhelmed by a band who I wasn't 100% sure about, as I thought that this could have been a big let-down to be quite truthful. Far from it! As soon as they hit the stage (they were lowered down from 100 feet in the air on a huge platform), Stanley, Simmons, Singer and Thayer blew the fuck out of my mind. It was relentless, hit after hit, every song was a winner. I mean, they played Parasite for fuck's sake! Even Tommy Thayer's guitar solo was awesome. I just wish that we had stayed right until the end of the set, but duty called.

June 25th - MORBID ANGEL (Wolverhampton)
Childhood dreams achieved! I visited Wolverhampton this year! Haha, no not just that but we also saw MORBID ANGEL and even managed to arrange a press pass to get some photos and get evidence of DAVID VINCENT's exceptionally dodgy dress sense. M.A.'s set included all of the classics.

July 5th - IRON MAIDEN (Twickenham)
GIG OF THEE YEAR. At least it would have been, had Maiden's manager not have booked such awful awful AWFUL support bands. I will not speak their names on these hallowed pages, but I am sure that if you Google "Maiden Twickenham Support Bands" you will see who I am referring to and you will then think "Why the fuck did I bother searching for THAT?". Seeing THE IRONS slaughter almost every MAIDEN fan in ENGLAND, all in one go, that was well worth the journey. This gig was also my #1 of 2008 because this is the one which we saw with almost all of our friends. And I got to watch Patchie cry when he finally heared Wasted Years played live, haha!

July 12th - DOOM METAL INQUISITION(Bradford)
We had already visited the 1 IN 12 in Bradford earlier in 08 (to see DEVIATED INSTINCT), but a return trip to check out bands such as LAMP OF THOTH, WARNING and PAGAN ALTAR was more then welcomed by all of THEE CLAW. A long, long day but once PAGAN ALTAR hit the stage at midnight me and THEE SKUM were up front and centre, headbanging like a pair of slavering monkeys. I couldn't hear for 4 days after this show.

Nov 14th - MOTORHEAD & SAXON(Manchester)
It was a long wait but by November we got to add another notch to THEE BED when we saw SAXON and THEE HEAD together in concert at Manchester's Apollo. Again, it was more than 3 hours of the best metal you could hope for... why do gigs like this not come past as often as they should?

DAMNATION ended the beginning of the end of a long year of shows for us, and it certainly finished things off with a (head)bang. ONSLAUGHT, SIGH, BENEDICTION, NAPALM DEATH, CATHEDRAL... the list goes on. Oh and apparently a band who the kids all seem to like called CARCASS played there too. Again, all 3 men were there to watch their favourite bands in action, with 6 claws high in the air.

There were several other shows that we took in this year that I should really give a mention to, such as SUFFOCATION, EARTH, ORANGE GOBLIN, BORIS, WITCHCRAFT, CHARGER and the mighty BLACK SUN & THEY ARE COWARDS. In fact, I think that I should sit and write out another list really!

2008 was a landmark year for THEE CLAW, possibly not one that is going to be topped. If that is the case, well at least we did pretty fucking well while it lasted! See you in 2009, droogies.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Friday, 19 December 2008

Visual Aggression

On the death decks this week when I was in work (to the 19th Dec)
Entombed - Uprising (Music For Nations, 2000)
Sepultura - Beneath The Remains (Roadrunner, 1989)
Pentagram - First Daze Here Too (Relapse, 2006)
Saint Vitus - V (Hellhound, 1989 - my copy Southern Lord Re-issue, 2004)
Zyklon - World ov Worms (Candlelight, 2001)
Pentagram - Turn To Stone (Peaceville, 2002)
Darkthrone - NWOBHM (Peaceville, 2007)
Isengard - Vinterskugge (Peaceville, 1994)
Capricorns - Ruder Forms Survive (Rise Above, 2005)
Darkthrone - Under a Funeral Moon (Peaceville, 1993)
Darkthrone - Transylvanian Hunger (Peaceville, 1994)
Darkthrone - Panzerfaust (Moonfog, 1995)


Death metal LEGEND Paul Speckmann brings Master to Europe for an early 2009 tour:
Europe –Tour 2009
with Castrofate (US), Nightmare Visions (UK) & Feral (SWE)

23. Jan. - Salut, Halberstadt (GER)
24. Jan. - PMK, Innsbruck (A)
25. Jan. - Viper Room, Wien (A)
31. Jan. - Marmaja Live Club, Cusano Milanino (ITA)
04. Feb. - Masters of Rock Cafe, Zlin (CZ)
05. Feb. - Zluty Pez, Pardubice (CZ)
06. Feb. - MS Stubnitz, Rostock (GER)
07. Feb. - Kleks, Greifswald (GER)
08. Feb. - Baroeg, Rotterdam (NL)
10. Feb. - The Music Box, Manchseter (UK)
11. Feb. - The Tunnels, Aberdeen (UK)
14. Feb. - Rios, Leeds (UK)

15. Feb. - The Rambler, Eindhoven (NL)
17. Feb. - Hafenklang, Hamburg (GER)
20. Feb. - tba, Bayreuth (GER)
21. Feb. - Heavy Metal Nix im Scheddel, Leipzig (GER)
25. Feb. - Gladhouse, Cottbus (GER)
27. Feb. - Dekompresja Club, Lodz (POL)
28. Feb. - Live Factory (Deathomania - Festival), Adelsheim (GER)
01. Mar. - K17, Berlin (GER)

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

I Just Can't Get Enough Of.....

...Two albums that are often overlooked in the respective discographies of each band but are total classics as far as I'm concerned...Darkthrone - Panzerfaust
Total necro production, every time the vocals (which are harsh as hell) come in, the rest of the mix fades away. Sounds totally cold, like it was recorded in a dungeon, with absolute Frost worship throughout. The Most Hated Band In The World.

Sarcófago - The Laws of Scourge
Everyone always bangs on about INRI, which is an amazing, primitive and raw recording from these Brazilian metallers, but for me, the more slick total thrash of The Laws of Scourge are just as valid. People tend to big up INRI without even checking out the rest of Sarcófago's offerings.
This is an amazing LP worthy of finding, no doubt you'll only be able to get it through Rapidshare.

two thousand and fucking eight

It's that time of year again, the end of another twelve months of travelling, headbanging (hetpenging), sleeping on floors, drinking, spilling tea all over bus floors, surviving on vegan curries and foreign sweets.
We outdid ourselves this year, visiting some amazing cities and meeting some new friends along the way. It's pretty hard to pick the "best" of the year out of everything that happened, and I'm sure I've overlooked some stuff, but let's see...

Top Gigs of 2008 (in no particular order)
Cathedral - Damnation Festival
Waited around sixteen years(!) to see Coventry's finest again, and they didn't let me down, apart from not playing Soul Sacrifice, but you can't have everything. Dorrian's Eyes!!!

Motörhead/Saxon - Manchester Apollo
Thee Head were amazing at Donington, but you can't beat seeing Lemmy and the lads in a theatre. The fact that it was a double whammy with the legendary Saxon too just made this Heavy Metal Heaven.

Pagan Altar/Lamp of Thoth - Doom Metal Inquisition
Amazing set from thee Lamp, a band on the brink of greatness, and as ever, a masterclass from NWOBHM/Doom legends Pagan Alltar, in the sweaty confines of Bradford's 1 in 12 club.

Iron Maiden - Twickenham Stadium
As part of the "Somewhere Back in Time" tour...a setlist to die for.
I finally heard Wasted Years live, and as such can die a happy man.

Morbid Angel - Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall
Maze of Torment? Check. Chapel of Ghouls? Check. Evil Spells? Check. David Vincent may be the most unintentionally camp frontman in Death Metal but Morbid Angel are faultless live.

Ravens Creed -Leeds Fenton
Bank Holiday Monday, and an almost completely empty Fenton (shame on you) was treated to some true, underground thrash, worshipping the idols we grew up with.
Fuck all this Earache nu-thrash nonsense.

Gloomy Sunday/They Are Cowards/Black Sun - Manchester/Bradford
The same three bands played at the Star and Garter and the 1 in 12, and laid waste to both.
Three of the most intense bands walking this earth, all together getting drunk and loud....nasty.

Deviated Instinct/Extinction of Mankind - Bradford
A childhood dream come true, total terminal filth stenchcore in a sort of one-off, the pit fucking stank at this gig, and I was right in the middle of it. Two bands that will be sorely missed by me.

Trouble / Grand Magus / Church of Misery / The Devil's Blood - Roadburn, Holland.
The roaburn festival this year was a ball from beginning to end...from seeing John Lennon as Steve Harris in Liverpool Airport through hungover eyes (we'd been to Leeds to watch Witchcraft the night before) to trying stuff all our merch, CDs and Vinyl into our bags in the airport coming home, not even the non-appearance of Celtic Frost could ruin this weekend, with those four named bands being the highlights for me.
The only way they could top this would be to get Saint Vitus and Angel Witch back together to play next year....oh wait...they have....

Albums of the 2008 (Again, in no particular order):
Darkthrone - Dark Thrones and Black Flags
More blackened crust thrash from Gylve and Ted, true as fuck.
Jesu - Why Are We Not Perfect?

Something to relax with, sonic dreamscapes from Justin K Broadrick, expanding on the jesu ethos and blasting off into space.
Motörhead - Motorizer
A great album from an amazing band who never dissapoint, the new songs sounding amazing next to the classics in a live environment.
Grand Magus - Iron Will

Total fist-pumping, headbanging heavy metal. Very modern whilst still retaining that old-style true sound that Thee Claw loves.
Lamp of Thoth - Portents, Omens & Dooms
Victorian England's premier doom trio with their first full length album, updating some demo tracks and a weighing in with a couple of new compositions, recorded by gaslight in a Yorkshire stately home for you to listen to on your gramophone.
Black Sun - Paralyzer
Filthy fuckers from Glasgow who will come to your house, drink Buckfast and not flush the toilet after themselves, because they are in rush to get their clothes off in the pit at Charger gigs.
They Are Cowards - Demo

My tip from the underground for 2009...slow, brooding, hate-filled sludge from the wastes of Northwest England. With riffs....oh my god the riffs!!!

Personal Highs and Lows:
Kirk Windstein telling me never to shave and kissing my cheek.
Orange Goblin playing some Saxon for me.
Singing with Skum onstage with Motorheadache.
The fact that me and SJW can now navigate our way around any major (and not so major) European city.
Finally seeing Deviated Instinct.
Moving house and being a dad.
The birth of Thee Cult ov Cold Lake.

The death of Richard Wright.
The fact that Metallica are still recording, and performing a sell-out UK tour.
Celtic Frost pulling out of Roadburn and splitting up.
Not being able to get a copy of sunnO)))'s Domkirke LP after a 1,500 mile round trip to actually attend the performance that this recordng was made at back in 2006. year is going to be even better!! \||||/ STAY TRUE!! \||||/

Tuesday, 16 December 2008


Here, gentlemen, is THEE CLAW's plan of attack for the beginning of 2009. Venues subject to change, blah blah blah.

24th Jan - Pagan Altar, Lamp Of Thoth & more (Wakefield, Snooty Fox)
31st Jan - Napalm Death (Birmingham, Asylum)
1st Feb - Wolves In The Throne Room (Manchester, Star & Garter)
10th Feb - Master (Manchester, Music Box)
12th Feb - Testament (Liverpool, Carling Academy)
14th Feb - Master (Leeds, Rios)
17th Feb - Judas Priest, Megadeth & Testament (Manchester, Apollo)
15th April - Unearthly Trance & Ramesses (Manchester, Star & Garter)
23rd April - Roadburn Festival (Tilburg, 013)
3rd May - Saxon (Manchester, Carling Academy)

More to be added shortly, there's no doubt about that.

Cover me, I'm going in!

Monday, 15 December 2008

Thee Claw Is Happy To Report: New Autopsy Shit!

AUTOPSY: First Recordings In 15 Years Due Next Month - Dec. 15, 2008
For the first time in nearly 15 years, two vile new AUTOPSY tracks were recorded in September 2008, bringing together Chris Reifert, Danny Coralles and Eric Cutler for another slice of death and decay.

These tracks make up a special, extremely limited (only 1,000) seven-inch vinyl release, titled "Horrific Obsession". This single will be available exclusively from on January 26, 2009, with pre-orders being taken now in the Peaceville store.

In addition to this, a special two-disc edition of AUTOPSY's iconic debut album, "Severed Survival", will be released in February to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the original release.

Everyone's favorite San Franciscan sickos — an inspiration to an entire generation of death metal bands — have unearthed rare rehearsal and live material for a bonus disc, including demo versions of two songs, "Mauled To Death" and "Human Genocide", which were intended for the original "Severed Survival". Also featured in the package is a booklet with notes by the band themselves, detailing the history of AUTOPSY's early years, with rare photos and images.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Seven Years Today...

And still very, very missed.  Thirty four is too young.

2 new dates... and a rant...

AC/DC's tour of the uk in april is all sold out.
2 new dates have been added for the end of june.
June 26th at Wembley Stadium London and June 30th at Hampden Park Glasgow.
Tickets are out on wednesday 17th december.
Way to kick us when we're down lads, yeah, wait right 'til fucking christmas when I'm skint on the pure bones of my arse and announce your dates 5 days before tickets go on sale, really fucking tempting but I don't think I'll bother. Could have waited 'til the new year but Nooooo.
I've been watching videos from the current tour and they've gone down the "downtune to save the singers voice" route and they sound terrible for it, really half arsed and slower, plodding on and also their setlist isn't really inspiring, mostly compiled of all the same usual predictable tunes that they cram into a two hour show, mostly back in black songs, the same old 5 bon scott era songs, the rest is new stuff and nothing else from the 80's, it's a pity cos Flick Of The Switch, Fly On The Wall and Blow Up Your Video are fucking excellent albums, under-rated is an understatement.
I read a good quote on when Black Ice came out, "If your band is taking 8 years to bring out an album and tour then it's over, finished, done, gone, out, etc..." and it really hurts me to say that AC/DC might just be done.
I'm glad I got to see them on a few past tours cos they really were amazing live, all good things come to an end I suppose, Such a shame.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

A few words on the year that was 2008....

By H...

A lot has happened in 2008, lots of albums, gigs, travelling etc, met loads of new metal minded folk on our travels, here are my highlights and lowshites of a very good year!!!!

Best Album of 2008
An amazing year for Motorhead. Their new album was their best offering since, well, the album before that haha!
The lyrics, the riffs, the solos, the drumming, vocals, attitude and also a killer gig in november and everything else they've been involved with this year, they delivered the goods in '08, one of my favourite, consistent, reliable bands ever, they never let me down.

Best Gig of 2008
IRON MAIDEN, Twickenham Stadium, July 5th!!!
What an emotional show, a setlist to die for, the greatest history lesson ever taught in this country from THEE greatest ever heavy metal band, a band we've grown up with, gone through all the highs and lows with and stuck with them through thick and thin, I've always said they're like a football team, even when they have their bad days you still support them to the end.
This was one of those gigs we'll certainly all still be talking about in many fucking years to come, an experience I will never forget, an excellent show on so many levels.
Support bands??? What support bands, as far as I was concerned there were no fucking support bands, just a load of time wasting cunts filling the air with their shitty sounds to replys of choruses of boo's from the Maiden Faithful.
A very long day, very long, drunk, knackering day, with apologies to thee driver of course!
Let's see Maiden top this show on the next tour, I have a feeling they'll be dusting off some old underated songs for the true few!!!!

Some of the Best Of The Rest.... 2008 Albums.... In no particular order...

Ross The Boss- New Metal Leader.
Whitesnake- Good To Be Bad
Yngwie J. Malmsteen- Perpetual Flame.
Darkthrone- Dark Thrones and Black Flags.
AC/DC- Black Ice.
Testament- The Formation Of Damnation.
Cynic- Traced In Air.
The Lamp Of Thoth- Portents, Omens and Dooms.
Alice Cooper- Along Came A Spider.
Death Angel- Killing Season.
Judas Priest- Nostradamus. (the first cd)
Exodus- Let There Be Blood.
Witchfinder General- Resurrection.
Sammy Hagar- Cosmic Universal Fashion.
can't remember anymore but there was a shitload of good albums this year.

2008 Personal Live Highlights.....

Seeing Queen.
KISS and Maiden ruling at Graspop, Belgium.
Forbidden at Graspop.
Testament at Graspop.
Pagan Altar at The Doom Metal Inquisition in Bradford.
Cathedral and Napalm Death at Damnation, Leeds.
Brutal Truths excellent show in Sheffield/Bamford!!!
Today Is The Day in birmingham.
Dio shouting at simon wright in birmingham.
Me and Patchie singing The Ramones with Motorheadache in birkenhead!!!
Our first look inside our new arena for Whitesnake in liverpool!!!!
Motorhead and Saxon in manchester!!!
Too fucking many great live moments to remember them all!!!

The Shit Bits of 2008....
Don't even get me started with Death Magnetic and Chinese Democracy.
The new Venom album sucked too.
The new Queen album was also a bit of a letdown.
Judas Priest at Graspop, very slow, very disappointing, playing old fast classics like Sinner and Eat Me Alive at a snails pace is not good, they must surely realise that megadeth and testament are gonna kill them live over here in february.
Def Leppard at Graspop, "Welcome to the sparkle lounge" said joe elliot, no thanks lad.
Can't remember if the Down 3 album come out in '08, I must have blinked and missed it cos I only listened to it twice.
The new Soilent Green album Inevitable Collapse in the Presence of Conviction didn't impress me.
I honestly can't remember any other shit.

The Death of Richard Wright.
This made me really sad.
The dream is over, and now fans can stop wishing for reunion gigs.
Personally I didn't want them to reunite for a tour but maybe do one or two shows and release it as a dvd, there is no way they can even contemplate doing anything under the pink floyd name now because Rick Wright's keyboards were the unmistakable, undisputed sound and mood of pink floyd. It baffles me they did The Final Cut without him but is that really classed as a proper floyd album? No, to me it ain't.
I'll miss Rick Wright, I thought it was great to see him involved on David Gilmour's last solo album and tour.
R.I.P. Rick!

Also the death of Jerry Reed.
I'm kinda glad that Jerry Reed's death wasn't as publicised as much as Johnny Cash's.
I haven't encountered any band wagon jumping yet but this is england, I can imagine it being different in america, Reed was legendary in his own country, over here if I mention his name I usually get the answer, WHO? then I usually have to follow that with "cletus the truck driver from smokey and the bandit" and the man meant so much more to me than cletus.
Reed was a great musician, totally love his guitar playing, he will be missed!

See you in 2009!!!!


Friday, 5 December 2008

Doomsday 2009

Love the description of The Lamp of Thoth there, "Eccentric Victorian Doom".
See thee there!