Thursday, 31 December 2009

Fuck 2009

Just a few little odds and ends before what was, for me personally, a very bittersweet year finally leaves us.

Gig of the Year
I didn't get out much this year, but for me, the gig of the year was Church of Misery at Manchester's Star and Garter back in May. Amazing turnout, three great bands (support was from Firebird and Charger), and a setlist and performance from COM that pleased nearly everyone in attendance.  Judging by the amount of new faces and the much hated Down t-shirts, maybe this will prove to be the moment that our underground went that little bit more overground? Time will tell. Check it out again if you missed it forst time round, I'm in there somewhere, stagediving in a Sarcófago shirt:

Release of the year:
Oh yeah, I've already done that. I feel though that I really, really must mention Mayhem's Life Eternal (Saturnus/Season of Mist) again. Is this because I have one and you probably don't? No, not at all. I urge all of you without a copy to get hold of one because it's an important document in the Mayhem story, as much as Out from The Dark or any number of Dead/Maniac/Messiah bootlegs.
It helped me appreciate one of my favourite second wave Black Metal album even more.
Plus, it's an amazing package.

Idea of the Year

Hopefully be able to get out next year and get the life frightened out of me by Thee Claw's favourite noisemongers.  I haven't seen them since May 2008, which is too fucking long.

Label of the Year
There's no competition here at all.
Nuclear War Now have been releasing quality stud and bullet belt ridden music for a while now, but this year I'd be hard pushed to find something they have put out that wasn't enjoyed in Thee Claw's underground bunker during 2009.

The Die-Hard editions are always well received, and even risk-of-the-year Sister Devil by post-Von outfit Sixx totally exceeded all expectations.
The line up of Germany's NWN Fest was unbelievable and I'm looking forward to what they bring our way during 2010.

A parting thought;
As I've stated before, this year has been a bit of a mad one. As the year draws to a close I hear stories of semi-talented, but rich, kids buying their way onto bills; Festival Tickets only available to those with credit cards and enough disposable leisure time to sit in fron tof their PC on the day tickets go on sale, and every other worthwhile release being limited to 2000 on limited edition gold-encrusted stone tablets with a xeroxed marker and free sharpie for $300, later to go on eBay for $3000.
Metal shouldn't include everyone, because it's outsider value is a massive part of it's appeal, but let's not make it a rich man's game, because if that's the case, I too want out.
And as for hollywood films and symposiums about Black Metal....don't.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Under the radar...

...things that I missed in the "best of 2009"....

Mayhem - Life Eternal

Beautiful package containing the release of Atilla's demos from the recording of De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas.
Big fat Varg basslines, drum intros, rough mixes.
Comes with card outer, fold out box, loads of foil stickers and an insert containing copies of correspondence between Øystein and Atilla. On Saturnus/Season of Mist, limited to 3000.

Abigail - Sweet Metal Baby Slut

10 tracks of black/thrash/speed, lo-fi songs about metal, beer and women.
Recorded and delivered in the way only our Japanese friends know. Japan is the future of Heavy Metal.

Sixx - Sister Devil

As NWN say:
The sonic essence and ideology behind SIXX was in parallel to what they had started with VON; emphasis on atomosphere, same recording style, Satanic imagery and lyrics. However the introduction of new musical elements and influences from the likes of Joy Division and Diamanda Galas kept SIXX from getting much attention during their short existence (sound familiar?). They played two gigs in the San Francisco area and killed the project after one demo.

What am I looking forward to in 2010? so far, new Sabbat (Jpn) and CIRCLE THE WAGONS!

Something to look forward to...

Pure Steel Records from Germany has just released an ultimate version of the SABBAT "Charisma" album. It's the English version of the legendary "Karisma" LP, previously unavailable on CD format. Except brand new artwork (painted by the legendary Chris Moyen, known from cooperation with acts such as Slayer, Beherit, Desaster or Blasphemy), and 3 exclusive bonus tracks, package includes additional bonus disc, with the "25 Years Of Black Fire - A Tribute To Sabbat" compilation, with:


1. SABBAT (Japan) "Black Fire" (original version)........
2. BATALLION (Chile) “Mion’s Hill"
3. DEATHHAMMER (Norway) "Black Metal Vulcano"
4. GUERRA TOTAL (Brazil) "Hellfire"....
5. HOLY DEATH (Poland) "Flower's Red"........
6. KORGULL THE EXTERMINATOR (Spain) "Satan Bless You"........
7. LABATUT (Brazil) "Kamikaze Bomber"........
8. MORDANT (Sweden) "Rage Of Mountains"........
9. SERPENT SAINTS (Denmark) "Darkness And Evil"........
10. STIGMA (Holland) "Bird Of Ill Omen"........
11. SUPERCHRIST (USA) "Black Magical Circle Of Witches"........
12. METALUCIFER (Japan) "Bloody Countess (Japanese Version)"....
Package is limited to only 1000 units, and was produced, compiled and mastered by Bart Gabriel, editor in chief of the famous HARD ROCKER magazine. More information at and

Friday, 18 December 2009


Merry Christmas gang. Here's a clip from the 2007 Donington metal festival, shot during the NAPALM DEATH set. Only thing is, there was no sound on the camera that we had with us that day (ah, 2007). So we've had to add some audio to this video, otherwise it would be in silence!

If I recall correctly the song that they were *really* playing was NAZI PUNKS FUCK OFF.

Anyway, enjoy! :)

Monday, 14 December 2009


(If you heard a faint "Bang!" sound coming your way from the direction of Northwest England, that was probably the sound of my head exploding in reaction to this announcement.)

Roadburn Festival is beyond excited to report that SARKE, the Norwegian band featuring Sarke and Nocturno Culto, BOHREN & DER CLUB OF GORE, SUMA and LONG DISTANCE CALLING have been confirmed for Tom Gabriel Warrior’s Only Death Is Real at Roadburn Festival 2010.

SARKE’s music and lyrics are written by its namesake Sarke. He has previously spread his angry art through Khold, Tulus, Old Man’s Child and Sensa Anima. Joining him on his musical quest is Darkthrone’s Nocturno Culto, whose distinctive vocals combine with Sarke’s music to create another blackened chapter to the grim book of extreme metal. Inspired by the forefathers, but distinctly new and original.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Most sincere apologies to Dawn of Gehenna.....

About eighteen months ago, at Holland's Roadburn festival, I was given a demo by a long haired chap outside the 013 venue.
I popped it in my pocket and forgot about it (this was the day of the Pirate Goth, so those of you that were there will know exactly WHY I managed to misplace it), until last week when I finally got around to re-ordering my CDs after moving house a year ago and I found it in a bag.
I went straight over to Metal Archives to check out the band, Dawn of Gehenna, and I read those two magic words "Doom Metal".
I'd (for some reason) not even checked out who the CD was by and had just sky rocketed it, thinking it to be some form of Black Metal. Shit, looking at their info it looked as if it was vocalist Mart himself who'd given me it. Sorry man, if you're reading this I apologise, maybe next time I'll buy you a drink and have a chat to make up for it?

Anyway, just popped it in, and it's top notch, trad doom with keyboards and everything.
Reminds me of Count Raven, crossed with what Anathema could have sounded like if they hadn't decided to try and be Pink Floyd.
Standout track for me is #2; Tidal Wave (of Airless Choking Dreams) Mart's powerful voice sits really well with these ears.

Anyway, what can I say? Better late than never. Sorry I took so long guys, but I love it!
Just found this info on their site:
In spring of 2007, some of the material from Taak's "Koerapööriöö" sessions was remixed on analogue technology which, combined with freshly recorded English lyrics, resulted in a promo/demo CD-R "Doom Enclave". About 200 copies were freely distributed to the curious (and the people wearing the "right" T-shirts, he-he) at the Roadburn 2007 festival in Tilburg, Holland. The rest will be sent to labels, so the disk can't actually be bought. If you believe you have a good enough reason to own one, please feel free to get in touch.

Doom on!

I had a Pagan Altar t-shirt on. Gwa'aaaan!!

Friday, 27 November 2009

"I am still proud of my insane brain decision"

on the side here, you can see that somebody has written a short biography on us. it's ok, but if you REALLY want to know the truth, i can fill you in on the REAL story...

WHEN i decided to take my music further, step it up a notch, i changed name from BLACK DEATH to DARKTHRONE in late 1987. At first, the music was very FREE, drawing inspirations from whatever i liked, from CELTIC FROST to CRYPTIC SLAUGHTER. A chaos, if you like. The first DARKTHRONE demo was also like this, there was a will there to incorporate anything from NAPALM DEATH to epic metal like METALLICA/ENGLISH DOGS. That also shows on our 2nd outing, "SNOWFALL". But then things changed. I think it's safe to say that on our 3rd cassette "Thulcandra", we suddenly seemed more akin to SEPULTURA's fantastic SCHIZOPHRENIA album, 1st DEATH album and not to forget one of the main parts that was extremely inspired by CRUMSUCKERS 2nd album "beast on my back". That cassette was early 1989, and i still "sang" in DARKTHRONE. However, i had to do the vocals at the "studio guy's" apartment, it was too private a setting for me, and i was not happy with the result. I sounded too much like regular NYHC style, although i love that genre i didn't think it fit for DARKTHRONE. In the summer of 1989 i therefore decided that TED/NOCTURNO CULTO should sing, and instead do my own vocals with ISENGARD, and i recorded the "SPECTRES OVER GORGOROTH" demo with ISENGARD that summer.

So it was that in early 1989, DARKTHRONE had become a sort of death-thrash band. With Ted on vocals and with further songwriting and enhanced playing-abilities, last part of 1989 saw us becoming a technical horror-death metal band with the 4th cassette "CROMLECH", which is taken from the soundboard of a gig we did at the BOOTLEG CONCERT HALL in 1989. This style was further developed with more OUTER SPACE feelings mixed with Satanic haunts on our first and second album "SOULSIDE JOURNEY and GOATLORD". We wanted the first album to have ORGANIC sound but it would cost us TOO MUCH! We had no choice but to enter the Sunlight studios with the very kind help from our friends in NIHILIST who had then changed name to ENTOMBED. They were so kind to let us stay with them, even! Nicke, your help and guidance is never forgotten! I have to say that because of budget problems, Sunlight studios was our only option, KNOWING that our sound on "Soulside Journey" would not be as ORGANIC as we wanted. We wanted a more BLACK SABBATH sound or something. The studio guy didn't even want us to bring our own drum set! But i refused that, and brought my whole drum kit on the plane to Stockholm. But when it came to the bass drums, the studio guy WOULD NOT let me bring my bass drums! What the hell! So we had to compromise: I would play on his filthy d-drum pads, BUT tune them so it would be DYNAMIC, meaning that if i played soft it would be soft, and hard - it would be hard. Everyone else just says "it doesn't matter how hard i hit, every bass drum kick should be equally loud". And to me, that is KILLING MUSIC. It sucks.

However, the death metal had become our TRADE in 1990, it is "what we did". But personally, what we listened to before and after rehearsals for instance, had changed. We had become tired of most death metal acts after 1989, in my collection you will find maybe only 4 or 5 death metal albums i bought in 1990. And that is the TRUTH. It was horrible to see that a style that had died before my eyes (THRASH metal) was followed by yet another style that was dying; DEATH METAL. The party was mostly over, as most bands from that genre emraced the PLASTIC sound with triggered bass drums and clinical sound. Our rehearsal room was filled with other music. Cool stuff. Like AUTOPSY, CELTIC FROST/HELLHAMMER, MOTORHEAD, BATHORY and BLACK SABBATH. All our albums from the 80s was constantly listened to, and there was ALOT of black metal vibes in those albums. SO IT WAS DONE. in early 1990, after having written and recorded the whole GOATLORD album on cassette, Ted and Ivar (Nocturno Culto and Zephyrous) came and visited me in the rehearsal place (which was also my living room). They proposed that we should stop playing the technical death style and instead play PRIMITIVE STUFF THAT RIPPED!. And it was the answer to my dreams, as also i had dreamt of this for a long time. FINALLY! But Dag, our bassist, didn't want to go down that path, so we eventually parted ways after he played session bass on our "A BLAZE IN THE NORHTERN SKY" album. Because of our abrupt change, there is ALOT of death metal riffs on A BLAZE IN THE NORTHERN SKY, as we had already booked the studio time to record GOATLORD. We changed our direction so fast that if A BLAZE IN THE NORHTERN SKY would be PURE black metal, it would only have 3 songs; KATHAARIAN LIFE KODE, WHERE COLD WINDS BLOW and IN THE SHADOW OF THE HORNS. The other 3 songs are a wild mix of death metal and black metal vibes. Many people don't know this, and consider this album as pure black metal, but anyone who is into, i mean REALLY into metal, can hear that it is not so. No one at the time had PHOTOS OF ONE BAND MEMBER on the cover, and certainly not with corpse paint, so that started a whole new estetic that still lives on album covers to this day and will never stop. But it wasn't planned, i just decided that it was right to do it.

Most interesting about A BLAZE IN THE NORTHERN SKY is

1: it was the first time we incorporated a MOTORHEAD style part (IN THE SHADOW OF THE HORNS, start of the last "fast" part of the song"). ZEPHYROUS had written the first slow part of the song, i wrote the last "fast" part of the song, mid paced/fast every other turn there.

2: Also, deep into KATHAARIAN LIFE CODE, there is a riff that is "out of rhythm", but planned that way on purpose. that was directly influenced by the very same "time stretching" in one of the songs from CELTIC FROST's "Morbid Tales" album.

OUR FIRST TOTAL BLACK METAL ALBUM was UNDER A FUNERAL MOON. I was so ANTI on that album that i didn't even use any TOM TOM drums! Just one big floor TOM that i decided should be the loudest thing on the drums set, AFTER the hi-hat. I am still proud of my insane brain decision.

At that point in time, there was no such thing as "second wave black metal", we simply played BLACK METAL (1991) and only inspiration sources was ofcourse purely 80s, as there were no other bands playing black metal, the newest bands were SAMAEL "worship him" album, and the BLASPHEMY album. Oh, and "ritual" by MASTER'S HAMMER, which is actually the first norwegian black metal album, even though they are from Chechoslovakia. Later came the VON demo, the THORNS rehearsal, the IMMORTAL single, and most importantly, we all had "Live In LEIPZIG" by MAYHEM on CASSETTE, long before it was released on vinyl! And 1st BURZUM album finally came out.

Worldwide, black metal was almost completely dead, at that time i had to print MY OWN Celtic Frost t-shirt! Because it was impossible to buy. But a whole gang of us up here in Norway decided and felt that BLACK METAL MUST RETURN. All, and i mean ALL of the recordings all of us made had OLD and ORGANIC sound. When new recordings started to have the sound that DESTROYED thrash and death metal, i felt that also Black Metal was dying, and slowly the war against the modern sound became an obsession to me. This modern sound entered black metal in 94-95, and i could see the genre dying. After TOTAL DEATH album (which i wrote one THRASH metal song for, to make a point that we should go BACK in time again) i had done too much music and had a severe burn out, as i had made 11 or 12 albums in 3 years time (valhall, dødheimsgard, isengard, storm, neptune towers, AND various projects and also ofcourse darkthrone).

When we resurfaced after a break in 1997, it was Ted's idea. My songs was becoming more punk and black'n roll (the style that CELTIC FROST/HELLHAMMER basically started in early 80s) but i just wrote a few, Ravishing Grimness and Plaguewielder is largely Ted's albums, Transilvanian Hunger and Panzerfaust was 100% written by me. In 2002 i was back in business and HATE THEM was on the steps, drum sound was adjusted to be like "C'MON LET'S GO" by GIRSCHOOL and i wrote more freely, like i would have done in 1987 or 1988, meaning it was many styles, METAL, BLACK METAL, DEATH METAL, DOOM METAL, CRUST PUNK, you name it. Ted still made the style he had done on Plaguewielder and Ravishing Grimness, mostly! This combination of his songs and my songs has continued TO THIS DAY. But from 2005, Ted also writes more freely, and he now makes a very freestyle METAL mix of old black sabbath vibes, early 80s metal, thrash metal, death metal and also punk vibes. YES!

In 2005, Ted AGAIN came to me with a fantastic proposal: what if we bought our own portable studio? YES! YES!! YES!!! Finally what we needed in 1988 became reality! In 1988 we had very little money and to buy an own portable studio was out of our financial reach. BUT if we had it back then, things might have looked very different as THE CULT IS ALIVE, F.O.A.D, and DARK THRONES AND BLACK FLAGS! Yes, our last albums have been the continuation of THE OTHER PATH OF DARKTHRONE that we could have taken in 1988, had we had our own studio and the record collection we have now. And with our new album CIRCLE THE WAGONS (release February 2010), the new decade starts with our own brand of HEAVY METAL/SPEED METAL-PUNK.

Thank you for reading and CARING. Destroy their modern metal!!!

- f e n r i z

Sometimes, dead is better.

Relapse Records have released the entire(almost) output of Swedish death metal pioneers Nirvana 2002 on super limited see through gatefold LP. Which is not available to the public, just the 180gm Black vinyl.
The question I'm asking though, is why? The demos are solid peices of early nineties death metal, free of the Sunlight sound, and definitely influental on the burgeoning European death metal scene, but you know, Nirvana 2002's time is gone. Long gone. Orvar ended up singing on Entombed's Crawl EP, and then didn't make the position full time. Really, what is the relevance of this release? If you are (or were) into that period of DM, you'd have these somewhere. OR, you'd know where to find them online. Have they been remastered? Nope. Just sound like compressed versions of old tapes.
It seems that record companies are too eager to put out compilations of long-defunct bands, hyping them up in the press as forefathers of this or that, when nobody really wanted to touch them in the first place.
Instant Death Metal history! Pretend it's 1991!! Re-package!! Re-sell!!!
If you remember Nirvana 2002 you know how important they were, and you probably have the recordings. I doubt Orvar needs your money, and Relapse sure as hell don't.
That said, if you haven't heard Nirvana 2002, you SHOULD do. ASAP.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Long Live Rock and Roll

(actual size)*

Here is the latest update from Wendy Dio:

"Ronnie has been diagnosed with the early stages of stomach cancer. We are starting treatment immediately at the Mayo Clinic. After he kills this dragon, Ronnie will be back on stage, where he belongs, doing what he loves best, performing for his fans.

Thanks to all the friends and fans around the world that have sent well wishes. This has really helped to keep his spirit up.

Long Live Rock and Roll, Long Live Ronnie James Dio"

*only joking, we at Thee Claw love you Ronnie. Get well soon lad.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Best of 2009 (Patchie)

There have been so many amazing releases this year that it's been hard keeping this article to a reasonable length.
Normally at the end of each year I'll pick out ten or so things that have come out and present them in no particular order, but this year I've been enveloped by three releases so strongly that I had to pick out an actual overall "best" of 2009. So what were those three releases? Well, in third place....

Portal's latest full-length, Swarth, sees Australia's finest antique death metallers fly off on yet another tangent. The music contained on this disc is technical death metal that sounds primitive and raw, with production that makes your first listen sound as hypnotic as any early nineties Black Metal, but is clear enough that after each following listen you can pick out more and more details. Lovecraft inspired metal that actually makes you feel as if you are living in that age instead of just being lyrically influenced.

In second place:

Sweden's Lifelover are a band that I have followed for a while, and on this EP they have delivered their best set of songs yet. Lifelover take the isolation of Black Metal out of the forest and into the cities, creating a sound that is only in part influenced by black metal but ends up sounding more black metal than most other things I've heard this year. I have spoken to a lot of people who hate this EP though, a lot more than like it. Good.
Vocally, a tortured performance from () but Non's drumming being a high point for me, excessive use of the cymbals and amazing drum rolls.
This EP was my best release of the year, then my second best, then the best so many times, and the only thing that made it number two in the end was the fact that it's only an EP and as such a full length album "won" this year. And that album is...

Patchie's #1 release of 2009:

it was a bit of a no-brainer really wasn't it? It was released in April, I first heard it at the end of March and this is what I said about it then:
Set to divide opinion in the world of Black metal is the eagerly awaited debut full length from France's Amesouers.
Described by the band as "a kaleidoscopic soundtrack for the modern era", this is 11 tracks of music that encapsulates everything from shoe-gazing post-rock (how I hate that term), through chanson-style French pop, to - yes- howling Black Metal, quite often in the same track.
They may seem like odd bedfellows, shoegaze and Black Metal, but it works.
I don't know how, but it does.
Black Metal has often been about the alienation and isolation of the northern countryside; what I feel here is an album about the solitude of modern city life.
Many attempts have been made by BM bands to become a bit more modern and urban, but I've always felt that they've failed...not here though.
I'm going to put my neck out and say that this is my favourite release of 2009 so far, and there will have to be some fucking strong albums coming out over the next 8 months to knock this off my top spot.
Like I say, the eclectic mix of styles present here won't be to everyone's tastes, but if you like black metal, and you like the introspective nature of the likes of Ride, Cocteau Twins et al then give it a try.
French metal doesn't begin and end with Trust you know.

Since then i've listened to this album at least once every week, and I have got more and more from it as time has passed. Blending so many styles without sounding forced can't be easy, but Amesouers manage it here, this album really drew me in and made me feel like it was the soundtrack to a film about a busy city and it's dark underground.

Coming Close:

Church of Misery - Houses of the Unholy
Sabbath-infused madness from the Land of The Rising Sun, Church of Misery finally grab doom by the throat and carve out their own, unique sound.
Gig of the year as well.

Heaven and Hell - The Devil You Know
Dio, Butler, Iommi and Appice in a return to True Metal Greatness. What did "The Prince of Darkness" do this year that was worthy of attention? Oh yeah, a World of Warcraft advert.

Sarke - Vorunah
Ted and Sarke combine to bring an LP of modern metal infused with old style soul and wit. Stands on it's own without being a Darkthrone side project.

jesu - Infinity
Beautiful, textured, rich, and in parts back to the heaviness that JKB's fans have been crying out for such a long time for. One track encompassing everything we love about jesu.

The Devil's Blood - The Time of No Time Evermore
Full length from Holland's spookiest retro rockers. Alongside new tracks, a couple of tracks from the demo get an airing here, with ultra-clean production and amazing vocal work.

Beherit - Engram
The first "proper" Black Meal album from Beherit for 15 years, and a total kick in the skull to pompous, overblown "symphonic" BM. Holocausto conveying his (un)usual vocal delivery. Only knocked out of third place by Portal!!

Also well worth your dirty money this year was:

Count Raven - Mammon's War
The Gates of Slumber - Hymns of Blood and Thunder
Tietanblood - Seven Chalices
Fenriz' Red Planet - Engangsgrill
sunnO))) - Monoliths and Dimensions
Baroness - Blue Record
Kylesa - Static Tensions
Candlemass - Death Magic Doom
Megadeth - Endgame
Greymachine - Disconnected
Gravedigger - Ballads of a Hangman
Jesu - Opiate Sun
Olde Crone - S/T
Death In June - Lesson One: Misanthropy
Death In June - Black Angel live!
Urfaust/Joyless - Split EP

Disappointment of the year: Shrinebuilder. On first listen it sounded immense, second listen only lasted two songs. It's still on the shelf. I'm prepared to be proved wrong and I'll admit it here first.....

Friday, 20 November 2009

Donington 2008 - Drinking & Driving is WRONG

A short educational film recorded by THEE CLAW at Donington 2008 - concerning "VIP camping arrangements". (For the record, that can was full of water. Honest.) Background music = Darkthrone

JUDAS PRIEST @ Donington 2008

Even MORE Roadburn 2010 news

Self-hating riff worshippers rejoice! EYEHATEGOD, the legendary Southern hardcore-blues-sludge-and-doom group from Katrina-ravaged New Orleans has been confirmed for Roadburn Festival 2010. With its hateful, hopeless, anguished vocals set against extra-slow Iommi-inspired riffing, EYEHATEGOD are credited with founding sludge-core, one of the most vital new genres of metal to emerge from the 1990’s.
Countless bands have followed their footsteps, and after almost 20 years of creating some of the most corrosive, vile
music known to man, EYEHATEGOD still hasn’t lost the piss and vinegar, propaganda, and despair that fueled them back in 1998.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

THEE CLAW - Best Heavy Records Of 2009

It's getting on for that time of year folks!

We've had a little get together (over a few beers, naturally) and decided on a "Short list" of our favourite records from throughout the past 12 months*. It's been a really great year for hard rock and heavy metal. So here's a list of the newly-released records that we have been listening to a lot during 2009 - All being well the 3 of us are going to get together to work out THEE CLAW's top 10 LPs of the year, preferably sometime before the year actually ends!

You should have already heard - or you should go track down - the following 40+ records (in alphabetical order):

16 - Bridges To Burn
ALICE IN CHAINS - Black Gives Way To Blue
ANAAL NATHRAKH - In The Constellation Of The Black Widow
ASTRA - The Weirding
BARONESS - Blue Record
BEHERIT - Engram
BLACK COBRA - Chronomega
BRUTAL TRUTH - Evolution Through Revolution
CHURCH OF MISERY - Houses Of The Unholy
CONVERGE - Axe To Fall
COUNT RAVEN - Mammon's War
THE DEVIL'S BLOOD - Time Of No Time Evermore
FENRIZ RED PLANET - Engangsgrill
FUNEBRARUM - The Sleep Of Morbid Dreams
THE GATES OF SLUMBER - Hymns Of Blood And Thunder
HEAVEN AND HELL - The Devil You Know
JESU - Infinity
JUDAS PRIEST - A Touch Of Evil: Live
KATHARSIS - Fourth Reich
KISS - Sonic Boom
KRALLICE - Dimensional Bleedthrough
KYLESA - Static Tensions
MEGADETH - Endgame
METALUCIFER - Heavy Metal Bulldozer
NACHTMYSTIUM - Doomsday Derelicts [EP]
OLD MAN'S CHILD - Slaves Of The World
PORTAL - Swarth
RAVENS CREED - Albion Thunder
SARKE - Vorunah
SLAYER - World Painted Blood
SUNN 0))) - Monoliths & Dimensions
TEITANBLOOD - Seven Chalices
WASP - Babylon
YOB - The Great Cessation

Okay, so that's the short-list. We are (hopefully) going to whittle it down to our favourite 10 records of the year... stay tuned!

* - Some of these records weren't actually recorded in the calendar year of 2009. We know this already. If it was RELEASED for the 1st time during 2009, well, that's what we're talking about here!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

KATATONIA @ Rio's, Leeds (07 November 2009) "Murder"

Went along to watch Swedish doomers KATATONIA last night, at Rio's in Leeds. Went along with our good buddy DesignVoid. Great show, though it was done & dusted by 22:00 (Rio's becomes a nightclub after a Saturday night gig you see). As such I think they might have cropped their set from the usual 18 songs to about 12. Jonas (AKA Lord Seth) used mainly "clean" vocals, right up until the last song of the night, Murder, which you can watch below.

In case you weren't aware, 2 of the guys from KATATONIA (the afore mentioned Jonas "Lord Seth" Renkse - he plays bass for Bloodbath - and lead guitarist Anders "Blakkheim" Nyström, who is on the far left in the Youtube clip above) are also in the Swedish death metal supergroup band BLOODBATH. Their E.P. Breeding Death from back in the year 2000 is one of THEE CLAW's favourite death metal records, you should check it the fvkk out!

The new KATATONIA record, Night Is The New Day, is available from Peaceville and all good record stores. I bought myself a copy of it recently from my local HMV of all places... I mean, just how mainstream can you get?!

Many thanks for the good people at Rio's in Leeds for sorting out the photo accrediatation for us.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

More 2010

Roadburn 2010 will see the triumphant arrival of Dr Simon Von Strange, along with his cohorts Emily Pentangle and the nefarious Randolph T. Reaper; where they will unleash their dark twisted formula that is The Lamp of Thoth.

Described by some as a seriously unbalanced, eccentric mix of NWOBHM and th...e Doom cults, The Lamp of Thoth will raise the spirits of dread eldritch horrors and enslave you to bang your head and worship in the name of Heavy Metal!

All Give Praise To Satan - We Love The Lamp!!!

Soon the entire Doomed World will be aware of the Victorian Darkness!!!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Nachtmystium @ Roadburn 2010

Slowly but surely the 2010 ROADBURN FESTIVAL is becoming something of a wet dream.

Tickets go on sale on November 28th.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

You Will Obey!

From waaaaaay back at the start of the year (January 25th to be exact) - a clip of THE LAMP OF THOTH's set at an all-dayer in Wakefield, UK.

This has been said before, several times over - THEE FUCKING CLAW loves THE LAMP.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009


(watch it melt whilst we sort out a Damnation report)
Drinking and listening to Wor Man Bigga - 3 shout outs on thee Hallowe'en show so far!

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

King Diamond Remasters - Updated Artwork

Remastered KING DIAMOND LPs were dropped on the unsuspecting public last week (October 13th) - and the new cover art looks sick as fuck!

Make it your mission to hunt these great records! NO FUCKING DOWNLOADING THEM EITHER - Support your favourite artists, buy some fucking records.

Monday, 19 October 2009


One of Thee Claw's favourite bands in the UK if not Thee World. Get it whilst it's hot hot hot.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Side Darkness/ Side Evil

Floating my boat this week/month

Baroness - Blue Record
Shrinebuilder - Self Titled
Demon - Night of the Demon
Megadeth - Endgame
Treblinka - Severe Abominaton
Stone Roses - Self titled
Motorhead - Rock And Roll
Black Flag - Damaged
The Pitchfork 500
Melvins - Stoner Witch.
Witchcraft - ST/The Alchemist
Saint Vitus - Hallow's Victim
Bathory - The Return of the Darkness and Evil/Bathory

It's going to be a hard task to put together a best album of 2009 list.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Upcoming (More!)

Winters in Osaka / xJonathan Rossx / The Ergon Carousel / Insect Warfare - 7th October 2009, Manchester Star & Garter





Grindcore lunacy. Quote of the night: Shane (xjonathanrossx) - "Hi we're xjonathanrossx and we're going to play you 20 songs as fast as possible."

Absu / Pantheon I / Razor Of Occam / Zoroaster - Manchester, UK (2nd Nov 2009)

Say It To My Face Present:-

Crushing Mythological Occult Black Metal from USA

Extreme metal from Norway on Candlelight Records

Blackened Thrash featuring members of Destroyer 666

Psychedelic doom metal from Atlanata, USA

Monday 2nd November @ Moho Live, Tib Street, Manchester

Tickets £10 adv from and
Doors 7.30pm

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Big Four Score Draw

A while ago on Thee Claw we had the tagline: for when your "Big Four" is not the same as everyone else's.
I don't know whether I'm just a cynical person or if it's because I grew up in Europe and therefore had easier access to more of the continental Thrash, but the "classic" Big Four of Thrash Metal (that's Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax if you didn't know) never really sat too easily with me; I always felt this was a mindset peddled to the public by the likes of Kerrang! and to a lesser extent Metal Forces*.
I always thought that magazines were to eager to keep the status quo, so to speak, rather than go out on a limb and suggest something else to people.
For me, the so-called B4 strayed too far from the sound and feel of Thrash to ever be considered as the genre-defining acts that people claim them to be, except for the curious exception of Megadeth, which I'll come to in a bit.

What, really, did Anthrax bring to thrash metal? Shorts and Hip Hop, that's what.
I hold them personally responsible for Limp Bizkit.
After the initial leather, studs and total thrash assault of Armed and Dangerous and Fistful Of Metal, for me it was thrash by numbers with a large amount of goofiness on a par with the likes of the UK's Acid Reign until the more brooding Persistence of Time which had little to do with Thrash metal.  For me the band never came into their own until the addition of former (current) Armored Saint vocalist Jon Bush, and they were a far different beast by then.

Much like my beloved Everton Football Club, Slayer have been riding on the reputation of a flash of brilliance during the eighties for a long, long time now, using this as a deluded reason to be considered one of the best bands of the genre.
Sure, there was nothing like Reign in Blood before, and there hasn't really been an equivalent of it since, but what exactly have they done since then? A cover of Born To be Wild? Loads of shitty tattoos? The only reason that they are still touring is that their fans are 90% knuckleheads unable to reach out farther than Slayer into extreme metal, or are kids who think they are the next step up and the be all and end all of metal after Lamb of God or Slipknot. They have done nothing interesting since Seasons in the Abyss; after that their albums all become interchangeable.
Dumb music for dumb people.

Right. I think you all know how I feel about Metallica, and here at Thee Claw we have all taken a lot of stick either in comments of emails about how we feel about them.
So, how best to put this without upsetting Metallica Fundamentalists......
Metallica always had aspirations beyond thrash metal, using the tools and trust of the underground to find cross-platform fame and therefore I cannot condone their use as a genre defining act.

Megadeth are an odd fish, to say the least. Megadeth's early raison d'etre was to be faster, heavier and more complex than Dave Mustaine's famous ex-bandmates in Metallica, and to a certain extent, it worked. Through to Rust in Peace,  each consecutive album was a snapshot of current thrash; with some of the best musicians of the genre joining Messrs Mustaine and Ellefson. Like everyone they reacted a bit hastily to the shift away from thrash in popularity during the mid 90's, but some of their recent output is just as thrashy as anything they released in the late eighties, an astounding return to technical form.

Like I have said earlier, for me, a "big four" of thrash should consist of bands playing thrash. It seems obvious doesn't it?

Bands that could quite possibly make up Thee Claw's alternate big four.  There are many factors I'm choosing to keep this list fair; the main being a prerequisite that at least three albums of pure thrash were released by the bands, to keep in line with the media's "big four".

Formed in 1982 and still going strong 27 years later, Gelsenkirchen's Sodom have rarely put a foot wrong in the pantheon of Thrash Metal. A dozen albums of tuetonic thrash later, and having played on all of true metal's biggest stages, I think it speaks volumes that when the bloated excesses of the 80's thrash bands during the 90's, and the trendiness of the 90's Death Metal bands exploded with the counteraction of the second wave of Black Metal; Sodom were one of the biggest influences on the Scandinavian Invasion. If you need any proof, just look at Mayhem; Euronymous's record label was called Deathlike Silence, and all over black meta the performers took on psuedonyms a la Sodom, with a member of Mayhem being called Blasphemer.
Over a quarter of a century on, they still play Blasphemer live, and it isn't seen as a token gesture like when Metallica play Trapped Under Ice. Oh no, silly me, that isn't a token gesture. It's to sell more copies of Guitar Hero. Pah.

Again, from Germany, Mille and co have been thrashing away since, that's right, 1982; sometimes in the limelight, sometimes on the sidelines, but always keeping it true.
In 1988, they were one of the first load of thrashers to be signed to a major label, with Extreme Aggression being released on Epic and going on to cement their popularity around the world.
Strangely, when other thrash bands tinkered with their sound and went for a more polished, radio friendly approach, our boys from Essen went death metal. That's right.
After a few albums of this they returned back to their thrash roots with 2001's Violent Revolution, and much like Sodom, are still to be seen ripping it up all over Europe's truest stages.

Probably a bit controversial.
I think Nuclear Assault are one of the most underrated yet influential bands to have ever played thrash, and probably one of the more quirky ones without degenerating into farce like Anthrax.
After a few years of not really listening to NA for a while, we dug out their album Handle With Care once for a trip to London in Thee Clawmobile. Fuck.
Danny Lilker's proto-Brutal Truth bass sound was SO out of place with John Connelly's high pitched voice, but it fits together SO well.
I'll gloss over Something Wicked which wasn't too bad, but was missing the energy between Lilker and guitarist Anthony Bramante who had both left by now.  2005's Third World Genocide was a welcome return to form.

So now, we are after a fourth band to create Thee Claw's big four of thrash.
Who will I pick? there are so many bands that recorded some amazing thrash metal albums but transcended the genre from the outset (Voivod) or moved on to something completely different altogether (Sepultura) that I would have loved to include but I couldn't, so do you know who i'm going to pick?

That's right. Even with the born-again nonsense.
Skum summed it up best when he said "My big four of thrash are Mustaine, Ellefson, Samuelson and Poland. End of."

*as a genre publication, to me, Metal Forces is almost above criticism. Maybe I'm just being nostalgic, but I remember it with more fondness than I do Kerrang! or Raw.

Recommendation Of Thee Week - Baroness "Blue Record"

The latest release from post-rockers BARONESS is out shortly on Relapse. We've heard it, and we like this one a lot. Half a dozen spins in and this is proving to be quite a disc. Go to their Myspace page and listen for yourself.

This record is a huge step up from their last (and 1st) record, Red Album. The production here is great, the songs sink in after just a few plays... and there's a couple of definite classics that have been thrown in there too. The opening Bullhead's Psalm is the albums recurring theme, serving as intro, closer and it appears some place in between too. I can hear elements of THIN LIZZY in the intro / outro tracks - always a good indicator of a quality tune!

I am currently being hypnotized by the record's outro track Bullhead's Lament, with it's layered riff growing with each loop. It reminds me of something that Brian May might spend hours building up on an old 6 track or something. Lovely stuff.

This record is recommended for fans of prog and stoner, of technical metal and all you mainstream rockers looking for a gateway record to help you transition to something a little further from the beaten track than you're accustomed to. It's also for those annoying people who say things like "I like THE SWORD/MASTODON/ISIS, but I was never fully satisfied with their output". Yes, they should finally have something to coo about too.

Wait a second, did I just mention Brian May in a Baroness write-up?

This record is the future.


Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Church Of Misery @ Roadburn 2009

I uploaded a 2-minute long video of CHURCH OF MISERY onto Youtube today - from during their set at this year's Roadburn Festival in the Netherlands.

This clip just goes a little way towards proving why ROADBURN is my favourite festival by a country mile. CoM's great set was complimented by an amazing combination of stage lighting, background video, atmosphere, sound quality, and more.

And the 2010 ROADBURN looks as though it's going to be even better than 2009's festival... if that is possible!

Roadburn 2010 - Shrinebuilder

Roadburn is very pleased to report that doom supergroup Shrinebuilder will be part of the festival line-up on Saturday, 17 April 2010.

With Scott Kelly (Neurosis) and Scott "Wino" Weinrich (Saint Vitus, The Obsessed, The Hidden Hand and Wino) on guitar, Al Cisneros (OM, Sleep) on bass and Dale Crover (Melvins) on drums, Shrinebuilder's self-titled debut full-length (released on Neurot Recordings) is perhaps the most anticipated "Roadburn Festival album" of the year. Over the past 10 months we have watched the Shrinebuilder buzz rise to fever pitch.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Lazarus Blackstar, Bradford, 28 Sept 2009

Almost forgot to mention, I went along to a fine gig a couple weeks back that included a set by one of THEE CLAW's favourite UK acts, LAZARUS BLACKSTAR.

We have seen LBS a few times now, early on with Paul Catton (STUNTCOCK, MEDULA NOCTE) on vocals and then again when MIK HELL took over in that department.

I want to let you know, these guys are so much improved since the last time we saw them (also in Bradford at the 1 In 12 I think). Admitedly, I don't know their set. I recognise riffs of course, but I don't think that knowing their names of songs is the most important thing here. LAZARUS BLACKSTAR are high-volume, tuned-down, dirty, nasty, slow-paced and generally tight in their style of playing.

It is also worth mentioning that Mik's really settled into the front man role (yes, really - front man!), in which he appears to relish the opportunity to convey his utter disgust of the crowd before him. Well, not so much disgust maybe... his lack of concern with any sort of audience reaction to the performance of the band. I don't know if this is a contrived mood that he's projecting, or if it's sincere revolt. Either way he really brings something to the band as a whole. He's not up on that stage to make friends. THEE CLAW has been saying this for a long time: Dirty Scouser frontmen are the way forward!

LAZARUS BLACKSTAR will no doubt bring out a landmark full-length and everyone will be raving about them, in a depressingly doom-laden kind of way. I would like to see headline slots and US tours in their future.

LBS are next playing in our neck-of-the-woods on November 8th 2009 at the Star & Garter. See you there.


Filipino Antichrists

The ultimate annihilation in audio torture is now at hand! In this time of over-saturated bestial metal, Deiphago blazes their own barbaric trail to introduce Satanic Metal to the world and expose the posers as the the wimps they are. This record annihilates all the pretenders and offers the most punishing, primitive & bestial attack of 2009!!

With a background of demo tapes throughout the 90's & their debut full-length endorsed by the Ross Bay Cult, the Filipino Antichrist's succeed in making this hi-speed attack even more rewarding than before. No wannabe Fallen Angel Of Doom, no wannabe The Oath Of Black Blood, no Angelcunt or even War Cult Supremacy. Just pure uncompromising, unconventional violence: this is bestiality. Deiphago are the true beasts.

Features 11 chaotic SONGS illustrated with a full color painting courtesy of Joe "Motorhead" Petagno to further exalt their 20 years of Chaos!

Fuck off to the false!!

Frozen in Time

Lately, I've been listening to a lot of bootlegs.
I love bootlegs, they are a snapshot in time of how an artist sounded at that particular time, regardless of whether it was a good gig or a bad gig.
One that I've been playing a lot lately is the one pictured above; Sepultura from the Slaughter festival in Brazil from 1986.  I've tried to do a bit of research on this gig but all I have managed to discover is that Mutilator played too.
This EP has the early lineup of Max, Igor, Paulo and Jairo, and is an energetic run through of Morbid Visions/Bestial Devestation -era tracks, worth hearing for Max's gruff onstage raps no português. There is also a cover of Kreator's Living in Fear thrown in for good measure. Quality isn't perfect, but for a 23 year old recording of an underground thrash metal band playing a gig, it's pretty good.
I t's a shame that Max has spent the major part of his career pumping out third rate jump up and down music in collaboration with Kerrang poster boys.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Steve Shelton - Condemned Drum Pattern Explained

Patchie told me about this video (last night, during our "vinyl night" episode) showing Steve Shelton (drums, Confessor), explaining how he came up with the drum pattern for the Condemned record.

It is in your esteemed interest that you click play on the following video. If you are a fan of doom metal, drumming, or music in general, this is not only time well spent, but educational too.

Only one word springs to mind when watching Steve do his thing in this clip: WHOA.

Upcoming - Gates Of Slumber, Birmingham

Friday, 2 October 2009

Vinyl Night 3

We're onto our 3rd ale (Leffe) and our 11th record. This has turned into a bit of a heavy metal disco here, haha, Orange Goblin at Roadburn comes to mind. Okay, down to business.

11th record: BLACK FLAG - DAMAGED

VERY YES. The next 5 records are all Patchie's choices. We're takin turns being the DJ or the reviewer, ha. How cool this is, playing vinyl and drinking beers. Its been a while since I sat playing records... I forgot how they look while they are spinning about, on the deck, the way that the vinyl is warped and rises and falls as it spins. God I love vinyl.

DAMAGED is the 1st record of the night that we played for more than 1 track. RISE ABOVE, SPRAY PAINT, SIX PACK and WHAT IS SEE got an airing. Patchie has turned into a horror, I hope he doesn't start trashing his house up.


The SHOCKER soundtrack is sick as fuck. Sick meaning awesome. We're not gonna be obvious and play No More Mister guy, no thanks. We're playing the B-side, the excellent Different Breed by DEAD ON. The reason that MEGADETH couldn't record a B-side (according to legend) is that Megadave was too strung out on smack to play 2 songs. Just as well, cause what we have here is some much overlooked, underplayed metal.

13th of thee night: CELTIC FROST - COLD LAKE (1988)

Okay, here we are, at the peak of the night. The much-maligned Cold Lake, the same year as Reek of Putrefaction, GN'R Lies and Seventh Son. All of which we arent playing tonight. This record takes precedence in our musical tastes. I don't care what ANYONE says, COLD LAKE is an amazing record. Spandex? Cock rock? Juices like Wine? I could listen to this all day. Tom G, you need to reconsider this record. The rest of you lot do as well!

14th on the decks: GRINDCRUSHER (UK VERSION) - (1987, Earache)

Patchie's choice, we've got ourselves a compilation record. Choice track: FILTHY CHRISTIANS "Party & Fight For You Right". F.C. inspired a whole host of Swedish bands, ENTOMBED and AT THE GATES spring to mind. The track starts off like something from blastbeat central and then ends with a cowbell-gasm.

15th song: RAVENS CREED "Neon Parasite" 7" (2009, Doomentia Records)
We haven't heard this record yet, bought it earlier this year from a Czech label. We saw RAVENS CREED a couple of years ago at a dingy little venue in Leeds (The Fenton). I think about 10 people where there. Mad. The song we are listening to, I think it's the B-side. It starts with a quick word from Satan himself (God knows what he is saying... pun intended) and then it slams into 2 amazing riffs, played a full tilt, looped again and again. Aside from the message from His Unholiness, it's an instrumental.

Hell with it, let's play Neon Parasite as well! The A-side has got sick vocals from Ben Ward and is blisteringly fast (as expected). Sounds like pre-Arise Sepultura, Venom-ized. Jay Graham is banging those drums like he's just caught them shagging his missus, haha. Sorry Jay mate, just an analogy there. What a track. Again, the riffs are on repeat, fast and frenetic, going into overdrive.

Okay, time for another swap of duties.... My turn to choose the tunes, Patchie's words.


Vinyl Night, Part 2

6: after Demon, Witchfynde's Give 'Em Hell.... top Pagan Altar style NWOBHM.

7: Stephen Shelton.
STEPHEN FUCKING SHELTON. We rocked Confessor's Condemned next...what can I say about this album that I haven't said a thousand times? Top techno doom.

8: Then - Xentrix - For Whose Advantage? This, as far as I'm concerned is a totally overlooked gem of UK Thrash, no scratch that, just a fucking classic album. Never given a fair crack of the whip by the British press, who preferred to get Ross Halfin over to take photos of anyone with a Bay Area zip code and then produce fawning articles over them. Bitter, me? Nah.

9: Misfits - Horror Business Sessions 77-81 Vol 2 
This is actually a bootleg that Thee Claw picked up in Tokyo. This is the first time it's been played in Britain, it's British debut if you will. Nobody else in Britain (probably) owns this, it's number 171 of 666 copies, let's give it a spin...As this is sessions, the quality is supreme, and we love it!!!

10: Orange Sunshine - Bullseye of Being. This is a record that we picked up somewhere that we can't even remember. Was it at a gig or festival? Probably.
Let's see....Sitars....this is the obligotary "head shop" music from a bad 70's BAD COP film. Fuck this off, get some thrash on or something. Waste of Vinyl so far...let's try face B. It's got an OK cover of Sunshine of Your Love on. NEXT!

Vinyl Night, Part 1

Hello from Claw Towers.

Ste here, bloggin off Patchie's account.  We're having our 1st Vinyl Night in aaages, to review some of the literal 100s of records that we've amassed during Thee Tour.

Right, let's crack open a few drinks and get down to business!


We started tonight by checking the needle on the record player with DOCTOR FEELGOOD by MOTLEY CRUE.  Sounds good... 10 seconds of Hair Metal and it's time to get started.

BRUTAL TRUTH are one of DAS CLAW's favourite grind bands.  It did exactly what it said on the tin, says Patchie: Eyehategod cover blistering our ears.  We never listened to thee B side (TOTAL FUCKING DESTRUCTION covering Kill Your Boss), because time is apressing and there's lots of ground to cover.....


A red 10" record, red vinyl, with A SIDE by STUPID BABIES GO MAD and B SIDE by BORIS.  Sounds very Boris using up their last 10 minutes of studio time during a session, haha.  Enjoyable as the ales go down.


Living backwards

Gotta love the Lamp.  We checked out a couple of tracks from this one: Lamp Of Thoth and Frost & Fire. I am so used to the Portents & Omens L.P. version of the s/t track, this demo version is pure stripped down in its recording style is comparison.  Also, we were taken back by this version of Frost And Fire, very VERY slow compared to the original (and to how LAMP OF THOTH play it live).  Love this record.


Okay, I (Ste) havent heard this record before. What better time to tell you what i think about it.

I'm expecting this to be proper Satanic stuff. Track starts up with a nice horror soundtrack bass pedal heartbeat effect... and WHOA, it's gone all SCORPIONS all of a sudden!

This is excellent NWOBHM stuff, it completely took me by surprise.  Nice work lads!

Dead Congregation @ Manchester, Nov 2009


NOTE: Same day that WASP play Manchester.

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