Sunday, April 04, 2010

Facebook page

As well as the updates to the main site, I've also now set up a page on Facebook to make it easier to catch up on the latest additions to the site. You can access this page and become a fan using the Facebook box on this page, or by going directly to the Facebook page

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Albums Of The Decade: Part 2 (20 to 1)

And so here it is, the Swoj Staff top 20 albums of the decade. Some years have been better than others but overall there have been a lot of great moments in the heavy rock world to be celebrated from the last 10 years. No prizes for guessing who our band of the decade is either after claiming 4 positions in the top 15, including #1 and #2!!! Here's to the rock/metal/punk world going from strength to strength in the next decade.

Audioslave20. Audioslave - Audioslave
On paper it sounded ridiculous, Rage Against The Machine with Chris Cornell, the Black Hole Sun warbler to the backing of rap/rock? Not at all. Audioslave took the storming riffs of Morello and the rhythm groove of Commerford and Wilk, rounded them off more than they had done in the past and added the polished vocals of a true rock singer and unleashed a mighty debut album that hinted at the majesty of Led Zeppelin. Sadly it didn't last.

Velvet Revolver - Contraband19. Velvet Revolver - Contraband
The return of 3/5 of Guns 'N' Roses was always going to register some interest but the music did all the talking as Slash, Duff and Matt teamed up with Stone Temple Pilots vocalist Scott Weiland and guitarist Dave Kushner for a blistering collection of heavy rock, the likes of which the world probably hadn't heard since Use Your Illusion. Axl couldn't respond.

Elis - Griefshire18. Elis - Griefshire

Raven - Walk Through Fire17. Raven - Walk Through Fire

Machine Head - Through The Ashes Of Empire16. Machine Head - Through The Ashes Of Empire
A return to form that most people did not expect Machine Head to achieve. Following on from the poorly received Supercharger, this album saw Machine Head abandon the 'nu-metal' approach and return to the sound that made them great in the first place. A triumph of an album and a very welcomed return to form for Machine Head.

System Of A Down - Steal This Album15. System Of A Down - Steal This Album
Released the year following Toxicity, Steal This Album has the unusual distinction of being the weakest album SOAD has released, yet with the amazing quality of the bands other albums this doesn't mean that the album is not good! SOAD on their 'off' day still manage to trump many other bands out there.

Slipknot - All Hope Is Gone14. Slipknot - All Hope Is Gone
Carrying a darker theme than their previous album, All Hope Is Gone continued with the bands energetic style, twisting it in many directions to create something with a more eclectic overall feel.

Megadeth - End Game13. Megadeth - End Game
You never know what you're going to get from Dave Mustaine: a foul mouthed tirade or a peace offering; a has been metallers who's had better days or a riff-meister extraordinaire. Whatever it is that makes him tick, he's rediscovered his mojo and with a new band around him is again pushing the boundaries of thrash metal to the absolute limits.

Viking Skull - Born In Hell12. Viking Skull - Born In Hell
A real surprise package. Who could have thought that a stop gap band for Raging Speedhorn and their roadies in between tours would reconnect metal lovers with their first influences? Blending Sabbath with AC/DC the debut album was so good it merited the band going full time (albeit with some new members).

Metallica - Death Magnetic11. Metallica - Death Magnetic
Eagerly anticipated, like all Metallica albums, Death Magnetic had a lot to live up to as fans wanted to see a return to the Metallica of old. With a layered and complex style similar to '...And Justice For All', this album certainly brings back what we love about Metallica and is a great way for them to see out the decade.

10. Turbonegro - Retox
In an age of neverending reunions and cash ins, without doubt, the best and probably least publicly celebrated reunion of the decade was that of Turbonegro. The good news for fans of classic, down n dirty rock n roll is they get better with each album. 'Do You Dig Destruction'? hell yeah we do!

Turbonegro - Retox9. Green Day - American Idiot
They may not release albums regularly now and they may not be punk in the truest sense anymore, but when they do they do come along they are well worth the wait and it's obvious time and care (and a certain amount of genius) have gone into crafting and moulding masterpieces. Possibly the most talked about rock album of the decade.

Rammstein - Mutter8. Rammstein - Mutter
Another band who have had a superb decade with 4 very strong albums. Rammstein kicked off the decade proving they were no one-trick pony following the worldwide success of the track Du Hast. Mutter is arguably their best album to date featuring the stomping Link 2-3-4 and Feuer Frei.

Machine Head - The Blackening7. Machine Head - The Blackening
With Machine Head having found their form again in their previous album, it was still a surprise to hear The Blackening for the first time and realise just how much further the band had climbed. The album had everything you'd want in a metal album, thoughtful songs, amazing guitar work, ferocious drumming and aggressive vocals, all wrapped up in a collection of powerful and epic songs.

Slipknot - Vol 3. The Subliminal Verses6. Slipknot - Vol 3. The Subliminal Verses
An album made during a turbulent time in Slipknots history, with a great deal of conflict between the band members during its creation. However you wouldn't know it, with the album carrying the trademark energy and aggression that the band are known for. An album packed with great songs and stands out as their best album this decade.

System Of A Down - Toxicity5. System Of A Down - Toxicity
The second album from SOAD came with very little fanfare but it made an immediate effect. Not just pleasing their existing (and at the time relatively small) fan base and the critics but also winning them legions of new fans in the process.

Iron Maiden - A Matter Of Life and Death4. Iron Maiden - A Matter Of Life and Death
You can't keep an old dog down. Worse yet, you have no chance with 6 of 'em! This decade saw the return of Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith to the Maiden fold and who could have predicted the impact it would have had? Maiden went straight back from playing bog standard clubs to selling out arenas and A Matter Of Life And Death has been widely regarded as their best album in over 20 years, it's no coincidence that they've since achieved world domination.

Trivium - The Crusade3. Trivium - The Crusade
Trivium are without doubt the biggest newcomers to the decade. Although all their albums have been well received it was 2006s The Crusade that really took them into the big leagues with it's early Metallica styles.

2. System Of A Down - Hypnotize
1. System Of A Down - Mezmerize

System Of A Down - Hypnotize System Of A Down - Mezmerize
We were definitely excited about System releasing 2 albums in one year but no-one could ever have imagined how brain meltingly brilliant Mezmerize would be, launching with the utterly physchotic BYOB, the pressure rarely let up and it was a thrilling ride of an album. Hypnotize released 6 months later was a slightly different beast, mainly following a trend of 1 typically SOAD insane song, 1 more controlled but equally devastating track, it was more of a rollercoaster and not quite as unbelievably brilliant as its brother but a classic nevertheless.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Albums of the Decade, Part 1 (50 to 21)

With the decade coming to a close, it is time to look back and see just what the decade looked like. As we looked back, we could see that there have been a lot of albums that would be in contention for a spot in the top 50... this was clearly not going to be an easy task. With the initial short list featuring around 200 albums, getting it down to just 50 was not going to be easy.

After each of the three of us each coming up with our own lists, combining and comparing the results, we've arrived at our final list. We each have our own distinct tastes in metal/rock/alternative music, so the list contains a good representation of our tastes as a group. So without further ado, here is part 1 of the list, covering positions 50 to 21:

50: Lars Frederiksen - Viking
49: My Dying Bride - For Lies I Sire
48: Lacuna Coil - Karmacode
47: Ginger And The Sonic Circus - Valor Del Corazon
46: Rancid - Indestructible
45: Iron Maiden - Dance Of Death
44: The Dwarves - Come Clean
43: Luna Obscura - Feltia
42: AC/DC - Black Ice
41: Therion - Live Gothic
40: Ash - Meltdown
39: Rammstein - Liebe Ist Für Alle Da
38: Rancid - Let The Dominoes Fall
37: Paradise Lost - Faith Divides Us, Death Unites Us
36: Trivium - Ascendency
35: Mad Caddies - Keep It Going
34: Foo Fighters - One By One
33: Cold - Year of the Spider
32: Queens Of The Stone Age - Rated R
31: Cradle of Filth - Thornography
30: Bad Religion - The Empire Strikes First
29: Ministry - The Last Sucker
28: Cradle Of Filth - Nymphetamine
27: Cradle Of Filth - Damnation and A Day
26: Slipknot - Iowa
25: Cradle Of Filth - Godspeed On The Devil's Thunder
24: Slayer - Christ Illusion
23: Septic Flesh - Communion
22: Turbonegro - Party Animals
21: Muse - Origin Of Symmetry

Stay tuned for part 2, covering No.20 to No.1 (aka, album of the decade!)

Friday, October 23, 2009

More Zombie

Saw some news earlier this week that there is a new Rob Zombie album in the making, with the release date being pushed form this year to early next year. The 'old' release date was a bit surprising given that I did't even know he had a new album in the works at all (what with him being a Hollywood director these days).

The new album will be called "Hellbilly Deluxe 2", so hopefully it will follow on in the first albums style (unfortuntely I wasn't very taken with Educated Horses).
Two songs have been released online for the upcoming album "What?" and "Sick Bubble-gum", more info on both of these can be found below.

On a related note, I was pleased to see that 3 Rob Zombie tracks will be made available on Rock Band next week; "Burn", "Dragula" and "Superbeast".

Anyway, the two new songs from Hellbilly Deluxe 2 can found in YouTube format below, so you can judge for yourself how the album might be turning out:


Sick Bubble-gum

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Ones to watch

Just a quick update to highlight some of the upcoming albums that have attracted my attention:

12th October:
Wasp - Babylon

19th October:
Rammstein - Liebe Ist Fur Alle Da
Epica - Design Your Universe

26th October:
Atreyu - Congregation Of The Damned
Halford - 3: Winter Songs
Paradox - Riot Squad

2nd November:
Slayer - World Painted Blood
Within Temptation - An Acoustic Night At The Theatre

The highlight for me is Slayer, I'm really looking forward to that one.
On the other hand, I'm still slightly confused at the prospect of a Rob Halford Winter album!

Of course, there have a been some interesting releases recently as well, with Megadeth's End Game being the best they have released for quite some time - and it keeps growing on me the more I listen to it. A few other albums that are on my radar, but still haven't had time to buy them are:
Evile - Infected Nations
Paradise Lost - Faith Divides Us Death Unites Us
Five Finger Death Punch - War Is The Answer
Kiss - Sonic Boom

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Alien and Predator return

After the commercial disappointment of Aliens Vs Predator Requiem, it seems that Fox is now looking at these two franchises in a new way, kind of. It seems that each of them is a getting the 'reboot' treatment now.

First there was Predator, with Robert Rodriguez being asked to give the franchise a new start. Rodriguez had previously written a potential squeal to the original movie, which he called Predators - it seems that while the movie won't follow this script, the tone/feel of the script is being used a guide for the new script, so this is definitely one to watch for.
For more information on this have a look at the follow links

News Story:
Rodriguez interview:

Then, today, news broke that an Aliens 'reboot' is also being pursued. Not so much is know about this one other than the intention is bring back the tension of the first Alien movie by only having a single Alien and, possibly the most important part for everyone wanting a faithful movie, Ridley Scott (director of Alien) is on board as producer for the movie.

One thing that let's me breathe a sign of relief about both of these 'reboots' is that it seems that neither of them are trying to start from scratch and ignore everything that has happened already

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Video Rundown; Pantera, Sick Of It All, Steel Panther, Me First and Gimme Gimmes

With so much video content out there, it seemed like a good idea to bring you a selection of the music videos that have caught our attention for one reason or another.

It could be a great song, a funny video, a great representation of a particular band, or some other reason - or it could be something that you have nominated. If you have seen any good music videos online, then let us know (post a comment below, or visit the forums) and it could be included in a future Video Rundown.

The selection this time around is as follows:

1. Sick Of It All - Step Down

New York hardcore band Sick Of It All have been around for a long time now, over 20 years, and rank as one of the favourites of the team. In all their time they have continued to produce fantastic music while still loving what they do and keeping their sense of humour. We definitely recommend seeing them live if you get the chance!

This is the video for Step Down, from their Scratch the Surface album.

2. Steel Panther - Death To All But Metal

From Steel Panther's upcoming debute album Feel The Steel, this video demonstrates that as well as providing us with some old school metal, the band obviously has a good sense of humour as well!

3. Pantera - Cowboys From Hell (live)

Coming from the album of the same name, this live performance of Cowboys from Hell at Ozzfest demonstrates the quality of Pantera's performance, the intensity of their music and is a great legacy for this brilliant band. (note, swearing aside, it's definitely NSFW at 5 minutes in!)

4. Me First and the Gimme Gimmes - I Believe I Can Fly

This Punk Rock cover band has covered some great songs since they formed in 1995, taking some very unlikely songs and performing them in an energetic punk manner. Some of the unusual ones include; Puff The Magic Dragon, Country Roads, Blowin' In The Wind and (Ghost) Riders In The Sky.

This cover of I Believe I Can Fly (from the album Take a Break
) is not only lively and fun, but also came with an excellent video - see if you can spot some of the cameos.

5. Static X - Black and White

With the new Terminator film coming out soon, this seems like a fitting video to show. Black and White is from the Machine album, released back in 2001, with the video themed around the title of the album and giving tribute to the Terminator.

Remember, if you have any video suggests for the next blog, post in the comments below or in the forum.