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Strictly Metal (vol.5)

Happy Weekend Strictly Fans!! It’s been a loooong week and I don’t know about you lot but I am glad to have escaped the rat race for a few days! It’s also been an eventful time in the world of metal this past seven days so let’s get to it.

News this week:

A sad start to the week with the news that legendary Black Sabbath axeman Tony Iommi has been diagnosed with the early stages of Lymphoma. This is a cancer of the lymphatic system- the network of vessels which form part of your body’s immune system. In a statement released via the band’s official Facebook page, Tony is currently discussing the best treatment possible with his doctors and the band are now making their way to the UK from Los Angeles to continue recording the new album. As you might expect, there has been an absolute tidal wave of well wishes pouring in from the hard rock and metal community. Judas Priest, Anthrax, Lamb Of God and Zakk Wylde are just a handful of stars who have offered their support to the man who, along with a few others, helped create the heavy metal genre.

This announcement does however, throw the band’s headlining slot at this year’s Download Festival into doubt. Although Iommi’s condition has been diagnosed early, by the time that June rolls around, he is not going to be feeling too hot and it would be selfish to expect him to perform and put his health in jeopardy. That said, there will undoubtedly be some pissed off fans should the worst case scenario arise and Sabbath pull out. Andy Copping is probably bricking it as securing the West Midlands maestros for 2012 was a huge coup. I’m sure I speak for all the RandL contingent when I say GET WELL SOON TONY! Here’s hoping to a quick and full recovery.

Following up the news from last week on the departure of Killswitch Engage’s Howard Jones, it appears that the band are now accepting demos for a new lead vocalist. The Massachusetts metallers are now on the look out so if you fancy yourself as a killer frontman, then get that mp3 uploaded to the band’s website!

And now for some reunion news. And I’ve not just got the one band to mention! It’s been 11 years of silence since the release of seminal album The Relationship Of Command in 2001 but now the bloody fantastic At The Drive In are back. Oh yes, the post-hardcore quintet from El Paso have reformed to much excitement and have also announced that they will be making an appearance at Coachella Festival stateside in April. Let’s hope they decide to pop over to these parts and confirm a few festival appearances this summer. Next up on the reunion list are punk stalwarts Refused. There have been whisperings of a possible return for the super Swedes over the past few years but it became official this week courtesy of Radio One DJ Mike Davies who confirmed the news on his show. Our resident expert in all things Punk, Adam McCartney has much more to say on the subject so do head over to http://www.strictlyrandl.com/features/refused-the-shape-of-punk-to-come-again/ for more information. 

Some album news for you all. The highly anticipated tribute album to the late great Ronnie James Dio is due for release this year. Judas Priest vocalist Rob Halford, Lemmy, Alice Cooper and the Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl will all feature and will be picking the tracks they want to contribute. Pontypridd’s ahem, finest Lostprophets have announced that their fifth studio album entitled Weapons will be released 2nd April via Epic. The tour dates will follow suit. The ever confident Ian Watkins has been quoted as saying that “the world needs us” due to the lack of good guitar music in the UK Charts. Oh Ian. I truly hope that after the shambles that was 2010′s The Betrayed, Weapons has the musical nuts to back up what you’re claiming. Blighty’s fave power metal mentalists Dragonforce are back. The boys have completed work on the new album and it will be the follow up to to 2008′s Grammy nominated Ultra Breakdown. It will also introduce new addition Marc Hudson to the world who replaced ZP Theart last year.

New Tour Alert! Architects will be embarking on a headline UK tour which will commence 1st April. The Brighton metalcore outfit will be joined by special guests Rolo Tomassi and Stray From The Path. For more date/venue info, just head over to http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/Architects-tickets/artist/982805.

And finally, we head to the good ol’ U S of A a bit of weirdness to fit in with the Friday 13th theme. It seems that music is being blamed yet again for acts of violence. In this case, a spot of attempted arson. Christina Paz tried to burn down her father’s house in Texas last month. The reason why I hear you cry? Well, Christina reckoned she was TOLD that her parents were trying to kill her through the lyrics of Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails. Self-defence/ revenge was clearly the order of the day here. Manson’s lyrical content has been a hot topic of much debate in the past. Back in 1999, his music was blamed for subconsciously influencing two students at Columbine High School in Colorado to go on a murderous rampage and gun down twelve of their fellow classmates and a teacher. The tragedy hit the headlines and metal was under the microscope once more for all the wrong reasons.

Album of the Week:

Lamb Of God – Resolution

If 2012 be the year of the Apocalypse and the Four Horsemen need a soundtrack worthy of playing in the background while the Earth descends into Hell, then this BEAST of a record is the perfect choice. This, my friends, is Lamb Of God and the album is Resolution- the monstrous follow up to 2009′s Wrath. Hold on to your socks because oh.my.fucking.god. It grooves, it thrashes and it still retains all of the well honed technical elements heard on previous albums. The nod to Black Sabbath can be heard on opener Straight for the Sun. A doom-laden tuned down masterpiece which would put the fear of god into anyone with its slow foreboding rhythms – it’s grimey, it’s sludgy and heavy as fuck.

The pace shifts and quickens, track number two Desolation ignites and explodes in a frenzy of riffs and chugging guaranteed to make the most discerning metaller bang their head with glee. Ghost Walking is a real surprise- it lulls you into a false sense of security with the acoustic guitars and clean, almost gentle vocals during the first twenty seconds. The next minute, you are smashed over the head with the sonic equivalent of a large brick. You’ll wanna straight head for the pit on hearing thrash heavy The Undertow and Randy Blythe’s vocals resonate on the ferocious Terminally Unique. In fact, I would go so far as to say that this is the best he has ever sounded. There’s much more control and Blythe really showcases his ability to breathe and hold a note on this album. Make no mistake- LOG are back and look set to be bigger than ever. 2012 is going to be one hell of a year.

Recommended Artist Of The Week: 

The Commander- In- Chief  

For any naysayers out there who still think that women CANNOT shred like an absolute  motherfucker. Meet The Commander-In-Chief- a one woman 7 stringer/singer/songwriter whose sound will blow your mind. Hailing from Bergen, Norway, the CIC is  creating quite a stir with her version of Black Sabbath’s classic hit Paranoid. This will be the debut single and just to bring a bit more panache to proceedings, it is mixed by legendary Pantera engineer/producer Sterling Winfield (Reinventing the Steel). The album is expected to drop later this year.

Phew, that was one blinder of a week. I shall be back next week with all the news and reviews from the heady world of rock and metal. Until then, keep it Strictly RandL.

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Author: david

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