Friday, June 29, 2012

Baggy Anthems for Heaton Park

Hi folks,

A brief tangent into Madchester territory for you here as myself and some esteemed friends just got back from the Stone Roses' reunion tour in Lyon, where, amongst other thrills and spills, they played their first album in its entirety for the FIRST TIME EVER. Wooo! Well worth the trip down South, plus we got to enjoy some quality offal in France's gastronomic capital and even found a decent club (Le Citron in Vieux Lyon, smoky but plays some great music). 

Anyway, one of the various topics of discussion that came up whilst we were ensconced in the city's bars preparing for the gig was what our favourite tunes were from the original Madchester era, or the 'Baggy' period for those of you who don't want to be too regionally specific. Many different suggestions were made so I've decided to compile a list of my own below, complete with some funky video links. If you're preparing for Heaton Park this weekend or just in the mood for a bit of a shoulder shuffle then give this lot a whirl and it should set you on your way.

The Stone Roses - Elephant Stone (October 1988)

As good a starting point as any, this was the Roses' third single released way back in late '88 when very few knew who they were - that would all change a few months later when the tracks from their début album began to surface, prompting a wave of national adoration that has yet to fully subside. 'Elephant Stone' eventually followed 'Fools Gold' into the UK top ten in 1990 when it was re-released alongside 'Made of Stone' and 'She bangs the drums' during the band's commercial peak - from the very first note it's one big euphoric rush of manic percussion, wah-wah pedals and Ian Brown's divine exaltations as they 'burst into heaven' to devastating effect. This is the Roses at their most forthright, equalled only be 'Begging You' several years later - the trippier likes of 'I am the Resurrection' and 'Waterfall' tend to bag more plaudits but for me this is the one (no pun intended) that made you sit up and take notice that something truly magical was about to happen. 

A Guy called Gerald - Voodoo Ray (April 1989)

Not a guitar track admittedly but one that deserves its place in any baggy best-of list, not least for the Manchester connection - Gerald was an original member of Manc Acid House pioneers 808 State who cut loose to record this groundbreaking choon which surfaced sometime in 1988 but didn't chart until the following year six months before his former bandmates broke big with 'Pacific State' the same week that 'Fools Gold' and 'Hallelujah' reached the top 40. I could have chucked that one in here too but 'Voodoo Ray' just edges it because of the wide-mouthed euphoria embodied in the vocals and the hypnotic house crescendo bubbling slowly to the surface. This tune sums up everything that was great about the late 80s Hacienda scene which influenced pretty much every other band on this list - Shaun Ryder himself recognises it as a key influence in this cogent interview and it's deservedly listed high up any list of the best electronic records ever. 

Inspiral Carpets - Joe (May 1989)

A trip to Oldham this time for the breakthrough hit from the Inspiral Carpets, a band generally lumped in with the Roses and the Mondays but one with less of a recognised link with electronic music - these guys were more of a straight-up retro 60s proposal but one with a stellar rhythm section and a genuine virtuoso in the shape of organist Clint Boon, leaving them the option of playing fast as fuck when they felt like it. 'Joe' is the best example of them at full tilt, a manic dancefloor anthem in homage to a tramp they knew back home (who may also appear in the video, I'm not sure). Their lyrical themes were always quite kitchen sink back in the day which was kinda touching, they always seemed to be a little more grounded in reality than their peers without every getting weighty about it. They were also one of the only bands that emerged from the Madchester period who managed to crank out more than one or two decent albums, releasing four absolute corkers between 1990 and 1994 before finally calling it a day. Of all the bands on this list that I've not yet seen live, the Inspirals are the ones I'd do anything to see on stage - I have a playlist consisting of nothing but dream setlists of their material on my I-Phone which is perhaps a little nerdy but if nothing else it's testament to the potency of their material all these years later.

Happy Mondays - Wrote for Luck (September 1989)

The Mondays were undoubtedly the genre's best singles band - the Roses and Primal Scream will always be better remembered for the albums they released during Baggy's heyday but, and this is no disrespect to 'Bummed' or 'Pills 'n' Thrills', the Mondays were always a more devastating prospect in single format. Their flawless run began in May 1989 with 'Lazyitis' before 'WFL' landed four months later to be followed by 'Hallelujah', 'Step On', 'Kinky Afro' and 'Loose Fit', all of which could easily have made this list in their own right. I've picked 'WFL' (as it was known after Erasure's Vince Clarke remixed the original album version of the song) because it embodies everything I love about the Mondays - effortlessly danceable, lyrically devious ('you used to speak the truth but now you're clevurrrr') and always one step away from total collapse but somehow managing to keep it together. There's also the video which was filmed in Manchester's The Ritz nightclub the best part of a decade before I set foot in it and experienced its bouncy dancefloor for the first time. This is the ideal soundtrack to bopping around off your face in such environs from a band who always seemed a lot brighter than they let on in interviews.

Candy Flip - Strawberry Fields Forever (March 1990)

A bit of a curveball for you here, but one that I think merits its place all the same. Candy Flip (whose name is apparently a reference to taking Ecstasy and LSD at the same time!) were two unknowns who capitalised on Baggy's penchant for 60s revivalism by injecting this Beatles' classic with tripped out vocals and a bone dry drumbeat reminiscent of Fresh Four's reworking of 'Wishing on a star' the previous year. By early 1990 the charts had been practically taken over by dance crossover tracks as well as the first wave of Baggy breakthrough hits and 'Strawberry Fields Forever' landed on the top 40 at the same time as Primal Scream's 'Loaded' only to chart several spots higher. Time hasn't been as kind to it as the Scream's signature tune but this still puts a smile on my face, not least for the period fashion on show in the promo clip - stripy hoodies, ethnic necklaces, golden earrings and baggy blue jeans all present and correct, plus a decent bit of gurning from the singer late on. Candy Flip brought out two fairly decent follow-ups ('Space' and 'Redhills Road' if you want to look them up) but failed to garner any subsequent success and they've since retreated into obscurity but these four gorgeous minutes are as good a legacy as they could have left.

The Farm - Stepping Stone (May 1990)

Another 60s cover for you and another familiar rhythm sample - sounds distinctly like Snap's 'The Power' to me. But whatever the ingredients were, The Farm managed to craft something distinct out of them in the shape of this oft-overlooked Baggy classic from the glorious summer of 1990. Merseyside intruders into the Manchester-dominated music scene of the era, The Farm had spent several years toiling away under the moniker Soul of Socialism in the Red Wedge scene of 80s Liverpool before scoring a breakthrough hit with this single under the watchful eye of their manager Suggs (yes, he of Madness fame). 'Stepping Stone' missed the top 40 when it was released in May 1990 but by the end of the year they'd hit the top ten twice with 'Groovy Train' and 'All Together Now' and would notch a #1 album the following year as Baggy's commercial popularity peaked. John Peel was a big fan (that's Scouse solidarity for you) and the band were genuine competitors to the Roses and the Mondays in their prime but, like many of their peers, fell foul of the changing times and fell into obscurity as the 90s advanced - they still exist though and form the backbone of the 'Justice Tonight' ensemble that are supporting the Roses on their current tour so music has yet to totally forget them. You can rely on FA Cup runs for years to come to be soundtracked by 'All Together Now' but for me this is their finest moment and one that should be an integral part of any Baggy playlist.

The Charlatans - The only one I know (June 1990)

Summer of 1990 again - not hard to see why people get nostalgic for those times with the number of stunning singles queuing up to blow your mind. As an illustration for this point (and not because I can't find the original video anywhere online), I've embedded a link to the ITV Chart Show's Indie Chart of the era which features the Charlies at #1 back when they were just about to break big. 'The only one I know' is another organ-led dancefloor anthem, one that still prompts frenzied reactions these days - the Charlatans arrived bang on time to take advantage of the Baggy boom but were perhaps unique in their ability to adapt to changing times once the bubble had burst, morphing into looser psychedelia before embracing Britpop and tracksuit tops a couple of years later as Oasis, Pulp and Blur began to change the face of British music once again. The Charlies deserve their place as one of the biggest bands of both Baggy and Britpop but are likely to be overlooked in favour of some of the more fly-by-night acts in both categories - this does them a disservice though, it's a little known fact that they were the first band to notch three UK #1 albums in the 1990s, placing them alongside globe-trotting supergroups like REM and U2. It's not like the Charlies have some sort of gameplan for success up their sleeve though, they just know the value of a good groove and as someone who's seen them live a good few times I can assure you that they're still in full possession of their funky faculties. But despite their wide canon of cracking albums and run of eminently danceable singles, I still find myself coming back to 'The only one I know' for that first hit of magic they delivered back then.

Paris Angels - Perfume (July 1990)

For those in the know this one will come as no surprise - for those who aren't, prepare to discover a real gem. This one might be my favourite Baggy tune of them all, a momentary flash of genius from the heady summer of 1990 - like many of the greatest dance anthems, two versions exist : the impressive guitar-led version embedded in the video link and the vastly superior loved up version here which was the more familiar one in clubland. Paris Angels are an ideal example of why Baggy was such a wonderful trend - bands could pop up out of every working class suburb of the North and produce something brilliant, the soundtrack to a moment in their young lives that would soon disappear forever. These weren't career musicians, they were kids drawn to the burgeoning music scene in greater Manchester whose only goal was to lay down something stunning that their mates could join in with on the dancefloor. The comments on YouTube only stands as testament to how the Baggy movement and this tune in particular meant so much to so many people - 'Perfume' sounds like the Chemical Brothers five years before they even existed and has lost none of its potency more than two decades later. The band never enjoyed any of the success their peers saw as Baggy broke big, releasing a couple more minor hits before their female vocalist got knocked up and the band decided to call it quits. The comments on the video link suggest that one of their number passed on recently so there's all the more reason to celebrate this awesome love rush as one of the genre's undiscovered classics.

Primal Scream - Higher than the Sun (May 1991)

I could have picked pretty much any of the singles from 'Screamadelica' but I've pulped for this one for its sheer ambition - the Scream weren't content to just fling out a couple of decent singles, they had a gameplan beyond 'Loaded' which culminated in the release of 'Screamadelica' in 1991 as part of a three-way Creation assault on the charts and critics (the other two being 'Bandwagonesque' and 'Loveless'). Based around two separate album versions, the single only grazed the top 40 upon release but showcased the band's ability to write a genuine showcloser, a tripped-out psychedelic anthem for all ages past and present. The effervescent post-house clubland anthems of 1990 had given way to a heavier take on revivalist psychedelia by the time 'Higher than the Sun' hit in mid 1991 amidst a blissed-out wash of shoegaze bands like Slowdive, Catherine Wheel and Chapterhouse, catching another peak which in many ways is totally different to the one 'Loaded' rode to the top in early 1990. The band's versatile mastery of several different genres is perhaps what's brought them their longstanding success (as well as a fair amount of abuse from critics accusing them of bangwagon jumping) and it's testament to the rich seam of quality on 'Screamadelica' that its singles covered two full years of UK chart trends (from 'Loaded' in early '90 to 'Movin' on up' in February 1992) - once that well had been drained, they promptly retreated from view with a bunch of Rolling Stones records to re-emerge two years later with the equally era-defining 'Rocks' in 1994. Every album since has been cause for much excitement even if they've missed the target a couple of times but you have to be willing to forgive the artistic faux pas of a band who've contributed so much to the British musical landscape. I saw them play 'Screamadelica' in its entirety last year and, far from being an exercise in wanton nostalgia, it felt like something truly timeless and as thrilling as the first time I'd heard it. 'Higher than the sun' is the backbone of that record and gets my vote as the Scream's contribution to the soundtrack to the Baggy era.

Flowered Up - Weekender (May 1992)

And as our final tune of the night, it could only be Baggy's own 'Stairway to Heaven', the death knell to the era that was Flowered Up's 12-minute epic 'Weekender' which called time not only on their career but on Baggy itself in the Spring of 1992. By that time the Mondays had crashlanded spectacularly with their crappy 'Yes Please!' album, the Roses were embroiled in a bitter dispute with Silvertone that would see them disappear to Wales for several years and every other band in the genre was either laying low or splitting up. Flowered Up were Southern scallies who'd missed out on Baggy's biggest spoils despite a run of great singles (like this for starters) but surprised everyone by saving their best for last - backed by a full-on feature film as a promo vid, 'Weekender' successfully summed up the joy of Baggy's heyday but also allowed the troubling notion to slip in that the fun was almost over. Like the last song of the night before they turn the lights on and you have to go back to normal life after a wild all-nighter, the track encapsulates peaks of euphoric build-up and lysergic comedown interspersed with flashes of sadness and frustration, perfectly translated into the image of a party animal living for the weekend but aware that the grim reality he's fleeing will catch up with him at some point. Like the painful Monday morning after a large weekend, the end of the line for Baggy was upon us in 1992 as the era drew to a close amidst break-ups, bankruptcy and drug addiction that would leave the British music scene barren until Suede emerged later in the year to sow the seeds of the Britpop explosion that would dominate the mid-90s. Flowered Up didn't survive the culture shift, though on the basis of this single they didn't expect to - their keyboardist ended up playing in chart rave outfit Republica whilst singer Liam Maher passed away a couple of years ago....I'll leave you to decide which one's the more tragic end. All good things come to an end and this was the soundtrack to a genre calling time and leaving the dancefloor to someone new. Tinted with tragedy, 'Weekender' nevertheless provided one last blow out before the journey's end.

Friday, June 22, 2012

New : The Cribs - 'In the Belly of the Brazen Bull'

I always thought the Cribs and John Peel would've gotten on well together. Their début landed the same year the big man tragically left us back in 2004 and since then they've gone on to embody the fine balance between accessibility and cult cool that defined many of Peel's favourite groups (The Fall, Wedding Present, Wire etc). The Jarmans will have found it particularly satisfying that many of the British indie groups who rode that lucrative wave of success in the mid-noughties have since floundered (Razorlight, Kaiser Chiefs) or are otherwise meandering towards an uncertain future (Bloc Party, Maximo Park) with their commercial peaks far behind them. This was the game plan all along though - whilst Johnny Borrell and co were hellbent on conquering the charts back in 2005, the Cribs steadfastly refused to sign up to any commercial fashion wave likely to blunt their edges and kept things rough, honest and as fresh as their early gigs on the Yorkshire club scene. Even high-profile headline sets at festivals saw them strive to alienate casual fans by butchering their most radio-friendly material into a mass of yowling feedback fronted by Ryan Jarman in a bowlcut and a moth-eaten tunic. Their 'nerds first' approach harks back to Kurt Cobain's liner notes in 'Incesticide' where he rails against the jocks and meatheads who'd adopted Nirvana in total ignorance of their politics or worldview, but now that indie acts who courted the Carling-swilling fly-by-nighters in the mid-noughties have seen their fanbases dwindle against the rise of Spotify, X-Box and brazen cultural nostalgia, the Cribs can finally enjoy the last laugh. 

You'd therefore expect a few Lily Allen-style digs at those they've left behind on 'In the Belly of the Brazen Bull', but these guys have always been above cheap shots and point scoring. Instead they stick to themes they know best : sneering at shallow fashion shifts on 'Jaded Youth', musing on tension and melancholy on 'Uptight' and raging against those who simply can't be bothered on 'Come on, be a no-one'. Their songwriting chops are as deft as ever too, flitting between the mellow tonic of 'Anna' and the twin-barrel rampage of lead single 'Chi Town'. The setlist here is almost as strong as their '07 career peak 'Men's Needs, Women's Needs, Whatever' and will keep you coming back to pick new favourites - however, this time they've chosen to end the proceedings with a bombastic four-song finale that only they could pull off without looking totally ridiculous. These guys have never made it onto 'The Simpsons' but if they did then you could imagine them busting out this stuff as cartoon versions of themselves in some indie-goes-Broadway set piece with dancing whippets and wet fanzine pages lining the floor. Not all of this is necessarily going to translate to the live show of course, but I saw these guys in Paris prior to the album's release and they rollicked through all their previous records plus a few newbies with enough piss and vinegar to fill a swimming pool so there's no need to worry about them going slack any time soon. This is a cracking addition to their already impressive canon and you have to say that cutting Johnny Marr loose was probably a good move - he was only slowing them down. These guys remain masters of their craft and a veritable inspiration to dudes like myself wondering whether you can maintain the gigs 'n' beer lifestyle into your thirties without starting to look out of place. 'I'd rather be tied to myself than anyone else', they chorus over the closing track, a mantra to live by if ever there was one. Ryan Jarman still has a shitty haircut, plays his guitar with his back to the crowd wearing 28-inch waist ripped jeans and still writes great tunes. The moral of this story is to do things your own way and wait for the rest of the world to realise you were right all along. The Cribs might have taken five albums to reach that point but the journey was well worth it and where they'll go from here is anyone's guess.

Check out : 'Come on, be a no-one' : loud, sweaty, guttural. What more do you need?

New : Jack White - 'Blunderbuss'

Another tardy one here as I actually got this a couple of months ago when it came out, conveniently coupled with the unexpected chance to see Monsieur White bust it all out live on election night in Paris (first round, not second) on what was quite a dramatic evening. To be fair I hadn't really got my head around the album by that point so I thought I'd leave myself long enough to get into 'Blunderbuss' before I posted on it. I was never massively into the White Stripes to be perfectly honest - I think I recognise their impact more than I actually want to listen to their music, it's always been there in the background so I've never had to get off my arse to really check it out in detail. Plus, Jack's assorted spin-off projects have been around to fill in any gaps in the calendar so even when the Stripes weren't touring their own records or putting out new material there was still something else to get your teeth into. What I'm trying to say is that I probably took the White Stripes for granted and, now they're not around, maybe I'm starting to realise how much I miss them. There's also the fact that 'Blunderbuss' sounds considerably more sincere than the retro-blues cabaret act that the Stripes became at times - Jack's new solo stuff twists the familiar formula into a new, intensely personal shape without losing any of the riffs and rhythm that made you want to shake that ass to 'Hotel Yorba' back in the day. I hate it when they say artists have matured because it tends to imply that their earlier stuff was puerile and meaningless but Jack's clearly reached a point where he's confident enough to put his own thoughts to music knowing he has the audience there to listen. 

Some of the other reviews I've read of this album focus heavily on the fact that Jack's split with his missus as well as with Meg since his last musical output, and whilst it's probably a major factor in the new delivery there are clearly other influences at work here. Opener 'Missing Pieces' and stonking lead single 'Love Interruption' have 'DIVORCE' stamped all over them but beyond that there's the sound of a dude closing the chapter on a decade he help soundtrack, splitting his band up and flushing his first marriage to emerge leaner, stronger and more wordly wise into a new age. NOBODY is going to listen to this record just because it was made by the same guy that wrote 'Seven Nation Army' - Jack solo is like Paul Weller post-Jam, Björk post-Sugarcubes or Dr Dre post-NWA, artists that only hit their stride when they've buried one decent band and set out doing their own thing knowing how the business works. Critics will pore over the wounded lion lyrics of 'Weep themselves to sleep' or the title track whilst riff-hungry newcomers will fill their boots on stuff like the thunderous 'Sixteen Saltines' or the marvellously hammy 'I'm shakin' ('I'm shakin'!!! I'm NOIVOUS!!'). There's enough upright piano and slide guitar to bring in the alt-country beardstrokers but Jack still keeps his sound fresh and beefy enough to blow away any garage rock chancers looking to steal his festival slots. 'Blunderbuss' is a potent brew of muscular rhythm, soulful delivery and riffs that could push a Volvo up a staircase, all busted out by a guy who only now looks like he's fulfilling his potential as rock's finest gentleman. And with a bunch of new dudes backing him up for the live show Jack's now got the songs and the artillery to blow your sockets in a whole new way. With the Stripes dead and buried and the Black Keys having taken over the 'blues music for car adverts' niche market, the road is open to Jack White to take us where he wants. I'm strappin' in for what will hopefully turn out to be a series of awesome follow-ups to this thoroughly bitchin' debut.

Check out : the new line-up busting the fuck out of 'Sixteen Saltines' live on Joolz Holland.

Monday, June 04, 2012

New : Torche - 'Harmonicraft'

Summer always needs a good guitar record to get it kickstarted and I think we may have the ideal candidate right here. I don't know much about Torche apart from that their name means 'wipe' in French (hur hur) and they play groovy amped-up psychedelic rock which makes me want to turn my stereo up very loud indeed. This sort of stuff would have been tagged 'stoner rock' back in the late 90s amidst all the Fu Manchu, Nebula and Monster Magnet filling the pages of Kerrang back then, but that kinda does it an injustice - whereas the aforementioned based their sound and imagery around 70s style cars & bongs scuzz rock, Torche have a cheeky psychedelic edge to their sound and a dose of sugar to balance out lurch and bounce of their bottom end. I can imagine them playing 90% of this record with Cheshire cat grins on their faces, it's the sort of happy & heavy stuff that dudes knock out in their garages without worrying if it'll sell - on that note, it also reminds me of the tunes Dave Grohl lays down when he's not writing chart pop with the Foo Fighters to finance another private jet purchase. There's a tight, elastic bounce to their sound but the vocals lift things out of the greasy car mechanic workshop into higher realms of cartoon trippyness - just check out the fucking cover for the starters! That shit looks like something Terry Pratchett would have written about whilst dropping acid in his garden shed in the early 70s as part of an eight-novel saga on the intergalactic turtle wars of the layered multiverse. Torche aren't going pop or anything but there's enough sunshine here to keep this accessible to fans who need hooks to hold on to and these guys balance their elements nicely to sound like a decent heavy band sweetening things up a little rather than some pop punk nerks trying to sound heavy. They can also bust out 90-second stockcar charges like 'Kiss me dudely' and 'Walk it off' when they feel like it, mixing things up so that the tracklisting never sags and their oddball humour remains an ever present fixture to keep it fresh and upbeat. These guys are tight as fuck, clearly love what they do and know when to stop before it gets boring so they're well on their way to becoming 2012's dude rock sensation, destined to soundtrack a zillion metalhead BBQs and stoner road trips whilst remaining frustratingly low on festival bills beneath troups of neck-tattooed deathcore dweebs and another Journey reunion tour. Never mind eh? Get this, fill the fridge with beer and play it LOUD.

Check out : 'Snakes are Charmed', the sound of surfing on a wave of celestial turtle barf.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

New : Cannibal Corpse - 'Torture'

HEEEEEUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUURRRRGGHH!!! That's the noise made by the behemoth of calculated extremity that is Cannibal Corpse as it strides across the globe every couple of years to take an enormous death metal dump on the musical landscape. 'Torture' is their latest turdtastic offering and longstanding fans will be pleased to hear that it's as grimly satisfying as anything they've released over the last decade. Morbid Angel's Erik Rutan is on production duties once again so you know this is gonna be a seriously brutal listen (as opposed to the Angel's more recent material which blew heathen goat dick) and this one matches the diverse savagery of 'Kill' and its grossly underrated predecessor 'The Wretched Spawn' (am I the only person that likes the album? It fucking rips!). The Corpse embody the third decade resilience of their comtempories Obituary and Suffocation in showing that death metal can actually improve with age - these dudes have graduated from spindly gore-loving teenagers to beefy, brawny father figures who can happily split their time between flipping burgers at their daughter's birthday BBQ and touring the fuck out of devastatingly precise DM to crowds of rabid followers. The fact that they had zero fashion sense to begin with has only helped them acheive timeless appeal across the various trends in metal and, unlike many of their peers who took career breaks during DM's fallow period of the late 90s/early 00s, Corpse have been ploughing relentlessly forward since day one to become the most brutal in the business. 'Torture' packs in the treats from pummelling opener 'Demented Aggression' to slo-core chugfests like 'Scourge of Iron' and 'As deep as the knife will go' and there's enough variety on show to keep even longstanding fans coming back for repeated listens. Whether it'll attract new converts is debatable but Corpse are in perhaps a minority of one in metal terms as the band you either embrace or draw the line at - their no-holds-barred approach to the wide spectrum of gory lyrics and imagery will turn off certain metalheads who feel they've gone too far whereas others admire their devotion to the fine art of savagery and ability to deliver a hit no-one else can match. Ultimately I fall into the latter category - I'm not gonna leap to the defence of stuff like 'Fucked with a knife' but their crank-it-up approach to imagery is the same that inspires TV producers to turn stuff like 'Rome' and 'Game of Thrones' from pleasant family entertainment into relentless onslaughts of slaughter and shagging. It might err towards gratuitousness but why miss such a good opportunity? Corpse do gore metal better than anyone else and are certainly more of an asset to modern heavy music than arseholes like Jack Black whose non-hilarious comedy metal is doing its utmost to reduce this music to impotent self-parody. And he has the balls to complain that 'rock is dead'? Listen Jackie boy, if you really care about the survival of rock music then why not throw your considerable weight behind the new stuff coming out now rather than ploughing out more tragic joke metal that wasn't funny a decade ago like some bored movie star who's taken up drag racing to make himself feel young again. This year has already yielded devastating newbies from established vets like Corpse and Napalm Death alongside gems from new skool sluggers Alcest, Christian Mistress and Torche (more on them later) so you better check the landscape properly before you declare the genre dead and buried. 'Torture' will school anyone doubting metal's future, and if that ain't enough then go see these guys tour it and tell me this beast has no more life in it. HEEEEUUURGH indeed.

Check out : 'Encased in Concrete', although preferably not while you're eating lunch.