Review: The Drone by We Are Knuckle Dragger (2013)

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The Drone is the second album by We Are Knuckle Dragger. They’re a very good band and this is a very good album, but will you like it? Maybe.

Knuckle Dragger aren’t a group for everybody, but that’s fine. They make the music they want to make, which shouldn’t really be such a fucking novelty, and that music is beautiful. Not beautiful like Chopin, but beautiful, glorious NOISE.

A huge shit-eating grin spreads over my face every time that first slab of grumbly rumbly bass starts molesting my speakers. Perhaps such mucky stuff shouldn’t make me so happy, but I can’t help it.

This shit’s all over the place and I love it.

The Drone was produced by Ross Robinson, the man who invented Slipknot, and he’s a great fit. As much of a crime Korn was he totally makes up for it with this. We cool, Ross, we cool.

I’m not going to talk about The Drone song by song because it’s not that kind of record. Everything is brilliant, that’s what you need to know.

It’s also heavy. Really heavy. Really fucking heavy. Jesus Christ, it’s heavy.

Do you like heavy music? Do you like noisy noise? Do you like to boogie? Do you like to rock and/or roll? Do you like grunge? Do you like to do a depressed shuffle to The Cure? Into ABBA?

None of the above?

Billy Joel 4 life.
Billy Joel 4 life.

You should listen to The Drone anyway. It’s only 29 minutes long, what else were you going to do today?

It’s been very interesting to see this album develop. I was lucky enough to attend a secret show in Knuckle Dragger‘s rehearsal space where they played 9 of these 10 songs (the 10th wasn’t done yet) only a few days before they were recorded and beaten into shape. To then see them (in HMV, of all places) perform the whole thing front-to-back on the day of release was a real treat.

If they come anywhere near you then try and catch them while they’re still cheap to see. If you live somewhere near Newcastle-upon-Tyne then your chances are better than most (I’ve seen them three times this year without really trying) but they tour the UK fairly regularly and it’s surely not long until they can pop on over to mainlaind Europe to give them a good kicking.

Look! They're in HMV!
Look! They’re in HMV!

Here are a few videos to give you an idea of what’s what and the full album is below (on Spotify). Here’s their official website where you can buy their albums. Do it!

The Drone track list:

  1. This Better Be Life Threatening Norman
  2. Starting Strength
  3. Class of 94
  4. Bunch of Fucking Mutants
  5. Sucker
  6. The Moon on a Stick
  7. Learning by Doing
  8. Here’s Your Shit Sandwich
  9. Flapjack the Ripper
  10. Funhouse

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Review: Midlife Crisis – The Very Best of Faith No More (2010)

Great effort, you guys.
Please don’t leave your interns in charge of graphic design. Please.

This compilation is at once a cheap cash-in and an incredible bargain. It’s structured without regard for chronological consistency or even who happens to be in the band but it also has no less than 14 B-SIDES AND RARITIES, making this a ‘Best of’ that’s far more valuable to people who already have every album than people new to the band.

Things start off pretty normally, blah blah blah We Care A Lot blah blah blah Epic blah blah blah Midlife Crisis. You’ve heard them all before. The album actually manages to mix up its own track list at this point, with Midlife Crisis and Falling To Pieces swapping places. How the hell do you manage something like that?

Not even Mike Patton can figure it out and he’s fucking weird.

The sexy e-bow vibes of Stripsearch are a welcome addition, although it is bizarrely followed by eight-minute epic The Real Thing. While it is perhaps one of their greatest overall, it also marks where this collection starts to go a bit wrong.

That’s right, here come the b-sides! The World Is Yours is fine enough but the tracks that follow are kind of shite, especially the over-long instrumental, Instrumental. Much better is Sweet Emotion, which was recorded during sessions for The Real Thing and later reworked into The Perfect Crime for Bill & Ted’s Bogus Adventure, earning it a double obscurity bonus. Score!

Arabian Disco and As The Worm Turns from the band’s yet-to-be-reissued debut album are really quite good, with As The Worm Turns in particular being far superior to Mike Patton’s recorded version. Unfortunately we have two from The Real Thing smushed in the middle – War Pigs and The Morning After. These are great and all, but it would be nice for Chuck Mosley to get a little more recognition for having been the singer for two albums rather than being the bread in a Patton sandwich.

Although he is meatier than you’d think.

Disc 2 is much better, mostly because it starts with Everything’s Ruined, one of the best songs from the already stellar Angel Dust. Bee Gees cover I Started a Joke is the first relatively obscure track and features Mike Patton singing with an awful fake English accent. Ick.

Defying all logic, This Guy’s In Love With You and Theme From Midnight Cowboy from the same (incredible!) live performance are separated by no less than four songs, one of them being the very excellent R’n’R from Chuck Mosley’s Introduce Yourself. Why’s it there? No idea.

Maybe best not to bother him. He looks like he needs a sleep.

Light Up and Let Go isn’t very notable at all but certainly quite tolerable. The perfect b-side! I Won’t Forget You and The Big Kahuna show us where all the nu-metal bands got their ideas from – as with all things Faith No More it’s probably a massive piss-take, but in this instance maybe they took the whole ‘irony’ thing a little too far.

Underwater Love is very welcome afterwards, because mermaids.

Little-known fact: Patton is a mermaid.
Patton unfortunately neglected to use underwater protection.

The cover of Spanish Eyes that follows is one of the greatest things I’ve ever heard – best synth-horns ever? Absolute Zero is the last b-side and is one of the few originals featured that really should have been on an album, perhaps if it had a little more polish we’d know all the words.

We finish up with totally awesome The Gentle Art of Making Enemies. Maybe the people who sequenced this album really did know what they were up to after all?

The Very Best of Faith No More is a worthy purchase as long as it’s a very cheap one, and is ultimately a bit redundant if you already own The Real Thing and Angel Dust. The Chuck Mosley era is a little better represented than usual but 5 out of 39 hardly seems fair, not to mention the lack of anything that’s not a single from both King for a Day… Fool for a Lifetime and Album of the Year.

What you ought to do instead is just buy each of the albums. There are only five. Chop chop!

Midlife Crisis track list…

Disc one:

  1. We Care A Lot
  2. From Out Of Nowhere
  3. Epic
  4. Falling To Pieces
  5. Midlife Crisis
  6. Easy (Commodores cover)
  7. Digging The Grave
  8. Stripsearch
  9. The Real Thing
  10. The World Is Yours
  11. Hippie Jam Song
  12. Instrumental
  13. Highway Star (Deep Purple cover)
  14. Sweet Emotion (not an Aerosmith cover)
  15. Arabian Disco
  16. War Pigs (Black Sabbath cover)
  17. The Morning After
  18. As The Worm Turns

Disc two:

  1. Everything’s Ruined
  2. A Small Victory
  3. Evidence
  4. I Started A Joke (Bee Gees cover)
  5. Last Cup Of Sorrow
  6. Ashes To Ashes
  7. Ricochet
  8. This Guy’s In Love With You (Bacharach/David standard)
  9. R ‘N’ R
  10. Kindergarten
  11. Caffeine
  12. Land Of Sunshine
  13. Theme From Midnight Cowboy
  14. Light Up And Let Go
  15. I Won’t Forget You
  16. Underwater Love
  17. Spanish Eyes (Al Martino cover)
  18. The Big Kahuna
  19. Introduce Yourself
  20. Absolute Zero
  21. The Gentle Art Of Making Enemies

Review: Attila by Attila (1970)

Words fail me.
Words fail me.

Now, I’ve been trying really hard not to review the same artist twice in a row but there’s always room for an exception or two and this record is very exceptional.

Attila features pre-Piano Man Billy Joel and some dude who plays drums. The band broke up when Billy stole Drummer’s Wife (they then broke up about thirteen years later) but not before they had a chance to put out this glorious mess of an album.

Did you think that The Stranger himself was capable of being so downright metal? He totally is!

Billy Joel: far more Metal than you could have believed.
Billy Joel: a little more in common with Slayer than you ever could have believed.

The Billster, with the help of Attila’s road manager, was actually among the first people (if not the first) to hook up a Hammond organ to a Marshall guitar amplifier, creating the world’s first Maximum Rock Organ. He DESTROYS the damn thing too. He shreds and beats at his organ in exactly the way he doesn’t in Just The Way You Are.

Wonder Woman starts off the album with a bunch of stuff you can expect to hear plenty of for the next 40 minutes – shitloads of wah-wah and nonsense lyrics with shouting and loud drums, with the occasional druggy interlude. It’s really about Wonder Woman. Really.

California Flash seems to be about somebody who is really good at boning but isn’t Billy Joel, making this a drastically different song from his solo material. There’s also some good old-fashioned drug references here. Have a listen for yourself – do you think they were on boatloads of drugs?

Nah.
Nah.

Apparently, Revenge is Sweet and Billy Joel’s gonna beat you up! He seems to travel 15 years through time in this song so he can borrow James Hetfield’s vocal chords. He’s going to KICK YOUR FACE IN.

Amplifier Fire Part I – Godzilla is an instrumental piece that doesn’t suck. It brings in some nice classic rock ‘n’ roll stuff, only CRANKED UP TO A MILLION. There’s a really cool bit where the organ starts to sound like a glitched-up Gameboy, which is the coolest thing ever. It descends into Amplifier Fire Part II – March of the Huns with a righteous keyboard wail and some ridiculous tribal drumming, complete with some positively Gregorian vocals. This is the music of Hell.

What should be side 2 keeps up the pace with Rollin’ Home, featuring more frantic drumming and a keyboard style that can only be described as hitting. This song features a Billy Joel who is so horny that he wants to have a wank at the cinema but heroically holds off just in case he gets laid later. I’m thinking this is why he ran off with Drummer’s Wife.

Mr. Gorbachev, Tear This Castle Down! This track features lyrics about being SHIPWRECKED and then there’s a castle or something and he needs to TEEEEAAAARRRR THISSSS CAAASSSTLLLEEEE DOOOOWWWWWNNNN! Then it gets a bit druggy, it’s probably about taking loads of acid or something. The Man wanted Billy Joel to cut off all his hair! That’s just not his bag, man.

Oh, wait. Never mind.
Oh, wait. Never mind.

The organ in Holy Moses really does sound like guitars. It’s very impressive. This is probably Billy Joel at his most Ozzy Osbourne yet. Ozzy Osbourne as we know him didn’t exist yet when Attila formed so I think it’s safe to conclude that Billy Joel invented Black Sabbath.

Brain Invasion is another instrumental but we can forgive them for that because this one rocks extra hard. Mr. Joel shows off his half-complete classical training with some ridiculous organ work while Drummer thrashes out some cool jazz rhythms. Groovy.

For those of you who are too cool to like Billy Joel, give this a spin and it might just blow your minds. If you like psychedelic rock, if you like Mike Patton, if you like anything even vaguely out there then you absolutely owe it to yourself to give this a go.

Also, thanks to the album never being officially released on CD, it’s totally okay for me to post the entire album here!

Attila track list:

  1. Wonder Woman
  2. California Flash
  3. Revenge is Sweet
  4. Amplifier Fire Part I – Godzilla
  5. Amplifier Fire Part II – March of the Huns
  6. Rollin’ Home
  7. Tear This Castle Down
  8. Holy Moses
  9. Brain Invasion