Thursday, 30 June 2016

Revisiting Bands - Slipknot

This is the 4th revisiting blog I’ve written now and I’ve quite enjoyed the ones I’ve done so far which is probably why I’m continuing to do them. So far, I have learned that my negativity surrounding the Deftones was probably due to the times I’d seen them live and not entirely to do with their albums. I’ve learned that despite them being one of my favourite bands about 10 years ago, Devildriver will likely never be one of my favourite bands again (despite their first two albums still being belters) and I’ve learned why Bring Me The Horizon have become a stadium filling band (and realised that I actually rather like their latest two albums). This time around, I intend to revisit a band who I still love, both live and on record – but want to go back and listen to some of the stuff I never listen to.

My Relationship with Slipknot – Slipknot were one of the bands that turned me onto metal. I remember firmly being in the “grungers are bad” camp at school because I received some terrible advice from people who used to be friends. I didn’t listen to the music but I didn’t need to. I remember in my circle of friends it being a real talking point when we all realised we liked a song that the “grungers” liked – Rollin’ by Limp Bizkit. During this time, I would flick through music channels to find something I wanted to listen to, but would never leave Kerrang on for more than a second as I knew I wouldn’t like anything that was on there. One time I didn’t skip straight past and there was a video on – I don’t remember if I liked the song on first listen but it got my attention and I didn’t change the channel until the video had finished. That video was for Slipknot – Wait and Bleed. It was Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park who got me on the road to liking metal music, but I remember when I was won over, I went back and listened to some of Slipknot’s stuff and loved it.

SLIPKNOT (1999) – Just as a note, I am listening to the “European Limited Edition digipak import” as that is the version I have. The one that ends with Get This. The opening track was an intro to the album. Little needs to be said about it really. I don’t understand the purpose of them. For me, the album really starts on track 2 with (Sic) – what a way to start an album! That positive start continues into Eyeless which prompted the response from me – “Eyeless. Fucking Hell Eyeless”. Clearly I’d forgotten about that song. Wait and Bleed is one of my go-to Slipknot songs – it is just ace. Surfacing continues the run of excellent songs. It is not hard to see how this album got everyone’s attention back in 1999. As I understand it, there was a bit of promotion just based on there being a 9-piece band from Iowa who wear masks and boiler suits which initially got people’s attention – I suspect this album being good helped their cause. This album, lest ye forget, is a Nu-Metal album, and Spit It Out is some Nu-Metal at its finest. I don’t overly like Tattered and Torn. I do not know the last time I listened to Me Inside (it has been a while that’s for sure) – I rather like this. Liberate is really good. I dug Prosthetics but not as much as I thought I would when I started.  No Life is decent enough. Diluted is a good song as is Only One. Scissors doesn’t do a lot for me. “Give me a scream Corey” announces the arrival of the last song on the album, Get This. This song is excellent. I’d forgotten just how good of an album this is.
Album MVP – Wait and Bleed
Also Recommended – Eyeless, Surfacing, (Sic).

IOWA (2001) – Another odd intro track but whatever – it’s only a minute long. The album really kicks off with People = Shit which is one hell of a way to kick off this album. Up next is Disasterpiece, which is not a song I listen to that often. I’m not sure why as it is quite good. Following Disasterpiece however is the run of My Plague, Everything Ends and The Heretic Anthem – all outstanding songs. Gently is a really good song. It is followed by Left Behind (another Slipknot song with an epic music video) which is fantastic. The Shape is a decent song. I Am Hated is another excellent song. Skin Ticket didn’t do a whole lot for me. New Abortion is a good song, as is Metabolic. The title track is the last song on the album. I wasn’t sure if there was a hidden track on it, as it is 15 minutes long. It did lose my attention at times.
Album MVP – Left Behind
Also Recommended – My Plague, People = Shit, Everything Ends.

VOL. 3: (THE SUBLIMINAL VERSES) (2004) – The album opens with Prelude 3.0 which is a better opening song than the previous two albums have had. In its own right, it is an alright song. Up next is The Blister Exists, which is pretty good. Three Nil is a decent song. Duality follows it and this is a Slipknot anthem. I imagine these days it would be rare to see Slipknot live and them not play this song. As it happens, I quite like it – a lot. Opium Of The People is another good song. I had completely forgotten about Circle.  This song is very different to anything else Slipknot had done previously. This album was the start of Slipknot moving away from Nu-Metal, and Circle is just one example of that. I like it. Welcome is a decent song. Vermillion is an excellent song – another example of Slipknot changing their style a little bit on this album. I loved it when they played this song live at Wembley Arena in January last year. Pulse Of The Maggots is a pretty good song. Before I Forget is another Slipknot live favourite and it is not hard to see why – it is a great song. Vermillion, Pt 2 is the softest Slipknot song to date. I’m not entirely sure it fits on this or any Slipknot album, but I love the song. The Nameless follows and I like this song. It is a bit disjointed in places, switching from heavy verses to softer choruses. The Virus of Life did nothing for me. Neither did Danger – Keep Away. The album should have ended after The Nameless or even Vermillion Pt 2. I like the album but it is the weakest of the 3 albums of theirs I have listened to.
Album MVP – Before I Forget
Also Recommended – Duality, Vermillion, Vermillion Pt 2.

ALL HOPE IS GONE (2008) – The intro track was a bit of a waste of time. The drums at the end led nicely onto the first proper song of the album - Gematria (The Killing Name). I really like this song and thought this would become a live favourite before long. I think I’m right in saying it has never been played live so I was wrong on that one. Sulfur is next up and this is a great song.  Psychosocial follows it. This is another Slipknot live anthem and for good reason – it is excellent. Dead Memories is next up and it is another excellent song. On the All Hope Is Gone tour, the first time I saw Slipknot live (and the only time I would see the original 9 members on stage together), they only played two songs from this album, Psychosocial and Dead Memories. I was surprised they only played two but two very good choices. Vendetta is the next song and I’ll be honest, it did very little for me. Butcher’s Hook is a pretty good song. Gehenna didn’t do a lot for me. This Cold Black is a decent song, as is Wherein Lies Continue. Snuff is an excellent song but I can’t help but wonder whether it should have been a Stone Sour song rather than a Slipknot song. Oh well. The album closes with the title track, All Hope Is Gone, which somehow seems heavier than it is following Snuff – and it is pretty heavy as is. I like the song. This album has its moments – the run of Gematria, Sulfur, Psychosocial and Dead Memories is excellent. It all gets a bit sketchy after that. There are some good songs there but nothing that sticks out until you get to Snuff and All Hope Is Gone. I would say, despite the early run, that this is probably the poorest Slipknot album they have released.
Album MVP – Dead Memories
Also Recommended – Gematria (The Killing Name), Sulfur, Psychosocial.

.5: THE GRAY CHAPTER (2014) – What is it with Slipknot and odd opening tracks? Anyway, Sarcastrophe is a really good song, as is AOV. The Devil In I is an excellent song. It took a few listens initially for it to grow on me but now it has, I love it. Killpop does nothing for me. Skeptic is a good song, as is Lech (if you ignore the opening line – makes me cringe every time). Goodbye doesn’t do a lot for me. Nomadic is one of my favourite songs on the album and I think one that has been criminally overlooked. The One That Kills the Least is a pretty good song and one, if I’m honest, I had forgotten about entirely. It was a nice surprise. However, it is followed up by a song that I love and hate (love it most of the time, hate it when it comes on when I’m running). Custer is one of Slipknot’s best songs. Be Prepared for Hell successfully fills two minutes on the album. That’s all I’ve got on that one. I assume it is there to serve as a breather between Custer and The Negative One. Speaking of The Negative One, that is the next song and it is really good – one of the best on the album. The album closes out on If Rain Is What You Want. I don’t mind this song but it takes a really long time to get going. Slipknot didn’t record an album for 6 years for a number of reasons – Paul Gray sadly passing away being the main one I imagine. This is an excellent album. I’d probably rank it as their 3rd best album – but there is no shame in being third to the self-titled album and Iowa.
Album MVP – Custer
Also Recommended – Nomadic, The Negative One, The Negative One.

CONCLUSION – I’ll tell you what, that Slipknot are a bit good aren’t they? This was a fun revisit to do. There were songs I had completely forgotten about (Eyeless from the debut album and The One That Kills The Least from the latest album). There were songs I knew I liked but hadn’t listened to in a while and of course, there were songs I love which I got to listen to again. Yes, there are songs I don’t overly like but when a band releases 5 albums, that is bound to happen. The latest album is just as good as the first two and that is quite the compliment as those first two albums are fantastic.

The next band I will be revisiting is another one that I’ve gone off of recently and that is Alter Bridge. See you next time!

Monday, 27 June 2016

Revisiting Bands - Bring Me The Horizon

Guess whose back? Back again? Mike is…well you probably guessed it was me. I’m the only one who contributes to this page. Anyhow, this installment of Revisiting Bands takes me to another band I’ve never had much time for, regardless of their change in musical style. Today, I approach a band who will be joining the league of Festival Headliner bands sooner rather than later (starting possibly at Download 2017?) – Bring Me The Horizon.

My Relationship With Bring Me The Horizon – I don’t have one. I’ve never listened to an album in full. I have heard a handful of songs on the radio (more so on their later albums) and not had strong feelings about any of them (I did like the acoustic cover The Hype Theory, now Tigress, did of Can You Feel My Heart from Sempiternal). It looks very much like Bring Me will headline festivals next year and from now on, so I want to give them another shot to see if my opinion can be swayed.

COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS (2006) – It could be a waste of time me listening to this album as there is very little deathcore I’ve listened to that I like. The first two tracks did very little for me. Braille is an alright song. A Lot Like Vegas is probably one of my favourite songs on the album. Black and Blue didn’t do a lot for me. Slow Dance was over quickly, which was nice. Liquor & Love Lost is really good. (I Used To Make Out With) Medusa was pretty decent. Fifteen Fathoms, Counting is, I assume, an intro track to the final song. Otherwise, it being on the album doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. Off The Heezay didn’t do a lot for me. That album was better than I thought it would be, but I didn’t have high hopes going in. That’s something I guess.
Album MVP – Liquor & Love Lost
Also Recommended – A Lot Like Vegas, (I Used To Make Out With) Medusa.

SUICIDE SEASON (2008) – So just looking at some of these track names, I already know more of this album going in than I did Count Your Blessings. The Comedown, the opening track, was alright. Chelsea Smile is a song I know and didn’t have much time for before. Having listened again, I still don’t. Had it ended at the 2-minute mark, it would have been a belter. However, it is 5 minutes long and that is a drag. It Was Written In Blood was pretty decent. Death Breath was really good. The football season being over is usually a good thing for me, but the song Football Season Is Over does very little for me. Sleep With One Eye Open is good as is Diamonds Aren’t Forever. The Sadness Will Never End is another decent song. No Need For Introductions, I’ve Read About Girls Like You On The Back Of Toilet Doors was a waste of a minute if I’m being perfectly honest. I’ll never get that minute back. Oh well. The title track was decent I felt but it really could have been 4 minutes long. This album has quite a few decent songs on it actually. I still don’t overly like any of the ones I knew from the album though.
Album MVP – Death Breath
Also Recommended – Diamonds Aren’t Forever, It Was Written In Blood

THERE IS A HELL, BELIEVE ME I’VE SEEN IT. THERE IS A HEAVEN, LET’S KEEP IT A SECRET (2010) – In the spirit of honesty, I sighed when I saw how long the opening track was. There have been a handful of instances where, in my opinion, the band could have ended the song earlier and had a better song as a result. That is not the case with Crucify Me – this song is good. Anthem is alright as is It Never Ends. Fuck is also alright. You can definitely hear the difference from where they started on Count Your Blessings and this. I didn’t think much of Don’t Go. Home Sweet Home is a good song. Alligator Blood didn’t do a lot for me. Neither did Visions really. I do like Blacklist thought. Memorial might mean something to people who know more about the band than I do. To me though, I don’t see why it is there. Same as Fifteen Fathoms, Counting from the first album. I thought Memorial was almost 5 minutes long until I realised Blessed With A Curse has a really long intro. The song didn’t do a lot for me. The Fox And The Wolf was a lively way to end the album. I thought it was alright. Overall I would say the album was fairly decent – my favourite one of the three so far. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it made me a fan of them though.
Album MVP – Crucify Me
Also Recommended – Home Sweet Home, The Fox And The Wolf

SEMPITERNAL (2013) – I will be interested to see how I react to this album, because it was around this album that Bring Me started to become huge. If memory serves me correctly anyway. Can You Feel My Heart is an excellent song. The House Of Wolves and Empire (Let Them Sing) are both very good songs. Sleepwalking is another really good song. This album is off to a very strong start. Go To Hell, for Heaven’s Sake is another strong song.  Shadow Moses is another excellent song. And the Snakes Start to Sing didn’t do much for me. Seen It All Before is alright. Antivist is really good. Crooked Young is decent enough. The album closes out on Hospital For Souls, which is an alright song. On the whole, I really like this album.
Album MVP – Can You Feel My Heart
Also Recommended – Shadow Moses, The House Of Wolves.

THAT’S THE SPIRIT (2015) – Right then. If Sempiternal started Bring Me’s journey to the big leagues, this was the album which got them there. Anyway, the songs. Doomed is an alright start. I don’t think it is as good as Can You Feel My Heart in terms of album openers. Happy Song and Throne are very good songs. True Friends is another very good song. This album is very different to Count Your Blessings. I can’t fault them for that though. Follow You is a fine example of how far the band have come from the CYB days. The song is a good one, but it is very different to old Bring Me. What You Need is a very good song. Avalanche is a good song. Run is a very good song, as is Drown. Drown is the best the album has to offer. Blasphemy is an alright song, as is Oh No. The album on the whole is very good. I can see why, on the back of this, they are doing arena dates later in 2016.
Album MVP - Drown
Also Recommended – Throne, Happy Song, Run

CONCLUSION – I can see why Bring Me The Horizon will be a mainstream festival headliner next year. Have they sold out by doing this? Well, if they have, it has worked. They have definitely changed their sound with each album from a deathcore band to a rock band. It is this reason which is why I would argue they haven’t “sold out” as such – because their sound has changed with each album. If they released That’s The Spirit straight after Count Your Blessings, then that would be different. As for my enjoyment of the band? I didn’t like Count Your Blessings and Suicide Season was a mixed bag for me. I did like There Is a Hell and I thought Sempiternal overall was a very good album. That’s The Spirit is also a very good album but gun to my head, I’d say I prefer Sempiternal. I went into this revisit knowing very little about Bring Me The Horizon – I leave it liking two of their albums and some of their other material as well. I guess you could call me a casual fan? I’m not sure what that will actually entail other than actually listening to their music occasionally but still.  

Next time I write one of these blogs, it will be about a band I love. It will be about Slipknot.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Revisiting Bands - DevilDriver

This is another one of those Revisiting Bands blogs because the last one was so popular, they demanded another. Okay that didn’t happen, I just like writing these things from time to time and this particular series allows me to listen to music while writing which is always a good thing. Last time, I posted about Deftones – a band who I am not a fan of (although I found I like them a lot more than I thought I did). This time, I am going a slightly different route and posting about a band who I used to love, that as time has progressed, I’ve found myself going off. More information about my relationship with Devildriver will appear in the next paragraph.

My Relationship with Devildriver. I was introduced to Devildriver back in 2005/6 by a girl I had a crush on at the time. She told me I should listen to them and I probably would have listened to anything had she asked me to. As it happens, she sent me a video of Devildriver playing End Of The Line – I knew nothing of this band and this song, especially performed live, blew me away. I needed to know more about this band and found out this song was on an album called The Fury Of Our Maker’s Hand which came out in 2005. I went and got it and it was love at first listen – the album is superb (more on that later). I went back and listened to their debut album which I also loved. I saw them live for the first time not long after at Download 2006 and they were one of the best bands I saw that weekend. I continued to see them live over the years and I didn’t have a bad story from seeing them live (aside from when there was train related troubles when I went to see them in London). I liked the albums they were releasing but they were becoming forgettable. I saw them play a really short headline set in Southampton where, to be blunt, they picked a really strong support bill and could not compete. Since that night, I have somewhat gone off them and find myself now skipping their songs when they come on when I listen to a playlist on shuffle. I am yet to hear their latest release and will do so for this blog. I used to love Devildriver, and now I don’t listen to them. I think the first part of this blog, the first two albums at least, could be a lot of fun.

DEVILDRIVER (2003) – The start of Devildriver’s self-titled album is massive, with Nothings Wrong?, and I Could Care Less. When thinking back on this album, I couldn’t think of any songs I thought were weak. On reflection, the first one is 3 tracks in. Die (And Die Now) is not even close to being as good as the first two songs. I Dreamed I Died gets things back on track. It’s a bit good. Cry for Me Sky (Eulogy of the Scorned) is probably my favourite song from this album. I’ve never been able to work out why the Eulogy of the Scorned bit is in the title mind. The Mountain is another good song. Knee Deep is alright at best. Probably in the same realms as Die (And Die Now). What Does It Take (To Be a Man) is another song that doesn’t do a whole lot for me. Swinging The Dead is a great song. Revelation Machine is alright. It is not amongst the better songs on this album but is better than the worst songs on the album. Meet The Wretched is amongst the best though, excellent song. The album closes on Devil’s Son which is alright. Revisiting this album reaffirmed that I like the better songs on this album, however had you asked me before this sitting how many weaker tracks there are on it, I would have said 1 or 2, not 4 or 5.
Album MVP – Cry For Me Sky
Also Recommended – Meet The Wretched, I Could Care Less.

THE FURY OF OUR MAKER’S HAND (2005) – I’m not sure if I chose this band to try and rekindle my love for them, or to just to have an excuse to listen to this album again. Regardless, it opens with End Of The Line – the song which introduced me to Devildriver – and it is quite a statement of intent. The next 3 songs, Driving Down The Darkness, Grinfucked (why do people think metal fans are less intelligent by the way?) and Hold Back The Day are all great songs. The run of songs from Sin & Sacrifice to Bear Witness Unto are all solid songs – sure not as good as the first four I’d say but still very good. The final two songs, Before The Hangman’s Noose and the title track are as good as the first four songs. There is not a weak song on this album and it is still my favourite of theirs.
Album MVP – The End Of The Line
Also Recommended – The Fury Of Our Maker’s Hand, Driving Down The Darkness.

THE LAST KIND WORDS (2007) – One thing you can say about Devildriver’s first three albums is they sure do start well. Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost into Clouds Over California and Bound By The Moon? Belting start. Horn of Betrayal and These Fighting Words are alright. Head On To Heartache was the focal point of an EP that Devildriver released between this album and their next album (this song and B-Sides and bonus songs). This song again is alright but having re-listened, I’m not sure why it was made the focal point of anything. Burning Sermon was decent – better than the previous few it followed. Monsters Of The Deep was alright, although the first 2 and a half minutes it was on for seemed to fly by really fast. Tirades of Truth on the other hand really felt like it dragged. I don’t ever remember listening to When Summoned before. I’m sure I have but I don’t remember it at all. I liked it though! I seem to recall The Axe Shall Fall being one of the better songs on the album but much like several of the others that followed it…it is alright. The album has a whole has its moments (mainly the first 3 songs) but is a significant step down from the previous two, especially The Fury Of Our Makers Hand.
Album MVP – Clouds Over California
Also Recommended – Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost, Bound By The Moon.

PRAY FOR VILLAINS (2009) – Before listening back to this album, I had it in my mind that this was Devildriver’s second best album behind Fury. The album opens with the title track and it is a very strong start. Just like the previous 3 albums, this one starts very well. Pure Sincerity is also really quite good. I enjoyed Fate Stepped In but I was a bit bored as the song went on. Back With A Vengeance lost me a few times which meant I had to roll it back and listen to the second half again – I liked it though. I’ve Been Sober is one of my favourite Devildriver songs period. Resurrection BLVD did very little for me. Forgiveness Is A Six Gun and Waiting For November are both alright songs in my opinion. Another Night In London is an excellent song – one of the best on the album. It is followed by Bitter Pill, another one of my favourite Devildriver songs. The album would have been better had it ended after Bitter Pill. The last two songs, Teach Me To Whisper and I See Belief, aren’t bad by any means, but I doubt I will be listening to them again in a hurry.
Album MVP – Bitter Pill
Also Recommended – Pray For Villains, I’ve Been Sober.

BEAST (2011) – I think in terms of recorded output; this is when I started to go off Devildriver. I remember there being some good individual songs on this album but on the whole, it didn’t do a lot for me. Dead To Rights, much like any other opening song on a Devildriver album, is a belter. Bring The Fight (To The Floor) is another really good song. Hardened is an alright song but it quickly became background music for me if I’m honest. Shitlist is a decent enough song. Talons Out (Teeth Sharpened) is much better than I remember it being which is a nice surprise. Same story with You Make Me Sick and Coldblooded if I’m honest. I would have added Blur into that as well but when I thought the song ended, it had nearly 90 seconds to go. That really was a drag to listen to. The Blame Game was alright but much like Hardened, it disappeared into the background very quickly. This album has thrown up a lot of surprises for me. Black Soul Choir was another one that I didn’t remember but enjoyed. The last two songs on the album were alright but much like the last two on Pray For Villains, are largely forgettable. This album though is much better than I remember it being, despite only having the one stand out track.
Album MVP – Dead To Rights
Also Recommended – Bring The Fight (To The Floor), Black Soul Choir.

WINTER KILLS (2013) – For the first time, the opening song is not a belter. Oath Of The Abyss isn’t a bad song, but it is the weakest opening track on a Devildriver album so far. Ruthless is a decent song, better than the opening track. As is Desperate Times. None of these songs so far are in the same league as past album belters though. The title track is another example of a song that is decent enough but not a belter. The Appetite is my favourite of the first five tracks. Gutted is a complete change of pace for the album in a good way. It is different to anything that preceded it. Curses and Epitaphs is another one of those songs that is decent enough. Same as Carings Overkill really. Haunting Refrain was alright but it did lose me in places. Tripping Over Tombstones is the best song on the album. It is head and shoulders above anything else on the album and potentially could creep onto a Devildriver best of album (were they to make one). However, it also might not. One song that definitely wouldn’t is their cover of AWOLNATION’s Sail. It isn’t a bad song – but it isn’t a good song either. I vaguely recall them playing it live when I last saw them. They did a 14 song headline set (maybe) and one of them was this? Poor call. This album is average. It is filled with songs that are “good enough” but nothing excellent.
Album MVP – Tripping Over Tombstones
Also Recommended – The Appetite, Gutted.

TRUST NO ONE (2016) – I’ve no idea what to expect from this album as I am going in blind. I’ve heard nothing from it before this first listen. Testimony of Truth is the opener and it is very good. Better than the opener for Winter Kills that is for sure. Better than the others? Possibly better than Dead To Rights as well. Bad Deeds started well – I was really into it. It slowed down towards the end and I lost interest a bit really. My Night Sky was another one I thought started well but tailed off towards the end. This Deception and Above It All are both decent songs. Daybreak, the lead single off this album is another decent song, but unless it goes downhill from here, I’m not sure why it was picked as the single. Testimony of Truth would have made more sense I’d have said. The title track is pretty good. Feeling Un-god-ly (ungodly is a word, why did they break it up?) is another one of those decent tracks that I’ll likely never revisit after this listen. Same with Retribution. The final track on the album, For What It’s Worth is good – better than most on the album.
Album MVP – Testimony of Truth
Also Recommended – For What It’s Worth, Trust No One.

CONCLUSION – To start with, this was a fun project. I got to listen to the first two albums again and it reminded me why I fell in love with Devildriver. After that, it almost became a chore to finish it. There were a lot of songs I’d only listened to once or twice from the later albums which were alright, but are not in the same league as stuff from the first two. I used to be in the Devildriver fan club back in the day. This revisit made me realise those days are long gone. Devildriver are no longer one of my favourite bands and this revisit did nothing to change that. It did remind me how good the first two albums are. It also, in all fairness, did make me realise that the album Beast is much better than I remember it being. So I guess that is something.

The next band I will be revisiting is one I’ve not really visited if I’m honest. I will look back at the albums by Bring Me The Horizon. 

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Revisiting Bands - Deftones

I have just concluded a series of blogs on a decade of going to gigs, and now I’ve decided to embark on another one. Aren’t y’all lucky? No wait, don’t leave! (who am I talking to right now?!) Anyway – this one is going to be quite different in that I want to go through a bands discography and give some thoughts basically. I tried launching a 10 songs you need to hear series some years ago and covered Nine Inch Nails and picked 10 songs people might not immediately think of when you think of NIN – that can be read here. This is different. I will go through a bands back catalogue and give some thoughts. There will be some interesting choices in this list as I will cover bands I love and bands I really don’t. What I will do is a brief summary of my relationship with the band and then launch into my thoughts on their back catalogue. After I have talked about an album, I will give my MVP choice of my favourite song from the album, and then give some other recommendations. To make my life a bit easier, I will be covering studio albums only – so EPs and live albums will not be covered unless I consider it to be an exceptional circumstance (see S&M). I find myself wondering, particularly with my first choice of band, and with another one I intend to do, whether my opinion on them will change. Only one way to find out. That is enough of an intro – this first blog in this series of Revisiting Bands focuses on a band I wouldn’t consider myself a fan of – Deftones.

My Relationship with Deftones – I first got into rock music in about 2002/3. I didn’t hear my first Deftones song for quite a while after this, and I think it must have been My Own Summer (Shove It). I saw them live at Download 2006 and frankly, I didn’t enjoy it – I thought it was boring (I didn’t know most of the songs). They came to Portsmouth in 2007 and I wasn’t going to go. They had to cancel the gig so it wasn’t an issue. They rearranged it I think for the next month and I was given a free ticket by someone who couldn’t go, so I went. I enjoyed some of the night, but I found myself with familiar feelings of boredom. I haven’t paid much attention to them since then and this blog will be the first time I have listened to most of their albums in full.

ADRENALINE (1995) – I honestly don’t know if I’ve listened to this album all the way through or not before this writing. Looking at the tracklisting, there are a few songs I am familiar with, or at least I think I am, but not sure. The one that stands out is 7 Words – I know that is an ace song. The first six songs I liked but 7 Words is just head and shoulders above them. I wrote those words as the album was on. I have now finished the album and I have to say I really liked it. The last two tracks on this album lost me a bit if I’m honest, but overall I would say I like this album.
Album MVP – 7 Words
Also Recommended – Minus Blindfold, Engine No. 9.

AROUND THE FUR (1997) – Oh my word it has been a long time since I’ve listened to My Own Summer (Shove It). Without doubt, it is my favourite Deftones song. Around The Fur, I think it is fair to say, is a much heavier album than Adrenaline. I have to say I enjoyed this album much more than Adrenaline. The track Lotion made me wonder if I had accidentally put on a Cancer Bats song at one point when Chino is screaming in the chorus. For the record, I didn’t. Headup is too long I think – I lost concentration during that. Also, hidden tracks, what is the point? (I guess this album was released before you knew the last track was 37 mins long – but still). The proper hidden track on this album, Damone, is excellent. I don’t get why it isn’t on the album proper.
Album MVP – My Own Summer (Shove It)
Also Recommended – Around The Fur, Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away), Lhabia.

WHITE PONY (2001) – I’ve heard nothing but good things about this album and from early doors, I can see why. I didn’t really get into RX Queen. I didn’t know about Teenager – it is probably the softest Deftones had been on record at this point in time – decent song though. I did struggle with Knife Prty – it just didn’t keep my attention. Passenger got my attention though. I was thinking “that sounds so much like Maynard James Keenan from Tool singing” and it turns out it was. Had you asked me before this listen if I liked their song Change (In The House of Flies) I probably would have said yes. Listening now though, I found it a real chore to get through. Same with Pink Maggit if I’m honest. I thought the album was alright but is certainly my least favourite of the 3 I’ve listened to so far.
Album MVP - Elite
Also Recommended – Passenger, Korea.

DEFTONES (2003) – I don’t recognise any of these song titles so this could be interesting. At about the half way mark of this album, nothing had really grabbed me. I enjoyed Hexagram and Needles and Pins, but I didn’t like them as much or more than any of the other material I had liked from previous albums. I do like When Girls Telephone Boys – that’s a good song. The two songs that followed, Battle-axe and Lucky You I found hard to listen to. They were a slog. Bloody Cape grabbed my attention but then, just like with White Pony, the last two songs lost me again. A definite mixed bag of an album if ever I’ve heard one.
Album MVP – When Girls Telephone Boys
Also Recommended – Hexagram, Needles and Pins.

SATURDAY NIGHT WRIST (2006) – This was the album that was being toured around the time I saw them live in Portsmouth. This album made up about ¼ of the set. The interesting difference between the two sets I’ve seen is that at Download, the album hadn’t been released so they only played one song from this record, but there was a lot more from the self-titled album which as I said above, I thought was a mixed bag. This album has a strong start with Hole In The Earth and Rapture. It started to lose me a bit with Beware and Cherry Waves – I don’t dislike the songs but they lost my attention a few times. I liked hearing Serj Tankian on Mein – that was a good song. Speaking of good songs, Rats!Rats!Rats! – I really dug that. There has been a slight break in the usual pattern as I like the second to last song on the album! The last song did nothing for me though. I enjoyed this album a lot more than I thought I would, considering it was the one being toured when I last saw them live. As a side note, I listened to a version of the album with their cover of Drive on the end of it – pretty good cover that.
Album MVP – Rats!Rats!Rats!
Also Recommended – Hole In The Earth, Rapture, Kimdracula.

DIAMOND EYES (2010) – The title track is one of the songs I recall hearing every day for a while on Team Rock Radio. I never used to care for it but on this revisit, I quite like it. Royal is also a decent song but it was CMND/CTRL that really grabbed my attention. After grabbing my attention, they lost me for the next three tracks. I didn’t mind You’ve Seen the Butcher but the other two I didn’t get into. Rocket Skates got me back though – very good song. Sextape and Risk were also good. Had it not been for the section earlier in the album where it lost me, this could easily have been my favourite Deftones album. 976-EVIL was alright but I found myself losing interest during This Place Is Death. There are without doubt some decent tracks on this album but there were definite pockets where it was losing me.
Also Recommended – Diamond Eyes, Royal, Rocket Skates.

KOI NO YOKAN (2012) – Right out of the gate, I dug Swerve City. The next 3 songs I enjoyed as well.  I then experienced another lull. Songs 5-7 aren’t bad songs by any means but they did little to keep my attention. Gauze got my attention back somewhat. I liked Rosemary and I thought that Goon Squad was alright though it did start to feel like a chore listening to it as it went on. I liked the last song! That might be the first time that has happened!
Album MVP – Swerve City
Also Recommended – Romantic Dreams, Gauze.

GORE (2016) – This album gets off to a slow start as far as I’m concerned. The first two songs did very little for me. The third song did more for me but had it ended around the 3-minute mark, I would have thought it was so much better than it actually was. Geometric Headdress was alright but when it was over and Spotify started playing an advert, it had occurred to me that I tuned out towards the end of it. Pittura Infamante is a decent song, as is Xenon. The last four songs on the album did nothing for me. This is my least favourite of all of the band’s albums.
Album MVP – Pittura Infamante
Also Recommended – Xenon, Geometric Headdress.

CONCLUSION – Am I now a fan of Deftones? Well, no not really. Do I have a greater appreciation for their back catalogue? Definitely. They have a decent number of good songs in my opinion. I found myself wondering if my enjoyment of their live sets would have been different had I done more research of their back catalogue? Or was it that they just weren’t that good live back when I saw them? Hard to say without a time machine. This revisiting session on a band who I previously had written off has been interesting as a week ago, if asked, I probably would have just said Deftones were rubbish. I can’t say that with any conviction now as it isn’t true. There were parts of this revisit where it was a real slog to get through the material, but in doing so, I discovered some great songs and rediscovered ones I already loved but hadn’t listened to for years.

The next band I will be revisiting is one I used to love but have gone off in recent times – Devildriver. 

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

A Decade Of Gigs Part Eight - The Photo Blog

If you have read any of the previous Decade of Gigs posts, you will know that they come with plenty of words - not this time. This blog is basically a selection of photos I've taken over the last decade of gigs. Enjoy!