FireFight zine

Third issue of FireFight essentially carries on where the previous 2 left off. It feels like it's trying and is a magazine. But not in the way P101 tries. It's not full of fashion ads. No, FF is a magazine in that from the off it hits you with just interviews and reviews. This time round there's ints with Bruce Dickinson, The Gathering, Sick of it All (yeah), Agnostic Front (showing the crossover again) Cyclefly (hmmm), Michael Schenker and more.

And the other reason that I say it's a magazine and not a fanzine is that there are no demo reviews or anything like that. Which to me is part and parcel of what a fanzine is about. It's all kind of no frills, instead trying to concentrate on giving you the info on the bands. And it's a damn sight better than Kerrang! Which needs competition. Which is another reason why I say FF is a magazine. Because it could give it the comptetion. It seems to have the connections, but without necessarily towing the line and kissing the feet of 3 or 4 prominent record labels. IT could take on the big K! If it was on a more regular basis. And if it wanted to.

Hang on, Ish 4 is here now. Continues the trend. Interviews this time round include SOD, Neurosis, Manowar, Skinlab, Paradise Lost and others. Personally would like to see some zine reviews and a few more demos, but thatís just my taste. Whatever, if metal is your game, grab it.

£1.50 per issue.

Contact: FireFight 31 William Close, Southall, Middlesex, UB2 4UP.

Rydell / Babies Three / Sunfactor split CD.



Another concept that though not new, is perhaps something more should look at. Split CDs. This time for the recent tour that took place which featured these bands for most of the dates, though Sunfactor weren't there for the one I was at. Anyway, it should cut the costs for bands involved and still allow them to get something out there without the gaze of the corporate gods that like to pass judgement on what is right and wrong in the industry.

But enough, there's three bands to consider here. The first of whom is Rydell who hail from ???? Time of our Time is their opening track, a melodic piece that sets the tone for the rest of the album and ends with the immortal question of "can I die now?". Which I guess doesn't really make immortal after all.

The final band on here are the Babies Three, and for the most part it sees the band developing on some of the more atmospheric moments of the full length album, going for emotional, longer songs. Well that is apart from the final moment,Untitled Number One, a short, fairly fast, frenetic, bass led punky little ditty, that you should've heard on the CD with the last issue of Yaz. It's perhaps not entirely reflective of their material, but the one thing I think I've learnt regarding Babies Three is that they like to mix and match and mess around with their style. Which makes them all the more important and wonderful.

Spocks Beard - Day Or Night

Crikey. I liked Marillion a hell of a lot. But have not listened to anything "new" from them since oh God, must be the first album with Steve Hogarth on vocals. That prog style just kinda drifted out of my life when FNM, the Dead Kennedys etc drifted in. And so I'm no expert on this sort of thing by any stretch of the imagination. So that Marillion was the first thing that drifted into my mind when I played this is maybe no real reflection on what it sounds like. Save for it's progressive and has those style keyboards. You know the ones that I mean. But also that it's just not as good. I dunno, it's kind of insipid to me. But I try to review anything and everything I'm sent. I try to write in a not totally negative manner and give some positive thoughts. Or at least constructive criticism. But I'm struggling here. The likes Skin are ok, but the 10 minutes (minus 1 second) of Crack The Big Sky is just pushing it a bit far for me. Very big, very clever, just not very interesting. Sorry.

Available on SPV

Portishead - NYC Live



Now, before you complain, a few things. 1) I write this so I decide what goes in. Iíve ummed and aaahed about this one for 2 issues now but fuck it. 2) I keep on about having an open mind and listening to different styles of music. And it applies to me as well. 3) I love Portishead. Simple as that.

So, Iím going to do a review. I donít know why I like them so much. I couldnít name another trip hop act if you asked me to. It could be that the music is what counts. They use different styles and different instrumention and approaches, but the end result is a style of music that seems depressive yet offers hope. Which is effectively what a lot of heavy music does. It could be that I do love female vocalists, and Beth IS a great vocalist. Sexy yet fragile at the same time, her voice is undoubtedly the star of the show and probably the hook in getting me to listen to this band.

But a live album surprised me. They didnít strike me as the type of band that would indulge in this. But maybe thatís in essence exactly why they have. To dispel the misnomour that people like I may have that they "canít do this sort of music live." They can, oh they can. Itís not quite as perfect as the studio releases, but thatís what you expect from any band live. And as itís a mix of both the albums, then itís as good an introduction to the band as youíll get. Though my personal favourite track, Undenied, isnít performed. Still, you canít have everything.

Donít come expecting violent guitars and breakneck rhythms. You ainít going to get it. But reveal in the sparseness, the bleak outlook and the laid back approach. And the sheer quality of songs such as All Mine, Humming, Mysterions, Only You. Itís as heavy as anything distorted guitar will throw at you, just from a totally different angle thatís all. And so atmospheric. And fragile, but strong.

At the end of the day, if youíre totally focussed on one style of music and wonít budge from it, then if that style of music isnít trip hop, you wonít like this. But thatís a boring approach to music in my opinion. If youíre prepared to admit to yourself that you occasionally like, or need to listen to something else, then Portishead for me is as good as it gets. And at the end of the day, this zine is a reflection of me as much as anything, and what I somtimes think and listen to. Therefore this needs no more justification. Just another listen.

Available on Go Beat Records