Next batch now. Iím on a roll. Judgement day, ooh yeah. What we got this time, ah some miserable metal. My Dying Bride. Didnít I see this lot on the first Maiden tour with old Blazey boy? Yeah, I did. Didnít do much for me as I recall, but now Iíve got the opportunity to sit down and become aquainted with them.

And to be honest, I was ready to give up on this. But I persisted, and well, itís not there but Iím doing better with it. See, this isnít the sort of thing I normally listen to. So to me it sounds melodic epic doomy sort of stuff. Apparently theyíve returned to their roots, and the vocals are taking on a death metal sort of slant again. Well I wouldnít go that far, the vocals are ok, and mix between melodic and spoken word and a deeper growl, but without becoming truly preposterous. And thereís some cool riffs and guitar melodies going on in there, expecially within the likes of She Is the Dark, Edenbeask the title track itself and Into The Lake of Ghosts.

The major problem for me though is that itís so fucking long and drawn out. Three tracks top the 10 minut mark, while another three top 7 minutes. Long epics can be good, but thereís a skill to them, and you need either to be totally in the correct frame of mind for them or they need to be special. And hereís the problem - itís just too boring. Sure, itís value for money. Sure, itís a challenge. But the temptation to press eject and move on to the next CD is always brimming below the surface. If you can persist with it then youíll start to uncover more and become more at ease, simply because of the familiarity aspect. But to get that far is a challenge.

 

Apparently they went back to their roots to avoid ending up loosing touch like they reckon Anatema have done. Maybe, but in the process Anathema made an awesome album, whereas MDB have some good ideas stretched too far. Is it a surprise that one of the most pleasing moments here is the chug and accessibilty of The Fever Sea, which just happens to be the shortest track on offer at a little over 4 minutes. Size isnít everything. Though personally for me the best moment is The Isis Script. Maybe ok if youíre into this stuff, otherwise itís probably going to be a long hard slog.

 

Available on Peaceville Records.


Next up in the pile is a double live set from the Michael Schenker Group called Unforgiven World Tour. Another of those offshoots from UFO, which shows given that the band run through a number of UFO standards, as well as The Scorpions Another Piece Of Meat on the basis the the "Mad Axeman" played in both bands. And, I donít know what to say, this just doesnít move me. Iíve never been a fan of the Schenker. With this sort of music itís always been weird, one band I can like, another very similar does nothing for me. This does nothing. Nowadays I look for my kicks in other directions, but I can still return to the old stuff and enjoy it and think "yeah, I know why I liked that". But this doesnít. It chugs along through 21 tracks, but from the start, titles like "Only You Can Rock Me" just well, they just donít do it for me. The second disc is more interesting, and thatís cos of the UFO tracks such as Lights Out, Doctor Doctor and Rock Bottom. And like I said, I was never even a UFO fan, so you can draw your own conclusions from that.

For the fan, great, a double live set that will be lapped up. Possibly, though it may be more for the real die hard fan. For the rest, well like it or not, it isnít going to attract a new audience, no matter how high you tweak the audience participation levels. Wonder how many of the current "nu-metal" bands will have that written about them in 10 years time. Pretty much any that survive is my guess.


Ok, time to return to that Charger CD. Bit less stressed now, so I can listen to it properly. Look, I said Iíd return to it, and I do my best to stick to my word.

As I said, these yayyy fests can be yay or yawn. And I donít know how you determine which it is. You like or you donít. I often kind of try to switch off to the vocals and concentrate on the music. In this case it bludgeons, and you can cite any one of the multitude of sludgecore (bollocks, I used a core again) bands, but ultimately, the riff, the tone and the melodies all come back to the church of Sabbath. And I really would like to see just a shade more speed sometimes. Címon people. Inject some life into it all. Brickshithouse especially has huge riffs, but when it crawls for 15 minutes itís like "could someone please stick something under the drummer".

Live I found them a more appetising affair, dunno why, the songs were the same ones. I dunno, I canít commit one way or another on this one, so Iím not really worthy of given any sort of opinion on it. Itís huge heavy and groovy. Itís self indulgent and boring. Itís both. You decide.

Available on Undergroove.