Wednesday, 29 February 2012

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE - NEW UK TITLE, NEW TRAILER

Despite the pointless change to the title for the UK (do you really think audiences who see it will mistake it for the overrated old TV series of the same name? *sigh*), this makes me very, very happy indeed. I AM RIDICULOUSLY EXCITED ABOUT THIS FILM. It's like a dozen childhood dreams coming true at once.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

METAL ESSENTIALS: IRON MAIDEN - “SEVENTH SON OF A SEVENTH SON”


Iron Maiden' seventh album was, to these ears, heavy metal's “Dark Side of the Moon.” A luxurious, complicated and multi-faceted piece of musical ingenuity which retains every bit of its power, even now. At the time of its release, there seemed to be some division amongst fans of the band as “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son” featured heavy usage of keyboards on many songs.

There were those who maintained that keyboards had no place in the Iron Maiden sound, that they watered down the basic foundation of what made Maiden who they were and continue to be. Nonsense.

The album was a very bold move for the band, but it was a move that needed to be taken lest they remain static in one creative space. Yes, it featured all of the guitar harmonies, galloping basslines and enough Bruce Dickinson howls to satisfy the diehards, but the added sense of scale those additional elements brought to the music worked really well. Those sounds have dated a little now, but not enough to reduce the impact of each song.


The hit single “Can I Play With Madness” is a perfect example – it's one of the greatest songs Iron Maiden have ever produced, yet it features the keyboards heavily throughout it, as well as a hugely melodic quality thanks to the legendary chorus.

Everything about the album seems to work with everything else, from the songwriting itself to the cover art, the production and the ad campaign which went with it.

The title track is a perfect example of how Iron Maiden can take the listener on a lengthy musical journey without it becoming stale or too contrived, and the whole album is an essential piece of the Iron Maiden story, and a key point in their evolution. Incidentally, a brilliant live album and video followed it in the shape of “Maiden England”, which features some amazing live renditions of tracks from this album. 

Highlights: “Infinite Dreams”, “Can I Play With Madness”, “The Evil That Men Do”, “Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son”, “The Clairvoyant”
Year: 1988
Produced by: Martin Birch
Label: EMI

And here is the "Maiden England" live version of the title track in all its glory...


Tuesday, 21 February 2012

DELAIN – Why Won't Warners Release Their New Album?


Dutch symphonic metallers Delain are having issues with getting their new album released. The highly anticipated “We Are The Others” album has been shelved by Warners (it was supposed to be out in 2011) and thus the band and their growing legion of fans are without a new product to promote or enjoy. The album is done. The promo campaign had started. The songs were being teased online via a popular video. The cover was out. The band were stoked.

Then... nothing.

Why? Delain's label, the rock and metal powerhouse Roadrunner Records, was taken over by WMG and since that change the label is reluctant to put the new album out. No clear reason has been given. It seems, from what I can find, that there are staff at Roadrunner working to get the album out, but WMG are yet to understand the genre that they have bought into by acquiring Roadrunner.


The new Delain album sounds much heavier than the first two, so maybe that's an issue WMG are having. Things have changed since the early days of Roadrunner being a niche interest label. Many Roadrunner acts are huge, and have become so under their own steam without pandering to trends or major label dilution.

It's great that WMG has got hold of Roadrunner in one respect, as that means the label has a chance to grow and to nurture new talent to a greater level, but it also means that people who don't understand the genre and how its audience works may be sticking their noses in a bit too much.

Are they wanting vocalist Charlotte to go solo? Do they want the heaviness of the new album to be toned down to ensure commercial appeal? Whatever the case, the album is done and ready, the audience wants to buy it and the band wants to promote it. Dear WMG – please put the new Delain album out. We want to hear it, and keeping it under wraps is a waste of time, effort and a missed opportunity for revenue.

You can join the campaign to get the album released at the Petition for Warner Music to release Delain - We Are The Others Facebook page.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

COMING SOON – BAGGED AND BOARDED: LIFE ON PLANET GEEK

I'm currently finishing up a new book which will be released soon via DREAMRIDER MEDIA. Entitled BAGGED AND BOARDED: LIFE ON PLANET GEEK, it has been written following literally hundreds of requests that I do so from friends and former colleagues.

In case you don't know, I used to work in a comic shop, which was a dream job for me for the nine years I spent doing it. This book is all about working in a comic shop, working in retail and the geek lifestyle, mixed with recollections of the day to day life that comic shop employees lead. To protect my sanity and that of others, I have renamed the place I worked at as Planet Geek for this book. I want to share with you people the real-life experience of life on planet geek, and all of the laughs that went with it. It's funny, it's serious, it's geeky and it's honest. It's coming soon to the Kindle and iBooks and will have a limited print run too! More details very soon.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

The First Time Daddy

Did you know I'm going to be a daddy? Well, now you do, and I am maintaining a blog about the experience and my thoughts, fears and hopes for the future. Please do visit The First Time Daddy.

I can't wait for him to arrive :)