Posts Tagged ‘2011

11
Nov
11

Movie Review: Rockstar

AR Rahman is absolutely right: there are no pure rock stars in India. Rahman says India does not have pure rock stars because Indians have morals, but the truth is that it’s because every Indian musician who plays rock music or heavy metal, when not promoting his band, is advertising his other talents, selling out, displaying various skills and somehow being in the limelight all the time. Not that any Indian musician will admit he wants to be a rock star (“rockstar”, according to this Hindi film) – ‘I’m a musician, not a rock star’, he will say, but will use every strategy in the book to market himself, without realizing that no bona fide rock star in the world promotes himself or his band or his other pluses. A rock star does not have to be a boozard or drug user, and he does not need to be a sex maniac. But what a rock star should never be is a salesman, and he should never do for himself what he can get others to do for him. Like frying an egg, fixing a leaky tap, tuning a car’s engine, masturbating… you get what I’m saying. A rock star’s other skills should be benefits for family and friends; they will let the world know the perks of knowing you personally when you’re not around, and that is the way the world will learn interesting things about you, unless your life is a poorly written open book which everybody has read and nobody cares about. Rock stars don’t feel the need to do things to become or to continue being special. They are extraordinary wherever they are and however they are by simply being.

Imtiaz Ali, a friend tells me, has the habit of telling the same story over and over again, and the amazing thing about his movies is that he tells you that story differently every time.

Rockstar makes no effort to connect with the rock scene or fans of rock music in any way. If the movie meant to have rock music buffs warming up to it, the songs would have been in English. Rockstar is the love story of a musician who makes no bones about his desire to become famous – as famous as his idol Jim Morrison – and being the simpleton he is, starts off on an amusing note – he tries to have his heart broken because he’s been told great music is born only out of pain.

Imtiaz Ali dives into the love story – there is push and pull between Jordan/Janardhan (Ranbir Kapoor) and his manager and the record label but no sign of the rest of his band, so we can assume they’re all session/live musicians. Fair enough. This movie isn’t about a musician’s struggles; it’s about a simpleton musician who turns into a rebellious sensation. How he became such a big star, what he did to become an overnight sensation, where in India would a “rock star” get mobbed, why he doesn’t have poseur band mates – these are questions for our Indian rock stars musicians to ask on Facebook and Twitter, and in that way indulge in more PR exercises, and go even further away from becoming rock stars. Break an egg, make an omelette and let the entire cyberworld know about it.

Rockstar is funny, charming and a bit stretched. Ranbir Kapoor and Heer Kaul (Nargis Fakhri) have a blast watching soft porn in a seedy movie hall, getting drunk on country liquor, disturbing men peeing on a wall and rushing off on a bike, and realize they miss each other when she gets married to another man and leaves for Prague. Jordan, thanks to opportunity, goes there to meet her.

There are a lot of songs – most of them pretty good – all of them sung by the often annoying Mohit Chauhan. His voice does grate the nerves, even if he’s singing to Rahman’s music when Rahman is in solid form. The film is a visual delight too, with very good cinematography and the way lights and colours illuminate many of the scenes.

Nargis Fakhri has a splendid ass, and you should check out the slideshow at the bottom of this post, and the next time a rock star musician writes on Facebook/Twitter anything negative about this movie, you should share the link of this review with them.

Rockstar is a one-time watch, and a sweet one.

RATING: 3.5/5

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07
Nov
11

…And Metallica For All

An open letter to India’s metal maniacs from an overjoyed, content Metallica fan

There are now two categories of Indian metalheads: those who attended the Metallica concert in Bangalore, and those who didn’t. On the evening of October 30, 2011 at around 7:20 pm, my country saw the greatest heavy metal band in the world ever – right before its unbelieving eyes that were dehydrated from two litres of craft beer and half an hour of crying. When these eyes opened because it was impossible to hold back tears at the tune that marks the grand entry of the world’s most influential metal band on stage, they saw countless others in the exact same state – drunk or sober, there were so many others sobbing uncontrollably. It wasn’t closure of any kind; the band that understood us when nobody else did, the force that gave us strength and saw us through the most difficult phases of our youth, the band that wrote and sang songs about our lives, for all of us and yet exclusively for each of us – that band let us know that evening that they had never been content being there as just our emotional strength or spiritual guide – that evening they stood before us – physically present, to make it even more personal.

The Delhi Fiasco: The Thing That Should Not Have Been

Funny as it was (and it still cracks me up) at how things went all wrong in Gurgaon, Haryana, it also makes me sad to think how fucked the fans must have felt at Metallica’s no-show. It is terrible what must have happened to them: Stranded in a strange city with 25,000 stranded strangers; air, bus, or train tickets to cancel or amend; time wasted, money wasted… my heart goes out to those who were at the venue that evening and couldn’t make it to Palace Grounds.

About those guys who trashed the stage and broke equipment – well, I don’t expect Metallica fans to behave any other way. Those were drunk, pissed-off Metallica fans who had been standing for hours without eating, pissing or shitting. Would they nod their heads like Coldplay fans and walk out? I’m sure there were a few hundred Metallibashers among those 25,000 pussies, so I’m slightly disappointed the damaging incorporated was such a low-key affair.

Holier Than Thou

If someone didn’t make it to the concert, what makes people think they’d want live updates of the damn show? It wasn’t a cricket match that people had to keep a track of the score. Were people dying to know which song Metallica was playing or what James Hetfield was saying?

Metallica has to be experienced, and I believe every Metallibasher understands that. I only feel sorry for people who thought they were doing something of great importance by providing live updates during the Metallica concert – you missed the experience of a lifetime because you were tweeting instead of taking it all in. Now don’t send live updates to anyone during an act of sex, because you’ll be ruining it for your partner as well.

All you ‘fans’ who didn’t come to the show and hoped Kirk Hammett would fuck up the Nothing Else Matters solo and disappoint the poseur fans: That’s James’ solo, not Kirk’s – and you’re the poseurs.

The kids you called ‘poseurs’ made time for the concert and spent good money buying a ticket to the show and traveling to Gurgaon/Bangalore to see a band they cared about. You were laughing with me on Friday night and scratching your balls on Sunday evening. Good going, losers.

Besides separating the metalheads from the poseurs, the mighty ‘Tallica also give a few idiots who know absolutely nothing about Metallica or metal or even rock music the chance to spout moral commentary on networking sites. One of the rules of Heavy Metal is that when you know absolutely nothing about metal or what it represents… shut the fuck up because you’re going to be taken even less seriously from now on.

Banging The Heads That Didn’t Bang

To all who didn’t attend the concert because you thought Metallica are ‘sellouts’, ‘too commercial now’, ‘washed-out’, ‘have-been’ etc… after Kill ‘Em All, Ride The Lightning, Master Of Puppets, …And Justice For All, The Black Album, Load (it’s a classic, no matter what you say), some good songs from Reload, a strong comeback with Death Magnetic, and a few other strong songs from here and there – and we won’t even get into the live shows and how they’ve influenced how many bands and how they still pack arena after arena – you want to tell me Metallica has let you down in some way?

Never again shall we never speak of ‘integrity’ and ‘loyalty’ because it is clear that we know different definitions of those words. People who stopped listening to metal years ago and can’t tolerate heavy music now – even they came for the fucking show; while you were sitting at home, tweeting and whining about how Metallica are too old now or whichever reason you picked up to excuse yourself from attending the concert. The ones who were there that evening to witness Metallica live are the ones who have understood Metallica, are the ones who understand Metallica.

Fucking pussies, I will laugh so hard when you run to attend a local show to “support the scene.” You can’t support yourself or even be present when the most phenomenal international act of all time comes to your country, so next time don’t bother exhuming some ‘kvlt’ band from the underground to share with your fellow poseurs, because you’re disqualified from talking about metal and its intricacies. You have disqualified yourself from talking about music.

Metallica’s Final Destination: India

It only seems right that Metallica came to India after all these years of making us wait. Everything is big now, everything is so huge, inflated – of course, now was the time for Metallica to show India their full form. As Metallica belted out anthem after anthem in Bangalore, it was easy to see why Iron Maiden and Megadeth came before them. I now think Iron Maiden and Megadeth, with all love and respect, served merely as warm-up acts. Iron Maiden came with melodies galore but didn’t pack a punch; Megadeth were stunningly brilliant but charmless; they were getting our nation ready for the magnificence that is Metallica.

This was one of the biggest shows for Metallica, and there’s no doubt about that. They came on one glorious evening to this overpopulated, poverty-ridden, corruption-ravaged, unorganized and impossible-to-manage nation that has countless diseases and even more deities – and they delighted thousands of people who had been waiting for many years to see that day. Time did not bring them to us; the four horsemen came when they decided the time was right, when they wanted to come, when they chose to come. Because time was never on our side. And we would have waited a whole lifetime.

20
Oct
11

Music Review: Megadeth – Th1rt3en

Okay, so it’s not chat lingo. The ‘i’ has been turned to 1 and ‘e’ to 3 to incorporate the digits in the album title. Two years after the splendid Endgame, Megadeth have returned sneering with album number “Th1rt3en”, a rather enjoyable piece of thrash.

Dave Mustaine knows perfectly well the formulas that make Megadeth click, and on Th1rt3en, the band puts aside Endgame’s ‘let’s-blow-everything-away’ mindset to go back to a more comfortable style. That means it’s less speed metal and more thrash metal this time.

Having slowed down the speed, Megadeth have upped the level of dynamics; plenty of solos thrown into this thrash mix, parts that change very often, and the production is very classy. There were a lot of songs on Endgame that sent me into headbanging frenzies, and Th1rt3en is not very different – it just took a bit longer to grow on me. Unlike Endgame, which was an outpour of uncontrollable energy that Megadeth could no longer contain, Th1rt3en is far more in control; it’s a show of great riffs woven together, with fast solos finding their way in and out of songs, and the drums providing thunderous beginnings to a few tracks.

Despite the amazing riffs and the abundance of solos on Th1rt3en, the first song that perks my interest comes very late on the album. Millennium Of The Blind sounds ominous and could’ve opened this album considering there’s no instrumental here. The one that follows, Deadly Nightshade could’ve also come earlier on the album because Dave Mustaine sounds more convincing singing this kind of material; the previous songs, however, aren’t substandard (of course – this is Dave Mustaine’s Megadeth) – they just take a few listens to get used to.

With Metallica playing backing band to Lou Reed, Slayer struggling to remain ‘extreme’, and Anthrax still struggling, there is one great thrash/speed metal band that has been, for the past many years, keeping and defending the heavy metal faith. Let’s hope they never turn their backs on us.

RELATED LINKS:

Grammy Award For Dave Mustaine

DVD Review – Rust In Peace (Live)

Review: Megadeth’s Endgame

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14
Oct
11

Music Review: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds (2011)

And you will know by listening to High Flying Birds that Noel Gallagher was the heart and soul of Oasis. Every word you can use to describe Oasis’ music, you can use to describe High Flying Birds, and comparisons are warranted because the rest of Oasis (Noel’s backing band: Brother Liam and Party) released a forgettable album earlier this year. Beady Eye’s debut was a pointless stomp to prove a point; Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds is an album of slow-cooked songs for Oasis fans. The songs are lively and likable, and clearly, Noel Gallagher has the songwriting skills, a voice richer than his brother’s, and songs to play before an audience. There’s a heavy 80s pop vibe on some of this Brit Rock material, and you can believe Noel when he sings that he’d shoot a hole into the sun if he had a gun. It’s High Flying Birds‘ next album that you’ll be looking forward to while chuckling at Beady Eye’s attempts at becoming bigger than the Guv’nor.

RATING: 3/5

08
Oct
11

Music Review: Haemorrhage – Hospital Carnage (2011)

Country: Spain
Genre: Death Metal / Goregrind
Quality: mp3 / CBR 320 kbps [Cd-Rip]
Tracklist
01. Open Heart Butchery
02. Traumageddon
03. Resuscitation Manoeuvres
04. Flesh Devouring Pandemia
05. Fomite Fetish
06. Amputation Protocol
07. 911 (Emergency Slaughter)
08. Doctors Of Malpractice
09. Tumour Donor
10. Hospital Thieves
11. Splatter Nurse
12. Hypochondriac
13. Ingreso Cadaver
14. Necronatology
15. Intravenous Molestation Of Obstructionist Arteries

With a drum and bass intro here and an ambulance siren there, Haemorrhage make Hospital Carnage fun to listen to by making sure there are tempo changes every now and then, power chord riffing and plenty of grooves. With loads of attitude and simple guitar solos, this is stuff that’s not meant to be taken seriously and is just an album that satisfies the ears by providing every sound they’d expect from it. The best thing about Haemorrhage is that they can keep you hooked even though their playing style is very simple. Hospital Carnage is old school goregrind good for a couple of listens.

24
Sep
11

Music Review: Sebastian Bach – Kicking & Screaming (2011)

Former Skid Row vocalist Sebastian Bach shows his worth in these times, and here’s a great singer with an able band backing him tightly. Kicking & Screaming is a bunch of heavy metal songs expecting to be taken seriously; it’s free-flowing fun that thinks it’s very deep; even the attempt at making a power ballad is commendable, but not that poignant. The band indulges Sebastian Bach and he tries to make the most of it, succeeding only when he doesn’t try at all, and the second half of the album is on a higher level of maturity. Bobby Jarzombek is a drummer who knows what to do, and Nick Sterling (guitar/bass) puts up a good show with his riffs, adding value to the songs by throwing in flashy solos to make Sebastian Bach feel like even more of a heavy metal singing sensation. Kicking & Screaming is music from the ‘80s with modern production values. The songs that work best are the ones about living a rock n’ roll lifestyle, and even they won’t stay in your memory unless you listen to this album several times, so here’s wishing Seb Bach and his band lots of booze and groupies.

Bret Michaels’ Custom Built Review

Alice Cooper’s Welcome 2 My Nightmare Review

22
Sep
11

Music Review: Machine Head – Unto The Locust (2011)

Looks like someone in hell heard my complaints about the lack of quality thrash metal in my life, and it sure sounds like it. The shortage of chugging guitars, memorable licks, solid grooves, killer solos, thumping bass and pounding drums – the dearth of everything that made me a fan of thrash metal along with a curiosity for more morbid sounds and the need to reach deeper emotional states drew me towards death metal and black metal respectively. Thrash Metal still doesn’t sound as convincingly morbid as Death Metal unless we’re talking about Slayer, and Black Metal is all one needs to reach emotional heights and also plunge into its depths.

Machine Head’s 2011 album Unto The Locust is that beast which smashes its way into the soul with everything thrash metal needs to be. Modern and yet fully traditional, Robb Flynn & Co. mean business right from the first note of ‘I Am Hell (Sonata In C#)’, dragging the listener on a wild, thrilling ride of superb thrash metal, complete with rowdy riffing, perfectly timed breaks, thunderous double bass drumming, dazzling solos and boisterous vocals.

Thrash Metal is meant to be ballsy – even Anthrax manage to sound likeable when they get ballsy – but Machine Head in 2011 is pushing the boundaries with so much force that the titans of thrash (Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer) will have to match this intensity to prove their relevance.

Balls to you if you think this is ‘nu-metal’; Machine Head is modern thrash metal: polished and yet rougher than every other thrash metal great right now. There is nothing stale on Unto The Locust, not one dull moment, and in fact, it’s the most refreshing music I’ve heard so far this year.

Just listen to what they’ve done with Judas Priest’s ‘The Sentinel’ and Rush’s ‘Witch Hunt’ – it’s one great band covering two. These are bonus tracks on the special edition, with an acoustic version of ‘Darkness Within’ thrown in. Here’s a band I could never get into despite liking two of their albums quite a bit, and I’m embracing them now. Machine Head‘s Unto The Locust is a contender for album of the year. ‘Music, it will set you free.’

                                                                    




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