In this episode of The Popcorn Conspiracy Dave Griffiths and Kyle McGrath take a look at Dark Waters.
Artist: Five Finger Death Punch
Date Of Release: 28th February 2020
Label: Big Noise Music
2. Inside Out
3. Full Circle
4. Living The Dream
5. A Little Bit Off
6. Bottom Of The Top
7. To Be Alone
8. Mother May I (Tic Toc)
9. Darkness Settles In
10. This Is War
11. Leave It All Behind
12. Scar Tissue
13. Brighter Side Of Grey
14. Making Monsters
15. Death Punch Therapy
16. Inside Out (Radio Edit)
Following the career of Five Finger Death Punch has been pretty interesting over the years. While the band has managed to attract a legion of fans, having so many fans has seen them also become a target as tall poppy syndrome is still rife amongst heavy music fans. Like Korn before them FFDP are a band that are cool to like and cool to hate.
For me that is what makes F8 such an important album. While the band themselves see this as an important album because of the fact it shows them back and still strong after their addictions, I see this as an important album because it shows a side of FFDP that we have never seen before, a side that sees them more than willing to experiment and mix up their sound a little.
From the opening strains of the album you know that this time around is going to be different. F8 begins with classical music that then explodes into the grunt with a killer self-titled opening track. That classical element remains on ‘Inside Out’ a track that you realise very quickly is the work of a band on a mission – a mission to see themselves be taken seriously and not just as a fad. Ivan Moody’s vocals are on song with a strong melody while Jason Hook delivers the goods with some amazing guitar work on as well.
The naysayers that claim that Five Finger Death Punch are ‘not hard’ and then slapped onto their asses with the brutal ‘Full Circle,’ a track that despite its brutality still keeps a great melody while bringing a slight electronic element.
With F8 Five Finger Death Punch do take the listener on an incredible journey where you never really know what they will serve up next. One of the most aggressive tracks on the album is also one of the softest as the strong lyrics of ‘A Little Bit Off’ is a track that we can relate to, while the very catchy ‘Living The Dream’ references Captain America and Superman while delivering some true instrumental magic.
‘Bottom Of The Top’ feels like it is aimed at the band’s haters as it aggressively asks ‘is it heaver enough for you?’ while both ‘To Be Alone’ and ‘Mother May I (Tic Toc)’ are thought-provoking tracks that really knock you for six. The former really captures what it is like to be truly alone while the latter sends you on your own path of reflection.
The serious side of FFDP returns with the beautifully poetic ‘Darkness Settles In’ which has a nearly country feel to the guitars while ‘Brighter Side Of Grey’ is a true song of hope. And for the lovers of the heavy stuff then you are going to very quickly warm to ‘Making Monsters’ and ‘This Is War’… the latter certainly a track written from the heart and aimed at someone with meaning.
F8 is a phenomenal album that shows just how good Five Finger Death Punch can be at their best. The band themselves believe that this is one of their best albums and as a listener you can only agree. This is the kind of album that is created when a band is at the top of their game and deliver an absolute classic.
Rating (out of 5):
Album: A Beautiful Place To Drown
Date Of Release: 6th March 2020
1. Bad Habits (feat Intervals)
2. Burn It Down (feat Caleb Shomo)
3. Where Are You
4. Infinite (feat Aaron Gillespie)
5. Shape Shift
6. All On Me
7. Madness (feat Princess Nokia)
8. Say Yes
10. September 14th
11. Coming Down
12. Take What You Give (feat Pierre Bouvier)
Canadian post-hardcore outfit Silverstein wowed audiences earlier this year at UNFD The Gathering and now they return with their latest album – A Beautiful Place To Drown. Upon the first listen of the album one word springs to mind – infectious.
Yes what Silverstein have created here is one of the most damn catchy albums you are likely to hear this year. Foot tapping and singing along are almost guaranteed with this album. Opening track ‘Bad Habits’ reveals all the catchiness in one foul swoop while it also showcases some amazing vocals from Shane Told.
From then on you really do just sit back and enjoy the ride. ‘Where Are You’ gets stuck in your brain straight away while ‘Burn It Down’ shows that while Silverstein plan on making this a catchy album it doesn’t mean that the tracks haven’t been written from a personal place.
‘Infinite’ is one of the best tracks on the album and sees a great piece of work by Shane Told teaming up with Underoath’s Aaron Gillespie. It is a brilliant track and one of those songs that you just want to keep listening to over and over.
The album slows down for the first time for the opening of ‘Shape Shift’ while ‘All On Me’ shows the more experimental side of Silverstein. It is slowed right down, is very electronic and even contains saxophone at one part of the song.
That experimental side continues with the very busy sounding ‘Madness’ while ‘Stop’ sees the brutal side of Silverstein raise its head. For the most part though is purely an enjoyable catchy album. Again ‘Say Yes’ and ‘September 14th’ will have you singing along while the strong melodies of ‘Coming Down’ and ‘Take What You Give’ make them standout tracks.
There is little doubt that A Beautiful Place To Drown is going to become a crowd favourite amongst Silverstein’s fans. Catchy tracks like the ones found here are exactly the kind of songs that go down a treat live. The key to this album is to just sing-a-long and enjoy yourself.
Rating (out of 5):
“Hello, is that AC/DC? Its Gill here!” That is the way a phone conversation needs to begin that should be made by AFL Chief Commissioner Gillon McLachlan this week. Perhaps an arrow hasn’t really been fired in anger yet when it comes to the 2020 AFL Season but people have already started to ask the question – who would be perfect to play at the Grand Final this year?
Blame America’s NFL for the question being asked. Those damn Yankees once again did things perfectly at this year’s Superbowl when they asked the queens of Latin music Shakira and Jennifer Lopez to perform at the game that was played in the very Latin inspired Miami. Given that the NFL seem to get the Superbowl half time musical extravaganza right every year just makes us ask the question ‘why do the AFL always seem to get it so, so wrong?’
Don’t get me wrong our Grand Final entertainment is normally pretty memorable. Who will ever forget Angry Anderson belting out ‘Bound For Glory’ while riding around on one of the lamest Batmobiles you will ever likely to see at the 1991 Grand Final? Likewise the memory of Meatloaf delivering what is possibly one of the worst live performances of all time at the 2011 Grand Final is forever etched into our brains.
Yes, as you can see the musical performances at the AFL Grand Final are always remembered for all the wrong reasons or not even remembered at all – can anyone tell me who the special popstars were that performed at last year’s game without turning to the almighty Google to find the answer? In fact looking back over a century of Grand Finals the only decent memory you are likely to find would be Richmond forward Jack Riewoldt joining The Killers on stage to sing ‘Mr. Brightside.’ Even that moment though is mostly remembered because of the pure elation that was on the newly crowned premiership player’s face than it was for the actual musical performance.
Now for the hard rock and metal fans out there you are dreaming an impossible dream if you ever think there will be a day when Behemoth are performing at the Grand Final, but given that last year’s no names were selected because the AFL believe that the Grand Final entertainment should be artists that people recognise the songs of then AC/DC are the best damn choice that even blind Freddy could see.
I know there have been arguments for Metallica in the past but realistically outside of true fans who in the general public is going to recognise any more than perhaps three of their songs? No, the obvious choice would be a band like AC/DC or Guns ‘N’ Roses. A band that have a bit of oomph, can put on a good live show but also have enough of what the young people of today call ‘bangers’ to have the audience singing along to. The fact that both bands are also universally recognisable is a big plus considering the rising popularity of AFL in the United States. I’m pretty sure most Americans sit there when the great Paul Kelly takes the stage every second year and think – ‘who is that?’
Even with Gunners and AC/DC in mind I believe the perfect choice for the 2020 Grand Final would be AC/DC. They tick off all the boxes – are recognisable worldwide, have tracks that people can sing along to and there is a unique Melbourne vibe to AC/DC given that their iconic video clip for ‘It’s A Long Way To The Top’ video was filmed in Melbourne’s very own Bourke Street. Given that their new album is set to be released this year it is also perfect timing for the band to be seen out there and doing their stuff on one of the biggest television audiences Australian will see all year.
The fact that the AFL Grand Final is played during daylight hours does provide some problems for a band like AC/DC performing, but even that is something that is pretty easy to overcome. Get them to come out at half-time and perform tracks like ‘Thunderstruck’ and ‘TNT’ etc that everybody can sing along to and then make them the focal point of a night-time victory party at the MCG after the game. Team them up with a pop-star that has rock cred like Pink and suddenly you’ve got an after-party show that would match anything that the Superbowl has ever served up in the past.
As music loving footy fans we don’t ask for much, Mr McLaughlin, but this year we really ask that you make our Grand Final entertainment something to remember and something that our great game truly deserves. Please make the AC/DC this week, Mr McLaughlin… we beg you.
Let’s be honest Download Festival will not really be a party until Scots Alestorm hit the stage. As if having Alestorm in full flight with their pirate metal is not enough, the band will have some extra spring in their step (wooden legs can still have spring, right?) as they are also fuelled by the excitement by having their sixth album – Curse Of The Crystal Coconut – released in just a few months as well.
“It’s all very exciting,” says frontman Christopher Bowes when I get a chance to chat to him about Download. “We’ve done a bunch of Australian tours, we do club gigs and we are there every couple of years and they are great. There are 1000 people there every night and that is positive but playing at such a big festival is going to be such a different vibe. It is so cool that we got an invite to the Download Festival because our because is perfectly designed for the big outdoor summer festival so it is going to be a lot of fun. We’ll come out there and play a bunch of cool songs and everybody is going to get drunk and have a good time.”
As we continue to chat I ask Bowes just how different is it for a band to play a headline gig than it is to play a festival like Download. “I think with a headline gig you get more of the hardcore fans there, the people that really love your shit,” he explains. “So you get people singing along to everything, even the obscure songs, but at festivals it is a lot more casual. People who come along are not necessarily fans of yours, they could be fans of the other bands there, and because the festival is such a big event a lot of people come along and decide that it is a chance to really let loose. They party and some real dumb stuff happens, and there is nothing better than seeing 10,000 people singing along. Basically we are a party band so it is ideal for us to play somewhere where people are standing there with a beer in hand… it is just the best thing.”
Bowes says the band also changes what tracks they play in order to try and win over some of the people there that are not fans of the band. “Oh yeah we certainly do,” when I ask if the band changes their set list. “We would never do any deep cuts or we would never be like ‘hey, here’s a song that we once did a demo of fifteen years ago, who wants to hear it?’. We would never do any of that kind of stuff. But I think it is good that most of our songs are the kind of songs that people like. They might know how it goes but they may know half the chorus, but it is also the kind of music that once you start to hear it you can sing along. It’s not really hard music, let’s be honest we play dumb songs, but yeah we do tailor the set list so we can be an absolute crowd pleasing band, because that is what people want and we want to make people happy.”
As we talk about the demise of great festivals like Soundwave and Big Day Out it becomes very, very clear just how important festivals like Download are to bands like Alestorm. “They are one of the most important things,” says Bowes with complete seriousness in his voice. “I don’t know about anywhere else in the world but in Europe with the European summer festival circuit it is the most important thing that happens in metal every year. It really does become ‘oh who is playing Wacken or who is playing Grasspop, who is headlining Hellfest?’ It is a very important thing because individually metal bands cannot draw the biggest crowds but when you stick a few together it suddenly becomes this force that can’t be reckoned with – you get 60,000 people coming to these things. And it becomes a massive thing because you have this thing where all these like minded people come together and they all want to see good music. I think it is the most important thing for the whole genre.”
And for anyone who is wondering whether or not they should attend Download this year Bowes has a clear message – “I just want to tell everybody to come on down,” he says. “Come down and have a drink, get drunk and have a party!”
Alestorm is playing Download Australia.
Do you know the feeling of not being sure if you’ve seen that movie before? If BEAR were a movie, they wouldn’t be like that. BEAR are that band you won’t ever forget seeing live. A threat. They come to you, they confront you, they give you the feeling that you are not safe in the audience. And what a rare gift that is, in our safe world of comfort stable mediocrity, where security has become the ultimate value.
By that, BEAR revoke the spirit of great hardcore bands of the 90’s… bands like Catharsis or Gehenna, bands whose raw energy, uncompromising delivery and relentlessly violent performance was as energizing and invigorating
as it was puzzling for the oftentimes baffled audience, who had their teeth caved in by guitars thrown in their direction, and a bearded front man caving through them like a derailed freight train, coming to a flaming halt at the end of the room, behind the mixing desk.
BEAR hail from Antwerp, Belgium’s 2nd largest city and home to a thriving local metal and hardcore scene ever since the 90’s, which is when members of BEAR first met at a local venue where all punk- & hardcore-bands made a stop when touring Europe. This year marks their 10th anniversary as a band. With 3 albums released since on Let it Burn and Basick Records, performances at festivals such as Graspop, Roadburn, Rock Herk, Euroblast, UK Tech Fest, Complextiy Fest and headline tours through Europe and India, the band has made themselves a name in the heavy music underground scene as one of the most punishing live acts out there.
The first few seconds of opener „Dissolve Dissipate“ leave no doubt that Propaganda is an angry album– an album against propaganda. Against the manipulative character of communication and product-placement that we face each time we turn on the TV, walk through the aisles of a supermarket or tune in to Spotify without a paid subscription. And while blatant ideological propaganda is being camouflaged behind product propaganda within an endless floating spectrum of ever-growing artificially created needs and demands, ideology is as a matter of fact constantly being reinstated and affirmed. We are never and nowhere free from it.
BEAR are alluding to this with metaphors and artwork referencing historic propaganda, and the political practices used by the terrible dictators of the 20th century: presented in a pop-art style that is equal parts ironic and iconic. BEAR critizise propaganda by making Propaganda of their own: with their very own aural bombs, symbols and manifestos. Fear the BEAR.
Bear will release Propagada on May 8.
Pre order now!
There is no disputing that director/screenwriter Leigh Whannell is one of the kings of modern day horror. The Australian was the writer behind both the Saw and Insidious franchises while in recent years he has also sat in the director’s chair for films like Insidious: Chapter 3 and the under-appreciated Upgrade.
Now Whannell returns as the director/screenwriter/producer of The Invisible Man – a modern day Blumhouse take on one of Universal Pictures most loved horror characters. And as we chat to Whannell in Melbourne we learn that this is not a task that he took lightly.
“I actually wasn’t thinking about doing an Invisible Man movie at all, says Whannell as we begin to talk about the origins of this film. “I had just finished Upgrade and I had been bitten by the action movie bug and I think I was keen to go and shoot the fifty million dollar version of Upgrade. You know we could crash forty cars instead of one car… i was keen to get my Michael Bay on. Then this idea was suggested to me… the idea of doing The Invisible Man and it was not something that I had given any thought to, but then as soon as it was in my mind it was truly an inception.”
“It wouldn’t leave my brain,” says Whannell with a big smile on his face revealing just how excited he was about the product. “It just kept taking up space rent free. And then I just couldn’t stop thinking about it and that is usually the first sign that I am going to make a film – when it just won’t go away. That’s how it came about and then I just went back to Blumhouse and Universal and said that I was interested in doing this and we were off to the races. It was remarkable just how quickly the pieces all came together.”
As we begin to talk craft I ask Whannell whether or not the fact that the idea of the film was planted in his mind rather than him just thinking it up changed the way he went about writing the original screenplay. “It did in the sense that I was aware of this legacy that was behind me,” he says after pausing to think about the question for a moment. “Other people have made Invisible Man movies and I wanted to avoid repeating them. I didn’t want anybody to be able to say ‘well this is just a retread of so and so.’ And so if anything it was more of an awareness to avoid those other movies- that was the biggest thing – trying to take this character and modernise it and make it very new. In other words I wanted to make it feel like no other Invisible Man movie had ever existed and that this was the first. I can’t tell you how many scenes I came up with that I put on the reject pile because I felt that they had been done before.”
Whannell’s version of The Invisible Man takes on a very different voice to any of the Invisible Man films of the past have. Here Whannell explores the dark topic of domestic violence and depicts in a very dark way that few filmmakers have been brave enough to do in the past. “Really early on I knew that I wanted it to be dark,” he explains. “I knew that I wanted to make something that was really tense and suffocating – not light-hearted at all. I didn’t want anything that was frolicking or fun I wanted to make something that was really relentlessly tense and suffocating to the audience.”
“That was a decision that I made very early on and then I began building out the story,” he explains. “The thematic elements of the movie about a woman being in an abusive relationship that just came out organically. As you start to put the pieces out on the table those things just kind of emerge on their own without you forcing them. It was all really organic and that is how it all fell together.”
With the legacy of the Invisible Man being so entrenched in Hollywood history and certain amount of fandom is also there, and that is something that Whannell is more than aware of. “Any movie whether it has a legacy like The Invisible Man or if it is stand-alone like Upgrade makes me nervous,” he says laughing out loud. “Even just thinking about it now is making me nervous. I think it is because you put so much of yourself into a movie an then you release it to the world and they get to judge it and it is just a scary moment. Eventually the nerves ease off once the movie is out there and you can’t do anything about it. Then you a start to relax but right now I am right in the middle of the white hot centre of nerves because it is just starting to get out there.”
The Invisible Man opens in cinemas today.