Archive for category Split Up
There can’t be anyone who was a fan of metal in the 1990s that hasn’t seen earthtone9 dozens of times. Just off the top of my head, I can think of a fair few times I saw them:
- Supporting Pulkas at the Reading Alleycat.
- Watching them play at the horrendous Lost Weekend festival, where vocalist Karl Middleton performed wearing nothing but a pair of pants made of cling-film.
- Supporting Soulfly at the Astoria, where Karl admirably provided the Grady Avenell vocal parts of ‘Pain’ (with Glassjaw’s Daryl Palumbo for the encore.
- Outshining Disturbed (oh, I’d be ashamed if I paid for the ticket), as main support at their fist Astoria show.
- Rumbling the shit out of the Zodiac in Oxford, which is now the Carling Academy Oxford (of which their support act will be the subject of a future blog…)
- Supporting Kill II This, where Karl’s vocal warm-ups would ruin half of an interview I did with Mark Mynett for a fanzine I used to produce when I was but an idiot teenager.
- And finally calling it a day with their last-ever show at the LA2. There’s probably a whole lot more that I can’t remember right now.
Despite ruining half of an interview with smeone else, I would later corner Karl and guitarist Owen Packard in a chilly corridor of the Astoria, right before they supported Fear Factory. I remember asking them why they’d become the Support Bnd Of Choice for, everyone, and they couldn’t really give me a straight answer. Sure, they were a considerable amount more talented than the competition, but why wasn’t that talent enough to propel them into the stage where they were perennial headliners instead of the warm-up guys?
So what happened after the split? Karl Middleton turned up in The Blueprint for a while, before going on to provide vocals for Twin Zero, although he appears to have slid off the map recently. You used to see him drinking in The Purple Turtle in Reading a few years back, maybe someone should go and ask him? Owen Packard did the six-string thing for a track for uber-group This Is Menace, and now runs a PR company, handling press duties for a number of UK rock acts. But everytime I get a bit nostalgic for the late 1990’s, I’ll stick on their final full-length album, arc’tan’gent, and think about what might’ve been.
Micoene were one of those bands that we didn’t appreciate when we had them, and now they’re shockingly overdue some kind of retrospective praise. Pre-dating the current resurgence in intelligent UK metal such as The Arusha Accord (there’s more to UK metal in 2008 that Bullet For My Valentine, thank fuck…), Miocene were one of a clutch of British metal bands making music outside of trends around the time of the millenium.
The band eventually released three full-length albums, and a mini-album (of which today’s track is taken). It was the mini-album that really grabbed me at the time – I’d just read Watchmen for the first time, and the rorschach blob on the cover of Refining The Theory lept out at me almost as much as the music it packaged. Closer to earthtone9 than the nu-metal apologists that made up most of the rest of young UK metal at the time, Miocene injected a spiky sense of IQ into my teenage listening habits.
And – guess what? – they’ve split up. Hey, it’s almost a Nostalgic Metal Bullshit tradition now. The London four-piece might not have sold a million records, but I like to think they had a impact on everyone who ever bought one of their CDs or caught them playing live. On the rare occasions I bump into another fan at a gig or something, then everyone always seems to a have a war story to share about them.
Okay, so the production on the drums is fucking horrible. But it was the dawn of a new century, and people were too busy angrily demanding a refund for all their redundant Anti-Millenium Bug software to care too much about drum sounds.
Anyway, your download’s below. There’s more where that came from on Miocene’s old MySpace page.
So, yeah, been a bit slack with the updates. My raft of posts about bands that have split up has hit a real mine of inspiration in me – there’s a whole load of great bands I’ve got lined up to mouth off about.
First up is Southampton’s Karmic Jera, who are not in the above photograph. That’s Plastic Toys, the band that formed from the bloody scraps left after Karmic Jera split. The guys in Plastic Toys seem rather embarassed with their former incarnation, with frontman, “Jon Plastic”, saying “we were a White Zombie-esque band, so they made us do photoshoots in graveyards like we were Cradle Of Filth or something. We recorded an album we hated, all the kids preferred our self-produced demo and we lost our hardcore fanbase.” Oh.
The album they all hated was Zombies, Blood and Go-Go Girls, which the band recorded as part of a prize that KArmic Jera won by through a Battle Of The Bands feature run by Kerrang! and Dreamcatcher Records. Overall, the record falls somewhere between Rob Zombie and Powerman 5000 (the band fronted by…err….Rob Zombie’s younger brother, Spider 1), and while it has some horrendously cringeworthy moments (the opening track, ‘Do U Wanna Cyber?’, has one of the worst titles of any song ever), I don’t think it’s half as bad as the band make out.
The band are doing a bit of touring before the end of the year, and while they’ve ditched almost all of the White Zombie-isms that caught my attention in the first place, they’re still probably worth checking out live if you fancy a break from pure metal with a night of electro-rock. Their website has the tour dates if you’re interested.
So yeah, your download link – right-click (ctrl-click if you’re a Mac person):
Deep down right to my bones and my blood, I love White Zombie. Their masterwork, 1995’s Astro-Creep: 2000 – Songs of Love, Destruction and Other Synthetic Delusions of the Electric Head (to give its full title), is one of those rare albums where every track fires perfect.
The reasons for posting about White Zombie are three-fold. 1) The aforementioned fact that they are AWESOME. 2) They’ve just announced the final tracklisting of Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, the CD/DVD boxset due out next month (if you know me personally, it’s on my Christmas list, HINT HINT). And 3)? Well, there’s no-one more Halloween-ish than Rob Zombie & his gang of carnage-wreakers, so they fit Halloween-theme week pretty damn tight.
White Zombie…on Letterman?
Sadly, as with most of the bands I seem to be covering at the moment, it didn’t last forever. The band collapsed in 1998, without ever releasing a studio album. There was a remix album, but that was never that satisfying. Which is why the release of the new box set is so damn exciting if, like me, you’re a total fan-boy.
What frontman Rob Zombie went on to do is common knowledge – a series of solo albums, that moved further away from the classic White Zombie sound with each subsequent release, and his current work as a film-maker, his last project being a re-imagining of – yep, Halloween. What’s less well-know is what happened to the other members of the band.
Drummer John Tempesta carried on drumming with Rob Zombie at first, but later went back to being a sticksman for hire. Aftar appearing on a number of projects, including Helmet (!), he’s currently banging the skins for The Cult. Nice work if you can get it.
Guitarist J (aka Jay Yuenger) is pottering along as a producer, although he’s never produced anything that lives up to the records he helped make as a member of White Zombie. Although one of the acts he’s produced is Rock City Morgue, a New Orleans 50’s flecked voodoo mob, who boast on bass duties….
…White Zombie’s former bassist, Sean Yseult. When White Zombie went belly-up, she first formed Famous Monsters, a psycho-surf band with an image better than their tunes, before later joining Rock City Morgue. She currently also runs a fashion business, Yseult Designs. And is an occasional touring member of The Cramps. The Cramps!
And my choice of track? Well, anything off Astro Creep: 2000 could do, but as far as song titles go, you’ve got to admit that it’s hard to top ‘El Phantasmo And The Chicken-Run Blast-O-Rama’
They just don’t make enough videos like this anymore – it’s like a punk rock ‘Thriller’ (we prefer the one we’ve linked to the Jacko original…). There’s a nod to John Carpenter in the intro music, gore that would do George Romero proud, and a killer track that sounds like the soundtrack to that houseparty you went to as a teenager that ended up when the police turfed everyone out at 5am after someone set fire to the bedroom and crashed the bath through the floor. In short: perfect.
Send More Paramedics were a Leeds-based zombiecore (yes, really) that couldn’t fit my Halloween theme week any better if they tried. I saw them whip up the punk tent at Leeds 2006 into a feeding frenzy of circle-pit moshing. Approximately a year later they split, leaving behind them three cracking albums – A Feast for the Fallen, The Hallowed and The Heathen and The Awakening.
They loaded their songs with references to classic zombie flicks – hell, The Awakening is a straight-up concept album, a soundtrack to a zombie film that doesn’t exist. For six years the band stuck to their schtick, and made their gimmick work for them rather than becoming a slave to it.
Members of the band have re-surfaced in the bands The Dead Eyes of Quint (think Down if they’d grown up in Huddersfield), and Humanity’s Gone (more traditional UKHC than Send More Paramedics, but still crushingly destructive) so their legacy still endures.
By the time you read this, I’m going to be getting battered in the mosh pit for Raging Speedhorn’s last ever London show. The wonders of pre-scheduled blog posting.
Raging Speedhorn first rose to metal prominence after Ian Camfield started playing their demos on the XFM Rock Show. Soon their rough demos turned up on Metal Hammer cover CDs, and on the bonus disc of the impossibly good (seriously – you don’t get compilations this good anymore) 21st Century Media Blitz Vol.2. As their stock started to rise, so did the size of their support slots – the band endured a bottling from the crowd at a Ministry gig to go on to bag support slots with Amen and Biohazard (who would get on so well with Speedhorn that they would produce their second album, of which ‘Fuck The Voodooman’ is taken). They were the only UK band – other than Black Sabbath – to play the last UK Ozzfest. Then suddenly they were headlining the Astoria.
It couldn’t last.
As the band’s star began to wane, things started to get tougher. Members left – Tony Loughlin (guitar) and Darren Smith (bass) left, to be replaced by ex-Defenestration members Jay and Dave Thompson. Frank Regan (one of the band’s vocalists) left shortly after the band’s third album, How The Great Have Fallen, was released, to be replaced by Bloody Kev. Viking Skull – originally a side-project joke band consisting of half of Speedhorn and a couple of their roadcrew – started to take off, shedding the Speedhorn element in their ranks as they went. A fourth Speedhorn album was to come – last year’s Before The Sea Was Built – but the writing was on the wall. It was frustrating being a fan, so Satan knows what it must’ve been like in the band itself. Eventually Raging Speedhorn announced they would be making one last tour, to fuck the shit up one last time, and then split in an explosion of fucked-up noise.
I chose this track because it sums up everything I think of when I think about Speedhorn. It’s got the classic vocalist line-up of John Loughlin and Frank Regan. It’s got the pure don’t-give-a-fuck attitude – who else but the Speedhorn would put out a single with ‘Fuck’ in the title? I remember listening to Zane Lowe struggling to announce the track name after he played it on drivetime, back in his old XFM days. The fact that it’s two minutes of sheer, face-fucking hatred, aimed squarely at their ex-manager.
There are nine shows left in the band’s final UK tour, and seven dates to follow in Japan. If you live near one, don’t miss this last chance to catch the band. The band still have a myriad of other projects on the go between them – you only have to check their various inter-linked MySpaces to see how many. Our pick of them is I’m Fashion, You’re Victim, who serve up filthy sludged-up post-hardcore racket. Go consume.
Pulkas were one of the great nearly-were bands of UK metal in the 1990s. They were one of the first metal bands I ever saw live, stepping up from support act to headliner status on One Minute Silence’s ‘All Out Of Bubblegum’ tour when the headliners had to pull out. They opened up with ‘Loaded’, and the bass damn well made it feel like they were about to shake the entire Reading Alleycat down. The second time I saw them – on a tiny, 6″ off-the-floor stage at Reading University, singer Luke Lloyd (who famously collapsed a lung during a practice section when he screamed too hard) met the eyes of anyone who dared with a look of pure, unadulterated hatred. This was a band that fucking set out to kill its audience.
However a successful future was not to be – the band split after just releasing a single album, the quite frankly fucking amazing Greed. The band put this down to “boring tedious music business bulshit.” In their all-too brief lifespan, the band won plaudits from everyone who saw them – 5K gig reviews in Kerrang!, the fourth-best album of the year according to Metal Hammer’s 1998 Best Of list, and fan-voted the Best New Band the same year in said-same magazine. They received favourable comparisons to the crushing intensity of bands like Neurosis. And they thoroughly deserved every word of praise they got.
The band – sans drummer Rob Lewis – reformed briefly under the moniker of I-AM-I, but never released anything. Bassist Jules McBride showed up in Murder One, a heavy metal supergroup of sorts, which also included members of Raging Speedhorn (which reminds me, their last ever London show is on Tuesday – it’s gonna be brutal) and Medulla Nocte. But then they also split up. Why do all the great bands go and do that?
PS: There is a video for ‘Loaded’ – but it’s shit.
PPS: If anyone knows what the members of Pulkas are up to these days, drop me a line in the Comments. I really, really want to know!
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