Metal Montag: Stray From The Path

by Guest Blogger

A big Berlin BLEGH! from Mike T West.

Stray from the Path - Bledfest 2011 by mattradickal under Creative Commons licence Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic

Stray from the Path – Bledfest 2011 by mattradickal under Creative Commons licence Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic

The last time überlin witnessed Long Island alt-hardcore genre-benders Stray From The Path was in early 2012 alongside the ever-excellent Norma Jean and The Chariot. Cue memories of changing underwear due to a constant barrage of dirty bass drops 😀 Now these extreme noiseniks are back to slap another big wet BLEGH! in your ear cake.

What is BLEGH? Well music scum, BLEGH! is a vocal gimmick normally deployed before or during any average metal breakdown, first made popular by New York hardcore grandads Agnostic Front and Connecticut crossover legends Hatebreed. Used as frequently as any generic metalcore “Oh!” or death metal “Ergh!”, imagine the sound of a ten foot tiger coughing up a barbwire furball of unpleasant mouth-gore.

Oh and it is really bloody cool! If you don’t believe me, then here is a good example of a clear yet snotty BLEGH! which ÜBlegh gives 5 out of 7 on the BLEGH!-o-meter.

(And look, the bassist is wearing his hood up! Mega.)

Fast forward to tomorrow night and Stray From The Path are back with long time touring cousins, The Ghost Inside and Deez Nuts (eugh). Having spent over a decade refining their unpredictable yet utterly precise take on metalcore, SFTP combine political lyrics with a predilection for lighthouses… Having earned their chops supporting veterans such as Every Time I Die, Terror and Norma Jean 2011 saw them release their sixth blistering full-length, Rising Sun – 32 minutes of heavy, angry rapcore* magic sliced into eleven nuggets of liquid BLEGH!

Bring a nappy.


Exclusive “I BLEGH! überlin” t-shirts on sale soon.

Stray From The Path play C-Club, Columbiadamm 9-11, 10965 Berlin tomorrow tonight from 8pm. BLEGH!

*Yes, I said rapcore.

Music Montag: Best of Berlin 2012

by James Glazebrook

Music Montag Best of Berlin 2012

What have Roxy MusicDepeche Mode and Thom Yorke all got in common? They’re all in our epic “Best of Berlin 2012” playlist, a collection of (most of) the tracks I’ve posted on every Music Montag for a year. But what have they got to do with Berlin? Well, you’re going to have to read the original posts to find out, which you can get to via the epic list of tags at the bottom of this post.

Or you could just listen to the playlist, which features more obviously Berlin acts like Alec Empire, Bodi BillPan-Pot and Modeselektor, plus local expat stars Emika, IAMX and Phia. You’ll notice that some of the more underground artists I covered haven’t yet made it to Spotify (sorry!), but otherwise this is a pretty well-rounded, surprisingly danceable mix, interrupted by the odd short, sharp metallic shock 😉 One for Silvester, maybe? Enjoy…

Metal Montag: Norma Jean, The Chariot

by James Glazebrook

Norma Jean The Chariot

Tenuous Berlin link here, but it’s my birthday and I’ll post metal if I want to! OK, so the big day’s not until Sunday, but that’s also when the gods(?) of Christian metalcore, Norma Jean and The Chariot, roll into town. If a lot of what I’ve just said intrigues yet confuses you, scroll down to read a blog post I wrote when I first discovered the oft-overlooked subgenre that no one really calls “white metal”. And if you want a taste of metal’s most self-righteous (and therefore, best) niche, listen to this Spotify playlist and check out the following: Norma Jean’s Sledgehammer nightmare of a video for “Deathbed Athiest” and The Chariot’s “Then Came to Kill” – a collaboration with, of all people, Paramore cutie pie Hayley Williams.

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Highway to Heaven

Life was tough as a teenage Christian metal fan. That is, a Christian who was also a fan of metal, not a fan of Christian metal – although they must’ve had it really hard, as the scene at the time pretty much consisted of Stryper, four gay ponies in spandex wasp outfits.

Not that I cared what anyone else thought of me (anyone who’s seen my photo album can attest to that), especially not small-minded middle-class baptists. They could tut-tut all they liked at my Sunday best – Faith No More and Pantera t-shirts (a favourite all-over print featured both the words “Cowboys from Hell” and, tucked away on the side, subversive messages like “Sex”). But, like every good metal fan, I just loved to be hated.

But I did worry about what God thought. Say, when I settled down to pray, having spent the last hour screaming along to Nine Inch Nails: “God is dead /and no-one cares /if there is a Hell /I’ll see you there”. I used to wonder, if this really is the devil’s music, and I have to give it up for Him, well… what if I can’t? And so I’ve spent half my life convinced that I’m going to Hell, and not reveling in it the way a Slayer fan should.

Today’s metal fans needn’t worry – they can have their crucifix-shaped cake and eat it (although they should worry about indulging in such sacrilegious foodstuffs). Some of the best bands are God-botherers – Underoath, As I Lay Dying, Norma Jean – and they’re as aggressive and uncompromising as the Satanists. In a scene still dominated by people who aren’t keen on organised religion, being badge-wearing born-agains is the ultimate rebellion. A niche within a niche that defies all expectations, and guarantees that even your fellow Kerrang! readers will hate you? A metaller’s dream.

Texan metalcore outfit Oh, Sleeper are leading the charge. Their debut “When I Am God” became my new favourite album long before I learned of its spritual undertones. (This might sound stoopid, given its title, but the use of religious imagery in metal is usually blasphemous.) The sing/scream style of Micah (good biblical name) Kinard gives voice to an inner turmoil, a spiritual struggle within, and makes the fairly hymn-book lyrics sound totally badass: “So when Hell is at the gates /who will stand and meet the waves /and take the fight to their graves /to end the dark campaign?” They’re clever too – just check out Kinard’s explanation of the broken pentagram symbol that adorns the cover of their new concept album “Son of the Morning” here. Smart.

Not so smart is Brian “Head” Welch. He dropped out of nu metal goons Korn to do a whole shitload of crystal meth, and then dropped the drugs for God. His music is a straight splicing of his former band with Marilyn Manson, his lyrics the worst kind of “walk in my shoes” testimonial, and his only real gift to the world is this unintentionally hilarious interview (taster: “So in my head I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to accept Christ in front of everybody right now and I’m gonna go home and snort drugs until I don’t wanna do ’em anymore’… “)

Both Welch and Oh, Sleeper headlined Tomfest 2009, the only festival I seriously considered this year. But I only found out about it the day before it started, and flights to Washington state, US, were on the pricey side. The line-up featured over 130 of the brightest and best underground metal acts (plus “Head”), and they were all Christians. No doubt it would’ve been hard to get a drink and I would’ve had to take my own laughing gas, but even so, I’m sure it would’ve kicked Ozzfest and the Warped tours asses (but without using the a-word).

So does that mean you can now worship both God and heavy metal? Hell yeah!
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