Tuesday, 17 November 2009


We can rant and rave all day about how metal bands need to be brutal and technically adept, but the fact remains that the difference between truly great bands and the merely mediocre is nearly always the ability to write memorable tunes. In that regard, Stormcorporation are already several large paces ahead of most other aspirational British metal bands. The five songs on their debut EP are absolutely bulging with melodies that lodge themselves somewhere in the skull and refuse to be shifted. But it’s the combination of that melodic intelligence with an overall sound that brilliantly straddles the divide between state-of-the-art metallic crunch and old school heroics, with a substantial dose of progressive dexterity thrown in, that makes songs like A Quiet Belief In Angels and Stand Up And Be Counted so thoroughly likeable and impressive. This is unashamedly modern metal that thinks big and wears its ambition as a badge of honour, but with more than enough brains and brawn to dispel cynicism from the metal die-hard contingent. And yes, Stormcorporation are, whisper it, “a female-fronted metal band”, but vocalist G-Storm side-steps the usual stereotypes, oozes genuine, dizzying charisma and sings with disarming power and enthralling authority, particularly on EP highlight Megatronix; a classic metal anthem emboldened with myriad twists, turns and tangential leaps. It’s only on the mid-paced introspection of Serious Damage that this Preston-based quintet sound anything less than remarkable; a sturdy but traditional ballad, it proves that the band have versatility and depth, but lacks the electrifying urgency displayed elsewhere. Nonetheless, this is a debut effort that sounds like the work of a band that already know precisely what they’re doing. And what they’re doing is pretty fucking awesome. Ones to watch in 2010, without a doubt.

Check them out HERE!

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

JOHN LAWSON 1932-2009

Being a writer and all-round opinionated bore, words don’t often fail me, but I’m finding it extremely hard to describe how I feel this morning. Last Friday night, my father passed away after what we are, I suppose, obliged to refer to as “a long battle with cancer”. He slipped away in the night, at home and in bed with my mum (just as it should be), and he leaves a yawning chasm behind, not just for me but for my entire family and anyone who ever knew him.

I know almost everyone thinks that their parents are infallible, but my dad really was a wonderful human being. He was a kind, generous, gentle and fiercely intelligent man who never knowingly said or did anything that caused pain or sadness to another living being. Most remarkable of all, he seldom spoke unless he had something to say. God knows, the world could use a few more people like that.

In some respects I didn’t have a huge amount in common with my dad. I didn’t share his religious faith, his political views, his taste in music or his calamitous dress sense, but those things are utterly trivial when you love someone as much I loved him. The important thing is that I always knew that my dad loved me and was proud of me, despite my many faults, and that he knew that I felt the same way towards him. And I admired him immensely. I’m lucky enough to do what I love for a living, and my dad was the same. An insanely talented artist, he designed stained glass windows for a living and leaves behind an astonishing legacy of beautiful creations that, with luck, will survive for many hundreds of years. I can only hope that I will be able to make such a lasting and worthwhile mark on the world. I also hope that I can become a little bit more like my dad along the way.

I miss him terribly and will carry his memory in my heart forever, as will my mum and my two sisters, Rebecca and Helena. We all love you, Dad.