Demon Pigeon Goes To Roadburn 2013!


Well, we sort of did. I went, and let me tell you this, eager pigeon-fanciers—it was bloody great. Here’s the thing: It’s a three-day (or four, if you’re a bit flush and fancy the now-traditional ‘Afterburner’ event on the Sunday too) festival in the lovely little Dutch town of Tilburg, which just happens to have a purpose-built, Brixton Academy-sized live music venue smack in the middle of it. Every year for the past ummm… quite a few years anyway, hordes of beard-faced outcasts descend on Tilburg in April to get absolutely doom-buggered by some of the finest riffmongers from all areas of the weird and wonderful side of music, and every year they all go home utterly sated. Some trick, eh?

How it works is pretty simple. Walter, Yvonne and their team basically go through their insanely-varied record collections and pick out a load of cool bands that they’d like to see play live. And most of them come and play, even the REALLY weird ones. Good or what? (yes, it is good, for the slow ones at the back). This year’s marquee acts included Electric Wizard, Godflesh, Ihsahn and Primordial—sounds great already, right? Well, as far as Roadburn is concerned, those are the bigtime, commercial bands. Yeah.

On any given day you can see a ton of crazy stuff that you’ve probably never heard of before—unless you really are some kind of music-obsessed shut-in case—and you’re guaranteed to have a splendid time doing so, thanks to the excellent taste of the people booking the bands. There are also art exhibitions, films, acoustic sets with the likes of John Baizley Off Of Baroness (what does all their lovely artwork and that) and even the odd discussion panel to get your head around, all within less than five minutes’ walk of the central venue (the 013).


So, how was MY Roadburn? Well, on day one I saw these things:

1) Pallbearer. Current darlings of the doom scene thanks to their album Sorrow And Extinction, they kicked off the main stage at a most agreeable 3pm and did an utterly captivating job of it. Lovely, lovely stuff.

2) The Atlas Moth. Part two of ‘The Profound Lore Plot To Dominate Roadburn’, following Pallbearer’s opening volley. They played in the second venue Het Patronaat, which is all of 50 yards up the road and is, in fact, a converted church. Their prog/doom/psychedelia mélange proved perfectly suited to rather a lot of peoples’ mood after their labelmates had done their best to depress everyone over the way, and they even (the bastards!) looked like they were enjoying themselves! Probably better grab their album mates, it’s a bit decent.

3) A bit of a wander about, time for some food and a very good Guinness in the Irish pub around the corner (it’s a very civilised festival, this), and a chance to actually say hello to loads of people I know that also made the trip this year. And then High On Fire in the 013, playing the entirety of their first album. I feel a bit like I’m showing off here, actually. I’m not sorry though, so shut up and just be jealous. Matt Pike was in good form for this show, sobriety seems to suit him rather well in fact.


4) Bloody hell, it’s Primordi…el? No, Primordial. Sorry. Despite being a little quieter than perhaps I’d have liked, getting to see Ireland’s finest metal band properly go for it on a big stage was a genuine treat. Vocalist Alan drinking two entire bottles of wine during their set and nearly stacking it in spectacular style over his own mic stand was a top bonus too.

5) The Psychedelic Warlords. Bits of YER ACTUAL HAWKWIND doing a recreation of their legendary live album Space Ritual. FUCKING HELL. FUCK. ING. HELL. Yeah, this was pretty (very bloody) good.

So that was Thursday, pretty much. I was absolutely exhausted by this point, so bedtime for me. Make sure you come back to see what I got up to for the rest of this year’s festival, won’t you?


Who Wants To Be An Alan Sugardome Champion

The Apprentice, 2013

Perhaps it’s that I’ve been living in the shadow of the business sector for three years, or maybe it’s dealing with the current difficulty of obtaining a job, but there’s a very special place for businessmen as part of the pain in my ass. That’s probably why I so severely despise the absolute bastards on BBC One’s The Apprentice.

People continue to say that The Apprentice has become (or indeed always has been) a sitcom. I’d actually prefer to argue that it is an anime. There’s Tsundere Senpai Lord Sir – or is that Sir Lord? – Alan ‘Al’ Sugar, a bunch of narcissistic big-haired snobs in shiny suits and chic dresses. There’s a quiet monotonous pointdexter who will probably win it, and an anime Don Draper.


And all of them, every last one, a complete and utter bell end.

What are you doing, British Broadcasting Corporation? What are you fucking trying to do to me? I’m a graduate, looking onto a burgeoning grey future as an Emerging Services Worker, indebted to the government for what employers consider to be fuck all. Meanwhile, to get my mind off all that, I get to watch week after week as slobbering rich half-wits snivel at a human ballache. It brings me to a strange new reality where I simultaneously find I’m ashamed of myself for failing to reach their status, yet appalled by their sycophantic begging. I come away from the faint distraction of 50 minutes of television feeling a soreness in the pith of my heart.

The Apprentice starts every episode thusly: Balding Saruman emerges from his den of iniquity atop the shard, followed by raven Karren and wise-owl Nick, who perch at each of his shoulders. Balding Saruman yells at the hobbitses until they are ejected from Amstrad HQ with one objective: Steal money from the public.

Let’s be honest here. What they are doing isn’t ‘business’—it’s a highly evolved form of stealing. They buy shit, for shit money, and sell it to people who are either being harassed in the street to the point of exasperation, or receiving a stultifying terrible pitch from idiotic dicks in suits towing along a camera crew. They make products which don’t work or fit their brief, and then they sell them using lies. They buy products from Costcutter and deliver it to the consumer as fresh organic produce. And these are the people to aspire to be. The ones who made it: The Crux of London City.

And then, inevitably, they will cock it up. Cue Balding Saruman harrumphing into his gunmetal and brushed glass boardroom (more like BOREDROOM) like a pound-shop Steve Jobs to a hushed audience of over-moisturised children in business suits—like the baby from the Soft Soft Soft Triple Velvet ad. Despite ripping off the public, small businesses and even having a go at the big nasty ones too, they fuck up. The producers of this programme manage to successfully manipulate each situation into a near-unsalvageable disaster. Why? So the unemployed, the redundant, the graduates with nowhere to go (and nobody who wants them) can sit and watch entitled bags of shit be laden with opportunities and pampered—or conversely, ejected out of the Sugardome ‘process’ and back to their cushy lives with their big cars and executive jobs.


They always say the same fucking thing, don’t they? It isn’t ever their fault. Business is supposed to be respectable, supposedly honourable, and yet they scream and cry and point the finger, desperate to avoid Lord Sugar’s axe. Rumour has it they stopped filming on several occasions because somebody had a stinky nappy, or done did a mad tinkle of distress all down their twowser weg.

Raven Karren (with TWO Rs) mumbles profits out of her bee-sting pout. Wise-Owl Nick flutters his huge obsidian wings and hoots a number out of his cat-bum lips. I feel a pang of inadequacy at being unable to figure out the winning total because of my dyscalculia (idiocy) and then the BOY’S TEAM lets out a whoop and a cheer as if at a tribal ceremony. Or an Arsenal match. Essentially the same thing.

But nobody wins, in the end. I certainly don’t. One of the participants of The Apprentice will win the series, and earn more money for it than I would earn in a lifetime of eating out of Alan Sugar’s thick, un-calloused palms. Or, for that matter, any of Al’s places – un-calloused or otherwise.

The best I can hope for is to come away from my television feeling temporarily a little bit better than them because they dress like dickheads and don’t understand basic ideas.


PiGeon Playlists


While we were thinking about the relaunch of your favourite idiotic heavy metal blog, we were trying to come up with ideas that might have longevity beyond the single article lifespan of most of our output. But thinking is getting harder by the day, so we’ve decided to just throw some Spotify playlists at you instead, because that counts as a whole new article each time.

This way, we gain the advantage of churning out ‘content’ (albeit shit a poisoned wasp  could manage), and for you dear reader, it’ll seem like are working much harder than we actually are, even though you are getting depressingly less quality with every visit.

Full disclosure: We were worried this strategy was too fucking lazy even for us, until we remembered that this is what almost every single heavy metal blog, zine and indeed ‘website’ does: Endless exercises in driving hits to grow our audience to try and drive more hits to get our links out there… to the purpose of who knows what. Selling ads? Ell em eh oh.

So without further ado, please enjoy this the first of what will be (or may not end up being, to be honest) endless spouts of amazing bullshit.

Pigeon Playlist May 2013: The Completely Official Demon Pigeon Hellfest Playlist For People Who Are Going To Hellfest:

We are going to Hellfest soon. Did we mention it? I think we might have done. We’re quite looking forward to it, as well. It’ll be dead good, not least of which because it isn’t a British festival and therefore definitely not a cynical attempt to turn you upside down and empty your pockets of all your money, giving you as little in return as possible.

As well as that, there’s a lot of rather good bands. There’s quite a few shit ones too, so once the festival released the stage times and we worked out exactly who we would actually get to see, we created this playlist as a kind of dry run. So if you are going to Hellfest, here’s some songs to get you excited. If you are not then here’s some stuff to make you jealous. Enjoy. Or not. Up to you entirely.

You can still get tickets for Hellfest for the stupidly good price of €160 from

Demon Pigeon II: Flock Harder


When I heard Demon Pigeon was undergoing a relaunch, I could scarcely believe my eyes! (I was on the internet, you see.) ‘Relaunching?!’ I scoffed, blowing the hairs of my luxuriant, glossy moustache horizontal. I wiped a rainbow from the dots of spittle on my computer screen before continuing: ‘How does one relaunch that which is already half-submerged with bilge?!’

The question seemed apt, dear reader. In over three years of rowing our leaky internet canoe through the shallowest of the shallows in music journalism’s reeking septic tank, we’d often wondered what the point was. If you’re going to be a laughing stock among heavy metal journalists, then the least you can do is make people laugh, we thought. But were we succeeding? ‘Does the world need us?’ we would wail to the heavens. ‘No, you fucking cretin,’ our common sense would reply. But then, we’re not doing it for the world. We’re doing it for you. You know who you are. You cutie ;D

What this ‘relaunch’ means for you: Several new articles, a bit of a shuffle about, a prettier, touchscreen-friendly front page, and a comments system that works. All good things, much overdue. What it has meant for us: Several months of arsing around with our sluggish CMS, procrastinating and slinging increasingly frustrated emails about like bitter, hurtful insults. Eventually the handsome and clever Mark Riley stepped in to sort us out, and here we are. Boom, as the kids say. Hope you like the results.

Anyway, barely afloat or not, since 2010, we’ve somehow stumbled through over 300 talent-wasting articles of overwritten guff about not very interesting or fashionable things, most of it related to heavy metal and associated pursuits. Some of it has been modestly popular, and most of it hasn’t. Most of it has fallen flat on its face, as you’d expect. There’s a pertinent quote about this from some film, I expect, but the nub of the matter is this: You’ve let us down.

It’s all very well us sitting here trumping out an article, stinking like a pre-rotted egg, every six weeks or so—but if you don’t then take that egg and break it gleefully and smear its rancid yolk into your eyes and mouth and nipples and urethra, until you and everyone you encounter become riddled with our disease, then what have we accomplished?

In order to fuse our sub-atomic fanbase into a cohesive unit of magnified explosive viral force, we have determined that it is time for drastic measures. As such, not only are we applying a quick coat of slap to the site, we are also booting up our long-awaited Carrier Pigeon programme, an organisation devoted to taking forth the Demon Pigeon Way to the masses. And you will play your part!


Not purely because we wish to dress up in Girl Guide uniforms, our militia of Carriers will be patterned after the hardy and resourceful young women of Agnes Baden-Powell, only with medieval weaponry drawn from the armoury of proud Demon Pigeon sponsors Cold Steel Knives.

Upon enlisting, you will receive the following items:

  1. Carrier Pigeons’ Official Bronze-Esque Membership Badge, pocket-size Carrier’s Handbook and ID Card in wallet especially-debossed with the Carrier Pigeon Crest.

  2. Custom-tooled green leatherette bumbag for storing merch money, gig tix, expired condoms, beard combs, eighths, wraps, pills, skins, cigs, smartphones, award badges, autograph books, hip flasks, Argos pens, patches, lighters, stickers, knives, trinkets and tat.

  3. Uniform comprising plain green skirt, maroon blouse, grey jumper, grey neckerchief, grey Glengarry bonnet, plus appropriate cockades, insignia and badges.

  4. Your choice of weapon from the following:

  5. Exclusive access to the Carrier Pigeons’ smartphone app, which allows you to covertly flirt with other Carriers, synch your #nowplaying song to every single social feed you’ve ever heard of—and some you haven’t—and orchestrate Twitter hate campaigns against guileless celebrities at the mere flick of a finger!

  6. A large mirror-shelled egg, chill to the touch. Take good care of it until it hatches, for your own sake.

You, as one of our brave troop of footsoldiers, will daily don your uniform with pride, swearing anew the Carriers’ Promise: That, by whatever moral authority you may acknowledge, you vow to do your worst always. As one, you will march forth into the world, ready to root out the enemy and visit battle upon him; whereupon we will lose interest in the whole endeavour, neglect to issue any orders, then watch everyone die or drift away to the uniformed militias of other, better heavy metal writing outlets, in keeping with the Carrier Pigeon motto: ‘Ah Fuck It’.

Enlistment in the Carriers opens soon and will be available to you for a half-price subscription fee, from as little as £88.08 per week over the entire period of your service. Not only that, we will be opening a Kickstarter so you can give us bowel-lurching sums of money for doing literally nothing, with many exciting reward tiers and stretch goals to be announced! Click here for more info.

In the meantime, we’ll knock up some more barely-intelligible sub-Charlie Brooker rubbish for you to ignore shortly, I’m sure.

Let’s shake hands on it.

Rolling Stone Top 500 Challenge I


As I get older, more haggard and increasingly bored by the ‘heavy metal’ that is created for an ever younger and stupider audience than me, I become increasingly curious about all that music I have never heard, and probably never will. Even if I decided, right now, to get into jazz, I could never hope to hear more than a fraction of all the jazz there is before I die, possibly as a result of some jazz-induced (jazzisted?) suicide bid.

Even ‘da metulz,’ to which I’ve spent most of my life listening, is so piled with bands and records as to be an unconquerable mountain. There are roughly 1,700 new progressive black metal bands being formed even as you read this sentence, and not a single one of them will be any good. Imagine if you had to listen to all the generic metalcore in the world, just to see if any of it is any good. You’d die of boredom halfway through the third Unearth album.

I’m sure you—the erudite and cultured reader of the world’s greatest heavy metal blog—listen to other stuff besides metal. You’re not an idiot, are you? I don’t think you are. Unless you actually are, of course. I imagine you’re a bit like me: Every now and again I go on a little skinny dip into the deep ocean of musical history; but formulating a plan of attack for tackling Every Record You’ve Never Heard is a bit like looking at the vast expanse of space and thinking ‘I’ll get a ladder’.

So I was thinking, wouldn’t it be lovely to actually have someone hand you a list and say, ‘Here you go, these are all the best albums ever recorded, go and spend the rest of your life trying to wade through them’? I know there is great joy to be found in discovering something for yourself but I’m old now, and much like I plan to train my children to bring me my slippers, I can’t really be bothered to go looking. I’m tired. I’ve been looking for new music for all my life, it’s someone else’s turn now. What I want is someone to do the legwork for me.

Thankfully, the internet is full of people who will climb up inside your trouser leg for the chance to do exactly that. Even we tried it, in our more naive days, although the endeavour was then ruined by the victory of Andrew WK.


But scratch the foetid surface of the internet, and you’ll find an endless tide of people telling you what you really should be listening to. They’re ten-a-penny. That’s why we gave up on writing lists. Enter the grandiosely titled Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Perfect.

I remember this coming out last year. It was actually an update of an old list, but it received quite widespread press attention, and widespread nerd derision from the charming people who live in the internet. They must have spent hours looking for all their favourite albums that hadn’t made the cut so they could complain about the albums they didn’t like that had.

Full disclosure: I may have done exactly that. And now, I’m about to do it again, only in public this time. After all, the list is not exactly awash with metal; though it is top heavy with exactly the kind of bilge you’d expect to be on this list. It was put together by a magazine that long since lost its credibility as a voice of the underground, and contains more than one U2 album, which should be a disqualifier in and of itself. Not only that, there’s not a single Pig Destroyer album on it.

But there’s bound to be a lot of really good stuff on there. Right? It got me wondering how long it would take to listen to them all. That’s the kind of challenge I like. So I started.

I’m listening to them. All of them. Even the ones I know I will hate. Even George Michael. I might even like some of them. Or I might go completely potty somewhere around the 300 album mark, ending up institutionalised and weeping catatonically as the bass line of I am the Resurrection loops around my head on infinite repeat.

I’ve no idea how long it will take, or how far I’ll get through the list before I get bored and move onto something else. But at the very least, I’ll hear a bunch of stuff I wouldn’t have heard otherwise, a bunch of stuff I’ve been meaning to listen to for years, a shed load of albums I‘ve not listened to in ages and some properly awful stuff I will know not to listen to again. And George Michael.

And, furthermore, in order to justify this stupid idea to myself, I’ve decided to inflict my opinions of every single one of these albums upon you, dear reader.

Sorry about that.

Next page

Dillinger Escape Plan – One of Us is the Killer


(Sumerian Records)

‘There’s nothing new under the sun,’ said the old man, his arthritic knees popping audibly as he stretched them out, rather effectively punctuating his point, or so he thought.

‘That’s stupid,’ said the young man. He stretched his own legs without sound, save for the rustling his skin-tight denim fashion made as his legs rubbed against each other. He took this silence to be an effective counterpoint to the old man’s audible argument. ‘Everything is new. Every moment on this planet is a new event that has never occurred before, a tiny moment of individuality.’

‘Piffle,’ the old man said, enjoying his outmoded vernacular almost as much as he had enjoyed the reassuring sound of his body’s rebellion against him. ‘All of these new things you think you see around you have happened before, again and again. The colours might change, the hairstyles, the tones, but it has all been before.’ He sucked his gums in pleasure at his own certainty. They tasted of onions. Why did his gums always taste of onions these days?

‘So your argument is that nothing can be truly original?’ the callow youth asked, pushing his fringe out of his eyes and checking to see if any girls had witnessed the magical moment. But he and the old man were alone.

‘Of course not. Take your modern music, for instance: It’s all derivative, all recycled ideas.’

‘So you can’t take a series of different influences and create something new out of them?’ The boy struggled not to sound patronising to the old man, who likewise struggled not to patronise the barely formed manfoetus in front of him.

‘No. It’s just pastiche. Watered down piffle.’ He really did like the word piffle. ‘Never again will we have a great idea; a grand new musical event. There will be no new jazz. No new blues. No new rock and roll. You had your last chance with rap, and look how you pissed that away on emptiness, on feckless shallow consumerism.’

The pair sat in silence for a moment. The youth was trying to find some kind of counter-argument, but in truth, he was young and he knew nothing. Of course, he didn’t understand this, couldn’t come to this realisation until later, when it would be too late to do anything about it. So instead, he just swung his legs under the bench, stared at the bright laces on his footwear. In truth, he didn’t much care what the old man thought. Why would anyone care about an old man’s thoughts?


The old man sat there in triumph, his chest swelling with the last joy that remained to him in this otherwise empty, cold, hard world. He had successfully punctured the idealism of a young person! He would feast on that for some time, maybe even long enough to get him to the evening’s soaps, when he could forage up something to get him angry enough to hold him over until his bedtime.

Small victories.

‘Except,’ the boy said, his brain fighting desperately for processing power against memories of animated gifs depicting people falling over that had so enslaved his synapses. ‘All of human existence, all of history, all of science and nature, is taking the old and making it new. Every achievement is taking the past and twisting it. Our DNA is a combination of the genetic code of our parents, in the same way that rock and roll is a combination of jazz, blues, country, classical music and everything else.’

‘So?’ The old man grumbled. ‘That just proves my point. There is nothing new under the sun.’


‘No,’ the young man said, becoming animated and excitable in the way that young people in tight trousers do. ‘You’ve missed the point. Every new combination throws up a new and original thing.’

‘Sorry, can I butt in here?’ asked the reader.

‘What?’ the two replied in unison.

‘What the hell has any of this got to do with the new Dillinger Escape Plan album?’ the voice asked, incredulous in its incredulity.

‘You don’t think it is relevant to have a discussion on the concept of originality when talking about a record that purports to be breaking boundaries and doing something original?’ The old man asked.

‘Actually I don’t think people still call them ‘records’ any more,’ the young man replied.

‘Oh no, they still do,’ said the reader.

‘I’ve still got a box of old ‘75s in my attic,’ said the old man. ‘Nothing that will play them, though.’

‘Look,’ said the reader. ‘I just want to know if the new Dillinger album is any good.’

‘Well that’s probably not true, is it?’ the young man said. ‘You’ve probably heard most of it by now, and you’re looking to see if your own opinion tallies with that of the author of this piece.’

‘I haven’t heard it actually,’ the reader said.

‘Oh, you really should then,’ the old man replied. ‘It rocks like a motherfucker.’

Silence. The young man gave the old man a ‘what-did-you-do-that-for’ look, which pleased the old man nearly as much as proving the young man wrong. But then he remembered he hadn’t really proved the young man wrong, and sagged, deflated.

‘Thank you,’ said the reader.

‘You’re welcome.’

‘That’s all I wanted to know really,’ said the reader.


‘This has been a bit of a fucking waste of time other than that though,’ the reader added.

‘I suppose. Didn’t you know what you were letting yourself in for?’

‘Who is even talking now?’

‘Fuck knows. Fuck cares?’


The Ocean – Pelagial


(Metal Blade)

I can’t swim. I have a morbid fear of water. I don’t even like being in the bath, which might explain my lack of friends. Pelagial is themed around the various oceanic zones from the Epipelagic (sunlit surface level) to the Benthic where only specialised invertebrate organisms (and Michael Gove) can dwell.

As you can imagine, this album gives me the fear.

There are two versions available, vocal and instrumental. The former is good, but the real magic happens sans singing.

Jump into my diving bell and I’ll be your guide on this descent all the way from the surface right to the ocean floor, where my bell ends.

Note the new age bubbly noises and piano of Epipelagia. All very nice and atmospheric but as we reach 200m below the surface, guitars herald our entry to the Mesopelagic zone.


Is it getting hot in here? Never mind.

Clean guitar arpeggios ring out, underpinned by cello. This is pretty nice. Oh, it’s getting a bit heavier now. Pressure’s increasing. Big riffs and burbling synths. Things are starting to get interesting.

We’re 1000m down now, in the Bathypelagic zone. Those guitars are getting louder and scarier. Are you sure it isn’t too warm in here? I’m starting to sweat a bit. Ah, the piano’s back. That’s nice. Might help me relax a bit. I’ll just sit back a moment and check what’s happening on the monitors.

Christ, it’s dark out there. If I switch on these headbeams we should see some of the HOLY FUCK!!!


This is getting to be not fun any more.

Right on cue The Ocean have switched to ominous and disorientating prog metal. Double-kick pedals beat out crazy time-signatures and chugging downtuned guitars add to the claustrophobic mood. Is there any way to increase the oxygen flow in here? Has someone been messing with the AC?

We’ve reached the 4000m mark, the Abyssopelagic zone. Its brooding, eerie silence is reflected by a section subtitled Signals of Anxiety. No shit, bro. The pace has slowed down. Clean guitar notes over a funereal drum beat presage impending watery doom, as we receive a visit from this behemoth:


Slow, graceful and terrifying,  much like our most recent visitor, the soundtrack begins to pick up pace again for the descent into the Hadopelagic zone.

I’m definitely having difficulty breathing now. Life down here is scarce, just a few jellyfish; which is a pity cos the fish should hear this riff. Do jellyfish like riffs? Do they even have ears? Jellyfish should have ears. If they don’t then they’re really missing out on this album. That wouldn’t be fair. It’s fucking great.

Feel weird now. Demersal zone. Bottom feeders. Here’s a photo of one I picked up on last trip:


Pretty nice threads, huh?

Scary noises now. Guitars and keys all doing different things. Can’t concentrate. Can’t get a handle on any one thing. Time… slowing down. Stretching.


Feel pressure… crushing… brain. Finally reached… Benthic… zone.