Saturday, September 7, 2019

The Feast of 2019: listen to all of these

Corey Taylor, vocals, Slipknot
Corey Taylor, Slipknot, Chicago Open Air 2016 OLD MASK!!!
Late 2019 is turning into a celebration for fans of the heavier side of music - and through the success of albums so far, the new music is coming to the ears of those who might not previously have heard. In August, Slipknot's We Are Not Your Kind knocked Ed Sheeran from his perch to take the number one in the UK album charts, the first metal band in four years to top the pile in the land where heavy metal began. And, incidentally, Slipknot's first UK number one in eighteen years. And then of course they did the same in the USA, reaching the top of the Billboard album charts.

Slipknot wear masks and put on an incredible live show. The masks (not the one above any more - new ones) elicit emotion: fear, laughter, ugliness, nightmares, and that of course is intentional. If you've never listened to Slipknot yet because of the visual image, think again. Listen to the music somewhere different: a walk on the beach, when roaming through an art gallery, while shopping in the supermarket. Find the music first - the appreciation of the not-faces comes later. My photographer brain wants to see the musician's emotions and I had to get past that to the sound... it's a learning, and I learned to really appreciate this band in all it's incarnations. Loving We Are Not Your Kind!

Maynard James Keenan, vocals, A Perfect Circle
Maynard James Keenan, not Tool, Aftershock 2017
Then Tool... Tool's Fear Inoculum, the long-awaited, very long awaited ... really, let's not count the years, let's just bathe in the sounds, let's just drown in the music. Entering the UK album charts this week at number four, in Kerrang!'s rock chart at number one, (and if anyone can tell me how to understand Billboard's myriad of ridiculous classifications I'd give you the placement there too), it's an album for the years - who cares how long it took? While Tool are being interviewed by metal magazines this one should be on the playlist for anyone who reads PROG too; it's a delight.

Jonathan Davis, vocals, Korn
Jonathan Davis, Korn, at Aftershock 2016
Then... coming soon, and with a new single "Can You Hear Me" in my inbox yesterday afternoon UK time, on September 13, Korn's The Nothing arrives. I may be gone for some time, listening to that one... check out the interview in this week's Kerrang magazine (and some beautiful photos too), you'll have to buy the mag to read it. The Nothing will be a personal and dark collection of songs - don't expect any stone to be left unturned. My soul hurts already.

Mark Tremonti, guitar, Alter Bridge
Mark Tremonti, Alter Bridge, Houston Open Air 
Alter Bridge release Walk The Sky on October 18th... another one to add to the preorder list if you haven't already! And check tour dates just about everywhere in the USA and Europe - just make sure you pick the Manchester on the correct side of the Atlantic, if that's where you're planning to see them. Or heck, go to to both. I might.

Johnny Stevens, vocals, Highly Suspect
Johnny Stevens, Highly Suspect, at the Boardwalk, Orangevale, CA
Another album to anticipate this year: Highly Suspect will release their third album, MCID, on November 1st. With a couple of songs - 16 and Upperdrugs - already out, it's going to be special. (While listening to 16 did keep wanting to ask, "are you sure???", because DNA and bloodlines can do some strange things...) With their November tour dates in the UK and France sold out seemingly within seconds, if anyone has a clue how to get hold of two billets for either show, please let me know.

And guess what??? Four out of these five bands (and many, many more) will be performing at Sacramento's Aftershock Festival, October 11 - 13th, three days yes three days of huge music, wonderful music, fun, friends, food and festival. Go check out the lineup to see which three... and then hurry up and buy your tickets, there are only a few left... it's going to be an incredible weekend. So much good music. Be there!


- Aftershock Festival
- Slipknot
- Tool
- Alter Bridge
- Highly Suspect
- Alison Toon Photographer: Music

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