Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Heavy Metal Cover Girls...with Broadswords!

I haven't done a "Women with swords" theme in a while so, just for the hell of it,  here's a page full of gorgeous young warrior-women, most of whom are not wearing enough clothing to keep off a stiff breeze, let alone a battleaxe.

Holy Moses - Disorder Of The Order (Germany 2002)

cartoon redhead with knife
I don't know what the hell that blue thing is but I think we can take it as read that he's evil. 
Now our red-tressed heroine has to make the world safe for ...kiddies 
and puppies and stuff...by cutting his bollocks off and stuffing them up his nose.
So it is written in the ancient texts. 

Barque of Dante - Way Of Your Life (Single - China 2011)

Elven Warrior woman metal cd cover
Well that's some ornate armour she's almost wearing, isn't it?
Can't fault the protection on the arms at all. 
That's some top-notch pauldrons she's got there.  Real works of art. 
Not quite so impressed with the breastplate (s) though

Saurom -JuglarMetal (Spain 2006)

Helmet. Check
Shoulderplates - check
Vambraces -check
Greaves -check
Breastplate ...Hmm
You sure there wasn't more of it?
I mean, did you look in the box?
The only protection you've got between your boobs and your knees is that jewel holding up your loincloth. That can't be right. 
Ah. I just noticed the big-ass dragon standing right behind you. You don't really need chainmail do you?

At least they're wearing some armour.

Anilo Projekt - Miracle (Bulgaria 2011)

You know, when you're taking your sword into the bath with you, you may have issues.

Here's a chance for you to find out what Bulgarian female-fronted Prog Metal sounds like.
I quite like it. 

Leah - Otherworld (USA 2013)

An artist that has been described as "Enya-meets-metal", hence her outfit being a lot...prettier...than normal.

Music isn't your standard thud n blunder either.

Home page here: http://leahmusic.net/

I apologise for that sudden outbreak of classiness.
Let's get back into leather & steel territory, shall we?

Templar - Witch Hunt EP (Australia 2006)

The closest we've seen to proper armour so far.
Definitely the young lady I'd least like to piss off.

Jon-Mikl Thor - Sign of The V (Canada 2009)

The Canadian metal legend brings us a cover that's cartoony and fun.
I love the way the girls at his feet are obviously playing along with it.

And finally, probably my favourite "Women with swords" cover of all time.

V/A-Battle Metal VII

 I have this vague hope that after the battles were done, Medb the Swordmaiden and Olaf The Big Scary Axeweilding Nutjob
ended up together, in a cottage with goats outside and children that the local bullies only ever messed with  once. 
I'm an old softy really. 
 It's a bit of a shame that such a great pic ended up on a magazine freebie.

If you want to see it without all the lettering try here: www.pinupcartoongirls.com
And the artist's website is here: http://www.mattdixon.co.uk 
I'd definitely recommend checking both those sites out. 

That's all folks. 

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Blogging And Bad Movies

 I've been doing this blog since December 2011 and while for the most part it's been fun I can't help noticing that there's some unfortunate side-effects.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Weird Crushes: Judge Anderson

"The minimum for using a debit card is £8." said the young lady behind the counter at the charity bookshop.
I contemplated the pile of books I'd just dropped on the counter. By my estimate there was approximately £7 there.
 It had taken twenty minutes of umming and ahhing as well as three full circuits of the shop to select this lot. I wasn't entirely sure I wanted to go through the process again. If I wasn't careful, I'd end up with twenty quids worth of books and payday two weeks away.
 I looked idly around the shop and my eyes lit on a basket of elderly comics. "That'll work." I murmured and began riffling through them.
 As it happens, I found one I wanted almost immediately.

Best of 2000ad Monthly  60

Friday, 18 April 2014

The Metal Project: Heavy Metal Easter

The Metal Project is an ongoing quest to find songs with "Metal" in the title. 

 Hello and Happy Easter to you all. Now that you've eaten your Easter Eggs how about we listen to some Heavy Metal? I think I have a few things you might like. 

 Lets start with some Thrash/Crossover. 

Mutank - M.E.C.H Metal (Canada 2014)

Honour to: Mutube 
And to Metal blogger  Heavy Metal Time Machine which is where I found out about these guys.
Pop over and take a look. It's definitely worth a visit. 

Band site here: http://mutankthrash.bandcamp.com/

Brutal Hand - Metal Rules (USA 2009)
(Old School Metal with a Epic, grandiose flair) 

  Honour to: Brutal Hand

EXP - Full Metal Jacket (Germany 1992)

(Now this is interesting. Classy Prog Metal. )

Honour to: KraudiT1st

Megahera -  Maniac Metal Attack (Italy 2011)

(Sounds exactly like a song called "Maniac Metal Attack" should sound. Excellent.)
Honour to: TimeDilationSteel

Flashover - Gods Metal War (Brazil 2008) 

(Crunchy Death/Thrash)
Honour to: SoulflySox2

Mindless Sinner - Heavy Metal Will Never Die (Sweden 1983) 

(Enthusiastic Early 80s Sorta-NWOBHMish Eurometal)

Honour to: metallife78

Blackshore - Troublemakers Black Metal (Germany 2013)

(Black Metal with no pretensions and one middle finger in the air.
 Bonus points for throwing in the line "Who's Your Daddy Now?")

And finally, this seems like the perfect song to finish. 

Seven Witches - Metal Asylum (USA 2004)

(In which Jack Frost and his boys try to namecheck as many metal legends as possible.)

Honour to: Milan Japundzic

That's all folks. 

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Wrestling Revue October 1973

Since I picked up another old wrestling mag the other day I thought I'd post some scans.
 If you compare these to my last lot of pics, from the 60s, wrestling hadn't really changed that much. New names and faces, granted, but the general look is still pretty much the same. The steroids and  WWF circus were still to come.
1970s Wrestling magazine

The cover story brings us this early shot of the Funk boys looking fresh-faced.
It's amazing to think that Terry Funk would still be wrestling in the 1990s and onward. Not only that but taking on younger men in barbed-wire bloodbaths. He even wrestled last year at the age of 68.  

 In 1973 "Jean Ferre" was making a name for himself.  You probably know him best as Andre the Giant
Andre midget+wrestlers Tom Thumb
Jean/Andre takes a snapshot with midget wrestlers Tom Thumb and Joe Russell. 
Then gets stuck into an appropriately sized  birthday cake. 
Jean ferre Andre The giant cake

There's a special look at Japan's women wrestlers, hence the next two snaps. 
Joshi Puroresu 70s women wrestling Joshi+puroresu
 I can't blame Panama for looking alarmed. 
There's no way I'd take on that woman without a baseball bat and the element of surprise. 
joshi+puroresu 1973 women wrestling Japanese girl wrestlers
Young Peggy Kuroda seems a bit nervous at getting her portrait done.
There doesn't seem to be any pics of her online so this may well be a first.

Tim Woods - sans "Mr Wrestling" gimmick - hurts his opponents face. 

This next pic has a great story behind it 
The attached story starts like this " Top ranking wrestler, Andy Robin was blasted some 20 feet when his boat exploded on a Scottish loch.  Although thrown high in the air and subsequently sinking deep into the Loch, the superbly fit Commonwealth Middleweight champion rescued his young workmate, 23 year old George Maclean and swam with him to the shore. "
 It then goes on to add that after getting ashore, Andy had to run over a mile to the nearest village to get help. Sadly George succumbed to his injuries 48 hours later.

 While writing this I quickly Googled Andy Robin to see if there was any more info and as it turns out, his subsequent career was even more interesting. Later on Andy added a bear to his act.  
 Yes, an actual grizzly bear named Hercules. They went around the UK wrestling circuit together and Hercules even got to appear in a few movies 
 And to finish, a cartoon/ad from the back pages. 
lady wrestlers art

  That's all folks. 

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Gig Review: Foreigner/Europe/FM - Portsmouth Guildhall

  I was lucky getting a ticket for this one. By the time I got around to popping into the Guildhall box office, they had precisely two seats left, both right at the back except in different corners.
 "Seats?" I thought "For a rock gig?"
 I wasn't entirely happy about this - I've always felt that standing makes you feel more of the experience as opposed to merely watching it -  but I broke out my debit card anyway.

 When I rolled up to the Guildhall last night I couldn't help noticing that the average age of the crowd as significantly older than most. Most seemed to be older than me, in fact.

  So, I was watching three bands who had had their glory days in the 80s, sat down at the back among a crowd that might be difficult to get going. And the venue had this strange smell of curry coming from somewhere.  This had the potential to be a bit dull.

Hoooo boy was I ever wrong.

 I got to my seat as British AOR heroes FM were midway through their first song and almost immediately discovered that thanks to an acoustic peculiarity, every time the drummer hit his bass-drum I could feel myself vibrating.
 It was like standing under an airvent that switched on and off in 4/4 time.  Most odd.

 Confession time. I had the chance to see FM when they headlined Firefest a few years back and...err..I opted to grab a kebab and an early night instead. Based on tonight's showing I definitely missed out.
 Although this band are best remembered for melodic rock, it's easy to spot the blues and soul elements underpinning their sound, most noticeably on mellow groove "Closer to Heaven."
 Steve Overland still has a great set of pipes and he's a also nifty guitarist, him and Jim Kirkpatrick trading tasteful solos across their 30 minute set.
 Special mention too for keyboard-player Jem Davis. Proudly eschewing the smart-casual look in favour of a vest and shades, he spent the entire set throwing shapes behind the banked keys that hid him from view. Every now and again he'd  bounce out from behind his rig and then dive back in again.
  It's a bit unfortunate that they didn't play any of the few FM songs I actually knew - "Bad Luck" or "Tough it out" would have been nice.
Hmm, definitely should have seen them at Firefest. Oh well.

Verdict:  They did look a bit like geography teachers who decided to get the old band back together for a birthday bash. But musically they delivered and received a warm reception.

  Nobody is ever going to mistake Joey Tempest for a geography teacher. He made his presence known by bounding onto the monitors and striking a heroic pose, and from that moment on he did not stop moving, throwing shapes, twirling his mike and generally displaying more energy and enthusiasm than a 50 year old should have a right to.
 Like a lot of people, my knowledge of Europe is restricted to one song. You know the one I mean. So I'd mentally filed them away as "Cheesy Pop-metal aimed at teenage girls"
As it turns out, musically the Swedes have more in common with Deep Purple than Def Leppard and live even more so. "No Stone Unturned" in particular is something Ritchie Blackmore would not be ashamed of.
 I don't think I've ever gone into a gig knowing so little about a band and been so impressed. They got the crowd into it too.
 As the set rolled on there were more people on their feet, some abandoning their seats altogether to line up against the sides of the room and rock. Dancing in the aisles? That too.
 "Rock The Night" saw Tempest sneak in a snippet of Tears For Fears and an enthusiastic singalong. But there were still people sitting down.
 So for the encore Europe broke out the nuke.
The parpy keyboard intro hit and that was it. The entire Guildhall came to their feet and roared along.
"Iiits the Finaaall countdown!"

Verdict: Turns out that when people called Europe a Heavy Metal band, they weren't kidding. Bloody good live act too. If you get chance, go see them.

  Mick Jones is the only original member left in Foreigner so I had a vague worry that their set would consist of a bunch of hired guns half-heartedly working through the hits before "I Want To Know What Love Is" sent everybody home.
 Surprise number one was that the band came out fired up and ready to roll, opening with "Double Vision" and reminding everybody that Foreigner are, and always have been, a rock band.

 Surprise number two was that frontman Kelly Hansen is not only a hell of singer, he's a great  frontman too and if his patter occasionally dipped into cheesy, the obvious enthusiasm carried it.
 Like Joey Tempest, he did not stop moving the entire time.
 He danced on the speaker stacks, dived into the audience to stroll along on top of the seats and grab a sneaky kiss, serenaded a slightly bemused young lady who'd arrived from the bar a little late and told the audience that he saw "A lot of beautiful people out there tonight."
"Not buying it? OK, let me rephrase that. I see a lot of beautiful women out there, surrounded by some ugly guys. Have we got any wild and crazy ladies out there?"
(Massive, high pitched cheer.)
"Well we got some Dirty White Boys up here for ya."
Trust me, his delivery made it work.

 Surprise number three was Mick Jones being not actually setting foot on stage until about 4 songs in.

I have no idea why.

 As he quickly proved, Jones can still peel off a solo with the best of them and isn't a bad vocalist either.  With seven members now onstage, Foreigner now had four guitarists and  five vocalists to play with. No wonder the choruses were so big.
 Earlier that day Mick Jones - born in Pompey - had been the first inductee into the Portsmouth Guildhall  Wall Of Fame so clearly last night was a special thing for him. He took the opportunity to break out a song not on the many Greatest Hits CDs. With it's acoustic/flute intro "Starrider" nods back to Jone's proggy days but then - Surprise number four - turned into the heaviest track on display all night.

 It took a few songs but Foreigner had the crowd off their bums and singing along to the hits. "Urgent" had an extended break for multi-instrumentalist Thom Gimbel to show off his sax chops, the drummer and keyboardist both got solos and finally "Juke Box Hero" showcased Hansen's vocal prowess, including the longest note I have ever heard anybody hit onstage.
 Of course it wasn't over yet. Nobody seriously expected Foreigner to get on the bus without their only UK No 1 hit.
 After coming back on with "Long Way From Home" , Kelly Hansen set about getting the crowd fired up and ready to sing.  He asked the crowd to reach out and put their arm around the person closest to them.

In my case that was a bloke, so never going to happen. But then a pair of ladylike arms briefly wrapped themselves around me from behind.

Hello, whoever that might have been. Thank you for taking a moment to hug a total stranger and warm his cynical heart.

For the chorus, the big, big chorus, Foreigner had enlisted some special guests. The Portsmouth High School Choir girls filed onstage and added their voices to the...ooh...thousand plus merrily singing along. Even from where I was standing they were clearly having a blast. I distinctly saw one young lady high-fiving the drummer at the end.
 Just to hammer home the point that this band are rockers, "Hot Blooded" closed the show. While nobody was looking, bassist Jeff Pilson and Michael Bluestein swapped instruments, Kelly went for a triumphant jog around the crowd and yours truly went off into the night with his ears hissing and a spring in my step.

Verdict. A great set. Lots of effort from all concerned and some top-notch musicianship. I spent the entire thing grinning and available evidence suggests that the rest of the crowd had a great time too. Certainly there's quite a few of them waking up this morning with aching limbs and sore throats. Which is how the day after a gig should be.

Band of the night: Foreigner - but Europe made them work for it.
Most peculiar moment: Hearing four or five people whistling "Final Countdown" in the gents.

Big thumbs up to all the bands involved and to the ladies and gents of Portsmouth who proved to be one hell of a crowd.

PS.  I apologise for the lack of pictures but I realised a couple of years back that I was spending too much time trying to get the shot rather than getting into the music.

That's all folks. 

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Heavy Metal Cover Girls: Girls with Guitars.

Hello and welcome to your semi-regular dose of Metal/Rock/AOR cover art featuring attractive young ladies ... doing stuff, complete with captions that attempt to be witty.
 The theme today is "Girls with guitars" 

Not necessarily playing them, you'll notice.

Rain - XXX (Italy 2011) 

tattooed redhead playing bass
I was ever so disappointed when I found out this band 's lead singer isn't a 6 foot tall, tattooed redhead
who can drink you under the table, win a bar fight then get on stage and rock like a beast. 

All that aside, they aren't bad. If you like Old-school metal have a listen to this.

Elikat - Electrikat (Spain 1990)

album cover woman with guitar
Proof that you can have a naked woman on an album cover and not make it tacky.
I've just noticed that there seems to be steam coming off the guitar.
I don't think I want to know...

Pleaser - One Night In Paradise (Brazil 2013)

woman black leather guitar metal album art
Quickly followed by
"Oh shiiiiiiiiiii..." when she reaches the end and discovers that she's still 7 storeys up.
Luckily she's an angel - sort of - so the fall won't hurt but it will mess up her vinyl trousers.

Axident Avenue - Shaken And Disturbed (Norway 2010)

sleaze-rock album art woman alley guitar
Yes, they're a Sleaze-Rock outfit, why'd you ask?
One of those bands that keeps hoping a wormhole will open up back to Sunset Strip in 1990 so they can go home.
I rather like the cover. Not a technical masterpiece but it has a definite charm.
Here's what they sound like.

Break Out  (?)

I found this cover somewhere but have no idea where. If anybody has any details, please drop me a line. 
beautiful woman and guitar art
You have to wonder if that's as comfortable as it looks.
Surely falling off would be an issue?

Lions Breed - Damn The Night (Germany 1985)

metal album cover sexy woman and guitar
 "You love that guitar more than me."
"Err...Of course I don't honey."
"Then why's it in our bed. On my side?"
"Um... It's a cold night?"
"I bet you'd have sex with it if you could?"
"Don't be silly. That messes up the strings and then you can never get the tone right....Why are you looking at me like that?"

Loud N Clear - Playing With Thunder (Israel 2012)

heavy metal cover girls woman with guitar
Smashing guitars is Rock and Roll
Ripping them in half with lightning is proof that you may be eligible to join the X-Men.

Here's what they sound like.

That's all folks.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

The True Mysteries Of Peter Haining

For many years now I've been interested in...

Well, you can call it The Paranormal, you can call it The Unexplained or Forteana or just call it "Weird Shit"

Creatures that may or may not exist. Artefacts that don't belong. Lights in the sky and phantom hitchikers. Ancient conspiracies and and steam engines stashed away under Welsh mountains. Coincidence and coverup and curiosities galore.

 All the stuff that regular science and regular history prefers to store in a locked cabinet.
That's down in the basement.
Hidden under a stack of old newspapers.
With a big sign on the door reading "Beware of the leopard"

And I think I know where this peculiar fascination first emerged.
the monster trap and other true mysteries

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