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Peter Hodgson Joined: 23rd November 2011
Last seen: 23rd November 2011

Crunch! - February 1, 2012

Hi and welcome to the first edition of Crunch. Why 'crunch,' you ask? Cos it's a word that has connotations with brutals metals, as well as crunchy hard rock guitar tones, and 'cause onomatopoeia kick arse. But mostly because it sums up a lot of what I'm going to try to do with this column: anything from the heavier side of music, from classic rock to hard rock to metal. Expect a lot of local news, a bit of national and international news, and whatever else I think might be interesting. 

Melbourne's In Trenches releases a five-track, 27-minute metalfest called Sol Obscura digitally on March 5, with a limited edition 10" vinyl version expected around the same time. The vinyl will be available in three colour variations. The track Hollow Heart is streaming now at intrenches.bandcamp.com, and you can also download their debut album Relive And Regret there for free if you'd like to catch up. The band says the new stuff is more advanced and more intense than their debut.


As I write this I'm currently in sunny LA. While at the NAMM musical instrument trade show I ran into the mighty John Howarth, CEO of Riot Entertainment, who was out here to sign Fear Factory for the Australian release of their new album, The Industrialist. The album will be out later this year. It was co-produced by the band and longtime collaborator Rhys Fulber (Front Line Assembly, Paradise Lost), and mixed by Greg Reely (Front Line Assembly, Paradise Lost, Skinny Puppy). Last year vocalist Burton C Bell was going around town telling everyone the band planned to write "a full-on concept" album, which is great news for those of us who dig the mighty Obsolete. Meanwhile Bell and Byron Stroud have wrapped up work on Trial Through Fire, the second album by their other band City of Fire. It'll be out in March or April.


Tony Martin might be the Black Sabbath singer that everyone forgets, but he made some kickass albums with the band, including Headless Cross and Cross Purposes. He even made a good one that didn't have 'cross' in the title (Tyr). Martin's latest collaboration with Italian guitarist Dario Mollo, The Third Cage, is out now on Frontiers Records and it's a fricken ripsnorter. No less a tough critic than Metal Hammer's Dom Lawson called it one of the best hard rock albums in years. Check it out if you're into Zakk Wylde-style riffage filtered through hints of the Gothenberg guitar sound and Martin's still totally-on vocals.


Melbourne hardcore band Trench Sisters features members of, as the band explains it, "Extortion, 731, Roskopp, Terror Firma and other shit." They're laying waste to the Grace Darling Hotel on February 3 with support from New Zealand hardcore weirdos Death Ghat (it's their first visit to Australia, so prepare your scariest drop-bear stories for them), as well as Aktion Unit and The Bunyup Moon


The band with the coolest Lord Of The Rings-inspired name since Smeagol's Scrote, which I just made up, Amon Amarth are bringing their Viking might to Australia in April. In Melbourne they're playing at Billboard The Venue on April 16. It's an over 18 gig. Supports are Orpheus and Eye Of The Enemy. The Swedish metal lords are touring on the back of Surtur Rising, their eighth studio album, which came out in March of last year.


Neurosis guitarist/vocalist Scott Kelly and his buddy John Baizley of Baroness are teaming up for a little acoustic jaunt. Kelly has a few solo albums and various tours under his belt but Baizley hasn't released anything of a solo nature, much less anything all acousticy, so this show is a rare, nay, unprecedented opportunity to hear something utterly new. The show is on Friday February 10 at the Corner Hotel.


The mighty Tosin Abasi of Animals As Leaders will be appearing at a guitar clinic at Five Star Music, 102 Maroondah Highway, Ringwood on Wednesday February 15. Phone 98704143 or email steve@fivestarmusic.com.au for bookings. Abasi, a wizard on the eight-string guitar if ever there was one, appears courtesy of Ibanez guitars. Rock up, pick his brain, and see if you can wrap your digits around an eight-string and live to tell the tale.


Speaking of extra-string guitar goodness, while here in LA I just picked up the very first 7-string guitar ever made by Buddy Blaze (pictured), the man behind Dimebag Darrell's famous lightning bolt Dean From Hell guitar and the Kramer Nightswan for Vivian Campbell (Dio, Whitesnake, Def Leppard). It's a freaking sweet axe and I love it to bits. Talk about metal pedigree. Buddy's looking for Australian distribution so everyone can get their hands on the seven - or the polka dot-festooned 25th Anniversary Shredder VC he just announced to commemorate a quarter of a century since he and Campbell started working together. Bookmark buddyblaze.com - info incoming.