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Monday
May012017

Punctured Armour

Over this year, I’ve read three books that have changed my life. All three combined shifted my thinking and feeling on an existential level, on par with No More Mr. Nice Guy and the work I’ve done with the Melbourne Chapter over six odd years. They are:

  • Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown
  • What Men Still Don't Know About Women, Relationships, and Love by Dr. Herb Goldberg
  • Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find - and Keep – Love by Dr. Amir Levine & Rachel Heller

Prior to reading any of these books, writing this post would be unthinkable to me. Since, it’s been a trying exercise to open up and understand the nature of how I act and interact with others. Revealing oneself isn’t weakness, it’s Wholeheartedness. Focusing on what women tell me and not what they need is following Content, not Process. Keeping significant others at arm’s length isn’t a deep need for independence, more an attachment style known as Fearful Avoidance. To the outside world, these are meaningless buzzwords. To my friends and family, I imagine it just boils me down to a quiet, unknowable asshole.

Same goes for those featured on puerile reality shows such as Married at First Sight or Seven-Year Switch. I’m sure there are countless others that exploit neuroses as entertainment. Clashing attachment types creak under the weight of their own internal burdens until collapse. Opening up about themselves causes sweating, a clenching of fists, the desire to run away.  I imagine half the population wonders why speaking about such simple inner truths seems like torture to these people. For someone like me, who grew up reading, building with Legos and playing computer games on his own for most of his childhood, it seems perfect and rational.

I often think that changing oneself is a Heisenberg principle – you know where you’re going or you know where you are, never both at the same time. I’m making new friends and new connections, and it scares me to think in the new ways. Maybe they give a shit? Maybe closeness won’t send the sky hurdling toward my head? Maybe everything I learned is a god damned lie? I hope it will all be for the better.

Of course, I use music to put it all in perspective. Two songs in particular sums up my experience living “as me.”

 

 

Thursday
Dec292016

The Top 10 of Metal (and Mosh!) 2016

I just can't help myself. I'm like a fat kid eying off the last slice of pizza or a Kardashian with an internet-enabled camera. I just have to do it. I've been writing these lists for about ten years now, so why stop? Because THEY don't want me to? In the words of the great prophet DJ Khaled, THEY don't want me to, therefore I must. (I don't think he said that last part. Did I just play myself?)

2016 sucked ass in so many ways. Music was the one way it didn't. Here's my Top 10 in order of what I thought was the best - remember when people did that? Yeah anyway:

SPECIAL MENTION: Gunship - Gunship

The fact Gunship is "retrowave" precludes it from a place on a mosh/metal/punk list. But it really is my favourite this year. It's not a mere 80s nostalgia trip, it's something trancendental. It's new, it's old, it's like it was always with you. (Killjoy Deluxe Owen tells me this came out in 2015. THANKS BRO)

SEE ALSO: The black celebrated 80s sounds of The Black Queen's Fever Daydream.

1. White Lung - Paradise

I might need a new copy of this on vinyl cos I've played it so much this year. Punk, pop, perfection.

Read my interview with vocalist Mish Barber-Way here

2. Dark Tranquillity - Atoma

I think our melodeath masters deserve to soundtrack 2016. It's like an ice-wind cutting through your ribcage. It'll draw you in and never let go.

3. Katatonia - The Fall of Hearts

The second of my favourite bands released their best in many a year, reinvigorated by a new lineup. No fucking emo, just fire and balls.

4. Hellions - Opera Oblivia

It really is their Number of the Beast - a proud testament to being yourself and doing it right.

Read my cover story with Hellions, here

5. Architects - All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us

"Really Tom, you are into fuckin Architects now?" When a band produces something with as much heart as this, you bet your ass in the middle of a prison riot that I dig 'em.

6. Vektor - Terminal Redux

Space metal. Enough said.

7. Evergrey - The Storm Within

Sweden's dreamboat not only floats, but cruises over emotional seas in this front-to-back belter.

8. Rotting Christ - Rituals

Beware of bloodthirsty Greeks bearing riffs.

9. Witherscape - The Northern Sanctuary

'Member prog metal? 'Member when it was cheesy but awesome at the same time? OH, I 'Member!

10. Sabaton - The Last Stand

History metal that's more historic, battle-ready, and epic than ever. Duh.

---

The Honourable Mentions

Gold Award: Deftones - Gore

Silver Award: Driven Fear - Free Thinker

Bronze Award: In Mourning - Afterglow

 

Monday
Dec212015

The Top 10 of Metal (and Mosh!) 2015

I'm drawn back to this empty screen each year to secrete my opinion on what I enjoyed this year. I've been doing it since at least 2009, back when I thought writing about music conferred some kind of numinous insight into music. I listen to a lot of bullshit and I'm cynical as hell. Sometimes, I leap out of my chair and whip my (no) hair back and forth in ecstacy. Some of those discs did that to me this year. Here's a numbered list of them.

1. Gazpacho - Molok

These guys are out of this world. Prog rock that's actually progressive and actually rock. It runs from ancient esoterics to futurist wanderings. This is such a trip. At the end there's this code that might blow the world up. For a second there, I tensed up and clenched my eyes tight...

2. Ghost - Meliora

It's pop music painted black. If metal had something close to Pet Sounds, this might be it.

3. Melechesh - Enki

Invoking ancient evil never sounded so badass.

4. Four Year Strong - Four Year Strong

Pop-punk? Fuck off, Tom. This can't be good. Actually no, fuck you. It's brilliant.

5. Hellions - Indian Summer

Saviours of Australian heavy music. Get into them before they burn out in a haze of cocaine dust.

6. Baroness - Purple

Sublime and surreal sounds from Savannah, again. John Baizley is a true artist in every sense.

7. Steven Wilson - Hand.Cannot.Erase

The concept reads like a Hugo winner and sounds like a stoner's dream.

8. Trials - This Ruined World

Thrash done with brains and heart. Riffs born with destinies deeper than "must imitate Metallica" are winners.

9. Soilwork - The Ride Majestic

I never thought Soilwork would make one of these lists again. Boy, I was wrong. Hard.

10. Pyramaze - Disciples of the Sun

lol Power metal. I thought these guys were just a cheap, clean version of Mercenary. Nope. Crisp production and brain-worming hooks do justice to the genre. Finally.

The Honourable Mentions

Gold Award - Black Breath - Slaves Beyond Death
Silver Award - Sigh - Graveward
Bronze Award - Gloryhammer - Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards

14. The Black Dahlia Murder - Abysmal
15. Deafheaven - New Bermuda
16. My Dying Bride - Feel The Misery
17. Killing Joke - Pylon
18. Cancer Bats - Searching for Zero
19. Earth Caller - Degenerate
20. Born Lion - Final Words

 

Check Hysteria's albums of the year, here!

Friday
Oct102014

Hysteria #26 - Cover This, Spencer

 

It finally happened. I duped some poor schmoe to put my story on the cover of his mag. Hope you got insurance, PAL. But 4 srs - this is one of the best interviews I've had the pleasure to file. Spencer Chamberlain is a man who stands up bloodied, baying and broken to keep kicking against the industry pricks. If rock n' roll is dead, Sleepwave is its last flickering soul.

I also got intellectual with Tomas Lindberg of At the Gates, gushed over Decapitated's newie with Vogg and ate Gothenburgers with Peter Iwers of In Flames. There's a tofu scramble with Architects in the Hysteria Kitchen, a cheese n' beer guzzling with Neck Deep and we let our youngbloods run free forever with The Amity Affliction on tour. It's like downloading a mosh into your pocket. DO IT MAN

Friday
Sep262014

Interview: Jeff Martin of The Tea Party (Beat)

Courtesy The AU ReviewThe Canadian "Morrocan Rollers" are back, tearing up Australia this October with special guests the Superjesus. Sitting down with Jeff Martin is nothing short of a joy. We talked new record The Ocean at the End, learning to love the hurdy-gurdy and "rock n' roll firecrackers."

Read in issue #1441 of Beat Mag.