COVID-19 by ‘Dark Juan’

COVID-19
by
‘Dark Juan’

Rick Here.

We’ve all been having a chat at Ever Metal and some of the reviewers have decided to come up with some extra pieces on top of the reviews. Whether that be videos or, in this case, a short, fictional, story from ‘Dark Juan’ about what might happen in the circumstances we are currently experiencing! Read on and let us know what you think.

Before the cataclysm it all started with a virus and with a rush on toilet paper. Not even a particularly lethal virus. Just one that couldn’t be vaccinated against. News outlets with particular political leanings engaged in a culture of scaremongering in order to justify their own existences. Truth got lost under a welter of lies, obfuscation, tailoring the truth to other people’s requirements and demonising the less fortunate among us. Social media was even worse. A million voices all screaming conflicted and inaccurate information against each other onto screens all over the world. A silent, neverending howl of fact, counter-fact, lies and invention all spewing forth in real time and not giving the recipient time to assimilate it before other new theories or clickbait cures guaranteeing to make sure you’d never be touched by Coronaviruses or telling credulous men that their sexual potency could be cured and their penis grown in size and girth by this one magic pill.

One person said, way back in the past, “Society is only three meals away from revolution.”

They were wrong. Society degrades over decades of lies and poor governance. It degrades over governments slandering their opposition and arguing semantics and fiddling statistics to suit the way they think instead of being the agents of change and prosperity they said they’d be in manifesto pledges. Society becomes corrupt through the lies of the powerful and the cowed masses swallowing it verbatim. People got told what to think and repeated it parrot-fashion and the new truth took the place of the old. They didn’t even see their rights being removed even as they were. Goods started disappearing from shelves. The good people of communities across the world tried to help the less fortunate but there became a fulcrum – a tipping point where the good people had to look after themselves and their families first. And that is where the internal conflicts began.

Take Great Britain, long regarded as a bastion of the rule of law, politeness and good manners, turned in on itself. It became insane. People physically fighting in supermarket aisles over the last packet of pasta over a couple of weeks of shortages caused by the selfish and the unthinking who sat, temporarily secure in their homes with supplies to last a few weeks, never even considering that they had caused suffering and hardship to other less affluent or credit-worthy people. Then they would rampage back out into the melee and yelp pitifully that there was no pasta to be had, even though they had 20 packets in a cupboard at home. And then, one day, there was a quicksilver flash of metal and someone had died over some fucking toilet paper in Tesco’s Swindon branch. A knife between the ribs and all hell was set loose.

Panic reached ever greater heights. People armed themselves to obtain supplies. Police resources were quickly overwhelmed and the military was brought in to maintain order but they couldn’t cope either as the violence got worse. Delivery vehicles were waylaid and ransacked on the roads of the country and their drivers beaten or killed if they resisted and as the death rate from the virus increased, so did the death rate from the violence. A commensurate decrease was in the ability of healthcare providers to cope. Hospitals overflowed and people stole from them in order to obtain supplies they couldn’t get elsewhere. The good, kind and gentle people of the country faced a grim choice – do they maintain their ethics or do they plunge into the seething pit of survival and self? The forces of law and order pulled back to protect Government and the great and the good and left us all to fight like rats over dwindling resources. Useless platitudes and promises flowed from well fed men in suits that cost more than three months wages for an ordinary man in gilded palaces and then emergency law was declared. People were forced back into their homes at gunpoint and movement and freedom curtailed in the name of restoring order in a state tearing at itself from the inside out. Funds dried up as jobs were lost and taxes weren’t paid and people got increasingly desperate. Thievery and armed robbery became commonplace and fuel for vehicles became increasingly scarce as prices rocketed once the oil producing states had succumbed to the virus. Vehicles lay abandoned at crumbling roadsides and people grew yet more desperate.

The cities fell first. The people of the cities, in their competition for resources, ranged further and further afield to obtain the necessaries of life. Social media began to be a way of notifying each other where resources were, leading to hordes coming and stripping that resource dry. And the cycle would begin again. Rural towns began to suffer as communities who had practiced restraint and good neighbourliness and enjoyed adequate supplies were descended on by the ravening city dwellers and they too were stripped of their resources. Small towns and villages became small fortresses and bulwarks against people from outside and refusal to let outsiders in was often met with force. Death and serious injury became commonplace and then the communication network began to break down. When electricity supplies began to falter and then fail, and cellular and telephone communication was lost, an eerie kind of calm descended. There was an almost return to normalcy as people couldn’t report where delivery trucks were to be ransacked any more in real time. It all settled back down, but then the virus bit back HARD. Medical facilities once more overwhelmed and panic descended all over again. People dying in the streets over food, or malnutrition or lack of medication led to the complete collapse of the country into a seething, bloody mess of humanity ripping at each other.

The rest of the world was no better off. As resources dwindled, militaries began to face off and postures became warlike. Language started to cease using platitudes and preaching peace with neighbours and instead the ominous sound of sabres rattling began. Alliances broke and human suffering became the norm. The weak were trampled underfoot and nations began to tear at nations. Warfare became the new diplomacy and dictators rose and postured and preened and caused atrocities beyond words. Simmering tensions erupted into open warfare and the merry go round of the art of war spun ever faster, superpowers threatened and jockeyed for dominance and India and Pakistan threatened nuclear confrontation over the meltwaters of the Himalayas…

Among it all there were still optimists. After a muffled thump was heard at 0623 just outside of Dagenham, George turned to his wife in Dorking, and said to her,

“Look at the sunrise, love. It’s really bright today. It’s going to be a lovely day.”

Disclaimer: This short story is solely the property of Dark Juan. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Cloven Hoof – Age Of Steel

Cloven Hoof – Age Of Steel
Pure Steel Records
Release Date: 24/04/2020
Running Time: 50:15
Reviewed by ‘Dark Juan’
Score 9/10

Greetings and salutations, my imprisoned congregation of increasingly desperate metal brethren. And Sisters. And friends of indeterminate and other genders. I am Dark Juan and I’m writing more nonsense that may or may not involve an actual record review because I am fucking WIRED on coffee and words are just spilling out of my head and onto this computer screen and there is nothing I can do to stop them…

It is Day 4 of COVID-19 isolation and I am already entertaining fantasies of eating Mrs. Dark Juan. She would barbeque so beautifully… As I gaze wistfully from the attic of Dark Juan Terrace over the roofs of West Yorkshire I dream of burning it all to the ground and creating my meisterwerk here in the name of our Dread Lord Shaitan and creating a community of heavily armed, like minded people and raising a statue of Baphomet, rendered in glorious Italian stone… Sorry, you are not to know my master plan, mere mortals! If I need you I will seek you out, and your daughters too…. Don’t try hiding them, I can smell a virgin miles away. Just got to fuck this bastard virus off before it really starts impacting my plans for world domination.

Cloven Hoof are a British heavy metal band formed in 1979 and therefore Dark Juan has literally grown up with them. I’ll be absolutely honest with you, I read the blurb for this record and the dread words “The album features the return of the Dominator character who has been genetically brought back to life…” leapt out at me and I thought that I was going to have to take this record apart. For those of you that don’t know, “Dominator” was a Cloven Hoof album released in 1988 which must surely rank as one of the most unintentionally hilarious records of all time. Everything from the cover of some bizarre painted warrior woman in high denier tights, spike heels and the world’s most incongruous bow tied around her right thigh and gleefully perpetrated all of the worst things about heavy metal at that time, even if this teenage Priest of the Damned actually really liked the song ‘Nova Battlestar’. Russ North was also a dreadful, dreadful singer…

This is not an accusation that can be levelled at current throat George Call, however. This howling monster’s voice is a pleasing mix of high falsetto a la Lord Robert “AaaaaahAAAAAAAAHHHH” Halford, the slightly lower pitch of the Air Raid Siren Brucey “Bonus” Dickinson and the rough edge of old Panzer throat Udo “Balls To The Wall Wasn’t ENTIRELY Ironic” Dirkschneider. This is as good a set of classic metal vocalists as you are going to get and gives this record a right kick up its arse. And shoves some chilli sauce up there for good measure. The record sets off at the kind of pace a North Korean achieves when crossing the DMZ towards China on opening cut ‘Bathory’. Which is about Elisabeth Bathory. Lovely girl, Liz, met her once at a Cradle Of Filth gig in Bradford. Gorgeous complexion….  The pace doesn’t let up for second song ‘Alderley Edge’. Which is probably not about footballers living there. Cloven Hoof have eschewed the kind of crystalline production that trad metal bands go for these days and have instead chosen a thicker, bass led sound which suits the music much better anyway. It is heavier than a set of lead underpants, but glossed to a high polish. Think Iron Maiden, Helloween and Accept coupled sweatily together in a meat triangle with classic Queensrÿche being a voyeur and you have the sound of Cloven Hoof on this record. However, if it is innovation you’re looking for you are not going to find it here, pilgrim. The arrangements and lyrical content are most traditional in concept and execution and the soloing from guitarists Chris and Ash also traditional in style, if marvellously performed. The underlying touch of keyboards gives the band an interest just beyond the normal for heavy metal and makes for a very pleasing change. Bass duties are taken care of by the estimable Lee Payne and he does his usual dependable job underpinning the guitars. Mark Bristow’s drumming is also top notch even if the mix is a bit chancy now and again and his mastery fades in and out on occasion. The vocal harmonies on certain songs do sound somewhat ragged at times, but this is not really a criticism as it all just seems to add to the charm of five guys clearly playing their fucking socks off and enjoying the hell out of it.

So, does Dark Juan mock “Age Of Steel” as readily as he mocks “Dominator”? The answer is an emphatic FUCK NO! Where “Dominator” became parody metal earnestly gazing at its own navel and having its head kicked in by thrash, “Age Of Steel” is a snappish, snarling beast not interested in making friends and influencing people, but would much rather be up to its elbows in gore and sinew, gobbets of ruined flesh dropping from its mouth as it turns its malevolent, hungry gaze towards you and starts to pursue….

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards Cloven Hoof a most metal 9/10 for a bloody enjoyable record that reminds you of everything that is good about trad. Intelligently played, fun sounding and finally possessed of a good singer, these NWOBHM stalwarts should claim their place in the pantheon of metal greatness at last. Nice one, chaps. Took you long enough!!!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Bathory (Surprisingly not the name of an online plumbing store.)
02. Alderley Edge (Has a hanging tree. Nothing to do with Manchester City players living there.)
03. Apathy (Dark Juan has been shaken out of his by Cloven Hoof.)
04. Touch The Rainbow (Taste the rainbow… Couldn’t help myself. Not sorry!)
05. Bedlam (Generally what the inside of my mind is like.)
06. Ascension (Erection?)
07. Gods Of War (Stop nicking Def Leppard song titles, you buggers.)
08. Victim Of The Furies (Is this the name of the Cloven Hoof fan club who are going to come and lynch me if I don’t pack it in?)
09. Judas (Priest? Iscariot? Smith? Which Judas are we on about? Arnold Judas Rimmer?)
10. Age Of Steel (Wins the Dark Juan Unamusing Sarcasm Award for most metal song title in the past ten years.)

LINE-UP:
George Call – vocals
Lee Payne – bass
Chris Coss – guitars
Ash Baker – guitars
Mark Bristow – drums

LINKS:
www.clovenhoof.net/
www.facebook.com/clovenhoof1979/
www.twitter.com/ClovenHoof_Band
open.spotify.com/artist/3OD7fkHK24rI5G6yoaHzmw

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Black Swan – Shake The World

Black Swan – Shake The World
Released by Frontiers Music srl
Release date: 14/02/2020
Running Time: 51:08
Review by ‘Dark Juan’
Score: 8/10

Good evening, fellow house arrest prisoners of Boris The Animal! This is Dark Juan and while I am technically off duty from spreading the foul gospel of the Ugly Red Source Of All Evil due to a shock headed wanker in an ill-fitting suit essentially grounding me indefinitely (you’re not my dad, Boris!) because a significant proportion of the British populace cannot be trusted to do as they are fucking told just once on the weekend. My Dark Protector Beelzebub is not amused and is demanding that I do a double shift next week. He’s been told to get to fuck and also has been warned that if he takes that tone with me again I’m going to shave his fucking nipples off, the sulphur smelling twatmonkey. So, now we have the pleasantries out of the way let us crack on with this record review what I’m supposed to be writing, innit fam?

Black Swan appear to be where rock legends from America go and enter this kind of amazing time warp where the Nineties never happened, grunge was drowned at birth and where Skid Row and Whitesnake reign supreme over hordes of long haired, denim clad metal warriors in a field, blasting the kind of good time hard rock that just MAKES you go and try to pull that girl with the big BIG hair and the dress that’s so tight you can read her lips and that short you know what she had for breakfast. It’s a glorious reminder of the youth of old metalheads, warm cider and your brain being destroyed by the levels of amplification normally only employed by North Korean propaganda broadcasts. Dark Juan is transported back to his teenage cell… I mean bedroom and trying desperately to trap off with Emma from college to a soundtrack comprised of MSG, Winger and Ratt. Sensibly, I kept the Morbid Angel and Death records hidden away from her.

Speaking of MSG – the most distinctive and rock and roll pipes of Robin fucking McCauley!!! (remember the sheer joy of the McCauley Schenker Group?) provide the kind of vocal histrionics that made hard rock great on this record – his slightly gravelly, yet soaring and effortless delivery is the perfect focus for the music. You could not imagine a more apt vocalist for this band. And the vocal harmonies on this record just pin you to the wall and hold a knife to your throat and steal all your money and drugs. And then steal your girl as well. If you’re too young to know what he sounds like, imagine a mix of Joe Lynn Turner, David Coverdale and Ronnie James Dio. What? Pardon? You young striplings don’t know who they are either? YOU HAVE GOOGLE FOR A FUCKING REASON AND DON’T COME BACK TO THIS REVIEW UNTIL YOU HAVE LISTENED TO WINGER, MSG, FOREIGNER, WHITESNAKE, DOKKEN, MR. BIG (but not Green Tinted Sixties Mind because that song is utter toilet!) AND SURVIVOR!!! Then you might have an idea about what I am talking to you about! And that is also a fairly comprehensive list of just how much talent this band contains considering it is composed of members of all those bands.

It is fair to say that Dark Juan is undergoing a nostalgia trip of conspicuous size and scope and remembering his days of tight blue denim, bangles, big hair and when he was young and beautiful, before all that unfortunate business with the threshing machine, the farmer’s daughter and the subsequent facial reconstruction, court case and incarceration. This album is not in the slightest bit modern and groundbreaking. It is a timewarp par excellence – imagine the era of David Lee Roth’s “Skyscraper” (‘Just Like Paradise’ would fit perfectly on Black Swan’s album), the skintight spandex, the leopard print scarves, the acidwashed denim and the white trainers all the men wore in the 80’s. It is the sound of good times, Thunderbird wine and partying till its light again. It’s the sound of Friday nights in your bedroom listening to the album you just bought again and again and again.

So, is it fair to say that Black Swan have done a Very Good Thing? The answer, my good defilers of all things holy, is yes! The music, although nostalgic, is pointy, sharp and superbly arranged. The guitar work of Reb fucking Beach!!! (Winger, Whitesnake) is incendiary with classic soloing all over the place – two handed tap ons being a staple on a number of songs and always oozing class. The man is a fine player in the classic mould. The drumming comes courtesy of Matt fucking Starr!!! (Mr. Big, Ace Frehley) and his approach seems to be to try and destroy his drumkit by pummelling it until it forms neutronium, and not to play it as the drums sound absolutely fucking huge and are linked beautifully to the rumbling bass playing of Jeff fucking Pilson!!! (Dokken, Foreigner) who appears to want to steal your girl and drive off into the sunset with her merely by employing his prodigious bass talent and watching her white lace panties fall off. And then there is the vocal which we have already dealt with. Suffice it to say that the singer is at the top of his game on this one.

We have therefore established that this album is a good listen and tremendous fun. It is however very 80’s album formulaic – opens with a couple of slammers (‘Shake The World’, ‘Big Disaster’ – both tunes will take your head off in a welter of arterial spray), ups the rock and roll rather than the hard rock on track three (Johnny Came Marching) and then fucks you violently and unpleasantly up the arse (sans lubricant) by having a fucking godawful power ballad as the fifth song in (Make It There) being composed of slow chugging and wailing mournfully about something or someone I lost interest in after 23 seconds. Pull yourself together, girls. Jesus. It’s one saving grace is that it wasn’t a Poison song. My views and opinions on ballads (anyone who writes one deserves to be sent to a gulag of my choosing and made to write black metal songs or djent riffs until they have fucking learned their lesson!)  are well known and even the LEGEND that is Graham Bonnet has felt the rough edge of Dark Juan’s tongue about ballads. Reportedly he was wryly amused. The record then rapidly gets its shit together and returns to the high quality hard rocking fun it was before the bastards ruined it with the ballad. It’s remarkably fresh sounding too, as it doesn’t sound like people trying to reclaim past glories (unlike Warrior Soul’s last two releases which were the absolute epitome of a has been desperately trying to remain cool and instead just looking like someone’s creepy grandad leering at teenage girls in the beer garden of his local).

Black Swan are worth a punt if you love melody, solos and classic rock vocals by masters of the genre. The tunes are perfect, man. Wave your lighters in the air and drink and be merry, my poor imprisoned acolytes. Recreate Monsters Of Rock in your lounge with this record. Have fun. That’s an order.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System has stopped dancing now, much to the relief of Mrs. Dark Juan, who claimed it sounded like a herd of mildly pissed hippos rampaging around the spare bedroom, and awards Black Swan 8/10 for a fucking good rock and roll record. Points were deducted for making me listen to a fucking ballad… Argh. I hate them. They are the musical fucking equivalent of having your eyes gouged out with spoons and then having your penis inverted and then being trampled on by hordes of screaming children and then being fed to pigs. Fucking ballads. Might as well just admit that you wear dresses and call yourself Sandra behind closed doors…

TRACKLISTING:
01. Shake The World
02. Big Disaster
03. Johnny Came Marching
04. Immortal Souls
05. Make It There
06. She’s On To Us
07. The Rock That Rolled Away
08. Long Road To Nowhere
09. Sacred Place
10. Unless We Change
11. Divided/United

LINE-UP:
Robin fucking McCauley – Vocals!
Jeff fucking Pilson – Bass!
Reb fucking Beach – Guitar!
Matt fucking Starr – Drums!

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/BlackSwanRockNRoll/
www.spotify.com/artist/5gmDGdc0wzxJUD10xycfiL

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Thrash Bandicoot – Milwaukee Cannibal EP

Thrash Bandicoot – Milwaukee Cannibal EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 06-01-2020
Running Time: 22:39
Review by ‘Dark Juan’
5/10

Good evening once more, my dear chums, pals, friends and associates. It is I, Dark Juan, droogie, boozer, chaser of strumpets and loser. Although my strumpet chasing is temporarily suspended due to vile contagion being abroad in our fair isle and I am obliged to haunt the spare bedchamber in Dark Juan Terrace and hurl insults at any cleric that happens to wander past. As there is a lockdown happening the opportunities for cleric abuse have shamefully been minimal to nonexistent. I did try writing a story, but it was that dystopic. I managed to depress myself and subsequently turned to the bottle. This review is fuelled by a bottle of Pinot Noir and the fact that I don’t like being told what to do by any fucker. Ever-Metal Rick gets a pass because he’s actually my boss and I have to defer to his better judgement otherwise there would be copious lawsuits because I can’t control my gob especially when I’m pissed (ask the Ever-Metal team what the staff page is like) and I might end up in trouble.

Anyway, Thrash Bandicoot (howled when I heard that one!) are a bunch of Aussies from Wollongong and they play a strange amalgam of thrash and death metal and “Milwaukee Cannibal” is a kind of concept EP about everyone’s favourite quiet and polite cannibal, Jeffrey Dahmer. When I say a strange amalgam of thrash and death, you might expect something like technical or melodic death but that isn’t what you’re going to get here. These Aussie mental cases play very Bay Area circa 1990 thrash metal and then mix in the vomit fuelled, bowel tremblingly furious roar of Daniel Lever. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure it works. I know thrash is not a genre that produced classic vocalists the first time round (literally seeming like a necessary but unpleasant evil to a lot of bands) but a full-bore death growl is not suitable for thrash metal instrumentation. Which is a demerit I don’t want to have to apply to Thrash Bandicoot because they are all spectacularly competent players and the music has a charm and fun factor all its own, but the growl kind of spoils it a bit. The music needs a kind of Phil Heal vocal to make it pop. Every song on here is very good though, if not exceptional, and shows a band with considerable promise growing in potential. I want to hear a fucking fantastic album off them so bad it hurts.

The music is speedy, precise thrash very much in the vein of their main influence, Testament and the vocal clearly is influenced by the Buffalo meatgrinders Cannibal Corpse. As is the utterly terrible artwork of the cover reminiscent of “Butchered At Birth” et al. I’m kind of at a loss for words because the influences, style and songwriting are all so clearly defined by the band’s influences and there’s no sort of individuality creeping through the music to make it their own or to make it interesting to take apart and discuss. Even the production of the record sounds like a Testament album. It has no soul. The music and the playing is almost mechanical. There is no je ne sais quoi, no indefinable something that makes Thrash Bandicoot stand out from their two influences and that makes Dark Juan sad. This record doesn’t have the infectious sense of fun that other releases I have reviewed recently have had. And maybe that’s the problem. Maybe the jocular band name gave me a false sense of what they are about.

So, on that rather downbeat note I recommend Thrash Bandicoot to your attention if you like classic thrash, or death metal. They will at best be an occasional listen for a quick 20 minute blast down the motorway, but they will never be your favourite band. Standout track on the record is four songs in, called ‘Class Warfare’ and it is satisfyingly heavy, but you’re not going to be losing any limbs and your face will be getting a light scorching instead of being burned off.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System gives Thrash Bandicoot 5/10. Average middle of the road score for an average record played by a band with the potential to be quite special. Must try harder, gentlemen.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Milwaukee Cannibal
02. Dissolve
03. Trapped Society
04. Class Warfare
05. Scaphism

LINE-UP:
Jack Insley-Flowers – Bass/Backing vocals
Matt Perkins – Lead Guitar/Backing vocals
Daniel Lever – Rhythm Guitar/Lead vocals
Tim Worley – Drums

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/pg/ThrashBandicootAus/
www.thrashbandicoot.bandcamp.com/
www.youtube.com/channel/UCA1RwuYXWacA6CRNqP6nSHw
www.instagram.com/thrashbanditcoot.au/

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.