Boxart for the Xbox 360 version - also on PS3, Wii and PS2

If there’s one guitar solo in the history of all music (nay, all sound) that makes women moist and gives guys the nut-chills, it’s Van Halen’s ‘Eruption’.

And before now the only coverage the spandex-clad, harmony-fuelled rock gods have had in the world of music video games has been a cover of ‘You Really Got Me’ in Guitar Hero II, and a blisteringly-difficult rendition of ‘Hot For Teacher’ in World Tour.

So is the addition of a Van Halen iteration to the roster of band centric Guitar Hero titles enough to give you those Eruption-esque chills all over again?

Click here to read the full review, and my definitive verdict on the game!

Or check out the review over at the TGN games blog!

Peter Steele - 1962-2010. RIP

Earlier today Josh Silver, keyboardist in Type O Negative, confirmed the rumours of the untimely death of his fellow bandmate Pete Steele; bassist and frontman in the gothic metal band.

The reports have proven this is not yet another hoax surrounding Steele’s death, as many people have speculated.

Internet rumours were rife last night that the 48-year-old metal bassist had died of a heart failure – these rumours were confirmed today through an official statement released on the band’s website.

Earlier today, prior to the official statement released on the Type O Negative website, the speculation was confirmed by Fuse VJ, and friend of Pete Steele, Mistress Julia through two Tweets on her Twitter account.

The first confirmed Steele’s death and the second confirmed that he had died of heart failure; Mistress Julia had apparently spoken to Type O Negative guitarist Kenny Hickey who verified the reports surrounding the cause of death.

Mistress Juliya’s Tweets, confirming Pete Steele’s heart failure and death.

Blabbermouth has deatiled uinconfirmed reports that Steele was seriously ill in the days leading up to his death – these have yet to be verified.

Tributes have been pouring in all day for the Type O Negative, and ex-Carnivore, bassist from fellow metalheads in bands such as Biohazard and Hatebreed.

Steele truly was a heavy metal inspiration to all and he will be sorely missed – today has been yet another dark day for metal. My thoughts are truly with Pete’s family, friends and bandmates.

I will leave you with one of Type O Negative‘s most well known songs – Black No. 1.

RIP  Peter Steele – 1962-2010

Dave locks and loads his gargantuan tank in 'The Right To Go Insane'!

Megadeth have released the video for ‘The Right To Go Insane‘, their newest single off their latest album ‘Endgame’.

The video was released via the band’s record company website, Roadrunner Records, today and features nothing less than lead singer/guitarist Dave Mustaine driving a goddamn TANK through the streets.

That’s right, a tank. Carnage ensues in what is truly an insane video, but one based on entirely true events.

Last week the music blogging site Noisecreep had a sneak-peek on the latest video and outlined the events behind the video’s storyline:

On May 17, 1995, a U.S. Army veteran and unemployed plumber in San Diego, Shawn Timothy Nelson, snapped and stole an M60 Patton tank from a nearby National Guard Armory.

He drove down the highway, crushing cars, fire hydrants and an RV before he was stopped and killed by police.

(The official music video for ‘The Right To Go Insane)

The video follows the real-life events, featuring Dave Mustaine going crazy before stealing a military tank and running riot on the streets of California. In fact, the video even comes complete with a warning before the insanity begins:


The album, Endgame, is out now and available to buy online pretty cheap!

A special edition of the album will feature this funky artwork

Ratt’s forthcoming album, Infestation, has been made available to stream in its entirety almost a week ahead of its release.

The complete stream of the album has been released this evening, through the official Ratt website several days before its release is due, on the 19th April, 2010.

In addition to being able to stream the whole album fans can flick through a virtual album booklet containing photos and a music video for the band’s single ‘Best of Me’.

The album has already been incredibly well received by the press – the UK’s Classic Rock magazine hailed the album as “…[Ratt’s] best studio form in 25 years.”

Check out the album stream for ‘Infestation’ here!

‘Infestation’ is due out this Monday, on April 19th, as is available for pre-order here. The album is Ratt’s first in 11 years and what appears to be a true return to form for the 80s rockers. Expect a full review soon!

Leeds and Reading are offering lacklustre bands this year - so who would you pick?

There’s been a lot of controversy over the recently announced Leeds and Reading festival lineups. Hell, my rant on how thoroughly dire the entire lineup is has been my most popular and most commented post on my blog so far.

So if I’ve been throwing insults at artists this way and that, explaining why those bands don’t make a great festival lineup, who do I think is deserving of my praise as festival headliners and big-name acts?

The whole thing got me thinking of who I would have at Download, my festival of choice, to make it totally perfect. But I found myself having to omit bands because they’d broken up or members of the band are no longer with us.

But what if there were no boundaries? No feuds holding bands back. No constraints of death or age. If we could have any bands and artists we wanted, dead or alive, to play the festival of our dreams.

So I’ve come up with this, rather rudimentary, poster for Six StringsFest 2010. Click the thumbnail to the right to check out my choices, though I’m sure you can make out the main headliners from their logos.

Six main headliners, and another six to back them up - thems the rules!

Let me run you through my headliner decisions, which were much harder to finalise than you’d think.

Before you tuck in and read, leave a comment – what’s YOUR ideal festival lineup?

Pick four for each day – two headliners and two other artists to follow them on stage. Choose wisely!

First Day (Friday)

First up, to kick off the whole thing, we’ve got Pantera. The brutal, relentless force mixed with the band’s ‘groove metal’ style would really kickstart the festival at 500mph right off the bat. Seeing as there are two constraints on the band, Six StringsFest would be the only chance we’d get to see the boys again!

The band broke up in 2001 after long-term problems with vocalist Phil Anslemo, and all chances of a reunion went totally out of the window on December 8th 2004, when ex-guitarist ‘Dimebag’ Darrell Abbott was shot on stage with his new band, Damageplan, by a deranged ‘fan’ who sought to kill him and his brother (drummer Vinnie Paul), who managed to survive unscathed.

Having the boys back together to play again as Pantera in their prime would be a musical dream come true, so they’re number one!

Lamb of God continue the relentless metal force of the first day with chugging thrash riffs, brutal pits and the inevitable ‘Wall of Death’ as the set would finish with their signature mosh-pit tune Black Label.

Second Day (Saturday)

Now I know that Van Halen are still around, and still gig. But they’re getting on a bit now, and the band were at their prime in the early 80s when David Lee Roth still rocked the microphone. He was the better frontman (since replaced by Sammy Hagar) and helped the band create their greatest tracks so no substitutes!

After a good old-fashioned rock and roll arena gig, Steve Vai would take the stage to let the magic flow from his fingers for an hour while everyone would get high purely from the aural ecstasy that he creates whenever he picks up a guitar. We could all chill in the afternoon sun with a ton of beers and some sexual music.

Final Day (Sunday)

Another band still rocking the stages, but having suffered from numerous lineup changes, is Ozzy Osbourne. While Ozzy is still, obviously, a part of the band my choice in this instance would involve deceased guitarist Randy Rhoads. The man died in a tragic plane crash in 1982 and never got to fulfill his full potential both with Ozzy and as a musician, being only 25 at the time of his death.

So I’d invite him back to the stage to play at Six StringsFest, so I could experience something that I wouldn’t ever have the chance to.

And then to wrap up the weekend’s headliners, Kiss would take the stage with a slew of proper rock songs, stage moves, pyrotechnics and performances of many tracks which are all a part of rock and roll history.

So guys, this is my perfect lineup. As I said before, let me know yours. Comment with your lineup and a few details of why. If I get enough good ones, I’ll do a follow up post with a few of the best. Get scribbling!

An actual genuine photo of this blog over the past week.

So you’ll have noticed the lack of posts on the blog in the past week or so. I haven’t forgotten about you all, nor have I stopped caring about updating this blog and the contents within.

Nor have I died, fallen ill with a life-threatning disease or (god forbid) lost access to the Internet. But we’ll see what happens with that when this Digital Economy Bill comes into force…

No, my friends, I’ve been away to none other place than the Big Apple! That’s right, NYC, New York, the concrete city where dreams are made, etc. etc. etc.

It was my first time in New York (and the US) and it was simply amazing. New York is a stunning city with such a rich variety of things to do, and it looks simply beautiful, especially at night.

On top of the Empire State building - one of the best viewpoints in the whole city

The sheer scale of buildings absolutely everywhere totally surpasses anything we have over here in the UK, and they’re simply breathtaking to look at.

Central Park, for example, can’t help but offer stunning views (whether of nature or architecture) in every direction.

But enough of that – I hear the question on the tip of your tongues. “Did you check out any guitar stores?

Well, I’d be mad not to! Given my ambition to see touristy things as well, I only checked out a handful.

The first was 30th Street Guitars, which was conveniently tucked away only 10 blocks from our hostel.

The Wall Of Sex™ at 30th Street

The range of stuff on offer was slightly limited, but what they did have was amazing. One very large, long wall of incredible looking guitars.

From high-end Fender Teles to a massive array of custom Gibson Les Pauls and a huge variety of stunning semi-hollow body guitars thrown in for good measure, all underscored by dozens of incredible vintage amps running underneath.

The icing on the cake was an incredible red Marshall JVM half-stack (with matching cab, no less) – that thing was amazing, and had I the dollars left over I would’ve wheeled that thing out of there and worried about how to get it back home later!

Next on our list was a trip to Times Square, which inevitably led to searches for guitar shops. We found the jewel in the crown – a whole street of music shops. They were mainly guitar stores, but there were a few other cool music shops too including a pretty sweet looking brass and woodwind shop blasting out some smooth saxophone jazz.

Time was tight, and the number of stores down this street was a little overwhelming so we went for the big one – Sam Ash. They had two shops right across the street from each other. One housing enough drum gear to make Vinnie Paul jealous, and the other with all the guitars, basses, amps, acoustics and assorted keyboard equipment.

This was by far the better shop. Not necessarily the most impressive, but in terms of variety (both of types of guitars and price rangers) it excelled.

Sam Ash may be one of the nasty

There were walls upon walls of different guitars. From vintage to metal, to bizarre and old-skool 80s; check out the tiger print LTD ESP superstrat – is it not fantastically glam? You might say it’s…glam-tastic! …I think I’m still a little jet-lagged.

Anyway, we moved through the array of amps (in which I felt oddly proud as a Brit to see so many Marshalls) into the artist’s room. This was a much quieter, more sophisticated feeling room to the rest of the store. It had the store’s entire selection of very high-end signature guitars.

Me and my band-mate (the other guitarist in our band) were guitar-struck at the relic’d, limited numbered, black Dave Gilmour strat. Real Fender, real USA, real custom shop.

And real money; this thing will set you back several thousand dollars if you feel like owning quite possibly the ultimate piece of Pink Floyd memorabilia.

So in summary, does NYC have more to offer than our humble British shops? Absolutely. Did I see it all? Absolutely not.

I guess I’ll just have to go back and visit again – next time with more days, more dollars and more cases to bring it all home in!

Notice how Reading's logo reads 2010, but the Leeds Fest logo still says 2009. Screw-up after screw-up...

Ok, so it’s all over.

The completely artificial hype created by Leeds/Reading festival organisers came to a head a matter of hours ago, momentarily crashing both the Reading Festival and Leeds Festival websites – in fact, neither of the sites are back up running at full-throttle just yet.

A very basic-looking page, just with ticket links and line-up info, is all that remains for now.

You’ll have to forgive this post, it’s not often I rant incessantly (on here, at least) outside of a review, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to tell you why the people having bought Reading/Leeds tickets 15 minutes before any acts were confirmed are stupid.

Of course, rumoured line-ups have been flying around for months now, with stronger assertions over who will be appearing becoming more frequent in recent weeks.

Blink 182 had been pretty much a dead cert for the past year, and Guns N’ Roses rumours had been coming in from every angle. Even the odd suggestions that Arcade Fire would be a headliner on the main stage seemed well founded.

Arcade Fire as the opening band doesn't really set you up for a good weekend...

Check out the Reading line-up here, and the Leeds lineup here.

Even though some were wrong, most of these rumours turned out to be right. Arcade Fire, Blink 182 and Guns N’ Roses will all be main-stage headliners for this year’s Reading and Leeds festivals. Rejoice, for what could be the lamest attempt at a festival lineup in festival history.

So let’s take Leeds as the case in point since that’s where most people seem to go. To start the weekend you’ve paid no less than £187 for, you’re treated to Arcade Fire.

Yawn. Uninspired indie ‘alternative’ rock (seriously, is something labelled ‘alternative’ because it’s just totally unlistenable?), with not a single redeeming track. You know how some bands can be quite pants, but they have one song that’s actually pretty decent so you tend not to hate them? Yeah, not Arcade Fire.

And you know how some bands generally have at least one uplifting song to counter the melancholy ones? Yeah, not Arcade Fire.

In a depressing fit of irony, ‘Wake Up’ genuinely nearly put me to sleep.

These guys are opening and headlining the main stage at a festival that people are paying over 180 well-earned British pounds to be at. A festival that’s had the likes of Metallica and Rage Against The Machine grace the stage.

Then we move across to the next day and see the newly-reformed Blink 182 headlining the main stage with such songs as “I’m 30 but let’s pretend I’m really 15” and “Hammering the same powerchords while singing about high-school is awesome”.

Perhaps a worthy addition to the lineup if only for the upbeat, poppy songs that will no doubt get people jumping. But headlining? A bit of a bizarre elevation in status, don’t you think?

As we wind down our disappointing and over-priced weekend in the middle of a field, let’s see who kick-starts the big final day of partying. Guns N’ Roses.

Now, 15 years ago I would’ve jumped at the chance the see Guns N’ Roses in a festival lineup, but given that GNR is now literally just Axl Rose and whatever Hollywood rock band he can pull together to play his contrived tripe off the Chinese Democracy record, I’ll give this one a miss thanks.

It’s not even important that such a simply terrible, terrible album took fifteen years to make. What matters is that THIS is what Guns N’ Roses are now.

Just Axl Rose, his failed voice, and his lack of ability to write music that doesn’t make people want to hurl their iPods at a wall.

All three headliners are padded out with generic indie bands and whiny American pop-rock, topped off with grime dance sell-out Dizzee Rascal.

Well done guys – you’ve effectively turned what used to be Download Festival’s less-heavy little brother (The Darkness headlined the main stage back in ’04 ferchristsake) into a mish-mash of semi-popular mediocrity.

I’ll keep my money for this year’s Download where I can see bands that make me feel alive.