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scott adams


Sydney veterans Hazmat return five years after their debut, self-titled statement of intent, and you'd have to say it's been worth the half decade wait.

A wall-to-wall festival of chugging rifferama, baleful vocalising and, most importantly, great songwriting, Atonement will definitely be one of the best metal records we hear from an Australian band in 2016.

A cynic might say that vocalist/guitarist Jay is a bit too sincere in his appreciation of Dave Mustaine at times, but to be honest, whilst he's adopted all of the sneer of ol' winedrinker Dave, there's thankfully none of the whine, if you get my drift, meaning that the hate filled delivery is good enough to complement the music rather than take away from its undoubted impact.

So while there is an undoubted 'dethly whiff around a lot of the material on offer here, it's the kinda stench one actually doesn't mind waking up with their clothes well and truly coated in every now and then...

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'Atonement' is that sort of album, carrying as it does a cloying, oppressive nature that leaves you feeling like you need a good dousing in disinfectant after contact thanks to the weightiness of the riffs and Jay's grim delivery.

Rhythm section Caine and Stu rarely let their collective feet off the gas either, pounding the listener into submission with tight, cohesive workouts on every track. The bay area-styled backing vox on 'Sold' lend a bit of light relief after the battering – but not much – as guitarists Jay and Andrew 'Duck' Howard unleash a furious barrage of riffs and solos to contribute together to what is undoubtedly the album's strongest track, although the title track runs it a close second with its grinding, doom-fuelled bass and lead interplay at the start of the track being a real highlight.

This is proper Heavy Metal, made not with an eye on money-making modern musical mores or flash in the pan trends, but purely because it's what's inside the musicians involved and they need to get it out into the open.

There's never a moment on this record where you stop to think 'Mmm. That's a bit contrived', but there are lots of moments when you'll be balling your hand into a fist, or testing the old neck muscles a bit more than is absolutely necessary when sat in a crowded tube carriage.

And when the band breaks into the NWoBHM-informed album closer 'The Dodger (New Murder)' I refuse to believe you will not be considering manufacturing some sort of cardboard guitar/studded wristband combo to further add to your enjoyment of the song.

'Atonement' has that sort of effect on me, and if you dare call yourself any sort of headbanger, it'll do the same to you. There's a lot of 'trad' Heavy Metal doing the rounds today that is purely laughable; 'Atonement' isn't one of those albums.

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More Scott Adams right here.



Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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