My preferred tipple is white wine. The cheaper the better, because it all tastes the fucking same and no I don’t care what France says about anything. I quaff this shite because I’m allergic to beer. While playing eighteen holes of drunken golf with some pissed Queenslanders I didn’t really know recently, a coupla blokes did a swirl in their buggy, pulled up alongside me and my incongruous wine glass in a sea of XXXX, took one look at my Matador shirt (represent), and smacked lips: “That’s not very metal.”

“My dear fellows,” I replied, removing my monocle ever so gingerly. “What is but the opening lyric of Ihsahn’s Misanthrope?”

They leaned forward with utmost curiousity.

So I screeched them the song of my people.

~tobes

*

CHI CHENG IS WAKING UP
Deftones bassist and cool Buddhist poet Chi Cheng has been in a coma ever since he was involved in a car crash in Santa Clara, California on November 4th, 2008. After three and a half years in intensive care, Chi is finally showing signs of recovery. He can respond to basic requests, and even vocalise slightly. Here he is on the mend:

Warms my permafrost heart. While Quicksand low-ender Sergio Vega did a great turn with the Deffies for 2010’s Diamond Eyes, the fam just ain’t complete without Chi. While his full recovery will no doubt continue to be a painfully slow process, what’s even more painful are his mounting hospital bills (American healthcare, right. The greatest joke of all?). Any support will be very much appreciated by the Cheng crew over at OneLoveForChi.

HOLY CRAP: JESSE LEACH RETURNS TO KILLSWITCH ENGAGE
Monday last week, there was a curious new photo at the vanguard of KillSwitchEngage.com. DEAR GOD COULD JESSE LEACH BE BACK IN THE BAND? Guy front and centre? That’s Leach. Don’t they all look happy, all hanging out in the snow together with their hands in their pockets? The internet went into wild speculation overdrive, and it wasn’t long ‘til Roadrunner made the announcement official: Leach is back.

“It is a great honor to rejoin my brothers after all of these years,” he commented. “After some discussion and much reflection, it was obvious to me this was the path I was meant to take. We got together and jammed on the ‘Howard-era songs,’ as well as some Alive or Just Breathing-era songs and we all felt the synergy. I look forward to writing the new record, since the demos sound absolutely amazing, as well as breathing new life and getting comfortable with the soulful songs Howard has written. It is a new chapter of my life filled with new and exciting challenges. I will give all that I can to honor the position I have been given and take nothing for granted. I will sing every note with all of my soul. I am very blessed and very thankful to be back in the KSE family! All things happen in their due time and now is the time for this reunion and new direction.”

This is a huge deal, ‘cos KsE were never better than with Leach on the mic for 2002’s Alive Or Just Breathing and that is a stone cold fact. Howard Jones recently left the fold under a pretty dark cloud on January 4th, and Leach has been doing some serious time in Times Of Grace with Killswitch comrade and serial testicle-popper Adam Dutkiewicz. How’d we not see this coming?

WHEN OPETH AND PORCUPINE TREE COMBINE…
They are Captain… Mellow? Opeth boss Mikael Åkerfeldt teaming up with Porcupine Tree mastermind has long been a dreamgasm of prog-sluts across the galactic pantheon – and now it’s actually happening. The collaboration’s called Storm Corrosion as you might very well know, but WAT does it sound like?

“It’s very hard to describe this music as it is so different from most things around right now (at least as far as I know). I said it was the ‘opposite of metal’ because I think a lot of people might have assumed from the two people involved that this would be some kind of progressive/metal thing, but in fact it’s quite a minimal album with a lot of space and beauty, orchestral and organic, hardly any drums and no distorted guitars — ‘twisted beautiful’ is the best way I can describe it.”

Steve Wilson hisself there with words that have probably just killed a few people. Definitely doesn’t sound like what 99.100% of the universe might’ve been expecting/really hoping for. Sure Mik’s not working with Stephen O’Malley disguised as Steve Wilson? Newly signed to Roadrunner in Aus, the duo’s polarising self-titled effort is due out on April 20th.

TENACIOUS D RULE!
Me and this guy Goat were obsessed with The D back in the day. Once we got our hands on a bootleg copy of The Pick of Destiny (even though we owned a legit copy as well) and a block of Cimmerian super-hash (even though we could’ve easily got regular hash which is exactly the same shit but cheaper from the guy down the hall in apartment #4), life would be forever changed – for the betterer.

The D are back, baby. This 48-odd secundos of prodigal Black and Gass is but one snippet cruelly cut from Rize of the Fenix, which is coming out in May. Yes I think the interchangeableness of “Fenix” and “Penis” is genius. Also said Fenix looks like a veiny shlong with fat nuts on the album art. There can be no doubt. Or I’m just out of control. Cocks everywhere.

TENACIOUS D RULE SO HARD THEY INTERRUPT A BREAKING NEWS PIECE
So in a shock turn of events Bill Ward has miraculously settled his differences with the Black Sabbath camp and then-

FUCK THAT IS AWESOME.

TOOLPETH
This is Soen. Or, if you think you’re AN HILARIOUS GUY, Toolpeth. It’s pretty apt; “Tool” because, come on, Willowtree’s Joel Ekelöf is MJK but with less wine (geeeedddditttt?), and “Opeth” because there’s a fair bit of trademark 6/8 seasickness in there – no doubt cued by the fact former Opeth drumski Martin Lopez is also part of this sorta-stars rabble. Elsewhere you’ve got bassist-about-town Steve DiGiorgio sounding more like Jeff Caxide from Isis (where’s ya fretless?) and relative unknown Joakim Platzbarzdis on the gwee-tar. Their debut track’s called Savia:

The factoid that some peeps are peaking over this is sort of more indicative of the masses’ collective hankering for a new Tool album than anything else. It’s okay, I guess. I could do better, though. In fact I’m doing better right now. The sustain, listen to it. What’s that, you don’t hear anything? You would though, if it were playing. Toolpeth’s debut record Cognitive will be out locally on March 16th.

NARROWS CHOP YOUR HEAD OFF
Narrows is pretty much what Botch would sound like today if Botch hadn’t exploded into a million mathcore bits and all fucked off to play in diff bands. Of their splinter projects, Narrows is sonically the closest to the patriarch. A lot of this is down to former Botch vocalist Dave Verellen owning the mic, and mayhap the lessons that guitarist Ryan Frederiksen took away from Brian Cook when they were playing in These Arms Are Snakes. Man that’d be some trippy-ass inverted reality if I wasn’t just making shit up. Narrows’ second LP is gonna be called Painted, and it’s out on February 28th. Check it out ahead of schedule by downloading Under the Guillotine, and/or cranking Absolute Betrayer:

Their first record New Distances came out in ‘09, and remains an underappreciated corker. The definition of short fast loud, get.

IGNITE THE IBEX’S NEW THROAT
There’s been a bit of movement in the Ignite the Ibex camp lately, specifically on the “Who’s-the-new-vocalist?” front. They’ve been posting a few hints to their FB lately that seem to indicate the Sydney super-heavies are back on the warpath, which’d naturally mean they’ve found a replacement for recent departee (and current Lo! frontguy) Jamie Leigh. A swift inquiry revealed that Chris Elder (who roared with ‘em even prior to Terry Crane) is currently filling in, and will be onstage barking brutal when ItB play their first show of the 2012 supporting Sybreed in Syds next month.

A CANCEROUS AFFAIR INTRODUCE THEMSELVES
It really is the shittest band name. Going by the muzak perfuming the rooms in this “introductory” vid, A Cancerous Affair is also just like every other overwrought melodic metalcore crew still holding on for queer life. It’s so played out. Surely you’ve heard As I Lay Dying’s Decimatus. It’s like one big twelve–track retrospective ode to how played out the genre is. Plaaaaaaaayed OOT.

A Cancerous Affair is the group that Kris Norris formed with perturbing swiftness after leaving Darkest Hour, and also features ex-DH drummer Ryan Parrish hitting things. Winds of Plague keyswoman Kristen Randall is on the ivories, Annihilator backing vocalist (!) Dave Sheldon yell-sings a lot, and Threat Signal bassist Pat Kavanaugh twangs le bass.