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Classic Albums

CA29 Gojira – Magma (Part 2)

In the second part of our two part look at the French metal pioneers, Steve and Remfry reevaluate Gojira’s 6th studio album, Magma, released on the 17th of June 2016.

We look at the state of the metal scene in the build up to the release of the album, how the stock of heavy music had dropped and how important it was to see the band return, we also consider the quality of the music released in the year 2016, a year that saw some integral records from across many genres and featured a series of albums that were thematically, if not sonically, linked to Gojira’s new effort, before we delve into the record itself. Born from personal tragedy and undeniably linked to the death of the Duplantier brothers Mother, Magma saw Gojira morph into a more melodic and accessible band, without losing any of the artistic integrity that had made them such an important band. Finally we look forward to the release of the bands upcoming Fortitude album. 

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Classic Albums

CA29 Gojira – L’Enfant Sauvage (Part 1)

In the first part of our mammoth double classic album special on French tech-death lords Gojira, Remfry and Steve look specifically at the latter part of their career and the two albums that lead up to 2021’s forthcoming album Fortitude


2012’s L’Enfant Sauvage proved to be the moment where Gojira became unstoppable. Yes the underground had been hyping them since at least 2005’s From Mars to Sirius, but the move to Roadrunner Records and four year wait between The Way of All Flesh and L’Enfant Sauvage had given the band more exposure and also allowed some people to catch up to the fact that Gojira had, slowly but surely, become one of the very best and innovative metal bands on the planet. 


L’Enfant Sauvage managed to be a glorious conglomeration of everything the band had been aiming to be up until that point. Ferocious death-metal inspired riffs coalesced seamlessly with more exploratory, ambient (comparatively) progressive tendencies … Death meets Tool in effect. But Gojira somehow managed something even greater than that descriptor, holding steadfastly onto an identity that was theirs and theirs alone. 

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Classic Albums

CA28 The Specials – Self-Titled

It’s time for another Classic Album series podcast, and this week Steve and Remfry don their pork pie hats and skank back to Britain in the late 1970’s to examine the birth of Two Tone as we look at the 1979 self-titled debut album from Coventry’s ska revivalists The Specials.

We look at the genesis of ska, from its earliest incarnation in the Carribean, before the Windrush generation brought it to the nascent punk scene in Great Britain, leading to the merging of the two styles to create an entirely new genre, almost singularly based on the integration of both black and white culture working together for a united cause.

We also look at the political climate that was building at that time, as the far right National Front party and its ideological opposite, the Rock Against Racism movement, both rose to prominence, creating a tense, divisive and explosive climate in the country, all of which was keenly reflected in the music of The Specials. 

We look at every track on the record, the creation of the Two Tone label that sparked the second wave of ska in the United Kingdom, the aftermath of that success leading to the dissolution of The Specials, mainly due to creative tensions between mastermind Jerry Dammers and the rest of his band, and, of course, the original lineups swansong hit Ghost Town, a song which defined a moment, a time, a place, a generation and a political climate more perfectly and succinctly than maybe any other number one hit single in chart history. 

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Classic Albums

CA27 Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream

It’s time once again when the dynamic Riot Act duo delve deep into one of their favourite albums for a feature length special. It’s Remfry’s turn and his pick is 1993’s Siamese Dream, the 2nd full-length studio album from Chicago alt rock legends The Smashing Pumpkins.

After the unexpected commercial success of the Pumpkins’ debut 1991 album Gish, critics began to peg the band as ‘the new Nirvana’, which put bandleader and predominant songwriter Billy Corgan under unwanted pressure ‘to make the next album to set the world on fire’. Siamese Dream never gained the commercial success of Nirvana’s Nevermind, but it did become a beloved soundtrack to the lives of many disenfranchised and disaffected youth who felt like they didn’t fit in with the status quo.

Like their peers, Smashing Pumpkins concerned themselves with dark lyrical subject matter, but they married those themes to music that felt jubilant and triumphant, creating a contrast in songs like Today and Hummer which made them all the more affecting. Meanwhile, songs such as Soma and Mayonnaise showed a truly developed sense of beautific serenity that was far beyond many of their contemporaries.

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Classic Albums

CA26 Type O Negative – October Rust

It’s that time where we delve into another classic album here on Riot Act, and this week Steve and Remfry go slow, deep and hard into the career of one of the 90’s most unique bands; New York alternative goth metallers Type O Negative and their 1996 masterpiece October Rust.

We start by looking at both alt-metal and goth, what they were, how they formed and just how unlikely a pairing they were for commercial success back in the early 90’s, before looking at Type O’s entire career; from the controversy, the addition of melody and romanticism, the subtle humour, the infiltration of the mainstream, the problems of frontman Peter Steele that led to darker and less accessible material later in their career and his tragic death in 2010. Plus we go through every track on the record and try and work out just what it is that made Type O Negative one of the most enduring cult bands of the 90’s.

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Classic Albums

CA25 Sigur Rós – ()

Our latest pick in the Classic Albums series sees Remfry and Steve delve into hitherto untrodden territory as Remfry finally indulges his post-rock leanings by picking (), the third full length album from Icelandic’s second biggest musical export Sigur Rós.


Sigur Rós are one of the few bands of the 21st century who have created a unique, strong identity. The term ‘Sigur Rós-esque’ has become a shortcut for journalists to describe music that is ethereal, sentimental and epic, but no band has gone to quite the same extremes to capture a specific sound as Sigur Rós did with (). We explore how Sigur Rós use Minimalism, Negative Space and ‘Hopelandic’, an invented ‘language’ of meaningless words and syllables, help the listener to impose their own interpretations on the songs. 


Sigur Rós inspire hyperbolic sentiments in people, leading one critic writing for Melody Maker to describe their music as ‘like God weeping tears of gold in heaven.’ We explore how the band provoke such extravagant descriptions in some, whilst simultaneously leading others to dismiss them as ‘forehead-slappingly pretentious’. Whichever side of the line you fall, it’s difficult to deny that Sigur Rós have created an evocative sound that is completely unique to them. 

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Classic Albums

CA24 Meshuggah – obZen

Once again Steve and Remfry brave the finest recesses of their record collection to bring you another classic album series podcast. 

It’s a slightly different one this week, as we look back on the career of one of modern metal’s most confusing, inspiring, unusual, inventive and influential bands; the Swedish tech metal machine known as Meshuggah. We focus on their 2008 6th album obZen, their finest moment and commercial breakthrough, but it gives us a chance to look at just exactly what it is that has made Meshuggah such a revered musical entity.

From their earliest incarnation, the influence of nascent death metal and jazz drummer Dave Weck on their work were the key ingredients that enabled the Swedes to take huge strides as their career progressed, both as musicians and as a group that have experimented so routinely with the idea of what heavy music can be. We carry on all the way through to the painstaking recording sessions and the release of the album to assess how Meshuggah reconstructed the fabric and ideas of what metal was and how it opened the floodgates to popularise the entire djent and tech-metal scene, a scene that still continue to chase obZen’s tail to this very day.

LINKS
‘Bleed’ by Meshuggah Explained Part 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcsAAPdJTBE

‘Bleed’ by Meshuggah Explained Part 2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HH9HLK38PMI

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Categories
Classic Albums

CA23 Jane’s Addiction – Ritual de lo Habitual

The influence of Jane’s Addiction on the alternative music scene and subculture can not be underestimated. On a surface level, the band appeared to have much in common with their hair metal, spandex-clad LA contemporaries, but chip away at the surface and it was obvious that Jane’s Addiction were a much more subversive, cerebral act who encompassed a diverse range of influences. Metal, goth, funk, psychedelia, reggae and punk were all crucial elements that made up their kaleidoscopic sound and acted as a bridge 80s excess and 90s integrity.  


The success of Ritual de lo Habitual, the band’s second studio album (and third album overall; 1987’s self-titled debut is a live album) was instrumental in forging the path for a gigantic wave of rock bands to take over the mainstream throughout the best part of the 90s. Would Geffen have gone to the trouble of signing Nirvana had Ritual de lo Habitual not sold half a million copies just one month after it’s release? Doubtful, especially considering that Nirvana’s debut Bleach had sold just 40,000 copies in North America prior to Nevermind’s release. 

Available over on https://www.patreon.com/riotactpodcast

Categories
Classic Albums

CA22 The Beatles – The White Album (Part 2)

In the second and final part of our look at The Beatles 1968 masterpiece The White Album Steve and Remfry start by examining if the record marks the first genuine example of a double album, before going through each one of the 30 tracks present and giving our verdict on them. We look into conspiracy theories surrounding Paul McCartney’s supposed death, accusations of everything from being class traitors to Communist sympathisers, the invention of heavy metal, bringing the avant garde into the mainstream and the link between The Beatles and Charles Manson and his crimes. We also look at the backlash The Beatles received critically in the aftermath of the record’s release and the long lasting influence that it continues to have on contemporary music to this day. All before we end by trying to somehow surmise the legacy of one of the most beguiling, bewildering, unique and inspiring albums to have ever been recorded. 

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Categories
Classic Albums

CA22 The Beatles – The White Album (Part 1)

It’s another Classic Albums series podcast. And in our most in depth look at an record to date we present a two part episode dedicated to The Beatles 1968 self-titled double album, commonly known as The White Album. In part one Steve and Remfry discuss The Beatles cultural significance, the daunting prospect of having to dissect the most revered and examined back catalogue in the history of popular music, the state of the world back in 1968, one of the most traumatic and politically charged years in modern history, before they get into the place that The Beatles found themselves in during that time. Looking into the shock death of the band’s manager Brian Epstein, the ever growing influence of Yoko Ono, their ill fated but prosperous trip to India and the studio sessions and the tense atmosphere that accompanied them, we set the scene before looking at the results of it all in part 2.

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