It starts with a bilious “One, two, three, four…” and then “I Don’t Like You” erupts, with all the manners of a rabid warthog and armed to the teeth with some of the nastiest riffs in living memory. WEREWOLVES have form, of course, with former members of THE BERZERKER and AKERCOCKE in their ranks, but far from trading on past glories, the Aussies are very much carving their own fleshy trench here. The album straddles both flat-out death metal and hammer-attack grind, making the resultant hybrid sound like an actual bombing campaign. There’s something stupidly exciting about the sheer knuckleheaded relentlessness of it all, but WEREWOLVES have songwriting chops too. If you want all-out war, there are plenty of bands that provide it without any attempt at writing a hook or chorus, but “What A Time To Be Alive” is oddly accessible, particularly for a record that sounds like someone driving a turbocharged tank through your living room.
“Sublime Wartime Voyeurism” has some neat, blackened melodic touches that add depth to the blitzkrieg; “Mission Statement” mixes D-beats and blasts at absurd speeds, but it’s eminently pit-friendly and memorable too; “Unfathomably Fucked” is all jagged thrash riffs and scowling, abyssal chug. Every last bit of it sounds likely to jump through your speakers and punch you in the eye, just because you suck. If nothing else, WEREWOLVES certainly know how to read the room, and the room definitely needs raging death metal face-removers like “Traitors And Bastards”: a song that owes its punchiness to an old-school ethos, but which rips with utterly contemporary levels of aggression.
The only slight drawback to “What A Time To Be Alive” is that it’s so ferocious that it flies by in what seems like a fraction of its 35-minute duration. But if you have a stomach for the hard stuff, diving deeper into this idiosyncratic slab of diehard savagery may reap greater rewards than the expected black eye and broken nose. Either way, WEREWOLVES are definitely not fucking about.
“Unfortunately, [original KING DIAMOND bassist] Timi Hansen is dead, but you could have Andy [LaRocque, guitar], Michael Denner [guitar], you could have Hal Patino [bass], Pete Blakk [guitar], myself, just for a tour, and only play the stuff that we did — from ‘Fatal Portrait’ to ‘Cospiracy’. That could have been a really fun and successful tour.”
Dee, who has been a member of SCORPIONS since 2016, went on to say that it’s “totally up to” KING DIAMOND‘s namesake frontman and leader as to whether such a tour will ever take place. “Because he [also] does MERCYFUL FATE [on the side],” Mikkey said. “I don’t see why not. If I’m off [and not doing anything] with SCORPIONS, then I could easily have done that. That would have been so much fun, I think, because we were a great bunch of guys. And I still talk to Andy and Pete and Hal and King as well.”
The Swedish-born drummer, who also played with MOTÖRHEAD from 1991 until the band’s dissolution in December 2015, previously reflected on his time with KING DIAMOND in a 2017 interview with “The Blairing Out With Eric Blair Show”. He stated at the time: “We started as a bunch of kids, really, and we created something. To tell you the truth, we really didn’t know what we did. Well, we knew what we did, but [we weren’t aware of the fact] that we created a style. But we had so much fun, and [we were] a bunch of friends touring. It all came to an end, where I didn’t feel very happy in the band anymore. We were going in a little bit different direction than I thought that we’d been working ourselves up to. And me as a drummer, I like to play everything. I play big band jazz, fusion, pop, blues, rock, heavy metal, speed metal… So, to me, it was a natural move. I wanted to play some more straight-ahead rock and roll, and I felt a little stressed in KING DIAMOND in the end, maybe.”
Asked how he felt about the Satanic overtones of the KING DIAMOND lyrics and image, Mikkey said: “It wasn’t that bad at all. King believes in the occult — more Stephen King kind of stuff. And for the rest of the four of us, we were not so much into that. But it was great music, great camaraderie, great lyrics — great. Then King‘s personal belief was his deal. Just like I never got into Lemmy‘s personal vision. If you’re a band, you’re four or five or three people — whatever you are. Everybody has their own vision and their own belief in how life is or wherever you’re gonna go. And the trick is to get that to work together without people getting angry or disagreeing. And luckily, with KING DIAMOND, we had great teamwork.”
Dee played on the classic KING DIAMOND albums “Fatal Portrait”, “Abigail” and “Them” until he left in 1988 to join Don Dokken. He returned a year later as a session player on KING DIAMOND‘s “Conspiracy”.
KING DIAMOND‘s current drummer is Matt Thompson, who has been in the band since 2000.
KING DIAMOND received a Grammy nomination in the “Best Metal Performance” category for the track “Never Ending Hill” off the group’s last album, 2007’s “Give Me Your Soul … Please”.
There are so many bands peddling some form of goth-tinged black ‘n’ roll these days that it’s easy to miss how idiosyncratic TRIBULATION can be. A rumbling storm of foreboding and fury, opener “In Remembrance” is a slow-burning start, but one that thunders imperiously forward, like some hellish funeral parade into the endless dark. It also boasts a huge chorus, with faint echoes of SENTENCED at their majestic best, while exerting more sonic heft than anything the band have attempted before. Frontman Johannes Andersson has sharpened up his delivery, too, and sounds more like a snarling infernal rock god than ever on the stirring and succinct likes of “Hour of the Wolf” and “Elementals”, where the slender but unmistakable influence of THE CULT and FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM permeates the onslaught and classic rock tropes are hurled around with mad-eyed abandon. Even more impressive is the artful, heart-rending doom sprawl of “Dirge of a Dying Soul”: essentially a refined piece of heavy metal songwriting, it’s a gnarly but exquisite anti-ballad with both theatrical flair and enough filth and grit to choke a rhino. Similarly, “Daughter of the Djinn” is a whirlwind of dynamic shifts and deeply creepy detours, as TRIBULATION switch from propulsive rock mode to suffocating tension and back again, like the mischievous devils they plainly are.
Elsewhere, “Inanna” is a stately reverie with an old-school heart, while “Funeral Pyre” doffs its bloodied cap to JUDAS PRIEST, as yet more choking darkness descends over a surging, hook-filled sprint toward oblivion. Climactic epic “The Wilderness” nobly provides the pitch-black icing on the cake; another deftly crafted metal anthem, steeped in otherworldliness and delivered with the kind of rampant exuberance that generally happens only when a band absolutely know that they are pretty hot shit right now.
You may, of course, argue that more gloom is the last thing we need right now. But TRIBULATION are such a class act, and “Where the Gloom Becomes Sound” is such an exhilarating, self-evidently superior piece of work that a slice of this divine darkness may turn out to be exactly what we needed after all. Either way, this rocks like the Devil himself.
Tina says she and Sixx have a “solid, good friendship” and they text 8-10 times a day. Tina says Sixx can’t call her because “his management won’t allow it.” As for Michaels, Tina says: “I love Bret Michaels, and he loves me. After three weeks of talking back and forth, he said he was falling in love with me… Several months ago, we were talking, and he had us take the oath over the Bible that we would be devoted to each other. After we took the oath, he proposed to me, and I said yes.”
However, Tina and the man she believes is “Bret,” whom she met on Instagram, have never spoken on the phone, and their entire communication is through text messages. “He tells me management pretty much controls him, that he can only text me,” she says. “He can’t talk to me on the phone or send a video for privacy and security reasons.”
Watch below to see what happens when the real Sixx surprises Tina face-to-face, and she receives a video message from the real Michaels. Will it be the proof Tina needs to finally acknowledge she has been taken advantage of by an imposter?