Author

Anthony Best

Special

10 Best Gifts For Metal-Heads This Christmas

Do you have friends or family with head-banging tendencies? A power metal pal, a symphonic metal sister or a death metal dad perhaps? Or maybe you live with a pet metal-head you need to feed riffs and blast-beats to at least twice day. Whatever breed of metal-head you’re finding gifts for, we’re bound to have something to offer in our huge range of metal band merchandise. Let’s begin!

  1. Metallica Justice T-Shirt

metallica justice tshirt

Now a band’s popularity definitely doesn’t always equate to how good they are but in Metallica’s case, they’ve legitimately earned their iconic status with consistently compelling live shows and several classic, genre-defining albums. You’ll also be hard-pressed to find a metal-head that doesn’t like Metallica – they’re just one of those bands!

Of their genre-defining albums, ‘…And Justice For All’ is definitely one of their best and the album art, depicted on the t-shirt, is awesome. Plus it’ll give your metal-head an excuse not to wear black for a change! A tanktop version of the shirt is also available – check it out here.

  1. Judas Priest Painkiller Puzzle

Another genre-defining album is Judas Priest’s Painkiller. It’s impossible for a metal-head not to have the utmost respect for the legendary band that has been rocking out since the 60s and is still going! What better way to spend Boxing Day than by listening to Painkiller at full-blast whilst sipping a cup of tea and doing a puzzle of the album cover?

  1. Amon Amarth Bathrobe

amon amarth bath robe

I also saw Amon Amarth earlier this year and they engaged the crowd more than almost any band I’ve ever seen! A truly solid band that pretty much invented the Viking Metal sub-genre. Limit the time your metal-head needs to go without repping their favourite bands by giving them something truly ‘metal’ to wear as soon as they get out of the shower. It even has a Viking helmet hood – you can’t get much more metal than that! This is one of our EMP exclusives so make sure you get it while stocks last.

  1. Ghost ‘Hail Santa’ Christmas Jumper 2019

Speaking of things which are ’metal’, I bet you haven’t spent a single Christmas with your metal-head without hearing her/him saying ‘Hail Santa!’ at least once. Now they can wear it on their Christmas jumper – a Ghost one nonetheless!

  1. Iron Maiden somewhere In time CD With Eddie Figure

An epic deluxe edition CD of an epic album by one of metal’s most epic bands. Possibly my favourite Iron Maiden album but it’s a hard choice. I certainly would not complain if I received this for Christmas myself – how cool is that Somewhere In time Eddie figure!?

  1. Kiss – The Starchild Funko Pop!

The legend that is Paul Stanley A.K.A The Starchild from Kiss! Cute but still metal as f*ck – love it!

  1. Slipknot Jacket

slipknot jacket

Hoping to give a Slipknot fan a merry maggot Christmas? Help them keep warm in style with this EMP exclusive Slipknot jacket!

  1. Slayer Socks

Satanic Slayer socks anyone? Yes please! Some people say that socks are a poor stocking filler but I’d have to disagree – especially when they’ve got pentagrams on them!

  1. Motörhead Dress

motorhead dress

Mum a Motörhead fan from back in the day? Know someone else that would love a Motörhead dress? We’ve got the perfect gift for you!

 

  1. Slipknot Leggings

slipknot leggings

Ok I know we’ve covered Slipknot already but they’re just such a sick band and let’s be honest – have you ever seen leggings look this metal? As Slipknot fans it’s our duty to take any opportunity to show the world that We Are Not Your Kind!

Hope to have helped in your search. Let us know what you think of our selection and, above all, have a very metal Christmas!

Anthony Best

Music

Tool – Fear Inoculum Album Review

I knew reviewing a Tool album, especially one that’s been anticipated for so long, would be difficult but I decided to take on the daunting challenge in order to fully rationalise my own thoughts on the album and hopefully share sentiments on it that will resonate with others. However, I fully welcome contrasting opinions as I firmly believe that music is subjective and album reviews should never sway anyone into viewing a record as intrinsically good or bad. Album reviews are opinions, and mine is that the new Tool album rocks!

I didn’t think so right away – it took a few listens to come to that conclusion. As with every Tool album, and most progressive rock/metal records, repeated listens are required to fully absorb the intricacies and for the hooks to sink in.

My initial opinion after my first listen was that it was an interesting album with some spectacular moments but it didn’t stand out enough from the rest of their catalogue and didn’t fully warrant the hype given their reported meticulous approach to writing the songs. I remembered listening to 10,000 Days (their last album) for the first time and noticing a clear evolution in sound from Lateralus (the album before it). In this case I felt that the typical Tool tropes, picking patterns and chord progressions felt slightly too familiar despite being extremely well executed and jaw-droppingly technical.

That naturally started to change as the album called me back for second, third and fourth listens. The way the songs swell, crawl and contort is extremely compelling. Despite the songs being centred around particular motifs, new elements are frequently introduced in unexpected places which creep up on the listener and take the songs in exciting new directions. Yes, it is all done in a way that sounds unmistakably like Tool but to be honest that’s not a bad thing! In an age where so many popular bands follow trends and imitate each other, Tool should be applauded for finding a sound that listeners immediately recognise as belonging to them. It’s not easy to take a singer, guitar, bass and drums and find a sound which is distinct from the thousands of artists who have used those instruments to make music before you.

Although I do still believe that 10,000 Days was a stronger evolution in sound from Lateralus than Fear Inoculum is from 10,000 Days, I feel that Fear Inoculum introduces enough new ideas to keep it fresh. Also, I was only 16 when 10,000 Days came out and wasn’t as familiar with Tool’s discography as I am now – context is important kids!

The new elements I am referring to include EVEN longer songs than usual, synths, bass chugs, a drum solo (!) and a vocal timbre and delivery employed by Maynard which he usually reserves for his other band A Perfect Circle. Although each member is a master of his craft and they all get moments to shine, Danny Carey’s drumming is particularly impressive. His drum solo on the track Chocolate Chip Trip is a personal highlight and the range of techniques he uses is astounding – there’s even drumming on the track 7empest which wouldn’t sound out of place on a metalcore song!

7empest, which recalls the fury of their earlier material, is probably my favourite track from the album, followed closely by Invincible and Pneuma. 7empest closes the album on an epic note and contains the album’s most memorable and climactic moments. However, this brings me to one of my few gripes with the album. Some of the crescendos on this album, of which there are many, don’t fully deliver at their peaks and that’s primarily due to the guitar tone. To put it bluntly, the heavy parts don’t sound heavy enough! In all the other parts of the songs, the guitar tones are stellar, but the more abrasive riffs don’t have enough grit to do them justice.

The same can be said for most other Tool albums though. The guitar tones are just Tool being Tool and I feel like that’s a good way of summarising the album. I get the impression that this is exactly the album that Tool wanted to make and they haven’t been pressured by outside influences into compromising on any front.

Tool are pioneers and I’m glad they’re still around today. They created a compelling blend of brooding 90s alternative metal with psychedelic progressive rock, completely bereft of any of the cheesy qualities the genre is traditionally associated with, which is, in my opinion, extremely commendable. However to reiterate; just because I enjoy it that doesn’t mean I expect everyone else to as well. The technical nature of the music impresses and engages me but I can understand it being off-putting for other listeners.

I give the album an 8/10 and am keen to hear what other people think (as long as it’s something more thoughtful than ‘this band sucks’).

Check out our Tool merch here!

Written by Anthony Best

Special

What to get Rock and Metal fans this Christmas!

Related to a rocker? Married to a metalhead? At EMP, the gift options for loud music fanatics is endless!

Let’s start with rockers.

In addition to a huge selection of band merch , we have several brands tailored to music enthusiasts. The most applicable here is Rock Rebel – it’s in the name! With products ranging from bikinis to studded boots, you’ll be sure to find something for that rebellious spirit. For a rock chick, I’d recommend these rockin’ Ruby boots

 

And for a rock dude I’d recommend this awesome charred red Through The Glass long-sleeve shirt

 

Thinking about getting merch but unsure which band to pick? How about a little band you might have heard of called Foo FightersThey’re touring the UK next summer and everybody likes them; I genuinely don’t think I’ve ever met anyone that doesn’t! With a whole range of cool items to choose from, such as this varsity jacket, you’re bound to find something for Foo Fighter fan fulfillment!

 

Your loved one more into the old-school stuff? Get her/him a Led Zeppelin beanie to keep warm this winter. Or one of the many other items we have in our Led Zeppelin section

There’s also a new band on the scene which is heavily influenced by Led Zeppelin that has been turning heads recently. They’re touring the UK next year as well but it looks like all the shows are sold out already! Check out this Greta Van Fleet tee.

 

 

Perhaps your rocker is already inundated in band merch and you’re looking for something a bit different. How about one of our selection of Funko Pop! figurines? We’ve got Slash from Guns N’ Roses, Lemmy from Motorhead, Kurt Cobain from Nirvana and several other rock icons in our inventory.

We were all moved and inspired by Queen movie Bohemian Rhapsody earlier this year so a poster of Freddie Mercury as a reminder to stay humble is another gift that will be hard not to appreciate!

 

Metalheads

If your gift recipient prefers the heavier end of the music spectrum, you’ll want to have a think about gifts for metalheads instead and we’ve got no shortage of choices there. Gojira has blown up recently and has become, in my humble opinion, one of the best metal bands on the planet. They’re also just one of those bands that all metalheads seem to love; you’ll be hard-pressed to find one that doesn’t – I assure you.

German powerhouse Rammstein are releasing a new album and playing a huge one-off UK show in Milton Keynes next year (so many awesome shows to look forward to next year – have you seen the Download line-up!?). If your metalhead was lucky enough to get a ticket, she/he will definitely love receiving some new Rammstein merch, of which we have loads! Too much to choose from? I’d recommend this trusty shoulder bag.

Is your loved one constantly forgetting which day of the week it is? Get them this official Iron Maiden Legacy of the Beast calendar to stay in check!

In addition to Iron Maiden, we’ve got plenty of merch available from other classic, pioneering metal bands like Black Sabbath and Metallica as well. Did I mention that all our merch is official? Support the music industry guys!

A great gift for music enthusiasts of any genre is an LP. Vinyl is coming back in a big way and owning a physical copy of your favourite album truly is a fantastic feeling. Give your loved one that feeling with one of the vinyls from our store. The new remastered version of Appetite for Destruction, one of the best-selling albums of all time, is a must have for any vinyl collector!

Our range isn’t restricted to just rock/metal bands, the likes of Johnny Cash and David Bowie are present as well (pun intended).

Looking for something particularly Christmassy instead? Check out our Christmas jumpers. Or how about these badass baubles?

Still unconvinced? Use our official gift finder tool!

Basically, there’s really no better place to buy gifts for a rock/metalhead than EMP so head on over and find the right gift to keep your headbanger happy.