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Rebecca

Music

How Chester Bennington Gave A Generation Exactly What It Needed

linkin park emp

Millions of music fans worldwide continue to mourn the death of Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington, whose funeral was held yesterday.

Bennington burst onto the music scene back in 2000, when Linkin Park became an overnight sensation with their outstanding debut album, Hybrid Theory. And since then, he inspired a generation by sharing his own struggles with mental health through his brutally honest lyrics and candid interviews.

Born in Arizona, 1976, Bennington was sexually abused and bullied for much of his childhood, and he battled substance abuse throughout his adult life. It was Bennington’s bravery to speak and to sing about his feelings of depression that won him a loyal following of fans who found acceptance and hope in his lyrics.

Hits from the first album, such as “Papercut”, “One Step Closer” and “Crawling” spoke to fans who felt excluded by mainstream pop culture and helped them cope with their emotions.

For so many listeners, Bennington’s lyrics provided a much-needed source of solace and soothing and gave them a non-violent outlet for their angst. A generation of teenagers were reassured through Linkin Park’s music that they weren’t alone. The band’s massive popularity is a testament to their positive impact on young people, as they took listeners from the solitude of their bedrooms to packed out arenas filled with fans who shared their pain.

Unlike traditional metal music, which almost always involves a power-house lead vocalist screaming their anger, Bennington sang clearly and often softly. You can hear his pain so clearly through each album as he melodically narrated his struggles with mental health against a backdrop of heavy metal riffs and rapping from Mike Shinoda.

It struck a chord with people the world over who were battling conflicting emotions that ranged from quiet sadness to roaring defiance, and made them feel that, in a world that often seemed overwhelming, their voices were being heard and understood. Bennington was speaking to them and for them.

In their second album, Meteora, Bennington’s voice and insecurities came across even stronger. And in hit song ‘Numb’, Bennington once again summed up the feelings of millions of marginalised music-lovers with the line, “All I want to do is become more like me and be less like you”.

But Linkin Park weren’t content to just remain spokespeople for teen angst. As their fans grew up, so the band too changed and developed and matured, trying new things and exploring different genres. They worked with Jay-Z for the Collision Course EP and more recently collaborated with Stormzy.

For their third album, Minutes to Midnight, the band teamed up with legendary producer Rick Rubin. Stepping away from their trademark aggressive sound, Linkin Park began to appeal to a broader, more mature audience.

And the band continued to explore different musical genres in their fourth album, A Thousand Suns, by fusing their iconic sound with electronic beats. Their fifth album, Living Things, combines musical elements from all of their previous records, while the band’s sixth album, The Hunting Party, signalled the band’s welcome return to a heavier rock sound.

Their seventh album, One More Light, was released just a couple of months ago and was a much more melodic album. Listening to it retrospectively, it now sounds like Bennington’s goodbye. In “One More Light”, Bennington softly sings, “Who cares if one more light goes out? In a sky of a million stars”, and it feels pre-emptive.

Beyond Linkin Park, Bennington also formed his own band, Dead by Sunrise, as a side project in 2005 and worked on material with Stone Temple Pilots. He also made cameo appearances in several films, including Crank, Crank: High Voltage and Saw 3D.

Linkin Park supported several charities over the years, including Make-A-Wish and the United Nations Foundation. They also set up the fund Music for Relief, and played a range of concerts to raise money for victims of disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and the 2004 tsunami.

Throughout his career, Chester Bennington’s inner demons were in many respects another member of Linkin Park. Ever-present through every song lyric and primal scream, they spoke to listeners the world over who were struggling with their own internal conflicts.

In an official statement following Bennington’s death, his bandmates said, “It was the way you sang about those demons that made everyone fall in love with you in the first place. You fearlessly put them on display, and in doing so, brought us together and taught us to be more human. You had the biggest heart, and managed to wear it on your sleeve.”

To his fans, Bennington not only represented a bygone era of baggy jeans and bike chains, but a symbol of honesty, strength and hope. He will be missed the world over.

“Who cares if one more light goes out? In a sky of a million stars…well I do.”

 

Written by Catherine Hiley.

Movies, TV

The 10 Most Exciting Announcements from D23 and San Diego Comic-Con 2017

Well, it’s been a pretty big couple of weeks for film fans, with Disney’s D23 Expo and the San Diego Comic-Con showing us what we can expect from our favourite franchises over the next few years.

And, as expected, Disney, LucasFilm, Marvel and Pixar made a lot of big announcements, from new film projects and casting reveals to teaser trailers and theme park plans.

Here’s a round-up of the 10 most exciting things we saw from this year’s D23 Expo and ComicCon.

 

Avengers: Infinity War

Of all the things we saw from D23 and ComicCon, this could be the one we’re most excited about.

Marvel fans were treated to a 4-minute teaser from the much-anticipated Avengers: Infinity War at the end of the D23 Expo.

The clip began with the Guardians of the Galaxy running into Thor against a backdrop of cosmic carnage. This was followed by snippets of what appeared to be an epic battle between the Avengers and Thanos.

Other important details to note? It looks like Captain America now has a beard and Black Widow has gone blonde.

Can’t wait for Avengers: Infinity War? Show your support for the team by checking out our Avengers merchandise as well as the individual ranges for Captain America, Iron Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, Hulk, Thor and Spider-Man. Did we forget anybody?

 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Director Rian Johnson took the stage at D23 along with Star Wars cast members Daisy Ridley, Benicio Del Toro, Gwendoline Christie and Laura Dern to talk about the next instalment in the saga.

And although we didn’t get any new plot details, they did show a behind-the-scenes featurette that hinted at what may be in store, including a terrifying wolf-like creature and an adorable critter apparently known as a Porg. N’aww!

The footage ended with a clip of the late Carrie Fisher, who spoke movingly about what it meant to her to work on The Last Jedi. “(This film) is about family,” she said. “That’s what so powerful about it.”

 

Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2

We also got loads more details about the upcoming sequel to Wreck-It Ralph. In Ralph Breaks the Internet, the title character and his best friend, Vanellope, escape the arcade and enter the Internet to find a fix for the Sugar Rush game.

During their quest, they meet a few new characters, as well as familiar faces from LucasFilm and Marvel along with all of the Disney princesses. Yup, that’s right. All of them. And with many of the original actresses reprising their roles, we really can’t wait to see it.

Want to dress like a Disney princess? Then check out our full range of Disney merchandise, including stunning replica dresses from Beauty and the Beast, Peter Pan and more!

 

Live-action Aladdin

Following the success of Beauty and the Beast, Disney are following up with a live-action, Guy Ritchie-directed Aladdin remake. And at D23, it was announced that Mena Massoud has been cast as the title role, while Naomi Scott has been chosen to play Jasmine.

Will Smith has been chosen to take on the iconic role of the Genie, which was of course played by the late Robin Williams in the original animated movie.

What would you ask the Genie for? How about an Aladdin’s Cave of Aladdin merchandise?

 

Kingdom Hearts 3

D23 also gave us a sneak peek at the long-awaited Kingdom Hearts 3. And from what we could tell, it will definitely be worth the wait.

Set for release sometime in 2018, the third major instalment in the Final Fantasy/Disney crossover will see Sora and pals Donald and Goofy team up with Toy Story favourites Buzz Lightyear and Woody.

With the long-awaited third instalment just around the corner, now’s the perfect time to grab some Kingdom Hearts merchandise!

 

Stranger Things Season 2

The first series of Stranger Things was a smash, so expectations for the second are huge. Fortunately, the trailer dropped by Netflix during SDCC hit the spot and hinted at a host of new twists and turns.

Enter the Upside Down world of our Stranger Things merchandise, featuring Funko Pop! figures of all of your favourite characters!

 

Mary Poppins Returns

We literally could not be more excited about next year’s sequel to the 1964 classic. And judging by the exclusive clip shown at D23, it promises to be all we’ve hoped for and more.

The teaser showed Emily Blunt as the title character flying in with her umbrella. We also saw kite-flying, character shots and Dick Van Dyke dancing on a table. It really does look practically perfect in the most delightful way.

 

Star Wars Land – coming to Walt Disney World

It’s no secret that a new Star Wars-themed land is coming to Disneyland and Walt Disney World in 2019. But, we found out much more about it at D23.

The new area is going to be called Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and will be set on a remote planet during the war between the First Order and the Resistance. Attractions will include a trip in the Millennium Falcon and a ride that will put you right at the centre of a huge battle between the two sides.

Galaxy’s Edge is said to be a “fully immersive” experience, and apparently, the decisions you make there will affect you elsewhere in the park.

And as if this wasn’t cool enough, Disney also announced plans for a Star Wars hotel, where each guest will apparently experience a completely unique story during their stay. You’ll get to dress up in Star Wars clothing and explore the alien-filled hotel, which will look like a starship. And when you look out the window? Instead of seeing Florida sunshine, you’ll see outer-space.

Planning a visit to Galaxy’s Edge? You’ll need to stock up on Star Wars merchandise!

 

Captain Marvel

Guys, it’s happening!!!! #captainmarvel #sdcc2017

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Although Captain Marvel hasn’t even begun filming yet, we did manage to get a couple of very important details from SDCC – including our first look at Brie Larson as the titular Captain in costume (above).

Director Kevin Feige confirmed that the film will be set in the 1990s. Samuel L Jackson will be returning as Nick Fury, although the film is set before he lost his eye – so we’ll get to see Fury sans eyepatch.

 

Doctor Who Christmas Special

Emotions were high as Peter Capaldi, Steven Moffat, Michelle Gomez and Pearl Mackie manned the stage for their final SDCC panel as the current torch-bearers for Doctor Who.

They treated us to our first trailer for the upcoming Christmas special, Twice Upon A Time, which will see David Bradley play the original Doctor in place of the late William Hartnell – and the physical and vocal resemblance is uncanny.

Say goodbye to Doctor Twelve with something from our range of Doctor Who merchandise!

 

It’s been a hectic couple of weeks for big announcements and entertainment expos. The next to come up is London Film & Comic Con, where you can meet the EMP crew! Come check out the EMP stall where we’ll be selling merch and giving away awesome prizes and freebies!

 

Written by Catherine Hiley.

Music

What Have Been the Best Rock Performances of Summer 2017 So Far?

Let’s be honest, the last few UK summers have been somewhat lacking in iconic rock performances. But, like buses, you wait ages for one great gig, then several come along at once, and this summer we’ve been so thoroughly spoilt for live music that it may even make up for the last few years of Adele, Kanye West and *shudders* Take That.

But while the likes of Flogging Molly, Dropkick Murphys and Coldplay have all given memorable performances, three bands I was lucky enough to see this summer have stood head and shoulders above the rest. Who? Read on to find out…

 

‪Two nights were better than one…‬ ‪Thank you London!‬ ‪#GnFnR #NotInThisLifetime Tour 2017

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Guns N’ Roses – London Stadium – June 16 & 17

No one ever really thought this would happen, least of all the band themselves. When he was asked in 2012, frontman Axl Rose said “not in this lifetime”.

Not to be cynical, but if you can sell a million tickets in under a minute, each one costing a minimum of £120, it’s not so hard to see why Axl and his former bandmates managed to put their differences aside in the name of rock n’ roll and a truckload of cash.

But, scepticism aside, I was as excited as anyone about the ironically-named Not in this Lifetime… tour. Still, there was an element of doubt. What if they don’t have what it takes anymore? What if they show up late or storm off after 20 minutes? Or what if Axl just doesn’t turn up at all?

The eye-watering ticket prices and average age of the audience initially give the crowd a bit of an Oldchella vibe. The care-free Guns fans of the 90s have now got grown-up jobs, grey hairs and mortgages. I overhear one guy near me bragging that he’d bought his pristine GNR t-shirt from Next. Yup, that’s right: Next. The home of the middle-aged and the middle-class. This is hardly the “Paradise City” I’d been hoping for.

To be fair, I’d been pretty annoyed that security had banned me from taking my M&S picnic into the stadium. I mean really, what kind of damage and I going to do with a packet of pastries and a bag of Percy Pigs? Still, let’s face it, I’m probably no more hardcore than all the Waitrose regulars around me.

Luckily, none of this matters come showtime. The second Axl storms on stage to deafening applause, we’re all reckless teenagers again. We jump, we sing, we scream. Thousands of carpal tunnel hands form devil horns in the sky as we forget that most of us type for a living.

Slash looks as effortlessly cool as ever. Axl is older, chubbier and bang on time. Is it even him? He starts to sing and I’m convinced. His voice is just as distinctive and powerful as it was on Appetite for Destruction 30 years ago.

Rather than toying with the crowd, they go straight for their big hits. By the time “Welcome to the Jungle” comes on four songs in, I have no voice left and I’m hugging total strangers. It’s almost spiritual.

There is such a universal acceptance that this night is something special that even the famously egotistical Axl Rose tells the crowd “you’re too kind” as we all scream 24 years’ worth of love for one of the most iconic rock bands of all time.

Not in this lifetime? Mercenary or not, we’re so glad they changed their minds.

Check out our full range of Guns N’ Roses merchandise – with over a hundred products including tons of exclusive items unavailable anywhere else in Europe, you needn’t fear going to your next GNR gig looking like you’ve been dressed by your mum.

 

Thank you! 📸 @samonrajabnik

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Foo Fighters – Glastonbury – June 24

Glastonbury-goers had to wait a long time to see the Foo Fighters on the Pyramid Stage. The band were set to headline in 2015, but Dave Grohl was forced to cancel when he broke his leg and subsequently the hearts of all UK rock fans.

“I’m about two years late, I’m sorry,” Grohl says as he finally takes to the stage. “Traffic was a bitch.”

No problem, Dave. You’re worth the wait.

Grohl hinted earlier in the week that he had “something special” planned for Glastonbury. With other bands, “something special” could mean a laser show, special guests or even light-up wristbands for the audience (thanks for that, Coldplay).

But the Foo Fighters’ idea of ‘something special’, it would seem, is walking out on stage and delivering an entirely gimmick-free performance. Which, to be honest, is exactly what we were hoping for.

The atmosphere is always incredible at Glastonbury. But there’s something about Dave Grohl that lifts the crowd to the next level. Perhaps it’s his natural charisma, powerful voice or the fact that he was in Nirvana. Whatever it is, he has us all in the palm of his hand for the entire set.

And what a set it is. After a brief intro in which he paid tribute to Florence Welch, who stepped in for him in 2015, the band launches straight into “Times Like These”. Then it’s “All My Life” and “Learn to Fly”. It’s easy to forget just how many mega-hits the Foo Fighters have.

Grohl intersperses his heavy rock set with a few slower tracks so we can catch our breath, as well as a couple of Queen covers for good measure. This is Britain after all.

The band also plays a few tracks from its upcoming album, Concrete and Gold, which is due out in September – pre-order the CD, vinyl, CD and t-shirt pack or vinyl and t-shirt pack today – and these new songs have all the raw power we’ve come to expect from the Foos, without any of the Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace we got from them in 2007.

Towards the end of the show, Dave Grohl pauses. The crowd, fearful that he might be planning an early exit, start chanting “10 more songs”. Because why would you ever ask the Foos for less than that?

While Grohl doesn’t quite make it to the extra 10 we asked for, the band carries on right up to the curfew, finishing with Everlong. Which felt pretty appropriate, as it felt like we had waited here for him for a really long time.

And with a new album out, we hopefully won’t have to wait quite so long until they come back again.

In the mood for Foos? Check out our range of Foo Fighters merchandise.

 

LONDON for days. ❤️#greenday #revradtour #britishsummer #hydepark

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Green Day – Hyde Park – July 1

I’ll be honest, going to this gig was a bit of a last-minute decision. Tickets don’t come cheap after all, and I’ve seen Green Day live a few times before. But the car got through its MOT so I used the money I would have spent making it road-worthy on Green Day tickets. Because why wouldn’t you?

And it turned out to be an excellent decision.

Nothing puts you in the mood for a night of moshing quite like a full day of sunshine and knockout punk-rock performances from the likes of Rancid, the Hives, the Damned and the Stranglers.

After a mass singalong to “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Blitzkrieg Bop”, Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool run onto the stage. They lap up the adulation of 60,000 screaming fans and, without a word, they launch straight into “Do You Know Your Enemy”.

“Jump jump jump jump jump”, Billie Joe commands. And that’s exactly what we do for almost the next three hours.

They hit us with a couple of songs from Revolution Radio. I’ve got to say, while I didn’t instantly love the studio versions of some of those songs (with the obvious exception of “Still Breathing” of course) the live versions are fantastic, particularly the title track and “Bang Bang”.

I’m converted. Green Day rule supreme. At this point, I might even be willing to give ¡Uno!, ¡Dos! and ¡Tré! another go.

But it’s not all new stuff. They play hit after hit, clearly feeding off the incredible atmosphere.

“I swear to God, I fucking love this country so much”, Billie Joe tells us and it’s clear the feeling’s mutual.

The frontman can’t resist making a couple of jibes about Donald Trump, as well as Justin Bieber, who’s headlining at Hyde Park the day after. He can tell he’s preaching to the choir as we all cheer and punch our fists in the air.

After two and a half hours of non-stop rocking, they finish with “American Idiot” and “Jesus of Suburbia”. Then Billie Joe comes back on to do a second encore without the rest of the band. It’s just him and his guitar and us. It feels strangely intimate despite the crowds as we all sing along to 21 Guns.

The gig closes with Green Day’s trademark final song, “Good Riddance (Time of your Life)”.

“It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right. I hope you had the time of your lives.”

We really did.

Don’t want to be an American Idiot? Check out our range of Green Day merchandise.

We’d like to hear from you: who else from the world of rock and metal has killed it on stage this summer? Let us know in the comments below or on the EMP Facebook page!

Fashion, Movies

Celebrate the Release of Despicable Me 3 with Our New Despicable Me and Minions Merchandise!

despicable me emp banner image

Over the seven years since the release of the original Despicable Me, the Minions seem to have been getting cuter, haven’t they? Now we’re onto Despicable Me 3, the fourth big-screen outing for our little yellow friends, and to celebrate we‘ve added a ton of new items to our Minions merchandise section, from Minions t-shirts to a remote-controlled unicorn. Check out some of our favourite items from the new batch below!

despicable me merchandise at emp

MINIONS PLUSH TOYS – STUART & DAVE

Who wouldn’t want these guys? C’est banana! These guys went through the wars (good job they’re in an army!) during the three previous movies, so grab them both in huggable plush toy form before it’s too late!

 

MINIONS T-SHIRTS & TOPS

Five new Minions t-shirts for women have landed in the shop just in time for the new movie – which is your favourite?

minions funko pop  

FLUFFY & HULA MINION FUNKO POP! FIGURES 

How do you make a Minion or a unicorn even more adorable? By turning them into Funko Pop! figures, of course!

If your plush Minions aren’t enough, add Lucky to your collection!

We’ve got enough in our Minions and Despicable Me merchandise to fulfil all your army’s needs. If you’re heading out to see Despicable Me 3, make sure celebrate by grabbing some – bananas sold separately!

Fashion

NEW Competition! Your chance to WIN a Customized Lemmy Jacket!

Win a Customized Lemmy Jacket

Closing date: 01.11.2016

On 28th December 2015 the world of Heavy Metal and Rock’N’Roll, lost a legend, when we sadly said goodbye to Lemmy the iconic frontman of Motörhead, it still doesn’t feel real and he will be missed.

To celebrate his life we have an exclusive ONE of a kind Jacket in tribute to Lemmy, featuring artwork designed by Paul Gregory. The Jacket has been customised by our friends at Judas Christ check out their website here.

All you have to do for a chance to win this jacket is to answer one simple question here

EMP

That’s Not Metal Podcast Powered by EMP at Camden Rocks Festival!

That’s Not Metal Podcast Powered by EMP were at Camden Rocks Festival to chat to three of the brightest and best new bands in the country. Check out the horror punk of Creeper, the groove orientated, face ripping metal of Counting Days and the unique rock being served by Zoax and keep it locked for more videos this week coming from the EMP HELLFEST road trip.

You can get 10% off of all of the best rock and metal merch and clothing labels at EMP.co.uk by using the code NOTMETAL

Check back with us for regular updates from The That’s Not Metal Team, Powered by EMP!