Chris Ball


I’m an ageing rocker who has been going to concerts and buying records for over 30 years. I used to write for Metal Hammer, then briefly another magazine that went down to the bottom of the ocean with that fat crook Robert Maxwell.

I gave up for a while. Experimented with listening to dance music, hip hop and indie rock. It broadened my horizons and I had a lot of fun, but when I reached my late 30’s I realised I was living a kind of cultural lie. I love rock music I realised, much of it deeply unfashionable, but fuck it, I’m old enough now not to care. In the meantime I’d become a father, I now have two boys, and accumulated several more tattoos, middle-aged spread and a healthy dislike of modern pop music and the facile celebrity obsessed industry that fuels it.

So I’m an Essex geezer who’s returned to his roots in more ways than one, I live on the coast after having spent 20 years living in East London. Don’t let the tatts and West Ham shirt fool you though. I love Japanese ukiyo-e art and haiku poetry, impressionist art, the works of Alan Moore and Salman Rushdie, botany and bird watching. I still go to gigs as often as my family, liver and bank balance will allow.

My all time favourite bands and artists are Tom Waits, The National, The Drive By Truckers, The Who, Wilco, Randy Newman, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Thin Lizzy, Celtic Frost, Slipknot, Public Enemy, Warren Zevon, Queens of the Stone Age, The Handsome Family, AC/DC, Lykke Li, Laura Veirs, Monster Magnet (obvs) Black Sabbath, Black Sabbath, Black Sabbath and Black Sabbath.

Recent faves include Bo Ningen, Windhand, Witch Mountain, St Vincent, Lana Del Rey, Public Service Broadcast, Ghost Poet, Triptykon, Matthew E White and Courtney Barnett.

Tell me yours.



Articles by Chris Ball

a stick and a stone – Versatile

Don’t expect it to sit cosily next to your Candlemass records. This music is strange, sometimes difficult. It’s thrills are small, the songs are little secrets, slowly revealed.

Kiwi Jr. – Cooler Returns

this album as it is chock full of mood lifting melodies, swinging harmonies and assured, classic “jangle pop” playing…a very cool return.

Ruff Majik – The Devil’s Cattle

With The Devils’s Cattle Ruff Majick have made a great couple of albums. You may consider yourself lucky that it’s buy one get one free.

Black Stone Cherry – The Human Condition

Some fans may miss the gospel and good times of the bands more Southern rock stylings and the ultra-polished production won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but those issues shouldn’t stop hard rockers of any persuasion appreciating a very fine classic rock album.

Drive-By Truckers – The New OK

The New OK, is not neat and tidy, or definitive or entirely in its right mind – it’s a product of its times, but as such is just what we need. This band speaks for decent, downtrodden people everywhere and has a heart the size of Alabama.

Mr Bison – Seaward

Mr Bison…follow their own path with sincerity and passion.

Larkin Poe – Self Made Man

I guarantee that if you hear one of the singles on the radio it will lift your spirits for four sweet minutes.

King Witch – Body of Light

Body of Light is a proper, high quality heavy metal album the likes of which we’re told they don’t make any more.

Liar, Flower – Geiger Counter

I cannot imagine why anyone wouldn’t want to experience this album. It speaks to us in a secret language we all somehow understand.

Hanni El Khatib – Flight

You may be expecting a dozen rambunctious electro-punk bangers, but Flight is dominated by a melancholic, wistful air, coloured by jazzy flute and piano breaks

Desert Storm – Omens

Omens is Desert Storm’s most consistently impressive album to date and cements their position as one of British metal’s unsung heroes.

Laura Marling – Songs For Our Daughter

Song For Our Daughter is a rich, fascinating album, which heralds a new phase in Marling’s musical career

High Priestess – Casting the Circle

With Casting the Circle, High Priestess have produced one of the best metal albums of the year so far, bar none.

King Buffalo – Dead Star

Quite simply, King Buffalo continue to release music that renders the majority of the psych and stoner scene irrelevant.

Lucifer – Lucifer III

So then. ‘Lucifer III’ is a bit of a mixed bag. The band are certainly willing to stretch out and explore styles outside of the classic occult rock stable and in fact when they do they often produce their best songs.

Huntsmen – Mandala of Fear

Double concept albums can often be seen as acts of hubris by bands desperate to prove how clever they are, but you get the sense from Huntsmen that this music, noisy and threatening as it is, comes from the heart and soul.

King Dude – Full Virgo Moon

Full Virgo Moon, despite its brief running time and fairly light musical style, is a tough, grim listening experience.

Black Royal – Firebride

I am here to tell you that front to back, Firebride is an absolute triumph of accessible, extreme metal.

Smoke Fairies – Darkness Brings The Wonders Home

Smoke Fairies really have brought the darkness and the wonders.

Jean-Paul Gaster of Clutch

Clutch’s drummer, genial Jean-Paul Gaster, raps about the blues, Ramblin’ Man Fair, the genius of Neil Fallon and much more besides. . .

Clutch – The Roundhouse, London

It may be the holidays  and we may have been lulled into a beery bonhomie,  but this bunch of unassuming nice guys can still pack one hell of a punch.

Pin It on Pinterest