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'No Going Back'
(Rigid Digits)
Out Now

Nik Underwood

nik underwood

stiff little fingers

'No Going Back' is the tenth studio album by Belfast punk stalwarts SLF and while the title may allude to a desire to live in the now and a forward thinking attitude, for better or worse the band will always be associated with their 1977 incendiary debut 'Inflammable Material' and its follow up 'Nobody's Heroes' which provided their biggest hits and the inspiration for the platinum pop-punkers of the early 90s (stand up Green Day, Rancid).

The 90s weren't quite so kind to the Fingers themselves however and a few patchy records did little to help the cause ('Tinderbox', 'Hope Street') but by 2003 and the release of 'Guitar And Drum' the boys had finally returned to form.

And since then? Well, not a lot really. 'No Going Back' has been a long time coming and indeed some of it's tracks have been creeping in to the live setlist for a long time and one could be forgiven for thinking the world has moved on.

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But not so as in 2014 we can rest assured that Jake Burns is still railing against injustice, greedy bankers, corporate misbehaviour, politicians, priests and you apathetic lot for not standing up for what you believe in!

Lead off track 'Liar's Club' with it's twisting Psychobilly-esque riff takes a thinly veiled swipe at messers Bush and Blair and while not mentioned directly you can't help but picture Tony when Jake sings "you stand there grinning like a clown".

'My Dark Places' and 'Full Steam Backwards' are on more familiar pop-punk territory, jaunty rhythms and melodic choruses, the latter song's bass intro reminding us that original four-stringer Ali McMordie has returned to the fold where he belongs.

stiff little fingers

Having influenced a whole host of bands over the years its pretty easy to pick out the sound-alikes such as the Wildhearts and Less Than Jake when we get tracks 'I Just Care About Me' and the ska tinged 'Don't Mind Me'.

The fact that SLF are currently on tour in America with The Offspring, Pennywise and Bad Religion shows not only their longevity but also the regard in which they are held overseas despite being often overlooked at home.

And speaking of home things take a turn for the folk on the acoustic 'Guilty As Sin', a lament for the victims of the abuse scandals in the church. From here to the end though it's straight ahead rock.

'One Man Island' leads into the anthemic 'Throwing It All Away' for which guitarist Ian McCallum takes over lead vocals. The song has echoes of 'When The Stars Fell From The Sky' from 1994s 'Get A Life' and McCallum's voice has a gutsy tone that compliments Jake's higher range.

stiff little fingers

Drummer Steve Grantley is once again back behind the kit and although by no means an original member he has been involved for nearly 20 years and in fact knew the band well from touring together with his old outfit The Alarm. Solid as ever Grantley powers things along yet has a lightness of touch when required.

Closing two songs, 'Since Yesterday Was Here' and 'When We Were Young', stand to remind us that while time marches on certain attitudes remain the same, reassuringly so for those that bang the drum and frustratingly so for those that still tell you to keep the noise down.

The recording of 'No Going Back' was fan funded and those who pledged their cash have had the finished product since April and it now gets a general and digital release through the bands' own Rigid Digits label. It seems to be the done thing for an act like the Fingers who will never sell in the millions but who have a loyal fan base and are on the road for most of the year winning new supporters one gig at a time by keeping the torch still burning.

As already stated, this album has been a long time coming and I have to say it is an absolute (fire) cracker! The songs are powerful and punchy, and while they maybe will never resonate with the same anger, desperation, urgency and aggression of those early albums, they are a fine addition to the cannon and a testament to the fact that there is no shame in growing old disgracefully.

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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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