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Friday, December 02, 2016

INTERVIEW: Vivian Campbell chats ahead of Last In Line Limelight show on Saturday

TOMORROW (Saturday 3rd December) Last In Line finish up their Autum tour with a slot in Belfast's Limelight1 with support from Toseland.

As the band prepared for the show we caight up with Viivian Campbell to chat about Last In Line and their progress and the tragedies they faced.
But first as they draw the tour to an end was Vivian relieved the tour - like any tour - was coming to a close.

"To be honest, I think I'll be mostly sad that it's over," he said. "It's been a great tour and the band has been tremendously well received everywhere that we've played. That said, I'm looking forward to spending time with my family and enjoying the upcoming holidays".

At their date in Wales for Hard Rock Hell X the performance of Last In Line drew a rapturous response from front to back, but did the band get a sense of the buzz throughout the room?

"Absolutely," enthused Vivian. "Fans of this kind of music are very passionate about it and that
passion translates back to us. The energy that we put out from the stage is an integral part of it all, too; you can't play music like this while staring at your shoes".
Vivian and Last in Line singer
Andy Freeman on stage
at Hard Rock Hell X

While the band initially formed to commemorate and celebrate the music from the first three Dio albums they have their own new release 'Heavy Crown' tracks of which have been aired on the tour.

"The new songs seem to fit seamlessly in amongst the Dio songs that we're playing and we couldn't ask for more than that," he said. "The nature of the music on 'Heavy Crown' is very much in the vein of classic Dio.

"It wasn't really something that we intentionally set out to do, but when Jimmy, Vinny and myself play together that's the sound of the band that wrote and recorded those early albums with Ronnie, so it's natural that it would have a similar character".

The feel of 'Heavy Cown' and the classic tracks are getting such a positive response live from those who were there in the 80s and those not even born when they were aired - it is a sense of the music being 'reborn'.

"Yes, very much so. A lot of today's music is computer generated, overly compressed and/or overly corrected through digital media.

"As a result of that, it lacks some of the dynamics of old-school rock. I think there's a real resurgence of and an appreciation for great classic rock, both in recorded form and in the live arena."

Which must make it a challenge to put together a setlist from the ample supply of songs.

"We limit the Dio classics we play to the first 3 albums" he said.

"Those are the albums that featured the original band and within those albums there are many great songs to chose from. However, it's important to us that we also represent the new music from "Heavy Crown", so we try to strike a balance. We're also very adept at changing the set list as we go to reflect what we feel is the mood of the audience."

And, there are plans to once more step into the studio for the next Last In Line release.

"We're already started the writing process for the next record," said Vivian. "We don't know when, exactly we'll be able to deliver a new album, but it will be completed sometime in 2017."

However, the passing of Jimmy Bain also came recently, but he has left a substantial legacy.

"Jimmy was involved in the writing and recording of many great classic records over his long career," said Vivian. "He was a very gifted writer who I feel never got the recognition that he truly deserved. His input on "Heavy Crown" was immense and he was very, very proud of both the band and the record. I feel that "Heavy Crown" is a fitting end to an illustrious legacy."

The last time we chatted to Vivian he revealed that as well as Last In Line and playing in Def Leppard he also played in a bar band. How does a man keep his hunger for strapping on the six-string?
Vivian comfortable with his
six-string at HRH X 

"It's quite simple, really, we are what we do, and I'm a guitar player," he said. "That's all I ever wanted to do from the time I was a child and I feel incredibly fortunate that I've been able to lead the life that I have and that I've gotten to play with so many talented musicians and bands.

"There have been times in my career when that hunger has waned slightly, but as long as you keep feeding the passion it never truly dies."

And, if you never have seen Last In Line you'll realise that Vivian's passion burns bright with every note he plays. Make sure you don't miss tomorrow's show!

Interview by Jonathan Traynor
Pictures courtesy of Darren McVeigh of MetalplanetBelfast

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

NEWS: Trivium release 'Lake of Fire' instant grat track - Ember To Inferno re-issued on December 2nd

AHEAD of their Belfast show in February Trivium have shared 'Lake of Fire', the third and final instant grat track from their forthcoming reissue of Ember To Inferno, out December 2 via Cooking Vinyl.

Listen to "Lake of Fire" here.

"'The Red Album' is the best recorded version of the absolute earliest Trivium there is," said singer and guitarist Matt Heafy.

"'Thrust' was the very first Trivium song ever written, 'Pain' the second, 'Lake of Fire' the third."

He continued: "'Lake of Fire' is a very primal Trivium, but it shows that all the elements of the band Trivium fans know today, have been there since the beginning. Clean melody, intense speed; the sonic interplay of light and dark; melody and brutality — it was all there from the start.

Lyrically, 'Lake of Fire' sets an intense stage for the visions of the underworld it invokes. Enjoy your journey... into the 'Lake of Fire!'"

Ember to Inferno will be released in four configurations, with the deluxe 'Ab Initio' editions containing the band's early demos 'Ruber' (aka the Red Demo), 'Caeruleus (aka the Blue Demo) and 'Flavus' (aka the Yellow Demo). Fans can pre-order all formats online here.

Heafy dives deep into the reissue via a specially recorded interview series. Watch Episode 1 here and Episode 2 here.

The band previously made available 'The Storm'; a six-minute epic, propelled by a massive acrobatic riff and Matt Heafy's three-tiered vocal attack. Listen below:

NEWS: Green Day to play Belfast with Rancid

POP punk royalty Green Day are set to play Belfast as part of their Revolution Radio tour, with a June 28th show in Ormeau Park. Support comes from Rancid.

Both bands have played the city previously, include the by-now legendary début show by Green Day, which despite being attended by a few dozen many hundreds now claim to have been there.

Since those heady days Billy Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tré Cool have sold more than 75 million albums, challenged the mainstream and recorded anthems for the soundtrack of many people such as 'American Idiot' and 'Misery' 'Basket Case'.

Despite being Grammy Award winners five times, being inducted into the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame in 2015 and playing to massive crowds across the world they have never given up casting a critical eye on society.

Tickets, priced £45 (+booking fee) go on sale this Friday at 9am from all usual outlets.


LIVE REVIEW: Combustible class from Raveneye's Diamond performance with emerging quality from Safire

THE music is always at the heart of everything in rock and metal but on stage too many acts forgo the art of the performance. It is a show, the music and the visuals combining to make evenings special. No-one could accuse Raveneye of forgoing the performance...

When they once again descended on Ahoghill's Diamond Rock Club on Saturday, November 26th Oli and Co proved that even when only adorned with a check shirt the performance is almost as entertaining as the music.

Opening for the band were Northern Ireland rockers Safire, who are riding high since the release of their EP 'Under My Skin'. Saffron is a confident singer with an impressive range, and it is the totality of the band's show that makes it a set that elevates their time on stage.

Title track of the EP is an impressive opener, and there wasn't any fillers in the 11-song set. Tim tears his way through the set with fluid playing, however it is the tight bond between Dean (bass) and Cozy (drums) that means there is a solidity to what they do.

'Sunshine', 'Fallen Angel' and closer 'Heartbreaker' are among the songs that shine in the live environment and a sign that Safire will continue their rise.

With Raveneye, you know what to expect, but their recent tour slots across continents and the release of 'Nova' seem to have taken the band to a place where their set feels ever more composed and balanced despite the usual antics of Oli.

His manic energy could be a distraction from the music, but this is a three-piece that are tight, with a tautness to their songs that only comes from three-musicians who sweat through every pore to make sure that the audience leaves a venue exhausted and happy.

'Come With Me' is an astonishing opener in their hard rockin' blues storm. Adam on drums plays with an energy that makes it seem as if he wants to bouncing around the stage with Oli and Aaron.

But make no mistake - Aaron and Adam are not just backing musicians to Oli's tremendous guitar work. This is, in every sense a band performance. With the songs from 'Nova' now well road-tested now they ooze quality with every note, every bass run and every drum fill.

Fan favourite such as 'Wanna Feel You' and closer 'Hey Hea Yeah' litter a set and songs such as 'No Bodies Soul' have an inspired purpose in delivering the music on a platter for the audience to aurally dine upon.

The entire time the band are on stage the 'performance' is executed with music and visuals combined offering an evening of delight that takes what is well trodden path and supercharges the journey along that path.

Yes, as expected Oli mounts the bass drum, yes, he goes into the crowd, and yes, we've seen all it before. And, there was no-one who cared that they had seen Oli do this before. As evidenced on the sizeable Stage Two at Download they are the trimmings to the rock meal; they are welcome trimmings to the musical main course.

Raveneye understand that when you part with your hard-earned admittance money and beer tokens you are there to be entertained on all possible levels.

Review by Jonathan Traynor
Pictures by Lizzie Torbitt








Friday, November 25, 2016

NEWS: Memoriam set to release 'The Hellfire Demos II' EP and announce début album title

FOLLOWING signing with Nuclear Blast Memoriam have announced their new album will be entitled 'For The Fallen' and are set to release an EP of demo tracks.

The EP,called ‘The Hellfire Demos II’, is out on January 20th, will contain two demo versions of new tracks from this old school death metal machine - taking the same line as Bolt Thrower and Benediction

Memoriam was primarily developed to fill the void that was left following the tragic death of Martin ‘Kiddie’ Kearns, the drummer from Bolt Thrower, back in September 2015.

Bolt Thrower subsequently placed all activity on hold for the foreseeable future, which gave Karl Willetts an opportunity to develop a new project with friends that had been expressing interest in forming a band for some time.

Memoriam are an old-school death metal band, maintaining the high standards set by their previous bands, focusing on the themes of death, loss and war.

Initially the band members got together to play covers of songs that had influenced them throughout their careers within the death metal scene, however it soon became apparent that the new songs that they created were of a superior standard. The band has a full album of material scheduled for recording during the spring of 2017, titled ‘For The Fallen’.

MEMORIAM are:
Karl Willetts – ex Bolt Thrower | Vocals
Frank Healy - Benediction, Sacrilege | Bass
Andy Whale - ex Bolt Thrower | Drums
Scott Fairfax – ex Life Denied, Benediction (live) | Guitars

Pre-order the upcoming EP ‘The Hellfire Demos II’ digitally here:
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/the-hellfire-demos-ii-single/id1171381836

Tracklisting for ‘The Hellfire Demos II’
Side A
01. Dronestrik
Side B
02. Surrounded (By Death)


ALBUM REVIEW: Flame burns bright for Fireland on third release

GIVEN that six years have passed since Fireland last released any recorded material, and guitarist and founder Steve Moore has been on Stormzone duties, you could be forgiven for thinking the fire had burned out into fading embers.

But, when earlier this year the first two albums were re-released there were smoke signals that more was to come, once more the flame was ignited and this month it is burning bright with 'Fireland III - Believe Or Die' out for metalheads delectation.

Ten tracks of classic metal are there for all to behold, but with a slight tweak to the Fireland sound, a more powerful overall vibe and more than a nod to developments across the UK and Europe, without losing the essence of Fireland.

Melodious guitar lines, riffs, choruses to delight and Moore wrangling his six-string into submission to wrench every last possible tone, this is nothing more than pure metal distilled down to its core.

True, there is nothing really ground-breaking, but that's not the point. This is what fans of classic metal want, no fuss, just great songs played well.

Drafting in David Brown of Chaos Frame, all the way from Delaware gives it an extra dimension to the sound and allows more room for Moore and drummer Chris Mawhinney to explore the dynamics.

Opening with a nod to 'Tallica on 'John Rock' the sense throughout the rest is a romp that will have everyone who cherishes metal of the early 80s beaming from ear-to-ear.

It is also refreshing to note that there are no abbreviated songs here., all well over four minutes in duration. However, it is on Fallen II - the sequel to the track from their 2008 release - that the band stretches its legs. Nine minutes plus of epic song writing and playing.

That said it is probably not the strongest lyrically, slipping into cliché at times, compared to the deeper and more exploratory words throughout the rest of the album, but that doesn't mean it isn't enjoyable.

Overall most tracks are strong - the only one that doesn't hit the highs of the rest of the album is perhaps 'Burning Scarecrow'. Having said that many a band would be happy to have that on their output and is only noticeable because of the strength of the rest of the tracks.

Songs like 'Hate Lives On' and 'Ironclad' make this a metal album that on first listen you let wash over you...on second listen you are sitting up and paying attention...on third listen your mouth will be aching as you smile and smile again.

Engineered , mixed and mastered by Moore at FireMachine Studio the sound has clear separation and a resonance that is needed for this type of record.

What is pleasing about this album is that Fireland show that there is much more to be explored in this variety of metal' - it's not about repeating the past, it's about bringing it back to life and showcasing it for 2016 and hopefully beyond.

This is an album deserving of gaining a wide listenership, and when they hear it heads will be a-nodding.

Review by Jonathan Traynor

More information and lyric videos are available on www.fireland.tv  



Tuesday, November 22, 2016

NEWS: First bands announced for HRH Doom Vs Stoner: Chapter II

Rock n Metal Overlords, HRH are proud to announce the first wave of acts which will perform at HRH Doom Vs HRH Stoner Chapter II (at the O2 Academy Sheffield, between Saturday 30th September and Sunday 1st October 2017).

Bands confirmed include pioneering English doom metal band My Dying Bride; heavy metal heroes and HRH favourites Orange Goblin; German psychedelic, stoner infused Rock Trio Kadavar; Slabdragger, whose monstrously huge sound is legend, and heavy blues band Ten Foot Wizard.

Other class acts include: Black Moth, Boss Keloid, Regulus, Serpent Venom, Blind Haze, Bast,
Kurokuma, Hogslayer, Pist, Barbarian Hermit, Gurt, King Goat, and Witch Tripper.

HRH Doom Vs HRH Stoner extends the model of indoor, weatherproof, residential festivals pioneered by Hard Rock Hell in North Wales to the Steel City itself.

Following HRH Doom Vs HRH Stoner’s thunderous debut in October 2016, HRH DVS 2 ( as
knighted by the fans) will build on its success, presenting heavy, heavy bands which champion and bestride the Doom and Stoner genres like colossuses of metal and rock.

Read our review of Day One 2016 here, and Day Two here and you'll see we - along with everyone else there had a helluva great time and can't wait for 2017!

Until that day, when the rest have played catch-up, accept no substitutes: go for the original and best: HRH Doom Vs HRH Stoner Chapter II.

Tickets can be booked online @ www.hrhdoom.com or ring Rebecca on 0207 193 9564

LIVE REVIEW: Avatar...Marmite? Well loved in Belfast

When a band like Avatar comes along they immediately have a polarising effect on the metal world, with approximately half thinking “WTF is this?!” and the other half going “wow, these guys are interesting.

A room full of the latter half gathered in Belfast's Oh Yeah Centre on a chilly Monday night to witness the return of Avatar to Northern Irish shores.

Up first (and running a 'standard rock star' half hour late) fellow Swedes The Last Band were tasked with warming the crowd up, which they did in spades.

With a startlingly sudden crash of the snare drum they begin, all flailing hair and leather; both a visual and audible cross between Velvet Revolver and The 69 Eyes, if you will.

Their frontman, the hilariously named Coffe Blood, is both witty and fierce, keeping the crowd entertained with a steady stream of silly banter and belting out tracks in his raspy snarl of a voice. “It's so nice to see so many awesome people here on a Monday!” he beams approvingly, before telling said awesome people that tonight's gig, being the first on the tour, will be extra special as “we'll be drunk as fuck after this so it'll be the only show we remember!” - very rock and roll

Their snappy set of dirty, sleazy, punk-tinged rock is slightly shambolic but highly entertaining nonetheless.

The fact that Avatar describe themselves as simply 'metal' does a serious disservice to their gloriously over the top and avant garde sound: an Avatar show is a spectacle, a big top performance, with frontman Johannes Eckerström as their grinning, gurning ringmaster.

Making their flamboyant entrance onto the stage (following half an hour of, er, Swedish folk music) they immediately dazzle the eager crowd with their theatricality and 'blow to the head' heavy songs.

Playing their most well known hit, the whirling 'Hail the Apocalypse' almost right off the bat is a bold move but they manage it with aplomb, filling the rest of their ninety minute set with their instantly recognisable songs such as 'Murderer' and a stomping 'Bloody Angel'.

Their gaudy uniforms -  Eckerström's in particular – combined with their flashing backdrop create a visually striking show that is simply mesmerising; you cannot take your eyes off them.

He truly is the master of ceremonies: a man who constantly beams so broadly that he almost doesn't need the Joker-style black smile painted onto his face and who talks with a baroque campness that's as delightful as it is silly; he really is the hammiest frontman since PT Barnum.

He prowls every inch of the stage, leaning into the crowd and talking often to them about belonging together as outsiders and how much he loves Belfast (which he of course renames 'Avatar country' for the evening).

The music itself is impressively heavy and impeccably performed tonight, but it's also rather whimsical and gleeful – rather like Eckerström's onstage persona, in fact.

Every song has that gyrating, breathless guitar style and circus feel that mark it instantly as Avatar; there are also twin guitar sections, huge singalongs, and solos aplenty – there's even some proper old school glam rock harmonies on the likes of 'House of Eternal Hunt', not to mention a “world premiere”, as Eckerström explains, as they play 'Black Waters' live for the first time.

The crowd, for their part, lap it up ecstatically. Although small in number – there must be only about one hundred or so black clad bodies here tonight; it is, after all, a school night for many of them – are explosively vocal and hugely enthusiastic.

This reaches its zenith when Eckerström begins his spiel about freaks prior to 'Smells Like a Freakshow', the theme tune for tonight if ever there was one, with a gloriously OTT “woah-oh” ending that even the sound desk dude joins in on.

They file offstage then quickly return, playing a single track encore in the form of 'Sky Burial', a rather solemn song that sees the frontman in a rare moment of stillness.
Then it's time for individual and groups bows, before they finally depart, leaving behind a crowd that's breathless in its happiness and sweatily satisfied that they got to witness such a brilliant gig.

It's true, Avatar are one of those so-called 'Marmite bands' that tend to divide heavy music fans. But shows like tonight prove that they simply don't care: there are enough like-minded fans out there for them to begin taking over the world, one freak at a time.

Review by Melanie Brehaut
Photos by Liam Kielt Photography












PHOTO GALLERY 3: Hard Rock Hell photos from Arena Two: The Boardwallk

CONCLUDING our photo galleries from Hard Rock Hell X in North Wales...Lizzie Torbitt captures some of the action from Arena Two: The Boardwalk.