Pick Your Rock and Metal

Friday, November 17, 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Re-kindling the past - Ram transport us on Rod

FOR a band called RAM releasing an album called 'Rod' is surely a recipe for disaster...and no we won't call you Shirley again...

That rather obscure reference to Airplane for the uninitiated touches upon why RAM touched something in our collective consciousness here at Metal Mansions. We can glory, or not, in the past - it's all history.

To revisit it is a dangerous path. You can be the sort of person who can revel in nostalgia, or you can be a historical re-enactment sort of person who dons Civil War or Viking clothes and looks a little bit 'odd' to the outside world.

But this is metal. We revel in our roots. We don't just look back fondly at the part. We seize the roots and influences with mailed fists, and yell thanks to Odin and all his offspring.

At first when we played Rod, we feared that this was a bit too far on the re-enactment spectrum, but after a couple of spins, a few quaffs of mead and a visit from Huginn and Muninn we 'got it'.

What RAM have done is produce an album that deserves acclaim. It recalls the moment we first put 2112 on the turntable, listened the concept side and then flipped over to the 'song' side.

Don't fret metal people - RAM haven't suddenly turned into a prog rock parody. They have stayed true to their belief in 'true metal' and keep to the vision they have had since Harry Granroth picked up his axe in 1999.

This is an album, literally of two halves. Four traditional RAM tracks and six parts telling the tale of 'Ramrod - The Destroyer'.

Of the first four songs they have a familiar sound and resonance from past RAM tracks, but this time given a little more time to musically explore - the seven-minute plus 'Gulag' in particulars stands out, with some neat arrangements and well executed pieces of work.

Then 'flip' it over to the six-piece story of Ramrod. Stop sniggering...it's not as if some of the metal in the 80s could ever be accused of being serious literary works. The story is ridiculous, but as we should have learned at school the suspension of disbelief is key to the enjoyment of any art.

It is a section that should be taken with large pinches of salt by the more furrowed brow critics, but for the rest of us it is glorious. Gloriously daft, but still glorious. Hell, 'Ignitor' is simply a great song.

Remember, rock 'n' roll doesn't have to be po-faced. It is a narrative that just works, whether it is a post-modern construct or just something to enjoy. And, we enjoyed RAM's latest release.

Right we're off to dig out 2112...

Review by Jonathan Traynor

Rod by RAM is out now on Metal Blade 

EP REVIEW: Goya exercise their musical chops on début instrumental EP

GOYA, a rock band from Stoke on Trent, England, have just produced their debut 4 track EP ‘Kathmandu’ and it’s a little different. For one it’s purely instrumental.

As Vim Fuego once lambasted ‘I let my guitar speak for me’. And in this case, Goya let the guitar, bass and drums do all the talking.

This is no pretentious conceptual musical creation. As the band describe it themselves, it is Absolute Music. Music created to just be, rather than intrinsically represent something. So, really, this is an album taking its hat-tip to Goethe, Herder and Richter who believed music could be more emotionally powerful without words.

The first track ‘Collider’ has a real Rush feel about it in places as it just chugs along before sideswiping you with that off beat riffs so beloved of Rush. The track blends this all well and it feels natural rather than trying to be clever and shoehorned in just for the sake of it.

Next ‘Venenatus’ a behemoth of a track sitting at around 13 minutes (unlucky for some, but not you) takes you on an odyssey starting with a chillfest before it smacks you in the face with a real Black Sabbath like stoner voyage. Heavy, broody, and dark, this gives you full thick bass, thumping drum beats and chunky guitar licks. Backwards and forwards this seesaw swings between dreamy slow resting interludes and hefty heavy doom laden riffage.  It really is a masterful movement of musicianship of prog-rock epic proportions. Its outro feels like a homage to the original Diablo game, and you will just imagine yourself entering next level of that dungeon ready to take on whatever lies round the next corner.

Then you get to ‘Ashoka’ that swings between tempos with a mish-mash of feedback noise throughout. Again the style is very melodic prog-rock but delivered with a contemporary veneer. You can feel the roots this particular organic piece comes from but it has blossomed into a brand new fauna genus. Very enjoyable.

The title piece finishes of the little journey into the realm of instrumentalism. ‘Kathmandu’ starts off as a dreamy oriental piece before slapping you with a Pink Floyd like slow dance of well-crafted trippy psychedelic funk.

Ok, this is not everyone’s cup of tea (or Jack Daniels) but it really is a superb little EP that pulls you along. It’s no disservice to call it excellent background music. There are no muffled lyrics that will subconsciously pull you back from a metal daydream as your brain desperately tries to make sense of what was just sung. This is just music for music’s sake. A rhapsody in rock, if you will. And a bit of a reminder of how great this sort of rock can be.

Definitely pick this little beauty up and you will find it perfect for driving, exercising or even just drinking. (Or while you are googling Goethe, Herder and Richter)

Review by Ivor Whitten

‘Kathmandu’ is out on 8th December.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Hardcore goes Toe to Toe with Rise Up

Toe to Toe are an Australian hardcore Punk rock band. Which basically means lots of banging noise and screaming. Right?


Even if you are not a fan of hardcore rock or punk rock Toe to Toe seem to have an uncanny knack to sound great, make you feel great and want to punch the hell out of the closest wall. All at the same time.

And even though they are Australian, they really don’t sound like AC/DC at all...

Their Album, ‘Rise Up’, kicks you off your couch with a size 10 steel capped boot with the first track
“My War, My Way” with a ferocity that sets the tone for the rest of the album. It’s as if they can just conjure up a mosh pit at will

“First Sin” continues the auditory onslaught with a heavy rumbling rhythmic undertone that almost physically pushes and pulls you through the whole song.

Next up is “Take Down” and it vaguely feels like they have resurrected Lemmy just to play on the track. It really has a wonderfully angry Motorhead feel about it.

A heavy laced guitar intro takes you into “D.T.O.M.”  Scott Mac’s harsh growling vocals just spit out venom as the band chugs its way through the gloriously raging song.

The title track “Rise Up” will definitely make you want to run out of your house, grab a flaming brand and burn some shit down.

A slow intro to “Blacklisted” is just the band trolling you as it suddenly blasts into a speed thrill of a tight track that just sounds superbly filled full of rage and injustice. It really is a punked up version of hard and heavy rock.

Smashing the metal out of the park comes “Turn Your Head Around” with another track reminiscent of Motorhead. Its wonderfully anarchic and filled with so much energy that your head will start shaking about of its own volition. Its almost like it’s a subliminal message for your cranium to go apeshit.

Then you get the “Rub of the Green” where you almost think ‘Are they going to do a Primal Scream cover?’. Er, Nope. This is another fantastic assault on the auditory senses. Again infused with an infectious melody just like all the previous tracks.

Then an ode to “Sydney” in the only way Toe to Toe can. An anthemic raucous song that would be perfect for the footie stands. It is replete with so many lyrical lines that make you want to sing along in a gang and every so often shout out that the ref is a wanker.

Back to the grind with ‘Monolith’ with a Slayeresque ferocity that will put you in mind of ‘Repentless’. Definitely one you can keep listening to.

Then you get to ‘Bastard’s Luck’ another wrath filled emotional journey into a pure ragefest. Hard. Heavy. Fast. Growling. A track full of boundless energy.

The final track is ‘Endurance’, which describes exactly how you probably feel right now having endured an amazing tour-de-force. Its like a salute to you that you can now join the ranks of those who have survived the epic audio assault and your heart hasn’t given out.

The whole album is just suffused with an incredible raw energy that will punch and kick away any inkling of apathy you may have had just before it all started. It’s an album that really unapologetically grabs you by your throat and balls and hurtles you through a smashing of your earlobes at an incredible rate.

This is punk/hardcore that will satisfy any metal head or rocker.  It will rise you up and you will be absolutely thankful for it.

Definitely worth adding to your collection

Review by Ivor Whitten

LIVE REVIEW: Honouring a legend - Vivian Campell picks up Oh Yeah Award

LAST Saturday night saw the annual Oh Yeah Music Centre awards for album of the year held in the Mandela Hall Belfast, but there was a difference this year as they were handing out their Legends award to our very own Vivian Campbell.

The award was handed to Viv by Mike Edgar from the BBC and Oh Yeah Centre who gave a very nice and personal introduction to the man himself. With Stuart Fleming of PRS doing to the honours

Viv strode on to stage to the backdrop of an ear shattering and emotional Belfast’s crowds adulation.

During a humble and sometimes humorous acceptance speech more befitting the man's upbringing than his superstar status with Def Leppard Viv managed to tick all the boxes in his thank you’s, covering friends, family, especially his Father to former band mates with Ray Haller, Trevor Fleming and Davy Bates getting special mentions for their band Sweet Savage setting out to conquer the world and getting as far as Kilkenny!

He also managed to poke a bit of fun at Metallica for listening to them as it had worked out rather well for them. The late Jimmy Bain was next with a late night drunken phone call to his father getting him an audition for Ronnie James Dio’s new band, the rest of course is history.

To conclude his speech Viv mentioned some of his heroes and influences as a young 15 year old which included Marc Bolan, Rory Gallagher, Phil Lynott and to use Viv's words…Gary fuckin' Moore!

But Viv wasn’t just here to give a speech, his band Last In line came with him half way across the world on the promise of a curry and a Jamieson!

From the opening riff of ‘Stand up and Shout’ it was clear they meant business with Andrew Freeman proving to be a more than capable frontman getting the now packed hall involved at the right times by singing the opening verses to ‘Don’t Talk to Strangers’ and ‘Holy Diver’.

Vinny Appice was his usual animal on the drums with Phil Soussan stepping into Jimmy Bains’ shoes admirably.

The set was a nice mixture of Dio classics from the first two albums as well as  songs such as ‘Devil in Me’ and ‘Martyr’ from the bands “Heavy Crown” album. But it was Viv who stole the show.

Clearly enjoying himself he wrung the neck off his Les Paul with more than a hint of Gary Moore’s influence evident especially in some of his soloing.

The set was delivered with such dynamism that it was hard to believe we had nearly lost this fit and healthy looking Vivian only a few short years ago.

Legend is a difficult label to attach to anyone and there will always be detractors but for a man who has spent over 35 years providing us with some music that will stick with us forever and never forgotten where he comes from he’s one that deserves the tag.

Review by Andy Gillen
Pictures by Liam Kielt


NEWS: HRH XII announce Saxon, Dead Daisies and more

HARD Rock Hell has just closed its 'Eleventh Coming', but Jonni Davis and his team are already putting together their Glorious Twelfth for 2018.

HRH are thus proud to announce a first salvo of storming acts, chosen by the fans, who’ll be performing amidst the beautiful backdrop of North Wales, at Camp HRH in Pwllheli from 8th -11th November 2018.

The ever-mighty Saxon will be headlining HRH XII. Saxon need no introduction to fans of the genre, who’ll see their iconic logo in their mind’s eye the moment the band gets mentioned. Formed back in ’77, Saxon were at the forefront of the scene, much beloved by fans of Hard Rock Hell. What’s more,

Saxon played the very first Hard Rock Hell (the Winter Ball, back in 2007). Having sold more than 15 million albums worldwide, the band also continues to influence later giants of the genre, like Metallica, Metallica, Mötley Crüe, and Pantera, and will be raising the rafters at HRH XII.

Co-headliners  The Dead Daisies are a formidable Australian-American outfit that brings together amazing talent for this collective project. The band has toured worldwide and was the first the first Western rock band to play Cuba after President Obama reopened trade ties with the country. An amazing achievement. Have a cigar, as the saying goes! The Dead Daisies will be bringing their world-famous Live and Loud sound to Hard Rock Hell next year.

Like Saxon, Girlschool played the very first Hard Rock Hell, way back when the world was young. Firm favourites of the HRH crowd, Girlschool have just won the HRH “Angels of Rock” award at the brand-new HRH AWARDS. They’re the longest running all-female rock band IN THE WORLD, and still strong and active after more than 35 years in the business.

Femme Fatale were due to play HRH XI, but weren’t able to do so because some of their guitarists were playing on another project. HRH are delighted to welcome the band to HRH XII. Listing “Loud Guitars, Vodka, Black Boots, Black Eyeliner, & Beer!” as the band’s interests, Femme Fatale will bring all this and more to Camp HRH next year!

Also announced in the very tasty first wave of bands playing the festival are Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons, Tygers of Pantang, Thunderstick, Ryders Creed, The Rising Souls, The Dukes of Bordello, and (appropriately for HRH XII) Renegade Twelve.

N.B. HRH has been busier and more popular than ever, particularly after the triumphant Eleventh Coming (which sold out LAST November). Tickets for HRX XII will sell out FAST, so book early! Ring Fleur on 0203 287 6684

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

NEWS: Blind Guardian release their entire back catalogue

THE seminal progressive power metal pioneers from Krefeld Germany, Blind Guardian, have announced that their entire back catalogue from 1988 to 2003 will be re-released via Nuclear Blast.

Records ‘Battalions Of Fear’, ‘Follow The Blind’ and ‘A Night At The Opera’ are all 2017 remasters, whilst the remaining albums are 2007 remasters – except ‘Live’ which is being released as the original master.

The records will all be available via CD and digitally, which can be pre-order here:
CD albums from Amazon.co.uk: http://bit.ly/BlindGuardianReissues
Digital albums on iTunes: http://bit.ly/BGReissuesiTunes

The records being re-released are:
‘Battalions Of Fear - Remastered’
‘Follow The Blind - Remastered’
‘Tales From The Twilight World - Remastered’
‘Somewhere Far Beyond - Remastered’
‘Imaginations From The Other Side - Remastered’
‘Nightfall In Middle Earth - Remastered’
‘A Night At The Opera - Remastered’
‘The Forgotten Tales - Remastered’
‘Tokyo Tales - Remastered’

With a steady evolution from their early days as a speed metal band to their current, renowned musical alchemy of glory, drama, and grandiosity, Germany’s Blind Guardian have long since made their mark as the world’s definitive melodic/progressive metal band. For many they need no introduction, as the band possesses a track record and back catalogue of classic staples few can match.

Called everything from heavy metal bards to modern day minstrels, Blind Guardian possess the ability to transport their legions of fans to new landscapes with their majestic song writing, fantastically themed lyrics, and their meticulous, emotion-packed music.

Founded under the name Lucifer’s Heritage in Krefeld, Germany by vocalist and bassist Hansi Kürsch, lead guitarist André Olbrich, rhythm guitarist Marcus Dork, and drummer Thomen Stauch, the band released only two demos – 1985’s ‘Symphonies Of Doom’ and 1986’s ‘Battalions Of Fear’ - before landing their first record deal with Remorse Records.

Inspired by the Fates Warning album, ‘Awaken The Guardian’, band members decided to change their name to Blind Guardian and soon acquired new rhythm guitarist Marcus Siepen. Blind Guardian signed with Nuclear Blast Records in early 2005 alongside welcoming drummer Fredrik Ehmke after possessing the same line up for nearly 20 years.

ALBUM REVIEW: Destruction roll back the years on Thrash Anthems II

LIKE many bands Destruction have looked back at their lengthy history and wondered what to do with an extensive back catalogue. Way back in 2007 they released 'Thrash Anthems' to much acclaim.

Once they were done with their 2016 studio album ' Under Attack' Destruction ensconced themselves in the Swiss Little Creek studio for three months to re-record another set of legendary tracks from their past.

'Thrash Anthem II' was originally released to pledgers it is now out in a slightly re-jigged list via Nuclear Blast and praise Satan it is superb. What it does is not only remind us what great tracks they were in the first place, but it takes them to new levels.

Sure, they are still harsh thrash attacks, but the passage of time and the mentoring by producer V.O. Pulver has supercharged them.

From the moment that 'Confused Mind' rips out of the speakers through to closer 'Satan's Vengeance' leaves you breathless, ears ringing and with a serious case of whiplash.

Schmeir's vocals come across as if he is one seriously pissed off singer with tracks like 'Dissatisfied Existence' erring on the side of terrifying.

Of course Mike and Vaaver are on top of their game but all three seem to have approached this with renewed purpose.

Being largely fans choices one expects the likes of 'The Antichrist' and 'United By Hatred' to appear, but any over-familiarity you may have is thrust aside as you gape in disbelief - they are the 'same' songs but...well let's just say that sound as if they sit comfortably in the 2017 pantheon of Destruction greats.

With Thrash Anthems II bridging releases until they next record a studio album this serves to remind us what a fucking great band they are.

Review by Jonathan Traynor

Thrash Anthems II is out now on Nuclear Blast

INTERVIEW: New York City's Killcode reveal the diverse roots of their sound

WHEN New York City anthemic rockers landed in Wales to play the opening night of HRH XI we just had to find out how they manage to have a southern twinge given where they come from.

But as the band revealed they are a product of a diverse musical city.

And, they did 'abuse' a dragon pedalo....well it seemed the right thing for them  to do at the time...

LIVE REVIEW: Snocence blast all into metal oblivion as they lauch No Gods, No Masters III

ON Saturday, November 11th the Limelight 2 Belfast was blasted into metal oblivion for the EP launch of one of Northern Ireland’s finest veterans, Sinocence.

‘No Gods No Masters’ Vol III has kept the guys from us for long enough as they have been buried neck deep in blood, sweat and tears at Einstein Studios with Frankie McClay cracking a metaphorical whip on their behinds, to produce the finally to what can only be described as the bands long awaited masterpiece.

The support on the night couldn’t have been more fitting as the guys all put on 100% entertaining sets. Support came from ‘Sky Pilot the-band’, ‘Oracle N.I’ and ‘Ketos’ who wasted no time kick starting the night as only ‘Ketos’ can.

Due to unforeseen circumstances we missed an apparently cracking performance, with very charismatic front man Pete Crenshaw warming up the local and loyal supporters. The hard to please tog for the evening, Liam could not have praised this outfit any higher

Pacing the stage like an angry bear and executing Satanic wildcat vocals to send shivers up and down your granny’s spine, Jason Kerr of ‘Oracle’ set about bringing a deathly darkness to the place with a band that dished out a full heavy sounding set, tapered with catchy riffs and extended screams upon a virgin witness to their brand of metal.

‘Burn The Nameless’ and ‘Hollow’ seemed to unearth a few happy head bangers as the limelight 2 started to fill up nicely. ‘Take My Blood’ was a bouncy crowd nodding metal groove with nice time changes encouraging a few more fans to lose their shyness and venture forward.

Taking a few seconds to thank DP and ‘Sinocence’, plug the promise of a new disc early next year and grab a breath or two, they went out on a glorious ‘No God Waits For You’. This is a band worth keeping an eye on; a very strong performance throughout the set made them hard to take your eyes and ears off, even when you might have been dying with thirst and wanted to head to the bar.

By now, the onlookers are well oiled and enthusiasm is building as the penultimate act takes their place. The honestly hypnotic three piece ‘Skypilot’ with astounding harmonised vocals are always a pleasure to go see. The ‘Sabbath’, ‘C.O.C’ grooveinesss is a warm welcome amidst a night of high energy, searing vocals and metal blast beats! They comfortably take the stage like they were born there and deliver a beautifully constructed set consisting of ‘John IV’, ‘SuperDuperNaut’ and ‘Bender’. 

These guys are just one of those bands that fit comfortably into every conceivable scenario. The ease and pace of their delivery is always palatable and reassuring, with familiar riffs but composed in their own unique way. Judging by the reactions from the crowd they were well received and a very well thought of band with a tight set of carefully crafted songs, to set the mood for the kings of this night – ‘Sinocence’.

Four of the nicest guys to play this venue take the stage, feet planted firmly to the floor boards. Testosterone levels are at an all time high, so much so that it has seeped to those in the front row, and excitement, exhilaration, and a feeling of Goddammit lay the goods on us dudes has filled the room.
The intro plays out for ‘Sinocence’ to deliver the much anticipated third part of their ‘No Gods No Master Trilogy’.

And, so it wouldn’t be a Sins gig without ‘Long Way Down’ opening their set as the much loved anthem has the crowd joining in and singing the lyrics right back at them with full ferocity. Volume one and two get a run for their money with firm favourites enabling everyone to get into the swing of things with ‘In Kymatica’ Metalbox’ Perfect Denial’ and ‘Ascension Code’ starting and finishing their set. The hub of their deliverance however was No Gods No Masters Vol III played in full.

Ben beating the hell out of that drum kit at the beginning of ‘Full Spectrum Dominance’ is a scary sight but a truly awesome sound! A battering ram of fast paced bass from drums and guitars topped by angry vocals from Moro grabbed everyone in front of them by the throat. This song is one heavy mofo, and looked exhausting to deliver live.

They follow up with more of the same only bloomin faster, in ‘Bilateral’, and glancing around the room it’s not hard to see the look of pure joy on the faces of the fans.

Sinocence have upped their personal ante all right, this is heavy fucking metal, with enough melodic touches just to keep your head from exploding. Pedal to the metal from all four guys was breathtaking.

‘Drop The Bomb’ was definite proof that Sinocence have kept to their formula and distinct sound accept that, and no=one knows how it was possible, they weighted this beauty down with even more catchy riffage and it is a mystery how the hell Moro’s throat wasn’t ripped out by now. Anto spills out spectacular solos almost as if he’s just sipping a beer - awesome. Hard not to love the chugging too; great song and crowd pleaser.

The shouty, violent ‘Mind Over Murder’ sees Ben like a madman on speed once again behind that drum kit, guitars and bass are taking one hell of a thumping too and sweat is flying off all four guys as well as the hair flailing fans -  hanging onto the stage for grim death to stay upright, yes, its that fast!

The closing song from the new EP, and a favourite amongst many a reviewer is ‘No Gods No Masters’, this went down in a storm of excited head banging, dancing and jumping from all of the front row, including yours truly! Wow what a way to finish the EP, this could easily be a rock radio hit - a metal radio hit.

However, the sound is more accessible to those who aren’t as deathly heavy as a few of us.

Wow what a night. Excellent job all round Sinocence! Loved the songs, loved the set, loved the atmosphere and we can’t wait to catch them live again soon.

Just on a note to finish, and it's just left it this late to mention it but there were a few low the bad parts more than the good parts. The night did have a few gremlins at large, and equipment wasn’t at its full 100% power, an amp decided to play up a little, but did it spoil anyone’s night? Did it hell!

The professionalism of all the bands that the technical hitches fell prey of, need commended as they just got on with the job of delivering a gig of jaw dropping proportions. Kudos to all!

Review By Brenda McTaggart
Pictures by Liam Kielt

LIVE REVIEW: HRH XI kicks off with a roar

LESS than 24 hours after Hard Rock Hell held its first ever Awards show, bleary heads were thrust aside as a core following also arrived determined to keep the party atmosphere going - and one man made sure that despite a family illness he was going to rock.

Dee Snider is a real trouper in every sense of the word - few can match his performance. However before he mounted the stage at HRH XI the other Thursday night acts had everyone revved up.

Ryders Creed, Idlewar, Killcode, Black Aces, and Wayward Sons delivered action packed sets - and that's no lazy cliché as each proved that they were determined to pack as much energy into every minute.

After last year's positive reception to the opening ceremony fire dancers took to the stage to bring the curtain up on proceedings. But the real bombast followed as Ryders Creed brought heavy blues in a tight and well-balanced 45 breathless minutes that left many gasping for more.

All the way from Southern California Idlewar are riding high with the release of their album 'Rite' out a matter of weeks before HRH on Off Yer Rocka. The trio were obviously out to prove a point with James booming out every line as determinedly as he hit his bass and Rick laid down licks aplenty.

New York City blues and metal rockers Killcode brought an anthemic rock and roll attitude, striding across the stage as if playing as Madison Square Gardens headliners, smiles and snarls in equal measure. On this display their next album - to be produced again by none other than Joey Z - is eagerly awaited by all at HRH.

Blues rockers Black Aces have choruses guaranteed to get those horns raised and the Knights of the Dark Order held them high for each song, pints aloft. With the crowd pleasing over of 'Rock 'n Roll Damnation' mid-set Black Aces once again prove their path is upwards.

It might have seemed on the surface that when Wayward Sons was announced the tag of 'supergroup' would be glibly given to them. But as soon as the album 'Ghost of Yet To Come' hit the shelves it was clear this was a distinct project. And, the confidence Toby Jepson has in the songs was clear in a set that only played one Little Angels track - 'Young Gods'.

Sam Wood is the perfect foil for Jepson's writing in his interpretation, as are the textures of long-time collaborator of Jepson's Dave Kemp. 'Small Talk', 'Ghost' and 'Backslide' were among many of the highlights.

With the atmosphere almost febrile in anticipation of the Dee Snider's set the packed main stage area was primed, ready and eager. Now that Twisted Sister have been laid to rest, many looked back at his 2016 Bloodstock show to see how the flamboyant front man could top that.

He did and more.

Drawing from TS songs and his release 'We Are The Ones' this was as good a set as anyone could have wished for. Strident, cajoling every audience member along, he may be going through a personally difficult time, but that didn't take one ounce of energy away from his performance.

Sure, 'The Kids Are Back', 'We're Not Going To Take It' and 'I Wanna Rock' had every voice raised, but the cover of Soundgarden's 'Outshined' brought a little poignancy, while Nine Inch Nails' 'Head Like A Hole' was a masterstroke.

The familiarity of his solo album amongst the crowd members was clear from the opener title track from 'We Are The Ones' and the awesome 'Crazy For Nothing'. And, yes every middle finger was raised in the air for 'So What'.

As the strains of 'Highway To Hell' faded away in ringing ears Mr Snider and his band left the audience members, happy, with ragged voices and beaming faces.

Review by Jonathan Traynor
Pictures by Darren McVeigh

Monday, November 13, 2017

NEWS: Maiden to bring Legacy of the Beast to Belfast

AT one pm today Iron Maiden announced their 2018 tour, including a date in Belfast on August 2nd.

Following the massively successful global tour of 2016-17 in support of their 16th studio album The Book Of Souls IRON MAIDEN will take to the road again in 2018 with a series of arena and festival shows in Europe on the Legacy Of The Beast World Tour opening in Tallinn, Estonia on May 26 and finishing at the o2 Arena, London on August 10.

The tour includes the date at The SSE Arena, Belfast on Thursday August 2nd.

The concept for the Legacy Of The Beast World Tour was inspired by Maiden’s mobile game and comic book of the same name and the stage set design will feature a number of different but interlocking “worlds” with a set list covering a large selection of Eighties material with a handful of surprises from later albums to add diversity.

Maiden manager Rod Smallwood explained: "As our fans know, we’ve been following a particular touring cycle ever since Bruce and Adrian re-joined Maiden at the start of the millennium, alternating new album tours with “History/Hits” tours.

"We enjoy working this way for many reasons, not least because it gives the band a chance to play both new material and the older favourites which we know fans like to hear. It keeps things fresh, not just for the fans but for the band too.

“For this History/Hits tour we decided to base the theme around the Legacy Of The Beast name, which suits our purposes perfectly by giving us scope to get creative and have some fun, especially with Eddie! I don’t want to give too much away at the moment but we’re working on a number of different stage sets, all in keeping with the Maiden tradition and we hope to give our fans a fantastic experience when they come to see this very special show.”

Killswitch Engage will be Maiden’s Special Guest on headline European shows from May 26 to July 1 inclusive, and in the UK from July 31 to Aug 10 inclusive. Guests on other shows are currently being finalized and will be announced soon.

The Belfast show goes on sale Friday 24th November, see below for details. As always, there will be an exclusive presale for Fan Club members, starting Monday 20th.

Tickets on-sale Friday 24th November at 9am
The SSE Arena, Belfast Box Office: Tel. 02890 739074
Book On Line: www.ssearenabelfast.com
Ticketmaster: In person: From 100 Ticketmaster Outlets Nationwide
By Telephone (24 Hour):   0844 277 44 55 (ROL: 0818 719300)
Book On Line: www.ticketmaster.ie