Pick Your Rock and Metal

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

INTERVIEW: Obzidian at Hammerfest X

We had a good natter with Obzidian at Hammerfest X...as they say 'good craic'. Listen below:

INTERVIEW: Critical Solution at Hammerfest

ALL the way from Helleland Critical Solution arrived at Hammerfest X, but before anything else we caught a few words with the horror thrashers.

Listen below:

INTERVIEW: Morti Viventi at Hammerfest X

AMONGST the wonderful bands we caught up with at Hammerfest X were the tremendous Morti Viventi.

Here's the chat in all its audio glory:

INTERVIEW: Fit For An Autopsy reflect on the world in 2018

WHEN they played at Hammerfest New Jersey death metal band extraordinaire took time to chat with Phil about their music and the need for compassion in these increasingly uncertain times.

Listen below:

INTERVIEW: Callus discuss sacrificing baby chickens and eatin' vegans

SOMETIMES it is right and proper to do a straightforward interview. Then you sit down with Callus...

In the scale of rock'n'roll sacrifices, they're taking baby steps with baby chickens. That and eatin' vegans are contained in the interview below.

INTERVIEW: Ballsdeep tell us that the band name is not what you think it might mean

WHEN you're scheduled to interview a band with the name Ballsdeep the schoolboy mind kicks in, giggling and demanding how they decided on that name.

Listen below for the explanation:

INTERVIEW: Forged in Black...and sheep

FORGED in Black were set to play an impressive set at Hammerfest X. Beforehand we had an increasingly silly interview.

Listen below:

INTERVIEW: Sumo Cyco's Skye on her outlook and how metal fans are the best

PRIOR to Sumo Cyco's outstanding set at Hammerfest X we caught up with Skye in a wide ranging interview.

She spoke about the transition from pop star to rock star, why metal fans are the best, and how she wants all her gigs to be safe spaces.

Listen below:

NEWS: The Skids and Big Country set for Belfast date in November

The Skids and Big Country announce a co-headline show at The Limelight 1 on Friday 30th November 2018.

Scotland has given the world many iconic bands – among them and currently riding high on renewed fervour for their music are Dunfermline’s multi-million selling BIG COUNTRY and U2/Green Day -  ‘endorsed’ SKIDS.

Both bands are passionate performers of spirited music, woven through with words that matter. Yet, Big Country and Skids have never performed together on the same bill in Belfast. That day has now, unbelievably, arrived!

Tickets, priced at £26+ booking fee, on sale Friday March 23rd at 10am from www.limlightbelfast.com,  www. ticketmaster.ie Katy’s Bar & Ticketmaster outlets nationwide. Northern Ireland customers 0844 277 44 55 & Republic of Ireland customers 0818 719 300.

Four decades after they formed – in the white-hot summer of 1977 – The Skids are back. The post-punk pioneers, released their fifth album ‘Burning Cities’ on the 12th of January 2018.

‘Burning Cities’, produced by Verve & Primal Scream studio legend Youth, re-unites founder members Richard Jobs on (vocals) and Bill Simpson (bass) with Mike Baillie (drums). Stepping in for the late Stuart Adamson is his long-time Big Country band mate Bruce Watson. Additional guitar duties are provided by Jamie Watson.

“I’m incredibly excited about this album. This music is at the heart of everything our band is about: truth, revolution, loud guitars and a refusal to keep quiet as the establishment tries to smother chances for anyone other than its own.” – Richard Jobson

The new album release coincides with the fortieth anniversary of the first-ever Skids record, the ‘No Bad’ EP, which introduced the Scottish post-punk pioneers to a whole new audience courtesy of one of their biggest fans, Radio 1’s legendary new music champion John Peel.

Big Country was originally formed in 1981 by guitar playing founder members Stuart Adamson and Bruce Watson both native of the band's hometown Dunfermline in Scotland.

Initially driven by a shared vision of widescreen guitar melody, harmony and lyric, the classic Big Country sound was further enhanced later that summer by the arrival of  drummer Mark Brzezicki and bass player Tony Butler. This is the Big Country that (with producer Steve Lillywhite), recorded the classic debut album 'The Crossing' in 1983.  The band broke massively worldwide with the release of the album's classic singles 'Fields Of Fire', 'Chance' and signature song 'In A Big Country', which went on to become massive worldwide hits, selling over 2 million copies and driving 'The Crossing' to 3 prestigious Grammy nominations in the USA.

The run of success continued throughout the 1980's with the release of the anthemic single 'Wonderland' and the second album 'Steeltown' (1984), which debuted at Number  1 in the UK and contained the hit singles 'East Of Eden', Just a Shadow' and 'Where  The Rose Is Sown'.  In 1985, Big Country appeared for the finale at Live Aid in London followed  by further successful album releases 'The Seer' (1986) - including the bands  biggest UK hit 'Look Away'  which reached Number 1 in the Irish Singles chart –, supporting David Bowie on his Glass Spider tour in 1987, and then the 'Peace In Our Time' album (1988), which saw the band playing the first ever privately promoted gig in Russia at the Moscow Sports Stadium.

Tony Butler, Mark Brzezicki and Bruce Watson re-united in 2007 to celebrate the band's Twenty-fifth anniversary then in the summer of 2010, Bruce Watson picked up the phone and asked Mike Peters to sing with Big Country.  Joined by Bruce’s son Jamie on guitar, the first gig was in Glasgow on New Years Eve 2010 and the  band went on to perform at many of the UK and Europe's most famous festivals, including Isle Of Wight (Twice), V Festival, T In The Park and Oxegen, creating a new generation of fans and renewing the passion for diehards. 2012 brought the 30th Anniversary of the their first album, “The Crossing”  and a tour where the album was played in it’s entirety followed before bassist Tony Butler decided to retire.  Bass duties then fell to Derek Forbes (Simple Minds) for 3 years during which time the ninth studio album ‘The Journey’ was released and extensively toured in the UK as well as across Europe and North America.

In 2014 Mike Peters left to dedicate his time towards The Alarm and Simon Hough was brought in as vocalist and a tour of the UK to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of  “Steeltown”  was followed by a Greatest Hits tour in 2015 before Derek Forbes left the band. 

2016 brought a new bass player, Scott Whitley, and a 3-week “80’s Invasion” tour with Midge Ure and Nick Heyward before the 30th Anniversary of ‘The Seer’ album which was performed in its’ entirety on tour throughout the UK in the second half of the year and into early 2017.

The second half of 2017 brought a mixture of shows from Big Country who as well as doing full electric shows with the best tracks from their first three albums plus the hits, they did a number of select Acoustic shows which promise to be something special. 2018 sees the 35th anniversary of “The Crossing” combined with the 30th anniversary of “Peace In Our Time”

LIVE REVIEW: HRH AOR Days one and two

Welcome to north Wales and the sixth outing of HRH AOR: a mix of rock, sleaze, glam and even a bit of blues...

Thursday DAY ONE: all acts to be on the main stage.

It kicks off with Dante Fox formed in 1989 by female lead vocalist Sue Willets. They are a melodic rock band and I always say that there must be a few nerves on stage when you’re the first band of a three day festival, and I’m afraid it showed tonight; not helping them by having numerous sound problems she looked very nervous on stage and her voice at times was very pitchy.

I read that Sue was once voted by Classic Rock magazine  no 19 out of the top fifty female vocalists alongside Cher, Annie Wilson and Stevie Nicks. Well tonight was a bad day at the office as she showed very little emotion or crowd interaction, the band themselves were tight enough but for someone with such an accolade I was disappointed.

Band no 2 London five piece Newman celebrating twenty years together this year they have produced up to now eleven studio albums and their very first self titled album became so rare to get hold of that in 2014 they re-recorded it as a limited edition and this followed on from a succesful UK tour with Vega and many European venues.

Fronted by powerful vocalist Steve Newman, they play aor melodic  rock with strong chorus’s and great guitar work. Showcasing many  songs off their recently released  Ariel album, they entertained the medium sized crowd and you could see the band enjoyed the reaction.
Band no 3  Eclipse a four piece glam/hard rock band from Stockholm Sweden consisting of charismatic lead vocalist guitar, bass, Eric Mårtensson, Magnus Henrikson guitar, Magnus Ulfstedt bass, and drummer Philip Crusner. The moment they ran on stage, they oozed personality, full of excitement and hard and heavy playing  and with Mårtensson bouncing and jumping and never letting up, he was like a rock n roll jedi thrusting and waving his bright red mike stand  around the huge crowd like a light sabre.

I loved their energy and  their emotion and I look forward to seeing them again .

Final act of the night, Joe Lynn Turner, the legend known for his work with Rainbow and later Deep Purple. After his first band Fandango, he joined Rainbow to replace Graham Bonnet’s short stay with them, where Bonnet’s voice was powerful and always remembered for their hits All Night Long and Since You Been Gone,  Ritchie Blackmore noticed they were sounding more commercial and pop-oriented so needed someone with more of a rock image and feel, Joe ticked all boxes.

He later pursued a solo career and even sang background vocals for Cher, Billy Joel and Michael Bolton and also had a short association with Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force and then Deep Purple. In the early nineties through to 2008 he released nine studio albums and two live, not forgetting his 1985 album Rescue You.

I was quite excited about seeing him as I had witnessed both Dio and Bonnet sing with Rainbow and this was the holy trinity. It was worth waiting to see him: he came out to a rapturous applause and screams and sang his heart out, with songs from his early albums and some Rainbow songs including a great performance of Straight Between the Eyes.The packed crowd sang along to the whole set and he proved that he is still as good now as he was in the early days. Thanks Joe, another one off my bucket list.

Day Two...
Day two was to be split between two stages: Stage 1 the mash up, and Stage 2 the glam/sleaze stage, obviously you don’t get to see every band due to clashes.
Stage one first band The King Lot, a Scottish trio who I describe as melodic with a hard and heavy edge. The three members are Jason Sweeney bass & vocals and drummer & vocals Chris Gillon, last year saw the departure of guitarist Michael Fairbairn so the newly joined young axeman Jay Moir has been enlisted and Jason says he has brought a heavier sound to the band.

I really enjoyed these guys with Jason throughout the set joking with the reasonably sized crowd .They showed no nerves about having to kick off the first big day and on the main stage too.

Staying with main stage for Cruzh, an aor band from Sweden, it’s pronounced Crush not cruze as I thought. With  bassist Dennis wearing a fur wrap around his shoulders and forever raising his hands in the air to the crowd and the lead vocalist Tony Andersson being  the two stand out performers I hung around to see what they would be like.

Andersson has an impressive vocal range and they showcased their self titled recently released album but at times Andersson’s high falsetto was painful and I thought he was trying to communicate with dogs at one time it was so high.

Over to stage 2 for my first band of the day COP.uk or Crimes of Passion. This group from Sheffield were one of the bands of the weekend.

Vocalist Dale Radcliffe commands a stage with his powerful vocals  and stage prescence: a special shout out to Joey Roxx or the bassist in the basque as I like to call her.

She really lived up to her name, but the whole band were incredible: they had the packed crowd headbanging away to hard and heavy rock and is it any wonder this band were asked by Biff from Saxon to tour Europe with them and he makes  a guest spot on their song Blackened Heart, with appearances on stages all over the continent and recognition from Metal Hammer magazine they can only go on to bigger and better things.

I hung around for Iconic Eye, a midlands aor five piece. I had been chatting to the very pretty front lass Janey Gould side stage just before they were going on and she was really excited to be here and perform: I’m sorry Janey but you tried too hard tonight and your vocals at times were very off key.

Returning to main stage to catch some of the Australian Jac Dalton, the first thing I noticed was the so obvious wig he was sporting. FFS man if you’re going to wear one don’t get it from a fancy dress shop.

Wig aside he is a great frontman with good vocals. They play old fashioned 80s rock and at times come across as very cliched, the crowd enjoyed them but when I heard him steal a line from Mad Max 2 and introduce a band member as the Ayotolla of rock n rolla that did it for me and I was outta there.

Back to stage 2 and good friends and locals to me Empyre. These guys from Northamptonshire don’t fall into any genre: they have a unique sound of their own, at times grungy they have a dark and atmospheric sound which has to be seen live, with the mean and moody (love you man) front man Henrik (NOT HENRY) and his amazing vocal range with his haunting guitar breaks, along with Did Cole very talented lead, the wonderful Grant Hockley bass, and Jack Bowles the shy drummer (yes they do exist). I can’t say too much as I will come across as being biased. It wasn’t a huge crowd for them but you all missed something special and anyone who was at the after party and saw their 1 am set will know what I mean. Buy their ep Something Remains, but most of all catch these guys live for a special experience.

Still in stage 2 for next band local Welsh boys Fire Road, as to be expected with a Welsh band the place was rammed. A long friendship with singer Kelly Jones, frontman Richard Jones was part of the band Tragic Love Company which would later become the Stereophonics, but Jones wanted his own band so contacted local musos he knew and Fire Road were born. Not shy on stage, the small part of the set I saw was entertaining and they pleased all the crazy locals.

Main stage to see a bit of Radio Sun, a power/pop rock band from Australia and their third time appearing at HRH. The lead singer seemed to spend a lot of the time talking about  looking after hair ??? thankfully he had a decent voice….The main stage was getting very full now so I decided to stay there for the night.

The reason for the huge crowd was for the next act Aaron Buchanan & The Cult Classics. I had seen them before at HRH 10 on stage 2 and was impressed, but this was the main stage and I was really looking forward to seeing the perfomance.

It was evening now and he was there to make an impression, and he definitely did that…. He has so much energy on stage he wears you out watching him, for the whole hour’s set he never kept still, gyrating and jumping around like a kangaroo on speed. With his sister Laurie on guitar, Tom McCarthy guitar, Mart Trail on bass and Paul White drums, he sang a fantastic version of Fire Fire from his former band Heavens Basement and just to outshine every one else attempted a stage dive from which he went base over apex and later whilst performing I am Electric  climbed into the crowd to perform a handstand,  to quote him: “A show without risks isn’t a show and I’m in this job for the lifestyle”. That sums him up perfectly: he grabs you by the balls and never lets go till the end, amazing.
Catching my breath and carefully making my way through the massive crowd for a beer I awaited the penultimate band of the night BulletBoys, as far from aor as you could possibly get, playing no nonsense heavy metal (yessss!!) these LA rockers were formed in 1987 by former Ratt and King Cobra lead vocalist Marq Torien, who is the only survivor of the original lineup, in fact this band has been through well over thirty band changes.

The current line up is Torien lead vocals, Nick Rozz guitar, Chad MacDonald bass/backing vocals, and very newly joined drummer Anthony (Tiny) Biuso. (Jerome posted the selfie man thanks for that). Marq has been compared to Dave Lee Roth of Van Halen, and I totally agree.

With a very extended guitar solo and Tiny’s drum solo, they only managed eight songs in their hour long set but when solos are played this well I don’t mind. They deserved to have a longer set: I loved their old school style and would definitely recommend you going to see one of their shows if you are a fan of  AC/DC and hair metal: they set the stage alive.

Headliners for tonight were Night Ranger, who win the prize for the biggest fkn drumkit of the weekend: it got rolled out onto the side of the stage like some massive spaceship, I only hoped that the drummer was going to be as impressive as the kit. I had been hearing whispers all day about them but I have to say I was totally unimpressed: I found them to be posers, full of themselves and the music was ok, I suppose, loaded with slow ballads. Half way through the set I felt myself dropping off and in my opinion, and it’s only mine remember, (DON’T SHOOT THE MESSENGER) a festival night should end fast and furious, BulletBoys should have headlined and had the 90 minute set as  they were firing on both barrrels; I’m afraid to say Night Ranger were firing blanks.

A bit of information about a band on stage 2, Naked, my partner and photographer told me about. Swedish band, singer said he had a cold but sang as best he could: second guitarist was late arriving due to guitar problems, and the singer was reading most of the lyrics off the floor as he joked he didn’t know them, doesn’t sound like I missed much.

A quick mention to the late band of the night on stage two Degreed: another Swedish band, they like their aor:  nice vocals and they shouted they were blown away to be playing at the festival at this ungodly hour, only caught two songs as off to the after party now.

Review by Dave Martin
Photos by Carol Henson a.k.a. Lady Gigger

Monday, March 19, 2018

NEWS: Screaming Eagles set to release Live at Bonfest

SCREAMING Eagles will release their new live album ‘Live At Bonfest’ on March 29th 2018. The album will be released on CD and digitally with pre-orders available from March 16th.

‘Live At Bonfest’ captures the bands raw and energetic performance at one of their favourite festivals - the internationally renowned Bonfest Festival in Kirriemuir, Scotland.

The performance took place on April 29th 2017 in a year that took the band to France, Germany and all over the UK including performances at Ramblin’ Man Fair and Camden Rocks.

Lead singer Chris Fry says of the new live album “Bonfest was our first show of 2017 and is one of our favourite festivals to play, we were chomping at the bit to get onstage, I think this came across really well in the recording and captures us doing what we do best, warts n’ all as they say, with the help of a few cans of Tennents and the national tipple of Buckfast of course...the spirit of the festival is pure rock n’ roll, it’s the birthplace of Bon Scott after all, with a huge international attendance in a tiny Scottish town.

"With bands playing on flatbed trucks in the street, Phil Rudd on the bill, what more could you ask for, a special place for sure and a festival we felt privileged to be asked to play”.

The 9-track album spans the bands two albums with a few covers thrown in for good measure.

Live At Bonfest was recorded with the help of Graham Galloway at DD8 Music and mixed and mastered by Frankie McClay at Einstein Studios.

The album is available on CD from www.screamingeagles.bigcartel. com and on all digital platforms.

Screaming Eagles are currently working on their third studio album in Northern Ireland.


1. Ready For The Fall
2. Screaming Eagles
3. All The Way
4. Down The River
5. Roadhouse Blues
6. Vampire
7. Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be
8. Blood
9. Rock N Roll Soul

NEWS: No Hot Ashes added to Ramblin Man Fair in round of announcements including Myles Kennedy

NORTHERN Ireland's own No Hot Ashes has been added to Ramblin’ Man Fair, along with Myles Kennedy.

Also announced are Skinny Molly, Thomas Wynn And The Believers, and Second Relation.

Myles Kennedy will play the Country Stage as special guest.

As the singer/songwriter of Alterbridge and also Slash’s band Myles Kennedy And The Conspirators, Kennedy has established himself as one of the defining rock voices of his generation. 2018 saw the release of his first solo album “Year Of the Tiger”.

The sound and lyrical content of the album is very different to what fans of Kennedy might expect -

“I’ve always wanted to make a record where I could have the opportunity to explore and document a different element of my musical DNA,” he says, citing his love for the blues, R&B, and acoustic based music and listing such influences as Mississippi John Hurt, Chris Whitley, K.D Lang, Nick Drake and the acoustic songs on Led Zeppelin 3 and 4.

“I was trying to tap into something a little more subtle, as opposed to a big, bombastic, high gain sonic attack.”

The festival will take place in Mote Park in Maidstone, Kent. The park is one of the largest in South East England with more than 450 acres of mature parkland and a 30-acre lake. With multiple travel links via train (Ashford International, Maidstone East and Maidstone West in close proximity) and road (with three park and rides available around Maidstone). The festival site is also perfect for European festival goers with easy links to the London airports, Eurostar via Ashford Int’l and Channel Ferries to and from mainland Europe.

Ramblin’ Man Fair takes place on Saturday 30th June and Sunday 1st July 2018.

Announced acts to date are:
Main Stage
Mott The Hoople (Headliner)
The Cult (Headliner)
Halestorm (Special Guest)
Steel Panther (Special Guest)
Blackberry Smoke
The Cadillac Three
Sons Of Apollo
Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown
The Last Internationale
No Hot Ashes

Country Stage
Steve Earle & The Dukes (Headliner)
(UK Exclusive Set ‘Copperhead Road plus Hits!’)
Myles Kennedy (Special Guest)
Me And That Man
Skinny Molly
Thomas Wynn And The Believers
The Adelaide’s

Blues Stage
Gov’t Mule (Headliner)
Chas & Dave
Jim Jones and the Righteous Mind
Laurence Jones
Connor Selby

Prog In the Park Stage
(Playing Material From The “Clutching At Straws” Album)
Mostly Autumn
Von Hertzen Brothers
Second Relation
Tickets are available now priced as below:

VIP Admission Saturday & Sunday - £256 plus booking fee
General Admission Saturday & Sunday - £156 plus booking fee
Camping Starts at £49
Tickets available from http://ramblinmanfair18.eventbrite.co.uk

INTERVIEW: The Heretic Order chat about paganism, sacrificies and the Bloodshake

LIVING up to their reputation as horror metallers The Heretic Order chatted with us at Hammerfest X about a lot of weird things.

Paganism, killing the things you love to gain power, the mythical Bloodshake and their new album.

Listen below:

INTERVIEW: Blaze Bayley talks about his latest album and changes facing bands

JUST ahead of his sterling show at Hammerfest X we caught up with the mighty Blaze Bayley.

The details and thinking behind the final part of Infinite Entanglement 'The Redemption of William Black', plus issues facing bands in 2018 were among the things discussed.

Listen below:

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

NEWS: Glenn Hughes bringing Classic Deep Purple Live to Belfast and Dublin

GLENN Hughes, the former bassist and singer of Deep Purple, known to millions as the ‘Voice of Rock’, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, and the current front man for rock super group Black Country Communion, is pleased to announce that he will be performing Deep Purple only material with his “GLENN HUGHES PERFORMS CLASSIC DEEP PURPLE LIVE” for the first time ever in Belfast and Dublin in September 2018 ahead of his nationwide UK tour in October 2018.

The two date tour promises to be a dynamic, turn-back-the-clocks, two-hour live extravaganza homage to his tenure in MK 3 and MK 4 incarnations of Deep Purple - one of music history’s most seminal and influential rock and roll groups.  Tickets for Belfast are priced £30 and for tickets for Dublin are €35.

Tickets will be available for pre-sign ups in a 48-hour ticket pre-sale from Wednesday 14th March. Tickets will then go on general sale on Friday 16th March from www.seetickets.com.

For each show there will be 100 VIP tickets available. The tickets will include pre-show Meet & Greet, photo ops and an exclusive private ‘unplugged’ song performance from Glenn Hughes. Fans will also be able to take with them a signed tour poster.

"I'm excited to be touring the “Classic Deep Purple Live” in Ireland this September. I first toured Classic Deep Purple Live in Australia and New Zealand last year and it went down like a storm. We’re also touring the show throughout South America in April, and festivals throughout the summer. By the time we tour Ireland in September, we’ll be on fire.”

TICKETS: www.seetickets.com

Belfast, Waterfront                        Saturday 29 September
Dublin, Olympia                               Sunday 30 September

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

ALBUM REVIEW: Maverick maturity is a marvel on Cold Star Dancer

WITH each new album a band has to take a decision - to go on as before, or to challenge themselves. With 'Cold Star Dancer' Maverick have taken the decision not to re-tread past glories, but to stretch themselves to new heights.

Make no mistake - this isn't a revolution, but an evolution: a band that is comfortable in their own skins to take their sound, know what works and what will bring existing fans with them, and attract newcomers to the Maverick party. And to rock out like bastards ready to take on the world

From their early days of playing á la 80s cock rock exuberance Maverick in 2018 are now a force of nature. Heavy enough to bring metalheads along for the neck aching journey, and imbued with melody to have hard rock fans palpitating.

Take, for example the title track 'Cold Star Dancer' All the elements of Maverick are present, but it has a presence - a sense of being in the moment - that sees the band rise up and stand proud.

Before any existing fan panic, don't! For all the evolutionary change Maverick can still produce tunes that etch themselves into your cerebral cortex as if 100 fisherman had hooks in your brain. 'Tonight' is such a track...the hook and melody work themselves deep into your psyche and won't let go.

But, what makes this so much better than anything that Maverick have done before is the confidence that oozes from every note. Would they have dared to take on a track such a 'Magellan Rise' before? No. But now they have taken the epic story of the Portuguese sailor who circumnavigated the world into an epic tale, and an epic song.

Equally, the warriors trained by Achilles, the 'Myrmidon' are celebrated in a song that prances and rolls with metal heart and a melody that snares you. Epic tales of ancient Greece - sign us up!

And, that rhythm section - fuck sake, it's on another level. Sure the Balfour brothers lead from the front, but the there is a sense of purpose that establishes a platform that takes the band to miles above the sea level depths plumbed by lesser beasts.

'Viper', for example will leave you gasping...When they perform this live we suggest you apply Factor 50 sunscreen because your face will be melted.

David Balfour's singing sees him stretch himself like never before. Some of the notes he reaches had all the dogs in the neighbourhood gathering around Metal Mansions in admiration.

As for the soloing - that careful balance between exuberance and matching the song is executed by Ryan.

What makes the entire album wok is that Maverick have the touchstones in their formative years; they doff their caps to that growing up, but no longer can you pick out a band fixated on their influences - now it is a band that stand loud and fucking proud in their own right.

As we chewed over each line of 'Devil's Night', analysed the arrangement, took on board their energy we realised that Maverick have created something special in the shape of 'Cold Star Dancer'.

If the world was a just place this album could propel Maverick into the major league - and we think that it might just do that.

Review by Jonathan Traynor

Cold Star Dancer will be launched on Friday, March 30th at Limeligh2 in Belfast

NEWS: Bloodstock adds Cannibal Corpse plus more acts to burgeoning line-up

THOSE wonderful people at Bloodstock keep adding bands to its already packed line-up for the August festival.

Today (Tuesday, March 13th) it was confirmed that Cannibal Corpse will be appearing.

Read the full press release from Bloodstock HQ below:

The countdown is ON!  Just 21 weeks until the metal hoardes invade Catton Park’s hallowed ground for BLOODSTOCK and we’re expecting another sold out event in 2018!  As Spring begins, we’ve plenty more bands to announce, so let’s unveil the latest additions!

Death metal icons, CANNIBAL CORPSE join us as Saturday’s special guests on the Ronnie James Dio main stage!  If you’re missing them on their current UK tour, don’t despair, BLOODSTOCK is here to rectify that situation!  Check out the Tampa, FL-based band’s horror flick video for ‘Code of the Slashers’ taken from current album, ‘Red Before Black’ and warm up those necks for August! - https://youtu.be/afrGiaxOorc.

If you’re a fan of bands like Lamb of God and Machine Head, don’t miss Friday’s Sophie Lancaster stage special guests, BLEED FROM WITHIN.  The hotly tipped Scottish metal crew will no doubt be sharing a few choice cuts from their upcoming fourth studio album ‘Era’, set for release this April via Century Media.  Wrap your ears around first single ‘Alive’ at https://youtu.be/BCCpdwzCHvk.

Epic doom brotherhood, GODTHRYMM also join the Sophie stage bill on Friday.  Featuring ex-members of Vallenfyre, My Dying Bride, Anathema, Solstice and Malediction, head over to http://www. transcendingrecords.com/media/ godthrymm/ to find out more and download some heavy tunes for free!

BLOODSTOCK is always proud to give bands from far-flung places the opportunity to play in front of a big crowd and our media friends, so this year we’re excited to welcome UNDERSIDE all the way from Nepal!  The band join us for a slot on Sunday’s Sophie stage.  Get clued up on these torch bearers for the Asian metal scene over at their official website: http://undersidenepal.com.

Come join us in August!  Standard weekend tickets are on sale now, priced at £145 for four days of metal fun.  Grab yours at https://bloodstock.seetickets. com.  If you already know you can only attend for one day, sign up for an email reminder so you don’t miss out when single day tickets go on sale at the end of June.  Register your interest here - https://www.seetickets.com/ register/bloodstock.

Thinking about your route to BLOODSTOCK yet?  Official travel partner BIG GREEN COACH are more than happy to transport you, your mates and all your camping essentials from 21 pick-up points all over the country to right inside the BLOODSTOCK gates.  For more details, watch https://youtu.be/wqT7Rt2B60E.  Alternatively, if you’re driving to the festival and have a space in your car, or are seeking a ride from your area, post your trip on GOCARSHARE’s website to match up with a friendly metaller and help each other ride to BLOODSTOCK!  You’ll even be in with a chance of winning a pair of tickets to next year’s festival just by using the GOCARSHARE scheme!  Full details over at http://gocarshare.com/ festival/bloodstock.


BLOODSTOCK will take place at Catton Park, Derbyshire on 9th-12th August 2018.  Get additional information at www.bloodstock.uk.com.

Monday, March 12, 2018

NEWS: Volbeat set sail for Belfast

THOSE Danish scamps Volbeat are making a beeline for Belfast once again, with a headline show at the Telegraph Building on May 26th , 2018.

Their unique blend of metal, rockabilly and whatever else takes their fancy has earned them fans across the globe - with 2.5m album sales to date.

Never compromising their own tastes they are an embodiment of musical fun.

With their latest release 'Seal the Deal and Let's Boogie' they have once again delivered an album that spans genres, and gathers ever more fans.

Tickets for the May 26th show go on sale this coming Wednesday at 11am, priced £25 + booking fee.

ALBUM REVIEW: Iron Angel deliver up classic metal on Hellbound

WITH the same tortuous effort of downloading an album for review it often means that one adopts a serious demeanour: considering all the dynamics, the playing, the arrangements, and the lyrical content.

But once in a while an album lands in the inbox that just makes even the hardest hearted rock and metal reviewer smile.

In fact Iron Angel's 'Hellbound' album had all at Metal Mansions grinning from ear to fucking ear.

Nevermind then tortuous route that saw the Hamburg act rise in the 80s, split, reform in 2014 and shuffle members like a Premier League manager rotating his squad. 2018 sees Iron Angel deliver an album that is pure metal.

'Hellbound' could have been lifted from that period of the 80s that saw many a speed meta act rise, but damn it, this sounds fresh and fun.

They have delivered a slab that really is a 'Ministry of Metal'...

Each song has that riffing, a frantic rhythm section, and "grab that mic and work it" from Dirk Schroder.

The tone is set with the heads down 'Writings on the Wall' but it gets better and better with each track.

Mitsch Mever, and Robert Altenbach weave metal spells the beguile and delight. 'Carnivore Flashmob', 'Blood and Leather' and 'Purist of Sin' being great examples of their work.

To be straight this transports us back to the heyday of bands such as Accept and other Teutonic metal giants. But, this is not an album to be seen through rose-tinted glasses.

Hellbound is an album that shows a band delivering what they know and do best - there is no point trying to pretend you are something you are not.

Iron Angel play heavy metal and play it well. We smile as we launch ourselves Hellbound.

Review by Jonathan Traynor

Sunday, March 11, 2018

INTERVIEW: Donum Dei discuss new album

GROWING and developing since they had the tag 'young and upcoming' Donum Dei have now delivered their début album 'Contribute to Chaos'.

Just before they took to the stage at The Belfast Empire Melanie Brehaut sat them down for some gentle interrogation.

Listen below:

NEWS: Donum Dei launch Contribute to Chaos

TONIGHT has been a long time in the making - seven years, to be exact. Seven years since a bunch of metal-loving schoolboys got together with the idea of forming their own band, writing some tunes and maybe even playing some gigs one day.

Fast forward to March 2018 and those boys, now determined young men, are seeing the culmination of a dream: headlining the Belfast Empire, to launch their debut album 'Contribute to Chaos'. For Donum Dei, it’s finally time.

To help make the launch a real party, they’ve brought along some friends to play their own tunes, and as if to indicate the rude health of the local scene, the three support acts are as diverse as any festival bill you’d care to see.

First up, young hardcore knuckleheads No Great Loss take to the task of warming up the stage with gusto, along with plenty of posturing and attitude.

Co-vocalists Gavin Brown and Paul Docs bounce off each other brilliantly, sharing the lead and occasionally exchanging fleeting delighted grins. It takes around six seconds before Brown decides the stage is far too small for their antics, and he’s on the floor with the punters, screaming in their faces and pacing the floor like a caged lion.

He then puts his mic lead to the test, heading towards the centre of the room before clambering up the balcony to the side of the stage. Docs, although not as inclined to go for a dander (although he does jump offstage towards the end, along with guitarist Darren), still manages to pack a hell of a punch with his tightly coiled bravado and furiously spat vocals. A brash, confrontational and highly enjoyable set.

Promptly fifteen minutes later, melodic thrash newcomers Ketos take to the stage and immediately submerge the crowd in a barrage of noise, all wailing guitars and savage vocals.

Frontman Pete Crenshaw (who provides guest vocals on one of the tracks on the Donum Dei album) cuts a daunting figure as he screams, roars, contorts himself around the tiny stage and even clean sings at times; his vocal range is truly impressive, as is his ability to chat to the crowd but not blather on unnecessarily.

Ketos are known for putting on passionate and rousing shows and tonight is no exception; each track holds the crowd’s attention throughout and their set goes by in the blink of an eye – always a sign of a great band.

And now, as the saying goes, time for something completely different…although a relatively new concern, the members of old school death metal band Strangle Wire are veterans of the scene, and it shows in their dedication and musical chops.

Hitting the stage and wasting no time in releasing a wave of instant ferocity, theirs is an all-out aural assault, complete with staccato beats, breakneck speed and riffs that threaten to knock holes in the walls.

Frontman Pete Clarke is in a class all his own: with the deepest roar this side of the Irish Sea, he stares balefully around the room, all wild hair and even wilder eyes, in a pugnacious stance that looks for all the world like he’s about to break into the haka, or at the very least crack your skull. An exemplary death metal set.

For those that have been in the scene for the last half dozen or so years, seeing headliners Donum Dei grow in both confidence and ability has been one of the highlights of that time, and tonight sees the culmination of that.

As they file onstage one by one, to huge cheers from the crowd, their excitement is palpable; an already shirtless Thomas Marshall seems almost unable to contain his fizzing energy, almost jumping out of his skin as he kicks, punches and leaps his way around the stage. ‘Murder and Mayhem’ sees riffs flying everywhere, as well as some impressively furious headbanging: there will be some sore necks tomorrow!

“The more you give us, the more we’ll give you! How does that sound?” Marshall enthuses before they launch into ‘False Hope’, which then leads into the hugely popular ‘Justice Fails’, all sinuous, almost bluesy riffs and pummelling drums. ‘Torture (Makes Them Speak)’ sees the return of Ketos’ Pete Crenshaw, while ‘Courage From Within’ (“the hardest song we’ve ever written” jokes Marshall) ends with the temporarily knackered frontman briefly lying on the stage to recover from the effort, much to the amusement of the crowd (and our resident photographer!).

They close their set with the vitriolic ‘Contribute to Chaos’, the track that is closest to their simpler, thrashy roots, and thank the crowd with sweaty sincerity and huge smiles.

The best thing about a band like Donum Dei is that it’s clearly a collaborative effort. Each member is talented, each gets to show that talent proudly onstage, from solos to backing vocals to some frankly outstanding drumming and, of course, Marshall’s charismatic vocal performances.

Although there were a few technical issues tonight – Marshall broke a guitar string halfway through their set but soldiered on regardless, while guitarist Stuart McLoughlin seemed to be struggling with his instrument (possibly a battery pack issue?), they banded together and pulled a blinder out of the bag.

Whereas before there was a certain youthful and innocent exuberance, now there are four young men filled with deadly intent and the talent to match. Seven years coming? Totally worth it.
Review by Melanie Brehaut
Pictures by Mark McGrogan

Friday, March 09, 2018

LIVE REVIEW: Metal2TheMasses NI Heat 5 has all the weirdness...

CAN we be clear for a moment - Bloodstock is a metal festival. It is for bands that play metal, who have metal running clear and molten through their veins. It gives a platform for some of the most extreme music, while celebrating the heritage of metal.

Why the rant? Read on...

With every heat of Metal2TheMasses you can see the acts who 'get it' You can tell the ones that have either been to Bloodstock - you can even tell the ones who have watched the YouTube and understand why it is one of the most unique festivals across the country.

But some just don't get it...

One act that do was openers Wintriness, The two-piece like many of their ilk rely on samples for the full all-out aural assault.

However, at times the sampled drums and bass overtook some of the exemplary playing. Indeed the melodic lines from both players screamed for more prominence.

What was apparent is that Wintriness have bucketloads of talent. They need the time to develop the balance between backing tracks and their undoubted talent.

After that...well we do not enjoy slagging any band. Often, we prefer the old "sandwich feedback", as in here's what was good, here's what was bad, and here are some more good points.

But fuck us pink, call us sherbert dip and throw our heads in some sugary mixture, but Cloakroom Q should have never been anywhere a Metal2TheMasses show.

Given the right audience we're sure that they are a perfectly entertaining band for that audience...but come on, this is Bloodfuckingstock!

A sound that is 'edgy' on Scuzz or KerrangTV jut sounds out-of-placed at a Metal2TheMasses. The clue is in the word "metal". Not alt, not indy, not quirky...it's METAL!What could have been a post-rock triumphh had all the hallmarks of a band that would go down well at Reading or, may the Lord Baphomet forgive them, Glasto.

Good rhythm section...enough said.

In contrast Victim Royal understand what the heats are about. They play the combination of old school metal, noughties grooves delivered with a three lead attack.

Sure, some of it echoed Maiden's first two albums and invoked some BOMV, but there was some fine melody playing on display. In fact, with a little more harmony vocals and a tad more muscular delivery it could have been a great set.

Did we fancy a dig to the bake, a sucker punch to the ballsack and a kick on the shins? No choice -because that is what Cursed Sun delivered.

Immediately it was clear that that everything that had passed before was not ready for the challenge.

It is a long time since they cast aside their Lamb Of God influences - they have taken that live (and recorded) template, kicked it around the room and stamped a big size fucking nine Norn Iron foot all over that with a resounding "fuck you".

Vigorous and vile no-one but the near death or tone deaf would have been unmoved by the charisma oozing from the Voodoo stage.

When the votes were cast by judges and audience the results showed the qualifiers to the semi finals were Cursed Sun and Victim Royal.

Review by Jonathan Traynor
Pictures by Keri Clarke (Exposing Shadows Photography)

Unfortunately we weren't able to see Ten Ton Slug owing to that shit thing called work...but we are reliably informed they tore a new roof in the Voodoo...