Pick Your Rock and Metal

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

NEWS: Ugly Kid Joe's return to Belfast to celebrate America's Least Wanted 25 years on

UGLY Kid Joe will celebrate the 25th anniversary of their 'America's Least Wanted' album with a Belfast show at The Limelight 1 on Tuesday 04th September 2018.

The band will perform the album in its entirety with main support from Haggard Cat, while Yellowcake will open proceedings.

America's Least Wanted, the full-length debut album by rock band Ugly Kid Joe, released in September 1992.

The album was a commercial success, charting three singles on the Mainstream Rock Tracks ("Neighbor", "Busy Bee" and "Cats in the Cradle"). "Everything About You" peaked at No. 3 in the UK Singles Chart and at No. 9 in the Billboard Hot 100. "Cats in the Cradle" also made the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number six, earning the album two top 10 Billboard hit singles.

The latter song also made it to No. 11 on the Top 40 Mainstream. As of 1995, the album has been certified double platinum.

Tickets, priced £15 (+ booking fee) are on sale this Friday, July 6th from all usual outlets.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

NEWS: Stage Times Announced for this weekend's Ramblin Man Fair Festival

FOR those making their way to this year's Ramblin Man Fair they have released the stage times to help you plan your days.

SATURDAY – Gates open 12pm

Planet Rock Main Stage
Mott The Hoople  21:15 – 22:45
Steel Panther  19:25 – 20:25
The Cadillac Three  17:40 – 18:40
Therapy?   16:10 – 16:55
GUN  14:45 – 15:30
No Hot Ashes   13:30 – 14:00

Outlaw Country Stage
Steve Earle & The Dukes  19:45 – 21:15
Myles Kennedy   18:15 – 19:15
Skinny Molly   16:45 – 17:30
Me and That Man  15:30 – 16:15
The Adelaides  14:30 – 15:00
Thomas Wynn and The Believers   13:25 – 13:55

Classic Rock Rising Stage
The Rising Souls   19:55 – 20:55
The Dust Coda   18:40 – 19:25
Henry’s Funeral Shoe  17:30 – 18:10
The Rocket Dolls   16:20 – 17:00
Gorilla Riot   15:20 – 15:50
Dead Man’s Whiskey   14:35 – 14:55
Icarus Falls   13:25 – 13:55
Those Damn Crows   12:30 – 13:00

SUNDAY – Gates open 12pm

Planet Rock Main Stage
The Cult   20:45 – 22:15
Halestrom   19:00 – 20:00
Blackberry Smoke   17:15 – 18:15
Sons Of Apollo   15:50 – 16:35
Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown   14:30 – 15:10
The Last Internationale   13:10 – 13:55

Prog In The Park
Fish  19:15 – 20:45
Mostly Autumn   17:30 – 18:30
Von Hertzen Brothers   15:50 – 16:45
Voyager   14:35 – 15:15
Goldray   13:25 – 13:55
Second Relation   12:30 – 13:00

Blues Stage
Gov’t Mule   19:15 – 20:45
Chas & Dave   17:30 – 18:30
Jim Jones & The Righteous Mind   16:00 – 16:45
Laurence Jones Band 14:35 – 15:15
Kris Barras Band  13:15 – 13:55
Connor Selby Band  12:25 – 12:55

Following on from the critically acclaimed and commercially successful third year in 2017, Ramblin’ Man Fair returns in 2018! This year the festival will move from its traditional end of July slot to the 30thJune and 1stJuly 2018.

The festival takes place in the beautiful Mote Park in Maidstone, Kent – the garden of England.

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

To keep up to date with all Ramblin’ Man Fair announcements like, follow and visit:

NEWS: THERAPY? launch music video for Callow, pre-order Cleave now via Pledge Music

WITH the announcement that Therapy? will release their forthcoming album 'Cleave' CLEAVE was to be released on 21st September 2018 through Marshall Records.

The band have now unleashed an accompanying music video for their single ‘Callow’ that sets the tone for the new record, which is now available for pre-order.

You can view the music video for ‘Callow’, which was directed by Sitcom Soldiers here.

Andy Cairns talks about the inspiration behind the track Callow, taking influence from the likes of Stephen Fry, Lil Peep and how the videos visuals are representative of a zombified society under pressure to utilise Xanax as a form of therapy.

“Callow is one of two songs on the album that I wrote start-to-finish.

"Everyone who knows anything about our band know that I love Hüsker Dü and The Buzzcocks and Ramones, and this is another melodic punky song in the vein of Nowhere and Screamager and Lonely, Cryin’, Only, with maybe a hint of the Manic Street Preachers The Holy Bible too.

"My son Jonah is really into a rapper called Lil Peep, which sounds to me like emo with trap drum beats, with lyrics about how fucked up and lost and lonely he feels, and I managed to get Jonah a ticket for his show in London last year.

"A few months later he said to me, ‘Lil Peep is dead’, and I could see that he was really affected by it: I realised that, for him, this was like the passing of John Lennon or Ian Curtis or Kurt Cobain.

"In some of his music, Lil Peep talked about the antidepressant Xanax, the over-use of which has become a real problem in the UK, and while I was thinking about that I remembered a Stephen Fry quote where, after he was prescribed antidepressants to combat his manic depression, and he said that he felt like a zombie for months.

"He said something like, ‘If you take away my demons, you’ll also take my angels.’

"His point was that, yes, there were dizzying heights and terrifying lows without antidepressants, but he’d rather have that than constant numbness. So this song is talking about how we negotiate the chaos of life right now, and to understand why someone might numb out so that they don’t notice our divides.”

CLEAVE (auto-antonym) i. To prise apart ii. To bring together

Therapy?’s fifteenth studio album, Cleave will be released on September 21st 2018. Roughly themed around notions of duality and division, the band’s follow-up to 2015’s acclaimed Disquiet - and their first recording for new label Marshall Records – is a sharply focused, fiercely intelligent, impassioned and empowering set of songs from a band operating at a creative and artistic peak.

A scathing, incisive state-of-the-nation address, investigating the schisms in contemporary society and the motivations of those seeking to propagate disjuncture, it’s a powerful, challenging, uncompromising collection from a band never afraid to confront and dissect humanity’s darkest impulses.

From the thrillingly propulsive assault of Wreck It Like Beckett via the addictive Callow (the album's first single, out now) and the unsettling I Stand Alone to the disquieting, bleakly beautiful No Sunshine, the ten tracks which make up Ceave coalesce to paint a portrait of a fractured, dislocated world rent by unprincipled, mendacious masters.

 You can pre-order the album via Pledge Music alongside the following items

Signed CD
Signed Vinyl
Signed exclusive marbled vinyl
Signed Test Pressing
Signed, numbered and dated handwritten lyrics for Callow
Exclusive T-shirt
Bundles of the above

 The album artwork and track list for CLEAVE has now been revealed.

1. Wreck It Like Beckett
2. Kakistocracy
3. Callow
4. Expelled
5. Success? Success Is Survival
6. Save Me From The Ordinary
7. Crutch
8. I Stand Alone
9. Dumbdown
10. No Sunshine

Andy Cairns is justifiably proud of the unified drive and restless creativity evident in this powerful, questing collection and says this about the forthcoming opus

“I know that we can be a difficult sell, because we have no particular niche and no desire to conform,” he admits, “but Therapy? have always been the kind of band that when people discover us, they immerse themselves deep and keep us close to their hearts. We’ve never been part of a trend, so we’ve never been cast aside when fashions changed. CLEAVE, to me, is Therapy? at our most focused. I love our more experimental side, but I also love that this record sounds like it was made by a band who’re all reading from the same script and moving forward with the same determination and hunger.”

“We’re living in a time riven by conflict,” Andy Cairns states baldly. “You look at what’s happening in the United States at present, what’s going on with Brexit in the UK, with North and South Korea, with Palestine and Israel, and it’s impossible not to see turmoil and turbulence.

Some of these conflicts have been going on as long as I can remember, but they seemed to really reach a head again around the time we were writing the album. CLEAVE is our response to the divisions we see all around us.”

The result is one of the most formidable, provocative and impactful albums of Therapy?’s storied 29 year career, once again proving that the band’s pre-eminence as one of the UK’s most inventive, fearless and individualistic musical artists.

Therapy? play a variety of summer festival slots before their UK tour. No Belfast date as yet...
SAT - Jun 23, 2018 Genk Onstage Festival - Genk, Belgium
FRI - Jun 29, 2018   Ramblin' Man Festival 'Friday Night Live' show - Maidstone, UK
SAT - Jun 30,2018 Ramblin' Man Fair (w/Steve Earle, Gun, Steel Panther) - Maidstone, UK
FRI - Jul 06, 2018 Nell's Jazz & Blues (acoustic headline set) - London, UK
SAT - Jul 07, 2018 Feis Festival (acoustic festival set w/Van Morrison, Chieftains etc) -Liverpool, UK
SUN - Jul 08, 2018 Amplified Festival - Gloucestershire, UK

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

NEWS: Damon Johnson announces Pledge campaign for new solo album Memoirs Of An Uprising

Damon Johnson has announced a Pledge Campaign for his forthcoming new solo album 'Memoirs Of An Uprising'. The album will receive a full release later in 2018.

The forthcoming album features ten brand new songs from Damon – and he is currently finishing the mixing, mastering and packaging around the album.

The album will be available on both CD and vinyl and the Pledge site features a whole host of very special options including signed CDs, merch, mystery bundles, guitar lessons, signed guitars, acoustic house performances and even a round of golf with Damon amongst others..

Full details here: https://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/damonjohnson

Damon said, “The fact that I’m getting to make this album at all is purely down to the support and love you all have shown for my music over the past three decades.

"And, as I discussed this fact with PledgeMusic, they have encouraged me to “un-earth” and make available one-of-a-kind items during this campaign…things like bundles of exclusive photos and memorabilia from all my various band endeavors; my small Peavy practice amp that I’ve written songs on ever since Brother Cane’s ‘Seeds’ album; a “still-in-the-shrink-wrap” copy of my long time out-of-print ‘Dust’ CD; even autographed guitars…and much more.

"Again, this is the first time for me to work with PledgeMusic as a solo artist. And the catalyst is absolutely this new music I’ve created. The songs are inspired and my band (Tony, Jarred & Tony) played and sound amazing as always. And I feel these songs deserve as much exposure as possible, even in this day and age where the business of making and distributing music has change dramatically.

"I’m asking for your help. I need your help! I’m at LEAST asking you to check it out what we’re offering through this PledgeMusic campaign.”

The album will then receive a full UK release later in 2018.

Damon will be conclude his UK and Europe tour in 2018 with band mate Ricky Warwick at Belfast's Limelight2 in October 15th.

The two will be playing acoustic numbers throughout their two illustrious careers as well as speaking about their experiences in music.

NEWS: Bloodstock day tickets released on Friday, new bands announced and tonnes more fun planned

AS the countdown to Bloostock continues apace the festival has announced day tickets will go on sale on Friday as well as a tranche of new bands, joining Northern Ireland's Oracle and Sinocence.

All the news - including some more entertainment is in the press release below,

"With just six weekends to go, BLOODSTOCK release a limited number of day tickets at 9am this Friday, 29th June!  Adult day tickets are priced at £65 (+ booking fee) and child day tickets at £20 (+ booking fee) and will be available at http://bloodstock.seetickets.c om.  You can still also pick up four-day ‘weekend tickets with camping’, priced £145 (+ booking fee), and children’s weekend tickets at just £35 (+ booking fee). Children under 4 years old go free!  Weekend tickets are selling faster than ever and just like last year, are highly likely to sell out in advance, so don’t delay if you want to guarantee access to the UK’s best metal weekender!

"BLOODSTOCK can also share that blackened death metal band DEMONIC RESURRECTION (www.facebook.com/DemonicResur rection) are joining the Sophie Lancaster stage line-up on Sunday, replacing BIO CANCER who have regrettably had to cancel. Jetting in from Mumbai, India, DEMONIC RESURRECTION released their fifth album 'Dashavatar' earlier this year. Get familiar with their video for 'Narasimha - The Man-Lion', taken from that album, at: https://youtu.be/DVQkEAdVwUU.
The mighty Priest

"The regional METAL 2 THE MASSES finals have continued to storm across the UK, helping BLOODSTOCK to add the best of up n’ coming, grassroots talent to the New Blood stage for your attention this August! Friday brings melo-death Cardiff winners DEMOCRATUS (www.facebook.com/democratusba nd), Somerset champs KINASIS (www.facebook.com/Kinasis) with their brand of technical extreme metal, and Nottingham’s top dogs UNDERDARK (www.facebook.com/Underdarkuk) - think Alcest, Oathbreaker, Deafheaven with a touch of Cult of Luna. Also snatching a guest spot are filthy, southern-fried, metal n’ rollers KING BISON (www.facebook.com/kingbisonuk) .

"Joining the New Blood stage on Saturday, are thrash-tinged Newcastle victors KILONOVA (www.facebook.com/kilonovauk), hard rockers EQUINOX (www.facebook.com/EquinoxBandU K) who took first place in the Merseyside final, and Wrexham’s winners CADANCE NOIR (www.facebook.com/cadencenoir) , who describe themselves as goth folk n’ roll! 

"Sunday’s New Blood bill welcomes Devon/Cornwall conquerors ETHYRFIELD (www.facebook.com/ethyrfield), whose guitarist has even been mentored by the legendary Tony Iommi, doomy sludgers BARBARIAN HERMIT (www.facebook.com/barbarianher mit) who brought along all the riffs to win in Manchester, and from their excellent CD application, SERVERS (www.facebook.com/serversUK), described by Metal Hammer as "Mastodon meets Queen’s brand of intelligent riffs." Adding some international flavour, are Polish winners, the anonymous mask-wearing PSYCHOTYPE (www.facebook.com/PsychoType) and Norway victors SKYBRUDD (www.facebook.com/skybruddband ), a melting pot of doom/sludge/black/dark metal, as well as black n’ roll troubadours, SRD (www.facebook.com/SrdOfficial/ ), via our band swap with Slovenian festival Metaldays!

BLOODSTOCK’s also pleased to reveal a load of brand new entertainment will take place over at the Sophie Lancaster stage after the bands finish. For those of you less keen on sleep, the tent will transition into ‘The Lock In’, a fully immersive club night presented by Old Blue Last Beer and hosted by comedian Andrew O’Neill. Each night will feature a different DJ, celebrating a decade of metal! Thursday sees DJ Krusher unearthing tracks from the ‘70s, Friday rocks out to the ‘80s with dark lord Alexander Milas, on Saturday metal encyclopedia Dom Lawson brings you the best of the ‘90s, and Metal Hammer editor Merlin Alderslade rounds out Sunday’s fun with top tunes from the ‘00s. Not only that, you can expect movies, world record attempts, games, prizes, a giant can sculpture(!) and even more.

"Want to meet like-minded metalheads who’re going to BLOODSTOCK? Got tips to share, want a camping buddy, or just to chat about bands? Maybe you want to ask if you’re the only one taking a Hawaiian shirt for Cannibal Corpse’s set (https://youtu.be/8dM_TN7I5m8) ? Join these fan-run Facebook groups - Bloodstock Metal Forum 666 at  www.facebook.com/groups/bmf66 6/ and/or Bloodstock Camp Loners & Newbies at www.facebook.com/groups/171715 506329753/.


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

NEWS: Coheed and Cambria set to release epic album

Coheed and Cambria have announced details of their long awaited new album and label debut on Roadrunner Records, 'The Unheavenly Creatures'.

The sprawling fifteen track, self-produced, 78-minute epic finds Coheed and Cambria returning to the conceptual narrative of The Amory Wars.

The band has launched pre-orders for the album’s deeply immersive Vaxis – Act 1: The Unheavenly Creatures Limited Edition Deluxe Box Set. Pre-orders for The Unheavenly Creatures standard album will begin Friday, June 29, with new music from the forthcoming LP arriving next week.

01. Prologue
02. The Dark Sentencer
03. Unheavenly Creatures
04. Toys
05. Black Sunday
06. Queen Of The dark
07. True Ugly
08. Love Protocol
09. The Pavilion (A Long Way Back)
10. Night-Time Walkers
11. The Gutter
12. All On Fire
13. It Walks Among US
14. Old Flames
15. Lucky Stars

The box set includes an exclusive eighty-plus page hardcover illustrated sci-fi novel with strikingly realistic colour imagery by Chase Stone, as well as the complete Act 1 novella written by frontman Claudio Sanchez and his wife, Chondra Echert.

The set also houses a fully-wearable hard-plastic mask of the main character in The Unheavenly Creatures, a CD copy of the album, as well as the exclusive bonus album, The Crown Heights Demos, showing the songs in their original written form.

Additional items include a three-panel fold out poster of expanded album cover art, and the Unheavenly Creatures Black Card which will allow all card holders early access to tickets and early entry to Coheed and Cambria headline dates (including this summer’s tour).

For more information on Vaxis – Act 1: The Unheavenly Creatures Limited Edition Deluxe Box Set, visit www.coheedandcambria.com.

Coheed and Cambria recently released The Unheavenly Creatures’ 10-minute prog manifesto, “The Dark Sentencer,” which was leaked to fans by frontman Claudio Sanchez along with the opening paragraphs from the album’s aforementioned novella.

A UK tour will take place later this year, however there is no Belfast date.

“’The Dark Sentencer’ opens with prickly guitars that build into a stadium-sized thump,” noted Rolling Stone while Revolver declared, “the soaring song with its rolling guitar riff could soundtrack the montage to any intergalactic underdog story.”

Consequence of Sound hailed “The Dark Sentencer” adding, “Gang vocals and ephemeral harmonies underscore the band’s trademark shredding.”

Furthermore, Coheed and Cambria celebrated the 60th anniversary of NASA earlier this month by joining the National Symphony Orchestra as guest performers at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

The event - NSO Pops: Space, The Next Frontier - featured music inspired by space—both fact and fiction—and saw Coheed and Cambria deliver a poignant performance of their song “Here To Mars” backed by the NSO Pops. The performance has quickly garnered over 700K views on The Kennedy Center’s Official Facebook.

For  more information please visit www.CoheedandCambria.com.
Comprised of Claudio Sanchez (Vocals / Guitar), Travis Stever (Guitar), Josh Eppard (Drums) and Zach Cooper (Bass),

Saturday, June 23, 2018

NEWS: Halestorm release latest track from upcoming album

WITH a slew of festival dates, a US tour and a September UK tour - including Belfast - Halestorm have released 'Black Vultures' the lead track on their upcoming album, Vicious, out July 27.

The song is the second unveiled from the album, following the lead single, “Uncomfortable.”

A new companion visual for the song will premiere next Friday, June 29th via the band’s YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/user/HalestormRocks.

On album release day (July 27th), Halestorm will kick off the second leg of their US tour with In This Moment and New Year’s Day, with UK dates this September.

1. Black Vultures
2. Skulls
3. Uncomfortable
4. Buzz
5. Do Not Disturb
6. Conflicted
7. Killing Ourselves To Live
8. Heart of Novocaine
9. Painkiller
10. White Dress
11. Vicious
12. The Silence

Halestorm play Dublin's Academy on 19th September and Belfast's Telegraph Building the next night.

Friday, June 22, 2018

NEWS: Blind Giardian prepare first tranche of re-releases from their back catalogue

ON September 14th 2018, Blind Guardian will re-release their first 4 studio albums via Nuclear Blast.

The back catalogue has been remixed and remastered, and will be available as 2CD-Digi and black vinyl formats, as well as via individual coloured vinyl for each album.

At the end of this year and also in early 2019, more re-issues are due to follow, so in total there will be 10 Blind Guardian re-releases.

The first four studio album re-issues due for 14th September 2018, can be pre-ordered right now in the following formats:

1. 'Battalions Of Fear' (1988), remixed 2007/remastered 2018
- 2CD-DIGI (remixed/remastered CD + original CD)
- Black Gatefold LP
- NBUK Store Limited Edition Gatefold Violet Vinyl

01. Majesty
02. Guardian Of The Blind
03. Trial By The Archon
04. Wizard‘s Crown
05. Run For The Night
06. The Martyr
07. Battalions Of Fear
08. By The Gates Of Moria
09. Gandalf‘s Rebirth

2. 'Follow The Blind' (1989), remixed 2007/remastered 2011
- 2CD-DIGI (remixed/remastered CD + original CD)
- Black Gatefold LP
- NBUK Store Limited Edition Gatefold Green Vinyl

01. Inquisition
02. Banish From Sanctuary
03. Damned For All Time
04. Follow The Blind
05. Hall Of The King
06. Fast To Madness
07. Beyond The Ice
08. Valhalla
09. Don‘t Break The Circle
10. Barbara Ann

3. 'Tales From The Twilight World' (1990), remixed 2012/remastered 2018
- 2CD-DIGI (remixed/remastered CD + original CD)
- Black Gatefold LP
- NBUK Store Limited Edition Gatefold Gold Vinyl

01. Traveler In Time
02. Welcome To Dying
03. Weird Dreams
04. Lord Of The Rings
05. Goodbye My Friend
06. Lost In The Twilight Hall
07. Tommyknockers
08. Altair 4
09. The Last Candle
10. Run For The Night (live)

4. 'Somewhere Far Beyond' (1992), remixed 2012/remastered 2018
- 2CD-DIGI (remixed/remastered CD + original CD)
- Black Gatefold LP
- NBUK Store Limited Edition Gatefold Blue Vinyl

01. Time What Is Time
02. Journey Through The Dark
03. Black Chamber
04. Theatre Of Pain
05. The Quest For Tanelorn
06. Ashes To Ashes
07. The Bard‘s Song – In The Forest
08. The Bard‘s Song – The Hobbit
09. The Piper‘s Calling
10. Somewhere Far Beyond
Bonus (not on vinyl/only on CD):
11. Spread Your Wings
12. Trial By Fire
13. Theatre Of Pain (classic version)

Sunday, June 17, 2018

ALBUM REVIEW: Khemmis stretch themselves in wondrous Desolation release

TAGS, genres, sub-genres, pigeon holes and definitions matter not a bit
when a band stretches themselves beyond these. Such is the case with Khemmis as their third album, 'Desolation' comes roaring like a slow moving articulated truck.

The Denver four-piece have produced a six-track masterpiece that merges classic metal, doom and smatterings of prog-metal to defy anyone trying to classify them.

Six-tracks that are given breath to live and explore the themes - the shortest track and lead single 'Isolation' clocks in just shy of five minutes and the closer 'From Ruin' is nine and a half minutes of wonderous gloom.

Dark melodies of misery ooze from every chord and refrain; with every terror explored the human soul is exposed to its worst fears.

Phil Pendergast's vocals are hauntingly beautiful until the clean gives way to harsh guttural cries.

While the first four tracks would stand proud in any collection of songs, 'Maw of Time' and 'From Ruin' raise the bar to heights that few could seek to achieve.

While their first two albums promised much 'Desolation' feels as if they have managed to fully capture their vision - melancholic and majestic, with arrangements that serve the song rather than be an end of themselves.

What they do in a clever way is not be constrained - 'Isolation' almost veers into NWOBHM territory briefly in its intro riffs, before settling down into familiar Khemmis' soundscapes. Opener 'Bloodletting' never allows clichés to exist in its prowess.

Phil and Ben - the Pendegrast brothers nail each riff throughout, while Daniel Beirs (bass) and Zach Coleman (drums) have a rhythm foundation for each movement in the songs.

This is an album to wallow in, to seek each miserable message out as metal catharsis for the jaded interior we all hold inside. And, after listening to it you emerged cleansed...but wanting to listen to it again.

Review by Jonathan Traynor

Desolation is released by Nuclear Blast on June 22nd

ALBUM REVIEW: Madball maul on For The Cause

"You want the truth, start a revolution." This is the declaration from Madball on 'Rev Up', the second track on their latest album 'For The Cause'.

And, this is a band that has emerged in 2018, furious, angry and as vital as they have ever been: in fact it may be in the course of time seen as one of their best.

For the past quarter of a century the NYC hardcore crew have challenged the easy path, railed against mediocrity and the perceived wisdom polluting music, politics and society.

'For The Cause' is their ninth studio album and from the off it mauls the listener aurally with a set of lyrics that may raise a single finger, but is at the same time is life-affirming. The anger is harnessed and used in a sense that there is a positivity.

Sure, the sentiments are inevitably going to be a little bit of preaching to the converted, but if that spreads.

Freddy's voice is as always dripping with intent such as on 'Old-Fashioned' but the precise intonations and inflections make the message clear. "Too many of you living on your knees" -  time to get up.

Matt Henderson is back on guitar for the first time in 18 years and his riffing merges seamlessly with Freddy, Hoya and Mike.

Ice-T's contribution on Evil Ways turns it into a righteous declaration against murder. It like 'Damaged Goods' take the classic Madball Template and give it another kick in the arse.

Rancid's Tim  Armstrong stepped in behind the production desk, and seems to have managed to add a wee bit extra in the right places.

Their commitment to being good people for their families and Madball is exemplified in the brooding anthem 'For You'. This is a track that blasts with such upbeat defiance that it will be an essential live track.

On many albums guest appearances can be a distraction, but not on 'For The Cause'. The aforementioned Ice-T joins Tim Armstrong and The Business' Steve Whale on 'The Fog', and Psycho Realm's Sick Jacken on 'Rev Up'. It feels natural.

The full-on title track is tempered with a little dub to temper the fire before 'Confessions' rounds the album up in fine fettle.

In a world of 24-hour rolling news to scare the populace, when the music 'industry' demands quick returns from a succession of insipid clones, where politicians rule by soundbites and misinformation we need the words of Madball, "Get an education" Freddy declares, and you could do no worse than starting your education with 'For The Cause'.

Review by Jonathan Traynor

For The Cause is out now on Nuclear Blast

Thursday, June 14, 2018

EP REVIEW: The Howling Tides slam it down on début release

The Howling Tides recently released a video for their first single ‘Crack My Soul’ (which landed on YouTube on 4th June) from their upcoming self titled EP.

And now comes the big one with their brand new 5-track EP, (Produced by modern-day British Blues Rock legend Aynsley Lister) which will be available on all major platforms.

What a lot of heavy rocking these lads have packed into five songs, kicking off first with 'Cheap Painkiller' with almost a Black Sabbath vibe until it unmuffles itself and blasts into chunky bluesy rhythms.

It highlights some of the incredible range of Rob's vocals, from a sweet quirky smoothness to a ragged chainsaw full of rage.

Hayden's guitar work is incredible and all very well supported by Luke on bass and Steven slugging it to those drums.

Definitely a great track to start off with...

Second up is 'Death By Exile', a dirty southern rock style full of chunky rhythms and riffs that chug along at a perfect headbanging speed. The breakdowns are things of beauty that just make you glad to be alive at a time some young bucks were able to produce something like this.

'He Told Me', another hard rocking, face smacking, headbanging tune that continues the joyful delivery of controlled aggression and with guitar solos that fly at you with a pickaxe. Again there are moments where you have a comfortable feeling of Black Sabbath hidden here and there throughout the track.

Then comes the awesome 'Crack My Soul', a solid headbanging track full of emotionally charged, controlled aggression infused with crashing riffs and rhythms delivered in a professional tight manner that just makes your skin tingle and your hairs stand up.

Finally we have 'Running Blind' a riff-laden rumbling tune that is absolutely perfect for driving. You will just keeping driving past your stop just to listen to the very end.

This EP is a full on delivery of joyful energetic Hard Rock Blues with incredibly well delivered thundering drums, dirty fuzzy guitars, chugging bass and soulful vocals. Every track has rich chunky hooks, well timed breakdowns, a full sound and all are infectiously catchy.

The riffs, rhythms, breakdowns, and vocals will leave you with a hint of what Black Sabbath would have sounded like if they had just been a hard blues rock band.

And, as repored by our colleagues who saw them at HRH Ibiza Road Trip in May, definitely a band to see live.

The ep is out on WDFD Records on 29th June. Buy it. You need this one.

With an unrelenting desire to deliver soulful Hard Rock and unforgettable live shows, The Howling Tides are a band set on making their mark. Catch them on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.

Review by Ivor Whitten

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

NEWS: A New College Offering Flexible and Innovative Higher Education for Creative Minds

WANT to get a music education course that meets the needs of rockers and creative people?

Want to have it run by real life musicians from Little Angels, Freak Power, Pitchshifter, and Dorje? Then this may be the ultimate educational choice for you as you!

WaterBear is a new Brighton-based college for musicians and creatives, now accepting applications for courses starting September 2018.
From l-r Mark Clayton, Adam Bushell,
and Bruce John Dickson 

Working in partnership with the University of Chichester, WaterBear offers BA (Hons) and Master of Arts courses for today’s musicians and music industry professionals, including a brand-new BA (Hons) in Commercial Music; an MA in Music Industry Innovation and Enterprise for degree graduates; and an MA in Music Industry Innovation and Enterprise for mature students.

WaterBear is run by its founders: Bruce John Dickinson (Little Angels), Adam Bushell (Freak Power) and Mark Clayden (Pitchshifter) – a formidable management team of highly-experienced professionals, each of whom has significant experience in the music industry as established touring musicians and recording artists.

What’s more, the team members also share a deep-set passion for music education, each with over 20 years’ experience at the forefront of the UK’s world-leading private music education sector, having set up and run several highly successful music colleges.

WaterBear is also proud to announce the exciting appointment of Rob Chapman as Director of Innovation in Guitar. YouTube sensation Rob is a guitarist, singer, and content creator. In both 2015 and 2016, Rob was named Total Guitar Magazine’s ‘Guitar Personality of the Year’.
Rob Chapman

He was also featured in Forbes magazine as an entrepreneur who had made exceptionally good use of YouTube. Rob Chapman also founded and owns Chapman Guitars: the UK’s fastest-growing guitar company. He also served as the frontman of chart-topping heavy rock band Dorje and has built a well-established reputation for creating and delivering charismatic, entertaining and educational videos on YouTube for the past decade, currently getting over 5 million views per month.

As Rob said: “It’s my job to call upon my many years of experience to help you guys reach your final form and reach your absolute potential in what it is you want to do, through a forward thinking and practical curriculum. One of the big differences with WaterBear is that your own music and projects form the foundation of the course. WaterBear will help you expand on what you already do. They will give you one- to-one mentoring to really help you take your playing and your career to the next level.”

WaterBear’s courses have been designed for musicians, producers, tour managers, event managers, songwriters, solo artists, film makers, social media content creators and creative entrepreneurs. WaterBear aims to take students’ real world activity and amplify it, to form lasting industry careers.   
Founder Director Bruce John Dickinson explains: “WaterBear will offer something new and different. We believe that people like us who design and deliver music degrees should be active professional musicians themselves – just like the team at WaterBear. If you study with us, your own music and projects will form the foundations of your course. You can study online, on site or a mixture of the two. WaterBear believes your college work should fit around your life, not the other way around.”

WaterBear CEO Adam Bushell adds “WaterBear is a practical, modern approach to music education. We are really excited to be accepting students onto our new MA and BA courses. We see all applicants for a one-to-one consultation prior to making any offers, as we want to hear all about each individual and where they’re at, experientially and creatively. We believe that every creative is an individual who deserves one-to-one attention, mentoring and guidance.”

WaterBear Principal Mark Clayden explains “Innovation is at the heart of what we do. For example, we are proud to be the first creative college to take social media seriously and offer a degree that focuses on filmmaking and content creation for social media. It’s all about forming a creative community of like-minded individuals who share knowledge, skills and contacts.”

WaterBear courses start in September 2018. For more information, visit www.waterbear.org.uk. The team can be contacted here: info@wbear.io Phone: 01273 726230

NEWS: Uriah Heep To Release “Living The Dream” in September - First Video and Single Streaming Now

BRITISH rock Icons Uriah Heep are set to release of their 25th studio album Living the Dream' on September 14th via Frontiers Music Srl. 

The first single and video for the song 'Grazed By Heaven' has now been released.  It is available on all streaming services as well as an instant download with digital pre-orders.

Watch it here. Album preorders are available at http://radi.al/LivingTheDream

The lyrics for “Grazed By Heaven” were written by Jeff Scott Soto and the music was written by bassist Dave Rimmer.

“The song is clearly about sexual tension and desire, very much in the form of 'Fifty Shades Of Grey', putting oneself at ease with the person who is taking control of the situation and trusting you will be in absolute bliss. Fantasy and lust is the calling card here, it’s quite black & white really. The song is very sexy so naturally called for a sexy lyric,” says Jeff Scott Soto of “Grazed By Heaven”

Dave Rimmer adds: 'Grazed' was born out of my desire to write a blazing Heep rock track, I put together the music and arrangement but needed a very strong melody line/lyric to match the music and the Riff..... I have been a fan of Jeff Scott Soto's voice and writing for many years so asked Jeff about a collaboration, he loved the song and came up with the perfect, & powerful lyric/melody..a very natural seamless collaboration between Jeff and I. A true 'Living The Dream' Moment for me”

Pre-order “Living The Dream” & stream the single here:

In conjunction with this release through Frontiers Music Srl, the band is offering some once in a life time experience packages as well as signed copies of the album and many other wonderful things.  Check it out today at https://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/uriah-heep-living-the-dream

“Living The Dream” will be available in the following formats:
Collector's Box feat. CD/DVD + Exclusive T-Shirt
Standard Black Vinyl
Blue Colored Vinyl - Exclusive to U.S.
Crystal Colored Vinyl - Exclusive to Frontiers EU Shop

For this album the band teamed up with famed Canadian engineer Jay Ruston.

“Working with Jay was amazing! He totally understood what we were going for on this album and he delivered big time. We wanted a Heep album that the band and the fans would be proud of, and with Jay at the helm, we have delivered that,” says Mick Box. 

When asked what people can expect from the new album Mick Box says “There are rock songs, rock ballads, and a couple of prog songs encompassing everything Heep.”

Vocalist Bernie Shaw adds that fans should also be ready for, “A full blown ‘rockin’ Uriah Heep record. All the traits that made Heep famous in the past are here on this new album. Passion, power, harmony and substance. Heep trade marks from the first riff.

The band is beyond excited with the material written for the new album, which will include some epic additions to the band’s huge catalog of rock staples and looks forward to sharing it with their fans around the world.

The band has announced a full World Tour which will last until the whole first quarter of 2019. "The mighty Heep are proudly able to tour in over 61 countries and we look forward to a packed touring schedule in 2018 and 2019. Touring is in our blood and what we have a passion to do, and so 2018 is no exception,” concludes Box.

View all official tour dates at:: http://www.uriah-heep.com/newa/livedates.php

Track Listing:
1. Grazed By Heaven
2. Living The Dream
3. Take Away My Soul
4. Knocking At My Door
5. Rocks In The Road
6. Waters Flowin’
7. It’s All Been Said
8. Goodbye To Innocence
9. Falling Under Your Spell
10. Dreams Of Yesteryear
11. Take Away My Soul (alternate version) BONUS TRACK – CD/DVD Deluxe Ed.

Bonus DVD Track Listing:
Grazed By Heaven Music Video
Take Away My Soul Music Video
Making The Dream Documentary

Uriah Heep Lineup:
Mick Box – Lead Guitar/Vocals
Phil Lanzon – Keyboards/Vocals
Bernie Shaw – Lead Vocals
Dave Rimmer – Bass Guitar/Vocals
Russell Gilbrook – Drums & Percussion

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

NEWS: Classic sets from Pantera and Soulfly released by Dynamo Concerts

Dynamo Concerts is releasing of a live album series – taken from archive recordings from the legendary Dutch music festival

Starting from 22nd June 2018, via Caroline/Universal. The preorder for the Pantera album will go live on Monday 30th April with two instant grat tracks “I’m Broken” and “Becoming”.

The Pantera pre-order link is now live here - https://PanteraUK.lnk.to/LADOA1998

Dynamo Concerts archives comprise more than 300 live performances. Throughout the course of 2018 and beyond Dynamo Concerts will release these remastered, unique and previously unheard recordings, providing an exclusive opportunity to take a look at how today’s biggest metal and hard rock names started their extraordinary careers.

The first releases will be the Pantera and Soulfly live performances at Dynamo Open Air 1998, which will be released both digitally and physically on CD and vinyl format.

“Pantera: Live at Dynamo Open Air 1998” catches Pantera at their ultimate height, touring their seminal ‘Great Southern Trendkill’ and ‘Live 101’ live album of the previous year.

Their electric set includes Pantera classics ‘Walk’, ‘I’m Broken’, ‘This Love’ and new songs of the time ‘War Nerve’, ‘Suicide Note Pt. II’ and Sandblasted Skin’. Phil Anselmo’s brutal vocals over one of the tightest and fiercest musical backings in metal history of Vinne Paul, Dimebag Darrell and Rex Brown. A genuine slice of metal history, available for the first time.

“Soufly: Live At Dynamo Open Air 1998” encapsulates the eclectic thrash metal band’s live performance debut. On this show, Soulfly played songs from their first album as well as Sepultura classics, such as ‘Beneath The Remains’ and ‘Roots Bloody Roots’. Guests on this special show include Chino Moreno (Deftones) and Benji Webbe (Skindred).

Dynamo Open Air was initially organised to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Dynamo Rock Club in Eindhoven. With a lifespan of twenty years, Dynamo Open Air was regarded as one of the biggest and most influential hard rock and metal festivals in the world.

Over the years Dynamo Open Air exponentially grew in size from 5,000 people in the Dynamo parking lot to over 110,000 attendees in 1995. The seasonal music gathering ran from 1985 until 2005 and saw performances from the best hard rock and metal bands in history such as: Metallica, Iron Maiden, Pantera, System Of A Down, Marilyn Manson, Incubus, Testament, Sepultura, Anthrax, Monster Magnet, Machine Head, Black Label Society, and many many more.

“Pantera: Live At Dynamo 1998”
Track Listing
1 Walk
2 A New Level
3 Suicide Note Pt. II
4 War Nerve
5 Becoming
6 Sandblasted Skin
7 Hard Lines Sunken Cheeks
8 Primal Concrete Sledge
9 I’m Broken
10 Fucking Hostile
11 This Love
12 Domination, Hollow
13 Mouth For War
14 Cowboys From Hell
“Soulfy: Live At Dynamo 1998”
 Track Listing
1 Eye For An Eye
2 No Hope = No Fear
3 Spit
4 Bleed
5 Beneath The Remains / Dead Embryonic Cells
6 Tribe
7 Bumba
8 Quilombo
9 Prejudice
10 Roots Bloody Roots
11 Attitude
12 The Song Remains Insane
13 First Commandment
Website: www.dynamoconcerts.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dynamoconcert

INTERVIEW: Volbeat's Rob Caggiano speaks ahead of the band's Saturday Belfast date

AHEAD of Volbeat's guitarist Rob Caggiano gave us a buzz all the way from Denmark.

After an introduction from a top Q-Prime dude Rob began by chatting about his love for the music that shapes Volbeat's sound, streaming music, plans for the next album and Cradle of Filth feeding him Carlsberg Special Brew...

VOLBEAT play the Telegraph Building on Saturday 26th May

Listen below:

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

NEWS: Bloodstock rolls out six more bands

BLOODSTOCK is racing towards the weekend with some heavy metal Easter treats.

Six more bands have been added to August’s best heavy weekenderand the annual Easter Egg hunt on the Bloodstock website, kicking off Friday 30th March! Check out www.bloodstock.uk.com from 8am Friday for details on how to hunt for Easter eggs and win a pair of festival tickets.

Joining the line up in a Friday Ronnie James Dio main stage slot are British thrash icons ONSLAUGHT.

The band are working on their new studio album set for release later this year via AFM Records, so expect the world premiere of a brand new song at Bloodstock. The band said:

"ONSLAUGHT have always loved playing at Bloodstock, the UK’s finest metal festival and this year the show is going to be something special indeed! We’ll see you maniacs at the front!” Get warmed up by watching the video for ‘The Sound of Violence’.

Also nabbing a Friday slot opening the main stage are British metal crew, Feed the Rhino. The quintet’s latest album, ‘The Silence’ landed last month via Century Media with lead track, ‘Heedless’ landing its premiere via Daniel P. Carter on the BBC Radio 1 Rock Show. Have a listen!

The band said “We are beyond honoured to be performing at this years BLOODSTOCK Festival. See you in the Pit!"

Japanese power metal ladies, LOVEBITES join us for a slot on Friday’s Sophie Lancaster stage. The five piece release a new mini-album, ‘Battle Against Damnation’ on 6th June, but if you’re not up to speed on the band, make sure you investigate this video for ‘Shadowmaker’ and additional news info over at their Facebook page.

London death metallers, DE PROFUNDIS join us in a Sophie stage slot on Friday. The band are readying the release in May of new album, ‘The Blinding Light of Faith’. Get a load of this new track ‘Bastard Sons of Abraham’ and then view the array of purchase options (digital, physical and special bundles) over on their Bandcamp page.

Transcending Obscurity Brit thrash outfit REPRISAL also land a Friday Sophie slot. Their new album, ‘None Survive The Sun’ lands this Friday 30th March via Hostile Media. Feast your eyes on the video for ‘Nephila’ and head over to pick up a copy of the album at

Progressive death metal New Yorkers UNCURED land a slot on Sunday’s Sophie stage. Having just wrapped a 28-date US run with Soulfly, the four piece come to Europe this Summer to play shows with their friends in JASTA. Check out their video for ‘Stygian Valley’ below and if you're curious for more, get further info on the band over on their Facebook page .

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.

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

Friday, March 23, 2018

INTERVIEW: A short interview with Acid Reign...well a 40+ minute interview

WHEN ensconced on Friday at Hammerfest X Phil disappeared for a while for a 'brief' chat with Acid Reign.

When we say 'brief' it ended up as an interview that lasted more than 41 minutes!

They talked so long that H needed a piss during the natter. Listen below:

Photo by Rob Bellingham

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