1,000,000+ songs

Friday, October 28, 2016

NEWS: Tool main man Maynard James Keenan to release authorised biography next month

A Perfect Union Of Contrary Things is the authorised biography of musician and vintner Maynard James Keenan.

Co-author Sarah Jensen's 30-year friendship with Tool main man Keenan gives her unique insight into his history and career trajectory.

The book traces Keenan's journey from his Midwest childhood to his years in the Army to his time in art school, from his stint at a Boston pet shop to his place in the international spotlight and his influence on contemporary music and regional winemaking.

A comprehensive portrayal of a versatile and dedicated artist, A Perfect Union Of Contrary Things pays homage to the people and places that shaped the man and his art. (Watch the preview video below)

Until now, Maynard's fans have had access to only an abridged version of his story. A Perfect Union Of Contrary Things presents the outtakes, the scenes of disappointment and triumph, and the events that led him to take one step after the next, to change direction, to explore sometimes surprising opportunities.

Included are sidebars in his own words, often humorous anecdotes that illuminate the narrative, as well as commentary by his family members, friends, instructors, and industry colleagues. The book also features a foreword by Alex Grey, an American visionary artist and longtime friend of Keenan.

Accompanying the text are photos of Keenan from childhood to the present.
Maynard's story is a metaphor for the reader's own evolution and an encouragement to follow one's dreams, hold fast to individual integrity, and work ceaselessly to fulfill our creative potential.

NEWS: Kreator set release date for new album on Nuclear Blast in January; tracks listing and artwork unveiled

GERMAN thrash titans Kreator have revealed the cover artwork and release details for their upcoming album, ‘Gods Of Violence’.

The 14th Kreator album is set to be released on January 27th, 2017 worldwide via Nuclear Blast Records.

The cover artwork was created by renowned artist Jan Meininghaus, who also made the limited edition artwork for KREATOR's last album, ‘Phantom Antichrist’ (2012) and has lent his talents to bands like Bolt Thrower, Accept and Overkill in the past. View the intimidating artwork above.
 Band mastermind Mille Petrozza said:

"'Gods Of Violence' was the very first song that I wrote for this album, and it stuck to me as the title track. It contains everything that Kreator is known for and it will blow your minds. I promise!"

Regarding the artwork Petrozza added:

"The cover of is a perfect reflection of my lyrical vision. I think this is Jan Meininghaus' best work so far."

The album will contain 11 tracks with a total running time of approx. 52 minutes. The tracklisting reads as follows:
02. World War Now
03. Satan Is Real
04. Totalitarian Terror
05. Gods Of Violence
06. Army Of Storms
07. Hail To The Hordes
08. Lion With Eagle Wings
09. Fallen Brother
10. Side By Side
11. Death Becomes My Light

‘Gods Of Violence’ was recorded under the watchful eyes of producer Jens Bogren (Opeth, Amon Amarth, Katatonia) who also mixed the record at renowned Fascination Street Studios. Mastering was done by Tony Lindgren, also at Fascination Street Studios.

VIDEO: Conjuring Fate unleash Dr Frankenstein on the unwary

NORTHERN Ireland metal maestros Conjuring Fate top off last week's superb Limelight show with the release of their new video, Dr Frankenstein.

The song is the first from the band's forthcoming album 'Valley of the Shadows', slated for a December 12th release.

Given it's Halloween weekend, you can view the video below.

Shot in the same locations as the movie 'The Frankenstein Chronicles', starring Sean Bean, it was filmed by George Clarke of Yellow Fever Productions. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 27, 2016


Killswitch Engage, who released latest album Incarnate in March 2016, will once again participate in Record Store Day festivities! For Black Friday/Record Store Day on Friday, November 25.

The Grammy-nominated, Massachusetts-based band will release Beyond the Flames: Home Video Part II. The release is a two-disc, Blu-ray, and CD package and is exclusive to Record Store Day. Watch the trailer at the end of this post

Beyond The Flames: Home Video Part II is a treasure trove of gripping content containing over 3 ½ hours of footage that is sure to delight KsE fans.  At the heart of this release is a 75-minute documentary that chronicles the return of original vocalist Jesse Leach, after nearly a decade of being apart, to the band he helped form back in 1999.  The piece also takes a close look at the KsE early years that eventually led to Leach’s initial departure.  Produced and directed by KsE storyteller Denise Korycki, this documentary picks up right where their 2005 {Set This} World Ablaze release left off, revealing the untold rest of the Killswitch Engage story.

"We are pleased to show people the journey we have been on as a band," said Leach. "From the first show to even the last one we played recently, I know I have much more to learn and to offer as a musician and a lyricist. I am proud of all we have done since my first day returning to this band.

"However, I am certain we have just started to gain momentum and find our groove together. We are honored to be in and dedicated to this band and wherever the future takes us. I hope people can see us for who we really are. We are just five guys who love to make music and love our fans."

For those KsE fans craving more live footage, Beyond the Flames: Home Video Part II definitely doesn’t disappoint.  17 live performances have been captured from around the globe, including Leach's first show back in the band, Download Festival, Knotfest, Loud Park Japan, and some surprises along the way. See Killswitch Engage alive, raw and reunited, doing what they do best.

Additional bonus material includes music videos, unique individual band member profiles, outtakes, and a bonus audio disc of six, previously unreleased live tracks from the band's now- legendary 2014 "Monster Mosh" show in Worcester, Massachusetts. The track listing for the live CD is below.

1. "No End in Sight"
2. "Life to Lifeless"
3. "Always"
4. "In Due Time"
5. "My Curse"
6. "The End of Heartache"

KsE previously released a limited edition 7" as part of the spring version of Record Store Day on April 16 of this year. The RSD-exclusive featured "Define Love," an unreleased track from the Incarnate sessions.

COMIN' ATCHA: A busy weekend with Quo, Distortionfest, Ghoulstock, Saxon and Killing Joke on Monday too

WELL, this coming weekend you could doll yourself up in some nice fancy dress, go out and get half cut celebrating Samhain with a crowd of numpties, or you could get your head well and truly mangled with a four days of rock and metal mayhem.

It is a four days of gigs with spectacular bands and all-out frenzy - and if you want to get warmed up Lo Mejor, Sweet Taste (plus two others) are at The Empire tonight (Thursday, 27th October) and Lord Volture and Rabid Bitch of the North are down in Banbridge's O'Reilly's.

And then it all gets serious...

Friday sees Status Quo play Belfast's SSE Arena, with Uriah Heep on support duties. The same night is the first part of Ghoulstock in the Warzone Centre with Warpath, The Crawling, Zombified, Drakonis, Owlcrusher, Shrouded, Neamhni and Deathgrip.

But there's no way you'll be planning a quiet Saturday...You'll need to be up fresh and early (or get up for a 'cure') as Distortionfest's doors open at noon, for nine hours of wonderful chaos.

What is Distortionfest we hear you cry? Have you been asleep forever? This is The Distortion Project's annual birthday bash. The DP has been going for 16 years now, and never mind the cake because there are a clatter of bands playing that will have you baying...

Hold yer breath and read who is on stages in Katy's and Limelight2:
Warrior Soul, Stormzone, Sinocence, Lord Volture, Rabid Bitch of the North, Zlatanera, Bloodway, Valborg, Bloodthread, Erosion, Drakonis, War Iron and one more to be confirmed. All that for £10. Yes, £10 for nine hours of lovely chaos.
Saturday also sees day two of Ghoulfest with 1,000 Drunken Nights (Editor's Note: this is a band not a lifestyle choice), Grudge, Hollow Truth., Okus, Takers & Users, Deathbus, Acid Age, Lawfucker, and No Great Loss.

Should your liver and sanity still be in one piece come Saturday then its time to celebrate the denim and leather heyday of the NWOBHM as Saxon, Fastway and Girlschool come to town for a show in Limelight1.

Phew, that's the weekend, but y'all may as well round it off with a return trip to the Limelight1 for a wee listen to Killing Joke...

And, then the gig scene just gets busier.

NEWS: Devilskin plan for new album, video for track Pray and promise UK tour dates

Devilskin release their second album, 'Be Like The River' on 11th November , announce double headline tour with Halestorm, and promise the UK/Europe new tour in 2017.

A new video for the track 'Pray' has been released. Watch it at the bottom of this post

The latest news follows Devilskin's successful UK / European headline tour earlier this year, and their special guest slot announcement to Disturbed at the 11,000 capacity Vector Arena, in Auckland New Zealand, on 18th November.

"We are beyond excited to be releasing our new studio album Be Like The River on November 11th.
The title comes from a lyric of ours 'Be like the river and cut through the stone', the message is about reaching your goals through perseverance and unwavering determination. It has been an incredible journey so far for Devilskin and we feel this album really encapsulates and represents our evolution as a band, as songwriters and as people.”

'Be Like The River' will be available as an 11 track album and 13 track deluxe pack, plus a Gatefold LP vinyl edition.

The album was recorded at Modern World Studios, Tetbury in the United Kingdom after Devilskin’s 2016 UK/ European Tour. After the success of their first album 'We Rise' the band maintained their strong working relationships, continuing the very successful and creative association with Producer Clint Murphy, Murphy producing and mixed the album, and working alongside, Ryan Smith from Sterling Sound New York who mastered both albums.

Barny Bewick from Indium Design created the artwork for the album. Devilskin say “we are incredibly proud of these songs and it was crucial to have the right visuals for the album so we again utilised the talents of Barny to create artwork that is as stunning and evocative as the music on the album.”

Devilskin’s debut album 'We Rise' was released in 2014, going straight to the top of the charts remaining as the Number 1 Album and Number 1 Kiwi Artist Album for three weeks and achieving Gold Sales after only 2 weeks. UK and European shows followed where the band were met with critical acclaim.

Devilskin have established themselves as a household name in their native New Zealand. Formed in Hamilton in 2010 this four piece rock band are bonded by blood. Paul (bass) and Nic (drums) are father and son, Jennie (vocals) is Nics’ Aunt and Pauls’ sister in law, Nail (guitar) is Pauls evil twin.
Following the release of their second album 'Be Like The River', Devilskin are special guests to Disturbed in Auckland, and will then go on to be be joined by Halestorm on an incredible double headline tour of New Zealand and Australia. Exclaiming "We'll be releasing our new album and following it up with a fantastic show, opening up for Disturbed in Auckland, and then start 2017 with a massive gig in Christchurch out doors, next to Canterbury Cathedral, that was damaged in the earthquakes in 2010. We see the New Year in with our friends Halestorm before we head to Australia with them for some shows on the East Coast. We definitely want to get back to the UK and Europe early in the New Year and we are currently locking in dates. Watch this space!"

NEWS: Idlewar video for On Our Knees

CALIFORNIAN hard rock trio Idlewar are playing across the UK in support of their recently released album 'Impulse' including the Planet RockStock festival in December. No Northern Ireland or Irish dates have been included.

The band have a released a video, to give us a taste of what we will be missing, for 'On Our Knees'.

The song finds Idlewar with their foot to the floor, delivering a knockout punch with its gutsy overdrive tone, yet still maintaining melody and hooks-a-plenty with effortless ease. The lo-fi-esque raw visuals of the O.C. trio's new live video, combined with the driven sonics, makes 'On Your Knees' another reason why you need to check this band out.

"This is not just about being able to play music that we’ve written for appreciative fans. It’s also about meeting these amazing people that we have connected with. We see a passion in fans that matches the passion we put into this music." - Idlewar

You can watch the video below:

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

NEWS: Sonata Arctica announce Belfast and Dublin shows in March

YOU may remember we gave a pretty positive review of the latest release from Sonata Artica's new album 'Ninth Hour' (review is here).

Well hence our delight when The Distortion Project confirmed that they have snagged a Belfast gig for the Finnish melodic metallers! The date is Saturday, March 25th in Limelight2.

As if that wasn't enough they have Finnish outfit Thunderstone and Canuck metallers Striker on the line up too...some have fans have the band were caught swooning like l'il girls.

Keyboard player of Sonata Arctica Henrik ‘Henkka’ Klingenberg said about the UK and Irish tour:
“It´s been far too long since we had a chance to do a proper UK and Irish tour, so of course we’re really happy to finally be able to announce the shows, as part of our European leg of ‘The Ninth Hour’ world tour. See you at the shows!”

The band play Dublin the night after the Limelight show

Tickets, priced at a measly £22 go on sale this week, grab 'em while you can!

NEWS: High Fighter release video for Darkest Days

HAMBURG based five-piece sludge and stoner metal band has just returned from a quick tour with Elder in October, a busy festival summer with live appearances at such as Summer Breeze Festival, Desertfest Berlin, Up in Smoke and alongside many more shows and tours around Europe in 2016, with their first and critically acclaimed debut album 'Scars & Crosses', which came out this summer on Svart Records, HIGH FIGHTER have just released a brand new video for the album track 'Darkest Days'!

In the typical High Fighter manner, this new video comes like the previous visual works of the band, in a 100% DIY-production. Fuzzy, dark, lots of headbanging and with a wild soundmix of bluesy stoner riffs, screams you will feel to your bone and some heavy sludge tunes, get on your next trip with High Fighter right below.

Mona Miluski, vocalist of the band, explains: “Since we're releasing this video today, exactly two years ago when we unveiled the band to public & released our first EP that day, so many great moments, shows, new friends and experiences followed for us, I see this new video for 'Darkest Days' as some cool and trippin summary. Of two more than amazing years of our short and young band history already.

"Our bassist Constantin again did such great job on the video! He edited it all by himself and it's again a pure do-it-yourself production. We used several live footage from our shows the past two years, and took some behind the scenes from tours & when we've been on the road...It's a very dark track and video but also visually weird, wild and psychedelic on the other hand. But that's what you get with High Fighter and on our album 'Scars & Crosses' in general: It's not an easy-listening record, it's more of a trip, and there's also a lot of pain and beauty happening to the same time. Chosing the track 'Darkest Days' for a new video of High Fighter has only been a matter of course, soundwise, we all dig that song, from the lyrics' perspective and its representation of our album vibe, but then this heavy contrast which comes with the visual footage of two awesome years with High Fighter. Seems we love contrasts!“

High Fighter have just formed in the Summer of 2014, but with their volatile cocktail of heavy as hell riffs, the blues and these deadly schizophrenic vocals, the band already offer something new to the sludge, blues, doom and stoner metal scene. After their ciritically acclaimed debut EP 'The Goat Ritual' (2014), followed by numerous shows all over Europe and the UK, including festivals, gigs and tours with bands such as Ahab, Mammoth Storm, Crowbar, Corrosion of Conformity, The Midnight Ghost Train, Earth Ship and many more, High Fighter released their first full length album 'Scars & Crosses' on June 10th 2016 on Svart Records.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

NEWS: Colour Of Noise Unveil Video for New Single ‘Medicine Man’

Colour of Noise are set to release their thought-provoking new single ‘Medicine Man’ on November 4th. Watch the video at the end of this post.

Produced by Luke Potashnick (of The Temperance Movement) and featuring Mark Richardson on drums, the track is an exclusive from RAK Studios. It marks the first time Bruce Dickinson of CoN and Mark Richardson have worked together since recording the cult B.l.o.w album ‘Man and Goat Alike’ in 1994.  Adding to the considerable talent pool, the song's heady psychedelic video has been produced by Mikee W Goodman (not only a member of progressive metal band SikTh, but also an award-winning director).

It's no secret that Colour of Noise are deeply respectful of the music of the past that inspired them, particularly the classic rock of the 60s and 70s. However, whilst recording once more on 2 inch tape and cranked-to-the max vintage gear, producer, Luke encouraged the band to be far less reverential, more adventurous; more minimalistic and experimental. This new direction paves the way for the next Colour of Noise Recordings which will take place in the Spring of 2017. 

CoN believe in exploring "issues of permanence" in their work. Medicine Man is no exception and deals with addiction in all its forms, including the inevitable accompanying feelings of hopeless and dependency. Colour of Noise don't claim to offer a solution to the problem, and indeed refrain from judging either the medicine man or the receiver of his wares. They simply document the pain and emptiness of the situation.

Medicine Man's colourful, striking video was directed by award-winning director Mikee W Goodman. "I wanted to bring this song to life visually," he explains, "The psychedelic vibe is reflected throughout the video. Felt great to work with Colour of Noise. Really enjoyed it and love the song too. We're looking forward to sharing this with you all."

“We all really respected Mikee’s work," says Bruce Dickinson, "and we gave him a completely free hand with the video, which is unashamedly psychedelic, and features Colour of Noise's resident psychiatrist: the Medicine Man himself, Andrew Rampion-Hill." Ironically Andrew is a real-life 'medicine man': an anaesthetist who specialises in cardiology!

The band are selling 50 limited edition singles, numbered and signed. You can pre-order yours here:https://colourofnoise.tmstor.es/cart/product.php?id=30320

In further news, CoN are pleased to announce they are heading out on the road again this December, kicking off this Winter tour at Planet Rockstock.

VIDEO: Raging Speedhorn 'Bring Out Your Dead' video from Download

ACH you mad folks out there seem to enjoy a wee slab of Raging Speedhorn, as evidenced from the reaction to their show in Belfast's Voodoo and the rabid response at Hard Rock Hell Stoner vs Doom.

You can read the Stoner vs Doom review here, and the Voodoo review here.

But as Raging Speedhorn head off on the road with Skindred (no NI shows) they have launched a video for the track 'Bring Out Your Dead', shot at their set at D(r)ownload 2016.

Watch it below:

Monday, October 24, 2016

LIVE REVIEW: Conjuring the metal rage: Conjuring Fate, Donum Dei and Attica Rage bring class to Saturday evening

WITH the ever-lengthening list of shows over the closing weeks of 2016 it is becoming increasingly difficult for promoters to attract crowds for all but the biggest headliners. Coming just a day after Alien Ant Farm and a week ahead of four consecutive nights of gigs, Attica Rage's show was up against all the odds.

However, for those that managed to make it down to Limelight2 for The Distortion Project presentation on Saturday (October 22nd) they were treated to a triple set of metal excellence.

Sure, it wasn't the most 'extreme' metal, but it was pure old-school metal with an added dash of thrash.

Openers Conjuring Fate are a well-oiled, smooth and tight machine - no clunking of the gears here. Led by Tommy's charismatic performance and well-balanced vocal delivery they, like the following act Donum Dei, are prepping for a new album, but the familiar tracks drew acclaim.

'House On Haunted Hill', 'Backwoods Witch' and Mirror, Mirror' from their last release capture the mood of classic metal with a NWOBHM attitude. However, this is no retrograde set; rather it brings the sound right into 2016. 

Phil and Karl take the opportunity to roam around the venue, exchanging jokes with the audience while on the go with 'Trust No One' was amongst the many highlights of the show.

The camaraderie on stage means Conjuring Fate are a potent force of fun and metal joy.

Donum Dei are ploughing a thrash groove, with a little added frisson of death and classic rocking. From start to end they engage well with each other and the audience. Since the last time we caught them they have tightened up.

New(ish) bassist Neil on bass adds a dimension to backing vocals with Stuart that brings out the best of the arrangements and supports Thomas's ever-impressive attack from then front.

Crowd favourite ' Justice Fails' never fails to impress, just as 'Redemption' and the rest of the set are increasingly forceful from the four-piece.

Attica Rage this year notched up their third album, 'Warheads Ltd', release and performed at Bloodstock, amongst other festivals.

With a decade of gigging experience under their belts Scottish rockers Attica Rage could not be impressed with the lack of crowd, something that just wasn't of their doing. But, those there were largely wowed by the impressive set.

Jonny Parr dominates the stage, with an ease of playing and a range that is multi-dimensional in delivery.

His interchanges with Stevie Bell showcase a maturity in melodious, mighty metal. The festival appearances and this run of UK and Irish dates have produced a locked in unit, with Matthew Ward (bass) and Richie Rage (drums) anchoring the sound.

Songs from 'Warheads Ltd' featuring they also reach back across their previous albums. Despite a slight lag mid-set the band have an ability to produce a narrative across their set, that shows they can rise above any challenges and make their rockin' metal compelling to listen to.

Review by Jonny
Pictures by Darren McVeigh
Reproduction by Written Consent Only 

LIVE REVIEW: Alien Ant Farm 15 Year ANThology Album Anniversary at Belfast Empire

Witnessing the live performance of the AAF Anthology Album 15 years after its original release in 2001 was a truly magical experience

I have always loved the band; I recall first hearing their cover of ‘smooth criminal’ back in my early teens when I first started getting into music and have admired the band ever since. I was overjoyed and jumped at the opportunity when I was asked to review their show

The World class nu-metal band kicked off their UK tour at Warehouse 23 on October 18th in Wakefield and made their way to the Empire on Friday October 21st for their first ever show in Belfast

Supporting AAF was Punk and Rasta/Soul influenced Rock band ‘(hed) p.e.’, Sumo Cyco; a four-piece female hard rock and dance hall rhythm infused band from Toronto, Ontario joined by Female fronted Detroit Rock band Kaleido.

I was very impressed with The Empire as the choice of venue and look forward to seeing similar events held here, the evening was very intimate as well as being very personally nostalgic for myself and many other fans who attended

The doors opened at 8.30 and the show opened with a performance from Kaleido, the band was young and cool and the music was very catchy, Christina Chriss on Vocals took to the stage and set a brilliant atmosphere within the crowd for the rest of the night to follow. I had never heard this band before and was quite impressed by them.

Next to take the stage was Sumo Cyco, the show was completely sold out and by this stage the venue was packed. The electric female vocals and the fast paced heavy punk music that accompanied them completely blew me away; the vibe from the entire crowd really began to pick up.

I saw many familiar faces and friends from within the Metal and Punk Rock scene that I’ve grown to know over the past decade from different shows I’ve been to. Each person I saw throughout the night was cheery and very excited as for many people this was their first chance to ever see AAF, It was definitely a night that will be remembered by all

“Alien Ant Farm were as good as ever, I seen them at download 2016 too for the first time. They really rocked the Empire and I hope they'll come back in the future” – said fan lyndsay Nicole

Hed(PE) came on to play around 10.30 and the room lit up with excitement, Frontman Jared Gomez jumped into the crowd with his mic in hand and walked around greeting everyone while he was performing. Despite never personally hearing this band before I was taken by their sound straight away – they played Punk and Metal riffs with hints of reggae and ska and some hip hop vocals over the top for good measure

“Hed PE were absolutely fantastic, they have an unusual style which I never thought I'd like but I actually do” – said one of the attendees of the event

Their chosen sound of punk and gangsta rap infused mash ups that the bands refers to as ‘G-Punk’ was definitely a first for many who attended, I loved them instantly and would definitely go see them again if they ever return to Belfast

As Hed(PE) finished their set an uplifting sensation swept across the crowd in anticipation for the grand finale of the night and everyone began to flee to the front to get closer to the stage, shortly afterwards Californian rock legends Alien Ant Farm took to the stage and began to play the Anthology album in its entirety

The tour itself was a celebration for the 15th anniversary of the Anthology album and the crowd jumped with excitement and sang along word for word throughout each song, it seemed like a very special night for all who attended - I felt as though I was reliving my teenage years

I was really impressed with the performance itself, after all this time since first releasing the album they played each song to an exceptional standard and made for a memorable evening.

Frontman Dryden Mitchell was very endearing and brought such a magical presence to the stage, he
gave it his all and he was quite funny and really engaging with the crowd, guitarist Terry Corso and drummer Mike Cosgrove also played all of the music to a standard of total perfection and made the performance truly great. I was also impressed by new bassist Tim Peugh who joined the band back in 2014, he was spot on throughout the show and played everything perfectly, the sound was just as brilliant as their original studio recording

They closed the show with ‘These Days’ and ‘Smooth Criminal’ making for a truly unforgettable experience, the crowd was ecstatic and buzzing, everyone dancing and full of excitement after the evening they’d been witness to.

This was one of the best shows I’ve been to in recent years, there was something very unique within the atmosphere throughout the entire evening and I was very happy to have been a part of it

Review By Sinead Hardy
Pictures by Liam Kielt
Reproduction by written permission only

Saturday, October 22, 2016

ALBUM REVIEW: Testament bring a pureblood banger to the table on Brotherhood Of The Snake

EACH iteration of what we gloriously regard as metal has been greeted as taking it "too far". From the proto metal of Cream and Iron Butterfly, through its birth with Sabbath (ably abetted by Zep and Purple), to the 70s heyday of the likes of Priest, through to the NWOBHM.

The musical elite probably regarded each evolution in the metal sound in the same way that one Tchaikovsky said about his own 1812 Overture: "Very loud, noisy and completely without artistic merit".

In this age when black, death and other variations of extreme metal the reaction to thrash metal's birth when sniffy so-called experts were still obsessed with the dying breaths of the first wave of punk. They would have mentally referenced the notes on the 1812 Overture (one reviewer in the long since departed Sounds actually used it) and slated anything with a vaguely 'thrash' tag.

But, that vaguely deceptive grouping called fans could not get enough. The early albums of the 'Big Four' and the likes of Exodus were devoured, analysed with the complexity of each arrangement, riff and solo noted.

The Big Four should really have been the 'Big Six' for along with Exodus there was one force of nature that emerged from the Bay Area. Testament.

More than three decades later they are still very loud, noisy and have bucket loads of artistic merit as they release their new album 'Brotherhood Of The Snake'.

The time they have taken since the 2012 release of 'Dark Roots of Earth' to pen this new album has paid off. This is one of the most complete and balanced thrash metal albums with all the power and arrangements, coupled with new twists, melody and guitar work that seers the aural palette.

Sure, we know Chuck Billy is an evocative lyricist and Alex Kolnick is superb, but this feels as if the band has discovered a new freshness, a new hunger. We're positive that feeling never left Testament, but this takes the band's work to the next level.

From the classic riffing of the intros to 'Centuries of Suffering' and 'Neptune's Spear' through to the structurally wondrous 'The Pale King' and 'The Number Game' there are elements familiar and elements that cut through the morass of predictability amongst lesser thrashers.

“Having separate periods to write set it apart,” Eric (Peterson) said. “Everybody played hard. Chuck really surprised me and belted out stuff that’s more melodic over the heavy speed metal riffs. It blended really well together.”
"It does flow,” Chuck agrees. “There’s a lot of musicianship going on there, and I was finding hooks in the moment. I was able to feel it and just go.”
It is that hook up between Alex and Eric's guitar interaction and Chuck's vocal gymnastics that works so well as exemplified on 'Black Jack'.
However, where it rips into new levels of pure excellence it really does something else that on the first, second, third, fourth and subsequent listens just has the listener foaming at the mouth in pleasurable ecstasy: akin to the best metaphorical metallic orgasm...
The title track is sheer excellence.
“It was actually one of the first songs we put together,” Chuck said. “Once we heard it mixed, we were all like, ‘Wow, we have the direction we’re going in. It’s really heavy.’”
Heaviness is one thing, but without the subtle aim of a hammer that hits your brain in just then right spot it is just flailing around - no, this is a precision attack.
Whether it be biblical epoch lyrics, or socially scathing songss ('Canna Business' with its super chorus) Chuck is once again laying down as a wordsmith, his craft sometimes overlooked because of the subject matter.
For example, on the surface, album closer 'The Number Game' is just another song about a serial killer. Written in conjunction with Steve Souza it is a complete thrash track, chilling in its story, but all tied together with musical ability, and yes, artistic merit.
Billy, Peterson, Skolnick, DiGiorgio and Hoglan are all on top form - a true brotherhood of thrash; producing music that harkens back to those 80s glory days, but also has their head firmly in 2016, thanks to some extent to Juan Urteaga's production.
Aside from the frowns and headbanging thrash music induces, what 'Brotherhood Of The Snake' really does is make you smile. You may not want to admit it, but for those brought up on thrash, those who were too young for its birth, but still embrace thrash, this will make you smile...and bang your fucking head too!
Review by Jonny
Bortherhood Of The Snake is out on October 28th via Nuclear Blast 
The band are on tour with Amon Amarth and Grand Magus including a Dublin date on November 2nd

Friday, October 21, 2016

ALBUM REVIEW: When you feel the blues, just Take it on Faith from the Rossington Collins Band

What happens when you hear the name Rossington? Well, you immediately think of Lynyrd Skynyrd, .38 Special, Rossington Collins Band and the Rossington Band and a husband and wife that make up southern rock royalty.

Just keep that thought.

Iconic musicians always have a weight upon their shoulders of having never to fail with their next album or single. To fail can tarnish their pristine aura and reputation. Something that can overshadow years of success…

So is this new album ‘Take it on Faith’ from Gary Rossington, legendary founding member of Lynyrd Skynyrd and his wife Dale, queen of southern rock, the end of the road? Is this the music that shows they should stop now? Go out on top and leave well alone? Especially since it was the 80s since their last album under the Rossington banner.

Who’s kidding who? The southern tinged genius of Rossington is far from even being tired.

From the first few notes of ‘Highway of Love’ you know you can relax, sit back cup that tumbler of sweet JD in your hand and ease off down that dusty hot road of your mind as you meander towards a thing of beauty. There is no mistaking the southern bluesy rock feel that just makes you feel good.

The second song ‘I should’ve known’ is a beautifully crafted piece of southern gospel made to push passion into your soul through its superb blues gospel sound overlaid by Dales powerful sexy gravelly voice pushing through full of old time emotion. It’s perfectly composed with the rhythm and blues guitar, drums and organ pulling you in and showing you a pew in the Church of the Blues.

Now we take it easy with the title track ‘Take it on Faith’ with a stunningly soft slow walk along the river bank as the sun heats the ground you walk on in a midday haze, or as you hold your partner close in a slow content dance in the evening heat. Soppy this may sound but the emotional response you get from this beautifully crafted track is pure and raw. Superb.

Next is ‘Light a Candle’ another gorgeous slow cooking gospel style song that just connects with your soul. Its catchy and feels just right.

Light up the stove, Y’all, as moma sticks on the pot to show you it’s best to ‘Dance while you’re Cookin’. This is a superb honky tonk raunchy song that is so upbeat you might actually dance in your kitchen. The southern style slide guitar sound resonates throughout perfectly complimenting Dale’s delivery of her cheeky grin style vocals.

Then we move to the smouldering blues delivery of ‘Shame on Me’. This song sounds like they’re channelling Gary Moore at his best. A heartfelt blues rock track of raw emotion once again perfectly topped with Dale’s pure bluesy vocals.

At this point you may wish to take a break or even start all over again. No, not that the rest is not as good. It’s just purely to feel the power of the previous six songs again just to make sure the power of those tracks weren’t a fluke. And not a single impression will change and you’ll wonder how the hell can they have that many good songs before your mind gets blown with the next six songs.

First song on this continuation of blues heaven is ‘Good side of Good’ a rocking rolling track firmly grounded in a southern blues foundation. Upbeat, catchy and superb.

We go on to a slow potent song with ‘Through My Eyes’ a love song that is incredibly powerful and raw. This is the soul stripped back type that reaches down to the bottom of your gut and twists it in either a good way or bad depending on whether or not you have just found your soul mate or just broke up with them.

Now we have ‘Something Fishy’ another fantastic honky tonk swinging piece of blues rock that trundles along with a perfectly lazy gait that will have your foot tapping in time. The sexy raunchy drawl of Dale’s vocals once again accentuates the track with a pure deep blues power that powers the song.

Put up the umbrella now as we listen to ‘Too Many Rainy Days” a track that would sit perfectly in a hot and stuffy gin joint contaminated with the hazy waft of cigarette smoke trawling through dry air. The fantastic easy drawling blues riffs from Gary are a thing to behold on this track especially beautifully complimented by the rhythm and blues hammering on the piano. The raw blues emotional weight on this track is mind blowing. It resonates so much with Gary Moore’s ‘Still got the Blues’. This is blues rock of the highest order.

The penultimate song ‘Where Did The Love Go” is another emotionally laden song that is as stripped back and raw as it can go. This is a guilty pleasure break up song that a towering hulk of a tattoo covered monster won’t feel embarrassed in having a “Having something in their eye - leaking around the eyes” listening experience.

Finally we have ‘Two Very Different Things” that proves once again the Christopher Walken adage – you can never have too much cow bell. A great track to finish off the album with. A lighter defiant rebellious cheeky style song that rolls along quite nicely, thank you very much.

This is definitely a “Put on repeat” album that you can very easily find yourself listening to over and over again.

Strangely this album will feel so much closer to you if you have ever watched the like of “The Ranch” as it seems to encapsulate the sitcom perfectly. Or indeed if you have ever watched the classic blues movie “Crossroads”.

This album pumps out beautiful passionate compelling blues music that lets you know you do indeed have emotions in your cold hard metal body.

This is a must have album. Seriously. Even if blues or southern rock isn’t totally your thing this is an album that will easily fit into your collection. It’s that damn good.

Keep the Faith is out on 4th November 2016.

Review by Ivor Whitten

ALBUM REVIEW: Graham Bonnet's back with The Book - new album and greatest hits re-recorded

WITH a career spanning over 40 years singing in such bands as Rainbow, MSG, Alcatrazz and Impellittori, as well as an extensive solo career, Graham Bonnet has returned with a new band of Jimmy Waldo (keyboards), Beth-Ami Heavenstone (bass), Mark Zonder (drums) and South American guitar sensation Conrado Pesinato. Having played with such luminaries as Blackmore, Schenker, Vai and Malmsteen Bonnet has unearthed a hell of a player to join these exalted players.

The new album ‘The Book’ is due for release on November 4th and promises a blend of songs from that era that Bonnet promises to blow hard rock fans away. Never being one to write simplistic lyrics but rather songs with complicated storylines full of content and meaning can this album deliver what the promo material suggests?

Opening track ‘Into The Night’ confirms this straight away. A story of a husband coming home to changed locks and packed bags with his wife saying their marriage is over sets the tone. A hard rocking number with a slow middle section is a song that in terms of the guitar riff could easily featured on Alcatrazz’s Disturbing the Peace. Bonnet’s voice is a strong as ever, if in a slightly lower register and the melodies and hooks are all present.

‘Welcome to My Home’ continues in the same vein with a hard rockin’ feel to it with more soulful vocals and a nice keyboard underlay on the solo. Harmony vocals and steady drum and bass are already a feature on this album.

Track three ‘Earth’s Child (I am your son)’ has a standard mid tempo hard rock riff and another nice bass line from the impressive Beth-Ami Heavenstone. With a bit of a dramatic intro and nice vocal melodies again and a very nice solo from Pesinato it continues the strong start to the album.

‘Rider’ has a slower mid tempo feel with again a strong rhythm section. It’s a more radio friendly song but still had that hard rock riff.

Track five ‘Dead Man Walking’ has a mellow Schenker-esque opening before a full on assault attack on the eardrums. The drums and fierce bass from Heavenstone add depth and the hooks and melodies lead to a blinding solo from Pesinato again.

‘Strangest Day’ has an intro mix of synth keyboard, drum and bass intro that leads to a heavy fast paced riff. The hooks and melodies between the guitar and verses are very melodic and there’s a nice fast paced rhythm section under the solo.

‘The Dance’ is melodic and slower in tempo with a drum and bass lead in. Again the melodic vocals are in evidence overlapping nicely between the verses and chorus.

Track eight, ‘Where Were You’ has a Queen-style funky keyboard intro. The harmony vocals again overlay a strong riff and a slow middle section just sets up a shredding solo from Pesinato.

Title song ‘The Book’ has a fast driving riff that has a strong Rainbow feel to it mostly in part to the Don Airey style keyboards. Again Heavenstone proves she is a pretty accomplished bassist and the song has a very Rainbow style ending to it.

‘Everybody Has To Go There’ has a combined drum, bass and guitar intro and is a driving hard rock song with big hooks and melodies

Another fantastic solo has a great bass line underneath it.

Final song ‘California Air’ ends the album with a crunchy yet melodic riff with a bit of a plinky piano piece. Once more the harmony vocals overlap between the verse and chorus and a very sweet harmonic solo just rounds the song off nicely.

So, that’s the review for “The Book” done....or is it? The album comes with a second cd of re-recorded classic from Bonnet’s back catelogue. Rather than review them all (you should bloody know them anyway) its safe to say that although they are recorded in a lower key to suit Graham’s ageing voice they actually sound really fresh and the band to a great job in re-creating the old songs with a fresher more modern feel to them. In particular Pesinato puts hiscown stamp on the songs without ever straying too far from the originals.
The track listing for the 2nd cd is ÷
Eyes Of The World
All Night Long
Lost in Hollywood
Since You’ve Been Gone
Night games
Assault Attack
Dessert Song
Island in The Sun
Hiroshima Mon Amour
God Bless Video
Will you be There Tonight
Stand in Line
Here Comes The Night (Down Without a Fight)
All in all this is a superb release and anyone who hasn’t got tickets for his upcoming tour, including Northern Irish dates and appearance at HRH X.....what the feck are you waiting for......
Review by Andy Gillen

ALBUM REVIEW: Red Fang back with full length LP, Only Ghosts

To get everyone up to speed, Red Fang are a US rock band that have been on the scene since about 2005 and since the release of the first album it’s been all about no-nonsense rock. ‘Only Ghosts’ is no different.

It’s ten solid tracks of sludge or stoner rock depending on which part of the world you come from as it’s a moot point otherwise. There was a point back in 2014 when the album, ‘Whales and Leeches’ caught the imagination and I found myself watching these guys on the Letterman show. Of all places, the Letterman show, but it told us the band had arrived and that the average guy was looking for simple, straight up rock without all of the shenanigans. ‘Only Ghosts’ continues that tradition.

Before we get into the album the cover is a hark back to the day when the art told you something about the band, confirmed the purchase and gave hours of entertainment pouring over the liner notes.
This cover is an optical illusion that gives you the impression that the art work is slithering across the page towards the red ball in the centre. Just the tonic for coming home after a big night, fighting the room spins and then being taunted by an album cover.

Anyway, the music is as immense as Red Fang always sounds. There is no trickery in the mix and it’s just a huge solid sound from the four piece. Bryan Giles on vocals is perfect for the band and this album is a headlong rush from beginning to end. Kicking off with, ‘Flies’ it’s a no-holds-barred rock out, simple straight up melody but still unpredictable. ‘Cut it Short’ is up the stoner end of the spectrum and it’s another solid, unpretentious track that bookends into, ‘Flames’, a ninety-second instrumental, all chimes and feedback.

As long as I’ve listened to this band I’ve always been happiest when they just sway all over the place, changing time and throwing everything into the mix. Just listen to track four, ‘No Air’, and you will get my drift. Its riffing, its sludge, its stoner then it all grinds to a blurry halt. Need a quick introduction to Red Fang, then drop the digital needle onto this track and strap yourself in.

Pick of the bunch is track seven, ‘The Smell of the Sound’ which is feed
back where a riff should be, all running through a go-stop-go beat that danced my speakers across the desk. This is the gut wrenching, internal organ reorganisation that trademarks Red Fang.

Not one dud on this album, we close the show with, ‘Living in Lye’, with its syrup thick riffs and insane drumming to the end. The solo here is beamed from another era and hints at the direction that this band is heading. As the song closes, it kicks on again with the solo jostling to be heard during the fade out.

I think that Red Fang could sing a dictionary and I’d still go to see them. Word to the wise, get this on vinyl if you can as it adds a whole new dimension to the sound. Digital is great but vinyl lets this music breathe. Get it, stare and the cover and get sucked into the Red Fang universe.

Review by Craig Grant

Thursday, October 20, 2016

NEWS: Blues rockers Dirty Thrills release acoustic EP and unveil new video

LONDON blues rockers Dirty Thrills have just premiered their video for single ‘Lonely Soul’ and release a very special acoustic EP ‘Devils Wine’ 21st October 2016.
Lonely Soul is about the hardship of losing somebody you love- in this case the vocalist’s father and was recently featured in Classic Rock’s ‘Tracks of The Week’

Watch the video below.

The track features on their new EP. Lead singer Louis James explains “Acoustic is pretty new to us, we played a couple of sets at Ramblin' Man Fair and were blown away by the response from the fans, so this is for them, with thanks!

The title 'Devils Wine' holds fond memories of my dad, who whenever he would enjoy a drink or two, he would recite the origins of the phrase 'Devils Wine'.”
For fans of their turbo driven rock, this acoustic Ep may come as a surprise, but it is worth the effort. Review to follow shortly