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Tuesday, December 06, 2016

NEWS: Black Star Riders release second video trailer for 'Heavy Fire'

FOLLOWING the recent announcement of their third studio album 'Heavy Fire', Black Star Riders have released a second video trailer in which Damon Johnson, Ricky Warwick and Scott Gorham discuss the band developing their own sound beyond the Thin Lizzy legacy.

Watch it here.

Heavy Fire is set for release via Nuclear Blast Entertainment on 3rd February 2017

Scott Gorham said: "We're absolutely finding our own sound. We'd been on a run with Thin Lizzy for 5 years, so it's gonna always take a little while to find your feet with a new sound. But, everybody is an individual here and individually we all write differently anyway so you are going to come up with a different sound eventually. Which is what I think we've done with this album"

Pre-order the album below:
Limited Edition Orange and clear vinyl from the Nuclear Blast UK Store: http://nblast.de/BSRHeavyFireNBUK
Limited Edition Digibook CD, CD, Vinyl & Vinyl Pic Disc from Amazon.co.uk: http://nblast.de/BSRHeavyFireAmzUK
Digital Album from iTunes: pre-order now and get the track ŒWhen The Night Comes In¹ instantly:

ICYMI - watch the first trailer here.

Watch the lyric video for 'When The Night Comes In' here.

The band's previous album, ³The Killer Instinct², was released in 2015 to widespread critical acclaim and went on to score multiple radio playlists. A solid year of worldwide touring culminated in December 2015 in an UK arena tour alongside Def Leppard and Whitesnake.

2016 saw the band return to the studio with 'The Killer Instinct's producer Nick Raskulinecz (Rush, The Foo Fighters, Mastodon), at his studio just outside Nashville.

The resultant album is Black Star Riders most accomplished work to date. From the immediate riffs of album opener 'Heavy Fire' to the instant hooks of first single 'When The Night Comes In', from the dirty bass groove of 'Thinking About You Could Get Me Killed' to the familiar and trademark dual guitars of Gorham and Johnson on 'Testify Or Say Goodbye', this is an album that will further cement BSR¹s reputation as one of the world premiere rock acts.

Following on from their critically acclaimed albums 'All Hell Breaks Loose' and 'The Killer Instinct' which have paved the way for Black Star Riders to be recognized as a power force in the modern day of Rock n' Roll, 'Heavy Fire' will be once again released by Nuclear Blast Entertainment.

The band have also brought in Pledgemusic, one of the most innovative and successful platforms of the modern music world, to give fans extra special product and experiences to go along with the album's release.
Tracklistings below:

1. Heavy Fire
2. When The Night Comes In
3. Dancing With The Wrong Girl
4. Who Rides The Tiger
5. Cold War Love
6. Testify Or Say Goodbye
7. Thinking About You Could Get Me Killed
8. True Blue Kid
9. Ticket To Rise
10. Letting Go Of Me

The Limited Edition Digibook CD will have above Tracklisting plus
Bonus Track
11. Fade

Limited Edition Gatefold Vinyl
Limited Edition Picture Disc
Side One
1. Heavy Fire
2. When The Night Comes In
3. Dancing With The Wrong Girl
4. Who Rides The Tiger
5. Cold War Love
 Side Two
1. Testify Or Say Goodbye
2. Thinking About You Could Get Me Killed
3. True Blue Kid
4. Ticket To Rise
5. Letting Go Of Me

After a full year off the road, Black Star Riders  (Ricky Warwick, Scott Gorham, Damon Johnson, Robert Crane and Jimmy DeGrasso) are back with a 16 date UK & Ireland run, joined on the first five dates by Scottish rockers Gun and The Amorettes and then Sweden¹s own Backyard Babies with Gun on the remaining 11 shows.

Black Star Riders play Belfast's Limelight1 with Gun and The Amorettes on
Sunday 5th March, Limelight, Belfast

NEWS: Gotthard set to release new album 'Silver' in January

A QUARTER of a century ago, Gotthard set out from the idyllic Swiss canton Tessin to conquer the world with pure, straightforward rock and gigantic ballads.

In 2016, we can undoubtedly certify that they’ve pulled off the trick: With 15 No.1 albums and various multi platinum awards Gotthard are not only the most successful Swiss band but are also a staple in the global spotlight.

The hard rockers from Lugano played a lot more than 2000 concerts on three continents with the likes of Deep Purple, Bryan Adams, Bon Jovi and AC/DC, performed celebrated headliner tours all over Europe, and sold over three million records to date.

For 25 years, Gotthard have been a regular in the charts and represent SWISS ROCK AT IT’S BEST!

The band are set to release a brand new studio album, “Silver”, in 2017. A distillation of everything that has made Gotthard such an enduring act. The third album with lead singer Nic Maeder is produced by Charlie Bauerfeind (Helloween, Blind Guardian among others) and Leo Leoni – so the dream team’s at it again.

“We were all very happy with the workflow and the result of the BANG! production – so it was pretty clear that we wanted to give the great collaboration another shot!”
The record will be released on January 13, 2017 on Musikvertrieb in Switzerland and internationally via PIAS – which means that the first Friday the 13th next year won’t spell bad luck. Quite the opposite.

The band are set to tour throughout 2017 starting with no UK dates announced so far.

In the current line-up consisting of Leo Leoni (guitar), Freddy Scherer (guitar), Marc Lynn (bass), Hena Habegger (drums), and Nic Maeder (vocals) “Firebirth” proved to be a deeply felt homage to rock ‘n‘ roll, emphasizing the band’s reincarnated joy of making music. As if given a new pair of wings, Gotthard, who rank at no.6 of the Swiss all-time album chart history, kicked off their 2016 world tour across 22 countries, playing to more than 300,000 people.

NEWS: Three more added to Bloodstock line-up - Annihilator, Municipal Waste and Skindred

AS if you weren't already getting hyped up for Bloodstock 2017 they have only gone and announced three more top notch bands.

Rather than us waxing lyrical here's the official statement:

"As we pelt into December, Bloodstock HQ is getting some Christmas treats ready!  As well as preparing the on-sale dates of VIP upgrades, the remainder of the VIP ticket allocation and this year’s deposit scheme, we’ve three more bands to announce for 2017!

"Joining the BOA fray for the first time are Skindred. The boisterous Welsh crew mix a unique blend of reggae, punk and metal and are renowned for their live shows. If you’ve ever taken part in Evil Scarecrow’s epic ‘Crabulon’ before, get ready to join in with the Newport helicopter!  Check out the video for ‘Sound The Siren’ from their current album ‘Volume’, out now via Napalm Records - https://youtu.be/GFfnWl_kTjA.

"Also landing a main stage slot are Canadian thrash icons, Annihilator.  Last year’s ‘Suicide Society’ album - the band’s fifteenth! - spawned tour dates around the globe, but rumour has it they’re heading back to the studio this month!  Check out Jeff Waters and his cohorts slaying through their classic track ‘Alison Hell’ at Wacken 2015 and get a taster of what’s in store at BLOODSTOCK via https://youtu.be/P6cDYteXJpA!  Minus the mud, of course!

Rounding out today’s announcement are our crossover thrash buddies, Municpal Waste!  With last album ‘The Fatal Feast’ coming out four years ago, maybe Bloodstock will get treated to a new tune or two?!  Frontman Tony Foresta tells us “We are very excited to be finally returning to one of our favourite metal festivals - Bloodstock!  We’re looking forward to getting greasy with all of our UK fans!”  Meanwhile, check out the space-gore-tastic video to the title track here: https://youtu.be/GLY4Rpii7bM.

Already announced for 2017 are Friday’s headliners AMON AMARTH, plus BLIND GUARDIAN, HATEBREED, TESTAMENT, OBITUARY, BRUJERIA, WHITECHAPEL, POSSESSED, HELL and DECAPITATED.  Many more are still to be announced!

Early bird weekend camping tix are on sale at a discounted £120 and due to exceptional demand, a limited number of VIP packages were put on sale last month on a first come, first served basis.  This allocation quickly SOLD OUT!

The remaining VIP allocation and a number of VIP upgrades (to accompany previously purchased early bird tickets) and will be available from 16th December, but don’t hang around if you want these, as VIP is set to sell out even earlier in 2017.  Also stay tuned for details of 2017’s ticket deposit scheme (payable over 5 instalments) in just a few weeks time!

BLOODSTOCK will take place at Catton Park, Derbyshire on 10th-13th August 2017.  Early bird weekend tickets with camping are available now, priced from £120 (+ booking fee) at http://bloodstock.seetickets.c om/event/bloodstock-2017/catto n-park/1010726/.  Children’s weekend tickets are also available, priced £35 (+ booking fee).  Camper van pitches have now SOLD OUT. 

TONIGHT! Witness A Legend - Steve Harris British Lion plays Limelight

HE is quite possibly one of the men in metal who can legitimately be called a living legend, the founder and bassist of Iron Maiden, Steve Harris.

Tonight, December 6th, Steve Harris will be appearing at Limelight1 in Belfast with his side project British Lion.

Formed in 2012 Harris has been working between Maiden tours and recordings to keep the project going forward when he gets a chance. The Belfast date represents the end of a tour that has seen British Lion play 27 dates across Europe.

More hard rock than metal British Lion represent a genre of music that is still as relevant today as in the 70s and 80s, and the show should attract those who are fans of a range of rock and metal.

Support comes from Wild Lies. Tickets are available on the door...if you haven't got yours yet you should make a beeline to Limelight1 for the doors at 7pm and witness a legend!

NEWS: Ginger Wildheart releases song to support positive mental health and the Samaritans this Christmas

Ginger Wildheart is releasing a single for Suicide Prevention at Christmas to promote Mental Health Awareness and the proceeds will go to The Samaritans.

The lead track is called 'Fuck You Brain', recorded with Ginger’s friend Ryan Hamilton.  Along with Fuck You Brain, the single includes two extra original and previously unreleased songs, all for £5.00 (minimum).

“Ironically I struggled even getting to the studio to record my parts for this single, deep as was in my current battle with depression. The same attack that almost killed me a week ago," he said.

"My depression wants me dead. So far I'm winning on weight advantage, but the battle is never over.

"This is a very vulnerable time of year for sufferers of mental health issues, and suicide sees a marked increase over Christmas and New Year. So the help provided by The Samaritans is invaluable, especially over this period.

"Please help us in helping someone this year.

"Obviously severe depression is not seasonal, but the reminder that you yourself are 'not doing so bad' is reinforced over this Festive holiday. If you have a healthy family, loved ones who are safe, a warm home, a job and a hot meal staring at you at some point, then you are doing better than many people this Xmas. 

"To simply say "thank you" for what you have, please donate for those suffering from suicidal thoughts, struggling with depression/anxiety, or for those helping such a person through this holiday period.

"Our suggestion is £5:00, but if you're doing okay this year then please add a little. The people involved in this single all gave their time for free, and we'll even be dropping a 'thank you' donation into the box. Let's do this selflessly and with love.

"I'd like to thank everyone who has worked tirelessly to make sure that this single happens in time to help. My warm thanks extend to every one of you for helping save someone's life this Christmas. “

Watch the video for Fuck You Brain below

To purchase the Fuck You Brain single go to: https://roundrecords.bandcamp.com/

Monday, December 05, 2016

LIVE REVIEW: Last In Line rousing rembrance and look to the future with Toseland...plus three others

WHEN there are two shows across two venues at closely similar times it is inevitable that one will suffer in terms of attendance, but that doesn't mean that any performance suffered.

To put this in in some sort of context in Belfast't Limelight2 The Distortion Project presented the Cross Eyed Mary EP launch with Safire and Rosco's Riot in support. A couple of yards away in Limelight1 Last In Line were concluding their autumn tour with Toseland backing them.

The Limelight2 gig first act were on at 6:30, with doors in Limelight1 opening at 7pm, and Toseland on shortly afterwards.

Trying to catch all the songs from all the acts was therefore impossible (apart from Last In Line, of course) but getting a flavour of the performances, a sense of the reception they would receive was important.

With Katy's buzzing and the queue forming at Limelight1 Rosco's Riot took to the stage to a sparsely populated venue. However, that didn't slow them down as they eeked out a muscular 30 minute set, filled with groove and taut rhythms.

As Safire took to the stage Toseland were making their return to a Northern Ireland stage to a deservedly warm welcome.

Their brand of radio-friendly hard rock has a ready audience from the off as they took to the stage with 'Living in the Moment'. Being paired with the classic metal of Last In Line may have seemed strange to the average under 40 gig goer of 2016. However, when Dio was playing Antrim Forum and Metallica played there and Belfast, it was virtually the same audiences that went to those gigs and the likes of Def Leppard. Genre boundaries? There shouldn't be any as long as the music is good.

Harkening back to the 80s in Limelight2 Safire provide a modern take on that era with poise and passion. Led by Saffron's strong vocal delivery, as per their previous show the week before opening for Raveneye the band have the songs and style to enable them to go much further. Catching half the set was enough to confirm they will continue to rise.

With Last In Line about to come on stage there was a chance to catch a few tunes from Cross Eyed Mary as they officially launched their EP 'Nil By Mouth'.

Although many of the tracks had been heard at the band's recent appearance at Hard Rock Hell X but what is impressive now is that 'Mary have most recently been able to balance their three guitar attack through solid arrangements and delivery.

The previous appearance of Last In Line in Belfast was very much as a band celebrating the first three Dio albums. Even then the sense was that this wasn't just some re-tread of classic songs to get a crowd singing.

Since then a lot has changed. When they sat down to record the album 'Heavy Crown' in 2015 Jimmy Bain was very much at the heart of the songwriting. With Bain's passing in January there may have been a question mark over LiL's future, but the band were determined to press on to honour the bassist's legacy.

Re-grouped and with other touring commitments out of the way Last In Line have been on the road for several weeks, and as well as playing like consummate professionals have made sure Bain's music still is aired for live audiences.

It was fitting that the third song of Saturday's set was 'Devil In Me' from 'Heavy Crown'. Sure 'Stand Up And Shout' and Straight Through The Heart' had the crowd well warmed up, but there was a sincerity about this track that rang true.

Bringing in Phil Soussan on bass duties is a more than qualified replacement with his experience and prowess, and after the run of shows he fits in well as does Erik Norlander on keys.

But the star in Belfast is the homecoming man, Vivian Campbell. To say he is idolised by the majority there is an under-statement. True Andrew Freeman is at the front, leading with an impressive set of pipes, but it is Campbell that draws the most cheers - closely followed by Vinny Appice.

The show was a rampage through songs that drew all back into their formative years, or for those two young calling forth a time they wished to have been born in time for.

'Don't Talk To Strangers', Holy Diver, 'Last In Line', 'Rainbow In The Dark' - all so familiar the audience could have carried the band along...and they did. A welcome and adulation.

'Starmaker' 'Revolution' and, of course, 'We Rock' closed the evening all too early.

Last In Line have continued the legacy of those first three Dio albums, but it is not a tribute show, nor is it just some side project on down time between other bands. This is a band with heritage and a future.

We can just think of the past, but we can't live in the past - nor should we. Campbell and co show that just because they wrote and played on some of the most iconic tracks in metal history and now look set to continue as if the intervening years were but a blink.

Rush back please.

Review by Jonathan Traynor
Photos courtesy of Darren McVeigh, MetalplanetBelfast

NEWS: Guns n' Roses set for Slane date in May

THE much talked about Guns n' Roses 'Not In This Lifetime' tour is set to land at Slane Castle on May 27th, 2017, the first date of the European leg of the tour.

And the owners of Slane seem pretty pleased to welcome the Gunners back...

Speaking on the announcement Lord Henry Mountcharles stated "We are really thrilled to have one of the most excitIng rock n' roll bands in the world coming back to Slane 25 years after they first played, the same month in 1992 which was critically considered to be one of the best Slane’s ever."

While Lord Henry’s daughter Lady Tamara Conyngham is thrilled by next years headliners "I’m just so excited that I will finally get the chance to see one of the greats. I missed them the first time round the fact I get a second chance is pretty incredible."

While son Alex recalled the last time Guns N’ Roses visited Slane “They were massive for us at the time and an amazing act to witness. I remember Axl coming out on stage and the crowd just going bananas. The energy was incredible."
The Not In This Lifetime Tour has sold over 2 million tickets throughout 2016 while also grossing over $200 million to become the year’s most successful rock tour.

The Not In This Lifetime Tour, visited 21 cities (25 shows) in less than 2 months, wrapped the first North America leg last summer before setting its eyes on South America.  In South America, the band completely sold out all 15 dates of the tour including 13 stadium dates.

The current line-up is Axl Rose (vocals, piano), Duff McKagan (bass), Slash (lead guitar), Dizzy Reed (keyboard), Richard Fortus (rhythm guitar), Frank Ferrer (drums), and Melissa Reese (keyboard).

Tickets go on sale Friday, 9th December.

Friday, December 02, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interview by Jonathan Traynor
Pictures courtesy of Darren McVeigh of MetalplanetBelfast

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

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

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

Listen to "Lake of Fire" here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NEWS: Green Day to play Belfast with Rancid

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Review by Jonathan Traynor
Pictures by Lizzie Torbitt

Friday, November 25, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pre-order the upcoming EP ‘The Hellfire Demos II’ digitally here:

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

ALBUM REVIEW: Flame burns bright for Fireland on third release

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Review by Jonathan Traynor

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

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Review by Melanie Brehaut
Photos by Liam Kielt Photography