Pick Your Rock and Metal

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

ALBUM REVIIEW: Close to realising the glory days on Rated X debut

RATED X is the self titled debut album from the new “supergroup” consisting of Joe Lynn Turner, Tony Franklin, Carmine Appice and Karl Cochran.

With bands such as Rainbow, Deep Purple, Whitesnake and Blue Murder on their collective resume’s this release had the potential to be in for a shout at the album of the year category, but is it? Well, yes and no.

Turner's vocals throughout are excellent,with a deeper, raspier tone in fitting with his progressing years and really suiting the overall sound of the album.

The influences are clearly there to hear, especially Lhasa which could have been on Rainbow Rising, but have been given a modern twist and the Franklin/Cappice combination drives the album with relentless rhythm.

For me,however,the stand out contribution comes from Karl Cochrane. His guitar work is excellent at worst and outstanding at best and helps lift some of the weaker tracks.

There is also some very good keyboards supplied by Frontiers records producer Alessandro Del Vecchio (Hardline and formerly Eden’s Curse) who had a major role in putting this project together.

The overall musicianship cannot be faulted and there are some excellent riffs and solos from Cochrane but the album for me is in two parts. The first half being excellent hard rock with a heavier darker tone to it, while the second half has a more commercial, melodic,safe feel to it. This isn’t necessarily a criticism but I felt the album tailed off in parts during the second half when it could have become a genuinely classic rock album. ( Maybe playing it on shuffle would iron this out )

Rated X is an album worth investigating with the hope that a second one will be sanctioned and continues where the first part of this one left off. Recommended tracks are the first 6 , Peace of Mind (8), On the way to Paradise(10) and album closer Stranger in Us All. Rating – 8/10
Guest reviewer: Andy Gillen

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

NEWS: The Bitch is on tour as RBOTN prepare for some dates with Portrait across UK and Ireland

OH DEAR, oh dear, oh dear -  halls and venues across UK and Ireland are set to be annihilated as Rabid Bitch of the North take to the road. They are opening for some Swedish blokes - called by the good name Portrait. Now that's a combination that will be incendiary.

The Swedish heavy metal titans Portrait are touring in support of their recent and critically acclaimed third album 'Crossroads' which was released earlier this year via Metal Blade Records.

Starting in early 2015, the band to bring a blaze of twin-guitar fuelled metal mayhem. The blurb reads: "Entitled 'Seven Ageless Rites UK & Ireland' these shows will see Portrait take their brand of glorious, galloping and honest heavy metal to new audiences and ensure that their reputation for delivering the goods in fine style will be cemented, and indeed enhanced, in the hearts and minds of UK and Irish metal fans nationwide."

Listen To Portrait 'In Time' Here!

The band have also just released a split album via Metal Blade with brothers-in-arms Ram on 5th December. Titled 'Under Command', the split consists of 6 songs (3 from each band), of which the 3 Portrait songs on offer feature an exclusive, brand-new tune entitled 'Martial Lead', a cover of the Ram song 'Blessed to be Cursed' and the band's unique take on the classic Exciter song 'Aggressor'.

As said support on this tour comes from our very own Rabid Bitch Of The North. Fresh from annihilating Bloodstock Festival in August this year, the band will come armed with their own fiery brand of NWOBHM inspired, aggressive heavy metal. Don't get too close - the bitch is about to bite!
If you're a fan of Angel Witch, Motörhead, Danzig, Warfare and more then do not miss these guys when they hit your town!

Stream Rabid Bitch Of The North 'Defending Two Castles' Here!

Here's the tour dates and fuck us pink but there's a Belfast date in there - happy fucking metal days!

30th Jan - Dolan's Warehouse - Limerick*
31st Jan - Gypsy Rose Rock and Blues Bar - Dublin
1st Feb - Belfast - Voodoo
3rd Feb - Glasgow - Ivory Blacks
4th Feb - Lancaster - The Yorkshire House
6th Feb - Birmingham - The Asylum
7th Feb - Black Heart Camden
*Portrait Only

NEWS: Metal night in April as Goatwhore join up with Skeletonwitch for Dublin date

YOU can't beat a bit of good old nasty music - and come April Skeletonwitch, Goatwhore and Mortals will be playing the Voodoo Lounge in Dublin

Goatwhore said: "After being part of a really successful European and UK tour with Dying Fetus, Malevolence and Fallujah for the last 6 weeks, I am really stoked to be returning in April with our good friends in Skeletonwitch & Mortals to offer another dose of Extreme Metal to our European and UK fans. This will be a crushing experience to all that attend. We would like to thank everyone that attended the shows in November & December. See you in 2015!"
The gig is on 12th April.

GOATWHORE have just recently launched a brand new music video for the track "Nocturnal Conjuration of the Accursed." The song is from their latest collection of NOLA-flavored extreme metal cuts, entitled "Constricting Rage of the Merciless." The video can be viewed now at metalblade.com/goatwhore, where fans can also order the album in various configurations!

"Constricting Rage Of The Merciless" debuted at #81 on Billboard's Top 200 chart, toppling their last entry position of #171 with "Blood for the Master." Additionally, the album ranked in at #21 on Billboard's Rock chart, #7 on the Hard Rock chart and #13 on the Independent chart.

NEWS: Good Vibes for Terri

Below is the full press release for the Good Vibes for Terri gig - sounds perfect for blowing away those post Christmas cobwebs. We'll be at Maverick in the Voodoo on the same night, but will try to get round for The Defects and The Outcasts.
A Musical Benefit For Terri Hooley

Limelight 1: Tim Wheeler, Nathan Connolly, Iain Archer, Bap Kennedy, Duke Special, Tony Wright and special guests, TBA

Limelight 2: The Outcasts, The Defects, The Sabrejets, The Groundlings, Steven VX.

The Limelight Complex, Ormeau Ave, Belfast

Sunday December 28, 8pm, £10

Tickets from Katy Dalys, from Tickemaster or on the door.

Terri Hooley is a legend, a record shop owner, originator of the Good Vibrations record label, the Godfather of Ulster Punk, a poet, a hooleygan and a gem of a human being. He has brought distinction and joy to Northern Ireland over five decades. ‘A Vibe For Terri’ is an event that celebrates the man and looks forward to his continued presence in our musical community.

Terri is currently in hospital in Belfast. He may be absent from the scene for several months. So, a series of musicians have determined to play a special show to honour the man. The entire Limelight complex will be opened for this important event.

Tim Wheeler is from Ash. Nathan Connolly plays with Snow Patrol and little Matador. Bap Kennedy released his very first record on Good Vibes with his band Ten Past Seven. Iain Archer is an Ivor Novello Award winner and former member of Snow Patrol. Tony Wright records as VerseChorusVerse. Duke Special is NI rock royalty. More special names will be announced shortly and in keeping with Terri’s spirit, there will be laughter, chaos and beautiful moments.

The Limelight 2 will feature some of the punk and alternative bands that Terri has encouraged over the decades.

“A drunken lunatic, a lucid guru, a hilarious storyteller, a cuddly bear and many more things besides. To those that get to know him well, he is a fiercely loyal friend.”
Gary Lightbody on Terri

“I have to start to take it easy, so there will be no birthday party this year, no Boxing Day party and a lot less all night raves for a while. Don't panic - normal service will be resumed as soon as possible. Once a hooligan, always a Hooleygan. Keep her lit. One Love.”
Terri Hooley, December 2014 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

COMIN’ ATCHA: Elliott sets the Lepps aside to remind us of the glory days of Mott

IN 2009 Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott had a brain wave – he wanted to pay tribute to one the bands that were part of his musical heritage – Mott The Hoople – and thus was born Down ‘n’ Outz.

Tomorrow night at Belfast’s Limelight1 Elliott is bringing the lovefest for the glory days of 70s rock aided and abetted by The Quireboys' Paul Guerin (Guitar), Guy Griffin (Guitar) and Keith Weir (keyboards), plus Phil Martini (drums).

Together they look to bring songs by Mott The Hoople and spin off projects of Mott, Ian Hunter and British Lions to a wider audience.

In 2009 Down ‘n’ Outz supported Mott The Hoople at one of the band’s five Hammersmith Apollo shows, which garnered much interest with fans.

The fan demand eventually led to the band looking to create an album. 2011 saw the release of the critically acclaimed debut ‘My Regeneration’.

‘My Regeneration’ included the singles ‘England Rocks’ and ‘Overnight Angels’ that reached number four and number one respectively on the US Media Base Rock chart -keeping Eric Clapton’s new single off the top of the chart for 2 weeks.

The band then released a live DVD taken from those initial shows called ‘Live at Hammersmith Apollo’

The new album ‘The Further Adventures of… picks up where the live DVD left off and features the driving groove of album opener - and first single – ‘Rock And Roll Queen.

The collection also includes the good time of rock-n-roll tune ‘One Of The Boys and ballad ‘The Journey, plus the drum heavy song ‘Violence’.

Elliott said: “These songs make up a huge portion of who I am and I feel incredibly privileged to have been able to record them and hopefully give them a new lease of life, which, quite frankly, is long overdue.”

Morgan Fisher (keyboardist Mott The Hoople 1973/1974 and also Mott and British Lions) commented: "It's like Joe and the boys have taken some vintage films and slapped them onto a big, bright Technicolor screen. A great, in-your-face new way to experience some of Mott's finest songs!"

Ian Hunter said: “I’m blown away by these recordings. The solo by Paul Guerin on ‘The Journey’ is one of the best I’ve heard. These songs really suit Joe’s voice also. It’s a whole different side to him and the project gets my approval!”
If you haven’t snagged your tickets yet, then we are reliably informed a few are left to buy at the door….oh and don’t expect any Lepps songs, it’s not that sort of night.

Support is from Vega.

EP REVIEW: Genocidal Bakken batter the world with latest release

A COUPLE of years Bakken exploded on to the Northern Ireland scene with the release of their 'Death of a Hero' album, jam-packed with thrash and power metal, and the occasional doff of the cap towards Celtic roots.

From then on the band crafted out their sound with a series of gigs which notably saw them tighten their sound and delivery.

Now, at the tail end of 2014 the metal quartet are about to release their ep 'Worldwide Genocide' a five track flurry of riffs and high speed groove.

From the moment that the bridge and solo on 'Judgement Day' kicks in you can see a band confident in delivering both furious guitar work, while still retaining the integrity of the song: something which Dave Mustaine sometimes forgets. And, at times Simon Pickett's does unconsciously resemble the ginger one.

'Master Illusion' takes the chops of the second wave of thrash and wraps it in a tight blanket of NWOBHM much favoured by the likes of 'Tallica and Anthrax. That's not a criticism - it's a compliment. At the two minutes 15 second mark then change of pace perfectly exemplifies how Bakken can break down the elements of the influences into something fresh.

Simon and Mark-Anthony McGinnis's guitar work manage to weave around each other without overwhelming the track's sound.

Keeping the integrity of the sound is key, otherwise Adrian Stockman's bass could be lost. Thankfully it stays at the right level on 'Evil Walks This Way' with Niall McGrotty's drums maintaining a dynamic in a well arranged track with real flair.

We can see this one as a real live favourite as their is a real mix of thrash and the better aspects of power metal;  as well as having a balance throughout that showcases all the member's talents.

'Inescapable', while in itself is a solid track, at times wanes, and the influence of Mustaine on Simon's vocals again occasionally creeps in. The song is saved by Niall's metronomic and well timed double bass and a manic series of riffs. After two minutes the guitar work manages to resurrect what could have been a mundane thrasher, especially the melody work.

Rounding off the ep is 'Gaia'  which clocking in at over five minutes 20 is the longest track on the release. This is where Bakken plant their flag, stand with feet soundly planted on the soil of metal and deliver.

This has all the elements you could wish for: riffage, shouted backing vocals from Niall, Simon strident in his delivery as he paints a dystopian vision of the planet's fate. There is enough variety in the arrangement to avoid it becoming just another thrash track. The delicate acoustic moment (and it is a brief moment) builds into a crescendo of guitar work, which like 'Sasquatch' from the last release, showcases a flurry of Celtic infused melody solos. Truly a lesson in how to meld where you come from into your chosen genre. There's even a piano sequence as a coda!

After 'Death of a Hero' you could very well have expected Bakken to keep the similar themes going. Rather than that they have stretched themselves that little bit further on 'Worldwide Genocide' without leaving their core sound and values.

One hopes that this ep will serve as a bridge to further live success and getting noticed further afield.

Review by Jonny
Worlwide Genocide is officially launched at The Distortion Project on Saturday, 20th December at Limelight 2. Doors are at 5pm.
Bakken will headline with support from Irish mentalists Psykosis and young thrash upstarts Donum Dei
Door tax is £5 and usual drink promos are available

NEWS: Halestorm add Belfast date to 2015 headline tour

With tickets for Halestorm's Feb/Mar 2015 headline tour flying out the door as fast as Santa's sleigh, the Grammy-winning rockers are pleased to add two additional shows, in Dublin and Belfast.

Halestorm will perform at The Academy in Dublin on February 27th.  The Belfast show will be held on February 28th at The Limelight.  Please note, this show is age 18+.

Support at both dates comes from Detroit party monsters, Wilson.

Tickets went on sale at 10am today. 
To get tickets for Belfast, click through to: http://www.ticketmaster.ie/event/38004D8FA65C0F85.

Black Star Riders Release Lyric Video For New Single ‘The Killer Instinct’

BSR New Album “The Killer Instinct” 23rd February 2015

Fresh from the critically acclaimed debut album “All Hell Breaks Loose” in 2013, Black Star Riders today (December 16th) release their new single ‘The Killer Instinct’ from the upcoming album of the same name, which is set for release on 23rd February 2015.

You can view the lyric video here:

The album will be followed by a full co-headline tour with Europe including the Belfast Ulster Hall appearance on March 3rd.

The band toured 2013’s “All Hell Breaks Loose” for a year – playing across the globe. October 2014 saw them gather in Nashville, TN and enter the studio with producer Nick Raskulinecz (Rush, The Foo Fighters, Alice In Chains, Mastodon) to start recording the follow up.  The result is The Killer Instinct. 

“The Killer Instinct” will be released in different formats: CD, Limited 2 CDs Digibook, Limited Gatefold Black Vinyl and Limited Gatefold Clear Vinyl (available for mail orders only).

Front man Ricky Warwick comments on the new single and lyric video for ‘The Killer Instinct,’

"The video is about strength, endurance and overcoming adversity.  It's about belief, love and compassion in a world of doubt."

Friday, December 12, 2014

LIVE REVIEW: It was 7 'olock and it was time for a party with The Quireboys and company

THE song goes that "It's Seven O'clock, time for a party" and on Friday 21st November The Quireboys led a triple-headed monster of a party with beer flowing, voices raised and music the dripped with pathos, bathos, the blues, and damn fine rock 'n' roll.

Even the blackened heart of a dyed in the wool, corpse-painted black metaller could be see to groove and get on down to an atmosphere that made the American honky-tonk jive joints seem like a Sunday School.

Opening the party were Dublin's Preacher's Son. Unknown to almost every sinner in the Limelight2 audience it took just a couple of songs for them to endear themselves to those already sinking early pints.

With vocals low enough to be a match between Johnny Cash and Pete Steele, the bluesy folk tales were tinged with moments of angst and highlights of glorious soaring rock.

Javier Vargas had went out and about bringing his Latin roots to hard rock from the early 90s, and when his Vargas Blues Band took to the Belfast stage within a couple of bars of their opening song the crowd was enraptured.

With Javier's guitar weaving spells, Gaz Pearson was swirling vocal lines backed in vocal harmonies from Luis on bass and Peter (drums).

It's fair to say that for many Vargas Blues Band were a delightful surprise - the perfect way to loosen limbs and get the throat lubricated ahead of The 'boys.

Spike and his motley gypsy troubadours are regular visitors to these parts, and always, always, bring the party. Put simply they provide the soundtrack to the fun, the audio accompaniment to excess - all the time keeping the music at its core and may the devil take the hindmost.

It could be argued that The Quireboys are the true inheritors of punk, and in some respects they are more punk than many preened and posing pop punk pouring their saccharine tales out today.

Because, to a large extent punk was a reaction to the overblown, over-produced rock and prog rock of the mid to late 70s. Punk harkened back to the days of straight-forward rock, albeit with a more overt political agenda. In the face of an industry more interested in the latest over-dubbed, vocally enhanced 'starlet' to be financed by phone-ins and TV, The Quireboys cut against the grain looking back to the days when the Faces and Mott the Hopple played rock the way it should be played.

From the moment when Guy Griffin and Paul Guerin hit their six-strings, and Keith Weir ran fingers across the ivories it was clear that, as they say themselves "This Is Rock 'n' Roll".

Nevermind the glory of the hits such as 'There She Goes Again' and '7 O'Clock', each and every song was played with aplomb and passion.

'Troublemaker', 'Beautiful Curse', 'Mona Lisa Smiled', and 'Sweet Mary Ann' captured the very soul of rock - balancing choruses and verses with musicianship deceptively powerful and with a real soul.

Spike is what you imagine a proper rock star should be. Booze on board, teetering on the edge of oblivion, but every night able to pound out the standards and vocally weep odes to love and broken hearts.

This may be 30 years on from the first inklings of this vision of rock took shape, but despite a brief hiatus it is clear that Simon Cowell and his lords and masters in accounting and bean counting may dominate the airwaves will never, ever be able to stop the march of The Quireboys and their ilk.

They may not be playing the stadiums, but in each club, each bar, each venue that The Quireboys ply their rock 'n' roll trade they will not be cowed by the winds of fashion because rock and fucking roll will never die.

Review by Jonny
Photos courtesy of Paul Verner
All parts of this review - including pix - are protected by copyright
The owners assert intellectual property rights

The Quireboys return to Northern Ireland on 28th March, 2015 with their Unplugged and Proud set coming to the Diamond Rock Club

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

NEWS: Europe and Black Star Riders reveal album release details and tracklisting ahead of Belfast and Dublin dates

Straight from the press releases...

Swedish rock legends Europe will release their 10th album, War of Kings, in March 2015 on UDR Records. Recorded at the brand new PanGaia Studios in Stockholm, Sweden, produced by Dave Cobb (Rival Sons) and engineered by John Netti, War of Kings sees the classic rocking quintet confidently creating 11 monstrously melodic, yet hard-hitting, classic rock’n’roll standouts for their fervent global audience. War of Kings will be available in multiple formats, as a CD digipak, a CD jewel case, a vinyl LP and in digital download format. The album will be released in the UK on March 2nd, Japan on March 4th (via JVC), the EU on March 6th and the US on March 10th.
 Joey Tempest: “War Of Kings is the album we always wanted to make, ever since we were kids listening to bands like Zeppelin, Purple and Sabbath. And after hearing Dave Cobb amazing production for Rival Sons we simply had to work with him. Our adventure is still ON!”
Europe’s place as a legendary classic rock band was platinum-stamped early in their career, having enjoyed an explosive period of worldwide success in the ‘80s, under-pinned by their hit album and single The Final Countdown, before going on hiatus between 1992 and 2003. They re-united and quickly settled into a period of re-establishment which has seen them re-enforce their reputation worldwide as one of the premier purveyors of blues-tinged classic rock with an edge and some kick. Their last album, 2012’s Bag of Bones, saw Europe hit the UK top 40 rock album charts and debut at #2 on the Swedish national charts, and War of Kings is set to take full advantage of the global groundwork Europe have put in over the last few years.
Joey adds “Hey! We took the long road! but we wanted to re-establish Europe the proper way. It’s taken 10 years and countless tours since the re-union, but we’re finally getting there! And we’ve done it our way!”
 Europe will commence their roadwork supporting War of Kings with a UK/Ireland tour in Dublin on March 2nd (their first visit to Ireland in 25 years) before continuing in the UK with Black Star Riders. Joey - “Looking forward to ‘tons’ of touring in 2015! It’s getting harder and harder to be modest and humble about this band! It doesn’t get much better than this!”
Europe are –
 Joey Tempest – lead vocals, acoustic & rhythm guitar, keyboards
John Norum – lead & rhythm guitars, backing vocals
John Leven – bass, backing vocals
Mic Michaeli – keyboards, piano, backing vocals, rhythm guitar
Ian Haugland – drums, percussion, backing vocals
War of Kings tracklisting is as follows –
 01.   War Of Kings
02.   Hole In My Pocket
03.   Second Day
04.   Praise You
05.   Nothin’ To Ya
06.   California 405
07.   Days Of Rock n Roll
08.   Children Of The Mind
09.   Rainbow Bridge
10.   Angels (With Broken Hearts)
11.   Light It Up
12.   Bonus: Vasastan (Instrumental)
Europe/Black Star Riders UK/Ireland Tour dates are as follows –
02/03/2015             Dublin – Olympia Theatre
03/03/2015             Belfast – Ulster Hall                

Black Star Riders Reveal Album Artwork And TracklistingsFor “The Killer Instinct” 23rd February 2015

Fresh from the critically acclaimed debut album “All Hell Breaks Loose” in 2013, Black Star Riders are set to release a new studio album, “The Killer Instinct”, in February 2015. The album will be followed by a full UK and Eire co-headline tour with Europe.

The band toured 2013’s “All Hell Breaks Loose” for a year – playing across the globe. October 2014 saw them gather in Nashville, TN and enter the studio with heralded producer Nick Raskulinecz (Rush, The Foo Fighters, Alice In Chains, Mastodon) to start recording the follow up.  The result is The Killer Instinct.  “The Killer Instinct” will be released in different formats: CD, Limited 2 CDs Digibook, Limited Gatefold Black Vinyl and Limited Gatefold Clear Vinyl (available for mail orders only) and the band are pleased to release the album artwork.
Black Star Riders front man Ricky Warwick talks about the new artwork ‘It’s a bit of a continuation from ‘All Hell Breaks Loose,’ people will see link, it’s very Rock N Roll. It’s going to look cool.’

The band also announce the full tracklistings for the various album formats below

1.The Killer Instinct
2. Bullet Blues
3.Finest Hour
4. Soldierstown
5. Charlie I Gotta Go
6. Blindsided
7. Through The Motions
8. Sex, Guns & Gasoline
9. Turn In Your Arms
10. You Little Liar

1.The Killer Instinct
2. Bullet Blues
3.Finest Hour
4. Soldierstown
5. Charlie I Gotta Go
6. Blindsided
7. Through The Motions
8. Sex, Guns & Gasoline
9. Turn In Your Arms
10. You Little Liar
Bonus CD:
1. Gabrielle
2. The Reckoning Day
3.The Killer Instinct (Acoustic)
4.Blindsided (Acoustic)
5.Charlie I Gotta Go (Acoustic)
6.Finest Hour (Acoustic)

Side A
1.The Killer Instinct
2. Bullet Blues
3.Finest Hour
4. Soldierstown
5. Charlie I Gotta Go
Side B
1. Blindsided
2. Through The Motions
3. Sex, Guns & Gasoline
4. Turn In Your Arms
5. You Little Liar

Side A
1.The Killer Instinct
2. Bullet Blues
3.Finest Hour
4. Soldierstown
5. Charlie I Gotta Go
Side B
1. Blindsided
2. Through The Motions
3. Sex, Guns & Gasoline
4. Turn In Your Arms
5. You Little Liar

NEWS:Cattle Decapitation album promise

Cattle Decapitation to record new album
Schedule final shows in support of "Monolith of Inhumanity"

San Diego, CA's Cattle Decapitation have spent the last two years promoting what has become the most well received and critically acclaimed record of their career. 'Monolith of Inhumanity' earned rave reviews and debuted at #177 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, which is no small feat for such a heavy act. To follow up the album, Cattle Decapitation will be returning to Dave Otero's Flatline Audio studio in Colorado. Otero was at the helm for both of the band's previous albums, and the collaboration promises to compound on the exercises in melodic extremity that have vaulted Cattle Decapitation to the top of the extreme metal heap. The band is giving fans one final chance to see them live, and to hear new songs, before they begin to track their upcoming album.

Vocalist Travis Ryan explains, "We've been hard at work on the new album for the past year and are currently writing the last song for it! Happy to announce we will be playing this string of shows with our friends Theories. After the shows, we'll spend 5 weeks recording the new album once again with Dave Otero! Don't miss these

"Monolith Of Inhumanity," the most recent slab of sonic annihilation Cattle Decapitation, landed at #32 on the Billboard Top Independent Album Chart, #23 on the Billboard Top Hard Music Albums chart, #6 on the Billboard New Artist Chart and #177 Billboard Top Current Albums Chart upon its first week of release in May 2012. Watch the videos for "Your Disposal" and the "Kingdom of Tyrants" extended minifilm at 
youtube.com/metalbladerecords and youtube.com/officialcattledecap.

"Decade of Decapitation," the band's vinyl box set, celebrating 10 years of releases on Metal Blade Records. The band's entire Metal Blade discography: "To Serve Man" (2002), "Humanure" (2004), "Karma.Bloody.Karma" (2006), "The Harvest Floor" (2009), and "Monolith of Inhumanity" (2012) are all available in colors, handpicked by the band. The colors reflect the concept or color scheme behind each album. Fans will also have the opportunity to pick up a collectable box that comes with an exclusive t-shirt, both with brand new art from longtime Cattle Decapitation cover artist, Wes Benscoter. Additionally, "To Serve Man," the band's debut full-length, and their sophomore effort "Humanure" have been remastered specially for this release. Visit
indiemerch.com/metalbladerecords to claim your copy.

NEWS: Amity Affliction avoiding Belfast, Blind Guardian release new single, Nightwish update and a new Behemoth video

The Amity Affliction hyperbole:

Hot on the heels of their sold-out headline UK tour, Australian riff merchants {Press release words not ours!) The Amity Affliction are delighted to announce their return next March as special guests of metalcore act Of Mice And Men

Vocalist Joel Birch comments,  “The tour just past has been far and away our favourite tour we have ever done in UK/Europe so we are happy to let you know we are coming back next year! We are over the moon to be touring with Of Mice And Men again, the shows are going to be insane, and it’s going to be awesome to catch up with our mates again!"

In other news from The Amity Affliction the band are pleased to share a brand new video for the track 'Death's Hand', taken from their #1-charting, latest album 'Let The Ocean Take Me'. The video was shot live at the River Stage in Brisbane on their most recent Australian tour this September. Watch it at: http://www.kerrang.com/25912/the-amity-affliction-premiere-deaths-hands-video.

Don't go blind in the Twilight of the Gods:

Today epic storytellers, Blind Guardian release 'Twilight Of The Gods', the first single from their highly-anticipated tenth studio release, 'Beyond The Red Mirror', due out in Europe on January 30th, 2015, February 2nd in the UK and February 3rd, 2015 in North America. Additionally,
BLIND GUARDIAN just unveiled the official lyric video on 'Twilight Of The Gods'. Check out the clip at the Nuclear Blast YouTube channel.

Wishing for a new album...:

Finland-based symphonic metal storytellers Nightwish are currently working on their upcoming new album.
Today they release the eighth album trailer - also on the Nuclear Blast Youtube channel

Behemoth's new video

Going to see Polish black/death metal overlords Behemoth in Dublin this week? Warm with the official live video for the song 'Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer'. Watch it here.


During the past six months POWERWOLF have secretly been more than busy writing songs for the follow up album to their Nr.1 success "Preachers of the night".

"By now the major part of the songwriting is finished and we're right now preparing for the studio work. The recordings will begin in early January and will keep us busy until March," reports guitarist Matthew Greywolf.

The release of the yet untitled album is scheduled for summer 2015.

Being asked about the new songs, Matthew says: "Without revealing too much at this early stage, you can expect an album that's 100% uncomprimising POWERWOLF-stuff. There´s songs to go wild to, there´s epic and atmospheric stuff - and a lot of wolfish metal madness in between, and quite a bunch of songs that will be must-plays on any future POWERWOLF show for damn sure.  We can't wait to get this album shaped!"

More info at: www.powerwolf.net and  www.facebook.com/powerwolfmetal

Monday, December 08, 2014

INTERVIEW: Keith from The Quireboys receives a gently grilling...

WHEN The Quireboys hit Belfast on 21st November it was another night of rock 'n' roll fun of the highest order. Shortly after the soundcheck we caught up with the Tandragee man on the keys, Keith Weir.

Beer and ciggies up at the Limelight complex's Rock Garden we got down to chatting. Here's the result. [Pic by Paul Verner]

The Quireboys to wrap up Spring Acousatuc tour at Diamond Rock Club

 After an incredible 30th Anniversary World Tour, and by popular demand after last years highly acclaimed unplugged tour, The Quireboys are pleased to announce a very intimate string of evenings early 2015.
And the last date will be at the Diamond Rock Club on 28th March.

 This is a great chance for all Quireboys fans nationwide to experience an audience with Spike,Paul,Keith & Guy in a very unique and laid back surrounding. The night will involve all the classics, rarities, surprises as well as a selection of new material ,played in unplugged arrangements as well as the all to famous QB banter n stories to create a very unique evening .

It may be only Rock n Roll, but even good old R'n'R has it's special moments and this is certainly one not to miss.

28 Mar: The Diamond Rock Club, Ballymena, Ireland


Wednesday, December 03, 2014

NEWS: Enslaved report from the studio

LET's face it - we like Norwegians, whether they be hard rockers, or purveyors of extreme metal, or those that deliver black metal visions of infernal damnation.

We have a particular soft spot for Enslaved...and we just caught up on their progress towards releasing their next platter....here's the blurb.

"Checking in from Solslottet Studio in Bergen, members of Norwegian progressive extreme metallers ENSLAVED offer the last installment in their seven-part “Diary of Mad Men” series shedding insight into the band’s upcoming as-yet-untitled thirteenth studio album, set for an early 2015 release.

… Then it was time for me to do some howling, cursing, screaming and singing again,” contributes ENSLAVED bassist & vocalist Grutle Kjellson.  “We moved a few meters from Duper to co-producer Iver Sandøy's own Solslottet Studios and rigged up what we usually do with a set of three microphones: A Shure SM 7B for growls and screams, a RFT CM-7151 (commonly known as "the Leipzig bottle") for chants & whispering etc., and a Neumann UM-57 for clean vocals.  We were fortunately lucky with the energy, atmosphere, and my vocal shape the first day, so we were able to lay down my vocal tracks for half of the songs the first day… that is, with the exception some dubbing I usually do on Herbrand [Larsen]'s vocals.  It was also time to lay down some tracks with both the Moog Taurus pedals and with one of ENSLAVED treasures that has been with us since 1991 (!): Ivar [Bjørnson]’s Roland SH-1.  A great day at work and an ever-growing confidence that this album will destroy everything we have done prior to this.
Keyboard player & clean vocalist Herbrand Larsen adds:
This album will be rawer and more direct… more in your face!”
Main recordings for the new album have moved from Duper Studios to Solslottet Studio in Bergen, Norway with additional recordings done at Conclave & Earshot Studios (presided over by ENSLAVED members Larsen and Ice Dale), and Ivar Bjørnson’s Peersonal Sound Studios.
Additional experimentation and sonic exploration will be conducted deep in the woods of Valevåg south of Bergen where the band took a mobile studio to record the infamous ‘Thorn’ 7” single in 2012.

Album number thirteen is being produced by band members Ivar Bjørnson, Grutle Kjellson & Herbrand Larsen together with Iver Sandøy.  Mixing will be done by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Studios in Örebro, Sweden.   

Artwork will be illustrated by long-time collaborating artist and “sixth ENSLAVED member” Truls Espedal, who has painted all seven album covers since 2001’s Monumension.
2012’s studio release, ‘RIITIIR’, garnered ENSLAVED a seventh nomination for a Spellemann Award (the Norwegian equivalent of the American Grammy) in the category of “Best Metal Album.”  They have won a Spellemann Award four consecutive times for the following four studio albums: ‘Axioma Ethica Odini’ (2010), ‘Vertebrae (2008), ‘Ruun’ (2006), and ‘Isa’ (2004).
RIITIIRcan be purchased in CD & vinyl format from the following links here and here.
And, here's what we thought of this news...


Monday, December 01, 2014

ALBUM REVIEW: Primordial show their primalm roots on 'Where Greater Men Have Fallen'

SOMEWHERE in the mists, amidst the mythology; where time stands frozen; and, where music faces the darkness in defiance, Primordial have been growing their dark tales with a passion and persistence that has reached a peak on their latest release, 'Where Greater Men Have Fallen'.

The success of  'To The Nameless Dead' and 2011's 'Redemption at the Puritan's Hand' means that 'Where Greater Men Have Fallen' was always going to have to elevate the sound of the band to a higher plain of existential extreme pagan metal. And, that is exactly what they have done.

From the eight minute plus title track to the epic closer 'Wield Lightning To Split The Sun' this is a presentation of eight minutes of unadulterated Primordial at their best, as Gomez's production combines an intensity of sound and a perfect balance for each track to breathe.

'Babel's Tower' is the perfect example of this, as Alan Averill (a.k.a. Nemtheanga) wails in anguish, while Ciaran MacUiliam and Michael O'Floinn weave heavy riffs around the slow, heavy rhythms of Paul MacAmlaigh  (bass) and Simon O'Laoghaire (drums). At about the five and half minute mark there is almost a pause in the incessant riffing before Averill roars over a solo that emerges in a flurry of power and melancholy to bring the eight minutes to a coda as the riffs slow down from their earlier incessant pace.

This is not an album packed with catchy bursts (the shortest track - The Seed of Tyrants - clocks in at five and half minutes). It is instead Primordial at their mesmerising best.

Nor, is it an album filled with cheeriness. Where 'Redemption at the Puritan's Hand' dealt with many aspects of human existence, notably death and humanity's struggles 'Where Greater Men Have Fallen' challenges perceptions of morality and faith

Averill offers this explanation which spans both albums: "We are animals, beasts and making peace with that beast might be your life's work but more often than not he is never tamed. Once a wolf always a wolf.

"We all seek redemption in one way or another, from lies or from truth. Those of us who are godless or faithle­ss often envy the man of faith for his life seems to have an extra purpose, despite the fact that logic, pragmatism, science and realism should crush any sign of faith, we still persist in lying to ourselves.

"Perhaps the alternative is too much to bear.

"So the themes of religion, mortality and death occur over and over again, along with continuing themes of alienation, martyrdom, sacrifice, violence and retribution. Occasionally, very occasionally, a chink of light breaks through."

The stated aim of the band was to bring a more live sound and an aural landscape with more breadth and generally heavier. The band and Gomez have achieved it on their eighth album and, according to Alan Averill: "We feel revitalized, the hunger never left and we are ready for another chapter to be written in our history!"

There is a constancy to each of the tracks in their feel, although 'Ghosts of the Charnel House' has an echo of Gojira about it this is a minor quibble, and it could be argued Primordial were doing Gojira sounds before Gojira were doing Gojira...

The stand-out songs are the title track and 'Born to Night'. The latter opens with ominous Celtic riffs and intricacies from both guitarists and MacAmlaigh's bass before exploding into a tune that echoes Lizzy at their most Celtic with added muscle and purpose. Like closer 'Wield....' this is a true epic.

What Primordial have managed to do is put together an album that builds on its predecessors and elevates them to the top of the extreme pagan metal tree, from where they can look down on the pretenders and know they have turned in a tour de force release.

Review by Jonny
Where Greater Men Have Fallen
Out now on Metal Blade Records