Pick Your Rock and Metal

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

OBITUARY - Ian 'Lemmy' Kilmister: 1945 - 2015

BORN the son of a 'preacher man', he grew up to play loud, proud, fierce rock 'n' roll, Ian 'Lemmy' Kilmister epitomised the hard living stars of yesteryear, but never wavered from his chosen musical career.

While tabloids and the news channels play the song Motörhead were most recognised for ('Ace of Spades') Lemmy and the band had more depth than many could imagine.

Increasingly looking frail over recent years, Lemmy still managed to complete a final European tour before he returned to his Californian home to succomb to cancer on December 28th.

The hard rock, punk and metal community has been paying warm tribute to Lemmy, and justly so. Lemmy was the icon, but also a true gentleman in the shape of the old cliché of a British eccentric - following his own path and sod all the rest: 'Born To Lose, Live to Win'.

With the claims about his womanising (he admitted to sleeping with more than 1,000 women) it is perhaps no surprise that he took his first tentative steps towards his later success when he noticed at school that if you carried a guitar "chicks flocked to you".

As the son of a minister he was part of an early beat rock band, the Rockin' Vicars, and toured round the north west of England, an early induction into the ways of touring.

A quick glance round the web pages, magazine articles; a scan of his autobiography (White Line Fever) and viewing the rockumentary 'Lemmy' will connect the dots to the point when Motörhead became one of the most revered bands on the planet.

Roadie for Hendroix, kicked out of Hawkwind for being caught with drugs, wanting to call his band 'Bastard', and forming Motörhead with Larry Wallis and Lucas Fox and declaring themselves to be 'Beer Drinkers and Hellraisers' - and this was only the beginning.

With Phil 'Philthy Animal' Taylor (who died on November 11th, 2015) taking over from Fox and drafting in 'Fast' Eddie Clarke to replace Wallis on guitar duties Motörhead began a march towards fame and no little infamy.

Early radio appearances for the first brace of Motörhead albums saw the fanbase amongst rockers and punks grow at a time when heavy metal was burgeoning with the New Wave of British Heavy Metal marrying punk with early metal.

Lemmy always distanced himself from any reference to metal - his ontsage declaration was "We are Motörhead and We Play Rock 'n Roll".

But, it was the metal crowd - along with a healthy smattering of punks - who took Lemmy and Motörhead to their hearts.

Here was a man who, to use the stereotype, lived and breathed the lifestyle. Straight talking, unique, he trod a path through life few could imagine and no-one could aspire to keep up with.

When 'Ace of Spades', the single and album smashed the charts open wide Motörhead's star was shining with the glitter of booze, speed and stardom. Capitalised with the live album 'No Sleep to Hammersmith' Lemmy later recalled management and deals with labels left them seeing little of the millions those albums earned.

Undaunted Motörhead and Lemmy continued. Appearances on advertisements and constant touring, through various line-ups until settling down with Mikkey Dee and Phil Campbell, what had been stardom in the 80s became a tried and trusted live act, releasing albums sadly overlooked by many.

Life on the road was something Lemmy seemed built for. The prodigious alcohol consumption, amphetamines and chain smoking were but the norm until later years, when he dumped the 'Jack and Coke' for vodka and orange juice and quit the cigarettes.

But amidst the excess lay a man of great wit and intelligence. He was almost painfully generous with his time and had quips to spare for people and in interviews, however very few noticed what a great lyricist he was. When Ozzy was struggling to complete lyrics for the 'No More Tears' album he noted that Lemmy "nipped" over and had three songs words penned in a matter of minutes.

On Motörhead tracks the early word plays evolved into increasingly sophisticated observational takes on society. Yes, the devotional tracts to rock 'n' roll were still there, but he also railed against warfare, religion, and abusers in affective invectives. ['Soldier', 'God Was Never On Your Side' and 'Don't Let Daddy Kiss Me'.]

Perhaps his lyrics for '1916' that were amongst his finest. It was effectively a tone poem more than a song that captured the pain and slaughter at the Battle of the Somme.

An occassional actor and sometimes TV special guest, Lemmy was involved in more side projects and musical collaborations than almost anyone in musical history.

In an era when 'z' list celebrities, reality TV shows and wannabe boy bands compete for tabloid coverage of their wild times none of these tiny intellects could survive an hour with Lemmy let alone spend a night on tour or on the town with him.

He lived the life he chose and recently declared that when he died he would have no regrets. Ultimately at the age of 70 that hard living three score and 10 caught up with Lemmy. While one can never truly say what another person thinks in the final moments it is hard not to believe that Lemmy had no regrets.

We in the rock, punk and metal communuties are lessened by his passing, but Lemmy acknowledged what he had undertook in life, when he reflected on the death of Phil Taylor this year:

"I think this rock'n'roll business might be bad for the human life."

Ian Fraser 'Lemmy' Kilmister 24th December 1945 - 28th December 2015

Friday, December 18, 2015

LIVE REVIEW: Therapy? rip up Limelight in homecoming gig

TWENTY six years since their formation, twenty years since their much maligned Infernal Love album was released, and just over a year since their last Belfast gig (where they scooped the Oh Yeah Centre's 'Legend' award), Northern Irish alt-metal heroes Therapy? return to the Limelight to perform said album in its entirety. How will they do, playing to a local crowd?

As Limelight 1 began filling up, English punk rockers The Membranes were given the task of warming the crowd up. The influential Eighties post-punks recently reformed and have seemingly regained the fire of their youth as they steam their way through their half hour set of soaring and expansive post punk.

Although at times their sound is rather floaty/dreamy they're also quite capable of throwing out some spiky, sawing riffs, too. The result is quite textured and interesting (and a touch self indulgent in places). The crowd respond to both the music and hammy, eccentric vocalist/guitarist John Robb with equal measures of bafflement and enthusiasm a successful set for this capricious lot then.

After a protracted interval, during which the audience is subjected to several rather drab Sixties tunes (with the exception of Dusty Springfield), the burgeoning crowd are finally rewarded by the sight of their home town heroes casually striding onstage. The lights dim, vocalist Andy Cairns opens his mouth, and the angular strains of Infernal Love opener 'Epilepsy' wash over the adoring sea of people.

They barely pause for breath, firing on all cylinders as they power through the album from start to finish, from the straight up thundering rock of 'Stories' to the grungy 'Bad Mother' and a battering 'Loose' complete with flashy guitar solo. In between, Cairns chats amiably, reminiscing about the band's first time playing this venue, encouraging the already ramped up audience ("You got more fucking noise, Belfast?!") and bouncing around like a guitar-clad Tigger in fact, the whole band look like they're having a blast.

The crowd (and boy, is it crowded by now) respond with adoration and faithful singalongs, with many singing every single word. This album may have marked a fairly drastic change in the band's musical direction and left many fans baffled, but none of them appear to be here tonight: such is the love and sheer number of bodies in here that it's all but impossible to throw any shapes (although some are trying!).

After a brisk, galloping rendition of album closer '30 Seconds' the band briefly leave the stage before returning to play the second half of their set, opening with 'Still Hurts' which simply bursts with pith and energy. The indie-flavoured 'Die Laughing' follows, with its shades of nuance and depth. Far from being simply an encore, this is essentially a full set; what with the album and this second half, fans are very lucky indeed tonight.

They beautifully demonstrate the breadth of their career by veering from the slow sludge of 'On My Own' to the loud bombast of 'Insecurity', turning on a dime effortlessly. It's not all earnest, po-faced rock though: from an impromptu 'happy birthday to you' from the crowd to drummer Neil Cooper to a biting rendition of 'Potato Junkie' with it's refrain of "James Joyce is fucking my sister!", and clear crowd favourite 'Screamager', there are beaming faces as far as the eye can see.

They wrap up their dynamic set with the punky 'Nowhere' and thank the room, leaving on a drawn out chug of riffs and hail of drumbeats, all to huge (like, HUGE) applause. Local boys done good? Hell yes.

Review by Melanie Brehaut
Pix by Darren McVeigh

NEWS: Sonatica Arctica Release Christmas single 'Christmas Spirits’

WE all know you'll be playing Trucker Diablo's 'We're Gonna Rock This Christmas' this Christmas Day - and if you haven't downloaded it already do so now lest you end up on Santa's Naughty List.

Trucker's song and Corey Taylor's 'Xm@s' are essential to the discerning rocker/metalhead festive listening, but then this wee bit of news dropped into our inbox about another track...

Finnish melodic metal band Sonata Arctica are pleased to release a very special Christmas gift for their fan base: a brand new single called ‘Christmas Spirits’.

’Christmas Spirits’ is now available to buy digitally via iTunes HERE.

Sonata Arctica commented on the single:

"Hello everyone out there!
Christmas is just around the corner so we decided to cheer you all up with a nice Christmas story. "Decided" might be a bit strong in this context since the 'Christmas Spirits' song has been around for about ten years now, we just never had the time to record it.

"Finally during the ‘Pariah's Child’ sessions we managed to do the basic tracks and this autumn we finished the song. I guess the main reason for the delay was getting the lyrics done, it’s nearly impossible to get into the Christmas mood unless it’s actually… you guessed it, Christmas. Hats off to Tony since he did it anyway, this autumn, and without any snow, we might add. Be that as it may, here’s our latest piece of art: Christmas Spirits!

Merry Christmas to everyone & cheers,

‘Christmas Spirits’ Tracklist:

01. Christmas Spirits
02. Christmas Spirits (Radio Edit)
03. Christmas Spirits (Orchestral Version)

Sonata Arctica’s latest studio album ‘Pariah's Child’ was released in 2014 via Nuclear Blast. It was the bands’ eighth studio album - and the follow up to their previously successful release ‘Stones Grow Her Name’.

This latest release saw Sonata Arctica returning to their metal roots moving away from the more hard rock approach of its predecessor. Some might say the record is a good definition of the band past and present, predominantly showcasing their straight up melodic metal style.

Pariah’s Child’ was recorded and produced by the whole band itself without any outsiders being involved, apart from a couple of guest performances. It was mixed by bass player Pasi Kauppinen. The album artwork hails back to the band’s past, containing symbolism of the figure 8 and containing their totem animal the wolf.

Order ‘Pariah’s Child’ on CD HERE.

More on ‘Pariah's Child’:
'The Wolves Die Young' official video.

'Love' official video.
'Cloud Factory' lyric video.

More info:

NEWS: FIRELAND album remastered and plans for new album in 2016

THEY were trailblazers in the early years of the 21st Century, and if you missed out then you can get a taste of what Fireland achieved as the band are releasing a remixed and remastered version of their self-titled début album in January 2016.

Formed in 2003, this version of the album will also include two unreleased tracks taken from the original recording sessions, Speak Up and Do You Know Me Now.

It will be available via the band's website at www.fireland.tv in January 2016.

The promo video is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lxu9JPzUTk8

The album has been remixed and remastered by guitarist Steve Moore, a founding member of Fireland. In recent years, he has co-written, and assumed full responsibility for engineering and producing the last three albums from Northern Irish metal favourites Stormzone.

Fireland are a twin lead guitar heavy metal band, drawing on all the influences over forty years of heavy metal. Based in Northern Ireland, the band will not let their location on the outskirts of Europe stand in the way of bringing their own brand of riff-based, powerful and melodic metal to the rest of the world.

To date, the band has played with metal legends such as Dragonforce, Blitzkrieg, Jeff Scott Soto, Blaze, Doro, Rose Tattoo and Girlschool. In other bands, the members have toured with Saxon, Stryper, Hell and Kreator, and performed at festivals such as Wacken Open Air, Sonisphere and Bloodstock.

The debut release was a four track EP entitled "From The Ashes". This was followed by a full length self-titled album in 2008. In 2010, the band released their third CD, a free four track EP entitled "Fireland II".

A brand new full length new album is scheduled for release in the summer of 2016.

Full track list from the début album is as follows::

1.Servants Of The Dark

2.Star Crossed

3.Gods Of Love

4.My Eternal

5.I Am Invisible

6.In The Shadow Of The Sun


8.Betrayed To The Night

9.Coming Home

10.In Her Strong Arms

11.Little Pieces

12.Widow By Morning

13.Gotta Get You Gone

14.Speak Up

15.Do You Know Me Now

NEWS: New Year's Day video premiere for Beholder's new track

ON New Years Day - scheduled between 'Eastenders' and 'Sherlock' - British progressive metallers Beholder debut the first video from their third highly anticipated album 'Reflections' (release date to be confirmed).

The track 'Frozen Steps Of Utøya' is a pre finalised and as yet unmastered mix, never the less it is a powerful introduction into the next phase of the Beholder (R)evolution.

The song itself is based on the events of 22nd July 2011 in Norway; when a lone terrorist claimed the lives of 77 victims with 68 of them defenceless teenagers on Utøya island, yet somehow out of this tragic adversity a country has shown such resilient spirit.

Beholder have strong ties with Norway having played there several times and with the album currently being mixed over there by Arvid Tjelta (Frogleap Studios).

Produced by Andy Pilkington (Very Metal Art) the video 'Frozen Steps Of Utøya' will premiere 1st January 2016 at 6.30pm (GMT) on Beholder's official Facebook page: www.facebook.com/BeholderUK

A strong start to 2016 and a brief look to an album that should win the minds and hearts of metallers worldwide.

Beholder end 2015 on a high note as this Saturday (19th December) they're special guests to Lawnmower Deth at their Christmas Party along with Acid Reign in Nottingham at Rock City while we'll be The Answer at The Diamond Rock Club.

NEWS: Seep Away's new ep available to stream now

 Rising British agro mob Seep Away are to stream their new self-titled EP via Already Heard! The four track EP can be heard here – http://alreadyheard.com/post/134913945598/already-heard-ep-premiere-seep-away-seep-away. The record can be picked up via SA’s Bandcamp page - https://seepaway.bandcamp.com.

The news comes off the back of the York/Manchester-based noise-punks debut single "Trudge", which was released earlier this month. Sporting a fabulously unpolished sound, rife with angular vocals and coarse guitars; the band's raw, punkish aura sits somewhere between prime Melvins and the more aggressive moments of Shining (NO) & Bongripper.

Guitarist Max Watt comments: "These songs come from the darkest places in our minds. They are our way of expressing our heaviest thoughts through really, really f***ing noisy tunes. Hopefully some people dig it, but we understand if they don't because well… it's all pretty damn abrasive, really."

SEEP AWAY are: Jay Sillence (lead vocals), Max Watt (guitar, vocals), Dani Barge (bass) and Dom Smith (drums)

The band are set to release a full length album in early 2016.

NEWS: Magnum set to play Belfast for the first time in a quarter of a century

IT does make the editor here feel a little old, but he remembers the last time Magnum played Belfast a quarter of a century ago. And now the legendary rockers are coming back on May 27th, 2016 in Limelight1.

And, to say we're excited is an understatement. They may no longer be riding the upper echelons of the album and single charts, but for hard rock fans they've never stopped being consistent and deliver brilliant albums time and time again.

Here's the full press release:
British rock legends MAGNUM have confirmed their return to Ireland with a date at The Limelight, Belfast on Friday 27 May 2016, the bands’ first in over 25 years on these shores.

Tickets are on sale now from all usual Ticketmaster outlets and Katy’s Bar, Belfast.

Their brand new studio album titled ‘Sacred Blood "Devine" Lies’ is released worldwide on February 26th 2016.

For a musician like Tony Clarkin who composes constantly, viewing and selecting the material he has written is always one of the most significant moments during the creation process of a new Magnum album. On the one hand it’s a luxury to have the opportunity to separate the wheat from the chaff and to be in a position to use only the strongest numbers. On the other hand it’s also a difficult process, because after all the creator of those songs has grown fond of every single one of them. I usually start composing for our next album immediately after the release of the previous one, Clarkin explains.

When Escape From The Shadow Garden arrived at the stores in March 2014, my thoughts had already turned to our next recording. Clarkin wrote 25 new songs during the subsequent months, the most promising 13 of which were selected for Sacred Blood "Divine" Lies. Ten of those tracks made it onto the new album, the other three onto the included bonus CD. It would have been too much of a shame to disregard them, Clarkin reckons, particularly since our fans want to know after every release what happened to the rest of the material. This time they’re getting it in addition to the album tracks."

The ten numbers on the regular album present Magnum from their most rocking side again. The epicentre of this soundquake features, along with frontman Bob Catley’s charismatic voice, Clarkin’s awesome riff and lead guitar which provides the all-important substructure to the songs. Courtesy of his driving style, Sacred Blood "Divine" Lies counts without a doubt among the groups’ most dynamic releases. Clarkin: I’ve always been into rock numbers. But it isn’t necessarily that easy to write really good rock material. It’s much more simple to compose a ballad. But that dynamic pace suits Magnum perfectly."

Clarkin is referring mainly to the title track and opener of the new album. I feel that Bob delivered it really well, Clarkin praises his vocalist Bob Catley. As far as I am concerned, ´Sacred Blood "Devine" Lies` is definitely likely to join the ranks of great Magnum classics. So it comes as no surprise that ´Sacred Blood "Divine" Lies` with its significant message became the album title.

Of course there are more highlights on this thoroughly powerful recording. Clarkin was inspired to write the anthemnic ´Gypsy Queen` at a concert in St. Petersburg, a city which deeply impressed him with its unique atmosphere. By no means less memorable is ´Your Dreams Won’t Die´ which is based on a piano chord sequence and could lead you to believe that Magnum have put to music their own band philosophy. "To me, the title and lyrics have an almost religious depth," says Clarkin. "There’s a saying that somebody is not forgotten if their name is remembered." A successful rock group like Magnum should be entitled to eternal renown, shouldn’t it? Says Clarkin: "You want my honest opinion? I don’t think that far ahead, but of course it’s a nice notion that this band may always be remembered because so many people love our music."

And last but not least: Sacred Blood "Divine" Lies closes with a song which surprised even Clarkin. "I liked the general sound of ´Don’t Cry Baby` from the start," he remarks. "Although I initially didn’t have a lyric, the melody kept going through my head, as well as the chorus with acoustic and e-guitars plus piano. We even kept the drums from the demo version because our drummer Harry James liked them so much. He said: ´I love it the way it is. We shouldn’t change a thing about it."

So here it is: Sacred Blood "Divine" Lies has been scheduled for release by Steamhammer/SPV on 26 February 2016 and will you don’t need to be a clairvoyant to predict this be loved by the bands’ fans. That Clarkin will probably already have his mind on Magnums’ next release by that time well, that’s another story.

Magnum plus guests Limelight 1, Belfast Friday 27 May. Doors: 7pm Early Show. Tickets on sale now from http://www.ticketmaster.ie/ and all usual outlets including Katy’s Bar & DV8, Belfast. 24 Hr CC Bookings on 0844 847 2455.

http://www.magnumonline.co.uk/ // http://www.sdentertainment.co.uk/

NEWS: Legendary producer Steve Albini to address Belfast conference in European exclusive

ONE of the world’s top music producers is to visit Belfast next year to inspire those working in the industry here.

Steve Albini - the man behind the helm for the likes of Nirvana, The Pixies, The Manic Street Preachers and many, many more - will be the keynote speaker at Belfast City Council's second 'Output Belfast ' conference in a European exclusive.

The conference takes place at Belfast's The MAC on Thursday, 18th February and will be attended by 350 local artists, businesses and students.

Albini will address some of the issues and challenges facing the music industry and will be an opportunity to highlight the key role music and performance plays within Northern Ireland's creative industry.

"The economic and cultural contribution and potential of the creative industries is widely acknowledged," said Councillor Deirdre Hargey, Chair of the council's City Growth and Regeneration Committee
“The council’s is committed to supporting those working in the fields of film, music, digital media and design to achieve their true economic and creative potential.  This unique one day event is designed to provide a high quality, internationally recognised conference and showcasing event that will  help to underpin and accelerate the development of skills, networks and market opportunities for artists and businesses in Belfast’s burgeoning music industry sector,” she added.

Organised by Belfast City Council in partnership Generator NI, the conference will include panel discussions, music sessions, workshops and speed networking events as well as keynote speeches from award-winning musicians and managers of globally recognised talent.

At night, the emphasis will switch to live music, with a series of free pop-up gigs at venues across the city centre - hopefully with some rock and metal!

Full details of the conference speakers will be announced in mid-January.  However, registration is now open at www.outputbelfast.com.


BLOODSTOCK's friends at Hobgoblin are once again hosting the Metal 2 The Masses Video Upload competition for 2016. The multi-layered Metal 2 The Masses scheme - including the Northern Ireland heats presented by The Distortion Project - gives unsigned and DIY bands a chance to play on the Newblood Stage.

As well as taking part in the local M2TM heats, another way to enter is by submitting your video to Hobgoblin's upload site! If you have a video, get it uploaded now and you could be in with a chance of shaking the Newblood stage at Bloodstock!

Not only this, but Scuzz TV will be giving 10 lucky bands a chance by airing their videos on the Scuzz channel! Get all the info over at http://m2tm.wychwood-competitions.com/#/mischeif//competitions/bloodstock.

If you’re not aiming to take to the stage any time soon, then Hobgoblin are giving away stacks of prizes in return for your votes. All you have to do is vote for your favourite band and be in with a chance of winning VIP weekend tickets, Hobgoblin beer, festival flags or over 500 legendary Hobgoblin t-shirts! Just click http://m2tm.wychwood-competitions.com/#/mischeif//competitions/bloodstock, set up an account and get voting! But keep visiting, as new bands keep entering!

Bands! If you're thinking of throwing your hat in the ring, check this out to whet the appetite; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdndra5UL2Q.

BLOODSTOCK's standard weekend tickets with camping are on sale now, priced £139 (+ booking fee) from http://bloodstock.seetickets.com/event/bloodstock-2016/catton-park/902838.

BLOODSTOCK will be held at Catton Park, Derbyshire on 11th-14th August 2015. Keep up to date with the very latest info on BLOODSTOCK’s official sites at www.facebook.com/bloodstock and www.bloodstock.uk.com, or via Twitter on @BLOODSTOCKFEST.

And, don't forget - if you haven't yet entered Northern Ireland MSTM competition, get your skates on!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

NEWS: MELECHECH - Frontman Ashmedi comments on arrest charges

Full ImageAshmedi, frontman for Sumerian black/thrash pioneers Melechech, has recently been arrested for assault in his hometown, Jerusalem.

As rumours have spread over the past two weeks, the band have decided to speak out on the situation.

"While on vacation in Jerusalem, I was arrested for beating up somebody in a bar fight. After 3 days in jail and a 3000 dollar bail plus 18000 dollar contingent guarantee, I was placed under house arrest for the last 7 weeks and will remain under house arrest until the court sets a date for a trial. Then the judge will decide what will happen next.

"I was having a nice night out at a friend's bar. After several verbal provocations and then verbal death threats to me, I acted in what to me seemed self-defence and finished it. Normally, people know me, I often stop fights and buy people drinks to calm them down - this time s*** hit the fan....

"Well, it was a stupid bar fight, which is not my style really, yet things got out of hand and the vacation turned into a nightmare. 3 days jail and now I am still under house arrest for the last 7 weeks until a yet unknown court date, the fortunate news however is that I will be given permission to do the Melechesh concert in Jerusalem, so I can go out for a few hours to rehearse with my guys and the next day naturally perform with Melechesh."

Ashmedi has been granted permission to rehearse with the rest of the band who are flying to Israel for tomorrow's concert in Jerusalem which will mark Melechesh's first show there since the summer of 1998.

Melechesh are currently supporting their latest album, ‘Enki’ which was released in early 2015.

NEWS: Demons Of Old Metal Premiere New Single

The Quiet Ones Streamed Exclusively Through Pure Grain Audio

British metallers Demons Of Old Metal recently streamed their latest single "The Quiet Ones" via Puregrainaudio! Taken from their upcoming new album "Dominion", which is due for release on December 7th, fans of the band can check out their latest offering ahead of time!

Check out "The Quiet Ones" here - http://puregrainaudio.com/audio/demons-of-old-metal-the-quiet-ones-exclusive-song-stream-premiere

Sat somewhere between classic Exodus, Pantera & GWAR; theatrically tinged British metallers Demons Of Old Metal have been making an unholy din across the UK for a while now. And if latest record "Dominion" is anything to go by, they’re just getting started!

'Dominion' is set for release on December 7th 2015, "Tracks like ‘You Version 2.0’, ‘Fakeskin’ and ‘Behind The Mask’ are groove laden gems on a record full of brilliance. Tall and short of it; you need Demons Of Old Metal in your life.

NEWS: Finnish thrashers added to Exodus show

FINNISH thrashers Lost Society will support Exodus on their upcoming Dublin and Belfast shows..

Front man Samy Elbanna said:

"We can't even begin to tell you all how stoked we are to announce that we'll be hitting the road with the almighty EXODUS at the end of February! We're so happy to finally return to the UK and hit our other favourite countries and cities.

"We'll be playing some tracks off of ‘BRAINDEAD’ for the first time ever, and of course songs off of the first two records. One thing is for sure, Exodus and Lost Society will tear down every single venue, and we expect you all to go crazy and scream your lungs out!! Make sure you get your tickets right away, this is gonna be legendary!"

Samy has also put together a video message for the announcement.

You can watch it HERE

LIVE REVIEW: Trucker Diablo and NASA Assassin rock the Diamond

IT'S December and the Diamond Rock Club was party central on Saturday (12th December) when the big truck of NASA Assassin and Trucker Diablo rumbled into Ahoghill with guitars and drums primed to pound out a celebration of rock.

Eclectic and eccentric NASA Assassin are a mélange of the best of rock and the tastiest of metal wrapped up in a ball of unusual arrangements and infectious melodies.

The Watcher as always emerges in his lab coat, surveying the audience as if they are test subjects in his musical experiment - not so much lab rats as unwitting humans about to be examined for flaws or greatness.

Musical tapestries abound, from the compelling 'Mystified' to the weirdness of 'One Man Crimewave', which reveals that 'Carrickfergus Syndrome' can have deadly side effects.

With such a balance between huge tunes, critical observations of the human condition combined with humour, wit and cynicism in lesser hands this could all spin out of control. But NASA Assassin manage to wrestle the elements of their sound to the ground and then throw it into the faces of the audience. All in attendance are now eagerly awaiting the next album...

Trucker Diablo are having one helluva year: signed to Off Yer Rocka records; played festivals (Steelhouse and Hard Rock Hell); released stunning videos; and, announcing a 2016 UK tour, the Diamond Rock Club show was a celebration that the Big Truck is indeed keeping on rolling.

They were greeted with roars and sing-alongs; headbanging and hugs; air guitar antics and smiles - Tom and co clearly enjoying playing and the reception.

While all the usual songs were deployed with killer delivery (Voodoo, Juggernaut etc) it was also a night that saw some more weapons of mass enjoyment from the Trucker arsenal.

Party favourite 'Drink Beer, Destroy' has been boosted like a Saturn V rocket with the segue into Metallica's 'Seek and Destroy' with the chorus changed to 'Searching, Beer and Destroy'.

But the delivery, sol, by Tom of 'Where Angels Cry' was the stand-out moment. Such a tender song, such a heartfelt message brought the audience to a standstill, and there were many in attendance who shed a quiet tear.

Trucker are right now on the crest of a wave and deservedly so. They play a brand of rock that is both accessible and true to their influences. It is not so much that greatness awaits them, more that they are great and more and more people are seeing that and embracing their inner Diablo.

Of course, being Christmas Trucker had to end with their festive tune 'We Gonna Rock This Christmas' and by the balls of Satan they rocked the Diamond Rock Club.

Review and Pix by Jonny


NEWS: Belfast faves Black Stone Cherry to headline day two of Ramblin' Man Fair

THEY have been favourites on stage in Belfast for years, growing from playing small clubs to the point of playing the iconic Ulster Hall. Now Black Stone Cherry are headlining Day Two of Ramblin' Man Fair in Maidstone, Kent.

Joining them on day two will be racous Aussie rockers Airbourne, who have also been long time visitors to Belfast.

This make the festival - which was great last year - even more tempting to Northern Ireland folks as Whitesnake and Europe are the first day headliners.
Having revelled at RMF last year it is fair to say that it is one of the most chilled of fests, with only the friendly atmosphere of Bloodstock equalling it's vibe (although the music is a bit different).

Other acts announced today include the Von Hertzen Brothers and White Buffalo - adding to a burgeoning list of acts.

Unlike many other festivals Ramblin' Man forces attendees to check out different styles and genres. As well as the 'Classic Rock' stage there is a 'Prog' Stage, an 'Outlaw Country' stage and a 'Blues' stage, all within five minutes walk from each other.

You can check up the line-up to date and but tickets here.

LIVE REVIEW: Fear Factory roll back the years, but keep the passion

JESUS wept! 'Demanufacture' was released 20 years ago. Well, who would have thunk it, and why does that make us feel old?

Fear Factory seem 'young' to those us bred on the 1980s metal, but then again Fear Factory began life as Ulceration in 1989...

To tour with the entire 'Demanufacture' album as the hook could be seen as an attempt to rekindle past passions among the fans. If so, it was also a risk to have two support bands of top calibre on the bill.

Opening in Belfast on Friday 11th December was Dublin act Dead Label. This trio produces a noise that defies the tag of opener.

Dan, Danny and Claire are a potent force and use their limited slot to good effect. The likes of they're Bloodstock appearance in August has helped hone tracks such as 'Ominous' and 'Salvation in Sacrifice' to cut with savagery.

Surprise of the night for many was Once Human. Logan Mader, ex-of Machine Head and Soulfly, had been away from the live music scene for almost a decade when he assembled Once Human.

Mader's return went largely unheralded and for many the release of 'The Life I Remember' in September was low on the radar. With this tour there is no way Once Human will be overlooked.

On album they are good, but live they are sensational - a combination of classic thrash and groove as well as a contemporary 21st century metal feeling. Lauren Hunt is a talented front person for the band, providing a focal point with her range of vocals and goading the crowd yet further.

Of course, 'Davidian' gets the loudest response, but the tracks of the September release earn their stripes as 'You C*nt', 'Terminal' and 'The Life I Remember' each get a more than warm welcome.

Fear Factory have earned their stripes the hard way, touring, fall-outs, failed experimentation are all part of the history and histrionics that make up the Fear Factory mythos.

With new album 'Genexus' out, why the hell are they playing 'Demanufacture' in full? There may be a simple reason, once you sit down and contemplate for a while with 'Dog Day Sunrise' playing in the background.

'Genexus' sits well alongside 'Demanufacture' and the under-rated 'Digimortal'. And, to 'tour' Genexus on it's own would mean the band would have had to include much of Demanufacture anyway. Therefore, to boost interest in the tour the happy coincidence of the album's 20th birthday was the proverbial 'no-brainer'.

When Burton C. Bell and Dino Cazares take to the stage for the opening apocalyptic riffs of the album's title track no-one cares the rhyme or reasons as the surge of familiarity breeds furious joy not contempt.

There's no real need to list all the tracks but suffice to say the likes of 'New Breed' and 'Body Hammer' still feel fresh as they did 20 years ago.

Mike Heller and Tony Campos are more than bit part players on stage. Heller has been pounding the skins for three years now and Campos seems more than just a touring member on bass.

Bell seems to be enjoying himself, and Cazares was seen to break a smile a couple of times, but there is a conceit that Fear Factory can't get away from. While the metal is pure and powerful to capture the sound at times requires the effects and synth sounds.

Where they dispense with these the essence of the album tracks disappears and it becomes a straightforward metal track: not bad enough to be bad, but still.

Where they deploy the backing tracks and synth sounds some might think they are over-topping - yet they are not.

The dichotomy within this conundrum matters not a whit as this is a set that blasts through the Limelight. New tracks such as 'Dielectric' and 'Regenerate' could have seen some drift to the back, but the majority stayed put until the final strains of 'Martyr'.

Fear Factory have been one of the preeminent bands of  'industrial' metal, but have been plagued with inconsistency. However, when they played Belfast that faded into the background. They delivered everything that could be expected: sounds from glory days brought to old and new fans alike and delivered with aplomb.

Review by Jonny
Photos by Darren McVeigh

Friday, December 11, 2015

NEWS: Ricky Warwick releases new single from forthcoming album release today

JEEZ - everywhere you turn these days Ricky Warwick pops up. If it's not with the Black Star Riders, it's at the Diamond acoustic guitar slung around his neck. If it's not there he's behind the mic at the Elk.

And, that's no bad thing....

Today, Friday 11th December he opens another chapter in his musical odyssey with the release of the single 'The Road to Damascus Street' from the New Year album release 'When Patsy Cline Was Crazy (And Guy Mitchell Sang the Blues/Hearts on Trees' by his new band 'The Fighting Hearts'

During February and March Mr Warwick and his cohorts will be promoting the album as he takes to the road supporting Stiff Little Fingers.

The musicians he has assembled for this album and tour have an impressive pedigree. Robbie Crane, Mark Thwaite and Gary Sullivan complete the line-up.

Ricky explained the idea to the album: "'Hearts On Trees' and 'When Patsy Cline Was Crazy And Guy Mitchell Sang The Blues' were written by myself and my good friend Sam Robinson, both albums depict our experiences of growing up and coming from the Greater East Belfast area, not only experiences that have happenend to us but historical references and stories that have been told to us by friends and family...in saying that both albums translate those experiences on to a global scale that hopefully anyone geographically can relate to."

The release also boasts an array of collaborators with guests such as; Joe Elliot (Def Leppard) Damon Johnson (Thin Lizzy/Black Star Riders) Andy Cairns (Therapy?) Billy Morrison (Billy Idol) Nathan Connolly (Snow Patrol) Ginger Wildheart, Jake Burns (Stiff Little Fingers) and Richard Fortus (Guns ‘N’ Roses/Dead Daisies).

'When Patsy Cline Was Crazy (And Guy Mitchell Sang the Blues/Hearts on Trees' will be released as a double album on Nuclear Blast on February 26th.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

NEWS: Whitesnake, Europe and more announced for Ramblin Man Fair

SO, did you enjoy Whitesnake's set in the SSE Arena Belfast? We did (review here) and as you may begin to plan next year's festival dates you may want to consider Ramblin' Man Fair in July.

Whitesnake will be one of the headliners. With them on the Classic Rock main stage will be Europe.

Also announced are Ginger Wildheart, Procol Harum, Hayseed Dixie, and Walter Trout.

Below is the official press release with quotations from Coverdale, Tempest and festival owner Chris Ingham. But above all, when we attended Ramblin' Man Fair last year to review it for Devils Gate Media we loved every second.

Press release:

Mega platinum WHITESNAKE, the legendary rock’n’roll band founded and formed by DEEP PURPLE singer David Coverdale are proud to announce their exclusive UK Festival date as part of the 2016 "THE GREATEST HITS TOUR" which will feature their biggest hits & songs from SLIDE IT IN, WHITESNAKE (1987) AND SLIP OF THE TONGUE records.

Blowing audiences away with their stunning, energetic live performances, Whitesnake have just completed a comprehensive world tour in 2015, including a Sell Out Arena tour in the UK & Ireland with Def Leppard, whilst promoting their most recent studio offering, THE PURPLE ALBUM.

After leaving DEEP PURPLE in 1976 Coverdale formed the original WHITESNAKE in 1978, and began a journey that has taken him from the early heavy blues rock of the late ‘70s with albums like ‘TROUBLE’, ‘LOVEHUNTER ‘READY AND WILLING’ and ‘COME AN’ GET IT’ through to the explosive hard rock of the revamped ‘SNAKE sound with the multi-platinum ‘SLIDE IT IN’ & 1987’s self-titled mega-million-selling smash-hit album, ‘WHITESNAKE’.

David Coverdale...Whitesnake Lead Singer "We are truly excited & looking forward to playing at the Ramblin' Man Fair in 2016 on what will be our 'Greatest Hits World Tour' & most likely my personal 'Farewell to Arena Rock' after over 40 years of writing & performing rock music. As I write this we are finishing our incredibly successful touring cycle of 2015...CO Headlining a monster UK tour with Def Leppard, releasing our tribute to Deep Purple Mark 3 & 4, Whitesnake 'The PURPLE Album' & touring this incredible world, I look back on an amazing, memorable journey of 4 decades of fun performing for millions of people. Whitesnake is singularly honoured to headline The Ramblin' Man Fair, looking forward to some British Fun in the sun... See You In 2016!!!"


A legendary name of a legendary band. Three decades in, millions of albums sold and anthems such as "The Final Countdown" and "Rock The Night", Europe are coming to Ramblin' Man Fair off the back of their critically acclaimed 10
th Studio Album ‘War of Kings’. The band recently picked up the "Comeback Of the Year" Award at 2015’s Classic Rock Awards.

"We're having an amazing 2015 with receiving a Classic Rock Award and touring extensively promoting WAR OF KINGS. Now we have the absolute pleasure in announcing that EUROPE will be playing RAMBLIN’ MAN FAIR together with WHITESNAKE on the 23 July 2016. Always an enormous pleasure sharing the stage with the great man himself David Coverdale and his entourage! We've been following Ramblin’ Man Fair with great interest. It's a festival that makes sense musically and is gaining respect amongst both artists and audience. Bring on RAMBLIN’ MAN FAIR 23 July 2016! It will surely be one of those classic rock evenings that will be talked about for donkey's!" - Joey Tempest

Ginger Wildheart
One of the most consistent UK songwriters of the past 25 years. Throughout The Wildhearts and a host of solo albums Ginger will be rocking tracks such as "Caffeine Bomb", "29 x The Pain", "Sick Of Drugs" and "I Wanna Go Where The People Go". He recently dueted with Courtney Love on "Honor". After his record breaking pledge campaigns and critically acclaimed albums ‘555%’ & ‘Albion’, we can’t wait to see him perform at next years festival.

Procol Harum 
One of the most successful prog rock bands of the 60’s and 70’s and one of a few number of artist to sell 10 million singles with their debut track ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’. Procol Harum will be a fantastic addition to Ramblin’ Man Fair 2016 and we can’t wait to see them headline our Prog Stage.

Hayseed Dixie
Our country stage headliners Hayseed Dixie are one of the most exciting critically loved bands on the bill. "Superlative musicians with a deep love and understanding of the dynamics of both modern rock and ancient hillbilly music" - The Times

Walter Trout
Accomplished, unique, passionate. Walter is a contemporary blues master. With a career spanning over 45 years he is one of the true greats and fathers of Blues music and we’re honored to have him as a special guest at next years Ramblin’ Man Fair.

Other artists announced are iconic rockers Hawkind, Blues outfit King King and prog talents Uriah Heep and Life Signs.
Weekend Tickets On Sale Now

Weekend General Admission
£130.00 (Price Includes Booking Fee)
Weekend VIP - £225.00 (Price Includes Booking Fee)

Ticket Link -

Ramblin’ Man Fair is the must see event for discerning festival goers. A quality musical line up with a number of UK exclusive performances. The event will be a unique experience set to become a staple of the UK festival calendar.

The festival will take place in the beautiful Mote Park in Maidstone, Kent
the garden of England. The park is one of the largest in South East England with more than 450 acres of mature parkland and a 30 acre lake. With multiple travel links via train (Ashford International, Maidstone East and Maidstone West in close proximity) and road (with three park and rides available around Maidstone). The festival site is also perfect for European festival goers with easy links to the London airports, the Channel and Ferries to and from mainland Europe.
Ramblin’ Man Fair is now under the ownership of new music event company Spirit of Rock, the first IP acquisition activity by ex Team Rock and Classic Rock/Metal Hammer magazine Managing Director Chris Ingham. Spirit of Rock is a division of RFS Entertainment.

In a statement Spirit Of Rock said, "Now under new management, year two of Ramblin’ Man Fair will be even bigger and better than year one. The festival will concentrate on a core offering of classic rock, prog and Southern rock music showcasing both legends and new talent. Ramblin’ Man Fair will come with a new emphasis on great food, fine bourbons and the colourful world of rock culture."

Spirit Of Rock Director Chris Ingham adds, "Ramblin’ Man 2016 is my first venture with the Spirit of Rock, the company I formed in partnership with RFS entertainment after twenty years at Classic Rock and Metal Hammer magazines and latterly, with TeamRock. I actually attended the 2015 concert in Mote Park and I was hugely impressed not only by the diversity of the artists but also the great atmosphere and the sheer potential of the brand.
It’s time to create a music festival that appeals as much to the foodie as it does the rock music fan in us all. Let’s have Classic Rock, Southern Rock, Prog, Blues and Country music stages alongside great outdoor BBQ food, fine bourbon whiskies and barrels of real ale in the heart of Maidstone’s beautiful Mote Park. Knowing whom we have booked to play and alongside these new areas Ramblin’ Man 2016 will be a very special weekend indeed, don’t miss out."
Chris Ingham

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

LIVE REVIEW: Pure arena class on display from Def Leppard, Whitesnake and Black Star Riders

ARENA shows are devoid of that intense atmosphere club shows have. Right? Not so when you have accomplished performers, seasoned veterans of gigs large and small, and a packed venue.

Def Leppard, Whitesnake and Black Star Riders took the SSE Arena by the scruff of the neck and electrified the place with consummate and passionate professionalism on Monday, 7th December.

By contrast a week earlier we were at Prodigy and Public Enemy...nowhere near full and little real atmosphere.

Black Star Riders link to Thin Lizzy is becoming ever more tenuous. While Scott Gorham remains prowling on stage left, and clearly still enjoying himself, BSR are developing their own identity as a band.

Sure they pepper the set with Lizzy tunes -  and closing with 'Whiskey In The Jar' always raises the roof - but more and more this is Ricky Warwick and Damon Johnson's band.

While 'The Boys Are Back In Town' gets the crowd going there is equally the same warm reception for BSR tracks such as 'Bound For Glory' and  'Finest Hour'. Warwick in particular has grown into the role of front man, and on this form there is much anticipation for any forthcoming recordings.

Dave Coverdale is no stranger to shows in Belfast, including two memorable sold out shows in Belfast at the height of the Troubles in the 80s.Whitesnake may see Mr Coverdale a little long in the tooth - and recent hints that his arena touring days are over - but he is still the consummate leader of his band.

Confident, with the right amount of swagger and measured confidence, even ladies who are considerably younger than Coverdale were near swooning to 'Love Ain't No Stranger' and 'Is This Love'.

Given Whitesnake's revolving door of members Coverdale has always been careful to choose well. While long term accomplice Tommy Aldridge remains behind the kit, Reb Beach's been in the band for 13 years. Joel Hoekstra's guitar work compliments Beach's playing. Michael Devin's a solid presence on bass, with newbie Michele Luppi's keyboards giving depth to the sound.

Coverdale's voice remains a potent weapon. He may not be able to stretch it to its roar in his heyday, but he measures himself and uses the massed backing vocals of the band to produce a blend of rock majesty.

As expected 'Ain't No Love in the Heart if the City' had lungs busting throughout the SSE Arena singing each impassioned line; and as expected the run of 'Fool for Your Loving', 'Here I Go Again', and 'Still of the Night' were greeted as old and beloved friends.

It may have been a homecoming gig for Vivian Campbell it seemed to also be a homecoming slot for all of Leppard. Like the 'Snake Leppard played Belfast in the Troubles and rate their gig in the city on the Pyromania tour as one of the best ever in their long career.

But Campbell was applauded as a true troubadour, battling his cancer and battling every night to be the best he can be.

Elliot has the crowd in the palm of his hand from the get go. As with Coverdale he knows how to control and cajole the crowd to ever greater devotion as the set goes on.

'Animal', 'Dangerous', Armageddon It'  and 'Rocket' were balanced, loud and proud, but 'Two Steps Behind', 'When Love and Hate Collide' and 'Hysteria' were there to ease back the tempo when needed. [And seemingly to induce mass snogging amongst the couples there...]

Songs like 'Switch 625' may not have been familiar to all, but there was no way that they detracted from the set - for some serving as a break for beers and a smoke.

But when you can finish with 'Pour Some Sugar On Me' and encore with 'Rock of Ages' and 'Photograph' you know that even the most hardened of nicotine addicts will be sticking it out, singing along, fists and horns high in the air.

Three bands, a triumvirate of tellingly placed classics. Sure for many there it was a nostalgia night for their memories of the 80s, but that did not detract from the passion and pride in hard rock that still exists in Black Star Riders, Whitesnake and Def Leppard.

Review by Jonny
Pictures by Darren McVeigh