Pick Your Rock and Metal

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

NEWS: Shameless plug for my first book...Watching the Watched

OKAY - as editor of this site I'm briefly taking it on a side journey to shamelessly plug my first book, a collection of short stories.

Fear not, as there are references to hard rock and metal in several of the stories therefore it is (sort of relevant) to this site.

The book is called Watching the Watched and is available now for pre-sale right now for delivery in January 2017 via my publisher's site (Excalibur Press). Just click here if you want to buy and read my tortured syntax, waffle and general stupidity!

Alas this is more about putting out there what I had written to date concluding with the last written earlier in 2016.

There are two more books at least coming in the first half of 2017, and whether you hate 'em or love 'em I'm going to keep putting them out there until someone buys the film options on several of them.

In the meantime look out for many more reviews, news and waffle about hard rock and metal with the occasional smattering of punk.

If you want to see more about Excalibur Press and their services click here. There are many other authors there to read as well as finding out more about Excalibur Press's services.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

NEWS: Orange Goblin's Ben Ward launches campaign to raise funds for Team Rock's laid off staff

ORANGE Goblin frontman Ben Ward has launched a JustGiving campaign in the hope of raising £20,000 for the staff of music publisher, Team Rock. The campaign comes following the company’s liquidation and the announcement that over 70 members of staff are to be laid off with no severance pay six days before Christmas.

Ward said: "Today (Monday), 73 members of the Team Rock staff were told that the company is going into liquidation and that they are being made redundant with immediate effect with ZERO pay.

"These are good, hard-working, committed people that through Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Prog Rock, TeamRock Radio and more, have supported the rock and heavy metal scene in this country for decades and now we, the rock community, need to pull together to help give something back."

People can donate to the campaign here:

73 people were laid off following the company’s collapse. Administrators were called in after the firm got into financial difficulties, and 27 members of staff in Scotland and a further 46 in London have been made redundant. Seven staff members will be retained "in the short term" to assist the administrators.

Team Rock ran a stable of rock music magazines, including Metal Hammer, Classic Rock and Classic Rock Presents Prog, and featured regular content on its website, www.teamrock.com.

Administrators at FRP Advisory are now seeking buyers for the business's magazine titles and other assets. Joint administrator Tom MacLennan said Team Rock had traded at a loss "for a significant period of time". Adding: "The company explored every option to secure the long-term future of the business, however the constraints on the cash position of the business were such that administration was the only viable option. The administration presents an excellent opportunity to acquire high profile rock music titles, products and brands that have a substantial global following. "

Team Rock was founded in 2012, and bought the Classic Rock, Classic Rock Presents Prog and Metal Hammer magazines from Future Publishing in 2013. FRP have stated the company's website attracted more than three million hits per month, and the company owns an extensive archive of video, radio, images and magazines.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

ALBUM REVIEW: Conjuring Fate capture excitement on 'Valley of Shadows'

WHEN it comes to live shows few can capture the attention in the same way that Conjuring Fate do, but when committing songs so beloved by those who have seen the band to an album then it is a serious challenge. Could the CF team manage that feat on their album 'Valley of Shadows'?

Of course they can - did you ever doubt it?

Converting the energy and intensity from the live versions has been achieved what seems effortlessly, but that belies the work that has gone into produce an album brim full of superb tracks.

You could describe it as classic metal, NWOBHM inspired, or some other descriptive rubbish, but that would detract from what Conjuring Fate have captured on this release. There are immense choruses, searing melodic guitar lines, rolling rhythms, humour and seriousness all laid out to marvel in.

Sure, the influences are there for all to hear, not least in the riffing á la Maiden etc, but it is never a slavish take on that early era of the Irons and their kin. Rather it brings it bang up to date, adds elements of thrash, and the result is something that packs 11 songs of pure metallic joy.

The pacing of the album means that there is a sense of dynamism on the album. Whether it is the rampant roll of 'Dr Frankenstein' and 'Land of the Damned', or the measured fury of 'Trust No One' this is a complete picture of a band that has risen above being local contenders and now will be attracting attention from further afield.

And, also from further afield Conjuring Fate snagged a couple of guests for the release. Neil Fraser of Stagma/Rage of Angels lays down a guest solo on the re-worked 'Backwoods Witch' and Mordred's Scott Holderby provides guest vocals on 'Trust No One'.

And, it is the re-working of familiar tracks that really elevates 'Valley of Shadows'. The aforementioned 'Land of the Damned' has a tweaked mid-section. Also, the three tracks from the House On Haunted Hill ep release have been given a dusting down, a good shake up and sit proud to conclude the album.
Pic By Darren McVeigh

The performance throughout from Phil Horner and Karl Gibson on guitars is faultless. There are so many places to identify, but the work on 'Chasing Shadows' is an exemplar of what can be achieved.

In terms of energy you can picture Tommy Daly's congenial and creative stage presence on each of his vocal lines, and the passion for each lyric that he coaxes from his voice box.

'Primal Desire' has a contemporary feel in its structure and Daly tears each note from himself with obvious passion. And, there's a tasty solo there too...

There is not a bad track on this album in terms of execution and production. For an unsigned band to accomplish this speaks volumes about the talent within Conjuring Fate.

Keeping every track nailed down, Steve Legear (bass) and Bogdan Walczak (drums) are a formidable rhythm section, whether it be metronomic sensibility or flourishes they are provide the beating heart on 'Valley of Shadows' as displayed on the immense 'Apocalypse'.

From the opening track 'Our Darkest Days' outrageous intro effects to the last note this is an 11-song album that should - no must, be played loud.

We doff our caps to Tommy, Phil, Karl, Steve, and Bodgan. One senses that the quality here will propel Conjuring Fate way beyond the parochial slumber that many acts find themselves confined to. Already the 'Dr Frankenstein' (and accompanying video) was being hailed by reviewers across Europe. The album is sure to receive the same acclaim.

'Valley of Shadows' keeps giving with each play, keeps rewarding the listener...and we have pretty much had to suspend a lot of our other work with it being on repeat almost constantly.

Review by Jonathan Traynor

NEWS: Bernie Marsden, Bonfire & Grim Reaper join the next HRH Road Trip to Ibiza

BEER, Bands, Beach and Rock n Roll shenanigans are all on the cards for 2017's annual HRH jaunt to the white isle of Ibiza.

Joining an already action packed line up including The Quireboys, Reckless Love, Wolf, Gun, Phil Campbell and his Bastard Sons, we now have the pleasure of adding on another string of talent, led by the incredible talent of Bernie Marsden, who will performing his usual Blues Rock Phenomena, but Ibiza will be his first trip as a band.

German Hard Rock Outfit, Bonfire add in their talents, as does Grim Reaper who had an incredible set at the recent inaugural HRH NWOBHM.

If you've been before, this is the biggest its every been in every way possible.

It has been sold out for a few weeks now, however were now adding on an extra hotel by public demand, so if you were one of the many waiting for a room inside an HRH Hotel ( Galfi is the new hotel), then doors are open, either book online @ www.hrhroadtrip.com or ring Rebecca on 0207 193 9564 as fast as you can, it won’t last long.

If you've never been, this is Rock n Roll holidays at its very best, seven days away in the Sun with the Denim n Leather brigade to Ibiza, where the bands and the fans party together in one of the most magical islands in the world

HRH Ibiza Road trip Cycle 8, takes place between 10th / 17th May 2017

See you there!
Full Line Up includes

The Quireboy   Bernie Marsden
Reckless Love, GUN, Bonfire
Phil Campbell and the Bastard sons, Wolf
Planet of Zeus, Grim Reaper, Bonafide
Chase the Ace, Regulus, Thirteen Stars
HUMM, Hell’s Gazelles, Degreed, Jokers Rage
Deathwish, Motorheadache

Sunday, December 11, 2016

NEWS: Guns n' Roses sell out Slane in a single day

WELL would you adam and eve it, but 25 years after they first played Slane Guns n' Roses have gone and sold out the venue.

80,000 tickets were sold in a single day...

That means that in total the band have sold one million - yes one million - tickets for their Not In This Lifetime tour.

 "I am delighted that GnR at Slane is sold out, with fans coming to the show from all over the world re-affirming Slane as one of the world's top venues and bringing a major boost to tourism“  said Lord Henry Mountcharles.

Guns N’Roses’ European and Canadian dates for their continued 2017 Not in This Lifetime Tour sold more than 1 million tickets in a single day, after going on sale Friday (9th December last).
And that's just the Irish, European and Canadian dates.

LIVE REVIEW: Triumphant album launch show as Conjuring Fate tear into the Valley of Shadows

THE much anticipated new Conjuring Fate album was unleashed in the Limelight2 on Saturday (10th December)...and what an event it turned out to be: celebratory, raucous, joyous and wondrous.

It was the last show of the year presented by The Distortion Project and a significant crowd of fans and local stars were there ready to be sated with their fill of Fate.

The vagaries of a public transport this close to Christmas meant there was no chance to catch A Little Bitter, who by all accounts wowed those seeing these talented rockers for the first time. With writing underway for their next release more 'Bitter shows will be forthcoming soon.

With confidence and composure Selene brought their symphonic metal with style and substance. Singer Shonagh has a tremendous range, and works the stage with stadium like grace.

What Selene have done so well on this Saturday is balance their set as they emerge as an ever stronger act. Their ability to switch tempos and still remain faithful to the symphonic roots is impressive.

John's guitar antics add a progressive flourish at times, but whether it is runs along the fret board or solid riffing he keeps the songs moving along. Equally Thomas (bass) and Cameron (drums) remain solid when needed but add delicate touches as exemplified on songs such as 'Memories'.

As Selene concluded their set there were still punters coming through the doors for Conjuring Fate - and when Tommy and co hit the stage none were disappointed.

There is an engaging quality with Conjuring Fate. The music and the way they conduct themselves on and off stage is always professional, but once they ascend the steps on to the stage they take on an almost otherworldly presence.

Panache and power combine as they weave musical patterns that beguile and leave all beaming from front to back of Limelight2.

The new album is revealed in all of its finery - and each tune, even the new ones unveiled is greeted with an almost rapturous welcome.

The strength of each song is further enhanced by the entire band enjoying themselves on stage. Each time they take to the stage Conjuring Fate elevate themselves, but on Saturday evening each and every member seems to be immensely proud of what they have achieved with 'Valley of Shadows'.

Karl and Phil joust on guitars, exchanging solos and mock rivalry as songs such as the first single from the album 'Dr Frankenstein' are played with precision.

Tommy, Steve (bass), Phil and Karl play all the metal tropes, that in lesser hands would be clichéd, but such is the enthusiasm and energy it is a celebration of every taut note, every meaty metal note is a joy to listen to and watch.

Nailing each beat Bogdan batters himself and the audience into submission as the band raise themselves to quite incredible heights. Tunes like 'Trust No One' are roared out by all and all enjoy each line, intonation and piece of stagecraft as 'Mirror, Mirror', Backwoods Witch and many more were aired.

Whether it was Phil roaming the venue, Tommy pushing the microphone into audience member's gobs to allow them to join in on choruses, or the rest of the band switching places on stage the energy was contagious.

Conjuring Fate have always been consummate performers, but on the event of this launch they took it to what - to coin a phrase - was another level.

Review by Jonathan Traynor
Photos by Darren McVeigh, MetalplanetBelfast

LIVE REVIEW: Pierce The Veil storm Mandela Hall, Belfast

WHAT do you get when you cross a bunch of exuberantly youthful rockers with a gleefully unpredictable post-hardcore showman and a bunch of goths that can rock your socks off?

No, not a bad joke with a hell of a punchline, but Pierce the Veil's latest EU/UK tour, which hit Belfast's Mandela Hall last Sunday night.

In the first support slot it was Southampton's Creeper, who, far from being merely “the warm up band” (as referenced by frontman Will Gould), proved to be hugely popular in their own right.

A plinky piano intro generates a scream of excitement, before they burst forth with 'VCR' and the ludicrously catchy 'Black Mass'.

They are remarkably poised for a band that have only existed for about two years, with Gould in particular showing all the signs of becoming a legendary figure as he throws himself around the stage with abandon, reminding your reviewer of the likes of Gerard Way, Meatloaf and even Elvis.

Having tasked themselves with warming the crowd up, they soon move on to startling the hell out of them by demanding – and receiving – a circle pit for 'The Honeymoon Suite', before unleashing their bombastic latest single 'Suzanne', which garners the biggest reaction of the set.

The band, in turn, are delighted with the response, with Gould enthusing that “this is our first time in Ireland, ever!” and thanking the crowd for “being such a cool audience”. They finish in gorgeously emo fashion with an emotional and heartfelt 'Misery', which sees Gould almost drowned out by the crowd in several places. This band will go far, make no mistake.

From the sublime to the utterly spontaneous, up next it's LA post-hardcore outfit letlive., who are onstage for mere seconds before a small but perfectly formed moshpit breaks out. Known for their often wild live shows, tonight also showcases their unstoppable talent as both songwriters and drum-tight musicians.

Frontman Jason Aalon Butler is at times almost a literal pocket rocket as he caromes around the stage – and indeed, the room – often singing from within the crowd, running full pelt through the mercifully empty photo pit, and in one particularly memorable moment, hanging from the lighting rig above the stage, all while bellowing passionately into his microphone (the lucky roadie in charge of untangling the cord really earns his wage tonight!).

Sonically, they combine hardcore, punk, hard rock and even splashes of soul and jazz to create their uniquely visceral sound – this is music with intent, like a coiled spring. Tracks such as opener 'Renegade 86', 'A Weak Ago' and 'The Dope Boat' strike the room – and the ecstatic crowd – like the audio equivalent of a punch in the gut.

Despite his unhinged onstage persona, Butler is also an amiable and warm host, expressing surprise that their music was so well known here (“I didn't even know motherfuckers over here cared about us!”) and joking that he was blushing when some wit lobs a bra onto the stage. He also proudly extols the band's political leanings one minute (“We do not believe in racism or bigotry...we will never support a man called Donald Trump. Fuck Donald Trump!”), then gives a rousing and rather sweary pro-women speech the next.

They wrap up with two of their best known tracks: 'Muther', which sees Creeper's Hannah Greenwood joining Butler on vocals briefly, and 'Good Mourning America', during which Butler unleashes his party trick of climbing whatever he can – in this case, he goes up the lighting rig to the side of the stage like it's a ladder, ending up amongst the lights directly above the stage. It's a suitably triumphant and symbolic moment that represents their entire astonishing set.

By the time headliners Pierce the Veil rather theatrically stride onstage following a cutesy animation intro and perfectly timed curtain drop the crowd have officially reached fever pitch, with the packed room almost throbbing with anticipation.

They begin with 'Dive In', which prompts an immediate singalong, the first of many this evening. It soon becomes obvious that, in a decidedly different way – but equally as effective – that a PTV show is as exciting and visually splendid as a letlive. one.

From confetti cannons, streamers whizzing through the air, clever light boxes and a flashy light show, it's clear that the band put as much effort into making sure their shows are interesting to watch as well as listen to.

That their bouncy, effervescent hard rock is fun and captivating is gratifying: they plainly care about writing great music, as well as putting on a great show.

“Holy shit! I think we're going to have a good time tonight” exclaims frontman Vic Fuentes, which proves to be spot on.

From choosing a visibly overwhelmed girl from the crowd to serenade onstage to bringing out Jason Aalon Butler to join Fuentes on vocals during 'Tangled In the Great Escape' they expertly hold the crowd in the palm of their collective hands for their entire seventy-five minute set.

You want the hits? You've got 'em: tonight sees the likes of 'Texas Is Forever', 'Bulls In the Bronx' and 'Circles' all fired out to an ecstatic crowd, who sing every single word with a hand on their heart and a spring in their step. And when an impressively thrown guitar (to a roadie, don't panic) signals the end of the band's set, the sadness is palpable. Briefly, of course: as if they wouldn't do an encore!

The aforementioned 'Circles', all impressively chuggy riffs and hooky chorus is first, followed by what is arguably their biggest hit 'King For a Day', which earns the loudest scream on what has been a very screamy night. “Thank you Belfast!” Fuentes hollers, and then it's all over bar the croaky throats and ringing ears.

Highly varied bills such as tonight can often fall flat, with fans only coming to watch a single band then leaving, or spending their time slating the ones their not fans of.

Happily that wasn't the case tonight, with each band being heartily (and noisily) received. It surely does make one's little black heart glad that such variation exists in the music world. More of this, please!

Review by Melanie Brehaut
Photos by Darren McVeigh

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