Pick Your Rock and Metal

Friday, February 26, 2016

ALBUM REVIEW: All the Satans ooze fom Zlatanera's début release Legerdemain

FOR the past two years Zlatanera have been honing their songs on the live circuit, bringing a dark humour in lyrics and dark intent in their music. Now, they have wrestled their songs to the ground for their début album, 'Legerdemain'.

It could have been a disaster taking the live favourites into a recording studio. Thankfully it isn't a disaster, rather the five-piece have taken the stoner groove and the anger and brought a vitality to the sound.

From Andy's (Campbell) sheer determined vocals - such as on 'Hooked, Kicked, Hooked Again - through to the dynamic rhythm work of Anto on bass and Keith on drums the album rolls along with fierce power.

The live trio of 'Satanic' tracks - 'Master of Ceremonies', 'Bad Case of the Devil' and 'Idle Hand Sataniser' - have retained their tongue in cheek evil replete with the introductions that give them the feel of the best Hammer House of Horrors films.

Andy McCallister and Willie Caulfield's guitars intertwine and stab at the heart of the matter; where others sometimes isolate riffs and solos they compliment each other, such as on closer 'Advance of the Clodhoppers'.

The sheer size of the attack Zlatanera have amassed for the album is at times staggering. Stand-out track 'Holy Man's Crook' has been in the band's set since the off and harnessing that energy must have been a struggle for the band, but they have pulled it off.

Sure that are some minor niggles - at times the mix loses some elements - but they are very, very minor issues.

What 'Legerdemain' shows is that Zlatanera deserve a wider audience.

Review by Jonny

Legerdemain is launched at Limelight2 on February 27th.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

VIDEOS: Some old and new videos interviews and tunes

SO we're having a quiet night in ahead of tomorrow (Sunday) night's Ensiferum gig and basically we're bored...so trawling through some videos, old and new here's Rabid Bitch of the North's 'Green Eyes', Toseland's 'Puppet on a Chain', interviews with Napalm Death and Herod from last year.

Here you go:

RBOTN: Toseland: Napalm Death: Herod:

NEWS: Raging Speedhorn Announce Split EP With Monster Magnet!

Desertfest Sponsored 7" Set For release on April 29th 

UK SLUDGE demons Raging Speedhorn are set to appear on a split EP with US Stoner Overlords Monster Magnet as part of the bands’ appearance at the British Desertfest.

The Desertfest sponsored 7" split will be released by H42 Records on April 29th, the first date of the festival, with a limited vinyl pressing of 300.

The track listing is:
Side A: Raging Speedhorn - Halfway to Hell
Side A: Monster Magnet - Hallucination Bomb

Guitarist Jim Palmer had this to say on the release:

"Having been a fan of Monster Magnet, forever it’s a real pleasure to be part of this split record! We also feel tremendously honoured that Desertfest chose us, as we are big fans of the festival. It doesn’t much better than this!"
This is Desertfest’s second split, with last year’s featuring instrumental legends Karma To Burn & Sons of Alpha Centauri.

Raging Speedhorn are currently in the studio with Russ Russell finalising their fifth record, which is set for a mid-2016 release.

NEWS: Massive Wagons rolling in 2016 with new album and tour

MASSIVE Wagons have been carving out quite a live reputation and on revved up anthem Tokyo the fighting spirit at the very heart of Massive Wagons shines through. ‘You won’t play us on the radio’ blasts frontman Baz Mills. But this time we just might.

Because on brand new record Welcome To The World, Massive Wagons carry all the passion, power and party attitude missing in the slow lane of British rock.

It’s the sound of a band accelerating towards stardom and overtaking the opposition.

Guitarist Adam Thistlethwaite said: "Our sound has always drawn on many different influences from classic rock to AOR to heavy blues and prog.

"Those influences are deliberately more polarised from track to track on this album. We love to be able to morph from highly accessible rock to deeper cuts.

"The result is something a lot more diverse yet a lot more ‘us’. We had a much heavier hand in the production beyond just the performance.

"I think we’ve achieved what we set out to do."

Listen to Ratio where Massive Wagons promise to ‘go to a place where the beer is cheap, the craic is good and jukebox is free’ and you’ll want to jump aboard and party hard.

Load up Shit Sweat Death and it’s as if Vince Neil is fronting Nashville Pussy. On the uplifting set closer Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum fans will lap up the giant-sized hooks that put the ‘massive’ into Massive Wagons.

In fact the band’s new album is rock and roll road trip referencing everyone from AC/DC to Black Stone Cherry, Green Day to Iron Maiden. And with Welcome To The World the Wagons are surely well on the road to long-term success.

After signing to Off Yer Rocka Reordings in 2014, Massive Wagons released Fight The System the record that persuaded label bosses no MOT was required.

"I loved their songs from day one and didn’t want to change a thing about them," said Off Yer Rocka CEO John Davies. "They already have a huge reputation as hard-gigging live band but Welcome To The World will confirm Massive Wagons as serious songwriters.

"People won’t believe this is the sound of five guys from North West England. This is music made for North American arenas."

Massive Wagons hit the road with label mates Trucker Diablo, Screaming Eagles, Skam, Chase The Ace and Thirteen Stars this spring and will play the following shows in April:

And, you can catch Massive Wagons in Belfast with The Quireboys and Screagles.

Single/Video Tokyo Released March 4
Album Welcome To The World Released April 29
UK Tour Starts April 14


Companion Album To Last Year’s Critically Acclaimed Cauterize

HOT on the heels of their much lauded second release Cauterize, Tremonti returns with companion album Dust. Dust is scheduled for release on April 29th via Fret 12 Records. The album, which was recorded during same sessions as Cauterize, features Mark Tremonti on vocals/guitars, Eric Friedman on guitars, Wolfgang Van Halen on bass, and Garrett Whitlock on drums. Long-time friend and collaborator, Michael "Elvis" Baskette, produced Dust.

To coincide with the announcement of Dust, several exclusive fan bundle pre-orders are now available at https://fret12.com/store/tremonti-dust. These bundles include autographed CD’s, t-shirts, hoodies, and other exciting experiences for the Tremonti fan. A teaser video has gone live at https://youtu.be/5PGvyjZtVKU talking about the pre-order and also features a snippet of new song "Catching Fire".

From the first riffs of album opener "My Last Mistake" to the final notes of closer "Unable To See", it is clear that Dust is not a collection of B-sides or leftovers.

These ten new tracks continue to showcase Mark’s hard rock/heavy metal influences alongside the material from Cauterize. Songs like "Once Dead", "Betray Me", and "Rising Storm" authentically hold their own in Tremonti’s musical arsenal.

The track listing for Dust is:

1) My Last Mistake
2) The Cage
3) Once Dead
4) Dust
5) Betray Me
6) Tore My Heart Out
7) Catching Fire
8) Never Wrong
9) Rising Storm
10) Unable To See

From late May, the band descend on Europe for a month, making stops at some of the largest festivals in the world including Hellfest, Graspop Metal Meeting, and Download.

Mark Tremonti is the Grammy Award-winning guitarist and songwriter known for his work in the internationally renowned bands Alter Bridge and Creed.

Having sold over 40 million records worldwide, this is the man behind massive hits like "My Own Prison", "Higher", "Isolation" and "Addicted To Pain." His recognizable sound has garnered him a loyal fan base across the globe. Guitar World dubbed him "Guitarist of the Year" three consecutive years in a row, and he ranked as the "fourth greatest heavy metal guitarist ever" in Total Guitar.

Website: www.marktremonti.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MarkTremonti/

Twitter: @MarkTremonti

The 2016 DUST Tour includes a Download appearance on Sunday June 12th.

Friday, February 19, 2016

LIVE REVIEW(S): Saturday night's all right for...rockin' as eight of the best play Northern Ireland

SOME Saturday's are just special. Sure every weekend can be great but when you have the opportunity to revel in two special shows and see eight bands you know it is a Saturday (February 13th) to remember.

The main focus was The Distortion Project fundraiser at Limelight2 from three o'clock before a dash to The Diamond to round up the night.

The DP fundraiser was an important event as it was an opportunity for the rock and metal community celebrate the 15 years plus that James Loveday has been supporting metal in Northern Ireland and help secure the future of more local, national and international acts playing here.

During that time the initial promise grew small shows in Katy Daly's to regular slots giving new and emerging rock and metal stage time, through to attracting the likes of WASP, Sabaton, and many, many more to Belfast.

But Saturday's celebration was a fundraiser and about the music that was about to be laid down.

First up in proceedings were Molarbear who delivered a heavy opening, with three guitars, mixing between dense rhythms and tight melody sections. They also had one song that had the crowd gleefully chanting 'fuck' - we think it was called 'Swearwolf' but we were too busy shouting "fuck" and laughing.

That aside Molarbear are dripping with promise and potential. For the inherent silliness of shouting "fuck" the rest of the set had enough strength in depth to ensure we have them tipped for the future.

When it comes to the southern metal scene in the USA, the likes of Down, Corrostion of Conformity are synonymous with NOLA grooves. Baleful Creed take that sound, add layers of Sabbath and pound it down.

Airing new song 'Memento Mori' and playing fan favourites such as (our editor's favourite) 'Autumn Leaves' recent months have seen Baleful Creed grow into not only a tighter unit, but also with added layers of heaviness. They take the conventions of their influences and add a Northern Ireland metal take, with dark humour and dark intent.

There is doubt of the unity of the vast majority of the metal community, something on display when By Any Means take the stage. Gacy Threads stick man Stephen Currie took over drum duties as usual drummer Gavin was otherwise engaged. Sinocence's Anto McCaughley was adding a second guitar and before the show was over Andy from Overoth was on stage with Wayne Donaldson ex of Defyed joining Paul Docs on all sorts of vocal contortions.

And, contortions are something that Paul committed himself to with his usual leap into the crowd and hyperactivity. For those that didn't know the other Paul in BAM was playing despite a heavy cold and 'flu-like symptoms'. Manflu can be fatal but the lurgy was not going to stop Paul donning his axe. A cover of Motorhead's 'The Hammer' added to the sense of occasion.

'Built on Respect' maybe a song, but it also expresses the attitude of By Any Means, and the respect those at Limelight2 showed for each other, each band and for James Loveday.

But at times we must always harken back to our roots, as Altus did when they covered Sabbath's 'Children of the Grave'. But as a band Altus must be taken note of. A few years back their sound was a pick-a-mix of influences that sometimes left you scratching your head as to where they would go.

In 2016 Altus - with a few line-up changes - are a very more focussed act, brimming with dark metal intent; a ritualistic sense of evil, added to by Sleeve on vocals donning a druidic cowl. Altus's new(ish) interpretation of death metal has seen many take note of where their next chapter will lead to.

Up from Dublin to pay their respects to Mr Loveday and The Distortion Project were Two Tales of Woe, who brought the groove to the evening with a set filled with rampant rhythm, searing riffs and melody so intricately woven into the songs that it was almost on a sub-conscious level that you found yourself caught by TTOW, and by then it was too late - you were hooked, humming along and headbanging.

Fellow Dublin band Xerosun were the penultimate act, and for those who hadn't seen this act before they were immediately taken by the vocals of Martyna, who can deliver the sweetest of melody lines and death growls that would have Dani Filth cowering.

But Xerosun are more than vocal gymnastics. They have songs that are complex and driven by a tight sense of metal drama, with death metal and more traditional metal. Familiar to many across the Irish scene Xerosun are growing as a band that deserve a bigger stage.

Unfortunately with time tight both Xerosun and Two Tales of Woe had to cut their sets, but it did perhaps give everyone a few moments to prepare before the depths of Hades open and Overoth unleash their unique version of metal pestilence upon the unwary.

Last year's Northern Ireland winners of Metal2TheMasses, Overoth took the Bloodstock New Blood by storm and just why was apparent to all. They are commanding in their look, sound and vision, no more so than the towering Andy on bass.

All the band are majestic musicians, all the while leering with a jaundice eye at a world gone awry.

As the final applause died out, there was one thing sure - that there is nothing awry with a scene that can come together to help the DP foundation upon which so many have grown from.

Snatched cigarettes and a last gulp of beer then we and some like-minded chancers boarded the BAM Battle Bus for the journey from the heart of Belfast to Ahoghill Rock City, where the Diamond Rock Club was hosting another couple of bands for our delectation and delight.

Tumbling from the bus and into the heat of the Diamond where Derwin and crew were on hand to welcome one and all, symphonic metal act Selene were already on stage. Thankfully the Belfast refugees hadn't missed much in the dash up through County Antrim.

Just a year ago Selene seemed to be strugglers as the band and singer Shonagh Lyons crumbled at a Metal2TheMasses show. What a difference a year makes. They have now harnessed the sweep and technicality of symphonic metal, have real confidence and project their songs and sound in a really inspiring way.

Never mind all the 'from adversity...' crap, Selene are the real deal now. At a time when so many labels are picking up mediocre symphonic metal acts Selene show just how it should be delivered - technical, tight and dramatic.

If you were to give a teenager with ADHD a massive dose of amphetamines and load them with all the energy drinks you might get something of an idea of the level of energy that Oli Brown brings to the stage with RavenEye, but no chemical enhancements were needed for this three-piece.

The road weary who had travelled from Belfast were instantly given their second wind, as Aaron Spiers, Kev Hickman and Brown took the Diamond by the scruff of the neck and shook it the audience into smiling submission.

This is hard rock at its most celebratory. Sure Brown is one of the great guitar exponents of his generation, but the RavenEye show is not about guitar wankery (even if does it extremely well!), it is about a show - the sheer enjoyment coming from the band engendering enjoyment from the audience.

For all the live japes of Oli leaping off the bass drum, and jumping on Aaron's shoulders for a romp around the room, it is the songs that anchor everything. New tune 'Hate' shows yet again that RavenEye have much more in the tank. Even tunes already known by some such as 'Hey, Hey, Yeah' still sound fresh.

With new tracks and this sort of stage presence Oli and co are sure to be playing to bigger and bigger audiences. As long as they remember to come back to Northern Ireland as regularly as they have done over the past 12 months or so we have no problem with that.

Saturday 13th February, 2016, one of the days set to live long in the memory - a day to support The Distortion Project, to witness six bands pay homage to DP and to enjoy another night of rock in Ahoghill.

Review by Jonny
[Amateur] Pictures by Jonny