Pick Your Rock and Metal

Friday, April 28, 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Saille produce muscular majesty on Gnosis

Black metal has certainly come a long way from its controversial, church burning genesis: once a genre to be either feared or derided (depending on your outlook) it has blossomed into a respected and vibrant part of the metal scene.

There are, of course, still bones of contention – who is/isn't black metal, do they have to sing about religion, what about Abbath, etc – but by and large, it has been welcomed into the metal fold with open arms (and often rabid enthusiasm from its biggest fans).

Belgian black metallers Saille entered the fray in 2009, starting off as a one man project by keyboardist Dries Gaerdelen but soon becoming a fully fledged band.

Their previous three releases (2011's Irreversible Decay; 2013's Ritu and 2015's Eldritch), all released on Italian label Code666, have all been concept albums, focusing on “the fearful, the uncanny and the weird”, and latest release Gnosis is no different, tackling the Promethuem ideal and its Luciferian counterpart, an idea inspired by the band's research into Russian composer Alexander Scriabin ('Prometheus: Poem of Fire').

This latest album also sees Saille become a five piece, as founding member Gaerdelen takes a back seat musically as he slips into a more managerial role within the band.

Gnosis was mixed and mastered at Hertz Studios by the Wieslawscy's, the brothers behind Behemoth's latest album, a connection that becomes immediately apparent upon listening to the album.

Having trimmed some of the more indulgent elements from their music (even their logo is now less curlicue'd and 'pretty'), a more muscular sound has emerged that is unmistakeably reminiscent of Behemoth, particularly their previous album The Satanist.

The difference is, Saille have added their own touches to create their own identity, on this album more than their three previous ones.

Take opening track 'Benei Ha Elohim': meaning 'Sons of God' in Hebrew, its choral intro fades to what could function exceedingly well as a blackened Nightmare on Elm St soundtrack. Turning on a dime between heavy chugs to a plinky, almost jaunty mandolin-style guitar and with a vocal style smack in the middle of black and death metal, it is a rather symphonic style of black metal, complete with chainsaw riffs and a galloping, headbang-y beat.

It's chillingly abrupt ending leads to track two, the fittingly titled 'Pandaemonium Gathers': all fierce, deliberate chug and scowling, ferocious vocals, it will set sweeping, black-haired heads banging deliriously.

So far, so black metal. Compare that to 'Blôt', with its rather beautiful intro and tentative female vocal...which is then smashed to pieces by front man Dennie Grondelaers screaming up an absolute storm, not to mention a rare guitar solo. It's a powerful number that showcases the band's diversity brilliantly.

Trying to choose a highlight proves a difficult task. Is the old/new school black metal combo of 'Blow Your Trumpets, O Gabriel'-esque 'Genesis11; 1 -9'?

The absolutely majestic, epic in every way 'Before the Crawling Chaos', complete with throat singing, elements of doom/death/power AND black metal, and a delicately lush strings-led finale? Or is it album closer '1904 Era Vulgaris', with its racing, pulsating beat that ebbs and flows like the blackest of tides, which slides breathlessly into an outro featuring, of all things, a rather dolorous sounding trombone? Decisions, decisions!

The truth is, Gnosis is an album packed with highlights. An altogether sturdier and sterner album that they've previously released, it still manages to pack a punch both audibly and emotionally. Classic black metal fans will love it for it's faithfulness to the black metal ethos, and new school fans will love it for the band's willingness to step outside of those often restrictive boundaries.

Any way you look at it, Saille have ticked all the black metal boxes here, and created an album that's exciting and - equally as important - interesting.

Review by Melanie Brehaut

NEWS: Muse announced for Vital with Biffy Clyro

ONE of the biggest stadium bands in Europe are making a return to Belfast to headline the Vital festival on August 23rd, with perennial visitors as special guests on Belfast's Boucher Road Playing Fields.

With an honourable alumni of the likes of Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Foo Fighters Muse promise to up the proverbial ante with their prog-rooted rock.

Matt Bellamy has Northern Irish based history, but he and Chris Wolstenholme and Dominic Howard formed in what seems like ancient history to the many fans of the Teignmouth rockers back when they emerged in the 90s.

Since then the band have climbed the proverbial ladder, with tracks like Supermassive Black Hole and 'Knights of Cydonia (with its nod to his parental influences - his father played in The Tornadoes - with echoes of the 60s hit 'Telstar') and their 2015 album 'Drones' seeing them return to a more rock-based sound after the electronic era.

The band are currently working on a new album, with tracks from it no doubt to be aired.

Biffy Clyro have been regular visitors to the city, and although they have an alt edge there is still the rock sensibilities and prog edged to a lot of their tracks.

Support acts include Nothing But Thieves and Fangiclub. Tickets go on sale on Friday, May 5th.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

CIRITH UNGOL releases exclusive live version of 'King of the Dead'as Ultimate Edition with bonus tracks and bonus-DVD on CD and vinyl

IN conjunction with Cirith Ungol's first ever live show on European soil at Keep It True festival in Lauda-Königshofen, Germany, Metal Blade will release the Ultimate edition of UNGOL's 'King Of The Dead' album on the weekend of the fest on April, 28th!

You can now check out a live version of the title track at youtube.com/watch?v=Zbd8byqTZa4. This version has been recorded live during the band's comeback show at the Frost & Fire Fest last October in Ventura, CA!

Make also sure to click at metalblade.com/cirithungol where you can listen to the classic track 'Atom Smasher' and pre-order the album in several configurations. There's also an exclusive T-Shirt and a hooded zipper available!

The 'King Of The Dead - Ultimate Edition' Digibook-CD features a full remastering by Patrick W. Engel, five bonus tracks, expanded packaging and a bonus-DVD!

The 'King Of The Dead - Ultimate Edition' LP will be released as part of the MB Originals series and has been mastered and fully restored by Patrick W. Engel at Temple Of Disharmony in January 2017.

This version reflects the original sound of the 1st vinyl pressing, released on Enigma in 1984! The vinyls feature 400 g spine sleeves, a 12-page booklet and an A1 sized poster.
'King Of The Dead - Ultimate Edition' configurations:
--CD/DVD Digipak
--180g black vinyl
--clear ice blue vinyl (limited to 300 copies - EU exclusive)
--turquois green/black-marbled vinyl (limited to 200 copies - EU exclusive)
--blood-red vinyl (limited to 200 copies - USA exclusive)

'King Of The Dead - Ultimate Edition' track listing:
1. Atom Smasher
2. Black Machine
3. Master of the Pit
4. King of the Dead
5. Death of the Sun
6. Finger of Scorn
7. Toccata in D minor
8. Cirith Ungol
9. Last Laugh (Live)*
10. Death of the Sun (alt mix)**
11. Master of the Pit (Live)***
12. King of the Dead (Live)***
13. Cirith Ungol (Live)***
* Live 1984 (bonus Track on original CD)
** alternative version (taken from Metal Massacre I)
*** Live at Frost & Fire Fest II at the Majestic Ventura Theater in Ventura on October 8th, 2016

Bonus-DVD tracklist:
1. Atom Smasher
2. I'm Alive
3. Black Machine
4. Master of the Pit
5. King of the Dead
6. Death of the Sun
7. Finger of Scorn
8. Cirith Ungol
Live at The Roxy, West Hollywood, CA on January 19th, 1983

CIRITH UNGOL line-up on 'King Of The Dead':
Tim Baker - vocals
Jerry Fogle - guitars
Michael 'Flint' Vujejia - bass
Robert Garven - drums

CIRITH UNGOL will perform live in Europe for the first time ever at the Keep It True festival in Lauda-Königshofen on April, 28/29. Further European live shows have been announced.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

NEWS: Hammerfest X line-up announes Sepultura, Hell Yeah and Gloryhammer, Raging Speedhorn and many more

TAKE heed Metal Maniacs for the Tenth Anniversary of Hammerfest doth approach apace.

And like the forge gods, we’re crafting something loud, special and VERY Metal for this momentous, decade-celebrating event, to be held between 15th - 18th March, 2018.

Standing at Camp HRH, Pwllheli, North Wales, amidst the Snowden landscape, we Hammerfest housecarls summon once more the great and ancient tribes of Metal from far and wide! Come, brave hearts: set sail or march once more to Camp HRH, for adventure, music loud enough to wake the giants of Jotunheim, action, energy, and shenanigans - HF style!

HF’s heralds are also proud to announce many a great act joining the HF X ranks, from around the world, making HF X a truly international celebration:

HF headliners are Brazilian heavy metal icons Sepultura. Metalsucks.net voted Sepultura  #13 in their 25 Best Metal Bands of All Time poll (i.e. EVER!).

Hellyeah are an American supergroup with a distinctive blend of groove, alternative and nu-metal, who've charted in the Billboard Top 10, attracted a dedicated following, and earned their standing as a serious supergroup.

Aptly-named for Hammerfest,  Gloryhammer are a Scots-Swiss high fantasy power metal power band  founded by keyboard player Christopher Bowes (vocalist of pirate metal band Alestorm). Each band member represents a character in the story concept and appears on-stage in epic armour and costumes.

Other great bands announced include:

Raging Speedhorn
Blaze Bayley
Mael Morda
Blood Red Throne
Red Rum
Deadly Circus Fire
Dead Label
Codex Alimentarius
Critical Solution
Fallen Arise
Footprints in the Custard
Ex People

ALBUM REVIEW: Ryan Hamilton and The Traitors début with The Devils In The Detail

IT has become quite the done thing for musicians to branch out into side projects, supergroups and entire new bands in order for them to flex all of their musical muscles.

Take for example the likes of Corey Taylor, Max Cavalera, and even (just a few days ago) Five Finger Death Punch's frontman Ivan Moody; all have spread their wings into new projects, much to their fans' delight.

Today's subject for review includes not one, but two rockers who have come together to form a new band. Ryan Hamilton was a solo musician originally, releasing an album (Hell of a Day) in 2015 on Pledge, before he met up with Bowling for Soup's Jaret Reddick and they formed People on Vacation.

If that wasn't enough, he was also hand picked by the legendary Ginger Wildheart to support him on his tour in 2016. Evidently they got along rather well, as Ginger and his guitar feature heavily on Ryan's latest venture, a band called Ryan Hamilton and the Traitors – specifically, their debut album The Devil's In the Detail. Wildheart is famous for several different projects and bands; this is yet another feather in his crowded cap.

The band's info states that they are based in “Texas and the UK” but from literally the first note of opening track 'Smarter' it is obvious that their music is pure Americana; it's rather Tom Petty-ish in it's execution but with an intriguing dollop of pop-punk. It's a toe tapping little number with a surprising bluesy time change at the end which is an unexpected delight.

Listening to the album is like taking a trip back in a time machine: you have your seventies grooves (the cool, swaggering Bad Company-esque 'Anywhere'; the upbeat and jangly 'Drugs and Fashion'); the simplicity of the Eighties (the radio-friendly 'We Never Should of Left L.A', and the 'John Cougar Mellancamp sings the Partridge Family' of album closer 'It Ain't Easy'); as well as classic Noughties pop punk (the toe-tapping 'The Gulf of Mexico', an ode to drinking to forget) right up to modern times, especially the heartfelt and soaring ballad 'Heavy Heart'.

There's also a few tasty surprises sprinkled in, such as the country-flavoured simple ditty 'Back In Time', the inclusion of Scottish singer Chrissy Barnacle on 'Don't Say I Told You So', and the secret track at the end of the album which is a meaty burst of pure punk rock – more of this please, Mr Hamilton!

The Devil's In the Detail takes the listener back to a simpler time musically; a time when lyrics were important and variety was the spice of life. It's less 'get ready on a Saturday night' type music than it is a soundtrack for 'chilling out on a Sunday' or 'going for a long drive': the harmonies are sweet, the guitar work even sweeter, and it has just enough rock and roll snarl to save it from becoming too saccharine.

Of all the collaborations, side groups and various musical configurations of late, this one can definitely be chalked up to a successful one.

Review by Melanie Brehaut

LIVE REVIEW: LIne-up woes doesn't stop Necrofest delivering

As anyone either in a band or putting on a gig will tell you, it's never fucking easy. Between unforeseen circumstances leading to Rabid Bitch Of The North having to pull out, an incident with the drummer from Horrenda being hospitalised in Dublin (get well soon!) and Cursed Sun having arguably the worst luck ever, any promoter wouldn't be blamed for pulling their hair out.

Onwards we march. The dubious honor of opening what remains a stacked bill falls on Indominus, a relatively new death metal band risen from the ashes of Forchristsake. Much tighter and better delivered than their previous outfit, Indominus fill the room with thick, fat slamming death metal that often goes from a Skinless-esque stomp to breakneck blast beats at the drop of a hat.

New track "Antagonist" has some very tasteful clean work thrown in and overall they put on a good show, however they lost significant momentum between songs by taking a bit too long to set up and some uncomfortable stage patter. Enjoyable nonetheless.

Speaking of dubious honours, Scimitar stepped up to replace the Rabid lads and were up next. When you've seen a band play a number of the same songs over the years it's always great to see them evolve.

It's obvious that Scimitar have taken care to elevate their older material to the standard they now play at, be it from new drum lines, extra lead work and a commanding addition of more backing vocals. They play classics and some cuts from the forthcoming album, however as always the pinnacle of the set is the absolutely crushing Innocent X. Scimitar proved once again that they are the premier thrash metal band in Northern Ireland, period.

Quick smoke break and a top up on the old double rum and coke, we go back into the breach for Jenova. You could try to pigeon hole them into any number of subgenres or niches but it's a waste of time as they play what I can only describe as modern extreme metal with cues taken from the likes of At The Gates, Conan and absolutely everywhere in between.

The crowd laps it up and are practically eating from their hands when it's exclaimed that they play "SATANIC FUCKING DEATH METAL" and they eventually close with a blink and you'll miss it cover of a certain grind classic.

Definitely ones to watch out for, and I have it on good authority we'll be seeing them in Belfast again before the year is out.

Disposable made the trip over from Edinburgh and deliver a masterclass in balls out, riff heavy thrash. This weekend marked the first shows for new blood Oliver Wardell on guitar who plays as though he's been with the guys for years. Opener "Scar My Eyes" is a solid 4 minutes of mid paced fury and "Misery" delivers the goods with a vibe not fair off early material from The Haunted both in intensity and vocal delivery.

If you like your thrash heavy, deliberate and energetic then look no further because they deliver all of the above in spades.

Legion Of Wolves take to the stage with a hooded guitar player and vocalist clad in leather armour with a barbed wire wrapped pulpit so needless to say, shit's about to get real. They deliver an absolutely relentless set of heavy old school death metal with nods to Entombed and Bolt Thrower but sounds of Exodus and the like as well. It's a full bore aural assault that never lets up from start to finish and chatter from the crowd after their set would indicate that they'll be welcomed back to Belfast with open arms.

From blackened thrash to modern thrash, the only way to end the night is some straight up party thrash! First things first, Psykosis are here for a good time. Sporting the most energetic guitar player in existence they absolute rip through their set with reckless abandon, much to the pleasure of the now thoroughly inebriated Voodoo crowd.

As always, guitarist Tony Corcoran is like watching a ball of nervous energy and is almost infectious in his obvious enjoyment while the band play a fun but undeniably sharp set, showcasing just why promoters from all over the UK are keen to book them.

And there we have it. With last minute line-up changes this could have been a disaster but all in all was an absolute showcase in extreme music. Much respect to Jonny Gray for both putting on such an ambitious show and for making sure that the night ran without a hitch, let alone playing a set with Scimitar. It's not often you can expect 2 more bands and still get more than your money's worth which really speaks for the calibre of the booking.

Here's to Necrofest 3!

Review by Steve Martin

Pictures By Darren McVeigh

NEWS: Bai Bang and Spread Eagle added to HRH Sleaze line-up

PERISH the thought that we’ll see Sleaze in an election year, but thanks to HRH (Europe’s leading residential festival provider) there’s going to be plenty: Music that is, at HRH Sleaze, and even more acts have been announced for this exciting debut event.

Filled with swagger, aggro, and pose, HRH Sleaze will debut at the O2 Academy in Sheffield between 2nd-3rd September, 2017. HRH keeps expanding its rock genre coverage, coupled with expertise in providing an exciting, high-quality festival experience, with proper accommodation. Sleaze is a popular genre, but surprisingly hasn’t been given its own showcase until now.

“Once again we’ve listened to the fans and taken our lead from them,” says HRH boss Jonni Davis, “Sleaze went down so well when it’s played at other HRH events that we’ve given it its own festival - HRH Sleaze – and we’ve been building up a seriously badass line-up. HRH likes it loud and Sleaze delivers quantity and quality: volume and talent in spades.”

HRH have continued to seek out even more acts for and are adding the talents of five more great bands to the Line -up:

Bai Bang - one of the most powerful rock acts from Sweden (who’ve toured with Alice Cooper, Dio, and Ratt); Spread Eagle - the ever-dynamic American rockers from NYC, famed for heavy heavy guitars and cutting lyrics; Also: Chasing Dragons - female-fronted hard rockers; the down and dirty rock of Gasoline Queen; and The Cruel Intentions (described by Classic Rock as having “more swagger than a dozen penguins bloated on krill").

Check out Spread Eagle here - https://youtu.be/yDRPVBLnmoA
Check out Bai Bang here -  https://www.facebook.com/BaiBang/videos/10152690202355785/
These acts join the already impressive line-up of Sleaze talent:

Faster Pussycat are considered the very essence of Sleaze, and HRH are proud to announce the kings of the genre will be playing the debut festival. 

The acclaimed Vain (described by ‘Classic Rock’ as “unharnessed, haystack-haired heaviness from beginning to end”) will also be joining the party.

Jizzy Pearl/Love/Hate will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of their album ‘Wasted In America’: Where better to do this than HRH Sleaze? 

Other class acts already announced include:
Tyla’s Dogs D’Amour , Tigertailz, Crazy Lixx, Sister, Bulletrain, Stop Stop, Wildside Riot,Kaato, New Generation Superstars, Daxx & Roxane, Devilfire, New Device, 44Caliber, and Superhooch.

With only 86 weekend passes left this looks like another HRH Sell out so book soon to avoid disappointment, online at www.hrhsleaze.com, or ring Sam on 0207 193 1307.

Monday, April 24, 2017

LIVE REVIEW: Massive party night at the Diamond with Gasoline Outlaws and Massive Wagons

PACKED Diamond Rock Club? Check. Enough trade over the bar to bring a glint of joy to brewery owners' eyes? Check. Band t-shirts worn loud and proud? Check. Two bands pumping out no fucking about hard ass rock 'n' roll? Check.

All systems were go on Saturday (April 22nd) at the Diamond Rock club for the return of Massive Wagons, with local heroes Gasoline Outlaws set to pour fuel on to the fire of rock in our hearts.

Indeed the Outlaws were making their own return to the live circuit, with new tracks and obvious serious rehearsal time to sound so tight.

Their first album gives them a wealth of different tones in the songs to explore: opening with the rabble rousing declaration of 'Nothing On Me' there is clearly a sense of a band ready to raise their personal bar higher; to attain the next level of success.

New songs 'Hard Times' and 'Breathe Again' fit flawlessly into their set, earning an equally warm reception alongside established fan favourites such as 'Shrouded Wolves', 'Heart and Soul' and, of
course their anthemic trademark 'Outlaws'

No Rules, No Laws, No Regrets from the Diamond audience.

Massive Wagons have been a whirlwind of energy on stage and off, capitalising on the success of their most recent released album 'Welcome To The World'.

While they have a deepening back catalogue, it is those tracks that stand-out the most. That's not to demean any of their solid other songs - rather a reflection of songs that since their release just over 12 months ago have become ingrained in the collective fan consciousness.

Baz is always gives the appearance of a demented ringmaster, energy spilling from the stage to infect the audience with the likes of the outrageously catchy 'Tokyo', the heft of 'Nails' and the wonderful 'Ratio'.

No the "craic" wasn't just good - it was mighty and great.

What sets Massive Wagons apart from many of their ilk is that there is no pretence, no attitude, whether it's mingling with attendees or delivering high octane rock and a healthy banter.
They also have many a trick up their sleeves and know that while those who coughed up the cash to see the band also are there for a good time.

Pulling 'Teenage Kicks' from the locker gives all of a certain age a blast - "Teenage dreams are hard to beat" even if those years are long past.

The closing duo of 'Fight The System' and 'Highway To Hell' showcase the marriage and connection of why we got into rock music - to revel in the so-called classics and to see bands at their peak.

An honourable mention must also go to 'Back To The Stack' - this single is out now: a tribute to the late Rick Parfitt of the Quo, with all proceeds going to the Teenage Cancer Trust. Not only a great thought, but a track that sits well in the set.

What Gasoline Outlaws and Massive Wagons do on stage is more than just provide entertainment: they give the audience a life affirming sense that despite personal woes, work, the global crises rock will never die.

Review by Jonathan Traynor
Pictures by Lizzie Torbitt
Refreshment by Carlsberg

Underneath this a Baz lurks...

Sunday, April 23, 2017

INTERVIEW: Welcome to the Massive Wagons world...

AS Massive Wagons prepared for their return to the Diamond Rock Club stage we grabbed a few minutes to chat about the band's progress and influences.

With their charity single tribute to Rick Parfitt coming out on Monday, we also managed to hear some of the reasons to buy 'Back to the Stack'.

Watch and listen below...

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

NEWS: Accept to release latest album - The Rise of Chaos - in August

TEUTONIC mighty metal crew Accept just finished an extensive European tour - and have announced that they are immediately back in the game with a new studio album.

The record entitled 'The Rise Of Chaos', will be unleashed on August 4th, 2017. The band's fourth studio release through Nuclear Blast will continue the tradition of its three predecessors - 'Blood Of The Nations', 'Stalingrad', and 'Blind Rage' - with grandeur and precision.

And if this wasn't enough, Accept will celebrate the album's live premiere exclusively on August 3rd, on the day before its release, as a part of a special show at Wacken Open Air, Germany. The set will consist of three parts, which represent the band's creative power:

Part 1 will bring fans a classic Accept set, packed with new and old hits.
Part 2 will present another premiere: Wolf Hoffmann will be playing tracks from his solo album 'Headbangers Symphony', released in 2016, with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra for the very first time.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

NEWS: The Crawling announced as overall winners of Bloodstock 2016 Metal2TheMasses - snag big fest sot

FOR those with memories of last year's Metal2TheMasses The Crawling won the NI heats and snagged a slot at Bloodstock 2016.

They wowed the HobGoblin New Blood stage and as a result of their stunning set they have been declared overall winners of M2TM 2016.
The Crawling with Simon hall of
Bloodstock when they won M2TM
in May 2016

That's right, their miserably delightful, dark melancholy crushed all in their path, leaving English, Norwegian, Scottish and Welsh contenders in their wake.

Their prize includes a prestigious slot at the Slovenian Metaldays Festival.

With their album already achieving the sort of critical acclaim many long-established acts would love, and live performances that are destructive and jaw loosening, it's well deserved. Beware Slovenia, The Crawling are coming.

And, don't forget the 2017 Metal2TheMasses battle in NI continues with the second semi-final coming up on Friday, 5th May at the Voodoo and the final on May 12th. Get along on May 5th and have your say.

NEWS: Bloodstock announce yet more bands

BLOODSTOCK has six more bands lined up for the Sophie Lancaster stage and four lucky bands win slots on the New Blood stage to celebrate the start of the ‘Metal To The Masses’ finals.

Landing slots on the Sophie Lancaster stage are Leeds metal trio BLIND HAZE (www.facebook.com/Blindhazeban d), Italian power/classic metal outfit, ARTHEMIS (www.facebook.com/arthemis.off icial/), sludgy groove beasts GODS (www.facebook.com/therealgods) , symphonic goth outfit SEASON’S END (www.facebook.com/seasons.end) , Bristol progressive rockers ENDEAVOUR (www.facebook.com/EndeavourMet al) and classic rock n’ rollers, BLIND RIVER (www.facebook.com/pg/BlindRive rUK).

Bloodstock is also thrilled to welcome back Last.fm as sponsors of the Sophie Lancaster stage for 2017. Check out their Spotify playlist of bands on the Sophie stage and get excited for August!  https://play.spotify.com/user /lastfmofficial/playlist/2mbVU 7viKYgRh5CPhhOwl8

BLOODSTOCK’s ever tenacious search for the best breaking bands culminates soon with the kick off of the ‘Metal 2 The Masses’ finals on 22nd April.  The festival’s incentive to give up-and-coming acts a break by offering slots on the bill at Catton Park has helped give many acts a career launchpad and the finals see the M2TM team narrowing it down and picking their winners for 2017.  This year, M2TM ran in 29 UK regions, plus events in Ireland and Norway to find bands for the New Blood Stage.  Attendees at the finals can also win weekend festival tickets or prizes from our sponsors, Kraken rum and Hobgoblin ale.  The lucky bands winning a slot on the New Blood stage will also be in with a chance of landing extra goodies from our friends at Gibson Guitars, Studiomaster & Carlsbro or recording time with Russ Russell at his Parlour Studios in Northampton (http://www.parlourstudios.co. uk/).

Having won a slot on BLOODSTOCK’s New Blood stage in 2016, the Northern Irish band, THE CRAWLING are announced as winners of Metal 2 The Masses’ prize of a slot at the Slovenian festival, Metaldays.  Congratulations to them!
BLOODSTOCK is also proud to announce the first bands landing a slot on the Hobgoblin New Blood stage, hand picked from CD and online applications.  Hailing from Beirut, Lebanon are BLAAKYUM (www.facebook.com/blaakyum).  The band’s blend of thrash & groove metal is infused with crushing Middle Eastern percussion and oriental guitars.  Check out ‘Baal Adon’ live - https://youtu.be/6KwsoLIHKVE.

British power-proggers DAKESIS (www.facebook.com/dakesis) also land a slot.  The band’s sound ranges from powerful metal anthems to expansive, progressive instrumental and orchestral soundscapes.  Check out ‘The Great Insurrection’ here - https://youtu.be/a_rcIORrxFo.
Norway’s NORDJEVEL (www.facebook.com/nordjeveloff icial) will bring some black metal to the New Blood bill.  Featuring ex-Ragnarok and Marduk members in their ranks, their pedigree is second to none.  Check out their video for ‘Djevelen I Nord’ here - https://youtu.be/zS1YAM7KdvQ.
Lastly, British groove metal animals, TORQUED (www.facebook.com/Torquedband) also win a slot.  They claim they’re here to ‘rip faces and blow gauges’.  Decide for yourself by checking out their set at in August!

Bands still wanting to throw their hat in the ring for a New Blood slot can apply via the Hobgoblin video upload platform - https://www.wychwood.co.uk, or by contacting simon@bloodstock.uk.com for further details.


BLOODSTOCK takes place at Catton Park, Derbyshire on 10th-13th August 2017.  Standard weekend camping tix are on sale at £139 (+ booking fee) and car parking tickets (at a cheaper price than ‘on the day’ purchase) from http://bloodstock.seetickets.c om.  Children’s weekend tickets are also available, priced £35 (+ booking fee) and under 4’s go free!  All VIP tickets and camper van packages are now SOLD OUT!

ALBUM REVIEW: Dead Daisies capture the energy on Live and Louder

THE problem reviewing live albums when you are “of a certain age” is the temptation to draw comparisons with the classics like UFO’s Strangers In The Night, MSG’s Live at Budokan and Iron Maiden's Live After Death.

A live album has to capture the energy of the crowd and transport you there to see the musicians sweat, smell the pyro and get the buzz you only get at live gigs. When you’ve been lucky enough to see the band playing on the tour during which the album was recorded you have a fair idea what to expect.

With the Dead Daisies you have charismatic front man John Corabi, you know, the guy who sang on Motley Crue’s ‘best’ album, steady and original member David Lowry on rhythm guitar, the powerhouse duo of Marco Mendoza (bass) and Brian Tichy (drums) and Dee Snyder’s mate Doug Aldrich on lead guitar, a player who just seems to get better and better, so you know that it’s going to rock and most of all.... be fun! Something that seems to have been replaced by the mundane reality of social media.
And 'Live and Louder' is a fun album.

‘Long Way To Go’ kicks off proceedings with a bang. Its AC/DC style riff and thunderous playing of Tichy and Mendoza gives the show a high energy start. Corabi is already in fine fettle on the mic and Aldrich’s fills and solo already drag you in to vibe.

Moving straight into ‘Mexico’, a mid tempo rocker that keeps the energy high with Corabi quickly getting the crowd involved. Clearly the band are a well oiled machine and Aldrich produces the first of many blistering solo’s.

Recorded in various European venues ‘Make Some Noise’ from Vienna really does. Starting with a bit of Shredding from Aldrich and Tichy pounding the skins as if his life depended on it the crowd are fully engaged. It has a great riff throughout and produces that fun and enjoyment mentioned earlier.

‘Song and a Prayer’ is a solid, steady rocker with a great mix of riffs, hooks, Aldrich fills with Mendoza and Tichy as solid as ever. Mix in Corabi’s vocals and quickly becomes a crowd favourite.
Dead Daises like to throw in a cover or two of songs that influenced them when they were growing up and the brilliant version of Creedance Clearwater Revivals ‘Fortunate Son’ is the first one they play. Corabi is on top form on vocals.

‘We All Fall Down’ follows and has all the hallmarks of a classic rock song. Good solid riff, rhythm section complimented by the rhythm guitar, obligatory subtle key change and Aldrich knocking another one out of the park!

So far all the songs are from their second and third albums, “Revolución” and “Make Some Noise” but their first self titled album gets a run out with ‘Lock ‘n ‘ Load’. It’s a slower tempo song with Aldrich taking over the role originally played by Slash which he does with aplomb. A much more melodic sound to this song that breaks the set up nicely.

That slower tempo continues with the start of ‘Something I Said’ with Corabi in his element with the background vocals complimenting perfectly. However it soon turns into a bit more of a rocker mid way through it though with a sublime solo from Aldrich.

‘The Last Time I Saw The Sun’ is a song about being on the road and has a great slide guitar intro from Aldrich before a full on up tempo rocker takes over. Tichy and Mendoza are tighter than an err, tight thing and there’s bit of cowbell (there’s no such thing as too much cowbell!) There’s no doubt Aldrich is enjoying playing in this band.

The Who’s ‘Join Together’ is next to get the cover treatment. With a voice box used to good effect to open and Corabi doing a great job on Daltry’s vocals which at their Belfast gig was a personal favourite of the Rock Radio N.I. legend that is Davy Warren! This is the song where Corabi whips the crowd up with Tichy keeping the beat going and Aldrich deploying the voice box again. You really get a feel for the atmosphere on this one.

‘With You and I’ follows with Corabi telling the now totally enthralled audience to pay special attention to the lyrics as there’s so much shit going on all over the world. There’s a great groove to this song with the band really laying it down.

Band introductions are next with wee snippets of AC/DC, Jimi Hendrix, Aerosmith and Judas Priest thrown in to keep the crowd fully involved!

‘Mainline’ is jokingly introduced as a ballad as it’s far from it and is the fastest and heaviest song in the set. With its slightly punky feel to it, it is pure raw energy from start to finish with a tip of the hat to Mendoza for a great bass line.

Three more cover songs follow starting with the Beatles song ‘Helter Skelter’ (originally on their Face I Love ep). Having been covered by bands like Motley Crue, Gillan, Aerosmith and Guns ‘n’ Roses this is probably one of the better versions, especially live!

This is followed up with an up tempo, hard hitting version of the Grand Funk Railroad song ‘American Band’ and the Dead Daisies do indeed “come to your town to help you party it down”

Amazingly we are at the final song and after a bit of banter with the crowd they unleash the full on riff attack that is ‘Midnight Moses’, originally by the Sensational Alex Harvey Band.  Driven by Mendoza and Tichy, a nice rhythm guitar line from Lowry and Corabi still singing at full throttle Aldrich lets rip again on the lead and it’s a great ending to the album.

If you saw them on their recent tour this will take you right back to that night as it’s total in your face Rock’n’Roll that few bands in this genre are capable of. If you missed them you NEED this album, actually you need it even if you were there!

Review by Andy Gillen

NEWS: Queen & Adam Lambert to play Belfast in November

QUEEN with Adam Lambert will play Belfast's SSE Arena on November 26th, promising a state-of-the-art show.
Tickets priced, ah hem, at the 'reasonable' price from £74 (inc. booking fee) are on sale this Friday 21 April at 9am.

Venue pre-sale on-sale from Wednesday from 9am, and Queen and Adam Lambert Fan club pre-sales on-sale available at the same time. VIP Packages available include an on-stage seating package!

For their 2017 tour, the band will unveil a brand new show including a specially designed state-of-the-art production. The choice of performance material will no doubt acknowledge this year’s 40th anniversary of Queen’s biggest-selling studio album to date, News of the World from 1977, which yielded the immortal anthems ‘We Will Rock You’ and ‘We Are the Champions’.

Queen drummer and co-founder Roger Taylor insists the 2017 tour “will look entirely different to the show we took around before. Production has really changed a lot, the things you can do now, you have a much broader palette, the technology has really come along.

“But we don’t use it all. We don’t play to click track. It’s 100% live. We're planning on doing stuff we either haven't done before or haven't done for a long time. We started as an albums band, that's what we were. The fact that we had hits was just a byproduct.”

Guitarist Brian May confirms Queen’s 2017 shows will have a more ambitious musical agenda:

“The general public knows the hits, so you've got to cater for that,” he said, “but we can chuck in a few things that people really don't expect. We’ll do quite a bit more of that this time around. There are so many dimensions to Adam, which of course fits with our music. He can get down and do the rock stuff really dirty, and you have all those dimensions, and we can explore that even more.”

Adam Lambert welcomes the challenge of digging deeper into the band’s canon of classics.

“What people should know if they came to the shows a couple of years back, is obviously we will still be playing the big hit songs you know and love from Queen, but we thought it would be good to challenge ourselves a bit,” he explains.

“Change it up a little bit, change the visuals, change all the technology, change the set list to some degree. We will probably be pulling some other songs out of the Queen catalogue which we haven’t done before, which I am very excited about.”

Queen + Adam Lambert’s 2017 touring show has been custom tailored for the band by some of the world’s most cutting-edge creative talents. Responsible for design and production is Ric Lipson from Entertainment Architects Stufish Productions, renowned worldwide for their innovative work with artists such as Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones, and U2, as well the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Making use of over 300 moving lights during the show is the highly acclaimed lighting designer Rob Sinclair, who has illuminated tours for major artists including Adele, Peter Gabriel and Kylie Minogue. The production’s genuinely eye-popping laser elements are the work of ER Productions, behind both the opening and closing ceremonies of the London 2012 Olympics and seen by over 900 million people worldwide. On the musical side, the Queen + Adam Lambert touring band also features Spike Edney on keyboards, Neil Fairclough on bass, and Tyler Warren on percussion.

Since first sharing the stage for the American Idol final in May 2009, Queen + Adam Lambert have proved to be a hugely successful global partnership, having now played more than 90 shows in every corner of the world. In summer 2012 they played their first full live shows across Europe, making their spectacular official debut in front of half a million people in Kiev.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Axel Rudi Pell pulls out another collection for Ballads V including three new tracks

GERMAN virtuoso guitarist Axel Rudi Pell has been plying his trade for over 30 years now. Originally in German metal outfit Steeler in 1989 he decided to go solo, producing no less than 23 studio albums in the process, including several compilations.

Fans of ARP will know his albums follow a standard formula. Fast paced rockers where he can show off his shredding ability, sweeping epic tracks, the odd cover version and ballads, and it’s the ballads that have proven popular amongst fans.

To that extent he released the first compilation Ballads in 1993.

In 1997 Pell hired ex (and now current) Hardline vocalist Johnny Gioelli who has one of the best voices in rock and the band have gone from strength to strength.

2017 sees the release of “Ballads V” on April 21st. Again these albums follow a standard formula, previously released tracks mixed with some new ones. Ballads V, weighing in at a whopping 73 minutes has three brand new songs and seven songs available on other albums (listed below) including a previously unreleased live version of one of them.

The album opens with the three new tunes starting with first single ‘Love’s Holding On’, featuring Bonnie Tyler on guest vocals. It’s a duet with Johnny Gioeli, and it works really well. Tyler not being quite as raspy as in her youth and Gioelli blending nicely without overshadowing her. As usual Pell’s subtle guitar playing and tone shines brightly. As duets go it’s a pretty good song and start to the album.

Second song is a cover version of Ed Sheehan’s ‘I See Fire’. Yes, you read that correctly....Ed bloody Sheeran! Probably best known by fans of the film The Hobbit the band replaces the acoustic guitar with a nice piano part and add a sublime solo to the end. Gioelli’s passionate delivery and the always reliable rhythm section of Volker Krawczak on bass and Bobby Rondinelli on drums give the song the ARP treatment and really adds to the song.

The third new song is ‘On The Edge of Time’ which quite frankly is a classic already. A slow tempo start with a slightly Eastern feel to it builds into a searing ballad with Gioelli sounding as good as he ever has. Pell has been compared at times to Ritchie Blackmore and the solo on this has Blackmore’s stamp all over it, melodic and mesmerising in equal measures.

The next five songs are all from previous albums and are ‘Hey Hey My My’, ‘Lived Our Lives Before’, ‘When Truth Hurts’,  ‘Forever Free’ and ‘ Lost in Love’.

‘Hey Hey, My My’ is a great new take of the Neil Young’s original and this version was apparently inspired by TV show Sons of Anarchy.

‘Lived our Lives Before’ is a powerful ballad with the whole band on top form, melodic with a sweet guitar tone from Pell, great hooks and Gioelli again showing his prowess as a singer.

‘’When Truth Hurts’ opens with Gioelli’s vocals layered over a nice piano intro. A slow tempo song with some majestic, melodic playing by Pell: a song about a love lost conveyed perfectly by the vocal and guitar arrangements.

Track seven ‘Forever Free’ continues in the same vein but with a grittier guitar sound and haunting keyboards in the background. A slightly heavier sound almost takes it out of the ballad category, but not quite. Great solo on it too.

‘Lost in Love’ is up next. Another slow haunting opening focusing on Gioelli, it seems to be about being in love but the line “But the truth really lies” suggests a darker, one-sided affair with an element of pain to it. A beautifully written and performed song.

The final two tracks also feature on other albums but the penultimate track ‘The Line’ is a previously unreleased live version recorded at ARP’s co-headlining Rock Of Ages festival in 2016. It’s a great live version of the original 17 year old song with a heavier guitar sound and sublime solo from Pell.

Last track ‘Mistreated’ is a cover of the Deep Purple classic featuring Doogie White (Michael Schenker’s Temple of Doom) on lead vocals and erstwhile Rainbow keyboardist Toney Carey. There’s been many versions of this song but few will match this as Pell’s Blackmore comparison is never more evident than it is on here, he totally nails it!

There is a bit more emphasis on the new tunes as fans of ARP will already know the other ones but if you are relatively new to the band then ‘Ballads V’ is a good a place as any to start as its one of the best of the series and guaranteed to have you delving into his back catalogue.

Review by Andy Gillen

The band-

Axel Rudi Pell – Guitars

Johnny Gioelli – vocals

Volker Krawczak – bass

Ferdy Doernberg – keyboards/piano

Bobby Rondinelli – drums

Track listing :

Love’s Holding On ( feat. Bonnie Tyler)

I See The Fire (Ed Sheeran cover)

On The Edge of Time

Hey Hey My My (Into The Storm 2014)

Lived our Lives Before (Circle of The Oath 2012)

When Truth Hurts (Into The Storm 2014)

Forever Free (Games of Sins 2016)

Lost in Love (Games of Sins 2016)

The Line (The Masquerade Ball 2000)

10.Mistreated (25th Anniversary Special show)

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

INTERVIEW: Last Great Dreamers chat as they settle down in the Diamond for their support slot with The Quireboys

ON the second evening of a two-date slot supporting The Quireboys we grabbed some time to catch up with the Last Great Dreamers as they prepare for the next stage in their ongoing revival.

This is what they had to say:

NEWS: Stranglewire to launch The Games They Play as 7" in June

STRANGLEWIRE launched their first track 'The Games They Play' as a band in February, collecting, as they say, a clatter of views in hours, 10,000 people checking out the first outing of the experienced musician's psychological death metal.

What do you mean you haven't heard it! Well the video is below, but in more exciting news they are to do that old fashioned thing by releasing the track on 7" vinyl , paired with song 'The Narcissist'.

Set to be released on June 16th the pre-Order link is here: https://grindscene.myshopify.com/collections/vinyl/products/strangle-wire-narcissism-7-pre-order-release-date-17-06-2017

Monday, April 10, 2017

LIVE REVIEW: Too Much Of A Good Thing? Not when The Qurieboys play The Diamond Rock Club

AUDIENCE drunk, band half-cut, PA booming out - all boxes ticked for The Quireboys playing the Diamond Rock Club - 'This Is Rock 'n' Roll' and this was rock 'n' rill in its finest, glorious excess.

There is always a sense of occasion when Spike and co play, and the camaraderie between the band and the audience is no forced shenanigan, but is rather an intimacy that comes not from excessive adoration, but from a forged friendship rather than over familiarity.

Getting the party started were the Last Great Dreamers. Since the resurrection of the band three years ago there is a sense of reclaiming lost time, a determination to stun once more.

With their latest release 'Last Transmission From Oblivion' receiving acclaim their set on Saturday (8th April) captures their diverse soundscape.

Tracks such as 'Crash Landing in Teenage Heaven' and 'No 1 Wonderboy' receive a warm welcome from a crowd that isn't half as dapper looking as the Last Great Dreamers.

With this the second night of The Quireboys two night stand in the Diamond the band seem relaxed as they mingle beforehand and chat amiably.

But any sense that they were not going to rip it up on stage disappears the moment they mount the stage. 'Too Much Of A Good Thing'? Nah, never enough of the good things that The Quireboys provide.

Guy and Paul trade smooth licks as Keith provides the texture from the keys - and while the band could always rely on the hits from the 80s, the fact that they have released an album a year from 2013 to 2016 means they have as many new(ish) tracks to air.

'Twisted Love' and 'Mona Lisa Smiled' are among the many highlights as the vagabond gypsy rockers keep it all in the right mood.

The melancholia of  lost love is matched by the music of triumph, emerging from real heartbreak through to passion re-discovered.

Sure 'Hey You' is aired, but the newer tracks are those that capture the aural tracts, ensnare the senses and urge you to enjoy another quaff of alcohol bliss.

Being joined on stage Last Great Dreamers just adds to the sense of a party that could have went on all night.

Review by Jonathan Traynor
Pictures by Lizzie Torbitt