Pick Your Rock and Metal

Monday, May 29, 2017

NEWS: The Amorettes re-issue the 'lost dbut album

IN response to increasing fan demand, Scots rockers, The Amorettes, today announce the re-issue of their acclaimed debut album, Haulin’ Ass.

Recorded at the very start of the band’s career, and only ever available at live shows, Haulin’ Ass displays all the raw aggression, and youthful exuberance of a band with everything to prove, and nothing to lose.

"We initially had no initial intention at all of re-issuing Haulin' Ass,” says guitarist/vocalist, Gill Montgomery, who is also the band’s primary songwriter. “However, during the last couple of years there have been so many requests from people asking where they can get hold of a copy. And nowadays, they are going for silly money on Ebay, which is flattering in a way, but we just feel now is the right time to make it available to people again, and at a reasonable price.”

Originally limited to just 1000 copies, the energetic debut was acclaimed by music fans and critics alike. Geoff Barton reviewed the album in Classic Rock Magazine, describing it as containing “Three-minute stun gun bursts of Hellion Fury”, and going on to proclaim that “The Amorettes are gonna make the biggest girl band noise since The Nolans appeared on the front cover of Sounds with Motorhead!”

The re-issue of Haulin’ Ass comes as a Digipack, packaged with additional sleeve notes and two bonus tracks. Strictly limited to only 2,000 copies, each one will be numbered and signed The Amorettes. The task of Re-Mastering was handed to Nick Brine, best known for his work with Springsteen, Ash, Coldplay, The Darkness, Snow Patrol, Thunder, as well as having engineered The Amorettes most recent album, White Hot Heat. Gill’s original artwork has been re-created by Chris Childs, bass player with UK Rock band, Thunder, and the man who has designed the layout of The Amorettes last 2 albums.

Bonus tracks, "The Monday Song" and "Boobytraps", are both early songs, the former pre-dating The Amorettes completely. “Both these songs were a solid staple in our live set for the first few months of our career”, explains Gill. “Sadly, they didn’t quite make it onto the album, but we are very pleased to be able to add them as an extra blast from the past as part of the re-issue.”

“The additional sleeve notes are our own personal recollections and reflections of what recording the album was like.”, continues Gill. “It seems like forever and a day ago now, but looking back upon the early days of The Amorettes has been great fun. We decided to re-issue Haulin’ Ass rather than re-record it, as we didn't want to mess with the original raw feel that had been captured. Listening back to the album the tracks are great the way they are (don't get me wrong they are ridiculously fast as we decided against playing to a click), however we feel everyone involved did an incredible job with it, capturing our youthful punch and vigor.

It’s great to have so much interest in something that was entirely a homemade venture. It is rough, raw but a very proud part of our past that we are looking forward to sharing with a brand new audience.”

In line with the complete DIY approach surrounding Haulin’ Ass, The Amorettes will also release a brand new video for the track Whoot Woo. Filmed by the band, and edited by Gill Montgomery, this is as DIY as it is possible to get. We’re sure you’ll get the sentiment behind the video, and the recording.

Haulin’ Ass will only be available from The Amorettes own webstore, as well as via iTunes and all main digital download stores.  You can pre-order the album from Friday 26 May 2017, with the album officially released on Friday 16 June.

Purchase the album here: http://bit.ly/2ra3179

Watch the video here: https://youtu.be/zPNAsZNmbDI

Friday, May 26, 2017

LIVE REVIEW: Enter Shikari rip up Limelight with Crossfaith

FOR many, heavy metal equals vocalist, guitar, bass and drums. No more. No less. It's a stubborn mentality that restricts them from enjoying a plethora of modern acts, two of which hit Belfast's Limelight 1 this evening.

When Crossfaith take to the stage, they open their set with a hard 4/4 electronic kick that wouldn't be out of place in any trance club. And, the crowd kick off instantly. There's dancing, there's bouncing and there's headbanging. Within moments, Kenta asks for a circle pit, and he doesn't have to ask twice. He asks, he gets.

Too many support acts are greeted with polite head bobbing and a spattering of fans on the barrier. This is not that kind of gig. This is lit. Seriously, this show is fuckin' LIT!!!

Crossfaith rattle on with a set that can only be described as metalcore with a massive dose of trance synths, techno acid lines and the unmistakable wub-wub-wub sounds of dubstep.

Terufumi occasionally steps away from drum machines and synths to add a second layer of vocals, while occasionally swigging from a bottle of Jack Daniels. Bass player, Hiroki is also armed with a bottle of Jameson. This is clearly a band that love their drink (further evidenced by their song "Jagerbomb").

At one stage, the band disappear off stage with only the vocalist and "DJ" returning, and break into... a remix of Human Resource's Dominator, a rave track from 1991. There couldn't be more than a hand full of people in this room familiar with the original, but it gets the crowd moving none the less. But not as much as the following track, a faithful cover of The Prodigy's Omen, a song that gets the "everyone get get down and bounce up again when the song kicks in" treatment.

A few more tracks wrap up the set, during which we get two walls of death in the pit. And finally Crossfaith leave the stage, leaving a Limelight crowd soaked in sweat. I don't doubt for a minute that they'll be back at some stage as a headline act. They've earned it.

Enter Shikari have promoted this gig as a "warm up show" for their Slam Dunk festival headline slots, and for some that's disappointing. We know in advance that we're getting a stripped down show. No quadraphonic sound, no screens, no elaborate light show. The flip side is, few are likely to witness Enter Shikari in a venue the size of the Limelight now. They've successfully sold out arenas in the mainland UK and are tipped to be a future headliner at Download festival. So a smaller intimate show is welcome. And, for many, the music is the main attraction anyway.

As the stage techs start shifting kit, the crowd are clearly hyped for the main act. The well known lyrics "and still we will be here, standing like statues" is chanted by the crowd. Many fans hold their hands in the air, using their fingers to form the band's iconic triangular logo.

The lights drop and an almighty rumble of bass is unleashed from the speakers. And to celebrate ten years of Take To The Skies, Enter Shikari burst into that album. From the self titled Enter Shikari, the anthemic Mothership, through Anything Can Happen In The Next Half Hour and into Labyrinth...

Despite the anniversary of the afore mentioned album, Enter Shikari seem self aware enough to realise that playing the album "in its entirety", as per tradition, is not the best route. Not all albums are strong enough to sustain a full live outing (I'm looking at you Fear Factory). And so it's at this stage that we deviate from Take To The Skies.

A hat-trick of Last Garrison, Sorry You're Not A Winner and Juggernaut has this old codger (relatively speaking) pushing to the front of the crowd to get down with the kids (though my knees are paying the price this morning).

Another crowd favourite, Anaesthetist, keeps the pit busy, not that it's relented since the start of the show. A mish-mash of dancing, push-pitting and the odd two-stepper keeps the atmosphere buzzing.

As Rou asks the crowd "Is everyone enjoying the nostalgia?" we return to Take To The Skies with Return To Energiser, a track that has the whole room singing in unison at the top of their lungs, followed by Jonny Sniper.

If you know Enter Shikari, you'll have known that we weren't getting through the night without mention of the recent atrocity at Manchester Arena. "If they, whoever they are, want to start a war with live music, they will always lose". Rou delivers a touching speech.

Some of the crowd listen attentively while others break into a "Man-chest-er!!!" chant. A cover of Oasis's Half The World Away is played, followed by their own Adieu, during which the crowd all hunker down. More than a few tears are wiped from cheeks.

Exit left, and the lights drop. The chants begin, but we don't have to wait long for the inevitable encore.

As Enter Shikari return to the stage, they break into Redshift, a song that I personally find a bit too devoid of their trademark sound, but OK Time For Plan B makes up for it. They finish with The Appeal And The Mindshift, an absolute rager that you just can't not dance to.

Gig ends…

I confess I'd a sneaky peak at Dublin's setlist before the gig, and on paper it looked a bit flat. While there's a lot of love for Take To The Skies, I always felt that it was their second album, Common Dreads, where they really nailed their groundbreaking sound. However, despite skipping a bunch of my favourite tracks, Enter Shikari delivered in spades. Crossfaith were the perfect support act. And the crowd added almost as much to the show as the bands did. A fantastic night of modern metal left me drenched in sweat with a massive smile on my face. 9/10

Now can someone book these guys for a full Belfast gig? Stage show et al. I'd suggest Ulster Hall. Thanks. 🙂

Review by Wayne Donaldson
Pictures by Darren McVeigh

Thursday, May 25, 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Alestorm ask do you drink and have you been fucked by a hammer on No Grave But The Sea

ALESTORM have been seen as a joke for many a year by the po-faced intelligentsia who hold their noses at the term Pirate Metal - but on their new album 'No Grave But The Sea' the pirates deliver their answer - "Fuck You All" on the foul tongued track 'Fuck Your With An Anchor

This is the crew at their best irreverent best, songs about drinking, enjoying life on the high seas with nary a care for the landlubbers and scurvy dogs who have missed the fact that we are allowed to have fun.

'Of course, you're not going to get anything revolutionary here -  Alestorm are not about to release a prog-themes album with 20-minute songs or take a turn to death metal.
However, while the lyrical themes are familiar, there is a slight evolution from 'Sunset Of A Golden Age'. Some tracks, such as the self-titled 'Alestorm' opening with a tough riff and Bowes pushing his already gruff voice even further.

What makes Alestorm 'great' is not the ribaldry and drunkenness - that's a given -rather the music behind each track. They have taken the 'symphonic folk metal' trope and given it is swift kick up the arse.

Sure, on 'Fucked With An Anchor' it's straightforward crowd pleasing stuff, but on every other song here on 'No Grave But The Sea' there is an understanding of what they need to do in terms of composition and arrangement: evident on the likes of 'Bar In Imbiss' and 'Man The Pumps'.

In many ways this album is also a step forward from some of the elements of 'Sunset': of course we have tracks that audiences will learn to love live, such as the first single 'Mexico', but with the likes of ;Man The Pumps' the narrative has a subtle link to a shanty tune that could have been from the 17th Century.

This Alestorm at their best, playing comedy with a straight face, the melodrama meshing into daft tunes, but never stupid.

But to return to the questions raised over the pirate metal tag -perhaps 'No Grave But The Sea answers those issues - throughout the sense is that they are self-aware of te tags and sneering; on 'Treasure Island' the romp and the words are even more of a fuck you than 'Fuck You With  An Anchor' - it's returning any sneers with a curled lipped grin, a guitar solo and rampant keyboards.

Declare your allegiance with the good ship Alestorm, grab that bottle of rum and learn all the words from 'No Grave But The Sea' and pillage in the quest for wenches and beer.

Review by Jonathan Traynor

NEWS: Europe set to release 30th Anniversary show live at The Roundhouse

ON JULY 21st 2017, Swedish rock ‘n’ roll legends, Europe, will share their unique 30th Anniversary performance of The Final Countdown from London’s legendary Roundhouse.

The Final Countdown 30th Anniversary Show - Live at the Roundhouse celebrates the multi-platinum album’s triple decade success.  The band played the album in its sequential entirety at a series of selected cities in 2016, with London’s most historically venerated venue playing host to an exceptionally special night on November 12th2016, which was captured by Patric Ullaeus from rEvolver Film Company AB.
Preceding the landmark event, fans were also treated to a live performance of Europe’s latest album War of Kings, a release which re-established Europe as one of the top classic rock bands in the world.

“What an awesome night!
    It was more enjoyable than we thought to revisit the whole Final Countdown album live! On top of that, to be able to share our whole War Of Kings album with this amazing audience the same night just made this show one of the most memorable nights of our career!”
    Joey Tempest / Europe

The limited edition release will arrive in the following formats and available to pre-order very soon:

DVD/2CD – full concert on all discs (1 visual, 2 audio) packaged in an 8 panel CD-sized digipack, including a 24 pg booklet

BluRay/2CD – full concert on all discs (1 visual, 2 audio) packaged in an 8 panel CD-sized digipack, including a 24 pg booklet

A Digital audio only release

A 12” sized Boxset, limited to 1,000 units will also be available in September.
It will contain the BluRay/2CD configuration, a double gatefold vinyl with only The Final Countdown portion of the concert, a 40 pg 12” sized hardcover photo book, a vintage replica scarf and a laminate/guest-pass.

…Live At The Roundhouse will conclude an exciting and emotional revisiting of The Final Countdown, with the band recording at the legendary Abbey Road Studios a brand new album to follow up War of Kings, which was released in 2015.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

VIDEO: Code Orange release video for Bleeding In The Blur from Foreve album

Code Orange have unveiled their official music video for “Bleeding In The Blur.” The video, was directed by Max Moore,

Watch the official video for “Bleeding In The Blur” below.

Recorded with producers Will Yip at Studio 4 and Kurt Ballou at GodCity Studios, their album 'Forever' dĂ©buted earlier this year staking its claim as one of 2017’s top releases.

The US press raved about it, with Rolling Stone selecting Code Orange as one of 10 New Artists You Need to Know: February 2017 exclaiming, 'Forever' captures some of the most punishing noise the band has recorded to date, featuring songs rife with sudden transitions to still-harsher textures.” 

The Fader featured Code Orange as one of their 13 Artists You Need To Know About In 2017, while Nerdist declared, “Code Orange is back and heavier than ever,” adding, “These kids were heavy before, but they just increased density by a hundred percent and then crushed all livings under their weight.”

Next month Code Orange kick-off a run of European dates which will see the Pittsburgh, PA band supporting System Of A Down on their headline tour and call into the UK's Download Festival, as well as a single show in Brighton.

ALBUM REVIEW: Thyrant mix it up on What We Left Behind

SOMETIMES something wonderful drops for review; a surprise, a delight that comes at you so far leftfield it bowls you over.

With nary a warning Thyrant landed for listening, and it has to be said that this dĂ©but, 'What We Left Behind' from a Spanish five-piece that almost defies classification.

They take what they want from the past, throw it into a blender and come out with an album that is stunning.

Indie Recordings have scored a major victory nabbing this crowd, as they do what so few manage on the metal scene: they have merged so many styles in one eight-track release yet produced a coherent album.

On 'What We Left Behind' you will find thrash, death, classic metal and twin guitar attack á la UFO and Lizzy. All overlaid with Daniel PĂ©rez's growling vocals.

By the second track 'Endless Hunt' you cannot help but be hooked. J MĂ©rida and Miguel Navorro give a masterclass in adaptability throughout.

From Maiden to Obituary, Priest to Death it is clear Thyrant are well versed in their heritage, but they are not confined to repeating the past. Instead they put their own stamp.

'Hard Boiling' is an outstanding piece of music, opening with a blend of black and death, before a slowed down, almost doom section, a breakdown perfectly timed and two guitars welded together in the melody.

The bleak title track is a slowed down showcase of how to arrange a track, as is the telling closer 'E.O.S.' - those lead runs are so well measured,

The lyrical content on 'What We Left Behind' may be filled with despair and the doom of humanity but this album is a joyous celebration of metal.

Thyrant are the real deal.

Review by Jonathan Traynor

ALBUM REVIEW: Selene push on to the next level on The Ravages of Time

WHEN you hear the term 'symphonic metal' sometimes there is a tendency to go back to the progenitors of the genre and compare it with newer acts, which is both unfair and unjust.

The depth and the breadth of the genre belies the fact that with an ear there is more to be heard, but more than that it is a demanding type of metal to tackle.

With just a few years under their belt Selene have managed to make a name for themselves with their début release 'The Forgotten' and a couple of eps. Faced with the challenge of a second album the band have knuckled down and produced a solid set of 11-songs.

But 'The Ravages of Time' is not just a solid set of tracks. It is a powerful statement that Selene have cemented their reputation as a force to be reckoned with.

Within are the operatic -with a Celtic twist - heartfelt vocals of Shonagh Lyons, urging each emotion whether it be on the stomp of 'The Great Heart' and 'Ashes' or the plaintive 'This Life'.

The strength of the arrangements are evident throughout, with flourishes and riffs not crowding each other out. At no point does the listener ever feel overwhelmed as, despite some outstanding playing, there is sufficient separation to allow tracks to breathe.

John Connor's work on guitar is, as always stunning, with some of the sweep playing and runs eye-wateringly good. Allied to his keyboard work and Thomas Alford's bass work it is a potent combination.

What keeps it above many contenders is there is still enough 'metal' there for it not be lost amongst the sounds that could have become clichéd. No clichés are in evidence, just a band comfortable in their groove and willing to extend their reach.

Maverick's David Balfour joins Shonagh on 'Burning Bridges', which opens with a neck snapping intro and solo before settling into a rampant track that sees Balfour extend himself.

That's not to say there are not minor points where improvement could be made as on one or two tracks the drumming sounds a little metronomic against John and Thomas' rhythm work. Thankfully it is just an occasional dip, which is easily rectified live and on future releases.

The real statement on here is the closer 'The End of Time', with its atmospherics, a doff of the cap to others and stamping the Northern Ireland band's own mark firmly on it. Within its 10-minutes the sense of epic storytelling, married with moments of delicacy married with power at the right moments.

'Ravages of Time' is a release that will have many sitting up an noticing what Selene are, and more importantly where they are going.

Review by Jonathan Traynor

Monday, May 22, 2017

NEWS: New shows announced for October - Inglorious and The Darkness

WHEN it comes to gigs this year is proving to be a bumper. With packed schedules throughout coming months two more shows have been added for the autumn.

Inglorious will be returning to Belfast on October 3rd on the back of their second album (review here).

The last time they were here it was in support of Dead Daisies, but now they are playing their own headlining show in LL2.

Also returning are The Darkness who will be playing Limelight1 on October 15th.

Tickets for Inglorious go on sale this Wednesday, with The Darkness show tickets going on sale two days later.

LIVE REVIEW: Zlatanera showcase new video in a stormy four band battering in Belfast

HAND sanitizer. Yes, hand sanitizer, what every self-respecting festival bound metaller needs to keep their paws clean after a visit to the stench filled toilets where even the demons from the ninth circle of hell hold their noses lest the waft knock them out.

On the other hand we have the Zlatanera's tune 'Idle Hand Satanizer'. What better piece of merch for the Belfast five-piece to have is their own little bottle of Idle Hand Satanizer to keep your paws nice and spruce.

It was an event to launch the Zlat boys new video 'Bad Case of the Devil' - a premier for the lucky present before it goes on to general release later on this week, and despite the many other gigs on Saturday (May 20th) there was a healthy crowd for this Distortion Project in Limelight2.

Also, before Satan entered the house there was the matter of his demonic undercard...all with their own reasons to celebrate.

Openers Erosion have recently released their début ep, a strong prog influenced outing with a nice edge (review to follow). The last outing in LL2 was not their highwater mark, but on Saturday this was a more assured performance. There was a meatiness that was dissipated on their previous outing.

Indeed, it was clear this was one of their best shows to date with Mark's voice coming through clear. The only thing to nitpick about is that with Mark behind the kit the three at the front need to be a little more mobile.

Blackened death metal crew Shrouded are on the crest of a wave after securing a slot at Bloodstock by winning the Northern Ireland Metal2TheMasses final. With that accolade and preparations underway to storm the New Blood stage they could have been forgiven if they'd eased back a little.

Not a bit, this was a confident, assured face melting performance. The onstage dynamics aurally and visually were stunning and their 30-minute slot seemed to fly by in seconds as they delivered heaviness and melody in equal parts.

Baleful Creed are about to unleash their latest album 'Seismic Shifter' on an unsuspecting world, a slab of groove and NOLA to move tectonic plates. They managed to translate the recorded heft to the Limelight stage with ease.

Their growth as an act over the past year is evident with every chord and every solo. An extra dab of stagecraft and they will be an even more potent force, but for now they shine like polished steel.

The premier of 'Bad Case of the Devil' brought laughs and 'spot the extras' games. For those not there you are in for a treat when it is released.

But Zlatanera were first and foremost a live act that has develop to cover all aspects of the business - recording, playing, merch all delivered with a glint in the eye.

At their core is a wall of honed music that could slice the horns off a goat. The poise on stage is no pose, but panache and power in equal measure.

Sure it would be easy to wax lyrical about the riffs, the powerful vocals, the impressive performance of relatively new drummer Aran, or Andy's voice, but this is a band were the sum of the parts comes together to massively exceed what could be expected.

We've all become familiar with the 'Uppa Satans' trio of tracks, but what Zlatanera have is a collection of metal that is a molten mass that insinuates itself into your ears, your black heart and your soul.

Review by Jonathan Traynor
Pictures by Darren McVeigh


Monday, May 08, 2017

NEWS: Blind Guardian launch live package ahead of Bloodstock slot

BLIND GUARDIAN: the progressive power metal pioneers are proud to announce the release of a new 3-CD package/4-LP package entitled, ‘Live Beyond The Spheres’!
The release will include material recorded from various shows during their European tour in 2015 – it will contain old classics, new tracks as well as songs that are played very rarely live.
Vocalist Hansi KĂĽrsch spoke about the difficulties in creating such an ambitious album: 
"In general I would say that we've had a really good run throughout this tour and that nearly every show was perfect. But at the end of the day, after every one of us had checked through every single song and concert of those 30 shows again and again, there was only something like two or three versions of each song that were suitable to be used for an album. We then had to decide between those final versions; which one the most impressive one was. This was a nearly endless task!"

But as we all know, BLIND GUARDIAN stands for perfectionism in every way.

"The final songs chosen contain such an energy, that tiny mistakes appeared to be completely unimportant. As soon as you listen to the songs, you will know what I mean, they feel completely alive".

But in the end, the effort was all worth it. Hansi sums up: 
"There is always something happening at each show, let's call it 'MAGIC', that gives us all a shiver up our spine. We are really satisfied when people sing with us, have a good time and go back home happy."

‘Live Beyond The Spheres’ is scheduled to be released on July 7th via Nuclear Blast as a 3-CD and 4-LP Box.

The CD tracklistings will read as follows:

01. The Ninth Wave
02. Banish From Sanctuary
03. Nightfall
04. Prophecies
05. Tanelorn
06. The Last Candle
07. And Then There Was Silence

01. The Lord Of The Rings
02. Fly
03. Bright Eyes
04. Lost In The Twilight Hall
05. Imaginations From The Other Side
06. Into The Storm
07. Twilight Of The Gods
08. A Past And Future Secret
09. And The Story Ends

01. Sacred Worlds
02. The Bard’s Song (In The Forest)
03. Valhalla
04. Wheel Of Time
05. Majesty
06. Mirror Mirror

Get BLIND GUARDIAN's current record ‘Beyond The Red Mirror’ HERE.

More on ‘Beyond The Red Mirror’:

BLIND GUARDIAN play Bloodstock on 11th August

Sunday, May 07, 2017

LIVE REVIEW: Second Sem-Final of Metal2TheMasses amps the quality to 11

THE standard of the bands in both semi-finals were a tribute to the quality and diverse nature of Northern Ireland's metal acts, and Friday's (May 5th) second and last semi-final was no different in a (cue the cliché) hotly contested evening of top notch sounds.

Like the meme going round this was Revenge of the Fifth as Belfast's Voodoo reverberated with riffs.

As always the running order was drawn at random, leaving Oracle to open proceedings with a ferocious, aggressive groove metal attack. Jason manically moved around the stage when not clutching the mic as if his life depended on it.

The inter-play between the guitars was balanced, allowing sufficient breath for the rhythms to come to the fore. While they were good in the heats they elevated their performance to great in a set that showcased why many are excited ahead of their forthcoming dĂ©but album.

Although shorn of their normal corpse paint there was no sense that Neamhni were going to lessen their performance levels. As soon as the intro tape ended they unleashed a mighty melodic blackened maelstrom of metal. At times the sound was a little patchy and muddy, but they soldiered on through.

And that sense of overcoming anything thrown at them was clear as Alessandro towered over and dominated the ranks of headbangers down the front. They are a band on the rise, without pretensions or poses - just laying down death for all in their path.

They may bill themselves as sludge/doom but that underestimates the dynamic of Elder Druid. They have the sensibility not to be monochromatic in the pace of their set, with fluidity not so much a functional thing but an essential part of what they do within songs and the arrangement of the tracks themselves.

As they reach out to shows outside Northern Ireland they are reaching a maturity in their music and stagecraft with some mighty playing.

Muscular music is what Beyond the Beneath do, so muscular that Badger broke the bass drum...it was a technical glitch that threw the band off their stride, and compared to their magnificent show in the heats they seemed a little off their pace.

However, what was clear is that Beyond the Beneath have heft and heaviness that is apparent through all of their songs. They tread the treacherous borderlands between heavy rock and metal with sure-footed ease, creating songs that will develop into full-flown erosion of the senses.

Bakken's thrash metal leanings are proudly displayed in all their recorded and live material, harkening back to the days when the 'Big Four' dominated the pages and airwaves. With Celtic twists to the sound they complete the mĂ©lange of their sounds with ease.

The new(ish) line-up gives the Voodoo some of the best tracks they have in their allotted 30 minutes, with a few dashes of power metal thrown in by Simon et al to complete an evening of metal excellence.

As the quantity of beer imbibed and anxious bands and fans awaiting the result Mr Loveday once again resorted to his trusted abacus and solar powered calculator.

Going through to the final on Friday May 12th are: Neamhni, Oracle and Elder Druid.

And it's at this point the local Judges hang-up their lawgivers as Chief Judge and dispenser of final justice Mr Simon Hall will adjudicate. Given he will be also running a raffle for a weekend camping at Bloodstock it's the perfect opportunity to go see top notch metal! The winner will be accorded the honour of playing the New Blood Stage at Bloodstock...

Review by Jonathan Traynor
Pictures by Darren McVeigh

Thursday, May 04, 2017

LIVE REVIEW: Not just for dirtbags, teenage or otherwise Wheatus shine live

On a sunny Belfast evening I had the opportunity to re-live my youth as Wheatus played the Limelight in Belfast.

Wheatus, a pop rock band most well known for their hit ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ entertained a packed out Limelight with a mix of new songs and old favourites. They hit the big time around the same time as Sum 41 and Weezer and follow a similar style.
The crowd were eager to see Wheatus but most were pleasantly surprised by the support act- Michael; an electronic and experimental music group. In fact they are quite the discovery and one to watch for the future. Composed of three members including Mathew Milligan (the guitarist from Wheatus) they perfectly showcased their talents, even while using an ipad as their mix table.
Wheatus took the stage to rapturous applause and didn’t disappoint the crowd. Entertaining and amusing, stage presence is not lacking with this group. They played a good variety of new and older songs but the solos by Brendan B Brown were a highlight.

They brought a relaxed atmosphere to the Limelight and didn’t appear to be playing to a set playlist. They encouraged the crowd to shout out their requests (of course Teenage Dirtbag was requested more than once!) but fans were eager to hear songs from all seven of their albums including Holiday, Sunshine and Lullaby.

It was obvious that a large percentage of the crowd came for one that song. The great thing about Wheatus is they didn’t shy away from playing their most famous song; they embraced it. The crowd finally got what they had been waiting for at the end of the set. They had the crowd jumping and singing along and I am sure I wasn’t the only one picturing the famous music video for the track! They even performed a remixed version during their encore before saying goodnight with a final solo from Brown.

If you haven't seen Wheatus live I would recommend it. I was pleasantly surprised by their depth and back catalogue- they are much more than Teenage Dirtbags!

Review by Ahmed Al Sarraf
Pictures by Darren McVeigh