Pick Your Rock and Metal

Saturday, April 13, 2019

NEWS: Gloryhammer release new single and video ahead of Dublin date

ARE you ready to wield it? Must you wait for Angus McFife XIII?

Fear not mighty warriors of the galaxy! Gloryhammer have released the first single and official music video of their third studio album 'Legends from Beyond the Galactic Terrorvortex'.

On their third epic quest through the universe, the five heroes around Angus McFife XIII created the galactic hymn 'Gloryhammer', which tells about their own journey through time and space, the greatest battles of all times and never ending glory.

Christopher Bowes said: "Mighty warriors of the galaxy! Are you ready to raise up your laser powered goblin smasher to defeat the forces of Zargothrax? Then it's time to watch the video for our new single...simply called 'Gloryhammer'.

"In this song, Angus McFife has arrived into a terrible alternate universe ruled by the evil wizard Zargothrax...and to make matters worse, his legendary Hammer of Glory is powerless.

"His only hope is to fly into space and recharge the hammer with the power of astral fire...if his quest fails, then the forces of evil led by the deathknight Ser Proletius will rain down nuclear fire upon the brave resistance fighters of the Kingdom of Fife. The tragic fate of the Kingdom of Fife hangs in the balance once more..."

"It is my destiny
To rule the Galaxy
I am the one
The chosen son
Glory! Hammer!"

The galaxy waits in fear for the return of Angus McFife XIII, who fought the greatest battle the galaxy has ever heard of, against the evil sorcerer Zargothrax. All hope of the Kingdom of Fife lies in the strong arms and the infinite wisdom of their young prince.

On May 31st, Gloryhammer's new album Legends from Beyond the Galactic Terrorvortex will tell us the whole story of the most gigantic battle of all time. Until then, we expect to receive more parts of what will end as the best power metal album the galaxy has ever seen. Keep your eyes and ears open!
Pre-Order Legends from Beyond the Galactic Terrorvortex here.

Zargothrax on the new album:
“Oh wow! I know a lot of people have been waiting on this album for what seems like centuries. For the last three years we've been working non-stop on it in absolute secrecy, and now it is finally complete! We can't wait for y'all to hear it...this is the greatest power metal album of all time. HOOTS!“

Gloryhammer play Dublin's Academy on October 24th.

And, for those that didn't know...

GLORYHAMMER were founded by Alestorm frontman Christopher Bowes in 2009, who spent the next years gathering an international line-up that suited his idea to create a band based conceptually on the fantasy genre and musically fitting generally into the power metal mould. Both aims were achieved stunningly and their debut album, Tales from the Kingdom of Fife released by Napalm Records in 2013 immediately garnered the band high critical acclaim from critics and fans alike.

GLORYHAMMER were able to top this success with their second full-length Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards(2015) and have continued to tour in front of ever growing audiences, performed at all major metal festivals, and have by now been nominated twice by German Metal Hammer as best band in the category “Up & Coming” at the Metal Hammer Awards.

Angus McFife XIII, Crown Prince of Fife – Vocals
Ser Proletius, Grand Master of the Deathknights of Crail – Guitars
The Hootsman, Astral Demigod of Unst – Bass
Zargothrax, Dark Emperor of Dundee – Keyboards
Ralathor, the Mysterious Submarine Commander of Cowdenbeath – Drums

NEWS: Big Truck gets into gear with the Other Side Of The City as double CD reissue awaits

IF you don't like Trucker Diablo we don't like you! Just kidding, we love all of you Constant Readers, but Trucker Diablo are special.

Carving a path to ever greater recognition the Big Truck has shifted into high gear and getting ready to roll into the summer with the re-issue of two albums in a double CD package 'Devil Songs' - combining The Devil Rhythm and Songs of Iron, now that the band has regained control of those albums.

 But the Big Truck has unloaded a new cargo to whet our appetites in the shape of new single 'Other Side Of The City', a track dripping with class and oozing out a demand to join in. Carlsberg don't do music, but if they did...

Written in the formative times when the two aforesaid albums were wowing the rock world, it is out, officially, on April 26th, but you can watch the video here.

Tom explained the song's origins: "I remember when we wrote City. Simon and I were in my old rock shed jamming and reminiscing about the old days, growing up, all our favourite films and music. Simon showed me this riff he had, and I started jamming and when he played the chorus, the first lyric I sang is still the lyric today. It was like magic and we loved it.

"We pride ourselves on good songs no matter how heavy or light, the song is king and we are proud of how it turned out."

And damn proud they should be!

Recorded late 2018 with long term producer Frankie McClay at Einstein Studios, and featuring current bassist Jim McGurk, ‘Other Side of the City’ is released 26th April 2019
'Devil Songs' 30 song double cd/digital package released May 2019. 

ALBUM REVIEW: Bloodbound take on fiery beats on Rise Of The Dragon Empire

POWER metal. It gets a bad name from the snobs, and in some case it is deserved. But, when it is done well it is something that earns a grin and ham fisted air guitar playing. And, Bloodboiund do it very well.

Eight albums in and they are still doing it very, very well. Rise Of The Dragon Empire has all the power elements you would expect, with the smattering of Nordic folk. And, damn it but it makes us smile (when we're not pulling poses and pointing skyward to Valhalla...)

Led with the increasingly impressive vocals of Patrick J Selleby and the gang singalongs it is lyrically slightly sub George RR Martin, but that is part of the charm. Sure, we revel in bands that explore the deepest recesses of the human mind, and the collapse of society, but this is glorious escapism.

All that would be futile without
t stout musicianship and well thought arrangements, such as on 'Magic Eye', with its pacey development.

Tomas and Henrik Olsson wield their guitars in a glorious symmetry and Fredrik Bergh's keyboard flourishes are sumptuous. The intro to 'Blackwater Bay' is worth the price of admission.

However, that same song could be identified by the naysayers as an example of the overblown, nature of the genre Bloodbound tread. But that is to miss the point. As the guitar solo kicks in just before the three minute mark you realise that this is a band confident in what they are doing, and know full well that it could be seen as ridiculous, but is really glorious.

Take lead single 'The Warlock's Trail' - driven by Andres Broman's bass and the metronomic pace of Daniel Sjogren's drums to underscore the soaring heights of the track.

Sod it, doubters can go away, because Rise Of The Dragon Empire is just enjoyable, entertaining and wonderful.

(Oh, and we admit at least one of the cut-offs is adorned by a Bloodbound patch following their Belfast show with Sabaton.)

Review by Jonathan Traynor

Rise Of The Dragon Empire is out now

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

ALBUM REVIEW: Behind the veil - In Flames stupendous on I, Mask

THE evolution of modern music has been weird - vocal warbling on pop songs, dance DJs pretending to mix as tracks from their computer, and some metal bands stuck in a rut. But when it comes to In Flames they have evolved, without betraying their past. Now they have gone one step further.

New release 'I, Mask' is complex, yet straight forward; layered, yet easy to 'get'; and, introspective and outward-looking.

Their last release, in 2016, 'Battles' (reviewed here) was a soul-searching examination of so much, and while magnificent some thought they had strayed a little too far from their roots. They were wrong, but hey ho, we fast forward to 2019 and I, Mask...

This is a statement release. It is an album that challenges and has heft and beauty in equal measure. For every riff battering you into submission, then entrances with melody and clean vocals.

The opener 'Voices' sets the tone for the release, yet is just the tease of the greatness within.

And, the title track rages and tears from the off as Anders Fridén roars before adding the melody chorus. Whatever has been the instigation of I, Mask in toto, new writing processes or a change in attitude it matters not: this is a band reclaiming melodic metal for itself.

The playing is exquisite in places - each riff and solo measured. Björn Gelotte and Niclas Engelin taking the sections of each song and deploying their guitars in a way that compliments the overall song.

'I Am Above' broods and threatens and realises personal strength and fragility in its lyrics. While 'Battles' felt like an exposition of personal issues I, Mask deals with much more.

As well as dealing with the personal it is a call to avoid falling down the social media rabbit hole, avoid isolation - and the wondrous 'Follow Me' is a choker when you listen to it properly.

Equally the strident '(This Is Our) House' is a call to arms to save the planet, propelled by anger and a battle cry to unite to save Earth. While it has it's climate change theme it is could also contain a lyric that sums up In Flames own trajectory: "We Won't Back Down".

Indeed that is something that In Flames encapsulate; in their 30-year career they have stood on their own terms as fads come and go, while examining what they do, how they do it and adapting to what they want.

While 'Burn' roars off the blocks and 'Deep Inside' eases in with almost middle-Eastern tones, they showcase a band that is prepared to risk their considerable reputation by doing what they want. And, that surely is the key to any band's integrity - and success be true unto thyself.

Closer 'Stay With Me' almost has the feel of power balladery without becoming a cliché: tenderness and self-abasement and hope - exquisite.

I, Mask is a defining moment for this generation. Man of the acts professing to be 'modern metal' need to sit down listen to this, and learn.

In Flames' reputation was already intact, but now with I, Mask they can genuinely stand peerless.

Review by Jonathan Traynor

I, Mask is available now on Nuclear Blast

ALBUM REVIEW: Declaration from Overkill on Wings of War

WHEN you suddenly realise you are getting old...that's when Overkill's new album makes you realise that they have been going 30+ years and this is number 19 from the New Jersey thrashers...

What have we been doing with our lives when Overkill have been battling more than most: line-up changes, Bobby 'Blitz' Ellsworth's nose cancer and latterly pneumonia, added to his occasional controversial comments about the Democrats.

They have shown remarkable resilience, however, it is the quality of their albums that has always kept them held in high esteem. Their last release 'The Grinding Wheel' (reviewed here) was a statement of class, but #19 'Wings of War' raises the bar.

The 10 tracks show balance, precision, allied with humour and a knowing nod to their musical (and on one track literal) roots.

It may clock in at just over 50 minutes but there is not one second wasted. From 'Last Man Standing's militaristic opening beats to the closing notes of 'Hole In My Soul' this is a thrash masterclass. True, they are not re-inventing the genre or doing anything really challenging, but by all the Metal Gods they don't need to when these tracks are so good.

Bobby and bassist DD Verni may be the 'originals' but Dave Linsk and Derek Tailer combined guitar grunt have elevated every recent released, and the addition of Jason Bittner (ex of Shadows Fall and Flotsam and Jetsam) has given this album a new dynamic vibe.

For fuck sake, if you can keep still 'Bat Shit Crazy' you are dead from the neck up: add in the changes in tempo and guitar work on this it is madness to deny how good it is.

Now, as some of you know Overkill take pride in having influences that include punk. And, they take pride in their New Jersey home. Thus, step back, mosh and laugh to 'Welcome To The Garden State' - savagery and hilarity in one neat 4:42 package.

Mid-paced tracks such as 'Distortion' have the broody feel of the first and second generation thrash, without diluting Overkill's own take on it; while 'Where Few Dare To Walk' drips with menace.

Wings Of War can be summed up in many ways, but best to check out 'Believe In The Fight' and 'Hole In My Soul'. Both songs encapsulate a fuck you attitude; a single finger in the air and a relentless commitment to give everything.

And, given that the album was recorded across three studios it is a cohesive and...well brilliant.

Wings of War is declaration that no matter the age, when an album is this good it is best to set the volume to max and shake the neighbourhood.

Review by Jonathan Traynor

Overkill's Wings of War is out now on Nuclear Blast

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

NEWS: Aborted head up seven new announcements for Bloodstock 2019

LIKE clockwork Bloodstock every couple of weeks announce another slew of acts for this year's metal extravaganza, topped by Aborted.

Full details below, as well as the full list of Big Green coach pick-ups. (We know many from Norn Iron will just be using the Birkenhead one, with the assemblage at the Brass Buckle on the return)

Here, is the official Bloodstock press release...

Lucky for some, BLOODSTOCK springs into March with news of seven more bands joining this summer’s best metal weekender and a massive thirteen more coach pick-up locations, making it easier than ever to get you, your mates, and all your camping gear to BLOODSTOCK for a very fine metallic time this August.

Belgian death metal kings ABORTED stride onto the Ronnie James Dio main stage on Sunday.  The band tell us, “BLOODSTOCK!  It’s been a while!  We couldn’t be more thrilled to lay waste to thee in the most offensive of manners this coming summer. Prepare my friends, the blastbeat is coming!”  Their current album ‘TerrorVision’ is blazing holes in our speakers over at BOA HQ.  See what we mean via the video for ‘Deep Red’, a track taken from that record here - https://youtu.be/ak4oeZwBfJs.

Cali death metallers, SKELETAL REMAINS join Saturday’s fray on the Sophie Lancaster stage. The band released their third album ‘Devouring Mortality’ last April via Dark Descent/Century Media, and returned to the road for extensive touring, which now includes a run of US dates with Hatebreed and Mexican headline shows this spring. Watch the video for that album’s earthquake-inspired first single ‘Seismic Abyss’, at https://youtu.be/jss2oSGJ604.

Aussie rockers THE LAZYS crash into a Sunday spot on the Sophie stage.  If you love a bit of AC/DC-style classic rock n’ roll, these boys are definitely worth a watch and are sure to bring the party!  The band’s current album, ‘Tropical Hazards’ came out last year, so crack a cold one and check out the video for their infectious tune ‘Nothing But Trouble’ - https://youtu.be/K7ngGOlna0A. 

3 HEADED SNAKE join the Sophie stage bill on Saturday.  The LA-based classic metal band was put together by current Ministry guitarist Sin Quirin and features the soaring vocals of Johnny Ray.  See their video for ‘Wisdom Screams’ at https://youtu.be/VsHERp-0LTg and if you like what you hear, go pick up the five piece’s eponymous 3-track debut EP from iTunes or Bandcamp.

BOSS KELOID land a Sunday slot on the Sophie stage.  With current album, ‘Melted On The Inch’ being released last year on Holy Roar Records to vast critical acclaim (Prog Magazine called it “an extraordinary piece of work”), we’re excited to welcome the prog metallers back to Catton Park.  Witness their musical mastery via the video for ‘Chronosiam’ here; https://youtu.be/PbajHpfW3cs.

German crossover thrash squad DUST BOLT snag themselves a Saturday slot on the Sophie stage. Their brand new album, ‘Trapped In Chaos’ was released last month via Napalm Records.  Check out the video for album opener, ‘The Fourth Strike’ - https://youtu.be/aKryFh-upx8 and warm up those necks for their thrashtastic set in August!

RED METHOD romp into a Saturday slot on the Sophie stage.  The band, comprising former members of Meta-Stasis and The Defiled, are set to release their debut album, ‘For The Sick’ sometime this year.  Investigate their sound by watching the video for ‘Split’ over on their YouTube channel - https://youtu.be/kb_hacCAId0.

Making your travel plans yet and usually come by coach?  We asked you to let the good folks at Big Green Coach know if you wanted a new pick-up point in your town and if there was enough interest, they'd look into it.  They had such great response, they've added an extra 13 pick-up points for their BOA coaches!  Travel direct from your town and get dropped off inside the BLOODSTOCK gates, bringing your camping gear and supplies with you!  Say hello to a total of 34 locations, with prices for a return ticket starting at just £32.  The full list now runs as follows; ABERDEEN, BIRKENHEAD, BIRMINGHAM, BRADFORD, BOURNEMOUTH, BRISTOL, CAMBRIDGE, CARDIFF, CARLISLE, CHESTER, DUNDEE, EDINBURGH, EXETER, GLASGOW, GLOUCESTER, LANCASTER, LEEDS, LIVERPOOL, LONDON (Victoria Coach Station), MANCHESTER, MIDDLESBROUGH, NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE, NEWPORT, NORWICH, OXFORD, PERTH, PLYMOUTH, PRESTON, SHEFFIELD, SOUTHAMPTON, SUNDERLAND, SWANSEA, TAUNTON and WORCESTER.   Head over to www.biggreencoach.co.uk/events/bloodstock-festival-tickets-coach-travel to book your seat or your coach + ticket bundle!   Big Green Coach's services were hugely popular last year and many routes sold out in advance of the event, so please book early to guarantee your spot!  If you're coming by train instead and need a shuttle ride from Lichfield City rail station to the festival site, Big Green Coach do those too, so click to their site to secure your place for just £10 (it's more expensive on the day) and get ahead of the rush!

The final allocation of VIP tickets, plus Podpads, Luxpads, Bellepads and Octopads are now on sale, plus a limited number of VIP upgrades (for those who’ve already purchased a standard ticket).  For full details click to http://www.bloodstock.uk.com/pages/vip-camping. Standard weekend tickets are also in the ticket store, priced £145 (+ fees), snap yours up at http://bloodstock.seetickets.com.

Friday night’s headliner SABATON, Saturday’s top dogs PARKWAY DRIVE and Sunday’s bill toppers SCORPIONS, join ANTHRAX, DIMMU BORGIR, CHILDREN OF BODOM, CODE ORANGE, POWERWOLF, SOILWORK, CRADLE OF FILTH, THY ART IS MURDER, TESSERACT, METAL CHURCH, SOULFLY, DEATH ANGEL, DEE SNIDER, QUEENSRYCHE, ELUVEITIE, SWALLOW THE SUN, EVIL SCARECROW, ROSS THE BOSS, GRAND MAGUS, ROTTING CHRIST, INCITE and HYPOCRISY on the Catton Park stages this August.  With more than 80 bands to go, stay tuned for even more artists to be announced soon!

Subscribe to the BLOODSTOCK e-mailout to get band and news announcements as they happen!  Click through to http://eepurl.com/dKZrG-/ to sign up.

BLOODSTOCK will take place at Catton Park, Derbyshire on 8th-11th August 2019.  Get additional information over at www.bloodstock.uk.com.

Monday, March 04, 2019

NEWS: Sure as summer rolls around SLF will be back at Custom House Square

IT'S practically a tradition now, Stiff Little Fingers playing Custom House Square, Belfast in August. And, once again SLF will be gracing their home town on August 24th. One can practically set the a weekend in the calendar of all SLF fans for this show.

Once again they have packed out the supporting bill with stellar acts. As well as the Terri Hooley DJ there will be The Toy Dolls, Therapy? and New Model Army.
Stiff Little Fingers August 2019 Belfast tour poster

Given the amount of people who flock to this from all arts and parts of the UK - and much further afield fucking Tourism NI should be backing this - the range of accents alone is testimony to the drawing power of SLF, as well as the NI devotees.

With new material being worked on by Jake and the band no matter whether it is aired in August the show is surely set to repeat last year's sell-out, just as many dates on their current UK tour already are.

Tickets, priced £27 (+booking fee) go on sale on Friday, March 8th at 10am from Ticketmaster and all usual outlets.

Monday, February 18, 2019

ALBUM REVIEW: Crystal Lake - metalocre saviours? Maybe they are on new release Helix

Crystal Lake's new release show metalcore's star has not waned, it is certainly not dead, and it can have some heavy hitting bands carrying the flame.

This album is by no means perfect but is a fantastic addition to their back catalogue and has the meat and melody to showcase these Japanese potential superstars trajectory today and in the future.

The brutality begins with opener 'Aeon'. This sees the band delve into the world of deathcore, Heavy chugs and guttural vocals. The song hits hard and the lyrics see a dystopian future where technology codes our lives, nearly worshiping it.

You might even say that it’s happening right now. For an opener this is one of the best songs on the album, but there is many more to go alongside this behemoth.

Right after that comes another brilliant song, 'Agony'. It is still as heavy and as crushing as aeon but is definitely much lighter going back to the stylings of metalcore. The standout aspect of the song is really the melodies which quite honestly makes this song the best song on the album and hopefully a staple of what's to come in Crystal Lake's future.

The album continues with another solid track '+81', and we’re only on track three! Another great song but this follows a more nu metal style and mixes it with the heavy drums and guitar in a way that shouldn't works but does so extremely well. The bass even gets a solo! This song is fun more than anything, lots of head banging to be had here!

'Outgrow' is is a much slower track but by no means is it any less heavy, it gives the chance for some incredible writing. The standout part of the song is the small but effective solo and it fits in so well.  This track slows the album down but the flow is still on point.

Onto a weird one, but a pleasant surprise none the less, 'Hail to the Fire'. It sounds as if Soulfly took to becoming a metalcore band, which is to be brutally honest a good thing! An amazing track with a unique sound for the metalcore scene at least. If there was another song like this, there wouldn’t be many complaints.

To close. This album will be for many a stand-out release for 2019 so far.

Crystal Lake are shooting the stars and they’re certainly on track. If they keep this up they will hopefully reach an even wider audience as they bridge their metalcore roots and their heavier inclinations.

Review by Zakk Traynor

Saturday, February 16, 2019

ALBUM REVIEW: Gasoline Outlaws outrageously passionate and powerful on Light Up The World

AHH, the tricky second album...when you've exhausted all your familiar live tracks carefully honed over years on your début and now you have to get it all straight for album number two. But Gasoline Outlaws have taken the 'tricky' cliché and shoved it into a mind-meld of pure hard rock joy.

Yep, buckle your hard rock heart in, because 'Light Up The World' is going to take your perceptions to another level, bringing compassionate, socially aware lyricism and muscular music.
Gasoline Outlaws album cover image for Light Up The World

Live Gasoline Outlaws have always had the chops, as you would expect from four experienced musos, and with their first release 'No Rules, No Laws, No Regrets' such a passionate statement coming up with similar for 'Light Up The World' was bound to be a challenge.

Aye, dead on - because this pure bred rocking four-piece accept the challenge and take it to another level.

Not much of a challenge with the collection of songs aired here. Fuck you second album doubts as this is strident; this is thoughtful; this has fire and tenderness; this elevates the soul; and this causes all to examine their own reactions to love, life and this fucked up world.

As you might gather we rather enjoyed it...

However, for those expecting the same instant hit as when they released their first, be prepared to give this album more time. It's not that there are not songs that grab you from the off: rather that there are so many more layers and nuances.

The opening drum and bass combo to the title track is a statement in itself before the four-piece clicks into a rage against the prevailing selfishness on Planet Earth. Adam riffing as Matt urges us all to be the better person in the field of bastards scourging daily life.

It is not the only socially aware track, but from the off the match between the music and the message has heads nodding, not like slavish morons, but as people who can form their own thoughts.

And, for this album in toto it is clear that Gasoline Outlaws have matured as a band with their own vision and the preparedness and courage to take on new sounds that complement their own drive.

Adding the keyboards and textures of John McCullough on selected tracks and the backing vocals of Amy Montgomery (on the tremendous 'Better Days Coming') shows that the band knows that they can - and must - stretch themselves to elevate GO beyond the pack.

This is best demonstrated on the closing track 'Hard Times' as Ryan beats out an almost militaristic rhythm as it builds: Adam and Chris keeping a timing that is insistent and compelling as Matt's tells a tale of woe and hope.

'Psycho' is a vehement anti-violence diatribe, while 'The System Is A Lie' opens with an almost Neil Young vibe before the band takes the screwed up political and brainwashed world to task in an unbelievably catchy commentary on where we are in 2019.

However, they also prove on 'Where We Started' that the lyrics can show that they can be introspective and tender, no schmaltz, no overblown sentimentality, just emotions, wrested from Matt's voice and Adam' balanced solo echoing the sensibility.

On a similar note 'Executed' has that same introspection that will resonate with many a listener: and let's be blunt here had this been released by some jumped up manufactured boy band it would be playlisted on Radio Two, with feature slots on The One Show and Graham Norton. Little do these numpties and bampots realise that it takes a rock band to write and record songs this good.

It is as well it is followed up with the stomp and strut of 'Breathe Again' lest you have 'Executed' on repeat and crack open a bottle or six of wine. 'Breathe Again' will have you hoisting the bottle of bourbon in the air - demanding another swig as you implore the ones you care for to care the same way; and stick a middle finger up to the doubters and chancers.

While there are so many defining moments on Light Up The World it is the defiant statement on 'Fight For One More Day' that helps espouse the ethos of Gasoline Outlaws - and all of the marginalised. You can kick us, doubt us, sneer and backstab but we'll be back, we'll kick back and we'll show our worth...as Metallica say "fuck it all and fucking no regrets".

There is a sense here that Gasoline Outlaws have been more than just 'thoughtful' in preparing this release; a maturity in the approach and a willingness to listen and learn to deliver a collection of songs that will have many baying for their live renditions.

Cormac Neeson's input, Amy's backing vocals, John's keys and, the magic touch of Frankie McClay of Einstein Studios NI have elevated Matt, Adam, Chris and Ryan to the next level.

This album will Light Up The World of every true rock fan and deservedly so.

Review by Jonathan Traynor

Pledgers will have already received their copy. Light Up The World will be released on April 5th. Pre-orders are available here.

The official launch takes place at the Diamond Rock Club on May 4th, with support from Baleful Creed.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

NEWS: Tesla ready to Shock with their eigth studio album to be released in March

They stole Belfast's hearts when they opened for Def Leppard for two night's in the Ulster Hall and since then the affection for Tesla in these necks of the woods remains strong.

Hence there will be general rejoicing that the band are finally releasing a new album (and with Phil Collen of the Lepps co-writing and producing).

Below is the full press release and links for pre-order.

Lead Single “SHOCK” Available Now for Streaming and Immediate Download with Album Preorder

See TESLA on Tour Around the World Throughout 2019 Including UK Date At Iconic Download Festival
Image of the cover of rock band Tesla's new album Shock

London – January 18, 2019– The legendary American rock band TESLA will release their new studio album, SHOCK, worldwide on 8 March via UMC.

The album is available now for preorder in CD, digital, black vinyl, and limited edition translucent blue vinyl formats; its electrifying lead single, 'Shock,' is available now for streaming and for immediate download with album preorder.

Produced and co-written by Phil Collen (Def Leppard), SHOCKis TESLA’s eighth studio album. TESLA is actively touring across North America, Europe, and elsewhere around the globe throughout 2019, including a performance at Download Festival.

Pre-order SHOCKand check out the album’s lead single, “Shock” here.

One of the world’s most celebrated and enduring rock bands with a diehard, loyal fanbase, TESLA has enjoyed international chart, radio, and tour success for nearly 35 years, with global album sales topping 15 million.

That they are still roaring and soaring should be no surprise. That’s just how they are built. TESLA may have been born in the mid ‘80s eruption of leather, spandex and big hair, but this band has never been about those things. Their bluesy, soulful sound is strongly embedded in the roots of organic, authentic 1970s rock and roll. The same roots that produced bands like the Allman Brothers, Grand Funk Railroad, AC/DC, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Aerosmith.

TESLA’s legacy is alive and well as they continue to record and sellout venues all over the world. As worn in and comfortable as your favorite pair of jeans, as tough and dependable as your coolest leather jacket, TESLA endures because they are a celebration of the greatest spirits of rock and roll.

TESLA is always ready to rock, and they invite everyone to join them with SHOCK.

facebook.com/teslaband| twitter.com/teslaband

Brian Wheat – Bass / Keyboards / Piano / Backing Vocals
Frank Hannon – Guitars / Backing Vocals
Jeff Keith – Lead Vocals
Troy Luccketta – Drums / Percussion
Dave Rude – Guitar / Backing Vocals

TESLA:  SHOCK [CD; Vinyl LP; Digital]
1.  You Won’t Take Me Alive
2.  Taste Like
3.  We Can Rule The World
4.  Shock
5.  Love Is A Fire
6.  California Summer Song
7.  Forever Loving You
8.  The Mission
9.  Tied To The Tracks
10. Afterlife
11. I Want Everything
12. Comfort Zone

Image of the album cover for Tesla new release Shock

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

NEWS: Four more added to Bloodstock line-up

RINGING in 2019 Bloodstock has announced Powerwolf, Soulfly, Incite and Swallow The Sun as the latest addition to another burgeoning August festival line-up.

For full details below is the full official announcement...keep going like this they're going to need a bigger poster!

"BLOODSTOCK welcomes in 2019 by announcing four new bands for August’s best metal weekender.

"If you’ve dropped all your money on Christmas and are counting the pennies, the popular ticket payment plan is also now open, breaking that weekend ticket cost into five much more manageable chunks.  First things first though, four more join the fray....

"POWERWOLF land the coveted main stage special guest slot on Friday.  The band tell us "We're looking forward to returning to the mighty BLOODSTOCK Festival after almost ten years to celebrate the metal mass with our friends in the UK - this is going to be a truly wild one!!"  The German power metallers released their seventh studio album, ‘The Sacrament of Sin’ in July of last year, from which spawned the vampire-themed video for ‘Killers With The Cross’; https://youtu.be/cXOAcuNhFS4.
Poster for Bloodstock 2019

"SOULFLY also step into a Ronnie James Dio main stage spot on Friday.  Frontman Max Cavalera is looking forward to playing at Catton Park, telling us “BLOODSTOCK 2019, get ready!  It will be a Cavalera invasion!  SOULFLY will be playing a lot of songs off our new album, ‘Ritual’.  My son, Richie, is coming with INCITE too and together we will make a day to remember!  Fuck yeah!  Let the Ritual begin!”  SOULFLY released their eleventh studio album, ‘Ritual’ via Nuclear Blast earlier this year.  Check out the groove laden title track here; https://youtu.be/z2LHZs7xx-w.

"As Max Cavalera pre-empted, Phoenix metal squad, INCITE come to Catton Park for the first time, picking up Friday’s hotly-contested main stage opening spot!  With their fifth studio album, ‘Built To Destroy’ landing in stores on 25th Jan via MinusHEAD Records, there’s plenty of catalogue to check out if you’ve not listened to the band before.  Maybe start by watching the video to the new album’s title track here; https://youtu.be/CCoGid3u-wc.

"Finnish prog doomsters, SWALLOW THE SUN grab themselves an early main stage spot on Saturday.  Introduce yourself to their sound with ‘Rooms And Shadows’ - https://youtu.be/0_veG-Hv4I8 - taken from their 2015 album, 'Songs From The North I, II & II'.  The band also released the atmospheric and ethereal ‘Lumina Aurea’ EP on the Winter Solstice in December via Century Media.

"These four bands join the previously announced Friday night headliner, SABATON, Sunday’s bill toppers SCORPIONS, together with ANTHRAX, DIMMU BORGIR, CHILDREN OF BODOM, CODE ORANGE, SOILWORK, CRADLE OF FILTH, THY ART IS MURDER, TESSERACT, METAL CHURCH, DEATH ANGEL, DEE SNIDER, QUEENSRYCHE, ELUVEITIE, EVIL SCARECROW, ROSS THE BOSS, GRAND MAGUS, ROTTING CHRIST and HYPOCRISY on the Catton Park stages next August.  Stay tuned for more bands to be announced soon!

"BLOODSTOCK’s very popular ticket payment plan is available now, where you can spread the cost of your standard weekend ticket over 5 affordable instalments!  Your first payment of just £36 (initial instalment of £29, plus £7 booking fee) is due at sign up - which you can do at any time until 28th Feb - then four further instalments of £29 will debit your bank account on 3rd April, 1st May, 3rd June, and 2nd July respectively.  Please note, VIP tickets are not available on the deposit scheme.

"The final allocation of VIP tickets, plus Podpads, Luxpads, Bellepads and Octopads are now on sale, plus a limited number of VIP upgrades (for those who’ve already purchased a standard ticket).  For full details click to http://www.bloodstock.uk.com/pages/vip-camping. Standard weekend tickets are also in the ticket store, priced £145 (+ fees), snap yours up at http://bloodstock.seetickets.com.

"You can also subscribe to the BLOODSTOCK e-mailout to get band and news announcements as they happen!  Click through to http://eepurl.com/dKZrG-/ to sign up.

"BLOODSTOCK will take place at Catton Park, Derbyshire on 8th-11th August 2019.  Get additional information over at www.bloodstock.uk.com."

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

NEWS: Bloodstock announce Grand Magus and much more

BLOODSTOCK has announced yet more bands - get your Viking row boats ready and paws ready for the Crabulon..

Here's the official statement from Bloodstock:

The Friday headliner on the Sophie Lancaster stage will be Swedish heavy metal trio, GRAND MAGUS!  Frontman & guitarist JB commands us; “Dear Bloodstockers!  The Magus returns to the UK to lay waste to your eardrums with metal!  We are honoured to be headlining the Sophie Lancaster stage and we will put our hearts and souls into making it something special for all of you.  Can't wait to see you all!"  The band have been hard at work in the studio on the follow up to 2016’s ‘Sword Songs’.  Check out a sneak peek from the studio with JB here: https://youtu.be/RJa_c2ZFSF8.

Bringing some thrash to the Ronnie James Dio main stage on Friday are Bay Area five-piece, DEATH ANGEL.  Frontman Mark Osegueda comments, “We haven’t played BLOODSTOCK since 2013, when we had to run straight from the stage after a blistering set to a van that took us to the airport to make it to our next show!  So we look forward to experiencing this incredible festival properly in all its glory in 2019!  It will have been six years since we graced that stage and we have been dying to return.  We promise to show you how eager we’ve been to get back to BLOODSTOCK with a pure thrash set fuelled by raw human aggression and passion!  Thank you BLOODSTOCK for bringing us back!!!!”  The band have also been working on new material for their ninth studio album set for release in 2019 with producer, Jason Suecof.  In the meantime, check out ‘Lost’ from 2016’s ‘The Evil Divide’ album here - https://youtu.be/GVYl_hiD1oQ.

METAL CHURCH step into a main stage slot on Friday.  The American heavy metal trailblazers are set to release their twelfth studio album, ‘Damned If You Do’ on 7th December via Nuclear Blast in the UK.  Their 2016 release ‘XI’ marked the return of former frontman Mike Howe.  Check out a taster with new track, ‘By The Numbers’ here - https://youtu.be/SZTPkSdOF5U.  Mike tells us “We can’t wait to get over to the UK and bring ‘Damned If You Do’ to our fans overseas.  BLOODSTOCK is going to be an incredible time and a show not to be missed.”

Noted for founding both punk group The Dictators and the legendary Manowar, Ross Friedman and his band ROSS THE BOSS join the bill.  Having been introduced to Manowar co-founder Joey DeMaio by none other than Ronnie James Dio, it seems only fitting that ROSS THE BOSS will perform on the Ronnie James Dio main stage on Sunday.  Check out the video for the title track of current studio album, ‘By Blood Sworn’ here; https://youtu.be/0BMyWdNfJBQ.

Last but not least, a Catton Park favourite, EVIL SCARECROW will bring their intergalactic party to the main stage on Saturday.  The band have an array of fabulous vinyl and special editions available for recently released studio album, ‘Chapter VI: Antartartica’ over at PledgeMusic - www.pledgemusic.com/projects/evil-scarecrow-antartarctica.  While you peruse the goods on offer, check out new track, ‘Red Riding Hood’, about a martian invasion (naturally) over on their YouTube; https://youtu.be/eIXO2aXhwxE.

These five join the previously announced Friday night headliner, SABATON, Sunday’s bill toppers SCORPIONS, together with CHILDREN OF BODOM, CODE ORANGE, SOILWORK, CRADLE OF FILTH, SKELETONWITCH, DEE SNIDER, QUEENSRYCHE, ELUVEITIE, ROTTING CHRIST and HYPOCRISY on the Catton Park stages next August.  Stay tuned for more bands to be announced soon!

Standard weekend tickets are still currently available at ‘early bird’ prices (just £132 for four days of metal fun), so pick up yours at the ticket store - http://bloodstock.seetickets.com - if you want to save a few quid.  Camper van passes are also available in limited quantities, but be quick, as limited spaces remain.

BLOODSTOCK’s first wave of 2019 Serpents Lair VIP tickets are now SOLD OUT!  A second wave, including Deluxe VIP packages (Luxpads, Bellepads, Podpads, etc) and a limited amount of VIP upgrades (for those who’ve already purchased standard weekend tickets) will become available on Monday 17th December at 9am.  For full details click to http://www.bloodstock.uk.com/pages/vip-camping.

You can also subscribe to the BLOODSTOCK e-mailout to get band and news announcements as they happen!  Click through to http://eepurl.com/dKZrG-/ to sign up.

BLOODSTOCK will take place at Catton Park, Derbyshire on 8th-11th August 2019.  Get additional information over at www.bloodstock.uk.com.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

NEWS: Bloodstock add Code Orange, Skeletonwitch, Rotting Christ and Eluveite

FOUR more bands have been added to the Bloodstock 2019 line-up.

Below is the official statement...

Uncompromising hardcore punk squad CODE ORANGE make their BLOODSTOCK debut on Saturday on the Ronnie James Dio main stage. The band's Jami Morgan tells us “We’ve been wanting to play Bloodstock for years and are excited to bring the hurt back to the UK!”  The creative nonconformists recently dropped a surprise EP, ‘The Hurt Will Go On’, following a UK tour with BLOODSTOCK alumni, Trivium. Expect the unexpected, but meanwhile have a listen to ‘The Hunt’, featuring Slipknot’s Corey Taylor, at https://youtu.be/qgs5JzUQpy4 or Grammy-nominated album title track ‘Forever’ at https://youtu.be/dZ9JVxQVQy4.

At Halloween, the appropriately named SKELETONWITCH join the Saturday bill on the main stage. Having released their sixth studio album, ‘Devouring Radiant Light’ back in July, the Ohio-based band have just been on the road opening for System of A Down in the US. Check out ‘Fen of Shadows’ here - https://youtu.be/cZdeKg109ig and if that piques your interest, stream the whole album over at http://smarturl.it/SkeletonwitchDRL.

ROTTING CHRIST headline the Sophie Lancaster stage on opening night, Thursday. Greece’s blackened death metal overlords are working on the follow-up to 2016’s ‘Rituals’ album set for release via Season Of Mist this winter. Mainman Sakis tells us “Metal brothers and sisters! We can proudly announce that we are returning to one of the best, most dedicated festivals around for our precious scene. We look forward to seeing you all with a brand new setlist on Thursday night, headlining the Sophie Lancaster Stage at BLOODSTOCK! Until then...Keep the spirit alive!” In the meantime, check out the previously unreleased ‘I Will Not Serve’ taken from ‘Their Greatest Spells’ best of collection that landed earlier this year - https://youtu.be/ou285ecpuTY

ELUVEITIE also make a return to BLOODSTOCK, stepping into a Sophie stage headline slot on Sunday. Last seen at Catton Park back in 2008, the Swiss folk metallers are currently preparing to share a special 10th anniversary edition of their classic second album ‘Slania’ on 16th November via Nuclear Blast. For a taste of what’s in store next August, listen to more recent track ‘Rebirth’ here; https://youtu.be/d-pSq4MJmy8.

These four bands join the previously announced Friday night headliner, SABATON, Sunday’s bill toppers SCORPIONS, together with CHILDREN OF BODOM, SOILWORK, CRADLE OF FILTH, DEE SNIDER, QUEENSRYCHE, and HYPOCRISY on the Catton Park stages next August. Stay tuned for more bands to be announced soon!

BLOODSTOCK’s Rock Society memberships also go on sale at 9am tomorrow, Wednesday 31st October. The Rock Society is effectively the festival’s ‘Members Club’, offering not only a 10% discount on your weekend ticket (on top of the early bird discount when you purchase the 'Rock Society membership + ticket bundle' option), but all sorts of other cool benefits like priority signing tent access, access to the VIP Serpents Lair bar, special tours of the backstage & production areas seeing ‘behind the scenes’, a Rock Society laminate, a dedicated hangout area in the Rock Society tent on site and plenty more besides. Full details can be found at http://www.bloodstock.uk.com/pages/rock-society. Memberships are limited to just 300 and sell out almost immediately. Priced at £75, these memberships are available on a ‘first come, first served’ basis so be ready in the ticket store at 9am on Halloween if you want to join the club!  

For a bit of skele-fun on Halloween, head over to BLOODSTOCK’s Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/bloodstock/ for a fangtastic one day only competition to win a Hell-ishly good prize.

Standard weekend tickets are also currently available at ‘early bird’ prices (just £132 for four days of metal fun), so pick up yours at the ticket store - http://bloodstock.seetickets.com - if you want to save a few quid. Camper van passes are also available in limited quantities, but be quick, as limited spaces remain.

For those who want their VIP spot guaranteed, BLOODSTOCK’s first wave of 2019 Serpents Lair VIP tickets are also available, priced at £290. A second wave, including the Deluxe VIP packages (Luxpads, Bellepads, Podpads, etc) and a limited amount of VIP upgrades (for those who’ve already purchased standard weekend tickets) will then become available on 16th December at 9am. For full details click to http://www.bloodstock.uk.com/pages/vip-camping.

You can also subscribe to the BLOODSTOCK e-mailout to get band and news announcements as they happen! Click through to http://eepurl.com/dKZrG-/ to sign up.

BLOODSTOCK will take place at Catton Park, Derbyshire on 8th-11th August 2019. Get additional information over at www.bloodstock.uk.com.

Friday, October 26, 2018

ALBUM REVIEW: Cathartic melancholia from The Crawling on Wolves And The Hideous White

SOMETIMES an album comes along that is almost completely flawless -something that transforms what your understanding of what metal is; something that takes the clichéd genre sub-divisions and tips a heap of sonic abuse atop of the conventions.

To say such statements about any band would appear biased - but to say such things about a Northern Ireland metal act given the nature of this site would appear to be the most brown-nosed attitude of a reviewer.

But The Crawling's second album, 'Wolves And The Hideous White' is remarkable in the best sense of the word. Forget the labels 'doom' or 'death', this is pure metal, performed with a sense of bravura and seeping with bathos.

Yes, the sometimes hilarious YouTube series from Andy Clarke on the agonies of putting the recordings together give an insight into what bands go through but in the end The Crawling have put together six tracks that will have listeners contemplating the human condition...and wondering at what we are here in this fucked up 2018.

To be sure many walk these sonic echo chambers, but The Crawling give voice through exploration, yet the pain and agony of humanity is on Wolves and the Hideous White a cathartic journey.

We all feel disconnected in this connected world - but to hear that reflected by this three-piece is a validation that our loneliness and despair that we may feel and by the same token a mirror that allows us to be ourselves.

To make an extremely bold statement (I await the Twitter backlash) The Crawling have taken the torch held aloft by Geezer Butler and doused it in the flickering despair of a post-agreement fucked up Northern Ireland.

Yet the themes explored are universal, such as on the insistent 'Rancid Harmony', which has anyone with the least self-awareness being forced to look within.

What makes this lyrically an outstanding release is that the sonic assault mirrors it to such an extent  that even if one were to ignore the words one would be forced to contemplate your own position in a universe that seems to push us by, ignoring our pleas and prayers. But that is what makes this special.

To hear and feel what we keep hidden in our darkest moments; the times when we stare in the darkness at the ceiling and wonder why we exist, is revelatory. We are not alone in these thought and fears. That  we ae not alone is a service The Crawling provide.

Such deep sentiments about the human condition and the desire - no, more than desire, the need, to feel part of this fucked up human state is to sense we are not alone.

But by the same token the music Andy, Stuart and Gary have loosed upon the world is achingly beautiful. 'Drowned in Shallow Water' is perhaps a song that even after several listens - and a few more - moves one to tears.

True, there are but six songs on Wolves And The Hideous White, but they will rent your heart and help you explore your soul. If 'Anatomy Of Loss' set the landscape this album forces you to walk the path of  broken paving and shattered glass. It is truly 'A Time for Broken Things'.

We want to belong, we want to be part of something - even if we cannot know what that exactly is - and we need to hold each other's spirit's together.

On this album The Crawling have done just that. True, they could have done without the tolling bell intro on 'Still No Sun' but that is just a petty jibe as we try to find some point to make...

To put it bluntly, this is an album you need in your life: Yes, it is musically impeccable (apart from yon bell!), and yes it taps into our deepest fears, but by dong so it is a chance for catharsis from the doomed melodies within. It is a chance to embrace the arrangements, to wallow in the emotions, to celebrate the fact that when metal is this good the dark themes explored are the most life-affirming sounds on this fucked up planet.

Review by Jonathan Traynor

Wolves and The Hideous White is available now for per-order
The official launch is on November 15th at Belfast's Empire, with Conjuring Fate, Neamhni and Disconnect providing support and is part of Belfast Music Week

Thursday, October 04, 2018

NEWS: Geoff Tate's Operation Mindcrime set for Belfast return

FORMER Queensryche front man Geoff Tate’s Operation Mindcrime band have announced a return to The Belfast Empire on Wednesday, 20th February 2019. Tickets go on sale tomorrow from all usual Ticketmaster outlets.

Earlier this year, Geoff and his band undertook an extensive tour of the UK including a packed out show at The Empire to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the classic Queensryche album ‘Operation Mindcrime’, with several dates completely sold out. 

After leaving Queensrÿche in 2012, Geoff started a project called ‘Operation: Mindcrime, named for his critically acclaimed concept album, and re-invented himself with his Operation Mindcrime band mates, going on to produce three inter-connected albums, ‘The Key’ in 2015 followed by ‘Resurrection’ in 2016 and the final piece of the puzzle, ‘The New Reality’, being released in 2017.

All three albums are part of a concept album trilogy involving virtual currencies, internet banking and stock trading, which were met with largely positive reviews - as they say capturing the zeitgeist.

Tickets priced £20 + B/F for Geoff Tate’s Operation: Mindcrime at The Belfast Empire on Wednesday 20th February 2019 go on sale tomorrow at 9am. Tickets available from The Belfast Empire Bar and all usual Ticketmaster outlets including www.ticketmaster.ie