Tag Archives: rock

News: Diamond Head set for autumn European tour

Fans of the NWOBHM genre will be rejoicing at the news that legendary rockers, Diamond Head are due to unleash some heavy metal mayhem with a tour across Europe later this year.

Diamond Head logo

Organised by Agentur – EAM, the tour will cover eight countries and 22 cities across central and southern Europe, during October and November.

Diamond Head band pic

Diamond Head have been in existence for a whopping four decades and have already released seven albums; the band continues to write material and album number eight is already finished and scheduled for release later this year.

Following the release of their self-titled studio album in 2016, the band extensively toured the United States, Canada, UK and Europe, with festival appearances such as Bang Your Head, Bloodstock Open Air, Sweden Rock, Rock Hard, Storm Crusher, Psycho Las Vegas, Leyendas del Rock, Metal Days and Hard Rock Hell.

Back in the day, Diamond Head were a major influence on bands like Metallica and Megadeth, with the former covering four Diamond Head songs, including the classic, ‘Am I Evil?‘, selling around 10,000,000 copies and apparently available on eighteen different Metallica releases.  Over the years Diamond Head have toured with fellow legends AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Megadeth, Metallica, Thin Lizzy and most recently Saxon, back in February of this year.

Diamond Head UK tour poster

The UK leg of the tour will see support from up and coming band, Killit on most of the dates.  Gin Annie will be the main support on the European dates, with Statement and Blinding Sparks also featuring on the first half of the shows, with the remaining gigs featuring Junkyard Drive and Tomorrow Is Lost.

Diamond Head Europe tour poster

For more information on how to get tickets, follow Diamond Head on their social media feeds.

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Review – Altered Bridge, Chinnery’s, 23 September 2016

The whole world has heard of Alter Bridge, right? With their 5th album due, anticipation couldn’t really get any higher, after the 2014 smash hit ‘Fortress’.  So, if you have four competent musicians who are fervent AB fans, including a singer who bears more than a passing resemblance to Myles Kennedy (and sounds like him, too), it seems natural that they would form a tribute band. Enter Altered Bridge.

altered-bridge-logo

Billed as ‘the UK’s first and only AB tribute band’, Altered Bridge hail from the south of England and before this gig, had performed as a band a grand total of two shows.  No pressure, then, when you are booked to play a legendary UK venue.

Just getting to Chinnery’s from Bournemouth was apparently a mission; traffic was hideous, but our fabulous foursome battled through and made it in good time.  There was no support band, so the beer was flowing and the tunes were playing to warm up what could be described as a bit of a scant crowd.  The die-hard rockers that did make it, however were most appreciative of Baz and Co’s efforts, as they kicked off their set with the stonking ‘Come to Life’, followed by the immense ‘Bleed It Dry’.  Anthem followed anthem in a very accomplished set, taking material from across the spectrum of AB albums.

Myles (Baz) looked the part, to be sure, although he seemed a tad nervous in places, especially when bantering with the crowd.

I wish there had been some more bodies there to soak up the atmosphere and make it a better gig for them, but there was definite appreciation from all corners of the room, especially when the epic track ‘Addicted to Pain’ popped up.

alterd-bridge-live

The iconic ‘Blackbird’ was despatched with efficiency and then the rest of the band melted away, leaving Baz solo to pick up an acoustic for a beautiful version of ‘Wonderful Life’ and ‘Watch Over You’.

I particularly enjoyed ‘Isolation’ and the ever thoughtful ‘Ghost of Days Gone By’.  A big cheer erupted when Baz asked who had tickets to see our silky haired hero and his beloved band mates later this year, so I guess pretty much the whole room were counting down the days to an Alter Bridge gig in November.

So, basically you can’t go wrong if you love Alter Bridge; these guys know how to rock a room, they’re very competent, the ticket price was ridiculously cheap for musicians of this calibre and with more gigs under their collective belts, I can see them packing out bigger venues and possibly even attracting attention from the real thing. If I had any criticism at all, I would just say that Baz needs to load up the ends of the songs with some more vocals; occasionally he was content to just play rather than sing to the end.  He has a great voice – we want to hear more of it!

altered-bridge-live

Set list –

  • Come To Life
  • Bleed It Dry
  • Farther Than The Sun
  • Find The Real
  • White Knuckles
  • Addicted To Pain
  • Lover
  • Broken Wings
  • Cry of Achilles
  • Blackbird
  • Wonderful Life/Watch Over You (Acoustic)
  • Metalingus
  • Isolation
  • Rise Today
  • Ghost of Days Gone By
  • Open Your Eyes

Band –

  • Baz Edmondson – Vocals/guitar
  • Dave Beckwith – Lead guitar
  • Kris Venzi-James – Bass
  • Justin Young – Drums

You can watch the video for ‘Addicted to Pain’ at Chinnery’s – it’s a little bit dark! – here

Altered Bridge facebook

Altered Bridge Twitter

Thanks to Dirty Rock Photography for the pics – click the link to see the whole album!

NEWS – Into The Fire release eponymous debut EP

What do you get if you take one part The Union Underground, two parts SOiL and one part Evanescence and blend it all up in one big musical melting pot?  Well, you get something pretty awesome, let me tell you.

Into The Fire band pic

The concept of Into The Fire was the 2013 brainchild of SOiL’s bassist Tim King, The Union Underground vocalist Bryan Scott and guitarist Adam Zadel, also from SOiL.  Friend and stick man, Will Hunt (Evanescence) completed the line up.

“I was sitting around with Adam one day talking about who would be great to jam with”, states bassist Tim King. “I shot Bryan Scott a text message and Into The Fire was born a day later.”

As Bryan puts it “As soon as Tim sent me the material, I immediately had ideas and started putting vocals down.  The music had the perfect vibe for what I wanted to do.”

Into The Fire EP pic

The first video from the American hard rock quartet, ‘Spit You Out’ is scheduled to be released as part of a special EP bundle, due out on 30 September 2016 through Pavement Entertainment. Bryan Scott engineered, produced and mixed that track, as well as the second release from the EP, ‘From The Medicine’.  Both tracks were mastered by James Murphy and are described as a ‘raw and stripped down rock sound with modern elements’.

Check out the EP trailer here and be sure to keep your eyes peeled as I’ll be reviewing Into The Fire for your pleasure in the not too distant future!

Social media links: –

For media enquiries, contact Rob Town at Stampede Press or visit Stampede Press

Interview with Jay Buchanan, Rival Sons December 2014

(ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON CULTNOISE.COM, 10.12.14)

It’s been a belter of a year for Californian rock and rollers Rival Sons.  With their fourth album, ‘Great Western Valkyrie’ released to critical acclaim and nominated for Classic Rock Magazine’s ‘Best Album’, as well as numerous tour dates (including a triumphant performance at Download Festival), it seems as though their star is shining more brightly than ever.  We were honoured to be able to sit down with vocalist Jay Buchanan to talk about the recording process, life and the universe in general.

CultNoise: You’ve been touring Europe, now you’re on the UK leg.  How’s it been so far?

Jay Buchanan:  I’ve had terrible insomnia over the last two nights.  We flew in from Barcelona to go and do the Wembley show. Yesterday was our day off, but I had to travel to Bath to do some studio work for an artist, so I was gone all day. I got back last night and I couldn’t sleep.

CN: You mentioned Wembley – Rival Sons shared a bill with the legend that is Lenny Kravitz.  Did you enjoy it?

JB: It was great getting to finally play Wembley Arena, I’ve wanted to play there for a long time, so that was nice. You speak of Lenny Kravitz being a legend- I don’t know what it is, if it’s the colour of his skin, but the general regular rock and roll audience, they don’t talk about Lenny Kravitz when they talk about rock and roll, which seems pretty crazy to me.  That guy has fought really hard to keep rock and roll at the forefront, all the way from the late 80’s. I thought he gave a great show, but at the end of the day it’s just another show.

CN: Your latest album, ‘Great Western Valkyrie’, has been very well received. You’ve done four albums now, but suddenly Rival Sons seem to be everywhere.  What do you think it is about this album that has made that happen?

JB: I think that there are a couple of answers to that.  We’ve been touring relentlessly for almost four years now and it takes a while to really get your name out there. With our third record (second full length album – there was an EP in between), ‘Pressure and Time’, we were getting a lot of attention then and people were saying the same thing. The same happened with the record after that, ‘Head Down’, because at the same time you have the records, you have all of the touring.  The touring is going to beget its own growth, from person to person and word of mouth.  We just keep working and touring, and we make another record and people saw that. To me it makes perfect sense because it is true, we are much further along with this record than we were with the previous one.

If you’re asking about the quality of the record itself, I think that it’s our best; I think that it’s our most cohesive sounding record, thematically and sound-wise, I think it’s good.  I’ve heard people say that it’s slick production which is crazy, because we do all of our records the same way.  With GWV we gave ourselves two additional weeks, but that was just two more weeks of doing the same thing that we always did.  There was no greater benefit to being in there for an extra two weeks, other than having time to write more songs that you can decide to throw away and not put on the record.  I was really excited about the prospect of having longer to do it, but the whole process is such a hair-raising and gut-wrenching experience for me. I have to write around the clock, twenty-four-seven, so I’m always at work whenever we’re in the studio, writing and helping to arrange things that the other guys are writing – everyone is putting songs together. There’s no rest and it’s constant- you’re in the hot seat. I think it took a toll on me personally, but the record itself I think is something special.

People have worked really hard to call us a ‘classic’ rock band, not even in a pejorative sense, but dismissing us as a 70’s Led Zeppelin style.  The further that we’re able to purvey our own style, I believe that people will understand that we have no concern of that. I most of all couldn’t care less about the 70’s, or even rock and roll for that matter.  My love affair is with this band and what we’re capable of doing.

CN: Is it your favourite record?  It’s a lot more mature and tighter musically than the previous albums and it’s evidently a progression.

JB: I wouldn’t even trust myself to answer because every time, you have to go through different stages when you’re making the record, typically.  You’re scratching your head, asking “Is this going to be any good?”  Time passes and you’re able to step away from it and you appreciate it for a little bit; you listen to it again and you don’t really like it.  You listen to it a little while later and you’re like, “Man, that’s the best record.” I think they all have their own charm, I don’t know that I like this one best.

CN: How have things changed for you since GWV came out?  Do people treat you any differently?

JB: Sometimes it takes longer to get from the bus to the venue, because people want to take pictures and have you sign things. I used to go out and thank the audience after our shows, and when we were on a smaller scale it was easier, but I’ve chosen to no longer do that, just because of the viciousness that can happen out there – people just being too selfish and not remembering that you’re a person, like, giving you one compliment and following it with two critiques. I don’t really care, but people get liquored up and they’ll get that shameful sense of self-entitlement.

Overall, I don’t think it’s that big of a change.  When we’re out on the road, it’s a very insular environment, because we’re on the bus, we’re travelling, trying to get caught up on some sleep and then we’re at the venue, giving interviews and talking to people about ourselves.  Then we have sound check and a little bit of time to maybe walk around the city, but there’s no Rival Sons ‘mania’ going on.  Things at home, they stay the same – in an experiment, your home would be considered your control [environment], the constant.  We certainly haven’t gotten rich doing this, there’s not a lot of money to be made in music in general.

Rival Sons

CN: It’s not about the money though, is it?

JB: When you have a family, something has to be about money. They get hungry, they need food and shelter, you have to pay bills. As much as we musicians are supposed to be selfless martyrs that are in it for the art, whilst everyone else does a nine to five job, if we care about money we’re selling out. I think that people have a very skewed sense of what that is because we’re humans and we have families.

When you have a family and you’re gone all the time, you need to make some serious money, but I figure at some point it will come along for us and I’ll do something as crazy as owning a home!  I’ll be making music until I’m dead.

CN: Rival Sons are often categorised as a ‘Southern’ rock band, do you think the genre is over-saturated?

JB: People also say we’re ‘classic’ rock, which doesn’t make sense because we’re not ‘classic’ – we’re barely even six years old as a band, so we’re literally not classic rock – a band has to be around for a couple of decades at least. The ‘Southern’ rock thing I really don’t understand, that really throws me every time. We’ll get that more here, because here if you hear a slide guitar, it’s like “Ooh, the South”. In America, ‘Southern’ rock is like Lynyrd Skynyrd and that kind of stuff.  I definitely don’t see us as Southern rock.

CN: Maybe people say ‘classic’ rock because of comparisons you mentioned earlier and the influence of the 70’s era in your music, e.g. Led Zeppelin?

JB: We’re dominated by guitar solos and rock and roll guitar riffs, that’s the type of band we are. I understand that people would draw that because it’s uncommon for people to actually play rock and roll. I do understand when people look at us and think it’s kind of a throwback, because we’re actually making our records and playing live on the records and trying to capture that energy.  When we play live, we do it for real.

CN: What made you decide to sign with Earache Records?

JB: Earache Records pursued us and it was very surprising because, at that time, the only bands that they had on their label were metal and death metal, that’s it. There were no other rock and roll bands so we looked at the opportunity, like, I don’t know… how we fit into this world of death metal, but they want to work with us really bad and they were very persistent about courting us.

CN: I think it was quite a visionary move on their part, really?

JB: I think so, it was a great idea – how maverick can you be, we’re going to be the only rock and roll band that isn’t metal. We figured we would get good attention and good effort and that was the truth, they were very attentive. Now they’ve signed a couple of other bands that aren’t metal. I think they do a good job.

CN: Do you have any advice for new, up-and-coming bands?

JB: You had better be sure that you’re in it for the right reasons because you’re never going to be done paying your dues. You better be sure that this is what you want to do, because it’s going to be a really long, hard road. You have to do it for the art first and then once you have a family, although the art comes first, you have to make sure that you can be smart enough to not be taken advantage of. The arts used to be a great treasure, but the world is very unkind to artists in general.

For these young bands just getting started, just be sure that the calling better be wired deep inside you, because I’ve seen people that didn’t stay the course – they burn out and make very bad decisions, or when they’re not consumed with the art, they’ll turn to things like drinking too much, or drugs, and just get burned out or die. Make sure this is what you need to do and make sure that you’re good at it.

CN: That’s good advice.  If the world was to end here in one hour, how would you spend your last sixty minutes?

JB: I’d probably try to call home and say goodbye. I would probably spend it in prayer and meditation, preparing to leave my body, just being at peace with it. We’ve never been faced with anything remotely like that so I would like to prepare, have a good journey and leave under the best circumstances.

CN: Much has been made about the ‘state’ of the music industry.  Where do you see it going?

JB: People need to keep themselves occupied talking about something. If they’re not talking about how great something is, they’re talking about how bad something is; if something has been around long enough they get sentimental on how legendary and great it is and then there’s a scandal. People talk shit, period. Where are things going to go? We play rock and roll – rock music in general could fall off a cliff and die, if it were up to me. If it isn’t based on the blues, I can’t think of one good ‘rock’ band that I like – it has to be rock and roll. ‘Rock’ is just not my cup of tea at all, but at the same time, that rock music is making other people happy; if it’s going to bring joy into people’s lives, cool. Everybody likes something different.

The state of the industry… it is changing at such a rapid rate that the model is changing, it’s in flux and I don’t know when it’s going to level out. It surprises me to be in a successful band that is starting to do well – we haven’t ‘made’ it, but I feel like we’re on a trajectory, if we keep doing this then we’ll be able to make something of ourselves.

Technology is changing at such a rapid pace in the availability of music and I think this is a really interesting time, where the power is taken away from the industry and is placed in the hands of everyone. When I talk about feeling a little bit disillusioned, we work really hard to make these songs and the only time we’re going to see a penny is if people come to see us play live. At the same time, look how beautiful it is that everyone is given a greater chance and it’s no longer in the hands of a few record labels and distributors.

CN: If you could share a stage with anyone, alive or dead, who would you choose and why?

JB: Probably my dad and my brother, just jamming at home. I miss my family a lot, my mom sings and my sister sings, everybody plays instruments- we get together. In the living room we pull out the amps, the drum kit and microphones and we just get down and have a good time. I can’t think of anyone out there that I would love to share the stage with more than just sitting and watching them do something.

I think about the great vocalists that I hear out there, someone like Leonard Cohen.  Do I want to collaborate with Leonard Cohen? No, he’s Leonard Cohen and I wouldn’t feel the need to sit in with him, because that’s him. I’ve got a lot of respect for the people that I have a lot of respect for.

CN: Finally, what are Rival Sons plans for 2015?

JB: It’s going to be just like this:  We’re going to tour, hopefully we can make our next record- it depends how long we have to sit on GWV, but I want to make another record. I feel like this is a good band, we have an interesting cocktail of personalities and skills sets and I want to know what we’re capable of being.

Live, this is a great band, but creatively we need to give ourselves more fuel for the stage and also we need to see if we can reach whatever potential that we’re capable of, to see if we can turn into a band that transcends or becomes more of ourselves. I really just want us to get better; I want us to write more songs. That’s more important than dominating the world – how good are we and how good can we get?  It’s so much fun.

Vikkie and Rival Sons, Pie and Vinyl

 

www.rivalsons.com

www.twitter.com/rivalsons

Review of Download Festival, 10-12 June 2016

Yet again, the rain came, the mud grew ankle deep and tents got washed away in the campsites.  The traffic queues for the day ticket holders were appalling and people moaned about the line up.  I’m not entirely sure why we still put ourselves through it every year, but it’s like some sort of addiction; Download just has to be done.  It’s one of those quintessentially British things, like having to wait in a queue (don’t mention the toilets), or stoically paying a fiver for a pint …

Download_2016_lineup_WEB_1000px_wide

Anyhow, as I have always said, it is ALL about the music.  Except … it really wasn’t.  Last year, I didn’t review the festival because we had an exceptionally good time with friends and it was all about networking and enjoying the social side.  This year, we didn’t really see any friends, we didn’t see many bands, but … well, it was still good.  The Mockney and I sunbathed, we had a really good laugh and I made some new friends.  I will tell you about the bands that we did see … but here are some numbers to ease you in gently.

Number of …

  • Miles to get there and back – 404
  • Trips between the campsite and car park – 8 in total
  • Hours that it took to put the new tent up – 2
  • Beers consumed whilst trying to put said tent up – 6
  • Bands that cancelled their performance – 3
  • Bands that I wanted to see – 32
  • Bands that we actually saw – 11
  • Pints of lager/beer/cider consumed – Somewhere between too many and not enough
  • Decent nights’ sleep – 0
  • Pounds spent on mediocre, nutritionally bad food – approx. £65
  • Times we have been to Download – 7 between us (10 if you count ‘Monsters of Rock’ back in the day)
  • Times we got rained on – oh, please – I’m still trying to dry out now. Standard.
  • Episodes of tent springing a leak – 0 (thanks, Go Outdoors!)

Phew.  Now, let’s get to the serious bit …

raven eye

RavenEye on the Zippo Encore stage, 10 June 2016 – Photo courtesy of Dirty Rock Photography

First band to be seen on Friday was RavenEye (7/10), kicking things off on the Zippo Encore stage.  This was their first time at Download and many people hadn’t seen them before, hence the singer advising, “We can pop this cherry together”.  They seemed nervy to start with, but soon got into the swing of things, with a big groove and an appreciative audience.  A swift beer stop and a trek over to the undercover Maverick stage saw us in front of Zoax (8/10), fresh from an appearance at last weekend’s Camden Rocks Fest.  I can’t remember if it was raining at this point, but even if it had been, this band still would have packed out the considerably sized tent.  Blatantly pleased to be there, they belted out quite a few bruisers but also slowed it down with new track ‘The Wave’ from the newly released, eponymously titled album.  A pleasing set, with Adam singing from the crowd, rather than in front of them.  They loved it and so did I.

zoax

Zoax on the Maverick stage, 10 June 2016 – Photo courtesy of Dirty Rock Photography

Next up were The Wildhearts (10/10).  A band that is very close to my heart, one of my earliest memories of being a rocker is playing ‘Earth vs The Wildhearts’ to death.  Having seen Ginger play a very different set in Camden last week, it was a real pleasure to hear such songs as ‘I Wanna Go Where The People Go’, ‘TV Tan’, and ‘Suckerpunch’, as well as the ever awesome ‘Caffeine Bomb’, which was dedicated to the late, great Lemmy.  Energetic, musically tight and humble, The Wildhearts absolutely knocked it out of the park.

the wildhearts 2

 

The Wildhearts on the Maverick stage, 10 June 2016 – Photo courtesy of Dirty Rock Photography

With a few hours to kill and the rain not letting up, we spent a couple of hours chilling out undercover in the guest area before stopping at the Lemmy stage to see Rammstein (8/10).  I don’t have too much to say about their performance; if you have seen them before, you’ll know how compelling they are on the live stage.  Although they had some technical issues, they blasted through favourites such as ‘Reise, Reise’, ‘Seemann’ and ‘Du Hast’.  If you haven’t seen them, put it on your bucket list as everybody should see them at least once.  This was my first time and I wasn’t disappointed.

Saturday dawned with bright sunshine and a balmy temperature; we were slow to get going, so the first band we caught sight of was Inglorious (6/10) on the Encore stage.  They were one of the bands that I had marked as a must-see, but to be honest, I wasn’t that enamoured with their set.  To be fair to them, we were hungover and hungry; we also bumped into a friend, so I didn’t give 100% focus.

Turbowolf

Turbowolf on the Maverick stage, 11 June 2016

A band that did manage to keep my attention was Turbowolf (8/10) back at the Maverick stage.  I couldn’t tell you any of the songs they played, only that they gave 150% in a mad, whirlwind of a performance that went down extremely well.  I’ve seen these guys before, but they’re so good live – always worth catching if you can because they rock hard.  It’s worth it just for the keyboard action!

sixx AM 2

Sixx:AM on the Lemmy stage, 11 June 2016 – Photo courtesy of Dirty Rock Photography

Band of the day for me was Sixx:AM (9/10) on the main stage; the only reason they didn’t get a 10/10 is because I fail to see the relevance of two scantily dressed backing singers whose vocals we actually couldn’t hear.  Anyway, they smashed it out of the park with tracks such as ‘Rise’ and ‘Life is Beautiful’, also showcasing new songs from the recently released album, “Prayers For The Damned”.  Loved their set, can’t wait to get the new album and I hope that I get to see them again soon – outstanding.

It’s no secret that I am a massive Rival Sons (8/10) fan – I have seen them many times and I love their music.  However, much as I really wanted to give them top marks, I just can’t.  They looked sharp and they sounded almost perfect, but it appeared to be lacking something that I can’t put my finger on.  Don’t get me wrong, it was a great set, with some real crowd pleasers such as ‘Electric Man’, ‘Secret’ and ‘Pressure and Time’ but … I wasn’t feeling it as much as I normally would. Perhaps it was because I haven’t yet got the new album, “Hollow Bones”, and they played a couple of songs from it, including the title track. Maybe I’d just had too much sun at that point. I can’t wait, however, to get my paws on that album and I look forward to seeing them with Black Sabbath on their farewell tour next year.

Rival Sons

Rival Sons on the Lemmy stage, 11 June 2016

Which brings me neatly on to the Saturday headliner.  After I had just caught Megadeth’s ‘Symphony of Destruction’, the clouds were darkening ominously once more.  We experienced what can only be described as a cloudburst shortly afterwards and changing into dry clothes didn’t cheer me up.  By the time Black Sabbath (9/10) exploded onto the stage, my mood was blacker than the sky.  Quite fitting,  then, that they should kick off with ‘Black Sabbath’.  That iconic intro ratcheted up the excitement levels in the crowd and the atmosphere in the arena was intense as Ozzy did his usual manic run from one side of the stage to the other.

Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath on the Lemmy stage, 11 June 2016

They were clearly enjoying themselves as they cranked through a surprisingly short (only 15 songs), but nostalgic set.  The soggy crowd didn’t seem to mind the downpour, moshing along to classics such as ‘Snowblind’, ‘War Pigs’, ‘Rat Salad’ and ‘Iron Man’.  The outpouring of affection for Birmingham’s most famous rockers almost  brought a tear to my eye, as they encored with ‘Paranoid’ and the arena erupted. We left at that point, but I believe that they ended a triumphant set with the introspective “Zeitgeist”, perhaps a strange choice.  Step up and pay your money, ladies and gents – ‘The End’ farewell tour tickets go on sale on Friday 17th June at 9am from Live Nation.

By the time Sunday limped around, we were pretty broken and quite looking forward to going home; having already packed the car, by 11 o’clock it was pouring down again and we were pretty miserable.  We did manage to catch The Raven Age (8/10).  They absolutely killed their set, which I thoroughly enjoyed, although I’m baffled as to why the singer kept disappearing every five minutes.  Hard, heavy and sweaty, every single member of this band played and sang their arses off and were rewarded with a very appreciative audience.  I’ll definitely catch them again if I have the chance.

the raven age

The Raven Age on the Maverick stage, 12 June 2016

Last band of the day for us was The Temperance Movement (9/10); a band who I have followed with interest over the last couple of years.  Having grown exponentially in fanbase and confidence, TTM played a blinding set on the Lemmy stage (last time I saw them, they played the Zippo Encore stage), it’s just a shame that there weren’t as many people watching them as there should have been (let’s not mention the day ticket traffic).  My favourite song, ‘Midnight Black’ had me dancing in the mud!

mud!

That’s it!  Bands I didn’t get to see, who I heard good things about included Skillet, Savage Messiah, Santa Cruz, Reigning Days, Juliette and the Licks, Cane Hill and of course, the mighty Disturbed.  Gutted I didn’t see them.  I also hear that a little band called Iron Maiden went over extremely well on Sunday evening …

I moaned about the mud and the severe lack of straw to soak it up, but I really do have to hand it to Andy Copping; the Download organisers continue to learn from things that have gone awry in the previous years and  tried to put it right.    I do think that the whole event could be moved to later in the year to try and avoid the ‘Drownload’ syndrome, but that’s a whole other article … I’ve already booked a hotel for next year so bring it on!

Review – Soil plus supports, Weymouth Pavilion, 28.10.14

Soil band pic

It’s not every day that you get to see four bands of the calibre of the line up on the current Soil tour, especially in a sleepy seaside location such as Weymouth, so it’s no surprise that the good metal fans of the town turned out in force for this extravaganza. I’m not sure if it was sold out, but it was certainly a respectable number for a Tuesday night.

First on the bill were Canadian metallers, Wolfborne, who did an admirable job of warming up a growing crowd. I hadn’t really heard much of their material beforehand, so it’s always great to discover a new band and I hope I’ll get to see more of them.

Next up came rock/punk/rap outfit (Hed)P.E, who from the first note inspired a mosh pit down at the front, with the eager crowd singing the lyrics back to vocalist Jahred.   They belted out classic tracks such as ‘No Turning Back’, ‘Bartender’ and ‘Renegade’, as the temperature rose along with the energy. Jahred was out into the crowd at the front and general chaos ensued; his engagement with the fans was pretty awesome – a real lesson in how to be an excellent front man that many bands could learn from. They ended a manic set with a one-off cover of The Specials’ ‘Ghost Town’ which went down a storm.

I was a little disappointed with third band American Head Charge’s set, but then (Hed)P.E were a hard act to follow. Indeed, I think many of the crowd felt the same as the number of bodies at the front thinned out as their set went on. I found it to be a bit plodding, although more people came back when they speeded things up a bit. It seems that louder isn’t always necessarily better.

Soil tour poster

Last but certainly not least, came the mighty American band Soil, who have been one of my favourites for many years and it was a real pleasure to be able to have a quick chat with singer Ryan McCombs before the gig. The lights were down as Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’ rang out across the room as an intro and suddenly, bathed in blue light, there they were in all their glory. Kicking off with ‘Loaded Gun’, Soil stormed through a killer set, with the crowd loving it and getting involved from the off. We were treated to such favourites as ‘The Hate Song’, ‘Deny Me’, ‘Way Gone’ and of course the epic ‘Breaking Me Down’. The penultimate song was the massive track ‘Halo’, before a finale of ‘Shine On’ brought the house down.

I’m so glad to have finally seen Soil, they gave an awesome performance and it was also a treat to be able to cross (Hed)P.E off of my must-see list. A fantastic night of metal in a good little venue, so a big well done to the organisers Advanced Promotions for another amazing gig!

Soil set list: –

  1. Loaded Gun
  2. Two Skins
  3. The Hate Song
  4. Deny Me
  5. Need to Feel
  6. The One
  7. Way Gone
  8. Redefine
  9. Unreal
  10. Breaking Me Down
  11. Halo
  12. Shine On

www.soiltheband.com

www.headcharge.com

www.hedperocks.com

www.wolfborne.com

 

Headbangers Balls – saying ‘Balls to Cancer’!

If you thought charity had little to do with metal, you seriously need to think again.  Those awesome folks over at Headbangers Balls have arranged a series of gigs in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust and they’re also raising awareness of testicular cancer. 
Generic Poster
Over eight venues around the country, the line up includes such heavyweights as Savage Messiah, Evil Deth, Onslaught, Collibus and a whole host of other kick-ass metal mayhem merchants*, all for less than a tenner a night!
(*see individual events for exact line-up details, as bands vary)
HB_LOGO
07.11 CHESTER – THE COMPASS
Reign of Fury’s only HBB headline show
Chester
 
08.11 MANCHESTER – REBELLION BAR
Headline: Savage Messiah
Manchester
 
14.11 CAMDEN TOWN (FREE SHOW)
Headline: Anihilated
 
Camden
15.11 LONDON – BOSTON MUSIC ROOM
Headline: Fleshrot
London
 
05.12 NUNEATON – QUEENS HALL
Headline: Beholder
Nuneaton
 
06.12 BIRMINGHAM – THE FLAPPER
Headline: Lawnmower Deth ft. Dr Hell from Evil Scarecrow
Birmingham 1
 
13.12 GLOUCESTER – NEW OLYMPUS THEATRE
Headline: Bull Riff Stampede
Gloucester
 
17.01 BIRMINGHAM – NEW YEAR SHOW – THE FLAPPER
Headline: Onslaught
Birmingham 2
 
Head on over to Facebook and give the Balls’ page a like, also check out the individual events for further details.  This is a great opportunity to catch some fantastic metal bands, raise awareness of a killer disease and rack up some dosh for kids with cancer.  What more could you ask for?!
 

Interview with Kodiak Jack

Fresh from a recent performance at the highly acclaimed drug and alcohol-free Butserfest, Portsmouth-based Kodiak Jack are certainly on the up.  They’ve been creating a buzz locally, following the release of their rocking second album, ‘Alhambra’ and with a special charity gig coming up and gig bookings coming in thick and fast, I wouldn’t mind betting they’re a band that you’re going to hear a lot more of in the coming months. I was lucky enough to grab ten minutes with them to shoot the post-gig breeze – enjoy!

K Jack pic

– You played the alcohol and drug-free Butserfest recently. How was that for you?

The Butserfest show was our last gig of a tour around England so it was a great way to wrap it all up. Five minutes before we were due on stage, we realised that my bass guitar and our lead guitarist’s amp were broken, so it was a mad rush to fix the amp and get hold of a replacement bass! Even so, the show went ahead on time, we played a good set and those that were there seemed to enjoy it, which is the main thing.

– Taking it right back, you’ve been going for some years, how did the band get together?

Yeah, it’s about seven years now. The band formed as a bunch of guys in different bands that really just wanted to try something new altogether. There have been some line-up changes in that time but the line-up we’ve had for the last 18 months is our definitive one and I don’t think any of us would change it again for the world.

– How did the name come about?

Kodiak Jack is a rather shady character that popped up briefly in an episode of The Mighty Boosh. A few of the guys love the show and so the name was taken from that.

– If you had to recommend just one of your songs to a new fan, which would it be and why?

I think all 5 of us would pick a different song – but I reckon that’s a good thing! Personally, for me I would say ‘Brother’ which was the first single from our second album. For me, it captures all of our strong points – a big riff, catchy chorus, harmonies, it just rocks really!

– You seem to engage well with your fans; indeed you have your own street team! Have you got supporters who have been with you since day one?

We have friends who have followed us from the start, but over the last few years we’ve developed a loyal fan base and we have people that follow us around to a lot of our gigs which is great. It means a lot to us and shows that we must be doing something right if these people are parting with their cash regularly to travel around and see us play.

– On to the new album, ‘Alhambra’. I believe you recorded it in California – how did that come about and did you enjoy the experience? 

A well known music journalist was talking to our manager and he said he would play our material to a friend. The friend turned out to be Brian Wheat who is the bassist in Tesla. He has an incredible studio and liked what he heard, so he invited us out to record our second album at his J Street Recording Studio in Sacramento.

KJ Alhambra

We were there for 4 weeks although some of the guys had to leave early due to other commitments. It was very hard work and 4 weeks isn’t really a long time to make an album so there were a lot of long days in the studio. That said, it was a huge amount of fun! We met some great people and Sacramento is a fantastic place to be. There were some days that were tougher than others, but we knew we were going there to work and not to party for a month. When we did get some down time we made the most of it and relaxed and enjoyed ourselves before we got back to business.

– Did you find it a richer experience than recording the first album? How did it differ?

The first album was done at a much smaller studio over a weekend. It was still fun, and the guy who recorded it knew what he was doing. The main difference was just the scale of everything. J Street is a much bigger, more advanced studio and it was brand new – we were the first band to record there. Plus Brian has 30 years experience in the music industry and has pretty much done all there is to do in the world of rock music, so working with him and fitting in with his methods was also a huge change from when we did the first album.

– What inspirations and influences do you draw upon when you’re writing?

We all listen to different bands, so it really depends on who it is that’s bringing a new idea to the table. Once we start on a new song we all tend to have an input on it and so all kinds of influences start to come through. Our guitarist Jon brings a lot of new ideas to practice, but they often tend to sound a little bit too much like the Smashing Pumpkins for us to be able to use them, which is strange because he has never even listened to the Pumpkins!

– How was it supporting Tesla? They’re obviously somewhat of an iconic band to rock fans of a certain age …

It was an incredible day really. From hanging out back stage at the O2 Academy in Islington right up to playing the last note on stage. Tesla and their crew are all a friendly bunch and we have got to know them quite well now, so it was actually pretty relaxed in the build up. Watching Tesla sound check was an eye opener – we knew right then that we were going to have to be playing as good as we possibly could. There was a big crowd there and they really got in to our set so I think we delivered!

– Speaking of gigs, you’re playing in a charity gig in the next couple of weeks. Do you do a lot of charity work and do you feel it’s important?

We’ve done a few and we have a couple more lined up as well. I think it is important – especially if it’s for a cause that is close to someone in the band. There’s no harm in doing something like that if people will benefit from it and as with all our gigs it’s another chance to hit the stage and do what we love doing. Some of the lads will also be running in the Great South Run for a Portsmouth-based Down’s Syndrome Association charity called Footprints.

– Do you have any festival appearances in the pipeline for next summer?

We sat down with our manager recently and festivals are definitely high up on the priority list for next year. We are already booked in to a two day festival at The Maze in Nottingham in May 2015 and hopefully we’ll get on to lots of other festivals.

– What’s your opinion of the local music scene and of the whole industry in general right now?

Portsmouth has always had a lot of great bands and we’re lucky to have some decent venues in town as well. It’s a bit strange for us because most of the bands are either Indie or Metal and we’re neither! Despite that, there are a few Portsmouth bands that we love gigging with and it’s always good to have a nice relationship with other bands in the area. As for the global music industry it gives me a bit of a headache! I look at the charts and think ‘Who are they?’ Luckily there are some decent bands stealing the pop world’s thunder a little, like Royal Blood for example. The sad thing for me is that bands seem to tour less and less and rely on a handful of big arena shows or festivals instead of hitting the road. It’s so easy for people to get their hands on music these days that a lot of bands probably think its pointless doing a load of travelling to promote something that everyone has already heard and downloaded.

– What’s been the biggest highlight so far for Kodiak Jack?

The Tesla show back in June is easily right up there for me. There was a sell out crowd at a fantastic venue, and we were opening up for a great rock band. I’d happily do that every day! The crowd were there for Tesla and the vast majority had never heard of us, but by the end of our show they were loving it and we were getting stopped by people all night asking for photos and autographs. That was a great feeling and made all the hard work preparing for the gig well worth it.

– What’s next for Kodiak Jack?

Well we have plenty of gigs booked and no doubt a few more will be added, but as well as that we are working hard on new material for a third album. A few new tracks have been tried out live now and have been well received so we just need to keep writing, practicing and performing as much as possible. Nothing gets handed to you on a plate in music so we need to be seen to be busy and consistently coming up with some more great tunes for people to enjoy!

Watch out for Kodiak Jack – they’re going to be massive!  Check out the video for ‘Brother’ here http://youtu.be/8rbrjozCYf8

www.facebook.com/kodiakjackuk

www.kodiakjackofficial.com

 

Review of Sansara’s new EP, ‘Defiance’

Bournemouth rockers Sansara have had a funny old time over the last 12 months or so, with some changes in their line up making for a bit of an unsettled first half of the year. However, ‘Defiance’ is their third EP and it’s a hotly anticipated release; they’ve been a bit quiet on the local scene whilst concentrating all their energies on the recording process.  I have to say, it’s everything I hoped it would be and more – I haven’t stopped listening to it since I got it …

Sansara Defiance pic

When the first chords of the opening track, ‘Stronger’ kicked in, followed by Tom’s sublime vocals, I knew I was in for a treat with this EP. ‘Stronger’ is the perfect opener, a huge track that could well become anthemic over time.  Drums, guitar, bass and vocals seem to come together almost effortlessly, the chorus is catchy and memorable and I just love it.

Second song ‘Refine Your Mind’ starts slowly, building to a bruising chorus, again sounding tight and accomplished. I love the lyrics; in fact I like everything about it.  So far, this is proving to be my favourite track on the EP.

Third offering ‘On Your Own’ is another solid slab of rock and closing track ‘In Your Hands’ is an absolute belter – Tom’s vocals are outstanding on this song. From the super-long note at the beginning to the very last note, it’s a real crowd pleaser.

Sansara band pic

Sansara, l-r Tom Sawyer, vocals; Dee Aldwell, bass; Mike Rigler, drums and Sam Hughes, guitar

New bassist Dee Aldwell appears to have settled in to the role with ease and Sansara now seem to be 100% complete and focussed on the task at hand; indeed, I find it hard to be at all critical of ‘Defiance’. Sansara have matured and grown with each of the EP’s that they’ve put out; they now seem completely at home with the music they’re making and the line-up that they have.  If I had to find fault with something, it would be that I wish that they would consider putting out a whole album of songs, because they have the ability and the talent.  Put simply, four songs isn’t enough.  But that’s all.  It’s blatantly clear that, whilst Sansara’s foundations may have been a bit shaky at the start of this year, they’re certainly heading out of it stronger than ever and 2015 may just be their year.

If you haven’t yet got a copy of ‘Defiance’, make sure you get one as soon as – don’t just take my word for it, hear how great it is for yourself! Don’t forget that the hometown launch show is THIS Friday, 3rd October, at Bournemouth’s home of metal, The Anvil.

In the meantime, to whet your appetite, check out the video for ‘Stronger’ here – http://www.videscape.com/watch?v=aq9y8hfpc0cv9zw5

 

Track listing –

Stronger

Refine Your Mind

On Your Own

In Your Hands

www.facebook.com/sansaraofficial

Interview with Screaming Steel

I recently caught up with Martin and Ryan from Hampshire-based rock band, Screaming Steel to talk about all sorts of lovely things, including their eclectic musical influences, how they came by their band name and … why they’re ‘friends’ with inflatable swords … enjoy!

 

Screaming Steel pic

– How was the recent Joiners gig (supporting Dendera) for you?  The crowd seemed to like you … the inflatable swords went down a storm!

Ryan:  It was the best response we’ve had so far and not just down to the inflatable swords, we hope. It’s always easier for the first band to be watched as the crowd are more engaged at that point, so we were chuffed that everyone turned up to watch.

Martin:  I really enjoyed the Joiners gig from where I was sitting.  Like Ryan said, it’s easier to be the first band on but at the same token, it can be a killer if no one turns up when the doors open.  We had to make an impact both visually and musically and the inflatable swords and the music were our friends on the night.  We all had a great time.

– How did you choose the name ‘Screaming Steel’?

Ryan:  I actually can’t remember!

Martin:  That was down to me, I recall.  We needed a “metal” name and I grabbed a band name generator from the net, specifically a metal one and after two attempts, Screaming Steel popped up, it was a no brainer as it just fitted the band perfectly.

– How would you describe your style?

Ryan:  Judas Priest with Pantera vibes

Martin:  I’d like to add that our style can’t be specific to one or two bands because every member of the band has different influences.  My music taste is very eclectic and I’m proud to admit it, so listening to different genres of music, from funk and soul to heavy metal, has defined my playing style.  If I had to put my finger on one ancestral origin for the band, I’d say NWOBHM (Saxon, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath).

– If you had to recommend one of your songs for a new fan to listen to, which one would you pick and why?

Ryan:  ‘Deathclaw’ or ‘Hammered’?

Martin:  I am particularly proud of ‘Rider’. Joe (our singer) phoned me just after I joined the band and said “You ride a motorbike don’t you?  I’m gonna write a song about riding a bike”; the rest is history.  ‘Rider’ shows all sides to “The Steel”, it’s just a pulsing great foot-tapper.  However, if I was to recommend a chanting metal anthem, it would be ‘Hammered’, a song we wrote in five minutes and has had little change in composition since its inception.  I have a great friend in California – he builds the best snare drums on the planet – I sent him a copy of our demo and within a week ‘Hammered’ was played on his local radio station (they had a charity day where they’d play anything you requested for a $20 donation) and the DJ’s were singing the chant during the song that was played after ‘Hammered’.  It was a proud moment to know we’d been played on radio in the USA.

– You’ve been doing your bit for charity lately, do you feel it’s important for bands to get involved in charity work, or do you just do it because it’s a local cause close to your hearts?

Martin:  Well, I can answer that one as charity gigs stem from links to me.  Last year in May, our first gig was a joint concert with various acts from the Isle of Wight who came together to perform a concert to raise funds for the Lottie Rann trust.  Lottie is my niece and to cut a long story short, contracted meningococcal meningitis twice. That type of meningitis is the most dangerous of all and can be a killer.  We all rejoiced when Lottie recovered from the first one, but when she got it a second time (which is a billion to one chance) she was paralysed from the neck down.  That was two years ago and now she’s in an electric wheelchair, has control over her limbs, can speak and is able to feed herself.  The concert was all for her, so that she had funds to get a wheelchair and all the adjustments to the family home to make it wheelchair friendly.  Ironically, I met Ryan and Joe for the first time the evening after Lottie contracted it for the second time to talk about joining them to form a band, so Lottie has been there from the beginning of The Steel and thus is a cause close to the heart of the band.

We are doing a joint charity night in Ryde, Isle of Wight in November for another charity cause that’s personal to me – Ryde Inshore Rescue.  Recently some nasty individual took a screwdriver to both of the rigid inflatable lifeboats and destroyed their capability to save lives.  Both boats were out of action and still are right now, but they’re being fixed.  So both The Steel and another band I am in (Ozzy Osbourne tribute band We Waz Ozzy) are doing a gig to raise funds for RIR.

Obviously we can’t perform for every charity we’d like, but charities that are close to us get our undeserved attention.

– You recently acquired a new bassist; how has that affected the band dynamic?

Ryan:  Dramatically, he has reaped new life into the dexterity or our playing and writing.

Martin:  When James, our founder bassist decided to leave we thought it would be a struggle to find a replacement, but we found Sam through an internet ad and he’s brought an explosive dynamic to the band that we’d never thought possible.  He’s brought fun and oodles of enthusiasm and the whole direction of the music has improved, he really is a diamond (but don’t tell him I said so!).

– I understand you’re currently writing some new material, can we expect to see a release soon?

Martin:  With Sam on board, we’re foregoing songs that were in the pipeline for songs that the four of us have written together, normally through a warm-up jam at rehearsals.  The new material, like ‘Deathclaw’, is an improvement from the past songs, and we’d like to think we’ll have enough new material to start recording an album in the early part of 2015.

– Who influences you musically?

Ryan:  Everyone!

Martin:  Where do I start?  Drumming-wise, it started off with Phil Collins and Phil Gould (drummer for Level42) but as I progressed with my playing and listening to different music, I have a plethora of drummers who I’ve pinched ideas from.  Musically, I’m a big fan of 80’s American hair metal (Poison, Cinderella, Mötley Crüe and Dokken, to name a few) and that whole genre has become a major influence and source of playing ideas.

– If you could tour with any band, alive or dead, who would you choose and why?

Ryan:  Metallica, just because they are Metallica.

Martin:  I’d like to say Led Zeppelin but then our performance would have to be legendary for the audience to remember us.  Opening for our heroes like Judas Priest and Iron maiden would be a real compliment.  And I love Rammstein, so supporting them would be just as cool.

– What do you think about the current state of the music industry?  Where do you see rock and metal heading in the next 5-10 years?

Ryan:  It’s pretty much a developing world with metal. It has been around since ‘69 and has a very stable dynamic in the musical world. The fact it’s managed to stay a niche for so long is fantastic and keeps itself fresh. New bands come and go; eventually the style shifts slightly but usually for the mainstream, not the fans. Metal is an intellectual people’s music and will always be a back burner of any household from Thin Lizzy to Dimmu Borgir. I hope I’m still part of it in 10 years, or at least helping to shape it.

Martin:  Ryan has summed it up perfectly.  I see that rock will never die, it’s just ace to see young kids walking round with Guns ‘n’ Roses t-shirts and them actually knowing who G’n’R are.  You never see youngsters walking round wearing a t-shirt of a boy band from 20 years ago.  Rock will never die, it’s too awesome.

– What’s the plan for the next 12-18 months?

Ryan:  Ride the unknown!

Martin:  I’d like to think that The Steel will collect new friends, or ‘Screamers’ as we call them.  I’d also like to see us record some of our songs, we have some great feedback from people who’ve been to our gigs and they’ve been hungry for an album size collection of material.  The great unknown, as Ryan put it, is actually where it’s at, we can’t predict our future but if we’re healthy, still great mates and having a blast, then that would be the best thing to look forward to.

 

Catch the video for ‘Deathclaw’, filmed at the Joiners gig https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=664586440301511 – you can also check out Screaming Steel at www.facebook.com/ScreamingSteel