ROCK & METAL ISSUE #21 WWW.RAMZINE.CO.UK
F F O S HAND
L E T E GR
WITH NEW BAND
ONE LAST DAY
ON THE COVER, PAGE 2 & 8 IS HANDS OFF GRETEL BY ANGI WALLACE WWW.ANGIWALLACEPHOTOGRAPHY.COM
04 | RAGING SPEEDHORN 20th Anniversary Show 06 | ORANGE GOBLIN Live Review 08 | HANDS OFF GRETEL An interview with one of Yorkshire’s most colourful bands 10 | ONE LAST DAY We introduce you to the UK’s newest band 12 | HARD ROCK HELL Photo set 15 | RAMzine CLASSIC The Answer 16 | REVIEWS Dirge - Behemoth - Flight - Crooked Teeth AZUSA - Eluveitie - Atria - Steve Kilbey Ginger Wildheart - Sabaton - Unearth Rifflord - The RG’s - Metal Church Gotthard - Amon Amarth CommonWealth - Kikamora - I Am Pariah On page 3 Gareth Stapleton of One Last Day by Benji Walker © RAMzine 2018 email@example.com
Raging Speedhorn 20th Anniversary Show REVIEW & PHOTOS BY ASH CROWSON
’m pretty sure no one could see this coming, much less comprehend the line up that came with it. Somehow, Corby residents Raging Speedhorn have managed to survive and still get a pull twenty years after they first began, despite all the alcohol, the climate of the music industry, multiple other issues and a break up, so is there much of a better way to celebrate such a milestone than to get the guys together that started it all for less of a gig, and more of an alcohol fuelled night of mayhem? I think not! It would be rude of them to not have a practise run, naturally of course they look after their home town needs and give it their all in a tiny venue a few nights before. Insanity doesn’t seem to be a strong enough term to describe the results, naturally seeing images and hearing how good it was stokes the fire and creates an almighty buzz in the build up to the London show. The recent news of both guitarists of the ‘Lost Ritual’ era departing the band has thrown fans of the band into a concerned state, but seeing those pair still active in both the opening support bands Scurge and Charger, they are not too far from the RSH style they all share, which is only a good thing. They seem to love it and how can you hold that against them? We look forward to seeing and hearing more of those bands soon!
A much better known band takes the claim of the special guest slot, they are not shy of hitting anniversaries of their own, such is their time on the stage. Being one of the pioneers of the genre and massive influences on so many, it is unmistakable when you hear the line “London! We’re Crowbar from New Orleans Louisiana!”. Still a band I never tire from seeing or listening to, the riff lord Kirk and his ever reliable men that create Crowbar bring their A game despite a shorter than usual set we have come to expect. Ending a tour in a support slot may not be what those that came to see Crowbar want, nor what Crowbar are used to, but they don’t hold it back and devastate ear drums everywhere. Even in the photo pit, I myself, find it hard to control my excitement as my body takes a beating from the sheer power of the sludge monsters. They are playing probably the best I’ve ever seen, hopefully with a more permanent position on bass that could easily be mistaken as Matt Brunson’s younger brother in Shane Wesley. Fans all over approve and the band leave everything on the stage. It doesn’t take long until the crowd are all wide eyed and trying to carry as many pints as they can while chugging another until we are all taken back to being 20 years younger. It shows on the many faces of RSH too, clearly they are feeling euphoric about the situation, and the energy they share between themselves and
the crowd is constantly on eleven. A set list consisting of only Raging Speedhorn and We Will be Dead Tomorrow, two albums that have titles round up exactly the feelings most will have the morning after, myself included. It is much less of a pit than a riot, and constantly being incited for me from the front men Frank and John that deliver a performance between them I probably haven’t seen as good since the return of RSH at Damnation festival (hard to think that was four years ago, how they have blossomed since!). The other constant in the band is drummer Gordon, hard to spot for most of it with the movement on the stage, but the pummeling he delivers is something that will echo through my bones for months to come. As for Tony, Gareth and Darren, it feels like they haven’t missed a beat. It is a shame that they only made two albums with this full line up, a sold out venue would have stayed until the early hours lapping up every offering before struggling to any open pub, hotel or train station for a painful sweaty journey home. Even after my long old train journey home, such was the high I was left with that stopping off in the pub before closure just seemed like the right thing to do. Easily gig of the year!
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Orange Goblin At the O2 Forum REVIEW & PHOTOS BY ASH CROWSON
t doesn’t seem to matter where you go or what band you’ve gone to see in recent years, chances are Orange Goblin have been on the bill and for good reason too! Their recent studio efforts have been phenomenal and matched completely with their stage presence time and time again.
make arrangements to sell merch in the pub and mingle with fans before the show, the best end for the tour for fans, albeit it insulting for bands to be demanded of giving such a high cut from merch sales considering in this day and age, that and ticket sales are just about all the bands can earn from!
This recent tour had them co-headline a tour with the legendary Corrosion of Conformity, both bands hot on the back of album of the year worthy studio releases this year, with the rest of the bill filled out by two awesome acts in Fireball Ministry and Black Moth. It is a line up not to miss, and with already covering the show in Manchester, how could we not take a second bite of this sweet cake and hit London too!
Possibly being somewhat of a distraction at the pub, Black Moth are deserving of a much larger crowd as they open the show, the stoner rockers are a perfect outfit to get the ball rolling and set the standard, with their third album Anatomical Venus out this year, this performance completely nails the reason to be so in love with the voice of Harriet Hyde. Their follow up Fireball Ministry are as deserving for the love, keeping a lusting for alcohol swilling going in many fans that clearly have no care for it being a Sunday night...or possibly not realising it is actually a Sunday night! There might be huge boots to fill with Scott Reeder missing from the bass role while he recovers still from surgery, but you cannot find a better person to fill them than the stunner and talented Helen Storer reprising her old role for the band, safe hands indeed. If you haven’t ever seen or even heard these bands, get your life together and check them out!
For those up early enough like myself, plans were to hit the capital early and get some beers in, the line up is music that demands it, and when you get to meet a good few new people that are die hard Clutch fans (be seeing you guys at a gig soon no doubt!), the pub is exactly where you need to be. As it turns out, the bands had the same idea too, with CoC and Orange Goblin being present through the day, disappearing for band duties as and when needed, who needs a back stage area when you can set camp in a pub?! As it turned out, issues had arisen between the bands and venue over demands for a take in merch sales, so with some quick thinking both Orange Goblin and CoC
Time seems to have flown by and Orange Goblin are set to take the stage already, a look around the venue will see it filled up nicely by now with the upstairs closed off. Any set of bands are in for a struggle
to get a packed venue a night after the farewell Slayer show hits town, but die hards never say die. Little time is wasted as they hammer away into their goliath set, no less than 12 songs from 8 albums have an airing tonight, one third of which from ‘The Wolf Bites Back’. The Forum is in uproar down in the front few rows and in the centre where naturally the pit kicks off, naturally growing to the call of the dominant Ben Ward until worthy of a wall of death. Asking around the venue, and you find some that just seem to feel the set may have been slightly too long, it did seem to demand a lot, and when so much beer through a day with a band like these, naturally toilet runs begin to outpace the bar runs, but despite all cylinders burning there was something slightly strange about the night, the band nailed it, yet maybe with seeing them so much and so often and so well, maybe some of us have down ourselves in by treating ourselves to too much Orange Goblin, they could be perfect and we would still likely feel the same. In hindsight though, they nailed it and a buzz can be felt about the show, even if not quite on the night for some. Corrosion of Conformity however is a cake we haven’t taken too many bites out of, and they are absolutely phenomenal, but you can read all about them in our review of their Manchester show!
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Hands Off Gretel INTERVIEW BY NEALE MCGEEVER | PHOTOS BY ANGI WALLACE
We talk to the girls and boys from one of Yorkshire’s most colourful bands
now?’ And it’s also catching up with an online following, there’s so much now. We keep creating it and there are so many angles to releasing music. It’s really good. Becky: I think the benefit now is that there are fewer ‘gatekeepers’ for the press. Before it was about being on Top Of The Pops, MTV, or in the magazines, but now there are loads of smaller digital platforms and your own profiles can be a big platform. Now people can discover a band after seeing something on their Instagram feed. There are ways around ‘big bosses’ saying ‘this band can be in or not in’ sort of thing. Bands can be independent and still reach an audience. Which is pretty cool. You just always have to be active because people get bored quickly (laughs). RAM: So you have released a couple of singles from what will be your upcoming album, they are a bit more pop-y compared to your previous material, is this the direction you are going for? Starting off as four alternative kids from Yorkshire in 2015, rockers Hands Off Gretel have been compared to Nirvana and No Doubt with only one album under their belts. If the two videos Hands Off Gretel have released (‘Kiss Me Girl’ and ‘SASS’) are anything to go by, this could be their way to the next level. We caught up with the girls and boys of Hands Off Gretel before their Newcastle gig to talk signing to major labels, genres and gender equality in rock. RAM: For anyone who hasn’t heard your music, how would you describe Hands Off Gretel? Lauren Tate (Vocals/Guitar): Like a cheeky, badly behaved daughter who plays rock music in her bedroom RAM: How has your tour gone so far? Sean McAvinue (Guitar): Yeah, it’s been cool. Becky Baldwin (Bass/Vocals): Everything’s taken a step up this time around. It’s headline dates mainly and we’re getting a bigger, more diverse audience with each one. Especially in areas that we haven’t been to before and people already know who we are. 08 | www.RAMzine.co.uk
RAM: So do audiences change in each gig? Lauren: We get quite a mix. Last night we saw a few younger girls in the crowd. It’s good to see because I just remember my Dad telling me about gigs he had gone to when he was younger and I thought that might have disappeared a little. It’s all about things like Spotify now. I guess I’m the same, I haven’t been to many gigs lately, maybe because I’m in a band myself (laughs). When I was younger though it was listening to stuff in your room, but I think more recently there’s more of a buzz with localised gigs. So a lot more young people coming to our gigs. RAM: Do you think the music industry has changed recently? Sam Hobbins (drums): I think as the industry grows, it changes with it.
Lauren: It was quite a natural progression. Some bands think too much about what other people want. When we write songs they are always from the thought of Lauren: Like I was saying, people are what’s the next chapter? What do we want relying on Spotify now, it’s not about to do next? On every album you learn a being on the radio. You can make your own playlist and decide what to listen to new thing. The first album we got the aggression across, like a statement. This and don’t want to sit through the bits in between. Same with Netflix. People don’t album is a lot deeper, not the singles that want to wait, they want it instantly. Which have been released but a lot of the songs you haven’t heard will be. We wanted a is both good and bad: When you put something out, people just want more so more accessible sound, but still taking you can work towards single releases and influence from the old album. Mixing it with new influences to create something people are like ‘That’s great... but what that’s new but still nostalgic to the eras we like. People seem to like it, which is good.
RAM: Do you feel you stick to certain genres? Lauren: We always end up sounding like a certain thing anyway. Songs like ‘SASS’ sounded different in my head when I wrote it. I never know if it will match the sound of the other songs but when we get together and play it, it always suits our style no matter what. I don’t even know what style we are! (laughs) Alternative... something. RAM: Although a lot of your dates have recently been headline dates, you have supported a lot of big names. Who would you like to tour with in the future? Sam: Currently, my ultimate dream tour would be with a band that just reformed,The Distillers. Lauren: Yeah I agree, also bands like Idles, Dream Wife. There’s a lot of bands that you think of doing a dream tour with, but there’s loads of new bands we would tour with. They are doing really well, that’s where the excitement is. They’re doing stuff that hasn’t been done before and it’s a new image and a new sound, it’s new to us and that’s what I go for. RAM: Speaking of these new bands, do you feel newer bands are best off being independent, rather than relying on big labels? Becky: The help that a label would offer is a lot of hard work, plus we get a lot of creative freedom. Sean: A lot of smaller independent labels can’t really do anything we can’t do anyway.
Lauren: It’s something we get asked a lot and I think that’s what a lot of bands really want. They want to be signed, but when you are signed they just want to make money from you. You need to be in a position as an artist that you feel confident with your work and you can make them a lot of money and you feel like you owe them. You need to be in a position where you feel ready for that pressure. Which I think will come for us. It’s natural for bands to have about five 0r six years of independence first. If you go straight into it, you will be like an absolute mannequin. You need a bit of a backbone before you go out there. RAM: What’s the plan after the tour? Lauren: More videos, the ones we have done for the album worked out really well. It’s the perfect way to gain fans and keep current fans interested. Then we have the album and then tour again. We are aiming to get support slots on other tours next year too. In regards to your videos: would you like a production company to take control or do you feel, like your music, its best to handle it yourself? Lauren: Again it’s money. There are some things I have ideas for and I know we can’t do it. Plus sometimes if you pay someone to get that sort of thing done and it’s not what you want you sometimes think ‘I could have done that myself ’. If there’s something we don’t like in the video that we made then we could cut it, but if someone else did they would probably leave it in. It gets all messy. This way we can get what we want, but in the future when you think of the bigger budget videos when we can afford them. We’re aiming to do a lot of the songs on the album, not all of them though.
RAM: Do you think the rock scene has changed for female musicians? Becky: Maybe changing. It’s a slow build. Depends on what the aim is, really. If the aim is to get more ‘girl bands’ then that’s happening. And yeah there are possibly as many women and men on tour. Lauren: When we play festivals it’s a mix in terms of fans but there won’t be many girls on the line-up. Just because the band isn’t as big. But if it’s more women in bands, that’s happening. More women are being heard. Social media has helped, if there’s an issue, everyone knows about it. In ‘rock’ there’s still, a long way to go. Becky: I feel there’s a lot of different women out there and not just your typical pop star. It needs to be at the level we don’t get asked about it anymore. Once that question goes away, that will show progression. RAM: What can we expect from your gigs? Becky: 12 songs... (everyone laughs). Sean: Guitars, bass, drums, singing (laughs). Lauren: We’re playing about three from the album and a few that didn’t make it. Some of the more popular ‘old’ ones. Becky: The ones that didn’t make it will be released in some form, not saying they aren’t good enough (they all laugh). It’s like having an ugly child and letting it out into the world. Lauren: The single we have planned for December will be a bit heavier and also the title track. I won’t say much else. You can check out what we thought of the band’s latest tour at RAMzine.co.uk.
WORDS & PHOTOS BY VICTORIA PURCELL | LIVE PHOTO BY BENJI WALKER
A bands debut show can leave an lasting impression... RAM: How did you find your first gig on Friday? Hayley: Scary, exciting and painful. This was my first ever concert in a band as a singer, the last time I sung was in school. So I was very much terrified, especially with my classical vocal elements in the two songs Battle Cry and Sol Exodus, I was worried about how people would react as it is very different from our hard rock style. It didn’t help matters I was sick, but there was no way I was letting the guys down, not for our first gig. The guys were very caring and understood I was scared, being both ill and this was my first gig. They gave me confidence and that really helped. Everyone enjoyed the experience, the audience, the guys and myself. The warm reception and support was overwhelming and I cannot wait to do more gigs.
rom the ashes of previous local bands, One Last Day emerge onto the scene in Berkshire to play their debut gig at The Acoustic Couch in Bracknell. Joining original members Gareth (Guitar and Backing Vocals) and John (Guitar) is Mike (Bass and Backing Vocals), Gary (Drums) and Hayley (Vocals) forming a force to be reckoned with. The greatest thing about playing your home town is that you can bring your whole entourage of friends and family along. Whilst the many were there to support their friends regardless of how the show went, they weren’t quite expecting the strong vocal range of vocalist Hayley, guitar solos, and well rounded, vibrant set that they got. First impressions can go a long way, and it’s safe to say everyone in the room will be back to see more. RAM: How did Hayley and Gary (the more recent members of the band) find you and how did that relationship form into them being part of the band?
singing live with the band. This was daunting as being a classical singer and having to swap my two styles was challenging. The second one was in a recording studio, afterwards the guys very kindly gave me the chance to be their singer. To which I am extremely grateful. As this is my first band and everyone else is so experienced I feel very nervous, but I am so happy to have been given this chance. They are all very supportive of me.
Gary: I joined the band about three months ago. I found their advert saying they were looking for a drummer and I Hayley: I found the guys who were nacame for an audition which went nice and med Rogue State at the time on the websi- smooth. I picked up their material quite JoinmyBand. After sending video ckly and added some of my own drumrecordings of myself singing, I was given ming into the tracks and here we are. two auditions. First in a practice studio, 10 | www.RAMzine.co.uk
Mike: It was great to be back performing live. Myself and Gareth were in a band previously and spent a good 6 or 7 years playing gigs together and I always missed that. For me personally, the number one thing for being in a band is playing live. RAM: The gig seemed to go very well. How would you encourage more people to support their local music scene? Hayley: Social media is brilliant for
reaching people. I think having a strong online presence is great in order to promote yourselves and get in touch with people such as fans, fellow musicians and promoters. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and youtube can really work wonders when you’re trying to build yourselves a network of support.
Cherry and Shinedown. My last gig was Shinedown
Mike: I think the emphasis should be on the scene to attract the people. Having good local venues with a great atmosphere is a start, but we need to think differently about how we entice people. Combo events which combine music and another attraction are a good idea. Think of local cider and food festivals in the summer which attract a whole host of people, there’s never a shortage of people listening to the music. Another option is club nights, Slimelight in Islington do a great night out with live bands at the start and switch to an all night party with BBQ and drinks deals etc.
RAM: Do you take influence from any of those bands in One Last Day?
RAM: It’s been a great start, how do you now plan to build your fan base? Hayley: I personally only have one answer and that maybe due to the impact of the internet on my generation. Social media. Through uploading songs, gig dates, videos, photos and contacting people via the internet you can reach out to the big wide world. I also believe supporting other bands and gigging a lot more can help promote ourselves in the flesh. Being an overall social butterfly, I guess online and in person. Gary: We want to play more gigs as we just started. We have two coming soon in Reading but we also want to move forward into different areas as well and we should be more active with social media. RAM: Which gigs have you been to recently and who are your favorite bands? Hayley: I went to Koko to see Amaranthe and Kissin Dynamite, they were bloody amazing and I can’t wait to attend more concerts. My favourite bands are Nightwish, Queen, Fleetwood Mac, just to name a few. My biggest influencers are Mozart, Maria Callas and Tarja Turunen. I could carry on but we’d be here all day! I have a weird and varied taste when it comes to music. A mixture of metal, rock, rap, pop, classical, trance, dubstep and opera!
Gareth; My favourite bands include Alter Bridge, Shinedown, Linkin Park, Muse to name just a few. I went to see Shinedown recently and will be going to see Nightwish in December
Gareth: Yes, I would say that we take influence from all of our favourite bands. RAM: Who wrote ‘If You Can See Me Now’ and what’s it about? John: The original idea for this song was written by myself. I proposed the idea to Gareth and he helped piece the song together and co-wrote parts of the music and lyrics. Mike also contributed towards the lyrics. This is a very personal song for me. It is about the struggles with mental health, it’s about losing something very close to you and rebuilding yourself from your experience and hoping that someone notices the change in you for the better. However, it’s up to the listener to take what they want from it and relate to it in their own way. RAM: Where do you see the band this time next year? Hayley: Personally, I’d see us experimenting with different styles. Each member has a unique background musically and I’d love for that to be explored. I am hopeful we’ll have some heavier songs coming up, with some classical elements. As a classical singer i would love to show my full vocal potential. I’d love to dive into more heavy metal similar to Iron Maiden and something softer like Fleetwood Mac. But, we’ll see. I just want to make good music with a good purpose. This is all new to me. Gareth: I agree with Hayley, that from a musical point of view, we should experiment with different ideas and styles and not limit our creativeness to just one
style of rock or metal. We have some new ideas to start working on next year and we would like to play more gigs and get more exposure for the band. RAM: Is your band name ,One Last Day, a comment on the current political state of the world? If yes, why? If no, where did the name come from? Hayley: John came up with the name, for everyone it means something different. To me, it means seizing the day with all your might. Enjoying life to the fullest, bettering yourself and making sure you live everyday is if it was your last. For all you know it could be. The band name is art and therefore subjective. It can mean what you want it to. John: The name comes from a job I was working that I didn’t enjoy. It was on a Friday morning, stuck in traffic, thinking to myself, “come on John, you can do this, only one last day”. It was stuck in my head and I decided to present the name to the rest of the guys. RAM: What have you got coming up? Hayley: We’ve got some songs on the way with some killer lyrics. Some darker and heavier material. We’re looking to experiment and expand our style, pushing the limits. What have I got coming up personally? Vocal training, writing lyrics and making sure I become a better singer for not only the band but myself. Thank you. Gareth: We are currently working on completing our first EP, which I hope to be able to make available within the next couple of months. Once this is done, we will start working on some new material. As for live shows, you can catch us at The Face Bar in Reading on both the 21st December and the 11th January. You can also check out One Last Day on all streaming platforms, including Spotify and iTunes and you can download the songs from Bandcamp.
Gary: I like System of a Down, Megadeth, Jinjer. I’ll try to convince the rest of the band to make more harder songs like our track “Burning Inside” John: Favourite bands are Black Stone
MEMBERS OF ONE LAST DAY, FALL FROM PERFECTION AND INCARNADINE COVEN
Footprints In The Custard win Young Blood Award
Saxon, Orange Goblin, Phil Campbell
Devilfire 12 | www.RAMzine.co.uk
Nigel Glocklan, Saxon
PHOTOS BY LISA BILLINGHAM OF BILLIBEE CREATIVE LIMITED
Michael Schenker www.RAMzine.co.uk | 13
PHOTOS BY LISA BILLINGHAM OF BILLIBEE CREATIVE LIMITED
DOUG Aldrich, The Dead Daisies
John Corabi, The Dead Daisies
Tygers of Pan Tang 14 | www.RAMzine.co.uk
| Tom Dixon
Rise Albert Records 2006
One of the eternal questions in the music business must be how do some glorified pub bands gain the plaudits and the backing of the labels while other, better bands struggle on Without that backing? An ideal example of a band that deserves more is The Answer. Whilst they achieved some recognition (Best New Band in 2006) and did a world tour with AC/DC and even opened for The Stones and Deep Purple, amongst many, they never got the backing to take them to wider recognition. There was no sustained promotion to help them increase their profile in many countries and any headway was through their own hard work. It seems, criminally so in my opinion, they will forever be “the next big thing”, but always welcomed and supported by their real fans. The Answer formed in Northern Ireland in 2000 by guitarist Paul Mahon with Cormac Neeson as vocalist and he recruited bassist Micky Waters, an old school friend. James Heatley joined as drummer, once he finished his degree in Psychology. They spent the next few years honing their skills on stage and writing for their first release. 2006 saw Rise hit the shops and was recognised by many as a brilliant entry into the heavy blues rock canon. It did have reasonable sales too, but subsequent albums (right up to the other classic in waiting, Solas, never achieved what the quality of the music deserved despite changing labels from the Australian independent Albert to the more established Napalm). It was most certainly a tour de force showing off each member’s skills across eleven tracks of consistent high quality. They later released a ‘special edition’ with an extra CD of b-sides, live recordings and non-album tracks but here we will review the original. It is all original although you can hear the influences that informed the compositions: Free are probably the biggest one, but hints of Lizzy, Purple and Sabbath are there too.
Opening with a song that deserves the ‘Classic’ appellation,‘Under The Sky’ is pure quality as the guitar builds to a superb riff before Cormac’s unique vocals stamp their authority. It has it all; drums and bass in harmony, superb guitars and that vocal… and yet it’s still not my favourite. That ‘honour’ goes to track ten, the glorious blues of ‘Preachin’. Starting with great slide before Cormac delivers a blues lyric brought right up to date in a very clever way. The bass line is brilliant too and the gospel section over keyboards is inspired and all the while we have Paul’s slide lighting the whole thing up. Back to the running order and track two is the hammer-on lesson intro of ‘Never Too Late’ which evolves into heavy as hell blues with a Sabbath touch before a chunk of funk backs the verses and a quality wah solo takes the centre. ‘Come Follow Me’ is very Stormbringer era Purple with the riff and with some deep lyrics… “see the man with his head in the sand, he’s got a white flag and a gun in his hand”. The solo is not Blackmore as Paul nearly shreds on a rapid fire and well-judged effort. ‘Be What You Want’ changes tack again with keyboards, acoustic and electric guitar and a soulful take on bluesy melodic rock. ‘Memphis Water’, as the title suggests, is an electric (in every sense) dual paced blues that Aerosmith would be proud of. The solo is almost dysfunctional as it leads to a change of pace and then becomes more collected and joins Cormac in slowing again before a true blues close. ‘No Questions Asked’ is heavy rock with a boatload of subtlety in it’s construction…it batters your ears but has start/ stop sections along with another rapid solo. ‘Into
The Gutter’ stays in rock mode with a 60’s construct behind it and a simply brilliant slide section as the band once again bring a deft touch to their modern take on music and life. ‘Sometimes Your Love’ is a pop song… that has been torn apart and reassembled with every phrase receiving seriously heavy treatment. The bass line is really worth listening to behind the barnstorming. ‘Leavin’ Today’ is reminiscent in riff of Stormbringer again but, as always, is very quickly original as the vocal and guitars make it a very different song… the middle section is genius. Final track, ‘Always’ closes the album with a gentle acoustic led ballad which adds electric weight half way through and has a Who like (but played on the guitar) piece and it is a fine, if out of the ordinary, way to end. If you haven’t listened to, and I mean listened not just heard, this superb blues-rock classic, then you owe to yourself and the band to do just that… and in the words of Rod Evans, “listen, learn, read on”.
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I Loved You At Your Darkest
A Leap Through Matter
Debemur Morti Productions
High Roller Records
Carolus Rex Platinum Edition
Review by Victoria Purcell
Review by Jens Nepper
Review by Tom Dixon
Nuclear Blast Records
Review by Tom Dixon
Nuclear Blast Records
Dirge return to the scene with Lost Empyrean. The title track starts with the sounds of walking through the snow before delving into somber progressing soundscapes. A mix of vocals and spoken words see this sludgy, doom album take you on an emotional journey of brief highs but mostly dark lows. My only qualm is that the vocals are a little quieter then I would have liked. But then maybe it’s one you’re meant to turn up, so you can hear it in all its glory.
This eleventh studio album by the Polish black/ death metal pioneers sounds absolutely massive and is a majestic offering that is as rich on atmosphere as it is on wicked melodies. Behemoth have lost none of their drive or intensity over the years and this dynamic opus encompasses everything that has made the band’s captivating back catalogue such a delight to immerse oneself in. This one is undoubtedly their most accessible record yet.
Oslo’s Flight sound like early Priest playing Wishbone Ash. New album A Leap Through Matter is an enjoyable modern retro piece of rock. Opening with the instrumental ‘Arrival’ segueing into ‘One With The Sun’ shows an imaginative use of those influences. The title track could have been on Rocka Rolla; ‘The Traveller’, like all of the tracks here is a slice of quality seventies flavoured rock with newness added to the familiarity.
Swiss folk metal band, Eluveitie re-release their second album Slania as a 10th anniversary package. Imagine a death metal version of Blackmore’s Night, add in a mix of clean/harsh vocals, Celtic lyrics and language, and you have a fascinating hybrid. It does actually work with tracks such as ‘Inis Mora’, ‘Anagantios’ and ‘Giamonios’ favourites. Others are in your face metal but as worlds collide on those tracks they are hugely entertaining.
First released in 2012, and said to be the most successful heavy metal album in their home country, Sabaton are re-releasing Carolus Rex as a result of it achieving quadruple platinum status in their native Sweden. The album is fifteen prime pieces of full-on riffage and power playing, though on tracks like ‘Dominium Maris Baltici’ and ‘Ruina Imperii’, they come across like Nightwish, but without the classy female vocals.
G*A*S*S MARK II
New World Nightmare
Golden Robot Records
Review by Stuart Iversen
Review by Tom Dixon
Review by Eliot Foster
California-based poppunk trio Crooked Teeth have crafted a some perfectly competent, radio friendly rock songs that are comparable to the likes of Paramore, or the later albums by LTA. The issue with a lot of the more experimental elements of this EP is how low they are in the mix, which makes it seem as though the band are struggling to commit to the change in sound that they’ve opted for. Overall, for fans of radio friendly pop.
Review by Tom Dixon
Ginger Wildheart is back with thirteen tracks covering rock’s wide spectrum admirably. You want punk, R’n’B, heavy, light or Celtic rock? It’s all here as he cooks on G*A*S*S Mark II. ‘King Rat’ has The Beatles, ‘Petite Mort’ is what U2 wish for, ‘Adrenalina’ is a complex rock masterpiece. ‘I’ll Have Another’ is alcohol fuelled Quo. A brilliant album of depth and variation with Ginger’s voice sounding great, he’s come up with his best in years.
Made up of members of Extol with Liam Wilson (Dillinger Escape Plan) and Eleni Zafiriadou, AZUSA’s music dances between raging jabs of aggression and fragile beauty. Three chords and the truth this is not. Instead, it’s music which thrills and isolates in equal measure, often leaving you grasping for something to cling onto. Ultimately, Heavy Yoke is defined by its inability to be defined which proves both its strength and its weakness.
Steve Kilbey, founding member of The Church (an Australian psych-rock band) has released an album Sydney Rococo orchestrated songs about his hometown... Sydney Rococo. It’s still rock but occasionally buried by strings and has a lot to offer. ‘Distant Voices’ and ‘The Wrong One’ are clever and melodic. ‘Nineveh’ is the best with staccato guitar and infectious chorus. ‘The Lonely City’ is closest to The Church’s output. A nonrock/metal but charming album.
Review by Laurence Todd
Review by Tom Dixon
Canadian metallers Atria list their prime influences as Soilwork, Tool and Slipknot. Their 4-track debut New World Nightmare EP, has the riffs. The title track and ‘Less Than Equal’ show the death metal side. ‘Someone With Me’ is the melodic side of their metal. ‘Follow You Home’ is the best with melody and restraint improving the whole delivery, more like that one and the forthcoming album might be worth the wait.
The Cricket Sound
Cremation Ground / Meditation
Damned If You Do
Century Media Records
Review by Tom Dixon
Review by Tom Dixon
Nuclear Blast Records
Nuclear Blast Records
Review by Mike Trash
This being the first album since 2014’s Watchers of Rule, and the decline in legitimacy and popularity of metalcore as a genre, the genre that they helped lay the groundwork for way back in 2001 with Stings Of Conscience it’s no wonder Unearth have seemingly approached Extinction with something to prove. Right off the bat the first song to grab my attention is ‘Dust’, everything about this is exactly what metalcore always was, the best of “True” metal that I grew up loving mixed with the aggression of hardcore, melding perfectly including trademark discord breakdowns! That being said this is by no means a nostalgia record, sure it has all the hallmarks of what brought unearth to the table in the first place but this is a much leaner and accomplished beast. With tracks such as ‘Survivalist’ and ‘Hard Lined downfall’ smashing the norms of the genre, mixing the old guard with a few tricks they heave picked up along the way perfectly. At ten tracks long this album does not let up or feel dated in any way, there are of course nods to the way things were done in the past but it proves that old dogs can learn new tricks! It is a hidden gem, one of the best metal albums I have heard this year.
Belgian band, The RG’s, have been working the Flanders rock scene since 2013. The trio (Wouter Vandaele on guitar and vocals, Stjn Decoene on drums and Jens Vanhee on bass) released a debut in 2015 and now have their latest offering The Cricket Sound on release. Their music is a curious and fascinating blend of heavy rock, blues and psyche, but the mix is muddy throughout which lessens the impact somewhat. Opening track ‘Bored Ass Tony’ lulls then batters with a neat bass and riff before hitting hard. The vocals are fuzzy but that helps this sound like Sabbath doing Hawkwind doing Muse… in a good way. Title track, The Cricket Sound’ opens on jangling chords before going back to a heavy riff with another good bass line backing the Sabbath (Technical Ecstasy) sounds. ‘All Day’ is a cleaner and more melodic song with a Nirvana tinge and a multi-tracked simple, but effective guitar solo in the middle. It closes with more heavy riffing on ‘Smack Your Neighbour’ that has subtlety, a bit of variation in pacing and is the best of the bunch. This is one of those albums that is unlikely to be listened to in one sitting as the tracks do tend to blur, but most certainly enjoyed individually. The album was recorded at the Number Nine Studios in Ghent.
Formed in South Dakota in 2007, Rifflord have been living up to their name through albums full of err… riffs. Wyatt Bronc, Tommy Davoux, Mike Hutch and Tommy Middlen have an obsession with amplifiers and continually reference their favoured brands and parts thereof in the lyrics. A love of amps and riffs should add up to some serious heavy rock and on their latest album, 7 Cremation Ground/Meditation, they deliver exactly that. It opens less than heavy with a semi-spoken acoustic led kind of field song called ‘Seven’ with only a couple of heavy electric chords thrown in and it’s damn good… however when ‘Dead Flower Child’ kicks in, the true weight is revealed as they hit the thunderous riffs that are expected. ‘Holy Roller’ feigns with acoustic before a fun romp of an intricate rock song. ‘Transcendental Medication’ is my current favourite with its semithrash Sabbath construction, brilliant bass line and interesting guitar patterns. ‘The Riffman Cometh’ does what it says on the tin. Closer ‘How Dou Vou Dou’ is blues based but heavy as hell. Over the 13 tracks they deliver some quality heavy rock and metal with inevitable Priest, Sabbath and Maiden overtones. They do however remain original and have put together an enjoyable and yes, riff loaded album.
Review by Lindsay Teske
Metal Church’s newest album, Damned If You Do, captures the ear and takes it on an exhilarating joyride through the dark underbelly of town. The record, which is the second Metal Church has released, since the return of vocalist Mike Howe, radiates insatiable power for the entirety of its duration. Hallmarked by jolts of velocity, raw melodicism, and undeniably refined musicianship. With these elements in play, Damned If You Do stands as a work with unthreatened magnitude. The titular track, which serves as the album’s opener, immediately sets a precedent for the amount of unwavering agency Metal Church sustains for all ten tracks. The juxtaposition between the anthemic choruses (which showcase just how much of an impressive vocal range Howe has to offer) and the sharp thunder of the verses flavours the track with nuance. Similarly, ‘Revolution Underway’ sonically exudes as much triumph and enormity as its title. Haunting and hopeful, it allows a bevy of musical detail to shine through, making it multifaceted enough for each listen to feel fresh. In all, Damned If You Do exposes the levels of innate craftsmanship that Metal Church can deliver - and they do just that. It’s the ultimate metal cocktail that will keep listeners coming back for round after round.
Review by Paul H Birch
Switzerland’s major rock act for over 20 years now, filling out stadiums there and sizable venues along mainland Europe. The last time they played the UK was a club tour. A shame, they’re a fine band. Simplistically you might compare it to Deep Purple replacing Gillan with Coverdale, the band’s own nearest comparison being Europe. Released in 1997 as a live greatest hits package, Defrosted secured their credentials. Defrosted 2 follows their touring hit album Silver and features two CD’s worth of tracks with two brand new songs. Mostly unplugged, with string quartet and backing vocalists you lose the band’s raw power and find a grown-up warm feeling prevailing, a little too tidily, with echoes of both The Beatles and The Hollies during the more mellow moments, but coming across like the stars had aligned differently and Coverdale had joined The Faces elsewhere. The more recent songs work best. ‘Feel What I Feel’ reveals subtleties and nuances overlooked as a rock single hit, ‘Stay With Me’ is empowering, if a little speedier with the string quartet rising to the occasion, ‘Remember It’s Me’ remains a fond wave goodbye to the past, though older numbers like ‘One Life One Soul’ carry the flame as one of several lighter holding audience singalongs, while for others you wish they’d plug in the electrics.
REVIEWS Amon Amarth The Pursuit of Vikings: 25 Years in the Eye of the Storm Music For Nations
Review by Ash Crowson
Celebrating 25 years as a band is no easily won feat these days, marking these celebrations though tends to bring certain gems into the fans lives, and Amon Amarth clearly know how to celebrate. The Pursuit of Vikings not only treats the fans to two live shows from 2017’s Summer Breeze Festival, but it sheds a light on their history not just from their point of view, but the view of those through the years from fans, festivals and in the studio. Not even being a fan of the band is no reason to check this out, the way
Kikamora Masquerade Self Release
Review by Tom Dixon
Clevedon based Kikamora is a 5-piece band formed in early 2015, and released their first EP, In The Henhouse, in late 2016. Since then they have gigged regularly with such bands as Phil Campbell, Skinny Molly, and The Groundhogs. The line up of Wilf Kite (vocals), Jimi Bessant (Guitar), Chris Archela (guitar), Rob Ives (bass) and Andy Page (drums) have a new EP called Masquerade which is now available and takes a step up from their debut with a real originality in their take on heavy rock infused with blues… think Alter Bridge and Hanoi Rocks with some subtle
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the band opens up can create a level of intimacy that draws you in. With great joyous memories of being drunken metal fans and how they became introduced to each other, to the loss of close friends, you get to relive the creation of the band with them, as well as the close calls to almost never making it. One thing remains throughout and that is the honesty and humbleness of them all. Often throughout with guests speaking from
Alcatraz and Sabbath tossed into the mix. In addition, for a self-released work, it has good production allowing the listener to hear each instrument and revealing some of the best bass lines of recent years. The opening track, ‘Alibi’, has a Priest heavy riff backing a strong melody and well judged solo. ‘Wrong Place’ is heavy blues with the harmonica/guitar intro but is given a slightly surprising lift from a saxophone, which works really well and the guitar solo is quality too. ‘Sat Around’ continues the blues with a short, slow strummed melody and then a Budgie like change of pace as the heavy riff cuts in. ‘Cuff ’ has weight and is damnably catchy with its rolling drums and guitar on the intro and a riff and
Bloodstock, to Wacken, to Andy Sneap, to fans. They tell of how the band broke the mould and how they defy the odds and make it, which from the outside makes complete sense, it almost plays as a Swedish Anvil story with the
perfect ending. You can feel the joy in their faces as they talk of the band. The end product everyone knows about, there is no denying the success of Amon Amarth, but to see the journey shown in such a way makes the band that much more ac-
build reminiscent of The Answer and a guitar solo with feel. ‘Feels’ starts off quiet and builds into a mid-paced quality slice of rock with the bass and guitar solo making this a standout. In 22 minutes and five tracks, this band reveals
a strong almost indefinable attraction to their blend of rock and blues with their own unique twist, and with a more than capable vocalist called Wilf, what’s not to love?
cessible, and even after it all, it proves they are simply just fans themselves, be warned, watching this may cause side effects of beard growth! Here is to another 25 years. Skål!
COMMONWEALTH Everyone Around Us Sharptone Records
Comprising ex-members of ‘Movements’ and ‘The Hotel Books,’ Commonwealth are a fourpiece band who formed in 2016 to pursue their shared musical vision, which they claim to be about bringing honest music for the worn-out soul. Everyone Around Us is their debut album, originally due to be released in November 2018, but which has now been deferred to January 2019 for reasons over which the band have no control. The album was also made while facing other problems as well, not least the fact all four band members live on opposite sides of the USA, Virginia and California, which makes spontaneous jams and impromptu gigs, not to mention rehearsing new material, somewhat difficult to undertake. Add to this the fact of vocalist
I Am Pariah Procreate//Annihilate Self Release
Review by Victoria Purcell
Explosive rock/metal band, I Am Pariah, from Stoke-on-Trent are bringing some serious groove and power with them as they unleash their sophomore EP Procreate//Annihilate. Get ready to kick start your week on high energy, riffs that you need to air guitar too and the sort of breakdowns that you just know you’re going to end up headbanging to in public with your headphones on. As far as first impressions go, they are doing really well. Opener ‘Heavy In Japan’ hooks you straight away. Second track ‘A Place To Belong’ starts with a change
Ty St. Clair experiencing physical and mental issues, and this was an album put together under testing conditions. So, it says everything about the band’s determination to keep going they’ve come up with anything at all, never mind an album like this one, which is a collection of eleven short, snappy songs, all roughly just over three minutes long on average, all of which are one-word titled, and they say a lot in very little time. The music they play, a kind of punk-alt rock, is engaging and energetically performed, and they’d probably be a good ‘live’ band to see. However, whilst there’re some quite good songs on this album, the problem is there’s not exactly a whole lot of variety or variation. With limited instrumentation being used (guitar, bass and drums only), they narrow their range considerably. Some bands with minimalist line-ups are able to make the same thing
sound different.. ‘REM’ being a notable example .. but, on this album, all eleven tracks sound remarkably similar to each other. Too many tracks are very samey. Between tracks like ‘Happy’ and ‘Neglect’, for instance, there isn’t a whole lot of difference. This isn’t to
say Everyone Around Us is a bad album, it isn’t. Tracks like ‘Taxi’, ‘Wilt’ and ‘Unbalanced’ are all good songs, where they show the listener what they can really do, but the band confine themselves within a narrow interpretation of what
they play, and they don’t stretch out enough. In sum, this is a decent first attempt but they’ll need to be more adventurous on their next release if they’re looking to push onwards.
of pace, showcasing a vocal range you won’t resist signing along to. They are not without depth either, Dave (Bass) says “The EP title is relevant to what’s going on around us. Nowadays it seems some people are brought up with no respect for anyone or anything, and the only thing they do is cause misery to the ones that surround them. It also symbolises the way in which young adults are conscripted to war for unnecessary gains, a life of violence with no reprieve.” You can hear influence from stadium bands, so it’s easy to picture them on a big stage. I Am Pariah have us intrigued, let’s hope there is a chance to see them live soon! www.RAMzine.co.uk | 19