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Issue 13 - October 2013

PLUS Halestorm Ted Nugent Steve Hackett Counterhold Lita Ford Reckless Love MOtorhead Y&T Starship Winter Storm Zodiac


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MANOWAR Announce First Outdoor Festival Date Of 2014 Manowar have announced their headlining performance at MAGIC CIRCLE FESTIVAL 2014 held on July 25 and 26, 2014 at Suvilahti Open Air in Helsinki, Finland. This will be the first Magic Circle Festival in Finland ever. Celebrating Manowar 's worldwide metal community, the festival is hosted by different countries and has previously taken place in Germany and Slovenia, where it was attended by metal fans from more than 35 nations. "We are very excited to bring the MAGIC CIRCLE FESTIVAL for the first time ever to Finland," said promoter Hardi Loog. "We are going to have a fantastic festival, with MANOWAR headlining with their special Kings Of Metal 2014 anniversary show, plus more bands and lots of other entertainment for an unforgettable metal experience!" In their headlining anniversary show Manowar will perform the entire "Kings Of Metal MMXIV" album, a brand new special version of their hit album, "Kings Of Metal" that will be released in spring, along with a "best of" set of other immortal metal hymns in a completely new stage production. "We are calling all Finnish Manowarriors to get ready to join us for the biggest Metal show of 2014!" announced Manowar bassist Joey DeMaio. "And we are calling the Manowarriors from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, England, Germany, and from every metal country in the world to get their asses to Helsinki next summer. If you haven't been to Finland before, this is the perfect opportunity! The Finnish warriors will show you how to REALLY drink, party and have a great time!"

As much as the band does regret the departure of Manuela after three "phenomenal" years, everyone is very much looking forward to continue the chosen path with 28year old van Giersbergen, who also sings with Dutch progressive metal outfit Ex Libris and who will debut on stage with the band late November on a Spanish tour. The new Dutch member adds to this: "Thinking of all the beautiful things I am yet to do, people I am yet to meet and memories that are yet to be made brings a smile to my face! I am looking forward to this adventure and would love to take you all along with me.". Fans had a last chance seeing Manuela Kraller performing with Xandria this past weekend in Leipzig (Germany) and Pratteln (Switzerland), where Manu's grand finale with the band was held at the "Masters of Symphonic Metal" Festival at Z7. The band's upcoming album is yet to be titled. Its release date tentatively is scheduled for the first quarter in 2014. Xandria assures to continue the musical journey and direction taken with 2012 album Neverworld's End, but also promises the new album and Dianne's talent will bring in even more of everything "people liked especially in this last album".

Boston are back with their first new album in over 10 years! On Monday December 9th, Boston’s latest studio album, "Life, Love & Hope" will be released in the UK by Frontiers Records. More than a decade in the making, the new album features 11 tracks replete with the classic and beloved Boston sound, as well as the latest in the evolution of Tom Scholz' musical artistry. Diverse and cohesive, the long-awaited album has Dianne van Giersbergen the new voice in Xandria! Manuela Kraller departs after three "phenomenal" years. something for everyone. It fulfils the expectations of Boston Last weekend's shows were Kraller's Farewell on stage w/ fans, while exposing a new generation to one of the world’s band! greatest rock’n’roll bands. Breaking news from Germany's top symphonic metal Scholz says, "These are songs from the heart, each band XANDRIA: the five piece is presenting astonishing of them taking many months of effort to write, arrange, Dutch talent Dianne van Giersbergen as its new singer. perform and record, always up to the demands of Boston’s Handsome van Giersbergen, equipped with a harshest critic. Me. The songs have been meticulously fantastic vocal range, will replace leaving Manuela Kraller, recorded to analogue tape on the same machines and who decided to follow other musical challenges after three equipment used for Boston’s hits for the past 35 years." successful years with the band. In 1976, Boston burst onto the music scene with their eponymous best-selling debut album and never looked Manuela thanks all fans and Xandria in a personal back. With over 17 million copies sold, Boston’s hits statement: "After three years with the boys in Xandria, I included More Than a Feeling, Peace of Mind, and Smokin' decided to follow a different path and go my own musical rock staples that are still in heavy rotation today. way." The sympathethic Bavarian singer leaves with “Life, Love & Hope” includes lead vocals from Brad regret but also full of gratitude, thanking band and fans for Delp and prodigy Tommy DeCarlo, as well as Kimberley the time they had together and being grateful for Dahme, David Victor, and songwriter Scholz himself. The the "wonderful moments in mutual tours and shows". new album features tracks that embody Boston’s tradeManuela is "wishing Dianne and band all the very best for mark guitars, harmonies, and immaculately-crafted the future!". sound. "I intentionally stayed close to the early Boston style The Dutch / German quintet just hit the studio on some of the songs, even using the same amps and recording the band's sixth studio album, the successor to instruments; on others I let my imagination run wild," says critically acclaimed symphonic metal jewel "Neverworld's Scholz. End". The record in progress will already feature Dianne van Giersbergen's extraordinary voice and talent.


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Zodiac 9/10

A Hiding Place Record Label: Napalm Records

Released: 4 November 2013

Highlight of the album: Free Website: Reviewer: Stoodge Mc Nulty

As I am typing up this review I have only just noticed fresh saliva stains on my keyboard, you already know where this is going right? Escaping my usual routine of reviewing Grindcore and Doom Metal I've taken on the task of giving my opinion on this release. As already being a fan of Graveyard, Witchcraft and Kadavar I had a feeling that I'd enjoy this album, actually luxuriate would probably be a more apt choice of word having had the uttermost pleasure of listening a dozen times now.

the Neil Young classic 'Cortez the Killer' this record has the perfect balance of uniqueness and traditional rock as for 50 minutes these Germans teach us all a lesson about the heritage of Rock. This is the bands first album since their debut 'A Bit Of Devil' and whilst their first release was a stellar representation of the bands endowment 'A Hiding Place' is just sheer artistry.

'Free' the records second track quickly indicates the varied dimensions to this bands desultory yet You want some background on the band? Well harmonious sound. 'Underneath My Bed' and imagine that in the mid 1970's four guys from 'Moonshine' bring that bluesy Clutch kind of feel to Munster in Germany were subject to a cryogenics the opus whilst 'Leave Me Blind' is the ballad and experiment to have them thawed out sometime in the 21st century with the objective being to save Rock most leisurely track on offer here. 'I Wanna Know and Roll. After all this album is called 'A Hiding Place' Part 2' is a continuation of the short instrumental 'Part 1' and is no doubt the most catchy and radio so I'm sure it won't only be devout conspiracy friendly tune on this pleasant and gratifying theorists that believe this information. composition. Although this accusation is highly probable to be untrue the image of tie dyed shirts, bell bottom jeans As a unit Zodiac are one tight and discerning group but it's Lead Guitarist and Vocalist Nick Van Delfts and Moonshine are commonplace throughout this impetus on the record that gets the extra plaudits. record which is not a bad thing. His vocal register and proficient handy work make The songwriting expertise presented here is this album unrivaled. something which I cannot commend enough. From the first chord of opening track 'Downtown' to the swansong of the album which is a mighty rendition of


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Paul Logue of

Speaks to Paul Nicholls 8

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So Paul, the new album “Symphony Of Pain” is out and its’ a major step forward for the band, what has sent it up that extra gear? Well , there’s the obvious difference there in the case of Vocals ,and that’s not a slight, because I liked Michael Eden’s voice, But I love Nikola Mijic (New vocalist), he’s a singers singer. That isn’t the only reason , the three core members , Thorsten , Pete and myself wrote this album from start to finish but I think as each album has been recorded the relationships between us have grown and we are very comfortable where we are now . For instance I’ll be working on a song , but bear in mind, I may be working on several ideas at once, and we are so comfortable as writers that I often won’t touch the chorus as I know if I give it to Pete I’m just going to get dynamite back. Then Thorsten will say “I Love it, but let’s change that riff before the solo “. For example “Evil And Devine” my writing on that was quite linear, but Thosten heard this galloping, almost Dio kind of riff and even referenced it to our own Eden’s Curse song. We are at a stage where we are that comfortable no one gets upset when someone says “No I don’t like that”. What we can actually do now is give the song out to the band members minus the part they actually want to work on and we can fire them around via email, a lot of these songs, we have had for a long time. We have pushed it to the point where every one of the three of us all love the songs. That to me has been the biggest difference. I’ve read one or two reviews that said we have wimped out and gone commercial.

Nikola, because we couldn’t afford to get it wrong twice . We all said it would finish the band .I think Nikola brings something even further to the band. He is so versatile, at one moment he can be Steve Augeri or as on “Devil in Disguise” where he has that Russell Allen vocal. So we did our homework on the voice but also on what was he like live? People probably won’t know that Nikola is the singer from the biggest rock band in Serbia who have been around 10 years and done 6 or 7 albums, opened for Whitesnake in front of 15,000 fans. What we saw was not only a young guy who was a damn good singer, a great performer and we heard what he could do in terms of the Eden’s Curse back catalogue. What really swung it was giving him a blank canvas “Here’s a song we are working on, here’s a rough idea of what we are working on, let’s see what you can do”. That turned out to be “Evil And Devine” , we gave him a three minute version, he gave us back a 5 and a half minute version . We found out he was also a producer with his own recording studio, mixing live bands for a living. He brought so much to the table, plays five or six instruments, sings incredibly well and to top it all my wife thinks he’s hot! When you sit down and think what you want in a singer, you never think you’ll find anyone that ticks all the boxes, but I think we have and people will see that at Firefest.

How hard is it to rehearse this band? When you are all over the world really. Actually it’s not hard, conventionally 4 or 5 people will get into a rehearsal room... Say for instance “Lost Weekend”, Great band, great guys, all living in the same area. They all shoot down to the local place in Halifax. We’ve all been there, but this band became It is a little more commercial. It is a little bit more commercial, but that’s because we because of a necessity as we couldn’t find musicians in our area that wanted to play this kind of music. So the have worked at the hooks, “Unbreakable”, the chorus was written, then Pete said “I love the first half, but I’ve pre requisite was, having your own recording facility. What we have the facility to do, and we picked a got a better idea for the second”. So out with the razor set for Firefest three months ago, even before the blades, slice it in half, then we get back what became the finished song. This works because we are all adults album was out. We put a lot of faith in the record and intend to play three new songs at Firefest , we do some and not in it for games or financial gain but for the songs. On this album we have allowed that to come to of the Big Hitters that people expect of the band. I for instance have all the songs ... minus the bass tracks, fruition and I think that shows. Thorsten has them minus the guitar and so on. We do our homework and then meet in Cheltenham and Was it difficult to replace Michael Eden? No. not at all actually...Mike was the voice of the band, rehearse for three days solid. Then, Nottingham here but of the 44 singers we looked at, a lot of them were we come! far better technically and it was simply a case of finding Well , good luck with Firefest and I for one will be the “right” voice. We loved Michael’s voice and we are very proud watching the set with great interest. We are looking forward to it. It’s a show we have been of what we achieved with him, but I think we have improved every aspect of the band. I don’t mind going desperate to play for a long time. I’ve been an attendee on record as saying the one thing that disappointed on many occasions, It’s one of those concerts that you me was Michael couldn’t do it live. It wasn’t the same stand in the crowd and think ... One Day... To the guy as in the studio and we had to do a lot of studio melodic rock crowd and I consider myself to be, very work to get Michael to sing like that. much, one of those people, it’s a huge event. As I’ve tried to explain to Thorsten and Nicola have NO idea what you’re walking into, this is one of the most Bearing in mind you are about to make your debut appearance at Firefest that live voice has to be bang partisan audiences you could wish for … you’re in for a treat. on doesn’t it? It’s gonna be great! Absolutely, and that’s why we did our research on


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Steve Hackett 10/10

Genesis Revisited: Live Record Label: Hackett Songs

Released: 21 October 2013

Highlight of the album: Supper’s Ready Website: Reviewer: Jon Seymour Arguably one of the country’s finest musicians, Steve Hackett brings us a 3 CD set of live material, drawing from both of the Genesis Revisited studio albums. Now like them or not, Genesis were at one time or other, one of the most influential bands in the world, especially in their original incarnation, and even now the music stands the test of time. So what’s this all about then? Well it’s live music (unsurprisingly) taken from his performance at Hammersmith Apollo in May 2013, showcasing Genesis’ early material, when he was still in the band, and one of the driving forces behind the music. Sometimes it’s good to live in the past though, right? In this case, I would have to say yes.

one though, and it’s just conjecture, so don’t go quoting me on that or anything….. Musically, it’s as good as anyone could expect and while it may well be 40 years old or more, it still doesn’t sound dated. The fact that they’ve influenced many modern bands in the genre is probably going some way to helping that fact. If you don’t like early Genesis, then you’re clearly not going to like this, and if you do like early Genesis, you’re probably going to have these tracks already. Is it worth shelling out on then? Well yes it is actually. They’re not exactly the same, as I’ve previously said.

The live element helps with that too though, as that adds some atmosphere to the whole album. If you’re a fan of Steve in particular, then this is obviously going to have you All of the songs are faithful reproductions of the originals, gushing from pretty much every orifice, because this is with some given a little tweak here and there. The changes Steve doing what we all fell in love with in the first place. It are subtle, but the trained ear can hear them, if you listen might be a trip down memory lane, but for me, like many really closely. It’s almost as if you’re hearing the songs the others I should imagine, it’s those trips that often evoke the way Steve wanted them to sound, but didn’t get his own way most feelings and emotions, so I say strap yourself in, and the first time around. I could be way off the mark with that just go along for the ride, because it’s a long one.

Motorhead 7/10

Aftershock Record Label: UDR

Released: 21 October 2013

Highlight of the album: Heartbreaker Website: Reviewer: Jason M Davies

The follow-up to 2010's 'The Wörld Is Yours', Motörhead's 21st studio album 'Aftershock' has been 3 years in the making. Keeping to the traditional Motörhead studio album length of under 60 minutes 'Aftershock' clocks in at 46 minutes and 54 seconds and speaking of tradition, this new album covers no new ground. Keeping to a style they've had since the beginning, the album somehow comes across as new and fresh but maybe that because Motörhead are so engrained with the idea of classic heavy metal that they could literally release any old thing and it would be seen in a positive light.

nothing ventured is nothing gained. What you are left with is by no means a bad Motörhead album, on the contrary, it is a good listen, just not special. But let's compare Motörhead with other artists who've been in the game for just as long and you come up with the realisation that where other artists have tried and failed, Motörhead are doing what they've always been doing, releasing a good album that is enjoyable to listen to time and time again.

Indeed, this album has all the staples of a classic Motörhead album. Lemmy's coarse and growling vocals and powerful bass riffs, Phil Campbell's lightning guitar solos and tasty riffs and Mikkey Dee's thunderous percussion skills make for a good album every time but there is nothing new here, and


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Ted Nugent 10/10

Ultralive Ballisticrock (DVD) Record Label: Frontiers Records

Released: 21 October 2013

Highlight of the album: Fred Bear Website: Reviewer: Lee Walker

You either love him or hate him but one thing is certain everyone agrees one thing - that the Nuge is as mad as a March hare with his outspoken political musings and his love of hunting. ‘Ultralive Ballisticrock’ was originally captured and recorded on August 14, 2011, at Penn's Peak during the ‘I Still Believe Tour’ and is available in three formats including 2CD+DVD deluxe edition, DVD, Blu-Ray and as a digital download. You would think that as time passes on the Nuge would calm down and take it easy but if anything he seems to grow gradually more outspoken while still effortlessly cranking out classic rock songs and with his latest offering ‘Ultralive Ballisticrock’ you have

Uncle Ted doing what he loves to do, rocking out with The Nigerian Rebels to a ‘best of’ set of his greatest hits with everything featured from ‘Wango Tango’, ‘Wang Dang Sweet Poon Tang’, ‘Fred Bear’, ‘Strangle Hold’ and of course that immortal classic ‘Cat Scratch Fever’. The live recording manages to catch Ted at his best (and craziest!) proving that there is still life left in the old dog yet as he struts around the stage like a man half his age putting his peers to shame with his seemingly effortless flawless guitar playing and larger than life stage presence putting on a show to remember. Viva la Nuge!


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12Jon Seymour Live Photos By

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So this is night number 2 of the tour. Were there any first night nerves yesterday? Actually it went great, we got a great response. It was a full house, so that was good. It’s the first time we’ve played together to an audience that size since Wembley in 2011. There are a few things to work on, as far as the set list goes, and bits between songs. Overall though, we got a really good reception, so we’re really happy with that. Fortress has also been getting some good response all over the world hasn’t it? Yeah, we’ve been getting some really good feedback. The fans seem to be happy with it, and we are especially happy with how it turned out. It just kind of came together. We didn’t go into it with anything specific, so we didn’t have to conform to a certain type of arrangement or sound, we were in the mindset to just play the music and see what happens. That’s kind of a departure from what we used to do. We used to try and keep a song to a certain time signature, or to make it sound the way we thought it should, but this time we just went with what we thought was best for the song we were working on at the time.

because as you said, Mark was busy, Myles was out on the road with Slash doing his thing, and although we knew we were going to do it eventually, it was still hard to get everyone in the same room, or state, or country for that matter. We finally got together though, and we spent about a month doing all of the writing, arrangements and tempos and everything, and once we’d done about fifteen songs, we knew we had enough to make an album, and we went from there, and we’re all really happy with the way it turned out. Last time you were over here, you recorded your Live In Wembley DVD, are there any plans to perhaps record anything on this tour? Well yes, we do actually have a film crew out with us right now, and they are filming like, all of our back stage stuff, our warm ups, and everything going on behind the scenes. I haven’t heard anything yet about maybe recording some of the shows, but it’s certainly a possibility.

So are there any tracks on Fortress that really stick out for you? Seriously, I like them all. I think one of my favourites is All Ends Well, and I also like Fortress a lot. We hope to So do you think that Mark going off doing his solo eventually incorporate all of the songs into the set, so album and tour, and Myles going out on tour with it’s a bit of a sticky spot right now, where we have the other three albums, and people not being so familiar Slash helped towards the writing of the album? Yeah I think so, there was certainly a lot of material that with the new material in the live environment. It’s fun for us to play, but I don’t know if it comes over as well spilled into the record that had been written before we got to the studio. Mark, having done his solo as our older material. We’re using our sound check time to rehearse as much of the new material as we album was in the headspace of the more up tempo can. We’re also thinking about some acoustic stuff, music with heavier riffs and such, and some of that maybe even a duet with Lzzy while she’s out on tour spilled over into Fortress. It was tough to just get with us, there’s some talk of that too. everybody working together on this record though, So once the tour ends in the UK, you’re off around Europe. Do you have a favourite place in the world that you like to play? Gosh we’ve been to so many places, but I think I’d have to say the UK. The fans are a lot different here, and they’re so loyal and rabid. We’ve got a great fan base here in the UK, and they love us. That’s why we love coming to play the UK so much. Photo By Jon Seymour


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14 Jon Seymour Live Photos By

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OK first up, I have to ask about the opening night, were there any major problems? No there was nothing major. There were a few things to work on. We actually only get 30 minutes, and we haven’t done a 30 minute set since last time we were over here supporting, so it’s kinda tough to get into that. It’s not so bad when we get to Europe with Alter Bridge as Shinedown aren’t with us, but 30 minute sets are horrible. Half way through the set we find out what gear had been left behind. Arejay has these big sticks for his drum solo, but they didn’t make it here, and we’re all waiting for him, and he’s like “I don’t have em” so it was chaos, but it was good. It doesn’t matter who you are though, I don’t think that any band does everything right on Your touring schedule has been pretty intense the first night, because you don’t know if something though right? I mean this is the fourth time you’ve works or not until you try it. been to the UK in the last two years. Yeah, we’ve been working it. We just spent four The last time you were here in the UK, you were on months touring, we went out to Japan, and did some your own headline tour, so how does this compare shows for the military in Tokyo and Okinawa, then we to that? toured the US, and we visited I think every single Yeah, our headline tour was crazy. We almost sold state, so it’s just been chaos. Then we get a week off out everywhere we played, which was awesome. before we come out on this tour and we’re like We’re coming back in April to do another too. That’s aaaah what do we do? probably going to be the last tour of the album cycle though, or at least that’s the plan right now. It’ll be a Is it really hard when you get time to yourself to good way to go out, as the crowds in the UK are the find things you want to do? best. The record will have been out two years by No I actually love it. I go down in the basement and then, so we’re looking at going on to make another listen to music, or write or experiment with my one. Wow two years, that’s crazy. equipment. I’ve got a load of amps and guitars that I’ve collected, but I don’t take them out on tour with me, so when I get home I get to play with them all, so I’m like a kid in a candy store. You don’t get much time to fool around with stuff when you’re out on the road. You mentioned earlier that you’re off to Europe after this run of dates in the UK, is there anywhere you’re really looking forward to visiting? Yeah we’re doing some more shows over in Europe. It’s really cool as we’re playing Rome for the first time, and Spain, and Portugal for the first time. We’re getting to see more and more new places. There are still a lot of places we haven’t been to of course. We haven’t been to Africa yet, or India or China. We haven’t been to Australia yet either, but hopefully we’ll be able to do that next time around. I want to go everywhere, and why not? So where are your favourite places that you’ve played so far? My favourite place is the UK. The fans over here are just crazy, and it’s awesome. The US is fun, but it’s just a different kind of fan. Paris is always a great city to play, and Japan has always been a little bit strange. So after the current run of dates, will you be taking any time off? Not really, we’ve got a week or so off, then we’re


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favourite place to be. So what other artists are you listening to at the moment? I’m still heavily into Pink Floyd. I put Animals on the other day and thought to myself that “David Gilmour is just so tasty” you know? He’s just amazing. I’ve just gotten into a band called Hey! Hello! Ginger Wildheart’s new band. It’s just big poppy rock music, and it’s catchy, it’s cheesy and it cracks me up. I like the new Stone Temple Pilots EP with Chester too, that’s pretty cool. Sometimes it sounds like Scott, and other times it doesn’t, so that’s really clever. The new Alter Bridge record is really good too. There’s a band from Philly called Dr Dog too, they’ve just put out a really good record. The new Pearl Jam record is awesome. There’s a bunch of great music come out just lately.

back out doing some more shows in the US until mid December. We’ll probably take some time off then though, and I don’t know yet if we’re going back out on the road in February or not. We enjoy it though, it’s what we want to do, and we have a blast doing it, so if there’s no reason to stop, why stop? So do you do anything outside of music when you get time to yourself? No not really. I just love music, and it’s what I do. If I’m not playing, I’m listening. I’ve got my studio room, and it’s a tuned room, so you get that stereo feel. It’s awesome, and when I’m not on the road it’s my

So have you guys managed to get anything written for the next record yet, or have you been too busy? Yeah we’ve got a bunch of stuff already to play around with. We’ve finished one track, and we’ve got two or three more that are almost finished, we’ve just got to put a little time into them you know? Some come easy and fast, and others you got to hack away at until you get it right. We’ve probably got a million other things that we need to work on too. With me, I just seem to collect riffs. I’ve probably got hundreds that we can use, but it’s just getting everyone to sit down and listen to them.


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18Jon Seymour Live Photos By

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So here we are on night two of the tour, did you have any first night issues last night? It went really well, but we do have a few bugs to work out. We actually went over by three minutes, and that’s a bit rude to Alter Bridge, but we’ll work on that for tonight. The main thing though, is that we’re all excited to be playing together, because when you’re touring with friends it’s always much better. We all know each other well, we’ve toured before. We brought Halestorm out with us when they were just starting out, and it’s just nice to be working with those guys again. Actually the last time you were here, you had the guys from Halestorm as support didn’t you? Yeah, we came over with them last year. We were actually one of the first bands to take them out with us on a national tour of the US, and they’re good friends of ours, and it was great to be able to bring them out to the UK with us. You released Miracle as a single over here to coincide with the tour. Have you guys been working on any new material, or are there any plans to get to work again soon? Yeah, we’re definitely coming to the end of this album’s cycle, and we’re starting to wind it down. In fact this is our last tour that we’re doing on the back of Amaryllis, and then it’s time to go back into the studio to write another one. We don’t do much writing while we’re out on tour, as the days are long, and we spend most of our time rehearsing and trying to get everything right, so we’ll really concentrate on writing new material when we get back home. We find we don’t get that much inspiration while we’re out on the road, and it’s not until we start sitting down and going back over the memories and the lessons we’ve learned over the past couple of years since the last record, that the ideas start flowing. You know, that’s how we do it, and we know it’s different for everybody, but that’s the best way we’ve found to work as a band. Amaryllis went down really well when that was released last year, is there anything about the album that you’re really pleased with? You know, every time for us, it’s like pulling teeth. It’s never easy for us to make an album. We put ourselves through hell I think. It’s because we put so much pressure on ourselves, we want to be successful, we want to be around a long time, and people always compare you to your last record, so we want them to be able to remember our records when we’ve not been around for a while, because the new “next best thing” is always just around the corner, and we’ve been around for like ten years now. So we’ve got to try and keep things moving. We look at bands like Aerosmith and U2 who have been around for years, and that’s what we’d like to be doing too.

The music market has changed a lot though since those guys were first starting out, do think it’s a lot harder for musicians now than perhaps it used to be? Absolutely, it’s a lot harder now, especially for rock and roll bands, because rock and roll, particularly in the US isn’t as popular right now. The scene in the US though is cyclical, and it always comes back around again eventually. Take the 70’s when disco took over, but then in the 80’s rock music really took off again. Gone are the days of millions of records being sold or millions of dollars changing hands, but if that’s the only reason you’re doing it, then you’re in it for the wrong reason anyway. A lot of musicians these days are middle class workers, and we’re happy with that. You know, as long as I can cover my mortgage back home when I go out on tour, I’m happy you know? Actually, there are a number of people or artists that are calling it quits because they can’t afford to be in a band any more, and go out on the road. Do you guys find it difficult too? Yeah, it’s expensive. We don’t make any money on touring at all. The only way to make money is selling merchandise. You can’t even make money on selling records any more, as the label gets their cut, and everybody else down the line, so we get about 40 cents on the dollar if we’re lucky, and that then gets


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split between the band members. That said, we get to do what we love for a living, but you just have to remember that it’s a job, so we have to budget our expenses, not do too many of the excesses, and when you get the opportunity to go out on the road with a big production, you do it. The fans pay to come and see it. They don’t care whether the band is making any money or not, they’re paying to see a show, and that’s exactly what we give them.

Actually, I’ve spoken to a lot of musicians that are really into history, is that to do with visiting so many different places do you think? Some of it to an extent, but the other thing, although they probably won’t admit it but I will, is that most musicians are nerds. It takes a certain mind set to go and sit in your room for hours on end and just practice. It’s like studying, so it makes a lot of sense that musicians will find other things to study when they’re not playing music. Music is also an art form, so you So do you have anywhere in particular that you learn to appreciate other types of art, and architecture enjoy playing a show outside of the UK? is a part of that. We get to go to all of these different Anywhere they’ll show up. Really though, we just places, so why ignore it? You’ve got to take notice of enjoy playing, and for me it’s all fun. We just want to go the world around you. I’ve been to every single US out and play as many places as we can. We’re hoping state, including Alaska and Hawaii, and that’s a LOT of to get out to Asia on the next record, as we’ve not been ground to cover. Not many people can say that, and to over there yet, and we want to get to Central and South be able to say I’ve seen them and had a lot of different America, as we’ve not been to those places yet either, experiences there and remember them is a lot of fun, so for us it’s all about going to new places, and having although it’s a bit overwhelming at times. new experiences. The rock scene in South America is really taking off, but it’s dangerous and expensive to go So do you have any particular places in the US that down there. Bands have had their gear held to ransom you’re particularly fond of? before now. From a back stage point of view, every Well I love my home.... You know, when I do see my bed, place looks the same. It’s just another dressing room it’s really lovely. New Orleans though has to be my you know. It’s a case of play the show, get on the bus, favourite city. It’s got that certain vibe to it. It’s a little get off the bus, go to the dressing room, sound check, dirty, a little nasty. The food is great, and there’s a lot of go to the dressing room, play the show, go to the culture there, as it’s one of the older cities in the US. dressing room, get on the bus, and so on, so it’s not The depending on the time of year, getting up into the until you actually get a day off that you can really Dakotas and the Mid West, in winter it’s really appreciate being anywhere. We’ve got a day off in miserable, but in the summer it’s great. It’s a whole Cardiff this time around, and we’ve played there a few different landscape, and you see so many things that times, but not had a day off before, so I’m really looking you can’t see anywhere else. They call it Big Sky forward to going around the city to see what it has to Country, and coming from Florida, which is where I live, offer. That’s what I love most about the UK, it has so with the humidity and everything, it’s just a great place much history. You don’t get as much with the younger to visit. countries, and I’m a real history buff, so that’s why I love coming here.


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To say I’d been looking forward to this concert would have been something of an understatement. Having had the pleasure of seeing Halestorm on a number of occasions, I knew roughly what to expect. The unknown quantities for me were both Shinedown and Alter Bridge. I will have to admit that I favoured the latter slightly in terms of releases, but I was looking forward to both performances nonetheless. This was my first visit to the NIA, and I must say that the venue is very well organised. I also had a few reasons to contact the venue beforehand with some enquiries, and these were answered promptly and efficiently. My only problem on the night was that the security staff were handing out cups of water down at the front, which is great, but towards the end of the gig, I felt very dehydrated and hot, so had to move from my spot. I asked several of the staff where I could get a drink of water, and I was directed upstairs to one of the bars, where the only water they had was £2 a bottle. If it’s ok to hand out free water to the people in the crowd, why isn’t it ok to supply free water when someone asks for some? A lot of places I’ve been to will have tap water standing by, which is supplied free of charge. Needless to say, I’ll be bringing my own water if I ever visit the NIA again. The sound was great, although at times the bass became distorted and it got to the point of pain inducing on numerous occasions. There were a lot of people with fingers in their ears and looks of discomfort on their faces. I don’t think I saw anyone with split ear drums, but honestly if I had, I wouldn’t

have been surprised. First up though, were Halestorm. I mentioned earlier that I’d seen these guys before, but on those occasions they were the headline act. This of course was a very small set considering, so they only had 30 minutes to make an impression. They did that of course. Lzzy is a great front for the band, and does her best to engage the crowd as much as possible. That is so important when you have such a short time to make your mark. That said, they managed to fit in a short drum solo, with Arejay taking the mic for some audience participation too. This is a band that is heading in the right direction, and deservedly so. Like it or not, Halestorm are going to be around for quite some time yet, and they put on a great show. If you’ve not seen them out on the road, then go out and do so, because these guys really know how to rock.


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After a short break, the lights go down, and the familiar drum beat of Devour echoes around the arena, and those of us near the front could just about make out Zach in the dark. The guitar starts, and then the lights go up as the song kicks in to high gear. I couldn’t think of a better song from their repertoire to open the show with, and the crowd were making one heck of a noise all around me. As this was my first time witnessing the band’s live show, I didn’t quite know what to expect. They have an impressive back catalogue though, and the songs they included in the set were pretty much bang on. Brent Smith is probably one of the best front men I’ve seen in a while, and he engaged the crowd at every opportunity, and he had them eating from the palm of his hand, hanging on every word, even during the long speeches. The show also included some humour, an acoustic medley of intros to classic songs in amongst the banter, and of course some kick ass rock music. What more could you ask for?

So then, onto Alter Bridge. Again, this was something I was looking forward to with much anticipation. Fortress is my album of the year (so far), and these guys certainly know how to write music. I was just itching to hear them live. Opening the set with Addicted To Pain was enough to whip the crowd into a frenzy, and from there on in, they kept their foot firmly on the gas pedal. Of course Myles’ voice is just made for the big arena, and Mark’s guitar work is among the best in the world. Playing an array of songs from their impressive back catalogue, they rocked the place. It was technical, it was accomplished and it was clinical. Unfortunately, that was a problem for me. A live show isn’t just about the music, it’s also about the show. With a band as technically brilliant as Alter Bridge they need a great front man to bring it all together. Myles might well be one of the best rock vocalists in the

world, but unfortunately he isn’t a showman. There was very little interaction with the crowd throughout, and I personally thought the entire performance was cold and unfeeling.

All in all, the gig was great, but the performance of the night has to go to Shinedown. They came out, took the bull by the horns, wrestled it to the ground and pummelled it into submission. I just don’t think that Alter Bridge were able to match the energy and intensity of the previous bands, which was a shame. After tonight’s performances, Halestorm is a band I will undoubtedly see again at some point, as I’m up to three times now in the space of a year, and they always put on a great show. Shinedown is a band that I will most definitely go out of my way to see next time they’re here on a headline tour. I can’t wait to see what they do when they’ve got the top slot on the bill, because tonight they were truly epic. Alter Bridge on the other hand, I’m not so sure. The music sounds great live, but I couldn’t help feeling a little disappointed with their performance. Musically I couldn’t fault it, but I personally felt that they lacked that certain spark that would have brought it all together.


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Steve Costello 9/10

Vol. 1 Record Label: Self Released

Released: 16 July 2013

Highlight of the album: Prodigal Son Website: Reviewer: Jon Seymour

I’ve known of this young man from Canada for a while now, as we share a mutual adulation of a certain guitarist named Joe Bonamassa. I’ve also played a few of his demo tracks before on my radio shows. That said though, I didn’t actually know that Steve was at the stage of releasing any more music until I was pointed in its general direction by a mutual friend. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but what I got was nothing like it. I guess I was going into this thinking Steve was going to be one of the countless Bonamassa clones that have sprouted up as his popularity has grown over the years. That couldn’t be farther from the truth with this though.

influence that I was thinking was going to be on it. In fact it’s a balls out rocker, with heaps of attitude. It surprised the Hell out of me, put it that way. Steve has his very own style, and knows how to write a great rock song, of which there are eight on this album. Yep, every single track is killer. Vocally too, it’s nothing like I was expecting. I have to keep reminding myself of the guy’s age, as the music and the vocals have more maturity than I would have thought possible.

As a debut album, this is very impressive indeed, and I am going to be keeping a close watch on this guy. He’s only going to get better as the years go on, and with this album as a starting block, it’s a firm base on This is a collection of eight songs, so should probably which to build something colossal. There is a very be classed as a mini album, but can this guy play a promising musical career in the making, and I guitar or what? Well yes actually, seeing as you’ve sincerely hope that he gets the recognition he so possibly not heard it yet. It’s not got much of the blues deserves.

Kill For Eden 9/10

Living On Mars EP Record Label: Self Release

Released: 18 November 2013

Highlight of the album: Living On Mars Website: Reviewer: Lee Walker

Having first popped up on the Firebrand radar earlier in the year with the release of their debut self titled album I wasn’t expecting to hear a new release from them for some time so I was pleasantly surprised when their upcoming EP ‘Living On Mars’ popped up unexpectedly.

with two new tracks the helter-skelter angst ridden adventure that is ‘The Dome’ and the blues ridden ‘Shoot Me’. Overall ‘Living On Mars’ is a fine follow up to ‘Kill For Eden’ with my only fault being that it is over to quickly.

Title track ‘Living On Mars’ is taken from the initial album with the song itself put through the remix machine to give it an extra ‘push’ (not that it needed that doing to begin with in my opinion) with the song pretty much optimising Kill For Eden with its mix of Skin type vocals, Siouxise style punk attitude and its groove laden undercurrent of catchy hooks and controlled riffs which when combined push Lyla D’Souza vocals to the next level. The EP is completed


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The Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton 6 October 2013 Support by: Piston and Laura Wilde Review and Photos by Reg Richardson Tonight 'Grab a Glammie' night returns to the Midlands in the form of Finnish rockers Reckless Love. Just like the last time I saw the band the spandex, shiny shirts and big hair were well evident and that was just from the lads in the audience.

their rise could be meteoric - keep an eye out for them, they're a group of lads well worth listening to.

Before Reckless Love hit the stage however, we had two other bands to stir up the crowd before we got to the stage where Olli Herman started to strip off! The openers for the night were West Midlands favourites Piston, a very energetic five-piece band pushing an edgy, southern blues rock feel which, although very American in sound, had a very pleasing energy about it. Steve Nunn's vocals helped deliver a set, based around their 'Playing with Fire' EP, which livened the audience up no end. Very sharp guitars from Jack Edwards and Luke Allatt supported by Stuart Egan on bass and Brad Newlands on drums gave over a sound that's difficult not to like. Included in the set was 'Do you Wanna Stay' which is due to be their next single and ready for release in November. Piston broke? Definitely not; the band have only been together for a little over a year but


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Next up we had Aussie-born Laura Wilde. A pocket-sized blonde bombshell playing blues rock from the front edge of the stage, Laura plays guitar and delivers lead vocals extremely well and it's not just her good looks that are carrying her along, she really is a very talented young lady. The set enabled her to showcase both her current album, 'Sold my Soul' and some newer material including the very upbeat 'Scarlet Woman' and favourite set-closer 'Tragedy'. There was even time for a cover version of AC/DC's 'Jailbreak'! There was nothing laid back about her music, it's lively, well played and she really is quite engaging and very enthusiastic! The sweat-box that is the Wolverhampton Slade Rooms had, by now, turned into a sauna, the glamsters were out in force and ready to rock their glittery socks off. Enter stage left, Hessu, Pepe and Jalle closely followed by front man Olli Herman. The lads went wild, the lasses went wilder; Reckless Love had arrived! This was the bands' opportunity to play almost all the songs from their 2013 album, 'Spirit'. In fact only two songs from the album didn't make it to the setlist. Olli Herman starts off as he always does, dressed in black leather jacket, with oversized sunglasses and well groomed hair while the band deliver the first half dozen songs most coming from the new album. Hessu, on drums, always seems relaxed but this time that relaxed vibe had also spread to Jalle and Pepe who seemed more prepared to interact with the audience than they did last time I saw them. Six or so songs into the set and off comes the leather jacket and glasses, we were down to a pink vest, some tight things covering his legs and other parts (I can't say they were pants, they looked like they were painted on) and some sparkly boots. Five of the next six songs were from 'Spirit' and this sounds like it's going to be another success for them since it's very much in the style of the previous two albums ('Reckless Love' and 'Animal Attraction'). We'd reached a dozen songs and something had to go.....and it did, the pink vest was discarded much to the delight of the female half of the audience. A couple more songs from 'Spirit' and 'Animal Attraction' saw the end of the set which was quickly followed by an encore comprising the very popular 'Hot', which most of the audience sang along to, and the evening finished with 'Metal Ass' from 'Spirit'. So, another rousing night at the Slade Rooms with superb contributions from Piston and Laura Wilde in support of Reckless Love. One thing about the flamboyant Finns, the bodies seem willing but the 'Spirit' is very definitely not weak!


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A lot of bands and artists today are expressing their disappointment at the lack of response received to their latest album releases and videos. So why is this happening?

disappears, but this will never be the case. Music is a passion and a dream. There will always be young musicians hoping to make that 1% of success stories and established artists not accepting how Apart from running a small independent record and much the industry has changed. This is not helped by publishing company, I am also a recording artist and the misconception of the general public that all musicians are ‘rolling in it’ – a conception hyped and having signed my first deal to Sony in 1990 (at a supported by the image of the industry, but which is time when no one had a mobile phone) I am in a woefully far from the truth. good position to have observed the changes in the Coupled with the advances of recording equipment music industry first hand. which have enabled musicians to produce music The advent of the internet has of course had the more cheaply, the result has been that more artists biggest impact, offering users a wealth of music at than ever are releasing material, much of which is their fingertips at vastly reduced prices as well as never widely heard. enabling bands to offer their products online to a much larger and global audience – something which So how to stand out from such a crowded and used to be impossible without the backing of a major underfunded market? However brilliant your latest record company. release and however big your ego, it all counts for nought if no one hears about you. So now we get The downsides to this are numerous though. Gone onto PR and marketing. And this is something every are the days whereby bands can recoup their band and artist should take very seriously. recording costs by selling albums as most people simply don’t pay for music anymore. Also there is now such a huge collection of music as every tom dick & harry can upload and sell their music (whether good or bad) that any listener is overwhelmed with choice and will only ever hear a fraction of what is on offer. Whereas music enthusiasts used to consult magazine reviews (and only a limited number of those) which would select the best of what was on offer and buy accordingly, now there are many more ‘good’ bands to choose from and a large number of online review sites, so that even if you read a lot of them you will have to choose between more new albums than you can possibly listen to. The result is that the market share between the better bands has become greatly diluted leading to even poorer sales and fewer fans. You would be forgiven in thinking that the choice in music would decrease as the available funding

The truth is no marketing strategy works in isolation and a serious musician needs to a lot of work themselves to begin with. The gathering of fans emails into a quality mailing list, regular newsletters and gigs are all vital to continued success. Facebook is a great tool, though it’s not enough by itself and bands should read up on music marketing tips for ideas. The personal touch is a vital starting point. And here we come to PR companies who have built up far greater contacts within the industry than an artist ever could. A band is also considered far more professional if they are not representing themselves and thus a known agent will carry more weight and vastly increase chances of reviews, interviews, radio play and editorials. A very important tool in the quest to be heard and to get noticed.


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So which PR company to choose? Well I’m not here to recommend any particular companies, but I would like to instil a reality check at this point: there is no magic bullet. Even one of the top 10 London PR companies cannot guarantee to get you anything. And here I speak from experience as I engaged one of these big PR companies to promote my album ‘The Last Adventure’. I have no direct criticism as I know they worked very hard, chased relentlessly and certainly had all the top contacts in the industry. But all I got was one bad review (the only bad review!) in Uncut and a few online reviews which I managed to outnumber with my own efforts. And adding a few high profile London Showcases and events the whole experience cost in the region of £30,000. Not much to show for my money. After that experience I decided to launch my last album with a smaller PR company and spend the rest of the money on videos instead. The results were very similar. So why is it so difficult to get noticed? Well it isn’t if you have half a million pounds to invest. Then you can pay for billboards and grease numerous palms along the way. Without it and you will need to use your imagination. The point is without a celebrity status, without celebrity friends or sponsors, without that really big story (1st band in space!) or something equally outrageous you are simply not deemed newsworthy.

Let’s face it – it’s only the die hard muso enthusiasts that religiously read album reviews and there aren’t enough of them to make a difference. Even bands generally only read their own reviews. Newspapers especially will not print anything on ‘unknowns’ unless there’s an angle and with falling sales his will only get worse. So the job of even the best PR company is a struggle with anyone who isn’t a ‘name’ and bands have to use their noodle to come up with ideas to increase their newsworthiness. Good pictures are important as magazines want good visuals and are more inclined to include bands who provide them. The more outrageous the band, the more likely it is to get into print. A band completely painted blue is more likely to be featured than the band in T-shirts & Jeans. Nowadays a musician has to stand out with their personality as much as their music. To conclude, if you don’t have an unlimited budget, pick a smaller but efficient PR company within your budget and work very closely with them well before the release of your album, making sure to coordinate your photos, artwork and biogs along with all release admin in order to maximise your chances to get the most from your release. If you want to be heard you will have to invest in yourself. Just don’t expect miracles.


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Winter Storm 7/10

Within The Frozen Design Record Label: Self Release

Released: 2 December 2013

Highlight of the album: Universal Design Website: Reviewer: Jason M Davies

I'd not heard of Winter Storm before I was handed the album to review, but there was something about the name and the album cover that intrigued me. I felt I had to give the album a listen. I knew also that they were a female fronted band and I have a tendency to like female fronted metal bands and so the deal was made and I was given 'Within The Frozen Design' to review.

read online about their first album 'Serenity In Darkness'.

If you put to one side what the album is and listen to what it is trying to be, by forgetting the subpar mix, you can get an idea of what the band had in mind recording the album. A grand, orchestral affair with a strong voiced female fronting it all, lead by the synthetic string section of some mystical place, a place of enchantment. From the opening of the first track I knew what kind of You fully get the best idea of what the band had intended album this was going to be, grand and larger than life, on the track 'Universal Design'. The mix for this song melodic rock bordering on power metal territory; similar seems better and I predict will be a single if not the first to Nightwish. The gothic melodious vocals of Hannah single from this album. (the band doesn't like last names) are pleasant to listen I think what you have to remember with 'Within The to and remind me of Leaves' Eyes singer Liv Kristine. All Frozen Design' is that this is only the second album from else seems to blend together in the mix of the album a self-releasing band. They are still young and have so though as everything is struggling to be heard. The lead much to learn, they need time to perfect their craft and guitar shines through at times, during solos and such. this album is a good effort for only their second stab at The drums pound away throughout the album a little an album. loudly, just a touch over everything else including Hannah's vocals at times, but this isn't the first time Winter Storm have had issues with an album's mix as I

Lita Ford 8/10

The Bitch Is Back Record Label: Steamhammer/SPV

Released: 28 October 2013

Highlight of the album: Dancin’ On The Edge Website: Reviewer: Lee Walker

Following on from last ‘true’ years comeback album ‘Hate’ as well as material from her earlier albums, with a ‘Living Like A Runaway’ Lita Ford returns with a live large number of songs from the classic 1988 release album which was recorded at the Canyon Club in Agoura ‘Lita’. Hills, California in early October of 2012. As live albums go the result isn’t bad and manages to Touring to promote a new studio album is always a tricky capture the live performance perfectly which will make deal for a band as they want to include the newer this release a must buy for those in attendance at the material to give it an airing amongst their fan base but gig. they also need to balance it out with fan favourite songs so picking a setlist for the shows can be surprisingly If I had to find a ‘fault’ with it I would say that for me the tricky as the band seek to get that perfect balance of old album only really comes alive at ‘Can’t Catch Me’ which and new material lined up together. seems to mark a string of back to back classic Lita hits collimating in the all time classic ‘Kiss Me Deadly’. Opening up with a cover of Elton John’s ‘The Bitch Is Back’ the rejuvenated Lita makes a pretty hefty Is Lita back? That’s hard to say, I guess we will know for statement as she continues to build upon the recent definite once the next studio album comes out but in the memento created by her return to the music scene as meantime ‘The Bitch Is Back’ will keep her army of fans she plays through a selection of her newer material happy and her name out there until then. such as ‘Living Like A Runaway’, ‘Devil in My Head’ and


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The Brook, Southampton 6 October 2013 There is always a bogie band, you know, one you should have seen yet never did... for me that was Y&T. How happy I am to have been able to put that right!

“Meanstreak” may make you as an audience member feel older... but the music is as fresh now as it was on release. The title track and “Midnight In Tokyo” sounding wonderful. In fact the whole set passed in a blur ... the two hours passing in the blink Dave Meniketti and Y&T deliver in that easy, of an eye. With fan favourites such as lipstick And confident , no frills way that instantly makes them a Leather, Black Tiger and Summertime Girls rockin’ hit with the audience. The musicianship of Y&T is along nicely thank you very much! second to none, each song clear, accurate and much fun to hear as the band seem to have in Someone had a novel way of influencing the set... playing them. leave cakes for the band with a note saying “play Barroom Boogie”…so like any self respecting John Nymann and Mr Meniketti are perfect foils for band...they did....I believe a certain lady named Babs each other, each happy to let the other shine in their may have details on the recipe. own right, yet together even better. While Brad Lang and Mike Vanderhule drive Y&T along like a If you haven’t seen Y&T yet I strongly suggest you runaway train. don’t miss them when they return to the UK again! To say this tour celebrated 30 years of


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Counterhold 9/10

All Of Them Slain Record Label: Self Release

Released: 11 October 2013

Highlight of the album: Out For Dead Website: Reviewer: Jason M Davies Self described as “Cwmbran's fiinest metal band” fellow Welsh rockers Counterhold have been on the scene since 2008; they have been seen onstage with such names as Sepultura, Blaze Bailey, Evil Scarecrow and Diamond Head. They have accomplished some impressive things in their relatively short time so far including winning the Welsh International Battle of the Bands in 2011. I've been something of a fan since I first contacted singer Steve Jenkins to appear on my Valleys Bands segment on Firebrand Rock Radio earlier this year. I was aware of the band before that but only a few tracks that I managed to find on youtube. I knew the hunger that Counterhold had, the fire they had within so when I was given 'All Of Them Slain' to review I had high expectations for the album. It did not disappoint. From start to finish, the album is all of Counterhold's hunger for music and fire from within put onto disc. Although this is the début album from Counterhold they did release an EP called "Children of a Lesser God" in 2010. This EP features a few versions of

songs upon the album including The Beast Within and Children of a Lesser God which were rerecorded with the new band line up. The album also features rerecordings of songs from a time before Counterhold, when they were known as Fatal Taunt. The reason the band decided to include updated versions of the songs is because, according to singer Steve Jenkins, “The older songs were never done justice. We never had chance to work with a producer that knew what we wanted to sound like till we worked with Glyn”. Glyn being Glyn Williams, the guitarist of Triaxis, also from South Wales. The album is great form start to finish and leaves you wanting more. Heavy in places and light in others (well, as light as Counterhold gets), it's a joyful listening experience for fans old and new.

Martin Barre 8/10

Away With Words Record Label: Edifying Records

Released: 7 October 2013

Highlight of the album: Lament Of The Spalpeen Website: Reviewer: Jon Seymour Oh crikey, it’s predominantly an instrumental album. My experience with this kind of thing has always been hit and miss I’m afraid. I like instrumental albums, but I don’t like piles of self indulgent fret wanking. There are many cases that the two go very much hand in hand. That said, this is primarily an acoustic instrumental album, so there’s no egotistical cock rock guitarist trying to tell you how big his penis is and how fast he can rub his fingers up and down it.... The music on this album is plain simplicity. There’s no drama, no fuss, no over the top musical phrasing, it’s just beautiful music played extremely well. The arrangements are well thought out, and the different instruments that feature throughout only serve to compliment the uncomplicated style of the album.

roots of where modern music came from. There’s something to be said for music that’s had all of the unnecessary frills removed, just leaving the exposed core. It’s definitely not rock music by today’s standards though, but anyone that can produce guitar music of this quality should be given immediate respect, in my humble opinion of course. I have to admit to being taken completely by surprise with this album. Even with its medieval overtones, it still seems relevant. I don’t know why, it just struck a chord with me, I’d put that down to my age though. I used to be very closed minded in my approach to music, but these days I’m a lot more open to suggestion.

This album provided me with some great listening pleasure, You could say it’s a bit easy listening, but this was what rock and while it’s not going to be to the taste of the usual rock music crowd, I would certainly recommend it to any fans of music sounded like before amplifiers were invented, and it Jethro Tull (naturally) or Blackmore’s Knight. always does everyone some good to go back to the very


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The Cadillac Three 9/10

Tennessee Mojo

Record Label: Spinefarm Records Released: 4 November 2013 Highlight of the album: I’m Rockin’ Website: Reviewer: Jon Seymour Immediately upon pressing “play” you’re left in no doubt as to what you’re to expect from this album. The opening track is blues tinged Southern rock, and that’s the vibe that’s spread throughout the entire record. Slide guitar, 12 bars, and all delivered with a familiar Southern drawl. Yep this is good stuff.

they stick to.

The songs work really well as a whole though, with lyrics and vocal style matching the music contained within. I think what struck me the most about this album though, as that it’s a lot different to the other stuff I’ve been listening to of late. It’s refreshing when you come across It’s great to listen to as well, as it’s a lot of fun. It’s just got something fresh. It’s not a new genre by any means, but that feel good factor. The songs are short and punchy. The there’s not too much of it about at the moment, so it faster tracks are quite upbeat, and the slower tracks just provided me with a welcome diversion. have that massive blues rock sound. The tempo changes If you’re after something a little off the wall, then you could regularly and the album flows really well from one song to do a lot worse than this album. I realise that it’s not going to the next. be to everyone’s taste, as it’s probably too “rock” for the Musically, it’s a pretty simple affair. There’s nothing blues fanatics, and too “blues” for the rockers out there, but elaborate here, and nothing unnecessary has been added crossovers are fine with me. My advice is to give this a to try to fill things up. That’s a very good thing though, listen though, as it’s really worth checking out, especially if because anything else apart from what you get here, would you find you want a break from the same old, same old. take away some of the authenticity of the music. It’s not meant to be overly complex, and that’s exactly the formula

The Answer 8/10

New Horizon Record Label: Napalm Records

Released: 30 September 2013

Highlight of the album: Spectacular Website: Reviewer: Lee Walker

I have never been a massive fan of The Answer so I the album seems to loose its way slightly not was somewhat apprehensive when there latest album recovering until ‘Burn You Down’ hits. popped dup on my review pile. Once again Cormac and the gang prove they can write Titled ‘New Horizon’ the guys from the Emerald Isle some absolute killer songs but the consistency which get Little Angels frontman Toby Jepson on board to is needed to give the album that distinction of moving produce this forth album and opening track ‘New from an ok album to a great album for me is still not Horizon’ kick starts the album in fine form and is made quite there just yet. of the stuff that really exemplifies the best The Answer have to offer with its killer hooks, 90s style guitar work and cut back vocals. The album quickly follows on with the infectious blues infused breed of rock captivating you peaking at the stunning ‘Spectacular’ which is one of the best songs, if not the best song, that this band has ever released. The memento created by the feel good songs continues with along until it takes a detour with ‘Concrete’ which seems to mark the start of the instability which seems to have dogged this band as


Firebrand Magazine

With Chris Nelson

WHATS THE BEST BAND YOU’VE EVER SEEN LIVE Dream Theater on the “Images and Words” tour, I was totally blown away.

WHO ARE YOUR HEROES, THE PEOPLE WHO INSPIRED YOU TO GET INTO MUSIC Ronnie James Dio, Phil Lynnot, David Coverdale, Ritchie Blackmore and my parents

ARE YOU AFRAID OF ANYTHING AND WHATS YOUR FEAR From the moment you have kids life never be the same again, you are worried all the time and my fear is that something would happen to the one´s you love! IF YOU COULD HOST A DINNER PARTY AND INVITE ANY TWO PEOPLE FROM HISTORY ALIVE OR DEAD WHO WOULD YOU CHOOSE Phil Lynnot and Ronnie James Dio, but on the other side a dinner with Jesus and Hitler would sure be an interesting mix of extremes , haha

WHATS YOUR FAVOURITE TYPE OF FOOD/DISH Swedish Moose, especially the file WHAT WAS FIRST ROCK ALBUM YOU EVER BROUGHT The first one I did buy with my own saved money J was Deep Purple – Come taste the band. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY YOUR CAREER HIGHS AND LOWS HAVE BEEN Every album is a personal highlight for me and I don’t focus on “lows” J Life is to short and there´s no time for lows.



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WHAT WAS THE FIRST GIG YOU EVER WENT TO Mmmm, maybe a concert with Nazareth! WHAT SPORT DO ENJOY PLAYING OR WATCHING THE MOST I would rather not watch any sport but maybe WC in Skiing or Ice hockey , when it comes to me I prefer playing Badminton, that’s fun. Otherwise I keep my fingers in good shape playing the guitar

DO YOU BELIEVE IN GHOSTS OR UFO’S AND HAVE YOU HAD ANY EXPERIENCES YOU CAN SHARE WITH US If it’s yes or no, then I will say yes! I have experienced some strange things and then I’m not talking about this music business, ha ha. Me and my younger brother and my cousin did see something many years ago that we still talk about from time to time and it was about some strange light and a flying object – but we can talk about the rest when we meet and have a beer or two.

WHAT ARE YOU UP TO AT THE MOMENT AND WHATS YOUR PLANS FOR THE NEXT 6 MONTHS Doing promotion for the new ColdSpell album at the moment and the plan is to start the ColdSpell Crusade and invade UK and that I guess will take about 6 months! ;)

YOUR CHILLING AT HOME AND PUT ON AN ALBUM BY AN ARTIST SOMEONE WOULD NOT ASSOCIATE YOU WITH, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR GUILTY PLEASURE Oh my god ………. Maybe 10 cc “deceptive bends” or The Police “ regatta de blanc” WHAT PISSES YOU OFF MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE IN THE WORLD fanatics that think they have the right to play God and ruin people´s life´s WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE COMEDY TV SHOW OF ALL TIME Fawlty Towers

Don’t forget you can catch up with Chris Nelson every Sunday 12-2pm on Firebrand Rock Radio



Firebrand Magazine

Stryper 8/10

No More Hell To Pay Record Label: Frontiers Records

Released: 5 November 2013

Highlight of the album: Sympathy Website: Reviewer: Graham Pritchard

More Hell to Pay marks the bands 30 year anniversary and is produced by lead vocalist Mike Sweet

again but all the tracks work as individual songs as well as a whole entity.

Whether you like loud fast songs, soft ballad type songs or if you like a bit of both, Stryper have done it again. The new album is a belter and has something for all. High octane vocals loads of guitar solos energetic bass and drums, everything you would expect from a Stryper album. To be honest there is not a single song on this album I would class as a Now this may not be to everyone’s taste but I have to ballad, the track ‘The One’ is slightly slower than all the rest but is it a ballad? I will leave that for you to say that there are some pretty good tunes on this old school glamish rock album and they have done a decide. good job of putting them over. Having been away for some time Stryper have proved that they can still cut it in an industry that will gobble you up if you are a pretender and if you can look past the religious references and get to the music you will enjoy this effort from the Californian based outfit.

With tracks like ‘Revelation’ and ‘Jesus Is Just Alright’ (A cover of the Arthur Reid Reynolds gospel song) you may be tempted to think oh no here we go

Starship 9/10

Loveless Fascination Record Label: Loud & Proud

Released: 17 September 2013

Highlight of the album: How Will I Get By Website: Reviewer: Jon Seymour I don’t mind admitting I was a little excited by this. This is the first new material from this legendary AOR band in over 20 years, and it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I pressed play. The album kicks off with a huge track, with those tell tale vocals of Mickey Thomas coming through your speakers with a great deal of familiarity. The album starts as it means to go on. Pretty much every track on the album is anthemic. The choruses are massive, and instantly memorable, and the music is able to get under your skin almost immediately.

not business as usual, and they’ve thrown a few things in that are quite unexpected. I will have to admit that on the first play through though, I wasn’t entirely convinced that I liked it as much as their other albums. After playing through a few more times though, it’s grown on me. I was expecting it to be familiar Starship, and in places it is, but in other places it’s a little different. It’s definitely well worth persevering with though, as it’s not until you go deeper into it, that you realise how good an album it really is.

After more than 20 years, this is a very welcome addition to the band’s back catalogue, and while it might not be The strange thing though, is that this album abandons the big production feel of their later albums, instead going overly familiar to some people, it shows that band’s adaptability to the current music scene, and rather than back to the rawness of their earlier material. It’s an sounding dated, it sounds fresh and exciting. If you’re an interesting mix for sure, but it works really well nonetheless. The ballads are exactly as you’d expect, full AOR fan, you really don’t want to miss out on this, not one bit. of emotion and powerful vocals. That said, musically, it’s


Firebrand Magazine


Firebrand Magazine


Firebrand Magazine

John Lees’ Barclay James Harvest 9/10

North Record Label: Esoteric Antenna

Released: 7 October 2013

Highlight of the album: North Website: Reviewer: Jon Seymour Would you believe that this is the second studio album from this particular incarnation of BJH? The first one, Nexus, was released in 1999. For those of you not familiar with this classic British prog band, then you should check out some of their back catalogue. It’s well worth your time listening to it. Enough about that though, you want to know about this one, right? North is a collection of nine songs, that can only be described as beautiful. There are the epic soundscapes that we’ve all come to associate with them, the instrumental breaks, and the changes in time and key signatures. There are some really great songs too. Of course it’s inoffensive music, there’s nothing loud or over the top. It’s just understated brilliance. There are elaborate instrumental moments scattered throughout, but they’re done in such a way as to not seem as long as they actually are. I’ve listened to many a prog album where


all I want to do is just get to the end and switch the thing off, but this album goes in the opposite direction. It makes you want to listen to it, over and over. The vocals are soft and melodic, and the musical arrangements are well put together, even with the orchestral and brass sections, above all though, it’s an album that keeps your attention throughout, because it invites you in, and captivates your interest for its entirety. There a few up-tempo tracks thrown in too, so it’s not all about the complexity. Is it simply complex, or complicatedly simple? How’s that for an oxymoron? Seriously though, it’s a really intelligent album, and very well executed. Over all, it’s something that’s well worth checking out. If you’ve been put off of the prog genre before because it’s full of elaborate guitar solos and jazz keyboards, then give this a listen, as you could well be pleasantly surprised.

Firebrand Magazine


Firebrand Magazine


Firebrand Magazine

10cc December 08 Cardiff Motorpoint Arena

36 Crazyfists November 02 Oxford O2 Academy 05 Liverpool O2 Academy 10 Newcastle O2 Academy 17 Wrexham Central Station

Airbourne November 28 Portsmouth Pyramids December 02 Leeds O2 Academy 03 Nottingham Rock City 04 Newcastle O2 Academy 06 Glasgow O2 ABC 07 Glasgow Ritz 09 Birmingham The Institute 10 Bristol O2 Academy 11 Oxford O2 Academy 13 London The Forum

December 01 Brighton Centre

Depeche Mode November 11 Glasgow Hydro 13 Leeds Arena 15 Manchester Arena 19 London The O2 January 2014 27 Birmingham LG Arena

April 2014 07 Birmingham O2 Academy

November 22 Bournemouth O2 Academy 23 London O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire 25 Bristol O2 Academy 26 Cambridge Junction 27 Norwich UEA 29 Pwllheli Hard Rock Hell 7 30 Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall December 01 Cardiff Solus 02 Oxford O2 Academy 05 Inverness Ironworks 06 Edinburgh Picturehouse 07 Newcastle O2 Academy 08 Leeds O2 Academy 10 Leamington Spa The Assembly Rooms 12 Nottingham Rock City 13 Manchester Ritz 14 Dublin Academy

Buckcherry November 22 London Koko 23 Coventry Kasbah 25 Manchester Academy 26 Glasgow O2 ABC 27 Belfast Limelight 2 29 Dublin The Academy 30 Nottingham Rock City December 02 Bristol O2 Academy

December 06 Liverpool Echo Arena 07 Birmingham LG Arena 08 Cardiff Motorpoint Arena 10 Plymouth Pavilions 11 Bournemouth International Centre

October 30 London Royal Albert Hall November 28 Wolverhampton Slade Rooms April 2014 05 West Yorkshire The Picturedrome


Black Star Riders

Status Quo

Dr Feelgood

April 2014 05 London O2 Academy Islington 09 Wolverhampton Slade Rooms 11 Nottingham Rescue Rooms

December 10 London O2 Arena 12 Belfast Odyssey Arena 14 Sheffield Motorpoint Arena 16 Glasgow Hydro 18 Manchester Arena 20 Birmingham LG Arena

January 2014 24 Nottingham Rock City 25 Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall 26 Middleborough Empire 27 Glasgow O2 ADC 29 Sheffield Leadmill 30 Bristol O2 Academy February 2014 01 London The Forum 02 Manchester Academy

Deacon Blue


Black Sabbath


03 Cardiff Solus 04 Exeter Lemon Grove

Tarja February 2014 10 London O2 Academy Islington 12 Nottingham Rock CIty


Hard Rock Hell 7 November - December 28 - 01 Pwllheli Hafyn Y Mor (Haven Holiday Park)

Iced Earth January 2014 12 Birmingham O2 Academy 14 London O2 Academy

Joanne Shaw Taylor November 28 London Shepard’s Bush Empire 29 Birmingham Town Hall 30 Holmfirth Picturedrome December 01 Gateshead Sage

Mindless Self Indulgence November 28 Brighton Concorde 2 29 London KOKO 30 Norwich Waterfront December 01 Edinburgh Liquid Rooms 03 Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall 04 Manchester Ritz 05 Bristol Anson Rooms

November 09 York Barbican 10 Inverness Leisure Centre 11 Manchester Bridgewater Hall 13 Bristol Colston Hall 14 London Hammersmith Apollo 15 Plymouth Pavilions 17 Oxford Apollo 18 Birmingham Symphony Hall 19 Southend Cliffs Pavilion 21 Brighton Dome 22 Portsmouth Guildhall 24 Ipswich Regent Theatre 25 Cambridge Corn Exchange 26 Sheffield City Hall 28 Glasgow Academy 29 Edinburgh Usher Hall

The Bad Seeds October 30 Glasgow Barrowland November 01 Edinburgh Usher Hall

December 06 Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall 07 Edinburgh The Picturehouse

The Quireboys January 2014 28 Cardiff Club Ifor Bach 29 Swansea Sin City 30 Nottingham Rescue Rooms 31 Grimsby Yardbirds February 2014 01 Bolton The Railway 02 Bilson Robin2 04 Bristol Thekla 05 Southampton Joiners 06 Chester Live Rooms 07 Northampton The Attic 08 Sheffield Corporation 09 London Borderline 12 Leamington Spa Zephyr Lounge 13 Workington Vine Bar 14 Aberdeen The Moorings 15 Ballymena The Diamond 16 Edinburgh Voodoo Rooms 18 Newcastle The Cluny

Tigertailz November 20 York Fibbers

Toby Jepson December 13 York Fibbers

Toseland November 06 Oxford O2 Academy

Within Temptation April 2014 11 Manchester O2 Apollo 12 London Wembley Arena 14 Newcastle O2 Academy 15 Glasgow O2 Academy 16 Birmingham O2 Academy

The Cult October 31 London Roundhouse

The Damned November 29 Portsmouth Pyramids

Papa Roach

For a free listing please email your gig or festival information to: With the following info: Date(s), Band Name, Venue, City (Please do not send any attachments) Sadly if any of the above information is not included we will be unable to list your event.

December 01 Portsmouth Pyramids 02 Sheffield Academy 03 Birmingham Academy 05 Manchester Academy 06 Dublin Academy 08 Glasgow Barrowlands 09 Newcastle Academy 10 London Brixton Academy

Skid Row November 02 Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall


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Firebrand Magazine

Firebrand Magazine Issue 13 - October  

Issue 13 of Firebrand Magazine is out now featuring interviews with Alter Bridge, Shinedown and Halestorm and reviews from the likes of Star...

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