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Issue 17 - February 2014

The Pretty Reckless

Adrian Vandenberg

PLUS Kill Or Cure The Straits Marcus Bonfanti The Quireboys Uriah Heep Asia Magnum Sebastian Bach Molly Bloom Winger


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Thankfully we are now coming to the end of a rather disappointing Winter, I was hoping for at least a foot of snow but instead had to make do with a rubber fetish and by that before you all start spreading rumours I was referring to the need to break out the old diving dry suit. Looks like the year is shaping up with some fine new releases and also some excellent concerts. Having seen Prog Legends The Enid in Tring, High Wycombe local band Buzz and with HRH happening this month as well it really is getting off to a fantastic start. I am also taking two of my bands out on the road these next two months. Superfecta and Nightblade will be co-headlining at various venues up and down the country and it would be great if you guys pop along and come and join the fun as both these bands are fantastic live. Anyway I digress the brand new edition of the magazine is here, read digest and enjoy and if you feel like it tell your friends about it. Hopefully see some of you at HRH. Have a rockin March Peace and Respect Doc

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Kill or Cure's sound is a unique and gripping take on modern metal. The music is a rare mix of groove, aggression and melody, combining technical excellence and musical flair with modern razor sharp hooks. The trio of band members are based in Manchester and Southend. Due to the geographical divide, Kill or Cure are concentrating on studio work and are currently recording their second album.

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spawned the hit singles ‘Seventeen’ and ‘Headed For A Heartbreak’ and achieved platinum sales status. Winger UK rock band The Brew have announced a series of UK also stayed on the Billboard Top 200 chart for over 60 live dates in May 2014. weeks where it peaked at #21. Their next album, ‘In The The 'Control' tour follows the release of their critically Heart Of The Young’, also achieved platinum status and acclaimed new album 'Control' and music video 'Repeat'. contained the singles ‘Can’t Get Enuff’ and ‘Miles Away’. The change in musical climate of the mid-90’s, compounded with unprovoked ridicule on MTV’s popular Beavis and Butthead, led the band to go on hiatus in 1994. In 2001, the band reunited and have not looked back since. Winger has made a name for themselves with relentless touring, while winning back fans and critics alike because of their exceptional musicianship, Kip Winger’s powerful vocals and the band’s incredible songwriting. The album is available for pre-order on Amazon.com in a standard http://smarturl.it/ WNGR_AmzCD and deluxe configuration (http:// smarturl.it/WNGR_AmzDLX . The deluxe edition comes 'Control' was produced by Toby Jepson - Little in a glossy digipak and includes the bonus track ‘Another Angels, The Answer, Saxon and Classic Rock Magazine Beautiful Day’ and a DVD including a Making of the 2013 award winners The Virginmarys and mixed Album documentary as well as videos for the first single by Stephen Harris - U2, Santana, Kodaline‘Rat Race’ and the title track. An iTunes pre-order will be and Kulashaker. available soon. For more information check out: http:// www.wingertheband.com

The Brew Announce UK Tour May 2014

Winger Announce First New Album For 5 Years Released And Confirm Main Stage Appearance At Download Festival One of the most misunderstood Hard Rock bands to emerge from the 1980’s is returning with their highly anticipated sixth studio album. Comprised of original members Kip Winger on vocals/bass, Reb Beach on guitar, Rod Morgenstein on drums, plus long-term guitarist John Roth, Winger is releasing Better Days Comin’ on April 21st via Frontiers Records. "On ‘Better Days Comin’’ we drew from our past to elaborate on our future. The band is stronger than ever and very excited about the music on this record,” explains front man Kip Winger. “We feel this album exemplifies the true sound of the band in every way." From the opening riff of album opener ‘Midnight Driver Of A Love Machine’ to the final outro lick of ‘Out Of This World,’ it is clear Winger is back and better than ever. Hard rocking songs like ‘Queen Babylon,’ progressive rock moments like ‘Tin Soldier,’ and touching ballads like ‘Ever Wonder’ display the band’s diversity while always centering on great songs. The debut single from ‘Better Days Comin’’ is the adrenaline fueled rocker ‘Rat Race’ that showcases some of the band’s best work of their 25 year career. Winger formed in 1987 and soared to immediate success with their 1988 self-titled release. The album

Steel Assassin Confirmed for Warriors Of Metal Fest VII The Warriors Of Metal, Inc. non-profit organization has confirmed that Boston Power Metal veterans Steel Assassin will make a much anticipated return to the Warriors of Metal Fest VII. The band will perform selections from their various releases such as War of the Eight Saints, WWII: Metal of Honor, In Hellfire Forged as well as a few other metallic surprises. The Warriors of Metal Fest VII will be held June 26 - 28 at O'Shecky's Live Bar & Grill in Columbus, Ohio.

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The band collectively states: "In 2013 the Warriors Of Metal Fest VI Open Air demonstrated to us true metal camaraderie, brotherhood and dedication to the art form. We are honored and excited to be part of this event again this year."

Jack Bruce Releases New CD ‘Silver Rails’

Esoteric Antenna is proud to announce the release of the eagerly awaited new studio album by the legendary Jack Bruce, one of the greatest popular musicians Britain has ever produced. A supremely talented instrumentalist and vocalist, eminently respected by his peers, Jack’s pioneering bass playing style has Megaherz Signs To Napalm Records! influenced successive generations of bassists, including German based rockers in Megaherz have announced such luminaries as Paul McCartney, Jaco Pastorius and their signing to the Austrian Powerhouse label Napalm Sting, alongside more contemporary musicians such as Records! Following their highly lauded break through Flea of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. He is also the album Kopfschuss and subsequent critically acclaimed possessor of one of the most powerful voices in modern releases, the band is currently working on a new album, music and a composer of some of the most original and to be released this fall on Napalm Records influential music of the past forty-five years. As a Alexander Wohnhaas and Christian Bystron songwriter he has written some of popular music’s of Megaherz commented on the signing,"This is enduring classics such as ‘Sunshine of Your Love’, an important step for us. Napalm Records is a partner ‘White Room’, ‘I Feel Free’ and ‘Theme from an with a lot of experience and will present great Imaginary Western’. opportunities for us. For the next album we absolutely Released on 24th March 2014, ‘Silver Rails’ is want to go the extra mile and we already confident in a Jack’s first album in ten years, recorded at the world very good company like Napalm. It was important for us famous Abbey Road studios. Produced by Rob Cass, to sign with Napalm as they fully identify themselves with ‘Silver Rails’ is a splendid collection of carefully crafted the band and we share the same goals. We´re looking songs written in partnership with lyricists Pete Brown, forward to a successful, long-term cooperation!" Kip Hanrahan and Margrit Seyffer. He is joined on the Napalm Records Vice President Thomas Caser is album by a host of celebrated instrumentalists including very excited about the upcoming cooperation with Phil Manzanera, Robin Trower, Bernie Marsden, Uli Jon Megaherz: "We are unbelievable proud to welcome Roth, John Medeski, Malcolm Bruce and Cindy Blackman Megaherz at Napalm Records. Napalm Records will be Santana. “Silver Rails” is the next chapter in the doing everything to get the band to the top, where such recorded legacy of one of popular music’s most a talented and eclectic act simply belongs!" respected innovators. For More Information Visit: The sleeve art work for the album was designed by http://www.megaherz.de/ Sacha Jafri in the style of a 1950s Columbia Records https://www.facebook.com/OfficialMegaherz Jazz Album.

Miracle Master 'Highway To Heaven' Video Released ‘Highway To Heaven’, the second video from Danish/ German hard rockers Miracle Master, can be seen below. The clip was directed & produced by Germany’s MV Video Productions. The song, is taken from Miracle Master‘S debut album, ‘Tattooed Woman’, due on March 7 via GoldenCore Records/ZYX Music in Europe/North America and April 23 via Bickee Music in Japan. The Japanese version of the album includes two bonus tracks.

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Freedom Call Confirm London Barfly Headline Gig March 22nd to promote New Studio Album ‘Beyond’ released February 24th on Steamhammer / SPV Freedom Call, Germany’s premier Melodic Metal band, have confirmed a London Barfly gig on March 22nd, following the release of their glorious, utterly uplifting, consummate eighth studio album, ‘Beyond’, on February 24th on Steamhammer / SPV. ‘Beyond’, which was produced by Chris Bay and Stephan Ernst at the Separate Sound Studios in Nuremberg and at Freedom Call’s own studio, is available as a digipak, on vinyl LP plus CD and – in a special fan edition – as a boxset, including a poster, 40 page book, digipak and bonus live CD containing 13 previously unreleased live tracks.

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Rick Palin speaks to Robert John Godfrey and Joe Payne of

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40 years in the business is one incredible achievement Robert, what do you think has contributed to the bands longevity? Robert - The fact that I had no other place to go: I had burned my boats as far as any alternative career was concerned. Not qualified to do a day job, hence the fact that I am still here doing the one thing I know how to do really well – compose music. The Enid really came to light in the early 70’s by adopting a rather anarchic twist on the classical music genre and making classical more acceptable to the mainstream. Was this the original intention of the band? Robert - The overriding original intention was that the band would not base its modus operandi on anything that had gone before. In this way we were able over time to develop a unique style, tone of voice and compositional technique. Believing that music at its best is like God without religion, in our hubris we reached for the ineffable. The price for such self indulgence was the creation of a marmite band creating what John Peel so aptly described as A Level Rock. The highly charged emotional language of the band’s music is not to everyone’s taste and nor should it be. The fact that The Enid is the only band on the planet to have successfully fused rock-based music with the power, dynamics and scale of symphonic classical music is the by product of where this journey has led so far. When I was a young pioneer of progressive music in the late sixties and early seventies, “progressive music” was a movement being pursued by intelligent, clever, sexy young people from diverse musical backgrounds with a passionate desire to push the envelope as far as it would go. This movement had an enormous impact on culture in general, art, fashion, film and literature. That was then. Now?

both in the UK and the other western style democracies. The persecution of gay men and women is still a fact in most other parts of the world. Like all those gay football players today forced to lead double lives, rock music (including “prog”) is still a no go area and many musicians feel a need to remain in the closet. Has the band ever played an active role in the gay rights community? There are three gay men spanning three generations in The Enid. Whilst I have never made any secret of my love for other men, I have largely refrained from gay politics, confining myself to occasionally reminding my fans and critics of the disproportionate contribution made to human culture by homosexuals. Michelangelo, Tchaikowsky, Shakespeare to name just three. What is less understood is that their greatness was not so much achieved in spite of their sexual orientation but because of it. For myself; I have been for some years an extinct volcano which is probably just as well. The Enid have a cult following which is an amazing achievement for any band in this day and age and a very loyal fan base in The Enidi who have contributed in a lot of ways to the funding of each project. How does it make you feel to know that you have that level of support and commitment from your fans? Robert - A long time ago I realised that a band like The Enid could have no commercial existence as an entertainment product. Instead we made a pact with our fans – a tryst – a bromance, if you like. It is a commitment that works both ways. The Enid has always been in the hands of our fans.

As we said earlier the band is now celebrating its 40th year in the business. What for you has been the crowning achievement in that 40 year span? Robert - Playing to a full house in Symphony Hall I read somewhere that the band was investigated by MI5, how did this happen and more Birmingham with the City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. importantly did they buy any albums? Robert - Investigated? Probably. Did they buy the Joe how did your involvement with the Enid albums – yes! happen? There are not many rock/progressive bands that Joe - It all started back when I was 19. I can’t believe we’re going back 5 years, but there we are. are openly homosexual in the rock/progressive I was recording with my first band Tramp circuits which is predominantly of a macho Etiquette, which I’d been in since school. We’d stereotype. Do you think that this is still a taboo started to get some promising attention from the subject in the modern world? London music scene, and decided it was time we Robert - I grew in a country going through its post recorded our first professionally produced E.P. I had war trauma that still carried out the death penalty been recommended The Lodge Recording Studios and sent men to prison for loving each other. In (home of The Enid), and after inspecting the place for those day’s gay men were almost always married myself, agreed that it was possibly the most family men living double lives. bohemian environment I’d ever stepped foot in. Since that time things have changed a lot in

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To this day, I still meet new bands arriving here to record, all of whom have the same first impression as I did. To be honest, I still feel the same way about The Lodge now it’s my home! Anyway, I digress. Having spent some time in The Enid’s home as studio clients, the band seemed to take a liking to my friends and I. So they invited us to a show they were doing in Chesham, very near my home town of Tring. We went, with no expectations whatsoever. To our surprise we were absolutely spell bound. I knew I was experiencing something totally unique, and certainly the most sophisticated rock music I’d ever encountered. However, this was the last band in the world I’d have ever imagined would be looking for a lead vocalist. This was largely instrumental music, and I could never have even begun to dream where I would fit amongst something so majestic. I was just a pop singer! It was the combination of my being on The Lodge Recording Studio’s mailing list and having experienced the band’s music first hand that allowed me to see the full potential of an opportunity that came to stare me in the face. There, in 2010, sitting in my inbox was an open invitation for vocalists to take part in a backing choir for The Enid’s tour of a brand new album ‘Journey’s End’. I jumped at the chance. Over the space of just one year friendships

grew stronger with The Enid, and I came to accept that my other projects including music and University were reaching the end of their chapter. I have been very impressed with your performances Joe, your range and stage presence reminding me of a young Freddie Mercury and I know I am not the only one to say this. How does that make you feel to know that you are causing that sort of reaction? Joe - For whatever reason, people have always likened me to Freddie. Not so much because I was as capable a singer, but more so because of my instinctively theatrical performance style. I never truly believed I was worthy of the comparison, but was very aware that if I was really ever going to deserve it I needed to aim further beyond the benchmark. No man in pop or rock music has ever been regarded as a greater vocalist than Freddie Mercury, so I put a lot of pressure on myself to prove that my development can be infinite. You, Max, Jason and Nick are all part of the next generation of The Enid what does it feel like to know that you will be carrying the bands legacy forwards? I can’t lie. In all honesty this has remained a terrifying responsibility for me. However, I think the rest of the band is quite a lot more relaxed, and I

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suppose I’ve calmed down a lot in the last couple of years. I’ve always worried about being seen as below the required standards and expectations of an Enid audience, and forever felt a need to understand what The Enid’s brand represented to all the people who loved it. I had to reach that point before I could even dream of fitting in and being regarded as a ‘good idea’. Now I’ve learned that this is not about fitting in. The Enid has had many line ups, and a variety of different eras, each of which has had its own unique signature and collected the respect of new individuals along the way. So my responsibility is not just to please those who already liked The Enid, but to present opportunities for change, allowing us to move forward together and evolve to have yet another successful era and signature of our own. You recently played at the community theatre in Tring which is where I believe you started your career, Joe. How was it to be back home so to speak? Joe - It was certainly something I’d do again. It was nice to have the support of so many friends on the night. I don’t think any of them will have heard me sing since I’d joined the band, so it was more exciting than ever to show people how much I’d learned and developed. To top it all off, the show sold out, which was fantastic!

The 40th year is here and what goodies can we expect coming from The Enid this year? Both - This year we are working on some very special shows, including a performance of FAND at The Stables, Milton Keynes. This will be a brand new arrangement to incorporate the addition of Electric Wind Instruments, something which has already spiced up the live shows tremendously. As well as the release of a 40th Anniversary CD and DVD box set, we are also releasing In The Region Of The Summer Stars, Aerie Faerie Nonsense and INVICTA on vinyl. If that’s not exciting enough, we are also delighted to announce a new album we are now writing, designed to challenge Joe’s vocal capability to a whole new level. That should be ready later this year. Gentlemen it has been a pleasure to chat to you but is there any message you would like to pass on to your fans? Both - To let you all know that although we are not perfect, often letting the vicissitudes of our often disorganised affairs spill over into our relationships with all of you, we are always there for you – literally on the end of the phone. And like holding hands in the dark, in spirit as we try to think of better ways to heighten the Enid experience for you all.

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Jon Seymour catches up with Chris White, Terence Reis and Alan Clark from

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As The Straits, you’ve been around for some time, how long has it been? Alan: The band’s been together for around three years now.

Knopfler, have always been associated with the guitar, especially when you look at the cover of Brothers In Arms, but of course there’s a little more to it than that. Terence: Absolutely, you know a guitar is something that every rock band has to have. A Hammond organ too is on the list intrinsically titled “what needs to be in a rock band” and the kids today still love it. I’ve had my daughter come up to me and ask me “have you heard of this band?” and I’m like “yeah they were around when I was your age” and Dire Straits are like that. They were just a big balls out rock band.

Are there any plans to produce some new material? Alan: We did introduce some new material a little while ago, but for this tour we’re playing all Dire Straits material, as that’s what the show is really. We certainly plan to write some new material though, and hopefully we’ll be recording that later in the year. I know that the tour is in the very early stages at the moment, but how has the initial response been? Chris: It’s been really good, we started in Barrow In Furness, which was my first time there. Christchurch was a sold out gig, and Newcastle was another great night. We’re really lucky, as no matter how many people are at the shows, they love hearing this material again, and they respond very positively to it. On the way in here, I noticed quite a few of the younger generation here who wouldn’t have been around when you were making this music. Has that been a trend so far? Terence: Yeah, that’s one thing that’s really surprised us. We did some dates out in Europe and there were a lot of younger people in the audience. Whether they discovered us through their parents, or their grandparents I don’t know, but to see a lot of young faces in the crowd is great. You mentioned going around Europe on tour, have you toured quite a lot over the last three years? Chris: We’ve been to Europe a couple of times now, we played some big gigs in France, Hungary, and we even went out to Iceland. Alan: Yeah Reykjavik was a great gig. We’ve been all over the place really, apart from the farthest reaches of South America. We’re off to the US in a couple of weeks too, so we’re looking forward to that. Dire Straits are one of the few British rock bands that have had a big success in the US, are they still as fanatical as they used to be? Terence: Yes definitely. Although obviously I was never in Dire Straits at the start, but the guitar is an instrument of fascination, and I’ve had people write to me and say “I went and picked up a guitar after watching you guys play” and that obviously goes back to the Dire Straits thing. The guitar was being played in a way that was sort of reinventing it if you like, and we get a lot of letters from “guitar anoraks” as we like to call them, from America who still love the unique sound that we have.

My daughter does that too, but I guess that’s the thing about music, it is just so easy to bridge generations. Terence: Yeah, and YouTube is a funny thing, as there’s no date really. It’s just a digital image, and there’s nothing to tell you that the video was shot in 1977 or whatever. Alan: We get lots of people coming to the shows who grew up listening to their parents’ records. It’s been an integral part of their upbringing, so it’s engrained in their being and part of who they are. Yes exactly, I was born in the early seventies, so I grew up with the stuff in the Glam Rock era, and of course, towards the beginning of the eighties, the British rock scene really took off. Alan: So you’re a prime candidate for Dire Straits’ music then. When did you discover us? I think the first album I actually heard any material from was either Love Over Gold, or Alchemy, but Brothers In Arms was the first one I remember vividly. Alan: That’s around the time that I joined the band, so good timing on your part. Terence: That’s what happens though. We get people coming up to us after the shows and talking about the songs in relation to something that happened in their lives. We had a guy come up to us the other night who was a bit teary. He got talking about being out in Afghanistan, and they used to listen to Brothers In Arms. There was a woman that came up to us after the Albert Hall show who was really upset. She explained that she’d been transported back to her childhood, being sat in the passenger seat of the car next to her dad. She remembered that her feet didn’t even reach the floor, and he’d passed on now, but she was able to re -live that through the music. Alan: Going back to the guy in Afghanistan, he said they used to go out on patrols at night, and when they got back to camp, they’d lie down, smoke cigars and look at the stars, listening to Brothers In Arms.

Dire Straits, and of course in particular Mark

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Yes I’m the same. There are a lot of songs that I associate with different times in my life, that’s one of the beauties of music. Alan: Here’s another great story. A while ago I was chatting to a photographer who was commissioned to take photographs of the United States Air Force in Iraq. He said that when his commission was over, he managed to hitch a ride in one of the F-16s that was going back to the US. He said they flew non-stop from Iraq to the US, refuelling in mid-air, and just as they were approaching the coast, with the sun on the horizon, one of the pilots played Walk Of Life over the intercom, and all the planes were “dancing” to it. That’s something I’d have loved to have seen, and I’ve actually written a song about it. So are you working on a lot of new material? Terence: Yeah, it’s what we do. A lot of it is down to timing though. At the moment we’re just doing the old songs, breaking new territories, and we’re doing that because that’s what people want to hear right now. Chris: When all of these creative minds are put together in one place, something is bound to happen. It might not always be good, but we’ve got a lot of potential material.

three years ago initially as a one off, for the charity event at The Albert Hall, is still rolling on. The reason for that is purely because people still want to hear it. You guys have been together as The Straits for a good few years now, has that changed your relationships with each other? Terence: Yes there’s definitely chemistry between us. It’s important that the members remain constant. It’s better to work with the same people, rather than have some guy on the bass, and another bloke playing the drums. We all work really well together. So have you guys got any music available that people can buy? Alan: Not just yet. We’ll definitely be looking to get something soon though, probably through our website http://www.thestraits.com

Do guys have anything you’d like to say to our readers? Terence: Don’t put on wet socks, you’ll mess up your feet. Alan: And if you do, make sure you’ve got plenty of athlete’s foot powder. Terence: Seriously though, just come out to one of So are there any plans for tours after the US? our shows. It’s just a big party, and you’ll hopefully Alan: Yeah from there we go straight to Russia. have a lot of fun. We’ve then got a big concert to play in South Africa. Chris: Also, to those people out there who want to We’ve got a couple of festivals booked in the UK, and get into music, just don’t give up. Keep practising, get a few more in Europe. yourself in a band, and get out there and do your Terence: We’re also finalising the details of a tour in thing. That’s how we started, and that’s what Australia too, so that’s something else that’s on the everyone should try to do, but with dry socks, that’s cards. very important. Chris: It’s amazing that something we put together

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8 February 2014, Robin 2, Bilston Supports - Blackballed Review and Photos by Reg Richardson

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I arrived at the Robin 2 in Bilston well before the gig was due to start to find that there were no parking spaces left in the car park behind the venue, that immediately gave me an idea of what was to come. The venue was busy even before support band, Blackballed hit the stage. I saw this Manchester-based trio play to 30 or so people at the Headbangers Ball Finale last year, but the crowd here was an order of magnitude bigger and louder than that - this band deserve to be heard! I was impressed with them the first time around but this time they excelled in the animated surroundings of the Robin 2. Fronted by New Model Army guitarist Marshall Gill, with brother Leon on drums and Tom Wibberley on bass, the band offered up a well refined and pretty lively blues rock set based around their self-titled 5-track EP. It didn't take long before the heads started nodding and the feet started tapping to the groove and by the end of the short set I'm certain the band had acquired quite a few new fans. Go see.

My memories of Uriah Heep centre mostly around the mid-1970's line-up of Box, Byron, Thain, Hensley and Kerslake; all that remains of that classic line-up is the ever constant Mick Box, the only band member to survive all the changes. The current version of the band came about due to ill health of two members of the most settled line-up the band has known. First, Lee Kerslake was forced to leave to be replaced by Russell Gilbrook on drums and latterly the sad death of Trevor Bolder allowed for the eventual introduction of Davey Rimmer on bass. Both these musicians had huge shoes to fill, but fill them they did as the band interrupted the recording of their new album, due for release later this year, toundertake this tour. By the time the band walked on stage the Robin 2 was pretty much at full capacity! Frontman-cum-frustrated comedian Bernie Shaw interacted and joked about with the crowd keeping the proceedings going along at a steady pace as he introduced most of the songs, aided and abetted by Mick Box and Phil Lanzon.

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The band took the crowd on a journey through the 1970's with a total of nine songs lifted from most of the studio albums released that decade including 'Very 'Eavy, Very 'Umble' (1970), 'Salisbury' (1971), 'Look at Yourself' (1971), 'Demons & Wizards' (1972), 'The Magicians Birthday' (1972), 'Sweet Freedom' (1973) and 'Innocent Victim' (1977). The 1980's were given a miss completely before we got to songs from 'Sea of Light' (1991) and 'Sonic Origami' (1998). All that remained was one song from 'Wake the Sleeper' (2008) and three songs from their most recent album 'Into the Wild' (2011). The set included a great version of an old classic, 'Gypsy', as well as some firm favourites such as 'Traveller in Time'. The 13 song set ended with 'Lady in Black' before the band were encouraged back to the stage to belt out 'Free and Easy' closing the show with 'Easy Livin''. The night as a whole was very 'eavy, while the bands themselves remained very 'umble, a brilliant show all round.

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Dan Mann Chats with Adrian Vandenberg

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It’s Nice to have you back in the music business. Yeah It was about bloody time wasn’t it? It was a collection of circumstances, I wanted to catch up with my painting,I was an artist before I became a musician . I kind of missed it after 13 years of touring with Whitesnake. When we stopped with Whitesnake in 99, my girlfriend and I had a Daughter. We unfortunately split up when she was 3 and I didn’t want to be one of those dads that didn’t see his daughter grow up. What else was important to me was I only want to make music that’s close to my heart, I always listen to the little voice in the back of my head. For some reason it wasn’t screaming loud enough yet because I wanted to allow all my experiences to slide off me so I could start with a clean slate. The process finally started up again around two years ago when my local soccer team asked me if I wanted to write a stadium anthem for them, which I did and stumbled onto Jan Hoving who became the Moonkings singer in Holland. I thought it’s impossible that a singer of this calibre is walking around Holland, the guy is a farmer! He loves riding around on a tractor and getting the crops in off the land! A no nonsense no bullshit kind of guy.

Rogers, David Coverdale, early Rod Stuart and Ronnie James Dio. His folks sing in the church choir they wanted him to do that too, but he likes the “devil” music. When he was 16/17 that music was out of fashion, everybody was into grunge and you weren’t supposed to be able to sing. He now has to fight his band to be heard. Our bassist Sem Christoffel and drummer Mart Nijen Es have been playing all their lives and it shows! it seems they both won talent contests 10 years ago that I was a judge on, I told them if they are as good as they were then they could join the band .

I was going to say what a voice, where’s he been hiding? For me personally, if I don’t like the singer, regardless of the other musicians, It’s very, very difficult to get into an album. What background has he got in music? I’ve never heard of him before this. Neither was I! When I needed a singer for the soccer song, I had two singers in mind, one American and an English singer. I realised once I was writing again that it was going to have to fly back and forth again or fly the guy over. So I thought to myself why not look around in Holland first? I had no confidence in finding a vocalist in Holland, but I remembered a superb review from the Whitesnake days of the support band who I set about tracking down. I wrote a mail to him which he thought was someone pulling his leg. He didn’t answer for about three weeks, so I wrote again. This letter he wrote back to! I met him up on his farm, what a voice but no ego, no bullshit we got on straight away. He sang the soccer song and we just kept going, me pushing and coaching him all the time because I knew he was even better than I thought he was even better than even he thought he could be. He kept developing so much and then a couple of months ago we went into the studio and laid it all down.

We are suckers for those stories! For the guys like my drummer and bassist their heroes are players from the 70’s and 80’s. If you want to be a great musician you can’t go back to the 90’s as you weren’t supposed to be able to play.

Well he sounds like he has been singing at professional level for years he has such a control of the pitch of his voice. He’s been singing all his life, he’s a fan of the same singers that I am . He grew up on singers like Paul

To coin a phrase you must be pinching yourself to get three guys of such a calibre to back you up on this album? Exactly, it’s almost like It’s mean to be. On the album credits the first line I have is “Thanks to karma for throwing these three guys into my lap, and from my home town too. You might think there would be an age difference, but music is the universal language and if you’re in a band It’s a different thing. The only difference is they’re milking me for stories of everyone I met during my career.

Of course all that does is make us feel old! True, the thing is Mart’s hero is John Bonham, Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins so he’s mixing it up, the pace and groove of guys like Bonham with the dynamics of the modern guys. The funny thing was our first rehearsal felt like we had been paying for 10 years, the most ridiculous experience. With the amount of experience you have was there any nervousness about how the album would be received? No, because I always stay true to myself and I fully believe if you don’t make an album to please yourself you can’t expect it to please anyone else. I really made this album for myself as I would love to buy an album like this but I can’t! I listen to the first Zepplin or Free albums and I miss the raw in your face stuff. This album was mostly recorded live without a click track, we captured the dynamics of a live thing and that’s what I was looking for. At least if the album didn’t do anything, at least I recorded something I was proud of and the guys in the band could be proud of. If it DID do something then we would be known for doing something we believed in, a more honourable thing than pleasing a record company. In fact the owner of our record company said to me “Adrian you’ve

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never made an album that sucked, just go ahead and make the album you want to make”. The sound quality from 180 gram vinyl is just superb Even if I didn’t know it was you playing on the When you put it on the turntable and put the needle album, I know I would still be a massive fan because on, you get that warmth and juiciness of the sound. I play so many vinyl albums, even the scratches there is a real bluesy undertone to the album. become part of the song you know? There is an overall feel to it that says to me…you know what? I’m going to love this. I know what you mean, and that’s not because I’m on Talking to some of the younger fans who are now it, but because this is what I set out to go for and getting into collecting vinyl in a big way, saying it what I meant about making an album to please wasn’t around as they were growing up. They’re myself. Trying to make a bridge between the blues now getting into it. rock of my heroes and the dynamics of bands like the Going back to Moonkings, the two tracks that Foo Fighters...like you’re sitting three feet from the have grabbed me most are “Out Of Reach” and stage in rehearsal you know...BAM! “Leave This Town”. When I talked the producer, he knew exactly Cool! Why was that? what I wanted because when he was an engineer he knew what vintage equipment and also with more Now you’re asking me the million dollar question, modern mixing consoles were needed to get the and I can’t answer that! I know every time I play the screaming dynamics I wanted for this album. What album I hear new things on all the tracks. I then we did was record with some extremely vintage start to change my mind about which I really like! equipment from the early 60’s, then mixed it through I have exactly the same problem because people a modern console to get the sound we wanted, and it have been asking me...again I can’t tell them because worked! It’s the only album I’ve ever recorded that I it changes all the time. “Out Of Reach” is a song I’m play in the car for my own entertainment! I know It’s most proud of because the emotion I was trying to Narcissistic, but I can’t help it. get out of my system came out into the song, in such an honest way, Jan’s singing on that is just You can hear the influence on the sound of the old unbelievable. Another of my favourites is “Close To equipment as it has the warmth that’s missing on You.” so many albums. And that’s probably because I managed to get The album was recorded in the same studio I so many of my influences on that one song. I like recorded my first blues album when I was 21, which groove and big riffs and I could have made 5 songs was my “Teaser” album. It’s the same kind of music in from the riffs on this one song. Lyrically “Leave This the same studio. They now have some amazing Town” is very close to me as I get restless when I equipment! We got that fat warm sound and then stay in the same place too long. put it right in your face in the mix. Better to leave a mistake that is part of the sound than try to make it The track I have to bring up and I’m sure you must perfect. In the words of Keith Richards, perfection is have been asked, is the last track on the album, of boring. course with Mr David Coverdale. Was there a reason to cover “Sailing Ships”? You can make it too smooth, too perfect and you It’s one of my all time favourite tracks, there are a don’t make that connection with it at all. couple of reasons. One being that David was pushing Rock and roll should be raw, you should take chances me for the last few years to get recording again. and risk it, it should feel dangerous, you know? For When I told him I was finally going to do it, he said he instance on the opening track “lust And Lies” you would be honoured to sing on a track, the honour of know, it builds the tension then Jan comes in course was all mine. As David was on the road, we screaming, it’s suddenly “bloody hell, there’s had no time to write a new track together. I always something going on here!” wanted to do a version of “Sailing Ships”. As many I’m proud of that element that we managed to people know I was unable to play on the “Slip Of The keep and not polish out. Tongue” album even though I wrote the music, which was frustrating. I didn’t want to use the big ending on It almost lends itself to the question, is there going this version, I was aiming for a reflective, melancholic to be a vinyl release to this album? vibe? Most definitely, that was one of the first things I I always pictured strings, violins on the song asked the president of the record company. I was and thought, right, I’m gonna do it how I want it to be. told yeah for sure, It’s one of the labels preferences. David liked the idea too and recorded the vocals when he was home for a couple of days, still That’s where the sales are improving too, up 300% jetlagged, and captured just how I wanted it. You can over the last year? tell he is a little bit tired, a little melancholic. When I Isn’t that great? The sleeves look so much better too. heard the first mix it was very emotional and

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brought back great memories. When I first wrote the song it was an acoustic piece I wrote for my Mum because she was always nagging me to have an acoustic bit on the albums. I had it on cassette and happened to play it to David who then wanted to sing over it, which is how the song first came together. I know this album is only just coming to release, but now you’re back recording is this the impetus to release more albums? Oh yeah! I want to keep Moonkings together for as long as I possibly can. We are here for the long haul, we want to tour and keep on releasing albums. I just wanted this to be called Moonkings but the label asked to put my name on there too but when I did the cover I put it in small letters so it can be removed later. Adrian I wish you every success with the album as you deserve it on every level and please pass that onto the rest of the band? Thank you! I’ll pass that on! Hopefully we will see you at the couple of live dates we have planned.

Vandenberg's MoonKings Breathing (Official Video)

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6 February 2014, Kings Lynn Corn Exchange, Support Marcus Bonfanti Review and Photos by Jon Seymour

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I’ve been to this venue several times now, and as it’s my hometown venue, you’d think I might have gone a bit more. The truth is though, is that there are very few acts on the yearly programme that I actually want to see.

stories became entwined for a time, and I got to relive some fond memories through them.

Secondly, The Straits aren’t really a tribute band. Sure they were here to play a lot of the music that I grew up with, but the big difference is that this band actually has a couple of the original members in it. The guys that wrote the music they were playing and so the music formed part of their story. Tonight, our

This may have been the first time I’ve seen him live, but I can assure you that it most certainly won’t be the last. He’s a pleasure to watch on stage, and he took the time to speak with everyone at the merch stand and sign the CDs they were buying. So he’s an all round nice guy then? Yes indeed.

Marcus has a truly unique voice. It’s soulful, gravelly and most of all powerful. With just an acoustic guitar, a harmonica and his voice, he filled the room If you want to hear original music, then the Corn from front to back, floor to ceiling. I have absolutely Exchange is not the place to go as a rule, as the no doubt that his voice could fill the big arenas and music program basically consists of tribute acts. still have plenty more in reserve. He’s not one of Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good tribute act, these big powerhouses though. Watching him on but the truth is, that there are some very good ones stage, he looks comfortable, has a certain swagger, around that you can find in the local pubs around my and gets the job done. No fuss, no drama, no home town, so it’s only when something a little problem. different comes along, that I will go out of my way to visit. Tonight is one of those occasions for a couple of From the moment he introduced himself to the reasons. waiting audience, everyone in the room was mesmerised. That’s the kind of stage presence he First up, Marcus and I have spoken on several has. His persona is a cheeky London chap, with a occasions, and we’ve been in contact with each twinkle in his eye, and a glint in his smile. He worked other for over three years, and he’s been a guest on the crowd too, making us all laugh, and telling us the my radio show, but due to scheduling issues and stories behind the songs. He puts everything in, so clashes, I’d never had the opportunity to see him live. that everyone else gets the most out. All the while he This was the first chance I’ve had to catch his live was singing, nobody else made a sound, they just show, and I wouldn’t forgive myself if I’d missed out watched and listened, enthralled by music in one of on it. its simplest forms.

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On to The Straits. Now, Dire Straits were one of the bands I grew up with. Love Over Gold was probably the first album I heard something from, but the first powerful memory I have was being outside in the summer, and a group of builders doing some work on a neighbour’s house were blaring out Money For Nothing. Next thing I knew, was that Brothers In Arms appeared in the car on cassette (remember those?), and we listened to it for weeks on end whenever we went anywhere. As soon as I was able, I bought all of the previous albums myself, and the rest as they say, is history. Being so young, I missed out on the live experience, so for me at least, this was a second chance, so to speak.

were brought out and paraded with great efficiency. It was really a “Dire Straits’ greatest hits” compilation, but hearing the songs live was just sublime. Honestly, at times I could close my eyes and be transported back some thirty odd years. What really struck me though was the way that Mark’s tone was captured almost to a tee. It was uncanny, and several times, in fact more than I can possibly count, I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, my spine tingling, and goose bumps all over. Yes indeed, this was as authentic as you’re ever likely to get.

When you think about Dire Straits though, it’s so easy to stop at Mark. Alan’s keyboard wizardry is as Alan Clark, the man on keyboard duties for The good as anyone in the business, and there were Straits, joined Dire Straits in 1980. Alan would go on many moments that I just watched and listened in to remain with the band throughout the rest of their awe, and Chris too, could make that saxophone cry career. Chris White joined the band in 1985 as their and sing, unlike Guitar George. The rest of the band touring saxophonist, and would play the final Dire consists of Mickey Féat on bass, Adam Philips on Straits world tours before the band broke up in Guitar, James Squire on keyboards, guitars, vocals 1992. and percussion, and Andy Treacey on drums. Each brings their own style, and although these songs The Straits were put together as a one off for a sounded very much like Dire Straits were playing charity event in 2011, yet here they are almost 3 them, they weren’t identical. years later. One of the biggest problems they had was finding someone who could fill Mark’s shoes. Alan, Terence and Chris hung around in the foyer They’re some whopping shoes to fill too. In steps after the show to meet with the fans, and sign Terence Reis (pronounced rage by the way), who by programs, and speak to everyone who wanted to say all accounts could be channelling the great man hi too, and Marcus was still running the merch stand himself. I guess that’s slightly unfair though, as too. All in all, this was a fantastic evening of music, Terence is very much a musician in his own right. His and if like me, you missed Dire Straits in their hay vocals and guitar are similar enough to fit in with the day, The Straits are about as close as you’re ever Dire Straits material, but still different enough to put likely to get. If they’re playing anywhere near you, go his own stamp on things. out and see them. You won’t be disappointed. Throughout the course of the evening, the big guns

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Jon speaks to

Taylor

Momsen of

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First of all, I hope that you’re feeling much better, it must be really difficult to have to cancel a tour. Have the fans in the US been as understanding as you’d hoped they would be? We have never had to cancel a tour before so it’s pretty devastating. For a singer to not be able to sing is even worse. The fans have been so supportive and I am starting to get back to healthy. How would you say the music on your new album has progressed from the older material? We are much tighter as a band since we toured the world for 2.5 years and that really comes across in this record. These songs are honest and raw and what you see on stage is what you hear in the recording. Guitar, bass, drums and vocals. No tricks. No tracks.

What is the proudest moment of your musical career so far? Putting out an album and having the fans sing your songs back to you when you perform is pretty incredible. We just started hearing our single Heaven Knows on the radio for the first time and that was pretty cool. You have to leave suddenly for a long road trip, and you’re only allowed to bring three albums to listen to on the drive. Which three would you take? The Beatles White Album. Die Antwoord’s Tension. Travis The Man Who.

Have you experimented with any new techniques or sounds during recording? I think songwriting in general is always n experiment. Sometimes you come up with a great idea that sounds the way it did in your head and sometimes you move on. You’re touring the UK with Fall Out Boy later in the year, which is a pretty big tour to land, are you excited to be opening for them? We are excited to get back out to the UK and Europe - it has been so long since we’ve seen our fans there. We can’t wait to play new material and we’re looking forward to playing with FOB. Do you have any plans to come back to the UK for more dates later in the year? I love playing the UK. We will definitely be back a few more times.

business today, who would you most like to work with, and why? If John Lennon was here today that would be pretty cool. Otherwise, I pretty much write on my own.

Are there any tracks on the new album that particularly stand out for you? They all standout. It’s like I have 12 children- you just can’t pick one. If you hadn’t been involved in music, where do you think you may have ended up instead? I’d still be writing songs; it’s who I am. What do you like to do outside of music, do you have any other hobbies? I love food and wine and I like to paint and sculpt when I have some free time. What’s the first thing you do after getting back home from a tour? (Using the restroom is not the answer I’m looking for). Sleep.

Who was your biggest inspiration for your musical If you have one piece of advice for anyone starting career? out in music, what would it be? It starts and ends with The Beatles. Don’t compromise your vision. If you could work with anyone in the music

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As the gales and wind howl around the hovel, I throw another anorak on the smouldering fire and gently ease myself into the book, ‘The Living Years’ by Genesis founder member Mike Rutherford!

what Mr Rutherford was getting at exactly there, but he does hint that he didn’t think it was right of Steve to walk away in the way he did. Oh well, maybe, maybe not, but maybe the comment that “Steve was always a slight outsider”, does seem a tad strange. Don’t get me wrong, there is no malice at all in Mike’s writing, no real resentment, just a bit of personal disappointment. So why wouldn’t a reunion work? Well the fact that Mike felt able to comment as he has makes it seem, to this lifelong fan, that the band, especially Mike, now feel that Genesis is the three of them, Banks, Rutherford & Collins. Let’s face it; it was that line up that eventually had the majority of the real success for Genesis, even if we did have to suffer ‘I Can’t Dance’ and ‘Hold On My Heart’ for them to get there! If they did reunite, what would they do? A new album? Probably not, but who knows! Rehash the old favourites? Well Mr Hackett has already done that with great success and much reverence, so do we really want to hear it all again, just because it may or not contain a couple more of the ‘original’ line up! Bring back John Mayhew I say! We all know that we ‘older’ fans would actually sell our Mother’s best China Tea Set or maybe even our Mothers, to get a ticket to see the ‘reunion’, but would it be relevant to today’s prog audience? Would they really care?

In my last scribbling’s I mentioned the annual rumour of a much vaunted Genesis reunion. Well after reading this very personal account of life in Genesis, I’m not so sure that, firstly it will happen and secondly that it would be relevant to today’s progressive rock scene! Ohh controversy or what? I’ll be excommunicated from the temple of prog and left to rot on a compost heap if I’m not careful! Seriously, comments in Mr Rutherford’s entertaining book like, “Steve’s leaving was strange. It was almost a non-moment”. I’m not really sure

I can hear the knives sharpening now and those of you collecting large rocks to throw at me, please make sure you miss my new wooden teeth! Just think about it, what I’d rather have is a new album from the Banks, Rutherford, Collins Genesis, a new prog album from Peter Gabriel and an original album from Mr Hackett, am I being greedy? Anyway, if the ‘Frantic Four’ of Status Quo can reunite and tour, well why not the Fabulous Five of Genesis?

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proportions top and tale the album, but the real gems are probably sandwiched in between. I know of at least one punter who put on the album and only got half way through the first epic track before nodding off and missing the rest of the album. Give this one time and a really good listen, again, nothing wonderfully new or ground breaking, but it is an album for the prog fan who loves to get lost in a long, long, long track or two! Some sad news, Guy Manning and the band have decided that it is time to call an end to the current incarnation of the much loved Manning. Fear ye not, Guy has promised to be working on project with members of the band and has an ‘epic’ project up his sleeve. Knowing Guy he’ll soon be fed up with the easy life and will be back sooner rather than later! Onto some new music, don’t let the rather gruesome looking cover put you off the recent album from the Geof Whitely Project, ‘Hand 2 Eye Coordination’. This Midlands project has been around for a while, but this album, for me at least marks a real landmark. The sound isn’t anything earth shatteringly new, but it is a really solid, well thought out, sensible progressively influenced rock album. Plenty of flourish and flair but no over indulgence, well worth checking out. www.gwpproject.co.uk Talking of over indulgence, the recent album from Transatlantic, Kaleidoscope, is everything you’d expect and more. Two tracks of mammoth

On the up side, Strangfish have announced a return to the live stage. 10th May 2014 is the day, The Wesley Centre; in Maltby near Rotherham is the venue. For tickets check out www.classicrocksociety.co.uk Well I’d better go, need to put more mud on the roof, darn rain! May your 7/8 take root in every tree and you continue to know what you like and like what you know!

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Stoodge Mc Nulty speaks with Dan Hepner of

How have you been finding the responses to your self-titled debut album? Well, when the first couple of reviewers messaged me personally to tell me they loved it, I already felt like we’d achieved what we set out to do creatively. It’s definitely been a success with the critics and we’ve got some great fans on Facebook and Twitter who are really encouraging us and keen to see us gig. We don’t have a record company behind us, and in this era of pirated music, we don’t expect to shift a ton of CDs – but I can see we’re going down a storm on the torrent sites! Right now it’s the first public step for us, so it’s about finding our audience and getting that first connection, whether that’s

through CDs, downloads, streaming, torrents, and hopefully soon gigs. Can you talk us through how the band initially got together? There's still a slight geographical hindrance right? We originally met in 2006 when my old band in Manchester was looking for a new singer. Chris was studying in Liverpool at the time and replied to our advert – bassist Elena and I heard some of his demos on his website and immediately we wanted to work with him– some of those demos like ‘Nothing’ and ‘Bullet To the Brain’ would later end up being recorded for our album. And Chris liked the tracks

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we were doing with my band like ‘I’m Bleeding’. Joining up with Chris took us in a heavier direction, which is where I was starting to head anyway. Soon after we met, Chris had to move to Southend, but we carried on writing together. It’s been a long road but we’re finally at the stage where we can put our material out there, and that feels great.

vocals. When time is tight, they’re the important parts to get down in the studio – final bass and guitars can be done at home and they’ll come out sounding just as good.

How and when did you decide to do your own rendition of 'From Paris to Berlin'? That was Chris’ idea. He originally heard the song in How did this work out when you were writing and a club in Liverpool and thought it would be great with recording the album? some guitars behind it and a crowd singing along These days you can do a lot of recording at home. with the who-oh sections. He brought his original Technology has moved on so much – I can record all demo to the band thinking we probably wouldn’t want my guitar parts at home with killer guitar tones, and to use it, because it’s a bit off the wall, but we all the neighbours don’t even need to know about it! No loved it. It sounds to me like someone mashed up a mics, no amps – my Marshall cab just sits in the disco bassline with Rammstein’s wall of guitars and corner gathering dust. For the first album we created a monster. We asked Infernal, the original tracked all the guitars and bass at home using digital writers/performers for permission to release it, and modellers and my guitars have never sounded we got told they loved it and were jumping round the better. Only the vocals were done in a traditional room to it! We also chose this track to be our first studio environment. We work on our demo ideas video – you can check it out on youtube (http:// independently, share them with each other online www.youtube.com/watch?v=ky3yaF2_ORE). We and then go back and forth developing the strongest have exciting plans to rework the song for a special material. Once we’ve got everything recorded, Chris project too – it’s the kind of thing that just might go mixes and masters everything – that’s what he viral, but we’ll have to wait and see! trained in - and we review it until we’re happy. In regards to touring, have you any plans of ripping Will you be trying out the traditional studio it up on the road this year? approach with your next record? We definitely want to play live this year, so we’re Recording’s already mostly complete and we have currently looking for a drummer to complete the indeed. Recording separately is no problem, but we gigging line-up. But one way or another, we’ll get out have a great time working together too. It just needs there, even if we have to have a drum machine and a a bit more forward planning. So to make it happen, slideshow of Animal from The Muppets on there. We instead of taking regular holidays, Kill or Cure do should have two albums’ worth of songs to choose ‘Band Camp’ – we spent a couple of weeks on our for the set too, so bring it on! holidays together and we headed to the studio. We’re already well on the way to finishing the second Kill or Cure’s debut album is out now in all good album. It’s less about the technology available and digital stores, and CDs are available from more the fact that it’s a good environment to write www.killorcure.co.uk/shop together in with no distractions. Heading to the Facebook: www.killorcure.co.uk studio is like heading to the office, it gets you in the Twitter: www.twitter.com/killorcure right mindset – just more fun! We spent our last Youtube: www.youtube.com/killorcureuk studio week arranging the songs and laying down the

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6 February 2014, The Live Rooms, Chester, Support: Mark Curran Review and Photos by Lee Walker

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‘acoustic’ set isn’t massively different from a normal Quireboys set, ok so the speakers aren’t cranked up as much and there are a few other small differences overall things don’t really change much and with Spike and the guys celebrating their thirtieth year together this year they have a massive back catalogue of material to choose from. Starting as always with Spike on fine form, their experience shows through right from the offset as they effortlessly plough through a set littered with timeless Quireboys classics with songs such as ‘Devil Of A Man’, ‘There She Goes Again’, and ‘Mona Lisa Smiled’ rubbing shoulders with newer material from their recent ‘Beautiful Curse’ album and the traditional Spike banter and stories filling in what little gaps there were in the set, before ending the Having been meaning to try out Chester’s The Live Rooms since it opened its doors this show proved to finally give me the excuse that I was looking for venturing out on what was an otherwise cold, wet miserable night. With tonight’s wet weather dampening peoples spirits Mark Curran faced an uphill battle to get things going. Backed up effortlessly by Voodoo Six’s Matt Pearce, gradually he managed to win the crowd over with his cheeky breed of New Jersey swagger and Bon Jovi style cut back rock n roll music having the desired effect as he played an acoustic set mixing up the current Curran ep ‘Beginning’ with a few tried a tested cover songs to nail home his billing as being ‘rocks best kept secret’. Next up where The Quireboys. It was clear from the very beginning of the night that this was the band that everyone had gathered to watch.As gigs go an set with the what is arguably the Quireboys most known anthem ‘7’Oclock’ before briefly returning for a short encore. The only noticeably gem being missing from this classic performance was ‘Sex Party’ but with a back catalogue of songs that span thirty years you expect there to be the occasional song not making the set and with the Quireboys continuing to put out new material and pull off shows of this standard I would not be at all surprised to see them doing a fortieth anniversary tour.

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Jon Seymour speaks with

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First up, you have a new album out, will that be available after your set? Yeah, I’ll be out there doing my thing after the show. I like doing the merch stand myself, as there’s no commission to pay. I’ve always loved doing it. The first tour I did, which I think was with Robert Cray, I just loved the feeling of finishing the set and sprinting out to the merch stand to see who was there. You never know if anyone’s going to turn up, as not many people come to see the support band, but I’ve always been pleasantly surprised. As a support act, you want to be seen as a bonus to somebody’s evening, rather than half an hour of hindrance before their favourite band comes on. That’s one thing I don’t get about people actually. They’ll buy a ticket then not bother to turn up until the support act has finished, and to me, if you do that, you’ve missed out on the whole gig experience. Yeah I know, but sometimes I get surprised, especially on this tour so far, as I’ve had some quite big audiences to play to. I guess with the seated events that we’ve played to so far, it’s not as important to get in early the way it is with unreserved seats. People want to get their money’s worth though, and the other thing about seated events, is that if you don’t like it, you can just get up and go out to the bar or something, and come back in later to sit in the same seat. I also hear that this isn’t the first time you’ve played with The Straits. Yeah that’s right, I first opened for them when they played the IndigO2 a while back. I don’t know how it came about, but I think we must have had the same booking agent at the time or something. I brought the whole band with me, and we did sort of an electro acoustic set. I had my resonator going through the amp, and the drummer brought down some shakers and stuff. It was a nice way of doing things, as it wasn’t quite an acoustic set, but it wasn’t a full on electric set either. So of course when they invited me along on this tour, it was a bit of a no brainer really, they’re a great bunch of guys, both the crew and the band, and we get on really well.

tour towards the end of the year. Like you say, everyone’s touring at the moment, but as a musician, that’s the only way to do it in my opinion. Yeah you might have the album, but if you go along to a live show, it’s totally different. There’s a different vibe and a different energy. You can also discover something you might have otherwise not even noticed, whether it’s a support act, or a song played in a completely different way. If there’s a better way to do it, I haven’t found it, because I just love going out there and playing, that’s what it’s all about for me. Actually a few people I’ve spoken with before have said that the album and recording process are almost something of an inconvenience. You have to do them of course, but it’s much better to go out and play the songs live. Yeah, but that’s why I loved doing the last record so much. Our producer, Dave Williams, had come and seen us live a few times and said to us “you sound great live, let’s not mess about” and he put us in the studio, and we tracked bass and drums as if we were at a gig, and we got it all on the tape, as we were going reel to reel, and it was great because you got the raw energy. I did the vocals afterwards, and took a little more time over them than I would normally, and it was a great way to do a record. There’s no point getting the band to the point of being telepathic only to go ito the studio and say “right you go and do drum parts for a couple of hours” as it takes a lot of the fun out of it. I did all of the guitar solos with the band, as that’s when they sound the best, and you’re all listening to each other, and move together, and someone may even come up with an idea while you’re all getting into it. I did the same with my second album too, as I can’t think of a better way to do it. It’s funny you say that, as a lot of producers are going back to doing that, as opposed to doing it with different band members doing different parts over the course of a couple of months, and I think the music sounds a lot better for it. Yeah, I just don’t see the point of going and spending two weeks just recording guitar solos. A guitar solo is something that you come up with, and it captures the moment of how you’re feeling, or the story you want to tell. If you have to do the same thing over and over again, it loses that feeling and spontaneity. We went in and recorded the solos, and it was done live, and there’s probably even some mistakes in there too, but no-one cares, because it still sounded great, and that should be the way it is.

So are you planning on going out and doing some dates yourself later in the year? Yeah, as soon as this finishes, I’m getting ready to go out to Germany for a couple of weeks with the band. After that we’ve got some early festival bookings around April so we’ll probably do a few additional dates around them too. Then we’ve got some more festival dates booked for the summer, so again, we’ll probably not go out and do a full tour, I guess then if that was your starting point, then but rather fill the schedule up for sort of five or six taking it out into the live shows is a better days at a time, with the possibility of looking at a full experience?

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Yeah definitely, especially for the audience. You look at any night of the week and there are usually loads of bands playing, and if one person or a thousand people give up some of what little money they have to buy a ticket for your show, and spend the evening with you, then you owe them everything you’ve got. That’s the way I see it, and if I ever stopped seeing it that way, I’d stop playing live altogether. I listen to all of the records that get me going, like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, The Faces and The Stones, and their records sound like there’s a bunch of guys in the studio having the time of their lives. That’s my starting point too, and with that as my starting point, maybe one day I’ll write music as good as those guys wrote music. If I don’t though, at least I’m still having the time of my life. If I was in it for the money, then I wouldn’t have started playing the blues.

soul, and country, and even some of the heavier stuff. I call it the blues, because I write songs about stuff that’s happening right now, whether it’s out in the world, or to me personally. It’s honest music. When you listen to me play, that’s what you get. A glimpse into the way I live my life. The guys who were doing this back in the thirties and forties all wrote about the stuff that was happening to them, and that’s exactly what I do.

So are there any more thing on the horizon that we should know about? Well we’re off to Europe again later this year in November. I’ve also been working on something with Paddy Milner called Jawbone, and we’ve recorded the album for that, which will hopefully be out in the summer, and we’ll probably do some live shows together too. There’s also something called The You say that you play the blues, but there’s a lot Boom Band which is another collaboration. It of other stuff in your music too if you listen. includes Jon Amor, Matt Taylor, Mark Butcher, and Yeah there is, I think it’s really important to have a Paddy Milner was involved in that one as well. That really wide range of influences. Keep your ears open record will also be due out later this year, so 2014 and always try to listen out for new things. You is looking really busy. Then after that, it’s going to be might find a different way of doing something. Maybe time to start thinking about my next record. my music isn’t traditional blues in that sense, but the blues in general is such a massive genre these days. If you listen to my music though, there are probably elements of folk, of rock and roll and a lot more besides. If you look through my record collection you’d find a lot of different music. I like listening to

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‘Monument Builders: Coloseum’ Released in the way, improve the various buildings to produce more materials: it is up to the players to adapt in real Free On iOS And Android Microïds Games for All invites the players to build the roman Colosseum in ‘Monument Builders: Colosseum’ on iOS and Android. The acclaimed ‘Monument Builders’ collection (Time Management games) gets a free version of its 5th volume, dedicated to the Roman Colosseum. The game takes place in the year 72. The construction is about to begin. TheEmperor hires Victorius for this task but Antivirus, a senator, jealous of Victorius’ nomination will try to sabotage the construction site. Players will assist Victorius and protect him from the traps set by his rival. Gather the resources (gold, wood, stones…), deliver the key assets for the construction (scaffoldings, cut stones…) protect the site from Antivirus’ traps: this construction is definitely not a cruise. Each of the 50 levels starts with a list of goals that players have to fulfill within the set time. They have to quickly react according to the situation and organize themselves at best to be as efficient as possible. Clean and rebuild the roads so that the carriages can deliver the goods, get rid of the thieves, barbarians and wild animals who stand

time their action. They are not alone though. Victorius is permanently present on the map to give a helping hand, if needed. Between each mission, players can read many fun facts about the Colosseum. Those facts are also very helpful when Victorius proposes quiz games in the different levels, giving the players the opportunity to win resources for free. Other historical elements can be unlocked as the players progress in the adventure, such as bonus videos or trailers from older games. This fifth title of the “Monument Builders” collection takes all the elements that players love in the saga, stressing this time, on the rivalry between the two senators. Be advised that the game can be entirely finished for free. Bonuses can nevertheless be bought to boost the progression.

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Watch the trailer :

To learn more about StarCrawlers, please visit www.starcrawlers.com or StarCrawlers on Kickstarter. The Kickstarter campaign ends March 13, 2014.

Albion Online Reveals It’s ‘Classless’ System In New Developer Video The Sandbox MMO Gives Players Complete Flexibility With Their Character Choice And Play Style. Sandbox Interactive today unveiled a new video for their upcoming cross-platform Sandbox MMO, Albion Online. The new developer video explains how Starcrawlers Reaches Kickstarter Funding the unique “Classless” system in Albion Online works and how it offers players a flexible and fully Goal! customizable gameplay experience. Albion Online is Juggernaut Games, an independent games expected to go into beta later this year. The new developer, is happy to announce that the company developer video can be seen at: has reached its Kickstarter Campaign goal in just 17 Days! With 13 days left in the campaign, the team and the community are looking forward to achieving additional stretch goals and adding more great content to StarCrawlers. “StarCrawlers is a dream project for the Juggernaut team - we’re so happy to have the opportunity to continue working to shape it into the amazing game we know it will be.” said Asa Enochs, co-designer. “We feel privileged to have been flooded by such overwhelming support from the Kickstarter community and all of our backers.” StarCrawlers was also selected to be showcased at the Media Indie Exchange (the MIX) this year. It will appear alongside other eagerly In Most MMO’s when a player chooses a character anticipated indie titles like Spacebase DF-9 & Hack N they are also assigned a “class”. From the beginning, Slash (Double Fine Productions), Hyper Light Drifter the Albion Online team was determined not to have (Heart Machine), Night in the Woods (Alec Holowka the standard class system so they designed the and Scott Benson), and Heat Signature (Tom game to offer players the opportunity to customize Francis). their own experience. In the new video, players can StarCrawlers is an epic sci-fi party based RPG also learn about the series of spells the game offers dungeon crawler. The player controls a crew of four (all items are player crafted and when players craft Crawlers who venture into procedurally generated these items they can choose from a series of spells dungeons that take the form of anything from and abilities to craft onto the items). The overall abandoned space wrecks to a corporate industrial theme of today’s video highlights the true variety and facilities. Your crew will navigate dynamic and freedom Albion Online’s gameplay offers its players. interactive technology-enhanced dungeons. Hack Albion Online is the first true cross-platform terminals to create shortcuts or find valuable data, MMO, running on different devices including disable or evade a variety of traps, grab as much Windows, iOS and Android at the same time and in salvage as you can carry, and keep your eyes peeled the same world! Albion Online will go into beta in for hidden areas, loot and enemies. 2014 and players can get all the latest updates by Features: following the game on - An atmospheric soundtrack by composer Ben Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ Prunty albiononline - Classic first person dungeon crawling exploration Twitter: @albiononline, or on - Procedurally-generated environments with random Google+ https://plus.google.com/ encounters, traps and enemies u/0/102755040714140552319/posts and on - Deep character customization with abilities that YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/channel/ can be modded and changed UC9gij-VpDFWaaqn1zLM4TEQ - Randomly generated and upgradeable loot For more information, please - PC, Mac, and Linux support

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How to Make Tea Like a Ninja- ft. Dan Pearce

Set against rich hand-drawn environments, players will explore the fantasy world of Aventuria 10 Second Ninja is a blisteringly fast 2D action through Memoria’s bewitching storylines and puzzle game, coming soon to PC and Mac! You are exciting puzzles in this fairy-tale styled adventure. the world's first Ninja and you are awesome. Nazi The free demo is available now to download via robots from space are trying to take over the world Steam: and you are tasked with eliminating all menacing http://store.steampowered.com/app/243200/ mechanical enemies in each stage in 10 seconds or Or can be directly downloaded from: less. PC: Indie publishers Mastertronic are working with http://memoria.daedalic.de/downloads/ the game's developer, Dan Pearce to celebrate the Memoforthcoming launch with a series of 10 second(ish) ria_PC_Demo_1.2_DE_EN_RU_Daedalic_noDRM.ex trailers. e The third in the series: 'How to Make Tea Like a Mac: Ninja- ft Dan Pearce, 10 Second Ninja’: http://memoria.daedalic.de/downloads/ Memoria_OSX_Demo_1.2_DE_EN_RU_Daedalic_noDRM.d mg Memoria is now available from digital download portals for £16.99. http://memoria.daedalic.de/en/ http://facebook.com/daedalic

Carmageddon: Reincarnation to launch as an Early Access release on Steam! 10 Second Ninja will launch on March 5th on Steam and pre-order now on GetGamesGo.com For more info about 10 Second Ninja check out the website:www.10SecondNinja.com or find us on Twitter and FacebookFacebook- www.facebook.com/MastertronicGames Twitter- #10SecondNinja #ThinkFast @Mastertronic @GameDesignDan

Delve into the Magical World of Memoria for Free Daedalic Release Demo For The Enchanting Adventure Game. Award-winning German publisher Daedalic Entertainment release the first chapter of the critically acclaimed adventure Memoria as a free demo. The demo allows players to dive into the captivating world of The Dark Eye and begin the enchanting adventure of Memoria. Discover the forgotten legend of Sadja, the warrior princess who disappeared mysteriously without a trace as well as the adventure of Geron, the young bird catcher battling to save his cursed beloved. Their two tales become forever intertwined as Geron must solve Sadja’s mystery to rescue his true love from the shackles of the fatal curse.

Blood, Laughs, Amazing Pile-ups and more Cows than ever! Stainless Games announces that on the 27th of March 2014, fans who have been waiting for what has seemed an eternity (but is actually a mere 17 years) will finally be able to play the sequel to the original “points for pedestrians” car smash carnage-fest Carmageddon, as the Early Access release of Carmageddon: Reincarnation launches on Steam. From the 27th of March 2014, the legion of long time Carmageddon fans, plus lovers of excess virtual violence everywhere will get to wreak havoc, pain and hilarity once more. This Early Access release is a milestone, as it marks the beginning of a new era in the Carmageddon story. Kickstarter Backers will be able to get behind the wheel two weeks before the Steam Early Access release. The resulting game (which is now at the Pre-Alpha phase) has even more laughs, more bodily fluids, more thrills, more smashes and more... cows than ever. “It’s brilliant to see our demonic baby rise screaming from the grave,” said Patrick Buckland, co-founder and CEO of Stainless Games and creative genius behind Carmageddon, “This time we could finally do the stuff that we wanted to do 17 years ago. More blood was the main thing. Rivers of livers – that’s what we wanted. Being publisher as well as developer means we get to be stupid. Properly, professionally stupid. And this game is stupider than Jupiter. I mean really silly – but in a good way.

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Nobody else makes games that make you cry with laughter – but we do. And did I mention the livers?" Neil ‘Nobby’ Barnden, co-founder, Brand Director and “the other one” behind the original Carmageddon, added: “Blood and laughs. Amazing pile-ups. Awesome PowerUps. Insane… Insanity. The team is fantastic, the love we have for the title shines through, and even though the game is still pre-alpha it’s a bloody hoot to play!”

Spotlight on Van Helsing II The first game in the trilogy, The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing, currently available worldwide via Steam on Windows PC and Mac OS X, is an action-RPG that pits players in fierce battles against familiar supernatural foes and also enables players to partake in a tower-defense mini-game within Van Helsing’s upgradable Lair to ward off evil that attempt to overrun the base by way of force. Free Demo is available on Steam. Facebook: /VanHelsingTheGame DevBlog: devblog.neocoregames.com Twitch: /neocoregames Twitter: @VanHelsingGame Forums: forum.neocoregames.com YouTube: NeocoreGamesVideos

So you thought that one mysterious stranger would be enough for a city like Borgova? Well, you were mistaken. Van Helsing, fabled monster-hunter and current leader of the Resistance has now a new ally, and he has to accept that he is not the only one wearing a mask around here. There is a faceless man with magical powers hunting the streets of Borgova, helping the battle against the armies of Weird Science. But what is he exactly? Monster or victim? The former test subject of the mad professors, or “Prisoner Seven”, as the Resistance fighters call him, is a secret in himself, but Van Helsing needs his help before his new arch-enemy, the powerful General Harker destroys everything he was fighting for… Part 2 - Introducing the Runecrafting System In this series we are examining each of the announced features from The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II in great detail. Last time we introduced Van Helsing’s personal beast, the Chimera, and now we are slipping into a previously uncharted HC-gamer territory by showing you the complex system of Runecrafting. Watch as a developer takes you into the world of crafting runes and magical items:

Read a little Developer Q&A to get more familiar with the Runecrafting System

The Men Behind the Masks Part 1 - The mysterious Prisoner Seven Spring is slowly creeping upon us, and the mysterious release date for the upcoming The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II is getting closer. We have teased you already with the game's features, plenty of weapon concepts and even with a journey to the land of Borgovia in the previous weeks but now it's time for a real treat. In this series we will introduce you to a few key characters from The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II, well, at least to those who have their faces covered. After all, every decent hero hides his face. It’s time to enter the dark side of Borgova and the forbidden wilderness, but beware because this time: You are not the only one behind a mask.

What is Runecrafting? An additional in-game crafting method that supplements the already existing Forging option. Through this process players can create many different kinds of items, even ones that did not exist before. Why do we need an additional crafting method? Because difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor strengthens the body (Seneca for Hunters Vol.1.)? But seriously, we wanted to keep crafting viable throughout the endgame content, something that keeps the most dedicated gamers busy. Could you tell us something about the basics of the crafting?

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The system will use fragments. You gain fragments will turn your items into something unique. when you take apart an item, which is for free, by the way. The rarity of the item and its additional features determine the exact number of fragments you'll get. The fragments you get this way will be stored on a separate tab. Is that it? I collect fragments and get cool stuff? Dream on, friend. There are two basic types of fragments for each item: a base fragment (the quality depends on the rarity) and an enchantment fragment (based on the items enchantment, the very thing that gave it power: the nice + properties we all like so much). You will need to collect 10 pieces of each type of Fragment, in order to turn them into either an Enchantment or a Master Rune. Can I use the same Runes for additional effects? Naturally. If you don’t want to test your luck, you can Can I turn Fragments into Runes for free? use the same type of runes to max out the No, it’s a material world, and you’re a material enchantment bonus (i.e. critical hit). Hunter who made a ton of gold hacking and slashing. Time to put that gold to use. I’m not cut out for this. Is this whole Runecrafting mandatory? Of course not! It's all optional. The system is available for those who complete a particular quest, and later there will be a specific character - a certain mechano-magician dwarf - who will let you access these options. But we hope you will give it a shot, because it’s worth it. Also watch us next week on 6th March at 11am PST streaming The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II for the very first time on Twitch.

This sounds awfully complicated. How will I not get lost ingame? There will be a user-friendly interface with short tooltips that detail the process step to step. Ok, I have the Runes. What’s next? You grab an item and place a Master Rune on the lucky thing. The Master Rune will unlock the available enchantment slots. You can also unlock additional slots for critical hits, increased essence capacity and other useful features. There is more to that, of course, much more, but for now this might give you the basic idea. The crafting system is very exact and

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Black Wolf - The Hunt Record Label: Self Release

9/10 Released: 2 March 2014

Highlight of the album: Only Said In Silence Website: www.ukblackwolf.com/ Reviewer: Rob Birtley

I have to say Black Wolf was a name that rang a small bell rather than Big Ben in my mind. Then I remembered they were support for the upcoming The Answer tour so my interest suddenly deepened. I am glad to say it did.

strangely as good as it is may be it is my least favourite track on the album. The second track is the current single and rather better in my opinion. The album itself is littered with more highlights than found on the hair of a super model. Listen out for ‘Faith In Me’, ‘Raised On The Sun’ and ‘Dragging Ghost’ especially. There is a Black Wolf are a five piece band hailing from Bristol deft mix of tempo on this release as on all good Blues and’ The Hunt’ is their long awaited debut album and what a debut it is. Influences well all bands have them Rock recordings and these boys can play and the singer, Scott Sharp, has a fine voice especially for this but when you draw on a classic mix on Soulful Blues type of music so they don’t need to keep up the sonic Rock, with a nod of the head to Free/Bad Company and a number of U.S. Southern Rockers it is hard to go attack all the time and can slow it down and still be rocking. wrong. Serving up a heady brew as potent as a hip flask of Jack on an empty stomach and almost as Finally if you like The Answer, Rival Sons, Black Crowes, the Temperance Movement and the quieter moments intoxicating. of Voodoo Six then you’ll love these guys. The album opens with the up tempo ‘Mr Maker’

The Damn Bats - The Dracula Crest (EP) /Fever Blood (Single) Record Label: Self Release

9/10

Released: TBC

Highlight of the album: Doomed Website: www.facebook.com/thedamnbats Reviewer: Rock ‘n’ Roll Preacher

How is this band NOT signed? What the hell is wrong with record labels? I’m sure that vocalist Major Mistake would modestly shrug it off and say he’s happy doing things the old fashioned Punk DIY way, but still – it really is a criminal injustice! If you’ve not heard of them before, or you’ve heard them but don’t know about them, you might (quite wrongly as it happens) assume that The Damn Bats are a British Punk band, when in fact they hail from the windy city – Chicago, over in the ‘states! The band sound and feel is a heady mixture of British sensibilities but with added American ‘crunch’, and it works absolutely brilliantly!

Punk luminary would lend his skills to them! The songs cut and scythe with gleeful vicious abandon, whilst the production is crisp and thick, making it positively a joy to listen to! “Kill Or Cure”, “The Raven”, and “Dracula Rises” snap and growl like a furious guard dog, straining at a musical leash with rabid intensity! It’s intoxicating stuff! Bonus tracks “The Madness” and “Drac Punk” are a humorous nod to the band’s seminal influences, and are lyrically delightfully tongue in cheek!

Moving on to the “Fever Blood” single, it shows a slightly different twist to the band’s sound and style. The title track itself moves and grooves with sinuous Alongside the Major, you will find Dr Pizza on guitars/ ease, and could easily have come off The Cult’s bass guitars, and Zac D’licious on drums,. SO what DO “Electric” sessions, in fact HAD it been a Cult song, it they sound like? Well, yes there are elements of The would have been a huge hit! The ‘b-side’ is a riotously Damned about them, but also The Misfits, UK Subs, joyful tear through of The Damned’s “New Rose”, and is Flesh For Lulu, The Ramones, Sham 69, even hints of very respectful not to lose sight of the original, it’s done The Stranglers, The Major’s voice is powerfully raw and with real class and passion, and is a real credit to the caustic, his lyrics spitting venom like a Benzedrine Puff band. Adder! The band is supremely tight, yet swagger with Check this amazing band out asap, I cannot commend belligerent ease, and ooze ‘fuck off’ attitude from every them to you highly enough, and personally can’t get pore! They are sonically a blast to revel in! enough of their anarchic brilliance! “The Dracula Crest” EP is a six song offering, featuring the legendary Damned drummer on opening salvo “Doomed”, it says volumes for the band that such a

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The Infinite Staircase - No Amends Record Label: Self Release

8/10

Released: 15 November 2013

Highlight of the album: The Optimist Website: www.theinfinitestaircase.com/ Reviewer: Jon Seymour

First up, this is a mini album, well at least it would seem that way. Seven tracks isn’t what we’d call a full album, but that’s too many for an EP. Mini album it is then, ok? So what else is it? Well just hang on and I’ll tell you. Blimey, you’re pushy, sheesh!

to extremes. Everything about this is just quality. In fact the only fault I can find with it, is that it’s only seven songs, and that’s the reason I can’t give it a nine or a ten rating. I would have really loved to hear more from this band, so I guess we’re just going to have to wait until next time. For now though, get lost on The Infinite It’s a really nice slab of rock music. You can pick up a southern drawl occasionally too, or at least I could, but Staircase, because it’s an awesome place to find yourself in. maybe my hearing’s slurred. The songs are memorable too. They’ll find their way into your head and stay there. It’s one of those albums that you want to sit in your car with the windows open, the wind in your hair, and the music up loud. This is just really good driving rock. IN fact, it’s really good music to do pretty much anything to. No matter what you’re doing, it’ll make it go a lot faster. The melodies are infectious, the vocals are just gruff enough to make them edgy without going

Blackbird - Of Heroes And Enemies Record Label: Pure Rock Records

10/10

Released: 28 March 2014

Highlight of the album: Of Heroes And Enemies Website: www.blackbirdrocks.de/ Reviewer: Graham Pritchard

When I first listened to this album I thought cool Airbourne have a new album out then I looked at it again and thought hang on this is not Airbourne this is a band called Blackbird what’s going on here? A band that looks and sounds like Airbourne but are not said band.Ok so in reality Blackbird have been called the European Airbourne by the press and this is something the German band seem to latch on to. Their stage antics are very similar to the Aussie rockers not to mention the guitar work so anyone could be forgiven for thinking they are a tribute band. They are however a very serious rock band who write their own material and rock hard and fast. If you like the likes of Airbourne and AC/DC then you should love these guys. I know I do. So what about the album? Following on from their 2011 release ‘It’s Only Rock n Roll’ which reminds me of ‘Fastway’ when they did the ‘Trick or Treat’ album they have another ten tracks of pure mental rocking tunes with dirty vocals, gritty guitars and plenty of attitude which is how rock should be. ‘Of Heroes And Enemies’ whilst not fresh is everything I

love about rock and from the first track ‘Fire Your Guns’ to the very last ‘Right To Rock’ you will get no let up as these guys appear to travel at 1000 MPH and love to party. The title track is one example of how good these guys are. In parts singer Angus Dersim sounds a lot like Joel O'Keeffe and in others like Brian Johnson and given both bands track record that cannot be a bad thing. Whether Blackbird can achieve a similar amount of success remains to be seen. However I would like that think that if they came to the UK to play then they would be as big as they are in Europe. So they sound like other well-known bands so what that’s no big deal I can think of so many other bands that sound like that band or this band and they are still around. Blackbird have followed a tried and tested recipe and ok it’s hardly original but the songs are their own and there is enough of the bands own soul to make it different and not detract from the fact that this is a dam good album and I for one am loving it.We need more bands like this who are not afraid to put a big two finger up to the music industry and say we will play what we love to play. Blackbird I salute you now get your butts to the UK.

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Pirate Copy - The Shape Of Piracy To Come Record Label: Self Release

8/10

Released: 2013

Highlight of the album: The Crew Website: www.facebook.com/piratecopyband Reviewer: Rock ‘n’ Roll Preacher

Avast thar ye scurvy landlubbers! Grab yer flagons and yer bottles o’ rum, grab yer parrots and yer peg legs, and come aboard the good ship Pirate Copy … Kernow’s finest Piratecore Folk Punk band! Be ye ready to sing saucy shanties and bellow along with mead infused odes to all things piratical! Step lively ye wastrels … there be looting to be done, alkyhol to be imbibed, and wenches to be corrupted! AAAAAAARRRRRRR!!! These renegade reprobates hail from Hayle as it so ‘appens! Think the Dropkick Murphies partying with The Ramones, The Pogues, and Rocket From The Crypt … and ye’ll be getting’ a fair vision o’ the lunacy involved ‘ere! The six lads and lasses of the crew are named on wanted posters countywide as ‘Cap’n Kernow’ (vocals), ‘The Admiral’ (guitars), ‘Johnny ‘Danger’ Danger’ (bass cannons), ‘Ashtiki The Caveman’ (hitting and banging on things), ‘Scarlette van Dyke’ (Ukelele’s), and ‘Finger The Cabin Boy’ (guitars)!

the shores of the South West, and are feared and revered in equal measure, their chest of ill gotten booty goes with them to each show, and the band insist on payment in rum ONLY!!! They love to party, and their devoted barroom fans love to jig and caterwaul with ‘em! They don’t believe that there is life north of Bristol … believing it to be a place inhabited only by mythical beasts! There be five ditties to be found ‘ere, all riotously rough ‘n’ ready odes t’ criminal life on the ocean waves, they be as follows: “The Crew”, “Sail For Adventure”, “I’ll Bring The Rum”, and two ‘bonus live tracks, “Yarr” and “Walk The Plank”, all gloriously shipshape and briztol fashion! Zoider time me ‘earties!!! Just don’t f*** with the ‘cos they f*** with you …they aaaaarrrrrr The Pirate Crew!

These scurvy cutthroats ply their wicked trade around

Asia - Gravitas Record Label: Frontiers Records

8/10 Released: 25 March 2014

Highlight of the album: Gravitas Website: www.originalasia.com Reviewer: Rob Birtley

Gravitas is the fourteenth studio album from Asia. It was written and produced by John Wetton and Geoff Downes and marks a watershed moment for the band with the departure of the guitar legend that is Steve Howe and his replacement with the young gun Sam Coulson.

number of Asia albums to great effect. It also marks the start of Coulson’s rockier playing making an impact on the overall sound. Stand out moments well this release sparkles with a number of gems. With ’The Closer I Get’ and ‘Heaven Help Me’ being real growers.

I do have to declare an interest in being a long-time fan of the band but also being a little disappointed with their last outing in 2012 with ‘XXX’ after the splendid 2010 release’ Omega. Talk coming out of the Asia camp with the retirement of Howe to work on other projects was the rest of the band wanted a different tougher direction to the music and the addition of Sam Coulson was a part of this process. So you may say ‘Gravitas’ was an Album I awaited with some interest and not a little trepidation.

I suppose the question hard core Asia fans would ask is what about the new boy? well Sam Coulson holds his end up well and gives a certain freshness to the sound but I would have liked to hear a bit more of him may be next time? The album as a whole well may not be quite as good as ‘Omega’, but is thankfully head and shoulders better than ‘XXX’.

The album opens with ‘Valkyrie’, the track which was originally to be used as the album’s title and listening tells you just why. Next is the title track ‘Gravitas’ is the classic love lost track a theme often explored on a

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Firebrand Magazine


Kamchatka - The Search Goes On Record Label: Despotz Records

9/10

Released: 19 February 2014

Highlight of the album: Broken Man Website: www.kamchatka.se Reviewer: Jon Seymour

This is one of those albums that starts as it means to go on. It comes out of gate fast and hard. It’s pretty much a straight ahead rocker, with a few twists and turns along the way. You can certainly tell that its roots are very much seated in the blues though, which is by no means a bad thing.

appearance of flowing along rather than being a stop start affair.

Yes this album is very well thought out from start to finish, and it’s played with feeling, conviction and proficiency. In fact I can’t find that much not to like. It’s a very good album, but I’m not sure yet if it’s a great The opening track is something that wouldn’t be out of one. Maybe a few more listens will help me to decide, place on a Black Sabbath album, and the next track but for now, very good is about as good as it’s going to would fit in on a Joe Bonamassa album. Throughout get. the album, there are shifts in tempo and rhythm, and it keeps you guessing. What it does well though, is take you through a long list of influences in no particular order. I would have to say though, that the album has a predominantly Free/Bad Company kind of vibe, albeit a little heavier. That again is no bad thing at all. It’s strong both musically and vocally, and the songs are very well crafted and fit together really well. Even the running order is logical, with each song naturally progressing from the last one. This gives the album the

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Firebrand Magazine


Molly Bloom - Molly Bloom (Self Titled) Record Label: Self Release

8/10

Released: TBC

Highlight of the album: All Pressure Website: www.mollybloom.co.uk Reviewer: Rock ‘n’ Roll Preacher

How do you define and describe a band who ARE Punk but conversely aren’t. Who ARE folk but also aren’t, and who ARE Rock, but simply aren’t either? The answer is you stop trying – and just enjoy the music for the eclectic madness that it is! Because of the use of a singing flautist, the band are well aware that there will be inevitable and tedious comparisons to Jethro Tull – which by default then means that these firebrands are some tiresome ‘70’s throwback – well they frickin’ well are NOT!

through an amp), that makes most egotistical shredders look positively flaccid! He is stylistically alone, I can think of no comparison to him, you just listen with jaw-dropping admiration as he makes his guitar wail and sing with frenetic passion! Who needs an electric guitar? Not Tyrion for sure!

The band’s dynamically thunderous rhythm section is comprised of Dereck Smith (bass guitars/mandolins) and Andy Hunt (drums), and the two rhythm devils drive the band with ferocious percussive power, giving Add to that that saying the words Jethro Tull to gravel the music real vibrant urgency, the full quartet are an throated vocalist Steve “Dogdung” Dundon may lead to absolute joy to experience both aurally, and are simply serious personal injury (he is a very intimidating and rampant in concert! imposing biker with large fists, a thousand yard stare, There are four songs on offer here: “Last One Rings and steel toe capped boots!). They are a musical fusion Out”, “Mistress Winter”, “Under The Bed” and “All of rare and exclusive styles, that should have massive Pressure”, the music is dramatic, twisting and turning cross appeal to fans of Punk, Folk, Rock, Prog, and fans with sinuous ease, totally unfettered and stridently of great music in general! barbed, you find yourself being battered into grateful The fiery frontman aside, the band has an astonishingly submission by the band’s unyielding intensity – so why talented acoustic guitarist in the form of Tyrion Moses, fight it? Revel in the spectacular drama of their unique he does things to an acoustic guitar (plugged in attack! Simply marvelous!

Defy Tolerance - Stop The Bleeding Record Label: Able Records

10/10

Released: 10 July 2014

Highlight of the album: Empty Bottle Website: www.defytolerance.com Reviewer: Jon Seymour

When this album kicks off, you think it’s going to be one of those really heavy albums, that’s more thrash than anything. It’s not though. It’s heavy, just not really heavy, if that makes sense. It does hit you hard though, make no mistake. What it does beautifully, is blindside you with some really nifty choruses, and it’ll get you animated before you even know what’s going on.

formula is great, and it works on many levels, even though at times you are caught thinking that it really shouldn’t.

Musically, there’s a lot of variation, from grunge, to straight ahead rock and a lot more besides. All the way through though, the songs are damned good, and the music has a sound that makes it seem almost Put this album on in the car, and before you know it, comforting. It’s familiar, but at the same time different. you’re up to licence losing speeds. It just makes you It’s got something that you can’t quite put your finger want to go, and go fast. It’s kind of weird in that on. The best way around that though, is to let yourself respect, because at first you think it might be slow and be taken over, because this album just oozes class. ponderous, and admittedly it does start off that way, but once it gathers momentum, there’s not really anything that’s going to stand in its way. Remember when Nickelback were good? You know, before Silver Side Up. When they showed a lot of promise? Well Defy Tolerance are the band that Nickelback should have become. They take the heavy rock sound, and then put some rather catchy melodies in there, along with some seriously good choruses. The

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Firebrand Magazine


Dead White & Blue - Mary Jane Record Label: Self Release

10/10 Released: 10 July 2014

Highlight of the album: Rain Website: www.deadwhiteandblue.com Reviewer: Jon Seymour

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this band, and although a lot of people like to research a band before they listen, sometimes it’s best to do the opposite, as the element of surprise is often one of the best things to come out of it. This is a huge slab of sleaze/gutter rock. It’s down, dirty and has a truck load of attitude. It’s pretty menacing too. The lyrics are injected with some genuine malice and vehemence, and the music backs them up. These guys are really pissed off at the world by the sounds of it, but they get their point across none the less, and very effectively too.

wrecking ball and shove it up her ass, and I’d also wager a lot of people would like to see them do it, but I digress. This is a cracking album, full of sleaze and grime. It’s the seedy crowded bar in the alley basement, it’s that strip club that everyone knows is there but nobody actually admits going to. You know it’s bad, but you keep going back again and again and again.

There’s nothing clean about this album at all, and it will leave you feeling like you want to douse yourself with lice powder, and shower repeatedly until you’ve rubbed your skin raw. When you’ve done that though, you’ll go back and listen again. It’s like one of those guilty pleasures. You know it’s wrong, but it just feels so damned good. Miley Cyrus looks like an angel if you compare her to these guys. I’d wager they’d take her

The Surgeons - Beer & Books EP Record Label: Self Release

8/10 Released: 2013

Highlight of the album: I Wish I Was Young Website: www.surgeonspenzance.com Reviewer: Rock ‘n’ Roll Preacher

The Surgeons are a Cornish and West Country Punk legend! Formed in 1977, their career and music has now spanned four decades, and sadly, 2014 will see the band finally bowing out, and all of their fans wish they would reconsider! The trio Pete Kliskey (guitars and vocals), Mike Kliskey (bass guitars and vocal), and Jimmy Jewell (drums and vocals) are incredibly accomplished musicians, and as a unit, are tight on an almost telepathic level! They have put out numerous EPS and albums, and have toured with The Damned, Sham 69, Stiff Little Fingers, Subhumans, and The Bus Station Loonies. They have appeared at numerous prestigious festivals including Rebellion and Nice N Sleazy, and have founded The 3 Chords Festival down here in Cornwall, which is now in it’s second successful year! In my opinion that’s a pretty fine legacy for any band to leave to posterity!

They veer from seeing the big picture “Homage To A War” and “State Of The Nation”, to tongue in cheek and every day – “I Saw Stan Bowles In B&Q”. “Tuss”, and “Ray Mears Is Lost”. Here on their “Beer & Books” EP it’s more of the same … thankfully! Opening with the rant against old age/lament to lost youth “I Wish I Was Young”, it’s classic Surgeons all the way! “Wine Fever”, “Wise Up”, “International Pornstars”, “New Stone Age”, and the wonderfully funny “Beer & Whisky” … the six songs blast past in a giddy 13 minutes, and every song is a bona fide classic! Available for a paltry £2.50, this EP is astonishingly good value for money, and is available from their website and from all the gigs they play! Grab it and see them before it’s too late! Simply great!!!

The music is foot stomping, air punching sing-a-long Punk Rock, always short and sharp, never wasteful or excessive, while lyrically being politically acerbic, yet always having a ‘down home Cornish’ charm to them.

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Potential Victims - Chewing Gum For The Brain EP Record Label: Self Release

9/10

Released:

Highlight of the album: Even The Score Website: www.facebook.com/potential.victims Reviewer: Rock ‘n’ Roll Preacher

It has always been said that Motorhead were the Heavy Metal band who fused that genre to Punk Rock, creating something altogether new and unholy. Lemmy, of course, has always dismissed the HM label, but it helps here as a reference. So, WHAT IF Motorhead had been a purebred Punk band? Well they might well have sounded exactly like Rochdale’s Potential Victims! Here is a band that should not only be loved by punks, but revered by Metallers, as with Motorhead now seemingly in their twilight years – here are their natural successors! If you’re a fan of the ‘Head, Anti-Nowhere League, The English Dogs, or GBH, you’ll definitely love everything about the Pot Vics!

venomous vocals, and almost football terrace chanting chorus’s. The production is taut and crisp, allowing every instrument to breathe freely. This 5 song EP clocks in at a tasty 20 minutes, never outstaying its welcome, and as any great album should, leaves you baying for more! Currently cutting a bloody, fucking, sweat-stained swathe through the UK Punk scene, creating waves of admiration wherever they gig, and with exhausted audiences at every venue leaving as converts after every joyous performance, these reunited UK legends are enjoying greater success second time around than they could ever have expected.

The fiery quartet, Dave (vocals/guitars), Tony (bass guitars), Martin (guitars), and Toz (drums), originally formed back in 1984, now as then, play a hard, fast, and loose kind of Punk Metal that swaggers with belligerent intent and formidable ease. The music moves and grooves organically, fuck off riffs matched to thunderous rhythms, topped with sneering

The Pretty Reckless - Going To Hell Record Label: Cooking Vinyl

10/10

Released: 17 March 2014

Highlight of the album: Blame Me Website: www.goingtohell.me/hell Reviewer: Jon Seymour

So this is that dreaded and very difficult second album from these guys. Fronted by that firecracker who is Taylor Momsen, these guys look to be here to stay, and that’s not bad thing, no bad thing at all. So is this album just more of the same? No not really. Yes of course there are similarities to the first album, but it’s progressed a little further than that. You always expect a little evolution though, and frankly I’d have been disappointed not to find any. It’s a cracking album though, that’s for sure. There’s a lot of attitude on this album, and some sass too. It’s a big two-fingered gesture to pretty much everything, and it’s got a great degree of honesty to it. The vocals are damned good too, almost sounding bluesy and soulful at times, and at others just spat out with some serious venom behind them. Let your guard down, and these guys will tear you a new one.

could handle in a week. Yep, this is the group of people hanging out on the corner that you cross the road to avoid, or quicken your steps if they’re walking behind you. There are moments of vulnerability though, and when the music and vocals are stripped back, it sounds truly beautiful. So is this better than the debut album? Yes I believe it is. Is it good? No it’s not, it’s much better than that. I was really looking forward to hearing this album, and I can honestly say that it’s exceeded my expectations on all counts.

Musically, it sounds sleazy. It’s pretty much “gutter rock” and would be at home in the alley behind the off licence with more alcoholic beverages than you or I

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Dischord - The Wakes Record Label: Self Release

9/10 Released: 2013

Highlight of the album: Vote For No-One Website: www.musicisdead.co.uk Reviewer: Rock ‘n’ Roll Preacher

Blackpool is home to the legendary Punk festival ‘Rebellion’, therefore most people imagine it’s a friendly inviting safe haven for any musician with Punk or Hardcore persuasions? Sadly you would be quite wrong. Once a year Blackpool does indeed make welcome Punks, crusties and the perceived mohawked, tattooed multitude, but for 51 weeks a year, it is not a good place to be for any local alternative beings to live or work musically.

acidic vocals, the onslaught is remorseless, it’s akin to being punched in the face by a God! The 12 songs rip and tear with savage sonic abandon – Chris’s raging vocals and outraged lyrics piercing every obstacle in their course.

“Seaside Suicide”, “I Came Here To Ruin Your Life”, “Animals In The Palace”, Lights, Camera, Satisfaction!” and “Recession” are all modern classics, seething with contemptuous sneering wrath, while the screamingly So from this bleak background come Anarchist Hard- anthemic “Vote For No-One” has become one of my core Punk quartet Dischord – Chris (vocals), Dave favourite songs EVER – it should be THE song that we (guitars), Zowie (bass guitars), and Neil (drums). A all remember as the next UK general election band full of sound and fury, genuine belligerent outrage, approaches. Utter genius! and wholesome righteous rage at the crumbling unjust “The Wakes” is a genuinely monumental genre classic, world we live in today! They have already made a big it rises above many of its contemporaries by dint of its name for themselves playing the Nice ‘N’ Sleazy and 3 pure blunt force savagery and soaring viciousness. Chords festivals, as well as supporting The Subhumans Absolutely Essential! and 999 amongst others. “The Wakes” is a beautifully constructed album, huge twisting riffs, bone crunching rhythms, and scaldingly

Jonny Edwards - Aggression Through Repression Record Label: Submission Records

8/10

Released: February 2014

Highlight of the album: I Hate Redditch Website: www.jonnyedwards.yolasite.com Reviewer: Rock ‘n’ Roll Preacher

Jonny started life fronting The Sus-Sex Pistols, where he gained a certain notoriety as the founder of the first of the Sex Pistols tribute bands. From there he founded The Essex Pistols, before renaming the project Rotten. If you’re a UK motorsport officianado, you may also recognize him as the guitarist from The Rev.Limit Showband in In later years he has played guitar and fronted Freakshow, and then ‘70’s Retro punks Dirty Psycho (think New York Dolls on steroids!), and now is striking out on his own, with this his sophomore solo album, which is far more pure punk than the debut “Ain’t So Blue”. In “Agression Thru Repression” you find Jonny reveling in his musical roots, as in old school ‘70’s Punk Rock, which means big tunes, big riffs, big chorus’s and plenty of attitude! As with his multiple releases as Rotten, here Jonny plays everything and sings, and does so with great aplomb. The album itself is a mix of top-notch original compositions, and some obscure covers by The Maggots, The Ramones, and Richard Berry. Kicking off with the one/two sucker punch combo of “”Punk Rock Bonnie & Clyde”, and “Selfish Bastards”, it’s a head on rush into chunky muscular tuneful Punk rifferama.

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Immediately following that are a barrage of modern classics … “Regi-Mental Is Free”, a blistering cover of The Maggots “Let’s Get Tammy Wynette, a heartfelt lament to the late Clash Legend Joe – in “Strummer”, before powering into my personal favourite “I Hate Redditch” which is simply glorious! There is simply no let up as the album roars towards its end … “”Delusional Man”, “Health Freaks”, “Zombie Punk Rocker” and album closer “Freakazoid!”, there are no weak links, nary a drop in quality … just endless boundless energy and shin kicking verve! As if that’s not enough, Jonny decided to include some extra tracks for your aural delectation, so as a ‘free EP’ of sorts, Jonny offers up “Questioningly”, a cover of The Ramones “Have Love, Will Travel”, and three ‘live’ tracks, “Asshat”, She’s The Disease”, “”Let’s Get Tammy Wynette”, and finally a killer take on “Strummer”, which I think is even better than the studio version! This album deserves to be heard, it really does, to coin a cliché it’s “Meaty, Beaty”, Big & Bouncy”, and is a simply cracking non stop rocker – which I commend to you totally!

Firebrand Magazine


Sunn O))) / Ulver - Terrestrials Record Label: Southern Lord

9/10 Released: 4 February 2014

Highlight of the album: Eternal Return Website: www.sunn.southernlord.com Reviewer: Rock ‘n’ Roll Preacher

North American Drone Gods Sunn 0))) are a band who define experimentation and musical cross pollination, whether it was with UK Psyche God Julian Cope, to Japanese extremists Boris, to British soundfreak Daniel O’sullivan, via Australian multi-instrumentalist Oren Ambarchi, through to Hungarian (Mayhem vocalist) Attila Csihar, Norwegian extremist Lasse Marhaug, British Neo-Martial Industrialists Nurse With Wound, and now with Norwegian legends Ulver – their search for new tones and new sound is breathtaking in it’s scope and vision – and I firmly believe they will only get stranger and more fantastical as they continue. Stephen O’Malley has become THE guitar player revered by other extremist players everywhere – his unwavering quest for the perfect drone, whether bestial and primal, or haunting and sublime, has become the thing of legend, and yet he is THE most unassuming and gentle person to speak with, truly a living contradiction. From Sunn 0))), Khanate, KTL, Grave Temple, Aethernor, Pentemple, Stephen’s astonishing fretwork is the stuff of endless discussion and fascination with guitarists worldwide. His musical guitarist cohort (and Southern Lord label owner of course!) Greg Anderson also played with him in extreme heroes Thorr’s Hammer, Burning Witch, and teeth Of Lions Rule The Divine … so the duo’s credentials are unquestionable.

world suffocating horror at the 8 minute mark (or thereabouts), where the band erupt with brutal earth shattering power, the monstrously down-tuned guitars battling with French horns (?) and almost growling strings … startling stuff. Mid section “Western Horn” is singly THE most Sunn 0))) feeling track, the volume seems to be notched up, and the air is thick with claustrophobic horror, thick reams of cyclonic feedback almost overwhelming in their power! Yet … yet … there is still a sense that the band are almost underplaying the possible ferocity they could unleash, it still somehow feels controlled, never collapsing into the chaos that COULD follow. Album closer “Eternal Return” is the only track to feature Rygg’s vocals, and is again, a piece that falls back into a calmer panorama, something that lulls you into a uneasy sense of disbelieving security. It feels like a massive and epic lost session from Ulver’s awe inspiring “Shadows Of The Sun” Magnum Opus … just bigger, louder, less melancholic … mesmerizing in it’s intensity!

It is astonishing to consider that this album was recorded in one insane night, as the two bands worked through the night, ending the session as the sun arose, with Rygg and O’Malley only spending one further session editing and separating the session into the three album movements – while adding the tumultuous So now the bands ‘merge for one glorious session … horns and other delicate touches that make this so O’Malley, Anderson, Sullivan, and Ulver frontman/multi very special. instrumentalist Krisstofer Rygg, fusing together into Where will Sunn 0))) head next musically? Who knows one unholy, otherworldly, weirdly beautiful and melancholically haunting beast that works as one, yet … for me it is simply an irrelevance that doesn’t matter, as I’ll be along for the ride regardless!!! Glorious! whose diverse sounds and styles also perfectly accentuate counterpoint, and compliment each other to sonic perfection. On paper this should NOT work, yet work it absolutely does! Divinely! It’s a perplexing album too, both spiritually uplifting, yet emotionally subdued, a ‘thing’ that hints at menace, yet rarely reaches unfettered ferocity, relying instead on creeping tension, with sonorous atmospherics creating an epic if sometimes cloying feel … easy listening it is not, but let’s face it, we would be bitterly disappointed if it was any other way. I think a real apt description to describe this album in a single word would be ‘headfuck!’ Almost a ‘play in three acts’ “Terrestrials”, opening number “Let There Be Light” is a mood setter, reflective, bitterly cold … glacially so, that builds from muted crystalline calm through to harrowing eerie skin crawling atmospheres, finally exploding in end of the

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Sebastian Bach - Give Em Hell Record Label: Frontiers Records

9/10 Released: 18 April 2014

Highlight of the album: Hell Inside My Head Website: www.sebastianbach.com/ Reviewer: Junior Three years have passed since Bach’s last album, and while I thought 2007’s ‘Angel Down’ was decent, 2011’s ‘Kicking and Screaming’ was a phenomenal offering, full of memorable songs which I though were the best material Sebastian Bach had come up with since the days of Skid Row. Enter 2014, a new guitarist called Devin Bronson comes along as well as the big surprising inclusion of Duff McKagan on bass. Upon first listen ‘Give em Hell’ sounds like a smooth continuation of ‘Kicking and Screaming’ with a very melodic approach and really heavy riffs , all locked in by the magnificent drumming skills of Bobby Jarzombek.

the previous one is the inclusion of progressive elements in some passages of the songs like in the middle section of ‘All My Friends Are Dead’ and ‘Dominator’ which makes the rhythm spectrum of the album richer and challenging for the listener. Seb’s voice sounds in fine form as usual although at times he seems to over push those vocal chords on those extra high notes to match the power of his glory days, and ends up sounding a bit strained (which is more apparent in live gigs), but that’s a minor thing when you have such a great sound and still a lot of power left on those mighty pipes.

Crystal clear production, memorable songwriting and some The album recalls some of his glory moments with Skid Row, of the biggest names Rock. specially ‘Slave To The Grind’. Songs like ‘Hell Inside My Head’, ‘Temptation’ and ‘Gun To A Knife Fight’ could have easily fitted the aforementioned album, while ‘Rock N Roll Is A Vicious Game’ gives the album a enjoyable shift with it’s more southern laid back feel. Another really enjoyable aspect from this album as well as

Miracle Master - Tattooed Women Record Label: GoldenCore Records/ZYX Music

9/10

Released: 7 March 2014

Highlight of the album: Forgive Yourself Website: www.miracle-master.com Reviewer: Stephen Brophy

When you come across a band you have never heard of it can go one of two ways, either you have unearthed a gem, a band you will continue to follow and already look forward to their next release, or it will be a band that just doesn't peak your interest and will not stay in your memory very long. Thankfully Miracle Master are the former, and bloody hell Tattooed Woman is a hell of a good album and I think this is a band we should keep our eyes on.

negative for the album you can tell that I was very impressed by this slab of Melodic Metal. Tracks like "Forgive Yourself", "Will To Survive" and the excellent "Why Religion" just make you want to crank up the volume on the stereo and of course that's no bad thing. This is an album that you can just hit play pretty much anywhere and it seems to just be right, it's definitely Melodic but there's also enough aggression all the way through, superb riffing to go with the soaring vocals have already Hailing from Denmark and Germany Miracle Master used made this one of the best releases of the year to date. No to be known as Pump, but with a new name and an album doubting the experience gained during the lifetime as that for me doesn't drop in quality all the way through I'm Pump has helped launch this band running rather than left wondering how I didn't know Pump either. With Oliver just making something in a learning process they have Weers taking over Vocal duties for Miracle Master's come out all guns blazing. debut I am reminded in places of Silent Forces "Rising From Ashes" late last year, although maybe a little heavier The title track will be the first video from the album, and in places. gives you an idea of what to expect, even with a deluge of releases so far in 2014 I don't see this album The only, very minor, think I don't like about the album is the kind of intro to the first track "Come Alive", personally coming off my Playlist anytime soon. Do not ignore this release just because a lot of other big names have I think it would have sounded much better had they just albums due for release around the same time, it really burst into the track rather than having the smallest of is a cracking album and a worthy addition to anyone's Intro's into it which kind of felt half hearted, well to me anyway, having said that the song itself is excellent and if collection. that's the only thing that sticks out in my mind as being a

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Firebrand Magazine


Magnum - Escape From The Shadow Garden Record Label: Steamhammer/SPV

9/10

Released: 24 March 2014

Highlight of the album: Crying In The Rain Website: http://www.magnumonline.co.uk/ Reviewer: Stephen Brophy

There would be little I could add to what's already been written on the history of Magnum, they are an iconic Rock band with a career spanning almost 40 years, with 13 studio albums under their belts along with numerous Live albums, Videos and DVDs. With a hugely experienced and talented line up and one of the best vocalists in the business, the only worrying thing I find with a band like this is can they still produce new albums of the quality of their releases in the '80s. For me the last release 2012's "On The Thirteenth Day" showed they they were more than capable, still have the appetite and can deliver quality music with the same clean edge sound that runs through their music while not just re-inventing the wheel.

on it somewhere, definitely one I can't wait to hear live when Magnum hit the Road this year. A question that has to be asked here is does Bob Cately actually age, ok physically some of the signs maybe starting to show, but seriously he really is great all the way through this album.

For old Magnum fans or new, this album is one to take your time over, I think certainly for the initial number of listens you will pick out new things that make your ears prick up and take notice, Mark Stanway's keyboards will suddenly grab your attention, or a bass run from Al Barrow, there's plenty going on in there, Harry James drums are always to the fore but never over powering and of course Tony Clarkin's guitar runs through On their latest release they build on what they have everything, but again nothing is hogging the spotlight, created with "On The Thirteenth Day" and take it to a all working in unison, I have a feeling I'm only scratching higher level. Don't get me wrong it's no like their output the surface of this album even after repeated listens, has ever dropped below their high standards, but which for me is always a pleasant surprise and the sign some of the albums throughout the last 10 years or so of an album that will sit proudly in my collection and not have maybe been a little stayed or safe. "Escape from just gather dust. the Shadow Garden" brings together an excellent mixture of songs from Power Ballads (The Valley Of Do yourselves a favour and get out there and see Tears - which closes out the album really nicely) to these guys on Tour in April/May through the UK and almost Blues Rock Anthems (Too Many Clowns). Europe, I know with such a vast back catalogue they Honestly I think there is something on this album for can't ignore their back catalogue but I think this new everyone. There's a modern sound on this album that album will get a good splattering of tracks in the new makes it just so crisp, maybe with the exception of the setlist, and they will hold their own. Never count these intro on the opening track "Live 'till you Die" which oddly guys out and when you've listened to the album reminds me of a really old video game. The track that through a few times start to finish stick it on shuffle most calls out to me is "Crying In The Rain" which I might just through a whole new perspective on the could listen to over and over without it loosing anything, tracks. great track, with each band member making a stamp

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Winger - Better Days Commin’ Record Label: Frontiers Records

8/10 Released: 18 April 2014

Highlight of the album: Ever Wonder Website: http://www.wingertheband.com/ Reviewer: Stephen Brophy

Winger have often divided opinion in the Rock community, and have certainly been the butt of a lot of abuse outside it, but there is no doubting the quality of the band members or the quality of some of their output, even if it has been sparse enough (an album every 5 years isn't exactly working flat out). When Karma was released in 2009 there appeared to be a bit of a mixed reaction at the time, a slightly heavier approach didn't go down well with all fans - but at the same time it won new admirers, having been a fan of the band from their self titled debut album I actually loved Karma and at the time was hoping it would reignite Winger and set them off on a slightly more productive era, after all IV had only been released 3 years previously and it all looked positive. But the reality of having key members of one band also being key members of another are always going to cause problems with regards to writing releasing and of course Touring, schedules need to match up and all of that stuff.

there now, to me there are elements of Kip's solo stuff in here, in places there's an almost prog type feel to tracks like "Tin Soldier" but with that comes a really cool depth that I wasn't at all expecting and maybe dismissed on first listen. It's definitely along the lines of Karma in places, but it's also different, tracks take you in strange directions that well maybe you hadn't been expecting to go, and maybe aren't ready to go, be at the end of the day maybe the trip is worthwhile and after giving it a proper listen it's an interesting place to be in. "Ever Wonder" is an interesting track, maybe something I would expect to find on one of Kip's solo albums as mentioned earlier, but it's got a terrific flow to the track when you take the time out to give it a proper listen. As a whole there are definitely more slower paced tracks through out the album, with the rockier side of the band coming to the fore on "Rat Race", "Storm In Me" and the oddly titled opener "Midnight Driver Of A Love Machine" which has some nice guitar work going Having said that once I'd heard they were working on a on. It's definitely not an instant hit you in the face type of album, but I've found in the past that albums that you new album I'd become pretty excited, and when Kip take the time to give a chance too can stay in the said they had more than half the album in the can at memory longer, still not sure if this is one of those or his excellecnt performance at HRH AOR in Sheffield not, but there's some interesting songs in there and last April it raised the expectation that bit higher. When you have musicians of the quality and experience some that I have found a little flat, "Queen Babylon" being one that to me just ambles along without really of Kip Winger and Reb Beech putting their heads going anywhere. together you automatically expect something that's going to blow your socks off. So now 5 years after I have a funny feeling that the tracks on this album are Karma we have "Better Days Comin'" which represents going to come across much better to me in a live Winger in 2014. Being 100% honest the album just arena, but to me I'm not feeling an immediate didn't have that punch on my first couple of listens, progression here from Karma, it's a little different maybe I'd already built it up in my head as having to alright and there's no doubting that there's some sound a certain way or wanting some of the old pomp quality songs in the mix, but time will tell for me on from the late 80's and early 90's Winger, this is "Better Days Comin'". definitely along those lines, but hang in there, it's taken me quite a while to get into this album - but I'm getting

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Tony Corner Tony Corner is the Presenter of two Shows ’Blues Corner’ & ‘ Spins From The Bins’ and has built up a popular following on the radio airwaves ever since he began to broadcast. Starting with ‘Spins From The Bins’ and progressing with his passion for Blues to generating the very popular ‘Blues Corner’ with listeners regularly tuning in from all over the world, Tony has certainly made his mark on the airwaves here at Firebrand. Ably assisted by his producer Trevor Hazel, who only works for a reward of cake after each show, you can be guaranteed an interesting two hours of ear-luxury variation on each and every broadcast. Tony’s “Spins From The Bins” airs every Thursday at 8pm (3pm EST), which includes classic & progressive rock and metal, blues and is often home to long tracks too. If it’s one thing he’s become known for, it’s his varied taste in music and the show really reflects this with lots of light and shade. September 2012 saw the start of Tony’s “Blues Corner” which you can listen to every Sunday at 7pm (2pm EST). It features a wide variety of blues styles from across the genre from down and dirty, laid back, jazz, funky, rock to upbeat numbers,acoustic, electric and instrumentals. Check out Tony’s page HERE

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Absolva May 01 London The Garage 02 Birmingham Asylum 2 03 Burnley Sanctuary 04 Kendal Bootleggers 09 Newcastle Trillians 10 Carlisle Brickyard 11 Wakefield Snooty Fox 16 Great Yarmouth The Oakwood 17 Brighton Green Door Store 18 Swindon Victoria 23 Grimsby Yardbirds 24 Selby Riverside 28 Bristol Gryphon 29 Southampton Joiners 30 Ebbw Vale Odin's 31 Manchester Sound Control

SOS Festival 19 - 20July Absolva, Savage Messiah, Monument, Exit State, Wizz Wizzard, Fantasist, Blaze Bayley (With Chris Appleton) and many more September 05 FR Arras, Blue Devil's Bar 06 DE Waldbronn Soundcheck One 12 DE Berlin Blackland 13 PL Bielsko-Biala Rude Boy Club 14 CZ Litvinov Attic Rock Club 19 NL Amsterdam The Cave 21 NL Emmen, Blanko 26 BE Namur Magick 27 BE Aalter Wizz's Autumn Festival October 02 DE Muhlhausen Kulturfabrik 03 DE Herdorf Rattenloch 04 FR Fismes Underground Investigation Festival 11 FR Bartenheim Caf Conc 18 NL, Nijmegen Rockcafe Backstage

19 BE Roeselare De Verlichte Geest Amaranthe April 05 London O2 Academy Islington 09 Wolverhampton Slade Rooms 11 Nottingham Rescue Rooms Black Stone Cherry March 01 Wolverhampton Wulfrun Bonafide March 15 Birmingham The Institute 16 Bristol Thekla 18 London Camden Barfly 19 Nottingham Rescue Rooms 30 Glasgow Cathouse Clutch April 22 Newcastle O2 Academy 24 Birmingham O2 Academy May 01 London The Forum 03 Nottingham Rock City 06 Edinburgh Liquid Rooms 07 Glasgow O2 ABC 08 Belfast The Limelight Dave Davies of the Kinks April 11 London The Barbican Hall Deathstars March 25 London The Garage 26 Manchester Academy 3 27 Wolverhampton Slade Rooms Dr Feelgood April 05 West Yorkshire The Picturedrome Eagles May 28 Birmingham LG Arena 29 Birmingham LG Arena 31 Glasgow The Hydro June 02 June Glasgow The Hydro 04 Dublin O2 06 Dublin O2 16 London O2 18 London O2 23 Leeds first direct arena 25 Manchester Phones 4u Arena Extreme ‘Pornograffitti Live’ Tour July

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04 Manchester Academy 05 O2 Academy Glasgow 07 Birmingham Institute 08 London Forum FM April 03 Manchester O2 Apollo 04 Newcastle City Hall 05 Glasgow Clyde Auditorium 07 Nottingham Royal Centre 08 Sheffield City Hall 09 Portsmouth Guildhall 11 Bristol Colston Hall 13 London Hammersmith Apollo 15 Wolverhampton Civic Hall 17 Antwerp Muziekcentrum TRIX 18 Paris Bataclan 20 Uden De Pul 21 Hamburg Logo 22 Aschaffenburg Colos-Saal 23 Munich Strom May 02 Barcelona Bikini 03 Madrid Shoko 04 Lisbon RCA Club August 09 Cambridge Rock Festival

Download Festival 13 – 15 June 2014 Avenged Sevenfold, Linkin Park, Aerosmith, Rob Zombie, Alter Bridge and many more For a free listing please email your gig or festival information to: sales@firebrandrr.co.uk Firebrand Magazine


Foreigner April 03 Manchester Apollo 04 Newcastle City Hall 05 Glasgow Clyde 07 Nottingham Royal Centre 08 Sheffield City Hall 09 Portsmouth Guildhall 11 Bristol Colston Hall 13 London Hammersmith Apollo 15 Wolverhampton Civic Hall Freedom Call March 22 London Barfly

Sonisphere 2014 4 - 6 of July 2014 The Prodigy, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Alice in Chains, Airbourne, Anthrax and many more Furyon with Mordred August 22 Dublin The Voodoo 23 Belfast The Limelight2 25 London O2 Academy 26 Birmingham O2 Academy 27 Glasgow O2 Academy 28 Newcastle O2 Academy 29 Sheffield O2 Academy 30 Liverpool O2 Academy 31 Bristol O2 Academy September 01 Brighton Concorde 2 Grand Magus March 15 Wolverhampton Slade Rooms

28 Oxford O2 Academy Overkill March 13 London Islington O2 Academy

Tyketto March 22 Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall

Savage Messiah March 02 London Camden Barfly

UFO March 21 Sheffield O2 Academy

Skindred March 08 Newport Centre

Winger June 15 Download Festival 17 Glasgow O2 Academy 18 Newcastle O2 Academy 20 Bristol O2 Academy 21 London O2 Academy Islington

The Answer March 12 Devon Exeter Phoenix 13 London White Rabbit The Brew May 01 Manchester Academy 3 02 London 100 Club 03 Hartlepool The Belle Vue Club 04 Newcastle Cluny 2 07 Bilston Robin 2 09 Edinburgh Bannermans 10 Ballymena The Diamond Rock Club 12 Oxford Bullingdon 13 Cardiff The Globe 16 Doncaster Dome 18 Cockermouth Saints Rooms The Cringe/ Steel Panther March 18 Newcastle, O2 Academy 19 Glasgow, O2 Academy 20 Sheffield, O2 Academy (Sold Out) 22 Cambridge, Corn Exchange 23 Bristol, O2 Academy (Sold Out) 24 Nottingham, Rock City 26 London, O2 Academy Brixton The Peckham Cowboys March 12 Wakefield, Snooty Fox 13 Birmingham, Scruffy Murphy's 14 Crumlin, The Patriot 15 Swansea, The Static 16 Ilfracombe, Chill Bar 20 Bolton, The Railway 21 Nottingham, Doghouse 22 Redhill, Hellfire Club 29 London Streatham White Lion

Heaven’s Basement March 20 Belfast Voodoo 25 Bristol Fleece

Therapy? April 02 Bristol Trinity 03 Manchester Academy 2 04 Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall 05Nottingham Rock City 07 Glasgow The Classic Grand 08 Norwich Waterfront 09 London Scala 11 Southampton The Mo’ Club

Oliver Dawson Saxon April 12 Wolverhampton Slade Rooms

Toseland March

Halestorm April 2014 07 Birmingham O2 Academy

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Within Temptation April 11 Manchester O2 Apollo 12 London Wembley Arena 14 Newcastle O2 Academy 15 Glasgow O2 Academy 16 Birmingham O2 Academy Voodoo Six March 12 Wolverhampton Slade Rooms 13 Manchester Sound Control 14 Glasgow Audio 15 Dundee Buskers 17 Newcastle The Cluny 19 Wakefield Warehouse 23 20 Nottingham Rock City Basement 21 London The Underworld 22 Milton Keynes The Craufurd Arms 23 Southampton The Joiners

Cambridge Rock Festival 2014 7 - 10 August FM, Wishbone Ash, Snakecharmer, The Ultimate Eagles, Chantel McGregor and many more Firebrand Magazine


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Firebrand Magazine

Firebrand Magazine Issue 17 - February  

Issue 17 of Firebrand Magazine is out now featuring interview with The Enid, Adrian Vandenberg, The Pretty Reckless and reviews from the lik...

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