Call Of The Wild Festival 2023
Call Of The Wild ‘23
It’s taken me ages to write this, the Festival was at the end of May and we have just started August! The recent Maid Of Stone and Steelhouse endeavours across social media reminded me of my time in Lincolnshire and I have finally got some time to myself after finding myself acquiring a complete radio station with all the work needed to learn how to run such an operation.
So, along with Cyderbaby, I now run Rock Radio UK. The size of the venture in Facebook land makes me second to Panet Rock, however for the moment, we are seemingly a well kept secret. It takes time to build a good reputation.....just like festivals
This is true of Call Of The Wild, this year was its third outing and if I’m completely honest, it felt like home to me. Everything about the place is welcoming, the reception on the gate, the layout and the general vibe of everyone there. Is it because its probably the first festival of the season? I don’t know, in my time there didn’t hear anyone grumbling and not wishing they were there. It was relaxed but running like a well oiled machine.
The draw for this festival is like every other, the music and what a line up we had! Kris Barras, Terrorvision and Those Damn Crows headling, with the latter possibly pulling the largest crowd of the weekend. This proved the vision of the organisers, whereas some festivals put the Crows on further down the bill, COTW correctly foresaw the reality that this band are a major first class act. To prove this point, the band put on one helluva show to close proceedings. Shane didn’t even seem shaken by our earlier interview in the day where I may have taken the proverbial out of Welsh Rugby.
I’m getting ahead of myself in review standards, I should be talking about all this in order.....but why? This is an overview with pictures surely? Two months on and I can still recall most of the weekend, contrary to my name...I don’t drink a huge amount of Cider so I haven’t destroyed too many braincells yet. But the vividness of my time at the festival is testament to the event.
We arrived late on Thursday, putting our tents up in the dark after a long drive from Devon, it’s always fun! Yet the evening was kind to us and it was dry verging on rather warm. By Friday morning, we were ready to go!
On tog duties this year was Oren, no more running around like a blue arsed fly for me this year, however.....I didn’t bargain on the amount of interviews I would end up doing. This did cut into my days there so I only saw a handful of sets.
Mercia, well they were an excellent start for me, I’m not quite sure what I was expecting but they exceeded whatever level I’d pitched them at. Spot on with the tunes, telling stories related to the folklore of the area and to top it all.....they dressed up! We had a great chat later and they are a band I will continue to follow in their career.
Ashen Reach, a number of firsts for these guys, first as a 4 piece, first using various techniques that involve backing tracks, inner ear monitors and click tracks, but importantly a first for us to hear Ghosts. Such a step up and these guys are heading for the top!
Who was that teacher and school that bought a group of kids to the festival on an outing? How inspired was that?? The kids were loving every second and then, they got a one on one with Ashen Reach as well! Utterly brilliant!
Mike Ball &The Company....I’d never heard of them but those dual guitar solos were very reminiscent of Lizzy, apparently a big inspiration....who’d of thought? Excellent though and exactly what was needed.
Anti-Clone, bloody hell those guys were good! A change in musical direction for the festival to mix things up but absolutely smashing it. The stage presence was superb and they captivated my attention for the entire set. Its a shame our interview was corrupted on my phone because they were as entertaining off stage as they are on it.
Aluna, I only managed a couple of songs before dashing off however, there was definitely something magical there. Note to self....make time to see this band again.
Square Wild deserve a mention, I didn’t see the set but Oren did. If he’s impressed enough to go and buy Merch straight after a show then they must be damn good. ‘Nuff said
The 3 main acts for me were on at the end, Troy Redfern is just superb. I had not seen him until this point but I’ve been loving the singles and albums. With a choice of around 200 guitars on stage, this particular style of slide is utterly brilliant and sounds even better live. His band are top notch and I’d pay good money to go and see him play again. Considering how tight I am about buying tickets...this is abig admission for me.
Ginger Wildheart, I think the lad has finally become at peace with himself and is looking truly happy. The set was tight, the band were on form and you even got Gingers dog onstage. If I’d taken my 2 goons anywhere near a stage, there’d be a total blackout after they pulled out every plug possible.
Kris Barras and his band are on fire at the moment, they can command a crowd easily and you can see why they pay the guy the big bucks. Everything Kris turns his hand to turns to gold. I think the man has a perfectionist attitude to everything he does and this is why the music is top notch. I am so glad that he has evolved his style from Blues based to a more modern New Blues sound. I’m sure Joshiah has a big input to the sound and his presence on stage is astounding . Kris has the boots and balls though, he was interacting with the crowd and being the ultimate showman, the perfect way to close the first day.
Saturday was going to be busy, music media stuff as well as dodging a Dinosaur!
Shadow Smile, just how good were they? I’d known of them for ages but to hear them in the flesh was outstanding. They highlighted the forthcoming album/music and it really is a step or 5 in the right direction...Great stuff!
Circus 66 were excellent, they have to be one of my favourite rising bands at the moment. The new music is brilliant and I’m really looking forward to the next album. However, our conversation about teabags later on needed a lot to be desired (I shall get you back guys!).
Beth Blade And The Beautiful Disasters are always....I mean always on form. Beth looking as fantastic as ever in Red. The music just flowed like a river, mesmerising and entertaining. I need to see these guys again soon, I’m having withdrawal symptoms.
Rich Ragnany put on a damn fine show to promote his new album and he managed to be a soundtrack to a Dinosaur fight!
Just who was that idiot in the inflatable T-Rex suit? Oh.....it was me.... man it was so flippin hot in that suit!
Just prior to this I’d seen the amazing God Damn Smile in the tent (in the Dino suit), just how good were they? They’ve been friends for years but this was my first time seeing them live. They sounded great, the music makes you feel great and always puts a smile on your face. Gary is possibly one of the best frontmen out there and it’s not just me saying that, every tog that went there to shoot the band, walked away raving about them, some saying they were the find of the weekend.
Shiraz Lane had skimmed past my awareness before the weekend but what a show these guys put on! They are years ahead of contemporaries in showmanship and talent, how have I missed them for so long? Definitely a high light for me and I managed an interview.
Kickin Valentina, what can I say? I have huge respect for this band, they are what Rock and Roll is all about and deserve higher recognition within the industry. The music just rocks and they know how to put on a show. If I had a choice between them and the Crue....its an easy win for KV. The foresight of the organisers to keep bringing the boys back is rewarded ten times by the band and the punters who just love these guys.
Terrorvision . What can I say? There were jaw droppingly good. On point from the very first note, right to the end and how the hell can they sustain the energy? I’d only been a passing fan before but yeah.....they got me! We all knew the hits and it was like a throwback to the 90s, Saturday night is always a party night and Terrorvision wrote the rule book. Can I wait for the new album? I shall have to and I reckon that it will propel the band back into daily life for everyone, just like Tequila
(Song or drink...I’ll let you decide)
Sunday, I think. Yes, yes it definitely is, let’s do it all again, one final time.
LaVire were a very impressive start to the day, more modern than many bands but it was a breath of fresh air with cleared the head. A bombastic performance and really nice people to chat to as well.
Dead Writers were back for a second run but on the main stages this time. I love the sound these guys create, more flamboyant, more arty but still Rock in its purest form. I managed to get hold of an E.p. so life is very good!
This House We Built, I think their album was one of the best releases of late and to finally see them live only confirmed a permanent place for these guys in my musical history. Full of energy, how could you not be drawn in by Scott’s performance on stage? This set was more than good...it was like unearthing a hidden gem. Catch them if you get a chance.
Yes, I missed Fury (again) and A’priori but King Kraken, they were better than ever. I can’t get enough of the band to be fair and they always deliver the goods at a show. The Karma Effect showed us All that they are going places, a fantastic set and the new music is massive!
Pryma. It was a special weekend for these guys, they were quite high up on the bill and the pressure was on to deliver. They had nabbed me on the Friday, recognising me from our carpool video interview. They proved to me that they are not only talented but a bunch of great guys.
They challenged me to Don the Dino suit yet again for their set....how could I resist?
The band exploded onto the set and grabbed the audience by the throat from the outset. Musically as tight as f#@% and very able in what they do. Heavy with a splash of showmanship....this is what big bands are made of and in a couple of weeks, it’s Bloodstock for them, deservedly so after their set at COTW.
How many bands finish their set with a CO2 fire extinguisher?
Black Spiders were next for me, fresh from the latest album release...their set was everything you want from them but it’s still a bit strange seeing them on a big stage, why is that? There were a few tech issues but overall a cracking set!
To complete a fantastic weekend, Those Damn Crows. Everyone and I mean everyone was here to see them and they didn’t disappoint. Banger after hit after classic, they have just about conquered the world. I can’t fault them and I truly hope the world now sees them as we all do.
In a nutshell, that was Call Of The Wild. I can’t portray to you all just how good the festival is, buy a ticket and work it out for yourself. I, like everyone else was made to feel welcome and invited by all to enjoy the festival. The organisers have created a fantastic event, complimented by the staff they have chosen to help, the security who are more friendly than postman pat and the Lemmy Bar which is the best local around. The vibe between everyone was just so cool, the togs joking with each other, the pit crew joining in with jokes and having fun while delivering a top flawless show.
All this makes the event extra special for the paying punter. It makes it all feel like you’re home.
Rock Radio UK
Copyright ©️ cyderbaby 2023
Sons Of Liberty
The Sons have been through a few changes over the last 18 months or so, so it was going to be interesting to find out how the new incarnation would work.
I love the old Rob and the slightly newer but now old other Rob, they are both superb at what they do. I believe it was logistics that prevented the band working with Walker and it is a big issue when you’re building a reputation as a band. SoL have always been a great band to watch and they’ve captured a lot of hearts over the years with their music. So was this new, most recent change going to be the right one?
In essence...... YES!
I thought of a clever analogy when I was watching them on stage, all down to a patch on Russ’ jacket.
The Sons with Rob was a classic, like the Ford Escort Mexico, a beautiful thing which everyone loved, still going strong to this day. The image is spot on and the sound is superb.
The Sons with Walker was like the MkII Escort, definitely a face-lift of the original, still holding on to their roots and revving like a Super Sport 1600 when required.
The Sons with Russ, is like the MkIII Escort, a completely new model, front wheel drive and a whole new shape. The difference is phenomenal! You instantly stop comparing them to the old versions and accept it with open arms.
The biggest difference is in Russ’ vocal sound style and approach. It brings the old songs to another level and to be frank, what new tracks I heard on this night means that this Escort is not a 1.3GL, but a full fledged Xr3i with a possible Cosworth upgrade!
I should be writing about the gig really, it was supposed to be Molly Hatchets last gig of the tour but the vocalist had serious issues with his voice and unfortunately could not continue. Rather than waste a fine Friday evening, it was all pulled together by putting the Sons on as a headline set. Tickets are still valid to see Molly when they return, or can be exchanged for tickets by the same promoter. This was a good call and I don’t think there were too many grumbling about this.
Adam Sweet were the opening band, I know next to nothing about them, but they were rather good! The crowd definitely thought so as the place was packed! They obviously knew a lot more than me so I shall hang my head in shame for not taking enough notes at the time and explaining how each track sounded. What I will say is that I’d definitely go a see them again!
This article is about The Sons Of Liberty though, they are the reason I made the long arduous death defying trip to Exeter.
Opening with both guitar guns blazing, the lads were taking no prisoners tonight. It didn’t see like a performance that was trying to prove anything to anyone, it was a bunch of talented musicians doing their thing and creating some great tunes whilst having a bit of fun in an honest and professional manner.
I didn’t write down the setlist....I’m an idiot, yes I know! The summary of songs though was pretty impressive, starting with 2 new and unheard tracks that prove several things, the guys are ready to move on to this new chapter in their career, they have written some damn fine tunes for the album they are working on, Russ has a set of lungs that are incredible and finally....that Russ is the right man to fill some big boots!
Throughout the evening, each song just sounded better and better, Russ has a completely different vocal style but he also has a fantastic range. Combine this with great stage presence...he has all the makings of a top front man .
Some of the old songs I thought would be a challenge for Russ, but he handled each and every track in his own way which made them sound quite fresh. Belters like Damaged Reputation and Ruby Starr were just as good as Beef Jerky and Rich Man’. What the guys have done, is pull off the hardest trick in the book, how to find someone completely different to their old image, yet be just as good!
With a couple more new tracks thrown in for good measure and I have to say, a slightly dodgy rendition of Molly Hatchets song, Flirtin With Disaster as a tribute to the band, the boys closed the show. In truth, they pleased a lot of people who had come to see Molly and probably had no idea who Sons were.
So the Devil has made his choice as they say... Russ has been introduced to the world as the face and voice of the next Sons Of Liberty album.
Well done chaps....you made the right choice!
Rock Radio UK
Copyright ©️ 2023 Cyderbaby
Thanks to the band, O’Neill PR, PTO Pr for all their help.
Station 18 '23
After last year’s event, it was a given that we would come back to Swansea again at the end of April this year to attend the second Station 18 fest. This year had a lot to live up to but they had 3 good headliners, so this year’s event was going to give it a good go!
Most of the bands were announced last year, however there have been the inevitable changes along the way. The Saturday headliner were As December Falls, this I feel was a brave move by the organisers as this is a young band with most of their fanbase a decade or so younger than the average punter age who purchased tickets for this event. I whole-heartedly agree that we need to broaden our musical tastes with age being no barrier, but would this band bring in the ticket sales? Time was to tell.
We arrived a little late as we had to drop off some furniture in Bristol on the way up (if there was a definition of Tardis, then it would be a Toyota Aygo!), Adam & the Hellcats were just winding up their set as I got there…from the minute or so I heard, I’d make more of an effort to get to a venue on time to see them on the next occasion. With Cider in hand, I waited for the next set to start.
Zac and the New Men. These guys were full of retro-dress and style, drawing on Led Zep and Greeta Van Fleet for inspiration but in my humble opinion, I’d say they outshone both of these bands, especially the latter! These guys have the energy of a contained Tazmanian Devil in a very tight box, I was well impressed with what I heard that night and I am waiting for the release of their debut album very shortly. If you get a chance to see them, do it soon!
Sam Millar & The Sass Bandits were on shortly after, we know Sam from his Bigfoot days but this band is a totally different beast. Melodic Hard Rock with keyboard undertones and a strong backline, this is a well put together band with a lot of experience behind them. I enjoyed every second of the set…it has to be said. The style is not usually my thing in all fairness but on the strength of what I saw, I’ll be listening to the new album once released. The guys worked the crowd in true showmanship style, bringing the best out of the ticket holders whilst at the same time, bringing the best out of themselves, Great stuff!
The Greyfox Conspiracy, we already know the guy behind this band, Rob Cooksly, Greyfox Growl himself, the former vocalist of Sons Of Liberty. Now I usually don’t like to bring up the past, but it's rather relevant here.
For me, this WAS the band, not only of Friday, but on reflection, the entire weekend. From the very first howl on Fire & Gasoline, to the final bow of the set, this band kicked serious ass! They were bigger, better and louder than Rob’s previous band and I’m hesitant to say…tighter. Each track was better than the previous and Greyfox still retains that stage presence he had which does indeed, compliment the quality of his voice. I think in total there were 3 or 4 old songs which we knew, alongside a handful of new tracks which were written in the same sort of fashion but with that added something extra. Was this really their second gig together?
I was sorry to hear SoL decide to part ways with Walker the following day because in my mind, to be able to compete with punters hard earned cash when they are faced with a choice between Greyfox and themselves, they needed a little stability. At the moment, there really is no choice in who I would pay to see again. Greyfox Growl, the guys in the band who I don’t know (yet), you literally blew me away! Please, new music..more gigs!!!!!
After all that, Dead Man’s Whiskey were up. I’d only seen them once before, supporting The Fallen State a couple years ago. There is a new album in the works and if you have not heard Masquerade yet…do so! The new stuff is a serious step up from the previous work (which is still pretty damn good!) and I’m looking forward to more new music over the coming months.
The guys know how to work a crowd and part way through the set, they had a captive audience. You would never have guessed that this was the start of a short tour, they looked like they’d been practising constantly for months. If the gig had ended then, I would have been a very happy man as these guys are worthy of closing any show! However, we had one set to go.
Collateral. Now I was a little skeptical about this, I’m not the biggest fan. I’d seen them once before and it didn’t really sway me one way or the other in fairness. So… what will they deliver tonight? Hot n’ sweaty in your face balls out Rock N’ Roll is what! It was like they were on fire, quite literally. This was the first gig for new boy, Miguel Montalban. I think for me, he has added that extra bit of flair and fire to keep me interested. To be fair, I think he has also bought out the best in the other guys as well, it’s always a blow losing a key member of a band but the guys seemed to have not let it get them down at all, they have risen to a challenge and delivered a set with even more zap, more pow and more cowabunga than ever before (if that was actually possible?). Each track sounded fresh and this is what excited me. Yep…I am a fan now!
Saturday, there were a few sore heads the next day, along with dark sunglasses and the odd person, Chris who came to the venue..only to leave again for a kip. Friday had been a blazing success, however musically, this was going to be my favourite.
Our Last Goodbye opened up the day, a great Rock band with modern influences from the remains of Tribeless. They were good, tight at what they produced and above all, entertaining. In all honesty, my own hangover prevented me from thoroughly taking note of all the details but again, I’d see them again.
Yaki- Dah I missed, sorry guys but my head was pounding!
Right..I was ready and the next band were a fav of mine, Dig Lazarus. If you listen to their album, you’d be mistaken in thinking that you’d be in for an Indie/Rock band, I saw them at Call Of The Wild last year and they Rocked hard. Today, I witnessed a band that Rocked the arse off all of the competition, harder and heavier than they had sounded before. This made me prick up my ears….the old songs they played sounded superb with this new added aggression and the new stuff? I am impatiently waiting for the second album now, I know its in the bag but when it’ll be released, I have no idea. Give my YouTube interview I did with the band a listen, it will give you a good insight to their thinking and what makes them tick.
The 501’s consisted of one today, the drummer had recently departed so rather than cancel, Shane decided to do an acoustic set. Bloody hell he was good! The songs took on a whole new life in acoustic form, Emotional Vandalism which opened the set was sublime.
There was a bet on behind the scenes, would he keep his leather jacket on for the entire set? I mean it is a sweatbox venue and Shane was streaming when he walked off stage, but fair play…the jacket stayed on!
Okay, so now we come to the whole reason for me attending this years festival, Blind River.
Armed with a new drummer and a brace of new tracks from a new album due out in a couple of weeks, these guys just set fire to the stage! The raw energy and prowess of these guys is second to none and the performance today was just stunning. They hardly gave me chance to draw breath for the oh so short set. New tracks like Punkstarter went hand in hand with old favourites and they proved themselves to me over and over again. Are they my favourite band? Probably, are they the best band in the world? Without a doubt ( there is no biased opinion here whatsoever….). Please…do check out the video even if its just to find out Dan’s fear of Cows!
The Brink had a hard job to follow these guys…but impressed me they did with their rather good effort. I hadn’t heard of them before but their brand of melodic to Hard Rock was a huge hit with the crowd. I had an interview part way through the set so I had to disappear, I’m hoping that I come across these guys again fairly soon.
These Wicked Rivers never fail to put on a great Show! Possibly the hardest working band I know, playing just about everywhere. Their brand of blues infused Rock is superb and the stage set never fails to put a smile on my face. I came across them first at Call Of The Wild and they were true gents then. They have probably met a million media guys since then yet still remember me and say hello. You can't measure that quality in a band and it’s appreciated by people such as myself.
The set as always, blows your socks off from the very beginning and only lets you draw breath when the final note fades from the PA. High Kicks and amazing attire is also a trade mark of the band, WHEN the next album is released, I feel it would be criminally insane that these guys are not Headline acts in their own right.
Good to see Mart on dep’ Bass duties again, looking forward to hearing the work he has done with Vega soon.
As December Falls. I think most of my generation had not heard of them, although they are making quite an impact in the modern metal scene. To do this whilst being unsigned and totally self financed is quite an achievement . The interview I did with the band will be available to watch soon…but behind the scenes, they really are true Rock N’ Roll legends, living the dream as we imagine rather than a lot of bands portraying an image and then slipping back to normality straight after the curtain closes.
On stage, they were on fire, the sound was a little blurred out of the PA, but I feel that was not the fault of the band, rather their Sound Engineer. I believe he’s new so with a couple more gigs under his belt..things should be crystal clear.
With the two guitars blazing and the drums pounding, it wasn’t difficult to see the reason why they are going places, however, the vocals were just divine and this is the reason why they are heading to the top at high speed. Definitely a different sound to the rest of the weekend, this was bourne out by the sudden influx of younger people. But I did notice several older Rockers leave early. It’s a shame when this happens but I understand. It was not to everyone’s taste. Very brave of the organisers to bring this band on board but I feel for the most part, the majority of punters from the weekend would have preferred a headline set from These Wicked Rivers, especially when you see the amount of their bucket hats that were being worn!
Sunday…Dryday! I was driving home that night so nooooooo cider for me at all (my liver was cool with that).
Opening with King Kraken. Now, that was a surprise in itself. Why were they opening??? I mean they are getting such a good reputation these days and their set bore this out. Full on, in your face Heavy Rock! And don’t forget….glowing tentacles!
They were just superb live, probably better than their pretty awesome debut CD. I think though, it wasn’t just the music that makes them good, it’s the crowd interaction and the whole band ethos. Probably one of the bands I am looking forward to seeing at Call Of The Wild, most.
Oh, and I reckon a bottle of the very Hot Sauce will be on my purchase list as well!
Scarsun were up next, another more modern sounding band with probably the most chilled female vocalist I have ever seen! I like the music, love the music and this set, although short, was indeed, excellent! Another on my hit list of interviews and another band I would go out of my way to see again.
Takeaway Thieves, the first time I actually got to see this band play an entire set! Full of energy and vitality on stage with that fusion of good old Rock And Roll with that little bit of Sleeze. I’m now going back over their album to replay some of the songs they played, they are like flippin’ earworms! I have a feeling, the second album is not that far away either…..
I can see now, why they have such a big, loyal following.
Just A Ride. These guys have flown under my radar for some time now, to be honest, they are not pressing my buttons at the moment. They have a great sound and the album is good, worth checking out, but for me, it’s a work in progress. The new single is indeed something different and I am hoping that the next album follows this lead as I think it will make these lads stand out a little more from the pack.
The set was good, well received….is it just me then???
White Raven Down have been getting better and better over the last year. It must be a year since the album was launched and Stu took over on vocals. This was the third time I’ve seen the boys and Stu’s voice has grown better and more confident each time. Now….I think they are at a pinnacle , well loved, embraced by every crowd they play for and never fail to put on the “Best” gig they can. Band of the day without a doubt, new music please guys as I think this will lift you even higher.
Bastette were up next, Caroline has one of the best voices out there at the moment and I think today was one of the best vocal performances I’ve heard from her. I put this down to the lady seemingly being more chilled and relaxed backstage. The band are not doing much this year live, so it was a pleasure to actually get to see them.
Did you notice the handful of new tracks? They were sounding superb! I think the new music heading our way in a few months time will be top notch stuff, giving this band the big break they deserve.
Empyre are on a high at the moment, the week before they had their own headline gig at KK’s which was superb. A bit of a step down today which was hard for me to see. The band played a blinder and the tracks from the new album are taking the spotlight with ease, but I want to see them on a big stage again. Henrick’s voice sends shivers down my spine and the band commanded the entire room with ease. Next year….it’ll be arena stages I’m sure.
Bad Touch have always….always been a great live band and tonight they didn’t disappoint. The guys wear their music like their hearts…on their sleeve for all to see. You can’t help but fall in love with the band and tonight was no different, Stevie onstage is like some sort of magician, captivating the audience throughout.
I’m patiently waiting to hear the new tracks in full from the forthcoming album, I genuinely feel it’s going to be the best album they have produced.
And that was it! Several people had left early which was a shame but the bands will all be back to a venue near you, I’m sure.
There was no announcement for next year which seemed a bit odd. I know festivals are struggling with the rising costs and squeeze on ticket sales due to the plethora of Festivals that are available now, so I have my fingers crossed that they can come back next year and put on a banger of a show. What the guys put together here is good with a positive vibe behind it all, however, I feel a kick ass One Day Event would be a much better bet than a 3 dayer.
Then Poof!, just as I finished writing all this, Station 18 has announced that it will return with Gary and Kelly at the helm, this is good news as the guys know what they’re doing. I am sure that next year’s event will be a corker
See you next year!!!!
Copyright cyderbaby 2023. Thanks to the team for inviting me along.
Black Orchid Empire
There are times when no words can actually do justice to a situation, I can’t tell you what this gig was like….I can try, but I’m not sure that I’m equipped with the various writing talent to explain what a magical gig this was.
Empyre released a new album a few weeks ago, Relentless. Now I am on record stating how good this album is, I really do rate it as a fantastic album in all respects, even the track Hit And Run! So there was always going to be something special about tonight's gig for the hardened fans, they have been waiting patiently for new music from these guys and now, they are going to get it Live and in the flesh.
I was invited up by uber fan and stalker, Chris…and I thought, Why not? Both bands that were on the bill tonight have just released awesome albums and I’d never been to KK’s before. Once my son Oren heard that Black Orchid Empire were playing, I actually think that if we hadn't driven, he would have hitch-hiked to the gig! So, we set off early from Exeter and to be fair, for a Saturday on the M5, we had an easy journey and arrived early. This gave us a chance to meet the bands, do the odd interview and have a good meal in the cafe just up the road prior to the first band starting to play.
Walking in and I was impressed with the whole set-up at KK’s, a well thought out venue with areas kept reasonably separate for the smaller sized gigs, yet it all could be opened right up to an almost Arena sized venue if required. I think it was only the Wednesday before that the bands knew they were playing the big room. I have to say..if they had been stuck with the small stage then it would have been a little too cosy for my liking. As per normal these days, ticket sales all seem to be last minute, when I spoke to the Empyre guys, they really did not know how many people would turn up, a few said they had tickets but couldn't get there, others had over bought tickets thinking friends would come with them, so it was anyone’s guess how full the venue was going to be.
At 8 O’clock, it was time for Black Orchid Empire.
These guys are one of the hottest bands in the UK at the moment. They are regulars on Kerrang Radio and the like, not necessarily a band that are associated with the NWOCR movement like Empyre, but they do have a bigger following on the socials and have been active for quite some time now. Indeed, they actually hosted a gig that gave Empyre their very first live performance!
To describe BOE is pretty hard to be honest, personally, I like the song structure and the more progressive sounds they have, yet these guys can be quite heavy at the same time. I don’t know them well enough to list every song here so I’m not even going to try, but songs like the opener Singularity were just jaw droppingly good. This bunch, really know how to play, there are only 3 of them but the soundscape pouring out of the PA was just amazing. Tracks like Evergreen and The Raven were just superb. I don’t think that the core audience really knew who they were at first, but by the time the second track was down, more and more people were coming in to investigate the band and I mean, who wouldn’t? Billy Freedom on drums is probably the coolest looking drummer in history, let alone being a fantastic drummer, taking time out to step away from his kit mid-song and still not missing a beat.
I am looking forward to seeing these guys at a headline gig soon as it was only a brief taster for me, I think in honesty, with a younger crowd, some of those dirtier breakdowns will open up some brutal Mosh pits, however…like myself, it was a slightly older demographic there tonight….gone are the days when we enter the pit!
As I Mentioned earlier, BOE started to pull in quite a crowd, it was then when I looked around, that I realised that there was a very good turnout. Just for the support band we would have packed the small stage area…this was turning into a good night.
But we’re reading this for the headline act, are we not? I suppose I’d best get on with it.
The stage was set, it was fairly minimal.. A drum riser, a couple of LED lights on stage and that huge video backdrop. This and the band is all that was needed for what was one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long while. We all knew it was going to be a memorable night, it really was JUST for the fans to say thankyou for the years of support.
Support is just what the fans did…..the venue was literally filling up, if I were to guess, I’d say that they sold out the small stage venue capacity by about 150%, maybe more? You could see that the guys on stage were stunned by the turnout, humbled even. I also think that they did not quite realise how well the new album has been received. The new music is just stunning, I said it in my review and this has been borne out by the amount of people that it has impressed, impressed enough to come out and see the band play even when times are tight for everyone.
Opening with Waking Light, the hairs on the back of my neck just stood on end. The Guitars and Bass were sounding superb, the Drums were on fire but that Voice….. I mean, how do you find out you have a voice like that? Chris turned to me and asked this and he’s right, How do you know? Well I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth as they say…just enjoy listening to the band.
When I interviewed the guys a few weeks ago, they did say that they couldn’t watch Elliot play his drums whilst on stage, but he was a monster behind the kit. Indeed he is, one of the best live drummers I’ve seen!
Next up, Parasites. One of their heavier tunes and they were sounding truly alive at this point. The video imagery behind the stage was running throughout the set and added so much to the music itself, I’ve seen this sort of thing done well before with big budget bands and this was right up there with it. My Bad and Stone followed on swiftly, the crowd unfortunately were cheering and applauding. We were soon told off for doing this…having fun at an Empyre gig? This is not allowed, Booing was encouraged by Henrik, but you could see by his expression that he was stunned at the reception the band were getting, the amount of people there. He expressed that this must have been their biggest headline show to date.
They carried on with the one and only cover, Titanium and all of the Relentless album, Cry Wolf which is now becoming a favourite of mine, even when it was sung back at me after the gig by Henrik and Chris in complete and unintentional unison!
Forget Me, Road To Nowhere being played hand in hand with Your life Slows and Silent Screaming. There are some gigs I go to where I’m thinking….are we nearly done yet??? Not tonight though, it was just superb and like many others, I was happy for it to continue all night.
Relentless was played, finally and it was just perfection. This really only left Hit And Run to be played, not that I was worried…much…about hearing it, but I knew there would be some remark made by Henrik. Sure enough…..with a twinkle in his eye and a pointed finger…I knew I was never going to live down the fact that I admitted on camera that I didn’t like the song as much as the others!
So… it is growing on me (not like mould), hopefully by the end of the summer run of festivals I'll really like it.
Only Way Out. What can I say? With Did on Piano, this was a rather special song indeed. If you weren’t there…..this is the one song that you should have travelled the farthest reaches of the universe for. Utterly brilliant.
Closing with New Republic, this was just a class show from start to finish.
What conclusions can we draw from the last few weeks in the Empyre camp? First, they can play some awesome music live, second…see them live! Third, see them play live several times and don’t forget to Boo. Fourth, buy the album, its career defining and lastly, expect the p*££ to be taken by the band if you’re press/media!!!!
Seriously, This was a night that stands out for all the right reasons. Excellent venue, top quality support, fantastic music and a band that really loves their fans as much as the fans love the band. I can only imagine that the sky's the limit for these guys and I have my fingers crossed that they get the breaks in this tough business that they deserve. Personally, I’m looking forward to their first arena show.
Copyright cyderbaby 2023. Many thanks to the Bands for allowing me access.
It has to be said…..I was never a huge fan. I mean, I liked the previous albums and I enjoyed their Live performances.
When I started this media malarky, I was pretty much stuck in my own set of particular bands and sounds. Now that I have opened my eyes and ears to the huge array of bands out there, I am finding that I am liking more and more. I came across Empyre by accident almost….I heard a couple of tracks and I thought that they were worth a little more investigation. After an initial interview, my respect for the band grew. At Call Of The Wild last year, I was lucky to catch a set for the the first time and indeed another interview. When you meet people in person for the first time, it is so much different than a Zoom thing, you get to observe them as people and to be honest, they came across as genuine and the kind of guys you want to have a pint with and a chat, whether or not it was a music related event or not.
I caught their set at Firestorm (now Firevolt) Festival later again and they really were better than ever! I asked my mate who was there what he thought as I usually get a 3-word review (this is good/ this is s@£$), however, he surprised me by saying
“They come across as non-chantlant, like they almost revel in being miserable, yet their music is inspired”
Well….that was some statement from my mate, maybe I should get him to write some reviews.
I suppose the crux of what I’ve been leading up to is that as I’ve taken the time to listen to the band, I’ve been pulled into their style more and more and it’s captivated my imagination a little more each time I listen.
So yes, from becoming a casual listener at the start, I am now eagerly awaiting the new album, Relentless.
I’d been playing the title track on the radio for a while, along with the follow-up, Hit and Run. The latter is probably a little lighter in style but heavier in contex than I usually play so it didn’t get the airing that it probably should have. However, this allowed me to listen to the entire album in full, in one hit, without too many preconceptions.
I suppose the process starts with the return to their original releases which seem an age ago now but really only date back 4 and 2 years respectively. A lot has happened in that time in truth and that time has all made us look at ourselves in one way or another. Life was going way too fast and the one thing that the pandemic did for us all was give us time to breathe. For some of us, we took time to change our lifestyles etc, but for others it gave focus to the work in hand, hone and perfect what we do…shine a light on what we want to leave behind for the world and be remembered for.
I think the guys in Empyre have taken this latter statement to heart and this has all culminated in an album which is head and shoulders above their previous work. The older material wasn’t bad, don’t get me wrong but they have managed to exceed my expectations with Relentless.
The entire album is just epic from start to finish! This is not a roll-call for easy to digest music that you can bounce around to, nor is it a progressive bag of notes, emptied out on the floor and reassembled into something called art.
It is indeed an artistic tapestry of sound that has been crafted together to create what is a CLASSIC album of our time.
I do not use that phrase lightly. We often talk about great albums and albums of the year within the NWOCR genre and whatever. You can go back and listen to these albums and sing along or reminisce of a great gig, but with the music industry as it is now, we don’t get the signature albums by artists that we used to get. When was the last Rainbow Rising? Sabbaths Paranoid? Pink Floyds Dark side? I’m not talking about rehashes of theses albums, nor am I talking about commercial albums like Hysteria or 1987, I’m talking about an album that stands out for every track that's written, every note that’s played, an album that really touches your very core. I am certain that this album will be a benchmark in history. Whatever this band go on to do in the future, each individual will be remembered for the work here on Relentless.
To the album tracks themselves, I don’t know anything about the recording process, what I do know is the production coming through on the Soundcloud link is just superb! Whoever took hold of the helm during recording, did a stunning job. When I listen to the production of an album, I’m looking for balance. Not in a left or right way but an overall view of the music that’s been offered up with an equal percentage of time given to each members contribution to the song. I don’t want to hear someones ego trying to out-do the others within the band. When everyone works as one, the track elevates itself to a higher level and I think this is at the core of each of the tracks here.
The songwriting itself is a very close second to this and I think that the story behind each track and the Metaphors used to create the poetic seascape of the lyrics, is pretty much second-to-none.
I am not going to go through each track, one by one as you will be hearing me say the same things over, what I’ll try to do is take a highlight from each.
Relentless opens and we know this track right? Well no, it actually starts with a more heartfelt cry that sends a shiver down your spine.
Waking Light is the current single and I find it best to listen with your eyes closed to allow the track to soar away with your emotions.
Parasites is new to me although it is available to listen to now. You have that intro where you think you know where this track is going but when that Guitar really kicks in, you almost have your soul pulled out of your chest and served up to you on a plate! The subsequent Vocal melody is just utterly brilliant.
Cry Wolf, atmospheric at times but with elements of gun-shot, stop/start movements and a well orchestrated synth section that doesn’t detract this from being an excellent Guitar track.
Hit And Run is an almost gentle flow in time. A friend and uber-fan, Chris stated that it was very reminiscent of the 80’s era. I can hear that but it is at the same time a very modern piece.
Forget Me has that acoustic intro and a vocal melody that carries the whole track. I don’t have much else to say but do not think for a second that this should be a skipped…It’s one of my favourites here.
Silence Screaming is going to be one of those career defining tracks that everyone including part time fans and one time listeners are going to remember. A balance between progressive and commercial that really does hit the spot
Road To Nowhere is my current favouite here. It’s got that hook at the chorus that draws you in. My fingers are crossed to hear this live.
Quiet Commotion. Has to be the longest track here so you know it will have that grandioseness about it. You’re not disappointed, that's for sure. All I will add is that it puts so many other bigger bands of this particular style to shame. Honestly, there is not much out there that can touch this.
You’re Whole Life Slows refers I think, to the point I made earlier about how when there is a life changing occurrence in the world, you stop and take stock. When it hits about 2.10 in the track….
And as if by magic, it ends, leaving you to drift away and immediately cry out for more.
This, this is a career defining album which I struggle to see how they could improve upon. I hope they do, but for now I will glory in all of its beauty and probably wear out a few copies of the CD.
The artwork is stunning as usual and I can only assume that the Vinyls will sell like hot cakes when they become available.
This really is a Classic of our time.
Copyright cyderbaby2023. Thanks to the band and Steve Ager.
Where do you start with a gig like this? To excuse the pun, it was pretty epic, just from the tour poster…..and these guys were coming to Bristol!
To be completely honest, I was only going for Wheel, we had met these guys before in Bristol and had a great time chatting away at the Exchange, pre-covid. They were superb live and this was a chance to see them on a big stage with good lighting and a better PA. I’d seen Apocalyptica at Download a few years ago but had never seen Epica. I’m not the biggest Euro Power Metal fan, but I knew that they would be good live.
The start did not bode too well. As press, my tog had to get in early and prepare to shoot the first 3 songs of the opening act. Some absolute jobsworth of a Showsec security guard told us in no uncertain terms to go back to the end of the queue. This is fair enough…I don’t mind waiting in line, but!
They opened the doors at 7 and they had to search/allow entry for the entire queue before ten past 7 so that Wheel could start their set. This was never going to happen, Wheel opened up to a near empty venue which is not good for the band, nor is it any good for the music fan who has paid very good money to see 3 bands play. We had travelled just over 100 miles to get to this event and it is a poor show of respect from the venue to allow this sort of thing to happen. If you are going to search people as you do, then either invest in more metal detectors and expand the entrance or open your doors accordingly to allow everyone to get what they actually paid for. I do not for one second blame the bands, they had arrived in Bristol less than 24 hours after playing in Belgium, that is seriously good planning and logistics. Setting up the stage show in what must have been record time and then playing as they should….I was more than a little impressed by this!
But enough of my grumbles, we got in and in time for my tog to capture the last song of the allowed first 3 that Photographers are allowed to shoot. This in itself was a surprise, anyone that knows Wheel will understand that they do like a long song. We had bets in the car whether the entire set would consist of 2 or 3 tracks….in actual fact it was 4! They closed with my favourite track, Wheel and it sounded superb! The stage at the O2 is not very deep so the guys used the split level to their advantage in what seemed a 2 up 2 down formation. The back lighting emphasised the mood and the music, from what I heard, these guys were on top form. Come back to Blighty soon chaps, I need to hear more!!!
A quick break and then the lights went down, it was time for Epica.
Now I thought they’d be on last, however given the stage at the O2, I believe that they had to switch around so that they could fit everything in. There was no fire but my word, this was a truly visual spectacle to behold. With an amazing video backdrop, superb lighting and the aforementioned split level stage, this was indeed, a well thought out show. If the music had been terrible, I still would have been happy. The music though, was top tier stuff. I know that they were gig hot and well practised but sometimes this can jade a band, not tonight though… they were fresh and on point, you didn’t need the pyro to see that they were on fire. I was never a huge fan before, but after this I was completely sold.
Opening with Countdown To Singularity, the band were giving everything they had to the adoring crowd from the very start. It is indeed good to see a keyboardist out and around the stage rather than static, he certainly is a character, with his spinning keyboard and later on, a mobile piece of kit which is made in an arc and held on by a guitar strap. I think this attention to detail, sums up the entire band ethos of wanting to connect with their fans.
Essence Of Silence, Victims Of Contingency, Unleashed and the Final Lullaby, all sounded superb. I think I found my favourite track by them though in Beyond The Matrix. There were a load more songs but to be frank, I was just taking in the marvellous spectacle which was occurring on stage to make notes. Each and every band member seemed to be bounding around the stage or really enjoying what they were doing, this is a band at the peak of their career…long may it last!
Consign To Oblivion faded and I was left in awe of the show I had just witnessed. If you get a chance, even if you’re only a passing fan, go and see them Live.
How could Apocalyptica possibly follow this?
There was a long break as the entire set was broken down and a new one built. Moving what is possibly the most extravagant Drum kit from the side to centre stage was a mission in itself.
I do love this band, they are unique as well as talented and they have the best sense of humour!
The stage is all about them, the Drums and three Cellos with added vocalist here and there. I have always secretly enjoyed classical music, some of it is really dark and also vibrant, these guys from Finland have captured all of this and added the metal zest of life.
Ashes Of The Modern World opened, if like me…you have no idea of their instrumental work then you will not understand until you see them live, how easily they pull you into their soundscape. Grace followed and then they bought in Franky to sing I’m Not Jesus. This is one of my favourite tracks of theirs, originally done with that bloke from Slipknot. When he came back later to sing I Don’t Care and Shadowmaker…I think I found a new hero, these songs sounded fantastic, then to take over drums mid song without missing a beat to let the drummer loose on stage, well…..
But to be fair, Apocalyptica are all about those 3 guys centre stage. To watch them play and give each and every song, all that they had, was just amazing. Rise Again, En Route To Mayhem, Nothing Else Matters, Seek And Destroy…..these were all absolutely stunning. Closing on a classical cover, Hall Of The Mountain King and we were as hot and sweaty as the guys on stage, cheerfully pointed out by the band when he said “please go and buy a t-shirt from the merch desk, it helps us and seriously, you all smell like s£*&”
This was a superb set which ended a rather superb night. Go to Download and make sure you see Epica, you won’t be disappointed. I’m off now to find every CD these bands have produced because these bands are now with me for the rest of my life. It takes a special night for that sort of thing to happen and it only happens very occasionally.
Copyright cyderbaby2023. Many thanks to the Bands and Anne Swallow/Atomic Fire.
Black Stone Cherry
Outside of summer festivals, how often do you get the chance to see 3 big acts like this together? Well…..there has been a whole raft of arena tours of late but this is the one that really stood out for me. Why? The twin headliners are just amazing live and I hadn’t seen either for a while.
I’d first seen The Darkness when they played Thetford Forrest, back in the Hot Cake days. This was a great gig for me and my boys who both came with me, but not only that….Black Stone Cherry were the main supporting act, touting the ‘Devil/Deep Blue Sea album which is the work that made them a firm favourite by many people.
Ten or so years on we find them touring together again but in a much different manner, these guys were working together as equals now so how would this all turn out?
We didn’t queue like we had done for Shinedown a couple of months before…. The doors opened whilst we were still eating at the Blue Jay across the road. I think it was around half 6 by the time we walked through the doors, no hassle, no waiting and still as dry as a bone, Bonus! We managed to secure a good spot near to the front so we could not have done much better for ourselves if I’m honest, now it was a short wait for the first act.
Danko Jones burst onto the stage and in true form, delivered the goods at 1000% and at a speed that left you breathless. Saturday was the opener, off of his most recent opus and very apt considering it was indeed, a Saturday. The songs kept coming thick and fast, he barely took time to draw a breath… I gotta Rock, well, he certainly does and quite well! This was a set filled to the brim with short punchy Rock songs, delivered in such a way that you couldn’t not help but to enjoy them. I’m In A Band,First Date, Full Of Regret, all absolute bangers it has to be said. When the last note of the final track, My Little R N’ R rang out across the Arena, everybody was left in no doubt that Danko had just melted your face with pure Rock fury. For me, to attain that much energy for a warm up set would require me to drink at least 10 cans of Red Bull along with assorted food colourings and a Kilo of Caffine. I must see him perform a full headline set soon, just to see if he can sustain the momentum throughout. Having said all that, it was an amazing opening set and it boded well for the rest of the evening.
A short wait and The Darkness took to the stage.
Now I can’t remember the film….but that line, is it I Love The smell Of Napalm In The Morning? Whatever the film or the line, I think the Darkness boys had been watching it too much. The entire set was awash with Sparklers and fire, so much so that the closest 1000 people to the stage had to take a collective step back and be treated with After Sun at the end of the set. Maybe those eyebrows will grow back fairly soon…but I’m not so sure.
With a scintillating shower of sparks, flowing down from the rafters in-front of the silky backdrop, The Darkness opened with Growing On Me and then Black Shuck. Justins voice was on point and the comadre between the guys was evident…they were enjoying themselves! Motorheart is possibly my favorite album of theirs, with the title track, the band take the gig to another level. Added Cowbell from a Roadie just added to the mix, this guy would crop up from time to time throughout the gig, he was like the fifth member of the band. Fire erupted from the stage at several points, there wasn’t a particular song, it was generously applied to a multitude of songs throughout the gig. You certainly had your money’s worth of pyro, I don’t think you’d get much more at a concert unless you were at a Rammstein gig.
Songs like One Way Ticket, Barbarian, Love Is Only A Feeling and I Believe’ were all there, hand in hand with tracks like Solid Gold and Japanese Prisoner Of Love. It was great to hear Get Your Hands Off’ and closer, Love On The Rocks….could this set have been any better?
I love the guys and their music, Justin is as entertaining talking to the crowd as he is performing the songs, the costume changes and headstands are just, well normal at a Darkness gig, but there was one thing that struck me as being a little odd. There were too many pregnant pauses between the songs. The crowd would get hyped by the band and their excellent delivery of the songs, but we would almost go cold with the wait between tracks. Most bands have a bit of banter with the Mic, yet there was hardly any of this. Were they just not gig ready? When I saw them last…you almost couldn’t take the mic away from Justin.
The empty space between the songs could have been given to an extra song in the set, a long one. However, I put this down to a one-off, I wasn’t disappointed in the band or the music, I was just disappointed with the lack of flow, it is a mistake that no band should repeat too often. It just dulled what was a great show.
The curtain was drawn across the stage and you could hear an army of Roadies, beavering away behind. You could feel the anticipation rising in the crowd, people were pushing themselves further forward, eager not to miss a thing.
Lights down, the curtain drops and Black Stone Cherry burst forward onto the stage. From the very first note, they owned the crowd….we were going nowhere until they were finished with us. Me And Mary Jane, sounding fresh and exciting! Chris was looking exceedingly well with a grin from ear to ear, Ben was running around full of way too much energy along with new boy Steve trying to keep up. John was still as solid as ever on top of a riser, surveying the kingdom which was filled with their adoring fans. Black Stone Cherry were back with a bang!
Without missing a beat, they flew into Blind Man, encouraging the fans to sing along. Every track was a classic, do the guys know how to write a bad song? Well no not really, With Burnin’ and Soul Creek blistering a path to our ear drums.
I think the stage set is worth a mention, whereas The Darkness was quite Glam with plenty of fire, these guys just used steam canons and a drum riser. Indeed, the riser was quite tall with plenty of ramps and steps, but you can tell from the photos, it wasn’t a brightly lit set. There was plenty of light but just not the burn your retinas for 6 months kind of bright. Mic’s were set up in various places so that when everyone was bounding around on set, they had something to use when vocals were required mid-bound. This is actually clever thinking, it enabled the band to move around all the time rather than the usual static stance that many bigger bands tend to take.
Out Of Pocket got its first ever airing live which pleased me, its a great single and hopefully a new album won’t be too far behind, although I’ve not heard any whispers on the Grape Vine to say that an album is on the way imminently. Like I Roll is one of my favourites which was closely followed by Cheaper To Drink Alone. This was concluded with a fantastic Drum solo, reaffirming my belief that John is one of the best drummers out there.
Things My Father Said slowed the pace a little, this song touches so many of us, especially when you’ve lost your father….I didn’t shed a tear this time but then, I am in a better place than I have been in years. I was able to enjoy the song and sing along like so many of us that night.
It was then time to launch into that trio of songs that have made this band,White Trash Millionaire, Blame It On The Boom Boom and Lonely Train. The band were so tight and sounding so much heavier than I recall.
Now you’d think that this would be it, what on earth was there left to hear as an encore? After a few minutes, they came back on, faces beaming with just how well they’d been received tonight. The ELO cover, Don’t Bring Me Down rounded off the performance and what a track to do it with! They have made this song their own now and stamped a huge Black Cherry on its arse!
What a night! I’ve not heard the guys play so well in ages. Probably the first gig after the Christmas break but there was no coldness to it, they were in full swing from the outset. The last time I saw them was at Ramblin’ Man and this blew that performance away. I’d even say it was better than the recent live release at the Albert Hall.
All the bands played exceptionally well and there was only a couple of already mentioned niggles. I’ll ask my daughter what she thought when she sees them at Wembly, then compare. In the meantime, don’t be afraid to book that Steelhouse ticket to see Black Stone Cherry, don’t turn down the chance to see the new Pyromaniacs called The Darkness and definitely don’t miss the chance to see Danko Jones play at 200mph. Three great bands, worth every penny of the ticket price!
Copyright cyderbaby 2023. Thanks to the bands, Wilful Publicity and Mascot Records.
Something very special this way comes…the first ever headline Arena tour by Shinedown.
It’s safe to say that we are getting back to normal, several ‘BIG’ bands doing the rounds at the arenas, like it was before. Some bands have moved on to the festival circuit and others are still packing out the arenas, but there is always space for new acts, surely?
Well not new, just new to the top spot and Shinedown have deservedly taken a shot at selling out arenas in this country. Cardiff is the first date on the ‘Planet Zero’ tour so what were we going to get?
Maybe, I should step back a little and go over the history I have with the band as a punter. My eldest lad, Harley came back from school years ago, raving about a couple of songs. “Have you heard this, Diamond Eyes?” Well, after a couple of listens, I went out and bought the cd for his christmas present, skillfully adding the album to my computer as well and enjoying every damn track of Sound Of Madness. My youngest lad, Oren ( my site Photographer now) also took to the album, along with my eldest daughter Carissa who even more skillfully than me, swiped the cd for a few weeks to play in her car. My youngest daughter Eloise became a fan as well…it was like something within the music had hit a chord for all of us.
There was a reason for this, my business at the time was quite literally drowning, it was a very tough time for all of us and songs like Second Chance became a song of that time. As we were late to the party, the next album was soon released and Amaryllis was quickly purchased. We missed the first tour, but we managed to snag a few tickets to see them in the October at Exeter’s Great Hall on the University campus. To this date…. After Dio in ‘84, this has stayed as my second ever favourite gig (sorry, you’re not toppling Dio…no one ever will!). It wasn’t sold out, but the room was so full of energy and the band were literally on fire. I don’t know if it was my personal circumstances at the time or it was just the connection the band made with every one of us there, but we all felt like finally, we all belonged. The band have made no secret of Mental illness and being there for one another, it is part of their ethos. When you’re going through a really difficult time and a singer who you respect just reaches out with a couple of words at a gig…it changes everything. It did for me.
So yeah, I’m a huge fan, there is no point in denying it. I’ve seen them a few times since then but not on every tour because, as you all know, life just gets in the way. My daughter Eloise has been the biggest follower recently, catching them on the last tour in London for Attention’ and again at Download. She was the instigation for myself, my glamorous assistant, Eloise and her husband buying tickets for the opening gig of the headline tour in Cardiff. I was lucky enough to get a press pass and pit pass for Cyderbaby for the event so Oren tagged along also with his camera. Have you any idea how much hassle the rail strike on that day caused? Myself and the wife went away early for her birthday, to meet up with Eloise in Cardiff that day. Oren had to train to Reading the day before, to come all the way back to Cardiff with Eloise that Saturday. This also meant finding Dog sitters for an extra day as Oren was away for longer…you have no idea of the stress, But hey! We got there in the end.
We queued outside for what seemed like an eternity in the pouring rain, yep…Cardiff can be a little damp at times. We got in fairly quickly once the doors opened, I think the staff felt sorry for us. It wasn’t long before the first band took to the stage.
I have no idea on the history of this band. This is soon to be rectified as they were awesome! I have to say, Rap Metal wasn’t going to be my first choice in support acts. Once you leave the preconceptions outside, they were pretty damn good! Each track of their short set seemed to creep up on you and get under your skin a little. There was a little misinterpretation of what the singer was saying to the crowd… he was looking for Mosh pits and more interaction, trying in his way to get the crowd involved, yet a few people took this the wrong way. This aside, it was a great gig, the band took us on a musical journey that we never expected and I’m sure that there are more than a few of us who are searching them out on iTunes now. Then, that's the whole point of an unexpected support act, it gets their name around to a few more people.
Bit like Asking Alexandria.
Now I’m of a time that remembers when AA were a Screamo band. Yes, that tag us old blokes put on bands that pushed the boundaries a dozen years ago. And yes, I dismissed them like so many others at the time.
Now, looking at the stage, I thought they were using most of Shinedowns stuff. A huge and long Drum riser (it had to be really as the banner hanging off of it with Alexandria written in large letters), with not only the Drum kit but a whole host of large stage lights and a Pyro display that puts Parkway Drive to shame.
Danny walked out and started to sing the intro to Someone, Somewhere. The band burst onto the stage…you literally had to step back from the full force of this musical assault. Who the hell called them a screamo band???? This was pure Rock music that Everybody can get behind. The Violence, Into The Fire and Alone Again swiftly followed. It was clear from the outset that this band were treating this as a headline slot. Taking no prisoners and I am positive, converting some older guys like myself, into new fans.
With Down To Hell and Run Free, all of us in the crowd were starting to dry out from the soaking we endured outside, The Pyro was just immense and totally not burning a hole in the Ozone layer over Cardiff. Where Did It Go?, Moving On and Alone In A Room, the band had hit their stride and were in full swing. Were they ever going to stop and allow Shinedown to take to the stage? If it had been any other band following, I’d have been at the dressing room door with a chair, blocking the way. I just wanted more of Asking Alexandria. They closed with The Final Episode…what a way to go! These guys are incredible and I am hoping to catch them again fairly soon.
During the interval, the crowd was getting quite snug…it really was a sold out occasion. Journey came across the PA system in the changeover, my ears were bleeding and I truly dislike THAT song. Once those around me found this nugget out, the little darlings started to sing louder! A friend said after, “Don’t worry, if it had been Oasis, I’d been the same” Oh the irony!!!!
That moment arrived, the lights go down and the video screen behind the stage is alight with a montage film of the bands preparation for this tour. The graphics are amazing, from my point of view it almost looks like a book, whether that is the intention…I have no idea, but as the reel progresses, you realise there is a lot more going to happen.
The band explode into action, fire and fireworks are going off in all directions. All of the support acts set has been removed and you’re left with quite a minimalist set with a relatively low Drum riser. The money was spent on lighting and effects, we really got our ticket price back and then some as it really was a huge show these guys were putting on! Deafened from the noise coming from the stage, I was pretty much awestruck at the spectacle occurring on stage, it took me a while to take in, all that was going on.
The Saints Of Violence And Innuendo opened as I hoped it would, my favourite track by far off of Planet Zero. This was quickly followed by Devil. Did we have time to catch our breath? Well not really. Brent was his usual charismatic self, Barry was all dreads, tanned and grinning from ear to ear, Eric was clean cut and acting as if he was on fire from the Pyro and Zac was his usual humble self… not quite believing that he and his band mates had thousands of people in the palm of their hands. All this energy from the stage was matched by the expectancy of the crowd, we had just been baited by one helluva an opening, were we hooked yet? Of course we were, we were all here ready for the ride!
America Burning and then from Threat To Survival, How Did You Love? To that all time classic 45. We were reminded that the band had been recording for almost 20 years now, how time really does fly!
Bully. Now that is ten years old already and still a monster of a track along with its more gentle follow up, The Crow And The Butterfly.
I do have questions….how the hell was Brent still looking so cool at this point? The guy is wearing a suit and is being basted by all the fire going off around him (I’m really not jealous obviously, but I’d be looking like a Pig on a spit roast by now!!!).
When the vocalist of a major band gets down into the crowd, splitting the hall in two and then walks among you like he is just another normal guy, you know there is a deep and long lasting connection between the band and the fans. Being able to connect on more than one level with everyone there is rare, but comes with ease tonight.
Enemies, Daylight and Planet Zero follow on next and then a huge first… the first ever time that Dysfunctional You is played live. This track has such a strong message, emphasised by Brent’s talk beforehand. Yeah, they are still reaching out to those who are struggling, that lady who was stood next to me, struggling to hold back tears, I don’t think you were alone on this night.
Monsters and then a request, could we all repeat one word? Freedom! Cut The Cord.
To close the main event, Second Chance and Diamond Eyes. This was a long and full set, surely we wouldn't get much more? How wrong was I?
Eric and Zac were back, an acoustic cover of Oasis, Don’t Look Back followed with both of them sharing vocals and an exchange of introductions. It would appear Zac was responsible for designing the set and video backdrop, this guy is seriously talented!
I did turn back to the friend I mentioned earlier who was singing THAT Journey song at the break with a smug smile on my face, Oasis! I believe its a salute to the Manchester Bombing a few years ago as the band were playing nearby at the time. This is unverified but it would fit. I did notice a couple of bars of a Foo Fighter song played by Zac earlier in the set, I tip my hat sir!
Still keeping it acoustic, Brent came back to sing Call Me and that legend of a song, Simple Man, my evenings expectations had already been surpassed but this was just heaven!
Back to electric for one final song… Sound Of Madness, then it was over. Do you get that empty feeling inside when something really big and exciting comes to an end? Yeah, me too.
This being the first of a run of Arena headline shows, it was going to be a real test of the band to see if they could pull it off and play with the big boy bands. They certainly proved their worth and have even set the bar for all the others to try and surpass. There was a tonne of money spent on the set, along with a two hour catalogue of great music. I have to say, although I love Clutch, spending a similar amount of my cash on their ticket left me feeling a little robbed after witnessing A Shinedown Show. It just goes to show that Shinedown were investing as much into the experience for the fans as they were for themselves. After this show, there is no doubt in my mind that they are worthy headliners of festivals such as Download.
It may be Planet Zero, but Shinedown are Kings of the world.
Copyright cyderbaby 2022.
Thanks to the bands, Duff Press, AC Promotions and Cosa Nostra Pr
Jo-Jo & The Teeth
No More Good News
Jo-Jo & The Teeth
No More Good News
This is me trying to catch up with my album reviews…yeah, I’ve gotten a little behind!
So this came out in December, so why should I give it time to review? Well, mainly because it ticks all my boxes and is very good!
So, Jo-Jo & The Teeth, ten out of ten just for the name! This is their debut album, No More Good News and it really is something to behold.
Jo-Jo O’Donoghue is the mastermind behind this band, hailing originally from Canada but is now calling London as her home. She has picked up some waifs and strays along the way which are now her band and very much a big part of this album.
I really have no idea about the origins of this band or what makes them tick. This is completely new territory for myself so I may as well get on with the review and tell you dear reader, just what this album is all about.
No More Good News is a self produced album, recorded, mixed and mastered by Jason Stafford who is the in-house engineer at The Albion Rooms Margate.
To describe the sound is quite hard, there have been genres banded about but I think the closest I can get is calling the album a collection of Artistic Blues tracks. Now once you’ve all stopped running for the door at the mere mention of ‘Art’, hear me out. Jo has one of those voices that demands to be heard without even trying. Laid back and beautiful at times, then powerful and almost Whiskey soaked at other times. Match this with a collection of Classy Guitar tones and a solid Backline, you have a near perfect basis for any Blues based track you care to mention. At times, the album is almost indie in its flavour and then at other times is almost Glam Rock but at its core it remains true to it’s roots.
The opener of this album, a single I believe as well! It is quite commercial/radio friendly in its nature but still unique to the band. Drum beat…then a string of nonsense words that we’ll all be singing to by the end of the track along with those oohh oh oh ho’s Catchy as hell as it builds and then the solo! A definite hit!
No More Good News.
A simple but great intro, matched with a divine vocal tone is just the start. The track offers that Indie style I was talking about but it switches to a more Blues sound at the drop of a hat. It is one of the best songs here after a few listens, very clever!
A simple Riff that gets you straight away but its the vocal melody that is the the star of this track, especially the line “There’s a big black dog”. Then you get to the awesome breakdown in the middle. This is an instant favourite of mine, it took just one listen.
We’re Just Animals.
This track has quite a story to tell….every time I play this, I’m instantly lost in the words and Jo-Jo’s voice. A story about a young girl growing up and experiencing life. I only noticed the band at the mid-section but they were there all along apparently….as I said, I got lost in that voice.
Well this is different! Male vocals? Oh…it’s a real classy duet! This track is very subtle at the start, then it builds and builds. Hell, this could maybe be a contender for the best track. That vocal melody is great but what steals the show is the harmonies on the word Moonchild.
Is This The Dream?
A laid back tune which has that feel about it that it was written about some real life choices and aspirations that were inevitably coming to a close. It builds nearer the end with the anger evident. I think the guitar at the end saying everything that needs to be said.
This is another instantly likeable tune. I can hear this played on the radio. The chorus is the key to this track, it draws you in and gets you bouncing along. When Jo-Jo lets rip at the end, you can really hear the power.
Don’t Get Too Heavy.
This is a guitar proud track, picking up the pace and the feel and I dare you not to sing along to the chorus! Its another track that you hear the power in the vocals which offers a great balance to the rest of the album.
A Hungry Love.
A gentle song in essence to start with, led by the vocals yet again. It does turn quite dark as the track proceeds, with some great harmonies again. It does leave you a little breathless at the end, it catches you unawares.
An acoustic track and a fine way to close out the album. I think as it builds, it elevates from being good, to great. Lyrically, I feel it definitely reflects on real life and what has happened in real life experiences . Was the best saved until the last? Probably.
There you have it, my take on an extraordinary album. I probably would never of picked this out unless it was handed to me and I was told on the threat of having my head placed inside a cage of frogs, that I must listen to it. I am so glad I did! Not only from the threat of Frogs point of view, but I have found something that is quite new and refreshing. People do get stuck in their listening habits and we all have our favourites that we repeat over and over. But albums like this smash down the doors and make you sit up and listen. The song-writing is excellent, the playing is brilliant and probably understated. Its not all loud and proud, in your face Rock and Roll, its just quality. That is enough to recommend any album.
Copyright cyderbaby 2023. Thanks to the band and Kick Down The Doors PR.
Far be it for Cyderbaby to jump on the band-Wagon and start praising a band for an album that everyone is raving about, I’ve been wanting to review this piece of Heavy Groove Rock ever since I was sent the first single to play.
Just what is it that’s getting everyone excited about King Kraken? Personally, I think it's because they have hit on a seam of music that grabs just about every Rock and Metal fan out there. These Welsh Wizards have managed to combine a love of horror and Sci-Fi movies, Groove metal that gets under your skin and capture that ability to tell a story in a song, the way Clutch have been doing exceedingly well for decades. Now I won’t go as far as saying that they are a UK version of Clutch….there are similarities but this is a much heavier beast indeed, the band have worked hard to capture their own identity which they deserve.
I really only know the basics of the band, I know they are Welsh and released a couple of EPs not very long ago. I have yet to see them live or meet them. Well….I am writing this before I have a zoom meeting with them later this evening, so no, I haven’t met them.
This though is a good thing. I have not been coloured by a fantastic live performance or do I have any fragile egos to worry about. I am basically just reporting on what I hear with no preconceptions whatsoever!
So with all that said, this is what I do know. This is the debut album from the band, MCLXXX is the date of the first sighting of the mythical Kraken, so it makes sense to call the album this..I get it. It was recorded at Long Wave Studios with tha rather outstanding Producer, Romesh Dodangoda. If you’re going to make a good album, then it makes sense to hire a top producer to draw out the very best from a band and I believe that Romesh has succeeded in this. The mix itself is just about spot on. Every member of the band has an equal say in each track, it's not Drum heavy or reliant on the Guitars. What I’m trying to say is that the album/track or song itself is a well balanced whole. Complete and lacking nothing. There is not a single song here that wants for more Vocals or the Guitars to be toned down, nor does the Snare sound like a Kettle being hit! Getting the Global sound perfect is a large chunk of a great album, it means that everyone who buys the CD or adds it to Spotify, will go back and listen again and again.
With the Overall sound in the bag, what about each individual track?
Opening with a dark Bassline that sends chills up your spine…your heartbeat is then sent racing with the Guitar Riff. Don’t be under any illusion, King Kraken are here to take no prisoners on their journey with Darkness. You soon realise that you are very willing to sell your soul so that you can listen to this Groove for the rest of your life! If it's this good at the start, then roll on the rest of the album.
With a quick roll down Riff…this is set to be a faster track. Opening dirty roars are soon replaced by clean vocals. I’m pleased they didn’t go down the growly route as I think this in itself can be overdone and ruin an album.
The main melody does slow down a tad but my word….these guys know how to crank things up for the mid-section solo. The power coming out of the speakers is almost palpable with the final movement of the track, it is actually jaw-dropping!
This has a beautiful Groove to the Riff, whilst at the same time making the track sound almost commercial. Well to be fair, it is the latest single. There is a dip in the melody which I really love, it's in the main verse of the song…you’ll know it when you hear it. It's the attention to detail like this that sets the band apart from their contemporaries and makes a good song, great!
The Drums own the intro of this song, the riff is catchy as hell and builds as the track moves along. It's a very commercial sounding track, almost pop-punk like, which does appeal to me quite a bit. The chorus is certainly different to what I expected. When you get to the breakdown, you know without a shadow of a doubt that the drums own this track though….hope the guy has a good endorsement deal, he’s gonna need it with the way he’s hitting those skins!
I suppose we all know the Halloween films and this is the band's ode to that. I think what the band have done is to condense the film into 3 or 4 movements on this one track, but I haven’t actually noticed any direct reference to the film. You do actually feel the tension build and evolve into some kind of terror. It’s very clever writing indeed. This was the first single released and the song that made me sit up and notice the band. If there is one song you listen to, to try out this album..then listen to just how good this is.
Man Made Monster.
Oh how this track tugs at your very being!!! The vocal Riff is as good as the Guitar Riffs. Frankenstein's Monster? Oh I think so, the imagery is brilliant, especially the short little Guitar twiddling which gives you that electrical feeling and then that deep dark monster of a solo in the middle when you can just imagine the Body rising. My favourite track by a country mile.
Walls Of Jericho.
This is a slow marching beast of a track, I reckon it’ll blow the PA system to pieces at every venue these guys play. Its just a huge sound all round and that scream, Jericho!!!!!!!!
Deep , Dark and Dirty Blues…..I think that's pretty much the sum of this track. That Riff you can feel rise up from your very bowels until it hits your heart and stops it dead. Slower than most of the tracks here at the start until it really winds itself up.
The Guitars and general feel of this track screams at you as soon as it starts, Chaos is definitely a good description. You feel everything is being fired at you all at once, yet the song itself is coherent and well structured. Again I’m coming back to that ability within the writing to actually traject the visual imagery the band are trying to describe to the listeners…. Rather than a song being a good song with words that tell a story, the entire package lets your imagination soar and the feel of the music emphasises the story behind the lyrics.
Castle Of Bone.
The final track and it’s one you’ll never forget. A marching Riff drives the track with a vocal tone that is slightly different to the rest of the album, I can’t quite put it into words but I think Mark’s voice has matured a little. But with all that aside this everything about this track demands your full attention, from Riff to Key change, to the grandiose feel of the song. An excellent way to finish.
To summarise MLCXXX, it is loaded with fantastic Guitar Riffs, Clear yet heavy vocals and is an excellent mix of Classic and Modern Metal. You can still hear the Blues roots in all the tracks but it has been brought bang up to date with an infectious groove.
What makes the album stand out for me, is the writing, the ability to imagine the story each track is trying to portray using both the words and the music to set the scene. This really is quite rare. Atmospheric is probably the wrong word to use for this type of music, but it describes the individual songs as a whole. The atmospheric feel to each song, told the story the band were trying to tell. This has been done well in the past obviously, but maybe not this well since the days of Dio.
Grab a copy of this album, go and see them live, King Kraken have written something deserving of the History Book of Rock
Copyright cyderbaby2023. Thanks to the band, Plugin Baby and San PR
Call This A Reality?
When you watch a young band ‘Grow’ into a force to be reckoned with, it is very satisfying indeed!
I first met this band back in the good old days of ‘just before covid’ when they were playing Giant’s Of Rock in Minehead. I myself, had not long been working in media long and it was almost a trial by fire for me to actually meet a band I had had not much to do with prior and piece together a coherent interview (on my part), which was made extremely easy by this great bunch of lads. Not only was it a pleasure to meet them….they actually blitzed the main stage with their energy and presence.
Back then, they were promoting the new album, Casino and they were a 4 piece band. Oh how things have changed!!!
I liked Casino, there were some good tracks, a handful of great tunes and just one or two I could easily leave, but isn’t that the same with all albums by whatever artist? I suppose in essence there were only a couple of tracks that set them apart from the rest of their peers. This is always a problem with the industry as it is at the moment, you need to standout but you also need an identity to draw in those Spotify listens rather than people just relying on pre-made playlists which are difficult to crack. At the same time, you do not want to lose your core fan-base. A band needs to be noticed for their music, quality of their craft and still be asked to play the gigs and festivals where their loyal fans are.
Que the second album.
The second has always been known as the ‘difficult’ one to make, any band will tell you this. You made the first that you’ve toured the death out of, even before it was recorded, your fans can sing the words backwards to you but you don’t want to re-write the same tunes. Growth and maturity MUST be embraced.
Anchor Lane really have embraced this statement, they are now working and gigging as a 3-piece, relying on backing tracks for the Bass element of their show. Having seen them live at Call Of The Wild Festival last year, I can truly confirm that these guys are better than ever live. Not only this, but they played a handful of new tracks in the set which left me wanting the new album there and then! How could they keep me waiting so long? I’d been harassing them for months before COTW Festival about the new album, yet here we are in 2023, only just hearing it it. To be fair, I believe there were logistical and supply difficulties of the hard product and when a band relies on merch sales to actually make any money…it’s totally understandable to wait until all the ducks were in a row.
What really has grown and matured, is the sound. Holy Crap!!! these guys have gone from being good to outright outstanding!
To explain this simply, The writing of each and every song has come on in leaps and bounds, the guitars sound flipping terrific and the Drums are just stunning. The use of modern recording techniques has been embraced and used well on each and every track. Yes, they are probably going to use backing tracks but I firmly believe that this will enhance the live shows.
Their overall sound has changed. It’s what I call a more modern Rock sound, in line with what is more popular now. Alt-Rock is a term thats been used to describe them in the past but I believe this would under-sell them, It's still blowing the socks off of everyone that listens… it’s just not the same old formula that could be any band of the last 50 years.
The biggest improvement I feel, is the vocal melodies and harmonies. Each track stands out, has its own unique tone and is matched by some of the best guitar work I’ve heard in years.
So…..would I recommend them to a friend? Oh Hell Yes! Given the chance and enough exposure, this band in its current format could conquer the world. There's nothing on the album I don’t want to hear played live, actually, I’d be happy if they played the album twice in one gig.
I did tell my daughter and her husband to catch them play Download last year. They were down the front, having no clue what to expect as they had not heard a single song before. I had a call straight after the set and my Daughter has basically found her new favourite band! She was completely blown away and loved every second. Surely this is an endorsement in itself?
So the album is due out 27th January, have you seen the artwork? That's worth the price of a CD in itself! Looking at the production credits, why am I not surprised it’s by Bruce Rintoul? I mean, this is the guy who produces bands like Vukovi. Now… a gig with these two bands would be worth seeing!!!!
You get a dozen tracks for your money and in reality, only one, the opener has been released thus far so the album will be fresh to everyone's ears.
The lead single and such a great track! That intro is excellent and leading to catchy riff that sticks in your brain for most of the day. This is just the start of the album and you can hear how far these guys have come over the last few years. The guitar solo in the middle is amazing and so modern in its sound….trust me when I say that this is just the start of a fantastic musical journey that this album offers.
An infectious groove is laid out with a subtle Keyboard intro, couple this with the truly amazing vocals…..this is a killer track! I really can’t explain why I love this track so much, it has everything in it from Keys to Harmonies and superb guitar sound. This album is already digging its way into my soul.
Call This A reality?
Yeah, you can see why this is the title track, it’s infectious and utterly brilliant, my fav so far! The stop/start riff gets you moving from the outset and when the chorus kicks in, you know you’re going to be singing along in no time! Then that guitar hero solo…..
This is a more serious track rather than having the fun-feel of the previous 3. I also think it has an air of the grandiose about it, by this I mean, played in a huge arena I think it would propel this band to superstardom in an instant. It has a huge sound without the need of over-exaggeration.
I’ve Been Waiting.
This is quite a serious pop sounding rock track. Once you get your head around the contradictions in my statement, I think you’ll agree with me that it is very clever. It appeals to so many different genres at the same time with elements of 80’s synth pop, heavy riffs and catchy lyrics.
The Mischievous Song.
Now you know with this title, you’re not getting a serious song. After hearing this with all its quirky twists and turns… I knew this would be one of my favourite tracks and I also knew it would instantly appeal to my Granddaughter. Expect this to be played a lot on my Radio Shows! Just brilliant!
This instantly has a pop punk feel about it and it doesn’t disappoint as it proceeds. Less…a lot less of the modern sounds and much more of the in-your-face Rock which acts like a palette cleanser to the album and gives something for everyone.
Well….this opens up and feels like a 50s rockabilly riff which has been modernised. It actually works really well and as the track bounces along, you’re drawn further and further into the song until it closes leaving you breathless.
A slower track, which is probably needed just to break things up a bit. The title pretty much gives away the lyrical content but it's the vocal harmony that carries most of the song until the mid-section solo. The Drums really are on fire on this track, absolutely superb!
A couple of minutes of instrumental interlude which leads you into the rather massive….
WOW! Just wow! This is just a brilliant track, Heavy, modern and immense. If I don’t hear this played live then I’m going to be pretty upset. If you hadn’t been blown away by any of the other tracks here…this one will do it for you.
I Don’t Have Another Soul To Pour.
This is the way to close an album….this is a massive track, Heavy Drums, a Killer Guitar Riff and a Melody to Die for! The solo and ensuing Breakdown in the mid-section are just mind-blowing.
Okay….so you probably get that I like the album a little. I am of a particular age where I’m expected to like NWOCR bands, which I do. BUT I also love the modern sound that is around at the moment, Blood Command/Vukovi that sort of thing. I think that Here, Anchor Lane have managed to embrace modern sounds and recording techniques and woven traditional Rock into the thread and have created an album which is a little like a magic carpet which takes you on a voyage of discovery. For all the hard work and patience, the band deserves all the recognition and praise they can get. They really have produced a solid piece of work that will be remembered for many years to come.
Call This A reality? No, I call this a masterpiece and should be used as a measure for the music yet to be created.
Well done guys, You've made my year already!
Copyright cyderbaby 2023. Thanks to the band and Hold Tight Pr
The Fleece, Bristol
Sometimes…..music just demands to be seen and heard in the live environment.
This isn’t a ground-breaking discovery, people have been going to gigs since time began! However, I’d come across a new PR company and they had been sending me music that was probably out of my particular demographic. This basically means that I'm really old.
Yet the more I listen, the more I realise that I’ve been missing out on a huge genre/movement of Rock music that is just so damn good!
So, with persuasion from my son and Cyderbaby Photographer Oren, I ended up in Bristol on a Monday night. A gig on a Monday I hear you cry? Surely it was as empty as a politician's promise! Hardly, the place was absolutely rammed. From what I heard, it was sold out. This is good going by anyone’s standard but it goes to show that Rock music is far from dead.
How do I describe the music on offer tonight? Well Zand are completely new to me, so I had to watch and find out, but Vukovi? Rock, laced with a lot of popular recording techniques, filled out with an awesome guitar sound from Hammish and fronted by a very powerful singer , Janine. There are a lot of Pop influences within the music itself and I think this is the thing that puts many older Rock fans off. Just why???? Have we all turned into our parents when they said the same things about our choices back in the day? Guys, if you dismissed the band and a chance to see them, purely because you heard the words ‘modern’ ‘pop’ and ‘backing tracks’ then hang your heads in shame!
The evening started with a quick visit to the pub next door, 2 pints of Lemonade please? ‘You do know a pint of Lemonade is £4.50?’ errrr….maybe a bottle of alcohol free beer please?
With bottles in hand, we went outside to the benches to see how the queue was doing. It wasn’t long before we decided to drink up and join the end of said queue so that we could get in and not be stuck at the back! The Fleece is a great venue with good sound, but even on a chilly Autumn evening, it’s a sweatbox. Everyone and I mean everyone, was there early. The place was packed from the start and When Zand walked onstage, the whole place came alive.
As I said before, I knew nothing of Zand prior to the gig. Basically, they perform to a backing track which is on a phone, hooked up to the PA. I can almost perceive the horror on my older readers faces as they read that statement…. ‘This isn’t Rock!!!’ Well, I disagree. If Zand has the talent to write and record all the music that goes with their live performance and then sing along with it, then yes… this is Rock!
Okay, so they call the music Ugly Pop. Shock Rock bought bang up to date in my mind. Each track played had some depth behind the lyrics and heart-felt meaning, yet they were about subjects that a few of us still find hard to accept. Yes, we are talking about non-binary people, yes we are refering to sexual harassment and all the kinds of things that get swept under the carpet. In a way, the set was a bit like preaching to the choir, most people I saw were awake and accepting, but most of all, most people were enjoying the music and singing along.
I really enjoyed it, the tunes got into your head and they struck a chord. There may well have been only one person on that stage but I didn’t feel cheated or short changed. It was a great show and an excellent warm-up for the main event.
Vukovi. You could sense the anticipation in the crowd and when they burst onto the stage with Lasso, the place just erupted. I am so glad I moved over to the Merch desk to watch the show. I was carrying photo equipment and with my advancing years, I would have been thrown around the crowd like a rag-doll. The whole place was moving, the crowd were in love with every single note that these guys played. Yes they are a 3-piece but they sounded immense. I have to say, I like seeing the drums at the side/front of the stage, you generally only get to see the Cymbals and occasional hand from the drummer but tonight, seeing Martin let loose on the drum kit added something more to the overall show…you got a heightened sense of passion from the musicians on stage.
C.L.A.U.D.I.A came next then probably my two favourite tracks from the latest album, NULA, Hurt and Quench. We even got Janine’s laugh with this which is absolutely brilliant. You know a song is good when the Merch girl couldn’t contain herself and ran off into the middle of the crowd for Quench.
Older tracks like Behave and Violent Minds came next, but even live, you could hear the evolution in their sound. When tracks like Hades and Kill It just blow you away, you just know these guys are on a rising plane.
Music aside, Janine had a good bond with the crowd, interacting when she could. Even hanging onto the support pole to get closer to the crowd and later, crowd surfing. When bands connect with an audience, it brings that something special to the entire gig.
I’m Sorry and Colour Me In were just fantastic but then so were new tracks, I Exist and Slo. Set closers Run & Hide and La Di Da seemed to be the tracks that everyone knew the words to, with Zand helping out on stage as well. A set that lasted just over an hour was over way too soon, I could have listened to the entire thing again straight away!
This gig had a certain magic about it tonight, I’ve been to loads of gigs and enjoyed most of them, but this one… This one lifted me from the start. I walked out of the gig feeling excited and really buzzing. That adrenaline high you get when you’ve experienced something really good. If I was honest, for a couple of hours, I had decades wiped off of my age, when you feel this way without the aid of drugs or alcohol then it is ALL down to the music.
I’ll be back to see them again.
Copyright cyderbaby 2022
Thanks to Good As Gold Group and the Bands.
A New Tomorrow
Yes, yes….I know I’m late, but I had to buy a new computer to do things like edit photos and videos! This gig was about 6 weeks ago and I’ve just put pen to paper.
Inglorious have been around for a little while now with the last release being the Live DVD and CD filmed in Exeter about a year ago. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Nathan and the lads play the odd festival over the summer, but this was the first run of dates since last year and the first band for me this busy Autumn.
Tavistock. It’s not really a place that springs to mind when you think of Rock gigs, yet it does have a very good venue… The Wharf. Several bands have played in the past and there is a Kris Barras gig there next year (sold out). Normally though, it’s cover/tribute bands, which is a shame. They need to be more forward thinking, but this is my personal opinion and not for review purposes!
Their place does have great sound and good lighting. A too small bar maybe, but that’s just me nit picking!
The first band on this September night are from Italy, A New Tomorrow. I’d seen them briefly at Nathan’s birthday bash, but this was the first time in a gig setting…..What a band! A real taste of the harder edge of Rock, these boys controlled the crowd from the very start. Everyone stopped what they were doing and came into the auditorium to see what was going on. If you think Alter Bridge, then you’ll get the idea of what they’re like….however, they probably outdid Alter Bridge tonight as they were just superb.
I haven’t followed their music prior to this evening so I don’t really know the songs. What I can say though is that I have now followed them on itunes and have been adding them to my playlists. These guys are well worth checking out if you get the chance. The Tavistock gig was near the end of the Inglorious run of dates so I couldn’t catch them on the same tour again.
Powerful drums, a real groove in the bassline, almost bordering on the funkier side, matched with two outstanding guitarists. Some of the Riffs and melodies pouring out of the PA were just divine! A New Tomorrow will be huge sometime soon.
Now Inglorious have been on the road for a couple of weeks now, this is now Nathan’s home turf and I can understand why he chose to play here rather than at the Phoenix again. Playing the same venues and the crowd becomes bored and you don’t sell tickets. Move around, even within the same county and you draw fresh faces. Tonight was no exception, there were a huge number of new faces and the place was absolutely packed! It was showtime.
Inglorious are a tight unit and blessed with extremely talented musicians. From the opening chords of She Won’t Let You go, to the finale and last notes ringing across the room, you get 100% from the guys. Highlights? Read All About It, Holy Water,Taking The Blame….but all that paled into insignificance when we had an acoustic break in the middle. No, not just an acoustic break, more of a masterclass. With Phil Beaver swapping his drum kit for a 12 string guitar, he alone began with a superb rendition of the Foo Fighters song, My Hero. For Taylor definitely but is there no end to Phil’s talents? What a voice! Nathan took over for an utterly brilliant rendition of Glory Days. This song, this version, is now my favourite of all Nathan’s songs, with or without Inglorious. Best Of You, another Foo’s track and I have to say…..this was by far the best part of the evening.
By saying that, I cast a shadow on the rest of the electric performance, but I’m not intending to, it was top notch entertainment from start to finish. Nathan’s voice is sounding the best it ever has and is in my mind, THE best vocalist this country has produced since Gillan/Plant/Coverdale, and I’d even say Dio. It came as a surprise to me when Nathan admitted that he had been suffering with a virus across the tour (hence the cancelled gig). When this guy is on fire…nothing can stop him sing.
This being produced a few weeks after the tour is over, you can’t see/hear for yourself. No one left the venue unhappy, everyone had gotten their money's worth. Nathan as ever, was shaking hands and posing for pictures, still the ever accessible showman. The rest of the band gave everything they had on stage and the support band were just amazing. What a night!
Grab a copy of the DVD and keep your fingers crossed for a new album next year. After that, it must be time for world domination.
Many thanks to Duff Press and the bands.
My son has been bending my ear about certain bands recently, apparently.....I’m not as current in my musical taste as I’d like to believe!
This is probably true, there have been bands that have slipped past my radar as I’ve concentrated on as many NWOCR bands as I can listen to. Whole genres of music can slip by and get missed, so it is important to listen to the next generation of Rock fans. I mean, look at us! We were playing Motorhead at full blast whilst our parents who grew up listening to Elvis, thought that we had all been possessed.
Nothing quite as extreme here though, but thanks to Oren, I agreed to drive up to Bristol and see a couple of bands that I probably would have missed. At the Exchange tonight international stars Blood Command. I’d listened to a few tracks from each over the past couple of weeks to acquaint myself. Spotify had not prepared me for what was to come!
Blood Command. How can I describe them? 4 Nordic vikings and a diminutive Australian lady on vocals? Visually correct maybe, but flipping hell, when Nikki sings, she is bigger than the others combined! To describe their sound is not easy, post-metalcore with strong melodies and a large pop influence. You have the strength, aggression and power in the vocals, yet it’s offset by catchy chorus lines and sing along tunes. So....we have an hour or so of this and that time just flew by!
The audience were ready for this set and I don’t think I saw a disappointed face all night. Blasting out of the blocks with Praise Armageddonism(smsm)and the hitting us with Saturday City (my favourite), these guys were taking no prisoners. The band were a solid unit with Nikki being the perfect front-person of the band, engaging with the fans and on several occasions, crowd surfing whilst singing.
Although , not the biggest venue, the band treated it like an arena, where every single person seemed to be included. Nikki is a recent addition to the band and the vocalist on the new album, well done guys for finding her as she has elevated the entire band. The older material sounded so much better live than recorded, but the highlights were the more recent tracks like A Questionable Taste In Friends/I Just Want That Movie Ending/Nuns Guns and Cowboys. Although, I really loved the final couple before the encore, Cult Of The New Beat is an older track and newbie, The End Is Her.
What did I draw from this set? With the right vocalist, harsh, powerful and clean vocals work so well together. I’m not dismissive of the Metalcore genre, but sometimes for a guy of my advancing years....it can be a chore. Not tonight, it was literally mind-blowing. If I’d had more energy and wasn’t looking after my sons photography equipment, I’d have been more involved with the crowd, the music was trying it’s hardest to push my groove button.
Would I go to see them again? In a blink of an eye....yes! In discussion on the journey home that night, Oren declared it the gig of the year for him and I am struggling to disagree. I’d go see them again and again.
My final thought though are this, I now know the face of true fear. A group of college/uni students were at the edge of the stage.....when they realised that a giant viking was about to fall on them to crowdsurf, their expressions were priceless!
Listen to Praise Armageddonnism, I’m sure you’ll be hooked.
Copyright ©️ cyderbaby 2022
Life is strange at times, you never know what's around the corner. I had no idea when I walked into the New Blood Stage at Bloodstock Festival, I’d find a band that would change my life forever.
That’s a pretty dramatic statement to make, but it is true! If someone had told me about a band that was heavy on the electronic backing tracks, Metal/Metalcore on their approach to music and had an Urban take on Vocals, I’d have screwed up my face and dismissed them….that’s not for me, surely? By stumbling upon them as I did and watching their set with no preconceptions whatsoever, I found a band that I loved instantly and will do until the day I die.
This band? Seething Akira.
Since that fateful day at Bloodstock, I’ve kept an eye on the band for obvious reasons. I started talking to the band as a normal punter/fan and found out that they were getting ready to release their first album, Sleepy Skeletor and putting together a tour. I agreed to host a gig in Plymouth on that tour, it was my first and soon to be only foray into promoting gigs. It was a short sharp lesson in learning not to make promises you can’t keep on my part and a lesson not to book a tour whilst the world cup was being played. Hardly anyone came, but those who did were as blown away by the band as I had been as they still put on a stellar show. I think everyone who went left with a Cd and a huge grin on their face.
Fast forward a couple of years and there were a few changes. For instance, when did the second Guitarist appear??? Covid hit of course, so while the band were on a forced gig stop, the second album got released. For me, Dysfunctional Wonderland was a little harder than Sleepy Skeletor to get into. Tracks like Kenneth Dopeland and Knock Off God were instantly brilliant, The rest….just a bit different to what I was expecting. In all honesty, this was my problem and not one caused by the band, the music was still great but they had evolved their sound more than I anticipated. I think what turned the release around for me was seeing them on the Sophie Stage at Bloodstock on its return after Covid. Bloody Hell that was a great set! Playing a big stage in front of 1000’s rather than a small venue, this elevated their sound and an already great stage presence. Was this the first gig back after Covid? I don’t know for sure but what a way to come back!
This year, it's a game changer. We have had a whole raft of single releases, as a DJ….I’ve had trouble keeping up! Intergalactic, which was released as a very funny video years ago, was the first single. I can only assume that now the band are signed to Fixt, someone had the vision to get this cover out on general release. To say I prefer this over The Beastie Boys version is a mild understatement to say the least.
In amongst all the singles, has been a live performance that I am appalled to have missed. Download.
How special was this? A Wednesday night, people were fresh and ready to party and the only band to play that night on the new Dog Tooth Stage was Seething Akira. It was a captive audience and knowing how well these guys interact and react to a good crowd, this must have been a gig of a lifetime! HeyHo….I’m sure I’d get to see them soon. In actual fact, I did! A few weeks ago, these guys were the main support for Confessions Of A Traitor. This meant a host of smaller gigs with a band that has a big following. I managed to bag tickets to see them in Bridgwater, My word, this band are just too big to be contained in this size venue!
To describe a SA gig is like trying to sum up a lightning bolt with all its power and brilliance , words are just not adequate. The band blitz out of the blocks, all guns blazing. Nothing holds them back as they are full of self confidence and bravado. Musically, they are as tight as nut and bolt, torqued right up to the max. Yes there are backing tracks but this is really only an extra member of the band, but the real force comes from the guys on the stage, the twin Guitars sound flippin’ amazing and the Bass acts like another lead Guitar rather than staying in the background. The Drums have always been phenomenal but tonight they seemed to be on fire. What occurs off stage is probably more engaging than you would normally expect. In these smaller venues, there are no crowd barriers so this allows Kit and Charlie loose within the crowd. This has always been something I’ve enjoyed when I’ve seen the band play, They sing at each and every member of the crowd. Not only does this make the casual gig goer feel connected to the band but it also portrays the passion and emotion of the vocal content. If you don’t feel the energy of the band live, then surely you must be dead inside!
None of the set seemed to have any older tracks in it, this in itself is a testament to the quality of the songs on the new album Nozomi, if a band are not relying on older known music…then they must be confident that what they’ve written is top drawer stuff.
So, the album.
Released onto the world, Nozomi is alive and well. This album for me is more accessible than its predecessor. This maybe because I have been drip fed most of the tunes already via the single releases.
Never Permanent (intro)
A full Guitar sound with a chunky riff takes over from a quite sedate opening vocal line. Always lulled into a false sense of security, but hey… I may learn eventually. It actually gives you an insight to the vocal range these guys have. The vocals soon give way to the signature sound, that line about the Tornado is just as sweet as you can get!
There is a good breakdown near the end of the track that lets you catch your breath, but you already know that you’re in for a ride with this album.
This has the best hook in the history of music, if you’re not singing along to it in your head by the end of the first play then I seriously have no hope for humanity. The balance between Vocals, Guitars and the Synths is as near perfect as you can get within metal. After the initial hook line, the band go for broke and literally blow you out of the water and you’re banging your head whether you mean to or not.
Lost At Sea.
This is the softer side of SA, a track about that black dog, self doubt and those moments where we feel disconnected to those around us.
Musically, there are 3 different movement or tempo changes within the track which makes this one of my favourite songs from the album. These changes are very different to each other but work so well when combined. I dismissed this as a single at the time, but I kept going back to it over the following weeks. A grower maybe, or a track that is very much SA but quite different at the same time.
Dispelling the comfort you may have felt from the previous track, this goes for the throat in a big way. It’s got a huge sound from the start which flows into a great Guitar riff track. Some of the sounds that have been added in production are absolutely stunning and add so much.
Halfway through the track takes a wholly electronic turn which appeals to my inner Pendulum, the song almost seems Bi-Polar…but in a very good way!
Something In The Water (intro)
Something In The Water.
A recording from band chat seems to be the premise of the intro, it also does remind you that apart from the real issues these guys write about, there is a huge amount of humour as well.
Commercially speaking, this is the most accessible track here but for me, this is the most poignant track they have ever released. My business and sanity was literally destroyed by something actually in the water, the lyrics here really strike a chord. It's a heavy hitting track with a perfect ending!
This has a slightly different Guitar sound to the other tracks which mixes things up a little. Us older folk can get tired of the Metalcore sound that is the trend at the moment, so to hear a modern track with a slightly older style Guitar is a gift in itself. To the track, if Slipknot were to have written this, then maybe their last album wouldn’t have been so bland. I think SA tried to explore a more traditional metal track here and put their stamp on it, I’d say it was a success!
This track….not only does it get you bouncing around a venue with it’s raw energy, it has the same effect in your home, in your car or anywhere you choose to listen. My advice is not to drive while listening, those penalty points add up!
My favourite live track and possibly favourite after ‘Devil.
Back to the electronica in a big way, this is a brute of a track. When they say, ‘The Mind Has Been Weaponised’ they actually mean it. There are hints of the 90s in this track which is really cool, but the 90s never really got my heart going as this track does.
Reason To Breathe.
A beautiful intro leads you into a slower paced song than the previous couple. The vocals are much crisper and they lead the track rather than the Guitars overpowering everything. If I was asked to comment on the meaning of this track, I’d have to say it was a song written by a father about his newborn child. I have been known to be completely wrong…but maybe on this occasion, just maybe .
Epic. I think that’s the best word to describe the album closer. I don’t mean as a Prog legend of a track, this is still Seething Akira, but I’m referring to the lyrics again. The guys reach out and try to connect everyone, ‘You are not alone’. It's a great track, not your party belter that they are best known for, more of a heart-felt classic.
Nozomi has to be Seething Akira’s best album to date. The production on this album is the best yet, I'm not sure who handled the sound but they seriously need to give themselves a pat on the back.
Their music gets into your soul and pushes buttons that you never knew existed. Live, you can’t beat the band for pure energy and I am looking forward to catching them again very soon.
Stream the album from all the usual sites and visit their socials,
Copyright cyderbaby 2022
Thanks to the band and BJF Media
Chaos Is Calling
I’ve been away from reviewing for a few months, mainly through time restraints but also because I lost sight of what I actually should be doing. I should be promoting new music and what better album than this to push?
Now it’s no secret that I've been following this band for a while. I first interviewed Kira back in February before the first single, One Way ticket was released. Since then, I’ve had the chance to interview them a couple more times, along with seeing them perform live twice (Rock and Blues Custom Festival and Cornwall Rocks), all this has reaffirmed my belief that this band (Kira Mac is a collective name, not just the stage name for Rhiannon) are ready to explode onto the scene in a very large way.
Back in the summer after seeing them play first and only having a couple of singles and a single live performance as reference, I said that this album will be as big as Hysteria and 1987. If we were living in the golden age of record deals and big budgets, Chaos Is Calling would be Platinum in a very short time indeed. It’s not just the album of the year, but I consider it to be the album that defines Rock music this decade.
Music aside, its timing is almost impeccable. Female fronted bands are (finally) getting the recognition they deserve and Kira Mac is probably the best out there at the moment. Kira’s voice has range, power, substance, clarity and gravel, all in equal measure. With her appearance on The Voice, we have all become aware of what she can do, even the non-rock people who apparently walk among us have taken the time to take a look at this buzz that’s starting to gain momentum.
Along with this, the collection of tracks on this album are about as near-perfect as you would want in a Rock album, each has been well written and crafted into perfection in the production process. They are all instantly in your brain, spinning around and you can’t help but start singing along after a couple of listens. Each track is radio friendly as well, by this I mean I could pick a track at random to play and each and every listener will stop what they’re doing and turn the volume up. There is not a duff track/filler on the album! There are big bands out there that struggle to put out entire album’s that don’t have at least one track that is not quite up to scratch. This is why I’ve made that comparison to Hysteria/1987. We all play those album’s in full, never skipping a note. When we wore out the cassette tapes back in the day, we threw them out and purchased another copy. We recommended these album’s to all of our friends and they soon became a must-have-copy for every metalhead along with Appetite For Destruction.
Now…..there’s a question, Is Chaos Is calling a generation defining album like Appetite?
Now, I’ve mentioned Kira/Rhiannon but I have yet to talk about the other guys. (Drum roll if you please) First up we have Bret, Bass player, Sax player and one of the funniest guys you’ll ever meet. Alex, Guitarist and who can wear a check shirt really well, although he unfairly suffers from Bret’s allergy to this fashion statement. Joe, guitarist and maybe the most level headed of the band (I use this term very, very loosely) and finally Max, newest member and an outstanding drummer. I should mention Cal who plays Drums on the album, he has done an excellent job.
I suppose…I should mention the odd track or 3? Might be a good idea!
One Way Ticket.
The first track and single, how this song opened doors for this band. If you ever listened to my breakfast shows or that ‘other’ radio station….Planet Rock I think it’s called, you’ll have heard this track played almost constantly. From that hollow guitar intro to that spine tingling roar into the song, this song has everything from a great riff to a catchy sing along chorus and an awesome Guitar solo.
Hit Me Again.
When you’re playing cards with the Devil! Upbeat and full of energy and a Bassline to die for, this elevates the listener even more so after the opener. Those little riffs at the start and at various points within the song are just pure magic, but the best part? That breakdown in the middle of the track is superb!
Chaos Is Calling.
Now if you don’t feel the groove of this song during the verse, Awesomely thick sounding guitars and the vocal melody, then you really are dead inside! The chorus has that ability to engage the crowd and get them singing and punching the air….it’ll be the highlight of the tour I’m sure.
Back For More.
Written about those toxic relationships that we’ve all been involved in at some point or another. It’s a change of tone to the previous tracks, I’d hardly call it a ballad but I think it’s as close as you’ll get! The vocal hook in the chorus is just excellent.
Imagine What We Could've Been.
That vocal melody magic is here yet again, along with a blue’s based Riff…this is fast becoming one of my favourite tracks of the album. I dare anyone not to help the band sing the backing vocals on this as it’s playing!
(yeah I’m only spelling that once!)
The hook on this grabs you, never to let you go! Yes, it has that Southern Rock vibe and you cannot help being swept along with this Riff, it pushes that groove button and gets you singing along. Before you know it, you’re hitting the repeat. The video is worth checking out, Kris Barras directed it….now there’s a hopeful duet about to happen!?
Hell Fire Holy Water.
‘You can’t blame me, I’m my father’s daughter’
I now have two daughters who now quote this to me on a regular basis.
Who would have thought Kira was a bit of a Hell raiser? I mean….butter wouldn't melt! But this is what the track is about and the fact that you can’t blame her as her teacher was indeed her ever-suffering father (medal is in the post chap). Nice chunky Riff and a perfect melody, this would be my favourite track if it hadn’t indeed caused me loads of grief!
This is a bit heavier….I mean, it’s a LOT heavier! It also has a more modern feel to it. With my radio cap on, I’d say it’s another good choice for a single. Although the vocals are utterly brilliant, this track spotlights the entire band and I’m drawn to the Guitar and Bass Riffs when I listen. This is a real grower of a track.
Never Going To Stay.
This has a softer edge than the other tracks here, the focus is the melody which is divine. I’d like to say that the musical side of this is more understated than the vocals, it lets you concentrate on the words and the delivery, but on third or fourth listen…you actually pick up on the various parts that make the wholeness of this track. I know it seems a very odd description, but once you hear this a few times, you’ll understand and then realise just how damn good this track is.
Dead Man Walking.
What a way to close an album! This track is heavy and slow, almost Stoner/Doom in its origins but oh so much better. Kira’s voice just demands to be listened to and that note near the end….I struggle to think of another who could sing that. The story is that Joe told her she couldn’t do it so ….she did it out of sheer anger to prove a point. Point made!
There you have it, Chaos Is Calling.
I love the album, I think it’ll be huge. It will be interesting to see the streaming figures for this, hopefully it’ll get the exposure and plays that it truly deserves.
I think, even in today’s fickle music industry, this band will be a worldwide phenomenon. How can anyone not want to listen to this? A debut album of this quality only comes around rarely, make sure you buy it, make sure you see them live…a couple more albums and they’ll be headlining major festivals, Chaos Is Calling is just the first spark of a fire that will ignite the entire Rock industry.
Many thanks to the band, Centralpress Pr and AC Promotions
White Raven Down
Don't Shoot The Messenger
I’ve been waiting for this album since hearing the first single drop ages and ages ago!
White Raven Down are such a fantastic bunch of people making great music. If you’ve seen them play, then you can tell just how much passion they have for their craft. After listening to the singles and now the album, you can see just how well they have taken that passion and transferred it into a killer album.
"Apollo learnt of the Coronis’ infidelity from the White Raven….. in his rage, Apollo took his bow and fired the flaming arrow at the Corvid…..The arrow struck the messenger thus making his scorched corpse, and his kind, black as night…. Forever"
I spoke to the guys are few months ago via zoom and you could tell then that they were excited about the album.....I think you know deep down when you’ve created something big, because all you want to do is tell everyone about it. Stu was bursting to say something and you could tell that he was trying really hard to reign himself in. So....yes, I really am expecting big things from this album.
Am I disappointed? Hell No!
Demons At Your Door
A slow and delicate opening to the first track which builds from a great solo/noodle to a heavy Riff. The track then cuts back again to allow the vocals to swoop and soar, taking you on a flight of musical discovery. There is a depth to the Guitar sound that I really like and when the solo nearer the end takes hold of you....its got a tight grip and it doesn’t let you go! How do you start an album with such a classic like this and then give you more further down the line? Evidently this is just the start of something big.
Price You Pay.
This was the second single released and its more standard in its initial format, with a Beautifully heavy Riff that you can really get behind. This is far from simplicity as the guitar and bass lines are quite intricate in their design.
Heavy and thick guitar sounds matched with some superb drumming, let’s this track search out your soul that you thought was well hidden and drags it out through your chest. Match this with perfectly balanced vocals, this is a killer track.
The third single, with my favourite vocal melody which drives the song. Not so heavy from the outset as the previous couple, but it builds, almost like a firework....slow to start but gets brighter and brighter until its timely conclusion.
All Day Long.
There’s no getting away from it, that dirty riff at the beginning is the star of this show. It lulls you into a false sense of security until you realise it kidnapped your previous favourite track by whoever and thrown it to the wolves without a care. That riff knows that IT is now your favourite track ever! It is only outshone by the solo.
The only thing that comes close to beating the riff, is the performance by the rest of the band! Can I say its my favourite track here? Not quite.
Continuing in the vein of sick dirty Riffs, this one grabs you by the balls and tears them away!
Just how the drums and Bass keep up with the pace set by the guitars, I have absolutely no idea! That break down in the middle (if you can call it that), is pretty divine and then you get that shredding. Holy cow...........
Roll Of The Dice.
The first single released and pretty much the first time I heard these guys. A steady riff rolls through the entire track, allowing the vocals to take centre stage and carry the song. They do this with style I may add, we all probably have different ideas on what song should be a single, at first listen....the previous couple of tracks would have been absolute bangers...but you need that track to highlight the completeness of this band and ‘Dice is certainly that.
An acoustic track which shows another side to the band. I love this because it’s completely different to all the other songs but at the same time, its a perfect fit with the band. It also allows you time to draw a breath and recover a little.
The second half ....just saying.
Just who did the production on this album? It is superb! This track really shines because of it. Its a slow burner which builds. There is great use of keys in this, I’m not a huge fan of keys in Rock as it can be overdone and make it sound very European. Bang on the money here though.
Lost Your Hold.
The current single with its blistering fretwork and pounding drums. It’s March like riff during the verse is massive and the key change near the end is inspired.
Void And Flame.
Don’t let the gentle intro fool you....this track will shred the eardrums! This track will get the most stoic of people nodding their head in time, a helluva way to finish an album. You get sudden movement changes and a delicious guitar tone in many different sections. How can you fail to love this track??
The tracks do seem to follow a particular order, like a story is being told. Not in a concept album manner, but close. Thought has been given to every word that written....giving the entire album some depth and meaning to match the sheer brilliance of the music itself.
For me, this is the perfect album. Every part of this album has been well written, performed with style and produced to perfection. Heavy, meaty Riffs with hard hitting drums and a bassline that is more like a lead in intricacies. The vocals are bang on point throughout the entire album, never forced, never in excess.
This is the album of the year. There is nothing out there that can touch it. I dare anyone to even consider trying to change my mind. I will even go as far as saying, that if it doesn’t make the top 5 album’s of the year in the NWOCR polls, I shall interview the band again to commiserate, wearing a pink leotard and tutu. This is how confident I am in this album.
Buy this album, stream it....buy the Merch and go to a gig where they are playing. Make sure you tell your friends, tell your neighbours and play it loud.
Copyright ©️ cyderbaby 2022. Thanks to Roulette Media.
Going To Need A Bigger Boat
I wasn't sure if I was going to go to Stonedead, its quite a way from home and its marketed as a one day event, would it be worth going? I took the plunge and applied for press tickets, to my surprise, I had an almost immediate response and I was in!
I'd never been before and it has gotten itself a good reputation. Now I'd put this down to the loyal fans that had been attending from the very beginning, I mean…..this had all started from a Facebook group!
I rocked up in the party Aygo early on the Friday, we had stayed over in Coventry the night before, so thanks to luck and Google maps, we avoided all of the queues the roads could throw at us. From the very outset, this was looking like one of the best organised events I'd been to. We were greeted with a warm welcome and we neatly side-stepped a long queue of eager festival goers to find ourselves at the press reception. After a brief rundown we made our way to the guest camping. This sounds very impressive, but honestly, it's just the same as general camping but with the added benefit of the press office nearby.
With Adam, Mark and Tosh involved with the running of the press office, we knew it'd be Good, however….I didn’t expect snacks! What a bonus, when you're busy interviewing, editing, and waiting (lots of waiting), it's often hard to find time to get a drink of tea or coffee and a pack of crisps at lunchtime unless you take time out to go to a food stall in the arena. So with all this and organised times for interviews….I'm giving Stonedead a ten out of ten for keeping the press guys happy.
Being there as well, I could watch the MMH guys at work, as main sponsors for the Friday party, they were putting loads of work in behind the scenes as well. This all helps build an overall picture of the festival to present to the general public to help sell more tickets. However, being sold out each year means that they don't really need to try too hard. Is there really a need to draw in bigger media/press outlets if in fact you can't sell anymore tickets without expanding the site? That's a question well above my pay grade I'm afraid, but a question asked by a few media guys there who didn't actually get a pit pass for photography. The lack of pass didn't bother me really, I'm not a photographer….I just get a few lucky shots every so often.
I have to say, one of my favourite interviews took place here with Black Spiders (check out YouTube/ Cyderbaby) ((shameless plugging and I don’t care!)), it was all good fun and they told me quite a bit of what to expect later that Friday, but I wasn't sure whether to believe them or not. Thank the gods that we didn't get a naked Bass player.
On to the show!
That stage was huge! Designed by Ras White I believe, it served the festival well. I think you could see every band fairly well from whatever point you were at. Maybe not in the vip area which was to the side, but you could hear everything clearly. The standing area was lined with stalls…..just about all you ever needed to buy at a festival, but no tat! Obviously, there was some thought into what the festival attendees would like to see rather than a cash grab from the organisers who would allow anything in. The same for advertising, quality over quantity maybe? I know Bloodstock charge around £400 for a poster to be displayed somewhere, so it's easy to make a few quid splashing posters on every available space. I did wonder though…was that a plumber advertising on the video screen, if so…did anyone see any contact details or if he covered Devon?
The site itself looked huge and spacious on Friday, however on Saturday...it was rammed. This is my only fault, I'd like more room. Yes I understand capacity and costs and I understand how fortunate I was to have space at the press office. If I was at the festival as a punter and I only had that space all day….then I'd actually start to feel claustrophobic. I mean, there was room at the campsite, but it's that little area within the arena that you can sit on the grass and call your own without people walking almost over you all the time to get around.
With this aside, I really don't have anything else to complain about, the only thing left that might cause an issue is the performances from the bands themselves.
It's good to have a few bands on the night before the main event, my word of warning would be not to let it escalate. Quality over quantity (this sounds familiar) always works better, with the 3 bands tonight….this was definitely the case!
Revival Black opened the stage and set the bar so high….others bands seriously worried how they were going to follow this! The new album had just been released which gave the band even more reason to give a fantastic performance. If I knew then that Mr Bryne was going to step down as singer shortly after, I may have paid more attention to the people onstage, would I have noticed anything? I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have, the entire band were sharp and as tight as you could get.
Massive. Well my first time, I was a Massive virgin! (....)
Going through their debut album in its entirety is great for the fans and band alike. It's a way of saying thank you to the fans for making them popular and it's a snapshot in time for us as it takes us back to a time that we all fondly remember. Putting the cd in the car and leaving it there for months on end because it was too good to change. Do we still remember the words? Hell yeah! Do we expect a stage invasion from various people from behind the scenes? Probably, this is Massive. Did we expect the band to support a worthy cause and hand around buckets ? To give away a Gibson SG? To bring on the family in question and give some astounding memories to these kids that'll last decades in their mind? We should have, this is MASSIVE!
Please search kaylas neuroblastoma campaign on Facebook, if you have a spare quid...it'll keep you warm inside.
Band of the weekend for me, just for being human.
Black Spiders, now I've been used to seeing them much further down the list, but headliners? This……is where they belong.
From start to finish, they owned the crowd. That style of Stoner Rock just gets into your bones, and when it's served up with great sound, impressive lights, fireworks, dancing girls and the appropriate amount of swagger, it becomes Rock on a stick, to beat us all senseless with and to conquer all by. All hail the mighty Spiders!
A great selection of tracks from across their catalogue, I don’t think that they can do anything better. What a way to round off a night!
To be honest, shortly after the set ended….I was asleep in my tent, looking forward towards the main event.
Chilled and relaxed, what away to start a hectic day, working the press room and catching as many bands as possible.
These Wicked Rivers are so good, its almost obscene! Every time I see them, they get better and better. Lampshades are definitely in now….and I've been looking on ebay for some! I know when I interviewed them at COTW, Dale was extremely complimentary of the music and what's to come, considering the music he has put out in the past, this is high praise indeed. With him now in the line up, the band seemed to have gelled and become a formidable unit. Eden is a great album, the next will be huge.
I've seen Kickin Valentina a couple times now, they have captured that Sleaze metal vibe perfectly, almost out-performing the Crue.
They were gunning for fans, and those who hadn't seen them before, soon became under their influence. Every part of the band sounding amazing, they ran through their set at a blistering pace, taking no prisoners. Headliners for sure in the not too distant future.
Tygers Of Pan Tang were unmissable. They have pedigree, but what's better? They can actually still entertain.
All these years, and I hadn’t seen them before, after this set I'll be moving heaven and earth to see them whenever I can. Visually, they were outstanding, thinking not only about the music they play but the image they leave behind. That backdrop was amazing! I did have a chat with them later in the day, they have so many stories to tell! (YouTube..its your friend).
I could dissect the music of each band more I suppose, but like this set especially, it was all about the band and the memories made rather than each cymbal crash and snare hit. I felt like a kid again, experiencing Rock and Metal like it was the first time. Live music is a time machine.
I've seen The Treatment loads of times this year alone, each time brings a huge smile to my face. Tom is a fantastic front man who has the crowd in his hands. The boys with the guitars do have some part to play obviously, flying around the stage in true tasmainian devil style. Speaking of flying, I was interviewing the boys when that legend flew over. I missed it but oh that sound! Bit like The Treatment I suppose, the sound is just sheer class!
H.E.A.T, if the singer can stand still for a second….I'm trying to get a picture! These Scandinavian Rockers are trying to invade this country again like their viking forefathers. Saw them headline Rock and Blues Custom earlier the year and to be fair, this was a little bit of a let down for me, the set was too short! Right up there is where this band belongs. They have the tunes and the ability to take on the real monsters of the industry, yet there are still people out there, unaware of this band! You only had to witness one track of this set to understand how good they are. Food was calling my name at this time so….I couldn’t let myself fade away.
I think the prise for the biggest grins of the weekend go to this crowd. Stone Broken.
They took a risk with Revelation, tweaking the sound and making more modern. It was brave but it certainly paid off. They were great at Firestorm a couple weeks before, they were on fire this time around. The thing that these guys have done though, is open up the audience to a whole new clutch of bands, once you start listening to the new stuff, it becomes easier to accept the modern sound that is popular in Rock/Metal today. Revelation is evolution. When you can perform it as well as Stone Broken, then it's a winner.
Vandenberg is a little bit special, with an album released a couple years ago which is just brilliant, a couple of albums from the early years to draw from, you'd think there might not be enough to fill a set. Well, when you bang in a couple of classics that he may or may not of played a few times in the past, you actually end up with quite a set. I never thought I'd hear Sailing Ships played live unless it was a dodgy cover band…but no, here in the open air on a huge stage with bigger hair, here was Vandenberg ripping out the solo of a great song, matched with a very able and talented singer. Did we sing along to that other Whitesnake song? Oh yes we did! (I wasn't in vip singing or dancing, it's a malicious rumour).
Those Damn Crows are everywhere! Do they deserve the main support slot here? The answer was yes before the event and definitely, after the event. I'm glad they had no buses for Shane to climb aboard, I don't think he has that many lives left (Firestormers know). But what a performance, definitely good, nearly flawless and probably back as headliners in a couple of years.
I had been looking forward to seeing Michael Schenker for ages. My favourite album is the Rock Will Never Die live outing which I played to death. I'd never seen him play before so I didn't know what to expect.
Into The Arena…he walked and to be frank, he left his ego at the side of the stage. Utterly brilliant! Smiling whilst playing, talking to the audience and like a real pro, giving them mostly what they wanted. Some early MSG stuff, mixed with those two classic UFO tracks and a handful of newer tracks. If I was picky….I'd like to have heard more older MSG, the newer stuff didn't seem to stretch his ability so much. Not that it wasn't good, don't get me wrong, but I know what he can do and it just seems a little safe. But bugger that, I still had Doctor Doctor and a flipping big smile on my face which had nothing to do with cider.
What a way to finish a great day!
I'm glad I went. Nothing prepared me for the camaraderie or efficiency of this festival, everyone was cool and friendly, the bands were fantastic as always and it was a great experience.
Things were a little tight….there was the odd interaction in the crowd I witnessed, its a day…spent drinking….in a confined area. There just needs to be a bit more room for people to get out of the way and chill while watching the bands. Not everyone wants to bring in a chair either.
The way the reputation of this festival is growing, it needs to grow alongside. I'm not saying to move away from its ethos of a single day, but open up the site a lot more and invite a few more punters.
Stonedead, you're going to need a bigger boat!
It was maybe the best bank holiday entertainment I've had in decades!
Copyright ©️ cyderbaby 2022
Many thanks to the festival and all its staff.
Graham Bonnet Band
Bet Blade & The Beautiful Disasters
So what do you do when you're at a loose end on a Sunday after a very satisfying time at a festival?
I'd been at Rock And Blues Custom, which was absolutely superb but that was Thursday to Saturday. This left me with Sunday to do something with, while I was "up north". I'd rightly chosen Rock and Blues over Steelhouse but there were two bands I was going to miss, Schenker who I later saw at Stonedead and Graham Bonnet.
Sir Bonnet was playing Manchester on the Sunday, this wasn't very far away…..so off we set on the Sunday morning, across some rather fantastic scenery to make base in the South Manchester Hotel. After a weekend camping, that bed was so very welcome (a good job a late afternoon alarm was set!). Food was purchased and an uber ordered, by 7, we were climbing the many flights of stairs to the venue. Then, back down again to collect the appropriate press passes so I could enter the pit to take photos.
Eventually, all was set. The Academy 3 is a decent sized venue, 2-300 people maybe? Set up n a standard Manor so you have the bar at the back keeping the queue for drinks out of the way of the stage. A simple thing but it makes a helluva difference throughout the night. As for the crowd, there was actually quite a few people there, many of a certain age. I mean by that, how many of us have seen this guy sing recently? It's only been in recent years that he's been doing more shows. I came across him supporting Blue Oyster Cult many years ago in Bristol but since then, appearances have been rare to my recollection. So like myself, fans took the opportunity to see/hear this legend, indeed….for a couple guys my age, this was the first time! Having said this, there was a good cross section of ages and I think this in some part, was down to Beth Blade And The Beautiful Disasters.
A relatively new band with a clutch of albums under their belt. Beth had literally just released a new album which is grittier and harder than previous, Mythos, Confession, Tragedies And Love. This is just phenomenal and her best work to date, I was here to bare witness to these tracks being played live as much as seeing Sir Bonnet. I had no idea of Beth's past, but after reading the Sky news report, it all puts the songs and even the album cover into perspective. The album itself seems to be a catharsis of events, these tracks played live though are just stunning! They take on an extra dimension where the emotion shines through which can be very difficult to portray in a recording.
But I think I'm getting ahead of myself, Beth and the band stormed the stage with style, real seasoned professionals. Each track was a belter and to be fair, there seemed to be plenty of set time to give a good cross section of music. Beth had the crowd in her hands and she was beaming throughout the entire gig. Older tracks were standing side by side with the new, highlights were probably Tonight, I'm With You…Persephone…I Ain't Got Nothing and Jack and Coke. The acoustic track where she sat down on the stage was something else, Hold Your Heart.
This was a headline set in itself and I'm sure, judging by the busy merch stand after, everyone else thought the same. They took the time to speak to as many people as possible….these will certainly be fans for life. Fingers crossed, it won’t be long before I see these guys again.
The main event was upon us, I have to admit…I was quite excited and really looking forward to this. Would I be disappointed?
Eyes of the World, what a way to flippin start! Most bands would be happy to have a track like this to end with. Bonnet's tenure in Rainbow was too darn short but my word, what an album, then to play All Night Long…..
Loves No Friend, Makin Love and then the mighty Since You’ve Been Gone. This wasn’t a gig or a trip down memory lane, this was a masterclass in absolute bangers.
At this point, I had to take a closer look at the main man himself. Yes, he has aged. It's easy to forget the guy is in his 70s when you listen, he still has it, his voice was pretty near spot on. Yes he has changed the way he sings, but he was still hitting the notes. I didn’t hear backing tracks, nor the other band members taking over vocal parts, from what I saw, it was all Sir Bonnet. I have a lot more respect for this guy now.
His band are pretty damn good as well, his partner on Bass with her brother handling Guitars.
Back to the gig, Lazy was a surprise track in a way as it was a purple cover but I suppose he had to sing it quite a bit back in the day. We had Imposter off the recent album release on Frontiers (well worth checking out) and S.O.S.
I'd forgotten he sung on Assault Attack! Desert Song is another top track, probably my favourite Schenker song out there. Alcatraz fans were not left out as Jet To Jet had an airing. Closing the main event was Assault Attack, I was in heaven!!
How do you do an encore with a set like this? Lost In Hollywood obviously.
I am so glad I came to this, yes it was a trip down memory lane, this was emphasised by the little anecdotes and stories, relayed by the man himself. He is still wearing his trademark white shirt and tie which all adds to the time traveling effect. Would I go again? Yes, yes I would.
N.B. while editing, he is back supporting The Dead Daisies and FM very soon.
A perfect way to end a perfect weekend. I, like everyone else, left with a huge grin on their face.
Copyright ©️ cyderbaby 2022
Many thanks to the bands and RedSand Pr.
Birth Of A Legend
I wanted to take my time writing this, go to another festival and give my memories some perspective. Its easy to come away from a gig or festival and say straight away that it was brilliant and the best you’d seen, however to later regret being so rash.
Do I think it was great? Well actually...yes I do! The line up was always good, a real who’s who of the NWOCR scene, coupled with a few major players to headline. All this was pulled together in February of this year, 6 months from conception to curtain close of day 3 is an amazing feat by anyone’s standards and I applaud the efforts of Stret and Bev who put together a cracking team, worked their butt’s off and delivered an outstanding event.
Let’s be honest from the start, it won’t be Stonedead, it won’t be Download.....and its all the better for it. This festival and venue does not have to compete with anything else as there really is nothing quite like it. When you book your tickets for next year’s event, expect something that is more akin to a holiday with great music and good mates rather than a co-operate cash grab.
White Bottom Farm is set in national park, its in the depths of a valley, surrounded by woodland and it really is just beautiful. You would have no idea that you were so close to Stockport other than seeing a large amount of passenger jets making their way to Manchester Airport. Even then you hardly hear them and you’re certainly not in the flight path. There are ponds and streams all around, said pond is the reason why alcohol is forbidden by the council, to be bought onto site as there is some rare species of animal/amphibian lurking within. Probably not a bog monster, but Mr Clipboard from the council doesn’t want us ruffians throwing pull tops or plastic in the water.
If you’re lucky enough to have an onsite parking pass, then you get to drive up the single lane track to the venue with its waterfall and all its beauty. If you are not so lucky, then you have to park in a field in the village and catch the regular shuttle bus to the farm. It would be chaos if we were allowed to navigate this track ourselves so I completely understand.....just fill in the pothole at the car park if you could!
With the luxury of choosing campervan, glamping or camping, you are not very far from the event site itself. I was camped on the grassy knoll behind the big top...perfect! There seemed to be enough, well cleaned facilities available with showers in a more substantial block behind the main stage. One of the very few negatives I have of the festival was to do with the venue and owners rather than the organisers. After day 1, the smell was a little strong at the said shower block, this impacted the food stalls and the main stage green room until it got sorted. This could and should have been sorted out before the event and once dealt with....it was not an issue. I do think moving the drinking water tap would be a rather good idea though.
The venue itself is a converted cattle farm. No animals go in these sheds at winter now, the two barns have been fully converted for event and wedding venue use. AstroTurf covers the concrete, with a lot of covered seating in the old cubicle shed which also housed an extremely long bar. Facing the opening of this shed is the main stage which is huge! All under cover as well with good access for crowd and bands alike. The vendors were all within easy reach of this area. I think it was 4 food stalls, which was enough for us all there although a little limiting on choice. Price wise....food was cheap by anyones standards, I frequently went back and had chicken burgers or nuggets at a fiver a throw.
The bars were well stocked, you paid your pound for a reusable mug and there was a good choice of ales, lagers and some ciders. With the long shed bar, there was an old double decker bus as a bar with seating upstairs. At the big top, there were a couple of smaller bars which didn’t open often enough, only as it was too hot at the time to walk the 50 yards to get a pint from the main bar. I have also learnt a very valuable lesson, never keep the barman talking when he’s pulling a pint. My first cider on the Thursday....I had been looking forward to it. I stood back and took a long swig on said pint, bliss! The second swig was less blisslike as I felt a bump on my lips, peering in past the layer of froth, I saw a huge flipping spider swimming around in my cup! On further inspection, I found its lair on the side of said cup, obviously there was a box of these new mugs and I’d had a top one......with added protein! Spiders were free but the pints were a fiver on a token scheme. This was no hassle at all exchanging cash for tokens, it was pretty much available at any bar.
The big top was exactly what it implied it was, although microwave was a more apt description....it was so hot in there! A second negative, the stage. Generally, it was pretty damn good apart from one thing, one of the big top uprights was in the way of every singer/front man there. At Rock and Blues, they overcame the same issue by enlarging the stage and building around it. Hopefully next year...this could be accommodated here.
Anyways, you now have the gist of what the place was like, my time here was a juggle of seeing bands and interviews, which also led into chats with musicians off the record and a few ciders. My lad was handling photography so that saved me so much time and he is by far...the better photographer. There were so many highlights that I can only go through so much here without you my dear reader, becoming utterly bored.
After a decent run up from Devon..we made camp and explored the site. The bars were open and there was food for everyone, a touch by the organisers that is missing at the bigger events. A thank you to us for being there, unexpected but very welcome all the same. Sammi was there from HRH all weekend and tonight was handling the quiz. I never knew how much I didn’t know! Afterwards, there was a covers band on in the bar area, but we were exhausted and retired to the tents early.
As an early riser...I awoke probably before a lot of others, but then the heat was starting to make lying in a tent unbearable. Breakfast was cooked and directions were given to my colleague who was arriving today as well. After a fairly relaxed start, it was time for some serious music spotting!
Unknown Refuge were on the main stage first, they had won their spot on the NWOCR polls. I have to say, I hadn’t given them much time before but they really did set the bar high for all the other acts to follow. The Hot Damn.....colourful, flamboyant and full of birthday cheer...they were amazingly good. They put on a great show which showcased their pedigree yet, I don’t think they have quite hit their stride just yet. What they release next I think will define them and make them stand out from a lot of other bands out there.
Surprise of the day for me and for everyone else who saw them, was Scruffy Bear. Bought in at the last minute to replace Hells Addiction, these guys ripped open the Big Top as if they were headliners. The vocals alone stood the hairs on the back of my neck on end, phenomenal! Match this with great guitars, Bass and Drums....you get a high quality gig. A cross between Rival Sons and Graveyard but female fronted. Seriously, I’ve not heard a blues based Rock vocalist like this since Janis Joplin.
After grabbing a bite to eat, Florence Black. Top of their game and it shows....I’ve liked them for years and they never, never disappoint. After seeing them at a couple of festivals this summer, I will still try and get to a gig I the autumn.
Bad Touch again are on fire, they seemed to be loving it as much on stage playing as we were watching them. The beauty of the Big Top was the grassy hill beside it. Music like this was made for lying on the grass on a hot sunny day, soaking in the rays and the sounds. I can’t get across to you just how idyllic the setting is, it was flipping perfect for this festival (and apparently my sun tan as shown on my various videos. Thanks Bev!!:)). Did the band over run? Well, I don’t care if they did.
The Treatment are another top band playing absolutely everywhere at the moment. To be quite honest, they are starting to become legends. Tom up front IS the perfect vocalist, not only rocking the tunes but also engaging the fans. And where the hell do they get all this energy from?? I did do an interview in the green room but the video turned out too dark to show. Chatting with them was a pleasure just in itself.
The headliners of the Big Top, Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons. He gives you exactly what you want, nobody left that tent disappointed as you get all of the major Motorhead classics, complete with splash of Hawkwind and a healthy dose of his own material. Music really is in the genes as all of his lads are extremely talented. Matched now with Joel on vocals, this band are unstoppable.
It was late yet we still had Wayward Sons on the main stage. Were they billed as equals as Phil? I think so and they certainly put on a show that surely won over any people that were there and not sure about them. Sounding very healthy and very tight, they put on a performance that took us very close to the midnight curfew.
Literally buzzing from the previous day, I was eager to see what this day had in store. The temperature was soaring from early morning.....order of the day was to drink loads! Water, you know I meant water. To be fair, it was so hot that you couldn’t really drink until the evening.
This was the busy day, there seemed to be more bands and there were definitely a lot more people there, i suppose it was the main event or showpiece of the weekend, if they couldn’t sell it today then there would be no hope for a repeat next year. So how to start a showstopping day? With a belter of a band of course!
A’priori have been on my radar for a long time, but being based so far south, I’ve missed them. Not this time though, Holy cow they are good! Guitars Drums and keyboard, they are the second band I know of that have trodden this particular path and both are just stunning live. Ripping out songs from their Black Church album, you could see it was a very efficient machine yet that guitar cried with more emotion than I have ever heard. Running off stage and into the crowd was a great touch as I’m sure it endeared them to more fans and that final Rage cover....earned them the headline spot at Leeds after RATM had just vacated it.
Vallhalla Awaits opened up the big top. These guys are hungry for success and it shows in the performance that they put on. Heavier than probably a lot of other bands there, they owned the stage and commanded the audience. I did get an interview with them later, a top bunch of guys as well! Big things are heading their way.
Bastette. Now I’ve seen this lady a few times now yet I think this time was the best. I don’t know if it was the sound or whatever but I feel she came across so much better than before. Settling into her role and being more comfortable, or it could be the fact that these newer tracks are evolving and taking her music to a higher level. Whichever it is, I believe she gave a fantastic performance, far better than the early billing would suggest.
Back to the top, These Wicked Rivers....I finally got to see them play!!!
When a band open with their best known song, you realise that they have a certain quality about them that sets them apart from every other band out there. When you look at how the stage is set...you are thinking of your Grans front room back in the 70s, but the music just smashes that image to pieces in an instant and the guys have a lot of inner energy going on. One of the best sets of the weekend by far, each song in the set just got better and better as the on too short set progressed. The follow up to Eden is going to see this band at the top of their game.
I did notice Mart from Bootyard Bandits depping on Bass duties, tidy job my friend....I came across him later in the day, trying to avoid me after the Bandits interview at Call Of The Wild. We had a chat for ten or so minutes, it struck me then that I’m actually making friends with musicians as well as meeting and befriending fans within our little community. I certainly don’t consider myself anything other than extremely lucky to be doing what I do. I wanted just to stay in the shadows and now here I am, chatting to people who entertain me musically and I admire. I later had interviews with the Quireboys and Nathan from Inglorious, both of these bands/guys were just true Gents and spent much longer with myself than they ever needed to. This attitude often gets missed and misrepresented by the press, maybe it was the vibe from the Weekend? It certainly was relaxed and chilled.
Back to the music
South Of Salem are a band that are on fire at the moment, seeing them as main support at COTW has shown me just how huge and popular they have become after the release of their debut album. It was a bit bright this early on for the boys but as ever, they put every ounce of energy into the show and as ever, it was a blinder. The first show for new boy on the drums I believe, a trial by fire but he did well. They have now played a cow shed......definitely one for the scrap book.
Revival Black have been playing everywhere in the run up to the album release which was only a few days away from this performance. Everything was polished to perfection and Dan is pretty much the best front man in the business (even with a light sabre mic stand).
N.B. Whilst going back over this to edit, Dan has now quit the band, he’s got a couple of acoustic shows supporting Kira Mac lined up and I wish him well. But this does answer that little niggle I had in the back of my mind while watching the band. Something was a little off and I couldn’t place it. Kim Jennet had been bought in to cover a few gigs, I’m actually looking forward to this and I’m hoping it’ll be permanent.
Gorilla Riot are a band I still have not seen yet! Interviews and food literally got in the way although Oren the photographer for Cyderbaby saw them. Have I mentioned he’s not the biggest NWOCR fan? This makes him a little more unbiased in opinion, so when he comes back and says how flipping awesome they were, it is indeed a big compliment. I also missed Buck and Evans.....and he said the same damn thing about them too! I did hear them and yes, they sounded fantastic, can I comment on a set I didn’t see? No, not really. Suffice it to say, from what I heard, I’ll be sure to catch them next time.
Empyre are just brilliant. Every time I’ve seen them this year, they have gotten better and tighter as a unit. I had the perfect word to describe them when I was there but I am damned if I can remember it now, no doubt at 3am tomorrow morning, I’ll wake with a start and have the phrase in my head! However, the music was full of technical wizardry and compelling, you could see them all really getting into the rhythm as each song progressed. Next album please, I’m waiting!
Inglorious are at the top of the tree, the last couple of albums have been stunners, the two Dan’s work so well together and Nathan is sounding on top form. This set was a headline set if ever there was one, they pulled in a big crowd and each person in that big top was pretty much captivated from start to finish. Nathan was interacting with everyone and making the fans all feel included in the show. I have no choice but to make time to see them at a show on the autumn tour, I can’t miss gigs like this and if they’re half as good as the performance at Firestorm, then they’ll be outstanding gigs.
The Dust Coda, up in the cow shed again and sounding really, really good. I’ve never been a huge fan of the band....nothing that they have done, it was just me not having the time to listen to them properly. I rectified this matter after this particular set, by buying the cd. Its not often a band will drive me to the merch stand after playing, they are usually either a good unknown band or an excellent known band that have played a belter of a set which had just impressed me so much that as tight fisted as I am, convinced me to part with cash. Read from that statement what you will!
FM are like the gods of the rock scene. I managed to chat to Steve before the set (another gentleman) and to watch them headline the big top was an actual honour. I loved every second, each track bought back a memory of a particular time. There were a clutch of recent tracks but it was always about the fan/band favourites. Listening to the crowd singing along was a moment, one that’ll stay in many people’s mind for a long time to come.
Those Damn Crowes are deserving of the late night top spot, they are huge! I mean, it’s not the hardest, heaviest music out there, it’s assessable Rock that opens the doors for so many to find new bands. Everyone loves them and they seem decent guys as well. They have everything! I do have questions though.....firstly, video killed the radio star is a remade classic, who had the idea to resurrect this and make the song relevant again? Then....who allowed the vocalist free range of the venue? Health and safety were not consulted on this matter. After going to the barrier to be close to the crowd....the band member who shall remain anonymous (Shane), tripped over a small photographer to be saved from hitting his head on the metal frame by Cyderbaby’s very own Oren. Now thinking this would be enough activity for one set....I relaxed and enjoyed the show. No....no it wasn’t as a short while later, the same said band member bounded up to the decking of the double decker bus bar. Yes...being up there was impressive, however I’d love to know at which point his buttocks started to clench as he stepped over the safety rail to jump down onto the barrel table, to find out that the ledge he was stepping onto was nothing more than plastic guttering? That man has more lives than a cat as the guttering gave way and he still managed a controlled graceful step onto the barrel and then the ground. The performance from the band was drama free in general and quite outstanding. They have gotten where they are by hard work and actual talent, I tip my hat sirs!
Am I getting too old? It was a bit more of a creak in my back when I arose from my slumber, but I woke feeling satisfied. A quick breakfast and we broke down the camp, ready for a late night drive home. This meant staying sober as well!
Black Roze won the right to open the main stage today. I’d had a quick chat before the set to compliment them on being one of my most watched video interviews, I think this is due to the large fanbase they have cultivated.
Now these guys were up for it, even though it was early doors. The performance they put on for the crowd was second to none, although shorter than the set at Rock And Blues, it was just as intense. I guess I’ve fallen for the band, Victoria has an amazing voice and Baz is such a great guitarist. They have an image as well which all helps make the show, but if you were to strip all that away to its basic format, you are still left with incredible music which has captured a certain essence of British Heavy Metal. I can’t wait for the new album!
Attic Theory are new to me, seeing them play live has made me go and search out their material. Surely, this is what festivals are all about? Heavier and dare I say , grunge like than most of the bands here..... it was a welcome change of pace to the weekend. Interviewing them though left me scarred and in need of intense therapy. It turned out that their Bassist couldn’t make the gig and one of their students stepped up to help out, this young lady has a very bright future ahead of her indeed!!
Firekind have been a pet band for a while now, Hailing from gods country in deepest darkest Devon. Now I know they’ve been working on a new album so it was of no surprise to hear 4 or 5 new songs in the set. This new stuff is so much more upbeat than the older stuff, I’m not knocking the old tracks at all but you can certainly hear the difference. Having travelled overnight with barely any sleep, these boys still put on a great show. Every time I see them, they just keep getting better and better, judging from the crowd they drew...I think many people were thinking that very same thing.
Scarlet Rebels were on in the big top microwave, for some reason I thought they were on later in the day that they actually were. I suppose this is because in my mind, these guys are headliners. The latest album is right up there and with the new track released around the festival just goes to show how well these boys can play, can they bring that quality sound to the stage? Well yeah, they bring it and give it turbo power to the max. They dominated that stage whilst keeping grounded and real at the same time. This is exactly why people love them so much, here was no different. If the day had ended here then I’d still been very happy.
Ryders Creed had been avoiding me for years, ever since I reckoned Lost Souls was album of the year. This was the first time for me to hear these tracks live, was I disappointed? Not in the slightest.
These guys just don’t play the music, they live it, breathe it and give it life! Like a lot of bands here, they are at the top of their game, yet these guys give you that little bit extra so you leave them knowing you’ve been entertained. It was a surprise talking to them later that they are influenced by much more modern bands than many of their peers within the industry /genre that they are popular with at the moment. This places them in the ideal position to cross the invisible generation gap that there seems to be at the moment. If they can enlighten us creaky old folks who attend places like Firestorm then they may well attract the younger generation into liking many grassroot bands we all rave about. This has to be a bonus for everyone. One such crossover fan is Oren, the Cyderbaby photographer. He was immensely impressed with their set and has since become quite friendly with the band. I am really looking forward to hearing what these guys offer us in the future.
So The Quireboys were always going to be a polarising band at the event. We all know the songs, we know what to expect in general, but what were the fans at the festival going to do? Boycott the gig, hold up no spike no Quireboys signs? Honestly, the gig was absolutely fantastic! I’ve never heard the band sound so good and tight as I did that Sunday. Yes, partway through the set, people walked out of the big top, I indeed was one of these people. The reason being, it was so hot in that tent and there was something absolutely magical just sitting outside on the grassy knoll, drinking a cider and listening to a brilliant clutch of songs. That Saxon song, written about the Monsters of Rock Festival, The band played on came directly to mind and summed it all up.
I had a chat with them prior to the set and I can see the reasoning behind the controversial incident, when you consider that half the band have been together longer than many marriages, it can get tiresome covering for someone who is not pulling their weight. Do we say the same things about bands like Foreigner who have no active original gigging musicians, let alone writing credits?
At the end of the day....I’d go and see them again and again!
On safer grounds, Mason Hill. Yep, everything I expected from this Scottish band, polished and full of energy! I’d never seen them before and was a little sceptical of the hype around them, sometimes it can be a little disappointing. Thankfully, they drew me in like the rest of the crowd and bounced us around with the Riffs and melodies from their debut album. However......there was new stuff! If they could remember the name of the songs....Will I see them in October? Ooooh yes.
KING KING headlined the Big top, do you enjoy Rock with a Highland twist? Well obviously!
These guys have been doing their thing for a while and it is always a pleasure to watch them perform. I have to admit that I missed some of the set because we had to set off for Devon that night with work commitments, however after the car was packed, we took some time to listen whilst sat on the bales outside. It was then that the festival blues started to hit. We were nearly at the end and I was sad that it was just about over. There was just one more band to see.
Stone Broken. Were they the right band to close the show? Yes, Without a doubt. They have worked so hard over the years to be one of the most loved bands in the scene and they were brave enough to step away from their roots to produce a modern crossover album like Revelation. From the tracks we had time to see....these guys were literally on fire. I know Rich had a few issues with his voice a few months ago, hence the slightly wonky tour, I’d say that possibly the first song may have been a little tough on the tonsils but after he had warmed up, they were firing on all 6 cylinders. Mixing the old and the new seemed to work very well for the set and the band but time was my enemy and I had to set off home.
Like I said at the beginning, I wanted to leave this review for a while and hope that I could be more objective. I still to this day believe that this is one of the best festivals now on the circuit. It wasn’t big budget cooperative sell outs like Steelhouse or even Ramblin Man. It may not grow to a huge size big enough to attract arena bands from the states and to be perfectly honest, I don’t want it to be.
Face melting Rock to paraphrase the advertising and that’s what you got. You don’t need big budget names, billboards, video screens, millions of traders, unnecessary fairground rides or a host of other things like Bloodstock was offering that same weekend.
Honest and genuine bands, with a love of giving a great performance each time they play, matched with honest and adoring music fans who want to be there to watch these bands, mix great organisation and a fantastic location and you have the start of a legendary festival and a place in the history books, but most of all, a place in many people’s hearts.
Memories are what make us and Firestorm has created many that will stay with me until the very end.
P.S. buy those early bird tickets!!!
Copyright ©️ cyderbaby 2022
Many thanks to the Firestorm team and the bands.
Rock N' Blues
Now I have been blessed with attending some great festivals this year, there is no way that I can pick a favourite anymore....but there is this one that really does hold my attention! Rock And Blues Custom, not only provides great taste in music but has that added advantage of appealing to my petrolhead tendencies. It’s just about perfect for a weekend away.
Well actually, it’s a bit of a midweek to midweekend event as there is nothing but hangovers and tent packing on Sunday. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though, not just yet...
Devon to Pentrich seems like a hell of a journey, but seriously....it wasn’t too bad, we set out early on Thursday morning and by 3 in the afternoon, the tent was up and we were looking across the beautiful Derbyshire countryside. Set high up on a working farm, I don’t think you could have found a spot that actually gave you a view that takes your breath away, every time you looked around. Obviously being the farmer geek that I am, I was more interested in the activities of the surrounding farm to start with, I have many issues and trying to work out which round baler the farmer used and how many bales he was getting to the acre is sad I know, but appeals to my OCD.
I was surprised at how large the site was, plenty of room to set up camp on the many grassy knolls, with plenty of camper van parking. The Glamping pods were set away from the rest of us, looking clean and well kept throughout the entire event.
The arena had a multitude of vendors, none of us were going hungry with the amount of food on offer which was priced at the usual festival prices. Goods were on offer and fairground rides seemed to encircle us all. Axe throwing is getting popular, I was tempted to show off my skills with said sharp instrument, but I actually wanted to attend the entire festival and not the inside of a hospital, so I swiftly moved away. That being said, I kept off of the bouncy castles for the exact same reason!
The outside stage was set on the highest point of the site, it wasn’t huge....but then it was perfect for the bands playing that stage. It also benefited from great sound and good lighting. I’m sure there have been many big bands that have rocked up to an event and played much lesser stages.
The main stage though....wow! It was set in a massive big top tent with probably a quarter of the tent taken up by the stage. Something that I have later seen as an extremely good idea, was that the stage was built around one of the support poles. Trust me when I say, that those stages built behind this pole, really do p@$$ off the vocalist of every group. These guys like to stand at the centre, as we all know, but if you have a huge post set right in front of you...you end up singing to it and generally having to dodge around it to be seen. Detail...more of that later.
This big top houses not only the stage, but the standing area and several very long tables...with chairs, along with loads set outside. No more tripping over flipping camp chairs when you’re trying to get to the bar! Those things are a menace!!!
Probably the best stocked, best priced festival bar I have ever attended. 4 quid a pint competes with most pubs....you don’t need to bring alcohol with you at those prices. And.....not a single plastic cup underfoot. The site was pretty much spotless.
Another detail I should mention, somebody noted the complete lack of security. The event is was completely trouble free from what I saw, no hassles and everyone was welcome, it is the type of place where you could drop a roll of notes and get back every penny.
Around the back was a hospitality tent, which looked after the VIPs, artists and hangers on like myself. Needless to say, I was here most of the time when not watching bands or drinking at the bar. This was the main press area, so interviews and thus like were conducted here and in the artists area.
The music is the reason that I was here, although I did linger in the marquee housing the custom bikes. How good were those??? Millions of painstaking hours, tending to the creation of these beasts that just sit there and literally make your mouth water. I’m a car guy....I don’t want to be a cliche biker who gets to middle age and buys something he can’t actually ride. I may have been a half decent biker in my youth but those days have gone. But seeing these machines lined up was just wonderful, if I thought I could’ve gotten away with a couple....they’d have been in the back of my car in an instant. I did manage to pick the best in show....just saying.
Thursday on the main stage meant just 3 bands. First off was the Addiction, a young band who stepped in as a last second replacement and what a show they pulled off! A little Rock, a little metal and a bit alternative. Possibly different to every other band on the set list but yeah...they played well. I managed an interview with them afterwards which can be found on my Cyderbaby YouTube channel (just sayin).
Following on were the Scorpyons. Yes I know its a tribute band, but I can fully see the logic of bringing in these guys and Hi-on Maiden on the first night. Everyone was settling in and catching up with friends they Possibly haven’t seen in a year or so, so is your attention fully on the music? Probably not. By the time these guys were on stage, the party was in full swing, with tracks taken from the Scorpions golden age, everyone was singing along. Musically, they were spot on and they did try looking the part without trying overly hard to be a carbon copy.
The same could be said of Hi-On Maiden, the songs we all know and love, played exceedingly well. Yep, the Bassist did look a bit like Steve Harris and played in his style, the rest of the band were on point and played the part. It’s difficult to judge a tribute act as you compare them to the original, yet these guys were tight, they even managed to finish early and were asked o play an extra track. No problem whatsoever!
All in all, a great first day.
Friday bought more people and more action, I was flying around like an idiot trying to take it all in, it soon became apparent that I’d never be able to keep up, bands were playing, artists arriving, the odd pint consumed. Working as press can get quite hectic, I think I did half a dozen more videos as well as taking pictures of as many bands as possible, I seem to miss more than I’d planned, but thinking back.....I wouldn’t change a thing!
For me, Crooked Revival are a band to look out for. I caught the entire set and they just blew me away! First on but the acted like they were headliners and to be fair, I don’t think it’ll be too long before that happens. Blues based Rock with explosive Riffs and amazing tunes. The band were tight as if they were joined at the hip...if you get the chance to see them, don’t hesitate.
I had to ignore a few bands on the outside stage for a little bit as everyone wanted to do an interview pretty much at the same time, so next on my agenda was Daxx And Roxane. These Swiss guys never fail to entertain, always delivering a top notch performance with plenty of gusto which leaves me breathless just watching them, seriously guys.....ease up a bit....I can’t keep up! Ripping through their setlist, the guys played like time didn’t exist. In a blink of an eye it was over and its only when you think back, you realise that there were loads of tracks played, you are swept up in the moment when they take to the stage. As a side note....asking a Swiss band their 5 favourite cheeses in my interview with them was a stroke of genius! They came out with so many new ones that my cheese board has now grown considerably.
Bad Touch arrived.....eventually! It seemed like they had the journey from hell to get to the festival. Barely enough time to load in and sound check, then they were on stage bang on time. You know, it takes real professionalism to literally step out of a van and play a blinding set with hardly a blink of an eyes break. I’ve seen this band a few times now, like I alluded to in the interview (have I mentioned I have a YouTube channel where I interview bands? ), as time has gone by...they have gotten better and better. Stevie is one of the best front men out there, the next album will be a turning point for this band.
However........I had to pop out to the outside stage during this set to see some friends play, Slowmo 75 are a blend of southern style boogie rock paired with gravely vocals akin to Ben Ward from Orange Goblin. Watching this band and you can see how well they are coming together. A lot of the material is from their first album, but with fairly recent line up changes...the dynamics have improved so the songs you hear love now have been taken up a notch. The new track, Freakshow, shows how these guys are coming together.
After watching for a bit I thought I’d better catch the rest of Bad Touch, when I walked into the big top...the PA went down on the last track. It wasn’t me! I know I got told off by the pit manager the next day but this incident was nothing to do with me! Invariably, the problem needed time for it to be fixed. A lot of money was spent that evening to get the show back on the road.
This gave me time to catch the entire set from Black Roze. Perfect! I’d only really heard the recent singles and about one or two listens to the first album. What do you get? The backline is driven by a couple of guys who have a few years experience between them and it shows because they never missed a beat. Baz....Well flippin heck! He is a really fantastic guitarist! I’m not sure what I was expecting, but his fretwork was outstanding and his guitar that seemingly changes colour tops it off. The band is fronted by Victoria, his better half. Imagery is as high on the list as the music, as she is dressed in leather/lace with boots and leather cap. Yes there is a whip at times making an appearance, 2 on this day thanks to Amazon so it seems. But don’t let any of this distract you from her voice. The whole set was faultless, entertaining and packed with energy. Baz was on fire with that guitar and Victoria captivated the audience. Even her nephew made an appearance on stage which is great, as it inspires the next generation to love true Rock and roll.
The new tracks, in particular, A Penny For Your Sin, were brilliant and a step up from the older stuff. I’m really looking forward to the next album.
Grand Slam, do we All know the story? The band formed from Thin Lizzys demise, which sadly didn’t get a record deal back in the day. Phil and Laurence wrote some damn fine songs, some of which were basically stolen and put out under others names with no credit given. Roll forward a few decades and Laurence decided to resurrect the band and give rightful credit to where it was due. The album the band put out was stunning, Mike’s voice is perfect for the job, I can’t think of a better vocalist....however, seeing him burst out of a portaloo in the artists area for a film crew does make me question his sanity! Benji is one of the finest drummers I’ve heard and he is complimented well by relatively new boy, Rocky on Bass.
When the band walked to the stage, there was a certain something that I can’t quite convey to you on here, it was almost as if you knew something really special was about to happen. What proceeded turned out to be the highlight of the weekend for me, I loved every second of the set, standout tracks were military man and set closer, Sisters Of Mercy. We even had a Lizzy classic like Rosalie thrown in for good measure. The guys had to cut a couple of songs because of the delay in getting to the stage which is a shame, I certainly wouldn’t have minded the overrun. I had a quick chat with Laurence after the set and he seemed to be buzzing, from his point of view it was a difficult set as half the PA was down and various other technical issues had to be dealt with....but I really didn’t notice a thing as a punter, watching....how professional are these guys to complete a difficult gig and still make it sound brilliant? I’m definitely going to see them on tour this autumn.
You would think that it would all be over for the day...but we still had the headline set from H.E.A.T.
They had to bring their A game tonight and bring it they did! This band are further down the rankings on other festivals in this country this year, but Rock And Blues seem to know what they are doing adding H.E.A.T. to top the bill. Full of energy and fire (not literally) the band stormed the stage. I suppose to describe them, you would have to say that the singer was a bit like Tigger but with more hair and a great set of lungs. I did feel sorry for the guitarist as he was seemingly a bit slow, it later came to light that he had stepped on a nail beforehand and was sore. I’ve done this myself, yeah...I felt your pain that night! I knew a little of their history but musically, only stuff from the last couple of albums. I think the latest offering is their strongest and those tracks played live were the standouts of the set. Throughout, they had control of the crowd who were themselves, loving every damn second. If you’re going to Stonedead, you really are in for a treat.
What a way to close day 2!
Saturday, well to be honest..I had no idea what day it was, all I knew is that there was more great music to come.
New Generation Superstars, have they been here before? They pulled a great crowd for an opening slot, local to the area so many knew the band. What we all got given was a huge slice of Rock with flavours of Rockabilly and Punk mixed in. They are a band to liven up any gig, let alone opening the main stage at a festival!
Apart from stating that she and the boys in the band that make up Kira Mac are going to be megastars very, very soon..all I have to say is that she stole the show on Saturday.
Let me explain.
The band have released 3 singles to date, played a handful of gigs but have somehow managed to captivate a large following. Planet (advert) Rock have been playing their songs to near death, as have I on my radio shows (think I was first...again, just saying) and the buzz around this band is phenomenal. I’ve interviewed them twice on zoom and I had a quick chat at the festival but didn’t get the chance to record anything. These guys are down to earth and as normal as you can get off stage, but once they walk onto that stage, nothing can stop them. The music is tight and Kira’s voice is stunning!
She started as a country style singer a few years ago and made the transition to Rock because of her father. I have to say...he’s getting a tough deal when she has written a song called Father’s Daughter which lays the blame on his shoulders for her wildness! (I’m deleting said track when released so my daughters don’t point the finger at me).
Alongside, this track, there was a good selection of tracks played from the forthcoming album, coupled with the singles we knew, One Way Ticket, Dead Man Walking and current single, Hit Me Again. A couple of covers were thrown in to fill out the hour set, Slither being one of my all time favourite tunes, Had the Kira treatment and honestly, I want that version now every time over Velvet Revolvers.
It was a fantastic set, a tech issue with the mic was its only flaw and that could happen to anyone. If you had seen how nervous Kira was before going on stage, you would have expected her to be stood rigid and unable to speak, let alone sing! A true professional and a brilliant vocalist.
After listening to the songs played live and knowing how they sound recorded, I have drawn the conclusion that if the music industry was like it was years ago, the band Kira Mac, were sitting on an album which is up there with Hysteria by Def Lep or 1987 by Whitesnake. Get those pre orders in and see them on tour!
How do you follow that???
Easily if you’re Florence Black.
What a day this was turning out to be! These guys just ripped the big top apart, I was in the pit taking pictures and I couldn’t help but be drawn in by the music and bounce around. Songs drawn from across their portfolio but mostly from the album that has recently been released. They have such a huge sound for 3 Welsh lads, Tristan is my favourite guitarist of his generation, the guy...along with Perry and Foz, will be utter legends in time like Iommi. When they write songs like Sun And Moon, it’s not going to be long. At Rock And Blues, I think it was the best I’d heard them play for a while. Given that long slot, they revved up the FB machine and just let it rip. Again, tour....buy a ticket!
MuddiBrooke, now there was a surprise! I was watched them play on the outside stage and they were just superb. Captivating the audience with her voice and awesome grunge-like guitar sound, I can’t encourage you enough to at least listen to this talented band. They have a clutch of tracks which have recently been released and the set was basically all these songs. The surprise for me was the cover of a Highly Suspect song. Was I the only other person there who had heard of them before? One other person in the crowd that might have, was Jack from Reef. He had come out to see them play as he had asked them to join him on a now cancelled solo tour. Respect to the man for being there and available for this young band.
The 501’s took to the outside stage just after, now I had heard nothing of this band before, other than the interview I grabbed, so it was a steep learning curve for me. Again, almost grunge like but this time with a harder edge, is there a resurgence of grunge (rog) that I’ve missed? Two great new bands that have captured the essence of that 90s era. It was almost like being at a completely different festival, both bands were great and fresh sounding, stamping their marks on the music industry. Out of the two, I’d have to lean towards MuddiBrooke ....only because she leant me her phone charger later on that evening!
Ferocious Dog were the main support this evening, local boys who had done good. I mean real good.....they have a huge following these days, all down to great Folk Rock music and constant touring. I caught up with them prior to the set where we had a chat in the tour bus. These guys were tired...you could see it straight away on the bus, the schedule they were running was astounding but they kept to every one of their gruelling dates, travelling hundreds of miles to be here today. When they stepped out on stage, it was as if all the hard work and travelling had been swept away in an instant. On point and on top of their game in an instant, guys...you were and are just amazing. There is a certain magic in the music that brings a crowd together, I didn’t see one person not get involved with the band and the music during the whole set. My first time....it definitely won’t be my last, bring them back next year please?
To the finale and the musical beast that is Reef. The tour manager tried to get an interview for me but it ended up like herding cats and didn’t happen, I have more options to grab them for a chat so I wasn’t overly worried.
I have a Confession to make....I may have had a third pint of cider at the start of this gig. Although I’m not a serious drinker, I wasn’t incapable. It’s usually at this point that music really gets my groove button, and yes I was unprofessional and may have had a bit of a boogie in the photo pit. I’m sorry to those who witnessed it and the pit manager who sat me down later and ticked me off. I did apologise to the tour manager as well but it seemed Gary had no issues with it at all as he came over to me and I got a killer shot (photo) because of it!
This was basically the entire gig, you couldn’t help but be moved by the band, they were flippin awesome! Songs from the new album are just brilliant, it is by far my favourite Reef album. Hearing Place Your Hands mid set was a surprise but after hearing the quality of the music thereafter, I fully understand why it was there. I don’t think as a casual listener you quite realise just how many of their songs you actually know.
A perfect way to end a perfect weekend.
So how do I summarise Rock And Blues? It used to be a huge event with big headliners, much like Bloodstock size. I can only assume that there was a decision to cut back and rebuild the festival for reasons unknown to me. For whatever reason, they have still captured the essence of the festival and kept it burning bright.
Yes as a first timer, it is an eye opener to see so many leather waistcoats in one place, seeing a table set up around the back with paper doilies and a bone China tea set, wasn’t what I expected either! I have never felt happier or felt safer in a festival than I have here. I’d bring my grandchildren here and know that they’d be completely safe, can that really be said at other festivals? Steelhouse was the same weekend, I’ve heard stories of theft and leery behaviour, costly drinks and other tales. At half the price of a ticket, many crossover bands who have decent set lengths, it really is a no brainer.
Rock And Blues will be my home from home, every Year.....if the pit manager will allow me back!
Copyright ©️ cyderbaby 2022
Thanks to the press team and all involved for making this a special weekend.
Fire In The Sky
Now that I’m laid up for 6 weeks, I can actually catch up on my review list and get it out on time! One album I very nearly missed was the sixth full length studio album from Absolva, Fire In The Sky.
I had only really taken notice of the band fairly recently, as they supported Blaze on his recent tour.....which is great for any band but to also at as Blaze's band is pretty cool. Something I should say is that one band playing 2 sets a night over an extended period of time, is damn impressive and I tip my hat to them for this alone.
So yes, Fire In The Sky is my introduction to the band, I know nothing about them apart from the Appleton brothers handle guitars and two other shady looking characters handle the real engine of the band. If there are any more uneducated of us out there, I’d best do a little research.
Flames Of Justice came out almost ten years ago, where these guys followed that up with a live recording a year later. Anthems To The Dead became their second full studio album in 2014, with Never A Good Day To Die in 2015 and Defiance in 2017. Live In Europe came out in 2020 along with another studio album, Side By Side. All this means is that these boys do not rest on their laurels, in those ten years we have 8 albums out which is good going for any band.
I would describe their sound as classic Metal, tracks with great Riffs and bigger melodies. Some younger people than me, would say that this is far too tame to be called Metal....these people are not correct! This is Metal I grew up listening to after the 1980 explosion, Metal that grabbed you by the painful extremities and demanded that you listen carefully and once you do, you are hooked forever. Modern recording techniques have enhanced this sound on this album rather than dilute it like it does to some, I can hear every track from this album being played live, enhanced by the spirit of being played live and still being completely true to its studio recording.
With all That being said, I should run through the album.... however, I am still struggling to find one stand out track that I rate higher than the others, it’s an impossible task when the entire album is just immense!
Don’t wear headphones when you turn it on for the first time, the intro just melts your ears, but once you’re over that particular shock, settle down in your favourite chair and take this in, in all its glory. Strong vocal melodies are matched by a great riff. The ears are shredded again from the mid section solo, a sound that I miss so much from Modern metal.
Drums bring you into this beast of a track. The chorus tops off a near perfect verse with its great vocal Riff. I’m trying to figure out who this reminds me of and the best explanation I have is that its the song that all Scandinavian power metal bands wished they could write. It has all the power, all the melodies but none of the pomp that is often associated with the Scandinavian sound. It is very good stuff indeed!
As you can probably guess, this deals with those Demons that can sometimes take ahold of us, drink and drugs. Suitably, this track has that darker and slightly slower feel to it. That riff that runs down at the end of the chorus, gets me every time I listen. But the real star of the track is the solo which also has snippets of that twin guitar sound that Lizzy were famous for. The more listen, this track becomes more of a favourite, a grower for sure.
What Does God Know?
A helluva question to ask but then, it’s a helluva track. A moody guitar opens up an almost ballad like song, don’t get suckered though, the boys have those hidden musical movement explosions, ready take this track to places you didn’t think possible. Talk about a track that builds! There’s that one held note by Chris that is exceptional and proves his worth with any other vocalist out there.
Stand Your Ground.
A jagged riff changes the tone completely after the last track, it’s more aggressive and you know this is something not to be messed with.
The sudden change just before the solo is inspired, it also makes you look at the player to see if it’s skipped to another track.
Fire In The Sky
Holy moly....what an opening riff to this fantastic title track! What can I say, this is THE track of the album, if you hear nothing else, this is the song that may well define the band in the years ahead, it has taken the essence of everything they can do and wrapped it up in a 4 minute sentence. There are more classic tracks available from the band but this is the one you play to people who have never heard of Absolva. They will be hooked there on in.
Man For All Seasons.
That Bass rumble! Can’t wait to hear that live and let it roll around my bones. As for the rest of the track, it has a fantastic feel to it....almost a galloping riff that lights up during the solo.
Battle sounds then a blistering guitar assault is the trademark of this track. It probably has the catchiest chorusline here and that singalong vocal riff I can see us all joining in with at a gig, just before the solo erupts. Please don’t ask me to pronounce the name of the track though!
The classic track of the album, it has all the hallmarks of being an evergreen, that slow beginning that doesn’t need to rush, then that magnificent turn of the key to make it into metal magic. Truly an exceptional track, written I believe about all of our recent trials of the last couple of covid years. There have been several of these songs written recently but this, for me, is the best of the bunch.
Refuse To Die.
What a way to close an album! A fast paced, upbeat track that is sure to resonate with everyone that listens to it. A quick blast of easy to love Metal, it’s a sure fire way to press the repeat button and listen to the entire album again.
After never having listened to Absolva before, I’m now a die hard fan of them. This is an outstanding album, well written, well produced and exceedingly well performed. I’m so looking forward to seeing these guys rip up the stage at Rockin The Bowl in Sheffield next September. Having gone back over the previous releases now, I understand how the band have grown and reached this point. This is the culmination of experience and talent, coming together at the perfect time, to create a masterpiece.
Buy the album, it’s out now!
Copyright ©️ cyderbaby 2022. Thanks to the band and management for their help with this article.
Pressure And Time
Ten Years Of Magic
Rival Sons have been around for a while now, I hold them responsible for people like myself being inspired to look for new music and fresh new bands. I’d been away from music for years, thanks to life...kids, work, outside influences. I’m not saying I never listened to music, I was happy to live within my own little bubble of musical history.
Hence my decision to go and see the mighty Priest on their Epitaph tour. Pretty much 11 years ago to the day as I recall, it was going to be a great night as support came from Queensryche and some other band. This OTHER band were Rival Sons.
That night, and for every other date of that tour, they stunned their audience, opening eyes and ears to brand new music which had hints of history and more than a splash of Blues. This was unreal, they had made die hard fans of myself and both of my sons who witnessed their set. Pressure and Time was swiftly purchased and then played almost to death. We were more than happy to see these guys play again when they supported Black Stone Cherry, after that particular gig in Southampton, Scott was outside saying hello to various fans. My lad who is a guitarist, asked how he switched from normal to slide in a blink of an eye? “The devil’s food son, cabbage”
Hollow Bones is my favourite album of theirs, it came out if I remember, on the day they played Download. That is still in my opinion, the best time I’ve seen them play. Everything just seemed to click that day, the sound and the songs along with a band that looked happy and very at ease with each other. How they had grown in every way since the early days. Yet still, stand out songs at this gig and every other I’ve witnessed them, came from Pressure and Time.
Fast forward to 2022, after the world stood still for a couple of years and these guys are back, celebrating 10 years since the release of this album. I was lucky enough to catch them play at Cardiff on a Monday night.
The student union is a pretty decent venue, on a par with the o2 in Bristol for capacity yes much better as everyone can see! Two bands were on tonight, with support coming from L.As Dirty Honey.
This was a little like Deja Vu, this was a brand new band who were creating a lot of positive chatter after their shows. Looking back, the people behind this tour (live nation), found an exciting and fresh band to support the masters. The same way that Priest had found Rival Sons.
They launched into their set with so much gusto, I was afraid they would burn out within 5 minutes. Gypsy was literally the firestarter of the set with Break You swiftly following and Heartbreaker adding to the fuel of this particular fire. At first, I was a little sceptical, they do have a big PR push behind them and yes, these first few tracks were played to fire up the audience as well as showboating themselves for the photographers in the pit. Indeed, you have to work the room to win hearts and I certainly don’t blame them for this. But did they have the talent to follow all this hype through? Oh yes.
There was one note sung by the singer at the end of Break You that made my sparsely spaced hair stand on end. When the camera parade was over and the band settled into the set....this is when talent took over from image and these guys blew the socks off all who were there. The Wire, Tied Up, California Dreamin’ were all stoking the fire, yet Another Last Time and When I’m Gone set the place ablaze. Rolling 7s closed the set which all who have listened to Planet Rock would recognise. Yes a very popular song but these lads are much more than that one track and tonight proved it. Will I search them out again? Yes.....Do I think they will be big?....Definitely, I personally think that if they hit the studio soon and follow up their Ep and album, the next opus will make them. The talent that is bubbling away just under the surface, is about to break out and create something historic.
After a short break and conversations with a few complete strangers, Rival Sons took, to the stage.
It’s quite a large stage to fill, there were no unnecessary frills or gadgets, just a lion head backdrop that looked so impressive in the lights. A handful of outrageously talented people created an entire experience that evening, something that I will remember for years.
Jay, dressed in a suit...commanded the audience from start to finish, he says very little outside of the songs and I get the impression that he is a very private person almost to the point of shyness, yet he can captivate thousands of people with his voice. Scott, on the other hand seems more outgoing, slaying our ears with Riffs and melody only a true master can play. Jealousy set in very early as he paraded his extensive guitar collection. Almost each song demanded a different guitar and each and every one of them more gorgeous than the last (I don’t even play guitar and I could see the attraction of each beast he played).
To celebrate Pressure and Time, the first part of this gig was this album, in full, in Almost perfect running order. I’m not going to list these tracks, if you haven’t bought the album....just go and rectify this massive mistake in your life. My favourite, as it always has been, was Burn Down Los Angeles. Short sweet and catchy as hell! I suppose the only difference these ten or so years has been the addition of keyboards to the band. These only enhanced the tracks.
The band took the last track of the album as a queue to take a break and come back refreshed.
Too Bad, Open My Eyes and Electric Man, tore through the PA system with Elegance, along with Jordan. Outside of the Pressure and Time set, Shooting Stars was the absolute highlight of the evening. This was done completely solo by Jay, an acoustic guitar and this guys wondrous vocal talent. He took the time to talk to the audience, to explain why he was singing this and dedicating it to the Ukraine. I saw and heard so much emotion that I think we all want a little that night.
Feral Roots and Do Your Worst picked up the pace again with the guys closing the show with Nobody Wants To Die. Could we have asked for a better show? The simple answer is no.....
No one left that hall feeling disappointed, we were all truly entertained, not by fire and antics on stage, but by sheer class and pure quality, the true mark of an outstanding band, who were indeed thanking their fans by reminding themselves and us, just what started this love affair we have. Pressure And Time.
Watching this band grow from small beginnings like I have, it was an honour to witness what they have become. What a time to be alive!
Copyright ©️ cyderbaby 2022
Thanks to Duff Press, Live Nation and the bands. (Talita)
The Hammer Falls
Jack J Hutchison
This guy has been on my radar for some time now, at first it was just hearing the odd track on the radio, then it was my first YouTube interview and finally getting to see him play in London a few months ago. My admiration for the chap has grown as each event has occurred.
I became aware of the new album last year, World On Fire was released and I was told it would be added to the next album. Working with the team at Momentum Studios in Devon, those who follow Jack on social media were given regular updates as recording progressed. Call Of The Wild was another teaser track to be let loose on the unsuspecting public, which I may add....is a cracker of a song. Something I thought was rather clever about this was the fact that Jack released this as a 7” single! How many of us have purchased one of those little beauties in the last 30 years? Lets face facts here, no Rockstar is going to get into the charts these days unless they are Megastars with one of the few major labels behind them, so for people and bands like Jack, they need to think outside of the box to get their music across. A 7” is an amazing idea and more people should be doing this, forget streaming sales as this won’t even buy you a beer... something physical will always earn you that little bit more cash to keep the music rolling. Its also a talking point and its things like this that get your name mentioned and your music listened to. I’m sure that half the albums sold by bands at gigs these days, never see the turntable more than a couple of times, it’s just the mere fact of having that item in your hands, something tangible to associate to that tune you are hearing. I find it hard myself to review albums and singles by just having a computer file....there is something missing!
Midway through last year, Jack started a Gofundme page to help get the rest of the album finished. Basically this is a pre-order of the new album, The Hammer Falls. I put myself down for a CD the evening it was announced, by the following evening, I had notification of the target being surpassed. This is pretty impressive in its self, a mark of how well this guy (and his band) were being received...people had faith.
Late October/early November saw Jack undertake a huge nationwide tour, I think this was supposed to launch the new album but I think there may have been a few delays as the launch has now been pushed to February of this year. Straight To Hell was released at the same time as the tour and it highlighted what we were to expect from the new opus, as yet, I hadn’t been disappointed with what I had heard. The tour was a great success in my view, no covid interruptions and venues attracted more than average attendances for these difficult times.
Christmas for me, was that little bit more special as those who had pledged, received their album early. I mean, this is nearly 2 months early! Flippin’ awesome....I’ve had it playing constantly in my truck ever since (yes it is that old and a modern upgrade to my Hilux is a CD player!). So.....my first, second and third impression? This Is his best yet!
Straight To Hell
Blowing in from the cold, with an amazing riff, the song just appeals instantly. It seems a perfect marriage of two style in one track, balls out rock with an ear melting solo, yet it is coupled with a much softer side on the verse and mid-section. A great way to start.
The Hammer Falls
This has a groove/riff that I love, I don’t think there is another track I like more on this album. The vocals have added something to this as well, I get the feeling Jack was pushed a little bit further than previously in production and it has paid off. A worthy title track and I expect to hear it at gigs from now on!
Down By The River
A very rich guitar sound starts this track off in style, something that is carried on throughout the track. It has that certain gravitas that grips your soul. Everything then gets turned on its head with the tempo change midway, making your heart beat that bit faster...taking by the hand and running away with you. This is very reminiscent of those old album tracks we heard for the very first time as a kid that shaped our taste in music. A classic?
Angel Of Death
Despite its dark sounding title, this opens with an acoustic guitar and gentle verse, building as it flows along, like an ever increasing river getting bigger and faster the further it goes. A superb track.
A dedication to that one woman in your life that lifts you up, this is no soft interlude as it is quick paced and full of life, the riff grabs you by the throat and ensures that you listen to everything that Jack has to say. The harmonies really stand out in this upbeat song and it is yet another track I really like.
Call Of The Wild
A slightly slower track than the previous, but it hits home like a hammer. This track could easily of been the lead song/title track of this album. What bigger compliment can I give?
I’ve put this track on repeat several times in my truck, I do really like it...but if you ask me why, I can’t really tell you. Its a little different to the other tracks on the album yet it still retains many of it’s siblings elements. I think you’ll get what I mean when you hear it.
The Raven Crow
Now this is dark! Deep vocals with a dark chuggy type riff that almost explodes in your ears as the chorus kicks in. Movement changes galore and that extra special ingredient that certain songs just magic out of thin air somehow. This brings back memories of listening to Sabbath many years ago, although being very like Jack and not a copy of any Sabbath track that I recall.
What Doesn’t Kill You
Okay, this was always going to be a tough track for me to review. I love the verse and the little guitar rundown every-so-often.....but the chorus for me does not work. If this track had been on a Previous album, then I would have said that it was a quality track and I mean that sincerely. I think what has happened is that Jack has moved so far forward with the rest of the tracks, this one got left behind. The solo is one of the best here and maybe if I took time away from the album, I may come back to it one day and like it that much more...who knows? I hate being negative about peoples hard work and I must stress that this is just my own personal opinion.
World On Fire
This is an outstanding track from start to finish. I play this regularly on the radio...a fantastic riff with an almost psychedelic mid-section. A superb way to close any album.
After just re-reading what I’ve written....I’m still of the opinion that this is Jack J Hutchinson’s best work to-date. Is it too early to add this as the album of the year? It has captured memories of my youth whilst at the same time being totally relevant to today. A boatload of riffs and tunes that standout like a beacon of light in those murky waters we all call music, this IS a classic album by no stretch of the imagination. The writing, the performance and the production are all top notch, each track has it’s own identity whist still carrying that essence of Jack throughout.
Don’t mess about, pre-order the album if you haven’t already and expect nothing but a less than a masterpiece in return.
Copyright Cyderbaby 2022. Thanks to the band and O’Neill PR for the content material.
There is never a dull moment at Cyderbaby towers, one day of rest after coming back from a festival...and then it’s back off to another gig.
Bit of an important one really, it’s the last date of Whitesnake’s farewell tour in the UK. I suspect that there may be the odd festival appearance at some point when a promotor offers a wadge of cash that can’t be ignored, but I wasn’t prepared to take that chance.
There has been a lot of talk about his voice over recent year’s, to be honest, if I had half his talent ...I’d be a very happy man yet it seems acceptable to knock a legend like Mr Coverdale, just for growing old. To address the problem, the band bought in a back-up singer in the form of Dino Jelusick. How much that this
talented guy would bring to the gig was going to be testament to how well Mr Coverdale coping at the age of 69.
We arrived at Cardiff early and found some food in a nearby restaurant. People were already lining up and that was a couple of hours prior to doors. It was going to be a busy night! We had the foresight to purchase early access bar tickets, this meant there was a handful of people allowed in the Dutch quarter bar, to buy highly over-priced beer and get access to the arena straight after the VIPs. It’s a very expensive way to get close to the front, we ended up close to the barriers which is obviously the best place to be....but I can’t help but think that some person within the Motorpoint organisation has looked at every possible way to milk as much out of the audience. Well.....it was a very drink free gig for me as there was no way I was going to pay those bar prices and risk my spot.
With 3 big bands, it wasn’t long after doors until Europe took to the stage. I know the two popular tracks....who doesn’t?...but I was surprised at how many I did know, I must be a closet fan!
Opening with Walk The Earth and Rock The Night, these guys were on fire! I’ve never seen them before, how? I'm not sure, but the way this was going, I was ready to book my ticket for Steelhouse in July. With tracks from their latest albums holding their own with the older songs, this was a well rounded, well performed set. Carrie, Ready Or Not, Superstition and Cherokee are all belters. The truth of the matter is that these guys should be headlining a venue like this and to see them open and give it their all as if it was the final curtain of the evening is testament to how professional the band are, no ego’s getting in the way of the paying customer. The Final Countdown bought the biggest cheer of this set which is understandable, it is a timeless classic. I’m actually wanting to see them again now, it was a great taster session but I now want the whole thing!
With very little fuss and effort, the crew switched the stage around for Foreigner. Having only seen them the once at Ramblin’ man, I had an idea of what to expect, a slimmed down version of that particular set. Actually....no, not all that slimmed down as I had noted a clock at the side of the stage, we were up for an hour and a quarter of classic Rock! Launching into Double
Vision, you could tell straight away that this was a well polished and oiled machine. Everything was on point...there is no messing when you have real heroes playing these tunes, I mean....Jeff Pilson? Kelly Hansen? Bruce Watson??? Chris Frazier is a machine on drums, one of the best drummers I’ve witnessed...ever!
We do all know the setlist, there is nothing new to hear but my word, what a show. The background graphics were awesome and the guys worked the stage like a Rockstar catwalk, everyone felt entertained from start to finish. Guitar and Drum solos, switching of instruments for different tracks showed how versatile these people are. Head Games, Cold As Ice, Dirty White Boy, this set was flying by. An elongated Urgent wasn’t too bad either and closing the first part was Jukebox Hero.
I was expecting Mick Jones to appear, alas it was not to be. The encore of Long Way, I want To Know What Love Is and finally Hot Blooded was excellent enough to forgive the band that minor indiscretion. Truly an amazing experience and a well rounded show. If you have reservations about seeing this band ever...put them to one side, even if you only see them once, see them!
Again, a quick turn around to allow the band we had all been waiting for, take to the stage.
With a career reaching 50 years or so, Mr Coverdale is an old hand at working a crowd. Staying mostly on the extended stage and engaging with the crowd, he had all of us wrapped around his little finger in no time at all. Yes, most of the band were helping out on vocal duties and harmonising, but the bulk of the whole evening came from one mic and the guy in the middle holding it. Bad Boys, Slide It In, Love Ain’t No Stranger, Hey You and Slow N’ Easy all seemed to whistle past in a blink of an eye. Was that a sneaky glass of wine on the drum riser Mr Coverdale? Whitesnake is made up of some of the best talent around, where did he find Tanya on the Bass? She is just magnificent! As for Tommy....I may have been a bit hasty in stating who the best drummer I’ve seen is, this guy and his kit is something to behold. Reb and Joel are always outstanding on Guitars, the whole thing is an experience.
Who didn’t sing during Ain’t No Love? I’m sure there was only 2 people in that hall that didn’t join in, along with Fool For Your Lovin. Crying In The Rain, Is This Love, Give Me All Your Lovin all swept past us like an unstoppable freight train. Voices were in fine form again for Here I Go Again and then we get to Still Of The Night. This song broke the American market for them and is incredibly difficult to sing. David had lowered his register to accommodate his voice and there were a couple of blips....but I dare anyone to sing this better, Great job and no help from the back-up guys!
After a short step away, he came back to blow us all away with Burn, my utter favourite Purple track.
This was a huge success for the band, but more importantly, Mr Coverdale. It was possibly the best I’d heard him play and I’ve seen him wipe the floor opening for Def Leppard. It is a shame that this is it, I’d love him to carry on but I get why he has done this. To do an extended tour at any age is hard work, going out on top is the best way to do it.
Did I shed a tear? I did, but I was also able to take a good look at David during the show, yes.....he shed a tear too. You could see the genuine emotion in the guys face and to me, that meant everything as a fan.
When the tour is over...rest easy my friend and enjoy your retirement. Thank You for the music.
Copyright cyderbaby 2022.
Call Of The Wild '22
Howl For Me Call Of The Wild!
Friday night was a real buzz....I think a lot of the punters agreed as the party that night seemed to go on for some time!
Now Saturday for me, was a little more exciting, not only do we have great UK based bands....we had some European and the odd American acts as well. This is a first for a festival since covid, for me anyway.
Tom Kilner....he is a superstar in his own non assuming way. A real class act, every time I’ve seen him play, Blues Americana at its very best and today was no exception. For me, a great way to start.
That and finding that coffee in the Dead Skull tent, I am truly addicted to that stuff now. With coffee in hand, I found Rxpters. This is a more modern metal band and possibly a hard sell to the crowd. They did good! And I’m not saying that as a fellow West Country chap, I’m saying it as an impressed new fan. Although, I’m not sure they’re going to get the spelling corrected in the Oxford dictionary.
Sweet Tease is a band with a certain important member, Raz. If you don’t know, he, with Dave, put this whole event together. Now I was never a huge fan of the band, after today though, I could listen to them all day. Sometimes, it just takes that one live performance to make the magic to happen and that button to push. What got the biggest cheer was the kid and his guitar, bought on stage to play with Raz, he’s going to be a superstar in his own right.
Bootyard Bandits are one of my current favourites, they have the music, the look and the charisma. We knew Joel was off with Phil Campbell so enter the new vocalist Russ. Armed with cheeky lyrics and a host of unsubtle innuendo, the boys Storm the stage like they own it. I did see one of the cacti in the crowd at one point.....how, I’ve no idea! Russ did a good job, but yeah, still needs a bit of work. Practice and discipline, that’s all I can suggest.
A big thank you to the guys, as I did an interview later and Bam Bam took the time to talk to my granddaughter on a video call. The interview itself was a blast....cheese!
With interviews done and other press things out of the way, I got a chance to see the tail end of The Middlenight Men. I’m gutted to have missed most of this but I loved what I did see. A dozen people on stage, making a fantastic slice of music....I’m looking forward to the next album and any gig I can get my hands on. As with the Bandits, they took their image as seriously as the music, but instead of being paid, these guys put their fee to pyrotechnics, the whole thing looked amazing!
She Burns Red. Oh my god..a true battle cry from the Scottish contingent and a whole load of celtic passion, blasting out of the PA. Yeah, just what the doctor ordered! And I was lucky that I didn’t capture any flying kilt action!!
Pit stop for food, then my only visit to the tent to catch Wicked Stone. This was a cracking set, tempered by one of the guitarist’s going over and hurting his leg. To his credit...he carried on playing throughout although you could see his visible pain. A new album and a few dates with Ryders Creed are coming up.....I’ll be there to see them again.
Kickin Valentina are just immense. This was a headline set, pure and simple, no one could touch them and they even impressed my glamorous assistant! With a voice like gravel, drums heralding demons and guitars sounding like they were on fire, they pulled one of the biggest crowds of the day. Stonedead, you won’t know what hits you in August.
Romeos Daughter have been great for years, this set today just reaffirmed what we all knew. All the classics and then some, I couldn’t fault them whatsoever. I suppose I was just a little starstruck and in awe to really direct the set itself and give an
Crashdiet were the main support tonight and I had no idea what to expect. Bleached blonde swedes with a knack for creating catchy riffs and tunes. You couldn’t contain the singer, he was in the pit and standing with the crowd. One poor photographer (me), was resting, sitting on the barrier step when the guy ran directly at me! Hell, I didn’t know I could still move as fast as I did to get out of the way.
Climbing the frame around the stage canopy was not off limits either, it would appear that the view from the top was something to behold! The set was pretty full on, even a guest appearance from Oli of Reckless Love helped things along. It’s a shame that there wasn’t more people there as they certainly entertained the crowd and tried to include everyone, including the youngsters stood at the barrier. Good job guys!
I looked around while waiting for Reckless Love....where did all these people come from? The place was packed, I had no idea what to expect as I’d only recently heard the new album and the odd other track. I’d spoken to Oli who is such a friendly guy. I’d forgotten to bring along the Scorpions bandanna he had admired on our zoom chat, I’m sure he didn’t want it really. However, I had no idea if they really were headline material, after the first few bars of the first track....I knew.
The show was a step back into the 80s, bought bang up to date with atmospheric light shows and stylish set design. The band dressed in suits worthy of Miami Vice, but this was most definitely, a rock show. The synth sound didn’t drown out the guitar of Pepe whatsoever, it truly did compliment it, the whole thing was totally on point. As for his playing....I was awestruck! There was a tap solo at one point that just blew my mind.
Oli is an impressive front man, commanding the crowd from start to finish. The entire package is just brilliant! They even stripped back the music and took away the backing tracks at one point, I think they sounded even better!
They have made a field full of lifelong fans after that show, I actually think it was the show of the weekend.
4 day festivals suck. Well....they don’t, just 3 day hangovers. Writing about 4 day festivals does indeed suck, there is so much to tell the invested reader but I can only glance over a fraction of the details.
Dig Lazarus woke us all up early on Sunday, a little more alternative than the norm here this weekend but honestly, what a flipping band! I’ve been following them since I heard Sky Tonight and I love the album. They are a cracking band live and yeah....we spoke about cheese later on.
Hells Ditch, I’d never heard of them prior to this, yet they guys put on a solid show which has gotten me interested in their musical career. This is one of the reasons why I go to festivals....finding those bands that you’ve overlooked for one reason or another. They really could become your next favourite band!
Having the odd interview to do, I ended up not seeing a thing until Anchor Lane. I’ve seen these lads a couple of times now and I’d have to say they’ve certainly found themselves. The four new tracks took up most of their set time and I’d say that I’m definitely looking forward to the next album. Seems like they had a mare of a trip getting to the festival....but I’m glad they made it. The Mischievous Song is going to get played a lot!
As it turned out, I hardly saw anything on the second stage.....yet I don’t recall missing much of anything. It was full on all weekend and yeah, I was certainly flagging by Sunday, but there was enough going on everywhere to make a memorable weekend.
I caught about 2 minutes of my favourite band Hollowstar, in the pit before I had to dash off and talk to the Campbell brothers...you don’t keep headliners waiting!
The Dust Coda are just superb, they have crept up on my musical radar recently and I can’t seem to get rid of them. This was my first time seeing them live and let’s face facts....they are bloody good on stage. It’s difficult to pigeon hole the type of music, Blues, Rock, Boogie, you get it all and you end up wanting more. Limbo Man is still a firm favourite with the crowd, but there are other songs worthy of your time.
The L.A. Maybe were for me, the band to watch this afternoon. They’ve got an album out that is still on my rotation, months after release. Dallas and the boys took control of the stage and the crowd from the outset. Mr Danger is a cracking opener and the setlist just went uphill from then. Great track followed awesome tunage....I’m not sure quite how they did it but by the end, everyone was buzzing and talking about what they had just witnessed....including a montage of theme tunes.
I Caught the start Of Doomsday Outlaw and all I can really say is that if it carried on how it started....then it was a blinder of a set.
The New Roses, yet another band that had passed me by, they held my attention from the very first note to the final drum beat of their ten song set. The guys flew over from Germany just to do this one set and they didn’t stint of the quality one little bit. They felt right at home and they encouraged us all to be right there with them. The whole thing was just engaging from start to finish, one of those gigs that finish and you just know, a little bit of magic had happened. Be sure to listen, be sure to catch them live.
Midnite City are the main support for Sunday, now you know you’re gonna get a whole load of fun, 80s sleeze rock and a damn good show! A broad selection of tunes from across their releases ensured there was something for everyone. The guys are showmen as well so if the music doesn’t entertain (unlikely) , the poses and interaction with the crowd (and photographers), meant that there is always something going on to keep your interest. A favourite band of mine in studio form, did they live up to expectations live? Oh yes indeed!
The final band, Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons. I suppose it is right to keep the utter legend until the end. Yeah...awesome guitars and a band that know your every move makes for a cracking performance. What made it stellar was Joel. His vocals and persona on stage is exactly right for the music. I loved Andrews contribution at Bloodstock but Joel has taken the band to a whole new level. The crowd were in the palm of his hands throughout. Classic after banger after anthem, how can you top it? In honesty you don’t.. it was the perfect end to a perfect event.
So, a rather long story about one of the best festivals I’ve ever attended. But what conclusions can I make/draw from it all?
Looking behind the scenes, it all seemed to go well, did anyone notice a covid cancellation? No, nor me. I saw no trouble and I’d be happy to bring kids here again for another festival, in fact it’s probably the most family friendly I’ve been to. What else? Organisation....I suppose the crew had years to prepare for this event but I’ve been to long running festivals with a host of problems, I think this was so well organised and put together that it put places like Download to shame. Would I consider a different approach? In a way, Thursday to Saturday was rammed, while the Sunday was busy, some had left early for work, would it pay to have a 3 day festival start on Thursday in the future and let everyone have a lazy Sunday? Maybe. Food and alcohol sales for those days could show that this might actually be more beneficial to the overall festival.
Call Of The Wild deserves to grow and become one of the premier festivals in this country. Nothing I saw would dissuade me from this, I wish all the people the very best and I’m already looking forward to next year. Get those early bird tickets while you can!
Copyright ©️ cyderbaby 2022
So, I was asked to work as part of the press team for Call Of The Wild this year...taking pictures, interviewing bands and generally observing the festival so that I could write a review to help sell tickets for next years event. I could save you the bother of reading all this right now and just tell you to book your spot now, for what I feel is one of, if not THE best weekend festival there is for any true Rock fan.
Why? Well....read on!
This was my first festival, working as press...so it was going to be interesting to see the other side of events like this. I’ve been to several as a punter obviously, but I knew I had to make some compromises this time around to fit in interviews as well as seeing bands. Throughout the weekend, there was a tight turnover of bands with around ten minutes between each band on the main stages. The only overlap was on the Dark Skull Coffee stage, which highlighted the smaller bands of the weekend. All this meant that there was never going to be a dull moment!
Lincolnshire showground is my base for the next few days, as we all know...this event has been put back a few times due to covid, if it had occurred last September, I would have been worried. The last time I came across this place was a September a few years ago, when my eldest was competing with her horse there. To say it was a bit wet and muddy was an understatement! I know that if it had occurred a year ago, then it would have been raining and blowing a gale. My second eldest was due to get married that same weekend and we all breathed a sigh of relief when it got postponed. There were no issues at all with the weather this weekend, I’d actually say it was perfect....apart maybe from my sunburnt nose.
We parked around the back, near the press centre and set up our tent, camping with the bands is not as glamorous as you may think, but it gave us good access to the press centre and stages so that we could zip between the two. Having arrived just before midday, there was plenty of time to set up, kick back and have a beer (cyder) before heading to the arena for openers, Ey Up Maiden!
Well to be fair, there was a Dj set from the two Queens of the entire weekend, Tina and Caz prior to this, it was one of those touches by the organisers that made the festival.
However, Ey Up Maiden threw themselves into an hour or so worth of cracking covers to get people into the mood. They were playing on the main stage, which was 3 yards to the left of the second stage. A great set up as it meant just a shuffle from the crowd to watch between the two. The bar was at the back of the arena, well stocked and not over priced which made a pleasant change. I recently saw Whitesnake and the motorpoint prices were eye-watering by comparison. Vendors were well placed around the outside of the arena, with a few market stalls in the centre. Overall, a couple thousand people could be housed nicely there for the weekend....maybe more. The food available was actually, pretty edible, I tried the burgers, pizza and even the Chinese over the weekend and I didn’t have one Duff meal, pretty impressive all round. My one grip......Aspinal cider......that was it! What’s wrong with you easteners??? Do vikings not know the true joy of the apple brew?
Back to the music, as that’s why we’re here, right?
Mad Haven were on, it’s not hard to see why they are loved so much by those who have seen them, ripping out Riffs, throwing hair around harder than a shampoo advert and thumping out drums that were a “call of the wild”, these lads were on fire and probably better than when I saw them last. They will be huge in the not too distant future.
The City Kids are just fantastic, I managed to catch the first 3 tracks as I was in the pit taking photos, this was a first for me as well, an actual outdoor gig and I’m allowed in the pit with proper togs! Apologies to all those guys I tripped, elbowed and generally....got in the way of. Sorry, not sorry.
After those opening numbers, I had to shoot off and do an interview with Revival Black. Now I’ve done numerous zoom chats, but why on earth was I so nervous and dry mouthed doing an actual face to face interview with a band? To be fair....they are a great bunch of lads who really do have some great tunes coming out at the moment. I have to say, this is the golden time for NWOCR bands, they all are climbing to the top of the tree, so I see a very bright future for rock music.
Back to the arena, via the tent and cyder, Daxx and Roxane. Do these guys keep getting better or what? Not only did we have a (short)set of fantastic music, but flying acrobatics and knee slides packed into a high energy set. Their Drop Ep is great...the new music will be even better!
Revival Black take to the second stage and own it from the start. Tracks from their upcoming album taking pride of place from the very start. They were off to Wales the next day for a headline slot, so this was a perfect warm up. How does a chap so small in stature, have a voice that just blows away every other vocalist on the planet?
Gin Annie. What can I say? I was there for a while, watching the set unfold. They are on point with everything that they do, the songs always sound twice as good live as they do on the album, be it guitars or vocals, I need more from these guys....I know they can deliver it as well. Their next album will catapult them into the stratosphere....there is no doubt about it.
South Of Salem, fresh from their recent tour, were main support for this Thursday night. Holy crap, were they good!? Opening with a spooky intro tape and two ladies in slightly disturbing masks...the band just launched into what I feel, was one of the performances of the weekend. Track after track of gothic goodness, the South Coast boys did good. That cover of Slither.....my favourite so far. Each tune was knocked straight out of the park and I just couldn’t help myself from singing and bouncing around like a goon. This is entertainment in its highest calibre, Fire, music, hair, sunglasses and even more music.
The Treatment have worked hard to get where they are.....and they really do deserve to be headline acts. When I was waiting in the pit for the band to start, I looked up at the crowd for some reason, only to see a guy point and say something to his partner.....I’m no lip reader but I’m sure he said ‘it’s Cyderbaby’. Chuffed....to be recognised at an event for something that is a mere hobby and to be Frank....I’m certainly not the best at what I do, but I’ll take it! Whoever it was.....thank you!
For a Thursday, I didn’t expect a huge crowd, but when I looked over the arena prior to the band coming on....the place seemed rammed!
Drifting onto the stage, the various members took their places then collectively...they launched into what I consider is some of the finest rock and roll you’ll ever hear! Pulling tracks from across their back catalogue and adding a fair selection from the latest opus, Waiting For Good Luck, these boys were literally on fire. Those twin guitars sound awesome and the guys seemed to be choreographed to perfection, a real class act but not only that, it was party time on stage, as it was in the field. Everyone was bouncing along, everyone was just enjoying the moment, beers were in hand, people had their arms around each other, singing along and to their mates.....THIS IS WHAT CALL OF THE WILD WAS ALL ABOUT. we had all missed being with friends, making new ones, enjoying music and just having a good time. We were home.
I’m not going to try and explain the afterparty...I was exhausted after The Treatment. I was back at the tent snoring in an instant. I arose at 7ish as my internal clock was still set to my radio show. The great thing about the festival set up is that everything is there....no portaloos, but dedicated buildings that were kept exceptionally clean all weekend, a shower block and plenty of tarmac roads to walk around which is a godsend in wet conditions.
Music started at 11, we had to be ready early. Well.....those of us who were awake at that time! I suppose one of the drawbacks for the early bands was that they could be heard all over the campsite, so if you were a little delicate in the morning, you could stay at the tent and not miss a thing until you were ready to face people again.
Steal The City opened the main stage, the usual whirlwind of educated noise was blowing out of the amps at 100mph, theseguys are just so good!I have yet to see a bad show from these guys...even if Joe’s guitar gave up the ghost at the end of the set. Carrying on like the pros these guys are...excellent!
Capulus were up next, looking quite different than the usual rock band, the singer dressed in white and giving the impression that we were going to get something other than the metal we actually got! My bad for judging a book by its cover, don’t let image fool you as these lads were pretty awesome. The cover of The Final Countdown was pretty much perfect during the solo, I have it on good authority that the solo is pretty hard, so well done that man!
Twister, why are they on so early? These boys are fantastic and always give their all to a show. Timpani drums open like a battle cry and the backline is a mix of speakers and video screens which gives that touch of individuality to separate them from their peers. I had to jump ship straight after the pit photos as I had my first interview of the day.
These Wicked Rivers are a bunch of awesome guys, the interview was an absolute pleasure, I’m sat there waving a mic around like a complete fool, which was confirmed when I listened back to the videos, the phone I used decided not to connect to the wireless mic. Great! Phone quality audio it is then, but I’m sure it’ll be OK. Back to the band and because of other interviews, I didn’t get to catch them play. However.....help these guys out with their crowd funding project for album no 2, you know you want to!
I managed to catch a few tunes from The Suicide Notes on my return, damn it...I was missing great bands! This was the compromise I alluded to earlier, I literally couldn’t be everywhere at once.
Last Hounds are awesome.....very different from a lot of the bands on the bill, timed though so that a lot of festival attendees could go to the bar or get food. I’d never heard of these boys before but from what I saw...I’ll be checking them out again. However, I had my own dilemma here, these boys or Slowmo 75?
I’d interviewed the band via zoom a few weeks ago, so it was a no brainer....Slowmo 75 in the Dead Skull tent. Starting with just a handful of people watching, the boys kicked off a groove laden set...sounding a cross between Black Stone Cherry and Orange Goblin. By the time they were halfway through....the tent was just about packed! I have to say, I really did enjoy this set. I know there is new music just around the corner so I am looking forward to seeing how the new track sounds in studio format to how it sounded live.
I had an interview planned with Dead Writers later in the day, so it only seemed fair to catch them play this stage as well. I had absolutely no idea what to expect, what I got was a sublime slice of artistic, almost classic gothic rock and roll. Seeing them play was like watching someone channel all their emotions into a snapshot of time, I think given the chance....these young men will be huge.
Bastette were up next, this was a defining moment for that talented lady. I saw her open Rockin The Bowl last year and today’s show was head and shoulders above that performance. Surrounded by a completely new band, the songs were fired out with precision and passion. The original Ep was pretty much covered along with new tracks like Psycho. I had a chat later with Caroline and she is one very focused and intense lady. She knows exactly what she wants to do and where she wants to take the band....to the top of the tree obviously and I think that is indeed very likely.
Are you exhausted yet? I mean....this was day 2 only partially completed and there has been a staggering amount of good music already. People there were wearing their ‘shirt’ of choice as it was s$#@shirt Friday.....I may have stood out a little in my bright yellow shirt. I was asked when I entered the pit at one point if I was joining in or it was my actual everyday shirt....I’m happy to say that I’d wear that shirt any day of the week!
Empyre are extremely underrated in my eyes, classic Rock delivered with style, and also, very amicable chaps as well. I had an interview later with them and I was greeted in name and treated like an old friend. I know its all about making contacts and playing the game...but Henrik and the guys went over and above what was necessary. A little bit of liquid sunshine arrived during the set itself but it certainly didn’t dampen the music whatsoever. And did they mention that the next album is just around the corner???
I had a break between interviews, so I made sure that I caught Florence Black. These chaps were the sole reason for me finding the NWOCR movement, for a long time I was fixated on their Eps. The album last year was a real game changer, it has propelled them into the super league. With tracks like Zulu and Sun and Moon, they owned that stage. Foz is such a top chap as well, we had a chat and album 2 is written, after their autumn tour....their lives will just get more hectic.
So.....who has dismissed Raging Speedhorn as ‘not their thing’? I was just going over to take pictures.....Holy crap! Those guys just don’t take any prisoners, do they? I was a little surprised at the low turnout but hell, I enjoyed it! I was told by my editor that I took more pictures of them than any other band. What can I say? They were on fire, the music was almost brutal and the band seemed to challenge the crowd to like them. Yeah....I’ll be back, just the injection of adrenaline I needed to see me through.
OK, so Ricky Warwick is a legend, I can’t compete in looks or talent! The guy has so much pedigree it’s almost obscene. We had an array of tracks from his history, The Almighty, Thin Lizzy and his solo songs all standing side by side, every one of them an absolute belter. His band were on fire as well, with Sam (wayward sons) grinning from ear to ear and enjoying every second. The set time just seemed to disappear in the blink of an eye....just faultless.
Massive Wagons were always going to bring their A game and they didn’t hold back. The set was on fire constantly, there were risers everywhere and the image was complete with Baz dressed in pink. The curtain dropped and the band came out all guns blazing, ripping through Back To The Stack and others just like it, every song a belter. Even average healthy cover of We’reNot Gonna Take It was thrown in. They didn’t need fireworks and lights to show how good they are, they do that easily by themselves. I’ve gotta tip my hat to Baz as his inner ears were broken and he did the entire set unaided, yet still sounded spot on. I missed the raised middle finger shot....he seemed to notice! Like Me though, he noticed the rocket that missed his head by an inch....commenting on it as he walked away. This wasn’t the first, slight firework issue, when the curtain went down, the wind rush blew the fire outwards a little. I had accelerant splatter my camera lens and I was a few metres back from the crowd rail. I’ve seen pyro a few times and this didn’t seem the best of setups. I don’t like to criticise but when you play with fire....safety comes first. I’m not having a go at the band or festival organisers, the buck stops with the firm doing the pyrotechnics. It just seemed like there were a few school boy errors.
With all that aside....it was a great set and proof that Massive Wagons are the big cheese.
I was going to carry on here with the next couple of days, but to be honest.... I need to break it up. A 4 day festival is a huge undertaking, not only for the organisers, but the punters as well. You need stamina and a strong liver to see you through!
Part 2 will come tomorrow.
We have all heard of these guys, when we think of them.... we instantly think of outrageous costumes, extremely high notes, innuendo, undisguised innuendo and a whole lotta great Rock and Roll.
Easter Is Cancelled was released in 2019 and was the usual victim of covid destroying the best laid plans of mice, men and gigs. Did it do as well as it could have? I’m not sure. It’s not my favourite album of theirs and I don’t really know why, it’s a solid album with some standout tracks....but did I not fall in love with it like I should have because they didn’t get to tour the crap out of it? This will be forever the great unanswered question!
Rather than sit on their hands and let the dust collect on their immobile heads....they went and created another monster to release onto the unsuspecting public. Its a shame more bands didn’t do this as it keeps momentum going. Back when I was a mere lad, bands became legendary by being pushed by those that must be obeyed to put out an album a year. Those days sort of disappeared when Def Leppard said it was okay to wait 4 years. Music tastes changed and so has the way we buy music (or hire (I still find this unacceptable)), yet when The Darkness burst onto the scene nearly 20 years ago....they reminded us all that Rock can be about fun and classic Rock never ever dies. On Friday, they remind us again of this lesson and after the last couple of years we have all had, its needed!
Motorheart opens with Welcome Tae Glasgae, a tribute to that fantastic city I don’t visit enough! Obviously trying to emulate the Scottish accent with the title, Justin just about pulls off the actual accent and yeah, it’s a bit cheeky but then, this is The Darkness opening in style.
It’s Love Jim.
A play on that treky phrase and the content is about that intergalactic romance that clearly goes on all the time. High octane Riffs with quite a heavy sound gives this track quite a bit of grit. Great stuff.
Motorheart. This possibly is the best riffalong single since Barbarian. It’s great and it’s at this point that I’m starting to love the album already. They definitely seem to have a slightly heavier tone to the music and this track is laden with movement changes. A worthy title track.
The Power And Glory Of Love.
The Darkness have a knack of writing songs about real life, bringing everyday occurrences to life and getting people to relate the song. Yes it’s a love song, the type that they write anyways! Which is also backed by a solid Riff and an ac/dc style.
A more unique look at a relationship song than the previous track....more The Darkness in that quirky lyrical manner matched with that heavier tone I’d been picking up on.
Well......a slower paced track.....but its about that forbidden love of someone who is single and with someone who isn’t. I actually think they got this lyrically bang on the button and musically, it’s a grower in all ways. Liking the almost slide guitar section in the middle.
Nobody Can See Me Cry.
Hold on....did someone say this was called Motorheart or Motorhead? The intro is very reminiscent of the latter which is certainly no bad thing, although The Darkness put their own stamp on things very soon. Again, I’m hearing another great track and not a filler. The mid section blitz is nothing short of amazing!
That intro sets you up for a cracking track. Pretty much about going home to their hometown. I’m not sure if the run of pub names is actually real.....but I’m guessing it is!
Speed Of The Nite Time.
I had to check my player...thought something from the 80s had found its way onto my playlist. You soon realise its still the Darkness but this is the most different of all the tracks on this album and is probably one of the very best! I’m leaving it there for you to judge.
So....a new album from The Darkness. My first thoughts which incidentally are my current thoughts, this is just outstanding! I love it.... I can’t really say anymore than that. I’ve liked all of their albums but I haven’t really taken to one quite so much as this since Hot Cakes. For me it has everything I want from a Darkness album, great Riffs, unique lyrics and Justin’s voice. Put your headphones on and you instantly have that smile on your face. You know what the Darkness are and you’re a fool if you expect them to be anything different.
With Motorheart, they have improved on their writing, improved on their sound and definitely cemented their place as one of THE best British Rock bands out there. Nobody else really does this type of cheeky/fun music better.
Motorheart is out to buy and stream this Friday 19th November. Catch them on tour which is running now!
Cyderbaby 2021. Thanks to the Darkness and Wilful Publicity for the content.
Rolling Into Exeter
Wagons Roll To Exeter
I find recovering from gigs takes longer and longer as I get older....so this is why I decided to see Massive Wagons the day after Inglorious in the very same venue. I think I’m getting recognised at the Phoenix now.
I’d missed the Wagons....several times. When Full Nelson came out I thought I’d see them soon so didn’t make the effort (my bad, and seemingly quite a popular view with all bands these days if you listen to some pundits), then covid put paid to last year’s tour and when I went to Rockin The Bowl, I had to leave just as they hit the festival stage. I was determined to see this band so off my lazy backside I got and drove to Exeter. I did wonder where they would park their huge tour bus....yep, follow the various extension cables to the bus parked on Queen Street! (which is a fair distance away to bring all your stage gear).
Opening up the night was the Chris Catalyst Group. Now I know only a little about the guy, I believe he stepped in as second guitarist for The Professionals so I was guessing that it was going to be a Punk style of support act. Indeed it was, the crowd were a little quiet to start with but as the set went on, they soon warmed up. Yes, the music had that punk edge to it which wasn’t what many of the crowd were expecting, but that man can put on a show! You could see his charisma won over a few new fans, especially when he stopped mid song and asked the people who were talking loudly.....to shut up. Half an hour or so of good, solid well written/ performed music. I honestly don’t know the song titles very well and I was too busy taking photos in the pit to write things down. However, some of the newer tracks caught my attention and I searched the guy out on iTunes later.
Adorned with a huge House Of Noise background, the stage was set (quite efficiently by the crew). Blasting AC/DC through the PA, the guys made their entrance then took off as soon as Baz sprang into action. Good, down and dirty Rock n Roll, that’s what we were here for and that’s exactly what we were given. In it Together was a very apt song for these times when it was released, even more so when we were all in the same venue together after such a long absence.
Now I am a man of a certain age, where I claim to have a little flexibility in my limbs and energy to bounce around, I’m particularly chuffed with myself at this.....but All this fades away in comparison to Bas. He’s like Tigger whose been given 3 Red Bulls and a tubeful of Smarties stacked with extra E numbers. His presence on stage is something to be witnessed, not only can he bounce around, pulling rockstar poses, he can command an audience and hold a tune.
The rest of the band are locked right in as well, this is a professional, well oiled machine. Just on that first track, you can see how they are being asked to headline festivals.
Absolutely no issues with the sound all night, a credit to the crew and to the guys at the Phoenix. China Plates and Pressure came up next, swiftly followed by Bangin In Your Stereo and then a medley of stuff that we all knew, welded together to make everyone...and I mean everyone bounce around the venue. Even when I wasn’t taking photos from the side, I couldn’t keep still. The momentum and groove was just so infectious.
As a photographer, I was trying to balance, taking mental notes, taking pictures, changing batteries that decided to die on the first song and having a great time. I stayed to the side for the gig as the longtime fans were clamoring over the barrier. Also, why should in get in the way? This was the Wagons show..for the fans, not some part time hacks personnal photo shoot.
The Day We Fell, Hero, Sad Sad Song and Ratio were up next followed by that anthem of a song...Hellascrewya. At this point , I wondered how they could top this, Nails, Fe Fi Fo and the amazing House Of Noise. Off they went, the stage darkened, then came that ringing out of the PA. Old skool telephone ringing, that went on for a bit....but you knew what was coming, The curry Song. It was only a short break, but obviously enough just to catch their collective breath, so they play possibly my favourite comic track and then launch into Back To The Stack which closed the proceedings.
I see a lot of bands, many are really good, but some like Massive Wagons, are just great. True Professionals in how the act and play. These guys deserve to be on top of the pack. Each member, Baz, Adam, Stevie, Bowz and Roy, all had huge grins on their faces. Deservedly so....this was a master class in Rock n Roll. No one left that venue feeling disappointed in any way, they’d been given everything they could ever of wished. This was worth every penny of the ticket price plus some.
I feel like a curry now......
Copyright ©️cyderbaby 2021
There were so many reasons why I wanted to review this album, the name, Radio On! For starters, with my new job on Moshville Radio and it’s associated title name. The style, Hard Rock with a melodic twitch...it appealed, but to be honest, the lady herself made me want to review this. I’d thought this woman with her real vocal talent had been long lost. I hadn’t payed much attention to the music scene prior to starting writing a couple of years ago. I liked what I liked and I searched out new music as and when I stumbled across it. Lee's recent resurgence into the music industry had passed me by unnoticed, which is something I feel that happens quite often unless you have megabucks to spend on a PR company to keep your name relevant and on the spotify playlists.
I first heard of Lee during the 80s thanks to Kerrang magazine. Even then, it was her voice that got her noticed. I was surprised when an email dropped on my virtual doormat, giving me all the details of her brand new album! It took me a few minutes for this fact to sink in..... Lee Aaron.... new album..... what have I been missing all these years?
Metal Queen and BodyRock are probably the albums that you will remember her by. Her first Album created a stereo typical image of what a Rock Goddess should look like, but in my mind this was a manufactured look created by the powers that be, rather than an image created by the actual music. What I remember of the music is that it was more about sass and empowerment rather than the need to be wanted by the man species. Maybe I’m wrong and misreading it all, but after looking into Lee's career, she certainly stepped away from that image and became more herself, around 20 years ago she pursued a more Blues/Jazz line of music and returning to Rock about 6 years ago when she released Fire And Gasoline.
So now we are about to be able to listen to her latest offering, Radio On!
I think this is summed up by being a very happy, upbeat look on life. The writing process completed in a weekend, locked in a house with her band. I think that this says quite a bit about how Lee is with her life at the moment and how at one the whole band are with each other as well. You turn this album on and sunshine just seems to pour out of the speakers. When music like this has such a feel-good factor about it, then it can’t help but be quality.
This opens up the
Album and is the current single (been playing it each show). Upbeat Rock with a great Hook ‘n Riff. Lee is on fire with this, John Cody and Dave Reimer give a quality foundation with the backline while Sean Kelly really shines with the Guitar. Catchy, unbelievably Catchy....you are soon singing along.
A fairly simple Riff allows Lee to sing a well crafted, word dense track which seems to rely on her vocal Riff. Her vocal ability really has gotten better with age, especially when she launches into the second chorus.
This was the lead single, it has an almost Country Rock feel to it. Its about that mutual attraction and dealing with that eternal dilemma of if you make that first move, will the other person respond in kind?
Mama Don’t Remember
It kicks in with a rich sounding guitar which turns into a steady chug. Again, lyrically it has a story to tell and Lee is not afraid to sing from the heart. “I’ve been gone so long (chasing my dreams) that my Mama Don’t Remember my name".
What can I say.... Garage Rock n Roll at its best! We as music lovers all feel the same, we live for that constant stream of music from the radio, whatever the genre. This has a feel good sing along factor of 100.
A dirty little Riff opens up a dirty Rock track which has a more raw feel to the vocals. I love this quite a bit, it mixes the album up but still manages to retain the overall feel of the album.
A sombre opening to this track slows things down a little. Lee’s voice takes a more soulful tone which just adds to her repertoire. I think it’s a statement about modern life and not being happy with the simple things, always chasing that materialistic paradise.
A great little drumroll introduces a fairly simple tune, where you’re asked to accept the different personalities hidden within that one woman.....in a good way of course! What a awesome chorus though! It turns the song on its head.
Great Big Love.
This definitely has a mix of Jazz, Blues and Rock. It has a slow beat but as with all of Lee’s songs, lyrically it’s packed solid. If this track doesn’t hit your groove button then I don’t know what will to be honest!
I can’t explain just how exquisite this is, Lee hits some notes that just sends tingles down your spine. Yes it is almost ballad like, that is until it roars at you from the midsection.
Had Me At Hello.
Those opening bars, and you know its a good ‘un! Again, it’s just triggering that groove button. It’s got that feel great to be alive feel, running all the way through it.
This was the second single, opening with the piano, you are drawn into a song about reminiscence. Is it about her life story? I wouldn’t like to say but there is so much here that many people can relate to. This song just builds without you really realising it, a mark of a great song.
There is so much packed into this album, it really is hard to pick out the strongest points. The songs are well crafted with each player shining bright. The lyrics are word dense, with crystal clear clarity but the most important point of all, the whole album gets you sing along and makes you feel great, just like good music should. Radio On!
Lee Aaron releases this album on July 23rd through Metalville Records.
Copyright ©️cyderbaby 2021
Thanks to Lee Aaron and Imperative PR for the
Follow The Black Crow
This year is turning into a roller coaster of a year for everyone. We have been on then off, up then down, inside then out. At this point in time, a light has been turned on and its beginning to shine very brightly.
With the go ahead for festivals and live events, bands are dusting themselves off and preparing to walk out of the shadows again and step onto that brightly lit stage.
Circus 66 have been preparing for this and have hit the nail firmly on the head. An album that has been in the making for a couple of years now, is about to be released in physical form only for the time being. Those of us who like to hold the music they purchase in their hands, are in for a real treat.
This is a band that will challenge your perception of traditional Rock N Roll, I’m not saying that this album is some sort of Jazz/fusion/Prog mash-up, just don’t expect to put this Cd in your player and know what precisely what you are going to get before you press play. The one thing I have gathered from listening to Follow The Black Crow and talking to Circus 66 is that when you do follow that Crow, you are walking a very different path....quite possibly your own very individual one.
All this sets the band apart from the others trying to break through. What these guys have done, is to take a style of music and push at its boundaries while staying true to its roots. By being that bit different, they will get noticed by a huge amount of people and not just a specific target audience. Now with live events taking place, not only do we have an album that is fresh and exciting, the band can optimise this by playing it at every pub and club they can book. It will not take long before Circus 66 become a household name.
To become that household name, you have to have an album to offer. Follow The Black Crow is a collection of ten tracks, some of which we have heard through single releases. Although the songs have been written for a while, lockdown has given the band time to perfect their sound. When talking to Matt, he said that when Leigh and Luke joined the band, some of the dynamics changed leading to two tracks being completely re-recorded, improving and perfecting the sound the band were trying to portray. Striving for this kind of perfection has definitely paid off. I found no weak link in this album. Every track I have heard is a real belter, I can’t stop playing it! I have been privileged to review 3 albums this year that I think have left a memorable impression and will leave quite a legacy, KinStrife, Sons Of Liberty and now Circus 66 (all of which managed by Forge).
So what of the music? Yes, it’s Rock, there are some amazing Riffs which are highlighted by the intricacies and embellishments from Matt. Annabelle has one helluva voice. So powerful and clear with a great range. There are a couple of tracks that show a softer side to her abilities which is good. Sometimes a powerful voice can be over-exploited which leads to a repetitive sounding album, something that is clearly not the case here. Leigh and Luke cover the Drums and Bassline, both of which come across well in the production, the Bass can be heard quite clearly and is often used to fill out the sound rather than just to keep time. The Drums beat with heart-like reliability and add so much power to each and every track.
Take A Shot.
There is a line in this song that sums up the entire album, “Hit you with the best I got". It is very clear that this album is very special from this one track, an intricate guitar Riff with its southern style sound (at the start), which just rips you apart at the solo, the bass rolls and the thundering Drums all make for a fantastic sound, but then you add in those vocals..... Holy cow!!!
Jekyll Or Hyde.
One of my favourite single releases from these guys, it highlights the more technical nature of the band as they give us a blend of styles in one track, almost as it were two people within one. The transition between each section of this track is just superb.
A Thousand Miles From Home.
What an intro! Bass and Drums killing it and dragging you straight into the song. That guitar sound is amazing and is something I have loved since hearing The Zoo (I am starting to wonder the size of Matt's pedal board for live events to be able to play each song.....8x4??). A great high energy track that is sure to keep you moving, couple it with that mid-section break it is just flipping awesome!
Prince Of California.
Opening with that almost slide guitar sound, sets the tone of the song perfectly. I now have to admit that I’m truly in love and in awe of Annabelle’s vocal talent. Its highlighted here during the chorus as you can still pick out the power even though it is very word dense and has an intricate vocal riff to follow. This is top-notch stuff.
Opening up with an almost Funk feel to the Bass and vocals, it’s complimented from a deep, almost thick Guitar sound which can switch in a blink of an eye. This is a monster of a track and I just love it!
That Funk style is bought forward in the opening bars of this, then it will blow your mind! What an amazing track this is? Power in bucket loads from every player in the band, switch in a couple of changes and that final word from Annabelle, a real class track.
Light The Fuse.
Raw power and attitude gives this track real providence from the start. The addition of the occasional backing vocals adds fire to the mix. You certainly feel empowered when listening to this, making you ready to take on the world.
Racing The Reaper.
If you were in any doubt about Annabelle’s vocal talent, just listen to this track. A whirlwind Riff winds the track up like a fast ticking watch and the vocals are like a high pressure vent. When things wind down near the end, you get your first taste of Annabelle’s softer tone.
Where I Belong.
Opening with a steel guitar sound, you are drawn into the softer side of the band. Annabelle takes you by the hand and leads you through this epic track. Every time I hear the first chorus, it always raises the hairs on the back of my neck. The song just builds and builds. Awesome stuff.
When The Black Crow Flies.
This song is probably THE track of the album, the anthem and what will become the trademark of the band. It follows its own path and takes as long as it takes. There is so much going on throughout that it is extremely difficult to pinpoint any one part that stands out more than any other. By now you know that these guys can play, what is evident here if not before, is the talent in the actual writing.
Ten tracks that will change your world, from four very talented musicians. I have no doubt in my mind that this is the start of a very bright future for Circus 66. They have created a sound that is unique to them and is packed with power and ambition. The songs are there to challenge what you already know and love, they take you that step further into the unknown and leave you begging for more. I don’t think I can overstate the technical ecstasy I get from listening to this, nor can I relate to you completely, just how good this band is. You need to buy the album and see them play live, then you’ll have some idea how far up in the stratosphere Circus 66 will fly.
Copyright ©️cyderbaby 2021. Thanks to ForgeAMP and Circus 66 for the subject matter.
Sons Of Liberty
Aces And Eights
There are a few bands out there, that walk the extra mile to get themselves heard by as many people as possible. Sons Of Liberty are one such band, playing as many weekends as possible from tiny venues to large scale festivals, treating each member of the audience as one of their extended family. This is how you secure your fan base. To keep these fans however....you have to give them some music that they will take to their heart.
The Sons do have an impressive back catalogue in a short space of time, having started as a bunch of friends playing Southern Style Rock, they began writing their own material, releasing two Eps and their first album, Animism in 2019. They have progressed on each release and have an abundance of great music to draw on for each and every show they do. I think it is a generation thing that drives bands like this to keep rolling out new tunes. The young bands of today have to live with the lack of record label support and release only what they can afford to record, which often means singles here and there with the odd Ep thrown in. Those of us of a certain age, remember the time when bands released an album a year with a couple of tours to ensure it was heard.
So, rather than resting on their laurels and touring the hell out of Animism, the Sons took themselves off to Devon and into Momentum studios, to record a brand new album which has become Ace’s And Eights.
We have all heard the first single, Damaged Reputation. From just this track, you can tell how much the music has improved in quality in such a short space of time. The production is just out of this world and the writing is immense. These guys have made that transition from pub band to mainstream recognition in this one song alone. Yet at the same time, they have wrapped their collective arms around each of their extended family and asked them to come along with them on the ride.
This album really is their best offering to date, the production lifts each song, there’s no flatness in the sound nor is there any dip in the quality. Even the artwork is fantastic! There seems to have been a lot of attention to detail at every point, which every person who buys a Cd or Vinyl, will appreciate.
So where to start? Track one would be the obvious place and what a way to kick off proceedings!
Ruby Starr, its the next single to be released, a story about a real life singer who had one helluva voice. This song bursts out of the blocks from the first bar and whips along at a fast pace, leaving you breathless trying to keep up. Rich, raunchy guitars set a heavy tone to the music which matches Rob's vocal tone. This track will get you moving in no time whatsoever!
Don’t Hide Behind Your Weakness settles things down a little, more vocal driven at the start with a great little riff in the background keeping things going. The mid section solos fly high and remind you that this is a GUITAR band. When you listen to this track a few times, you realise how well Steve and Mark have been bought forward in the mix to create a well rounded sound. The subject matter of the lyrics is quite deep as well, with most of us almost afraid of who we really are at times.
Black Blizzard let’s you step back and take a breath. Slower paced with deeper, more whiskey soaked vocals. Lyrically, its quite dark but it works so well! Musically, the added keyboards give the song more depth. I like this change of manner, it adds another string to the bands bow.
Before you start thinking that the band have changed direction completely, we are thrown into Beef Jerky! Yep its typical tongue in cheek stuff but at the same time, its still an accomplished track with Fred and Moose trading licks and giving Rob something to throw out into the audience
Damaged Reputation blows any remaining cobwebs from the brain with that heavy Riff and oh so catchy melody. A top class track and you can see why it was the lead single.
Texas Hill Country is just pure high octane all out southern Rock! I just love it...the Riff, the vocals and dare I say the simplicity! The imagery that this song conveys makes you want to jump in a muscle car, drive around and experience the lifestyle this track implies.
Fire And Gasoline. This is very different, with Rob's opening cry....you know you’re in for a treat. The chorus really does sell this track with its AC/DC style backing vocals and real Rockin rhythm that digs at your very soul. This is another cracking song and yet another one on my favourite list.
Doc’s Remedy has that carnival party feel that you can almost taste. A square dance style Riff that is sure to get any audience dancing along or at least smiling at the hidden humour throughout.
I Come In Peace is an epic song. A strong vocal performance by Rob is matched by each and every band members contribution. This track marks the importance of this entire album and sheds the image these guys may have of being a small-time band.
Dead Mans Hand goes hand in hand with the title of this album. Instantly likeable with that groove to die for. This is the band playing their cards with real style.
Lights Are On picks up the pace again with a busy guitar sound and sing along lyrics. I could almost believe that the song was written about myself, but I have it on reasonably good authority that it was a statement about some of those people that cross our paths from time to time.
Whiskey Is My Vaccine slows the album to its finale. That blues based rhythm gets to you so very easily and I think we can all relate to that story of having drunk maybe one too many. The song carries forward that special Sons Of Liberty humour we all love.
So there it is, the Sons Of Liberty have bared their collective souls and poured everything into what is their finest work to date. Aces And Eights is simply superb! Rock, Riffs and style to the core. If they play their hand well, this could be the album of the year for many people.
Copyright ©️ 2021 Cyderbaby
Many thanks to the band and O’Neill PR
Itch You Can't Scratch
You can stumble across a band at times, where you know that one day....they are going to be huge!
Midnite City have been on my radar from day one, I’ve yet to have the privilege to catch up with them to have a chat about the story so far, but to me, I’ve witnessed the birth of a band....see it grow and now, its running at the head of the pack. There have been plenty of bands who have imitated the sound of 80s Sleaze/ Hair metal, yet these guys now own it.
Like many albums released this year, they have been created remotely by musicians who need to express their art when everything is in lockdown. Sometimes this works well and other times, it can prove to be the best work a band has produced. Itch You Can’t Scratch is in my humble opinion, THE best album Midnite City have released.
The writing has come on in leaps and bounds whilst the actual recorded performance of each member, shines brighter now than it ever has done. What sets this album apart from the previous two, is the growth. It is extremely difficult to maintain a particular style and sound in any genre and at the same time produce something different, something the fan or casual listener has not heard a million times before. These guys have managed to move forwards and grow their style of music without loosing focus on the core appeal which is the entire reason why they have such a huge fanbase. After listening to the album a few times now, I can still get a feeling that the band have much more to offer.
Itch You Can’t Scratch is exceedingly well produced with the sound perfectly balanced. Vocals have always been the main driving force with this style of Rock with the guitars as a balance, let off the leash to fly when appropriate. I’m always a little sceptical of Keys in a Rock or Metal band, some of our European counterparts tend to push this a little too far to the front of the sound which I find a real turn off, however, I’m pleased to hear a near perfect balance on this album, infact I’d go as far to say that in one or two of the tracks, the keys could have been brought forward a touch. The Bass is just superb with a sound that fills each song out, rather than being there to lock in with the Drums. As for the Drums, I have to say, I rate Pete as one of the best Drummers on the circuit right now and this album certainly backs up my statement.
Crawlin' In The Dirt opens up the album, from those first drum hits, you know this track is going to blow your socks off. Guitars get you between the eyes and Rob's vocals are on top form. Attention to detail really does pay off with those little guitar notes which attack alternate ears.... very clever indeed.
Atomic. This is a very exciting track which keeps you on your toes, a strong vocal riff carries this track but that deep note at the beginning, it just blows your mind! I love the guitar/ keys/bass soloing duel which is far too short.
Fire Inside. This track comes directly out of the 80s heyday of radio friendly power ballads. Those American bands who made these tracks popular can only dream of writing a song this good, Fire Inside makes all of its competitors pale into insignificance.
Darkest Before The Dawn takes the tempo back up a smidge but it still maintains that radio friendly feel, not quite as full on Rock as a lot of the other tracks. I’m loving the vocals on this song along with its backing harmonies.
I Don’t Need Another Heartache. The guitar picks up the pace, giving the song a heavier feel. Everything you hear here feels so well rounded and complete, it really is the band working in complete synchronicity. That sing along chorus is just phenomenal.
Blame It On Your Lovin'. Such a darker sounding track from the outset, heavier guitars, deeper and dirtier vocals yet it still has a catchy riff and a great chorus line. It just has that groove that tugs at my soul! Maybe my favourite track along with Atomic?
They Only Come Out At Night.
One word, ANTHEM!
What a track....so different to everything else, very dark but it retains its mass appeal. Certainly the star track of the album and quite possibly the bands career so far. I can just imagine this track being played live and hear the crowd singing along at the top of their voices.
Chance Of A Lifetime. A great chuggy guitar riff is coupled with fantastic vocal harmonies. After a couple of listens you really are singing along to this.
If Its Over. A grandiose opening which strips right back to a piano lead and solitary vocals, it is as the name suggests, a classic heartbreak track which just grows and grows. This to be fair, is not really my thing but in all honesty....its definitely better than any I’ve heard.
Fall To Pieces. To close the album, the guys have picked something that plucks a little piece from each of the other tracks, great Riffs, perfect vocals, a huge sound and a sing along chorus. It is the perfect song to ensure you hit the repeat button.
Itch You Can’t Scratch is the album that marks the point in time where Midnite City has spread their wings to fly! A style of music from the 80s which has not only been bought back to life, but has been injected with real fire in its heart. This is a fantastic piece of work from the band, every track has the true soul of Rock dripping from every pore.
Rob Wylde – vocals
Shawn Charvette – keyboards
Miles Meakin – guitars
Josh Williams - bass
Pete Newdeck – drums
Copyright ©️ cyderbaby 2021
Thanks to the band, Roulette Media and BJF Media Pr.
Tommy' Rock Trip
Beat Up On Rock N' Roll
As a reviewer, I get sent loads of new material to listen to, play and write about. As there is only me on the written side.... I have to make some hard choices and only publish articles about music I really enjoy. So when I heard the opening bars of this album, I pushed everything else aside. This album isn’t just good, IT IS IMMENSE!
Who is Tommy? Well, if you saw Sabbath on the last couple of tours then you’ll know exactly who he is. When I was standing in Hyde Park a few years ago, someone close by asked this question, his friend replied.. “the man is a machine!” In a way this sums Tommy Clufetos up but also serves as an injustice to the guys talent. Yes, he can literally brutalise a drum kit, hitting it with precision and at great speed, yet with this, unlike any machine, he can pour so much energy and passion into the music. This is sheer talent in its purest form.
So Frontiers have signed the guy for his own personal project, Rocktrip. In all honesty, this album is a monster. We have a clutch of tracks that are balls-out Rock, A little dirty, a little bass heavy and a whole lot of fun. What more could you ask for? If you ask for some blues infused Rock and a saxophone, you’ll get that as well.
The line up features Tommy handling drums and vocals on tracks 4,8 and 11 with Eric Dover handling vocals on the rest of the album. Eliot Lorengo is on Bass, Hank Schneekluth on lead Guitar, Nao Nakashima on rhythm and John Schreffler guesting on title track guitar solo. Doug Organ on Hammond duties with Tommy C on Saxophone.
Heavy Load opens the album, an intro which builds and builds so that it leaves you in no doubt that you have put on a Rock n Roll album. The Riff then rolls into a hard nose rocker with that dirty sound I referred to earlier. Its the longest track here but you really don’t notice it. The mid section is pretty unique with its almost spoken lyrics which then leads into a slow tempo Riff.
Welcome To The Show is all about that Rock n Roll life, why these guys get up and play, why we go to the shows and why there is nothing like this anywhere on this earth. Rock n Roll is a way of life.
You Got The Cash I Got The Flash. The Riff gets you from the start and this is a hat tipped in the direction of those 80s Sleaze Rock tracks that you are still singing along to.
Make Me Smile showcases Tommy’s vocals and can he hold his own! He has done a sterling job and what a track to it on, the groove gets you straight away along with its simple Riff and cracking solo. My favourite track? Quite possibly but there are so many gems here.
Do It Again has an explosive feel to it, even from the opening bars. The Riff is seemingly vocal driven and it is all the better for it. Its at this point in the album that you realise that its going on indefinite repeat.
Kid Blood has a certain feel about it that I can’t quite explain, a little slower than the rest of the album and not quite as in your face. But it still kicks some serious ass, its a massive track!
Don’t Be Afraid brings Rock n Roll into hyperspeed, from that spiralling intro to the fast drum beat and then to the hurried vocals....its all over in a flash.
Beat Up By Rock n Roll just grabs that boogie rhythm and runs with it. Tommy back on vocals and smashing it! I love this, it reminds me of early Bon era AC-DC , you can tell why its the title track, it is in a class of its own.
Got To Play Some Rock N Roll speeds everything up and flies through the gears. An adrenaline rush of music in its purest form which is there to make your heart beat at double time.
The Longevity opens with those fantastic drum rolls and a riff to die for. I can just see the grins on the faces of all that played this track in the studio, there is something about this song that makes you feel good, it might just be those random vocal sounds thrown in at the breaks? I don’t know, but its a classic track in its own right.
The Power Of Three has a definite 50s style Rock n Roll feel to it. A great track which you can’t help but love. If you’re not moving to this song then I have to question whether or not you have any soul.
Tommy Clufetos has created an outstanding album here with the help of some top class musicians. Each and every person here has shined brightly. The production is worth mentioning also as they have allowed the star of the album (Tommy) to showcase his talent as a drummer and bring his sound forward without damaging the quality of the vocals or the guitar sound.
Beat Up By Rock N Roll is an outstanding piece of work which can only lead to bigger and better things. This is quality without any doubt.
Copyright ©️ 2021 Cyderbaby
Thanks to Frontiers, Redsand PR and the Band.
Do you ever get that yearning? You know the one.... you want something new to listen to, yet you still want it to be a comfortable friend rather than some new genre that you’re not quite into. Let’s face it, you want Heavy Metal like it used to be back in the day, something that melts your face off with the opening chord.
Quell that yearning, I have something for you to listen to, something new and also something pretty darn good.
ScreaMachine release their self-titled debut on the 9th April, through the Frontiers label.
This Italian band have tapped into a vein of music that has served up some great bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Metallica (the good years). They have come forth and taken the genre by the throat and given it a damn good shake, putting an almighty stamp on their patch and called it home. They defy anybody to come along and topple their newfound castle of Metal.
These guys have been around in the Italian Metal scene for some time in their respective former bands, but the idea for this band originated from Bassist, Francesco Bucci (Stormcloud), he is joined by Vocalist, Valerio Caricchio, Alex Mele on guitars, along with Paolo Campitelli and completing the lineup on Drums is Alfonso Corace. There is a host of ‘guest’ appearances helping the band make this album into a very fine offering.
We start with the track Demondome. It opens up with a solo guitar playing the main Riff which then allows the rest of the band to join in to fill out the sound. Solid Vocals give us enough raw power and gruffness to fulfil our wish to explore this album further. The Drums here are just phenomenal, only topped by the first class shredding and bleeding from the guitars. This is a kick-ass starter for sure.
The Metal Monster literally gallops into your ears. Certainly faster but it loses nothing in the quality of the melody. The chorus is an instant ‘like’ with a chest beating, sing-along feel to it.
The Human God is brings a more sinister tone to proceedings. A darker vocal tone is matched by a darker and more majestic guitar sound. There are still lashings of shred but what really grabbed me was the amazing Bass line in the mid-section, there are only a few Bassists that I really admire and Francesco is edging his way onto that list. Valerio shows off his range from the very dark to the almost ‘Painkiller’ like highs.
Darksteel is a powerful, yet steady paced call to arms. Rumbling drums and marching Guitar Riffs all give credence to the lyrical content. The song really flies when the Guitars take off in the mid-section and the band then picks up the pace to match.
Mistress Of Disaster has a cracking Riff that gets to you on first listen, you can almost hear the strings start to turn into molten metal. The melody lends itself to one of those tracks that you cant help sing to, all of this makes this a stand-out track for me, even my favourite.
52Hz seems an odd title, its a little more different to the rest of the tracks on the album and to be honest, it took me a few listens to get my teeth into this. The dual sounding solo is rather good and the rest of the song is a grower. I’d miss the song now if it were to be cut.
Wisdom Of The Ages starts as it continues, by taking no prisoners. A slow burn at the start, you soon realise that this is quite special. The mighty signature tune that everyone will come to know and associate with ScreaMachine.
Silver Fever opens up with a really good Riff and it builds on the pace set by ‘Wisdom’. You get that feeling that you are rising on a crest of a wave which is taking you faster along its sonic ocean. Great song structure and excellent craftsmanship from these talented guys.
Dancing With Shadows is laden with galloping rhythms and tempo changes. It reminds me of all the old Metal bands that obviously inspired these men and bought out the talent within. Rolling Drum intros to howling Guitars, to sing-along chorus’s and movement changes, this track has the lot!
Scream Machine is kept to the end. A slow majestic Guitar solo turns into a chuggy Riff and then a blistering melody, topped with a classy chorus. This IS the bands anthem, showcasing their ability and the lyrics seem to have more meaning than simple words would imply. I have to put this as joint favourite along with ‘Mistress’ The solo is just awesome, the band certainly saved the best until last.
I really rate this album, I listen to several different Rock genre’s and this has reminded me what Metal used to be, Uncomplicated yet sophisticated at the same time. ScreaMachine have tapped into our subconscious and given us the Metal we didn’t know we were missing. Buy the album, crack open a drink of your choice and listen to this with the volume turned to 11.
Copyright ©️ 2021 cyderbaby
Thanks to Frontiers, Redsand PR and ScreaMachine for the content.
A Virtual World
There are a few bands that stand out. When we hear Scandinavian Power Metal..... a fair few of us will instantly think they know exactly what they are getting. METALITE give you something a little bit more than you expect.
I came across them last year, when I was asked to review the BIOMECHANICALS album which was released in 2019. I think I just sat there for the entirety of the album in near shock. Yes this band deliver great Power Metal, but they give more than a nod to early century Trance influences. I’m sure that there is no other band out there that have dared to mix these genres up, let alone pull it off as well as METALITE have.
This Swedish quintet are made up of Edwin Premberg and Robert Ornesved on Guitars, Lea Larsson on Drums, Robert Majd on Bass with the amazing vocal talents of Erica Ohlsson. This is her second album with the band and she just gets better and better.
BIOMECHANICALS had quite a dark theme running through the album if I recall, telling a story of Human/AI integration. This album, A VIRTUAL WORLD has a more optimistic outlook, taking all the possibilities and opportunities a virtual world can offer and making a modern utopia. This kind of outlook is something real gamers and Sci-Fi can embrace and run with. You can listen to the music and just let your imagination run wild, building a world that you would want to live in. This is where the art of music really comes into its own, if 11 tracks can lift you away and let your imagination fly for an hour, then its magic has worked on you. This is true escapism from real life, which is something we all need from time to time.
Opening with the title track, you get a real feel of the grandiose sound of the entire album. Production is by Jacob Hanson and he has done a fantastic job throughout the album. Synths are prevalent and completely balanced for the style of music these guys are trying to portray. The Guitars have an even bite of the cherry, giving us enough Metal to sink our teeth into.
Cloud Connected follows on without a pause in pace or enough time to draw breath. The melodies on this album really are good, you’re singing along to the chorus of this track in no time. The vocal range Erica has is just phenomenal!
Talisman has got a superb intro, maybe the best on the album. A slightly more epic feel to this track which does its job of mixing the album up a little. The mid-section really drives home how good this track is. The guitar shred is pretty impressive.
Beyond The Horizon reminds you that those Trance influences can work extremely well with Metal. If you were to give this track to two different producers, you would end up with one amazing metal version and one spectacular Dance version. The change into pure metal during the solo is inspired.
Peacekeepers has a much heavier feel to it, picking the pace up and letting it run. Nice little Bass noodle to end the chorus and go back to verse.
The Vampire Song. A scary little intro leads into powerful and bombastic vocals. A slower, darker style of song but nether the less, it has a massive feel to the song. Possibly my favourite track here.
We’re Like The Fire picks up the pace yet again. It has certain sounds here that remind me of a female fronted Pendulum, modern intricate synth sounds coupled with a heavy guitar. Great Stuff.
Artificial Intelligence has a much heavier feel to it again, just to prove to us all that there is always something different that this band can offer us. It bounces along with a great Riff and fantastic melody.
Alone. This gives Erica a chance to offer the softer side of her vocal talent. A slow track by all accounts, giving depth to the various musical sections. Pretty damn good!
Running, does exactly as the title says, starting with that breathless sound then basting away at a million miles an hour. High speed vocals with extreme clarity, I’m really starting to admire this ladies talent. The guitars are just amazing throughout with the Bass and Drums holding everything steady. My second favourite for sure.
World Synchronized closes the album and this is just pure style! Full of everything that makes this band as good as it is. Melody, harmonies, synths, guitars and a great back line.
This is a great album, it is fantasy wrapped in fantastic craftsmanship. METALITE have found a corner of the Metal genre in which they excel and command. Is it a guilty pleasure to like this? Possibly, I shouldn’t like the Trance influence as much as I do.....but I can’t help myself. I really hope to see this band play live as I am sure it will be exceptional.
A Virtual World is available on Friday, 26th March from AFM Records.
Copyright 2021 cyderbaby
The Mighty Return
There is a rumbling across the countryside that can only be the Mighty Bass of Adam Irwin.
There is a thunder in the air that can only be the dramatic Drums of Wyatt Wendells.
There is a fire in the sky which can only be the duelling Guitars of Ozzy Lister and Mark Thomas.
There is an angelic choir, singing divine tunes and melody which can only be Pete Spiby....... (wait....Pete?...angelic????).
This can only mean one thing, BLACK SPIDERS are BACK!
We had an inkling back in November when Fly In The Soup was released. Yes it was everything we had imagined it would be, catchy, full of riffs and melody, ever so slightly light hearted and most of all, it was great! More recently, we have the EP, Deaf Proof which basically has one album track. Good Times which is so upbeat it should be outlawed. The Weight which is much more Stoner/Doom in style and is much more my staple cup of tea, so I’m biased to how good it is. Ancient Astronaut gives you those fantastic space vibes with a huge underlying Bass line. It closes with Power In The Darkness which has some religious connotations and a definite reminder of previous SPIDERS material, which is by no means a bad thing.
So we have the upcoming release of the brand spanking new album, Black Spiders. Self titled apparently so we focus on the band more and the music they make.
To step back a little, I came across the band at a very late stage. I stumbled across Sons Of The North and almost immediately after, This Savage Land was released. To say I had an overload of fantastic songs to enjoy would be a mild understatement, I couldn’t get enough! After missing their live set at Sonisphere which i was gutted about, I managed to catch them play at Exeter Cavern which was soooo much fun. Eagerly awaiting the next time, I found out to my horror that they were calling it a day. Tickets were purchased for the gig in Bristol, at the Thekla and a drink was raised in their honour.
This was back in the summer of ’17. THE best news to come out of 2020 was their announcement that the BLACKSPIDERS will return. To be honest, they couldn’t of picked a more difficult time if they has tried. Pandemic, Lockdown, social Distancing, all sound like song titles of a very pessimistic Doom band, but this is what we all have had to deal with these last 12 months. Somehow, these guys have written a massive amount (40 apparently) of new songs and they have managed to bring it all together by hook and by crook, so that we, their adoring fans, have something to celebrate. This is pretty impressive to say the least and when you consider Wyatt had to come in on Drum duties, with a band he had barely met and never played with, it just shows what a collection of great musicians these boys are.
Fly In The Soup opens up the album, we have all heard it so we know how good it is, tongue in cheek, Rock ‘n Roll.
Stabbed In The Back has an amazing drum roll intro which proceeds into a fast paced track. The riff keeps driving the track like a high speed car. Minimal lyrics do not detract from the oh so catchy melody and chorus, great stuff!
Wizard Shall Not Kill Wizard. You just know what kind of song this is, full of BLACKSPIDERS mystic qualities and more than a hint of old Sabbath inspired guitars. I LOVE IT!
Back In The Convent, a track about bad, good girls....yeah this is classic SPIDERS, yet its been turned up to 11 on the dial (I was right earlier....that angelic choir is definitely Pete! You’ll know what I mean when you hear it).
Give ‘Em What They Want. Its full of great vocal harmonies that we love and expect at least once on a BLACK SPIDERS album. Maybe this was the whole reason for this song and its title? The mid-section guitar sound is just great.
Good Times....yep, its been outlawed.....this is way too upbeat! A cracking tune.
Death Comes Creepin . Its Doom/Sabbathesque intro, belies the speed in which this classic (yes, classic) track takes off. It is one of my favourites here and I’ll be utterly disappointed if they don’t play this live.
Nothing Better, a short blast of brilliance, honestly, there isnt anything better.
Rock And Roll is full of low chugging guitars that speak directly at your soul. Slightly dirty and it really hits the spot with the vocal melody.
Free Ride has an instant groove. Slightly psychedelic which really makes this track stand out, it’s so well laid out in every point, Drums, Bass, Guitars and Vocals. A definite winner.
No Luck No Bones got me tapping from the first instant I heard it. There are actual Keys on the intro.....or it’s one hell of a guitar pedal!
Down To The River has that stoner groove from the start, a nod to the likes of St Peter in style yet its no copy. Vocal harmonies and guitar styles just ooze out of this track in abundance.
Crooked Black Wings closes the album out and what a fine way to go. There is nothing like it on the rest of the album yet its BLACK SPIDERS through and through.
BLACK SPIDERS is one hell of an album, it marks the return of this great band in grand style. It is by far, the best work they have done. Rather than be a clone of the band they used to be, they have taken the essence of what BLACK SPIDERS were and they let it grow into a monster. It has everything that a lifelong fan would expect from this band yet it turns that page and takes it to a higher level.
Am I glad BLACK SPIDERS are back? Yes, Is this an album worth buying? Most definitely. Will I see them live again? I’m guessing Steelhouse Festival may well be the first outing, so I’ll have to buy my ticket.
BLACK SPIDERS is out on the 26th March, pre-order this NOW!
Copyright ©️ 2021 cyderbaby
Thanks to the band for the content, unknown photographer and James Sherry Division PR.
Fools And Monsters
To say I’ve been looking forward to this album is a little bit of an understatement. I first got introduced to KINSTRIFE when the lovely Carly from Forge sent me the Intervention Ep to review last year. I was simply blown away! How could a grassroot band such as this, sound so epic? Surely there had been some sort of mistake…. The KINSTRIFE sound is huge, this is a sound that I’d expect to hear in a packed arena, full-on guitars with that rich vocal tone, a solid bass line coupled with a kick ass drum sound.
The four tracks on the Ep certainly gained my interest, the standout track was Unconditional, I think I listened to that song half a dozen times in stunned silence before I could write anything about it, it still gives me goosebumps now. I obviously had to go back over what they had released, but there wasn’t much. Fear was the first single to be aired, followed up a few weeks later by Make Me. I was certainly surprised, with the quality of the songs and the craftsmanship that is evident in the writing, I expected there to be a lot more of a back catalogue. Bands just don’t write this well at the start of their career, surely?
Back in October, they released a Double A side, Bombs, which is a great full throttle track alongside what can only be described as an epic, Slow And Easy. These two tracks certainly got the band a lot of attention from the media and I’m sure they picked up many new fans too. At this point, I was ready for a full-fledged album, I wanted to hear everything these 4 guys from Herefordshire had to offer. I’d been given 7 tracks already but I still wanted more.
On 5th March, I am pleased to say that my wish will come true. FOOLS AND MONSTERS will be available to stream and to purchase in physical form directly from the band. I urge you to go and buy this Cd, there are several arena bands out there that I can think of, that wish that they had written / recorded this album. Its not just good, as a debut album, its flipping fantastic!
Intervention opens up this 12 track feast. Yes, all 7 previous releases are on the album, but this is a good thing. Back to Intervention, it starts as the whole album means to go on, a bombastic intro leads into a rock driven track which has a slightly Southern (Skynyrd) feel to it. Its definitely THE track to showcase what Mike (vocals and guitar) Alan (lead guitar) Dave (bass) and Simon (drums) can achieve together.
Make Me is forever second! The second track and single to get released. A nice delicate intro lulls you into a false sense of security until Alan blows you away with his guitar. Mike’s vocals really shine here, that rich, deep timbre gets a great workout on this melody, sweeping and soaring all over the track, gentle when appropriate and so full of force when needed. One of my favourites for sure, but that does keep changing.
Cursed is the first ‘new’ track, a crowd pleaser in many ways…..I’m sure there will be crowd participation at gigs when the song gets played. It does amaze me how these guys have crafted a pretty heavy guitar sound with such good melodies. You can hear definite influences of Slash in the music but Axle could never sing a song quite like this.
Fear comes next and slows the pace down few notches. The track is jam-packed with emotions that I really don’t know where to start. All I can say for sure is that it gets you deep in the gut, the type of song that s directed straight at your soul. I love it!
Devil’s Call is quite possibly the heaviest thing here, fantastic guitar riffs all along the way with a lead solo that will make you want to sit with eyes closed so you can take each and every note in. A nod to Ozzy maybe?
Get Away brings you THAT singalong chorus! It has a real groove that gets under your skin and just makes you feel the song at base level. This is probably helped along by the strong Bass running through the production.
Unconditional is an epic track, worth the price of the cd on its own. The vocals are on point throughout, guitars are superb and the drum keeps the heart beating in perfect time.
Bombs is a fun track, speeding the pace back up to a frenzy and a swirl. A sure fire favourite with everyone, guaranteed to keep a crowd on their toes for sure.
Rise And Fall. Fast becoming another favourite track for me, a line from this track is used as the title of this album, it’s a reference to the pitfalls of the music industry, we all hear of the problems some bands come across, so I’m guessing there is a tale or two to be told here someday.
Slow And Easy is melodic Rock at its very best. Pure melody with so much passion that this surely a timeless classic. It sends shivers down my spine.
Any Given Day has quite a gallop to it, a fun track which whips along. Don’t let it get away from you because it is a hidden gem of a track. I love the solo mid-track and the broken down chorus that follows, inspired writing.
Stick With Me is the set closer, it has everything these guys have given you on the rest of the album, Riffs, singalong points, rumbling basslines, rocksteady drums and awesome vocals. It has melody and groove melted into its soul!
I’ve been lucky enough to have this on cd for the last week, where its been lodged in my truck cd player constantly. I’ve no desire to remove it yet as I just can’t get enough (Yes, people do call me sad). Having grown up in the 80s, this is a strong reminder of just how good Rock was in those days. Yes, we have the NWOCR movement and many cracking bands giving their all….but none have captured the magnificence of the sound quite like KINSTRIFE.
FOOLS AND MONSTERS is a massive album which never fails to deliver quality throughout. Production is spot on so I tip my hat to Ryan at AR Studios who has done a stellar job at capturing such a big sound. The band have worked extremely hard to bring what is to me, the best album of Hard, Melodic Rock to be released in a very long time. Album of the year for me? Without a doubt.
Copyright ©️ 2021 Cyderbaby
Thanks to KINSTRIFE for use of their material.
We Will Ride
I think unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last half dozen years, then you’ve heard of INGLORIOUS
For me, it was when I saw them open for The Winery Dogs in Bristol. They looked that the lads next door, cheeky grins and an approachable manner. They were great and it wasn’t long before I purchased the first album with Holy Water still on heavy rotation in my playlists. I caught them again that year at Download which was good fun and you could see where they were heading. After a bit of a break seeing them but playing the second album a huge amount, I saw them at Steelhouse Festival. Still on point in every way but I noticed how much more flamboyant their look was, more Rock n Roll. These guys were getting big, two great albums and a huge following....the future was looking bright!
The world as INGLORIOUS knew it, was about to change. The run up to the third album, Ride To Nowhere, was turbulent to say the least. The pressure must’ve been immense..... the band were cresting a wave and the expectation to produce THE album that would propel them into megastars was clear and to be fair, it is another top-notch album, but because of the controversy surrounding it at the time and the keyboard warriors that is the scourge of social media, things fell apart. None of us really know what went on, some band members left for whatever reasons they thought right, but was it really necessary for them to be outspoken to the media? I firmly believe that it was pressure from the outside that caused the problems. Nathan looked stressed and from personal experience, his well documented outburst was a symptom of this. A friend had laid the boot in....did we honestly say that we wouldn’t react in a similar way? If we had locked Nathan in a room with a piece of paper and told him to write out his feelings in a song, then I’m sure he would have written a classic track that would last decades. You become an artist to release all those emotions you have built up inside, sometimes these artists struggle to articulate just how they feel in THAT instant.
Ride To Nowhere is a great album, the dust had settled, There were new members, who are still here today and I managed to catch them play at the Frontiers Festival in Birmingham. The mood was atmospheric, the new guys played a blinder. I was in awe of the young talent that is Danny Dela Cruz, just a phenomenal guitarist! Nathan was as superb as ever, even though he seemed to be walking on eggshells, unsure of the crowds reaction. I hope he felt relieved when it was over because the crowd loved the entire set.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve seen Nathan grow and be more sure-footed. He looks happier within his own skin now and less burdened by outside influences. I’m sure the mindless Facebook Morons will try to knock him down again and for that, all I can say is to ignore them.
We Will Ride.
This is surely a battle cry? INGLORIOUS are back, bigger and better than before. The good thing to come out of the hassles prior, is that the new members, Danny Dela Cruz, Dan Stevens and Vinnie Colla have all come together with Nathan and beating heart of the band, Phil Beaver to become one, very solid and formidable unit. They have had time together to work out how each other ticks and what works. Danny brings his flamboyant youth and talent which is measured with Dan’s maturity and experience. Vinnie has locked in with Phil and has filled that Bassline out as well to give the tracks on the album, that little bit more substance. A change in production team was a good move, Romesh Gogandoda has worked with both old Metal acts such as Motorhead and new boys, Bring Me The Horizon. I think the diversity such as this, can bring something new to the table and make a band look in directions that sometimes can get overlooked.
Covid has obviously made recording much more difficult, however Nathan is quoted in saying that “the writing for this album was honestly the most pleasurable and relaxed experience I have had as a writer” “We had so much fun and made sure not to force the songs, ‘She Won’t Let You Go’ was actually written by Danny and myself before he was even in the band” “ To me, this album is a snapshot of the combined musical expression we’ve created over the last couple of years, all in one place.” Phil adds to this by saying “I feel like the circumstances actually made this recording session really special. We’d all been in Lockdown due to the pandemic and hadn’t seen anyone outside of our own homes for months. It was so much fun to not only be playing music again, but socialising as a band and having fun”
We get our first listen to new INGLORIOUS when they released ‘She Won’t Let You Go’. Bloody Hell! Talk about slapping you in the face to make you notice!!! The track also opens the new album and is just huge, what a way to showcase what these guys can do. You’re enticed by that shy little intro then blown to pieces as soon as the main riff kicks in. This is harder and heavier than I remember INGLORIOUS ever being but it still retains Nathan’s trademark vocal prowess. That chorus though..... Class.
Messiah is the second track and this is a totally different song. That’s probably misleading, the structure is pure Rock and in your face, but this must be the first time I’ve heard Nathan sing in this particular style. The range he has just keeps growing, maturity is a word that springs to mind. On first play of the album, I rated this as one of my favourite tracks because it is a little different to what has gone before. When you listen to the album, you’ll soon come to realise that its all a little different to what we are used to, this is good. More than good, the writing has grown and the quality just shines through.
Medusa. The follow up single and the third track. Lyrically, yep, it’s about that woman who can turn you to stone, but I’m sure we can all relate to this in some form or another in everyday life. That almost country style slide guitar is fantastic.
Eye Of The Storm slows it down a notch, but don’t be fooled as it will rip away in the blink of an eye. Was it written about Nathan’s recent trials and tribulations? “ I’m tired of this reputation, don’t believe everything you read” This may well become a classic, perhaps someone did lock him in a room and tell him to write out his feelings?
Cruel Intentions blows away any cobwebs that may still remain. Hardened Rock even from the little intro to full blown epic solo and the Riff that draws you along. That final line that Nathan sings.....just so powerful.
My Misery has an added piano to add a little texture to the verse but the chorus is where the song takes off. The mid-section solo/Riff gets your groove very easily. I have to note that the Bass at the start of this track is most excellent.
Do You Like It reminds me of ‘old’ INGLORIOUS with swirling Riffs and vocals with a range and intensity that blows a lot of lesser bands away.
He Will Provide opens with a very Rock God guitar style which leads into an almost middle eastern vocal style. The Riff backs this up with the solo that sweeps and soars in majestic style. I wish I could credit who wrote the individual sections of this track as the band have done exceptionally well. An epic? I believe so.
We Will Meet Again opens with what sounds like a Bass noodle which then leads into a well structured, mid-pace song. This will have you singing along to the chorus in no time whatsoever, its as catchy as hell.
God Of War has a moral tale to tell and it tells it well. Opening guitar intro to building drums and cascading Riff, you feel just how immense this track is. Gentle vocals bring it right down to give the words added nuance. The double guitar chug which opens the chorus sends shivers down my spine each time I hear it. My only criticism is that the track is too short!
We Will Ride, the title track and final offering. All I shall say is that it is classic INGLORIOUS in all of its epicness.
So my journey with INGLORIOUS continues, with this chapter being what I consider the best yet. Invigorated and full of new ideas, the guys have really stepped up their game. There are added touches to each song that I haven’t noticed on earlier albums, whether this is from production or writing, I don’t know. The use of different guitar sounds and effects adds so much to the albums overall finish and I tip my hat to Danny and Dan for giving it that something special. The Drums are spot on as you would expect giving INGLORIOUS that epic heartbeat with the Bass locked in tight. The fuller sound that these have created, is complimented by the jaw-dropping range of Nathan’s vocals. I cannot state enough how I think his voice has matured over the last couple of years.
We Will Ride will go down in history as a land-mark album for INGLORIOUS. Its bigger, better and so much more ROCK! It’s out this Friday from Frontiers, so be sure to stream or download, you won’t be disappointed!
They say everything in your life happens for a reason, It may have been a tough ride but it was sure as hell worth it! I wish the guys every success with this album as it is well deserved.
This is my first visit to The Exchange in Bristol..... I’ve plenty of gigs booked to see here yet Wheel will be my first. It’s not quite what I expected, set just off a main Street in brizzle, it has a smallish bar area as you walk in. During normal daytime periods this place is a thriving coffee shop kind of place with a lot of appeal. By night it becomes a pretty decent music venue which is booked fairly solid throughout the year. Places like this are the heart and sole of any music scene and deserve all the support we as punters can give.
Wheel. An Anglo Finnish band which dabble in progressive metal. They have a damn fine debut album out now and they have graced these shores with a headline tour which starts tonight in Bristol. I’d messaged the band and they agreed to a short Interview. After a few unavoidable delays with each of our schedules, I finally caught up with founding member, James Lascelles and bassist Aki 'Conan' Virta.
DF. So... Wheel?
James. We’re late bloomers with this, I’m 36 and we only started 5 years ago. I didn’t anticipate that anyone would take us seriously so it’s a bit weird that we’re doing a headline tour.
DF. Have you toured the UK before?
James. Not so much as a tour, we have played supporting a couple of bands and HRH Prog in North Wales....which was interesting driving a Sprinter down some of those roads! We played at a venue above the Electric Ballroom? (Looking at Aki to confirm) well it was definitely Camden. Oh and Bloodstock.
DF. Yeah...I have to admit that I missed that.
James. You missed out man....that was a good one!
DF. How did you get together?
James. Well..... It was a magical night and there was some...... ( I’m going to leave the rest to your imagination, trust me... It’s for the best!)
James. I moved to Finland ten years ago and I joined a band with a guy I went to university with and who won 'Idols' over there. It was paid work but I wasn’t really into pop music. It really wasn’t my cup of tea, so after a few years I decided it wasn’t for me. I moved on and started this band. There have been a lot of member changes,
Aki has been with us since September. There’s not a short answer to how it has happened but it turns out that this is the best line up we’ve had.
DF. A new guitarist?
James. Yes! Very recent!
Aki. It’s all happened faster than we could’ve hoped for actually.
James. It’s been unbelievably stressful to maintain the standard and juggle the overwhelming adversity we have to overcome. But it’s all good problems, like we have a tour coming up so we need a good band to tour plus we are working on new material for a new album that’s going to be out in the near future. I’m not going to say when as I’ve learnt never to commit a specific time, but we think by the end of the year.
DF. Your last album has not been out that long?
James. No it hasn’t.
Aki. About a year now, almost.
James. It’s a bit weird to move to Helsinki to start a career in music, but it’s worked out great! I’ve got a friend in Apocalypta who I work with... We have the same management. The connection was that I was producing an EP for one of the guys and he asked me what I was doing in Finland? So I said, this! He asked if he could show it to his manager and the guy in Finland signed us at our second show. It really has been their guidance that has got us to this point and we’re trying to make it as good as we possibly can. We get excellent guidance and we have a good scene behind the band.... I feel exceptionally lucky!
DF. What are your influences, what made 'Wheel' as it is now?
James. It’s become more eclectic as time goes on but the elephant in the room is Tool. I fell in Love with the way they structure and arrange their music, people love the lyrical content, but I find this the least exciting part Maynard has massively influenced the way I want to write my music, but I think it’s more about the interplay between the other 3, all of them have their individual moments with each song.
A lot of modern prog can be very mechanically perfect rather than being organic. It’s a different style and something we’re not interested in making. There’s a lot of great modern stuff we use which makes our instruments sound great, but we want to keep it a bit more rock'nroll which keeps it more interesting for us.
We go on to talk about a few other things such as saunas, ultimate staring competitions, frozen lake swims and 'real' snow. It has to be said, James is a true Brit when it comes to his view on snow! However, this interview was an absolute pleasure, the guys were so friendly and welcoming, we could well have spoken for hours. Maybe another time but for tonight there was a schedule.
The New Death Cult were the warm up tonight. They hail from a galaxy far away and maintain this elusive image throughout. Dressed in black, wearing lower face skull masks and dayglow face paint, these guys have their eyes set on the big time. Definitely not prog, more accessible rock music in genre but quite modern and a little different to what we were expecting. Starting the evening was Blood Of Babylon which caught the attention of the crowd. I think most of the people there made it from the bar as soon as these guys started to play. High And Low came next with True Eyes following. Zeitgeist had everyone moving, such a great song! Although a small stage, these lads from Norway (oops) owned every square inch. Moon, Alive and Light Spills over kept the mood going with the final song, Home getting a rapturous welcome. A fine yet far too short set... This band were worth the ticket price themselves.
You know you’re at a prog gig when you see the crew setting up the guitarist pedal board and it’s pretty much bigger than the entire drum kit! This in fairness was also pretty impressive. The lights go down and 4 hooded characters walk through the crowd to the stage. This is to be J C Halttunen's trial by fire, as it was his first gig as guitarist for the band having only joined weeks ago. I did overhear that he was nervous, he needn’t have been. As soon as the first cords were played, I was astounded at how good he was! It was like he’d been there for years. The drum sound was superb, I was leaning against the stacks at the side and there were times that the combined drum and bass literally moved me. I’ve not experienced anything quite like it since seeing Motorhead. Hats off to the sound guy! Haunting lights added to the hooded beings on stage with James's vocals sounding very crisp and clear. Lacking kicked off proceedings followed up with Path. Vultures took off and I think by that time everyone on stage relaxed a little, nerves had disappeared and with it the quality of the music rose to yet another level. Looking around the packed room, everybody was moving, even the more stoic had no choice but to join in. Music has magical powers at times and this was certainly one of those moments. Tyrant... Up The Chain... Pyro... Skeletons. Songs taken from 'Moving Backwards' and their earlier Eps. By this time the hoods were down and you could see these guys enjoying playing for us as much as we enjoyed being there. They couldn’t disguise the smiles on their faces, this headline tour is definitely working out. Aki was all over the stage and has a huge presence. James was on form with every note he sang and played, JC was a superb addition to the band and Santeri on drums did not miss a beat. WTPL and Wheel closed the night. Stunning!
I left the venue feeling that I’d met a band that could well go a long way in the future. The songs themselves are well written and performed by 4 very accomplished musicians. They seem to have the attitude for this to work and I am indeed looking forward to hearing the new album when it arrives. Big stages beckon, but for now, catch them this weekend in the UK or on one of the European dates they have lined up. Wheel.
A New Kind Of Fire
Every so often, you can come across a band that release a debut album which will clearly change everything and turn your world on its head. Firekind is one such band, What I Have Found Is Already Lost is an album that will change the face of the music industry and set the bar to which other bands will aspire to reach.
Am I overstating how good this album is? No, I’m not. When you pick this Cd up, it smacks quality from the very start. The cover is crisp and its simplicity belies what is embedded on the silver disc. Turning it over, you see that it is packed with 14 tracks, which include a couple of bonus tracks and a couple of acoustic lockdown tracks, recorded at their home. At just under an hour, you get a whole lot of music for your money and I can guarantee that this batch of songs will be on regular repeat on a lot of people’s playlists.
So.......who are they? In short, 3 top blokes from the southern part of Devon. Devon has a habit of creating very good bands, it could be the inspiration from the coasts and moors, it could be some very good institutions in the area, setting fledgling bands on the right path, it could be just genetic? I think personally, its a mix of all these and this is why we are so lucky. Jas Morris fronts the band with his brother, Dan on Bass with Robin Shute handling Drums, so in essence we have a power trio with music that comes under the NWOCR moniker. Here I disagree, I love the NWOCR movement, but these boys have something more..... fresh .... Its hard to describe a sound, if I were to try then I’d definitely say Heavy Rock with hint of Indie guitar style, Bass heavy which fills out the entire sound and fantastic, haunted vocals which are just sublime. When I first listened to the album, I sat with my mouth agape, there has been nothing I’ve heard this year which is in this league. There have been some cracking albums out this year which are true classics, I won’t take that away from the bands concerned however, this is something new and different, fresh and very clever.
My thoughts after hearing the album was that I had to meet the band to interview them before they became huge. Luckily for myself and all involved, we managed a socially distant get together in Exeter before it became clear that Exeter was becoming a hotspot in this pandemic.
It became clear from the outset that these guys were not only really friendly and welcoming, but utterly humble about their collective abilities and this album. We sat and chatted for a long while and the time just flew by. I shall be putting out an audio of this meeting via Cyderbaby radio on the website in due course, for the purposes of the written word I shall just draw on our conversation and highlight what I consider the important stuff.
Dan and Jas are full time musicians as is Robin. With all musicians these days, a backup day job pays the bills but their heart is dedicated to playing. I asked them to describe their sound and Robin summed it up perfectly, Climatic.
Their parents playlists back in the day has had an influence on the chosen path with Jas and Dan’s father being a true touring musician himself. Its hardly surprising that they picked up guitars themselves and from what has been recorded, their father was a damn fine teacher. The album has various tempos and styles of song, evident on a couple of tracks is the sense of loss with the emotion shown quite frankly in some of the vocals. When questioned about this, Jas admitted that the loss of their father did inspire some of the writing. On a personal level, I feel that their father is looking down rather proudly at what they have achieved.
To stop this from becoming morose or maudlin, maybe I should talk about the more positive things! We talked about the production of the album and on just how good it was, recorded in West Hollywood with Alain Johannes handling production duties, the guys seemed to have a blast laying down these tunes. It turned out that Jas used Dave Grohls own personal amp during recording with Dan being surprised that the Bass cab was in a cupboard with the door opened at just the right degree. Robin didn’t record for the album which is a shame, but I’m sure he will stamp his own snare (one of the many apparently) onto proceedings. We also chatted about what had been before, dodgy band names, various tours which included the conversion of an old school bus into a mean touring vehicle, parking up on a quiet road outside a European venue which then turned into an afterparty to remember. However, waking up to police banging on the bus doors in the morning and being in the middle of rush hour commute traffic came as quite a surprise! We spoke about being backstage at a Foo Fighters gig and meeting the man after, yes Dave Grohl is a very likable guy however Taylor Hawkins will lose his phone. We also spoke about that look....you know the one..... Blue Steel! Zoolander is one of their favourite films and there is footage of these guys capturing this look with Eliza Doolittle. Why have I highlighted these little anecdotes? To try and portray just how Rock N Roll these guys are yet still keep their feet planted firmly on the ground. I can’t express just how grounded and likable they are and I think this is why the songwriting is as good as it is, there’s something very human about the album which is part of the reason why its so good. These guys won the Global battle of the bands competition in 2013, you don’t win that by being less than damn good.
What I Have Found Is Already Lost opens with Adrenaline, quite literally. The song is a fast paced track, filled with sound that shakes the brain to the core! The first single a couple of months ago I believe. Rise Again seems to me to be about overcoming adversity, with its haunting vocals and indie sound shining like a beacon. Its one of my favourite songs here and very poignant in these uncertain times. Sound Of Rain is the current single and is a grower. The video is worth a look, with the guys crawling out of the water with their instruments, then pulling a pallet up a Moorland path to end up playing at its climax. The song gives you everything and each player shines particularly bright, cracking stuff!
If There’s Any Reason slows things down a little. Moving on from a broken relationship is the key to this and the tone is set just right. Heartfelt lyrics shouldn’t sound this good. Cry For Help lifts the mood again and is a positive song for all those who are there for the friends in need. Defend has a huge sounding opening, actually the song cries ‘Epic' from the outset, its also quite progressive which is another key element to the entire album.
Coming Out Alive has to be the masterpiece of the entire album, a song about loss and grief, yet its not lost in misery. We have all experienced this kind of pain in our life and after listening to this track several times..... it places you exactly where you should be in those difficult moments.
No Stone Unturned has a beautiful acoustic start which builds into a full sounding track without turning too electric. These Are The Thoughts is on the other hand, very electric and probably the fastest track here. A set opener? Quite possibly, far too short but there is definitely some fine shred work hidden in this gem.
What I Have Found Is Already Lost, closes the main part of the album. Its all it should be and then some, uplifting, climatic and extremely well written.
The bonus tracks follow on to complete this album and they are well worth playing on a regular basis.
I have found out a lot of things about this band in a very short space of time. I knew nothing and I really didn’t know what to expect, the album deserves to be a huge success, its well written and the performances from the guys are top notch. The sound they have created is on point to appeal to all ages across the entire spectrum of Rock music. They are appearing on the Webcast for the NWOCR on 21st November, it’ll be interesting to see if the sound is much different to what is heard on the album.
What I take away from this encounter is that a Band such as Firekind have the ability to be totally Rock N Roll and create something fresh and very human at the same time. This is top quality music at its very best.
Six Sins Till Sunday
Moving house is never great, things stuffed into boxes then lost for an eternity as that one thing you’re looking for is in the last box you unpack. Couple this with no TV as the aerial is down and the internet not being connected for around 2 weeks, I’ve been unable to stream new material to review and to say my boss is getting a little twitchy is an understatement!
Unpacking the important things first, namely my sound system and CDs, I came across this EP I purchased back in January. Six Sins Till Sunday are a Plymouth based band and one I’ve taken to my heart a little. Doom x sludge with fantastic riffs from all parts of the band and quite distinctive vocals. I’ve reviewed their live performances but I’d never said anything about their recorded work. So, with a brew in hand and a little bit of time off for reasonably good behaviour, I went to work.
Unmasked is the latest offering from Six Sins Till Sunday, it follows on from the full length album which was released last year, Masks. I’m not an uber fan by any means, but I can definitely see and hear when a band has grown into maturity. Masks was a coming of age, Unmasked is this band putting a stamp on their trademark sound yet at the same time, allowing themselves to grow musically and push themselves that extra mile rather than stagnate like so many other bands. Maybe it has something to do with Steve Tapper coming into the fold and bringing that extra piece of magic? I don’t know. Whatever it is, the chemistry in the band is working. We still have awesome drums and bass, fantastic dual guitars and impressive guttural vocals that are sung from deep within the diaphragm.
Road To Redemption opens up the door to this EP, it really is something different from the band. A simple 4 cord intro which turns into a killer riff. The vocals are on another level with this song, Chris has pushed himself here and the work paid dividends. I’d like to say this song is a little more upbeat to their normal sound but it still retains everything the band has created in the past. Progress in their sound, definitely. Dare I say that this is possibly their classic song? Its certainly going to be up there. It does have everything including an awesome vocal sound/ scream at around 3.45 and a soulful guitar solo which flows right back into the main riff. Damn clever writing and excellent playing by all involved.
Book Of Lies is just riff laden. You can’t help but to be drawn into this song, the vocals pull you in and the drums just pound at your head. There is an amazing bassline sound in the second minute of the song and the guitar tones later on are pretty divine!
Sold Your Soul has an intro that pretty much bites you on the arse! This then flows into a really cool guitar hook. The vocals actually take a darker, deeper tone which is just unbelievable considering how brutal his tone is normally. The flow of the song moves up through the gears and takes you for quite a ride until you get midway where it takes a truly unexpected quiet pace. Add in an almost radio toned vocal and a sublime sounding guitar solo, you really do have something a bit special.
Me, Myself And Me. Probably the shortest song on here. The bass intro blends into a killer guitar riff. Riffs seem to pour out of these guys, maybe they will take the crown from Mr Iommi one day? Who knows! The vocals take an almost spoken tone which definitely gives this song a little more texture, great stuff and far too short!
Bring Out Your Dead. This really is a little gem. Written by The Southpaw Jinx back in the day before some of the members became Six Sins, a worthy addition to this EP. It opens with a guy ringing a bell and calling you to bring out your dead and you then get a subtle addition of a guitar riff in the background. The song launches forward and takes you for the ride of your life! It is 7 minutes of dirty sounds and killer hooks.
Six Sins Till Sunday do have a trademark sound, there is very little out there that sound like this and that makes them unique. This EP shows how the band have grown and the direction they want to take. I don’t see this band as a ‘pub' band, but as something that will grow into something big. They are touring extensively this year around the country and I am certain they will make new fans wherever they play. When you get the vocalist roaming the crowd and jumping into the mosh pit, people feel included and that earns this band a huge amount of respect with the fans. Go to their Facebook page and find a gig near you, enjoy the gig and then buy this EP!
Sound Of Origin
The All Seeing Eye
Made Of Dirt
One of the most anticipated albums of the year for me, it was a no-brainer for me to pre-order this from Bandcamp, I’m a self confessed fan of the band after seeing them live 3 times in a short period, their stage presence is something to behold! You have Thor’s bigger brother on drums, a barefoot bassist who shows more interaction with the music than a lot of other bassist's I’ve witnessed, a pair of guitarists that exude wizardry on the fretboard whilst grinning and obviously loving every second of their work and a wirery vocalist who has so much charisma and stage presence, you can’t help but like him….or the entire band. The guys have made a very loyal fanbase, some of which made bets on who could see them the most in a twelve month period. Needless to say, their live set is a well oiled machine which flashes by in a blink of an eye and leaves you wanting more. The self titled first album is just great, full of the recognisable tunes you picked up when you stumbled across them at a festival (like I did), good production which is rare for a self financed first album and enough diversity in the music for you to want to press repeat or pick up the CD for a long car journey. Have I sold you the band yet?
Now we come to the tricky, second album. Do you risk staying the same and possibly boring your fanbase or do you go off at a tangent, chasing new fans? Well my friends, Blind River went for the third option, improving, evolving and tightening their sound. Made Of Dirt is by far, a better album on so many different levels while still being Blind River. Riffage is well and truly in abundance with the writing expanding the bands spectrum. Now they’ve been together for a few years, they have become a tighter unit, being more in tune with each other and how they play.
Waste Of Life is the wake-up opener, fast paced with a fantastic riff! You the roll right on into Made Of Dirt. The energy is almost palpable. Plain talking lyrics are a signature of the band and this song is no exception but it is well written and put together. You get a sense of how tight the band have become when you listen to this even with the slightly slower style solos with which you can hear the blues influence. The bass is subtly bought from the background and placed firmly into the fore of the song. Whilst you have that slower solo in the mid section, the band just explode to finish the song….dig it? I think by trying to describe how this song works, I have pretty much described how the writing and production on each song has improved, that is until you get to the next song, Acid Tongue. Here we start with much softer vocals which does show another side to Harry’s ability. The band storms in with the main riff just to remind you that they are still alive! Slow Begins The Sickness opens with Harry singing unaccompanied, the guys then devastate you with a fantastic riff which really hits the groove. Possibly my favourite track but that does keep changing. Gone is slower paced, showing some more diversity from the band as it is surely Blues based. Horsehead picks up the pace again with a very busy intro, matched by a busier vocal tone. Burn The Sun came to me as a free song for my pre-order of the album, 5 minutes of awesomeness which is pretty much a classic song now. Learning To Lose is an enjoyable faster song which is followed by the grand piece of the album, Psycho Sapien. You read Psycho and you instantly have an expectation of a fast song, nope! What you have is an almost acoustic opening with an energy that builds throughout. It actually takes your breath away without you realising. No Surprise is a fast tempo finale which slows midway, but be warned, they will blast your ears away to close the album!
So there you have it, a brief rundown of the new opus from Blind River. Made Of Dirt is an exceptional improvement on what is an already class pedigree. The writing and performances have taken a huge step forward whilst still being true to the essence of Blind River. Go and buy the album, this is groove-ridden rock at it’s best!
Bandcamp is fast becoming my favourite place to look for new music, I selected the style I wanted to search and it threw up several good suggestions including this new album by SOUND OF ORIGIN. Having never heard of them before, I gave the two available tracks of this pre-order a listen, then promptly marked the album in my wish list and waited for the next Bandcamp Friday to place my order. If you didn’t know, the guys at Bandcamp wave their fees on one particular day to try and help out the bands. A great idea which in essence, let’s the band reap all the cash like they would if they had sold the merch at a gig. At least there are some companies out there that are helping bands and good music stay alive.
A band born in 2016, they have an Ep release prior to The All Seeing Eye, so this is a debut album for the Huddersfield quartet of fuzz. Chris “Foz" Foster is in charge of Drums, Jax Townend is on Bass, Joe “ Zeph" Wilczynski handles guitars with Joel Bulsara on vocals. I don’t know how long these guys have been working together, but after the first initial listen…… this is one helluva unit! There are times when you can come across a band where you only hear a snapshot of what they are capable of and you just know, the quality of the craftsmanship speaks volumes.
Quality is definitely what you get with the Cd package, the artwork is fantastic on this digi-pack, with good quality photo of the band when you open it up. A fold out picture of the band is added with the sleeve notes but what I really like is the black Cd itself, marked as a vinyl with label. I’m not a vinyl enthusiast but I do miss the look of the record and label. I know you can’t see it in the player but still….its a nice touch. Turning it over reveals a black underside as well, little touches like this reveal class. APF Records have put this out for the band, I’m starting to like this label and their musical choices.
Not Dead Yet opens up the album, an instrumental piece that starts slow and sets you up for this fuzz/doom/stoner masterpiece. The All Seeing Eye with a blitz of Drums and Bass which then flows straight into the guitar and vocals. Everything is rock-solid, the backline sound is strong, clear and not overpowering. Guitars are just superb, set exactly where they need to be and the vocals are on point from the very outset. Joel Bulsara has quite a good range from growl to Crystal clear with dare I say, a certain spirit of Cornell mixed in? Like the physical Cd itself, there is sheer quality in abundance with this band. Lockjaw is up next, possibly the shortest track on the album and I believe it was the lead single. The video is on YouTube which gives you an insight to the actual band if like me, you haven’t seen them play live.
Dim Carcosa is currently my favourite track, a slow bassline rumbles along to herald the entrance of that fantastic guitar. Tempo changes and riffs are the key to this track, it has just about everything. Looking deeper into the structure of the song as with all of them, you get the sense of something a bit more, the technical side of this music is just unreal! The pattern shifts, tempo changes , cord sequences, drum rolls and even down to the cymbal hits are precise and progressive.
Morning Bird slows you right up in your tracks, there are just layers and layers in this song, it’s the only way I can describe it with a huge range of vocal qualities. Stoned Messiah Blues, nothing about this track is rushed and is, just how it should be….stoner blues. Perfect.
Voices Left Behind picks up the pace, possibly a more accessible song for some but don’t let that detract anything from it, its more in your face and shows that the band can mix things up, they are more than a “signature “ sound. Into The Vile seemed to stop time for me, the song ended after its 7 minute run and looked down at my notes and I hadn’t written a single word. Its not often I get lost in a song…
Tempest Dunes closes the album. Stunning. Its not that I’ve run out of words or adjectives, that one word sums up the track in its entirety.
The All Seeing Eye is a masterpiece in every sense of the word, the craftsmanship here is on another level. Where people compare bands to Black Sabbath who are the pioneers/ God’s of this genre, people will in time, hold this album as a benchmark achievement for which to set standards by. It is certainly a Sound Of Origin