Tuesday, December 16, 2014

COMIN’ ATCHA: Elliott sets the Lepps aside to remind us of the glory days of Mott

IN 2009 Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott had a brain wave – he wanted to pay tribute to one the bands that were part of his musical heritage – Mott The Hoople – and thus was born Down ‘n’ Outz.

Tomorrow night at Belfast’s Limelight1 Elliott is bringing the lovefest for the glory days of 70s rock aided and abetted by The Quireboys' Paul Guerin (Guitar), Guy Griffin (Guitar) and Keith Weir (keyboards), plus Phil Martini (drums).

Together they look to bring songs by Mott The Hoople and spin off projects of Mott, Ian Hunter and British Lions to a wider audience.

In 2009 Down ‘n’ Outz supported Mott The Hoople at one of the band’s five Hammersmith Apollo shows, which garnered much interest with fans.

The fan demand eventually led to the band looking to create an album. 2011 saw the release of the critically acclaimed debut ‘My Regeneration’.

‘My Regeneration’ included the singles ‘England Rocks’ and ‘Overnight Angels’ that reached number four and number one respectively on the US Media Base Rock chart -keeping Eric Clapton’s new single off the top of the chart for 2 weeks.

The band then released a live DVD taken from those initial shows called ‘Live at Hammersmith Apollo’

The new album ‘The Further Adventures of… picks up where the live DVD left off and features the driving groove of album opener - and first single – ‘Rock And Roll Queen.

The collection also includes the good time of rock-n-roll tune ‘One Of The Boys and ballad ‘The Journey, plus the drum heavy song ‘Violence’.

Elliott said: “These songs make up a huge portion of who I am and I feel incredibly privileged to have been able to record them and hopefully give them a new lease of life, which, quite frankly, is long overdue.”

Morgan Fisher (keyboardist Mott The Hoople 1973/1974 and also Mott and British Lions) commented: "It's like Joe and the boys have taken some vintage films and slapped them onto a big, bright Technicolor screen. A great, in-your-face new way to experience some of Mott's finest songs!"

Ian Hunter said: “I’m blown away by these recordings. The solo by Paul Guerin on ‘The Journey’ is one of the best I’ve heard. These songs really suit Joe’s voice also. It’s a whole different side to him and the project gets my approval!”
If you haven’t snagged your tickets yet, then we are reliably informed a few are left to buy at the door….oh and don’t expect any Lepps songs, it’s not that sort of night.

Support is from Vega.

EP REVIEW: Genocidal Bakken batter the world with latest release

A COUPLE of years Bakken exploded on to the Northern Ireland scene with the release of their 'Death of a Hero' album, jam-packed with thrash and power metal, and the occasional doff of the cap towards Celtic roots.

From then on the band crafted out their sound with a series of gigs which notably saw them tighten their sound and delivery.

Now, at the tail end of 2014 the metal quartet are about to release their ep 'Worldwide Genocide' a five track flurry of riffs and high speed groove.

From the moment that the bridge and solo on 'Judgement Day' kicks in you can see a band confident in delivering both furious guitar work, while still retaining the integrity of the song: something which Dave Mustaine sometimes forgets. And, at times Simon Pickett's does unconsciously resemble the ginger one.

'Master Illusion' takes the chops of the second wave of thrash and wraps it in a tight blanket of NWOBHM much favoured by the likes of 'Tallica and Anthrax. That's not a criticism - it's a compliment. At the two minutes 15 second mark then change of pace perfectly exemplifies how Bakken can break down the elements of the influences into something fresh.

Simon and Mark-Anthony McGinnis's guitar work manage to weave around each other without overwhelming the track's sound.

Keeping the integrity of the sound is key, otherwise Adrian Stockman's bass could be lost. Thankfully it stays at the right level on 'Evil Walks This Way' with Niall McGrotty's drums maintaining a dynamic in a well arranged track with real flair.

We can see this one as a real live favourite as their is a real mix of thrash and the better aspects of power metal;  as well as having a balance throughout that showcases all the member's talents.

'Inescapable', while in itself is a solid track, at times wanes, and the influence of Mustaine on Simon's vocals again occasionally creeps in. The song is saved by Niall's metronomic and well timed double bass and a manic series of riffs. After two minutes the guitar work manages to resurrect what could have been a mundane thrasher, especially the melody work.

Rounding off the ep is 'Gaia'  which clocking in at over five minutes 20 is the longest track on the release. This is where Bakken plant their flag, stand with feet soundly planted on the soil of metal and deliver.

This has all the elements you could wish for: riffage, shouted backing vocals from Niall, Simon strident in his delivery as he paints a dystopian vision of the planet's fate. There is enough variety in the arrangement to avoid it becoming just another thrash track. The delicate acoustic moment (and it is a brief moment) builds into a crescendo of guitar work, which like 'Sasquatch' from the last release, showcases a flurry of Celtic infused melody solos. Truly a lesson in how to meld where you come from into your chosen genre. There's even a piano sequence as a coda!

After 'Death of a Hero' you could very well have expected Bakken to keep the similar themes going. Rather than that they have stretched themselves that little bit further on 'Worldwide Genocide' without leaving their core sound and values.

One hopes that this ep will serve as a bridge to further live success and getting noticed further afield.

Review by Jonny
Worlwide Genocide is officially launched at The Distortion Project on Saturday, 20th December at Limelight 2. Doors are at 5pm.
Bakken will headline with support from Irish mentalists Psykosis and young thrash upstarts Donum Dei
Door tax is £5 and usual drink promos are available

NEWS: Halestorm add Belfast date to 2015 headline tour

With tickets for Halestorm's Feb/Mar 2015 headline tour flying out the door as fast as Santa's sleigh, the Grammy-winning rockers are pleased to add two additional shows, in Dublin and Belfast.

Halestorm will perform at The Academy in Dublin on February 27th.  The Belfast show will be held on February 28th at The Limelight.  Please note, this show is age 18+.

Support at both dates comes from Detroit party monsters, Wilson.

Tickets went on sale at 10am today. 
To get tickets for Belfast, click through to: http://www.ticketmaster.ie/event/38004D8FA65C0F85.

Black Star Riders Release Lyric Video For New Single ‘The Killer Instinct’

BSR New Album “The Killer Instinct” 23rd February 2015

Fresh from the critically acclaimed debut album “All Hell Breaks Loose” in 2013, Black Star Riders today (December 16th) release their new single ‘The Killer Instinct’ from the upcoming album of the same name, which is set for release on 23rd February 2015.

You can view the lyric video here:

The album will be followed by a full co-headline tour with Europe including the Belfast Ulster Hall appearance on March 3rd.

The band toured 2013’s “All Hell Breaks Loose” for a year – playing across the globe. October 2014 saw them gather in Nashville, TN and enter the studio with producer Nick Raskulinecz (Rush, The Foo Fighters, Alice In Chains, Mastodon) to start recording the follow up.  The result is The Killer Instinct. 

“The Killer Instinct” will be released in different formats: CD, Limited 2 CDs Digibook, Limited Gatefold Black Vinyl and Limited Gatefold Clear Vinyl (available for mail orders only).

Front man Ricky Warwick comments on the new single and lyric video for ‘The Killer Instinct,’

"The video is about strength, endurance and overcoming adversity.  It's about belief, love and compassion in a world of doubt."

Friday, December 12, 2014

LIVE REVIEW: It was 7 'olock and it was time for a party with The Quireboys and company

THE song goes that "It's Seven O'clock, time for a party" and on Friday 21st November The Quireboys led a triple-headed monster of a party with beer flowing, voices raised and music the dripped with pathos, bathos, the blues, and damn fine rock 'n' roll.

Even the blackened heart of a dyed in the wool, corpse-painted black metaller could be see to groove and get on down to an atmosphere that made the American honky-tonk jive joints seem like a Sunday School.

Opening the party were Dublin's Preacher's Son. Unknown to almost every sinner in the Limelight2 audience it took just a couple of songs for them to endear themselves to those already sinking early pints.

With vocals low enough to be a match between Johnny Cash and Pete Steele, the bluesy folk tales were tinged with moments of angst and highlights of glorious soaring rock.

Javier Vargas had went out and about bringing his Latin roots to hard rock from the early 90s, and when his Vargas Blues Band took to the Belfast stage within a couple of bars of their opening song the crowd was enraptured.

With Javier's guitar weaving spells, Gaz Pearson was swirling vocal lines backed in vocal harmonies from Luis on bass and Peter (drums).

It's fair to say that for many Vargas Blues Band were a delightful surprise - the perfect way to loosen limbs and get the throat lubricated ahead of The 'boys.

Spike and his motley gypsy troubadours are regular visitors to these parts, and always, always, bring the party. Put simply they provide the soundtrack to the fun, the audio accompaniment to excess - all the time keeping the music at its core and may the devil take the hindmost.

It could be argued that The Quireboys are the true inheritors of punk, and in some respects they are more punk than many preened and posing pop punk pouring their saccharine tales out today.

Because, to a large extent punk was a reaction to the overblown, over-produced rock and prog rock of the mid to late 70s. Punk harkened back to the days of straight-forward rock, albeit with a more overt political agenda. In the face of an industry more interested in the latest over-dubbed, vocally enhanced 'starlet' to be financed by phone-ins and TV, The Quireboys cut against the grain looking back to the days when the Faces and Mott the Hopple played rock the way it should be played.

From the moment when Guy Griffin and Paul Guerin hit their six-strings, and Keith Weir ran fingers across the ivories it was clear that, as they say themselves "This Is Rock 'n' Roll".

Nevermind the glory of the hits such as 'There She Goes Again' and '7 O'Clock', each and every song was played with aplomb and passion.

'Troublemaker', 'Beautiful Curse', 'Mona Lisa Smiled', and 'Sweet Mary Ann' captured the very soul of rock - balancing choruses and verses with musicianship deceptively powerful and with a real soul.

Spike is what you imagine a proper rock star should be. Booze on board, teetering on the edge of oblivion, but every night able to pound out the standards and vocally weep odes to love and broken hearts.

This may be 30 years on from the first inklings of this vision of rock took shape, but despite a brief hiatus it is clear that Simon Cowell and his lords and masters in accounting and bean counting may dominate the airwaves will never, ever be able to stop the march of The Quireboys and their ilk.

They may not be playing the stadiums, but in each club, each bar, each venue that The Quireboys ply their rock 'n' roll trade they will not be cowed by the winds of fashion because rock and fucking roll will never die.

Review by Jonny
Photos courtesy of Paul Verner
All parts of this review - including pix - are protected by copyright
The owners assert intellectual property rights

The Quireboys return to Northern Ireland on 28th March, 2015 with their Unplugged and Proud set coming to the Diamond Rock Club

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

NEWS: Europe and Black Star Riders reveal album release details and tracklisting ahead of Belfast and Dublin dates

Straight from the press releases...

Swedish rock legends Europe will release their 10th album, War of Kings, in March 2015 on UDR Records. Recorded at the brand new PanGaia Studios in Stockholm, Sweden, produced by Dave Cobb (Rival Sons) and engineered by John Netti, War of Kings sees the classic rocking quintet confidently creating 11 monstrously melodic, yet hard-hitting, classic rock’n’roll standouts for their fervent global audience. War of Kings will be available in multiple formats, as a CD digipak, a CD jewel case, a vinyl LP and in digital download format. The album will be released in the UK on March 2nd, Japan on March 4th (via JVC), the EU on March 6th and the US on March 10th.
 Joey Tempest: “War Of Kings is the album we always wanted to make, ever since we were kids listening to bands like Zeppelin, Purple and Sabbath. And after hearing Dave Cobb amazing production for Rival Sons we simply had to work with him. Our adventure is still ON!”
Europe’s place as a legendary classic rock band was platinum-stamped early in their career, having enjoyed an explosive period of worldwide success in the ‘80s, under-pinned by their hit album and single The Final Countdown, before going on hiatus between 1992 and 2003. They re-united and quickly settled into a period of re-establishment which has seen them re-enforce their reputation worldwide as one of the premier purveyors of blues-tinged classic rock with an edge and some kick. Their last album, 2012’s Bag of Bones, saw Europe hit the UK top 40 rock album charts and debut at #2 on the Swedish national charts, and War of Kings is set to take full advantage of the global groundwork Europe have put in over the last few years.
Joey adds “Hey! We took the long road! but we wanted to re-establish Europe the proper way. It’s taken 10 years and countless tours since the re-union, but we’re finally getting there! And we’ve done it our way!”
 Europe will commence their roadwork supporting War of Kings with a UK/Ireland tour in Dublin on March 2nd (their first visit to Ireland in 25 years) before continuing in the UK with Black Star Riders. Joey - “Looking forward to ‘tons’ of touring in 2015! It’s getting harder and harder to be modest and humble about this band! It doesn’t get much better than this!”
Europe are –
 Joey Tempest – lead vocals, acoustic & rhythm guitar, keyboards
John Norum – lead & rhythm guitars, backing vocals
John Leven – bass, backing vocals
Mic Michaeli – keyboards, piano, backing vocals, rhythm guitar
Ian Haugland – drums, percussion, backing vocals
War of Kings tracklisting is as follows –
 01.   War Of Kings
02.   Hole In My Pocket
03.   Second Day
04.   Praise You
05.   Nothin’ To Ya
06.   California 405
07.   Days Of Rock n Roll
08.   Children Of The Mind
09.   Rainbow Bridge
10.   Angels (With Broken Hearts)
11.   Light It Up
12.   Bonus: Vasastan (Instrumental)
Europe/Black Star Riders UK/Ireland Tour dates are as follows –
02/03/2015             Dublin – Olympia Theatre
03/03/2015             Belfast – Ulster Hall                

Black Star Riders Reveal Album Artwork And TracklistingsFor “The Killer Instinct” 23rd February 2015

Fresh from the critically acclaimed debut album “All Hell Breaks Loose” in 2013, Black Star Riders are set to release a new studio album, “The Killer Instinct”, in February 2015. The album will be followed by a full UK and Eire co-headline tour with Europe.

The band toured 2013’s “All Hell Breaks Loose” for a year – playing across the globe. October 2014 saw them gather in Nashville, TN and enter the studio with heralded producer Nick Raskulinecz (Rush, The Foo Fighters, Alice In Chains, Mastodon) to start recording the follow up.  The result is The Killer Instinct.  “The Killer Instinct” will be released in different formats: CD, Limited 2 CDs Digibook, Limited Gatefold Black Vinyl and Limited Gatefold Clear Vinyl (available for mail orders only) and the band are pleased to release the album artwork.
Black Star Riders front man Ricky Warwick talks about the new artwork ‘It’s a bit of a continuation from ‘All Hell Breaks Loose,’ people will see link, it’s very Rock N Roll. It’s going to look cool.’

The band also announce the full tracklistings for the various album formats below

1.The Killer Instinct
2. Bullet Blues
3.Finest Hour
4. Soldierstown
5. Charlie I Gotta Go
6. Blindsided
7. Through The Motions
8. Sex, Guns & Gasoline
9. Turn In Your Arms
10. You Little Liar

1.The Killer Instinct
2. Bullet Blues
3.Finest Hour
4. Soldierstown
5. Charlie I Gotta Go
6. Blindsided
7. Through The Motions
8. Sex, Guns & Gasoline
9. Turn In Your Arms
10. You Little Liar
Bonus CD:
1. Gabrielle
2. The Reckoning Day
3.The Killer Instinct (Acoustic)
4.Blindsided (Acoustic)
5.Charlie I Gotta Go (Acoustic)
6.Finest Hour (Acoustic)

Side A
1.The Killer Instinct
2. Bullet Blues
3.Finest Hour
4. Soldierstown
5. Charlie I Gotta Go
Side B
1. Blindsided
2. Through The Motions
3. Sex, Guns & Gasoline
4. Turn In Your Arms
5. You Little Liar

Side A
1.The Killer Instinct
2. Bullet Blues
3.Finest Hour
4. Soldierstown
5. Charlie I Gotta Go
Side B
1. Blindsided
2. Through The Motions
3. Sex, Guns & Gasoline
4. Turn In Your Arms
5. You Little Liar

NEWS:Cattle Decapitation album promise

Cattle Decapitation to record new album
Schedule final shows in support of "Monolith of Inhumanity"

San Diego, CA's Cattle Decapitation have spent the last two years promoting what has become the most well received and critically acclaimed record of their career. 'Monolith of Inhumanity' earned rave reviews and debuted at #177 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, which is no small feat for such a heavy act. To follow up the album, Cattle Decapitation will be returning to Dave Otero's Flatline Audio studio in Colorado. Otero was at the helm for both of the band's previous albums, and the collaboration promises to compound on the exercises in melodic extremity that have vaulted Cattle Decapitation to the top of the extreme metal heap. The band is giving fans one final chance to see them live, and to hear new songs, before they begin to track their upcoming album.

Vocalist Travis Ryan explains, "We've been hard at work on the new album for the past year and are currently writing the last song for it! Happy to announce we will be playing this string of shows with our friends Theories. After the shows, we'll spend 5 weeks recording the new album once again with Dave Otero! Don't miss these

"Monolith Of Inhumanity," the most recent slab of sonic annihilation Cattle Decapitation, landed at #32 on the Billboard Top Independent Album Chart, #23 on the Billboard Top Hard Music Albums chart, #6 on the Billboard New Artist Chart and #177 Billboard Top Current Albums Chart upon its first week of release in May 2012. Watch the videos for "Your Disposal" and the "Kingdom of Tyrants" extended minifilm at 
youtube.com/metalbladerecords and youtube.com/officialcattledecap.

"Decade of Decapitation," the band's vinyl box set, celebrating 10 years of releases on Metal Blade Records. The band's entire Metal Blade discography: "To Serve Man" (2002), "Humanure" (2004), "Karma.Bloody.Karma" (2006), "The Harvest Floor" (2009), and "Monolith of Inhumanity" (2012) are all available in colors, handpicked by the band. The colors reflect the concept or color scheme behind each album. Fans will also have the opportunity to pick up a collectable box that comes with an exclusive t-shirt, both with brand new art from longtime Cattle Decapitation cover artist, Wes Benscoter. Additionally, "To Serve Man," the band's debut full-length, and their sophomore effort "Humanure" have been remastered specially for this release. Visit
indiemerch.com/metalbladerecords to claim your copy.

NEWS: Amity Affliction avoiding Belfast, Blind Guardian release new single, Nightwish update and a new Behemoth video

The Amity Affliction hyperbole:

Hot on the heels of their sold-out headline UK tour, Australian riff merchants {Press release words not ours!) The Amity Affliction are delighted to announce their return next March as special guests of metalcore act Of Mice And Men

Vocalist Joel Birch comments,  “The tour just past has been far and away our favourite tour we have ever done in UK/Europe so we are happy to let you know we are coming back next year! We are over the moon to be touring with Of Mice And Men again, the shows are going to be insane, and it’s going to be awesome to catch up with our mates again!"

In other news from The Amity Affliction the band are pleased to share a brand new video for the track 'Death's Hand', taken from their #1-charting, latest album 'Let The Ocean Take Me'. The video was shot live at the River Stage in Brisbane on their most recent Australian tour this September. Watch it at: http://www.kerrang.com/25912/the-amity-affliction-premiere-deaths-hands-video.

Don't go blind in the Twilight of the Gods:

Today epic storytellers, Blind Guardian release 'Twilight Of The Gods', the first single from their highly-anticipated tenth studio release, 'Beyond The Red Mirror', due out in Europe on January 30th, 2015, February 2nd in the UK and February 3rd, 2015 in North America. Additionally,
BLIND GUARDIAN just unveiled the official lyric video on 'Twilight Of The Gods'. Check out the clip at the Nuclear Blast YouTube channel.

Wishing for a new album...:

Finland-based symphonic metal storytellers Nightwish are currently working on their upcoming new album.
Today they release the eighth album trailer - also on the Nuclear Blast Youtube channel

Behemoth's new video

Going to see Polish black/death metal overlords Behemoth in Dublin this week? Warm with the official live video for the song 'Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer'. Watch it here.


During the past six months POWERWOLF have secretly been more than busy writing songs for the follow up album to their Nr.1 success "Preachers of the night".

"By now the major part of the songwriting is finished and we're right now preparing for the studio work. The recordings will begin in early January and will keep us busy until March," reports guitarist Matthew Greywolf.

The release of the yet untitled album is scheduled for summer 2015.

Being asked about the new songs, Matthew says: "Without revealing too much at this early stage, you can expect an album that's 100% uncomprimising POWERWOLF-stuff. There´s songs to go wild to, there´s epic and atmospheric stuff - and a lot of wolfish metal madness in between, and quite a bunch of songs that will be must-plays on any future POWERWOLF show for damn sure.  We can't wait to get this album shaped!"

More info at: www.powerwolf.net and  www.facebook.com/powerwolfmetal

Monday, December 08, 2014

INTERVIEW: Keith from The Quireboys receives a gently grilling...

WHEN The Quireboys hit Belfast on 21st November it was another night of rock 'n' roll fun of the highest order. Shortly after the soundcheck we caught up with the Tandragee man on the keys, Keith Weir.

Beer and ciggies up at the Limelight complex's Rock Garden we got down to chatting. Here's the result. [Pic by Paul Verner]

The Quireboys to wrap up Spring Acousatuc tour at Diamond Rock Club

 After an incredible 30th Anniversary World Tour, and by popular demand after last years highly acclaimed unplugged tour, The Quireboys are pleased to announce a very intimate string of evenings early 2015.
And the last date will be at the Diamond Rock Club on 28th March.

 This is a great chance for all Quireboys fans nationwide to experience an audience with Spike,Paul,Keith & Guy in a very unique and laid back surrounding. The night will involve all the classics, rarities, surprises as well as a selection of new material ,played in unplugged arrangements as well as the all to famous QB banter n stories to create a very unique evening .

It may be only Rock n Roll, but even good old R'n'R has it's special moments and this is certainly one not to miss.

28 Mar: The Diamond Rock Club, Ballymena, Ireland


Wednesday, December 03, 2014

NEWS: Enslaved report from the studio

LET's face it - we like Norwegians, whether they be hard rockers, or purveyors of extreme metal, or those that deliver black metal visions of infernal damnation.

We have a particular soft spot for Enslaved...and we just caught up on their progress towards releasing their next platter....here's the blurb.

"Checking in from Solslottet Studio in Bergen, members of Norwegian progressive extreme metallers ENSLAVED offer the last installment in their seven-part “Diary of Mad Men” series shedding insight into the band’s upcoming as-yet-untitled thirteenth studio album, set for an early 2015 release.

… Then it was time for me to do some howling, cursing, screaming and singing again,” contributes ENSLAVED bassist & vocalist Grutle Kjellson.  “We moved a few meters from Duper to co-producer Iver Sandøy's own Solslottet Studios and rigged up what we usually do with a set of three microphones: A Shure SM 7B for growls and screams, a RFT CM-7151 (commonly known as "the Leipzig bottle") for chants & whispering etc., and a Neumann UM-57 for clean vocals.  We were fortunately lucky with the energy, atmosphere, and my vocal shape the first day, so we were able to lay down my vocal tracks for half of the songs the first day… that is, with the exception some dubbing I usually do on Herbrand [Larsen]'s vocals.  It was also time to lay down some tracks with both the Moog Taurus pedals and with one of ENSLAVED treasures that has been with us since 1991 (!): Ivar [Bjørnson]’s Roland SH-1.  A great day at work and an ever-growing confidence that this album will destroy everything we have done prior to this.
Keyboard player & clean vocalist Herbrand Larsen adds:
This album will be rawer and more direct… more in your face!”
Main recordings for the new album have moved from Duper Studios to Solslottet Studio in Bergen, Norway with additional recordings done at Conclave & Earshot Studios (presided over by ENSLAVED members Larsen and Ice Dale), and Ivar Bjørnson’s Peersonal Sound Studios.
Additional experimentation and sonic exploration will be conducted deep in the woods of Valevåg south of Bergen where the band took a mobile studio to record the infamous ‘Thorn’ 7” single in 2012.

Album number thirteen is being produced by band members Ivar Bjørnson, Grutle Kjellson & Herbrand Larsen together with Iver Sandøy.  Mixing will be done by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Studios in Örebro, Sweden.   

Artwork will be illustrated by long-time collaborating artist and “sixth ENSLAVED member” Truls Espedal, who has painted all seven album covers since 2001’s Monumension.
2012’s studio release, ‘RIITIIR’, garnered ENSLAVED a seventh nomination for a Spellemann Award (the Norwegian equivalent of the American Grammy) in the category of “Best Metal Album.”  They have won a Spellemann Award four consecutive times for the following four studio albums: ‘Axioma Ethica Odini’ (2010), ‘Vertebrae (2008), ‘Ruun’ (2006), and ‘Isa’ (2004).
RIITIIRcan be purchased in CD & vinyl format from the following links here and here.
And, here's what we thought of this news...


Monday, December 01, 2014

ALBUM REVIEW: Primordial show their primalm roots on 'Where Greater Men Have Fallen'

SOMEWHERE in the mists, amidst the mythology; where time stands frozen; and, where music faces the darkness in defiance, Primordial have been growing their dark tales with a passion and persistence that has reached a peak on their latest release, 'Where Greater Men Have Fallen'.

The success of  'To The Nameless Dead' and 2011's 'Redemption at the Puritan's Hand' means that 'Where Greater Men Have Fallen' was always going to have to elevate the sound of the band to a higher plain of existential extreme pagan metal. And, that is exactly what they have done.

From the eight minute plus title track to the epic closer 'Wield Lightning To Split The Sun' this is a presentation of eight minutes of unadulterated Primordial at their best, as Gomez's production combines an intensity of sound and a perfect balance for each track to breathe.

'Babel's Tower' is the perfect example of this, as Alan Averill (a.k.a. Nemtheanga) wails in anguish, while Ciaran MacUiliam and Michael O'Floinn weave heavy riffs around the slow, heavy rhythms of Paul MacAmlaigh  (bass) and Simon O'Laoghaire (drums). At about the five and half minute mark there is almost a pause in the incessant riffing before Averill roars over a solo that emerges in a flurry of power and melancholy to bring the eight minutes to a coda as the riffs slow down from their earlier incessant pace.

This is not an album packed with catchy bursts (the shortest track - The Seed of Tyrants - clocks in at five and half minutes). It is instead Primordial at their mesmerising best.

Nor, is it an album filled with cheeriness. Where 'Redemption at the Puritan's Hand' dealt with many aspects of human existence, notably death and humanity's struggles 'Where Greater Men Have Fallen' challenges perceptions of morality and faith

Averill offers this explanation which spans both albums: "We are animals, beasts and making peace with that beast might be your life's work but more often than not he is never tamed. Once a wolf always a wolf.

"We all seek redemption in one way or another, from lies or from truth. Those of us who are godless or faithle­ss often envy the man of faith for his life seems to have an extra purpose, despite the fact that logic, pragmatism, science and realism should crush any sign of faith, we still persist in lying to ourselves.

"Perhaps the alternative is too much to bear.

"So the themes of religion, mortality and death occur over and over again, along with continuing themes of alienation, martyrdom, sacrifice, violence and retribution. Occasionally, very occasionally, a chink of light breaks through."

The stated aim of the band was to bring a more live sound and an aural landscape with more breadth and generally heavier. The band and Gomez have achieved it on their eighth album and, according to Alan Averill: "We feel revitalized, the hunger never left and we are ready for another chapter to be written in our history!"

There is a constancy to each of the tracks in their feel, although 'Ghosts of the Charnel House' has an echo of Gojira about it this is a minor quibble, and it could be argued Primordial were doing Gojira sounds before Gojira were doing Gojira...

The stand-out songs are the title track and 'Born to Night'. The latter opens with ominous Celtic riffs and intricacies from both guitarists and MacAmlaigh's bass before exploding into a tune that echoes Lizzy at their most Celtic with added muscle and purpose. Like closer 'Wield....' this is a true epic.

What Primordial have managed to do is put together an album that builds on its predecessors and elevates them to the top of the extreme pagan metal tree, from where they can look down on the pretenders and know they have turned in a tour de force release.

Review by Jonny
Where Greater Men Have Fallen
Out now on Metal Blade Records

Thursday, November 27, 2014

NEWS: Giving at Christmas with Stillroom [And a wee bit of Trucker too!]

OUR friends down southbound way Stillroom have been busy little elves as we near December. They've just released a Christmas song with proceeds going to the Simon Community.

Below is the video for 'Another (Lonely) Christmas song, which includes details of how to donate. Warning - this video is not a Christmas one for the kiddies!

 As Youtube listings haven't caught up yet you'll have to click the link below to watch...


We also wanted to remind you of Trucker Diablo's Christmas song from last year which raised funds for the Royal Hospital for Sick Children - again you can donate using the details on the page

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

INTERVIEW: Skálmöld chat about the price of a pint in Iceland... and their tour so far.

WHEN Skálmöld finished their soundcheck ahead of their Friday, November 14th gig (review here) we grabbed the Icelandic Viking metal men for a chat about the serious stuff, slaves, DNA and the price of a pint.

Click below to hear what they had to say!

Interview by Jonny

INTERVIEW: Audrey Horne's Arve reveals the secret to becoming an overnight success....

WHEN Audrey Horne played Belfast as part of the Youngblood tour it is fair to say that the crowd was sparse - yet such was the strength of the performance that word of mouth has been such that nearly 10 times the actual crowd are now claiming to be present.

We, have the photographic evidence showing that several members of the Belfastmetalheadsreunited/RockRadioni team were present - and if we weren't fans before then we simply left awed by the band.

The fact that it is now 2014 and Audrey Horne are back round Europe backing their 'Pure Heavy' release belies the fact that they have been around since 2002....

Recently we caught up with Arve Isdal (a.k.a. Ice Dale) to hear a little bit about Audrey Horne's onward march as 2015 comes ever closer.

As ever, with all but a few bands, it was the year's of hard work that led to 'overnight success' when 'Youngblood' hit home in charts, live and in the hearts of fans of honest hard rock.

"It was a bit of a breakthrough for us," said Arve. "We had been putting a lot of work to getting to that stage, but when we began to tour to back it we were pleased at the response.

"We got offered more tours and tour slots and began to see more people turning out to see us."

To a large extent the twin duelling guitars of Arve and Thomas and Toschie's larger than life stage presence brought that classic melodic hard rock sound, so it's no surprise when Arve name-checks some of his influences as "Kiss, Deep Purple, Rainbow, Sabbath" and influences such as "Dave Gilmour and Richie Blackmore".

But that two-guitar sound owes a lot of classic Lizzy and UFO - something which Arve concedes, as we explored with him the difference between 'Youngblood' and 'Pure Heavy'.

"When we went into the studio to record it [Youngblood] we had it written, but wanted a rawer, more live sound," he said. "And, that meant we were recorded it relatively quickly and when it came out it had that edge we were after.

"With Pure Heavy we went back to the studio we had the songs written too, but we wanted to add the textures and layers that so many of our favourite artists and bands have developed over the years."

And, in our review on its release we acknowledged the silky rocking quality of 'Pure Heavy' makes it an essential purchase for hard rock fans.

Before we bade farewell to Arve, we wanted to explore that Belfast gig. Everyone there was levelled by Audrey Horne's commitment, energy and passion in front or around 50 people.

"That's kind of you to say that," said Arve. "We always give our all on stage, but when there is a smaller crowd we feel that we have to give that bit extra to sort of say thanks to those people who made the effort to come out to see us."

And, while they certainly did that, we are pretty much certain that wherever you catch Audrey Horne, if you can, on the current European jaunt or future tours it is a live experience that takes the recorded output and gives it a rocket fuelled boost to Pure Heavy rock nirvana...

AudInterview by Jonny

Monday, November 17, 2014

ALBUM REVIEW: Languid, luscioius, love-bitten delights with re-release of This Is Rock N Roll II from The Quireboys

"DON'T go changing my favourite songs" croons Spike on 'C'mon' from the 2001 releaser of 'This Is Rock N Roll' and that is exactly what The Quireboys have avoided in their 30 year career.

Even with the release earlier in the year of 'Black Eyed Sons' this was going to be a stormer of year for the gypsy troubadours,  but the re-release of 'This Is Rock N Roll II' caps it all off.

The album was first released in 13 years ago when Spike and Guy Griffin got back into the writing saddle.

No doubt tracks will be featured when The Quireboys play Belfast's Limelight1 on Friday, November 21st (some tickets still available) as will the four bonus tracks - reworked versions of 'Hey You', 'Misled', '7 O'Clock' and 'There She Goes Again'.

But what 'This Is Rock N Roll II' shows is a band re-energised from the turbulence of the 80s, kicking into the dust the attempt in the 90s to kill off hard rock.

 Originally recorded at EMG studios, North Hollywood, the result was 13 tracks of pure gypsy infused Rock n Roll, something that many territories didn't see and something that was regarded as gold dust to get a hold of.

With the current run of fortune the band is currently experiencing worldwide, it has become quite clear that the rest of the rock world as well as the diehards want to get a hold of copy.

Out now digitally and physically on Off Yer Rocka Recordings on what we have here is a lanquid, luscious soundscape with love-bitten, and love-smitten tracks, as smooth as a fine bourbon, and as rough as the late night cigarette on the throat.

From the delta infused blues of 'Taken For A Ride' to the angst-ridden regret of 'Enough For One Lifetime'; to the agonisingly wonderful 'Searching' and the regret-filled ballad of 'To Be', this album is the foundation that The Quireboys have built all their recent success upon.

It is the expression of a band that understands how to play, what to play and never pretend to be something that it is not.

This is hard rock, this is blues rock, this is gypsy rock, but most of all This Is Rock N Roll...

Review by Jonny

Sunday, November 16, 2014

LIVE REVIEW: International roll call as Skalmold, Arkona and Eluveitie bring folk, pagan and Viking metal to Belfast

METAL makes the United Nations look like an occasional meeting of children - across the world, in nearly every country has got their own take on heavy metal and what it should sound like.

From the first proto-metal or Cream and Iron Butterfly, the first true metal of Sabbath spread like a virus, infecting every corner of the world, with power chords. As metal evolved hundreds of genres and sub-genres emerged as each new set of adherents added their own take on metal.

And, on Friday (November 14th) in Belfast's Mandela Hall an international line-up of Skálmöld (Iceland), Arkona (Russia), and Eluvietie (Switzerland) brought their own interpretations with a mystical mélange of metal mythos meaty enough and delicate enough in equal measures.

Skálmöld opened proceedings with a muscular take on Viking metal, but with their national identity seared throughout every note of their set. Vocal delivery is in Icelandic, and arrangements of some tracks reflects song patterns from the epic poems of the Viking era.

All six members of the band lend vocal parts to the tracks and as Árás leads into the epic track 'Gleipnir' Baldur, Gunnar Þráinn and Snæbjörn lead the line with Jón Gei on keyboards and oboe with Snæbjörn's drums lending texture as they move from song to song with aplomb and energy that belies their status as openers.

With a subtle blend of classic thrash, Viking metal, death metal and Icelandic traditional arrangements tracks from Napalm Records release 'Með vaettum' - including 'Með fuglum' and 'Að hausti' - were merged with older songs.

As the last echoes of 'Kvaðning' faded he applause was richly deserved. While Skálmöld have taken the Viking metal template it and added layers, the sound is rich and deep, and some original arrangements make it stand head and shoulders above many plying their trade in a similar furrow.

They earned new friends and new fans on Friday and a return to these shores would be welcomed from these Reykjavík raiders.

Coming on stage in traditional Russian pagan dress Arkona brought through take on metal with the stunning vocals of Masha 'Scream' growling in a way that many a man would envy.

Title track of the new album 'Yav' opened the set in a full-on tirade of metal with aggressive intent, despite the presence of Valdimir playing a range of wind and ethnic instruments. Rather than detracting from the sound it enhanced the overall textures, lending a breadth and depth to the sound.

Man mountains Sergei (guitar) and Ruslan (bass) rumbled throughout with Sergei roaming around the stage like Rasputin with a sore head and wielding his flying V with real metallic intent.

Andrey's drums were pounding out almost tribal beats and by the time they played 'Zakliatie' they had hit their stride. Masha's manages to contrast death metal growls with melody.

With some thought towards the ongoing Ukrainian war the Slavic triumphalism was worrying, but a little research proved that this was more about looking back - and Masha has recently said she has no interest in politics. Given the title 'Slav'sja, Rus'!' was the one that caused some concern it is reassuring that Arkona are about metal and painting aural pictures of a pagan past in eastern Europe rather than getting involved in today's wars.

Given this is a tour that sees Eluveitie back the 'Origins' album it was no surprise that many of the that release was featured. But, bloody hell, when you see Eluveitie live there are shed load of them on stage....

Really it takes until 'Nil' before you realise the stage is packed, with even the hurdy gurdy getting crowded as Anna extracted a series of deceptively complex sounds. But as they moved into 'Carry The Torch Chrigel's multi-talent was on show as he moved from hard edged vocals through to tin whistles, mandolin and several other instruments.

Ivo and Rafael provide both muscle and subtle guitar lines while Merlin and Kay somehow manage to keep the whole multiple of sounds and textures from running away into folk oblivion. They are the unrecognised but crucial ingredients to Eluvietie's success. No matter the tin whistles, bagpipes, fiddles and other instruments deployed to give the band it' folk metal status, it is these four who keep the sound 'true'.

Stand out tracks in the main set are 'Inception', 'Vianna' and, od course, 'Havoc' which all emphasise the maturity of the band as a unit - confident in delivery, composed on stage and as smooth in sound as a Swiss chocolatier pouring out a delicious confection. Indeed, this Swiss band's stature in their homeland and across Europe is such that Honda are now sponsoring them...

The encore was delivered with an atmospheric prologue before 'Helvetios' had the crowd rise in acclaim throughout the venue.

The tag folk metal is deceptive, as Eluvietie are at heart a metal act with added extras. The same applies to the pagan metal of Arkona and the Icelandic Viking metal ofSkálmöld.

No matter the prefix, it is still metal, and in Belfast's Mandela Hall the metal was pure and, yes, it was heavy.

Review by Jonny
Pictures by Metalplanet Belfast (more below!)
Reproduction by written permission only